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

Kiwis On Top
For the first day of the 2016 Etchells Open European Championship, Principal Race Officer, Phil Lawrence, prophesied that it might be a long day and he was spot on. The wind behaved worse than a wayward child, refusing to settle down until mid-afternoon. Once the wind settled into the northwest, three good races were held in the Central Solent. However, it wasn't until sundown that the fleet returned to Cowes Yacht Haven.

"With a forecast for less wind tomorrow, we knew we had to get the races in today, and that was a difficult task." commented Phil Lawrence. "Once we got going, the wind was still shifting around, but at least we had a peak of 15 knots - the mark layers had a tough day of it today. With the forecast conditions tomorrow, we have amended the schedule to start after 2 p.m. Hopefully, we will get at least one race in to make the series."

The top Etchells team today was Feng Shui, from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Auckland, NZ. Helmed by Andrew Wills and owned by Anatole Masfen, Matthew Kelway completes the line up. The team has won several New Zealand National Titles and Wills was on Jud Smith's winning team for the 2006 Etchells Worlds.

Plymouth Marks 50th Anniversary Of Sir Francis Chichester's Pioneering Solo Circumnavigation
Giles Chichester, the son of Sir Francis Chichester with the bronze plaque commemorating Sir Francis Chichester's pioneering solo circumnavigation. Photo: Barry Pickthall/PPL. Click on image for photo gallery.

Francis Chichester The UK remembered one of its pioneering sea heroes last weekend by marking the 50th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester's departure from Plymouth at the start of his solo one-stop circumnavigation to Australia and back.

The Mayoress of Plymouth unveiled a bronze plaque on the the Hoe to replace the one swept away on the harbour wall during a winter storm in 2014, and the Royal Western Yacht Club re-enacted the start, firing a canon for Chichester's famous yacht GIPSY MOTH IV stationed just off the Hoe.

Sir Francis Chichester set out from Plymouth on 27th August 1966 to beat the best times set by the clipper ships a century before to Sydney Australia and back. He took 274 days to complete the one-stop circumnavigation, (226 days sailing) and returned on May 28, 1967.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who capped Chichester's feat in 1969 by becoming the first to sail solo non-stop around the world, by winning The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1969, emphasised the magnitude of Chichester's feat, saying: "While others including the American Joshua Slocum and Vito Dumas from Argentina had completed solo circumnavigations before, none had gone via the 5 Great Capes, (Good Hope, Leeuwin, Australia's South East Cape, New Zealand's South West Cape, and most infamous of all, Cape Horn). "Chichester was the first to achieve this in a small yacht (GIPSY MOTH IV) with just one stop. He was a real pioneer and his experiences paved the way for me to become the first to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation."

Plymouth City Council plan to mark the 50th anniversary of Chichester's return on May 28 next year, the day before the start of the 2017 OSTAR singlehanded transatlantic race - an event first won by Chichester back in 1960.

PPL Photo Agency, holds the Francis Chichester Archive, which not only covers the great man's solo circumnavigation and pioneering transatlantic endeavours, but also his solo flight to Australia and New Zealand in a de Havilland Gipsy Moth biplane in 1930

View all the Chichester images

Just Keeps Getting Better
Seahorse Magazine Once the most convivial of holiday racing destinations, the Caribbean circuit is now a little more serious than that. But it's still just about bearable... as former Alinghi America's Cup helmsman and local Caribbean resident Peter Holmberg confirms

Flowing seamlessly on from the Florida regattas at the start of each year, an ever increasing number of the best-known raceboats - large and small - now make the short journey south... postponing for as long as possible their return to less balmy northern racing climes.

Long gone are the days of Caribbean events predominantly being run for the region's charter fleets, plus enthusiastic locals with lovingly preserved and maintained 'older' racers. Today the harbours of the Caribbean are filled to overflowing with some of the best racing machinery and best racing sailors on the planet. Sailors are still extremely fortunate to find themselves racing in this part of the world every year... but each year it also gets a little harder to take home the silver.

Full article in Seahorse International Moth UK Nationals
Photo by Mark Jardine / IMCA UK. Click on image for photo gallery.

Moth UK Nationals Monday saw another delay in the morning, but this time due to a lack of wind. Signs were promising though with a clear sky out to sea, the wind switching to the South West, and clouds building over the land.

It wasn't long before a steady 12-15 knot sea breeze had filled in and, combined with the flat water of Portland Harbour, the 73-boat fleet of foilers revelled in the superb conditions.

After 8 clean starts in a row, the Moths finally got over-eager in race 9 with a high flyer drawing the rest of the fleet over the line leading to the first general recall of the championship.

Monday saw another delay in the morning, but this time due to a lack of wind. Signs were promising though with a clear sky out to sea, the wind switching to the South West, and clouds building over the land.

It wasn't long before a steady 12-15 knot sea breeze had filled in and, combined with the flat water of Portland Harbour, the 73-boat fleet of foilers revelled in the superb conditions. After 8 clean starts in a row, the Moths finally got over-eager in race 9 with a high flyer drawing the rest of the fleet over the line leading to the first general recall of the championship.

Current European Champion Mike Lennon is lying 4th going into the final day

Racing concludes on Tuesday with the final three races scheduled for 10.30am. Barring gear failure Greenhalgh should have the championship wrapped up with his current pace but Hivey is only 4 points behind so it's not a given.

Results after day 3 can be found at:

Rolex Swan Cup - A Stellar Line-Up For A Special Year
An impressive and eclectic fleet of 121 Nautor's Swan yachts are preparing to grace what promises to be a memorable edition of the Rolex Swan Cup from 11-18 September. Memorable because 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the very first Swan yacht; an opportune moment to celebrate both the heritage and the continued evolution of one of the leading - and most distinctive - marques in the sailing world.

The 19th edition of the biennial Rolex Swan Cup is also a continuation of one of the sport's most enduring partnerships, that between organisers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), Nautor's Swan and title sponsors Rolex. One which dates back to 1984.

Not only does 121 entrants comfortably surpass the 93 attendees at the previous edition in 2014, the range of competing yachts pays testament to both the longevity of Swan yachts and the company's desire to continually push the design envelope. A Classic division of historic designs counts nearly 40 entries, and the Maxi division is enhanced with the presence of three cutting-edge, freshly launched Swan 115s.

The fleet will be divided into six classes and contest five days of racing in one of the world's most compelling and challenging sailing environments

Softbank Team Japan Cracks The Code On The Foiling Tack
SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.

Long regarded as the "Holy Grail" of the America's Cup, the maneuver has been the last significant barrier preventing America's Cup teams from hypothetically foiling around an entire racecourse - a feat that if proven could potentially define the outcome of the 2017 America's Cup.

The maneuver has the potential to reshape the upwind strategy of the next America's Cup as it reduces the deficit incurred by slowing down to cross the wind resulting in gains of possibly hundreds of meters compared with the 2013 event.

Hungrier Than Ever
They captured the hearts of Newport and beyond as the youngest team in the race last edition, and now Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. We caught up with them to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.

Talk us through what you've been doing to try and secure sponsorship. It's a tough process isn't it?

MT: In many ways it's harder than doing the Race itself! Our main objective has been to secure title sponsorship to bring the campaign to fruition. We've engaged with a number of quality brands and had some in-depth conversations about how we can help add value to their business. It's a long process and it takes time.

CE: There's no script for any of this stuff. We're just trying to take advantage of every opportunity. You have to stay positive, but real, and not get discouraged when things don't materialise like you'd hoped. Yes, it's a tough process, but we like to think that we are in a better place now than we were 14 months before the last race!

In 2017-18, we will return to Newport for a second consecutive edition. How important is the Volvo Ocean Race - and having American sailors in it - to the local sailing community?

MT: The Newport stopover was simply incredible! There were so many folks that came out to support us. I'm hopeful that we can continue to be the home team for the States and for Newport.

CE: It's amazing, 18 months later you still see many a Newporter sporting the orange colors of a Turkish Medical device company - another very good example of the value proposition the Volvo Ocean Race presents! Newport has a ravenous sailing fanbase and it's only bolstered by the addition of familiar faces.

What's the plan going forward?

MT: Secure our sponsorship and get out on the water!

CE: Build a better mousetrap.

Jonno Turner's full interview with Charlie and Mark:

Return To Russia For The Extreme Sailing Series
The Extreme Sailing Series fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world's best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.

The Neva River will be transformed into a Stadium Racecourse from 1 - 4 September, where the fleet will race in front of the stunning backdrop of the Palace Embankment and Peter and Paul Fortress.

Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is home-team Gazprom Team Russia, led by 2016 World Match Racing Tour champion, Phil Robertson.

"Last year St Petersburg lived up to my expectations as one of the most difficult race courses. There is a big effect on the wind from the surrounding buildings. Throw a few knots of current in there and it can be a nightmare," said Robertson, who raced onboard Gazprom Team Russia in the 2015 Act.

"But, as a venue, it is almost perfect. It's smack in the centre of the city with the spectators close enough to see the whites of our eyes," added Robertson.

Having just competed on Hamburg's River Elbe in Act 4, the rest of the teams know all-too-well the difficulties of Stadium Racing on a river.

"It brings with it a whole load of different challenges," said Land Rover BAR Academy skipper, Neil Hunter, who will sail in the Russian venue for the first time. "The reduced space means that we have to do more tacks and gybes which is very physical for the crew in these boats. It also means that we have to deal with a lot of current, so the racecourse is effectively moving the whole time."

Act 5, St Petersburg, presented by SAP, will start on 1 September.

Fans online can watch the racing live on the official website and YouTube channel from 15:30 - 17:00 GMT+3 on 3 and 4 September.

Noroton Yacht Club Takes The Grandmasters Team Race Trophy
Newport RI, USA: Every August the biggest question for the NYYC Grandmasters Team Race Regatta is whether this will be the year that Noroton Yacht Club's winning streak ends. Yet even after the age minimums were raised by 5 years and the event was expanded to 10 teams and three days to stiffen the competition, the yacht club from Darien, Connecticut, still out sailed every other club on the water. Which is not necessarily surprising since the NYYC Grandmasters Team Race Regatta, sponsored by Porsche Cars North America, has only been won by Noroton Yacht Club since it was first held in 2010.

Hosted at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, the Grandmasters Team Race Regatta is one of the most prestigious masters-level team racing events in the United States. The racing took place on Narragansett Bay in the New York Yacht Club's fleet of 21 identical Sonar sailboats, which were designed by NYYC member Bruce Kirby, with each crewed by three or four sailors.

While Noroton Yacht Club may have felt comfortable in the conditions and was able to take the trophy again this year, that does not mean it was an easy feat. Going into the last day of sailing tvery lucky to have a very talented team."

While no one was able to knock Noroton Yacht Club off their podium, talent was strong throughout the regatta. Scores were close the entire weekend with Newport Harbor Yacht Club able to secure second place, Southern Yacht Club in third and the New York Yacht Club Red Team taking fourth. -- Stuart Streuli

Final Results
1. Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, CT
2. Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Orange County, CA
3. Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, LA
4. New York Yacht Cub Red Team, NYC
5. Texas Corinthian Yacht Club, Kemah, TX
6. New York Yacht Cub Blue Team, NYC
7. Storm Trysail Club
8. St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, CA
9. Annapolis Yacht Club, Annapolis, MD
10. Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, Oyster Bay, NY.

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The Last Word
Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove. -- P. G. Wodehouse

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