In This Issue
A fleet under close surveillance
IRC Congress Zooms into 2021
Robline wants to thank its partners podcast: Ken Read
Enter stage right - Kinetic Catamarans
OSCAR helps prevent costly Vendee Globe collisions
North Sails Vendee Globe video series
MS Amlin Boating Marketplace Survey Winners Announced
Chocolate Under Sail
Rolex Sydney Hobart Two-handed sailing update
Featured Charter: Leopard 3
Featured Brokerage:
• • SWAN 75-001 FD Kairos
• • Vismara V50 DS
• • Soto 48 KUANKUN TOO
The Last Word: H. L. Mencken

Brought to you by Seahorse magazine and EuroSail News 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

A fleet under close surveillance
The Vendee Globe Race Direction, the umbilical cord between the land and each of the Vendee Globe IMOCAs, is keeping a close watch 24 hours a day with the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers) directly concerned by the route des 33 solitaires. An incredible system set up with the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Moroccan, Brazilian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, Chilean and Argentinian rescue coordination centers

The 33 IMOCAs were checked during the first week of their presence in Les Sables d'Olonne in order to check their safety equipment . The skippers (after medical examination and training) and their boat are therefore able to go to sea ... for a long time and in difficult, but sometimes unpredictable conditions.

During the race, the race direction, made up of four people, has a position record every 30 minutes and can thus monitor abnormal trajectories and oddly slow speeds. In addition to being reachable at any time by the skippers, the "DC" has set up a "Rescue" website in which a maximum of ultra-detailed information on the boats and the skippers is indicated.

For the oceanic surveillance zone from South Africa to New Zealand, a specific system has been set up with the recruitment of a safety consultant. Hubert Lemonnier.

The CROSS ETEL involved at the start and in the Bay of Biscay

CROSSs (Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Centers) are part of the MRCC network. There are 5 in France: Gris-Nez, Jobourg, CORSSEN, Etel, Cross Med La Garde. In the very defined area of ​​the Bay of Biscay, the CROSS Etel is in charge of coordination. Therefore, if a problem arises on November 8th initially, we will be there. Internationally, the CROSS Griz-Nez is the French entity of the MRCCs. So if a beacon is triggered in the starting area, the Gris-Nez CROSS will also be warned. Vigilance is essential at the start of the race because the concentration of ships is important ", explains Frederic Garnaud, deputy director of CROSS Etel.

Established in Etel (Morbihan) since 1969, the CROSS is therefore in charge of monitoring the start of the Vendee Globe in addition to its maritime pollution control missions, fisheries and information relating to maritime safety. 150 miles off the tip of Penmarc'h on the Spanish border, it covers 8 coastal departments and the entire Bay of Biscay.

Alex Thomson

Vendee Village Live Webcam

IRC Congress Zooms into 2021
Representatives of the International Rating Certificate (IRC) from around the world met at the beginning of October for the annual IRC Congress to discuss the past IRC season and future developments. This year the planned gathering in London was not possible due to Coronavirus so the meeting was held online with delegates joining the meeting from varied time zones as far apart as the East Coast USA and Japan. One IRC representative joined the meeting from aboard his boat in autumnal Finland.

IRC Congress 2020 was chaired for the second year by Irishman Michael Boyd, supported by Vice Chairman Carl Sabbe of Belgium. Congress was sorry to hear that after 12 years of service Malcolm Runnalls has stepped down as IRC International Owners' Representative and IRC Committee Vice Chairman. Malcolm has been involved in IRC from the point of view of a sailor, measurer and independent representative for many years.

A number of technical developments were proposed by the IRC Technical Committee for 2021 and agreed by Congress. These include the addition of 'flying headsails' to the IRC sail inventory; more equitable treatment of spinnaker and whisker poles; and recognition that it is not currently possible to rate fully foiling boats fairly within the existing IRC fleet, although the Technical Committee will be exploring ways to rate these exciting, fully foiling boats in the future.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and l'Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), joint owners of IRC, work closely together on a day-to-day basis through their respective rating offices with both offices accessing the IRC software on the same server, on research and technical development and on overall governance of the rule. This relationship has been further strengthened over the last year with a new collaborative agreement that will come into effect on 1 January 2021. This will result in integration of the teams based in UK and France, both employees and volunteers in one single structure, although geographical location of individuals will be maintained. We will continue to use online communication tools to manage this international team. This consolidation will enhance IRC's operations, development and research of IRC with the the aim of delivering the best service to sailors and race organisers. RORC and UNCL look forward to the continued success of IRC racing.

Some exciting events are scheduled for 2021 including the IRC European Championship to be held in Hyeres, France in June; and the Rolex Fastnet Race in August which will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin for the first time. The joint IRC/ORC World Championship due to be held in Newport, RI in September 2020 unfortunately fell victim to Coronavirus with overseas entrants unable to travel to join the event. The next World Championship is expected to be held in 2022.

The Congress Minutes, IRC 2021 rule changes and other associated documents are online at

Robline wants to thank its partners
Robline Two years ago at METSTRADE, Teufelberger Fiber Rope decided to relaunch Robline as the common brand for Yachting Ropes and Kite Lines. We did this with our great heritage in mind that roots back to the famous brands Roblon and FSE.

Our aim is to sail and surf on top of the waves with being a modern, sports oriented and customer oriented easy to approach organization.

Especially this year, the world is facing a hard time starting with the bushfires in Australia and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We at Robline want to thank the Robline community for the continued support in those difficult times. We are convinced that together with our partners' support we will bring the brand Robline to the next level and beyond.

With a small goodie bag we wanted to express our thanks from the deepest of our hearts towards our biggest partners for their kind and ongoing cooperation. It shall bring some happiness and joy into our business, sports and in today's difficult times.

Here our small presents already found its way to the staff of our distributor Yuukou Marine in Japan. podcast: Ken Read
Justin Chisholm's guest on the latest episode of The Yacht Racing Podcast is the world-renowned American yachtsman Ken Read.

As well as winning nine world championship titles, taking part in multiple campaigns in the America's Cup and The Ocean Race - Ken has also skippered iconic race boats like the record setting 100-footer Comanche and the stunning J-Class Hanuman.

Aside from all that racing he also has one of the best jobs in sailing - as the President of the global North Sails empire.

And if that were not enough, Read has also done a fantastic job providing expert commentary at the last two editions of the America's Cup.

Who better then to take stock of the current professional yacht racing scene?

The conversation was wide ranging - from the impact of Covid 19 on professional yacht racing and the business of sailing, to the increasing popularity of double-handed sailing, the upcoming start of the Vendee Globe, Read's thoughts on The Ocean Race, Sail GP, the America's Cup, and a few other topics too.

Ken Read

Enter stage right - Kinetic Catamarans
Kinetic Catamarans For some time now they have been monitoring developments in this growing sector but now South African and Dutch designers Simonis Voogd have entered the performance multihull space... in some style

The performance luxury catamaran market has been growing quickly, with many designers and builders entering this sector. The plethora of new ideas being presented are exciting, driven by smart people using cutting-edge design and engineering tools, advanced composites and good old-fashioned boatbuilding insight and skills. The new KC54 from Kinetic Catamarans represents the latest in this genre, squarely hitting well-thought targets of quality, performance, comfort and style.

Concept history
It was in December 2018 that Bob Hayward and Leon Scheepers had recently bought the Harvey Yachts boatyard in Knysna, South Africa and had a 60-foot carbon catamaran designed by Simonis Voogd well into build.

Full article in the November issue of Seahorse

OSCAR helps prevent costly Vendee Globe collisions
Short of space flight, a 40,000km non-stop singlehanded yacht race around the world represents one of the toughest human-mechanical challenges that can be undertaken. Sadly this often comes with a high attrition rate. Over the last eight editions of the Vendee Globe only 53% of the entries have completed the course. The other 47% have been forced to retire with gear failure or personal injury, but often due to a collision that has caused irreparable damage.

Fortunately for this year's Vendee Globe, that sets sail from Les Sables d'Olonne, France on 8 November, the risk of collision will be significantly reduced. Many of the competing IMOCAs have been fitted with a pioneering new electronic safety aid called OSCAR. Using day and thermal cameras combined with artificial intelligence, this provides a second set of 'eyes' for the solo skipper both during the day and, crucially, at night time as well.

OSCAR's aim is to prevent a collision with any of the many potential threats a vessel can encounter at sea, be they other vessels, unidentified floating objects such as logs, buoys or containers, as well as sleeping sea mammals, any of which could put a skipper out of the race...or worse. In practice, OSCAR instantly alerts the skipper of any potential danger and indicates the position of that threat on a dedicated map. The skipper can view and record the images transmitted from OSCAR's cameras.

OSCAR was conceived over five years ago by Raphaël Biancale, a Franco-German automotive engineer and has since been developed by his team at BSB Group, using similar intelligent self-learning systems to those originally created for the car industry. With former IMOCA Director General Gaëtan Gouerou, one of the creators of the CDK shipyard, and a professional yacht racing team project manager of some 30+ years experience, Raphaël Biancale set up BSB Marine in May 2018. Since then top French offshore racing skippers and their teams have been quick to adopt OSCAR and its ground-breaking technology - among them Vendee Globe former winners Vincent Riou, François Gabart and Armel Le Cleac'h, who helped develop the system's specification.

This Vendee Globe will be OSCAR's most severe test to date. -- James Boyd / BSB Marine

North Sails Vendee Globe video series featuring Loick Peyron: Technology and the Modern IMOCA
In Episode 2 of our Vendee Globe 2020 video series, Loick explores the phenomenal high-tech advances of the IMOCA. He takes us beyond visual appearances and dives deep into the construction and materials, most notably carbon, used in the boats.

Today, the IMOCA is lighter, faster, and more reliable. The manufacturing methods of these boats are closer to those of airplanes than to sailboats.

"We use the same terms, the same mathematical formulas and the same prediction and simulation tools as those used in aircraft," Loick explains. "Generally speaking, the speeds of the boats have been multiplied by four in forty years."

Loick Peyron Vendee

MS Amlin Boating Marketplace Survey Winners Announced
Netley Sailing Club and the RYA are crowned winners of the MS Amlin Boating Marketplace Survey's most nominated Club and Association prize. The individual winner, picked from a draw of all survey entrants, is Glynn Snelling from Cambridge.

The Club winners, Netley Sailing Club, who have received £1000 cash have thriving dinghy and catamaran fleets. Based on Southampton water in the Royal Victoria Country Park with around 500 members, Netley provides opportunities for both families and individuals sailing at all levels. Having just completed their new Club House and with an impressive calendar of upcoming events they are going from strength to strength. MS Amlin boat insurance is proud to be able to support the club and hope that the prize money will help improve the offering to members even further.

The RYA needs little introduction being synonymous with all on the water activities and their sheer number of nominations shows how much boaters across the UK appreciate their overarching support for boating.

As the individual prize winner drawn at random, Glynn Snelling receives a £1000 prize, which he has chosen to put towards a new engine for his Viking Cruiser, from Cambridge Outboards. Glynn and his family have enjoyed many years cruising on the River Cam and the new engine will enable them to continue to appreciate the joy of getting away from the City and enjoying tranquility afloat for many years to come.

Chocolate Under Sail
It's 7000 km from the Caribbean island of Grenada to London and somewhat farther if you travel via Den Helder in the Netherlands, Carlingford Lough, the County Down village of Killowen and Bangor in North Wales. And this is how the Chocolate Maker NearyNogs on the edge of the Mourne Mountains forged close ties with Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly in London, one of the oldest and most luxurious department stores on the planet, to help produce a 99% emission-free sailboat chocolate.

It is thus named because to transport the 25kg blocks of chocolate in a sustainable way as possible, the company looked back to its early 18th century roots and combined some old methods with modern green thinking to enable the 99% emission-free chocolate to be carried that 7,000 km. The chocolate's epic journey begins in the Grenada Chocolate Company's solar-powered factor in the West Indies, where the Trinitario cocoa beans are processed using zero emissions.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Two-handed sailing update
This year's Rolex Sydney Hobart, the 76th running of the race, welcomes a new division of boats and sailors to the world-renowned racecourse with the Two-Handed division included for the first time.

After witnessing the worldwide increase in popularity of two-handed sailing, culminating in the inclusion of two-handed sailing in the Paris Olympics, the Club decided that the inclusion would be a great progression for offshore sailing in Australia. In 2019 this new and exciting division joined the Club's sailing calendar with the Two-Handed Pointscore, with many embracing and undertaking the challenge.

In 2019, with the announcement of the Two-Handed Pointscore, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia also announced that a Two-Handed division would be included in the 2020 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore including the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

However, the inclusion of the new division, and the way in which the teams compete, brings a new complexity of sophisticated sailing technology with the use of Autopilot units.

The Club acknowledges further understanding needs to be gained to appreciate the full capacity and range of technology available to two-handed competitors, and how these are accommodated within different handicap rating systems. "With hindsight, because of our enthusiasm in embracing two-handed sailing, we may have acted too quickly allowing two-handed boats to be eligible to compete for one of sailing's most prestigious trophies, the Tattersall Cup," said Commodore Noel Cornish.

As such, the Club has amended the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Notice of Race to reflect that two-handed entrants will be scored within their own handicap category divisions and not be eligible to compete against fully crewed boats in divisions or for the overall race win.

This decision to separate two-handed and fully-crewed divisions will also be reflected across other pointscores including the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.

The inclusion of the Two-Handed division is an important step forward and as such the Club will honour it with a new perpetual trophy for the IRC Two-Handed overall winner.

Featured Charter
Raceboats Only Leopard 3. POA EUR.

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Leopard is one of the most stylish and technologically advanced yachts ever to be launched and is aimed at a multi-faceted role including thrilling corporate sailing days, exclusive private yacht charters and top-level racing on the International race circuit.

Whether competing for line honours in some of the world's greatest yacht races or offering exhilarating charter days for our discerning corporate clients, Leopard provides an unforgettable voyage for all who sail on her.

Available for:
RORC Transatlantic Race 2021
RORC Caribbean 600
ARC Trans Atlantic
RORC Caribbean 600
Heineken Regatta
Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua Superyacht Challenge
St Barths Bucket
La voile st Barths

See listing details in Seahorse Charters

Samuel Wright

See the the Seahorse charter collection

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2004 SWAN 75-001 FD Kairos. 2.350.000 EUR. Located in Marina di Scarlino

The Swan 75 Flush-Deck is a practical and seaworthy long range cruiser with a hi-volume four-cabin interior and spacious deck layout.

See listing details in Nautor's Swan Brokerage

Nautor's Swan Brokerage
Mediterranean Yacht Management
T +377 97 97 95 07
A Le Beau Rivage, 9 Av. D’Ostende, 98000 Monaco


Raceboats Only Vismara Marine V50. 385000 EUR.

Truly innovative Italian-built custom performance cruiser with unparalleled speed. Composite construction, carbon fibre mast and a fantastic three-stateroom two heads.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

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

See the collection at


Raceboats Only Soto 48 KUANKUN TOO

After building a first custom Soto 48 carbon boat cruiser-racer KUANKUN, the owner decided to build a new full racer custom Soto 48 KUAN KUN TOO. Perfectly maintained by a professional crew from launching, with a complete set of sails, she is ready to go racing and optimized for ORC.

KUANKUN TOO is a full racer boat built in carbon and Nomex, Pre-peg. Designed by Javier Soto-Acebak and built by Mboat (Argentina) with objective to race ORC. Won several years the Peruvian championship and participate to several international races. Mast Southern Spars with carbon Future Fibers rig, B&G H3000 electronic and large set of NS sails.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Please email for full details

See the collection at

Back On Thursday
Your humble narrator has been a lifelong political junkie and will be joining family members for an extended Zoom / Drinking / U.S. Election Returns party on Tuesday night. Fat chance of any coherent issue assembled for Wednesday coming out of that brew. I'll be back on for the Thursday issue.

The Last Word
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. -- H. L. Mencken

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

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