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

Best Yachting Bar Voting Open!
From now until December 30th you can vote for the Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar for 2015. We've picked our top ten from dozens of submissions.

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Transat Saint-Barth / Port-La-Foret
Fabrice Amedeo, skipper of the IMOCA60 Newrest - Matmut, finished 2nd in the Transat St-Barth / Port-la-Foret, the 3rd event of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship 2015-2016, crossing the finish line on Saturday 19 December, at 14h 57mins 42secs GMT.

It was his first ever solo transatlantic race in IMOCA60. When he left St Barths some 14 days ago, Fabrice Amedeo knew he wouldn't be able to play the same strategic cards as Sebastien Josse, Paul Meilhat, Morgan Lagravière or Thomas Ruyant. Deprived of a large gennaker (headsail) he had to very quickly opt for a southerly course, which meant he was unable to hook onto the first low in the North Atlantic.

In so doing, he managed to successfully make the most of what his trajectory had to offer. In the gales of the second week of racing, and again after his rudder damage, he valiantly fronted up to the situation.

In an exceptional performance, Ireland's Enda O'Coineen aboard his IMOCA 60 Currency House Kilcullen completed the podium.

Currency House Kilcullen crossed the finish line off the Breton harbour at 13:19:55 (Sunday, 20th December), with a race time for the 3375 mile course of 13d 22h 19min 55s. In fact O'Coineen was forced to start the race just over a day later than the rest of his competitors after his boat experienced problems with her engine's saildrive unit. As a result the actual elapsed time for Currency House Kilcullen's passage across the North Atlantic was 12d 21h 49m and 55s, less than the 12d 23h 57m and 42s time of second placed Fabrice Amedeo who arrived yesterday on Newrest-Matmut.

Westerly Marine To Build Super 12 Yachts
Westerly Marine in Orange County will build the new class of yachts to be sailed in the Super 12 Cup beginning in July 2017 on San Francisco Bay.

The Super 12s are a modernized, one-design version of the venerable 12 Meters that were used in the America's Cup from 1958-1987.

The Super 12 Cup, also known as the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge, was founded by former America's Cup executive Tom Ehman.

Some in the sailing community have doubted whether Ehman could pull off the regatta, which he plans to run annually.

"This makes it real," Ehman said Friday. "For the prospective owners, the organizers in San Francisco who are beavering away, to now actually have a design that's rapidly progressing, to have a boat company of considerable repute, this makes it all real. It's a big step.

"Prospective teams have been waiting for this and now they see what the boat's going to look like, where it's going to be built and what it's going to cost," he said.

Ehman hasn't announced any teams yet. He said each 65-foot boat will cost just under $2 million. That's down from the original estimate of around $3 million. Sails will be extra. -- Bernie Wilson, AP

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:

IDEC Sport Back At Record Pace
In less than 24 hours, Francis Joyon and his crew of five turned things around again in terms of the Jules Verne Trophy record time. They have just achieved another success following the one they had off the coast of South Africa, getting back up to the pace set by the record holder, having cut several hundred miles off their losses, which had reached 580 miles on Saturday morning.

With 1200 miles to go to the southernmost tip of South America, IDEC SPORT is looking calmly ahead to the final weather hurdle before they get out of the South and head back into the Atlantic, with a small area of low pressure to deal with 150 miles before the Horn. IDEC SPORT's intermediate time will depend on how they get across this calm patch and whether they "equal of do better than Banque Populaire V," explained Francis Joyon.

At a time when IDEC SPORT is starting to head further towards the east, following the Great Circle Route, the visibility remains above 5 miles meaning that the helmsmen can feel more relaxed. "The seas are a bit rougher," explained Francis, "and the whole of the bow sections are now underwater. It's impossible to go further than the foot of the mast."

Rushing East
Air and water temperature: four degrees Celsius. 33-knot south-westerlies blowing directly off Antarctica. The Southern Ocean atmosphere is back! In just 36 hours since Saturday morning, Spindrift 2 has closed her 473-mile deficit on the world record pace (her largest deficit since reaching the Pacific).

Now, on Sunday evening, Spindrift is more than 100 nautical miles ahead of the current record pace, so has gained nearly 600 miles on Banque Populaire V since Saturday morning, in what was one of the slowest phases of the circumnavigation four years ago for the current record holder.

The crew's current speed is like a festive gift: more than 33 knots over the past 4 hours, after a week of slow sailing on an almost smooth ocean.

* This site has all three (IDEC, Spindrift and Banque Populaire's historical track)

Nunatak Finishes the RORC Transatlantic Race 2015
Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies' J/120, Nunatak crossed the finish line of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2015, just before midnight on 17th December 2015. Nunatak is the only monohull to complete the race with just two crew, taking 19 days on a route of 3,800 miles.

Chris and Elin had always set out to finish the race for the closing party, which they have accomplished; the RORC Transatlantic closing party took place in Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina on Friday 18th December.

Chris Frost is a highly experienced sailor, winning one World and two European Championships in his Swan, and owns the Hamble Boat Centre in Swanwick, Hampshire, UK. Elin Haf Davies, from Bala North Wales only started yacht racing in 2011, but this was Elin's fourth oceanic crossing, albeit not always in a sailing boat!

Elin has previously rowed across the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean and sailed across the Pacific, from China to San Francisco. Elin has also played premiership rugby for London Wasps and won 13 rugby caps for Wales A. For the 2012 London Olympic Games, Elin carried the Olympic Torch through Bangor, North Wales. Her love of sailing came through a meeting with the RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine at one of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's crew parties. He decided to make Elin part of his crew for the Rolex Fastnet Race, which set the wheels in motion for Elin, who is now a member of the RORC.

The two-handed team received a huge welcome at Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina.

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

Historic Belfast Lough Boatyard Lives On Through Classic Yachts
The name of Hilditch of Carrickfergus is synonymous with classic yachts of significant age. John Hilditch built the 36ft G L Watson-designed cutter Peggy Bawn in 1894, and she still sails. In fact, she sails in better shape than ever, as she had a meticulous restoration completed for Hal Sisk of Dun Laoghaire in 2005.

More recently, in 2013 the Hilditch-built Mylne-designed Belfast Lough Island Class 39ft yawl Trasnagh was restored for Ian Terblanche in Devon in time for her Centenary. And in 2015, the Belfast Lough OD Class I Tern - 37.5ft LOA to a William Fife design and built in 1897 with seven sister-ships by John Hilditch - has appeared in Mallorca so superbly restored that when she went on to Les Voiles de St Tropez at the end of September, she won her class despite it being heavy weather, and she only just out of the box.

This concentration of yacht design development in a short time span, and through just one boatyard, is rare but not unique - the great name of Charlie Sibbick of Cowes shone equally briefly but even more brightly at much the same time, as he was a designer too. But Sibbick made his name in an established international centre for sailing. Yet when John Hilditch - who was both a seafarer and a fully-qualified shipwright - established his yard at Carrickfergus on Belfast Lough in the winter of 1892-93, the north of Ireland was still a relative backwater in international sailing terms. Thus his achievement is indeed remarkable. For by the time Hilditch closed down in the winter of 1913-14, he had put Belfast Lough firmly in the global picture as a pace-setter in yacht development, and his pivotal role in that transformation is gaining increasing recognition.

WM Nixon's full article in Afloat

Marine Debris Tracker For The Sailing Community
University of Georgia's Marine Debris Tracker mobile app allows for the collection of global standardized marine debris data at a scale, speed and efficiency that was not previously possible. This project will adapt the app to support the sailing and marine community by allowing users to log debris observed while underway. This project will also engage the sailing community to increase use of the app, and also educate sailors so they understand how they can help address the issue of debris and litter in our oceans and waterways.

With Marine Debris Tracker, it just takes a few seconds to easily report where you find marine debris or litter anywhere in the world... and then prevent it from impacting our oceans.

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 Roger Marshall: re: John Burnie's letter and link:

I raced aboard Morning Cloud for the 1973 season and the Fastnet Race depicted in the link.

John Burnie is incorrect about this particular Morning Cloud being restored. The one depicted in the pictures was the one that sank off the Owers. It was returning from Burnham race week. I was supposed to be part of the crew, but my US visa came through and I had just began work at Sparkman and Stephens when news of the disaster became known.

Indeed, Carina is still around, having been restored and having won a significant number of trophies under the ownership of Reeves Potts.

* From Ginny Jones: The posthumous award to Warren Brown is long over due!

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2013 Botin 65. 2249000 EUR. Located in La Ciotat, France.

Stunning Racer Cruiser from the board of Botin. Extremely fastand comfortable, with a chic interior and very competitive inshore and offshore.


Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679222

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The Last Word
We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict. -- Jim Morrison

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