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

A Race To The Hague
The Hague, scene of an enormously successful pit-stop last year, has been chosen to host the finale of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

The Dutch stopover will be preceded by a midsummer stopover in Volvo's home city of Gothenburg, setting up the crucial last leg to the Netherlands in June 2018.

The race's outgoing Dutch COO, Tom Touber, announced the climax to the 13th edition in Scheveningen harbour at a press conference in The Hague on Wednesday.

"I am bowing out shortly to pursue some exciting new challenges after nearly five and a half years, but this feels like the crowning moment of my time working for the Volvo Ocean Race organisation. I can't wait for a truly great spectacle in Scheveningen. It will be the party of a lifetime."

Touber headed the winning ABN AMRO (2005-06) campaign and also Delta Lloyd (2008-09), which were both launched from the Netherlands.

During the last edition of the ocean race in 2015, The Hague was a host port for the first time. This was celebrated with a three-day festival. Around 150,000 people came to see the boats and the stage performances of many well-known artists.

volvooceanrace.com

And, They're Off - Finally!
Photo by RHKYC / Aitor Alcalde. Click on image for photo gallery.

In line with Hong Kong Observatory predictions, the 2016 Rolex China Sea Race started today with more of a whimper than a bang, with thick fog, rain and barely any breeze in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. After a significant proportion of the fleet was swept over the line by the tide, Race Officer Sofia Mascia AP'd proceedings with a minute to go, finally getting the race underway 20 minutes later than scheduled.

The fleet ghosted its way through the fog and rain until finally some breeze kicked in at Kai Tak, lifting Standard Insurance Centennial through the gap at Lei Yue Mun, followed by Ambush and UBOX. At 1700hrs the fleet was still only moving at 4kts VMG, with TP52 FreeFire nominally heading the leader board having covered the same distance as Alive and Standard Insurance Centennial. The breeze is forecast to fill in from the north, giving a rough first night and even more taxing conditions on Thursday, so even with a slow start, 2016 could prove to be a record breaking year.

Race action is being tracked by Yellowbrick Tracking and is being shown live at www.rolexchinasearace.com - the race can also be followed on the YB Race Viewer App free of charge.

Hamble Yacht Services At The Rorc Easter Challenge
Hamble Yacht Services (HYS) has been busy putting yachts into the water ready for the RORC Easter Challenge which starts today Thursday 24th March. The event is the debut for the Fast 40+ Class, the majority of which base themselves at HYS. The yard is the perfect venue for grand prix racing yachts of this kind, not only because it is so close to the central Solent and the race start lines but also because the yard is fully geared up - along with decades of experience - for launching and recovering specialist yachts. "There have been some exciting yachts emerging from our paint shed looking ready for action," comments Kay Hymers of HYS.

In addition, owners, captains and crews value the HYS Open Yard Policy, tailor-made for team professionals who often carry out maintenance and optimisation themselves throughout the racing season. HYS's dry sailing contracts are flexible too, to allow very short notice no-fuss launching and retrieval.

HYS is an official Circuit Partner for the fourteen teams from six nations which have signed up to the FAST40+ circuit, with more expected to join. The HYS team will be cheering on their residents which include Ker40+ Magnum, C40 Rebellion, Ker 43 Otra Vez, and GP42s Tokoloshe, 42 South, Jubilee and Zephyr, and the most recent arrival, Ker 40 Keronimo.

www.hambleyachtservices.co.uk

Fast 40+ Class At Cowes Week
Ever since its inception in 1826 Cowes Week has been a highlight in the annual calendar for large, well-funded race boats. With the new Fast 40+ class choosing the regatta as one of its five core events for its first season, this year's event promises intense and exciting competition at this level.

The class encompasses 14 very light displacement high-performance yachts, with IRC ratings in a narrow band between 1.210 and 1.270, chosen to deliver fast and close inshore racing. Owners and crew are invariably very experienced and fiercely competitive sailors who have collectively won a huge number of prestigious events at the highest level of the sport.

The fleet includes a pair of Carkeek 40 MKIIs, three Ker 40+, five GP42s, one highly optimised Ker 40 and an HH42.

The class has opted for standard Cowes Week racing in Black Group, with the same mix of committee boat and fixed line starts as the other classes.

This year's Cowes Week takes place from August 6-13 - you can enter here:
aamcw.co/yourentry

Newport Bermuda Race Deadline
The deadline to submit an application for entry (AFE) in the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race is 1700hrs on April 1, 2016.

Racing starts June 17th. The first warning signal will be delayed from the usual mid-day start to 1450hrs to put all competitors on the same flood tide.

Few tests of blue-water seamanship are as iconic as the 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race. The 2016 race (starting on June 17) is the 50th Bermuda ocean race and also marks the 90th anniversary of the organizing partnership between the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

bermudarace.com

Royal Southern Start Of Season Day
Hamble, Hampshire, UK: With a top-quality line up of Championships, Regattas and hosted events that will cement its position as one of the leading Yacht Clubs in Northern Europe in 2016, the Hamble-based Royal Southern Yacht Club has just thrown open its doors to members and non-members to celebrate the Start of Season day. The Royal Southern is the largest club on the river Hamble delivering an ever-expanding programme of racing events to members of all ages; from youngsters in Optimists through to small keelboat and offshore racers.

On Saturday (19 March) the Royal Southern hosted its Start of Season day, an opportunity to meet up and enjoy the Club's fantastic facilities and have some fun.

During dinner, everyone enjoyed a short presentation from the evening's guest speaker, Nikki Curwen (27) who successfully completed her first Mini Transat last winter.

Nikki launched her Mini campaign at the Club in 2014. She outlined the requirement for qualifying for the Mini Transat as being almost as hard as the race itself and she handled her own race planning, sponsorship and media commitments throughout. Her race took 25 days in the Proto class with 28 boats starting and only 14 finishing in Guadeloupe. Nikki even thoughtfully took time out to make a special video message to the Club to thank everyone for their support while she was actually competing. Suffice to say, the room was in awe of her incredible accomplishment. When asked what was next for Nikki, she was quick to answer that she'd like to do another Mini Transat.

This year the Club is running a number of major events, including the J-Cup in June, the J/111 European Championships coinciding with the Club's July Regatta, the X-Yachts Solent Cup, Oyster Week and the new Fast 40 Class National Championships, as well as the Summer Series of monthly regattas sponsored by Harken, North Sails and Champagne Joseph Perrier.

Additionally, the Club is running match racing events including the Qualifiers and Final of the 2016 ISAF Grade 2 Match Cup which in 2015 formed part of the World Match Racing Tour. A new 'Hamble Classics at the Southern' Regatta has also recently been announced to take place in September.

www.royal-southern.co.uk

Marlow Ropes Leisure Marine Team
2015 saw a major change for the Marlow Ropes Leisure Marine team when our longest standing member of staff, Marilyn Kitcher retired after 47 years! With this departure came change and we have taken the opportunity to expand and restructure our team.

Paul Honess
Marlow Leisure Marine Sales Director
paul.honess@marlowropes.com

Paul has been with Marlow for 20 years starting on the customer service desks and working his way up through the organisation. He has sailed on a number of different types of sailboats and competed in events such as Key West Race Week and Round the Island. Paul's mantra is "keep the customer satisfied" and he focuses his team on doing just that, forging many strong and lasting customer relationships during his time. As well as managing the whole team, Paul is responsible for managing our network of grand prix riggers and helping them specify our grand prix and superyacht products.

Nicolas Brousse
Leisure Marine Sales Manager - Europe
nicolas.brousse@marlowropes.com

Nicolas joined Marlow in June of 2015 from VTM & Vitus France. Nicolas has many years of experience managing distribution networks as well as managing and developing new business with key European OEM companies. Nicolas is a French National who coming from south of France is in the perfect spot to sail, kite surf and take part in various regattas. Nicolas has relocated to the UK where he manages our European distribution business.

marlowropes.com

18ft Skiffs: Club Championship, Race 11
Sydney Harbour: The Australian 18 Footer League's 2015-2016 Season concluded on Sydney Harbour today with the Smeg 18ft Skiff team taking out the Club Championship and the Alcatel One Touch team winning the Season Point Score title.

The race was sailed in a south wind with all teams electing to use their smaller #2 rigs.

Although recalled at the start, the Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel crew of Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Joel Castle came back strongly to take the victory in an exciting and unpredictable race.

'The Rag' crossed the finish line 35s ahead of Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn), with Smeg (Nick Press, standing in for the regular skipper Lee Knapton) just 7s further back in third place.

Less than 30s covered the next three skiffs to finish.

Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge won the JJ Giltinan, Australian and now the Club Championship with some great teamwork in the red boat.

Smeg finish with 43 points as did Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. Today's winner Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel was third on 63, followed by Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) on 75, Appliancesonline.com.au on 78 and Yandoo (John Winning) on 80 points.

www.18footers.com

Gill Boat Competition Won By 12 Year-Old Sailor
Last month Gill announced a competition to win a fully-spec'd Optimist Winner 3D Star worth £3,500 along with £200 of Gill kit. The competition received 2,000 entries in over three weeks, both online and at the brand stand at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show. On the Sunday of the show, company founder Nick Gill announced the lucky prize-winner. The boat ended up going to a thoroughly deserving winner: 12 year-old Optimist sailor Charlie Fensom, who lives in Yorkshire.

At the announcement Nick Gill said, "I'd like to say a little bit about the Optimist fleet because Gill has been one of the sponsors for five years now. It really is the future of sailing, the future of our industry and sport. If you go to one of these events and see 300-500 of these little boats on the start line, with 300-500 young children having an absolute blast, it really melts your heart and it makes you glad to be involved in the sport and the future."

Charlie and her parents collected her Optimist Winner 3D Star during a special visit to the company headquarters on Friday. The family also received a guided tour of the Gill site with Product Development Director Matt Clarke, where Charlie was allowed behind-the-scenes to see the design process as well as the company's in-house testing facilities. Charlie then selected her £200 of Gill kit, before they departed happily with their brand new boat.

www.gillmarine.com

Discovery Of The USS Conestoga Solves A Mystery Almost 100 Years Old
The U.S.S. Conestoga, a long-lost tugboat that has finally been found - nearly a century after its disappearance. The discovery of the shipwreck off the coast of San Francisco has solved one of the greatest maritime mysteries in the Navy's history, as neither the fate of the ship nor its crewmembers had been known until now.

NOAA discovered remains of the tugboat about 2,000 miles away from where it was originally presumed to have been lost, in California's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The Conestoga first appeared in 2009 on a sonar survey that the agency was conducting to document historical shipwrecks in the San Francisco area. At the time, investigators weren't even sure a wreck was there. Conducting dives in 2014 and 2015, investigators used video cameras mounted on remote-operated vehicles to examine the underwater site more closely. "We went back three times because it just kept calling to us," says James Delgado, director of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' Maritime Heritage Program. "There was something about it that spoke to mystery."

Delgado and Robert Schwemmer, the office's West Coast regional coordinator, first suspected that the ship might be the Conestoga in the fall of 2014 and confirmed its identity during their October 2015 expedition.

The Conestoga was last seen on March 25, 1921, when it departed from Mare Island, just north of San Francisco, bound for American Samoa to serve as a station ship. Originally built to tow coal barges, the Conestoga escorted convoys and transported supplies during World War I, and it appears to have been towing a barge that was lost before the ship sunk, An older ship, the tugboat needed repairs to its bilge pumps - a problem that may have ultimately contributed to its demise. A mistaken report out of Pearl Harbor that the vessel had arrived there as planned meant that it took weeks before anyone had even realized the Conestoga was missing.

www.smithsonianmag.com

Featured Brokerage


2011 Salona 41. 199,999 EUR. Located in Hong Kong.

This Salona S41 is a perfect combination of comfort and high performance cruiser. She has a spacious saloon and master cabin, along with a large cockpit. The boat is in very good condition and we invite you to come and visit her. She comes with tons of racing options, example: carbon mast, boom and spinnaker pole, carbon steering wheel and stand, carbon interior and all the light weight compartment to make this 41 footer at around 7,000 KG weight.

A high performance cruiser with good interior!

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Contact
info@bachyachting.nl

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2003 Maxi Dolphin KALAO. 98,0000 EUR. Located in the South of France.

A stunning cruiser/racer designed by celebrated Italian designer Luca Brenta, the Maxi Dolphin 65' KALAO represents the latest concept in medium-light displacement yachts. She is designed for high performance under sails without sacrificing interior space. The accommodation includes a large double berth owner's cabin located to the fore, an immense open-space saloon amidship, with the galley area in full view, and two aft guest cabins, each with twin berths. All the cabins have their own en-suite bathrooms. Accommodation for two crew members is located in the bow. KALAO thus offers both performance and comfort. This complicated balance is the result of careful research by Luca Brenta, which has been put to best use by the skilled construction team at Maxi

Details http://seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/all-brokerage-boats/used-boats-monohulls-45-and-above/ad/kalao,176

Contact
Tel : +33 (0)4 67 66 39 93
email : bernard.gallay@bernard-gallay.com
Web : www.bernard-gallay.com

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1997 Farr 45. 50,000 GBP. Located in Port Hamble, UK.

A great example of the ever successful Farr 45 design is now available.

Professionally maintained from new and with a mainsail from 2014, she poses an exceptionally cost effective way of enjoying some high performance sailing on a big boat scale.

Details

Contact
Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble
sampearson@ancasta.com

See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day. -- Rumi

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