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


Martinez Bounces Back
MAPFRE, the Spanish boat which finished last of the fleet in Leg 1, has bounced back in style to challenge for the lead in the next stage between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi.

Skipper Iker Martinez (ESP) acted decisively after MAPFRE's disappointing result on November 7 and introduced experienced watch leader, Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), and new navigator, Jean-Luc Nelias (FRA), to the eight-man crew.

It was a tough call as Martinez was forced to drop the twice-Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux as a result, but so far, the changes have worked like a charm.

By just before 1000 GMT on Tuesday, MAPFRE were just under two nautical miles (nm) (see panel) off the pace set by Leg 1 winners Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, but in a better position to sail directly to the finish than Ian Walker's (GBR) crew.

Nobody in the seven-strong fleet is more determined to excel in this 5,200nm stage than Martinez, 37, who won the first three legs of the last edition in 2011-12 as skipper of Telefonica before their challenge faded for an eventual fourth place finish.

The strategy of MAPFRE has been simple: stay in the middle of the fleet as much as possible and make sure they don't miss any breakaway moves from their rivals.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, meanwhile, have found themselves well to the west of the fleet almost by accident, when only a position report from Race Control informed them that the other six boats had tacked to the east while they ploughed on in the opposite direction.

Portsmouth To Host Two Years Of America's Cup World Series Racing
Sir Keith Mills GBE has announced that America's Cup Racing is to return to British waters when the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in Portsmouth 23-26 July 2015 and 21-24 July 2016.

Sir Keith has been central to the delivery of some of the UK's greatest sporting events, most recently as Deputy Chairman of London 2012 and Chairman of 'Invictus Games'. The ACWS Portsmouth will be managed by TEAMORIGIN Events, a company set up by Sir Keith Mills in 2007.

Speaking during this morning's launch event at London's OXO Tower, Sir Keith said: "I'm passionate about bringing world-class sporting events to Great Britain, and delighted that America's Cup World Series racing will be coming to Portsmouth. This will not just be a spectacular sporting event, it will also showcase Portsmouth, the South Coast and Great Britain on a global stage, delivering economic benefit to the City and the sponsors involved. The series will attract huge crowds to watch the exhilarating racing and we plan to give the event a festival feel bringing activities and entertainment for all.

"Our plans are for more than two action packed long week-ends. We are also putting together a three year activation programme running right up until the end of the 35th America's Cup in 2017. We look forward to delivering a world class sporting event for Great Britain."

Dubarry Ultima - Quality Always Lasts
Dubarry Ultima It's amazing to think how sailing has changed since Dubarry started making boots in 1937. The first marina arrived in the 1930s but there were no plastic boats to park in it before the 1940s. There was no yacht radar before the 1950s, nor marine diesel engines before the 1960s, also when polyester sailcloth ousted linen and cotton. The 1970s brought instrumentation and the 1980s saw Decca come and go as GPS stole the show. Oiled canvas gave way to PVC, which yielded to GORE-TEX®. Much indeed has changed, yet one thing has stayed the same: nothing signifies a confident, experienced, discerning yachtie like a pair of Dubarry boots.

Developed as a more luxurious, classical and traditional interpretation of the legendary Shamrock, on which the company's reputation was built, the Ultima is Dubarry's flagship boot. Its sole delivers award-winning, sure-footed grip. Its GORE-TEX® liner is waterproof and breathable to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its Dry-Fast-Dry-Soft water-resistant leather weathers with grace and distinction, recording every nautical mile of your experience in the gentle, tanned folds of its sumptuous hide. It's clearer than ever that, though times may change, quality always lasts.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

Australian Farr 40 Renaissance
There's a distinctive swagger amid the Australian Farr 40 class. Four top ten finishes at the recent international title, a new batch of super keen owners for the 2014-15 season and preparations underway to host the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in 2016 have injected vim and vigour into the enduring one design fleet.

Numbers are not only holding in Australia, they have swollen this season with the addition of Bob Bennett and Enigma (RPAYC), Carl Russett and Windy Too (RPAYC), Rob Pitts and Double Black (SYC, previously Bribie Star) and Rod Jones and Kindergarten (MHYC/MYC, previously Sputnik). Gordon Ketelbey dabbled with the Farr 40s in the closing stages of last season and committed to the upcoming series with his purchase of one of Guido Belgiorno-Nettis' former Transfusions, now called Zen.

Class debutant Rodney Jones says, 'Coming into the class the thing I picked up on more than anything is how excited they are to have new blood. The class has gone out of their way to open doors, to find us berthing and technical support. That was one of the strongest reasons for buying in.'

Jones has been absent from the one design arena since dipping out of what was formerly the SB3 class, now the SB20's. He says he would have entertained buying a Farr 40 without the next world title heading to Sydney, but the announcement definitely sealed the decision. In fact he's opted to go straight into the professional category for his first season. All Farr 40 crews have the option to race in the professional or Corinthian division, with a different set of rules governing each.

In the New Year three Farr 40 state titles in two months will rotate through Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, all with the support of the class' major sponsor for the third year, Aberdeen Asset Management. The John Calvert-Jones Trophy National Championship scheduled for March 25-28, 2015 out of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on Sydney Harbour caps off the season. -- Lisa Ratcliff

RORC Transatlantic Race: Special Delivery
The inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA), starts on Saturday 29th November from Lanzarote bound for Grenada, 2,995 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean. All of the competing yachts are now safely moored in Puerto Calero Marina.

Derek Hatfield's Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure, left Lunenberg, Novia Scotia, Canada on 9th November with eight crew on board for the 2,800 nautical mile delivery across the Atlantic to Lanzarote, which took 14 days.

Sensation Class40 was delivered to Lanzarote with a crew skippered by Marc Lepesqueux who has completed the Route du Rhum on two occasions with the Pierre Rolland designed Class40. Sensation left Diélette near Cherbourg, France on the 15th November with a crew of six for the 1,500 nautical mile delivery to Lanzarote.

Oakcliff Racing, the other Class40 skippered by Dan Flanigan, left Southampton, England on the 7th November with a crew of five for the 1,500 nautical mile delivery to Lanzarote. The team from the Oakcliff Sailing Academy are all under 27 years old and making their first Atlantic crossing.

Dimitri Tsallis, Boat Captain on Swan 68, Yacana, left Piraeus, Greece on 1st November for the 2,100 nautical mile delivery to Lanzarote with a crew of five.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, Will Sail The Atlantic Again - In 2018
Celebrated British sailor and adventurer Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has spoken of his pride after finishing third in a solo transatlantic race at the age of 75 - and he has vowed to do it all again in 2018.

Sir Robin, who for many years lived at Torbryan, near Ipplepen, achieved legendary status in the boating world back in 1969 when he became the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the globe.

The race's oldest competitor said he was happy to finish the 3,542 mile French race after the 'intense' contest for the final podium place.

Sir Robin also said he will be back for the next race in 2018 with a smaller boat. -- Paul Greaves

Inspirational Speaker: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston Available for conferences, corporate events and after-dinner speaking

Fresh from finishing the 3,500 mile Route du Rhum singlehanded transatlantic race, the ever-young Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (75) is ready to inspire others to exceed their expectations.

A likeable maverick and consummate seaman, Knox-Johnston has continued setting records ever since, becoming an example to thousands of young men and women to have followed in his wake.

In 1977/8 he skippered the British maxi Heath's Condor to line honours in two legs of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

1994 saw him co-skipper the giant catamaran ENZA New Zealand with the late Peter Blake to take the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation around the world - a feat that finally won him his knighthood.

In 2006/7 and at the age of 68, he set out on yet another solo circumnavigation and finished a highly credited 4th in the Velux 5 Oceans race. Uniquely, Knox-Johnston has been voted UK Yachtsman of the Year three times, was named ISAF sailor of the Year in 1994, and in 2007 was one of the first inductees into the ISAF Hall of Fame.

As Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc, Sir Robin now inspires others to race around the world in a fleet of identical yachts.

Sir Robin is available for conferences, corporate events and after-dinner speaking

To book or contact PPL LTD on +44 (0)1243 555561 or email:

Foundation Louis Vuitton, Bois De Boulogne, Paris, France
Photo by Christophe Launay. Click on image for photo gallery.

Louis Vuitton Frank Gehry has designed a building that, through its strength and singularity, represents the first artistic step on the part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

This large vessel covered in twelve glass sails, set on a water garden created for the occasion, blends into the natural environment, amidst the wood and the garden, playing with light and mirror effects.

Online gallery from Christophe Launay with 70 images:

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Historical Photographic Exhibition
To help celebrate the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race the Australian National Maritime Museum has honoured the CYCA by creating an intimate photographic exhibition in their Tasman Light Gallery.

In collaboration with Ian Mainsbridge, Richard Bennett, Daniel Forster, Carlo Borlenghi and design houses Reichel Pugh and Farr Yacht Design, the exhibition highlights some magnificent images captured over the 69 year history of the race and demonstrates the advances in yacht design from sketch drawings of Kathleen Gillett to CAD drawings of 100 foot maxi yachts. One of the toughest ocean races in the world, this international sporting event began in 1945 when a cruise to Hobart became a race amongst friends from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

David Payne, Curator, at the Australian National Maritime Museum has created an excellent online digital story which compliments the exhibition on display in the Tasman Light Gallery.

To view the digital story:

The Exhibition commences November 2014 and runs until March 2015 and is open to the general public.

A Race Within A Race
The Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race has stood the test of time. Australians share its rites of passage between Christmas and New Year.

Since 1945 starters in the Sydney-Hobart have raced the equivalent of two circumnavigations of the world, almost 45,000 nautical miles. They have been drawn from the seven seas; they come from all corners of the world; they board boats that range from 100-feet supermaxis to boats littler larger than the Owl and the Pussycat's.

The Corinthians are a welcome addition to the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet, a direct reflection to how this epic annual adventure started and how it has evolved into the reality drama that absorbs us all each summer.

To finish the Hobart race is to win; for many, it is something they just had to do and they are quite happy never to do it again.

This is a 628-nautical mile race in which all skippers appreciate that the buck stops with them. They call the shots and live with the consequences of their decisions: to sail or to wait; to shorten sail or trust that the wind is about to abate and leave all the cloth up; to continue racing or to heave to; to take on the slings and arrows of Bass Strait or run for shelter.

After nature's violence in the 1998 race in which six yachtsmen died, the organising clubs, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT) , have insisted that, on the northern approach to the strait, all skippers radio in their assessment that boat and crew are fit to continue. It can be a big call.

The 36 yachts in the Corinthian fleet will compete for the York Family Corinthian Trophy, given by stalwart CYCA members Michael and Jeannette York. One of those competitors is Danielle Ovenden and her 28 year-old yacht, Let's Go, from the Central Coast. She contested her first Hobart in 1994 when she was 20.

"I'm back to celebrate my 40th - it's a birthday present to myself," Ovenden said of what will be her fourth Hobart, her last was in the tragic 1998 race, which she sailed on the maxi yacht Fudge, which was among the finishers. -- Bruce Montgomery

For The Record
The WSSRC announces the ratification of a number of National records, the details of which can be found on the WSSR web site All these records were claimed at Luderitz, NAM during October 2014.

Outright and Windsurfing National Speed Records for AUT, CZE, FIJ, ITA, RUS, SRB and SUI.

Windsurfing National Record for GER

Kitesurfing National Record for SWE

John Reed
Secretary to the WSSR Council

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 John Burnie: I read the odd statistic in Seahorse that only 5 New Zealand sailors are actually sailing in the current Volvo RTW Race. This is surely proves my point in an earlier submission to you (in reply to Adrain Morgan's eulogy of all things Kiwi). You really need to be able to smile and have some good jokes to tell on the rail if you are going to fit in on a boat that boat makes long ocean passages.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only METOLIUS - 25.5m Royal Huisman. 1,400,000 Euros. Located in Palma de Mallorca.

METOLIUS has been meticulously maintained by her full-time crew, and with exceptional Royal Huisman build quality she is offered for sale in pristine condition.

Her layout has been designed for safe, long-distance sailing in luxury and comfort, ideal for families and with emphasis on a spacious full-beam salon. A proven world cruiser, METOLIUS has visited high latitude locations such as Alaska, Antartica and Maine. She is also equipped for exhilarating performance under sail, with a history of strong performances at several Superyacht Cups and Bucket regattas.


Y.CO Palma +34622795119

See the collection at

The Last Word
Astronomy taught us our insignificance in Nature. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

Search the Archives

Phoca Gallery Search
Search - Categories
Search - Contacts
Search - Content
Search - News Feeds
Search - Web Links

Our Partners

Seahorse Magazine

Wight Vodka


Ocean Safety

Yacht Club Monaco

St Thomas YC

Grenada Sailing Week

Antigua Sailing Week