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

Keel Damage On Prb, Vincent Riou Forced To Retire
The skipper of PRB hit a UFO on Sunday morning, while speeding along with the frontrunners in the Vendee Globe on his way towards the Cape of Good Hope (a different incident from yesterday's, when his rudder kicked up). Following on from this collision, Vincent Riou did not initially notice any damage and was able to continue to sail normally. It was only three hours later that the keel started to vibrate and emit loud noises, indicating there were huge strains on the appendage. These sounds continued to grow during Sunday night.

Taking into account the weather conditions (25 to 30 knot winds with average speeds around 19-20 knots), Vincent was unable to go and check the keel housing, but informed his shore team of the incident. The PRB team and the boat's designers (Guillaume Verdier) and the structural calculations team at HDS GSEA Design (Herve Devaux and Denis Glehen) began to study all the hypotheses based on what they knew (essentially the type of noise coming from the keel).

It was only this morning while sailing in calmer conditions that Vincent was able to carry out the necessary checks. He discovered that the axis of the keel had been damaged in the collision. This titanium part is an essential element on the boat. It allows the keel to be attached to the monohull with a plastic ball joint and it is also this axis that allows the keel to be canted.

When the incident occurred, the plastic ball joint broke leading to permanent wear between the keel axis and the ball joint attachment. In the longer term with the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the climb back up the Atlantic ahead, that means that the integrity of the boat is in danger or even that the keel could break away from the 60-foot boat.

This is a huge disappointment for the winner of the 2004 Vendee Globe. He saw his dream come to an end four years ago (almost to the day) after a collision with a UFO. He set sail from Les Sables d'Olonne on 6th November hopping to keep up with the new boats fitted with foils. This was successful, as PRB has always been up there with the leaders.

I don't know what to think. This damage happened at almost the same point as the damage four years ago. When I passed Salvador a few days ago, I spent the night thinking about that. As I had passed Salvador, I told myself that I had got rid of my demons. And then just as 4 years ago in the same place, 14 days after the start we collided with irreparable damage being done. It's hard!

The simplest thing is to head for South Africa, Cape Town. I'm currently checking to see if they have all I need there.

Joyon Heading South In A Northerly Wind
After setting sail on Sunday evening, the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran has had a rapid trip down the coast of Portugal during their second night at sea. The wind propelling them to the south is due north, which means that the crew have to steer from one side to the other by a few degrees to get a good angle.

IDEC SPORT is this morning off Lisbon, on the eastern edge of the low, where they are making the most of the 20-25 knot air stream. In this first part of the Jules Verne Trophy attempt, Francis and his warriors, Clement Surtel, Alex Pella, Boris Herrmann, Gwenole Gahinet and Bernard Stamm are aiming to go from one system to another off the Canaries to pick up the trade winds, which although light for the moment are set to strengthen in the next 24 hours to propel IDEC SPORT towards the Cape Verde Islands and the Equator. The real challenge in this attempt is to look ahead to the weather coming up.

This morning Joyon and his men are just over 210 miles behind their virtual rival, the title-holder, Banque Populaire VII. Joyon and his router, Marcel van Triest knew the time to the Equator was not going to be extraordinary, and so it is only when they get to the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean that they can really see how they are doing.

Largest Fleet Ever For Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Around The Island Race
With 264 entries, this year's edition of the Around the Island Race has surpassed the previous record of 258 entries for Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Around the Island Race.

There will be two start lines on race day with the location depending on the wind conditions in the harbour. The start lines will either be immediately in front of the Club in Causeway Bay or slightly westwards in the area between the Clubhouse and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The one-design classes will start from the inner line with a start every five minutes between 0830hrs and 0910hrs.

The big boats will take up the outer line with a start every ten minutes from 0850hrs to 0940hrs after which the multihulls will have two starts at 0950hrs and 1000hrs.

The race course features a 26nm circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island to starboard (clockwise). Breeze permitting, boats will complete the full circumnavigation and finish back where they started. However if winds are light, the Race Officer may decide to finish the fleet at Green Island, Cyberport or Stanley.

Event website with the full entry list can be found at

The 30th Anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week Is Scheduled January 15-20, 2017
Key West Race Week The regatta that started as a mostly fun series among casual racers and grew to the most important international regatta hosted in the U.S. is shaping up to be memorable: A new host venue in Old Town, the Waterfront Brewery, brings the nightly action back to the waterfront, Quantum Sails is back as title sponsor, the Florida Keys return as presenting sponsor and entries are building with the regatta just four months away.

Starts will be hosted for one-design and rated classes, and for the second year running monohull and multihull cruising classes. Don't have a boat? No problem. Charter opportunities are available through the National One Design Sailing Academy of Canada.

Visit the regatta web site, Quantum Key West Race Week, for more information

Or to go directly to the online entry application form

Coville Straightens Course In Record Attempt
After four days of frequent gybes, Thomas Coville (FRA) and his 31m maxi trimaran SODEBO ULTIM have finally been able to straighten their course in his attempt to set a new solo round the world record. Now in the Indian Ocean, his latest 24 hour run of 565.4 nm has him 360.42 ahead of the current record of 57d 13h 34m 6s set by Francis Joyon (FRA) on the 29.8m trimaran IDEC in January 2008.

Yesterday afternoon Coville reported that he had collided with a marine mammal while sailing at 30 knots though it appears his boat survived the event. He is expected to pass in the north of the Kerguelen Islands on Thursday, and then dive further south towards Cape Leeuwin, the second of the three major caps to be crossed in this sailing world tour.

WIM Series To Conclude In U.S. Virgin Islands
The Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the 5th and ultimate event of the 2016 Women's International Match Racing Series, is set to begin in U.S. Virgin Islands within just one week. Swedish World Champion Anna Ostling has already secured the overall WIM Series title, but behind her a wasp's nest of skippers are in the run for a podium finish.

Since it's premiere in 2013, the Women's International Match Racing Series has been to many major sailing venues spread over the world, but not yet to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Finally the time has come to welcome a dozen of the worlds' foremost women match racing sailors, to the picturesque and demanding waters of sailing metropolis St Thomas, and its Charlotte Amalie Harbor. The Carlos Aguilar Match Race has over the years attracted some of the best international match racing talent, from America's Cup veterans to current World Champions, and is definitely qualified and ready to host the exciting conclusion to the 2016 WIM Series.

Early WIM Series winner Anna Ostling and her team secured their title, 25 000 USD and the coveted Terry J Kohler Perpetual Trophy, by winning the first three events and finishing fourth in the latest regatta in Korea, a month ago. But behind the Swedes a group of five teams are all in the run for the runner-up position, aiming for a 15 000 USD reward. Pauline Courtois (FRA), Caroline Sylvan (SWE), Stephanie Roble (USA), Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby (DEN) and Renee Groeneveld (NED) can all get their share of fame and honour. And the last podium place will pay a 10 000 USD portion of the generous overall prize purse, so there are actually two chances left to top-up the team budget with an early Christmas gift.

The Carlos Aguilar Match Race is a World Sailing Grade One event. The format will feature a full round robin of all teams, followed by knockout quarterfinals for the top eight, and then knockout semi-finals, petit-finals and finals. The event will be sailed in IC 24, a modification of J/24, December 1 - 4 2016.

RC44 10th Anniversary Grand Finale
The RC44's 10th anniversary season is lining up for an ultra-competitive conclusion with the RC44 Valletta Cup taking place this week out of the Excelsior Hotel on the Maltese capital's Marsamxett Harbour.

Despite the RC44 Valletta Cup being the fifth and final event of the 2016 RC44 Championship, the scoreboard remains impressively close. In the Fleet Racing, Igor Lah's Team CEEREF holds a slender two-point lead over Chris Bake's Team Aqua but just seven points separate the top seven, with, in theory, any still capable of claiming the 2016 title. In the 2016 Match Racing Championship, it is even closer with Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika and Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing tied for the lead and just three points behind them, a further three teams also tied.

At a time of year when the weather should be volatile, conditions are looking exceptional with the sun currently out, 20°C and a forecast of 10-20 knots for the week.

For making the RC44 Valletta Cup happen, Peter Valentino and Niki Travers Tauss of Yachting/Events thanked the Maltese government, Transport Malta, Malta Tourism Authority, along with their sponsors, including Valletta Superyachts and ARQ Group.

The RC44 Valetta Cup takes place from Wednesday through Sunday, Nov 23-27.

For more information about the RC44 Valletta Cup and racing progress please visit and

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

Seahorse Magazine

Different challenge same objective
The Musto technical clothing team have been beavering away hard developing new products to meet the seriously oceanic needs of the Vendee Globe frontrunners and at the same time coming up with ultra-flexible, impact-protective solutions for Franck Cammas's Groupama Team France America's Cup challenger

We've missed you
After a lapse of far too many seasons the One Ton Cup is back in play, now being competed for in the (fast) Fast40+ class. And both the class and its biggest event are thriving. Rob Greenhalgh

Fighting physics
JB Braun continues his day-to-day role in sail design but he also wears another hat as a leading light with the Oracle USA America's Cup team

Hard sailing habits
When men (really) were men. John Rousmaniere looks at the careers of three sailors who helped to shape modern ocean racing

Sailor of the Month
Both putting back way more than they take out

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Brisbane To Gladstone Race
Queensland Cruising Yacht Club is thrilled to announce that the start of the 69th race starting on Good Friday 2017 will, for the first time, be live streamed in a full visual broadcast available for free to anyone with an internet connection.

The broadcast will cover the pre-race, start and the first section of the racing to the rounding mark off Tangalooma.

The Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, organised by the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club, races for prestigious Courier Mail Cup, one of the oldest perpetual trophies in Australia that has been competed for on a continual basis.

Official Website

Bravo, 'robbo' Wins Cabbage Tree Island Race
Queenslander Robbo Robertson enjoyed a race-long battle with two other Beneteaus to take out the Cabbage Tree Island Race, his Beneteau 40, Bravo staving off challenges from the Black Sheep and Ariel, to claim Race 4 of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS)

The trio stayed in touch throughout the race, according to Bravo's navigator, Carl Crafoord. With the handicaps applied, Bravo beat Derek and Martin Sheppard's B45, Black Sheep and Ron Forster and Phil Damp's B40, Ariel by 25 minutes plus. The ORCi result mirrored that of the IRC result.

Bravo was almost to the Island when a wind change from the north-east to the south-west arrived. She ran the rest of the way to Cabbage Tree Island under spinnaker and then went wide. At one point the crew thought they were on their way to Lord Howe and then Noumea, before the decision was made to tack.

China Easyway, the Jarkan 12.5 owned by Travis Read and Tim Wilson, finished fourth overall and won PHS from Bravo and Noel Cornish's Sydney 47, St Jude.

Jim Cooney's V70, Maserati took line honours at 15.46.16 hours on Saturday afternoon, in 20 hours 46mins 16secs, outside Wild Oats XI record of 12 hours 15mins 55secs set in 2012. -- Di Pearson, CYCA Media

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 Euan Ross: I only met Theo in the spring. I e-mailed him to ask for advice on some technical details in 'The Piper Calls the Tune', a biography I was writing about yacht designer David Boyd. Theo was more than generous with his time. He told me cracking stories, he vetted my excursions into naval architecture and he bought me lunch.

Thereafter, Theo was endlessly helpful and encouraging when I cycled over to his house for more advice or when met in the pub. There was nothing in it for Theo; all I had to offer in return was a fund of mountain-biking lore. After hearing the sad news this morning, the World seems a poorer place.

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Raceboats Only 2011 Reichel Pugh KATSU. 275,000 EUR. Located in the UK.

2011 Reichel Pugh design. 45' Grand Prix racer. Lying UK. UK VAT paid. Sailing World's boat of the year 2011. Currently lying second overall in the RORC offshore series.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Alan Hannon

See the collection at

Back On Monday
Your humble narrator is taking the next few evenings off to indulge in socially acceptable gluttony and excess with family and friends. May your Thanksgivings be warm and wonderful.

The Last Word
My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too. -- Rodney Dangerfield

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