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

Transat Jacques Vabre
The leading pair of Ultime multihulls, opening the 5400 miles Transat Jacques Vabre course from Le Havre to Itajaí, are fighting through light winds just a few miles off the West African coast between Western Sahara and Mauritania while the last of the Class 40s are contemplating another Biscay bashing still 220 miles NW of Cape Finisterre. In the IMOCA Class Britain's Alex Thomson and Spanish co-skipper had been hove to since 1530hrs this afternoon trying to deal with an unspecified technical problem.

An historical perspecitive on the attrition:

* Take a quick glance at the website for the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race, which is currently carrying a fleet of Class 40s, IMOCA 60s, Multi 50s, and 'Ultims' (maxi trimarans) 5,450 miles from Le Harve, France to Itajai, Brazil, and you immediately notice two things. First off, the race's start date of October 25 should send off warning bells in the minds of anyone who is familiar with North Atlantic conditions as autumn deepens, and the number of abandonments (read: racecourse attrition) also speaks volumes about the kinds of conditions that the double-handed teams have been facing since Sunday's start. -- Richard Gladwell in

While this casualty rate seems high at first blush (seven out of an initial field of 42 boats), if you've been following the biennial TJV for a number of event cycles, you understand that late October/early November are miserable months to be sailing down the English Channel, across the top of the Bay of Biscay, and out into the open Atlantic.

And while plenty of these IMOCA skippers signed on to the TJV as a way of seriously shaking down their boats before next year's Vendee Globe, all participants knew that this would be a lumpy race. After all, there's plenty of TJV history to prove that this race is no milk-run Atlantic crossing.

* Hugo Boss is heading to Vigo (ESP)

After unsuccessfully attempting a repair for several hours at sea, Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill onboard HUGO BOSS have made the difficult decision to proceed to Vigo. This partial repair will not allow the duo to cross the Atlantic serenely. The technical team is currently en route to Vigo, Spain, to join the crew and try to consolidate repairs.

Le Bateau des Metiers by Aerocampus are en route to Les Sables d'Olonne.

At 1950hrs UTC Arnaud Boissieres, skipper of the IMOCA 60 Le Bateau des Metiers by Aerocampus sent a message to the Transat Jacques Vabre race director: "The mainsail just tore in half. With a heavy heart we return to Les Sables d'Olonne.

* Safran abandons the Transat Jacques Vabre

Following a leak found on Safran on Monday night, Morgan Lagraviere and Nicolas Lunven diverted to Brest where they arrived at 2330hrs (French time) yesterday (Tuesday). It quickly became clear that the state of the IMOCA 60, Safran, would not allow it to rejoin the race. The decision was therefore taken to abandon the Transat Jacques Vabre.

RORC Drums Up International Competition For 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Last night at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's St James clubhouse, the 2016 Commodores' Cup was formally launched, with the British investment management and financial planning company Brewin Dolphin continuing its sponsorship of the club's biennial flagship event for national three boat teams with amateur crews. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup will next take place out of Cowes, Isle of Wight over 23rd-30th July 2016.

Something of a surprise was the first team officially to enter the 2016 event being not one of the regulars - France, Ireland or the UK - but Israel.

In addition to the Israelis, and the four UK teams, France is expected to mount a strong entry, having not won the event since 2006. The defending champion, Ireland, is expected to return, plus at least one Dutch team and possibly another composite Benelux team. Hong Kong has shown interest and there remains the strong possibility of a team from Canada.

The Israeli campaign is being spearheaded by British sailor Richard Loftus, well known for campaigning his Swan 65, Desperado. Under Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup rules, 50% of the crew must be Israeli nationals and Loftus has arranged with the Israeli Sailing Association to run a trials to select the best sailors.

The race format will include an offshore race and around the Isle of Wight, but the number of scheduled inshores has increased from six to ten.

Whilst the rules for the 2016 event once again only allow teams to have one 'big boat' (i.e. IRC TCC between 1.150 and 1.049) each team must now have a 'small boat' (i.e. IRC TCC between 1.000 and 1.049) to increase the range of the boats taking part and make it easier for teams to create a team of three boats.

Vince Brun Now Head Of North Sails Offshore One Design
Vince Brun North Sails North Sails is pleased to announce that Vince Brun is now Director of Offshore One Design (previously called Class Sail Development). Brun, a renowned Brazilian-American Olympic sailor, brings a lifetime of one design experience to the position including a 35 year career as President of North Sails's small boat One Design division.

"Moving to larger classes is a natural progression and I'm honoured to be asked to lead the Offshore One Design division. Because I have worked for North Sails for nearly four decades, I am familiar with the people, product line, and company culture, which will be a tremendous help in this new role," said Brun.

Vince will work hand in hand with current Offshore One Design leaders at North Sails such as Chris Larson and Cameron Appleton, two of the world's best sailors who have helped raise the level of design and tuning in a large number of classes. Brun will work with a team of hand-picked "class leaders" to monitor activity and effectively manage designs, ensuring North Sails products are consistently on the cutting edge.

Join the conversation at and #northsails #vincebrun

130 Year Old Scots Sailing/Adventure Classic Book To Be Re-Lived For First Time
A unique charity challenge to relive the literary classic Kidnapped by RL Stevenson is to be launched at 6.00pm on Thursday 29th October in the Robert Louis Stevenson lounge at the Royal Overseas Club, 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh.

In the summer of 2016 two intrepid adventures are to relive, 130 years after it publication, the Scottish literary classic Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. The charity challenge will see the duo sail 500 miles from South Queensferry on the Forth, northwards and around Orkney then down the west coast landing on the rocky island of Erraid near Mull. From there they will swap sailing boots for walking shoes to hike and run the 260 miles back to Edinburgh.

Penned in 1886 by R L Stevenson, Kidnapped tells the enduring tale of David Balfour's kidnapping and subsequent adventure as he is smuggled around the coast of Scotland, surviving ship-wreck, witnesses the infamous Appin Murder then fleeing the Redcoats with Alan Breck Stewart across Scotland to South Queensferry and on to Edinburgh to claim his rightful fortune.

Alan Rankin and Willie Gibson, veterans of adventure races and long distance challenges are familiar to tackling extreme adventures. In 2006 Alan became the first person to sail and cycle around Scotland and in 2013 he sailed singlehanded around the UK and Ireland. Willie has competed in more than 20 mountain marathons, tackled ultra-distance cross Scotland routes and completed the punishing 50 mile Ramsey Round.

The challenge will take place in June 2016 and is expected to be completed within 16 days. Donations can be made online from

Shea Takes Command In Busan
The Busan Cup Women's International Match Race kicked off Wednesday with tricky winds and some current on the waters just off of Haeundae Beach.

After a 1.5 hours postponement, racing in the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, the fourth and final event of the 2015 WIM Series, got underway. The waters just off of the stunning and crowded Haeundae Beach, offered winds that changed a lot in both strength and direction, with some big holes on the course.

World #1 and WIM Series titleholder Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby is trailing Epic Racing, 7 points behind in the Series' standings. The Danes won one match less than the Americans this first day of racing in Busan, but are still confident:

Standings in the round-robin of the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, the fourth and final event of the 2015 WIM Series (skipper, nationality, wins - losses):

Maggie Shea (substituting for Stephanie Roble), USA, 4 - 1
Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 3 - 2
Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 3 - 2
Anna Ostling, SWE, 2 - 0
Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 2 - 0
Katie Spithill, AUS, 2 - 0
Pauline Courtois, FRA, 2 - 3
Denise Lim, SIN, 2 - 3
Renee Groeneveld, NED, 0.5 - 3
Milly Bennett, AUS, 0 - 2
Diana Kissane, IRL, 0 - 2
Sung Eun Choi, KOR, 0 - 2

Offshore Safety
Seahorse And why empty fuel cans will no longer meet offshore flotation regulations.

To quote Alan Green: 'The first international Special Regulations in 1968-70 were an amalgam of those applied by the clubs (including the RORC and the Cruising Club of America) that had run offshore races since the early part of the 20th century. The early regulations were very basic compared with those of today. Liferafts were unknown and a typical requirement was for a yacht's tender or dinghy "capable of laying out a kedge anchor". For buoyancy a dinghy could have empty petrol tins lashed under the thwarts.'

The purpose of the Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) is to establish uniform minimum equipment, accommodation and training standards for safety at sea for small to large sailing boats that are transferable between countries.

The Offshore Special Regulations were administered by the Offshore Racing Council (ORC) until 2002 when the administration of the OSR was transferred to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The OSR are developed and maintained by an international group of interested sailors selected by their ISAF Member National Authority. The Special Regulations sub-committee meets once a year at the ISAF annual conference under the chairmanship of Will Apold (Canada). Final approval of the sub-committee's recommendations is then considered by the ISAF Oceanic and Offshore Committee chaired by Stan Honey (USA).

Stan Honey's article in Seahorse magazine:

Yacht Racing Forum: Three Conferences For The Price Of One!
Yacht Racing Forum The Yacht Racing Forum will reassemble the international yacht racing community in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 7 - 8. Besides the principal conference focusing on business and marketing, two conference streams entitled Design and Technology and Risk Management and Safety will deliver important ideas and concepts.

These conferences will take place on 7 December, the first day of the Yacht Racing Forum. December 8th will see all delegates join together for sessions focused on issues that affect the whole of the yacht racing industry.

The Design Technology Symposium brings a vital technical counterpoint to the commercial discussion that occur in the Yacht Racing Forum. Speakers in the DTS are industry leaders across design, engineering and fabrication including Juan Kouyoumdjian, Guillaume Verdier, Steve Clark, Patrick Shaughnessy, Bertrand Cardis, James Dadd, Paolo Manganelli or Sabrina Malpede.

Risk Management and Safety is a new conference stream for 2015. Managing risk levels to increase safety and reduce potentially huge expenses is a key area for all involved in organising races, running teams, designing equipment and, of course, competing in the races themselves.

Speakers include Chris Hill - Spinlock; John Quigley - QXI International; Paul Miller - Hiscox, Alistair Hackett - Ocean Safety, Stefano Beltrando - QI Composites, Jason Smithwick - ISAF, Hasso Hoffmeister - Germanischer Lloyd.

The Yacht Racing forum brings the key players from across the yacht racing industry together in a business focused yet relaxed environment for 2 days of learning, networking and business development.

For more details on the event and how to register please visit:

Sailor Missing From Elite Chinese Racing Yacht
A sailor on the first Chinese yacht to enter the gruelling Sydney to Hobart yacht race has been swept overboard as the vessel made its way to Australia, his club said.

Sai Jun, 23, was lost at sea late Sunday off the coast of Vietnam, the Noahs Sailing Club said in a statement on its Facebook page.

He was still missing Wednesday, reported China's Haixi Morning Post newspaper.

In a milestone for Chinese sailing the club's 52-foot Ark323 entered the race across the Bass Strait, which is notorious for its demanding conditions, this coming December.

The missing bowman and navigator is from the Chinese region of Ningxia, thousands of kilometres inland, but discovered sailing at university, the Shanghai-based club said.

Sai was wearing a lifejacket with a personal locator beacon, but no active signal could be traced.

AC Turnout 'Better Than In Tourism Heyday'
The resounding success of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Bermuda weekend has sparked fresh optimism for the potential rebirth of the City of Hamilton.

The sailing spectacle, which attracted huge crowds to Front Street and provided a major boost to local businesses, could pave the way for future pedestrianisation, al fresco dining, market stalls and outdoor entertainment.

Businessman and former premier Sir John Swan hailed the weekend's popularity as surpassing the success of events held in Hamilton during the Island's tourism heyday.

He told 'The Royal Gazette' it also re-enforced the need for a "people's park" or communal space in the city.

"Nothing in Bermuda has ever occurred like this past weekend," he said. "We've never experienced anything like it.

"Bermudians conducted themselves in the most superb manner and the sailing fraternity was beyond pleased with the result.

"We should take it as a wake-up call of opportunity and treat it as something that can continue. -- Nadia Hall in the Royal Gazette

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The Last Word
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