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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Xabi Delivers Memorable Leg 4 Win
MAPFRE (Xabi Fernandez/ESP) emerged victorious despite a pair of major setbacks in Leg 4 following one of the tightest-fought finishes in Volvo Ocean Race history on Saturday night/

The victory gives the 2014-15 edition its fourth winner in four legs following successes for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA).

All those wins in the first three stages have been hard-fought but none more so than this latest leg win for the Spanish boat, claimed at 2131 local time/0931 UTC after 5,264 nautical miles (nm) and 20 days, two hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds of sailing from Sanya, China to Auckland.

Stand-in skipper Xabi Fernandez could not have chosen a better stage to guide his crew to victory with just four minutes 25 seconds to spare from Walker's men, who had the consolation of becoming overall leaders thanks to a better in-port race series record than Dongfeng Race Team.

Walker, meanwhile, will be satisfied with his second runners-up spot in a row, and a fourth podium place. His crew skirmished with MAPFRE all day on Saturday, but could not quite overhaul the Spanish crew despite reducing the deficit to within 1nm at times.

Equally, they narrowly staved off third-placed Dongfeng Race Team by less than four minutes. Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) claimed fourth, just under 1hr 20mins behind Dongfeng, with Team Brunel and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) bringing up the rear in ever lighter winds.

volvooceanrace.com

Back To You, Iker
MAPFRE's stand-in skipper Xabi Fernández was savouring a memorable Leg 4 triumph in the Volvo Ocean Race on Sunday, but his stint in charge will come to a halt for the next stage through the Southern Ocean

The 38-year-old Basque took over from his long-term partner and best friend, Iker Martinez, for the last two legs while the latter concentrated on his 2016 Rio Olympics preparations.

Xabi, for so long the right-hand man of his illustrious partner, has clearly not been daunted by the challenge, guiding the Spanish crew to fourth in Leg 3 and then following up with a paper-thin victory on Saturday night on the 5,264-nautical mile (nm) stage from Sanya to Auckland.

He told a press conference on Sunday morning that, despite his success, normal service on board MAPFRE would be resumed when the fleet sets sail for Itajai on March 15 for the toughest of all nine stages, Leg 5 through the Southern Ocean.

"Iker is coming back," Xabi told reporters. "He's flying out on the 6th (March). He's going to be with us on the next leg, which was always the plan.

desafiomapfre.com/en/

Royal Ocean Racing Club Full Time Racing Administrator
The Royal Ocean Racing Club is looking for a full time Racing Administrator to join the Race Team in Cowes.

Primary duties involved in the administration of the Racing Programme are; supporting race competitors entering races, organising volunteers, managing trophies and prize giving's, booking race team and race officer travel and accommodation, compiling and distribution of race publications and paperwork.

The successful candidate will have experience using Microsoft Programmes - Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint and Outlook and ideally have experience updating website content and in using databases.

He or she must be very well organised and able to work under pressure, be confident and sociable and happy to travel as the programme dictates.

An understanding and experience in sporting event administration, particularly in the sailing world would be of great benefit.

Salary and full job description on application.

To apply send a CV and covering letter outlining experience and suitability to:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or

Nick Elliott
Royal Ocean Racing Club
20 St James's Place
London
SW1a1NN

Premiere Racing Stepping Aside After Their 21st Key West Race Week
In November of 1994 Yachting Magazine consultant Gary Jobson asked Peter Craig, "how hard can it be? Just raise some flags and blow off some guns." And so began Craig's involvement in what was then a 112 boat - single division regatta that would soon evolve into an iconic annual international keelboat event. Yachting Magazine founded Key West Race Week in 1987.

In the late 90's Craig went from race chairman to event director, and ultimately owner of the renowned regatta, with he and his company Premiere Racing managing what has been recognized as North America's foremost annual keel boat regatta for over two decades. On the third week of January each year, entries have featured top tier programs and elite talent from dozens of countries and virtually every state in the union.

"There is no single reason for Premiere Racing stepping aside - it really is a combination of issues and circumstances, both personal and professional," said Craig. Ever since the memorable 2009 recession - when Key West lost 100 entries the following year - going forward with the subsequent edition became a year-to-year proposition for Premiere Racing.

"Despite a number of major adjustments on our part and recent support and involvement from Quantum Sails and their backers, the business model had become marginal. We were thankful to Quantum and their backers for stepping up to fill the important role of title sponsor. It was gratifying to know the fundamental reason for doing so was the continuation of Key West Race Week. As we worked to develop a sustainable business model for the event, Quantum solved a critical short-term need that was meant to serve as a bridge to the future."

Premiere Racing reached out to industry related companies and professional sailors last summer seeking to broaden the base of support from performance sailing stakeholders. "Unfortunately that wasn't forthcoming, and so despite Quantum, their backers and our other loyal sponsors remaining open to continuing their support next year, the lack of commitment from others was a factor in Premiere Racing's decision not to go forward in 2016," Craig said.

www.Premiere-Racing.com

Atlantic Opens Options
After the limits of the southern oceans imposed by the combination of the weather systems and the safety barrier of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, the Atlantic is opening up for the top trio of the Barcelona World Race.

On this 60th day of racing since leaving Barcelona on a warm, sunny winter's afternoon, 1300hrs local time Wednesday 31st December, each of the top three are dealing with their own different options.

Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are working strong W and SW'lies. But with the dominant high pressure to their west and moving east off the South American coast they are riding the top corner of a Roaring 40s' low. The combination is pressing them ever further east.

Neutrogena, in second, are heading west of north. Sailing upwind, they have tacked this morning and again early this afternoon and are making a steady 9.6kts, just NW of the Falkland Islands. Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz are set to have light upwind conditions right through to morrow and so that deficit to the leader will increase

Having been as close as five miles apart in the south Pacific, now Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin are 150 miles due south of rivals Neutrogena. And the Falkland Islands are driving a wedge between the two Farr designed boats. GAES Centros Auditivos are going east of the island group, trying to stay with the stronger wind pressure.

Standings at 1400hrs Sunday 01/03/2015

1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) 5543 miles to finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 1005 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 1151
4. We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 3237
5. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 3431
6. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 4055
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 5532
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

www.barcelonaworldrace.org

Bacardi Cup / Miami Sailing Week
Miami, Florida, USA: Hoping for warm weather and great sailing conditions, 173 boats will travel to Coconut Grove to compete in the 88th Bacardi Cup and the 6th BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank.

The event begins on Monday, March 2, with the racing of the Bacardi Cup for the Star Class, and then on Thursday, March 5, the J/70, Viper 640, VX One and M32 classes will join the Stars to race the 6th BMSW, which all continue until Saturday, March 7. This year's on the water activities are coordinated by Coral Reef Yacht Club in collaboration with the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and with the help of the U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami.

This year's 172 boats come from 15 foreign nations, including Italy, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine, Australia, Sweden, Argentina, and Great Britain.

The Star Class, consisting of 60 entrants, will compete in the highly competitive Bacardi Cup, which takes places over 6 days. Returning to defend their title is duo Lars Grael and Samuel Gonçalves (Rio de Janeiro, BRA), who won last year's Bacardi Cup with a 5 point lead over the team of Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl (San Diego, CA), and a 7 point lead over his brother's team of Torben Grael and Guilheme Almeida (Niteroi, BRA).

These 3 teams will have to look out for other notable sailors racing in their class including, the 2003 Yachtsman of the Year, Augie Diaz (Miami, FL); a two-time Star World Champion (1995, 2000) and three-time Olympic medalist (1992 Gold, 1988 Silver, 2000, Gold) Mark Reynolds (San Diego, CA); the 1992 Finn Olympic Silver medalist, Brian Ledbetter (Medina, WA) and the 1990 Star World Champion and current National Champion Torben Grael (Niteroi, BRA).

The J/70 Fleet continues to pick up steam with 46 entrants in this year's BMSW. Our top 3 finishers from last year's event, Will Welles (Portsmouth, RI), Brian Keane (Weston, MA), and Peter Duncan (Rye, NY), will all be present at this year's event to fight for the top position. However, they will also have to add this year's J/70 World's runner up, Joel Ronning (Minneapolis, MN) to the mix.

www.MiamiSailingWeek.com
www.BacardiCup.com

Poisonous Dispute May Scuttle Team NZ
Billionaire-funded rivals Oracle and Artemis already have their development boats in the water, Team NZ don't. Instead they have an alarmingly poisonous employment dispute which has boiled over into the public domain.

They cannot even guarantee the team will survive, no matter who drives the boat. An announcement is expected this week on Auckland hosting a leg of the qualifying series, a vital element in taxpayer support from the Government and the team's continued existence.

It's understood the event is on - and that Oracle syndicate head Sir Russell Coutts has been instrumental in arranging it knowing Team NZ are essential for a credible regatta in Bermuda in 2017.

There is by no means a guarantee Auckland will be well attended by competing teams. The Europeans are apparently dark about the cost of travelling to and staying in New Zealand.

Small wonder some are saying Team NZ ought to sit this America's Cup out - Bermuda is a lousy destination for sponsors, public opinion after Barkergate seems seriously against Dalton, taxpayer contributions and the team itself. -- Paul Lewis in the New Zealand Herald

www.nzherald.co.nz

Murray Deaker On Team NZ: Grant Dalton Must Go
Dean Barker says he has had a gutsful of Team New Zealand. He is not on his own. I think the whole country has. We are sick and tired of the childish antics, the leaking of information when it suits, the unavailability to comment when it doesn't.

Most of all, we are fed up with the backstabbing and the public statements which defy common sense.

Grant Dalton's pretence that he doesn't know who leaked the story to Tony Veitch that Barker was for the chop was an insult to the public. Veitch would never have run the story if its source hadn't been Dalton himself or someone close to him.

- Dalton must realise that his use-by date has been and gone. I believe he has made three fundamental errors that mean many sailors and certainly a large number of sports journalists have lost respect for him

- Dalton should never have called a lay-day during the last America's Cup. Second, Dalton should never have been on the boat as a grinder.

- Third, Dalton lost his focus and some of his behaviour off the water in San Francisco, meaning he lost the respect of his team.

Deaker's full editorial in the New Zealand Herald:
www.nzherald.co.nz

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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 Jonty Sherwill: I followed the 2014 OK Dinghy Worlds coverage unaware that the top two boats were built of plywood not composite - thanks Scuttlebutt Europe (#3279) for the heads up.

This is good news for the class and something I hoped would eventually happen - back to its roots with an arguably 'greener' boat for one thing but also opening up home build once again for this fabulous international singlehander.

Having first raced an OK in 1970 at the age of 16 it was a great pleasure and privilege last weekend to take delivery of my 7th OK Dinghy, made of plywood by Millican and Shipsides here in the UK, only this one was also built in 1970! Owned from new by a dear friend and past chairman of the UK class James Bridge-Butler, 'Fury' needs not much more than a fresh coat of varnish.

How many 45 year old GRP OK's have avoided landfill or cremation?!

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The Last Word
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