In This Issue
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
First indigenous owner/skipper to race in 75th year of Rolex Sydney Hobart
Roll Up for Antigua Sailing Week
44th Christmas Race
600 mile offshore odyssey - Aegean 600
Laurent Esquier: "The Cup Is Always A Question Of Characters Behind"
FaceOcean again vandalized at the port of Toulon
Sailing Champions League
Industry News
Letters to the Editor
Featured Brokerage:
• • Swan 60-010 Mandrake
• • Tore Holm 53 Ft Bermudan Cutter
• • Italia Yachts 15.98
Back on Friday
The Last Word: Ronald Reagan

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
The Sydney To Hobart is one of the landmark events in the Australian sporting calendar with fans lining Sydney Harbour and the surrounding vantage points to get a glimpse of the yachts as they make the treacherous trip down to Hobart.

The event celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2019 with the biggest and most expensive fleet since the 50th race back in1994.

More than 1000 sailors from Australian and overseas aboard the 157-strong fleet are preparing to tackle one of the toughest races in the world, with preparations for the big event not helped by the rampant smoke as a result of the damaging fires across Australia.

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race will again start in accordance with tradition with the firing of a starting cannon, with boats set to start the journey at 1.00 pm on Boxing Day, 26 December.

The current course record is held by LDV Comanche, who set the mark in 2017 with a blistering time of one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

The gear-busting, boat breaking reputation of the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race could be far from reality when the 628-nautical mile classic starts on Boxing Day, according to Mark Richards, the skipper of the 30-metre long supermaxi, Wild Oats XI.

The three most reliable weather forecasts for the race all agree there will be a southerly change exiting Bass Strait and moving up the NSW south coast as the fleet heads towards Hobart. But, how strong it will be and from what precise direction remains unknown.

"At this stage it appears the race will be more like a game of chess than a hard slog south," Richards said today. "It will be a very tricky, tactical challenge in relatively light winds for much of the way. The hardest part will be to select the best course for your transition through the approaching system.

"Today's forecast indicates we will start in a light to moderate north-easterly, and then have a change out of the south during the first night. If you position your yacht in the right spot for that change, and your opposition doesn't get it right, then you might gain 50 or 60 miles over them. That's the big challenge."

On current projections it will also be a slow race. If the existing forecast prevails then the first yacht into Hobart is likely to be some 12 hours outside the race record time of one day, nine hours set by Jim Cooney's supermaxi, Comanche, two years ago.

A light weather race is expected to suit Wild Oats XI's new configuration. During the past 12 months the yacht's owners, the Oatley family, and Richards, have worked with the American-based yacht design company, Reichel/Pugh, to upgrade the yacht. The most significant modification was the removal of two retractable daggerboards forward of the mast, and the addition of a small retractable rudder in the same location. That change and the reduction in the number of crew from 21 to 18 have decreased the yacht's racing weight by 1200kgs.

The start will be televised by Channel 7. -- Rob Mundle

First indigenous owner/skipper to race in 75th year of Rolex Sydney Hobart
At the 1pm start of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's (CYCA) 75th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day, history will be made when Rebecca Connor and her boat, Wonderland, take part in the race for the first time.

Connor, from Stockton on the NSW Central Coast, has been sailing for only two years, and is set to become the first indigenous owner/skipper to race in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

"I sailed a little many years ago. A friend, Joe de Kock, came out from South Africa for the Sydney Olympics – he really introduced me to sailing. But I have six boys who keep me quite busy, so I didn't keep it up," Connor said.

A holiday in Greece reignited her interest. "I jumped on a 50-foot yacht with eight people I didn't know and went off for a week - and loved it. I said to my husband 'let's buy a boat'.

"My husband is a mad-keen fisherman, so he wasn't thinking 'yacht', he was thinking 'motor boat'. Nevertheless, he supported my dream, and we found Wonderland (a Beneteau Oceanis 473) in Yeppoon, Queensland.

"The boat was already called Wonderland. In our culture, Wonderland is related to The Dreamtime, which fits nicely.

And while Connor may be new to the race, she says, "Half the crew have done the race before; Kyle Hancock (her second in charge), Paul Flanagan and Oonagh O'Donovan all sailed on Freyja in 2017. Meika Wright has also done it before. I am the skipper and my primary aim is to finish with the crew and boat intact.

"My boys are all proud of me. My older boys think I'm a bit mad, but not surprised by it. I hope they are inspired by what I'm doing – that they learn when you put your mind to something, you do it. Through the race, I hope to inspire more people to get involved in the sport," Connor ended. -- Di Pearson, RSHYR media

Roll Up for Antigua Sailing Week
The 53rd edition of Antigua Sailing Week is just over four months away with the early entry fee (up to 30% discount) expiring on January 3rd, 2020. Entries are approaching 50 boats for the Caribbean's most famous sailing regatta, and the event looks set to be a cracker not to be missed. The Class of 2020 is already shaping up to be a heady mix of sailors and boats of all shapes and sizes from North America, Europe, and the Caribbean.

The largest entry to date is Peter Harrison's British Farr 115 Sojana, which will be defending the Lord Nelson Trophy won for a second time last year. The smallest yacht currently entered in the CSA Division is the Beneteau First Class 10 Pepsi Max, entered by Sophie Langlois Squarcioni from Guadeloupe. A bevvy of round the world race boats is expected to be competing, the first entry of that ilk is Volvo 70 Green Dragon, sailed by Steve Travis from CYC Seattle. The first multihull entry is Stephen Cucchiaro's American Gunboat 60 Flow.

Carbon fibre flyers have been a regular sight and Antigua Sailing Week, and new to the regatta will be Christian Zugel's American FAST40+ Tschuss. Jules Mitchell's NSA Spirit has won class for the last two years and to score a hatrick will need to take victory against Joshua Daniels National Sailing Academy team and Ashley Rhodes' Whiplash in a newly created Sportsboat Class. Proven winners in the CSA Classes abound in the early entries including; Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, Bernie Evan Wong's Antiguan RP37 Taz, Pamala Baldwin's Antiguan J/122 Liquid, and Chris Body's British J/122 El Ocaso, which will be sailed by Tony Mack's Team McFly.

Early entries in the Dream Yacht Charter Bareboat Division include over a dozen entries from German and Swiss teams organised by KH&P Yachtcharter including at least three former class winners; Gerd Eiermann, Alexander Pfeiffer, and Thomas Sparrer. Also competing in the Bareboat Division will be the the winners of The Road to 2020, the invitational challenge winners are Phil Walters - August Sky (USA), Stevie Beckett – Cobra (GBR) and Max Rieger – Mothership (GER).

To register for the discounted rate of US $11 per foot ending on January 3rd 2020 visit

44th Christmas Race
Palamos, Spain: Austrian team David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr are the absolute winners of the 44th Palamos Christmas Race. Spanish sailor Fátima Reyes has claimed victory in the Laser radial women and the Guido Depoorter special Trophy, tribute to the first president of Club Vela Palamos who passed away a few months ago, awarded to the team having participated in more editions in the Christmas Race is for Belorussian sailor Tatiana Drozdovskaya, who has participated 18 years in the regatta.

Top three by class:

420 Open
1. Tommaso Cilli / Bruno Mantero, ITA, 7 points
2. Alberto Morales Hernandez / Miguel Bethencourt Fuentes, ESP, 13
3. Demetrio Sposato / Gabriele Centrone, ITA, 13

470 Men
1. David Bargehr / Lukas Mahr, AUT, 6
2. Jess Lavery / Alex Hughes, GBR, 24
3. Nikolaus Kampelmuhler / Thomas Czajka, AUT, 26

1. Eliot Merceron, SUI, 7
2. Giovanni Coccoluto, ITA, 19
3. Marco Gallo, ITA, 21

Laser Radial Men
1. Theodor Middelthon, NOR, 16
2. James Foster, GBR, 18
3. Francesc Martinez Gorbig, ESP, 24

Laser Radial Women
1. Fatima Reyes, ESP, 13
2. Tatiana Drozdovskaya, BLR, 14
3. Carolina Joao, POR, 21

Full results

600 mile offshore Odyssey - Aegean 600
One of next season's most enticing IRC/ORC events has to be this brand new, non-stop grand tour of the Aegean Sea...

Ocean racing has a small number of famous 600-mile races: the Sydney- Hobart, the Fastnet, the Newport- Bermuda, the Caribbean 600 and the Middle Sea Race. Now there is a new member in this exclusive group of special races, presented by the Hellenic Offshore Race Club (HORC), to be sailed from 14 to 20 June 2020: the Aegean 600.

This new offshore racing event presents a significant sailing challenge as well as a unique opportunity to sail non-stop in one of the most windy, versatile and beautiful sailing venues of the world. This will be a demanding route where boats will sail 200nm downwind, 200 upwind zig-zaging through the Dodecanese and a last, rewarding reaching leg to the finish line off Cape Sounion. Technical highlights of the race include among others sailing through the Santorini Caldera, 70nm in the Sea of Karpathos and Rhodes, passing through Kos strait as well as the five nautical mile Delos-Mykonos channel, where tough upwind work is expected.

Full article in the January issue of Seahorse

Laurent Esquier: "The Cup Is Always A Question Of Characters Behind"
Although he is little known in France, Laurent Esquier is a well known figure in the rarefied world of the America's Cup. He has been involved in Cup World almost continuously since his first participation as a sailor in 1974 alongside Baron Bich. Now Esquier is at the helm of COR36 and as such responsible for organising the America's Cup World Series, for which the 2020 calendar was presented this week - Cagliari in April, Portsmouth in June, Auckland in December - and the Challenger Selection Series (The Prada Cup). These are among the topics he discusses with Tip & Shaft.

How did you find yourself as CEO of COR36 now and what is your role?
Simply because Prada's boss, Patrizio Bertelli, whom I had worked for already at Luna Rossa for seven years, made the phone call to me. At that moment I had just finished a project to build a skyscraper in the state of New York and so his proposal was well timed. I joined the team at the end of September 2017. As for my missions, the challenger of record has two operational divisions: one, the race team, Luna Rossa, I am not involved with them at all, and the other, COR36, the organisation responsible for selecting the best challenger to face the defender in the Match of the America's Cup. That means organizing the America's Cup World Series, and also the Prada Cup between the challengers. In essence that's the part I'm looking after.

There are only four challengers and still doubts about Stars Stripes. Is that not quite disappointing?
Is it surprising to have only three challengers at the moment? Not really. The America's Cup is, after all, a little bit of a special event. If we wanted to make it something more regular and structured with continuity over time, we would have to change the Deed of Gift [the "Constitution" of the Cup, Ed.], which would require everyone to agree, which is not easy, if not impossible. That is what makes the appearance of each Cup different. If the event were purely commercial, as the previous title holders wanted it to be, it would become SailGP. Would I have liked to have six challengers? Of course. But given the starting situation, it was quickly realized that this would not be possible, especially because of the technological aspects, the fact that there are only three challengers is partly due to the complexity of the boat.

Have you heard from Stars & Stripes? Can they be in Cagliari in April?
We have no more news than you. The last time we heard from Stars & Stripes, it was at a meeting with them in July in Newport, since absolutely nothing. Will they be in Cagliari with a boat? No. We have no news that they have started building... I can't tell you what will happen next. That is a question to ask the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron who accepted the challenge of Stars Stripes. But there is the problem of his eligibility: are they able to line up with a boat and pay what they owe at the time of the first regatta of the selection of challengers?

Full interview in Tip & Shaft

FaceOcean again vandalized at the port of Toulon
Sebastien Destremau made a routine visit to faceOcean today, December 23 in the afternoon.

The Toulon skipper immediately noticed that something was wrong. After a quick examination, he noted that the sailboat on which he finished the last Vendee Globe was again vandalized.

"Six months after the first incident, this time the damage is very serious. The damaged equipment costs several tens of thousands of euros" notes the bitter skipper.

All cables for satellite antennas, hydro generators and ultra-sophisticated positioning systems with which the ship is equipped have all been cut.

"They went on board and cut everything. What is the point of cutting such cables? These acts of free vandalism are driving me crazy. It is frankly lamentable."

The skipper immediately contacted the central police station.

Sailing Champions League
Royal Brighton Yacht Club first to sign-up for SAILING Champions League - Asia Pacific qualifier

Two Royal Brighton Yacht Club youth teams are the first to register for the SAILING Champions League - Asia Pacific Southern Qualifier to be staged on the Sunday and Monday of the Australia Day long weekend out of Royal Geelong Yacht Club in Victoria.

The first event of the 2020 SAILING Champions League southern chapter, January 26-27, will coincide with the longstanding MacGlide Festival of Sails regatta RGYC has hosted for 177 years, adding a new teams racing option to the plethora of classes and divisions the annual regatta already offers.

Both RBYC teams will be spearheaded by Victorian skiff sailors who wrapped up their Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship in Auckland recently, Laura Harding in the 49erFX skiff class and James Grogan in the 49ers.

The official boat for season two of the SCL Asia Pacific circuit is the RS21 keelboat, and a brand-new fleet of six RS21s recently arrived into Melbourne for owner/charterer New Tack Sailing. When the fleet isn't being used for an SCL event or chartered for other regattas along the eastern seaboard, it will be based at RBYC.

The Southern Qualifier is open to club-based entries from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and West Australia. The Notice of Race and entry are available here. Entry includes umpired short-course round robin-racing on the supplied RS21 fleet, daily breakfast and afternoon BBQ, a great chance for sailors of all levels to mingle among the Festival of Sails offerings - live afternoon and evening bands, food trucks and stalls.

Both the Southern and Northern Qualifier, March 14-15 out of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, are open to mixed age, women's and youth teams; with the mixed age and youth teams requiring at least one female, a quota that led to outstanding female representation at the inaugural Southern Hemisphere league Final run by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in April.

With the announcement earlier this month of the expansion and first-ever SAILING Champions League – Asia Pacific series, Vuda Marina Yacht Club in Fiji acted quickly, taking up league membership paving the way for their team to travel to Sydney in April 2020 for the SCL - Asia Pacific Final on Sydney Harbour.

Up to six Pacific and New Zealand clubs plus up to six Asian sailing clubs will be invited to field entries for the culmination of the 2020 southern hemisphere league season, April 3-5.

Industry News
The Pathway to Carbon Neutral Logistics

At GAC Pindar, our work takes us to many different locations across the globe; our team is on the ground at major sailing events whilst freight movements for those global events are managed from our control tower in the UK. Unlike our resilient Arctic Tern of GAC Pindar logo fame – we must give her a name some time – global travel and freight movements are having a massive negative effect on our planet and this bothers us a great deal. It has been reported that in 2016, 28.5% of US greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation alone.

The big players in freight forwarding appear to have the answers and can make some impressive carbon neutral claims, or will be able to by 2030. This, together with the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) Low Sulphur Regulation, effective from 1 January 2020, is all fantastic news for Planet Earth.

GAC Pindar works with GAC companies and trusted agents across the globe which share our commitment to the level of service we provide our customers. Often, our specialist services draw on the skills and like-minded business approach found within small independent logistics companies and we have charged ourselves with the task of taking us all on a journey to provide CO2 neutral freight forwarding solutions for our customers whilst still operating at a sustainable business level - that's the key.

Read on here.


A variety of matters affecting the Discovery Yachts Group have now been progressed. Primarily action has been taken to secure the future of the overall business and to place it in a strong position to facilitate further investment and growth. Our shipyard is a specialist operation building world class luxury blue water yachts. Following a restructuring of the business the group has now been refinanced enabling it to continue and participate in that unique yacht building tradition with confidence.

Sean Langdon will now concentrate his efforts on developing other projects and consultancy work. John Burnie, previously Group Sales Director, has been appointed Managing Director of the new group with immediate effect. Normal day to day operations in the business, particularly at the shipyard, are otherwise completely unaffected - the restructured company will continue to fulfil all customer orders in the usual manner.

The new group is focused and now looking to the future - notably towards BOOT/2020 the Düsseldorf Boat Show in January where a new yacht will be exhibited.


Composite Builders is shooting for the moon.

The Holland-based fabricator of advanced composite and carbon fiber structures for the mobility sector just signed a deal to become a supplier for Austin, Texas-based Firefly Aerospace Inc., an in-space vehicle company founded in 2017.

While further details of the partnership are confidential, Composite Builders will manufacture launch system parts for Firefly as it develops "a family of launch vehicles and in-space services" with affordability and convenience in mind.

Brian MacInnes, founder and CEO of Composite Builders, said the fabrication of composite parts for aerospace vehicles requires a high level of quality control, which meant Firefly performed rigorous inspections and testing of Composite's operations and carbon fiber products before greenlighting the company as a supplier.

MacInnes, a Nova Scotia native, has a 30-plus year background in high-performance watercraft racing. He competed in six America's Cup events, two Volvo Ocean races and numerous world championships and world record attempts.

Recognizing that lighter means faster and more fuel efficient, MacInnes started building pre-impregnated structures, molds and boats back in the late 1980s and was involved in the design and construction of yachts on which he raced. His efforts led him to two America's Cup victories during a 13-year career with Oracle Racing.


Just 18 months after taking the helm of a flailing sailing-yacht company, its new owner has not only met every benchmark toward getting it back in the black; he's launched the first of a whole new line of boats in the brand's portfolio. The new 565 range, plus increased annual production and two new classes of yacht, should help to fully right the ship, says rescuer-in-chief Richard Hadida. In the past, Oyster Yachts built a mere 15 boats a year, and Hadida, who made his fortune in casino gaming software, is betting on bringing that number up to about 25. "The business will be very healthy if that happens," he says.

Though his three-year turnaround plan is on track, the details got more complicated than anticipated. For example, Oyster used to buy hulls from another company that also went under, so he bought that business as well. Bringing the hull construction in-house required a big investment of capital, but it also means the company will have the capacity to increase production. His plan to steer the company out of the red involves a two-pronged approach: Build the boats more efficiently, and eliminate discounts on boat sales. "We have to protect the margin," Hadida says. "It's the most fundamental thing."


Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and INEOS, in collaboration with Team INEOS cycling and INEOS TEAM UK sailing today announced a new partnership to help drive performance levels even higher on the track, road and sea.

The partnership will see the teams work together to develop and implement innovations in areas such as engineering, human science, simulation and data analysis.

INEOS TEAM UK are looking to win sports oldest international sporting trophy, the America's Cup. All three teams will work together through Mercedes-Benz Applied Science (MBAS), which was established to blend the pioneering spirit of racing with the best insights from science and technology.

The division leverages the human and technological capability that has underpinned an unprecedented series of six double world championships under the leadership of Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of Mercedes AMG Petronas and MBAS, explains: "The technological demands of Formula 1 mean we are well-placed to support with advanced technical challenges in specific areas of sailing and cycling, with a particular focus on aerodynamics and the manufacturing capability around key components.

"When Sir Jim Ratcliffe approached us with the concept of bringing together the three organisations, all with proven track records of excellence and high ambitions for the future, we immediately saw the opportunity to grow and diversify our business – and to learn from some of the most successful teams in world sport. We are very excited about this agreement's potential in the months and years ahead."

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.

* From Campbell Field:

The PR department of The Ocean Race should check their history books and properly honour Sir Peter Blake and the Steinlager II(b) crew by accurately referring to the trophy as the Whitbread Trophy and the race as the Whitbread Round The World Race.

Back on Friday Your humble narrator is taking some eggnog and figgy pudding time with friends and family. I'll be back for the Friday issue, out late night on Thursday.

My best wishes to one and all, and my thanks for your support of this broadsheet, now entering its 20th year (with my 70th not too far over the horizon). -- David McCreary

Featured Brokerage
1996 Swan 60-010 Mandrake. 900,000 EUR

The Swan 60 “Mandrake was delivered to the one owner so far in the shipyard in Pietaarsari in summer 1996, where they started its sailing adventure. This Swan has been taken care of, maintained upgraded, and sailed by the same Boat Captain for over twenty years now.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Giorgio Passarella
Nautor's Swan Brokerage
Tel. +377 97 97 95 07


1937 Tore Holm 53 ft Bermudan Cutter. 650,000 EUR. Located in France

HAVSORNEN is a very fine example of Scandinavian design and boat building from Tore Holm at the peak of his powers with the build supervised by him in his family yard. Well maintained by her present owner, including a major winter refit 2016-2017, she has excelled on the Mediterranean regatta circuit and has also proven herself a very capable cruising yacht. Her seaworthy hull provides good headroom below, and the interior finish is a delight.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Barney Sandeman

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


2014 Italia Yachts 15.98. 580000 EUR. Located in Chioggia, Italy.

Unique available brokerage example of the award-winning Italia 15.98, the only built with 4-cabin, 2-heads layout, complete with B&G instrument pack, full optioned, lightly used, ready to sail.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Michele Antonini - Grabau International (Italia)
Tel: +39 333 74 89 281

See the collection at

Back on Friday
Your humble narrator is taking some eggnog and figgy pudding time with friends and family. I'll be back for the Friday issue, out late night on Thursday.

My best wishes to one and all, and my thanks for your support of this broadsheet, now nearing its 20th year. -- David McCreary

The Last Word
There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit. -- Ronald Reagan

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