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

Sensational Opening Day
Muscat, Oman: The curtain was officially raised on the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series today in the historic old town of Muscat, Oman, with the new breed of hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans more than living up to the pre-season hype.

With a racecourse set against the stunning backdrop of the Al Alam Royal Castle in the Muttrah Port and the imposing surrounding mountains, any pre-season nerves were well and truly shaken off over six fast-paced races, that saw the fleet fully airborne on their foils in 14 - 18 knots of wind,

The local team Oman Air came out of the blocks firing, the experienced former winner of the Extreme Sailing Series Morgan Larson and his team claiming four race wins, setting a high benchmark early on as the boat to beat.

Today and until Saturday, the fleet races in the stadium at Almouj golf course, with up to 20 more races still to come. Watch live at extremesailingseries.com on Friday 18 March 1600-1730 GMT+4 and Saturday 19 March, 1530-1700 GMT+4.

Standings after Day 1, 6 races

Position / Team / Points
1. Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari, 67 points
2. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde, 60
3. Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan, Ed Powys, Adam Kay, Neil Hunter, 56
4. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand, 54
5. Team Turx (TUR) Edhem Dirvana, Stevie Morrison, Cem Gozen, Alister Richardson, Anıl Berk Baki, 49
6. Alinghi (SUI) Ernesto Bertarelli, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, 48
7. CHINA One (CHN) Taylor Canfield, Chris Steele, Shane Diviney, Hayden Goodrick, Luke Payne, 39
8. Sail Portugal (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Bernardo Freitas, Javier de la Plaza, Luís Brito, Winston Macfarlane, 35

extremesailingseries.com

J Class Season Starts Today
There is no preamble, no warm up, no dress rehearsals for the J Class yacht teams as the 2016 season starts Thursday in Saint Barths when three crews will race for the most prestigious trophy of their racing year, the King's Hundred Guinea Cup.

The well proven and successful Ranger and Velsheda will be immediately up against the newest J Class yacht, J8 Topaz, which makes her racing debut after being launched last July.

Built in Holland to an original unbuilt 1935 Frank C Paine design, the new J has been widely reported to incorporate the lowest wetted surface and highest keel aspect ratio of all Js. Mast position, stability, sail area and hull stiffness have been extensively researched.

In theory the new boat would be expected to have the upper hand in terms of speed in many conditions not least the big, rolling swells and brisk, reliable Saint Barths conditions, but the team - many of whom were successful together previously on the Hoek 24m Drumfire - have a big deficit in terms of J Class experience when compared with the successful Ranger, lead by skipper-helm Erle Williams, and Velsheda, lead by renowned Kiwi tactician Tom Dodson, which convincingly won last season's RYS Bicentenary Regatta in Cowes, England.

Velsheda have made few changes to their winning set up from Cowes last year and are the holders of the King's Hundred Guinea Cup which they won in Falmouth in conditions which could not contrast more sharply with Saint Barths.

Ranger have Peter Isler as navigator following the retirement from international grand prix racing of Mike Quilter who bowed out in Saint Tropez at the end of last season.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday the J Class have their own start and will race ahead of the large, competitive Superyacht fleet but Thursday all eyes will be on the J Class which are the only fleet racing.

www.jclassyachts.com

Creating The Pathway
Following on from Team SCA's battle around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race, there were greater opportunities to grasp.

Their success sparked The Magenta Project which aims to continue the legacy of Team SCA by providing a pathway for professional female athletes to compete at the highest level. World Sailing TV caught up with Libby Greenhalgh and Annie Lush, two key drivers of the Magenta Project.

The video:
www.sailing.org/news/39486.php

themagentaproject.org

'Best Experience Of Her Life' as Charlotte Evans Completes Tough Leg Of World's Longest Ocean Race
Paralympic British champion Charlotte Evans has finished one of the 'toughest' and 'best experiences of her life', competing with the GREAT Britain team in a leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Charlotte Evans MBE, 24, who had never been on a boat before starting training last year, arrived into Qingdao, China, on Friday after sailing 6,985 nautical miles from The Whitsundays, Australia, with a stopover en route in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Charlotte, who guided her skiing partner Kelly Gallagher MBE to Paralympic gold at Sochi 2014, battled a massive range of conditions during her race, including a violent storm a few day out from China which delivered Force 11 gales with hurricane force 80 knot winds and waves of eight to nine metres.

"I've had the best experience of my life. I will never forget it. It was incredibly tough," Charlotte said during a spectacular welcome ceremony in Qingdao, China's Olympic Sailing City.

"I was so out of my comfort zone and had to learn something so new. It's amazing to be able to say I can sail a boat when even the thought of being on a boat was a big challenge to start with.

"I conquered a lot of fears, I've got a lot of things done on the boat and I've really enjoyed tested my mental capacity with a new sport.

Charlotte is one of four Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are competing as ambassadors on board the GREAT Britain yacht.

clipperroundtheworld.com

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award Announces New Rules
The world's premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing improves thanks to the feedback of some of the world's best yacht racing photographers.

The main changes are the following:

-There will be one official winner, selected by the international jury amongst the top 80 pictures.

- The preselection of the top 80 pictures submitted (and therefore photographers admitted) will be made by a panel of three recognized international yacht racing photographers, who will change over the years and whose identity will be made public. The selected pictures will then be published on the event website and social networks.

- The top 20 pictures chosen by the international Jury will be printed and displayed at the Yacht Racing Forum, on Internet and promoted on the social networks. A special emphasis will be put on this selection (instead of the public selection as was the case previously).

- Two secondary prizes will be awarded during the Yacht Racing Forum:

The new rules are available on the event website: www.yachtracingimage.com/contest/rules/

Industry News
The Chinese economy in hard currency terms is growing as fast (if not faster than) as ever.

Boats - well here, strangely, the list is rather more incomplete. For example at the 2015 China (Shanghai) International Boat Show, the largest in Asia, the American Pavilion numbered just 12 companies, sure there are some big players here but many are noticeable by their absence.

And not just the companies either. Many of the national organisations that have duty to promote their industry seem to be ignoring the growing wealth that is clearly the world's second largest economy and generally people with wealth 'like their toys'.

They say you have to be in it to win it and the government is actually helping and encouraging.

On the sporting side, China has won a Sailing Gold Medal in each of the last two Olympics, Dongfeng Race Team (DFRT), originally seen a making up the numbers achieved a podium finish in the last Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and Shanghai recently lost out at the final hurdle in the bid for the 2019 World Sailing Youth World Championships.

Xu Li Jia (Laser Radial Gold 2012) is going again in Rio, I would reckon chances are extremely high that DFRT will take part in the next in the next VOR and would be surprised if Shanghai gave up on the Youth Worlds having come so close this time round. China is not a country of quitters!

Boating, and sailing in particular is not only here to stay in China, it is gaining ground.

The China (Shanghai) International Boat Show runs from 7th to the 10th April 2016 - 1 month to go!

If you wish any further information or wish any points clarified please do not hesitate to contact the author on kiral2@hotmail.com -- Alistair Skinner

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Jeppesen will sell its marine division to Digital Marine Solutions under a deal announced late Tuesday, subject to regulatory approval.

Digital Marine Solutions is owned by the Altor 2003 Fund, which is part of the Nordic-based Altor family of private equity funds. Altor also is the majority owner of the Navico house of marine brands, including Simrad, Lowrance and B&G.

Under the terms of the agreement, the former Jeppesen Marine will operate as a separate entity and will trade under the C-MAP brand name. Jeppesen will remain as part of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.

boatingindustry.com

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MUSTO and Ovington Boats have signed a renewed contract securing MUSTO as the title sponsor of the class for the next 5 years.

MUSTO have been the title sponsor from the very birth of the class when Nigel Musto spotted the prototype boat designed by Dr Joachim Happrecht that was displayed at the Hamburg Boat Show back in 1999.

MUSTO have provided title sponsorship with the class being named the MUSTO Performance Skiff for 17 years now; the support of MUSTO has been critical to the class, allowing the association to be run in a professional manor. MUSTO have also supplied prizes to the major events over the years.

Over the last 17 years the class has grown in both numbers and geographically; with the boats now sailed in 27 different countries. The regatta programme is extensive with a highly successful EuroCup series which each year sees entries in excess of 100 boats, championships in Australia each year and the pinnacle event, the World Championships, which typically sees in the region of 90 - 105 boats participating.

mustoskiff.com

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McConaghy Boats is pleased to welcome Collin Leon to the McConaghy family. Collin, a pro sailor from Newport, RI, will be the exclusive dealer for the MC 31 in the U.S. and be representing McConaghy USA with a particular focus on the US race boat market.

Jono Morris, Managing Director of McConaghy Boats commented: "At McConaghy Boats, we have been building race winning yachts for North American customers for over 25 years. We have developed a very close relationship with so many of our US based customers and crews over the years, but until now, we have not had any representative or on the ground support for McConaghy products.

The MC31 production schedule is in full force with boats scheduled to be sailing in the U.S. in time for summer racing.

www.facebook.com/MC31-One-Design

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RAI Amsterdam has designed a range of layout changes to this year's METSTRADE Show, including the addition of a new hall, organizers said Thursday.

METSTRADE 2016 is November 15 to 17 in the RAI Amsterdam convention center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The show reported record attendance of almost 22,000 visitors in 2015, with almost 1,400 exhibiting companies, with more than three quarters of the exhibition floor booked for this year.

Among the changes for 2016:
SuperYacht Pavilion expands to two halls, taking over all of Halls 10 and 11

The Marina & Yard Pavilion (MYP) has also enjoyed growth over recent years and at METSTRADE 2016 will be organized in parallel with the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference from November 17 to 19. The MYP will move to Hall 5 to be next to the conference location in the RAI's new Amtrium building.

The Construction Material Pavilion (CMP), will stay in the Elicium building. This will allow it to be closely connected to the Material Experience, an exhibition by the global network Materia of materials that could add considerable value to the maritime sector. Meanwhile, the Innovation LAB concept and stage will move to Hall 6, where it will form a central innovation hub together with dedicated presentations of the winning and nominated products for the DAME Design Award.

The VIP lounge will move to the Europe Foyer and the popular Sushi Bar moves to Hall 7. The show office will also be expanded in order to ensure it has the capacity to continue to run the show and provide service to the exhibitors and visitors

boatingindustry.com

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GILL Sponsors Spi Ouest-France Intermarche

Bryan Stewart, Sales Director comments: "We have a wealth of experience sponsoring events such as this, including Cowes Week and the Optimist Championships in the UK, St Maarten Heineken Regatta in the US, and Festival of Sails in Melbourne, Australia. Spi is the perfect fit for us as we celebrate our 40th year and look to further strengthen our position in the French and wider European market. It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Gill brand at this premier regatta."

Look out for Gill sponsored sailors competing at the regatta; Louis Burton on BG Race and Dunkerque Plaisance racing their A35 in the IRC Class 3, where the Gill Cup will be awarded.

gillmarine.com

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Farr Yacht Sales has been named by Infiniti Yachts as the exclusive agent for the Infiniti 46 R and Infiniti 53 in the Americas, the UK and Ireland. Both yachts will be built by McConaghy Boats and feature Dynamic Stability Systems (DSS).

The Infiniti 53 will be constructed later this year. It will be built in time to race in the Rolex Sydney Hobart in late December. It is positioned for exceptional performance both offshore and inshore. It features a canting keel, gybing centerline daggerboard and leverages the dramatic performance advantages available through the DSS system.

A prototype Infiniti 46 R fitted with a canting keel will be hitting the water in Europe by Easter. Her British owner has a race schedule planned that includes the world's 'classic 600 milers' such as the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race, 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 and 2017 Rolex Fastnet. Production Infiniti 46 R models, modified with lessons learned from the prototype, will be built by McConaghy Boats.

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As previously reported on Boating Industry, the establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the possibility of lifting the trade embargo could have a major impact on the boating industry. However, as we noted in our features, lifting the embargo is a complicated process - even if everyone were on board with the idea - and it's going to take some time.

President Barack Obama is planning a visit to the island March 21 and 22; he will be the first U.S. president to visit the island since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

The boating industry should keep a close eye on Cuba as changes continue to be slowly implemented, even if the lifting of the trade embargo is still far off. Cuba Boating is an interesting website for reading more about how boating pertains to current and potentially future relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Julie Balzano, export development director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, will be speaking on a panel tomorrow for a session called "Cuba 2.0: Separating Fact from Fantasy About the Forbidden Island Nation" at the 3rd Annual USSA Superyacht Summit at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., furthering NMMA's mission to keep its hand on the pulse of the current situation in Cuba. -- Brianna Liestman

boatingindustry.com

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The Artemis Offshore Academy - the UK's only sailing school for solo offshore ocean racers - and the award-winning independent Scottish distillery, Kilchoman, are pleased to announce a new sponsorship partnership.

With sailing in their DNA, Kilchoman - based at a farm distillery on the Scottish island of Islay - understand that becoming a great solo ocean racing sailor takes time, not unlike the ageing process it employs to produce its distinctive malts.

In fact company founder, Anthony Wills, is a former round-the-world sailor, having competed alongside legendary British skipper Leslie Williams on board FCF Challenger in the 1981-82 Whitbread Round-the-World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race).

Wills is delighted to be helping a new generation of young British solo sailors as they train for the 2016 world championship of coastal solo sailing, the annual Solitaire Bompard - Le Figaro.

Featured Brokerage


2008 Custom Mills Mini Maxi. 1,375,000 USD. Located in Olbia, Italy.

We are proud to announce another central listing in the form of the Mark Mills designed 68 foot CAOL ILA. One of the most consistent mini maxi's in the world, she is now for sale. She is a no expense spared custom mini maxi that has proven to be very fast on all points of sail and in all wind ranges for both her past and current owner. She has been the dominate mini maxi for many years from Cowes to Sardinia and all points in between. New North sails in 2014, new custom spar package in 2012, new updated keel and bulb, she has always been kept on the leading edge of the design spectrum. When the other mini maxis went into the shed for modifications , she just stayed on the race course and kept on winning.

Details

Contact
Please contact William Jenkins at 410-267-9419 or
Greg "Twister" Tawaststjerna at +1.540.687.0700

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2002 Grand Soleil 44 - ELEUTHERA. 129,950 EUR. Located in Lymington, United Kingdom.

Top drawer IRC weapon with recent rig and sails, fully faired hull and recent performer at the Commodores Cup. Available at a very very low price.

Details

Contact
Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679222
ben.cooper@berthon.co.uk

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2003 Farr/Vismara 67' MISTER A. 1,350,000 EUR. Located in Porto Lotti, Italy.

"Mister A" is a 67' fast ocean cruising yacht and the result of design teams involving: Vismara Yacht Design as concept, interior and deck designer and in charge for general coordination; Farr Yacht Design for the naval architecture design of the hull, decks and appendages and structures; SP Technology for the structures analysis; and Southern Spars for the very innovative wing mast and rigging, studied for the aerodynamics by ICAD (International Consortium for Advanced Design) from Florence University.

Details

Contact
harmen@farrdesign.com

See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at http://seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
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