In This Issue
Volvo Ocean Race fleet compressing as Scallywag grabs pole position | Maserati Multi 70 Avoiding The Light Winds Of Madeira | Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series starts on 18 March | 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 7 & 8 | RORC Caribbean 600 10th Edition | AAR Crews lining up for Caribbean 600 | High Profile Yachts Sign Up for Howth's Wave Regatta | Storm Trysail Club Celebrates 80th Anniversary | Hamilton Island Race Week - anew era in August | Plans to dim Fastnet Lighthouse cause upset in west Cork | 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

Volvo Ocean Race fleet compressing as Scallywag grabs pole position
While SHK/Scallywag has made good on its westerly route to grab an impressive lead over the past 24 hours, the fleet is compressing, and as of Sunday afternoon, it’s the chasing pack enjoying stronger winds.

The Scallywags have to be pleased with last 24 hours as they’ve gone from trailing team AkzoNobel by 55 miles to sailing around them to a 10 mile lead.

“You’re always pretty pleased when a sked comes in and you’ve rolled over the lead boat,” said Scallywag navigator Libby Greenhalgh this morning.“It was a little bit of a surprise. We had seen there was a big cloud they might be in and we might make a few miles, but to punch into the lead is nice.

“The cloud activity has been huge as we saw on Leg 4. We had a bit of a blackout on satellite imagery for a couple of days which I’m sure saw some people in different positions in the fleet struggle in order to work out the best way out of the position they were in. But we’ve been pretty good and we’re trying to avoid the clouds as best we can.”

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Just hours after that conversation, at 1300 UTC on Sunday, wind and boat speed for Scallywag was down to 5 knots. The rest of the fleet is now posting closer to 15 knots on both counts meaning the fleet is compressing. This is good news for those at the back, including overall race leader MAPFRE, and Dongfeng Race Team who is second placed on the leaderboard. The power couple had trailed by as much as 280 miles on this leg.

Leg 6
Hong Kong to Auckland 18 February 2018
Positions at: 13:00 UTC

Positions at: 13:00 UTC 15 February
1. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, 1874.62 to leg finish
2. Team AkzoNobel, 3.58 nm to leader
3. Team Brunel, 49.81
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic, 55.18
5. MAPFRE, 94.22
6. Dongfeng Race Team, 94.31
7. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Did not start

Maserati Multi 70 Avoiding The Light Winds Of Madeira
Maserati Multi 70 has passed through the Canary Islands Frioday night and is approaching Madeira, a little bit more than 200 miles to the North. According to forecasts, around the Portuguese islands, there will be another zone with light winds to negotiate before entering into NE winds zone to climb upwind until the English Channel. Not really a favorable situation as the skipper Giovanni Soldini explained yesterday.

From Sunday:
The thirty-second day of sailing begins at the latitude of Madeira (33° N) and at 140 miles to the East of the Portuguese island because as Giovanni Soldini explains: ”There is a bubble with light wind right on Madeira, we are avoiding this zone to the East, even a little bit more than what the routages recommended, so we should not feel too much the light breeze. Then we will have to sail upwind with medium strong winds up to the English Channel. In the meanwhile, here the cold has arrived”.

At the 9.57 UTC rankings, Maserati Multi 70 has still 1.373 miles to travel up to London with a 1.313 miles advantage on the record holder’s roadmap.

Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series starts on 18 March
Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series Come and join us at the premier early season event. Easy online entry.

Great racing and prizes including 50 trophies - 100 bottles of champagne - valuable goodies from Helly Hansen and Crewsaver.

The Spring Series is on six Sundays: 18 March to 29 April (excluding Easter).

There are 4 IRC classes + J/109, J/88 in Black group. White Group comprises Sportsboats (J/70 - SB20 - J/80 - Mixed). Other one design classes or extracted results are possible on request.

Crewsaver Spring Championship starts on 21 April

The Spring Championship is on the last two weekends of the Spring Series: Saturdays & Sundays 21-22 + 28-29 April. Up to 14 races over the four days.

Black group has 4 IRC classes + J/109, with the Performance 40 class racing within IRC 1. White Group is for J/70 - SB20 - J/80 Mixed Sportsboats -Quarter Ton Class.

Warsash Sailing Club - The first place to race in 2018.

Warsash Sailing Club, Shore House, Shore Road, Warsash SO31 9FS. 01489 583575

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 7 & 8
Click on image for photo gallery.

18 Skiff Sydney Harbour: The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey scored a double victory in the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today, and go into next Sunday's final day with a 14 points lead over their nearest rival.

Smeg's crew was faultless as the skiff powered around the North-East course in the 20-25 knot wind.

The day took a very heavy toll on the fleet with only eight skiffs able to finish in Race 8.

Problems began when (Brett Van Munster) was forced to stay ashore after gear breakage during the rigging prevented the team from competing.

Race 8 was a far tougher contest for the flying red machine as The Kitchen Maker pushed Smeg to the limits over the first lap of the course.

The young NSW champions on The Kitchen Maker lead at the windward mark and held on down wind as Smeg challenged strongly.

Smeg proved too strong and recorded a well-deserved double, while the Ilve team also deserves great praise for two consistent performances in the testing conditions.

Races & 10 Final two races of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday, 25 February The Australian 18 Footers League's Spectator Ferry will follow the races.

The JJ Giltinan International Championship will be sailed from 3-11 March. 25 teams from six countries will contest the championship

RORC Caribbean 600 10th Edition
The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is likely to be the fastest and possibly toughest race in the ten year history of the Caribbean 600-mile classic. Over 20 knots is predicted for the first three days, with gusts in excess of 30 knots. A moderate to rough sea state is also forecast, which will add to the exhilarating conditions.

A weather update was presented by world class navigator Wouter Verbraak, Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics. He confirmed that weather models predict that the first three days of the race will see strong trade winds:

"Strong high pressure over the North West Atlantic is squeezing the trade winds and accelerating the wind speed," explained Verbraak. "We could see 22-26 knots of gradient winds for three days with a slight decrease forecast on Thursday 22nd February. Competitors should be aware of the potential for squall activity during the race. On Monday evening, squalls could bring 30 knots of wind down to the surface. A significant wave height is predicted with two metres at the start of the race, building to three metres by Wednesday."

At the welcome party Eddie Warden Owen, RORC Chief Executive Officer introduced RORC Commodore Steven Anderson who will be competing in the race for the first time in his own yacht Gemervescence.

The RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday 19th February.

AAR Crews lining up for Caribbean 600
TEXT Hamburg, Germany: Monday 19th of February will bring thAtlantic Anniversary Regattae start of the 10th edition of the iconic RORC Caribbean 600. A record fleet will embark on a 600-nautical mile journey through the Caribbean Sea. Among the 88 competitors are numerous crews that will also compete in the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta (AAR) in celebration of the Norddeutscher Regatta Vereins 150th anniversary. Leading the yachts from Bermuda via Cuxhaven to the city of Hamburg, the AAR will provide challenging racing and great hospitality for the crews facing the North Atlantic this summer. For now, the crews who entered the RORC Caribbean 600 will enjoy a perfect preparation as the regatta features just the right ingredients: crystal clear waters, astonishing landscapes and relentless racing. This year’s edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 sees both AAR-Veterans and runner ups of the upcoming Atlantic Anniversary Regatta in July 2018. At the start it will be all eyes on American Maxi Rambler 88. The grey canting-keel rocket-ship by George David looks like a sharp contender for Line Honors and – depending on weather-scenario – overall handicap victory.

The selection of AAR-Veterans in the RORC Caribbean 600 also includes the three youth training yachts, Andrews 56 Broader View Hamburg and J/V 52 Haspa Hamburg, by the HVS and the J/V 53 Bank von Bremen by the SKWB. The von Eicken Family is back with their Swan 56R Latona, as well as Class40 “Red” skippered by Mathias Müller von Blumencron who will be racing against a total of seven Class40s. Overall-Winner of AAR-Westbound in ORC, Tilmar Hansen is back on track with Elliott 52ss Outsider. The Team will revive the battle against French NMD 54 Teasing Machine, who was victorious in the IRC-overall during AAR-Westbound. Jens Kellinghusen’s Varuna VI has arrived safely in Antigua and will be right in the mix among the top contenders of this race. For crews like the Class40 Iskareen or Swan 48 Dantes, the RORC Caribbean 600 marks the start into the Transatlantic racing season.

For more information about the AAR click here:

High Profile Yachts Sign Up for Howth's Wave Regatta
The Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race Winner, a top Dublin Bay J109 as well as a leading overseas entry have signe up for Howth Yacht Club's June Bank Holiday Wave Regatta.

As entries for the inaugural event continue to build, Jamie McWilliam’s Signal 8 from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club has been confirmed for the three-day series in Howth. The Ker 40 is one of four high-profile entries received over the past weeks.

Also entered is Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice from the Royal Cork YC, D2D victor, Paul O’Higgins Rockabill VI and Ronan Harris on Jigamaree, the first of the Dublin Bay J109 fleet to enter from the Royal Irish YC.

The Wave Regatta offers competitors a choice between a three-day series from Friday to Sunday or a single day event that is the traditional Lambay Race fixture.

From Afloat magazine

Storm Trysail Club Celebrates 80th Anniversary
February 18th, 2018 marks the 80th Anniversary of the Storm Trysail Club. The founding of the club began during the 1936 Bermuda Race when a group of sailors set off on the schooner Salee. The ’36 race was bad, one of the worst in the history of the event. Many boats withdrew, but others elected to challenge themselves and tough it out. During that horribly rough storm, one sailor on another boat was ejected from his windward bunk, smashed face-first into the leeward bunk, spat out his freshly dislodged teeth, got his foulies on, and at 4 a.m., took his trick at the helm. As the storm built in intensity, Salee’s mainsail blew out, and the crew was forced to set the storm trysail - a small, triangular and heavily constructed sail generally used in only the direst of conditions.

That winter, as the crew of Salee gathered around a bottle of rum (and possibly more than one) and talked about their shared memories of the race, this hardy group was inspired to form a new club - The Storm Trysail Club - open only to those sailors who had proved capable of handling themselves offshore in the worst weather imaginable. Dues were initially set at a bottle of rum a year.

From these rough and tumble beginnings (literally) The Storm Trysail Club has grown to over 1,000 members. Each member, from the first to the latest, has been selected for their experience offshore, their willingness to share their experience and knowledge with others, to be a good shipmate and a tough competitor, as well as being someone who knows how to have fun.

While many sailors are familiar with rum, very few know that the Storm Trysail Club helped introduce Mt. Gay Rum to the United States in the early 1950’s. Back then, many of those who sailed in the Bermuda Race would bring bottles of booze back in their bilges as it cost only 25¢ to 50¢ a bottle. Frequent and informal tastings proved that a Barbados rum nobody ever heard (except racing crews) won the Best-Tasting prize, so from about '52 on, all the bilges were loaded with Mt. Gay.

Oftentimes the stores of rum were raided during the delivery home, but suffice it to say that any remaining bottles that made it to shore were rapidly depleted, thus leaving a thirst for more. A number of members (who will remain nameless to protect the tattered remnants of their reputations!) conspired to find an importer and distributor to bring Mt. Gay to our shores. As it turned out, one of the Storm Trysail members at the time had a father who was a Director of McKesson Liquor - a big importer, and the then-owners of the “21 Club” in NY agreed to be the distributor. All that was needed at that point was to develop and prove consumer demand.

Hamilton Island Race Week - anew era in August
Australia's premier offshore regatta, Hamilton Island Race Week, will enter an exciting new era with the staging of the 35th edition of the event in August this year.

A wider range of courses around the tropical Whitsunday islands and a full spectrum of outstanding social activities will form the foundation for this year's regatta which will be staged from August 18 to 25, 2018.

Also, it has been jointly announced that after twelve outstanding years as the principal partner for Hamilton Island Race Week, Audi Australia will not be returning as the naming rights sponsor this year.

In recognising Audi's lengthy involvement with Race Week, Hamilton Island's CEO, world champion and Olympic yachtsman Glenn Bourke, said: "Hamilton Island would like to thank Audi Australia for their immense contribution to the success of Race Week over the years. It has been a long and valuable association for both sides."

The regatta's race director Denis Thompson has also announced a change to the racing format on the basis of a competitor review. This year participants will enjoy more passage racing around islands. The announcement coincides with the posting of the Notice of Race and entry form on the regatta website .

No one will be surprised if long-time Race Week supporter, Dave Molloy of the Whitsunday based yacht charter company Prosail, is the first to enter this year with the famous 37-yearold maxi yacht Condor. Molloy has already declared Condor will return for its 11th Race Week with a crew of 17 amateur sailors. When launched in Europe in 1981, Condor was the world's most technologically advanced ocean racing yacht and went on to win every one of the world's major offshore races.

The largest Race Week fleet came in 2016 with 252 entries and the strength of early interest from yacht owners points to a similar number in 2018. -- Rob Mundle

Plans to dim Fastnet Lighthouse cause upset in west Cork
The Fastnet Rock and its lighthouse - the most southerly part of Ireland - make up one of the best-recognised maritime structures in the world writes W M Nixon. Symbol, icon, emblem, signpost of the ocean - you name it, the Fastnet is all of these things. And the slender, beautifully-engineered lighthouse itself is central to the rock’s significance.

Since 1904 - after several previous attempts at placing a light on the rock - the glow of its beam has been moving every night along the glorious coast of West Cork. It is a familiar and much-loved part of that unique region’s heritage. It is impossible to imagine the area without it. And not surprisingly, many people want it to stay totally as it is, an unchanging constant in a changing world, a part of their lives as it was part of their parents’ and grandparents’ world before them

Yet with technology always advancing, inevitably the power source for the Fastnet Rock was becoming long out-dated, and increasingly costly to run. At the Irish Lights base in Dun Laoghaire, a new LED bulb has been developed which will provide a light in a much more economical way.

Yet if the new system is introduced, while it will still be a very powerful light, it will be one third less powerful than the present antiquated system. Naturally it is causing concern in West Cork. -- WM Nixon in Afloat

The Irish Times:

The Independent Cork South-West TD Michael Collins, who lives near Schull, called on the lighthouse authority to start “immediate consultations” with the local community. He said tourism interests were very concerned about the loss of illumination at night, particularly on the landward side.

“Communities in Goleen, Schull, Baltimore and the islands of Roaringwater Bay are also worried about the visual impact of a shorter and narrower beam, given that this light is so important for safety at sea,” said Mr Collins, who added: “Just like president Mary Robinson had a light in her window for emigrants, so this Fastnet light represents something for Irish people everywhere.”

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