Youngest Ever Clipper Race Skipper Claims First Race Win | SHK/Scallywag battle the elements to hold lead | Harken Exhibits at Boot Dusseldorf - January 20 - 28 | Saving the phone bill (and making the world a little smaller) | Change boats key to US Olympic success | 2018 RORC Race entries now open | New Boats Debut in STIR Racing Class | Campaign for a new Brittainia | A Ship of Salvation | 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Youngest Ever Clipper Race Skipper Claims First Race Win
Visit Seattle, led by 24-year-old British sailor Nikki Henderson, the youngest ever Skipper to lead a team in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race's eleven editions, has held off a strong challenge from three other teams to chalk up a thrilling maiden victory in Race 6: The Wondrous Whitsundays Race.
During one of the most challenging stages so far in the Clipper 2017-18 Race, Visit Seattle crossed the finish line off the coast of Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, Australia, at 15:05:36 local time (05:05:36UTC), completing the 1,600-nautical mile sprint up the east coast of Australia from Hobart in eleven days.
Arriving into Abell Point Marina where the Clipper Race fleet will be berthed, Skipper Nikki said: "It's such a good feeling. I'm finally a bit more relaxed than the last 48 hours. It's been exhausting!
This is the team's second podium result after finishing second in Race 4, from Fremantle, Western Australia, to Sydney, and it was made to work hard for this victory. This morning saw the team off the coast of Mackay, just 5 nautical miles ahead of the second placed PSP Logistics. Sanya Serenity Coast, skippered by Australian Wendy Tuck, was only another mile astern, with just 7 nautical miles separating Visit Seattle from the fourth placed Liverpool 2018.
In the end, just 25 minutes separated Visit Seattle from second placed PSP Logistics, which takes its third podium result of the Clipper 2017-18 Race.
The Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, stopover marks the changeover port which completes the All-Australian Leg 4, and starts the Asia Pacific Leg 5. Distance wise, this stopover is also the approximate half way stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race with 20,000nm of the 40,000nm, 13 stage course now completed.
Race 7, which will see the teams head approximately 4,200 nautical miles to Sanya, the first of two Chinese stopovers in this next leg, starts on 29 January. From there, teams will head to Qingdao, China; across the mighty Pacific Ocean to Seattle; Panama; and New York; before heading back across the Atlantic to Derry-Londonderry. The Clipper 2017-18 Race finishes on July 28, 2018.
SHK/Scallywag battle the elements to hold lead
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag were showing no signs of relinquishing their grip on the Leg 4 lead on Tuesday as they geared up to break the 1,000-miles-to-go barrier.
Hell-bent on arriving in their home port of Hong Kong as heroes, Scallywag have maintained their comfortable lead of 73 miles over closest rivals Vestas 11th Hour Racing as the action reaches fever pitch.
If Dongfeng can overhaul Vestas and finish second behind Scallywag, the significance of boats from Hong Kong and China atop the table at the first ever stopover in Hong Kong would be massive.
"It's a new experience for us but it's a good one," Scallywag skipper Dave Witt said. "We've only got 1,300 miles to go, so we're looking ok. We're in a pretty strong position, and we're going to get further ahead at the moment. The weather pattern suits us but the others are going to fall out of it. I expect us to extend our lead."
Witt revealed the main threat to their impending victory was not from the other crews but from the weather. His crew is currently facing head-on seas of up to four metres, with boat speeds of more than 20 knots.
While Scallywag make the most of continuing breeze, winds at the back of the fleet are set to drop to around 14 knots, further hampering any hopes of catching up with the group in front. The latest ETA predicts Scallywag will arrive early afternoon on Friday, UTC.
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Harken AT THE FRONT.
Time and tide wait for no man', so the saying goes, and when it comes to precious time spent campaigning racing yachts then you do what's necessary to run everything as efficiently as possible. That's one of the reasons why a growing number of raceboat owners and their skippers are calling on Sevenstar Yacht Transport to run their logistics for them.
The head of Racing Yacht Logistics at Sevenstar, former top navigator Wouter Verbraak, knows the grand prix racing scene well. 'At Sevenstar we like to say we make the world smaller,' explains the Dutchman. 'By which we mean we help to deliver racing yachts from one place to the next more quickly and with the least hassle.'
Verbraak says there is no job too tough for the company. 'One of the advantages for us is that we have direct access to the specialist vessels owned by our parent company, the Spliethoff Group,' he explains. 'We don't have to negotiate terms for a charter, so this speeds things up and makes discussions a lot more straightforward.'
Full story in the February issue of Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com
Change boats key to US Olympic success
Bob Johnstone was the founding chairman of the United States Youth Championship in 1973, an event intended to prepare young sailors for international success. Much has changed since the event's beginning, and he fears the failures of USA at the Olympic level are a result. Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck checks in with Bob for his observations.
What do you consider to be the main problem?
Conducting the premier event for 17-19 year olds (the US Youth Championship) in 420s, Nacra 15s and 29ers instead of the equipment used at the Olympics - 470s, Nacra 17s and 49ers - arrests Olympic development of our top youth sailors.
These detuned youth versions of Olympic classes have a competitive crew weight of about 145 lbs., the average weight of a 14 year old, not 18-19 year olds, e.g. adult Olympic athletes.
The US Youth Championships had been, and can once again become, the most universal, motivating, effective and low cost development program for the US Olympic Team imaginable. Seems a "no-brainer"... and the key is the boats.
Just switch the Youth Champs to all Olympic boats: 470, Nacra 17 and 49er and be amazed.
1) More youth talent will hone skills in non-Olympic years;
2) Parents and Yacht Clubs will buy 100's of Olympic boats to support their Youths' dreams;
3) Dependency on coaches for success is reduced as Youth will be competing against the best adults;
4) A "Mini Olympics" every year will put 100 more fired-up youth athletes on the Olympic path in each of those years while further motivating Laser, Radial and RS:X sailors.
A step was taken at the 2015 US Youth Championships to match the boats with what is used at the Youth Sailing World Championships, and the US event became the qualifier. Was this not enough to prepare US sailors for the next level?
Good in theory, but not in practice. US youth sailors are not any better prepared for the Youth Worlds, and certainly not for an Olympic path, by sailing 420s. It's much more effective to sail a 470 and move down into a 420 for a regatta than the reverse. Because, the higher performance boat teaches you the moves you should be doing to go faster, which a dumbed down 420 doesn't. It doesn't work in reverse.
Full interview in Scuttlebutt: www.sailingscuttlebutt.com
2018 RORC Race entries now open
At midday on Monday 8th January 2018 entries opened for all Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) races, including the Season's Points Championship comprised of 14 races, as well as the highlight of the UK Solent season - the IRC Europeans and Commodores' Cup.
Competitors entering the IRC Europeans (8-16th June) are invited to form a team of three boats with members of their own yacht club or with boats from their region. Alternatively, contact the RORC Race Team who will provide a list of boats entered, but not yet part of a team.
The biggest contest in the 2018 RORC programme is the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race on Sunday 12th August. At 1,805 nautical miles, it is three times longer than a Fastnet Race and attracts experienced offshore sailors looking for a serious challenge. Starting and finishing in Cowes, it is on a four-year cycle due to the toughness of the race. Circumnavigating all the islands of the UK, including the most northerly point Muckle Flugga, it negotiates headlands with tidal challenges all around the UK and faces the notorious British weather.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's UK domestic season fires up with the Easter Challenge (30th March to 1st April) and offers crews the chance to work on pre-season training and fine-tuning. With the relaxation of RRS41, the highlight of the event is the availability of a selection of experienced coaches on the water to assist with getting back up to speed.
New Boats Debut in STIR Racing Class
Teams from Canada, the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico are all looking forward to racing new boats at the 2018 St Thomas International Regatta (STIR). One of these is Rob Butler's Touch2Play racing team.
"The J88, which we raced last year in STIR, has been replaced with a Reflex 38," says Larry Huibers, manager of Collingwood, Ontario-based Butler's team. "It's a slightly larger platform, which will host our crew in a little more comfort and make transiting to the other events easier. The blend of great tight racing and fun shore side activities makes coming back a priority for us."
New to owner Emanuele Bianchi, of Chicago, Illinois, is the 2015-built Tartan 101, Red Hot Caribe, which Bianchi describes as a 33-foot high performance fractional sloop with a very generous carbon rig powered by top notch North Sails.
"We are a mix of fun, avid sailors, mostly based in the Great Lakes, peppered with East and West Coast, Canadian and European flavor," he says. "Our team is comprised of a group of highly competitive, qualified amateurs with broad experience that includes a mix of ocean, buoy, medium to long distance and one-design sailboat racing. STIR 2018 will be one of the highlights of a season spend enjoying fun island-hopping deliveries as we explore the beauty of the Caribbean."
Back after a year's hiatus is STIR 2016 racing class winners, Puerto Rico's Jonathan Lipuscek and his team aboard a new Dark Star.
"The new Dark Star is a recently purchased McConaghy 38, which is larger and faster than the previous Dark Star, a J/105," explains Rafael 'Rafi' Martinez, who like many of the team's crew have raced in STIR since the early 1990s." Our core crew will remain the same and we are pumped to see what this boat can do in the Caribbean trade winds."
Campaign for a new Brittainia
A campaign led by MP Craig Mackinlay to commission a new royal yacht has been backed by around 50 MPs.
A letter sent to ministers urging the government to support the project was co-signed by supporting MPs.
The MPs argue that, as the UK leaves the European Union, now is the time for a new Royal Yacht Britannia as a new symbol of Global Britain, designed and built domestically to showcase the best of UK shipbuilding and industry and as a platform for promoting trade.
Paid for by a new lottery, along with other complementary sources of funding, there will be no call upon departmental budgets to pay for the vessel, he has said.
The previous royal yacht - HMY Britannia - was controversially decommissioned by Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997 after more than 40 years in service.
A secret naval design for a replacement for Britannia was drawn up by naval staff and approved by representatives of the Royal Family but the Labour Government refused to pay for it.
HMY Britannia, which is now a visitor attraction in Edinburgh, conducted 968 official visits and clocked up more than a million miles at sea.
On her last deployment to the Far East, commercial trade deals of some £2.75bn were signed on board to the benefit of the UK.
The South Thanet MP envisages that both Government ministers and the Royal Family alike could host diplomatic and commercial events on the vessel.
A Ship of Salvation
A sturdy but friendly looking little wooden ship, Gerda III was built in 1928 in Denmark to service lighthouses. She faithfully carried out her mission of shuttling crew and supplies back and forth to a single lighthouse in the Baltic Sea for many years, but in 1943 she was given a job of life-saving importance: help a fleet of other Danish ships rescue nearly 8,000 Danish Jews from Hitler's Final Solution.
It was September 1943 when a German official warned the Danish government that Jews residing in Denmark would be rounded up and then shipped off to German death camps. In October 1943, an underground fleet of a few hundred small vessels was assembled to secretly ferry Danish Jews to Sweden.
According to the Mystic Seaport Museum, 22-year-old Henny Sinding and a crew of four hid 10 to 15 people at a time in Gerda III's cargo hold. They'd pilot the boat as if they were making supply trips to the lighthouse, but would detour at the last minute and head toward nearby Swedish waters. Though she was boarded many times by German officers, her human cargo was never discovered. This video from the Mystic Seaport Museum has more on Gerda III's storied history.
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The Last Word
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