In This Issue
LBYC Ficker Cup: Gateway To Greatness
King George Gallop
Season ends on high for 2018/2019 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series
Cabo Race: Beginning the tequila tango
MS Amlin Yacht Release First Episode of "80 Seconds with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston" on 17th March
Mule A Speedy Workhorse For American Magic Sailing Crew
Happy Days - Doyle Sails
74th Annual Block Island Race
The SSB Debate
Tips and Tricks for bottom painting your boat
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Charles M. Madigan

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

LBYC Ficker Cup: Gateway To Greatness
Long Beach, CA: If the Congressional Cup is the gateway to the America's Cup, the Ficker Cup is the gateway to the Congressional Cup.

This Grade 2 Match Racing competition, organized annually by Long Beach Yacht Club since 1980, is both a qualifier to the prestigious Congressional Cup regatta, as well as a world-class sailing event in its own right.

The 2019 Ficker Cup will take place March 29 to 31 in the Congressional Cup stadium, a designated race course adjacent the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, beginning at 11:30AM daily. Eight top-notch skippers from around the globe, each with a complement of five crew, have been invited to compete in the event, which consists of round robin racing followed by semi-finals, petit finals and finals.

At the end of three days, the winner will be awarded the Ficker Cup trophy: so named to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America's Cup and won the Congressional Cup in 1974.

In addition, first and second place finishers are invited to compete in the esteemed Congressional Cup regatta, April 3 to 7, 2019.

Vying for the title are some of the world's leading skippers, including several in the top 20 World Sailing Match Race rankings. Harry Price (AUS) #3, Chris Poole (USA) #15, Pearson Potts (USA) #16, Chris Nesbitt (USA) #38 , Joachim Aschenbrener (DEN) #41, and Dave Hood (USA) #59 return to Long Beach Yacht Club, while Charles Lalumiere (USA) #150, and Tom Spithill (AUS) #372 make their Ficker Cup debut.

King George Gallop
Local Radial sailor Tony Cooper took three straight wins to smash the King George Gallop, the March leg of the Great British Sailing Challenge.

A windy weekend, gusting 37 kts at times, did not worry Cooper who finished two points ahead of Richard Smith in an RS600 and four points clear of Jim Fifield in a Laser.

Only six competitors from 16 entries completed all three races at the King George SC in North london.

And one of the intrepid six was Series founder Andy Rice, sailing with Ewan Gribben in a 49er, making a possible late charge for Tokyo 2020 !?

King George Gallop counting 2 of 3 races
1. Laser Radial, Tony Cooper, King George SC, 2 points
2. RS600, Richard Smith, Wilsonian SC, 4
3. Laser, Jim Fifield, King George SC, 6
4. Laser, Kevin Cooper, King George SC, 7
5. RS600, Michael Iszatt, King George SC, 9
6. Vortex, Jonathan Carter, Rickmansworth SC, 10
7. Blaze, Malcolm Hutchings, RCYC, 13
8. RS Vareo, Luke Fisher, Emberton Park SC, 15
9. 49er, Andy Rice, Stokes Bay SC, 17
10. Laser Radial, Tim French, King George SC, 18

Season ends on high for 2018/2019 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series
The 6th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series of monthly regattas (Oct-March) ended in style with the fifth and final Act taking place in spring conditions to the delight of 50 teams in the J/70 and Melges 20s.

Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco in partnership with technical clothing supplier SLAM, the series attracts an international field which this season saw 29 races launched by the Race Committee.

In the Melges 20, the Russians were again on the podium with Alexander Mikhaylik's Alex Team winning Act 5 after six races to clinch the 2018-2019 season.

In the J/70 it was fitting that on St Patrick's Day victory should go to King Marshall's Irish team on Soak Racing led by the International Class President. The team won two of the six races and were always in the vanguard, despite determined Swiss opposition on CDE CH helmed by Nicolas Anklin. Russian Sergey Sobolev on RUS1271 took 3rd. Two poor results would have cost him dear, as barely two points separated him from his pursuers down to 7th place.

Soak Racing also won in the Corinthian category.

In the final ranking for the 2018-2019 season, consistency paid off for YCM member Ludovico Fassitelli (Junda Banca del Sempiene) who took the title, which bodes well for the J/70 World Championship in Monaco in October 2021.

Another YCM member took 2nd, Loïc Pompée (Allo III) with the Swiss Corinthian team Quarter Eleven in 3rd and 1st Corinthian. After 29 races only a fistful of points separated the top five.

One-designs continue to take centre stage in the Principality which is set to host the 2nd Monaco Swan One Design, 9-13 April.

Dates have already been set for the 7th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series with five Acts and more than 70 boats lined up to participate.
Act 1: 7/10 November 2019
Act 2: 5/8 December 2019
Act 3: 16/19 January 2020
Act 4: 6/9 February 2020 (Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse)
Act 5: 5/8 March 2020

One-designs continue to take centre stage in the Principality which is all set to host the 2nd Monaco Swan One Design, 9-13 April, with some 20 of these sporty elegant boats expected.

Cabo Race: Beginning the tequila tango
Twenty-eight teams were among the three staggered start dates on March 14 to 16 for the Newport Beach To Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race. Two retirees, the Multi 70 Maserati and the Farr 57 Ho'okolohe, opted to not start the 800nm course from Southern California to the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Provisional leaders are Destroyer (TP52, ORR1), Pywacket (Andrew 70, ORR2), Blueflash (J/121, ORR3), Horizon (SC50, ORR4), and Aloha (Hobie 33, ORR5).

Event site with tracker:

MS Amlin Yacht Release First Episode of "80 Seconds with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston" on 17th March
To celebrate the actual date of their Brand Ambassador, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's 80th birthday, MS Amlin Yacht, the boat insurance specialists, are launching Episode One of the "80 Seconds with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston" video series on the 17th March.

80 Seconds with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston - Episode One - The Lure of the Sea
In this first episode you can look forward to finding out what it is that keeps Sir Robin throwing off the mooring lines again and again, alongside Dee Caffari digging to find out what his future plans are…. Will he be heading back out to regain his record as the oldest person to single handedly navigate the globe non-stop?

Paul Knox-Johnston - MS Amlin Yacht's Business Development Manager said

"The video series was filmed whilst Sir Robin was out sailing aboard Suhaili with his talented peer and friend Dee Caffari. We were able to capture conversations and special moments which allow us to bring you a unique insight into one of the world's most famous sailors. There is a lot of footage to bring you over the coming months, so subscribe to the MS Amlin Yacht YouTube Channel for updates on new releases."

You can watch the video series on the MS Amlin Yacht YouTube Channel or via the website

Mule A Speedy Workhorse For American Magic Sailing Crew
ut on Pensacola Bay, the combination of a fantastical-looking test boat called the Mule and technology from aviation giant Airbus is giving the New York Yacht Club's American Magic a flying start toward trying to win the America's Cup in two years.

When the 38-foot Mule reaches a certain speed, it undergoes a striking visual transformation as it rises up on hydrofoils and slices across the top of the waves. American Magic confirmed this week that it is sailing "dry laps" at its winter base in Florida, with the Mule's hull never touching the water as it flies on foils all the way around a course that's roughly six miles long and two miles across.

"When we get the right breeze direction ... we can do 16 miles of sailing out of the water. It's amazing how fast that happens," Terry Hutchinson, American Magic's executive director and skipper, said in a phone interview.

Although spies from rival syndicates have certainly seen the development, American Magic revealed just this week that it has been doing dry laps for about a month.

It's a big step because American Magic is the only one of the seven teams for the 2021 America's Cup that has built the closest thing allowed by the rules to what the actual race boat, the AC75, will look and perform like. American Magic is building its first AC75 in Rhode Island and expects it to be finished by the middle of the summer.

The Mule was launched in Newport, Rhode Island, last fall. The team set up its winter base in Florida in December.

Automotive giant Roger Penske, one of the team principals along with Doug DeVos and Hap Fauth, nicknamed the boat Mule, a term for a test car. "That just stuck," Hutchinson said.

It performs anything like a mule. Canting arms tipped with T-foils mounted on both sides of the hull make it look somewhat like a nautical insect. In full flight, the boat rides on foils on the rudder and the leeward foil arm, with the windward foil arm out of the water. When the boat tacks, the foil arms switch positions. -- Bernie Wilson

Happy Days - Doyle Sails
Boxing Day 2018 marked the start of a pretty good story for the latest Doyle Sails technology

The 2018 Rolex Sydney-Hobart race brought together some of the finest offshore sailors on the planet. Four 100ft Maxis raced to Hobart, with two of these plus the overall winner, the Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive, all flying Doyle Stratis sails. This was a key opportunity for multiple world champion, double Olympian and sixtime Volvo veteran Chris Nicholson from Doyle Lake Macquarie to gauge the response, from the talent gathered in Hobart, on the innovations and key developments emerging from Doyle in 2018-19.

'Two of the 100-footers developed a J-Zero, similar to the Volvo 65 sail, and so now we are seeing that information trickle down from the Volvo Ocean Race to mainstream offshore racing, which is great,' Nicholson said.

'Normally the J-Zeros are set on a reaching strut, but with the conditions in the recent Hobart, the struts weren't in range to be used – and still the gains with the luff of the J-Zero projecting so much enabled for a much faster triple head setup. With two inner jibs or staysails flying, the gains have really been impressive.'

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse

74th Annual Block Island Race
Entry for this year's event has been open since February and communications to last year's participants have fostered a dozen entries. Since posting, the NoR has been amended to add the Youth Offshore Challenge to the list for which the Block Island Race is a qualifier, along with the Riverside Yacht Club Stratford Shoal Race, the Around Long Island Regatta, the Race around Shelter Island, the 12th Mudnite Madness Overnight, and the Ida Lewis Distance Race.

Having been the chair of the Block Island Race for over 20 years, I have had the pleasure of talking to many competitors, both stalwarts and newbies, as well as sailors that have yet to compete in this early season, shake the cobwebs out, race. One of the most consistent questions asked is "What do I have to do to get my boat set up for this race?" The simple answer is to direct them to the YRA Safety Recommendations, the US Sailing Safety Equipment Regulations, and the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations, reminding them that the set-up of the boat is only part of the program. The other part is getting the crew "set up" for it.

Last year we emphasized the Safety-at-Sea (SAS) requirements that 30% of all aboard, but not fewer than 2, have attended a hands-on seminar within the last 5 years. That requirement echoes the Safety Equipment Requirement (SER) 4.2.3. We also recommended that the remainder of the crew complete the US Sailing SAS online course and stated that it was intended that the online course recommendation become a requirement for this year's event. The hands-on requirement has not changed, however in the interests of accounting for last minute crew changes (never happens, right?) the "remainder of the crew" requirement has been amended to 75%, a number which is in harmony with SER requirement 4.2. We urge those that claim they have been sailing "all their lives" and know what to do, to take the time to read the report on the findings of the IMEDI incident in last year's Chicago-Mac Race wherein a seasoned sailor on a TP52 slid under the lifelines in rough seas, his auto-inflate harness failed, and he could not be retrieved. See also Rich du Moulins "Safety at Sea Thoughts which follows.

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy, the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy, and the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF.) For more details, consult the YRALIS Handbook or The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the De Coursey Fales, Sagola & Windigo Trophies, the duMoulin Cup for Double Handed Racing, the Youth Challenge Cup awarded by the YRA-LIS, the Rugg Family Tri-state Offshore Youth Challenge, as well as the Storm Trysail Club "Tuna Trophy" for the best IRC combined scores in the EDLU (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%). -- Ray Redniss, Rear Commodore, Block Island Race PRO

The SSB Debate
Years ago, I and my friends sailed a lot of offshore miles without any long-range communications. Old AM radios had a range of up to 200 miles but when VHF came in, broadcast distances were reduced to line of sight, not enough to call for help if you are hundreds of miles offshore. But HAM and SSB radios were popular and getting more reliably "marinized" until they became the high seas communications tool of choice. But sat phones are changing that. In fact, there are now quite a few sailors heading offshore with only satellite communications and no SSB. With a sat phone you can have voice, text and email connection anywhere in the world. Or, with an inexpensive Iridium Go and a laptop you can have email everywhere.

So, are SSBs irrelevant? I would say not quite but almost. The two qualities I like about SSB radios are the ability to chat with friends in the radio nets all about the world and the very inexpensive email services provided by SailMail and Winlink. Yet, the downside of SSBs is the dearth of shore stations for ship-to-shore communications and general unreliability of propagation for making long distance contact.

We had SSBs on our last two boats but when going to sea we would rent a satphone, plus we signed up with Iridium GO for email. In fact, over the last four long offshore passages on our last boat we used the SSB as a receiver to listen to weather guru Chris Parker and that was all. We were glad to have the radio, but I doubt I will put one on my next offshore cruising boat. What do you think? -- George Day,

Tips and Tricks for bottom painting your boat
Learn some more cool tips and tricks for bottom painting your boat from shipwright Louis Sauzedde. Brought to you by our friends at Jamestown Distributors - TotalBoat

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The Last Word
St. Patrick—one of the few saints whose feast day presents the opportunity to get determinedly whacked and make a fool of oneself all under the guise of acting Irish. -- Charles M. Madigan

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