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

Fort Lauderdale To Key West Race
Classic South Florida conditions welcomed sailors to the start of the 41st Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. Hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club, and managed by SORC, the race sends 41 competitors around the curve of the Florida Keys and westward to the tropical climes of Key West.

Defending race champion Steve Benjamin hit the line with speed after a gybe-set in the new Spookie, to win the start for the IRC class, chased closely by the Cookson 50 Privateer, to win a hotly contested start at the coveted pin end. The J-125 Raisin Cane battled the Swan 80 Chessie for the start of the PHRF A class, with the J boat wanting the pin and getting it.

Riding the edge of a frontal system, racers found continuously shifty conditions as they made their way south and west to Key West. Shifts of up to 90 degrees, and velocity increases from 8 to 22 knots were the norm, not the exception. While not a night for an easy ride around the bend, conditions did provide for big gains and losses, reflected in the results.

While David & Peter Askew's Wizard was first across the line, preliminary results show Steve and Heidi Benjamin's new Spookie in roughly the same position as their former Spookie, atop the IRC Fleet.

Bill Bollin's Badfish repeated last year's PHRF A class win, but not the fleet win, with Anson Mulder's 24 Heures the early leaders in the clubhouse for PHRF B and the PHRF Fleet. Jason Carroll's Elvis leads the Multihull division.

Live Tracking


Title Sponsor Leaves World Match Racing Tour Finale
The World Match Racing Tour, which will transition to catamaran racing in 2016, may be impacted with news that its final event has lost its title sponsor. The Stena Match Cup Sweden, which is to conclude the 2016 season in July, will be without Swedish company Stena which has terminated their agreement after five years as title sponsor. Stena was believed to have been contributing at least SEK 6 million (701,477.34 USD) to the event.

"It is important money, but we can choose to take in several smaller partners instead of a great one," notes Jan Torstensson, President of Brandspot, an organizer of the event. "Then we can have a discussion with existing sponsors as the rights become available, so there are many ways to solve the short term. In the long term it is important to find a partner who is as dedicated as Stena has been."

The Championship events of this season, which will form a short, four month season, will together create a total prize purse of over $2 million U.S.D. to the teams.

North Sails Go Big In Europe
North Sails North Sails recently opened a new state-of-the-art sail-manufacturing loft in the historic UK south coast maritime hub of Gosport. With the expansion in Gosport, North Sails Group now produce sails in seven countries including the United States, Sri Lanka, Spain, France, Italy and New Zealand.

All of these production sites are wholly owned by North Sails Group. The facilities are centrally managed and scheduled, thereby operating with a single set of processes and procedures. While each site is unique, the work they produce is of a uniform standard. For example, a North TP52 jib made in the UK versus one made in New Zealand or Sri Lanka will be virtually indistinguishable. In addition to sail production, North Sails also own and operate their own cloth-manufacturing facilities in the US and Sri Lanka.

The Gosport loft draws many manufacturing departments under the one roof: North Sails 3Di and Superyacht finishing, one-design sail production, European cloth and hardware distribution and North Certified Service. It is the first loft of its kind to specialise in Super - yacht sails.

International Tornado Class Association Announces Paul Bastard As Its Official Tornado Class Race Officer
Paul Bastard After an excellent World Championship in Carnac, France at the hands of Mr. Paul Bastard (France), the International Tornado Class Association is more than happy to announce him as the official Tornado Class Race Officer.

Paul Bastard has been an international judge and race officer of World Sailing since 1987 and technical representative in the 2000 Sidney and 2004 Athens, Olympic games. Sailors and collaborators praised his work as an excellent competition manager and sporting event organizer. From now on he will be the key person in conducting high quality Tornado Championships on and off the water.

"Today is a big day, we have been able to bind one of the highest qualified Technical Delegates and International Race officers to our class. We will profit from Paul's experience, future Tornado championships will be exceptional." said Jurgen Jentsch, President of International Tornado Class Association looking forward to the next 2016 World Sailing Tornado World and Global Mixed Youth Championships in Lindau, Lake of Constanz, Germany from the 10th to 17th of June.

Team Tilt Announces Partnership With Emirates Team New Zealand
Geneva, Switzerland: The cooperation between Emirates Team New Zealand and Team Tilt provides mutual benefit for both teams and will be focused around the 2016 GC32 Racing tour and on towards the next Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

Despite its youth focus, Team Tilt already has a proven track record in major sailing events with its biggest success to date in 2015 not only winning Switzerland's most prized event- the Bol d'Or Mirabaud on its D35 catamaran, but also the taking out the overall 2015 D35 Championship against well established competitors Alinghi and Spindrift racing who also compete on the GC32 circuits.

Team Tilt also successfully competed in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2013, finishing 4th. Some of its members have obtained world class results in the Moth Class, Laser Class, Extreme Sailing Series and sailed America's Cup pre-events onboard AC 45's.

The partnership signals Emirates Team New Zealand's continued emphasis and leadership amongst the America's Cup community of supporting youth sailing and the next generation of the sport, highlighted by the promotion of three previous Red Bull Youth America's Cup sailors, Peter Burling, Blair Tuke & Guy Endean into its sailing team.

Emirates Team New Zealand also plans to support a New Zealand entry into the Red Bull Youth America's cup in 2017 in partnership with Yachting New Zealand.

SSL City Grand Slam In Hamburg
The 1st ever SSL City Grand Slam is taking shape and we are happy to announce that online registration is now open on the official website

The event is organized by Star Sailors League in cooperation with Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and Hamburger and Luebeck Bay Starboat fleets and will take place from April 30th to May 7th on Lake Alster in Hamburg, Germany. The regatta will celebrate the Jubilee of the Hamburger and Luebecker Bay Starboatfleets with the 50th Erich F. Laeisz-Prize.

The entries will be initially limited to 70, but the hosting Club reserves the right to adjust this number. In addition to these entries, 20 spots are reserved for invited teams (VIPs). There is not a proper entry fee: anyone wishing to enter will pay a 200€ deposit to NRV and it will be refunded at the end of the official registration at the club.

45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival: Register Now, Drink Free Later
BVI Spring Regatta The 45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival has officially opened its online registration, which will be held March 28- April 3, 2016.

To celebrate the regatta's milestone anniversary, organizers will reward one crew (registered by Dec. 31), with free drink tickets in the amount of the regatta registration fee.

Warm Water, Hot Racing And Cool Parties capture the essence of the event. On the water, sailors compete in idyllic conditions with windward/ leeward courses and use the stunning islands to race around as well. On land, they are treated to nightly entertainment with dancing on the beach and delicious food vendors all in one location: Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. As part of the anniversary celebrations, fireworks will bring the 2016 regatta to a close after the award ceremony.

The VX One Class has already confirmed 12 boats will be here for their inaugural VX One Caribbean Cup Racing on the One Design Course area. Bare boats and competitive spinnaker race boats have their own course area on the water.

For more information about the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival or to register, visit:

Stephen John Chick, CBE, RN(RTD)
It is with great sorrow that Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners pass on the sad news that Brightlingsea Harbour Master, Commodore Stephen John Chick, CBE, RN(Rtd), died suddenly at home on Saturday, 9 January 2016, aged 55.

Jim Addison, Chairman of the Commissioners stated "Steve's sudden death is a tremendous shock to all involved with Brightlingsea Harbour. He has been Harbour Master here for eighteen months; his energetic approach, commitment and skills will be sorely missed, but will leave a lasting legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends at this time." A book of remembrance has been opened and will be available at the Colne Yacht Club during the club's opening hours, and at other times in the Harbour Office.

The funeral service will be held at All Saints' Church, Brightlingsea and will be followed by a private cremation, details to be confirmed. Family flowers only are requested. Donations to be divided between the RNLI and Seafarers UK (formerly King George V Fund for Sailors).

Industry News
John Charnley, the Founder and Chairman of Discovery Yachts, was awarded the MTA/Boating Business Lifetime Achievement Award at a prestigious dinner held at the London Boat Show.

John, a former BA pilot, has been involved with the marine industry for more than 40 years. John was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the yacht charter holiday industry in the 1970's and founded Greeksail/Island Sailing which went on to become Sunsail, one of the largest yacht charter companies in the world.

Discovery Yachts is a thriving business with a team of expert craftsmen building a range of four blue-water monohulls from 48 to 67 feet and the Discovery 50 catamaran.

The Marine Trades Association/Boating Business Awards recognise excellence in individuals and companies working in the UK marine industry and are sponsored by Boating Business, Kudos, Ocean Safety and URICA.


Carla Demaria, president of Italian boating industry association UCINA, was recognised for her achievements in the marine industry on Monday when she picked up the Judges' Special Award at the 2016 Motor Boat Awards in London.

Hosted by Motor Boat & Yachting (MBY) magazine, a sister publication to IBI and part of the Time Inc UK marine group, the awards were presented in nine categories during a gala dinner at the luxurious London Rosewood Hotel.

The Judges' Special Award was given to Demaria in recognition of her achievements with both Monte Carlo Yachts and UCINA. Demaria is president and founder of Monte Carlo Yachts and general manager of Beneteau. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Beneteau Group.


The UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry continues to grow, according to new statistics published today by British Marine at the London Boat Show 2016.

The statistics, which are released alongside British Marine's bi-annual Industry Trends survey -which is completed by 261 British Marine members - show:

- Industry revenue stands at £2.97bn for 2014/15, up 1.1% from 2013/14
- The domestic market continues to grow, expanding from 68% of total revenue (2013/14) to 70% (2014/15)
- Strong performances in the consumer sector, led by boating tourism, brokerage and insurance and financial services
- Revenue and profits continue to rise in the second half of 2015, with marine businesses anticipating further growth over the next 6 months

Strong results were also seen in insurance, financial and brokerage services, as both domestic and international customers continue to seek out UK expertise, reinforcing the UK's position as a global hub for marine consumer and business services.


Oyster starts 2016 with a better order book than the same time last year with contracts totalling £70m, 15 yachts currently in fit-out - ten in Oyster's Norfolk shipyard, five in its Southampton yard - and 11 waiting to start.

The moulding of the first Oyster 118 commenced just before Christmas and fit-out will start in the Southampton shipyard in a few months' time. This pioneering project - the largest Oyster ever built in the UK - together with a pipeline of three Oyster 825s, two Oyster 745s and two "Raised Deck" versions of the Oyster 885, means that Oyster is now expanding its team in Southampton by 25%, recruiting ~50 staff across all trade skills over the next 3-6 months.


The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation's Trading arm Andrew Simpson Sailing Trading Limited (ASSTL) has entered into an exclusive relationship with Aon UK Limited, to launch sailing and water sports specific Marine Liability and Commercial Combined Business insurance policies to its supporters. Aon UK Limited has worked with Amlin Syndicate, a Lloyd's insurer, to develop a tailored product that caters for the marine trade, marine clubs and leisure complexes.

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASSF) was founded in memory of, and inspired by, Olympic Gold medallist, Andrew 'Bart' Simpson who died at the age of 36. The charity was formed by Trustees Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy OBE and Andrew's wife Leah Simpson in 2013 and will honour the life and legacy of a sailor who was passionate about encouraging and helping others fulfil their aims.

Andrew Simpson Sailing Trading Limited (ASSTL) will act as Introducer Appointed Representative of Aon UK Limited, to promote this new product and other water sports related insurance covers in the future.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2008 Elliot 30. 90,000 USD. Located in Auckland, New Zealand.

Elliott 9metre Super Sport OVERLOAD is a carbon fiber 30ft canting keel race yacht, designed by Greg Elliott. It was set up and built for inshore/coastal and even offshore racing, launched in September 2008.



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The Last Word
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