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

The Vendee Globe By The Numbers
In five days from now at 1202hrs UTC on Sunday 6th November, 29 skippers will be setting sail from Les Sables d'Olonne for the eighth edition of the Vendee Globe. With more than 680,000 people visiting the VendeeGlobe Village since it opened, and with exceptional media arrangements around the world for the start, the Vendee Globe is truly an exceptional global event.

With 300,000 visitors to the site in the first week after it opened, visitor numbers for the Official Village for the 8th Vendee Globe were already very impressive. Then the sun came out and since then, numbers grew to reach 380,000 in the second week.

The 2016 Vendee Globe

1: Previous winner lining up: Vincent Riou (in 2004-2005)

2: Number of birthdays to be celebrated at sea before mid-February (Conrad Colman 2nd December, Didac Costa 22nd December)

4: Official sponsors:
- Vendee the French department: Vendee Council
- The town of Les Sables d'Olonne
- Sodebo
- The Pays de la Loire Region

5: Sailors lining up for the fourth time: Bertrand de Broc, Jean-Pierre Dick, Jean Le Cam, Vincent Riou and Alex Thomson

7: Boats fitted with foils, including 1 older generation boat: Maitre Coq

8: Editions. Launched in 1989, this is the 8th edition of the Vendee Globe, which takes place every four years.

10: Nationalities represented with for the first time a Japanese skipper, a Dutchman, a New Zealander and an Irishman.

14: the number of rookies lining up for their first Vendee Globe: Didac Costa, Thomas Ruyant, Alan Roura, Morgan Lagraviere, Sebastien Destremau, Conrad Colman, Kojiro Shiraishi, Pieter Heerema, Romain Attanasio, Eric Bellion, Fabrice Amedeo, Enda O'Coineen, Paul Meilhat, Stephane Le Diraison.

New Race Format Announced For 2017 RC44 Championship Tour
A decade since its launch the RC44 Championship Tour will take on a new racing format for the 2017 season. Adding the highly competitive match racing day, that previously kicked off each regatta, into the practice racing in favour of four days of high intensity fleet racing.

With three to four races per day over a four-day regatta, the RC44 Championship Tour offers the fleet more racing each season than any other owner driven racing circuit.

The 2017 season will comprise of five European events. Starting in Sotogrande, Spain (27 - 30 April), the fleet will return to the iconic Sardinian sailing mecca of Porto Cervo, Italy (29 June - 2 July), before moving onto to the Marstrand, Sweden for the 2017 RC44 World Championship (9 - 13 August).

Still to come the final event of the 2016 RC44 Championship Tour is set to take place in Valletta, Malta next month, 23 - 27 November, where the season match and fleet racing champion will be crowned.

The RC44 Valletta Cup is followed by The Yacht Racing Forum, the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing, from the 28-29 November in Malta.

2017 RC44 Championship Tour
April 27 - 30 RC44 Sotogrande Cup 2017, Spain
June 29 - July 2 RC44 Porto Cervo Cup, Italy
August 9 - 13 RC44 Marstrand World Championship, Sweden
September 28 - October 1 RC44 Cascais Cup, Portugal
November 23 - 26 to be confirmed

#BeyondVendee With North Sails Ambassador Sam Davies
North Sails Now on it's eighth edition, the Vendee Globe has seen 139 singlehanded sailors set off from Les Sables d'Olonne since 1989. Only 71 of those have finished the race. This Sunday, another 29 brave souls will set off again.

This installment is ambitious in reaching new milestones, with as many rookies entered as race veterans and, of course, the big news: adding foils to the trusted IMOCA platform. All of it leaves us with more "unknowns" than ever before.

Join North Sails in Les Sables-d'Olonne with brand ambassador, Sam Davies, as they discover what lies #BeyondVendee.

Royal Southern Yacht Club Unveils New Champion Of Champions Trophy
Champion Of Champions Trophy Hamble, Hampshire, UK: Launched in 2012 as part of the Royal Southern Yacht Club's 175th Anniversary celebrations, this year marks the 5th year in which the Hamble-based Yacht Club and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. have united to recognise the prestigious annual Champion of Champions award. To mark this, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. has kindly provided a Champion of Champions Trophy to be presented annually.

This prestigious title together with its generous prize of a return trip for two to Barbados, including superior hotel accommodation at the Island Inn Hotel from 16th Jan-23rd January, also allows the winners to take part in the Barbados Week sailing events. The highlight is the 60nm Mount Gay Round Barbados Race and all this courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Barbados Cruising Club, and bestowed upon the owner of the most consistent and successful yacht in the Club's four Summer Series Regattas held in May, June, July & September.

This year's winners, previously announced after the Barbados September Regatta as Mike & Seb Blair (King 40 Cobra, competing in IRC 1), will be presented with the 2016 Champion of Champions Trophy at the Royal Southern Yacht Club's annual Prizegiving, a formal dinner and glittering celebration held at their riverside Club House in Hamble on Saturday November 12th. The Trophy is currently being engraved with the previous winners' names as well as the names of this year's winners, and will be presented on the night by Marc McCollin on behalf of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Previous Champion of Champions:
2015 - Annie Kelly & Andy Howe - Blackjack II
2014 - Iain MacKinnon - Tigh Soluis II
2013 - Nick & Adam Munday - IndulJence
2012 - Mike & Jamie Holmes - Jika-Jika

Safeguarding Antarctica's 'Serengeti'
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, consisting of 24 countries - including the United States, Russia and China - and the European Union, has agreed to set aside a portion of ocean about the size of Alaska in the Ross Sea as a marine reserve.

The Ross Sea is relatively untouched by humans, and its nutrient-rich waters support about 16,000 species, including minke whales, crabeater seals, emperor penguins and Chilean sea bass.

Gill Previewing Major New Ranges Of Sailing Apparel At Metstrade Show In Amsterdam, 15-17 November
Gill at METSTRADE Gill will be unveiling four major new ranges at the METSTRADE show at Amsterdam RAI, which runs from 15-17 November. It's the world's largest equipment trade exhibition for the marine leisure industry, with over 1,300 exhibitors from around the world.

Among the major developments is the all-new OS1 range, which has been re-engineered to show no compromise against an extreme offshore environment. A 4-layer fabric with a completely re-imagined outer shell has resulted in one of the most durable waterproof garments the brand has ever made. Gill are also launching the next generation of the brand's bestselling OS2 range, which includes robust new technical jackets and trousers for both men and women.

Also being unveiled is the next generation of world-leading sailing gloves, which uses pioneering new designs and fabric, and the all-new Race series, which is a capsule range for high-performance teams and individuals.

These products and more will be on show at the Gill stand - booth 03.311 in the British Pavilion.

Relentless Innovation
Seahorse Not exactly new kids on the block, but a relatively young group of Italian engineers are doing good things in the never-ending quest for better sail control systems...

Most of us who have been racing for any time at all will have been fascinated at how the quality of the equipment can have such a huge influence on the success, enjoyment and also the safety of our sailing experience. On nearly every type of sailing craft - racing or cruising - one of the principal ongoing challenges is not with the rigours of the weather or the sea, but with friction and the inefficiency or otherwise of the hardware in harnessing both our human energy and the energy provided by the elements to propel the boat forward in the most effective way possible.

And for many of us there is nothing more annoying than knowing our peak performance is being limited by inefficiencies - especially in our equipment.

At UBI Maior Italia they take this annoyance seriously and a passion for improvement drives an unrelenting drive towards innovation in design and fabrication of the very finest in line and sail-handling systems.

Full article in the December issue of Seahorse:

Jeanne Socrates Returns To Victoria
"I packed my grab bag with passport etc at one point and even thought of getting into my survival suit just to be ready for the worst but Nereida coped and rode the big seas well despite a lot of shaking and noise."

Conditions turned 'nasty' six days into Jeanne's latest non-stop, unassisted round-the-world challenge.

At the age of 74, the British yachtswoman is hoping to set another Guinness World Record - this time of being the world's oldest person to achieve the feat.

But the challenge has had to be postponed due to damage sustained to the yacht last week.

You can show your support for Jeannes' chosen charity and send her a message of support at

Read Jeanne's blog in full at:

Diver Recovers Telegraph Machine From Lusitania Wreck
Salvaged: one of the telegraph machines from the sunken ship ‘Lusitania’. Photograph: Eoin McGarry. Click on image to enlarge.

Lusitania One of the telegraph machines from the sunken ship the Lusitania has been recovered from the ocean floor off the coast of Co Cork, Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys has said.

Dungarvan diver Eoin McGarry, working under licence from the Minister, raised the machine from the sea bed on Saturday. He undertook the dive to complete an operation that had previously brought up the pedestal for the bridge telegraph during the summer.

Along with Greg Bemis, owner of the Lusitania wreck, he intends attempting to recover the ship's bridge telegraph next year.

The Lusitania was struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat off the Head of Kinsale on May 7th, 1915, while en route from New York to Liverpool. The cause of a second explosion on board, which resulted in the vessel sinking with the loss of 1,198 lives, is still being investigated.

Another Modification For Wild Oats Xi In Preparation For The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
A year after undergoing dramatic structural surgery, where one-third of her hull was cut off at the bow and replaced with a new and improved section, famous supermaxi Wild Oats XI is to undergo another modification on the eve of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The new, 11-metre long forward section of the hull has proved to be so efficient that it has negated the need for the horizontal hydrofoil wing, a feature added to the hull three years ago to prevent Wild Oats XI from nose-diving when charging downwind under spinnaker.

"The new bow shape has made a dramatic difference to the yacht's speed both upwind and down", said Wild Oats XI's skipper, Mark Richards. "And, when racing downwind offshore we can now sail the yacht at more than 30 knots without any fear of nose-diving.

"This improvement means we no longer need the retractable horizontal wing to provide lift - it's like excess baggage - so we're going to remove it. It's a decision that was also influenced by the fact that we'll save more than 300 kilograms in hull weight."

Wild Oats XI, which is campaigned by the Oatley family, is one of a fleet of 100 yachts entered for the 628 nautical mile Hobart race, starting December 26. The 30-metre long silver-hulled supermaxi stands as the most successful yacht in the event's 71-year history, and Richards the most successful skipper.

Wild Oats XI will this year be going for an unprecedented ninth line honours, and, given the right conditions, she could well claim the treble for the third time - line and handicap honours and a race record. In 2005 - the year she was launched - Wild Oats XI became the first yacht to achieve that remarkable result since Rani in the inaugural event in 1945. -- Rob Mundle

Vale Richard Westwood
Richard Westwood Flying Dutchman sailors across Europe will be saddened by the recent death of Richard Westwood. Richard was a stalwart of the class from the early 1980s to the 1990s, and UK National Champion in 1992.

Richard was a Corinthian of the old school, a real rascal and rogue, who lived to sail his FD across Europe. He was a lecturer at Farnborough Aeronautical College, brilliant at preparing and tweaking this most technical boat, and he shared his knowledge with so many who were new to the class.

Besides sailing a very physical boat, FD helmsmen had to adjust upper and lower shrouds, forestay, jib halyard, and the fore and aft position of the centreboard on each of the seven mile legs, out at sea. Such seamanship and technical know-how, so much a feature of America's Cup racing, are surely missing from current 'ersatz' Olympic racing.

Despite being overcome by Olympic aspirants, Richard enjoyed his sailing and travelling across Europe where he made so many friends on the water and in the bar.

'Third clew' Richard, you had fun and contributed so much.

Letters To The Editor -
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 Paul Henderson -- A Sailor, Nominee World Sailing Presidency:

To MNA's and Concerned Sailors:

As we get ready for Barcelona AGM it has become obvious that the needs of the Olympic Sailors from around the World has been made secondary to World Sailing's money aspirations.

First is that the Olympic sailors for TOKYO2020 have no idea what the equipment will be as this has been delayed to another Extraordinary General Meeting not yet determined in February or March just 2 years before first TOKYO2020 Test Event.

This will be the 4th such meeting in just over a year. Because of this the Olympic hopefuls have not entered Miami and Melbourne as is normal.

Now the ill-conceived Sailing World Cup with its exclusive entry criteria has not even designated where the final event will be scheduled for June 2017.

The best thing Scuttlebutt has suggested is that World Sailing should use existing well developed events like Kieler Woche. "Mainstream" Sailing based on International Classes and these inclusive regattas are the foundations of Olympic Sailing.

Trying to initiate new concepts which are conceived to generate World Sailing income have not worked for Olympic Classes whatever they maybe for TOKYO2020.

By the way World Sailing will get $15,3m US out of RIO2016. Why does WS need more $$?

Major changes in Olympic equipment and inserting new unscheduled exclusive events legislates against the less affluent MNA's sailors and the ones who must fund their own Olympic programs.

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Raceboats Only Soto 53

Fast cruising Sloop (design n. 44) made by Javier Soto Acebal who also supervised the construction of the boat. The construction of the boat and of its installations was carried out following the protocols of the European Economic Community (EEC) in order to get CE certification.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly



Raceboats Only 2007 52' King Marine IRC 52. 325,000 USD. Located in Rhode Island, USA.

ICE FIRE can now be obtained. She is a 2007 King Marine built TP 52 that was the last BRIBON, built for the King of Spain. Very successful on the Med circuit in 07/08/09, she came over to the States and as FLYING JENNY was very successful at all the NYYC annual regatta's, Block Island race week and NYYC race weeks. Since 2012, she has been ICE FIRE, and she was successful going to Montego Bay ( 2nd overall 2nd fleet in 2013) and won the 2012 IRC championship in Annapolis and that again last Fall (2014)

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Please contact William Jenkins at 410-267-9419

See the collection at

The Last Word
A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it. -- Roald Dahl

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