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

Bestaven and Brasseur are First Class 40 into Itajai on Le Conservateur
Yannick Bestaven and Pierre Brasseur sailing their Guillaume Verdier designed Le Conservateur won Class 40 in the 5400NMs two handed Transat Jacques Vabre when they crossed the finish line off Itajai, Brazil at 2040hrs and 09secs UTC this Wednesday evening to conclude a long, tense duel with Maxime Sorel and Sam Manuard on the 2015 Manuard designed V and B.

When Bestaven and Brasseur clinched their overall triumph, the runners-up Sorel and Manuard are about 12NMs from the finish line. Third placed Carac Advanced Energies is more than 250NMs behind.

Bestaven and Brasseur win Class40 from a fleet of 14 boats which started on Sunday October 25th from Le Havre. Their elapsed time for the rhumb line, most direct course distance of 5400NMs is 24d 08 hrs 10m 09secs at an average of 9.24kts. In reality they sailed 5963NMs at a real average of 10.21kts.

Their elapsed time is some 3d 10hrs 29m 44s more than the reference time for the course set in 2013 by winners Sebastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye, at 20days 21hrs 41m 25s.

49er and 49erFX Worlds
The qualifying series could not have been more challenging for the teams vying for Gold fleet inclusion, Olympic berths, and Olympic selection.

Starting the day, the teams vying for Olympic berths were huddled at the top of the 49er leaderboard, with 4 out of the top 6 teams looking to qualify their nation. By the end of racing today, 7 nations are looking for the 3 (and possibly up to 5 Olympic berths) with Argentina and Poland both having 2 teams in the hunt.

The real fleet depth in the 49er is on display here in Buenos Aires as only Championship favorites, Burling and Tuke (NZL), are sailing to expectation and at the top of the leaderboard.

Many of the rest of the presumed top 10 had to fight hard, right down to the final race just to make gold fleet with Fletcher/Sign (GBR), Outteridge/Jensen (AUS), Seaton/McGovern (IRL), and Warrer/Thomsen (DEN) all in danger of falling out of the Gold fleet split in the final race of the day. Of the bunch, the Brits and Outteridge proved clutch, with Fletcher/Sign winning the final race while Outteridge/Jensen pulled off two second places to close out the qualifying series.

Ida and Marie have got their "Burling" on as, so to speak, as the Danes dominate day 3 of the 49erFX World Championship.

Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen have won six of the eight qualifying races they have raced so far, leaping out to the lead in this years worlds. They are on a mission to take the final step up the podium here; they lost out in the medal race in 2014 to Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze and settled for silver. The Danish duo were dominant all day today, winning all three races, won by a country mile, and pushing their overall lead to 11 points.

The remaining teams chasing nation qualifying are:
- Norway
- United States
- Singapore
- Ireland
- Argentina
- Croatia
- Canada

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Clipper Teams Brace Against Southern Ocean Storm
After a highly anticipated build up, the western half of the Clipper Race fleet braced against a ferocious Southern Ocean storm in the last 24 hours and has come out smiling. As the front, which brought winds of up to 80 knots, passes to the east, conditions are now easing with maximum gusts expected to be no more than 40 knots.

Five teams have now completed the Ocean Sprint but Derry~Londonderry~Doire continues to hold the fastest time of 17 hours 51 minutes after fourth placed Garmin and fifth placed GREAT Britain,which have faced much lighter winds through the course compared to the leading three boats, recorded respective lapsed times of 24 hours 41 minutes and 24 hours 35 minutes.

Mission Performance, in sixth place, is expected to complete the Ocean Sprint today, while IchorCoal started the sprint this morning at 09:05:59 UTC.

Meanwhile at the front of the fleet LMAX Exchange continues its charge towards Albany with under 700 nautical miles to go to the Warden Whip finish line, followed by Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Qingdao.

World Match Racing Tour Sets Out New Safety Standards With Licensing Clinics
Each and every crewman competing on the 2016 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), including World Championship Events and World Tour Events, will be required to obtain an official M32 Match Racing Licence.

This is principally for safety, but also for insurance reasons, explains Lars Linger, long term Magnus Holmberg trimmer and 2000/01 World Match Racing Tour champion, who is running the intensive three-day training sessions that will culminate in each crewman receiving an M32 Match Racing Licence.

"Match racing in very light catamarans is a new thing," says Linger, who has been racing with Klabbe Nylof's Audi Ultra Sailing Team on the M32 Scandinavian Series. "You can be sailing at 30 knots, so if you don't know what you are doing, you are going to crash. It's like motor racing or go-karts: You need a license to participate. This will teach them how to race these boats in a proper manner so that you don't break them or crash, because sailing at 30 knots is new to everyone. And there are going to be a lot of people entering these regattas..."

Out of Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, the license training will be available until the end of January, by appointment, while in Bermuda it will take place over 5-7 January and 16-18 February.

Typically each of these training periods will be attended by four crews, swapping in and out of two boats. Half of the training will be land-based theory, while the other half will be on the water, when the crews will get to grips with manoeuvring the M32 before they start racing it - upping pace and closeness of contact as they go, all the while with a coach on board.

For more information regarding details about the M32 Match Racing Licensing, please contact Lars Linger at: or +46 700 950 696.

New Trophy To Recognize Top Talent Among Younger Sailors
As a gold-level sponsor of Quantum Key West Race Week 2016, hosted by the Storm Trysail Club, Sailing World Magazine's editorial team announced today the creation of a new trophy to recognize the most outstanding performance of the regatta's youngest team.

"For the sport to be sustainable we need younger sailors engaged at all levels, not just in junior sailing but also at top-tier events such as Key West Race Week," Sailing World editor Dave Reed said. "The intent with this trophy is simple: to recognize owners and teams that provide opportunities for young amateur sailors to keep racing during a period of their lives where they potentially drop out of the sport."

The Sailing World Trophy will be awarded to the best-performing team in any class whose average age of all crewmembers is less than 30 years old.

John Fisher, chairman of Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 on behalf of the Storm Trysail Club, applauded the decisions by Sailing World to encourage participation of up-and-coming sailors at the grand prix level.

"We are thrilled to introduce this new competition and thank Sailing World Magazine for sponsoring a special trophy that recognizes the best young team at Quantum Key West 2016," Fisher said. "The Storm Trysail Club has always believed it is important to give young sailors an opportunity to race at the highest level. The ultimate goal is to grow sailboat racing and the best way to do that is by fostering a lifelong interest in the sport in young people."

Hot Rides For Charter, Win Team Tech Shirts!
St. Thomas International Regatta St. Thomas International Regatta, March 25-27, 2016

Picture yourself holding a prize on the Caribbean's only over-the-water awards podium!"

This is your chance at the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 25-27, 2016. No worries if you can't bring-your-own boat or don't want to sail in a bareboat class. Companies on both sides of the pond have sleek sailing yachts available to charter in St. Thomas.

RegattaCharters.Pro, based in Ibiza, Spain, boasts a choice of a TP 52, Farr 60, Maxi One Design 80, VOR 70, Maxi 100, Shamlor 67, Stimson IRC 42, Saona 44, Swan 46, Swan 56, Swan 65 and Swan 90. OnDeck Ocean Racing in Antigua is chartering its First 40.7, Spirit of Athena (equipped with new carbon main and jib) and Farr 65, Spirit of June by the crew slot and its First 40.7 and Fast 42 by the boat. Contact details available at:

Now, how about a chance to show your team colors on the podium?

"In an effort to encourage early entries, we're offering a chance for teams that register early to win a chance to outfit their crew with customized long sleeved tech shirts with the boats name on the front," says regatta director Chuck Pessler.

Simply register for STIR online at Early registration is only US $250 up until January 31, 2016. On the last day of November, December and January, one entry each month will be selected at random from among all entries to date.

"The earlier you register, the more chances you have to win!' says Pessler.

To date, two Gunboat 60s - Arethusa and Fault Tolerant, nearly a dozen VXOne's, ten home-grown one-design IC-24s and more are registered, with sailors hailing from the Caribbean, U.S., Europe and Australia.

For more info:, Email , Call: (340) 642-3204.

Industry News
Gunboat, a provider of high performance, luxury catamarans, announced today that it had filed for Chapter 11 protection under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Company owner Peter Johnstone reports the decision followed a two year period of adverse business circumstances.

Peter submits this commentary:
In a period of non-stop accolades and introduction of several terrific new models, Gunboat has been quietly struggling behind the scenes for nearly two years. It has been a perfect storm of adverse business circumstances, mistakes, and disputes. A brief summary from my viewpoint/opinion:

- The Chinese built Gunboat 60 series cost Gunboat a fortune to sort out. The Chinese builder has fought its contractual obligations to manage, support, pay and reimburse for the completion, rework and warranty costs. Gunboat felt an obligation to its customers and spent millions out of pocket, which proved to be a huge strain on our resources, focus and productivity.
- The G4 capsize in April, and the recent photo boat collision on a magazine boat test in Annapolis have thwarted sales of this series to date. The investment was made. The return is in the future.
- The abandonment of RAINMAKER by her owner and crew certainly was not helpful to a new series. The Gunboat 55 is a great boat, and it will take time for that word to get out.
- The ramp up of production in North Carolina took longer and cost more.

I am sure our situation will be dissected. As sole owner of the company, these issues are all mine…..I could have overcome maybe 1-2 of these challenges, but certainly not all of these in one short period of time. Today, Gunboat will file for Chapter 11 protection under the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

With the challenges above, there are also positive notes moving forward. The operations have shown a nice turn-around in the past few months. Boats are being built, and we are meeting our plan for operating the business and recovering through the Chapter 11 process.


Yacht Racing Forum: Tom Touber will be the Master of Ceremony for the Risk Management & Safety conference

The inaugural Risk Management & Safety conference will focus on the legal and risk issues around team operations, event organiser liability, construction, sponsor requirements, intellectual property, logistics, surveys and team member contracts.

Chief operating officer for the Volvo Ocean Race, Tom Touber is an Amsterdam native and Naval Architecture student with a strong business world background. Tom used to sit on Brunel International's board; he became a Volvo Ocean Race sponsor in 2000 and never left sailing since then. He also had an aerospace, shipbuilding and automotive business in Germany. Tom is now a consultant for companies adapting to changes.

The Yacht Racing Forum will take place on December 7 - 8 in Geneva, Switzerland.


Long-time Sailing TV portal, (established 2007), advises that its weekly half hour sailing news programme, 'World on Water', will be seen on Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth community TV stations from Sunday, 29 November, with Sydney and Adelaide in the pipeline.

This is the first time that the sport of sailing has had a dedicated, sailing only, weekly news show on commercial TV, and it will be seen multiple times a week.

The show will include a segment for suppliers of products and services to the sailing industry to showcase their companies, and advertisers can book spots to reach this new exclusive yachting audience.

In December, 'World on Water' will feature the Extreme Sailing Series, SOLAS Big Boat Challenge and the Rolex Sydney Hobart on Sydney Harbour, along with the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne. In January it will include the 500 boat Optimist Australian Championship on Botany Bay and the Festival of Sails in Geelong.

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.

Raceboats Only

* From John Burnie: At METS Trade in Amsterdam there has been considerable discussion about the demise of Gunboat - manufacturers of a range of carbon hulled performance cruiser/racer multihulls. As a huge supporter of the Gunboat concept I wistfully remembered something in my past - my support for Norton motorcycles and their late return to serious manufacturing.

They unexpectedly re-emerged and started producing road and race bikes with an innovative rotary engine. With Ron Haslam and Steve Spray getting great results on a JBS sponsored super-bike, I felt moved to invest a considerable sum in a JPS Special sports "road" version. (Click on image to enlarge).

Very few were made - if you try to get one today you can expect to compete against the highest bidders in the world. So if it is any solace to current owners of a Gunboat I trust the paucity of these great yachts will always hold a premium for them. Iconic items are sometimes really worth keeping - despite the odd fact that iconic yachts, unlike cars / bikes as an example, rarely seem to command any such premium.

As for the Norton? I changed it at parity against the first Ducati 916 to hit the UK - I am still bleeding with remorse. (As is my bank manager).

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The Last Word
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