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

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LMAX Exchange Wins Race 4 Of The Clipper Race To Sydney
LMAX Exchange has crossed the finish line in Sydney, taking line honours in Race 4, after 2,088 nautical miles from Albany through the Southern Ocean on the Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup. It crossed the line at 1901 AEDT/0801 UTC, December 12.

LMAX Exchange had a 35 nautical mile lead on a chasing pack of three yachts fighting it out for the remaining two podium places, with GREAT Britain edging ahead of Garmin today and seven nautical miles currently separating the boats.

During Race 4, LMAX Exchange took the maximum 17 points on offer by also winning the Ocean Sprint (two points) and Scoring Gate (three points).

LMAX Exchange French crew member Cathy Lorho is from Sydney and has now realised her dream of sailing half way round the world into her home port.

She said: "I am so happy because I was born in Brittany, France, and I always dreamt of sailing across the world like the first people leaving home forever to come to Australia. This was my dream and it has come true.

"I migrated to Australia 15 years ago and Sydney is home, although I still have a French accent. It was fantastic to sail into Sydney Harbour this evening and see the Harbour Bridge and Opera House and reflect on the journey since leaving London.

The Australia leg consists of three races; the first started in Albany, WA to Sydney NSW on 1 December following races from London, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town.

The second is the famous bluewater classic the RSHYR on Boxing Day 26 December.

Third and finally on 2 January the fleet heads to Airlie Beach, gateway to the picturesque Whitsundays.

The teams will have to cross the infamous Bass Strait a total of three times. After Australia the race heads for Vietnam, China, USA, Panama and back to Europe, finishing in London on 30 July 2016.

Transat St Barth / Port-La-Foret: Paul Meilhat Awaiting An Airlift By Helicopter
Late morning this Monday 14 December, Paul Meilhat was seriously injured during a manoeuvre. At the time, IMOCA60 SMA was sailing downwind under mainsail alone and two reefs, around twenty miles to the south-west of the Azores archipelago, in 50 knots of wind and 8 metre waves. Paul immediately contacted his team to alert them about the incident: he has pain in the ribs, the hip and the right leg.

Race Management for the Transat Saint-Barth / Port La Forêt and the MRCC in Ponta Delgada (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) were alerted straightaway. Initially, Paul and his team decided to find 'shelter' for the boat in the lee of the island of Sao Miguel.

At 15:30 GMT, when Paul confirmed that he was having considerable difficulty moving himself around the boat, the emergency services were triggered. The patrol boat from the Portuguese navy, Viana Do Castelo, heads to the zone. However, the weather conditions are such that it is not possible to envisage an airlift by helicopter or a vessel to come alongside in the immediate future.

SMA is currently barepoled and is drifting offshore at around 6 knots, escorted by the navy patrol boat, which will remain alongside him throughout the night. Paul is in permanent contact with his team and with the medical department in Lorient, Brittany.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, once the low currently plaguing the zone around the Azores has shifted over to the East, the weather conditions will improve and Paul can be airlifted by helicopter. SMA's team is on its way and will be in Sao Miguel at around lunchtime local time tomorrow, Tuesday.

Just Launched . . . . J/Boats' New 36' Sport Cruising Yacht
J122E The J/112E is the newest addition to J Boats' "E" series of sport cruising yachts. The "E" is for evolution in performance cruising design.

Why settle for anything less than sailing where and when you want to in comfort, style and speed?

With a spacious two-cabin layout, a comfortable cockpit and speedy hull shape, the J/112E is as well suited for the family cruise as she is sprinting across the finish line.

The J/112E makes her UK debut at the London Boat Show January 8-17 followed by Boot Dusseldorf January 23-31. See J/112E pix here!

To learn about the entire E range please visit

Nomad IV Wins RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy
Nomad IV Maurice Benzaquen's French Pogo 1250, Aloha crossed the finish line of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2015 at 22 hours 23 mins and 07 secs UTC on Sunday 13th December 2015, to take second place overall in IRC.

After well over 15 days at sea, the crew of four Bretons were just over two hours outside the overall lead after IRC time correction. Maurice Benzaquen has sailed with the legendary French sailor, Eric Tabarly and his three crew; Philippe Foucher, Gwen Kerisit and David Alexandre have all been skippers for Tabarly. The four men have hundreds of thousands of sea miles of experience, but they have never sailed together for an Atlantic crossing.

Aloha's celebrated arrival in Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina means that just one boat remains at sea, Chris Frost & Elin Haf Davies J/120, Nunatak. At 1200 UTC on Monday December 14th, the Two-Handed team had until just under 24 hours to complete the race to take the overall lead after IRC time correction, but with 540 miles to go, that is an impossible scenario.

Jean-Paul Riviere's Finot Conq 100, Nomad IV will be awarded the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy on December 18th. Chris and Elin are still pushing Nunatak hard, the incentive is to make the prizegiving and at their current speed, they will achieve that.

A New Record For IDEC Sport
Jules Verne Trophy - Francis Joyon's entered the Pacific Saturday morning and in so doing set a new record for crossing the Indian Ocean, which is currently being ratified by the WSSRC: six days twenty three hours and four minutes. Until now, no boat had managed to cover this stretch in less than eight days. This new record follows the one they set between Cape Agulhas and Cape Leeuwin on Thursday evening.

IDEC Sport has smashed by more than one day (one day, five hours and thirty one minutes) the record set by Spindrift, less than two hours earlier. Yann Guichard's crew crossed this same longitude at 0839hrs UTC on Saturday morning after spending eight days and four hours and thirty five minutes on this stretch.

IDEC Sport is the only boat to have sailed between South Africa and Australia in less than six days (less than five and a half), but she is also the only boat to have spent less than seven days crossing the whole of the Indian Ocean.

Heading West Once Again
Spindrift 2 is now on the return journey having crossed at midday on Monday the 180-degree meridian or the antemeridian, which is literally on the other side of the world. The meridian also marks the International Date Line, which gives Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their crew a second 14th of December.

The conditions that lie ahead for the trimaran are not straightforward: light and unstable winds due to a system at 60 degrees South that is moving up to the North East. Whilst Spindrift 2 is sailing on a slightly northerly course, to avoid the ice on the shorter southerly route, a lot can yet happen. There are some complicated choices to be made and tense moments ahead for the Pacific crossing.

Day 23 - 16h30 GMT
306.1 nm behind the current record holder
Distance covered from the start: 15,126.6 nm
Average speed over 24 hours: 24.4 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 585.3 nm

Live tracking:

138 And Counting...Entries Climbing For 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week
Quantum Key West Race Week 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 organized: 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.

One design classes include the following: Melges 24's (16 entries), J/70's (38 entries), J/80's (5 entries), Farr 280's (5 entries), J/88's (8 entries), C&C 30's (11 entries), J/111's (9 entries), and J/122's (2 entries).

Among the handicap classes, IRC 0, 1 and 2 have thus far attracted 15 committed entries, and the three new class offered at this year's event are also gaining interest: ORC Club (14 entries), Multihulls (2 entries) and Performance Cruisers (7 entries).

Besides providing the best in race management on the water, organizers from the Storm Trysail Club will enhance the shoreside experience for all entries with afternoon seminars, evening prizegivings and social events, and full logistic support through their partners and vendors on the unique ambience offered by time spent in Old Town Key West.

For more information and to enter 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week, visit

First Reference Time For Sailing Lands End To John O'groats
Phil Sharp, Sean Conway and Alex Alley crossed the finish line of the Length of Britain Sailing Challenge off John O'Groats in the north of Scotland at 2047hrs and 15 secs this Monday evening to set the inaugural reference time for sailing the 620Nms from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Sailing a Class 40 racing yacht their elapsed time for the passage is 3 days, 11 hours, 52 minutes and 15 seconds, averaging 7.39kts.

The trio left Land's End at 0855hrs on Friday morning and enjoyed strong favourable winds until they reached the NE of Ireland but since yesterday late afternoon and evening they have had light winds which have been against them today.

Sharp, 34, from Jersey won the 2006 Route du Rhum Transatlantic race and set up this Length of Britain challenge as a timely short spell of training for the solo Vendee Globe race round the world in which he intends to compete, starting 6th November next year.

When he completed the challenge this evening Sean Conway became the first person ever to have run, cycled, swum and now sailed from one end of Britain to the other.

Problems Loom Over 2016 America's Cup World Series Land Use
Preparations for next summer's [Portsmouth] America's Cup World Series have come under fire amid claims organisers haven't gained permission over the size of the event site in the city - despite having already issued thousands of tickets for the spectacle.

Portsmouth City Council culture boss Linda Symes said at a public meeting yesterday that event bosses shouldn't have gone public with a map detailing how the visitor arenas across Southsea Common would look when the authority has yet to agree to their demands.

The council had signed a two-year deal with organisers Team Origin for the use of Southsea Common for the event, featuring Portsmouth-based sailing team Land Rover BAR and Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie.

Yet bosses have decided to change the layout of the event and put on a new pay-to-enter race village around Southsea Castle while making the common a free-to-view area with no restrictions separate to the main event site - a move that still needs approval.

And The News understands the council has big concerns over the proposed layout - and fear visitors to the common will feel alienated while paying customers in the race village and grandstand spectators would be able to enjoy a raft of benefits. -- Miles O'Leary

Not Sailing But Very Cool
A website as serious as Ferrari Formula 1.

Scuderia Ferrari garage. Have at hand a good set of headphones and a great big monitor, is your humble narrator's well considered advice.

And an hour to kill.

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 Don Street: re: Annapolis YC fire.

A Christmas tree, the same thing happened twenty or more years ago St Francis YC, again Christmas tree, but in that case the whole building burned down and a couple of members were killed.

In the fall of 1956 American YC and two or possibly three (memory not perfect) Yacht Clubs on the Western Long Island Sound burned down!!!

In the Memoirs of Linton Rigg, (founder of the Out Islands Regatta in the Bahamas, and the Carriacou regatta in the Grenadines), assembled from notes found after he died, Linton Rigg tell the story of how he almost burned down NYYC, fire caused by smoldering cigarette butt thrown in discarded papers. Luckily he was able to put the fire out before it spread and destroyed the Club.

Thank God no smoking in the club today.

Old wooden YC buildings burn fast once a fire starts!!!! Install smoke detectors and fire alarms everywhere!!!!!

* From George Morris: What a splendid event the Extreme 40 was. For those with time on their hands it was an absolutely splendid way of watching yacht racing on the telly. But why the title 'Extreme'? Most of the races during the year took place in drifting conditions and when this w/e the wind did pipe up to what most of us would regard as sporty but not unsailable the racing was cancelled in the interest of 'soifty'. How often, I wonder, will the new boats actually foil?

Are there any improvements that could be made to the event? Well, I would greatly appreciate making the YouTube full replay easier to find. Not all of us are in a position to watch an event on the other side of the world live and rely on the replay (TV 'on demand' in the jargon). All too often one stumbles on the result of the day's racing before one has found the video. This is partly because the video is indexed under 'live', which, by definition, it is not. Could we have the time when the replay will be available listed somewhere?

And why, when the between races coverage is heavily laced with archive footage of capsizes and tedious interviews are the post race replays played so fast? Twenty minutes or so are available to digest the previous race - why not use it?

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A high performance cruiser with good interior!



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