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

Mendelblatt & Fatih Victorious In Nassau
Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih (USA) have won the SSL Finals 2016 and a lion share of the $200,000 Prize Purse. In a dramatic final day, the American pair came with a whisker of being eliminated in the Semi Final and a highly competitive final race, saw three different teams take the lead.

10 teams contested the SSL Finals 2016, in the Star Sailors League Knock-out format. The trade winds were back in the bay with 12 knots of breeze pumping up at times and shifting both left and right on the short race track.

SSL Grand Final - Four teams, one race, with the bottom three eliminated.

Negri and Lambertenghi (ITA), who were rewarded a double bye for winning the Qualifying Rounds, joined the fray. Scheidt & Boening (BRA) got a cracking start and with renown downwind speed to come, the Brazilians looked like they would run away with the final. However, Mendelblatt & Fatih (USA) matched the Brazilians downwind, and the two leaders gybed at the first leeward gate, almost together. Mendelblatt & Fatih engaged Scheidt & Boening on the second upwind leg and gained the advantage. Rohart & Ponsot (FRA) kept in clean air on the other side of the course, making it a three way fight for the line. The Americans managed to hold of the Brazilians at the last top mark, while Rohart & Ponsot gybed early, heading straight for the finish line. The SSL Finals 2016 went right down to the wire, although Negri & Lambertenghi, were struggling in fourth place, all three teams ahead of the Italians had led during the race.

Vendee Globe: A Good Night For Le Cleac'h
After gybing around 2230hrs last night Armel Le Cleac'h had extended his lead to 43 miles ahead of Alex Thomson on the early morning rankings. Thomson gybed around half an hour later. The pair are now racing on the British skipper's preferrred starboard gybe in around 25kts of SSW'ly breeze. Thomson was polled at just over 18kts of boat speed, Le Cleac'h at 17.4. The top duo are about 450 miles west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin.

Just over 600 miles behind them Sebastien Josse (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild) is facing a testing 24 hours as he approaches the Antarctic Exclusion Zone on a forecast for strong winds. Josse is making 18kts this morning but the front which is approaching him is due to bring more than 40kts of wind and Josse faces the prospect of gybing along the barrier in heavy airs. In fourth place, Paul Meilhat (SMA) continues to make fast speeds this morning, more than 22kts at times, riding the leading edge of a front which is bringing the leading rookie 30kts of wind.

* Mainsail back up, Jeremie Beyou back racing

At 1900 UTC yesterday evening, Jeremie Beyou alerted everyone that there had been damage on Maitre CoQ. While sailing in thirty knots of wind, the mainsail suddenly came down. Jeremie decided to head further north to get away from the low-pressure system and analyse the situation.

Since then, the skipper of Maitre CoQ has managed to replace his damaged mainsail hook with a spare part. He has hoisted his mainsail, part of which was torn and will continue his repairs when he finds the strength to do that.

Still in fifth place in the 1700 UTC rankings and now more than 250 miles behind Paul Meilhat (4th on SMA), Jeremie Beyou, who has experienced a number of problems since the start of the Vendee Globe, is now heading south at an average speed of thirteen knots.

* Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of Yukoh forced to retire

At 0240 UTC on Sunday December 4th, Kojiro Shiraishi, Skipper of Spirit of Yukoh contacted his shore team to tell them that he had dismasted. The boat Spirit of Yukoh was sailing in a moderate breeze (20 knots). Kojiro inside of the boat heard the sound of the mast breaking at around 0230 UTC.

Kojiro has since then climbed the mast and succesfully removed the broken part of the mast. Kojiro and the team came to the conclusion that it was impossible to repair this damage and there were too many risks to allow him to continue in these conditions. He decided to retire from the race at 0830 UTC.

Kojiro is now safely heading for Cape Town.

Director of RORC Rating Office
RORC An exciting opportunity has arisen for a highly motivated and enthusiastic sailor with a technical background to take over the day to day management of the RORC Rating Office based in Lymington, Hampshire, UK.

Reporting to the Chief Executive the applicant will be one of the senior executives in the RORC organisation managing and motivating a small but highly experienced professional team at the Lymington office. This high profile and multi-faceted role has influence on the sport shaping both the competitive enjoyment of sailors worldwide through the IRC rating system as well as the management of yacht measurement, the safety aspects of the sport and the creation and maintenance of class rules for a variety of offshore one designs.

The successful candidate must have a high level of understanding of the technical elements of yacht performance, a good knowledge of yacht racing, and be computer literate, capable of learning the processes of our bespoke development software. They will be expected to develop longer term strategies for the IRC rating system and ways to develop the sport of sailing, encouraging more sailors to compete at all levels. The role involves travel between the various RORC offices and to venues in the UK and overseas to discuss and develop RORC's relationships with other organisations and stakeholders such as UNCL our partner in IRC and the ability to speak with authority and knowledge about the technical and safety aspects of the sport.

Other responsibilities include budget creation and management, developing measurement techniques and managing the team of RORC/IRC measurers around the UK as well as being available to assist with any yacht measurement matters. A sound knowledge of WS RRS & ERS, related ISO standards and STIX as well as the history of rating systems would be advantageous.

An attractive salary and benefits package includes a pension scheme, life insurance, 25 days annual leave plus public holidays.

Please send a CV and covering letter to: or post for the attention of:
Eddie Warden Owen
20 St James' Place
London SW1A 1NN

Closing date for applications is 23rd December 2016.
Interviews will be held in London the week commencing 9th January 2017.

RORC Transatlantic Race Phaedo3 Victorious In Grenada
Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 has taken Multihull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race for the second year running. The American MOD70 completed the course in 6 days 13 hours 39 minutes and 55 seconds. Although the team was outside their race record set last year (5 days 22 hours 46 minutes 03 seconds), Phadeo3 was well ahead of their 2016 rivals, Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70 Maserati, which was expected to finish the race later that night.

Team Phaedo for RORC Transatlantic Race:
Brian Thompson
Pete Cumming
Miles Seddon
Kelvin Trautman
Paul Allen
Henry Bomby
Fletcher Kennedy

* Giovanni Soldini's Maserati crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon, completing the RORC Transatlantic Race and their first ocean race in the MOD70 in 7 days, 8 hours, 44 minutes and 23 seconds, taking second place in the Multihull division. She is now safely moored in the beautiful confines of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada/

Out in the Atlantic, Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard is stalking a virtual prey; the RORC Transatlantic Race Tracker shows Leopard stalking the 'Ghost of Nomad IV'. Last year Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot Conq 100, Nomad IV set the record for the RORC Transatlantic Race in 10 days 07 hours 06 minutes and 59 seconds. The digital app of the course shows clearly that Leopard is now closing in on the record. This morning Leopard had 1,000 miles to go and was virtually 95 miles behind Nomad IV, but running faster, at a blistering pace of close to 17 knots. If Leopard continues at their current speed, the British Maxi will be close to record pace.

Leopard is also the provisional leader after IRC time correction for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. Arco Van Nieuwland & Andries Verde's Dutch Marten 72, Aragon is second after IRC time correction and leading IRC Zero. Swan 82, Stay Calm and Infiniti 46, Maverick is in a great battle on the water, with Anatoli Karatchinski's Baltic 112, also close to the duel. The three yachts could hardly be more different, but all enjoying a great race mid-Atlantic in the third edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race. -- Louay Habib

Carlos Aguilar Match Race
On St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Olympic match racing star Renee Groeneveld and her Dutch team of Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout and Mijke Lievens, won their first WIM Series event ever. They defeated Stephanie Roble's Epic Racing 3 – 0 in the final of the Carlos Aguilar Match Race.

After just a short postponement due to very light breeze Sunday morning, Principal Race Officer Darcy Cook got the racing going in the Charlotte Amalie harbour of St Thomas. Renee Groeneveld and Stephanie Roble both continued their winning streak that started Saturday afternoon, finalising each of their semi finals to dispatch Swedes Caroline Sylvan and Anna Ostling with a clear and comfortable 3 - 0 scorecard.

Having lost only two matches during the whole event, Renee Groeneveld looked very strong going into the final matches.

Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Liz Shaw and Janel Zarkowsky of Epic Racing did all they could to prevent Groeneveld & Co from winning the event, but their efforts weren't enough: "We were fighting for the starboard side of the course all day, and it was clear they wanted the same. Whoever got the starboard side on the first beat was able to extend, and they did a nice job doing that, so props to them," says Roble, who at least secured the 2nd place on the 2016 WIM Series.

Overall results in the Carlos Aguilar Match Race, the 5th and ultimate event of the 2016 WIM Series, in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (skipper, crew, country, WIM Series points, prize money in USD):

1. Renee Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout, Mijke Lievens, NED, 25, 2 500
2. Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Elizabeth Shaw, Janel Zarkowsky, USA, 22, 2 000
3. Anna Ostling, Karin Almqvist, Linnea Wennergren, Annie Wennergren, SWE, 20, 1 500
4. Caroline Sylvan, Malin Holmberg, Louise Kruuse Af Verchou, My Karlsten Sfiris, SWE, 18, 1 200
5. Nicole Breault, Eliza Richartz, Sarah Lihan, Sarah Suhich, USA, 16, 1 000
6. Josefine Boel Rasmussen, Trine Bentzen, Laerke Norgaard, Joan Vestergaard Hansen, DEN, 14, 900
7. Pauline Courtois, Maelenn Lemaitre, Berenice Delpuech, Juliette Le Friec, FRA, 12, 800
8. Antonia Degerlund, Carla Westersund, Daniela Ronnberg, Lisa Gerkman, FIN, 10, 700
9. Johanna Bergqvist, Ellinor Hansson, Johanna Thiringer, Nora Nyborg, SWE, 8, 500
10. Morgan Collins, Julia Wiesner, Mimi Roller, Elleanor Wells, USA, 7, 400
11. Linnea Floser, Hanna Ericksson, Sara Edholm, Raisa Raisinen, SWE, 6, 300
12. Sandy Hayes, Cindy Olsen, Sarah Enwright, Marcy Lake, USA, 5, 200

Overall top ten in the 2016 WIM Series (skipper, country, WIM Series points, prize money):
1. Anna Ostling, SWE, 95, 25 000 USD
2. Stephanie Roble, USA, 76, 15 000 USD
3. Renee Groeneveld, NED, 73, 10 000 USD
4. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 68
5. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 66
6. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 60
7. Nicole Breault, USA, 26
8. Katie Spithill, AUS, 25
9. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 22
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 22

How To Follow The 2016 Sailing World Cup Final
The Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover will draw 2016 to a close with over 200 competitors from 31 nations set to race across Melbourne's St Kilda foreshore and adjacent waters from 4-11 December.

Sailors in ten Olympic classes and an Open Kiteboarding competition will compete for bragging rights heading into the new Olympic quadrennial as well as a share of the $200,000 AUD prize pot.

Over a dozen Olympic medallists, including Rio 2016 Olympic champions Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED), will compete across the week. Racing commences on Tuesday 6 December and Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 will draw the competition to a close.

A full list of sailors registered to sail in Melbourne here.

Results will be available via from Tuesday 6 December via the Manage2Sail results centre

Live tracking

Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will be streamed live on World Sailing's Facebook and YouTube Channel.

Hurry! One Chance Left! St. Thomas International Regatta - March 24-26, 2017
St. Thomas International Regatta Register now! There's one drawing left on December 31 for early registrants to the 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) to Win FREE Long-Sleeve High-Performance Team Shirts. You'll be in great company. The New York Yacht Club's Phil Lotz and his Gunboat 60 Arethusa team were October's winners, while fellow NYYC member, Jim Vos with his brand new HH66, Nala, were the pick for November. All yachts registered for STIR 2017 by the end of December get their name put in the hat for the random FREE Team Shirts drawing.

Everybody's Invited! Race in CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association); IRC; Multihull; CSA Bareboat; Beach Cat or One Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. Team Shirt winners to date speak to the strong offshore multihull class this year, making STIR 2017 definitely 'where the Big Cats roam!'

There's still time! Space is available on yacht transport ships. Full-service logistics operation for Grand Prix race boats is available. Caribbean Racing Logistics, run by yacht club member Ben Beer can handle the hall out and storage of large deep draft race boats ( or 340-998-6203).

Or, charter anything from a Swan 90, TP 52 or Maxi One Design 80 to a Beneteau First 40, J/122 or J/120. See:

We're easy! There's direct air flights to several U.S. cities. Nearby Puerto Rico offers direct air service to Europe. Island Way Services ( or 340-244-8457), can assist with everything from accommodations to rental vehicles and more. In addition, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism website offers a wealth of information:

Register Now! Pay only US $250 up until January 31, 2017. For information, Email: , Call (340) 642-3204

Monaco Europa Cup - Laser
A stiff easterly blowing up to 20 knots greeted the 230 sailors from 11 nationalities divided into five categories on the third and last day of the Monaco Europa Cup, more than fulfilling everyone's expectations.

The Laser Standard category opened the ball with three back-to-back races. Despite a line that favoured the pin end, no-one attempted to start on port. And once again it was the Italian Marco Gallo, the big favourite with two run-ups to the Olympics under his belt (2012 and 2016) who dominated from start to finish followed by his compatriot Nicolo Villa and then the Russian Maxim Nikolaev.

The Laser 4.7 Boys, the youngest at the event, proved a little too over-enthusiastic resulting in several general recalls that sorted out the rankings from the start, as many ended up being black-flagged and disqualified. Francesco Viel won the event ahead of Alessandro Fornasari, followed by Simone Scarpetta. In the same category for the Girls, Federica Cattarozzi topped the leader board in the final overall ranking.

Provisional final rankings

Laser Standard:
1. Marco Gallo, ITA, 6 points
2. Nicolo Villa, ITA, 9
3. Maxim Nikolaev, RUS, 14

Laser Radial Boys:
1. Guido Gallinaro, ITA, 5
2. Paolo Giargia, ITA, 6
3. Jacopo Scornaienghi, ITA, 14

Laser Radial Girls:
1. Maud Jayet, SUI, 5
2. Carolina Albano, ITA, 6
3. Valentina Balbi, ITA, 6

Laser 4.7 Boys:
1. Francesco Viel, ITA, 8
2. Alessandro Fornasari, ITA, 10
3. Simone Scarpetta, ITA, 19

Laser 4.7 Girls:
1. Federica Cattarozzi, ITA, 4
2. Elisa Navoni, ITA, 7
3. Alice Cortesi, ITA, 9

Chemistry Lesson
Of many changes being made for the next Volvo Ocean Race it is the dramatic alteration to the crew format that is likely to have the biggest influence on the results. Blue Robinson talks wholesale revamp with Sam Davies and Sophie Ciszek of Team SCA and 2014 winner Ian Walker

Seahorse Magazine:What were your thoughts when you heard of the proposal from Volvo on the different crew ratios permitted in the next race?

Sam Davies: I was aware this was in the pipeline as I had spoken to Knut Frostad and Mark Turner at the Yacht Racing Forum in Geneva last winter, so I have had time to reflect on it. I know Knut and Mark have been considering it since before the end of the last race and initially I wasn't so sure, as we had such a great team with SCA which was the second all-female crew I raced round the world with. Both crews promoted professional sailing for women, encouraging others to do the same. It was an honour to sail with such a talented group on SCA, with Olympic and world champions in the team; we finished third in the inshore series and won a leg, but we struggled with offshore experience.

Boathandling in the Southern Ocean is all about experience, the big loads and dealing with the inevitable wipe-out situations. Every single crash we did was a first for us, whereas the guys have done it all so often, during the VOR and on the big private campaigns on the offshore circuit that are hard for us to access - and if we do get onboard those boats we have no responsibility. Whenever it gets tough and decisions have to be made, it's not women onboard who are making the calls. So on reflection, yes, I'm really pleased with what has been done for the next race.

Full interviews in the January issue of Seahorse:

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