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

Round Ireland Speed Record Smashed
An historic new record for the fastest-ever sail around Ireland has been set.

The Sultanate of Oman's flagship trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail has completed the full 704-mile course in just 38 hours, 37 minutes and 7 seconds smashing their own 2015 record by an incredible 2 hours, 14 minutes and 50 seconds.

They set off from Wicklow Bay at 13.10 on Saturday (18th June) for the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland Yacht race. Incredibly, all three of the Mod 70 trimarans arrived back to Wicklow within minutes of each other, every single one of them breaking the 2015 record.

Team Concise were out front for most of the race with Phaedo 3 overtaking them in the early hours of Monday morning, and it looked certain one of the two would take line honours. Musandam-Oman Sail however took advantage of an inshore track and manoeuvred ahead in the final hour.

Difficult seas meant 12 of the 63 yachts that set off on Saturday have since retired from the race. The remaining 48 are still making their way around the Irish coast.

The next yacht expected in the monohull category is George David's Rambler 88, which depending on winds is due in later today.

Upon coming ashore a beaming but tired Damian Foxall said it was a very demanding race:

"Even though we did it in record-breaking time, we had no rest. It was pretty full on. The only important part of leading the race is when you get to the finish line. Coming inside Howth we realised we could do it. I am exhausted!" -- Emily Cox, Cox Communications

Rambler 88 Sets New Round Ireland Monohull Record
Photo by David Branigan, Click on image for photo gallery.

The progress of George David's Rambler 88 down the North Channel and the Irish Sea today has been remorseless, with the big silver boat ticking off waypoints like an express train closely on schedule writes W M Nixon. With the ebb tide helping her for the final stages, she was registered as crossing the finish line at 15-24-09, which means she has gone round Ireland in 2 days 2 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds, which is one beautiful bit of sailing.

It means she has wiped out both the 2 days 17 hours race record of Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard from 2008, and the open record of 2 days and 9 hours time set by Jean-Philippe Chomette's CityJet/Solene in 2006. While the former had always been seen as eminently beatable, the latter was seen as pitching it a bit high. But with around 7 hours chopped off it, there's just no questioning the quality of this showing.

The performance potential of the new generation of big canting keeled boats means everyone will have to re-configure their notions of what's possible, as the fact that Rambler was beating virtually the whole way from Wicklow to the Fastnet Rock was comfortably offset by finding that once she'd freed sheets beyond the Fastnet, she was away like an express train. -- WM Nixon in Afloat

50th Thrash Not A Dash
The 50th Thrash to the Onion Patch, the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, has not been a dash. Following Comanche's record-breaking run to Bermuda, chopping almost five hours off the 2012 numbers, the fleet stalled against the northern wall of a high-pressure system. They stopped just above the Gulf Stream. The lead boats slowly began to work their way into the new breeze in the early morning Monday. Vamp, Lenny Sitar's J44 sailing mid-fleet, popped through the wall and reported they were finally sailing under spinnaker making 9-10 knots on a beautiful Monday morning.

The lead boats for 'traditional' line honours based on positions late Monday were Maximizer a Farr 72, Siren, and High Noon are estimated to finish between 1:00AM and 3:00AM EDT on Tuesday morning. Orca is bringing up the rear and predicted to finish in the late afternoon on Friday 24 June, a week after their start. They certainly have not experienced any of the rough weather predicted that scared away so many entries… much the opposite so far, it seems.

Of the 184 boats that had checked in to race before the start in Newport, 46 did not start and seven have withdrawn for various mechanical reasons. All of the Gibbs Hill Division boats decided not to race, including all three Maxi72's that might have challenged Comanche for line honors.

Maxi72 Bella Mente's team issued the following statement, "After much consideration and research on the weather patterns forecasted for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, Bella Mente has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the event." The rough weather predicted by some forecast models was the reason so many boats did not start. They were being safe and conservative, but their fears and the predictions proved unfounded. At 5:00pm EDT Monday, race communications reported, "It appears that there is very light air in their area at the western edge of the fleet. Boats around Spirit of Bermuda show boat speeds of 2 knot + or minus. -- Talbot Wilson

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Mark Turner (GBR)
'A driven visionary, just keep him off the subject of where elite sailing should be going' - Andrew Palfrey; 'I remember us beating into 80kt to Kerguelen to fix our broken Maxi... the boy's done well' - Garfield Smith; 'Mark Turner and traditionalist on the same page, come on!' - Charles Darbyshire; 'Mark's done so much for sailing, creating the Extreme 40 as a spectator series has clearly steered the AC' - Richard Butcher. '"Well if that's what you all think then we might as well all go home now"... Miss ya!!!' - Emily Caroe.

This month's nominees:

Gordon Ingate (AUS))
Seventy five years after he started racing Gordon Ingate last month won two of three races at the Sydney Gold Cup series in Dragons, only losing the third race by 5 seconds. Over the course of his long sailing life Ingate has represented Australia in the Olympics, the Admiral's Cup and the America's Cup as the helmsman of the magnificent Alan Payne designed 12 Metre Gretel II when she took part in her third Cup campaign in 1977.

Phil Sharp (GBR))
Good to have you back, buddy. Phil Sharp relaunched himself on the singlehanded ocean racing scene in May when he dragged his ailing Class40 across the finish line in 3rd place in the Transat - having led most of the way. Ten years after dominating the Class40 in the 2006 Route du Rhum Sharp is now getting ready to begin a 2020 Vendee Globe campaign, having at long last secured the backing he needs to demonstrate some prodigious talent

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

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Clipper Final Leg Start
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams have departed New York on the final leg of the circumnavigation, the 'Atlantic Homecoming'.

Following a Departure Ceremony and Parade of Sail in front of the New York skyline and Statue of Liberty, the 12 international teams started Race 12 of the series, the 'LegenDerry Finale' to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The teams performed a Le Mans start at Ambrose Lighthouse at 1944 local time Monday (2344 UTC) on the first of three races making up the final leg. Race 13, Derry Londonderry to Den Helder, The Netherlands, and Race 14, Den Helder to London, UK will complete the global series which concludes on 30 July.

Points are extremely tight at the top of the leaderboard, with LMAX Exchange, Skippered by Frenchman Olivier Cardin, 10 points ahead of second-placed Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

GREAT Britain is seven points behind the Northern Irish entry in third position, and just four points ahead of Garmin, in fourth.

With a maximum of 41 points available over the next three races, the top four positions are still up for grabs, creating a lot of pressure for the leading Skippers.


1. LMAX Exchange, 124 points
2. Derry~Londonderry~Doire, 114
3. GREAT Britain, 107
4. Garmin, 103
5. Qingdao, 65
6. Mission Performance, 64
7. ClipperTelemed+, 59
8. Da Nang - Viet Nam, 56
9. Visit Seattle, 50
10. Unicef, 49
11. IchorCoal, 41
12. PSP Logistics, 34

Top Twenty Invited To Compete At 2016 Sailing World Cup Final
World Sailing has announced that 20 of the top performing athletes in the world, based on current World Sailing rankings, have been invited to the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final, held in Melbourne.

Melbourne, recently crowned the Sporting Capital of the World, secured the Sailing World Cup Grand Final in May this year. This is also the first time the Final has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Medallists from the Rio 2016 Games will each receive a travel grant and logistical support to attend this regatta. That, along with the $200, 000 AUD in prize money shared across the various events, aims to attract Olympians wanting to not only claim the Olympic podium but also that of the penultimate fleet racing dinghy event.

2016 also begins the new Olympic Cycle for those campaigning for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Following the aftermath of Rio a new wave of athletes will begin to emerge. Event organisers hope to attract these athletes with the incentive of starting a new campaign with some extra financial support. Event Director, Mark Turnbull, Gold Medallist for Sydney 2000 Olympics, is an advocate for this incentive: "This prize money can go along way for athletes; if not for our Olympians wanting to complete their Rio 2016 campaign on an added high, then for the athletes starting their four year campaign to Tokyo 2020."

Battle Of Tacks Along The English Coast
Figaro favourites, led by Charlie Dalin (Skipper Macif 2015) laid down a fast pace in very tactically challenging conditions. Aymeric Decroocq (Bretagne-CMB hope), which dismasted last night, should be able to make the start of the second stage of the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro.

The rough conditions encountered last night and in the early morning have largely benefited the heavyweights of the fleet. Charlie Dalin (Skipper Macif 2015), despite penalizing coastal course in the Baie de Seine, quickly took the lead, closely followed by Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat) and Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux). Only 3.3 miles separate the leader Sebastien Simon (CMB Performance Britain) from the tenth placed boat.

The approach of England, as announced by Meteo Consult, proved toxic with winds of 30, 35 or even 40 knots gusting and seas. The bulk of the gale is now past and the conditions become more navigable south of Torquay.

Top ten positions, stage 1:
1. Skipper Macif 2015 / Charlie Dalin, 298.48 nm to stage 1 finish
2. Armor Lux / Erwan Tabarly. 0.66 nm to leader
3. Gedimat, Thierry Chabagny, 0.90
4. Environment Guyot, Vincent Biarnes, 1.73
5. Fiva Groups, Alexis Loison, 1.80
6. Roads Oceans, Xavier Macaire, 2.01
7. Generali, Nicolas Lunven, 2.02
8. Skipper Macif 2014, Yoann Richomme, 2.12
9. Sofinther - A Jersey For Life, Corentin Douguet, 2.49
10. Britain - CMB Performance, Sebastien Simon, 2.96

Argentario Sailing Week
Photo by P. Lanfrancotti / marinepartners. Click on image for photo gallery.

Tuscany, Italy: Blissful sailing conditions for the final day of racing at Argentario Sailing Week in Tuscany. The Islands of Montecristo and Giglio etched against crystal blue skies, white capped seas and a steady 15 knot northwesterly breeze set the stage for the 40 Grandes Dames racing in the second Mediterranean leg of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.

Linnet, owner Patrizio Bertelli with Max Sirena calling tactics wins in Vintage +200; Leonore with helmsman Mauro Pelaschier wins in Vintage -160; Skylark of 1937 wins in Vintage - 200; Naif owner Ivan Gardini wins in Classics -160; Madifra 2 owner Maurizio Brunori wins in Classics + 160 and Raindrop the Wianno owned by Yula Sambuy is first in Spirit of Tradition.

The international regatta was organized by the Yacht Club Santo Stefano in partnership with the Florentine haute horologerie brand Officine Panerai.

Brendan MacCarty is the Captain of Rowdy, a breathtaking NY40 designed by Herreshoff in 1916 and sister to Chinook (NY48). "What I love about racing here in Argentario is that it is a unique place to sail. A very technical course where the wind keeps everyone guessing. Three days of great racing in very different conditions. On top of that, the setting is wonderful and seeing sea turtles and sunfish while racing is a definite bonus. We would really like to see the regatta extended by a day in order to introduce a discard and enjoy this venue to the fullest!"

Full results at

Pictures and videos of all participating yachts, their designers and stories are described in detail on

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Ginny Jones: As the story has unfolded it appears that some of the details of the Chilmark sportsfishing boat fire from June 18th, as reported by the MV Times, were either inaccurate or premature. In fact, the owner of the boat and the man who alerted the Harbormaster of their smoke in the engine compartment problems are actually experienced boaters. When the Harbormaster met the boat outside the jetties, he took off 2 males and 3 kids and brought them ashore while the Coast Guard RIB stood by and the owner and guest dealt with the smoke problem. The boat, a sports fishing vessel, had been out for the day fishing off of Noman's and was on the way back in when they discovered smoke in the engine compartment. Once the passengers were taken off, the owner and guest opened the compartment to deal with the smoke, and it was then that the fire escalated dramatically. They were taken off by a passing boater (Mr. Benns) while the CG 47 footer, which had arrived, began pumping water into the fire. Shortly thereafter with the HM and the Harbor boat back on the scene, and with firefighting continued, they towed the burning boat to the beach to make sure that it didn't sink in the Fairway as a hazard to navigation and a potential source of pollution. There and once the fire was out, the wreck was boomed by Mass Environmental Police.

Still the basic question remains -- close observers and responders felt that it was an electrical fire -- was that Lithium ion battery related? They are notoriously problematic and fires are difficult to fight. Once I learn the results of the investigation, I'll report back. No matter what the circumstances, the folks on board were incredibly lucky to be so close to the harbor and assistance because it was a situation that turned from a smoke problem to a life and property threatening fire almost in the twinkling of an eye. And I want to emphasize that everyone involved was fabulous.

I'm going to stick my neck out and make a general comment: in any situation involving burning boats (or situations with "sharp edges") the CG's RIBs with their vulnerable construction may not be as useful as the larger, aluminum vessels. Station Menemsha has two of the aluminum boats [which may be slated for replacement soon by large RIB type vessels] and several RIBs. If it is true that the newer S & R vessels will be large RIBs, reconsideration of the design and construction of the future CG fleet and a decision to build boats constructed of sturdy and fire proof materials should be contemplated.

A much more specific comment (and less controversial) is that having a Coast Guard facility located at the SW corner of the Vineyard where the Atlantic, Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound intersect, has been hugely important to the safety of mariners -- fishing boats, commercial vessels and recreational boaters -- in the area, as has the continued location of a facility and buoy tending facility in Woods Hole. In addition to the almost weekly reports of heroic and noteworthy actions by Coast Guard personnel around the Cape and Islands (as well as locally) this morning listeners of our local NPR (WCAI in Woods Hole) have heard a report on how local Coast Guard units have been involved recently in disentangling marine mammals.

Semper Paratus!

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The Last Word
Courage is like - it's a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It's like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging. -- Marie M. Daly, first female African-American to earn a PhD in Chemistry

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