In This Issue
Spindrift Dismasts On Way To Starting Jules Verne Trophy Attempt | Gordon Ingate wins Dragon Prince Philip Cup | Scottish Series 2018 open for Entries | A (very) suitable new home | New 2018 ORC Rules and 2018 VPP Now Available | Derwent turns unpredictable for IOR Cup | On Test: Beneteau Figaro III | Ancient Shipwrecks Are a Treasure Trove of Climate Data | White Star Line's S.S. Laurentic Bell Makes Homecoming Voyage to Derry | 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

Spindrift Dismasts On Way To Starting Jules Verne Trophy Attempt
Click on image to enlarge.

As the giant trimaran made its way to the Creac'h lighthouse (Isle of Ouessant) for a second attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, Spindrift 2 dismasted at about 1615h today (Monday 15 January 2018), south of Pointe Saint-Mathieu in a strong 30 knot westerly breeze and rough seas.

Spindrift 2 was ready for this new attempt around the world with a relatively favourable weather window, after a long two-month stand-by at La Trinite sur Mer and then in Brest, Brittany.  With strong winds around Brest, the start from the pontoon was delayed to 1430h. Once Spindrift was into the Iroise, an area of open sea in front of Brest between the Atlantic and the Channel, the sea state was already well formed and the wind blowing at more than 30 knots with strong gusts. As the boat tacked towards the Ouessant Channel, with no warning suddenly Spindrift 2 dismasted. No crew member was injured in the incident.

"Everything happened very fast! In a few seconds, the mast was down. We have been waiting for two months for this new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy: this window was our last chance. It is a big disappointment for the whole team, both at sea, and on land as we were all ready. We have spent a lot of time optimising the boat, and everything collapses in a few moments," said Yann Guichard

Gordon Ingate wins Dragon Prince Philip Cup
Gordon Ingate, aged 92, crewed by Amy Walsh and David Giles, won the Dragon class Prince Philip Cup/Australian Championship at the Metung Yacht Club in Victoria.

Ingate took three race wins from seven races to finish four points ahead of Robert Campell in second place and Graeme Aldersea in third place.

This is Ingate's fourth Prince Philip Cup in a yachting career spanning over 75 years.

Ingate has represented Australia at the Admiral's Cup and the Olympic Games, challenged for the America's Cup, and gone close to winning the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with Caprice of Huon in 1972. -- Gerald New in Sailweb

Dragon - Prince Philip Cup/Australian Championship - Final Top Ten (25 entries)

1. Whimsical, G Ingate / A Walsh / D Giles , 14 points
2. Pennyfarthing, R Campbell / T Cummins / T Ford, 18
3. Adios III, G Aldersea / J Aldersea / J Warren, 24
4. Riga, S Anderson / J Moncrieff / S Eyssautier, 28
5. Shapes, G Totterdell / J Fitzhardinge / J Shellabear, 35
6. Linnea, R Hammond / S Anderson / A Phillips, 37
7. Wizzardry, R Chatfield / K Chatfield / P Massee, 38
8. Wild Rose, T Smith / F Haes / M Sill, 43
9. Ghost, M Johnson / J Johnson / L Johnson, 48
10. Merum, J Hatch / K Hatch / H Pearce, 50

Full results

Scottish Series 2018 open for Entries
The 44th Clyde Cruising Club Scottish Series (25-28 May) is now open for entries with the announcement at the London Boatshow.  Set in the magnificent backdrop of Tarbert, Loch Fyne this event makes best use of the end of May Bank Holiday to provide four days of great sailing.

Scottish Series is the largest keelboat regatta in Scotland with 120 entrants in 2017, and for 2018 it will again incorporate the IRC Scottish Championships for which there were 43 entrants last year, making it a significant event in the IRC calendar.  And, for those with other interests there are the One Design Classes, Clyde Handicap and White Sail Fleets, so there is definitely something for everyone.

Traditionally the One Design Classes are Sigma 33, Hunter 707 and Sonatas, but any class that can get enough entries will also have their own start.  An early-bird discount for entry is available until 11 March (Mothers' Day).

A (very) suitable new home
The new VPLP-designed Gunboat 68 is the first model of the brand to be launched since the company moved into French ownership

Sailing upwind at a true wind angle (TWA) of 50° in light air, then bearing off and accelerating to 15-16kt, still in no more than 12kt of true wind… These are typical performance prediction figures from the designers of the latest Gunboat and the first of its kind to emerge from its new French builders. And reaching in a good 'working breeze', VPLP's Xavier Guilbaud is confident you will often see 25kt with additional potential to be realised under the big rig option. Not bad for a boat as luxurious as this?

The launch of the first Gunboat Tribe 17 years ago marked the invention of a new sailing concept: the long-range high-performance but luxurious, large multihull, a combination only made possible through borrowing the best raceboat technologies and materials.

The original Gunboat catamarans designed by Morrelli and Melvin were light and quite purist in form and with a relatively more minimalistic internal fit-out.

The next-era Gunboats, designed by Nigel Irens and manufactured in China and the USA, were more refined and luxurious, with designer interior and exterior styling and more geared for luxury cruising. The objective with this new French-built Gunboat is to combine the two philosophies and make use of the best qualities of the two earlier generations of boats.

Full article in the February issue of Seahorse:

New 2018 ORC Rules and 2018 VPP Now Available
The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) is pleased to announce that this year's 2018 ORC Rules and the 2018 Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) used for generating certificates, Speed Guides, Target Speeds and other products is now available to Rating Officers worldwide as well as the public in the ORC's online Sailor Services system.

For Rating Officers, they may now start issuing 2018 certificates according to their policies, even while some areas will continue to use their 2017 ratings for the remainder of their winter or antipodal summer seasons.

For the VPP, improvements in the Aero- and Hydrodynamic formulations based on CFD research conducted by Jason Ker and other designers on the ORC International Technical Committee has caused an increase in upwind rated speeds for most boats and also a slight increase in downwind speed too. In addition, work on improving the induced drag formulations from the rudder and a more realistic treatment of the effect of transverse crew weight position in light air has also increased the accuracy of the new VPP, with the overall rating changes between boats in the fleet kept to within a modest 0.5%.

For the IMS (International Measurement System) there are some clarifications in measurement procedures which should help improve their accuracy, the use of carbon in structures without penalty is now more clearly defined, and some rules have been modified to be more closely aligned with the Equipment Rules of Sailing (ERS) of World Sailing.

For the ORC Rating Rules, the limits on use of carbon in construction is now more closely aligned to modern boatbuilding standards, a modification of RRS 49.2 makes hiking easier to control, minimum crew weights are now defined when needed, course lengths have a prescribed accuracy for scoring, and explanations of the formulations used in simple scoring options are now more clearly defined as well.

In the ORC Green Book rules for championship events there are several new guidelines that included suggested and mandatory use of scoring software, race management software and tracking systems in future events, as well as new definitions of the CDL limits for Class A, Class B and Class C based on the new VPP ratings for 2018. These are:

Class A: 16.5 ≥ CDL > 11.6
Class B: 11.6 ≥ CDL > 9.8
Class C: 9.8 ≥ CDL > 8.6

And on ORC International and ORC Club certificates, the Minimum Crew Weight now appears in the Crew Weight box, the "Ocean for PCS" pre-selected course is renamed to "Coastal / Long Distance", and the HHW measurement is now added to the headsail graphic.

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Derwent turns unpredictable for IOR Cup
For the previous two week's Hobart's River Derwent provided near perfect sailing conditions for the SB20 world championship, but last Friday evening and Saturday it turned sour for the ''old-timers'' in the IOR Cup.

Designed and built back in the 1970s to then international IOR rating rule, these former 'half tonners' and 'one tonners' turn out each summer for the Bellerive Yacht Club/Hobart Jaguar IOR Cup.

Of course, none of these boats still have an IOR rating (now obsolete) so corrected time results were calculated using PHS handicaps.

Despite rain squalls that brought vicious wind gusts reaching 42 knots in Friday's twilight race and even patches of drifting conditions on Saturday, competition was as keen and close as it was in the heyday of level rating racing.

The gusty conditions also showed that these boats designed to the IOR rule are still just as difficult to handle downwind, and there were some spectacular broaches.

"It was if the River Derwent finally exhaled after providing beautiful sailing conditions for the past two weeks and the SB20 worlds," commented BYC sailing manager Peter Watson. "She finally let go with the unpredictable weather that the river is famous for." -- Peter Campbell


On Test: Beneteau Figaro III
Every element of this new 9.75-meter one-design monohull was conceived by VPLP Design . For the foils, Beneteau worked with Multiplast, a major actor in the production of components and bluewater monohulls like the Vendee Globe IMOCA 60 foiling yachts. Unlike those foils, the Figaro's curve inward toward the hull. Sails were manufactured by North Sails, mast and boom by Sparcraft.

The Figaro III is being built at the Beneteau site in western France. The hull shape is bullet-like, a challenging design, and construction is by infusion. Building an entire prototype required 3000 man-hours. In an unusual move, there will be a second prototype to implement the latest developments and to serve as a yardstick for mass production. The first Figaro III deliveries are expected in in late 2018.

A Play of Forces

Louis Vercauter, sailing instructor and student at the Antwerp Maritime Academy, joined us for sea trials to investigate the benefits of foils on a one-design yacht. While foils typically are used to lift the hull above the water, it quickly became clear that we were not dealing with a flying boat.

The faster we sailed, the more stable was the boat.

Technical Specifications:

Length Over All: 10.85 m
Hull length: 9.75 m
Waterline length: 9.00 m
Beam: 3.47 m
Maximum draft: 2.5 m
Displacement: 2900 kg
Certification: ISO Cat A/World sailing
Mainsail: 39.5 m2
Genoa: 30.5 m2
Naval architect: Marc Van Peteghem - Vincent Lauriot Prevost

Ancient Shipwrecks Are a Treasure Trove of Climate Data
Researchers have found a link between historic Spanish shipwrecks, hurricanes, and the climate.

Their initial research, published last year, takes on added urgency after a devastating hurricane season has sparked conversations about the linkages between powerful storms and climate change.

As a story about scientists and shipwrecks should, it all began over pints of grog: In this case, it was beers following a conference of dendrochronologists, scientists who study tree-rings to mine data about the past. Valerie Trouet, a professor at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, Grant Harley, now a professor of geography at the University of Idaho, and Marta Domínguez-Delmas, a dendrochronology researcher and archaeologist at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, were sharing their work on Hotel Congress' patio in Tucson, Arizona. As they talked, they realized that each had unique pieces knowledge that together, might answer questions about how climate affects hurricanes.

"Grant had talked about how he had collected tree ring data from trees in Big Pine Key, Florida and how [their rings showed] a hurricane signal," Trouet told Earther. "And Marta described how she dived for shipwrecks. As we talked, we realized there's an interesting link between these things - shipwrecks and tree rings."

That link? Both downed ships and ancient trees could tell the scientists something about the history of hurricanes in the Caribbean - going back over 500 years.

Full story on the research:

White Star Line's S.S. Laurentic Bell Makes Homecoming Voyage to Derry
Click on image to enlarge.

The bell of S.S. Laurentic, one of the most significant artefacts in local maritime history, will make its return to the Derry this week, following purchase at auction by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The Bell, which was desperately rung by crew as the immense former White Star liner sank in the Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal over a century ago, will go on display at the Guildhall from today, Friday 12 January, before it finds a permanent home as Afloat previously reported in a planned Maritime Museum due to open in 2020 at Ebrington Square.

The display will be accompanied by an exhibition entitled 'Letters from The Laurentic', which chronicles the story of the Laurentic disaster through deeply personal correspondence, through letters, postcards and photographs of the men lost and those, fewer in number, who survived. A short documentary, 'Wine Dark Sea; Letters from The Laurentic', will also feature.

The Laurentic Bell is made from bell alloy and is from the Bridge area of the ship. It was found in 1979 by local diver Ray Cossum and his son Des with Allerton Salvage. It weighs 37kg and is 2ft high by 2ft wide at the base. It is one of only two bells from the ship, the other being the bow bell, which is permanently located in the belfry of the Church of Ireland at Portsalon, after being donated by the leader of the original Royal Navy salvage expedition in 1924.

In addition to being a highly important historic artefact recovered from the wreck, the bell is also significant because of a series of dents on its rim. These dents were created by a sailor on the bridge, who on the orders of the captain, beat the bell with a wrench to sound the alarm to abandon ship.

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The Last Word
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