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 editor@scuttlebutteurope.com

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Finishing In Record Time
Thirty two years after the first of his seven attempts, French ocean racing star Loick Peyron won the mythical Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe this Monday morning (TU) when he crossed the finish line of the solo race from Saint-Malo France to Pointe-a-Pitre at 04:08:32 TU/05:08:32 CET/00:08:32 local

The lone skipper of the 31.5m (103ft) Ultime trimaran Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII completed the 3542 miles course in 7d 15h 8m 32s.

His elapsed time is a new outright record for the course passage which was first raced in 1982, breaking the 2006 reference time set by Lionel Lemonchois (7 days 17 hours and 9 mInutes) by 2hrs 10mins 34secs.

Peyron sailed the 3524 NMs theoretical course at an average of 19.34kts. In reality he sailed 4199NM at an average of 22.93kts.

Looking relaxed and on good form physically, Peyron acknowledged, pledging to be back in four years time on the little yellow boat:

"It is a very nice victory but a team victory. I was not supposed to be on this boat two months ago. I was supposed to do the Rhum race on a very small yellow trimaran which will be the case in four years time, I will be back. But it is not a surprise because I knew that the boat was able to do it. I knew that the team was able to help me a lot."

Skipper of the 14 man 2011-2012 Banque Populaire crew which holds the outright Jules Verne Trophy sailing non-stop around the world record, Peyron has a longstanding special affection for La Route du Rhum as it is the Transatlantic race which launched his solo ocean racing career as a 22 year old. Until today he had finished fifth twice and was forced to abandon three times in the ORMA 60 trimarans in 1990, 1994 and 2002.

Yann Guichard on Spindrift finishes second:

When he crossed the finish line off Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe at 18:18:46 hrs UTC/19:18:46 CET/14:18:46 hrs local time this Monday 10th November, Yann Guichard, solo skipper of the world's biggest racing trimaran Spindrift 2, finished in second place in the 10th edition of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. He took 8d 5h 18mn 46sec‏ at an average 17.95 knots, to complete the theoretical course distance of 3,542 miles at an average speed of 17.95 kts, Guichard finished 14 hours, 10 minutes and 14 seconds‏ behind the race winner Loick Peyron. In reality the French skipper of Spindrift 2 sailed 4,334 miles at an average of 21.96 knots‏.

The simple act of completing the demanding Transatlantic race alone on a trimaran which was originally designed for a crew of 14 - at 40 metres long and 18 tonnes, the largest racing trimaran in the world - is a feat in itself, one which many doubted was possible before this race started Sunday 2nd November in Saint-Malo.

www.routedurhum.com

Pipped At The Post
After 26 days 23 hours, 37 minutes and 49 seconds, Team SCA crossed the line to complete leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race into Cape Town.

The all-female team fought right to the finish and managed to sneaked past MAPFRE, passing them in the final 10 miles of the 7,000 mile leg, to finish 1 hour 10 minutes and 43 seconds ahead of Iker Martinez' Spanish team.

Skipper Sam Davies commented: "We are really, really happy to be here. We knew it was possible and we did not stop fighting - that's something that our coach Magnus Olsson taught us and we keep that spirit with us all the time." Olsson died of a stroke in 2013 while on a training camp with Team SCA in Lanzarote.

"If we have learnt any lessons it is to never give up. We need to keep it with us for the next eight legs and we are honored to take in these lessons and learn from them." -- James Boyd in TheDailySail.com

www.thedailysail.com

* Nelias joins MAPFRE for the next leg, Desjoyueaux steps off:

Jean-Luc Nelias, the man who helped mastermind Groupama's win in the last Volvo Ocean Race, will take over as navigator for Spanish boat MAPFRE for the second leg of this edition, starting on November 19.

He replaces Nico Lunven (FRA) in the MAPFRE crew that finished seventh in the opening leg from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town on Friday (November 7). Nelias had already been working with MAPFRE as a weather analyst.

The team also announced that Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), the twice Vendee Globe winner on board for the first leg, will not be sailing any further stages in the 2014-15 race but remains available to assist the team from on-shore.

MAPFRE emphasised that it was never planned for Desjoyeaux to sail the entire race.

Desjoyeaux told Volvo Ocean Race: "The decision (for me) to no longer sail on board MAPFRE was taken by the team and me. They are not easy decisions to take but it's also part of the life of a team. Even if I'm no longer sailing, I've not wasted my time. MAPFRE is a great team with really good guys on board."

His replacement will be announced in the next few days, the team added.

volvooceanrace.com

Dubarry Ultima - Quality Always Lasts
It's amazing to think how sailing has changed since Dubarry started making boots in 1937. The first marina arrived in the 1930s but there were no plastic boats to park in it before the 1940s. There was no yacht radar before the 1950s, nor marine diesel engines before the 1960s, also when polyester sailcloth ousted linen and cotton. The 1970s brought instrumentation and the 1980s saw Decca come and go as GPS stole the show. Oiled canvas gave way to PVC, which yielded to GORE-TEX®. Much indeed has changed, yet one thing has stayed the same: nothing signifies a confident, experienced, discerning yachtie like a pair of Dubarry boots.

Developed as a more luxurious, classical and traditional interpretation of the legendary Shamrock, on which the company's reputation was built, the Ultima is Dubarry's flagship boot. Its sole delivers award-winning, sure-footed grip. Its GORE-TEX® liner is waterproof and breathable to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its Dry-Fast-Dry-Soft water-resistant leather weathers with grace and distinction, recording every nautical mile of your experience in the gentle, tanned folds of its sumptuous hide. It's clearer than ever that, though times may change, quality always lasts.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

dubarry.com

ISAF Conference: Youth Worlds
Corpus Christi, Texas, USA will host the 2018 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship subject to a successful site visit and satisfactory contractual agreements.

The following events and equipment for the 2017 ISAF Youth Worlds were also agreed by Council:

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5 sail
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5 sail
Open multihull - Sirena SL16
Boy's Skiff - 29er
Girl's Skiff - 29er

The Equipment Committee recommended the new Nacra15 for the Open Multihull event and this will be discussed at the 2015 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in the Netherlands with the earliest possible introduction of the new equipment being 2018.

sailing.org

Rolex Sydney Hobart: Fleet To Match The Occasion
Entries for the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race officially closed on the evening of Friday 31 October. The resulting line-up of 119 yachts - set to be the event's largest in a decade - is befitting of such a historic occasion.

In keeping with tradition the race starts at 13:00 local time on 26 December, Boxing Day, from Sydney Harbour. The destination is Hobart, Tasmania over a famous 628-nautical mile racecourse.

At the front of the fleet, the quest for line honours promises to be open and competitive. Bob Oatley's 100-ft Wild Oats XI has been the fastest yacht on the water in seven of the last nine race editions. Experience, guile and knowledge of the conditions ensure the Mark Richards-skippered yacht starts as favourite in the race to be first to finish.

Anthony Bell, line honours winner in 2011, will be one of those hoping to knock Wild Oats XI off her stride. His yacht Perpetual Loyal has strong pedigree in the race and an excellent crew, which includes 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby.

A layer of the unknown has been introduced with the entry from the United States of Jim Clark's Comanche. Clark has made a bold statement - shipping his brand new 100 foot Ken Read-skippered yacht to Sydney immediately following its October launch in New England.

This will be the boat's first race - the ultimate baptism of fire. Clark has sought to dilute expectations, asserting Comanche was not designed with the Rolex Sydney Hobart in mind, and pointing to a lack of preparation time: "The boat and crew will have had only a couple of weeks on the water before we ship it to Australia. There's a lot of work to do before the race start. In the short term, I don't have high expectations, but in the long term, I think this boat could really set a mark."

www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week
After a long hot summer, November has arrived with cold air bringing frosty weather to many well-known sailing grounds in the Northern Hemisphere. For many sailors its time to don the thermals or put away the sailing gear for another year but that doesn't have to be the case, the Caribbean sailing season is just about to begin and IWW Grenada Sailing Week is one of the first major regattas.

Taking part couldn't be easier, there are a myriad of opportunities from single berths to bareboat charter and there are direct flights to Grenada from Europe and the Americas.

The island of Grenada is the largest island in the Grenadines; smaller islands are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Ronde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island, and Frigate Island. Most of the population lives in Grenada's capital, St.Georges, which leaves a beautiful unspoilt island paradise to explore.

IWW Grenada Sailing Week is 29 January - 3 February 2015. -- Louay Habib

For more details on charter opportunities, accommodation. Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions go to: www.grenadasailingweek.com

TP52 Class Management Maestro Rob Weiland Just Took On A New Brief...
Seahorse talks to Rob Weiland:

From the TP52 point of view we have now achieved the full extent of the rule modification that the class members and I set out to achieve in early 2008. Step by step we modified the IMS-inspired 2007 TP52 to the racer that we will see in 2015. Cleaner than clean, both on-deck and inside, and even more 'fast is fun' instead of following rating idiosyncrasies as when the class first started. Using modern technology and modern materials without becoming a floating experiment instead of a reliable racer, leaving room to play in design and construction without making that the primary goal. Racing comes first.

SH: And now you are also joining the newly founded Maxi 72 Class as its class manager...

RW: For my sins, I am. The Mini Maxi owners feel it is time to firm up their identity and get more control over their racing by founding a class association. Then you need a manager. Why not me? Easy decision, a lot of work. The decision to start a class is marked by changing the name from Mini Maxi to Maxi 72.

The International Maxi Association (IMA) more and more seems to become an umbrella organisation for all kinds of maxi racing and as such, in my opinion, has a solid future. The fragmented maxi sailing world needs a meeting point as well as direction and streamlining. The Wally Class, J/Class and now the Maxi 72 Class. Superyachts having specific rules and racing. I like to stress that the owners of the 72s strongly support remaining under the IMA umbrella as IMA members as well as Maxi 72 members. It is an important signal to send out.

Full article in Seahorse magazine: www.seahorsemagazine.com

Sailing Legends - The Story of the World's Greatest Ocean Race
A special numbered limited edition signed by the authors to make the perfect Christmas gift

The Whitbread Round the World Race - now the Volvo Ocean Race - spans 40 years, ten races and more than 300,000 miles across the most inhospitable seas. From gentlemanly competition in yachts designed more for graceful living than screaming around Cape Horn, the race has progressed to purpose built craft with few creature comforts, crewed by fanatical, professionals.

Millions have been spent, legends created and six men have died. No one takes the race lightly and no one tells the story better than journalists, Bob Fisher and Barry Pickthall who have been there for every race from the first in 1973. They mark the anecdotes, highlight all the major stories, and provide biographies of sailing's greatest names from the first handicap and line honour winners, Ramon Carlin and Sir Chay Blyth, to double winner Conny van Rietschoten, French legend Eric Tabarly, those great New Zealand rivals Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton, through to the latter day Volvo race winners. They also detail the awesome advances in design and construction that make today's yachts formidably tough, surfing greyhounds capable of hitting 40knots + and sustaining 600 mile daily runs. The book also lists every crewmember to have taken part.

176 pages. 128 colour pictures and illustrations.

By Bob Fisher and Barry Pickthall - Endeavour Books
£40 + postage and packing

Order online: www.southatlanticpublishing.com/sl_intro.htm

Etchells Racing In Cowes
After a great year Etchells racing in Cowes the renaissance continues, 4 new owners joined the fleet in 2014 with a 5th buying a boat late season in preparation to start racing in 2015, plus a 6th importing a USA boat over the winter, to race from Cowes next spring.

And the fleets' growth is not restricted to Cowes, with over 10 boats built by the 3 registered builders worldwide, 5 of which were from David Heritages workshop in Cowes, making the World Wide fleet over 1420 boats, most of which still compete regularly in Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and of course Hong Kong where the 2015 Worlds will be held, before the UK holds the 2016 edition at Weymouth.

UK Winners this year were Ante Razmilovic Europeans, overall and Corinthian, Nationals Nils Razmilovic Open Champion, David Franks British champion and Jack Muldoon Corinthian. Other Championship winners were Shaun Frohlich and Rob Goddard who both also won the 2014 Seasons  Cowes Fleet League table overall and Corinthian respectively, Jeremy Thorp a newcomer to the fleet, and Nick Stagg overall Cowes week winner and Mark Downer Corinthian.

The 2015 Program is now available on the Cowes Etchells Fleet face book page and has a PDF link on the front page of www.etchellsukfleet.co.uk

The AGM of the British Etchells Fleet and also the Cowes fleet will be at the RTYC London and is set for the evening of Wednesday 7th January.

Letters To The Editor - editor@scuttlebutteurope.com
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 Euan Ross: It's good to see that old rascal Malcolm McKeag contributing to Scuttlebutt; I am sure many among the curmudgeon community share his disenchantment with the small fleets of increasingly anodyne wind-powered media platforms that have come to characterize our major events. Of course, all sport is much less interesting when we cannot 'identify' with the competing teams. But, this is especially so in yachting where we don't support teams on the basis of their performance, we follow them because of who they are and what they represent. Where there is no continuity or heritage, it's hard to engender the essential 'tribal' element of unequivocal support. 

However, I would go further: common values are crucial too. For this reason, it is difficult to support Azzam, when their campaign promotes a regime which occupies the reciprocal bearing of our own democratic, liberal moral compass. The whole Volvo Race is complicit in this ethical amnesty, but the other entrants do not carry quite so much baggage: Dongfeng is there because Volvo bought a 45% stake last year and viable entries were scarce at that stage - they are hardly Chinese, but who cares? Vestas may have led the good people of the Isle of Wight up the garden path and down again, but they are ok too; Brunel is fine, bar the odd fraud scandal in their US operation; and Mapfire, Alvimedica and SCA are as squeaky-clean and scandal-free as the corporate world allows.

When considering ethics at the top of our sport more broadly: it's impossible to avoid BAR and the British bid for the America's Cup. At a time when respite care homes are being closed in Hampshire due to lack of funds, the use of public money to subsidize a sports team where the founding shareholders include tax exiles and major Conservative Party donors, beggars belief. UK tax-payers have been enrolled as unwitting shareholders in a campaign which has made worrying and frankly unnecessary ethical compromises.

OK, it's not just yachting. F1 and football, for example, seems to welcome teams owned by less than wholesome corporate entities and the beautiful game even lauds disreputable players.

However, as has been said many times, sailing is not entertainment; it is not a spectator sport; there is no comparison. Yachting enthusiasts (never, ever 'fans' - media people please note) comprise a well-educated, moderately affluent bunch, they are usually conservative with a small 'c' and often demonstrate a high degree of self-sufficiency and confidence in their own decision-making. In short, we are not idiots and it is a mistake to disenfranchise our 'demographic'. 

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The Last Word
It's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't. -- Gibby Haynes

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