Brought to you by Seahorse magazine, Scuttlebutt Europe is a digest of sailing news and opinions, regatta results, new boat and gear information and letters from sailors -- with a European emphasis. Contributions welcome, send to

Star World Championship
Coconut Grove, Florida: Race 4 was held today for the 73 competitors in the Star World Championship on Biscayne Bay. The winds were light again blowing in from the southeast at 7-8 knots.

I felt like it was going to be good on the left today so we started down the line a bit and "owned" the left. We were in very good shape half way up the first leg and could have crossed over to the right but all that we were seeing was good on the left so we kept at it. That turned out to be a bad call.

About 5 minutes later the wind shifted 15 degrees to the right and stayed there. Brian and I were 35th at the first mark. Brian Ledbetter and Josh Revkin were fast and on the right and had a nice lead at the first mark. The were followed closely by the usual suspects of Diego Negri, Augie Diaz and Lars Grael.

As the race went on, Brian and I had our ups and downs but managed to pass about half of those in front of us to finish 18th. Negri got past Ledbetter in the final quarter of the last leg to take the win. Augie Diaz continued his consistent performance with a third.

Things are getting tight at the top. Diaz, Negri and Ledbetter are all within just a few points of each other. Two races are left to finish the series. None of those three has ever won the World Championship. The winds are forecast to stay light for the rest of the Championship. Should get interesting! -- Paul Cayard

Complete results:

Transat AG2R
It's been eleven days since the Transat AG2R La Mondiale fleet set sail from Concarneau. There are still 2000 miles to go before the finish in Gustavia. It's south of the archipelago of Cape Verde that the race is being played between four: Gedimat, Recovery Act, Brittany - CMB Performance and Generali. Circle Vert is all alone at the lead... nearly 10 miles ahead of the nearest boat.

Top ten
1. Circle Vert, Gildas Morvan / Alexis Loison, 1933 nm to finish
2. AGIR Recouvrement Adrien Hardy / Vincent Biarnes, 17.33 to leader
3. Gedimat Thierry Chabagny / Erwan Tabarly, 22.51
4. Bretagne - CMB Performance Sebastien Simon / Xavier Macaire, 37.21
5. Generali Nicolas Lunven / Gildas Mahe, 38.14
6. Fulgur - Evapco, Milan Kolacek / Pierre Brasseur, 39.38
7. Artemis, Sam Matson / Robin Elsey, 63.98
8. Bellocq Paysages - Saveurs De Cornouaille, Martin / Pope Eric Peron, 83.07
9. Les Saintes, Arthur Prat / Nicolas Thomas, 165.28
10. Marie Galante, Keni Piperol / Benjamin Augereau, 353.19

Dubarry Crosshaven - 'Race Face' Protection
Dubarry Crosshaven It's pitch-black. We're on the wind halfway across the Irish Sea, heading for 'The Rock' in a Force 6 - and it's building. On the rail we might look like a troop of Japanese snow monkeys on valium but we've huddled into something like comfort when skip calls the headsail change we've been dreading for the last five minutes. Three minutes later I'm clipped on with my feet on the leeward toerail with an armful of changed foresail when a wave engulfs the foredeck. The water clears and I'm still onboard thanks to the combined efforts of my tether and the stanchion lodged in my crotch. Lucky me.

Sail change over I'm back on the rail but my feet are cold and wet and my enthusiasm for this caper ebbs quickly away, unlike the sea water - the boots were still wet a week after the finish in Plymouth. It's 1989 and, though the stylishly weathered Shamrock boot is much in evidence, the Crosshaven is but a dream. Had I been wearing Crosshavens, the gaiter and drawstring would have kept my feet dry and my race face on. Funny how something so simple can be so incredibly effective.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

Changes For Volvo Cork Week 2016
Volvo Cork Week is set to attract more competitors by reducing the real cost through pro-active measures.

This year Volvo Cork Week looks set to attract new competitors by hosting the first ever IRC European Championship and the Beaufort Cup. Kieran O'Connell, Chairman of Volvo Cork Week, spoke candidly about the changes to this year's event, brought about by talking to competitors, the real cost of coming to Cork Week is being reduced by pro-active measures.

"When talking to people in Ireland and the UK." commented Kieran O'Connell. "We have been making a big effort to keep the cost down for visiting teams, we have been setting guide prices for local accommodation in Crosshaven and local home owners have been listening and reducing their expectations. For example a 3 bedroom house that sleeps 6 - 8 crew for the week is averaging at €1250 - €1500 or B&B for €50 per night. There is a dedicated page on our web site for hotel and B&B accommodation and for local house rentals you can email Audrey on . At Volvo Cork Week 2016 we will also have camping options with toilet and shower facilities.

The Volvo Cork Week committee have undertaken to keep food and beverage costs at normal club rates.

The Volvo Cork Week committee have undertaken to keep food and beverage costs at normal club rates, there will also be competitor drink promotions each evening.

For yachts entering before the end of April, there is a prize draw for sailing gear and a weekend 40ft bareboat charter.

The early entry discount for Volvo Cork Week runs out on May 1st. For more information about Volvo Cork Week.

Hat Trick For Derry~Londonderry~Doire
The podium is complete after the Clipper Race fleet's tough North Pacific Ocean crossing from Qingdao, China to Seattle, USA.

Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire won its third consecutive race, finishing the Seattle Pacific Challenge and a hat trick at 0915 local time/1615 UTC, 13 April.

The Unicef team recorded its best ever result and first podium of the race series, finishing in second place after a duel with LMAX Exchange at 2052 local time, Wednesday 13 April/0352 UTC Thursday 14 April.

The team, representing the world's leading children's organisation, managed to hold off LMAX Exchange after just a few nautical miles separated the two yachts in the final stages of the 5,400 nautical mile race.

LMAX Exchange crossed the finish line at 2155 local time Wednesday 13 April/0455 UTC Thursday 14 April in third place.

The professional Skippers leading each of the 12 teams have reported the worst conditions they have ever experienced on this race from China's Olympic sailing city, with the yachts pounded by huge seas and winds gusting over 80 miles per hour, causing injury and damaging the yachts.

GREAT Britain finished Race 9 in fourth position. Skipper Peter Thornton sent notification to the Race Office to say the team had finished at 1127 UTC on Thursday 14 April.

The remaining eight teams are due to be welcomed into Seattle over the next six days, including home port entry Visit Seattle.

Jason Waterhouse Joins Softbank Team Japan
SoftBank Team Japan added to their ranks this week by announcing that Olympic multi-hull sailor Jason Waterhouse will join the sailing team after racing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Representing his native Australian Sailing Team, 24-year-old Waterhouse is set to make his Olympic debut competing in the Nacra 17 mixed multi-hull event, a boat in which he currently holds the #1 ISAF world ranking.

The announcement follows trials earlier this year where the team had invited Waterhouse out for several sessions training on the team's new AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio are scheduled to take place August 5 - 21, 2016 after which Waterhouse will move to Bermuda full-time to sail with SoftBank Team Japan at their new base on the Great Sound. Waterhouse will be the first Australian sailor to bolster the team's sailing ranks in preparation for the 35th America's Cup.

Glyn Charles Pursuit Race at HISC on Monday 2 May
Hayling Island SC will host the Glyn Charles Pursuit Race on Monday 2 May to raise funds for the John Merrick's Sailing Trust (JMST). The race is one of the largest races in Chichester Harbour and this race is about having fun.

It is a true "celebration of life", and there is a vast haul of prizes to celebrate taking part. Every penny raised goes towards supporting youth sailing at a grass roots level in the UK. The event is open to all monohull dinghies and small racing keelboats with a PY below 1451.

The Glyn Charles Pursuit Race is about fun, fundraising and remembering Glyn, one of Great Britain's best young sailors, tragically lost in the 1998 Sydney Hobart race.

Harken have recently announced they will once again be sponsoring the race with a range of exciting prizes designed to heat up the competition amongst competitors.

The work the John Merrick's Sailing Trust carries out is invaluable and supporting grassroots sailing is extremely important, making this an event Harken are delighted to be a part of.

This event is open to all monohull dinghies and small racing keelboats with a PY below 1451.

On-line Entry is available here: -- Gerald New in

Mystic Seaport To Honor Bob and Rod Johnstone
Mystic Seaport will present its 2016 America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone - J/Boats. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.

The Johnstones will receive the award Saturday, October 22, at a gala dinner held in their honor at Mystic Seaport. The gala will be the first and only dinner held in the Collins Family Gallery of the new Thompson Exhibition Building prior to its ongoing use to display exhibits. The America and the Sea Award Gala is the single largest fundraising event for the Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Museum to inspire an enduring connection to America's maritime heritage.

"Over the past 39 years, the Johnstone family and their company have influenced American yachting and sport of sailing in incomparable ways. They have established a record of accomplishment that few will ever challenge, and they have instilled in countless Americans a passion for enjoying time on the water with family and good friends aboard good boats," said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. "For these reasons and many more, Mystic Seaport is proud to bestow its America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone - J/Boats."

When They Realised What They Were Seeing, It Was Almost Too Late
Volcano Recently, the crew of the Maiken was enjoying a leisurely sail through the South Pacific when they spotted a strange discoloration on the water. They moved in closer to inspect it, but by the time they realized what it was, it was too late.

A huge amount of pumice stone was floating to the surface of the water. They decided to get a closer look and redirected their yacht towards it. It looks like a beach in the middle of the ocean!

The crew decided to sail through it, leaving a break in the stone behind them as they went. They wondered what could have caused this expanse of stone to suddenly appear. The field of pumice was getting even larger as they passed through it. The crew had an uneasy feeling and upped their speed.

Once they were a safe distance away, they heard a faint rumbling. Looking back they saw water bubbling from the surface. The source of the pumice stone was an underwater volcano that was actually erupting at the time!

They anchored to watch this tremendous event. Massive plumes of smoke filled the sky. As the smoke cleared, they noticed something strange just at the water's surface... It was land!

The stunned crew couldn't believe what they were seeing: It was the actual birth of a new island.

Racing Where It's As Dry As A Dead Dingo's Didgeridoo
It may be the 13th largest lake in the world on paper, but for those who sail on it Lake Eyre in South Australia presents a unique challenge - because more often than not it is bone dry. In fact, this month saw only the fifth staging of the Outback Spirit Regatta in 16 years - which might explain why 72-year-old David Norrish drove more than 3,300km across the Nullarbor Plain to be there.

In Oz, if you've covered the equivalent mileage of the "long haul" from the Red Cow to Dingle, your journey is still only beginning. It goes on for miles and miles and miles. And vast tracts of it are seldom if ever green.

Yet from time to time, weather events so rare that they can reasonably be called freakish will bring rain to create lakes in the Outback. And though years may elapse between their manifestations, it happens sufficiently frequently for some of these flash flood lakes to have acquired a name. So of course somebody just has to go and sail on them.

Driving hundreds of miles through the Australian Outback with a boat in tow to a regatta in the desert is not an adventure for the faint hearted. But that was exactly the challenge taken up by the 20 rugged yachting crews who competed in this month's Outback Spirit Lake Eyre Yacht Club Regatta.

The Lake Eyre Yacht Club has a membership of 220 people from all over Australia and some from the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The club first hosted a regatta in the middle of Australia in 2010, but has not held an event since 2013 because of a lack of water.

WM Nixon's report in Afloat magazine:

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