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
MOD 70s Flying West
The MOD 70s are heading west at alarming speed. Zed 6 is about to have it all on to the north and the IRC fleet is experiencing light winds in the high pressure off the Western Sahara.
Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3, skippered by Brian Thompson, and Tony Lawson's Concise 10/Ms Barbados, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield gybed west as the sunset yesterday. Concise 10 took a more southerly line than Phaedo3, recognising the low pressure system to the south. Phaedo3 responded by gybing further south, giving up precious miles to cover the potential advantage. Phaedo3 still holds the upper hand but Concise 10 are still very much in striking distance.
From onboard Phaedo 3:
Pretty incredible sailing here, 2 MOD70 trimarans tearing across the Atlantic Ocean at 30 knots, spray flying everywhere and long streaks of white wake shooting off our transoms.
It's 'Master and Commander' stuff across the high seas - playing cat and mouse with each other, dodging and fencing as we zigzag downwind. Not to fire cannons and capture each other but to be the first in to Grenada and to have beers ready for the second boat to the finish.
Right now there is just 30 miles between us which is hardly more than an hours sailing,,. so its incredibly close at the halfway mark of the course. We are now 1500 miles from both Lanzarote and Grenada.. Don't look down - its a long way to the bottom!
Conditions are great - 19-23 knots of wind, puffy tradewind cumulus clouds, 2m waves, which we are punching through at 30 knots..
When we first got into these conditions when we gybed at Mindelo in the Cape Verdes it was pretty full on.. Spray everywhere on deck and it was hard to even stand up down below and it was impossible to sleep. But we adapt and now this is the new normal. Water shrieking off the propeller leg, boat jumping around as we bounce from wave to wave, and now we are sleeping fine in our off watch, until its time to go on watch again or we gybe...
We had better be used to it, and this is just what we are going to have for the next 1500 miles, which is a little less than 3 days..
Countdown To The Start Of The 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart
With less than a month to go, the Corinthian and professional teams are putting the finishing touches on their preparations for the 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which will start on 26 December.
With teams from 28 nations competing, the ultimate goal is to win the Tattersall's Cup trophy and take home the engraved Rolex timepiece that will be awarded to the race's overall winner.
It is expected that George David's Rambler 88 which took line honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October, will be a strong contender to win the race, together with Belgian entry Leon which as Courrier du Leon, was the winner of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race.
Returning to Australia again this year for the 2015 edition of the race is Jim Clark and Kirsty Hinze-Clark's 100 foot maxi, Comanche. Following on from their impressive performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race earlier this year, the American team is focussed on their goal to beat the course record and take line honours, having been second over the line in 2014.
In preparation, skipper Ken Read has reduced his crew to 20 star-studded professional sailors, while adding Australian America's Cup winner Jimmy Spithill to the list. Comanche's sights will be clearly set on Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI, the eight time line honours winner which has undergone a radical refit in the last few months. Wild Oats XI currently holds the race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
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: stthomasinternationalregatta.com/regatta/charter-companies/
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 stthomasinternationalregatta.com. 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: www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com, Email , Call: (340) 642-3204.
Happy Birthday Eileen Ramsay - 100 Today!
Eileen Ramsay, the Queen of yachting photography during the 1950s and '70s, is 100-years old today!
She is planning a quiet day at home with a few close friends calling in to share a bottle of Bubbly - or two. I'm very pleased to say that she remains in great form, her mind is as sharp as a pin, and she can remember just about every picture she took over the years. She doesn't do interviews any more, but Yachts & Yachting is running a timely biography in their January issue out on December 9, written by David Henshaw.
Eileen and her trusty Rollie were at the centre of a unique period in yachting history - a time when eccentrics ruled, records were there for the setting, and women were more often to be found in front of the lens. But Eileen established herself as one of the greatest yachting photographers of her time, covering the post-War explosion in dinghy and offshore sailing. These include pictures of the first Enterprises, Fireballs, 505s, GP14s, Mirrors, Ospreys, Optimists and the first British America's Cup 12 metre challengers Sceptre and Evaine.
She also took portraits of famous sailing icons like Francis Chichester and Eric Tabarly, Olympians, Rodney Pattisson and Keith Musto, and historic pictures from the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic (OSTAR) Races. She was the only photographer Chichester allowed on his Gipsy Moth yachts, and she was commissioned to photograph notorious charmers like Uffa Fox and Max Aitken. Eileen recalls now how she had to stave off their amorous advances.
Her unique archive of photographs was saved 4 years ago by PPL Photo Agency which now has more than 1,000 available to view and purchase online at www.pplmedia.com
Did Eileen photograph you or your parent's boat during those years? Her entire archive has been indexed and can be searched on-line by boat name, sail number and event.
ISAF Announces Resignation of CEO Peter Sowrey
The Executive Committee of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) regret to announce the resignation of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Sowrey of ISAF.
Although brief, Peter has worked diligently during the five-months tenure as CEO and has now decided to pursue other challenges suited to his background.
The Executive Committee wishes Peter luck for the future.
One Wonders If This Has Anything To Do With His Resignation
A new round of testing by The Associated Press shows the city's Olympic waterways are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land, where raw sewage flows into them from fetid rivers and storm drains. That means there is no dilution factor in the bay or lagoon where events will take place and no less risk to the health of athletes like sailors competing farther from the shore.
"Those virus levels are widespread. It's not just along the shoreline but it's elsewhere in the water, therefore it's going to increase the exposure of the people who come into contact with those waters," said Kristina Mena, an expert in waterborne viruses and an associate professor of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "We're talking about an extreme environment, where the pollution is so high that exposure is imminent and the chance of infection very likely."
The AP's most recent tests since August show not only no improvement in water quality — but that the water is even more widely contaminated than previously known. The number of viruses found over a kilometer from the shore in Guanabara Bay, where sailors compete at high speeds and get utterly drenched, are equal to those found along shorelines closer to sewage sources.
"The levels of viruses are so high in these Brazilian waters that if we saw those levels here in the United States on beaches, officials would likely close those beaches," Mena said.
* In August:
The head of sailing's governing body threatened Saturday to move all Olympic sailing events out of polluted Guanabara Bay unless the water is cleaner and floating rubbish is removed for next year's Rio Games.
"If we can't get the water to a level, then we'll move it outside [to the Atlantic Ocean] -- for sure," Peter Sowrey told The Associated Press on the final day of an Olympic test event.
Such a move would be an embarrassment to local organizers and the International Olympic Committee. They have said repeatedly the water is safe despite being filled with floating rubbish and untreated sewage that gushes down gullies from hillside favelas.
The IOC** has declined to endorse testing for viruses, which can cause stomach and respiratory ailments that could knock an athlete out of competition.
** Soulless, cash-obsessed cretins. They should all be forced to drink the water they're sending athletes into -- Editor
Two More Ker 40+ Sold By Ancasta As The Fast 40 Gathers Pace
With the recent rapid growth of the FAST 40 fleet in the Solent for 2016, Ancasta was approached by two highly experienced owners each looking for a boat to not only take on the opposition but to dominate them on the water. Looking at on the water performance this year, the Ker 40+ was an obvious choice.
Results from the past five years show British designer Jason Ker very much leaving others in his wake, particularly on the inshore racing scene. The new Ker 40+ has pushed yacht design to new levels, with computing power and particularly CFD adding a more scientific approach. Importantly this allows the boat to be on the pace from the outset.
McConaghy Boats is the leading light in high performance boat building. The level of complexity and accuracy required by these new designs made McConaghy the natural choice to deliver this build.
Andrew Pearce (Magnum - Ker 40) and Jonnie Vincent (Pace - TP52), who have both had McConaghy built boats in the past, are the latest owners to see the worth in the Ker/McConaghy partnership. They follow Sir Keith Mills, owner of the highly successful Invictus.
Andrew Pearce commented 'This is a most exciting project and I am particularly delighted that it is with another Ker/McConaghy project. We achieved so much with the last Magnum and I look forward to even greater success with this.'
Twelve teams have now confirmed for the 2016 FAST 40 circuit, promising some of the most exciting sailing anywhere in the world.
Don't Lose Your Cool
Marlow take the heat out of superyacht running rigging
Ropes manufactured using UHMPE, such as Dyneema, have been widely accepted in grand prix yacht racing and sailing superyachts for many years now. The strength, weight and elongation benefits of Dyneema are widely known and understood; however, as loads increase through larger and more powerful boats, the demands on the ropes grow ever higher. Nowhere is this more keenly seen than with superyacht running rigging.
Counteracting forces and frequent cyclic bending from superyacht captive winches can have serious implication for the lines used. Cover slip, resulting in excess and baggy covers, damages ropes as well as hampering the smooth running of the winches; plus the heat that is generated through internal and external forces can have serious implications for rope integrity. In addition, the very high loads demanded by the enormous pulling power now available and the necessarily high factors of safety can often be at odds with rope diameter limitations dictated by the drums and deck gear.
Full article in Seahorse magazine:
Speeding Towards The Ocean Wilderness
Petrels, albatrosses, a longer and longer swell, and clear skies since the front went over... all these elements noted by Francis Joyon and part of his crew are signs that they are about to enter the vast wilderness of the Southern Ocean. The High parked under South Africa is preventing them from now from taking the traditional route towards the Cape of Good Hope at around 45 degrees south. IDEC SPORT will be joining the Indian Ocean diving right down to the Fifties. The six man crew caught their final glimpse of land this morning as they passed the volcanic islands of Tristan da Cunha.
It was a busy night on the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran. With wind and swell opposed to each other, the route to the Southern Ocean was rather chaotic. The task facing the helmsmen was all the more complicated and worrying. Gwenole Gahinet, one of the rising stars of French sailing, has been discovering all the different facets of this fast race around the world aboard one of the fastest sailing boats in the world. "Watches lasting 90 minutes at the helm quickly tire you with these speeds and cross seas," he declared. "It's mind-blowing, but fortunately IDEC SPORT is a very safe boat, which lets you get away with many mistakes. You have to be careful to avoid getting carried away on a fast-moving wave. We are pushing at 100%, always on the edge of getting into the red zone, which would endanger the mechanical elements on board the boat."
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.
The Last Word
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