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

Young Claims History-Making World Championship Gold
Alison Young has written her name into the sailing history books, becoming the first British woman to win a World Championship title in a solo Olympic dinghy class.

London Olympian Young, whose previous World Championship best was fourth in 2012, claimed an emphatic last race victory over USA's Paige Railey to seal Laser Radial World Championship glory in Vallarta, Mexico, on Wednesday (20 April) and provide a huge boost to her Rio preparations with 107 days to go until the 2016 Opening Ceremony.

After a hard-fought regatta where the overall lead changed daily, it all came down to just a single point in the end. The 28-year-old Young held her nerve to take her third race win of the week in the 13th and final race of the regatta, relegating erstwhile leader Railey into the silver medal position by the narrowest of margins.

Shirley Robertson claimed 2000 Olympic gold in the Europe class, which was then the women's one-person Olympic dinghy, but a World Championship title in that event eluded her. The Laser Radial has since replaced the Europe on the Games programme, and Young becomes the first female British sailor to win a World Championship in an Olympic single-handed dinghy event. Penny Way won windsurfing World Championship gold in 1990.

Final top ten:

1. Alison Young, GBR, 42 points
2. Paige Railey, USA, 43
3. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 50
4. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 54
5. Gintare Volungeviciute Scheidt, LTU, 68
6. Erika Reineke, USA, 84
7. Lijia Xu , CHN, 90
8. Nazli Cagla Donertas, TUR, 98
9. Manami Doi, JPN, 101
10. Brenda Bowskill , CAN, 109

Full results:

More Kiteboard Bans
After consultation with World Sailing (formaly ISAF) the International Kiteboarding Association has announced that two IFKO events - namely the "1st Junior Kitesports Freestyle World Cup" and the "Kitefoil Silver Cup GP World Series" - have been added to the list of World Sailing Prohibited Events following improper designation as a world event or world championship [Regulation 19.15(c)].

Regarding the upcoming KiteFoil SilverCup in Villeneuve-Les-Maguelone - after consultation with World Sailing - IKA is forced to confirm that riders competing at this event will not be able to register for the upcoming European and World Championships, and the IKA Kitefoil GoldCup events in 2016, due to participation in a World Sailing Prohibited Event and consequently losing their eligibility as required to compete in IKA World and Continental Championships.

Similar action will have to be taken with regard to competitors participating in any other events with improper designation as a world event or world championship [World Sailing Regulation 19.15(c)].

IKA claims that athletes are not allowed to participate in events that are not sanctioned by IKA and World Sailing. The proposed seven-stage IKA circuit plans to crown champions in Freestyle, Big Air, Wave, and Slalom. The grand final is scheduled to Brazil between 10 and 18 December 2016. -- Gerald New in

Rio Will Be Safe For Olympic Sailors, Says IOC Chief
Conditions at Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay will be safe for Olympic sailing events in August, the president of the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.

Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes has admitted the city will not be able to meet a 2009 pledge to reduce pollution in the bay by 80% in time for the Olympics.

But the government says large nets that block the flow of waste into competition areas and ecoboats that scoop up trash from the water's surface will ensure the bay is clean.

"We are very confident that the competition area for the athletes will offer safe and fair conditions," IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters.

"The city, the state and the organizing committee are undertaking many efforts and what we see now is that 60 percent of the surface is clean. Without the Games it would be zero.* "

"The last stretch is always the most difficult one and also there are challenges, but ... we're very confident (they) will be excellent Games," Bach said.

* Editor: Note the prevarications in that sentence. The surface will be sixty percent clean. One inch below surface? Not mentioned. And of course bacteria and viruses don't really show up in any "visibly clean" description. Here's hoping no one gets critically, irreversibly ill.

Dubarry Ultima - Loved by Sailors
Dubarry Ultima It's hard to love a pair of boots. They either do a job or they don't. Some will have great grip and others will send you crashing down to the deck like some slapstick comedian. Some will keep the water out, others will leak like a pair of bespoke footbaths. Some will breathe to keep you comfortable, others will slowly baste your feet in their own sweat. Some will look great, others like you've just escaped from a circus.

Even if you do find a pair that ticks every box, that looks good, grips well and keeps you warm, dry and comfortable, you'd still struggle to love a boot. Unless, of course, it's a Dubarry boot. Take the Ultima, with its blend of rich, supple leather and durable man-made fibres, the hi tech GORE-TEX liner that acts like an air conditioner, the award-winning grip of the sole - yes, those are all there, recognised benchmarks of quality, but what you can't see or touch or smell is the soul. Ultima boots have it in abundance because, like you, they change. They gain experience at sea and improve with age just as surely as you do. That's why sailors love them.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

Antigua Sailing Week
With over 100 yachts racing at the 49th edition of Antigua Sailing Week, including an impressive 76 yachts in the CSA Racing Classes, the Caribbean's longest running regatta is set for another fascinating chapter.

Top of the bill in CSA Racing is a mouth-watering showdown between three high performance yachts with a wide variety of crews. Piet Vroon's Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 is a proven winner with a multinational and largely corinthian crew, including three generations of the Vroon family.

Principle driver will be Volvo Ocean Race exponent, Paul Wilcox. Bernie Evan Wong will be proudly flying the Antiguan flag, but not from his usual boat. Bernie has chartered TP52, Conviction for the regatta and will be sailing with a talented Antiguan team including his daughter Mei Ling and youth sailors Rhone Kirby and Janield Smith. Both Tonnerre 4 and Conviction will be looking to beat Tony Langley's professional team, racing Gladiator, one of the latest TP52s.

Gladiator will be racing in the 52 Super Series this summer and Antigua Sailing Week is part of their build up.

One of the most famous yachts racing this year is the S&S 78 Maxi, Kialoa III, which was last seen at Antigua Sailing Week (then called Antigua Race Week) in 1979. Kialoa III set a record in the 1975 Sydney Hobart Race which lasted for 21 years, and also completed the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race. Kialoa III has been recovered and restored to its high performance racing condition by the K3 Foundation. After its debut in the Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco last September, the yacht has sailed over 8,000 miles to Antigua to try to emulate her win back in 1979.

Kialoa III's Boat captain is Jorge Madden from Spain and the skipper is Volvo Ocean Race legend, Roy Heiner from the Netherlands.

There will be many stand-out skirmishes within the fleet, none more so than Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, Carlo Falcone's Antiguan one-off Caccia alla Volpe and Andy Middleton's First 47.7, Performance Yacht Racing/EH01. The two Oyster 82s, Starry Night of the Caribbean and John McMonigall's Zig Zag are also expected to have a close battle over the five days of racing. There are also several 2015 Class champions returning to defend their titles: TP52, Conviction, chartered to Bernie Evan Wong (with his TAZ team), Alan Edwards' Swan 65 Spirit, Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster and Jonty Layfield's Sleeper (now a J/11s).

Antigua Sailing Week kicks off on Friday with the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race, the Round Antigua Race on Saturday 23rd April and the first race of the 49th Antigua Sailing Week starting on Sunday, April 24th.

All Set-Up For A Thriller To The Finish At St Barts
The Transat AG2R La Mondiale race from Concarneau in Brittany to St Barts in the Caribbean is turning into a thrilling test of stamina and nerve with the leading seven crews looking set for a fight to the finish for the podium places.

After 17 days at sea the front of the fleet is still tightly-congested with seven boats separated on a west-east axis by only 47 miles with just over 1,100 miles of trade wind racing still to sail to the finish.

With a split in the front-runners between three boats to the north led by Cercle Vert (Gildas Morvan and Alexis Loison), three in the middle led by AGIR Recouvrement (Adrien Hardy and Vincent Biarnes) and a lone southerly boat, Gedimat (Thierry Chabagny and Erwan Tabarly), the lead is constantly changing hands and it is certainly too early to try to predict a winner. Yesterday the 33ft Figaro Beneteau II one-designs were surfing downwind at 7-8 knots and their tired crews were starting to think about the endgame in the tropical heat of the mid-Atlantic.

All the crews have commented on the amount of weed in the water, which can slow the boats when caught on the keel and rudder, and some say they have been through patches of rough water where the easterly wind was working against the current. All are aware that gear failure now - especially sail damage - could make the difference between a podium place and an also-ran finish.

* On their 18th day at sea on the 33ft Figaro Beneteau II, Artemis, British sailors Sam Matson and Robin Elsey are up for the final battle to the finish of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale.

The British pairing - both alumni of the Cowes-based c - are showing no signs of race fatigue as they continue surfing downwind in the northeast trade winds in the mid-Atlantic. They now have less than 1,000 miles to go to the finish and a cold beer at St Barts.

Lying in seventh place, 54 miles behind the leader, Matson and Elsey are still part of the relatively tightly-packed bunch of eight leading boats and believe they can still make gains in the closing stages of what has been an intensively-contested transatlantic passage.

"It's amazing that after so much separation out here that the finish looks as though it could be so tight," said Matson in his latest bulletin from the chart table. "I feel we are in the fortunate position that we can see what's going on with the front pack and try to learn and improve from their approach, or at least know what to expect.

"The fleet is more or less sailing with the same strategy from what I can gather now," added Matson. "It's just a case of slowly closing gauge at the right moment as we begin the final approach."

The leading pack is split into a northerly group and a more southerly one. The Brits are the third boat, in terms of distance to the finish, in the northerly group which is led by the current overall race leader, Cercle Vert, co-skippered by Frenchmen Gildas Morven and Alexis Loison.

From The 'How Could I Have Missed This' Files
You Can Actually Become a Certified Pirate at MIT

Historically, it seems pirates are identified by their peg legs, eyepatches, and hooks for hands. Their rogue ships flew ominous flags like the Jolly Roger while the menacing marauders gained notoriety for ruthless battles at sea. The image of the pirate as an alcohol-swilling, lustful barbarian with moldering clothes and a filthy vocabulary has become part of popular culture, appearing in everything from books and paintings to films, video games, theme park rides, Halloween costumes, and more.

Meanwhile, it feels like we've lost sight of the reason why traditional pirates became so infamous in the first place. Sure, they spoke funny and probably had terrible breath, but in order to gain a place in the imaginations of everyday people across generations, they needed skills to get there. Operating under the assumption that traditional pirates actually possessed some measure of physical and mental prowess, MIT's Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) has a pirate program that helps its students fulfill general physical education requirements.

By all appearances, the school is buoyant with would-be buccaneers. At first, it seems outlandish that MIT has a physical education requirement at all, but with so much brainpower on campus, it would be even less sensible not to. And as it turns out, archery, sailing, fencing, pistolry (and riflery) all require a level of concentration and skill that appeals to science and engineering students, so there's a mutual interest that keeps the pirate program going. In fact, MIT issued over 60 pirate certificates just last year, according to Phil Hess, Director of DAPER Communications, Promotions and Marketing. -- Tanja M. Laden

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The Last Word
If you want to be a butterfly, you have to spend some time as a worm. -- Bill Maher

PS: Happy Birthday To Bob Fisher

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