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

Should Rio 2016 Be London 2016?
Right now, it's 185 days to Rio 2016 and Brazil is reeling under the affects of the Zika virus.

"In many ways the Zika outbreak is worse than the Ebola epidemic of 2014-15," said Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust. "Most virus carriers are symptomless. It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable individuals - pregnant women - that is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies."

As a result of the Zika outbreak and the possible connection to microcephaly, several Central and South American countries - including Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica and Colombia - have asked women to avoid becoming pregnant for the next two years. Repeat TWO years.

With The Australian Olympic Committee now advising female athletes to consider the health implications, some Australian female athletes already selected for Rio have said they will delay their decision on whether to compete or not until July, because of the fast moving situation.

The standing water in the slums of Rio and the waterways leading into Guanabara Bay are perfect breeding grounds for the transmission via the bite of mosquitoes from the Aedes genus, primarily Aedes aegypti, but others found including the Asian tiger mosquito now also common in Italy, France and Spain.

Given the fact that Brazil's promises on pollution control have not translated into action, it would be a brave of sporting administrators to assume that the mosquito would be controlled by August 2016

The real question...should the Games actually be held in Rio or should there be an emergency relocation?

Hanson Medals Awarded
The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee awarded the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals to eight boats for their heroic efforts when a microburst storm hit the 2015 Flying Scot Atlantic Coast Championship, hosted by the Blackbeard Sailing Club, in New Bern, NC on September 12.

A rainstorm storm was forecasted, but nobody expected or predicted the accompanying 60 knot microburst. It descended instantly, for a short duration, causing chaos throughout the 23-boat fleet. Many sailors reported having been trapped in lines when the boats capsized.

These sailors were able to release themselves from the lines before drowning.

Robin Schaffer, who provided assistance to sailors after the storm abated, described it as coming to the scene in the movie 'Titanic' with boats and people in the water everywhere. Several of the eight rescue boats were race committee boats; others came from the shore who recognized additional assistance was needed. A local phone rescue system was utilized where volunteer rescuers input their phone number to the system. People on the water can call for assistance with their message recorded, which is dialed out to all volunteer rescuers.

All sailors in distress were recovered with no injuries reported. The following were awarded the eight US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medals at a ceremony hosted by Blackbeard Sailing Club on January 9, 2016.

- Eddie Parker and Richard Schott rescued four sailors
- Ken Gurganus and Jeff Thomas rescued at least five sailors
- Dave Brown, Polly Brown, and Joe Gormley rescued one sailor
- Jim Zahradka and Mark Brennesholtz rescued four sailors
- Roger Brake and Eric Rasmussen rescued three sailors
- Skip Byrum and Claire Brock rescued four sailors
- Malcolm and Robin Schaffer, and Charlie Marr rescued two sailors
- Bill Harwell and Bill Braun rescued at least five sailors

Antigua Sailing Week: Where Sailing Comes First
Antigua Sailing Week In 1968, with Caribbean racing in its infancy, Antigua Sailing Week was born. It was all about sailors racing and partying to celebrate the end of the season and that still applies today. What has changed for the 49th edition of Antigua Sailing Week taking place 23rd-29th April, is there are now a huge range of charter options, offering everything from a single berth for a beginner to hi-tech machines for top racing crew as well as professional teams on the line up.

This April, with North America and Europe still in a cold grip, Antigua Sailing Week offers an amazing experience with professional race management in fantastic conditions and an an exciting social scene in one of the world's top holiday destinations. With daily direct Transatlantic flights, getting to Antigua is simple. For charter options visit Antigua Sailing Week's dedicated yacht charter page: You will find flexible packages for all manner of boats or if you are in the region and plan to race but need to get back to Europe Peters and May will be loading in Antigua post Antigua Sailing Week.

Don't be left out in the cold, create a sailing memory that you will never forget.

Steele To Defend Warren Jones Regatta Title
Perth, Western Australia: Kiwi skipper Chris Steele is returning to Perth's Swan River this week to defend the Warren Jones Youth Trophy that he won last year. He will face the toughest field in the history of the event, with four of the ten skippers in the top ten on the world rankings.

Highest ranked skipper in the event is local sailor Sam Gilmour, from the host Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, who has climbed to fifth on the ranking ladder, he was beaten by Steele in last year's final.

One place below Gilmour on the ladder is another local skipper, Matt Jerwood, from South of Perth Yacht Club, he finished fifth last year, but has climbed the ranking ladder in the intervening year, from 54th place.

Denmark's Joachim Aschenbrenner finished sixth in last year's event, and is ranked eighth in the world, having dropped from sixth this time last year, when he came to the event at the highest ranked skipper to ever contest the regatta.

Chris Steele is now ninth on the ranking ladder, having risen from sixteenth last year, he represents the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and has bought a relatively inexperienced crew with him.

The other six skippers in the line up are all ranked outside the top one hundred, so there is the opportunity for some serious upsets.

This year sixteen year old Ethan Preito-Low, also of the host club, becomes the youngest skipper to contest the event, with his whole crew under twenty years old.

The regatta, is in memory of Warren Jones, who was the mastermind behind Australia II's historic victory in the America's Cup way back in 1983, before any of these skippers were born.

The event is organised by Swan River Sailing, and will be sailed in their fleet of Foundation 36 yachts. Racing starts on Tuesday 2nd February, and runs until Friday 5th February. -- John Roberson

Skippers / Ranking:
Sam Gilmour - 5
Matt Jerwood - 6
Joachim Aschenbrenner - 8
Chris Steele - 9
Lachy Gilmour - 124
Will Boulden - 154
Jordan Reece - 330
Murray Jones - 355
Ethan Preito-Low - Unranked
Mark Spearman - 1301

First Round Denmark Solo Yacht Race
Two Danish sailors have conceived and organised a solo race around Denmark scheduled to take place in 2016.

The Silverrudder Challenge will be based on the route Erik Venøbo took when he completed the first successful solo sail around Denmark in 2015. The sailor collaborated with Jan Moller to organise a formal race that will make its first run on July 1, 2016.

The race will start from a marina close to Copenhagen. The Scandinavian Singlehand Sailing-Association and the Royal Danish Yacht Club have been brought on as partners.

The Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) supported Venøbo's attempt in 2015 and have become partners in the first round-Denmark race with Mads Ehrhardt from KDY as Race Director and KDY Director Dan Ibsen also offering support.

The race starts on 1 July 2016 and will run over six stages with individual starts eight hours after the finish at each pit stop. The race will be divided between three boat classes, and the route runs from Oresund to Assens and back, totalling 646 nautical miles.


Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
This month's nominees:

Randy Draftz (USA)
One of the unsung heroes of the US scene... As many other big regattas struggle, both in the US and elsewhere, Draftz has worked away tackling the issue from the ground up, rather than the other way around. All of this effort has been focussed on developing Sperry Charleston Race Week, which has very quietly now grown into perhaps the biggest and most successful event of its kind


Shane Kearns (AUS)
Kearns's S&S 34 Azzurro had already been sailed around the world when he bought her as a rotting wreck for AUS$23,000 (on a credit card) a few years back. Now fully restored, for several hours Azzurro looked the likely overall winner of the 2015 Sydney Hobart before parking up a few miles from the finish. Still, Kearns did win ORCi overall as well as the Corinthian Division. Plus of course 3rd overall under IRC... so not too bad

Last month's winner:


Brian Thompson (GBR)
'For the Olympics give me Ainslie, for the Vendée, Desjoyeaux; but heading offshore in a big tri, get on the phone and beg for Brian,' - Matt Cowpe; 'Total star'- Sam Goodchild; 'A kind, gentle legend,' - Clemency Ives; 'A superlative sailor,' - Owen McKenzie; 'Unassuming modesty allied with epic achievement, that great British understatement!' - Andrew McIrvine; 'most unassuming and fastest pro sailor ever,' - Polly Dawson; 'Legend' - Robo; 'And he has done so much for injured serviceman charities,' - Ian Finlay


Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click

Industry News
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has appointed Andrew Overton as the new General Manager of RORC Cowes. He has an extensive background in the hospitality industry with experience across a range of unique high quality new business ventures, acquisitions and integrations.

Andrew has built his experience from the bottom up, learning the trade at the Marriott Hotel group, developing his knowledge at the Pomme d'Or Hotel in Jersey, the Marine Hotel in Troon and more recently as the General Manager of the U.K. Trains operation for the Orient-Express company.

Michael Boyd, the Commodore of the RORC:

"Andrew has huge experience in the hotel, food and beverage sector having worked in a variety of high profile businesses where the quality of the product and the quality of service are required at a very high standard. We know he will develop and maintain those standards at the club in Cowes giving his own brand of welcome to RORC's members and visitors."

For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) go to or: RORC incorporating the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes:


Ronstan is making a number of changes to top level management to set the company up for the next stage of its growth.

A full list of changes at Board level is attached with the most significant one being the promotion of Scot West who will take over from long time Managing Director, Alistair Murray.

Alistair is stepping down after 19 years in the role and will take over as Ronstan's Chairman.

Scot has been in charge of Ronstan's USA operation for 11 years during which time Ronstan has grown into a market leader. Reflecting Ronstan's further internationalisation and enormous potential in the northern hemisphere he will be based at the Rhode Island, USA office.

Ronstan is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and is owned by its management team. The company has manufacturing in Australia, Denmark and Indonesia and a global network of distributors.


The 22nd edition of the Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium (CSYS), held over March 18-19, 2016, is now open for Registration at The location of this year's event will be returning to where it had been held for many years in the past, at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

The 2016 CSYS is co-organized by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) and will feature work from some of the world's top talent in design, engineering and research to discuss a myriad of topics related to sail and sailboat design, sailing dynamics and performance analysis. The titles and abstracts of the accepted papers for the conference are on the CSYS website now for review.

The CSYS will also precede two days of meetings held by the Offshore Racing Congress's International Technical Committee, where members of this committee of designers and technologists discuss their ideas on improving the science of VPP-based handicapping. The ITC meeting is open to registered observers and will be held over March 20-21 at the Severn Sailing Association.

The 22nd CSYS promises to be another memorable event, not to be missed. We hope to see you in Annapolis for the 22nd CSYS on March 18-19, 2016 and the U.S. Naval Academy.


At the London International Boat Show on 5th January MUSTO launched their Junior Sailor Search (#sailorsearch) initiative. MUSTO receive hundreds of individual requests for sponsorship from young athletes every year. The Junior Sailor Search programme, #sailorsearch, is designed to fairly select who MUSTO will support from these applicants.

The #sailorsearch competition offers sailors aged 21 and under the chance to compete for campaign support valued at £5,000. The winner will also get the exciting opportunity of 1-on-1 training support from a MUSTO ambassador and gain valuable promotional exposure via MUSTO channels. All sailors are welcome to apply. Calling all helms and crew, including dinghy, inshore and offshore racers.

MUSTO is looking for young sailors who have significant experience on the water and have proven themselves on the racecourse. Entrants will also be judged on their sportsmanship and contribution back to the sport.

To enter, young sailors must submit a sailing CV and supporting images or video to . Finalists will be judged against the above criteria by a MUSTO panel which includes MUSTO ambassadors Ian Walker, winning Volvo Ocean Race skipper and two-time Olympic silver medalist; Charlie Enright, youngest Volvo Ocean Race helm and four-time All American collegiate sailor; fellow Brown University and Alvimedica teammate, team manager, and Melges 32 champion Mark Towill, and Richard Mason, 470 European Championship silver medalist, U21 49er European Championship gold medalist and winner of the Solitaire de Figaro rookie award, and Volvo Ocean Race rookie award.

Following selection by the panel, the ten finalists will be put to public vote to determine the winner.

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Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble

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The Last Word
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. -- Socrates

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