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

Good Luck, Good Judgement, Good Pace: Louis Burton's 'Lucky' Seventh
Louis Burton secured seventh place in the Vendee Globe this Thursday morning when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 07hrs, 47 mins, 49 seconds. For the young solo skipper who lives in Saint Malo, completing the legendary solo non stop round the world race today represents a major triumph.

'Get Lucky' by the Grammy Award winning French dance act Daft Punk was the booming soundtrack to his morning arrival back at the race pontoon in Port Olona.

Burton did get lucky with a succession of prolonged, beneficial weather systems during his first time in the Southern Ocean and experienced neither big storms nor prolonged calms. But his result is equally the product of steady consistency aboard a boat he knows intimately, that he has had for six years and on which he has completed all of the major French classic ocean races finally including the Vendee Globe.

At 31 years of age Burton, who was the youngest skipper to start the last Vendee Globe, sailed a mature and smart race and his team built strength and reliability into the Farr design and have been rewarded today. His elapsed time is 87 days 19 hrs, 45 mins, 49 secs. He sailed 27,477 miles at an average speed of 13 knots.

1. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire VIII, Finished at 19/01/2017 15:37:46 UTC
2. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, Finished at 20/01/2017 07:37:15 UTC
3. Jeremie Beyou, Maitre CoQ, Finished at 23/01/2017 18:40:40 UTC
4. Jean-Pierre Dick, StMichel - Virbac , Finished at 25/01/2017 13:47:45 UTC
5. Yann Elies, Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, Finished at 25/01/2017 15:13:09 UTC
6. Jean Le Cam, Finistere Mer Vent, Finished at 25/01/2017 16:43:54 UTC
7. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallee, Finished at 02/02/2017 07:47:49 UTC
8. Nandor Fa, Spirit of Hungary, 1618.9 nm to finish
9. Eric Bellion, COMMEUNSEULHOMME, 2258.9 nm
10. Conrad Colman, Foresight Natural Energy, 2525.1 nm
11. Arnaud Boissieres, La Mie Caline, 2970.5 nm
12. Fabrice Amedeo, Newrest - Matmut, 3013.4 nm
13. Alan Roura, La Fabrique, 3329.1 nm
14. Rich Wilson, Great American IV, 3842.6 nm
15. Didac Costa, One Planet One Ocean, 4196.4 nm
16. Romain Attanasio, Famille Mary - Etamine du Lys, 4210.5 nm
17. Pieter Heerema, No Way Back, 4772.9 nm
18. Sebastien Destremau, TechnoFirst - faceOcean, 6056.0 nm

Hamble Classics Regatta
Hamble, Hampshire, UK: Building on the resounding success of last year's inaugural regatta that attracted 65 entries, the 2017 Hamble Classics is set to welcome all styles of classic yachts including Metre classes, Classic Racers and Cruisers, Old Gaffers, Dayboats and Spirit of Tradition yachts, with racing formatted to suit each type.

All entrants will enjoy the superb facilities at one of the UK's top yacht clubs, with first class race management and a full social programme.

Expressions of interest and preferences are most welcome by signing up for more information here:

The Notice of Race and entry details will be published in early March on the Royal Southern's website at

First Golden Globe Race Entrant Heads To The Start Line
There are less than 17 months to go until the start of the 50th anniversary edition of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

And one entrant is already heading to the start line of the iconic race.

Shane Freeman, 61, is sailing solo from Melbourne to the UK in his Tradewind 35 class yacht, Mushka.

The skipper will shortly round Cape Horn in his first major solo voyage, and has already experienced some challenges along the way.

Days ago, Mushka suffered steering failure; a problem Freeman managed to solve thanks to calm weather.

The 50th anniversary Golden Globe Race will see 30 sailors race 30,000 miles non-stop and alone, with no outside assistance.

All entrants have to use only the same type, or similar equipment and technology that was carried on board Robin Knox-Johnston's 1968/69 race winning yacht, Suhaili.

Five time Fastnet veteran, Francois Gouin, 57, 1977-78 Whitbread Round the World veteran, 63-year-old Patrick Phelipon, two-time holder of the Jules Verne trophy Philippe Peche, 55, and Lionel Regnier, 58, Quebec-Saint-Malo, Solidaire du Chocolat, Les Sables-Horta, Transat Jacques Vabre and Route du Rhum race veteran will all be looking to beat the legendary Jean-Luc van den Heede.

The 71-year-old five-time circumnavigator already holds the record for the fastest solo west-about non-stop circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents, and has been a podium finisher in the 1986 and 1985 BOC Challenge Around Alone Race, the 1990 and 1993 Vendee Globe Races.

The Launch Of Groupama Team's Class Ac Test (Ac45 Turbo) At Multiplast
At 9.30 Thursday morning, the Groupama team France training boat, in preparation for the 35th America's Cup, was launched. 6 months were required for the French ansd Swiss divisions of the Carboman Group to combine all the elements needed in this concentration of technology.

The rules set by the US defender, Team Oracle, do not permit navigation on the Coupe Class AC+ (AC50) more than 150 days before the competition and allow only one boat to be built. It was quickly apparent to the challengers that a solution was imperative in order to optimise their training time. The construction of the training boat, the Class AC Test, with the same beams and rig of the Coupe Class AC+ but with the hulls from the Class AC45, allowed them to circumnavigate this rule.

The launch of this catamaran will allow Franck Cammas and his team to start training immediately in very similar conditions to those which they will encounter on the Coupe Class AC +. The real raceboat won't leave the boatyard until the end of the year to take part in the competition in Bermuda in June 2017.

Aluminium honeycomb thermoforming, skin bonding on extra thin glue film, and the use of TPT (Thin Ply Technology), are just some of the unique qualities of such a build. "The implementation of TPT technology on the Multiplast plotter allowed the Head of Design at Groupama, Martin Fisher and his team to optimise the areal weight and the orientation of the carbon plies during lay up in the aft wing flaps. Specially, we have lightened the flaps, which is quite signicant for the pieces when the centre of gravity is 15m high", affirmed Yann Penfronis.

Duarte Crowned J/70 South American Champion
Punta del Este, Uruguay: With the advent of a new J/70 builder in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the momentum for the class continues to grow across South America. Building on that enthusiasm, the YC Punta del Este in Uruguay hosted the inaugural J/70 South American Championship in the spectacular waters off the famous resort- known as the "Riviera" of Latin America.

Ten boats from Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay participated in the five race series. It was clear the Brazilian team BRA 757, led by Rodrigo Duarte, was comfortable in the local wind and sea conditions, posting an unassailable record of 4 1sts and a 3rd for a commanding win. Not far off their pace was the top Uruguayan team URU 780, skippered by Aldo Centanaro, posting a very consistent 2-3-4-1-3 for 13 pts to easily take the silver.

However, who was going to fill out the final bronze position on the podium was another story altogether! Remarkably enough, six teams were in contention going into the last race separated by just 4 pts!! After the furious thrash around the race track, the winner of that battle was URU 75 sailed by Sebastian Rana on a tie-breaker over URU 759 skippered by Matias Garcia on 28 pts each. And, only one point back, the balance of the top five was also settled by a tie-breaker; with URU 779 skippered by Philippe Umpierre taking the 5th spot over URU 777 helmed by Felix Leborgne at 29 pts each.

Guest Editorial: World Sport To Leave Trump's America? (Update)
World sporting bodies, especially those that are Olympic sports already, have firm antidiscrimination policies or are moving to them, as it is central to the International Olympic Committee's core values.

This has been demonstrated most clearly with many sports preventing World Championship events from being staged in countries that do not allow free entry to athletes from all around the world.

Now should it become extended, there will be ramifications of President Donald Trump's surprise ban on people born in a range of Muslim majority countries, namely Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Libya from entering the USA.

Of course, looking closely at countries whose citizens have actually been involved in acts of terrorism in the US., then a ban applied for citizens from Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. could be even more justified.

Regardless, such bans are not only having a dramatic effect families, business, but politics and sport, as well.

Speaking from the White House a day after signing the ban order, Trump said the ban was "working out very nicely", but he was certainly displeased that a Federal Court Judge temporarily overturned elements of the Executive Order and many challenges in the courts across the US are expected.

But we need to consider that the Republicans control both the House and the Senate and a law along the lines of the Executive Order that the new Republican President signed last Friday could easily emerge.

At the World Sailing (WS) annual general meeting in early November last year in Barcelona, Spain, there was robust discussion about the location of the World Sailing annual conference being held in Sarasota, Florida in November of 2018.

It seemed the notion that the USA would ban people from Muslim majority countries from entering their country was improbable and they voted to hold the 2018 World Sailing annual conference in the USA.

Yet under the rules of sailing's peak body, and should legislation mirroring the basic trust of the Executive Order come to pass, the event will now have to be switched to another country.

Therefore, World Championship events, such as the Youth Sailing World Championships scheduled for Corpus Christi Texas in July of 2018, and the annual Sailing World Cup currently running in Miami, Florida, would disappear from the American landscape.

Now multiply these kinds of impacts across the 40 Summer and Winter Olympic sports alone.

The next four years in International Affairs will certainly bring lots of changes. -- Rob Kothe

Two TP52s To Do Battle In Adelaide To Port Lincoln
Geoff Boettcher's Secret Men's Business has long been the headlining yacht in the Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race, however this year will be put to the test when another TP52, Sam Haynes' Celestial, makes its debut.

The event, now dubbed the Teakle Classic Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race and Lincoln Week Regatta, is sponsored by Port Lincoln local and yachting enthusiast Peter Teakle and will start at 3pm on Friday, February 17. It is one of the longest standing events on the South Australian yachting calendar and continues to be South Australia's premier ocean racing event.

There will be a number of top contenders in this year's race as entries continue to rise, with 37 boats currently entered.

The four-day Lincoln Week Regatta will follow the race from the Monday February 20th through to the Thursday February 23rd on the pristine sailing waters of Boston Bay and surrounding areas.

Entries are still open for the race.

Garda Moth Worlds: Record Fleet
With 6 months remaining, the 2017 Moth Worlds has already attracted a record number of entrants. Earlybird entries closed on Tuesday with 190 competitors from 25 countries registered for the event to be held at the Fraglia vela Malcesine on Lake Garda in late July.

The record lineup features a daunting who's who of top sailors.

At the top of the list is the Olympic Laser shoot out, with reigning Moth World Champion, 2008 Gold Medallist and Artemis Racing helmsman Paul Goodison (GBR) going up against 2012 Gold Medallist and Oracle Team USA tactician Tom Slingsby (AUS) and 2016 Gold Medallist Tom Burton (AUS).

2016 Laser Radial Olympic Silver Medallist and 2014 Women's Moth World Champion Annalise Murphy (IRL) leads the charge in the growing women's fleet against reigning champion Wakako Tabata (JPN) and 2013 Women's Champion Emma Gravare (SWE).

Among the past champions, 2009 & 2013 Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (USA) makes a comeback to the class after taking time out to compete in the Nacra 17 at the Rio Olympics. Also making a return after Olympic and Americas Cup commitments, dual medallist Iain Jensen (AUS) will be looking to improve on his top 10 result in 2015.

Tiger Competitors Have To Be Ready For Anything At Rutland
The competitors at this weekend's Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy have to be ready for any kind of weather. Could it be windy like last year, when Robbie King and Marcus Tressler charged to victory in their 420? The winning duo from Warsash are back to defend the title, following in the footsteps of John Merricks who won the inaugural Tiger Trophy in a 420 back in 1994, before going on win the 420 World Championships and an Olympic silver medal in a 470 in 1996.

Among others hoping for good breeze are World Championship winners such as Ian Pinnell sailing a 505 with Norman Byrd, and Christian Birrell and Vyv Townend among a strong contingent of Fireballs. At the slow-boat end of the spectrum are the likes of professional sailor Charlie Cumbley racing an OK, and former winner of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series Michael Sims sailing a Solo. Other ones to watch are Series regulars like Craig Williamson in a Laser and Eleanor Craig in a Radial. If the wind remains light throughout the weekend, then reigning 2.4mR World Champion Megan Pascoe also stands a strong chance.

Ian Walker isn't best known for his dinghy skills these days, although he did win that silver medal with John Merricks back in 1996. This weekend, the winning skipper from the last Volvo Ocean Race takes the helm of an RS400 crewed by Keith Bedborough, and with the variable forecast, who would bet against the wily Walker?

Ian is also the guest speaker at the Tiger dinner on the Saturday evening at Rutland Water Sailing Club, where he will no doubt recall John's appetite for playing hard and partying just as hard. When John died in 1997, Ian along with John's father Dennis and other friends of John formed the John Merricks Sailing Trust, with the aim of raising money for other young talents in the UK who show great promise but lack the resources to make the step up to high-level competition. This weekend's Tiger Trophy will raise a few more thousand pounds that will enable the young stars of the future to aim for the kind of success that John achieved in his tragically short life.

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