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

Jean-Pierre Dick And Yann Elies Finish The Vendee Globe
French skipper Jean-Pierre Dick crossed the finish line of the eighth Vendee Globe at 1347hrs UTC on Wednesday 25th January. The skipper of StMichel Virbac completed his solo round the world voyage in 80 days 1 hour 45 minutes and 45 seconds. Jean-Pierre Dick sailed 27,857 miles at the average speed of 14.5 knots.

Dick, who also finished fourth in the last edition of the race in 2012-13, finally held on to win a tense thriller of a three cornered battle for fourth place which peaked early this morning.

Pursued by two of the most accomplished French sailors in the race, Yann Elies and Jean Le Cam, Dick saw the 60 nautical miles lead he had yesterday morning eroded to just six miles early this morning. But the 'gentleman skipper' who has won two round the world Barcelona World Races and now completed three Vendee Globes held his nerve.

Sixth in 2004-2005, he abandoned into New Zealand in 2008 and finished fourth in 2012-2013.

When Yann Elies crossed the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne at 1513hrs UTC on Wednesday 25th January to take fifth place, the French skipper achieved his primary goal, conquering the solo non stop round the world race which nearly cost him his life during an epic 2008-9 edition.

Rescued by the Australian Navy after breaking his leg 800 miles south of Australia, Elies said before the start that only now did he feel mentally and physically strong enough to compete in the Vendee Globe again. The race time for Elies is 80 days 3 hours 11 minutes and 9 seconds. Elies sailed 27,132 miles at an average speed of 14.1 knots.

Three times winner of La Solitaire du Figaro Elies believed that if he could complete the race in good shape then he would not be far from the podium. In fifth he is the first skipper to complete this edition of the race using conventional, straight daggerboards, rather than the foils as used by the top four skippers. Winner Armel Le Cleac'h, second placed Alex Thomson, Jeremie Beyou in third and now fourth placed Jean-Pierre Dick all raced IMOCAs fitted with foils.

The skipper of Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir has finally exorcised the ghosts of the 2008-9 race with this solid fifth place, and has already stated his desire to compete again in 2020 with a boat and programme capable of winning.

Inaugural GC32 Championship
A joint gathering of the international fleets of GC32 one design foiling catamarans is to take place at the GC32 Championship in Muscat, Oman over 27 February to 5 March 2017. This will be the first occasion ever that the GC32 Racing Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series fleets have combined to lock horns on the race course. The GC32 Championship 2017 will be one of the largest ever gatherings of one design foiling catamarans. 

The winning team will be crowned GC32 Champion for 2017 and will receive the GC32 Championship Perpetual Trophy. 

The GC32 Championship 2017 will be held out of the Al Mouj Marina (aka The Wave, Muscat; for many years sponsor of a team on the Extreme Sailing Series), on the outskirts of Muscat, where Oman Sail has its headquarters. The event will precede Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series which takes place over 8-11 March. 

Run by the GC32 International Class Association, the joint organising authority with Extreme Sailing Series organisers and owners OC Sport, and hosted by Oman Sail, racing at the GC32 Championship 2017 will take place over five days, from Tuesday, 28 February until Sunday, 5 March, with a layday on the Thursday and practice races held on Monday, 27 February. A maximum of five races will be sailed each day, dependent on conditions. Two races areas will be used for the event: 'Alpha' - off Al Mouj Marina and 'Bravo', further along the coast, off Muttrah, Muscat's old town.

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Contest
Wight Vodka While the race is turning into a two-bar contest between Pewaukee Yacht Club and Rochester Yacht Club... we also honor ALL the entries, and a perennial favourite of our readers is the bar at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

Readers have remarked that this is very much a "proper" and beautiful bar... rounds and rounds of drinks for your crew and friends... and then just a quick swipe of your (waterproof) membership card and it's sorted.

The bar is just stunningly beautiful, hardwoods and brass abound.

Your humble narrator will show his age here with a hearty agreement with the club's policy toward cell phones in the bar. Their use is forbidden.

Few things I dislike more than being in a wondrous place with great people and watching some twerp staring at a phone, playing angry goddamn birds or some such crap.

Pretend you're Bogart and stare at the bottom of your whisky glass. Stare off into space. Fix your eyes on your friends... perhaps a furtive glance at an extraordinarily attractive person across the room... but turn off the phone and put it away. Life's too short to not pay attention. Particularly in a yachting bar, one of life's great pleasures!

Voting is open through January 30th with the winner announced on February 1.

Vote here:

Burling Takes The Title And Flies
Peter Burling needed to win the final of the Swan River Match Cup in two straight races, if he was going to catch his flight home, such is the life of a professional sailor. He caught the flight.

In a series curtailed due to light winds in the early part of the day, the Kiwi team were under pressure throughout the day, but rose to the occasion, defeating first Sweden's Mans Holmberg 2-0 in the semi-finals, before doing the same to local skipper Matt Jerwood in the final.

This was the first regatta in the M32 for Burling and his crew of Blair Tuke, Josh Junior and Glenn Ashby, though it was not as easy for them as the scoreboard would suggest.

Second placed Matt Jerwood of South of Perth Yacht Club and his Redline Racing Team have performed really well throughout the regatta, and should be serious contenders for places at regattas throughout the year. -- John Roberson

1. Peter Burling, NZL
2. Matt Jerwood, AUS
3. Steven Thomas, AUS
4. Mans Homberg, SWE
5. Torvar Mirsky, AUS
6. Will Boulden, AUS
7. Harry Price, AUS
8. Matt Chew, AUS
9. Logan Beck, NZL
  10. Jeremy Koo, MAS

RORC Caribbean 600 Announces New Partnership And Record Entries
The Royal Ocean Racing Club has partnered with Rolex SA, adding the RORC Caribbean 600 to the leading Swiss watchmaker's prestigious roster of yachting events around the world.

The RORC Caribbean 600 has quickly become an important event in ocean racing circles in the course of its short history and a 'must do' race on the calendar of those who take their ocean racing seriously. The RORC Caribbean 600 circumnavigates 11 of the Leeward Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe. The race has grown steadily in its nine-year history and the 2017 edition is due to have a new record entry of over 70 boats.

Commodore of RORC, Michael Boyd is delighted at the rapid development of the RORC Caribbean 600:

"Next year is the tenth anniversary of the RORC Caribbean 600 and with Rolex's support we fully expect to see up to 100 boats competing. This event is quickly becoming a priority on the international racing circuit and we look forward to its continued success for many years to come.

"The Royal Ocean Racing Club has had a strong relationship with Rolex for over 16 years, since 2001, as title sponsor of the Rolex Fastnet Race, which attracts some of the best boats and top sailors from all around the world," commented Boyd."

The 9th edition of the race starts in Antigua on 20th February 2017 at 1100.

For more information please go to the event minisite:

Click on images to enlarge.

Infiniti Performance Yachts Infiniti Performance Yachts has announced the Infiniti 56C designed by Farr Yacht Design, the first performance blue water cruiser in the market which will reap the benefits of Dynamic Stability Systems foils. Following its success in the racing world and recent acceptance in the superyacht market it is now available for performance cruising.

Thanks to the added righting moment and lift provided by the retractable DSS foil, the yacht will be capable of high average speeds, resulting in significantly shorter passage times. This is true in all conditions: in stronger winds, the faster the boat goes, the more lift and righting moment the DSS foil provides. In lighter winds the foil is simply retracted, leaving a clean, easily-driven hull shape.

The DSS foil, deployed to leeward, creates vertical lift which, thanks to the design of the foil, increases with boat speed (hence the 'D' in DSS), providing more righting moment and reducing the heel by as much as 10-12°.

A single transverse DSS foil will be fitted to the Infiniti 56C. The foil is driven by an electric motor and its operation is by push-button from the cockpit, within easy reach of the crew, complete with manual back up.

Length Overall - 17.82 m
Length Waterline - 15.98 m
Beam - 5.00 m
Keel Draft (down) - 4.0 m
Keel Draft (up) - 2.5m
Displacement - 12500 kg
Keel Weight - 3250 kg



The latest collaboration between G-Force Yachts and Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design is the fast and fun X-Treme 32 - A high performance design for inshore and offshore racing.

The briefing to the Reichel/Pugh team was to develop a flat-out racer that delivers the thrill of a high-performance design as well as the ability to capture podium positions.

The X-Treme 32 hull form is honed to deliver performance across a wide wind range. The hull lines minimize wetted surface in low-heel situations but maximize hull form stability when heeled. The maximum beam is carried well aft at the deck to insure crew weight is as far outboard as possible, providing maximum stability and straight heeled waterlines.

The deck geometry and hardware layout is optimized for efficient crew work while keeping windage to a minimum. Controls for the main trimmer are led to the cockpit floor centerline, just forward of tiller. Backstay winches are angled inboard to allow the crew to trim the backstay with feet outboard hiking.


White Formula Whisper

The White Formula Whisper is a cutting edge catamaran that has been designed and built in the UK.

Designer Ron Price had the idea to bring an affordable flying catamaran to the world sailing scene. After watching the incredible 2014 Americas Cup upset, Ron decided if he couldn't get a ride on one he would build his own, he designed the Whisper completely on computer and modeled it using very sophisticated marine development software. Six months later he was well on his way to launching his prototype. On day one of testing the Whisper prototype foiled flawlessly for over 4 minutes without dropping off the foils.

The production moulds have now been completed on a 3D 6 axis cnc milling machine, and the first boats have been built and are on the publicity circuit visiting many of the worlds boat shows. The new wing style mainsail shows all the flare of a wing sail with the easy storage of a regular sail.

The boat is made using a cutting edge epoxy / carbon fibre infusion method, fully built in the UK and fitted out in our production facility in Essex, the Whisper comes in at a platform weight of only 78Kg.


ClubSwan 50

As part of the final steps in the development of the ClubSwan 50 following on from an intense racing season this past autumn, Nautor's Swan took onboard the feedback from owners of the first three ClubSwan 50s and the world's most recognised professional sailors to put in place a plan to meticulously refine the ClubSwan 50.

The comments and suggestions resulted in the optimisation of a selection of details, which in terms of both functionality and displacement, are critical for the success of the ClubSwan 50 both as a one design yacht and under other rating systems.

The final result is very positive, with the ClubSwan 50 showing a displacement of well below 8,400 kg, considerably less than the originally declared weights. 

In addition to optimising performance, deck ergonomics and functionality; interior components and supporting structures, as well as weight control and distribution in the ClubSwan 50, the following elements have also been improved:

- Counter rotating port primary winch
- Optimising positions of mainsheet and backstay winches
- Lighter backstay winches
- Under deck Harken Pro-trim traveller system
- Hydraulic push button system for jib cunningham, vang, deflector and outhaul
- Foot support for mainsheet trimmer
- Larger rudders
- Carbon steering pedestals
- Increased bulb weight

This is important step in the development of the ClubSwan 50 Class, which will apply for international one design status from World Sailing later this year.



The latest 60 footer from Danish builder X-Yachts was unveiled to the world at this autumn's Southampton Boat show. The X series was conceived to complement the company's two existing Xperformance (Xp) and Xcruising (Xc) line ups and is intended to combine excellent sailing capabilities with a modern and spacious interior.

While the Xc range is optimised for those looking to cruise long distances across oceans the X6 (together with the smaller X4) are geared to produce the optimum design for those who also plan to spend extended periods on board, but intend to spend more time in areas such as the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, or island hopping in the Caribbean.

The X6 is built using the same hi-tech, low-weight construction techniques as the latest generation Xp racer-cruisers, including vacuum infused epoxy with localised carbon fibre reinforcement. The weight saved allows for the installation of long-range fuel and water tanks, larger battery banks and optional equipment such as water makers and dive compressors to be fitted without sacrificing performance.

Hull length 19.1 m
Waterline length 17.85m
Beam 5.4m
Draught (standard keel) 3.0m
Draught (shallow keel) 2.6m
Draught (deep keel) 3.4m
Fuel tank 1,200 litres
Water tank 1,000 litres
Mainsail 130sq m
Genoa (106%) 90sq m
Asymmetric spinnaker 280sq m

Featured Brokerage
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An excellent opportunity to buy into an established charter Whitbread 60. strong and well looked after, with regular maintenance and recent rigging and engine.

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Raceboats Only Ker 46 - NEW BOAT

Ker effected an IRC revolution when his relatively lightweight Ker 40s started cleaning up two years ago. This is the latest evolution of the marque.

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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

The Last Word
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