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

China Receives "MAPFRE"
Xabi Fernandez's team finished in fourth place after a last intense 30 hours in which there was no time to rest.

Today the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race finished and it could have hardly been any tighter. After more than 5,000 miles of sailing, five boats arrived with a difference of just five hours. 23 days 18 hours 23 minutes and 20 seconds has been the time invested by the Spanish team "MAPFRE". At 5h23 Spanish time they crossed the finish line in fourth place, half an hour after "Alvimedica" and one minute and 50 seconds before "Brunel".

"It has been one of the toughest legs I remember having sailed. Not because of the conditions but for the stress of being so close to other boats, sail changes and changes in the wind conditions", said the Spaniard bowman Neti Cuervas-Mons once on shore.

Xabi Fernandez, who made his debut as skipper in the Volvo Ocean Race with a commendable fourth place, was happy though visibly tired. In his opinion the leg "was very long, very slow and very stressful too."

Rob Greenhalgh, Watch Captain: "As a team we are always looking to improve and we couldn't finish on the podium, we would have obviously preferred to finish third. The fleet is very competitive; we could have finished second or fifth. We've sailed ahead and is a good result.

John Merricks Tiger Trophy
The big breeze specialists are steeling themselves for a big weekend as they hitch on their boats to compete at the John Merricks Tiger Trophy on 31 January & 1 February.

The seventh event of this season's GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series (also supported by Gul, Trident, Overboard and Lennon Sails) once again brings many national and world champions together on one of Britain's finest stretches of inland water. Could this be Steve and Sarah Cockerill's chance to shine in their 4000? Or will the Fireballs have it their way again, as they have in other recent events in the Series?

Former national champion Kevin Hope and Russell Thorne will be up against some quality opposition in the Fireballs, including the successful duo of Dave Hall and Paul Constable.

Multiple national champion Ben McGrane is back out in his Merlin Rocket with Olivier Vidal to see if he can take on the rest of the Merlin pack, not least current Series leader Nick Craig, crewed this time by Tom Pygall.

McGrane is recently back from Australia where he finished runner-up in the International 14 World Championships. Sam Pascoe, the new 14 World Champion, is also out at Rutland this weekend crewing Nathan Batchelor's 505, who will be keen to test their pace against other new Five-Oh team, Tom Gillard and Richard Anderton.

Among the top contenders in the hiking boats is last year's winner of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, Michael Sims in his Solo. There is always a strong youth contingent at the Tiger Trophy, so one of the 420s or 29ers could also fare well in this weekend's predicted breeze. Perennial PRO, Olympic silver medallist Dave Wilkins will be running the racing, with three handicap races on the Saturday and the pursuit race finale on Sunday.

Primary sponsors, Everards Brewery will once again provide ample evening refreshment, which perfectly complements the traditional black tie, bangers 'n mash extravaganza that has become the mainstay social event of the darkest month of the year for hardy dinghy sailors. The event also raises funds for the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), the charity set up in John's memory.

Race On A Volvo Open 70 - The Caribbean 600 Challenge
Monster 70 Record-breaking Volvo Open 70 racing charter Monster Project is offering experienced sailors and enthusiastic newcomers a rare opportunity to join our team for the epic RORC Caribbean 600 Race, 21st - 27th February 2015.

Monster Project's Caribbean 600 package includes pre-race training days 17th - 21st February 2015 - where you'll be trained by our Professional Crew and Racing Skipper Andy Budgen, before Monster Project cross the start line on 21st February 2015 and the real adventure begins.

Will you join an international fleet of over 50 yachts, which has now entered the offshore blast around the Caribbean, one of yacht racing's most exhilarating playgrounds with the warm trade winds and a Caribbean swell providing superb sailing conditions. The RORC Caribbean 600 course, starting and finishing in Antigua, is designed to provide a challenging, high speed racetrack.

As an integral part of the crew, experience the thrill of sailing Monster Project's Formula - 1 racing machine. Tackle the worlds elite, and take on tasks such as grinding, hoisting, trimming and even driving a Volvo Open 70 in an extreme racing atmosphere.

This 70 foot technological and architectural masterpiece, forged of carbon fibre and resins, with towering mast, huge square-topped mainsail, twin daggerboards and a canting keel; has a magic combination of displacement, length and sail area and Andrew Budgen, will be skippering the boat to win. Already the battle for Line Honours includes Ragamuffin, Maserati, Rambler 88, Leopard, and of course Monster Project.

For more information on:

- The Caribbean 600 (21 - 27 February 2015)
- St. Maarten Heineken Regatta (5 - 8 March 2015)
- Antigua Sailing Week (25 April - 1 May 2015)
- Fastnet (16 August 2015)
- Transatlantic 2015 Newport, Rhode Island to Cowes, Isle of Wight - held only once every 4 years (5 July 2015)
- Volvo Ocean Race Events


*|YOUTUBE:[$vid=YSWqZeiZU3o, $max_width=500, $title=N, $border=N, $trim_border=N, $ratings=N, $views=N]|*

First To Fly On Bermudian Waters
Ben Ainslie Racing were the first America's Cup team both on - and under - the race course waters of the 35th America's Cup last week, when the team conducted an initial training camp in Bermuda.

"It's been great for the team to get out on the water, trying to learn about the venue, the wind direction, the wave states in our 20 foot foiling training boats," commented Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie. "A huge amount has been learnt, and we can now go back to our design team and start working on developing the final race boat for 2017."

"Bermuda is just the most beautiful island," said Ben, "the people are so warm and friendly and are really excited about having the America's Cup here. As a sailing venue it is a real challenge, it is such a tight course and the wind is really variable out here in the middle of the Atlantic."

The major objective of the training camp was to learn the local conditions, and raise foiling skills, but Ben Williams, Head of Strength and Conditioning ensured that the Sailing Team got an extensive work out as well.

"It's been great for us as a sailing team to get away," said Ben. "It's almost been a military operation, our fitness trainer is an ex-Marine and pushing us pretty hard in the morning and evenings. And out on the water we have been sailing and training very hard - but bonding as a team, being away and really focusing on sailing and training."

Plan B is Apparently Hepatitus B...
Rio de Janeiro Olympic organizers said Tuesday they have "no plan B" for the 2016 games' sailing competitions, despite a recent admission by the state's top environment official that it will be impossible to meet pledges to clean up the raw sewage- and trash-filled waters where the events are to be staged.

Brazil's most respected health research institute said late last year it had found a drug-resistant super-bacteria on a beach near where the sailing competitions will get underway.

While Rio officials have maintained that cleanup efforts were on track, Rio's new environment secretary, Andre Correa, acknowledged Friday there was no way to meet promises to slash by 80 percent the amount of sewage and trash that flow into the bay daily by the time the games are held.

Biologist Mario Moscatelli, who has been campaigning for a clean-up of the bay and other Rio waterways for decades, said he's seen "zero progress" on the ground.

"What was unthinkable is happening," said Moscatelli, who oversees projects to bring back mangrove forests along the bay and who flies over bay on a monthly basis. "Once we got the Olympics, I thought the authorities here would be shamed into action.

"I dreamed of seeing the bay, if not clean, then on the way to being cleaned up," he said. "I'm now seeing that dream transformed into my worst nightmare."

Rhode Island's Tall Ship Falls During Storm's Strong Winds
A Revolutionary War replica tall ship has been toppled by strong wind gusts during the snowstorm that's pounding Rhode Island.

Thorpe Leeson, owner and captain of the Continental Sloop Providence, says Tuesday the 110-foot ship was extensively damaged when it fell on its side overnight at the Newport Shipyard. It was stored there for the winter.

Leeson says the mast is broken and the hull is punctured. Extra supports had been added as a precaution but couldn't sustain the heavy winds.

The replica of the USS Providence is the state flagship and tall ship ambassador.

Industry News
A new company now raising money on crowdfunding platform Funding Tree hopes to change that with a 'pay to crew' business model that it promises will make yacht racing accessible to everyone.

Circular Sailing plans to organise three races a year around Britain and Ireland, with each 2,500 mile race divided into a series of 10 legs each lasting a few days. Would-be racers will pay to compete - either during an individual leg, or over the full race, which is expected to last around four weeks. Prices are likely to start at around £1,000 a leg.

To level the playing field and make the race a test of sailing ability, Circular Sailing plans to operate using a fleet of six identical 44-foot yachts - each one will be crewed by up to sevenpaying competitors but skippered by an experience professional captain with the assistance of a qualified mate.

Dillen Iyavoo, the founder of the company, is convinced he's hit on an idea with serious potential. "The high cost of owning a yacht puts it out of reach for most people, but Circular Sailing's pay to crew model will open the sport up to thousands more would-be sailors," he says. -- David Prosser in Forbes

Full article:


Antigua Sailing Week is delighted to announce Sunsail is back on board as the official bareboat charter sponsor of Antigua Sailing Week 2015. This is the fourth year running that Sunsail has been involved as a sponsor and of its partnership.

Antigua Sailing Week features a number of bareboat classes that allow charterers to compete fairly with similar boats. Increasingly, the bareboat fleet consists of serious race charterers.

As an entrant in Antigua Sailing Week you can choose to stay on board or book accommodation locally. The entire Sunsail fleet based in Antigua is now booked but of boat availability but Chairman of the Regatta Organising Committee Kathy Lammers says: "We are now working on availability of boats from other Caribbean Sunsail bases to ensure that we can satisfy the demand for bareboat charters for Antigua Sailing Week."


Harken announced today the appointment of Mark Wiss as Director of Business Development. In his new role, Mark will define long-term corporate strategies, build customer relationships, and identify business opportunities, recommending new products, channels and markets in the marine and industrial sectors.

Mark's extensive background in the sailing industry began early-on as a sailmaker and boat captain. His 21-year career at Harken incudes positions as Director of Global Sales and Marketing, Grand Prix Racing Sales & Service Manager, and America's Cup Sales and Service Manager.


Henri Lloyd's Elite Range has won the Yachts & Yachting Award for kit Innovation. The award was presented at the CMW FX London Boat Show and accepted by Graham Allen, Henri Lloyd's Commercial Director.

Henri Lloyd launched the Elite range of foul weather sailing gear in 2013, using new fabrics and new technologies to significantly reduce the weight.


SailChecker, UK Based tech start-up, are the World's Yacht Charter Search Engine, with over 13,384 yachts, with more than 4,000 offering live pricing and availability - will be the first major search engine to reveal the name of the yacht charter company in their search results.

Chris Lait, SailChecker founder and CEO commenting on this landmark decision has said, "we want to provide a transparent process that demonstrates to our customers our business ethic of delivering value for money while meeting a carefully refined requirement"; in the past most searches withheld this information from consumers, which they believe is unfair and uncompetitive.

Yacht chartering is a global industry that generates an estimated £2bn in annual revenues

The team has spent the last two years refining the technology and integrating all the key industry partners ahead of a hard launch later this year. There are now 250 major operators on the platform.


RS Sailing has been awarded the prestigious Yachts and Yachting 'Dinghy of the Year' 2015 Award for the new RS Sailboat the RS Aero, presented last night at the London Boat Show.

The 'Dinghy of the Year' category takes into account all dinghy classes that have turned heads this past 12 months voted by the general public, Over 650 boats are on order since it's launch less than a year ago, with over 20 countries already with RS Aeros sailing. The International RS Aero Class Association is in full swing with a calendar of events already lined up for 2015.


Advanced Rigging & Hydraulics, based at Hamble Yacht Services, are pleased to announce that they now have exclusivity on the dealership for Nomen cleats for both the UK and Ireland.

Nomen are already well established throughout the world of yachting. With their revolutionary design, shape, action and ergonomics, Nomen cleats are used for RIBS, power boats, super yachts and are further employed in commercial applications such as architectural projects.


Boat International Media is delighted to announce the six finalists of the 2015 Young Designer of the Year Award, sponsored by Dutch shipyard Oceanco.

Outstanding submissions by Lorenzo Berselli, Timur Bozca, Jacob Edens, Ben Hills, Antonella Scarfiello and a team project from Işık Gören and Harun Kemali were chosen from an impressive number of entries received by students and trainee designers from around the globe.

Entrants were presented with a concept drawing for a 55-metre sailing yacht and challenged to expand it into a fully thought-out design including the deckhouse (or deckhouses) and a complete general arrangement plan for the cockpits and all enclosed spaces.

All six finalists will receive an all-expenses-paid visit to award sponsor Oceanco's shipyard in the Netherlands. The coveted Neptune trophy, meanwhile, will be presented to the winner, together with a €5,000 cash prize at the ShowBoats Design Awards Prize Giving, held during the Superyacht Design Symposium in Kitzbühel, Austria on Monday 23 February.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2008 Ker 39 - INIS MOR. 199,500 + VAT EUR. Location France / UK.

Inis mor is a standard Ker 39 'mark II' probably the most sucessful run of IRC yachts ever built. Work improvements for off shore races (cf ex run-under-deck garage and drains, omegas reinforcement etc).

Keel moved forward during build as per Jason Ker recommendation to improve performance Refit in Nov 2013 (incl boom, mast and deck paint, rod check by radio and replaced when need be).

New sails for 2014 and a refit over the winter make her to be an excellent option for a last minute entry for the Commodores Cup, or any future IRC regatta racing.


Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679222

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The Last Word
The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on. -- Walter Lippman

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