Tenth Annual Wight Vodka Best Sailor's Bar competition is OPEN. Supported by Latitude Kinsale and Seahorse Magazine.


In This Issue
Rolex Sydney Hobart
Navigating Sydney-Hobart
Wight Vodka Best Sailor's Bar
Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2019
Vendee Globe 2020: Time And Tide Waits For No Man
The EXCESS Challenge is live
Australian Para Sailing Championships
Project to Clean Up the Ocean's Garbage Patch Isn't Working
UK Sailmakers J109 Class 'Fluid Structure Interaction' Test Report
Letters to the Editor
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: G.K. Chesterton

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

Line honours too close to call
In the closest contest in the history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the four remaining super maxis in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race were separated by just five nautical miles this morning - Comanche leading the way

Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s Comanche are off record pace, 34nm behind her record of last year, but lead the pack from the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI, with Mark Richards at the helm. Peter Harburg’s Black Jack and Christian Beck’s InfoTrack have taken the inside lane closer to the rhumb line as they try to slip past the two leaders.

The four yachts are south-east of Gabo Island in Victoria, ready to sail across Bass Strait this morning.

Chris Links reported from Wild Oats XI this morning: “We crossed tacks with Comanche a couple of times this morning between 3 and 4am. We can just see Black Jack too. There’s nothing in it. We’re doing 18 knots in a northerly of 15 knots. We’re on the edge of Bass Strait – entering it.”

Links conceded, “This is the closest race we’ve been in – we’ve been in close races with Comanche before, but never been in such a close race with four of us.”

It is early days to talk overall contenders, but it will be no surprise to anyone that Matt Allen’s TP52, Ichi Ban, continues to lead the race for the Tattersall Cup. Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah is revelling in the conditions she was built for, and is currently in second place from the Carkeek 60, Winning Appliances and Ray Roberts’ Farr 55, Hollywood Boulevard.

Carl Crafoord reported from his and Tim Horkings’ Sail Exchange this morning: “We are going great,” he said from 10th overall. “We’re first in Division (3). We’re gybing in current, 30 miles off Bermagui with Enterprise (the modified Farr 40 owned by Anthony Kirke). All well on board – we’ve had a good night.”

A fourth retirement from the race overnight, with M3 Team Hungary, led by Roni Ormandlaki, suffering a broken rig and on her way back to Sydney. She joins other early retirements, Zen (NSW), Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (Hong Kong) and Patriot (Vic), leaving the fleet at 81 and nine internationals. -- Di Pearson, RSHYR media


Navigating Sydney-Hobart
The Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race is one of the classic yachting events on the annual race calendar, arguably the most famous and difficult race taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. Its reputation is well deserved, giving all who enter it numerous challenges – not only in the level of competition the race draws, but also with many hurdles brought by Mother Nature. These environmental challenges take the form of fast changing and often strong winds, squalls, complex ocean currents, and potential for extremely rough, boat-breaking sea conditions. All that on top of what is often a more than 20 degree Celsius drop in air temperature from balmy Sydney to cool Hobart.

Navigators of the race watch typical wind patterns of the Australian summer: a semi-permanent high pressure to the east over the Tasman Sea, and another over the Great Australian Bight west of Tasmania. Air flows anti-clockwise around these high pressure systems, which means there is a tendency for northerly winds off the Sydney coast and southerly winds west of Tasmania.

The crews will be closely monitoring the weather forecasts and EAC condition in the days leading up to the race. While the forecasts can be reliable, it is often the small differences that are more difficult to predict. That will combine with the level of seamanship on-board to determine how well a team does.

Meteorologist Chris Bedford's full article: https://northsails.com

Wight Vodka Best Sailor's Bar
Wight VOdka

A big surge in voting in the past week for a frequent nominee... the Sloop Tavern in Ballard, Washington... a waterfront neighborhood in Seattle.

This one has a long history:

In 1952 a man named Ole Olsen opened an unassuming little nautical themed bar in Ballard Washington. At the time Ballard was a small working class enclave known for its shipyards, machine shops, and lots of Scandinavians. The Sloop Tavern was one of many taverns lining the streets of ballard when liquor laws were colored blue and there were only three beers on tap.

Today the Sloop is the last tavern in Ballard. In 1977 then owner Joe Chase turned the sailor’s bar into a weekly clubhouse for his newly formed yacht club - The Sloop Tavern Yacht Club, which still has regular races in the summer to this day and has a large trophy case in the corner of the bar. With the addition of the yacht club the many boats of the Shilshole bay marina started adorning the walls of the Sloop.

In the last 40 years Ballard has changed a lot but the Sloop hasn’t changed much. We still serve burgers from a local butcher, fish caught wild in Alaska, and the coldest beer in town.

Is there a special drink they make? 34 OZ Beer Mugs. It's famed locally as the Sloopersize and the best beer deal in the area.

Tell us about YOUR favorite bar. Voting ends at 2400 GMT December 28



Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2019
Grenada Sailing Week Just over a month until the start of Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 27 Jan to 1 Feb 2019. With 32 entries and counting, a good turnout is expected for the 2019 event, making it an excellent start to the year's racing season in the Caribbean. The race committee have been busy organising the final details. The Trade winds have kicked in early for the coming season and we are hoping to see some exciting racing out on the water from the one design J24's to the electric mix in Racer and Racer/Cruiser classes. Classic class is looking good to challenge Judd Tinius' 70ft Classic yawl, Galatea, winner of her class two years in a row and celebrating her 120th birthday with Grenada Sailing Week in 2019.

Starting at Camper& Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in St George's on the west coast, then moving with the transition race to Secret Harbour Marina in Mount Hartman Bay on the south coast, skippers and crews can expect a heady mix of both tactical and challenging racing.

With two host venues, four days of racing and six nights of parties this is a regatta with a twist of West Indies charm that you don't want to miss.

#PureSailing #PureRacing #PureGrenada!

Sign Up Now at Yachtscoring


Vendee Globe 2020: Time And Tide Waits For No Man
A little less than two years before the start of the Vendée Globe 2020 the race to secure an entry spot continues unabated. Between the sailors who have already qualified, those who are part or all the way there with budgets, and with boats selling or still up for sale, in the wake of the Route du Rhum, Tip & Shaft has a quick pre-holidays tour round the houses.

The new qualifying rules for the Vendée Globe, as encompassed by Article 9.1 of the notice of race which was published on April 28, have completely altered the situation for aspiring solo round the world racers. Now it is much, much harder to get in. You must have finished the last Vendée Globe, the Route du Rhum 2018, the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019, The Transat 2020, the New York-Les Sables 2020, "or any other oceanic single-handed or two-handed ocean race of the [Imoca] Globe Championship Series added by amendment to this NOR".

And, specifically to be noted: Sailors who finished the 2016 Vendée Globe without having completed one of these races, those who only raced two-handed, and those who will race the Vendée Globe 2020 on a boat different from the one with which they have competed in one of these aforementioned races, must complete a complementary 2,000 miles course.

The maximum entry of 30 is, everyone is lead to believe, absolutely fixed. And there are many different sub clauses and selection priorities which are in place to help decided between solo racers if there are more than 30 registrations. First up, having achieved the principal passage or race requirements, priority is given to finishers from the last Vendée Globe and, as well to skippers who have brand new boats. They are entitled to ‘automatic selection’. The organisers also have the right to invite up to four sailors on to the list of registered sailors.

Thereafter it is down to the number of miles raced on all IMOCA Globe Series races. So, in essence, the more miles you race on the IMOCA Globe Series the better you make your chance of being accepted. That reflects the system which worked well for the Mini Class in the mid-2000s when there were usually dozens of sailors on wait lists for key events of the season.

From Tip & Shaft, translation courtesy Andi Robertson

The EXCESS Challenge is live
WHAT Immoderation is part of the EXCESS sailing experience : Groupe Beneteau new catamarans brand is launching on-line at Nautic de Paris an EXCESS Challenge giving to the public a real chance to win a catamaran (worth €300.000) - from January 19 to August 31, 2019

The EXCESS Challenge is a virtual record for all seasoned sailors, virtual sailing enthusiast or just curious about the nautical world. Absolutly everyone has a chance to become the final winner ! Everybody can register & tackle the virtual record of EXCESS Challenge! Participants will virtually sail from Barcelona to Cannes at the helm of an EXCESS catamaran. After leaving the port of Barcelona, they will head for the Balearic Islands, rounding south of Menorca, and steer for the north of Sardinia. Then, competitors will pass between Corsica and Sardinia, and lead to east of the former one before eventually crossing the arrival line off the port of Cannes.

Once the submission to the game has been confirmed, 3 record attempts are possible by participant between 19 January 2019 & 31 August 2019. The best time will be taken into account to determine the final ranking ! A draw of all entrants will pick up the winner of the first prize : one EXCESS catamaran ! Participants must be among the fastest to increase the odds of winning as the most successful racers will be favoured over other entrants. Participants also have the opportunity to play by team of 4 people to compete for a cruising week on a cat. In this part of the challenge, no draw, only performance. The best team will win the week! This option will be offered as soon as the individual registration would have been validated.

Register Now @ excess-catamarans.com/en/challenge & Take advantage of the "Early Bird" rate until 31 January 2019 (thereafter it will be €9). For further information on that exceptional game, please contact :

Australian Para Sailing Championships
The inaugural Australian Para Sailing Championships wrapped up successfully at Sail Melbourne International 2018 on Sunday (16 December 2018) after some competitive racing across the fleets. The first-time event featured Australia’s best para-sailors with Australian Para-Sailing Champions determined in four classes, including the Hansa 303 one-person, Hansa 303 two-person, the 2.4mR as well as the SKUD 18.

Challenging weather conditions only made two days of racing possible across the four-day event. But with two races on Friday and three races on Sunday, all fleets managed to get a good race series in.

2018 Para World Sailing Championships gold medallist Chris Symonds (TAS) in the Hansa 303 proved to be unbeatable in Melbourne’s conditions and added the national title to his medal tally after a straight set of wins.

In the 2.4mR local Royal Yacht Club sailor Neil Patterson was up against a strong mixed-fleet of able-bodied and disabled sailors with Michael Leydon (ACT) taking out the overall win. Patterson finished third, but as the top ranked classified sailor took out the Australian para-sailing national title.

It was not all smooth sailing for Spearman and Baillie this Sail Melbourne International regatta though with their 2016 Paralympic Games gold medal winning boat catching fire on the transport down to Melbourne.

“Unfortunately, we had a crazy thing happen on the way down. We think someone threw a cigarette out of the window of a car or a truck, and our boat caught fire, which was a real shame. It was the gold medal winning boat from the Rio Paralympic Games, that Dan (Fitzgibbon) and Liesl (Tesch) sailed and sadly that boat was completely destroyed,” Spearman recapped the events on the way to Sail Melbourne.

“Liesl is aware of what has happened, and she is quite devastated about it obviously. I am devastated too, as I was so proud to be sailing that boat up in Queensland, being the gold medal boat. Thankfully we got some great support and ‘Sailing for Everybody Foundation’ and Hansa Boats Australia came on board and lent us a boat so we actually managed to get down in time for our first race. At least we will also be able to continue the SKUD18 program of the Queensland para-sailing program, which is a good thing.”

Sail Melbourne International (13-16 December 2018) wrapped up on Sunday after four days of competition across Olympic and Invited classes. The regatta attracted close to 400 competitors from 18 countries and the best of the best in the Olympic, para-sailing and Youth classes. See full event media release here: http://www.sailmelbourne.com.au/news/15520/

See all results here: http://bit.ly/SailMelb18Results

*|YOUTUBE:[$vid=AiIaww2_5qg, $max_width=500, $title=N, $border=N, $trim_border=N, $ratings=N, $views=N]|*

Project to Clean Up the Ocean's Garbage Patch Isn't Working
The ocean holds hundreds of millions of tons of plastic, and none of it is going anywhere anytime soon. That’s especially true now that the only major project to clean up the oceans has failed. It turns out a test project launched three months ago designed to collect ocean trash hasn't collected much of it at all.

In early September, a ship headed to an area of the Pacific Ocean known as the Pacific Garbage Patch—a region where all the trash dumped in the Pacific ends up. If anyone is going to clean up the ocean, it makes sense to start there, and the startup called Ocean Cleanup headed there with a new invention in tow.

The idea they developed was to use a long floating boom to collect ocean garbage. In theory, the design is simple: The boom floats on top of the waves in a U shape while trash passively drifts in. The wind and waves push the boom faster than the floating trash, so over time the trash gets trapped in the middle.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. After a few months of testing in the garbage patch, however, it’s clear the boom doesn’t actually work like that. For some reason, the trash collected by the boom doesn’t stay there, instead drifting out of the trapped area. The group's engineers aren’t sure exactly why this is happening.


UK Sailmakers J109 Class 'Fluid Structure Interaction' Test Report
In Grand Prix classes throughout the sport of sailing, it is well known that sheeting angles are becoming tighter and tighter - modern TP52s have jib sheeting angles as close as 4 degrees off the centreline. The J109 class in Ireland is a growing and competitive fleet so we felt it necessary to take a fresh look at the sail plan and systems aboard the now nearly fifteen-year-old design with an aim to improving performance.

The J109 have evolved significantly over the past fourteen years. The most visible change has been the shift to a non-overlapping jib setup for optimum IRC performance. This shift in sailplan has a significant effect on the boat’s light air performance due the headsail area reduction.

To compensate for this reduction in power the class uses an inhauling system - this narrows the slot between the mainsail and headsail, in turn increasing the power of the entire sail plan. Up until now the common inhaul point has been the edge of the coach roof - approximately 9° sheeting angle. This is effective in true wind speeds of 15 knots and above - but below this the boat is still relatively starved for power when compared to their genoa flying predecessors - we believe further performance is attainable.

During the winter of 2018 UK Sailmakers Ireland, in conjunction with Pat Considine of UK Sailmakers Chicago, carried out a Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) test cycle to determine the effectiveness of jib inhauling to a sheeting angle of 6° - just inside the halyard turning blocks on a standard J109.

Details in Afloat: afloat.ie/resources/

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 1996 Nautor Swan 48R - ASSUAGE. 238,000 GBP. Located in Lymington, UK

ASSUAGE is an upgraded model of the evergreen Swan 48. Both beautiful to look at and to sail, ASSUAGE has a superb record of accomplishment on both the racing course and is more than proving herself as a bluewater cruising yacht from an Atlantic crossing and a season cruising in the Caribbean.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679 222


Raceboats Only 2018 Swan 115-004 Odin. 15,000,000 EUR. Located in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Delivered in August 2018, Odin is the fourth Swan 115 and one of the most technologically advanced yachts ever conceived.

See listing details at Nautor's Swan Brokerage

Nautor's Swan Brokerage - Lorenzo Bortolotti

Tel. +377 97 97 95 07


Raceboats Only 1937 Sparkman & Stephens 62 Ft Yawl - Manitou. POA EUR. Located in France.

If JFK chose MANITOU for her good looks and speed – who are we to argue ? The current owners have stopped at nothing in maintaining MANITOU to ensure she is probably as strong as she ever was and cosmetically immaculate.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Barney Sandeman

+44 (0)1202 330077
33 High Street
Poole, Dorset
BH15 1AB
United Kingdom

See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. -- G.K. Chesterton

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html

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