Brought to you by Europe, Europe, 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 <!-- var prefix = '&#109;a' + 'i&#108;' + '&#116;o'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy89252 = '&#101;d&#105;t&#111;r' + '&#64;'; addy89252 = addy89252 + 'sc&#117;ttl&#101;b&#117;tt&#101;&#117;r&#111;p&#101;' + '&#46;' + 'c&#111;m'; var addy_text89252 = '&#101;d&#105;t&#111;r' + '&#64;' + 'sc&#117;ttl&#101;b&#117;tt&#101;&#117;r&#111;p&#101;' + '&#46;' + 'c&#111;m'; document.write( '<a ' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy89252 + '\'>' ); document.write( addy_text89252 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n <!-- document.write( '<span style=\'display: none;\'>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it <!-- document.write( '</' ); document.write( 'span>' ); //-->

Rolex Middle Sea Race
The 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race set off Saturday morning from the incomparable setting of Grand Harbour. To the sound of gunfire from the Saluting Battery, high above the water, the biggest fleet to depart Malta since the Turks left at the end of the Great Siege in 1565 set off on its 606 nautical mile adventure. 69 yachts crossed the start line, which used Fort St Angelo as its pin end. Crowds filled every vantage point on the southern side of Valletta, witnessing at first hand the dawn of a new era in this classic race. As the fleet streams across towards Sicily, ICAP Leopard (GBR) led on the water from Beau Geste (HKG), Bella Mente (USA) and Ran (GBR). By 17.00 local time Leopard was already abreast of Capo Passero. Game on.

The 30th edition has attracted a strong, international fleet. Trying to pick handicap favourites ahead of the start has not been straightforward. This morning, though, the bigger yachts in the fleet were feeling this might be their year.

After a fast passage across to Capo Passero and the southern tip of Sicily Saturday afternoon, so the Rolex Middle Sea Race launched first the sting from its tail as darkness closed last night. Whilst the leaders closed fast on the Strait of Messina, the smaller slower yachts experienced a night of squalls and rain as the front pushed through earlier than expected.

Currently, ICAP Leopard is the breakaway leader sitting pretty, thirty miles due east of the lonely outpost of Ustica, and on a line north of Palermo. She is now starting to fly with her boat speed creeping up on each polling of her tracker as she punches into 30-knot headwinds from the northwest.

Behind Leopard the war of attrition has begun. Bella Mente was the first to encounter equipment failure and at 08.30 this morning reported her retirement soon after rounding Stromboli in fourth place on the water. Next came the call from Rosebud/Team DYT, which just before 10.00 called in to advise she had lost her mast and was motoring to Milazzo. All crew were reported to be fine.

Beau Geste is comfortable second on the water at the moment, with Ran, Luna Rossa, the two Volvo 70s and Alegre in hot pursuit. According to the transit at Stromboli, Alegre is leading on handicap.

23 yachts are through the Strait of Messina so far, with more due through shortly. Last boat in the fleet is the veteran Zizanie, which is abreast of Etna making 6 knots. In the battle of the double-handers, Nemesis Credal is ahead on the water, whilst the crews of Cymba and Cambo III are locked in a duel just approaching the beginning of the Strait.

Viva Italia! Roma Wins the War
Photo by Nico Martinez / Puerto Calero GP42 Global Cup. Click on image to enlarge.

GP42 Global Cup Sometimes it takes losing battles to win a war, and that's precisely what Filippo Faruffini's Roma 2 (ITA) did to today to win the 2009 GP42 Global Cup. Coming into the final day of racing, Roma enjoyed a nine-point margin over nearest rival, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), and with excellent teamwork, good boatspeed, and consistent results the Italian team lead by helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) needed only to finish within three points of the local-based team to claim the overall GP42 Global Cup crown.

In the first race, for example, the two front-runners found themselves tangled up with each other and Team Nordic, all fighting for a pin-end start as the fasted path to the favored left side of the course. Aggressive maneuvers between the three resulted in flags, shouting from the teams, and a whistle from the on-water jury before the three disentangled and set off for the left corner. Keeping clear of the fight with an perfectly-timed start in the middle of the line, Javier Goizueta's (ESP) Caser-Endesa (ESP) took and held the lead for their second win of the series. Roma's (ITA) third place and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero's (ESP) second place in this race closed the point gap down to eight, but there were still two races left.

In the second race, Team Nordic (SWE) was this time nowhere to be found, having dropped out for an unrepairable gear failure on their deckhouse, yet somehow Roma and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero got tangled up, fighting yet again for the pin. The Italian team won the fight this time, forcing the Canarians to tack away and duck the rest of the fleet coming off the line on starboard tack, but Roma paid the price of being slow and barely able to clear the pin end.

With Caser-Endesahaving to fight off a late charge made by Jose Maria van der Ploeg's (ESP) Turismo Madrid(ESP), and the two finishing overlapped with Caser-Endesa in the lead by a mere metre, Roma was able to go into the final race with a strong position: a 7-point gap now with the local Canarias team and only one race left.

In this final race, Caser-Endesa, with owner Javier Goizueta (ESP) on board as a guest, had to settle for being third overall but satisfied as winner of the day on scores of 1-3-1, their best day of the series and second time being champions for the day.

So, Bravo! to Faruffini, Cian, and all the members of the victorious Roma team: Gabriele Benussi (ITA), Paolo Bottari (ITA), Santino Brizzi (ITA), Pierluigi Formelli (ITA), Fabio Montefusco (ITA), Salvatore Pavoni (ITA), Matis Picornell (ESP), and Enrico Zennaro (ITA).

This is the final event of the GP42 season, after an impressive debut in this year's Audi MedCup's five stages, an Owner-Driver Championship in Cascais, and this spectacular Global Cup finale inLanzarote.

The next event for the GP42 class will be at next year's Audi MedCup Circuit Stage One in May, 2010 in Portugal. -- Dobbs Davis

Final Results
1. Roma (ITA, Paolo Cian), 27 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP, Jose María Ponce), 33
3. Caser-Endesa (ESP, Juan Luis Paez), 34
4. Turismo Madrid (ESP, Jose María Van der Ploeg), 48
5. Quebramar Xacobeo 2010 (POR, Felipe Regojo), 55
6. Airis (ITA, Roberto Monti), 58
7. Península Petroleum (GBR, John Bassadone), 84
8. Nordic Team (SWE, Magnus Olsson), 97

Seahorse December 2009
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

One for the girls... frustrated by the lack of new small-multihull development, and in particular the overlooking of the fairer sex when it comes to launching new designs, Tornado aficionado Göran Marström has been busy at the drawing board again, as well as in the workshop and the result may well make more than a few of the boys jealous...

Dilemma... there is considerable administrative and also competitor conflict about last winter’s decision by one or two leading classes, including the Stars and Etchells, to severely curtail the use of coaches once on the water at a regatta. We attempt to distinguish the worst of the dock-chat from the facts...

PLUS: Terry Hutchinson diary, Mini Maxi analysis, GP42 and TP52 world championships, Southern Spars profile, Volvo Ocean Race communications, Bermuda Gold Cup and Voiles de St Tropez reports, interviews... and imagery!

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

All Alone in the World
HP Schipman, proto Lombard. Photo by Jean-Michel Rieupeyrout. Click on image to enlarge.

Transat 6.50 First competitor to cross the equator at mid-day, after 15 days at sea, Thomas Ruyant (Faber France), who had a painful crossing of the doldrums, must feel very lonely in the Southern hemisphere. But he knows that his immediate pursuers, as Henri-Paul Schipman (Maison de l'avenir Urbatys) will soon sail "upside down" as well. Ruyant has in his hands the best game at this point. He is ideally placed, while heading to the archipelago of Fernando da Noronha.

As reported by the escort boats carefully sailing on the side of the 79 Minis fleet, the playground of the Atlantic Ocean is offering contrasts to the competitors that are spreading on over 650 km. Those at the head of the race enjoys a nice patch of blue sky, and sails in a 15 knots of South South East sector flow. A little farther north, where the leading series boat, Francisco Lobato (ROFF TMN) is sailing, there is over 20 knots of wind and that blocks the possibility for the Portuguese. In mid-fleet, it is the begining of the end of monotony. The escort boat "Solo" attests. She is sailing since yesterday with a new team-mate, the unfortunate Antoine Rioux, that was forced to abandon his proto "Nouvelle Caledonie". The doldrums, however, have spread over the back of the pack, and that is under endless showers that the last placed competitors are trying to move in a wind that turns and twirls 360 degrees.

Ranking at 3 pm, On Sunday the 18th of October

1 - Francisco Lobato (ROFF TMN) 1029.68 miles from the finish
2 - Charlie Dalin (cherche sponsor 21.09 miles to the leader
3 - Ricardo Appoloni ( Ma Vie pour Mapei) 29.31
4 - Fabien Sellier (Surfrider Foundation) 45.54
5 - Antoine Debled ( 62.84

1 - Thomas Ruyant (Faber fFance) at 897.49 miles from the finish
2 - Henri-Paul Schipman (Maisons de l'avenir Urbatys)s) 28.85 miles to the leader
3 - François Cuinet (Plan Jardin) 39.44
4 - Stephane Le Diraison (Cultisol Marins sans frontiere) 67.25
5 - Bertrand Delesne (Entreprendre Durablement) 69.62

Start of the Solidaire Du Chocolat: Nantes / Saint-Nazaire - Yucatan
Saint Nazaire, France: At 17h50, the starting shot rang out off the East jetty in the port of Saint Nazaire, freeing the twenty-four strong fleet of Class 40 monohulls racing over to the Yucatan. The outgoing tide and a 5-8 knot easterly wind set the perfect decor to leave the Loire and head out to the open sea. Tanguy de Lamotte - Adrien Hardy (Initiatives-Novedia) were the first out of the starting block, with Bruno Jourdren - Bernard Stamm (Cheminees Poujoulat) hot on their heels. Both crews whose to leave under spinnaker on the starboard tack along the beach. The rest of the pack opted for a spinnaker run, on the port tack, led out into the channel by Damien Seguin and Armel Tripon (Cargill-MTTM). Chilean team Felipe Cubillos and Daniel Bravo Silva (Desafio Cabo de Hornos) were also up with the leaders. Later on this evening, the pace should quicken as the southerly breeze picks up.

The fleet will have to make the most of these first 24 hours as the system coming in from Newfoundland is not that pleasant at all. A large low pressure system is hugging the coast of the British Isles and is set to sweep across the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic. The front will pass through the fleet on Monday as the sun sets, bringing with it a SW wind of more than 35 knots, with gusts of up to 50 knots, sleet, heavy rain, poor visibility and very rough seas. Things should be calming down a little by Tuesday morning (20 knots W) but this situation will not last for long. Between the Azores and Iceland, it will stagnate for a couple of days, blocking the weather set for the fleet, forcing them to put up with strong headwinds and a chaotic and heavy sea. Breaking waves are likely.

Spanish Castle To White Night
Jeremy Elliott was asleep in his bunk, when he awoke to a sudden lurch and the violent pull of gravity as the world turned on its axis. The boat had slammed into the back of a wave, pushing green water all the way up to the mast. With the rudders out of the water and control gone, they capsized. Elliott was thrown against the carbon fibre hull as it became the floor. The bunk collapsed on top of him, followed by anything that wasn’t tied down. He struggled back to consciousness in a puddle of freezing bilge water, emerging disorientated from a heap of food bags, clothes, spare gear and people.

Extract taken from the Official Volvo Ocean Race Book - packaged together with the official DVD and available for pre-order now at:

Oyster Smacks in London
Boadicea. Photo from Click on image to enlarge.

Oyster Smacks On 9 October, four East Coast oyster smacks sailed into St Katharine Docks, in a race to bring the new season's oysters to London. In this respect, the race is similar to the more widely known car race, in which competitors race to bring the first of the season's Beaujolais Nouveau to London. In fact, the oyster race is far older: exactly when it was first run - some time in the late 19th century - is lost to memory, but the race occurred every year until the mid-1970s. The revival of the race was the idea of Ian Welsh, a London yachtsman who sails out of Pin Mill in Suffolk, and who organised the recent Thames Festival Classic Rally. Ian tracked down the original cup, the 80cm-high Oyster Run Cup, which belongs to the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers.

Ian is now planning to make the race an annual event to complement the Thames Festival Classic Rally. This time, victory went to Maria, the smack that won our 'Restoration of the Year' award for 2007. -- Steffan Meyric Hughes, Classic Boat

Royal Ocean Racing Club Yacht of the Year Award 2009
Puma Logic has been awarded the 'RORC Yacht of the Year' and her skipper, Phillippe Falle will collect the Somerset Memorial Trophy at the RORC Prizegiving dinner in London on 7th November.

The famous award is made by the RORC Committee with many factors taken into consideration: In recognition of not only a successful season, but also and in particular, for consistent racing performance while introducing a large number of people to the sport at a highly competitive level.

The RORC Season's Point Championship was won by Bill Blain's J 133, Batfish III who had a tremendous season. Puma Logic were second overall and Robin Taunt's J 109, Jibe was third.

The RORC Season's Points Championship's winners:

IRC SZCK - Artemis Ocean Racing. IMOCA 60
IRC Super Zero - Venemous, Derek Saunders. CM 60
IRC Zero - Tonnerre de Breskens, Piet Vroon. Ker 46
IRC One - Quokka 7, Andrew McIrvine. Corby 36
IRC Two - Exile/Mirabaud, N. de la Fourniere & M. Imbert. X 34
IRC Three - Hephzibah. David Lees. High Tension 36
Two Handed - Exile/Mirabaud, N. de la Fourniere & M. Imbert. X 34

A host of other trophies and awards will be given out at the Annual Dinner at the Banqueting House, Whitehall, London on 7th November 2009.

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* From German Frers: I cannot resist getting involved and hopefully shedding some light on the arguments regarding the partnership of Australia II design and the stir caused by Peter van Oossanen's declarations and claims to the press.

As you know, I was never directly related to the design of the 1983 A.C. winner but as a result of van Oossanen's claims to fame I was a later involved with in the design of the IOR Maxi Kialoa V.

Jim Kilroy had commissioned me to design a boat to beat my previously designed Boomerang owned by George Coumantaros who was winning races everywhere on the world racing circuits. In his quest to success he didn't want to leave any stone unturned and suggested to me to test Boomerang and the new hull in Holland to which I agreed with great enthusiasm.

I must confess I was initially blinded by the Dutch scientist who seemed to have the knowledge and the assurance that he new better than anyone else in the world.

Tests were conducted in the tank under van Oossanen supervision and according to his calculations, the new design showed good promise.

She seemed to be faster than I had expected. To further improve the performance he insisted in designing the keel having a trim tab which was heavily penalized under IOR.

Not wanting to deprive Jim of the benefit of any potential advantage, I agreed to the keel change in spite of the fact I was beginning to be a bit suspicious about the blinding speed predictions coming out of Holland.

A copy of these predictions is still on file in my office.

Long story short, the keel was a fiasco, Kialoa did not perform as expected and van Oossanen's excuse was that it was my fault because I had not told him that Kialoa, like Boomerang, carried a small folding two-blade propeller behind the keel.

The keel was promptly disposed off and with a new keel, a lot of fine tuning and excellent crew work and boat handling, KV managed to win the 1987 Maxi World Championship and many other races.

I am writing these because I feel very strongly that Mr. Peter van Oossanen has a marked tendency to make false claims and deceive people around him.

The failure of his own two America's Cup designs for Syd Fischer in 1992 and the twin keel /twin bulb Swiss Challenger in 2000 clearly show his lack of knowledge of racing boat design.

* From Eddie Mays: re: 'The Winged Keel .... again....'

It now seems that even the final frontier (death) is no longer a barrier to controversey when it comes to 'the Auld Mug'.

I wonder at the timing of Dr. van Oossanen comments. Why now ? What has changed to make the air-brushing of history relevant now ?

Surely it would have been better to discuss this at the time when everyone was around to give first hand accounts.

Mind you I notice there is nothing from the law courts in today's column

* From Barry Pickthall, former yachting correspondent for The Times: I have read with some surprise the claims by Dr Peter van Oossanen that he and Dutch aerodynamics expert Joop Sloof were largely responsible for the design of the radical wing keel on Australia 2.

Following the famous success of this Ben Lexcen designed 12 Metre in winning the America's Cup in 1983, I met with Peter at his home in Holland to flesh out the exact timeline of events for a book we were proposing to write together telling the story of the research and tank testing work that went on at the Netherlands Ship Model Basin in Wageningen where he was chief scientist.

Re reading my notes, Peter was quite explicit that Ben had been responsible for the concept of the 'upside down' keel.

"He came up with several keep shapes for us to tank test including an inverted keel which Ben threw in just to see what would happen.' Peter said at the time, adding.

"The inverted keel showed considerable promise, providing a much better righting moment than traditional keel shapes. The one problem was the large amount of turbulence along the base of the keel. I discussed the problem with Joop Sloof from the Dutch Aeronautical Laboratory. He pointed us to some research papers produced by Boeing showing how winglets could be used to act as endplates and smooth out the flow of air around the wing tips. Ben went away and designed some winglets to add to his upside-down keel and we tested this in the tank.'

The rest of course is history.

I don't know if Dr Peter van Oossanen has been misquoted or his memory of those events has faded, but he was adamant in 1984 that Ben Lexcen was responsible for the design concept of the wing keel and that the Netherlands Ship Model Basin had simply tested and refined the design.

* From Philippe Seronon:
Peter & Ben: Daniel Charles is once again precise and his arguments are consistent. In the end of the 80's, I met Ben at the Paris boat show and he told me " Everyone focused on the keel when most innovations were in the air (rigging, mast, sails)". True ? Pulled my leg? Doesn't matter . Let the legends live...

Portugal & Portugal: In this "gigantic" country, North and South can't cope of course. So same syndrome for class 40 racing than for IRC racing (only country split between RORC and UNCL for certificates)...

Ernesto & Larry (or Russell...): they have not yet talked about salt density at RAK: one upcoming potential legal case about draft measurement?

Pierre & Damien : The Route du Chocolat and the Route du Cafe at the same time on a course close to the Route du Rhum and the Route de la Decouverte: what a sense of original branding and sound marketing!

While our wonderful sports continues to show a total lack of maturity, general public and therefore media abandon the battle and turn towards other more reasonable people and sports.

Sailors, organizers , other stakeholders, Wake up and mature .. or disappear ...

... Hopefully Mark* smiles, delivers and earns, so we are left with some hopes !

* Editor... that's Mark Turner...

* From Dave Howorth: You recently reported a statement that "Ben re-designed the towing tank facility for his testing program so the towing point was the centre of effort on the sail plan". I think Ben Lexcen was a great designer but I believe that point of measurement design was expounded by another great - Edmond Bruce - in an Amateur Yacht Research Society publication in 1962. Ben may well have read that and passed it on to the Dutch. So I think it only fair that Bruce's contribution is also recorded.

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The Last Word
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