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 email@example.com
Storm Force Winds In The Mid-Atlantic
Severe conditions in the mid-north Atlantic have continued to punish the bulk of the fleet in the Transatlantic Race 2015.
Yesterday Daniel and Gretchen Biemesderfer made the decision to retire from the race after their Mason 43 Shearwater suffered mainsail and rigging damage. She is heading for the Azores. Similarly, just before midnight UTC, Carter Bacon's Nielsen 50 Solution sustained damage to her rudder and was taking on water. She becomes the sixth boat in the Transatlantic Race to retire and is now diverting to the Azores, albeit without electronics, which went down in a previous deluge.
Last night the mid-fleet took a pounding as a depression passed to their north and they were blasted by its associated cold front. During this one of the most northerly boats, Earl St Aldwyn's Shipman 50 Zephyr saw sustained winds in the low 40s and one gust of 59 knots (i.e. Force 11/violent storm on the Beaufort scale)
In the western Atlantic the world's two fastest monohulls and two of the world's fastest trimarans have been wallowing for the last 24 hours. Here the wrong sort of records are being set: this morning Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70 trimaran Phaedo3, usually capable of average speeds of 30-plus knots and peak speeds of more than 40, had covered just 91 miles over the previous 24 hours, or an average speed of 3.7 knots.
Over the course of this morning Jim and Kristy Clark's 100-foot Comanche managed to find some pressure to the north and has rolled even Phaedo3, opening up a lead of almost 50 miles over her direct competition, George David's Rambler 88.
* Dozens of "Blogs from the Boats" have come in, updates and photos from the mid-Atlantic.
From one of your humble narrator's all-time favorite boats, the famous Dorade:
We have approximately 1,000 miles to the finish and the A4 sail is up on Starboard tack. After four days of grey skies and breeze up above 25 knots, we're finally seeing a little change of weather with the skies slightly clearing. However, the water is still choppy and cold with the temperature around 65 degrees. I just overheard Giles at the helm telling Matt we are averaging ten knots over the ground.
Overall, spirits are good onboard, as we wait optimistically for each tracker update. Our three-way battle with Carina and Scarlet Oyster is still pretty tight and could go to anyone at this point. The next few shifts will be quite important for the old Dorade. From here until the finish, we're hoping the breeze stays under 25 knots; when we go above 25 knots we're forced to take down the spinnaker, which in turn slows our speed.
Last night (Tuesday, July 7) was an epic one, and the northern Atlantic Ocean showed Dorade what it is made of, with breeze in the mid 30s making for quickly building swells and a leftover sloppy sea state. It wasn't until sunrise at 3:00 a.m. EDT that we realized how big the swells had risen, with the faces of waves reaching fifty feet.
No Racing On Opening Day Of Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2015
Sadly strong winds and big seas stopped racing on the opening day of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, incorporating the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, in Cowes. The event, which runs from 8 to 11 July, has attracted an entry of 21 boats from across the UK, Ireland and France.
The race committee went afloat at 09.00 and headed straight to the planned race area off Hill Head. Sadly conditions there were extremely rough with strong gusty winds making sailing for the historic and relatively fragile Quarter Tonners impossible.
Four teams who perhaps were not disappointed to stay ashore were the four newest crews in the fleet, who had all be presented with a welcome bottle of Mount Gay Rum at last night's welcome reception. Julian Wetherell, new owner of Espada, Ben and Mike Daley who now own Cobh Pirate (the former Illes Pitiuses, winner of last year's Corinthian Quarter Ton Cup), Rob Mclean of Spider Pig and Paul Gibbons, new owner of Anchor Challenge, were all warmly welcomed by the assembled fleet who explained that tradition demand they drink their bottle of Mount Gay there and then.
One team that sadly cannot be here this year is Ian Southworth's Whiskers. The Whiskers crew is as famed for their sailing talent as they are notorious for their lack of organisational and planning skills. Typically they enter the event at the eleventh hour and finish preparing the boat on their way to the first start. So disappointed are they not to be here this year that Whiskers' navigator Lincoln Reading has been in contact to announce they are donating a very special prize for presentation at the final dinner. The prize will be presented to the team who in the opinion of the race committee is the most organised and prepared for the regatta - in other words a boat that is the complete antithesis of Whiskers!
Race Officer Rob Lamb has confirmed that he intends to run up to four races tomorrow and with lighter winds expected this should be achievable.
Round The Island Race Victory In Debut Event For Ker 40+
The long awaited 40+, which is a new, optimised version of the original Ker 40, looks set for total IRC domination having beaten many other well established campaigners on their very first outing. This shows that Jason Ker and his team, along with McConaghy Boats are very much the go-to-guys for an IRC winner.
Although upwind speeds were comparable to the old boat during the long beat to the Needles, it was clear to see where the majority of the improvements have been made when the boats bore away and headed for St Catherine's with one onlooker commenting they 'done a horizon job' after deploying spinnakers.
Consistent speeds of 18 knots in as much wind meant that the 40+ stepped away from its closest rivals and was able to clinch the coveted IRC Black Group Win.
The boat will also be competing in the upcoming IRC nationals and Bicentenary regattas and so all eyes will be on it to see if this first outing was not just a lucky roll of dice.
Contact Ancasta for more details on the Ker 40+ as well as many other quality offerings in the race boat world.
Innovations For Quantum Key West Race Week 2016
With the release of the official Notice of Race, organizers with the Storm Trysail Club have proposed several new elements for Quantum Key West Race Week 2016. A harbor course area for smaller sailboats, distance racing for Performance Cruising designs and replacing PHRF with the International ORC rating system are among the creative ideas found in the new NOR.
"One of the things we've heard repeatedly involves the expense of the regatta. Key West is a very popular tourist destination and therefore the cost of meals and lodging can be considerable," Fisher said.
To address that issue, Storm Trysail is offering the great racing experience of the event condensed into a three-day regatta format for those classes that choose to do so. Fisher said racing would be held Wednesday through Friday for those classes so participants are included in the final awards ceremony.
It is the intention of organizers to eliminate PHRF racing altogether - a strategy that has prompted them to look for solutions offered by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), an international organization sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation and supported by users in 40 countries around the world. Having evolved from IOR and IMS roots, the organization currently administers two systems Ð ORC International (ORCi) and ORC Club, both of which are being proposed for use at Quantum Key West Race Week.
Dick Neville, race committee chairman for Quantum Key West, noted that nearly 10,000 ORCi and ORC Club certificates will be issued in 2015, and the hope is that adopting the system for Quantum Key West will encourage more foreign owners to register. ORCi is the system used for full-measured boats participating at the highest levels of competition while the ORC Club is intended more for club-based programs.
The NOR and registration at YachtScoring.com: www.yachtscoring.com
Key Decision Day at the Trentino SB20 World Championships
Lake Garda, Italy: Three races completed on Day 2 (July 7) of the 2015 Trentino SB20 World Championships, with the 98-boat fleet now divided into 'gold' and 'silver' fleets, determining who can challenge for the title. But there's nothing to split the leaders, with two teams tied on points after six races.
Torbole provided more classic conditions at Lake Garda for the second day of the 2015 SB20 World Championships, with the famous south to south-westerly afternoon 'Ora' breeze allowing six more races to be held, three each for the two qualifying fleets. The qualifying series is now over and one discard comes into play. Eight more races are scheduled - with just one discard allowed from the final races: there is no room for error over the next three days.
The large international entry is now split into Gold and Silver fleets, with the Gold fleet leaders vying for the title of 2015 World Champion.
SportsboatWorld are sponsoring a 'Nations Cup' prize for the best aggregate score for the top three teams from each nation overall. The main contenders expected to compete for this include France, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, UK, Australia and Ireland. Inevitably, with UK and Australia as the two leading teams currently some 'Ashes style' rivalry is developing...
Top five after day two:
1. Roger Hudson, RSA, 12 points
2. Robin Folin, FRA, 12
3. Ian Aislie, ITA, 17
4. Kirill Frolov, RUS, 23
5. Rodion Luka, UKR, 24
Strong Gusts On And A Long Day
Photo by Mick Anderson, sailingpix.dk. Click on image to enlarge.
"Even with one reef in the main and a smaller jib replacing the genoa, the Match 28's we're racing here are quite overpowered. We lost control a couple of times, but excellent crew work got us back on track again" Meldgaard comments.
The opening day offered truly challenging conditions for the competitors as well as for the race management. Gusts approaching 30 knots swept down the course, leaving broaching boats, freely flying kites and wet and exhausted sailors behind.
The racing in Middelfart continues with the round-robin Thursday and Friday, while the weekend will see the exciting knock-out rounds to crown the World Champions.
Standings after one day of round-robin in the 2015 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Middelfart, Denmark, the first event on the 2015 WIM Series (skipper, country, wins - losses):
1. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 8 - 0
1. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 8 - 0
3. Anna Östling, SWE, 7 - 1
4. Camilla Ulrikeholm, DEN, 5 - 1
4. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 5 - 1
6. Stephanie Roble, USA, 4 - 2
6. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED, 4 - 2
8. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 5 - 3
8. Katie Spithill, AUS, 5 - 3
10. Milly Bennett, AUS, 3 - 5
11. Louise Christensen, DEN, 2 - 6
12. Johanna Larsson, SWE, 0 - 6
12. Nina Ramm-Schmidt, FIN, 0 - 6
12. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 0 - 6
12. Diana Kissane, IRL, 0 - 6
16. Sanna Hager, SWE, 0 - 8
IMOCA 60s To Test Their New Foils In Rolex Fastnet Race
One reason the Rolex Fastnet Race is the world's biggest offshore yacht race - at present 390 boats are entered - was the decision of the Royal Ocean Racing Club to include non-IRC offshore classes: Volvo Ocean 65, the Class40, IMOCA 60, Multihulls, the latter three have their origins or being most popular in France.
The IMOCA 60s' participation this year will be particularly special as it will be the first time some of the newest generation boats destined for next year's Vendée Globe will line up. Of the 13 IMOCA 60s racing, four are new, built to the latest iteration of the IMOCA rule requiring one design masts and keels. But their most discussed feature is their giant new L-shaped foils, designed to not only to in prevent leeway, but also to operate like Dynamic Stability System-style foils, ie protruding from the leeward side of the boat to create vertical lift, added righting moment and ultimately enhanced performance.
All four boats are VPLP-Verdier designs: Banque Populaire and Hugo Boss, of Armel le Cleac'h and Alex Thomson respectively, who finished in second and third place in the last Vendee Globe; St Michel-Virbac of two time Barcelona World Race winner Jean-Pierre Dick and the latest Safran, sailed by the team's new skipper Morgan Lagravière.
Keeping up with the Volvo Ocean Race, any day, any time, anywhere... was easy in 2015 as they had apps, but more importantly, the VOR website was completely mobile friendly. The same website content reformatted to fit any device screen size.
Watching Lewis Hamilton's victory at Silverstone this past weekend was also something you could do anywhere, any time. No desktop or laptop needed... any phone or tablet would do for formula1.com
That's mission critical for any sporting event this year.
Not every event has those budgets however, not everyone can create apps for both Android and Apple and get them into the app stores. That's where, once again, the web is the great equalizer.
Watch the effect on formula1.com or volvooceanrace.com when you grab the bottom right corner of a browser window on a laptop and drag it to make the screen tall and thin -- like a phone. Menus change, images resize, elements on the page stack vertically.
Sailing Source built these and can do the same for your class, club or event. At non-Formula 1 rates!
Tour Voile: Loick Peyron, A Special Guest For Act 3 In Pornichet
Loick Peyron will be in Pornichet on Thursday and Friday to compete with 30 Corsaires, led by Alexia Barrier in the Tour de France a la Voile 38th edition. The french sailing legend from La Baule will bring his multihull experience to the team for the coastal and stadium races.
Loick Peyron has a long win list under his belt, but most of all, he has a real passion for multihull sailing. The Jules Verne Trophy holder and winner of 2014 Route du Rhum, who is also part of the Artemis campaign for the next America's Cup, will join 30 Corsaires for two days in Pornichet, to do what he loves the most : sailing fast and fighting hard on the water.
The coastal course (start at 12.00 on Thursday) and the stadium racing (Friday from 11.30) will be set right near the beach in the Bay of La Baule, in front of the race Village, that is located boulevard des Oceanides, a Pornichet.
Dean Barker Signs Up Team New Zealand Crew For Japan's America's Cup Bid
Dean Barker has lured former Team New Zealand crew members Jeremy Lomas and Derek Saward to his new Japanese America's Cup syndicate.
The pair exited Team New Zealand earlier this year as the Kiwis chart a new course that included dumping Barker as helmsman.
Barker picked up a lucrative new job as chief executive for Japan's bid and has confirmed he will skipper their debut on the America's Cup world series opener in England later this month.
He has also announced that Lomas and Saward will be part of the Japanese team.
Lomas, an experienced bowman who will help trim sails for Japan, was part of New Zealand's last four Cup campaigns while grinder Saward had been part of Team New Zealand since 2010.
Australian Chris Draper will be the wing trimmer-tactician and bowman Kazuhiko "Fuku" Sofuku is the only Japanese sailor confirmed so far.
Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower: Unwanted Red Paint Given Away
One hundred litres of unwanted red paint that was due to be used on Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower has been given away to causes in Hampshire.
The city council made a U-turn after an angry reaction to the proposed red and white colour scheme, which is synonymous with rivals Southampton.
The paint job forms part of a £3.5m sponsorship deal with airline Emirates.
The tower has instead been painted blue and gold, with the unwanted paint given to community groups.
Naval architect Warwick Hood, AO, designer of Australia's second America's Cup challenger Dame Pattie, died at Erina on the NSW Central Coast, on Monday, shortly before his 83rd birthday.
Hood was previously an assistant to Alan Payne, the designer of Australia's first America's Cup challenger Gretel in 1962 which, although eventually going down 1-4 to American defender Weatherly, showed great promise. That prompted the New York Yacht Club to re-interpret the Cup rules to forbid any future challenger from using US test tanks, sails, sail cloth, masts winches or fittings.
Hood was a major contributor to Sir Francis Chichester's record of becoming the first man to sail around the world solo with his yawl Gipsy Moth IV in 1966.
Hood designed ocean-racing and cruising yachts but will probably be best remembered among sailors for his Hood 23, one of Australia' earliest and most successful stock fibreglass production keelboats, designed in 1966.
Warwick Hood's family advises that a public commemoration/celebration of his life will be held at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kirribilli at 2.30pm next Thursday, July 16. Hood is survived by his partner Jennifer Dakers, former wife Julie Hood (Mazlin), daughters Carly and Alison, four grandsons, a brother and a sister. -- Bob Ross
CUBA LIBRE is one of the first generation Volvo Ocean 60s. It was drawn by Bruce Farr and built in 1992 at Cookson Boats in New Zealand as one of two yachts. CUBA LIBRE, ex-Heineken, is a sporty and fast yacht that is still capable of winning regattas today. The interior of the ship is an unusual set up for a racer, with three double cabins and a separate shower and toilet. It also offers a modern galley and a spacious living room with tables
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art. -- Claude Debussy
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