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 editor@scuttlebutteurope.com

Team Alvimedica Wins Inshore Race
Photo by Rick Tomlinson, rick-tomlinson.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Alicante, Spain: Charlie Enright's smile said it all as he led his young Team Alvimedica crew to victory in the opening skirmish of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 on Saturday.

There's a long, long way to go and the Alicante in-port race success does not even count towards the offshore overall trophy apart from as a tie-breaker in the case of teams finishing level on points.

But as a confidence-builder for the Turkish/American team, you could hardly beat victory under bright blue skies and 14-knot winds in front of thousands of fans who thronged the Alicante harbour.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, winners of the 2011 Alicante in-port race, were denied a repeat triumph by a mere five seconds in just over 14 knots of wind with Spanish entrants MAPFRE third a further 25 seconds adrift.

Team Brunel (NED) eventually pipped them for fourth spot with Team SCA's all-women crew (SWE) leaving Team Vestas Wind (DEN) comfortably behind to take sixth.

Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town begins next Saturday. In all, the boats will cover 38,739 nautical miles over nine months before the adventure finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27, 2015. They will visit 11 ports in all, including a pit-stop in The Hague.

Alicante in-port race results:

1. Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA)
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
3. MAPFRE (Spain)
4. Team Brunel (The Netherlands)
5. Dongfeng Race Team (China)
6. Team SCA (Sweden)
7. Team Vestas Wind (Denmark)

www.volvooceanrace.com

Digby's Volvo Form Guide
This edition of the Volvo looks humdingingly good. Knut is worthy of his crown, in my view, for changing to one-design, and for separating the port race fluff from the clarity of being the fully crewed round the world ocean race. If the past two editions haven't grabbed you, this one should.

As I write, dear daughter Frances is Topper racing on Lake Bowmoor near Oxford. We both understand that prep is crucial, but once she's launched, the winner on the water is the most skillful sailor. The boat is secondary - ish. That's what's so exciting about this Volvo. It focuses the entire story on remarkable people and their remarkable skills in a remarkable race.

So, in boat builder Green Marine's official hand-over order, here's my unofficial, un-partisan, completely objective form guide to the runners and riders:

1. SCA - Go girls, bring it home, come on you beauties!! The depth of experience on this team is unbelievable. Vendee Globes, Olympics, top class offshore and match racing. They were first to launch, prepped the longest, look utterly dedicated. What a shot in the arm for the race. And what an inspiration for Frances! I don't think the physical comparison to men makes that much difference. They have extra crew. Their navigator could sleep for hours and be fresh as a daisy. Their leg podiums will be cool news. 4-1.

2. Dongfeng - These guys are less about winning and more about China. Xu Lijia won Olympic Radial Gold in 2012 (she's amazing) and the Chinese Olympic squad in Santander were out in huge numbers. This is all about building Chinese ocean racing skills, and heroes, under French skipper Charles Caudrelier, plus the cleverest impresario in sailing, Mark Turner. Any leg podiums will be a massive result and, hopefully, big news in China. 7:1.

3. Brunel - Flight of fancy... imagine a sailing version of Da Boxing Movie. Grizzled vet Bouwe Bekking, slumped in some dusty sailing club. Knut walks in through backlit doorway. "Bouwe, old salt, we need you." "No way Knut. I dun six o dese tings. Never won. Takes it outta ya." "Bouwe, c'mon, da fight's still in ya. You just don't know it." "S'a young guys game Knut. You been dere." "Yeah... [gazes wistfully]... I been dere... But don't give up now Bouwe. You can win dis... " Cue music, roll tacking, epic Hollywood comeback etc. Just foolin' Bouwe. Sorry. A dark horse campaign. 4:1.

4. Abu Dhabi - Skipper Ian Walker has had two practice Volvo runs, didn't go great, but we all know what practice makes. He returns with his superb sponsor and an ace crew. They smashed the Round Britain and Ireland. If they start with a target on their backs, I don't think that'll phase Ian. Broad shoulders. Tough leader. Third time lucky. Theoretical favourites: 2-1.

5. Alvimedica - The young guns. Charlie Enright, from the US of A, plus his posse of hipsters. Pow wow! TV is going to love these dudes. Less experience but the most enthusiasm. 5:1

6. Mapfre - This is my pick of the bunch. Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, 49'er Gold medallists, Volvo vets, second in the two-handed non-stop Barcelona World Race. They're not just Spanish, but Basque. Tough, determined, immensely skilled, the salt of the Bay of Biscay in their blood. They're late to the table, but they have a secret weapon: Michel Desjoyeaux, le Prof. Having Michel onboard is like having an entire extra crew. Two times solo Vendee Globe winner, he's an offshore genius. Give 'em a leg to get up to speed, then sit back and watch in awe. Due to their short run up: 3:1.

7. Vestas - Aussie skipper Chris Nicholson is last in. This is his fifth Volvo. Scratch crew. The best sponsor, I reckon. (I love wind turbines; they're sculptural, beautiful, duty-of-care-to-our-planet-remindingly great). Anyway, says my cameraman buddy Konrad Frost, who taught me everything I know, you'd think the boatbuilders would have got it down by hull seven. That's the one you want. Bet it's quick. No pressure on these guys. Well worth a punt. 4:1.

So, my heart is with the girls, my head is with Ian Walker, but my gold is with the Spaniards. Oooo arrr. Godspeed to ye all!

Digby Fox - livethestory.com

Holding On: Why The Latest Dyneema&Reg; Products Are Better Than Ever...
The demands on high-performance running rigging are becoming higher and Marlow's Grand Prix Series offers core options using Dyneema®, Vectran and Zylon (PBO). Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but Dyneema® has become the 'Gold Standard' for performance running rigging.

Dyneema® is a HMPE (High Modulus Polyethylene), also known as UHMWPE or Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene and is available in a number of different grades. All grades of Dyneema® have excellent fatigue resistance (cyclic bending) and UV, chemical and abrasion resistance, but all have poor heat resistance due to a relatively low melting point (150°C).

Dyneema® offers the best strength-to-weight ratio of any material used in rope manufacture, rivalled only by PBO, and is now the material of choice for high-performance cores. Marlow offer a range of Dyneema® cores to suit application preferences as well as budget. However, with new grades of Dyneema® being introduced and different treatments available, the decision as to which core is best can often be confusing.

Article in Seahorse magazine: www.seahorsemagazine.com/current-issue/9-content/november-2014/239-holding-on

Alinghi Snatch Victory In Nice
Morgan Larson and the Swiss team Alinghi snatched victory from the hands of their fellow countrymen Realteam in the final race at the Extreme Sailing Series in Nice, to take victory on French waters in front of thousands of spectators - and with that they now have one hand firmly placed on the 2014 Series trophy.

With only one Act to go this year, Alinghi have extended their lead at the top of the Series leaderboard to eight points over The Wave, Muscat, but with 20 points up for the taking in Sydney, and five teams capable of a podium position, it's not over until it's over u learn from those, and we'll be going into Sydney very much looking to win."

Realteam, who led for the first two days in Nice, have been impressive on the French Riviera but couldn't quite hold off the more experienced Alinghi.

Emirates Team New Zealand came home a respectable fifth place, which has secured them third on the overall Series rankings place heading to Sydney, while GAC Pindar secured their best result of the year, finishing in sixth place.

Standings after Day 4, 29 races (5.10.14)

1. Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 183 points
2. Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jerome Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wasem 171
3. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Campbell-James, Bleddyn Mon, Matt Cornwell, 161
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Thomas Cjakgak, Stewart Dodson, 160
5. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat, 156
6. GAC Pindar (AUS) Nathan Wilmot, Seve Jarvin, Hugh Styles, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski, 146
7. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Thierry Douillard, Christian Kamp, Brad Farrand, 145
8. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari, 143
9. Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Tanguy Cariou, Valentin Bellet, Arnaud Jarlegan, Devan Le Bihan, 143
10. Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Ted Hackney, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi, 138
11. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov, 133

extremesailingseries.com

World Champion Backs Bermuda Cup Bid
Bermuda's bid to host the 35 America's Cup has received a ringing endorsement from one of the world's top match racing skippers.

Taylor Canfield, the reigning Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion, says that the Great Sound will provide the perfect arena to showcase the foiling wing-sail catamarans that are capable of reaching speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.

"I think Bermuda would be a great venue to host the next America's Cup," Mr Canfield said. "Bermuda has great weather, it's a beautiful place and I think it would be incredible racing in the Great Sound, which is like basically a natural stadium for the style of racing they are looking to do. I think it would be pretty cool to see it there."

Bermuda is in a two-horse race with San Diego to host the next America's Cup in 2017 and, at the very least, is guaranteed to stage a World Series race if the bid committee fail in their attempt.

Although the deadline for the venue announcement is not until the end of the year, there is growing speculation that an announcement could be made this month. -- Colin Thompson

www.royalgazette.com

"Rookie Centenarian" Olympian Wins the 4th Gstaad Yacht Club's Centenary Trophy
Photo by Jurg Kaufmann, go4image.com. Click on image to enlarge.

A gentle breeze, warm sun, blue skies. One couldn't have asked for better weather conditions for the fourth edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy, the true rendezvous for the oldest boats of the classic yachts circuit and the focal point of classic racing at the Voiles the Saint-Tropez, hosting event of the regatta.

For the fourth consecutive year the Centenary Trophy gathered one hundred years and more old yachts that competed with an especially created handicap system in a pursuit race. The Race Committee set the race area on a 7 mile long costal course, with the first start signal fired at around 12:30 in 8 to 10 knots of wind. After some three hours, the first boat to cross the line, was Philippe Oddo's Olympian skippered by Bruno Trouble. The very competitive P Class gaff cutter, at her first participation to the Centenary was then declared the winner of the Trophy

Second placed Silhouette, was also participating to the regatta for the first time, but as her owner Daniel Heine declared she will be back in the future

www.gstaadyachtclub.com

Ranger To Rainbow
This new book is a detailed account of the development of the J Class yachts, primarily from 1996 when author, David Pitman, first became involved with the rebuild of Velsheda. He was Secretary of the class for more than 12 years and primarily responsible for the rebirth of the Class, from the launch of a new RANGER in 2002, then HANUMAN, LIONHEART and finally RAINBOW in 2012. It is packed with many technical and sailing images of these iconic yachts.

Other J Yachts, including SVEA are now under construction or in design stage. The book details an account of the build process, the technical development of the yachts, the crewing and the Class Association.

This book continues the detailed story of the J Yachts covered by the book Enterprise to Endeavour, written by Ian Dear (also available on request £42.00).

132 pages A4 packed with many colour and historic images.

www.strawberrymarketing.com/publishing/ranger-rainbow/

Also available at Amazon.co.uk

Suspended Naples Mayor Target of New Probe
Naples, Italy: Suspended Neapolitan mayor Luigi de Magistris said Friday he was unworried at being the target of a fresh probe into tampering with the America's Cup which took place in the southern Italian city last year. "The news doesn't even nick me. Anyone who works as administrator, who has the courage and puts his face (forward) must keep in mind that he may be subject to judiciary investigation," said de Magistris, who was suspended for a conviction regarding abuse of office while working on a corruption case when he was still a magistrate.

" I am an honest man. Bringing the America's Cup to Naples was an important intuition," said Magistris. Raimondo Pasquino, the president of the Naples city council assembly, on Thursday notified de Magistris that an order suspending the latter from his duties and signed by the local prefect had been delivered. De Magistris, a former magistrate, was handed a suspended 15-month sentence for abuse of office while working on a corruption case.

www.gazzettadelsud.it

Letters To The Editor - editor@scuttlebutteurope.com
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: On the perennial issue of pros in yachting: where exactly they fit into our sport and how to handle them, this apposite quotation from Gilbert Hackford-Jones' 'Come Sailing' of 1948, comes to mind - or at least it does now that I have finally sourced it.

"It is better if the owner knows most, even if he knows very little. Sailing with a man of superior knowledge and experience is a valuable lesson once in awhile, but it is a far, far better thing after you have learned from books and in other people's ships for you to chance your own arm, come what may. If you don't believe us go into a pub where the paid-hands and amateur pros gather for their pints and listen to what they say about their owners."

Featured Brokerage
1992 Cookson Volvo Ocean 60. 220000 Euros. Located in Saint Martin.

CUBA LIBRE is one of the first generation Volvo Ocean 60s. It was drawn by Bruce Farr and built in 1992 at Cookson Boats in New Zealand as one of two yachts. CUBA LIBRE, ex-Heineken, is a sporty and fast yacht that is still capable of winning regattas today. The interior of the ship is an unusual set up for a racer, with three double cabins and a separate shower and toilet. It also offers a modern galley and a spacious living room with tables. The flat screen can be used for the debriefing of a race as well as for presentations. The stereo makes for good entertainment.

Details

For sale by Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokerage
bernard-gallay.com
info@bernard-gallay.com

See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
A physicist is an attempt by an atom to understand itself. -- Michio Kaku

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