In This Issue
Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar: In Support of Sail Aid | RORC Transatlantic Race: Monster Project proud to be in Grenada | Gabart increases his lead at the equator | Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series wraps up in testing conditions before 2018 | Photo finish decides 2017 Star Sailors League champions | Flying Out Of Cape Town | What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine | 2018 Golden Globe Race: 23 skippers confirmed at the Paris Boat Show | 18ft Skiffs NSW Championship, Race 3 | Grant Dalton fires back over America's Cup 'event fee' criticism | 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar: In Support of Sail Aid
Nominations open now for two awards: Best Caribbean Bar and Best Bar Elsewhere. Send us your bleary memories: scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars

RORC Transatlantic Race: Monster Project proud to be in Grenada
Roman Guerra's Volvo 70 Monster Project finished the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Sunday 10 December 2017 in an elapsed time of 14 days 21 hrs 39 mins 46 secs. Sixteen yachts are still racing across the Atlantic Ocean and a number of teams will finish the 3,000 nautical mile race over the next 48 hours.

Monster Project safely moored at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina and cracked open the cold beers: "None of this team has raced across the Atlantic before and it all got pretty emotional when we finished. All of us got a bit teary," commented Monster Project skipper, Roman Guerra. "There are so many memorable moments, but racing at over 30 knots of boat speed two nights before the finish, was really special. The crew described it as awesome, scary, wonderful and just unreal. Any serious sailor wants to race across the Atlantic in a Volvo 70 and we are proud to have done it. A big thank you to the RORC for running such a great race."

Five teams are within 200 miles of the finish in Grenada and two German teams are likely to have a photo-finish. Mathias Mueller von Blumencron's Class40 Red leads the charge with 121 miles to go, just three miles ahead of Alexander Beilken's JV53 Bank von Bremen.

"Everybody on board Red is in fighting mode and pushing hard with very little sleep. The infamous squalls of the Caribbean are powerful eruptions of nature and in between is our tiny little boat, screaming down the waves. However, the concert is not over yet; we still have over a hundred miles to go - just a small sprint from Kiel to Anholt. No big clouds are visible at the moment and it's an almost clear sky. What a difference 24 hours makes. Spirits are up and Red is flying," says Mueller in his race blog.

Gerald Bibot's Belgian catamaran Zed 6 is 176 miles from the finish, just ahead of two German teams, Berthold and Tobias Brinkmann's Class40 MarieJo and Max Gaertner's JV52 Haspa Hamburg. Provisional IRC One leader, Bjoern Woge's Andrews 56 Broader View Hamburg is 346 miles from Grenada, and expected to finish the race on Monday evening.

In IRC Two, the provisional leader is Richard Palmer's British JPK 10.10 Jangada which is racing Two Handed with Rupert Holmes.

rorctransatlantic.rorc.org

Gabart increases his lead at the equator
One week after passing the longitude of Cape horn, once again Francois Gabart has clocked up an extraordinary time at the equator, which he crossed this Sunday, 10 December, at 11:35 (UTC+1), 36 days, 1 hour and 30 minutes after the start in Ouessant. The skipper of the MACIF trimaran now has a lead of 5 days, 13 hours and 23 minutes over the passage time of the current single-handed round the world record holder, Thomas Coville, who entered the northern hemisphere after 41 days, 14 hours and 53 minutes. This performance represents the second best time outright, with crew and single-handed combined, on the Ouessant-Equator course in the return direction. Only Francis Joyon and his five crewmen on IDEC Sport have achieved better to date (35 days, 4 hours and 09 minutes).

Although Francois Gabart was tossed about after rounding Cape Horn in very severe weather conditions due to a low off the Argentinian coast, his sail up the South Atlantic has been exceptional, since he has achieved the best time outright, crewed and single-handed combined, on the Cape Horn-Equator section, with a performance of 06 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes, improving the reference time held up until then by the crew of Banque Populaire V, in the Jules Verne Trophy 2011-2012, in 7 days, 4 hours and 27 minutes.

In so doing, he adds a new intermediary single-handed Equator-Equator record* to his list of performances, of 30 days, 4 hours and 45 minutes, held up until now by Thomas Coville, with 35 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes.

This means that as he approaches the last section of this round the world, the skipper of the MACIF trimaran seems to be in a good position to reach Ouessant before 23 December, at 13:09 (UTC+1), the final date and time to beat the single-handed round the world record held by Thomas Coville. However, the round the world is not over yet, as he still must sail through the doldrums, which is followed by a strong-looking trade wind and a high-pressure area in the Azores to go round.

(* subject to confirmation by the WSSRC)

Tracker: bit.ly/MACIF-CARTO-TDM

Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series wraps up in testing conditions before 2018
Monaco Sportsboat Series 50 entrants and 150 sailors from nine nationalities were out for Act III of the 5th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, organised once a month by the Yacht Club de Monaco from October to March, in collaboration with technical clothing supplier SLAM.

In the J/70s, Valeria Kovalenko (Art Tube) won with a consistency worthy of a metronome, with the YCM's Stefano Roberti (Piccinina) snatching a superb 2nd place, ahead of the Swiss W.A.T.C.H. team. Some had come a long way, like the Brazilians on Manda Chuva. Elliot Willis, British Sailing Team member and a brilliant 470 sailor, summed it up, "It's great to meet new teams and be able to race in the middle of winter," like the two Omani teams, who have set up their winter training quarters in the Principality. Equally important is the role this Series plays in the YCM's training strategy, which this weekend saw two teams from the Club's Sports Section competing.

In the Melges 20, just a few months since making his debut in this class, Ludovico Fassitelli (Junda - Banca del Sempione) continues to gain momentum. Having won the first Act, the YCM member was 2nd in this one, behind the Russians on Rocknrolla and Alex Team in 3rd.

It was a particularly testing weekend for competitors with winds alternating between east, west and south, with everything from 3 to 30 knots.

Next event, 19-21 January 2018, before the "Big One": the Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse 9-11 February 2018.

Final ranking Act III - J/70
1st: Valeria Kovalenko - RUS (Art Tube) - 4 points
2nd: Stefano Roberti - MON (Piccinina) - 7 points
3rd: Jacques Leveque - SUI (W.A.T.C.H) - 7 points

Final ranking Act III - Melges 20
1st: Dmitry Samokhin - RUS (Rocknrolla) - 5 points
2nd: Ludovico Fassitelli - MON (Junda Banca del Sempione) - 7 points
3rd: Alexander Mikhaylik - RUS (Alex Team) - 10 points

Provisional ranking after three Acts - J/70
1st: Valeria Kovalenko - RUS (Art Tube) - 18 points
2nd: Stefano Roberti - MON (Piccinina) - 65 points
3rd: Germano Scarpa - ITA (Sport Cube) - 67 points

Provisional ranking after three Acts - Melges 20
1st: Alexander Mikhaylik - RUS (Alex Team) - 36 points
2nd: Ludovico Fassitelli - MON (Junda Banca del Sempione) - 38 points
3rd: Maxim Titarenko - RUS (Leviathan) - 47 points

www.yacht-club-monaco.mc/en/home-en/

Photo finish decides 2017 Star Sailors League champions
With racing taking place in a balmy, near perfect 15 knots on Nassau's Montagu Bay, the 'take no prisoners' shoot out on the last day of the Star Sailors League Final saw the fleet narrow to seven teams after the Quarter Finals and to four after the Semis. Finally this left the finals being contested by France's Xavier Rohart/Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, Britain's Paul Goodison sailing with German Frithjof Kleen, Brazil's Robert Scheidt/Henry Boening and the USA's Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih, the latter crew having 'fast tracked' straight through after decisively winning the qualifiers yesterday.

On the final approach to the finish line, Scheidt/Boening closed, rolling in with more pressure and on some good waves as Goodison/Kleen looked slow. However at the very last moment Goodison/Kleen picked up speed to win by a metre. It was a suitable ending to this ultimate 'champion of champions' regatta, where the winners gets to walk away with US$ 40,000 of a US$ 200,000 total prize purse.

Final top ten:
1. Paul Goodison / Frithjof Kleen, GBR/GER
2. Robert Scheidt / Henry Raul Boening, BRA
3. Mark Mendelblatt / Brian Fatih, USA
4. Xavier Rohart / Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, FRA
5. Philipp Buhl / Markus Koy, GER
6. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Dominik Zycki, POL
7. Paul Cayard / Phil Trinter, USA
8. Ben Saxton / Steve Mitchell, GBR
9. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA
10. Francesco Bruni / Nando Colaninno, ITA

www.starsailors.com

Flying Out Of Cape Town
Charles Caudrelier's Dongfeng Race Team and the Spanish MAPFRE squad were neck and neck leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet out of Cape Town and towards the southernmost point of the African continent on Sunday.

It was the eleventh time in the history of the event that the fleet had raced out of Cape Town, this time on a 6,500 nautical mile leg to Melbourne, Australia. The ETA is currently between the 24th and 26th of December.

Conditions were ideal, with the famed Cape Doctor wind blowing at 20-25 knots. The fleet raced around a short triangle course in front of the city, before being freed to sprint off towards Australia.

There was some drama for the Dongfeng team who had to make a late crew change just before leaving the dock. Daryl Wislang suffered a back strain this morning and the team decided not to risk having it flare up more while at sea. He stepped off the boat to be replaced by Fabien Delahaye.

The forecast is for very strong winds on Sunday evening and overnight, which should then ease for a brief respite, before strengthening again as the first of the Southern Ocean weather systems that will pick them up and carry them to Melbourne comes calling.

www.volvooceanrace.com

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

Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse build table - A new generation
One-design studio has seven of those nine new TP52s. There's always a reason. Marcelino Botin and Adolfo Carrau

World news
The remarkable people of the Caribbean. The TJV Grand Cru, go the 'new' Multi 50, inside (2021) track, US back in the game. Grant Dalton, Ivor Wilkins, Ken Read, Dobbs Davis

Rod Davis - you're the judge that matters
The master-coach is already preparing for his own next big regatta... read on

Optimising for The Hague
Which promises to be one hell of a good day at school for everyone concerned... Jason Ker

Design - Look back in pleasure
Considering what has been created from scratch in a relatively few years... a revelation awaits. Sean Mcmillan

Special rates for Scuttlebutt Europe subscribers:
Seahorse Print or Digital Subscription Use Discount Promo Code SB2

1yr Print Sub: €77 - £48 - $71 / Rest of the World: £65 www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs/

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Discounts shown are valid on a one year subscription to Seahorse magazine.

2018 Golden Globe Race: 23 skippers confirmed at the Paris Boat Show
The 2018 Golden Globe Race will start from Les Sables d'Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race in 1968/9 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.

With 6 months to go before the start, five French skippers continue to dominate the entry list. Two new skippers have announced their entry and the return of another who had previously retired, replace five entrants that have withdrawn from the Race.

The new faces are Ertan Beskardes, a Turkish born British national who has bought a Rustler 36, Commander Abhilash Tomy, KC (38) fromIndia who has built a Suhaili replica,and Tapio Lehtinen (59) from Finland who is campaigning a Sparkman & Stephens designedBenello Gaia 36. The entry list also shows a welcome return of Italian entrant Francesco Cappelletti with his Endurance 35.

Those to have withdrawn for personal or financial reasons are Izabel Pimentel from Brazil, British farmer Ian Reid, and two Frenchman, Lionel Regnier who is now assisting fellow Frenchman Jean-Luc van den Heede, andArsène Ledertheil, together with Swiss entrant Neree Cornuz.

Australian boatbuilder Mike Smith simply ran out of time building his replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's 1968/9 winning yacht Suhaili and has now set his sights on entering the next GGR in 2022.

goldengloberace.com

18ft Skiffs NSW Championship, Race 3
Click on image for photo gallery.

Skiff Sydney Harbour: The Asko Appliances team of James Dorron, Paul Montague and John Walton produced an outstanding performance to win Race 3 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

A perfect summer day, a 15knots North-East breeze provided the setting for a sensational race which 'had it all'.

Extremely close racing and a few incidents gave the spectator fleet plenty to cheer about before Asko Appliances finally crossed the finish line a 20s winner from Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Lochy Gilmore, Greg Dixon) after the pair had fought for the lead throughout the entire race.

Triple M (James Ward, Adam Gillson, Huon Oliver) was a further 1m30s back in third place after another solid performance.

Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards) finsihed fourth, followed by Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster) and Noakes Youth (Kirk Mitchell).

Series leader and defending champion, Smeg (Lee Knapton) had a disappointing day with an incident requiring a penalty turn, then a later capsize, sending the skiff back into seventh place.

Despite the disappointing day, Smeg still leads the championship on 9 points, followed by today's winner Asko Appliances on 16 points, Noakes Youth on 16 points, Triple M on 17, Rag & Famish Hotel on 17 and The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage) on 19.

The Australian 18 Footers League's 2017-2018 Season will now go into recess for the Christmas/New Year period.

Race 4 of the NSW Championship will be sailed on Sunday 14 January. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

www.18footers.com

Grant Dalton fires back over America's Cup 'event fee' criticism
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton says his syndicate won't benefit directly from any event fee with everything used to run the regatta's day to day operations.

"It could be the best ever America's Cup if we create the right environment with the event," Dalton says.

The America's Cup looms as the only major international event on the New Zealand sporting horizon. Having so recently hosted the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup and the Masters Games, there's no chance of them returning soon.

The cycle of big events coming to New Zealand has run its course. And with France setting a new benchmark with a $407m hosting fee to World Rugby to hold the 2023 World Cup - dwarfing New Zealand's 2011 levy of $108m - Kiwis might never enjoy the privilege again.

But the Auld Mug, sport's oldest trophy, has indeed returned and needs to be maximised.

On Thursday, Auckland Council will make its final decision on where the Cup will be based, with the Wynyard Basin "cluster" expected to win favour at a cost of around $132m.

There will be central government contribution towards covering those infrastructure costs and an event fee which will go towards the operational running of a regatta that will sail for three and half months from December 2020.

www.stuff.co.nz/sport/

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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
Satire is a kind of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own. -- Jonathan Swift

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