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

A Long, Wild Night In The Southern Ocean
Four of the six Volvo Ocean Race boats suffered big hits as the Southern Ocean gave the fleet its roughest ride of the race in 12 dramatic hours.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and MAPFRE (Iker Martinez/ESP) all did Chinese gybes from Monday to Tuesday, but the three crews escaped injury despite the boats crashing over in a massive seastate and 40 knots of wind (75 kilometres an hour).

Damage was still being assessed in the aftermath of the incidents although Dongfeng Race Team appeared to have avoided any serious problems with the boat.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) also endured a drama-filled night, reporting a 'night of two gybes: a wild one in pitch black with a massive wipe-out and then a 'controlled' one at 30 knots'.

Dongfeng Race Team were first to reveal a Chinese gybe, with their Onboard Reporter Yann Riou (FRA) revealing: "It took two to three hours to sort out the mess. The boat was on her side, we took 300 litres of water in to the boat through an air vent."

Then Team SCA were in a similar situation at around 0500 UTC, the all-women team's Onboard Reporter, Anna-Lena Elled (SWE), reported.

The crew was assessing the damage and already starting to effect some repairs, Elled continued.

MAPFRE (Iker Martinez/ESP) also reported a third Chinese gybe, which happened around 2000 UTC.

All four boats were still able to continue sailing.

www.volvooceanrace.com

And a Long, Not-Wild Day In The Med... With Changes Coming...
With less than 220 miles left, and at times today making just two to three knots towards the Barcelona World Race finish line, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam were taking nothing at all for granted.

Their last few hours of racing will still be very challenging. At the Balearics and north they will have strong NE'ly winds, gusting to 30kts, with awkward seas. This is in sharp and sudden contrast to this morning's drifting conditions in the Mediterranean. The 'winners elect' have made just 126 miles in the 24 hours to 1400hrs UTC this afternoon and their ETA was sliding into Wednesday afternoon.

Ahead of the finish Stamm revealed that their race has, at times, been a battle to keep going suffering numerous incidents causing damage to sails, their mast track, halyards and locks, confirming that they have completed much of the course with no wind information:

In second place, Neutrogena have detailed the reasons for their non communication since March 5th. Skippers Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz report that a crash gybe on that date removed their stern mounted antennae. Their report to race direction and the fleet states that they have been unable to to use their Fleet Broadband or Iridium open port since that date.

Rankings Tuesday 24th March at 1400hrs UTC

1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) 216 miles to finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 1040 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 1266
4. We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 2612
5. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 2696
6. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 3723
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 4461
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

www.barcelonaworldrace.org

Hoosiers Win The RYA National Team Racing Championship
The Royal Forth Hoosiers (Tim Saxton, Rob Friend, Mark Powell, Isobel Walker, George Clark, Holly Scott) were worthy winners of the RYA National Team Racing Championship hosted by the UK Team Racing Association and Rutland SC on 21/22 March.

24 of the best team racing teams from across the country were competing at the event, including the recently selected GBR squad for the forthcoming ISAF Team Racing World Championship, which is also being hosted by Rutland SC in July.

The competition started in a fresh, force 4/5 breeze on Saturday, necessitating the use of cut down mainsails on the fleets of 12 foot Firefly dinghies.

The first stage of the Championship consisted of four, seeded leagues, each comprising six teams. After 60 races, the fleet was reclassified for the second stage into Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues of eight teams.

The Championship was decided on the results of the second stage races that had been sailed. The Hoosiers were convincing winners, having not lost a race throughout the competition, and were presented the Prince Philip Trophy.

The next major team racing competition will be the Wilson Trophy (the unofficial British Open Team Racing Championship), which is being hosted by the West Kirby SC on the Wirral, near Liverpool, on the 8-10 May 2015.

sites.google.com/site/uktra2015

Information on the ISAF Team Racing World Championship, 19-24 July:
www.rutlandteamracing.org.uk

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

Big Breeze Season Opener at RC44 Valletta Cup
Near gale force southeasterlies were battering the coast of Malta, as the teams geared up for the opening regatta of 2015, the RC44 Valletta Cup. With the wind forecast to build to a full gale later, most teams chose to get their practice in this morning before returning to their berths at the Royal Malta Yacht Club, within Valletta Harbour, and battening down hatches.

While the names of the 11 teams competing in this year's RC44 Championship are similar to previous years, there have been a significant number of crew changes. A difference that many expect will affect this year's podium is the return of Slovenian skipper Igor Lah and his Team CEEREF. Lah stood down from the Class last year although he returned for the RC44 Sotogrande Cup, as guest helmsman on the Russian entry Bronenosec Sailing Team, which he steered to victory.

Lah's Team CEEREF won the RC44 World Championship in Lanzarote in 2013 and, alongside Torbjorn Tornqvist and Chris Bake, Lah is one of just three owners who have been involved with the RC44 since its inception in 2008.

Lah has only managed to hang on to two of his original 2013 team but has picked up several new crew, including Adrian Stead, Matteo Auguardo, Jon Gundersen and for this regatta Tim Powell, who have all previously sailed with the Mini Maxi World Championship winning Ran team.

John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum starts this season as favourite, having briefly displaced Team Aqua from the top of the leaderboard during 2014 and being the only one of the frontrunners to have retained their same crew, including Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto.

An all-star cast is to be found on Artemis Racing Youth. This includes Beijing 2008 Laser gold medallist Paul Goodison and Sweden's three time Olympic medallist Freddy Loof and Australian long term Olympic campaigner, Anthony Nossiter. Among their tasks is training up young up and coming Swedish sailors Andreas Axelsson, Nils Akervall, Marcus Anjemark and Gustav Petterson.

The format for racing this season remains the same as last with regattas kicking off with a day of match racing (the scoring for this rolls from regatta to regatta). Tomorrow the RC44 Valletta Cup will hold its match racing on the Maltese capital's Grand Harbour

www.rc44.com

Alinghi Team Will Compete In GC32 Racing Tour
After winning both the Vulcain Trophy (Lake Geneva) on its Decision 35 and the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series (global), Alinghi is proud to announce that it will compete in the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour. The team will also again race on Lake Geneva on the D35 circuit.

Alinghi is also delighted to announce a number of new official partnerships with some of the very best Swiss companies and brands, including SWISS airlines, HYT Watches, Planzer and MarinePool, while it is similarly delighted to confirm the renewal of its partnership with the Manotel Hotel Group.

Despite Alinghi's many successes in mono hull racing (Multi One Design, Farr 40, 12mJI, Corel 45, ACC), Ernesto Bertarelli has also been more than present on the multihull stage since 1993. It should come as no surprise then, that, with the creation of a new "flying" one-design catamaran class, Alinghi jumps at the opportunity to join this "foiling adventure".

The GC32 is a 10m, one-design catamaran, able to 'fly' with eight knots of True Wind Speed. This carbon dragonfly has already convinced the top-class sailors from across the sport of its pace, power and ability to ratchet up the excitement levels.

The Alinghi 2015 GC32 crew will be: Ernesto Bertarelli (Helm), sharing the duties with Morgan Larson, who led Alinghi to the victory of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2014, Nicolas Charbonnier (Tactician), Pierre-Yves Jorand (Mainsail), Nils Frei (Trim) & Yves Detrey (Bow).

The same crew will compete on the Decision 35 circuit, albeit with the addition of Coraline Jonet (Trim) who will bring her many talents to the team of six that sail the D35.

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

23-24 Apr.: Marseille, (FR)
28-31 May: Traunsee, (AUT)
24-27 June: Cowes (UK)
30 Jul.-2 Aug.: Kiel (GER)
27-30 Aug.: Rome (IT)
30 Sep.-3 Oct.: Marseille (FR)
www.gc32racing.com

D35 Circuit

8-10 May: Opening GP, SNG
23-24 May: Versoix Open
5-7 June: GP Versoix
6 June: Geneve - Rolle - Geneve
13 June: Bol d'Or
5-6 Sept.: GP Yacht Club Geneve
12-13 Sept.: GP Crans
25-26 Sept.: Closing GP, SNG
www.d35trophy.com

new.alinghi.com

New Speed Sailing Channel Unveiled In The Netherlands
The Speed Team Makkum have announced the creation of a speed sailing channel in Makkum, a small coastal town located in the northwest of the Netherlands.

The stakes are high. Europe aims to become the speed sailing capital; France and the Netherlands have been improving the conditions and chasing world records in speed sailing.

"Last winter, we've worked on our speed channel under total secrecy. We tested it last Saturday for the first time, and we immediately understood it will be possible to hit records close to those in Luderitz," the Speed Team Makkum explains.

As a result, the 2015 Funsport Makkum GPS Speed Challenge will be open between April 1st and October 31st, 2015. The winner of the speed windsurfing contest will be announced based on the highest average speed (five runs of 10 seconds).

The fastest speed windsurfing record is in the hands of Antoine Albeau. On the 21st November, 2013, the French windsurfer hit the 52.05 knots in Luderitz, Namibia.

www.surfertoday.com

nl-nl.facebook.com/Speedteammakkum

"My Fight For Survival In The Freezing North Pacific"
In the middle of a violent storm in the icy North Pacific Ocean on March 30, 2014, the Clipper Race yacht Derry-Londonderry-Doire was hit by a huge wave and one of its crew swept overboard. The rescue operation began immediately but the task was made all the more difficult by the horrific weather conditions.

Against the odds, Andrew Taylor survived for over 90 minutes in the freezing water and towering waves. Now one year on, he has written a book. Join us at the launch of '179W - One Seven Nine West' - a book named after the exact co-ordinates where Andrew fell overboard.

The book launch party is at 11.00am arrival for 11.30am start, Monday 30 March 2015 at Neville Suite, Tower Hotel, London.

All book sale proceeds will be donated to Andrew's two nominated charities; The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and The Newmarket Day Centre, in Andrew's Suffolk hometown. -- Julia Wall-Clarke

clipper-ventures.com

Rio Mayor Says Polluted Guanabara Bay Unlikely To Be Cleaned In Time
Olympic sailing teams might notice something fishy in the water when they compete in next summer's games in Rio de Janeiro -- that is, potentially thousands of dead fish, along with piles of trash and raw sewage.

Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay, the venue for next year's Olympic sailing events, is a notoriously polluted waterway that was supposed to undergo a massive cleanup before the start of the 2016 games. But as criticism has mounted over the slow pace of decontamination operations, Rio's mayor said this week that the cleanup would likely not be completed by the time the games begin.

"It is indeed a wasted opportunity," Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said in an interview with Brazil's SporTV Monday, saying it was a "shame" that the city's Olympics promise would not be fulfilled. But he added that it would not pose any problems or health hazards to the sailing teams that will be competing on the waterway, since the events would take place in a less polluted area of the bay and during the dry season, when there is less chance of rainfall ushering in debris from nearby municipal waters. Paes also said staff would be on hand to remove trash and other solid waste from the event areas so that they don't disrupt the games. -- Brianna Lee in International Buisinenss Times

www.ibtimes.com/rio-olympics

Featured Brokerage
Click on image to enlarge.

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The Last Word
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else. -- Charles Dickens

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