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

The Big Picture
107 yachts started the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race with 94 yachts racing for the overall prize of the Rolex Middle Sea Trophy, awarded to the best yacht racing under the IRC Rating system. There are six individual IRC classes, and winning class at the Rolex Middle Sea Race is a primary goal among the teams. Once that is achieved, the prevailing weather conditions will influence which class produces the overall winner.

At 14:00 CET on the fourth day of the race only two of the yachts vying for the overall prize had finished. Eight yachts have retired, leaving 84 still racing. While only a dozen yachts have rounded the most southerly mark of the course, Lampedusa, nearly 50 have passed Pantelleria. Those with strong claims on the class podiums are becoming more apparent.

In terms of the main prize, it is a little early to be making firm predictions. There are three days of racing left, and over three-quarters of the fleet still on the course. Looking at positions at Pantelleria, Mascalzone Latino (in Class 2) held a 30-minute advantage over Foggy Dew (Class 6) after time correction. Artie was in third, an hour and a half behind the leader.

The weather conditions have been a moveable feast, gorging and starving the fleet throughout the past three days. Unsurprisingly, they look set to change again and perhaps decisively in favour of those yachts closest to the finish. The south easterly wind that has provided a relatively quick passage from Palermo to the finish for the faster yachts is due to fade overnight. If so it will dramatically slow the progress of the smaller yachts, particularly those still to round Lampedusa. Whether this change comes to pass and the effect it has on the fortunes of those in contention for the overall prize will be the subject of tomorrow's news.

As of today, 25th October at 16:40 CET, eight boats chose to retire. Race Committee have confirmed that all crews are safe and on their way back to Malta.

The retired boats are:
Otra Vez
Team Van Uden Performance Yacht Racing
Turkish Airlines Racing Team - Black Betty

Tokyo 2010 - Three Olympic Classes Want Change To Qualification Wrought
Three Olympic classes, the Nacra 17 and 49er/FX have made a joint submission to the World Sailing Annual Conference wanting Member National Authorities to declare use within two weeks of earning an Olympic Qualification place.

If accepted the change will bring Sailing into line with the practice used by Rowing requiring its MNAs to confirm that they will be taking up an Olympic Qualification place within two weeks of the Qualification Regatta.

Failure to confirm acceptance of the place within two weeks of the regatta end would mean that the place will pass onto the next highest qualifier at the regatta.

The submission follows the 'Medal Capable' practice adopted by four countries Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada at the 2016 Olympics. While the first three had good Olympics placing in the top five on the Sailing medal table, Canada had one of their worst Olympics ever, despite qualifying in all events and electing not to take 40% of those places when entries closed in June 2016.

New Zealand turned down three of their ten places and Australia two.

Both had cases taken respectively to the Sports Disputes Tribunal and Court of Arbitration for Sport. Two medalists in the Rio Sailing Olympics would not have been selected for the regatta had their MNA been operating a 'Medal Capable' selection policy.

However, Medal Capability is not the issue, as was first raised in earlier this year. -- Richard Gladwell in

Win Free High-Performance Team Shirts!
Click on image to enlarge.

STIR Team Shirts St. Thomas International Regatta - March 24-26, 2017

WIN FREE HIGH-PERFORMANCE TEAM SHIRTS! Register for the 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta - Now! On October 31, the name of one registered boat will be randomly drawn to win this fashionable prize!

"We're offering teams that register early an opportunity to outfit their crew with customized long sleeved tech shirts with the boats name on the front," says regatta director, Chuck Pessler.

Simply register for STIR online at Pay only US $250 up until January 31, 2017. On the last day of November, December and January, one entry each month will be selected at random from among all entries to date.

"The earlier you register, the more chances you have to win!' says Pessler.

To date, STIR 2017 will be the year of 'where the big cats roam'! Three Gunboats, 60-foot Arethusa and Fault Tolerant and 62-foot Elvis are registered, as well as the Bieker 53 Fujin and HH66 NALA. On the one-design side, Oleander is signed up, the first of an expected ten Melges 20s. The home-grown IC24 class is blossoming with four boats to date hailing from St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico. Racing monohulls include J88, Touch2Play Play Racing from Canada and the Dufour 40, Wild T'ing from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There's something for everyone! Race in CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association); IRC; Multihull; CSA Bareboat; Beach Cat or One Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet.

Register now!
Call (340) 642-3204

A Fighting Spirit
Just to be in Les Sables d'Olonne preparing for the start of his first Vendee Globe is in itself the realisation of a dream Kojiro Shiraishi has held for 30 years. His race will honour the legacy of the remarkable Yukoh Tada his mentor who gave up driving a taxi in Tokyo to race in the first BOC race around the world in 1982-3, winning his class, Class 2 when Philippe Jeantot won the race. They became close friends and Tada sought to take part in the first Vendee Globe but could not raise the funds.

Tada, a remarkable painter, poet, author and saxophonist took his own life in Sydney during the 1990-1 BOC Challenge, said to be the result of his problems with his 50 footer Koden VII which had capsized three times during the race and lost her keel.

Shiraishi himself was a key member of Tada's shore team and has carried on his legacy and spirit, taking second place in the 2003 Around Alone in the Open 40 class and then second behind Bernard Stamm in 2006.

He comes to the Vendee Globe armed with two successful circumnavigation races in his locker and with the well proven Farr designed IMOCA Spirit of Yukoh. The boat had a chequered history to start with, born in Cowes, England as Estrella Damm then becoming Sebastien Josse's BT which retired into Auckland from the 2008-9 race with rudder damage. But by 2011 it was fully optimised and strengthened for Alex Thomson, finishing runner up in the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2011 and then took third in the last race as Hugo Boss then more recently finished second in the Barcelona World Race as Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz Neutrogena. In the summer Shiraishi finished seventh in the New York- Vendee race, his shakedown with the 2007 Farr design.

America's Cup Schedule Released Amid Arbitration Silence
Qualifiers originally were to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand, but were pulled after Emirates Team New Zealand supported another syndicate in a dispute over an unprecedented midcourse downsizing of the boats.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the hard-luck loser of the 2013 America's Cup, took its case to the arbitration panel.

Organizers have attempted to keep the panel's deliberations shrouded in secrecy, with violators facing draconian penalties. However,, citing four sources it didn't identify, reported last month that the panel ruled in favor of ETNZ against the America's Cup Event Authority, and that a penalty phase has yet to be held. Since it's too late to schedule a regatta in New Zealand, Team New Zealand likely is seeking to recoup the millions of dollars in government funding it lost when the qualifier was pulled from Auckland.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, the cup's trustee, and a majority of challengers, excluding the Kiwis, voted in June to prohibit teams and individuals from discussing or even confirming the existence of a dispute before the arbitration panel. Doing so could draw sanctions including censure and a fine of up to $1 million.

On Tuesday, an America's Cup spokesman cited the confidentiality rules in declining to say whether there has been a decision. -- Bernie Wilson, AP

Kiwis Win Red Bull Foiling Generation
Red Bull Foiling Generation is about providing talented young sailors, ages 16 - 20 with the opportunity to advance their careers through top-notch hydrofoil racing. The competitions serve as training waters for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, which caters to competitors ages 19-25. Both competitions train youth sailors from all over the globe on smaller versions of catamaran racers with foils, like those used in one of the world's most famous sailing competition - America's Cup.

The Sail Newport Sailing Center at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island was host top both the Red Bull Foiling Generation US Qualifier on October 15 and 16 and the World Finals on October 22 and 23.

Micah Wilkinson and Olivia Mackay of New Zealand made sailing history in Newport, USA on Sunday, as they were crowned the first-ever World Champions in the world's largest youth sailing program, Red Bull Foiling Generation. In the climax of a two-year search for the planet's most talented young sailors, the pair that included one of only two women in the field beat out 14 other national champion teams, with sailors from Switzerland and Italy claiming second and third.

Artemis Racing: The Road To Bermuda

Australian Sailing's Sarah Kenny Elected To World Sailing Council
Australian Sailing Vice-President, Sarah Kenny has been appointed to the World Sailing Council for a four-year term from 2017-2020, representing Group L (Oceania). The 29-member Council is responsible for managing the sport of sailing including the determination of policy for sailing across the world.

Sarah is a Director and Vice-President of Australian Sailing and represents Australia internationally on several Committees for World Sailing including Youth & Development, Windsurfing and Kitesurfing, and Women's Committees.

Sarah competed internationally in windsurfing, including the windsurfing exhibition event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, was a member of Australian Sailing's Olympic Selection Panel in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and is an enthusiastic sailor who has also competed in sailing at a national level.

A former Partner and current Consultant at Herbert Smith Freehills and a member of the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Sarah is also involved in junior sailing through her sons, who are keen 29er sailors.

Matt Allen, President of Australian Sailing congratulated Sarah on her appointment saying, "We are pleased to have received confirmation that Sarah will be joining the World Sailing Council, representing not only Australia, but also the Oceania region.

Joining Sarah on the World Sailing Council representing Oceania is John Tierney from the Cook Islands.

Tall Ship Visit To Cork From Twinned Sister City Of Cologne
The tall ship Brigg ROALD AMUNDSEN will travel from Cologne to its twinned sister city of Cork next week. The group from Cologne are setting sail from Cherbourg to Cork on the Brigg ROALD AMUNDSEN on the 23rd of October. The journey will take one week and the group consists of over 50 people from Cologne, including some members of the Cork/Cologne twinning committee. Jack Palmer (17), an enthusiastic sailor from Cobh will travel to Cologne to be part of the sailing trip from Cherbourg to Cork.

The tall ship will remain in Cork City Quays from Sunday 30th October until Wednesday 2nd November.

Members of the Public are invited to view the Tall Ship Brigg ROALD AMUNDSEN at the times below:

Monday October 31st (PORT OF CORK, Cork City Quays) 9.30-11.30am
Tuesday November 1st (PORT OF CORK, Cork City Quays) 2 -4 pm

Jinxed Giant Russian Aircraft Carrier Still Packs A Mighty Punch
The recent stately progress through the English Channel of the giant Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the Battle Cruiser Peter the Great in a flotilla of eight warships bound for the Eastern Mediterranean has been a matter of fascination for naval historians and many others writes W M Nixon.

But anyone who has ever had trouble with faulty injectors causing their marine diesel engine to belch black smoke will have felt a twinge of sympathy for the team trying to keep the Kuznetov show on the road. For even as the still rakish-looking thirty year old carrier hove into view, the first thing any boat-owner would have noticed was the huge volume of dark grey and often black smoke billowing from the mighty smokestack.

And it wasn't just a brief interlude of smoke-making when they gave the old ship a bit of throttle to get her past the White Cliffs of Dover with a bit of style. On the contrary, there was always foul-looking smoke pouring out - the only change that came from time to time was just how much.

It turns out that the flagship of the Russian navy - built between 1982 and 1990 - has always been regarded as a bit of a jinxed ship, with such a history of engine breakdown that she never goes anywhere without her own personal tugboat in attendance, just to be sure to be sure.

WM Nixon in Afloat:

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Fast cruising Sloop (design n. 44) made by Javier Soto Acebal who also supervised the construction of the boat. The construction of the boat and of its installations was carried out following the protocols of the European Economic Community (EEC) in order to get CE certification.

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Raceboats Only 2007 52' King Marine IRC 52. 325,000 USD. Located in Rhode Island, USA.

ICE FIRE can now be obtained. She is a 2007 King Marine built TP 52 that was the last BRIBON, built for the King of Spain. Very successful on the Med circuit in 07/08/09, she came over to the States and as FLYING JENNY was very successful at all the NYYC annual regatta's, Block Island race week and NYYC race weeks. Since 2012, she has been ICE FIRE, and she was successful going to Montego Bay ( 2nd overall 2nd fleet in 2013) and won the 2012 IRC championship in Annapolis and that again last Fall (2014)

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

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See the collection at

The Last Word
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said "Because it is there." Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. -- John F. Kennedy

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