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

Volvo Race Boat #4 Is Now Complete
Here's a first glimpse at the boat that Charlie Enright, Mark Towill and crew will race around the planet in during 2017-18!

Vestas announced they will be returning to the race for a second consecutive edition in partnership with 11th Hour Racing.

The team will be led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill who had their irst taste of the Volvo Ocean Race back in 2014-15.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing has two core aims: to do well on the water and promote a sustainable message across the world.

Rebellious New-Build Take On Experienced Warhorse
We're excited to announce that Vitters' very latest all-carbon launch, the 34m Ribelle, will be making tracks for the SYC finish line this year. This budding racer is the second Vitters built superyacht which hails from the Malcolm McKeon drawing board. Details about the yacht are still shrouded in mystery, but if we are to go by her racy looks and telltale name (Ribelle is Italian for rebellious / untamable) she's set to make a splash! Ribelle is in the process of having her mast stepped and is scheduled to commence sea trials over the next few weeks.

Pitting against Ribelle (and other freshly launched creations) will be a number of 'senior' competitors; yachts that were already flying over finish lines while newer entrants were still only a twinkle in an owner's eye. A good case in point is the 45m award-winning record-breaker Mari Cha III. This sleek super maxi, built in 1997, beat the Transatlantic Record in 1998 and the Sydney to Hobart in 1999, hitting speeds in excess of 30 knots. Used to being on the race course, and the podium, this 'battleaxe' is a competitor to watch out for, make no mistake.

The Superyacht Club Palma is 21-24 June.

View From The Top
Seahorse An interview with Hendrik Brandis, ClubSwan 50 Earlybird, reflecting on the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2017

Early Days
I sailed up to the age of 20, including extensive cruising on-board my family's boat. My first Swan was a 441 (Ron Holland design) followed by Swan 45 Earlybird, and most recently a ClubSwan 50.

After many successes in the Swan 45, I became interested in fast, planing boats. I purchased a Soto 40 and sailed in South America and the Med but then the class collapsed in Europe so I sold the boat and was looking for something new, ideally a combination of the Soto 40 and Swan 45. At the end of the day I find the concept of the ClubSwan 50 to be magic.

The Boat
In the very first presentations two years ago at the Copa del Rey, I wasn't sure if it would sufficiently racing oriented... I also had to get used to the reverse bow and I asked for a lighter displacement, deeper keel, carbon fin and a few other things that have since been changed. For example, my opinion always was that she needed to be more a racer than a cruiser: I want the chance to beat the TP52s. I said that if you build an 8 tonne boat I'll buy it: we are now between 8.1 - 8.2 tonnes with the heavy bulb!

Full interview in the April issue of Seahorse:

Eleventh Edition Of The Italian Grand Prix Mini 6:50 Coppa Andrea Alberti
It kicks off Saturday, April 8, 2017 from the docks of the Italian Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa.

There are 18 boats entered - from Italy, Croatia, France, England. and divided into Series category and Proto.

For the 2017 edition of the Grand Prix of Italy Mini 6.50 - Cup "Andrea Alberti" the Race Committee has appointed a very technical course, 501 miles long, which will take participants to face the most varied conditions. After the departure from Genoa, the fleet will reach the Isle of Gallinara and will sail the Straits of Bonifacio and the Isle of Giannutri to return to Genoa.

There are many complexities that the two crew members will face, the crossing of the Gulf of Genoa, the long way down the west coast of Corsica, the passage of the Straits of Bonifacio, the crossing of the Tyrrhenian Sea and finally the climb up to Genoa the archipelago of the Tuscan Islands.

The weather at this time of year is often unpredictable with sudden changes.

The Foiling Opti!
The Foiling Opti was figured out by Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg. Selden provided the blocks and are happy to be a part of this hilarious happening taking Optimist sailing to a whole new level. Axel Rahm sailed and the Selden Tech Department shot the video.

'Flying Squid' On Mike Golding's Menu
Click on image to enlarge.

Mike Golding Flying Squid weren't actually included on the Royal Southern's Fitting Out Supper menu on Saturday night, but they played an amusing role in Mike Golding's after dinner presentation..

Those guests fortunate enough to have booked their tickets in good time for the sell-out Supper hosted by the Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams, were treated to an evening commencing with a Joseph Perrier Champagne reception, fine wines, a superb dinner, special awards for special people and the stuff of legends in the form of yachtsman, Mike Golding OBE.

The fact that it was April 1st wasn't overlooked by Golding in a fabulously inspirational and insightful presentation about his favourite offshore solo race, the Vendee Globe, which included a photograph of him holding a 'flying squid'. Not just any old squid, and not a flying fish, but a flying squid. He informed the rapt audience that they came at him in droves, squirting indelible ink all over his pristine white sails. 'It just wouldn't come out', he chuckled. Brilliant.

The Frank Heenan Award goes to Helena Lucas MBE
The Frank Heenan Award for outstanding contribution to short-handed and/or disabled sailing was bestowed upon one of the Club's Honorary Members, Helena Lucas MBE, whose incredible talent and determined spirit has taken her from 470 sailing to Paralympic Gold in the 2.4mR.

Most recently, Helena won bronze in the 2.4mR class at the Rio 2016 Paralympics making her the most successful British sailing Paralympian. The third place finish also marked the second successive time Lucas has medalled at the Paralympic Games, after her gold medal at the London 2012 Games four years ago. As she is away skiing her proud parents, Val and Geoff Lucas were present and honoured to pick up this award on Helena's behalf.

Mike Golding OBE was presented with Honorary Membership of the Royal Southern Yacht Club by Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams.

In her vote of thanks, Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams emphasised Mike's string of achievements, awards and accolades and asked Mike and his wife Andrea to accept Honorary Membership of the Royal Southern in recognition. Mike graciously accepted and was presented with the Club's burgee.

Four Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust Yachts To Enter Round The Island Race
Since 2005, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has been bringing young people in recovery from cancer to take part in the Round the Island Race .

This year, the charity will be entering four yachts, providing 28 young people with the opportunity to to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment.

The annual one-day annual yachting extravaganza sees upwards of 1,500 yachts and 12,000 sailors race around the Isle of Wight.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has been the race's official charity since 2007, and so far more £266,000 has been raised.

The 2017 race date is Saturday, 1 July with a first start of 05.30.

Race organisers are reporting that entries are coming in steadily and are already at over 600 which is on par with previous years when the race has been held a little later in the Summer, usually owing to tidal conditions.

Entries for the 2017 Round the Island Race close at midnight on 17 June.

Top Of The Gulf Regatta Set To Welcome 3,000th Entry
Bangkok, Thailand - More than 250 boats and 700 sailors and friends representing 25 nationalities, will congregate in Pattaya from 4 - 8 May, 2017 to take part in what has become the largest multi-class regatta of its kind in Asia - the Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina. Supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, Pattaya City, Royal Varuna Yacht Club and the Royal Thai Navy, Top of the Gulf Regatta is set to welcome it's 3,000th entrant this year and is the penultimate event in the 2016/17 AsianYachting Grand Prix championship.

Up to 12 classes are planned for the 2017 Top of the Gulf Regatta with participants from six years to 70+ years competing and sailors from novice to professional, with World Champions and past and future Olympians also taking part. Joining the international crews are the Thai National SEA Games Team who will be competing against other national teams in their final international event prior to the SEA Games in August, in Kuala Lumpur.

The racing keelboat fleet will be split into three IRC Classes with some of the region's best 40-foot and TP52 sailors battling it out for the bragging rights, including Phuket King's Cup Regatta 2016 winner "THA72", the Sydney 40 "Emagine", winner of Phuket Raceweek 2016, as well as top sailors such as Ray Roberts (AUS), Steve McConaghy (AUS) and many more. In the Cruising Class experienced local crews, including the all Thai team on Le Vent (Jeanneau 42i), will be up against a number of international entries while Kirati Assakul returns to defend his title in the Ocean Multihulls Class. A strong showing of crews from Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore across the classes will make for some top class racing.

Coronation Cup
First raced in 1996, the Coronation Cup (incorporated in the Top of the Gulf Regatta) is competed for in one-design Bruce Farr 25ft Platu sports boats. Thailand is home to the largest Platu fleet in Asia and the Coronation Cup has become the largest one-design competition in the region. This year sees past champions return and upto 15 teams from as far a field as the UK, Japan and Australia, as well national champions from Russia and three teams from Singapore, taking part.

Dinghy Classes
A fleet of 70+ Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7's will compete in the Single-Handed Monohull Dinghy Class while in the Double-Handed Monohull Dinghy Class a strong line-up of 420s and 470s will take to the start line. As a warm-up event for the 2017 SEA Games national teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will also be competing.

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 Malcolm McKeag:

Picking up on Adrian Morgan's latest America's Cup eructation over AC hyperbole I suppose it is much, much too late to dispense with another bit of America's Cup BS / nonsense/ urban myth? And that is the complete and fictitious post-truth invention almost nightly being peddled here by our local Solent-side media (and, needless to say, Wikipedia) that the America's Cup was thought up by the Brits, specifically the Royal Yacht Squadron, was first sailed for in 1851 on a course around the Isle of Wight, was won by the schooner America and that Britain has been trying to win it back ever since.

Yet any fool knows, surely, that the trophy that the schooner America won in 1851 had no name whatsoever, was a casual keepsake prize (in keeping with the custom of the time) and was probably never given further thought by those who had 'lost' it. Or at least not until much, much later.

The trophy was first called 'America's Cup' in 1857 when those who had won it presented it to their yacht club, the New York institution of that name. The NYYC then defined the contest and the first actual race for America's Cup was held in 1871, on Long Island Sound - not 1851 around the Isle of Wight as more or less any pundit (or pub quiz question master) will endeavour to tell you. So the whole thing is an American concoction from start to finish. Well, it was until 1983 anyway. Malcolm McKeag

• From Magnus Wheatley:

I do love Adrian Morgan but I also heartily disagree with his assessment of the AC. As an ex-hyperbole writer in my youth, I actually think the Cup is short this cycle on proper heart-pumping, inspiring, youth-catching prose. It's also a bit light on the intrigue this time - more's the shame and I might have to dust off my quill, fire up the old website and jump on a plane to Bermuda unless it livens up a bit!

But the key thing is that I have the upmost respect for the current crop of AC sailors. The skill level is off the scale. The sheer physicality is on another level and the racing will be electric. As a youngster I loved the sight of Conner throwing in 47 tacks against Bertrand in 1983 up that final beat or that 126 tack marathon when Australia IV took on Kookaburra III but Adrian, that's the past, sailed in lead-mines. Watch it on You Tube, like I do. My 9 year old (Hurricane Harry) dials out when I show him and turns back to Minecraft.

It's over I'm afraid. Show him Big Ben, Beardy Iain, Bottler Barker, Mad Franky 'Mourinho' or Silly Jimmy completing a foil to foil tack, overlay the graphics chart with wind angles and boundaries and he's glued to it. Literally.

I'm sorry Adrian but the game changed for the better on Valentine's Day in 2010 (my wife remembers it well as I was fixated to a crappy internet connection, cursing wifi) with Larry's monster-cat and the AC got a whole lot more interesting. These guys are supreme athletes competing on the biggest stage for the greatest prize, bar none, in worldwide sport (beat that!). Picking a winner in 2017 is harder than picking the Masters champion but just for the record, my money/heart is on Ben Ainslie for the Cup and Rory Mcilroy for the green jacket. Come on lads!!

* From Brian May:

I named my lazer Breathalazer when I was 15 years old; I still have it and the most use it gets (certainly the last twenty years!) is at summer garden parties ashore to house ice, wine, champagne and beer in its cockpit which acts as a great eski thereby keeping drinks cold to start again the following Sunday lunch! The name Breathalazer is written haphazardly, of course!

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Lupa of London is a remarkable Reichel Pugh designed Carbon composite cruiser racer with an outstanding Baltic build pedigree and enviable trophy cupboard.

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Raceboats Only GREY POWER (Ex Fila) Imoca Open 60. 190000 EUR. Located in the United Kingdom.

Winner - Atlantic Alone 1998 (Giovanni Soldini)
Winner - Around Alone 1999 (Giovanni Soldini)
4th - Transat Anglaise 2000 (Giovanni Soldini)
6th - Transat Jacques Vabre 2001 (Bruno Laurent)
5th - Route du Rhum 2002 (Antoine Koch)
8th - Transat Jacques Vabre 2003 (Antoine Koch)
3rd - Velux Race Around Alone 2006 (Sir Robin Knox-Johnston)
3rd - Route du Rhum 2014 (Sir Robin Knox-Johnston)

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Raceboats Only 1993 Whitbread 60 - BLUEPRINT. 70000 GBP. Located South Coast, UK.

An excellent opportunity to buy into an established charter Whitbread 60. strong and well looked after, with regular maintenance and recent rigging and engine.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

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