Brought to you by Seahorse magazine, Scuttlebutt Europe 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 editor@scuttlebutteurope.com

Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Is Alex Roepers On Plenty
Plenty (Alex Roepers, USA) won the Rolex Farr 40 world championship on Sydney's Manly offshore course today with clever, conservative sailing for a third and a second in the last two races while his two closest opponents fell out of contention with early errors.

Plenty won the 11-race series, conducted by Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, with a total 34 points from the Australian champion Transfusion (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis) 38 and Struntje light (Wolfgang and Angela Schaefer, Germany), 44.2.

The concluding two races were sailed in a 16-18 knot nor'-easter, that raised a short chop on a moderate seaway, over four-lap windward-return courses on the offshore Manly Circle.

Flash Gordon (Helmut and Evan Jahn, USA), which had gone into the day equal second with Transfusion, dropped out of contention at the start of race 10, when she was judged to be over the line early and took some time to thread back to re-start.

Transfusion, from a good start with speed towards the pin end of the line, led around all marks to win from Estate Master (Martin Hill), which held second place around all marks, with Plenty third.

The win moved Transfusion from four to two points behind Plenty going into the last race.

The Farr 40 Class Association thanks Rolex, Race Day Sponsors: Quantum Sails and John Calvert-Jones along with staunch supporters Commodore Richard Chapman, Lang Walker, Neville Crichton and Syd Fischer.

Top five overall after 11 races:

1. Alex Roepers, Plenty, USA, 34 points
2. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, Transfusion, AUS, 38
3. Wolfgang Schaefer, Struntje Light, GER, 44.2
4. Helmut and Evan Jahn, Flash Gordon 6, USA, 49
5. Lang Walker, Kokomo, AUS, 66

Full results

farr40worlds.com

*|YOUTUBE:[$vid=A-8oqC2HY1Y, $max_width=500, $title=N, $border=N, $trim_border=N, $ratings=N, $views=N]|*

JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Photo by Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League. Click on image for photo gallery.

Sydney Harbour: The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey are the world's top 18ft Skiff team following the team's victory appliancesonline.com.au-sponsored 2016 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Champions, which concluded on Sydney Harbour today.

Smeg finished the championship with a total of 18 points to take the title by just one point from New Zealand's Yamaha (David Mc Diarmid, Matthew Steven, Bradley Collins).

Third place went to appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt, Tom Clout, Tom Anderson) on 24 ahead of defending champion Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, John Winning Jr., Nick Catley), on countback, after also finishing on 24 points.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O'Connor) was fifth on 25 points and Peroni (Nick Daly, John Walton, Steve Thomas) sixth on 47.

Today's race began in a 7knot Easterly breeze with interest centered on the battle between Smeg and appliancesonline.com.au, the only two teams possible of becoming the champions.

Appliancesonline is a noted heavy weather team and the day's conditions were heavily in favour of the Smeg team, which had a handy discard up the sleeve for the tricky wind.

Next Sunday the Australian 18 Footers League will continue its club racing program when it stages the annual Queen of the Harbour Race. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

www.18footers.com

Dubarry Crosshaven - Preferred By Professionals
If you had to invent the most punishing ordeal for offshore sailing footwear - an extreme boot camp perhaps? - then it would be a professional, fully-crewed round the world race: thousands of ocean-bashing, boat-trashing miles around the planet. If there's even the slightest imperfection in boat, man or gear, this race will find it, break it, then tell everyone about it.

For most of us, it's the ultimate contest of man and machine against nature. For Dubarry, it's R&D. After supplying its ever-green Shamrock boot to the professional crew of Ireland's Green Dragon entry in a 2008-09 round the world race, Dubarry's most fanatical designers listened, developed, tested, listened some more, tweaked, analysed and tested again. The result was the Crosshaven boot.

When Green Dragon arrived in Galway at the end of leg 7 for the best party the race has ever seen, elbowing their way through the "craic addicts" was Dubarry's research team, wanting yet more feedback. Their finishing touches sealed the Crosshaven's reputation as the offshore professional's boot of choice. Where's the proof of that? Professional teams chose Crosshaven in the 2011-12 and 2014-15 round the world races.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

dubarry.com

Extreme2 Wins C&C 30 Miami Ocean Challenge
Miami, Florida, USA: In the first stand-alone event in class history, Dan Cheresh and his team on Extreme2 have won the C&C 30 Miami Ocean Challenge, the second event in the class's 2016 tour and organized by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Cheresh raced with tactician Mark Mendleblatt, Dave Shriner, Bryn Crawford, Pete Crawford, Nick Ford, John Gluek, and Sam Tobio. Conditions for the three days of racing varied from a blustery 18-25 knots and huge seas on Friday, to moderating 12-16 knot conditions yesterday to 9-`4 knot conditions today,

Despite having won four races out of ten sailed, victory did not come easy for the Extreme2 team. Ahead in points going into today and ahead in the first race of the day, the team suffered a broken spinnaker sheet on the downwind leg to lose three boats and earn a 4th place, ceding the lead to Jim Madden on Stark Racing Mad VIII who own the race and took the series lead by two points. This was followed by a win in Race 9 to Madden's second place, which closed the gap to one point, thus making it an exciting showdown in the final race for the series win.

Both boats set up near the signal boat at the start, with Madden in early control to leeward. But Cheresh at 10 seconds found a gap, sheeted in, and accelerated perfectly to take a narrow but decisive lead at the start. And when Madden tacked to get to the right, Cheresh simply covered, the two not focused at all on how their other rivals were making gains on either side. -- Dobbs Davis

Full results: www.yachtscoring.com

Spanish Gold Medalist Believes She Contracted Zika In Rio
Spanish Olympic gold medalist Marina Alabau says she got Zika while training in Brazil in December, suffering painful symptoms in an experience that the wind surfer said won't stop her from competing in the Games in August.

In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Alabau described symptoms that her doctor said were in line with Zika, a virus that the World Health Organization has deemed an "international health emergency." She is currently competing at the RS: X World Championship in Israel.

Brazil is an epicenter of Zika, and fear about the virus could scare fans and some athletes from coming to the South American country's first Olympics. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and sports authorities preparing for hundreds of thousands of visitors to the country have said the Games will be held as scheduled in August.

https://www.washingtonpost.com

Ready To Race
The editor's old friend Erico Hoffman. In memory of our mutual friend Darren Dunkley-Smith

Yacht Club San Isidro, Argentina: The Opening Ceremony on Saturday 20 February set on the majestic lawn in front of the Yacht Club San Isidro formally welcomed teams to the 2016 470 World Championships.

Twenty-seven nations are competing, with national flags hoisted to welcome the teams from each nation. Set against the impressive club and harbour backdrop, sailors, coaches, team leaders, race officials, friends and family were greeted by Luis Velasco, President of the Yacht Club Argentino.

The Championship was formally declared open by the hoisting of the International 470 Class flag by Erico Hoffman. Hoffman, a former President of the Argentina 470 Class Association and former member of the 470 Class Management Committee, was intrinsic in the growth of the 470 Class in Argentina during the early 1990s.

With registration and equipment inspection virtually finished, this afternoon the practice race put the Race Committee, Jury and teams through their paces with a dress rehearsal, ahead of racing getting underway at 1200 hours on Monday 22 February.

The fleet is packed with many of the big 470 names and an abundance of former World Champions. But this championship will be no easier for them to dominate than any of the other teams. These select few gold medallists have the right to display a gold 470 insignia on their mainsail, and those in that hall of fame and racing here are:

Men
Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) - 2015, 2014, 2013. Belcher also won the Worlds with former crew Malcolm Page in 2012, 2011 and 2010
Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) - 2009
Gabrio Zandona/Andrea Trani (ITA) - 2003

Women
Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) - 2015, 2014
Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) - 2013
Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) - 2012

The warning signal for the first race of the day on Monday 22 February is scheduled at 1200 hours, with the 470 Women starting first and racing the outer loop, followed by 470 Men racing the inner loop.Two races are scheduled for each fleet.

The forecast for the opening day of racing will be around 10-12 knots, with the temperature stacking up to around 29 degrees.

2016worlds.470.org

Seahorse March 2016
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Reflections
Forty years after bursting onto the design scene as one of the 'golden child' generation of the 1970s, Ron Holland reflects on the journey since... and then considers how things may yet turn out

From Venice with love...
Rob Weiland looks at the good and the bad of how we are currently running our international racing and introduces some of the best boats in the 2016 pipeline

Put down the transmitter
Conrad Colman is a man on a mission... the 2016 Vendee Globe. In the meantime he's been keeping the wolf from the door working alongside top routeur Jean-Yves Bernot

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Long Haul Arrivals And Weather Jabber
Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze Clark's American Maxi Comanche arrived in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua on Saturday afternoon, 20th February. Having taken line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the 100ft Canting keel Maxi left Sydney by ship on 6th January bound for Charleston, USA, 9,272 nautical miles via The Panama Canal. Comanche then sailed 1,500 nautical miles in less than four days from Charleston to Antigua.

With less than 48 hours to the start of the RORC Caribbean 600, the banter on the dock has focused on the weather. Weather models are predicting 14 knots of wind from the southeast at the start, freshening to 20 knots in the early hours of Tuesday morning with the wind in the east. By Wednesday morning the wind speed is due to increase and by Thursday weather models predict 25 knots of wind from the east. By the afternoon, the wind is forecast to move to the southeast and decrease.

Wouter Verbraak, weather specialist for Tony Lawson's MOD70, Concise 10: "I anticipate that the normal trade winds will return before the start, so we should have easterly breeze of about 17 knots at the start. Ned Collier-Wakefield, skipper of Concise 10: "We are really up for this and so is Phaedo, so I am expecting an intense battle regardless of what the weather does."

The RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday February 22nd.

caribbean600.rorc.org

Star Class: Schoonmaker Cup Final
Coconut Grove, Florida, USA: Two races were held today today in 8-10 knots from the east-southeast. We had our ups and downs but basically Danny sailed very fast downwind and we made huge gains on the final runs of both races to finish 9 and 7. That was enough to move us up to 7th overall which is a good result in this fleet especially for the youngest skipper in the fleet.

Augie Diaz and Arnie Baltins were the class of their own this weekend never finishing worse than 2nd. George Szabo Isao Toyama were second and Canadians Brian Cramer and Matt Johnston finished third.

It has been such a pleasure having Danny race with me in my favorite boat and experience the Star winter Series in Miami. Today the sun was out and the water was smooth on Biscayne Bay. When it is like that, there is no better place to race Stars.

In two weeks we will have the final regatta of the Wimter Series, the Walker Cup. I will move back in the boat and have 2012 Star Class Olympian, Brian Fatih crewing for me. The Walker will serve as a warm up for the Bacardi Cup starting immediately after. Brian and I will race the Walker, the Bacardi Cup and then the World Championship in April, together. -- Paul Cayard

Final top five:
1. Augie Diaz / Arni Baltins, USA, 8 points
2. George Szabo / Isao Toyama, USA, 21
3. Brian Cramer / Matt Johnston, CAN, 29
4. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter, USA, 33
5. Andrew Macdonald / Brad Nichol, USA, 34

Full results:
www.yachtscoring.com

22 Irish GP14s Are Packed For Barbados World Champs
22 Irish GP14s took the first step on the journey to the Caribbean when they arrived on a drizzly wet Saturday morning at SureFreight's Yard off the Crumlin Road, Belfast.

Barbados Yacht Club welcomes the international fleet of 72 GP14s for racing next month with high hopes for Greystones Sailing Club's Shane MacCarthy who won the British title last year, earning him a sailor of the month award in the process.

afloat.ie/sail/

www.barbadosyachtclub.com
www.gp14.org

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The Last Word
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