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

Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
San Francisco, Ca, USA: Success often follows success, and that was never truer than today as racing for the coveted Rolex Farr 40 World Championship title got underway on San Francisco Bay. There are 19 international teams vying for the championship crown, but the dominating performance on the opening day of the championship series was turned in by New York's Alexander Roepers, on Plenty, with three wins in as many races run on the Berkeley Circle.

The consistency exhibited today by the crew on Plenty only adds to the luster of a standout year: having been second at Cabrillo Beach in March, the team went on to win the Rolex Farr 40 North Americans in May, the Cal Cup in June and the Rolex Big Boat Series which was sailed in San Francisco just last month.

Roepers gave credit to the crew when asked about the team's performance: the four professional sailors, Terry Hutchinson (tactician), Skip Baxter, Morgan Trubovich and Greg Gendell, along with Ted Hackney, Scott Holmgren, Matt McDonough, Dimitri Simons and Jennifer Wulff.

Plenty leads the overall standings with three points, followed by 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on the Australian-flagged Transfusion which posted finishes of 3-2-4 for nine points. The two other Australian teams in the fleet are next in the standings: Lisa and Martin Hill, on Estate Master, finished 4-3-8 for 15 points and third place in the overall standings; while Andrew Hunn, on Voodoo Chile, went 9-6-3 for 18 points to stand fourth. Tied for fourth is the defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Alberto Rossi, on the Italian-flagged Enfant Terrible, with finishes of 5-7-6.

Racing resumes tomorrow, October 16, and concludes on October 18, when a champion will be crowned.

Complete results


ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao
Qingdao, China: The second day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao will see the breeze and current increase to make for an intriguing day of racing.

Up to 2 knots of current and a south westerly breeze ranging from 13-18 knots gusting up to 20 knots will test the sailors.

Racing for the 171 sailors from 21 nations in six classes will commence at 13:00 local time.

Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) blitzed the Laser fleet on the opening day taking both bullets ahead of Pavlos Kontides (CYP) who came through in second in both races. With the wind picking up Stipanovic will have his work cut out to record another double bullet day.

In the Laser Radial Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) has a small advantage following a solid opening day.

Lu Yunxiu (CHN) and Olga Maslivets (RUS) share the lead in the Women's RS:X whilst Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) tops the bill in the Men's fleet.

Pavlos Kagialis and Panagiotis Mantis (GRE) and Wei Mengxi and Xu Yani (CHN) hold top spot in the Men's and Women's RS:X.

Palludan & Macgregor Leading Busan Semis 1 - 0
After an intense Wednesday in light winds and bright sunshine on the waters of the Korean Haeundae Beach, the round-robin of the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race was completed. Lucy Macgregor of Great Britain and Danish Trine Palludan have now taken a firm grip of their respective semi final, with Swedish World Champion Anna Kjellberg and Katie Spithill of Australia both one match down/

The Korean waters of Haeundae showed another side of itself during Wednesday's racing, when bright sunshine and just a light breeze followed on the initial days, clearly affected with heavy rain and strong winds from the nearby Super Typhoon Vongfong. The lack of time due to previously having lost one day of racing to Vongfong, caused the regatta organizers to cancel the quarterfinal stage and immediately move on to the semis.

Standings in the semis of the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, the fifth and final event of the 2014 WIM Series:
Trine Palludan, DEN - Katie Spithill, AUS 1 - 0
Lucy Macgregor, GBR - Anna Kjellberg, SWE 1 - 0

Results in the round-robin of the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race (skipper, country, wins - losses):
1. Katie Spithill, AUS, 9 - 2
2. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 8 - 3
3. Trine Palludan, DEN, 8 - 3
4. Anna Kjellberg, SWE, 8 - 3

5. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 7 - 4
6. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 6 - 5
7. Stephanie Roble, USA, 6 - 5
8. Denise Lim, SIN, 5 - 6
9. Susannah Pyatt, NZL, 4 - 7
10. Claudia Pierce, NZL, 3 - 8
11. Urara Fujii, JPN, 2 - 9
12. Sung Eun Choi, KOR, 0 - 11

Hurricane Gonzalo Delays Argo Group Gold Cup
Hamilton Bermuda: In a meeting today [Wednesday Oct. 15] Argo Group Gold Cup organizers at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) took a close look at Hurricane Gonzalo's predicted track and intensity and decided to delay the event schedule by one day to allow crews the opportunity to reschedule flights to arrive after the storm has passed and the airport is reopened. Practice will now be held on Tuesday Oct 21 and racing will be scheduled to start Wednesday morning Oct 22.

Bermuda, host island to the Argo Group Gold Cup - stage 6 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour had a brush with Hurricane Fay last Sunday, Oct. 12. Now less than a week later Bermuda expects for a relatively direct hit from dangerous Hurricane Gonzalo. The Cat.4 storm is now predicted to pass within 42 miles to the west of Bermuda on Friday. All of Bermuda is hoping for the best, bracing for the worst.

Because of the one-day delay to the start of racing, the remainder of the schedule will be compressed and organizers will take advantage of the fine weather predicted after the storm to get the full event in for the competitors and spectators. The winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy takes home $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse.

Seahorse November 2014
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

A most remarkable man - Part 2
With the first edition of Bart's Bash Blue Robinson, Iain Percy, Ben Ainslie and Anthony Nossiter reflect on the big man himself

Nowhere to hide
Andrew Hurst throws caution to the wind as he looks at this year's round-the-world fleet...

Holding on
Jon Mitchell of Marlow looks at the progress that continues to be made with Dyneema fibres

RORC news
And the 'new' Maxi 72 Class officially comes into being... Eddie Warden-Owen

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IMOCA Class General Assembly
It was a studious General Assembly meeting that took place in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nantes this Wednesday 15th October. On the agenda was the event programme for the class for the coming years, the partnership with OSM (Open Sports Management) and the re-writing of the design rules with the addition of some external expertise. After 23 years of evolution, the rules needed more coherence and better legibility, adapted to meet the needs of the current projects.

This GA was, above all else, confirmation of the direction taken by the IMOCA Class around the design rule. This means that, for all new boats built, they will have to use a standardised keel and mast. Two key objectives were cited for this decision, on the one hand the management of budgets for the new parts and, on the other, a reinforcement of the safety factors around the keels. Today, they estimated a lowering of budgets by around 10-15%, based on the prototype pieces.

With 6 new boats in construction, it was essential that the rules from last year remain in place, at least until the finish of the 2016 Vendee Globe event, which marks the end of a cycle.

Current new build projects :

- Safran (Morgan Lagraviere), design by Verdier - VPLP, expected launch Jan-Feb 2015
- Banque Populaire (Armel le Cleac'h), design by Verdier - VPLP, expected launch march 2015
- Edmond de Rothschild (Sebastien Josse), design by Verdier - VPLP, expected launch 2015
- Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson), design by Verdier - VPLP, expected launch June 2015
- Saint-Michel Virbac (Jean-Pierre Dick), design by Verdier - VPLP, expected launch July 2015
- The Italian Andrea Mura has announced the intention to build a new boat for the next Vendee Globe (design by Verdier-VPLP)

ISAF Match Race Rankings
Taylor Canfield (ISV) has reclaimed the World # 1 position in the open rankings whilst Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) holds on to the World #1 position in the Women's rankings.

Taylor Canfield (ISV) and Ian Williams (GBR) have once again exchanged places on the ISAF Open Match Race Rankings with the 2013 World Champion, Canfield returning to the World #1 position.

With two Alpari World Match Race Tour events counting to this ranking release it was 2-0 to Canfield as he defeated Williams in the final in Chicago, USA and at the inaugural Dutch Match Cup in Lelystad, The Netherlands.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) hold steady at World #3 and World #4 respectively whilst Philip Robertson (NZL) makes a return to the top five after finishing sixth at the two World Tour events.

The top three of the ISAF Women's Match Race Rankings remain unchanged so Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN) holds on to the World #1 position once again. Anna Kjellberg (SWE) and Stephanie Roble (USA) are World #2 and World #3 respectively.

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN) claimed the ISAF Grade 1 Sheboygan Women's Match Race International, the penultimate event of the 2014 WIM Series, and moves up one place to World #4. The Danish skipper beat Roble for the title but only counts seven scores from the maximum eight which is affecting her overall position.

Caroline Sylvan (SWE) moves up two places to World #5 after claiming fourth place in Sheboygan.

Top ten, match racing Open

1. Taylor Canfield, ISV
2. Ian Williams, GBR
3. Mathieu Richard, FRA
4. Bjorn Hansen, SWE
5. Philip Robertson, NZL
6. Eric Monnin, SUI
7. Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN
8. Nicolai Sehested, DEN
9. Keith Swinton, AUS
10. David Gilmour, AUS

Top ten, match racing Women

1. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN
2. Anna Kjellberg, SWE
3. Stephanie Roble, USA
4. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN
5. Sylvan Caroline, SWE
6. Anne-claire Le Berre, FRA
7. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED
8. Milly Bennett, AUS
9. Claudia Pierce, NZL
10. Denise Lim, SIN

Audi Hong Kong To Hainan Race
The 2014 Audi Hong Kong to Hainan Race will get underway in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on Thursday 16 October, with the warning signal sounding at 1310hrs. First organised to mark the return of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1997 and conducted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) with the co-operation of the Chinese Yachting Association (CYA), with the finish hosted this year by Serenity Marina in Sanya, Hainan, the race is well established and represents the only existing Category 1 offshore race to finish in the PRC.

Of the 11 boats originally entered, only 9 boats will make the start line on Thursday, with Sense 50, Sea Monkey, withdrawing after losing all her electrics in a suspected lightening strike and X-55, Xena, sustaining damage to her mast in a start line incident at Audi China Coast Regatta. Current record holder, TP52 FreeFire, is also a question mark for the race with suspected rig damage.

Karl Kwok's Team Beau Geste is taking on Audi China Coast Regatta winner Ray Roberts' OneSails Racing in a TP52 head-to-head which promises exciting racing at the front of the fleet. Paul Winkelmann's Island Fling (JV42) has been optimized since last year's Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, and proved fast on the water in the Audi China Coast Regatta, however in IRC Racer 1, they will be pitted against the new Kinmonth/ Burns owned Sydney GTS43, EFG Bank Mandrake 3, on her first offshore foray with her consistent and highly experienced amateur crew. Having run her numbers for yesterday's forecast, EFG Bank Mandrake 3 is predicting a frisky race with a finish within 24hrs.

Audi Hong Kong to Hainan Race official website
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Not Sailing But Astonishingly Cool...
Lockheed Skunk Works Says It Has A Nuclear Fusion Reactor

Billionaire superheroes Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne's defense companies both had one, and now real-world defense giant Lockheed Martin says they have one too. It is the holy grail of cheap and stable energy, yet it has alluded the scientific community for a century. Well, that may finally be about to change once and for all with Compact Fusion Reactor (CFR).

Lockheed's 'bleeding edge' aircraft design and boutique technology development arm, the Skunk Works, has officially announced that they have what they think is a very workable and incredibly small fusion reactor design. If it does indeed work as projected it could change the the world as we know for the better, not just for powering homes and offices all over the world, but for powering ships and even spacecraft and aircraft, the cumulative effect of which would be akin to a restart on the atomic age all over again.

Early production examples of the Compact Fusion Reactor would fit into a shipping container and produce 100MW of power. This output would be enough to power well over a whopping 80,000 homes in the US and is equivalent to one of the Navy's large A4W fission reactors found on Nimitz Class aircraft carriers.

David Thomas
David Thomas Britain's influential yacht designer David Thomas has died.

Earlier this year, the Royal Southern Yacht Club hosted its first David Thomas regatta in celebration of the yacht designer, who had been a member of the club for 25 years. The main speaker was PBO contributor Peter Poland, a long-standing friend of David's, who built many of his designs as co-owner of Hunter Boats.

He said: 'David has an instinctive understanding of what sailors want - he has been the Pied Piper of yacht designers, that's his secret.

'People from all divisions of sailing have sailed out on a David Thomas design. They will go on for ever.

'He is also responsible for the largest one-design fleet in Round the Island Race history, 105 Sigma 33s, a record that will never be beaten.'

The Royal London Yacht Club on Cowes, Isle of Wight also run an annual David Thomas-inspired regatta.

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 George Morris: Am I the only person having difficulty accessing and navigating the VOR website? The site itself is not particularly self explanatory with the rapid scrolling of what appears to be some sort of multipage menu when you open it. The Full Tracker will not run in Chrome and when I got it to run in IE some of the meteorological data was wrong or in incomprehensible units or the wind was 180 degrees out. With perseverance I think I have managed to extract most of the information available but right now I cannot get any information at all off the site in either browser. All I have is a corrupt hotspot inviting me to download Unity Player, which I have already done several times. In the past I have always thought that the Extreme 40s had the world's worst website, but I fear they now have competition!

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1st Sydney Hobart Race 1993
1st Whitbread Round The World Race 93/94

She has sailed very little in the last 6 years apart from an Atlantic crossing and back in 2008.

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The Last Word
If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons. -- Winston Churchill

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