In This Issue
Paradox and Rambler 88 celebrate in Antigua | 470, Finn, & RSX Classes Will Be Reviewed For Olympic Sailing Regatta 2024 | Harken Element Blocks - Coming Soon to a Dealer Near You | Sailing Events in the Olympics | Hot stuff (but very cool) | Alinghi Join M32 Series as Valencia Racing Hots Up | Sailors' Society mourns loss of regional superintendent in India | 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

Paradox and Rambler 88 celebrate in Antigua
In the early hours on the third day of the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600, Paradox, Peter Aschenbrenner's American 63' Trimaran crossed the finish line in Antigua completing the 600-mile race in an elapsed time of 1 day, 13 hours 5 minutes and 16 seconds taking Multihull Line Honours. George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 crossed the finish line just under half an hour later to take Monohull Line Honours and to set a new monohull race record of 1 day 13 hours 41 minutes and 45 seconds. Rambler 88 eclipsed the time set by Rambler 100 in 2011 by nearly two and a half hours.

"It was a hard race with good strong trades; 20-25 knots the whole way around the track. The whole boat was loaded up and we had to take extreme care," commented Rambler 88 owner George David. "We sailed a good race and didn't leave much out there. Nobody got hurt and we didn't break anything, all of which is good. Why did we beat the record? I think it might come down to evolution in design. Six years ago the conditions were similar, yet we are two and a half hours ahead of a 100ft boat. Boats just go faster; we made some modifications over the winter to Rambler 88. We draw 7 metres now and we took a ton and a half of displacement out of the boat. Its lighter and livelier and gets up and going quick. I want to thank the RORC and the people locally who are extremely welcoming. It is a nice place to come."

"The ride down from Tintamarre to Guadeloupe was at night, very fast, very wet and very intense," commented Paradox owner, Peter Aschenbrenner. "All-in-all, the conditions were just perfect for Paradox she loved it. This is what we dream about doing in the boat, and the combination of cruising the boat for two weeks before the race gives that great juxtaposition (hence the name Paradox). The conditions we had in those big reaches was intense; the wave state was really big and there was a lot of wind. When you hit the wave crest with the cross-beam at 30 knots, it makes a kind-of explosive sound; the boat is moving around a lot and there is spray everywhere. Eleven is a great fleet of multihulls, and this is a great place to race them; you are going to be wet and it might as well be warm. It is a combination of great wind and great scenery, it is a wonderful course."

The USMMA Sailing Foundation's American Volvo 70 Warrior, skippered by Steve Murray, finished the race shortly after dawn, just four hours after Rambler 88. "Mr. Toad's wild ride! A lot of fun and what the boat was made for. It's a great boat, but an incredible team. We have been sailing together since our first race, the Antigua to Bermuda Race and we have really jelled as a team, anticipating each other's moves. Good boat handling on this boat is impressive to watch."


470, Finn, & RSX Classes Will Be Reviewed For Olympic Sailing Regatta 2024
Reports today from the International 49er class say World Sailing will put up for review the events represented by the 470 M/W, Finn, and RSX M/W. By choosing not to review the other 5 events; Laser/Radial, 49er/49erFX, and Nacra 17, these events and the current equipment will remain for the games in Paris.

The decision itself was very close, with 21 for and 17 against, showing how divided World Sailing Council is on the future of the sport. Just a few months ago, Theatre Style Racing format was defeated 20 to 21 by the same body, which was in some ways a precursor to this vote. How sailing comes together over the next two phases of this process will have a major impact on the strength and stability of Olympic Sailing for years to come.

Of the ten events and 350 athletes destined for Paris 2024, half are now known. The work begins to select both the Events and Equipment to fill the remainder of the slate.

The next step is the high level phase, where sailing will decide what to aim for while balancing a huge variety of factors. As we enter a phase of uncertainty for many current and aspiring Olympic sailors, and sailing as a whole, the task was outlined beautifully by Athlete Representative, Yann Rocherieux: "We trust in council to select events for 2024, where all sailors can have an opportunity to chase their dreams of becoming an Olympian, even if some sailors will have to change those another event than the one they are sailing now."

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Sailing Events in the Olympics
I have been reading this debate in 'Butts on both sides of the pond for several Olympic cycles and have a proposal for 2028 onwards which could pretty much solve a whole stack of issues regarding Sailing (and other water sports) in the Olympics with their perceived cost compared to viewing figures on TV.

Back in the day there was only one Olympics. It took all year and incorporated events now split between the Summer and Winter Olympics. With the increased popularity of Winter Sports a trial was run in France after the Paris Olympics in 1924 of a separate Winter Sports event with this becoming a full separate Olympiad in 1928.

The reason to split was done on practical grounds - you cant ski in Paris in the Summer - but the Winter events while run in a different place were run in the same year. Moving the Winter events to a separate year (done since 1994) hugely increased the overall revenue take.

So an obvious thought is:

Split the Summer Olympics into the Wet and Dry Olympics, or Stadium and Outdoor Olympics... or some other combination. This cuts the cost of the Summer (dry) Olympics down and makes it possible for landlocked countries to bid for it

To take a Wet Olympics (someone please come up with a better name!) the sports to move from the current Summer Olympics to the Wet Olympics would be

Canoe Slalom
Canoe Sprint
Marathon Swimming
Synchronised Swimming
Water Polo

What unites a lot of these sports is, like Winter Sports, they have less of an international spread at at the top level than many of the other Summer Sports. They are perceived, when compared to other Summer Olympic sports, to have a smaller following on TV (apart from Swimming) and to be costly to run. Removing all of these sports from the Summer Olympics - to make it the Dry Olympics - reduces the cost of that competition. Putting them into a package still creates sufficient TV viewing figures and allows event restricted sports - like Sailing, Rowing and Canoeing and I am sure many others - to be expanded, both in terms of participation and events and also makes this a competition that many smaller Nations could be interested in running due to its smaller cost... Even Hong Kong could host a Wet Olympics - or Singapore, or Malta maybe.. Bermuda? Think small places which have a lot of water!

In a four year cycle we have then have the five big international events:

Year 1 (2028) Land/Summer/Dry Olympics
Year 2 (2029) Water/Wet Olympics
Year 3 (2030) Football World Cup/Commonwealth Games
Year 4 (2031) Winter Olympics

In fact I cant really see a down side: historical evidence of the split of Winter sports from Summer sports says this is worth doing, and indeed additional sports can be added (Canoe Polo, Waboba, Dragon Boating etc) to the mix to make it more attractive.

Sailing can keep the Finn - but two events, one male and one female, bring back the Star, add Kite Boarding, add an offshore event.

Rowing could bring in Sprints (anyone remember the Crash-B Sprints?) and expand its lightweight program - critically important in Asia. Rowing Six? Octuple Sculls?

Canoeing could bring in open water Kayaking events and I am sure a host of other events (sorry - dont follow Canoeing much).

Olympic Paddle Boarding anyone? Hows about Surfing? Water Ski-ing? Scuba diving?

Simon Boyde, Hong Kong

Hot stuff (but very cool)
Seahorse When the Solaris team applied their 44 years of high-end boatbuilding experience to upping the game in the mid-sized performance cruiser market the result was something rather special… Italian, of course!

Looks good, doesn't she? Easy on the eye. It's difficult to know exactly why but she just looks… right. A sort of understated elegance that whispers style, comfort and control, while at the same time suggesting performance, an unspoken promise of power. The new Solaris 55 was developed by Solaris Yachts' in-house technical team with naval architecture input from Argentinian designer Javier Soto Acebal.

Since being founded in 1974 in Aquileia, moments from the lagoons of Venice, the Solaris shipyard has successfully mastered the blend of studied, elegant comfort with the sort of performance that reminds us that it's good to be alive and here at the wheel. In its long story Solaris has worked with many top designers including the late Franz Maas, Sparkman & Stephens, Doug Peterson, Bill Tripp and now Soto Acebal.

One of the other designs currently in build at Solaris is a new light-displacement Maxi72-styled Wally 93, which also perhaps explains some visible aesthetic parallels between the two houses.

Full article in the March issue of Seahorse:

Alinghi Join M32 Series as Valencia Racing Hots Up
Valencia, Spain: 14 epic races were sailed this past weekend over the three-day event which was the penultimate in the M32 Valencia Winter Series. Valencia again delivered on its promise of warm weather and glamorous sailing conditions, even throwing in a strong swell for the final day of racing.

Arnaud Psarofaghis skippered Alinghi to victory at this event, their debut M32 regatta. With their long history of success in multihull racing it seems that this is a crew who can pick up any boat and win. "With such a rich and successful sailing history, it is a great pleasure to have this team join the M32 Series and we hope to have them back at more events this year." Remarked Pieter-Jan Postma, event organiser and skipper of Sailing Team NL. Before continuing, "Even if they turn up and beat us all they are a fantastic group of guys to sail with, learn from and relax with after racing."

As seems to be the story at each M32 Series regatta, whether in the Mediterranean, North America or in Scandinavia, it was down to the final race to decide the podium positions. At his first regatta back at the helm for 2018, Section 16 skipper and M32 International Class Association President Richard Davies commented, "The first regatta of 2018 went pretty well. As always in M32 racing after multiple races it all came down to last race. We didn't quite pull it together and dinged below the fold into 3rd place. Congratulations to Alinghi and Sailing Team NL, great racing."

After back-to-back podiums, Section 16 and Sailing Team NL top the podium for the overall series leaderboard, with Cape Crow Vikings just behind them. The top three positions have just two points between them. It really will come down to the final regatta to decide. The M32 Valencia Winter Series concludes 16-18th March.

Arnaud Psarofaghis, Alinghi (SUI) - 25.8pts
Pieter-Jan Postma, Sailing Team NL (NED) - 32pts
Richard Davies, Section 16 (SUI) - 37pts
Håkan Svensson, Cape Crow Vikings (SWE) - 47pts
Dirk-Jan Korpershoek, Team DMTRA (NED) - 59pts

Sailors' Society mourns loss of regional superintendent in India
Pastor Joseph Chacko International maritime charity Sailors' Society is mourning the loss of its regional superintendent in India, Pastor Joseph Chacko who died earlier today (21 February) in a traffic collision in Gandhidham along with his wife Leena and Meru Kaku, a driver at the Deendayal Seafarers' Centre.

Joseph, who was 54, joined Sailors' Society in 2012 and was instrumental in the foundation of the Deendayal Seafarers' Centre.

He was also responsible for setting up ear and eye testing within the centre, which has helped hundreds of seafarers by identifying medical issues before they became potentially career threatening.

In 2016, Joseph was nominated for the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network's (ISWAN) Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year, for his outstanding contribution to seafarers' welfare.

Stuart Rivers, Sailors' Society's CEO, said: "Joseph was a true friend to seafarers and a champion of improving their health and well-being.

"He worked tirelessly to better seafarers' welfare not just in India but beyond.

"He and Leena, who was a great support to her husband in his welfare work, are a great loss to the Society and the wider maritime community and our thoughts and prayers are with their family."

Joseph and Leena's funerals will take place on Friday (23 February).

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 Bengt O. Hult:

David Evan wrote yesterday about what is wrong with sailing to-day. I have been an IJ for 25 years and I do have some experience from visiting clubs all over the world. I could not agree more with him. I remember some years ago when I came down to a club where a dozen Optis were standing on the beach with sails up and ready to go to sea but the sailors were playing football. I asked why. The reason was that their coach had not come! And just sailing around having fun was not an alternative to them. Obviously it was not FUN sailing, it was a job that had to be done when the coach came. Poor children.

* From Adrian Morgan:

David Evans spoils his argument somewhat by his attack on the "ancient and poorly designed Laser" with its "(stupid mainsheet system, silly small rudder blade, dreadful sail design, hopeless rig that cannot be softened or hardened to suit crew weight)." It is precisely because of the strict [sic] one-design rules that govern the class that it is so incredibly successful, at all levels, despite numerous attempts to design something better. Laser sailors know that they will be competing on a level footing with other Laser sailors in their ancient and poorly designed boats. There is a measure of tweaking that will make them easier to tune, and polishes to make the hull slippery. But that's it. The aluminium pole could so easily be replaced by something in carbon costing trillions, and a sail made to match it, at similar cost. But why? It has become a style icon. It is no wonder that some of the greatest sailors cut their competitive teeth in these ancient and, I would argue, brilliantly designed boats. Any boat can be improved, but surely it is because they have not been, and because those who sail them best need to overcome those limitations that, paradoxically, they have survived so long.

So, ancient and poorly designed, stupid mainsheet, silly rudder, dreadful sail, hopeless rig; 50 years later, 200,000 plus sold, thriving fleets in scores of countries, second-hand boats for sale for a song, Olympic status and also a strong club presence, a devoted following, where did it all go wrong?

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The Last Word
In the coursse of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. -- Winston Churchill

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