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

Wild Swings At Para World Sailing Championships
Vigilance and strict observance was required on the fourth day of racing at the Para World Sailing Championships being held out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia.

With severe conditions forecast for the late afternoon, the race committee brought the starting time forward to 11:00 in an effort to beat the weather. Sailors from 31 nations racing in the three classes selected for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games were expecting a tough day and that is what they received.

Racing on all three courses began in wind strengths of eight to ten knots from the west. All crews noticed wild swings in wind direction. It was a day when crews had to be more observant than usual and ensure that they stayed in sync with the wind direction. Those who failed to do so paid a terrible price.

American Dee Smith had a field day in the 2.4mR fleet today, emerging with first and third placings. Although Frenchman Damien Seguin failed to make the top six in race 7, he won race eight to remain in contention, with countryman Kevin Cantin second. The fleet was spread over the whole of the last leg in the last race, an indication of the difficulty many competitors had in reading the breeze.

Seguin leads on 16 points, Germany's Heiko Kroeger has 21 with Australia's Matt Bugg on 33.

It was a case of "beware the wounded Frenchman", after the crew of Eric Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary were disqualified from race seven. Penalised by the on-course jury for pumping on the downwind leg, they responded with a one turn penalty instead of two and suffered the consequences. A determined crew started strongly on race eight and were never seriously challenged to take a decisive win.

The penultimate day of competition will kick off at 13:00 on Wednesday 2 December.

Successful Operation For Franck Cammas
The orthopaedic surgery department at the University Hospital Hotel Dieu in Nantes, France, operated on a double Tibia-Fibula fracture early evening yesterday and Franck Cammas will begin his rehabilitation in January 2016.

Undergoing surgery lasting several hours in the latter half of the afternoon, Franck Cammas was reassured by the doctors when he came round: he will not lose the use of his foot; the arteries, nerves and tendons are unaffected.

Though the continuation of the challenge set by Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson with Groupama Team France for the 35th America's Cup remains a reality, the same does not hold true for preparations for the Olympic Games, which Cammas has been involved in for the past three years with his co-skipper Sophie de Turckheim. Battling it out with the triple world champions Besson - Riou to secure possible qualification during the World Nacra 17 Championship in Clearwater this coming February, the Lorient-based crew obviously won't be able to defend its chances.

45th BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival: Register Now, Drink Free Later
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:

Clipper Race 4, The Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup Starts
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet has started Race 4, the Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup to Sydney, departing Official Host Port, City of Albany, Western Australia.

The start of the 2,088 nautical mile race followed a Parade of Sail while an aerobatic display was performed overhead with hundreds of spectators seeing the fleet depart.

The Race Start took place in King George Sound in a moderate south easterly breeze at 0700 UTC (1500 local time) today, Tuesday 1 December. First over the line was Mission Performance followed by Garmin and ClipperTelemed+.The fleet then raced round three marks before heading south east.

The race to Sydney is expected to take around 11-14 days to complete depending on the prevailing weather the crew encounter en-route. The arrival window into Sydney is 12-15 December.

The race is sponsored by the Clipper 2015-16 Race Official Timekeeper, British watch company Elliot Brown.

Richard Hart and Juri Saraskin Inducted Into Finn Class Hall Of Fame
Two of the Finn classes longest serving officials were honoured during the prizegiving ceremony at the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand, by being inducted into the prestigious Finn Class Hall of Fame.

Richard Hart (GBR) and Juri Saraskin (EST) join a select group of names that have made an outstanding contribution to the class, in a technical or administrative capacity or on the race course.

Richard Hart has been the Chairman of the Technical Committee since 1989, making him the longest serving official in the history of the class. He retired at the class AGM this week after 26 years service to the Finn Class. He has been involved in the class since 1961 as a sailor and official, with his best result being a third place in the 1965 Finn Gold Cup in Poland. In 1989 he was asked to be Chairman of the Technical Committee and oversaw the modernisation of the class over the next three decades. As a sailor he competed in many Olympic trials during this time and won several British Nationals. After a break, he returned to competitive Finn sailing in 1989 and at 74 years old is still regularly sailing his Finn at his club in Warsash, UK. In 2010 and 2014 he won the Legend category at the Finn World Masters.

Juri Saraskin started sailing in 1952, and since 1962 his life has been intricately connected to the Finn class, initially as a sailor and since 1967 also as a measurer. He was twice Finn Champion of Estonia, in 1968 and 1970, and since 1992 Juri has been the Chief Measurer of the Finn class.

Their names will forever be linked with the strongest class traditions and will be listed on the front page of the International Finn Class Constitution alongside class heroes such as Rickard Sarby (SWE), Paul Elvstrom (DEN), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Gilbert Lamboley (FRA), and Fredrik Loof (SWE).

Old Logbooks Examined For Climate Clues
A researcher is taking a trip into the past in the hope that centuries of old sailing records will shed light on today's changing climate.

The meticulous records kept by old whaling captains and resolute fur traders are a trove of three centuries worth of information on everything from weather and wind to sea ice and animals, said Maribeth Murray.

"All of the ships that travelled had to keep log books and there were certain things that had to be recorded in log books, weather conditions being one of them," said Murray, director of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary.

Three centuries of whaling, sealing and fur traders has left a prodigious trail of records in at least five countries. Murray plans to visit archives in Canada, the United States, England, Norway and Denmark, so she can troll through hundreds of linear feet of documents.

"It's actually quite daunting."

Some data will be unambiguous, such as when and where the sailors first encountered sea ice.

But researchers can't assume that all old thermometers were calibrated the same way - or were even that accurate. And where, on the contemporary Beaufort Wind Scale, do you place the description "a lusty gale?"

Bob Weber in The Record

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image
The international Jury and the public have made their choice. The top 20 pictures will be printed and exhibited during the Yacht Racing Forum, in Geneva. The winners will be celebrated on December 8. More than 1,4 million pages have been viewed on the event website.

The top 80 pictures have been presented on the event website for one month, allowing the public to vote. No less than 194,000 people have visited the website, viewing close to 1.5 million pages.

The votes are now closed and the top twenty pictures - chosen by the public - are being printed in order to be exhibited at the Yacht Racing Forum and allow the delegates from the Forum to vote and select the winners of the "Public Award".

Another ranking has been established by the event's international Jury, for the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image main award.

The winners of both rankings will be announced - and celebrated - during the Yacht Racing Forum in Geneva, on December 7-8.

The top 20 photographers selected by the public are the following:
Christophe Huchet, Jen Edney, Marcos Mendez, Gianluca di Fazio, Gilles Martin-Raget, Charles Marion, Marina Semenova, Rick Tomlinson, Nikos Zagas, Bertrand Duquenne, Jacques Vapillon, Ekaterina Zhilina, Christophe Favreau, Martina Orsini, Luiz Fernandez, Stephan Coppers, Jesus Renedo, Laurens Morel, Ricardo Pinto, Brian Carlin.

New Appointments To Gill
Gill, the technical sailing apparel brand, is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Bennett to lead International Business Development.

Simon joined the Nottingham-based team in November 2015. He has spent over 20 years in the action and watersport industry, having worked previously Sola Wetsuits, Body Glove International and more recently as a brand manager for Pryde UK, where he launched Neil Pryde Sailing. Simon is a keen sailor, having competed at all levels over many years.

Bryan Stewart, Sales and Marketing Director, said: "We are really pleased to have Simon on board here at Gill. He brings a huge wealth of experience from a broad range of watersports and sailing, and I know he's going to be a great addition to our team."

Simon added: I'm delighted to be joining Gill at this extremely exciting period in the brand's long history. Gill remains at the forefront of the marine technical apparel market, and I'm excited at the prospect of working alongside an excellent team both in-house and around the Globe. We're ready to drive the Gill brand to the next level."

In addition, George Kingsnorth has been promoted to the role of UK Sales Manager. George's experience with Gill, the marine industry and wider outdoor technical clothing sector puts him in a great position to oversee all aspects of the commercial operation and manage the sales team in the UK and Ireland.

From the F1 Pitwall to Land Rover BAR
If you wanted a poster child for the potential glamour of a modern engineering career, you'd be hard pushed to come up with a better candidate than Richard Hopkirk. A graduate of Cambridge with a first class MEng degree, he won a scholarship to Harvard where he gathered a 2nd Masters, before joining the McLaren Formula 1 team straight after his academic career.

The kind of ability that Hopkirk had for maths could well have opened lucrative doors in the City, building financial models for hedge funds, but he wanted something more practical. "I like making stuff - as a kid I used to tinker around in my shed and make rubbish contraptions. I love maths and theory, but it's much more stimulating when you're using it to make something." Something like a Formula 1 car, or an America's Cup boat.

Richard Hopkirk joined the team in June as Head of Systems and Analysis. It's a department that didn't exist in Cup teams ten years ago and it speaks volumes to the spectacular increases in computing power that it now ranks as one of the fundamental pillars of performance development.

Full story at

Artisty Afloat
Sincerity is a classic 88-foot ketch that Cantieri Baglietto designed and built in Italy in 1928. Langley captured her graceful lines in motion off St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

Sincerity's interior is still mostly original, of mahogany with bird's-eye maple inlays, and incredibly beautiful, as you would expect from a yacht built in Italy during that period.

Sincerity's interior is still mostly original, of mahogany with bird's-eye maple inlays, and incredibly beautiful, as you would expect from a yacht built in Italy during that period.

Team Brunel Sail In To Saint Lucia To Set A New Arc Course Record
VO65 Team Brunel has broken the ARC Course Record sailing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia in an elapse time of 8d 7h 39m 30s. This is the third consecutive year that the Course Record has been beaten; a year ago, Mike Slade's super-maxi Farr 100 Leopard by Finland took over two days off the previous record set by Caro, a Knierim 65 in 2013. 'Near-perfect' conditions for this year's crossing have seen Team Brunel propelled towards Saint Lucia and into the ARC history books for breaking the record on the rally's 30th edition.

The 15 strong crew on the round the world racing yacht consists of 5 professional sailors and 10 experienced amateurs who were chasing a bucket list adventure and they have not been disappointed! From the day ARC 2015 set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Team Brunel has sprinted to the sun-soaked shores of Saint Lucia, with an average VMG of 13.5kts since the start and top wave surfing speeds of double that at times. Persistent north easterly winds due to the well-established Azores High have allowed them to zig-zag the rhumb line route for much of their crossing. Interestingly, the total distance covered on their transatlantic route is greater than the two previous record holders at 3342NM.

Team Brunel's nearest ARC rivals, Durlindana 3 (ITA) are still some way off reaching their berth in the Marina, and are currently expected to arrive around 20:00 local time on Thursday 3rd December. In the ARC Multihull division, trimaran La Caravelle (FRA) has consistently led the fleet and is expected to arrive on the 5th December if conditions hold.

Featured Brokerage: 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
Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see