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

Team Brunel Snatch Lead - For Now
Alicante, Spain: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have finally given ground to Team Brunel after almost exactly a week at the head of the fleet but the new leaders' thin advantage may well be very short-lived as the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 turned into a game of hunt-the-breeze.

Ian Walker's (skipper-GBR) men edged ahead of the fleet on October 21 after leapfrogging past Dongfeng Race Team, having navigated the Cape Verde Islands.

They kept their noses in front until Tuesday morning when Bouwe Bekking (skipper-NED) and his crew moved into a 59-nautical mile advantage.

But before Dutch race fans get too excited, their position only reflects their placing in the most easterly point of the fleet, closer to the opening leg finish in Cape Town.

Team Vestas Wind have gambled by following a course to the west of the two leaders but it was paying slim dividends with markedly less breeze where they were.

Spain's MAPFRE went even more for broke, heading 230nm west of Team Brunel but in the best gusts of the fleet.

The boats are expected to complete the 6,487nm first leg from Alicante to Cape Town around November 5 after setting out on October 11.

The Need For Speed
Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, spoke to Louay Habib.

16 Days into Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have been consistent, almost conservative, in their tactical decision making. Whilst other teams have 'rolled the dice' Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have been playing the percentage game and relying on their skill, experience and meticulous data collection before the race, to optimise one thing and one thing only - speed.

"Fundamentally, it is how you trim the sails and steer the boat. However, we have ballast tanks, dagger boards and a swing keel and all the gear on board. The most important factor is the sail settings and choice of sail combination but all of these factors contribute to performance. We spent all of our training trying to figure out how to make the boat go quick."

Read the interview:

Dubarry Crosshaven - Preferred By Professionals
Dubarry If you had to invent the most punishing ordeal for offshore sailing footwear - an extreme boot camp you might say - then you couldn't do much better than the Volvo Ocean Race. It's a 37,000-mile ocean-bashing, boat-trashing dash around the planet, and if there's even the slightest imperfection in boat, man or gear, the VOR will find it, break it, then tell everyone about it.

For most of us, it's the ultimate contest of man and machine against nature. For Dubarry, it's R&D. After supplying its ever-green classic, the Shamrock boot, to the professional crew of Ireland's Green Dragon entry for the 2008-09 Volvo, Dubarry's most fanatical designers listened, developed, tested, listened some more, tweaked, analysed and tested again. The result was the Crosshaven boot.

When Green Dragon arrived in Galway at the end of Leg 7 for the best party the race has ever seen, elbowing their way through the "craic addicts" was Dubarry's research team, wanting yet more feedback. Their finishing touches sealed the Crosshaven's reputation as the offshore professional's boot of choice. Where's the proof of that? Competing teams chose Crosshaven in the 2011-12 VOR and again in the 2014-15 race.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

North Sails Golf Day For The John Merricks Sailing Trust
Sailors were out in force on the golf course on Friday 24th October, when 88 golfers turned out for the 18th North Sails Golf Day at Cams Hall Golf Club, Fareham. John 'Jonny' Merricks worked at North Sails and the first Golf Day, organised as it is today with the help of the Seahorse Golf Society, was set up to raise money for a Trust to be started in John's name. Since its inception 17 years ago the Golf Day has raised over £168,500 for the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST).

Miraculously, the forecast rain never materialised, and the warm October weather continued as former colleagues and friends of John's, including, Eddie Warden Owen, Iain MacDonald-Smith, Ossie Stewart, Jonathan Taylor, Chris Mason and Stephen Park, turned out to play a round of golf whilst also remembering John and supporting the charity in his name.

Giles Scott, recent winner of the British Sailing Team's Athlete of the Year award, after his unbeaten run in the Finn class this season, and team mate Ed Wright, also wielded their golf clubs in support of the Trust.

Rob Larke won the event with a score of 39, earning him the famous Bandit trophy.

The Contender Longest Drive competition, won by Steve Adlam with a massive 292 yard drive, earned the JMST a donation from Contender to match of £292.

The Grapefruit Graphics Nearest the Pin Challenge was won by Dean Shaw.

JMST Trustee, Ian Walker, Skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sent a message via VOR Race Control to all the players, "Right now I am lucky enough to be in the middle of the Ocean doing what Jonny would have loved to have done. It makes me sad to think of all the wonderful opportunities sailing has given me that Jonny never had. He too could have been stuck trying to sleep in a boiling hot carbon container with 8 other very smelly blokes! I am sorry to miss the Golf Day this year but wanted to thank you all for being there and for supporting the JMST. The JMST has a pretty simple goal to give chances to young people in sailing that they might never have had. This year the JMST has touched more young sailors lives than any other and I am very proud of everything that has been done with your help over the last 17 years….."

Optimist World Championship
Club Nautico San Isidro, Argentina: 6 races were made last week and the fleet was divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each fleet has 70 sailors. This first part of this championship had light winds, lot of current and little waves but today it changed completely: The wind gauge marked 23Knts on the race area, the waves were high and short, there were current and it was cloudy. This changes made a turn on the results. The Gold Fleet had two races: The Brazilian sailor, Gustavo Abdulklech won the first race and then Voravong Rachrattanaruk from Thailand won the second race. The Silver fleet made two races also and the bronze fleet only made one because of the strong winds. The final results: 1st Nicolaz Rolaz from Switzerland, 2nd Dimitris Papadimitriou from Greece and third place Gustavo Abdilklech from Brazil. Mara Turin who was winning the OptiWorld is 8th after a very hard day.

Top five, Gold fleet after Tuesday's racing:

1. Nicolas Rolaz, SUI, 28.0 points
2. Dimitris Papadimitriou, GRE, 31.0
3. Gustavo Abdulklech, BRA, 43.0
4. Jelmer Velds, NED, 45.0
5. Aina Colom, ESP, 55.0

Full results of the individual championships

Racing continues through Thursday.

On Sunday the Team Racing Championship finished with Thailand winning, followed by Singapore and Spain in second and third place.

Full results for Team Racing

World Yacht Racing Forum & Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium
World Yacht Racing Forum The World Yacht Racing Forum & Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium has been a key event for leading figures in the yacht racing industry for the last 7 years. It provides fascinating discussions and learnings on the latest developments for the business of the sport, best practice examples on growing business in yacht racing and excellent networking opportunities for companies within this exciting sector.

The 7th World Yacht Racing Forum and Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium takes place on the 10-11 December at the Hesperia Tower Hotel in Barcelona, Spain.

Attend the WYRF and YRDTS to:

- Expand your network of contacts within the yacht racing industry
- At the WYRF meet with event organisers, sailing teams, pro sailors and class associations
- At YRDTS meet with yacht designers, boat builders, engineers and suppliers
- Discover the latest strategies to grow the base and business of yacht racing
- Learn from leaders in the industry about best practice for event management, sponsor acquisition and marketing.


ScuttleButt readers get a special 10% discount on the total delegate price; email us today with your discount code AY2038SB10

For information on partnership opportunities please contact Informa Sports Group on +971 4407 2442 or

Windier Weather Brings Victory For Vanke
The China Cup International Regatta saved the best for last by producing the strongest breeze of the regatta for the final day. It set up the perfect showdown in some of the closely fought classes, with the 103-boat fleet sent on a 13-mile Round the Island Race in the morning followed by a concluding short-course race.

Most competitive of the eight fleets was the 22-boat Beneteau 40.7 class. Finding space on the start line was not easy and one of the leading contenders, Beijing Sailing Center, could only manage a second-row start by the committee boat. Vanke Longcheer got the best start at the pin end and soon had arch-rival Vatti Sailing falling into her bad air.

However, Vanke was upstaged by Australian team, John Hearne's WOB Gloria Star, which showed impressive pace to win the island circumnavigation, with Vanke in 2nd, Vatti in 4th and Beijing back in 6th.

Jono Rankine's team would have to sail their socks off in the final race if they were to make up the 2-point gap to Vanke Longcheer. The green boat won the race, but the yellow shirts were too consistent and by coming 2nd, clinched the regatta by a single point. The winning tactician, 18ft skiff World Champion Seve Jarvin, grinned: "It was an awesome day in the end, But it was stressful! The crew did a fantastic job, we kept it clean and got off the line well. We ended up winning by a point which is awesome. We felt like the boat was going well and we gelled as a team."

For the second year running, the 2012 winners have played second fiddle to Vanke Longcheer. But after a sail controversy last year, Vatti helmsman Simon Cooke felt better about finishing runner-up this time, with tighter controls on the one-design aspect of the 40.7 fleet.

In the other one-design fleet, the SOTO 27s, Tiffany Koo has raced seven China Cups before, but apart from a line honours victory aboard the Maxi yacht Jelik, this was her first victory at the event. Koo and her crew on CMGE/ KRT won in style, taking five wins from seven races.

Koo's former skipper, Frank Pong, steered his Reichel-Pugh 75-footer, Jelik, to IRC Division A victory ahead of HuaAn Sailing Team. In IRC B, Dongfeng Race Team beat last year's winners, Nick Southward's J/109 Whiskey Jack. In IRC C, the defending champion Lighthorse won the final four races in the series but a set of retirements early in the week meant that the clear winner was HNA Dream Team skippered by Li Xiaojing.

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Frasch Leads German Team to International 14 Worlds
Touristen Express' Bjoern Frasch and crewman Oliver Peter are leading the way for a German challenge at the International 14 World Championships to be held at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, in Victoria, Australia, from 3rd to 17th January, 2015.

The multiple World Championship competitor expects another three northern German teams to soon lodge their entry. "There will be four German teams coming to the Worlds. The boats are already on their way to the UK to be shipped together, with the UK boats, to Australia," Frasch said.

The other teams are GER28's Georg Borkenstein and Eike Dietrich, GER230's Axel Reinsch and Peer Blohm, and GER13's Julian Retzlaff and Fabio Pfisterer.

Borkenstein was the best-placed German in this year's European Championship in Kiel, finishing in fifth place in the 31-boat fleet. At last year's World Championship in Toronto, Canada, he was again the best placed German, finishing in 12th place while Reinsch took out 19th.

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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 Malcolm McKeag: The answer to David Evans' "heartfelt question "why ISAF?" may be given in two words: "the Olympics". Before 1984 the Olympics were an essentially amateur affair, after 1984 there was money to be made. Before 1984 the host nation/ city got government money to stage the Games, inevitably at a loss. Yacht racing at this time was run by amateur, Corinthian clubs and involved amateur sailors. The yacht racing rules of the time even required that a yacht in a race could be steered only by an amateur. Each nation had its own national body, each varyingly active but most concerned primarily with yacht racing and primarily the yacht racing rules. Each national authority subscribed to a body called the International Yacht Racing Union - the IYRU. The IYRU was formed in London in 1906 only and entirely to administer the International Rule of measurement (the Metre boat rule) and to coalesce the various clubs‚ varying sailing rules into a common code, which it called the International Racing Rules. The Americans did their own thing. Later, by common consent and the amalgamating of the North American Yacht Racing Rules with the IRRs, the IYRU became the international forum for matters racing. The IYRU operated like most clubs: its decisions were made by committees of which there were few and all concerned, as the name implies, with racing. That was the IYRU's business and it minded its own business well. As the body responsible for yacht racing the IYRU dealt with the similarly constituted body responsible for the Olympic Games, the IOC. The IYRU was based in London, in rooms rented from the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, and had a staff of three in the office plus an international measurer who looked after technical matters for the international classes, including the Olympics. It held an annual conference every November, usually in London.

1984 LACOG, the Los Angeles Committee organising the Olympic Games, in the hope of mitigating the cost of running the Games, had the bright idea of selling-off sponsorship rights to the Games. Coca-Cola bought the main rights, there were other sponsors as well. And the IOC also sold the rights to televise the Games. In the US these went for big bucks. When the money was totted-up at the end to everyone's delight there was a modest, indeed not insubstantial, surplus. The IOC divvied this out between the sports, giving the money to each sport's affiliated body. The IYRU found itself in funds. But there was a snag. The IOC would give the money only if the affiliated body could speak for all participants in its discipline.

And so, to keep its hands on the Olympic money, the IYRU changed its constitution, unilaterally declaring itself to be "the world governing body for all forms of sailing" and arrogating to itself the right to tell sailors of all sorts around the world what their sport would be and what they could do.

And the rest, as they say...

* From Gordon Davies IRLGD4: It took me less than three minutes to confirm that Chris Atkins (GBR) is a Vice President of ISAF, that David Batt (GBR) and John Crebbin (IRL) are the Council members representing Group A (UK and Ireland). As Dick Batt and Chris Atkins are International Race Officials it took me another minute to obtain their e-mail addresses in the ISAF website Race Officials section. Hardly unknown individuals who Mr Evans cannot lobby.

As for being unrepresentative, Council members are appointed by the Member National Authorities of the group they represent ( see ISAF Constitution article 40a - another 1 minute 30 seconds of research!). In this case the RYA and the ISA. I presume Mr Evans is a member of the RYA, and I suggest he contact them for further information regarding their internal arrangements for designating an ISAF Council member.

The President and Vice President of ISAF are elected by the General Assembly held every 4 years. The General Assembly is made up of one delegate per Member National Authority, plus the President and Vice-Presidents (article 31). President and Vice Presidents are elected by the General Assembly (article 32 and 65).

This appears to me to be clear example of representative democracy, in which the members (the MNAs) elect Officers and and vote on issues brought to Council through a network of committees, sub-committees and working groups. The members of these committees are published on the ISAF website. Most Committee members welcome input from active sailors. The actual functioning of ISAF is far removed from that of an 'unrepresentative body' of 'self appointed administrators'. If the democratic process sometimes produces less than perfect propositions and decisions that is a price I am prepared to pay for a Constitution that allows me, as an active sailor, to make my voice heard.

I am certain that if David Evans has some well argued comments to make regarding ISAF Classification he will find that both Chris, David and John will read them with interest.

* From Alistair Skinner: I agree with David Evans. I am also a sailor of long experience though at just 46 years a spring chicken compared to David's 60. I have no objection to racing against the pros but I would expect to know who is what and more importantly I would expect our governing body to govern. I also agree with the apparent lack of representation or transparency. On the high side, they have delivered, what is now, a robust set of racing rules, have set in place firm and measurable guidelines for assessing and certificating the knowledge and skills of race officials and fought our sport's corner with the Olympic movement to maintain our expensive inclusion in the worlds biggest sporting circus to name but three areas.

Sure they are not perfect but I am sure that their tight adherence to their own rules, and acting on said rules, in no small part only enhances the fact that, generally, sailing is still a 'clean' sport where winning with the respect of one's fellow competitors is still as important as it was when the Paul Elvstrom first made the statement.

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The Last Word
There is no patent. Could you patent the sun? -- Jonas Salk on why he didn't patent his polio vaccine. Dr. Salk's 100th birthday is October 28th. Thank you Dr. Salk.

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