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

International 2.4mr World Championships
Megan Pascoe. Photo by Angus Calvert. Click on image to enlarge.

2.4mr World Championships Despite a collision involving Megan Pascoe (GBR) and a start signal misunderstanding by Matt Bugg (AUS), the two disabled sailors still finished first and second in the World open championship for the International 2.4mR class, which ended on the River Derwent yesterday.

The ten race regatta ended on a warm summer's afternoon in Hobart, with the south-easterly seabreeze of 10-15 knots, gusting to 18 knots, not only cooling conditions but also providing the 31 sailors with ideal racing weather for these small, single-handed one-design keelboats.

Pascoe, a 29-year-old disabled sailor from Weymouth on the South Coast of England, confirmed her new status as 2016 world champion with a second in race nine while Bugg kept up his consistency with a fourth.

However, Pascoe became involved in a minor entanglement with another competitor during race 10 and lost considerable ground taking her 'penalty turns'. She ended up 11th in fleet.

Bugg lost vital time soon after the start when he appeared to hesitate in sailing to windward when an individual recall for a premature start was signalled.

Third place overall went to New Zealand Paralympic sailor Paul Francis who improved his placings as the regatta processed, ending with a net 48 points.

Next sailing for Megan Pascoe has not yet been decided as she just missed representing Great Britain at the Rio Paralympics but for Matt Bugg its soon off to Europe to continue regatta and training to represent Australia at Rio. -- Peter Campbell

Nonagenarian Sailor Fights Back In Prince Philip Cup
Gordon Ingate (right) and his crew, from left, David Giles and Davide Brittain. Photo Peter Campbell. Click on image to enlarge.

Prince Philip Cup Helming a one-design class keelboat such as an International Dragon in blustery winds south-westerly winds of 25 knots plus of wind and a choppy sea can be daunting for many skippers, but not for Prince Phillip winner Nick Rogers and runner-up, nearing 90-year-old Gordon Ingate.

The strong sou'wester came roaring up Hobart's River Derwent midway through yesterday's final race of the Prince Philip Cup catching several crews unprepared as they surfed downwind under spinnakers.

There were several near 'death rolls' and broaches but not Tasmanian Rogers, at the helm of Karabos IX, or Ingate, steering Sydney entry Whimsical were always well in control of their boats.

Karabos IX had virtually won the Prince Philip Cup after Friday's race, and would have confirmed victory by staying ashore yesterday. On the water, only a rare racing rules infringement could cost the Tasmanian crew a Cup victory.

Rogers chose to sail and sail he did, surfing downwind under spinnaker to win the last race by nearly two minutes from Allegra, skippered West Australian Geoff Totterdell, who finished 35 seconds ahead of 89-year-old Gordon Ingate, sailing Whimsical from Sydney.

Ingate, the defending Prince Philip Cup holder, has been sailing Dragons for about 60 of his 89 years, graduating from Vee Jays in Sydney's Mosman Bay.

In a remarkable career, he has represented Australia as a helmsman in the Admiral's Cup, America's Cup and Olympic Games, has finished second overall in the Sydney Hobart race and contested world championships in International Dragon and 5.5 metre one-design yachts. -- Peter Campbell

Countdown To 32nd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
Primo Cup Since 1985, the European elite are to be found in Monaco in February competing in the first major Mediterranean regatta of the season, organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco.

Regularly attracting 180+ boats over two weekends divided into nine classes, the Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse has established itself as a classic for one-designs and IRC classes (since 2012).

For the 32nd edition the classes are:
- 1st weekend (5-7 February 2016): Smeralda 888, Surprise, Star, SB20 and IRC 1 to 4
- 2nd weekend (12-14 February 2016): J/70, Melges 20, Longtze Premier, Platu 25 and Diam 24, competing for the first time at the Primo.

While many come from as far afield as Russia and Germany to escape the cold and revel in the Principality's milder winter conditions, the Monegasque race area is tactically demanding whatever the weather. For those in the UK who want to make a week of it, the ski slopes are just 90 minutes away in the maritime alps!

Over the years many top sailors have left their mark on the "Primo" including Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Sebastien Josse (FRA), Vasco Vascotto (ITA), Grant Dalton (NZ), Ray Davies (NZ), Chris Larson (USA) & Stuart Jardine (GB), not to mention talented YCM members such as Pierre Casiraghi, Guido Miani, Nico Poons, Valentin Zavadnikov and Roberto Grinover Tomasini.

All crew members in the first three teams of each class win Advanced Technology clothing from SLAM, a loyal partner of the YCM for over 30 years.

Registration is open until 25th January 2016.

Spindrift Finishes: 47 Days 10 Hours 59 Minutes
The trimaran skippered by Yann Guichard has finished its first Jules Verne Trophy, registering the second fastest time in history, and with Dona Bertarelli becoming the fastest woman to sail around the world.

The sailors on Spindrift 2 crossed the finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy off Ushant at 15:01 UTC on Friday, after 47 days 10 hours 59 minutes and 02 seconds at sea. After nearly 29,000 miles travelled at an average speed of 25.35 knots, Spindrift 2 closed the circle on its first voyage around the world by claiming the second fastest time in history. The crew, led by Yann Guichard, did not beat, on this attempt, the time set by Loick Peyron (they were slower by 1d 21h 16' 09"), whose record of 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes is still the one to beat.

The 14 sailors have set three new record times on this voyage around the world. The first came from the start at Ushant to the Equator in 4 days 21 hours 29 minutes, a staggering average of 30.33 knots on the theoretical route (the shortest route). The second, between Ushant and the South of Tasmania, symbolising the entrance into the Pacific Ocean, was 20 days 04 hours 37 minutes. Incidentally, Spindrift 2 fleetingly held the record for crossing the Indian Ocean in 8 days 04 hours 35 minutes, which was broken a few hours later by IDEC Sport, who also left from Ushant on November 22. Finally, the third record: Ushant-Cape Horn in 30 days 04 hours 07 minutes, which brought a lead of 18 hours and 11 minutes over Banque Populaire V.

IDEC Sport Completes The Adventure: 47 Days 14 Hours and 47 Minutes
IDEC SPORT crossed the finishing line off Ushant at 1650hrs UTC on Friday 8th January. Francis Joyon and his crew of five took 47 days 14 hours and 47 minutes to sail around the world. This was the third best time in the history of the Jules Verne Trophy

Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Clement Surtel, Boris Herrmann, Gwenole Gahinet and Bernard Stamm can hug each other, perform a high five and smile as they look forward to a great night ahead in the harbour in Brest. It is true they didn't smash the Jules Verne Trophy record, but they did manage to get the third best time ever sailing around the world. They improved on the boat's own record by 17 hours, with a crew of just six, while Franck Cammas had nine men with him when he won the Jules Verne Trophy on this boat back in 2010.

La Solitaire Du Figaro
Click on image to enlarge.

Figaro On Sunday 19th June, Leg 1 of the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro will get underway from the historic French town of Deauville. As many as 40 skippers are expected on the Solitaire start line, as a fleet formed of the world's best ocean racers and ambitious young Rookies prepares to take on 1,525 miles of Europe's toughest coastal waters - single-handed.

This year's course looks set to be a tough challenge even by the standards of the Figaro with skippers negotiating a tricky tactical course through fickle tide gates and close to dangerous coastlines.

"This edition of the Solitaire will be particularly demanding," said race director Gilles Chiorri.

"The coastal route will throw the game wide open, with skippers left to decide whether to stay closer to the shore or go further offshore. To be successful around this course, the competitors will need seasoned offshore experience and tactical intelligence, enabling them to play the tides and weather to their advantage."

For the first time the Solitaire will make a stopover in Cowes on the Isle of Wight - one of Europe's great sailing towns and the heart of the British racing scene. Arriving on the 22nd June, the fleet will stay for five days on the island before the skippers race on to Paimpol in Brittany starting on Sunday 26th June at 1400. From Paimpol the fleet will head south to La Rochelle on the southwest coast of France, where the race will conclude with a final lap around the islands of Ile de Re and Ile d'Yeu.

The 2016 Solitaire du Figaro is expected to finish in La Rochelle on Thursday 7th July.

UK Sports Boats Unite In New Class Association
After the success of earlier mixed Sports Boat events, like in Plymouth Race Week & Cowes week, owners and supporters have united their interest in a new class. The newly formed UK Sports Boat Association will be working hard to rally these fun and fast boats together.

One of the class initiators, Jochem Visser, said "Many new owners are attracted by their fun & speedy character coupled with the smaller crew and easier logistics. Even though many of them have One Design racing it is becoming ever more apparent that on a local level there is a urgent need for a rating platform which provides fair racing and rewards the better sailors".

The class has simple objectives;

- Promote & support a fair rating system for mixed fleet racing which rewards the better sailors.
- Respect & promote the One-design character within the fleet.
- Represent the class interest to, and affiliate with, local clubs and National sailing authorities.
- Organise an annual Sports Boats Nationals, Season Point Series and local events.

The class is aimed at any Sports Boat with a LOA between 5 and 9.15 meters with aim to include successful boats like the Seascape 18 at the lower end and the Farr 280 at the top end of the class.

The Sports Boat class definitions:

- Ballasted keel boat which caries an asymmetric kite on centreline based pole
- Maximum length overall of 30'(9.15 m)
- Maximum displacement of 2000kg
- Maximum DLR of 100 in which DLR=27.87x(Boat Weight)/Length Waterline^3
  - A minimum limit of positive stability of 60 degrees

Information and registration for membership:

Vale Robert 'Bob' Oatley AO
The Australian sailing community has lost one of its pioneers with the passing of Robert 'Bob' Oatley AO in Sydney over the weekend, aged 87. Bob's love affair with sailing started in his early teenage years off the beach at Balmoral on Sydney Harbour and he remained an active sailor throughout his life.

Bob was recognised for his contribution to business and philanthropy, appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries, to the sport of yacht racing, and to the community as a supporter of medical research and visual arts organisations.

At the annual Yachting Australia Awards held in November last year, Bob was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution including the formation of the Balmoral 12ft Sailing Club in 1945, leading the Australian team to win the Admirals Cup and his success with Wild Oats.

Matt Allen, President of Yachting Australia knew Bob for many years, acknowledging he "made a huge impact through racing particularly with 'Wild Oats', raising awareness of the sport, advancements in technology and his interaction with sailors", Matt said.

"Bob mentored many sailors and supported them throughout their careers and many people owe him a debt of gratitude. He was a Foundation Member of the Australian Sailing Team Patrons' Program and we are extremely grateful for his contribution and support over many years.

"He replicated his business success in sailing by putting good people around him which proved a winning formula.

"Away from the water, Bob was a committed family man and loyal and generous to his friends and the sailing community mourns his loss", Matt added.

On behalf of Yachting Australia, the Australian Sailing Team and the Australian sailing community, we offer our deepest condolences to his wife Valerie, children Sandy, Ian and Ros, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and extended family.

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 Eddie Mays: re: ISAF Youth Worlds / Malaysia issue:

I don't think that one subject has ever caused so much debate over such a long period in your column

However I seem to detect a narrowing vision in the comments that is typified by Richard Gladwell's piece in today's edition

I may be wrong but I think we are starting to see the trees and not the forest

The principle should be that all sailors from all countries should be free to sail against each other anywhere.

It does seem that, if there is a genuine desire by World Sailing to be a better organisation then, a clean slate now is a good place to start. Lay down clear simple parameters for entry to future events, that probably means 2018 onwards, that National Sailing Authorities & National Governments can see and adhere to. If there are irrevocable differences then the events go elsewhere and if that means that there are fewer venues in fewer countries then so be it.

After all do we need World Championships in every major class every year ? Surely money would be better spent in encouraging  grass roots sailing, which at club & local level does seem to be in decline, certainly in the UK.

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The Last Word
Lady Astor: "If you were my husband I'd poison your tea."
Winston Churchill: "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

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