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


Sir Robin Knox-Johnston Finishes Solo Transatlantic Race At Age Of 75
Veteran sailor and grandfather-of-five Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has crossed the finish line of a solo transatlantic race at the age of 75 - 45 years after he became the first man to sail alone non-stop around the world.

The pensioner was the oldest participant in the 3,542-mile race from St Malo, France, to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean and said he was "ecstatic" to finish third in his class.

Sir Robin, who founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, entered the Route du Rhum competition in his Open 60 yacht Grey Power.

He crossed the finish line on Saturday after 20 days, seven hours, 52 minutes and 22 seconds at sea.

This was faster than when he last sailed in the race 32 years ago, finishing in 14th place in a time of 20 days, 20 hours, 20 minutes.

Speaking after the race, Sir Robin said: "I am absolutely over the moon, ecstatic to get third. "I didn't expect to get third when I started the race.

"I was up against some damn good competition with lighter, more modern boats than mine that are easier to manage. My boat is a hard boat to work.

"The top International solo sailors were racing and it was tough. If you come in third you feel you have not done badly.

"I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was quite fantastic. There were three of us battling for the second and third spot. I got competitive and that was tiring. It came down to boat speed."

Sir Robin finished three days, 46 minutes and 19 seconds behind the Rhum Class winner Anne Caseneuve on her Multi 50 Trimaran Aneo, with Italian Andrea Mura coming in second.

He said: "I was beaten by two very good people. I congratulate Anne and Andrea.

"And thank you very much everyone for your support. It's been fantastic. It has helped me push on harder than I might otherwise have done. I have had a wonderful reception in Guadeloupe too and look forward to spending a few days here after a good shower and rest.

"If I said in Saint Malo I felt 48, then perhaps tonight I feel 50 - but no more." -- Nicola FIfield in The Telegraph

Nika Wins in Oman and Team Aqua Clinch Their Fourth RC44 Tour Title
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 The 2014 RC44 Championship Tour has seen the 13-strong fleet compete in five events across three continents, with the finale played out this week on the Gulf of Oman. With no team able to discard the last event of the season, the podium positions were by no means secure as last day of racing got underway at the RC44 Oman Cup, in a sedate seven-knot breeze.

Going into the final day Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika, with tactician Terry Hutchinson calling the shots, sat at the top of the leader board having shown an unmatched level of consistency throughout the four days of fleet racing in Muscat.

Team Aqua successfully defended their RC44 Championship title for another year, the fourth time the team have lifted the trophy since joining the class in 2007.

John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum had struggled for consistency during the first two days in Oman, but found their form for the final half of the regatta to finish sixth, enough to be runners up for the 2014 Championship Tour.

The 2015 RC44 Championship Tour will start in Valletta, Malta, before making its debut in Porto Cervo, then heading back to a couple of the classes old favourites; Marstrand, Sweden and Cascais, Portugal. The finale for the year will see the class back in the Caribbean for some winter sun at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda.

RC44 Oman Cup Overall Ranking (after 12 races)

1. Team Nika, 39 points
2. Team Aqua, 54
3. Charisma, 55
4. Artemis Racing, 55
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 64
6.Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 66
7. Katusha, 69
8. Bronenosec Sailing Team, 77
9. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, 87
10. Aleph Racing, 94

2014 RC44 Championship Tour Overall Fleet Race Ranking (After five events with one discard)

1. Team Aqua, 8 points
2. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 13
3. Bronenosec Sailing Team, 17
4. Charisma, 17
5. Team Nika, 18
6. Artemis Racing, 20
7. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 21
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, 30
9. Katusha, 31
10. Bombarda Racing, 33
11. Aleph Racing, 37
12. Artemis Racing Youth, 46
13. MAG Racing, 46

World Yacht Racing Forum & Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium
World Yacht Racing Forum The World Yacht Racing Forum & Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium has been a key event for leading figures in the yacht racing industry for the last 7 years. It provides fascinating discussions and learnings on the latest developments for the business of the sport, best practice examples on growing business in yacht racing and excellent networking opportunities for companies within this exciting sector.

The 7th World Yacht Racing Forum and Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium takes place on the 10-11 December at the Hesperia Tower Hotel in Barcelona, Spain.

Attend the WYRF and YRDTS to:

- Expand your network of contacts within the yacht racing industry
- At the WYRF meet with event organisers, sailing teams, pro sailors and class associations
- At YRDTS meet with yacht designers, boat builders, engineers and suppliers
- Discover the latest strategies to grow the base and business of yacht racing
- Learn from leaders in the industry about best practice for event management, sponsor acquisition and marketing.


ScuttleButt readers get a special 10% discount on the total delegate price; email us today with your discount code AY2038SB10.

For information on partnership opportunities please contact Informa Sports Group on +971 4407 2442 or

Spithill Will Miss The Sydney To Hobart Due To Surgery
An elbow injury he kept secret as he orchestrated last year's America's Cup victory has ended James Spithill's quest to compete in the 70th Sydney to Hobart.

Australia's only two-time America's Cup-winning skipper was offered a ride south in the famous ocean classic by the first man who gave him a Cup sailing job - Syd Fischer on Ragamuffin.

But unable to put off surgery to his arm any longer, Spithill will watch from the shore when veteran skipper Fischer and his team on the 100-footer Ragamuffin set sail on Boxing Day.

Fischer is a five-time America's Cup campaigner who plucked Spithill from obscurity as a teenager to skipper his Young Australia campaign.

Fischer's rebuilt Ragamuffin is one of five 100-footers in this year's race to Hobart and one of the favourites to claim the coveted line honours in the 628 nautical mile race south.

Spithill's elbow injury means he will miss another regatta - the World Moth Championships in Victoria in the New Year.

"I laugh when people talk about the fingertip control during the America's Cup,'' said Spithill, who this year became only the third Australian to be anointed World Sailor of the Year.

"I tore tendons in my elbow before the America's Cup but we kept it quiet. During the regatta I had cortisone shots.'' -- Amanda Lulham

GC32 Racing Tour 2015 - Dates And Venues
For 2015, its third season of racing, the GC32 foiling catamarans are to compete around Europe on a five event circuit known as the GC32 Racing Tour.

Representing the state-of-the-art in catamaran design, the GC32 is attracting considerable interest due to its conceptual similarity to the AC72 and AC62 foiling catamarans pioneered in the America's Cup. However as the GC32s are smaller one designs with soft sail rigs, they provide both professional teams and private owners with the opportunity to experience airborne catamaran racing and all the excitement of the larger AC catamarans, but on a much more modest budget and on boats that are far easier to handle while still having the potential to achieve top speeds approaching 40 knots. 

The 2015 GC32 Racing Tour schedule: 

27-31 May: Austria Cup - Lake Traunsee, Austria
24-27 June: Cowes Cup - Cowes, UK
30 July-2 Aug: TBA - Germany
27-30 August: Trofeo di Roma - Rome Fiumicino, Italy
10-13 September: Marseille One Design - Marseille, France.

Small Underwater Town Found Off Delos In The Aegean
Remains of an ancient town were discovered on the bottom of the Aegean Sea off the island of Delos, according to a Ministry of Culture announcement.

The ruins of an ancient pottery workshop prompted archaeologists to say that this was in fact an ancient settlement. The findings lay at a depth of only two meters on the northeastern coast of Delos, near the popular island of Mykonos. According to Greek mythology, the god Apollo and goddess Artemis were born on Delos, making it a sacred island. Hence the famous Temple of Apollo on the island.

Archaeologists found 16 terracotta pots and remains of a kiln embedded in the sea floor, similar to workshops found in Pompeii and Herculaneum, according to the ministry. The large stones in front of the workshop probably mean that they belong to the settlement's waterfront.

Other lined stones suggest walls of structures, reinforcing the theory that this was indeed a settlement. In the past, archeologists believed that the ruins were port facilities.

Eileen Ramsay - The Queen Of Yachting Photography
Eileen Ramsay - The Queen Of Yachting Photography Eileen Ramsay was at the centre of a unique period in yachting history, and this wonderful book, featuring her classic photography, celebrates an extraordinary woman and her extraordinary subjects. Eileen's heyday was between 1950 and 1970 - a time when eccentrics ruled, records were there for the setting, and women weren't often to be found behind the lens.

But Eileen established herself as one of the greatest yachting photographers of her time, taking famous portraits of sailing icons like Francis Chichester and Eric Tabarly, Olympians, including Rodney Pattisson and Keith Musto, and historic pictures from the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic (OSTAR) Races.

Her unique archive records the explosive growth in dinghy and offshore sailing during post-war years, and includes pictures of the first Enterprises, Mirrors, Ospreys, Optimists and the first America's Cup 12 metres Sceptre and Evaine.

Eileen, now into her 90s can remember just about every photograph she has taken and relate an anecdote or story about each one. Many of these memories are also recorded in the book.

Eileen Ramsay - the Queen of Yachting Photography, is a spectacular celebration of a pioneering photographer and a fascinating time in yachting history.

160 pages, 123 classic pictures. £25 + postage & packing

18ft Skiffs Club Championship, Race 3: Cordukes Clubhouse Trophy
Click on image for photo gallery.

Skiffs Sydney Harbour: The champion Gotta Love It 7 skiff continued her domination of the Australian 18 Footer League's 2014-2015 Season with another brilliant victory in Race 3 of the Club Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

Usual skipper Seve Jarvin and for'ard hand Sam Newton were joined in the team by James Wierzbowski for today's race and led from shortly after the to defeat defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O'Connor, Dave Ewings) by 38s.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) was a further 21s back in third place.

Gotta Love It 7 leads the progress pointscore on three points, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 7, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 17, (Keagan York) 18, Yandoo (John Winning) and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) each on 21 points.

The rig selection prior to the race created much interest as Gotta Love It 7, Mojo Wine (Brett Van Munster) and Pure Blonde (Nick Daly) elected to go with smaller #2 rigs while the rest of the top liners went big in the 12-15k North East wind.

Next Sunday is a 3-Buoys race for the W.C. 'Trappy' Duncan Memorial Trophy with the club's usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.

Race 4 of the Club Championship will be sailed on Sunday 7 December. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Burling and Tuke Named For New Zealand Sailing's Top Honour For 2014
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have taken New Zealand's top honour in sailing for two years running after being named as 2014 House of Travel Sailor of the Year at tonight's Awards ceremony in Auckland.

The Volvo Young Sailor of the Year, recognising outstanding achievement for sailors under the age of 21, also went to a pair of skiff sailors; Markus Somerville and Isaac McHardie, from Wakatere Boating Club have taken the honour following their 2014 results in the 29er skiff class.

A special highlight this-evening was the unveiling of a stunning new trophy for the Aon Emerging Talent category, awarded in 2014 to Kate Stewart, also from the Wakatere Boating Club. Kate won the prestigious and long-standing P-Class Tauranga Cup becoming only the second ever female to do so after Leslie Egnot 35 won it years ago.  

In other announcements made tonight Comworth Coach of the Year went to Jim Maloney from Auckland, and Isotak Official of the Year was awarded to John Grace from Wellington. 

Peter Burling (23 years old) and Blair Tuke (25 years old) have had another incredible twelve months going unbeaten at all major Olympic 49er regattas world-wide and notching up notable accomplishments in the Extreme 40, A-Class catamaran and offshore keelboat racing.

Letters To The Editor -
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* From Philip Crebbin: In relation to the discussion about on-the-water umpiring, further to Malcolm McKeag's letter, it has reminded me that in 1985 I was unable to be a competitor in the Royal Lymington Cup because I was involved in a bad car crash not long before the event. (Fortunately I only suffered a broken sternum from the force of the seat belt on my chest and I did not have to stay in hospital, but I was not considered to be fully 100% by the time of the RL Cup and I was advised against competing.) 

I had competed in the event since 1976, as well as in the Louis Vuitton Cup and the Congressional Cup, and I was also on the Royal Yachting Association Racing Rules committee (the UK appeals body).  So closer to the event, RLYC then asked me if I was in good enough shape to participate as one of the on-the-water observers, which I made a late decision to do as fortunately it was smooth conditions.  It was certainly very interesting for me to do this when I was normally one of the competitors.  The process was still quite new and it certainly contributed a lot to reducing the time protests took with impartial evidence from knowledgeable observers who were specifically there to watch each race closely and were therefore usually in exactly the right place to provide the most relevant evidence for an incident. I think many protest hearings were also avoided when it became known that the observer's evidence would support the protest result that meant the race result would not be changed.  And for sure, it was more certain that the correct protest decision would be reached through having quality third-party evidence that was previously unavailable.

All credit to the Congressional Cup for taking this to the next level in 1988 and starting the system of having on-the-water umpires with full, immediate decision-making powers. This was obviously a major innovation that has stood the test of time, and of course they are to be congratulated. But personally I do not think it is appropriate to turn it into an all-or-nothing battle "won" by the Congressional Cup, a great new introduction that nobody else contributed to. From personal experience I believe that what the Lymington Cup did with the on-the-water rules observers in RIBs, separately allocated to each race in a highly competitive match racing event, contributed a lot to the eventual move to full-powered, on-the-water umpires who made immediate rules decisions.  In fact, I feel sure that the Congressional Cup team involved in 1988 would have looked closely at the processes and experiences of the Lymington Cup.

Big changes in life generally happen in a step-by-step development process, and I think that is what happened in this case.  So I think the Royal Lymington YC deserve an important part of the credit for their contribution to this major change in how yacht racing is run, or certainly match racing at least.

* From Robert Wilkes: Kirk Brown is probably correct in stating that that immediate penalties on the water date from 1988.

According to the 'The Optimist Dinghy 1947-2007' the IYRU held a judges symposium in 1987 and minuted: "Refereeing (giving decisions during racing) match and team racing  is an important development within the sport" and it "hopes organising authorities ... experiment during 1988." In November 1987 the FFV organised a 'Coupe de France' for team racing in several Classes including the Optimist using what they termed "direct judging on request" (arbitrage direct solicite). Under the influence of Michel Barbier this was adopted by the Optimists the following year.

Previously late night sittings had not been the worst. At the 1985 Optimist Worlds in Helsinki an entire day had been lost hearing the protests arising from the 16-nation team-racing event. What I have not been able to establish is what judging system had previously been used by the ICSA, the Wilson Trophy etc. (Wikipedia states that "On-the-water umpiring for team racing was pioneered by West Kirby at the 1986 Wilson Trophy.")

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The Last Word
It's a pity that nobody has found an exploding black hole. If they had, I would have won a Nobel prize. -- Stephen Hawking

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