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

Ian Williams Wins The 53rd Annual Congressional Cup
Long Beach, California: In a series of matches that were as mercurial as the weather, Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team GAC Pindar triumphed in the 53rd Congressional Cup, the second event of the World Match Racing Tour, beating Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in a fifth and final winner-take-all match.

Not since 2012 has Ian Williams [GRB] donned the coveted Crimson Blazer, the honor bestowed to the top names in sailing since 1965. What the Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing, the Crimson Blazer is to yacht racing.

But Williams had been denied, after two consecutive Congressional Cup wins in 2011 and 2012; even as he reigned as six-time Match Racing World Champion. And in 2016, his team finished last in Congressional Cup racing.

Today's racing had commenced in 11k of southerly breeze for the 1.5nm Fleet Race and a $2K purse was won by Steele; but not without a fight from Sam Gilmour (AUS).

Overall Results
1. Ian Williams (GBR)
2. Johnie Berntsson (SWE)
3. Taylor Canfield (ISV)
4. Phil Robertson (NZL)
5. Sam Gilmour (AUS)
6. Scott Dickson (USA)
7. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)
8. Chris Steele (NZL)
9. Eric Monin (SUI)
10. Harry Price (AUS)
11. Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
12. David Storrs (USA)

Palma Winners Crowned
A mix of established Rio Olympic campaigners and emerging young talent shared the top podium spots when the 48th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR ended Saturday with a brisk 25kts Mistral offshore wind which brought the 646 boat regatta to spectacular, challenging finale.

The strong wind annulled any final racing for the 49er class, cancelling what would have been an intriguing title tussle between the young British duo James Peters and Fynn Sterritt, Spain's Rio representatives Diego Botin and Iago Lopez and the new British pairing of Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell. But with no racing possible it is the first big regatta win in the 49er for Peters and Sterritt who had something of a nervous day, sitting one point clear of their Spanish rivals. Palma has traditionally been the least favourite regatta for the young pair, struggling here at times in the past, but it is now a favourite.

GBR took gold and silver in the 49er fleet and won two medals, silver and bronze in the Laser. Italy's Rio selection Francesco Marrai gave regatta leader Elliot Hanson the slip just before the start of the medal race and went on to win the class. Double world champion Nick Thompson won the medal race and took bronze.

Max Salminen of Sweden won the Finn class, emerging through Semi Final qualification to triumph in the new winner takes all five boat Final. Arguably the Finn class has been bravest in their desire to innovate and change. Turkey's Ailcan Kaynar was best in the Opening series and went directly to the Final but took third.

Top three, Olympic classes:

470 Men
1. Tetsuya Isozaki / Akira Takayanagi, JPN, 49
2. Carl-Fredrik Fock / Marcus Dackhammar, SWE, 50
3. Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Rodriguez, ESP, 51

470 Women
1. Afrodite Zegers / Anneloes Van Veen, NED, 35
2. Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar, POL, 38
3. Silvia Mas Depares / Patricia Cantero, ESP, 47

1. James Peters / Fynn Sterritt, GBR, 68
2. Diego Botin Le Chever / Iago Lopez Marra, ESP, 69
3. Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell, GBR, 81

49er FX
1. Jurczok / Anika Lorenz, GER, 47
2. Helene Naess / Marie Ronningen, NOR, 96
3. Kimberly Lim / Cecilia Low, SIN, 114

1. Mas Salminen, SWE, 44
2. Zsombor Berecz, HUN, 67
3. Alican Kaynar, TUR, 40

1. Francesco Marrai, ITA, 57
2. Elliot Hanson, GBR, 58
3. Nick Thompson, GBR, 61

Laser Radial
1. Dongshuang Zhang, CHN, 83
2. Viktorija Andrulyte, LTU, 92
3. Monika Mikkola, FIN, 98

1. Fernando Echavarri Erasun / Tara Pacheco Van Rijnsoever, ESP, 52
2. John Gimson / Anna Burnet, GBR, 68.45
3. Lin Cenholt / Christian Peter Lubeck, DEN, 81

RS:X Men
1. Pawel Tarnowski, POL, 93
2. Ivan Pastor Lafuente, ESP, 44
3. Taehoon Lee, KOR, 114

RS:X Women
1. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, POL, 24
2. Manjia Zheng, CHN, 60
3. Stefania Elfutina, RUS, 41

Full results

Seahorse April 2017
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

(Noteworthy) trickledown
While as a sport sailing is not sinking beneath the waves under the weight of technological or indeed other broader benefits being spun off from the most specialised America's Cup that has ever taken place, there is one company whose enthusiasm first for delivering innovative - and reliable - AC technology and then developing it for mainstream consumption remains undimmed

Market disrupter?
There's a (slippery) new kid on the block in the 2017 TP52 Super Series... Rob Weiland

The scary time
Now the mystery begins... Ken Read

Foiled again - Part I
Dan Bernasconi and Michel Kermarec talk America's Cup foils and rules with James Boyd

Other classes other titles - Part II
Tim Jeffrey and Dan Ibsen look beyond those four Olympic gold medals at just a few of the other achievements of Paul Elvstrom

Special rates for Scuttlebutt Europe subscribers:
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2016 ORC European Class C Champion Re-Crowned
Athens, Greece: As a consequence of the disqualification of Vincenzo de Blasio's Scugnizza by an International Jury convened after receiving an allegation of gross misconduct, a new winner is declared for Class C in the 2016 ORC European Championship regatta organized by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki and the Offshore Racing Congress.

The Jury decision was that Scugnizza was in breach of rule 69.1(a) and thus disqualified from all races of the championship regatta held in Porto Carras, Greece over 3-10 July 2016.

Therefore Aivar Tuulberg's Arcona 34 Katariina II from Estonia has been elevated from runner-up to being the new 2016 ORC Class C European champion. Another Estonian entry, Ott Kikkas's Italia 9.98 Sugar is the new Silver medalist and Baxevanis Athanasios's X-35 OD Baximus from Greece is the new Bronze medalist.

"This decision was difficult and long in coming, as it involved complex issues related to sailing trim, yet we applaud the Jury for upholding the integrity and principles of both our rules and the rules of the sport," said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC.

For final results and more information about the 2016 ORC European Championship, visit

Melges 32 World League Event In Porto Venere
Porto Venere, Italy" A full round of congratulations are in order for 2017 Melges 32 World League Porto Venere Champion Matteo Balestrero and his team aboard Giogi which included tactician Paolo Cian and crew members Andrea Casale, Andrea Felci, Elio Borio, Cristiano Giannetti, Alessandro Siviero and Leone Taddei.

Additional congratulations go out to the very first Melges 32 World League Porto Venere Corinthian Champion Kilian Holzapfel from Germany aboard Homanit Junior. Kilian was accompanied by tactician Lukas Feuerherdt and crew members Alber Johannes Buitenhuis, Niek De Boer, Jan Kowalski, Kevin Reisenauer, Jolbert Van Djik and Jan Jasper Wagner.

The Corinthian podium was completed with Martin Reintjes on Caipirinha in second, followed by third place finisher Francesco Graziani on Vitamina.

The next Melges 32 World League event takes place May 5-7 nestled in the beautiful tuscan region, hosted by Marina di Scarlino.

Top five final results - after three races
1. Matteo Balestrero/Paolo Cian, Giogi; 2-7-1 = 10
2. Andrea Lacorte/Gabriele Benussi, Vitaminia Amerikana; 6-1-8 = 15
3. Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio/Branko Brcin, G-SPOT; 8-4-3 = 15
4. Edoardo Pavesio/Manuel Weiller Vidal, FRA MARTINA; 1-13-5 = 19
5. Claudia Rossi/Matteo Ivaldi, Pippa; 3-16/UFD-2 = 21

Full Results on

Explanation Of America's Cup Rules And Process For Rule Changes
There has been some recent uninformed comment and news reports concerning the America's Cup Rules and the reasons America's Cup teams voted to change various rules. In particular, there seems to be confusion about the new allowances for daggerboards and which teams have subsequently benefited from these changes.

To change any rule of the Protocol requires both the Defender and a majority of Challengers to vote in favor of the proposed change. So despite various media reports to the contrary, no single team, person or entity can change a rule. Here is the relevant clause in the America's Cup Protocol: (Article 20.1 "...this Protocol may only be amended with the agreement of GGYC and the Challenger Committee")

Similarly to change a Class Rule relating to the new America's Cup Class, requires a unanimous vote of all teams.

The foils that lift the boats out of the water are a critical design differentiator between the teams. Much of the design and engineering effort for this America's Cup has gone into this area as it has such a big impact on performance.

Teams are only permitted to build four daggerboards for their new America's Cup Class boats – in other words just two sets of foils... the teams discussed making a Protocol amendment beginning in June 2016 and agreed on November 17 to allow up to two identical (spare) boards to be built although these may only be used if the race boards were damaged unintentionally.

Full report:

Italian J/70 Sailing League Launched
Trieste, Italy: This past weekend, the Legavela Servizi (LVS), the organisation that is managing the Italian J/70 Sailing League, proudly christened their fleet of ten J/70s for their upcoming season in Trieste, Italy. The LVS is managed by Alessandro Rinaldi, and their organization is expecting to have an enormous impact on Italian sailing, especially for club sailing teams and youth sailing teams throughout the country.

The first event will be an introductory regatta called the "Adriatic Cup", hosted by YC Trieste, that will take place from the 7th to 9th of April. The goal is to make this event yet another "classic" event on the J/70 class calendar in the Mediterranean region, like the J/70 EuroCup has become for Fraglia Vela Riva on Lago di Garda.

40th Anniversary San Fernando Race
Organised by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the 2017 edition of this biennial race will feature 16 sailing yachts sailing across four divisions, IRC Racer 0, 1, IRC Cruising and HKPN.

The largest boat in the fleet, Seng Huang Lee's 100ft Super Maxi Scallywag will be looking to break the monohull race record of 49h 55m 12s set in 2001 by 70' ULDB Sled, FfreeFire. Chan will be defending his record on his latest TP52 FreeFire, this will be the 8th race for Hong Kong based owner Sam Chan succession of FreeFire's. Joining Scallywag and FreeFire in IRC Racer 0 is Ernesto Echauz's TP52 from the Philippines Standard Insurance Centennial.

IRC Racer 1 features a fleet of 7 boats Hong Kong rivals Ambush and Mandrake III, with Joachim Isler and Drew Taylor on board their McConaghy-built, Mills 41 and the Nick Burns / Fred Kinmonth owned Sydney GTS43 will push their boats to see who pulls out ahead. Joining this fleet is Singapore's Jonathan Mahony's HYD 42 Zanzibar.

In IRC Cruising, first time entry Swan 55 Emocean2 will be raced double handed by owner Christopher Allan and experienced offshore crew Olivier Decamps. Also in IRC Cruising San Fernando Race Committee Chairman's Peter Churchouse's Warwick Custom Moonblue 2, Anthony Day's XC50 Explorer another first time San Fernando skipper Michael Ashbrook on board his Jeanneau 479 Sitka.

The warning signal for the 2017 San Fernando Race will sound at 1310hrs on Wednesday 12 April, against the backdrop of RHKYC's Kellett Island Clubhouse in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.

The Maxi Edmond De Rothschild Is Unveiled
On Thursday 30 March, the Gitana Team invited the press to the Palais de Tokyo museum in Paris to mark the official launch of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a 'giant' measuring 32 metres long and 23 metres wide, which is undergoing her final few months in the yard after a build process spanning over a year and a half.

The launch of this new Gitana craft is scheduled for this July. We get the low-down on the general concept, highlighting the forms and the architectural choices, with a focus on the special features of the platform, not to the mention the announcement about the sports programme, as well as the discovery of the livery... Sebastien Josse and his team were careful not to dodge any questions, aside from those relating to the appendages; a highly strategic point given the team's clear aim of building and developing a flying offshore maxi-trimaran.

Designed by naval architect Guillaume Verdier and his team in collaboration with the Gitana design office, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is paving the way forward for a new generation of large offshore multihulls. Indeed, it will be part Archimedean boat (submerged hull), part flying craft.

The boat features purposeful planing hulls beneath the waterline that are both aggressive and innovative and a far cry from those used on the current fleet of oceanic multihulls. She will be equipped with the very latest architectural and technical advances in terms of appendages, with T-foil rudders and L-shaped foils

Start of construction: October 2015
Launch: July 2017
20-month build
+ 170,000 man-hours, including 35,000 hours of studies
+ /- 40 people on average over 20 months
LOA: 32m
Beam: 23m
Weight (displacement): 15.5 tonnes
Air draught: 37m
Downwind sail area: 650m2
Upwind sail area: 450m2
Number: 6
Type: T-foil float rudders (2), L-shaped foils (2), daggerboard on the central hull (1), T-foil rudder on central hull (1)

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 Steve Pyatt:

With regard to to the late, great, Glynn Charles, he renamed his Soling mid-Olympic trials when caught out by a dodgy jury decision. Next morning, beautifully drawn on the transom was "Kangaroo Caught!!"

* From Jock Wishart:

When I was a young man I became the custodian of an OK dinghy previously owned by Robin Kemp called "Hoof Hearted"

Beat that Burnie!!!

* From John Walker:

In the early days just after the commissioning of Brighton Marina, there was a powerboat resident there, in an understated livery at the pink end of the red spectrum, called 'Mons Veneris'.

* From David Blacklaws:

Many years ago there was an Oyster 41 named BRIGHTEYES
the tender to which was called BLEARYEYES tender to BRIGHTEYES
which might fit the criteria for yacht names.

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The Last Word
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