In This Issue
Feeling the sting of the Southern Ocean | When the Forties Roar | Golden Globe Race officials meet FFV to discuss Race Rules and Safety issues | First GC32 World Championship will be held on Lake Garda | The Hague Offshore World Championship | Southern Spars In The Sydney Hobart | Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar | Blustery Conditions in Normandy | Marlow's Guide to Splicing | Bermuda's Mustafa Ingham leads the charge as the first Volvo Ocean Race Academy Apprentice | 2018 52 Super Series | Letters to the Editor | 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

Feeling the sting of the Southern Ocean
The Volvo Ocean Race teams were feeling the full strength of the Southern Ocean on Thursday as they were pummelled by winds gusting as high as 50 knots and surfing down mountainous waves.

The deep low-pressure system that has been forming for the past few days has now engulfed the seven crews, forcing them to switch from all-out racing to a more conservative mode.

Nevertheless, boat speeds rocketed to an incredible 38 knots as the Volvo Ocean 65s were launched down the faces of enormous Southern Ocean rollers.

The low pressure system responsible for the hammering is vast, stretching almost 1,500 nautical miles from the tip of South Africa to just a few hundred miles north of Antarctica.

It represents the biggest challenge so far in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, and, although Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne is still in its early stages, the decisions the teams make now could have serious consequences on the results.

At 1300 UTC Dongfeng Race Team continued to lead the fleet from their position furthest south, just seven miles above the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ) set by race control.

* Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 challenger team AkzoNobel, currently racing through the Southern Ocean from Cape Town to Melbourne on Leg 3 of the round the world race has suffered damage to the yacht's mast and mainsail when a gybe in very strong winds and gigantic seas went wrong earlier today.

The gybe ripped the mainsail track from the back edge of the mast, broke several of the mainsail's carbon battens, and punctured the sail itself in several places. It was captured on film by Volvo Ocean Race on board reporter James Blake (NZL).

In the video watch captain Chris Nicholson (AUS) who was helming at the time describes what went wrong during the gybe.

When the Forties Roar
Photo by Martin Keruzore

They don't call them the Roaring Forties for nothing and right now those Forties are starting to roar while the seven teams competing in the Volvo Ocean Race are suiting up for the challenge. Since leaving Cape Town the sailors have been keeping an eye on an intense low pressure system rolling in from the west. On a weather map it looks like a swirling beast that will be impossible to avoid. The best the sailors can do will be to ride it out making sure that they stay above the center of the low to keep in the strong westerly winds.

These low pressure systems circumnavigate Antarctica with almost nothing other than Cape Horn in their way. The gather steam as they churn uninterrupted and push along mountains of water that lifts the boats sending them plummeting down the face of sometimes cresting waves. It's a thrill ride for those who love living life at the extreme and it's most certainly not for the faint of heart. Between waves the yachts submarine in the troughs with icy cold water cascading aft toward the crew huddled in the cockpit. The legendary Sir Peter Blake called it 'Going into the Green Room.'

This low pressure is packing a steady 40 knots with gusts closer to 50. Fortunately for the sailors the wind is from astern but it's Southern Ocean wind which is different from tropical wind. It's moist, heavy and packs a wallop. It's unrelenting and unforgiving. The best the crews can do is make sure that they are dressed for the weather; the world's greatest ocean racers, including those onboard Brunel & Scallywag are kitted out with the finest sailing boots available - The Dubarry Crosshaven engineered and crafted to take on a Southern Ocean gale.

Golden Globe Race officials meet FFV to discuss Race Rules and Safety issues
The organisers of the 2018 Golden Globe Race (GGR) today met with the full board of the French Federation de Voile (FFV) to discuss all aspects of the organisation, operation and safety/security considerations for the Race, starting from Les Sables d'Olonne on July 1st 2018.

Race Chairman Don McIntyre reports: "Discussions were cordial and very productive. It was agreed at an early stage of the meeting that all participants in the room have sailing at heart and hold great respect for the spirit and essence of the original Golden Globe Race as the foundation for all current around the world solo sailing.

The GGR organisers respect the FFV's position and were happy for the opportunity to present our case that serious and professional consideration has been given to producing responsible safety, security and risk minimisation for this challenging adventure to recreate the original 1968 Golden Globe."

The FFV also explained that they must work within current legislative requirements of both the French Government and World Sailing. They suggest that the 2018 Golden Globe may be more of an adventure and maritime event than a true yacht race. In principle, the FFV is not against the event, understand that the 2018 Golden Globe Race is recreating history, and want to promote the heritage of solo sailing.

The FFV will asses the new amendments to the Notice of Race that the GGR organisers presented at the meeting and will make a statement on their position early in the new year.

First GC32 World Championship will be held on Lake Garda
With the GC32 officially receiving World Sailing recognition last month, the GC32 International Class Association is pleased to announce that its first World Championship will take place in Riva del Garda, Italy on 23-27 May, 2018. This will see the fleets of the GC32 Racing Tour and Extreme Sailing Series competing on the same race track.

Returning is defending champion Oman Air, winner of the first GC32 Championship held in Muscat, Oman in March. The Omani team recently finished a close third overall in the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series following its final event in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Returning to Garda for the first time since winning the GC32 Riva Cup and the overall GC32 Racing Tour in 2016 is French America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas with NORAUTO powered by Team France.

Having finished second to Oman Air at the GC32 Championship in Oman, Alinghi, of two time America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli, is returning with the aim of going one better in 2018. The Swiss team recently concluded the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series in second overall.

The Hague Offshore World Championship
Organizers from the 2018 The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship, in consultation with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), have announced the scheme for scoring this first World Championship to use both the international IRC and ORC rating systems. The event is being held at Scheveningen Marina in The Hague over 12-20 July 2018.

All competing entries must have valid IRC Endorsed and ORC International certificates, and a change to the Notice of Race (NOR) has been issued that specifies:

- IRC results will be determined by corrected times calculated by Time on Time using single number TCC.

- ORC results will be determined by corrected times calculated by Time-on-Time Offshore Single Number for the offshore races and Time-on-Time Triple Number for the inshore races.

- Each race will be scored with a finishing place determined using ORC ratings and IRC ratings, with the two summed up.

- The final race score will be scored according to RRS A4 (First = 1 point, Second = 2 points, etc - see Race 1 example below), and if there is a tie the points assigned will be the shared equally among the tied boats

The 2018 The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship has thusfar attracted strong interest from 111 boats registered from 18 countries: 11 in Class A, 27 in Class B and 73 in Class C.

Southern Spars In The Sydney Hobart
This year's edition of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will see 110 teams, including 31 international entries, head to the starting line on Boxing Day. Amongst these entries are 4 super maxis, all of which have Southern Spars rigs: Infotrack, Wild Oats XI, the US 2015 winner Comanche and Black Jack, who will be looking to dominate in what is widely regarded as one of the world's toughest blue water races.

Blackjack won the first round against her rival Wild Oats XI in the 2017 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge this month, and will be looking to triumph again in this latest rematch. However, the winners of the last two editions, Infotrack and Comanche, will both be there to spoil the party, aiming to repeat their previous success.

The last time someone got on the podium of the Sydney to Hobart race without Southern Spars was 2008. For the ninth-consecutive year, this race will see our record extended.

What is for sure is that this 628-mile race is definitely not to be missed, and we can't wait to see who will be the first to cross the finish line in Hobart.

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar
This Friday is the FINAL day to submit entries for this year's Best Yachting Bar... and this year we have TWO awards, one for Best in the Caribbean, another for Best Elsewhere.

The Caribbean entries can include existing bars... and those that the hurricanes closed.

For our featured bar tonight... your humble narrator's favourite. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. But not the one you usually see pictured. There are two bars there... the one that most know, out by the decks and docks, open to the harbour. But there's another one just inside that is timeless in a "British Empire at Raffles Singapore" way... It's small, quiet, and full of history, burgees and tall tales. One of your humble narrator's favourite places.

A particularly warm and welcoming space when cold winds and horizontal rain hit the harbour, and the main bar is closed, or sparsely attended by hardy and or foolhardy souls. The smell of the cedar and the sense of history is strong there...

Speaking of horizontal rain... have a thought to our brethren in the Caribbean, and donate to SailAid UK or one of the many other worthy charities helping the marine industry and the islands back on their feet. As noted in last night's Eurobutt, SailAidUK has been officially approved as a UK Charity. Go to

Submit YOUR favourite yachting bar by end of day Friday. Voting begins Monday.

Blustery Conditions in Normandy
The conditions turned blustery on small Lake Bedanne in Normandy for the second day of racing at the International Bedanne's Cup - the final event of the 2017 Women's International Match Racing Series (WIM Series). But change of conditions did not deter local skipper Pauline Courtois as she maintained control to remain in the lead.

After a day of beautiful sunshine for the first day of racing, the second day brought rain, large windshifts and big puffs that kept the teams on their toes throughout the day.

Four flights remain in the double round robin for Thursday. The conditions are predicted to deteriorate overnight, but the organizers are hopeful that we will keep on schedule.

Standings in the 2017 International Bedanne's Cup after day two of the double round-robin (skipper, nationality, team, wins - losses):

1. Pauline Courtois, FRA, Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, 12-1
2. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, French Women's Match Racing Sailing Team, 11-3
3. Margot Vennin, FRA, Team CVSAE, 10-3
4. Allie Blecher, USA, Team BAAM, 9-5
5. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, L2 Match Racing Team, 7-6
6. Margot Riou, FRA, APCC Women's Sailing Team, 5-8
7. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, Swedish Women's Match Racing Team, 3-10
8. Linnea Floser, SWE, Peregrine Racing, 2-11
9. Ekaterina Kochkina, RUS, ProKateam Sailing Team, 1-13

Marlow's Guide to Splicing
With over 200 years of technical knowledge and rope care expertise, Marlow's highly anticipated Guide to Splicing, endorsed by Dame Ellen MacArthur is an indispensable instruction manual for all sailors and boat owners and makes a great Christmas present for any type of sailor or boat owner. Detailed illustrations and stage by stage instructions will guide even the most novice of sailors through a variety of recommended splices that will ensure their ropes are used to their full potential. Did you know that tying a knot in your rope can reduce the breaking strength by up to 50% whereas a spliced termination will only reduce strength by up to 10%?

The handy manual includes detailed instructions on the following splices:

- 3 Strand Eye Splice
- D2 Taper
- D12 Locking Eye Splice
- D2 Eye Splice
- Marlowbraid Eye Splice
- Doublebraid

In 2018 learn more about splicing and take part in Marlow's demonstrations at Boat Shows and Regatta stands around the world, including BOOT Dusseldorf, RYA Yachtmaster Conference, RYA Dinghy Show, Sail Pacific, Cowes Week, Southampton Boat Show and many others!

Visit for more splicing and event information.

Bermuda's Mustafa Ingham leads the charge as the first Volvo Ocean Race Academy Apprentice
The Bermuda Tourism Authority and XL Catlin have teamed up with the Volvo Ocean Race and Turn the Tide on Plastic to grant an apprenticeship opportunity to Mustafa Ingham, an aspiring professional sailor from Bermuda.

In joining Turn the Tide on Plastic, one of the seven teams in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, as a Volvo Ocean Race Academy Apprentice, Ingham has the opportunity to pursue professional sailing with the most elite offshore sailors in the world.

The goal is for Ingham to gain the necessary qualifications and experience to have an opportunity to compete as a sailor in a future round the world Volvo Ocean Race.

"I've joined Turn the Tide on Plastic team as part of the Volvo Ocean Race Academy. In doing this apprenticeship I get to work with the shore team and go out sailing with the sailing team during stopover activities," Ingham said.

"I've just finished doing the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup in Bermuda with Team BDA and I decided I might as well keep the ball rolling and get into this.

"The apprenticeship programme is aimed to help people like myself to hopefully one day become a Volvo Ocean Race sailor and to get into offshore sailing."

"This is an awesome opportunity for one of our own," said Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Kevin Dallas. "Building on the legacy of the 35th America's Cup, hosted out here this past summer, is a priority of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and that priority aligns perfectly with the career aspirations of Mustafa Ingham.

"All of Bermuda is immensely proud of Mustafa's accomplishments with Team BDA in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, and as his sailing career takes shape, the Bermuda Tourism Authority looks forward to working with him as an ambassador for the sport."

2018 52 Super Series
The 2018 52 Super Series looks set to feature an unprecedented nine new-build boats; at least three America's Cup teams, who will each be new to the world's leading grand prix monohull circuit; and two international crews, who have raced in the circuit before, will be returning to the fray.

The new season promises the highest level of racing yet, bringing together the world's top adversaries such as Sir Ben Ainslie, Robert Scheidt, Terry Hutchinson, Ed Baird, Jordi Calafat, John Kostecki, Francesco Bruni and Vasco Vascotto.

This winter will see a frenetic level of boatbuilding activity at premium facilities around the world. While some of the teams that made early new-build decisions plan a short training spell prior to the warm up Palma Vela regatta (3-6 May 2018), others who have left it later may have a race against time to be ready for the first of the five 2018 52 Super Series regattas in Sibenik, Croatia, May 22-27.

Last week's confirmation that the design for the 36th America's Cup will be a 75-foot foiling monohull sees at least three teams expected to compete in the 2018 52 Super Series. Brand new to the 52 Super Series will be Challengers of Record, Luna Rossa, who have just announced they will compete in the 52 Super Series with a new build TP52 to be steered by Francesco Bruni.

Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR previously published their planned collaboration with Tony Langley's Gladiator team. And Doug DeVos's three times 52 Super Series winners Quantum Racing are building a new boat as part of the Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association programme, which will challenge for the America's Cup under the flag of the New York Yacht Club.

Seven of the new-build TP52s are from the Botín Partners design office, and two from Vrolijk.

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The Last Word
Sometimes the best way to learn something is by doing it wrong and looking at what you did. -- Neil Gaiman