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.

Gabart Takes Line Honours In The Transat Bakerly 2016
Frenchman François Gabart on board his new 100ft trimaran Macif, crossed The Transat bakerly finish line at 18:24 EDT (22:24 GMT) this evening off New York, taking line honours in the Ultime class.

The finish time, recorded by the Sandy Hook Pilot Association boat, marks the first solo race win on Macif for the 33-year-old, who in 2013 became the youngest ever winner of the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race. Gabart covered the official course distance of 3,050 nautical miles in 8 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds.

Gabart actually sailed a total distance of 4,634 miles at an average speed of 23.11 knots in a remarkable voyage. Unusually for The Transat bakerly, it took him, and his close rival Thomas Coville on Sodebo, hundreds of miles south of the Azores into the tradewinds before sling-shotting northwest up to New York.

As Gabart crossed the line Coville was still some 118nm from the finish while the third-placed trimaran in the Ultime class - Actual skippered by Yves Le Blevec - was still 509.6nm away.

thetransat.com

A Flying Start
Lisbon, one of the most successful host cities of the Volvo Ocean Race in recent years, has been chosen as the destination for a flying start to the next edition in 2017-18.

In 2011-12 and 2014-15, Portugal's capital city staged hugely popular stopovers following transatlantic legs, but this time organisers have decided that a short, sharp 'sprint' leg from Alicante would be the ideal way to begin the round-the-world challenge.

As well as that fresh initiative, the race announced on Tuesday that a new Boatyard facility was opening with immediate effect in Lisbon to service the fleet for the next race and provide the base for an upgrade to all the Volvo Ocean 65 boats from October this year.

The Lisbon Boatyard will complement the well-established maintenance centre in Alicante that will continue to be available for teams as their Mediterranean training and support base.

The fleet for the 13th edition in 2017-18 will be upgraded in the Lisbon facility later this year and early into 2017. The city of Lisbon will also provide an ideal pre-race training hub for our fleet in the Atlantic.

Lisbon joins Alicante, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Auckland, Newport (Rhode Island), Cardiff, Gothenburg and final destination city, The Hague, on the route for the 2017-18 race, with more cities to be announced in the coming weeks.

volvooceanrace.com

Phill Maxwell Has Joined Evolution Sails
Evolution Sails Phill Maxwell has from April 2016 joined Evolution Sails at their newly opened office in STP Shipyard in the middle of the Superyacht hub of Palma de Mallorca. Phill will be working with project management, customer support and sales.

Phill has the last 7 years been working with Doyle Sailmakers. He was educated Naval Architect with honors degree in New Zealand and then worked for 4 years as a contract yacht designer. He has an extensive sailing experience from competitive sailing and the Superyacht racing circuit as tactician and trimmer. His knowledge and experience from the professional and technical aspect of sail design and development has thus evolved through his wide experience. He has been responsible for and involved in major and unique projects for high-end yachts.

Phill states that "I am excited to join the ambitious Evolution Sails team which has a refreshing approach to products and customer service. Our ethos is mutual, we want to get up there in the front by developing the business at the same speed as this challenging and rapidly moving industry".

Evolution Sails is a premium worldwide sailmaker originating in New Zealand, and is now well established also in Europe with its boutique service loft for superyachts in Palma. Evolution Sails is thus selling sails to the larger yachts in the industry, and is involved in new and exciting projects. "We are extremely pleased with Phill joining our team, thereby contributing with his extensive knowledge, experience and drive", says Evolution Sails director Siggi Mansaker.

Due to its increased workload, Evolution Sails is now looking for another experienced sailmaker for its service loft in Palma as soon as possible.

www.evolutionsails.com

Sir Ben's New York Course Frustrations...
While it is fantastic to be showcasing the World Series boats on the Hudson I am sure Lipton would have been as bemused as I was by the location of the race course for the 21st century America's Cup. Sadly, the race organisers and harbour authority were forced to put the course between the imposing Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan and the Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City.

In terms of topography for disturbing wind flow this is probably the most disruptive it could be and in my opinion the last place on earth you would want to put a race course.

As competitors we have a problem. We have to accept the trade-off between maintaining the integrity of the racing and helping to promote our sport in front of new audiences. I find myself in a tricky spot on this debate. On the one hand, as a team principal responsible for raising money to fund our campaign, I understand greatly the commercial realities here and the fact that the America's Cup with its immense history does need to modernise and attract a new generation of fans.

On the other, wearing my sailor's cap, I have to say that Sunday's racing was about as frustrating as it gets. It is one thing if you are exhibition racing but these World Series races matter, the points go towards the America's Cup proper in Bermuda next summer and, as we saw from Oracle's 9-8 win last time out, every single point counts.

www.telegraph.co.uk/sailing

Practice Makes Perfect
Photo by Max Ranchi, www.maxranchi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Gaastra PalmaVela Gaastra PalmaVela is often described as a 'practice regatta' simply because it opens the Mediterranean racing season but few of the crews can harbour any complaints that this year's event on the Bay of Palma lacked in either intensity or quality of competition.

Over the four days of racing the winds might have been less regular and reliable than previous years but that kept up the tension to the end in most of the key classes.

The nine strong TP52s fleet, revving up for their racing season which starts in Italy in just over two weeks, had looked set to be a comfortable win for Quantum Racing. The 2013 and 2014 champions faltered with a sixth of seven finishers in the first race of the day. But a well executed comeback win in the seventh and final race of their series ensured Doug DeVos' team secured the Palma title, complementing the Copa del Rey MAPFRE title they won in August last year.

A strong Wally class of 11 boats also went to the wire. Victory in the last race, contested in a lazy Sunday afternoon, shifty breeze, was enough for Jean Charles Decaux's Wally 77 J One to win overall by a only one point from Philippe Ligier's Wally 80 Ryokan 2. Under handicap time correction the Maxi class found the J Class Lionheart simply unstoppable, the crew headed by Bouwe Bekking winning all six of their races. And in the One Design classes the winners of the Swan 45 fleet was Christian Plump's Elena Nova counting three first places and a second.

Full results: www.palmavela.com

North Sea Race
The North Sea race from Harwich UK across the North Sea to Scheveningen Netherlands, was blessed with summer-like conditions. After a beat to South Galloper Buoy, the fleet turned north for a long starboard tack reach to Smith's Knoll Buoy, followed by a port tach reach to the Netherland's coast and a beat to finish at Scheveningen.

Volvo 70, Sanya Ocean Racing, sailed by Dutchman Harm Prins, took Line Honours in an elapsed time of 22 hours and 57 seconds but the high pressure produced a light airs race that suited the smaller yachts. The overall winner, after IRC time correction, was Sigma 33, Woozle Hunter, skippered by Ian Ivermee and crewed by members of the Marconi Sailing Club, Blackwater, Essex. Ian & Laura Ivermee raced with their 2015 Rolex Fastnet Crew.

The North Sea Race featured ten teams racing Two-Handed and five of the short handed crews made the top ten overall.

Full results: www.rorc.org

Dubarry Crosshaven - Preferred By Professionals
Dubarry Crosshaven If you had to invent the most punishing ordeal for offshore sailing footwear - an extreme boot camp perhaps? - then it would be a professional, fully-crewed round the world race: thousands of ocean-bashing, boat-trashing miles around the planet. If there's even the slightest imperfection in boat, man or gear, this race will find it, break it, then tell everyone about it.

For most of us, it's the ultimate contest of man and machine against nature. For Dubarry, it's R&D. After supplying its ever-green Shamrock boot to the professional crew of Ireland's Green Dragon entry in a 2008-09 round the world race, Dubarry's most fanatical designers listened, developed, tested, listened some more, tweaked, analysed and tested again. The result was the Crosshaven boot.

When Green Dragon arrived in Galway at the end of leg 7 for the best party the race has ever seen, elbowing their way through the "craic addicts" was Dubarry's research team, wanting yet more feedback. Their finishing touches sealed the Crosshaven's reputation as the offshore professional's boot of choice. Where's the proof of that? Professional teams chose Crosshaven in the 2011-12 and 2014-15 round the world races.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

dubarry.com

Industry News
The Volvo Round Ireland Yacht race, one of the most challenging off-shore races in the world, has become even more attractive to sailors with the announcement that there is a luxury Volvo car up for grabs for one lucky skipper.

Following the recent decision by Volvo Car Ireland to become title sponsor of the classic off-shore race from June 2016, they aim to further develop the race by encouraging sailors to return to complete the epic 704 mile contest over the next three races.

The skipper who has accumulated the best overall points' results on corrected time, over the next 3 Volvo Round Ireland races 2016, 2018 and 2020, will be presented with a brand new Volvo V40 at the Prizegiving for the 2020 Volvo Round Ireland Race.

With nearly 50 yachts already signed up for the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland, a significant number of skippers will already be in the running for the brand new Volvo V40 upon completing the race this June.

The 2016 Volvo Round Ireland departs Wicklow Bay on Saturday 18th June 2016 with the first start at 13.00 hours. See roundireland.ie for more.

*The winning skipper will receive a Volvo V40 or equivalent model depending on range at time of winner announcement. The car must be registered in Ireland.

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UK Marine & Maritime SME Growth Fund is currently open for applications.

£250,000 grant funding competition for small and medium sized marine and maritime businesses (SMEs) and new start ups in the Solent and New Forest district.

Full information and guidance in relation to the fund, and the application form to apply, can be found here:

solentlep.org.uk

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Independent media evaluation agency Repucom, has confirmed a record media value for the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series, which saw a 13% increase year-on-year.

The report, released today, confirms that for the ninth consecutive year, creators and organisers of the original and only Stadium Racing series, OC Sport, generated €49.5million in global media value for the Series in 2015, a substantial increase compared to €44million in 2014.

The media value, coupled with the Series' award-winning B2B VIP experience and Stadium Racing format that captivates the public, provides an important reflection on the sponsorship value.

To receive a copy of the 2015 independent media evaluation report, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The 12th Asia Boating Awards were presented at ONE°15 Marina Club, Singapore on the opening night of the Singapore Yacht Show (April 7-10). McConaghy Boats was awarded "2016 Best Sailing Yacht Builder".

Created by Asia-Pacific Boating and China Boating magazines in 2005, the annual Asia Boating Awards recognise the best of the maritime industry in Asia and internationally.

The awards serve as a benchmark for the industry in the Asia-Pacific region.

McConaghy has build facilities in Australia and China, along with a design office in New Zealand.

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Sunsail has announced that British yachtswoman, Dee Caffari, has joined its team as a brand ambassador.

She was the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions, and is the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times.

Most recently Ms Caffari was part of the all-female crew in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15.

www.boatingbusiness.com

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McMurdo has been selected by the USA's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide support services for its next-generation search and rescue satellite-aided (SARSAT) systems.

The contract, which will cover NOAA MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue) systems in Hawaii and Florida, has a contract ceiling value $8.2 million over 5 years with approximately $1.6 million expected for 2016.

Ramon Carlin
Ramon Carlin Ramon Carlin, the 'weekend sailor' who upset the odds to become the winner of the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, has died in Mexico City at the age of 92.

Carlin was a complete unknown in the sport when he entered the event, which later became the Volvo Ocean Race, having made his fortune manufacturing washing machines and other white goods in his native Mexico after starting his career as a door-to-door salesman selling cutlery, pots and pans and other household goods.

By 1973, he was seeking new challenges. He assembled a crew of good, but unheralded sailors, before upsetting some of the era's leading names of offshore sailing, such as Britain's Chay Blyth, by winning with his Swan 65, Sayula II.

He didn't insure Sayula II for the race, but saved on the premium to cover necessary repairs. The crew only discovered this as they approached the finish with only 14 of the 19 strands of the forestay still intact.

After the race, in which three rival sailors died in the 19-strong fleet, Carlin returned home to a presidential reception in Acapulco and became Mexico's most famous yachtsman.

Right to the end of his long life, Carlin delighted in recounting his triumph, which was commemorated in a successful movie last year, 'The Weekend Sailor', directed by his countryman, Bernardo Arsuaga.

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