In This Issue
East or west | Age and Treachery vs Youth and Skill - 5 Laps tells the story | Young Sailors: Learn to Fly at Foiling Week/Harken Kidz Trials-Sydney | Gold medals to Spain and Australia at 420 Worlds | 2018 RC44 Championship schedule announced | Jimmy Buffett Named Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Ambassador | Now it's foot to the floor! | International Paint Poole Regatta 2018 | Six Bells. Dennis Skillicorn | 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

East or west
As the fleet passes Sydney on Leg 4, there's an east/west split – but which side will pay?

Less than 48 hours into Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, tactics are already starting to show among the seven-strong fleet as it does battle along Australia's eastern coast.

A west to east split of 80 miles has developed as the teams draw level with Sydney, with Leg 3 runners up Dongfeng Race Team nudging ahead by a whisker at this early stage.

Speeds across the fleet were sitting at around 20 knots at the 1300 UTC position report, continuing the fast and wet sailing of the opening day of the 6,000-mile leg from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

Vestas 11thHour Racing and overall race leaders MAPFRE were today carving out a route just 20 miles off the coast, while Turn the Tide on Plastic, the most easterly team, were a further 70 miles out to sea.

The early pace is set to continue over the coming days as the fleet charges north, powered by favourable breeze resulting from a high pressure system over central Australia and a depression forming over New Zealand.

With such good conditions to look forward to the fleet could reach the Solomon Islands, east of Papua New Guinea, and the notorious Doldrums within a couple of days.

Positions at 1800 UTC January 3:

1. Dongfeng Race Team, 5015.43 nm to leg finish
2. Team AkzoNobel, 2.76 nm to leader
3. Turn the Tide on Plastic, 9.48
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, 11.17
5. MAPFRE, 11.66
6. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, 16.42
7. Team Brunel, 16.73

Age and Treachery vs Youth and Skill - 5 Laps tells the story
Click on image for photo gallery.

Day 2 of the Peroni 16 and 13 foot Australian Championships was a different game to the initial opener. The fleet was greeted with an immediate dilemma as the breeze teetered between a big or small rig. Crews lamented ... their final decision will the wind kick or die?

In the end 75% of the fleet bet on the conditions to build and opted for their small rigs. Ironically it was the more senior competitors who selected their big rigs; as my lanky sheethand once said on many occasion "Big Race - Big Sail". However which selection would prove to be the right one?

Today's start had choppy conditions with an increasing swell from yesterday with a good 15 knot ESE breeze; it was border line who made the right decision on rigs.

In the 13 fleet it was Bartley Construction closely followed by Zac Barnabas in "The Kitchen Maker", the Grandson of Trevor, the multi winner of yesteryear 16's and 18's titles; proving it is still in the gene pool.

From then on it was the battle of the big rigs v little rigs as conditions changed each lap. Many crews spent some time on the 'righting lever - aka centerboard' as they pushed their machines to maximum speed and beyond.

Ultimately after a mammoth 5 laps Age & Treachery outdid Youth & Skill with Brydens coming home just 1 min ahead of the fast finishing Manly Surf N Slide. With the Belmont 'Ghost' TJS who came from nowhere to grab 3rd just 4 seconds in arrears.

As a special mention is "Newcastle Psychiatry" skippered by 15 year old Bethany Sherry who smiled at the camera whenever we went past; I spent a few minutes heading back to the club with her Mother and younger sister who were as proud as punch. This is the future of our class - GO GIRL.

Regatta Website:
16ft Skiff Class Website:
Club Website:
Club Facebook:

Young Sailors: Learn to Fly at Foiling Week/Harken Kidz Trials-Sydney
Chosen by Harken and Foiling Week, eight young sailors will be taught the basic skills and techniques on how to fly these wings on the water during the first-ever Foiling Week, Sydney, January 11 - 12.

The clinic will be held in one-design Waszps, class-legal as Moths, but designed to be easier to launch so kids get up and enjoy the rush of foiling quickly.

World class foilers will teach kids everything to initiate and sustain foiling, from rigging, launching, and balance to ride-height control. Advanced foiling techniques such as power gybes and foiling tacks will be demonstrated (and perhaps even tried)!

A second Harken Kidz Trials with room for 8 more sailors will be held at Foiling Week Miami, February 16 - 17.

Apply now:

Gold medals to Spain and Australia at 420 Worlds
Spain reigned supreme as the 2017 420 World Championships drew to a close today, 3 January 2018, in Fremantle, Australia, having secured gold, silver and bronze in the 420 Open Fleet and gold in the U17 fleet.

The Francis Mouvet Trophy for the top performing nation was presented to Spain for their remarkable domination at the 2017 420 World Championship.

420 Open - Final Top 10
1. Enrique Lujan/Pablo Lujan, Esp, 41 points
2. Albert Torres/Francisco Mulet, Esp, 48
3. Carlos Balaguer/Antoni Massanet, Esp, 50
4. Enzo Balanger/Gaultier Tallieu, Fra, 61
5. Thomas Andre/Justin Baradat, Fra, 62
6. Andrea Spagnolli/Kevin Rio, Ita, 63
7. Edoardo Ferraro/Francesco Orlando, Ita, 64
8. Chris Charlwood/Josh Dawson, Aus, 68
9. Eduard Ferrer/Carlos De Maqua, Esp, 70
10. Elias Aretz/Pablo García, Esp, 74

420 Ladies - Final Top 10
1. Nia Jerwood/Monique De Vries, Aus, 25
2. Laura Harding/Eleanor Grimshaw, Aus, 25
3. Arianna Passamonti/Giulia Fava, Ita, 69
4. Sophie Mcintosh/Orla Mulholland-Patterson, Aus, 71
5. Isabel Davies/Gemma Keers, Gbr, 73
6. Sophie Jackson/Laura Thomson, Aus, 78
7. María Caba/Pilar Caba, Esp, 87
8. Solene Mariani/Maude Schmid, Sui, 93
9. Clara Olive/Solenza Mariani, Fra, 95
10. Olívia Belda/Elisa Von Fritsch, Bra, 100

420 U17 - Final Top 10
1. Martín Wizner/Pedro Ameneiro, Esp, 47
2. Tommaso Cilli/Bruno Mantero, Ita, 50
3. Demetrio Sposato/Gabriele Centrone, Ita, 51
4. Pol Marsans/Alex Marsans, Esp, 60
5. Jack Lewis/Charlie Bacon, Gbr, 65
6. Florian Buscher/Maximilian Buscher, Ger, 69
7. Tommaso Salvetta/Giovanni Sandrini, Ita, 69
8. Ariadni-Paraskevi Spanaki/Myrto Papadopoulou, Gre, 83
9. Rhys Lewis/Drew Wright, Gbr, 105
10. Konstantinos Vardalis/Panagiotis Giorgos Matsades, Gre, 112

2018 RC44 Championship schedule announced
For their twelfth season, the RC44s will visit the four corners of Europe in 2018, including a return to Portoroz in Slovenia for the first time in nine years.

With Igor Lah's Team CEEREF claiming the RC44 Championship for a second consecutive year in 2017, it was appropriate that for the new season the circuit for the high performance Russell Coutts-inspired one design monohulls should include the winner's home port.

Another crew looking forward to being back in Portoroz is Team Nika as this was the place where owner Vladimir Prosikhin's love affair with the RC44 started back in 2009. Since then his team, including local Slovenian sailors Tomaz Copi, Mitja Margon and Iztok Knafelc, has gone from strength to strength having twice been crowned World Champions and claiming the RC44 Tour title in 2015.

For 2018 the World Championship will be held at the fourth event of the season, in Cascais over 26th to 30th September. Located on the mouth of the River Tagus leading up to Lisbon, Cascais is open to the Atlantic and comes with all the potential for big winds and large oceanic swell. It is for this reason, combined with excellent hospitality provided by the Clube Naval de Cascais, that the Portugese stopover is another regular on the RC44 circuit, having featured every year since 2012. It last hosted the World Championship in 2015, which was won by Team Nika.

RC44 Championship Tour 2018 events schedule
28 February-4 March - RC44 Calero Marinas Cup 2018 - Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
9 - 13 May - RC44 Portoroz Cup - Portoroz, Slovenia
27 June - 1 July - RC44 Marstrand Cup - Marstrand, Sweden
26 - 30 September - RC44 Cascais World Championship - Cascais, Portugal
14 - 18 November - RC44 Valletta Cup - Valletta, Malta

Jimmy Buffett Named Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Ambassador
The ninth edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Barth is around the corner and organizers are pulling out all the stops to guarantee sailors another epic year both on and off the water, despite the passage of Hurricane Irma this past September. Scheduled for April 8-14, 2018, and hosted out of Gustavia in St. Barthelemy, the Caribbean favorite welcomes back legendary musician and sailor Jimmy Buffett as the regatta's official U.S. ambassador.

"We all love our special island and we're moving on from the wrath that Irma brought, and nothing signifies the recovery to me more than the return of Les Voiles de Saint-Barth," said Buffett who owns a villa on Saint-Barth and last held this honorary position back in 2011. "All the boats and teams return this year to support the rebuilding of our island and have a little fun as well."

With four months to go, the entry list already boasts a number of top maxi, monohull and performance multihull teams representing eight countries, including the Canadian team Touch2Play, which raced in the event for the first time last year.

Organizers are encouraging participants to utilize the event's free concierge service for assistance with everything from travel and on-site logistics to charter options and beyond.

"The trauma brought on by Hurricane Irma has been real on many levels, and we know that the ninth edition will certainly be different due to the circumstances, but the solidarity is very strong in Saint-Barth and we are recovering quickly," said Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Race Event Director François Tolede."By April we'll be ready to launch and ask that competitors contact us for assistance and any questions they may have."

For free concierge service, contact

Now it's foot to the floor!
EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour just added a 'very' serious new competitive element to the most accessible winter racing anywhere.


After seven years of growing recognition EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour just took a huge step up. Organiser Oman Sail has announced an all-new look for the region's leading racing event, with a switch to the high-performance Diam 24 multihull, and a new course that will explore the length of Oman's striking coastline.

Add in Oman Sail's newly extended offers of turnkey entry packages - ashore and afloat - and it's an event that's clearly going up a gear. Racing starts on 3 February and concludes on the 17th.

A Gulf fixture since 2011, EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour needs little introduction, offering top proam racing with a mix of in-port and coastal courses. The reboot will offer more of the same magic winter mix with the addition of challenging coastal raids and eight new venues.

Full article in the January issue of Seahorse:

International Paint Poole Regatta 2018
It is now confirmed that the International Paint Poole Regatta 2018 will be hosting a record number of championships. Five National Championships and two Southern Area Championships have been confirmed for the regatta so far. As the weeks go by, the 2018 regatta is shaping up to be the biggest and best since its re-launch in 2000 and the regatta committee are still working tirelessly to add exciting new features.

The classes holding their National Championship at Poole are the J24, HP30, MOCRA, VPRS and 2.4mR. The 2.4mR class will also be holding their Tidal Championship at Poole Regatta.

With no IRC National Championship in 2018 and the European Championship being held in Cowes limited to boats rating over 0.995, the IRC Southern Area Championship being run as part of the regatta takes on a far greater significance this year. With at least three IRC classes planned, crews are expected to use the event either as their premier championship in 2018 or as a warm-up for the Europeans taking place in June. The Shrimper class will also be holding their Southern Championship during the weekend.

To find out more about the International Paint Poole Regatta and how to participate visit, or like the Facebook page @pooleregatta to keep up to date with all upcoming developments.

Six Bells. Dennis Skillicorn
Click on image to enlarge.

Broadcaster Dennis Skillicorn was the first journalist to be embedded on a round the world race yacht, bringing alive the trials, triumphs and tribulations of watch routines and rushing downwind through plumes of spray. He joined the crew of Creighton's Naturally in the 1985/6 Whitbread round the World Race and later aboard the British Steel Challenge yacht Commercial Union Assurance.

Creighton's Naturally was one of the last to finish, but with Dennis reporting live from the Needles all the way to the finish line in Southampton Water, the yacht received the biggest welcome home. After that, the potential for embedding a journalist within the crew was fully appreciated and led to the video feeds that now reach our computers every day from the current Volvo Ocean Race yachts.

Ali McKichan, a crewmember on Commercial Union Assurance during the 1992/3 British Steel Challenge, recalls the warm, kind-hearted side of Dennis Skillicorn's character. "He always had an amusing story to get us through the long night watches. I particularly loved it when it was his role to wake the ongoing watch. Unlike others, Dennis would say softly. "Good morning Ma'am. The sun is shining, the wind is fair and I have a wonderful cooked breakfast ready for you in the saloon" - all delivered in that beautiful lilting voice of his. We all knew none of it was true, but it definitely made it easier getting out of our bunks!"

Born in 1932, Dennis grew up the Northwest shipbuilding town of Burrow-in-Furness and began an apprenticeship there until called up to do his National Service in the Royal Navy. Much of his time was spent working in Portsmouth Dockyard and he stayed rooted in the South of England for the rest of his life.

It was through the Navy that he first got his taste for travel.

When the BBC tried to introduce a retirement policy at the age of 75, Dennis joined a group of fellow pensioners to form 'The Zimmers' to voice the feelings of isolation and imprisonment suffered by the elderly. They recorded a cover version of The Who's 'My Generation' at the famous Abby Road studios in London and the record climbed to No 26 in the UK Singles Chart in May 2007 Go to:

His last interview, conducted at the age of 80, was with the Duke of Edinburgh. The two got on so well that Dennis ended up helping Prince Philip mend ornaments while they chatted.

Dennis Skillicorn's extensive library of radio interviews and broadcasts has been saved for posterity and will be archived at the Wessex Film and Sound Archive based in Winchester.

Dennis is survived by his two children Jane and Roger and two grandchildren. He died peacefully on December 21st surrounded by family and close friends. His funeral will take place at Romsey Crematorium at 16:00 on Wednesday 10th January. -- Barry Pickthall - Chairman of the Yachting Journalists' Association

The full obituary at

Featured Brokerage
2002 Swan 70-005 Flying Dragon. 1,400,000 EUR. Located in Genoa, Italy.

This Swan 70 combines the exhilaration of performance sailing with the comfort and security of a blue water cruiser. Under her former name 'Fastnet', she won the Swan Cup in 2002 proving to be unstoppable on the race course.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Giorgio Passarella

Tel. +377 97 97 95 07


1993 Nautor Swan 68 - SEA EAGLE OF SHIAN III. 575,000 GBP Located in Scotland, UK.

Handsome German Frers Swan 68 which is perfect for both a cruising and regatta role. She is a capable and fast bluewater cruising yacht with a great layout for owners, 6 guests and crew. She has had some great updates through life including paint, decks, and rod in 2008, new electronics, communications and entertainment in 2011 and she is constantly updated. Now laid up under cover, she is awaiting her next yachting family to awake her from her slumbers.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679 222


2007 Oyster 655 - ROULETTE. 1175000 GBP. Located in Lymington, UK.

Performance Oyster from the board of Humphreys with carbon rig and sailors' set up. Stunning maple innards and has the kerfuffle for blue water.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679 222

See the collection at

The Last Word
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion. -- Arnold H. Glasow

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see