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

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Win By Just 12 Minutes
Cape Town, South Africa: Ian Walker (GBR) and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew have barely snatched a wink of sleep for nearly 48 hours, but they will surely be celebrating deep into the night after an epic first leg victory in the Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday.

There have been many close finishes in the 41-year history of the event, but few will have been quite so tense for the victors, who have been feeling the hot breath of Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) down their necks for the best part of a week in the 6,487-nautical mile (nm) stage.

Even with the finish under Table Mountain in Cape Town in sight 2nm away, Walker could not relax, with wind in perilously short supply and the Chinese boat able to close again before Azzam finally claimed the hardest fought of victories.

The crossed the line at 1510 UTC, just 12 minutes before Dongfeng, after 25 days, three hours and 10 minutes of sailing.

The win is a personal triumph for 44-year-old Walker. The Briton was forced to motor miserably back into Alicante on the first night of the opening leg in 2011-12 after a Mediterranean storm dismasted his boat.

This time, he and the crew have barely made an error since setting out with the rest of the fleet on October 11 from Alicante, and their Volvo Ocean 65 has withstood everything that the Med and the Atlantic could throw at them.

For the rest of the fleet, it's now a battle for the minor places and equally hard-won points. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) should take third spot later on Wednesday with Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) looking good for fourth.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are expected to be too far ahead to be caught in fifth, but MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) could yet have a big tussle for sixth and seventh spots before their expected arrival in Cape Town on Friday.

Route Du Rhum
Route du Rhum leader Loick Peyron reported this morning that he had just enjoyed his first hot meal after two and a half days of the race, a 'cassoulet' bean stew on the moonlit 'terrasse' of his giant Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII. But as he stretched out his overall lead to nearly 150 miles this afternoon, the legendary French sailor is increasingly leaving his opposition struggling.

Some current routings even suggest the leading margin of Peyron - whose best Route du Rhum finish from six attempts over 28 years is fifth - may extend to 200 miles by late this evening. After passing Madeira last night, conditions have eased off significantly for the leading Ultime class skippers who are dicing with the lighter airs generated by the Azores high pressure which now centred to their north and northwest.

Their balancing act, such as it is, is to avoid sailing too far north and being swallowed into the sticky lighter winds whilst also trying not to venture too far to the south, where the breeze is stronger but more miles are inherently added to the distance to sail as it becomes the less direct, longer route.

It has not been a good day for some of the pre-race favourites. Sebastien Rogues, Class 40's outstanding skipper these past two years, has had to abandon his quest to add the Route du Rhum title to his list of honours. A mainsail rip this morning made the decision for the GDF SUEZ skipper, compounding concerns about a failing spreader fitting which supports his rig, and wind instrument issues. He is heading to Spain.

As per the pre-race tipsters' beliefs Rogues had lead the race for the first couple of days. So also did Yves Le Blevec in the Multi50 class on Actual. He was also expected to be a top contender. WInd instrument and electrical problems have required Le Blevec to pit-stop into Cascais.

But what should have been a fast, simple fix became a double stop. He set off again this late morning only to have to return back again and at 1630hrs this afternoon was reported to be making ready to leave the Portuguese marina for the second time.

* The IMOCA class, like the other competitors, has not been spared of breakage during the initial phase of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. With the retirement of Vincent Riou (PRB) and Bertrand de Broc (Votre Nom autour du Monde), it has lost two vastly experienced sailors. For Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Coeur), his brief pit stop means that he's now managing his race rather differently and his primary objective now is to get to the other side.

The IMOCA fleet has opted to take the shortest route by flirting with the curved outline delimiting the Azores High, the aim obviously being to slip below the anticyclone in the hope of hooking onto the tradewinds. This operation is something the Ultimes have managed to pull off relatively seamlessly, but for the IMOCA monohulls, which don't boast the same speed potential, things will be a lot trickier. Francois Gabart (MACIF), the most westerly of the competitors, has turned out slightly to make more ground to the south.

Louis Burton Departs In The 10th Route Du Rhum
Gill We caught up with 29 year old, Gill sponsored, Louis Burton (IMOCA 60 Bureau Vallée) prior to departing for his 2nd Route Du Rhum.

How important and what sort of difference does it make to be wearing technical clothing you can rely on when racing?

Ocean sailing means tough conditions: water, permanent moisture, cold, heat, no shower. Having great technical clothes is a key factor when sailing for weeks or months alone.

What would you say are the most important parts of training and preparation for a solo transatlantic race?

Improving the boat, because IMOCA's are prototypes in constant evolution. When you're sailing solo, understanding how to push the limits of your boat without taking too much risk is probably the most important thing.

Ocean racing clearly has its high's and low's, what would you say have been your best and worst moments so far?

Best: My first Transat in IMOCA with my brother. It was in 2011 for Transat Jacques Vabre.

People thought we would finish last because we were young & had no experience, and we finished 7th (out of 13) and we were 3rd during a long part of the race. Great moment, great experience!

Worst: Definitely when I had to abandon Vendee Globe 2012 after a collision with a fishing boat off the Portuguese coast. I tried to go back to Les Sables d'Olonne to fix the boat but it was impossible without taking high risks to lose my mast. So much work for all my team destroyed in a moment. But I'll come back in 2016 for the next edition.

Read the full interview here:

Bermuda To Hold America's Cup World Series Event In 2015
The America's Cup World Series - a racing circuit featuring the best sailors in the world, competing on foiling, wingsailed catamarans - will be coming to Bermuda in October of 2015.

The America's Cup World Series is the first stage of competition in the 35th America's Cup and begins in the summer of 2015. Featuring all of the America's Cup teams racing in one design AC45 catamarans, the circuit is an early opportunity to put points on the board that carry forward into the next stage of the competition.

Overall ranking position in the America's Cup World Series determines the starting points score of the teams in the America's Cup Qualifiers in 2017.

Racing in the America's Cup World Series - Bermuda will take place on The Great Sound, while the team bases and public race village will be located on the waterfront in the heart of the capital, Hamilton.

Bermuda remains as one of two contenders - San Diego is the other - to host the final stages of the America's Cup in 2017. A decision on the final venue is expected in early December.

Bermuda is celebrated in the international sailing community as the finish port for the Newport-Bermuda race, which will celebrate its 50th edition during its next running in 2016, and for the Bermuda Gold Cup, the oldest one-design match racing event in the world, dating back to 1937.

The Sayre Windsurfing Dynasty
After five days of intense racing in Islamorada, Florida Keys, American Rasmus Sayre has been crowned the new World Champion in ISAF-class Kona One. Rasmus secured the title after impressive sailing, winning six out of twelve races. Danish windsurfing legend Tim Aagesen won the silver medal ahead of fellow legend Nevin Sayre, Rasmus' father and multiple time raceboard champion, who finished third.

The championship took place on Islamorada in the Florida Keys which has hosted numerous international sailing events over the years. A total of 106 sailors from thirteen nations and four continents competed during the five race days. Almost the entire championship was granted with good winds ranging from 12 - 30 knots. Rasmus Sayre proved to master these conditions and win an impressive six bullets out of twelve races and a total record: 2-1-1-1-4-2-1-4-2-1-(BFD)-4.

Rasmus Sayre comes from Martha's Vineyard on the American east coast where windsurfing was brought early to him. His father, Nevin, is an American windsurfing icon and winner of bronze medal in Kona Worlds 2014. His mother Stina is a former Swedish international windsurfer, and his sister Solvig sails in the American RS:X-team just as Rasmus. Solvig also competed in the Kona Worlds were she finished eleventh.

SK2 Dinghy

SK2. Welcome To The New.
The fast and fun sportsboat with a canting keel. Developed by Swing Keel Sailing Ltd and built by Ovington boats.

The SK2 is equally a capable racer for 2-3 crew or a performance day-sailor with family and friends. Developed as a strict one design class in mind it is equally suitable for a wide range of mixed fleet racing. The SK2 has been shown to live happily and be equally competitive amongst dinghies, sportsboats and more varied inshore club fleets. A true cross-over boat.

SK2's thoroughly developed package provides a new experience. The difference is the canting keel. Easily operate manually the canting keel provides additional righting moment and allows full use of SK2's powerful sailplan. Together this makes the SK2 suitable for a wide range of wind conditions. It also offers an ideal trialling vehicle for those with an eye on something bigger.

Weighing in at only 210kg (hull & Keel) it is towable by any car. At this weight an SK2 is also easily launched by hand like a dinghy from the beach or a boat slip.

Spinlock IRC Start Up Scheme Launched To Help UK Club Racing
British sailing clubs that would like to start using the Spinlock IRC rating system for their club racing can now benefit from a new scheme being offered by the Lymington-based Rating Office, the technical centre of the RORC and administrators of the IRC rating system.

Spinlock IRC 'Start Up' offers discounts on rating application fees for club members in the first two years, encouraging the development of an IRC fleet for local racing. 2014 saw the successful introduction of IRC at Flushing Sailing Club in the South West and Blackwater Joint Racing Committee on the East Coast, both having taken advantage of this scheme to kickstart their IRC club racing.

Spinlock IRC certificates issued via Start Up are valid for all IRC racing including open events, but are specifically aimed at club racing. IRC rating provides competitive racing to all types of boats, and has also been successfully used for dual scoring with the RYA's National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC), providing a pathway into racing for those less experienced.

A discount of 50% is applied in the first year for new applications, and 25% in the second year for revalidations. The Start Up scheme is open to clubs introducing IRC racing for the first time, for members' boats that have not held an IRC rating in the last five years. All it requires is an enthusiastic flag officer or club member who would like to co-ordinate the scheme within their club and liaise with the Rating Office. To make life easier for owners, the IRC database holds standard hull data for hundreds of production designs, so a minimum amount of measurement is needed.

Clubs that would like to bump-start their IRC racing can find more information at

Industry News
North Technology Group (NTG) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Future Fibres by Southern Spars. Founded 20 years ago by Tom Hutchinson and based in Valencia, Spain, Future Fibres is a marine industry leader in high performance carbon cables, masts, booms, spreaders and custom components.

Combining these two industry leaders allows Southern Spars the ability to develop additional technology for their impressive list of products, services and high performance solutions, in the marine industry and beyond.

Future Fibres first entered the composite rigging market after Tom Hutchinson devised a way to better terminate composite fibres by continuously winding PBO fibre around two titanium thimbles at any required length. Future Fibres' approach has allowed composite rigging to be used on every area of the boat and not restricted to just aft rigging as it historically was before.


Registration for the 5th High Performance Yacht Design conference in Auckland (March 2015) is now available here:

In line with other major conferences, proceedings will now be provided electronically. If you wish to order printed copies of the proceedings you may do so at the time of registration. Primary authors will receive a complimentary set of printed proceedings. There will be limited numbers available on the day so prior purchase is recommended.

Please note that we have trade stand and other sponsorship options available. If you are interested please email us for details.

There are a number of suitable hotels within easy walking distance of the venue. The conference is being held adjacent to the Viaduct Events Centre (west of the Viaduct Basin), and the ice-breaker function is at the Maritime Museum (east of the Viaduct Basin).


The 55th Hanseboot, which took place in Hamburg last week, confirmed a buoyant leisure marine market, as some 76,000 visitors visited the boat show.

A total of 557 exhibitors from 18 nations, presented their products and innovations during the nine-day boat show, which saw more than 490 boats and yachts, and services for all aspects of boating.

A range of attractions were on offer throughout the many halls including the new interactive Canoe World, boat building hall, Dinghy Newcomers arena, and the new Boat Building Centre. A large joint stand of DBSV also presented activity spaces with component and equipment suppliers, designers and builders.


Barton Marine, one of the world's leading manufacturers of sail and deck hardware, has announced that Paul Botterill will become Managing Director effective 1 November 2014. With experience in all areas of Barton's production, sales and administrative departments, Paul has an impressive history with the company spanning nearly 30 years.

Most recently, Paul has held the position of Operations Director responsible for managing production and packaging teams, material and tool procurement and coordinating activities with office staff and the sales department.

He was awarded the 2006 Young Businessperson of the Year Award by Boating Business Magazine and the Marine Trade Association, and has served as Chairman of the British Marine Federations' British Sailing Committee.


Composites UK, the accredited Trade Association for the UK composites industry, will support companies using composite materials in the marine and offshore energy sectors during its latest showcase event being held on 27 November in Southampton.

The event, which follows on from the last successful Sector Showcase event on 'Composites in Rail', will present ten companies working with fibre-reinforced composites materials (FRPs) to an audience of specifiers, end users, researchers as well as wider industry representative.

Presenting companies currently include; Aernnova, Combined Composite Technology, Sigmatex, TRB Lightweight Structures and Wartsila.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2008 Elliott Super Sport. 180000 Euros. Located in Auckland, New Zealand.

Elliott 9metre Super Sport OVERLOAD is a carbon fiber 30ft canting keel race yacht, designed by Greg Elliott. It was set up and built for inshore/coastal and even offshore racing, launched in September 2008.

OVERLOAD has a carbon mast, carbon prod, full set of North sails, Ronstan/Harken deck gear, Lewmar winches, cradle. The yacht is well maintained and in like new condition.

OVERLOAD has a large winning race history, currently holding the 124nm coastal classic record for 30 and 40 footers of 10hrs 23minutes.

Ian Gordon

M. +1 443 994 3978


See the collection at

The Last Word
There's a microbrewery in Barcelona which wants to know what my favourite beer is so they can brew a similar one in my honour. It is quite mad. -- Peter Higgs

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