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Battle Commences at SSL Finals
The 4th edition of the Star Sailors League Finals kicked off in earnest today with two qualifying races. The early exchanges confirmed the amazing quality and depth in the fleet, which contains no less than 16 Olympic medallist among the skippers alone. The trade winds have been consistently blowing for days before the regatta and the sea state was a significant factor, especially as the racecourse was at the very top of Montagu Bay. Squall activity affected both the wind speed and direction, with the breeze ranging from 10 to 20 knots and oscillating 30 degrees.

After two races, Italians Diego Negro & Sergio Lambertenghi showed consistency and speed to lead the Qualifying Rounds by a single point without winning a race. Americans Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih finished a solid second and Brazilians Robert Scheidt & Henry Boening, finished the day in third.

Race Two got underway after the top mark was moved to accommodate a big wind shift, and it was a blanket start, with virtually the entire fleet hitting the line on the start gun. SSL City Grand Slam champions, Xavier Rohart & Pierre-Alexis Ponsot copped a turning penalty in the first race of the regatta but the Frenchmen came back fighting in Race Two, taking the gun ahead of Negri & Lambertenghi. Jorge Zarif & Bruno Prada sailed intelligently upwind, and showed great technique downwind, to claim third.

After two races, the top VIP team was Jonas Hogh-Christensen & Stevie Milne, with two sixth place finishes. Putting the Danish/Northern Ireland combination in seventh place.

Hogh-Christensen is a phenomenal Finn sailor representing Denmark at three Olympic Games, winning the Silver Medal at the London Olympic Games after an epic battle with Ben Ainslie. However this was the first time the Great Dane has even raced a Star.

Full coverage of all four days of action will be streamed live on the Internet with expert commentary from special studio guests, including America's Cup four time winner Dennis Conner and Olympic silver medalist in London 2012 Luke Patience. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.

Top ten after two races:
1. Negri / Lambertenghi, 5 points
2. Mendelblatt / Fatih, 6
3. Scheidt / Boening, 8
4. Polgar / Koy , 9
5. Zarif / Prada, 10
6. Rohart / Ponsot, 11
7. Hogh-christensen / Milne, 12
8. Olezza / Melo, 18
9. Kusznierewicz / Zycki, 25
10. Fantela / Arapovic, 25

Jean-Marie Liot Wins Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award 2016
Photo by Jean-Marie Liot. Click on image to enlarge.

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 149 photographers spanning 25 countries participated in the seventh edition of the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image. Jean-Marie Liot, from France, won the main award, whilst the delegates from the Yacht Racing Forum and World Sailing's annual conference chose Nico Martinez's photograph for the Yacht Racing Forum award. Christophe Suchet (FRA) won the public award, based on the votes on Facebook. The top 80 pictures can be viewed on the website.

French photographer Jean-Marie Liot (FRA) won the main award thanks to an extraordinary picture of Morgan Lagraviere training ahead of the Vendee Globe onboard his IMOCA Safran, entirely submerged by a wave at high speed.

Based in La Trinite-sur-Mer, in Brittany, Jean-Marie Liot has been working as a professional yacht racing photographer since 1994. His assignments allow him to travel around the world, working for many skippers, sponsors and races and collaborating with the greatest yacht racing magazines.

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2016 - Top 10:
1. Jean-Marie Liot (FRA)
2. Benoit Stichelbaut (FRA)
3. Mark Lloyd (UK)
4. Guy Nowell (UK)
5. Richard Gladwell (NZL)
6. Claire Matches (UK)
7. Nico Martinez (ESP)
8. Eugenia Bakunova (RUS)
9. Alex Irwin (UK)
10. Tim Thomas (UK)

Yacht Racing Forum award - Top 5:
1. Nico Martinez (ESP)
2. Mark Lloyd (UK)
3. Luis Fernandez (ESP)
4. Pedro Martinez (ESP)
5. Jean-Marie Liot (FRA)

Public award - Top 5:
1. Christophe Huchet (FRA)
2. Ricardo Pinto (POR)
3. Matias Capizzano (ARG)
4. Andras Kollmann (HUN)
5. Joka Gemesi (HUN)

The Jury of the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2016:
Andy Hunt (World Sailing CEO, UK)
Keith Taylor (marine writer, editor and marine publicist, NZL)
Antonio Palma (Managing Partner of Mirabaud, SUI)
Anna-Lena Elled (yachting journalist and picture editor, SWE)
Ian Walker (pro sailor, winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, UK)

Yacht Rigger Position At Port Hamble
Advanced Rigging & Hydraulics Advanced Rigging & Hydraulics, the UK's leading yacht rigging & yachting hydraulics business is looking to recruit a Yacht Rigger at its Port Hamble facility. The company is expanding its team as a result of strong growth. This is an important role with strong long term career prospects. The successful candidate will benefit from extensive on site and off site training to ensure that he or she is able to provide the very best in technical rigging services.

Advanced Rigging & Hydraulics represents a number of leading brands including Reckmann, OYS, Gottifredi Maffioli, Liros and Leisure Furl. In addition to providing complete rigging & hydraulic services to its established customer base, ARH also supplies many leading manufacturers and service companies.

See full details at

Melges 24 World Championship
Miami, FL, U.S. - "It is going to be a day of steady, South-Easterly breeze, blowing around 18-20 knots, that hopefully will allow us to complete three races in this first day of regatta of the event, since in the next days wind is expected to decrease and to get trickier," declared this morning Anderson Reggio, PRO of the 2016 Melges 24 World Championship currently taking place in Miami. His forecasts were fully respected: the conditions of today have been challenging for the 74 crews that eventually got in the Oceanic waters in front of the Biscayne Bay, Miami, trying to achieve the best results possible in the first three regattas of a series, composed of a maximum of twelve, to get on top of the World as Melges 24 World Champions.

Leader of the day has been the Irish entry, Conor Clarke's Embarr IRL829 with Stuart McNay helming (2-1-1), that raced three almost perfect regattas.

Second in the ranking, after the races of today, is Air Force 1 USA820 (1-2-2) helmed by the Olympic athlete in Rio 2016 Bora Gulari and where Jonathan McKee is calling tactics.

The brand new boat of Gian Luca Perego, Maidollis 3 ITA822 (3-5-3), back in the water with the historical couple Fracassoli-Fonda that won the Melges 24 Worlds of 2012, obtained the third place today

The Corinthian division suffered in some way from today's challenging waves and demanding conditions, in such a way that the first of this group only managed to reach the sixteenth place in the overall ranking: Tonu Toniste, owner of today's Corinthian best boat, Lenny EST790

Racing can be followed via TracTrac tracking

Bid Process Opens For New Venue For The 2017 Youth World Championships
The Israel Sailing Association (ISA) have withdrawn from hosting the 2017 Youth Sailing World Championships which were due to take place in Akko, Israel in July 2017.

The Israel Sailing Association, national governing body of sailing in Israel, was able to exercise the right to withdraw from hosting the 2017 Youth Sailing World Championships as a final contract had not been concluded. World Sailing were informed by the Israel Sailing Association of its decision to withdraw as they were unable to secure adequate funding to host the event.

The bid process to select a new venue for the 2017 Youth Sailing World Championships has commenced and World Sailing invites all Member National Authorities interested in hosting the event to contact the Executive Office for the bid guidelines.

World Sailing will accept bids from MNAs interested in hosting the event in July or December of 2017.

The deadline for MNAs to submit bids will be Monday 16 January 2017 with bid evaluations to take place on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January.


A decision will be made no later than Friday 3 February 2016.

South Calling For Dick, Ruyant And Le Cam
Three more Vendee Globe skippers are due to pass the Cape of Good Hope today to bring the tally of those now in the Indian Ocean to nine. Barring any issues, Jean-Pierre Dick will be the next sailor to make it past the important milestone that marks the entrance to the next phase of the solo round the world race.

Seventh-placed StMichel-Virbac skipper Dick was this morning heading ENE making 15.3 knots with around five hours to go until he passes the longitude of 18°30'E. Just under 100 miles to the north west, Thomas Ruyant in eighth on Le Souffle du Nord pour le projet Imagine was around four knots slower with 150 miles still to go to the Cape of Good Hope. Finistere Mer Vent skipper Jean Le Cam a further 50 miles north west was matching Dick's speeds, 200 miles from the reference point. The trio's times for passing the Cape of Good Hope from Les Sables d'Olonne will be more than five days behind the record set by Alex Thomson of 17 days, 22 hours and 58 minutes. Kito de Pavant, in 10th, is still three days from passing the Cape of Good Hope.

Meanwhile the game of cat and mouse continued at the front of the Vendee Globe fleet this morning as Thomson made back a handful of miles on leader Armel Le Cleac'h. British skipper Thomson was this morning around 24 miles adrift of Le Cleac'h, and at the 0500 UTC report was travelling at 19.3 knots compared to the Frenchman's 16.8 knots.

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

Seahorse Magazine

The best of (spring) times
One of the world's best regattas is also one many racing sailors may never have thought about... until now. But even while it was below the international parapet, Charleston Race Week, with its combination of great racing and even greater beach parties, was steadily growing. It is now the biggest keelboat regatta in the US

Twenty five years of progress? - Part 1
Andrew Macfarlan of Red Bull, sailor, yacht designer and now one of the top names in F1 composites, takes his own look at how the two technical sports have been evolving

IRC column
Whatever rating system you may prefer, the results at the end of the Middle Sea Race were something quite remarkable. James Dadd

Design - Doing good
Alex Simonis and Maarten Voogd have been busy working on something special

RORC news
Eddie Warden-Owen catches up with Middle Sea Race winner Adrian Stead

Special rates for Scuttlebutt Europe subscribers:
Seahorse Print or Digital Subscription Use Discount Promo Code SB2

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Optimistic About Future Of Sailing In Tough Climate
More than 280 of the brightest minds in sailing have just concluded two days of intense discussion and debate about the hot topics in sailing, at the eighth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum in Malta.

The Yacht Racing Forum brought up a broad range of big topics that generated heated debate. Expert panels explored commercial strategies for small and medium-sized events, affordable sailing on TV, and making the sport environmentally sustainable.

Doing some crystal-balling for the future of the sport was an expert panel that included America's Cup winner Ed Baird, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner and former Puma skipper Ken Read, along with World Sailing's Alastair Fox and leading grand prix designer Juan Kouyoumdjian.

The panel identified the late teens and young adults as the age group that need the most attention.

One of the big debates of day two took place in the Risk Management & Safety conference. Delegates explored the rapidly increasing speed of grand prix racing yachts and the recent developments in hydrofoiling, as well as the added risk that comes with that, the safety and insurance implications, and whether or not the sport is doing enough to address the risks.

Running parallel to the Business and Marketing Conference, the Design & Technology Symposium focused on the latest innovations including foiling, the integration of more composite materials in the design process, developments in superyachts and innovations in sail design and construction.

First Lady Commodore For Ten Years At Royal Southern
Hamble, Hampshire, UK: At Saturday's Royal Southern Yacht Club AGM (26th November), the following Flag Officers were elected:

Commodore - Karen Henderson-Williams
Vice Commodore - Graham Nixon
Rear Commodore Sailing - Robert Vose
Rear Commodore House - John Rutherford

Follows an excerpt from the speech given by the newly elected Commodore, Karen Henderson-Williams to members:

"I would like to thank you for electing me as your new Commodore. It is a great honour and privilege and I will do my very best to represent all the members in the year ahead. I was particularly delighted to be proposed for this role by our first Lady Commodore, Mrs Annette Newton, and seconded by the leader of Youth, Dr Mark Tomson. I am following Annette as the Club's second female Commodore, ten years on from Annette's tenure. It is a milestone for yacht clubs to have female Flag officers even in the present day and I am pleased to have been chosen to take on that role.

"I look forward to supporting all areas of the Club whether it be racing, race management, cruising, motor boating, Splash, Academy, the sub-committees and the good work of our Ladies Committee. Our special thanks go to the Ladies Committee for all their hard work raising money for their chosen charities and for the funds they have raised for the Club. I will do my best to support you all."

Sailing Champion Leagues 2017 Program
Hamburg, Germany: All thirteen National Sailing Leagues have finished racing for 2016 and planning for next season is in full swing. Three events have been scheduled for the SAILING Champions League 2017. The provisional dates are as follows:

Act 1: 4 - 6 August or 11 - 13 August, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, Russia
Act 2: 1 - 3 September, Segel-Club St. Moritz, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Final: 22 - 24 September, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Italy

Due to the high demand for places in the SAILING Champions League, the International Sailing League Association (ISLA) has decided on a modified qualification mode for the 2017 season. Sixty-four clubs will have the chance to qualify for the Grand Finale in Porto Cervo, Italy in September- only the hosting club and the reigning SCL champion will automatically qualify for the SCL final.

Over 300 clubs are now competing in the thirteen National Sailing Leagues that have been established all over Europe since 2013.

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The Last Word
Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime. -- Jacob Bronowski

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