In This Issue
Match point Emirates Team New Zealand | This cake is pretty well baked | Second IRC Nationals title for Whooper | Nicolas Lunven wins La Solitaire Urgo le Figaro | Second Life | Ran Racing Rise To Win From a Dramatic Porto Cervo Finale | Letters to the Editor | Featured Brokerage

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

Match point Emirates Team New Zealand
America's Cup Day four of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, belonged firmly to Peter Burling and the New Zealand team who comfortably won the two scheduled races of the day, races seven and eight of the final stage of the 35th America's Cup.

Having won race six on Saturday, ORACLE TEAM USA went into the second Sunday of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, looking to gain more ground on their Kiwi rivals, but the New Zealand juggernaut had found its pace again and was unbeatable in similar weather conditions to day three, Saturday 24th June.

The America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton leaderboard now stands at 6-1 to Emirates Team New Zealand who need only one more race to take the 'Auld Mug' back to their home country.

For ORACLE TEAM USA, this is familiar ground, and nobody would write off the Defenders who so memorably staged one of, if not the, greatest comebacks in sport when they pulled back from an 8-1 deficit to win the 2013 America's Cup 9-8 against the same rivals.

Racing is scheduled to resume at 2.00pm on Monday 26th June with races nine and ten in the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, taking place on Bermuda's Great Sound.

This cake is pretty well baked
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

America's Cup There are people remembering the comeback of all time in 2013. Same teams, same situation with ETNZ on match point and Oracle with a very steep hill to climb. But the situation is much different. There is no "low hanging fruit" this time. The boats are very developed and there is no 10% increase in boat speed to be found over night. If there is to be a comeback, it is going to be through exceptional sailing on the part of the USA team, something that frankly has been glaringly missing in the America's Cup.

It isn't that the Kiwis are doing exceptional things. They are fast, but so is Oracle now. They are sailing consistently and they make high percentage decisions. On top of that, Oracle is making it easy for the Kiwis. This entire series, starting with the start of race 1 when the American team was penalized for being over the start line early, has been a demonstration of sub par sailing by USA. The start of the second race of today was an example of that. Spithill tried to get tricky and Burling simply hooked him, parked him and left him for dead.

The world was expecting a different American team following on from the win in race 6 and solving their speed deficit of the first 4 races. Yet, right from the start of both races today, the Americans were on the back foot...14 seconds worth in race 2. You can't beat this Kiwi team sailing like that. Then the Americans even sailed out of bounds in race 2. How? Why? Hard to understand.

The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same; 5-10 knots of balmy, humid wind. Just like the Kiwis like it. It could all be over by 14:35 tomorrow.

But Jimmy Spithill is vowing to take it one race at a time. He says they have the speed to win but admits they needs to sail better. The lineup of the crew came into question at the post race press conference and Jimmy said; "Everything is on the table". He said that he and Tom Slingsby will make the crew decisions for tomorrow just a they have always done. I think substituting someone for Spithill as this stage would be suicidal. The Kiwis tried that in 1992 with Russell Coutts coming in for Rod Davis and as good as we all know Russell is, it didn't work. The only way to victory for this team is to hang together and sail perfectly, 6 times. But they only need to, and only can, win one race at time.

It is a very, very tall order. -- Paul Cayard,

Second IRC Nationals title for Whooper
With a near perfect scoreline, Giovanni Belgrano's 1939 classic yacht Whooper was today crowned 2017 champion at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC Nationals. Today, two windward-leeward races were held on the Solent in similar brisk southwesterlies to the first two days. This year's event may not have been an 'all-round test' weather-wise, but has been extremely challenging in terms of preparation and boat handling.

During the event Whooper, a classic Laurent Giles sloop that was previously IRC National Champion in 2004, scored six bullets, a fourth and a discardable DNF in the final race.

Whooper is no rating demon. She is optimised with modern sails and Belgrano has an experienced crew who do 60-70 races/year.

Elsewhere, the racing was extremely close. In the FAST 40+, Johnny Vincent's Pace fended off charges from Peter Morton's brand new Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls on Film to win by a slender two points. Today Pace scored a 1-3 to Girls on Film's 2-1.

IRC One concluded with a dog fight for the lead between the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa and Ker 40 Keronimo. The larger boat held a two point lead going into the final race in which they suffered a major blow, being over the start line early.

Finally they managed to shake Keronimo off and were able to get up to speed until they had to make a last minute change to their lighter spinnaker, despite the wind building to above 20 knots. "We were praying that it would hold to the finish," recalled Hardy. Ultimately finishing fourth to Keronimo's second left them tied on points, claiming IRC One on countback.

In IRC Two there was a leader change with Ed Fishwick's Sun Fast 3600 Redshift Reloaded, leader all weekend, finally trounced by Adam Gosling's JPK 1080+ Yes! who came very close to successfully defending their IRC Nationals title.

As to relinquishing the IRC National title to Whooper, Gosling said: "Giovanni sails really well. He's campaigned Whooper for a long time. It is nice to see an old boat win."

Nicolas Lunven wins La Solitaire Urgo le Figaro
Saturday morning at 8:16 local time Nicolas Lunven on board his Beneteau Figaro 2 Generali crossed the Stage 4 finish line completing the gruelling 505-mile course from Concarneau to Dieppe in fourth place, securing the top of the General Standings in La Solitaire Urgo le Figaro.

Today marks Lunven's second victory in the Solitaire. He has competed in eight editions of the race and secured his first win in 2009.

"This race with equal weapons is difficult and so demanding, it's probably my greatest victory, so much work has been going on for the past two years," Lunven said.

Taking second place in the final standings Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement), who arrived at the dock completely exhausted after finishing Stage 4 in 12th position.

A bold decision on the English coast, opting for the more offshore route meant Hardy tumbled 20 places down the leaderboard. Working relentlessly right through the night until the finish, Hardy managed to claw back 10 of those places to retain second place on the overall podium. Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) retains her place in the top 10 standing of the fourth Stage, finishing in ninth. This result enough to take seventh in the General standings, beating her closest rival by less than 3 minutes.

Mettraux is the highest ranked International competitor and also the top female in the 2017 edition.

Final top ten:
1. Nicolas Lunven, Generali, 10j 7h 8mn 52sec total elapsed time over four legs
2. Adrien Hardy, Agir Recouvrement, 34mn 32sec behind Lunven
3. Charlie Dalin, Skipper Macif 2015, 57mn 1sec
4. Sebastien Simon, Bretagne - Credit Mutuel Performance, 1h 2mn 55sec
5. Gildas Mahe, Action Contre La Faim, 1h 35mn 59sec
6. Yann Elies , Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, 1h 53mn 12sec
7. Justine Mettraux, Teamwork, 2h 25mn 21sec
8. Xavier Macaire, Groupe Snef , 2h 28mn 38sec
9. Alexis Loison, Custopol, 2h 32mn 3sec
10. Damien Cloarec, Saferail, 2h 35mn 14sec

Second Life
Seahorse Dodge Morgan's famous round-the-world yacht American Promise is back out there crossing the oceans where she belongs

'A key element of The Schmidt Family Foundation strategy is to provide the resources for grantees to be successful at what they do. At 11th Hour Racing we leverage the platform of sport to broaden the connections between grantees, sponsorship and ambassadors, and we broadcast these inspiring stories to a larger, more diverse audience,' says Todd McGuire, programme director of Newportbased 11th Hour Racing.

In the summer of 2016 11th Hour Racing grantee Rozalia Project sailed research vessel American Promise up the Hudson River to conduct the Hudson River Microfibre Sampling Expedition. This famous stretch of fresh and brackish water was a perfect laboratory: a giant river running through one of the most densely populated regions in the world.

Onboard American Promise particles were captured through 'grab samples', water samples passed through vacuum filters. Fibres from manmade sources, plastic and non-plastic, such as cotton textiles, were painstakingly counted under a microscope to measure microfibre contamination up and down the river - from the remote alpine regions to New York Harbour. These fibres easily enter the food chain and can ultimately end up on our plates.

Full article in the July issue of Seahorse magazine:

Ran Racing Rise To Win From A Dramatic Porto Cervo Finale
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

TP52 From one of the most dramatic last day 52 SUPER SERIES finales, Niklas and Catherine Zennstrom's Ran Racing won the Porto Cervo 52 SUPER SERIES Audi Sailing Week title on the last downwind.

While there was elation for the ice cool Swedish owner-driver and his hard working crew there was huge disappointment for Quantum Racing and for Provezza who both within minutes of each other had one hand on the top prize, before gear failures successively dropped them from contention.

Without question this fourth regatta of the 2017 52 SUPER SERIES has been an emotional roller coaster for many teams. But while the elation for the Ran Racing crew bubbled over immediately after finishing, winning their first event since Valencia's 2015 season opener, the unfortunate gear failures robbed first Quantum Racing of the title when they were lying six points clear at the top of the event standings, with - as disappointed tactician Terry Hutchinson pointed out - 'just 12 minutes of the race left to sail'.

A strop inside the boat which supports the forestay gave way just after the leeward gate turn. Only their quick reactions saved their rig. According to Hutchinson the failure is believed to be the same as caused Alegre to lose their mast on Friday.

In the blustery 21-23kts Mistral conditions Ergin Imre's Provezza had just got themselves into a winning position at the top of the last beat. They were chasing leaders Azzurra round the last mark of the course, and so leading the three way tie between them, Ran Racing and Bronenosec. Whichever crew crossed the finish line first after Azzurra would win the regatta. Suddenly Provezza had one hand on the Porto Cervo title, and with it a chance to atone for Key West in January where they shed a two point lead on the last day with a bad start. But no sooner had they taken the regatta lead than a shackle failed on the kite during the hoist. Unable to sheet the spinnaker on they were almost dead in the water, struggling to find a solution as Ran Racing surfed past in spumes of spray. For Ran Racing there was echoes of Miami in 2013 when they surfed past a broaching Azzurra on the last leg to win the TP52 World Championship.

With four regatta sailed of the six which comprise the 2017 52 SUPER SERIES, four different teams have won event titles, Quantum Racing in Key West, Azzurra in Miami, Platoon at the World Championship in Scarlino and now Ran Racing.

Porto Cervo 52 SUPER SERIES Audi Sailing Week (Final)
1. Ran Racing, Niklas and Catherine Zennstrom, SWE, 34 points
2. Bronenosec, Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS, 35
3. Quantum Racing, Doug DeVos, USA, 38
4. Azzurra, Familia Roemmers, ITA/ARG, 39
5. Gladiator, Tony Langley, GBR, 39
6. Provezza, Ergin Imre, TUR, 39
7. Platoon, Harm Muller-Spreer, GER, 44
8. Sled, Takashi Okura, USA, 52
9. Paprec Recyclage, Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, FRA, 68
10. Sorcha, Peter Harrison, GBR, 72
11. Alegre, Andres Soriano GBR/USA, 73.5

Full results:

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 Euan Ross:

Déjà vous all over again

Fremantle 1987: Dennis Connor optimises his boat for the hard weather which habitually characterises the month of the Cup Match and struggles with variable form in the qualifiers when the breeze is soft. The Kiwis have the best record until the latter stages of the qualifiers. Then the wind kicks in and the nimble 'Kiwi Magic' is neutralised by the lumbering dragster 'Stars and Stripes 87'.

The Aussies, who only need to sail in the final, make the same mistake as the Challengers, with the home syndicates prioritising winning their trials over winning the Cup. All the Australian boats could be moded for heavy airs, but were basically classic compromises - even the eventual Defender 'Kookaburra III' designed by this week's PRO. The result, of course, was inevitable.

The 2017 Defence could end tomorrow or there could be another unbelievable comeback but, whatever happens, it seems that the lessons of 1987 were taken to heart by TNZ. The Kiwis doubled down on the crucial mode of marginal foiling, while it appears that Oracle has sought to avoid weakness across the spectrum. There is no doubt that the Yanks can win in the mid to upper wind-range, but they are now between a rack and a hard place in Bermuda where the breeze is forecast to remain substantially light for at least the next two weeks. Bring it on!

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The Last Word
It's strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult. -- Richard Brautigan

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