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

Tell us your favourite bar, the seventh annual Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar competition in on!
scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars

Wild Oats XI Dismisses Length Issue
Wild Oats XI and the Cruising Yacht club of Australia have dismissed speculation the supermaxi and eight-time Sydney to Hobart line honours winner is beyond the legal length for the race.

Some waterfront experts had posed the questions about where the hull started and if the bowsprit is permanently joined to the bow, if that made it part of the hull itself.

It also said if the new extended bow was found to be part of the hull then the yacht would be much longer than 100 feet and it's entry for the race couldn't be accepted.

CYCA commodore John Cameron was satisfied Wild Oats XI complied with race rules.

"We have a valid IRC certificate which allows Wild Oats to compete in the race, " commodore Cameron told AAP on Thursday.

The Wild Oats XI camp was equally adamant their boat complied with the rules.

"The boat has been measured," a spokesperson for the Wild Oats XI program told AAP.

"The required waterline length for the Hobart race limit is 100 feet, the boat is within that limit."

www.sportsfan.com.au

Final Day Of Submissions For Best Yachting Bar
One last day to tell us why a bar is your favourite one on the planet. The Wight Vodka team will pick the top ten based on the quality and quantity of submissions... and voting begins on Saturday.

Here are some recent notes....

Main Bar, Royal Hong King Yacht Club (the view of the city from a terrace at right)

I love that you continue to use my line "where I met both my husbands" - which is still true - and on top of that, the Main Bar is where, no matter who you are, what your background may be, or your "place" in life, you will be treated with the same level of respect and care. It's "home" - where you know that no matter how you behave, you're still loved!! Even after a few too many seabreezes and several failed attempts to climb the bell.

Salty Mike's, Charleston South Carolina, USA

Everyone from transoceanic passage captains to Wednesday night racers to the owners themselves knows their first stop in Charleston is Salty Mike's. And if you're short a crew for that ocean crossing that leaves tomorrow, or the race that starts in 30 minutes, Salty's is frequently your last stop before heading out as well!

And while tennis is not your humble narrator's favourite sport, this concoction, the unofficial Drink of the US Open is called The Honey Deuce (your humble narrator thinks this is a Christmas drink because our family spikes champagne with Chambord for our gift-opening eye- opener Christmas morning).

1 1/2 shots of Wight Vodka
1 shot Chambord
Fill the high ball glass with lemonade
Top with honeydew melon balls

Marinate the melon balls in Wight Vodka in the frig overnight is our hint...

Pen your story, as best you can remember it... and tell us at

scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars

Antigua Bermuda Race Announced
Organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week, the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race will commence after the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week in early May 2017. The Antigua Bermuda Race is designed to offer an exciting passage race to Bermuda, the home of the 2017 America's Cup.

The Antigua Bermuda Race is open to yachts and multihulls with a minimum length of 40ft (12m) holding a valid IRC and/or CSA Rating Certificate or Superyacht rating. Dual scoring will be provided. A provision of a Motor Sailing Handicap will be overlaid for Cruiser Racers.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is already taking pre-registration of yachts interested in racing. Schooner America, the replica of the original winner of the America's Cup and the 112ft (34m) sail training ship, Spirit of Bermuda are confirmed entries. An international fleet of yachts is expected for the race, with exclusive social events organised in Antigua and Bermuda.

The Antigua Bermuda Race course is straightforward: Start off Fort Charlotte Antigua, Antigua to port, Bermuda to port, finish off St David's Light Bermuda. Approx. distance 935 nm. In early May the northern limits of the tradewinds can be as much as 28 degrees north. Easterly or south-easterly winds are common for the first half of the passage, giving exhilarating reaching or downwind conditions. Light southerly winds are common in the Horse Latitudes that traverse the Sargasso Sea and the finish in Bermuda is likely to be a tactically different change to the fast-surfing conditions of the tradewinds.

The Antigua Bermuda Race is supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Goslings Rum.

For more information about the Antigua Bermuda Race including pre-registration of potential interest see: www.antiguabermuda.com

G.L.Watson - The Art & Science Of Yacht Design By Martin Black
Has a better or more significant book been produced on the history of yacht design, or indeed on the development of modern yachting?

This beautifully produced book draws upon elegant design, high quality lithography and bookbinding crafts - showcasing over 300 illustrations.

"The book of the decade... in fact, nothing has been produced like this in the past 20 years."

Martin Black's biography of the great Scottish designer, George Lennox Watson, is much more than a record of his life and work during the Golden Age of Yacht Design. Perhaps uniquely, it also describes the emergence of the role of the modern independent designer, of any profession or discipline. Watson's career spanned a seminal period in industrial and social development, marking the transition from intuitive craft to the application of disciplined technological innovation, applying new material technology and tank testing.

So this book sheds light on social and industrial history with hundreds of contemporaneous illustrations, most of which are previously unpublished. Read Martin Black's book and see if you agree. At the very least, you will find that George Lennox Watson deserves his place among the pantheon of the greats.

Available online at www.peggybawnpress.com

Bermuda's Warren Brown Named To Bermuda Race "Roll Of Honour"
Hamilton, Bermuda: The late Warren A. H. Brown, one of Bermuda's world class sailors, has been named to the prestigious Bermuda Race Roll of Honour, in memoriam. The Bermuda Race Roll of Honour recognizes and honours extraordinary achievement in or concerning the Newport Bermuda Race and its predecessor races (the 12 previous ocean races to Bermuda from New York and New England ports). Warren joins Sir Eldon Trimingham as the second Bermudian named to the Roll of Honour.

The prestigious sailors who have won previous Bermuda Race Roll of Honour Awards are Thomas Fleming Day, race founder in 1906, Clarence Kozlay and Robert Somerset who saved the lives of ten men from a burning schooner in the 1932 race, Sir Eldon Trimingham who revived the race and represented the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club for many years, Carleton Mitchell, three-time race winner, 1956-60, George Coumantaros, skipper, with the most elapsed time victories, and sailor in 26 Bermuda Races, and Olin J. Stephens II, designer of many Bermuda Race winners and a longtime advisor to the race.

A Bermuda icon and gentleman sailor, Warren had an extensive and distinguished sailing career lasting over six decades. He passed away on Christmas Day, 2014, at the age of 85. -- Talbot Wilson

bermudarace.com

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Hakan Svensson (SWE)
Ian Walker's Green Dragon, Kenny Read's two Puma campaigns, Freddy Lööf and a gold medal at London 2012 and now match racing in M32 cats, Håkan Svensson has done a great deal for sailing in recent years. 'You won't find a nicer or more enthusiastic person in the sport' - Ian Walker; 'Håkan is changing the game' - Tom Gross; 'He is taking the steps that no one else is willing to do to encourage the young teams' - Chris Poole; 'First he is my husband and second he deserves to win!' - Chatarina Bjorkroth.

This month's nominees:

 

Brian Thompson (GBR)
What a year Brian has had, grabbing the reigns of the MOD 70 Phaedo3 with owner Lloyd Thornburg, wracking up race win after race win and record after record. The competition has come and gone but the Phaedo crew have been unstoppable. In our opinion their finest result was snapping at the heels of the giant Spindrift 2 all the way around the Fastnet course before finishing just minutes behind

 

Knut Frostad (NOR)
No two ways to say this, the Norwegian race veteran saved the Volvo Ocean Race with his decisive move to one-design VO65s. No ifs, no buts, Frostad faced down the waverers and made the call early enough for a complex build programme to be executed in a reasonable time frame, also putting enormous energy into helping ‘his’ teams find backing. He leaves the Volvo Race with a strong foundation for the next edition in 2017

 

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Henri Lloyd, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month/vote-for-sailor-of-the-month

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/digital

A Little Bit Of Europe In North America
The Notice of Race is now published for the 2016 Route Halifax Saint-Pierre International Yacht Race which links the east coast of Canada with the French Islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, located off the coast of Newfoundland.

The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYS) and the Yacht Club de Saint-Pierre are sponsors of the 8th edition of the biennial race which extends from from Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada to Saint-Pierre, France.

The starting gun will be fired in Halifax harbour on Sunday, July 10th at 1300. The record for the race to Saint-Pierre is held by Derek Hatfield's Open-60 Spirit of Canada, finishing the 2010 race in 29:43:56. Depending on the winds and weather, the race course can take two or three days for smaller vessels. The time limit for this year's race is 0900 on Thursday, July 14th.

www.routehalifaxsaintpierre.com

From Scuttlebutt: www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2015/12/16/47769/

Dublin Yacht Racing Clubs To Discuss Merger In 2016
Two of Dublin's leading yacht racing clubs are in talks over a possible merger in order to rationalise a crowded Dublin Bay yacht racing calendar. Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) and the Royal Alfred Yacht Club (RAYC), whose origins date back to the late 1800s, have agreed to sit down and discuss the best way forward given the current 'very crowded calendar, reduced entries and duplication of effort that is impacting on both the RAYC and DBSC.

The link-up would modify the racing programmes of over 3,000 sailors and solve fixture clashes in the countries most popular race area.

At a Committee meeting of the Royal Alfred Yacht Club held last night it was agreed that the committee should enter into discussions with DBSC with a view to exploring and possibly rationalising the existing situation in Dublin Bay.

A small sub-committee was charged with investigating the options available to address these problems up to and including incorporation of the RAYC within DBSC. RAYC Commodore Barry MacNeaney said 'At all times being mindful of the necessity of preserving the unique heritage and tradition of the Royal Alfred'.

afloat.ie/sail/

Dubarry Crosshaven - Preferred By Professionals
If you had to invent the most punishing ordeal for offshore sailing footwear - an extreme boot camp perhaps? - then it would be a professional, fully-crewed round the world race: thousands of ocean-bashing, boat-trashing miles around the planet. If there's even the slightest imperfection in boat, man or gear, this race will find it, break it, then tell everyone about it.

For most of us, it's the ultimate contest of man and machine against nature. For Dubarry, it's R&D. After supplying its ever-green Shamrock boot to the professional crew of Ireland's Green Dragon entry in a 2008-09 round the world race, Dubarry's most fanatical designers listened, developed, tested, listened some more, tweaked, analysed and tested again. The result was the Crosshaven boot.

When Green Dragon arrived in Galway at the end of leg 7 for the best party the race has ever seen, elbowing their way through the "craic addicts" was Dubarry's research team, wanting yet more feedback. Their finishing touches sealed the Crosshaven's reputation as the offshore professional's boot of choice. Where's the proof of that? Professional teams chose Crosshaven in the 2011-12 and 2014-15 round the world races.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

dubarry.com

Exciting Times Ahead For Team Japan
There is a certain buzz permeating through the ranks at SoftBank Team Japan these days - and for good reason.

The America's Cup challenger took delivery of their first AC45S test boat from Oracle Team USA last month while work on the team's base in Dockyard continues.

If all goes accordingly, Team Japan plan to start training in their wing-sail foiling AC45S catamaran early next month and move into their base in the South Basin in Dockyard in February.

Kazuhiko Sofuku, a veteran of four America's Cup campaigns, has been appointed as the team's general manager and Dean Barker, the former Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, as the team's skipper and CEO.

Team Japan have also welcomed Olympic 470 sailor Yugo Yoshida and rower Yuki Kasatani to the ranks.

The pair were selected from a group of 22 Japanese athletes that took part in rigorous fitness and sailing tests to determine who would be invited to join the team. The three-day tryouts took place in Zushi, Japan.

Although the pair have no experience racing multihull sailboats, Draper, who finished fourth at last week's Amlin International Moth Regatta in the Great Sound, believes the high fitness levels both athletes possess will be a massive benefit to the team. -- Colin Thompson

www.royalgazette.com

Enterprising Jackson Shows The Young Guns How It's Done
Ann Jackson and Alan Skeens sailed their Enterprise dinghy to victory at the Datchet Flyer, which saw 95 boats battle through both ends of the wind range. Just as in Round 1 of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series at the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, the Saturday was ridiculously windy to the point where the planes were virtually performing a vertical take-off from nearby Heathrow Airport as they flew into the teeth of a south-westerly breeze that at times was gusting over gale Force 8.

With the wind already blowing hard as the fleet readied itself for three back-to-back handicap races around a challenging inverted-P-shaped course, 82 of the 95 ventured into the unknown. The unknown being: just when was this nice 18 knot breeze going to really kick in, up to 40 knots or more, as it had been forecast?

The answer came sooner than most expected, sooner than almost anyone would have liked.

Race 1 got underway with the wind already gusting over 20 knots, and it got bigger throughout the next 40 minutes. This event was also serving as the Musto Skiff Inland Championships and it was no surprise to see multiple world champion Richard Stenhouse charge to the front of the fleet in such apocalyptic conditions. But even the mighty 'Sten' was knocked over twice by the big gusts, and it was the Contenders that came to the fore, with Dan Taylor winning ahead of Nick Noble, and the Draycote-winning 505 of Tom Gillard and Andy Couch coming in 3rd.

The Datchet Flyer was the first event to be filmed by start-up sailing specialist video crew, VR Sport TV. The interviews and footage from Datchet will be coming out soon, and VR Sport TV will also be shooting at other events in the Series: the Oxford Blue and the Bloody Mary.

For results of the Datchet Flyer: events.sailracer.org

To enter other events in the Series: www.SailJuiceSeries.com

Letters To The Editor - editor@scuttlebutteurope.com
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* From John Burnie: I found this rather interesting link

which gives an insight to some boats / results from the 1973 Admirals Cup. Some of the "veteran" readers may be able to add to the memories. It is interesting to see Sir Robin Knox Johnson as foredeck on FRIGATE (click on image at right to enlarge), entered by Robin Aisher and Tony Boyden (later of 12m fame). CARINA is still around winning and I believe the MORNING CLOUD pictured is the one Jamie Matheson restored and is now campaigning as OPPOSITION. Interesting to see that Dennis Doyle in MOONDUSTER just pipped a certain back marker called Raoul Gardini.

JAKARANDA was the first real race boat I ever sailed on (but not in this regatta). Harold Cudmore came sailing on her with us once - he hit me with a winch handle for talking too much - (he says I still do) the downside in allowing professionals on board I suppose.

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The Last Word
I didn't know that painters and writers retired. They're like soldiers - they just fade away. -- Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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