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

Matt Bugg Wins 2.4mr Australian Nationals Now For The Worlds
Click on image to enlarge.

2.4 Metre Worlds Local sailing hero Matt Bugg clinched a brilliant victory in the International 2.4mR Australian open championship by winning the final race in grand style on Hobart's River Derwent.

The Worlds are in now firmly in his sight, starting on the river on Thursday, although Bugg is forecasting a tougher contest with the Finnish and British sailors getting to know the Derwent and its vagaries.

Bugg, who is expected to be named as Australia's representative in the sailing at the Rio Paralympics within a few weeks, finished fourth in race six "covering my nearest opponents from Finland". This was his discard race, in any case.

In the final race the Tasmanian won the start and sailed away to his fourth win in the seven race championship. His other placings were two seconds and fourth (his discard). -- Peter Campbell

* British disabled sailor Megan Pascoe heads the leader board after the first three races of the World Open Championship for the International 2.4mR class sailed on Hobart's River Derwent yesterday.

With placings of 2-1-2, the world-renowned young woman sailor has a 10 point lead over her nearest competitor, Tasmanian Matt Bugg, who earlier this week won his sixth Australian championship in the single-handed keelboat class.

Bugg is now in a catch-up situation after a 6-4-5 result yesterday in his bid to win his first world championship in the 2.4mR class, a scaled down version of the old 12-metre class in which John Bertrand won the America's Cup.

Megan just missed out on being chosen to represent Great Britain at the Rio Paralympics while Bugg is expected to be named in the Australian team shortly.

After three races, with up to another six more to be sailed through to Sunday, Pascoe (GBR) has 5 points, Bugg (AUS) 15, Leydon (AUS) 20, followed by Pauli Immonen (FIN) 24, Peter Thompson (AUS) 24 and Niko Saloma (FIN) 25.

Dragon Prince Philip Cup
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WHAT Ten times Prince Philip Cup winner in the International Dragon class, Tasmanian Nick Rogers appears well on his way to another victory in the classic one-design keelboat class.

Excelling on his home waters of Hobart's River Derwent, Rogers yesterday steered Karabos IX to two straight wins on day two, his third first place of the regatta.

It is a remarkable return to racing a Dragon after four years of helming a high-performance SB20 sports boat, but Rogers gave full credit to his longtime Dragon crew, Leigh Behrens and Simon Burrows.

Despite Karabos IX's three wins, only four points separate the first three boats on the Pointscore after four races.

Karabos is on 6 points from a score 1-3-1-1 while Whimsical, steered by 89-year-old Gordon Ingate from Sydney, is on 9 points (2-2-3-2) while West Australian woman skipper Sandy Anderson in Linnea is on 10 points (4-1-2-3).

Ingate's comment after yesterday's racing was: "I'll have to learn to sail in the same ocean as Nick!" However, he did finish just 10 second astern of Karabos IX in race four. -- Peter Campbell

Seahorse February 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

World news
Loick Peyron feels safe (at 30kt), Frederic Denis in his Mini cave, the strong views of Luca Devoti, (Maxi) kit of parts and Key West 2016. Ivor Wilkins, Blue Robinson, Patrice Carpentier, Dobbs Davis

A driver of innovation
Maritime chess... John Rousmaniere looks ahead to the 50th Anniversary Bermuda Race

Kite strings
It will soon be 10 years since we first experienced the 'boosted' string-drop. Mark Wiss

Happy 10th birthday
Merf Owen looks back on 10 years of success for one of the most important offshore classes

ORC column
Shaun Carkeek and Dobbs Davis

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An Audience With World Sailing
15:45 January 8th 2016
London Boat Show Theatre | London Boat Show | ExCel

You are invited to join World Sailing for a 30 Minute interactive discussion on the direction of the sport. With topics to be covered including:

- The Road to Rio
- The Emerging Nations Program
- The launch of new World Sailing website
- World Sailing TV
- World Sailing's new in-house production facilities

Speakers to include World Sailing's Vice President Gary Jobson and Chief Marketing Officer Malcolm Page along with special guests including World Sailing TV Series Editorial Director Matthew Sheahan.

Note this is a media-invited event... but ought to be open. And I suspect ISAF will get an earful from everyone...

New Entrants Boost Growing Field For The 2016 Edition Of The Transat
With the closing date for entries to the 2016 edition of The Transat fast approaching, three new skippers have added their names to the starting roster.

In the competitive Class40 fleet, French skipper Vincent Lantin will take part on board 'Le slip français', while fellow Frenchman Erik Nigon on 'Vers un monde sans sida' will join the now five-strong Multi50 fleet.

The third new skipper to declare is Richard Tolkien who becomes the second British sailor planning to take on the 3,000-mile course across the north Atlantic from Plymouth in the UK to New York City. Tolkien will sail the 1998 Finot-designed IMOCA "44", formerly 'Sodebo' and 'VMI'.

Among high-profile skippers who have entered The Transat 2016 are the IMOCA single-handers Seb Josse on Edmond de Rothschild, Jean-Pierre Dick on St Michel-Virbac, Armel Le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire VIII and Paul Meilhat on SMA. The Ultime class is currently made up of Yves Le Blevec on Actual and Thomas Coville on Sodebo - more to be announced soon.

In hospital following surgery, Class40 skipper Maxime Sorel (V&B) has had to put his Transat preparation on hold. Despite being immobilised for two months, a determined Sorel still has his sights set firmly on The Transat start line and is planning to be in St Malo for the Warm-Up leg: "My Transat preparation has been delayed," he admitted, "but my goal is still a top five position in the Class40s."

Vendee Globe hopeful Paul Meilhat has also had to put his campaign on hold. Rescued from his boat on December 15th following an injury during the Transat St Barts - Port La Foret race, until yesterday Meilhat's new generation IMOCA 60 'SMA' was still to be recovered. The SMA team now have two crew aboard the 60ft monohull and are deciding whether to head towards Ireland or France to asses the damage.

Entries for The Transat are open until January 8th, 2016. Teams interested in entering should contact:

Getting Sailing Club Members In - Instead Of Keeping People Out
It's annual general meeting time and for most sailing clubs one of the big issues will be membership. Some readers and club members may prefer the description 'yacht' clubs, but 'Sailing' was chosen by the national association a few years ago to popularise the sport. Many of the bigger clubs still remain YCs and there is nothing inherently wrong in that, provided that the description doesn't keep potential newcomers away from the sport rather than encouraging them into it.

Exclusivity may be more in the eye of the beholder of clubs these days, from the outside, rather than within the clubs themselves but, whether or not you like it being mentioned, it remains an issue in some places and our sport could do without it.

I remember when Marine Correspondent with RTE being abused by a rather obnoxious member of a Dun Laoghaire waterfront club who emerged from its impressive paladial-like frontage to assail the camera crew and myself who were filming the premises from the roadway and being told by him that we should not be there and should realise the club wished to have privacy from the public. We were there at the express request of the club for coverage of a racing event, but this individual had decided to express his own view of the exclusiveness of sailing. While myself being involved in the sport, I could rather bluntly tell him what to do with his opinion, the camera crew were left with a bad impression of sailing. -- Tom MacSweeney in Afloat

Thank You, Hank Stuart!
Hank Stuart After ten years with the Melges 24 class, the current Championship Coordinator of the International Melges 24 Class Association Hank Stuart announced his retirement this autumn.

Hank has been either the PRO or the Class Representative for every IM24CA continental championship since 2006.

His presence in IM24CA and at the championships has been creating lots of respect and admiration of officers, organizers, sailors and people around the globe. Huge Thank You, Hank Stuart!

Mal Lennon
Police believe a Sydney sailor who fell from a yacht in rough seas off the coast of Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, is dead.

Mal Lennon went missing from his vessel the Amante off Broughton Island as record-breaking rains and strong winds hit the Hunter region on Wednesday.

He is believed to have been returning to Sydney on the 36 cruise racer after a race from Pittwater to Coffs Harbour.

A full air and sea search failed to find the 62-year-old and police have now shifted their focus to a recovery search.

Head of the Marine Area Command, Mark Hutchings, said the search was hampered by horrendous conditions.

"Sea conditions were up to six to eight metres with sometimes 50 knot gales," Mr Hutchings said.

Two Incidents Of Armed Piracy Against Sailing Vessels Reported In The Caribbean
United Kingdom: OCC Commodore John Franklin has issued an alert to vessels sailing in waters between Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. In the last 10 days there have been reports of two incidents of piracy against sailing vessels north of Trinidad. Both took place in daylight and involved local (assumed Venezuelan) 18-20 ft pirogues with powerful outboard engines (120-130 HP). Each craft had 5 or 6 pirates aboard, several of them armed with assault rifles and each craft carried a spare powerful outboard and additional fuel in barrels.

In each case the sailing vessel was boarded by armed pirates and the boat ransacked for valuables. Stolen items included cash, passports, boat papers, cell phones, watches, computers, other electronics and clothing. Fortunately, there were no injuries or loss of life. Reports of each incident as well as a report of a meeting of the YSATT which contains Coast Guard advice on communications and passage planning can be found on the OCC Forum.

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 Jim Champ: A devil's advocate view...

As I survey all the righteous outrage, I wonder if a better response from ISAF/WS would be to ditch national flags and the rest of it at the youth events? When I look at the wider news the world does not appear to need more petty nationalism, and for *all* to compete simply as citizens of one world might just be a good message.

* From Dr. Frank Newton: Re the exclusion of youth sailors. We should remember the kettle calling the saucepan black.

Many years ago I was on RYA Council and working in a racing sub committee. At the time RYA would not sanction the entry of competitors from South Africa. Excluding some competitors from their chance to display their prowess. I think I recall correctly that when the Finn Gold Cup was held at Whitstable there was an instruction from on high that the East German flag should not be displayed, only that of West Germany.

I think we got round this by displaying both but with each at the opposite end of the row of flags. No one noticed!

Any exclusion of any competitor on any grounds provides scope for indignation in others, righteous or otherwise, but it is the competitor who suffers.

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The Last Word
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. -- Rumi

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