In This Issue
2024 Olympic events selection
Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship: Too much wind, then not enough
Guest Editorial: Alastair Skinner
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine
Transat AG2R La Mondiale heats up
RORC Focus on Europe
Rolex Middle Sea Race To Celebrate Half-Century
The clock ticks down to The Superyacht Cup Palma
In memory of J Class pioneer John Williams (1943-2018)
Letters to the Editor
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Robert Anton Wilson

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

2024 Olympic events selection
World Sailing's Mid-Year Meeting will be held at Chelsea Football Club, London, Great Britain from 10-15 May 2018.

World Sailing's Board of Directors will meet on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May with the Events Committee following on 12 May, Equipment Committee on 13 May with two days of Council meetings from 14-15 May.

As I'm sure many of you are aware, the Paris 2024 Olympic sailing events will be discussed, debated and decided at this session.

There are 12 Deferred Submissions from previous meetings and 68 Submissions to be discussed. Further information is available here -

Ahead of the meeting, World Sailing's President Kim Andersen has addressed a formal letter to World Sailing's Board of Directors, Council, Committee Members and Member National Authorities.

Andersen's letter in full

Download as a PDF

Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship: Too much wind, then not enough
Trieste: The debut of the Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship 2018, organized in Trieste by the Yacht Club Adriaco, is postponed until tomorrow. A truly capricious wind did not enable the Race Committee to start the first two races planned for today. 67 crews from 17 nations will have to wait until tomorrow.

Day 1 started with 26-knots Bora wind with gusts up to 30 knots that left the crews ashore. At 13:00 hours, when the first race was supposed to start, the Bora wind dropped, leaving the way to a west wind that unluckily did not blow over 4 knots. After waiting at sea for over three hours for a breeze that never came, the President of the Race Committee, Giancarlo Crevatin, had to cancel the races.

The first warning signal for Thursday is at 11:00. According to the weather forecast, a light bora breeze is expected to blow in the morning and rise in the afternoon, reaching 18-20 knots. The Race Committee has planned to hold three races, in order to catch up at least one of those scheduled for today. The Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship 2018 is valid with 4 races completed. Hopefully, by Saturday (last day of racing) a fifth race will be held in order to allow the exclusion of the worst score in the final ranking.

Guest Editorial: Alastair Skinner
One has to admire Dale Kushner's America's Cup optimism regarding 9-12 boats on the start line for the next edition. In the event's 160+ year history that number of entries in the Louis Vuitton has only been seen once, Valencia 2007.

Of those players in Bermuda, Team France is out, Artemis has already stated they won't be going to Auckland, Oracle doesn't want to play any more and Australia has already been in and out. Rumours of a Chinese entry are just that and just as unlikely. Not for want of cash if needed but it would be very difficult for such a young sailing nation to satisfy nationality requirements while not producing a performance similar to their only previous AC entry.

So that leaves the CoR, Luna Rossa plus Team Ineos GB who have just received a large cash injection to help them compete once again for the Auld Mug. Then of course the NYYC entry which with no major sponsor declared so far must have some private backers with some pretty deep pockets. That makes 3 which means there must be 6-9 hidden secret players waiting in the wings to declare a late entry - not likely I reckon. The start line is after all the Louis Vuitton which is a challenger's event so you cannot count ETNZ in the 9-12

Then on the subject of the VOR we have pessimism from Dale. The VOR is unashamedly commercial, right from the name onwards and priced at anywhere from 10-20% of the cost of a decent AC campaign for an event that runs for 300-400% of the time span with legs of 20 days at a time instead of 20 minutes (I know I am exaggerating but you get the point) . Mmm!

Sure it's single digit numbers, something that has been the norm in the last 6 or 7 editions (there hasn't been double figures EVER in the Volvo, you have to look back to the Whitbread for those.)

As far as one design is concerned, it would have been a pretty sure bet last time round that there would have been a different winner had the event NOT been one design as Ian Walker was quoted that it was unlikely that Abu Dhabi would have returned to a Box Rule race. In fact right after setting the Fastnet Record in the original Abu Dhabi the team knew they had a potential problem.

Add to the closeness of the one design racing the excellent OBR coverage - which has been stepped up a gear this time round with the drone and raw footage - contributed to the race receiving a reported 1.8Bn (yes that's a B) hits last time round, never mind the 1 million plus collective stopover footfall.

I am an unashamed fan of both events having followed the VOR since a Mexican won it 45 years ago and became gradually more involved since my move to China and the first Chinese backed entry Green Dragon with the first Chinese crew member in Guo Chuan and the event has surely helped increase the interest in sailing here with 1.98m Chinese watching the livestream Pro-Am in Guangzhou.

On the other hand I have only followed the AC since a 'little white pointer' took the 'red boat' to 7 races - and won. The AC and VOR are the two greatest adverts our sport has. Opinions apart one has to wish for the continued success of them both but 9 AC Challengers? I'll eat my hat! (Did I just say that?)

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

World news
Imoca never sleeps, not even in Monaco... and Vendee 2020 is go, a (very) special kind of Kiwi, foil debate or head-burying... and confronting the issue. Patrice Carpentier, Blue Robinson, Dobbs Davis, Ivor Wilkins

Sailing is fortunate to have so many really smart and interesting people working away to pull off little bits of technical magic that, often unnoticed, play a disproportionate part in the success of the best programmes...

A high bar?
Dutch Olympic sailor Kalle Coster and Sailmon are aiming to do for performance sailing what Steve Jobs and Apple did for the 'mobile telephone'

Paul Cayard - True champion
Sir Durward Knowles - his boat's in good hands

IRC - Tangy prospect
Scrabbling around to find the right 'big boat' to race... James Dadd has an interesting proposal

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Transat AG2R La Mondiale heats up
Ireland's Tom Dolan has gambled on a southerly route being the fasted as he attempts to climb up the leaderboard in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale.

The 30-year-old from Kells, Meath, is currently in 12th position with co-skipper Tanguy Bouroullec on their yacht Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance as the 4,000-mile sprint across the Atlantic enters its tenth day.

The iconic race, in which 20 of the world's best sailors do battle in identical 32ft Figaro Beneteau boats between Concarneau in France and St Barts in the Caribbean, is only Dolan's second outing since joining forces with eco-packaging giant Smurfit Kappa earlier this year.

Having crossed the Tropic of Cancer two days ago, Dolan and Bouroullec are among a group of eleven teams that have pursued a route south towards the Cape Verde archipelago off the west African coast in the hope of locking into better breeze.

Meanwhile, some 200 miles north-west, the leading pack are closer in distance to the finish line but are in less wind.

With around 2,200 miles still remaining of the leg, Dolan said it would be some time before they knew if their gamble had paid off.

Track Dolan's progress at and follow daily updates at

Top ten 03/05/2018 at 07:48
1. ACT Covering, Adrien Hardy / Thomas Ruyant, 1711.6 nm to finish
2. BRITAIN - CMB PERFORMANCE, Sebastien Simon / Morgan Lagraviere, 18.73 nm to leader
3. ROYER GROUP - SECOURS POPULAIRE, Anthony Marchand, Alexis Loison, 56.76
4. Armor lux - Gedimat, Erwan Tabarly / Thierry Chabagny, 68.97
5. Breizh cola, Gildas Mahe /Nicolas Troussel, 69.62
6. Guyot environment, Pierre Leboucher /Christopher Pratt, 71.81
7. NF HABITAT, Corentin Douguet /Christian Ponthieu, 75.11
8. THE MACARON FRENCH PASTRIES, Eric Peron / Miguel Danet, 93.51
9. The Beads of St. Barth, Ronan Treussart / Simon Troel, 114.02
10., Justine Mettraux / Isabelle Joschke, 115.07

RORC Focus on Europe
The 2018 Royal Ocean Racing Club Season's Points Championship continues with the first of the domestic offshore races, the Cervantes Trophy, which starts on May 5th followed by the North Sea Race, which starts on May 11th. In excess of 300 teams are expected to take part over the course of the season with sailors from around the globe racing in the biggest offshore sailing competition in the world. There are six European destinations: Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Malta, and the Netherlands. Five races are to count for Class Honours, and the highest total score will designate the winner overall racing under IRC.

Entries include some of the world's fastest professional crewed maxis and multihulls, However, more often than not, a passionate well-sailed Corinthian team is the overall winner. After a memorable RORC Caribbean 600, the focus is now firmly on European waters with the majority of races starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, within sight of the RORC Cowes Clubhouse. This year, the championship includes the North Sea Race, Volvo Round Ireland Race, Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race, and the RORC Transatlantic Race.

A sizeable fleet in excess of 60 yachts is expected for the Cervantes Trophy Race, from Cowes to Le Havre, which will have a flexi-course of 110-160 nautical miles across the English Channel. IRC champions from 2017 competing in the Cervantes Trophy include James Neville's INO XXX, Rob Craigie's Bellino, and Noel Racine's Foggy Dew. Gilles Fournier's Pintia will be attempting to win the Cervantes Trophy for a third year in a row and start the defence of their overall win of IRC Two in the RORC Season's Points Championship.

The North Sea Race, starting on May 11th, is hosted by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club, on the River Orwell in Suffolk, and finishes in Scheveningen, Netherlands.

Rolex Middle Sea Race To Celebrate Half-Century
The 39th Rolex Middle Sea Race starts on the 20th October 2018. With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of this remarkable race, the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) is anticipating its highest entry yet. Some 30 yachts from 14 countries have already registered, well ahead of the usual pace. The record fleet stands at 122, set in 2014, and the RMYC has ambitions to topple this number.

The first race in 1968 saw a fleet of eight yachts cross the start line. Both race and organizing club have come a long way since that time.

Wishing to celebrate the special birthday, the RMYC is planning a number of efforts aimed at showcasing the rich history of the race, including the boats and people that sailed them, and the charm of the event's island home. Malta.

Coincidentally, Valletta is European Capital of Culture in 2018 and the Rolex Middle Sea Race will feature strongly in the calendar of events supporting this initiative. The Valletta 2018 mission nicely reflects an essential spirit of the race.

As usual, the RMYC is looking forward to welcoming the perennial mix of professional and Corinthian crews, those making a welcome return as well as those on their first appearance. Currently, the most spectacular entrant is Nikata, the JVNB 115, which at 35-metres will be the biggest boat ever to start the race. Josian and Swedish entrant, the J/111 Blur, at a mere 11-metres provide a striking contrast. Other entries of note include the German Maxi72 Momo and the double-hander, Mandalay, which boasts Austrian two-time Olympian and former Volvo Ocean Race skipper Andreas Hanakamp as one half of its two-man crew.

More details on the events and activities surrounding the race will be released over the coming months.

For those interested in taking part, the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2018 Notice of Race is available here

The clock ticks down to The Superyacht Cup Palma
With less than two months to go excitement is growing ahead of the 22nd Superyacht Cup as yet more spectacular yachts join the already impressive fleet.

Part of the last-minute rush to take part in Europe's longest running and largest superyacht regatta are Missy, a 33-metre lightweight carbon fibre world cruising yacht, Q, the 52-metre long-distance cruising ketch, and the 46-metre sloop Scorpione of London.

Launched in 2016 at Vitters Shipyard in the Netherlands, the striking and elegant Missy is the first yacht to result from a collaboration between the yard and Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design.

Q - ex-Mondango 2 - was originally launched in 2009 and the Dubois designed blue water yacht has recently had an extensive refit with a Scandinavian theme courtesy of Reymond Langton.

The equally elegant Scorpione of London - ex-Pink Gin - is the latest entry to have been built by Baltic Yachts, one of The Superyacht Cup's Gold Partners.

Meanwhile, Q and Scorpione's participation also opens the door to a possible Corinthian class at the June gathering, allowing owners to experience the thrill of racing with a smaller crew and without spinnakers.

Missy, Q and Scorpione of London follow the 45m super-ketch Mari-Cha III and the 37m high-performance composite sloop Bliss as the latest high-profile additions to the exceptional superyacht gathering in Palma.

All five will join a fleet that also features the iconic and classic J-Class yachts Svea (44m) and Velsheda (38m). Sadly, Ranger has withdrawn from The Superyacht Cup following the sudden death of owner John Williams. Georgia-born Williams took delivery of Ranger in 2004, the first of the new modern replicas that have led the J-Class revival. "This is such a great loss to the yachting community," said SYC event owner, Kate Branagh. "John Williams was a hugely powerful force in bringing the J-Class fleet together. He's done the Superyacht Cup many times and will be greatly missed."

Svea and Velsheda will open The Superyacht Cup on Wednesday 20 June, the first of four days of competitive racing. They will then be joined on the second and following days by the full fleet, including regular Superyacht Cup participants Inoui, Atalante, Saudade and the 33m Baltic Yachts built Win Win, who will be out to defend their 2017 Class A title.

In memory of J Class pioneer John Williams (1943-2018)
Born in Georgia in 1943 to a family of modest means, Williams went on to have a highly successful career in the real estate business, founding his first company Post Properties at the age of 26.

His departure in 2004 coincided with the delivery of Ranger, the first of the new generation of modern replicas built to revive the grand J Class tradition. This landmark project inspired a widespread revival of the J Class fleet, with Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Topaz and Svea all launched in the following 13 years.

Williams went on to race Ranger at some of the world's most famous regattas, including St Barths Bucket, Les Voiles De St Tropez, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and, as recently as ten months ago, the America's Cup J Class Regatta.

Williams is survived by his wife, Nancy, his three children Jay, Sarah Brook and Parker, and two grandchildren Jack and Harrison.

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 Frank Newton:

What a gypsies warning is the wonderful letter about the dismal future for Olympic Sailing.

I feel the time may come for sailors, as opposed to World Sailing officers, to jump ship. But where to go?

In 1983 I proposed to Council that the RYA support an Indian proposal that a Commonwealth Sailing Organisation should be formed. The idea was that a competition should be held every four years in mid Olympic cycle as part of the CWG. That events should be sailed in non Olympic Classes to encourage competition in 'normal' dinghies as sailed at most Yacht Clubs. Particularly dinghies that had a world wide appeal, were inexpensive, and had appeal to those nations of slighter build. As expected the proposal died at birth. I think that such a potentially large organisation was seen as a challenge to the establishment. Also that the British (English) did not agree to Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man having equal status. Scotland and Ireland and Wales had little say in Council being heavily outnumbered by English men. Sad but what else did I expect?

However the time may soon be ripe for ALL sailing nations to form a new organisation which when large enough may be recognised by the IOC, if that is what was wished. Maybe this would exert pressure upon World Sailing to change course. But I doubt it because the lure of the four yearly TV payout which keeps World Sailing going would be too much. As a start all current excluded classes and recently discarded classes should hold an annual joint championship event to maintain a momentum that a single class would not have.

But as an out of touch old fart I would make such a proposal wouldn't I?

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The Last Word
Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil. -- Robert Anton Wilson

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