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.

Sixteen Year Race Record Falls
Having faced the gamut of sailing conditions and provided one of the most exciting finishes since race tracking was introduced, Phillip Turner's RP66, Alive, has claimed Line Honours in the 2016 Rolex China Sea Race and written herself in to the record books, setting a new record for the race of 47h 31m 08s, 11 minutes and 59 seconds inside Beau Geste's record, set back in the millennium edition.

After an inauspicious harbour start for the fleet, Alive made very slow progress out of a foggy, damp Hong Kong and, had it not taken four hours for the northeast monsoon to kick in, she could have been looking at taking a much larger chunk out of the record.

Once in open water, the breeze picked up and the RP66 had stiff competition for Line Honours nearly all of the way, with Banuls 60 Catamaran MACH2 making impressive gains through the middle stretch of the race. Both vessels raced close to the rhumb line, however just over 200nm from the start, Alive chose to peel off south to stay off the coast and set up a more westerly approach to Subic Bay, leaving MACH2 to take an inside line.

The tactics paid off for Phillip Turner and while MACH2 sat in the dreaded Luzon hole for 5 hours, making slow progress, Alive benefitted first from the mid-morning sea breeze kicking in.

Tracking:

www.rhkyc.org.hk/rolexchinasearace.aspx

Ed Dubois
Ed Dubois Lymington's local sailing community and with it the wider world of sailing was shocked and saddened today to learn of the unexpected death of world-renowned designer Ed Dubois, from cancer at the too early age of 63 years.

Ed had trained with Alan Buchanan in the early Seventies in the Channel Islands, then moved to work, briefly, on the editorial staff of Yachts and Yachting, then a fortnightly magazine in the UK at the cutting edge of yacht racing reportage.

He hung up his shingle - in reality a brass plate - in Lymington just two years later having designed the Three-Quarter Tonner Borsalino Trois and from then on never really looked back.

His real breakthrough came, however with the seminal Police Car, for Peter Cantwell for the Australian Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup team of 1979, of which years later he wrote:

"Police Car only came to be because of what I considered at the time to be a personal disaster. Peter Cantwell, Police Car's owner, had previously tried to buy the successful three-quarter-ton design Nardia - which I drew in late 1977. He missed it by an hour - she was instead sold to a buyer from Jersey, Channel Islands.

"Not to be outdone, Peter asked me to design a new three-quarter-tonner which was built in Singapore - where he was living at the time - to compete in the China Sea Race series. We tuned her up during the first race and then won the second in-shore race and then the third before competing in the China Sea Race. Halfway down the track, while doing well, the rudder fell off. I thought it was a calamity and that my career as a yacht designer could be over!

"Anyway, consumed with guilt and self-pity we motored the boat back to Hong Kong and the very next day a local British architect - David Thornborough - sauntered down to the dock and made an offer to buy the boat because he'd seen it be so successful. Pink Panther, as this three-quarter-tonner was called, went on to win practically everything in the Hong Kong season and on the basis that he'd just sold the boat, Cantwell went on to ask me - that evening - to design the Two-Tonner Police Car.

"Police Car was good in light to medium conditions and spectacularly good in a breeze. We won the Australian Admiral's Cup trials - a tightly contested event in itself - in Melbourne in February 1979 and I knew that if it was a windy season in England, she would excel in the Admiral's Cup. Police Car went on to be the best performer in the winning Australian Admiral's Cup team along with Impetuous and Ragamuffin. The success of Police Car, particularly in such a gruelling and tragic race as the Fastnet that year, meant that I had international recognition properly established.

"As I woke in the Holiday Inn Hotel, Plymouth, the morning after the race had finished, I knew that for the time being at least, my career as a yacht designer was assured. By that time, we also knew that 19 families were suffering dreadful misery and grief from having lost relatives. 15 in the race and four to be unlucky enough to be on a cruising boat in that storm and they also drowned.

"Later that day, I signed up six new orders for racing boats of various types because of Police Car's success - there and then in Plymouth. It was a weird paradox - I felt such a mixture of emotions..."

The rest, as they say, is history... -- Malcolm McKeag

Marlow Ropes Leisure Marine Team
Marlow Ropes 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.

Rachel Eccott
Leisure Marine Sales & Customer Service - UK & ROW
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Rachel joined us in July of 2015, ably stepping into the shoes vacated by the retiring Marilyn Kitcher. Rachel has a background customer services from her previous roles. Rachel also looks after our customers in South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia and her efficiency and commitment to her customers has seen her slot effortlessly into the Team.

Agnes Greenwood
Leisure Marine Sales & Customer Service - Europe
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Agnes joined Marlow in 2014 and quickly made her mark though her dedication to providing her customers with excellent service. Agnes is a French National living in the UK, and also brings her experience of living and working in Germany to her European customer service role.

marlowropes.com

RORC Easter Challenge
If traditionally the RORC Easter Challenge is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's coaching regatta, today's lesson centred upon heavy weather sailing technique.

As the fleet returned to yesterday's start area around Peel Bank, conditions were sunny and relatively benign, but with giant grey clouds looming. During today's one race, a squall stuck down the fleet with gale force gusts of up to 40 knots. In addition to numerous broaches, there were two man overboard incidents; one on James Neville's INO XXX racing in the FAST 40+ class, the other on RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine's First 40, La Reponse.

On La Reponse the vang trimmer got washed overboard during a Chinese gybe. As McIrvine described it: "We were absolutely dead downwind and a little bit by the lee and a big gust took us the other way. We let the vang off too much and the boat rolled and we Chinesed in."

Fortunately the MOB's lifejacket inflated and they were recovered after a few minutes and hauled onto a RIB by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd and lead coach, Jim Saltonstall. The incident cost La Reponse victory in IRC Two, where today's race was claimed by former RORC Commodore Mike Greville on his Ker 39 Erivale III and the class prize went to Ireland's Conor Phelan and his Ker 37, Jump Juice.

With the big forecast, eight of the 10 FAST40+ class pitched up today but only four finished.

Today's FAST 40+ race was won by Anthony O'Leary's Ker 40, Antix. For the Irish two time Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup winner, this event was their first sailing this season.

Despite a strong challenge from David Franks' JPK 10.10 Strait Dealer, which claimed three bullets in five races, it was the newer, larger JPK 10.80 Sunrise that prevailed in IRC Three, winning today's race.

In IRC Four Harry Heijst and his Winsome claimed today's race and the overall class win.

Quarter Tonners aren't supposed to plane? "Someone forgot to tell the boat that!"

Racing Manager, Nick Elliott concluded: "While conditions were challenging over the regatta, this provided the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience from our world class coaches and will certainly have jump started each participant's season."

Full results: www.rorc.org

Three In A Row For Black Jack In The Brisbane To Gladstone Race
Photo by Jodi Visser. Click on image to enlarge.

Black Jack Black Jack completed the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race at 4:13.50pm this afternoon and in the process recorded her third consecutive line honours win in the Easter event. Frustratingly for the crew, despite consistent sailing in tricky conditions, the light winds have once again meant that the 12-year-old race record set by Skandia in 2004 remains intact. On the dock, Peter Harburg, owner of Black Jack told the attending media, to the Black Jack Team the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is the most important race in Australia and vowed to return next year with the intention of finally setting a new race record. Skipper, Mark Bradford, reiterated Peter Harburg's comments and praised the crew for their efforts during the 29-hour passage.

Whilst the Black Jack crew now retire to Port Curtis Sailing Club to celebrate their achievements, the rest of the fleet have more than 90 nautical miles to sail. Navigators will be keeping their eyes to windward hoping for a shift in winds that may yet allow them to challenge Black Jack for the Courier Mail Cup which is awarded to the fasted boat on corrected time and overall winner of the race.

The light winds and longer race are likely to be hardest on the three boats racing in the short handed division.

www.brisbanetogladstone.com.au

Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR
In any sport in, any Olympic cycle, time is the eternal enemy. It is perhaps the most precious commodity of all in Olympic sailing.

Around the Bay of Palma, Easter Sunday may have been gleefully seized by holidaying locals and vistors as chance to enjoy the warm Spring sunshine. But for the 1000 plus sailors of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR Olympic classes regatta, practise race day really just ushered the competition, the days of reckoning one day nearer.

Common convention now dictates that there is more to be lost than gained from competing in the official practise race. The hard training is done. Over the past days and weeks there have been endless unofficial training races. Equipment choices are made.

Keeping the powder dry and the pre-regatta focus intact is far more important than the risk of a eve-of-racing dent to the boat or - with so much resting on this week - to the confidence.

In fact consensus between sailors, coaches and organisers lead to today'a practise race being cancelled. With eight course areas now, rather than the previous seven, the decision holds in reserve some of the substantial resources required to set it all out for the small percentage of sailors would ever take the start line.

It was confirmed today that Spain's two times Olympic medallist Iker Fernandez has been forced to bow out of this Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR regatta. Martinez who won Olympic gold in 2004 and silver in 2008 in the 49er Class with Xabi Fernandez, suffered a knee injury in a collision with another boat early in the Nacra 17 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida. Martinez and Julia Rita could take no further part in the worlds.

An intensive rehabilitation period has followed but, although the duo have been on the water a few times since, Martinez is not fit enough. As the Spanish Olympic trials for the Nacra 17 are based on the Worlds, this regatta and the World Cup Hyeres, it seems this leaves Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (who previously crewed Martinez) a clear path to the Rio selection.

Racing at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR starts for the 10 Olympic classes on Monday

www.trofeoprincesasofia.org

Finn Class: Battle Lines Drawn On Bay Of Palma
The battle lines will be drawn on the Bay of Palma over the next six days. At stake are the final country selections for the Finn class at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. At the end of the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR, the final European spot and the single African spot will be decided. The stakes couldn't be higher with eight countries targeting one European place and two for the single African spot.

Based on recent performance, the main fight is expected to be between Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Turkey. At the European Championships, held just two weeks ago in Barcelona, Ondrej Teply (CZE) came out on top, but Egor Terpigorov (RUS) and Alejandro Muscat (ESP) were immediately behind him, with Piotr Kula (POL) five places further back. It was about as tight as it was possible to get. However the conditions in Palma will be very different.

However based on recent results the Russians are viewed as the favourites. Terpigorov and Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) have both put in top results in the last year including top 10 places at the 2015 Europeans, while Kistanov took the bronze at the Sailing World Cup Miami two months ago.

Overall the event has pulled in 76 entries from 31 countries, and in addition it is a selection indicator for many other countries, both those who have already qualified and those who are hoping to qualify this week. Selections are still undecided for New Zealand, Italy, Canada and Australia and these are all getting closer to a conclusion.

There is still an outside chance that some of these countries may not select anyone, and then the place would revert to the next country not yet qualified at the 2015 Finn Gold Cup. If any already qualified country doesn't select, then the next country space would go to Russia, then Spain, then Czech Republic.

finnclass.org

Round The Rocks
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands: Sleigh rides for some and slogs for others characterized racing in today's first annual Round the Rocks Race, a 21-mile clockwise circumnavigation of the island of St. John and tune-up for the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR).

"We had great racing, conditions were ideal and it was a good course around St. John," says Boston, MA-based Stephen Cucchiaro, whose Gunboat 60, Flow, beat Rye, NY's Robert Alexander's, same make and length, Fault Tolerant, in the Large Multihull Class. "There was some really close racing between us going upwind on the north side, but they (Fault Tolerant) was able to maintain an edge over us. But, we had better boat speed downwind and were able to beat them in the end."

In the CSA Spinnaker Class, Norwalk, CT's Steve Benjamin, wife Heidi and crew including Virgin Islands' Olympic silver medalist and America's Cup veteran, Peter Holmberg, ended first aboard Benjamin's TP 52, Spookie. Spookie crossed the finish line a slim 13 minutes on corrected time ahead of second place finisher, Team Magnitude-El Ocaso, a J/122 chartered by Long Beach, CA's Doug Baker. Team Island Water World, a Melges 32 with St. Maarten's Frits Bus at the helm, followed just over 10 minutes later in third.

Affinity, Marion, MA-based Jack Desmond's Swan 48, finished first in the CSA Non-Spinnaker Class.

stthomasinternationalregatta.com

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2003 Elan 45 - FALCON. 59950 GBP. Located in Cowes, United Kingdom.

Continuoulsy maintained, CAT 2 coded and a modest asking price.

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+44 (0) 1590 679222
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1986 Kiwi Magic 12 meter. 295,000 USD. Located in Portsmouth, RI, USA.

KIWI MAGIC is for sale. World famous for being the last and best built of the three 'plastic fantastics" which were known as KZ 3, KZ 5 and this boat KZ 7. Updated winches, sails, deck hardware, there is not much left on this boat from her original days of blasting around in Perth Australia during the 1987 Americas Cup. Since that glorious time in sailing, she has had several loving owners that have spared no expense to keep her in a near perfect condition. In recent years she has spent much of her time stored in a heated shed in Rhode Island, but she was last sailed in the 2012 12 Meter North Americans, which she won handily. If one wants the very best and last composite built 12 meter in the world, KIWI MAGIC is seriously for sale

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2001 Carroll Marine Farr 40. 125,000 USD. Located in Portsmouth, RI, USA.

The particular Farr 40 is seriously for sale as you can tell by her asking price.

This is hull # 96 and has always been very well maintained by her three owners.She was first built as SAMBA PA TI and then she was named TWINS. Her current owner has not used her for several years, but she is located in Portsmouth Rhode Island, has been under shrink wrap and has a Captain maintain her. In her inventory are many North sails, with several 1st string primary racing sails, having never been out of the bags! If one is in the market for a very nice and lightly used Farr 40, DARKSIDE could be the weapon of choice.

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

The Last Word
The idea that there could be other universes out there is really one that stretches the mind in a great way. -- Brian Greene

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