In This Issue
IMOCA Technology Advances Will Help Lower the Vendee Globe Record
Shirley Robertson podcast: The Vendee Globe
The Vendee Globe: Harken’s Been Waiting Four Years!
Community resilience - 11th Hour Racing
Wight Vodka Best Sailors Bar
Vendee Globe: Pre-race analysis from IMOCA 60 expert Ryan Breymaier
Nathan Outteridge Becomes Interim President of the Nacra 17 Class
North Sails Vendee Globe video series featuring Loïck Peyron: The Spirit of Adventure
Ports of Auckland clears the way for America's Cup spectacle to return to inner city race courses
18 Skiffs: Tech2 Sets The Pace
Letters to the Editor
Featured Charter: VOR65
Featured Brokerage:
• • Gunboat 57 - VAI VAI
• • Wally 77 - 'Genie'
• • Outremer 5X
The Last Word: Jon Stewart

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

IMOCA Technology Advances Will Help Lower the Vendee Globe Record
The latest generation IMOCAs will surely deliver a new Vendee Globe record time. The British skipper of Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson suggested on Tuesday in Les Sables d'Olonne that a new mark could be "Between 59 and 70 days depending on the weather". Armel Le Cleac'h, the winner of the 2016-17 edition took 74 days to complete his winning lap of the planet. Since the last Vendee Globe speeds on all points of sail have increased thanks to major innovations in three main areas: foils, data, and skippers' safety.

Foils are developed now to a fourth generation lifting the hulls to "fly" in as little as 12 knots of wind. And since the last edition, the IMOCA Class has also allowed the foil to now rotate up to five degrees: in the horizontal plane "This is a major change to go faster upwind which was not the case before." Emphasizes Antoine Mermod, president of the IMOCA Class.

Fiber optic sensors have been installed on all elements that are under stress to transmit vital information to the skipper's data centre. On board HUGO BOSS, 350 sensors are distributed throughout the boat, from the rudders to the hull, including the rigging and foils. Knowing that alarms are triggered if the thresholds are reached, especially where rig loads are concerned. The one design rigs on all the modern foiling IMOCAs are considered to the weak link, by design, which limit the righting moment power which can be utilised. Thus the ability

Might the image of the weather-beaten, salt encrusted race finisher be a thing of the past? The fast foiling skipper will now come ashore having spent most of their time fully protected, spending much more time 'indoors' than on deck. "Alex Thomson has gone to the extreme of the concept by having this living and working area inside. He watches the sails and the sea on screens thanks to a battery of on-board cameras. There is no real feeling of wind and spray anymore. It's quite disturbing though! » Considers Yann Eliès, winner of the last Transat Jacques Vabre with Charlie Dalin on APIVIA and who was fifth in the Vendee Globe in 2016.

Shirley Robertson podcast: The Vendee Globe
As the Vendee Globe start day approaches, Shirley Robertson looks at the toughest challenge in sailing.

The world renowned Vendee Globe, the non-stop solo lap of the planet, is the topic of this month's podcast, as Shirley Robertson talks to five soon to depart skippers and one IMOCA designer in this two part Vendee Globe extravaganza.

The podcast kicks off with Vendee Globe veteran Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), about to cross the start line of the legendary race for an unprecedented fifth time. His new 60ft IMOCA was one of the last to be launched and sits at the forefront of offshore evolution, utilising a state of the art set of foils and progressive hull design.

This year's edition sees thirty three entrants attempting the solo non stop charge around the globe, with a fleet that for the first time sees foiling mono hulls outnumber the non-foilers. Nineteen of the fleet boast foils, the design of which vary significantly. The favourites are very much the newest designs, the eight second generation foilers built and designed after the finish of the last Vendee, which saw the first foiling monohulls taking part in this race. As with the rest of the sport, the evolution in offshore foiling has been fast, and the results are stunning. World renowned naval architect Juan Kouyoumdjian has two brand new boats in this edition, and in his interview here provides a revealing insight into the design processes that go into a new generation IMOCA...

Robertson also talks to three Vendee Globe rookies across the two podcast editions, talking to rising French star Clarisse Cremer (Banque Populaire X) about her campaign sailing for the team that won the last edition of the race with Armel Le Cleac'h. Robertson talks to the impressive Charlie Dalin (Apivia), about taking on the race for the first time, and how his skills as a naval architect helped finesse his new generation foiling machine. And Robertson talks to the first ever German entrant into the race, the very experienced Boris Herrmann, (SeaExplorer Yacht Club de Monaco)

This edition of the podcast is in two parts and is available to listen to via the podcast page of Shirley's own website, at or via most popular podcast outlets, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt - for further enquires, please contact

The Vendée Globe: Harken’s Been Waiting Four Years!
The Covid-19 protocols will soon be left on shore. It’s time to find out who has the speed to separate from the fleet. Who has the reliable sail and foil adjustment systems to quickly re-mode for changing conditions? Who can stay in the groove reliably for hours at a time? For determination and bravery, nothing in sailing can compare to the Vendée Globe.

We dive deep into this race in the November issue of At the Front Harken’s digital digest. These interviews are just some of the Vendee Globe content you’ll find.

- Kevin Escoffier, Skipper of PRB on the violence of solo life aboard a foiling IMOCA 60.
- Jonathan McKee, The USA’s foremost solo ocean sailor, on the experience of leaving France to race across oceans—alone.
- Hubert Lemonnier, Vendee Globe Race Manager/Duty Officer, on staying in touch with each of the Skippers, every day.
- Jean Martins, Grand Prix & Tech Service Manager -- Harken France, on the equipment upgrades required by the radically-increased righting moment from the new generation foils.

Check out Harken’s November At The Front. We promise Just ONE email a month. Subscribe here if you like. It’s free!

Community resilience - 11th Hour Racing
By focussing on a single region that has existing strong awareness of ocean health, groups in Newport RI are working towards a scaleable solution-oriented model with potential to be exported worldwide

We all know that the health of our oceans is deteriorating and most of us want to do something about it before it's too late. But where to start? The scale and complexity of the problem are daunting. Rising sea levels, soaring sea temperatures, acidifying seas, toxic runoff, and plastic pollution are just a few of the symptoms - and that's before you begin to consider the fundamentally interconnected nature of land and water, soil and sea. But there's hope. In the coastal city of Newport, Rhode Island, where 11th Hour Racing has fostered a coordinated shift towards a sustainable future in partnership with a wide-ranging, forward-thinking group of local organisations, an answer is starting to emerge.

This solution-oriented approach to building a community that cares about the ocean needs to be socially and economically sustainable, while also robustly scalable.

Full article in the November issue of Seahorse

Wight Vodka Best Sailors Bar
Now in our 12th year of competition, thanks to support from Wight Vodka and Seahorse magazine, the nominations for Best Sailor's Bar are now open.

We will accept nominations for any bar, including our esteemeed past winners, until Friday December 18. We will then select the top ten based on:

1. Best story about the bar.
2. Number of reader comments about the bar.
3. Drink recipes from the bar.

Voting for the Best Sailor's Bar begins on Monday December 21 with our announcement of the Top Ten.

Voting (with more stories and recipes accepted from the Top Ten) continues through Sunday January 10 with the winner annouced on Tuesday January 12.

As this has been a hard year on bars and clubs... the contest is open to both currently functioning and closed establishments (including those from the recent and not-so-recent past).

Send us your submissions!

Vendee Globe: Pre-race analysis from IMOCA 60 expert Ryan Breymaier
More than half of the 33-boat fleet is made up of foiling IMOCA 60s this time around.

In addition to the tranche of 10 pre-existing foilers or older boats retro-fitted with foils there are a further eight new-build boats that represent the latest thinking in high-performance single-handed ocean racing.

One of the factors that makes this latest edition of the Vendee Globe so compelling is the dazzling spectrum of boat and foil designs represented amongst these 18 foilers. To try to make sense of it all we sat down with American ocean racer and IMOCA 60 expert Ryan Breymaier.

Breymaier has been working closely with German skipper Boris Herrmann to optimise his IMOCA 60 Sea Explorer for the upcoming edition. The boat - the former Edmond de Rothschild which was built for Sebastian Josse to compete in the 2016-17 Vendee Globe - has been significantly developed while under Herrmann's control.

Asked which boat Breymaier would choose to take on this edition of the Vendee Globe he slightly hedged his bets.

"Oh, man, what a question! Well, if it was all about winning then I would probably say either Charal or L'Occitane [Armel Tripon's new-built radical scowish-bowed Samuel Manuard design].

"They've just done a huge amount of reinforcement to L'Occitane because it was breaking, because it was so light. But that boat has the potential to be extremely, extremely quick. There's been a lot of discussion recently about who's going to do what for the next four years, and there's an awful lot of interest in that boat.

"For me though, the idea of the Vendee Globe is to finish - so I would probably pick the boat that I've been working on for the last good while, because I know it and I know it's not likely to break."

Justin Chisholm's interview with Breymaier in

Nathan Outteridge Becomes Interim President of the Nacra 17 Class
Gold medalist Nathan Outteridge of Australia, has been appointed by the executive of the Nacra 17 Class to become the interim president of the International Nacra 17 Class Association. Outteridge moves into the Presidential role within the class taking over from Marcus Spillane (IRL). Spillane was recently elected as Vice President of World Sailing, and to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest has resigned as president of the Nacra 17 Class effective November 1, 2020.

Nathan is one of the most celebrated sailors of all time, as a multiple youth World Champion, 49er Class Gold and Silver medalist, Moth Class World champion, America's Cup helmsman, and current helmsman of SailGP Team Japan. Nathan also campaigned for the Tokyo Olympics in the Nacra 17, twice finishing second at the World Championships but was not selected to the Tokyo Olympic team by Australia.

The Nacra 17 remains a relatively new class and Tokyo will be just it's second Olympic cycle. The primary focus of class activities has been to improve safety through better maintenance practices, preparation at regattas and testing of design features with safety at their core. Nathan is committed to following through on these programs to ensure the fastest boat in the games is one that sailors can trust as the speeds from foiling become more mainstream in our sport.

Nathan has served as a VP of the 49er Class and more recently as a VP in the Nacra 17 class and has an intimate knowledge of how classes at the Olympic level need to be run. It is expected that the Class manager, Ben Remocker, will continue in his role to provide ongoing stability.

The Nacra 17 class and sailors thank Marcus for his time as President and wish him continued success in his new leadership role with World Sailing.

North Sails Vendee Globe video series featuring Loïck Peyron: The Spirit of Adventure
In this episode Loïck uncovers why competing in the Vendee Globe is so addictive - even for veterans like Jean Le Cam.

In search of a challenge, a record, or an adrenaline rush, the sailors participating in the Vendee Globe are constantly testing their boundaries and pushing their equipment in an attempt to rack up a few miles, hours, days. From them, the open ocean beckons with the taste of adventure and a fascination for the unknown.

"What's interesting is what you don't know," says 61-year old Jean Le Cam, who is taking part in the Vendee Globe for the fifth time. "You are constantly questioning yourself to avoid getting bored."

Ports of Auckland clears the way for America's Cup spectacle to return to inner city race courses
Auckland, New Zealand: Ports of Auckland has today announced that it will facilitate the use of the inner harbour races courses (B and C) for all racing for the 36th America's Cup event.

Grant Dalton said he was grateful for Ports of Auckland's understanding of what was at stake for the people of New Zealand, the worldwide TV audience and the spectators being able to watch the racing from land.

"Tony and his team have stepped up to help Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and America's Cup Event Ltd (ACE) deliver on the promise we made years ago, to make this America's Cup the most accessible and inclusive event ever."

Last week ETNZ filed a request for Mediation with the America's Cup Arbitration Panel which has now been rejected due to at least one of the Challengers not agreeing to mediation.

In parallel to this request, ETNZ and ACE talked to Ports of Auckland about a secondary solution because of the critical importance of making sure that racing could happen on the inner harbour courses as envisaged.

In solving this problem, Ports of Auckland have agreed to accommodate a further 10 official race days and six reserve days during the Prada Cup Round-Robin and Semi-Final, ensuring all courses are available to all teams.

The shipping channel will need to be closed between 13:00 and 19:00 on days when courses B and C are used for racing. This is to allow race and spectator boats time to get to the courses, for racing to be completed and to clear the course so ships can come in and out safely.

The decision on what racecourse is used each day is the responsibility of the Regatta Director.

18 Skiffs: Tech2 Sets The Pace
Click on image for photo gallery.

With Races 4 and 5 of the Australian 18 Footers League’s Spring Championship due to be sailed on Sydney Harbour next Sunday, the Australian 18ft Skiff champion tech2 team could wrap up the series if it can maintain the outstanding form shown in the four races sailed so far.

Skipper Jack Macartney, bowman Lewis Brake and Charlie Wyatt on the sheet, have been consistently impressive with one win, two second placings and one fourth place, but the win last Sunday was one to remember.

As 25-30 knot south-west winds battered Sydney Harbour, the tech2 team gave a brilliant exhibition of power sailing to cross the finish line 12m25s ahead of the nearest rival Yandoo team of John Winning, Mike Kennedy and Jasper Warren.

The team completed the course without one capsize, while every other competing team was unable to keep their skiffs afloat at all times in the dreadful conditions.

Incredibly, tech2’s crew made the conditions look far less difficult than they were and never looked likely to capsize at any stage of the race.

Early weather predictions for next Sunday are south-east winds at 14 knots, which should provide the 18-boat fleet with some great, close racing conditions, and give some of the exciting new teams a better opportunity to show their skills. -- Frank Quealey Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.

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The Last Word
If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values: they're hobbies. -- Jon Stewart

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