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
Alex Thomson Knocks 24 Hours Off The Record
Photo by Christophe Launay, www.sealaunay.com. Click on image for photo gallery.
British solo sailor, Alex Thomson has smashed the single-handed monohull transatlantic record, by more than 24 hours, crossing the finish line at Lizard Point, off Falmouth in Cornwall, in time to get back for the London Olympic Opening ceremony.
The 38 year old sailor crossed the line at 17:17GMT (18:17 BST) setting the new time at 8 days 22 hours 8 minutes, beating the previous record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which had been held for 10 years.
"It has been a long few days," said Alex. "The first half from New York was great with weather conditions in our favour, but things started to slow down the closer I got. But the wind has held out this morning and it's so fantastic to have broken this record."
Alex set sail from New York on July 17th at 19.09GMT to cover 2800 nautical miles in a quest to break the record for what is officially known as the 'West to East Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point Under 60ft Single-Handed Monohull Record, Male', which sat at 10 days, 55 minutes and 19 seconds, and was set by Swiss sailor Bernhard Stamm 10 years ago.
His secondary aim was to get home in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in order to support Chairman and good friend, Sir Keith Mills.
"When I set off I had no idea if I was going to be able to do it. And it has been hard. Lack of sleep, broken instruments on the boat and constant exposure to the elements has really taken it out of me. But it's such a good feeling to have beaten it by such a great margin," said Alex.
But the record breaking achievement is only half of the story. Alex is in fact lining up to attempt to be the first Brit ever to win the gruelling single-handed round-the-world race, the Vendee Globe, leaving from France in November on board his 60ft monohull, HUGO BOSS. And this record breaking achievement puts him in good stead.
"This record attempt was also a training exercise for the Vendee Globe," said Alex. "We felt this record attempt would put me under real pressure and stimulate race conditions and I have felt a real value in it."
He is one of three British competitors who will take part in the non-stop, solo, unassisted round-the-world yacht race starting in Les Sables d'Olonne in France, on November 10th.
Stunning Day on Hayling Bay
Team Ambush Quokka 8, racing for Team Hong Kong: The top scoring boat of the day. Photo by Rick Tomlinson, rick-tomlinson.com. Click on image for photo gallery.
Two thirds of the way into the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and still it remains very tight between the seven international three boat teams taking part. After five days of racing this is the first day the lead hasn't changed - with RYA Team GBR Black ahead on day one, France pulling into the lead after the offshore race and RYA Team GBR Red edging ahead yesterday. After today's two races, the Red team has extended slightly while RYA Team GBR White has overhauled the French to move up to second overall, on 216 points to the leader's 206, with two races to go.
While conditions remained more Cote d'Azur-like than we have come to expect this summer, today the race area was shifted east from the Solent to Hayling Bay. This provided a generally more regular course, a 7-10 knot easterly that veered slowly right through the afternoon, and less tidal effect until the second race when a few boats got caught out being washed down on to the weather mark and were obliged to carry out penalty turns.
So far in this regatta the Hong Kong team has performed disappointingly, but were able to turn this around today with the combined results of their three boats - Peninsula Signal 8, Team Ambush Quokka 8 and EFG Bank Mandrake - making them the top team today.
The Hong Kong boats preferred today's race course, but given that two of the three teams are in chartered boats, they have also been on a steeper learning curve than most.
The top boat of the day posting a 1-2 was the Hong Kong team's Team Ambush Quokka 8, Peter Rutter's 2011 IRC National Championship winner, chartered by Ante Razmilovic, Joachim Isler and Andrew Taylor.
Everyone in RYA Team GBR Red is aware that a 10 point lead isn't much when fate rides on the outcome of three boats. Teams with much much bigger leads at this stage have fallen heavily in the past.
Tomorrow a race around the Isle of Wight is scheduled for the penultimate day of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, starting at 08:30, but whether there will be enough wind to achieve this remains to be seen.
Team Place - Team Name - Team Points
1. GBR Red - 206
2. GBR White, 213.5
3. France, 230
4. GBR Black, 246
5. GBR Blue, 265.5
6. Hong Kong, 280
7. Benelux, 293.5
Full Results can be found: www.rorc.org/raceresults/2012/bdccovtm.html
The Big Compression
It's been a hectic last 24 hours for the 25 boats taking part to the 8th edition of the Transat Quebec Saint-Malo, and especially among the Class40 fleet where a big wind shift together with some technical hitches have reshuffled the cards among the leading pack.
Yesterday's frontrunners on Mare sustained a broken bowsprit and have been forced to slow down, going from first to eighth, while their competitors managed to sneak past. As the wind went down due to a developing low pressure system, the fleet compressed and the distances have been reduced to only 21 miles between the new leader Fabrice Amedeo's Geodis and 9th placed US flagged Bodacious Dream skippered by David Rearick.
Most of the Class 40 are now approaching their final compulsory waypoint of Saint Pierre that they are expected to round later tonight. In the Open class Erwan Le Roux's trimaran FenetreA Cardinal is still the undisputed leader followed by Erik Nigon's Vers un Monde sans Sida 132 behind and by the first big monohull, Italy's Vento di Sardegna skippered by Andrea Mura.
To date, only two teams have gone past Saint-Pierre et Miquelon and are already on the route to Europe, the first one being Erwan Leroux's Multi 50 FenetreA Cardinal who rounded at 22:30 CEST last night and Erik Nigon's Vers un Monde sans Sida, today at 14:00. But in a few hours the waypoint off the small port of St Pierre will no doubt be very crowded as the rest of the fleet is expected to pass overnight. Interesting to note how the Italian 50' mono Vento di Sardegna, skippered by Andrea Mura has chosen a more direct route and could well overtake Gilles Lamire's 60' trimaran Defi Saint-Malo Agglo that is forced to tack to get to the waypoint, as will possibly do some of the leading Class40.
Check out the latest position on the Transat Quebec Saint Malo online tracker at:
Top 3 position report on July 26th at 13:40 GMT
1. Fabrice Amedeo - Geodis - Distance to finish 2,192 nm to finish
2. Stephane Le Diraison - IXBlue- 2.5 nm to leader
3. Sebastien Rogues - Eole Generation - GDF SUEZ - 31.7
1. Erwan Le Roux - FenetreA Cardinal 3 - Distance to finish 2022.9 nm
2. Erik Nigon - Vers un Monde sans SIDA - 132.5 nm to leader
3. Andrea Mura - Vento di Sardegna - 179.7 ( First Monohull)
The Most Romantic Story In Sailing?
Click on image for photo gallery.
Take a moment to picture this:
Race 1 of the RS500 World Championship (at Riva del Garda this week) - International Class Chairman Michiel Geerling from the Netherlands rounds the windward mark and his beautiful girlfriend Hilde van Susante hoists the gennaker - sewn into the sail are the words WIL JE MET MIJ TROUWEN? (translation - Will you marry me?).
The rest is most beautifully told by the photos.
Many lovely things have happened at RS events and perhaps this tops the list. You will not find two more fantastic people and we wish them every happiness and fair winds together forever.
The story has made the national news in Italy where the event is taking place - brilliant idea, Michiel and congratulations to you, the sailmaker and the others involved in keeping the secret. -- Martin Wadhams, www.RSsailing.com
European Kite Slalom Championship
Click on image to enlarge.
New Olympic Classes are starting to make their appearance and today the Kite Europeans started in beautiful Gizzeria, Italy.
15 men and 6 women gathered at this new, soon to be Olympic Class and had 3 races each fleet.
The beach is amazing; the weather conditions are ideal with 12 to 15 knots of breeze coming from the Northwest, and choppy sea. The organizers are doing great work, and making sure everyone feels at home. The racecourse was downwind slalom along the coastline, very close to the beach, offering a unique show to the crowd that enjoyed the sport.
Around one o'clock the races started and a good start was the key to success today. Rounding's were also crucial and many places were gained there. Equally important was to avoid collisions, something that was not achieved by everybody today. There were not few, the times that kites were tangled and the athletes lost the race.
After 3 races in men's fleet, Bruno Sroka from France is leading, but in equal points with Lorenzo Giovanelli from Italy. Just one point behind, is Giovanni Santostefano also from Italy. Marina Ruth Piscopo from Italy is the absolute winner in women's fleet, after scoring 3 bullets today and leaving her compatriot Arianna Cau in second. The podium completes Mathilde Serin from France. -- Michalis Pateniotis
Video report: bit.ly/O2ULrl
Singaporean Domination at the Optiworlds 2012
Photo by Matias Capizzano, www.capizzano.com. Click on image for photo gallery.
Dominican Republic: The best was kept for the end at the Opti Worlds with the weather being ideal at the last day of the Championship. A sunny and clear sky, with a breeze of 10 knots was the perfect combination for the conclusion of the event.
Two races sailed for all groups with several general recalls and black flags. Yokoyama Elisa Yukie and Neo Samuel Jiun Jie from Singapore had their own battle for first place and the rest of the fleet did not seem to be important to them. They both scored a bullet and had only one point difference when going to the final race. Right behind them was their compatriot Goh Jessica Kai Ling that also scored a bullet and was only one point behind second.
All were to be judged in the final race except for one thing, Singapore had secured all the podium places and left no chances for other countries to claim one. Bart Lambriex from Netherlands had an equally good performance scoring a 6th and a 1st place and managed to break Singapore's domination, throwing Loh Jiayi in fifth place overall and Lambriex claimed fourth.
Yokoyama and Neo continued their flawless performances, scoring another bullet each and meaning that Yokoyama is the new Optimist World Champion for 2012. Neo was only one point behind him in second place and Goh, after a bad performance in the last race, took the third place overall.
Sweden's Nevhagen and Jarudd took 6th and 8th place respectively and went between USA's Shestopalov and Muller that finished 7th and 9th. The top ten completed Janezic from Slovenia.
A unique Championship to be remembered, for the 50th anniversary of the OptiWorlds and the first time that a nation claimed all three podium places.
Park's Belief In "Strongest Ever British Sailing Team"
Britain is going into London 2012 with the strongest sailing team it has ever had - that is the opinion of RYA Olympic Manager, Stephen 'Sparky' Park.
Sixteen sailors across 10 Olympic Classes will begin their bid to try to help TeamGB retain its crown as the World's top sailing nation for the fourth successive Games, when the 2012 Olympic Regatta gets underway at Weymouth and Portland on Sunday (29 July).
Britain has won 16 medals - nine golds, four silvers and three bronze - at the past three Games in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Britain's gold medal haul accounts for more than quarter of all sailing gold medals available to win during that time (27%), an astonishing record given that each country can only enter one boat per class (or event).
Inevitably much of the focus in the build-up to London 2012 has been on leading man, Ben Ainslie, in the Finn class who is going for his fourth gold and fifth Olympic medal in total. Victory this summer would make Ainslie the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, eclipsing the four golds won by the great Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom from 1948-1960.
But Park believes that by the time the regatta comes to a close after 14 days of racing in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, it won't just be Ainslie who is making the headlines.
He said: "Without a shadow of a doubt we have the strongest team we've ever had at an Olympic Games. I think we're in a better place than we've been in terms of potential medal winners than any recent Games in modern time but I've got no doubt there are more serious competing sailors and teams as a whole than we've ever seen before.
The Olympic Regatta kicks off with the Finn, Star and Women's Match Racing classes on Sunday. The 470 Women are the last class to get underway starting on Friday (3 August). The showdown medal races begin on Sunday 5 August while the regatta will come to a close with the final of the Women's Match Racing on Saturday 11 August.
To follow the fortunes of the British sailing team at London 2012 visit
Editor's note: After a few inquiries today... your humble narrator has discovered that despite some rumours and reports, there will be NO live tracking of sailors available on the internet during the Olympics. It's not for lack of technology, there are tracking devices everywhere, all the boats, all the marks... everywhere. In both 2D and 3D. A select number of commentators and journalists around the world will have access... but not the great unwashed masses.
The reason? As always, follow the money... Television networks demanded and got contract provisions preventing any moving images of the sailing on the internet.
A pity, that, but if you were the television network executive who wrote that check to LOCOG / IOC, a check with a vapor trail of zeros, woudn't you demand that as well?
Some of our bookmarks:
ISAF, of course: www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/home.php
Official site: www.london2012.com/sailing/
Official Apps: www.london2012.com/mobileapps/index.html
Wild Oats XI to be Tested at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012
Click on image to enlarge.
Five-time line honours winner and race record holder in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will be testing a new underwater configuration while going for outright victory in the IRC Grand Prix division at next month's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
The yacht's owner, Bob Oatley, decided that the seven-year-old, 30-metre long sloop needed a 'makeover' after being narrowly beaten in the battle for line honours in last year's Hobart classic. Wild Oats XI could not match Anthony Bell's Investec Loyal in light winds approaching the finish and was beaten into Hobart by just three minutes and eight seconds after racing for 627 nautical miles.
Wild Oats XI had been fitted with new, retractable daggerboards prior to that race, and after the finish Bob Oatley left Hobart convinced they slowed the boat in light weather.
Now, after three months of surgery which was carried out at Sydney's Woolwich Dock, Wild Oats XI will appear at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week still carrying the same daggerboards, but with another retractable centreboard fitted on the centreline just three metres aft of the bow.
Wild Oats XI's first test will come this weekend when she starts in the 384 nautical mile Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race, but the current weather forecast for the race from yachting meteorologist Roger Badham is for strong winds and a probable race record for Wild Oats XI. If that is the case then the race testing of the new light weather configuration will have to wait until Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which starts on August 17.
Wild Oats XI skipper, Mark Richards, said the modifications to Wild Oats XI were made after exhaustive trials and analysis earlier this year.
'We weren't able to trial the two new daggerboards prior to the Hobart race, so it was only then that we found out that we had a speed problem in light winds', Richards said. 'When the yacht returned to Sydney we did a series of tests using extremely accurate GPS readings so we could analyse the yacht's performance, and that led to us designing a symmetrical and retractable centreboard to be fitted near the bow.
'We now expect to use that centreboard when sailing in winds of up to seven knots, then go through a transition phase as the wind increases in strength to a point where the centreboard is eventually fully retracted and the leeward daggerboard completely down.' -- Rob Mundle
Looks Like Friday Night at the Bar for First Pac Cup Boats
At 1650 hours on Thursday, the crew on Icon, the Perry 66, was likely licking their lips knowing a frosty cold beverage sits less than 164 nm away. They're currently leading the 2012 Pac Cup fleet and looking to a Friday morning arrival.
Hot on their heels is Double Trouble, the J125, in the same breeze 12+ knots from 230 degrees, with just 242.20 nm from paradise, and currently sitting in first overall.
Medusa, the Santa Cruz 52 skippered by Jay Spaulding is sitting 351.80 nm behind Double Trouble but still comfortably in front of J World's Hula Girl who has 415 nm left in this race.hula girl-001_0.jpg
From Hula Girl, Wayne Zittel talked of sleigh rides today, "It's been a wild couple of days. Early Tuesday morning, we entered a solid band of breeze, which lasted for about two days. Winds were mostly 20-25 knots, with occasional squalls pushing things to around 30. Hula Girl was dancing with the waves, ticking off prolonged runs at 15, 16 knots and occasional leaps over 20. Just a complete blast, but nerve wracking... the squalls come on fast, and last a loooong time. You see the darkness come up behind you. Then you feel the rain. Then the wind is on you, the boat literally takes off, and your sleigh ride has begun. You'd better bring your A game.
Jamani is leading the double-handed fleet, with 525 nm to finish. Cassiopeia (Islander 36) is leading the Div A fleet, with committee boat Valis just behind. -- Michelle E. Slade
Sailing Entries Open
Entries are now open for the three major events making up the largest summer of sailing to occur at the Sandy Bay Sailing Club, Hobart, Tasmania, in 2012 - 13.
The Jackson Volkswagen supported events of the Australian International Cadet Class Australian Championship, the International Cadet Class World Championship and the International Optimist Australian and Open Championship, will be held from 21 December 2012 until 13 January 2013.
The program starts with the International Cadet Class Australian Championship on 21 December 2012. This event is the selection event for the following World Championship and the national title will be contested by young sailors, under 18 years of age, from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. The event will be an Open event, which will enable visiting international competitors the chance to train on the Derwent River. The event is expected to have over 80 boats competing (two-handed).
The International Cadet Class World Championship will commence on 27 December 2012 and run to 4 January 2013. This event has only been held in Hobart twice since the class was established in 1948. The Cadet is a two-person dinghy for children and teenagers aged between 7 and 17. It is - beside the Optimist - the only Class that is acknowledged by the International Sailing Federation as a purely junior boat. It is sailed in more than 18 countries on four continents.
Competitors are expected from Britain, Spain, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Holland, Belgium, Ukraine, Belarus, Argentina, and local boats from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and of course Tasmania.
The International Optimist Australian and Open Championship will be held from 6 January to 13 January 2013.
2011 Vismara V80. EUR 2,100,000. Located in Viareggio, Italy.
Brokerage through Marc Pajot.com: www.yachtworld.com/marcpajot/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at
The Last Word
If you desired to change the world, where would you start? With yourself or others? -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn