In This Issue
MAPFRE suspends racing to deal with damaged mast track as fleet passes Cape Horn
Team Brunel leads fleet past Cape Horn and out of the Southern Ocean
The Finest Sailing Boots for the Everest of Sailing
36th America's Cup Class Rule Published
Barcelona World Race 2018-19 suspended
Rolex China Sea Race: Karl Kwok's MOD Beau Geste Smashes Multihull Record
Docks at Nanny Cay new outer marina buzzing as boats prep for BVI Spring Regatta
Letters to the Editor
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Wim Hof

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

MAPFRE suspends racing to deal with damaged mast track as fleet passes Cape Horn
MAPFRE, the overall leader in the Volvo Ocean Race, has suspended racing to attend to damage to their mast track.

A section of the mast track came unglued from the mast five days ago, but until now the team has done a good job of limiting the impact of the damage on its performance through various jury-rig solutions.

But now, with 2,000 miles of racing left to the finish line in Itajaí, Brazil, skipper Xabi Fernández has elected to suspend racing as of 18:32:20 UTC, and just six miles west of Cape Horn, to make a more effective repair to both the mast track and mainsail. Three members of the shore team are in the area to assist the sailors.

Under the rules of the Volvo Ocean Race, a team that suspends racing may use its engine, get outside assistance or take on equipment to make a repair.

The penalty for suspending racing is that you must remain out of the race for a minimum of 12 hours, and return to the same location where you suspended before resuming the race. Given the speed of the other boats, this latest development has the potential to knock the overall race leader back significantly.

Team Brunel leads fleet past Cape Horn and out of the Southern Ocean
Skipper Bouwe Bekking and navigator Andrew Cape have used their veteran nous to sail Team Brunel past Cape Horn at the head of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet.

Bekking and his team passed the famed Cape at 13:01 UTC (provisional) on Thursday and earn one point on the leaderboard for being first past the Horn.

But even with a successful passage from the Pacific into the Atlantic Ocean, Bekking said the mood on board during the approach to Cape Horn was subdued.

"The crew is very, very, very tired," he wrote earlier on Thursday. "Even though we are leading, there is no 'hurray' feeling on board… The loss of John is sitting way deeper than people like to admit: I think of him several times in an hour."

Chasing Team Brunel to Cape Horn is a group of five boats led by Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

"I can speak for everyone on board to say we're all really, really looking forward to getting there," said navigator Simon Fisher.

"It's the hardest of the great Capes to take on and this has probably been the toughest Southern Ocean leg on record for quite some time. I'm on my fifth race now and I don't remember one as hard. As usual it's blowing about 35-40 knots, so really, there's just been no let up in the last week and half to these conditions…

As the fleet races around Cape Horn, Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag continue to make progress towards the west coast Chile, with landfall anticipated early next week.

The Finest Sailing Boots for the Everest of Sailing
Dubarry Boots The Dutch sailor Bouwe Bekking is most certainly one of the most qualified sailors competing in the current Volvo Ocean Race. This is his eighth time to lap the planet and over the three decades of his sailing career he has most definitely had some amazing experiences. Possibly the most amazing took place earlier today when Bouwe and his crew aboard Team Brunel blasted around Cape Horn well ahead of the rest of the fleet. Bekking and his team passed the famed Cape at 13:01 UTC (provisional) on Thursday, March 29.

Cape Horn is the sailors Everest. It's the most iconic and most feared of all cape's and for good reason; it has claimed the lives of many sailors over the centuries. A quick look at a chart of the area and you can see that the ocean floor is littered with shipwrecks dating back a hundred years when the old clipper ships fought galeforce winds to secure a rounding and be the first to haul their precious cargo to the lucrative ports in America and Europe. Bouwe and his crew are not hauling cargo but they are building memories and this one must be especially sweet for them despite the tragic news of the loss of a sailor aboard Team Sun Hung Kai Scallywag.

Team Brunel have dominated this leg since leaving Auckland 11 days ago. The Southern Ocean has dished up some brutal sailing conditions with strong winds, mountainous seas and grey threatening skies the order of each and every day. At one point they sailed over Point Nemo which is known as the world's loneliest place. It's an invisible spot in the vast Southern Ocean furthest from land, in any direction, anywhere in the world. Bouwe and his crew led the fleet past Point Nemo and now around Cape Horn wearing the finest sailing boots available - The Dubarry Crosshaven engineered and crafted to take on both Point Nemo and Cabo de Hornos.

36th America's Cup Class Rule Published
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Circolo della Vela Sicilia, together with their respective teams Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - Luna Rossa, published the AC75 Class Rule for the 36th America's Cup today.

The AC75 Class Rule defines the parameters within which teams can design a yacht eligible to compete in the 36th America's Cup. It regulates all aspects of the boat to ensure fair and exciting racing, whilst leaving plenty of freedom for innovation to flourish.

The development of the Class Rule has been a four-month process led by Emirates Team New Zealand, working together with Luna Rossa Challenge.

Highlights of the AC75 Class Rule include:

- Strict limitations on the number of components that can be built including hulls, masts, rudders, foils and sails, thus encouraging teams to do more R&D in simulation and subsequently less physical construction and testing

- Supplied foil arms and cant system to save design time and construction costs

- Supplied rigging

- One design mast tube

In addition, the 'soft wing' mainsail concept that has been developed for the AC75 Class Rule is expected to have a trickle down effect on sailing in the future.

The America's Cup AC75 Class Rule can be downloaded HERE

Barcelona World Race 2018-19 suspended
Political instability has made it difficult to guarantee delivering the event to the standards a round-the-world race deserves

In view of the political and institutional difficulties faced in Spain, the FNOB (Barcelona Ocean Sailing Foundation) Board of Trustees has decided to suspend the upcoming edition of the Barcelona World Race, due to start on the 12th of January 2019.

A sporting event of this scale requires significant private sponsorship, which is its only source of funding. And this last year, the course of events has prevented the FNOB from ensuring a reliable sponsorship process, and therefore guaranteeing the delivery of the best Barcelona World Race to the teams, their sponsors and the public.

The decision to suspend the race is all the more difficult given that its new format (start January 12, mandatory stopover in Sydney and possible change of co-skipper) has significantly increased interest among the IMOCA teams and strengthened its relevance within the IMOCA Globe Series calendar.

Understandably, this is a very disappointing situation for all the stakeholders, in particular the IMOCA class, and the teams engaged. In everyone's best interest, this decision could not be delayed any longer. In the meantime, the FNOB will do everything in its power to support IMOCA with potential alternative solutions.

And as of today, the FNOB is starting discussions with IMOCA with the aim to secure a future edition of the Barcelona World Race in 2022-2023.

Rolex China Sea Race: Karl Kwok's MOD Beau Geste Smashes Multihull Record
Karl Kwok's MOD Beau Geste crossed the finish line early this morning, 30 March, at 01h 50m 07s in Subic Bay, Philippines - smashing the 18 year old multihull record set by Benoit Lesaffre's Crowther 50 Catamaran, Atmosphere, by an incredible 9h 31m 40s. The new multihull record now stands at an awesome 38h 30m 07s.

MOD Beau Geste had an epic run for the first 23 hours of the Race averaging around 20kts. On Thursday morning however, with around 100nm left to the finish, the breeze died and the crew had a painful few hours as they tip-toed towards Subic Bay. "We had seven hours sitting, just drifting, doing 1 to 3kts. We got through it, it was not called for but it happens. It was a bit of a low after we gained everything overnight" said Kwok of the final leg into Subic Bay.

Eventually, the breeze filled in for the last 85nm cementing Karl Kwok (HK) and team of Gavin Brady (NZL), Margaret Chan (HK), Cowen Chiu (HK), Matt Humphries (UK), Matt Keelway (NZL), Spencer Loxton (UK), Rob Salthouse (NZL), Dave Swete (NZL) and Cameron Ward (AUS) into the record books. "We did around 400nm in a 17 hour period and at the end of the day we came and did what we wanted to do and we got a new record!" he added.

Of sailing on the MOD Kwok said, "I have been a monohull sailor since 1975 so really this is a brand new experience and all I can say is that it's not as comfortable as a monohull; it's super fast, much faster - and I think that compensates for it all. It's exhilarating when the boat picks up speed and it just flies. Equally when there is no wind the boat just sits there like anything else. We had 37kts, this is what we call the 'red zone', you know, you push a little harder and something might go wrong but our average was about 20kts. At that speed you are like a motor boat with the amount of shaking and rumbling. Again it's a totally new experience. As I get older I guess this is perhaps the only way to save precious time racing; you can do offshore races in less time!"

Race Tracker:

TEXT There is a (very cool) new face in town…

You remember that scene where James Bond emerges from the sea in full scuba gear and steps out of his wetsuit to reveal perfect evening dress, ready to make ladies swoon at the roulette table? Fiction, of course. And yet that's what Marc Blees has set out to achieve with his new Code-Zero brand of clothing.

A great sailor in his own right, one of the best Finn and Star competitors to emerge from the Netherlands in recent years, Blees has also produced clothing for many big-name fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and O'Neill. Closer to home he has been pivotal in the development of Gaastra Pro as a successful marine brand. In launching Code-Zero he brought together his two passions for fashion and sailing. The challenge he set his designers was to create apparel that was tough enough and reliable enough to go racing in utmost comfort and without compromise, while at the end of the day you could step ashore and straight into the restaurant without changing and without embarrassment. Even 007 had to change before entering the casino.

'It's very difficult to make great sailing gear and great casual gear into one garment, and I don't believe we have any competition because we are talking about two very different worlds,' says Blees.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:

Docks at Nanny Cay new outer marina buzzing as boats prep for BVI Spring Regatta
Tortola, British Virgin Islands - March 29, 2018 - Today was a day of prep and practice, onshore and offshore for a full weekend of racing ahead. Blue skies and a 15 knot breeze motivated many of the 66 boats registered to race this weekend's BVI Spring Regatta to take advantage of a perfect day on the water to polish maneuvers, while others were preoccupied shoreside getting equipment race ready.

The support for this 47th edition of the BVI Spring Regatta from sailors in neighbouring Caribbean islands has been terrific. From Antigua, Shannon Falcone (two times America's Cup winner over six challenges, two Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, Transatlantic, Transpac, Bermuda and Rolex Sydney Hobart Race record holder) has brought Falcon, his DNA F4 carbon 46-foot foiling One Design catamaran, to race in the multihull class. Falcone, the primary developer behind the exciting cat which has some 1000 miles of open water sailing logged on the exciting cat, said he's still refining details. "It's the smallest big boat - systems-wise on board it feels like a big boat," Falcone explained. "We just raced her in the RORC Caribbean 600 in crazy conditions not meant for this boat - she's best in 16+ knots and flat water so we're hoping the breeze keeps up over the next few days." Check in with Falcone if you're interested in buying his boat - it's for sale!

The Dark Star team, from Puerto Rico, is excited to be racing a boat new to them this year, trading in a J/105 for a 2012 McConaghy 38. Paul Beaudin has worked with the team for many years and is helping get the boat, which they raced in St Thomas last weekend for the first time, up to speed.

Another team from Puerto Rico racing in Jib & Main is Estela, a new Grand Soleil 52 LC owned by Luigi and Estela Miranda. The boat is a sports version with racing specs - taller mast, longer keel, lower boom

Blitz, the King 40 owned by Peter Corr which he keeps in Tortola, is making its comeback after sustaining damage in Hurricane Irma. Blitz raced for the first time since Irma in St Thomas last weekend, taking second in class.

In the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay, the Annual Mount Gay Red Cap Welcome Party on Thursday evening opened three days of great racing at the 47th BVI Spring Regatta starting on Good Friday.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Don Street:

The loss of John Fisher is a tragedy, but John departed on a high, on his voyage to sailors Vallhala where winds are fair and seas smooth. He was doing exactly what he had always wanted to do, surf across the southern ocean in the Volvo Race.

He was not connected with his tether, but had he been connected, dumped overside at 25 kts, would he have survived? or would Scallywags crew just retrieved a drowned John Fisher?

Year in and year out sailors are seriously injured or killed by an unexpected jibe.

Fifty or more years ago, I rigged on Iolaire a simple easily connected, easily disconnected, main boom fore guy, preventer.

I rigged a wire slightly shorter than the length of the main boom, from the main sheet bail at the end of the boom to the gooseneck. The inner end was secured to the gooseneck by a light lashing line.

I rigged two spinnaker pole fore guys port and starboard thru blocks on the bowsprit ends, both ends secured to life line stanchion abreast of the mast.

Whenever Iolaire was sailing broad off the wire under the boom was disconnected from the goose neck and attached to one end of the lee spinnaker pole fore guy. The other end was run aft to a spare winch and set up tight.

Thus the main boom preventer was rigged without any crew member having to go forward of the mast.

In the early days of my ownership of Iolaire, there was a serious shortage of winches. The main was overeased, the foreguy set up tight as possible and secured to a cleat, then the main re trimmed making the foreguy bar taught.

When running down wind wing and wing, as the maine coast schooner skippers would say "reading both pages of the book" the windward foreguy was to the spinnaker pole, leeward one to the main boom foreguy.

If we jibed everything was reversed.

When I have been allowed to, I have installed this rig on every boat I have sailed or raced on. They have varied in size from 50 ' sloops racing in Antigua Sailing week, to Altair 120' gaff rigged schooner where we rigged them on both fore and main booms!!!

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2001 J120. 104,500 EUR Located in Holland.

New on market as the team takes on a new challenge, this J120 has been meticulously prepared and extensively set up for doublehanded racing. With an impressive race record, she is arguably the fastest J-120 in Dutch and UK competitions – including the full-crewed J-120s.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Jascha Bach


Raceboats Only 2012 Ker 51. 650,000 EUR Located in the UK.

Race results A few of the many results : 2013 Winner in IRC class Sydney-Hobart 2014 Winner Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race 2015 Overall winner RORC IRC National Championship 2015 2nd place in IRC Zero Rolex fastnet Race 2016 2nd place overall in RORC IRC Zero

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Jascha Bach


Raceboats Only 2006 Melges 32. 47000 EUR. Location on request.

Nice Melges with B&G electronics and North 3Di sails, trailer included. Balbi trailer, 14.10.2016 approved by Danish authorities Engine: Tohatsu 9,9 hp , seviced in 2016. Works nice.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Liesbeth Groeneveld

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The Last Word
Life is like a dewdrop on a grass leaf. When is slips away, it's gone forever. -- Wim Hof

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