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.

A Wet And Wild Wrap To Quantum Key West 2016
Photo by Max Ranchi, www.maxranchi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Key West Race Week Key West, FL, USA: Lightning, thunder and torrential rain opened the final day at Quantum Key West 2016, with organizers debating if the conditions were safe to proceed with two races to finish the J/70's, Melges 24's and C&C 30's in Division 2 and one for all other classes.

When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 4 and Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PRO's pulled the plug for these classes for the day.

But racing proceeded on the Division 2 and 3 areas where the ebb tide was not as strong and produced nothing more serious than some OCS calls for some teams.

"It was wild out there. For the last couple legs the wind was north of 30 knots and the waves were real big. We hit 16 knots surfing downwind with the kite," said Robin Team, skipper of the ORC 1 class champion Teamwork. A win in this final race gave the North Carolina boat a total of seven bullets for the week with a low score of 13 points, five better than fellow J/122 Orion.

Skipper Carlo Alberini and the crew of Calvi Network also led from start to finish in capturing the J/70 overall class win for the second straight year in Key West.

It was a wild ride for all the boats on Division 2 with the J/70s, Melges 24s and C&C 30's not enjoying the slamming upwind but reveling in the planing downwind conditions. British skipper Richard Thompson steered Black Seal to overall victory in the 12-boat Melges 24 class

Division 1 principal race officer Ken Legler said steep waves he estimated at six feet battered the committee boat and made it almost impossible for the volunteers onboard to do their jobs. Because the situation was unmanageable, Legler was forced to abandon racing on his course.

That means the results from Thursday stand and made Quantum Racing a narrow winner in IRC 1 class over fellow TP52 Spookie. Skipper Doug DeVos, who won the same class at Quantum Key West 2014, closed the regatta with three straight wins to nip skipper Steve Benjamin (Norwalk, CT) and Spookie by a half point.

Bella Mente, which clinched victory in the Maxi 72 class on Thursday, was selected as Quantum Boat of the Week. Skipper Hap Fauth steered his big blue boat to first place in six of nine races in a class that was extremely close this year.

Full results

keywestraceweek.com

Historical 18s Australian Championship
Aberdare. Photo by Michael Chittenden, michael-chittenden-photography.com. Click on image to enlarge.

18 Skiff Defending Historical 18 Foot Skiff 2016 Australian champion, John Winning and his crew on Aberdare took out the first race of the 2016 Championship on Sydney Harbour in a runaway victory this afternoon.

Even before the Sydney Flying Squadron hosted race started, the money was on Winning's crew, as all know how much he enjoys a big breeze, and that is what the fleet sailed in today, a big gusty south-easterly that averaged around 20 knots, but did not reach the predicted 30 knots and the rain stayed away.

"This was my sort of day - I love sailing these boats in a big breeze," confirmed Winning, who has won the last two Championships.

"It's imperative to get everything right on a day like this. The balance of the crew and sails has to be right - they are a hard boat to sail at any time," he conceded.

Racing for the Historical 18 Footers Australian Championship, organised by the Australian Historical Sailing Skiff Association in conjunction with the Australian Open Skiff Trust, recommences on Monday at 4pm. Due to racing on the opening day being abandoned, a further race will be sailed next Saturday to complete the series. -- Di Pearson

Ocean Safety Ties Up With Typhoon To Exhibit At Dusseldorf For The First Time
Ocean Safety Ocean Safety, will be making their debut appearance at Boot Dusseldorf this week with sister company Typhoon International, both of whom are part of the 3Si Group.

Ocean Safety will be showcasing, for the first time ever at Boot, their groundbreaking new lifejacket designs, the Kru Elite 195 and Kru Sport 185, both of which take simplicity of use and styling to a new level, providing a choice for both cruising and racing sailors.

Also debuting will be the just-launched 3Si Guardian range of survival electronics including EPIRB, PLB and SART for which Ocean Safety is exclusive UK and European distributor.

The joint collaboration with Typhoon will present some of the most popular products within a wide range of lifesaving and survival equipment including liferafts, man overboard systems and dry suits.

The company will be supported by their German distributor Sostechnic, which will be retailing the Ocean Safety branded products from their own stand at boot, located in Hall 12 B33.

The Ocean Safety and Typhoon team of experts will be available for advice and product demonstrations in Hall 11 Stand D65, 25-31 January.

oceansafety.com

Australia Day Regatta
Photo by J C Jeremy. Click on image to enlarge.

Australia Day Regatta Tomorrow's 180th Australia Day Regatta again will be a focal point of aquatic events celebrating Australia Day on and above the Harbour, which include the ferrython, tall ships race and RAAF fighter aircraft flyovers, as well as concerts and celebrations on the foreshore.

Entries in the two Classic divisions comprise almost a third of the total entry of keel racing yachts, indicative of the strong interest in restoring and racing older yachts, including gaff-riggers.

The Classic Division 1 includes 1966 Sydney Hobart line honours winner Fidelis, the Halvorsen-designed former ocean racer Anitra V, and the 30 square metre yacht Fagel Grip.

Kelpie is among the mostly gaff-rigged yachts in Classic Division 2, including the original Ranger and other Ranger designs, Cherub and Vanity, and the 'couta boat Dawn.

The Australian Register of Historic Vessels records that Kelpie was built in 1893 by George Ellis, a noted sailor and shipwright, in a boatshed in the Sydney suburb of Drummoyne.

The Register describes Kelpie as "a very early surviving example of a gaff cutter racing yacht that was built in Australia, one of the few that survive."

Her carvel hull is constructed of teak planks, copper roved, in alternative sawn Blue Gum hardwood frames and pairs of bent Flooded Gum frames with a planked deck. She has a full length keel with lead ballast and a keel hung rudder.

Over the past 123 years, Kelpie has had some 15 different owners, one of whom is reputed to have sailed the 30-footer from Sydney to Perth and back in the 1920s.

In the late 1980s, Kelpie was re-launched, having been restored to the original hull and deck arrangement and re-rigged with a modified and easier to handle gaff cutter rig.

Kelpie is currently owned by Sydney Amateur Sailing Club members Dougal and Merrin Maple-Brown and will be skippered by Merrin in the 180th Australia Day Regatta. -- Peter Campbell

Cammas On The Mend From Injury
Franck Cammas, the Groupama Team France skipper, has made considerable progress from a serious foot injury and could be back on the water sailing before the end of next month.

The distinguished offshore sailor and multihull specialist has been in rehabilitation since nearly losing his right foot while training for the 35th America's Cup in France last November.

Cammas fell overboard while sparring with seasoned King Edward VII Gold Cup campaigner Adam Minoprio in one of Team France's foiling GC32 catamarans and was hit by the rudder at full speed, leaving his right foot partially severed.

After an operation, doctors told Cammas that he would not lose the use of his right foot, and that the arteries and nerves had not been impacted.

New Zealander Adam Minoprio, the youngest skipper to win the World Match Racing Tour, is a possible replacement for Cammas, if necessary, and is expected to be at the helm of Team France's AC45F at next month's Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series race in Oman.

www.royalgazette.com

Land Rover BAR Launch Academy
The British America's Cup Challenger and Land Rover, the team's Title and Exclusive Innovation Partner, have deepened their commitment to creating a sustainable talent programme in sailing with the launch of the Land Rover BAR Academy. This new initiative will find and support talented young British sailors, and create a pathway into the America's Cup.

The immediate goal is to select a British team to compete in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup (RBYAC) in 2017. Raced in the same AC45F that the senior teams use for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, every America's Cup Challenger and the Defender must enter a team into the RBYAC. The finals will be fought out during the main competition in Bermuda 2017.

The mentoring and support team will include Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager and three times America's Cup winner Jonathan 'Jono' Macbeth. Macbeth commented: "The Extreme Sailing Series will provide a great opportunity to trial sailors in the Academy. This will be the first step to building a team for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2017. The longer-term aim is to mentor young British sailing talent and build the next generation of British America's Cup sailors."

The project manager will be Rob Andrews, London 2012 Olympic Sailing/Venue Manager, and a former RYA Olympic coach. The new Academy's coach will be Andrew Walsh, a former Extreme Sailing Series and Olympic multihull sailor and coach. Land Rover BAR sailor and three-time winner of the Series, Leigh McMillan will lead the team into the first two events to help develop their skills at the helm of these high-performance boats.

www.landroverbar.com/academy

First ISA Club Racing Survey Reveals 'segmented' Irish Dinghy Racing Scene
Keelboat racing accounts for about two thirds of active racing sailors, a thriving junior single-hander dinghy 'pathway' scene is the envy of all other fleets and it makes up 31% of all dinghy sailors (51% of dinghies), according to a new Irish Sailing Association (ISA) club racing survey published recently.

The first snapshot of Irish club racing reveals little new of the 'segmented' national racing fleet, but provides a welcome and robust basis for the ISA, clubs, classes and sailors alike, on which to build and evolve.

According to the report, there is a total of just under 7,000 sailors actively racing in Ireland. Junior single-handers get four times the coaching of everyone else. Senior dinghy sailing is almost non existent in the major sailing centres. One fifth of clubs have no club racing and 25% have no interest in hosting visiting events. These are just some of the conclusions of a report where, the ISA say, the detail of input from some of the clubs was 'varied'.

Recently appointed ISA director Sarah Byrne, an RS sailor, says the report gives a picture of the 'segmented' Irish fleet and the current overall situation is 'unfortunate' and 'does not serve competition well, without the critical mass to sustain so many classes on active circuits'.

Report download

From Afloat: afloat.ie

2015 Was A Great Year For ORA/ORR
ORR, the North American-based rule invented for sailors and their boats, had a record turnout in 2015 for the Regional Championship Series and was the handicap rule of choice for many classic and new events. In 2016, we are expanding the use of the ORR into even more events, which include the: Bayview Mackinac Race, Charleston Race Week, NYYC Annual Regatta, Ocean Race North, Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston Race, So Cal 300, RBYC Anniversary Regatta, California Offshore Race Week, Islands Race, Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race and Rum Runner Race.

The Acapulco Fleet will be starting off the 2016 season at the end of January using customized course ratings, provided by ORA, to meet their sailing conditions. Many more event organizers are using ORR as their handicap system of choice in North America due to its customization capabilities, ease of use and attentive customer service. ORR is growing rapidly and we are always looking for sailor input to make our system the best in the business.

The Offshore Racing Association, ORR's Rule owner, received a grant from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) to help finance the re-write of the Offshore Racing Rule Velocity Prediction Program (ORR VPP) which calculates the speed potential of each boat at any combination of wind speed and wind direction. The VPP re-write project was completed by Jim Teeters and his team. The 2016 ORR VPP has incorporated the latest "wide light" and real world sail testing research into its rating calculations. There is also a new assessment for boats that carry an asymmetrical spinnaker on centerline, where they now have the option to carry a whisker pole for winging out a jib if they choose.

ORA and US SAILING finalized an agreement bringing these two strong organizations closer together in an effort to make your racing experience better. US SAILING will produce certificates and provide measurement services for ORA. The new US SAILING software program will be up and running by March 1.

offshoreracingassociation.org
offshoreracingrule.org

Letters To The Editor - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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* From Alistair Skinner: It is a matter of public record that the RS:X Boys in Portugal at the 2014 Youth World Sailing Championships (and the title to be defended) was won by Yael Paz (ISR) so unless he has changed his name Yav Omer WAS NOT denied the opportunity to defend his title and the RS:X Girls was won by Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) who DID compete and DID successfully defend her Youth Sailing World Champion title. What's more she did also win the youth title at the full RS:X World Championship and even qualified for the medal race.

Of course that doesn't excuse the use of children or sport in politics at all but I always start to doubt the veracity of someone's argument when they start to exaggerate, overly-embellish or make clearly inaccurate claims about the disadvantage that has been suffered, as I am sure would any judge or jury.

With regard to sailors from Israel competing in Muslim countries, the RS:X Worlds DID have at least one ISR competitor, 'Maayan Davidovich' who finished down in 14th place so there is clearly not a blanket ban on Israeli sailors although it does appear she had to compete and under ISAF's banner.(no national flag or designation even in the results table)

I have to say though that any idea that it is easy to relocate championships without months, or even years of warning shows a distinct lack of awareness of the amount of organisation in a) finding an alternative venue and then b) that alternative venue getting everything ready in time. It's not just a matter of raising the right flags at the right time. People clearly have no conception of just how careful World Sailing actually is.

That is why World Sailing is currently going through the bid process for the 2019 Championships - 4 events away.

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The Last Word
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