Brought to you by 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

Mini Transat: The Waiting Game Continues
Having been unable to leave, the Ministes have returned to their home base in Port Rhu. Sheltered behind the lock, the 84 competitors continue to be patient . For now, the situation is not dramatic. The Lanzarote stopover was intended to be three weeks long so the only risk is that it will be shorter than originally planned .

"Until the middle of next week, we still do not need to make any changes to the start plans for the second leg ... " explains Denis Hughes, Race Director , a one week stopover in Lanzarote is quite sufficient to restore the boats and rebuild the competitors' health before crossing the Atlantic. So just be patient.

Meanwhile, some of the Ministes are still tinkering, for those who live nearby its an opportunity to return home, and everyone consults the race website to ensure that the red flag still flies on the pole.

After a briefing last night the 84 Mini 6.50s skippers, including seasoned British Mini skipper Pip Hare, were told that the start of the Mini Transat could be delayed for up to another 10 days due to the conditions.

Back In Business
Exciting close knit racing was the dish of the day in Qingdao, China as racing ramped up on the third day of ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao.

The cool front that brought strong winds the day prior passed through enabling racing to commence at 11:00 local time. Northerly breeze at 16 knots at the start time slowly dropped down to 14 knots allowing three races across all fleets to be completed.

Three races are scheduled across all six fleets on Thursday 17 October with light and tricky winds forecast.

Top three by class:

470 Men
1. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO, 8 points
2. Lucas Calabrese / Juan de la Fuente, ARG, 9
3. Weidong Wang / Daokun Deng, CHN, 17

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL, 4
2. Hui Feng / Lizhu Huang, CHN, 13
3. Nan Shanghai / Xue Li, CHN, 13

1. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 8
2. Thomas Saunders, NZL, 14
3. Pavlos Kontides, CYP, 15

Laser Radial
1. Tatiana Drozdovskaya, BLR, 7
2. Amelie Riou, FRA, 12
3. Dong Zheng, CHN, 14

RS:X Men
1. Shahar Zubari, ISR, 7
2. Cheng Chun Leung Michael, HKG, 11
3. Ricardo Santos, BRA, 14

RS:X Women
1. Pei Na Chen, CHN, 11
2. Maayan Davidovich, ISR, 13
3. Hei Man Hayley Victoria Chan, HKG, 22.8

* Olympic champion Xu Lijia of China has pulled out of ISAF World Cup Qingdao leg due to injury, organizers said on Wednesday.

Liu Wei, director of the competition organizing committee, said that Xu was injured during the first day's Laser Radial race and she formally withdrew on Wednesday.

"Doctors said her shoulder injury was severe. She will return to Shanghai to receive a treatment tomorrow," said Liu, adding that Xu might have to miss the rest competitions of this year.

Xu, 26, won a bronze medal in women's Laser Radial class at the 2008 Olympics and a gold medal in the same event at the 2012 Games.

Engineered For Superior Performance
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You'll find PrimaLoft® SPORT in Musto's Evolution Primaloft Jacket & Primaloft Gilet, chosen for its superior insulation performance and fine fibre breathability - perfect for active outdoor use in harsh winter weather, whatever your sport.

Check out the A/W13 Evolution collection here:

Outteridge Has A Near-Perfect Day At Moth Worlds
Light to non-existent breeze skunked the opening day of the 2013 McConaghy + McDougall International Moth World Championship, but Tuesday was a different story. After several general recalls and abandonments, the breeze filled in at a light-but-sailable 6-9 knots of breeze from the East-Northeast, allowing for 3 races to open the event for the 80-boat fleet.

As Artemis Racing's helmsman during this summer's America's Cup regatta in San Francisco, Australia's Nathan Outteridge found little time to practice on his beloved Moth compared to many of the racers here at the Hawaii Worlds, but it doesn't seem to have hurt him in the least; Outteridge won two of three races today, scoring a second place in the other, and leads the fleet by an incredible 12 points after just three races. Southampton, England's Rob Greenhalgh holds a slim second, just ahead of three US entrants; Brad Funk, George Peet, and Bora Gulari.

Medical Examiner Report On Bart Simpson's Death Released
British Olympic champion Andrew Simpson died from "blunt trauma with drowning" after the Swedish America's Cup craft he was sailing capsized and broke apart in San Francisco Bay, according to a medical-examiner's report released on Tuesday.

Simpson, 36, a two-time Olympic medallist and father of two young boys, suffered multiple blows to his head and body in the May 9 accident involving the 72-foot Artemis Racing catamaran, the San Francisco medical-examiner's report said.

In the moments before it capsized, the yacht was turning downwind in a so-called bear-away manoeuvre while travelling at about 30 knots, or 34 miles per hour, with wind of about 20 knots, or 23 miles per hour, the report says.

The front of the vessel then dipped beneath the surface, the port hull broke and inverted on top of the wing, according to the report. The precise sequence of events was not clear from the report, nor did it explain why Simpson was unable to find his way out.

A knowledgeable source, who requested anonymity, said that the craft had turned to head home because the wind had whipped up to at or near a team-imposed limit. The medical-examiner's report mentions nothing about the wind limit, and representatives of Artemis did not return calls and emails. -- Ronnie Cohen,

* Founded by Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy OBE & Andrew's wife Leah, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation will work to honour Andrew's life and legacy by encouraging youngsters into sailing.

Donate to the foundation:

Energy and Innovation
If you could capture the energy and ingenuity of the Mini Transat race I'm sure you'd have a panacea for the troubles of our times.

Many sailors in this big race in 21ft little boats, which runs from Douarnenez in Brittany to Guadeloupe, are are engineer-inventor-builders. They are brimming with ideas for how to make their boats go faster, and the spirit of camadarie and friendliness among the 84 entries is palpable. If ever we need to restart a civilisation, you could just take a group of Mini sailors - they would make it work and it would be a nice place.

The Classe Mini remains totally impervious to economic troubles. It is - just about - affordable and is the place to experiment with ideas, or to complete an adventure that has enormous symbolic meaning in France. However, the difficulty of raising money has seen a very obvious slowing down of Mini innovation.

This year, there is only one new 'proto', Stan Maslard's Group Sefico. Its most revolutionary idea is a removable T-foil to fit on the transom, though that is yet to be ruled on as legal in the class.

But this very stalling of innovation, a feature that is a prime driving force of the Classe Mini and its contingent of sailors, has jolted members into debating how to unclasp the rule to allow more developments.

Elaine Bunting's full blog posting at

Marinepool Introduces Fortuna, The Interactively Designed Sailing Suit
Which is the best all round cruising sailing suit? What features would you like to see in your ideal suit? These are the sort of questions the readers of German sailing magazine "segeln" were asked. And they were keen to give their input into the development of this sailing suit. Loads of great ideas were put forward and found their way into Fortuna. 

Readers were called to send in their suggestions and remarks to the magazine's editorial office. Then, the proposals were collected and forwarded to the design department of Marinepool, which started the practical implementation of the interactive idea generation.  

A highly resistant, breathable and waterproof fabric as well as wearing comfort through pre-shaped sleeves and knees and highly visible colors and reflectors for safety precaution were considered the highest priority by the readers. According to the participants, cuffs on sleeves and trousers should be also carefully considered to prevent slipping up while moving and to retain protection against wind and weather. Suggested solutions included for instance inner cuffs with latex or PU seals, Velcro closures or elastic loops at the end of inner legs.

Furthermore, the readers perceived abrasion protection as well as well-shaped and well-positioned pockets for tools and items such as compass or flashlights as crucial. As a result, the Fortuna set offers reinforcements at collar, sleeves, back, knees and seating area as well as welded, transparent leg pockets. Special features are the loops with non corrosive eyelets to attach snap hooks outside as well as inside of the pockets. Other ideas were focused on improving the utilization or comfort of the sailing gear. Examples for this are  sewn in elastics at the back of jacket and trousers to improve adjustability, or hanging loops outside for easy drying.

Finally, Marinepool proudly presents Fortuna Offshore custom made foul weather gear and gives many thanks for the numerous readers who have sent in their ideas. Fortuna will be available through "segeln" magazine and the Marinepool retail network from 2/2014. |

Fischer Has Hong Kong Vietnam Race Record In His Sights
Click on image to enlarge.

With a forecast all yachties dream for, Syd Fischer and his crew on the super maxi Ragamuffin 90 will this week have a crack at the 656 nautical mile Hong Kong Vietnam Race record set by fellow Australian, Grant Wharington, with the 98 foot Skandia (now Wild Thing).

The record, set in 2004, stands at 42 hours 45 minutes and 41 seconds, but with a 20-30 knot downwind ride on the cards, it will play straight into the hands of the big boats and a possible new record.

Either way, a new record will be created in the race, which starts today at 13:30 hours local time, as the course has been extended by an extra 14 nautical miles. However, Fischer has his mind set on breaking Skandia's record for the distance with the canting keeled yacht originally known as Genuine Risk.

Prior to leaving Sydney for Hong Kong, the Dubois 90 underwent major modifications with twin daggerboards added, rudder moved aft, the forward canard removed and changes to the aft deck to allow crew weight further aft all the way to transom. Powered sheet winches have been added, as has a new Doyle sails wardrobe from Doyles' Mark Fullerton, who will be aboard Team Ragamuffin.

Adding to the quality of the crew are noted big boat sailor David Witt (Fischer's sailing master); British Olympic double silver medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Ian Walker; Matt Humphries, a veteran of five Whitbread/VOR's and 22 year-old Youth America's Cup sailor, Luke Parkinson.

The crew is a blend of experience and youth. It includes Geoff Hill, a RHKYC member and chairman of the Vietnam race committee, in the afterguard. -- Di Pearson

Follow Ragamuffin's progress via the Vietnam Hong Kong Race tracker at:

Ragamuffin Yachting has a Facebook page at:

Nikki Curwen Misses Out On Mini Transat
After six months of race preparation, race qualification and willing her name to move up the 2013 Mini Transat race entry waiting list, this year's Mini Transat is now beyond the reach of Artemis Offshore Academy Mini sailor Nikki Curwen. It is a big disappointment for Nikki who has endured a long wait with baited breath, moving to 86th on the entry list following a few sailor withdrawals and missed qualification deadlines, with just two more drop-outs seeing Nikki make the cut, capped at 84 entries this year. The start of the 4,021 mile solo transatlantic race was scheduled for Sunday 13th October, but had to be delayed due an Atlantic storm moving across the Bay of Biscay.

"I've been dreaming of the Mini Transat start line since I qualified for the race back in May and being unable to compete has come as a devastating blow," said Nikki, who had aspired to follow in the footsteps of Dame Ellen MacArthur and her father Simon Curwen, the highest ranking British skipper in the Mini Transat. "However, this is the nature of the Class Mini circuit and with the Mini Transat entry list filling up almost as soon as it was released, an agonising waiting game with a high chance of disappointment was always on the cards, but it doesn't make it any easier."

Ten entries were reserved for international skippers this year which potentially increased Nikki's chance of racing her Mini 'DMS-PACK IT IN' across the Atlantic, but with the waiting list as long as the entry list, it was not to be. However, undeterred by her disappointment this time around and fuelled by her passion for the Class and Mini racing, Nikki already has her sights set on the 2015.

SY Liara Mast Transport
The replacement mast for SY Liara measuring in at a lengthy 41.8m arrived in Zeebrugge from Tauranga after a month at sea. Complete Marine Freight UK were approached by the Captain of the yacht to handle all the customs processes upon arrival and to arrange the onward trucking to Southampton, UK where it could be stepped into the yacht.

Moving this size of load by road requires special permits, escorts, careful route planning and police cooperation all of which were expertly arranged and coordinated by the CMF team.

One day later, the mast arrived in Southampton where it was offloaded.

The entire operation was completed in this short time with no hitches, smooth transition from ship to truck to yacht both physically and in terms of the required documentation and customs procedures which were particularly complex.

Once again, Complete Marine Freight have shown the value of a strong partner in freight and logistics in ensuring the success of every aspect of such complicated and high value transport projects.

Complete Marine Freight Ltd, Southampton, UK , +44 (0) 2380 381 951

Complete Marine Freight SL, Palma de Mallorca, Spain , +34 971 432 600

For more information please visit:

Driving Down A Mine
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image to enlarge.

Team Australia's navigator Josh Alexander this morning described careering eastwards to Auckland with a 40 plus knot WNW wind on their aft quarter and not being able to see the waves as like driving the trimaran repeatedly down a mine.

The six-man crew weathered the worst of the overnight conditions without breakages or sea sickness. They are now deep into the Tasman Sea and more than a third of the way across the 1,260nm passage record attempt which began from Sydney Harbour at 12.09pm yesterday afternoon.

The wind and seas are expected to back off which may foil skipper Sean Langman's plan to reach Auckland inside three days. Forecaster Roger 'Clouds' Badham has advised that following a truckload of breeze all night there will be a steady ease all day today, with an even slower left trend.

"Looks like the hard work for me is tomorrow, to find you a way around and down the east coast of NZ. This is where we have to be smart," Badham has forewarned the team.

Team Australia is not gunning for a magic number to beat. Surprisingly there is no World Sailing Speed Council sanctioned record, just hearsay of five days being the best time for the popular ocean passage. -- Lisa Ratcliff

Team Australia's sprint to Auckland can be tracked via the website

Industry News
Almost 100 jobs could be at risk as a holiday company prepares to close down its Portsmouth operation.

Sailing holiday and boat rental firm Sunsail is relocating its UK operations from Port Solent in Hampshire to Surbiton, in south west London.

The company is consulting individually with employees and a number of staff are trialling the new offices.

Sunsail says it will be recruiting in Surbiton as roles will be relocated to the new location.

The move will bring Sunsail's UK operations together with Specialist Holiday Group's other holiday brands.



Sweden's Lidkopings Batsnickeri, builders of SwedeStar sailing yachts, has acquired Najadvarvet. The new owners have purchased all rights to Najad boats,reports IBI magazine.

"I'm very happy to announce positive news on the boating market," says Hakan Bengtsson, manager at SwedeStar/Lidkopings Batsnickeri, based at lake Vänern. "Through the acquisiton of Najad we complete our range of boats under the SwedeStar range."

Najad was founded in 1971 and has since built more than 2,000 sailing boats. The acquisition means that Najad's production will move to Henan on the island of Orust and the yard that was originally built for the Najad production.


Hanse Yachts AG reported above-average demand in the first quarter of fiscal 2013-14 with an 85 percent increase in incoming orders, compared with the same period in the previous year.

The increase, which occurred between July and September, totaled 27.6 million euros, or more than $37 million.

The Hanse 345 has been the best-selling model, and the Hanse 575, which was introduced last fall, also has exceeded expectations, contributing to the 80 ships in one year, the company said.

More than 30 of the new Dehler 38 from spring 2013 have been sold, Hanse said, adding that the recently presented Varianta 37 will keep the production team in Greifswald, Germany, even busier during the coming months.

From The "Glorious Lunatics" Files...
Photo by Ian Patton. Click on image to enlarge.

Artist Dmitri Galitzine will attempt to journey from Portsmouth to the Isle of White in a hollowed out giant pumpkin. Mark O'Hanlon, winner of the UK's heaviest pumpkin 2004, has grown a champion gourd weighing almost half a ton. Mark's vegetable is the favorite to win first prize at this year's Mere Brow pumpkin show in Lancashire, one of the largest events of its type in the UK.

The prize winning pumpkin will then be shipped to Portsmouth where Dmitri Galitzine will work alongside a master boat builder to fit an outboard motor to the vegetable. The artist will journey into open sea for over three miles across one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.

Giant pumpkin sailing started in Canada. There are several giant pumpkin regattas worldwide, in which participants race their vegetables across lakes and rivers. The International Pumpkin Boat Championships took place in Southern Germany in 2010. This included heavily customised engine-­‐ powered pumpkins and unmodified vegetables propelled simply by paddling.

Dmitri Galitzine's motivation is the content for his new video work entitled, The Load of a Man is his Coracle, which will continue the artist's ongoing practice exploring folk culture in the UK. A previous exhibition staged by Galitzine in 2011 involved ten giant vegetables presented as sculptures which, due to their enormous weight, had to be craned into the gallery.

This will set a new Guinness World Record, marking the first time in history that a giant vegetable has crossed the Solent.*

* Editor: Bit hard to authenticate that claim; one would have to assume that a number of bloated loathsome creatures (i.e, Robert Maxell) were not actually giant vegetables...

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* From John Burnie: Kim Klaka may well be correct in that the Commodores Cup was challenged for in 1978. However the Commodores Cup is in fact a Trophy that belongs to the Island Sailing Club. Despite any earlier history the Cup is currently on loan to a series the RORC has been managing in its current format since 1992.

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1997 ILC 40. EUR 78,000. Located in Netherlands.

ILC 40 reset to original design and weight distribution 2008 by Standfast.

World champion, European champion in 1997 as Mean Machine
2009 winner of the Bloodhound cup in the RORC Fastnet-race
2010 Winner of the North Sea Race in ORC 1. 2nd in the North Sea Regatta

Brokerage through Bach Yachting International:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
I run six-to-eight miles a day, plus weights and aerobics in the lunch hour. I also lie a lot, which keeps me thin. -- Hugh Laurie

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Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see