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 editor@scuttlebutteurope.com

Iain Murray Appointed As Regatta Director For 2017 America's Cup
The Competitor Forum, comprising the six teams registered for the 2017 America's Cup, has appointed Iain Murray as Regatta Director. Murray is a former America's Cup skipper who also served as Regatta Director in the last America's Cup.

Murray started in his role as of December 1 and has already been meeting with the teams as well as Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller via regular Competitor Forum conference calls.

In his role as Regatta Director, Murray will work in collaboration with all of the teams as well as Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller in setting the competitive parameters for the event.

Murray is required to nominate Regatta Officials, including a Measurement Committee and Umpires, as well as administer the Regatta Officials Fund to a budget agreed by the competitors. Each team contributes in equal measure to the Fund, initially through their entry fees.

"I've already seen a strong spirit of cooperation between the teams," Murray said. "We're focused on getting ready for the first America's Cup World Series events in the new foiling versions of the AC45s, as well as pulling together a measurement committee and finalizing some details about the AC62. Everybody is contributing and the process is working well."

www.americascup.com

Nicholson Back To Retrieve Boat
Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS) has flown back to a remote Indian Ocean reef to help oversee a complicated operation to retrieve his stranded boat after it was grounded there during Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race nearly three weeks ago.

The 45-year-old flew in to Mauritius on December 17 to join the team's shore chief Neil Cox, a fellow Australian, who is leading the process.

Cox is one of the most experienced men in the business but the challenge to free the stricken Volvo Ocean 65 vessel from the grip of the reef in the Cargados Carajos Shoals (St Brandon), is a new one, even for him.

It has been there since the afternoon of November 29, when the boat ran on to the rocks at around 19 knots (35 kph), and forced Nicholson and the eight other men on board to abandon ship. The skipper eventually led his crew to safety.

"The ultimate plan, the gold-medal prize we're reaching for, is to get the boat buoyant enough to float across the lagoon to get it into more protected water," Cox told www.volvooceanrace.com.

"That would stop it disintegrating out on the reef, and, at the same time, once we get to the other side of the reef, gives us the chance to set it up in a controlled fashion to either be able to tow the boat back to Mauritius, or to use the derrick of the Maersk Line ship coming here on Monday to get it on board."

"It's a case of how structurally sound the boat is, and what we can utilise to get it buoyant again. And anything that floats, float tanks, buoyancy bags, you name it, is coming out with us." He continued: "We want to bring as much of the boat back as possible. If anything can be recycled or used for a potential new boat, we have to do everything in our power to make that happen.

"The reality is, it's a very dangerous workplace we're going to. It doesn't have all the nice things we have in the stopovers. It's in the middle of the ocean. We're on our own. And, while I'd avoid the cheap shark headlines, yes, there is a lot more activity (of sharks) on the reef at nighttime."

volvooceanrace.com

Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar
Voting continues in our Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar, with the King and Queen of Hamble still out in front with over 1500 votes. Closing in a bit, with just under 1000 votes is The Pier View, with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club at nearly 700.

Sip one of these festive libations while you vote... this one's named the Christmas Jones:

1 1/2 ounces Wight Vodka
4 fresh strawberries
2 teaspoon superfine sugar
5 ounces pineapple juice
7-Up (or other lemon-lime soda)
Mint sprigs for garnish

In a blender, whiz the Wight Vodka, strawberries, sugar and pineapple juice together.
Pour the mix equally into two highball glasses.
Top with 7-Up.
Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Yum! This one also goes well with package wrapping, wreath-making, and tree decorating duties.

Vote for your favourite bar:

Setting The Safety Zone
One change which is being promoted in agreement with the skippers for this edition of the Barcelona World Race is that the series of ice gates which were a feature of the last race, and for example of the Vendee Globe, have been replaced by an exclusion zone which ringfences the Antarctic ice zones. In essence 72 points - one each 5 degrees of longitude - form a polygon inside which the Barcelona World Race skippers must not pass.

Marcel Van Triest, the race's Meteorologist who is also responsible for managing the ice tracking, held a briefing for the 16 skippers at the Barcelona World Race Interpretation Centre. "We do not want you guys to see ice at all, and you should not." Van Triest concluded during the breifing.

The preliminary zone will be given to the skippers imminently but Race Direction will have the facility to change the points as required by ice movement.

"There is no downside to this. The benefit is straight lines between the datum marks, parallel to the rhumb line. Changes to the zone are up to the race organiser. We will try and make them as soon as possible. My idea is that the last time you can change a mark is 30 degrees of longitude before it. So we will try to do it earlier, but for example if we want to make a change at 50 degrees west, the last moment is when the first boat reaches 20 degrees west."

There is a latitude component as well at 15 deg N which 'activates' the first waypoint.

The marks in the Atlantic can be changed again once the first boat is in the Pacific. And the only marks which cannot be moved are those under Australia which delimit the safety zone imposed by the Australian rescue authorities at the range of their operational ability.

The Barcelona World Race is the first and only double-handed (two crew per boat), non-stop, round the world regatta. It is a lap of the globe starting and finishing in Barcelona (Spain).

The boats sailed are the IMOCA 60.

The start of the race is on the 31st of December 2014 at 13h00, with the starting line positioned opposite the W Barcelona hotel at the city's port. The finishes are forecasted for the end of March 2015.

www.barcelonaworldrace.org

*|YOUTUBE:[$vid=B0Qld67frbQ, $max_width=500, $title=N, $border=N, $trim_border=N, $ratings=N, $views=N]|*

Bouwe Bekking Interview
Billed as the closest race in the 40 year history of the round the world race. The 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is certainly living up to that prediction. After two legs of the 39,000 mile nine leg circumnavigation, three teams are tied at the top of the leader board and both legs have been one by just a few agonising minutes.

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), winners of the latest stage of the race between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi, are ranked highest on the scoreboard as victors of the most recent leg. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), who claimed the first leg between Alicante and Cape Town, and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), who finished as close runners-up in the opening two stages, are also on four points and full of boat speed and confidence for the leg to Sanya, their home port.

Sadly, the big news during the leg was that Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) did not complete the leg, after running aground on a reef. Bouwe Bekking spoke exclusively to Cobham SATCOM about how communications at sea proved absolutely vital for the safe rescue of the crew and in general for safety in an area known for pirate activity. Bekking also gives his views on how satellite communication has changed the race in terms of performance. -- Louay Habib

See more at: www.cobham.com/about-cobham

An Absorbing Interest. The America's Cup - A History
By Bob Fisher (£250 + p&p)

Revised limited edition signed by the author. Now down to the last two dozen copies... for the sailor on your gift list who seemingly has everything... a very unique gift.

This coveted  2-volume slip-case edition has become a collector's item as important to the history of the Cup, as Lawson's original 'History of the America's Cup' published in 1901. 

There will be no reprint: the remaining copies are the final ones for sale.

These two beautifully designed tomes chart the history of sailing's most enigmatic and greatest prize, covering  the dramas, designs, and personalities from the first race around the Isle of Wight in 1851 to 2003 in Auckland where Ernesto Bertarelli and his largely Kiwi renegade team stole the Cup away to Europe. It is this rich history that has  led to the sheer fascination of what has become the oldest international sporting event. Heavily illustrated with rare etchings, lithographs, line drawings, paintings and pictures, all chosen to complement the text, this collector's edition charts every Cup match in great detail and can rightly claim to be a definitive history. 

The perfect gift for all those fascinated by the Cup

"This is the Bible of the America's Cup." Bruno Troublé - Louis Vuitton

View sample pages: www.southatlanticpublishing.com/aai_sample.htm

Purchase online at southatlanticpublishing.com

Caribbean Charter
If, like many people, your serious racing hours decrease in direct proportion to the increased hours you spend at the desk, fitting in a winter race escape has become harder than ever. If that sounds familiar then the plug-and-play solution of race charter is a great option for winter re-energising.

If you've already experienced any of the key regattas on the Caribbean circuit you'll know that the charter fleets are expanding in both number and range. Today the wide variety of Caribbean regattas is now well matched by the vast number and variety of boats available for charter - from wallowing to warp speed - from family friendly to first to finish. A range of options is now available throughout the Caribbean regatta circuit.

Crew choice can be just as diverse - from the many bareboat options to an Olympic coach as skipper with a pro crew. Within what is now a relatively mature market all options are now in place. And not only do all options exist at the events themselves - but they are also often available on the far from unpleasant offshore passages between events.

The Caribbean Sailing Association has done a lot of work around easing out the regatta calendar to minimise overlap of similar events on the circuit, primarily to ensure that hardened race junkies can maximise the number of events they can race in a season (check out the full calendar at www.caribbean-sailing.com). So whether you have time for only one event, or plan to head down and pick up two or three regattas around the same window in the calendar there is a lot of well-structured and well-managed racing on offer.

Full article in Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com

Industry News
Gosport firm Clipper Ventures is selling its old Clipper 68 fleet

The yachts have been around the world in four editions of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race between 2005 and 2012.

Clipper 70 yachts have been used by the crews since 2013.

Clipper founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: 'I wanted a yacht that could be sailed safely by amateur crews but could also be a good ocean racing boat.

'It proved extremely successful as far as we were concerned.

'The Clipper 68 fleet was retired from the Clipper Race in 2013 to make way for the new 12-strong Clipper 70 fleet, but it's probably capable of at least another four global races.

'So anyone looking for a good strong rugged boat that's reliable and easy to sail, that can take anything you throw at it, and the Southern Ocean takes some beating, these are the boats.'

The boats were designed by Ed Dubois with Sir Robin.

www.portsmouth.co.uk

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The US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider today announced a major partnership with Sunbrella fabrics, the leading producer of performance and marine canvas around the globe. Effective immediately, Sunbrella will be named as a Gold-level sponsor of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, the nation's Olympic and Paralympic sailing team, and also as the presenting sponsor of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, North America's premier Olympic and Paralympic classes regatta. A North Carolina-based brand with deep roots in the American sailing community, Sunbrella will now assume a prominent role in fostering the future of high-performance sailing the United States.

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VBH, a leading technology integrator in the superyacht sector, has announced that Michiel Haverkorn van Rijsewijk has been appointed to the leadership role at the company as Director, commencing 5 January 2015.

He will take over from Andre Meijer, Managing Director of Imtech Marine, who has been managing the company on an interim basis for the past few months.

Michiel has extensive experience in the world of AV / IT and brings with him a range of skills that will be valuable to VBH as it continues to grow in a highly competitive market place. His entrepreneurial flair emerged early when, while studying Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University in Delft, he founded in 1989 his own ICT company Corngroup B.V, which over ten years grew into a successful business. In 1992 he also launched one of the first Internet Service Providers in the Netherlands.

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Scotland has received its first National Marine plan for managing the activities that take place in Scottish seas out to 200 nautical miles.

The announcement by the Scottish Government sets out the first ever overarching strategy of its kind for the seas around Scotland and aims to boost the coastal economy.

Cautiously welcomed by environmental groups as a "step-change for the marine environment", this announcement sets in motion a planning system for the sea, more than 50 years after a similar system was introduced for developments on land.

However, some experts remain concerned that the plan will be of limited use for regional and local planners until more detailed guidance is produced for coordinating different uses of the marine environment.

www.ybw.com

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The 1851 Trust is delighted to be able to announce that after an extensive interview process back in November the first CEO has now been appointed. The job went to Alasdair Akass, a multi-award winning senior manager in the charity sector.

The charity was launched in October with the British America's Cup team, Ben Ainslie Racing, with the aim to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry, providing young people with the education, skills and training to become innovators of the future, and stewards of the marine environment.

Alasdair Akass started his career with English Heritage, before gaining important commercial experience with Marks and Spencer as a Divisional Manager. He then moved to the National Trust - one of the UK's best loved charities - as a Regional Grant and Income Generation Manager, before being promoted to Head of Legacies, responsible for the National Trust's second largest income stream of £50 million per annum.

Akass then moved into the education sector as Development Director at Portsmouth Grammar School. It was a post that he held for four years, a time which has given him great contacts in the city that's home to the 1851 Trust. During this time he worked with the RYA, local sailing clubs, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, Jubilee Sailing Trust and the John Merricks Sailing Trust amongst many others.

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The Last Word
I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. -- John Steinbeck

Editorial and letter submissions to editor@scuttlebutteurope.com

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