In This Issue
Fast sailing towards the finish | Clipper Race 7 Day 12: Relief As Trade Winds Bring Gear Shift | 34th Primo Cup-Trophee Credit Suisse one of the best in lovely conditions | Freides Captures Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Regatta Win | 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 5 &and 6 | Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Championships | O'Leary brothers win Star Midwinters | Offshore racing and bravery honoured at Volvo Irish Sailing Awards | 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

Fast sailing towards the finish
Conditions are fast, wet and wild for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Sunday as they charge to the southeast, finally heading in a direction where miles sailed translate into miles towards the finish in New Zealand, still more than 4,000 nautical miles away.

With the passage of a front, the wind has shifted to the north and the boats are on a tight reach in 18 to 25 knots of wind, making 20 to 25 knots of boatspeed. It's not comfortable. But it's fast.

The fleet is still largely in two groups, with MAPFRE holding the narrowest of leads over Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team, and Turn the Tide on Plastic is just 13 miles behind.

The second group had consisted of team AkzoNobel and Scallywag, but their paths are beginning to diverge, with Scallywag charting a southern route and cutting the corner. It was a strategy that worked on Leg 4… we'll see over the coming hours if it is successful again.

Positions at: 13:00 UTC
1. MAPFRE, 3977 nm to to leg finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, .14 nm to leader
3. Team Brunel, 2.90
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic, 8.14
5. Team AkzoNobel, 41.51
6. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, 42.07
7. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Did not start

www.volvooceanrace.com

Clipper Race 7 Day 12: Relief As Trade Winds Bring Gear Shift
Relief is the overriding emotion amongst the Clipper Race fleet on Day 12 of Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race as the Trade Winds which continue to boost progress at the front have now also kicked in for the western positioned teams, bringing a change of gear and mentality boost in this hot, testing race.

PSP Logistics came out of Stealth Mode overnight in the lead position, positioned furthest north in the fleet.

Qingdao, positioned in the centre of the fleet is now second, and Sanya Serenity Coast is third. Skipper Wendy Tuck explains that it's not only the Trade Winds progress that has brought relief over the past 24 hours as she reports: "Yesterday after the blog was sent off, we started to get into squally land. The first one didn't bring much, the second one bought a heap of rain, a little increase in wind but rain, glorious rain, the deck was awash with soapy suds and general splashing around, it was truly glorious. It got to the point that I was a little cold, never thought I would say that on this leg, and it was a treat."

The best progress continues to be made by the teams in the central and eastern positions of the fleet where boast speeds are currently averaging 11 knots, with Unicef in fourth, Liverpool 2018 in fifth, and Dare To Lead in sixth. However, the three teams that went west to get the Scoring Gate points have now finally joined in the Trade Wind party.

With the reefs and islands north of Papua New Guinea now out of the way, teams are aiming for the next waypoint of this race, north of the Philippines, some 1,600 nm ahead of the leading team, and will pass over the Mariana Trench.

Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race will finish in Sanya Serenity Marina in Sanya, and the fleet is expected to arrive between 21 – 25 February after roughly 23-27 days at sea.

clipperroundtheworld.com

34th Primo Cup-Trophee Credit Suisse one of the best in lovely conditions
Primo Cup Yacht Club Monaco Some 300 sailors in five classes descended on Monaco to compete in eight races with 12 nations represented on 80 boats for the Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco.

In the 40-strong fleet of J/70s, the competition redoubled its efforts to overtake the season's leader, Valeria Kovalenko on Art Tube who was absent this weekend. Three boats managed to widen the gap with the Swiss on CDE.CH helmed by Guillaume Girod in 1st ahead of the YCM's Vincenzo Onorato (Mascalzone Latino) and last year's winners the Brazilians on Mandachuva, in 3rd. There was also a fine win in the Corinthian category for Nicolas Bouchet, coached by the YCM's Sports Section, on Ponante who finished 4th in the final ranking.

For the Melges 20 it was their final Act of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series. At the end of four Acts and 28 races, the Russians on Alex Team won both this Primo Cup and the season, pipping the YCM's Ludovico Fassitelli (Junda) to the post. He finished 2nd for the season and 4th this weekend.

In the Smeralda 888, the YCM's Timofey Sukhotin came out top, with class president Charles de Bourbon des Deux-Siciles winning a fierce battle with Marco Favale (Smeralda 6) to come 2nd, equal on points. For the Star class, this was the third stage of their European winter circuit and was won by class World Champion Roberto Benamati who beat Christian Nehammer into 2nd. And finally, the Longtze Premiers made a welcome return to Monaco notably for the winner Steffen Schneider on Outsider who won four of the seven races.

In recognition of team-work, all crew members in the first three boats in each class won clothing from SLAM's Advanced Technology Sportswear.

The next regatta is the final Act of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, 9-11 March.

Final rankings

J/70 - Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
1st: Guillaume Girod (CDE.CH) - (SUI) - 24 points
2nd: Vincenzo Onorato (Mascalzone Latino) - (ITA) - 38 points
3rd: Mario Garcia Soerensen (Mandachuva) - (BRA) - 42 points

J/70 - Corinthians - Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
1st: Nicolas Bouchet (Ponante) - (MON) - 45 points
2nd: Emanuel Muller (Attaque) - (SUI) - 47 points
3rd: Amaury Berger (Sirocco) - (MON) - 52 points

Melges 20 - Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series - Final after 4 Acts
1st: Alexander Mikhaylik (Alex Team) - (RUS) - 47 points
2nd: Ludovico Fassitelli (Junda) - (MON) - 59 points
3rd: Maxim Titarenko (Leviathan) - (RUS) - 83 points

Melges 20 - Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
1st: Alexander Mikhaylik (Alex Team) - (RUS) - 12 points
2nd: Manfredi Vianini Tolomei (Maolca) - (ITA) - 17 points
3rd: Pavel Grachev (Medyza) - (RUS) - 17 points

Longzte Premier- Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
1st: Steffen Schneider (Outsider) - (SUI) - 8 points
2nd: Jarmo Wieland (Shensu) - (SUI) - 14 points
3rd: Thomas Begher (Corvus) - (GER) - 18 points

Smeralda 888 - Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
1st: Timofey Sukhotin (Beda) - (MON) - 12 points
2nd: Charles de Bourbon des Deux-Siciles (Vamos mi Amor) - (MON) - 17 points
3rd: Marco Favale (Smeralda 6) - (MON) - 17 points

Star - Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
1st: Roberto Benamati (BestWind) - (ITA) - 9 points
2nd: Christian Nehammer (8423) - (AUT) - 15 points
3rd: Steffen Rutz (Squalo Bianco VII) - (SUI) - 19 points

ycm.org

Freides Captures Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Regatta Win
Sunshine and big breeze ushered in the final day of competition at the 2017-18 Miami Winter Series hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (GCSC). With idyllic, simply spectacular racing conditions in place for a third day in a row, it's no surprise Drew Freides' PACIFIC YANKEE took the overall win alongside of team members Morgan Reeser as tactician and Charlie Smythe.

Confirming the final podium positions are Russia's Vladimir Prosikhin's NIKA in second, and following in third, flying high with the Monaquese flag, was Achille Onorato's MASCALZONE LATINO, JR.

With two rounds of 2017-18 Miami Winter Series racing complete, the ranking is well on its way to being defined. Freides officially commands the lead by a slim margin. Prosikin and Igor Rytov's RUSSIAN BOGATYRS round out the podium spots. Onorato and Alexis Michas' MIDNIGHT SUN completes the top five.

After a difficult Day Two in Miami, Matteo Marenghi Vaselli aboard RAYA reconfirmed the speed of his Melges 20 by rounding the first mark of Race Seven in first place, followed by Jason Michas' MIDNIGHT BLUE, Daniel Thielman's KUAI and a hard-charging Alexis Michas. Marenghi Vaselli capitalized on the breezy conditions to take the win, followed by Jason Michas in second. Freides sealed the deal with a third place finish. Thielman and Paul Reilly's RED SKY SAILING TEAM rounded out the top five.

With Freides taking his discard as Race Eight, Prosikhin had room to breathe, advance and excel for the win, followed by Wes Whitmyer's SlingSHOT in second, Rytov finished third.

Top Five Results (FINAL - After Eight Races, One Discard)
1. Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee, USA, 7
2. Vladimir Prosikhin, Nika, RUS, 15
3. Achille Onorato, Mascalzone Latino, Jr., MON, 25
4. Alexis Michas, Midnight Sun, USA, 26
5. Daniel Thielman, Kuai, USA, 31

Top Five Miami Winter Series Ranking (After Two Events)
1. Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee, 2 points
2. Vladimir Prosikhin, Nika, 5
3. Igor Rytov, Russian Bogatyrs, 8
4. Achille Onorato, Mascalzone Latino, Jr., 8
5. Alexis Michas, Midnight Sun, 11

Full results
melges20.com/pdf/Ranking-Miami-Winter-Series-2018.pdf

melges20.com

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 5 &and 6
TEXT Sydney Harbour: A 22-knot SSE wind provided fantastic conditions for the flying 18ft Skiffs today when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted Races 5 and 6 of the Auustralian Championship on Sydney Harbour.

Once again, the two races produced two different winners and the overall scores suggest that we are in for a great finish in the final four races.

Race 5 produced a wonderful win for the Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge, as they powered away from the opposition over the final lap of the course.

Ilve (Ollie Hartas, Pedro Vozone, Charlie Gundy) were strong challengers over the first two legs of the course but could.t match the pace of the Smeg team in the closing stages.

Smeg's final margin was 1m13s from Ilve, with Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Dan Phillips) a further 1m7s back in third place.

Appliancesonline (Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Nick Hord) finished fourth, followed by Yandoo (John Winning, Bameron McDonald, Mike Kennedy) and Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Paul Montague, Harry Bethwaite).

The conditions tested the entire fleet and there were a number of capsizes as the skiffs raced around the course.

The present points in the championship are: Smeg 18 points, Finport Trade Finance 21 points, Appliancesonline 22 points, Yandoo 23 points, with Asko Appliances and Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards,, Rory Cox, Jacob Broom) equal on 39 points.

www.18footers.com

Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Championships
James Wilson from the RNZYS Youth Training Programme is wielding the best record after two days of Round Robin racing at the 2018 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup.

It was an even wetter day than yesterday on the water outside the RNZYS with limited visibility and gusty winds between 15-25 knots but this didn't affect the RNZYS YTP skipper. Wilson, who set the pace on day one, continued where he left off by notching up six more wins and finishing the day with an impressive 12-2 scorecard to complete his round robin campaign, handing him the top seed heading into the finals.

Finn Tapper from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is the next best skipper in the fleet after claiming four more wins today to finish the round robin with an 11-3 scorecard. It has been an impressive performance by Tapper in trying conditions, and he and his crew have placed themselves nicely before the business end of the regatta.

With five teams all but guaranteed a finals spot after today's racing, the remaining three spots are still anyone's to claim, setting up a mouth-watering finish to the round robin racing tomorrow.

Skippers, umpires and race management will be happy to see the forecast for Auckland tomorrow is clear of rain and we should enjoy a nice solid breeze similar to todays, perfect for match racing.

The remaining round robin races will begin at 10am local time before we head into the top eight do-or-die knockout rounds.

www.rnzys.org.nz

O'Leary brothers win Star Midwinters
Irish brothers Peter and Robert O'Leary closed a consistent scoreline at the Star Midwinter Championship, held February 8-11 on Biscayne Bay in Miami, FL. Posting all top ten scores in the 8-race series, the O'Learys fended off the surges of Paul Cayard / Josh Revkin (USA) and Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA) as both teams worked their way up the standings to finish second and third, respectively.

The final day was another episode of chutes and ladders at the top of the fleet. The Californian team of Doyle and Infelise won the day with a pair of bullets. They were fast upwind and even faster downwind. It was enough to move them onto the podium after slowing climbing up the fleet throughout the event. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada went into the last race solidly in second place, but hit the windward mark, and couldn't recover enough in such a deep fleet to keep them on the podium. Cayard and Revkin continued to shine in the breeze. Their second and fifth places today, were enough to put them back into second place overall.

Final Results (Top 10 of 44; 8 races)
1. Peter O'Leary / Robert O'Leary, IRL, 46 points
2. Paul Cayard / Josh Revkin, USA, 60
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise, USA, 62
4. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA, 64
5. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter, USA, 64
6. Luca Modena / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA, 70
7. Arthur Anosov / David Caesar, USA, 75
8. Jack Jennings / Frithjof Kleen, USA, 80
9. Tom Lofstedt / Joost Houweling, SWE, 96
10. Jim Buckingham / Mark Strube, USA, 99

Full results

www.sailingscuttlebutt.com

Offshore racing and bravery honoured at Volvo Irish Sailing Awards
Conor Fogerty was named tonight as Volvo Sailor of the Year at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards. Hosted by Irish Sailing, the annual event drew a record crowd of over 400 people from across the sailing community to celebrate an eventful year of sailing. Conor won for his battle to win the Single-Handed East-West Transatlantic race. The Howth sailor showed skill and determination sailing his Sunfast 36000 Bam through ferocious weather, which felled other international competitors - the race was no joyride, and he thoroughly deserved his win and the prestigious Gipsy Moth Trophy.

The Irish Sailing President's Awards were given to Simon Hoffmann, Santiago Alegre, Jay Stacy and Cian Mollen for their bravery and heroism in rescuing fellow sailors Johnny Durcan and Colin Byrne. Also recognised was Carmel Winkelmann, a nonagenarian who has been at the forefront of junior sail training since the 1960s.

Dan McGaughey of Donaghadee Sailing Club in NI took home the Volvo Youth Sailor of the year for his performance internationally in the Topper class, culminating in placing 3rd at the Topper World Championships in Loctudy, France.

Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club took home the Volvo Irish Sailing Training Centre of the Year award, having been nominated as winners of the South Region. The two other nominees on the shortlist were Galway City Sailing Club (West & North Region winners) and Bray Sailing Club (winner of the East Region).

Volvo Irish Sailing Senior Instructor of the Year Award went to Kate Caldwell of Mullaghmore Sailing Club in Sligo. She received the award for exceptional services to instructing and training.

sailing.ie

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 Berthon Group:

The sad news of the failure of Oyster this week has been widely reported and is a tragedy for the yachting business internationally.

Oyster have been building and delivering outstanding cruising yachts for 45 years and the fleet of Oysters sailing the planet's oceans are world class yachts of the first quality.

Pre-owned Oysters will continue to enjoy good residual values based on their core quality and good design. They are superb yachts for crossing oceans. This week's news does nothing to change this.

Here at Berthon we are full of admiration for the work that has been done by the men and women who have worked at Oyster down the years. Numerous Oysters have passed through our big blue sheds or overnighted in our marina and we consider ourselves part of the family. There will always be a warm welcome here for members of the Oyster community and the very beautiful yachts that they build, operate and sail. Our thoughts are with all Oyster staff at this difficult time.

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