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.

Lisbon Gears Up
Team Brunel were on Tuesday battling towards possible victory in Lisbon on Leg 7, just over two weeks after skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED) had declared that their challenge for the overall Volvo Ocean Race trophy was likely to fall short.

The Dutch boat had eked out a 6.6-nautical mile (nm) advantage over MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) in optimum sailing conditions during the final 'sprint' towards the Portuguese capital in the transatlantic stage from Newport, Rhode Island (Tuesday, 1244 UTC).

However, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) were just 3nm astern of the Spanish boat while the race's overall leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), were lagging in fifth behind Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA).

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), meanwhile, were still trekking north of the fleet, but had lost the stronger breeze which had helped the women's crew make up an 80nm deficit on the pack on Sunday.

So the 12th edition's second and final 2,800nm transatlantic crossing is, once again, heading for a nerve-wracking, too-tight-to-call climax with the latest predictions forecasting a finish of around 0600 UTC (0700 local time)  on Wednesday morning in Lisbon.

* The ISAF-appointed independent international jury will be hearing four cases during the Lisbon stopover after alleged breaches of sailing rules during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, it was announced today.

Team SCA are to answer two cases: that they sailed against the traffic flow in a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), and, additionally, into a Rhode Island Sound exclusion zone. Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE are also facing protests that they sailed against the traffic flow in a TSS.

The Race Committee has brought all the cases to the jury. If a penalty is to be given, the jury has discretion on what it will be.

No date has yet been set for the hearings although race organisers say they want to have them settled as soon as possible following the fleet's expected arrival in Lisbon.

* Live stream coverage begins Wednesday May 27.

volvooceanrace.com

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Peter Johnstone (USA)
'Cojones to build the G4? Brass cojones!' - Greg Tawaststjerna; 'Pushing the envelope is all part of the deal' - Kathy Turner; 'One giant leap forward for the entire industry' - Kash Okahkonen; 'Johnstone rocks' - Steve Harrison; 'He walks the walk and the locals in Wanchese love him' - Charles Parker; 'What Peter has accomplished is nothing short of spectacular, both the yard and the boat' - Augie Diaz; 'A foiling cruising boat, way to go, Peter' - Erwin Koridon; 'We need more people like this' - Ehrhardt Mads.

This month's nominees:

 

Bruno Dubois (FRA)
The continued success of Dongfeng in the Volvo owes a great deal to the calm planning of campaign manager Bruno Dubois. This was the toughest of offshore projects to take on - just to deliver a safe lap of the world with sailors whose inexperience had led skipper Charles Caudrelier to doubt its feasibility. Now the team has proved themselves among the very best in a field of the highest quality

 

Brad Read (USA)
Another success in this Volvo race was the event's first visit to Newport RI. Just as the AC45s demonstrated a couple of years ago, chase electronic media all you want but for impact nothing comes close to thousands of bums on seats; and with a deep sailing history Newport's knowledgeable crowd was always the one to deliver. Brad Read was the key driver of this brilliant visit by the race, from initial bid to final delivery. Very nice job, sir

 

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month/vote-for-sailor-of-the-month

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/digital

Remember This From Yachting World?
Hudson Wight "Impressive for the price"

Toby Hodges tested and reviewed our HW1s and we thought we'd remind you of some of his comments:

"One set of foulies for use no matter how far offshore you are headed sounds appealing. But then so does gear that costs around half the price of leading brands - Hudson Wight save money by only selling their products direct from their website or through affiliated sailing clubs.

The garments are designed in the UK and manufactured in the Far East. We tried the HW1 foulies pictured, attracted by their high specification and good design. They feature the sort of three-layer lamination construction usually reserved for top-end offshore/ocean suits, using a performance fabric designed for Hudson Wight called OceanVent.

That's impressive for the price. They look smart and have high vis' styling. The construction quality seems durable and they feel light when worn, with a tactile, soft finish."

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

Fitted Dinghy Season Opener
Click on image to enlarge.

Fitted Dinghy Hamilton, Bermuda: Contest III made a clean sweep of honours during the traditional Heritage Day Bermuda Fitted Dinghy season opener in St George's Harbour on Sunday.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club boat retained the Heritage Trophy, Anniversary Cup and Leon D Fox Cup with skipper Peter Miller at the helm.

Making Contest III's sweep all the more impressive was the fact the boat led every leg around the windward/leeward course. It is the third time in four years that Contest III has made a clean sweep of honours and the twelfth successive time they have won the Heritage Trophy, which is traditionally presented to the winning team by the Governor.

The tone for the day was set when Miller and crew steered Contest III across the upwind finish line in the opening race for the Heritage Trophy.

Victory, owned by regatta hosts St George's Dinghy and Sports Club, took second followed by Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club's Elizabeth and Sandys Boat Club's Challenger.

Contest then retained the Anniversary Cup in the second race with Victory again taking second while Elizabeth and Challenger both sank.

Challenger sank before the start of the race and did not start while Elizabeth started but came unstuck on the second run to the leeward mark.

The fitted dinghy is unique to Bermuda and has been in existence for more than a century. -- Colin Thompson in the Royal Gazettte

www.royalgazette.com

* Unique doesn't begin to describe the Fitted Dinghy

Here are the complete rules (jettison crew, handicap based on cubic volume, no port-starboard, bail furiously!!!)

And a piece I wrote for boats.com a dozen years ago

Farr 40 West Coast Championship
The Italian boys aboard Alberto Rossi's Enfant Terrible are hoping for a repeat of the boat speed and crew work they displayed while winning the Midwinter Championship. Class president Martin Hill and the Estate Master team arrive from Australia looking to build on their impressive second place finish at the 2014 Rolex World Championship. Gordon Leon and his amateur crew sailing Foil are trying to represent host Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club by capturing the Corinthian Division.

Those are just some of the interesting storylines to follow as the Farr 40 International Circuit prepares for the second event of the season. A strong fleet of 15 boats has gathered at Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club for the 2015 West Coast Championship, being held May 27-30 on the Pacific Ocean.

Joining the fray in Cabrillo Beach is Estate Master, which made quite a strong statement with a runner-up result at the 2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. Lisa and Martin Hill had not raced on the International Circuit since 2011, but showed up in San Francisco and used the Rolex Big Boat Series as preparation for what proved a remarkable performance at the World Championship regatta.

"We figured we would be a bit rusty after such a long layoff from the circuit, but we found our legs rather quickly and wound up with an absolutely great result in the worlds," Martin Hill said.

The Hills were so pumped up about their highest finish at a world championship that they are putting in more effort this season, adding the West Coast Championship and California Cup to their schedule in hopes of breaking through and securing the ultimate goal. Multi-time world match racing champion Ian Williams has joined the team as tactician.

"That's the only crew change and was out of necessity since Andrew Campbell is with Oracle now," Hill said. "We are very pleased to have a sailor the caliber of Ian Williams coming aboard.

farr40.org

SK2 Dinghy

SK2 - On Tour!
The fast and fun sportsboat with a canting keel. Developed by Swing Keel Sailing Ltd and built by Ovington boats.

SK2 is on TOUR, we are very excited to announce the tour around central Europe, we will be test sailing the SK2 in 5 different countries and 8 sailing venues, including Hungary, Austria, Germany Switzerland and Netherlands.

For more information on the tour dates and venues, the SK2 and what it has to offer visit www.sk2sailing.com

 

Narrow Lead For Martijn Van Muyden At Finn World Masters In Kavala
Twelve years on from his last major Finn regatta Martijn van Muyden (NED) has taken a narrow lead at the Finn World Masters in Kavala, Greece from Yuri Tokovoi (UKR) and Vladimir Krutskikh (RUS). However, the story of the day was 70 year old Henry Sprague (USA) winning the first race to give him a clear lead in the Legend fleet at the half way stage of the regatta. Other race wins went to Thierry Van Vierssen (NED), Dmitry Petrov (RUS) and Laurent Hay (FRA).

After a two hour delay to wait for the sea breeze to fill in, two more races were sailed in a building breeze that topped out at about 10-14 knots in the second race, while in the first it remained light and patchy.

Racing in Kavala continues until Friday with one more race scheduled on Wednesday at 14.00 after the Annual Masters Meeting is held in the morning.

Results after four races
1. Martijn Van Muyden, NED, 15
2. Yuri Tokovoi, UKR, 16
3. Vladimir Krutskikh, RUS, 16
4. Dmitry Petrov, RUS, 17
5. Giacomo Giovanelli, ITA, 28
6. Karel van Hellemond, NED, 33
7. Laurent Hay, FRA, 39
8. Pete Eckert, SUI, 42
9. Thierry Van Vierssen, NED, 44
10. Walter Riosa, ITA, 44

Full results are here: iim.teikav.edu.gr/sailrc_public/ranking.php

www.finnworldmasters.com

Normandy Channel Race
"You need nerves of steel in the Normandy Channel Race", "The Normandy Channel Race is a race fraught with difficulties and we encountered one this morning and got caught in its clutches."

Yannick Bestaven - Le Conservateur - and Miranda Merron - Campagne 2 France - perfectly sum up what was a familiar scenario for several of the Class40s off Lizard Point, south-west England.

Whilst caution was calling for the boats to get a few miles offshore to avoid the traditional lack of wind caused by the land mass, both boats fell into a windless hole and saw their lead over their direct rivals melt away. Meantime, passing within a few dozen metres of the headland then latching onto some breeze and stretching out their lead by an extra 3 miles was none other than Bretagne - Credit Mutuel!

Benefiting from their position slightly shy of the leading pack, Express also opted for the inside lane with Solidaires En Pelotons - ARSEP, both managing to secure 3rd and 4th place. Hedging her bets, Concise 8 sailed through the middle of the two options, limiting the damage and holding onto 2nd place, Serenis Consulting following suit to move back up to 7th place.

There's a way to go yet in the Normandy Channel Race and already a new tactical stage is looming with the climb up to the Irish lighthouse at Tuskar Rock. The rounding of this course mark and the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) at Land's End in an easing wind, had reduced the lead of the first boat to just 3.3 miles by the 13:00 GMT ranking.

According to the weather forecasts, tonight is likely to see several hours with very little breeze and then the wind is set to back before the first of the fleet round the Tuskar Rock lighthouse mid-morning and link onto the descent of the Irish coast. -- Kate Jennings

www.normandy-race.com

Silvers Marine Scottish Series
Photos by Marc Turner, www.pfmpictures.co.uk. Click on image for photo gallery.

Scottish Series Clyde Cruising Club, Silvers Marine, sponsors and all competitors offer their congratulations to Robert McConnell and the crew of Fools Gold on winning the Silvers Marine Scottish Series 2015.

After four days, 11 races and some of the best sailing in Scotland, the crew certainly had the luck of the Irish taking the overall title, along with winning IRC Class 2. Race organisers awarded the coveted trophy to Fools Gold based on the best performance in the tightest class. And that's not all, the Waterford Harbour Sailing team received the Crawford McInnes Trophy sponsored by Hempel Paints for the best under 25 helm. They also take home the trophy for the best IRC class boat.

In IRC Class 1 it was Steven Cowie's Zephyr who came out on top. This was a hotly contested class all weekend and Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore's Eala of Rhu, who had been lying in third place overnight, had an outstanding final day. However, it was Zephyr who claimed the victory and it was wonderful to see Scotland's three Commodore's Cup team boats ending the regatta in the top three places, with Rod Stuart and William Ram's Aurora taking the final podium position.

In the J70 Iain Atkins in boats.com dominated this class with straight firsts across the regatta. He was followed home by Jacuzzi and Django to win the Scottish Championship.

Full results: www.clyde.org/scottish-series/

Letters To The Editor - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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 Daniel Charles: One of the solutions to encourage sailing proposed by Ken Greenough's has been tried in France: nearly all clubs have communal boats. And what is the result? Sales of dinghies to private persons are now about 1% (one percent) of what they were 45-50 years ago!

Why did the baby-boomers love sailing and they grandchildren don't? For one simple reason: at the time (which was also my time!) sailing was a way of life, you sailed for pleasure, you read about it, you discussed about it, you dreamed about it. It was cultural and social. Now it has been downgraded to a sport which you practice for a few years before switching to bungee-jumping or bicycle or whatever. Sailing has been killed by competition: now if you can't be Ben Ainslie you're nothing and do something else. The pleasure, the banter, the yarns, the delicacy, the adventure, the everlasting passion... have been sacrificed on the altar of Holy Competition.

Today, the readership of some yachting magazines averages 60 years old: sailing is following to its tomb the last generation who knew it was fun, and charming, and fascinating, and much nobler than a reassurance that you are better than the next guy. Sailing is not about being better than the next guy: it is a way to better oneself.

You want to save sailing? First tow offshore all the sailing federations and sink them! Any establishment which invests only in a minuscule minority its market won't stay afloat -that's precisely what the federations did, and the reason sailing is sinking.

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Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679222
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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
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