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

Williams Versus Walker First Up At Argo Group Gold Cup
The seedings for the 67th annual Argo Group Gold Cup have been determined and racing for Group A is scheduled to begin tomorrow at 9 am (ADT).

The first match pits a skipper on top of his game, world No. 1 Ian Williams of Great Britain, against one who's returning for the first time in three years, Bermudian ace Blythe Walker. The quirkiness of the International One-Design (IOD) sloop used in the Argo Group Gold Cup can make a famous crew look average very quickly, and that aphorism will be put to the test first thing tomorrow.

The Argo Group Gold Cup is hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. At stake is the prestigious King Edward VII Gold Cup trophy that was first awarded in 1907 and $100,000 in prize money, with $35,000 earmarked for the winner. It also is the penultimate event of the World Match Racing Tour, giving skippers one final chance to secure their invitation to the season-concluding Monsoon Cup.

The weather on the destination island in the Atlantic Ocean has returned to idyllic now that Hurricane Joaquin has passed. The Bermuda Weather Service is forecasting southwesterly winds of moderate strength tomorrow and the rest of the week looks good as well.

The eight crews in Group A are slated to sail the first four flights of their round robin before giving way to Group B in the afternoon.

Semaine Olympique Francaise
This first day of the Semaine Olympique Francaise started off to a flying start in La Rochelle, with strong wind and sea conditions. Competitors raced today with more than a twenty knots South West wind, with gusts of 35 knots and strong swells. This morming, 10 :30 marked the first races of the competition, but all of the regattas scheduled for the day couldn't be sailed due to the hard sailing conditions. Only the RS :X Men, Laser, Laser Radial, and Finn were able to compete today.

The wind blew stronger and stronger throughout the day and the race comittee decided not to send out the Nacra 17, 49er, 49er FX and RS :X Women until Wednesday.

Top three after 1 day of racing:

RS:X Men (1 race)
1. Benoit Bigot, FRA, 1 point
2. Igor De L'Hermite, FRA, 2
3. Adrien Mestre, FRA, 3

Laser (2 races)
1. Jean Baptiste Bernaz, FRA, 2
2. Sergey Komissarov, RUS, 6
3. Alessio Spadoni, ITA, 6

Laser Radial (2 races)
1. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 6
2. Amelie Riou, FRA, 8
3. Pernelle Michon, FRA, 8

Finn (2 races)
1. Poggi Giorgio, ITA, 2
2. Max Salminen, SWE, 5
3. Enrico Voltolini, ITA, 5

U.S. National Sailing Hall Of Fame Inducts Six Of Sailing's Significant Contributors
The Jersey Shore's "Gold Coast," was an especially appropriate location for the National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) to hold its fifth Induction Weekend, as the organization continues to fulfill its mission of recognizing Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing.

The members of the 2015 Class of Inductees, six of the sport of sailing's significant contributors, were honored during ceremonies that were the highlight of a weekend of activities at Bay Head Yacht Club: sailing school founder Steve Colgate (Ft. Myers, Fla.), Olympic medalist Paul Foerster (Rockwall, Texas), Olympic medalist and author JJ Fetter (San Diego, Calif.), boat building innovators and brothers Meade and Jan Gougeon (both Bay City, Mich.) and U.S. Olympic Yachting Committee Director Samuel V. Merrick (Medford, N.J.), the recipient of the NSHOF's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Samuel V. Merrick, of Medford, N.J., was most closely associated on-the-water with the Thistle, E Scow and Soling classes. Taking over the Olympic program after the USA boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games, Merrick toured the nation giving clinics and speeches to promote Olympic sailing and subsequently orchestrated a restructuring of the Olympic Yachting Committee which instituted coaching and funding programs.

In 1984, for the first time in U.S. Olympic sailing, a required post-Trials/pre-Games training camp was run in Long Beach, California, venue of both the Trials and the Games. The efforts paid off with a U.S. sweep in Yachting - seven medals in seven events (three gold and four silver) - the best record of any U.S. team competing at the '84 Games.

North Sails-Powered Teams Dominate 2015 Audi Melges 20 Worlds
North Sails Congratulations to John Kilroy and team Samba Pa Ti for their brilliant victory with three race wins and a total of 18 points in the eight-race 2015 Audi Melges 20 Worlds. Racing in the 39-boat regatta, five of the top six teams used North Sails exclusively, including third place team Wild Man - also with three bullets - helmed by the youngest skipper, 12-year-old Liam Kilroy.

"This is a well-deserved win for Samba Pa Ti and an impressive performance by the other top teams.," said Tim Healy, president of the One Design division of North Sails. "Our design and development team worked very hard this past year to make sure our Melges 20 sails were fast, and the results leave no doubt that these are the best sails available," Healy continued. "We'd like to congratulate and thank our customers who gave important feedback to our worldwide network of One Design representatives to be sure that our North Melges 20 sails were fast right out of the bag."

Congratulations to North Sails-powered teams (1,2*,3,4,5,6) who all sailed an incredible regatta on one of the most beautiful sailing venues in the United States, San Francisco Bay. These winning sail designs are available now for delivery before the Melges 20 Winter Series. Contact a North Sails representative for details.

* partial North Inventory

Landrover BAR Launches New Boat
The British America's Cup challenger, Land Rover BAR, has launched its latest testing boat - T2 - at their home in Portsmouth. This boat will increase the momentum already developed with the initial launch of 'T1' last October.

Ben Ainslie; Team Principal and Skipper, four times Olympic gold medallist and America's Cup winner:

"T2 is an extraordinary achievement; everyone on the design, engineering and shore teams have put everything they have got into this boat. Power is nothing without control, and there has been no compromise in the pursuit of both. All of the sailing team are grateful and privileged to get the opportunity to test fly this unique craft."

The design combines ideas and concepts previously only found in aerospace and automotive technologies, uniquely, T2 combines the raw power of carbon fibre hydrofoils and a wing sail with sophisticated electronic flight control systems.

Land Rover BAR will continue test sailing in the Solent throughout the winter. Next week the team will fly to Bermuda for the final Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series event of the year (17th and 18th October).

Gathering The Elite
Seahorse Although by no means forgetting water quality, on Saturday 15 August everybody's attention at the Marina da Gloria turned to the business at hand: sailing. With a turnout of 339 sailors from 52 countries it is fair to say that the elite of world sailing had gathered in Rio. All 10 Olympic classes were either at or almost at Olympic strength which gave race officials, Rio organisers and ISAF itself a perfect opportunity to test everything before the Olympics in exactly one year's time. Six racecourses were tested with international and national technical officials harvesting the experience that will be needed to run the Olympic Regatta as well as possible.

At the second Weymouth test event in 2011, ahead of London 2012, no fewer than 18 of the eventual 30 medal winners were present. Given the quality field at the second Rio 2016 test event a similar cycle will almost certainly be repeated. Also worth noting, the fact that 19 different nations medalled at Rio shows that the 'performance gap' is reducing steadily.

It has to be said that the Rio organisers did a very commendable job in preparing the sailing venue, which was almost 100 per cent temporary given that the Marina da Gloria rebuilding project is running at full tilt.

Full article in Seahorse magazine:

Missing Sailing Yacht Europa
A Hong Kong registered 18.2m sailing yacht Europa, owned by yacht broker and experienced offshore sailor Robin Wyatt, left Hong Kong for Subic Bay on Thursday 1 October 2015 with an ETA at Subic Bay no later than 5 October 2015

On Saturday 3 October the boat's EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) was activated indicating the boat was experiencing some difficulties.

Hong Kong's MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) dispatched a fixed wing aircraft to search the area. Vessels in the vicinity of the EPIRB's position were also asked to be on the lookout. No yacht, life raft or debris was detected and HKMRCC continued to monitor the signal.

With the yacht's ETA in the Philippines subsequently being missed, two fixed wing aircraft (one from Hong Kong and one from the Philippines) were dispatched on the morning of Tuesday 6 October in a coordinated search effort. Ships in the area have also been put on alert.

The boat is new and on board are the skipper Robin Wyatt and four other crew members, all of whom are very experienced seamen; each having crossed the China Sea a number of times. Coordination is taking place between HKMRCC, Hong Kong Government Flying Service, Philippines Navy, Philippines Coast Guard, Philippines Coast Guard Auxiliary, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and friends of the sailors in Hong Kong and the Philippines. -- Koko Mueller, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

Yacht Racing Logistics Manager
Seven Star Sevenstar Yacht Transport the world's leading provider of yacht shipping services is looking to further expand its services and is actively looking to recruit a high class individual to head up the yacht racing logistics division.

The right candidate should have a proven track record and be a self-motivated individual with hands on experience having existing contacts within the world's yacht racing circuits. You will be responsible to build the division on a global basis, actively approaching new contacts and to grow an existing client base and markets where we are already established. The role would see you managing relationships with yacht owners, captains and other stakeholders utilising the global offices and agents that we have established throughout the world.

We will offer an excellent salary package and benefits to the right candidate - for full details of this exciting and challenging role please send your resume and motivation to

Or call +31 20 448 8592 for more information.

Max Sirena Joins Emirates Team New Zealand
Team Luna Rossa Challenge is pleased to announce that its former Skipper and Team Director Max Sirena will join Emirates Team New Zealand's management, working closely with the various Department Heads and the Executive Team.

This stresses the sporting and friendly ties of mutual respect that have characterized the relationship between the two teams during over fifteen years, marked by loyal and constructive competition.

Objective: Qualification
Just less than three weeks before the start of the 12th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, recently launched new boats and others sailing under new team colours or new combinations, have to make a qualifying passage before they muster in the Paul Vatine basin on Friday, October 16th.

Six hundred to 1000 miles sailed by the teams together over a course approved by the Race Management of the Transat Jacques Vabre, this is the one final step which is imposed to ensure the race is as safe as possible before they start from Le Havre on 25th October for the 5400 miles in towards the finish line in Itajaí (Brazil). Most of the forty-two boats entered in the four classes (Class 40, Multi50, IMOCA, Ultimate) have already completed their qualifying passage or were accepted based on their experience on their boat (Route du Rhum, the Vendée Globe or the like). And to date, 36 teams are qualified. So it is mainly the new boats which have yet to make a qualification. In view of recent good weather conditions in Western Europe these days, finding a time window should not be too difficult.

Even a top seeded pair like Jean-Pierre Dick and Fabien Delahaye-(St Michel-Virbac) must qualify on their brand new IMOCA. So it's the case also for Thierry Bouchard and Oliver Krauss (Ciela Village) race regulars who have to qualify because they have never taken part in a Multi50 ... And also the Ultime of Yves Le Blévec and Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant who are sailing the new Actual (formerly Sodebo).

1897 Belfast Lough Od Tern At Les Voiles De St Tropez 2015
One of the famous William Maguire Dublin Bay models in the National Yacht Club is of the Fife-designed Dublin Bay 25ft OD, whose hull lines were identical to Tern. Photo by W M Nixon. Click on image to enlarge.

WHAT The 1897-built Fife-designed 37ft Belfast Lough One Design Tern has made a successful debut in the classics scene in the Mediterranean by winning her class in Les Voiles de St Tropez 2015 writes W M Nixon.

We've reported from time to time on the Mallorca-based restoration project on Tern on over the past 18 months. But we were keeping our fingers crossed that all would continue to go well after her successful launching on August 6th - so much effort was going into the final work and detailed finishing that, with time limited before she could be taken to the major regattas in the south of France, all and any sorts of hitches could still occur.

Since then, there has been further concern with the weather in southeast France being exceptionally bad, with seriously adverse effects in recent days on the classic events in both Cannes and St Tropez. But Tern has not only come through unscathed, she has won her class overall despite the fact that there was only racing on two days at St Tropez, recording a first and second.

WM Nixon's article in Afloat magazine:

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The Last Word
If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are a**holes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do. -- Andy Weir, The Martian

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