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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Rolex Sydney Hobart: Bureau's Early Christmas Gift To Small Yachts
The 117 yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart will face an early test this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting a sharp 20 to 25 knot southerly change on Boxing Day afternoon not long after the start.
A southerly is expected to hold throughout the night at around 20 to 25 knots so it will be a long, wet first day for all crews.
Andrew Treloar from the BOM says winds will get lighter the further south the boats go, and the front runners should cross a high pressure ridge around Gabo Island giving them light westerlies across Bass Strait on Saturday.
Winds off the Tasmanian coast on Saturday night are also expected to be pretty light westerlies. They could be quite fluky.
"The midfield and tail end boats will get a better go from the wind," Treloar says. "They will tend to stay up around 10 to 15 knots right through as they cross Bass Strait and sail down the Tasmanian coast."
So this is a classic mid-sized to small boat forecast. A southerly on day one, stopping the super maxis from getting too far ahead, and a northerly after the glamour yachts are already tied up in Hobart.
"We're really excited by this forecast," says Tom Barker, the navigator on the Ker 40 St George Midnight Rambler. "In terms of handicaps, the slow start means that is more time the big boats will have to take out of us.
Flying Dutchman Worlds On Sydney Harbour
The Flying Dutchman, regarded as one of the finest and fastest one-design dinghy classes ever designed, will return to Sydney Harbour en masse when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron conducts the Australian and World championships, starting next week.
A fleet of 45 boats, 30-plus of them from overseas, including the current world champions from Hungary, will contest the championships. The nationals will run from 28-30 December 2014, the worlds from 3-8 January.
The Flying Dutchman is a 20-foot, strictly one-design, high-performance two-person monohull dinghy developed in the 1950s, and an Olympic class from 1960 through to 1992. Its large sail area to weight ratio allows it to plane easily when sailing upwind.
Over the years, notably during the Olympic years, the FD has attracted some of the world's best adult sailors, including Britain's Rodney Pattison, Canada's Hans Fogh, the USA's Jonathan McKee, West Germany's Jorg Diesch, Spain's Luis Doreste, America's Cup skipper Ted Turner, Keith Musto, Norway's Peter Lunde, New Zealand's Helmer Pederson, French brothers Yves and Marc Pajot, Australia II designer Ben Lexcen, Britain's Keith Musto, Germany's Jorg Diesch and famed Dane Paul Elvstrom.
Lunde, Pedersen, Pattisson (2), Doreste and McKee also won Olympic gold medals.
Since leaving the Olympics after the 1992 Games, the FD class has become stronger throughout the world. In 2011, the world championship in Italy attracted a fleet of 135 boats.
Big international fleets in Europe have tended to dominate world championships with the Hungarian combination of Szabolcs Majthenyi and Andras Dornokas having won seven of the last 10 worlds. -- Peter Campbell
Cowes Week Limited Seeks Executive Director
Cowes Week Limited (CWL), organiser of the world-famous sailing regatta, is looking for a talented and experienced executive director to join the small full-time team responsible for the event.
This new and exciting opportunity arises from the departure of CWL's Sales & Marketing Director, Michelle Warner, who will leave for new pastures in early 2015 after 10 years with CWL.
The new director will be responsible for sponsorship income and supporting the strategic development of the regatta and its delivery. Operating as part of the event's Executive Management Team, the successful candidate will also sit as a Director on the board of Cowes Week Limited, leading and advising the board on all commercial matters.
The closing date for applications is Friday 9 January at midday. Interviews will be held the following week and it is hoped that the successful candidate will be available to start at the beginning of March.
Belcher and Ryan Win Copa Brasil De Vela
World Champions Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) have won the Men's 470 at the "Copa Brasil de Vela" on Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay over night.
A second place in Saturday's (20 December) medal race was enough for the World #1 470M crew to take home the win. A slow start at the beginning of the regatta converted into a run of five back to back race wins for Belcher/Ryan to position them six points ahead of the USA's Stuart McNay and Dave Hughes going into the final medal race. McNay/Hughes, who were fifth at the Worlds, finished the Copa Brasil de Vela in overall second and Austrian Olympians Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstadter in third. British crew of Olympic silver medallist Luce Patience and Elliot Willis, who were fourth in Santander, finished the regatta in fourth.
It is still early days in the build-up to Rio 2016, but every moment spent on the Olympic waters is a plus and the seven-day Olympic class regatta with 160 sailors from twenty countries was a welcome opportunity for the winners of the first Rio test event in August to do more training on the Olympic venue
Rod Stephens Trophy For Outstanding Seamanship
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has confirmed that its 2014 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship will be awarded to Sean McCarter, skipper of the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race Northern Irish entry Derry-Londonderry-Doire. The award is in recognition of the way he directed his crew during a dramatic man overboard rescue in the harsh northern Pacific Ocean last March.
The Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship is an internationally renowned trophy awarded annually for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea.
Sean McCarter grew up in the Derry-Londonderry area and learnt to sail on Lough Swilly in County Donegal, Ireland at just five years old. A former Royal National Lifeboat Institution volunteer, Sean says: "The CCA is a club that has over 85 years of promoting the adventurous use of the sea and puts a premium on safety and seamanship.
"I am honoured to have been selected to receive The Rod Stephens trophy for Outstanding Seamanship but must accept it on behalf of the entire crew of Derry-Londonderry-Doire on the Pacific leg. Finding and rescuing Andrew Taylor in the midst of a North Pacific gale was not down to one person but to the skill and determination of a well-trained team."
The award will be presented during the Annual Awards Dinner of the Cruising Club of America at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan on 6 March, 2015.
Sean McCarter and his crew were also recently nominated for Yachts and Yachting Magazine Achievement of the Year Award. Winners will be announced in February.
Moth Tutorials - Presented By Nathan Outteridge
The International Moth Class isn't exactly a new sailing class, yet the learning curve would have to be one of the steepest out there. Moths have been on foils for almost 10 years, yet besides talking to fellow moth sailors, there isn't a lot of information out there to help you master the skills and techniques needed to fly.
Even now, you can't exactly enrol your kids into a school to learn how to foil. So, the progression of the class has relied on sailors informally sharing their knowledge either in the boat park or online. Until now...
Before the 2014 International Moth World Championships, I was speaking with a few guys from the UK Moth Association about covering the event and how we could get the most info out there to encourage new and future moth sailors. The idea came up to produce an educational series featuring one of the top moth sailors demonstrating and explaining how to sail these little flying machines. I was in the fortunate position that my brother, Nathan Outteridge, was happy to help present these videos. His relationship with Ronstan and his moth sailing experience made for a great fit and he became the obvious choice for the job. During the 2014 Moth World Championships, Nathan and I captured what we needed to put these videos together, keeping in mind the voiceovers could be done later. Over many long hours in the "studio" and "editing suite" (mostly airports and hotel rooms), we put together this video series. Nathan made sure that we covered the key elements he struggled with back in 2008 when he first began sailing the foiling moth.
With the 2015 Moth Worlds on the horizon, we hope this educational series will help moth sailors out there, from beginners to rock stars, continue their development in this unique class.
Loick Peyron proves to be a wise 'hire', as trouble stalks the Rhum fleet (again), two fast Italians, Giancarlo Pedote and Andrea Mura, ripping up the Coastal Classic (on a kiteboard), Guy Oliver and Olectrics' latest, remarkable, challenge. Plus change is afoot at US Offshore. Giancarlo Luzzatto, Blue Robinson, Ivor Wilkins, Patrice Carpentier, Dobbs Davis
And times they are a-changing with the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race
Seahorse build table - Leg Zero - a philosophical analysis
Stefano Beltrando finds himself being made much more welcome by today's VOR fleet
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SYRF Expands Library To Include Data From 34th America's Cup
The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) is pleased to announce the addition of the LiveLine data from the 34th America's Cup matches held in 2013 is now available in the new Research Data page of the SYRF Technical Resources Library.
This data was originally made available as live streaming data from the boats during the events leading up to and including the 34th Americas Cup. The data was then published on the America's Cup Noticeboard website for the interest of the public.
In late 2014, the noticeboard website from the 34th AC was scheduled to be taken down in preparation for the next series of events in the 35th AC. To make sure this valuable data is not lost and continues to be publicly available, SYRF has now added it to the archives of the SYRF Technical Resources Library.
Data and supplementary files are available to download from each of the events. A pdf image of the original AC34 noticeboard webpage for each event is also available to help identify the files.
Martinez Switches Dreams - For A Leg
Iker Martinez (ESP) is stepping down for the next leg as skipper of MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race to concentrate on a pre-arranged commitment to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
His best friend and long-time sailing partner, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), is taking the helm of the Spanish boat for Leg 3, from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China, in Martinez's temporary absence. The pair are joint gold and silver Olympic medallists as well as joint ISAF Sailors of the Year in 2011.
Martinez explained: "I have to go and focus on this (Olympic) project now. When we started the Volvo Ocean Race, we knew that I already had another commitment with the Olympic campaign.
"That's why I won't be able to be onboard for the next leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China." Martinez will now leave Abu Dhabi, where he and MAPFRE finished fourth in Leg 2 from Cape Town earlier this month, and head for Miami where he will train and compete in Nacra 17 with Marina Lopez, his partner on this Olympic class catamaran.
Another Olympic silver medallist, Rafael Trujillo (ESP), will sail the leg with Fernandez and the rest of the crew.
The fleet departs Abu Dhabi for Sanya on January 3.
MAPFRE crew list for Leg 3
Xabi Fernandez (ESP), skipper
Jean-Luc Nelias (FRA), navigator
Andre Fonseca (BRA), watch captain
Robert Greenhalgh (UK), watch captain
Rafael Trujillo (ESP), trimmer/helmsman
Anthony Marchand (FRA), trimmer/helmsman
Carlos Hernandez (ESP), trimmer/bowman
Antonio "Neti" Cuervas-Mons (ESP), bowman
Francisco Vignale (ARG), Onboard Reporter
Three Peaks Recess
In a dismal day for adventure style racing The Australian Three Peaks Race committee of the Mersey Yacht Club inc. announced that the 2015 Three Peaks Race has been cancelled and the organisation will go into recess.
Chairman Terry Travers said today, "At the close of expressions of interest for entries only a handful of teams had submitted an intention to compete."
"This is a gruelling event that requires significant preparation, and cannot be undertaken as a 'last minute' effort", he said.
"Nor is it not simply a yacht race that requires a starter and a finisher. Upwards of 50 volunteers are required at the four ports, and it is not reasonable to mobilise this generous group of supporters for a very small number of teams."
"We are deeply saddened by this decision", Travers said. "There is a 25 year history of successful short-handed sailing and ultra mountain running undertaken in all sorts of weather. But times change."
Organisers cited the costs and time needed to prepare a boat and team in the current economic climate, together with a decline in interest among sailors to participate in tougher long-distance offshore sailing as factors contributing to the reduced entries.
* From Michael Brown: Having read the current state of voting for the Wight Vodka Sailing Bar in Scuttlebutt Europe 3237 I realise that, in the dim & distant past, I used to own the King & Queen, I have been a regular at the Pier View since Sue, the current landlady, took charge & I am a member of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Should I be concerned or do I just drink too much?
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The Last Word
Thankfully, dreams can change. If we'd all stuck with our first dream, the world would be overrun with cowboys and princesses. -- Stephen Colbert
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