In This Issue
Ragtime becomes 100th entry in Transpac 50
Irish Sailor Of The Year Award
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
America's Cup arbitration panel called in
A First for N2E - A Near Shore Finish in Ensenada
Navigation Through the Ages
Lineup Set For 55th LBYC Congressional Cup
Two handed training introduced at April's RORC Easter Challenge
18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 6 & 7
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Richard Daley

Brought to you by Seahorse magazine and EuroSail News 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

Ragtime becomes 100th entry in Transpac 50
In a record year of interest, it’s perhaps fitting that the 100th entry to the 50th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Club’s biennial 2225-mile race from LA to Honolulu is at 55 years old one of the oldest in the race yet also one of the most innovative in the last half-century of yacht design.

Chris Welsh’s Spencer 65 Ragtime will be making her 17th race to Hawaii in July, more than any other yacht in the history of this race. Welsh has been an owner of Ragtime since 2004, and since then has raced three Transpacs (2005, ’07, ’09), one race to Tahiti (2008) and the Sydney-Hobart Race (2008). “It’s been ten years since we last sailed to Hawaii,” said Welsh, “so we’re looking forward to having some fun again.”

From its very beginning, this long, narrow, low-freeboard and lightweight black beauty with the reverse shearline and hard chines has been a recognizable Pacific ocean racing classic. Designed and built by John Spencer in New Zealand in 1963 for first owner and race car driver Tom Clark, she was meant to be simply the fastest boat boat of the era, something proven years later by her second owners who were from Long Beach and beat the legendary Windward Passage across the finish by only 4 minutes and 31 seconds to set a new course record in the 1973 Transpac. And to prove this was no fluke, she won the Barn Door Trophy again in 1975.

Since then there has been several owners, with each making tweaks to this double-ply plywood yacht: upgrades of new rigs, sails, keels, rudders, bulbs, deck hardware, etc. have all been in her history.

For this tour there will be another upgrade: a new carbon mast that will be higher and lighter than the current one, which he would have used in Transpac this year except there is no time to oversee the additional structural work needed to secure this rig properly to the hull and deck. Nonetheless, Welsh expects to be fast and have a shot at the King Kalakaua Trophy awarded to the race’s overall winner.

Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove Share Irish Sailor Of The Year Award For 2018
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have been named Afloat Irish Sailors of the Year for 2018 in recognition of their gold medal victory in the 49er U23 Junior World Championships, amid another landmark 12 months for inspiring performances in Irish sailing.

September’s Olympic Sailors of the Month were presented with their prize by Minister of State Mary Mitchell-O’Connor at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards gala in Dublin’s RDS Concert Hall this evening (Friday 8 February).

Robert Dickson (21) of Howth and Sean Waddilove (20) of Skerries rose to the challenge in Marseille last August and September as they battled a strong international field - and a Mistral at full strength - to score their first world gold, and their first major win.

To confirm a suggestion proffered by the 49er class, the investment made in creating Olympic contenders like Laser Radial silver medallist (and 2016 Sailor of the Year) Annalise Murphy has indeed - in the success of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove - been leveraged in bringing the next generation of youth and junior talent into the top levels of their age categories.

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Ragtime becomes 100th entry in Transpac 50
Last month's winner:

Jorge Zarif (BRA)
Jorge has friends, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them! 'Very nice!' - Maria Gilka da Cunha Ferreira!!! 'He follows a great father who we still miss' - Erika Lessmann; 'Jorginho this year made magic' - Juliano Rosas; 'A great sailor from a sailor's family' - Theodoro Rombauer; 'He is a champion on the water as well as in life' - Alex Luiz; 'He helped me to enjoy sailing again' - Patrick Oberholzer; 'A showcase talent' - Wietze Zetzema; 'Jorge is today the best sailor in the world' - Angela Brun; 'A great sailor like his father and his grandfather' - Raymond Grantham; 'I take my hat off a million times!' - Bernardo Okada Ahmed.

This month's nominees:

Ragtime becomes 100th entry in Transpac 50 Simon Fry (GBR)
Ok, a second Dragon world title in a row meant we finally had to give in and allow a little credit to one of the most ubiquitous and best-liked sailors in the world who is also- it breaks our heart to admit it - quite good as well. Stirfry raced a One Tonner with the editor in the year of our Lord 1989 so, in spite of what you may think, he's not a young man… But he is a top bloke with more big wins under his (ample) belt than he would most probably ever own up to.

Ragtime becomes 100th entry in Transpac 50 Demolar Du (CHN)
The chairman of Far East Boats in Shanghai has made a gesture towards supporting disabled sailing that deserves widespread international recognition, committing to selling the first 1,000 examples of the innovative and long awaited new Simonis-Voogd S\V14 dinghy design for an astonishing price of just US$3,000. It gets better… this price will be fixed for any more boats sold in 2019 with subsequent price rises limited to increases in material costs.

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

View past winners of Sailor of the Month

America's Cup arbitration panel called in
Up to three of the six challengers for the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland are the target of legal action to be heard by the Cup's arbitration panel.

Emirates Team New Zealand yesterday released a brief statement confirming the panel will address a "case underway involving applications in relation to requested Protocol Amendments and the validity of Late Entry Challenges".

Further detail was not disclosed; America's Cup teams go into communications lockdown when the Cup's arbitration panel is called into action.

However, yachting sources indicate the case involves late payments by up to three teams - certainly the Dutch challenge, possibly that of Malta and even the US's Stars & Stripes. -- Paul Lewis in The New Zealand Herald

A First for N2E - A Near Shore Finish in Ensenada
Another new for the 72nd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race; the finish line will be positioned just south of the Hotel Coral Marina breakwater, yet about a half-mile north of its position in recent years. One end will be a buoy, the other a raised platform on the breakwater, manned by the finish crew. The move will provide a more stable finish line thanks to the unwavering landside position and spectacular viewing from the Hotel Coral.

The finish line crew is responsible for recording each boat’s official finish times; however, they’ll use YB Tracking data as a backup. YB Trackers, introduced just last year, were very popular with racers. Pleased with the performance of the innovative safety equipment, along with positive feedback and the fun of sharing the race in real time with friends and family the Newport Ocean Sailing Association has decided to bring back the trackers every year for the foreseeable future.

The N2E event offers racers a choice of three courses, Newport to Ensenada (N2E), Newport to San Diego (N2SD), and Newport to Dana Point (N2DP). It offers classes for racers and cruisers, multihulls and ocean sailboats of every size and type for sailors who would like to join the action and race April 26 off the Balboa Pier.

Navigation Through the Ages
Last summer, during a transatlantic crossing aboard the 50-fooot sloop Maverick, I had the good luck to sail with a guy who is something of an expert in ancient forms of navigation, particularly the methods used by the Vikings. We played with a lot of fun old fashion tools like a sun stone and a shadow board that Mark had brought along and discovered that the Vikings must have done a lot of eye-ball navigation because their instruments were pretty basic.

I’ve always been interested in navigation and spent a lot of time years ago trying to master the techniques used by Polynesians to cross the huge distances in the Pacific Ocean. They were a lot more sophisticated than you might think and there are still techniques they developed that can apply to coastal and offshore navigation today. For example, if you are sailing among low lying coral atolls that may not be visible from more than 10 miles away, you can still ”see” an atoll over the horizon when you see a turquoise color on the bottom of the clouds above the turquoise water in the otherwise unseen lagoons.

So, it was with pleasure that I sat down last night to read Dag Pike’s brand new book The History of Navigation, published by the Pen & Sword Press in England. Dag is an old salt and a veteran of many ocean passages. Plus, he is the author of 40 plus books. His history does not go into a huge amount of detail about ancient techniques, but it is a fun and instructive tale of how early instruments evolved and bit by bit became the extraordinary navigation tools we have today. The first time I sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, I used a sextant, a stopwatch, a chronometer and the time signals received on an HF radio receiver. No one does that in the age of GPS but I am glad I know how to do it, if everything else fails. And, if you are as interested in navigation as I am, you’ll enjoy Pike’s new book. -- George Day of Blue Water Sailing

Lineup Set For 55th LBYC Congressional Cup
Reigning Congressional Cup Champion Taylor Canfield, USA, has announced he will return to the course April 3 to 7, to defend his title in this sensational Grade One Match Race regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. France’s Maxime Mesnil, No. 5 in World Sailing Match Race rankings, will round out the roster.

Also joining the Congressional Cup lineup is Maxime Mesnil, who has earned his No. 5 ranking by triumphing in a host of Grade 2, 3 and 4 match racing events. He makes his Congressional Cup debut after competing in Ficker Cup last year.

“Ficker Cup is a Grade 2 event, but the competition is A-1 quality,” said Tolle. “Due to our limit of eight invitations to Congressional Cup, many highly qualified and highly ranked teams recognize Ficker Cup as an alternative path to a direct invitation to Congressional Cup.”

“There is no question a first-timer in Ficker Cup, Congressional Cup or Long Beach has a learning curve with regard to the boats, venue and conditions,” Tolle added. “I anticipate Maxime’s second appearance will be much more familiar and competitive. We look forward to seeing what he can do!”

The final two skippers in the Congressional Cup roster will be the winner and runner-up of the Ficker Cup, March 29 to 31. It is both a qualifier to Congressional Cup, and an aggressively sought-after and fought-after title in its own right. -- Betsy Crowfoot

Ficker Cup Skippers
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)
David Hood (USA)
Charles Lalumiere (USA)
Chris Nesbitt (USA)
Chris Poole (USA)
Pearson Potts, Jr. (USA)
Harrison Price (AUS)
Tom Spithill (AUS)

Congressional Cup Skippers
Ian Williams (GBR)
Maxime Mesnil (FRA)
Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE)
Will Boulden (AUS)
Taylor Canfield (USA)
Johnie Berntsson (SWE)
Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL)
Scott Dickson (USA)

Two handed training introduced at April's RORC Easter Challenge
While mixed two handed offshore racing is set to be a new Olympic discipline for Paris 2024, closer to home and more immediately, the Royal Ocean Racing Club continues to see a surge in doublehanded participation in its events. Last month entries opened for the club's pinnacle event, the Rolex Fastnet Race and the maximum limit of 340 slots sold out in just four minutes 37 seconds. Of these, 68 are currently entered in the IRC Two Handed class, a significant step-up from the 57 that competed in 2017.

To acknowledge this trend, the RORC has introduced, via the Royal Yachting Association, specialist two handed coaching for its RORC Easter Challenge training regatta over 19-21 April.

"In the past two-handed crews haven't been able to get involved and we are well aware how important our two handed fleet is," says RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. "So we are offering them coaching at the RORC Easter Challenge for the first time."

Open to all (not just RORC members), the RORC's first race of the domestic season makes coaching uniquely possible as the racing rules of sailing covering 'outside assistance' are relaxed for it. This permits coaches not only to offer advice from their RIBs, but to come on board or for crews to step off their boat and on to a coach RIB to check trim, sail shape, etc -during races.

As ever, the RORC coaching team will be led by the 'legend' in this field Jim Saltonstall, ably assisted by Mason King and former America's Cup coach and sailmaker, Eddie Warden Owen, now RORC CEO, plus the talented staff from North Sails UK.\

While the majority of the RORC's two handed racing is in its extensive offshore program, it also organises the IRC Double Handed National Championship, the first part of which will take place this year on the Solent over 14-15 September. At the RORC Easter Challenge competitors in this and also the Rolex Fastnet Race have the opportunity to learn valuable skills thereby enhancing their performance.

As usual, the Club's Race Team will set a variety of courses around the Solent and will lay on practice starts and the opportunity for much mark rounding practice and speed testing. The three day event will conclude on Easter Sunday with a prizegiving at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse where the silverware is usually overwhelmed by the hundredweight of Easter eggs that are liberally given out as prizes.

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 6 & 7
Click on image for photo gallery.

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 6 & 7 The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone and Bing Lee teams shared the spoils of victory in the two races sailed on Day 4 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship, on Sydney Harbour today, but Asko Appliances holds the barest of leads going into next Sundays final two races of the championship.

Jordan Girdis, Lachlan Doyle and Tom Quigley sailed superbly to take out Race 6 of the championship in The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone, then went down by just 6s to Bing Lee (Micah Lane, Peter Harris, Scott Babbage) in the following race.

NSW champion, Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite, Trent Barnabas) continued the consistency the team has shown throughout the championship to record a second, then third placing today, to hold a one point lead over the hard-charging The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone and Winning Group (John Winning Jr.).

Asko Appliances has a net total of 14 points, dfollowed by The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone and Winning Group on 15, Bing Lee on 17 and Smeg (Michael Coxon) on 18, and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett) on 27 points.

The final two races of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship will be sailed next Sunday, February 17.

Live streaming is available on 18FootersTV

The JJ Giltinan Championship will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from March 2-10. -- Frank Quealey

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