New leader as MAPFRE jumps in front | Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar | More teams than bases a possibility for 2021 America's Cup | Rolex Sydney - Hobart Race Preview | On Course for a Record Entry | Custom fit | Inaugural J80 Champs Set for Howth Yacht Club's Sportsboat Cup | Seasickness prevention and cure: the good, the bad and the dreadful | 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
New leader as MAPFRE jumps in front
It's nip and tuck at the front as MAPFRE eke out a narrow advantage over Dongfeng, while those at the back of the fleet are trying to avoid being swallowed up by a high pressure system...
Spanish crew MAPFRE broke the Leg 3 deadlock on Wednesday after 10 days at sea, snatching the lead from Dongfeng Race Team with just 1,500 nautical miles left to Melbourne. Xabi Fernandez's team overhauled long-time leg leaders Dongfeng shortly before 2200 UTC on Tuesday after navigator Juan Vila made the call to hug the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ).
Charles Caudrelier's Dongfeng briefly regained the top spot when their choice of line around 35 miles to the north of the AIEZ put them closer to the finish, but a better angle on the west-south-westerly breeze resulted in quicker speeds for the Spaniards.
MAPFRE moved in front once more just after 0100 UTC and have since pulled out a 10-mile advantage over Dongfeng.
Although the leg is far from over, it is a significant moment for the two duelling teams, both of whom were tipped as pre-race favourites and who finished first and second respectively in Leg 2 from Lisbon to Cape Town.
At 1300 UTC speeds onboard the back three had dropped to between 10 and 14 knots and the wind was as low as seven knots - an ominous sign.
"We have a high pressure chasing us down and a barrier we must stay north of," said Dee Caffari, skipper on sixth-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic. "All the pressure is to the south where we are not allowed to go. As a result we risk being swallowed up and arriving much later to Melbourne than those ahead who will squeeze through. Damn it!"
The biggest impact will be on AkzoNobel, who could find themselves crossing the finish line as much as three days after the frontrunners.
An arrival that late will heap unwanted pressure on Simeon Tienpont's men to turn the boat round in time for the start of Leg 4 to Hong Kong on January 2.
"Melbourne is a pitstop (in terms of working on the boat) so the rules say we can't replace spares or have more than two shore crew working on the boat," AkzoNobel boat captain Nicolai Sehested said. "We have a diverse team with lots of skills though and I'm sure we can have the boat race ready pretty quickly once we get to Melbourne."
Leg 3 - Position Report - Wednesday 20 December (Day 11) - 13:00 UTC
1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish - 1,679.2 nautical miles
2. Donfeng Race Team +10.9 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +108.6
4. Team Brunel +139.0
5. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +304.4
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +400.2
7. team AkzoNobel +469.1
* Wednesday December 20th British sailor Annie Lush was able to be back on deck for a few hours. The British sailor of Team Brunel had been lying in her bunk for more than 72 hours after she injured her back last weekend. At the moment Lush isn't able to join the watch system yet.
Skipper Bekking: "Annie was back on deck for two hours, just sitting, but at least some fresh air and not feeling constraint laying in her bunk, a big mental boost for her."
"The last few days the whole team cooperate together to look after her the best way we could. We will keep doing that the next few days till we are in Melbourne."
Three days of voting and we're just under 1000 votes cast. Heading up the "Elsewhere" category with a narrow lead is The Clarke Cooke House in Newport Rhode Island USA. Close behind is the Pensacola YC Grill Room Bar.
In the Caribbean category, the St. Thomas Yacht Club leads the field, with strong second and third place showings from The Soggy Dollar and Foxy's.
Voting is open until December 29, send your crew, friends and family to scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars
Try this vintage Vodka drink while you're making your choice:
Vodka, ginger beer, and muddled pear make for a tart and refreshing cocktail perfect for sipping on a cold evening.
For the Ginger Syrup
1⁄4 cup sliced, peeled ginger
1 cup sugar
For the Cocktail
4 oz. Wight Vodka
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 pear, chopped, peeled, and cored (Anjou, Moonglow, Bosc, or any finely textured and fragrant pears are best)
Ginger ale, to top
Make the ginger syrup: Combine sliced ginger, sugar, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out ginger solids and discard, reserving syrup in an airtight container.
Divide chopped pear between two 12 oz. tall glasses; muddle in each glass with a wooden muddler. Pour 2 oz. vodka over the pears in each glass, and fill with ice. Add 1/2 oz. ginger syrup and 1/2 oz. lemon juice to each glass, stir to combine, and finish with ginger ale to top.
This recipe makes two. Best to share, but OK by me if you down them both...
More teams than bases a possibility for 2021 America's Cup
Plans for the America's Cup to be hosted on Auckland's waterfront may be unable to accommodate all parties interested in competing in the 2021 regatta.
The Auckland Council and the Government are working through the logistics of hosting the event, with discussion around the infrastructure required in the city's downtown waterfront to do so.
Plans were revealed this month allowing room for eight bases - one for Team New Zealand and seven for challengers - at the proposed $140 million Wynyard Basin site. However, Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton told Newsroom as many as 10 challengers were interested in taking part.
While the 10 were interested, Dalton said he didn't expect all of them to front up.
"We can only create eight bases, including one for ourselves. You could say it's a nice problem to have if there are more teams, but I actually don't know where they'd go," Dalton told Newsroom.
"Seven challengers still pose quite a logistical issue for the city. Not only with the bases and the building of the infrastructure, but with accommodation. If there are around 100 people in each team, plus families - that's 250 in a team. I think if we had seven, that would be just fine.
Rolex Sydney - Hobart Race Preview
Alby Pratt, Sales Manager of North Sails Australia, previews this offshore classic
The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour is always a spectacular preview to the Rolex Sydney - Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) . Are you surprised that Black Jack took the win over Wild Oats?
It looks like Black Jack is a stronger boat upwind in lighter air and Wild Oats is stronger upwind in heavier air, probably due to the modifications that Wild Oats has done. The same applies downwind. Once upon a time, Wild Oats was a very strong light-air boat but she seems to have given some of that away. Mark Bradford and Vaughan Prentice from North Sails Brisbane both sail on Black Jack so they were obviously really happy to have won, but the SOLAS results shows a slight shift in focus for Wild Oats to optimize for the full range of conditions that they will see in the Sydney - Hobart.
The RSHYR is one of the pinnacle offshore races in the world and one of the biggest sports events in Australia - what do you think makes this event so special and why should it be on every offshore sailor's bucket list?
There is a lot of history behind the race. This is the 73rd year; long enough to become a stalwart of offshore races. It is always a tough race-you know that you will get a range of conditions while you are out there. You are also pretty much guaranteed to be going upwind in heavy air at some point during the race; 30 knots plus for a period of time. And the smaller boats will likely see two weather transitions during the race so they will have to deal with two frontal systems, which makes it that much harder. When you do complete it, to have come through all that and arrive in Hobart the feeling of achievement is so much sweeter!
Full interview: northsails.com/sailing/
On Course for a Record Entry
The 2018 RORC Caribbean 600 will start on Monday 19th February and teams from all over the world will be competing, lured by the thrilling conditions to race 600 miles around 11 Caribbean islands. Two months prior to the start, 53 entries have already been received and the race starting from Antigua is on course to eclipse the record entry of 80 boats last year.
George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 will be hot favourite for line honours and George Sakellaris' American Maxi 72 Proteus will be attempting an unprecedented third overall win under IRC. For the 10th anniversary of the race over a quarter of the early entries are yachts around 50 feet (15.24m), which should produce a phenomenal battle and potentially the winner of the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy.
Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 56 Varuna has confirmed participation; the new canting keel carbon flyer boat had to retire from the RORC Transatlantic Race, but intends to sail to Antigua to make the start of the race.
Eric de Turckheim's Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine was the overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race and can be counted as one of the favourites for the RORC Caribbean 600. Last year in a former boat, de Turckheim's team was third overall and winner of IRC One.
Adrian Lee's Irish Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners and Ron O'Hanley's American Privateer have both won the race overall and will be back for the 10th edition. They form the experienced pair of canting keel yachts in this size range, but will have two more formidable opponents from Germany; Tilmar Hansen's Elliott 52 Outsider and Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 56 Varuna.
Debutants to the race in the 50-foot range include three-time Giraglia Rolex Cup winner Franck Noël, racing Swiss TP52 Near Miss with French Jules Verne and match racer, Benoit Briand on the team. Two young German teams competing for the first time are JV53 Bank von Bremen, owned by the SKWB and skippered by Jan-Paul Gundlach and HVS-owned JV52 Haspa Hamburg skippered by Torben Muehlbach.
In June 2016 Spinlock kicked off with a development map for the design and production of a new lifejacket harness for the Volvo Ocean Race crews. The company has been supplying personal safety equipment used by the Volvo teams since 2005, but for 2017-18 race organisers approached Spinlock and asked them to develop the next-generation lifejacket for their sailors.
Here was an opportunity to develop a lifejacket harness for this specific race involving a specific type of sailing, rather than teams using an off-the-shelf product. The brief was to develop the latest and best in personal on-deck safety for the sailors.
With delivery required for May 2017, and a lengthy ISO approval to consider, the project was always going to be challenging. However, Spinlock's work with the Land Rover BAR team during the previous 24 months, developing a bespoke lifejacket for their America's Cup campaign, meant they were well set up and running. Plus the Volvo Race was keen to assist and assembled a group of specialists led by Brunel crew Abby Ehler to help steer the design team in quickly grasping what crews wanted from a new system.
Full article in the January issue of Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com
Inaugural J80 Champs Set for Howth Yacht Club's Sportsboat Cup
100 Boats To Gather for One Design Event
15 boats are expected to enter the inaugural J80 National Championships when it features as part of the line-up of Howth Yacht Club's Sportsboat Cup next May.
The event will run over three days at the end of May, Friday the 25th thru Sunday the 27th. Download the Notice of Race document below.
Eight classes are invited to race with two classes choosing this regatta for their headline events for the 2018 season; as well as the Irish J80 Nationals the event will serve as the 1720 Europeans for a second time.
The resurgence of the Irish J24 fleet means they are expecting their best turnout in Howth since the the Worlds were here in 2013.
The Half and Quarter Tonners will be combining their resources to reach the critical mass for racing boats of their time and ilk without having to contend with some heavy cruisers as is their usual expectation under IRC.
SB20's are no stranger to Howth so with their fleet growing and becoming more active due to the Europeans being in Dun Laoghaire at the end of the summer expect to see crews use this opportunity to get plenty of race practice under their belt.
'With the demise of the Royal Alfred Yacht Club Baily Bowl One Design event in Dun Laoghaire, it is hoped that there will be strong showing from the North on their bank holiday weekend and they will travel south again with their RS Elites to a new venue in Howth, says event organiser Ross McDonald.
Another class new to HYC will be the Flying Fifteens who's sizeable Dublin Bay Fleet won't have far to come to get involved at what HYC is promoting as 'Ireland's Premier Sportsboat Regatta'.
While not a new venue, it has been a long time since an International Dragon graced the north-side waters between Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island for some competitive racing, it will be the right weekend for them to rediscover what the racecourse and hospitality have to offer after a long absence.
To cater for up to eight classes racing and aiming to get in the full compliment of nine races planning is well underway for multiple race courses. The race management teams have excellently run all the windward-leward race, losing only one race over the previous events in challenging conditions. 'We are due for some good breeze this year to get the heart rate up with some downwind blasts', McDonald says.
There could be up to 100 boats racing and that will lead itself to plenty of action and a bustling atmosphere ashore. It is a great support that the two previous overall event winners - Flor O'Driscoll with Hard on Port, 2014 and Tom Durcan & Clive O'Shea with T-Bone, 2016 will be bringing their crews to compete again in 2018 hoping to regain and hold on to their title for another two years.
Event entry: hyc.ie/events/207-sportsboat-cup/entries/new
Seasickness prevention and cure: the good, the bad and the dreadful
If there's one thing guaranteed to suck the fun out a day boating, it's an attack of the dreaded seasickness. Whether you're a salty old sea dog or wet behind the ears, motion sickness can still strike
So, what can be done to prevent it?
- Prochlorperazine maleate
- Hyoscine patches
- Scopoderm seasickness patches
- Biodramina seasickness tablets
Natural remedies include:
- Ginger Root
- Acupressure wristbands
- Driving the boat or having any job to concentrate on
- Lying down flat or staring at the horizon
Yes really. There's no rational explanation why eating a fatty, salty snack would help but anecdotally we hear that they can do wonders. Readers of YBW.com have singled out pickled onion Monster Munch and ready-salted crisps for special mention. If this works for you, then we can't see a reason not to do it.
Details in Georgina Terry's article in Yachting & Boating World:
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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
There is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question. -- Thomas Merton
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