In This Issue
Guts and a glimmer of glory | Fujin crew rescued in RORC Caribbean 600 | Marlow Ropes present Gold-medal winning Dinghy range at their 15th RYA Dinghy Show 2018 | Wellington International Youth Match Racing Championship | Observations on Sailing in the Olympics from the UK | Industry News | 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

Guts and a glimmer of glory
The strong conditions experienced at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 continued through the first night.

At 06:00 AST on 20 February 12 yachts have officially retired from the race. Reports of wind speed in the region of 30 knots, with gusts of up to 40 knots are being reported by crew in the 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands.

Peter Aschenbrenner's Irens 63 Paradox is blasting along at the front of the fleet, but in their rear virtual view mirror provided by the YB Race Tracker, George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 is hunting the multihull down. Paradox is currently behind record pace for the multihulls, but only by 42 minutes. Rambler 88 continues at record pace for the monohulls and is expected to cross the finish line before midnight on Tuesday 20th February, well inside the race record.

Rambler 88 is blasting around the course hitting speeds of close to 30 knots. At Tintamarre, the most northerly point of the course, Rambler 88 was nearly an hour ahead of the race record. At 06:00 AST on 20 February, Rambler had completed half the course and was blast reaching past Montserrat on the way to Guadeloupe. Peter Aschenbrenner's Irens 63 Paradox is enjoying a thrilling reach towards Guadeloupe, leading the multihull fleet by a handsome margin. Last night, the American trimaran sustained a boat speed of 30 knots or more for several hours

In IRC One, the provisional top three boats are Philippe Frantz French NM43 Albator, Kevin McLaughlin's American J/44 Spice, and Lombard 46 Pata Negra sailed by Michael Wright with a team from the Howth Yacht Club, Dublin Ireland.

At the top of the leaderboard in IRC Two a battle is ranging between three British charter boats, all skippered by close friends. Andy Middleton's Beneteau First 47.7 eH01 is estimated to be just five minutes ahead on corrected time from Ossie Stewart and Ross Applebey's Dufour 45 Scarlet Island Girl. Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8 skippered by Christian Simpson is third.

In IRC Three, Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada, racing Two Handed with Jeremy Waitt is the provisional leader

Fujin crew rescued in RORC Caribbean 600
Greg Slyngstad's American Bieker 53 multihull Fujin has capsized during the RORC Caribbean 600. All eight crew are safe.

Stephen Cucchiaro's Gunboat 60 Flow stood by until Dutch/ French authorities organised a rescue vessel. Preparations are now underway to transfer all crew to the safety of Port Saba.

RORC Race Manager Chris Stone issued a statement on behalf of the race organisers, The Royal Ocean Racing Club:

"On Monday 19th February at 20:20 AST, Fujin capsized close to Saba Island and the eight-man crew were observed standing on the up-turned hull. All of the crew are now safe. Stephen Cucchiaro's Gunboat 60 Flow stood by while rescue agencies co-ordinated the rescue efforts.

Jens Kellinhusen's German Ker 56 Varuna altered course to assist, but has now continued racing. The Coastguard at Fort De France Martinique has been co-ordinating the rescue."

The highly experienced crew on Fujin from Seattle, Washington, USA include the skipper Greg Slyngstad, the boat's designer, Paul Bieker and Olympic Gold medallist Jonathan McKee.

Fujin's Crew: Greg Slyngstad, Bradley Baker, Peter F Johnston, Paul Bieker, Gina Borza, Fritz Lanzinger, Michael Leslie, Jonathan McKee.

Marlow Ropes present Gold-medal winning Dinghy range at their 15th RYA Dinghy Show 2018
TEXT Far from being the little brother to yacht racers, Marlow understands that not only does Dinghy Sailing offer up some of the most exciting and closest racing, it is also the origin for the next generation of Grand Prix Racing superstars. There is no better proof of this than being the official rope supplier to the multi gold medal winning RYA British Sailing Team since Sydney 2000, and more recently (since the opening of the US office in 2013) the US Sailing Team in 2016.

Marlow has become the rope choice for countless international class champions, with products developed in conjunction with the world's best sailors. The excel Dinghy series is constantly updated with new products, improved specifications and the latest colours. In 2017-18 the excel R8 Is the latest innovation in this range and offers outstanding strength and durability with a Dyneema SK78 core and a Technora and polyester mixed cover. Available from 4-8mm, it excels both as a halyard working on cleats and as a high performance sheet performing well in ratchet blocks. Used already by members of the BST and USST, it has been well received and Marlow are looking forward to introducing it further at their 15th RYA Dinghy Show at Alexandra palace on 3-4 March this year. Stand G42. 

For further information about the Marlow excel Dinghy Series visit

Wellington International Youth Match Racing Championship
The CentrePort Wellington International Youth Match Racing Championship took place over the latter part of last week and the weekend with skippers from NZL, AUS, JPN and GBR representing teams from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, joining two local teams from the Wellington Youth Sailing Trust.

Sunday was Finals Day of the CentrePort Wellington International Youth Match Racing Championship. With the forecast for another day of strong winds (40 knots forecast for the south coast) the Race Committee decided to progress straight into the semi-finals and finals.

The first semi-final (first to 2 points) was decided in just two races with Callum Radford's crew winning 2 races on the trot. The second semi-final was taken to three races with Leonard Takahashi prevailing.

The sail-off for 3rd and 4th place was decided after three races with Finn Tapper from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia finishing in 3rd Place.

The CentrePort Wellington International Youth Match Racing Championship final was decided after two races in the predicted increasing strong north westerly breeze. Leonard Takahashi's Pacific Rim Racing (crew - J Wijohn and T Balogh) took out first place with Callum Radford and crew (P. Wright, M. Winsley and B. Bennett) representing the Wellington Youth Sailing Trust's Under 23 Squad taking out 2nd place.

Takahashi has had a fantastic season so far, winning the NZ Youth Match Racing Nationals (also run by the Wellington Youth Sailing Trust), the Harken Youth Match Racing Championship (held at Pittwater, Sydney), Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta (held at Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney), the Nespresso International Youth Match Racing Regatta (held at Royal NZ Yacht Squadron, Auckland) and now the CentrePort Wellington International Youth Match Racing Regatta.

Observations on Sailing in the Olympics from the UK
I have read with interest the letters from both Roger Vaughan and Will Parkes and can only agree.

The concept that sailing in the Olympics is the height of skill, expertise and competition is a complete nonsense. With only one competitor for each country, the competition is nowhere near the level it will be for an equivalent World Championship, where it is likely there will be many competitors from a few countries who would dominate and be far better than most of the Olympic competitors.

The impact of "squads" and intensive so called "elite" athletes on our sport is pervasively corrupt and leads to the impression that these are actually the best sailors in a given Country. This is clearly no so as the majority of sailors wouldn't be seen dead in Olympic class boats - with the possible exception of the ancient and poorly designed Laser (stupid mainsheet system, silly small rudder blade, dreadful sail design, hopeless rig that cannot be softened or hardened to suit crew weight). In the UK competition at the top in the UK, of say, the Merlin Rocket, International 14, 505 Fleets is at a far higher level than in the Olympic Classes.

The overwhelming majority of sailors choose to race boats that suit their waters, their wallets and that give them most fun - look at the large fleets such boats as the SB achieve regularly, even older designs like the enterprise, Squibs etc manage to put out on a regular basis, I am certain the same holds true for the US, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Australia etc etc.

The biggest issue is that youngsters are continually put into squads then graded, coached and over-trained to death and funnelled in such a way that ultimately most leave the sport.

Normal average young sailors, are put off, find they cannot compete with parents and sponsors spending fortunes on new kit, so go away and do another sport that is just plain more fun.

Recently in the UK an Olympic Gold Medallist was beefing that since she has won her Gold Medal and had given up Olympic sailing, that she was struggling to get a job and that no one was interested in the fact that she was an "elite athlete" - well it took her ten years, but eventually the penny dropped, no one was interested at all, even the media were not, now she wasn't going to win any more Olympic medals.

The more quickly sailing is out of the Olympics, then our sport will recover and once again become challenging fun for all ages and for all the family. After all racing is only part of the fun, just going out sailing as a bunch of teenagers, generally messing about in boats, is infinitely more rewarding. Being yelled at by coaching boats and being subjected to hours of in-depth video analysis when one gets ashore, isn't fun in any way.

Sailing as a sport is dying because it is not fun for youngsters. Mixed age sailing is what is needed, I recall as a young teenager nearly 60 years ago hanging on every word in the sailing club bar from older competitors as they advised on how to do it better, what I had done wrong, how to set my boat up better, these older guys (and girls) became life-long friends and examples of not only how to sail well, have fun whilst doing it, but also life long examples of how to behave and conduct oneself both on and off the water! -- David Evans

Industry News
The professional skippers Servane escoffier and Louis Burton who manage Archambault by BG Race since 2015 announced last October , the sale of the entire business of their shipyard to Jean-Charles Thomas, industrial expert who shares their passion for sail. The Saint- Malo couple decided to concentrate all their efforts on the offshore racing team which takes the name of Be Racing (formerly BG Race). At the end of this operation, Servane escoffier and Louis Burton retain a minority stake in the new entity and a role as technical advisors to Jean-Charles Thomas.

A long-time friend of the Burton family and the two skippers, and passionate about sailing, the new owner and president of the BG Race yard is also an expert in industrial management. "It's a very exciting project. We worked for many months in this operation, I am delighted that it was born "says Jean-Charles Thomas, whose career in major global industrial groups have played a major role in the decision of the Saint-Malo couple to sell the whole boatyard. "The project involves the takeover of the entire business, including the staff, brands, as well as tangible and intangible assets," says Jean-Charles Thomas.

While retaining a minority stake in the new entity and a role as technical advisor, Louis Burton and Servane escoffier can now focus fully on their offshore racing team, renamed Be Racing (formerly BG Race). "Our goal is to develop the Be Racing sports projects, starting with the one supported by Bureau Vallée for seven years," explains Louis Burton. Indeed, after a first 4-year campaign on the IMOCA Bureau Valle 1, the acquisition of the IMOCA winner of the last Vendee Globe, renamed Bureau Vallee 2, has tipped Be Racing's sports project into a new dimension: "It's a war machine, with which I hope to meet successes for the next 4 years, until the next Vendée Globe, with Servane who remains the Team Manager of this project," explains Louis Burton.

With a capital of 130,000 euros, the new structure BG Race is a company creating emotions and performance, established in Saint Malo, which designs, builds and markets racing boats, fast cruising and ocean racing. BG Race has in its range the M7.50 dayboat, the prestigious Archambault boats (Surprise, Grand Surprise, A35R, A13 ...) and the very fast Tizh40, class40 on plan G. Verdier. In search of continuous improvement, and thanks to the performance of its teams, BG Race guarantees its customers the best cost / pleasure / performance ratio.

About Jean-Charles Thomas Coming from the industrial world, Jean-Charles Thomas has held, for more than 25 years, various financial, commercial and general management functions, in large international groups such as Sagem, Johnson Controls, Jenoptik, in France and in France. foreign.


OC Sport, owner and organiser of the extreme Sailing Series has announced an extension of their technology sponsorship with German software giant SAP, for a further four years. The renewal of the sponsorship will see the partnership reach a decade, as together the Series and SAP continue to push the boundaries to transform the sport of sailing for fans, media and sailors.

Since 2012, SAP has provided the Series with cutting-edge business software and analytics solutions that have transformed the sailing experience. SAP sailing solutions offer fans and broadcasters insights to enable them to decipher exactly what is happening on the water through the use of live leaderboards and 3D and 2D visualisations taking place in real-time. Post-race, SAP provides teams with tools to analyse their performance and optimise their strategy helping them sail like never before.

SAP is also a title partner to the reigning extreme Sailing Series champion, SAP extreme Sailing Team, who will return to defend their title when the global Stadium Racing circuit kicks off in Muscat, Oman for the opening Act on the 14 March.


Doyle Sails announced today breaking new developments for its presence in the evolving Palma market. Doyle Sails International is owned and led by the team of Mike Sanderson, Richard Bouzaid and David Duff.

Chris Sherlock, world renowned superyacht Captain and Skipper of the many famous Leopard campaigns, has invested into the co-ownership of the Doyle Palma business together with Doyle Sails International, and will lead the Palma business as Managing Director, along with other industry leaders soon to be announced.

Chris Sherlock started working in the sail making industry at the age of 15 working in Fremantle, Australia, before he moved to the UK in 1992 for the Round Britain and Ireland race and never left! He worked for 25 years continuously with superyacht owner Mike Slade running all of their maxi yacht 'Leopard' programmes, racking up an impressive 300,000 nautical miles and over 30 transatlantics, as well as leading an operations and sailing team of 30 people across race events, charters and corporate guest management programmes.

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 Michael Brown:

Maybe I'm just too old but the winning boat in the greatest regatta in 2017 is won by bicycle power & now one of the leading contenders in a 2018 classic ocean race retires because of a broken engine. What is happening to our lovely world of SAILING? \aa

* From Butch Dalrymple Smith:

Sailing is a competitive sport practiced by thousands, weekends and Wednesday evenings all over the world. It seems unjust that the sailing community has to struggle so hard to keep their events in the Olympic Games. Why is sailing treated so badly when in the winter Olympics they allow such absurdities as medals for two different sports and another set of medals for both together; four man and two man bobsleigh (what difference do the two in the middle make?) and no less than 12 biathlon (skiing and shooting) events, including one which gives medals for a pursuit race and again for a mass start over virtually the same course?

Why can't they add more sailing events to reflect the number of people who actually race? If it is a cost issue, they can save by eliminating the expense of putting on events that have no relevance to the public and the ones that are so similar that they test the same skill set, generally ending up with the same contestants on the podium for several minor variations of the same sport.

* From Jean-Charles Thomas:

I have read with great interest, your article about Nivelt and Muratet, that will be published in the March edition of Seahorse.

However, there is some inaccurate information in your article.

You write about the "defunct Archambault Shipyard"". I would like to correct this point which is wrong. The company does not exist anymore, since 2015, but the assets, including brand, molds and equipments have been taken over by a shipyard located in Saint Malo named BG RACe, and production has restarted for some boats, like the very well know Surprise, the A35R, and soon the A31, and we still work closely with Bernard Nivelt for new boats development.

I have attached the press released that was issued in November 2017, when Louis Burton sold me the majority of the shares of the Boatyard. Today, I am the new Chairman and CeO of BG Race.

We do not intend to let Archambault disappear. On the contrary, we are working on bringing back the Archambault spirit, with the existing product range, and new boats.

* Editor: portions of the release in the first story in Industry News above.

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