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

Storm In The South Atlantic
Most of the skippers are sailing in good conditions for the first day of the year.

Both leaders should start sailing in the trade winds Monday afternoon. Jeremie Beyou, Jean Pierre Dick, Yann Elies and Jean Le Cam are taking advantage of a depression circulating to the North of the Falkland Islands. Louis Burton is sailing to the South of a depression, upwind, with some snow. Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman are in front of a depression that is set to get more active from tomorrow onwards.

The group that extends from Eric Bellion to Rich Wilson will be gradually affected by a depression rolling in from the West and in which Enda O' Coineen was sailing this morning. The Irish skipper lost his mast in a squall, within the front.

Romain Attanasio is stuck between two high pressure systems. He'll have to wait a few more hours for the wind to settle back into position from the south-west. At that point, he'll be sailing in the same weather system as Sebastien Destremau and Pieter Heerema.

As a result, January 2nd will be a windier day for most of the skippers.

* Enda O'Coineen's boat dismasted

In a few unfortunate moments the Vendee Globe solo round the world race came to a premature end for Irish skipper Enda O'Coineen. A sudden, unexpectedly strong gust at 35kts of wind overpowered his autopilot, resulting in two crash gybes leaving no time to get a running backstay on to support the mast.

In seconds the mast of Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland is broken, falling over the side of the boat.

O'Coineen had only just completed a series of necessary repairs 24 hours earlier, whilst sheltered in the lee of Stewart Island, at the very southernmost tip of New Zealand. Ironically only two hours previous to his mast crashing down, he had made a New Year's video, promising to recalibrate his natural affinity for risk.

Having just effected his repairs - principally to his autopilot and computers - and actually having profited from his experiences and his solid speeds in the Indian Ocean, O'Coineen today spoke of his deception and disappointment, which are felt all the deeper and harder because he considered himself to be in good shape to take on the second half of his round the world race:

"I am devastated. Things were going quite well. O'Coineen said, "I was in good shape. Having got this far I felt we could handle anything. There was just that little malfunction of the self-steering that set a whole train in motion. I have to accept responsibility. What happens, happens."

In terms of his Vendee Globe, setting out on the 5,000 miles to Cape Horn, O'Coineen, 60, is fortunate to have been a little less than 200 miles SE of Dunedin when his mast came down. He cut is rig free but reported that he did not save the boom, or any part of the mast, and so has very limited jury rig options. He was heading slowly downwind towards New Zealand this Sunday afternoon.

* PItstop for Sebastien Destremau:

This just in from the skipper of

We've eventually decided to pitstop in Tasmania near Hobart. Recherche Bay is the most likely destination

ETA sometimes Monday night but will most probably wait offshore for daybreak

Length of the pitstop will depends on the state of the mast/rigging up there. Say between a few hours and a couple of days

It will be the first time I see land since seeing Madeira Archipelago in a distance on November 11 ....!!!!! And the first time I see faces since the start on November 6!!

Australian Authorities are being briefed by our race headquarters as we speak...

As a reminder
We are Not allowed to step ashore,
We are not allowed to be physically helped by anyone
Otherwise we may face disqualification ...

* Damaged racing yacht limps in

A large French yacht, crippled after colliding with an unidentified object in the Tasman Sea, has managed to limp to Dunedin after emergency repairs in Bluff.

Le Souffle de Nord, sailed by Frenchman Thomas Ruyant, was competing in the Vendee Globe non-stop around-the-world solo yacht race when it was badly damaged last Monday, by what is thought to have been a partially submerged shipping container.

The 18m monohull was last Wednesday escorted by the Bluff Coastguard to Bluff, where it was repaired sufficiently for it to sail to the Dunedin Harbour Basin yesterday.

Former round-the-world sailor Stuart McLachlan came to Mr Ruyant's aid when he berthed in Dunedin, and said the yacht would now undergo an insurance assessment to determine whether it will be repaired in Dunedin, Auckland or back in France.

He said Mr Ruyant flew home to France yesterday. -- John Lewis, Otago Daily Times

Top ten positions:
1. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire VIII, 4644 nm to finish
2. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, 182 nm to leader
3. Jeremie Beyou, Maitre CoQ, 915
4. Jean-Pierre Dick, StMichel - Virbac, 1628
5. Yann Elies, Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, 1724
6. Jean Le Cam, Finistere Mer Vent, 1739
7. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallee, 3070
8. Nandor Fa, Spirit of Hungary, 4197
9. Conrad Colman, Foresight Natural Energy, 4372
10. Eric Bellion, COMMEUNSEULHOMME, 5646

Persistence Prevails
When British Navy Captain John Illingworth uttered the now immortal phrase: 'I will, if you make a race of it,' when presented with the opportunity to take part in a Christmas cruise from Sydney to Hobart in 1945, few would have imagined how vigorously his words resonate over seven decades later.

That casual idea of a cruise has, over time, evolved into one of the most respected and revered challenges in the sport of yachting. The annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a fearsome test of seamanship, human endeavour, skill and determination. 'Make a race of it,' remains embedded in the mindset of all those who compete in the 628-nautical mile race, whatever the challenges or obstacles they may encounter. The 72nd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart proved this in emphatic style. This was the year in which persistence prevailed, embodied both in those whose excellence was rewarded with trophies and coveted Rolex timepieces, and those who conquered their own personal challenges.

This year the race welcomed 12 overseas entries from ten countries. This included the predominantly Swedish team on the 44-ft Matador. Owner Jonas Grander only stepped foot on his boat for the first time ten days before the race and his knowledge of the Rolex Sydney Hobart was drawn from articles and video clips.

Not every edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart heralds a new race record or witnesses such a high proportion of crews make it to Hobart. Each year the narrative is different, the weather pattern unique, the nature of the race unfolds in its own way. This is part of what draws both first-timers and veterans to the race each year. "It's so humbling," explained Delegat. "We have to have a regard for the challenge it is and the people who have gone before us." As Title Sponsor of the race since 2002, Rolex identifies with the race's very essence, the commitment and dedication of those who take part, the notion of passion, friendship and an unrelenting desire to overcome all challenges.

Proceedings closed with the official prizegiving organized by the CYCA and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. A final opportunity to celebrate this year's achievements. Preparations for the 73rd edition - which starts on Tuesday 26 December, 2017 - begin now.

Positive Outlook
Seahorse With incoming World Sailing president Kim Andersen

Seahorse: What made you consider running for this new position?

Kim Andersen: Sailing is a sport with so much potential, we are a life sport. But I truly believe that we can also be a global sport, one that is attractive to participants of all ages and especially the youth. But over the years there was a growing sense of frustration among our members - the potential of World Sailing was not being fulfilled. There also seemed to be a lack of clarity in the process by which World Sailing was making decisions and this was impacting on the commercial success of the sport.

So a combination of these factors were my primary motives for running for World Sailing president, and I subsequently based my manifesto on these three areas which cover these key issues:

- Enhancing sailing's standing in the Olympics by increasing participation and growing the global audience

- Growing the sport globally by offering more opportunities for participation and creating a competitive offering for youth

- Establishing a more efficient, trustworthy and attractive organisation by increasing the levels of transparency and accountability in our governance

Full article in the February issue of Seahorse magazine:

Sydney To Hobart Line Winner Anthony Bell Tipped To Front America's Cup Challenge
Winning Sydney to Hobart skipper Anthony Bell is tipped to front an Australian challenge for the America's Cup.

Bell led Perpetual Loyal to a race record, line honours win on Wednesday.

He intends to sell the boat, valued at around A$5m, and insisted he won't defend the title. Instead, he confirmed he is set to announce a fresh sailing challenge.

He was tight-lipped about that on Thursday though everything points to trying to get Australia back in the America's Cup game with wide reporting of this speculation across the Tasman.

In May, Sydney accountant Bell was appointed the Australian sailing team's chief patron.

His main mission is to find ways to stop Australian sailing's talent drain. The country's successful Olympic programmes are regularly raided by wealthy offshore syndicates and many sailors have ended up in rival America's Cup teams.

Tom Slingsby was on Bell's winning ride to Hobart but is a key member of Oracle Team USA's squad that won the last America's Cup. Australian-born skipper Jimmy Spithill heads the Oracle crew.

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Competition
Wight Vodka We have no less than FORTY different bars submitted for what will become the top ten list shortly.

Here's one that's a first time submission, from reader Peter:

Butt and Oyster Inn, Pin Mill

Situated on the beautiful River Orwell in Suffolk UK; a proper sailors Pub on a Riverside Location where High Spring Tides lap up to the windows

Adnams Real Ales, Wide variety of Good Food. Lots of history, Thames Barges, Old Gaffers, Arthur Ransome connections.

A much visited Pub for every Sailor from all over the world.

You can submit YOUR entry until Friday January 6 2017.

From all of the submissions, the team at Wight Vodka will choose the top 10 bars which are put forward for the online voting from Monday January 9 through Tuesday January 30.

We announce the winner on February 1 2017.

Tell us your favourite:

On For The Hat-Trick
Meet the man eyeing his third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race win. Phil Harmer, who lifted the trophy with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2014-15, and Groupama in 2011-12, could get the hat-trick next edition - and we sat down to chat to him about what's he's been up to since the end of the race, his views on the evolutions ahead of 2017-18, and his plans for the future.

Hi Phil! We've not heard from you for a while - where in the world are you right now?

I'm back in Sydney. I just did a big boat race today, which was really fun, and I'm doing the Sydney to Hobart Race too. I actually recently raced alongside Charlie Enright, Mark Towill and Nick Dana on a boat called 'Wizard', in a short race up the coast from Miami to West Palm Beach. It's been a busy few months.

It certainly has. You've also been involved in the Comanche project too, haven't you?

Yes, and it's been quite a busy year with Comanche. We've done a lot of cool races, a lot of different challenges, and it all started pretty much two days after the end of the Volvo Ocean Race, when we finished in Gothenburg and got straight onto a plane to America to do a transatlantic race. We did the Hobart after that, and won it, and then a couple of fun events such as maxi-worlds, and then we managed to break the 24-hour monohull record, taking it off a Volvo Open 70's hands! More recently we've done the Fastnet, and then managed to break the transatlantic record for a monohull, which was a very cool experience to be a part of. It's been a lot of fun and very rewarding, it's such a cool boat to sail on.

The Comanche crew is kind of like Volvo Ocean Race veterans on tour, isn't it…

The project is run by Ken Read, who has done two Volvo Ocean Races himself, and a lot of the other guys who are involved have done the Volvo too. We worked out there were something like seven or eight Volvo Ocean Race wins onboard Comanche for the transatlantic, and most of the crew had competed in the race before. It is a style of boat very similar to a Volvo boat, and I think Ken does a nice job of trying to get guys with that kind of experience so we're never short-handed, and it seems to work pretty well. It's really nice to be able to sail with other guys who compete in the Volvo Ocean Race as it's such a unique event which takes all types of people.

Full interview by Jonno Turner:

Marseille 2017 IRC European Championship
The Marseille 2017 IRC European Championship will be organized by the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), the Cercle Nautique et Touristique du Lacydon (CNTL), the Societe Nautique de Marseille (SNM) and the Union Nautique Marseillaise (UNM), from the 5th to the 9th July 2017 in Marseille. The event will be officially launched on Saturday 10th December 2016, 3.30 PM, at the UNCL stand at Paris Boat Show, in the presence of the Presidents of the 4 organizing clubs.

It will be the second edition of this international competition, after a first and successful one held in Cork in July 2016.

All the IRC rated boats, with a TCC equal or more than 0.900, are invited to participate to the Marseille 2017 IRC European Championship.

Crews from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom, among others, have already announced their intention to participate to this new challenge.

RORC 2017 Notice Of Race
2017 RORC Notice of RaceThe RORC 2017 Season Notice of Race is now published. Information on all the RORC Offshore Races and Inshore Regattas for the 2017 are available here. Entry for all races, including the enormously popular Rolex Fastnet Race, opens 1200, Monday 9th January 2017.

Happy New Year And Long Live The Finn

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Kathryn Buckingham-Fry:

It was noted to me by another sailing fan that the designer of 4 of the top 5 finishing yachts was Juan K as was the line honours boat (Perpetual Loyal) which broke the record and the the overall winner Giacomo. Pretty impressive result for a 45 year old, no?

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Please contact William Jenkins at 410-267-9419

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The Last Word
It was my Uncle George who discovered that alcohol was a food well in advance of modern medical thought. -- P. G. Wodehouse

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Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

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