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

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One Last Modification To Wild Oats XI
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Bob Oatley's Rolex Sydney Hobart race record holder, Wild Oats XI, is out of the water for a final modification after a high speed and rough weather training run off Sydney.

The 30-metre long supermaxi was taken offshore in a 30-35 knot south easterly wind and big seas to test every part of the boat, and to remind the crew just how tough a Hobart race can be.

At the end of the day, when skipper Mark Richards turned the yacht back towards Sydney Heads, Wild Oats XI gave her crew a stunning ride as she surfed down big seas, at one stage topping a remarkable 33 knots. At the time her mainsail had been reefed down to almost a quarter of its size, and a small No. four jib was set.

'It was a really valuable day when it came to preparing for the Hobart race,' Richards said, 'and the ride back into the harbour capped it off. We sailed upwind and down all day, did sail changes and went through every other possible manoeuvre.'

Richards added that sailing in such testing conditions also proved that the extended hydrofoil wing - which was recently increased in length by 800 millimetres - was not such a good idea. While it had delivered the desired increase in speed in light winds, it was a hindrance in rough seas.

'The extra length protruding out to windward caused Wild Oats to slam much harder off the back of big waves when we were sailing upwind,' Richards explained. 'There was only one solution - take the wing back to its original length so that it would be completely encased within the hull when not in use. So, the boat is now out of the water so the wing can be modified.' -- Rob Mundle in

SMA Commits To Paul Meilhat For The Next Vendee Globe
Following the success of their 2014 collaboration on the Figaro circuit SMA has today announced its intentions to take their skipper Paul Meilhat to the next stage of his offshore racing career. SMA, a leading French Mutual Insurance Group, has committed to an IMOCA racing programme that will include all the main races between 2015 and 2018. For SMA the IMOCA circuit is an important 'next step' in their ambitious and long term sports partnership programme and one of the pillars of the company's long term global communications strategy.

Skipper Paul Meilhat, 32, finished fourth in the 2014 Figaro season and will now take the helm of Francois Gabart's Vendee Globe and Route du Rhum winning boat. The VPLP/Verdier-designed CDK-built and Mer Agitee-managed boat has an almost perfect racing record to date and will shortly undergo a refit and livery change to be ready to sail at the beginning of April 2015 in its new SMA colours.

Meanwhile Meilhat will sail three of the pre-season Figaro events before moving across to the larger boat to compete in the early season French regatts. During the summer of 2015 Meilhat will take SMA to the UK to race the Artemis Challenge and the Rolex Fastnet Race in August. Meilhat's main sporting objective is the singlehanded offshore race of reference for any solo sailor, the 2016 Vendee Globe. Over the next four years of the partnership Meilhat will also participate in two Transat Jacques Vabres (2015 & 2017), the 2016 Transat and the 2018 Route du Rhum.

Michel Desjoyeaux' company Mer Agitee has been contracted to manage the sports, technical and administrative aspects and bring its unique combination of experience and competence in this refined area of racing to bear - a record which over the last 15 years has seen four winning Vendee Globe projects emerge from the Mer Agitee racing stables.

Meilhat, a four-year veteran of the Finistere Couse au Large-Pole Port-La-Fôret training center of excellence, will use both structures in training to tackle the mental, physical and technical rigours of racing non-stop around the world alone.

Marinepool - Official Clothing Partner Of The Extreme Sailing Series™
Marine Pool Marinepool is widely regarded as one of the leading sailing clothing and maritime lifestyle brands and is the "Official Clothing Partner" of the Extreme Sailing Series™.

We have built a reputation for outstanding quality, excellent service and quick and reliable deliveries. These are only a few of the reasons why no less than 4 of this year´s teams in the Extreme Sailing Series™, among them 2012 and 2013 Champions The Wave, Muscat, are racing in Marinepool kit.

Using only the best materials and state of the art production technologies, no detail is omitted to ensure every product is optimized before it reaches the market. More than 23 years of experience and design excellence, plus the invaluable input of the world class athletes proudly wearing Marinepool garments, guarantee the products are at the cutting edge of technology.

Uncompromising, highly functional and extremely light weight; Tested and approved by many of the world's finest sailors.

As a group of companies with German roots and head quarters, operating in 43 countries, with product lines ranging from performance sailing clothing and a test winning life jacket range to maritime fashion, Marinepool is uniquely qualified and the perfect match for the clothing requirements of YOUR sailing team or company.

Purchase the Extreme Sailing Series™ Collection by Marinepool directly from the official online store: or contact us for your customized team wear on

Marinepool | Design. Technology. Passion.

24 New International 505 Builds In 2014
2014 has been an unprecedented year of 505 building with over 24 new boats delivered in last 8 months out of our new mould.

A new Ovington Boats mould has been developed with extensive research and the experience gained by building the last 165 505s for Rondar Boats (including the 2014 World Championship winning boat) coupled with the know-how of Holger Jess.

Ovington have built more 505s over than last decade than any other builder and worked closely with Segelsport Jess, Pinnell & Bax and Rondar Boats over this time. The hull and deck shape has been refined and the build lay-up has been improved to increase hull stiffness and longevity.

The 2016 International 505 World Championships are going to be held in Weymouth and this is re-invigorating the UK fleet and attracting newcomers. 2013 Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard has started sailing an Ovington built boat and Flying 15 World Champion and ex- 470 Olympic campaigner Graham Vials has a new boat on order.

Complete boats ready to sail can be bought through Segelsport Jess (Holger Jess) or Pinnell & Bax, or a bare hull can be purchased direct for home fit out.

From Yachts and Yacthing:

2015 Dates Announced For Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series & Championship
Warsash Sailing Club (WSC) has announced the dates for the 2015 Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series and the Spring Championship.

Six Sundays are earmarked for the Series, with starts from 10am in the central Solent. These are Sunday 15, 22, 29 March and 12, 19, 26 April 2015 with a week's break over Easter.

Classes offered include four IRC divisions, J/109, J/70, SB20 and J/80. For Black Group there will be one race a day around the cans for the first four Sundays, then two races a day on the last two dates. White Group sportsboats will enjoy three races on laid courses each week.

The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship offers racing within a more compressed time scale on Saturday and Sunday 18/19 April and 25/26 April 2015. All classes included in the Spring Series can enter, and in addition there is a mixed Sportsboat class. Extracted results will be given for J/111, Sigma 38, Quarter Ton classes and - for the first time this year - the rapidly growing J/88 class.

Irish Team Racing Association To Select World Championship Teams
The ISAF Team Racing Worlds will be sailed in Rutland UK on 19th-24th July 2015. The ISA has already reserved places for an open team and a youth team. Other places may become available during the entry process.

The Irish Team Racing Association will select Open and Youth teams to represent Ireland at this event.

Teams shall consist of six sailors, including at least one male and one female competitor. The age limit for Youth teams is under 19 on 31st December 2015. All competitors must be eligible to represent Ireland under ISAF Eligibility (Regulation 19).

On the basis of information supplied by the candidate teams the Selection Committee will select a number of teams to compete in a trial event. Criteria for selection will include consideration of the individual sailing CVs of all six team members, and results in team racing in Ireland and abroad, particularly in 2013 and 2014. Preference will be given to teams that have already demonstrated their capacity to compete in international competitions.

A one day, multiple round robin event will be sailed. This event will be sailed in Fireflies, and the event is planned for Saturday 14th February in the Royal St George Y.C. Dun Laoghaire. Selected teams will be nominated by the Irish Team Racing Association for approval by the Irish Sailing Association to represent Ireland at the ISAF Team Racing Worlds.

Composite Structural Engineer, Gurit
Gurit Gurit globally delivers composite materials, engineering, processing tools and equipment as well as parts and solutions to a world-class customer list. We work alongside long standing customers in the vertical markets of Transportation, Marine and Wind with continued focus in emerging markets and product development. It is this focus that enables us to continue to deliver the future of composite materials.

Role description

The Composite Structural Engineer is responsible for producing high quality composite structural engineering, design and managing the production of formal documentation.

Key Responsibilities include

- Specifying and developing high quality composite designs and laminate specifications in line with customer requirements

- Developing and identifying innovative and efficient engineering solutions for our customers

- Develop and maintain professional customer relationships

- Facilitating material testing programs

- Working as part of a team to plan and manage engineering projects

The Composite Design Engineer will have good working knowledge of Finite Element Analysis, and analysis of marine and composite structures. High-level analytical computer literacy using Excel will be required as well as medium level 2-D AutoCAD skills.

To apply for this position or for a full listing of opportunities please visit:

2015 Finn Gold Cup
The website for the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand, has been launched. The Finn class is eagerly anticipating a return to Takapuna Boating Club for what will be only the second Finn World Championship to be held in New Zealand.

It will have been 35 years since Cam Lewis (USA) beat John Bertrand (USA) in a thrilling final race showdown in 1980, to take the Gold Cup.

Takapuna Boating Club is located on Takapuna Beach on Auckland's North Shore, with the race course out on the Hauraki Gulf. The club is well versed in major events, having staged the 2008 Tornado World Championship, the 2008 RS:X World Championship, the 2008 Laser Radial World Championship and the 2014 470 Junior World Championship.

The event is scheduled for November 2015:

Pre-worlds regatta: 17- 19 November
Measuring: 21-23 November
Racing: 24-29 November

Record Breaking Round The World Yach Being Restored To Former Glory
An iconic world record winning yacht left to rot in a watery grave in Plymouth has been saved by a determined team of experts who want to blow new life into its' sails.

Sir Chay Blyth's Challenge Business 45, won two round the world races and holds the class record for the Round the Island Race on the south coast.

She sustained structural damage and lost rigging after falling on her port side in dry dock and was left to rot because it was thought to be too expensive to repair her.

But businessman Brian Pogson saved the yacht from the scrap heap and quickly realised all was not lost, and the vessel could be made 'ship shape'.

Brian, who owns Exeter Maritime Services (EMS), specialises in the build and repair of steel and aluminium boats.

The Devonport-built Challenge 72' yacht was built to sail around the world against prevailing winds and currents in what was dubbed the world's toughest race.

She completed the BT Global Challenge 2000/1, named Logica, and the Global Challenge 2004/5 as Big Spirit, where she won.

When Sir Blyth's Challenge Business stopped trading in 2006 she was sold together with her sister ships and had a very successful second life as a well-known adventure sailing yacht BG Spirit.

The schedule of repair is anticipated to be complete by March 2015.

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 David Pelly: Barry Pickthall's account of the dire situation facing the Yachting Journalists' Association and their well known 'Yachtsman of the Year' awards is worrying indeed but as one of the few people still around who were members when Sir Max Aitken handed over the trophy, I have to say that a trophy is not quite the same thing as a free lunch. Sir Max donated the trophy but did not endow the lunch. Three years of delightful and generous sponsorship by the Pantanaeius insurance company have perhaps dulled memories that there have been several years when the YJA had barely enough money in its account to pay for a glass of sherry and a sausage roll yet the trophy has always been awarded and never lost its prestige. It must continue, whatever the circumstances.

Incidently, the Daily Express did not found or sponsor the London Boat Show. That was done by the Ship and Boatbuilders' National Federation. The Express agreed to underwrite the cost of renting the Olympia Hall but never had to pay out because the show made a small profit in its first year. The newspaper also arranged and paid for publicity, the Yachtsman of the Year being one of its enduring features. When he became unwell and had to relinquish the chair of Express Newspapers, Sir Max Aitken handed over the trophy to the Guild of Yachting Writers, as it then was.

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