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

Britain's Robin Elsey Is Figaro First Rookie
The opening leg of the Solitaire du Figaro proved a stern test for the 39 sailors taking part with light upwind conditions for much of the 460-mile passage from Bordeaux to Sanxenxo in northern Spain and several transitions when the wind died completely.

The finish turned into a real test of endurance as the exhausted skippers, who had typically been at sea for three-and-a-half days, tried to coax their boats over the line off the shores of the Ria de Pontevedra in almost no wind at all.

As usual the top-10 places were taken by French sailors with victory going to Thierry Chabagny on Gedimat who got in 15 minutes ahead of two-time Solitaire winner and pre-race favourite, Yann Elies on Groupe Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir.

The wind gods had a big say in the overall standings with the first eight boats getting in within 36 minutes. After that there were big gaps with one hour to ninth and another hour to 11th.

This was Chabagny's first stage win on his 14th attempt at the Solitaire du Figaro and he was understandably over the moon to have finally broken his duck on a difficult opening leg that saw a tight leading bunch fight it out all the way from Bordeaux.

But this was an impressive leg for the eight-strong British contingent. Closest to the top-10 was Jack Bouttell on GAC Concise in 11th position, even if the time gap to eighth leaves him with a lot to do in the following legs.

Brought up in Australia but now sailing for Britain, Bouttell enjoyed leading the fleet away from the start on Bordeaux's Gironde river and this performance confirms that he is back to his impressive form of two years ago. Not far behind him was Sam Matson on board Chatham in 15th.

But the star of the show was Robin Elsey from Falmouth at the helm of Artemis 43, a current member of the Cowes-based Artemis Offshore Academy, who sailed a brilliant race on debut, finishing 16th and claiming the coveted top-spot on the rookie podium.

Had it not been for the park-up at the finish, Elsey might have been even higher in the ranking, having sailed most the race in 12th or 13th place. Behind him Henry Bomby was the fourth Brit in the top-20, finishing 18th on Rockfish Red. -- Ed Gormann

www.artemisoffshoreacademy.com

* Two skippers have packed it in... completely becalmed they elected to motor into port to prepare for leg 2.

Marc Pouydebat (France AVC) and Tolga Ekrem Pamir (Un jour, un homme, un arbre) are both rookies.

www.lasolitaire.com

The Plot Thickens
An independent ISAF jury's decision to impose a penalty point on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's closest rivals for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 title could, paradoxically, leave Ian Walker's crew with an unwanted headache for the final two legs.

The Emirati boat's skipper had previously conceded that his tactics for the closing legs, having opened up a formidable six-point advantage, would be to 'cover' Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA).

Anyone thinking that Walker and co will consequently sleep that much better on the eve of Sunday's (June 7) Leg 8 departure, may have pause for thought, however.

The Briton will no longer have just one boat to 'cover'.

He needs to keep a very close eye on both Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team and with Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) now back in a restored seven-strong fleet, there are several permutations that could yet see Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing miss out on the grand prize.

Walker sees things pretty simply: "We've got to finish in the top three or top four - twice - or just beat them (Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team)," he said.

volvooceanrace.com

Dorade's Quest To Repeat Her 1931 Transatlantic Race Victory
In late June, one of sailing's most celebrated yachts will attempt to retrace the steps of her first, and most significant, victory. The 52-foot yawl Dorade, owned by Pam Levy and Matt Brooks (Tiburon, Calif.), will join 40 other boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015.

Dorade, the seventh design from the Sparkman & Stephens design shop, was barely a year old when Olin and Rod Stephens and a crew of five sailors, including their father, started the 1931 Transatlantic Race off Newport, R.I., bound for Plymouth, England, 2,800 miles away. The trip took just over 17 days. Dorade was the first boat to finish and the race's overall champion on corrected time.

For the Stephens brothers, it was a transformative moment: in the coming years, they would each take on primary roles in the development of the sport. Dorade would make her own wake as well, stringing together an impressive, unparalleled for the time, series of victories on the East and West Coasts of the United States and in Europe.

After a series of significant re-fits, the boat was returned to original condition a few years ago by Levy and Brooks. Perfect for installation in a museum, many said, or for civilized day racing on the classic yacht circuit. But Levy and Brooks had other plans, namely to take the grand dame of ocean racing and repeat all of the races it won in the 1930s, including the Transatlantic Race, Newport Bermuda, Transpac and Rolex Fastnet.

Two years ago, Dorade won overall, corrected-time honors in the Transpac Race, beating a host of the latest carbon-fiber rockets; in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, she took first in her class under IRC.

"Olin and Rod designed one hell of a boat," says Brooks. "I haven't met anyone who has sailed on her who doesn't learn to love her and trust her. She's very strong, very dependable; she just needs to be treated right. With wood boats, you're always in refit mode. But we're racing and sailing this boat 10,000 miles a year and she absolutely responds to that."

transatlanticrace.com

Onboard video of Dorade’s winning 1931 Transatlantic Race performance; she completed the course in 17 days, one hour, 14 minutes.

Seahorse July 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

World news
Gitana work towards full (offshore) flight, Franck Cammas welcomes the 'budget' AC, mixed signals as New Zealand 'backs' Oracle, Nicho prepares to go afloat (again) and the USA (at last) wakes up to round-the-world racing. Blue Robinson, Ivor Wilkins, Patrice Carpentier, Carlos Pich, Dobbs Davis

Paul Cayard
And a very different sailboat race

IRC column
So why all the fuss about transparency? James Dadd

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Star Class European Championship
Gaeta, Italy: Two races sailed in moderate winds for Day 1.

Top ten:
1. Lars Grael / Samuel Goncalves, BRA, 4 points
2. Alessandro Pascolato / Henry Boening, BRA, 8
3. Mark Renolds / Sergio Langertenghi, USA, 9
4. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux, FRA, 9
5. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA, 10
6. Torben Grael / Guillherme de Almeida, BRA, 14
7. Tom Lofstedt / Jesper Sundman, SWE, 18
8. Admar Neto / Alexandre Figueiredo de Freitas, BRA, 20
9. Christian Scheinecker / Gebhard Wallinger, AUT, 23
10. Giampiero Poggi / Manlio Corsi, ITA, 25

www.stareurogaeta.it/wordpress/

Junior and Llanoria Victorious at the 2015 Six Metre World Championship
Photo by Fiona Brown, www.fionabrown.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

La Trinite Sur Mer, France: In a spectacular two-race light airs showdown local hero Yann Marilley, crewed by Nicolas Berthoud, Kaspar Schadegg, Philippe Durr and Alexandre Nicole aboard the 1981 Pelle Petterson designed FRA177 Junior, claimed the 2015 International Six Metre World Championship hosted by the Societe Nautique de la Trinite-sur-mer

This is the second time that Yann Marilley's name will have been engraved on the Six Metre World Cup Trophy, the first being in 2011 in Helsinki. Junior on the other hand has already won the trophy no less than three times, in 1999, 2007 and 2011.

The Classic Division for yachts built prior to 1965 produced an equally close finish in which Peter Hoffman's elegant 1948 Olin Stephens' designed US83 Llanoria, helmed by Eric Jespersen and crewed by Herb Cole, Peter Watkins, Kris Bundy and Peter Hoffmann and Matthew Henley, was ultimately victorious. This was the second time Eric Jespersen has won prestigious Djinn Trophy for the Classic Division, the first being at Rhode Island in 2009.

Top Five Results

Open Division NB - The Open Division results are currently provisional pending the reopening of a protest with the jury on Friday morning, the results of which may effect 5th and 6th place)

1. Junior - Yann Marilley, FRA, 15 points
2. Sophie II - Huge Stenbeck, SUI, 22
3. Blade - Steve Kinsey, CAN, 29
4. Courage X - Alba Batzill, GER, 35
5. Scoundrel One - Bertie Bicket, GBR, 40
6. Tsigane - B Berthier/N Driss, FRA, 44

Classic Division

1. Llanoria - Eric Jespersen, USA, 22
2. Titia - Andy Postle, GBR, 28
3. Gallant - Ben Mumford, USA, 29
4. Lucie - Matt Brooks, USA, 36
5. Flapper - Lars Guck, USA, 38

Full results: 6metreworlds.com/results/

Windy Start
Photo by Elena Razina. Click on image for photo gallery.

The first EUROSAF Match Racing, Open European Championship 2015, Sails of White Nights-the National Palace Congress Cup, Official Event of WMRT has started.

So yachtsmen from France, Poland and Russia won their first victories. The first six crews were lucky as the wind was only 12-14 kts with gusts up to 24 kts.

The two first flights passed quickly. A bit of delay was announced as flight-technical team was repairing breakdowns on the boats. These breakdowns happened because of the wind that became stronger, 16-20 kts with gusts up to 26 kts. The umpires at first tried to give certain instructions to the crews, but the wind increased up to 33kts and the decision was to wait on shore.

Thus after two flights six crews have got one point.

The crews of Ekaterina Ananina (RUS) and Adrian Maier-Ring (GER) haven't participated yet.

sailsofwhitenights.ru

Artemis Racing Confirms Move To Morgan's Point Bermuda
Artemis Racing confirmed today that it will relocate its team base to Morgan's Point in Bermuda. Located in the island's Southampton Parish, the eight and a half acre team site is situated on a 75-acre peninsula jutting out into the Great Sound.

Artemis Racing's plans are already underway to start developing its space on Morgan's Point, with the team hoping to be fully operational there by early 2016. Mirroring the team's current base in Alameda, CA, which once housed another type of flying boat - the US Navy's seaplane fleet - Morgan's Point was also once a sprawling US Navy base full of seaplanes. Over the next few years, Morgan's Point will under go major redevelopment.

Commenting on the potential home advantage, Helmsman Nathan Outteridge said: "The Great Sound is a challenging place to sail, and the conditions can vary significantly from day to day. We hope that being based in Bermuda early will provide us with the best possible preparation ahead of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers in 2017".

The team will maintain a small build facility in Alameda, CA.
americascup.com

artemis-racing.americascup.com

Peter Thornton Named As Great Britain Yacht Skipper In Clipper Race
Experienced Cornish yachtsman Peter Thornton MBE has been revealed as the skipper of the GREAT Britain yacht that will fly the flag for the UK in the tenth edition of the famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Inspired by childhood visits to see his father who served in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Peter's professional seafaring career started aged 18 when he too joined the RFA as a Deck Officer Cadet.

He excelled quickly and, aged 25, was awarded an MBE for a period of service as the Flag Lieutenant to the First Sea Lord and Admiralty Board.

With 20 years sailing and global racing experience, Peter is looking forward to putting his skills into practice in the world's longest ocean race.

Mason In Talks To Head Up TV Coverage Of 12-Meter Regatta
Former America's Cup executive Tom Ehman announced plans earlier this spring for the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge in an updated version of the venerable 12-meter class.

"As I have told Tom, if he can put together boats that will be competitive and sailed by recognizable names who will be competitive, on San Francisco Bay at the right time of year, then I think it has the potential for being a pretty saleable TV package," Mason said.

Mason is a 26-time Emmy Award winner who sailed on Nefertiti during the 1962 America's Cup defense trials.

He said he's committed through the end of the summer of 2016 with the Rio Olympics for ESPN Latin America and UEFA EURO 2016 in France for ESPN.

Ehman said Mason coming aboard as executive producer for television "would be a huge boost to the event all around - teams, sponsors, worldwide interest."

www.fresnobee.com

Alan Bond In Induced Coma
Australian businessman Alan Bond is in intensive care in a Perth hospital after open-heart surgery.

The 77-year-old is in an induced coma, and a statement from his family says his prognosis is at best "uncertain".

Mr Bond bankrolled the victorious Australia II America's Cup win in 1983, but was also jailed in 1997 for a billion-dollar fraud.

Australia II was the first non-US team to win the America's Cup in 132 years.

www.3news.co.nz

* John Bertrand says Alan Bond is 'resilient' as he fights for life

Australia's winning America's Cup skipper John Bertrand has described Alan Bond as an energetic, active man of great resilience.

"Without Alan we would never have developed the expertise over that period of time to be able to take on the Americans at their own game," he said.

"Every time I came across Alan he was amazing and upbeat, his resilience was remarkable."

He said while without him the bid would not have gone ahead

www.3aw.com.au

Industry News
The Royal Southern Yacht Club was honoured today by the presence in Hamble of its Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, for the Commissioning ceremony of the newly completed Prince Philip Yacht Haven.

Accompanied by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mrs. Lindsay Fox, Prince Philip was welcomed to the Royal Southern Yacht Club by its Commodore, Mr. Christopher Mansfield, before meeting Flag Officers and Members of both the Royal Southern and its neighbour, the Royal Air Force Yacht Club, a partner in the waterfront project. The 8-month building project has included the construction of a new quay wall, a capital dredge to give full tidal access, a new slipway and re-positioning pontoons to create enhanced berthing facilities for members and visitors. The Haven includes a much needed disabled persons access, an ecologically sound 'living wall' for invertebrates and, overall, the development will provide added flood protection to the village of Hamble.

www.royal-southern.co.uk

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The Northern Boat Show Launches At The International Mersey River Festival

The Northern Boat Show is a festival of boating at the heart of the International Mersey River Festival. This three-day boat show will showcase world class sailing boats, power boats and marine products and services, all set against the spectacular backdrop of the Albert Dock.

The latest sailing and power boats will be showcased in Albert Dock and there will be a land-based exhibition on the quayside next to Salthouse Dock. The land-based show will be free to all festival visitors and boat enthusiasts can purchase pontoon tickets to gain exclusive access to the boats on display in Albert Dock.

Location: Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 4BB. Open 10am to 5pm Fri 5th, Sat 6th & Sun 7th June.

www.northernboatshow.co.uk

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The Beneteau Group announces the arrival of Christophe Caudrelier as its Chief Financial Officer from June 4th, 2015. Christophe Caudrelier will be a member of the Management Board and will also head up the IT Services Division.

Christophe Caudrelier, 46, began his career with Arthur Andersen. Three years later, he joined the VALEO group, where he held various positions as a controller and then Finance Director, before moving to DCNS as Group Chief Financial Officer. He graduated from Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris.

He will be taking over from Patrick Guilloux, who has been appointed Chief Operating Officer for American operations, based in Annapolis.

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Boat Insurance specialists, Haven Knox-Johnston, are pleased to announce their support as title sponsor for the East Anglian Offshore Racing Organisation's Offshore Regatta from 25th to 28th June 2015.

The Offshore Regatta is a 200 mile offshore race series over four days with three races from Harwich to Ostend to Ramsgate and back to Harwich, including a lay day in Ostend, which is open to all IRC and 2-handed yachts.

For full details of the Offshore Regatta and on-line entry form visit the EAORA website www.eaora.org.uk or email eaora1949@gmail.com for further information.

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Marina Projects Limited, the UK based marina consultancy business, has been leading the development of a project that has delivered much needed improvement to visitors' berths and holding pontoons in the busy St. Helier Harbour, Jersey.

More than 20,000 yachtsman visit St. Helier each year and this development will offer a significant enhancement of facilities for all harbour users.

The Jersey Harbour berths 4 and 5 are used extensively by visiting yachts, resident boats waiting for tidal access into marinas, and as a landing point for cruise ship passengers. Berthing facilities were also required for a number of key stakeholders, including the RNLI. Extensive consultation with the RNLI was undertaken to ensure their operational needs were fully accommodated.

Following a detailed feasibility study undertaken by Marina Projects in 2012, options for development were identified. This project also releases the south west corner of St. Helier Marina for potential future expansion.

Construction of this project with new and improved berthing has now been successfully completed. An old link-span bridge within St. Helier Marina has now been replaced by a 52m long pedestrian bridge to improve access. The works have been necessarily undertaken during winter months, with an absolute deadline for completion prior to the annual Jersey Boat Show which took place early May 2015.

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The Irish Sailing Association has been awarded the CARA National Inclusion Award in the category of National Governing Body Awards. The Award will be presented on the night of 18 June in Dublin.

caranationalinclusionawards.caraapacentre.ie

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Over 120 press and industry guests attended the fourth annual MAA Press Lunch, organised by Marine Advertising Agency in conjunction with Dean & Reddyhoff, at Haslar Marina on Friday, 15th May 2015. The MAA Press Lunch has established itself as a key event on the industry calendar, with journalists, editors and leading industry names keen to confirm their attendance.

This year's event had the added attraction of a pre-lunch tour of Portsmouth Harbour aboard Geoff Holt's Wet Wheels. The tour revealed how the Harbour is preparing for the imminent arrival of the America's Cup World Series and showcased everything that Gosport's waterfront location has to offer.

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The Last Word
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin

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