In This Issue
Turning to the east, pointing to Cape Horn
Round the Rocks Race on Thursday Kicks-Off Three-Day 45th St. Thomas International Regatta
Cruising division announced for Atlantic Anniversary Regatta
IRC European Championship: Incorporating the Commodores' Cup
Harken Element Blocks - Coming to a Dealer Near You
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Woody Allen

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

Turning to the east, pointing to Cape Horn
Four days into Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, the teams have reached the Furious Fifties and made their turn to the east, pointing towards the famed Cape Horn...

Vestas 11th Hour Racing posted the first 500-mile run of Leg 7 on Wednesday as the fleet charges towards the ice exclusion zone.

Four days into the 7,600-mile leg from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil, there has been little let-up for the seven teams as they continue to push ever deeper into the Southern Ocean.

A north-easterly wind of 20 and 30 knots has guaranteed rapid sailing conditions and similar boat speeds from the Volvo 65s.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing clocked off 500.2 nautical miles in the 24 hours leading up to the 0700 position report, with their six rivals all within 15 miles of the target.

Until now the race has been to get due south as fast as possible to skirt round the bottom of a big anticyclone, but today the teams - split on the water by 25 miles - started to swing round to the east as the ice exclusion zone quickly approaches.

The shortest, and therefore technically the quickest, route will see the fleet bounce along the exclusion zone, put in place by race management to keep the teams away from Antarctica's icebergs.

At 1300 UTC Vestas 11th Hour Racing had slipped to second place, having surrender the top spot to team AkzoNobel as the fleet blasts east.

"It's still pretty tight - we've got Dongfeng and MAPFRE coming at us pretty quickly at the moment, and we can see Brunel's light up to windward," Akzonobel's navigator Jules Salter explained.

"Everyone's doing 22, 23 knots so we're really only 10 or 15 minutes apart from each other. The sea state and the wind is changing all the time, and we're just trying to find the right combination for the sails. The guys on deck have a lot of work on."

The next challenge facing the teams comes in the shape of a monster depression brewing to the south containing winds in excess of 40 knots.

Round the Rocks Race on Thursday Kicks-Off Three-Day 45th St. Thomas International Regatta
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. A dozen boats are registered for the third annual Round the Rocks (RTR) race on Thursday. This one-day event, whose course is a 19 mile circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John, is a great way for teams to tune up for the main event, the 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), which takes place from Friday through Sunday.

The twelve-boat race fleet is split into two groups: CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Spinnaker and CSA Non-Spinnaker classes. Ten boats are competing in the Spinnaker class including Ontario Canada's Rob Butler's Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing.

One of Touch2Play's competitors is Apollo, Donald Nicholson's brand-new J/121. Built as hull #2, this will be only the second time the Weston, MA-based sailor and his team have raced the boat. The first was the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta three weeks ago, when the team enjoyed a podium placement, finishing third in its class.

Boats sailing in the Round the Rocks race will start off St. Thomas' east end, sail counterclockwise around St. John and finish off St. Thomas.

Nearly 50 boats, with sailors from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Antigua, the U.S.A., Canada and Europe, will take to the start at 11 a.m. on Friday off St. Thomas' east end.

Cruising division announced for Atlantic Anniversary Regatta
Hamburg, Germany: With less than four months to the start, the preparations for the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta (AAR) are up and running at full throttle. When the yachts embark for their Transatlantic journey, Bermuda will be in the spotlight of the international sailing community twice, as a second start for a cruiser-division has just been announced by the organizing committee of the AAR for the 1st of July.

"We wanted to give every competitor the chance to attend the festivities in Hamburg after the race", said Arne Hirsch, project manager of the event. The Atlantic Anniversary Regatta celebrates the 150th anniversary of Germany's prime yacht club, the "Norddeutscher Regatta Verein", NRV. Consequently, a well-equipped race village in the heart of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg awaits the AAR-finishers, spouses and public. With the cruisers starting on July 1st, and the racers on July 8th all competitors are scheduled to arrive in Hamburg during the same time-period between 18th and 29th of July.

During the regatta, the race-village will be the place to be for everyone following the race. A race tracker presented by Mainpartner Lufthansa will provide real-time information from the AAR, which will be put on a big screen for visitors to the race village. A daily broadcast-show highlighting the developments of the race will bring all the action from the North Atlantic to the AAR-community. At the moment, a total of four yachts has expressed interest for the cruising division. A limit does not apply.

Head over to for all the details on the cruising division.

IRC European Championship: Incorporating the Commodores' Cup
Following its debut as part of Cork Week in 2016 and a stand-alone event held in Marseille in 2017, the IRC European Championship this year will take place out of one of its spiritual homes. Coming to Cowes for the third edition and for the first time in the UK, a record-sized fleet will compete in the 2018 IRC European Championship. It will be one of the most prestigious regattas ever run for IRC, the rating rule created and managed jointly by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Union Course au Large in France.

53 boats took part in the south of France in 2017 and the fleet is expected to top 80 boats this year. Racing will be held over Saturday 9 to Saturday 16 June, run by the RORC with Stuart Childerley presiding as PRO.

The event is open to yachts with IRC TCCs of 0.995-1.270. This equates to Sun Fast 3200, X34s, HOD35 at the smaller end up to FAST 40+s at the top. The fleet will be split into classes, but at the end of the week a single IRC European Champion will be crowned. Last year's winner was the St Tropez-based JPK 10.10 Expresso 2 skippered by Guy Claeys, but perhaps it could be third time lucky for the big boats?

Already FAST40+ yachts including James Neville's Ino XXX and Mike Bartholomew's Tokoloshe have signed up for the event. RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine and his heavily campaigned First 40, La Réponse will also be on the start line: "The IRC Europeans are completely different to the IRC Nationals because the Nationals have no offshore element, so the Europeans will be a much more intense competition than we normally get. It should make it more attractive to overseas entries especially from France, Belgium, Holland and as far away as the Baltic and will support IRC racing in those areas."

The race format for the IRC Europeans will be a challenging mix of inshores and offshores - similar to that used previously for Commodores' Cups. It will comprise up to 10 inshore races (including windward-leewards, round the cans, some reaching starts, etc), a race around the Isle of Wight (carrying a 1.5x points coefficient) and a 150 nautical mile/30-36 hour offshore race (set in the central Channel to suit the wind direction and strength and coming with a 2x coefficient).

France also has a title to defend as the IRC European Championship will this year incorporate the Commodores' Cup, the RORC's biennial event for three boat teams with amateur crews.

To simplify putting teams together, for 2018 the Commodores' Cup has been fully opened up. Boats must comply with the overall IRC TCC limits for the IRC Europeans, but there are no longer any class restrictions for Commodores' Cup boats, nor a requirement for one to be a 'big boat'. Similarly, teams are no longer have to enter the event as nations via their Member National Authority. Instead teams can decide themselves whether they wish to represent a nation or a region or their yacht club or simply three likeminded friends with boats can get together, regardless of their nationalities.

Any boats entering the IRC Europeans can be part of Commodores' Cup teams, however as the Commodores' Cup is a competition for Corinthian crew, boats entering in this will be limited to having one World Sailing categories Group 3 'professional' aboard. The number of pros on board is unrestricted on boats only entering the IRC Europeans.

For more information go to: or contact the RORC Race Team on: +44 (0)1983 295144, Email:

Harken Element Blocks - Coming to a Dealer Near You
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.

Click on images to enlarge.

RS Yachts is a new brand of yachts created by an investor who has in the past been deeply involved with Oceanco and Jongert and who has now realised his personal vision of the perfect contemporary sailing yacht. The first two yachts, both 19m RS 1900s, are currently under construction, one of which will be presented at the Cannes Boat Show in September. Larger versions - a 22m and 25m are currently being developed.

The newe range will be available through brokers Arne Schmidt that has successfully been working in global yachting with AS-Yachts for more than 35 years. Its core competence is the agency for high quality yachts, new and used, sail and motor.

According to RS Yachts, in the increasingly popular 60ft-65ft yacht segment, owners are increasingly looking for easily handled yachts without compromising on performance, interior volume and comfort on board. The new RS 1900 is described as being suitable for double-handed or even single-handed operation not only under sail but also while docking. RS Yachts claims impressive performance is generated by a long, effective waterline and a powerful but easily harnessed rig.

The yachts are being built at Bloemsma, with the second boat on order for the yard's owner, Jan Hart, for his personal use.


Mr Takashi Okura's New-Zealand-built Sled was the first of the nine latest generation new TP52s to touch the water when it made a splash in Auckland, New Zealand on February 15th. After a productive series of sea trials, the new Sled was on a ship to Europe on 24th February. 

 Long serving Kiwi America's Cup and TP52 campaigner, Don Cowie - who, with project manager Brad Marsh, helped oversee the build by Tim Smyth and Mark Turner and the team at Core Builders Composites - confirms the new Sled will arrive in Valencia, Spain virtually ready to race, and he says:

"It is the best TP52 I've ever seen."

The Sled crew are hoping that the very early launch and full crew sailing trials off Auckland, which will be supplemented by intensive training alongside other boats in Valencia leading into early May's pre season indicator, PalmaVela, will all add up to a competitive advantage when they start the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES in Croatia on May 23. The passionate, experienced owner has had a number of Sled race boats, all built in New Zealand. The Core team, recently more used to building America's Cup multihull hulls and components, took considerable delight in building their first TP52 grand prix monohull, placing a high emphasis on weight saving, reliability and detailing.


Just as the Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 success story that is BAM! celebrates yet another victory in the West Indies this weekend, a sister-ship is being unveiled in Dun Laoghaire Harbour by Irish Jeanneau dealers MGM Boats.

The new Dublin Bay arrival is a welcome addition to the Irish racing fleet that will most likely be seen first racing on the ISORA circuit, according to sources. The first ISORA race of the season is a 40-mile coastal shake-down on April 21st.

The 2018 Irish Sea schedule runs right through to the end of September with 15 races in store thus giving plenty of time for the return of this week's Caribbean 600 class champion to line up against her new rival at a time when ISORA numbers are buoyant. understands the new 3600 is almost identical to BAM! with a sail wardrobe by North Sails Ireland. One big difference between the two boats, however, is the new owner has opted for a double wheel configuration instead of BAM's tiller arrangement.

The new boat is expected to be sailed mostly fully crewed or double-handed.

The boat, commissioned by MGM Boats this week, includes a spray finish antifoul by the boatyard.


Juan Yacht Design has been selected to design the next IMOCA 60 'Arkea Paprec' which will be skippered by Sebastien Simon in the next Vendee Globe, a sailor with huge potential who will be supported by Vincent Riou in the role of Project Head

With committed sponsors, a determined and talented skipper and a technical director who won the 2004-05 Vendee Globe, there are all the ingredients for Juan and his team to be part of an ambitious adventure where the primary objective is to be leading from the front.

Considerations for the design of this sailboat have only just started: the team is still in the research phase but the architect already has ideas: "I am visualising the boat but it's too early to discuss this. We still need to immerse ourselves for a few months before we can confirm that what we envisage is correct. What I am sure of is that the new IMOCA rule will certainly create boats with unique shapes."

The challenge in the coming months will therefore be to combine perfectly the technical and sporting elements within the framework of the Class rules, creating the right formula to win the Vendee Globe... since the possible combinations of research are infinite, it will take a lot of devotion and ingenuity.


Hap Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn./Naples, Fla.) and his team on Bella Mente Racing made their first big splash onto the grand prix racing scene back in 2006, and this year the three-time Maxi 72 World Champions are preparing to make more waves with the launch of a new state-of-the-art Maxi 72 yacht. Designed by Botin Partners and built by New England Boatworks, the yacht is the fourth under the Bella Mente namesake and is set to be unveiled this July in Newport, R.I., just in time to be shipped to Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the 2018 Rolex Maxi 72 Worlds in September.

For New England Boatworks, this will be the third Bella Mente that it has built for Fauth. Located in Portsmouth, R.I, the premier boatyard is responsible for some of the world's most high-performance yachts. The new Bella Mente build began this past November, and the boatyard team, as well as a team of Bella Mente Racing boatbuilders, are working in overdrive to ensure the yacht launches this summer.


Ben Rogerson Yacht Design (BRYD) have launched plans for their new BR31, an ultra-modern carbon racer, as a highly competitive option for the HP30 Class which has been set up on similar lines to the Fast 40+ Class.

The BR31 is aimed at ambitious racing sailors seeking fast, competitive and exciting racing at a fraction of the cost of running a 40 footer, yet offering similar features and feel. Designed for a maximum crew of seven, the boat will appeal to sailors wanting to step up from smaller sports boats, or those who want a smaller and exciting alternative within IRC & ORC racing.

Rogerson, a young designer with an impressive range of design and boat building experience across a variety of projects, including Oracle and the IMOCA 60 Estrella Damm, has set out to offer the BR31 at a cost effective base boat price of £115,000. The boats will be British built and incorporate many of the features found at the very top of the sport. A fabricated fin is standard, and options for owners include an adjustable forestay, standard or high modulus mast, string take down systems and deflectors.

BR31 Boat specification:
Loa: 9.55
Boa: 3.1
Draft: 2.4
Displacement 1900kg
IRC Tcc: 1.14

Infused carbon/glass hybrid, foam core composite construction, from CNC tooling providing geometry to the highest tolerance.

Featured Brokerage
2003 Maxi Dolphin KALAO. 980000 EUR. Located in the South of France.

A stunning cruiser/racer designed by celebrated Italian designer Luca Brenta, the Maxi Dolphin 65’ KALAO represents the latest concept in medium-light displacement yachts. She is designed for high performance under sails without sacrificing interior space. The accommodation includes a large double berth owner's cabin located to the fore, an immense open-space saloon amidship, with the galley area in full view, and two aft guest cabins, each with twin berths.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Tel : +33 (0)4 67 66 39 93
email :
Web :


1973 Maxi Racer 20m One Off - PHANTOM. 325000 EUR. Located in West Coast, Italy.

An absolute gem of a yacht. Built originally for the founder of Wally Yachts, she offers sublime sailing performance and beautiful lines. Maxi Racer 20m One Off that’s been constantly updated and absolutely ready for the next owner.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679222


1997 Volvo 60 (modified) - Bou Dragon. 230000 EUR. Located in The Hague, Netherlands.

Launched originally as "Silk Cut", she quickly established herself as the fastest ocean racer on the water and held the 24hr record for a number of years. In more recent times, she was known as “SEB" and now "Bou Dragon", where she has been meticulously maintained and modernised by her current owner.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Sam Pearson - Ancasta Auckland

+44 2380 016582
+64 277733717

See the collection at

The Last Word
Photons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic. -- Woody Allen

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