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

Capsizing Part Of The Game Now, Says Spithill
Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, shrugged off his team capsizing at the weekend as another "learning experience".

Oracle's America's Cup Class catamaran wiped out during a training run in the Great Sound on Saturday.

There were no injuries to the crew while Oracle's AC50 suffered "minimal damage" in the mishap.

"Good lessons learnt," Spithill said. "Shame to go over, but it's part of the game now."

The mishap occurred off the shores of Lefroy House while the crew were practicing starts.

This was the first full wipeout for an AC50.

After the catamaran, 17, was righted, she was towed back to Oracle's base in Dockyard and hauled out of the water.

There was no apparent damage to the hulls, rudders or daggerboards. However, the boat's hard-wing mainsail did not go unscathed.

"The top of the wing has some flap damage," Spithill added. "The hull that was in the water had saltwater in it, so some of the electrical systems may need to be replaced. But our legendary shore team will have us back racing Monday." -- Colin Thompson, Talbot Wilson

Emirates Team New Zealand Flies Out To Bermuda
Emirates Team New Zealand is now official on its way to Bermuda for the 35th America's Cup. New Zealand Aotearoa, the team race boat, has been packed and loaded on the Emirates SkyCargo 747 departing from Auckland's International Airport today.

From the final day sailing on Auckland's Hauraki gulf the team has been working methodically breaking down the race boat, the wing sails, and stripping and servicing all of the systems in readiness to freight and subsequently refit onto the boat in Bermuda.

The operation has been months in the planning from modelling the contents and loading of the aircraft, to getting bespoke racking produced, to physically packing everything onto the Emirates SkyCargo 747 aeroplane.

"We have our ACC race boat, two wing sails, a chase boat, daggerboards, gym equipment, electrics, hydraulics and a huge amount of supplementary equipment which equates to around 42 tonnes of cargo," explained project manager Martin McElwee.

"All of a sudden we are on our way to Bermuda which is hugely exciting for everyone in the team, especially the three of us; Sean Regan, Chris Salthouse and myself that get to fly with the boat direct to Bermuda."

Upon arrival in Bermuda the boat will be reassembled at the Emirates Team New Zealand base in the heart of the America's Cup race village in the Royal Naval Dockyards.

Yacht Club De Monaco Sets Pace For The Summer Season
Yacht Club Monaco The Yacht Club de Monaco delighted sailing enthusiasts at the weekend with two regattas: six M32s competed in the Grand Opening first Act of their Mediterranean Series, while eight J/70 teams battled it out in a stage of their Grade 3 European Match Race Tour.

Local favourite Guido Miani slipped effortlessly into his role as leader from the start. The YCM member did not put a foot wrong throughout the three days to take victory after eight races. Nine points adrift of the Monegasques, the Vikings team took 2nd but not without difficulty, constantly threatened by the Italians on Vitamine Veloce, who completed the podium.

With the America's Cup on this year, the YCM renewed ties to its match race past with this stage of the J/70 European Match Race Tour with 24 races completed. The event was held aboard J/70s made available by members of the YCM which has 17 boats in the J/70 Monaco Class Association presided by Michel Boussard.

Six wins were enough to clinch victory for Simon Bertheau, French Youth Match Race Vice-Champion, with Monaco team Philippe Buchard-François Brenac (two-time champion on the French circuit) taking 2nd after some tight tactical battles. The other Monaco team was Pierrik Devic and Max Bulley who came 6th head of Rocco Attili. The four-time Austrian Match Race winner, Max Trippolt, ranked 25th in the World Sailing list, failed to bounce back after a loss of form mid-regatta and finished 5th.

Again, there is no let up at the Yacht Club de Monaco which in less than a month (6-13 May) hosts the Olympic class dinghy 470 European Championship, with 150 boats from 70 nations expected.

Les Voiles De St. Barth
The French West Indies island of St. Barth is a little slice of paradise, attracting jetsetters and cultured travelers from around the globe with its exclusive accommodations, local gastronomy, breathtaking beaches and swinging nightlife, and every spring this charming Caribbean hideaway becomes even more special when the world's top sailors and best race boats gather for Les Voiles de St. Barth. A success since its inception, the regatta is lauded for pulling out all the stops for competitors, complementing a week of serious on-the-water racing with a flurry of shore-side entertainment. Its eighth edition kicks off this week, April 10-15.

For Les Voiles de St. Barth every year, the Quai General de Gaulle is transformed into a 15,000 square-foot race village where competitors enjoy nightly concerts and shows. It is also home to a live art exhibition that features local talent throughout the week.

All the praise from competitors who have raced in Les Voiles de St. Barth has brought about a new crop of boats and teams to the event this year, including Vincent Garcia who is traveling the distance from Spain to race his Swan 80 Plis Play.

Plis Play's Captain Jan Santana explained that the yacht has been campaigned around Europe and this year Garcia wanted to cross the Atlantic to test out the competition in the Caribbean. "A few of our crew have previously raced in Les Voiles and they explained to Vincent that it is a great regatta that is as well organized on the water as on shore, on a pretty island," said Santana. "We have 20 people on the boat: ten professionals and ten guests of the owner. The entire crew is Spanish, and among the professionals, all are highly experienced and most have participated in international circuits aboard TP52s, Maxis and superyachts. Our goal this week is to sail well without making many mistakes and enjoy everything the race and the island have to offer. If we win, it would be fantastic."

The event kicks off Monday, April 10 and wraps up Saturday, April 15, with racing scheduled for Tuesday,Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

* Lloyd Thornburg has come back to Les Voiles de Saint Barth for the first time with a monohull for 2017. This year he has chosen to compete on a 40ft Shaun Carkeek design. TGhis will be the second event for him on this boat, he previously raced it from St Petersburg in Florida to Havana Cuba, winning the historic race.

On board he has a couple of his Phaedo crew (Miles Seddon, Henry Bomby and Brian Sharp), but also some new faces for the team. There is quite a few of the Team GBR Olympic family, with the medalists, Nick Rogers, Stuart Bithell and Luke Patience, alongside Finn sailor Mark Andrews

The rest of the crew are Jesse Fielding and Martin Christensen.

M32 Mediterranean Series Monaco
Sunday brings no news in Monaco, where a forecasted light breeze actually never filled in, so that the six M32 involved in the first event of the M32 Mediterranean Series didn't manage to conclude any race.

The balance of the first event, then, sees no changes in the ranking after the results of yesterday, formally delivering the victory to Team Neverland, helmed by Guido Miani, boat of the day in both the first and second day of racing, with a total of 19 points.

With 11 points of margin behind the leader, Vikings and Vitamina Veloce are tied in second position. Section 16 closes in fourth, with 30 points, just 1 point ahead of Riccardo Simoneschi's Italia Sailing Team. Candidate Sailing team closes the ranking with 31 points.

The season is going to continue with four more events, crossing all the Mediterranean up to Genova, for the "Salone Nautico" and Trieste, in concomitance with the Barcolana, as last event of the series.

Final ranking, after eight races:
1. Team Neverland, 19
2. Vikings, 29
3. Vitamina Veloce, 28
4. Section 16, 30
5. Italia Sailing Team, 31
6. Candidate Sailing Team, 34

Foiling In Offshore Sailing, The Latest In Mini Classe Racing
Click on image to enlarge.

Foiling Mini 2016 might well have been the year of the foil in offshore sailing writes solo sailor Thomas Dolan. Here the sole Irish 'Mini Classe' competitor assesses some of the latest developments from his base in France and asks will a 'foiler' win the Mini-Transat this year?

Armel Le Cleach decimated the record of the Transat Bakerly and then the Vendee Globe and silenced once and for all the argument about foils in the Open 60 Classe. Even though it will be interesting to know exactly how much of the time the leaders actually used them in the deep south, it is certain that they were a key factor in the descent of the Atlantic Ocean which allowed the lead group to propel themselves into a weather system ahead of the rest never to be caught.

But some may forget or simply not know, that when Banque Populaire first began to research and develop it's foils, they turned to the laboratories of offshore sailing. Where many have turned for almost 40 years, where we have perfected canting keels, elongating keels, swinging masts and swinging rudders in the Mini Transat 650.

In 2015 the Classe Mini formally allowed appendices on prototype boats to extend outside the 3m box rule once the starting gun had fired. The aim was to ensure that there would be a number of foiling mini's on the start line this year. There has been a lot of progress made, and numerous skippers planned or will be planning something either for this edition or the next. Here's a little run down of whats been going on in an effort to try and answer the big question of will a foiler win the mini transat in 2017!

Annapolis To Host SAP 5O5 World Championship
SAP and the International 5O5 Class are proud to announce their partnership for the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship.

Severn Sailing Association (SSA) and Eastport Yacht Club (EYC) will jointly host the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship from September 20-29 in Annapolis, Maryland USA. More than 100 boats representing a dozen nations are expected to compete in the 62nd running of one of sailing's premier events. SSA and EYC have partnered for the previous two seasons, running major 5O5 events in preparation for 2017.

The SAP 5O5 World Championships enter its ninth year with a continued commitment to providing the highest level of innovative sailing solutions that enhance the regatta experience for sailors, fans, organizers, and media.

American teams have won the last three consecutive world titles, owing some of this success to the heavy air prowess developed by teams on the West Coast. While the early fall season in Annapolis can provide strong cold fronts that bring high winds, this championship is expected to see a range of conditions that reward versatility and careful risk management.

RORC To Assess D2D Race For Addition To Points System
The National Yacht Club (NYC) has sought Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) recognition for its biennial Dún Laoghaire to Dingle Race, a move that promoters say could underpin the current revival in Irish Sea Offshore racing.

The June 14th race - first hosted by the NYC and County Kerry's Dingle Sailing Club in 1993 - is working closely with Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) and the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) to develop the "mini-offshore" into an international race.

Incoming race chairman Adam Winkelmann is adding extra spice by adding a new title sponsor and recruiting a French Mini-Transat fleet.

RORC will assess this Volvo-sponsored edition of the race with a view to adding the race to its points series in 2019 but there are already positive signs coming from London Headquarters. -- David O'Brien

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 Jock Wishart:

Heartily agree with Adrian.

I have a long memory and remember the heady days of 1987 and 2007 Americas Cup when races in monohulls were won and lost sometimes by feet.

The rule in each case was refined to the final degree so there were no big surprises. Complex manoeuvres/spis ripping/poles breaking. All contained on one screen and great television with big audiences.

Someone has lost the plot.

No one can deny the speed and the technical advance of foiling multihull but good Television??? Not SURE.

2 people sail the boat now so no longer really a team sport.If the Kiwis prove right then next time round we will be recruiting from cycling GB.

Helpful that Sparky is there now.

But then Americas Cup has never really been about sport. For that matter why does Volvo want to change their formula. After 20 years they have finally got it right. One design boats racing round the world encouraging entries.

Do they really need a new Design?

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The Last Word
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