In This Issue
Takahashi Takes Out 2018 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup | Etchells NSW Championship - the path to the Worlds | Yacht Club de Monaco to host first big race qualifier for Vendee Globe | Match racing south | Easter Challenge Entries now open | Howth newcomer is feline quite American | South African sailors celebrated at annual awards | 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

Takahashi Takes Out 2018 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup
Leonard Takahashi and his RNZYS Performance Programme Pacific Racing Team crew of Josh Wijohn, Taylor Balogh, Ibuki Koizumi and George Lee Rush have taken out the 2018 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Skippers were greeted by another rainy Auckland day this morning, which was fitting seeing as the majority of the regatta was sailed in wet weather, but this didn't stop our four keen semi-finalists from taking to the water.

James Wilson from the RNZYS Youth Training Programme was the top seed heading into the finals so it was his choice on who he would sail against in the Semi-Finals. Wilson selected Finn Tapper from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which left Takahashi taking on Jordan Stevenson (RNZYS YTP) in the other semi-final.

This is another big win for Takahashi who is on a rich vein of form at the minute after winning his last four match racing regattas, including the Youth Nationals in Wellington, the Musto and Harken Youth Internationals in Sydney, and can now add the Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup to his collection of titles. Asked whether the team can make it five in a row in the capital, Takahashi was coy not to get too excited "yeah hopefully, I mean that's not the end goal but we're all here to improve and we just want to go out there and have good racing."

Overall placings
1. JPN Leo Takahashi, Joshua Wijohn, Ibuki Koizumi, Taylor Balogh, George Rush - RNZYS
2. NZL James Wilson, Marco Hull, Max South, Harry Milne - RNZYS
3. AUS Finn Tapper, Tom Grimes, Jess Grimes, Eric Sparkes, India Howard - CYCA
4. NZL Jordan Stevenson, Bradley McLaughlin, James Jennings, Niall Malone - RNZYS
5. NZL Nick Egnot-Johnson, Sam Barnett, Zak Merton, Logan McAllister - RNZYS
6. USA Frankie Dair, Mitch Jackson, Jake Erson, Celia Willison, Maeve White - KKCC
7. AUS James Farquharson, Niall Powers, Ruby Scholten, Harley Spreadbury Key, Cam Whiteside - RPAYC
8. AUS Clare Costanzo, Hannah Lanz, Jess Angus, Juliet Costanzo, Emma Rankin - RPAYC
9. AUS John Lynch, Pierre Harrison, Jed Cruiskshank, Finn Niemier, Ash Edwards - DSC
10. FRA Tom Picot, Owen Nicaise, Valentin Alakiletoa, Robin Chantrelle, Eliott Quintin - CNC
11. USA Trent Turigliatto, Sidney Gathrid, Kyle Collins, Cameron Feves, Hunter Gardyne - LBYC
12. AUS Charlotte Griffin, Madi Kornman, Charlotte Alexander, Charlotte Porter, Marlena Berzins - RSYS
13. NZL Lachlan Grimwade, Angus Adamson, Marina Comesky, Cameron Wright, Thomas Durkin - RPNYC
14. AUS Nicholas Rozenauers, Henry Rochford, Angus Olding, Mitchell Evans, Sam Cornfoot - RSYS
15. NZL Alastair Gifford, Iolo Adams, Toby Gregory, George Gautrey - QCYC

Etchells NSW Championship - the path to the Worlds
The Australian Etchells fleet is edging towards a world championship in Brisbane and the NSW title regatta on Sydney Harbour this weekend is an important opportunity for those crews with a worlds challenge brewing to test their mettle against some of the class' best.

Four Queensland entries plus one each from Victoria and Western Australia are making the journey to join the majority NSW contingent in the three-day regatta, February 16-18, hosted by the Sydney Etchells fleet out of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

A strong fleet of 41 Etchells will commence their NSW title contest on Friday, among them many former national champions and a number of world-beaters, in the popular one design class that's been around since the 1960s and according to Queenslander Matt Chew "has always been cool".

For Gen XY skipper Chew and his crew Ashley Deeks, Ben Vercoe and Brian Donovan, the NSW title marks the start of their run towards a home world championship at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in October.

Winner of the RSYS Milson's Silver Goblets last November, Jeanne-Claude Strong's Yandoo XX, is just one of the notable entries. Other ranked sailors include past world champions Iain Murray (Northern Havoc), Peter Merrington (Top 40) and Olympic gold medallist Tom King skippering the 2012 Etchells Worlds victor Iron Lotus he co-owns with David Edwards and Ivan Wheen.

An eight-race schedule is planned over three days and each afternoon the 'Maillot Jaune', or in this case a yellow North Sails flag, will be awarded to the 'boat of the day' with the best set of scores.

The weekend forecast indicates strongest winds on Friday - up to 19kts of SSE breeze, SE to 8kts on Saturday and even lighter sou'easters on Sunday.

On Friday 16 February the first warning signal is at 1230hrs, on Saturday the program commences at 1330hrs and on Sunday it reverts back to first warning at 1230hrs with the presentation ceremony conducted at the host club immediately after racing.

Yacht Club de Monaco to host first big race qualifier for Vendee Globe
Yacht Club Monaco Now established as a one-design winter base with the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series which attracts some 100 international teams, the Yacht Club de Monaco continues to ramp up its sailing policy.

Taking full advantage of a Clubhouse designed by Lord Foster and facilities ideal for regattas, crews and sponsors, the Club has added two new events to its calendar in 2018: Monaco Swan One Design (27-31 March) for ClubSwan 42, Swan 45 and ClubSwan 50; and the Monaco Globe Series (1-8 June), the first ever offshore Mediterranean race for IMOCA 60' and a qualifier for the Vendee Globe 2020.

For the Monaco Globe Series, a dozen teams are set to stopover in the Principality for the first time for a 1,400nm double-handed race that embraces the most emblematic marks in the western Mediterranean.

From the start in Monaco, the fleet races down Corsica's west coast before being propelled through the Strait of Bonifacio to the Aeolian Islands, where they tack in front of Stromboli and head for Palermo in Sicily. It then sets course for the Balearic Islands and from there back to Monaco.

The race was an obvious one for YCM Vice-President Pierre Casiraghi: "The arrival last year of Malizia II, the YCM's offshore flagship, is part of the Club's sailing policy. Our ambition is to encourage our young sailors to dream and think about new vocations. Following our participation with Boris Herrmann last year in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017, then the Transat Jacques Vabre, we were keen to host these 60' mono-hulls for the first time in Monaco. We want to offer them a course that showcases the beauty of the Mediterranean and its enormous potential for sailing."

The Monaco event marks the start of the new IMOCA 2018-2020 championship, renamed the Globe Series, with a system of points and weightings over a four-year period. The goal for sailors is to rack-up a maximum number of points to qualify for the big offshore races, with the Vendee Globe as the holy grail.

Racers who decide to come to the Mediterranean can look forward to a challenging first stage.

Provisional programme Monaco Globe Series:

Friday 1st June 2018
Exhibition day for teams and their sponsors
Runs and courses in Monaco Bay
Globe Series Opening Ceremony
Gala Dinner

Saturday 2nd June 2018
Exhibition day
Runs and courses in Monaco Bay

Sunday 3rd June 2018
Start of 1,400 nautical mile race

Friday 8th June 2018
Prize-giving ceremony

Match racing south
Every boat in the fleet in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race is back up to speed and enjoying trade wind sailing conditions as they push south towards the doldrums some 1000 miles away.

The boats are on a tight reach, with wind and boat speeds in the mid to high teens.

Team AkzoNobel heads the leaderboard at 1300 UTC, positioned south and slightly west of the bulk of the fleet, while Scallywag is alone, 30 miles further south and positioned well out to the west of the fleet. The leading pair is separated by less than five miles on distance to finish.

At one point overnight (local time), MAPFRE, Dongfeng, Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic were within about two miles of each other. In fact, Brunel and MAPFRE were much closer than that.

"We had a good bit of fun last night," explained Brunel's Peter Burling. "We kind of got stuck about a boatlength behind MAPFRE and we had a good little battle there for about half an hour. Eventually we managed to get over the top of them, so it was good."

But that wasn't the end of the story.

MAPFRE and Dongfeng made a decisive turn to the west, trying to minimise their time in the unstable conditions. Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic weren't able to follow them and a split developed.

"They both speared off doing 12 knots to the west and we just couldn't get over there and that was bloody annoying," said Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. "And then Turn the Tide on Plastic came up underneath us. We slowly but surely got the breeze but MAPFRE and Dongfeng found it first and they've made a massive jump on us."

As the top boats on the leaderboard, it is clear MAPFRE and Dongfeng want to stay within sight of each other at this stage of the leg. On Tuesday afternoon, the 1300 UTC update shows the pair tied together, separated by only a few hundred metres.

Easter Challenge Entries now open
The Easter Challenge, RORC's popular training regatta will take place from the 30th March - 1st April this year. As usual boats can request coaching from the array of talent available as well as sail trim tips from the experts at North Sails.

As an extra incentive this year all entries to the RORC Easter Challenge made before 28th February will go into a draw to win 2x VIP Tickets to the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Cardiff.

After racing on Friday and Saturday there is a fun and informative debrief session held in the RORC Cowes clubhouse, with videos shown of starts, mark rounding's and a question and answer session with the coaches and sailmakers. During this regatta there will also be a prize draw for the Performance 40's at the Easter Challenge, for a day's onboard coaching during the Warsash Spring Championships.

For more information and to enter please go to

Performance 40 Class at Vice Admirals Cup!

As part of the Performance 40 series for 2018 there will be a class start at the Vice Admirals Cup in May.

North Sails, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Warsash Sailing Club, Royal Southern Yacht Club and Hamble River Sailing Club have teamed up to create the 'Performance 40' series for 2018 which will consist of seven events with five to count for the Overall Trophies.

1. Easter Challenge 30th March - 1st April RORC
2.Warsash Spring Champs April 21-22nd Warsash
3.Warsash Spring Champs April 28th-29th April Warsash
4.May Royal Southern Regatta 12th-13th Royal Southern
5.Vice Admiral's Cup** May 18th-20th RORC
6.September Royal Southern Regatta 8th -9th (Performance 40 Nationals 1.5 points)
7.Hamble River Sailing Club 6th and 7th October (Final Event Double Points)

(**Vice Admiral's Cup will not be part of the overall series due to J111's having a Class Start, however P40's will have their own Class Start and VAC Trophy!)

A 'Performance 40 is a Cruiser/Racer around 40ft and will be defined by the below limitations, which utilises information from her IRC Certificate.

IRC Band 1.075-1.145
LH 11.15m-14.1m
DLR 130-200
Max Draft 2.65m

For reference a First 40 is at the bottom of the band and an XP44 is at the top of the band. This includes but is not limited to; J111's, J122's, J133's, IMX40's, Grand Soleil 43's, Arcona 41's, JND 39's, Corby 41's, Mills 39's, Matt 12's, King 40's, Azuree 46's etc.

For further information on the Vice Admirals Cup please visit or mail racing

Howth newcomer is feline quite American
Click on image to enlarge.

Beetle Cat Evolved in the 'thin' waters of New England, the distinctive cat boat - shallow draft, wide-beam and bow mast - is something of an American phenomenon, with more than 4,000 of the 12ft 4in Beetle variety having been built since 1920. Winkie Nixon tells how Howth sailor Judith Malcolm fell for its easy handling charms, and embarked on a newbuild journey that took in Brittany's famous Skol Ar Mor boatyard, in his story in Afloat.

On America's East Coast around Cape Cod, there's plenty of sea. But as the locals say, it tends to be thin - sometimes very thin - in the places where you might want to go sailing.

So in the days when most sailing was being done by working fishermen, they developed commercially viable boats which were wide and shallow, with pivoting centreboards which were able to pop up unimpeded into their casings when ordinary thin water suddenly became very thin water indeed.

They were a very distinctive type, and as recreational sailing developed in America - the New York Yacht Club was founded in 1844 - inevitably some amateur sailors developed refined versions of the fishermen's catboat, and they became something of a cult.

In 1852, a wealthy American-by-adoption amateur sailor of Scottish origins, William Buller Duncan, was so taken up with this enthusiasm that he sent a cat boat to a sailing friend in London, the Earl of Mount Charles, whose father happened to be the Marquis of Conyngham, the Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

WM Nixon's full article:

South African sailors celebrated at annual awards
It's been a great last 12 months for South African sailing. This was celebrated as the winners of the annual SA Sailing awards were announced at Victoria Lake Club in Germiston last week.

Leading the way were the pair of Benji Daniel and Alex Burger who were awarded the Owen Aisher Trophy as the 2017 SA Sailors of the Year.

The young pair made their mark in winning the 29er World Championships in California last August. This followed a podium position in the USA National Championships and was achieved in a world class fleet of over 100 boats.

There were no surprises when the David Butler Trophy for the SA Youth Sailor of the Year went to Calvin Gibbs.

The 18-year-old achieved a fourth-place finish in the Laser class at the Youth World Championships in China in December. This was the best result by a South African at the Youth Worlds since the event was held on home waters in 1998.

Meanwhile, the Gordon Burnwood Trophy for the most meritorious ocean race or passage sailed during 2017 went to Hylton Hale.

Hale served as skipper, helmsman and campaign manager for Lion of Africa Vulcan in the 2017 Cape 2 Rio race. The team finished as third boat overall, third in their IRC division, were the first South African boat to finish the race and they broke the South African record in the process. Hale also drafted in the only female bowman on a high performance sports boat in the race.

Finally, the Stan Jeffrey Trophy for outstanding administration in the sport was awarded to Rob Wilcox.

Wilcox has served on the SA Sailing national council and notched up countless years of contribution to the sport of sailing as an administrator, event organiser, and sailor. He is regularly involved behind the scenes and has been a passionate supporter of the sport while also remaining an active sailor in the dinghy and keelboat classes.

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