In This Issue
Joyon Grabs the Tea Route Record finishing in London
Revitalised J Class Set to Rendezvous for Key Caribbean Regattas
2020 Caribbean 600 - Bigger Than Ever
37 Nations gather for the RORC Caribbean 600
31st Palamos International Optimist Trophy
Optimist World Championship 2020: 66 registered countries
Q&A with Knut Frostad
Best of the Best - Star Sailors League
Storm tactics from the Golden Globe Race: Uku Randmaa
Cadet Worlds head down under, hosted by Royal Yacht Club of Victoria
Featured Brokerage:
• • Victory '83
• • RIO 52
• • Grand Soleil 50
The Last Word: Will Rogers

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

Joyon Grabs the Tea Route Record finishing in London
Photo by Cathy Foster. Click on image to enlarge.

IDEC Finish The IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran sailed by Francis Joyon, Bertrand Delesne, Christophe Houdet, Antoine Blouet and Corentin Joyon, set a new record for the Tea Route between Hong Kong and London this morning (Wednesday 19th February 2020). The new reference time is 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes and 46 seconds.

The boat crossed the finish under the QE II Bridge which spans the Thames at 07:37:33 hrs UTC.

They have beaten the record previously held by the Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini (Maserati) by 4 days, 3 hours, 0 minutes and 26 seconds. They sailed 15,873 miles averaging 20.7 knots.

By lowering the record time for the Tea Route between Hong Kong and London to just over a month, Francis Joyon and his crew of four on the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran have not only smashed Giovanni Soldini's time by 4 days, but also divided by three the time it took the big clippers in the second half of the 19th Century to sail this route, as they fought a trade battle to be the first to bring the leaves for the revered brew back to London.

Sailing more than 15,000 miles averaging 20.7 knots, the maxi trimaran went through almost all the wind, sea, sun and temperature conditions imaginable with a series of surprises and unexpected hurdles, as they sailed sometimes smoothly and sometimes in highly uncomfortable conditions. The China Sea, the Indian Ocean, The South and North Atlantic together represent a voyage halfway around the world. A voyage that the five sailors accomplished in record time, pushing back the boundaries in terms of performance, while at the same time showing tender love and affection to their venerable boat launched back in 2006. She has won the Route du Rhum three times and is the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy.

This has been a voyage back in time with memories of the big clippers of the past, a voyage of discovery with sea routes not often sailed by modern ocean racers, a human adventure and an opportunity to feel at one with the vast, open, natural spaces. The Tea Route has brought together everything that Francis Joyon, the most exceptional sailor, loves to achieve and out on the water revealed some magnificent seascapes with champagne sailing conditions encouraging the crew to show respect as they contemplated the seas and skies.

Revitalised J Class Set to Rendezvous for Key Caribbean Regattas
When they muster in March in the Caribbean to race at the Antigua Superyacht Challenge and at the ever-popular Saint Barth's Bucket, four J Class yachts will form the strongest class fleet since 2017's J Class World Championship in Newport, RI.

The back-to-back events will mark the notable return of Lionheart which pretty much swept the board during the landmark 2017 season, when the J Class featured in Bermuda during the 35th America's Cup regatta and then raced for the inaugural world title in Newport.

World Champion JH1 Lionheart will renew her rivalry with the very well sailed and optimised J-S1 Svea, the newest J Class built and the longest ever at 143ft. Racing against them will be J8 Topaz, the ever improving 2015 launch which competed in mixed fleet races last year, where she enjoyed a nip and tuck rivalry with JK7 Velsheda. The immaculately campaigned Velsheda is the only original J Class yacht to race regularly and remains the benchmark operation in terms of boat handling and crew work.

It will be the first time that the J Class have raced as a fleet at the Antigua Superyacht Challenge where they will compete around their own courses managed by PRO Stuart Childerley. Up to eight races will be sailed with the competition programme running Thursday 12th through Sunday 15th March.

The fleet then move north returning to the Saint Barth's Bucket, which has been a popular fixture on the J Class yachts' itineraries for many, many years. As ever, the regatta will provide the fleet with a day of windward-leeward racing on Thursday 19th March before following the normal Superyacht regatta programme through to Sunday 22nd March.

These Caribbean regattas will be the first events to be raced under the improved J Class Rule as updated by Chris Todter, the J Class Technical Director, who at the beginning of 2019 was appointed to review and update the rule which came under exceptional pressure during the high octane 2017 season.

2020 Caribbean 600 - Bigger Than Ever
Harken The 2020 Royal Ocean Racing Club's Caribbean 600, an exciting offshore race around 11 Caribbean islands, starts on 24 February.

This year more than 20 racing entries are 50 ft or larger making the excitement and rivalry bigger than ever. After last year's unforgettable combat between the record-setting Maserati Multi 70 and MOD 70 Argo for the battle of multihull line honours, there is high anticipation as to what will transpire between Argo, Maserati and PowerPlay, equally matched 70 ft carbon flyers.

Last year Argo completed a refit project using 100% Harken products, replacing more than 40 blocks with Harken V™ blocks and Fly™ blocks.

In designing V blocks, Harken engineers combine the axial and thrust bearings into a single bearing set of V-shaped titanium rollers. The result is a strong, lightweight block that offers unmatched efficiency at high loads, while spinning freely at low loads for smooth easing in light air. The high-load Fly blocks are developed specifically for use with today's high-tech line and offer strength without mass.

Harken V Blocks. Harken Fly Blocks.

For information on the V block

For information on the Fly block

Harken Tech Team

Harken Tech Team

37 Nations gather for the RORC Caribbean 600
Antigua,18 February. Sailors from at least 37 nations will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The 12th edition of the spectacular race will start off Fort Charlotte Antigua on Monday 24th February 2020. Over 70 teams, featuring close to 700 sailors, are expected on the start line. The challenging 600-mile race, in tropical heat with ocean swell, is renowned for stunning vistas of the 11 Caribbean islands on the course.

Latest Entry List

IRC Zero will feature a substantial number of round the world racing yachts, including last year's overall winner David and Peter Askew's Volvo 70 Wizard (USA). "Seven of the guys have done three or more round the world races and Curtis Blewett, Richard Clarke, Rob Greenhalgh and Phil Hamer are all VOR winners," commented Peter Askew. "David and I have been sailing with this team since 2015. The boat requires skilled sailors with lots of time on canters, specifically the big maxis. The crew of Wizard are the winners of the 2019 Hempel World Team Sailing Award, and the 2019 RORC Yacht of the Year."

Also racing in IRC Zero will be the largest yacht in this year's race, Jeroen Van Dooren's Swan 95 Lot99 (NED). The magnificent Swan was launched in 2017 and has just finished a circumnavigation. "Lot99 is now back in the Caribbean after sailing around the world and we are looking forward to unleashing her on the racecourse and pushing her against the competition!" commented Skipper Dan Newman. "We set sail west from the Caribbean in February 2019, so we are back now exactly a year later having completed a full circuit of the globe, sailing across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans!"

Fancied boats in IRC Zero include Tilmar Hansen's lighting quick TP52 Outsider (GER), fourth overall in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, previous race winner Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer (USA), and Eric de Turkheim's IRC optimised NMD54 Teasing Machine (FRA). "The biggest challenge will be to beat the canting keel boats," commented RORC Rear Commodore de Turkheim. "Sun, wind fun and a very challenging racecourse, it is the most fascinating RORC yearly event."

The turbo-charged MOCRA class features seven hi-tech multihulls all vying for class honours. The multihull race record, set last year by Giovanni Soldini's Maserati (ITA), is 1 day, 6 hours, 49 minutes and the enigmatic Italian legend is back to lead his highly experienced team. Last year, Jason Carroll's Argo (USA) miraculously came back from a capsize in training, pushing Maserati to a photo-finish. This year Peter Cunningham's PowerPlay (CAY) will also be in the mix. This is the first time that all three will have taken part together in the RORC Caribbean 600. Round the world winners abound on all three boats; Loick Peyron (FRA) and Simon Fisher (GBR) on PowerPlay. Brian Thompson (GBR) and Franck Cammas (FRA) on Argo. A late entry to this year's race is theoretically quicker than all of the 70ft flyers. Antoine Rabestem's VPLP 80ft Ultime 'Emotion 2 (FRA) will be sailed by Petro Jonker and Rick Warner.

Current provisional entry list

31st Palamos International Optimist Trophy
Strong SW wind with gusts of 27 knots have left the fleet ashore on this final day in Palamos.Carl Krause was the overall winner of the Palamos International Optimist Trophy. Tied for second place were Spain's Marc Mesquida and Germany's Caspata Ilgenstein.

Third place on the podium was Alex Demurtras from Italy.

Maayan Shemesh of Israel won the prize for top girl (7th overall).

Germany won the Nations Cup Trophy for second consecutive year.

Leading British competitor was Santiago Sesto-Cosby from the Royal Lymington YC in 26th place.

Final top ten
1. Carl Krause, GER
2. Caspar Ilgenstein, GER
3. Marc Mesquida Barcelo, ESP
4. Alex Demurtas, ITA
5. Leon Jost, GER
6. Boris Hirsch, SUI
7. Maayan Shemesh, ISR
8. Levente Borda, HUN
9. Izan Codinachs Torrejon, ESP
10. Wandrille Delmas, FRA

Optimist World Championship 2020: 66 registered countries
Riva del Garda, Italy: The first, important round of registrations for the 2020 Optimist World Championship, that will be hosted in Riva del Garda from July 1st to 11th, closed last Saturday, February 15th.

Riva del Garda, which for years has established itself as the international capital of youth sailing, does not betray expectations and is getting ready to host a record-breaking edition of the Optimist World Championship: with 66 Nations registered already, the "Italian World Championship" will enter the book of records, surpassing the 2019 edition of Antigua, which had recorded the presence of young sailors from 65 Countries of the world.

The registered Nations will now start internal selection processes to determine the composition of the teams that will represent them during the World Championship this summer: each Country will join the regatta with four or five young sailors. Among the registered Countries, we underline the participation of Nations such as Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia, which for years had not taken part in an Optimist Class World Championship.

Apart from some latecomers who will still have a few weeks of time to join the entry list of the 2020 Optimist World Championship, it is estimated that the 66 Nations entered so far will be the ones that will form the final entry list, for a total of about 300 young sailors .

The 2020 Optimist World Championship is organized by Fraglia Vela Riva, Associazione Italiana Classe Optimist, Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, Garda Trentino.

Q&A with Knut Frostad
What kind of relationship can an Olympic windsurfer and sailor, and four-time veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race develop with a global electronics giant? As it turns out, a highly personal one.

"When your raceboat is going 30 knots in the Southern Ocean and there are icebergs everywhere, if you don't trust the radar, you won't sleep," Knut Frostad says. "If you know it's calibrated, you sleep."

The announcement that Frostad, former CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, had been named chief executive of Navico came as a surprise to many in the marine electronics world. The tall, affable Norwegian, who had competed in two Olympics — one in windsurfing, the other in sailing — and four round-the-world races earlier in his career, transformed the Volvo Ocean Race during his three consecutive terms as CEO. He expanded its stopovers into Asia and the Middle East, and established landside venues so that 70,000 people a day visited the boats and teams.

Frostad also turned the VOR into a spectator sport by adding a level of reality-television to the race with on-board reporters who broadcast in real time in horrendous conditions. "I wanted to create content that would build an audience that really followed the race," he says.


Best of the Best - Star Sailors League
Star Sailors League There is surely no fairer way to describe the latest Star Sailors League Final in Nassau, nor the standing of the winning crew. James Boyd suffered the rigours of a winter trip to Nassau to watch Iain Percy's return to the class in which the Finn gold medallist of Sydney 2000 took a further two Olympic medals - one silver one gold - with his much missed friend Andrew Simpson

For the elite in our sport Nassau in the Bahamas has become an annual pilgrimage for the ultimate international invite-only 'best of the best' event, the Star Sailors League Finals and its US$200,000 prize purse. While the SSL Finals happens to take place in Star boats, the name refers to the event's aim of determining the annual 'star' of the sailing world. In December there are few better places to sail than Nassau's Montegu Bay, well protected with its shallow, warm, Bahamas Tourist Boardpromised turquoise water.

In the early years of the SSL Finals inevitably the Star boat specialists dominated - Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada claimed the first event in 2013, followed by Mark Mendelblatt sailing with Brian Faith in 2014 and 2016 and George Szabo and Edoardo Natucci in 2015. Since then this has been less true, with Laser and Moth champion Paul Goodison and Frithjof Kleen winning in 2017 followed by Finn Gold Cup winner Jorge Zarif and Pedro Trouche in 2018. However, the 2019 event did see the return to heroes of the Star class, perhaps due to a lighter attendance of Olympic and America's Cup sailors because of commitments to parallel rival campaigns.

Full article in the March issue of Seahorse

Storm tactics from the Golden Globe Race: Uku Randmaa
Arriving in Les Sables d'Olonne and a podium finish. Credit: Jane Zhou/GGR/PPL. Click on image to enlarge.

Storm Tactics The 2018 Golden Globe Race was solo sailor Uku Randmaa's second circumnavigation of the world. He shares his heavy weather tactics and experiences of ocean storms

Uku Randmaa was more fortunate than many of the 2018 Golden Globe Race skippers.

He managed to miss the worst of the storms and his Rustler 36 masthead sloop, One and All was only knocked down four times.

Uku Randmaa was more fortunate than many of the 2018 Golden Globe Race skippers.

He managed to miss the worst of the storms and his Rustler 36 masthead sloop, One and All was only knocked down four times.

Outside of storm conditions he used twin headsails.

But the Estonian sailor was not so lucky with his communications.

Read the full report Storm Tactics From The Golden Globe Race in the Summer 2019 issue of Yachting Monthly - Available here

Cadet Worlds head down under, hosted by Royal Yacht Club of Victoria
Some of the world's most talented junior sailors will head to the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (RYCV) next summer as the historic Australian club gets set to host the national and world championships for the International Cadet class.

It's the first time the event has returned to Australian shores since 2012 in Hobart, Tasmania and will combine the national championships from 21-26 December 2020, and the world championships running from 27 December 2020 through to 4 January 2021.

A strong contingent of Australians are expected to lead the charge, while talented sailors are also expected to turnout from other major Cadet countries such as Great Britain and Argentina, as well as a number throughout Europe.

With a strong history in International Cadet sailing and a great capability at running major events, the RYCV is a great fit for hosting an event of this magnitude.

For Notice of Race and event entry, sailors can head to the Cadet Worlds website at

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The Last Word
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