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

The Chase Is On
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet set off for Gothenburg, 960 nautical miles away from Lorient, via The Hague, in perfect sailing conditions today with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) leading the chase to reach the Dutch pit stop first.

There was drama from the very first seconds with Leg 8 winners, Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) both finding themselves on the wrong side of the line at the start and were forced back to cross for a second time.

Bouwe Bekking, in contrast, stormed away to the perfect start and was still narrowly ahead as he led the fleet out of a packed Lorient with all six boats in hot pursuit after five laps around the port.

The boats will be precisely timed as they pass the interim line in Scheveningen, near The Hague, on Friday. No points will be awarded for how they finish there.

From 1200 local time onwards the following day, they will depart for Gothenburg with whatever advantage or deficit they took into the pit stop on their rivals.

They are expected to arrive in Gothenburg on Monday (June 22), or, possibly the following day.

The nine-month, 38,739nm, marathon event will finally come to a halt in the famous maritime Swedish city on Saturday, June 27, with the Inmarsat In-Port Race Gothenburg.

Leg standings at 0400 Local time

1. Team Brunel
2. MAPFRE 0.6 nm to leader
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 0.7
4. Dongfeng Race Team, 1.2
5. Team Alvimedica, 1.2
6. Team SCA, 1.8
7. Team Vestas Wind, 1.9

volvooceanrace.com

* A woman was seriously injured as the start of the ninth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race was marred by a crash between two boats in Lorient on Tuesday, race organisers confirmed.

The crash happened at 1615 local time (0015 AEST), just before the start of the 960-nautical mile race to Gothenburg in Sweden, via a 24-hour stopover in The Hague.

A trimaran crashed with an organiser's inflatable boat with four people aboard.

A woman suffered a serious leg injury, according to the maritime police in Brest, and was evacuated by helicopter.

"We have been informed of an incident on the water between a trimaran and rigid-hulled inflatable boat of the Lorient race commissioners near the departure zone of the ninth stage," said a statement by organisers.

"A woman was seriously injured and is receiving treatment at Lorient hospital. We are concerned about her condition and are staying in contact with stage organisers in Lorient and local authorities."

M32 Collisions And Capsizes In Gothenburg
Despite conditions escalating for the final day of racing at the M32 Scandinavian Series in Gothenburg, Team US One maintained its grip on the fleet of high performance racing catamarans.

With winds gusting up to 25 knots, Team US One's skipper, Taylor Canfield, and his crew provided a masterclass in how to sail the one design M32. Both upwind and downwind Team US One always seemed to have an edge.

Team Trifork, under co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Kostner, capsized spectacularly in the last race, but fortunately no one was injured in the incident.

There was also drama for Essiq Racing Team, skippered by Nicklas Dackhammar, which hit a metal buoy in the final race. This not only caused severe damage to their catamaran but also a man overboard.

Results:
1 Team US One, Taylor Canfield
2 Essiq Racing team, Nicklas Dackhammar
3 Wallén Racing, Hans Wallen
4 Alite Racing, Marten Strandberg
5 Trifork Racing, Jes Gram-Hansen
6 Rahm Racing, Mattias Rahm
7 Hydra Racing Team, Daniel Wallbert

m32series.com/series/scandinavian-series/

J/70 ....Finding The Kid In You
Photo by Paul Todd, Ocean Images

The J/70 is getting headlines for its explosive growth across Europe and the fantastic event schedule including the 2015 Worlds in La Rochelle, the 2015 Europeans in Monaco, and the recently announced 2017 Worlds in Sardinia. The lesser known story is the 'why.'

At the 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, 12 year old Gannon Troutman steered his family's J/70 to 5th place overall in a 54 boat fleet. Other J/70 events are routinely attracting multi-generational teams from ages 8 to 80.

There are very few sporting activities one can actively share with one's kids or grandkids. J/70 sailing is one of them.

www.jboats.com/j70-one-design-sailboat

Jelvis Leads Exciting First Day At J/111 Worlds
Photo by Cate Brown. Click on image for photo gallery.

Newport, Rhode Island, USA: With twenty-five boats on the line, it was anyone's guess what would happen when you mixed the current J/111 World Champion and leading UK teams lined up against the top American, Canadian, Australian and Caribbean teams from across the world.

The weather forecast was not promising. After a postponement, the Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Garard fired off the first race in a 6-9 kts breeze in the 210 range. By the time the second race took place at 1600 hrs, the wind had veered further right into the 220 to 240 deg range and from 9 to 12 kts TWS.

Leading after the first day is the British team of Martin Dent sailing JELVIS from Cowes, Isle of Wight with a 1-6 tally for 7 pts total. Second is Richard Lehmann's crew on WIND CZAR with an 8-3 scoreline for 11 pts (the current J/111 North American champion). And, third is David & Maryellen Tortorello's PARTNERSHIP with a 3-10 score for 13 pts.

So close is the racing that an average of a 10th is good enough to place your team in the top ten. Even more remarkably, only ten points (well within a mid-fleet finish) separates teams from 3rd place to 15th place! It's quite possibly the tightest regatta that anyone has seen ever amongst the top teams after the first day of racing.

Wednesday promises to be a defining day for the fleet overall, with up to three races planned for the fleet.

www.j111worlds.com

New Dragon World Champions
La Rochelle, France: The final day in La Rochelle began with an short delay to allow the wind to settle after an overnight front had seen rain move up from Bordeaux. This more or less prevented any chance of two races, so when the fleet eventually left the marina we all knew it would be just one final race.

With an overnight lead of 10pts UAE 8 only had to keep a couple of boats in their sights to guarantee victory... indeed that is exactly what they did.

The race started with a westerly breeze of around 10kts, boats that chose the right side of the course made out better than the left. However, go too far right and it was possible to over-stand the first mark and that is exactly what a large group of competitors did. The three boats that sailed the first beat perfectly were UAE 7 Markus Wieser, RUS 27 Anatoly Loginov and GER 1123 Michael Zankel. Although there were a few place changes throughout the race, this was the finishing order of the top three boats

Meanwhile UAE 8 made their way up through the fleet to finish 10th, RUS 76 had a fine race to make it to 8th place and take the Silver Medal spot, but GER 11 dropped back to 22nd and thus out of the top three overall. However, Markus Wieser's excellent final race win, rewarded his team with the final podium position and the Bronze Medal at this fantastic Championship.

Final top five

1. Bunker Boys, Yevgen Braslavets / Aleksander Mirchuk / Sergiy Timokhov, UAE, 26 points
2. Stange Little Girl, Dimitri Samokhi. / Andrey Kirilyuk / Aleksey Bushuev, RUS, 45
3. Bunker Queen, Markus Wieser / Sergey Pugachev / Georgil Leonchuk, UAE, 47
4. BBXXL Vincent Hoesch / Markus Steinlein / Marc Pickel , GER, 48
5. Desert Eagle, Hendrik Witzmann / Henrique Anjos / Markus Ko, 75

www.dragonworlds2015.org
www.intdragon.net

Nicolas Boidevezi Has Bought The Former Hugo Boss
Nicolas Boidevezi has taken another important step forward in his quest to compete in the Vendee Globe. The skipper from Alsace in Eastern France has acquired the former Hugo Boss (a Farr designed boat from 2007), aboard which Alex Thomson finished in third place in the last edition of the solo round the world race. Boidevezi is still trying to complete his budget to be able to compete in the best condition in the eighth Vendee Globe, which starts on 6th November 2016.

Nicolas Boidevezi knows that by acquiring a 60-foot IMOCA, he has taken a giant step forward to competing in the non-stop, solo round the world race. "Last December, with a patron who was there from early on, we saw that it was hard getting any sort of financial commitment without having a boat," explained the skipper. "The risk was that we would find the funding, but we wouldn't have a boat, so we decided to get hold of a 60-foot IMOCA as soon as possible. It wasn't easy, as there was more demand than supply. Several options appeared and in the end we decided to buy the former Hugo Boss. The sale was completed in mid April."

"To be there at the start, it takes four things: a boat, a skipper, committed partners and a budget. We have three of the four," he was happy to announce. I hope that this good news will trigger something to allow us to complete our budget. If that happens, we will compete in the Fastnet Race, the Transat Jacques Vabre and the BtoB.

www.vendeeglobe.org

Is A Fourth 12 Metre Rule On The Horizon?
Newport, RI, USA: Many sports have one event, class, or athlete that transcends the sport itself to capture mainstream attention. In the sport of sailing that kind of familiarity is most associated with the 12 Metres - the iconic boat of choice for the America's Cup races from 1958 through 1987.

The aura of mystique that envelops these classic yachts has created a vibrant class association with large and competitive fleets on the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas, as well as on the USA's northeast coast, especially in Newport, Rhode Island, which was home to the America's Cup for 12 editions (nine sailed in the Twelves) between 1930 and 1987.

"The visual impact made by the sight of these graceful and elegant yachts, in tandem with their heritage and the personalities associated with their racing history makes a compelling case for imitation," said Dyer Jones, President of the International Twelve Metre Association. "We are excited about the possibilities for the recently announced San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge and look forward to working with the organizers to see if their concept will work for the class. Imitation is a sincere form of flattery."

Jones explained that the focus on a boat and an event that are both in the conceptual stage is succeeding primarily due to the fact that the organizers are benefitting from the cachet surrounding the existing 12 Metres. "The possibility of a new Twelve Metre Class Rule (three rules currently exist) is one the class association is open to. However, any addition must be in conformance with the class formula, as well as the spirit and intent of the existing rules, in order for the new design to carry the distinction of being called a 12 Metre."

While the fledgling event finds its footings, 12 Metre fans will have numerous opportunities during 2015 to see these racing machines in action at numerous events from Copenhagen, DEN, to St. Tropez, FRA, and throughout New England, including Newport and Martha's Vineyard. Season highlights will include 14 Vintage 12s (dating from as early as 1909), racing at the European Open Championship for the Robbe & Berking Sterling Cup in Glucksburg, GER, in July, and the 2015 12 Metre North American Championship sailed in Newport this September.

www.12mrclass.com

Giraglia Rolex Cup: Record Fleet Ready
Following the conclusion of three days of quality inshore racing on the Côte d'Azur, the focus at the 2015 Giraglia Rolex Cup turns to tomorrow's 243-nm offshore race start.

Running from Saint-Tropez to Genoa, the offshore race is the Mediterranean's oldest and is set to welcome a record fleet of near 250 yachts, a true mark of the event's popularity and allure.

The fleet includes yachts from over 20 countries, ranging from 30-100 ft, comprising fully professional crews to those sailing single and double-handed. In addition to the strong international contingent, a large proportion of the fleet is, as per tradition, made up of Corinthian French and Italian crews.

While a record number of entrants are set to start the offshore race (surpassing the total of 220 in 2010), hopes are lukewarm regarding the chances of witnessing a new race record. Igor Simcic's 100-ft Maxi Esimit Europa 2 starts as the favourite for line honours although the current weather forecast suggests the record Esimit herself set in 2012 of 14 hours, 56 minutes will not be threatened.

In the lightest conditions of the week so far, the Giraglia Rolex Cup inshore racing series concluded earlier today. For the third day running Esimit Europa 2 was the fastest yacht on the water, completing today's 30-nm course in 2 hours, 52 minutes.

The full list of inshore class winners are:

IRC 0: Alexander Schaerer's Maxi 72 Caol Ila R (USA)
IRC A: Michele Galli's TP52 B2 (ITA)
IRC B: Christophe Bru's Dufour 36 Dare Dare (FRA)
ORC A: Renzo Grotteschi's Swan 42 Bewild (GBR)
ORC B: Luc Baradat's Sun Fast 32 Overdose Bravo (FRA)

www.yci.it
www.regattanews.com

RCYC Win Optimist Vice Presidents Trophy
The Vice President's Trophy was inaugurated in 1986 and has been running on and off for the past 29 years. The trophy & event was created by Helen Mary Wilkes who at the time of inception was the Vice President of the world governing body for Optimists, IODA.

Helen-Mary and Robert Wilkes have been the driving force of Under-16 sailing globally. Their contribution to the global development of junior sailing has been immense and was recognized by ISAF a number of years ago when at the ISAF Council meeting in 2008, President of the International Sailing Federation, presented the ISAF President Development Award to Helen-Mary WILKES and Robert WILKES for their services to junior sailing.

The Royal Cork YC 2 Team were winners of the Vice Presidents Trophy, Irish Optimist Dinghy Assn's Team Racing hosted by Howth Yacht club on Saturday which followed the usual Optimist practice of four boats per team racing.

Eight teams sailed a complete round robin of 28 races before Semi finals of Howth 1 against Royal Cork YC 2 and Royal Cork 1 against Royal St George 1. RCYC 2 made short work of HYC winning 2:1 while their compatriots RCYC1 had a harder time being taken to three races by Royal St George but emerging the winners 2::1.

This set up a fianal between RCYC1 & RCYC2. In the dying breeze RCYC2 made hard work of it - losing a dominating position half way through race 2 to force a third race. As the wind died and the tide built this last race came down to a finishing line battle of penalties and getting to the line, with less and less wind, three boats ended up out of time and were scored DNF, resulting in a tie on points. RCYC1, having first place lost the tie break and RCYC 2 comprising Sophie Crosbie, Cathal O'Regan, Rory O'Sullivan & Harry Twomey emerged the winners.

www.sites.google.com/site/uktra1/

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The Last Word
The only thing I am afraid of is fear. -- Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

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