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
In the space of 24 hours, those competing in the Normandy Channel Race have covered 150 miles, a good average for the Class 40s. From nearby Granville, Nicolas Jossier and Cherbourg-based Alexandre Toulorge, aboard "Made in Normandie", are neck and neck at the front of the fleet with Bruno Jourdren and Thomas Ruyant on "Norma Concept - Le Pal" and "Groupe Picoty" skippered by Jean-Christophe Caso and Aymeric Chappellier.
The sailors have been swallowing up the miles since yesterday's start of the NCR 2013 at 1700 hours local time. The pace is a lot quicker than in the 2012 edition.
Despite a slight drop in speed on rounding the Saint Marcouf islands, the fleet is making good speed. It is already making headway along the South coast of England, with both the Solent and the Needles in its wake. Right now they're setting a course for Land's End, the most south-westerly tip of England.
In this particular game of speed, but also and above all their positioning in relation to their adversaries, upwind and in the current, it's the Normans on "Made in Normandie", a Kiwi 40, who are in the best form. Nicolas Jossier and Alexandre Toulorge, familiar with close contact coastal races thanks to a number of participations in the Solitaire du Figaro, have been the quickest out of the starting blocks, with Louis Duc and Stephanie Alran on "Phoenix Europe Carac", first to extract themselves from the strong meandering current as they punched the tide off the Cotentin headland.
Off Poole, the top 10 are within 4-miles of each other, so conditions are reminiscent of an inshore race at the start of this event. Though brisk, the weather conditions are pleasant, but a front generated by a depression offshore of Ireland will drum up some sporty conditions as the sailors make their way westwards. -- Translated by Kate Jennings
Laser To Be Renamed
The Laser dinghy designer is relaunching his sailboat under the new name of 'Kirby Torch'.
Canadian designer Bruce Kirby said he had 'no choice' but to withdraw Laser brand building rights in North America and Europe following a dispute about royalty payments.
The name change was required because the Laser trademark is held by the former builder LaserPerformance.
As the Kirby Torch brand, Bruce Kirby's design will continue to be sold world-wide as a one design class.
To accelerate this outcome, Kirby Torch builders have agreed that all ISAF-plaqued Lasers are class legal in the Kirby Torch fleet.
Mr Kirby said: 'Frankly it's more about the boat and sailors than about the dollars.
'The class was heading downhill fast and needed to be re-booted. The only way we could do that was by re-branding.
'We're hoping that all national bodies as well as ISAF and ICLA will climb aboard.'
Practical Boat Owner: www.pbo.co.uk
Experts On Hand at the Transatlantic Forum!
The Forum is being held at the Cruising Association, Limehouse Basin, London, and is designed to be an informative and enjoyable weekend. Whether you are planning to sail the Atlantic this year, next year or if you have only just started dreaming about it - the Transatlantic Forum will provide expert advice and plenty of hints and tips to make your trip a success.
The all-inclusive price of £75 (discounted to £50 for most sailing club and organisation members) includes a full programme of speakers covering buying a blue water cruiser, downwind sailing, autohelms and self-steering, power management, safety, provisioning and crew dynamics, as well as advice on sailing in the Canaries and what to expect when arriving in the Caribbean.
For more information visit www.sailingrallies.com
Viltoft Crowned Prince of Nations Cup Qualifier
After winning the Danish qualifier of the 2013 Nations Cup, Rasmus Viltoft is looking forward to his first ISAF grand final, in Middelfart in August. The spotlight will be on the home favourite even more with the news that His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will be there to watch.
The bi-annual Nations Cup is the showcase event for emerging match racing talent and former winners include Ed Baird, the 2007 America's Cup winning helmsman.
After regional qualifiers in Barbados and Argentina it was Denmark's turn to pick their champion. The talented Viltoft started as one of the pre-competition favourites at the event in Skovshoved, just north of Copenhagen, organised by the Royal Danish Yacht Club yacht club.
With four-person crews racing DS37 boats, one of the pre-regatta favourites, Viltoft was undefeated after the first day's round robin on Saturday, along with surprise contender, Martin Morkebjerg.
[In the final race] they rounded the top mark practically side-by-side and battled downwind. As the finish approached they jibed simultaneously - with Viltoft just in front - and he held on to win.
That was the closest anyone got to Viltoft as he swept past from the start in the showdown with Joachim Aschenbrenner, who had highest Danish match racing ranking going into the event.
Final top five results of the Nations Cup 2013 Danish qualifier
1. Rasmus Viltoft, DEN
2. Martin Morkebjerg, DEN
3. Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN
4. Henrik Christensen, DEN
5. Henrik Eyermann (SWE)
Upcoming Regional Finals
Europe I - Viana do Castelo, Portugal - 12-16 June 2013
Asia - Vladivostok, Russia - 6-9 June 2013
Africa & Oceania - TBC
Middelfart, Denmark - 6-10 August 2013
Two Down, Two To Go
On Sunday the Royal Lymington's Portmore Insurance Spring Series reached its halfway point. For the Folkboat Class many of the owners are still playing catch up and getting their boats ready for the season. The six boats that did make the start line enjoyed two races with excellent courses in a S - SW'erly 10 - 15 kt breeze. The strong flood tide made the starts interesting and showed that there was still some winter rustiness in the tactical thinking.
Jeremy Austin's 'Tak' won both races but by a handful of seconds in each case. Chris Hills (Padfoot) sneaked ahead of John Whyte's 'Scaramouche' by the length of a foredeck in the morning but the roles were reversed in the afternoon to leave the day's honours even between them.
The series continues for the next two Sundays and with boats launching on a daily basis the start line should be a lot more crowded next weekend, weather permitting. -- Folkboat Association
The full results can be found at www.rlymyc.org.uk
British solo offshore sailing took a step in the right direction this weekend, as three Anglo-Saxon Figaro skippers conquered the Rookie podium. Storming the 305-mile Solo Arrimer finish line at around 23:30 BST on Friday 12th April, 22 year old Artemis Offshore Academy sailor Jack Bouttell claimed the Rookie podium top spot, finishing 16th overall out of field of 26 sailors packed with talent. The next Artemis Rookie over the line was Ed Hill, who stepped up on the podium behind comrade Jack to take second, a great achievement and confidence boost for both British Academy sailors in only the second solo race of their careers.
Completing the Anglo Rookie trio was Irish Figaro sailor David Kenefick, who finished 21st overall behind Ed in 20th. The British and Irish invasion left no room for the French on the up-and-coming Rookie podium
Conditions for the 36-hour race were heinous and the course starting and finishing in Les Sables d'Olonne was shortened slightly to 305 miles. Wind speeds built from 6 knots for the start to a howling 40+ knots through the night combined with a 3 to 4 meter swell, ensuring that the sailors' first Atlantic race of 2013 was a real solo offshore challenge.
Top ten overall results Position/Skipper/Nationality/Boat no./Boat name/Time at sea
1. Morgan Lagraviere, Vendee, FRA, 1d 9h 40' 43"
2 .Thierry Chabagny, Gedimat, FRA, 1d 9h 53' 45"
3. Yann Elies, Group Queguiner Leukemia Hope, FRA, 1d 9h 55' 14"
4. Nicolas Lunven, Generali, FRA, 1d 10h 0' 38"
5. Jeremiah Beyou, Maitre Coq, FRA, 1d 10h 02' 0"
6. Xavier Macaire, Skipper Herault, FRA, 1d 10h 4' 40"
7. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire, FRA, 1d 10h 19' 5"
8. Frederic Duthil, Sepalumic, FRA, 1d 10h 26' 56"
9. Alexis Loison, Group Fiva, FRA, 1d 10h 27' 25"
10. Jean-Pierre Nicol/68/Bernard Controls, FRA, 1d 10h 27' 27"
1. Jackson Bouttell, Artemis 77, GBR, 1d 10h 50' 31"
2. Ed Hill, Artemis 37, GBR, 1d 11h 33' 35"
3. David Kenefick, Full Irish, IRL, 1d 11h 48' 26"
4. Claire Pruvost, Port de Caen Ouistream, FRA, 1d 12h 36' 35"
5. Jean Ahrweiller, Region Basse Normandie, FRA, 1d 12h 38' 24"
6. Benoit Hochart, Aquarius, FRA, 1d 13h 55' 55"
Charter An Open 70
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See our Race Events and more information on our new website: www.volvo70charter.co.uk
British Keelboat Academy Inter Club Challenge Cup
A team of young sailors from Poole Yacht Club has won this weekend's inaugural British Keelboat Academy Inter Club Challenge Cup (Saturday 13 April).
The event was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, on behalf of the British Keelboat Academy, and aimed to get more young sailors out racing on yachts to increase the engagement of sailors, clubs and boat owners in the opportunities which the BKA is able to offer to support the development of young sailors.
Poole Yacht Club's winning team consisted of Jim Macgregor's Elan 40 'Flair IV' and the J80 'Last Chance'. The combined total scores of both boats in the three races held was 13 points, which was enough to hold off the challenge of the team from RORC - comprising Peter Morton's Corby 33 'Salvo' and Nick Haigh's 'Jai Deux Amour' - on 18 points.
Some 80 young sailors took part in the event, all demonstrating great skill on the water to handle their boats in gusty conditions, with driving rain later in the day and the continuing unseasonably cold weather not making things any easier.
Many of the sailors were new to this size of boats and were using this event as part of making the transition into keelboat racing.
Overall results: Teams
1. Poole Yacht Club, 13 points
2. Royal Ocean Racing Club, 18
3. Royal Southern Yacht Club, 30
4. Royal Yacht Squadron, 30
1. Flair IV, Jim Macgregor, 4
2. Induljence, Adam Munday, 6
3. Alice, Alastair Speare Cole, 9
1. Seafire, Bruno van Dyke, 5
2. Jai Deux Amours, Nick Haigh, 7
3. Last Chance, Chris Doe, 9
Full results www.royal-southern.co.uk
Top Tips From The Experts - Race Video Series
The organisers, title sponsor and partners of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have combined their expert knowledge and pooled resources to produce a series of practical 'How to' videos with hints, tips and tricks for tackling all manner of Race-related topics, from how to prepare your boat, through to the right clothing to wear, tracking, rules and safety aspects and even how to apply your hull decals.
Launched on April 12th, with new material being uploaded each week and available to watch on the official website, this informative series will run right up to Race Day on 1st June.
Will ISAF Grasp The Nettle - A Real Medal Race?
ISAF continues to refine the scoring system in use at the World Cup series with further modifications for the Hyeres event to reflect lessons and sailor feedback from Palma. But what the media (aka TV) and paying spectators want, is ten qualifiers in the medal race all with a chance of Gold.
The Qualifying Series for Hyeres has been shortened to two days, with the first race of the Final Series a non-discardable carry forward race, with points equal to a boat's final rank in the qualifying series. After three days of Final Series racing the Medal Stage, for the top ten, will have the 49er and 49erFX sailing three Stadium Races and the remaining eight fleets sailing two Medal Races.
This is apparently leading to changes for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and aiming to give as many of the medal race sailors a shot at the podium. Unlike the existing single race system with the accumulated points carried over from the series racing. This has led to the medal races often becoming a formality, with at least 50% of the participants with no chance of a medal finish.
This of course is not what the media (aka TV) and the paying spectators want to see. They want the medal race to be just that . . . ten qualifiers on the line all with a chance of Gold or at least another colour medal, just as in an athletics 100 meters race.
ISAF has not gone that far yet, but without too much effort they could make that leap. -- Gerald New in Sailweb.co.uk
Full editorial at: www.sailweb.co.uk
The Case Book
The Case Book - Interpretations of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) 2013-2016 has been published on the ISAF website.
The Case Book complements The Racing Rules of Sailing 2013-2016, which came into effect on 1 January 2013, and provides details on the application of the RRS to around 100 scenarios. The principal aims of the Cases are to clarify an important meaning in a rule or to increase the understanding of a complex rule.
2013-2016 Case Book: www.sailing.org/documents/caseandcall/
The new edition of the Case Book follows a complete review of all the cases previously published and includes all new cases adopted by the ISAF Council since 2009. Many cases have been rewritten, some only slightly but others extensively, to illustrate as clearly as possible the application of the 2013-2016 RRS.
The latest version of The Racing Rules of Sailing is available here: www.sailing.org/documents/racingrules/
To purchase a printed edition of the Case Book together with the Call Books for Match Racing and Team Racing:
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The Last Word
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. -- Winston Churchill