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

GAC Pindar and Ian Williams Claim Victory in the Battle Of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland: The Battle of Helsinki of the M32 Scandinavian Series was completed on Saturday at Hernesaaren Ranta. The sun finally had to give way to pouring rain only a couple of hours before the finals of the weekend, but wind was loyal to the sailors until the very end. The entire three-day event was sailed in ideal conditions.

Skipper Ian Williams and his crew on board GAC Pindar saw their dominance come to an end as Mans Holmberg's Typhoon X Racing were crowned the winners of the closing day in Helsinki. All four boats out on the water managed to clinch a race win on Saturday. Evened out racing was a result of lighter and flukier breeze outside of the Finnish capital. Unfortunately the fast learning first-timer team Artemis Youth Racing were forced to sit out Saturday's seven races due to the rudder damage from Friday.    

Third and second places went to Sweden as well with Johnie Berntsson's Flux Team knocking the series runner-ups Nicklas Dackhammar & Essiq Racing Team off the podium.

Ian Williams and GAC Pindar head for Stockholm's final event of the Scandinavian Series in a healthy lead of five points with Dackhammar in second. However, double points in Stockholm's regatta offer the chasing teams an opportunity to close the gap. Sailing in Stockholm commences already on Thursday 8 September.

1. GAC Pindar (GBR) - Ian Williams - 38 points
2. TyphoonX Racing (SWE) - Mans Holmberg - 60
3. Flux Team (SWE) - Johnie Berntsson - 66
4. Essiq Racing Team (SWE) - Nicklas Dackhammar - 76
5. Artemis Youth Racing (SWE) - Rasmus Rosengren - 126

Cascais SB20 World Championships
The last day of the Cascais SB20 World Championships 2016 on Saturday, September 3 saw Hugo Rocha with his New Territories team crowned World Champions, defeating a 76-boat fleet with entries from 13 countries.

After a demanding 12-race series during which the renowned high winds venue of Cascais, Portugal delivered storming 20-knot runs, shifty beats, mirror calm mornings, and everything in between, conditions for the final day single race proved challenging once again.

With winds again very light early in the morning, it initially looked doubtful as to whether any racing would take place and the fleet was towed to the course area. However, the breeze gradually filled in, and after two General Recalls and a postponement the wind eventually settled enough for the race team to get start away just one minute before the cut-off time. A couple of boats fell victim to the Black Flag as racing began in a light 6-8 knots, which quickly ramped up to 15 knots.

The hotly contested Nations Cup was awarded to France, from Russia, with Portugal just pipping Britain for third on tie-break. Meanwhile the French crew of Mathilde Geron, Sophie de Turckheim, Julie Bossard and Alice Ponsar on Team Xavier Bourhis Generali were the first ladies' crew in 12th place.

The top Master's prize went to the team of Jerry Hill, Alan Hill and Craig Watson who finished 13th, with prizes awarded by Clarins and Hyde Sails as well as event sponsors Vista Alegre, Sagres, Simoes and Gaspar, and LG. The event was hosted by Clube Naval de Cascais, and backed by the Portuguese city.

Final top five:
1. New Territories, Hugo Rocha / Alex Semenov / Fran Palacios / Gonçalo Barreto, YC St-Petersburg, RUS, 55 points
2. France Jeune SB20 Y, Gabriel Skoczek / Michel Emeric / Lucas Chatonnier / Marine Boudot, YCAntibes, FRA, 72
3. TREM Engineering, Rodion Luka / Andrey Klochko / Igor Severianov / Tomas Barreto , Kiev Racing YC, UKR, 76
4. Flirtatious , Chris Dare / Oliver Tweddell / Ella Clark / Sorrento SBC, AUS, 97
5. Export Roo, Michael Cooper / David Chapman / Matthew Johnston, RYCTasmania, AUS,100

Grenada Sailing Week
Grenada Sailing Week A truly friendly, competitive regatta - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 30 Jan - 4 Feb 2017

With five yachts already registered in the CSA Racing Spinnaker Class and two newly built Grenada boats launching in time to participate, this promises to be an exciting regatta.

Bernie Evan-Wong, avid Antiguan racer on his RP37 Taz, (known as "The Carbon Beast"), says: "For the past several seasons we have campaigned the Caribbean Racing circuit starting with Grenada in the South and going up to the USVI in the North, participating in around 10 Regattas each season, and I can safely say that Grenada Sail Week is one of my favourite regattas, warm, friendly and competitive."

Race Day Sponsor Sea Hawk Premium Yacht Finishes, a loyal supporter from the start, promotes this event at international boat shows and provides valuable bottom paint prizes for positions 1, 2 and 3 in all classes. Host Marina and Race Day Sponsor Secret Harbour in sheltered Mt Hartman Bay, with its premier pool house party venue, has long been a secret and chose to support Grenada Sailing Week to promote their fully operational marina to international and local sailors.

Regional Air Partner LIAT The Caribbean Airline will be offering great discounts to captains and crew flying in for the event - check the Grenada Sailing Week website for details regarding dates and eligibility.

Check our website: and sign up for our newsletter, email us at , find us on Facebook at GrenadaSailingWeek, or Twitter @grenadasailweek

Glitterati Gather In Cowes
Cowes, UK - 250 guests attended the Etchells World Championship Gala Reception, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. The Medina Marching Band opened proceedings, and Regatta Director, David Franks, welcomed the sailors to the regatta. As the flags of the 11 nations taking part were raised on Trinity Landing, the international gathering cheered everyone. 58 teams will battle it out in the Solent over the next six days, amongst them are the glitterati from the world of sailing, as well as passionate corinthian sailors.

A closer look at the fleet reveals immense quality in depth, 14 past and present Etchells World Champions are just the tip of the iceberg. From dinghy to Maxi World Champions, arguably the coolest collection of sailors, anywhere in the world, has gathered in Cowes. 20 Olympians, with four gold and three bronze medals between them, as well as World Champions from 24 different classes and America's Cup competitors and winners.

World class sailors include, Skip Dieball (USA), Jon McClean (USA) and Jeff Eiber (USA): 2015 Etchells World Champions. John Bertrand (AUS): America's Cup winning skipper, Etchells World Champion and Olympic medallist. Malcolm Page (AUS): two-time Olympic gold medallist and six-time 470 World Champion. Steve Benjamin (USA): Olympic silver medallist, Fireball, 505 and Maxi World Champion. Luis Doreste (ESP): Five time Olympian and two-time gold medallist.  Lawrie Smith (GBR): Round the world legend, two-time Olympic bronze medallist and Dragon World Champion. Ian Dobson (GBR): Five time GP14 World Champion and Chris Larson (USA): Melges 24, J/22, J/24, Mumm 36, Swan 45 and Maxi World Champion...and those are just the highlights.

Four World Champion yachtswomen will be competing: World Champion Match Racing and Olympic sisters, Lucy and Kate McGregor (GBR), 420 & J/111 World Champion Annabel Vose (GBR) and Stephanie Roble (USA) Etchells World Champion and 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.

Racing at the 2016 Etchells World Championship will be held from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th September, with multiple windward -leeward racing in the Central Solent. Six races will constitute a series and the overall winner will receive the antique silver Founders Trophy, and join a list of impressive Etchells World Championship winners.

ORACLE Team USA'S Quest For Instability
At the America's Cup World Series in New York earlier this year, ORACLE Team USA Director of Performance, Ian Burns, told a group of journalists that the defenders' chief design goal was to create the most unstable boat they felt they could get away with.

We cornered Burns immediately after his presentation and got him to explain why the American syndicate was banking on intability to bring them a record third consecutive America's Cup victory.

SRM: Why is an unstable boat a better bet than a stable one?

IAN BURNS: We have evolved a long way since the first boats started flying. In the last Cup it was interesting the way the Kiwis approached the stability problem by making a very strong and stable boat that could sail in all conditions and did a lot of flying.

At OTUSA we approached it from the other direction by building a very unstable boat and did very little flying prior to the Cup. In fact, I remember were still developing our techniques around how to gybe just a few weeks before the Cup.

Because of the range of stabilities that they had designed into their boat, it was probably a little slower than ours when they were both flying. That is pretty much the game of stability versus speed that's played all the time. We sort of converged to very similar foils for the actual Cup - that's often the case and probably will be in 2017 - but the answer to the stability question is part man and part machine and how you trade those two things off is one of the big uncertainties of this America's Cup.

Full interview:

18 Foot Skiff Euro Grand Prix
The final day of the European 18 foot skiff Grand Prix at Sandbanks saw a split in rig choices as some teams opted to rig for the dropping breeze forecast while others rigged for the stronger gusts. Ultimately, there was a slight upwind advantage with the smaller rigs however the huge big rig sail plan allowed for heavier teams to sail deeper downwind. 

The fight for first was between team Pica and team Be Light. Both teams pushed each other hard however Pica had the best score sheet with a 1,5,1 securing them the event win with Be Light in second. The race for the final podium spot was hotly contested between Chameleon I and Original Chia. Experience in overpowered big rig conditions paid ultimately with the Danes holding off a strong charge from Chameleon I to secure third. 

The event has also been a great opportunity for newcomers to the class.


Melges 24 European Championship
Hyeres, France: Everything is ready in Hyeres where the International Melges 24 fleet will sail for the third time since 2006. 54 Melges 24 boats coming from 16 nations have all reached their moorings on the docks and, after today's practice race are ready for the first preparatory signal Monday.

The practice race, held with some Westerly breeze blowing around 8-13 knots, was useful for Benedek Fluck, the new Championship Coordinator for the European events together with Principal Race Officer Jean Diaz, who started getting to know the fleet, here composed by a large number of Corinthian crews: "It was a sixty-minutes race, we had 8.5 knots in the beginning, that went up to 13 in the end. We had a four-legs course and the wind changed a bit to the West" - Fluck declared. "We had to make two starts because in the first almost everyone was OCS; we released the fleet with the black flag and still had a couple of BFD. It was a great practice race both for the sailors and Race Committee and, as usual, part of the fleet didn't cross the finish line because it is said to be sign of misluck. Tomorrow we are supposed to have similar weather conditions, even if we may have a Mistral blowing a bit more strongly than today".

Extreme Sailing Series St Petersburg
The Swiss crew Alinghi began the deciding day of Act 5, presented by SAP, in pole position with the narrowest of margins over closest rivals and overall series leaders Oman Air, but by the time the final race came round Morgan Larson's men were on equal points with Alinghi. The winner of Act 5 was to be decided by which of the two crews beat the other in what turned into one of the most thrilling climaxes of the five Acts so far this season.

A dominant start from Alinghi, helmed by 27-year-old Swiss sailing star Arnaud Psarofaghis, saw them get the jump on Oman Air and lead the fleet into the first mark with a small margin. Larson's Omani-flagged crew chased hard downwind but crucially got into trouble when they couldn't find a clear route through the fleet to the bottom gate. Psarofaghis's crew put the throttle down and never looked back, pulling away from the chasing pack to take the race win and secure the Act 5 victory.

The Act saw 24 spectacular races held over four days just metres from the shores of the Neva River.

With three Acts still remaining, just five points separate Oman Air from Alinghi in the overall standings, with Red Bull Sailing Team just one point further adrift.

The Extreme Sailing Series action resumes on the Portuguese islands of Madeira from September 22 to 25.

Standings after Day 4, 24 races (04.09.16)

1. Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothe Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, 255 points
2. Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari, 249
3. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Jeremy Bachelin, 226
4. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde, 223
5. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Neil Hunter, Chris Taylor, Will Alloway, Sam Batten, Adam Kay, 209
6. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Phil Robertson, Will Tiller, Shane Diviney, Alexsey Kulakov, Victor Serezhkin, 207
7. Sail Portugal - Visit Madeira (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Frederico Melo, Nuno Barreto, Antonio Fontes, Joao Matos Rosa, 206

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