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

EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2015
Click on image for photo gallery.

A third place in the final leg was enough to confirm Frenchman Sidney Gavignet and his mixed Omani and European team overall winners of EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour for the second year in a row.

EFG Bank (Monaco) were not the only champions in Bahrain on Saturday however with the new Volvo Ocean Race Rookie Award for the top two Under 30 sailors of the event going to Team Renaissance Omani sailor, Ali Al Balushi and British sailor from the University of Plymouth team, Richard Mason.

A course change from east to west for the 2015 edition resulted in 14-days of testing upwind racing on the six-leg, 760-nautical mile course from Oman to Bahrain. Noted for being one of the toughest on record, the 11 pro-am racing teams with crews from 21 different nations experienced a truly unique, highly competitive, cultural adventure.

Gavignet and crew; Damian Foxall (IRL), Alex Pella (ESP), Nicolas Lunven (FRA), Fabien Delahaye (FRA), Mohammed Al Mujaini (OMA), Abdull Rahman Al Mashari (OMA), and Abdallah Al Shukaili (OMA), sailed an impressive series but they didn't have it all their own way.

They were chased hard throughout by Marcel Herrera and his young student team from Plymouth University on Team Averda, who took second overall, and Zain Sailing Team from Kuwait headed by seasoned Tour competitor Cedric Pouligny with Gerald Veniard navigating, who finished third.

With more and more teams recognising EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour as a prime event on the global circuit, this unique Middle East sailing adventure is on the brink of progressing to a new level with the potential of an even larger, more competitive fleet next year.

Overall Results

1. EFG Bank (Monaco) 12 points
2. Team Averda (UK) 21.25
3. Zain (KUW) 29.50
4. TU Delft (NED) 29.75
5. Renaissance (OMA) 39
6. Al Thuraya (OMA) 41.75
7. Bienne Voile (SUI) 42.75
8. GAC powered by DongFeng (CHN) 44.50
9. OMIFCO (OMA) 64
10. Royal Navy Oman (OMA) 69
11. IMCO (OMA) 70.25

www.sailingarabiathetour.com/en/home/

Team New Zealand's Billionaire Backer Defends Grant Dalton
Matteo de Nora, the Swiss-Italian who has poured millions into Team NZ, has given his full backing to Dalton and the troubled America's Cup syndicate's board.

When asked if he was concerned at the fallout following Dean Barker's dumping as skipper, he said: "I do not see it that way. On the contrary, I feel the board and top management are making the necessary decisions with clarity and courage."

And Monaco-based de Nora said he would again be on board Team New Zealand when it challenges for the America's Cup in 2017.

"Teammates and I will be backing the team and Mr Dalton for the next AC," he said.

"My confidence in Grant Dalton as the right individual to run the campaign for TNZ is total," de Nora added.

After a week of innuendo and blood-letting, Team New Zealand bosses confirmed on Thursday that 42-year-old Barker would not be at the helm of the team's next challenge.

Dalton came under further fire yesterday when veteran broadcaster Murray Deaker wrote a scathing column in the Weekend Herald calling on the sailing team boss to move on.

"Dalton must realise that his use-by date has been and gone," he wrote. -- Lynley Bilby

www.nzherald.co.nz

Rainbow II Takes Up Early Running
The Farr 40 Pacific Sundance (Bernard Hyde) again took line honours in race 2 of the One Ton Revisited regatta - a 20-mile Olympic course off Auckland's East Coast Bays. But, the winner on corrected time was the S&S 36 Rainbow II (Chris Bouzaid) which now leads on overall points after a second in the opening race on Saturday and now a victory today.

It was champagne sailing in the Hauraki Gulf with a 10 to 12-knot north-easter and enough of a chop to put a real premium on helming upwind.

Pacific Sundance led from start to finish but could not stretch away enough to make up the time she needed on handicap.

Rainbow II slugged it out all day with the Lidgard design Result (Bevan Hill) and the Farr design Revolution (Tony Wallis and Max Cossey).

"It was a real boat race - demanding but a lot of fun - and everything we remember about the halcyon days of the One Ton Cup," said Bouzaid. "It kind of reminds you what keel boat racing is missing out on these days". -- Alan Seftonn

Place Overall - Race 1 - Race 2 - Total Points
Rainbow II - 2 (7.5 points) - 1 (6) - 13.5
Pacific Sundance - 1 (9) - 5 (2) - 11
Wai Aniwa - 4 (4.5) - 2 (5) - 9.5
Revolution - 5 (3) - 3 (4) - 7
Impact - 3 (6) - 6 (1) - 7
Result - 6 (1.5) - 4 (3) - 4.5

www.rnzys.org.nz

Dubarry Ultima - Loved By Sailors
It's hard to love a pair of boots. They either do a job or they don't. Some will have great grip and others will send you crashing down to the deck like some slapstick comedian. Some will keep the water out, others will leak like a pair of bespoke footbaths. Some will breathe to keep you comfortable, others will slowly baste your feet in their own sweat. Some will look great, others like you've just escaped from a circus.

Even if you do find a pair that ticks every box, which looks good, grips well and keeps you warm, dry and comfortable, you'd still struggle to love a boot. Unless, of course, it's a Dubarry boot. Take the Ultima, with its blend of rich, supple leather and durable man-made fibres, the hi tech GORE-TEX® liner that acts like an air conditioner, the award-winning grip of the sole - yes, those are all there, recognised benchmarks of quality, but what you can't see or touch or smell is the soul.

Ultima boots have it in abundance because, like you, they change. They gain experience at sea and improve with age just as surely as you do. That's why sailors love them.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

dubarry.com

The Finest Yacht Race In The Caribbean
Arguably the best fleet of offshore racing yachts that has ever gathered in the Caribbean, took part in the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. 66 yachts started the 600 mile race around 11 Caribbean islands, with numerous world champions, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors taking part with passionate Corinthian amateurs, many of whom are members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

Ranging from the latest high performance record breakers to classic yachts from the past, the variety of yachts and sailors taking part shows that the RORC Caribbean 600 has a wide appeal and the growth in popularity, year-on-year, indicates a very healthy future for the event.

After a classic trade winds start the wind shifted south of east and decreased on the second day, which added gravitas to the tactical decision making for many yachts as they approached the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. By day three, the trade winds were back to provide exhilarating racing for the fleet. By day four, the wind had built to over 20 knots, with gusts in excess of 30 knots and the beat to finish in Antigua from Redonda became a real test for the remaining yachts and exhausted crew.

- Monohull Line Honours: George David's Juan K designed Rambler 88
- Multihull race record: Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70, Phaedo3
- Overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600: Hap Fauth's American JV72, Bella Mente (also won IRC Zero)
- Superyacht and Spirit of Tradition Classes winner: The 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, dating back to 1903
- IRC One winner: William Coates, Texan Ker 43, Otra Vez
- IRC Two winner: Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster
- IRC Three winner: Ed Fishwick's Sunfast 36, Redshift

The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start on Monday 22nd February 2016. For news, pictures and video of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600 visit: www.caribbean600.rorc.org

New AC35 Dockyard Plans Submitted
ACBDA have submitted new planning applications for Dockyard in advance of the 2017 America's Cup.

A pair of applications were received by the Planning Department last week proposing a new service road to Moresby Plain Field, and alterations to a building near the entrance of Dockyard.

The proposed new service road would use the same road that services the Westgate Correctional Facility. In addition to the road itself, the application proposes the erection of a new security gate and gate house for the facility, along with the relocation of several pole-mounted security cameras.

www.royalgazette.com

RC44 Championship Tour Season-Opener
With less than a month to go, eleven teams are eagerly anticipating the 2015 RC44 Championship Tour season-opener set to take place in Malta's renowned capital of Valletta, the historic 'City of Knights', from 25-29 March.

The crew line up for the RC44 Valletta Cup reads like a who's who of sailing greats and top international businessmen, guaranteeing that it will be a highly competitive fleet racing right in the heart of the Mediterranean.

While the majority of teams have opted for strategic consistency, retaining the same crew as last year, a few key changes promises to mix things up.

Team Aqua remains the boat to beat, starting off 2015 as the defending Tour Champion for the fourth consecutive year. Chris Bake will be sharing the owner-driver role with Sweden's Richard Goransson this season, while top match racer Cameron Appleton remains a permanent fixture as tactician.

Following an extremely strong first year in the Class, Nico Poon's Charisma will be vying for a podium position after finishing fourth in the 2014 Tour. American Olympic silver medallist Morgan Reeser will be joining the team as tactician, replacing Tom Slingsby whose focus is back on his America's Cup programme with Oracle Team USA.

Team CEEREF are returning to the Tour after taking a break for the duration of the 2014 season. Owner Igor Lah and his team are looking to improve and will be pushing for the podium this season under the direction of new tactician, Britain's Adrian Stead.

Team Nika is aiming to keep the momentum going by welcoming America's Cup sailor Dean Barker onboard to call tactics in Valletta.

www.rc44.com/teams

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(Great) Sportboat Performance
The new FarEast 28R draws on the high-performance racing heritage of the FarEast 31R from one of the world's largest producers of Olympic and world champion one-designs - and all at an affordable price.

Amid growing worldwide interest in sportboat one-designs in the 27-30ft size range, one of the world's largest ISAF-approved producers of one-design class boats has teamed up with the Simonis-Voogd design studio to introduce the new FarEast 28R. Built at Shanghai FarEast Boats Co, this latest one-design delivers the world-class consistency, durability and quality sought after in a production one-design, along with the high performance needed to attract interest in a very competitive sector of the market.

The FarEast heritage in producing racing and performance cruising yachts goes back to 2009 when Simonis-Voogd designed the FarEast 26 as a dual-purpose racer-cruiser that combined performance with comfort and safety suitable for the broad marketplace. FarEast's use of modern resin-infused laminates and foam core construction ensured both strength for durability and light weight for performance, along with other features such as a lifting keel and a clever interior accommodation layout to enhance versatility. The FarEast 26 has proved highly successful, and today it is one of the most common boat types seen throughout the East Asian market.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com

Emirates Team Pays Price For Bermuda Triumph
The decision to award the 35th America's Cup to Bermuda was not good for everybody.

It has reportedly cost Emirates Team New Zealand some $20 million.

The decision to hold the event in Bermuda in 2017 has reportedly hit the Emirates team's sponsorship deals, causing a tightening of the purse strings and as a result, the team has had to reduce its remuneration budget and each team member has taken a significant pay cut.

Additionally several million dollars has been axed from the operations budget leading to the scrapping of one of the team's foiling AC45 catamarans, and the elimination of one of the planned helmsman positions.

If it is of any consolation, Auckland appears to be favourites to host the America's Cup Qualifying regatta in 2017 after rival host Sydney's delayed bid fell through. -- Colin Thompson in the Royal Gazette

www.royalgazette.com

Shedding Light On Sailing's Secret Side
With the ISA drawing criticism for its "racing led" strategy and thousands sailing under the official radar altogether, Winkie Nixon hails Ireland's hidden cruising fraternity and their epic feats.

As the recent Irish Sailing Association's Public Consultation meetings in Dun Laoghaire, Cork and Galway to discuss its new Strategic Plan 2015-2020 have shown, the cruising community may not be high profile, but there are many of them, and their behavioural patterns in going afloat, and ways and means of doing it, are as varied as their extraordinary range of boats.

What is clearly emerging is that the cruising people expect Irish sailing's national authority to be able to guide them towards qualifying for the International Certificate of Competence, it also expects them to be able to negotiate the government into a more sensible and manageable system of boat registration, and it expects the ISA to be up to speed on the problems being faced about the lack of convenient fuel pumps for marine diesel, and the continuing confusion in the situation regarding which type of fuel is legally available for use on boats.

But while those who cruise expect the ISA to provide a user-friendly administrative environment in which they can go about their various projects and pleasures afloat provided that they comply with statutory safety regulations, they do not seem to wish the ISA to be organisationally involved with what they actually do afloat.

W M Nixon takes up the story: afloat.ie

Eric Twiname Trust Presents its 31st Rib to 29er Class Association
The 31st support craft funded by the Eric Twiname Trust was handed over to the 29er Class Association at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace this weekend (28 February). Peter Whipp, Chairman of the Trust, presented 29er Class Association Chairman Clive Grummett and RYA Youth Racing Manager Mark Nicholls with the 5m XS RIB, complete with Yamaha 50hp four-stroke outboard, as part of its work in supporting competitive sailing for young people.

Since 1993, when the first craft powered by Yamaha was handed to the 420 Class Association, the Trust has assisted eleven different RYA Youth Classes. Over £1 million has been provided so far by the Trust, since its formation 35 years ago.

The Trust funds the on-going provision and insurance of support RIBs for most of the RYA British Youth Sailing recognised Classes. This year was the turn of the 29er Class, a high performance youth skiff and part of the RYA recognised pathway, to receive the XS RIB, Yamaha outboard and road trailer which has been supplied through Barnet Marine of Welwyn Garden City.

erictwinametrust.org

Featured Brokerage
2005 Comet 45 - ILVITELLO. 229,000 Euros. Located in Flensburg, Germany.

Composite rocket ship from Comar Yachts. 2005 build and comprehensively optimised in 2008 with new keel, rudder, carbon rig and a funky suit of Banks D4 sails.

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+44 (0) 1590 679222
ben.cooper@berthon.co.uk

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

The Last Word
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. -- Richard Feynman

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