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

The Magic Carpet Ride: Start Of The RORC Caribbean 600
The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in spectacular style with the record 70 yacht fleet gathering in the starting area outside English Harbour, Antigua. Under the Pillars of Hercules, the magnificent collection of yachts started the 600 nmile race in a 14 knot south-easterly breeze with brilliant sunshine.

The conditions were enough to have the fleet fully ramped up and a not insignificant swell added to the excitement. Not only was this a record fleet for the RORC Caribbean 600, it was undoubtedly the highest quality of participants since the inaugural race in 2009.

There were five separate starts:

CSA, IRC 2 & IRC 3
IRC Zero & IRC Canting Keel
MOCRA Multihull

Hundreds of spectators watched the start of the 8th RORC Caribbean 600 from ashore and on the water.

How to follow the race:
Twitter: #rorcrc600 - Follow @rorcracing


Alex Thomson's Abandoned Hugo Boss Yacht Found After 10 Years
Click on image to enlarge.

The yacht was discovered in Patagonia, several thousand kilometres from where the sailor abandoned it in 2006.

Cristian Donoso, a Rolex Enterprise Award winner, found the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss yacht washed up on the Patagonian coast in Chile during a kayaking expedition in recent weeks in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park.

Based on currents and wind, the adventurer estimated the yacht would have travelled some 20,000km (13,000 miles) from where Thomson was forced to abandon it, in order to reach its final resting place near South America's southern tip.

Thomson said his team would make contact with local authorities to assist with the yacht's removal.

The British skipper abandoned his racing yacht when the keel suffered a structural failure and the boat capsized just 33 days and 7,000 miles into the first leg of the round-the-world Velux 5 Oceans race.

Out of reach from rescue, a thousand miles from land and in the path of a 50-knot storm, Thomson's only chance of survival was friend and race competitor Mike Golding. Golding turned back and sailed nearly 100 miles in a force eight gale to pull Thomson from a life raft.

When Golding's mast broke in two places, the pair had to make for Cape Town under jury rig, where Golding ultimately retired from the race.

The video below is Thomson's chronicling of the rescue as the dramatic events unfolded.

Antigua Classic Regatta - Antigua Sailing Week
Click on image to enlarge.

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Gavignet Takes Efg Sailing Arabia - The Tour Lead With First Offshore Leg Win
Reigning EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour champion Sidney Gavignet led his EFG Bank Monaco crew to their first offshore win with victory in the sprint from Abu Dhabi to Doha.

Gavignet's team capitalised on a strong performance in the Abu Dhabi In-Port Race series to take the top spot in the testing 160nm leg after 26 hours at sea.

The stage was the second of five that make up the 730-mile adventure around the Arabian Gulf (15-29 February).

And although it's still early days the French offshore sailing sensation is making strides towards a third consecutive EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour title.

EFG Bank Monaco edged Team Averda, Marcel Herrera's talented Plymouth University crew, off the top of the tour leaderboard following the Abu Dhabi In-Port Race series.

Stunning conditions of flat seas and winds of around 10 knots saw the nine international crews cross the Gulf faster than expected. However, when the wind vanished 15nm from the finish line, race director Gilles Chiorri decided to end the stage early.

The results were therefore decided by the order the fleet were in when they passed the final gate of the leg, 35nm from the finish line.

On Monday the fleet departed Doha for Khasab on Oman's Musandam peninsula - at 280nm it is the longest and toughest leg of the 2016 EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour, and will take the crews almost two days to complete.

Irish Cruiser Racing Association Annual Conference
The 2016 ICRA Annual Conference will be held in the Castleroy Hotel in Limerick on Saturday, March 5th from 10:30am until 15:30.

Besides a range of topics and open floor Q&As session as part of the agenda this year's conference will have two main presentations.

Winkie Nixon will treat us to his views about ICRA and the future of Cruiser Racing, while Zoran Grubisa will introduce us to the ORC Handicap system.

The presentation for ICRA Boat of the Year 2015 will take place at the end of the conference, and in addition another 4 Performance related trophies will be presented.

ICRA is your national association and we want to hear your views on how ICRA is doing and how it should develop for the future – we would like to see and hear from you on March 5.

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
This month's nominees:

Steve Benjamin (USA)
Beaten by 0.5pt at Key West on his latest TP52 Spookie, Benj is still winning everywhere else, racking up the prizes in his Etchells where he is giving the 'old guard' a serious run for their money. And undeterred by the way that the HPR initiative, into which he put a great deal of effort, has fizzled out, Benjy is still working away hard to promote the development of big boat racing in the US and elsewhere


Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Another sailor putting heart and soul into advancing the big boat scene is Britain's finest... Volvo veteran and multiple skiff, Int 14 and Moth champion Greenhalgh has now spent over 18-months on point as a bunch of owners and sailors work together to get the Fast40+ initiative up and rolling. Right now it looks like the boy done good, with 14 boats registered for their first season as a class including several new designs


Last month's winner:

Randy Draftz (USA)
'For his tireless work to promote good sailboat racing Randy fully deserves this honour' - Jay Hansen; 'What Randy does to promote sailing for the young and old affects thousands every year' - Syd Shuler; 'He has grown Charleston Race Week from nothing' - Ray Groble; '40 years as a great ambassador of the sport' - Earl Lyden; 'His regatta is the best!' - Louisa Fleming; 'He sets a great example of how a regatta should be run!' - Kirk Weichsel; 'Watching his regatta explode has inspired sailing in this area' - Logan Bonner.


Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click

Contessa 26 50th Anniversary Rally
With more than 5 months still to go to the 50th Anniversary Rally in Lymington, 20 boats, 40% of the hoped for 50 boat fleet have signed up to attend the rally, together with several CO26 celebs.

First to commit, just hours after the email went out to the CO26 fleet was Chris Stevens current owner of Jeremy Rogers RIR Gold Rose Bowl winning "Rosina of Beaulieu".

The first Dutch entry has been received "Kleine Johanna" has been entered by Rob Kolster (a Belgian entry is expected soon).

Nick is heading to Lymington from Australia, he sailed his CO26 "Constellation" from Monnikendam, in the Netherlands on the 17th September 2007 and arrived in Sydney, Australia on 1st February 2010.

Norwegian couple Henrik Nor-Hansen and Nina Kristin Nilsen's 1976 Jeremy Rogers built CO26 "Bika" was their home from 2004. After much work on the boat including removing the engine, they started a journey in Spring 2005 from Norway to Fiji arriving there in 2013.

The Sailing Agenda
- Friday 29th July Arrival at the Dan Bran Pontoon.
- Saturday 30th July A cruise in company over lunch towards Hurst Castle.
- Sunday 31st July A set course for Yarmouth Harbour

Artemis Racing Launch Two Boat Testing In Bermuda
Thursday February 18th marked an important milestone for Artemis Racing, launching their new Turbo boat in the waters of Bermuda, and beginning their two boat testing programme.

Artemis Racing skipper, Nathan Outteridge, commented, "It was good to have our first two boat session here in Bermuda, especially given that it was also the first day that we've sailed from our new base at Morgan's Point. With the early forecast looking very light, it was great to be able to get out there."

Artemis Racing is the first 35th America's Cup challenger to start training with two prototypes, allowing both for comparison in design, and for valuable match racing training.

The team is looking forward to heading to Oman next week for the first event of the year, in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series. Racing will take place over 27-28th February in the one design 'AC45F's'.

Lord Of The Wind
The decisive day at Lord of the Wind 2016 has dawned and riders were yet again ready for an epic finale, and the last chance to demonstrate their skills in what was a thrilling round of heats in the Big Air competition. Julien Kerneur took a 'go-for-broke' approach in the final, which saw this star rider achieve the highest jump at 11.6 meters, showcasing commitment, strength and confidence. Jacob Olivier powerful riding style earned him second spot on the podium, followed by "airborn" Anthar Racco.

Perfect wind and wave conditions produced strong heats in the women's big air competition. In the Finals, Cynthia Brown proved that she knows how to go big, dominating her way to victory. Kris Kinn secured silver with a jump at 8.4 metres and bronze to Astrid Berz.

The Slalom competition saw high octane racing and fierce competition as the riders weaved their way skilfully around the track. Bruno Ferreira came up with the goods, found better speed and superb style to seize the title. You can find the final results for each category here:

2016 Pro Kite Foil
2016 Pro Slalom
2016 Pro Freestyle
2016 Big Air - Pro/Open/Masters
2016 Open Slalom

America's Cup: Is Cost Containment A Myth?
In the previous America's Cup, a cost containment provision was in place to limit past practices of building many boats. Nothing beats real scale testing, but with the immense cost, build time, and complexity to sail the AC72 used in 2013, only defender Oracle Team USA was able to execute two-boat testing.

It was, however, permitted to use the AC45 for training, and when the defender discovered the Kiwis had solved the foiling conundrum, they quickly were testing appendages on their 45s. But whatever they learned still had to be significantly scaled up to their AC72 design. Not a no-brainer.

For this next America's Cup in 2017, training limitations still allow use of an AC45, but it can also be a boat that resembles one. With the America's Cup Class (ACC) yacht now reduced to 15 meters, which is just a click over 49 feet, what had been a significant size gap between real scale and test scale has been nearly eliminated.

With no limit on how many 45-foot test platforms can be built, Oracle Team USA is doing what well-funded teams can do. They are spending money.

Full editorial in Scuttlebutt

Gerry Haggas 1919-2016
For Irish sailors who put in the great times with ISORA from the 1970s onwards for three and more decades, it simply didn't seem like a proper offshore race unless Gerry Haggas from Pwllheli was taking part with his pale blue Elizabethan 30 Sundancer. He and the boat and the ISORA programme became part of each other. Yet Sundancer was by no means the only boat he campaigned in a lifelong contribution to North Wales and Irish Sea competition, though she was the special one.

By the time he was making regular appearances in the frame with the new Sundancer in classic ISORA events, he could look back with satisfaction to a period when he was setting the pace in the development of Pwllheli as a sailing centre, as he served as Commodore of the 1958-founded Pwllheli Sailing Club (Clwb Hwylio) from 1962 to 1964 with the popular and enthusiastic support of his wife Olive, and was a regular contender as well as a developer of sailing against the magnificent backdrop of Snowdonia in Tremadoc Bay.Elizabethan 30 Sundancer

The late Gerry Haggas chose his boats well - he was most associated with the deservedly successful Elizabethan 30 Sundancer over decades of successful ISORA campaigning.

But while Gerry himself was a quiet man, he had no doubt at all of the proper place of his beloved sailing area in the great scheme of things. I recall one wet evening coming ashore in Abersoch (where of course it rains only once a year) during a well-attended ISORA Week, and there sheltering in the lee of South Caernarvon SC was sailmaker Bruce Banks, a former Olympic sailor and multi-champion.

It turned out he was there because he'd made a new suit of sails for Sundancer, and Gerry (and maybe Peter Webster too) had quietly made it clear that he should travel north from the Solent and spend a day or two at ISORA Week in Tremadoc Bay making sure the guys in Sundancer were doing it right. He enjoyed it so much the "day or two" became the whole week.

That was the quiet way with Gerry Haggas. He'd a great 96 years voyage through life. Our thoughts are with his family and especially his son Bill. -- WM Nixon

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