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

Kiwi Helmsmen Prevail
Two leading Kiwi skippers, both of whom have taken over the helms of well-established teams for this regatta, have claimed the lead positions after the first day of racing at the GC32 Championship in Muscat, Oman.

This inaugural championship for the one design foiling catamarans, being run by the GC32 International Class Association in association with OC Sport, got off to a solid start today with five races sailed.

Former Match Racing World Championship and round the world sailor Adam Minoprio, helming the Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner co-skippered SAP Extreme Sailing Team in Muscat, claimed race three with the Austrian team. However the day belonged to Phil Robertson, the new skipper of Oman Air, the long established team run by the GC32 Championship's hosts, Oman Sail.

Robertson managed to secure today's final two races comfortably with his highly experienced crew. The local team ended the day leading on 14 points, just three points ahead of SAP Extreme Sailing Team, in turn tied on points with a highly consistent Alinghi, steered by Ernesto Bertarelli, now leader of the GC32 Championship Owner-Driver ranking.

Five more races are scheduled for Wednesday, when the wind is forecast to be slightly stronger than today.

Overall results:
1. Oman Air, 14 points
2. SAP Extreme Sailing Team, 17
3. Alinghi, 17
4. Team TILT, 18
5. Team ENGIE, 20
6. Red Bull Sailing Team, 31
7. Land Rover BAR Academy, 34
8. Tawera Racing, 37
9. Argo, 38
10. SVB Team Germany, 49
11. Youth Vikings Denmark, 55

Lexus Flying Fifteen World Championship
Napier, New Zealand: What a difference a day makes, the sun came out for day four of the 21st Lexus Flying Fifteen World Championship in Napier. Race 5 was sailed in a light NE breeze shifting from 40 - 50 degrees, but with a short chop rather than the rolling swell of the last few days. As they say in these parts, the lambs were just about to leap out of the paddock, allowing the bigger crews to get out on the side decks and even do a bit of hiking!

57 Fifteens were spread across the start line in a far more conventional start but with new choices over upwind tactics. Whilst the majority of the fleet decided to work the left, a late shift favoured the boats that had really banged the right corner hard!

With two days to go the pressure is rising and so is the barometer. There is a promise of more warm weather and a bit more breeze which might just suit some of the bigger crews who enjoy a bit of planing activity for which the Flying Fifteen is famous for.

Race 6 is scheduled for a 1300hrs (local) start time. -- Jonny Fullerton

Results (Top 10 of 57 entries, after 5 races with 1 discard)
1. Steve Goacher / Tim Harper, GBR, 12 points
2. Nick Jerwood / Janet Jerwood, AUS, 16
3. Matthew Owen / Andrew Reed, AUS, 22
4. Ashley Smith / Adam Kingston, HKG, 28
5. David McKee / Mal Hartland, GBR, 29
6. Jeremy Davy / Martin Huett, GBR, 31
7. Murray Gilbert / Jonathan Burgess, NZL, 33
8. Hayden Percy / Scott Pedersen, NZL, 34
9. Charles Apthorp / Alan Green, GBR, 37
10. David Yu / Chris Nelson, AUS, 39

Countdown To Final Act Of 4th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series
For the final Act of the 2016/2017 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, over 250 sailors in four classes are expected this weekend in a series that has grown to become a must on the sailing calendar for many.

Organised once a month from October to March by the Yacht Club de Monaco, in collaboration with SLAM on the initiative of Valentin Zavadnikov, these regattas are a great opportunity for foreign teams to establish their winter training base in the Principality.

The YCM is well represented in the J/70s with 17 of the 63 entrants flying the Club flag. Brazilian Mario Soerensen Garcia on Mandachuva is determined to conserve his first place, equal on points with the Swiss on Aprotec-Cer3, with the Russian Arttube in third ahead of the YCM's Stefano Roberti (Piccinina).

In the Melges 20s, Russian supremacy leaves little room for outsiders to muscle in, after a 100% Russian podium for the penultimate Act in January.

In the M32 catamaran class, six are taking advantage of Monaco's ideal conditions with the YCM's Guido Miani (Team Neverland) a strong favourite after winning the previous two meetings.

Having already raced at the 33rd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse last month, the Stars are back for the third stage of their European winter circuit. The YCM's Filippo Orlando is still in with a chance of a podium finish and will be doing all in his power to achieve that goal.

Racing starts at noon on Friday 3rd March.

18ft Skiffs 2017 JJ Giltinan Championship, Race 3
Australia finally broke the New Zealand dominance so far in the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by The Winning Group, when won an incident packed Race 3 of the championship on Sydney Harbour today.

The race began in a light East wind before a rain squall hit the fleet on the spinnaker run to the bottom mark off Kurraba Point.

Visibility was non-existant for the spectators, and when the fleet finally emerged from the gloom several boats had capsized.

Finally, after the squall passed, the fleet sailed the windward leg to Rose Bay, but the dramas weren't over as the wind died completely as the fleet were on the next spinnaker run to Kurraba Point.

With the wind now gone completely, race officials decided to shorten the course at Kurraba Point and was declared the winner.

It was a welcome change of luck for the Appliancesonline crew of David Witt, Tom Anderson and Tom Clout, who were plagued by gear problems in the first two races.

Appliancesonline's winning margin was 7m15 from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O'Connor) with New Zealand's Knight Frank (Riley Dean, Luke Stevenson, Tim Sneddon) a further 2m6s back in third place.

The rest of the fleet were becalmed and it was another 27 minutes before the fourth boat crossed the finish line.

Race 4 of the JJ Giltinan Championship will be sailed tomorrow, Wednesday, 1 March, at 3pm.

Classic Yacht Owners Association Forms Technical Committee
Newport, Rhode Island, USA: The Classic Yacht Owners Association (CYOA), was formed in 2015 to advance the common interests of classic yacht owners, to improve communication between them, and to foster increased participation in classic yachting events throughout New England and beyond. The CYOA formed a Technical Committee consisting of yacht designers and naval architects, classic regatta and race organizers, and prominent classic yacht owner/racers. Over the past eight months the committee has examined various handicapping alternatives, including PHRF, Europe's CIM, a VPP-based system, and the Classic Rating Formula (CRF) used predominately in New England.

Several opportunities for improvements came to light from the committee's analysis of the current CRF system. Committee members have developed a comprehensive reformulation that has been informally dubbed 'CRF MkII'. This MkII version of CRF is based on the essentials of the International Offshore Rule (IOR). The primary objectives of the reformulation include removing subjective tools in the formula, creating an all data driven numerical result, and bringing full transparency of the rule and ratings to the public.

The effects of the new formulae on relative ratings within the test fleet shows that MkII does address the perceived shortcomings in current CRF, and that any rating shifts are reasonably consistent within a given group of yacht sizes and types. Rescoring past classic events has shown that the new MkII ratings would not change many finish places, nor disrupt the competitive balance of the current fleet unduly.

Given all this careful refinement and review, Jim Taylor, of Jim Taylor Yacht Design and a tech committee member said "the Committee is confident that CRF MkII ratings will reflect the performance potential of boats over the full range of the classic fleet fairly and well, and that owners will appreciate the fact that the 'guts' of the new approach will be fully transparent and free of subjective rating adjustments." Chris Wick will continue the management and issuing of certificates through the CRF website: and owners will still be responsible for obtaining their rating certificate and for making sure that the data they declare accurately represents the configuration of their boat as she is raced.

GKSS To Host WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup
Gothenburg, Sweden: Gothenburg is the latest city to add to the growing list of WMRT World Tour level events that qualify teams into Championship level events and earn valuable points on the 2017 WMRT leaderboard. The WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup will be sailed on the beautiful Swedish west coast outside the GKSS clubhouse in Langedrag on May 12-14th, with the top two teams receiving invitations to GKSS Match Cup Sweden in July.

As with the majority of World Match Racing Tour events, WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup will be sailed in high performance M32 carbon fiber catamarans provided by the Organising Authority and therefore teams are required to hold a valid M32 Match Racing License to sail in this event. For teams without a license there will be an M32 Match Racing License Clinic held just across the water on the island of Hönö at Cape Crow Yacht Club May 9-11th. For further details on licensing and to book a place at one of our training or license clinics please visit

Gothenburg Match Cup will run May 12-14th, 2017 and is now open for entry. To request invitation please contact

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Thomas Coville (FRA)
'Sorry, Laura [Weyler], but I can't vote for you... Frankly it should be forbidden to vote against Thomas this time' - Pelle Pedersen; 'Running an educational programme from the ocean when sailing at 40kt... Hurrah, Thomas!' - Miguel Cravinho; 'He just never gave up, outstanding' - Patrik Buschor; 'And he's still a really nice guy!' - Stjepan Marinovic; 'Sailing solo around the world on an Ultim in less than 50 days is beyond words' - Martin Leveneur; 'Amazing what can be done on a diet of frozen pizza...' - Robin Berwick.

This month's nominees:


Francis Joyon (FRA)
We've already been instructed by French friends to make this the World Sailor of the Year Award, or indeed the Seahorse Greatest Sailor Of All Time Award. For now, this is the best we can do; but we'll work on it. Almost certainly the finest seaman of his generation, Joyon is able to push his boats very hard without breaking them - an uncommon skill. And he somehow still does it all for relative peanuts compared with his big-ticket rivals


Paul Callahan (USA)
For many years now Callahan has led the USA National Disabled Sailing Program and in 2016 the organisation had its best year ever, wracking up impressive statistics in both attendance and access. With three different venues, last year the initiative put through 1,410 disabled adults and 1,303 disabled children... and has now secured the use of no fewer than 406 different boats. Callahan's team must have some kind of sales pitch as well...


Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Henri Lloyd, 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

52 Super Series Miami Royal Cup Starts Monday
After Key West in January, where Doug DeVos's Quantum Racing won with an immaculate final 2,1,1 flourish, the 52 SUPER SERIES moves to South Beach for next week's Miami Royal Cup.

Although Quantum Racing triumphed by six points, the competition in Key West was incredibly close. Behind Quantum Racing, six boats finished within two points of Harm Muller-Spreer's Platoon, who took second place only on countback.

In Miami, 2016 US Olympian and multiple World Champion helmsman, Bora Gulari, steers championship winner Quantum Racing for the first time ever in the white heat of competition. Tony Langley's British-flagged team will be getting to grips with their new Gladiator, which debuted at Key West as Interlodge - the latest Botín Partners design. And Peter Harrison's Sorcha team return to the 52 SUPER SERIES with a bigger commitment, and after a successful 2016, debut in Sardinia and at the World Championship in Menorca.

Gulari raced as strategist in Key West, partnering with tactician Terry Hutchinson, but this will be his debut at the helm.

Tony Langley's investment in a new boat is great news for the class and for the circuit, underlining the popular British owner's continued passion for the 52 SUPER SERIES and his desire to keep improving. As Interlodge, the new Gladiator showed great speed potential finishing in Key West, but was let down by a couple of mechanical problems; teething problems with the boat which was just sea-trialled in November.

The change from the Vrolijk design house to Botín aligns Gladiator more closely with the winning Quantum Racing set up, which is known so well by Ed Baird, the new Gladiator tactician who has won three 52 SUPER SERIES titles with Quantum Racing.

Since the Quantum Key West Race Week finished in January, shore teams and programme managers have been working relentlessly to realise any small technical gains - the result of post regatta de-briefs. The strength of the four-boat Quantum Sails initiative was evident in Key West. With Interlodge (now Gladiator), that shared intelligence and knowledge initiative involves Quantum Racing, Gladiator and Platoon.

The official practice race is on Monday, thereafter points racing runs through Tuesday to Saturday.

Sailing Podcasts To Make Winter Easier
Looking for some inspiration to hold you until you can splash the boat and get back out on the water? Whether you're a racer or a cruiser, a collegiate sailor or an old salt, there are excellent resources online to keep you occupied.

Spinsheet has a list of both audio and video podcasts:

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For racing Earlybird is equipped with a complete set of 3Di racing sails, various training sails, upgraded deck gear, running rigging and various customized details. The 20ft container consist lots of spare parts. Earlybird is ready to compete again in the 2017 Swan 45 circuit.

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The Last Word
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