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

Tell us your favourite bar, the seventh annual Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar competition in on!

Toulon To Host Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series In September
France will host the fifth Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series event of 2016 in September when racing comes to the Mediterranean city of Toulon.

Located between Marseille and St Tropez, Toulon will host the best sailors in the world, racing foiling, wing-sailed catamarans, on September 10-11, 2016.

"Toulon will be the third European city to host the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, and is the only stop on the Mediterranean," confirmed Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America's Cup.

"We are expecting a passionate reception for Franck Cammas and Groupama Team France, and indeed all the competitors, as the series builds towards the 2017 America's Cup racing in Bermuda."

"It is tremendous to have a chance to demonstrate to French fans what this new America's Cup racing is all about," said Franck Cammas, the skipper of Groupama Team France.

Building on the opening three events in 2015, the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series calendar for 2016 is now nearly complete:

February 27-28 in Muscat, Oman
May 7-8 in New York, USA
June 11-12 in Chicago, USA
July 23-24 in Portsmouth, England
September 10-11 in Toulon, France

Two additional events are expected: one in Asia in November 2016; and all six competitors have now unanimously agreed to add an additional Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series regatta in the first quarter of 2017.

Three Way Race For Best Yachting Bar
Candy Store After just a few days of voting, it's a present a three way race with nearly 6000 total votes... Leading is The Candy Store of Newport Rhode Island (pictured at right), followed closely by Plas Heli in Wales, and third is held by Pier View in Cowes.

Read about Wight Vodka's close ties to sailing in The Yacht Market's interview with Dan Hiza.

"Over the years we have had such great partnerships with companies from Sunseeker to J/Boats, where we deliver a bottle of Wight and a customized Wight Vodka cap to winning crews. We also support regattas that are hosted or organized by the yacht clubs that feature Wight Vodka behind their bars here in the UK.

In addition to regattas, by far one of our favourite competitions to run is the World's Favourite Yachting Bar competition, which has gone rather bananas with the numbers of people voting each year. In 2014 one of our favourite pubs here on the south coast won, the King & Queen in Hamble, and when we rang the owner on New Year's Eve to announce she came in first, the cheers were quite loud coming down the phone!"

Voting continues until December 30th:

Dubarry Ultima - Quality Always Lasts
Dubarry Ultima It's amazing to think how sailing has changed since Dubarry started making boots in 1937. The first marina arrived in the 1930s but there were no plastic boats to park in it before the 1940s. There was no yacht radar before the 1950s, nor auxiliary diesel engines before the 1960s, also when polyester sailcloth ousted linen and cotton. The 1970s brought instrumentation and the 1980s saw Decca come and go as GPS stole the show. Oiled canvas gave way to PVC, which yielded to GORE-TEX. Much indeed has changed, yet one thing has stayed the same: nothing signifies a confident, experienced, discerning yachtie like a pair of Dubarry boots.

Developed as a more luxurious, classical and traditional interpretation of the legendary Shamrock, on which the company's reputation was built, the Ultima is Dubarry's flagship boot. Its sole delivers award-winning, sure-footed grip. Its GORE-TEX liner is waterproof and breathable to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its Dry-Fast-Dry-Soft water-resistant leather weathers with grace and distinction, recording every nautical mile of your experience in the gentle, tanned folds of its sumptuous hide. It's clearer than ever that, though times may change, quality always lasts.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

Luck Is A Fortune Four Days Out
Four days out from the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is pretty confident it knows what will happen on day one, but the weather models are still all over the place for the following days, leaving navigators guessing.

In short, the first night of the NSW coast is going to be very tough for everyone. Whether the following day gets even tougher, or it turns into a rather more pleasant sail across Bass Strait, depends entirely on when, where and for that matter, if a Low develops off Tasmania on Sunday.

Speaking at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia this morning, the Bureau's Michael Logan said he expects the race to start in a freshening nor-easter, which should build throughout the afternoon until the fleet runs into a strong southerly change, with winds of 25 to 35 knots.

"It will be very choppy, wet and uncomfortable for the crews Saturday night," Logan said. There is still uncertainty about how quickly the front will move up the coast - it is could come earlier, or a bit later - but it is going to come.

The million dollar question is: what comes after?

And the various models forecasters and navigators rely on just can't agree on that one. Some show a big Low developing in the Tasman Sea east of Tasmania. Depending on where it is, that Low would stretch the southerlies out for an extra 24 hours and make them even stronger in Bass Strait. Some of the models are suggesting winds of 40 to 50 knots.

But other models show no Low at all, predicting the polar opposite of light winds off Tasmania on Sunday.

Weather briefing:

Brad Butterworth Confident Despite Rugged Predictions
Brad Butterworth will return to the Sydney to Hobart race with confidence, despite predictions it could be the most dangerous since the deadly 1998 race with gale-force winds expected in Bass Strait.

Butterworth will skipper Rambler 88 this year, for the first time since the tragic 1998 race that saw six people die, 55 sailors rescued, and five boats sink in an exceptionally strong storm.

The four-time America's Cup winner says he feels safe onboard the newer boats, with technology having improved drastically since he raced on Larry Ellison's Sayonara.

"I wasn't that keen to do it again," Butterworth told Radio Sport.

"I guess that boats have changed a lot since then.

I've been working on a new project for an American gentleman and the boat's called Rambler 88. He wanted to compete in the Hobart so I said 'yep, sure, why not'.

Butterworth expects a fast race, saying: "The actual routing for the race is looking like one and a half days which is a very fast speed for 630 miles."

Mount Gay Round Barbados Series Anniversary 2016 Regatta Countdown
Bridgetown, Barbados: As preparations to mark the 80th anniversary of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January 2016), and to commemorate 50 years of independence for Barbados continue, islanders have welcomed the first overseas race teams into Bridgetown.

The 33m Brigantine - Tres Hombres - and her team of loyal supporters to the event were first to moor up in the Shallow Draft harbour, but so far the biggest head-turner is the MOD70 trimaran - MS Barbados (Concise 10). Ned Collier Wakefield and team arrived last week from Grenada, having just completed the RORC Transatlantic Race. The multihull is a now moored up in the Careenage in the centre of Bridgetown and is already proving to be a huge attraction.

The success of the event's re-launch two years ago, where a new race format and more record-breaking opportunities were introduced, this Caribbean season opening regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay, is starting to attract quality international entries to add to its already competitive local fleet. To support growing interest in the event and to accommodate visitors, a new 34-berth marina, with immigration clearance facilities, has just been completed in an area known as the Shallow Draft.

Other exciting entries lined up to take part in the 2016 event include fellow RORC Transatlantic Race competitors MOD70, Phaedo3 and Ms Barbados Concise 8 (Class 40), plus a host of other top class racing machines including Maximizer (Farr 72), Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), and Good Job Guy (Wally 60).

Adrienne Greenwood Discusses World Sailing's Global Perspective
When we are out sailing most of us simply think about the fun we are having. If we do think past just enjoying being on the water we are unlikely to think about what it takes to maintain the health of, and interest in, the sport itself. Or, more importantly, of how we develop and accelerate the growth of sailing across all the world's continents. Growth that will in the end make the sport we love even stronger. Whose role is it then to take on the task?

The lead role in developing sailing and increasing participation sits with the international body comprised of affiliated continental and regional entities and member national authorities (MNAs). To fulfil our own constitutional requirements and meet the expectations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the international body must provide a structure and mechanism for the sport to grow - more countries, more participants, continuing Olympic status.

As a facilitator World Sailing (formerly ISAF) has established some excellent development programmes over the years including the Emerging Nations Program. However, using the wide-ranging suite of development tools within its resources, World Sailing now needs to reinvigorate some areas and ensure its programmes remain sustainable and also effectively targeted for the very diverse needs of sailing and sailors worldwide.

Full article in the February issue of Seahorse:

Miami To Havana Race
In the past year, SORC competitors have raced to the Bahamas in the Nassau Cup Race, Key West in the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, and to Jamaica in the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, yet the crown jewel sitting geographically between all of those terrific winter racing destinations, Cuba, remained out of reach. This changed on December 17, 2014, with the words "Good afternoon. Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.". American sailors are once again allowed to legally race to Cuba. SORC distributed a survey, asking various questions about a potential race to Cuba, and developed this race based on the responses.

The result is the Inaugural Miami to Havana Race, starting on February 10, 2016, just south of the Miami harbor entrance. Host Coral Reef Yacht Club has a long history of association with both the former SORC "Southern Circuit" regatta and the current SORC race management team. Similarly, Cuban sailors were a big part of the old Southern Circuit, with Luis Vidaña's Criollo crowned the Overall Winner of the series in 1957. Havana played a big part of the the Circuit, with the first St. Petersburg to Havana Race in 1930 and last in 1959. We now renew our ties with our sailing neighbors, first with the Miami to Havana Race, the final race of the Islands in the Stream Series, and then on February 14, with a coastal race along the Malecon, with local junior sailors assigned to each boat.

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 Euan Ross: It's good to see the Super 12 is up and running and also to be honest something of a surprise. Back in 1966 and again in 1969, David Boyd and Jim Ferrier of Robertson's Yard in Scotland proposed one-design 8 Metre designs to be constructed in fibreglass. Above the water-line, the second of these proposals looks more or less identical to the new Super 12. The underbody, of course, was of its time and looks a bit like Intrepid.

Unfortunately, neither 8 Metre O.D. project got off the ground. They would have been super match-racing boats and a game-changer in relation to developing our match-racing skills.

David Boyd's Piper Class O.D. is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. We are marking the occasion with a book to cover Boyd's life and work and recount the story of the Pipers. These small heavy displacement day-sailers carry large overlapping genoas and were designed to replicate the handling characteristics of contemporary metre-boats in an affordable package. Boyd was concerned that British crews didn't have the skills to sail a 12 Metre upwind in a chop. This was especially evident in 1964.

We look forward to the spectacle of fully-crewed yachts racing hard in Super 12s in San Francisco Bay. As Bob Fisher has said, big genoas and symmetrical spinnakers create a meaningful spectacle that sailors can relate to. We will be able to see and understand what the guys are doing to make the boats go. The new yachts will turn faster than the old ones so that tacking will be especially athletic and there will be human drama down-wind aplenty. I'll miss the design development, but I guess you can't have everything.

* From Alistair Skinner : It would be interesting to see in a reader's poll who supports Russell Coutts vision of the America's Cup and who sides with Bob Fisher.

There are multiple foiling classes around these days but only one America's Cup. I for one would throw my lot in with 'The Fish'. Match racing in multis - give me a break!

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The world famous J/V designed, and Goetz built NUMBERS is now for sale.

From the bottom of the lifting keel to the top of her Southern mast there has been no expense spared to allow her crew to do nothing else but win sail boat races. From Sardinia, to Newport, from Key West to Marblehead, there is not a regatta that she has competed in that she has not brought home silverware.

She comes complete with everything that is needed to keep on winning from her shipping cradle to her 40 foot container full of spare gear.


Greg Tawaststjerna at +1 410-267-9419

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The Last Word
I'm gonna put a curse on you and all your kids will be born completely naked. -- Jimi Hendrix

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