In This Issue
Man overboard on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag
Into the Southern Ocean storms
Auckland confirmed as host venue for 36th America’s Cup
That was Quick
Clipper Race 9 Day 3: Light Winds And Net Negotiations
City of Plymouth confirmed as start venue for The Transat 2020
Volvo Cork Week: UK Launch and Beaufort Cup
Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series
Rolex China Sea Race
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Christopher Hitchens

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

Man overboard on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag
Race Control for the Volvo Ocean Race has been informed by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag of a man overboard incident, on Monday afternoon at approximately 13:42 UTC.

The team, along with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), has been conducting a search and rescue operation to recover the missing crew member, John Fisher (UK), who was wearing survival equipment when he went overboard.

The remaining crew are reported safe.

The incident took place approximately 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn.

The wind in the search area is a strong 35-knot westerly, with accompanying sea state. Water temperature is 9-degrees Celsius. There is daylight, but weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate in the coming hours.

Given the gale force conditions it is not an option to divert any of the other six Volvo Ocean Race competitors, who are at least 200 miles further east and downwind of SHK/Scallywag, to assist in the search operation.

The MRCC has identified a ship approximately 400 nautical miles away and it has been diverted to the scene.

* Editor: Nearly 12 since John Fisher went overboard. Take a moment to be grateful that YOU are OK. And if you pray... a good time for that too. Here's hoping the morning breaks with news of his rescue.

Into the Southern Ocean storms
Winds are building again as the Southern Ocean shows its teeth to the Volvo Ocean Race sailors

After winds had moderated over much of the weekend, and provide a much-needed respite to the Volvo Ocean Race sailors, Monday showed the Southern Ocean still has some bite.

With 1,400 miles to sail to Cape Horn, the fleet is now seeing snow squalls and winds above 40 knots, in building seas.

This will be the case for another 24 hours, before another short break brings more moderate winds. But as the boats approach the famed Cape Horn, the forecast is for conditions to deteriorate significantly, with howling winds and towering seas predicted.

Team Brunel continues to lead the fleet in their push eastwards,

Leg 7 Auckland to Itajaí26 March 2018 Positions at: 13:00 UTC

1. Team Brunel, 3186.64 nm to leg finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, 50.44 nm to leader
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, 50.63
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic, 56.02
5. MAPFRE, 57.33
6. Team AkzoNobel, 60.17
7. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, 234.42

Auckland confirmed as host venue for 36th America’s Cup
Today’s announcement that the event venue and host city agreement has been reached between the Defender - Emirates Team New Zealand and the Auckland Council Governing Body and the New Zealand Government confirms that the 36th edition of the America’s Cup, presented by Prada, will take place in Auckland in March 2021.

The agreement defines the location of the America’s Cup Village, as well as the team bases, and represents a considerable investment in the waterfront area.

COR 36, the operational arm of Luna Rossa - Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup, applauds this agreement. It is a major milestone on the journey to the next edition of the oldest trophy in sport.

“On behalf of the Challengers, we are very pleased about this announcement. We look forward to Auckland where we will organise the Christmas Race in December 2020 and The Prada Cup - the Challenger Selection Series in January and February 2021. Well done, Auckland - bring on AC36!” said Laurent Esquier, CEO of COR 36.

COR 36 is the operational arm of the Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup and is responsible for the organisation of the America’s Cup World Series (five events in 2019-2020), the Christmas Race (December 2020) and the Challenger Selection Series - The Prada Cup in January-February 2021 in Auckland, NZ.

* The 36th America's Cup in 2021 will be held on Auckland's waterfront, with a base configuration that involves a small extension into the harbour.

The plan, developed by Team New Zealand, would see them situated in the Viaduct Events Centre, one team based on the Hobson Wharf extension, while as many as five other challengers could be accommodated along Wynyard Wharf.

The plan was less expensive than previous options, Goff said, and required less extension into the harbour than its alternatives. With Team New Zealand being based at the Viaduct Events Centre, the need for an extension to the Halsey Wharf is essentially eliminated.

That was Quick
Seahorse In no time at all New Zealand composites company C-Tech have gone from making some of the world’s fastest battens to building substantial chunks of (very) fast boats

When Alex Vallings set about building composite spars for his skiff two decades ago he had little idea that his efforts would blossom into a specialist facility building custom components for America’s Cup campaigns, superyachts and spacecraft - not to mention 50,000+ spars, battens, tubes, poles and booms. His primary interest in the hot cauldron of skiff racing was in ‘making cool things go fast’ - and 20 years later that goal remains the central philosophy of the company he founded.

In a world where loads are constantly increasing but the competitive edge demands lighter and lighter components, C-Tech have carved a niche in precision composite engineering, taking them to the limits of material properties.

When C-Tech was established it operated out of a farm shed to the west of Auckland. Now its fourth premises is a modern 2,000m2 factory, with a 600m2 world-class temperature-controlled clean room, an autoclave, 10m flatbed plotter and recently installed five-axis CNC cutter. The factory was purposebuilt for C-Tech seven years ago, but already it looks as if further expansion might be required.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:

Clipper Race 9 Day 3: Light Winds And Net Negotiations
The forecasted light winds and the busy fishing fleet in the East China Sea continue to frustrate the teams on the third day of racing to Seattle. Culminating in a reshuffle of the leaderboard which sees Visit Seattle take the lead from close rival Qingdao.

The Clipper Race fleet remains close together with less than 50 nautical miles separating all the teams. Skipper of third placed Unicef, Bob Beggs, describes the current conditions and difficulties the fleet is facing: "Another beautiful day following a night of light wind sailing with wind speeds fluctuating between 0 and 4 knots with boat speeds to match.

"Still we are in good company with half of the Clipper Race fleet visible on AIS doing similar routes when the wind drops below 2 knots and we lose the ability to control the direction the bow is facing."

For the PSP Logistics team, their encounter with a fishing net brought the yacht to a complete stop but, even though they dropped to fourth, Skipper Matt Mitchell remains positive

Race 9: Race to the Emerald City will finish at Bell Harbor Marina, in Seattle, with the teams expected to arrive between 14 - 19 April 2018.

City of Plymouth confirmed as start venue for The Transat 2020
Britain's Ocean City, Plymouth, has won the bid to host the start of the next edition of The Transat in 2020, the first and oldest single-handed transatlantic race in history.

The iconic and historic port on the Devon coast, which has a rich history of staging prestigious professional sailing events, will host The Transat for the second time in succession, having welcomed the race at the start of the last edition in 2016.

Race owner and organiser OC Sport has confirmed a start date of the 10th May 2020 for The Transat. The race is the successor, for professional sailors, to the original solo race across the North Atlantic that was born as the OSTAR in 1960 and which featured legends like Blondie Hasler and Sir Francis Chichester.

The 3,500-mile quadrennial race across the North Atlantic has a fearsome reputation and is regarded as one of the toughest professional solo ocean races. It is a challenge dominated by the progression of low pressure systems sweeping across the North Atlantic that produce the headwinds that define this classic race.

In 2016, Frenchman Armel Le Cleac'h took an impressive win in the IMOCA 60 class aboard Banque Populaire, in a time of 12 days, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 39 seconds.

Racing classes invited to take part in The Transat 2020 edition include the Ultime multihulls measuring anything from 51-feet and above, Class40 monohulls (40ft) and Multi50 multihulls (50ft). They will line up on the start in Plymouth Sound alongside the ocean's monohull thoroughbreds - the IMOCA 60s (60ft), the world's leading solo class as part of their official race calendar, that will go on to contest the Vendee Globe later that year.

Volvo Cork Week: UK Launch and Beaufort Cup
The UK Launch of Volvo Cork Week 2018 was held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble, with an after party at the King & Queen Pub. Representing Volvo Cork Week was Director of Racing Rosscoe Deasy, Event Chairman Kieran O’Connell, and Gavin Deane General Manager of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This July, Volvo Cork Week welcomes a wide variety of international sailors to experience well-managed racing on a range of courses, both inside and outside of Cork Harbour. Classes will include IRC rated boats, non-spinnaker, 1720, Dragons and Sportsboats. 1st of May is the early bird deadline.

The second edition of the Beaufort Cup will take place during Volvo Cork Week 2018. International teams from their associated national services will take part, 50% of each team must be active in the service they represent. Racing is scheduled over five days with a mix of challenging offshore, and tactical inshore racing, including a Fastnet Rock Race. Teams will be able to join in the shoreside fun at Volvo Cork Week and their own Gala Dinner. The winning team will have €10,000 donated to their nominated charity.

For all local house rentals and B&B accommodation inquiries, contact Audrey at . For those on a budget Volvo Cork Week's Motor-Home Village offers great value with secure 6-berth onsite Motor Home Units from €35 per person, per night (Based on 6 people).

Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series
What a difference a week makes - the first weekend of the series all racing was cancelled as strong winds and a blanket of snow covered the south of England, but Sunday light winds and relatively balmy temperatures were the order of the day.

Challenge number one for the race committee came when the primary Black Group committee boat broke down and couldn't be enticed into starting. So the team had to squeeze onto the clubs small committee boat Lobster. Challenge number two for both race committees was setting start lines and courses in the light Northerly air, with wind speeds between 5 to 8 knots.

IRC4 arrived quite quickly and all finished ok, with the well prepared Stan the Boat (Sigma 33Toby Gorman) finishing first. IRC1 found their last two legs were quite tactical crossing the fairly strong tide from the island back to the Bramble bank - there was more breeze on the bank than on the island, and some boats that kept to the island side lost out, with a couple of boats over standing the finish.

Nifty (King 40 - Roger Bowden) was first in IRC1, beating Sailplane (Beneteau - First 40 Roger Bottomley) by just a second on corrected time. In IRC2 and IRC3 Davanti Tyres (J/112e - Chaz Ivill) and J'Ronimo (J/92David Greenhalgh) came in first respectively. The winners of the J/109 and J/88 classes were Jubilee (Christopher Preston) and Tigris (Gavin Howe).

The White Group managed to get three races completed in the shifty conditions.

DSP GBR1248 (Douglas Struth) and Jeepster GBR1169 (Graham Clapp) ended the day leading the J/70s. The J/70 is noticeably the largest class represented in White Group - probably the combination of being the newest kid on the block, plus the fact that the J/70 worlds next year are in the UK - even WSC member Jon Powell has abandoned poor old Betty (J/80) and is campaigning a J/70 (Peggy) this year.

Full results:

Rolex China Sea Race
Rolex China Sea Race Celebrating his 25th birthday on the eve of the Race, Gordon Liu may be one of the youngest skippers in Rolex China Sea Race history. Gordon, a fresh graduate from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, will make the crossing on the Sydney 38 Kingsman with his crew of seven. Kingsman is co-owned and supported by Cowen Chiu, Gordon’s Godfather and Chairman of the Hong Kong Sea School.

This will be Gordon’s very first offshore race as skipper and his crew is made up of a combination of experienced sailors and university students. Gordon’s experience comes from offshore passage cruising and he has acquired a few thousand miles as skipper thanks to cruises between Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Pangkor, Langkawi and Phuket.

Kingsman (previously called Stella owned by Roland Buser (2008) and then Fred Kinmonth (2004)) has taken part in two previous editions of the China Sea Race, placing 3rd in her division and 10th Overall in 2008 and 7th in division and 7th overall in 2004.

The Notice of Race for the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race starting on 28 March 2018 is available online at

Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race
The 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starting on Sunday 12th August will feature a wide variety of yachts racing under the IRC rating rule as well as one design and open classes, such as IMOCA, Class40 and Multihulls. The majority of the fleet will race fully crewed, but with over 10 entries and expressions of interest for the IRC Two Handed Class, the race is expected to have a record entry for Two Handed challengers.

The first ever RORC Round Britain and Ireland race was held in 1976, but it was not until 2014 that a Two Handed Team successfully finished the race. In 2014, Liam Coyne's Irish First 36.7 Lulu Belle, racing with Brian Flahive won IRC Two Handed. Ian Hoddle's Rare was runner-up and the first team in the history of the race to complete the gruelling 1,800 nautical mile challenge. Hoddle will be back this year with a new boat, his Sun Fast 3600 Virgin Media Business, co-skippered by Ollie Wyatt.

Kuba Szymanski's Beneteau First 40.7 Polished Manx II will be flying the Polish flag in the Two Handed Class. The veteran skipper is a short-handed expert having completed the Round Ireland Yacht Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race on many occasions.

Werner Landwehr's German Figaro II Dessert D'Alcyone will be racing Two Handed again having come third in 2014 and is one of the smallest boats competing. Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada, class winner in the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race is currently the smallest boat in the fleet and Ross Hobson's Pegasus Of Northumberland the largest. The British Open 50 took line honours for IRC Two Handed in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is one of the world's toughest offshore races. The race starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line in Cowes, then 1,805 nautical miles around Britain and Ireland, including all outlying islands (except Rockall). The teams will experience the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic coastlines of Ireland and Scotland, before rounding Muckle Flugga, north of the Shetland Island. Halfway home the fleet will turn south. The second part of the race pits the fleet through the North Sea, the English Channel and back to Cowes for the finish.

Featured Brokerage
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Raceboats Only 2012 Morelli Melvin 33 foiler - "FOILED" Modified SL33. 235000 EUR. Located in Auckland,

"FOILED" is a custom built, fully foiling cat, using the hulls from the hugely successful SL33 Class. Above and below the waterline, she has been further developed in EVERY department, making her probably the fastest 30 footer in the world today. Upgraded foil package allowing upwind foiling >12kt

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The Last Word
Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are God. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are God. -- Christopher Hitchens

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