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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Azzurra Wins The Miami Royal Cup
Photo by Max Ranchi, www.maxranchi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

52 Super Series Azzurra has won the Miami Royal Cup, the second event in the 2017 52 Super Series, and is currently at the lead of the Series too. The next event will be in May, in Scarlino, Tuscany: the Rolex TP52 World Championship where results will also count for points in the Super Series.

The boat flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's burgee left port this morning at the lead of this event, but she only had the certainty of winning it at the end of the day's first race. She lead the fleet until halfway through the first downwind leg and finished third. At that point, even if for some reason she finished the second race in last place, she still had mathematical certainty of having won the event.

The day's second race got underway in breezes from the north east at 13 knots, a bit stronger than they have been for the duration of the event. Azzurra got a good start and was controlling the fleet but dropped back a bit along the downwind legs. She finished fourth. While her day's placements fell short of the double wins a couple of days ago, it was still time to celebrate when the team got back to port.

Final Standings, 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup after 9 races
1. Azzurra (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers, ITA/ARG), 24 points
2. Platoon (Harm Muller-Spreer GER,), 32
3. Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR), 39
4. Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos, USA), 42
5. Sled (Takashi Okura, USA), 52
6. Ran Racing (Niklas Zennstrom, SWE), 54
7. Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR), 55.6
8. Bronenosec (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS), 59
9. Alegre (Andrés Soriano GBR/USA), 63
10. Sorcha (Peter Harrison, GBR), 66
11. Paprec (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, FRA), 108

Standings after two regattas - Key West and Miami
1. Azzurra, 74
2. Platoon, 81
3. Quantum, 85
4. Provezza, 88
5. Ran, 103
6. Bronenosec, 109
7. Gladiator, 135.6
8. Sled, 121
9. Alegre, 147
10. Paprec, 194

52superseries.com

Team Rev Wins M32 Miami Winter Series Event
Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

M32 Eight brightly colored M32's raced back and forth in front of the Miami skyline for the Miami Winter Series Event #3 in conjunction with Bacardi Miami Sailing Week. The changing conditions brought several lead changes throughout the event, and it was Team REV skippered by Rick DeVos who jumped from 6th to 1st overall the final day to take the event win.

Ten races were completed throughout the weekend, along with two short Pro Am races Saturday morning. Sixteen guests had the privilege of jumping aboard M32s to experience catamaran racing at its finest and raise money for Shake-a-leg Miami! When official racing began, team XS Energy skippered by Drew Wierda came out fast and led the day after five races with 15 points.

Team REV made an incredible leap from sixth overall to event winners. Skipper Rick DeVos commented, "We really focused on improving our starts today, if you have a decent start things get easier from there. We worked on time and distance and picking our spot early and positing ourselves relative to the fleet." Malcolm Gefter also had a spectacular Sunday, team Liftoff moved from a tied sixth place up to third.

The final event of the Miami Winter Series will take place April 7-9 at regatta park, where the overall winter champion is to be determined. Double points will be awarded for the last event with up to ten boats expected on Biscayne Bay.

m32series.com/series/miami-winter-series/

Zhik Clearance Sale
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Your chance for a bargain scoop on some of our ground breaking Superwarm and Microfleece wetsuits, performance tops, rashies, thermals, shore kit and much more.

Zhik, the dynamic Australian based apparel brand, has been at the forefront of innovation, pushing the boundaries in design and fabric technology for all sailors since before the Athens Olympics.

There was clearly scope to bring in technically proficient gear to help athletes win gold.

Zhik gear is now the winning choice of numerous Olympic and World champions around the world.

Zhik are the official suppliers to the Extreme Sailing Series, World Sailing, the Australian Olympic team, and our technical ranges are used on board a number of America's Cup teams.

After success in dinghies, Zhik set about designing some brilliant yachting gear. Zhik Isotak™ and AroShell™ wet weather gear is rapidly becoming the choice for racing sports boats and Vendee Globe sailors. Our Isotak offshore range™ has recently been proven by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to have four times more waterproof durability with a new standard that replicates the real world sailing environment and conditions.

www.zhik.com/clearance-sale.html

Clipper Crew Safety Brief
Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has prepared the following safety update for all Clipper 2017-18 Race crew

Ocean yacht racing has its risks. But by far the best way to minimise those risks is a culture of safety and constant vigilance amongst all ocean yachtsmen, including Clipper Race Crews. Staying safe must be a paranoia. We train people to a high level, but if they forget the rules accidents will happen. So our crew, as with all sailors, must ultimately take responsibility for their own safety.

The best way to avoid going overboard, from which a live recovery cannot be guaranteed, is to always clip on. It is equally important to be alert and avoid being in any place where highly loaded lines and fittings may fail and injure you, whether that be near the mainsheet, outside a foresail sheet or standing within the loop of a lazy line.

However, as a consequence of the two fatal accidents in the 2015-16 race, the first in our 20-year history, we have had consultations with all of the skippers and the experts within the Clipper Race team and this is where we are at the moment.

Read the safety brief here

Around Again
There's a new raceboat yard in Lisbon, and they're flat out finishing off a 'new' fleet of round the world raceboats...

Seahorse Magazine: What was your brief right at the beginning of the refit process?

Nick Bice - VOR director of boats and maintenance: The priority was reliability. The VO65 created a lot of reliability for the stakeholders in this race, for the teams, sponsors, sailors and of course us at Volvo Ocean Race HQ. In originally selecting the VO65 the criteria were reliability, performance and safety, which is paramount... and these boats now need to do another 70,000 miles. So my brief to the team was identical to when we were servicing these boats during the stopovers in the last race: always be proactive, not reactive.

SH: How many are there in your team?

NB: I have managed to keep our core team from last time and the head of each department. Then we've built onto that family, so we currently have close to 30 people in Lisbon. A significant number of those are in the paint team, as with new sponsors and branding there is a lot to do there!

We estimate the whole job will take 3,500-4,000 hours, with 2,000 hours just allocated to painting the boats. We have these 30 people on site but a lot of the components go back to the manufacturers for servicing, so there are many more people involved than you see here in Lisbon.

SH: And there is a huge amount of work just in pulling these boats apart...

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:
www.seahorsemagazine.com

Matt Jerwood's Redline Racing Dominate
Perth, Western Australia: Local skipper Matt Jerwood showed he is more than a match racer on Perth's Swan River today, winning four out of five fleet races in the M32 Australian Series inaugural event. With his regular Redline Racing crew, he dominated the first day of racing, with his only slip from the top spot a third in race three.

With the professional teams holding the top two spots after the first day, the best of the amateurs is Matt Allen's Team Ichiban, with the president of Australian Sailing being assisted by pro sailor Evan Walker and his team.

For Matt Allen, one of Australia's legendary offshore skippers, with many Sydney to Hobart Races under his belt, this was a first time experience racing multi-hulls, but he came ashore with a big grin at the end of the day commenting simply, "how good was that? Awesome!"

Conditions on the Swan River were challenging enough to keep the teams on their toes, and producing some very fast and very close racing. Gusts of up to 20 knots swept across the course at times, but did not generate waves big enough to cause any problems.

The event is hosted by Mounts Bay Sailing Club, and finishes on Wednesday. The weather forecast for Tuesday threatens winds of up to 25 knots. -- John Roberson

Results:
1. Matt Jerwood/Redline Racing, AUS, 7 points
2. Mans Holmberg/CFA Sports, SWE, 14
3. Matt Allen/Team Ichiban, AUS, 17
4= Brett Burvill/Team Windrush, AUS, 20
4= Sean Langman/Team Australia, AUS, 20
6. Simon Delzoppo/Jet Marine, AUS, 27

m32series.com/series/western-australia-series/

Finn Class To Test New Format at Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR
The Finn Class will be testing a new format at the 48th Trofeo Princesa Sofía IBEROSTAR, which begins in just two weeks time. This is in response to discussions that the winner of events should be decided on the final race, or even first across the line.

The format that will be used in Palma is one of several on the table and will allow the class and World Sailing to better understand the consequences and processes of introducing such a system.

The format in Palma will enable all sailors to sail a minimum of five days, while keeping the last day for the Final.

Round 1 - Opening Series: A series of nine fleet races will be held from Monday to Thursday in one group. The top two boats in the series will proceed directly to the Final while the next three boats will proceed to Round 3 - The Semi-Final.

Round 2 - Semi-Final-Qualifier: The rest of the fleet (i.e. everyone except the top 5) will sail the Semi-Final-Qualifier on Friday, for a second and final chance to qualify for the Semi-Final. The top five boats after this tenth series race will proceed to the Semi-Final based on overall series ranking.

Round 3 - Semi-Final: The Semi-Final, with eight boats (three from Round 1 and five from Round 2) will be sailed on Friday (if time) or else on Saturday. All boats will start on zero points. The top three across the line will proceed to the Final.

Final: The Final will be sailed on Saturday with five boats (two from Round 1, three from Round 3). All boats will start on zero points. The podium will be decided by the finishing order.

After the event, a survey will be carried out by the class to gather feedback from sailors, coaches and media.

finnclass.org

Is The Brisbane To Gladstone Yacht Race Changing The Face Of Ocean Racing In Australia?
The 69th running of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is a landmark year for several reasons and it looks like skippers agree. Entries for the race do not close until later this month but already the fleet size is well above entry levels seen in the last five years and could go past the mid-forties if talk around the marinas is to be believed, an increase of fifty percent.

Interstate entrants are now starting to show a healthy presence on the entry list. Australian Sailing president Matt Allen will be heading north in the Carkeek 60, Ichi Ban and will be joined by Ray Roberts' Farr 55 Hollywood Boulevard, the Farr 1104 Sail Exchange.com.au and 2014 B2G race winner Duncan Hine with his ever competitive Reichel Pugh designed Alive. It is a quality group and is leaving organisers, Queensland Cruising Yacht Club, wondering if more will decide to make the trip to Queensland for Easter.

Whilst the entry list currently suggests defending champions Black Jack as the first boat crossing the line in Gladstone Harbour it is far from a forgone conclusion, any small mistake and the chasing pack will be close enough to take advantage. Black Jack has won Line Honours in the race for the last three years but the elusive record set in 2004 by Skandia Wild Thing remains untouched. Owner Peter Harburg will have his sights firmly set on taking this record in what could be the last Gladstone race for the current version of Black Jack before a bigger and even faster replacement appears.

In the overall battle for the Courier Mail Cup, one of the oldest perpetual trophies in Australia that has been competed for on a continual basis, the race is wide open.

The question many will ask is what made the difference, why has the Brisbane to Gladstone suddenly caught the interest of skippers up and down the east coast? In a recent media launch at QCYC, Race Director Nigel Statham laid out three significant innovations that had be developed for this years race. The first two were formulated based on skippers feedback, "We have listened to our Skippers and reacted" he commented. "We have undertaken a significant review of the safety regulations associated with the race and found that there were some rules in place that were overly onerous and costly to skippers. The changes have been subtle but the results are a huge cost saving for skippers. Whilst some have immediately assumed that these changes may have a negative impact of safety, Statham was quick to point out that "The safety measure that Skippers are required to put in place remain essentially the same, we have simply allowed them to do it in a more cost effective way. We have the full support of Australian Sailing and I thank them for their assistance with the project".

brisbanetogladstone.com.au

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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. -- Bertrand Russell

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