In This Issue
Melges 24 European Sailing Series | GC32 Racing Tour | Pornichet Select | Seahorse May 2017 | Dorade Down Under | The Vision Of The Under-30 | Rogue Waves | Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta | Restoring A Long Island Landmark | Great Britain Enters A Team In The Clipper Round The World Race | Letters to the Editor | Featured Brokerage

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

Melges 24 European Sailing Series
Portoroz, Slovenia: For the fourth year in a row Portoroz has been the kick off venue of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series, first introduced by the International Melges 24 Class Association in 2013. Regatta will start on Friday and will end on Sunday (April 21-23), after a series of nine races with a discard that will enter in play after the conclusion of the fifth race.

Thirty three teams from fourteen countries marks the participation record of this Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta, also considered as the first event of the Melges 24 Italian Sailing Series. The number of participating teams and nations has been steadily increasing - 2014: 23 teams from 10 nations; 2015: 22 teams from 10 nations; 2015: 26 teams from 14 nations.

In the Corinthian division the level of competitors will be extremely high. Both the 2016 Corinthian World Champion, Italian Marco Zammarchi's Taki 4 with Niccolo Bertola helming; and Worlds' second Corinthian team, Estonian Tonu Toniste's Lenny together with the 2016 European Sailing Series Top 3 boats are able to mix the cards for the highest podium places. Besides the 2016 series' Corinthian winner Gill Race Team, Michael Tarabochia's White Room from Germany and Oleg Dyvinets' Marusia from Ukraine, the second and third best Corinthian boats respectively would like to defend their podium places also this year.

2017 Melges 24 European Sailing Series consists of the six events altogether. After the first event in Portoroz the series will lead to Riva del Garda in Italy in May; the points for the third event will be collected during the Swedish and Nordic Melges 24 Championship in Marstrand, Sweden in June; the most significant Melges 24 event of the season which is also the fourth event of the series, will be held in July-August in Helsinki, Finland, where the World Champion will be awarded; the fifth event will head to Medemblik in the Netherlands and the series will conclude with the sixth event in Luino, Italy in October.

1. April 21-23 - Portoroz, Slovenia
2. May 19-21 - Riva del Garda, Italy
3. June 16-18 - Marstrand, Sweden
4. July 28 - August 4 - Helsinki, Finland - Melges 24 World Championship 2017
5. September 15-17 - Medemblik, the Netherlands
6. October 13-15 - Luino, Italy

GC32 Racing Tour
For its fourth season, the GC32 Racing Tour will once again be visiting top venues in Italy, Spain and France with the aim of offering competitors 'the best foiling experience' with solid winds and flat water.

For the second consecutive season, the GC32 Racing Tour will open in Riva del Garda, again hosted by the Fraglia Vela Riva

Among the 'pros' returning to try to improve their position on the leaderboard, is the longest serving of the GC32 teams - ARMIN STROM Sailing Team of Flavio Marazzi, President of the GC32 International Class Association. Third overall in 2016, the Swiss four time Olympic Star sailor is gunning for the top step of the podium and believes the key is his crew: "We've been looking for sailors who have already been to the Olympics at least once and are at a high enough level."

Marazzi has been recruiting from the high performance 49er class, whose sailors already feature prominently in America's Cup teams such as double Olympic medallists Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling and Artemis Racing skipper Nathan Outteridge. Joining ARMIN STROM Sailing Team is German Erik Heil who claimed bronze at Rio 2016. Also on board are Alain Sign and Iago Lopez Marra, leading 49er sailors respectively from Britain and Spain.

Also returning is another Swiss team in Esteban Garcia's Realteam, skippered by Jerome Clerc.

Frenchman Sebastien Rogues and his Team ENGIE have also been putting in the hours on the water, the pay-off from which they demonstrated by regularly podiuming in races at March's GC32 Championship in Oman.

2017 GC32 Racing Tour
1. 11-14 May - GC32 Riva Cup / Riva del Garda, Italy
2. 28 June-1 July - GC32 Villasimius Cup / Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy
3. 2-5 August - 36 Copa del Rey / Palma de Mallorca, Spain
4. 13-16 September - GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup, Calvi, Corsica
5. 12-15 October - Marseille One Design / Marseille, France

Pornichet Select
First event of the 2017 Championnat de France Course au Large en solitaire.

72 competitors in the Mini 6.50 class in Proto and Series boats.

Racing starts Saturday April 22.

Seahorse May 2017
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

World news
'Finishing' the Vendee, oceanic multihulls may (just) be back... and on a 'budget', Denmark's solo explosion, the polished illusionists of Auckland and keeping skiffs sensible. Blue Robinson, Ivor Wilkins, John Winning, Jochen Rieker, Patrice Carpentier

Paul Cayard - (Now) a clash in name only
Could the modern America's Cup and today's Volvo Ocean Race have grown any further apart?

IRC column - Well, I wouldn't start from here
James Dadd has been kicking back at his French farmhouse and taking the long view

Design - We must have lighter, nimbler and cheaper IRC designs
Marc Lombard and Eric Levet make clear their thoughts to Frederic Augendre

Seahorse build table - (Definitely) a cut above
Michele Pitrucci has given us a very clever, very user-friendly and very fast new foiling cat

Sailor of the Month
Two of the brightest young talents on the ocean

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Dorade Down Under
Over the past 86 years, the iconic Sparkman & Stephens classic yacht Dorade has sailed hundreds of thousands of nautical miles across open water and won more ocean races than any other yacht in history. This year marks yet another milestone for the legendary 52-foot yawl, as she and her crew travel for the first time to the southern hemisphere for the "Dorade Down Under" campaign, with plans to race in seven events off the southern coast of Australia before taking on the 628-nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in December.

"We're looking forward to doing something that Dorade has never done before in a place that neither Dorade nor I have ever been to," said Captain Matt Brooks who with Pam Rorke Levy purchased the classic yacht in 2010 to demonstrate that a classic racing yacht like Dorade, properly restored and sailed, could still be competitive in the modern racing world. "We have done a lot of offshore ocean racing with Dorade, and I know the yacht and crew are capable, but it will be a challenge nonetheless, especially the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart which is well known for severe weather conditions."

Designed in 1929 by 21-year-old Olin Stephens and built under his younger brother Rod Stephens' supervision, Dorade's revolutionary design – a deep keel with external ballast, an achingly narrow beam of just 10'3", and a generous sail plan – took the yachting world by storm, quickly establishing the Stephens brothers as two of the sport's most gifted innovators.

The "Dorade Down Under" campaign presents a new set of challenges in unfamiliar waters, with the Dorade team facing the heavy breezes and tricky conditions that prevail in southern waters, competing against a fleet of modern boats optimized for these conditions.

"The conditions are likely to be much rougher than what we've experienced with Dorade in the past, so we're going to try and find conditions like that to test in and see where we can find improvements," said Dorade tactician Kevin Miller. After several months of updates over the winter, Dorade was transported to Ventura, California this spring to begin final preparations for racing in extreme conditions, including a series of races along the west coast of the US, before being shipped to Australia in June.

"Dorade has always proven to be a really strong boat, but this will be a tougher test of the boat than even the Transatlantic in 2015," says Miller. "We need to make sure the boat is bulletproof. We're going to be dealing with volatile conditions and a serious wind-against-tide component when we get down there, so we need to work on our upwind speed in heavy air and make sure our instrumentation is perfectly calibrated. If our instruments are even just a tiny bit off, any information we get regarding the tide will be completely inaccurate."

The Vision Of The Under-30
In the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 a new rule was introduced: all the teams had to include at least two crew members who were under the age of 30 for each leg of the race. As is the case when any change is made, some approved the decision, and others were more reticent. Nine years on, the same rule applies, and the truth be told, it has opened up the path to many young sailors, in a sector where experience was fundamentally the number 1 requirement. We spoke to Willy Altadill (24), one of MAPFRE's Under-30s.

Rogue Waves
The bulk of what is known about rogue waves comes from the accounts of survivors, some of whom lost crew members and friends in the experience.

Rogue waves have long divided sailors and scientists. Some question their existence, other schools of thought suggest that 'freak' waves are actually more common than first thought. But for those who have experienced a 'rogue' wave, towering over their yacht before wreaking havoc, there is little question over their potency.

There have been several incidences where ocean racing yachts have encountered unusually severe waves. Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill were rolled and dismasted in Hugo Boss, by what they reported to be a rogue wave some 82 miles off the coast of Spain in the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre.

In 2010 Sebastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon were airlifted from BT after it was struck by a huge wave some 210 miles north-west of the Azores. The pair were sailing in 30-50 knots of wind when "a hydrodynamic event of significance" hit the yacht, stoving in the coachroof and flooding the yacht.

BT was recovered and surveyed. What convinced the designers, Farr Yacht Design, that the destruction was the result of a so-called rogue wave, was that besides the coachroof breakages, damage was also seen in other areas that had undergone repeated significant loading during other races.

After analysing the yacht, they reported: "One can say in all seriousness that if the coachroof had been twice as strong we would likely still have seen damage, which gives some idea of how far outside the normal bounds this event was."

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta
A look at Nelson's Dockyard in the early 1950s. Photo by Desmond Nicholson. Click on image to enlarge.

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta English Harbour is electric with excitement as boats sail in for the 30th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, the first in this year's series of the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenges.

The matriarch this year is the 72' gaff yawl, Anne Marie, built in 1911. Sharing the spotlight as youngest, built in 2015, are Chloe Giselle, a 65' Sean McMillan Spirit Sloop and the 42' Alwyn Enoe Carriacou sloop, Free in St Barths. In between, ranging from 30' to 178', with build dates spanning a century, are an intoxicating blend of rigs and sail configurations, all nodding to the past.

To commemorate this monumental year, the venue has shifted to the Dockyard, an elegantly restored UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rare photos of the grounds, taken in the early 1950s by legendary yachtsman and historian, Desmond Nicholson, are on display at the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel in a show entitled, "Times Past."

On the water, competition begins Thursday with the Single-Handed race followed by four days of significant contests within eight classes.

Restoring A Long Island Landmark
Repairs began Monday on the foundation of the 158-year-old Fire Island Lighthouse, which Superstorm Sandy damaged five years ago.

David Griese of the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society told CBS New York that floodwaters from Sandy washed through the lighthouse, undermining one of the corners at the base of the terrace.

Despite the erosion, managers say the lighthouse on the western end of Fire Island, a barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island, is safe and structurally sound.

The National Park Service is paying for the $1.2 million project; it is expected to be completed in June. Built in 1859, the lighthouse attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

Great Britain Enters A Team In The Clipper Round The World Race
The UK Government's most ambitious marketing initiative, the GREAT Britain campaign, has announced it will be entering a team in the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, the world's largest ocean race, which starts this August.

The partnership was formally revealed in Portsmouth today during an official visit by Mark Garnier MP, International Trade Minister, and Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the very best of what the UK has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. For the GREAT Britain campaign, the Clipper 2017-18 Race will be about projecting Britain's values, as much as opportunities for business.

As a Clipper Race Team Partner, the GREAT Britain campaign, which first partnered with the Clipper Race in 2013, will stand side by side with teams and crew from across the world to project everything the UK does best in business, education, global security and prosperity.

The twelve Clipper Race teams compete on the world's largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Around 700 crew come from all walks of life and from all around the world, with over 40 different nationalities represented. Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of the eight legs that make up the Clipper Race.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Sir Robin Knox-Johnston:

Woman can and do participate in our sport when the opportunities are available to them.

In the Clipper race some 35% of the British taking part are women, a proportion that has remained fairly constant over 20 years.The figure drops to an average of 27% when the non British crews, which currently make up 51% of the next race, are taken into account.

Two of the 12 skippers for the 2017 race which will start in August are women and the only limitation on this number has been the lack of candidates coming forward.

At the elite level there may be a problem in attracting women, but at sea level the numbers coming forward looks encouraging.

* From Adrian Morgan:

Even with all the money; even with a two-boat programme; even with a crew of antipodeans; even so rumour has it that, yet again, Oracle is about to copy the Kiwis and fit pedals, just as in the last cup they learned from the Kiwis how to foil. All is fair in love and the America's Cup but it is rather pathetic that a defender with all the resources and all the cards may resort to copying a team with a fraction of the cash, but bucket loads of innovation. Let's all hope it is just a rumour.

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TRIBULATIONS was designed by Nigel Irens and built with the same mould as Fujicolor (Mike Birch) and Fleury Michon IX (Philippe Poupon). Named Laiterie du Mont Saint Michel in 1987 and skippered by Olivier Moussy, she was then taken over by Olivier Kersauzon as the Esso Super Plus.

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The Last Word
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