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

8th Vendee Globe: Off To A Good Start
With more than 300,000 spectators lined up along the harbour entrance channel in Les Sables d'Olonne and more than a thousand boats out on the water around the start area, the 29 competitors in the 2016-2017 Vendee Globe set sail at 1202hrs UTC in exceptional weather conditions: sunshine, a 14-knot NNE'ly with slight to choppy seas. HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco signalled the start after greeting all the sailors as they cast off.

From the gun, Kito de Pavant (Bastide Otio), Paul Meilhat (SMA), Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Coeur) and Vincent Riou (PRB) were out in front with the rest grouped together behind them. Bertrand de Broc (MACSF) and Enda O'Coineen (Kilcullen Voyager - Team Ireland) were called back after crossing the line a few seconds early. They had to go back and cross the line again.

At 1254hrs UTC Didac Costa decided to turn back. The Spanish skipper identified an ingress of water and an electrical problem aboard his IMOCA One Planet One ocean.

He is currently being escorted by a French lifeboat service boat. His team will be able to go aboard once he has passed north of the Nouch Buoy at around 1435hrs UTC. A closer analysis will then be possible. He is expected to enter the harbour after 1600hrs UTC.

Race HQ, the nerve centre of the race is currently being set up on the banks of the Seine at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (quai Branly) in Paris. Open every day from 9 a.m. on Tuesday 8th November, the public will be able to attend the live broadcasts, see the special events, discover the exhibition or quite simply enjoy the friendly atmosphere at the Bistrot Vendeen.

Top ten at 2200 FR, November 6

1. Morgan Lagraviere, Safran, FRA
2. Vincent Riou, PRB, FRA, 1.35 nm to leader
3. Sebastien Josse, Edmond de Rothschild, FRA, 3.4
4. Paul Meilhat, SMA, FRA, 4.43
5. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, FRA, 5.87
6. Jeremie Beyou, Maitre CoQ, FRA, 7.23
7. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire VIII, FRA, 7.83
8. Yann Elies, Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, FRA, 9.18
9. Tanguy de Lamotte, Initiatives-Coeur, FRA, 9.71
10. Jean Le Cam, Finistere Mer Vent, FRA, 10.0

Team USA Takes The Lead On The Third Day Of Student Yachting World Cup
Tiredness slowly settled in after the demanding first few days of competition. The night race of the second day added even more strain to the crews, who quickly realized that perseverance would be as needed as raw skills to win the races from now on.

Three open sea races and one coastal race were run on this third day, just a stone's throw away from the renowned Fort Boyard. The last one allowed competitors to win points for the special Trophy of our sponsor AGPM. Despite a tight competition, the USA Team won every race one after another and took the lead on the provisional ranking.

Unfortunately, the Japanese Team had to forfeit in the middle of the day due to an accident. The crew member was quickly taken to the closest hospital and got out the next morning.

After three days of racing, the general ranking is as follows : first is the California Maritime Academy (USA-20 points) followed by Southampton University (UK-23 points), Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Queen's University (Canada) at 26 points, EPFL (Switzerland-35points), Loughborough (UK-36 points), Strathclyde University (Scotland-54 points) and Kobe University (Japan-67 points).

Junior Offshore Group
JOG Secretary Peter Chartres has announced his intention to retire next spring from the role he has held for almost 20 years.

Speaking of his decision Peter said "It has been a tremendous privilege to serve both JOG as a club, and the JOG racers, for almost two decades. They are an amazing bunch of committed and talented sailors. I've had a lot of fun, great adventures and made many good friends along the way. I am now looking forward to being able to explore other projects, travel, & take summer holidays which have been a little tricky to fit in around the race calendar. I won't be vanishing completely, and will regularly be on the start line to wave at everyone as part of the race team."

The club are truly grateful for the loyalty and commitment Peter has put into ensuring the smooth running of JOG which as one of the most successful offshore and coastal racing clubs in the UK runs around 17 races a year. JOG has a thriving racing community across classes 3,4,5 & 6, and a reputation for not only being a truly competitive racing club but also a welcoming and sociable community, enjoying their post-race gatherings in host ports.

Finding a successor for Peter was never going to be an easy task, but the JOG Flag Officers and Committee are delighted to announce that taking over the reins of Club Secretary will be Nick Barlow, who as outgoing Captain and long time JOG racer is perfectly positioned to maintain JOG's ethos of Corinthian racing and provide continuity working with Peter to ensure a smooth handover.

All Pulling Together
No need to be self-obsessed when cold and damp on the rail... become an active member of your boat's data acquisition and management group.

Load sensors and data gathering have been a familiar part of the sport going back to the late era of IOR - in particular the final generation of IOR supermaxis like Bill Koch's data-muncher Matador3. Today the technology is prevalent from the America's Cup to big offshore trimarans to VO65s and including most of the modern superyacht fleet. The demand for data from raceboats is continually increasing - but it's a form of technology that to date has been relatively inaccessible to the mainstream sailor, not to mention many designers and builders.

However, for some time Spinlock has been working on developing load-sensing technology that is accessible to the wider world of sailing, as the company's marketing manager James Hall explains: 'Spinlock has been measuring load on ropes and rigging for 20 years, but recently more and more people in the sport have acquired an appetite for data and the performance benefits data can bring to a team if used correctly.'

Full article in the December issue of Seahorse:

18ft Skiffs: Nsw Championship - Race 2
Precision teamwork by the winning Smeg team. Click on image for photo gallery.

Sydney Harbour: A reunited crew of Chris Nicholson, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey scored a convincing win with Smeg in today's Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.

When the team's regular skipper Lee Knapton was unable to sail in the race, former 18ft Skiff champion Chris Nicholson was eager to link up again with his long-time friends and former crew mates of two years ago.

In a race of fluctuating fortunes which produced several different leaders throughout the race, the Smeg team showed great speed over the latter part of the long South-East course to win by 2m59s.

The young Noakes Youth team of Ash Rooklyn, Rhys Mara and Justin Mulkearns again showed theie potential with a strong second placing.

Third today went to Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty, Aron Everett, Greg Dixon), which was a further 49s behind Noakes Youth.

After battling in the top group all throughout the race, John Winning's Yandoo finished fourth, followed by early leader Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Asko Appliances (Micah Lane).

Following three weeks of strong winds, which has affected the racing, today's ESE wind allowed most teams to carry their bigger #1 rigs and produced some very close racing in the leading group.

Race 3 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday. -- Frank Quealey Australian 18 Footers League

Volvo Hong Kong To Hainan Race: Black Baza Wins IRC Overall
Scallywag. Photo by Guy Nowell/RHKYC, Click on image for photo gallery.

All boats have now crossed the finish line in the 390nm Category 1 offshore Volvo Hong Kong to Hainan Race.

The smallest and final boat in the fleet from the IRC Racer 2 division to finish was Kjartan Furset's Sunfast 3600 Ymir at 23:04:00 on Saturday night. Also from IRC Racer 2, Adrian Bell's Azuree 46 Outlaw crossed the line 5 1/2 hours before Ymir at 17:39:10 taking the win in their division. Outlaw had a very nice breeze coming into Sanya of 8-10kts, unlike the earlier arrivals into Sanya.

IRC Racer 0 was won by Sam Chan's TP52 FreeFire on corrected time of 1d 18h 24m 21s after a fantastic run. Seng Huang Lee's 100ft Super Maxi Scallywag came in second in IRC 0, took Line Honours and cemented themselves in the record books with a record of 25h 22m 33s after a very quick race with top speeds of a 34kts!

IRC Overall and IRC Racer 1 was won by Anthony Root's Ker Custom 42 Black Baza after a cracking race they arrived at 23:09:54 on Friday night ahead of the last IRC 0 boat, Ernesto Echauz's TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial.

ARC+ Cape Verde Sets Sail
The fourth edition of ARC+ Cape Verde set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Sunday 6 November, bound for Mindelo in Cape Verde.

Rain clouds gathered shortly before the start accompanied by a light, variable breeze but over the coming days the largest ever ARC+ fleet of 72 boats are set to enjoy some textbook tradewind sailing as they sail south to the island of São Vicente.

The ARC+ Cape Verde route option is part of the 2016 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and was introduced for the first time in 2013 to give sailors in the world's most popular transocean rally a choice of routes across the Atlantic. ARC+ sees the fleet sail to the Cape Verdes, and following the 3-5 day stopover in Mindelo, the yachts will re-group and head off across the Atlantic on 16 November bound for Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

This year there are boats registered from 19 countries around the globe including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and USA. Crew on board represent 24 different nationalities and are aged from 3 to 75 years old.

ARC+ has been exceptionally popular with family boats crossing the Atlantic this year with 15 children under the age of 16 taking part.

MC38 Summer Series Championship
Photo by Bob Fowler. Click on image for photo gallery.

A half-baked haka on Neville Crichton's part-Kiwi MC38 Maserati wasn't enough to beat the full blooded New Zealanders on Howard Spencer's Menace who protected their MC38 Summer Series Championship overall lead with a second stage win.

Maserati carries both the burgee of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, New Zealand being Crichton's birthplace, and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney where he has lived since the 80s. Leading into the final of the six race series the crew held the series advantage and thought a crack at the haka might put some extra fire in the belly before going nose-to-nose with the talented Royal Akarana Yacht Club team.

The execution didn't quite go to plan, Maserati's poor start giving the Kiwis a whiff and from that point they were all over their nemesis, covering and tacking on top of them in classic match racing style.

Both top-scorers finished on 15 points, Menace's one additional win sealing the pointscore victory on the weekend of November 5-6, 2016. Day one began late on Saturday due to high winds. Day two began close to time in WSW winds averaging 18 knots gusting up to 26 then things went funky and light midway through race four. The breeze finally transitioned to the south-east 15-17 knots in race five and PRO Rob Ridley moved from Watsons Bay to Taylor's Bay, Mosman with the race six top mark just off Shark Island where a group of Opti juniors sailed wide-eyed when the nine MC38s cut through at speed.

Third on 20 points was Leslie Green's Ginger and fourth in the fleet of nine, the largest turnout in class history, was Dark Star.

Among the new faces this weekend was Rio 2016 470 silver medallist Will Ryan on board Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan as tactician. Regular Hooligan crewman Peter Johnson helmed in Blackmore's absence.

Russian J/70 Winter Series
Sochi, Russia: The winter season is not a reason to stop sailing, that is why the organizers of the new project- "J/70 Winter Series MONTE CARLO RADIO"- will be hosting fleet racing in J/70 one-design class yachts on the Black Sea. FGBI "South Sports" in Sochi, a leading training center for the majority of the Russian Olympic team, is the organizer and will provide everything the yachtsmen need to participate in the four events from November 2016 to March 2017.

The Sochi Winter Series will be a great opportunity for Russian sailing teams (or Europeans who wish to enjoy some fun training in the sun!) to continue training in the winter, keep in physical shape, develop well-coordinated teamwork, and be fully prepared for the upcoming 2017 Russian National Sailing League. In fact, the first stage of the League will take place in Sochi in late March, plus all Russian Sailing League events will be sailed in the highly popular J/70 one-design class. Therefore, training in Sochi all winter long will be very useful to any sailing club wishing to take part in the 2017 Russian sailing league program.

The Winter Series will consist of four stages:
Stage 1 - November 18-20
Stage 2 - January 27-29
Stage 3 - February 24-26
Finale - March 17-19

The team may enter one (or all stages) of the series, except the Finale. The Finale will include the winners of each stage; nine teams in total will qualify from the first three stages. If a team "places" in two or more stages, the next best team will qualify to participate in the Finale in March.

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