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
Off The Reef
Team Vestas Wind's stranded Volvo Ocean 65 boat has been retrieved from a remote reef in the Indian Ocean and on Monday was heading on a round-trip via Mauritius and Malaysia back to Europe.
After three days' planning, the Volvo Ocean Race boat was gingerly floated clear of the reef in St Brandon on Sunday evening, where it had laid since November 29, and on to a nearby lagoon.
From there it was lifted on to a waiting Maersk Line ship to complete the delicate first stage of an operation, which could yet see the boat being reconstructed.
The shore manager of Team Vestas Wind, Neil Cox, and the boat's skipper, Chris Nicholson (AUS), oversaw the complicated process of extracting it from the rock where it was trapped.
Cox was cautious about over-promising on next steps - the boat will be checked out more fully in Malaysia before heading to Europe, possibly Italy, for a rebuild.
"A week ago the light at the end of the tunnel was getting smaller and smaller, but what we've been able to retrieve off the reef is substantial."
He added: "I'm not going to say it's great by any means, but it's the first stepping stone, and it's enough to shine a light and to work hard to put things back into place. "
New Zealand Sailor Suing America's Cup Holder Oracle Team USA
New Zealand sailor Matt Mitchell is suing two-time defending America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA for the US$68,000 (NZ$87,000) he has spent on legal fees fighting accusations he helped illegally alter a catamaran used in a warm-up regatta.
Mitchell filed the suit against Oracle Racing last week in San Francisco Superior Court. Oracle Racing is owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, who isn't named in the suit.
Mitchell, a grinder, was barred by an international jury from the first four races of the 2013 America's Cup match as part of the harshest penalties in regatta history.
The Kiwi is seeking his legal fees, plus interest, and special damages for Oracle Racing's failure to indemnify under the California Legal Code, according to the suit.
Oracle officials and Mitchell's lawyer didn't respond to requests for comment.
Mitchell's lawsuit is the latest development in case that continues to affect former Oracle Team USA sailors some 15 months after the syndicate overcame harsh penalties to stage one of the biggest comebacks in sports
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boats.com Announces Three-Year Sponsorship Agreement with Yachting Journalists' Association
boats.com, the global online resource for boating enthusiasts to explore, discover and research, is delighted to announce an exciting three-year sponsorship deal with The Yachting Journalists' Association (YJA) for its prestigious Yachtsman of the Year awards. boats.com will work very closely with the YJA in all aspects of the event for the next three years to deliver the 'boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award' and the 'boats.com Young Sailor of the Year Award'.
These two well respected and highly competitive awards recognise the achievements of Britain's top yachting talent of the year and will be awarded at a gala ceremony on Tuesday 13th January at Trinity House, London.
Ian Atkins, President of boats.com, commented: "We are delighted to be part of this historic event. As a long time competitive sailor myself, I felt strongly about being involved in a framework that rewards the most deserving yachtsmen. We are really looking forward to the awards ceremony and presenting the awards to this year's winners."
Bob Fisher, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists' Association, added: "We are delighted to welcome boats.com as our new title sponsors; our partnership is a perfect fit."
The Yachtsman of the Year Award was established in 1955 by Sir Max Aitken, Battle of Britain pilot, chairman of Express Newspapers and himself a leading yachtsman in both sail and power. Previous winners of the award include Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and four time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie.
Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar
Plenty of voting recently has put a bit of pressure on King and Queen, Hamble from The Pier View, Cowes.. both well over 1000 votes, with King and Queen closing in on 2000.
To help you with your decision making process, this superbly named cocktail:
The Mistletoe Martini
2 ounces Wight Vodka
2 ounces orange juice
3 ounces cranberry tea, chilled
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3 teaspoon sugar
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
Strain into two chilled cocktail glasses.
Garnish with mint leaves and cherries
Sip, enjoy, and vote!
Rambler 88 and Bella Mente Sign Up For Les Voiles De St. Barth
With the recent launching of Rambler 88, George David (New York, N.Y./Newport, R.I.) is eyeing the next Les Voiles de St. Barth - scheduled for its sixth edition April 13-18, 2015 - as an early and critical step in getting his new yacht racing. The once CEO of United Technologies who vastly expanded that corporation's global footprint, David has made an equally world-class name for himself and his previous Ramblers (a 90 and a 100 footer) in the yacht racing world, winning high-profile regattas and breaking, if not shattering, one prominent distance race record after another: Rolex Buenos Aires to Rio (2008), RORC Caribbean 600 (2011), Newport to Bermuda Race (2012) and Block Island Race (2011 and again in 2013) included.
The four days of racing (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with a lay day on Thursday) also will help answer the pressing two-pronged question on everyone's mind: "What will Rambler 88 look like, and how will she sail?" As both owner and skipper who has been deeply involved in every aspect of the new build, David says the details of performance dynamics are deep in the design: "Along with (designer) Juan Kouyoumdjian, we debated length overall for a long time. We had the experience of longer/larger with Rambler 100 and concluded that boat was just too powerful but equally heavy. We'll see on the water."
Meanwhile, Hap Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn./Naples, Fla.) is also preparing for an ambitious 2015 racing season with his Judel/Vrolijk-designed 72 footer Bella Mente, and his Bella Mente Racing team will join the racing and festivities at Les Voiles de St. Barth for its second time.
Fauth expects to sail handicap under CSA against other large boats such as Rambler 88, but three or four additional Maxi 72s on the line are what he's hoping to see. President of the Maxi 72 class (formerly the Mini Maxi Class), Fauth explained that class owners were polled on where they wanted to sail next year, and Les Voiles made the final cut for the schedule.
2017 J/80 World Championships are awarded to the Royal Southern Yacht Club
The International J/80 Class Association has awarded the 2017 J/80 World Championships to the Royal Southern Yacht Club, based on the river Hamble. This will follow on from the UK National Championships that the Club is also hosting in 2015.
The Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) has an active J/80 fleet and attracts many more of the class to its summer series of regattas run annually from May through to September, in addition to match racing J/80s in the annual Grade 2 Match Cup.
In addition, the Club is currently constructing the Prince Philip Yacht Haven, providing walk-ashore berthing for 60+ boats, and creating the ideal base for hosting major events. These new facilities, complete with dry berthing ashore and its own crane, will be completed in time for the 2015 season.
There are 60-70 entries expected for the World Championships, from all over the world. -- Peta Stuart-Hunt
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Kieler Yacht-Club Notices Of Race Published
In 2014, Kieler Yacht-Club organised a string of successful high-level sailing events including MAIOR, Young Europeans Sailing and Kieler Woche, the ORC and SAP 5O5 World Championships, the blueribboncup, NOIR, LJM and the National Sailing League - an impressive number.
The eventful sailing summer will carry on into 2015. In addition to the established annual regatta events, we will see 2015 the J/80 World Championships a week after Kieler Woche, to be followed by the F18 Worlds. Die Notices of Race for YES, Kieler Woche, the J/80 Worlds and F18 Worlds are now accessible online. Entries for all events may be now be started on www.manage2sail.com
"Kieler Yacht-Club thus presents all sailors with the opportunity to sit down over the Christmas holidays and plan their personal calendar of summer sailing events 2015", announces Jobst Richter, Kieler Woche race director, himself looking forward to the next season.
The Early Entry Fee is an additional incentive to speed up the process. All crews who will take part in the worlds have excellent test events at their hands with MAIOR (J/80) and Kieler Woche (J/80 and F18). The first entries for the 2015 events have already reached Kieler Yacht-Club.
RORC Transatlantic Race Is Born
The inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA), started on Sunday 30 November from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada, West Indies, 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. An international fleet of yachts took part, with crew from at least 12 different countries racing magnificent Maxis, crewed by top professional sailors, as well as production yachts crewed by friends and family.
For all the yachts, the adventure started long before the start line. It takes months, sometimes years for the dream of racing across the Atlantic to become a reality, and many of the yachts sailed thousands of miles, just to make Lanzarote.
Prior to the start, Puerto Calero Marina provided an exceptional base for the yachts to prepare for the race. The Calero family are yacht racers themselves and this was evident in the manner in which the entire staff went out of their way to assist the competitors.
In the battle for Line Honours and the IMA Line Honours Trophy, there was an early exit for the hot favourite the Finot-Conq 100, Nomad IV, sailed by Jean-Paul Riviere. On Day Three, gear failure forced the French Maxi to head back to the Canary Islands for repairs. Russian chartered Southern Wind 94, Windfall, skippered by Fabrizio Oddone and Jeremy Pilkington's British Baltic 78, Lupa of London took up the running and an epic battle ensued for Line Honours. The two powerful Maxis duelled for 3000 miles with the lead swapping hands on numerous occasions. However, Lupa of London eventually got the better of Windfall in the lighter downwind conditions as the two yachts approached Grenada.
The British Maxi scored the double win of Line Honours and Overall under IRC, lifting the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy and the IMA Line Honours Trophy.
IRC One - USA Class40 Oakcliff Racing
Oakcliff Racing crossed the finish line on Friday 12th December to win IRC One and take second overall.
IRC Two - GBR Nigel Passmore's J/133, Apollo 7
Nigel Passmore's British J/133, Apollo 7, crossed the finish line on Monday 15th December 2014 with an elapsed time of 15 days, 08 hours, 45 minutes and 15 seconds, to win the class ahead of Frank Lang's French X-40, Optim'X.
SB20 Class Ditches Outboard Engines and Crew Weight Limit
The Irish SB20 fleet has voted to remove the obligation to carry an outboard engine and fuel on the six-metre sportsboat class during racing. The class has also ditched the crew weight limit.
According to class president Justin Burke, the removal of the engine rule (rule C.5.1(6)) in favour of a new rule to carry two paddles instead has been debatable point among class members. 'Some see an engine as a fall back safety option and others see it as a danger' he told Afloat.ie
The rule will save weight of up to 21 kg and its abolition follows a similar path taken by the intenational class where the 'outboard engine rule' was amended four years ago at the SB20 Worlds Championships.
In other changes, there will be no restriction on crew weight, there will be no weigh in and no requirement to be 270kg or less to race except for the SB20 national championships.
* From David Evans: Wonderful to read that the fabulous Flying Dutchman Class is still alive and well!
One name I noticed was missing from your list of the illustrious is John Oakley, one of the finest (and most literate) sailors ever! His book "Winning" is a wonderful mixture of A) how to do it and B) how to make your boat the best - it has stood the test of time well and is worth a revisit if you have it on your bookshelf.
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The Last Word
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