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

Vendee Globe Day 47: Le Cleac'h At The Horn Friday
Armel Le Cleac'h is expected to lead the eighth edition of the Vendee Globe solo round the world race around its most feared but most universally welcomed landmark, Cape Horn, tomorrow around midday. The French skipper should pass the notorious southernmost tip of South America with the biggest lead since January 2001 when Michel Desjoyeaux led English skipper Ellen MacArthur by some 600 miles.

That over the ensuing seven days Desjoyeaux's lead over MacArthur in early 2001 was cut to some 140 miles in the sticky South Atlantic high pressure system, as that edition of the race effectively re-started there, will continue to give hope to second placed Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss. The only British skipper in this race struggled today with a very disorderly small low pressure cell which has slowed him still more while Le Cleac'h has remained relatively speedy. At 595 miles behind Banque Populaire VIII Thomson may find himself racing upwind, albeit on his favoured starboard tack tomorrow before finally making back some ground after Le Cleac'h passes the Horn.

For Le Cleach it will be the third time in successive editions of the Vendee Globe that he has rounded the Horn in the top three. In 2008-9 he was third behind Roland Jourdain and eventual winner Michel Desjoyeaux. And in the last edition he was just two and a half hours behind victor Francois Gabart. In the 2004-5 race Vincent Riou lead Jean Le Cam around Cape Horn by 15 hours and went on to win. Desjoyeaux led Roland Jourdain in early 2009 by nine hours and won the race ahead of Le Cleac'h after Jourdain's keel bulb dropped off south of the Azores.

Thomson will be buoyed by the expectation that the weather after Cape Horn does finally look a little more complicated for the race leader, who has enjoyed particularly smooth, assured transition periods, not least managing to multiply a margin of some 15 or so miles to the comfortable cushion he looks set to round Cape Horn by Armel Le Cleac'h.

WMRT Announce 2017 World Championship Season
Last year's incorporation of the M32 multihull revitalized the WMRT and introduced a new style of match racing as well as a rise in the prize money at each World Championship level event which strengthened the finances for the teams. The 2017 tour will include multihull and monohull events as well as the introduction of prize money at some World Tour level events.

The 25 events will be spread across the globe and the 2017 season presents the first World Match Racing Tour event in China and a return to Croatia.

The World Match Racing Tour is a World Championship sanctioned by World Sailing and has a Special event status. The 2017 season will consist of:

2017 WMRT Season

World Championship Level Events
WMRT Match Cup Australia, March 20-25th
WMRT Congressional Cup, March 29th - April 2nd
WMRT Northern Europe, June 6-11th (Venue announcement Jan 20th)
WMRT Match Cup Sweden, July 3-8th (Venue announcement Feb 3rd)
WMRT Match Cup USA, August 1-6th (Venue announcement Jan 27th)
WMRT Match Cup America, October 3-8th (Venue announcement Jan 31st)

World Championship Finals
WMRT Match Cup China, November 3-10th (Venue announcement Jan 17th)

World Tour Level Events:
WMRT Energa Sopot Match Race, July 29-31st 2016
WMRT West Coast Cup, September 19-21st 2016
WMRT Cape Crow Cup September 23-25th 2016
WMRT Swan River Match Cup, January 23-25th 2017
WMRT Geographe Bay Cup, February 11-17th 2017
WMRT Perth Match Cup, March 16-18th 2017
WMRT Ficker Cup, March 24-26th 2017
WMRT Miami Match Cup, April 11-13th 2017
WMRT Coconut Grove Cup, April 15-17th 2017

Vincenzo Onorato Triumphs At YCM Awards - Trophee Credit Suisse 2016
Yacht Club Monaco The YCM Awards - Trophee Credit Suisse crowned a busy year that saw Yacht Club de Monaco sailors competing all over the world, and was attended by Club President HSH Prince Albert II.

The 1,800 YCM members voted Italian Vincenzo Onorato, Melges 32 European Champion and winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, "YCM Sailor of the Year". The owner of the Mascalzone Latino stable was competing with other YCM owner/helmsmen who also graced the podiums in 2016, names like Torbjorn Tornqvist, Guido Miani, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio, Oren Nataf and Stefano Roberti, European J/70 Vice-Champion.

In a new category for foils that included Pierre Casiraghi, nominated for his first GC32 season with his team on Malizia, and Giovanni Soldini, winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race on the Multi 70 Maserati, Maxime Nocher won the Award after being crowned World Champion for the 10th time in the kite foil category.

In the Youth Awards, the winner in the Laser section was Jeremy Moutout, currently lying 1st in the Europa Cup ranking after 20 stages, and Simon Maltsev in the Optimists who has just finished his ninth season and is set to tackle the Nacra 15 class in 2017.

Looking ahead, highlights for 2017 include the Monaco Solar Boat Challenge (13-15 July), the only contest for solar-powered boats on the open sea, which this year includes a 50nm offshore race from Monaco to Cannes and back. "A world first," according to HSH Prince Albert II, "which will demonstrate that it really is possible to sail solar-powered boats with passengers aboard!", also Monaco Classic Week (13-17 September 2017).

But first, two international events on one weekend, 13-15 January: the Monaco Optimist Team Race and the monthly Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series for one-designs.

Jules Verne Record Attempt
The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is finding it hard to let go of the maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT. The Doldrums, which were forecast not to last long and to be kind appear to have had a change of heart by stretching out in front of the big multihull. It was only at the first light of dawn this morning that IDEC SPORT finally made it into the Southern Hemisphere after 5 days, 18 hours and 50 minutes of sailing and extreme concentration.

Francis Joyon was smiling, when he told us about how much like a gluepot it was in the Doldrums. "We had gained a bit of a lead over the pace, getting over 200 miles ahead of Banque Populaire V," he explained, "thanks to a rapid trajectory in the Portuguese trade winds. The ITCZ decided to stick with us as we moved south and it was only after crossing the Equator that we noticed the first signs of the SE'ly trade winds. We have been moving along quietly ever since on seas that allow us to achieve decent speed." The youngest member of the crew, Gwenole Gahinet added, "The sun is the only thing that is missing. We haven't seen it since passing the Cape Verde Islands."

Some way east in comparison to the route taken by the title-holder, Banque Populaire V, IDEC SPORT will be benefiting in the coming days from an angle allowing them to sail with the wind on the beam, which is synonymous with speed and they hope to overcome the perils of the South Atlantic to get as quickly as possible to the Cape of Good Hope.

2017 ORC Championships Now Open For Entry
Milan, Italy: The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has announced that its two major championship events for 2017 - the ORC Worlds Trieste 2017 and the ORC European Championship Gdansk 2017 - are now open for entry, with Notices of Race posted on each event's respective websites at and

Organization of the ORC Worlds Trieste 2017 is a cooperative effort between Yacht Club Porto San Rocco, in conjunction with Yacht Club Adriaco, Triestina della Vela, Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano, Circolo della Vela Muggia, TPK Circolo Nautico Triestino Sirena and the ORC. Dates for this event are 30 June - 8 July 2017, with the venue being at Porto San Rocco, Muggia, Italy and racing will be held in the Adriatic in the Gulf of Trieste.

Those interested in entering are invited to apply online on the event website. A discount is offered for entries received before 1 February 2017, and entries will be limited to 150 boats.

The ORC European Championship Gdansk 2017 is being run by the Pomeranian Sailing Association in conjunction with the City of Gdansk, Poland. Dates for this regatta are 24-29 July 2017, with the venue being in the Yacht Harbor Gdansk in the scenic historic heart of city. Racing will be in Gdansk Bay on the Baltic near the city's north shore.

Online entries may be made at the pre-registration page at, with discounts on entry fees offered before 31 January 2017. Already there are 42 entries from 10 countries on the pre-entry list.

The format for each event is according to ORC's Green Book standards and include windward/leeward course races in addition to coastal and offshore races. Winners will be crowned in each of three divisions in each event.

Storm Trysail Safety-At-Sea Video Library Now Available Online
Storm Trysail Videos The Storm Trysail Foundation is one of the world's leaders in the development of safety-at-sea strategies and techniques. For over a decade, Storm Trysail Club members have been conducting Jr. Safety-at-Sea Seminars at yacht clubs across the U.S.; and in recent years the adult-focused Hands-on Safety-at-Sea Seminars have taught thousands of racing and cruising sailors how to protect themselves while coastal sailing or offshore racing.

One of the mainstays of the Hands-on Safety-at-Sea Seminar is a series of instructional videos that participants view online before attending the event. This 10-video library is now available to all sailors bringing them over two hours of safety-at-sea strategies, techniques, and tips developed by some of the world's top ocean sailors and introduced by Storm Trysail Club member Gary Jobson.

For a one-time fee of $40.00 US, sailors receive a lifetime subscription to the full library to view over and over. They and their shipmates will be better prepared in the case of an emergency whether racing or cruising, in coastal waters or offshore, under sail or power. And, as Storm Trysail updates and adds more videos to its library, subscribers will have access to the expanded collection at no additional cost.

The first ten videos cover:
- Practical Man Overboard Recovery
- Understanding Weather
- Understanding Offshore Weather
- Flares and Pyrotechnic Devices
- Storm Sails
- Shipboard Firefighting Strategies
- Fighting Shipboard Fires
- Personal Safety Equipment
- Cold water survival & Life Rafts
- Deploying a Life Raft

Sailors can click on the link below and order their subscription to the Storm Trysail Foundation's complete Safety-at-Sea Video Library. While they're at it, they can also purchase a subscription for crewmates, too. That would make a great, last minute holiday gift that will keep on giving for years to come.

Industry News Daniel Smith
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has appointed former Skipper Daniel Smith as Deputy Race Director following his performance in the most recent edition.

A former sailing and watersports instructor with over a decade of experience on the water, Daniel led the Derry~Londonderry~Doire entry to second overall place in the tenth edition race, the best result of the Northern Irish host city's three race partnership. As a result RYA Scotland announced earlier this week that he has been shortlisted for its Performance of the Year Award.

As Deputy Race Director, Daniel's roles will include managing the twelve professional Skippers, leading the race office team in each of the international stopover locations, and assisting the Race Director with the operations and logistics of running the world's longest ocean race.

The vacancy for Deputy Race Director was created when Mark Light was promoted to Race Director earlier this month following a career move by the former Director.


Lynn Lynch

Lynn Lynch will take over for the retiring Brad Dellenbaugh as Sailing Director of the New York Yacht Club. Lynch, who is currently the Race Director for the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco and was previously the On-the-Water Director for the Chicago Yacht Club, will start on March 1, 2017.

"We feel extremely fortunate that we have found such a talented, experienced and respected individual to step into the rather large shoes that will be left behind by Brad Dellenbaugh," said Philip A. Lotz, Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. "In his 12 years at the Club, Brad, with his depth of knowledge and experience, has done a tremendous job of supporting our busy and varied regatta schedule, generally ensuring that every sailor who participates in a New York Yacht Club regatta has a first-class experience. That includes his many unseen contributions such as designing inventive course configurations, working out complex team-race ladders and commentating for our live coverage of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup."

Dellenbaugh will remain active in the sport. He is on the team of umpires that will officiate the 35th America's Cup competition in Bermuda in June and will be available to consult with the Club for special projects.

"It's certainly bittersweet to leave this position," said Dellenbaugh. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my 12 years at the New York Yacht Club and I'm very proud of the countless major championships we've run during that time, as well as the numerous smaller events, which are just as important to the participants. I'm pleased that Lynn has agreed to take my place, and I look forward to working with her this winter and spring to ensure a smooth transition to our busy 2017 regatta schedule."

Lynch is a Chicago native who has been working within the sailing industry in a variety of roles for more than 20 years. As the race director for the prestigious St. Francis Yacht Club, Lynch oversaw one of the sport's busiest regatta offices, organizing and assisting with events that covered the spectrum of sailing, including the J/70 World Championship, the Kite Foil Gold Cup, the US Sailing Match Race Championships and, of course, the signature annual event of the St. Francis Yacht Club, the Rolex Big Boat Series.

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The Last Word
We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal. -- Carl Bernstein

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