In This Issue
RS:X Windsurfing World Championships | Chicago Match Cup | Knots V Splicing | Etchells Worlds | Gladwell on the shock Volvo Ocean Race news | Boats line up for GSW 2018 | Shipman 28s Surge Again as the 'Affordable Cruiser-Racer' | M32 North America Championship | Letters to the Editor | Featured Brokerage

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

RS:X Windsurfing World Championships
Enoshima, Japan: Finals day loomed dark, stormy and with the most wind seen all week at the RS:X World Championships which are being held in Enoshima, Japan - home of the 2020 Olympic sailing competition.

In both the Women's and Men's competition there was a little clarity at the start of the day as to whom would be taking medals away, the only thing that was to be decided was as to which color medal sailors would take home.

2017 has seen a year of experimentation with regards to final day format of racing - with the RS:X Class trying out a wide range of different formats over its events this year.

For this World Championships, the RS:X Class opted to go back to the more traditional "medal race" format where the top ten boards go into a final, double points showdown.

The results going into this medal race for both the men and the women had some clear leaders who were guaranteed a medal but the points were such that there could be some surprises in store for the competitors as well as some outside opportunities to make the podium.

So, with wind speeds gusting up to 20 knots from the north, the Race Committee took the option of setting a course with a reaching start rather than the more conventional upwind start.

This would mean that, if timed right, sailors could be hitting the start line at speeds in excess of 20 knots which would make for a thrilling dash to the first turning mark before turning downwind for the first of two laps.

Full report from World Sailing:

Final top five Men
1. Bing Ye, CHN, 51 points
2. Mateo Sanz Lanz, SUI, 53
3. Mengfan Gao, CHN, 68
4. Shahar Zubari, ISR, 69
5. Kieran Holmes Martin, GBR, 72

Final top five Women
1. Peina Chen, CHN, 44.7
2. Jiahui Wu, CHN, 50
3. Yunxiu Lu, CHN, 56
4. Zofia Noceti Klepacka, POL, 57
5. Manjia Zheng, CHN, 62

Final top five U21 Men
1. Angel Granda Roque, ESP, 123
2. Mestre Adrien, FRA, 157.6
3. Ofek Elimeleh, ISR, 183
4. Carlo Ciabatti, ITA, 190
5. Oel Pouliquen, FRA, 198

Final top five U21 Women
1. Stefania Eifutina, RUS, 74
2. Zianting Huang, CHN, 96
3. Berenice Mege, FRA, 119
4. Emma Wilson, GBR, 125
5. Mariam Sekhposyan, RUS, 126

Chicago Match Cup
Chicago, USA: The competitive lineup for the 2017 Chicago Match Cup did not waste any time carving up the Lake Michigan racecourse during fleet racing today, with few points separating nearly all the teams in each of the three groups - surely, all the skippers will sleep anxious for the final qualifying session races tomorrow.

The future venue of the 2018 M32 World Championship served up near-perfect conditions for the morning with sunny skies and 10-12 knots of breeze filling in off Navy Pier for the start of racing.

Group 1 began the day with a convincing race win by reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson only to then devolve into a bitterly contested fight with two sets of teams ending tied in points, one of which is staving off the dreaded sixth place sail-off.

Chris Steele made certain that Group 2 would continue the day with strong statements as the Kiwi skipper thrashed both the group, and second-ranked World Match Racing Tour skipper Ian Williams, with a dominant string of first and second place finishes.

As conditions lightened and the breeze made a massive shift to the northwest, a bit of local knowledge seemed like it might pay dividends as Group 3 took to the course bringing local hero, Taylor Canfield back to his home waters.

However, a sixth-place finish in the first race, followed by a third in the next, meant Canfield would need a little more help from the local wind gods.

Sure enough, help arrived. The wind began to build as Canfield went to work, hunting down Pieter-Jan Postma on the final upwind leg of race three to take his first win of the day. Two more bullets followed with the U.S. Virgin Island skipper digging himself out of the hole to finish four points ahead of Australian Sam Gilmour.

The Qualifying Session fleet racing continues tomorrow at 0900 CST (GMT -5).

Full results:

Knots V Splicing
Click on image to enlarge.

It is likely anyone who has ever used ropes has learned to tie knots - to create eyes, connect rope to objects or even just for decoration. There's a knot for every application and for many applications there is no better solution than a knot.

However, there are limitations and every time a rope is distorted, strength is lost. A bent rope means that some of the fibres on the outside of the curve will have to carry more load while fibres on the inside may take none of the load. In addition, parts of the rope in a knot may be compressed such that the fibres are unable to move to share the load.

The level of strength reduction can be substantial. In some cases, strength can be reduced by over 50 per cent. However, this will depend on many factors, including the type of knot, how the knot is tied, how neat it is, how the rope is loaded and the design of the rope amongst others. In contrast to these figures, a well spliced rope will typically retain 90 percent of its quoted strength. In fact, some ropes (typically HMPE products) are often quoted with spliced strength, as this is how the product is tested. If strength of termination is critical then a splice is always the preferred choice.

Marlow Ropes is the market leader in Leisure Marine rope and has over 200 years of experience in rope care and advice. This helpful infographic will explain more about the difference in strength between knots and splicing. Look out for Marlow's new Guide to Splicing which will launch this Autumn at the Southampton Boat Show (Stand J300), La Grand Pavois, La Rochelle and METS in Amsterdam.

Etchells Worlds
San Francisco, CA, USA: Day two racing of the 2017 Etchells World Championship began much as day one, with a two-hour postponement, although today the call was made to hold the racers on shore. When racing began at 2:20 pm, the wind had filled in at 16-17 knots from a typical San Francisco Bay westerly direction of 225 degrees.

We'll say it over and over - consistency is the name of the game in this fleet. No one understands this better that the top Corinthian team of Senet Bischoff (USA), Ben Kinney, and Clay Bischoff. After today's two races, they lead the entire fleet with 28 points.

The day one leader, Dirk Kneulman moved into third place after a deep finish in race four. Jim Cunningham and Steve Benjamin are hot on his heels with top ten finishes today.

The 2017 Etchells World Championship is scheduled from September 26 to 30 with 9 races planned. If seven or more races are sailed, there will be one throw out.

Full report:

Top ten:
1. Senet Bischoff, USA, 28 points
2. Mark Thornburrow, HKG, 33
3. Dirk Kneulman, BER, 38
4. Marvin Beckmann, USA, 30 5. Jim Cunningham, USA, 44
6. Steve Benjamin, USA, 46
7. Martin Hill, AUS, 51
8. Graeme Taylor, AUS, 51
9. Peter Duncan, USA, 54
10. Don Jesberg, USA, 56

Full results:

Gladwell on the shock Volvo Ocean Race news
Reading between the lines on the official statement, it would seem that the pace of change and capital requirements are too much for the backers of the race.

Had the race proceeded as planned it would have been necessary to build a new fleet of foiling 60ft monohulls with a parallel fleet of wing sailed foiling multihulls to be used in the In-Port racing. The plan with the move to the 60fter was to develop a boat which could enter other races for IMOCA60's. However, the DSS (dynamic stability system) foiling technology was used in the Vendee Globe race for the first time in the 2016/17 edition of the race. In the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre, six IMOCA60 yachts started with the DSS foils, and only one finished. That number increased to five out of six starters in the late Vendee Globe, and it would seem that the technology still has a way to go before it can be considered to be mainstream for a race such as the Volvo Ocean Race.

The last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race was the first with one design Volvo 65's built under strict control by the race organisers. That move solved several issues - being the design contest which resulted in unique designs being produced, coupled with a high drop-out rate with one leg only being completed unassisted by two of the six entries.

The move to one designs proved successful with the drop out rate being resolved (save for one entanglement with an Indian Ocean reef) and with the boats finishing within a few hours rather than spread over several days.

It seems from the concluding response in the self-posed questions and answers that consideration is being given to using the Volvo 65 fleet for a third edition of the 45,000nm race, after which it may be that the switch to the Super60 would be made.

It is not known if the Volvo Ocean Race decision will have any bearing on the recent decision to opt for a (foiling) monohull to be used in the 2021 America's Cup. French designer Guillaume Verdier is heavily involved in both projects.

A more conservative approach is expected if the next event is to proceed.

Boats line up for GSW 2018
The Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 29 Jan - 3 Feb 2018 is on track and forging ahead. Thankfully Grenada and the southern Caribbean were south of both hurricanes Irma and Maria but the devastation to the north is vast. Huge efforts have been made by local communities down here to send aid and relief to our northern neighbouring islands to help get them back on their feet.

Regatta Manager Karen Stiell says "What is important now is to show support for the Caribbean, most of the regattas in the circuit still intend to proceed, register now and come and join the fun starting with the Island Water World Grenada Sailing week". Richard Szyjan board member, keen racer and owner of Turbulence Ltd says "boats are already signing up in all classes including several new boats to the regatta; it's great to see many loyal participants returning as well as new faces for some fierce competition out on the water."

Sign up now, come enjoy the sunshine and the cool trades and 'Spice it up' in Grenada. To Register Now:

Sign up for our newsletter online, Email: Facebook: GrenadaSailingWeek, or Twitter @grenadasailweek

Shipman 28s Surge Again as the 'Affordable Cruiser-Racer'
The Shipman 28 is a classically-styled veteran of the Irish marine industry of the 1970s and 1980s, when she was built in considerable number in Limerick by Fastnet Marine writes W M Nixon.

But there's still plenty of life in these Olle Enderlein-designed glassfibre sloops of Swedish origin, and in Ireland Class Captain Brendan Finucane and Honorary Secretary Neil McSherry (he's from the National Yacht Club) are encouraging and co-ordinating a revival in community spirit among the owners, promoting the class as "the Affordable Cruiser-Racer".

The boats certainly come with an impressive pedigree, as over the years they've logged several Transatlantic crossings. On top of that, way back in 1975, Richard and Johnny Burrows of Malahide campaigned a Shipman 28 in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. It was an event of several long stages that combined to make up a total course of 2,000 miles, and the Malahide brothers won their class, a magnificent achievement.

The class revival has led to a renewal of interest in its origins. Neil McSherry has traced some noted qualified boatbuilders who worked in the Limerick factory, and they'll be guests at the Class's Annual Dinner in Dun Laoghaire this winter, ready and willing to answer questions from owners who want to know more about their much-loved boats.

WM Nixon's full article in Afloat:

M32 North America Championship
Chicago, USA: The M32 Catamaran showed its potential at the inaugural North America Championship with eleven teams ripping around Lake Michigan completing 14 races over the weekend with eight different race winners. The regatta served as the "test event" for the 2018 World Championship and Chicago delivered.

Determining the M32 North America Champion came down to the last race with REV skippered by Rick DeVos going into the final race with a two-point advantage. James Prendergast and his Grave Digger racing team nailed the start and led from the first mark, but the battle for the regatta winner was fought in the middle of the fleet with Convexity and REV trading positions over the race. While REV kept it close enough to maintain the lead at the first reach & leeward gate, Convexity managed to stick a covering tack on the upwind that put REV back in the fleet and ultimately resulted in a regatta win by one point.

Final Results
1. Convexity, Don Wilson (USA) - 59 points 2. REV, Rick DeVos (USA) - 60
3. The Magenta Project, Sally Barkow (USA) - 64
4. Bliksem, Pieter Taselaar (NED) - 71
5. Extreme2 Racing, Dan Cheresh (USA) - 74
6. XS Energy, Ryan DeVos (USA) - 74
7. Down Under Racing, Harry price (AUS) - 93
8. Grave Digger, James Prendergast (USA) - 96
9. Torrent, Harald Edegran (USA) - 102
10. Convergence, Jen Wilson (USA) - 107
11. Red Gear Racing, Charles Tomeo (USA) - 127

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 Rees Martin:

I can't help but compare the difference in attitude between America and New Zealand. The triumphant Emirates team (with trophy) are touring yacht clubs throughout New Zealand. Hundreds of sailors and non-sailors are turning up at the events the last one visit attracted over eight hundred visitors!

They are raising funds for the clubs; not the AC team.

One club who lost their clubhouse in the earthquakes has been able to start the rebuild. Now that's the spirit yachting needs!!

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The Last Word
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