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

Collision and Damage in the Transat Bakerly
A French yachtsman competing in The Transat bakerly solo transatlantic race from Plymouth to New York, was forced to abandon the race today after his boat crashed into a container ship. Maxime Sorel on board the yacht VandB was among the leaders in the 10-strong Class40 fleet, as the boats raced downwind in the northern Bay of Biscay about 90 nautical miles west of Lorient, when he reported a collision.

The boat suffered damage to its bowsprit, forcing Sorel to head to the French port La Trinite sur Mer in Brittany. Sorel is safe and uninjured and the boat's mast is stable but he is very disappointed to have to retire.

The collision happened in broad daylight and good visibility this morning, in an area of busy commercial shipping off the Brittany coast.

Sorel said he was keeping watch as VandB sailed under spinnaker but he did not see the cargo ship. "I was not sailing particularly fast and I tried to avoid it but it was too late," said the French skipper as he limped toward the coast.

* On Tuesday 3rd May, at around 1900hrs GMT+2, Erwan Le Roux, the skipper of FenetreA Cardinal, sustained substantial damage to the port float on his Multi50 trimaran.

Erwan was leading The Transat bakerly Multi50 fleet when the incident occurred, sailing downwind in a northeasterly 25-27 knots, and was approximately sixty miles off Cape Finisterre. He managed to secure his boat before alerting his shore crew.

He is now in regular contact with his weather man to find the best landing point between Portugal and Spain.

* The 3000 mile passage to New York forces skippers to make and commit to one decision only, to go north or south. The northern route traditionally thought to be faster is not the case in this year's edition of May weather systems. The southern route has proven more advantageous and all but 1 skipper have ventured south and offshore from the Bay of Biscay. A special entry by racing legend Loick Peyron is sailing the 1964 Pen Duick II, a 44ft wooden ketch in the same trim as she was when Eric Tabarly raced her to victory in the OSTAR. Peyron has taken the "calmer" northern route and is expected to reach New York in 27 days, almost double that of the Class 40 fleet.

"Based on the weather models the average prediction revealed a less exposed and faster route to choose south. It looks like the rest of the competitors thought the same, let's hope the forecast sticks and we don't get in after Peyron on Pen Duick!" Phil Sharp reported.

Holding 1st place in his Class, Phil pushed Imerys south keeping west of the fleet, and is now leading the Class into the North Atlantic. Miles from the shorts and t-shirt Transat Jacque Vabre and the Route du Rhum, crossing the North Atlantic is tough, with gruelling wet and windy conditions.

Melleby and Revkin Win First Day at SSL City Grand Slam
SSL City Grand Slam Three heats, nine races and 86 Star teams, commenced battle on the first day of racing at the inaugural Star Sailors League City Grand Slam on Lake Alster, Hamburg, Germany. There were a few surprises as the rapidly changing conditions caught out many of the teams taking part, resulting in several World Class Star Sailors failing to make the top ten after three races.

With two more days of racing in the qualifying rounds scheduled, it is still early days but today's conditions showed that Lake Alster is an exceptionally challenging place to race. The key to today's top performers was starting well and keeping your 'head out of the boat' to anticipate changes in the wind.

The Norwegian and American team of Eivind Melleby & Josh Revkin put in a stellar performance today and lead the 86-strong Star Class fleet after three races. Melleby has been away from the Star fleet for some time but his young crew from Connecticut USA is a rising star, having come third in last month's Star World Championship with Brian Ledbetter.

Melleby & Revkin were competing in the last heat of the day and won all three races.

Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki scored two straight bullets and a rare tie for first place in the last race with Diego Negri & Sergio Lambertenghi. Dominating two of today's races, puts the Polish team in second place overall after three races.

Other top performers today included local sailors, Johannes Polgar & Markus Koy, who finished the day in fourth place and fellow Germans, Michael Koch & Carsten Witt, who finished the day in fifth place. Racing resumes tomorrow for the second day of the qualifying rounds, light winds are forecast for the day.

Full coverage of all five days of action will be streamed live on the Internet for FREE, with expert commentary from special studio guests, including Dennis Conner. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing. Armchair sailors can also race the course with Virtual Regatta.

To watch the races from Tuesday, May the 3rd at 10 AM to Saturday, May the 7th:


The Nylon Armada
Click on image to enlarge.

A Brush with Sail Looking back over the memories of your sailing years should be one of the pleasures of growing old. It's a fact that even the wet, cold, horrible experiences of early or late season distance races fade with time and you hopefully only remember the good bits and especially the after race functions, where you warmed up with drinks and told lies with your mates.

That's how it should be. You should have a smile on your face when your resting in your easy chair and thinking back! I look back on an experience in 1976 that had all the opportunity to leave me very disappointed for years to come but has turned out to be a warming memory that has never left me.

In fact, since I began painting seriously, nearly thirty years ago, that memory has haunted me in a pleasant sort of way, asking to be painted and this year its time had come. I have painted it and it is called 'The Nylon Armada'. Here's the story of that memory, that led to that painting.

In the 1970's sailing was on a high in Australasia and Sydney was the place to be in the last two months of 1975. The Southern Cross Cup regatta was sailed before the annual Sydney Hobart with that 'Classic' also being the final race for the Southern Cross series. Apart from the three-boat teams from all Australian States, teams from New Zealand, U.S.A, Japan, United Kingdom and Papua New Guinea, gave the Southern Cross regatta a really International look in '75.

Among the entrants were then current international 'hot' performers like Ted Turner's 36 foot Peterson design 'Pied Piper' from the United States, Ron Amey's 46 foot Frers design, 'Noryema' from the U.K. and Peter Kurts 46 foot S&S 'Love and War' in the New South Wales team. The interesting boat in the New Zealand team was one of the 'new' Farr one-tonners , 'Prospect of Ponsonby', owned and helmed by Noel Angus. With a very good performance in the Hobart race, 'Prospect of Ponsonby' sealed victory for New Zealand in the Southern Cross series.

But the yacht that drew the crowds to Sydney Harbour and drew the gasps of amazement from everyone who saw her, was 'Kialoa III', Californian property developer Jim Kilroy's magnificent S&S design 79' ketch. She had come to Sydney to break the 'Hobart' record set by her predecessor, 'Kialoa II'. She certainly broke harbour-side crowd records and journalists and photographers lined up for interviews and photos. 'Kialoa III' was star of the show! -- Jim Bolland, an excerpt from his lastest blog posting at

Frustrations Build As Light Airs Descend On Fleet
A high pressure system approximately 100 miles off the Californian coast has the Clipper Race teams battling in light airs, as they search for every advantage with wind speeds dropping to as little as 0.4 knots.

The Race Viewer is a colourful display of zig-zags as the teams tack and gybe their way south, using what wind and current they can to ensure they keep moving in the direction of Panama. At the front, Garmin lies 10 nautical miles ahead of LMAX Exchange, but as of 0900 UTC it polled a speed of 0.7 knots.

The fortunes of the fleet could be about to change according to Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell, who himself is a former Race Skipper and understands the frustrations of the teams in these conditions.

In his daily weather forecast to the Skippers, Simon explains: "The light airs most of you are in are due to the secondary low that's trying to form along the front down to the south-west of you. This shouldn't develop into anything very strong at all, but it is destroying all the wind on the east side of it - which is where almost all of you are right now. The good news is that it won't last long, and over the next 24 hours you should get a much better flow from around north-north-west as the low dissipates and the East Pacific High moves back in."

One team that has so far escaped the wind hole that has engulfed the fleet is twelfth-placed ClipperTelemed+, which started the PSP Logistics Panama Cup several hours later than its opponents due to last minute repairs. Seeing the other teams sail into a wind hole up ahead could give Skipper Matt Mitchell and his crew the opportunity to make up some miles.

Seahorse June 2016
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

Closer closer
Under 7,000kg for the first time but sailing even higher and faster, Rob Weiland looks at some of the more subtle TP52 developments for 2016

Raceboats to Wallys
Mark Mills and the engineers and builders at Persico Marine work to bring raceboat levels of weight concentration to the Wally Cento fleet...

Sounds simple
But it's not... Sam Davies explains the timeline and the sometimes harsh reality of putting together (and funding) a Vendee Globe programme

Relentlessly talented
Behind every great modern Olympian... and standing behind 49er stars BURLING and TUKE is their coach Hamish Willcox

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Bart's Bash 2016 Launches
Barts Bash With the decision being made to remove sailing from the Paralympics, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation pledges to use the funds raised through Bart's Bash in 2016 to help promote and develop disabled sailing globally.

The funds raised from the event will be distributed via national sailing federations or through the official ASSF grants process, with the aim to support grassroots disabled sailing projects and make disabled sailing more accessible.

In 2016 Bart's Bash will take place across two days: the 17th and 18th September. Since Bart's Bash started in 2014 the event has seen over 45,000 sailors participate across 62 countries. In 2016 Bart's Bash aims to encourage more sailors and countries to participate across the world and continue to be one of the highlights of the sailing club calendar bringing members and their family and friends together.

Iain Percy ASSF Trustee commented "The money raised from Bart's Bash has already enabled the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to support grassroots sailing projects around the world, allowing children and young people to experience the sport who otherwise would not have been given the opportunity.

This year we want to focus our efforts on disabled sailing. Bart was extremely passionate about the power that sailing has and that it should be accessible for all. It is a travesty that the Paralympics is dropping sailing after Rio 2016 so we have placed Bart's Bash on the last two days of the Paralympics Games.

To date the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation has pledged funds of over £600,000 on a range of inspiring sailing projects across 8 countries. Some of the projects supported in 2016 include: A UK national project with Blind Sailing, Chicago Park Districts Community Sailing Program, UK National Schools Sailing Association, Hungarian Yachting Association and Leicestershire and Rutland Youth Sailing Association.

You can register your club or venue to take part in Bart's Bash at

Shipwreck Hunter Discovers 500-Year-Old Treasures
After 500 years lost at sea, explorer Vasco da Gama's Esmeralda shipwreck has been discovered. A team led by National Geographic grantee and shipwreck hunter David Mearns has excavated the site and recovered the infamous ship's remarkable treasures.

"This is the earliest pre-colonial shipwreck ever discovered. This is from the European Golden Age of Discovery when Columbus, Magellan, and Vasco da Gama are going around the world," says Mearns. His company, Blue Water Recoveries Ltd., in collaboration with the Omani Ministry of Heritage and Culture, found the shipwreck off a remote Omani island in the Arabian Peninsula in 1998. After extensive logistical planning, excavation began in 2013. Spending more than 1,000 hours underwater, the team recovered over 2,800 artifacts that help tell the story of this fateful ship's journey.

"There's coins, there's armaments, there's munitions, there's personal objects, there's organic objects. And we're bringing in archaeologists and other experts to study the entire collection, so it will ultimately be in a museum and displayed for the public in a way where you're really spelling out the entire history," Mearns says.

Dublin Sailor To Circumnavigate Irish Coastline In 13 Foot Dinghy
Sub-Arctic weather on the west coast has not deterred Dublin sailor Gary "Ted" Sargent from sticking to his departure date for a circumnavigation of Ireland in a small dinghy. The communications professional intends to set sail from Schull, Co Cork in mid-May in a a Laser.

While the island has been circumnavigated many times by craft ranging from kayaks to large multihulls - and by a relay rowing team last summer - Mr Sargent believes his challenge has only been tried once before.

He hopes to complete the 1,500km solo voyage within eight weeks in aid of the charity ChildVision, dedicated to children with impaired or no sight and a range of disabilities.

The record for the smallest keelboat circuit was set by brothers Kevin and Colm MacLaverty in a six-metre (18ft) Waverley class keelboat in 1961.

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The Last Word
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. -- Sinclair Lewis

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