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 Breeze Out Of Cape Town
Photo by Rick Tomlinson, Click on image for photo gallery.

Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town, South Africa: Skippers of the seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which set out for the 6,125 nautical mile (nm) Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, left with warnings of possible cyclone activity and tropical storms ringing in their ears.

Race organisers took late measures to keep the 66 sailors away from the very worst of the weather on the Indian Ocean with a new exclusion zone leading to the Seychelles.

There were already zones in place to avoid icebergs in the Southern Ocean and the more unlikely menace of pirate attack further down the route on the east coast of the Indian Ocean. The latter zone was being kept secret from the public to avoid the possibility of the fleet being intercepted.

From the very start on Wednesday (1800 local/1600 UTC), the sailors were given a taste of things to come with gusts of up to 35 knots kicking up a procession of white-capped waves. It was a question of 'don't break your boat' as most opted for conservative sail choices, while they wrestled to keep them under control and intact.

For the second leg start in a row, Team Brunel led the fleet out of port after wrestling the lead, first from MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), and then Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) who were well in the hunt.

The fleet will continue to sail in these gale-force conditions, which Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright (USA) described before the start as 'heinous'.

Spain's Pella Writes Himself Into Rhum Record Books
Spanish solo skipper Alex Pella wrote himself into the history books of the Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race and Spanish ocean racing when he crossed the finish line of the 3542 miles La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe race first in Classe40 at 06:47:08 hrs TU/07:47:08hrs CET/02:47:08 Local Gaudeloupe.

He sets a new course record of 16d17h47m8s, beating the 2010 mark for the 40 foot Class 17d 23h 10m by 1d 5h 23m 09s.

After starting off Saint Malo on his 42nd birthday, Sunday 2nd November, the Catalan sailor took 16d17h47m8s to complete the 3542 miles course, at a theroretical average speed of 8.82kts. In reality he sailed 4336 miles at an average of 10.79kts.

One year ago Pella and his co-skipper Pablo Santurde finished second in the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed race from France to Brazil. On the dock in Itajai Pella expressed his regrets then that - but for a costly pitstop into La Coruna to repair their rudder - they should have won Classe40 on the lightning fast Botin designed Tales 2 Santander.

This time, solo, Pella has no such cause for regret, only for celebration. Ironically, though, he has been so quick that he arrived ahead of schedule, before his friends and family could get to Pointe a Pitre.

* Caseneuve first to Guadeloupe in the Rhum Class

Anne Caseneuve (Aneo) crossed the finish line of the 10th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe on Wednesday 19th November at 20:06:03hrs UTC as winner of the Rhum Class which had mustered six multihulls and 14 monohulls.

The solo skipper of Aneo took 17d 7h 6m 3s for the 3542 miles between Saint-Malo and Pointe-a-Pitre but in reality sailed 4740 miles at an average speed of 11.42 knots.

This is Caseneuve's fifth Route du Rhum after competing in 1998 in the Class 2 multihulls in which she finished 24th, in 2002 she was second, she abandoned in 2006 and was seventh in the Multi50 Class in 2010.

Marinepool Ocean Racing Clothing For The 40knots+ Category
Marine Pool When Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe started on November 2nd two exceptional yachts - Spindrift2 and Oman Sail Musandam - were be at the starting line in the super fast Ultime class. Both capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.

Marinepool is the official clothing supplier to Spindrift Racing and to Oman Sail. Skippers Yann Guichard and Sidney Gavignet, who finished this epic race in 2nd and 5th respectively, were sailing the single handed race in the very latest Marinepool Ocean Racing suits.

Made from revolutionary Dermizax NX fabrics by Toray of Japan the Ocean Racing suit offers ultimate protection from the elements. A smart non porous membrane provides exceptionally high waterproofness, moisture permeability and low condensation. The smooth texture of the fabric, its light weight configuration and high elasticity make the garments comfortable. The 3-layer stretch fabric is highly breathable and abrasion resistant, features include waterproof zippers and 3M™ reflex patches for increased visibility at night. Latex dry suit seals reliably keep the enormous spray at these speeds outside. The top is available with a high offshore collar with signal colour hood or without a hood  for conditions when only a full face helmet is the answer.

Designed and developed with the skippers of the ultimate speed machines.

Marinepool | Design. Technology. Passion.

Synergy Crowned RC44 Match Race Champions In Oman
The RC44 Oman Cup opened with the season's final day of match racing. Defending champions Team Aqua held a slim one-point lead over Synergy Russian Sailing Team who were fighting for the trophy they last won in 2012. Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika started the day in third, with Hugues Lepic just two-points adrift in fourth and keen to get the French flag onto the podium.

Racing was delayed before a light 5-7 knot north-easterly breeze filled in. Flat water made for easy boat handling conditions, the 30-degree shifts made the tactician's life difficult amongst the 10 boats.

Synergy, jointly owned by Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev, were unbeaten for the day and were crowned 2014 RC44 Match Race Champions; taking back the title they lost to Team Aqua in 2013.

The RC44 Oman Cup in Muscat continues through to 23 November, with the fleet championships kicking off on Thursday 20th November, 11.30 GST - 07.30 GMT.

2014 RC44 Championship Tour Overall Match Race Ranking (After five events)

1. Synergy Russian Sailing Team - 23 points
2. Team Aqua - 21
3. Team Nika - 18
4. Aleph Racing - 16
5. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team - 12
6. Bronenosec Sailing Team - 11
7. Katusha - 11
8. Charisma - 10
9. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge - 10
10. Artemis Racing - 8
11. Bombarda Racing - 4
12. MAG Racing - 2
13. Artemis Racing Youth - 1

Solo Long-Distance Record
A Norfolk (Virginia, USA) resident set a world record for a man's longest solo sailing journey in a dinghy, Guinness World Records announced Monday.

This summer, Robert Suhay, a designer for The Virginian-Pilot, sailed 283.5 nautical miles - 326.25 miles - in a small boat called a Laser.

He left Norfolk on June 29 with plans to sail without stopping up the Chesapeake Bay to an island near Baltimore and back. He abandoned the trip on the way back because bad weather was approaching. -- Cherise M. Newsome

Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship
Darryl Hodgkinson with his Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race champion, Victoire, is the latest to enter for Middle Harbour Yacht Club's 37th Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC) to be held on November 29 and 30, but those yet to enter should do so quickly, as entries close this Friday, 21 November, at midnight.

Hodgkinson was racing last weekend when his canting Cookson 50's steering cable broke. "I'm getting all the problems out of the way and the SSORC will be very useful for testing the boat, sail changes and to work the crew under different situations and see how we go against the competition," he said today.

Victoire, the Premier IRC class champion at the SSORC in 2011, will be joined by Blue Water Point Score and Sydney Hobart rivals Balance (Paul Clitheroe's TP52) and Patrice (Tony Kirby's Ker 46), along with the likes of Bob Cox's DK46, Nine Dragons.

Firmly placed to win last year, Victoire was outsailed by Patrice and Nine Dragons on the final day, much to Hodgkinson's chagrin. No doubt the trio will go head-to-head again, and with Balance in devastating form and others in the picture it is anyone's to take.

The two-day Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship series is the gateway to the NSW summer offshore racing season. It creates opportunities for crews to polish their skills against some first-rate performers as they head into the season.

Notice of Race and entry are online at the official website: Sailing Instructions will be available from Tuesday 25 November. -- Di Pearson

New Website Helps Connect Sailing Schools With Students
Boating Hub The Boating Hub have launched a new website to help sailing schools advertise their courses, and to make life easier for those looking to take courses around the World.

The Boating Hub is the first and only online portal which collects sailing, motorboat, dinghy, kayak and keelboat course information from operators and presents them to boating enthusiasts of all levels through an easy to use search function.

Whether an amateur looking to pilot their first boat to seasoned professionals looking to sharpen their skills, visitors to The Boating Hub can browse a list of local, national, and international boating and sailing courses.

Training centres and individual instructors around the world that offer boating courses can sign up for free to advertise their offers to a targeted audience of people passionate about learning to sail and other boating disciplines.

To encourage sailing schools to sig up, for a limited time advertisers can add their courses for FREE with unlimited dates, whilst still enjoying the benefits of features such as automatic social sharing and dedicated profile pages.

To find out more about The Boating Hub and advertise your courses for FREE please CLICK HERE.

Dragon 'U-Boat' At Cascais
Photo by Ricardo Pinto. Click on image to enlarge.

Cascais Dragonn The popular European International Dragon Winter Series at Cascais in Portugal got off to a spectacular start over the weekend.

After a week of strong winds, the breeze had eased, but a huge leftover sea still running in the Atlantic was a timely reminder that further along the Portuguese West Coast, they have a breaker which rivals Ireland's mighty Aileens off the Cliffs of Moher.

For those who could handle the conditions, the sailing was spectacular.

However, the word is that it was an un-released runner which caused a mark-rounding German Dragon to be knocked on its side and fill.

Whatever the reasons, quips about U-Boats in the Battle of the Atlantic were thought to be in the worst possible taste. -- Afloat magazine


J/24 South Americans
La Punta, Peru: With the advent of spring sailing "down under", the various J/24 fleets in South America and Australia are beginning to get the ball rolling in their various summer season championships as well as major events.

In La Punta, Peru, the J/24s have just started their South American Championships sailing on the Pacific Ocean along the spectacular coastline of this mountainous country.  The fleet so far has been blessed with good sailing conditions for the highly competitive fleet.

While the betting is that Mauricio Santa Cruz on BRUSCHETTA may be able to repeat as South American Champion, behind him there is no question many are expecting to challenge them enough to dethrone them for 2014!  Leading that charge should be several good local teams, like Luis Olcese's SCARAMOUCH, Javier Arribas' WAYRA, Matias Seguel's GURU, Lucas Peschiera's TIAMAT and Vernon Robert's JOYTIA.  There is a lot of racing planned for the fleet, with the regatta starting on November 8th and finishing one week later on November 15th.

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 - While celebrating with James Pleasance and no doubt the rest of the sailing world the entry of the Long Beach YC's Congressional Cup to the Alpari World Match Racing Circuit, and wishing to take nothing away from that excellent event - the first stand-alone match race event outside the America's Cup - the introduction of on-the-water umpiring in the 1990s can hardly be described as 'an innovation' (well - it might have been considered an innovation in California, I suppose).

On-the-water umpiring in match racing was first used in the 1980s, I am sure, at the Royal Lymington Cup in Hampshire, (old) England.  That disputatious but very successful match racer Harold Cudmore was a leading agitator for something to be found to replace those tedious, in some cases almost all-night, protest hearings that regularly over-turned the on-the-water result (the only available penalty for being found guilty post hoc being, of course, DSQ).

The Royal Lymington YC first introduced on-the-water observers, afloat in RIBs or small runabouts and armed with tape recorders, in (if I recall correctly, for I was one of them) about 1982 whose job was to describe into said tape recorder the manoeuvres of the yachts (they were specifically instructed NOT to opine on who might be breaking what rule - that was the protest committee's job) and then play the recording to the hearing.

Meanwhile some of the International Judges (which role and position had only just been invented by the then IYRU) involved in the aforementioned all-night sittings in Lymington and elsewhere on the emerging circuit looked for ways to get the protest committee both out on the water and out of the picture, in the sense of deciding rules issues and awarding penalties on-the-spot rather than disqualifications. Prominent among them were Bryan Willis of UK, Goran Peterson of Sweden and the redoubtable Tom Ehman (USA). The last-named was already an ice hockey referee, which I believe is how our on-the-water judges came to be called umpires since in ice hockey and football the ref penalises the infraction as soon as he sees it, while in cricket the umpire waits for a player to appeal, and then adjudicates.

Consistent with the practice elsewhere in the sport, match race umpires were to wait for the sailor to protest before getting involved.  Students of language will at this point raise their eyebrows in despair, since by definition a referee is someone to whom a dispute is first referred by a plaintiff before a decision is made while an umpire (as in tennis) is someone who initiates a decision on the basis of their own observation of play.   But hey - one cannot expect to right all the wrongs of even just the sailing world in just one letter to Scuttlebutt Europe.

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The Last Word
Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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