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 Focal Point
Sunday 6th November 1302hrs (local time), 1202UTC the start gun will send 29 intrepid solo skippers off on the eighth edition of the Vendee Globe. In a modern age where the pursuit of instant gratification and always-on social interconnection prevails in even the most remote corners of the world, the challenge of racing non stop around the globe without outside help - one person, one boat non stop 24,020 nautical miles Les Sables d’Olonne to Les Sables d’Olonne via the three great capes for somewhere between 75 and 120 days, retains an enduring, magical appeal.

The purity and simplicity of the race remains unchanged since the first edition in 1989 when 13 pioneering soloists started. But it is testament to its incredible magnetism that the race which starts Sunday will be the most international yet as for the first time the challenge is taken up by soloists from the Australasian and Asian continents. Twenty French skippers and nine from Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the USA will answer the start cannon Sunday. Ireland, New Zealand and Japan are represented for the first time. The performance and age spectrum of the skippers and their respective IMOCA 60 foot racing yachts has never been greater.

The weather is now becoming clear and more precise for Sunday: 15 to 20 knot northerlies, ideal conditions to get the world’s most extreme race underway.

“A north to NW’ly air stream blowing at between 15 and 25 knots out at sea, probably lighter on the coast with squally showers possible around Les Sables d’Olonne. The NW’ly swell should remain below 1m,” announced the Great Circle team, the official weather partner for the 8th Vendee Globe. Decent conditions are expected for the 29 IMOCAs as they cross the Bay of Biscay in a northerly flow offering good speeds on seas that remain slight, before they reach Cape Finisterre and then the coast of Portugal in stronger winds (gusting to 35 knots).

In other words, we can look forward to a fast start for the non-stop solo round the world race allowing them in theory to sail downwind all the way to the Equator. “Conditions should enable us to get a good time for this first portion of the race with everyone going down quickly to the Equator. We could see a day less to get there than it took four years ago. We’re not about to be shaken up like in 2012. This weather should favour the foilers. That much is clear,” explained Vincent Riou (PRB).

Coville On Standby For Solo Round The World Record Attempt
As expected, SODEBO ULTIM arrived last night in the Port du Chateau in Brest in order to be close to the start line of the round the world solo record. For the record, this line of departure is located between the island of Ushant and Lizard Point in southern England.

In recent days, the cell routing SODEBO ULTIM to carefully observe the weather conditions throughout the North Atlantic Ocean to the south.

Yesterday Wednesday, November 2, Jean-Luc Nelias confirmed that a departure was possible in the coming days with a situation weather which has evolved positively.

That analysis was confirmed this morning Thursday, November 3 after receiving new weather files.

Any team Sodebo announces its passage code orange today.

This decision implies a possible starting within 48 hours.

(Max) Speed For All
Seahorse The latest iteration of the Swiss technology that first made headlines with Alinghi’s legendary ‘black sails’ at the 2007 America’s Cup brings cutting edge sails within reach of a wider audience.Following its success with 3Di across the grand prix, offshore and superyacht fleets globally, North Sails have launched a new variant tailored specifically for the club racing market.

Originally born of development work carried out for Alinghi’s successful defence of the America’s Cup in 2007, in name 3Di may sound like 3DL but is an entirely different technology. 3DL is a lattice of load path fibres laminated between two layers of Mylar (aka ‘string’ sails). 3Di is a composite sail structure, closer in technology terms to carbon boatbuilding, involving the moulding of multiple featherweight ‘tapes’ of spread fibre filaments (from carbon, aramid or Dyneema) preimpregnated with adhesive.

The layout of the 3Di tapes in a multiplicity of orientations and layers enables a sail to be engineered with ultra-high precision, but without the weight of the films required for a string sail.

Full story in the December issue of Seahorse:

20th North Sails Golf Day For The John Merricks Sailing Trust
Sailors were out in force on the golf course on Friday 28th October, when 80 golfers turned out for the 20th North Sails Golf Day at Cams Hall Golf Club, Fareham. John 'Jonny' Merricks worked at North Sails and the first Golf Day, organised as it is today with the help of the Seahorse Golf Society, was set up to raise money for a Trust to be started in John's name. Since its inception 19 years ago the Golf Day has raised over £180,000 for the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST).

It was perfect golfing weather, with hardly any breeze and pretty warm for late October, with the sun making an appearance every now and again, as former colleagues and friends of John's, as well as top sailors; marine industry figures and Olympic sailors, turned out to play a round of golf whilst also remembering John and supporting the charity in his name.

Winner - Colin Richardson - 44 Stableford points
2nd - Neil Wilkinson - 40 Stableford points
3rd - Lloyd Fitzgerald - 39 Stableford points - won on countback

Craftinsure Best Team: Matthew Roberts, Glen Kessels, Alastair Shove and Colin Richardson.

Bandit Trophy: was awarded to Colin Richardson by unanimous vote in the room at the prize giving.

The Contender Longest Drive was won by Pete Redmond for the second year running.

The Grapefruit Graphics Nearest the Pin was won by Darren Frost.

World Sailing Annual Conference
Barcelona, Spain will host the world of sailing from 5-13 November 2016 for World Sailing's Annual Conference, the central meeting point where the strategy of sailing is reviewed, discussed and celebrated.

For the 2016 Annual Conference, the dialogue and engagement will be centred on an overarching theme of, 'Our Sustainable Future'. Sailing will be laying down plans for a healthy sustainable future for the sport, as well as the more specific subject of sustainability in the waters of the world.

Up to 700 delegates will attend the annual conference ranging from International Class Associations representatives, Member National Authorities officials and Committee Members to leading Sailors, Event Organizers, Boat Manufacturers and Observers.

Those following online will be able to do so via World Sailing's Annual Conference Blog which will be go live on 5 November here -

In addition, followers will be encouraged to engage with the official hashtag #OurSustainableFuture with the best posts aggregated on the Annual Conference social wall at the conference venue, Renaissance Fira Hotel, and online here -

International Kiteboarding Association AGM
The 2016 AGM of the International Kiteboarding Association will be held on January 14th, 2017, in Brussels.

The date in early January has been chosen to give National Class Associations enough time to make submissions based on the outcome of the World Sailing Annual Conference ending on November 13, where important decisions for the future of our sport may be made.

Date: Sunday, 14thJanuary 2017
Place: “Literair Salon” at conference center “Muntpunt”, Munt 6, 1000 Brussels.
Arrival and Registration: 13:00
Starting time: 13:30

The meeting room is only a 5 minute walk from “Brussel Centraal” trainstation so very easy to reach by airport train (from Brussels International Airport/Zaventem, direct train every 20 minutes)

This area is on walking distance from the famous “Grand Place”, all tourist attractions and restaurants in the centre of Brussels. All kind of hotels are also on walking distance.

New World Speed Sailing Record Between Monaco and Porto Cervo
Click on image to enlarge.

Phaedo 3 Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70, Phaedo 3 crossed the finish line off Porto Cervo from Monaco at 16:06:51 (CET) today setting a new World Record of 7 hours, 53 minutes and 31 seconds (pending ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council). The Team left the dock outside the Yacht Club de Monaco at sunrise and crossed the start line soon after, heading out into a brisk westerly breeze at speeds over 30 knots. And just a few hours before sunset, Phaedo3 crossed the finish having completed the 185 mile course at an average speed of 25.8 knots!

The previous record was set by Esimit Europa with a time 10h 13m 42s.

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2016: Top 20 Disclosed
No less than 149 professional photographers spanning 25 countries have submitted a picture for the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image  award 2016. The top eighty pictures have been selected by a panel of international yacht racing photographers, allowing the international jury to vote. 

Today, we are pleased to disclose the top 20 pictures selected by the international jury. The winner of the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award -  who will be announced and celebrated during the Yacht Racing Forum in Malta on November 29 - is one of them!

Top twenty photographers (in alphabetical order): 

- Eugenia Bakunova (RUS)
- Christian Beeck (GER)
- Matias Capizzano (ITA)
- Rachel Fallon-Langdon (UK)
- Luis Fernandez (SPA)
- Richard Gladwell (NZL)
- Alex Irwin (UK)
- Pierrick Jeannoutot (FRA)
- Jean-Marie Liot (FRA)
- Mark Lloyd (UK)
- Gilles Martin-Raget (FRA)
- Nico Martinez (SPA)
- Pedro Martinez (SPA)
- Claire Matches (UK)
- Mauro Melandri (ITA)
- Guy Nowell (UK)
- Benoit Stichelbaut (FRA)
- Tim Thomas (UK)
- James Tomlinson (UK)
- Jasper Van-Staveren (NED)

The leading countries are: United Kingdom (7 pictures), France (4 pictures), Spain (3 pictures), Italy (2 pictures), New Zealand, Russia, The Netherlands and Germany (1 picture).

The votes by the public on Internet are still open, and not restricted to the top 20 images selected by the Jury.

Cowes Week Continues Support Of Youth Sailing
Cowes Week Limited will continue their youth initiative which offers discounted entry fees to boats with crews of under 25 year olds.

The Cowes Week Under 25 Youth initiative, which has been running since 2012 has succeeded in doing what it was originally designed for - inspiring and making it possible for young people to race at Cowes Week.

By offering an extremely attractive package to young sailors under the age of 25, numbers have, not surprisingly, increased over the last few years. Entries for the Under 25 Trophy at the 2016 regatta increased by 12%.

This year Cowes Week Ltd is offering the first 25 crews to enter, who are all under age 25 at the time of the regatta,  a 50% discount on the entry fee.

Teams wishing to take advantage of discounted entry fees should make their entry as soon as possible by calling the Regatta Office on 01983 295744 or visiting the website

Cowes Week 2017 takes place from the 29th July - 5th August.

Video: Chills And Thrills
Flying across shimmering ice beneath a bright blue winter sky on a Siberian lake - ice boat racing doesn't get any better than this.

Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association Survey
The ISORA fleet increased to 54 boats in 2016 and it is important that we can obtain the thoughts and ideas of our past, present and future competitors so that we can arrange races that meet their expectations and provide exciting, fun but challenging series of races in accordance with the ISORA ethos.

An invitation to complete a survey was issued by the ISORA General Newsletter on 12thOctober and by onward invitation through AFLOAT. A reminder was issued on 22nd October and the Survey closed on Monday 24th October.

ISORA organisers have been delighted with the amount and quality of the responses.

The full report follows and the issues raised in this survey will be considered by the organisers in setting the 2017 race schedule.

Read the survey results:

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry Prepares For Trip South
Click on image to enlarge.

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a stability letter to America’s newest Tall Ship for operation on “Exposed Waters,” confirming that SSV Oliver Hazard Perry exceeds their most stringent Sailing School Vessel standards for stability. This assures that the vessel is on track to begin offshore ocean voyaging in early 2017 following the successful near-shore sailing achieved this past summer. The first scheduled offshore passage will be south to Florida, starting in January 2017.

The 200-foot, three-masted, full rigged ship is currently dry-docked in North Kingstown, R.I. at J. Goodison Company, Inc., which hauled the vessel on October 19 with its new 820 Metric Ton Marine Travelift. Persak & Wurmfeld, Inc. of Brooklyn, NY has provided Naval Architecture and Technical Management services to the vessel since early this year. Both companies are marine trades partners of the non-profit organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI), which owns and operates the ship.

the ship will re-launch at Goodison’s in early December and continue preparing for her trip south as Rhode Island’s Official Sailing Education Vessel.

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry has been eight years in the making and was completed with $17 million in private funds. Named for U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the Rhode Island War hero who defeated the British in the battle of Lake Erie, she is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in America in over a hundred years. She is not a replica, but instead a modern, steel-hulled vessel purpose-built for training and education to the highest modern safety standards.

A Kickstarter For What I Want For Christmas
Exposure Lights Exposure Lights new action camera light, The ‘Capture’, is being launched on Kickstarter. The British based specialist engineers of are passionate about enabling outdoor sports and adventures to continue by day or night. Now you can capture all the action at night!

The Capture is the World’s first LED light to integrate the properties of Graphene, an ultra-light, immensely strong material, which is a superb conductor and barrier too.

With 18 months of investigation and testing revolutionary materials and manufacturing techniques, Exposure’s innovations team have created an immensely versatile, easy to use light for filming. Whether you are in the mountains, on the oceans or hammering through forests or exploring the jungle, it is simple to clip on and click through the lighting modes.

All Kickstarter pledges will receive discounts and packages and be amongst the first people in the world to own an Exposure Capture made from Graphene.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2016 Ker 40+ - Magnum 4. 550,000 GBP. Located in Hamble, UK.

A completely unique opportunity that will NOT last long! MAGNUM 4 The 2016 Ker 40+ is now available. This BRAND NEW BOAT is on the market and offering a HUGE saving for its next owner.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Sam Pearson - Ancasta Race Boats
Central Listing

+442380 016582
+64 2277733717


Raceboats Only 2011 Salona 41. 199,999 EUR. Located in Hong Kong.

This Salona S41 is a perfect combination of comfort and high performance cruiser.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly



Raceboats Only 2001 Carroll Marine Farr 40. 125,000 USD. Located in Portsmouth, RI.

This is hull # 96 and has always been very well maintained by her three owners.She was first built as SAMBA PA TI and then she was named TWINS. Her current owner has not used her for several years, but she is located in Portsmouth Rhode Island, has been under shrink wrap and has a Captain maintain her. In her inventory are many North sails, with several 1st string primary racing sails, having never been out of the bags! If one is in the market for a very nice and lightly used Farr 40, DARKSIDE could be the weapon of choice.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Please contact William Jenkins at 410-267-9419

See the collection at

The Last Word
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