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.

Warm-Up To The Transat Bakerly
A fleet of 20 racing yachts and their skippers, plus guest crew, set sail from the French Brittany port of Saint-Malo Saturday evening bound for Plymouth and the official start village for The Transat bakerly 2016.

This non-timed Warm-Up is an innovation introduced by The Transat bakerly race owner and organiser, OC Sport, to give French race fans and campaign partners a chance to see the yachts and their skippers in Saint-Malo before they race single-handed across the Atlantic.

By the skippers' own admission, the Warm-Up stage in Saint-Malo has proved very successful, attracting big public crowds, enabling partners to interact with the race and giving them visibility in France as part of a world-class event.

"The meeting of the fleet in Saint-Malo enabled me to compete in this race," Class40 skipper Armel Tripon (Black Pepper Moulin Roty) revealed. "I was able to bring my partners to see the boat, which would not have been possible in Plymouth. The Saint-Malo warm-up has really brought the event alive ahead of the official race start," he concluded.

"We've had a very warm welcome to Saint-Malo," continued St Michel Virbac skipper Jean Pierre Dick. "The city has strong maritime links and it was very busy when we arrived. "There has been the same excitement in the air as at the start of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, but without the pressure of a race start - just a nice family atmosphere."

The Warm-Up also gives selected media and guests a chance to sail on the race boats with their skippers as they make their way to Plymouth ahead of the official race start on Monday May 2nd at 14.30 BST.

The official race start village opens to the general public on Plymouth Waterfront on Friday 29th April.

The Transat bakerly 2016 fleet

CLASS40 - 10
Phil Sharp / Imerys
Robin Marais / Espirit Scout
Edouard Golbery / Normandie
Isabelle Joschke / Generali - Horizon Mixite
Armel Tripon / Black Pepper
Louis Duc / Carac
Hiroshi Kitada / Kiho
Maxime Sorel / V&B
Thibaut Vauchel- Camus / Solidaires en Peloton - Arsep
Anna-Maria Renken / Nivea

IMOCA 60 - 6
Vincent Riou / PRB
Richard Tolkien / 44
Armel Le Cleac'h / Banque Populaire VIII
Sebastien Josse / Edmond de Rothschild
Jean-Pierre Dick / St Michel Virbac
Paul Meilhat / SMA

ULTIME - 3
Francois Gabart / Macif
Yves Le Blevec / Actual
Thomas Coville / Sodebo

MULTI50 - 5
Pierre Antoine / Olmix
Gilles Lamire / French Tech Rennes St Malo
Lalou Roucayrol / Arkema
Erwan Le Roux / Fenêtrea - Cardinal
Erik Nigon / Vers un monde sans sida

PEN DUICK II
Loick Peyron / Pen Duick II

thetransat.com

Calero Marinas Solo Transat
Having left Lanzarote some 66 hours after his competitors, faceOcean has taken the lead of the Transat from Lanzarote to Newport this morning. A spectacular come back for the rookie skipper Sebastien Destremau. "It's very satisfying"

Sailing very close of the direct road since the start of the race, faceOcean has been slowly catching up on the previous leader and the break was done last night. The very good news has to be toned down by the not so good news looming over the horizon. FaceOcean will be facing this evening a very deep low pressure system with winds in excess of 40 knots.

Sebastien who is taking part in his first ever Transatlantic Solo was very surprised to learn the news "We are not going to get too excited about it. My friends from the South are still very close and the road to Newport is very long. On top of that I have to deal with this Low tonight and I am a bit concern about it"

There is about 1500 miles to go for the solo sailors to finish the race and qualify for the next Vendee Globe

www.faceOcean.fr

Tracking: yb.tl/solotransat2016

www.caleromarinas.com/en/solotransat/

Antigua Sailing Week
The traditional opening action for Antigua Sailing Week kicked off with the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race on Friday 22nd April. The 42-nautical mile race is organised in conjunction with Antigua Yacht Club, the Triskell Association and the Village of Deshaies Department of Tourism.

This year's winners after CSA time correction were Kent King's Auzepy-Brennuer 72, El Oro, with a crew from Australia and Herbert Muenzel's Dufour 44, KH+P Cayenne, which has a veteran crew from Frankfurt, Germany participating in their 30th Antigua Sailing Week.

Adrian Lee's Irish Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners took line honours in an elapsed time of 3 hours 25 minutes 49 seconds. The fleet enjoyed a south easterly breeze, which pumped up to 18 knots during the race. Lee Overlay Partners reported having a fantastic sail, surfing at times at over 20 knots of boat speed.

For one promising young Antiguan sailor, this year's Antigua Sailing Week will be one he will never forget. Tony Langley's TP52, Gladiator, bristling with talented sailors, took on a new recruit. Rhone Kirby will be sailing with Gladiator all week. Rhone will be in the afterguard of Gladiator, providing local knowledge to Volvo Ocean Race winners, Ian Walker and Jules Salter.

Rhone represented Antigua & Barbuda at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and aspires to represent his country at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The 52 nautical-mile, Round Antigua Race was held on Saturday 23rd April and attracted 42 yachts; nearly twice as many as the 2015 race. Race Officer Stuart Childerely, officiating at his first race for Antigua Sailing Week, got the fleet off to a flying start from Fort Charlotte outside English Harbour. "We had beautiful conditions for the race with 14 knots, just south of east and every start was very competitive. The breeze built up throughout the day and there were reports of up to 20 knots of wind later during the race," commented Childerely.

Racing is scheduled through Friday.

www.sailingweek.com

Sir Peter Harrison Backs RYA Sail For Gold Ball
Sail for Gold Ball Long-time supporters of the RYA Sail for Gold Ball Sir Peter Harrison and the Peter Harrison Foundation have added their backing to this year's event where Sir Peter will be co-Principal Patron.

Sir Peter has been Principal Patron of the Ball since 1996, encompassing six Olympic and Paralympic cycles, supporting the British Sailing Team in its ongoing quest for medals.

"It's important to me to support our young sailors as they carve their way to Olympic and Paralympic success. They make a big commitment to the sport and we want them to feel we're right behind them, committing our time and resource to supporting their journey," said Sir Peter.

"I have been involved in sailing for longer than I care to remember and take real pleasure from helping a young person develop not only their sailing and racing skills but seeing how sailing can really accelerate self-development, which is also one of the commitments of my Foundation."

Further support for the Ball comes from Linklaters global law firm and North Sails One Design, both long-term supporters of the event, who have committed to be corporate patrons in 2016.

Tickets and partnership opportunities are still available either directly from the website www.sailforgoldball.co.uk or by contacting Kate Mardel-Ferreira on 07940 806505 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bo Petersen Takes OK Europeans
Bo Petersen (DEN) has won the 2016 OK Dinghy European Championship and Spring Cup in Medemblik after an eventful final day sailed in the most extreme conditions of the week. The only race sailed went to Richard Burton (GBR), who took the silver, while Charlie Cumbley (GBR) pulled out with a broken rudder and had to settle for the bronze.

There was a lot of onshore debate about the virtue of sailing today with the temperature falling further to just three degrees, winds up to 30 knots, and hail heavy enough to make small snowballs before the fleet launched. But the clouds cleared and a much reduced fleet set out for the final races.

Petersen picks up his second European title after first winning in 2013. Richard Burton has sailed the best regatta of his life in the first of the newly shaped IdolOne boats from Idol Composites to take the silver, while Charlie Cumbley will be ordering a new rudder before the World Championship in July in France and contemplating his missed chances to take his first International OK Dinghy title. -- Robert Deaves

Top ten after seven races
1. Bo Petersen, DEN, 20
2. Richard Burton, GBR, 21
3. Charlie Cumbley, GBR, 22
4. Greg Wilcox, NZL, 29
5. Thomas Hansson-Mild, SWE, 31
6. Oliver Gronholz, GER, 34
7. Rene Sarabia Johannsen, GBR, 42
8. Jon Fish, GBR, 51
9. Dave Bourne, GBR, 55
10. Jorgen Lindhardtsen, DEN, 57

Full results: kzrvhollandia.nl

Biking Brit Pits Cycle Against Sail In 4,000 Mile Cross-Country 'Race' Attempt
Simon Parker, 29, from Oxford, England is aiming to travel almost half way round the planet by sail and pedal power alone. Having first started sailing just six months ago and never having cycled more than 1,000 miles prior to this, Simon arrived in the US less than a week ago after completing the tough Pacific Ocean Leg of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, from Qingdao, China.

"Sailing across the Pacific was probably the hardest thing I've done in my life. The power of the sea and the magnitude of the storms we encountered were truly frightening and beyond what I imagined," said Simon.

On the next stage of his challenge, a 4,000 mile solo bike ride from Seattle to New York, starting today, he adds: "Whilst I may not face the same storms on the bike, I know that this next stage of the journey is going to be absolutely gruelling, both psychologically and mentally. It is going to be an unforgettable experience in so many ways."

The cycle ride, which he will complete unaided, will take Simon across 12 different states and take approximately six weeks to complete. In an added layer to the challenge, Simon will be racing his former team Clipper Race crew who will be aiming to beat him to New York, the final port in the US Coast to Coast leg of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

Once in NYC, Simon will re-join his Clipper Race team and sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland. In his final challenges, he will cycle race the yachts from Northern Ireland to Holland, then sail to London in a 36 hour sprint to the Clipper Race Finish at Tower Bridge on 30 July.

www.simonwparker.co.uk
clipperroundtheworld.com

California Insurance Match Racing International Regatta
Three days of competition saw eight international teams battle it out in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour for the right to lift the trophy in the 2016 California Insurance Match Racing International Regatta.

The Quarter Final proceeded with three out of the five flights completed by the end of racing on Saturday. The matches were completed in light, challenging conditions on Sunday morning. With the top four teams - Maxi Soh, Peter Backe, Olli Pekka Lumijarvi and Jeremy Koo - going through to the Semi Finals.

On the final day, only three matches of the Semi Finals were completed by early afternoon. In the first flight, two matches were sailed; Olli Pekka Lumijarvi beat Jeremy Koo and Maxi Soh edged out Peter Backe. One match was sailed in the second flight where Jeremy Koo bested Olli Pekka Lumijarvi.

After that, the race management team valiantly hunted for wind which was shifting 360 degrees; constantly being pulled by the multiple rain storms that came through. The race committee boat moved three times; ending up just off the Kellett Island Clubhouse. A final rainstorm came through putting the final nail in the coffin and the AP over A was hoisted. In the end, final results were taken from a combination of the results from the Semi Finals and also looking back at the Quarter Finals for a final resolution.

Results:
1st place - Maxi Soh (Singapore)
2nd place - Ollie Pekka (Finland)
3rd place - Peter Backe (Hong Kong)
4th place - Jeremy Koo (Malaysia)

rhkyc.org.hk

Flanders Enters The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Up against powerful multiple team entries from France and Britain in July's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, will be the newly announced Flanders Nord team. This will comprise three leading race boats from the continental North Sea coast: Frans Rodenburg's Elke from the Netherlands, Philippe Bourgeois' Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandre from northeasternmost France and Francois Goubau's well-travelled Moana from Belgium.

While the large British and French contingent is a little daunting, the Flanders team can relax slightly in the knowledge the defending champion, Ireland, won with a single team in 2014. Plus, many of the crew in the Flanders Nord team have past experience of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

Heavyweight of Flanders Nord, with what could be the longest boat competing this year, is Francois Goubau's 2001 generation Beneteau First 47.7, Moana. Goubau, who is Commodore of the Royal Belgian Sailing Club, has campaigned Moana in three previous Commodores' Cups, first with the Belgium team in 2002 and most recently with Team Benelux in 2012.

Dunkerque-Les Dunes de Flandres returns to the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup after she sailed with the France White team in 2014.

Already there is some crossover between the Dunkerque-Les Dunes de Flandres and Moana teams with several Dunkerque crew having raced on Moana in past Fastnet races and in the 2012 Commodores' Cup.

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the club's biennial grand prix for amateur crews. Racing takes place over 23rd-30th July on a mix of inshore and offshore courses in the Solent and around the English Channel.

commodorescup.rorc.org

Sailing To Cuba
Havana, Cuba: The J/88 MI:2, sailed by David Malkin from Annapolis, MD, participated in the Conch Republic Cup from Key West, FL to Havana, Cuba race this year. They were fortunate to have Ashley Love of T2P.TV Sailing Productions on board to document the whole experience - all from onboard the J/88! Said David, "what a fantastic offshore boat! Fast in any wind and sea conditions, and truly a roller-skate downwind- just flies down the waves with finger-tip touch on the helm! Just love it!"

The Conch Republic Cup was a regatta adventure from Key West, Florida to Veradero to Havana and back to Key West. It was truly a cultural exchange through sport that shows that sailing can help bind these two countries back together.

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The Last Word
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth. -- Benjamin Disraeli

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