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 Trade Winds Stretch Them Out Again
Banque Populaire VIII is likely be the first to sail in the Easterly trade winds. Armel Le Cleac'h could therefore increase his lead over Alex Thomson during the next 24 hours.

You have to work hard to get to the South east trade winds. Before being able to slide towards the equator on starboard tack, it is necessary to sail upwind off Rio.

Armel le Cleach should not need to tack any more. His current course allows him to lay Recife on one tack. He will be reaching towards the Equator tomorrow morning. On the contrary, Alex Thomson will probably have to tack once or twice more before he can sail in the Easterly flow. During those tacks, his speed of progress towards the Equator will almost be nothing while Banque Populaire will be sailing at 10, 12 or 15 knots towards Les Sables d'Olonne. The distance should thus increase between the two leaders until Banque Populaire stops again in the doldrums or around the Azores High.

The day is windy for the majority of the Vendee Globe competitors, but no big depression is expected for the next 48 hours. Conrad Colman who had gusts up to 60 knots can breathe a little. The depression is filling and the wind has decreased.

* Repair, repair, repair

Of the 18 skippers still racing on Day 59 of the race four different solo skippers are having their self reliance and repairing skills tested, some of them in extremis.

Conrad Colman has made a temporary fix, re-attaching his flailing forestay to the bow of his Foresight Natural Energy using a lashing which he managed to secure despite 50kt winds and huge seas. Some 1300 miles west of Cape Horn, Colman has been making slow, but steady progress to the north east this Tuesday afternoon after the most challenging period of his race yet. The pin which secures the primary forestay is reported to have been lost during a vicious storm between Sunday and Monday.

Eleven hundred miles west, in 13th place, the race's youngest skipper Alan Roura, 24, had to take emergency action last night when he broke one of his rudders on La Fabrique when it was struck by an object in the water. He was able to stop and replace it with a spare relatively quickly, in spite of the 40kts winds.

In 15th, due south of New Zealand, Didac Costa, the Spanish skipper of One Planet One Ocean, is running out of sails. He has had to drop his mainsail after tearing it. He anticipates it will be some time before he can have conditions suitable to make the required repair.

Destremau has climbed his rig, discovering that he has to make a carbon composite repair to a spreader. "The stress level to come all this way and try to get in with no charts, no detailed charts - there are rocks and fish farms - and it is very narrow channel - I did not like it," Destremau recalled today. "It was a nightmare. I even turned around this morning and said 'I am not going in'. I thought 'I can't do this, I am going to smash this boat on the rocks...

Top ten rankings:
1. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire VIII, 4294 nm to finish
2. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, 197 nm to leader 3. Jeremie Beyou, Maitre CoQ, 590
4. Jean-Pierre Dick, StMichel - Virbac, 1354
5. Yann Elies, Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, 1407
6. Jean Le Cam, Finistere Mer Vent, 1423
7. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallee, 2825
8. Nandor Fa, Spirit of Hungary, 4045
9. Conrad Colman, Foresight Natural Energy, 4582
10. Eric Bellion, COMMEUNSEULHOMME, 5279

Seahorse February 2017
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

There is a choice
The world-renowned rope and cable innovators at Gottifredi Maffioli are enjoying fast-growing demand for their range of 'mid-exotic' but very high-performing Dyneema-based cables. And the majority of the Vendee Globe fleet understand why...

The new Botín-designed Melges 40 canting-keel one design may prove to be a major disrupter to today's mid-size raceboat market - North Sails have been playing an integral role in the development of the latest flyer to emerge from the Melges stable

Seahorse build table - Rockin' (all) around the world
The Fast40+ class now has a new fanbase... a long way from 'home'. Brett Bakewell-White

Sailor of the Month
Two gentlemen of influence... and ability

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Enda O'cCineen's Vendee Globe Blog
36 hours later I am still shaken and struggling to get back to New Zealand and no motor (a rope around the prop) it could be many days to get in range for a tow - meanwhile we have plenty of food and are secure on the mastless boat.

What does all this mean? Clearly I am out of the race and I would like to thank the Vendee Race Office for a great job and the on-going support of Marcus Hutchinson and Neil O'Hagan - also John Malone who put in an all-nighter to help fix us off Stewart Island.

On personal basis I will get back to individual supporters. In particular thanks to Invivo /BIOLINE. Most important, I would like the MSL Mercedes Schools Programme to continue following the Vendee. There is great content and there are still several other good boats and skippers still on the track to get behind.

Also I ask that all continue to support the ATLANTIC Youth Trust's charity to connect youth with the ocean, and adventure. Its 30 year mission is clear and we need to invest in the future.

For the Kilcullen and her sad Skipper, first we must get to land safely.

Then it's either one of three scenarios: 1) find another mast and sail back to Les Sables and complete the singlehanded circumnavigation 2) Leave the boat in New Zeeland and find another challenge or 3) Ship it back to Europe. It's all too soon to decide and work out but most important is to get back to family, friends and back to work and a 'normal' life - whatever that is...

Hans Fogh Memorial Regatta
Hans had won the Silver Medal in the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games in the Flying Dutchman. In those days all Canadian sailors had to smuggle their sails in from the USA or Europe as we did not have a top sailmaker here with the resultant visits from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Hans was the loft foreman for Elvstrom Sails in Denmark.

Hans wanted to set up his own loft and we convinced Kirsten to immigrate with their young son Morten to Canada.

Paul Elvstrom made a very insightful statement about Sailing when he said: "It is much easier to design a new boat then build a class association."

Class Associations hold the fraternity of sailors together, transcend international borders while promoting and ensuring the integrity of our sport.

Hans was always a strong supporter of One-Design International Classes. On immigrating to Canada he won the FD Worlds in Rochester NY and then represented Canada at the 1984 Olympics winning Bronze in the Soling.

He kept his love for one-design keelboats by competing in the Soling, Star and Etchells until his untimely departure 3 years ago.

It is great tribute to Hans that the classes he so loved are instituting a regatta in his name at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. It is essential that these wonderful classes have a regatta circuit and I look forward to seeing all who believe, as Hans did this summer, competing in the Soling, Star and Etchells. -- Paul Henderson

Titanic Sank Due To Enormous Uncontrollable Fire, Not Iceberg, Experts Claim
Rarely seen images of the Titanic before it left Southampton have furthered researchers' theory that a fire may have been the root cause of the 1912 disaster.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic may have been caused by an enormous fire on board, not by hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, experts have claimed, as new evidence has been published to support the theory.

While experts have previously acknowledged the theory of a fire on board, new analysis of rarely seen photographs has prompted researchers to blame the fire as the primary cause of the ship's demise.

Irish Journalist Senan Molony, who has spent more than 30 years researching the sinking of the Titanic, studied photographs taken by the ship's chief electrical engineers before it left Belfast shipyard.

Mr Molony said he was able to identify 30-foot-long black marks along the front right-hand side of the hull, just behind where the ship's lining was pierced by the iceberg.

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Competition
Another famed bar makes our list .... from reader John S.:

Home to the Transpac send off and Congressional Cup sponsor events, Gladstone's Long Beach is steeped in famous yachting memorabilia including a one-third scale model of Stars & Stripes handing from the high ceiling.

While you're considering YOUR submission, relax with one of these... the famous Moscow Mule.

Invented in the '40s by Jack Morgan at the Cock 'n' Bull pub on Hollywood's Sunset Strip as an excuse to promote his ginger beer. Any why not.

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add 30ml fresh lime juice, 60ml Wight vodka, and top up with ginger beer. Lime slice and/or mint leaves to garnish.

Your humble narrator mixed these up for his children (all now can legally drink, I'm old...), and we sampled three different gingerbeers: Bundaberg from Australia, Metro... a Jamaican brand that we make from a concentrate we picked up in Bermuda, and Barrit's from Bermuda, which for "Type 2" fellows comes in diet and is damn near as good as the sugared.

If you can still find Metro, that's my favourite. In concentrate it's got a greenish hue and a very sharp ginger ... snap... for lack of a better word.

And yes, we're pretentious and use hammered copper mugs, also courtesy of Bermuda vendors. They're not much use for coffee!

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:

Local Sailors Dominate The 192-Strong Grafham Grand Prix
Local boats dominated the 36th Grafham Grand Prix, the fourth event of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, which took place in moderate north-westerly winds on Monday 2 January.

In total, 192 boats entered, the largest entry for this event so far this century. The home club swelled the entry lists with an impressive 50 entries. The racing was split across three race tracks, a fast fleet sailing an upwind/downwind course and medium and slow fleets each sailing trapezoid courses. There were 42 entries for the fast fleet with 73 and 77 for the medium and slow fleets respectively.

In all 50 different classes were represented, both monohulls and catamarans. The largest representation was from the D-Zeros with 22 entries (a particularly strong showing for a class in only its third year), followed by Lasers with 20. There were good turnouts from some of the traditional classes - 11 Merlin Rockets, nine Fireballs and nine Solos, and also from some of the RS classes with nine each of RS400s, 200s and RS Aero 7s. The resurgence of the RS600 continued with eight entrants.

This was also the second event of the inaugural Winter Cat Series and Grafham's David White and Jon Sweet put the hammer down aboard their Formula 18 to take a clean sweep with three victories in the fast handicap fleet.

In the medium handicap fleet, Grafham's David Goudie discarded a 5th in the first race and counted two bullets to win his division by a point ahead of former Fireball World Champions Christian Birrell and Vyv Townend from Bough Beech SC.

Making it a Grafham clean-sweep were Ben Saxton and Izzy Hamilton who raced their RS200 to a straightforward victory in the slow handicap fleet over Matt Mee and Emma Norris from Burghfield, whose RS200 won the previous two events in the Series at Datchet and Yorkshire Dales. Behind the top two RS200s was the first singlehander, a Laser sailed by Alistair Goodwin from Haversham Sailing Club.

Meanwhile, entries are pouring in for this Saturday's Bloody Mary, the fifth event of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, with almost 200 boats entered with just over 24 hours remaining before advance online entry closes at midnight, Wednesday 4 January.

To enter the Bloody Mary, and see all the results so far, go to

Gipsy Moth IV Returns Home For The Winter
Gipsy Moth IV, the famous yacht that took Sir Francis Chichester around the world, goes on display at its original home at Buckler's Hard on the Beaulieu River

Gipsy Moth IV has returned to its home at Buckler's Hard in Hampshire for the winter, and will be open on selected dates to visitors.

It is 50 years since Sir Francis Chichester set sail on the Beaulieu River to become the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe.

Gipsy Moth IV is now on show again at the bottom of the High Street, where Sir Francis originally kept the ketch before setting sail on his epic voyage.

Gipsy Moth IV will be open to Buckler's Hard visitors between 10am and 4.30pm on 30-31 December 2016, 18-19 February 2017 and 14-17 April 2017.

Plans to celebrate the anniversary of Gipsy Mother IC's homecoming to Buckler's Hard in September 2017 are already underway.

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 Euan Ross: In response to Winkie Nixon's thoughts: I doubt if the periodic 'enthusiasm' for cut-and-paste boats is linked to better understanding of materials or zeniths in craftsmanship. I think it's more to do with finding yourself in possession of an obsolete and consequently worthless vessel. The history of yachting is of course a story of recurrent obsolescence, often on an epidemic scale.

The 1850s saw the first significant crop of chopping. You couldn't give away a cod's head cutter after 'America's visit, so owners forked out for a nose job. On the other hand, in the early days of glass-fibre, offshore racing boats were over-built and generally well-suited, as regards hull-form, for repurposing as fast cruiser-racers. And, perhaps more importantly, the sport was growing with new owners and established owners trading up.

In the USA, the IRS effectively provided a 'donkey sanctuary' through generous tax breaks when over-the-hill racing yachts were gifted to institutions. All in all there was no need to remodel under-bodies during these decades; it made more sense to sell and build new. (However, in a twist to that interlude, with renaissance of the smaller 'ton' class boats under IRC, the better examples from the final phase of the IOR have now received expensive underbody surgery to iron out bumps and hollows. But that's fashion for you.)

If there is a market for your old boat, as with the excellent TP52s, it makes better economic sense sell it all found and build anew. Only if you can't do this, is it worth the gamble of throwing good money after bad. Of course there have been some famously successful chops, crops and complete re-imaginings like 'WOXI', but for the majority of owners, sending the boat back to the builders for major hull mods simply represents a further write-down on a diminishing asset. I doubt the buyers will be lining up round the block when the Frankenship 'CQS' comes on the market, for example.

The 'cut-and-paste' long shots, legendary dogs and stout old timers competing for line honours in the Sydney Hobart didn't have the yardstick of a modern yacht to compete against this year, so the old 'Speedboat' scored a rare triumph - if line honours can ever be described as such. But, if there was a market for obsolete super-maxis, reinvesting the proceeds towards a brand-spanking-new 60 footer would deliver better sport and a better economic outcome all indeed would the purchase of a cheap and cheerful old Volvo 70, which in this case very nearly did the business.

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See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

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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


2007 52' King Marine IRC 52. 325,000 USD. Located in Rhode Island, USA.

ICE FIRE can now be obtained. She is a 2007 King Marine built TP 52 that was the last BRIBON, built for the King of Spain. Very successful on the Med circuit in 07/08/09, she came over to the States and as FLYING JENNY was very successful at all the NYYC annual regatta's, Block Island race week and NYYC race weeks. Since 2012, she has been ICE FIRE, and she was successful going to Montego Bay ( 2nd overall 2nd fleet in 2013) and won the 2012 IRC championship in Annapolis and that again last Fall (2014)

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Please contact William Jenkins at 410-267-9419

See the collection at

The Last Word
Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on. -- Billy Connolly

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