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

Two Records For IDEC SPORT At Cape Leeuwin
The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at 1518hrs UTC 17 days, 6 hours and 59 minutes after leaving Ushant. This means they were almost 16 hours and 57 minutes ahead of the reference time set by Loick Peyron and his men on Banque Populaire V (17 days, 23 hours and 56 minutes) having sailed at an average speed above 28 knots out on the water.

The Indian Ocean record between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin: The reference time between Cape Agulhas marking the entrance into the Indian Ocean and Cape Leeuwin has just been smashed with a time of 4 days, 9 hours and 37 minutes, which is one day, 1 hour and 46 minutes ahead of the reference time set by Francis Joyon and his men in 2015 (5 days, 11 hours and 23 minutes) and one day, 12 hours and 31 minutes ahead of the title-holder Banque Populaire V (6 days and 8 minutes). The Indian Ocean was crossed at an incredible average speed of 35.08 knots (3705 miles).

By crossing the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in SW Australia this afternoon after entering the Indian Ocean on Thursday 29th December, the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran has just achieved one of the most amazing feats in the history of the Jules Verne Trophy. Joyon, Surtel, Audigane, Pella, Gahinet and Stamm have sailed seven whole days at more than 800 miles a day with peaks from 28th to 31st December respectively of 876, 871 and 869 miles, meaning an average speed of more than 36 knots.

After setting out from Ushant on 16th December taking advantage of what he called an average weather opportunity, Joyon and his incredible gang had to work hard in an Atlantic that was far from cooperative and fell some 755 miles behind the pace set by the title-holder, the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V skippered by Loïck Peyron with a crew of thirteen. Diving down into the Forties they hopped onto the front of a low on which they are still sailing a long way off Cape Leeuwin. There have been supersonic speeds throughout this crossing and all carried out on a straight line, shattering all the records today. Crossing the longitude of CapeLeeuwin in 17 days, 6 hours and 59 minutes, Joyon and his gang have improved on Peyron's performance by sixteen hours. Groupama 3, which became IDEC SPORT, took 21 days and 14 hours to sail this distance in 2010.

The record time between Cape Agulhas marking the entrance into the Indian Ocean and Cape Leeuwin already belonged to Francis Joyon and his men after their performance last year with a time of 5 days 11 hours and 23 minutes. That time is completely annihilated after this historic week, as it has been taken to 4 days, 9 hours and 37 minutes.

Sniffing Out The Trade Winds Off Brazil
In the ongoing duel up the South Atlantic at the front of the Vendee Globe round the world race over the last 24 hours Alex Thomson has made a small, but valuable gain against his French rival Armel Le Cleac'h. As the pair raced eastwards at the latitude of Rio and just a little northwards, the British skipper of Hugo Boss has been able to close gauge, reducing the north-south lateral separation by some eighty miles.

The leaders have been sailing east to sniff out the trade winds. Despite sailing on port tack, the side on which he has no foil and so has less lift and traction than his rival, Thomson has had a better more lifted wind angle which has allowed him to angle slightly more northwards. Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire VIII) should be first on to the 'making', more profitable north-going tack this afternoon, touching the trade winds first. Once both are on the same northbound tack, Thomson's strong side, Le Cleac'h should gain for the coming 18-20 hours as he enjoys the benefits of a slightly strengthening and more lifted breeze. But once both are into the same trade wind breeze this should be closer to the British skipper's sweet spot and he should be quicker, once again be able to redress the balance in his favour.

Top ten
1. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire VIII, 4447 nm to finish
2. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, 136 nm to leader
3. Jeremie Beyou, Maitre CoQ, 714
4. Jean-Pierre Dick, StMichel - Virbac, 1438
5. Yann Elies, Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, 1482
6. Jean Le Cam, Finistere Mer Vent, 1512
7. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallee, 2904
8. Nandor Fa, Spirit of Hungary, 4070
9. Conrad Colman, Foresight Natural Energy, 4427
10. Eric Bellion, COMMEUNSEULHOMME, 5392

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Another WMRT Back-To-Back Heads For Miami
This Easter will present a perfect opportunity to watch World class sailing if you get yourself out on Biscayne Bay in Miami. The venue will host not only one but two back-to-back World Match Racing Tour events in the M32 high-speed catamaran during April 2017.

The two WT level events will award World Championship points in the quest for the World Championship title in Match Racing as well as invitations to the finalists of each event to WC level events, the higher level events in the WMRT championship which are a place for more points and price money. The WMRT Miami Match Cup (11-13 April) and WMRT Coconut Grove Cup (15-17 April) will each feature 8-10 teams sailing identical M32 catamarans over a three day format..

The two new events mark the first time the World Match Racing Tour has staged events in Florida,

WMRT Miami Match Cup will award the finalists invitations to the famous WMRT Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand, Sweden, last years venue for the World Championship finals. Finalists from the WMRT Coconut Grove Cup will be awarded invitations to WMRT Match Cup USA in August 2017.

Teams interested in applying for an invitation to the WMRT Miami Match Cup and WMRT Coconut Grove Cup are requested to contact WMRT Racing Director Craig Mitchell at

New Boat Or Modify?
When New Year arrives, a personal treat with a change in boats is well earned. But is it necessary to get a completely new boat? W M Nixon points to a different solution.

The most significant fact to emerge from the final results of this week's Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race is that no new boat figured in the top five places overall. All were boats of varying vintage, some quite old relatively speaking. And all had been - at the very least - tinkered around with more than somewhat, even if none had been modified so frequently and completely as the Oatley family's hundred footer Wild Oats XI.

Admittedly Wild Oats didn't even finish, but she was leading on the water well past the halfway stage when she had to pull out with a failed keel ram. It could well be that this was one of the few original items in the boat, for Oats has been radically changed so often - with new longer bows fitted at frequent intervals with the stern shortened still further to keep her under a hundred feet - that she now looks for all the world like a one-masted schooner.

Yet at no stage have any of her skillfully-executed hull mods failed. Down in Australia, and in New Zealand too, they're past masters at doing incredible things with epoxy which, once the job has been finished, look as if they've been there from the start. And the fact is that when we look back on the history of sailing development, when timber construction was dominant, the more individualistic shipwrights were game to take on all sorts of challenges for they knew - or at least most of them new - just what could be done with wood while retaining the overall sea-going integrity of the much-changed vessel.

It was only when fibreglass took over as the dominant boat construction material in the 1960s that we went through a period of nervousness of configurational change, when what you got in a plastic boat stayed as what you got in that plastic boat. For a while, people were scared stiff of making any changes to what had emerged from the mould and subsequently from the finishing shop.

WM Nixon's latest in Afloat:

Green Dragon Sails Again
Ireland's 2009 Green Dragon Volvo Ocean Race boat will sail again in the 2020 edition of the round-the-world-race to promote the work of a non profit organsation.

The famous Irish vessel has been rebranded as 'Mirpuri Foundation', a research body in aerospace and medical domains. The project for VOR2020 is 'just at its begining', according to a spokeswoman, but it already counts the support and sponsorship of the Foundation which Mr. Paulo Mirpuri is president.

The participation on VOR 2020 is designed spread the Mirpuri message across the world with a Portuguese crew as ambassadors.

A transatlantic crossing is planned for January 29th next year.

Ireland's Volvo 70 finished fifth out of seven entries in the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race.

Attempts to sell Green Dragon for two million euros in 2009 after the race did not materialise. She thenspent some time in dry dock in Galway, rendered obsolete because her hull was heavier and keel lighter than her rivals.

In spite of the disappointing performance the boat was welcomed in to Galway after the 2009 Transatlantic leg by a huge crowd and a week long celebration that has subsequently set the bar for all other stop over ports in subsequent races.

Cape2Rio Yachts Glide Out Of Table Bay
Cape Town, South Africa: The second start of the 2017 Cape2Rio presented by Maserati was the number one drawcard at the V&A Waterfront on New Year's Day.

The first round of yachts set sail on December 26, 2016, but on January 1, 2017 it was the turn of the racing yachts to set sail from Table Bay, with 20 yachts leaving Cape Town for Rio in warm conditions and a gentle breeze blowing.

In all, nine countries were represented by the departing boats, ranging from South Africa to Russia.

Cape2Rio is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the southern hemisphere, spanning 3 500 nautical miles.

Now that the competitors have departed Cape Town, they will head north-west towards Ilha Trindade island in the southern Atlantic Ocean and then on to South America.

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Competition
The contest for the best yachting bar of 2016 is unlike any we've had in the past eight years, in that so many of our nominees are first time entries... and ones that your humble narrator has yet to visit.

And this one is headed right to the top of my bucket list.

From reader Peter... the Happy Island Bar in Clifton Harbour, Union Island, St. Vincent & Grenadines.

The bar was built on a man-made island constructed entire of conch shells. And while Peter says he'd go there even if the beer was warm and the drinks mediocre (just because of how cool it is)... that's not the case. Cold drinks expertly prepared by one of the planet's happiest persons.

Check the video below and live forever in envy...

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:

Sir John Oakeley
Sir John Oakeley, one of Britain's greatest sailors, has died aged 84. World champion, Olympian and author, he was also a leading figure in the marine industry for more than 30 years.

In 1957 he was champion of not just one but two of Britain's most competitive dinghy classes, the Merlin Rocket and National 12. At just 24 years old and with his head of blond curls, ebullient personality and outstanding ability, he was Britain's golden boy of sailing. He will go down in history for his hat-trick of Merlin championship victories in 1956, '57 and 58.

He went on to win the Flying Dutchman World Championship in 1967 and twice won the European Championships. In 1972 he represented Britain at the Olympics in Kiel, Germany, racing a Soling.

In the following years he was a sought-after helmsman for big-boat racing, competing in many inshore and offshore events. In the 1980s he was a skipper in the Lionheart America's Cup challenge team.

Well-known in the marine industry as head of Miller and Whitworth sailmakers, followed by Freedom Yachts and Dehler UK, Sir John combined his love of boats with his career.

He and his wife Maureen spent their first years of marriage running their own charter boat before they had their children Marina and Robert. After Sir John gave up competitive sailing the family enjoyed cruising to the Channel Islands and exploring the French coast.

Oakeley's books - Winning and This is Downwind Sailing - are still inspiring racing sailors today, many years after they were first published.

Sir John will be sadly missed by those who sailed with him and against him, and by all his friends and former colleagues. -- Sarah Norbury in Yachts & Yachting

Featured Brokerage
2008 Mills 37 - Crazy Horse. 95000 GBP. Located in Dublin, Ireland.

Following typical Mark Mills lines, Crazy Horse is raring to get back out on the race track. Big overhaul last year and now looking good as new.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble


2007 Farr 11s CASSIOPEIA. 140000 USD. Located in Marina del Rey, CA, USA.

An all-carbon racer with canting keel. Optimized for point-to-point racing, all systems recently checked & serviced.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Harmen Rockler
Farr Yacht Sales

+1 410 267 0780


2010 Corby Dale Nelson 36 - 2010. Located in Wales, UK.

From the drawing board of John Corby, the technology of a cedar strip/carbon fibre composite hull.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Sam Pearson
Ancasta Port Hamble

See the collection at

The Last Word
Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully. Temperance is wickedness. -- Stephen Fry

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