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

World Records Smashed!
After 4 weeks of the Luderitz Speed Challenge 2015 event, conditions on Monday were strong and perfect to break world and national records - both achieved!

The wind was much stronger than predicted and the angle was better to be able to sail in a multiple performance speed channel with flatter water surface.

We began the day with 25-30 knots average wind speed starting the race at 12.30. From 2pm, the wind suddenly starting to increase and strongly, reaching more than 50knots in the gusts. Sand was flying and sailing down the channel started to be really challenging due to the strong sand blasts.

After a couple of runs over 50 knots, Antoine Albeau who achieved 51.66 kts 2 days ago was determined to beat his World Record (set at the 2012 Luderitz Speed Challenge: 52.05 kts).

Then records started to tumble one after the other!

Antoine Albeau started to go over 51 knots and was joined by Patrik Diethelm (ITA). At about that time, around 1.15pm, Karin pushed hard and broke the Female World Record in Windsurfing with 46.31 kts. (Previously held by Zara Davis (UK) at the 2012 Luderitz Speed Challenge with 45.83 kts) and, just 15 minutes later, Antoine Albeau broke his world record, for the first time, achieving 52.41 kts!

Then he never stopped - and broke it 5 times: 52.50 kts > 52.76 kts > 53.1 knots and then the actual World Record which now stands at a highly impressive 53.27 kts.

British Record Holder Farrel O Shea smashed the 50kts barrier with a highly impressive 51.20 knots (he is now 5th in the Windsurfing World Speed rankings!)

Etchells World Championships
Photo by Guy Nowell, Click on image for photo gallery.

Etchells Worlds Racing in the 47th Etchells World Championships got underway in earnest this morning, with Principal Race Officer Kevin Wilson choosing to start racing on schedule, with the signal boat situated just off the north west of Ninepins.

43 Etchells started this year's World Championships in 10 to 12kts of true northerly, on a flat 1.8nm course. Both Swiss entry No Dramas and Australian entry, Highlander, were over at the start, but returned and cleared the line.

After a 23 minute beat, Steve Benjamin's Scimitar was the first of an evenly split fleet to reach the windward mark, ahead of Aretas, Phan and Jezebel.

With fishing boats and freighters adding a little local colour, the fleet continued to use the whole expanse of the race course on the first run, splitting equally around the port and starboard gate marks with Scimitar holding onto her position.

With only five minutes between winner and tail end boat, it was a close finish, with Scimitar coming in ahead of Aretas, Jezebel, Gen XY and The Martian.

With a shifting and weakening breeze, after two AP's and a general recall, Wilson finally called it a day and hoisted AP over A, stating his intention to shoe-horn two races into the Day 2 schedule, with the first warning signal sounding at 1100hrs.

Provisional results are published at

They Will Be At The Yacht Racing Forum. Will You?
Forum The Yacht Racing Forum will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 7-8.

The event will reassemble the sport's key players including: Francois Gabart, Peter Sowrey, Mark Turner, Juan Kouyoumdjian, Guillaume Verdier, Steve Clark, Patrick Shaughnessy, Bertrand Cardis, James Dadd, Paolo Manganelli, Sabrina Malpede, Chris Hill, John Quigley, Paul Miller, Alistair Hackett, Tom Ehman, Stefano Beltrando, Jason Smithwick, Hasso Hoffmeister, Gary Jobson, Jennifer Hall, Francisco Vignale, Dawn Riley, Thomas Capitani Nielsen, Richard Moore, Conrad Humphreys, Jean-Baptiste Durier, Gabriella Ekelund, Lingling Liu, Cliff Webb, Knut Frostad...

...and many more!

Don't hesitate: this will be a great event, both informative and fun, and an excellent opportunity to network and do business!


Ilen Documentary Film Wins International Award
The Ilen is a short film on the joy of working with wood, it documents the words and skills of Ireland's few remaining traditional shipwrights, currently occupied on the rebuilding of Irelands sole surviving wooden sailing ship, Ilen. The award comes with a prize of $10,000 from World Wood Day 2015, through their 'Wood & Humanity' film competition. In the film, directed by Mia Mullarkey of Ishka Films, the 1926 trading ketch is featured as she draws nearer to completion and a new operational life upon the sea.

This poignant but hopeful documentary was made in conjunction with Ilen School and Network for Wooden Boat Building and was filmed at Hegarty's Boatyard, West Cork, and the Ilen School in Limerick City

See the award winning film here:

Costs Keep Tassie Yachts Home
Spiralling costs have helped reduce the Tasmanian fleet to its lowest entry since 2002 in this year's Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.

Entries for the 71st Sydney-Hobart closed yesterday with Cougar II and Helsal 3 the only Tasmanian takers among a fleet of 111, including super-fast supermaxis Wild Oats XI and its US rival Comanche.

Hobart skipper Rob Fisher will sail his 20th Sydney-Hobart aboard Helsal 3.

After 10 locals took part in last year's 70th anniversary event, Fisher said there were just as many obstacles off the water as there were on it when it came to competing.

Entry fees, insurance, gear, servicing equipment, safety qualifications, new navigation devices, ocean racing attire and travel costs added up quickly for owners and crews.

Every boat must carry about 35 charts [maps] costing $30 apiece to navigate into ports along the way in an emergency, even though they physically cannot enter about 65 per cent of them.

Race organisers added another compulsory navigation device this year - the Automatic Identification System - to allow commercial ships to easily spot yachts.

"In the past you've been invisible to a container ship. Now they can tell who you are, your speed and direction," Fisher said. "It's a good idea, but it's another cost impost."

"It's still the greatest race as far as I'm concerned. Fastnet is the only one that rivals it," Fisher said.

Royal Irish Yacht To Compete At Key West Race Week
At least one Irish boat will be among the 113 and counting for 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week next January. Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Nigel Biggs, who has already competed stateside this season, will be racing his C&C30 in Florida.

The number of entries to the 2016 edition of Quantum Key West Race Week has exceeded 100, indicating one of the strongest early turnouts in years to this mainstay on the international sailing calendar held over January 17-22, 2016.

Currently there are 16 classes organised: nine one-design and seven monohull and multihull classes racing under handicap. This indicates a diverse range of boat types attracted to race in the winter sun in Key West, with teams from 10 nations represented among the entries thusfar.

From Afloat magazine:

Five Retirees In Havana Race
Pensacola, Florida: The 2015 Andrews Institute Pensacola a la Habana Race four saw 4 retirees in the first 24 hours. The next 12 hours brought just one more withdrawal. Mike Beard's Tartan 37 'Kanaloa' from Pensacola broke a lower shroud chain plate below the deck on the port side. The plate was threatening to pull through the deck so it was time to turn on the iron jenny and head for home at 2:38 PM Sunday.

Beard said the conditions were "rough" and "wet" but not unbearable. They were 101 miles south of Pensacola when they discovered the cracked and broken metal plate and had passed Pensacola Yacht Club [PYC] and returned to the boat's slip behind Beard's house in Bayou Chico in time for breakfast Monday morning. Beer, hot tub and cleaning up the wet boat were the order of the day.

All of the boats still on the course were having a wet go of it. The two boats closest to Cuba had been in contact with the race organizer's communications team and their home base followers. The J-130 'Lesson #1' has not been showing up on the 'Kattack' tracking page on the race website since the race started.

'Lesson #1' reported good progress but their alternator has failed so they are conserving electricity. They are not using their electronics, so they are navigating the old fashioned way. They estimate finishing at Marina Hemingway tomorrow night.

Land-bound spectators can track their favorite boats in the Andrews Institute Pensacola a la Habana Race. Each boat has a position transponder broadcasting its location. The monitoring system is called "Kattack".

It is online through the event website and click on the boat tracking tab and go to

45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival: Register Now, Drink Free Later
BVI Spring Regatta The 45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival has officially opened its online registration, which will be held March 28- April 3, 2016.

To celebrate the regatta's milestone anniversary, organizers will reward one crew (registered by Dec. 31), with free drink tickets in the amount of the regatta registration fee.

Warm Water, Hot Racing And Cool Parties capture the essence of the event. On the water, sailors compete in idyllic conditions with windward/ leeward courses and use the stunning islands to race around as well. On land, they are treated to nightly entertainment with dancing on the beach and delicious food vendors all in one location: Nanny Cay Resort and Marina. As part of the anniversary celebrations, fireworks will bring the 2016 regatta to a close after the award ceremony.

The VX One Class has already confirmed 12 boats will be here for their inaugural VX One Caribbean Cup Racing on the One Design Course area. Bare boats and competitive spinnaker race boats have their own course area on the water.

For more information about the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival or to register, visit:

GC32 Racing Tour
Following a successful conclusion to the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour at Marseille One Design last month, the circuit's organisers have been looking ahead to 2016. They can now confirm that a minimum of six teams will be participating, with more due to sign up to the foiling catamaran one design circuit over the winter months.

With a season running from May until mid-October, the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour will be held exclusively at southern Europe venues that offer optimum wind conditions in order for the ultra-high speed catamarans to spend as the maximum time foiling.

Like previous GC32 seasons, the aim is to remain with four day long events, with modern America's Cup-style courses with reaching starts and finishes and other race formats tailored to provide maximum enjoyment and thrill factor for crews. The larger race areas provided by the GC32 Racing Tour provide ample runway for the foiling catamaran to reach maximum speed, as well as increased safety while racing.

Optimum conditions and less sub-10 knot 'marginal foiling' conditions should also make it easier for newcomers to get to grips with the foiling GC32 catamaran.

The finalised dates and venues for the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour will be announced over the next few weeks.

The first new team to announce its participation on the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour is Team Tilt from Switzerland. Created in 2002 by Alex Schneiter, Team Tilt is best known for its results on Lake Geneva, where it is a two time Champion in the 8.53m M2 catamaran circuit and has also won Switzerland's top sailing event, the Bol d'Or Mirabaud three times on board its canting keel Psaros 40. Team Tilt's biggest success came this season when it not only won the Bol d'Or Mirabaud on its D35 catamaran but also the 2015 D35 Championship, against Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour competitors Alinghi and Spindrift racing.

The team is also no stranger to foiling catamarans having developed its own boat, Syz & Co, at 10.8m long, a little longer than the GC32.

For The Record
The World Sailing Speed Record Council announces the the establishment of a new benchmark time.

Route sailed: Murmansk to Bering Strait via the Northern Sea Route.
Yacht: "China Quindao". 30 metre Trimaran.
Name: Guo Chuan CHI and 3 crew
Dates: 3rd to the 15th September 2015
Start time: 13;41;00 on 03/09/15
Finish time: 16;49;15 0n 15/09/15
Elapsed time: 12 days 3 hours 8 minutes and 15 seconds
Comments: There has been no previous attempt.

John Reed
Secretary to the WSSR Council

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 Lindsay May: Transat Jacques Vabre

Am I becoming a cranky old man or simply out of step with modern yachting. We questioned yacht integrity with the Sydney Hobart race in the early 80s and then after the tragic 1998 race with structural and equipment failures that resulted in positive and safe changes to every aspect of ocean racing.

After just a few days of difficult conditions in the Transat we have carnage amongst the race fleet with 9 out of the race so far.

With 5400 miles to sail, is it fortuitous that all this drama occurred within a short distance of port or helicopter range.

I admire every short handed sailor knowing the conditions and eventualities they may face, but do we really expect the world to take us seriously when 9 of the best falter after a few fays of strong wind and confused seas.

In one years time some of these sailors will be hurtling around the globe. I hope that I don't have to again defend our sport if the Australian Navy are called upon to rescue them from the Southern Ocean.

Featured Brokerage
Extreme 40 Fleet for Sale Extreme 40 Racing Catamaran Marstrom Composites 2009
Length: 40'
Hull Material: Composite
Current Price: On application

With the Extreme Sailing Series™ adopting a new boat for 2016, there is a unique opportunity to purchase a fleet of up to 10 Extreme 40 catamarans as a set, or individually, that are priced to sell.

Superfast, exciting to sail and to watch, the Extreme 40 catamaran was developed by TornadoSport in 2005 to bring sailing to the public on short courses in stadium settings.

Built in carbon-fibre, these "flying machines" are 40ft long and have a beam of 23ft. They have a top speed of around 40 knots. Complete with sails, shipping container, with spares and road container negotiable, these well-maintained boats could offer excellent corporate entertainment or activation around another race campaign.

Available from mid-December to ship from Europe/Australia/GCC.

Please contact

The Last Word
Being a Mets fan is like lending someone a lot of money and you just know that you'll never get paid back. -- John Oliver

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

Search the Archives

Phoca Gallery Search
Search - Categories
Search - Content
Search - News Feeds
Search - Web Links

Our Partners

Seahorse Magazine

Wight Vodka

Robline Ropes


Ocean Safety

Yacht Club Monaco

St Thomas YC

Grenada Sailing Week

Antigua Sailing Week