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

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IDEC Sport At The Halfway Point In Less Than 20 Days
The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran will this evening complete the first half of the round the world voyage. It will be around 1800hrs UTC that they will have sailed the 11,160 theoretical miles representing half of the total distance between Ushant and Ushant via the three major capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. Joyon and his men swallowed up this first half at an average speed of 24.2 knots. In reality they have sailed 13,200 miles out on the water, at the incredible average speed of 28.7 knots.

At the start of their nineteenth day of racing, as they approach New Zealand, this performance places them 1060 miles ahead of the title-holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, Banque Populaire V. As they begin to tackle the world's biggest ocean, the Pacific, there is a strange problem for Joyon and his band of soldiers. How can they slow down a boat that is eager to speed across the ocean? They need to look after the boat and there is the fear of going faster than the low-pressure system and ending up in calms. This today means that Joyon, Audigane, Pella, Surtel, Stamm and Gahinet are reining in their machine.

After Leeuwin, just two days ago, it is the reference time from Ushant- Tasmania to the SE of Australia, which was smashed in the middle iof last night and taken away from Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli's Spindrift 2 maxi-trimaran by Joyon, Pella, Surtel, Gahinet, Stamm and Audigane. The new time is 18 days, 18 hours and 31 minutes replacing the previous time of 20 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes set last year by the world's biggest racing trimaran and a crew of fourteen.

www.idecsport.com/sailing/

Dee Caffari Leads All Female Crew On German Boat DB Schenker
The women on new German entry DB Schenker have a unique challenge at EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2017: to inspire women from across the GCC to follow in their footsteps.

British sailing star Dee Caffari returns to the Tour for the fourth time as skipper of an all women crew and despite putting together a hot shot team, comprising 50% Omani sailors, her ambitions are geared more to making a difference than reaching the podium.

"We will be seeking to inspire fellow females from the GCC states, we want to put Oman on the map and show what Omani women can achieve, we hope to inspire others around the GCC to follow in their footsteps."

For the 2017 edition, Caffari's all women team is sponsored by the international logistics company DB Schenker who in August last year were official logistics partner for Olympic sailing teams from Austria, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland at Rio 2016.

She has selected four Omani sailors including Ibtisam Al Salmi, one of the Middle East's first professional female sailors as well as Marwa Al Khaifi and Tamathir Al Balushi, both sailing instructors for Oman Sail, who competed in EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour with Caffari last year.

In addition, three of Caffari's team are making their debut and they include a fourth Omani Hajer Al Balushi, a member of Oman Sail's thriving Women's Sailing Programme, and Hannah Diamond, a former member of the British Olympic sailing squad who campaigns a Nacra 17. Libby Greenhalgh, one of the world's finest meteorologists, also comes to the Tour for the first time with her experience of thousands of racing miles, including a Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) campaign in 2014/15, set to inspire her crew and race fans.

www.sailingarabiathetour.com

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America's Cup Impose 28-Day Sailing Ban As Team New Zealand Fallout Continues
America's Cup syndicates have had a 28-day sailing ban imposed on their new boats in an apparent concession to Team New Zealand.

The protocol for the Cup has been amended under agreement by all six teams involved in the 35th America's Cup which starts in Bermuda in late May.

The sailing blackout appears to be a move by the cup's arbitration panel to help appease the disruption caused by stripping Auckland of the qualifying regatta and relocating that to Bermuda.

The loss of the regatta cost Team New Zealand any chance of government funding and set back their campaign considerably in terms of time and money.

Other teams have already set up bases in Bermuda but the Kiwis are yet to do so.

The 28-day sailing ban on the new AC50 boats to be raced in the cup will allow Team New Zealand to ship their foiling catamaran to Bermuda without having their training and buildup compromised compared to their opponents.

Team New Zealand's apparent case against the Cup authorities and the London hearing has never been acknowledged. Consequently there have been no confirmation of financial compensation to the Kiwis.

The public revelation of this development on training restrictions has come about because it requires a change to the Cup protocol.

www.stuff.co.nz/sport/

Safety Boots & Strategic Decisions
Emirates Team New Zealand is back hard at work this week as 2017, the year of the 35th America's Cup, kicks off at the frantic pace needed to ensure the team arrives in Bermuda in the strongest possible shape to win back the America's Cup in the next six months.

After only a day and a half back on the job, a combined task force of sailors, designers, shore and administration team members has already seen the 990 square meters platform tent deconstructed and loaded into containers to put on a ship to Bermuda.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton describes the scene at the base on the 3rd of January as 'inspiring'.

"It has been an encouraging way to start the year for the team and I. To look out of my office window and see an army of team members from all departments, including the entire sailing team, ripping into the hard labour that needed to be done from 0700 on a public holiday was inspiring."

With minds currently on the move to Bermuda, they of course are not far away from the serious business of what happens on the water between now and the 26th of May for the first race day of the Louis Vuitton Cup Qualifiers.

Plenty of decisions to make, and plenty of containers to continue to load. 2017 has arrived!

emirates-team-new-zealand.americascup.com/

BIU Threatens America's Cup
Hamilton, Bermuda: An intense day of protests over the Reverend Nicholas Tweed's work permit culminated with Chris Furbert threatening to derail the America's Cup.

The Bermuda Industrial Union president levelled an ultimatum yesterday at Michael Dunkley, the Premier, warning that he would jeopardise the showpiece event if the permit is not renewed, and that the island would face further labour withdrawals.

The pair had met yesterday afternoon, after several hundred people had joined a People's Campaign march through Hamilton in support of Mr Tweed, the London-born pastor at St Paul AME Church.

Speaking to the crowd at St Paul AME Centennial Hall at the end of the rally, Mr Furbert added that the airport redevelopment deal had formed part of his attempted bargain with Mr Dunkley.

"The America's Cup is in great threat of being derailed in June and July," he said.

"The America's Cup will be in jeopardy," he said. "The membership is not going back to work until those two matters are resolved."

The Premier rounded on Mr Furbert last night and vowed that the Bermuda Government would not be bullied. "We will not be bullied or threatened or intimidated," Mr Dunkley said. "If there are those who wish to impede our progress, they impede the progress of all Bermudians and we all suffer." -- Jonathan Bell, Sarah Lagan in the Royal Gazette

www.royalgazette.com

Seahorse February 2017
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

World news
Those crazy Frenchies, Coville on a (serious) roll, Agincourt revisited, the AC50 'sailing challenge', (quite likely) the most important new high-performance small boat since the 49er... Plus keeping the rain out in Key West (at long last). Ivor Wilkins, Blue Robinson, Patrice Carpentier, Andrew Mcdougall, Dobbs Davis, Dean Barker

Rod Davis - Damn the torpedoes
We have set a new course for the America's Cup - for now at least we must stay with it...

World Sailing - Positive outlook
Incoming president of sailing's world governing body Kim Andersen is clearly up for the job!

ORC column
Big mountain, small molehill, but Mr Chairman Stan Honey stayed on top of it all (somehow)

Design - Time for a truce?
Gino Morrelli is one of a number of leading multihull designers concerned that things are getting more than a little out of hand

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Vendee Globe 2020: Boris Herrmann, The First German
The German sailor, Boris Herrmann has just acquired the IMOCA monohull Edmond de Rothschild, currently in the hands of Sebastien Josse and Gitana team. The 35-year old German has been dreaming of taking part in the next edition of the Vendee Globe in 2020 and this is now becoming reality.

That is the reason why he was forced with regrets to give up his place in the crew of the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran currently taking part in the Jules Verne Trophy to Sebastien Audigane.

Boris is benefiting from the support of a private German investor, Gerhard Senft, and has the backing of Pierre Casiraghi, a member of the Monaco Yacht Club, with whom he intends to sail in major events in the 2017 calendar.

He now needs to complete the funding and team. "This is a truly international team with German, French and Italian backing from Pierre and Gerhard," explained Boris. "Pierre Casiraghi will be sailing with me next year in the Fastnet Race and in the whole of our 2017 programme. We have known each other since competing in the GC32 circuit. I now need to spend all my energy on this project. That is the reason why I am standing down from the maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT. I would not have done that, if I didn't fully trust my replacement, Sebastien Audigane, whom I have known well since we sailed together between New York and San Francisco."

www.borisherrmannracing.com

World Sailing Show
It was crunch time at the America's Cup World Series in Japan as the final event promised to hand one team a big potential leg up in the America's Cup itself in 2017.

How the Southern Ocean became a race track during the northern hemisphere winter and how foiling kiteboards are the future for sailing.

Plus, part 2 of our exclusive interview with Sir Russell Coutts, our tribute to a spectacular year afloat along with news and views from around the world.

Cape2Rio Yacht Breaks Boom, Limps Home
Cape Town - Bad luck has struck a Cape2Rio yacht within two days of its departure from Cape Town and it is limping home after breaking its boom.

The yacht Dark Matter's website reported on Tuesday: "We have received some terrible news. Around midnight Dark Matter lost (its) boom and is limping back to Cape Town.

"With a 22 knot head on South Easterly and 10 feet (3m) swells it will be tough sailing only on the jib. They are still our heroes and will be in our thoughts until they are safe at shore."

The Royal Cape Yacht Club-based boat was among the main fleet that left from Table Bay at 2pm on Sunday. It is a 12.14m yacht skippered by David Elcock and was racing in the IRC2 class.

www.sport24.co.za/OtherSport/

* WOW have decided to retire from the race with two broken dagger boards. All good on board and they are making their way back to the coast.

* Trekker 2 has experienced rudder failure and starting taking in water. Initially a Pan Pan was transmitted which has now been elevated to a Mayday.

MRCC Maritime rescue is in control of the situation and diverted 2 cargo vessels to assist .MVGolafruz was within 2 nm from Trekker and is likely to have reached them.They are in radio contact with each other.

Weather is good and all crew are reported OK.

Update:
Happy to report that all 8 crew members on Trekker 2 have safely been transferred to MV Golafruz. All crew safe!

cape2rio2017.com

Sir Dennis Faulkner 1926-2016
One of the most noted sailing figures in Northern Ireland, Sir Dennis Faulkner died peacefully at his home close along the shore beside the hidden waters of Ringhaddy Sound in Strangford Lough at the age of 90 on New Year's Eve.

Although in the public eye he may have been best known as the younger brother of Brian Faulkner, who was five years his senior and was Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in the early 1970s, while Dennis cherished his privacy he was active in voluntary naval and military service. This was in addition to being a leading businessman associated with several major companies, and he was also a very keen sailing enthusiast from childhood.

Dennis Faulkner's greatest enjoyment lay in interacting with the sea, in its most open form when he was in his prime, and in the intimate waters of Strangford Lough as the years moved on. He never lost his adventurous spirit, and on sailing through Ringhaddy Sound one day, we were much impressed by seeing the man himself out for a quick spin on a windsurfer. His final boat was Whimbrel, a Hawk day-sailer, and with her he rounded out a very complete life afloat. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends in their sad loss.

WM Nixon's full obituary in Afloat:
www.afloat.ie/resources/news-update/item/34619-sir-dennis-faulkner-1926-2016

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The Last Word
People take pictures of the Summer, just in case someone thought they had missed it, and to proved that it really existed. -- Sir Ray Davies

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