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Perpetual Loyal Leads Rolex Sydney Hobart
Photo by Andrea Francolini, www.afrancolini.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Inch by inch, mile-by-mile, defending champion Wild Oats XI is reeling in Perpetual LOYAL as the pair breaks away from the pack to lead the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet into Bass Strait.

Sixty miles south of Gabo Island, the dueling super-maxis are locked in a nose-dive, heading due-south, within sight of each other with just under two nautical miles separating them in a light, variable and frustrating north-easterly.

Barely a wave has broken over their decks in the first 24-hours of the race, but the forehead of Perpetual LOYAL skipper Anthony Bell would likely be wet with sweat from the heat of the defending champions.

Wild Oats XI has made a steady comeback from a 14 nautical mile deficit overnight, with an average boat speed about one nautical mile faster than the race leader.

Despite leading, Bell says the light and variable conditions just don't work for his Juan Kouyoumdjian designed 100-footer.

"We are sailing as well as we can in really light winds that don't suit our boat and holding narrow lead,'' he said this morning.

"We're looking hard for more wind. Crew and boat are doing well."

Ragamuffin 100 is in third place, 14 nautical miles behind the leaders. The two Volvo Open 70s Giacomo, fourth, and Black Jack, fifth, are not far behind.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Andrew Treloar says the front-runners will continue to suffer light conditions today, but they do have a choice in an east meets west Bass Strait twist.

rolexsydneyhobart.com

W M Nixon On The Rolex Sydney Hobart
With some forecasts suggesting a record-breaking offwind sprint, heavy weather windward ability may well count for little. But in any case, public interest is with the Wild Oats/Perpetual LOYAL contest, as the two boats are distinctly different, with Wild Oats significantly slimmer in beam. She's very much the people's choice, for though today's Australians may be enjoying unprecedented affluence, it's not so long since they were a determinedly self-reliant, can do, and DIY sort of nation.

So the fact that Wild Oats is always Work In Progress, with mods being tried all the time, particularly appeals to the traditional Australian outlook on life, and for 2013's race she is sailing with all sorts of performance-enhancing retractable fins which make her look like a Swiss army knife when she's in the boat hoist.

With Perpetual LOYAL put into action in her new guise only as recently as November, there have been few opportunities to see how the two star biggies perform against each other. The Solas Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour ten days ago was entertaining, but even Sydney's extensive natural harbour doesn't really provide the space for hundred footers to give of their best. In fact, it was Peter Harburg's up-graded Volvo 70 Black Jack (she's the former Telefonica) which led the fleet, hundred footers and all, to the first mark, which shows that she's very much a contender to Hobart.

As for the tussle between Wild Oats and Perpetual LOYAL, it looked fantastic, and Oats had got just ahead again after the more powerful yet slightly lower-rated Perpetual had passed her on the beat. But it ceased to be a tussle when Perpetual shredded a huge gennaker ($170,000 to you, sir) which, as Anthony Bell admitted, was much bigger than they should have been carrying anyway, but that's what happens when you're showing off in harbour.

Afloat magazine: afloat.ie/blogs/sailing-saturday-with-wm-nixon/

Last Day Of Voting For Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar
Pictured: Last year's winner the Sint Maarten Yacht Club

Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar Competition As the total of votes closes in on 3000, One Bar still holds a considerable lead going into the final day of voting for the 2013 Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar.

The top three:

One Bar, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote - 46.8%
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club - 26.5%
Boatyard Bar & Grill, Annapolis, Maryland - 14.5%

Voting closes at 2359 GMT December 27 with the winners to be announced on New Years Day.

This year's winner will join a list of wonderful watering holes:

2009: Peter Cafe Sport in the Azores
2010: The Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI
2011: IYAC in Newport, Rhode Island USA
2012: Sint Maarten Yacht Club

Last chance for you to vote:
scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html

The Foiling Week
In what could be the coolest event of 2014, Foiling Week is to take place on Lake Garda in early July 2014.

According to the organisers, Foiling Week will be a grand gathering of foiling boats, their designers, builders and sailors.

As a prelude to event, there is the International Moth Eurocup and Italian Moth Championship over 4-6 July, being held out of Circolo Vela Torbole at the north end of the lake.

This will be followed over 7-9 July in the middle of the lake (where there is typically less wind) by a 'Forum', including course racing, speed trials, ideas exchange and new boats being unveiled, from foil-born kiteboards to bigger catamarans such as the soon-to-be-foiling GC32. The event will conclude with foiling catamaran racing over 10-12 July.

Among the craft likely to be taking part are the Moths, the new Foiling Phantom F18, the latest foil-born C-Class catmarans (like Groupama C and the Swiss Hydros Lombard Odier boats), the GC32s. It is sadly unlikely that an AC72 will make it...but maybe a foil-born AC45? -- James Boyd, The Daily Sail www.thedailysail.com

Event site: www.foilingweek.com

Bernard Stamm Rescue: 'I Swam For My Life'
Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm says his IMOCA 60 race yacht broke in half and sank after being hit by a wave in the height of 'Storm Dirk'. He has been speaking about his miraculous rescue earlier today, which saw him and his co-skipper Damien Guillou swimming for their lives in huge seas some 170 miles south-west of the Scilly Isles.

The pair repeatedly had to enter the water in darkness during several attempts to airlift them and later to transfer to a 198m cargo ship. Miraculously, the pair managed to swim to the cargo ship in the nick of time as their broken up boat disappeared into the water behind them.

Speaking from the ship, Stamm explained the circumstances:

"We were a little ahead of the front, downwind. There was a steady 43-45 knots [of wind], but it was manageable. We were prepared for this gale. We were under storm jib, with four reefs in the mainsail. Clearly, we really had the handbrake on, but in a wave the boat broke in two just behind the daggerboards.

"The mast did not fall immediately. We quickly closed all boat bulkheads and the rig fell over the stern. Very quickly we asked for help and organised our survival plan.

"We were prepared to leave the boat. The sea was huge, so we tried to assess the risk of damage to Cheminées Poujoulat. Damien and I tried to cut away the 60ft mast, but we did not succeed. It was really too dangerous. However, we managed to hold it a little below the water and stop it battering so badly against the hull. Afterwards we went inside and got all our survival gear together. We were not sure how long the boat would stay afloat."

More of his interview in Elaine Bunting's blog: www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/elaine-bunting/

Seahorse February 2014
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

World news
Gabart and Desjoyeaux meet their match, blisteringly close Class40 racing, Pedote drops the ball at the end, Karl Kwok’s latest speed machine, Slingsby and friends off to Hobart, bumper Key West line-up. Dobbs Davis, Blue Robinson, Carlos Pic

Rod Davis
Good times among New Zealand’s dinghy fleets

Design - Diligent and dominant
Maurizio Cossutti describes the evolution behind his all-conquering ORC racers

Seahorse build table - Pocket rocket
Jim Donovan’s GP26 flyer is in production

Sailor of the Month
Two genuine giants go head to head

Special rates for Scuttlebutt Europe subscribers:
Seahorse Print or Digital Subscription Use Discount Promo Code SB2

1yr Print Sub for UK residents: €77 - £48 - $71 / Rest of the World: £65 www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs/

1yr Digital Sub for £30: www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/digital

Discounts shown are valid on a one year subscription to Seahorse magazine

2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship NOR
The Notice of Race for the 2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship set to be held in Helsinki, Finland from 23-27 July 2014 has been released.

Organised by the Nylandska Jaktklubben in conjunction with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the ISAF Grade W event will welcome 16 skippers racing J/80 boats.

In its inaugural year the 2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship is open competitors under 23 years old on 31 December 2014.

ISAF Member National Authorities may apply for an invitation for a skipper of their nationality by sending a completed entry form to ISAF no later than 30 April 2014. ISAF will inform MNAs and skippers if they will be issued with an invitation.

www.sailing.org/36865.php for the NOR

"Homeward - The Jolie Brise" By Martyn Mackrill Signed Prints
Click on image to enlarge.

RORC 2014 homeward Jolie BriseMartyn Mackrill, a renowned marine artists based on the Isle of Wight, has painted the "Homeward - The Jolie Brise" exclusively for the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

This original painting was sold for £9000 at the Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner & Prize Giving auction which raised £35000 for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

To continue this good support the owner is offering you the chance to purchase a quality print of this spectacular painting signed by the artist.

Signed prints (14" x 18") are available at £100 each, plus postage and packing, with proceeds going to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

To place your order please complete and return the order form to or call 01983 856 333.

There are a limited number available so take advantage this is a fantastic opportunity to own a copy of this beautiful and unique painting which was only completed in November 2013.

www.rorc.org

ISAF Offshore Special Regulations 2014-15 Published
The 2014-15 ISAF Offshore Special Regulations have been published on the ISAF website with an amendment sheet outlining changes in the new edition.

A number of changes made at the ISAF Annual Conference affect the new 2014-15 edition of the regulations. Unless otherwise specified the amendments are effective on 1 January 2014. It should be noted that national prescriptions may take priority over the ISAF text and you should check with your relevant authority.

An amendment sheet containing all the changes can be viewed here (PDF): www.sailing.org

The complete 2014-2015 ISAF Offshore Special Regulations can be downloaded from www.sailing.org/specialregs

New Classic Boat Regatta
The British Classic Yacht Club, in conjunction with The Royal Dart YC, is preparing a new classic boat Regatta on the weekend of the 21st of June 2014, the summer solstice. That is 3 weeks before the Panerai Cowes Regatta.

The programme will be: arrive on friday, 2 races on saturday, followed by a buffet supper at the RDYC (dancing round the Nine Maidens on Dartmoor at midnight optional); a race along the coast on sunday morning, prize-giving on sunday afternoon, and leave on sunday night or monday morning. The Notice of Race and Sailing Rules will be published when we have enough boats expressing interest to be sure of a good turnout (ten or more).

It will not be expensive: berthing for 2 or 3 nights at Darthaven Marina at £2.50 per metre per night, plus the cost of the Committee Boat and Race Officer, and the buffet supper.

It will be open to non-BCYC classics as well as our members. So if you would like to come, could you please email or write to:

Brian Gascoigne
25 Parliament Hill
London NW3 2TA

With the name of your boat, its type and length, and I will put you on the list for when Applications are invited, early in the New Year.

www.britishclassicyachtclub.org/news.htm

Winging It: How Larry Ellison Harnessed Big Data
The design and tactical battles that led to the most exciting America's Cup in history are laid out in meticulous detail in "Winging It: Oracle Team USA's Incredible Comeback to Defend The America's Cup." Written by three veteran sailing journalists, "Winging It" provides an insider's look at the professional sailing business and the America's Cup, from how the 72-foot cats became the boat of choice - one early requirement: They had to be able to be disassembled and transported in standard shipping containers - to the design modifications Oracle made in the later stages of the series to bounce back from an 8:1 deficit and retain the Cup (not much besides some minor tinkering with the rudder)...

...Oracle's victory ultimately was a victory of big data. Each of its two boats had 300 sensors recording 3,000 variables up to 10 times per second, pumping 30,000 variables per second into an Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Sailors were outfitted with bombproof electronic tablets, wrist displays and Skipper Jimmy Spithill had a heads-up display linked into the on-board wi-fi system to constantly monitor performance and loads on the boat's components. Comparing boat against boat during training sessions, both the Oracle and Kiwi teams were able to calculate optimal performance in any conditions. All that data gave sailors a second-by-second picture of how well they were doing relative to how well they knew the boat could perform during races.

The authors reject rumors,rampant on the Internet after Oracle's surprising victory, that the Americans had resorted to illegal electronic controls and other tricks to hold on to the Cup. Design changes were all recorded: 11 for New Zealand during the final series and 17 for Oracle. The authors conclude that most of Oracle's "technical modifications were made early, but that a lot of the gains resulted from continual improvements in crew work and techniques through to the end of the regatta. -- Daniel Fisher, Forbes magazine

www.forbes.com

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2009 Royal Huisman J-Class. US$22,000,000.

HANUMAN is the modern recreation of Tommy Sopwith's beautiful 41.3m/135.5' "Super-J" class yacht, Endeavour II, from the renowned Royal Huisman shipyard.

Winner of the World Superyacht Awards 2010 as "SAILING YACHT OF THE YEAR" and joint winner as "BEST SAILING YACHT 30M-44M", HANUMAN is the excellent combination of beauty and extremely high quality of construction.

Naval architects Gerard Dijkstra & Partners have overseen the build of the HANUMAN's hull in Alustar, with spars and rig in carbon composite to create a yacht that demonstrates the full potential of Charles E Nicholson's original design. To further this ambition, Royal Huisman has worked with the naval architects, the independent Carew Group, master sailmakers North Sails and spar makers Rondal to create the optimum mast and sail configuration as, in effect, a single wing unit.

For additional information, please contact

Complete listing details and seller contact information at www.boats.com

The Last Word
The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion. -- Richard P. Feynman

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