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

Star Sailors League
Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget, Click on image for photo gallery.

Star Sailors League Nassau, Bahamas: The first of the day's races was held in 15-18 knot breezes from just north of east and the start was keenly contested, particularly at the pin end, where several appeared to be fractionally ahead of the gun, but there was no recall. Those who continued on starboard tack came off best.

Top mark saw Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih from the Tampa fleet lead from the German duo of Johannes Polgar and the biggest crew here Markus Koy, ahead of Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi from Italy. The Americans, extended their lead to win by 35 seconds from the Germans after a four legged race of 1.2 mile legs. It was impressive

Mendelblatt continued to impress by scoring a second win in the next race. He was on fire, taking the lead on the first downwind leg and tenaciously fending off the opposition. Much of that came from second placed Frenchmen, Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, and the tyro Star team of Finn sailors from Croatia, ivan Gaspic and Ante Sitic. Is way to the front was firmly

It looked as though it was to be a Mendelblatt whitewash as he showed early on the first beat of the third race, a five-legged affair with 0.8 mile legs, but hIs way to the front was firmly resisted by the Germans Polgar and Hoy.

Nevertheless Mendelblatt and Fatih lead the overall standing with eight points, ten clear of reigning champions Scheidt and Prada of Brazil and a further three over the Germans, Polgar and Koy.

There are a possible four races tomorrow when the top ten will be selected for the quarter and other finals on Saturday. British Star tyros, Giles Scott and Steve Milne are currently ninth. -- Bob Fisher

Provisional ranking after six races with one discard:

1. Mendelblatt/Fatih, USA, 8 points
2. Scheidt/Prada, BRA, 18
3. Polgar/Koy, GER, 21
4. Loof/Ekstrom, SWE, 22
5. Rohart/Ponsot, FRA, 29
6. Negri/Lambertenghi, ITA, 29
7. Kusznierewicz/Zycki, POL, 36
8. Zarif/Boening, BRA, 37
9. Scott/Milne, ENG, 39
10. Gaspic/Sitic, CRO, 46

RORC Transatlantic Race
After five days and four nights at sea, the front runners in the RORC Transatlantic Race are approaching halfway. The rest of the fleet are behind them, some as much as 500 miles, but the vast Atlantic Ocean is their only vista, save glimpses of wildlife including flying squid.

Weather models are producing a fascinating conundrum ahead with three options available. North, an area of low pressure is developing. It may be too far away to affect the fleet, but if the forecast path is further south, then the advantage gained by a northerly position would be significant. To the south, an area of stable high pressure is developing from the east. This is the typical trade wind, emanating from Africa, and a safer bet than the unusual activity to the north. The third option is the rhumb line, undoubtedly the shortest route to Port Louis Marina, Grenada, but possibly not the fastest.

The battle continues at the front of the fleet between Jeremy Pilkington's RP78, Lupa of London, and Russian Southern Wind 94, Windfall, skippered by Fabrizio Oddone. The two Maxis are neck and neck for the lead on the water. Side by side the two powerful yachts are surfing down Atlantic rollers, achieving double digit boat speed day and night, contesting Line Honours for the inaugural race and the honour of being the first yacht to be inscribed on the IMA Trophy.

Two Class40s have taken up the running at the front of the seven-yacht fleet in IRC One, Two and Three. American Oakcliff Racing skippered by Hobie Ponting is 28 miles ahead of Marc Lepesqueux's French Class40 Sensation Class 40. Aref Lahham's Swan 68, Yacana, gybed south yesterday before dusk followed by Nigel Passmore's British J/133, Apollo 7. The two yachts may be trying to hook into the trade winds south of their position. Frank Lang's French X 40, Optim'X, is heading north, gambling on the wind speed accelerating their boat speed. It will be interesting to see how these different approaches pan out.

German Frers - A Passion For Design
German Frers This coffee table biography provides an insight into the lives, designs and passions of one of the most prolific design families - all named German Frers. It is a book to delight all owners of Frers designed yachts, those that have crewed on them, and all students of yacht design.

It charts a family design heritage spanning 3 generations that has been responsible for the launching of more than 10,000 boats from dinghies to day keelboats, distinctive cruisers to successful racers, powerboats and superyachts.

Early chapters chart six generations of family history: How one ship owned by a Frers ancestor, was escorting a pirated Portuguese frigate back across the Atlantic in 1820, took formal possession of what are now known as the Falklands, an act that remains is central to Argentine claims over the Malvinas Islands today; the influence that revolutionary Che Guevara, a first cousin, had on the current generation, and German Frers apprenticeship with the best designers - his Father, and the New York masters Olin and Rod Stephens.

During the 50's and 60's when the design skills of German Frers Snr. were at their zenith, good yacht design was very much down to intuition and experience. This book shows how those traditional skills continue to hold true, but are now mixed with the very precise demands of structural analysis, aerodynamics, computer wizardry and hi-tech engineering.

"Flipping Book" excerpt:

Written by Barry Pickthall
Format: 302 x 234mm. 207 pages
Illustrations: 194 colour pictures + 83 Drawings
Price: £35.00 Sterling + P&P ISBN: 09531044 0 0
Order 4 copies for your crew and get a 5th copy free

Order from: South Atlantic Publishing.

AC35: Cup Arrival A Tribute To Jordy Walker
While Bermuda celebrated its historic America's Cup success, one of the island's finest sailors turned his thoughts to "the guy who made this whole thing possible".

It is possible only a select few of the thousands that descended on Front Street last night would have known the name "Jordy Walker".

But in the eyes of legendary local sailor, Warren Brown, Mr Walker is the reason why the Auld Mug will be handed out in Bermuda in 2017.

"The America's Cup would not be coming to Bermuda had it not been for Jordy Walker," he said.

"At a time when there were no shipwrights in Bermuda and the wooden boats were breaking up Jordy continued to make his yachts up in Dockyard for the Gold Cup teams.

"This meant that all these great sailors from the US kept coming back to Bermuda and learned how to sail here.

"If Jordy Walker had not built those boats and allowed the Gold Cup to continue the America's Cup would never have come here.

"Those great sailors got a taste for Bermuda and got to know the waters through Jordy's boats and through the Gold Cup.

"His work is the catalyst that brought the America's Cup here."

Walker, a former Olympic sailor and ex-Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore, died in December 2010 at the age of 71.

Full story by Simon Jones in the Royal Gazette:

Melges 32 World Championship
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

M32 Worlds Miami, Florida, USA: No report on the event site at press time... but another 2 races sailed on Thursday.

Top ten after four races:

1. Robertissima 1, Pierre Casiraghi, MON, 14.7 points
2. Inga From Sweden III, Richard Goransson, SWE, 20.0
3. ARGO, Jason Carroll, USA, 26.0
4. Delta, Dalton DeVos, USA, 27.0
5. Mamma Aiuto, Naofumi Kamei, JPN, 29.0
6. Volpe, Ryan DeVos, USA, 29.0
7. Torpyone, Edoardo Lupi, ITA, 30.0
8. STIG, Alessandro Rombelli, ITA, 30.0
9. Goombay Smash , William Douglass, USA, 31.0
10. Hedgehog, Alec Cutler, BER, 33.0

Full results:

Morrison Designed National 18 Approved By Class
Click on image to enlarge.

National 18 Lymington, UK: The National 18 Class has adopted the exciting new Phil Morrison designed hull and production has started with twelve hulls already on order for 2015.

A prototype N18 named 'Odyssey' was launched in October 2013 and she has been trialled by upwards of 150 people as she has moved around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The N18 remains the only 3 person centreboard dinghy, and the single trapeze allows a wide range of weight, experience and age to be competitive. She is spacious, and while three is the normal racing crew, two can manage or there is room for the whole family. The N18 Class is thriving and has a long history of competition and bonhomie.

At the AGM in Abersoch in July 2014 the Class voted overwhelmingly to accept the Morrison design as the new National 18. The Class is now delighted to announce the selection of White Formula of Brightlingsea, Essex, UK as our exclusive build partner.

Construction of the tooling for the class moulds has begun with completion expected by the end of 2014. As part of this deal the Class has worked with White Formula to agree attractive pricing for a range of options from bare hull to fully fitted complete boat ready to sail.

Current owners will be able to transfer spars and sails, thereby reducing cost.

the first production boat will be launched in early February with a display planned at the RYA Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace over the weekend 28 Feb/1 Mar. White Formula aim to deliver all currently ordered boats by end of May 2015.

Seahorse January 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

A few personal thoughts
Designer Hugh Welbourn pays tribute to two of his most formative 'partners in crime'...

New for old
Andre Hoek is one of the undisputed masters when you need help getting your J-Class or other large classic racer up to full competitiveness

A change of direction
Nigel Irens enjoys something of an epiphany on a recent delivery south while rig maestro Torbjorn Linderson asks whether it's really about the chicken or the egg...

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Industry News
Long-time Yachting administrator Phil Jones has been named the interim chief executive of Athletics Australia (AA) and will play a key role in appointing his successor and a new head coach.

The chief executive's position became vacant in October when Dallas O'Brien resigned in the wake of a controversial Commonwealth Games campaign that prompted reviews into the sport by the AA board and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

Head coach Eric Hollingsworth was the first casualty of the Glasgow debacle, being sent home in disgrace after publicly criticising Olympic 100 metres hurdles champion Sally Pearson.

The AA board's review into the ill-fated Commonwealth Games campaign is set to be released on Monday.

Jones spent 17 years with Yachting Australia, during which time the sport became ever more successful at international level, claiming three of the nation's seven gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.


Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) will be working with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), a division of the Red Bull Formula One group, as it progresses with its campaign to claim the 35th America's Cup.

Operating as a Design House, RBAT is based in Milton Keynes, UK. Founded on the group's impressive F1 DNA, which has resulted in eight Formula One World Championships in the last five seasons, RBAT excels in advanced simulation and mathematical modelling. BAR is collaborating with RBAT to draw on this expertise and knowledge.


Ullman Sails announces that sailmaking authority and champion sailor Larry Leonard has been named Manager of New Business and Product Development at Ullman Sails International, the licensing company of the Ullman Sails group.

Larry's previous experiences as Founder of Quantum Sails, a part of the 1986 America's Cup campaign, and as the designer of winning sets of America's Cup and Whitbread campaigns make Larry a valuable addition to the Ullman Sails group.


As part of Henri Lloyd's continuing commitment of developing increased business for the UK marine trade we are delighted to announce the appointment of James Pound of Salt and Bracken Agencies as our Marine Footwear Agent for the South of England.

James has a considerable wealth of knowledge and experience from the Marine apparel industry, having previously worked for Dubarry of Ireland and also running his own successful sales agency.


Next year will see the launch of the Poole Harbour Boat Show, with this new event due to take place in Poole Quay Boat Haven over the weekend of 9-10 May.

Organised by Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC), the show effectively replaces the Sandbanks Boat Show, which was cancelled last week.

The exhibitor list is yet to be confirmed, but the organisers have promised a mix of marine-related businesses and family-focused entertainment, with the Jersey Boat Show cited as its main inspiration.

Backed by the British Maritime Federation, Poole Tourism and the RNLI, the Poole Harbour Boat Show will be free to attend.


The organisers of the All Wales Boat Show have announced a new home for the annual event.

After two years at Conwy Marina, the North Wales boating extravaganza will be moving to the new Plas Heli sailing academy.

Built at a cost of £8.3million, the new venue was chosen as it offers more space for this burgeoning event, organisers Wales Watersports International (WWI) said.

Set to run over the weekend of 8-10 May, the 2015 event has received backing from RYA Wales and GJW Insurance.

It is hoped that the larger venue can help to stimulate the Welsh boating scene, which currently only makes up 2.4% of the UK boating industry as a whole.

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: It's an inevitable part of life that, when "experts" make a mistake, people secretly or even openly revel in the knowledge that someone who should have known better has probably made a prat of themselves. So full marks to Brain Thompson for offering some sympathetic support of Vestas in his confession of a near miss. (Only one Brian!!??)

Speaking more positively - the Vestas incident has raised awareness of an important issue that professional navigators have been trying to highlight for a number of years. As I was one of the founders of the RORC Caribbean 600 in 2009, Hugh Agnew immediately pointed out to me several anomalies in certain electronic charts depicting some of the Islands on the course - in particular he indicated significant discrepancies in some reef positions. Many of these anomalies were around St Bart's where several Superyachts had been "coming unstuck" at the Bucket. Alarmingly he pointed out that the buoy on Proselyte Reef (not actually a mark of the 600 course) changed from E Cardinal to N Cardinal as you went through the zoom levels.

Although many of these anomalies are being addressed by the chart companies (e.g. the second non - existent island that was shown by Redonda has finally been removed) there is still some wildly inaccurate data stored on many electronic charts. And Redonda continues to be a worry for Caribbean sailors. On my C Map system if I plot a rhumb line from Montserrat to Nevis on one zoom level the line runs on the west side of the rock - a second zoom level shows the line passing directly through the rock and a third zoom level shows the line passing to the east of the rock. This is not good news on a dark night where the unlit land mass is all but impossible to see. Much of this anomaly is to do with the incorrect positioning of Redonda and many participants in the RORC Caribbean 600 may well have seen their track pass directly through the island.

Although the Vestas grounding probably has nothing to do with positioning there is a suggestion that inadequate attention to zoom levels may have been a significant contributing factor. What is clear is that in the highly frequented waters of the Caribbean there are still many places inadequately charted with regard to zoom levels - in remote parts of the Indian Ocean this discrepancy is likely to be even more significant. Now where did I put my Yeoman Plotter? It seems I may still need it!

* From Alistair Skinner: If anyone doubts how easy it is to 'lose' a small island then just switch on your chart plotter and play with your zoom control. I did this with the very reef that Team Vestas ran up on. On Navionics It goes from a very scary 26 mile long reef to 2 small islands to two dots very quickly and I would make a sure bet that C-Map does just the same - and that fact is as scary as the reef itself. Easy to throw stones but just remember your own glass houses and remember this reef was originally in an exclusion zone that was only opened up to the teams because of a threatening tropical storm so probably didn't get the pre-leg passage planning research the rest of the leg did.

How many cruisers have fallen, or nearly fallen into the exact same trap.

* From Adrian Morgan: Let's not denigrate the old paper charts. For example, those produced from Captain Otter's 1849 survey of the West Coast of Scotland are more detailed in some ways than modern ones, and the chart of the Monachs, for instance, drawn around the time Stephenson was building his lighthouse there, are forensic in detail about this low-lying, rocky archipelago west of the Hebrides. And all from a clinker longboat, sextant and leadline.

As for the reef found by Vestas, it can be found from the comfort of your armchair by searching Cargados Mauritius on Google Maps.

* From Jonty Sherwill: To follow the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, one needed to buy that newspaper each week to get the position reports then move the mapping pins on the wall chart that they had supplied. Some weeks there was no information at all, so today's online coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race could not be a greater contrast. But how could a fully equipped modern racing yacht run aground in the open ocean, and equally amazing is that only seconds after having read the Lat and Long of the incident I was there, looking down at the reef and imagining the crew sitting on the beach waiting for rescue. How? Google Earth, and even if the image is a bit fuzzy the message is clear, give this place a wide berth. Do the Volvo crews not have access to this rather useful facility?

* From Eddie Mays: I enjoyed the responses that today's column elicted by my initial question and I would like to claim the right to a final reply to them

To Jonathon: I would say what an excellent idea but no doubt the 'Greens' would soon be in dispute with the "NIMBYs' over it

To Brian: At least you could be excused as you were sailing solo and I am glad you survived

To Tim: Having read your comments the Prime Minister has just announced £2 Billion new money set aside for the fitting to all yachts over 25 ft with a suitable device

and finally to Michael: I am being pedantic but please do not confuse 'Best Professional (Racing) sailors' with the 'Best Professional Seamen'

Featured Brokerage
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+44 23 8045 5669

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