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

Escoffier Airlifted To Safety
Early this afternoon (Thursday) about thirty miles off La Coruna Bob Escoffier, the 65 year-old skipper from Saint Malo, was airlifted to safety by the Spanish Navy from his modified Sydney 60ft monohull Guisnel Grouo which was racing in the Rhum class of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.

His boat had been taking in water due to an unknown reason. He was transferred, safe and in good health, to the Spanish base in Vivero. Escoffier was engaged on his fourth race participation and has also completed three successive Transat Jacques Vabre races between 2001 and 2005. He was a late replacement for his daughter Servane who pulled out of the race in early September for medical reasons.

His helicopter evacuation is the third such rescue after those of Francois Angoulvant who lost the keel of his Class 40 during the first night of racing and that of Pierre Antoine whose Multi50 was struck by lightning. The drop out rate has always been closely monitored on this four yearly passage from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe. The usual average rate of skippers abanding is around 30 per cent but has been as high as half the fleet in editions such as in 1986 and 2002. So far there have now been 21 abandons with 70 skippers still racing in the five divisions.

Loick Peyron can feel satisfied with his work to date on Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII leading across the theoretical midway point of the race today with a margin hovering still around 170 miles to the finish line in Pointe-a-Pitre. With 1700 miles to go his delta has held steady at 10 per cent of the distance to the finish. In light, poorly established trade winds today, Peyron should lead Yann Guichard's Spindrift out of the light winds zone and extend away again. On deck it is summer, 25 degrees with gentle breezes with a full moon at night. In the three cornered battle of the Multi70s Sebastien Josse eased clear of Sidney Gavignet again today but Yann Eliès struggled in a very light zone, conceding distance to his two rivals and was 140 NM behind Gavignet's Musandam-Oman Sail this evening.

Off Finisterre this evening conditions are forecast to be tough for the ten Rhum class racers and the back markers in Class 40 as a new low pressure sweeps across Biscay. Gusts up to 55kts are predicted with big, bad seas.

ISAF Conference
Palma de Mallorca, Spain: Thursday 6 November marks the final day of the various Committee meetings ahead of the ISAF Council, the final decision making body of ISAF, coming together on 7 and 8 November.

Destination Sanya - 2015 ISAF Annual Conference

Sanya, China will host the 2015 ISAF Annual Conference members of the organising team have been on hand to show more than 500 delegates what Sanya is all about.

Sanya is building itself a strong reputation for hosting international sailing events. Recently Sanya has hosted the Volvo Ocean Race, Round Hainan Island International Regatta and the Hong Kong - Sanya International Sailing Competition. Sanya will once again host a stopover for the 2014-2015 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race with the party set to roll into town towards the end of January 2015.

No theatre style medal race for 49er and 49erFX

The final day 49er and 49erFX format for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition was discussed. The Events Committee made the recommendation for there to be one single Medal Race that has a 20 minute target time. The Medal Race would not be theatre style.

World Cup

The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series will see reduced quotas, a qualification process based around the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and ISAF Sailing World Cup Qualification Regattas will be used to determine the entrants for each round, ensuring the world's best sailors will be within the World Cup fleets.

Event winners from each SWC Round will qualify to the 2015 SWC Final whilst the best placed 'home continent' sailor in each round will also qualify. The top three finishers at the 2015 Class World Championships (if already held) will qualify to the 2015 SWC Final. The remaining SWC Final places will be awarded via the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

Thursday report:

The Starting Gun Fires For Wight Vodka's 2014 Favourite Yachting Bar Competition
Wight Vodka With five years' of winners taking center stage, Wight Vodka's 2014 Favourite Yachting Bar competition is now tacking and gybing to the starting line! With such venerable establishments being ranked in the top position including the Peter Cafe Sport in the Azores as the World's Favourite in 2009, the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI as the winner in 2010, IYAC in Newport, Rhode Island as the Favourite in 2011, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club in 2012 and the One Bar Playa Blanca (pictured at right) in Lanzarote, Spain last year, we are asking the world's sailors to again put some 'deep thought' into this year's competition.

If through your foggiest of memories you can spin a great tale of your favourite bar, please enter your submission now on

The submission deadline is Monday December 1st.

From all of the submissions, we then choose the top 10 bars which are put forward for the online voting from Saturday the 6th December to Monday the 29th December. We announce the winner on the 31st December and similar to years past, the Wight Vodka crew calls each of the winning bars on New Year's Eve to congratulate them! It's a great occasion to ring in the New Year. May the best bar win.

Send your submissions (photos too if you wish) at

Not Over Yet!
Team Vestas Wind secured fourth place on Thursday following Team Brunel's evening arrival but it was the duel at the back of the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 fleet which was also keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

The Danish team (Chris Nicholson/AUS) was quietly satisfied with their finish at 1248 UTC after announcing their entry with just six weeks to go before the race start at the beginning of October.

After the fireworks of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing pipping Dongfeng Race Team to victory on Wednesday by just 12 minutes, Team Brunel's (Bouwe Bekking/NED) entry into port could have seemed something of an anti-climax.

Yet Bekking, one of the most demanding sailors in the fleet, was understandably 'content' with his opening podium finish in a record-equalling seventh appearance in the event.

There's still all to play for the three crews at the rear of the fleet as they approach the final stretch of the 6,487 nautical mile (nm) opening leg.

Fifth spot looks securely in Team Alvimedica's grasp (Charlie Enright/USA) despite a maddening spell in a windless patch during which they moved barely a mile. They are expected to arrive shortly, late on Thursday or early Friday.

The women of Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), for so long the back-markers of the fleet after weather pattern after weather pattern went against them, were gunning to overtake Spanish rivals MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) in the final 300nm.

2015 IRC Double Handed National Championships
Mike Golding OBE unveiled the dates for the 2015 IRC Double Handed National Championships at the RSYC's Double Handed prizegiving this last weekend. The championships will be held on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th September 2015 and will take place in the Solent. The inaugural championships held in 2014 were a major success attracting 41 IRC entries with Paul and Mark Griffiths taking the Class 1 title in their J109 'Jagerbomb'; Chris and Vanessa Choules in the Sigma 38 'With Alacrity' winning Class 2. Mike Golding presented the trophies.

For 2015 the RSYC is to join forces with The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club to provide first class racing in the Solent with an attractive 'apres race' programme at the RCYC in Cowes. Friday will see two races in the central Solent (a laid marks course followed by a round the cans race) with a long 'tide neutral' passage race on Saturday.

Those boats without a full IRC certificate will be able to take advantage of the IRC single event rating introduced for 2015.

The championships will be an appropriate celebration to mark the 35th Anniversary of double handed racing at RSYC.

Photovoltaic Sail
It had to happen. With the advances of solar technology, soon you will be able to have solar energy producers - photovoltaic cells - built into sunshades, biminis, dodgers and/or into the sails themselves. The next best news is that the resultant fabric needs only light, not direct sunlight so it won't matter that dodgers and biminis are often shaded by the sails while moving.

Sailmakers France, innovator of MatriX Titanium sails, has started a new company called SolarClothSystem that will make mainsails with a USA-made film containing high efficiency photovoltaic cells.

While solar sheets have been getting more flexible over the last few years, the good news for all sailors is that the cells are even more flexible - enough to be used on sails that get rolled or folded.

Copenhagen To Host 2016 ORC World Championship
Palma de Mallorca, Spain: The views of Big Boat racing will be spectacular along the waterfront when the ORC World Championship comes to Copenhagen with the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) and Egaa Yacht Club (ES) as organizers. The big event is a reality after an approval decision today by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC).

On the occasion of its 2014 Annual General Meeting, the Congress approved the recommendation of the Offshore Events and Classes Committee that the 2016 edition will be hosted at KDY's base in Tuborg Harbor. Through the last year representatives from the two yacht clubs have worked intensively on the bid application, together with the Danish Sailing Federation (DSA), Sport Events Denmark (the Danish national sport events agency) and Wonderful Copenhagen (Copenhagen Tourist Agency). The proposal was presented at the ORC annual meeting this Sunday in Palma.

The ORCi WC will take place in Tuborg Harbour just north of Copenhagen. The harbor offers sufficient space and good facilities for the expected 120-140 boats with up to 1400 sailors. The event will take place 15-24 July 2016 and will be an important element in the celebration of the Royal Danish Yacht Club's 150 years anniversary that year.

An Absorbing Interest. The America's Cup - A History
The America's Cup - A History By Bob Fisher (£250 + p&p)

Revised limited edition signed by the author. Now down to the last 40 copies... for the sailor on your gift list who seemingly has everything... a very unique gift.

This coveted  2-volume slip-case edition has become a collector's item as important to the history of the Cup, as Lawson's original 'History of the America's Cup' published in 1901. 

These two beautifully designed tomes chart the history of sailing's most enigmatic and greatest prize, covering  the dramas, designs, and personalities from the first race around the Isle of Wight in 1851 to 2003 in Auckland where Ernesto Bertarelli and his largely Kiwi renegade team stole the Cup away to Europe. It is this rich history that has  led to the sheer fascination of what has become the oldest international sporting event. Heavily illustrated with rare etchings, lithographs, line drawings, paintings and pictures, all chosen to complement the text, this collector's edition charts every Cup match in great detail and can rightly claim to be a definitive history. 

The perfect gift for all those fascinated by the Cup

"This is the Bible of the America's Cup." Bruno Troublé - Louis Vuitton

View sample pages:

Purchase online at

Congratulations To Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Winner Leg 1 - 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is one of the favourites for the race, but the close racing over the entire leg, is a sure sign that this will be no easy race to win. For the first leg, Dongfeng Racing Team, led by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, can count their second place as a huge victory.

After two immense set backs during the leg, the Chinese team showed incredible resilience in pushing for victory. On October 18t, just eight days days into the race, Dongfeng was in a good position, when one of the rudders broke off. After stopping to replace it, Dongfeng charged off after Abu Dhabi. Then on November 3rd a major deck fitting failed sending the boom crashing across the deck, demolishing one of the steering wheels and taking out the pulpit. Both of these dramatic moments were sent back by the Cobham SATCOM equipment on board and viewed by thousands of race fans.

Like a wounded wolf, (more on that later) Dongfeng Racing Team hounded after Abu Dhabi, closing to just three miles behind, as the two approached the shifty winds of Table bay. First blood went to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing but Dongfeng's 'never give up' attitude has won the Chinese team deserved praise and huge respect. Here is an exclusive with Dongfeng Racing Team's Rookie - Jiru Yang but you can call him 'Wolf'.

What is it like to represent China, with such a huge following for the race?

In Chinese we have a special word which means 'face' in English. If the team represents China well, especially if we win something then Chinese people will be very proud of us. It is very important for all Chinese people to prove that they can do something well, which is difficult to achieve.

For me, representing China in the Volvo Ocean Race is a great honour. It is also an important step towards promoting sailing in China, which at the moment is not a well known sport. Maybe in a few years time sailing will become very popular in China through the race. -- Louay Habib

- See more at:

Kiwi Oracle Sailors Await ISAF Fate
Two New Zealand America's Cup sailors should know their fate in the sport by the end of the year.

Oracle members Matt Mitchell and Andrew Walker are both awaiting any penalties by ISAF after being charged in relation to the boat tampering scandal that overshadowed last year's race for the Auld Mug.

Teammate Dirk de Ridder had his five-year ban reduced to three and it's once again before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Yachting New Zealand CEO David Abercrombie says the next decision around de Ridder is expected at the end of this month.

"We probably think hat the Mitchell-Walker outcome will be after that. They'll wait until then.

"Legally there's a bit of toing and froing." -- Guy Heveldt, Newstalk ZB

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: Hearty congratulations to Ian Walker and his crew for their first leg win, by just 12 minutes, in the Volvo, but...

Is it just me, or is my 'so-what?' ennui concerning the Volvo and who wins it something to do with the banal and meaningless names of the boats and teams? Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (or is the boat called Azzam?), Dongfeng Race Team (skippered by a Frenchman but described in your report as 'the Chinese boat'), Team Brunel, Team Vestas Wind... Perhaps it is because there seems no natural peg on which to hang one's allegiance, and thus interest. The names mean nothing, nationality means nothing: anonymity and obscurity reign. At least one knew whence Lion New Zealand hailed, at least one knew that Steinlager was some (another, as it turned out) sort of beer. But what and whither Team Brunel? A university? A bridge-building firm? (In fact, a quick Google shows it to be a Dutch entry, and it is at least skippered by a Dutchman.)

Of course, this is not a phenomenon confined to the Volvo: it pervades virtually all the pro circuit sailboat races from the Extreme 40s to the Route du Rhum. Formula Wun seems able to manage and maintain both its sponsor exposure and audience interest without burying the identity of its protagonists under piles of leaves. Should not the professional yacht racing industry be able to do the same?

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Ian Gordon

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See the collection at

The Last Word
If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize. -- Richard Feynmann on quantum electrodynamics

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