Scuttlebutt Europe #3860 - 15 June
In This Issue
SVEA Debut | 'Jambi' takes Marion Bermuda Line Honors | Race Around The Rock Underway | Harken Tech Powers America's Cup Sailors in Thrilling Racing | Volvo Ocean Race switches to a 2-year cycle and a 2019 start for 14th edition | Hat-trick win for Maybury's Joker 2 at ICRA Championships in Cork | Bosun | Rescued British OSTAR sailor returns to shore | Kings Cup | Letters to the Editor | Featured Brokerage
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
A Solid Debut For Svea
After light winds on the opening day, the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta fleet revelled in the brisker winds and glorious hot sunshine during the second day of racing. The conditions resulted in more open courses which were set to offer more passing lanes and keep the crews on their toes with a bigger range of wind angles requiring smart sail choices and slick crew work.
All eyes were on Svea. The newest J Class yacht in the historic six strong fleet competing sailed a sparkling debut in light-medium winds off St Georges to take third place in the most competitive J Class fleet ever mustered.
“I did not really know what I was expecting from my first J Class race,” said Svea’s tactician Charlie Ogletree. “I expected it to be big and scary with big loads on everything. It was big but it was not so scary. But the conditions were perfect.”
In Class A the 10-13kts wind conditions and flat water were much closer to what the crew of Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s 35m Nautor Swan 115 Highland Fling were looking for as they won their first race since the boat was launched last year.
Svea's Battle Flag. Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.
In Class B the slightly stronger winds were also good for Sojana, Sir Peter Harrison’s 2017 Antigua Week winning 35m Farr ketch. With French ocean racing legend Loick Peyron steering, Sojana was more than one minute ahead of the second placed Rebecca.
Not one crew has managed to put two back to back wins together in any of the four classes. In Class C it was the 28m spirit of tradition style yawl Bequia, designed by Stephens Waring Yacht Design which triumphed, winning today by over four minutes over their 12.3 nautical miles course.
Racing at the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta, hosted by Boat International Media, concludes with the scheduled Race 3 tomorrow (June15).
'Jambi' takes Marion Bermuda Line Honors
RHADC Bermuda: 'Jambi', a new Hinckley Bermuda 50 skippered by John Levinson crossed the finish line off St. David's Lighthouse at 12:47:00 ADT to take line honors in the 40th Anniversary Marion Bermuda Race. 'Jambi' had an unofficial elapsed time of 4 days 23 hours 36 minutes 11 seconds. Based on her starting time of 12:55 EDT on June 9, that is 118 hours 52 minutes and 11 Seconds.
Alan McLane, Executive Director of the race and Willy Forbes, Compliance Chairman, awarded the crew's effort with Beer and Champagne and a Line Honors banner. A Tray of those Gosling Dark 'n Stormy cocktails followed.
Levinson said he has done the trip six or seven times and the entire crew had done many Bermuda Races, too. This was the first for his new Bermuda 50 to leave the US. 'Jambi' was a "wind machine," he said, "outstanding, flawless."
"There was no wind for most of the race." He said. "The beginning and the end were fantastic" with good wind then. "Total calm and then nice wind, total calm, nice wind… not rough weather."
The fleet was still clustered together along the Rhumb line to Bermuda from Marion with a majority of the fleet expected to finish Wednesday evening and a few expected on Thursday morning.
'Yaquina' appears to still be in Marion so Rich Robbins at Race HQ called to check. The incident reports shows. "Since we have received no YB position for Yaquina, I called to check on them and spoke with skipper Charles Samuelson. They have lost the transponder overboard--it is missing from the place where it was lashed to the rail.
Robbins reports, "Yaquina has been calling in with their position - as of 6/13 9:02 EDT they are at 34 degrees, 25 .8 minutes North, 066 degrees, 11.5 minutes West and proceeding to BDA."
All of the yachts carry YB Trackers and can be followed on yb.tl/mb2017
Race Around The Rock Underway
Saint-Tropez, France: The famous race is underway. At 12:45 today an international fleet of 209 yachts commenced the 65th running of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Departing from Saint-Tropez, France, their destination is the historic port city of Genoa, Italy with 241-nautical miles of tactically challenging sailing in constantly shifting weather patterns lying ahead. On route to Genoa, the fleet will round the race's symbolic landmark, the Giraglia rock, located off the northern tip of Corsica.
Following a sunshine start under a consistent 6-8 knots of wind, the early stages of the race went to form with the three Maxi 72s leading the fleet and picking up good speed as the breeze built on the passage to La Fourmigue. Alex Scharer's Caol Ila R, top performer in the week's inshore series, Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou from the United Kingdom, and Dieter Schon's German entrant Momo, optimized specifically for offshore racing, are set to dominate the front of the race.
Scharer identified the Giraglia rock as a key juncture in the race. Ogden was in agreement: "It is important to round the rock before the wind dies. After that we will look at the forecast and choose the best route to Genoa."
Processing the latest weather data on the docks this morning, navigators were largely in agreement that the 2017 race will be dominated by lighter conditions notably on the final leg from the Giraglia rock to the finish line in front of the Yacht Club Italiano clubhouse in Genoa.
The frontrunners were forecasting arrival at the Giraglia rock at around sunrise on Thursday morning and arrival in Genoa later that same day or in the early hours of Friday morning.
Live tracking of the fleet can be found at www.giragliarolexcup.com
Harken Tech Powers America's Cup Sailors in Thrilling Racing
The Louis Vuitton Challenger Playoffs were an amazing spectacle, with highly- competitive, often heart-stopping racing across the full range of conditions. As we move into The Match itself, here's what we know: These foiling, flying machines are incredibly robust.
The shore teams are again playing pivotal roles keeping the boats in the game, with Harken hydraulics, wing winches and deck hardware proving reliably up to the challenge. And the most important learning of all: regardless of where the technology takes us, it is the practiced ability of the sailors that will ultimately decide the winner-precisely as it always has. At Harken, this is where we live to be.
The America's Cup-At the Front.
Volvo Ocean Race switches to a 2-year cycle and a 2019 start for 14th edition
The Volvo Ocean Race will switch from a 3-year to a 2-year cycle after the upcoming 2017-18 edition, a change that will provide more continuity and more commercial value for professional sailing teams, sponsors and Host Cities.
Confirmation of the change will mean at least some race activity in every calendar year, from now on - meaning more action for fans of sailing's iconic race around the world, more continuous employment for the professional sailors involved, and even greater return on investment for the stakeholders backing the teams.
The 2017-18 edition starts 22 October from Alicante and will finish at the end of June next year in The Hague, Netherlands. The three races after that will run 2019-20, 2021-22 and 2023-24 and the tender process for Host Cities is now open for all 3 editions. This change, coupled with the new mix of stopover formats, and additional inventory, means the best ever value proposition, and flexible options, for the bidding cities around the world.
The race has again engaged long-term partner The Sports Consultancy to work on Host City partnerships and develop these new opportunities, with discussions now starting with existing and potential future Host Cities.
The race has already announced that the 14th edition in 2019-20 will be contested in brand new foil-assisted monohull boats. The addition of 'flying' multihulls for use inshore means the race will provide the toughest all-round test in sailing.
The switch in cycle could also help complete the alignment of sailing's big race calendar. For the first time in history, the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup, Olympics and Vendée Globe's 2 and 4-year cycles should be in sync with no direct overlap of the actual events.
Hat-trick win for Maybury's Joker 2 at ICRA Championships in Cork
Photo by David Branigan/Oceansport, http://www.oceansport.ie. Click on image for photo gallery.
An early end to a gale-lashed ICRA National Championships series at the Royal Cork Yacht club didn't stand in the way of John Maybury's Joker 2 from successfully defending his Division 1 title and lifting the trophy for the third consecutive season. The Royal Irish YC winner was one of five titles decided over the weekend that saw a prudent race management decision not to continue racing even inside the shelter of Cork Harbour this morning.
"I honestly hadn't given any thought to the hat-trick," admitted Maybury. "But now that we've won it, it's fantastic!" Joker 2 is already the ICRA Boat of the Year for its successful 2016 season and the national title for 2017 will make the J109 a benchmark for the remainder of the year.
Straight wins for Paul Gibbons Quarter-tonner Anchor Challenge delivered a convincing win in the ten-boat Division 3 where Howth Yacht Club's Anthony Gore Grimes was the first runner-up on Dux. However, clubmate Ross McDonald on Equinox won the Division 2 national title, taking over from fellow Howth sailor David Cullen on Checkmate XV after gear damage on Saturday ended his defence.
Breaking the past-form of Cork/Dublin national winners, Daragh McCormack from Foynes Sailing Club celebrated his newly-acquired J24 Stouche with the Division 4 national title. The 12-fleet was the largest at the ICRA championship this year with the J24 class accounting for nine of the boats and all seven top places.
After the sad loss of Scottish entry Inis Mor on delivery to Cork a week ago*, the depleted Division 0 saw a thrilling match-race series instead between local Robert O'Leary at the helm of Tony Ackland's "We had great fun, real match-racing. They gave us a good run and in only one race did both boats finish more than four boat-lengths apart," O'Leary said while predicting a re-match at the Sovereigns Cup in ten days time and Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July.
Meanwhile, the results from Saturday also stood for the White Sails fleets with Denis and Anne-Marie Murphys' Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo topping Division A under ECHO handicap while Clodagh O'Donavan's Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties won Division B.
* On the sinking of Inis Mor, see afloat.ie/sail/icra/
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Rescued British OSTAR sailor returns to shore
Mervyn Wheatley arrived on dry ground Tuesday, looking forward to a Halifax lobster lunch, a flight home to his wife, and buying a new sailboat so he can race across the Atlantic again next year.
Wheatley told reporters he "stood there and laughed" when he was escorted to his opulent stateroom on the massive ocean liner after his ordeal in savage seas.
"The contrast between what I had just left, which was a boat in fairly poor condition with water over the floorboards, to this magnificent state room was just surreal," he said. "There I was in the lap of luxury."
He was met in Halifax Tuesday by Capt. Jonathan Bregman, a pilot with 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 14 Wing Greenwood, who had spotted him amid swelling waters and came to give him a keepsake.
"It's not the most difficult mission (I have undertaken) but it was the most dynamic," said Bregman. "I'll never forget this mission. I'd like him to remember that we came to provide assistance."
He said he was surprised that Wheatley - one of about two dozen sailors racing from Plymouth, England, to Newport, Rhode Island - was able to survive his ordeal.
Wheatley, a former 33-year veteran of the Royal Marines, said he was keen to join the race again next year.
Photo by Mikkel Thommessen. Click on image to enlarge.
King Harald V of Norway is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, and the best way of celebrating for our sailor King is to race his vintage 8 metre "Sira", designed by Johan Anker and built for his father King Olav in 1938.
This year the international fleet will celebrate the King in his home waters off Hanko on the Norwegian East Coast. The regatta will take place from 10th until 20th of August, and some of the teams will use the opportunity to go to a tune up event during the Risor Wooden Boat Festival from 3rd till 5th August.
It is expected that more than 30 yachts including the best in the various classes will participate in the regatta. The will compete for the First Rule Cup for boats designed prior to 1920 or racing with gaff rig, Neptune Trophy and the Sira Cup for yachts built prior to 1960 and the International 8-Metre World Cup for all yachts including the modern yachts.
Hanko also hosted the World Cup in 2008 when King Harald won the Sira Cup. Several of the best Norwegian helmsmen will be racing on yachts purchased or chartered by Norwegian sailors for this championship. Olympic class helmsmen such as Herman Horn Johannessen, Dag Usterud and Terje Wang will be racing on these boats ensuring that the competition will be at top level.
The 8 metre was Olympic class from 1908 until 1936. -- Mikkel Thommessen
* From Euan Ross: The idea that it's ok to laud our sportsmen on the way up, and then disparage them on the way down, doesn't seem very British to me. Anyone paying attention, even those at the back, should have been aware some time ago that our 2017 Challenge was in trouble with regard to foil design and control issues. However, it is in the nature of commercially sponsored sports teams that their agents always look on the bright side. How else would you get the money?
And on that subject: yes, many of us were not happy about the use of public money for the America's Cup; neither were we happy about the early sponsorship of the programme by high net-worth individuals with controversial tax arrangements. But in the America's Cup, and the realms of elite sport generally, it would be a brave man who cast the first stone.
Ben Ainslie and his BARflies knew they had problems early on but still fought like tigers and I believe they made the nation proud; Ian Percy and his Artemis team likewise. Our boys threw themselves into the competition and Ainslie was unmatched in his skill and aggression at the starts. His back was to the wall - in the AC50s there are no passing lanes for a slower boat.
Ben might not have actually won the Cup for the USA, but he was part of a successful turn-around package that did the job in 2013 - is that not enough and how could it ever be anything else? I wish he was on the Kiwi's boat for the showdown.
Concerning the British press - come on guys, of course Murray is indeed expected to win every Wimbledon and Hamilton is expected to win every grand prix; hyperbole is the stock-in-trade of inky-fingered hacks. As for yachtsmen following the America's Cup - emotions always run high, so it might be difficult to retain a sense of perspective, but it's surely not too difficult to remain relatively well-informed.
* From Adrian Morgan:
My still (and always) good friend Malcolm and your Kiwi correspondent are right in taking issue with my suggestion that the money on the Land Rover BAR project (£100 million, I believe and counting) might have been better spent on hospitals. It could, of course, have gone into the NHS directly (a day's worth or less) but those employed will, indeed, be paying taxes, so perhaps it was a cheap shot, better left unsaid. However, I do assert that expectations were raised unnecessarily by all the hype and hullabaloo that accompanied Our Ben's Crusade to Bermuda, when most inside the team clearly knew from early on that the challenge was ultimately doomed. I, for one, feel let down, cheated and - not to put too fine a point on it - bamboozled (there are stronger words).
Bottom line: what chance of another massively expensive challenge from Britain if the Kiwis win? That will be starting afresh, again, probably with difference boats. Or indeed if Mr Ellison's bottomless money pit prevails, as I believe it will, helped by an absurd extra point for gate crashing the challenger trials (what was that all about?). Why bother? With Artemis hinting at a no show, and the likelihood of another SoftBank/Oracle deal unlikely, with the French even further than BAR off the pace, will AC 2019 even happen? Off to watch the Js...
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The Last Word
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