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

First Word
On the horror tonight in Nice. A letter from years ago, whose sentiments, sadly, as relevant today as they were in London years ago.

In solidarity with our brethren in France.

How to help

For The Future Of Match Racing
Phil Robertson and his crew of Stu Dodson, Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski had won $33,000 for winning Marstrand and a World Champions' bonus of $1,000,000. For a group of sailors that have been paying their way around the world this past season, with no funding from a sponsor, a million dollars is a life-changing sum.

Yet in a prepared statement at the "Million Dollar Dinner" prizegiving banquet, Robertson had one final shock to deliver to the Tour: "Every one of the 20 skippers signed an agreement before the event, where whoever won the million would share it with the rest of the fleet," said the Waka Racing skipper.

The winner would still get the lion's share - $400,000 went to Robertson - but every team received enough money to help ensure their presence for the 2016/17 season. It was an unprecedented response to a history-making sum of prize money, and Robertson was all smiles when he explained it on stage. "Hakan Svensson invested a lot of money so that all of us could be part of this new era in the World Match Racing Tour, and with everyone getting a real piece of the pie, we're investing it back into the Tour so we can be sure the next season is as fantastic as 2016 was. Here's to next year in Marstrand!"

RORC Transatlantic Race
The third edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's RORC Transatlantic Race will start on Saturday 26 November 2016 and the line-up will include MOD70s and Maxi yachts vying for the prestigious IMA Transatlantic Trophy awarded to the line honours monohull winner. The usual diverse range of highly competitive, experienced offshore RORC racers will also be on the start line. Their focus will be competing for the RORC Transatlantic Race antique silver trophy and the new RORC Caribbean Series Trophy for the best combined result in the RORC Transatlantic Race and 2017 RORC Caribbean 600.

The 2,995 nm RORC Transatlantic Race will be welcomed back to Marina Lanzarote, situated in Arrecife where the 'lunar-like' volcanic mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to the start of the race from the most easterly Canary Island.

The highlight for most crews is the arrival and warm welcome received in Grenada, where Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina will be hosting the fleet once more, along with the continued support of the Grenada Tourism Authority.

Several yachts have expressed their interest in the race and intend to compete in the 2016 edition. Returning for the third consecutive race will be the Southern Wind 90, Windfall and Jean-Paul Riviere's 100ft Finot-Conq, Nomad IV who won IRC overall in the 2015 race, along with the IMA Trophy for monohull line honours. Nomad IV also set a new monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race in the same year.

Other notable Maxi's include the largest on the entry list, Peter Harrison's Farr 115ft (35m) ketch, Sojana, and current holder of 5 World Speed Sailing records and 7 course records, Mike Slade's 100ft Farr (30m), Leopard.

The on-the-water MOD70 battle looks set to continue between Lloyd Thornburg's unstoppable Phaedo3 and Tony Lawson's Concise 10, skippered for the past eight years by 28-year old Ned Collier-Wakefield of Team Concise. Both record-breaking crews have registered their intent to repeat the MOD70 duel after match racing across the Atlantic in last year's race.

Notice of Race

Solar Energy Set To Put Spotlight On Future For Boats
Yacht Club Monaco On the first day of the 3rd Monaco Solar Boat Challenge (14-16 July) the quay in front of the Yacht Club de Monaco was swarming with young engineers tinkering with their race-boats ahead of the first bouts of competition that start today.

Organised by the YCM in partnership with the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique), the event is unique, being the first and only competition for solar-powered boats racing on the open sea. All the boats competing have been designed and are being driven by students from international universities.

This year sees 15 teams from Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Monaco and the Netherlands, with both the Clafis Victron Energy Solar Boat Team and TU Delft Solar Team competing. They are, respectively, the 2016 World Champion and Vice-Champion of the World Cup, held in the Netherlands earlier this month at the initiative of the Dutch Solar Challenge.

Today contestants will be attempting to beat the 'International YCM Speed Record' set last year by Clafis Private Energy Solar Team I at 44.4 km/h over a distance of one eighth of a mile (231.5m). The driver, Gerhard van der Schaar, is always delighted to take part in this type of event: "It's great to be here again in Monaco. There's a very friendly atmosphere and it's very encouraging to see so many young people involved."

Alongside the main event five high school students from Monaco are building their own boat (supplied in kit form by Vripack) to take part in the racing for the Vripack Grand Prix.

If GBR Were Knocked Off Their Olympic Pedestal
Looks like they may soon climb back on.

I remember almost 4 years ago an Antipodean writer talking about how "the Aussies had knocked Team GBR off the Olympic pedestal."

You think?

I also remember looking at the results in somewhat more depth as it is the medals that get all the headlines but sometimes without the detail.

In every event Team GBR competed in the medal race. Can you imagine what the tabloids would have said if every track and field athlete (of any country) made their final?

Then I played around and using the low point scoring system gave a team score for the finish place of each competitor.

Well with around 3 weeks to go to the next games I took to wondering if I could find the info and check it out. The wonders of the internet mean you can find pretty much everything.

Guess what, the team that came closest was France with 9 sailors reaching the medal races and the Kiwis just one further behind. The Aussies weren't even on the podium with only half of the classes having an Australian in the medal race

Why bring this up now?

Well with the Olympic single handed classes currently dominated by the Brits with World Championship victories in Finn, Laser and Laser Radial, the two windsurfers in the hunt (always), the two 470 teams up around there and the 49ers hardly no hopers then perhaps the Aussies didn't so much knock GBR off the pedestal as GBR just letting them borrow it for a while.

The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) and Steven (Sparky) Sparks, the team manager, certainly appear to have the formula well and truly researched and operational.

Odds? Well I reckon that you would get similar odds of Giles Scott being beaten to those odds certain football fans from Leicester got when wishing their team success in the English Premier League.

Of course the Olympics are a different cauldron altogether and anything can happen but I bet Sparky isn't suffering many sleepless nights right now other than mulling over what antibiotics to take with the team to Rio.

Will that Aussie journo be able to make his claim again in Rio? I suppose it depends whether you want a few stars or strength in depth.

One thing for sure, after denying the opportunity for some of their qualifying sailors to actually go to Rio they certainly will not have a sailor in every medal race.

For Team GBR?

For sure, medals make the history books but to emulate the feat of their compatriots in 2012 (and 2008 by the way) and make EVERY medal race for a second - oops, sorry, third - Olympics would be without precedent. In fact I will stick my neck out and say I think I am right in saying there hasn't ever been a medal race without a Team GBR sailor in it.

Now that's a record worth extending. -- Alistair Skinner

Dubarry Ultima - Classic Craftsmanship
Dubarry Ultima It's been said of Ireland that it's a lovely country, just needs a roof. True, we get more than our fair share of rain from the storms that barrel in from the North Atlantic, but it's not so bad - it's not for nothing that we're known as the Emerald Isle.

In this part of the world we're also well used to making our living on the sea, in the sturdy Galway Hookers built by hand with traditional tools by local boatbuilders. These bluff-bowed gaff cutters have plied their treacherous trade on the often vengeful waters of the Bay for over 200 years. If ever there was a place where folk would appreciate a quality traditional sea boot - and had the craftsmanship to make one - it's here.

So it's here, in the town of Ballinasloe, a stone's throw from the Shannon and just inland of Galway Bay, that Dubarry started making boots in 1937. We've honed our traditional boot-making virtuosity, found sources of the finest quick-drying, long-lasting leathers, and perfected the technology behind a warm, waterproof classic boot with award-winning grip. What else could we call the world's best traditional sea boot, other than Ultima?

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

Tricky Tides For Tempests And Shifty Winds For Everyone
Photo by Jake Sugden, Click on image to enlarge.

Cowes Classics Week Lighter breezes and flatter seas greeted the 188-strong fleet of classic yachts in Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week, sailing for the Harken Trophy today, on the penultimate day of the series.

The 2016 International Tempest World Championship, which is part of the event, had another challenging day in the 8-10 knot breeze. "The tides are interesting for us," said the international class chairman Manfred Schumi from Austria who is sailing Va Pensiero. "We normally sail on lakes." Blue Streak's owner Nick Stewardson, of the Ullswater fleet, said "Cowes is a fantastic venue. We are used to the twitchy winds of the Lake District, so we took today's shifts in our stride, although we were hoping that the sea winds would be steadier!"

The fleet of 24 trapeze boats from five European countries, which are more stable than a dinghy due to their fixed keel, are fighting closely for the world title. Frank Weigelt in Holzwurm continues to maintain his lead after three days of racing.

Although there are only three vintage Dragons in the regatta the beautifully restored pedigrees are making their mark in the Classic Dayboats Yellow class, sailing alongside the Flying Fifteens and National Swallows. Tschuss, a 1971 Dragon has made her first racing appearance in over 20 years. Rupert Street and his father Tim tracked the boat down to a New Forest farm using Google Earth. "We had heard rumours of a languishing hull and hunted it down," said Rupert. Following a complete restoration by the Elephant Boatyard, Tschuss is back for this season, sailed by Rupert and his 16 year old son, Louis, and has already scored two first places.

Two windward leeward courses suited the mixed fleet of these three classes.

Racing, which finishes tomorrow, is organised by the Royal London Yacht Club with support from Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Cowes, Island Sailing Club and Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club.

Full results on

Cork's Armada
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Cork Week One hundreds yachts, of all shapes and sizes, graced Cork Harbour on the fourth day of Cork Week. The weather lived up to the spectacular location with bright sunshine bathing the course for most of the day. Tony Langley's TP52 Gladiator romped around the course in under two hours to take line honours but after time correction Eric De Turckiem's Teasing Machine was the winner of IRC Zero. Towards the end of the race, fresh breeze favoured the smaller yachts, and the overall results after IRC correction favoured the pocket rockets.

Charlie Frieze Scottish team, racing Mills 36 Prime Suspect, was the overall winner, their rivals in IRC One, Richard Matthews' H39 Oystercatcher XXXI was second overall and John Swan's Half Tonner Harmony from the Howth YC was third.

Prime Suspect will be awarded the coveted Hugh Coveney Trophy on Friday at the Final Prize Giving.

Racing at Volvo Cork Week, incorporating the IRC European Championship, concludes Friday with up to three races scheduled. Friday night the first IRC European Champion will be crowned.

An Ancient Ship Wrecking Ball?
A team of archaeologists diving near the Greek island of Antikythera have reported a startling new discovery from a previously explored 2,000-year-old shipwreck. The find - a very heavy, metal cylinder - offers new insights into the maritime warfare of ancient times, the scientists say.

Recently the scientists found something in the sediment that was definitely not a luxury item. At first, they thought the torpedo-shaped cylinder was ceramic.

"But then we tried to move it," Foley says, "and it was unbelievably heavy."

The cylinder was made of lead, and had a hole through it. No one knew what it was. To find clues, Foley went back to ancient literature - writings by the Greek historian Thucydides.

"He writes how the biggest ships in antiquity had these defensive armaments known as dolphins," Foley says.

Today's archaeologists suspect that when an enemy ship pulled alongside to board, sailors would hoist the dolphin up to their own yardarm, and then drop it on the enemy ship to put a hole in its hull.

"It would have been truly a wrecking ball," Foley says, "and it's the only one in existence if that's what it is."

The team plans to return in September to the site - where another wreck they've found nearby awaits exploration.

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The Last Word
Difference is a blessing, not a challenge. We define ourselves by knowing other people. We know our world by learning about difference. What is the word we often use? Tolerance. Is that a positive notion? Not really. 'For the time being, I will tolerate you?' I'm against that concept. It means difference is a threat. Difference is a blessing and you don't tolerate a blessing. You embrace it. -- Mohammad Mahallati

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