In This Issue
Zhik Hong Kong 29er World Championship | Paying dividends | What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine | Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Departs For Final Stage Of All-Australian Leg | SB20 Pre-Worlds on the River Derwent, Hobart | Marine Interests Rewarded In New Year Honours | Gabart: 'We can still raise the level of the game and go much faster' | Mobile is EVERYTHING | Cruising Club of America's Safety for Cruising Couples Seminars | Neil Mallard | 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

Zhik Hong Kong 29er World Championship
The Zhik Hong Kong 29er World Championship got underway two nights ago with the Opening Ceremony at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's main Clubhouse on Kellett Island. A traditional lion dance enthralled the 58 teams from 11 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, US Virgin Islands, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Slovenia, USA and Hong Kong.

Racing was cancelled on Day 1 due to the breeze that was consistently above the threshold of the 29er Class wind limit with gusts up to 41kts. The cliché of "It's never like this" seemed to be the most common phrase heard among Hong Kong's local sailors and with 30 to 40kts reported overnight at Waglan Island, there looked like there could be further postponements for today, Day 2.

Today however, sailors were only held on shore for a short time whilst the breeze weakened slightly before making their way to the race course located off Stanley. The breeze across the race track varied from 15kts at the sheltered top mark in Stanley Bay to 22kts (with gusts close to the 25kt wind limit) at the start area located closer to the channel, resulting in some epic capsizes as the fleet rounded the gate marks.

Four qualifying races were held today for both the Yellow and Green Flights, there was some very close racing among the top boats. Going into day 3 of the qualify series in first is FRA2 Benjamin Jaffrezic and Leo Chauvel with 8 points followed AUS6 Lachie Brewer and Max Paul on 10 points and NZL12 Francesco Kayrouz and Jackson Keon on 11 points.

The final day of the qualifying series will take place tomorrow with each fleet sailing four races before they are split into Gold and Silver fleets.

Paying dividends
Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel claimed the first bragging rights of Leg 4 three days into the sprint to Hong Kong as their bid to punch further offshore paid dividends.

Both teams, plus Turn the Tide on Plastic, opted to head out to sea on Wednesday in search of a boost from a northerly current, leaving the remaining four crews hugging the Australian coastline.

Twenty-four hours on and Dongfeng and AkzoNobel have built up a healthy 34 nautical mile buffer at the head of the fleet, while Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic occupy the third spot.

While boat speeds were still up around the 20-knot mark today, the forecast suggests the wind will become lighter in the coming days - bad news for the leaders but a chance to catch up for the chasing pack.

The key for those inshore will be the moment at which they gybe back onto port and reposition themselves better in the west to pick up better breeze.

Positions at 1300 UTC January 4:

1. Dongfeng Race Team, 4620.94 nm to leg finish
2. Team AkzoNobel, 2.17 nm to leader
3. Turn the Tide on Plastic, 34.21
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing, 37.07
5. MAPFRE, 37.32
6. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, 56.79
7. Team Brunel, 67.58

Seahorse January 2018
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Paul Cayard - Turning the ship around
Go USA! The all-important 'first' Olympic medal. Plus Project Pipeline is paying dividends...

IRC - One size does not fit all
A mainstream view from a grand prix expert. James Dadd

Design - Opening some very big doors
From the outside the boat just looks beautiful, but Gurit senior engineer Simon Everest looks at the challenges that were hidden away out of view

RORC - A (very) tough act to follow
Eddie Warden-Owen

Seahorse build table - And it's now on to Mark V!
Shaun Carkeek

Sailor of the Month
Two of the biggest guys in the sport... mes amis!

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Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Departs For Final Stage Of All-Australian Leg
The final stage of the All-Australian Leg in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, officially known as Race 6: The Wondrous Whitsundays Race, got underway today from Hobart, Tasmania, as the eleven Clipper 70s prepare to race over 1,600 nautical miles up the East Coast of Australia to Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays.

Following a colourful Parade of Sail in light south-easterly conditions, the race officially got underway at 0000 UTC (1100 local time) on Friday 5 January.

Overall race leaders Sanya Serenity Coast, Skippered by Australian Wendy Tuck, was the first across the line, followed closely by Visit Seattle and Dare To Lead, continued to lead the fleet up the River Derwent.

The fleet is expected to face a predominantly upwind race with crews needing to negotiate the dominating Eastern Australian Current (EAC). Speeds in the core of the EAC, an oceanic current which moves warm water from the tropical Coral Sea, are some of the strongest in the South Pacific and each team will need to agree on the best race tactic; staying closer to the current, where speeds are stronger, or heading further offshore where the effects of the current are weaker, but will add extra miles to the sprint.

Teams are expected to arrive into Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays, between 13-15 January 2018, where the fleet will be berthed at Abell Point Marina and the region is expected to come alive for the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.

Following a scenic stopover, the teams will depart once again on 29 January for the Chinese Host Ports of Sanya, the home port of the overall race leaders, and Qingdao, which completes Leg 5: The Asia-Pacific Leg.

Overall Clipper 2017-18 Race Standings

1. Sanya Serenity Coast, 56 points 2. Qingdao, 54*
3. Dare To Lead, 49*
4. Visit Seattle, 48
5. Great Britain, 44*
6. PSP Logistics, 40
7. Garmin, 35
8. Hotelplanner.Com, 31
9. Unicef, 28
10. Liverpool 2018, 24
11. Nasdaq, 22
(* Already Played Joker Card)

SB20 Pre-Worlds on the River Derwent, Hobart
Photo by Jane Austin. Click on image to enlarge.

Day two of the SB0 pre-Worlds regatta has provided competitors with two exhilarating races on Hobart's River Derwent today.

A north-west to west-nor'westerly breeze averaging 16-18 knots, with sharp gusts as high as 30 knots, has seen spectacular downwind sailing.

Positions changed as boats picked up the gusts and went surfing past others. Downwind gybing techniques were the key to gaining or retaining fleet positions

The strong wind has caused many retirements from the 33 boat pre-Worlds fleet, among them the French boat EOLIFT Racing which broke a spreader. EOLIFT Racing had been third in overall standings after day one.

Others retired to save damage in the gusty conditions with the 2018 SB20 Worlds only three days away. Hypertronics (Steve Catchpool) retired after a collision at the windward mark in race one with Big Ted (Alice Grubb) taking a penalty turn.

The Victorian Ikon20 (Kirwan Robb) broke its rudder in race four while at least two female crews retired from the last race.

Racing today began after a general recall for race three of the series, race one of the day, and produced two different race winners.

Results are provisional as there are potential protests following a number of collisions in the brisk breezes.

British boat Marvel (Richard Powell) followed his race two second place (he did not start in race one) with a win in race three. A close second was French sailor Robin Follin sailing Give Me 5 - French Youth team, third place going to Australian champion Aeolus (Brett Cooper).

In race four, Hobart's Michael Cooper sailed Export Roo to victory from another French boat, Le Grand Reservoir/Maze & A (Achille Nebout) and Victorian boat Flirtatious/Ambition Sailing Team (Chris Dare, AUS).

After four races of the SB20 pre-Worlds Give Me 5 (Robin Follin, Fra) is still provisional overall leader on 8 points (1-1-2-4) with Export Roo (Michael Cooper, AUS) moving up to second with 24 points (12-4-7-1).

Australian SB20 champion Aeolus (Brett Cooper, AUS) is now third on 25 points (11-6-3-5) with defending World champion (Jerry Hill, GBR) fourth on 28 points (5-3-8-12). -- Peter Campbell

Marine Interests Rewarded In New Year Honours
Congratulations to marine industry personalities who have been rewarded for their efforts to the sport and industry in the New Year Honours.

- Thomas Burgess from West Yorkshire - For services to charity, the RNLI and Business.
- William Ward from West Sussex - Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. For services to the Economy and the GREAT Campaign.
- Linda Willson from London- Lately Head, Maritime Commerce and Infrastructure, Department for Transport. For services to Transport.
- Richard Wilson from Hampshire - Chairman and Chief Executive, Maritime and Coastguard Agency. For services to Transport.

- William Hopkin from Port Talbot - For services to the community, particularly Children and Maritime Safety, in South Wales.
- David JENKINS from Ceredigion - For services to Maritime Safety
- Christopher LEWIS from Essex - Lifeguard, RNLI. For services to Maritime Safety.
- Captain Martin Highmore PHIPPS from Hampshire - Harbour Master. For services to UK Exports
- David STEENVOORDEN from Yorkshire - Superintendent Coxswain, Humber Lifeboat Station, RNLI. For services to Maritime Safety
- Derek WEAVER from Hampshire - Curator, Marine Engineering Museum, HMS Sultan. For voluntary service to Naval Heritage.

- Richard MARRIOTT from Yorkshire - Fundraiser, RNLI. For charitable services.
- The Reverend Deacon Roger STONE from Antrim - Apostleship of the Sea Port Chaplain. For services to Seafarers.
- Paul WATSON from Hampshire - Vice Chairman, Lee-on-Solent Branch, Royal Naval Association. For voluntary service to Veterans.

Order of Canada
- Overseas, Bruce Kirby, designer of the Laser dinghy, has been appointed to the Order of Canada, the country's highest award for his contributions to the world of sailing, notably for his internationally acclaimed sailboat designs.

Gabart: 'We can still raise the level of the game and go much faster'
After setting a new solo round the world record, François Gabart has said he believes the feat can be done even quicker.

The French offshore racer smashed the record on Sunday (17 December), completing his voyage in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

This broke the record set by Thomas Coville on 25 December 2016 (49 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes and 28 seconds) by 6 days, 10 hours, 23 minutes and 53 seconds.

Gabart's MACIF trimaran covered a true distance of 27,859.7 miles, with a true average over the course of 27.2 knots.

Speaking after crossing the finish line, the 34-year-old skipper said he needed three things to succeed: a good boat, good sailing and a little success.

'I had to keep up the pace and I'm really proud of my circumnavigation. I didn't make too many mistakes. At the same time, I believe that we can still raise the level of the game and go much faster,' said Gabart.

'And that's really inspiring. I am reserving this challenge for another time. There's plenty more to do and to imagine, to sail fast on these boats,' he added.

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Cruising Club of America's Safety for Cruising Couples Seminars
Among the 1300-strong membership of the all-volunteer Cruising Club of America (CCA), the number one resolution is to help those like-minded boaters make 2018 their safest year on the water. As an organization, the CCA has renewed its efforts to share their collective experiential knowledge with a particular focus on safety preparations for cruisers of sail and power vessels.

In a 2017 survey of nearly 1500 offshore sailors, respondents indicated that safety and seamanship training was the top priority of sailors planning a passage.

To build the confidence of the less-experienced member of the duo in the event of an unexpected test of their skills, the CCA developed the Safety for Cruising Couples Seminar which can be customized by hosting clubs using materials from the CCA.

Geared to cruising couples and short-handed sailors who are increasingly active on coastal or local waters, whether aboard sail or power boats, the typically day-long seminar is generally structured with a morning classroom session covering the fundamentals of VHF radios, the basics of navigation, engine operation, medical situations, safety equipment and man overboard recovery. An afternoon session can take those topics a step further with on-the-water hands-on training, including chart plotter fundamentals and a demonstration of how to use a life sling in a man overboard situation.

To date, seven Safety for Cruising Couples Seminars have been scheduled by sponsoring clubs for 2018: Royal Canadian Cruising Sailor's Squadron at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Toronto, CAN (February 25); Annapolis Yacht Club, Annapolis, Md. (April 21); Stamford Yacht Club, Stamford, Conn. (May 20); Camden Yacht Club, Camden, Maine (May 27); The Oakville Club, Oakville, CAN (June 2); Sail Newport, Newport, R.I. (early June); and Ram Island Yacht Club, Noank, Conn. (July 7).

Whether you wish to attend, or host, a seminar, obtain a copy of the workbook or updated materials, or have general questions, please email:

The most current schedule of seminars may be found here:

Neil Mallard
Neil interviewing Jackie Stewart

Neil Mallard died three days short of his 87th Birthday. A career in journalism began with the Wembley News in 1946 and was interrupted by National Service two years later. Demobbed, he went to the Paddington Mercury, and from there to the Press Office in Wembley Stadium. At this time he moved frequently but always with personal promotion in mind. Fleet Street was an obvious aim. It came with a move to the Sports Desk of the News Chronicle.

Neil and I kept in contact for years after as his career continued to blossom in sports in which I was directly, or indirectly connected. He was into sailing with events ranging from the Whitbread Round the World Race - his Chilean contacts resulting in film of boat rounding Cape Horn - and that in the 1973/4 race - to the Admiral's Cup (and with it the 1979 Fastnet disaster) and the America's Cup, where, in 2013, we met with Stan Honey who explained clearly what the graphics he had devised could do for the television coverage of the Cup. Neil listened carefully and relayed the opportunities to television stations all over the world - the coverage was sensational. He was at it again in Bermuda last year.

His first involvement with coverage of the Olympic Games was at Wembley in 1948 and he never missed another together with the spin-offs like the Commonwealth Games, or the Paralympic Games, whose television coverage he pioneered when there was no international interest. That may sound strange today, but Neil had a deliberate campaigning spirit throughout his 73 years in the business.

When Neil said: "Leave it to me." he meant it and one could do just that knowing that an answer would be forthcoming very shortly.

Neil Mallard is survived by his wife Ros and three sons, Tim, Duncan and Giles who all followed their Father into broadcasting. -- Bob Fisher

Bob's full obituary at Yachting Journalists Association:

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The Last Word
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