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.

Gaastra Palmavela 2015 Crowns The First Champions Of The Season
Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Palmavela Sunday saw the twelfth edition of the Gaastra PalmaVela Regatta draw to its close. A fleet of 140 boats and 16 nationalities enjoyed a full programme of racing out on the Bay of Palma, which confirmed its reputation with favourable racing conditions throughout the four days of the championship. The 16 participating classes had to wait until the very last day to confirm the first champions of the Mediterranean regatta season.

The winners of the Gaastra PalmaVela 2015 are: Open Season (Wally), Momo (Maxi 72), Azzurra (TP52), Grupo Clinico Dr. Luis Senis (IRC), Airis (ORC 0), Fyord (ORC 1), Pinyol Vermell (ORC 2), La Sirena I (ORC 3), Fehurihi (ORC 4), Bribon Movistar (J80), Flyinghigh (Flying Fifteen), Lazy Daisy (Dragon), Moonbeam IV (Traditional/Classic), Fundacion Damm (2.4), CVP Andratx 2 (Hansa 303 Individual) and RCNP/Fundacion Handisport 1 (Hansa 303 Double). -- Alejandro Varela

Full results: www.palmavela.com

* It has been a winning debut for the new Azzurra, the TP52 that is the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's sporting symbol.

With another first place finish in today's only race held in breezes that never topped 10 knots, Azzurra won PalmaVela, the test event for some of the most competitive TP52s before the 2015 season kicks off next month. Quantum Racing placed second overall followed by Interlodge.

Azzurra looked good in today's light air after yesterday's two first place finishes in fresh breeze. She dominated from the start straight on the pin, controlling the left hand side of the course and tacking first on the windward mark. From then on she stayed at the head of the fleet, lengthening her distance from the others until she finished first with almost a minute's lead on Interlodge. Quantum finished third followed by Alegre.

Azzurra's next event will be on May 19th in Valencia, the beginning of the 52 Super Series. Azzurra's official christening will be held there on Friday, May 22.

2015 Calendar 52 SUPER SERIES
18 to 23 May: Valencia (Spain)
8 to 13 June: Porto Cervo (Italy, Sardinia)
13 to 18 July: Puerto Portals (Spain, Mallorca)
3 to 8 August: Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
15 to 20 September: Cascais (Portugal)

www.azzurra.it
www.52superseries.com

Double Triumph For SAP Extreme Sailing Team
Qingdao, China: China's Olympic sailing city lived up to its well-earned reputation for highly changeable and challenging sailing conditions in Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series, as poor visibility and gusty winds tested the skills of even the most experienced sailors on the circuit. Disappointment at the cancellation of racing on day one due to impenetrable fog was swiftly overtaken by three days of intense and exciting competition.

A dramatic collision during race one between SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Gazprom Team Russia failed to deter the Danish team, skippered by Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner. 

Despite substantial damage to the boat, the team showed remarkable fortitude and focus as they went on to finish the day in first place. Their shore crew worked solidly for 17 hours to repair the extensive damage to the hull, before the boat was craned back into the water minutes before racing resumed on day three. The Danish team continued to maintain a consistently strong position, achieving five wins and 14 podium finishes in 22 races to secure the top spot on the podium.

The eight strong fleet now heads to Cardiff in the UK for Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series.

Land Rover Extreme Sailing Series Act 3, Qingdao standings after Day 4, 22 races

1. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand, 178 points
2. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari, 166
3. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov, 162
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Josh McKnight, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson, 156
5. Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) Edhem Dirvana, Mitch Booth, Selim Kakış, Pedro Andrade, Brock Callen, 137
6. Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi, 115
7. GAC Pindar (GBR) Seve Jarvin, Jack Macartney, Marcus Ashley-Jones, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski, 109
8. Team Extreme Qingdao (CHN) Jonas Warrer, Cheng Ying Kit, Aaron Cooper, Liu Ming, Kong Chengcheng, 104
9. Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Andrea Tesei, Tom Buggy, Stefano Rizzi, 104

extremesailingseries.com

Hudson Wight Adds Value To Smart Initiatives
Hudson Wight Helping to encourage more people to go boating by offering added value to smart initiatives, Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear has joined the RYA Membership Partner Scheme, offering exclusive discounts on its range of products to RYA Standard and Gold members and RYA instructors. This capsule range of offshore and inshore sailing clothing, developed and tested by some of the country's most demanding sailors, is achieving plaudits from customers and in media test reviews and we hope that RYA members will enjoy buying Hudson Wight with some exclusive discounts.

Meanwhile, Fairview Boat Club is a sailing club membership scheme with a difference and, through its affiliate partnership with Fairview Sailing, Hudson Wight is firmly on board. The Club offers a unique and flexible membership allowing you to build an annual sailing programme that fits around your lifestyle. There are no joining fees, just one monthly fee that is then converted into points worth between 20% and 40% more than non-members cash equivalent. As a Fairview Boat Club member you can also spend your points with Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear, Sailing Logic for RYA training and Dream Yacht Charter for worldwide yacht charter. www.fairviewsailing.co.uk/Boat-Club

If you're in the market to try something new and innovative, your first port of call should Hudson Wight online www.hudsonwight.com or pop into our showroom at One The Parade, Cowes.

America's Cup A 'Renaissance' For Island
The America's Cup will provide sustainable community programmes that will benefit all sections of the [Bermuda] community long after the final race has been run.

This was the message from Peter Durhager yesterday as the ACBDA chairman presented the Chamber of Commerce with an update on preparations for the sailing spectacle.

Mr Durhager outlined a string of developments that had already taken place in the West End as teams prepare for the World Series later this year as well as the main event in 2017.

But he also highlighted several initiatives, including the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programme (STEM), the community sailing programme and community outreach classrooms that are designed to benefit young Bermudians and wider society.

Mr Durhager said that 38 Bermudian firms and 189 Bermudian workers had been involved in the $4.7 million project to establish the Team Oracle camp in Dockyard.

He also revealed that organisers were looking at the possibility of holding a superyacht regatta in Bermuda to coincide with the America's Cup in 2017.

www.royalgazette.com

In Town, Shanghai Bound
Giovanni Soldiini and crew on the modified Volvo 70' Maserati arrive in the San Francisco Bay earlier this week after record attempts in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

Thier current goal is to break the 7,000 nm San Francisco to Shanghai record, which has not been challenged in some time. In 1853, Swordfish, built two years before and under the command of Captain Charles Collins, established herself as the fastest ever clipper, covering the route in 32 days and 9 hours, thereby slashing two days off the record previously held by Romance of the Sea.

From there Givanni and crew will head towards OZ in preparation for the Sydney Hobart where they will attempt to nip the 1Day, 18hour and 23 seconds record of Wild Oats XI.

www.pressure-drop.us

Charlie Cumbley Wins OK Dinghy Spring Cup In Medemblik
Charlie Cumbley (GBR) has won the OK Dinghy Spring Cup in Medemblik for The Rüdiger Prinz Trophy at the first attempt after a win in race 7 sealed the event for him. Jim Hunt (GBR) finished second with Greg Wilcox (NZL) just maintaining third after a late charge from Rene Johannsen (DEN).

The forecast strong winds seemed to blow themselves out overnight leaving a choppy sea and 14-18 knots, which gradually reduced during the day. It was a grey day though with rain coming through later. Wilcox made the best of the first race to lead round the first triangle. Then Cumbley came through on the second beat to lead to the finish for his fifth race win and the overall win with a race to spare.

Top five:
1. Charlie Cumbley, GBR, 10 points
2. Jim Hunt, GBR, 18
3. Greg Wilcox, NZL, 27
4. Rene Johannsen, DEN, 28
5. Bo Petersen, DEN, 30

Full results: kzrvhollandia.nl

It's Twins
Persico Persico were delighted to be commissioned to build two new TP52S for the 2015 season. Having built Ran's new Judel- Vrolijk Maxi 72 the previous year we already had an established and valued relationship with this very professional team. The second TP52, Gladiator, is both a testament to the strength of this exciting class as well as the ability of the owners to communicate freely for the good of the class.

While Persico have now built a string of top-level race boats we were particularly pleased to have the opportunity to add this exciting class to our fleet. The benefit of building two boats is two-fold. Firstly, there are substantial savings as both teams split the primary tooling cost down the middle. The other major benefit is that the time to produce the second boat is dramatically reduced, the tooling is ready to go and the guys are very familiar with the process. We started laying the outside skin of Ran on 18 September, Gladiator's outside skin started just nine weeks later yet she left the yard just three weeks after Ran.

Full article in Seahorse magazine:
www.seahorsemagazine.com

Cervantes Trophy Race
Gery Trentesaux's new JPK 10.80, Courrier Du Leon. Photo by Jean-Marie Liot. Click on image to enlarge.

Courrier Du Leon With over 400 yachts crewed by thousands of sailors from over 30 different nations, the 2015 Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship has the largest fleet of offshore racing yachts anywhere in the world. This year the RORC is celebrating its 90th anniversary and a record attendance is highly likely.

The first race of the series in the English Channel was the Cervantes Trophy Race, which started on 2nd May 2015. Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the Societe des Regates du Havre and the Royal Yacht Squadron, the 114 yachts entered were set a 135 nautical mile course from the Squadron Line to Le Havre.

Gery Trentesaux's new JPK 10.80, Courrier Du Leon was the overall winner, taking under 20 hours to complete the course. "This is the first time we have raced the boat and we are delighted with the performance." smiled Gery. "We haven't really tuned up the boat but she will be a nice fast boat once we have had some time on the water. IRC 3 is a very competitive class and it looks like this will be a really good season. The Cervantes Trophy Race had a lot of upwind sailing and I was very surprised how fast Courrier Du Leon was on the wind. The key area of the race was the approach to le Havre, we stayed south and tacked just off Barfleur, which was perfect. Courrier Du Leon will be taking part in the North Sea Race and I am sure I speak for all sailors when I say, we will all miss Piet Vroon, who is not sailing at the moment due to a back operation. We all wish him a speedy recovery."

In IRC Canting Keel, IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing took Line Honours in 15hrs 23mins 58secs and the class win from Chris Le Prevost's IMOCA 60, Rosalba, sailed by Andy Greenwood.

In IRC One, there was an emphatic win for Nick Jones' First 44.7 Lisa, which won the class by nearly an hour on corrected time from Mark Emerson's Rodman 42, Phosphorus.

IRC Three was won by Courrier du Leon, just under ten minutes ahead of Eric Mordret's JPK10.80, Raphaello.

Racing for the RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the 181 nautical mile North Sea Race from Harwich to Scheveningen, which starts on Friday 15th May.

For full details of results for the Cervantes Trophy Race and the racing schedule for the RORC Season's Points Championship visit www.rorc.org

Team Alandia Wins Inaugural Sani Cup
Photo by Icarus Sailing Media. Click on image to enlarge.

Sani Cup Sani Resort, Greece: Under clear blue skies, perfect winds and within the watchful gaze of the gods on Mt Olympus as well as enthusiastic spectators afloat and ashore, Staffan Lindberg and his Team Alandia - GP Batteries from Finland have claimed victory in the inaugural edition of the ISAF Grade 3 Sani Cup, the lead event on the 2015 Hellenic Match Racing Tour.

Lindberg's 2-0 dominance in the Final against runner-up Team Nespresso skippered by perennial Greek 470 champion Panagiotis Mantis was in contrast to Nespresso's undefeated dominance of the 12-team field in the single round robin, which was run from the event's start on Friday through today.

Despite being the top-ranked team in the competition, Team Alandia struggled on the first day, winning only a few of their matches against lesser-ranked teams. And yesterday's unsettled weather and rain showers produced wind conditions too light to allow for the completion of more than just a few flights, so the Finns were confined to the beach all day while awaiting their turn in the rotation.

Winning the Petit Final for 3rd place was Team Solgar Ursa Minor, led by skipper Jason Spanomanolis, who was second in the HMRT 2014, first in the Greek Match Race nationals in 2013 and 2014. His victory had to be earned after losing the first match in a hard-fought three-match contest with Camilla Ulrikkeholm from Denmark, the world's top-ranked team in the women's rankings, and winner of the WIM Series in 2014.

In all, teams from five countries - Finland, Greece, Denmark, Sweden and Turkey - were represented this year, with plans to expand the international presence here next year.

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

Life In A Liferaft
Ever wondered what life in a liferaft is really like in rough weather? Yachting Monthly's Chris Beeson went to the Bay of Biscay to find out.

Most of us are familiar with the extraordinary accounts recorded by the Baileys, the Robertsons, Steve Callahan et al about surviving in liferafts for weeks and months on end. Fortunately for us, if we ever find ourselves having to abandon ship - and we've taken advantage of the life-saving GMDSS technology easily available to us - it's very unlikely that we'll be adrift for more than 24 hours, probably much less.

Though we're familiar with the stories, few of us have ever been in a liferaft, fewer still in open waters. The aim of this test, kindly arranged by Plastimo at our request, was to find out what we might experience in that short time in a way that could never be experienced in a pool or in sheltered waters. Forewarned is forearmed.

The soft surroundings and yielding floor of the liferaft rocked gently as the waves swept beneath us. It's not an easy sensation to summarise but imagine lying on a waterbed in a tent pitched on a giant jelly.

Within minutes, that calm feeling was to deepen into a dangerous sense of apathy and nausea as the constant flexing of the raft and changing of horizon induced seasickness.

Read more at www.yachtingmonthly.com

Emirates Team New Zealand Confirms Changes To Board
Emirates Team New Zealand said today that Dr Keith Turner has resigned from the Emirates Team New Zealand Board.

CEO Grant Dalton, who is currently overseas, said that the role of Chair of Emirates Team New Zealand over the past 18 months has been hugely demanding from a time perspective and Dr Turner felt he could no longer devote such a significant amount of time to the role.

Board meetings have been called regularly during the week and at short notice and meeting these obligations has been made difficult as Dr Turner is not based in Auckland.

"We thank Dr Turner for his significant contribution during his tenure and recognize the heavy demand that has been placed on both Dr Turner and the other directors" said Dalton.

Emirates Team New Zealand is reviewing the governance requirements for the future as we recognize that private funders both current and future should have a greater role in setting the direction and providing oversight of the campaign. Until we reach a conclusion with regards to the most appropriate governance arrangements we will not be formally appointing a Chairman to replace Dr Turner.

emirates-team-new-zealand.americascup.com

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* From Bob Fisher: Butch Dalrymple-Smith is right - any move by the IOC to diminish sailing in the Olympics diminishes sailing.  One only has to see the IOC's attitude to the state of Guanabara Bay and its reluctance to move the sailing events away from the foetid and dangerous site to one with clean water to begin to worry about the IOC's relationship to our sport. Not only the IOC but every National Authority that fails to challenge the Rio organising authority to move to a healthier place.  All are guilty of diminishing our sport. We stand to be the laughing stock of the world if we are prepared to sail through turds and dead bodies amid the general detritus. We, the non-competitors, should all act to ensure the change is made.

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

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