In This Issue
Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar: In Support of Sail Aid | Pressure coming on as Southern Ocean storm approaches | IMOCA Global Series Created | Barcelona World Race | Good Old Time Sailing - St. Thomas International Regatta | Team NZ 'holding taxpayers to ransom' | Sail Sydney | What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine | Jimmy Spithill wants Australia back in the America's Cup | Sail Aid UK receives Charity status and opens Grant Application process | Barbara Sargent 1945-2017 | 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

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:

Pressure coming on as Southern Ocean storm approaches
A north-south divide of more than 200 miles has opened up in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as the teams prepare for a deep Southern Ocean depression to strike.

Faced with the tough decision of whether to take on the impending storm by diving south on a quicker but more risky route or escaping the worst of the weather to the north, each of the seven teams have now thrown their cards on the table.

In a bold break from the rest of the fleet, British skipper Dee Caffari opted to take her young Turn the Tide on Plastic crew furthest to the north in the hope of dodging the worst of the system's howling winds and forecast for enormous seas.

This is in contrast to the strategies of leg leader Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, team Akzonobel, Team Brunel and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who have chosen to roll the dice and take the southern option.

Caffari, one of the world's most experienced and respected offshore sailors, is known for her seamanship - and as most of her team have never faced the Southern Ocean before, she and navigator Nico Lunven have picked a route that gives them more options, including not needing to throttle back as much as her counterparts in the south.

But as the storm is more than 400 nautical miles wide and moving quickly east, being swallowed up by it is inevitable - and it has been playing heavily on Caffari's mind. "I have had bad guts for 24 hours and I was thinking it may have been something I have eaten or drunk, but that is highly unlikely," she wrote to race headquarters in a blog post. "If I was honest it may be the responsibility sitting heavy on me to make the right decision and get boat and team through the next 48 hours unscathed. It is turning my stomach in knots, something I have never experienced before."

Wind speeds are now up to 25 knots and forecast to build.

Leg 3 - Position Report - Wednesday 13 December (Day 4) - 13:00 UTC
1. Donfeng Race Team -- distance to finish - 4,737.2 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +8.0 nautical miles
3. team AkzoNobel +18.8
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +19.4
5. Team Brunel +26.0
6. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +40.3
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +93.4

IMOCA Global Series Created
The IMOCA General Meeting was held last week in Paris in the framework of the Paris Boat Show (the Nautic). The 2018-2020 calendar was confirmed and a Global Series created. Antoine Mermod, the President of the class looks back at the major decisions taken at this General Meeting.

Creation of the Global Series

Q: There was a lot of talk about the calendar during the last General Meeting. What are the main features going to be?

A: "We fully understand that the Vendee Globe is our most popular event for the public and media. To mark a certain continuity, we need to create more links between races to build things up as we move towards the pinnacle event. That is why we have decided to reorganise out championship, which will be renamed the Globe Series, with a system of points and weightings over a four-year period. Details will follow. The idea is to organise two big events each year bringing together large fleets, along with other events, called exhibition races. In 2018, the two big events will include a new race organised in Monaco in early June (the name of which will be revealed early next year), then there will be the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe in November. In 2019, there will be the Barcelona World Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre. Then in 2020, a Vendee Globe year, the skippers in the class will take part in The Transat and the New York-Vendee. It is not impossible that other races will be added to this calendar. But we have already put in place a solid backbone, as it is vital to come up with a top class calendar to attract sailors and sponsors."

You mentioned the brand new event to be organised in Monaco. More generally, the Mediterranean will have a place of honour in the spring of 2018...

"Seeing we are talking about taking an IMOCA fleet down to the Mediterranean, we wanted to come up with a complete programme. After the Guyader Grand Prix in Douarnenez, we will be organising a solo race to Cascais (Portugal), which will be a qualifier for the Route du Rhum. After the event in Monaco where we are expecting between ten and fifteen boats, we will be proposing that the organisers of the Giraglia (between Saint Tropez and Genoa) allow the IMOCA class to register. In our opinion, it is vital to throw the spotlight on the Mediterranean coast, as it offers exceptional sailing conditions in the spring. On top of that, the Mediterranean is an interesting market for the IMOCA class and race projects are being set up there."

Barcelona World Race
The Barcelona World Race unveiled its new format to the sailing community today, a format which opens up horizons for the expansion of the IMOCA fleet, the most active ocean racing class.

Considered one of the most important yacht races in the world, this edition has some exciting new ingredients: two legs, Barcelona-Sydney-Barcelona and an option to substitute the co-skipper.

The fourth edition of the Barcelona World Race has already received an enthusiastic response from skippers from all over the world, as well as the international sailing community.

On the 12th of January 2019, the start will be given to this brand-new edition of the two-crew, round the world regatta, where, for the first time the IMOCA 60 boats will be making an obligatory stopover in Sydney, Australia. This international move is a significant step for the regatta and the class globally. For the fourth edition of the regatta the FNOB will also have a brand-new headquarters and regatta control centre in the city of Barcelona. It will be situated in the Sea Experience space, next to the Maremagnum shopping centre, which will bring the competition closer to the public, who will also be able to visit the facilities.

The upcoming edition of the round the world challenge has already been given an enthusiastic response from international top flight offshore sailors with 16 teams adding the event to their racing schedule, 11 of which already have an IMOCA 60. The regatta has received interest from 26 international sailors who have contacted the Race Management team for information.

The Barcelona World Race is a double-handed (two crew - skipper and co-skipper) round the world regatta, starting and finishing in Barcelona, with two legs: Barcelona - Sydney - Barcelona.

Good Old Time Sailing - St. Thomas International Regatta
IC24s racing in the 2017 STIR. Photo by Ingrid Abery

If you enjoyed Caribbean racing in the 1970s and 1980s, or heard the stories and wished you were there, then register now for the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 23-25, 2018.

After some tough soul searching, STIR organizers at the host St. Thomas Yacht Club realized it will be unfair to promise a full-scale regatta without the dock and deck covering. So, the next best thing was to roll back the clock to a simpler era.

"It's all about simpler times, more fun, no worries and a chance to come and enjoy the sailing," says regatta director, Bill Canfield, who has been involved in STIR for all but one of its 45 years and can attest to the great laidback low-key island vibe in the early years. "We will of course offer wonderful sailing 'around the rocks', with our veteran PROs, great beach parties, cold rum and hot music."

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers sailors welcome! STIR 2018 offers classes for CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap rule) Racing, Cruising and Bareboats; Large Multihulls; Beach Cats and One-Design over 20-foot LOA. The hot, hot, hot class will be the one-design IC 24's. A number are available for charter from the St. Thomas Sailing Center (, which is based at the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

In keeping with the simpler old-time theme, even the entry fees for STIR 2018 have been rolled back to $150 before January 31, 2018.

Updated NOR at

For more information, contact regatta director, Bill Canfield, at

Team NZ 'holding taxpayers to ransom'
A former Team New Zealand director has accused the syndicate of holding taxpayers to ransom, with its demand for a hosting fee.

Team New Zealand is reportedly using overseas hosting offers as leverage, to seek Government funding to cover the hosting fees for the 2021 America's Cup.

James Farmer QC was a lawyer and director on the team from 2007 to 2013.

He told Mike Hosking the demands are an insult to every New Zealander who's supported the team over the years.

"The New Zealand Government has put a huge amount of money into the team over many, many years and a lot of people - including myself - have worked very hard for no money at all."

Farmer believes Team NZ shouldn't hold an America's Cup it can't afford and the syndicate should scale back on its America's Cup plans, before demanding more money from the public purse.

"Very strange that they should really promote a new type of boat, which is going to be extremely expensive, to not only develop but also support the crew."

Sail Sydney
Tasman rivalries will come to an exciting crescendo on Sydney Harbour tomorrow when medallists are decided in the seven Olympic classes contesting Sail Sydney.

After a cracking three days, staged in perfect sunny and breezy conditions near host Woollahra Sailing Club, the Laser and 49er classes remain on a knife's edge.

Australian Sailing Team World Championship bronze medallist Matt Wearn leads the strong 24-boat Laser fleet by a solitary point from New Zealand's Sam Meech, the Rio Olympic bronze medallist, and Meech's countryman Tom Saunders, who is three points off the lead in third place. Australian Sailing Squad member Luke Elliott is equal on 14 points with Saunders and ready to pounce.

With Olympic gold medallist Tom Burton out of contention, Wearn will hope to be rewarded for consistency across the opening six races and go one better than his silver medal at Sail Melbourne a fortnight ago.

The 49er class has been a classic battle with Australian Sailing Team crew David Gilmour and Joel Turner locked on 19 points with New Zealand crew Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey in what has become a two-horse race at the head of the field.

In the other classes, multiple World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have not dropped a point all week and have the 470 class all-but sewn up. Rio Olympian Jake Lilley has a three-point break over World Champion Max Salminen in the Finns, with Australian Sailing Team member Oliver Tweddell in the bronze medal position.

Jacinta Ainsworth leads Australian Sailing Squad Laser Radial sailor Marlena Berzins by three points, while Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are unbeaten in the Nacra 17 and New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech hold an unassailable lead in the 49erFX.

Full results:

Event site:

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

Behind the scenery
Seen off the boat the mechanics always look to operate pretty seamlessly onboard the modern J Boat. But all that glistens... Ted Street

When lower is higher
The foiler Moth has hit new highs of technical performance and the focus swings back on sailing technique. Between them the Cup guys and Olympic champions have it nailed. Current design no1 Kevin Ellway talks to Andy Rice

Strong foundations
After running America's Cup 35 Iain Murray is home overseeing Australian racing. But his own Cup hopes never went away... Blue Robinson

Fast boats just got faster
Fast enough for Franck Cammas and tough enough for all you lot!

RORC - Almost straight swap
Eddie Warden-Owen

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Jimmy Spithill wants Australia back in the America's Cup
Oracle yachtsman Jimmy Spithill said he wants to see Australia compete in the next America's Cup with the driving motive to win back the Auld Mug.

The 38-year-old, who captained the Australian team in 2001, said although he would not commit himself just yet he 'would love to see an Australian team' compete.

"If you look around the teams over the past few campaigns, you see Aussies littered throughout all of them," Spithill said at a yachting charity event in Canberra, reported by The Age.

"We're so associated with the water in Australia and I think the fact that the next one in is in New Zealand it wouldn't be surprising at all [to see an Australian team].

The Australian won the Cup twice with Oracle Team USA but lost this year in Bermuda to Emirates Team New Zealand.

With teams awaiting the official entries which open on January 1 followed by the new 75-foot monohull class rule on March 31, Spithill said there's still plenty to contemplate.

"Everyone in the sailing world is waiting on the final class rule, which is what the boat design is and that will come out in March next year, so before you commit to any sort of project or program you really need to know where the goal posts are," he said.

Spithill said he believes millionaire and reigning Sydney to Hobart winner, Anthony Bell, could be the key figure in backing the Australian Challenge. -- Cheree Kinnear

Sail Aid UK receives Charity status and opens Grant Application process
Sail Aid UK has been granted Charity status. Set up in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma to pro-actively unite the UK sailing community in a long-term fundraising drive to help the victims of the Caribbean Islands most severely impacted by the September hurricanes, the Charity has now opened the Grant Application process.

Those organisations with whom the Charity's Trustees are already in touch have been approached to file an Application in line with the Grant Making Policy - both documents are available in the footer on the SAUK website for anyone to download.

In the meantime, Sail Aid UK is promoting its online merchandise, currently a range of T-shirts that have been specially commissioned, designed and printed to raise funds for Sail Aid UK by many members of the amazing superyacht fraternity in Palma, Mallorca. These can be purchased direct online here: and would make a fun extra Christmas present, available in adult men's and women's as well as in junior sizes.

Anyone can also donate directly to the Sail Aid UK Action Stations Fund here:

Barbara Sargent 1945-2017
The death of Barbara Sargent of Howth after a short illness has taken from among us a much-loved and vivacious personality, whose warm family life was a heartening example of how the sea and sailing can be comfortably intertwined with shore interests of all kinds, and a very positive sense of community commitment.

Her enthusiasm was total. Although she and Gerry had celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in April of this year, the passing of the years had in no way diminished her active involvement afloat, which continued to the end - she was racing the annual Howth Autumn League until its conclusion only a few weeks ago, and the huge turnout at her recent funeral was eloquent testimony to the many lives she had touched during a life lived to the full.

The hundreds of us who attended her funeral - some from very far away - were privileged to share the private family farewell to someone who had been such a force for the good.

Our heartfelt condolences are with husband Gerry and their sons David, Robert and Andy and their wives and extended family, and their grand-daighters Joanna, Freya and Gemma, and particularly to grandson Jonny, who gave us such an eloquent and moving insight into how this great sailor also managed to be the perfect grandmother.

WM Nixon's full tribute to Barbara Sargent in Afloat

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See the collection at

The Last Word
You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you. -- Robert Anton Wilson

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