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 Victory 24 Hours From Le Cleac'h's Grasp
British sailor Alex Thomson today conceded that his chances of overhauling Vendee Globe leader Armel Le Cleac'h on the home strait were slim, despite narrowing the gap to just 35 miles. In the last 24 hours Thomson, 42, has halved Le Cleach's lead of 70 miles but as the pair prepared to enter the final 300 miles of the solo round the world race this afternoon he said the advantage was now firmly with his French rival.

Thomson revealed that for several days now he has been battling problems with the wind instruments on his cutting-edge 60ft race boat Hugo Boss, which in turn have prevented the yacht's autopilot from working properly. In spite of knocking miles off Le Cleac'h's lead overnight he said he had not slept for two days and was now dangerously tired. Speaking to the Vendee Live show today Thomson said his thoughts were on getting Hugo Boss' anemometers working again rather than the impending finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. "I don't think I can catch Armel," he said. "The routing is very clear - we will go nearly to the Scilly Isles, wait for a left shift and when it comes we tack. There are no real options for me any more, I think my options have run out. It might be possible to catch a few miles but it's difficult for me at the moment. Until I can get my autopilot driving on a wind angle it'll be very tricky in the conditions I have. I can't imagine another few days like the last couple of days. I don't have any tension about the finish. I have tension about trying to make the autopilots work. I've got an anemometer in my hand and I'm trying to splice wires. I don't care about the finish right now, I just want to sleep."

Le Cleac'h, runner-up in the past two editions of the Vendee Globe, might now be odds-on favourite to claim his first race win but he was not taking anything for granted as he prepared to tack and head down the west coast of France to Les Sables. The race mantra of 'to finish first, first you have to finish' will be ringing in his ears as he sails into his final night at sea in 74 days. "For the moment I'm holding my own against Alex," the 39-year-old Breton said, "but the final 24 hours are going to be complicated. I'm going to have to be careful as there are a lot of dangers - we have been seeing fishermen and cargo vessels since yesterday. I'll be passing the tip of Brittany tonight, then going along the south coast of Brittany. I have to remain cautious to avoid doing anything stupid." Le Cleac'h is expected to cross the finish line between 1300 and 1900 UTC tomorrow, barring any mishaps, with Thomson following suit around four hours later.

The race tracker will update hourly once the leader gets to within 100 miles of the finish, and live streaming will begin 30 minutes from the line.

For more information on how to follow the arrivals click here

Quantum Key West Race Week Reels Off Three Races In Fading Winds
Key West, Florida: Day 3 at the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week - Mount Gay Rum Day - saw a softening of the breeze on the racecourse and a corresponding shakeup on the scoreboard in some classes.

After a windy and wavy start to the regatta today's conditions were far more manageable. Depending on the racecourse the wind ranged anywhere from a high of 10 to 13 knots before dying away to 7 to 9 knots by the third race in the afternoon. The sea state, while calmer than the first two days was still lumpy.

The Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day was awarded to J.D. Hill's (Houston, TX) Second Star (J/122) in the ORC Class. Competing in his first Quantum Key West Race Week, Hill's crew won today's first two races and finished tied for 2nd in the third. Second Star leads the class with 13.5 points and holds a 6-point lead over Alex Sastre's (Coconut Grove, FL) High Noise (Italia Yachts 9.98m).

In the 52 Super Series Harm Muller Speers' Platoon from Germany temporarily dropped out of the lead after placing 10th in Race 5, but then rebounded with a 2-5 in Races 6 and 7 to stand tied for the lead with Alberto and Pablo Roemmers's (Buenos Aires, ARG) Azzurra, each with 31 points. Third place is held by Ergin Imre's Provezza IX of Turkey with 32 points.

The low point boat of the day in the class, however, was Austin and Gwen Fragomen's (Newport, RI) Interlodge V. The newest boat in the class from the Botin design group, Interlodge V posted scores of 1-1-8 and holds fifth place overall with 39 points.

In the J/70 Class it looked as if Carlo Alberini's Calvi Network from Italy was charting a course to a third consecutive class victory and then the crew finished 13th in Race 9 while Tim Healy's (Jamestown, RI) New England Ropes finished 2nd. That allowed Healy to close a 12-point deficit down to 1 point with three races remaining.

Racing resumes tomorrow with the first warning signal for all three divisions scheduled at 11:00 am.

Full results on

Harken Exhibits At Boot Dusseldorf 21-29 January 2017
Harken Harken will exhibit at Boot Dusseldorf in support of its distributor Peter Frisch GmbH, Munich, Germany.

There will be lots of tech talk with the opportunity to get answers to any and all questions.

Showcased will be Harken Grand Prix and OEM hydraulic systems and the award-winning Reflex furler, a top-down furling system that finally makes furling free-flying sails a reality. Pull the furling line and the drive unit reacts reflexively to rotate the torsion cable, immediately transferring torque to the head swivel. The wrap is tight, even, and complete, resulting in sailors using free-flying sails much more often!

Also featured is an interactive display which allows sailors to test for themselves the torsional rigidity of the Harken cable compared to other top-down cables on the market.

Find Frisch in Hall 11, Stands H25 and H39. We're looking forward to seeing you!

2017 ORC Superyacht Sailor Services and ORC Superyacht VPP Now Available
Milan, Italy: The 2017 edition of the ORC's Superyacht Designer VPP (DVP) and Superyacht Sailor Services (ORCsy SaS) is now online and available for use. The DVP is available for purchase and download on the ORC website at

The ORC Superyacht VPP (ORCsy VPP) is a Velocity Prediction Program that forms the core of the ORC SuperYacht Rule (ORCsy). The software is accompanied by the ORC Manager, an editor utility program for entering and editing measurement data as will as an Offset editor for editing hull offset files. Input data in DXT and OFF file formats can then be used to produce the hydrostatic data and polar diagrams that predict boat speed for full range of wind conditions above 6 knots of true wind speed at the following true wind angles: optimum beat, 52, 60, 75, 90, 110, 120, 135, 150 degrees and optimum run.

The ORCsy VPP Designer's version (DVP) uses the same software used by the ORC Central Rating Office to issue certificates.

The results data includes all the ratings and time allowances shown on certificate, together with a complete set of calculated hydro and aerodynamic data and that defined by the ORCsy rules. The ORCsy DVP is Windows-based software, easy to use, with a user-friendly interface and standard Windows functions.

Another innovative feature of ORCsy for the 2017 season is the advent of the ORCsy Corinthian Spirit certificate, designated ORCcs. This certificate type has fewer measurement inputs and is designed by SYRA and ORC to offer Superyachts that race on an occasional and informal basis the opportunity to enjoy Superyacht racing in this casual context.

Magpie Swoops Twice at Etchells Australian Championship
Graeme Taylor and his Magpie crew of Steve Jarvin and James Mayo sailing for Victoria's Mornington Yacht Club posted the best scores among a who's who of keelboat sailing to be named Etchells Australian champions for the second year running.

Taylor, Mayo and Richie Allanson won in 2016 at Royal Brighton Yacht Club. In 2017 off Palm Beach on Sydney's northern beaches, Taylor and Mayo were joined by Steve Jarvin who cut short his skiing trip and spent five days travelling to make the final two races of the five-race one design series.

Magpie's training partners Iain Murray, Euan McNichol and Richie Allanson finished second overall by three points with Northern Havoc and the current Etchells world champ, John Bertrand, took third with Triad2 and his crew of Bill Browne and Jake Newman.

Given three of the 'red shirts' from the Wild Oats XI supermaxi crew picked up trophies at the Etchells major title, Murray says the pressure is now on their Oats crewmate Chris Links to perform well at the Finn nationals the Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay is hosting January 16-21.

First female helm was Jeanne-Claude Strong (Yandoo XX), first and masters and grand masters crew was Bertrand's Triad2 and first Corinthian boat was Fifteen+ (David Clark, Mark Langford, Sasha Ryan, Will Howard).

The RPAYC's youth development team of Malcolm Parker, Clare Costanzo, Evelyn Foster and Rachel Bower grabbed the older guard's attention in race five on Sunday afternoon when they crossed Magpie's bow and went on to post their best result, 11th. Other YD sailors were sprinkled among the fleet.


Event website

Top Ten "Spirit Of Tradition" Yachts For 2017
And so it begins: 2017 will be the year the Spirit of Tradition story finally gets set down on paper and in bits. We cannot explain why the world has not bothered to document what went down design-wise in Mid-coast Maine over the past 20 years. How the talented - and the flawed - mixed traditional classic yachts with modern materials. How these pioneers pushed back the barriers for performance and design. And how those designs changed boating, for better or worse. It's a story that will take a while to tell. Probably, well into 2018. But this is year we are on it. At last.

Here then is the state of the Spirit of Tradition Art of 2017. We are ... geez, humbled and honored to be part of this narrative. -- Stephens Waring Yacht Design

Rebecca: Custom, German Frers
Vortex: Swede 55, Knud Reimers
Wild Horses: W - Class 76, Joel White
Hetairos: Custom, Dykstra & Partners.
Whitefin: Custom, Bruce King
Savannah, Custom, Pedrick Yacht Designs
Wallynano, Custom, Andre Hoek Design
M-Series: Morris Yachts, Sparkman & Stephens
Tango: Custom, Judel / Vrolijk
Isobel, Stephens Waring Yacht Design

Details of the ten:

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

Seahorse Magazine

Summer 1948 and something of significance is happening down in Devon. Something of significance is also about to hit the Maxi72 fleet; give the 'small' guys a chance, says Rodney Pattisson, those foils are indeed priceless, Jack Griffin reminds us and Terry Hutchinson has been getting out his spanners and those rusty cans of WD40

Not so chilled in Barcelona
A good result for offshore sailing emerges from an unnecessarily messy process. Rob Weiland

Risk management
Volvo Ocean Race-winning navigator Simon Fisher discusses the strategy implications of the routeing changes being made for the next race with Blue Robinson

Active ride
Mark Wiss and Bill Faude talk AC50 powertrain, foil and wing management with James Boyd

Twenty five years of progress? - Part 2
Andrew Macfarlan of Red Bull concludes that while one-designs play a valuable role it is the development classes that keep sailing interesting

Special rates for Scuttlebutt Europe subscribers:
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Industry News
Blu Inc Media Hong Kong, a subsidiary of SPH Magazines, has appointed John Higginson as the new Editor-in-Chief of Asia-Pacific Boating, one of the region's leading luxury yachting magazine.

Higginson returns to Asia-Pacific Boating, having helmed it from 2003 to 2006. With over 20 years of experience in the PR and publishing industry, his editorial background includes yachting, property, lifestyle, sports and custom publishing.


Boot Dusseldorf, the 48th International Boat Show, will open Saturday and continue through Jan. 29 at the fairgrounds in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Organizers said the event will reflect the international market with a broad range of boats, yachts and water sports equipment.

About 1,800 exhibitors from 60 countries will participate in boot 2017 in 2.3 million square feet. All 17 exhibition halls will be occupied, providing a complete overview of the world market for water sports.

Organizers said more than 50 percent of the exhibitors come from European countries (especially from the Netherlands, Italy, France and Great Britain) and overseas.

Market leaders Jeanneau, Beneteau, Bavaria and Hanse will be represented again, highlighting interesting advances in their development operations. Other exhibitors will include Hallberg Rassy, Dufour, X Yachts, Oyster CNB and Swan.


OC Sport, the owner and organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series, has today announced the appointment of Red Handed as its host broadcaster alongside IMG as distribution partner for the world-renowned Stadium Racing circuit.

Red Handed work with a range of clients from brands to sports events, and have extensive experience in creating compelling content for sailing. They will be tasked with producing digital content alongside an eight-part TV series, live programming and news coverage of the Series for a global audience.

IMG, the world's largest distributor of sports programs, will lead the distribution strategy through its extensive worldwide network.

Sam Usher, Founder and Creative Director of Red Handed said: "It's a real honour to be working alongside the Extreme Sailing Series as host broadcaster. I am really excited about the innovations we can bring to the coverage of the Series. This will ensure that we deliver exciting and compelling content for both a digital and broadcast audience around the globe to help grow the reach of this world-class event."

The first Act of the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series season kicks off in Muscat, Oman on the 8 March. The full line-up of teams, which includes a mix of established and new faces, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

For distribution enquires please contact


The UK's South West marine businesses have signed a memorandum of understanding with their Northern French counterparts in a bid to boost tourism amid the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

The initiative between British Marine South West (BMSW) and the Association des Ports de Plaisance de Bretagne (APPB) is designed to encourage the sharing of relevant information, maritime culture and maritime tourism between the two areas.

The project aims to develop a common framework for the sustainable growth of the nautical sector in the two regions before and after Brexit.

It will also enable British and French marina members to work together to share best practices and to encourage growth and future investment.

The project has already begun with a research survey of boat owners' requirements conducted by students from Université de Bretagne Sud in both the UK and France.

The results will assist in the formation of further specific objectives and form the basis of data for grant funding.


Nespresso, the world wide reference for highest quality premium portioned coffee has today reaffirmed its sponsorship of Emirates Team New Zealand in its campaign to win the 35th America's Cup.

Nespresso has a long-standing history of association with the world of sailing and Emirates Team New Zealand. Nespresso was a proud sponsor of the team when it challenged for the 34th America's Cup in 2013. Additionally, Nespresso was also the Official Coffee of the 34th edition of the America's Cup in San Francisco.


On January 3rd 2017, the North Sails Australia licensed operation was purchased by North Technology Group. In line with the ethos of North Sails Group, the purchase of the renowned Sydney loft will enhance the customer experience. Managing Director Michael Coxon and his team at North Sails Australia will now be spending more time on their core business of selling and servicing sails than ever before.

North Sails Australia is the country's leading sailmaker with a diverse market ranging from dinghy, One Design, 18' Skiffs, cruising, racing, Grand Prix and Maxis. Dating back to when Australia defended the America's Cup in Fremantle in 1987, North Sails Australia was the sailmaker of choice, supplying both the Bond and Kookaburra defense challenges and building some 323 panel America's Cup sails for the Cup. Since then, the loft has continued to be at the forefront of campaigns and teams from the America's Cup all the way through to around the cans racers and offshore racing, dominating the fleet in classic blue water races such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

The acquisition of North Sails Australia is the latest in an effort to centralize the business, thereby building efficiencies and creating a better customer experience. North Sails produces and sells over 30,000 sails per year and is made up of more than 2,000 employees.


Extreme Sailing Series

OC Sport, the owner and organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series, has today unveiled a new logo design as part of a rebrand for the global Stadium Racing circuit, that aims to create a more modern brand identity, reflective of the exciting nature of the sport.

The development comes as the Series celebrates not only the conclusion of its tenth year as the leading professional inshore racing circuit, but also its first year racing the foiling GC32 catamarans in 2016.

Historically, a key identifier for the Series has always been its 'X-mark' and the new logo incorporates an evolution of this with a sail and foil inspired mark integrated into the emblem.

Tourell also explained that the identity, which was created by OC Sport's in-house design specialists, aims to reinforce the Series' heritage as the "original Stadium Racing circuit" while representing the "innovative approach both on and off the water" that the Series champions.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 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


Raceboats Only MC90. New Boat.

Now we’re really cooking with gas as Ker and McConaghy introduce this 90ft globe-girdling powerhouse. All three of the new McConaghy cats look to deliver a nice combination of aesthetics, roomy interiors but still a promise of proper sailing

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

McConaghy Boats

+61 2 999 777 22


Raceboats Only 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

Back On Saturday
Family travel and a desire to quickly cover the finish of the Vendee Globe and Quantum Key West Race week will push this week's closing issue to Saturday.

The Last Word
It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. -- James Thurber

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

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