In This Issue
Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar
America's Cup 2019: Disaster as three challengers set to withdraw
New Harken® SnubbAir defies classification as a winch
Dragon Grand Prix de Cannes
The World Sailing Show
Melges 32 World League Villasimius
All going to plan - Musto
Portsmouth Regatta
Francois Gabart on the subject of Brest Atlantiques
Blanche Cook
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Sir Paul McCartney

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

Challenging Palma Sea Breeze Tests the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar
While it is a perfect kick start to the Olympic classes season in Europe, the annual Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar serves as a touchstone for year-on-year progress. The second racing day provided all fleets with a light breeze of 10-12 knots and sunny conditions. Everyone was excited to hit the water and bring their best performance in order to stay in the fight for the desired podium spots.

Australia's Kurt Hansen and Simon Hoffman took the overall lead in the record-sized 49er class, as GBR's 2017 World Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell lie second. They are looking to cement selection to the Tokyo Olympic test event as soon as possible. The strength and depth of young talent coming up in the 49er fleet reflects the appeal of the skiff class and, one supposes, certain security on the Olympic roster.

New Zealand have three duos here with gold medallists Burling and Tuke - who had a shaky 17, 23, return to the class before winning their Race 3. France have nine crews, Germany have 12 crews, GBR eight duos and the host nation, Spain 11. World champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela are 18th after scoring 18,1,11.

Today was also the opening race day for the RS:X Women. Jie Du and Yuw Tan from China and Siripon Kaewduangngam from Thailand stand in the top 3 positions with equal points! Jie Du scored 5,3 and 1 to solve the tie, while Yue opened the day with an Ace followed by 8 and 3. Siripon scored to 2nds and a 15. World champion Lilian De Geus is standing 8th at the moment. -- Icarus Sports

America's Cup 2019: Disaster as three challengers set to withdraw
Half the boats challenging for the America's Cup will not make it to the start line in Auckland in 2021, according to a report.

Newshub have reported that all three teams that filed late entries have failed to get enough money together to stage a challenge.

"It is not surprising that some of the challenges aren't going to make it to the start line," America's Cup veteran skipper Chris Dickson told Newshub.

"It's an expensive game, the America's Cup."

It leaves Emirates Team New Zealand facing the prospect of losing millions of dollars.

Newshub reported that Malta's entry is "dead in the water", DutchSail is resorting to crowdfunding and California's Stars and Stripes is currently drafting a media release announcing its withdrawal.

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.

Stars and Stripes were believed to be well on track in their preparations to get a boat on the water as soon as possible. DutchSail skipper Simeon Tienpont has expressed his eagerness to put together his team and get the building process underway, and said: "We have to get down to work with the boat and the team; we cannot delay any longer. We need to take the water."

Teams are now allowed to launch their first full-scale race boat, however it was expected none of the sydnicates would be ready to do so until the middle of the year.

Malta Altus have been quiet in their progress and were thought to be under enormous pressure to get their challenge into gear.

DuthSail turned to crowd funding to help raise NZ$3.9 million in a bid to put together a competitive challenge.

New Harken® SnubbAir defies classification as a winch
Designed to solve a deck layout challenge on the J/70, the new Harken SnubbAir might look like a smaller, less bruising version of the Classic Harken plain top size 8 winch it replaces, but the SnubbAir has so many other potential uses it really isn't a winch.

"It could act more like a really large ratcheting foot or cheek block or even a ratcheting line diverter in the pit. The SnubbAir provides lots of line-holding power even without a winch handle," said Greg Hartlmeier, the project's lead engineer.

SnubbAir comes with four integral threaded studs that match the bolt pattern of the B8A winch. It weighs less than half of the B8A and is 30% lower to the deck. It features two races of Delrin® ball bearings like a block, which assure it operates with very little friction. The SnubbAir can be used with an adaptor that lets crews use any conventional winch handle. "We named it the SnubbAir, because it's a modern spin on an old-school snubbing winch," Hartlmeier said. "Its low-profile, wide-drum diameter and large center hole make it look a little like our Grand Prix Air Winches."

Ask your Harken dealer to show you SnubbAir.

Dragon Grand Prix de Cannes
Cannes, France: German 470 World Champion Tanja Jacobsohn showed the 50 strong fleet how it's done with some wonderfully consistent sailing at the opening day of the Dragon Grand Prix de Cannes on the Cote d'Azure, France. This first event of the Dragon European Cup 2019 has attracted an extremely strong field from 16 nations across Europe and as far afield as Japan.

Sparkling sun on the beautiful Iles de Lerins and Alpes Maritimes provided the perfect backdrop for what were to be two particularly challenging races, as shifty southerly winds varied from 3 to 13 knots and combined with tricky waves on the 1.7 mile long windward leeward courses.

The first of the day's two races went to Britain's Grant Gordon with Holland's Pieter Heerema taking race two, but it was Tanja Jacobsohn's 3, 2 scoreline which triumphed to give her a three point overall lead. Gordon came seventh in the second race to put him onto eight points overall and into second place on countback from Germany's Thomas Müller in third, who was also very consistent with a pair of fourth places. Fellow German Marcus Brennecke is in fourth place counting ten points with Heerema slotting into fifth on eleven points.

In the Corinthian Division for all amateur crews Sweden's Karl-Gustaf Löhr is leading fellow Swede Martin Palsson with Germany's Maximillian Dohse third.

Racing continues until Friday 5 April with a total of 8 races scheduled. The sailing instructions indicate that two races will be sailed each day, but with the forecast threatening very strong winds for Thursday the Race Committee has elected to post an amendment which gives them the option to race up to three races on day two of the competition. The forecast for day two is for a lot of rain but good winds, with racing due to start at 11.30am. -- Fiona Brown

The World Sailing Show
We're all about speed this month. From Tom Slingsby's guided tour of his teams' F50, to the drama that proceeded another record breaking run around the Caribbean 600.

We also find out how aircraft giants Airbus are helping American Magic to develop their trial horse, the Mule as their America's Cup campaign continues to take shape.

Plus, we head to Oman for the EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour, an event that has changed gear and upped its game after the organisers swapped monohulls for the sprightly Diam 24 tris.

Slingsby's insider tour of the F50
Crash & burn in the Caribbean 600
The American Mule meets Airbus
America's Cup technical
EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour

Melges 32 World League Villasimius
Villasimius, Italy: The first act of the Melges 32 World League came to an end today in the Sardinian race course of Villasimius. The three-days of racing was a real sailing show, with seven regattas completed out of a maximum of eight scheduled by the Notice of Race.

The victory, for the first time in his Melges 32 career, goes to the Argentinian team of Luigi Giannattasio,

The last day of racing brought massive changes into the final ranking and podium of the event organized by Melges Europe: with steady breeze ranging from 8 to 11 knots, the crew of Luigi Giannattasio, with Manuel Weiller calling tactics, immediately scores a bullet, leaving at his back the Moneguasque crew of G-Spot by Giangiacomo Serena Di Lapigio and the twice World Champions of Tavatuy by Pavel Kutznetsov.

The Melges 32 fleet will return to racing from 17 to 19 May in the race course of Puntaldia, Northern Sardinia, while Marina di Villasimius and the local Section of the Lega Navale Italiana will return to offer their hospitality to the Melges World League for the first stage of the Melges 20 World League circuit, scheduled from 26 to 28 April.

Final top five:
1. Donino, Luigi Giannattasio, ARG, 10 points
2. Capirinha, Martin Reintjes, ITA, 22
3. Tavatuy, Pavel Kuznetsov, RUS, 23
4. G-Spot, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio , MON, 25
5. Torpyone, Edoardo Lupi Massimo Pessina , ITA, 28

Full results on

All going to plan - Musto
Speed, reliability, skipper comfort... so far it's all going the right way for Sam Davies' third Vendee Globe programme

'I spent five days non-stop in full foulweather gear and my Musto kit was amazing,' says Sam Davis, when discussing the first five days of the recent Route du Rhum. 'It was absolutely epic weather, some of the worst conditions my boat has ever faced,' Davies adds, recalling the storm that crushed part of her hull and knocked her out of the race along with almost half of the fleet.

There's a crucial correlation between comfort and speed, which sailors ignore at their peril. It has ever been thus, but today's singlehanded ocean racers are on a steeper learning curve than ever as they push the outer limits of physical and mental endurance while battling the violent motion, brutal shock loads, deafening noise and utter fatigue of bashing and slamming a foiling Imoca 60 through heavy weather at full tilt.

The Route de Rhum is a notorious race for gnarly starts - in November the Bay of Biscay often lives up to its evil reputation - and an additional, unusual challenge of this race is the sheer size of the fleet. With 123 yachts jockeying for position on the start line, there's a lot of closequarters, high-speed manoeuvring - an exhausting business for a solo sailor in a powerful boat that's been designed and optimised for ocean passage-making rather than short tacking. Getting away cleanly can be quite a challenge.

Full article in the April issue of Seahorse

Portsmouth Regatta
The first week in June this year will see many activities celebrating the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings. Rounding off the week on Saturday and Sunday 8 & 9th will be the Portsmouth Regatta, the reborn event whose roots go back to the 1830s. This year contestants will not only remember the Normandy Beaches but will celebrate the 85th anniversary of the City's own day boat class, the Victorys.

Contestants have commented warmly on the high standard of racing and the Regatta has flourished gaining numbers and classes year by year. This year they will include Solent IRC Series, J109s, Club Class, Sports Boats and Day Boats organised in Black and White fleets. Courses will be laid in areas ensuring first class sailing but wherever possible with good visibility from land and spectator boats.

Racing will begin at 1100 on Saturday followed in the evening by a social event at the Bridge Tavern in Old Portsmouth. Sunday racing will be followed at 1500 by the prize giving at the Hornet Services Sailing Centre. A wide range of sponsors ensure that prizes will be excellent. The Regatta team are very pleased to announce two new partners for 2019. Again we are very thankful for the continued support of Saulet Townsend Solicitors, DPFX Printing, the A-Bar, KB Boat Park and RS Divers.

Entries are now open at Contact for any questions of further information.

Francois Gabart on the subject of Brest Atlantiques
As far as the MACIF trimaran skipper is concerned, the new Brest Atlantiques race, in which the Ultim' fleet sets off from Brest to Rio and then to the Cape of Good Hope, before returning to Finistère, is a sign of the vitality of the Ultim 32/23 class following the autumn storms.

Francois Gabart and his co-skipper will endeavour to win the first Brest Atlantiques race on the MACIF trimaran, which sets sail on 3 November 2019. It is a non-stop course running south from Brest in a loop and crossing the equator in the direction of Rio de Janeiro, then heading to the Cape of Good Hope, before returning to Brest. This represents an intensive month of double-handed racing, according to Francois. It is very interesting from a competitive point of view and demonstrates the vitality of the Ultim 32/23 class, that was considerably affected by material damage during the route du Rhum 2018.

"The end of January," says Francois Gabart, "was a key moment in the class's history. As the initial calendar was messed up after the autumn accidents, we had to rethink a programme. I was not particularly worried about our ability bring our visions and our interests into line, but it is reassuring to feel the driving force behind the whole Ultim 32/23 class. We talk and respect each other, and we build together. And I believe that we have emerged much stronger for all these misadventures."

Many scenarios were considered by the sponsors and the racing teams. And this Atlantic triangle has much to offer. But far as the MACIF trimaran's skipper is concerned, it will enable the class to write its own history through a long-distance racing challenge. By facing up to the economic realities of our sponsors and the racing realities of the racing teams, we have succeeded in building a programme that meets their expectations.

While the MACIF trimaran is still undergoing a refit to prepare for the challenges this autumn, Francois Gabart has begun a new chapter of his life racing a Flying Phantom double-handed with Louis Viaton. The two skippers have been actively training with ENVSN, the Ecole national de voile et de sports nautiques, with the goal of lining up for the start of three major events in the international season of this very powerful class: the Eurocat (Carnac, 2 to 4 May), Act 2 of the Flying Phantom season, then Act 7, which will take place on Lake Garda (July) and the European Championship, which should also be held on the Italian lake.

Sebastien Col is helping with the development of the MACIF trimaran, but also with Charlie Dalin's IMOCA 60 Apivia and the two Figaro Beneteau 3 yachts of the Macif skipper's Martin Le Pape and Pierre Quiroga. He is a key figure, linking the three projects' different teams and sailors, so that everyone can make good use of their knowledge expertise, and so that everything runs smoothly internally. He is also the "competitive advantage" of MerConcept, where few of us race intensively, and this creates team drive".

Blanche Cook
New Zealand's yachting community is mourning the loss through cancer of Blanche Cook, financial director and part owner of Yachting Developments. Cook passed away on March 28 while the Superyacht Gathering was in progress, a new event for the New Zealand yachting calendar but one in which she and her husband Ian, the managing director of Yachting Developments, had given substantial support through being foundation partners.

Blanche was heavily involved in New Zealand's marine community, serving as vice chairperson of the NZ Marine Export Group, supporting the yard's busy apprenticeship scheme and providing her support to a wide range of yachting causes, particularly the rescue and restoration of numerous classic yachts.

Blanche was a passionate supporter of the Yachting Developments team, and was proud of all projects completed by the yard. Together, Blanche and Ian led the Yachting Developments team to build, refit and restore a roll call of beautiful yachts. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends and all the Yachting Developments team.

A celebration of her life is to be held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron later this week.

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The Last Word
One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here. -- Sir Paul McCartney

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