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
Male: James Spithill (AUS)
Female: Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA)
Australian James Spithill was nominated for leading ORACLE TEAM USA to one of the greatest comebacks in all sporting history. Trailing Emirates Team New Zealand 8-1 in a first to nine quest for one of yachting's greatest prizes, the America's Cup, skipper Spithill inspired a comeback of epic proportion with a faultless "down but not out" approach. Levelling the series at 8 apiece his team was victorious in the winner takes all final race; Spithill's second triumph in the 162-year old contest.
35 year-old Spithill is the third Australian to win the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, following Mat Belcher (2013) and Tom Slingsby (2010).
Despite their young age (both are 23) this year's nomination of Brazilians Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze was no surprise. They have been leading lights in the 49erFX class all season, regularly topping the podium in ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and holding the #1 spot in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. The pair also exhibit a never say die characteristic, proven by their recent victory at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Playing catch up throughout the series in the pursuit of their first world title, Grael and Kunze kept going to the very end, finally overtaking the championship leaders on the penultimate upwind leg of the final race.
Grael and Kunze mark the fourth time Brazil has tasted success at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards following Torben Grael (the father of Martine - 2009), and Robert Scheidt (2001 & 2004)
No Time To Sleep
The next 24 hours could well be the longest of Ian Walker's 44-year-old life.
The British skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and his crew have led for the majority of the 6,847 nautical mile (nm) first leg from Alicante to Cape Town since the fleet raced through the Cape Verde Islands before the halfway stage.
But there's been literally no time to relax ever since, and even with the leading pack just over 24 hours from completing the opening leg, Walker has two boats breathing down his neck.
The fleet is now estimated to arrive just after lunchtime in an expectant Cape Town.
Caudrelier tried an early morning tactical move on Tuesday, crossing Walker's line on the Abu Dhabi boat, Azzam, at 0640 UTC.
In this cat-and-mouse game of manoeuvre and counter manoeuvre, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing gybed in front of and to windward of Dongfeng.
Stronger breeze is making this a sprint finish.
Team Brunel are currently in third but are still pushing hard to grab any opportunity to make a gain.
The chasing pack of four will fall the other side of a weak high pressure ridge that will see wind speeds drop and push their arrival back a day.
Dubarry Crosshaven - Comfortably The Best Performer
Volvo Ocean Race teams have chosen Dubarry's Crosshaven in every edition of the race since the boot was developed with Green Dragon in the 2008 edition. There are several reasons for that.
First, the innovation that impressed the Green Dragon guys most: the integral gaiter. Made of lightweight, hard-wearing, water-resistant fabric and cinched up with a drawstring, this gaiter means you can kneel down and work on the foredeck without suffering the dreaded 'bootful of green' that kills comfort for the rest of the passage.
And when you're dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean as winter's teeth snap at your vitals, you'll appreciate the 350g GORE-TEX® Duratherm membrane and thermally insulated footbed that will keep your feet, at least, toasty.
Then there's the award-winning grip of Crosshaven's non-slip and non-marking sole. If you're trying to stay vertical on deck, and several tonnes of water traveling at 30 knots is trying to persuade you that you might be more comfortable lying down, you need your feet to stay planted.
We can all benefit from experience, but it comes at a price. Lucky for you that Green Dragon footed the bill, and the benefit is all yours.
Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea
Route Du Rhum: Weather Getting Better
On Tuesday November4: the wind flow is NW'ly, strong and unstable under the influence of the low pressure system from the British Isles to the Mediterranean. There is an active cold front which at midday is located in the axis from Madiera to the Strait of Gibraltar. There is an anticyclone 1030h centred SW of the Azores between 35 deg N and 33 deg W.
Wednesday the NNw'ly winds ease between the Azores high centred 33 deg N and 33 deg W and a depression 1001hPa on the Gulf of Genoa. The NNE flow is strong between Madeira and the Canaries.
In the brisk NNW'ly airstream Loick Peyron leading the fleet on Banque Populaire moves quickly downwind towards Madeira which the Ultime leaders should pass by the end of today. In this unstable weather the winds are up and down a bit, averaging 20-25kts but with gusts which will reach 20-25kts. As they progress southwards the breeze will ease and the seas become more orderly.
The IMOCA Open 60s in the south of the Bay of Biscay progress SW in a strong NW'ly airstream. Two options emerge with the leading group lead by Francois Gabart sailing out to the west, offshore on the more direct route while the other three rivals sail further east and south looking to hold on to the stronger breeze for longer. For all the IMOCA Open 60s the conditions remain difficult with gusts of 40kts in the squalls accompanied by big seas, a swell over 6 metres.
* PRB Abandons:
Vincent Riou, skipper of PRB and one of the favourites to win the IMOCA Open 60 Class arrived back in Port La Forêt at around 1115hrs CET this morning. He was immediately joined by his technical team and together they inspected the damage and problems. Upon full evaluation the decision was taken that he would officially abandon La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.
The principal damage is to the supporting structure of the crescent shaped mainsail track. He decided that along with other problems there would now be no way of achieving his goals for the race.
Others on Monday's damage / abandon list:
-0h30 : Bertrand Delesne (Class40) has problems with sails halyards and headsails. Heads to Perros-Guirec then Roscoff. Arrives Roscoff at 9h, leaves Roscoff at 13h.
-1h15 : Bob Escoffier (Classe Rhum) sail and rig problems. Heads to Roscoff, arrives 08h Monday. Aims to leave Tues 06h
-1h45 : Thierry Bouchard (Class40) wrist injury, heads to Saint Malo. Arrives 16h Monday. Abandon.
-4h20 : Brieuc Maisonneuve (Class40) pilot problems, heads to Roscoff arrives 10 :45 Monday.
-5h35 : Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50) breaks rudder, towed by SNSM to Roscoff arrives 16h Monday
-6h30 : Nicolas Troussel (Class40) twists ankle, routes to Brest arrives 15h Monday Abandon.
-7h00 : Herve de Carlan (Multi50) breaks daggerboard, heads to Saint-Brieuc.
-7h15 : Erik Nigon (Multi50) shreds mainsail, heads to La Rochelle, Abandon.
-8h10 : Pierre-Yves Lautrou (Class40) loses two wind vanes. Heading to Camaret. Arrives 17h Monday.
-8h45 : Alan Roura (Class40) water ingress, other varied problems. Heads to Roscoff, ETA 19h
-9h45 : Tanguy de Lamotte (IMOCA) rudder damage, route towards Brest since 1400hrs.
-10h00 : Vincent Lantin (Class40) various problems, heading to Camaret.
-10h10 : Patrick Morvan (Classe Rhum) various problems heading to Camaret due 18h30 Monday
-10h15 : Alain Delhumeau (Multi50) dismasted, heading to Brest Abandon.
-10h45 : Julien Mabit (Classe Rhum) pilot and electronics problems heading to l'Aber Wrac'h. Arrives 14h00
-12h00 : Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA) pilot problem and injured elbow. Heading to Lorient. Abandon.
-14h00 : Arnaud Boissieres (Class40) crack on deck and other pbs heading to Les Sables d'Olonne. Abandon.
-15h00 : Philippe Fiston (Class40) technical problems. Arrived Camaret at 17h Monday
-14h00 : Benjamin Hardouin (Classe Rhum) arrived Roscoff to repair leak, plans to restart Tuesday 06h
-16h00 : Conrad Humphreys (Class40) arrives Camaret 16hrs sail problems, batten car damaged
-16h30 : Nils Boyer (Classe Rhum) arrives at Roscoff to replace life-raft
-17h15 : Vincent Riou (IMOCA) damaged mainsail track mounting, heading downwind slowly to repair
Giles Scott Joins Ben Ainslie Racing
Anyone who followed the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games will remember that the biggest hurdle to Ben Ainslie's historic fourth gold medal was another Brit by the name of Giles Scott.
Their rivalry was one of the most compelling stories of the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics - a classic narrative as Scott, the apprentice and former training partner, attempted to unseat the dominant figure of the previous generation, and win the single Team GBR place at the Games.
History records that Ainslie won selection, and then won his fourth gold medal. But Giles Scott used his time wisely; he raced with Luna Rossa in their 2013 America's Cup campaign, and this summer won the Finn Olympic Class World Championship in Santander. Scott is now a firm favourite for gold in Rio 2016, and will be a key member of the British America's Cup team, Ben Ainslie Racing.
And what about working with Ben after all those bruising encounters on the water? "It's very useful to have been through that, because if two people were ever going to fall out over something, it would be over an Olympic selection - you are battling each other for your dream. Going forward from that, I have a knowledge of him and how he performs - what he likes, what he doesn't like - you just know each other, so I think it can only be a positive thing," concluded Scott.
World Yacht Racing Forum & Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium
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.
Robot Sailing Team Calls For Help
University of British Columbia's robotic sailboat team is looking for help from marinas on Ireland's West Coast as they make plans for next year's Microtransat Challenge.
The Canadian engineering students have taken first place two years running in the World Robotic Sailing Championship, which this year was held in Galway Harbour and hosted by NUI Galway.
But the holy grail of robotic sailing is the Microtransat Challenge, the competition to design and build a fully autonomous sea-going vessel under 4m long and capable of crossing the Atlantic unaided.
The first attempt at the challenge, launched by scientists from Aberystwyth University in Wales, ended in failure as the robotic yacht disappeared after reversing course.
UBC Sailbots intend to be more successful in setting their robo-boat to sea from Newfoundland in eastern Canada to Ireland, one of two sanctioned routes for the challenge.
But they need assistance from a willing marina along the Wild Atlantic Way to provide accommodation for team members, a place to pick up their boat and a support vessel to shadow their boat to the finish line.
Any interested parties can contact the team via their website at ubcsailbot.org
Among The Best Of The Best....
'This is one of the best offshore races I have done, definitely a race not to be missed'.
So said Russell Coutts after sailing the 2005 edition of the Transpacific YC's race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, known the world over as the Transpac. This iconic 'race to paradise' is known well by all those who have dreamt of sailing west over the horizon to a warm, palm-fronded tropical isle. It's no wonder the race has enjoyed and grown its universal appeal to the world's best sailors to test themselves and their boats in this 2,225-mile ocean racing classic.
The idea of a yacht race to Hawaii started back in 1886 when King Kalakaua invited yachtsmen on the mainland to come to his 50th birthday party and to bring their boats to Hawaii to enjoy the culture's legendary hospitality. He proposed an ocean race from San Francisco to Honolulu, for which he even offered prizes, with first place to win $US1,000... a great deal of money back then.
It took another 20 years, but this new race was finally organised for 1906 with three boats interested in starting, when the devastation of the San Francisco earthquake prompted a rapid relocation to Los Angeles. In this race another new concept was tried: time allowances, where 30 minutes per foot LOA was used for this race, based on a study of the system used in the previous year's Emperor's Cup race from Sandy Hook to Lizard Light, won by the now legendary schooner Atlantic.
Ever since, the Transpac has been at the forefront of encouraging fair racing among fast, seaworthy yachts, with the new trends developed to win this race being exported to the rest of the offshore yachting world.
From Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com
Chris Benz Luderitz World Record Chase 2014
The event limited the number of competitors to facilitate the performances of each rider, in total - 34 riders (Windsurfers & Kite Surfers) representing 17 different nationalities.
No less than 38 times, new records were set and then re-broken, ending the event with; 11 x New National Records and 1 x World Record.
- Andrew Redfern (Fiji) with 40.87 kts (75.5 kph average speed over 500m)
- Roger Ornvang (Sweden) improved his national record - Kite Surfing - with 43.19 kts (80kph)
- Remo Diethelm (Switzerland) with 48.31 kts (90 kph)
- Franz Grabner (Austria) smashed the National record with 47.88 kts (88.5 kph)
- Martin Tóth (Czech Republic) broke his country's record often and finally ending with 46.73 kts (86.5 kph)
- Mark Grinnell (South Africa) set a new South Africa and all Africa record in Windsurfing with a truly impressive 49.92 kts (92.5 kph) - just short of the magical 50 knots
- Alain de Gendt (Belgium) - new Production Board Record of 46.66 kts
- Christian Bornemann (Germany) - new record in Windsurfing of 48.82 kts (90.4 kph)
- Zoran Jovanovic (Serbia) - new national record (Kitesurfing) of 40.31kts (74.5 kph)
- Patrik Diethelm (Italy) achieved the TOP windsurfing performance at the 2014 event by improving the Italian National Record with a very impressive 51.18 kts (94.7 kph) just 0.8 knots off the World Windsurfing Record!
- Christophe Ballois (France) set a brand new Disabled World Record (Kitesurf) with a superb and inspiring performance of 42.94 kts (80 kph)
- Patrik Diethelm (Italy) - set a new Italian Windsurfing Record (51.18 kts)
- Sebastien Cattelan (France), twice Kite Surf World Record Holder achieved 53.90 kts (99.8 kph)
The 2014 Chris Benz Lüderitz World Record Chase Event had 9 days of racing with a variety of conditions and suitable for different levels. Riders have experienced much more and quickly identified what equipment to change to go faster in less wind.
The death has been announced of the yachtsman Joe English (58), the former skipper of Ireland's first entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race in his native Cork on 4th November 2014.
He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers almost ten years ago that ended his career as a professional sailor.
Removal to Crosshaven Church will be at 7pm on Wednesday 5th November at 7pm followed by his funeral mass on Thursday morning.
His interest is boats and sailing began at an early age with his older brother Eddie who also became a successful international sailor.
Their love of the sea was fostered by their parents Eamonn and Mary, both of whom were past commodores of Cove Sailing Club in their hometown of Cobh and this interest also extended to their younger siblings Denis and Jean Paul.
Joe first competed in the Admiral's Cup in 1977 on 'Big Apple' owned by Clayton Love, Hugh Coveney and Raymond Fielding leading up to the notorious 1979 Fastnet Race with Denis Doyle on the Ron Holland designed Swan 441 Moonduster, the forerunner to Doyle's more famous varnished boat of the same name.
Later that year, he travelled to Australia where he was based in Sydney and competed in various major events including the Southern Cross and Kenwood Cup series in Hawaii. Returning to Cork in 1980, he won the One Ton Cup sailing with Harold Cudmore on 'Justine' winning all five races in a light airs series and followed this with victory in the two-ton cup in Sardinia a year later.
In 1987 group of Irish sailors and business figures formed the Sail Ireland syndicate to enter the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. The 82-foot yacht was designed by Ron Holland and built in a warehouse in Dublin's Ballyfermot. Named NCB Ireland, it was launched in November 1988 and Joe was appointed skipper in July 1989.
After a farewell ceremony in Dun Laoghaire in August attended by thousands of well-wishers, Joe quietly left the boat shortly after it departed for Southampton to be with April for the birth of Aoife, their first child.
He competed in the 1993-94 edition of the Whitbread in the new 60-foot class with New Zealander Chris Dickson on 'Tokio' and subsequently became an advisor to the race management team as it evolved into a fully professional event.
From 2004 at age 48, a series of tests led to a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimers Disease and he left his position with McWilliam sailmakers. Determined to fight the disease, he was open about his condition and participated in a RTE Primetime documentary in collaboration with the Alzheimers Society about the lives of sufferers and their families in Ireland.
After years of dedicated care by April and his children, Joe English passed away peacefully at St. Finbarrs Hospital, Douglas Road on Tuesday 4th November 2014.
Joe English is survived by his wife April, daughter Aoife, sons Robbie and Conor, brothers Eddie, Denis and Jean-Paul and a wide circle of friends and sailing mates in Ireland and around the world. -- David Branigan
A well renown racer. She has won many victory with famous NZ skipper Grant Dalton
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.
Brokerage by Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokerage: www.bernard-gallay.com
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid. -- Albert Einstein
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