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

The Saint Helena High Comes Back For More
While the first 10 skippers have good conditions in the South and can maintain high speeds, the others are having to face up to an extension of the Saint Helena High that will block their route tomorrow.

3 competitors have apparently chosen to bypass the anticyclone via the West (Roura, 0'Coineen and Heerema). They are sailing downwind and should not stall too much. The rest of the fleet clearly preferred a shorter route. They're sailing upwind in an easing breeze, which is getting lighter with a big swell. The conditions are not easy and it's unlikely to improve tomorrow with the wind getting even lighter.

Which is the best choice? A longer route with favorable winds or a more direct route with lighter headwinds? Answer within 48 or 72 hours, once the whole fleet hits the Roaring Forties.

* Flying blind...

Vendee Globe title contender Jeremie Beyou has revealed he is racing 'blind' after the satellite system he uses to get weather information broke.

The fifth-placed French sailor was today powering east at more than 20 knots, riding on a fast-moving depression 500 nautical miles south of South Africa and 700nm behind the leading pair of Alex Thomson and Armel Le Cleac'h.

Without the capability to look at what weather systems lie down the track for his Maitre CoQ IMOCA 60 yacht, Beyou said he was having to glean whatever he could from safety reports from the Vendee Globe Race Management.

But he is effectively just having to deal with whatever the wind gods throw at him while trying to stay in touch with fourth-placed Paul Meilhat, whose SMA is just two miles ahead.

Thankfully Beyou has plenty of experience of ocean racing without weather information - he is a three-time winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, a solo race where any weather info is banned.

"Right now I'm simply operating on a day to day basis," the 40-year-old from Morbihan in Brittany said. "I can't really follow what's going on ahead as I'm still lacking weather information due to a broken fleet satellite.

I am getting some information in the safety reports sent out by Race Management and I'm able to download the odd weather file with the Sat C.

Essentially, it's difficult to form a real game plan for more than 24 or 36 hours down the track so I'm making headway by observing the conditions around me and correcting my course accordingly.

vendeeglobe.org

RORC Transatlantic: MOD70 Disagreement
As dawn broke on the second day of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the majority of the fleet were still to round Tenerife, the last mark of the course before the international racing fleet head out into the open waters of the Atlantic. Land effects were still the main influence on tactics and strategy, with some big gains and losses in the fleet overnight.

Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3, skippered by Brian Thompson has pulled out an astonishing lead of more than 100 miles on Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70, Maserati. However, this huge lead is due to a very different strategy developing, rather than a speed differential. Phaedo3 look to be committed to a southerly route, whilst Maserati appear to be going north. The Italian multihull may have delayed their move north to enjoy a calmer sea state after passing La Palma.

In the IRC fleet, Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard 3 has been revelling in the upwind conditions, pulling out a lead of 30 miles on the monohull fleet. After IRC time correction, it is estimated that Arco Van Nieuwland & Andries Verde's Dutch Marten 72, Aragon is leading. In the early hours of the morning Aragon was side-by-side with Swan 82, Stay Calm. The powerful Swan tacked to the north whilst Aragon stayed on the same tack, resulting in a nine mile lead on the water this morning. -- Louay Habib

rorctransatlantic.rorc.org

Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 30 Jan - 4 Feb 2017
Well organised racing off Grenada's western and southern coastline and lots of fun ashore make this a great choice to kick off the year's racing season in the Caribbean. The 6 different classes, which cater for both serious and more relaxed racers, are filling up nicely, with a healthy number of participants in the spinnaker flying CSA category.

There is still time to benefit from the early registration discount for this friendly, yet challenging regatta, whose title sponsor, Island Water World, is the well-established Caribbean chandlery that has two stores in Grenada and well-stocked locations throughout the island chain. Register online and pay by 30 November 2016 for US$90 at yachtscoring.com

Those flying into Grenada from other Caribbean islands for the regatta can also take advantage of the 20% discount available if you book by 30 November 2016 with LIAT The Caribbean Airline - see full details on our website www.grenadasailingweek.com

Sign up for our newsletter, email us at info@grenadasailingweek.com, find us on acebook at GrenadaSailingWeek, or Twitter @grenadasailweek

Team Aqua By A Point; Team Ceeref By A Point
Photo by Max Ranchi, www.maxranchi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Again a RC44 season has concluded with impossibly close results: Chris Bake's Team Aqua today won the RC44 Valletta Cup by a point from Igor Lah's Team CEEREF, but with a two point advantage going into this final event, Team CEEREF claimed the overall RC44 Fleet Racing Championship title for 2016 by a point from Team Aqua.

The final day of the RC44 Valletta Cup brought sun, but the wind off Malta never filled in sufficiently to allow the final races to be sailed, despite the 10 boat fleet venturing out on to the water. As a result Saturday's positions stand.

Being the longest-standing teams in the RC44 class, it is appropriate that Team Aqua and Team CEEREF should dominate the fleet racing in this 10th anniversary season for the Russell Coutts one designs. As Team Nika managed in 2015, so this year Team CEEREF scored the coveted 'double': Victory in the season's championship as well as the World Championship, this year held in Sotogrande, Spain.

the Russian teams, Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team and Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika didn't manage to repeat the impressive consistency they demonstrated in 2015, when they won the RC44 Match Racing and Fleet Racing titles respectively, although Team Nika claimed this season's RC44 Portsmouth Cup.

The RC44s return in 2017 with the RC44 Sotogrande Cup over 27-30 April.

rc44.com

One Month At Sea
Solo sailor Gaetano Mura is approaching the "mark" of one month at sea on board his Class40 Italia on which he's trying to establish the new round-the-world record from Gibraltar to Gibraltar, taking the colours of Italy on the planet's oceans. This is another decisive moment for Gaetano, after crossing the Equator, who is positioned at around 30 degrees south, sailing in strong winds created by a low pressure system but heading fast towards the Cape of Good Hope. Having left the calms and hot temperatures of the doldrums the next scenario for Gaetano are the southern oceans, with their high winds and intense cold.

Gaetano Mura's meteorologists Andrea Boscolo e Alessandro Pezzoli from MeteoSport have issued a note outlining the weather forecast for the coming days. "The tactical choice to head south instead of east nstead of following a wind that initially appeared to be favourable, proved to be the winning one and enabled Gaetano to position Italia on the right side of a huge low pressure system that is currently moving south of where Gaetano is. This option for the next 48 hours will be the right one to approach the Cape of Good Hope on the rumb line.

Over the past hours the wind was from 280°-300° and topped 30-35 knots, with rain and storms due to the passage of a cold front. But on Sunday, we expect a new high pressure to come from the Argentinian coasts and get to the area where Gaetano is positioned, propelling Italia towards the Cape of Good Hope and the Southern Oceans."

Gaetano Mura's route can be followed via the tracking on his official website: www.gaetanomurarecord.com/la-rotta/

Yacht Racing Forum 2016 - Its Winter, Let's Go To Malta
Just 28 days to Christmas and today many of the significant players are flying into the warmest European city, Valletta the Maltese capital in the middle of the Mediterranean, some 80km south of Sicily for the ninth Yacht Racing Forum.

The Yacht Racing Forum was conceived and initially run by Informa Yacht Group, the first two forums were in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 2008 and 2009, Estoril Portugal in 2010 and 2011 Gothenburg, Sweden 2012, 2013, Barcelona 2014 and in 2015 in Geneva under its new owner Maxcomm Communications, who have been involved in the event since its inauguration in a PR role.

Co-hosted by Yachting Events and Yachting Malta, the Yacht Racing Forum is taking place at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, overlooking Valletta's Marsamxett Harbour where the RC 44 Valetta Cup, headquartered at the hotel marina, will finish today.

The Forum continues to build in strength with the list of sponsors growing significantly. The newest ones Zhik, OC Sports and the Star Sailors League have joined a range of leading sailing brands that includes World Sailing, the Volvo Ocean Race, World Match Racing Tour, Clipper Ventures, North Sails and many more.

The conference is split into four modules: Marketing and Media, Event and Race Management, Risk Management and Safety and Top of the Sport. The Design and Technology Symposium will take place alongside the Yacht Racing Forum, on Monday November 28 while the balance of the Forum will continue until Tuesday evening. -- Rob Kothe

Full story: scuttlebutteurope.com

Cyber Monday Deals From Performance Sailing Shop Now Available
Pick up great deals on technical sailing kit from Henri Lloyd, Musto, Crewsaver, adidas and Rooster until 23:59 on Monday 27th November 2016, including £50 off Henri Lloyd Freedom jackets and Musto BR2 Offshore jackets, 40% off adidas JB01 deck shoes and £100 off adidas Mizzen jacket and trouser bundles.

See more online at https://performancesailingshop.com

Royal Hong Kong Round The Island Race
Teenager Calum Gregor wins for third year in a row

250+ boats turned up for the 26nm 2016 Around the Island Race. Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen set two start lines off of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island Clubhouse with the line closest to Kellett Island used for starting the day boats and the outside line for the cruiser, racer and beach cat divisions. The first start was at 0830hrs with the Pandoras, HKPN Monohulls and Multihull Cruisers setting off in a northerly breeze of around 4kts.

By the end of the 20 start sequences, the breeze had built to around 8kts and shifted to the north-west allowing some of the racers to pop their kites as they crossed the line. All starts got away cleanly except for a few individual recalls including a Laser, Flying Fifteen and two Etchells. The last division to set off at 1000hrs was the ATI Multihull Beach-Craft and last year's Around the Island Line Honours winner, International Moth sailed by Rob Partridge.

With race management positioned at various locations around the island, a north-westerly breeze of 7 to 19kts was reported; setting the tone for a possible patchy race. As the fleet made their way up the harbour towards the Lei Yue Mun Gap it was a colourful sight to behold with hundreds of kites on the horizon.

Calum Gregor's 29er was the first boat to make it to Big Wave Bay - Calum was the Overall winner of the last two editions of the Around the Island Race, helming a 420 in the 2014 edition and a 29er in 2015.

www.rhkyc.org.hk/AroundtheIslandRace.aspx

Kwok And Dash Clean Up IRC At Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship
Beau Geste. Photo by Allan Coker. Click on image for photo gallery.

Beau Geste and JustADash have cleaned up Division 1 and 2 respectively at the 39th Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC) hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club, each winning all three races.

Hong Kong businessman Kwok and his Team Beau Geste, representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron won all three Division 1 races from fellow TP52, RKO (Aaron Rowe). Bob Cox vastly improved on his seventh of yesterday to move up to third overall.

Phil Dash, at the helm of his Beneteau First 40, JustADash, also won all three Division 2 races, beating the Matt Wilkinson skippered Farr 30, Foreign Affair and Philosophers, skippered by Peter Sorensen, by four and a half and eight points respectively.

Dash sailed his usual exemplary regatta, in fact this is the fourth straight year he has won Division 2 at the SSORC.

The two Premier divisions sailed a two-lap windward/leeward course and then a triangle and windward/leeward race off South Head to finish off the regatta. JustADash was good across all ranges of racing.

MHYC member Jeff Carter and his crew were at the top of their game with Edake, claiming the Farr 40 component of the SSORC. Carter defeated his nearest rivals, Zen (Gordon Ketelbey) and Double Black (Rob Pitts) for the top spot.

Adrian Walters' Shaw 11 metre, Little Nico, edged out Chris Way's Melges 32, Easy Tiger III by half a point to win the Super 12's trophy at the SSORC. Rod Jones was third with Machiatto, but the Queenslander fell out of contention for the top prize after blowing up a runner block in yesterday's Race 4. It cost him dearly.

The fleet traced the 7 Islands Race course that a separate fleet sailed in the SSORC yesterday, taking in some of Sydney's most famous small islands, both sides of the Harbour Bridge. However, they had a heart-stopping scratch start off MHYC - no room for mistakes in such a narrow channel.

One of Walters' crew, Mitch White, said it is a credit to the Super 12s handicapping system that disparate boats with bowsprits, measuring between 30 and 40 feet, could finish a race with exactly the same time after their handicaps were applied. -- Di Pearson

www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au

Director of RORC Rating Office
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a highly motivated and enthusiastic sailor with a technical background to take over the day to day management of the RORC Rating Office based in Lymington, Hampshire, UK.

Reporting to the Chief Executive the applicant will be one of the senior executives in the RORC organisation managing and motivating a small but highly experienced professional team at the Lymington office. This high profile and multi-faceted role has influence on the sport shaping both the competitive enjoyment of sailors worldwide through the IRC rating system as well as the management of yacht measurement, the safety aspects of the sport and the creation and maintenance of class rules for a variety of offshore one designs.

The successful candidate must have a high level of understanding of the technical elements of yacht performance, a good knowledge of yacht racing, and be computer literate, capable of learning the processes of our bespoke development software. They will be expected to develop longer term strategies for the IRC rating system and ways to develop the sport of sailing, encouraging more sailors to compete at all levels. The role involves travel between the various RORC offices and to venues in the UK and overseas to discuss and develop RORC's relationships with other organisations and stakeholders such as UNCL our partner in IRC and the ability to speak with authority and knowledge about the technical and safety aspects of the sport.

Other responsibilities include budget creation and management, developing measurement techniques and managing the team of RORC/IRC measurers around the UK as well as being available to assist with any yacht measurement matters. A sound knowledge of WS RRS & ERS, related ISO standards and STIX as well as the history of rating systems would be advantageous.

An attractive salary and benefits package includes a pension scheme, life insurance, 25 days annual leave plus public holidays.

Please send a CV and covering letter to: nf@rorc.org or post for the attention of:
Eddie Warden Owen
20 St James' Place
London SW1A 1NN

Closing date for applications is 23rd December 2016.
Interviews will be held in London the week commencing 9th January 2017.

18ft Skiffs: NSW Championship - Race 5
Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge are the 2016-2017 NSW 18ft Skiff champions after finishing in second place in today's final race of the series on Sydney Harbour.

Going into the last race of the championship tied with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), the winner was going to be the one which finished ahead of the other and for most of the race it was obvious that the Smeg team would come out on top.

A jib problem on the final windward leg caused a minor drama for the Smeg crewmen who had to make a quick 'repair' so they could retain their position to the Rose Bay mark.

Once they had turned for home the problem was solved as the big red spinnaker pulled them through to finish second behind the brilliant Appliancesonline.com.au skiff.

It was a brilliant win for the Appliances crew who were sailing their first race together since the JJ Giltinan Championship earlier this year.

Skipper Dave Witt returned from Hong Kong just in time for today's race, and with the professional crew work of Tom Clout and Tom Anderson, the team was outstanding as they powered away to win by 2m28s from Smeg.

Defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O'Çonnor and Dave Slennet) was a further 12s back in third place, ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Yandoo (John Winning) and Noakesailing (Sean Langman).

Smeg finished the championship on 7 points, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 9, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 15, Yandoo 21, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 22 and Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) 29 points. -- Frank Quealey

Next Sunday's race is for the Yandoo Trophy

www.18footers.com.au

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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
History...is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind. -- Edward Gibbon

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