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

Gavignet Scoops Third EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour Crown
Gavignet and his EFG Bank Monaco crew sealed overall victory for the third year running with a third place in the final offshore leg of the event from Sohar to Muscat.

The reigning champions were on top form throughout the two-week tour, winning three of the five offshore stages and two of the three in-port race series.

Despite finishing the 100 nautical mile finale in third behind Omani teams Al Mouj, Muscat, and Renaissance Services, EFG Bank Monaco's typically strong result was enough to see them end the event almost seven points clear at the top of the overall standings.

Gavignet's victory sees him surpass fellow countryman Bertrand Pace - who won in 2012 and 2013 - as the most successful skipper in the tour's six-year history.

And it means EFG Bank Monaco become the first team to have their names engraved on a newly commissioned EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour trophy made by British Royal Warrant holder and goldsmiths Thomas Fattorini Ltd.

Leg 5 results:

1. Al Mouj, Muscat (OMA/Nico Lunven)
2. Renaissance Services (OMA/Fahad Al Hasni)
3. EFG Bank Monaco (MON/Sidney Gavignet)
4. Team Bienne Voile (SUI/Lorenz Mueller)
5. Team Zain (KWT/Cedric Pouligny)
6. Team Averda (GBR/Marcel Herrera)
7. Oman Airports-Al Thuraya Women's Team (OMA/Dee Caffari)
8. TU Delft Challenge (NED/Wouter Sonnema)
9. Team Mangold (GER/Martin Felgenhauer)

Overall results:

1. EFG Bank Monaco (MON/Sidney Gavignet)
2. Al Mouj, Muscat (OMA/Nico Lunven)
3. Team Averda (GBR/Marcel Herrera)
4. Renaissance Services (OMA/Fahad Al Hasni)
5. Team Zain (KWT/Cedric Pouligny)
6. TU Delft Challenge (NED/Wouter Sonnema)
7. Team Bienne Voile (SUI/Lorenz Mueller)
8. Oman Airports-Al Thuraya Women's Team (OMA/Dee Caffari)
9. Team Mangold (GER/Martin Felgenhauer)

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Moves To Royal Yacht Squadron
2016 Marks the tenth anniversary of Coutts' title sponsorship of the revival Quarter Ton Cup.

The Coutts Quarter Ton Cup 2016 will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, from Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 June. As always the event will combine some of the closest and most exciting inshore racing anywhere in the world with a fun social programme and great class camaraderie.

Another new development for this year's event is the introduction of an additional class. Class Chairman Peter "Morty" Morton explains the reasoning behind this. "What has occurred over the past few years is that the prototypes and past class winners have been upgraded considerably and in an attempt to encourage the production and older boats back to the event the organisers intend to run a second class provided sufficient numbers enter, known as the cruiser racer class. This will be for boats of a rating of 0.89 and below and for boats such as a GK24, Bolero, Quarto, Farr 727's, Eygthene 24's, Trapper 300. We know there are literally hundreds of those around and hopefully enough of them want to enjoy the regatta. They will be racing for the Roger Swinney Quarter Ton Trophy and it is intended that a round the buoys course will be set for them."

The Quarter Tonners have suffered two sad losses in the past year. Roger Swinney, a founding member of the revived Quarter Ton Class, first with the 1979 David Thomas designed Tsunami, which he renamed Ayanami, and then later with the 1986 McIlraith designed Innuendo, sadly passed away in November. His joie de vivre and love of the Quarter Tonners made him a hugely popular figure with his fellow sailors and he will be much missed.

Another much loved member of the class lost recently is the legendary Espada, a 1980 Bruce Farr design and winner of no less than three Coutts Quarter Ton Cups, which was destroyed in a boatyard fire in January. Morty is working closely with Espada's owner Julian Metherell to find him a replacement in time for the season.

The Notice of Race, Entry Form and further information will be available shortly from

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

Kieler Woche ... With Some America's Cup Flair
The announcement is online, registrations for Kieler Woche (18. until 26 June) just started, and there are already the first big names on the participants' list promising top-class Kieler Woche races: Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (New Zealand) and Mathew Belcher/Will Bryan (Australia). The four top sailors bring Olympic glamour and America's Cup flair to Kiel.

The invincibles: Peter Burling/Blair Tuke. The athletes from New Zealand have been dominating the 49er class since 2013 and did not loose any regatta series since then. The Kiwis did win the World Championship in the Olympic skiff class four times in a row, last time in the USA in February. At the Olympics 2012 in London, only the Australians Nathan Outteridge and Ian Jensen were faster, no one else after that. Burling/Tuke won a silver medal.

But since the Olympics in London, where Burling has been the youngest one in the 49er fleet with just 21 years, the sailors from New Zealand haven't let the Australians pass, collecting all titles (like the European Championships in 2013 and 2015) and were nominated world sailors of the year.

Around 4,000 sailors from more than 50 countries are expected at the Olympic center in Kiel-Schilksee to find the Kieler Woche winners among them in the different classes. And the Kieler Woche again offers further highlights in its 134th year. The Youth Worlds in the 470 class, the European Championship of the popular class of the national sailing leagues J/70 and the four international German Championships will take place at the Kieler Woche. -- Herman Hell

Kieler Woche (18. until 26. June):

Part 1 (18. until 21. June): 29er, 505, Albin Express, Contender, Europe, Flying Dutchman, Folkboat, F18, Hobie 16, J24, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial (open), Musto Skiff, OK Dinghy.

Part 2 (22. until 26. June): 2.4mR (IDM), 420, 470 (F), 470 (M/both with JWC), 49er, 49er FX, Finn, J/70 (EC), J/80, Laser Radial (F), Laser Std (M), Melges 24, Nacra 17, Sonar (IGC).

Part 3 - Offshore (18. until 25. June):
Welcome Race 1. Race (Sat, 18. June) Kiel-Eckernfoerde, 2. Race (Sun, 19. June) Eckernfoerde – Kiel: ORC Club I-IV, Mulithulls 3 classes (>39 ft, 30 up to 39 ft, < 30 ft), Albin Ballad.
Senatspreis (Wed, 22. June): ORC Club I - IV.
Silbernes Band (24. until 25. June): ORC Club I - IV.
Offshore (Seesegel-) IGC (International German Championship):
Long Distance (Sat,18. June, until Sun,19. June): ORCi I - IV.
Kiel-Cup Alpha (Mon, 20. June, until Wed, 22. June): Short races: ORCi I - IV.

ISA Cruising Conference Was On Target For Topics And Turnout
It will be quite something to match the quality of 2016's Cruising Conference when the next one comes round in 2018. W M Nixon was there, and though he tells us "his head was melted" with the sheer volume of the range of issues discussed and explained, he'll do his best to let us know what happened:

It went on for seven hours and more, and ranged from the extremities of dealing with calving glaciers in Greenland at one end, to the niceties of lone male watch-keepers dealing safely and efficiently with the calls of nature in mid ocean at the other. And since you ask, there were two distinct camps for dealing with Problem B – those who favour a simple bottle, narrow enough to be stowed in a convenient winch handle holder, and those who think a yoghurt tub with its cover kept usable is your only man, as some folk need a bit of space to perform.

As for the sheer length of the programme, as a group of friends and shipmates attending together we agreed it should have been an hour shorter. But then we couldn't think of one single item on the agenda that we would have happily discarded. So for 2018 (or next year, if the current plan to make it biennial is reckoned to be wimpishly unambitious), Paddy McGlade the ISA Board Member for Cruising, and Clifford Brown, Commodore of the Cruising Association of Ireland, will have to agree to the same densely-filled programme, and it's beholden on the participants and the audience to be up for the challenge.

WM Nixon's report in Afloat:

Norfolk Boatyard Up For National Award For Build Of Rare Broads Sailboat
Norfolk Broad Revival They first graced the Broads in the 1940s, having been specially designed for navigating the network of waterways.

But steep construction costs meant production of wooden-hulled Rebel sailing boats was halted by 1960, with just 13 in the exclusive class.

Decades went by - and it was only in 2007 that cheaper fibreglass hulls were introduced to breathe new life into the fleet, with two new Rebels built.

Now, a Norfolk boatyard is up for a national award for its work on Rebel Reiver - the 16th, and newest, addition to the fleet.

Gerry Hermer and son-in-law Rob Marriott, of Belaugh Boatyard, were asked to build the latest craft after their restoration of Rebel One, the very first to be built.

The duo spent six months of last year - or an estimated 500 man hours - meticulously building the new boat, which has earned them a nomination in the under 40ft Spirit of Tradition category of the Classic Boat Awards.

Classic Boat Awards:

Viper 640 International Championship
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the design of the Viper 640 and the 10th anniversary of the relaunch of the Class Association. The Class is now a truly international class with Viper 640 fleets active in seven nations across three continents. The Class Association is celebrating these milestones by hosting the first Viper 640 International Championship, with sailors competing for a prestigious new trophy open to Viper teams from around the world.

The International Championship will be hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club on Bermuda's Great Sound November 16-19, 2016, preceded by a warm-up regatta November 13-14. There are over 50 Viper 640s already registered for the International Championship, with representative teams coming from North America, Europe and Australia, and it is anticipated this number will grow in the coming months. This will be the largest one–design keel boat regatta ever hosted in Bermuda.

The Viper 640 was originally designed and built in 1996. The Class was relaunched in the U.S. in 2006 with a new, self-governing Viper 640 Class Association and a new builder (Rondar Raceboats in the UK).

Regatta documents can be found on Yacht Scoring:

Refined 2016 ORC Superyacht Rule Now Officially Published
As every year, this edition will also see a large diversity of boat types, with 300-ton giants sparring with feather-light carbon rockets. Trying to have fair racing amid this tremendous imbalance in weight, shape and size has been the inspiration to develop the ORCsy rule which debuted at the St. Barths Bucket early last year.

Developed by ORC, this rating system combines a sophisticated velocity prediction program (VPP) with 'dynamic allowances' - which means concessions are made for yachts with, for example, a sizeable satellite dome, a substantial super structure or a furling jib which can slow down a yacht's performance.

After each of the 7 events in 2015 that used the ORCsy rating, more was learned about the processes and application of the rule and so it was fine-tuned accordingly. Also the VPP has been steadily developed and adjusted by ORC and SYRA, reaching a total of no less than 48 revisions.

The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) are pleased to announce that the 2016 version of the ORC SuperYacht Rule (ORCsy), which among others will be applied at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, the St. Barths Bucket and of course the Superyacht Cup, is now available online.

Queen Of Irish Yachting Moonduster Is 'Sad Sight' In Norway
Moonduster There has been plenty of comment on social media about the current condition of the much loved Irish yacht Moonduster, the former Round Ireland record holder skippered by the late Denis Doyle of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

'Sad to see this. Many happy hours on that beautiful vessel in and out of Cork Harbour', says Stu McLoughlin echoing many similar comments about the state of the one time pristine Frers 51 that was the pride of the Irish fleet in the 1980s.

Doyle owned four different Moondusters in his long career. His last boat, arguably the best known, the varnished Frers, was sold to Norway around 2005 where she is still sailing but as can be seen in the photographs not in the same state of repair as she had been in Crosshaven.

'...She's in a shocking state, clearly her current and previous owners never cared too much about her. However, she's still salvageable but for how much longer? says Mark Richards on Facebook.

The queen of all fleets. Denis Doyle's legendary Moonduster was the flagship of Irish offshore racing for twenty years. Readers will recall Bob Bateman's 1988 classic photograph of Doyle at the helm. Doyle's enthusiastic support moved the Round Ireland Race into the international league, and his regular participation set performance standards which greatly enhanced the event.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From John Burnie: More than a few lines have been written about the latest (8th) edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 - just a few comments to add. This race was sensational due to the very bright moonlight that was present throughout the dark hours. On a fast reach from Desirade (for a second rounding of the North Sails Buoy) to Barbuda, the experience of high speed sailing at night on our boat was nothing short of spectacular. Head torches were barely used throughout the race - during the dark hours it really felt quite ethereal - much like sailing above the Arctic Circle in summer (except in shorts!).

Further - I do not believe there is a finer finish or better welcome in many other offshore events. Leaving aside the hard beat from Redonda (not always popular - but a serious test of resolve!) the night laser finish from the hill at English Harbour is quite incredible. This followed by a traditional volunteer RORC team greeting every single yacht to finish on a 24 hrs basis - with cheers, beers followed by an invitation to attend immediately the cafe / bar that remains open throughout the duration of the race. The place was always hopping!

Well done the RORC for its organisation and its volunteer army - as already said - quite spectacular.

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Well appointed and inventoried offshore cruiser racer. Complete carbon construction.


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The Last Word
The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going. -- George Carlin

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