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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Epic Win For Bella Mente
The All-American Maxi72 battle in the RORC Caribbean 600 lived up to expectations with Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and George Sakellaris' Proteus enjoying an epic match race. The lead in the Maxi72s changed hands on seven occasions during the race. Bella Mente counted 85 sail changes and at one point, both yachts were way-over canvassed, smoking along at 30 knots in a gigantic squall. Bella Mente crossed the finish line just 14 minutes ahead of Proteus to set the bar for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy which will be awarded at the Prize Giving to the yacht scoring the best time under the IRC Rating Rule.

Hap Fauth was delighted to have won the match race with Proteus and full of praise for the event, the competition and above all, his team.

Mike Slade's Maxi Leopard 3 finished the RORC Caribbean 600 in second place on the water behind George David's Rambler 88 to claim third in class. "Leopard has not been beaten on the water by a Maxi 72 or a Volvo 70 in this race and that still stands," commented Leopard 3 Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock. Lionel Pean's French Volvo 70 finished the race just under two hours behind Leopard 3 and after time correction is runner up to Rambler 88 in IRC Canting Keel. "It was a great pleasure to race along side two Maxi72s and our target was be ahead of the other Volvo 70s and we achieved this with a good result. We had great sailing and a good fight all along but it was a hard race."

On the fourth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, over 50 yachts are still racing. Bernie Evan-Wong's Antiguan RP37, Taz is leading in IRC One. Ed Fishwick's British J/122, Redshift on El Ocaso is leading in IRC Two and Jonty Layfield's British Swan 48, Sleeper X is leading IRC Three. Peter Harding's British Class40 Ph-orty is back in the lead for the Class40 Division.

caribbean600.rorc.org

Didac Costa Takes 14th In The Vendee Globe
Spanish solo ocean racer Didac Costa crossed the finish line of the Vendee Globe non stop solo round the world race at 0752hrs UTC this Thursday morning. In taking 14th place, the 36 year old Catalan fireman, an amateur racer who would like to further his career as a professional, fulfils a childhood dream inspired by the pioneering Spanish soloist, the late Jose Luis de Ugarte, who became the only Spanish sailor ever to finish the Vendee Globe in 1992-3 in 134 days and 5 hrs. His race time for the 24,499 miles course, Les Sables d'Olonne to Les Sables d'Olonne is 108 days, 19 hours, 50 minutes and 45 seconds. He actually sailed 27,964 miles at an average of 10.71 knots.

The tenacious, driven Costa has succeeded with one of the smallest budgets of the 29 skippers who started the race on November 6th. Barcelona based Costa completes his second non stop round the world race within the space of three years, again racing the evergreen IMOCA 60 footer which was built in 2000 as Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher.

Along with Aleix Gelabart he finished fourth in the Barcelona World Race in April 2015. He received a huge, passionate welcome back to Les Sables d'Olonne, not least from the Les Sables d'Olonne firemen who stood by him and helped him after he had to return to the start port to make repairs only 90 minutes into his race.

Didac Costa suffered a sudden and significant ingress of water only 90 minutes after the race started and so had to return immediately to Les Sables d'Olonne. With his engine - on which he relies to generate vital electrical energy - jeopardised by the salt water and his recently replaced electronics damaged substantially because his batteries and wiring were under water, when Costa returned to Les Sables d'Olonne it was in no way sure he would be able to re-start the race for which he had staked his future personal financial security. It was in fact only because of the solidarity and initiative of the his Les Sables d'Olonne fire service counterparts that Costa was able to re-start the race.

vendeeglobe.org

Practical Steps
Seahorse Ben Ainslie's 2017 America's Cup team are paying much more than lip service in their wide-ranging environmental partnership with 11th Hour Racing

It all started with the ocean, the playing field that inspires every sailor's dreams, and the vision that sport is a powerful force for positive change. Then a top-notch 2017 America's Cup team and an organisation devoted to advancing practices that protect and restore the health of the oceans came together - and a partnership was born.

Newport RI-based 11th Hour Racing is the exclusive sustainability partner of the Land Rover BAR America's Cup challenge, working with Ben Ainslie's team to meet the ambitious standards they set together at the onset of the co-operation.

As Jeremy Pochman, president of 11th Hour Racing, highlights, 'We challenge and change practices in technology, procurement, energy production and use, efficiency, economy, community and legacy. We collaborate closely with Land Rover BAR to implement solutions to overcome or mitigate environmental issues, and promote a lasting legacy — and we believe this is happily also fundamental to creating the strongest team possible.

Full story in the March issue of Seahorse:
seahorsemagazine.com

49th Transpac Early Entry Deadline Approaches On March 1st
Honolulu, Hawaii: Planning for the 49th edition of the Los Angeles-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race presented by the Los Angeles Times and organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club is well underway, with 52 monohull and multihull entries from 9 nations already signed up for this biennial 2225-mile ocean race, one of the world's oldest having first been sailed in 1905.

The variation in boat size in the current monohull entry list ranges from Christopher Lemke's Hobie 33 Dark Star to Manouch Moshayedi's Blakewell White 100 Rio100, and in type from Karl Otto Book's comfortable Wasa 44 from Vestfold, Norway to Tom Holthus's brand-new high-tech carbon fiber Pac52 Bad Pak.

And in the Multihulls there is a similar broad variation in sizes and types, from Jerzy Poprawski's 43-foot catamaran Kastor Pollux to Giovanni Soldini's MOD70 trimaran Maserati, who just completed the Caribbean 600 in a match race with another expected MOD70 Transpac entry, Phaedo3 owned by Lloyd Thornburg, the two separated by only 12 minutes in this 600-mile race.

All entries will be competing for a long list of prestigious trophies awarded for both elapsed and corrected time honors, both overall and within their classes and divisions. Starts for the race will be in four successive waves, starting on July 3rd for the Aloha Division of cruisers and ending on July 7th with the start of the fast Multihulls. This new schedule will help keep racing closer in the fleet as they encounter similar weather conditions during the race, and new corrected time trophies have been commissioned for classes that start on the same day.

This is among several new features and innovations in the 2017 Transpac that have built on the success of earlier races, including a new interactive event website, the first-time use of Time-on-Time scoring based on the Transpac wind matrix model, and the allowance of sail stacking in the race.

To sign up for the LAYC seminar, visit 2017.transpacyc.com/forms/seminars. A complete list of events of the 2017 Transpac can be found at 2017.transpacyc.com/race-info

Xabi's The Man
Spain's Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernandez will return to skipper MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18.

The 40-year-old Basque sailor, who has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race four times previously, won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, and followed that up with a silver in 2008 - both times alongside his long-term sailing partner Iker Martínez.

The two men shared leadership duties during MAPFRE's 2014-15 campaign but with Iker making the decision to focus on other professional projects, Xabi will take sole charge of the Spanish boat this time.

Xabi will return to the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing his work for Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup campaign, Land Rover BAR. He has previously competed in the Volvo Ocean Race onboard movistar in 2005-06, Telefonica Blue in 2008-09, and Telefonica in 2011-12, before joining MAPFRE for the last edition.

"The short-term objectives are, firstly, to finish the work on the boat and take delivery from The Boatyard in Lisbon at the end of the month. Later, we will confirm the rest of the crew with training that begins in Sanxenxo in mid-March", he added.

MAPFRE competed in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time in 2014-15, continuing a long-standing tradition that has seen Spanish-flagged boats in eight of the previous 12 editions.

volvooceanrace.com

Pablo Arrarte Joins Mapfre As Watch Captain
Photo by Pedro Freitas/Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image to enlarge.

Pablo Arrarte Pablo Arrarte will be back for his fourth Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, joining Spanish team MAPFRE as watch captain.

Arrarte, who raced onboard Brunel in 2014-15, will also assume the role of deputy to Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernandez, who was named as skipper on Friday.

With just 242 days to go until the start of the 2017-18 edition on October 22, preparations are already well underway - and with the 1 million euro re-fit of the Spanish boat almost complete, it won't be long before MAPFRE are back on the water.

"I'll be one of two watch captains onboard," explained Arrarte, who raced with Telefonica Blue in 2008-09, and Telefonica in 2011-12. "I'll be cover for Xabi, being ultimately responsible for the safety of the crew and making sure that the boat goes as fast as possible whenever I'm on deck."

volvooceanrace.com

Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup
Auckland, New Zealand: The final day of the 2017 Nespresso Youth Match Racing Cup saw lead changes, upsets and the pressure got to some more than others.

It was an all Australian final between Will Boulden (RFBYC) and Malcolm Parker (RPAYC). In what turned out to be an incredibly tight final. Will Boulden took the first race with Malcolm Parker taking the next two "He definitely had his skates on in those final two races." Said Boulden at prizegiving

2017 champion Parker, thanked his competitors and crew for the close regatta. "It was a tough final day, thanks to all my crew for getting me out of a few tricky situations"- Parker.

Overall Placings:
1. Malcolm Parker
2. William Boulden
3. Will Eastman
4. Matthew Hughes
5. Tom Picot
6. Frankie Dair
7. Tom Grimes
8. Nick Rozenauers
9. Celia Willison
10. Sarah Parker
11. James Jennings
12. Zoe Bennett
13. Henry Wilson

www.sailing.org/news/41646.php

Engie And Team Tilt To Throw Down The Wildcard Gauntlet
Two wildcard entries are set to join the fray at Act 1 of this year's Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, alongside six full season squads, organiser and owner OC Sport announced today.

Following their participation in the inaugural GC32 Championship - also being staged in Muscat - the GC32 Racing Tour teams ENGIE and Team Tilt will compete in the Extreme Sailing Series season opener in Oman in less than two weeks' time.

Headed up by highly experienced offshore sailor, Sebastien Rogues, ENGIE come with valuable experience in the GC32 as a crew, having secured fifth place in the GC32 Racing Tour last season. Rogues is accompanied by a solid roster of French sailors who are all fellow GC32 Racing Tour teammates.

Filling the role of tactician on ENGIE is former Olympian Gurvan Bontemps, a foiling catamaran ace who has experience in the F18 and the Flying Phantom, the boat that will feature on the undercard at the European Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series this year.

The second of the two wildcards is Swiss-flagged Team Tilt. Like its French counterpart, Team Tilt enters the starting blocks with valuable GC32 experience from the Racing Tour.

At the helm is 49er Rio Olympian Sebastien Schneiter, who skippered Team Tilt to second place in the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour, alongside Alinghi's co-skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis.

Joined by a talented bunch of young Swiss sailors, Team Tilt will hit the ground running. Trimming foils is familiar face Jeremy Bachelin, who has competed on board Red Bull Sailing Team in several Acts over the past two seasons, while on bow is Arthur Cevey, who raced with Team Tilt in the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour.

With just one team still to be announced, the stage is set for an epic opening Act to the eleventh season of the Extreme Sailing Series.

The event will run from 8-11 March in Muscat, Oman, with live streaming of the racing on the official Facebook and YouTube channel on race days three and four and a live TV broadcast for the final 90 minutes of racing on day four.

www.extremesailingseries.com

Monnin Returns With 2017 Tour Card
The 2016 season tested the Albert Riele Swiss Team to the maximum and with mixed results the team found themselves in unfamiliar territory on the WMRT leaderboard. With a new setup in 2017, Eric believes his long-term game plan will kick in this year and the team see big improvements on the horizon.

Switzerland's Eric Monnin has become part of the furniture of the World Match Racing Tour. A well respected match racer, Eric can turn up the heat on the water but knows how to be a gracious winner, and loser, on land. It is no secret to say that last year was a disappointment for the Albert Riele Swiss Team with Eric admitting, "we didn't expect it to be that difficult".

But Eric hopes these problems are a thing of the past, and already this season at a WMRT qualifier event successfully tried out his new four person crew and finished the event in 4th position.

WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Eric Monnin
Nationality: Swiss
Team name: Albert Riele Swiss Team
Yacht Club: Segel Club Stafa
Year of birth: 1975
Result WMRT 2016: 17th place

Eric Monnin's Tour Card is the ninth of 10 WMRT Tour Cards to be announced.

wmrt.com/skippers/eric-monnin

First Indian All-Women Global Circumnavigation
New Delhi: The Indian Navy's second sailboat 'Tarini' was inducted into service today at a ceremony in Goa.

The team has logged over 10,000 nautical miles on INSV Mhadei, including a voyage from India to Mauritius and back and Goa to Cape Town braving rough monsoon seas and heavy winds.

Extensive trials of the newly-built vessel were successfully completed in January.

The Indian Navy is operating four sailing vessels capable of open ocean deployments - Tarangini, Sudarshini, Mhadei and Tarini, all four of which have been built in shipyards at Goa.

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The Last Word
I help people as a way to work on myself, and I work on myself to help people… To me, that's what the emerging game is all about. -- Ram Dass

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Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html

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