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

St. Thomas International Regatta
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

St. Thomas International Regatta Several classes were too close to call going into the final day of racing at the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), held March 24 to 26 out of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The reason? A mix of STIR-signature round-the-island courses combined with conditions that ranged from near breathless calm to blustery gusts over three days of racing that kept competitors on their toes and trading places on the scoreboard with classmates right down to the last finish.

In the Non-Spinnaker Racing class, there were lots of happy faces on crew members aboard Varuna, a VAr 37, which bested St. Thomas' Kevin Gregory's Beneteau First 44.7, Odyssey.

The one-design C&C 30 and IC24 classes reveled in the razor-sharp competition.

In the C&C30's, the Cottonwood Heights, UT's Sandra Askew's Flying Jenny bested Julian Mann, from San Francisco, CA, aboard his Don't Panic by four points.

Puerto Rico's Fraito Lugo won the IC24 Class for nearly the dozenth time aboard his Orion. After twelve races over three days, there was only a five-point difference between Orion and second place finisher, Sembrador, sailed by Puerto Rico's Ramon Gonzalez.

It came down to a tie-breaker to decide the winner in the Large Offshore Multihull Class. In the end the HH/MM Nala, bested the St. Croix-built Bieker 53, Fujin, owned by Greg Slyngstad from Sammamish, WA.

The 45th edition is set for March 23 to 25, 2018. 

Full results on

Finn Fleet Begins Format Test In Palma
Estonian Deniss Karpak was the most consistent sailor in the 57-boat Finn fleet on the opening day of the 48th Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR in Palma, on Monday. Nenad Bugarin from Croatia is second and Brazilian, Jorge Zarif, is third.

Karpak got away to the best start at with a 3, 2 scoreline, leaving him at the top of the fleet, on a day when many sailors picked up wildly different scores as the wind played tricks with the fleet in the second race.

A medium to strong 15-20 knots in first race rose to more than 20 knots between the races, before dropping from 15 down to 5 knots in the second race.

One of the main points of interest this week is testing the new format. You can read an explanation here.

Karpak said he liked the idea of the new format. "There will be more of a show, and not only the strongest wins, but the luckiest. I like that. I especially like the final race. Five boats - the winner takes it all. Ohh!"

Bugarin has not yet made up his mind what to think about the new format. "On one hand it is nice to have a chance to win regatta from tenth place through the Semi-Final and Final, and on the other hand when you have built a regatta over the whole week, it is not easy if you lose the regatta in one race. But in any case, it will be interesting to try."

Kaynar said, "I think it is good to have improvements and try to make sailing to reach more spectators. Let's test this one here in Palma and try to find both a fair and interesting format for the coming regattas."

Racing in the opening series continues until Thursday. The Semi-Final Qualifier will be held on Friday for everyone not already qualified for the Final or Semi-Final. Then the eight-boat Semi-Final and the five-boat Final will complete the series, with the first across the finish line being the winner.

Results after two races

1. Deniss Karpak, EST, 5
2. Nenad Bugarin, CRO, 6
3. Jorge Zarif, BRA, 14
4. Alejandro Muscat, ESP, 16
5. Facundo Olezza, ARG, 16
6. Nicholas Heiner, NED, 20
7. Josip Olujic, CRO, 22
8. Alican Kaynar, TUR, 23
9. Max Salminen, SWE, 23
10. Henry Wetherell, GBR, 25

(Noteworthy) Trickledown
Seahorse It's not all about solenoids, actuators and electronic feedback... Harken's Air Winch is one of the exciting early spin-offs from America's Cup 2017

Much has been said about how the new multihull America's Cup has not contributed much to the development of mainstream big boat racing, and this is not untrue: very little of all that clever work that went into spar, sail and boat design and fabrication over decades of Cup racing is being developed any longer to produce a trickledown benefit for the larger racing audience that still enjoys monohull racing. However, there is one supplier to the AC programmes who has been consistently adapting to the new platforms and tenaciously innovating to find solutions, and some of these ideas have proved to offer tangible benefits to the broader racing public: Harken.

A lot of focus has been placed on faster hydraulic systems to transfer energy in the controls on AC foil and wing systems, and Harken is a clear leader in this field. Yet Harken has also been active on more traditional line-handling systems, of which the Air Winch is one of the most significant innovations (Air Winch was a category winner at the 2016 Dame Awards - the most important competition for new concepts and designs in marine equipment).

Developed to handle the single 'mainsheet' to the wing on the AC50, the Air Winch had to deliver a light, strong, reliable and versatile all-inone package. 'During the last Cup the teams used different models of our winches for the wing - a sure sign there was an opportunity to develop a dedicated winch for wing trimming,' said business director Mark Wiss.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:

RC44 Championship Tour Heads To Lanzarote For 2017 Final
The RC44 Class Association has confirmed Arrecife, Lanzarote, as host for the final regatta of the 2017 RC44 Championship Tour in partnership with Calero Marinas.

The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.

For 2017 the fleet will return to Europe's southern shores from the 23 - 26 November with racing hosted from the new facility, Marina Lanzarote, in Arrecife.

The 2017 RC44 Championship Tour kicks off next month in Spain with the RC44 Sotogrande Cup, 27 - 30 April, followed by regattas in Porto Cervo (Italy), Marstrand (Sweden) and Cascais (Portugal) before the grand finale in Lanzarote in November.

Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series
Sunday, 26 March's racing sees us at midpoint of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series and the overall results are beginning to take shape as the front runners and riders start to become apparent. The third Sunday of the Series was more like a classic Spring Series day; cold with sunshine and reasonable winds from the East. A brave crew member was spotted in IRC2 with bare red legs dangling below very short shorts on the start line - what a hero!

The sunny weather saw crews clustered on the Warsash Sailing Clubs lawn post-racing for the prizegiving.  Dark & Stormy won the Helly Hansen Roll Top Sail Bag and Jester won the Crewsaver Crewfit 180N Pro lifejacket in the prize draw.

The Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series is sponsored by Helly Hansen @HellyHansen #feelalive and organised and run by the Warsash Sailing Club.

Leading the Series by class:
IRC1 Night Owl II - Julie Fawcett
IRC2 Sailplane - Rob Bottomley
IRC3 Scarlet Jester - Jamie Muir
IRC4 Erik the Red - Bernard Fyans
J/109 Jynnan Tonnyx - Owain Franks
J/88 Tigris - Gavin Howe
Combined White Group Jeepster  - Gavin Howe
J/70 Jeepster
J/80 Betty -Jon Powell
SB20 Trouble & Strife - George Barker

For the full results:

Oracle Cream Of The Crop In Practice
Photo by Richard Gladwell, notes by Jack Griffin. Click on image to enlarge.

Team New Zealand All five America's Cup teams training in Bermuda have wrapped up the first of six "practice racing periods" allowed under the latest changes to the 2017 America's Cup protocol.

In multiple races yesterday the cream of the crop still appears to be Oracle Team USA. In the second match of the day, they took the leeward end of the line, led Land Rover BAR around the turning mark and never looked back.

Oracle are showing excellent straight-line speed and are almost flawless in keeping their boat speed up through foiling tacks and gybes.

Oracle, the defender, and challengers Land rover BAR and Artemis Racing had raced last Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and yesterday. On the final days SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France joined in for their first competitive trials.

All of the teams have only been sailing their AC Class boats for a couple of weeks and all are sure to have some issues with the complicated hydraulic systems used to control sail shape and daggerboard positions.

Some of the latest photos of Team New Zealand taken by Richard Gladwell show that two pedal-power trimmers are staying on each side, each locked into their pedals and ready to grind, probably able to provide power together for one control task or multiple tasks from both sides.

This may be smart thinking. These boats are not like traditional catamarans, which need human ballast on racks and trapeze cables to keep them flat and fast. These cats sail flat in straight line (one foil in the water) and when they do a foiling tack or gybe the deck stays almost level (two foils down) through the turn. Moving crew across the tramps is unnecessary, dangerous and probably a waste of energy. Staying locked in keeps things balanced side to side.

In addition, another Richard Gladwell photo of the Kiwi cockpit shows that since the grinders now have their hands free, they have controls ... some buttons and even a joy stick for who knows what...

There are probably many more innovations to come. Stay tuned. Qualifying Rounds start in 60 days. -- Talbot Wilson

Industry News
Hyde Sails, a UK-based sail manufacturer, has announced plans to expand its dealer network in the US and Canada.

Headquartered in Southampton, Hyde Sails has 50 years of heritage as a racing sailboat sailmakers. In the last 15 years the company has expanded into cruising sailboats.

Hyde Sails has been manufacturing its product line from a site in the Philippines for the last 15 years. The loft is run by ex-pat UK sail-makers and has 230 locally based staff employed on a loft floor of 6,000sq m. UK-based sales, technical and in house design staff, support the production facility.

"Hyde Sails is looking for dealers in New England, Carolina's, Great Lakes, Pacific North West, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia. New dealers do not have to be existing sail makers," says the company in a statement.

Luke Yeates, who manages dealers in the US, comments: 'I have found that some of our best dealers have been riggers and technical retailers.


The Oslo International Boat Show (Sjøen for alle) drew to a close on Sunday with organisers reporting a 6.4% increase attendance. The show in Norway's capital city attracted a total of 28,310 visitors.

This year's show covered an exhibition floor of 30,000sq m featuring a "Premium hall" including boats from Hydrolift, Modesty, Sargo, Azimut, Princess, Viknes, Skilsø, Nord Star, Targa, Cormate, Chris-Craft, Beneteau and Boston Whaler.

Sailing boat-makers Dragonfly and Elan both had Norwegian premieres at the show, while the biggest sailing yacht on display was the More 55, a 16m sailing yacht available for charter.


The Extreme Sailing Series will head to Mexico for the first time in its history this year when the eighth and final Act of what promises to be a spectacular season of sailing is staged in Los Cabos starting in late November.

Today the owner and organiser of the Series, OC Sport, is delighted to announce that the German software giant SAP - a longtime supporter of the world's leading Stadium Racing Series - will be the Host Venue Partner for the Mexican Act.

SAP has been Official Technical Partner to the Extreme Sailing Series™ since 2012, providing cutting edge insights to sailors, coaches, spectators and the media through SAP Sailing Analytics. The corporation is also title sponsor of the Danish-flagged SAP Extreme Sailing Team.


Aberdeen Asset Management, the global investment group, has been announced as Performance Partner to Land Rover BAR, the British America's Cup team led by Sir Ben Ainslie.

The initial three year partnership with Land Rover BAR, a team conceived by four-time Olympic gold medalist and 34th America's Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, was announced in Bermuda where the team is currently in the midst of its preparation for the 35th America's Cup.

Aberdeen Asset Management will use the partnership not just to reach an ever-growing America's Cup global fan base, but to work with Sir Ben and the team to share insights and expertise on how using data can boost performance - both at sea and in the investment space.

Capturing and processing data to help enhance performance is at the core of both Aberdeen Asset Management and Land Rover BAR. Both companies can call on extensive resources to uncover insights and look forward to collaborating over the next three years to exploit the wealth of data both companies encounter every day.


Authorities in Poland's Western Pomerania region have announced plans to contribute to the development of three marina projects.

Olgierd Geblewicz, head of the Western Pomerania parliament, told local newspaper Głos Szczeciński that these projects will pave the way for the creation of the "Western Pomeranian Sailing Trail".

Under the plan, the regional authorities will allocate PLN 2.9m (US$720,000) to modernise and expand the marina in Trzebież. The project is worth PLN 6.2m (US$1.5m).

Trzebież is located 29 km north-west of Szczecin, the region's largest city and capital. Construction work on the facility will commence in June this year, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

In Dąbie, a city located 16km north-east of the Szczecin, a new marina is to be built under an investment worth more than PLN 12.3m (US$3.1m), of which nearly PLN 4.8m (US$1.2m) is to be provided by the Polish region.

The project is expected to begin this month and completed by December 2018.

The third project is to develop a marina in Dziwnow, a town located 97km north-east of the regional capital. The project requires an investment of PLN 2.1m (US$520,000) of which nearly PLN 935,000 (US$232,000) will be allocated by the Western Pomerania region.


Line 7 Marine in New Zealand has announced that its full product line is now available onshore in the Caribbean.

The brand, a superyacht-specific marine apparel, has teamed up with Jane's Yacht Services, an Antigua-based shore-side support supplier, for the offering of its entire range of Line 7 new superyacht technical apparel. The move reflects the rapid growth of the refreshed brand since its relaunch in 2016, the company claims.

Line 7 has invested significantly in the development of the new superyacht-specific range. This partnership allows the company to return to the Caribbean since the brand was last seen in the region back in 2014.

In addition, Line 7 announces the opening of a US warehouse.

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 Rich Hayes

Boat Name

You can imagine this guy calling, for example, Solent Coastguard ...

* From Malcolm McKeag:

That much-loved and much-missed sometime yachting writer John Chamier used to advise, when choosing a yacht name, that one should give careful thought to what it was going to sound like on a dark and stormy night when calling the Coastguard.  Especially if preceded by the words 'Pan Pan' or 'Mayday Mayday'.

'This is yacht Otter... Scaramouche... Apache...' or whatever might command serious attention - but (as in one name not far from my own berth) 'Shy Talk... Rock Hopper... Diss Aster...' might send to the interlocutor entirely the wrong message.

Likewise with so-called funny and/ or jokey names. Think of the 'joke' as a tattoo, except that unlike tattoos even once very funny jokes can, after a year or two and sometimes not that, wear thin. I'm told that the celebrated 'Hoof Hearted' of (was it Merlin Rocket?) fame ceased to be funny once the Commodore's wife had read it out a couple of times at the prize giving.

And on a different tack: I'm fairly sure that pedal-power grinders have already been tried in the America's Cup, in a Twelve Metre - the Pelle Petesen-designed Sverige in 1976. But I can't for the life of me remember whether it was considered a success. Presumably not, or everyone would have done it subsequently. And did not Franck Cammas try this when single-handing Groupama 3 in 2010?

Another boat name

* From David Arnold:

If you are running a competition (as suggested in the letters column today) for the silliest boat names, I have a couple of entries. The first was seen in the Turgutreis Marina, Turkey. A 50 foot motor cruiser called MAY DAY, Turkish, but registered in Wilmington, Delaware. Try to imagine it making a distress call to the Turkish Coast Guard. The second was seen and photographed in the Cesme Marina, also in Turkey; see attached photo - the old lady who was sitting in the cockpit in a black burka had unfortunately gone into the cabin by the time I had fetched my camera.

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