In This Issue
An update on John Fisher
Australian Sailing saddened at the loss of John Fisher
Goodison Takes Lead At Bacardi Moth World Championship
The genie is out of the bottle
Round Tortola Race & Absolut Full Moon Race
Optimist Team Race US National Championship
Monaco Set For Swan Contest
American Magic
Epic 30 knot Finn footage from Cadiz
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Bertrand Russell

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

An update on John Fisher
John FIsher An update on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag crew member John Fisher, from Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race:

This morning I am extremely sad to inform you that one of our sailors, John Fisher, from Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, is now presumed to have been lost at sea.

This is heart-breaking for all of us. As sailors and race organisers losing a crew member at sea is a tragedy we don't ever want to contemplate. We are devastated and our thoughts are with John's family, friends and teammates.

Yesterday, just after 1300 UTC, Race Control for the Volvo Ocean Race were informed of a man overboard situation by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

We immediately coordinated with the team as well as the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who have located a ship and diverted it towards the scene. But at current speeds it remains over a day away.

With the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approximately 200 miles downwind, sending them back upwind to assist, against gale to storm force winds, was not a viable option.

The Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag team conducted an exhaustive search for several hours in extremely challenging weather conditions, but they were unable to recover their teammate.

Given the cold water temperature and the extreme sea state, along with the time that has now passed since he went overboard, we must now presume that John has been lost at sea.

All of us here at the Volvo Ocean Race organisation send our heartfelt condolences out to John's family, his friends and his teammates and we will do everything in our power to support them in this very difficult time.

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag has now resumed heading in a north-easterly direction.

In fact, the team is currently in a challenging position - the weather is deteriorating and is forecast to be quite severe over the course of today.

The crew is, of course, emotionally and physically drained after what they have just experienced.

Our sole focus now is to provide all the support and assistance that we can to the team.

We are sure that there will be many questions about how one of our sailors was lost overboard yesterday.

We can address those after the team has been fully debriefed.

Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to John's family and the entire Scallywag team.

Australian Sailing saddened at the loss of John Fisher
The Australian sailing community is mourning the passing of John 'Fish' Fisher during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from New Zealand to Brazil, approximately 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn. He is being remembered as a great competitor, sailor and mate to many, particularly at Christies Sailing Club and Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia.

Born in the UK, John has lived in Adelaide for many years and enjoyed sailing not just in the waters around South Australia, but also nationally and internationally. Along with races around the country, he has competed in some of the world's great ocean races including the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, two Transpacs and was on-board SHK/Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race when the incident occurred.

The Scallywag team, assisted by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), conducted an exhaustive search and rescue operation in an effort to recover Fisher, who was on watch and wearing appropriate survival gear when he went overboard.

Matt Allen, President of Australian Sailing expressed the feelings of many, saying, "we have lost a fine sailor, one who was loved not just by family and close friends, but also by sailors around the world, many who have competed with him for many years.

"I sailed the Transpac Race with 'Fish' in 2013 and again in 2015 on Ragamuffin 100, he was a good bloke to have standing alongside you, he was always ready to get involved and was an accomplished sailor. I caught up with John in Auckland recently during the stopover there and he was as fit and as happy as I've ever seen him. He was clearly doing the thing that he loved, sailing on-board Scallywag with his mates.

"He made the move to Australia some years ago after getting into sailing as a kid in the Solent in the UK and competed in many of the world's greatest, and toughest, ocean races. He will be greatly missed".

Members of Christies Sailing Club, where John was an active member as well as CYCSA, have come together as the day unfolded to support each other.

On behalf of the Australian Sailing community, we offer our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends, both here and in the UK, as well as the SHK/Scallywag crew at this challenging time.

Goodison Takes Lead At Bacardi Moth World Championship
Hamilton, Bermuda: Paul Goodison of the U.K. took the early lead at the Bacardi Moth World Championship in Bermuda after winning the first two races on Great Sound.

Hosted by the Royal Bermuda yacht Club, the world championship got underway a day late after yesterday was blown out. Today was on the hairy edge as the wind blew steadily between 18 and 22 knots with gusts nearing 30 knots. The conditions were challenging for the sailors but left some exhilarated.

Goodison didn't suffer any breakdowns today but one of his main rivals, Iain Jensen of Australia, did. Jensen led Goodison around the first lap of Race 1, heightening the intrigue as to which of the veteran Mothists is faster.

On the second upwind leg, however, Jensen's boom vang broke. He managed to salvage a fifth in the race but then missed the second race because he returned to shore to make a repair in the hopes of returning for the third race. By that point the wind had increased and the race committee decided to postpone the rest of the day's schedule.

Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow with a forecast that calls for winds of 12 to 20 knots.

Bacardi Moth World Championship Bermuda Provisional Standings
(After 2 races)
1. Paul Goodison (GBR) 1-1 - 2 points
2. Brad Funk (USA) 3-3 - 6
3. Rome Kirby (USA) 7-2 - 9
4. Simon Hiscocks (GBR) 2-8 - 10
5. Victor Diaz de Leon (USA) 4-6 - 10
6. Dan Ward (GBR) 6-5 - 11
7. Benoit Marie (FRA) 8-4 - 12
8. Francesco Bruni (ITA) 13-7 - 20
9. David Holenweg (SUI) 9-12 - 21
10. Michael Barnes (GBR) 12-11 - 23

Full provisional results

The genie is out of the bottle
Seahorse Higher line and rigging loads will almost always translate directly into higher performance on the water... It's hanging on to the ends - while being able to adjust them properly - that is the more difficult equation

A system is only as strong as its weakest point. It's a universal truth that applies to many things in life, and certainly to the world of rope holding. A racing team that's always looking to make performance gains, by upgrading sails, spars or rigging or rope-holding equipment, should also bear in mind that as each of these modifications stiffen the system, so the peak dynamic loads on the line increase. Something has to give, unless you take the necessary precautions.

Balancing act
When considering rope holding, it's vital you look at both halves of the equation, because the grip on a rope is dependent in equal measure on the characteristics of the gripping surface and the surface being gripped. In the design and development of jammers and clutches you also need to make your assessments in the context of rope manufacturers' continued development of fibre and braiding technologies.

Good partnerships with the rope manufacturers are critical to Spinlock being able to develop the best possible rope-holding products, as head of the Special Projects Team, Charlie Carter explains: 'Spinlock enjoy close relations with all the major rope manufacturers to make sure the two fields develop in sympathy with one another, the objective being that the customer is able to hold the load he needs, on the line he chooses.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:

Round Tortola Race & Absolut Full Moon Race
Light winds led to challenging conditions for the teams competing on the first day of racing at the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival as the Round Tortola Race and Absolut Full Moon Race set off.

"We looked behind us and didn't see anyone at all, we were pretty far ahead of the fleet," said David Liddell, co-owner of WOW, the Stealth 14GT catamaran and the first boat to cross the finish in today's gruelling Round Tortola Race. It was a very challenging day for the all the classes who started the race, with a breeze that clocked the compass amidst squalls and at times, no breeze whatsoever. Race officials shortened the course mid-afternoon which allowed several boats including WOW to finish within the allotted time.

"Floppy and wallowing" were today's buzz words aboard the Swan 51 Godspeed as the crew stuck out the frustrating conditions to finish the Round Tortola Race, but unfortunately not within the allotted time. They hooked into a nice groove after winning their start and led the CSA Cruising division for much of the distance up and around Beef Island before the breeze evaporated for them after Scrub Island. Godspeed, owned by Tortola local Chris Haycraft, is a new boat for him after he lost his trusty Pipe Dream in Hurricane Irma. Today was somewhat of a celebration aboard Godspeed as it was the first time since Irma that his crew had been on the water.

The enthusiastic Absolut Full Moon Race fleet started with the Round Tortola Race boats who were also thwarted by today's conditions, with several of the fleet choosing to withdraw after a frustrating day.

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival continues on Wednesday March 28, with the finish of the Absolut Full Moon Race and the start of the Island Invitational.

Optimist Team Race US National Championship
Pensacola, FloridaL The team entry deadline for Pensacola's 2018 Optimist Team Race National Championship has been extended. The new team entry deadline is midnight CDT, Monday, May 21, 2018. The names of the individual four or five team members are not due until Midnight July 5. The amended NOR is posted at under 'USODA Regatta Calendar'.

Competition promises to be stiff as the first place USA team meeting the Team Race Eligibility requirements from the Gold Fleet will qualify to represent the USODA at the 31st Opti Team Cup Berlin in Germany, October 25-28, 2018.

Team racing is the finale of a weeklong three-event optimist racing, USODA spectacular on Pensacola Bay, Florida. After check-in and measurement on July 13-14, the 2018 Optimist National Championship racing is scheduled for July 15-18, the Optimist Girls Championship is July 19, and team racing wraps it up.

Check-in and measurement for these strict one-design eight-foot prams will be July 13-14. Racing is scheduled for July 15-22, 2018.

The overall Optimist National Championship leads the schedule on July 15-16-17-18. The Optimist Girls National Championship will be sailed July 19 and the Optimist Team Race Championship wrap up the action July 20-21-22. Prizes are awarded after each event.

Make lodging reservations through Pensacola's central tourism bureau at and get more Pensacola area sports information at Pensacola Sports and the Florida Sports Association both support the Optimist Nationals at PYC.

Monaco Set For Swan Contest
The quayside in front of the Yacht Club de Monaco's magnificent clubhouse on Quai Louis II was buzzing with activity today, as the crews gathered for the inaugural Monaco Swan One Design set about their final preparations. The first event in The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League 2018, this regatta has attracted a group of committed teams and is expected to be a closely fought contest. Racing starts tomorrow, 28 March, and continues through to Saturday, 31 March.

The 2018 Monaco Swan One Design marks the opening of the Yacht Club de Monaco's (YCM) summer season

The programme for the event concentrates on the sporting side with a compact schedule for the next four days. Principal Race Officer for Swan One Design, Ariane Mainemare, is looking forward to the challenge: "We have 10 races planned, and are hoping to get three races on each of the next two days with two races per day thereafter. It looks like we'll have good wind to help us with this."

Mainemare ran the racing at the 2017 Nations Trophy event in Palma in October and is very familiar with the crews here this week.

The Monaco Swan One Design regatta comprises four days of inshore, windward-leeward racing. Entries have been drawn from Germany, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Racing at the Monaco Swan One Design gets underway tomorrow, 28 March, with the first signal scheduled for 11.00 CEST.

American Magic
The New York Yacht Club and Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association today announced they will compete under the name New York Yacht Club American Magic in their challenge for the 36th America's Cup, to be held in New Zealand in 2021.

Philip Lotz, Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, said, "America was the first boat to win the America's Cup in 1851. Magic was the first boat to defend the Cup in 1870. American Magic builds on the legacy of those two yachts, and the name embodies the mission of our campaign, which is to win the Cup and in the process build the foundation for a stronger competitive sailing culture in the United States. The New York Yacht Club is very excited to be part of this campaign and the legacy we are striving to create."

Over the coming months, American Magic will continue assembling a team of top sailing talent, and best-in-class designers and engineers to best position it to bring the America's Cup home to the United States and the New York Yacht Club. As it builds its world class team, American Magic will leverage its partnerships with US Sailing and Oakcliff Sailing to develop the next generation of American sailors, reenergize the passion of fans and make the America's Cup relevant to the broad base of American sailing.

Hap Fauth, CEO of American Magic, said, "On behalf of Doug DeVos, Roger Penske and all the members of our team, it is an honor to represent the New York Yacht Club, its membership and the American yachting community in the 36th America's Cup as American Magic. Under this proud name, we are focused on creating an America's Cup culture in American sailing, and with our partnerships, we are engaging with the grassroots to increase the competitiveness of our sailors, and working to engender the kind of excitement the America's Cup previously enjoyed in the United States. We're not just racing to bring the Cup back to America, we're racing to bring American yachting back to the Cup."

Doug DeVos, Principal of American Magic, said, "As an avid sailor and passionate supporter of the NYYC, I'm thrilled to be a part of such an extraordinary team. Over the years, we have worked hard to promote sailing in the United States and inspire the next generation of sailors to compete at the highest levels of our sport. It's an honor and privilege to be a part of American Magic's challenge to bring the America's Cup back home."

American Magic's design team is actively at work planning for the first of two AC75 class boats, and preparing for the publication of the AC75 Class Rule at the end of March. At the same time, the American Magic's sailing team is currently training in Long Beach, Calif., for the Ficker Cup, which is the qualifier for the Congressional Cup. The team expects to establish its primary base in Newport, R.I., later this spring.

Epic 30 knot Finn footage from Cadiz
In the tradition of strong wind Finn racing that transcends and inspires generation after generation of young sailors, the on-board videos that have been published over the past few days from the medal race at the 2018 Finn European Championships in Cádiz have held viewers mesmerised and awestruck.

The medal race line up was impressive by any standards. Among the sailors were four world champions, three European champions, two Olympic medallists and an America's Cup winner. It was exalted company to be in and the conditions provided a supreme test of supreme sailors and athletes.

It was a not only a spectacular show, but a spectacular race with the gold medal changing hands, close boat on boat racing, impressive boat handling skills, and the emotion of defeat and victory.

The Finn class fitted each Finn with a stern mounted rack and a GoPro action camera and the results are about as spectacular as any dinghy footage you have ever seen with a social media global reach of already more than a quarter of a million.

The wind speed that day was averaging 24 knots with gusts to 31 knots. Combined with huge 3-4 metre waves, there was no escape. You got it right or you got it wrong. The videos show this inescapably.

Finn Channel on YouTube

Featured Brokerage
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Built by Wally Yachts and designed by Farr Yacht Design, NAHITA was launched in 2009. The skilful combination of pure exterior deck lines and lofty interiors makes NAHITA not only the perfect yacht for family cruising, but also the perfect 80’ foot yacht for competitive sailing. NAHITA’s impressive racing records to date are a true testament, not only to her current owner and crew but, also to the Wally shipyard. These records can be supplied upon request.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

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Stylish and ship-shape, Tonemai is an iconic Wally ready for the starting line of the Wally Class season 2018 as well as for the family cruising!

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Raceboats Only 2008 Oyster 72 Solitaire of Bosham. 1,485,000 GBP. Located in Palma.

Built with a breathtaking attention to detail by experienced owner, Solitaire boasts sleek modern lines and a clutter-free feel. Class-leading, beautifully proportioned and practical interior. Performance wise the 72 is hard to beat. Currently used for family cruising and some charter.

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The Last Word
The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible. -- Bertrand Russell

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