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.

Softbank Team Japan Announces Challenge For 2017 America's Cup
SoftBank Corp. and the Kansai Yacht Club announced they have come to an agreement to challenge for the 2017 America's Cup. As SoftBank Team Japan, the team will compete in the 2015 America's Cup World Series events, and challenge for the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda.

The campaign was confirmed today by Kazuhiko Sofuku, "Fuku", a veteran of four previous America's Cup campaigns who has been appointed as the team's general manager.

SoftBank Team Japan is challenging under the banner of the Kansai Yacht Club, among the most distinguished clubs in the country.

A base level of technical assistance from ORACLE TEAM USA will be provided to SoftBank Team Japan as it prepares for the 2015 America's Cup World Series events.

"SoftBank Team Japan is a very positive addition to the America's Cup," said Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller. "The Japanese challenge will increase interest in the America's Cup across Asia which is good news for all of our teams and partners."

americascup.com

The Waiting Game
Overall leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) positioned themselves ominously at the head of the fleet midway through Leg 6 on Wednesday as the six boats continued to jostle for position.

At the beginning of the week, the Emirati crew, which has a seven-point lead at the top after five of the nine stages, were concerned they were losing touch with the pace-setters as they fell some 20 nautical miles (nm) off the lead to the west of the main pack.

Slowly but surely, however, they have edged their way back up the leaderboard and finally overhauled Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) at the top early on Wednesday (0940 UTC), albeit by the thinnest of margins (0.5nm) from the Dutch boat.

There are still just under half the overall race points to race for and more than 2,500nm left in a 5,010nm leg from Itajaí, Brazil, to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, where the boats are expected to arrive around May 7.

But the mood on Azzam is, understandably, sky high and there is a clear confidence in the way navigator Simon Fisher (GBR) is routing the boat through the Atlantic towards the Caribbean islands.

volvooceanrace.com

Volvo Ocean Race Stopover In Newport Expected To Lift R.I. Economy
The City of Newport is gearing up to be the only North American stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race, a nine-month, 10-port circumnavigation that local officials say will be another feather in the cap for the former home to the America's Cup - and a huge boost to the City-by-the-Sea's economy.

Every major hotel in Newport is booked from May 14 through May 17. Also, many of the rooms in the smaller hotels in the city and on Aquidneck Island have been rented. There's also some spillover in hotels in Providence, according to tourism officials.

State officials have said the event will generate tourism in Rhode Island and give the state international exposure, similar to the previous America's Cup World Series.

When the America's Cup World Series was held in Newport, the event had a direct economic impact of $23.5 million in sales to Rhode Island businesses, according to a report from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, which has been renamed the Commerce Corporation. The total impact including indirect multipliers was $38.2 million, and the event attracted 65,000 visitors to Fort Adams State Park, the report said.

www.providencejournal.com

Improve Your Chances Of Survival - Be Seen And Get Rescued Fast!
Exporsure Marine You may think a man overboard will never happen to your crew. If it does, being found fast could be the difference between life and death.

Exposure's MOB strobe and searchlight is designed to do just that - make the difference between life and death.

As soon as the buoyant, pocket-sized MOB hits the water, its 1300 lumens strobe starts flashing automatically. What's more, it will keep flashing for up to 40 hours. 1300 lumens means it's highly visible from the air and can be seen from more than five miles away.

The MOB strobe is a really powerful search light as well, so it serves as the perfect personal crew torch for offshore racing too.

What is it like to be a man overboard in pitch dark? See the video below.

One night, your MOB light might just make the difference.

Contact oceansafety.com for dealers or visit exposuremarine.co.uk/mob for more information.

California Kick Off For 16th World Match Racing Tour Season
Next week the Long Beach Yacht Club in California will play host to the two opening events of the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour season, The Ficker Cup and Congressional Cup.

Under the World Tour's new event format launched earlier this year, the top six placed skippers from the Ficker Cup (8-10 May) will be awarded points to the 2015/16 World Championship leader-board. The top two Ficker Cup skippers will also qualify for places at the following week's opening World Championship Tour Event, The Congressional Cup (13-17 May), this year celebrating its 51st edition.

The three-day Ficker Cup Trophy was established in 1980 by LBYC to honour Bill Ficker, winning skipper of the 1970 America's Cup and Star class Champion.

This year's eight strong skipper field including New Zealand's Chris Steele, currently ranked no. 11 on the ISAF Match Race Rankings (International Sailing Federation). Steele is fast becoming a familiar name on the World Tour following appearances at the Argo Group Gold Cup in 2013 and Chicago Match Cup in 2014.

wmrt.com

ISAF World Rankings
The ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 27 April 2015 have been released.

Top 30 in each Olympic event receive ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland invitations.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, a 200-point regatta, and Trofeo Princesa Sofia, a 100-point event, ensures plenty of changes

Men and Women's Formula Kite Rankings included for the first time.

Top ranked:

470 (Men): Panagiotis Mantis / Pavlos Kagialis, GRE
470 (Women): Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
49er (Men): David Gilmour / Rhys Mara, AUS
49er FX (Women): Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA
Laser (Men): Tom Burton, AUS
Laser Radial (Women): Alison Young, GBR
Finn (Men): Edward Wright, GBR
Nacra 17 (Mixed): Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
RS:X (Men): Byron Kokkalanis, GRE
RS:X (Women): Bryony Shaw, GBR
Kiteboarding (Men): Riccardo Andrea Leccese, ITA
Kiteboarding (Women): Elena Kalinina, RUS

The full ISAF World Sailing Ranking lists, results from all ISAF Graded events, lists of Graded events throughout the year, Ranking release dates and the method of calculation for the Rankings can be found on the ISAF website at www.sailing.org/rankings

Hellenic Match Racing Tour
After a successful debut season in 2014, the Hellenic Match Racing Tour returns with an international line-up of sailors.

Eight world class teams are set to compete in a series of Match Races against the backdrop of four beautiful locations; the Sani Resort in Chalkidiki, Paros in the Cyclades and Athens.

Racing on Platu 25 keelboats, the opening match of the 2015 Hellenic Match Racing Tour kicks off on 1 May 2015, for three days of racing at the Sani Resort in the Gulf of Kassandra, Chalkidiki. The second leg will see the fleet descend on the beautiful bay off Parikia, the capital of Paros from 22-24 May. The third stop will be in the Flisvos Marina, the largest Superyacht Marina in Athens, from 18 to 20 September. The climax of the 2015 season will see the race track set off the harbour of Mikrolimano, a natural racing arena in Piraeus, Athens from 2-4 October 2015.

The 2015 Hellenic Match Racing Tour is organized by Icarus Sailing Media, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and with the support of the Greek Tourism Organization.

www.hmrt.gr
www.facebook.com/hellenicmatchracingtour

Old Maps Show A Very Different Dublin Bay Before The Walls
Dublin Bay was we know it today looked very different three centuries ago, as TheJournal.ie highlights with a selection of enlightening historical maps.

As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, this week marks the 300th anniversary of the decision to build the Great South Wall in an effort to solve the centuries-old problem of silting in the main channels to Dublin Port.

At that time, the area north of Townsend Street that today is the south Docklands did not exist, as the Liffey flowed right up to what was then called Lazar's Hill or Lazy Hill - while Ringsend was a sandpit that extended into the bay at the river's mouth.

The wall changed all that, as the land between was reclaimed and the Liffey's course straightened and strengthened over the 80 years of its construction.

afloat.ie

www.thejournal.ie/dublin-bay-history

Gaastra Palmavela
The twelfth edition of the Gaastra PalmaVela opens the Mediterranean racing season with outstanding participation. 140 boats from 16 nations will race for four days in the Bay of Palma. Today the regatta was officially launched at the Real Club Nautico de Palma.

The organizing committee has decided to distribute the fleet into 17 classes, designing an intense competition program consisting of up to nine races for the J80, Flying Fifteen and Dragon one design, seven for IRC and TP52, up to six races for Wally and Maxi 72, and up to five for the ORC, Classic and Vintage, and up to four for disabled sailing 2.4 and Hansa 303.

Among the participants this year there are several defending champions in their respective categories, such as Magic Carpet 3 (Wally), Elena Nova (ORC 0), Pinyol Vermell (ORC 2), Bribón Movistar (J80), Violeta del Reino (Hansa 303), Gecko (Flying Fifteen), Robin Hennessy (Dragon) and Samurai (Classic).

The first starting signal is scheduled for 12h00 Thursday, April 30th. At that time the nine components of the spectacular Wally fleet, the class Maxi 72, IRC and TP52, which include the expected debut of the new Quantum Racing, Azzurra and Alegre, will jump into the racing field.

The Gaastra PalmaVela 2015 regatta is the first scoring race for the official circuit in the Wally class, is part of the IMA (International Maxi Association) 2015 calendar and is also the Spanish Cup for disabled sailing in the classes 2.4, Hansa 303 individual and Hansa 303 double.

www.palmavela.com

Sailboat Racing Is Officially Now A Six-Continent Sport
Seahorse At the London 2012 Olympics the Laser fleet witnessed 48 sailors in as many nations competing, more than most Olympic sports achieve. The Laser Radial was not far behind with 41 national flags on the startline fighting for medals, a top-10 finish and personal bests.

While gold was taken by Australia's Tom Slingsby in the Laser and China's Lijia Xu in the Radial, a glance at the entry lists shows how widespread Olympic sailing has now become. Sailors from the Cook Islands, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Monaco, Tunisia and Trinidad and Tobago ensured that every continent had an Olympic sailor at London 2012.

And they were not there simply to make up the numbers... the traditional powerhouses of Olympic sailing were upset in many ways as Xu claimed China's first Olympic gold in a dinghy and Pavlos Kontides made a remarkable breakthrough claiming Cyprus's first ever Olympic medal, silver, in any sport. Sailing in China and Cyprus found itself on the front pages thanks to the success of their Olympians and this will inspire young sailors everywhere.

Full story in Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com

2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships To Be Held In Aarhus
The ISAF Sailing World Championships in Aarhus in 2018 will be the biggest World Championships ever. This was the message when the contract was signed today between the organisers and the International Sailing Federation, ISAF.

It will be a World Championships of records when the Bay of Aarhus forms the backdrop for the World Championships in 2018 for all Olympic boat classes. In terms of both the number of sailors and the number of participating countries, this will be an event that will surpass the sailing competition at the Olympic Games.

The 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships are organised in collaboration between the International Sailing Federation, ISAF, Dansk Sejlunion, Sailing Aarhus, Sport Event Denmark and the City of Aarhus. The parties share a joint ambition about ensuring that the event becomes the biggest World Championships ever for Olympic boat classes.

In Santander, 1,167 sailors from 82 nations took part. The area for the sailing finals was visited by 285,000 people, and the event was covered by 196 journalists. The local authorities assess that the financial effect of the World Championships amounted to approx.37.18 million Euros.

www.sailing.org

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2003 Maxi Dolphin 65. 980,000 Euros. Located Antibes.

Very nice cruiser racer from the board of famous Italian Designer Luca Brenta. The Maxi Dolphin 65 by Luca Brenta represents the latest concept in medium-light displacement yachts, designed for high performance under sail without sacrificing interior space. The accommodation, in fact, includes a large two-berth owner's cabin located forward, an immense open-space saloon amidship - with the galley area in full view - and two aft guest cabins, each with twin berths.

Details

Contact Bernard Gallay - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Mob: +33 (0)6 86 67 80 24.

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

The Last Word
Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage. -- H. L. Mencken

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