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.
Scuttlebutt Europe

Issue #3069 - 25 April

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

Consistent Peninsula Petroleum
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 A stiff breeze blowing along the coast, combined with an impressively large Atlantic swell made the opening day of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup a very tricky one, particularly for helmsmen.

In the three races sailed, consistency was difficult and of the 12 teams competing, John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum was the only team to manage it. With a 3-3-1, the Gibraltar-based crew is now the runaway fleet racing leader, seven points clear of Chris Bake's Aqua and Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev's Synergy. 

With three more days of fleet racing to go, Bassadone wasn't celebrating just yet, but was pleased with their performance, as was Peninsula Petroleum's Italian tactician, Vasco Vascotto.

From their horrible start, they picked off the entire fleet until they were second coming into the finish line, ultimately surfing past Aleph Racing to take the win.

After a collision yesterday saw costly points deducted from its match racing score, Chris Bake's Team Aqua came out of the blocks strongly today, winning the first race.

After their strong start, Aqua was subsequently nailed in the second race when they were pinned out on the final run, causing them to finish in a disappointing ninth.

Winner of race two today was Vladimir Prosikhin's Nika, sailing with his team's new tactician, American Terry Hutchinson.

RC44 Cascais Cup Overall Results (After three races)

1. Peninsula Petroleum, 3-3-1, 7 points
2. Team Aqua, 1-9-4, 14
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4-2-8, 14
4. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, 5-7-5, 17
5. Team Nika, 8-1-9, 18
6. Charisma, 2-5-12, 19
7. Bombarda Racing, 6-4-10, 20
8. Aleph Racing, 7-13 DNF-2, 22
9. Artemis Racing, 9-6-7, 22
10. MAG Racing, 11-11-3, 25
11. Katusha, 12-10-6, 28
12. Bronenosec, 10-8-11, 29

Solo Concarneau Trophee Guy Cotton
With just one week to the start of the Solo Concarneau Trophee Guy Cotton, Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Rich Mason, Alan Roberts and Sam Matson have absorbed the invaluable lessons learned in the Solo Maitre Coq last month and are feeling primed ahead of the second solo showdown of their careers.

Joining the British Rookie trio on the start line will be Academy graduate skippers Jack Bouttell, Ed Hill, Henry Bomby and Sam Goodchild, now in their second, third and fourth years racing on the Figaro circuit. Setting off on Thursday 1st May, the all-Academy British contingent will cross the start line in Concarneau, France at 1400 BST as part of a 29-boat fleet.

In its 38th year, the Solo Concarneau is a popular race with both Figaro Rookies and veterans alike and covers a large area of the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro course, making it an invaluable dry run for Legs 3 and 4 - Roscoff to Les Sables d'Olonne and Les Sables d'Olonne to Cherbourg-Octeville. Stretching 370 miles between the Chenal du Four and ile d'Yeu, the Solo Concarneau will lay skippers bare to the often rough conditions and choppy sea state of the exposed Brittany coastline.

A tactically challenging race, the 2013 Solo Concarneau was won by Paul Meilhat (Skipper Macif 2011), with Nicolas Lunven (Generali) in second and Vendee Globe skipper Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) in third. It was Academy skipper Henry who took the top British position in 9th, with Nick Cherry a little way down the pack in 14th, Sam Goodchild 16th, Jack in 17th and Ed 20th after suffering from black outs and hallucinations due to extreme sleep deprivation.

Yet to make an appearance on the Figaro circuit this year, "Nick Cerise" as he is known among the Figaro community, is pleased to announce this week that he has secured a Figaro to race for the remainder of the season. As the new skipper of 'Redshift', a boat yet to take part in a competitive race, Nick reports that the newly named Figaro (no.56) needs a little love to prepare her for the Figaro circuit, but he is fully aiming to join the British line up taking on the Solitaire du Figaro in 2014.

With just the Solo Concarneau (1st - 4th May) and Solo Basse Normandie (16th - 18th May) now between the Artemis Offshore Academy squad and the pinnacle race of the season, the 2014 mile Solitaire du Figaro, the pressure is on for the British sailors to prove themselves out in the field and secure the vital sponsorship that will see them on the start line in Deauville, France come Sunday June 8th.

Sail Racing Launch A New Series Of Products In The International Collection
Sail Racing "The opportunity to work with world class sailing athletes brings with it a tremendous responsibility and, more importantly, a great privilege. We use it as personal motivation to design products with the proper fit, function and durability. The key to the kind of collaborative work we engage in consists of collecting useful information through honest communication, sharp eyes and hard work.

Members of the Sail Racing Test Team push every stitch of our clothing and gear to the limit while competing on board advanced carbon vessels today in speed sailing events around the world. Their exploits have inspired the International Series of clothing that pay respect to some of the event locations where our athletes in the Sail Racing Test Team do their very best in the Extreme Sailing Series, M32 Cup or by trying to set new speed records on their own." - Lars Bolin, Marketing Manager at Sail Racing.

Expanding Brightlingsea One Design Fleet
Photo by Tim Bees. Click on image to enlarge.

Brightlingsea Designed in 1927 by Robbie Stone, the Brightlingsea One Design (BOD) has been sailed from the Essex seaside town for which it was named ever since. An 18' clinker built three man centreboarder, the BOD is a particularly elegant and spirited form of the classic day-boats adopted by so many British clubs during the 1920s and 30s. Like other local one designs, the BOD went through a lean patch in the '80s and 90s when racing numbers dropped into single figures. But unlike many others, the BOD has seen an enthusiastic revival in recent years and interest is now so high that fiberglass boats have been successfully introduced.

The Easter Weekend brought launch celebrations for the first of four new fiberglass BODs currently under construction. Alan Hicks' new C54 Storm Petrel was launched from Brightlingsea Hard in front of an audience of more than 100 friends, family, BOD sailors and Brightlingsea residents, all keen to celebrate the ongoing success of this amazing little boat.

Accompanying Storm Petrel on her maiden sail were C51 Grethe, the first fiberglass BOD originally built for Poul Riccard Hoj-Jensen, who helped develop the glass boats, and now owned by Fiona Brown, and C53 White Spirit, built for the late Reg White and now sailed by his son Mark, who both offered trial sails to those interested in the BOD. 

C54 is the fifth fiberglass boat to be built and was moulded by White Formula of Brightlingsea, with the joinery elements being completed by Simon Hipkin of nearby Thorpe-Le-Soaken. The boat is a truly local effort with the mast supplied by Sailspar in Great Bromley, rigging by Brightlingsea based Sailing School and Rigging and sails from UK Sailmakers just over the Suffolk boarder at Levington. 

For further information about the Brightlingsea One Design or to arrange a trial sail please visit or contact BOD Press Officer at Mobile +44 (0)7711 718470 or email

52 Super Series - Win Win
We are in Miami Beach City. The sun is out, temperature is in the high 20s and racing conditions are excellent. Quantum Key West Race Week was only five weeks ago. There Quantum herself was helmed by her owner, Doug DeVos, to a convincing win. I guess that after last year's Key West, in which Doug and his team did not get on the podium, pride and relief were there this time in equal measure...

Miami has seven teams at the start and without a doubt the strongest presence ever of IRC52 Wild Card boats. Vesper now sports a taller rig and carbon rigging, optimised sail matching a longer bowsprit to hit the maximum Wild Card IRC TCC limit of 1.388. Equal to Interlodge and Sled. The regular TPs by comparison have TCCs ranging from 1.383 to 1.385. The differences arise from not having carbon rigging (this changes in 2015), displacement differences and sail area differences (the IRC52s currently sail with kites that are 5 to 10m2 larger although the two will be equalled from May 2014 when the TP52s go up to 270m2 and 9m STL).

In the end the 5pt variance in rating, which relates to about 17 seconds per hour, rarely leads to position changes but certainly in some conditions it helps to have a boat that is marginally more powerful, whether going upwind or down.

We should not forget that the Wild Card was introduced to keep the older TPs competitive - not to support development outside the class rules and certainly not to promote a rating and optimisation war. As class manager I cannot resist a wry smile every now and then when I hear comments on the dock about how fast some of these IRC52s are, and hardly ever the observation that the results show that it is very difficult to produce a more all-round 52ft boat than a TP, something that is supported by race results.

Full article by Rob Weiland in Seahorse:

Ocean Safety Supplies Fifth Volvo Boat
Ocean Safety There are only two more still to finish, and Ocean Safety, the UK's racing safety equipment specialist, has already equipped five of the seven Farr designed Volvo (VOR) 65 One Designs that have been completed at Green Marine in the UK.

The all important task of equipping the fleet with a thorough safety equipment inventory began for Ocean Safety in the summer of 2013 and is nearing completion before the start of the race in October.

The latest yacht out of the yard is Alvimedica, skippered by American Charlie Enright. Like all her sisterships she has safety equipment onboard to Volvo's extreme specification.

Ocean Safety has, for the fourth campaign in a row, been awarded the safety contract for the Volvo Ocean Race in an arena where regulation governing safety requirements for these new high performance yachts is as rigorous as ever.

Ocean Safety trains the crews so that they are familiar with the Kru Sport Pro lifejackets, fitted with the Kannad R10 AIS rescue system, 12-person Zodiac Xtrem liferafts with special pack of extra equipment inside, Jonbuoy MK5 Recovery System also fitted with the Kannad R10, Kannad EPIRBs, water makers, safety lines, personal locking knives, torches and strobes all of which make up the fit out.

Irish Student Turns a Mobile Phone Into a VHF Radio
Whether we like it or not, many weekend sailors are going to sea depending on their mobile phones for reporting an emergency. This, naturally, is fraught with danger in so many ways - you can be out of range, and you can't even contact the other boats in your vicinity. Now, thanks to an Irish student, that may be about to change, because he has invented a phone-case which turns the phone into a VHF radio!

Seán Toomey, a 23-year-old student at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), came up with the idea for his waterproof VHF invention, called Casemate, last year as a thesis project for his product design degree.

He is now hoping a partner firm will be found to put it into production (and so are we).

While there are many waterproof phone cases on the market, Seán's design also includes the electronics that enable VHF radio communication, which are not found in even the smartest of smartphones. By sliding the phone into the case and connecting it to an in-built connector - which also doubles as a charger - the user has a VHF radio that can be activated very simply through a phone app. -- Niall Murray, Irish Examiner/Sail-World

2015 Fireball World Championships
Fireball International and the UK Fireball Association are delighted to launch the 2015 World Championships to be held at Club Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club, Wales from 17th to 28th August 2015.

It will be 10 years since the International Fireball World Championships were last held in the UK, so the event will provide an opportunity to race against some of the best amateur dinghy sailors in Britain and from across the globe.

The Welsh National Sailing Academy and Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club are a well-known venue in the international sailing world. The club has a wealth of experience in organising major regattas and sailing events and are currently constructing the new Welsh National Sailing Academy & Events Centre. The racing area is just a short sail out from the sheltered launching beach, with the racing visible from the shore. Regular south westerly winds and minimal tide provide excellent racing conditions for all, with the beautiful backdrop of the Llyn Peninsula and Snowdonia National Park.

The event will consist of the UK National Championships and International week followed by a full week World Championships series. The racing will be complemented by a full programme of social events.

Industry News
The latest addition to the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) is the thirteenth International Sailing Summit (ISS), which is to take place on 17 November 2014, the day before the start of METS.

The ISS will be hosted by British Sailing, one of the British Marine Federation's (BMF) group associations, and will bring together key players in the industry to drive change and promote sailing.

This year's ISS will centre on Waking up the sailing industry - how sailing needs to modernise, diversify and develop to attract and retain participants and will include: recent innovations in the industry, growing sailing in Asia, growing sailing amongst women and young people, among other things.

METS will take place from 18 to 20 November 2014 in the Amsterdam RAI centre.


Last month Beneteau America unveiled a new organization to lead their strategy in the Americas, with a single North/South axis. Both Central and South America are now under the management of Bruno Gouezigoux, reporting to the Beneteau America office based in Annapolis, MD.

Laurent Fabre, President of Beneteau America commented: "Joining forces in the Americas makes a lot of sense. From a product standpoint, these markets share very specific needs - from air conditioning to range, access to the water and standard equipment level. As the economies of South American countries continue to grow, so does the domestic demand for Beneteau sailboats and powerboats; sharing our resources efficiently to support our dealers is all the more critical."

"Many of our partners including Volvo and Navico have already adopted a similar organization structure for the Americas, which further facilitates our collaboration with them across the entire zone", added Fabre.


Hank Keene, Co-owner and General Manager of Edson International, has announced his retirement, effective March 25, 2014, as the effects of Parkinson's Disease no longer allow him to continue in his position. Hank has given his heart and soul to Edson over the past thirty-eight years.

Hank Keene has also served on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association since 1979, and was President from 1992 to 1994. He will continue to hold this position on the Board of Directors. Hank has also been involved at various levels with the New Bedford Industrial Foundation for the past 30 years.

Edson International, founded in 1859, manufactures an extensive line of marine steering systems, wheels, accessories, boat davits, electronic towers, radar mounts and marine pumps for sail and powerboats. Edson has been co-owned by Hank and brother, Will Keene, for the past twenty-five years, since their purchase of the company in 1989.


Brendan Howlin, T.D., Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was in Doolin this afternoon to visit the location of the proposed €6m pier project for the County Clare coastal village.

Minister Howlin's visit coincided with the signing by Clare County Council of a contract with L&M Keating, the successful tenderer for the construction of the new pier. Construction work will begin in the coming days and is expected to be completed by mid-2015.


The Irish Government has been warned to charge pleasure boats and yachts the same price for their diesel as motorists have to pay or face prosecution and fines.

Currently they are allowed to use green diesel that is duty-free and has a lower Vat rate, but under EU rules this should be available only to fishing vessels, farm vehicles and for heating.

The green, duty-free diesel costs about €1.10 a litre, and with duty could bring it closer to €1.50. The Vat rate on green diesel is also lower at around 13%, while for clear diesel it is 23%, which, according to the Cruising Association of Ireland, could bring the cost closer to €2 a litre.

Ireland was allowed to have an exception to the EU rule up to 2008 when the Government announced that those buying green diesel for their yachts and pleasure boats should keep the receipts and pay the duty to the authorities each year.

Britain introduced a similar system, but is also under pressure from the EU to collect the duty on diesel which they dye red to prevent it being sold on the open market.

Sailing clubs and pleasure craft charter companies, such as those that operate on the Shannon, have been lobbying for no change.

The Government has two months to respond to the European Commission's warning letter and tell them what arrangements they are making to bring the rules into line, or face court.

Featured Brokerage
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