In This Issue
Slow progress towards Brazil for remaining racers
J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series
Sustainability and Innovation at the heart of a new Dutch Worlds yacht rigged by Marlow Ropes
US Virgin Islands defy hurricane wrath
Ichi Ban No. 1 entry for 30th Airlie Beach Race Week
Huge Ask - Huge commitment
Clipper Race 9 Day 12: Preparing For The North Pacific Low
Stockholm International Team Race Regatta
Letters to the Editor
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

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

Slow progress towards Brazil for remaining racers
Team AkzoNobel have nearly closed to within 100 miles of Itajaí, Brazil, and the Leg 7 finish line on Wednesday, on course for a third place podium finish behind winners Team Brunel and second-placed Dongfeng Race Team.

Simeon Tienpont’s AkzoNobel crew were more than 430 miles ahead of closest rivals Turn the Tide on Plastic, practically guaranteeing them third place provided they don’t suffer any mishaps in the final hours.

Although the pressure on them from behind has eased, it won’t be an easy run in to Itajaí – the low pressure system that rocketed Brunel and Dongfeng to the finish line has passed, leaving behind light and fickle winds.

The light conditions mean AkzoNobel are expected to cross the finish line between 0900 and 1500 UTC on Thursday.

The bigger battle is taking place more than 400 miles south of them, as Turn the Tide on Plastic and MAPFRE race for fourth place.

Both teams have suffered problems with their mast or rigging on this leg, while MAPFRE had the added setback of their mainsail tearing in two on the approach to Cape Horn.

The relatively short time it took each team to get back up to full pace has seen them stuck in the clutches of the light winds generated by a high pressure system which is all but blocking their progress north.

Two teams have retired from Leg 7 and both Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team SHK/Scallywag continue to progress plans to get their boats back in the race. News is expected from each team shortly.

1. Team Brunel, Finished
2, Dongfeng Race Team, Finished
3. Team AkzoNobel, 1.9 nm to finish
4, Turn the Tide on Plastic, 380.1 to finish
5. MAPFRE, 631.7 to finish
Retired Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag
Retired Vestas 11th Hour Racing

J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series
With 1500 J/70s worldwide, the fast planing sportsboat is the fastest growing one design class in sailing, and with 49 boats racing in the 2017 UK fleet, it is one of the largest in the world. The 2018 UK regatta schedule will once again provide thrilling one-design racing on short courses with multi-race days but with one significant change. The major UK events will combine to form the J/70 Class UK Grand Slam Series. The best five event results will decide the overall winner in professional and corinthian classes with the top teams qualifying for the 2019 J/70 World Championship, which will be hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club.

“The Grand Slam Series will decide the 20 slots for the 2019 J/UK Worlds.” commented J/70 UK Class Captain, Hannah Le Prevost. “The overall aim is to expand and encourage the UK fleet and improve the performance of the teams. We see this as an 18 month programme, including winter training, running into the 2019 J/70 Worlds. Every team will have to qualify through the series to compete at Torbay next year. We aspire to take on the world's best J/70 teams, with everybody working together in the UK Class.”

The first event of the J/70 UK Grand Slam Series will take place 21-22 April as part of the Spring Series organised by Warsash SC. A big turn out of J/70 teams is expected from independent owners and teams racing for the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Event schedule
1. April 21 - 22, Warsash Spring Championships - 1, Warsash SC
2. April 28 - 29, Warsash Spring Championships - 2, Warsash SC
3. May 25 - 27, The J-Cup, Island Sailing Club
4. June 2 - 3, Southern Area Championships, Royal Thames YC
5. July 20 - 22, UK National Championships (Non-discardable), Royal Southern YC
6. August 4 - 7, Cowes Week Mini-Series, Cowes Week
7. September 22 - 23, Autumn Championships, Royal Yacht Squadron
8. October 13 - 14, Hamble One Design Championships - 1, Hamble River SC
9. October 20 - 21, Hamble One Design Championships - 2, Hamble River SC

Sustainability and Innovation at the heart of a new Dutch Worlds yacht rigged by Marlow Ropes
A hub of activity at St Thomas YC during the regatta. Photo by Dean Barnes/STIR. Click on image for photo gallery.

Sustainability and innovative Dutch design are the key ingredients in the first IRC- and ORC-designed racer for the Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship 2018 proudly supported by Marlow Ropes. With the launch of the Waarschip W36 Worlds 2018 Edition, a unique project is born and one that Marlow is delighted to support in partnership with their distributor in the Netherlands; On Deck.

Craftsmanship and innovation have driven the W36 team to develop a 36-foot high-performance sail racer focusing on sustainability and packed with innovative concepts. The yacht has been rigged by On-Deck using Marlow’s high performing D2 Grand Prix, M-Rig Max, D2 Racing, Excel D12, Excel Fusion and Excel Racing products.

Marlow are pleased to be involved with a project that has sustainability at its’ heart. The innovative build sees the Waarschip W36 Worlds 2018 Edition as potentially the only reusable and carbon-neutral yacht –potentially a new starting point for the yachting industry and a new standard for sail racers. Using FSC wood treated with biodegradable epoxy, the boat has been ‘baked’ to achieve extra durability. The result is lighter, stronger and more sustainable than the usual composite and carbon materials.

European Sales Manager Graham O’Connor comments: “We have worked closely with our distributor in the Netherlands for 20 years and through this relationship we are delighted to collaborate on innovative projects that match unique boat-building design with Marlow’s technically superior high performance rigging. We wish the W36 team the very best in the forthcoming Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship in their bid for gold.”

US Virgin Islands defy hurricane wrath
A hub of activity at St Thomas YC during the regatta. Photo by Dean Barnes/STIR. Click on image for photo gallery.

St Croix, St Thomas and St John open for business as Caribbean regatta season gets underway

Just six months after the devastation caused by Irma and Maria, two category 5 hurricanes that swept through Caribbean last year, life in some areas, including on the US Virgin Island of St Thomas, St Croix and St John, is beginning to return to some sort of normality writes Sue Pelling.

I use the word normality fairly loosely because following a visit to the US Virgin Islands during the three-day 45th St Thomas International Regatta (STIR) the week before last I had the opportunity see the extent of the damage the hurricanes caused.

Although it is difficult to imagine things ever being ‘back to normal’ given the fact that thousands of residents of the US Virgin Islands lost their homes and all possessions, and in some more remote areas there is still no electricity, there is a real positive spirit on all three islands, which is quite remarkable.

Fundraising to help rebuild the Virgin Islands has been overwhelming including Sailors for Hope (a non-profit and all-volunteer project currently supporting the British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands and St Maarten), and the marine industry-specific Marine Rebuild Fund – US Virgin Islands (MRF). These have not only provided the opportunity to speed up the process for essential repairs and rebuilds in the marine sector, but have also allowed essential work to be carried out on beaches and cruising grounds in an effort to help re-build tourism.

St Thomas YC did suffer structural damage to its roof, and it lost its dock but in an effort not to lose its slot on the Caribbean Race Calendar in the future, speedy repairs to have it ready for business on opening day of the 46th St Thomas International annual regatta were built into the plan of the huge hurricane recovery effort.

The extent of the work carried out by locals, other Caribbean islands, support from the US Virgin Island Department of Tourism, and those from further afield, is humbling and it is thanks to them, events like the St Thomas International Regatta and also St Croix regatta on its neighboring island, were able to run without hitch.

Sue Pelling's full article at

Huge Ask - Huge commitment
The Star Sailors League is making real inroads into creating the first ever – long overdue – international ranking system for sailors... of every type

Who is the best sailor in the world? This is something that can be determined subjectively, as happens annually in the Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards. But would it ever be possible to calculate this mathematically? Obviously there are inherent problems in a sport as diverse as sailing.

How can you compare the achievements of an Olympic gold medallist with the helm or one of the crew who won the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Vendée Globe, Moth Worlds, 52 Super Series, Melges 32 Worlds or the Solitaire du Figaro? This is not just like trying to compare apples and pears, but apples with watermelons, grapefruit or gooseberries.

Making the most concerted and sophisticated effort to date towards this goal is the Star Sailors League. The pinnacle event in their often misunderstood circuit that aims to determine not the best Star sailor, but the best star of sailing, is the Star Sailors League Finals. For the past five years this event has been held in December in Nassau. Here there are indeed many veterans of the Star Class; however, they also happen to be among the best sailors in the world.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse:

Clipper Race 9 Day 12: Preparing For The North Pacific Low
The stronger winds and big surfs that the Pacific Ocean is renowned for have finally arrived. The Clipper Race teams recorded some of their best speeds towards Seattle over the last day and night and are now preparing for their first taste of a North Pacific low-pressure system.

The two leading teams from yesterday are pursuing very different tactics with PSP Logistics maintaining first position having stayed furthest north, whilst Unicef has dropped down the leaderboard having opted for the most southerly route of the teams, away from the rhumb line.

As the winds continue to build, the Skippers and crew are also preparing to batten down the hatches in expectation of the low-pressure system that is coming their way from Japan in a north easterly direction.

On the racing front, Sanya Serenity Coast has moved up into second place, with a cluster of Clipper Race yachts close behind, Skipper Wendy Tuck explains: "There are quite a few of us on AIS at the moment and it looks like the race is well and truly on for the Scoring Gate. PSP Logistics is just inching away from us and we have tried everything to rein the team in to no avail, but we seem to be holding our own amongst the others we can see."

Currently in third Qingdao has also secured the most Scoring Gate points to date and Skipper Chris Kobusch is focussed on the next opportunity to secure bonus points saying: "We are now less than 500nm away from the Scoring Gate and, as it looks, half the fleet is aiming at it. With everyone being so close together this will be one of the toughest sprints to the Scoring Gate since Liverpool."

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.

Stockholm International Team Race Regatta
Gamla Stans Yacht Sallskap organizes for the third consecutive year an international Team Race Regatta 24th to 27th of May in central Stockholm.

The regatta has attracted a lot of interest in the international sailing world and we have requests for participation from many well-known yacht clubs but currently we can accommodate only six team .

Participating clubs are:
Royal Thames Yacht Club, GBR
Royal Yacht Squadron, GBR
Royal Swedish Yacht Club, SWE
New York Yacht Club, USA
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, ITA
Old Town Yacht Society, SWE

The regatta will take place right in the middle of Stockholm and start on Thursday May 23rd with registration and test sailing. The racing will start on Friday May 24 at 10:00 until 16:00, continues on Saturday the same time. On Sunday, May 27, there will be finals between 10:00 and 14:00.

Award ceremony at GSYS at “Nya Djurgardsvarvet” directly after the finals.
Regatta dinner on Saturday at the Mansion House Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde.

Kjell Borking is in charge of race management, Race Officer is Peter Akerström and Eva Holmsten head of the Race Office. A large number of enthusiastic racing functionaries at the sea and onshore make this rather big commitment possible to execute professionally by a relatively small club like GSYS.

The Stockholm's city is also the main sponsor this year and therefore the regatta is named Stockholm International Team Race Regatta. Stockholm city sees this event as an excellent way to communicate the beauty and the possibilities Stockholm have to offer - The Capital of Scandinavia.

We are pleased to have Fou and SoftGoat as sponsors also this year, and we welcome Fondita and Ward Wines as a new sponsors. Musto sponsor the event with Polo Shirts and offers GSYS members a discount and special GSYS profile clothes.

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 Alistair Skinner:

When Brian Hancock wrote the exact same article about the loss of John Fisher and it was posted on a site with the reputation for being rather more hard noised and ‘edgy’ than the likes of Seahorse it created such an outcry that a web forum was set up to specifically discuss it.

The writer criticises the current Volvo boats yet when he last ‘did a Volvo’ it was almost 3 decades ago and actually called “The Whitbread”. The boat he did that race on was Fazisi that at times took so much water over the bow it was compared to a submarine yet now he criticises the VO65. Further he is still saying John Fisher was ‘swept overboard’ yet “according to John’s Scallywag crewmates” John was knocked overboard by the mainsheet NOT swept overboard by “waist deep water”. One could understand comments without facts but comments in opposition to facts FROM THE BOAT itself really has no place.

* From David Brunskill:

This is indeed a tragedy especially as, in the current revision of OFFSHORE SPECIAL REGULATIONS the Personal Locator Beacon now carried is intended to enable boats to locate crew members lost over the side.

OSR requirements 2018/9.


A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) equipped with 406Mhz and 121.5Mhz for each crew member
An AIS personal crew overboard beacon for each crew member


Every effort has been and is being made by race organisers and world sailing to harness technology to prevent these tragedies. Just as, equally sadly, skiers are lost under unexpected avalanches or people lost climbing mountains sailing in the Southern oceans is an extreme sport.

There are cases where for one reason or another (e.g. Nacra 17 T foils) things can be done to prevent death or injury to sailors.

But to call organisers complicit in the death of a sailor in this instance is to take a safety culture too far.

Featured Brokerage
2004 Swan 62-103 Vega. 875,000 EUR. Located in Mallorca, Spain.

Named “Vega” since she was launched, delivered July 2004, second owner who has maintained her in very good condition by a full-time captain.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Jaap Havenga

Tel. +377 97 97 95 07


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


2015 Oyster 825 Maegan. 4,000,000 GBP. Located in Palma.

Maegan is Hull #3 of the incredibly successful 825 built by Oyster in Southampton, UK. Winner of the 2016 International Yacht & Aviation Sailing Yacht Interior Design Award.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly


See the collection at

The Last Word
Your original wonder must be recaptured; just like a child like sense of wonder, where nothing is known and everything becomes a mystery. -- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see