Brought to you by Boats.com Europe, 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
ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year
Four-time Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie commented, "Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honour, especially for everyone who has helped me. There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is a huge honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award."
It is the fourth time that Ainslie has been named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, following titles gained in 1998, 2002 and 2008. Ainslie is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. The 35-year old's achievement at London 2012 elevated him to five Olympic medals (four gold, one silver), surpassing Rolex Testimonee Paul Elvstrøm (DEN), winner of four gold medals between 1948 and 1960.
Lijia Xu, Laser Radial Gold Medallist at London 2012, expressed her delight at becoming only the second Asian athlete to be crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and spoke of her passion for the sport, "Sailing has given me the chance to chase my dreams and the stage to show my potential. It has provided me with the opportunity to see, feel and explore the world. Sailing leads me to a path of a better life, a life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences."
In August, Xu became the first Chinese, and indeed Asian, sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal in a dinghy sailing boat.
ORC Announces Major New Improvement to 2013 VPP
This new innovation is the result of an extensive multi-year study conducted by the International Technical Committee (ITC) in which historical data derived from tank test results has been combined with new research using Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) tools to create the new formulation.
The new Rr formulation used in the new VPP is producing theoretical predictions which are much closer to the measured performance data taken from numerous boats in the ORC fleet.
The Rr project's new formulation was the result of collating the relevant Delft Systematic data, analyzed by ITC member Kay Enno Brink and the CFD results coming from ITC's Philippe Pallu's work at CRAIN and the Fine-marine code work performed by new ITC member Jason Ker. Another ITC member working on this project was Andy Claughton of Southampton University.
Innovation In Rig and Sail Design
The SMAR Azure team will also present RigEdge v.2, the rig design software which takes into account sailing and dock tuning loads. It now includes buckling calculation and more graphical results.
The new version will be presented during open talks at the SMAR Azure stand (10.600) within the SuperYacht Pavilion at 1pm, with special guests.
For more details about the open talks and new features, browse www.smar-azure.com or please email Dr. Sabrina Malpede at
Zhik UK Tornado National Championships
The sailors were greeted with a variable wind forecast on Friday between 8 and 22 knots with sunshine all day. Three races were scheduled starting at midday to allow the sailors to build and prepare their boats.
On Saturday the Weston Cat Open also started so the class were joined by other catamaran sailors with 3 starts scheduled. Race officer Stuart Offer was keen to get racing complete as soon as possible so put in place a black flag rule for everyone if one fleet were over the line. The Tornados didn't start too well with a general recall, putting the pressure on the other fleets starting later (sorry). After the general recall the Tornados were put to the back of the pack.
We knew Sunday was going to be a windy one, the day started with a base wind of 28 knots with gusts of 38, however, the forecast said it was due to drop to nothing. After a short delay the race officer couldn't wait anymore and the fleet hit the water with the wind calming to around 20 knots.
Grant and Fraz managed to break their recent pattern of 2nd place in events and took the championships with a well deserved victory. This is Grants 3rd Tornado National Championships in a row, the General Lee appears to be unbeatable.
Top ten results
1. Grant Piggott and Simon Farren - Weston SC
1st Foreigner Trophy - David Parker and Scott Cleary (Scotland)
Thank you to Zhik for once again supporting the class, not one person went home empty handed without a fantastic prize from Zhik. Thanks also to everyone at Weston for a great job and well run event. -- Andrew Dowley
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Oscar Mead (GBR)
This month's nominees:
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!
Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at
Alex Thomson: "The French Favourites Won't Finish"
He is not the only one talking about whether the new lighter, Verdier VPLP designed French boats (Banque Populaire 3, Macif, PRB, Virbac-Paprec 3) and Juan Kouyoumdjian's Cheminees Poujoulat, will finish, but most are whispering it beside the pontoon. Vincent Riou has already ruffled Arnaud Boissieres feathers by saying that the Farr designed boats are "like chewing gum" - Boissieres bought Riou's old 2008 Farr-designed PRB.
Thomson (who is also in a Farr-designed Hugo Boss) lobs this particular grenade from inside the spartan carbon shell that he hopes will be his home for three months. He is sitting in the small mission control station that will keep him updated with weather and in contact with the outside world and he keeps pulling the pins and no punches as the interview goes on.
"I just don't see most of them getting round the world," he says. "I think we'll see an attrition rate again of at least 50%."
"This is a confidence game and how confident are these guy really in their boats?" He asks? It's a rhetorical question. "I know a lot of people who don't believe in their boats. From the last Vendee Globe the rule (change) made one advantage and that was to be light and being light doesn't make you more reliable, it does the opposite. You've only got to go back and see some of the problems these guys have had. Yes, they've finished some races, but not without assistance and people in the teams…everybody is pretty nervous about it. If you ask me; 'am I sitting here in a position of strength?' No not really. I would like to be sitting on one of those boats probably if I had a choice, but I'm not. But it wouldn't surprise me if reliability in those five (there are actually six with Acciona Javier Sanso) new boats is worse than in the rest of the boats of fleet."
Thomson is in a second-generation boat, the old BT that Sebastien Josse sailed in the last Vendee, where he dropped out with rudder damage.
"It was a fast boat and we haven't done very much to change it, just tweaked it," he says. "To be honest, we've just concentrated on the reliability."
"This is the generation of boat beneath those and they have an advantage reaching (with wind coming perpendicular to the boat) for sure, it can be as big as one, one and a half, maybe even two knots. They've got much more volume in the bows those boats and they are also lighter. But what they've sacrificed by removing weight (PRB is supposed to be the lightest at 7.5 tonnes compared to Hugo Boss's 8 tonnes) is safety. Absolutely no doubt. Vincent's (Riou) boat is the lightest of all of them, allegedly. I don't know if it's true or not but everyone seems to say there are places on his deck where you are not able to stand (for fear of breaking the deck)."
Join The Crew As We Launch The New Adidas Sailing Range
We have taken a no-compromise approach, bringing the very best that 21st century technology can offer to high-performance sailing apparel and footwear whilst introducing innovative shaping that enables total freedom of movement.
For a sneak preview of the first adidas sailing range, come and see us at METS 2012, Stand 05.419
He has been a serious contender before and apart from finishing third overall has spent a lot of time and money to realise his personal career ambition to win the Hobart Race.
Lunchtime Legend launched a little over 16 months ago made her ocean racing debut during the 2011 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week as her evaluation trial to contest the physically demanding and mentally tormenting 'torture track'.
After being among the front runners during the first 24 hours Lunchtime Legend finished 12th overall and third in her division.
Since returning from last year's Hobart Race the super competitive Bob Robertson as always had a personal plan in place to go back and test his skill and determination to master the elements of the storm tormented Tasman Sea and have his name engraved on trophy in what is regarded as the toughest ocean race on the International offshore sailing circuit.
His personal racing log-book has a long list on minor long distance race wins including the Sydney to Mooloolaba and Brisbane to Gladstone and apart from some minor overall and class places in the Sydney Hobart he is heading south again to perhaps fulfil what many of his rivals claim 'as the impossible dream'.
However he served notice that Lunchtime legend had found a new competitive edge in boat speed finishing second at the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week behind the former Rolex Sydney Hobart Race winner Geoff Ross in Yendys followed by another second place at the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week before finally winning the Magnetic Island Race Week. "Racing in all three regattas was always in the plan to be better prepared for another crack at the Rolex Sydney Hobart".
"We have a good mix of experience and youthful exuberance in our crew and there is no doubt that there is a marked improvement in the understanding of sailing Lunchtime Legend to her handicap rating". Bob Robertson said.
They certainly suffered with the 'new boat blues' last year to eventually finish in the top 12 and while her colourful owner skipper remains confident he is yet to deal with the required tactical strategy to become the first Queensland owner skipper to enjoy that special celebration on the historical Constitution Dock.
Lunchtime Legend is one of ten Queensland yachts that will face what promises to be another gruelling test of tactics and boat speed.
Black Jack the Peter Harburg owned and Mark Bradford skippered maxi chaser which won the 2011 Brisbane to Gladstone race by a commanding margin realistically has the recent long race record to become a threat to Bob Robertson's ambition to record Queensland's best result in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart starting on Boxing Day. -- Ian Grant
Royal Ocean Cup
For NOR and more info see the new event website: www.royaloceancup.dk
Riccardo Simoneschi Wins Melges 24 World and European Rankings
Always a hard fought competition, this year's World ranking was tighter than ever with Italians Riccardo Simoneschi and Flavio Favini going head to head throughout the season.
Simoneschi's experience in the Star and IMS offshore classes, where his victories include World, Continental and Italian Championships, helped him to a narrow 5.1 point victory over former America's Cup helm and Melges 24 World and European Champion Favini.
Three-time Melges 24 Corinthian World Champion Oyvind Peder Jahr of Norway sailed an impressive season to take third place, with 2009 Moth World Champion and Rolex Sailor of the Year Bora Gulari fourth. Melges 24 stalwart Andrea Racchelli finished fifth, three time US Olympian Chris Rast, now based in Switzerland, took sixth, Americans Alan Field, Argyle Campbell and Bruce Ayres finished seventh to ninth respectively and Estonia's Ants Haavel rounded out the top ten.
Riccardo Simoneschi also dominated the European Ranking where he closed the season with a 10.6 point margin over second placed Carlo Fracassoli, the reigning Melges 24 World Champion. Flavio Favini filled the third podium position, with Oyvind Peder Jahr fourth and Andrea Rachelli fifth.
A cleverly designed and built cruiser, the Delphia 31 offers a lifting keel, moderate topsides giving excellent headroom below, clear decks with a fully battened mainsail system and a furling jib.
This model has the option of a mast lowering A-frame system integrated, easy to operate single handed to lower the rig, in addition to the swing keel making this an ideal yacht for canal and river sailing.
She has a large, wrap around sprayhood for cockpit comfort, a folding steering wheel giving good access in the cockpit when not sailing. She is easy to sail short handed and has excellent comfort and sailing capabilities for the family.
Brokerage through S.D.Marine Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/sdmarine/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at
The Last Word
Use this box to send a copy of this issue of the Scuttlebutt Europe Newsletter to a friend:
Or [FORWARD] for a page where you can send copies to up to a dozen friends.[USERTRACK]
To subscribe, unsubscribe, and select HTML or Text format visit scuttlebutteurope.com
Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html