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In This Issue
Capsize for Le Cleac'h: Waiting for Rescue
The IMOCA Class in the Route du Rhum
Come to Sail, Stay to Play! St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) - March 22-24, 2019
FAST40+ Race Circuit - 2019 Preview
It's here - for a short time only: Zhik
18ft Skiffs Spring Championship, Race 4
Five Aarhus 2018 World Champions At The Star Sailors League Finals
Letters to the Editor
Featured Brokerage
The Last Word: Joseph Stalin

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

Capsize for Le Cleac'h: Waiting for Rescue
At the end of the second day of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe an Atlantic storm that had been forecast at the start has been making itself felt across the whole fleet with one boat capsized, two dismasted and many sailors electing to seek shelter in French and Spanish ports.

The most serious incident of an action-packed 24 hours, as the fleet continued west and south out of the Bay of Biscay into the Atlantic proper, was the capsize by French former Vendee Globe winner, Armel Le Cleac'h, on board Maxi Solo Banque Populaire IX.

The big blue and white trimaran was running in third place in the depleted ULTIME class when its port float snapped off in 30-35 knots of wind and five-metre waves. The boat then turned over but Le Cleac'h was reported to be safe inside his central hull about 340 nautical miles northeast of the Azores.

As the maritime rescue coordination centre (CROSS) at Griz Nez in northern France took control of the operation to rescue Le Cleac'h, Jacques Caraës, the Race Director, explained how Le Cleac'h's second capsize this year in this boat unfolded - his first one came during a training sail off Morocco in April.

"We received a call from CROSS at 13.23hrs French time after Armel activated his distress beacon," he said. "Ronan Lucas the Banque Populaire team manager informed us that the boat has capsized and that Armel is inside and safe in the central hull. He is gathering all his safety and survival equipment while he is waiting for rescue.

"He is 450 nautical miles from Lisbon and 320 nautical miles from Punta Delgada, so slightly closer to the Azores," added Caraës. "It is too far away for a helicopter to go to the site, but we know via the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre that a plane is flying over to check out the situation. Armel is OK and is getting ready to be evacuated."

Earlier in the day there were two dismastings. In the IMOCA division the Franco-German sailor Isabelle Joschke lost her rig when holding seventh position and had to turn back towards the French coast. Then the same fate befell the British skipper Sam Goodchild on board Narcos Mexico in the Class40 fleet.

Goodchild, one of the pre-start favourites in the 53-strong fleet of Class40s, was making up ground and had climbed to third place when the rig suddenly gave way in 30-35 knots of wind and big seas.

Goodchild has now erected a jury rig using the boat's boom and stormsail and is heading to the French port of Brest.

Current Standings
Top three skippers in each category at 1600CET on Tuesday, November 6.

1 Francois Gabart (MACIF) 2,635 miles to the finish
2 Francis Joyon (IDEC Sport) +42 miles behind
3 Romain Pilliard (Remade - Use It Again) +473 miles behind

1 Thierry Bouchard (Ciela Village) 3,028 miles to finish
2 Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP) +6 miles behind
3 Gilles Lamire (La French Tech Rennes Saint Malo) +13 miles behind

1 Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) 2,893 miles to finish
2 Vincent Riou (PRB) +38 miles behind
3 Paul Meilhat (SMA) +54 miles behind

1 Yoann Richomme (Veedol AIC) 3,054 miles to finish
2 Ameryic Chappelier (AINA Enfance) +14 miles behind
3 Phil Sharp (IMERYS CLEAN ENERGY) +14 miles behind

Rhum Multi
1 Pierre Antoine (OLMIX) 3,059 miles to finish
2 Alain Delhumeau (Rayon Vert) +68 miles behind
3 Jean-Francois Lilti (Ecole Diagonal Pour Citoyens Du Monde) +76.81 miles behind

Rhum Mono
1 Sidney Gavignet (Cafe Joyeaux) 3082 miles to finish
2 Wilfred Clerton (Cap au Cap Location-SOS Village) +112 miles behind
3 Sebastien Destremau (ALCATRAZIT-FACOCEAN) +121 miles behind


The IMOCA Class in the Route du Rhum
Today's analysis by Thomas Ruyant

After Isabelle Joschke's boat was dismasted during the night, Romain Attanasio announced this lunchtime that he was turning back, as his sails have suffered a lot of damage. Still led by British stalwart, Alex Thomson, fourteen IMOCAs are continuing on their way to Pointe-a-Pitre in chaotic and testing conditions. Today, it is Thomas Ruyant's turn to give us his personal analysis of what is happening in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in the IMOCA class.

"As sailors, we never like to get hit hard from the outset of a race with such tough conditions. Unfortunately, this leads to a sort of natural selection. We know that in this type of transatlantic race, a lot is decided in the first three days of racing, as that is when the major strategic options are taken. The first hurdle was dealing with a trough extending from an area of low pressure 24 hours after the start. Those who kept going straight ahead made it through, like Vincent (Riou), Paul Meilhat and Alan Roura. Those who changed tack lost some ground, like Yann Eliès, Boris Herrmann and Sam Davies. With his option outside of the Ushant Traffic Separation Scheme, Alex Thomson was already way out west and suffered less in this complex weather system.

"Alex Thomson going wherever the will takes him and is going all out with his options"

Alex Thomson's position now seems to be very interesting. He sought out the wind shift. That doesn't surprise me. Alex sails like that wherever the will takes him and goes all out with his options. I find it very interesting to watch such strategies as they appeal to me. In a transatlantic race, you can benefit a lot by making gains westward early in the race. They are easy miles after that. One degree of longitude at the latitude of Ushant is equivalent to 40 miles. The same degree of longitude at the latitude of the Cape Verde Islands represents fifty miles...

The key for Alex in the next 24 hours will involve stepping up the pace in cross seas behind the front. If he manages that, I can imagine that in two days from now he will be around forty miles ahead lined up in front of his the two chasing boats skippered by Vincent Riou and Paul Meilhat, who both went for a more southerly option. The three leaders should in fact start to come together on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. We'll then see which of them between Alex on the one hand and Vincent and Paul had the best strategy.

I was very saddened to hear about Isabelle Joschke dismasting. I have seen that Romain too is turning back. Like everyone, I would have loved to have seen Charal go all the way. But I'm not really surprised as that IMOCA was only recently launched. Ocean racing is a mechanical sport and the boats require a lot of adjustments. However, I remain convinced that having launched his boat a year before all the other new IMOCAs, Jeremie Beyou will in the end have a huge advantage in terms of reliability."


Come to Sail, Stay to Play! St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) - March 22-24, 2019
Set sail in STIR, the 'Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing.' Early birds can win customized long-sleeve high-performance team shirts! Register stthomasinternationalregatta.com and the name of your vessel may be randomly drawn to win this prize. Drawings take place on November 30 and December 31. There's an early entry discount too! Pay US $150 until January 31, 2019. Entry fees increase to US $300 between February 1 and March 20, 2019. Registration for IC24s: US $200, Beach Cats: $200. Register in CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap) Racing or Cruising; IRC; ORC; Multihull; Beach Cat or One Design classes with a minimum length of 20-feet. Register too for the Round the Rocks Race on March 21.

Finding a place to stay for STIR and play afterwards is easy! For one, Airbnb ranked St. Thomas the No. 1 Caribbean destination with a 600 percent in bookings from November 2018 to March 2019. Airbnb rentals range from cottages to beachfront villas.

BYOB or charter! Several companies offer charter yachts for STIR 2019: stthomasinternationalregatta.com/regatta/charter-companies/ Or, charter an IC24 from the St. Thomas Sailing Center ($2200 for boat with good sails; $2700 with new sails; (https://stsc.styc.club) for the 3-day STIR, practice day and 30-day Bluewater Membership at the regatta host, St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC).

World-class racing, the chance to trade tacks with America's Cup, Volvo Ocean and Olympic crews on the water and off is what earns STIR its motto, 'We Love It Here' You will too! For information, Email: , Call (340) 775-6320.


FAST40+ Race Circuit - 2019 Preview
The fourth edition of the FAST40+ Race Circuit promises more thrilling high speed action for the owner-driver class. There will be six scoring rounds including the HYS FAST40+ National Championship and the One Ton Cup. In a change to previous championships, none of the rounds will be weighted. A total of 50 races are scheduled with six discards available for the total points score for the season.

Round One for the 2019 FAST40+ Circuit will be the RORC Vice Admiral's Cup 10-12 May. The final Round Six will be 11-13 October, hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club.

Two season openers will be non-scoring training regattas in the Solent. The FAST40+ fleet will be in action at the RORC Easter Challenge, 19-21 April, and a FAST40+ Class Training Regatta on 27-28 April. A class coach will be allowed onto the race course to improve performance throughout the fleet.

FAST40+ Teams will be competing at other IRC events throughout 2019.

2019 Fast40+ Race Circuit
R1 Vice Admiral's Cup (RORC) / 10-12 May
R2 Poole Bay (Parkstone YC) / 14-16 June
R3 Irc Nationals (RORC) / 05-07 July
R4 Hys Fast40+ Nationals / 23-25 August
R5 One Ton Cup / 19-22 September
R6 Royal Southern YC / 11-13 October


It's here - for a short time only.
Zhik's ex-catalogue clearance sale means up to 55% off a wide range of technical sailing gear.

For yacht sailors there are DeckBeater shorts and long pants, which do exactly what they say on the tin. And the very quick-drying ZhikDry tops and polos. Plus, grab yourself some Merino underwear, technical tailored Z-fleeces, hardwearing, stretchy deck shorts (very comfortable for long days afloat), and the fabulous soft, grippy ZKG shoes. Waterproofs on offer include Isotak Ocean and the lighter weight Aroshell coastal and inshore models.


18ft Skiffs Spring Championship, Race 4
Click on image for photo gallery.

Sydney Harbour: The Smeg 18ft Skiff crew of Michael Coxon, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge were brilliant as they led the fleet from start-to-finish and dominate Race 4 of the Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

The team won the start at the pin end of the line, and clearly led the fleet up the first windward leg from Clark Island to the Beashel Buoy in the 17-knot North East wind.

Even allowing for the staggered 3-Buoys mark, Smeg maintained her lead as the fleet headed back down wind to the wing mark in Rose Bat.

With Smeg in control from early in the race, most interest for the large specttor fleet centred on the battle for second place, with six boats vying for the honour.

The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone's Jordan Girdis, Lachlan Doyle and Tom Quigley finally won out to come home in second place, 1m41s behind the winner, and just 4s. ahead of the third placed Rag & Famish Hotel team of Bryce Edwards, Jacob Broom and Rory Cox.

Races 5 and 6 of the Spring Championship will be sailed next Sunday.


Five Aarhus 2018 World Champions At The Star Sailors League Finals
Five of this year's World Champions from the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, are set to compete in the Star Sailors League Finals this December in the Bahamas.

Three of the five have competed in Nassau before, Pavlos Kontides (Laser, Cyprus) in 2015, and Sime Fantela (49er, Croatia) in 2016. Zsombor Berecz (Finn, Hungary) also competed in 2016, crewing for his friend, the three-time Olympic medallist from Slovenia, Vasilij Zbogar. As for the other two, they are set to compete in the 25-boat Star fleet for the first time: Kevin Peponnet (470, France) and Ruggero Tita (Nacra 17, Italy).

Three of these world class sailors come from small sailing nations, and are used to punching above their weight. They aren't easily intimidated, not even by the likes of big name legends such as Paul Cayard, Lars Grael and Freddy Loof. Kontides has become a hero of his country since becoming the first Cypriot medal winner in any Olympic sport when he took silver in the Laser fleet at the London 2012 Games. The 28-year-old has since gone on to win the Laser World Championships in 2017 and again this season in Aarhus.

Kevin Peponnet has been knocking on the door of the top tier in the 470 fleet, but this year the Frenchman sailed out of his skin to beat the favourites and take a world title won by his uncle, Thierry Peponnet, back in 1986. Now Kevin hopes to emulate his uncle at Tokyo 2020, to see if he can win an Olympic medal like the bronze Thierry won in 1984, or the gold he won in 1988.

After a 49er campaign for Rio 2016 where he finished 14th for Italy, Ruggero Tita has found a boat that really suits his aggressive style. Utterly fearless, Tita drives the foiling Nacra 17 catamaran faster than anyone else right now, having won just about every major event on the Olympic circuit in 2018. Will he be able to carry those winning ways into the slower pace of Star racing? Last year, his British Nacra rival Ben Saxton proved to be one of the most adaptable sailors in Nassau, steering the Star to 8th despite no prior experience in the boat.

The Opening Ceremony for the Star Sailors League Finals will take place on Monday December 3rd in the late afternoon.


Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Bob Fisher:

Dr. Frank Newton says it all. Yes to a World Sailing Brexit, but not one that hangs in limbo like the one at stake at the moment.

* From David Evans:

Have read with interest many comments from many sources, as a consequence, I am delighted to be one of the majority.

Put simply the average UK (and I suspect global) sailor/yachtsman/woman, even dare I write it (God help me ) BOATER (or should it be Boator?) is not remotely interested in what World Sailing decides. We are even less interested - if that is possible - in sailing at the Olympics, and certainly do not want to watch it on TV. I read in today's Scuttlebutt, that youngsters are falling of the pyramid of elite selection. This is exactly what is wrong with the way the administrators of the sport of Dinghy Sailing (now with the added ingredient of some tame so-called keelboats) are trying to run and orchestrate our sport, in their eyes success in this sport is measured by the results of a dozen or so competitors, wheras it should be about how many thousands/hundreds of thousands are participating and loving it for what it is -fun first!

In my view the best dinghy sailors wouldn't be seen dead wasting 4-8 years of their lives trying to get selected for the Olympics and actually want to sail a boat they like that suits them and their locality and that is fun to sail.

The best dinghy sailors are selected every year in this Country - the winners of the Endeavour Trophy.

WE sailors neither need nor want anything other than this!

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The Last Word
The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do. -- Joseph Stalin

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