In This Issue
Rolex Sydney Hobart Start | 'Way too close!' | Record on the cards, but ... | Marlow Ropes End Of The Year Review | MAPFRE first into Melbourne | Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar | The Hermione, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean | Glamour! | Industry News | 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

Rolex Sydney Hobart Start
Grey skies could not diminish Sydney's enthusiasm for the start of its seminal ocean race. Crowds flocked to the foreshore and the Heads, while an assortment of vessels filled the harbour as the 102-boat Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet set off on the great adventure south. Peter Harburg's 100-foot Black Jack led the length of the harbour and out into the open sea, hotly pursued by LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI.

Starting at 13.00 local time in 5-7 knots of easterly breeze it was a slow glide out of the harbour rather than the furious pace of recent years. Once out into the Tasman Sea the wind built slightly to 8-10 knots and backed a little to the north opening the angle and allowing yachts to hoist reaching headsails.

The sedate start caught fire as the leading yachts approached the ocean turning mark. Wild Oats XI, on port, appeared to tack on top of LDV Comanche, on starboard, in a move more reminiscent of an inshore regatta rather than a 628nm bluewater race. The message was clear. No quarter will be given in the clash of the titans engaged in the dash to be first to finish. Comanche protested the manoeuvre of Wild Oats XI; the outcome will not be known until after the finish.

The forecast is for the winds to build steadily as the afternoon draws on and turn further to the north east. An increase in the wind speed will be a relief to the crews who had to endure a sloppy, uncomfortable sea state as they began their march to Hobart.

'Way too close!'
Jimmy Spithill screams at Sydney-Hobart rival as multi-million dollar boats come within inches of collision

A near collision between two of the race favorites marked a dramatic start to the 73rd edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race today.

Supermaxis LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI nearly collided after a tack from the eight-time line honors winner Wild Oats X1 15 minutes into the race start brought it within just a few meters of LDV Comanche, which appeared to fly a protest flag.

In an easterly breeze of around eight knots, another supermaxi Black Jack led LDV Comanche by one second around the first turning mark and was first out of the Sydney heads. Wild Oats XI turned in third, a minute behind the first two, with Wild Oats X fourth ahead of InfoTrack.

The 630-nautical mile race from Sydney Harbour will see 102 yachts, including 27 international entries, make their way down the New South Wales state south coast and across often treacherous Bass Strait on their way to the island state of Tasmania.

The fleet will be pushed along by favorable 15 to 25 knot north-to-north easterlies into Wednesday, putting the race record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds set last year by InfoTrack (racing as Perpetual Loyal) at risk.

View the video of the near colllsion:

Record on the cards, but ...
In the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the two leading supermaxis LDV Comanche and Wild Oats XI are heading to a race record finish in the Derwent tonight.

They are each sailing down the Tasmanian east coast at 20-30 knots before a strong north-easterly wind, LDV Comanche 11 miles ahead of the eight-time winner.

The computer prediction shows a finish for both after 7pm tonight, though that could extend to the later evening once they turn at Tasman Island and tackle Storm Bay and the river. The good news is that the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a continuing north-easterly in the river tonight, which, while not from a favourable direction, at least represents continuing wind.

To break Perpetual Loyal's 2016 race record of one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds, the first boat must be in before 0231 tomorrow.

Should LDV Comanche maintain her lead, it could render irrelevant her protest against Wild Oats XI for a tacking incident between the two shortly after the race start in Sydney. Oats had the opportunity to complete a 720-degree penalty but chose not to, indicating she feels she did nothing wrong.

Therefore, with a penalty of a minimum five minutes at stake, if Wild Oats XI crosses first, the line honours result could depend on the outcome of an international jury hearing in Hobart of the Comanche protest.

Wild Oats XI had managed to close the gap during the morning despite ripping the top out of the headsail most suited to the conditions. Skipper Mark Richards reported that the yacht had sailed "bare-headed" - mainsail only - for some time while the remnants of the damaged sail were recovered and a new sail set.

Corrected time honours are between the next wave in the fleet, with Matt Allen's new TP52 Ichi Ban ahead of last year's winner, the Volvo 70 Giacomo, now sailing as Wizard under its new American owners, Peter and David Askew.

The fleet stands at 101, with one retirement, the German TP52 Rockall, which suffered a broken rudder south of Eden this morning, The NSW Water Police boat Falcon was due to rendezvous with Rockall late this morning and is likely to take her in tow and head back to Eden, a slow passage that could take about five hours or more. -- Bruce Montgomery

Marlow Ropes End Of The Year Review
Rigging transantarctic polar explorers, supplying rope for aerospace exploration and being the official rope supplier for a portfolio of leading sailors, clubs and competitions are just some of the news stories from Marlow Ropes this year. In their new End of Year Review you can find out about all of Marlow's Leisure Marine and sailing projects and partnerships from the work they did this year with Landrover BAR, the Clipper Race and the US & GB Sailing Teams to working with young entrepreneurs and supporting youth sailors. For those interested to know about the extensive markets that Marlow operates in, catch up on news about the work they do in the event and film rigging industry, rope access and industrial sectors.

2017 has been a huge year for Marlow Ropes and 2018 is set to be even better, as MD Jon Mitchell comments on here:

"2017 saw an expansion in our workforce (both in our UK head office and US offices) and machine capacity to help us satisfy growing demand. Much effort has gone into reducing waste and increasing recycling over the course of the year, again a continuing theme for 2018.

Our sales and marketing teams have been busy attending 20 exhibitions in 2017, from local UK shows, to international exhibitions in Europe, The Middle East and the USA. We've also seen a dramatic increase in our on-line marketing presence and subsequent engagement with our customers. Next year we hope to build on the success of 2017 and to that end further office and factory expansion plans are already on the drawing board.

It just leaves me to thank all our customers for their business and loyalty, but perhaps most importantly all of the hard working and dedicated employees in Hailsham, UK and Plymouth, USA, without whom none of what you read in the subsequent pages would be possible. Thank you and here's to a successful 2018."

To view the interactive 2017 End of Year Review 'The Core' click here:

MAPFRE first into Melbourne
The Spanish Volvo Ocean Race team MAPFRE won Leg 3 from Cape Town, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia, a 6,500 nautical mile dive into the fierce challenges posed by the Southern Ocean.

For the second consecutive leg, MAPFRE needed to come from behind to earn the victory. And for the second time in a row, it was Dongfeng Race Team they passed mid-stage, to snatch the win.

"We had to fight very hard for this victory," skipper Xabi Fernández said moments after crossing the finish line. "There's so much of the race to go. But for now it's looking good and we're very happy of course."

The Southern Ocean pushed the teams to the limit. Extreme cold, storm force winds for days on end and towering seas posed massive seamanship challenges, let alone allowing for racing and tactics.

But of all the teams on Leg 3, MAPFRE had the highest work rate in terms of manoeuvres, which allowed them to stay in more favourable conditions for longer than their opposition. It was a powerful statement by a very strong crew.

Leg 3 - Provisional Results - at Tuesday 26 December (Leg 3, Day 16) at 0700 UTC:
1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 16:07.21 UTC, December 24 - 14 days, 04h:07m:21s
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- FINISHED - 20:10:16 UTC, December 24 - 14 days, 08h:10m:16s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED - 21:52:11 UTC, December 24 - 14 days, 09h:52m:11s
4. Team Brunel -- FINISHED - 23:36:27 UTC, December 24 - 14 days, 11h:36m:27s
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- FINISHED - 01:06:31 UTC, December 26 - 15 days, 13h:06m:31s
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic-- FINISHED - 03:52:50 UTC, December 26 - 15 days, 15h:52m:50s 7. team AkzoNobel -- RACING

Volvo Ocean Race - Current Leaderboard
1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 29 points (after Leg 3)
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- FINISHED -- 23 points (after Leg 3)
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED -- 23 points (after Leg 3)
4. Team Brunel -- FINISHED -- 14 points (after Leg 3)
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- FINISHED -- 11 points (after Leg 3)
6. team AkzoNobel -- RACING -- 7 points (after Leg 2)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- FINISHED -- 6 points (after Leg 3)

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar
In support of SailAidUK

A horserace for "Best Elsewhere" bar...

A new leader (just barely) has emerged in the voting with the Pensacola Yacht Club edging the Clarke Cooke House by about 100 votes as the totals approach 2000 votes.

A reminder of why Pensacola is so beloved by sailors... aside from "the friendliest bartenders, great food, daily specials, spacious deck, spectacular view of the PYC marina at the mouth of Bayou Chico with a beach on Pensacola Bay"... the infamous Frozen Bushwackers. A sneaky drink and desert all on one big glass.

4 ounces cream of coconut
2 ounces coffee liqueur (tia maria,kahlua)
1 ounce rum (black)
1 ounce Creme de Cacao
4 ounces half-and-half
4 ounces vanilla ice cream
plus a dash secret ingredients and a cherry on top.

Bushwackers come in pitchers delivered to boats finishing the Gulfport-Pensacola Race. Crews then sleep on the lawn under the oaks.

Voting continues until midnight UTC Friday December 29th. Winners notified on New Years Eve.

Give to help the Caribbean marine industry:


The Hermione, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
Following on from her epic journey to the Americas in 2016, the Hermione is now preparing to set a course for the Mediterranean. On 30 January 2018, the Frigate of Liberty will cast off from her port of registry in Rochefort for a 4.5-month voyage with some 350 young 'topmen' aboard, around a hundred of whom have been rallied together by the International Organisation of La Francophonie, partner to the Hermione-La Fayette Association.

The programme was unveiled at the Paris Boat Show: La Rochelle (1 to 20 February), Tangiers (9 to 13 March), Barcelona (24 March), Sete (27 March to 2 April), Toulon (5 to 9 April), La Ciotat (10 April), Marseille (12 to 16 April), Port-Vendres (20 to 22 April), Bastia (27 to 29 April), Portimao (9 to 10 May), Pasaia (18 to 20 May) and Bordeaux (10 to 13 June).

Persico Marine and Umberto Felci (both Italian of course) have been adding some turbo to the luxury performance market

'If you can dream it, you can do it,' said Enzo Ferrari. His 125 S, the first car ever to sport the prancing horse, was unleashed from its Maranello stable 70 years ago and soon recorded Ferrari's first grand prix win. Enzo had never shown any interest in building anything except racing cars, but he dreamed it, and in 1950 he did it, with the 166 Inter, Ferrari's debut grand tourer. That worked out pretty well.

Comparisons between Ferrari and Persico are obvious: passion, craft, innovation, excellence and a track record of success. They also share vision, the ability to identify a gap in the market and to own it. In the (very) grand touring market the Italian yacht builder is redefining performance superyachting through its collaboration with Wally Yachts, but, as CEO Marcello Persico wryly noted, 'Not many people are looking for maxis and superyachts.'

In the custom build of a 65-footer Marcello believes he has spotted a new gap in the performance cruising market. He plans to own it with the Felci65.

Full article in the January issue of Seahorse:

Industry News
Navionics and a group of other marine industry and tourism organizations said they plan to remap marine and inland waterways impacted earlier this year by Huricane Irma. The September hurricane has altered shorelines and bottom contours in South Florida.

Navionics and a group of companies that include Sea Tow, Power Pole, West Marine, Yamaha and others, have announced a month-long event in which Florida boaters will record sonar logs and upload the data to Navionics so that the company can re-map any impacted waters.

Navionics says the depth data will be processed and made available as an updated SonarChart 1 ft HD bathymetry map. It will also share debris locations with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which will have them physically removed. Navionics Nautical Chart will also be updated to include coastline corrections, Notices to Mariners, and the integration of future NOAA Chart editions when issued. The company will also publish any updates on its website while make them easy to download for plotter information.


Industry veteran and former America's Cup and Olympic sailor Jerry Richards, has been appointed as Vice President of Henri Lloyd North America. Jerry has worked in the marine industry most of his life and in North America for over twenty years having transitioned from the UK in 1993.

He brings an unequaled amount of technical apparel experience as Henri Lloyd moves forward in the next phase of their North America development. Henri Lloyd North America has been based in Atlanta GA. for over twenty years and lead by Tom Healey and his team in Alpharetta.

Paul Strzelecki, Chairman of Henri Lloyd says
"Jerry and I have known each other for the last 30 years having met while he wore our clothing sailing on the British Olympic and America's Cup teams during the 80's. He brings a breadth of experience from across the Marine industry. All of us are excited about this next leg of our journey in North America. He will manage our existing team in Atlanta along with John Faus who joined us in the summer as a manufacturer's rep for the North East".


The Moorings and Sunsail have announced that after months of work, its charter operations in Road Town, Tortola, have reopened. Owned by a joint parent company, the two firms now have a fleet of more than 100 yachts available for charter. The company said more than 130 new boats, representing an investment of US$66.5m, will reach the bases in early 2018.

"The road to recovery has not been easy, but we simply couldn't be more thrilled about reopening our base in the British Virgin Islands, and in such a timely manner," said Josie Tucci, vice president of sales and marketing. "The humanitarian response from customers, partners, and employees following September's hurricanes was overwhelming, and the tenacity of the local communities has been nothing short of inspiring. We believe it is this heartfelt combination of commitment and resilience that has helped us come back so quickly."

The two companies recently established the Caribbean Comeback fundraiser. All monetary contributions will go toward its employees in the British Virgin Islands, St Martin and Puerto Rico employees. The efforts will include delivering much-needed generators, gas stoves, and building materials.


Is bureaucracy in the Mediterranean hampering the enjoyment of yacht ownership?

During a recent interview with SuperyachtNews, the experienced owners of a busy 30m+ charter motoryacht raised certain issues pertaining to operating a commercial yacht in the Mediterranean. These owners, let's call them Mr and Mrs X, voiced frustration with the increasing difficulty they have with planning their yacht's summer season due to varying levels of bureaucracy throughout the region.

"Most of the conversation we have about the boat focuses on where we can go cruising next year without a lot of red tape and officialdom breathing down our necks," explains Mrs X. "It is very frustrating for us that this continues to dominate any planning we do and dictates any decisions we make with regards to itineraries."

"We are a conspicuously compliant boat, and we want to be that way, so we have to be very alert to different nations changing their minds about how they treat yachts," adds Mr X. "Each spring we have to sit down and look at what the Mediterranean regulatory map looks like for the season. While it is interesting to find out where you can go and under what circumstances you can go there, it's a very inharmonious situation and we would like to have a bit more freedom."

The south of France is one yachting region in the Med to have recently fallen victim to changes in regulations, in this case regarding bunkering and social security, and its these types of developments and changes that these owners take note of. "Lots of governments are changing their minds on a repeated basis, and some probably with good intentions but often with poor outcomes," continues Mr X. "France, for example, is seeing far fewer boats this year and I don't think that is quite what the government had in mind."


Yanmar has acquired sailboat propeller manufacturer Flexofold to expand and strengthens its position in the recreational marine industry.

Flexofold will retain its brand and continue to operate from Denmark, while Jack Skrydstrup, founder of the company, will remain as special adviser focusing on R&D and product development.

Flexofold was established in 1992 by Mr Skrydstrup, who started developing low drag folding propellers after many years of experience in hydrodynamics.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Eddie Mays:

I have just realised that the London Boat Show is only on for FIVE DAYS.

How long has this been going on? When did this happen? Do the organisers know that the World is going to end on January 15th?

How the mighty have fallen!

Featured Brokerage
2005 Swan 100-201 Aquarius Alfa. 5,150,000 EUR. Located in Athens, Greece.

Aquarius Alfa was built for a passionate yacht owner who implanted his extensive knowledge gained during the construction of several previous yachts to help Nautor achieve the perfect blue-water performance cruiser.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Jeremy Peek

Tel. +377 97 97 95 07


2011 Comar 100 RS - SHADOW. 4,250,000 EUR. Located in Cyprus.

Epic sailing yacht with metallic livery and totally sparkling sailing. Below decks she is light, airy and comfortable for her guests and crew.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679 222


Swan 100-103 Hoppetosse. Located in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Hoppetosse is a superyacht and masterpiece built by Nautor’s Swan and launched in 2006. She combines the performance of a racing yacht with world-class comfort and opulence. The Swan 100 FD's deck lines give the yacht a very impressive sleek and racing oriented look.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Jeremy Peek

Tel. +377 97 97 95 07

See the collection at

The Last Word
I said to a bartender, 'Make me a zombie.' He said 'God beat me to it.' -- Rodney Dangerfield

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see