In This Issue
Mini Transat: the Atlantic Yo Yo | Nick Thompson claims Laser European Championship gold for Britain | Ocean Safety boosts survival techniques for Volvo crews | Volvo Ocean Race Prologue underway | Rothmans returns | No pressure | Flash Gordon 6 captures third straight Farr 40 North American Championship | Spirit of Portopiccolo wins 2017 Barcolana | RORC Caribbean 600 - Business As Usual | Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements for 2018 | Letters to the Editor | Featured Brokerage

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

Mini Transat: the Atlantic Yo Yo
After a week of racing, the Mini-Transat La Boulangere fleet, which is 200 miles from the finish at best, will have to demonstrate real grit and patience to make landfall in Gran Canaria.

These last few days are erratic winds and blazing sunshine, which will be hard to stomach. Now is also the time when each of the skippers is beginning to draw up an inventory of their remaining provisions and wonder at the benefits of rationing out snacks and drinking water. The latter is the crucial element of course as it is reckoned that an offshore racer must drink three litres of water a day, more when the temperature rises. Not being sufficiently hydrated equates to a dip in vigilance of up to 20%, impaired judgement and an inability to get restorative sleep. Suffice to say that in the coming hours, the first leg of the Mini-Transat la Boulangere may all come down to the detail.

Arthur Leopold-Leger (Antal XPO) has now opened up a very slight lead over Ian Lipinski (, though this may not prove significant given how random the conditions are. Within the group of favourites, Erwan Le Mene (Rousseau Clotures), now back in podium position, has gained over 40 miles in relation to the head of the fleet in 24 hours, whilst Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) has lost 20 over a similar period. As the leaders stumble in the calms, there may well be a bunching up of the fleet with more upsets in the ranking.

In the production boat category, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) has snatched back the lead by clawing back 25 miles in 24 hours from Clarisse Cremer (TBS). Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis-Cerfrance) is back on the podium in third place after sailing a blinder that has won him 50 miles over the same period. As such, clearly no-one is protected from a nasty surprise. Behind the big names, there is room to dream...

Ranking at 15:00 UTC

1. Arthur Leopold-Leger - Antal XPO - 193 miles from the finish
2. Ian Lipinski - - 12 miles behind the leader
3. Erwan Le Mene - Rousseau Clotures - 56
4. Romain Bolzinger - - 62
5. Simon Koster - Eight Cube Sersa - 77

Production boats
1. Erwan Le Draoulec - Emile Henry 281 miles from the finish
2. Clarisse Cremer - TBS - 7 miles behind the leader
3. Remi Aubrun - Alternative Sailing - Constructions du Belon - 16
4. Tanguy Bouroullec - Kerhis Cerfrance - 17
5. Ambrogio Beccaria - Alla Grande Ambeco - 33

Nick Thompson claims Laser European Championship gold for Britain
Britain's Nick Thompson added the Laser European Championship gold to his collection with victory in Barcelona.

The 31-year-old from Hampshire, who won a second straight Laser world title in Mexico last year, scored 130 points.

It was 18 points clear of Italy's Francesco Marrai, with New Zealand's Andrew McKenzie a point further back.

Thompson's first European title was built on a consistent run of top-10 finishes

"To finally take the European title means there's just one thing left - the Olympics."

Thompson now heads to Japan for the Sailing World Cup leg in Gamagori, followed by Enoshima Olympic Week.

Final top five
1. Nick Thompson, GBR, 53 points
2. Francesco Marrai, ITA, 61
3. Andrew McKernzie, NZL, 62
4. Pavlos Kontides, CYP, 66
5. Giovanni Coccoluto, ITA, 69

Full results:

Ocean Safety boosts survival techniques for Volvo crews
Many of top Volvo skippers and crews have completed the Volvo Ocean Race multiple times but as Xabi Fernandez, Skipper of Mapfre and veteran of four previous races, commented "There's always something new to learn as technology moves forward and crews change." So when Ocean Safety conducted their fifth Sea Survival training programme for all the Volvo crews, it was for some a refresher and for others a new experience.

The teams assembled at South Shields Maritime College, home to an environmental swimming pool, complete with wave machines and storm simulation, plus fire fighting facilities. Crews saw the new Ocean SOLAS Ultralite liferaft, developed specifically for this event and practiced in-water exercises. The fire fighting training demonstrated the need for speed when tackling a fire. Treading water for more than 10 minutes both in light clothing and then again in drysuits, along with launching and getting into a liferaft, while helping injured or unconscious team mates, were all part of the session.

Alistair Hackett of Ocean Safety was in and out of the water talking the crews through the drills. "The teams must plan for all possible eventualities. The aim is to get them thinking about the kit, teamwork and develop their own plans and actions for different scenarios. Liferafts have been deployed twice in the last five Volvo Races and so crews must be prepared."

Volvo Ocean Race Prologue underway
The Prologue Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race began on Sunday afternoon, after the start was delayed by just over 2 hours and moved nearly 20 miles south in order to find better racing conditions.

The Prologue is a non-scoring race to deliver the seven-boat fleet from The Boatyard in Lisbon, Portugal to the home start port of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante, Spain ahead of the race start on 22 October.

At the scheduled start time of 1400 local time in Lisbon on Sunday afternoon (1300 UTC), the sea was like glass with extremely light and variable winds.

Race Director Phil Lawrence and his team asked the crews to proceed due south, under power, towards Gibraltar, and two-hours later the fleet was rewarded with a light, but steady 7 to 10 knot northwesterly breeze, allowing racing to start at 1515 UTC.

The original leg from Lisbon to Alicante was 700 nautical miles. The new start position shortens the leg to approximately 680 nautical miles.

According to our @RaceExperts, the forecast is for light conditions to Gibraltar, where the teams will encounter moderate to strong easterlies in the Strait, followed by lighter conditions again once the fleet transitions into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Volvo Ocean Race will start from Alicante, Spain on 22 October. The Alicante Race Village is scheduled to open at 1800 local time on Wednesday afternoon, with the In-Port Race on Saturday 14 October.

* Brit Annie Lush will not join Team Brunel for the Prologue Leg to Alicante, leaving Lisbon today. Lush does not feel 100% fit at the moment and is saved for the start of the race later this month. Lush will not be replaced.

Bekking: "It's a pity but it's not a big problem. She has not felt well for a few days and has some flu symptoms. We do not want to risk losing others. The most important thing now is that she's getting better. I expect her to join the team again at the end of the week. "

Rothmans returns
Click on image to enlarge.

Gothenburg, Sweden: Rothmans, the British maxi, skippered by Lawrie Smith in the Whitbread Round the World Race 1989-90, becomes the third boat to enter next year's Legends Race.

Rothmans originally sailed with a crew of up to 16 and finished the 1989-90 race in fourth place overall, taking 131 days to complete the 33,000-nautical-mile course. It was Smith's second race, having completed part of the course onboard Simon Le Bon's maxi, Drum in 1985-86.

Rothmans' best performance was in Leg 2, from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Fremantle, Western Australia. It was a leg across the notorious Southern Ocean that claimed the life of Tony Phillips from Creighton's Naturally. Although the now-famous Steinlager 2 won every leg of the 1989-90 race, the battle on this leg for second, just an hour and a half after Steinlager 2 had claimed line honours, was an intense one and the duel between Rothmans and Merit was fierce. Covering each other, with Smith using his full range of match racing skills, the two giant maxis gybed 18 times in 20 minutes. Smith's America's Cup experience showed, and Rothmans overtook Pierre Felhmann's Merit, to come in 28 seconds ahead.

On the second night of Leg 6, from Ft Lauderdale, USA to Southampton, a diagonal shroud on Rothmans' mast failed. The crew acted quickly to prevent a dismasting and put into Georgetown, South Carolina, for repairs. When they set out again, they had lost 280 nm on the leaders and it was the end of the possibility of the high budget Rothmans winning any leg.

Nowadays, life for Rothmans is a little less dramatic. Built by Paragon Composites, this 1989 Rob Humphrey's 81' Kevlar/Carbon/Epoxy fractional sloop had a full refit in 2011. Her hull and topsides have been fully faired and painted and she has a new suit of sails. The boat is in original and fantastic condition and has been continuously maintained. She is in her original racing trim and is sure to be competitive in the Legends Race 2018, which starts in Gothenburg on 21 June next year and finishes in The Hague. Her home port is Stockholm and she will sail under the flag of both Sweden and the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS).

Legends Race NOR

No pressure
High-performing, reliable, lightweight and strong offshore rigs, every one built within the narrowest range of engineering tolerances. No problem…

When it comes to sailing races and sporting challenges, very little compares with the Volvo Ocean Race. And that challenge is wholly passed on in the requirements the race organisers place on the rig suppliers to the current VO65 fleet, Southern Spars.

The Kiwi sparmaker - whose reputation for getting things right first time was recently added to with their build of Team New Zealand's winning America's Cup catamaran - had a dream start in the round the world event that was then known as The Whitbread. Peter Blake's Steinlager 2 sported twin rigs that were the first ever produced by Southern Spars for a round the world race competitor. Blake's effort that year would go down as the most dominant ever in round the world racing when 'Big Red' went on to win every leg - a feat unmatched before or since.

Then things took off.

Full story in the October issue of Seahorse:

Flash Gordon 6 captures third straight Farr 40 North American Championship
Chicago, Illinois, USA: It seems like the Farr 40 North Americans is becoming the personal playground of owner-driver Helmut Jahn and his Flash Gordon 6 team.

Evan Jahn shared steering duties with his father as Flash Gordon 6 finished first or second in all 10 races to capture the 2017 North American Championship on her home waters of Chicago. It was the third straight North American crown and fourth overall for Flash, which finished 20 points clear of the runner-up entry.

"We won seven out of 10 races so we certainly can't complain! What could be better?" said Helmut Jahn, a renowned architect based in Chicago. "This is a great result for the team and hopefully a springboard for a strong season."

Brady Stagg, newly-appointed manager of the Farr 40 Class Association, observed that Flash Gordon 6 did not have a significant speed advantage on the eight-boat fleet, but performed sail changes and mark roundings in flawless fashion.

Chicago last hosted the Farr 40 World Championship in 2012 and that sparked tremendous interest in the class within the Windy City. A mere three points separated the second through fourth place boats at North Americans, an indicator of the closeness of the Chicago fleet.

2018 Farr 40 International Calendar:

Spirit of Portopiccolo wins 2017 Barcolana
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Trieste, Italy: The 49th Barcolana was won by "Spirit of Portopiccolo", the second year of victories by Furio and Gabriele Benussi. The winning time this year was one hour 12 minutes, 17 seconds.

11 minutes later, the maxi Jena, owned by Mitja Kosina, came in second, with Pendragon in second.

The Guinness Book of World Records certified the entries of 2,101 boats ... the most crowded race in the world.

First ten to finish:
1. Spirit Of Portopiccolo, Maxi Turbo 86, Furio Benussi
2. Jena, K80 Open, Mitjakosmina
3. Pendragon Vi, Custom 70, Lorenzo Bodini
4. Freccia Rossa, Tp52, Vadim Yakimenko
5. Anywave Safilens Frers 63, Fulvio Vecchiet
6. E Vai, Mylius 76, Nicola Celon
7. Scorpio, RC44, Iztok Krumpak
8. Magia Docktrine, RC 44, Marino Quaiat
9. Idrusa Calvi Network, Farr 80 Maxi One, Paolo Montefusco
10. Ancilla Domini, Farr 80, Mauro Pelaschier

Full results:

RORC Caribbean 600 - Business As Usual
The 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start as scheduled in Antigua on 19th February 2018. Bolstered by a record entry for the RORC Transatlantic Race, a strong Racing Division for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, and determined competitors from all over the Caribbean, the 10th edition of the highly acclaimed 600-mile offshore race is set to be a real cracker, with a record entry anticipated.

Antigua was one of the few islands in the Leeward Islands chain to escape major damage after the passing of hurricanes Irma to the north and Maria to the south.

"We were very nervous waiting to see how the storms unfolded', said Kathy Lammers, President of the Caribbean Sailing Association. "Antigua was fortunate to receive only tropical storm force winds and very little damage, although many neighbouring islands were not so lucky. So it's business as usual in Antigua and in many islands in the region, and even those that were badly damaged are working hard so we can all ensure that the Caribbean sailing season will carry on as normal. We look forward to welcoming sailors from all over the world as usual this season."

For the 10th anniversary of the RORC Caribbean 600, many past participants have already indicated 2018 entries. George David - the current record holder with Rambler 100 in 2011 - is coming back with Rambler 88, determined to win again: "Rambler was designed for the great sailing conditions we see in the Caribbean and this has to be a favorite of all the 600 classics," commented David. "The hurricanes this season have been devastating to so many locations but fortunately Antigua was spared the worst. Let's all come back together." -- Louay Habib

Notice of Race:

Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements for 2018
The 2018 Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements (NBRSR) include changes to both the Safety at Sea training requirements and Personal AIS Beacons.

Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea training requirements and how to meet them.

For the 2018 race, the requirements have changed to require at least 2 crewmembers hold a current "World Sailing approved offshore personal survival course certificate" and there is a new option for completing Safety at Sea training for this certificate. As an aid to racers, we have created a document (found here) that (1) provides a guide to determine the minimum Safety at Sea training requirement as a function of crew size, and (2) explains the course options for crew members to obtain the required Safety at Sea training.

Although the document helps a crew determine the minimum training requirements according the rules, crews are strongly encouraged to have more than the minimum number of crew members complete Safety at Sea training.

Click here to download the SaS training requirement guide, or to the Safety at Sea Seminars page

Personal AIS Beacons

An important change to the NBRSR requires that "each life jacket intended for regular use while racing (one per crewmember) shall be equipped with a AIS personal crew overboard beacon." To ease the cost of this requirement, we are in discussion with several suppliers of this equipment regarding meaningful discounts for our NBR participants. We hope to have the program arranged by November, watch for another communication from the committee for more details. Questions on this change or our objective, please contact Mark Lenci.

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