In This Issue
Volvo reconsiders schedule for future Volvo Ocean Race | Mini-Transat La Boulangere | Mirabaud Sailing Video Award: Time to submit your video! | Light winds frustrate 5.5 Metre Opener at Regates Royales Cannes | GAC Pindar Finn UK National Championships | 2017 Big Boat Series: Grand Prix Returns | St. Thomas International Regatta is GO for 2018 | Les Voiles de St. Barth: Regatta Will Carry On in 2018 | Featured Brokerage

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

Volvo reconsiders schedule for future Volvo Ocean Race
Turner stepping down, no race start in 2019 in new boats

Following discussions with key stakeholders it has been determined that additional planning time is required to implement the recently announced changes to the race schedule. As a result, the proposed 2019-20 race in new boats will not take place as planned. A revised schedule for future Volvo Ocean Races will be announced as soon as possible. Volvo remains committed to ensuring that any planned changes deliver long-term sustainable benefits to the race and participating teams.

The design work on the exciting new Super 60 concept, at the forefront of foiling offshore monohull technology, continues.

The current 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race is completely unaffected by this change and will proceed as publicly announced.

As a consequence of this review to the race schedule the current CEO for the race Mark Turner has decided to step down from his current position. He will remain in the CEO role until a successor is appointed, a search for which has started.

"Whilst we regret the fact that Mark has decided to step down from his current role, we are grateful for the hard work and contribution over the last 16 months. The leadership team Mark has put in place will ensure the race remains both a world class sailing and business platform and we wish him all the best for the future," says Henry Stenson, Chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race supervisory board.

"Although I have decided to step down from my position, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the Volvo Ocean Race at this important time. I am confident the 2017-18 race will be one of the best ever," says Mark Turner.

Q: Will there be an impact on the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race?

A: No impact on the current edition of the race is expected. Mark Turner's role was primarily focused on future strategy. The Leadership Team is very well prepared and ready to deliver an outstanding sporting and sponsorship experience. Mark Turner will remain as CEO until a successor is appointed.

Q: It was recently announced that the next Race would start in 2019, is that still the case?

A: Following discussions between Volvo companies, it has been determined that in order to fully implement the announced changes additional planning time is required, specifically in relation to the race cycle. A final decision on this will follow at a later stage. This rules out a race start in 2019 with new boats, however the Volvo Ocean Race leadership team is developing plans to ensure activation opportunities and stakeholder return using the existing boats.

Mini-Transat La Boulangere
In the prototype category Ian Lipinski ( appears to be the very firm favourite. "He's dominated everything for the past two seasons and he has perfect control over his boat. It would almost be an injustice if he didn't win this Mini-Transat," says Jorg Riechers (Lilcenthal), one of the few racers likely to hold out on Ian.

Prototype, one trio and some outsiders

Though Ian Lipinski holds sway with the votes, the forecasts are a lot more open the minute discussions turn to designating the podium for this 2017 edition. There are three skippers who share the votes for the two remaining places on the podium, though certain outsiders are worth considering. Despite the fact that his boat was launched very recently, Jorg Riechers is often cited as a potential runner-up to Ian Lipinski. To his credit, the German skipper boasts a stellar hull and vast experience across the board.

Erwan Le Mene (Clotures Rousseau) is set to round off the podium. Indeed, his tough reputation, his technological ease and the prospect of sailing on the winning boat from the 2015 edition, really work in his favour in relation to his rivals.

Finally, Simon Koster (Eight Cube) logically has a number of votes in his favour too. This will be the third participation for the Swiss sailor, following on from the Mini-Transat in 2013 and 2015.

Production boats: A tough call

There are certain skippers who seem to be really on their game in terms of the trimming. Clarisse Cremer (TBS) and Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile henry) have been harvesting the fruit of the hours and hours spent training and sizing each other up under the aegis of the Lorient Grand Large training centre and its coach Tanguy Leglatin. Both skippers may be lacking a certain experience of offshore sailing however.

Old hands of offshore: Always at the front of the fleet in the major offshore events, they can sometimes appear to be less at ease in some of the pre-season sprint-type races. Tom Dolan ( is one of the most iconic representatives from this camp, together with Tanguy Bouroullec (CERFRANCE Kerhis).

By the numbers:

Sunday 1 October: Start of the Mini-Transat La Boulangere in La Rochelle, France
- 4,050 miles to cover between La Rochelle - Las Palmas in Gran Canaria and Le Marin (Martinique)
- 81 skippers at the start
- 10 women
- 11 nationalities
- 20 years: age of the youngest skipper in the race: Erwan Le Draoulec
- 62 years: age of the oldest skipper in the race: Fred Guerin
- 25 prototypes
- 56 production boats
- 66 rookies
- 15 'repeat offenders'

Mirabaud Sailing Video Award: Time to submit your video!
Mirabaud Sailing Video Award The Mirabaud Sailing Video Award is underway. Professional filmmakers as well as sailors filming on-board during races must upload their videos on before October 30.

This event was launched to honor the best sailing videos produced each year and their authors. It celebrates high achievement in sailing imagery, filming, editing and story telling.

The public will be asked to vote from November 3.

The winners of the Mirabaud Sailing Video Award will be celebrated during the Yacht Racing Forum (Aarhus, Denmark, November 27-28), in front of the sports' leading personalities, events, classes, yacht clubs and sponsors.

The main prize - the Mirabaud Sailing Video Award - will be determined by an international jury. The Prize of the Public will be awarded following votes from the public on Internet. The Special Jury Award will celebrate the sailors who produce the best on-board videos during races. The winner will receive a beautiful and prestigious wall clock offered by our partner Hublot, alongside prize-money...

Mirabaud Sailing Video Award - International Jury 2017
- Denis Harvey (NZL), TV producer of the America's Cup
- Gary Jobson (USA), TV commentator and vice-President of World Sailing
- Nicolas Mirabaud (SUI), Member of the Executive Committee, Mirabaud & Cie SA
- Melissa Payne (UK), Vice President, IMG
- Pierre-Yves Lautrou (FRA), journalist
- Dick Enersen (USA), founder of Offshore Productions

Light winds frustrate 5.5 Metre Opener at Regates Royales Cannes
For the second year running, the elegant International 5.5 Metres are gracing the waters of Cannes as the class begins racing in the 28th edition of the Regates Royales Cannes. Only one race was possible on a very light and tricky day with the win going to Otto (Bent C. Wilhemsen, Andreas Dyhr and Luka Strahovnik).

In 2016 the class was reintroduced to the Regates Royales after many years absence, and this year the fleet has four days of racing alongside the Dragons, Tofinou one-designs and of course the increasingly popular Classics at this famous autumnal Mediterranean spectacle.

About to turn 70 years old next year, the class first came to prominence in 1948/9 when the famous naval architect Charles Nicholson developed an affordable and transportable design than some of the other previously popular Metre rule boats. The 5.5 Metre was soon selected for the 1952 Olympic Games, became an International class and it remained an Olympic Class until 1968.

Second over the water in Cannes was New Moon (Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger and Peter Vlasov), who placed second at the World Championship.

"It was a frustrating day, but every day you don't fall apart in a drifter is a good day."

With more light winds forecast for the rest of the week, it is something the crews here might have to get used to.

Racing in Cannes continues until Friday. -- Robert Deaves

GAC Pindar Finn UK National Championships
Photo credit: Steve Sampson. Click on image to enlarge.

Finn UK Championship Thorpe Bay YC, UK: Forty five Finns gathered at sunny Southend for the 2017 National championships - an exciting mix of every age group from under 23 tigers to the veterans and legends, plus international entries from Sweden, Finland Netherlands and Ireland.

Sunday delivered the highlight of the championship, 15-18 knots, 3 long laps and Thorpe Bay's infamous short chop wave conditions. The GAC Pindar and British Sailing Team sailors showed their worth, with Pete McCoy taking the gun in race 6 with the next 5 places all going to the Under 23 lads. The same was true in the final race, with the rest of the fleet getting a grandstand view of how exactly to stand up and 'drop-pump' in 18 knots as they guys flew past downwind. Closest to the 'pro sailors' was again Simon Percival in Race 6 and Allen Burrell in Race 7 - proving there is life in the old Masters yet! Kristian Sjoberg, (FIN 201), another international Finn campaigner returning to the fleet also showed he could keep pace with the new generation, never finishing outside the first 12 to take 7th spot.

Overall Hector Simpson proved a clear winner, discarding a 5th to record a low score of just 14 points. Second to fourth was separated by only a single point - highlighting the quality and competition between the members of the Under 23 group.

Final top ten:
1. Hector Simpson, GBR, 14
2. James Skulczuk, GBR, 23
3. Peter McCoy, GBR, 24
4. Cameron Tweedle, GBR, 24
5. Callum Dixon Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre, GBR, 30
6. Allen Burrell , GBR, 37
7. Simon Percival, GBR, 48
8. Kristian Sjoberg, FIN, 55
9. Jack Arnell, GBR, 57
10. Martin Hughes, GBR, 64

Full report and results:

2017 Big Boat Series: Grand Prix Returns
Photo by Erik Simonson, Click on image for photo gallery.

Big Boat Series The 2017 edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series will be remembered for numerous things. 4 days of stellar weather, with sunshine and great winds reaching into the 20's in late afternoon. The passing of a Bay Area sailing stalwart, Sy Kleinman, just days before the regatta, his team winning their division in grand fashion, one more time in what will most likely be Swiftsure's final regatta under the Kleinman family ownership.

A decline in multihulls, which seemed to be the future of Bay Area sailing with the America's Cup in town just 4 years prior.

When Peter Stoneberg's new Extreme 40' Shadow X had a PBO failure causing the rig to go horizontal, It left Tom Siebel's Mod 70' Orion without any competition. The other entry, Jerome Ternynck' Extreme 40' Smart Recruiters, losing their rig after a capsize a couple weeks earlier, Orion sailed races 3 and 4 without competition on Friday before putting the boat away for the rest of the regatta. After all, what was the point?

In handicap monohulls, the race committee distributed the 29 entries into 4 divisions with a Sportboat PHRF division and 3 ORR divisions, which, by sampling the results, appears to have worked out as well as it could, given that handicap sailing has it's own handicap, and unless you are on the winning end, you are never really satisfied.

The one design regatta regulars, J-105's with 24 boats, Farr 40's with 6 boats, Express 37's with 7 boats, J-70's with 11 boats and J 120's with 5, rounded out the evenly matched divisions aside from one, the premier debut of the PAC 52 Class.

While this was not the 1st time that the 52's have had 5 boats on the line for the Big Boat Series, they had that number in 2010 and 2011, it is the 1st time that evenly matched 52's have lined up, and what a difference a generation makes. The earlier lineups featured mostly TP 52's from various generations, that while similar in measurement were nowhere close in composition, construction, sail design, weight and speed. And generally a two horse race would emerge with the older boats playing catch up the entire regatta.

2017 will be remembered as the year that 5 evenly matched 52's lined up for the Big Boat Series. And even it was. With conditions near perfection for these machines, boat handling skills and time together seemed to be the determining factor. It seems like a long time since the Core 4, Rio, FOX, Bad Pak and Invisible Hand debuted in San Diego for the Yachting Cup in early May, and many a mile has been sailed in the meantime.

Full editorial in Pressure Drop:

St. Thomas International Regatta is GO for 2018
Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) have officially announced the 2018 event, set for March 23 to 25 in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, will take place as scheduled despite damage to the island from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Never in the 45-year history of STIR has a fall storm, even a major one, interrupted the running of the 'Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing', and it will not in 2018. The host St. Thomas Yacht Club suffered some damage and the fleet took more than a few dents, but the venue for fantastic round the island races is still very much in place.

The resilience of regatta organizers, sponsors, volunteers, and club members as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands' business community, hotel and tourism sectors is strong.

To offer support and to be part of the island's recovery and future, competitors are encouraged to register now for the Round the Rocks Regatta, March 22 and St. Thomas International Regatta at:

From Scuttlebutt:

Les Voiles de St. Barth: Regatta Will Carry On in 2018
Considered a high point of the tourist season on the island of Saint-Barthelemy, Les Voiles de St. Barth will take place as planned over April 8-14, 2018.

A little over two weeks ago, the Caribbean Islands were ravaged by one of the deadliest hurricanes of the century. While it took a hard hit, Saint-Barthelemy is already well on the road to recovery, revealing its courage and energy to rise up, much like the organizers of Les Voiles de St. Barth who have decided to maintain the regatta in 2018.

"We are working hard so that the island can welcome all of our guests, crews and spectators with the same level of hospitality and professionalism as usual," announced François Tolède, who organizes Les Voiles along with Luc Poupon and a large group of volunteers. "We must produce this ninth edition of Les Voiles as a symbol of reconstruction by proposing a regatta at the same level as expected, with the same quality of service and the same degree of competition. We are going to concentrate our energy in organizing a regatta every bit as exceptional as in past years, with five days of competition, a day off, concerts every evening…the fundamentals will be there!"

Looking Toward the Future

There is one very clear common goal: to get the island ready for a limited 2018 tourist season and as fast as possible.

The organizers of Les Voiles are sending this message to crews around the world: "Come next April, participate and discover our paradise re-found. Hurricane Irma tried to destroy us, but we have nerves of steel, and by rebuilding together, our island will be even more beautiful."

To register for Les Voiles de St. Barth :

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