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

35th America's Cup Schedule Announced
The full event schedule for the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda in 2017 has been confirmed, outlining the calendar of almost five weeks of world class sailing action which lies ahead in the beautiful waters of Bermuda, starting on May 26th and finishing on or around June 27th 2017.

The opening race of the 35th America's Cup will be race one of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers between the Defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, with two time America's Cup winner Jimmy Spithill and his crew looking to start their defence of the cup in style against Groupama Team France, led by French superstar Franck Cammas.

The first race, starting on May 26th at 14.00 (Bermuda time), will be the first time the America's Cup Class (ACC) yachts and their sailing crews engage in full competitive action.

All the 35th America's Cup races from May 26th to June 27th 2017 will take place on the waters of Bermuda's Great Sound.

The racing format of the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda features all six America's Cup teams competing in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers, the round robin match racing that kicks off the 35th America's Cup. In these opening two rounds, each competitor races every other team twice, with the challengers battling for the right to advance to the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs (only the top four advance), which starts on Sunday June 4th.

The current Defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, then moves straight into the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, in which it will take on the winner of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs.

The teams finishing first and second in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series will carry two and one points respectively into the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers in 2017

Also at stake in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers is a bonus point for the America's Cup Match. If the team that wins the Qualifiers (whether Defender or a challenger) also advances to the Match, it will start with a one point advantage.

Events calendar:

New Volvo Ocean Race Scoring System
The Volvo Ocean Race is revolutionising the scoring system for 2017-18 to encourage strategic risk-taking from the teams and give extra reward for strong performances in the two Southern Ocean legs and the final ocean leg of the race, across the North Atlantic from Newport to Cardiff.

The seventh in a series of 10 announcements from the Race in 10 days is designed to open up the competition in an era of incredibly close One Design racing and give an incentive for teams to gamble more often to split the fleet. The new rules state:

- Scoring will change to a high-point system
- The two Southern Ocean legs - from Cape Town to Hong Kong, and Auckland to Itajaí, plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff - will all score double points
- The winner of each and every leg will score one bonus point (10 for a win, 8 for second, 7 for third, etc)
- There will be a bonus point for the first team to round Cape Horn in a nod to the mythical significance of this turning point in the race
- A further bonus point will be awarded for the team with the best total elapsed time overall in the race
- The In-Port Series will remain the tiebreaker should teams, as in the last edition, be tied on points at the finish in The Hague.

The new scoring system is the first confirmed change in a series of options being considered by Race HQ.

As in the 2014-15 edition, In-Port Races will be scored as a separate series and used to break any ties in the final table.

Fly And Sail Options At The Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, which runs from 16-24 January and marks the start of the Caribbean race season, is fast becoming a good charter option for race-thirsty, sun-seekers. Those keen to escape the post Christmas northern hemisphere winter chill, could do worse than sign up for a place on one of the many charter yachts competing at this popular Caribbean regatta.

The event organisers - Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay - are preparing for the biggest entry seen for some years in 2017, which means there will be high demand for charter boats/places.

As well as the three-day Coastal Series, guests can look forward to the 60nm Mount Gay Round Barbados Race where it is possible for teams to win their skippers' weight in Mount Gay Rum if they break any of the 14 records. For the adventurous type, there's even a final 265nm Ocean Passage Race to Antigua to link up with the Superyacht Challenge.

Bajan hospitality includes the legendary Mount Gay Rum Red Cap party, and a grand prizegiving party, while on lay-day there's a chance to experience a tour/tasting session at the Mount Gay Distillery, and enjoy a specially laid-on exhibition polo match.

Charter options include:

Ocean Phoenix 77ft luxury yacht (Charterworld)

Palpatine, Stimpson 42 (Stormforce Coaching)

Spirit of Juno and First 40 and Farr 65 (Ondeck Antigua)

Conviction, TP52 (Island Yachts)

Event details, and contacts regarding more charter options:

Alf Beashel 18ft Skiff Trophy Race
Alf Beashel On Sunday (23 October), the Australian 18 Footers League will stage the Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour.

It's a race that is conducted annually and has a special place in the League's heart as it honours one of the true legends of the 18ft Skiff Class.

Alf Beashel was one of the first Life Members in 1953 and sailed for many years in the famous ALRUTH skiffs.

John Winning, President of the Australian 18 Footers League, said: "When the present site of the League's clubhouse became available more than 50 years ago, there was a shortfall of funds necessary to secure the prime location and it looked as though the opportunity would be lost."

"Alf came up with a selfless idea when he suggested that he could retire early from his work and use the superannuation money owed to him to make up the difference. It was the extra yard which helped the League to gain the clubhouse we all enjoy so much today."

Alf became Secretary of the League and held the position for many years. During his time as Secretary, Alf was at the forefront of promoting the 18s worldwide. His efforts saw events staged in the USA and the first representatives from UK, USA and France join the competition for the famed JJ Giltinan Championship.

Along with his own sailing career in the 18s, Alf also produced a famous son, Ken Beashel, who was the first Australian to win two JJ Giltinan (world) championships - 1963 with Schemer and 1968 with Daily Telegraph. Alf passed away in 1978, but his memory lives on with the annual Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy race.

The legendry Beashel name, however, continues at the forefront of sailing and yachting around the world thanks to the achievements of Ken's sons Colin and Adam. -- Frank Quealey Australian 18 Footers League

Evolution - Revolution
This is the great debate in this eighth edition of the Vendee Globe. To foil or not to foil, that is the question... On paper, these appendages which we saw in the America's Cup allow the boat to be lifted up, as if the boat was lighter, meaning that the top speed increases significantly with a bonus of 10-15% with the wind on the beam. But if there advantages, there are also disadvantages. These foils are less efficient when sailing upwind and with the wind astern they only take effect when there is more than 12 knots of real wind. This round the world race will make things much clearer. Is it better to sail a boat that is as light as possible or to fly over the seas using foils?

Over the past thirty years, the boats sailed around the world by solo sailors have gone through several radical design changes, firstly for safety reasons, but also to adapt to more stringent class rules. However, the boats have continued to improve in terms of performance with each edition of the Vendee Globe. In the first non-stop solo round the world race, the winner Titouan Lamazou took 109 days and 8 hours, while François Gabart has held the record since 2013 after completing the voyage in 78 days and two hours, or in other words an improvement of 25% in spite of the race course being around 20% longer.

While they have tended to become more reasonable with IMOCA class rules, which take into account the stability of the boat and imposes safety gear, the 60-foot boats have continued to include innovations. In 1996, Yves Parlier set sail around the world with the first wing mast. In 2000, Michel Desjoyeaux won with a canting keel, Then, there were the asymmetrical daggerboards, more ballast tanks, huge progress in terms of weather forecasting with the use of Grib files and on board routing systems, sails which no longer lost their shape and hulls made of pre-preg carbon.

IMOCA boats took the time down to under 100 days in 2001, completing the round the world voyage in 90 days in 2005, then in under 85 days in 2009 and in 78 days in 2013.

Beats Skiing!
Seahorse Magazine Look out, Florida - and Courchevel - IMOCA 60 and MOD 70 trimaran racer Sidney Gavignet is a big fan of a competitive winter alternative...

It is not hard to work out why I love racing EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour (SATT)... aside from winning three of the last four editions with our Farr 30 EFG Bank Monaco! The weather is warm, the racing is competitive and challenging and the event is rich in both culture and fun.

In February in Europe there is not much to do except ski, and this is exactly what we did last year, but in Dubai... In fact, I think our team building session at Dubai's indoor ski resort before the start of the 2016 edition formed the building blocks of our subsequent success. The pleasure and challenge of putting together a team each year to compete successfully over 10 days of intense one-design racing are one of many reasons why I keep coming back to this race.

Full article in the November issue of Seahorse:

Industry News
Norway's Bavaria Motorbat Norge AS has expanded its cooperation with German boatbuilder Bavaria Yachtbau. The Norwegian company will now act as an exclusive importer for Bavaria sailboats as well as motorboats. -- IBI News

Bavaria Motor will henceforth be called Bavaria Boat Norway AS.


The DAME Design Award is the most prestigious international design competition for new marine equipment and accessories. Over the past 25 years, independently appointed judges examined thousands of products in specific marine categories. The DAME Design Award has come to set the pace for new concepts and designs in the worldwide leisure marine industry. Participation in DAME Awards is exclusively reserved to METSTRADE exhibitors.

The category awards are presented in seven categories. One of these seven winners will be chosen as the overall winner of the DAME Design Award 2016.

See the 2016 Nominees:


The RYA is delighted to announce that Alistair Dickson has been appointed as the new Director of Sport Development and will take over from Duncan Truswell who after 14 years at the RYA is moving on to a new role at Sport England.

Alistair has been involved in RYA activity from an early age as a squad sailor and coach within the RYA Cymru Wales squad programme. After a career in the British Army as an Officer in the Royal Engineers, he returned to RYA Cymru Wales as High Performance Manager, later becoming the Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Since then, Alistair has been working at World Sailing as the Events Manager, responsible for the Youth Sailing World Championships and the Sailing World Championships. He also managed a restructure of the Emerging Nation's Programme, designed to reduce the performance gap in nations at the Olympic level of sailing.

As Director of Sport Development , Alistair will be responsible for the planning and implementation of the Sport Development programmes and activities, to increase and maintain participation in sailing and windsurfing.

He'll also be supporting RYA affiliated clubs as well as liaising with Sport England to develop plans and gain support and essential funding for RYA initiatives and programmes.


Members of the European Committee for Professional Yachting (ECPY) have raised the alert surrounding the alleged farcical circumstances about to damage the yachting industry on the Cote d'Azur.

According to a recent press release, already a large number of superyachts have disappeared from French waters to cruise and winter in more yachting-friendly locations, and the trend is gathering momentum.

"The implementation of new regulations, the resurrection of old regulations affecting legal, fiscal, employment and environmental issues, in addition to customs procedures in France are hampering the development of the yachting industry and forcing yacht owners to flee the Cote d'Azur to other European countries with less restrictive and penalising laws," the announcement reads.


Following the surprise news that Lurssen is to acquire Blohm+Voss, a reliable industry source in Germany has confirmed the acquisition was prompted by the superyacht builder wishing to augment its military shipbuilding capability.

This accords with Peter Lurssen's official statement that, in addition to increasing its refit and repair services, the buy-out allows Lurssen to, "utilise the competence and experience of the shipyard and its employees for the new build of complex naval ships and continue their production at the Hamburg site."

He added the proviso that "the construction of yachts at the Hamburg yard will depend on the overall market situation and it is difficult to judge at this time."

The German government is in the process of tendering a contract to build four multi-role combat ships with a planned budget worth over 3 billion euros. Originally six ships were to be built, but the Department of Defense later cut the number to four with the first one entering service in 2023.

Lurssen's acquisition of Blohm+Voss, which is subject to approval by regulators, effectively reduces the field of competition and brings it one step closer to securing the hugely valuable contract.

Eight Bells - Mike Till
Mike Till Regarded marine artist, accomplished sailor and class leader in the Etchells fleet among others, Mike Till, 77, passed away at home on 10th October 2016 after a tough bout with cancer. He passed away surrounded by his adoring wife Kathy and his children. Sailing and organizing sailing events were a key part of Mike's life. He never let his illness slow him, whether it be sailing his XOD two weeks before, sailing with 360 other Finn at their World Championship in May, or working on a disabled sailing regatta.

A regular on the Etchells podium both nationally and internationally, Mike played key roles as Chairman of the British Etchells Association from 2003-2008, representing the British contingent as a Governor in the international governing body, and a number of important roles for the Cowes fleet. He organized 2007 World championships for the Class and pushed hard to build fleets on mainland Europe.

Mike started sailing Etchells in the late 80s, becoming Cowes Fleet Captain and helped rapidly expand the class ahead of the 1996, 2001 and 2007 World Championships based from Cowes and Lymington.

A highly competitive Finn sailor as well, Mike was a regular fixture at the Finn Worlds, generally with a big grin on his face.

Born to a tea plantation manager in Ceylon in 1939, Mike was no stranger to foreign travel or languages. His business career was in the insurance industry as a Lloyd's broker which included later owning his own Lloyd's broking company, Bradstock Haywood Till. His career led him to conduct business in many countries in Europe and the Middle East and was a major respected character in the London Insurance Market.

Mike will be missed around the world, by family, friends and sailors who knew and respected him.

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See the collection at

The Last Word
What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? -- Bertie Wooster
There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter. -- Reginald Jeeves

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