Coville and Josse Heading For Record-Breaking Photo Finish | Mini Transat front runners expected to make landfall in Martinique on Tuesday | Charlie Garratt, Ocean Safety Clipper Race Ambassador: who will I become after this race? | Close encounters with leaders slowing | Clipper Race: Downwind Sailing Conditions Kick In | Non-stop racing for Act II in Monaco | Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Contest | Royal Navy sailor Sally Hughes decorated with the Queen's Gallantry Medal | 18ft Skiffs Spring Championship, Race 6 | 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
Coville and Josse Heading For Record-Breaking Photo Finish
After 4,350 miles descending the Atlantic from Le Havre to Salvador de Bahia, the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre could come down to a photo finish between the older warhorse, Sodebo Ultim', and the young stallion, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.
The two huge trimarans, both over 30 metres long, are expected to cross the finish line in the Bay of All Saints between 12 and 16:00 UTC Monday. Seb Josse, the skipper of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, was spot on when he predicted an eight-day finish three days before the start.
At 16:00 UTC today, Sodebo Ultim' had a 40-mile lead, but in patchy easterlies off the north-east coast of Brazil was four knots slower than its more powerful pursuer. By the evening with boats getting back towards 30 knots there may be little more than an hour between them.
Whoever wins, the race record will be smashed. The fastest finish to Salvador remains Franck Cammas on Groupama 2's astonishing 10day 0h 38min win in 2007 in the 60ft multihull class. For Thomas Coville, the skipper of Sodebo Ultim' it would a second Transat Jacques Vabre victory to add to his 1999 win on a very different beast - an IMOCA 60ft monohull. Coville has concentrated more on solo round-the-world records in trimarans since and broke the record in December. For he and co-skipper Jean-Luc Nelias it is a measure of revenge after another newly-launched maxi, Francois Gabart's Macif beat them in 2015.
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild skipper Seb Josse's best finishing time was his 11days 5 hours 3min win with Charles Caudrelier on the MOD70 trimaran Edmond de Rothschild in the 2013 edition - that time to Itajai, Brazil.
The dilemma for Coville and Nelias is that they do not know if Josse and Thomas Rouxel' boat has a technical problem and whether they can control the race against a potentially more powerful rival.
Top three by class:
1. Sodebo Ultim, Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias, 196 nm to finish
2. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Sebastian Josse / Thomas Rouxel, 39.5 nm to leader
3. Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois / Bernard Stamm, 1104 nm to leader
1. Imerys Clean Energy, Phil Sharp / Pablo Santurde, 2241 nm to finish
2. Vand B, Maxime Sorel / Antoine Carpentier, 4 nm to leader
3. Aina Enfance & Avenir, Aymeric CHappellier / Arthur Le Vaillant, 15.2 nm to leader
1. FenetreA - Mix Buffet, Erwan Leroux / Vincent RIou, 1378 nm to finish
2. Arkema, Lalou Roucayrol / Alex Pella, 66 nm to leader
3. Reaute Chocolat, Armel Tripon / Vincent Barnaud, 275 nm to leader
1. St. Michel - Virbac, Jean-Pierre Dick / Yann Elies, 1717 nm to finish
2. SMA, Paul Meilhat / Gwenole Gahinet, 62 nm to leader
3. Des Voiles Et Vous!, Morgan Lagraviere / Eric Peron, 128 nm to leader
Mini Transat front runners expected to make landfall in Martinique on Tuesday
Whilst the fleet carves out a route between the latest squalls in what is a very shifty trade wind, each of the skippers has his or her own method of keeping up morale and making the most of this Mini-Transat La Boulangere adventure, right the way to the finish.
As Ian Lipinski (Griffon.fr) passes the milestone of 500 miles to go, it would seem that the firm favourite of this 2017 edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangere has the race in the bag. Barring incident, there is virtually no hope now of Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) and Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) catching up with the undisputed leader of this race.
In the production boat category, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry), still as quick as ever, is stretching away at the front of the fleet. However, the situation is more complicated for Clarisse Cremer (TBS), who has seen the Irish sailor Tom Dolan (offshoresailing.fr) come right back into contention for the top spot. Ultimately, it is Benoit Sineau (Cachaca) who may well come up trumps. Indeed, this business manager and amateur sailor, could make a clean sweep of the prizes by accessing the podium for the overall ranking after originally setting himself the objective of making it into the top 10.
Position report on 12 November at 15:00 UTC
1. Ian Lipinski (Griffon.fr) 428.9 miles from the finish
2. Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 139.7 miles behind the leader
3. Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 141.4 miles behind the leader
4. Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) 208.7 miles behind the leader
5. Keni Piperol (Region Guadeloupe) 244.2 miles behind the leader
1. Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 667.7 miles from the finish
2. Clarisse Cremer (TBS) 71.2 miles behind the leader
3. Thomas Dolan (offshoresailing.fr) 95.9 miles behind the leader
4. Benoit Sineau (Cachaca 2) 106.7 miles behind the leader
5. Pierre Chedeville (Blue Orange Games - Fair Retail) 145.7 miles behind the leader
Charlie Garratt, Ocean Safety Clipper Race Ambassador: who will I become after this race?
Ocean Safety is an Official Supplier to Clipper. The inventory on the yachts includes liferafts, tether lines, traditional horseshoes and danbuoys. Ocean Safety lifejackets are, for the first time, integrated with personal AIS beacons.
A Coastguard employee, Charlie was a sailing novice just thirteen years ago but volunteered with the Rona Sailing project. "My sailing has just gone from strength to strength. I sold my house to do the Clipper Race. I'm just going to see how I cope, how I emerge from it and who I become after the race."
Follow Charlie's weekly blogs including the current report via Ocean Safety's website and Facebook.
Close encounters with leaders slowing
Dongfeng Race Team retains the lead in Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, but only just, as the leaders slow in Doldrums conditions. Just 10 miles separate first from fourth, and the difference between first and worst is scarcely 45 miles, good news for the backmarkers, who are back in the game.
These are agonising conditions for the sailors, who normally live and die by each of the six-hourly position reports. But with the positions closing up, the other boats are either in sight from on deck, or visible on AIS (Automatic Identification System), a maritime tracking system that shows the position and speed/direction of boats within about 10-12 nautical miles of each other for safety purposes. Today, the leading group of five are almost certainly visible on AIS to each other.
While the Doldrums are often considered an area of no wind, in reality, it is more often an area of variable conditions, where storm cells bring sudden strong winds from a different direction to the prevailing lighter conditions. This means constant vigilance, and makes it difficult to choose the right sail selection.
"We were sailing south with the fractional code zero (a big headsail good for sailing with the wind on the side of the boat) on and doing about 20 knots boatspeed and we could see a big cloud line ahead, which means something is going to happen," explained MAPFRE watch captain Rob Greenhalgh, giving an example of life in the Doldrums.
"It was a big header (windshift), 50-degree header, and an increase in breeze, which meant a frenzy of sail changes, so we're now on a jib, going upwind, close reaching, so our boatspeed is significantly less. Everyone is going to come through this line of Doldrums… Everyone is going to get it… We won't know how it comes out for about five days."
It might even come sooner than that. The leading teams should reach the equator in the next 24 hours or so, and pick up the trade winds again within two or three days.
Leg 2 - Position Report - Sunday 12 November (Day 8) - 13:00 UTC
1. Dongfeng Race Team -- distance to finish - 3,848.4 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +1.9
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +5.6
4. Team Brunel +10.2
5. team AkzoNobel +12.9
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +42.6
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +45.7
Clipper Race: Downwind Sailing Conditions Kick In
Following the gruelling upwind slog which has dominated much of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race, a wind shift overnight has meant that for some of the most southerly teams, downwind sailing conditions have kicked in.
Race 3, the Southern Ocean Leg, takes the fleet to Perth, with the arrival window between Tuesday November 21 and Saturday November 25.
PSP Logistics, Qingdao and Sanya Serenity Coast still hold the top three positions on the leaderboard after picking up bonus race points for the Scoring Gate yesterday, though they are holding out for the wind to shift.
Looking ahead, weather systems may continue to be tricky for the fleet. Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, explains: "There's a fair amount of wind around between the incoming weather systems, which will be generally going in the right direction, but the progression of the high and then the ridge South of it in two to three days' time will stretch the fleet's tactics."
Race position tracker: clipperroundtheworld.com/race/standings
Non-stop racing for Act II in Monaco
It was down to the wire for the top three in the J/70s. Leader from day one, the YCM's Vincenzo Onorato (Mascalzone Latino) had to concede victory to Art Tube, helmed by Valeria Kovalenko. The Russian won the previous Winter Series and had got off to a good start this season by winning Act 1. Peter Harrison (Sorcha J) completed the trio at the top, with YCM sailor, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio (G-Spotino), in 4th. After two Acts and 14 races, Art Tube tops the leader board for this Winter Series, 43 points ahead of Italians on Sport Cube, followed by Stefano Roberti on Piccinina.
In the Melges 20s, the YCM's Ludovico Fassitelli (Junda Banca del Sempione) stole victory from under the nose of Russian Alexander Mikhaylik's Alex Team to break the previous event's Russian domination. After two Acts, the battle at the top of the Series intensifies as Alex Team and Junda Banca del Sempione are lying 1st and 2nd but equal on points.
Organised once a month from October to March, this Winter Series in Monaco is an initiative of Valentin Zavadnikov and attracts top sailors, like Olympic medallist and three-time Laser World Champion Paul Goodison sailing on Mascalzone Latino.
Act III is on 8-10 December 2017.
Final ranking for Act II - J/70
1st: Valeria Kovalenko - RUS (Art Tube) - 15 points
2nd: Vincenzo Onorato - MON (Mascalzone Latino) - 19 points
3rd: Peter Harrison - GBR (Sorcha J) - 38 points
Final ranking Act II - Melges 20
1st: Ludovico Fassitelli - MON (Junda Banca del Sempione) - 22 points
2nd: Alexander Mikhaylik - RUS (Alex Team) - 23 points
3rd: Maxim Titarenko - RUS (Leviathan) - 27 points
Provisional ranking after two Acts - J/70
1st: Valeria Kovalenko - RUS (Art Tube) - 17 points
2nd: Germano Scarpa - ITA (Sport Cube) - 60 points
3rd: Stefano Roberti - MON (Piccinina) - 69 points
Provisional ranking after two Acts - Melges 20
1st: Alexander Mikhaylik - RUS (Alex Team) - 33 points
2nd: Ludovico Fassitelli - MON (Junda Banca del Sempione) - 37 points
3rd: Maxim Titarenko - RUS (Leviathan) - 41 points
As the Caribbean and Puerto Rico struggle to return to a semblance of normalcy, this heartening report about the St Maarten Yacht Club
Here's what makes it so great...
Within a few weeks of Irma hitting St Maarten, the Yacht Club bar was one of the 1st on island to reopen . Despite having lost most of the dock and terrace, damage to the roof and staff who were homeless, it provided a meeting point for the survivors to gather, share stories, swop information and enjoy a drink or two. There are times when a bar embodies community spirit. This was one of them.
Is there a special drink they make?
Their Bloody Marys are legendary...if I knew the recipe, I would share it with you. Perhaps it's the magical combination of sitting with the best brunch drink whilst welcoming the yachts into the lagoon at bridge openings?
If you'd like to help the bars and clubs and sailing industry recover, please visit sailaiduk.com
Then mix up one of these...
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine:
1 1/2 ounce Wight Vodka
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
3/4 ounce Creme de Casis
1/4 ounce lemon juice.
Shake and strain into a cold glass. Garnish with lemon zest.
... and send us your remembrances of your favorite yachtie's bar:
Royal Navy sailor Sally Hughes decorated with the Queen's Gallantry Medal
Royal Navy sailor Sally Hughes has been has been decorated with the Queen's Gallantry Medal and hailed a hero for her part in the rescue of 14 people last February.
The crew of former Clipper yacht Clyde Challenger ran into trouble when their boat was dismasted and lost its rudder around 400 nautical miles west-south-west of Cape Finisterre.
Royal Navy sailor Hughes was in charge of driving an inflatable boat to transfer the Clyde Challenger crew on board of HMS Dragon.
She made several attempts over two hours in challenging weather conditions to save the 13 Brits and one American.
Portsmouth.co.uk reports Hughes saying: "I am humbled to have been recognised for my actions during the rescue. I was doing my job in challenging conditions and was but part of a team effort in rescuing the sailors; an action I would hope anyone would do if they were ever to be in a similar situation. 'There was no place for fear during this rescue. I had been trained to drive the sea boat and whilst the conditions I experienced were significantly more challenging than I had dealt with before I applied my knowledge to achieve the end result."
Sally Hughes was decorated with the Queen's Gallantry Medal at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (7 November).
18ft Skiffs Spring Championship, Race 6
Click on image for photo gallery.
The Noakes Youth team of Kirk Mitchell, Daniel Barnett and Tim Westwood grabbed the race lead for the first time at the final set of windward buoys in Rose Bay and held off the fast finishing Panasonic Lumix team (Lachlan Doyle, Rick Plain, Michael Vincent) in a spinnaker dash to the finish line off Clark Island.
Another young team on Rag & Famish (Bryce Edwards, Rory Cox, Jacob Broom) took the lead at the first windward marks in Rose Bay and led for the entire race before being caught on the wrong side of a wind shift up the final windward leg of the course. The team still managed to finish a strong third,just 29s behind Panasonic Lumix.
In a race which provided spectators and crews with plenty of dramas, Noakesailing (Sean Langman) finished fourth, ahead of The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage) and Asko Appliances (James Dorron).
The series has now produced six different winners from the six races sailed so far (Panasonic Lumix, Triple M, Quality Marine Clothing, De'Longhi, ILVE and now Noakes Youth) and the final result next Sunday will depend heavily on that race's result. -- Frank Quealey
Original spec TP52 that has had a 2013 refit, including new paint, and has been little used since. Full offshore interior with heads and galley.
3-cabin version of this popular X-46 performance cruiser. With super cool carbon rig, she has been well looked after and is well equipped for coastal cruising. She has spent her life in the Med being well cherished.
The pocket rocket "Stratisfear" is now available for the 2017 season and as ever with these Corby designs, they come with IRC potential in abundance.
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. -- Douglas Adams
Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html