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

A Sharp Exit From The Mediterranean
Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget, Click on image for photo gallery.

Barcelona World Race After yesterday's light winds start, which tested the patience of the 16 skippers with a busy, if slightly slow motion, send off from the waters off the iconic Hotel Vela (W-Hotel), there has been a steady building of wind strength, and a smooth acceleration of pace for the transition into offshore racing mode for the eight boats competing in the Barcelona World Race.

Alex Thomson (GBR) and Pepe Ribes (ESP) on Hugo Boss have made no secret of their desire to win this edition, and before departing yesterday Alex commented that for the initial stages: "The pressure is to be at the front of the pack and not to not lose too much is important. We feel fortunate that we've got a boat that can probably catch everybody up if we need to catch everybody up, but we don't really want to be in that position really!"

The pair emphatically demonstrated the overtaking speed of their 2010 VPLP/Verdier design over the first 24 hours racing, accelerating through the fleet from fourth to first place to take the lead this morning.

At just 26 hours after Wednesday's 1300hrs start the leaders were already 50 miles to the east of Cabo de Gata - the promontory by Almeria which marks the entrance to the Alboran Sea, some 175 miles to Gibraltar and the exit to the Atlantic. The race record for the 538 miles passage from Barcelona to Gibraltar was set at the start of the 2010-11 edition by Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3 at 3 days, 7 hours, 55 mins.

Ranking at 14:00 UTC December 31, 2014:

1. Hugo Boss (A Thomson - Ribes P) 23,154.7 miles from the finish
2. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) 3.8 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marino) 5.8 miles to leader
4. Neutrogena (G Altadill - Munoz J) 16 miles to leader
5. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) 41.5 miles to leader
6. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - Costa D) 44.2 miles to leader
7. We Are Water (B Garcia - Garcia W) 63 miles to leader
8. Spirit of Hungary (N F - C Colman) 75.9 miles to leader

Tornado Worlds
Tornado Worlds. Photo by Martina Barnetova, Click on image to enlarge.

Tornado Worlds Wednesday the 31st December saw the second day of the ISAF Tornado World Championships and Global Mixed Championships in Perth, Western Australia.

The wind started from the West with lots of cloud cover, this was due to disappear later in the day with the wind increasing.

The first race of the morning was sailed in varied conditions starting with around 8 knots, dying in the middle and then finishing in around 15 knots for the back of the fleet. With the varied conditions it was a game of chance for the sailors with multiple course direction changes. The husband and wife duo of Roland and Nahid Gaebler completed the 3 laps in just over 1 hour. They were then followed by Brett Burvill in 2nd and Gavin Davies in 3rd.

The second race of the day was also held in the morning with the 15 knots remaining throughout the race. This time the breeze was more stable and it was Iordanis Paschalidis and Kostas Trignois who took the race victory followed by Roland and Nahid then Paul Peterson and Jared Eyles.

After a lunch break the last race of the day and year was started in 18-20 knots and finished in 22-25 knots. What a fantastic way to end 2014! After plenty of action and capsizes across the fleet Gavin Colby and Pete Dubbelaar took the line honours and headed back to shore for a well deserved rest. 2nd place went to Lachie Gibson and Josh Fugill then 3rd place was taken by Brett Burvill and Ryan Duffield.

Racing continues on Friday with 2 races scheduled for the morning and afternoon.

The King & Queen In Hamble Is The World's Favourite Yachting Bar!
Wight Vodka London, England: If you've ever come in from the Solent with your boots filled with a little too much sea water, and happened upon The King & Queen in Hamble, you will have a full appreciation of this year's winner of the World's Favourite Yachting Bar competition! The crew at Wight Vodka together with the editor from Scuttlebutt Europe are proud to announce that Janet Bradley, her excellent team and her warm, inviting pub has won what we believe to be the most important contest anywhere, as sailor's the world over choose the best of the best!

"Wow...all I can say is wow!!" said Janet Bradley, the owner of The King & Queen, when Wight Vodka rang her up on New Year's Eve to give her the news. "The K&Q has always been for Yachties and it's great to be acknowledged for this - We are delighted to be the first Bar /Pub in the UK to win this accolade and we hope to continue looking after those who love the sea and sailing. We are so grateful for every customer who voted for us, which speaks of the enthusiasm, hard work and dedication of every one of my team members! From our chefs to our dishwashers, our bartenders to our waiters, this win is for you; thank you all so much!"

Dan Hiza, co-owner of 50° North, the company behind Wight Vodka, said "This year's contest had more votes than any of the previous five contests run, and the King & Queen ran away with the competition in the final week with over 1,000 more votes than the runners up. With this said, we can most definitely claim that there is huge passion the world over from our yachting fraternity on shouting about their favourite bars. With the King & Queen taking top honours, Sue and her team at the Pier View in Cowes can be proud of their coming in 2nd, with the venerable Royal Bermuda Yacht Club rounding out the podium finishers in 3rd place. The other bars rounding out the top ten include the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke, the Haven in Lymington, the Union Inn Cowes, the Clipper Bar in Porto Cervo, the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda and the Divers Inn in Alderney on the Channel Islands."

Rolex Sydney Hobart: Redress Gives Pretty Fly III Win In Division Zero
The New South Wales yacht Pretty Fly III (Colin Woods) has been elevated to first place in Division Zero in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, after a Redress Hearing was held today, in Hobart.

The incident occurred on the final night of the race as the remaining Division Zero competitors - mostly 45 - 50ft canting keelboats - raced at speeds in excess of 20kts driven by a strong northerly that gusted up to 35kts.

Patrice (Tony Kirby), a Ker 46 hit a shark with her rudder, causing her to lose steerage and broach.

At the time they did not know what had happened, just that they had lost steerage.

The yacht broached out of control and they radioed other boats in the vicinity that they had lost steerage.

Pretty Fly III, a Cookson 50, formerly the NZ owned Pussy Galore, diverted to see if she was required to give assistance. In the process had to take violent action to avoid the out of control Patrice, which has the AIS alarms screaming indicating an imminent collision. Pretty Fly III lost their A5 and their masthead halyard in the process.

Throughout the incident, Patrice kept a log of timelines and time lost by competitors who responded. These were used to support Pretty Fly III's redress claim.

At the Hearing the International Jury granted Pretty Fly III 13 minutes of Redress for diverting to stand by Patrice, time lost in their avoiding action and recovery, and for the time lost through being unable to fly a sail from the mast head halyard.

That Redress when deducted from her actual finish time was sufficient after TCF's (handicaps) were applied for Pretty Fly III win by 3 minutes and 41 secs. -- Richard Gladwell,

Governor's Cup Fleet Settles In To Downwind Sleigh Ride To St Helena
After a hectic start from Simon's Town on Saturday (27 January) when winds gusted over 30kts the 17-strong Governor's Cup fleet has settled into a downwind sleigh ride on its 1,700 nautical mile course towards St Helena.

The roller coaster ride from the start made for a speedy rounding of Cape Point before the fleet headed north for its first lively night off the coast of Africa.

Kevin Webb and his team on Banjo, the Farrier F9AX, that took line honours in Governor's Cup 2012/13, is looking set to repeat her performance. This super fast trimaran led off the start and this morning crossed the halfway mark of the race, 78 nautical miles ahead of Dave Immelman and team on Adrian Pearson's Dudley Dix 38 Black Cat. If the wind holds, Banjo could cross the finish line in four days and win the Multihull division. She could also beat her previous time of just over 10 days.

The wind, from the south-south-east has dropped slightly however, which means serious tactics are now in play as the fleet heads north 100 miles or so offshore along the coast of Africa. The idea is to stay in the strongest wind band and the north-flowing Benguela Current.

One of the biggest gains in the last 24 hours was made by Tallulah (Tosca 36) and has jumped into the lead of Cruising division ahead of the schooner Windjammer who is on a course to the west of the fleet.

John Leslie, from race committee, says he is amazed that given the windy conditions at the start there's been no drama reported: "In fact, so far they have had four days of perfect conditions with the wind from the south-south east, and 23 degrees. All teams seem happy and are naturally looking forward to arriving in St Helena."

Cowes Week Limited Seeks Executive Director
Cowes Week 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.

Those interesting in applying for the role should send a covering letter outlining suitability, together with an up-to-date copy of their CV, for the attention of the Chairman, Peter Dickson c/o

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.

Americas Cup Will Be 'Massive' For Portsmouth
As we start 2015, excitement is building to when the eyes of the world will be on the city as an anticipated 160,000 spectators come to witness the spectacle that is the America's Cup World Series.

The sailing contest will feature Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie and his Portsmouth-based Great Britain team as they seek to storm through the qualifiers and clinch victory in the cup's finals in 2017.

The area will be bursting with pride as the contest forms part of a four-day family festival from July 23 to 26, providing a huge boost to the Portsmouth area.

From world-class yacht races in the Solent, sailing exhibitions and concerts on Southsea Common, to competition demonstrations at Portsmouth dockyard, the city will come alive and celebrate its proud maritime heritage.

And it is anticipated Portsmouth's America's Cup qualifiers, which will be coming back to the city in 2016, will pump more than £120m into the local economy, providing a massive boost to shops, hotels, bars and restaurants.

But A Cautionary Word About Sport Income From San Francisco...
If Mayor Ed Lee and Giants CEO Larry Baer have their way, the U.S. Olympic Committee will announce its selection of San Francisco to host the 2024 Summer Olympics as early as next week. Yet San Francisco voters haven't been given a clue as to what holding an Olympics here would mean to our region.

We recently alerted the U.S. Olympic Committee of our commitment to take political action to ensure that no public money be spent on the Olympics if San Francisco is chosen to host the 2024 Olympics.

Mayor Lee is quick to emphasize that the $4.5 billion price tag for the Games would come from the pockets of private donors. That sounds reasonable, especially given the tremendous wealth in the Silicon Valley. Yet make no mistake, a Bay Area Olympic venue would create a level of financial, cultural and environmental ruin that our region might never recover from.

A recent study from the London School of Economics and Political Science uncovered that from 1976 to 2012, cost overruns of Olympics averaged more than 200 percent. If the 2024 bids maintain this 36-year pattern, the San Francisco Olympics' price tag will climb to $13.5 billion before it's over. Let's not forget that the 2012 America's Cup left San Francisco $11.5 million in debt, despite rosy projections about increased revenues and economic impacts. The reality fell far short of projections, and we believe that the region will experience the same broken promises that caused the America's Cup to become a fiscal disaster for San Francisco.

Neal Mcdonald On Board For Leg 3
Neal McDonald, the performance director of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, has been pulled out of retirement to join the crew for the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race starting on Saturday.

The 51-year-old Briton completed his sixth edition of the 41-year-old event in 2011-12 with Telefonica and announced he was quitting as a sailor in the Volvo Ocean Race.

But a hand injury and mysterious bug has forced out Australian Phil Harmer and McDonald was the obvious choice to step in.

He will be competing in his seventh race to join Swede Roger Nilson and the current Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED) as holding the record for most appearances in the event.

Team SCA's bowman Sophie Ciszek (AUS) has been forced out with a back injury and Liz Wardley (AUS), who is being rested as part of the team's normal crew rotation. Sara Hastreiter (USA) and Sally Barkow (USA) both return.

The 4,670 nautical mile third leg is one of the most hazardous in the nine-month race, partly because some of the polluted routes the boats must negotiate especially the Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The fleet, minus Team Vestas Wind which was grounded on an Indian Ocean reef midway through Leg 2, is due to arrive in Sanya around January 24-25.

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The Last Word
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