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

Star Worlds
The opening day of the Star World Championship saw 39 teams complete the first of six planned races. Taking the early bullet was Lars Grael and Samuel Goncalves (BRA), followed by Torben Grael/ Guilherme de Almeid (BRA) in second and Hubert Merkelbach/ Markus Koy (GER) in third. Racing continues through November 8.

From Scuttlebutt:

Top ten after 1 race:

1. Lars Schmidt Grael / Samuel Goncalves, BRA
2. Torben Schmidt Grael / Guilherme de Almeida, BRA
3. Hubert Merkelbach / Markus Koy, GER
4. Fabio Bruggioni / Arthur Lopes, BRA
5. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi, ITA
6. Andrew Macdonald / Brad Nichol, USA
7. Tom Londrigan Jr / Dave Caesar, USA
8. Torkel Borgstrom / Juan Pablo Engelhard, ARG
9. Alberto Zanetti / Phil Trinter, ARG
10. Julio Labandeira / Javier Bok, ARG

Mini Transat
Following the retirement of Davy Beaudart, it is Radek Kowalczyk's turn to throw in the towel after having to abandon his brand new Calbud.

It is a harsh blow for the Polish sailor. Radek was innovative in his concept of having the prototype be built in series, hoping to encourage new vocations and inspire sailors of less fortunate means to dive into the prototype experience, allowing each to fix and fiddle with his own boat from a common basis.

In 2011, Radek completed his first participation in the Mini Transat, on an old prototype, fired by the promise of returning on a much more powerful boat. He had to wait until 2015 to fulfil his dreams, but the adventure will not see completion. The Mini Transat Iles de Guadeloupe loses a particularly endearing, unassuming sailor.

As expected, the fleet has started to turn west before reaching the Cape Verde archipelago. However, the skippers are facing a true dilemma. The wind is still stronger in the south and everyone is confronted by the same question: how far are they going to lengthen the route?

Ranking 3rd November at 18h (TU+1)

Prototypes (Ranking Eurovia Cegelec)
1. Frederic Denis, Nautipark, 2195 nm to finish
2. Jean-Baptiste Daramy, Chocolats Paries, 41 nm to leader
3. Michele Zambelli, Illumia, 48
4. Ludovic Mechin, Microvitae, 53
5. Clement Bouyssou, Le Bon Agent - Bougeons l'Immobilier, 56

Series (Ranking Ocean Bio-Actif)
1. Ian Lipinski, Entreprises Innovantes, 2257 nm to finish
2. Benoit Hantzperg, YCA Dhumeaux Secours Populaire, 7 nm to leader
3. Julien Pulve, Novintiss, 8
4. Tanguy Le Turquais, Terreal, 45
5. Dimitri Simons,, 54

118 And Counting...Entries Climbing For 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week
Quantum Key West Race Week The number of entries to the 2016 edition of Quantum Key West Race Week has exceeded 100, indicating one of the strongest early turnouts in years to this mainstay on the international sailing calendar held over January 17-22, 2016. Currently there are 16 classes organized: nine one-design and seven monohull and multihull classes racing under handicap. This indicates a diverse range of boat types attracted to race in the winter sun in Key West, with teams from 10 nations represented among the entries thusfar.

One design classes include the following: Melges 24's (14 entries), J/70's (21 entries), J/80's (4 entries), Farr 280's (5 entries), Viper 640's (3 entries), J/88's (7 entries), C&C 30's (10 entries), J/111's (8 entries), and J/122's (2 entries).

Among the handicap classes, IRC 0, 1 and 2 have thusfar attracted 13 committed entries, and the three new class offered at this year's event are also gaining interest: ORC Club (9 entries), Multihulls (4 entries) and Performance Cruisers (3 entries).

Besides providing the best in race management on the water, organizers from the Storm Trysail Club will enhance the shoreside experience for all entries with afternoon seminars, evening prizegivings and social events, and full logistic support through their partners and vendors on the unique ambience offered by time spent in Old Town Key West.

For more information and to enter 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week, visit

Hugo Boss Docked At La Coruna
British sailor Alex Thomson and his co-skipper Guillermo Altadill are looking towards the 2016 Vendee Globe after an extraordinary sequence of events ended their participation in the Transat Jacques Vabre this weekend. The pair were rescued by the Spanish coastguard on Saturday afternoon after a rogue wave caught the new HUGO BOSS while the yacht was in a hove to position. The boat, which sustained damage to its rig in addition to taking on water while inverted, was later successfully brought to the dock in La Coruna, Spain, after a swift response from the Alex Thomson Racing Team.

Alex Thomson explains "I have never experienced anything like it. I was asleep and woke up to a boat upside down rapidly filling with water. Guillermo and I responded together as a team to the difficult situation and now that my boat's back safely we can focus on our Vendee Globe campaign as a team. We have overcome problems before and I am as determined as ever to succeed."

Always at the forefront of innovation, the team are pushing the boundaries with an advanced new boat design and know that race conditions provide the ultimate test.

Alex and Guillermo were aiming for a podium finish in the Transat Jacques Vabre, and remain determined to succeed in the Vendee Globe. They will now focus their energy on further improving the yacht and honing its competitive edge.

The VOR Is Heading Back To Newport
Newport, Rhode Island, will once again host the North American stopover for the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 following the success of the sailing-mad coastal town's hosting of the world's leading offshore event in May.

"We're delighted to be able to confirm that Newport will be staging a second consecutive stopover in 2018," said Race COO, Tom Touber, at Friday's (October 30) official announcement.

"Everything worked brilliantly in Newport in May thanks to the great work of Brad Read and his team plus the backing of the Governor, legislative leaders and State of Rhode Island agencies, and we were delighted with the large amount of spectators from our major fan base in the U.S. and elsewhere, who supported the stopover.

"Moreover, the Newport stopover was greatly valued by our stakeholders, who very much enjoyed visiting the area for its history, culture and, of course, the commercial opportunities it provided."

The news that Newport will again be hosting the event means that seven ports for the next edition of the 42-year-old race are already known.

The east coast port joins Alicante (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Auckland (New Zealand), Cardiff (United Kingdom), Lisbon (Portugal) and Gothenburg (Sweden) on the list of confirmed stopovers for the 2017-18 edition.

* The 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race was the most successful ever, figures show in the official Race Report released this week.

The curtain fell on the 12th edition of the 42-year-old event in Gothenburg on June 27, and today's report confirms it was the best yet.

Headlines from the report include:

- A record number (70,471) of corporate guests receiving unique Volvo Ocean Race experiences - more than three times the previous highest number, achieved in 2011-12, which confirms the Race's position as a key business platform for its sponsors.

- The highest footfall (2.4 million) in the event's history, with a 16 percent increase on the daily average number of visitors compared to 2011-12.

- An increase of 140 percent in online news audience across 113 countries and 27 percent in TV publicity value (€293 million) thanks to improved content from the Onboard Reporters and better quality media covering the Race.

- 7,663 hours of global TV coverage achieved - a 59 percent rise on 2011-12.

- The participating teams achieved an average media value of €47.5 million.

Into The Doldrums
Twenty five miles of lateral separation, five miles on the NE-SW axis, that is the footprint that the top three IMOCAs share as they sail through a Doldrums passage which is so far proving much more generous than the Transat Jacques Vabre leaders, the Ultimes, experienced.

Led now by PRB, the IMOCA race winners in 2013, with Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir on the west flank, Banque Populaire VIII in third, equidistant to the east, the three IMOCAs are slowed to around 7kts, sailing upwind as engaging battle to be first into the trade winds occupies every waking moment for the three pairs.

Charlie Dalin, co-skipper alongside Yann Elies on Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir, said this morning that whoever breaks free first could gain a decisive advantage. All three are targeting the same exit, and with just over 80 miles to go to a more solid SE this afternoon, the Doldrums should be over for these 'three musketeers' by tomorrow.

The one unknown is the potential performance advantage of the 'foil' assisted Banque Populaire VIII of Armel Le Cleac'h and Erwan Tabarly. Reaching in the NE'ly trades the new VPLP/Verdier design appeared to have an edge over the two older generation boats, PRB and Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir.

Top three places:

1. Le Conservateur, Yannick Bestaven - Pierre Brasseur
2. V and B, Maxime Sorel - Sam Manuard
3. Solidaires en Peloton ARSEP, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus - Victorien Erussard

1. FenetreA Prysmian, Erwan Le Roux - Giancarlo Pedote
2. Arkema, Lalou Roucayrol - Cesar Dohy
3. Ciela Village, Thierry Bouchard - Oliver Krauss

1. PRB, Vincent Riou - Sebastien Col
2. Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies - Charlie Dalin
3. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cleac'h - Erwan Tabarly

1. Macif, Francois Gabart - Pascal Bidegorry
2. Sodebo Ultim, Thomas Coville - Jean-Luc Nelias
3. Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois - Roland Jourdain

Dubarry Crosshaven - Preferred By Professionals
Dubarry Crosshaven If you had to invent the most punishing ordeal for offshore sailing footwear - an extreme boot camp perhaps? - then it would be a professional, fully-crewed round the world race: thousands of ocean-bashing, boat-trashing miles around the planet. If there's even the slightest imperfection in boat, man or gear, this race will find it, break it, then tell everyone about it.

For most of us, it's the ultimate contest of man and machine against nature. For Dubarry, it's R&D. After supplying its ever-green Shamrock boot to the professional crew of Ireland's Green Dragon entry in a 2008-09 round the world race, Dubarry's most fanatical designers listened, developed, tested, listened some more, tweaked, analysed and tested again. The result was the Crosshaven boot.

When Green Dragon arrived in Galway at the end of leg 7 for the best party the race has ever seen, elbowing their way through the "craic addicts" was Dubarry's research team, wanting yet more feedback. Their finishing touches sealed the Crosshaven's reputation as the offshore professional's boot of choice. Where's the proof of that? Professional teams chose Crosshaven in the 2011-12 and 2014-15 round the world races.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

Wanhang Longcheer Match Races To Victory Over Emirates Team New Zealand
Shenzhen, China: Wanhang Longcheer kept a close eye on Emirates Team New Zealand to secure victory in the Beneteau 40.7 fleet at the China Cup International Regatta. Aussie skipper of Longcheer Steve McConaghy was understandably delighted to have won in the 25-boat fleet, arguably the toughest competition among all nine divisions at China's premier "

Skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand, Guy Pilkington, admitted to a mix of emotions at finishing runner-up to Longcheer. "A little bit disappointed and pleased," said the Kiwi. "We had the chance to win, but it's a young team, the first time we've sailed together and I think we've done an exceptional job overall."

The previous day, ETNZ had taken the lead on the long round-the-island race but sailed extra distance compared with the rest of the fleet, believing they had sailed the correct course and that the majority were in error. A protest hearing went against them, and the Kiwis had to settle for 12th in that race.

That was probably the moment when the Kiwi challenge to Longcheer faded. "I think it came down to that," said Pilkington. "We believed we were right, as per the sailing instructions. There's a bit of an interpretation issue and I think they will tidy up the details for next year to make it a bit fairer. But ETNZ is keen to come back to China Cup if we get the opportunity. It's a good way to build the brand of ETNZ and also to promote youth sailing in the country."

In IRC B, Cheng Ying Kit and the other veterans of the Volvo Ocean Race from Dongfeng Race Team sailed well today to win around the island, but Nick Southward and his shipmates on the J/109 Whiskey Jack did enough to successfully defend their title. In IRC C, Shawn Kang's Beneteau 50, Lighthorse, won every race to win her division by a country mile.

Provisional Results:

Regatta Website:

18ft Skiffs: Nsw Championship, Race 1
Sydney Harbour: Defending champions Michael Coxon, Dave O'Connor and Trent Barnabas brought Thurlow Fisher Lawyers home a convincing winner of Race 1 of the 2015-2016 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

The team gave a faultless exhibition in the fresh North Easterly wind which took a toll on a number of the highly skilled competitors.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers finished 2m48s ahead of Gotta Love It 7 (John Winning Jr.), with Smeg (Lee Knapton) just 5s further back in third place. (Keagan York) finished fourth, followed by Yandoo (John Winning) and Pure Blonde (Nick Daly)

Pure Blonde's performance earned the team The Mick Scully Memorial Trophy for victory In the handicap section of the race.

Race 2 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday. -- Frank Quealey

Royal Irish Yacht Club Match Racing Nationals
After the success of last year's match racing nationals in Howth Yacht Club last December, organisers say the 2015 event is set to be an exciting event for both competitors and spectators. With the event being hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the championship due to take place within Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the west and east piers will provide viewing of the close, fast paced racing.

Organisers are currently inviting helms and their teams to email in for an invitation request by the 9th of this month. The top 10 skippers will then be invited to enter.

The NOR has been published and can be downloaded here.

From Afloat magazine:

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The Last Word
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