In This Issue
Volvo Ocean Race fleet closing in on Cape Horn with Scallywag heading to Chile
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine
Mystery of abandoned Sea Nymph
Goodison, Bruni, Kirby Hold Top Spots At Bacardi Moth World Championship
Opening of the Mirabaud Sailing Video Award 2018
Clitheroe's TP52 Balance 50th entry for Hamilton Island Race Week 2018
One Brand, Three Designs, Many Winners
Nelson Mettraux triumphs at Grand Prix of Switzerland
Rolex China Sea Race: And they're off!
Featured Brokerage:
The Last Word: Abbie Hoffman

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

Volvo Ocean Race fleet closing in on Cape Horn with Scallywag heading to Chile
While Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag make progress towards the west coast of Chile, the rest of the fleet are closing in on Cape Horn..

Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag is heading towards the coast of the Chile, as the team attempt to recover from the devastating loss overboard of John Fisher on Monday.

At this point, the team has not confirmed its plans, but the west coast of Chile represents the closest landfall and a relatively safe passage for the strong conditions the team is still facing.

The rest of the fleet continues to push on towards Cape Horn.

As of the 1300 UTC position report on Wednesday, Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking and his crew had opened up a lead of 65-miles since jumping to the front of the pack four days ago.

The teams have been battling heavy winds gusting more than 40 knots and monstrous seas as they sail downwind towards Cape Horn, where the Southern Ocean is forced through the narrow gap between South America and Antarctica.

The famed Cape marks the passage into the South Atlantic Ocean and means the end of Southern Ocean sailing for the fleet. The ETA for rounding Cape Horn is near midday (UTC) on Thursday.

Behind Brunel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team are within 20 miles of each other, with Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel a further 30 miles behind.

Issued on behalf of Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

On Monday 26 March, Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag lost John Fisher overboard in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn.

Despite conducting an exhaustive search in gale force conditions, he has not been recovered.

"This is the worst situation you can imagine happening to your team," said SHK/Scallywag Team Manager Tim Newton, who has spoken with skipper David Witt and navigator Libby Greenhalgh about what happened on Monday.

"We are absolutely heart-broken for John's family and friends. I know for David, he has lost his best friend. It's devastating."

Newton says he asked the crew to put together a timeline of events to ensure accurate reporting on the incident and it follows here:

- On Monday, 26 March, SHK/Scallywag was racing in Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, approximately 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn

- Weather conditions were 35-45 knots with 4 to 5 metre seas with showers reducing visibility. It was 15 minutes before sunrise

- The team was sailing with a single reef in the mainsail and the J2 jib. The Fractional 0 (FR0) sail was hoisted but furled

- At roughly 1300 UTC SHK/Scallywag surfed down a large wave leading to an accidental crash gybe

- John Fisher was on deck, in the cockpit. At the time, he was moving forward to tidy up the FR0 sheet and had therefore unclipped his tether

- As the mainsail swung across the boat in the gybe, the mainsheet system caught John and knocked him off the boat. The crew on board believe John was unconscious from the blow before he hit the water

- He was wearing a survival suit with a wetsuit hood and gloves and a lifejacket

- The JON buoy and the horseshoe buoy were thrown off the back of the boat to mark the position

- It took some time to get the boat under control and motor sail back to a position near where the man overboard occurred

- At 1342 (UTC), the team informed Race Control, by email, that there was a man overboard and they were returning to the MOB position to start a search pattern

- With input from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Race Control in Alicante, a search and rescue operation was carried out for several hours but there was no sign of John, the horseshoe buoy, or the JON buoy

- With weather conditions deteriorating, a difficult decision was taken to abandon the search and preserve the safety of the remaining crew

Newton says the team is distraught but has a clear focus on getting the crew and boat back to shore.

Seahorse April 2018
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

It's not just business
The man in ultimate charge of Dongfeng's Chinese-backed Volvo Race programme Guillaume Semblat explains the limitations of the purely commercial model to Tom Mullen

Rod Davis - Just the three
When you finally get right down to it, it really is that simple

ORC - A new experience (for all)
And a time to learn... as the ORC and IRC fleets compete together at long last at the Hague

Tech Street: Spot the join?

Tech Street: Hybrid agility

Sailor of the Month
You don't have to be a spring chicken, you know!

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Mystery of abandoned Sea Nymph
Many will remember the media attention given to Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava when they were rescued in October 2017 from their 50ft yacht Sea Nymph after nearly six months at sea.

The pair claimed their boat was sinking as the reason for their need to be rescued. Yet the boat was found by one of the teams in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic, more than four months later, having been drifting around 1,000 miles south-east of Japan.

While the circumstances around Appel and Fuiava's situation may have been unusual, theirs is by no means the only occasion on which a frightened crew has abandoned a boat that subsequently turned out to be viable. There have even been cases of yachts abandoned during an Atlantic crossing that have then made their own way slowly across to the Caribbean, many of them sadly being driven ashore on beaches that they then litter, instead of being salvaged and subsequently repaired.

While it's natural that a scared crew, in challenging conditions and faced with equipment breakages may wish to escape, abandoning the boat in deep ocean waters is often not a guaranteed route to safety. In particular, any transfer between a yacht and a ship is fraught with danger - with the two vessels moving several meters up and down relative to each other the risk of being squashed between the two vessels, or simply falling off the pilot ladder is very real.

When a yacht is rolling in a heavy sea it doesn't take a huge amount of water sloshing around inside the vessel for it to lap over the bunk tops - a scary prospect. However, unless the ingress is fast and sustained over a long period the boat may be far from sinking at this stage and pumping/bailing out may not be as futile as it might first appear.

Goodison, Bruni, Kirby Hold Top Spots At Bacardi Moth World Championship
Paul Goodison of the U.K., Francesco Bruni of Italy and Rome Kirby of the U.S. hold first, second and third, respectively, at the Bacardi Moth World Championship in Bermuda.

Today's conditions were far more manageable than yesterday's blow out. But even though the northwesterly blew at a more manageable strength of 12-to-18 knots many competitors still suffered breakdowns that had them scrambling.

Goodison's forestay broke during tune-up which forced him to miss the first race of the day. Kirby discovered a crack in his main vertical foil just before docking out. And Iain Jensen of Australia was forced to retire from Race 6, the fourth of the day, when his mainsheet broke.

Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow with the wind strength forecast between 5 and 10 knots.

Top ten provisional standings:
(After 6 races, with one discard)
1. Paul Goodison (GBR) 1-1-(DNC-45)-1-2-1 - 6 points
2. Francesco Bruni (ITA) (13)-7-3-3-3-3 - 19
3. Rome Kirby (USA) (7)-2-6-5-5-5 - 23
4. Brad Funk (USA) 3-3-(7)-7-6-6 - 25
5. Victor Diaz de Leon (USA) 4-6-5-8-9-(10) - 32
6. Ted Hackney (AUS) 14-(15)-2-6-11-2 - 35
7. Benoit Marie (FRA) 8-4-9-10-8-(11) - 39
8. Dan Ward (GBR) 6-5-(12)-11-12-9 - 43
9. Ben Paton (GBR) (45-DNF)-24-8-9-4-7 - 52
10. Iain Jensen (AUS) 5-(45-DNC)-1-2-1-45 DNF - 54

Full standings

Opening of the Mirabaud Sailing Video Award 2018
After a successful first edition, the Mirabaud Sailing Video Award will once again celebrate the world's best TV / video producers specialized in the sport of sailing, as well as sailors who produce videos during competitions. Due to the dates of the awards ceremony, held during the Yacht Racing Forum on 22 October in Lorient (FRA), the final date of submission is brought forward by one month.

The Mirabaud Sailing Video Award is now the world's leading competition in this field. Open to audiovisual professionals, cameramen, editors, directors and journalists, the contest will also once again celebrate sailors who film their exploits during races.

The awards ceremony will take place on 22 October in Lorient (France), during the gala evening of the Yacht Racing Forum, at the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, in the presence of the main personalities of the international sailing world.

Dates to remember for the 2018 edition:

Videos must have been filmed between November 1, 2017 and September 24, 2018
Videos can be submitted anytime between now and September 24, 2018 at midnight GMT
Public voting will be open from September 28 to October 15, 2018

Full rules

Two important facts to remember:
Video length: 1'30 (max)
Royalty-free soundtrack

Send Your Video:

Clitheroe's TP52 Balance 50th entry for Hamilton Island Race Week 2018
As the list of yachts competing at Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 continues to climb at an impressive rate, two distinctly different designs have become the 49th and 50th entries.

It was high-profile financial expert, Paul Clitheroe, who took this year's fleet into the 50's when he lodged the entry for his two-time Sydney-Hobart race winning TP52, Balance. The yacht first won the classic in 2008 when named Quest and owned by Bob Steel. Then in 2015 Clitheroe took the same yacht, which he had renamed Balance, to top honours.

This will be Clitheroe's tenth Race Week, and he has declared that he and his crew plan to adopt a far more casual approach this year.

While the lodgement of the 50th entry marks an impressive milestone for Race Week 2018, the 49th and smallest entry to date is sure to turn heads during the regatta.

It is the 7.3 metre long Seascape 24 production yacht, Alfina, a European design that is having a huge impact on the sailing scene in that part of the world. The design is a development of the Seascape 18, which already boasts a fleet in excess of 300.

Since its release last year, the Seascape 24 has been voted "European Yacht of the Year 2017", and the best yacht in its category by three of the world's leading yachting publications

The 35th edition of Hamilton Island Race Week is scheduled for August 18 to 25. The largest Race Week fleet to date came in 2016 with 252 entries. -- Rob Mundle

One Brand, Three Designs, Many Winners
The first day of the 2018 Monaco Swan One Design held more than just promise, with the Yacht Club de Monaco Race Committee led by Ariane Mainemare laying on three quick-fire races for the assembled fleet. Racing proved as close as anticipated across the three classes and all participants were rewarded with some exceptional competition. With an excellent opening day's racing under the belt everyone competing might consider themselves a winner, but today's high-rollers off Monte Carlo were definitely: Leonardo Ferragamo's Cuordileone in ClubSwan 50s, Luis Senis Segarra's Porron IX in Swan 45s and Lorenzo Mondo's Far Star in ClubSwan 42s.

The day began quietly. A thin zephyr in the harbour suggested crews could be in for a long wait. Hope was on the horizon with various forecasts predicting a sea breeze would be established by 13.00 CEST. And, so it was. The AP (postponement flag) ashore was lowered at 11.15 and the first start was signalled at 12.30. All three races were held in 8 -12 knots of principally south-southwest flow, with the four-leg courses ranging between 4.6 and 5.2 nautical miles.

Racing at the Monaco Swan One Design continues tomorrow, 29 March, with the first signal scheduled for 11.00 CEST.

Nelson Mettraux triumphs at Grand Prix of Switzerland
Locarno: With an outstanding performance of 9 wins in 10 matches, the Geneva Matchrace team with skipper Nelson Mettraux secured victory in the heavily occupied Matchrace Switzerland. Team Trippolt from Austria took second place and Eric Monnin's Albert Riele Swiss Team conquered the third podium place.

On the final day, Lake Maggiore was at its best. With 2-3 wind forces, sunshine and springlike temperatures the last sailing duels could be carried out. The meeting of the team headed for the event Top Team Estonia with Mati Sepp at the helm against the surprising in the intermediate ranking leading Geneva with helmsman Nelson was expected. The two teams delivered a dramatic sailing duel that only decided at the finish line.

Final results:
1. Nelson Mettraux (SUI)
2. Max Trippolt (AUT)
3. Eric Monnin (SUI)
4. Mati Sepp (EST)
5. Mathias Rebholz (GER
6. Vladimir Lipavsky (RUS)
7. Szymon Jablkowski (POL)
8. Felix Schrimper (GER)
9. Alain Stettler (SUI)
10. Rocco Attili (ITA)

Rolex China Sea Race: And they're off!
The 2018 edition of the Rolex China Sea Race got underway at 1120hrs today with blue skies and an easterly breeze of 8kts. The start line, located in front of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club s Kellett Island Clubhouse, was a bit hectic with most boats favouring the committee boat end of the line, resulting in a few bumps between boats and an individual recall being signalled for Rampage 2, Seawolf and Sitka.

First through the gap (the smallest distance between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon) was Alive, the current race record holder of 47h 31m 08s - followed shortly after by Karl Kwok's MOD 70 Beau Geste. After the gap, MOD Beau Geste quickly extended in front of the fleet and is currently travelling along at around 24kts.

As the competitors make their 565nm journey across the South China Sea to Subic Bay, the breeze is forecasted to build to overnight maxing out at around 20kts; hopefully resulting in some champagne sailing as the fleet make their way towards the Philippines.

29 boats are taking part in the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race with 265 competitors hailing from 22 territories including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Mainland China, Denmark, England, French, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA.

With all going to plan, the first boat expected to arrive is MOD Beau Geste, with Karl and his crew estimating to finish tomorrow afternoon.


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