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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Escapees?
Primed and in pole position for the Southern Ocean, Cheminees Poujoulat and Neutrogrena had started to make fast speeds this morning but this Sunday afternoon both had slowed again slightly. But the forecasts for the two Barcelona World Race favourites indicate a fast passage, riding the leading edge of a low pressure system which see them at the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope in one week.

The twosome diverged momentarily today as soon when they were into the faster NNW'ly condititions, Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz on Neutrogena carried on south while Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam gybed east earlier and lead the Spanish-Chilean pair by about 22 miles.

Current routings for the near identical IMOCA 60s still have them still only two or three hours apart by the Cape of Good Hope. And if men and machines stay in near perfect order perhaps another round the world match race, of the same ilk as the last Vendee Globe when Armel Le Cleac'h and Francois Gabart duelled back and forth around the globe as if attached by elastic, might be on the cards. The two leaders were expected to be in 25-30kt NW'ly winds this evening, although breezes did appear gentler.

Provisional rankings at 1400hrs UTC Sunday 18th January 2015

1 Cheminees Poujoulat (B. Stamm - J. Le Cam) 20.053 miles to the finish
2 Neutrogena (G. Altadill - J. Munoz) + 27.9 miles to leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella - G. Marín) + 137.1 miles to leader
4 Renault Captur (J. Riechers - S. Audigane) + 261.2 miles to leader
5 We Are Water (B. Garcia - W. Garcia) + 534.3 miles to leader
6 One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert - D. Costa) + 650.5 miles to leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa - C. Colman)  + 979.7 miles to leader
ABD Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

barcelonaworldrace.com

Dongfeng Heads Into The Malacca Straits
Having led the fleet for 14 days, Dongfeng are about to be forced to throw all of those hard earned miles in to a lucky dip…the Malacca Straits are now in the Chinese teams sights. A stunning sunrise peaking out from the Sumatra mountains was the first physical sign for the crew that this penultimate major phase of the race to Sanya was about to begin.

Only two options for Pascal Bidegorry to choose from as the funnel towards Singapore gets tighter and tighter - stay on the left (Malaysian) or right (Indonesian) side for at least the first part - later on they must move to the traffic separation scheme to the left. With virtually no strategic options, and virtually no wind the entire length of the Straits, this phase of the race is pretty well just a roll of the dice.

The contrast between the Malacca Madness and what the fleet will sail in to for the final 4 or 5 days once past Singapore couldn't be greater - upwind in moderate to strong winds, back to life at 30 degrees of heel.

www.dongfengraceteam.cn

Latest rankings:

1. Dongfeng Race Team
2. Team Alvimedica, 98.8 nm to leader
3. MAPFRE, 104.3
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 109.5
5. Team Brunel, 114.5
6. Team SCA, 137.2

volvooceanrace.com

Dubarry Crosshaven - Comfortably The Best Performer
Dubarry Crosshaven Volvo Ocean Race teams have chosen Dubarry's Crosshaven in every edition of the race since the boot was developed with Green Dragon in the 2008 edition. There are several reasons for that.

First, the innovation that impressed the Green Dragon guys most: the integral gaiter. Made of lightweight, hard-wearing, water-resistant fabric and cinched up with a drawstring, this gaiter means you can kneel down and work on the foredeck without suffering the dreaded 'bootful of green' that kills comfort for the rest of the passage.

And when you're dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean as winter's teeth snap at your vitals, you'll appreciate the 350g GORE-TEX® Duratherm membrane and thermally insulated footbed that will keep your feet, at least, toasty.

Then there's the award-winning grip of Crosshaven's non-slip and non-marking sole. If you're trying to stay vertical on deck, and several tonnes of water traveling at 30 knots is trying to persuade you that you might be more comfortable lying down, you need your feet to stay planted.

We can all benefit from experience, but it comes at a price. Lucky for you that Green Dragon footed the bill, and the benefit is all yours.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

dubarry.com

18ft Skiffs NSW Championship, Race 2
Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

Skiff Sydney Harbour: Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel's crew sailed a brilliant tactical race to score a stunning win in Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy were superb and their decision on the second windward leg from Robertson Point to Clarke Island sealed the victory.

From that point The Rag increased her lead before scoring a 4m29s win from a fast finishing Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, Aron Everett, Daniel Nixon)

Lumix dashed home just 10s ahead of series leader Mojo Wine (Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey, Ricky Bridge), which was placed third.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) was fourth, followed by Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin).

After the two races of the championship sailed to date, Mojo Wine leads on 4 points, from Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 6, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 7, Gotta Love It 7 on 8 and Lumix 9.

Race 3 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Race 4 will be sailed the following day (Australia Day)

www.18footers.com
www.18footerstv.com

Updates From Bermuda....
History was made at the Royal Naval Dockyard yesterday when Ben Ainslie Racing rolled out the first foiling catamarans to reach these shores.

Curious pedestrians and motorists watched as an advance party from the 35th America's Cup challenger unloaded a large container housing two doublehanded NACRA F20 catamarans and assembled them in the boatyard at West End Yachts.

Some observers snapped photos of the "flying" catamarans while they casually chatted with team members of the British syndicate as they went about their task of getting the multihull boats ready in time for a week-long training camp with surgeon-like precision. "We are the advance party, so we are here early to put the boats together for a training week," said BAR team member Jonathan Goring. "We have two of these, so we are going to have two boats sailing.

"We are hoping to get in as much sailing as we can and get to know the waters — and this will be one of many times."

Among BAR's advance party are team racers Andy McLean, Paul Campbell-James and Jono Macbeth, who all featured in the previous America's Cup in 2013 in San Francisco, but with different teams.

McBeth was a member of defender Oracle Team USA while McLean and Campbell-James competed with challengers Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa.

More team members are due to arrive on Island tomorrow, among them team principal and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

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Bermuda's Premier Michael Dunkley announced a series of changes in his Cabinet as part of the government's preparations to host the 2017 America's Cup yacht race.

Grant Gibbons will step down as minister of Education to concentrate on his responsibilities as minister for Economic Development, the government said Friday in a statement.

Wayne Scott will be the new education minister and Patricia Gordon-Pamplin will be the new chair of the Ministry of Community, Culture and Sport Portfolio.

Former Premier Craig Cannonier will be the next minister of Public Works.

"This change in Cabinet responsibilities could not be avoided given the demands the America's Cup will create and the huge benefits it can generate for the Bermudian people in the years ahead," Dunkley said.

laht.com

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Bermuda's planning Minister has backed his department to handle the expected surge in building applications in the build-up to the America's Cup.

Michael Fahy promised that every America's Cup development would be subject to the same rigorous regime that all proposals were subjected to under current law.

He also revealed plans to provide stricter punishments for developers and land owners that break planning rules.

Referring to the anticipated rise in building projects in the run-up to the 2017 event Mr Fahy told The Royal Gazette: "The planning process will be observed in all of these developments.

"It is already clear that the process is being observed.

"There are sure to be numerous applications in the run-up to the America's Cup, but the department can handle it. We have a great team and a good board."

Asked if Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) should be made mandatory for major projects connected with the America's Cup, he said: "EIA's are certainly preferred and the Board can certainly make requests for studies as appropriate, as can the Minister."

www.royalgazette.com

Industry News
As predicted recently by the MediTelegraph, Massimo Perotti is stepping down from his role as president of UCINA, the association that represents companies in the Italian sport-yachting sector. The announcement came yesterday afternoon, at the closing of the first board members' meeting for 2015. Mr. Perotti, head of Sanlorenzo Shipyards, said his resignation was "a painful decision," but one that he considered "a necessary step," after coming to the realization that, "a proactive and positive dialogue," necessary to carry out his plans was lacking within the boating association. A parting of ways that is not without a share of regret for what could have been; and towards the association that, according to him, didn't grant him enough support.

Looking back, Massimo Perotti's has been the shortest presidency in the history of UCINA: a mere eight months.

Beyond the official declarations, however, Massimo Perotti's resignation opens up a very delicate chapter for the entire Italian boating industry. Not to mention the question on the lips of many: what future awaits Genoa's International Boat Show?

www.themeditelegraph.com

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Norwegian marine industry federation Norboat has contracted Leif Bergaas to serve as its new managing director. The appointment comes not long after the resignation of Norboat president Erlend Prytz, who stepped down from his post at the start of this year.

Bergaas, former sales and marketing manager for Askeladden Boats, has been a Norboat board member for many years and knows the organisation well.

The Norboat board is hoping to use more administrative resources than previously used for the benefit of its members. Closer contact with members, including visits and regional activities, is also on the wish list.

The next show is Sjoen for Alle, held at Norges Varemesse in Lillestrom in March.

plus.ibinews.com

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Bermuda-based re/insurer Hiscox Ltd has agreed to buy two UK-based businesses from Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd to beef up its specialty insurance offerings for wealthy clients.

Randall & Quilter is also a Bermuda company, having redomiciled from the UK 18 months ago. The two businesses Hiscox intends to acquire are managing general agent R&Q Marine Services Ltd (RQMS) and the business of Synergy Insurance Services (UK) Ltd (Synergy).

RQMS is an underwriting agency specialising in yachts and the general marine leisure industry, with business totalling £17 million ($25.9 million) of gross written premiums in 2014.

www.royalgazette.com

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A new leisure marine industry alliance between Fairview Sailing, a member of Dream Yacht Charter Worldwide, and Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear as its Official and exclusive preferred clothing supplier for 2015,  has been announced at the CWL FX London Boat Show.

The company has only recently celebrated its first year in the technical sailing clothing sector and its HW1 set of oilskins were nominated for the prestigious Yachts & Yachting 'Kit Innovation' Award, achieving the runner-up spot to Henri Lloyd as announced at the Boat Show yesterday; no mean feat for such a young brand.

The company is also Title Sponsor of Lizzy Foreman, the 24-year old British solo sailor who will undertake the longest and most gruelling solo race of her life, the Mini Transat, starting on September 19th 2015. The brand has been her title sponsor since the start of her Mini training a year ago and is with her all the way to the finish line in Guadeloupe.

www.hudsonwight.com

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Marina Projects Ltd has strengthened its team of professional consultants with the appointment of Sue Macpherson as a Senior Associate and Company Secretary.

Sue is a Solicitor by profession and has held senior appointments both in private practise and as an In-House Solicitor in a large Marina business. Sue brings 30 years of legal, strategic and business management skills, 25 of those acting for Ports Authorities and owners or marina portfolios. Her work in the marine sector has included successfully managing objections at major Public Inquiries and advice in Arbitrations.

The appointment of Sue Macpherson follows a number of appointments through the later part of 2014, including Padhraic O'Connor as a Project Manager and Katie Nelson as Assistant Project Manager.

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The Marine Trades Association/Boating Business Awards, which recognise excellence in individuals and companies working in the UK marine industry, were presented at the Marine Trades Association (MTA) Dinner at the CWM FX London Boat Show on Tuesday 13th January 2015.

Panels from Boating Business and the MTA consider the nominations for the annual awards, which were presented in front of a packed audience of industry professionals at Gaucho at the O2. The awards are sponsored by Boating Business, Matchtech, Ocean Safety and Boatshop24.

The MTA award for Retailer of the Year went to Landau UK Ltd - an award winning Installer and Retro-­‐ Fitter of all equipment and systems to luxury yachts, both power and sail, based in Swanwick in Hampshire. Alice Driscoll of ADPR Ltd was awarded the MTA Personality of the Year. Alice is a well known figure in the industry and set up ADPR in Somerset in 1991.

The Chairman's Special Award was presented to Murray Ellis (BMF/NBF).

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World Match Racing Tour and West Ham football club sponsor and currency broker Alpari has shut its UK arm following the Swiss National Bank's decision to end its capping of the Swiss franc against the euro. The foreign exchange broker said in a statement that the move had created "exceptional volatility and extreme lack of liquidity and as a result, the majority of Alpari clients had sustained losses".

The World Match Racing Tour has had a successful title partnership with Alpari (UK) Limited since 2012, generating significant exposure for the brand.

The World Match Racing Tour is continuing as scheduled, including the final event of the 2014 World Championship in Malaysia from 10-14 February. The Tour will shortly announce its 2015 calendar of events, including two new official stages.

The Tour, with over 250 sponsors involved across all Tour events worldwide, have reported that they have received interest from potential global partners for the coming season.

wmrt.com

* This notice from Alpari on their website:

The recent move on the Swiss franc caused by the Swiss National Bank's unexpected policy reversal of capping the Swiss franc against the euro has resulted in exceptional volatility and extreme lack of liquidity. Retail client funds continue to be segregated in accordance with FCA rules. For the avoidance of any doubt and notwithstanding previous announcements by the company, Alpari (UK) Limited has not entered a formal insolvency process. The board of directors are urgently considering all options including a sale and are liaising closely with the FCA. We hope to make a further announcement shortly.

www.alpari.com

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The Last Word
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