Brought to you by Boats.com 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

Eurobutt Returns...
Your humble narrator had some imaging done last week to diagnose some back problems... and was shocked, and lucky, to have his doctors discover heart blockages. Followed almost immediately by open heart surgery and triple bypass on Friday. Hence the rather sudden hiatus, but I'm back, albeit very sore from being cracked open like a lobster tail. We live in remarkable times, and I am grateful beyond words to a number of brilliant physicians and nurses, and to my family and friends for their support.

I am also grateful for the many letters from readers (and dozens of subscribe requests, presumably by persons who thought they'd fallen off the mailing list). My favourites were those along the lines of "Hey Slacker, are you dead, or are you in the depths of an Ouzo binge..." from the snarkier. Don't think there are any of those or any other types of binges in my future, but I do love the gallows humour.

Worse news though, in hearing that frequent contributor Ian "Stripey" Grant has suffered a severe stroke at his home in Brisbane, is in hospital and reports are not good. Doubly sad, as reported by his friend and colleague Peter Campbell, is that Stripey's wife is also gravely ill in the same hospital and not expected to live.

I'm fine, Stripey and his wife are not... please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. -- David McCreary

Bacardi Cup
Miami, Florida, USA: There was no shortage of drama today on Biscayne Bay for competitors racing in the 86th BACARDI Cup. As temperatures hit the high 70s on the third day of racing, the fourth race of the series got underway in 15 knots of breeze, and, with the black flag rule in effect, six boats were disqualified. Wind gusts over 25 knots contributed to 11 boats not finishing the day's single race, including two with broken masts.

Lars Grael and Mario Lagoa (BRA) finished third in the race allowing them to increase the point spread while continuing their hold on first place in the overall standings with 17 points. The Italian team of Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen finished second in the race and are just nine points out of first. They are followed in the overall standings by 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Arnis Baltins, who added a 22 to their previous finishes of 3-1-10 for 36 points. Alessandro Pascolato and Henry Boening (BRA) are fourth overall with finishes of 18-8-6-8 for 40 points, and the Canadian team of Brian Cramer and Cam Lymburner round out the top five with 9-7-18-7 for 41 points.

Although Irish Olympian Peter O'Leary and Rodney Hagebols won today's race, they still carry 36 points earned in race two of the series (once five races have been completed, the scores will reflect each yacht discarding her worst race). With 50 points, they currently stand eighth overall, seven points behind defending champion Xavier Rohart (FRA).

Racing for the Star class resumes on Friday, March 9.

Winds Fail at Gaastra 52 World Championship
Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Gaastra 52 World Championship Racing at the Gaastra 52 World Championships off South Beach Miami had to be abandoned today, Thursday, when the light, fickle breezes proved too little to complete a fair race.

Race 5 of the series was started and ran in very light, streaky and shifty conditions. After over an hour and within only 300 metres of the shortened finish line at the second top mark, Tony Langley's Gladiator was ahead of the pack when the time limit cruelly expired. Mark Blees' Gaastra Pro crew with John Cutler (NZ) calling tactics was on course for a second place - which could have been the best of the regatta so far - when the abandon signal was sounded.

A short wait in the warm Miami sunshine followed before it became clear that there was little prospect of an increase in breeze and so the eight boat fleet was sent back to the dock.

Several teams filed for redress in their belief that the leg length was not as it was supposed to be and that there were other procedural anomalies, but the International Jury dismissed the requests.

Winds are expected to be more favourable Friday, the penultimate day of racing. As it stands championship leaders remain Ran Racing who lead by one point from Azzurra with Quantum Racing in third just one point back. Gaastra 52 World Championships, Results after 4 races:

1. Ran Racing, Zennstrom, SWE, 10 points
2. Azzurra, Roemmers, ITA, 11
3. Quantum Racing, De Vos, USA, 12
4. Gladiator, Langley, GBR, 17
5. Vesper, Swartz, USA, 19
6. Interlodge, Fragomen, USA, 22
7. Rio, Moshayedi, USA, 25
8. Gaastra-Pro, Blees, NED, 28

www.52superseries.com

RORC Easter Challenge
It will soon be time to go sailing again and anyone wanting to have a go at IRC racing, whilst also benefitting from some personal and practical coaching, can count on the RORC Easter Challenge to deliver the goods over the Easter Bank Holiday (29th-31st March).

In addition to offering a unique training ground for owners and crews, the RORC Easter Challenge is the first Solent regatta in 2013 where owners who only compete occasionally can race under IRC at a reduced cost. British owners will be able to enter this event with the new Spinlock IRC Limited Validity (LV) TCC which is valid for the full three days of the regatta. There's more on this here: www.rorcrating.com/lv-tcc

In a unique initiative, and as the first event in the RORC racing calendar, the RORC Easter Challenge offers on-the-water coaching, comprising immediate and hands-on advice from coaches and sail makers to climb aboard during racing at the request of crews wanting some tuition.

Each day's racing is followed by expert post-race video debriefs in the Events Centre in Cowes Yacht Haven by coaching legend Jim Saltonstall, supported by past Olympian Barry Dunning and America's Cup coach, RORC's CEO Eddie Warden Owen.

There will be a separate race course for J80's and Class 4 IRC, also supported by coaches and sail makers.

The Spinlock IRC Limited Validity (LV) TCC has been launched for 2013 by the Rating Office, the technical centre of the RORC in Lymington. It is aimed at British owners who only plan to enter one or two IRC events a year, or who would like to compete in an IRC event for the first time without committing to a full certificate.

Spinlock IRC LV TCCs are issued by the Rating Office and are compatible with full Spinlock IRC ratings. However, the LV TCC application cost for a 33 ft boat is just £30 for a 3-day event such as the RORC Easter Challenge, a saving of 70% on the fee for a full IRC certificate.

Entries close for the RORC Easter Challenge on 14th March, and interested owners can find the details and enter online at www.rorc.org

Marinepool - Clothing Partner Of The Extreme Sailing Series™
Marinepool<br /><noscript><img src= Marinepool is widely regarded as one of the leading sailing clothing and maritime lifestyle brands and is the "Official Clothing Partner" of the Extreme Sailing Series™ .

We have built a reputation for outstanding quality, excellent service and quick and reliable deliveries. These are only a few of the reasons why no less than 4 out of 8 teams in the Extreme Sailing Series™ , among them 2012 Champions The Wave, Muscat, are racing in Marinepool kit.

Using only the best materials and state of the art production technologies, no detail is omitted to ensure every product is optimized before it reaches the market. More than 20 years of experience and design excellence, plus the invaluable input of the world class athletes proudly wearing Marinepool garments, guarantee the products are at the cutting edge of technology.

Uncompromising, highly functional and extremely light weight; Tested and approved by many of the world's finest sailors.

As a group of companies with German roots and head quarters, operating in 43 countries, with product lines ranging from performance sailing clothing and a test winning life jacket range to maritime fashion, Marinepool is uniquely qualified and the perfect match for the clothing requirements of YOUR sailing team or company. Check out our 2013 Collection here marinepool.comcentrica.it/buyersguide2013/ or visit our website for more information.

www.marinepool.com

Nick Dempsey is Two-Time RS:X World Champion
Photo by Gonzalo Arselli / Velassessoria. Click on image for photo gallery.

RS:X World Championship Buzios, Brazil: Today was the last day of the RS:X World Championship in Buzios. Despite the good weather, the sailors have to wait for almost an hour to do the medal race. It was about 13h (1600GMT) when the race committee started the men's race.

The British Nick Dempsey was the leader of the competition, nine points ahead the Dutchman Dorian Von Rijsselberghe, in second. On the water, each sailor did their own race, and Dorian could manage better the shifty winds and won the race, finishing second on the championship. Nick was second on the race, adding four more points on the overall results, enough to ensure his second world title. Curiously, it is the inverted podium of the last Olympics when Dorian was gold and Nick silver in his homewaters in Weymouth.

On the girls fleet, the Israeli Lee El Korsiz did a great job yesterday, opening 21 points from the fellow Maayan Davidovich, ensuring the third world title in a row. Despite that, she sailed the medal race, ending it in 8th. The winner, for the cheer of the local crowd, was the Brazilian Patrícia Freitas. "I'm so happy that I cannot explain my feelings. Brazil has a great energy and it was essential for me to win", said Lee, the three times RS:X world champion.

Final results:

Top Ten Men's Fleet:

1. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 30 points
2. Dorian Van Rijsselberge, NED, 37
3. Byron Kokkalanis, GRE, 49
4. Ricardo Winick, BRA, 53
5. Piotr Myszka, POL, 57
6. Nimrod Maschiah, ISR, 59
7. Shahar Zubari, ISR, 77
8. Ivan Pastor, ESP, 78
9. Pierre Le Coq, FRA, 84
10. Louis Giard, FRA, 87

Top Ten Women's Fleet:

1. Lee-El Korsiz, ISR, 44 points
2. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 60
3. Maayan Davidovich, ISR, 67
4. Tuuli Petaja-Siren, FIN, 71
5. Charline Picon, FRA, 77
6. Qiaoshan Weng, CHN, 81
7. Blanca Manchon, ESP, 88
8. Patrícia Freitas, BRA, 98
9. Olha Maslivets, UKR, 100
10. Hayley Chan, HKG, 119

Lisbon Signs For Two Volvo Ocean Race Editions
Lisbon, Portugal: Lisbon will build on the success of the city's outstanding Volvo Ocean Race debut last year by hosting the race in each of the next two editions.

The Portuguese capital staged a groundbreaking stopover in 2011-12 and will be back on the route for the 12th edition in 2014-15 and again for the 13th in 2017-18, Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber announced on 1 March 2013.

The boats will reach Lisbon in 2015 after setting out from Newport, Rhode Island and crossing the Atlantic back to Europe. The sight of Lisbon's iconic 25 de Abril bridge will be familiar as well as welcome, with the city reprising its role as the Transatlantic Destination from the 2011-12 Race, when the boats arrived from Miami.

Lisbon is the eighth Host Port to be announced for the 2014-15 Race, which already has three confirmed and publicly announced teams with more than 18 months to go before the start.

The three teams so far announced are the all-female Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, which will once again feature Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker as skipper, and a team from the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

* Cardiff will host a stopover in the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 – a move that will see the world's premier round-the-world sailing race visit Wales for the first time ever and mark its return to the United Kingdom for the first time in over a decade.

In a break from the ongoing series of announcements for the 12th edition in 2014-15, the Race's Chief Operating Officer Tom Touber revealed the forward-looking agreement during a presentation at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay.

While this will be the first British stopover in some time, the Volvo Ocean Race has retained strong links with its former home.

The One Design Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts that will be used in the 2014-15 and 2017-18 editions are all being built by a consortium led by the Green Marine boatyard near Southampton, on England's south coast. The other three participating yards are Persico in Italy, Decision in Switzerland and Multiplast in France.

www.volvooceanrace.com

Charter An Open 70
Project 1 Racing Experience the thrill of Volvo Open 70 racing! We have an extensive calendar planned for 2013. This includes: the RORC channel races, Fastnet, Cowes Week, Middle Sea Race, Arc Transatlantic and Caribbean Races.

We can tailor a package to meet your needs. Bring your friends and spend time with us team building with your colleagues, or take your clients out on an experience of a lifetime in a Volvo Open 70.

We can offer charters from the Solent, Europe or in the winter the Caribbean. We have vast experience of Inshore and Offshore sailing. If you'd like to join us for a particular event, check out our race events for more information.

Our boat charters are individual, and packaged to your specifications. Alternatively, if you are unable to get a full crew together, we can offer some individual crewing opportunities at many of the Race Events on our sailing calendar.

Our Volvo 70 is commercially coded and fully certified for the waters it sails. The Volvo 70 will accommodate up to 12 guests inshore and 8-10 guests offshore.

See our Race Events and more information on our new website: www.volvo70charter.co.uk

No Small Undertaking
Atlant Ocean Racing managing director Richard Brisius explains the philosophy and the plan for his new Team SCA Volvo Ocean Race entry

Atlant was first linked to an all-female programme in the 1997/98 Volvo Ocean Race with EF Education, the all-female team that was part of the successful Team EF syndicate.

When approached by Swedish-based group SCA, among the largest companies in the world in personal care products and one of Europe's most profitable producers of forest products, about putting together an all-female programme, managing director Richard Brisius and team were fully aware of the challenges as well as the opportunities.

'It was absolutely key to establish at an early stage that neither SCA nor ourselves are doing this as a publicity stunt. The heartbeat of the programme is the drive to provide the structure to create a competitive all-female team in ocean racing.

'I suppose our longterm goal is to see a female skipper win the Volvo Ocean Race. But the reality is that to complete this race, finish every leg and do so within the rules is an achievement in itself.'

'For the Volvo Ocean Race to continue and to thrive it needs to appeal to an audience outside the traditional yachting arena. To attract more consumer brands we need to make our sport more attractive at a consumer level. This is a big ask, and one that I would hope that Volvo will embrace going forward if the race is to maximise its longevity.'

Full article in Seahorse magazine:
www.seahorsemagazine.com/current-issue/108-no-small-undertaking

BLU26 Class Regatta Calendar
The racing season of the blu26 class starts - after the regatta clinic in March - in mid April with the Sportboot Cup on Lake Constance.

The blu26 class regatta calendar 2013 counts ten events in Switzerland, Germany and Italy. After the last years successful launch of the class championship (CC) in Zug the next edition will be held in Bayern on Lake Tegernsee form the 21th to the 22th of September 2013.

The Bluboats Cup (BBC), the yearly overall class championship, does count five regattas. Besides the legendary regattas in Brunnen and Zug the Silber Cup in Romanshorn is a novelty in the 2013's calendar. Also in this year the St. Moritz Cup is, as a special event, part of the calendar. The successful format with its short and intense races will again be organized by the blu26 class which provides the boats and is the first time open to all sailors. For the Bluboats Cup 4 out of 5 results will be counted, the result of the class championship in Bayern can't be discarded.

For all the dates and further informations please visit the blu26 class website blu26.org

Women's International Match Racing Series
A big step has been taken for women's sailing as the details of the entry and scoring process for the inaugural Women's International Match Racing Series is defined in the Terms of Series. This also marks the beginning of the entry process and within minutes of publication the first teams were signing up - teams form New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland were the first to put their names in the hat! A dozen teams are expected to be battling it out for the Overall Series Prize Pool in excess of $50,000 as well as prize money at each event.

2013 WIMR Series Events :
- Saint Quay Women's Match Racing - St Quay, France - Elliott 6m - May 15-19
- Busan Cup International Women's Match - Busan, Korea - K 30 - June 6-9
- Danish Open Women's Event - Copenhagen, Denmark - J/80 - June 20-23
- New York Women's Invitational - Oakcliff, New York, USA - SM 40 - July 11-14
- Lysekil Women's Match - Lysekil, Sweden - DS 37 - August 5-10

www.wimrs.com
www.facebook.com/WIMRSeries

Fireball World Champion Wins The GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series
Photo by Paul Manning. Click on image for photo gallery.

GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series After three hard winter months and six great dinghy handicap events, reigning Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard and Simon Potts sailed to victory in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series. Among many impressive results was their fleet victory at the windy Grafham Grand Prix and outright victory with two bullets at the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey, another windy event.

This was a best-four-of-six series, but the top-placed competitor to complete the full set was RS600 sailor Pete Nelson who won the first event in November, the Draycote Dash. The Northampton Sailing Club representative continued to lead the Series although Gillard and Potts were starting to threaten once the discards kicked in. Ironically Nelson was undone by a lowly performance at his home club, the RS600s not faring so well in the light winds of the final event last weekend, the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy.

Instead it was the 49er sailed by Rick Peacock and Nick Murray, representing Bartley Sailing Club, that moved into second place overall. Peacock, a silver medallist in the 49er World Championships, has recently retired from full-time Olympic campaigning having narrowly missed selection for the London 2012 Games, but his attendance at these tough winter events shows Peacock has lost none of his passion for the sport.

So RS600 sailor Peter Nelson finished a very respectable 3rd overall, with a number of other competitors who ran him close for the podium. Craig Williamson's Laser just edged out the Merlin Rocket sailed by Matt Biggs and John Hackett. Williamson's performance follows in the wake of a strong performance by Ian Morgan who sailed a Laser to 2nd overall in last year's SailJuice Winter Series.

Overall Results from the Series here:
events.sailracer.org

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2003 Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 473. 139,000 GBP. Located In Portugal.

Brokerage through Soproyachts Yacht Brokers: www.yachtworld.com/soproyachts/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com

The Last Word
Ever since surgery began, man's destiny has been to suffer, in order that he might be cured. And no one can change that, gentlemen. -- Jean Scott Rogers

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