In This Issue
The Fleet Dives South
18ft Skiffs Queen of the Harbour 2018
Harken Element Blocks - Coming to a Dealer Near You
Prosikhin's NIKA Crowned Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Champion
Velsheda Finishing Error Grants Svea Their Fourth Win
Spot the join?
#BVIStrong! Overwhelming Support For 47th BVI Spring Regatta
America's Cup Winner Soaking Up His Time in the 'Lucky Country'
HillPDA Racing claim second Farr 40 AUS national title
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Calvin

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

The Fleet Dives South
Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic got an early jump on their Volvo Ocean Race rivals as Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai entered its second day.

An intense start saw the seven-boat fleet - back up to full complement with the return of Vestas 11th Hour Racing - sail straight into a 30-knot easterly just hours after the leg start on Sunday.

Monday has brought little let-up with winds hovering around 25 knots producing similar boat speeds as the teams charge deeper into the Southern Ocean on the 7,600-mile leg.

An opening day lead for Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE was cut short when Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team AkzoNobel skirted round the outside of the fleet as it piled into an unpredicted wind hole.

The manoeuvre gave Caffari's crew a slim lead of around two miles on Vestas, with the chasing pack a further five miles adrift.

With the easterly breeze forecast brought on by an anticyclone due to remain in place for several days before backing, the tactics early on is relatively straight forward - dive south as fast as possible.

Only when the wind turns more to the north will the fleet be able to start the curve towards Cape Horn and the heavy weather that lies in wait further down the line.

18ft Skiffs Queen of the Harbour 2018
Click on image for photo gallery.

18 Skiff Sydney Harbour: Twenty one year old Isabelle Quigley became the 18ft Skiffs Queen of the Harbour for 2018 when she teamed with Steve Quigley, Sam Ellis and Scott Babbage in The Kitchen Maker on Sydney Harbout today.

The Kitchen Maker and Finport Trade Finance were in or near the lead over the three laps of the course before The Kitchen Maker took the line honours by just two seconds in a dramatic finish.

Finport Trade Finance (Tara Blanc Ramos, Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Angus Williams) was four seconds ahead of third placed Yandoo (Nicole Douglass, John Winning, Cam McDonald, Michael Kennedy).

Ilve (Claire Kowaltzke, Ollie Hartas) finished fourth, ahead of De'Longhi (Natasha Childs, Simon Nearn), and Quality Marine Clothing (Ashleigh Hoffman, Aron Everett).

The race was sailed a a 15-20-knots North West wind which tested the crews and their teams over the three laps windward-return course.

Conditions provided the queens with an exciting sailing experience as the skiffs raced around the tight course in strong wind conditions.

Isabelle Quigley, who usually sails a 13 Footer at St. George Sailing Club was having her first race in the annual Queen of the Harbour and said the experience was awesome.

Today's race is the final 18ft Skiff race for the 2017-2018 Season

Harken Element Blocks - Coming to a Dealer Near You
Harken In Pewaukee, the Harken crew is hard at work packaging and shipping the first Element blocks to dealers around the world. When designing Element, Harken engineers tried very hard to improve upon the technology found in most popular-priced blocks: plastic side plates formed around internal stainless load-carrying bails.

Element blocks debut with sideplates of forged, aluminum executed in compound curves for increased durability. Precisely the amount of metal required to protect the composite sheave is used. No more. No less. That construction is given the same hardcoat-anodized finish found in Harken's most expensive aluminum blocks and paired with a proven bearing system.

The result is a Harken engineered value-priced block that is strong and contemporary. Whether cruising the bay, competing in a weekend race, or embarking on an extended passage, Element blocks will get you there without over-eating into your budget. Element is here!

Available in singles, doubles, triples, fiddles, and footblocks in 45, 60, and 80 mm. Accepting line from 8 - 16 mm.

Learn more about Element. Harken At The Front.

Prosikhin's NIKA Crowned Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Champion
Miami, Florida, USA: A full round of congratulations goes out to 2018 Melges Rocks Regatta Champions Vladimir Prosikhin and his NIKA team which included tactician Michele Ivaldi and crew Giorgio Tortarolo. Simultaneously, they have also conquered the 2017-18 Miami Winter Series. They are the very first European team to ever win the Winter Series Championship title and take home the trophy.

On Sunday morning, as teams awoke and made their way to the docks, the light air prevailed. From an early point, PRO Blake Middleton was quoted as saying, "Conditions are not looking awesome." At 1100 the call was made to abandon racing, therefore the results for the Melges Rocks Regatta as of Saturday, remain as is and stand as final.

The next events here in North America include the fantastic 2018 Sperry Charleston Race Week on April 12-15 - it's the perfect lead-up to what will be an amazing U.S. National Championship on May 18-20. Hosted by the Carolina Yacht Club, the Nationals is setting up to be a red-carpet event at a world-class venue.

Top Five Results (Final - After Six Races, One Discard)
1. Vladimir Prosikhin, NIKA, RUS, 14
2. Igor Rytov, RUSSIAN BOGATYRS, RUS, 16
3. Alexis Michas, MIDNIGHT SUN, USA, 17
4. Rob Wilber, CINGHIALEj, USA, 19
5. Dario Levi, FREMITO D'ARJA, ITA, 23

Full Event Results

Velsheda Finishing Error Grants Svea Their Fourth Win
Velsheda appeared to have done all they needed to win around today's 25.43 nautical miles 'wiggly' J Class coastal race at the 2018 St Barths Bucket, but an error in their misreading of amendment to the instructions for the finish line robbed themselves of what would have been their first win of this 2018 St Barths Bucket Regatta. Their mistake handed the Race 4 victory to Svea, which looks set to win their first J Class Regatta together.

As the wind faded and shifted during the later stages of the multi leg course off the north west of the island, Velsheda were slicker in their gear changing, read the shifts well and were able to extend away from the persistent Svea. Up the final beat to the finish line they stayed offshore and added to their margin on their pursuers. But relief and satisfaction on board Velsheda turned to disappointment when their error became apparent.

"It is unfortunate but there you have it." Velsheda's tactician Tom Dodson admitted, "We feel like we sailed well and felt good about it, but we misread the amendment. But we have had a couple of beers and talked about it and in the end we are happy in how we sailed."

"Svea are quicker, a lot faster than us downwind and so we really felt we did well to have them behind us." Dodson concludes.

For Svea the fourth win from four starts here gives them an untenable lead in the three strong J Class fleet at the regatta.

The course took the J Class yachts from a downwind start in 12-14kts on a run to the north west to pass outside the rocky Grouper islets, reaching to Roche Table and then on a long upwind to the most westerly turning mark by the Ile Fregate. Velsheda lead Svea here by one minute and six seconds. But almost immediately, Svea came back at them on the run. After a straight bear away set they sailed a profitable heading breeze inshore and took a chunk out of Velsheda's lead.

It was down by the Roche le Bouf that the breeze went slightly more fluky, creating a transition zone as they emerged from the disturbed lee affect of the island. Velsheda were able to extend away again here, getting back on to their headsail smarter. And on the last upwind from the Ile Fourchue, Velsheda stayed offshore while their rivals tacked in closer to the Gustavia shore and appeared to lose out a little. By the finish line, Velsheda were more than two minutes clear of their rivals.

Svea go into the final day, expected to be a second round the island race, with a lead of six points over Topaz which score second today. Velsheda are now third overall, one point behind Topaz.

Spot the join?
TEXT More than 20 years on and Hall Spars' reputation for creating elegant - and seamless - proven performance carbon spars still only improves...

Almost every raceboat of any size built in the past two decades has been fitted with a carbon spar, as have many larger cruiser/racers and every large sailing yacht of any type over 20m. The advantages in safety and performance are just too great to ignore, and composite spar manufacturing has been refined to a remarkable level of reliability that exceeds even where alloy was at its peak a quarter of a century ago.

Hall Spars have been a pioneer in this field for almost four decades. The company has produced countless championship-winning spars, with a clear commitment to continuous development to remain at the cutting edge of a competitive field, where not only is light weight important, but strength and reliability are crucial. This is especially true for spars supplied for series-built production boats where efficiencies in production timing and cost are also important parameters.

Hall Spars' approach to carbon sparmaking was from the very beginning to build their rigs in a seamless process, which has set them apart. Ben and Eric Hall recognised the advantages of using male mandrels in construction when they started building their first carbon spars in 1984.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:

#BVIStrong! Overwhelming Support For 47th BVI Spring Regatta
The organisers and supporters of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival hosted by Nanny Cay have always stood firm and optimistic that the 47th edition of this much-loved regatta would take place over Easter as planned, and so it will. The Regatta will be the first major international event held since Hurricane Irma and Maria devastated the island group last September, and the BVI people have made great strides to re-build lives and get the show on the road.

The running of the event this year will be a significant achievement for all those concerned. Everyone has worked tirelessly since the devastating hurricanes to ensure that the Regatta, which this year includes an exciting new full moon event offering competitors a chance to race around the beautiful British Virgin Islands, will go ahead.

The 2018 BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival kicks off with a four-day warm-up, followed by the main three-day regatta from 26th March to 1st April. Nanny Cay, home and host to event for the past 15 years is set to welcome some 60 yachts to the newly located Regatta Village sited in the Outer Marina which was completed in December 2016. This marina was relatively unscathed by the region's worst natural disaster on record and will be a perfect base for the teams to gather and enjoy the regatta.

Competitors this year include a number of regular boats and crews who are keen to show their support, as well as friends of the Regatta from Puerto Rico, Antigua, BVI and other Caribbean Islands who were also affected by the 2017 hurricanes. The event is also thrilled that North American sailors, as well as those from the United Kingdom and Europe will be joining the festivities.

"We have been coming to the BVI for over 20 years and this will be our fifth Spring Regatta," said owner of Hanse 43 Avanti, Jeremi Jablonski from Cedar Point, CT, USA. "We were one of the first boats to arrive back at Nanny Cay last November and to witness the devastation after Irma. We were also the first to sign up for this year's event as we love the BVI and we are competing to show our support to our local friends."

Peter Steinkogler's team on X-41 Godspeed from Union Yacht Club Traunsee in Austria is also back. Peter suffered a personal loss last year while competing in the regatta and had to unexpectedly fly home. "This is my second time racing in the BVI Spring Regatta," he said. "Last year we won our first race before I had to leave, and my crew finished the event without me. This year I'm looking forward to sun, paradise, good racing and a Painkiller or two!" Peter is a 17-times European Austrian Champion in various boats, and Chief Sailing Instructor at Godspeed Sail Racing Academy.

Tony Mack, member of the Royal Southern YC in Hamble UK and current J111 National Champion will be returning for his ninth Spring Regatta on the British J122, Team McFly/El Ocaso. The experienced team have had great success at the event in the past and Mack is looking forward to more great racing this year.

Susan Glenny's First 40, The Sirens/Olympia's Tigress, also from the UK will host The Sirens Women's Yacht Racing team at this year's BVI Spring Regatta. The Sirens is an established all women's crew that races in the UK and the Caribbean to provide an opportunity for women to experience competitive racing.

The 47th annual BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival will take place between March 26-1 April 2018. For more Information go to:

Current entries

America's Cup Winner Soaking Up His Time in the 'Lucky Country'
Click on image to enlarge.

Superfoiler (Sydney) For America's Cup conqueror and SuperFoiler series leader Glenn Ashby victory at the Expr3ss! SuperFoiler Grand Final in Sydney would be an exclamation point on a dream return to racing on home shores.

"The sailing here in Australia is really up there with some of the best sailing venues and locations on the world," said Euroflex's mainsheet hand Glenn Ashby, "To be a part of a great event and series, meeting new people and getting to sail with my mates has been a great bonus after success winning the America's Cup last year. All things considered, we really do live in the lucky country."

Ashby has put in a peerless performance alongside his front-running Euroflex team mates of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen. The trio of Olympic medallists and Auld Mug chasers lead the SuperFoiler series heading into the final round on Sydney Harbour, but know that with a two-point cushion and 12 points up for grabs in the last regatta, that the Ben Lexcen Trophy isn't yet within reach.

Euroflex has dominated the series winning three of the four regattas but could tumble off the season podium with a poor result in Sydney but despite that multiple world champion is still eager to share knowledge with the five SuperFoiler teams that are looking to dethrone him.

The Expr3ss! SuperFoiler Grand Final - Sydney will reach its epic conclusion on Sydney Harbour across Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of March 2018. Championship Standings following the Busselton Regatta - Euroflex (19), Tech2 (17), Pavement (16), Record Point (12), iD Intranet (11) and Kleenmaid (10).

HillPDA Racing claim second Farr 40 AUS national title
Martin Hill's HillPDA Racing defended its Farr 40 Australian Champion status on Sydney Harbour, four wins and two seconds among eight races tallying up to a final unbeatable score 15 points in the black.

Tactician for Hill, Tom Slingsby, is nearing the end of a hectic Australian summer program and the Sydney nationals threw up plenty of late season grenades. "We assume the weather is still summer-like, but it's starting to change. We had super light and super windy moments, abandoned races and relocations, and it was extremely shifty all three days. The crew work on our boat was amazing; we didn't have one mistake, even in 25 knots."

Second on a countback went to Australian class president Gordon Ketelbey's Zen. The Middle Harbour Yacht Club/RSYS team opened their campaign with two wins and a handy head start, then hung on to post a second in race six and possibly benefit from a shortened series.

Tom Quick's Outlaw and Jeff Carter's Edake were willing a third and final race on the closing day, their very last opportunity to pull enough points off Zen to finish with the silver medal. The weather remained on Zen's side.

RSYS race officer Rob Ridley took the series right up to the 1500hrs deadline for starting race nine, delaying the 1100hrs scheduled start while the breeze clocked 180 degrees from west to east, then moving the fleet around the harbour between The Sound, Obelisk and Sow & Pigs reef in search of the prevailing light winds. By the time the mid-afternoon nor'easter started to settle, the clock had expired.

On Saturday May 5 the class will celebrate its 20 year anniversary when present and past Farr 40 sailors gather at the RSYS. "We are looking forward to reuniting the current teams and getting together with former owners, tacticians and key crew members to celebrate such a momentous occasion," the class president said.

The Australian Farr 40 class is considered the strongest combined fleet in the world and Sydney has previously hosted three world championships.

2017-18 Farr 40 National Championship results at

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The Last Word
I understand my tests are popular reading in the teachers' lounge. -- Calvin

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