In This Issue
Price Prevails In Ficker Cup
British Grand Prix elite to compete in RORC Easter Challenge
Harken® Element™ Blocks Won't Break Your Budget
Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR Opens
Sardinha Cup for the Beneteau Figaro 3
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
48th BVI Spring Regatta
BKL season opener just weeks away!
DutchSail admit pressure is on to build challenge after late entry
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Lucien Greaves

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

Price Prevails In Ficker Cup
Long Beach, California: In an exciting winner-takes-all final match, Harry Price (AUS) of Down Under Racing defeated Chris Poole (USA) to capture the Long Beach Yacht Club Ficker Cup title. Both will advance to the Congressional Cup, which starts next week. Dave Hood (USA) finished third, while Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) took fourth.

Eight teams from around the globe competed in the 40th Ficker Cup match race: three days of what Principal Race Officer John Busch called, "Awesome, epic sailing." Although the wind was slow to come up in the morning, when it did fill in, it was idyllic, with cool ocean breezes and plenty of sunshine.

Going into Sunday's semi-finals, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club's Poole, who had aced Stage 1, was paired with Hood, a LBYC Staff Commodore. In the first match, Hood got 'hoodwinked' - surrendering a solid lead when he targeted the wrong windward mark. Poole took advantage of the error and won that race, and continued to dominate the series; moving on to the finals.

A crowd had gathered on Belmont Pier to watch the races, and Aschenbrenner and Price kept them in suspense. Each won one race, then another, until at 2:2 they entered a final match-point battle in race five. Off the start, Aschenbrenner tacked too close to Price, earning a penalty. The die was cast. Despite a duel that took them to the outer reaches of the course, Aschenbrenner couldn't rebound. Price won by a boat length, to enter the Finals.

Earlier, the breeze had clocked and built to 9 knots. But with the clock ticking and wind waning, PRO Busch decided to reduce the Finals to a single winner-take-all match.

Despite a penalty in the pre-start, Hood recovered and bested Aschenbrenner, for third place: an impressive accomplishment for the 61-year-old Staff Commodore, and only amateur skipper in the field of finalists.

Ficker Cup Final Results
Harry Price (AUS)
Chris Poole (USA)
Dave Hood (USA)
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)

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)
Scotty Dickson (USA)
Harry Price (AUS)
Chris Poole (USA)

British Grand Prix elite to compete in RORC Easter Challenge
While the RORC Easter Challenge is on the one hand a training regatta offering free world class coaching from grand masters like Jim Saltonstall, it also kicks off the Royal Ocean Racing Club's domestic racing season.

At present inshore racing is going through a halcyon period in the UK with the return of grand prix racing in the FAST40+ class and the more attainable Performance 40s. The former started with boats such as Ker 40+s and GP42s but has since evolved its own purpose-built hardware as exemplified by Niklas Zennström's Ran 7. While the FAST40+ has an IRC TCC rating band of 1.210-1.270, the Performance 40s are heavier displacement IRC boats with a TCC range of 1.075-1.145.

Both will be out on the Solent in force for the RORC Easter Challenge over 19-21st April.

Seven FAST40+s are expected, including 2018's stand-out performer, Ran 7. Meanwhile Johnny Vincent's Pace has been rechristened Arabella and is being campaigning by Niall Dowling, who famously last year scored the Volvo Round Ireland Race 'double', winning both on elapsed time and corrected.

The coaching facility at the RORC Easter Challenge will enable the crew to fast-track working up their new steed. "We have always found the coaching to be important - it is definitely good to get eyes off the boat," says Cherry. "For example I've never before been involved in string drops. It is hard to get a good camera angle filming that on board, so getting video from off the boat will really help."

In addition, progressing from the Sun Fast 3600, which Cherry says he could sail singlehanded, to one reliant on a full crew, is going to take some work. "With this you need seven out of 11 doing exactly the right thing at the right time to do it well."

While seven FAST 40+s are competing at the RORC Easter Challenge, nine Performance 40s are currently entered. As usual these are topped by the duo of King 40s - the Blair family's Cobra and Roger Bowden's Nifty - and also Tom Kneen's JPK 1180 Sunrise, the trio of J/Boats - Journeymaker II, Red Herring and Jackhammer - the Ker 39 Rumbleflurg, plus the two First 40s La Réponse and Olympia's Tigress.

Olympia's Tigress' direct competition will be former RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine's La Réponse.

While the RORC Easter Challenge caters for all skill levels and boats of all sizes, the competitive boats are not just limited to the 40s. We can expect to see top performances from the likes of David Frank's new J/112E Leon, to Sam Laidlaw's Quarter Tonner, the relentless champion Aguila to immaculately sailed classics such as Giovanni Belgrano's 1939 Laurent Giles-designed Whooper and Harry Heijst's 1972 S&S 41 Winsome.

Harken® Element™ Blocks Won't Break Your Budget
Sailors around the world are putting Harken® Element™ blocks on their boats and reporting that the blocks are achieving what they had been designed to do: be durable and give reliable performance at a surprisingly efficient price. Element blocks are created with sideplates that combine forged hardcoat-anodized aluminum to resist corrosion and compound curves for increased strength. They are simultaneously contemporary and very robust.

Element's design uses the precise amount of metal required to protect the composite sheave with a proven journal bearing. No more. No less. You don't have to pay more than you need. So, size for size, Element is priced significantly lower than our previous line of popularly priced blocks. Whether cruising the bay, competing in a weekend race, or embarking on an extended passage, Element blocks will get you there without breaking your budget. Element is available in singles, doubles, triples, fiddles, and footblocks in 45, 60, and 80 mm. Accepting line from 8 - 16 mm.

Learn more about Element.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR Opens
A long opening day of the 50th anniversary edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR was more frustrating for the classes which were sent out to race earlier in the day, the Nacra 17, Lasers and Laser Radials racing out from Ca'n Pastilla had to contend with an unsettled, very light offshore wind before the afternoon sea breeze which took time to fill.

The classes which started later had the best of the day, the 470s and FX's required to spend less time on the water waiting. The hotly contested 470 fleets, Men and Womens, enjoyed two decent races in the 8-10kts breeze on the Bay of Palma. Even the sunshine made a welcome return.

The return to Europe and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR is always highly anticipated by Australia's hugely experienced Mat Belcher, double Olympic 470 medallist, and Will Ryan. The 2018 class champions here made a solid start to their European season with a fifth and a first to lie second in the Mens 470 behind Spain's Miami World Cup winners Jordi Xammer and Nicolas Rodriguez.

With the 2020 Olympic regatta just over 15 months away this event figures highly in selections for the Olymipic test event. Top three results

470 Men
1. Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Rodriguez, ESP, 3
2. Keiju Okada / Jumpei Hokazono, JPN, 6
3. Hippolyte Machetti / Sidoine Dantes, FRA, 7

470 Women
1. Hannah Mills / Eilidh Mcintyre, GBR, 7
2. Elena Berta / Bianca Caruso, ITA, 11
3. Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz, FRA, 14

49er - No results

49er FX
1. Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey, GBR, 3
2. Natasha Bryant / Annie Wilmot, AUS, 4
3. Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, 4

1. Alican Kaynar, TUR, 4
2. Ed Wright, GBR, 4
3. Andrew Maloney, NZL, 5

1. Hermann Tomasgaard, NOR, 3
2. Finn Lynch, IRL, 4
3. Filip Jurisic, CRO, 6

Laser Radial
1. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 2
2. Dongshuang Zhang, CHN, 8
3. Erika Reineke, USA, 9

1. Paul Kohlhoff / Alica Stuhlemmer, GER. 2
2. Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders, NZL, 2
3. Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti, ITA, 4

RS:X Men - No results

RS:X Women - No results

* Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have become used to people watching them, given their achievement over the past decade, and know they will be under the spotlight at this week's Princess Sofia regatta in Palma.

The event marks the pair's first international regatta in the 49er since winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The landscape has changed a little since then, with rivals having come and gone, which is why there will be so much interest in how Burling and Tuke fare in Palma.

Burling and Tuke famously won every major regatta between the London and Rio Olympics, including four 49er world titles, and their margin of victory at the Rio Olympics (43 points) was the most in any class at the Olympics in more than 50 years.

The pair announced last August their intention to try to win gold at next year's Tokyo Olympics and started training in October. They won their first regatta back, February's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, and were second at the 49er national championships soon after.

They've returned into a strong local 49er scene, and have been working closely with three other New Zealand teams who all have Olympic ambitions of their own. They all train together and there's also a talent pool of promising skiff sailors below this that Burling and Tuke have been helping.

Sardinha Cup for the Beneteau Figaro 3
Because of the very light winds forecast for today on France's Vendée coast, Sunday, Race Direction of the Sardinha Cup made the decision early this morning to shorten course for the opening stage of the three leg race series which is the first test for the new Beneteau Figaro 3 class.

The first leg, entitled The Vendée Warm Up, was in the form of a loop between the country of Saint Gilles, the island of Yeu and the estuary of the Gironde.

Ireland's Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall crossed the finish line in 13th place on Smurfit Kappa after about 17 hours of racing since starting Saturday afternoon at 1400hrs local time.

The Irish duo had lead off the start line and remained very much in the match, in the leading group for most of the stage, succumbing to one small error on what proved to be the final leg in to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, the start and finish port.

Leg 2, the Great Race No. 1, will be given Tuesday at 16h Saint -Gilles Cross-of-Life on a course of 405 miles. The conditions are expected to be strong, suggesting a good race between the 33 Figaro Bénéteau 3 racing on this stage.

The course of the second stage of the Sardinha Cup, the Great Race No. 1, was presented this Monday at 16h by the race director, Francis Le Goff. 33 teams will start Tuesday (Hive Energy, Will Harris and Eric Péron, victim of a keel failure, will not start but hopes to be back on the third leg).

A 405-mile course that starts Tuesday at 4 pm, with a departure in front of Saint-Gilles Croix-de-Vie, before a first close-to the SN1 buoy at the entrance of the channel of Saint-Nazaire, then a downwind descent towards the BXA mark, at the entrance of the Gironde estuary. The Figaro Bénéteau 3 will then leave Wednesday for a new edge close to the Mare Glénan, before turning around and down to the island of Yeu, to port, and cut the line. arrival at Saint-Gilles Croix-de-Vie.

The course should take about fifty hours, the arrival is scheduled for Thursday late afternoon. As for the weather, the conditions are much more sustained than on the Warm-up, with a start in a good fifteen knots of northwest and the sea quite formed, promising in particular a very fast descent under spinnaker. BXA, then wind on Wednesday, of the order of 20-25 knots, stronger off the coast.

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month

Last month's winner:

Rod Davis (NZL)
'His innovations in the OK have taken the boat to a new level' - Brett Daniel; 'He's not getting paid for this, he just loves sailing... pro sailors take note' - Dan Slater; 'Plenty of runway left, Rod' - David Ross; 'It's the help he gives us off the water that's almost more impressive. In Rod we trust!' - Matt Butterfield; 'I've gotta support a fellow scribe' - Blue Robinson; 'Rod Davis, there is no substitute!' - Michele Henderson; 'Every evening he'd switch from competitor to coach to help all of us... and with the BBQ' - Simon Probert; 'One of the best sailors on the planet, period' - Robin Morgan; 'He just sailed superbly' - Tony Bierre.

This month's nominees:

Stacey Jackson (AUS)
Jeez... where to start. This must be what they mean by 'going viral', the whole world was banging on our door to make this (deserved) nomination. A Volvo racer with SCA and a veteran of most things from skiffs to maxis, Stacey pulled together a really excellent all-woman crew for the last Hobart and then finished second overall. Big at raising awareness of ocean health and women in sport - we were not brave enough to ignore the mob...

Martin Atilla (LAT)
There's lots of talent coming through the Oppis right now but we really respect young Latvian sailor Atilla's big OptiOrange regatta win in Valencia in an almost entirely Spanish fleet and as the only non-Spanish sailor to make the top 10. Closed it out with two wins in the last two races which shows a bit of cool under pressure. OptiOrange was first conceived as a winter training event for Russian Opti sailors. Watch out, world

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

48th BVI Spring Regatta
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands - "It was thrilling to see this place buzzing again!" Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager of Nanny Cay Marina enthused after a fantastic week-long fun-filled event that saw more than 800 sailors on 90+ boats competing. "It's been incredible to be part of the BVI rebuild and this week to be out on the water on a boat that was recovered from Irma and to win in class. I can't thank everyone enough for making this happen. Next year is going to be even better!" Sutherland-Pilch raced with Team Nai'a on Odyssey, a Beneteau First, in CSA Jib & Main 2.

Taking his second consecutive overall win in division in the Offshore Multihull class, Flow, the Gunboat 60 owned and skippered by Steve Cucchiaro (USA) took two bullets today in two races to finish with 6 points. Fujin, the Bieker 53 catamaran owned by Greg Slyngstad (USA), took second, also with 6 points.

The Russian team from St Petersburg took first in CSA Racing 1, on the TP52 Conviction, owned by Clint Brooks (Barbados) finishing with 7 points, just one point ahead of the Carkeek 47 White Rhino, owned and skippered by Todd Stuart (USA).

Blitz, the King 40 owned by Peter Corr (USVI), and a boat that is always difficult to beat, took first in CSA Racing 2 with 9.5 points, barely taking out Team McFly (GBR) on the J/122 El Ocaso in second with 11 points and the Swan 25 Samantaga (BEL) in third also with 11 points. David Sampson, Blitz' tactician said, "We had half a point lead going into the second race and fortunately had a great race. There was a huge left shift at the start, our trimmers did a great job and allowed us to extend every leg. This is one of my favorite regattas anywhere - it's a fun competitive class that makes us want to come back, the atmosphere has been fantastic."

Thanks to every participant in this year's BVI Spring Regatta. See you in 2020 - March 30-April 5!

Full Results at

BKL season opener just weeks away!
The British Keelboat League is excited to be approaching its opening weekend, to be hosted at Ullswater Yacht Club in the Lake District National Park. This event will act as the Northern Qualifier for the series and begins the introduction of the RS21 to racing in the United Kingdom. Taking place over the first bank holiday weekend in May (5th and 6th), the Northern Qualifier promises to be an exciting weekend.

RS Sailing are an Official Partner for the event and have provided a fleet of RS21's for top notch one-design racing. For those teams wishing to get in some pre-event training, the British Keelboat League will also be offering the chance to take the boats out for a shake down sail on Saturday 4th May.

Teams from around the region interested in this event, or the other events to be hosted around the country are encouraged to visit the British Keelboat League website to register.

DutchSail admit pressure is on to build challenge after late entry
A late entry into the 2021 America's Cup, the leaders of the Netherlands' challenge admit they are facing a tough task to make up ground.

While Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa, Ineos Team UK and American Magic have been working on their campaign since early last year, DutchSail were one of three late entries to fleet.

As a result, their campaign began months behind the initial four teams leaving them plenty of ground to make up.

"We started in November with a backlog and we are working hard to make up lost ground," DutchSail general manager Eelco Blok said.

"We are facing killer deadlines, but as long as there are chances, we won't give up."

The three late entries – which also included Stars and Stripes Team USA, and Malta Altus – needed to come up with a 25 per cent instalment of their $US1m entry fee this week, with the balance to be paid by the end of the month. -- Christopher Rieve in the New Zealand Herald

Featured Brokerage
2003 Swan 70-003 Blue Pearl. 1,200,000 EUR. Located in La Spezia, Italy.

Blue Pearl is the third Swan 70 and was delivered in 2003. Until 2006, the boat was stored ashore and unused while her original owners built a larger Swan yacht. Sold to her current owner in mid 2006, she was set up for a mutli-purpose program of competitive racing and comfortable cruising.

See listing details in Nautor's Swan Brokerage

Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Giorgio Passarella

Tel. +377 97 97 95 07


1935 Alfred Mylne 54 Ft Cutter - Irina VII. 625000 EUR. Located in France.

This beautiful Alfred Mylne designed Fife yard built cutter is pedigree indeed. Both cruising and racing she is a yacht for the connoisseur most certainly.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Barney Sandeman

+44 (0)1202 330077
33 High Street
Poole, Dorset
BH15 1AB
United Kingdom


1996 Nautor Swan 48R - ASSUAGE. 220,000 GBP. Located in Lymington, UK

Top performer at Championship level and also enjoying blue water cruising, the Swan 48 is one of the evergreen yachts of the range. ASSUAGE has had a very successful career and is ready for the next owner for racing or cruising.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679 222

See the collection at

The Last Word
It’s not about being shocking or upsetting the locals, though it’s an inevitable byproduct. -- Lucien Greaves

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see