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In This Issue
Five strong leaders in five fleets after eight days at sea
Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship
Race in Paradise! St. Thomas International Regatta - March 22-24, 2019
Wight Vodka Best Sailor's Bar
A fortress fit for an America's Cup champion
49th Star South American Championship
Zhik Sale: It's here - for a short time only.
China SailGP Team launches
Boom Vang Tutorial
Longcheer wins back the China Cup
Para sailing and kiteboarding to debut at 2019 RYA Youth National Championships
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Leo Tolstoy

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

Five strong leaders in five fleets after eight days at sea
It is easy to forget, after the drama last night with Francis Joyon sneaking past François Gabart to seal a thrilling class win in the ULTIMEs, that the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe consists of six races in six different classes.

While the first two spots on the ULTIME podium have now been filled, a long way behind them in the Atlantic the other five classes are still racing hard as they finish their eighth day at sea in the four-yearly, 3,542-nautical mile solo transatlantic contest from Saint Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre.

What is striking is that in each of the five remaining classes a dominant leader has now emerged with Armel Tripon on Reaute Chocolat over 300 miles ahead in the Multi50 class, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss dominating the IMOCA division and Yoann Richomme doing the same in the Class40 fleet.

In the two amateur "Rhum" classes the same trend is evident with Sidney Gavignet on Cafe Joyeux continuing to set the pace in the monohull class with a lead of nearly 350 miles, and Pierre Antoine on Olmix nearly 550 miles ahead in the Multis.

In the past few days Thomson has stretched his margin over the chasing pack of IMOCAs lead by Paul Meilhat on SMA and Vincent Riou on PRB. The British skipper has been pressing hard in unstable and fresh trade wind conditions and revealed today he has paid a price for his unrelenting pace.

"I am in 18-23 knots of wind and under gennaker," Thomson reported in a broken transmission as Hugo Boss continued downwind with less than 1,350 miles to go and with a lead of around 120 miles over Meilhat. "I can take it a bit easier now as I have a nice position relative to the other guys and so I don't need to push too hard. I just need to bring the boat home safely.

"I do have a few problems; I blew up my spinnaker in a squall a few days ago. More of an issue now is I don't have any lazyjacks, so putting in a reef (in the mainsail) is a problem for me and I have limited comms because I only have the receiver on the foredeck which is almost always under water and so that is why it is hard to hear anybody when they call. I have been getting a little bit of sleep. I was able to catch-up with last night's finish so congratulations to Francis; sounds like a nail-biter, and hopefully I don't have that problem."


Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship
Following the excitement of the Opening Ceremony, all of the sailors were up early, running and exercising on the beach and were rigged and ready to go by 9:00 AM this morning.

However, Cyclone Gaja that is hovering off the coast of India is playing havoc with the weather here in Myanmar. Typical weather this time of year is clear blue skies, hot days, and predictable thermal sea breezes from the NW that come in like clockwork. But today, the day started with overcast skies and 7-9knts of wind coming offshore from the east. Not a good sign.

Racing was scheduled to start at 11:00 AM, so both the Yellow and Blue Fleets departed the shore about 10:30. Starting got underway shortly after 11:00 AM in about 5-6 knots of wind with the Yellow Fleet starting first with a clear start followed by the Blue Fleet also having a clear start.

The Yellow Fleet had completed rounding Mark 1 and was approaching Mark 2 and the leaders of the Blue Fleet had just reached Mark 1 when the race was abandoned by the Race Committee.

With Cyclone Gaja stalled offshore, it is difficult to predict what tomorrow will bring in terms of weather. The start of racing has been brought forward tomorrow to 9:30 AM in hopes of taking advantage of the early morning breezes and getting a couple of races completed. The 2018 Asian and Oceanian Team Racing is scheduled for the following day.


Race in Paradise! St. Thomas International Regatta - March 22-24, 2019
Have a drink at the 2017 Wight Vodka's Best Sailor's Bar when you race in the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 22 to 24. Host St. Thomas Yacht Club hopes to defend its famous bar's title this year and continue to put the U.S. Virgin Islands on the map for the best sailboat racing and sailor's libations in the world!

Register Now! STIR 2019 offers classes for CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap rule) Racing, Cruising and Bareboats; Large Multihulls; Beach Cats and One-Design over 20-foot LOA. The one-design IC 24's may be the largest one-design fleet of any Caribbean regatta!

Bring your own boat or charter! A number of IC24s are available for charter from the St. Thomas Sailing Center, which is based at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. IC24s are available for $2200 with good sails, $2700 with new sails, for the 3-day STIR, practice day and 30-day Bluewater Membership at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. To reserve an IC24 boat for the 2019 event, Email: or call (340) 690-3681. Other companies offering yachts to charter for STIR include: Caribbean Races, Caribbean Yacht Racing, J122 Experience, LV Yachting, Ocean Breeze, OnDeck, Pata Negra and Sail Racing Academy

Save Money! Receive a 50% discount! Pay in full for only US $150 between now and 1700 AST January 31, 2019. Entry fees increase to US $300 between February 1 and March 20, 2019. Registration for IC24s: US $200, Beach Cats: $200. For information, Email: , Call (340) 775-6320.


Wight Vodka Best Sailor's Bar
Supported by Latitude Kinsale and Seahorse magazine

Our 2017 winner has some ardent fans, a number of whom have submitted glowing reports of a bar that your humble narrator can personally attest to (it was a long time ago; it appears the bar has improved with age).

Why the St. Thomas Yacht Club Bar is the Best Sailor's Bar A good bartender doesn't tell his customers secrets. But Ched Sharpless, who manages the bar and The Galley restaurant at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, is happy to share what he's seen and heard over the years because it's no secret that it's such a good story.

"STYC is truly the best sailing bar in the world for two reasons. First, we frequently refer to STYC as 'a drinking club with a sailing problem'. Secondly, if sailing is the problem, then we have a fatal disease! Our small Club on the east end of St. Thomas was founded over 60 years ago and has had sailing coursing through its vodka-, rum-, and hops soaked-veins ever since. By way of having the best year-round sailing conditions in the world right off our patio, our young and elder sailors have succeeded on the largest international sailing stages.

One look at the pictures on the clubhouse walls right before you enter our little 12-stool bar shows a few of our members countless successes. I may be forgetting a few, but here we go: We have many Olympians, with our best finish a silver medal at the 1988 Games, something no other yacht club in the Caribbean can claim. Our membership also boasts having a captain on an America's Cup boat, World Match Racing champion, World J/24 Champion, Paralympic Games sailors, many collegiate national champions and collegiate Sailors of the Year, High School national champions, a Youth Olympic Games gold medalist, Youth World Championships bronze medalist, Junior Pan Am Games champion, Optimist North and South American winners. The awards keep coming. Of course, this doesn't count the America's cup veterans, Olympians, Volvo Ocean racers, and one-design class champions who have visited to sail in our regattas, hoisted a few in our bar and shared the incredible camaraderie that only a great sailing bar encourages.

While our STYC members were accumulating these accolades and awards, they were also sharing our Virgin Islands' spirit and proclivity towards fun in a bottle. Free spirited, free flowing and free sailing. Sorry no free drinks here! Unless that is, you bring your championship cup to the bar where The Galley crew will fill it with a complimentary beverage of your choice. We cherish our drinking club with a sailing problem. Our problem is healthy, incredibly enjoyable and honorable. Live on Corinthian sport. See you at the bar!"

Most Popular Drink

The Gatna'
Your finest vodka mixed with soda and a splash of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Finished with local key lime.

This play on the classic Salty Dog is named after one of our own salty seaman originally from the north. He is more of a fisherman at heart but sailing is in his blood. He has the pleasure of watching his son currently sail for the Naval Academy. A simple drink for many of our complicated members.

Mix up a pitcher of Wight Vodka Gatna's... and then put pen to paper, as it were, and tell us YOUR favorite bar.



A fortress fit for an America's Cup champion
After years of being cooped up in a grimy, gritty base, America's Cup victors Emirates Team New Zealand finally have a sparkling new home on Auckland's waterfront. Suzanne McFadden takes a look inside, and talks to the man who's choreographed the transition.

To the victor goes the spoils. Office chairs that don't squeak; no tent walls that leak when it rains; no mice scuttling in the roof.

This is Emirates Team New Zealand's reward for winning the America's Cup - a glittering new home that overlooks the Viaduct Basin and Auckland's cityscape. It's a far cry from the pokey, dingy base, constructed mostly from shipping containers and tents, that served the team for their last campaign.

Over the past few weeks they've made their new digs in the Viaduct Events Centre, on the eastern edge of Wynyard Quarter, look more like the home of an America's Cup champion.

The view alone is dazzling. From the third floor of the building, which is now Team NZ's mission control, the designers can spare a moment from their screens to gaze out over the Viaduct Harbour, which will be teeming with boats and people in the summer of 2021.

Right now the team rattles around in the 6000sqm space, but by the 2021 America's Cup, it will be humming. -- Suzanne McFadden


49th Star South American Championship
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: Robert Scheidt and Arthur Lopes (BRA) are the 2018 South American champions of the Star class. The two-time Olympic champion won the first race on Sunday, last day of the event, at the Yacht Club in Rio de Janeiro, and finished second in the last, giving him the Championship. However, the duo Lars Grael / Samuel Gonçalves (BRA) obtained the same results on the last day of the competition, but reversed, and finished at equal points. The title was decided only on the third tiebreaker. They were equal in number of victories (two) and second places (one). The third position obtained on Saturday gave the cup to Scheidt / Lopes.

Scheidt and Lopes won the Star class Brazilian title in April at the Yacht Club Santo Amaro in São Paulo. The Rio waters bring good memories to Robert. A year ago, he won the Royal Thames Cup, a competition played at the Yacht Club in Rio de Janeiro. At the time, his crew was Henry Boenning.

The weather did not help sailors in Rio de Janeiro in the early days of the South Americans. On the first day, Thursday the 8th of November, the races were canceled due to lack of wind. On Friday, although the weather remained difficult, there were three races. Scheidt and Lopes were improving performance throughout the day. They started with a ninth place, climbed to seventh in the next race and finished crossing the finish line in the lead in the last race. On Saturday, they kept in average with a third place and on Sunday they had their best performance with one victory and a second spot in the final.

Brazil dominated the South American Championship of Rio de Janeiro, which also had competitors from Europe. Among the 20 participating boats, 16 were Brazilians, two were Argentine, one Italian and one Dutch. -- Rachele Vitello


It's here - for a short time only.
Zhik's ex-catalogue clearance sale means up to 55% off a wide range of technical sailing gear.

For yacht sailors there are DeckBeater shorts and long pants, which do exactly what they say on the tin. And the very quick-drying ZhikDry tops and polos. Plus, grab yourself some Merino underwear, technical tailored Z-fleeces, hardwearing, stretchy deck shorts (very comfortable for long days afloat), and the fabulous soft, grippy ZKG shoes. Waterproofs on offer include Isotak Ocean and the lighter weight Aroshell coastal and inshore models.


China SailGP Team launches
SailGP today unveiled the fifth team in its new global racing league - the China SailGP Team - with a bold ambition to drive the growth of high-performance sailing in China. The China SailGP Team takes to the water in February 2019 equipped to challenge for the inaugural championship title.

The team launches with a core of Chinese talent supplemented by some of the world's leading sailors of advanced foiling catamarans, and will build to a full Chinese crew over SailGP's initial years of racing. Ensuring competitiveness now and in the future, the China SailGP Team will help develop the country's next generation of world-class sailors capable of success in SailGP and other top-level sailing competitions.

The China SailGP Team will be helmed by veteran New Zealander Phil Robertson, a regular fixture on the World Match Racing Tour podium since his debut in 2009, and a championship winner in 2016.

He will be leading the fight for China against Australia, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States, alongside some of China's top home-grown sailors: Liu 'Black' Xue (grinder), Jinhao 'Horace' Chen (grinder) and Liu 'Leo' Ming (reserve grinder), who have all represented Dongfeng Race Team in the Volvo Ocean Race, including during the team's winning campaign in 2017-18.

Olympians James Wierzbowski (flight controller) of Australia and Thomas Le Breton (reserve wing trimmer) from France, plus Britain's Ed Powys (wing trimmer) fill the seven-man roster set up for success in SailGP's inaugural season.


Boom Vang Tutorial
Graham Curran of UK Sailmakers Ireland wrote a very good article on using the boomvang for the Irish sailing magazine AFLOAT. He gives good tips, especially went NOT to blow the vang sailing downwind in big breeze. The article breaks down using the vang upwind, reaching and downwind. To give you a taste of how thorough his article is, here is what he wrote about using the vang downwind:

"As with reaching the boom is eased further outboard when on a run. The mainsheet is now completely ineffective at controlling mainsail twist. Pull your vang on to keep your top batten parallel to the boom. This keeps the mainsail fully projected to the wind and causes the most drag which, contrary to other points of sail, is exactly what we are looking for when sailing downwind in displacement mode."


Longcheer wins back the China Cup
Shenzhen, China: Wanhang Longcheer has won back the Beneteau 40.7 trophy at the 12th China Cup, after losing out to Yiihua-Pocket Emirates Team New Zealand a year ago. Steve McConaghy suffered a stressful few hours in the morning wondering if he was going to have to defend a slender two-point lead from fellow Australian Ray Roberts. But the wind never materialised and final-day racing was cancelled for the 108-boat fleet.

Although one of the favourites in the eyes of his rivals, McConaghy professed to be surprised at winning the 25-boat Beneteau division, even if he's won this regatta many times before. "We came into the regatta not expecting to win because we had a brand new team. We were three Aussies and only one of our seven Chinese crewed sailed with us before. We're absolutely over the moon to have won."

McConaghy put his win down to a key moment on the run to the finish of the long distance race on Sunday. "We were neck and neck with Ray Roberts and the Kiwis, but then we got into slightly better current, and hooked into a 15 degree shift. That enabled us to gybe with a good angle into the finish and we just beat them. That moment was probably the difference.

In IRC A, Standard Insurance Centennial Sailing Team from the Philippines beat Shawn Kang's Lighthorse Alpha+ on tiebreak. It was another tiebreak in IRC A2, where the Soto40 Seamo Racing skippered by Guo Ji Lan lost out to Tiffany Koo's Hero Racing. -- Andy Rice


Para sailing and kiteboarding to debut at 2019 RYA Youth National Championships
Entries are now open for the new-look RYA Youth National Championships, which will see kiteboarding and para sailing join the action for the first time.

The 2019 regatta, the UK's premiere youth racing event, will take place from April 12 to 19 at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, home of Olympic sailing in the UK.

Hundreds of Britain's most talented young sailors are expected to descend on WPNSA for the week-long regatta that serves as a celebration of youth sailing.

Historically the Youth Nationals is contested in British Youth Sailing's Recognised Classes - Laser Radial, 420, 29er, Nacra 15 and BIC Techno 293 - and remains unchanged in 2019.

The Topper and Laser 4.7 classes will join the line-up for the first time to attract the country's strongest junior sailors.

And in another first for the regatta, this year sees the addition of the RS Venture Connect, Hansa 303 and 2.4mR para classes as well as twin tip kiteboarding.

The inclusion of the para classes reaffirms British Youth Sailing's commitment to their long-term future in the UK by continuing to develop a pathway.

Twin-tip kiting will feature after Formula Kite's inclusion in the list of events for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

It also builds on the #kite4gold talent search, a joint venture recently run with the British Kite Sports Association, the English Institute of Sport and UK Sport to identify talented female riders capable of winning gold at Paris 2024.

Entrants must be aged under 21 on 31 December 2019 with the exception of the 420, Topper, Twin Tip and para classes. Further details of requirements can be found in the Notice of Race.

Discounted early bird entries close on January 31 2019.


Featured Brokerage
2012 Swan 53-521 'Puffy'. 1,161,000 EUR. Located in New England, USA.

Puffy is a fantastic example of the Swan 53. It has been specified with only the very best of everything available and has some very tasteful custom touches.

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1911 William Fife III 19 Metre Gaff Cutter - Mariquita. 3500000 EUR. Located in United Kingdom.

This is a chance to enter classic yacht racing at the highest level. Since her restoration in 2004 MARIQUITA’s results have kept improving such that she cannot now stop winning.

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2007 X-Yachts X-41 - Bandit. 160000 GBP. Located in Lymington, UK.

The best X-41 on the market. A large refit in 2017 with standing and running rigging, upholstery, instruments and interior re-varnish, she looks like a new yacht. Four out of the top 10 at the ORC worlds in 2018 were X-41s; priced in sterling she offers a very good opportunity.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
Music is the shorthand of emotion. -- Leo Tolstoy

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