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

A Wild Wild Win Or Two
Photo by Carlo Borlenghi, carloborlenghi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Who could have known at any stage of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race that boats touched by Bob Oatley and both bearing the name 'Wild' in their title would take line honours and overall corrected time honours in the 70th edition of the race and the 70th anniversary of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia?

That is exactly what happened today. Wild Rose, Bob Oatley's first grand prix ocean racer, sailed into Hobart yesterday, her owner Roger Hickman having to wait until today to be declared overall winner of the race with the 29-year-old yacht.

On Sunday, Bob Oatley's 100-foot supermaxi Wild Oats XI logged a record eighth line honours victory after an epic battle with brand new super maxi Comanche, cementing Oatley's place in ocean racing history.

What it says is that two yachts with the Oatley name attached have won line and overall honours in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

This is not the first time Hickman has won the race with the yacht that he affectionately refers to as "the old girl". With his partners Bruce Foye and Lance Peckman, Hickman won the race under the old IOR rule. It was in conjunction with an IMS overall winner, Cookoos Nest.

With 38 Sydney Hobart races under his belt, Hickman, from the host club in Sydney but a Tasmanian by birth, can claim the title for himself and his boat alone in the boat he bought from Bob Oatley for next to nothing. -- Di Pearson

www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

Another Point Of View...
Exactly 70 years since a group of nine old salts first decided to cruise-race their wooden boats the 628 nautical miles from Sydney to Hobart back in 1945 - shooting rabbits and stopping for a beer at the Port Arthur pub on the way - there are many purists who fear big money, sponsorship and expensive technology have taken over the spirit of their much-loved race.

Many now ask if limitless wealth - and the cutting-edge engineering and technology it affords - can virtually buy a line honours win in the Sydney-Hobart, once regarded as the ultimate test of endurance and seamanship.

Arriving in Hobart docks yesterday morning, a weary Bruce Taylor, owner of Melbourne yacht Chutzpah and a veteran of 34 Sydney-Hobarts, is among those fed up with the many changes money has brought to the sailing world.

"It's all become a bit too like horse racing for my liking; without being derogatory, some of these wealthy owners aren't even sailors. Instead they hire young hot shots who expect to be paid a king's ransom to race, and the boat that wins is the one with the most expensive engineering and that pays its professional crew the most."

Wild Oats XI's long-time skipper, professional yachtie Mark Richards, who called Wild Oats' eighth line-honours win this year his "sweetest victory", has no time for such criticism.

He reminds armchair critics, and venerated salty dogs such as Taylor, that even a superfast maxi with all the latest technological enhancements is only as good as the crew who sail it.

"Money won't win sailing; never has and never will," Richards says, a day after putting his name into the history books.

A new Corinthian division and trophy has been added to the race prizes this year.

Sponsored by the York family, the trophy can be won only on handicap by a boat where no member of its crew is paid and no one on board is employed in yachting, sailmaking or an associated industry. -- Sue Neales in The Australian

www.theaustralian.com.au

Last Hours On Land For The Barcelona World Race Skippers
A perfect sunny Tuesday afternoon allowed the sixteen skippers who will start the 22,500 miles two handed Barcelona World Race to fully enjoy their final hours on dry land before taking Wednesday's 1300hrs (CET midday UTC) start.

The start will be given by Barcelona's Mayor Xavier Trias with the line set in front of the iconic 90m tall Hotel Vela (W-Hotel). The mayor will signal the start with a traditional sound as well as the emblematic lowering of the 'flags' on a new sculpture on the Placa del Mar on the Barcelona sea-front.

The onshore activity will begin at 10 am when the IMOCA 60s bid their farewells and dock-out from the pontoons at the base of the Columbus statue. From 12.30 pm on the beachfront a starting ceremony will begin with a live performance by the Fura del Baus musicians at the Dona del Milleni sculpture. Xavier Trias, will drive the mechanism that moves the arms, waving a flag signal, which will start the circumnavigation of the globe.

After the gun there are two options for a circuit along the beach before heading south towards the exit from the Med. The most likely is a two miles reach to a turning mark where the fleet will pass before heading for the Strait of Gibraltar, 535 miles down the track. Winds are forecast to be light around start time.

The meteo situation suggests there will be a variety of options after that final turning mark, and hence the fleet could possibly spread. Initially there might be the choice to go east to hook into the existing stronger breeze or wait until it is filled across to the Spanish coast. Essentially Barcelona lies in no-go zone, between the winds. The brisk NE'ly will carry the leaders down to the Balearics by between 2200hrs and midnight (about 90 miles) where the routing suggests passing just to the east of Ibiza. The winds through this first night will peak at just over 20kts but after the Balearics through the early hours the winds will ease, receding from the shore.

Barcelona World Race 2014-15 entries:
Cheminees Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm (SUI) and Jean Le Cam (FRA)
GAES Centros Auditivos, Anna Corbella (ESP) and Gerard Marin (ESP)
Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson (GBR) and Pepe Ribes (ESP)
Neutrogena, Guillermo Altadill (ESP) and Jose Munoz (CHI)
One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton, Aleix Gelabert (ESP) and Didac Costa (ESP)
Renault Captur, Jorge Riechers (GER) and Seb Audigane (FRA)
Spirit of Hungary, Nandor Fa (HUN) and Conrad Colman (NZL)
We Are Water, Bruno Garcia (ESP) and Willy Garcia (ESP)

www.barcelonaworldrace.org

Dubarry Ultima - Loved By Sailors
It's hard to love a pair of boots. They either do a job or they don't. Some will have great grip and others will send you crashing down to the deck like some slapstick comedian. Some will keep the water out, others will leak like a pair of bespoke footbaths. Some will breathe to keep you comfortable, others will slowly baste your feet in their own sweat. Some will look great, others like you've just escaped from a circus.

Even if you do find a pair that ticks every box, which looks good, grips well and keeps you warm, dry and comfortable, you'd still struggle to love a boot. Unless, of course, it's a Dubarry boot. Take the Ultima, with its blend of rich, supple leather and durable man-made fibres, the hi tech GORE-TEX® liner that acts like an air conditioner, the award-winning grip of the sole – yes, those are all there, recognised benchmarks of quality, but what you can't see or touch or smell is the soul. Ultima boots have it in abundance because, like you, they change. They gain experience at sea and improve with age just as surely as you do.

That's why sailors love them.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

dubarry.com

Tornado World Championships
Tuesday the 30th December saw the first day of the ISAF Tornado World Championships and Global Mixed Championships in Perth, Western Australia.

30 teams from 7 nations have made the trip to Nedlands Yacht Club to enjoy the sunshine and fantastic sailing conditions that Perth has to offer.

Since the 26th December the majority of boats have also been warming up, sailing in the Australian Championships. Team Redbull sailing their boat Glory & Drama won that event. 8 races were sailed over the two days in action packed conditions.

The first day of Tornado World Championships started with a practice race for the 7 boats who chose to take part. The warm Easterly breeze which kept building throughout the race put the sailors through their paces and provided some of the best sailing of the day.

As expected the Easterly breeze died out and the wind shifted to the West with the sea breeze coming in. The afternoon was very warm with temperatures of 41 degrees providing unstable winds from the South West between 8 and 14 knots.

The first race was won by Gavin Colby and Pete Dubbelaar (Australia) who led from the top mark. They managed to hold off many others in a close race to the finish with Team Redbull (Greece).

The second race of the day was a reverse of places with Iordanis Pachalidis and Konstantine Trigonis (Team Red Bull) taking the victory followed by Gavin and Pete.

Tomorrow three races are scheduled, one in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Top ten after two races:

1. Iordanis Paschalidis, GRE, 3 points
2. Gav Colby, AUS, 3
3. Brett Burvill, AUS, 10
4. James Clark, AUS, 10
5. Paul Peterson, AUS, 13
6. Allan Gamble, AUS, 13
7. Roland Gaebler, GER, 15
8. Markus Betz, GER, 16
9. Matthew Punch, AUS, 19
10. Paul Raymond, AUS, 23

www.tornado-class.org

Team Alvimedica Win Redress Case
Team Alvimedica have won their claim for redress after they diverted course to sail to the assistance of the grounded Team Vestas Wind in Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

They originally placed fifth out of the six finishers in the stage from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi but an independent ISAF jury hearing ruled that the time lost assisting Chris Nicholson's crew on the night of November 29 cost them a position.

They were consequently given points for fourth for the leg by the jury on Tuesday although their official position for it remains fifth.

Enright's crew diverted to the remote reef near St Brandon, 430 kilometres from Mauritius, to sail close to the stricken Team Vestas Wind. They gave radio assistance but did not eventually need to take the Danish boat's crew on board after they were picked up by lifeguards.

In the hearing in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Enright argued that his team lost time and later favourable wind conditions for their actions which were widely praised by both the jury, the Race and rival teams.

Updated standings for leg 2
1. Team Brunel (Netherlands) 4 pts
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 4
3. Dongfeng Race Team (China) 4
4. Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA) 9
5. MAPFRE (Spain) 11
6. Team SCA (Sweden) 12
7. Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 12

www.volvooceanrace.com

Three Crew Change Onboard Dongfeng For Leg 3
Dongfeng Race Team announce new crew line-up for Leg 3 - a new 4th Chinese sailor, addition of an under 30 solo sailor, and a replacement OBR for next leg.

As it stands, against all odds, the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race have exceeded expectations to position themselves in joint first place on points with Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Cheng Ying Kit (also referred to as Kit) will sail onboard Dongfeng for the first time in the race in Leg 3 and will accompany his friend and colleague Liu Xue (Black), star performer on leg 2, in what will be an important leg for the team as they head to their home country, China. Kit will be the fourth Chinese sailor to sail with the team since the race started back in October.

One result of Kit joining for this Sanya bound leg, as he is the one Chinese squad member over 30, means that it has given Charles Caudrelier both the challenge and opportunity to bring onboard dual nationality Brit and Australian Jack Boutell. A product of the OC Sport managed Artemis Offshore Academy, Jack is one of the few non-French to have competed in La Solitaire du Figaro - something valued highly by Charles and the other western crew who have all but one competed in this cherished solo French race. To allow these changes to occur Swedish sailor Martin Stromberg will step down for this leg but will return for Leg 4.

An unexpected change for the team was that of the Onboard Reporter. Due to extremely unfortunate personal circumstances at home, Yann Riou will miss leg 3 - he will be sorely missed by the team. Sam Greenfield, one of the star Volvo Ocean Race cameramen and editors, will replace him for the leg to Sanya.

dongfengraceteam.com

Seahorse February 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Caribbean (race) charter...
From boats to regattas to nightclubs... how to go about it and how to make the correct choices

Revolution in the village
Pontos... and a new paradigm in winch control

An iconic gathering
Rob Weiland finds himself on an illuminating voyage down offshore racing's own memory lane

Update
Ian Walker has very clear views about taking on the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, Terry Hutchinson wraps up 2014 at the Melges 32 worlds and Guy Nowell takes a (warm) look at the Raja Muda Selangor's 25th anniversary...

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Strong Winds Leaves Ok Dinghy World Fleet On Shore For Second Day
Strong winds battering Port Phillip caused the first day of the OK Dinghy World Championship to be cancelled, leaving sailors on shore all day. After the practice race on Monday was also cancelled because of strong winds, the fleet is itching to get on the water and start some racing.

The day began pretty much as the previous day had ended, with strong winds sweeping the bay and sending crashing waves into Half Moon Bay. Never mind the race area, launching was virtually impossible as waves crashed up the slipways and over the boats on the quay. So it was no surprise that an early postponement was hoisted to delay the scheduled 13.00 start time to 15.00.

At 14.00 the decision was taken to cancel for the day with the winds still peaking out at above 30 knots and a fierce sea running.

The forecast for Wednesday is much better at 15-20 knots. Class rule prohibit races being caught up unless the series is under threat, so two races are scheduled from 13.00 again.

Class website: www.okdia.org
Event website: www.okworlds2014.com
Club website: www.bryc.yachting.org.au

Lyons Out To Defend His Oxford Blue Title
Racing his Blaze singlehander, Mike Lyons faces some tough opponents at this Saturday's event on Farmoor Reservoir.

With more than 90 boats already entered for this Saturday's Oxford Blue, the fourth event in this season's GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series is shaping up to be one of the most competitive.

Series leader Nick Craig is back with Alan Roberts to compete in his Merlin Rocket. At last January's inaugural Oxford Blue at Farmoor Reservoir, the multiple Endeavour Trophy champion came 3rd in a Devoti D-One singlehander. On that occasion it was Mike Lyons who won a very light airs event in a Blaze, and Lyons is back to defend his title.

Reigning Laser Masters World Champion Steve Cockerill takes to the water with his wife Sarah in a 4000, and will be among a number of top fast-handicap crews that also include reigning Fireball World Champions Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey, and former Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard sailing with Richard Anderton in a 505.

The Oxford Blue incorporates the RS/Magic Marine RS Aero Winter Championship, and there are almost 20 RS Aeros already entered, with the prospect of close racing against another newcomer to the singlehander scene, the Devoti D-Zero which is also well represented on the entry sheet.

SailRacer will be running GPS tracking of the racing, which can be viewed live or replayed after racing is completed. With an entry limit of 150, and online entry closing at midnight on Thursday 1 January, there's still time to compete in this Saturday's Oxford Blue.

For results after three events: events.sailracer.org

www.SailJuiceSeries.com

World Champions Of 2014: Year Of Triumphs Has Clear Standout
It would be understandable if Kiwi sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had some difficulty in selecting the highlight of their podium-topping year in the 49er class.

Clinching the win at the Rio International regatta -- a test event for the 2016 Olympics -- was a significant marker in their quest for Olympic gold in 18 months and their stunning come-from-behind win at the South American championships to complete an unbeaten year was a hugely satisfying result for the pair, particularly after missing the first three races.

But both Burling and Tuke were unequivocal about which result meant the most to them in 2014 -- defending their world championship crown in Santander, Spain.

While their win in 2013 came when some of their key rivals were involved with America's Cup campaigns, this year Burling and Tuke took on a full-strength fleet ... and dominated.

Their goals for 2015 are firmly set around their 49er campaign, too, with the Rio Olympic test event in August and the world championships in Argentina the twin targets for next year. -- Dana Johannsen in the New Zealand Herald

www.nzherald.co.nz

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The Last Word
The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege. -- Charles Kuralt

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