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

Trades Drag Favours Foils?
Having got to within ten miles of Armel Le Cleac'h, the Banque Populaire VIII skipper who has lead the Vendee Globe solo round the world race since Tuesday evening, Vincent Riou sounded resigned this afternoon that any recent gains will turn to losses as Le Cleach's foil assisted boat moves into the stronger, trade wind drag racing conditions which are set to prevail almost to the Equator some 2000 miles down the track.

Riou's PRB is configured with classic, straight daggerboards and the 2004-5 Vendee Globe winner has been quick - as well as smart - in the 10-12kts windspeeds through the Azores high. But he admitted he now expects the 'foilers' - such as Banque Populaire VIII, Safran (Morgan Lagraviere) and Edmond de Rothschild (Sebastien Josse) - to be quicker in the fast trade winds descent south.

"In these conditions we can make the difference. In the coming days, it's going to be for the others (the foilers - editor's note). I think it's going to be like in this round the world race. Sometimes for us, sometimes for them. I was surprised to see Banque Populaire ahead of me this morning by about ten miles. I thought it was going to be hard catching him after the lead he had," Riou said today.

After passing Madeira this morning the leading group are under gennakers, accelerating steadily towards the latitude of the Canary Islands which are 145 miles south of Banque Populaire this afternoon. Le Cleac'h had already gained six miles on PRB since lunchtime.

* The Catalan skipper Didac Costa, who suffered water damage shortly after the start of the Vendee Globe on Sunday, was forced to return to Les Sables d'Olonne. Having now repaired the damage to the electrical system on his One Planet One Ocean, he set sail again today at 1140hrs UTC crossing the line between the Nouch S buoy and a GPS point. He is 1134 miles from the leader and 770 miles from his nearest rival, Sebastien Destremau.

Sailing World Cup Final Heading To Santander In 2017, Kiel In 2018
The Sailing World Cup Final, the climax of the international series of Olympic & Paralympic class racing, has been awarded to Santander, Spain in 2017 and to Kiel, Germany in 2018.

Santander hosted the most recent edition of the World Sailing Championships in 2014, attracting over 1,000 sailors and 400,000 spectators across two weeks of competition on the Bay of Biscay and the Bay of Santander. And Kiel, famous for hosting the internationally renowned Kieler-Woche regatta, is a regular stop on the Olympic circuit, welcoming world class sailors for a week-long festival of sailing which is combined with the largest summer festival in northern Europe.

The announcement of Santander and Kiel as future Sailing World Cup Final venues falls in line with the recent release of the vision for the World Cup series:

The Sailing World Cup Series will continue to showcase and develop Olympic Sailing, it will be a key part of a sailor's Olympic campaign, integrate Para World Sailing, help create heroes and engage sailing sports fans, excite sponsors and broadcasters and conclude with a Final at which the winners in each event are crowned.

Miami will host the first Round of the upcoming 2017 Series from 22-29 January 2017 with Hyeres, France following from 23-30 April 2017. The Sailing World Cup Final in Santander will conclude the shortened series from 4 - 11 June.

After the shortened 2017 series, the Sailing World Cup series will run from October to July every year, incorporating three Rounds and the Final at the end of June / early July.

Japan will host a Sailing World Cup Round each October from 2017 through to 2019 before holding the Final in July 2020, just weeks before the Olympic Games. -- Daniel Smith - World Sailing

2017/18: Gamagori, Japan (October 2017), Miami (January 2018), Hyeres (May 2018) + Kiel Final (June/July 2018)
2018/19: Enoshima, Japan (October 2018), Miami (January 2019), Europe Round (May-June) + TBC Final (June/July 2019)
2019/20: Enoshima, Japan (October 2019), Miami, (January 2020) Europe Round (May-June) + Enoshima, Japan Final (July 2020)

Quantum Key West Race Week Announces Mobile Marine Services Registration
Key West Organizers for the Storm Trysail Club's Quantum Key West Race Week announce that Coffin Marine Services will provide mobile marina services at the Truman Waterfront Property for the 30th anniversary regatta, scheduled January 15-20, 2017.

Quantum Key West Race Week is attracting many trailerable one-designs as well as grand-prix racers. Coffin Marine will provide crane services for launching and hauling and storage facilities for trailers and containers at the Truman Waterfront Property. Coffin Marine also will manage 180 feet of temporary floating docks where boats may tie up during the launching and hauling processes.

Coffin Marine will provide a 40-ton crane for launching and hauling. Storage at the Truman Waterfront Property is available January 3-22, 2017, and the mobile marine services will be available January 9-22, 2017. Advance registration is required for use of the services. More information on registration and costs may be found at Quantum Key West Race Week website/Logistics/Truman Waterfront Property.

The next entry deadline for Quantum Key West Race Week occurs on December 1 when entry fees increase between $4 and $5 per foot, depending on a boat's length overall. It's the final rate increase, but any entry received after December 30 will incur an additional surcharge.

48th ORC Congress
Barcelona, Spain: The 48th meeting of the Offshore Racing Congress was held along with the Annual Conference of World Sailing in Barcelona, and capped yet another successful year for the organization. The number of boats using ORC International, ORC Club or ORC Superyacht certificates will once again show significant growth in 2016 from previous years, two of three ORC championships reached record numbers of participants and countries, and three new countries have joined the ORC family to issue certificates in 45 countries around the world.

To date the number of boats that race using the ORC rating system was 9108 yachts, and the number of certificates issued in the system was 10,095 worldwide, an increase over last year at the same time, with projected year-end figures to show growth of nearly 3% over last year.

This year two of three ORC championship events set new attendance records. The ORC World Championship hosted by the Royal Danish YC in Copenhagen attracted 131 teams from 14 countries from 5 continents, the ORC European Championship hosted by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki in Porto Carras, Greece drew a record 73 entries from 12 countries, and the ORC Sportboat European Championship held in Chioggia, Italy also set a record for this event with 40 entries from 6 nations.

The demand for hosting future ORC championship events remains strong, with bid proposals and expressions of interest received from prospective hosts located both in Europe and the USA for as far in advance as 2020.

The Minutes of the ORC Committee meetings can be found at

Minutes of the Congress will be available soon.

More Young Talent For Emirates Team New Zealand
The aim to continue to bring a new generation of young, fit and ultra talented New Zealand sailors to the America's Cup steps forward with New Zealand Sailing Team members Andy Maloney and Josh Junior joining Emirates Team New Zealand for the 35th America's Cup campaign.

26 year olds, Maloney from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, and Junior from the Worser Bay Sailing Club are accomplished and internationally recognized dinghy sailors in the Laser and Finn classes respectively.

They join Emirates Team New Zealand achieving the first part of a 20 year old dream since 1995 when, at the age of 5, they watched their country winning the America's Cup for the first time.

Andy Maloney has spent most of his life in the Laser class winning multiple medals at World Cup events and narrowly missing out on the final selection for the Rio Olympics 2016. Maloney is yet another member of the winning New Zealand Red Bull Youth America's Cup Team from San Francisco in 2013, now joining Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Guy Endean as part of the Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup sailing team.

Josh Junior campaigned in the Laser class for London 2012, before going on to switch to the heavy-weight men's Finn class in which he has excelled, producing some career topping performances in 2015 and 2016 and competing in the last Olympics finishing 7th.

Andy and Josh after a trial period, have now been officially signed by Emirates Team New Zealand and are already training on the water with the AC45 test boat.

Team Japan Breaks A Wing
On 26 October the wing on Team Japan's AC45x test boat broke apart while training in over 20 knots of wind. The lower forward corner of the trailing element - the flap of the wing - gave way and then the entire lower flap segment tore loose. If you stop the video at about four seconds, you can see where the breakage occurs. The wing trim line was holding the lower trailing corner of the wing (equivalent to the clew on a soft mainsail) and the rest of the flap simply blew apart.

No one was injured and the team was back out sailing a few days later using their "AC45x" wing, which has a different shape. The wing that broke was their "AC50" wing, which meets the design rule to be used on their race boat next year. -- Jack Griffin,

Better Testing, Better Products
Seahorse Zhik R&D manager Tom Hussey says there's no tougher a sport for testing the waterproofness and durability of modern technical clothing than offshore racing

In the past decade Zhik has listened carefully to the wants and needs of the world's best smallboat sailors, with Zhik the gear of choice for many of the sailors at Rio 2016 including all the team members of three of the most successful nations: Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. The gold and silver medallists in the dynamic 49er class - Pete Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) respectively - are among the better-known names who have been wearing Zhik for many years now.

R&D manager Tom Hussey says, 'When we started making neoprene garments back in the early days of the company, it was amazing what sailors were prepared to put up with. Or rather, they didn't have much choice because most of the wetsuits available had been developed for surfers or athletes from other sports. For sailing they were pretty clunky, heavy and inflexible. Since then we've listened carefully to the world's best and most demanding sailors to give them what they need, to create garments that are warmer, drier, lighter and more durable than what had previously been available.'

Full article in the December issue of Seahorse:

Round Britain And Ireland Two-Handed Race 2018
The Royal Western Yacht Club is pleased to announce that the Round Britain and Ireland, two handed race, will start from Plymouth on Sunday 3 June 2018. This will be the 14th running of the legendary four yearly yacht race which was established in 1966 by the Cockershell hero Major Blondie Hasler.

The race comprises five legs totalling approximately 2000 miles. The course is sailed clockwise around the British Isles and Ireland leaving all islands and rocks to starboard. The race is open to professional and amateur yachtsmen in mono and multi-hulls from twenty eight feet up to fifty feet length overall.

The Race Director David Searle, a former race competitor and current member of the RWYC, anticipates a strong local and international entry of fifty to sixty boats to contest one of the world's toughest coastal two handed races. The race record stands at fifteen days seven hours but sailors should allow about twenty three days to complete the event, including the four forty eight hour stopovers in Kinsale, Castle Bay, Lerwick and Lowestoft. For the competitors the stopovers offer a chance to recover, repair their boats and, most importantly, to get to know their fellow racers during the respite of the host ports.

The Round Britain and Ireland race is essentially five races in one with the results decided on accumulated time (IRC corrected). The legs are relatively short stages of three or four days where time spent at the helm and minimum sleep has to be balanced with the need for solo watch keeping and precise navigation. The high tempo of the race is maintained by the four restarts when the anticipation of closing the gap on the boat ahead or defending a lead on the boats astern raises the adrenalin of the crews for long periods often in testing conditions. It offers a unique way to experience the magnificent coastlines of Britain and Ireland.

The Notice of Race and Entry Form can be found at the RWYC website.

Russell Coutts: Expand America's Cup To 12 Teams To Grow Sailing
The America's Cup should be expanded to 12 teams as a way of growing the sport of sailing worldwide, Russell Coutts said.

The 2015-16 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, which concludes in Fukuoka this month, is being contested by teams from Britain, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, France and the US.

Those six syndicates will take part in two qualifying competitions next May and June, with the winner to take on defending champion Oracle Team USA in the main event in Bermuda.

"It will be a goal for anyone involved in the America's Cup in the future to have more competitive teams involved," Coutts, the chief executive officer of the America's Cup Event Authority, told CNN by phone from New Zealand.

Expansion to "10 or 12 teams" is "definitely a goal for the future," he added.

"We are getting a lot of interest from teams wanting to join in for the future," Coutts said. "We don't have the racing (like) in the past, with one of two teams that were dominating. And that's drawing more viewers in."

He also pointed out that all World Series teams bar one have hosted races in their own respective countries, increasing the event's exposure.

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