In This Issue
Steve Benjamin wins Etchells Worlds | Williams Shuts Out Champion To Win Chicago Match Cup | Rainy start for the Mini Transat | What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine | SAP 5O5 World Championship | Alinghi's America's Cup Protocal Response | Land Rover BAR's response to the 36th America's Cup Protocol announcement | A ticket to the Endeavour Trophy | Vintage Gold Cup | 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

Steve Benjamin wins Etchells Worlds
Belvedere, CA (September 30, 2017) - The overall winner of the 9-race 2017 Etchells World Championship, hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club, is Steve Benjamin (USA) with crew of Dave Hughes, Ian Liberty, and Michael Menninger.

Benjamin, a past Olympic medalist, 505 World Champion, and 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, finally claimed the championship after numerous attempts. He also wins the Senior (helm over 60 years of age) and Masters (helm over 50 years of age) trophies.

With one race to be held on today, the overall standings were anything but certain. No single boat had dominated this regatta. The race committee, with PRO Jeff Zarwell at the helm, opted for two postponements to ensure a fair starting line given the wind shifts and current influence which had boats piling up on the favored right end of the line.

At the picture perfect start, the wind was building from 10 to 12 knots, and only one boat was hailed OCS.

The final race brought yet another first place finisher to the tape. Marty Kaye (HKG) with his crew of Charlie Cumberley and Marco Pocci were first to finish, putting them in tenth place overall. Dirk Kneulman (BER) finished second for an eighth overall, and Don Jesberg (USA) finished third for seventh overall.

Benjamin was clearly elated, "It feels great to win. It's been 37 years since I won my last world championship, and I have to give the credit to my crew. Mike Menninger is our main trimmer and calling tactics, Dave Hughes is on jib and spin trim, and Ian Liberty is our bow/pit guy."

Report from Scuttlebutt

1. Steve Benjamin / Dave Hughes / Ian Liberty / Michael Menninger, USA, 41 points
2. Graeme Taylor / James Mayo / Steve Jarvin, AUS, 55
3. Senet Bischoff / Ben Kinney / Clay Bischoff, USA, 59
4. Jim Cunningham / Chloe Holder / Jeff Madrigali / Mark Ivey, USA, 69
5/ Mark Thornburrow / Malcolm Page / Mike Huang / Wiley Rogers, HKG, 82
6. Martin Hill / Andrew Palfrey / David Chapman / Sasha Ryan, AUS, 87
7. Don Jesberg / Andrea Cabito / Bill Hardesty / Robbie Dean, USA, 88
8/ Dirk Kneulman / Grant Simmer / Mark Strube, BER, 96
9. Scott Kaufman / Austen Anderson / Jesse Kirkland / Lucas Calabrase, USA, 96
10. Marty Kaye / Charlie Cumberley / Marco Pocci, HKG, 105

Full results

Williams Shuts Out Champion To Win Chicago Match Cup
Chicago (IL), USA: In front of a cheering crowd at Navy Pier, Lake Michigan turned on all the drama for the final day of the Chicago Match Cup as Ian Williams, skipper of GAC Pindar, defeated current Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson in a tour de force shutout victory.

The win could be a preview of things to come in three weeks time in Shenzhen, China where the two skippers meet for the last time this season to decide who will win the overall 2017 Tour and the Match Racing World Championship.

Williams' roll started early in the Semi Final stage started early with the British skipper knocking off Australian Sam Gilmour 3-0 in a battle which saw penalties galore, but the scoreline told of a dominating victory.

Elsewhere in the Semi Finals, easily the most contestable matchup of the day occurred between current Match Racing World Champion Robertson and former Match Racing World Champion Taylor Canfield in an epic showdown, fought all the way to a fifth race in the first-to-three series.

After the conclusion of racing, Robertson reflected on the level of competition. "I think we are seeing the fleet take a big jump forward which is good - everyone is very competitive - even Evan Walker pushed us to the limit", said the China One Ningbo skipper. "Ian absolutely out sailed us today."

Semi Final
Pair 1
Ian Williams (Gbr), Gac Pindar 3-0 Sam Gilmour (Aus), Neptune Racing
Pair 2
Phil Robertson (Nzl), China One Ningbo 3-2 Taylor Canfield (Isv), Us One

Petit Final
Taylor Canfield (Isv), Us One 2-0 Sam Gilmour (Aus), Neptune Racing

Ian Williams (Gbr), Gac Pindar 3 - 0 Phil Robertson (Nzl), China One Ningbo

Detailed results

Rainy start for the Mini Transat
The weather played a sly hand Sunday morning in the Bassin des Chalutiers. The persistent drizzle and low cloud did little to cheer those Mini sailors feeling the pressure as they cast off. Ultimately though, there was a sense of relief all round that they were finally getting going with their race, a moment they've been working towards for the past two years. After a lively start for the first few hours, it promises to be a fine crossing.

For all that, the first few miles of this Mini-Transat La Boulangère will be far from restful. With upwind conditions and rough seas with a substantial south-westerly swell, the solo sailors' stomachs are likely to be finding things tough this evening.

Current predictions suggest that the upwind conditions should be succeeded by some boisterous downwind sailing as the fleet close on Cape Finisterre, according to Christian Dumard, the weather guru from Great Circle. Essentially, to the south of this headland, the Mini sailors can expect stronger winds in a corridor spanning around a hundred miles offshore of the coast of Galicia and Portugal. As such, the competitors will have to choose between distancing themselves from this corridor, by gaining headway to the west and potentially having to cover extra miles away from the direct route, or hunkering down in a bid to escape the worst of the wind up ahead. However, the solo sailors aren't there yet. Between now and the north-west tip of Spain, things could play out in a number of ways.

It was in a persistent drizzle that the fleet took today's start in a W to SW'ly wind of 10 to 15 knots. Almost perfect conditions then, save for the zero visibility in the squalls.

Three competitors are unfortunately having to make a stopover in La Rochelle to effect repairs. The first to announce his return was Fred Guerin (, whose hull was holed in a collision with Elodie Pedron (Manu Poki & les Biotecks), she too retracing her steps. Finally, Gwendal Pibot (Rossinante) announced that he would also be returning to the Port des Minimes after breaking his stay.

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

Seahorse Magazine

Something else!
Read the following few words carefully... The 2017 J Class World Championship! Ken Read found himself totally immersed

Engineered to win
Ivor Wilkins talks brave calls and no going back with Emirates Team New Zealand technical director Dan Bernasconi

Design - One issue at a time
Lots of smart people are now working to develop the 'usable' wing rig with numerous different approaches being explored. Randy Smyth, Tommy Gonzalez and Eric Hall

Boats to bridges
Old GRP yachts don't die, nor are they very good at just fading away. But things are changing...

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SAP 5O5 World Championship
Photo by Christophe Favreau, Click on image for photo gallery.

SAP 5O5 World Championship Runner-up status was on the line during the final day of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship. Having clinched the championship with a tremendous performance on Thursday, Mike Holt and Carl Smit were able to watch the last race from the comfort of a powerboat - no doubt thrilled they did not have determine the title on a light and fluky day.

After a few false starts, Race 8 got underway in a six knot zephyr that was just barely above the class-mandated minimum. Manueverability was difficult and principal race officer Sandy Grosvenor had to declare two general recalls because so many boats got trapped on course side.

When racing finally got underway, it was the American team of Matthew Barry and Thomas Barrows that figured things out the best - going wire-to-wire to win Race 8. Former teammates with the Yale intercollegiate sailing team, Barry and Barrows sailed a brilliant race in difficult conditions.

Andy Smith and Roger Gilbert of Great Britain entered the final day in second place, three points ahead of Americans Edward Conrads and Brian Haines. Those two teams posted double digit results, opening the door for defending champions Mike Martin and Adam Lowry to make a major move.

After struggling in light to moderate winds earlier in the week, Martin and Lowry found their form on Friday and finished third in Race 8. That allowed the St. Francis Yacht Club members to discard results of 25th and 21st, absorbed on Tuesday. That left Martin and Lowry with all single digit results and catapulted them into second place in the finals standings - 11 points behind Holt and Smit.

One of the great stories of the regatta was the superb performance of Nikola Birkner and Angela Stenger from Germany. Birkner steered and trimmed the main while Stenger hiked and trimmed the headsails as the Starnberg residents sailed Bikini Atoll to 10th place overall.

Birkner and Stenger became the first all-female team to win a race at the SAP 5O5 World Championship when they got the gun in Race 3. They closed out the regatta with another tremendous result, taking second in Race 8.

Final top five:
1. Mike Holt / Carl Smit, USA, 15 points
2. Mike Martin / Adam Lowry, USA, 26
3. Andy Smith / Roger Gilbert, GBR, 29
4. Edward Conrads / Brian Haines, USA, 33
5. Ian Pinnell / Dave Shelton, GBR, 36

Full results

Alinghi's America's Cup Protocal Response
Alinghi has a unique place in the history of the America's Cup and remains a very active and highly successful professional sailing team.

Due not least to the unique conditions for sailing at its home on Lake Geneva, the team has always been naturally drawn to light, fast - and, more recently - foiling boats. For us, this is also the future of our sport.

We recognise there are many within the sailing community hoping that Alinghi will return to the America's Cup. We also recognise that Alinghi has inspired a new generation of highly talented Swiss sailors, who have the ambition, experience and talent to be part of a team that competes against the best in the world.

Now that the Protocol has been announced we will study it carefully and weigh its pros and cons. In the coming months, once our current racing season is over, we will decide if the new Protocol corresponds or not with the DNA of our team and our ambitions for the future.

The only certainty we have today is that our passion for the sport is undimmed and that we will continue to enjoy and learn from any race in which we compete.

Land Rover BAR's response to the 36th America's Cup Protocol announcement
Land Rover BAR are ready to get down to the serious business of planning and preparing their AC36 challenge for 2021 in 75 foot monohulls.

The major change was the return to monohulls, and although the final rule for the new boat will not be published till 31st March next year there were strong hints that the boat will foil like the multihulls used in the last Cup. "We are comfortable with the transition, the key people in our sailing, design, engineering and support teams all have a great deal of relevant experience." said Team Principal, Ben Ainslie. "With the rule not coming out until March, we hope that it will be a collaborative approach to its development with all stakeholders included."

A nationality rule was also introduced for the sailing teams. "Land Rover BAR has always had a British identity and this rule won't affect us." continued Ainslie. "It's good to see that the World Series will continue in 2019, and we look forward to returning to America's Cup racing in the new class. The Cup has gained a lot of new fans and it was encouraging to hear both the Defender and Challenger of Record's commitment to delivering the same high standard of global, televisual racing to cement the interest in our sport.

"The America's Cup is the hardest trophy to win in world sport, and it's likely that we will be traveling half-way around the world to compete on the home waters of the world's most successful modern America's Cup team. Team New Zealand have been in all six of the openly contested Cups since 1995, and they have won three of them. We don't underestimate the challenge - it is immense - but we will call on the very best of British technology and innovation through our partners, and use that British fighting spirit to finally bring the Cup home to Britain.

"We will learn from our mistakes, and come back stronger. I want to thank the team's board of Investors led by Chairman Sir Charles Dunstone and title and main partners Land Rover, 11th Hour Racing, Aberdeen Standard Investments, CMC, BT and Coutts for their continued support which allows us to go forward with such confidence."

A ticket to the Endeavour Trophy
Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex: Ben Hutton-Penman from the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, sailing with Lucy Hewitson, has won the RS Feva national championship and with it a ticket to his home club's annual event - the Endeavour Trophy, writes Sue Pelling.

The Endeavour Trophy invitational championship, for national champions from the most popular dinghy racing classes, this year takes place on 13-15 October. With the 30 boat entry limit almost complete, the 2017 event to be contested once again in RS200s, is showing signs that it could be a record year.

Hutton-Penman (14) who made the transition from the Optimist class to the RS Feva less than a year ago, said that turning up at the Feva nationals in Torbay, with 111 boats on the startline, was a bit of a shock. "I qualified for the Feva National Squad during the winter and whilst Lucy and I felt we were up in the top half of the squad, we certainly were not winning everything. Going into the nationals we just hoped we would be top mixed pair."

With plenty of wind and wave practice through training on the River Crouch, Hutton-Penman said the big winds on the first day at Torbay helped. "We got two first and two second places and that was important because it gave us belief that we could do it. After that we just had to remain consistent and careful when it was light."

Although racing at the Endeavour will present the ultimate in competition terms, Hutton-Penman and Hewitson's experience from the last race of the Feva nationals puts them in good stead. "We had to beat Pierce [Harris] and Alfie [Cogger] by two places to win, it was actually down to the final beat of the final race."

Having both raced RS200s at the nationals last year, and given the fact that Lucy's parents are former RS200 national champions/Endeavour competitors, the pair are in a good position to perform well at the event.

Hutton-Penman is certainly under no illusion about how competitive the Endeavour will be. "I am most looking forward to being on the start line against the best sailors in the country. It will no doubt be very hard but I will look at it as a learning experience and will do my best as Lucy and I will be very light. Thankfully Lucy has done quite a lot of RS200 sailing with her dad, which will no doubt be a great help."

On local tips on sailing at Burnham-on-Crouch, Hutton-Penman concluded: "My advice is to worry more about the tide than a wind shift; tacking when you are headed and then ending up in the tide is never as fast as staying out of the tide."

The three-day event starts with a training day with top coach Steve Irish on the Friday, followed by an eight-race, six to count series over the following two days.

Current Endeavour Champions (2016 winners) Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis representing the Nacra 17.

Vintage Gold Cup
The Vintage Gold Cup is a celebration of the history of the Star Class which is over 106 years of age. It will be an annual event with more restored boats participating. Twelve vintage boats competed, all of them wooden and more than 50 years old and expertly restored. The event and the boats are the creation of Don Parfet and Jon Vader Molen. 10 years ago, Vader Molen created the P-Star. The P-Star was a fast design, and built with the highest technology and processes allowed in the class. At the 2012 Olympics, 15 of the 16 competitors used Vander Molen's P-Star. About 25 were built. There is a long history of Stars on Gull Lake and in both the Parfet and Vader Molen families.

On Saturday, two races were scheduled for the final day of racing at Gull Lake, Michigan. A beautiful, clear blue sky greeted us that morning but not much wind. In fact, the little bit of wind that did arrive on Gull Lake swung around wildly in direction, and never amounted to more than 5 knots. The Race Committee postponed the start at the scheduled staring time of 13:00. Nothing material ever developed so at 15:00, racing was cancelled for the day.

The results of the 5 races held on Thursday and Friday determined the standings in this first Vintage Gold Cup. Brian and I won the regatta, in Gem IX, the '64 Olympic winning boat of Sir Durward Knowles, ahead of Arthur Anosov and David Cesare and their boat Magic. Two time Olympic Gold Medalist, Mark Reynolds with Michael Brundage crewing, rounded out the top three. -- Paul Cayard

Complete results can be found at

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