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

Thomson Takes Back Top Spot
Banque Populaire VIII (Armel Le Cleac'h) and Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson) off the Kerguelens photographed and filmed by a helicopter from the frigate, Nivose, whose mission is to ensure the sovereignty of the French Islands in the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic. Photo credit Marine Nationale / Nefertiti / Vendee Globe. Click on image for photo gallery.

Vendee Globe British sailor Alex Thomson is once again at the front of the Vendee Globe fleet after successfully hunting down arch rival Armel Le Cleac'h in the Southern Ocean. Four days after French sailor Le Cleac'h moved into pole position in the solo non-stop round the world race, Thomson reclaimed control once more as the epic duel between the two skippers continued. The pair were this afternoon neck and neck as they rocketed east, less than a mile splitting them from the next waypoint and with just seven miles of lateral separation.

The record-breaking pace both boats have been exhibiting since the race start in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on November 6, seems set to continue thanks to favourable weather conditions in the Southern Ocean.

Morgan Lagraviere, who was forced to retire from the Vendee Globe on November 24 due to rudder to his yacht Safran, has left Cape Town bound for France. Vincent Riou, who also retired to Cape Town, is tipped to leave later this week after fixing the keel bearings on his yacht PRB.

Unprecedented footage of the Vendee Globe frontrunners smashing through the Southern Ocean has been captured on camera for the first time in the solo round the world yacht race's 27-year history. The stunning images of French sailor Armel Le Cleac'h and Brit Alex Thomson as they passed the Kerguelen Islands deep in the southern Indian Ocean were filmed by French television station TF1.

The broadcasters were filming from a French navy helicopter that had taken off from the frigate Nivôse which is patrolling French territories in the Southern Ocean.

The Kerguelens are an archipelago of more than 300 islands that form one of the most remote places on the planet – Africa lies 2,000 miles to the west, Australia is 2,000 miles to the east and Antarctica is 1,000 miles to the south. It is the first time since the Vendee Globe began in 1989 that competitors have been filmed racing so far south. It was made possible thanks to the work of the French navy, TF1 and the Vendee Globe's race directors.

Hotting Up At The SSL Finals
With qualifying races running out, the scramble for room at the top mark is epic.

Mark Mendleblatt & Brian Fatih (USA) stayed out of trouble today, racing fast and clean, to post a 4-5-1, taking the lead in the Qualifying Rounds. Diego Negri & Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) started the day on the back foot, scoring a lowly 19th. However the Italians came back posting two podium finish to retain second place. Robert Scheidt & Henry Boening (BRA) led the regatta this morning, but could not repeat their outstanding performance yesterday, scoring a lowly 16-11, but came back with a fifth in the last race, claiming third in the ranking.

Xavier Rohart & Pierre-Alexis Ponsot had a great day on the water scoring a 2-6-2 to climb three places to fourth in the rankings. Sime Fantela & Antonio Arapovic (CRO) are now the top VIP team. The Croatians took a superb win in the first race of the day and a fourth in the last race of the day, to climb from 11th to fifth in the rankings.

Racing at the SSL Finals 2016 continues Friday with the second day of the Qualifying Rounds. A maximum of four races are scheduled with live coverage starting at 1100 (GMT-5).

Top ten
1. Mark Mendelblatt / Brian Fatih, 24 points
2. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi. 30
3. Robert Scheidt / Henrique Raul Boening, 33
4. Xavier Rohart / Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, 51
5. Sime Fantela / Antonio Arapovic, 74
6. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Dominik Zycki, 74
7. Johannes Polgar / Markus Koy, 78
8. Tonci Stipanovic / Ante Sitic, 80
9. Facundo Olezza / Frederico Melo, 81
10. Jonas Hogh-Christensen / Steve Milne, 85

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

Onside An America's Cup Cockpit
Bermuda: "You can't film everywhere, some stuff is secret", Francesco Bruni, Helmsman.

What goes on inside the cockpit of an America's Cup test boat is one of the most intriguing areas of the modern America's programme. In the latest episode of 'Artemis Racing: Road to Bermuda', Francesco Bruni provides an insight into some of the technology behind our first development boat of the campaign, Turbo 1.

Systems Engineer, Matt Davis, continues, "A lot of the technology we use comes from F1 and high level motorsport. The interface between the driver, or helmsman, and the onboard system is optimised to his requirements".

The episode also includes an update from Skipper, Nathan Outteridge, on the state of play with less than 8 months to go to the finals of AC35, and Loick Peyron provides the inspiration to a squad of young aspiring sailors in Toulon, thanks to Argo Group.

A New Day, The Same Leader - Irish Embarr
December has started with another sparkling day of sailing for the Melges 24 fleet, competing in Miami for the 2016 Melges 24 World Championship. A day of lighter breeze same way allowed to add three more races to the series and brought about major changes to the overall ranking.

Undisputed leader of the overall ranking is Embarr IRL829 (2-1-2): the entry by Conor Clarke has been very constant all through the races of these days. The good tactical calls, together with the amazing speed that the crew manages to reach in the downwind legs, is helping the Irish to maintain firmly the top of the ranking, leaving behind of 25 points its first follower, Maidollis 3 ITA822 (13-3-10), that after the good performances of the last two days, couldn't keep the same path also in the races of today.

The major changes in the ranking, though, happened starting from the following places of the ranking: Air Force 1/West Marine Rigging USA820 (12-10-1) by Bora Gulari climbed to the third position, also thanks to the bullet of race number nine, while New England Ropes USA658 (18-8-15), third after the races of yesterday, was pushed down in sixth position. The fourth place belongs now to Argo USA853 (5-5-13), that yesterday wasn't even inside the top five, while fifth position is occupied by Monsoon USA851 (10-4-5). Full Throttle USA849 (7-6-20) fifth after the races of yesterday, slipped in seventh position after the three latest regattas of the series.

Overall ranking - Top 5 (74 Boats)
1. Embarr, Melges 24, Conor Clarke , Dublin, IRL, 16
2. Maidollis 3, Melges 24, Gian Luca Perego , ARcore, ITA, 41
3. Air Force 1, Melges 24, Bora Gulari , Detroit, MI, USA, 49
4. ARGO, Melges 24, Jason Carroll , New York, NY, USA, 55
5. Monsoon, Melges 24, Bruce Ayres , Newport Beach, CA, USA, 56

Corinthian division - Top 5 (37 Boats)
1. Taki 4, Melges 24, Marco Zammarchi , Genova, GE, ITA, 17
2. Lenny, Melges 24, Tõnu Tõniste , Tallinn, Harjumaa, EST, 20
3. Decorum, Melges 24, Megan Ratliff , Chicago, IL, USA, 21
4. ACCRU, Melges 24, G. Nixon / K. Nixon , Randwick, NSW, AUS, 40
5. Team Kesbeke/SIKA/Gill, Melges 24, Ronald Veraar , Midwoud, Noord Holland, NED, 51

Full results

Industry News
Hampshire-based offshore sailor Mark Light, 45, has been appointed Race Director of the unique Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the planet's biggest ocean adventure.

An experienced sailor with many ocean crossings and over 120,000 nautical miles to his name, Mark competed in the Clipper 2011-12 Race as Skipper of the Derry-Londonderry team before becoming Deputy Race Director in 2012. With four years' experience assisting the race planning, he is now looking forward to stepping up to the lead role, one of the most challenging that exists in global sailing.

Mark's most immediate responsibilities will include appointing a new Deputy Race Director, and trialling and selecting the twelve professional Skippers who will lead their teams around the world, as well as overseeing the global route and stopover logistics to ensure the world-class event runs as smoothly as possible.

Mark replaces former Race Director Justin Taylor who decided to stand down after almost a decade with the company, to be able to devote more time to his family. On his departure, Sir Robin added: "I would also like to express my thanks to the previous Race Director, Justin Taylor, for all his hard work and effort put into the Clipper Race over the last few years.


Do you need new teeth? Perhaps a replica Rembrandt? Or maybe you have an entire historic city that needs rebuilding?

These are just a handful of the things that can now be manufactured or built using 3D printing technology, or to give it the grown up name, Additive Manufacturing (AM). The process works by adding layers of material, fused together by laser, one of top of the other.

And, like many other cutting edge technologies - artificial intelligence, big data analytics - it's been incorporated into daily use at Land Rover BAR with the help of the team's Technical Innovation Group (TIG). In this case, TIG partner Renishaw, a global metrology firm which manufactures metal additive machines, as well as working with the more familiar 3D printing in plastics for their own prototyping.

TIG project manager, George Sykes of PA Consulting commented, "We use 3D printing at three different levels within the team. The simplest level is as a prototyping and visualisation tool. We manufacture a large number of custom parts and 3D printing allows us to make full size prototypes in-house before we commit to a design."


European Boating Industry (EBI), the French Federation of Nautical Industries (FIN) and Reed Expo are to host their second joint conference at the Nautic Paris Boat Show next week - this time dedicated to innovation and technology in boating.

Entitled 'Innovation & Technology, Future for Boating', this year's event will look at how innovation and digitalisation can improve comfort and safety on board of recreational craft and how simplification of navigation or collaborative economy can make boating more attractive.

It will highlight the lessons learned by the European industry leaders who export their innovations, which allows them to maintain a significant position on the international market.

Speakers will include Mirna Cieniewicz of Beneteau and Xavier Desmerest from Outremer Yachting in a discussion entitled 'Boatyards in the Digital Era'. Gildas le Masson of Navico and Yannick Perrigot from 'We are Nina' will then discuss 'The Digital Revolution of Marine Equipment Manufacturers'.


It's awards time of the year and we're asking for your nominations for the Boating Business / Marine Trades Association annual awards that will be presented at The Pearson Room at Canary Wharf during the London Boat Show.

The awards acknowledge achievements within our industry and we're asking for your nominations for potential award winners.

The awards will consist of the British Marine Trade Association Retailer of the Year, British Marine Trade Association Personality of the Year, British Marine Trade Association Chairman's Special Award, Boating Business Environment Award, Boating Business Website Award looking at interesting design and use of the latest apps etc, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Scott Deverell Young Businessperson of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, David Coleman Excellence in Exporting Award and the British Marine Leisure Boating Customer Service Award.

Recommendations for the awards should be sent to

Tickets are now available for the award ceremony and dinner - enquiries should be sent to


The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) has elected John Hatley PE, Vice President, Americas, and Director of Market Shaping, Wartsila Marine Solutions, as a Fellow of the institution.

Candidates for election as a Fellow (FRINA) must have demonstrated exceptional contributions to the profession, a record of superior achievements in their career and having held positions of responsibility. Nominees are endorsed by two sitting FRINA, following which a membership committee carries out a full professional review and assessment of the applicant's history of achievements.

RINA was founded in 1860 to advance the art and science of ship design. It is headquartered in London, and is a global and highly regarded professional institute of naval architects. RINA members span more than 90 countries and are involved in a range of marine activities, including ship design, construction, repairs and operations. The organisation's principal goal is to set the highest standards of professional competence, conduct, and integrity.


Quantum's presence in France is expanding with the addition of a new affiliate loft in Cogolin, France, owned and operated by Quantum sail designer Adrien de Belloy and his wife Capucine de Belloy. The de Belloy's are joined by sailmaker Marcos Voisard.

Adrien de Belloy started his design career with Quantum in 2007 in Barcelona, Spain and in 2013, settled in Southern France, representing and designing Quantum sails. Earlier this year, the couple decided to grow their business by purchasing a building and setting up a full-service sail loft. 

Adrien designs sails for everything from dinghies to super yachts, racers to cruisers.


Hudson Yachts & Marine Industries, Hudson Wang and Gunboat International Ltd. said they amicably settled all issues between them, including a pending lawsuit Gunboat International filed and counterclaims filed by Hudson Yachts & Marine Industries.

The companies said the settlement is subject to bankruptcy court approval. The terms of their agreement remain confidential, according to a statement.

The companies said both sides worked in good faith to discuss and resolve all pending matters "during this difficult time" and that Gunboat International "wishes Hudson Yachts & Marine Industries every success with its new line of yachts under the HH Catamarans brand."

HH Catamarans builds carbon fiber, high-performance cruising catamarans. HH catamarans are designed in California and built in Xiamen, China.

The semicustom line of 55- to 115-foot models is a collaboration among America's Cup-winning design team Morrelli and Melvin, boatbuilder Hakes Marine and Hudson Yachts & Marine.

Gunboat International, a North Carolina builder of luxury carbon fiber sailing catamarans, sued the yard in China that it had contracted to build its largest models, saying some work was never done and that the yard refused to pay warranty claims on other poorly constructed yachts it had built - allegedly costing the company about $10 million.

Hudson Yachts & Marine Industries Inc. "vehemently" denied allegations in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island by Gunboat International that alleged HYM produced subpar Gunboat models, refused to perform warranty work on them and then launched a competing "knockoff" brand.

Grand Large Yachts bought Gunboat International out of bankruptcy last spring for $910,000 in cash.

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 Bruce Kirby: I know you guys are much to young to know - but PLEASE do not use the term Great Dane (as in the Star Sailing League story) for any sailor other than the truly Great Dane, who is coming up to 89, suffers from Parkinson's, and is living in his old house in Copenhagen.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2008 Mills 37 - Crazy Horse. 95000 GBP. Located in Dublin, Ireland.

Following typical Mark Mills lines, Crazy Horse is raring to get back out on the race track. Big overhaul last year and now looking good as new.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble


Raceboats Only 2007 Farr 11s CASSIOPEIA. 140000 USD. Located in Marina del Rey, CA, USA.

An all-carbon racer with canting keel. Optimized for point-to-point racing, all systems recently checked & serviced.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Harmen Rockler
Farr Yacht Sales

+1 410 267 0780


Raceboats Only 2010 Corby Dale Nelson 36 - 2010. Located in Wales, UK.

From the drawing board of John Corby, the technology of a cedar strip/carbon fibre composite hull.

See listing details in Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly

Sam Pearson
Ancasta Port Hamble

See the collection at

The Last Word
Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don't have any surface noise. I said, 'Listen, mate, *life* has surface noise. -- John Peel

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Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

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