In This Issue
Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Competition | Tony Ellis makes it 50 Sydney Hobarts | Dorade Takes Second in its Divisions at Rolex Sydney Hobart | Treat Yourself - Charleston Raceweek | Clipper Race's Hotelplanner.com Ends 2017 On A High | Leg 4 to Hong Kong: "Technical, tricky, full of opportunity" | Seahorse Sailor Of The Month | Entry Period Open for 36th America's Cup | Gale-force Grafham brings a White/Sweet Christmas for the Nacra F18 | Big year beckons for Irish SB20 sportsboats | 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 Competition
And the winners are...
Best Caribbean Bar: St. Thomas Yacht Club
Best "Elswhere" Bar: Pensacola Yacht Club
Full report in the Wednesday January 3 isse.
Tony Ellis makes it 50 Sydney Hobarts
When David Gotze/Michael Cranitch's Triton docked in Hobart on finishing the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart, Tony 'Ace' or 'Grumpy' Ellis became only the second person to sail 50 of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's race - only Tony Cable had gone then before him.
And yesterday, Ellis came face to face with Bill Ratcliff, who at 81 had just ticked off his 49th -and hopes to be standing in Ellis' and Cable's shoes next year.
Ellis is taking it in his stride - he doesn't get all the fuss. He has been sailing at an international level for far too long - America's, Admiral's and Clipper Cups. He's done it all, including the 50 Hobarts.
The Sydneysider explains the memorable part of the 2017 race. "A fantastic owner who was prepared to put it all on the line, upgrading the boat and putting on new sails. Jacko (old mate Jack Goluzd) Gotzey (Gotze) and myself were very hard on putting together a very, very good crew. It was one of the happiest and most go-fast orientated crews I've been lucky enough to sail with.
"From our point of view on Triton, we didn't want a sleigh ride, but you have to go with what you're given. We've got a boat that is a good all-rounder, great upwind and good in up to 18-20 knots downwind.
"With the TP52s and so on, skiffs on steroids, we don't have any answers for them in a sleigh ride and it's very obvious, although we had a great race down the river with Koa. We'd run out of breeze, she'd run out of breeze. The front was coming down and she'd hit it like a twin turbo racing car when a gust hit. But upwind, now Triton has been reconfigured by Andy Dovell, we had it. It's a really good boat."
Dorade Takes Second in its Divisions at Rolex Sydney Hobart
Hobart, Australia: The 86-year-old Sparkman & Stephens classic yacht Dorade finished second place in two divisions (IRC Division 4/ORCi Div 4), in the formidable Rolex Sydney Hobart Race last week.
It was the pinnacle event in the team's ambitious six-race "Dorade Down Under" series, which kicked off this past August in Australia.
"We are very proud of the boat and the crew for their performance in this race, encouraging us for the next round of challenges, which will include more of the world's great ocean races," said Dorade Co-Owner Pam Rorke Levy, adding that the yacht, originally launched in 1929, was the oldest boat in the fleet. "This race opens a new chapter for Dorade and the role we play as her custodians. Now we're not just repeating history but making history by taking on new challenges with an iconic and beloved boat."
Dorade finished the race with an elapsed time of three days, six hours and 38 minutes. The team raced with eight crew onboard, including Sydney Hobart veteran Adrienne Cahalan as navigator.
Designed in 1929 by 21-year-old Olin Stephens and built under his younger brother Rod Stephens' supervision, Dorade's revolutionary design - a deep keel with external ballast, an achingly narrow beam of just 10'3", and a generous sail plan - took the yachting world by storm, quickly establishing the Stephens brothers as two of the sport's most gifted innovators. In 1931 the brothers raced Dorade in the Transatlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island to Plymouth, England, competing against much larger boats owned by some of the world's wealthiest sportsmen and crewed by veteran sailors. With an upset victory that made headlines around the world, Dorade was the first boat to finish by a margin of more than two days. In the decade that followed, she continued topping the charts in some of the world's most renowned offshore events, including overall victories in the Fastnet in both 1931 and 1933 and the TransPacific Race in 1936.
t started as a little local event, run out of a dusty parking lot, with a handful of friends deciding that it was time for Charleston to have its own sailboat race. Twenty-three years later Sperry Charleston Race Week has transformed itself into the biggest multi-class event in the USA and one of the biggest gatherings of sportboats anywhere on the globe.
The consistent spring seabreeze and warm weather make it easier to attract sailors, but it takes a lot more than that to go from a 100-boat regatta to a 250+ boat behemoth in a few short years; so what is the one most important thing that organisers have done to keep the Charleston train chugging forward?
'We have made "innovation" one of our buzzwords over the years,' explains event chairman Randy Draftz. 'While other regattas can get stuck in their ways, our organising committee, area yachts clubs, sponsors and even local government officials spend a lot of time trying to stay ahead of the curve.'
For the past decade in the USA that curve has seen some important trends; perhaps the sportboat explosion has driven Charleston's growth the most. 'Long before sportboats were really "a thing" in the USA, the Melges 24 was already Charleston's biggest class, sometimes making up half our fleet,' Draftz says. 'We might just have the best harbour on the planet for fast inshore racers and our shoreside attitude is inclusive and fun-driven, so it was a natural fit when the Vipers, J/70s, VX-Ones and all the other sporties decided to come and play.'
Full article in the January issue of Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com
Charleston Race Week: charlestonraceweek.com
Randy Draftz regatta Management: regattamanagement.org
Clipper Race's Hotelplanner.com Ends 2017 On A High
HotelPlanner.com has scooped the pool at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Prize Giving, with the Clipper Race team awarded not only the plaque for winning the Clipper 70 Class, but also the Rani Trophy for Most Meritorious Performance.
HotelPlanner.com won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Clipper 70 Class after being granted a 120 minute redress for going to the assistance of a fellow competitor shortly after race start on Boxing Day.
The Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, John Markos, made special mention of the HotelPlanner.com team, commending them for retrieving the man out of the water in 15 minutes.
Round the world crew member on board HotelPlanner.com, Graham Hill, says: "Conall has drilled us on MOBs and we understand what we have to do. Everything came together as it should have done. We knew our places, we knew our jobs, and we just put it into practise.
"Then the actual race itself was fantastic because we had to pull all the stops out."
The Clipper Race teams will enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Hobart for a few more days before getting back down to business to prepare for the third and final race of the All-Australian Leg 4. The fleet will depart Hobart at 1100, local time, on Friday 5 January to race up the east coast of Australia to Airlie Beach, where the crew will be welcomed by the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival. For more information about the event, which runs from 13 to 29 of January, see the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival website:
Leg 4 to Hong Kong: "Technical, tricky, full of opportunity"
For the first time in history, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is racing to Hong Kong. Leg 4 gets underway on Tuesday afternoon in Melbourne.
Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Melbourne, Australia to Hong Kong, is a 6,000 nautical mile race north, up the east coast of Australia, with the navigational challenge of dodging islands as well as another doldrums crossing, before arriving in Hong Kong for the first time in the history of the race.
Leg 4 is scheduled to start at 2pm local time in Melbourne on Tuesday January 2 (0300 UTC).
Watch it on the website: Head to www.volvooceanrace.com at 2225 UTC (Jan 1)/09:25am local time on Jan 2 for interviews from the sailor's terrace and the dock-out parade and 0245 UTC/1:45pm local for the racing, to catch a live stream of the action.
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:
Francois Gabart (FRA)
'Do we even need to say why?' - Simon Jackson; 'François est fabuleux' - Michelle Fourgereau; 'From Minis to Monsters, always François inspires us and succeeds at every turn' - Lincoln Rowley; 'My little friend Gabart is an incredible sailor, the Vendee Globe, the TJV, the Transat Bakerly, the Rhum and I am sure any second a new round-the-world singlehanded record' - Yoann Richomme; 'He wins at everything he touches' - Erik de Jong; 'François est le roi' - Laure Galley; 'And he is a really nice guy!' - Chris Rydzkowski.
This month's nominees:
Joerg Riechers (GER)
The popular German slipped into 2nd place in the Mini Transat when it mattered, just a day out from the finish. No one was going to catch winner Ian Lipinski; 'best of the rest' was all that was realistically on offer, but after years of under-funded Class40 and Imoca campaigns Riekers had at last landed in a fleet where he can demonstrate his talent. With a little good fortune maybe he can even leverage this result into something bigger (again)
Judy Petz (BVI)
One of the many regatta managers playing a big part in the Caribbean recovery, BVI resident Petz has barely stood still since Hurricane Irma struck, working with communities and encouraging regattas fighting to ensure those sailors' dollars reach devastated families this winter… at the same time continuing her longstanding efforts with Sailors for the Sea to try to help this ravaged area to remain as clean as possible in the most challenging circumstances
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Henri Lloyd, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!
Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month/vote-for-sailor-of-the-month
Entry Period Open for 36th America's Cup
As of the 1st of January 2018, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) began accepting challenge entries for the 36th America's Cup to be held in early 2021. Entries will be submitted per the terms of the America's Cup Deed of Gift and the Protocol, with additional instructions issued December 17, 2017.
As the RNZYS is closed for business between the 25th of December 2017 and the 15th of January 2018, any yacht clubs submitting an entry between the 1st and the 15th of January 2018 will have their entry examined the week commencing the 15th of January 2018 in the order of their receipt.
After completing the entry, RNZYS shall then advise on the acceptance or refusal of the entry and shall also make a public announcement of acceptance after first consulting with the challenging yacht club and the Challenger of Record on the timing of that announcement.
The entry period will close 30th June 2018 though late entries are accepted up until 31st December 2018 (with an additional late entry fee).
Gale-force Grafham brings a White/Sweet Christmas for the Nacra F18
David White and Jon Sweet's Nacra F18 wins the fast division for the second year running, while Stuart Jones lapped up the 25 knot conditions at Grafham in his Contender...
After three light-air events so far in the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, the Grafham Grand Prix delivered some big breeze action on stormy Saturday, 30 December. An exciting day was in store, with 20-25 knots and gusts up to 30 knots. Of the 169 entries, only 73 took to the water for the three-race contest on Grafham Water.
The conditions in race 1 took their toll on the fast fleet with many retirements. The wind dropped for race 2 and then picked up again towards the end of race 3. Those who competed enjoyed some thrilling sailing. The fast fleet was won for the second year running by David White and Jon Sweet from the host club in a Nacra F18, with scores of 2,1,1. The first race went to Michael Sims and Rich Nurse from Carsington who raced to second overall in a 505 ahead of other two other Five-Oh crews, Tom Gillard/Harry Briddon from Sheffield Viking and Neil Rabbitts/ Mike Priddle from Burton.
Stuart Jones from Datchet Water dominated the Medium handicap fleet with three bullets in his Contender. It was a tie for second place which went on countback to Dave Hall/ Paul Constable in Fireball ahead of the Flying Fifteen sailed by two Simons, Kneller and Dabson. In fourth place was Ben McGrane and James Stewart in a Merlin Rocket.
Fergus Barnham and Andy Hunter didn't compete in the first heat of the Slow handicap but made amends in the next two to count a 2,1 and raced their Snettisham GP14 to victory. Tied for second were the Laser Standard and Laser Radial of Alistair Goodwin and Joe Scurrah respectively, but it was Goodwin's win in race 2 that gave him second overall.
Next weekend is the King George Gallop, the replacement race for this year's Bloody Mary after the Queen Mary event was cancelled. Of the 100-boat entry limit, 65 spots have already been taken including an entry by former Fireball World Champions DJ Edwards and Vyv Townend. Get your entry in soon before King George fills up. -- Andy Rice
Big year beckons for Irish SB20 sportsboats
In a big year ahead for Irish SB20 sportsboats interests, the European Championships will be staged on Dublin Bay.
But the first international competition of the new year is in Tasmania just after Christmas where Dun Laoghaire's Corinthian World champion, Michael O'Connor, will defend his title. Royal St George's O'Connor, who finished sixth overall at the Cowes Worlds just last September, is one of three Irish boats en route to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania for the Derwent River regatta.
A three-boat Irish team are heading for Hobart with Howth's Cillian Dickson and Ger Dempsey of Dún Laoghaire also competing.
It marks an exciting start to the year for the three-man keelboat with a packed domestic calendar of seven fixtures starting in April in Greystones, County Wicklow and also taking in a new venue at Strangford Lough for the Northern Championships in May.
Club racing for the national fleet of 50 boats has developed beyond the capital with six boats now based in County Tipperary on Lough Derg too.
The Irish Championships will be hosted by the National Yacht Club (NYC) on June 29th with the SB20s, one of the biggest one design fleets in the country, returning to Royal Cork (RCYC) for the Southern Championships on July 14th, the weekend before Cork Week.
It all builds towards the season highlight of the European Championships from August 28th at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The last time Ireland hosted a major SB20 championship was a decade ago, again in Dublin, when the new design, then known as the Laser SB3, held its inaugural worlds on the Bay in 2008. -- David O'Brien
The Donovan 26 OD is an evolution of the successful GP26 built by Wrace Boats
Extremely practical modern-generation cruising Swan from German Frers. Twin wheels, easily-handled rig and a fantastic interior layout combine to offer effortless and powerful ocean cruising. GLISSE is now in Palm Harbor Marina in West Palm Beach for the winter. Great location, easy access in and out to see the yacht.
Vertical Smile is the third Swan 60 to be delivered and was launched in 2010. Currently lying in the Nautor's Swan Service Center in Scarlino, Italy. She is available to visit by appointment.
Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Jeremy Peek
Tel. +377 97 97 95 07
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive. -- Stephen Frye
Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html