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.

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Comanche Victorious In Hobart
Comanche at the Organ Pipes. Photo by Carlo Borlenghi. Click on image for photo gallery.

Comanche Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's super maxi Comanche pulled off an incredible feat tonight, taking line honours in the 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, winning the Illingsworth trophy and a Rolex Yacht Master II timepiece. This was the first time in 17 years that the most coveted title in offshore yacht racing has been won by an American team since Larry Ellison's Sayonara won in 1998.

Designed to break records, the 100 foot maxi debuted in last year's edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and since then has circled the globe, collecting the most prestigious titles in yachting - setting a new 24 hour monohull distance record, line honours in the New York Yacht Club Transatlantic Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race

Returning to Australia, seeking the title that they so narrowly missed out on last year, was a Herculean effort, which has paid off nicely.

Despite facing retirement after having suffered significant damage (to a dagger board and rudder) on the first night, skipper Ken Read made the game-changing call to effect repairs and finish the race, saying: "I don't care if we limp over the line!"

The French-designed maxi managed to extend their lead this afternoon as they rounded Tasman Island and crossed Storm Bay towards the finish line, putting solid distance between fellow American competitor George David's Rambler 88, which is expected to finish in the early Tuesday morning (AEDT). Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin 100 is in close pursuit despite having severed their starboard dagger board overnight, crashing through the rough seas.

The 2015 edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has delivered some of the most grueling race conditions since 2004. Almost one third of the fleet of 108 retired in the first 48 hours - the litany of damage included rudders, dagger boards, masts and sails.

Comanche's official finish time for the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was 2 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds.

www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

* A nice article on the dolerite sea columns shown in the image here

Clipper Fleet Powers Across Bass Strait In 'Hard Race'
The fleet continues to make good progress towards Hobart achieving decent speeds Tuesday morning local time across Bass Strait after some teams struggled in light winds close to the south east Australian coast.

However progress over the next 24 hours down the east coast of Tasmania will depend on whether the teams suffer the shadow of the island from continuing westerlies or winds veer back from the north.

Wendo Tuck has continued to keep Da Nang - Viet Nam ahead of the rest of the fleet but it is still very tight and tactics will now be critical.

Currently on top of the overall leaderboard, LMAX Exchange has had mixed fortunes on this race, dropping to below two knots at one stage. "After heavy weather, there was no wind. In the south-east corner of Australia, the wind began to ease," explained skipper Olivier Cardin.

"We were still beating to Tasmania. Two options were available, offshore or the Bass Strait to avoid the centre of a high pressure system. We chose the Bass Strait.

"Unfortunately, the wind disappeared while it was backing, so it was impossible to tack to escape this. We were stuck for quite a few hours, and the Clipper Race position report showed us in last position for a period of time."

It subsequently broke free and made ground on the rest of the fleet and were up to third place by 2300 UTC 28 December.

clipperroundtheworld.com

ISAF Youth Worlds Opens In Langkawi
The 45th edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships has been declared open by World Sailing Vice President Chris Atkins at the opening ceremony in Langkawi, Malaysia.

During the ceremony, 425 sailors, 125 coaches and officials from a record 76 countries paraded towards the Astaka of the Lagenda Park with their national flags waving for all to see.

The event breaks all previous numbers in terms of participation and number of nations. The previous best of 67, achieved at the 2014 event in Tavira, Portugal, was easily surpassed with a number of new and returning nations in Malaysia.

Attention will now turn to the first day of racing which is scheduled to start at 10:00 local time on Tuesday 29 December. Racing continues through to 3 January 2016 where nine Youth World Sailing Champions will be crowned.

www.isafyouthworlds.com

* Gerald New weighs in on the controversy of Israeli athletes:

As someone who has worked in the Malaysia/Indoneisa area I am suprised that World Sailing is unaware of their policy of denying access to anyone with an Israeli visa stamp in their passport, let alone being a national of that country.

British nationals who had such offending documents, were able to get a "clean" version, something obviously not available to the Israeli competitors.

I wonder what the RYA would have done if told that they could not fly their national flag or have the national anthem played as a requirement for competing - shrugged and said it must be a misunderstanding?

www.sailweb.co.uk

* As for the ISAF investigation?

"Today we saw how all are happy and pleased with Malaysia's organisation of the tournament. Nothing was mentioned by the World Sailing representative to me on the issue because they know our policy," he told reporters after officiating at the tournament tonight.

He was commenting on the decision barring Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan from entering Malaysia recently to participate in the tournament, which begins tomorrow.

Khairy said the decision was not made by him but by the Cabinet in accordance with Malaysia's foreign policy which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Khairy said he could not stop the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) from conducting investigations into Malaysia's decision but the world federation had been informed of the nation's stance about Israel's involvement in any world championship hosted by Malaysia.

www.bernama.com

Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua Sailing Week It's blowing twenty gusting twenty-five, blue water's hissing at the rail. The helm loads up, the boat takes off, down another Caribbean roller. The wild ride continues, stem-deep pristine ocean cascades over the bow. The deck is hot, the sun is brilliant, and so is the competition. Sun, Sea and Surf, the pace is on. Palm trees dance on Pigeon Beach, the 'Trades' are in, and you don't want them to stop.

Cracking jokes on the dock, salt encrusted, a cold one soothes the thirst. The beat goes on and the rhythm hits you. You nod, shake your hips, and move your hands and feet. You're tuned-in and the DJ's playing your favourite song with a hundred or more dancing with you. The sun sighs farewell, setting the skies ablaze, but the party goes on. You don't want to stop but it will be blowing twenty when the sun says - Good Morning.

The 49th Edition of Antigua Sailing Week - April 23-29 2016

www.sailingweek.com/v4/

To enter: www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=1477

Joe Harris: No More Record
Aboard his Class40 GryphonSolo2, American Joe Harris departed Newport (RI) on November 15 in a bid to break the 40 Foot Monohull Solo Non-Stop Round the World Record. Here's an update from Joe on December 23...

Yesterday was a tough day. It was very stormy, with enormous seas and winds between 30 and 45 knots throwing the boat all over the place. It was hard to simply stand up. In the middle of this, I began to smell something burning. It smelled like melting plastic... and that's what it turned out to be.

The "black box" regulator that sits under my navigation seat for my hydro-generator system that takes the AC current produced from the propellers spinning off the back of the boat and turns it into DC current to charge the batteries, had overheated and fried its circuit board.

Unfortunately, I don't have either a spare regulator box onboard, nor do I have enough diesel fuel to charge the batteries for the estimated 85 days left in the voyage without the benefit of the hydros' contribution.

For this reason, I have elected to divert GS2 to Cape Town, South Africa, which is about 1,000 miles due East and not far off my current path, in order to replace the burned regulator box and get my hydro-gen system going again.

I plan to make the repairs as quickly as possible in Cape Town - without touching land - which should allow me to get back out on the race course with minimal time lost. However, this stopover will mean the end of my official record attempt in the eyes of the governing World Sailing Speed Record Council due to stopping to receive "outside assistance", which is not allowed for a solo, non-stop circumnavigation record attempt.

www.gryphonsolo2.com

Background: While Joe will no longer be able to officially break the existing record of 137 days, 20 hours, 01 minute, 57 seconds - set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan in 2013 - he will continue to unofficially better the mark. Finishing in Newport, Joe will need to average 195 miles per day, or approximately 8.2 knots, to improve on Chuan's pace.

From Scuttlebutt: www.sailingscuttlebutt.com

Newport Bermuda Race: The 50th Thrash In 2016
Newport RI: Registration for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race opens on January 12, 2016 through the race website, BermudaRace.com.

To help captains through the entry process, which includes boat inspection, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee has posted the Guide to Entry on the race website. First-time captains are invited to request advice and assistance from an experienced Race Ambassador.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions is maintained on the race website to help explain rules and procedures.

The Cruising Club of America Bermuda Race Safety-at-Sea Seminar will be held March 19-20 in Newport. For more information about the seminar and to register, contact Safety-at-Sea. -- Talbot Wilson

BermudaRace.com

Vladimir Prosikhin Voted 'YCM Sailor Of The Year 2015'
Prince Albert II and Vladimir Prosikhin. Click on image for photo gallery.

Yacht Club Monaco At the Yacht Club de Monaco's traditional Winter Cocktail when Club President HSH Prince Albert II welcomes new members, the YCM Awards - Trophee Credit Suisse 2015 were held to pay tribute to the Club's top sailors.

In a vote put to all YCM members, Russian sailor and Monaco resident Vladimir Prosikhin, RC44 2015 World Champion and a Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series regular in the Melges 20 class, was presented with the 'Sailor of the Year 2015' trophy by HSH Prince Albert II. He succeeds Roberto Tomasini Grinover, last year's winner.

Roberto Tamburelli won the Smeralda 888 International Championship, while J/70 Monaco Class Association President Jacopo Carrain, instigator of this class's first European Championship, held in the Principality in October, dominated the J/70 Monaco Championship and Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series 2014-2015.

In the YCM Youth Awards which honour and encourage the Club's youngest sailors, Semen Maltcev received a prize in the Optimist category, as did the French Vice-Champion in the Laser category, Juan Casalone.

www.yacht-club-monaco.mc

Bermuda's Great Sound Beckons For M32 Fleet
A fleet of six M32's will kick off the 2016 M32 Series Bermuda from 8-10 January sailing on Bermuda's 'Great Sound', the same race area chosen for the 35th America's Cup in 2017. The inaugural M32 Series Bermuda will run from January to April with one event per month.

Organised by M32 North America in conjunction with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the fleet for the opening event will consist of private owners and professional teams including Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charlie Enright, and former Olympic sailor and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Sally Barkow.

Barkow, who was recently awarded a Tour Card for the 2016 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), is also taking the opportunity in Bermuda to prepare for the Tour Championship season starting in Fremantle, Australia in March.

Competing against Barkow is Newport based Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Charlie Enright. He and Mark Towill will be racing as their own team, 11th-hour Racing

Completing the full line-up for the first event are private owners Mikkel Rossberg and Olli- Pekka from Denmark, Don Wilson from the United States and M32 Series founder Hakan Svensson from Sweden.

For the second race of the Series from 19-21 February, five-time match racing world champion Ian Williams will be joining the fleet with his new GAC Pindar branded M32.

M32 Series Bermuda 2016
Event 1: 8-10 January
Event 2: 19-21 February
Event 3: 11-13 March
Event 4: 15-17 April

www.m32series.com
www.m32world.com

Letters To The Editor - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Roger Marshall: It is nice to see that somebody (Tom Ehman) is picking up the banner thrown down by the ProSail group in the 1990s. Internal politics tore the ProSail operation apart, but not before Laurie Davidson had designed a very modern 12 meter and Merrifield-Roberts in Bristol, RI had begun construction.

The idea was then as it is now, to develop a one-design 12 meter to allow level racing in an iconic class.

If anybody is interested I still have all the ProSail data and information developed at the time, even down to the lines of the boat (but you'd have to get Laurie Davidson's permission to use them).

* From Len Davies: How strange that Richard Gladwell refers to South Africa's so-called refusal of visas without reference to the Russian Federation-inspired and IYRU-supported sending home of the South African Optimist Team from the World Championships held in Yarimka, Turkey in 1976.

Is this just selective reporting or an agenda?

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The Last Word
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