Scuttlebutt Europe #2592 - 16 May

Brought to you by Boats.com Europe, 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

Ben Ainslie Dominates 'Brutal' Day Three
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, www.oceanimages.co.uk. Click on image for photo gallery.

Finn Gold Cup If any proof is needed that Ben Ainslie (GBR) is at the top of his game, then today was proof indeed. After dominating and winning both races in the brutal environment of the cold and windy Falmouth Bay, he now takes a 10 point lead over Ed Wright (GBR) and Andrew Mills (GBR) at the half way stage of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup.

Tuesday was always going to be the big wind day in Falmouth and it didn't disappoint though it wasn't the epic day many were forecasting. However, with temperatures plummeting in the northerly winds, the 16-20 knot wind felt like a lot more. The sea remained relatively flat for the wind speed, with the wind coming off the land and making the racing tricky and very tactical with large shifts as the fleet approached the windward mark.

The race for Olympic selection is increasing its pace now for the six nations that will qualify here. Top performer so far is Piotr Kula who picked up a 12th and a fifth today to end up in seventh overall, ten places ahead of his main rival Rafal Szukiel (POL) who didn't have such a good day.

Other nations currently in qualifying positions are Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, China and Turkey. While Germany and Austria have lone sailors here, China, Czech Republic and Turkey have several here and those trials also need to be decided.

The final word today comes from regatta leader Ben Ainslie, "It was a great day and really awesome sailing but hard work. Tactically it was hard and physically it was harder but I had a good day. It was mainly about getting the shifts right but the left played well at the top of the beat. There were quite a lot of shifts out there so I was just trying to be on the right side of the big ones."

There will hopefully be some respite for the sailors tomorrow with very light winds forecast. There are just four more races before the split for the medal race on Friday. Wednesday's two races are sheduled to start at 11.00 and you can follow the racing every day on the event blog at: falmouthfinnfestival.com/liveevent/C1

A highlights video from day three will soon be posted on www.youtube.com/thefinnchannel

Top 10 after six races (one discard)
1. Ben Ainslie, GBR, 7 points
2. Edward Wright, GBR, 17
3. Andrew Mills, GBR, 28
4. Jonas Høgh-Christensen, DEN, 29
5. Deniss Karpak, EST, 41
6. Tapio Nirkko, FIN, 42
7. Piotr Kula, POL, 44
8. Christopher Cook, CAN, 47
9. Jonathan Lobert, FRA, 51
10. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 54

Full results: www.falmouthfinnfestival.com/goldcup-results/C1

Team Sperry

Team Sperry at Weymouth
Team Sperry Top-Sider has 26 athletes competing at this year's sailing events in Weymouth, UK.

Watch the video vimeo.com/37259188 to find out who has qualified.

The Blowback
Australian Windsurfing Association president Brett Morris has had the wind taken out of his sails.

The Sydneysider said he could not believe the International Sailing Federation's decision last week to scrap his sport from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 in favour of kiteboarding.

What made him even more ropable was the admission by the Spanish Sailing Federation days later that its delegate voted incorrectly for kiteboarding at the expense of windsurfing at the ISF meeting in Italy due to confusion over the voting process.

Spanish Sailing Federation president Gerard Pombo accepted responsibility and apologised.

"Spain supported, and supports, the maintenance of windsurfing in the Olympic Games of 2016," he said in a statement.

The Spanish blunder meant the vote went 19-17 in favour of kiteboarding, instead of ending 18-all. But Morris said it appeared nothing was going to change the outcome.

"It reeks of incompetence or bribery," an angry Morris said.

"It really is mind-boggling that someone doesn't supposedly know what they are voting for at this level - it's unreal." -- Richard Harvey in The Morning Bulletin

www.themorningbulletin.com.au

* The Venezuelan national sailing authority is the latest to dissociate itself with the vote of one of its nationals at the recent ISAF Council Meeting staged in Stresa, Italy.

In a letter released today, they have expressed their disagreement with the vote of Venezuelan resident, Teresa Lara, one of seven Vice Presidents of the International Sailing Federation.

The translated statement reads:

First of all receive a warm greeting of Venezuelan Federation of SAIL, The reason for this, is to let you know the total and absolute disagreement with the decision made by the representative of Venezuela within ISAF (V.P. Teresa Lara Anzola).

In relation to the exclusion of the RS:X from the the Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016.

Let me make it clear that the Venezuelan Federation of SAIL was consulted, this decision was NEVER an option under any circumstances and we reiterate that we disagree once again.

The Venezuelan government has invested time and money in preparing the same class as that is the result of the selection of our athlete Daniel Flores for London 2012 and the continuity that have been making other young athletes from different Venezuelan States.

Two other countries, Spain and Israel have made statements apologizing to their windsurfing sailors and sailing membership for voting against windsurfing at a vote held in the Mid Year Meeting of the International Sailing Federation. -- Richard Gladwell in Sail-World.com

www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=97201

* Former Olympian and millionaire businessman Neil Pryde has warned sailing is in danger of being kicked out of the Olympics as the fallout continues from the controversial decision to dump windsurfing in favour of kiteboarding for the 2016 Games.

Pryde says the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has made a terrible and unfathomable decision and accused it of 'selfishness'. 'The Isaf is represented by all member countries and most come from the yacht brigade. What they have done is to safeguard their narrow interests and sacrificed windsurfing. What they don't realise is the whole sport of sailing is in danger of being kicked out of the Olympics,' said the 71-year-old Pryde, whose name is attached to the RSX windsurfing discipline which will be seen for the last time at the London Olympics.

Pressure from the International Olympic Committee is seen as the reason why ISAF has jumped the gun. Having placed a cap on the number of sports at the summer Olympics - 28 - the IOC has also made it clear all sports have to be commercially viable. And for this, television is the key.

'The main source of revenue for the IOC is from television and as far as sailing is concerned, it scores poorly in TV ratings,' Pryde said. 'On top of this, the IOC is also against sports which are regarded as elitist. They want sports for the people. Unfortunately sailing is regarded as elitist, the 'yacht class'.'

Windsurfing is virtually the poor man's discipline in sailing. All the equipment, which is provided free of charge for the Olympics by Pryde, is one-design and is far cheaper than a dinghy or a laser boat, other classes at the Olympics.

Pryde is adamant windsurfing has helped raise the profile of sailing, and more importantly changed a long-held perception the sport was only for the upper-crust gentry, those from the 'yacht class'. 'Windsurfing has been in the Olympics for more than 25 years and it has helped introduce sailing to a wider audience,' he said. 'Just look at China, who came into sailing through windsurfing and today is challenging for the America's Cup.

'This discipline has helped countries from Thailand to India come into the sport and it is sad the Isaf has totally ignored this fact. It is a selfish decision made purely to protect certain sailing classes already in the Games,' he said. -- Alvin Sallay, South China Morning Post

www.scmp.com

Tough Conditions For First Radial Races
Extremely shifty winds that increased from eight to twenty knots during the afternoon made racing difficult for the women's Radial series of the Audi Laser World Championship 2012. Both starting line and race course had to be repositioned several times and mixed results for the entire fleet reflected the tricky conditions.

Cecilia Carranza Saroli from Argentina achieved the most consistent results with a fifth and a first place. In second place after two qualifying races is Tatiana Drozdovskaya from Belarus with a sixth and a second place. She is followed by Finland's Sari Multala who won the first race and placed eighth in the second.

Favourites Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Gintare Scheidt (LTU) are in tenth and twelfth place respectively. Vice champion from last year Paige Railey (USA) ended the races on her birthday in 30th place overall. Alison Young (GBR) who won the blue fleet's second race but she finished 31st overall due to a heavy 39 points in the first race.

Leading the Under 21's is Marie Bolou from France with a two point lead over Svenja Weger (GER) and Oren Jacob (ISR), both with 26 points.

news.balticsprintcup.com

Neilpryde Racing Series Returns To Extreme Sailing Series
The eight Extreme 40 catamarans taking part in this years Extreme Sailing Series are preparing to continue their global tour with Act 3 taking place in the heart of Istanbul in less then four weeks time, and heading to the iconic Turkish city with the Extreme 40s for the first time in 2012 is the NeilPryde Racing Series.

The NeilPryde Racing Series is a tour featuring the new, ISAF universal one-design windsurfing class, the RS:One. After its successful debut at a selected number of Extreme Sailing Series events last year, the Racing Series features a dynamic race format providing a real spectacle for the crowds and allowing windsurfers of all levels, ages and genders to compete together on a level playing field.

Having already held the first successful stopover of the 2012 tour in Pattaya, Thailand, the windsurfers will be racing on the Golden Horn Estuary as part of the Extreme Sailing Series Istanbul on the 9th and 10th June.

As Official Windsurfing Partner to the Series, the NeilPryde Racing Series will visit all the remaining Extreme Sailing Series venues this year including Porto, Cardiff, Nice, Trapani and Brazil.

As the fleet turns their attention to Act 3 in Istanbul, catch up on all the action from Act 2 Qingdao, which saw things get interesting at the top of the Series leaderboard. The Wave, Muscat overthrew their teammates from the top spot and go into Act 3 in pole position, three points clear Oman Air who are tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

extremesailingseries.com

Clipper Race Fleet Heads to New York
After making their way through the famous Panama Canal the ten identical 68-foot yachts competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started the 2,100 mile stage to New York last night.

The fleet is taking part in the world's longest ocean race and left San Francisco Bay in this US coast-to-coast leg on 14 April. It has made its way through the famous Panama Canal over the last week and is now truly back in its home strait on the Atlantic Ocean, having already conquered nearly 35,000 miles at sea.

The start line was set 60 miles from the coast of Panama. At 2330 UTC Race 11 got underway, as nominated lead skipper Richard Hewson from Gold Coast Australia set a 'Le Mans' start. Here all ten Clipper Race entries line up alongside each other and crew race to hoist their headsails in the fastest possible time.

While Welcome to Yorkshire managed to hoist and fully power up the Yankee 1 and staysail in 1 minute 37 seconds, Qingdao suffered from a winch jam at the wrong moment. Both Australian entries had a tussle with Gold Coast Australia currently ahead of Geraldton Western Australia.

The Clipper Race fleet will now set off on a one-sided upwind battle north, leaving Jamaica on the port side before heading into lighter winds near the Windward Passage.

Once out of the Caribbean the racing crews will experience wind from every point of the compass as the yachts head away from the steady Caribbean trade winds into the variable winds associated with the depressions coming from the North American land mass.

Thunder storms are likely to provide some spectacular backdrops with the air alive with static and lightning cracking into the sea around the finish line in the Ambrose Channel at the entrance to New York.

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Gigi Buffon Sails With Oracle Team USA
Photo by Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA. Click on image for photo gallery.

Gigi Buffon PUMA sponsored athlete and Italian football great Gigi Buffon swapped his football boots for waterproofs in a meet-up with the ORACLE TEAM USA Skipper James Spithill and his crew, three days ahead of the 34th America's Cup World Series regatta taking place in Venice.

The footballer was treated to a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the ORACLE TEAM USA AC45 catamaran. Buffon honored ORACLE TEAM USA with the Italia Official Home shirt that the Azzurri will wear in a month's time at the UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Venice marks the fifth leg of the 2011/12 America's Cup World Series, with the inaugural season decided at ACWS-Newport (Rhode Island) 26 June -1 July. A second series builds interest towards the summer of racing in San Francisco in 2013, culminating the America's Cup Finals starting 7 September.

ORACLE TEAM USA are the defending champions, having clinched the title in the 33rd America's Cup. Racing in Venice begins on Thursday, 17 May and runs through to Sunday, 20 May. Spectators can view the race from the big screens at the Arsenale, or from the banks of the Canal Grande. They will also be able to buy their Official 34th America's Cup & ORACLE TEAM USA replica clothing at PUMA's Container Store within the Race Village.

PUMA first entered the sailing category in 2008 when it developed a line of performance and lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories for the PUMA Ocean Racing entry which finished second in the 2008-09 around the world race. These early successes helped establish PUMA as a credible sailing brand and paved the way for the ORACLE TEAM USA partnership. PUMA is also the Official Sportswear Partner for the 34th America's Cup.

Tough Start for the Vuurschepenrace
Scheveningen, Netherlands: On Tuesday evening May 15th 2012, the traditional Vuurschepenrace commenced with tough sailing conditions. The 110-mile offshore from Scheveningen to Harwich is the annual opening of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. Fifty yachts left the Dutch coast with a northwesterly breeze of 22-25 knots. The Hague Councilor Karsten Klein fired the gun for a rough and cold night racing across the Channel.

It blew early evening 22 to 25 knots from the northwest, which is expected to build to 25-30 knots. There were no incidents at the start, although the Baraka GP Swan 42 of skipper De Graaf (NED) and the Boudica First 40 of Berend Veldhoen (NED) were early over the line.

Global Ocean Race sailors Erik van Vuuren (skipper of Lenco) and Yvonne Beusker (skipper of Panther) are among the participants.

The students of the TU Delft Challenge are also part of the fleet. In July, they will compete in the Tour de France à la Voile. These North Sea offshores are a good opportunity to train their skills. They will for sure experience a cold and rough night on their Spartan racing machine, the M34.

Participants can win a special 'sunset sail' onboard of the 40-meter J-Class Rainbow on Sunday 27 May along the Hague coast. At the helm of this classic yacht is former Olympian Mark Neeleman and on Sunday 27 May he takes the strongest crew of the Netherlands. Almost the entire Olympic sailing team will crew that evening.

This is the first race of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. After a lay day in Harwich, the IRC and ORC classes sail the R.O.R.C. North Sea Race back to Scheveningen on Friday May 18. During the Whitsun weekend, from May 25 until May 28, hundreds of boats compete in the inshore races before the Coast of Scheveningen. Several disciplines will participate: big yachts, current and former Olympic classes, one-design classes, catamarans and open boats.

Event site: www.dlnsr.nl

WSC Round Ireland Yacht Race
Wicklow Sailing Club, South Quay, Wicklow: The Round Ireland Yacht Race 2012, which starts in Wicklow Harbour on 24th June, is being held for the 17th time since the biennial, non-stop, 705 mile circumnavigation of our island started in 1980. The Round Ireland Yacht Race is run under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club as one of the premier challenges in their calendar of seventeen international races this year.

Twenty five starters, to-date, have confirmed entry with anticipation high for further additions before the closing date for entries on the 8th June.

Entries to the race received so far are impressive and will certainly stimulate the interests of the sailing fraternity. The inclusion of Adrian Lees' Cookson 50 will present an interesting challenge in the big boat division while the involvement of Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy's, Noonmark VI , a Swan 56 with a crew of top drawer racing legends, should add further excitement to the event on the water.

In the class 1 entries, one to watch will be Piet Vroon, in Tonnerre de Breskens3 from Holland, who has dominated the RORC racing calendar from Fastnet to the Caribbean and is making a welcome return to Wicklow Sailing Club. Round Ireland would also like to welcome Dan Walsh, from the USA, together with six of his fellow sailors from the American Yacht Club of New York, who have chartered the yacht, Fujifilm, which will sail under the name of "Team Wild Goose", a Class 40 which also comes with an international racing pedigree.

Having left Howth a few years ago, Cracklin' Rosie is now returning under the helm of Londoner, Steven Anderson while the intrepid ladies, Kristeen Donaldson and Judith Eastwood, have entered their yacht PYXIS in the gruelling two-handed class.

Approximately half of the yachts entered in the Round Ireland Yacht Race are RORC racers based in England and include entries from the RAF and the Army Sailing Clubs. Boats from Scotland, Wales and Guernsey will also join the fleet in Wicklow.

www.roundirelandyachtrace.ie

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2006 Elan 37. EUR 152,500. Located in Malta.

With a beautiful Grey hull, this Elan 37 Performance has been spared no expense by present owner to bring her up to present condition with all the 'go faster' kit, upgraded pulleys and a superb sail wardrobe for the owners cruising pleasure. Lightweight bulkheads, and an unending list of modifications complements this superbly equipped fast cruiser.

With beautiful teak wood furnishings, complemented with blue upholstery, this Elan 37 is truly a must see boat. Opening Lewmar side windows give a light and airy feel to the saloon and with large bathroom with pressurised hot and cold water and shower.

Also included on this Elan 37 are Electric bilge pump; teak gratings; Wet weather gear storage; Folding racing propeller; 3 batteries with split isolaters and charging 220v circuit; shore power and battery charger; Electric anchor winch 700 watt lofrans.

Brokerage through Think Yachts: www.yachtworld.com/thinkyachts/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com

The Last Word
The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest. -- Rodney Dangerfield

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