In This Issue
Mini Transat: Closing in on the Finish | MAPFRE and Team Brunel lead the charge to Alicante | Yacht Racing Forum: Time to register | The Gathering Of United Nations | Ben Ainslie links up with British billionaire for Am Cup | New York and Bermuda tipped to host America's Cup warm-up regattas | A rare opportunity | Laser Masters World Championships | Red diesel checks remain suspended in Belgium | Race 2 Day 6: Qingdao Secures Top Scoring Gate Points For Second Consecutive Race | 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: Closing in on the Finish
It's hard to know who's got the ball in their court in the extremely variable conditions currently dominating play in the Atlantic. The wind seems to have picked up again to the south-east pretty generally. The group positioned furthest over to the east that has been heavily penalised over the past twenty-four hours is looking a tad healthier this Tuesday evening. However, for much of the fleet, there is still a way to go before they can finally make landfall.

This first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangere will certainly be etched on the sailors' minds. Now embroiled in a snail-pace race to the promised land, the solo sailors are finding it hard to know what strategy to adopt given how much the rankings are fluctuating from one position report to the next.

Ranking at 15:00 UTC

Prototypes - Top Five
1. Arthur Leopold-Leger - Antal XPO - 78.4 miles from the finish
2. Ian Lipinski - - 17.8 miles behind the leader
3. Erwan Le Mene - Rousseau Clotures - 47.8
4. Romain Bolzinger - - 49.9
5. Simon Koster -Eight Cube Sersa- 56.9

Production boats - Top Five
1. Valentin Gautier - Shaman - Banque du Leman 118.4 miles from the finish
2. Erwan Le Draoulec - Emile Henry - 9.1 miles behind the leader
3. Remi Aubrun - Alternative Sailing - Constructions Du Belon - 9.3
4. Benoit Sineau - Cachaca II - 12.1
5. Ambrogio Beccaria - Alla Grande Ambeco - 14.7

MAPFRE and Team Brunel lead the charge to Alicante
Skipper Xabi Fernández's MAPFRE crew is leading the charge into the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday afternoon.

The Spanish team made a jump on the rest of the fleet by heading further inshore in search of favourable sea breezes following Sunday's start, with Team Brunel benefiting from following a similar track.

Forty-eight hours later, their tactics have paid huge dividends. At the 1300 UTC position update on Tuesday, MAPFRE enjoyed a seven nautical mile lead on Team Brunel, who were themselves almost 40 miles ahead of third-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic.

While MAPFRE march on upwind towards the Alicante finish line just over 250nm away, Team Brunel continue to shadow them ten miles to the south.

Meanwhile things are about to heat up for the chasing pack as they prepare to enter the Strait of Gibraltar.

The tiny nine-mile wide stretch between Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain and Morocco in northern Africa is renowned as a navigational challenge thanks to the extremely localised weather caused by the wind and water being forced through such a small gap.

The strong headwinds the fleet experience in the Strait will give way to light 5 to 10 knot northeasterlies in the Alboran Sea on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

This will push the ETA for the leaders into the early hours on Thursday morning, with the rest of the fleet arriving throughout the day, a public holiday in Alicante.

On Wednesday afternoon, the gates to the Alicante Race Village are scheduled to open at 18:00, with festivities and entertainment marking the opening ceremonies from 20:00, culminating with fireworks at 22:00.

Volvo Ocean Race Prologue Leg - Positions - 1300 UTC, 10 October

1. MAPFRE; distance to finish = 255 nautical miles
2. Team Brunel; + 7 nm
3. Turn the Tide on Plastic; + 44
4. Dongfeng Race Team; +59
5. team AkzoNobel; +60
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing; +60
7. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag; +61

Yacht Racing Forum: Time to register
Yacht Racing Forum The annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing will celebrate its first decade in Aarhus, Denmark, on November 27-28.

The Yacht Racing Forum has firmly established itself as a must attend event for anyone involved in the business of sailing and yacht racing. The Forum is in good shape and attracts a growing number of the sports' leading personalities and brands, including a record 18 exhibitors this year!

This years' conference will put emphasis on the sports' leading events: America's Cup, Vendee Globe, Volvo Ocean Race and Class Ultime (what a year for our sport by the way!). But the event will also focus on mainstream yacht racing, club management and popular sailing classes, with conferences focusing on sponsorship, media exposure, sustainability and much more.

Run alongside the Business and Marketing Conference, the Design & Technology Symposium will focus on the latest innovations, materials and designs, data analysis, innovations in sail design and construction. Over the past few years, the symposium has taken momentum and now gathers over 100 delegates, including experts from the America's Cup, top level builders, engineers and designers, software specialists and hardware furnishers.

Several social functions are planned, aimed at sharing a good time and favoring networking and business, including evening drinks and a gala reception provided by North Sails on Monday night at Aarhus' City Hall.

For more information and registration:

The Gathering Of United Nations
The inaugural Nations Trophy got under way today. 28 crews have gathered at the Real Club Náutico de Palma for four days of Swan One Design racing. There are some serious trophies on the table for the best prepared, most committed crews: the ClubSwan 50 European Championship, the Swan 45 World Championship and the ClubSwan 42 European Championship. Finally, and most importantly, there is The Nations Trophy itself. Created by Milanese silversmiths, Buccellati, this magnificent cup will be awarded to the top performing country.

Eleven nations are represented by the competing yachts: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Beyond that statistic, the individual crew are mix of professional and amateur sailors drawn from some 22 countries making the dock a real melting pot of languages, expressions and culture.

Picking possible winning teams from within the 11-boat ClubSwan 50, 9-boat Swan 45 and 8-boat ClubSwan 42 championship fleets is understandably tricky. The most recent form guide is Copa del Rey Mapfre held here in late July. The German ClubSwan 50, Earlybird, and Swan 45, Elena Nova, both won their classes; Earlybird by some margin, and Elena Nova by a single point. In the ClubSwan 42s, the Spanish teams Pez de Abril and Nadir were separated by six-points. That might suggest the Germans and Spanish have what it takes to lift The Nations Trophy. The winner of The Nations Trophy will be determined by taking the two best-placed yachts from each country and combining their place-positions. Yachts may be in the same class.

The weather prospects look good for some solid competition over the next four days. A large high pressure system should mean warm and dry weather for the entire regatta period. The breeze is expected to fill in each day around noon from the southerly quadrant and slowly build to the 10-12 knot range, with potential for higher gusts especially later in the afternoon. Conditions look favourable for the development of Palma's famous thermal sea breeze; if so, this could push the breeze strength into the upper teens.

Ben Ainslie links up with British billionaire for Am Cup
The British America's Cup team is already gearing up for the change to monohulls.

Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR team has joined with British billionaire Tony Langley's 52ft team to compete in the world's leading hi-performance monohull event, the 52 Super Series.

Ainslie will lead his team aboard Langley Holdings' Gladiator TP52 using the series to develop their monohull racing skills which are significantly different to those required for foiling catamarans.

Langley will continue at the helm of Gladiator, a role he has had since 2012. The team tied the latest event in Mahon, scoring equal points to the 2017 Super Series champions, Azzurra, only losing out on the regatta victory on a tie-break.

Land Rover BAR has already said it will contest the 36th America's Cup in Auckland, after reaching the challenger semifinals in Bermuda, losing to eventual Cup winner Emirates Team New Zealand.

New York and Bermuda tipped to host America's Cup warm-up regattas
New York and Bermuda loom as America's Cup warmup options ahead of the real deal in Auckland 2021.

Team New Zealand rules expert Russell Green revealed some of the thinking around the build-up to the event as he discussed the protocol recently released by the defenders and challenger of record Luna Rossa in a live chat with American-based website Sailing Illustrated on Wednesday.

Luna Rossa, the Italian syndicate backed and run by Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli, will organise the five overseas pre-regattas which are planned for 2019 and 2020 and will be sailed in the new 75-foot monohulls to be introduced in this 36th edition of the America's Cup.

Green said there was a desire to take the pre-regattas to "traditional venues with good wind and good viewing".

Italy has already been touted as a pre-regatta host and that will surely fall to Circolo Della Vela Sicilia, the official yacht club behind Luna Rossa based in Palermo, Sicily.

The early challenge confirmed by the New York Yacht Club last week looks likely to be rewarded.

Green suggested Newport, Rhode Island, the home base of the NYYC, would fit the formula, being regarded as the traditional home of the America's Cup with the club holding the Auld Mug from 1851 to 1983.

Green said other areas of the Mediterranean would have appeal to Bertelli.

He also mentioned the Carribean or a return to Bermuda which held the America's Cup this year.

A rare opportunity
Seahorse maagazine The well-known Tripp-designed and Nautor Swan built custom cruiser-racer Valkyrie is on the market...

For the past half a century Nautor Swan have earned a reputation for producing some of the world's finest cruiser-racers. Swans have generally been produced in series production, with small refinements available to meet an owner's individual taste. And while these production models are carefully chosen and developed to meet the demand in specific market niches, occasionally there is a unique project that Nautor Swan takes on on a custom basis, which presents the opportunity to welcome a unique yacht to the Nautor CV.

It was on this basis that, in 2007, the design office of Bill Tripp produced Valkyrie, a 78ft modern cruiser-racer that offers its owner great luxury and style while retaining much of the pedigree of a modern race yacht. The build materials, for example, are the same as those used in custom raceboats: pre-preg carbon fibre over a foam core for the hull and deck. This materials mix delivers plentiful strength and stiffness while helping to keep this large yacht's displacement down to just 38,000kg. Meanwhile, a generous sail area deployed on the yacht's carbon rig gives a sail area/displacement ratio that ensures impressive performance in all conditions.

Full article in the October issue of Seahorse:

Laser Masters World Championships
Split, Croatia" Champions from a variety of nations were crowned after final racing in the Laser Masters World Championships, in Split, Croatia.

Racing on the final day of the Laser Masters World Championships was brought forward an hour to increase the possibility of all fleets sailing at least one final race. In hindsight, it was a wise move as the wind pattern of previous days was repeated. An offshore land breeze from the North eventually shifted to build from the South West after a two-hour wait afloat.

The Radial Apprentice and Master fleets attempted one race, sailing halfway through the course before the southerly wind dropped below the 5-knot threshold and the race was abandoned. The same fleet restarted an hour later when the breeze finally settled in, building to 7-8 knots from the South West.

A packed and noisy prize giving showed the warm camaraderie in the fleet, as the sailors are looking forward to the 2018 location in the popular city of Dublin, Ireland.

Final Standings (Top 3 In Each Fleet)

Standard Apprentice:
1. Maciej Grabowski POL, 6
2. Maxim Semerkhanov RUS, 14
3. Adonis Bougiouris GRE, 15

Standard Master:
1. Brett Beyer AUS, 12
2. Peter Hurley USA, 16
3. Emesto Rodriguez USA, 25

Standard Grand Master:
1. Allan Clark CAN, 11
2. Andy Roy CAN, 20
3. Tomas Nordqvist SWE, 21

Standard Great Grand Master:
1. Michael Nissen GER, 9
2. Mark Bethwaite AUS, 10
3. John Pitman NZL, 16

Radial Apprentice:
1. Jon Emmett GBR, 6
2. Anastasia Chernova RUS, 17
3. Noel Bayard FRA, 24

Radial Master:
1. Alessio Marinelli ITA, 10
2. Scott Leith NZL, 17
3. Wilmar Groenendijk NED, 34

Radial Grand Master:
1. Martin White AUS, 20
2. Pierantonio Masotto ITA, 27
3. Terry Scutcher GBR, 36

Radial Great Grand Master & 75+:
1. Bill Symes USA, 12
2. Robert Lowndes AUS, 23
3. Kerry Waraker AUS, 27

Women's Radial Apprentice:
1. Anastasia Chernova RUS, 17
2. Georgia Chimona GRE, 30
3. Paula Marino URU, 31

Women's Radial Master:
1. Giovanna Lenci ITA, 53
2. Michelle Bain NZL, 78
3. Monica Wilson USA, 84

Women's Radial Grand Master:
1. Lyndall Patterson AUS, 90
2. Vanessa Dudley AUS, 117
3. Anne Loren SWE, 238

Women's Great Grand Master & 75+:
1. Hilary Thomas GBR 255
2. Gill Waiting NZL, 258
3. Deirdre Webster CAN, 293

Red diesel checks remain suspended in Belgium
Sailors are being advised that controls on the use of red diesel in Belgium remain suspended until further notice.

The confirmation has come from the RYA which has been in contact with the Belgian Ministry of Finance.

The move comes after a British couple were fined €500 after Customs officials found red diesel in the fuel tank of their Hunter Channel 31, Blue Diamond, while they were in Nieuwpoort, Belgium in June this year.

Maurice and Jill Phillips later urged other sailors to boycott the country.

The RYA said this latest announcement follows a meeting of the EU's Indirect Tax Expert Group, which met earlier this month on the issue.

Race 2 Day 6: Qingdao Secures Top Scoring Gate Points For Second Consecutive Race
All eyes have been firmly fixed on the Race Viewer during the sixth day of racing as the twelve Clipper Race teams battled it out to reach the Scoring Gate.

Following a fierce battle with Liverpool 2018 and Visit Seattle, Qingdao, currently in ninth place, crossed the Scoring Gate at 1349 UTC to secure three bonus points, a repeat of its Scoring Gate success during Race 1.

Liverpool 2018, currently standing in tenth place, crossed just four nautical miles later, going on to pick up its first two bonus race points and eighth placed Visit Seattle claimed the final point.

After taking the Northerly route to cross the Scoring Gate, time will tell if they can make up the additional miles to catch the leaders sailing closer to the rhumb line.

Elsewhere, there has been a shakeup at the top of the leaderboard with just three nautical miles separating Greenings, Garmin and Dare To Lead.

After holding onto first place for five days, Dare To Lead has slipped into third place behind its closest rivals. Despite this, focus remains on maximising its position after deciding to playing the Joker.

Race positions:

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