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

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PREFERRED PUB... IN THE WIGHT VODKA FAVOURITE YACHTING BAR COMPETITION: scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars

And Then There Were Six
Team Vestas Wind is hard aground and salvage options, if any, are unknown at press time.

From a series of reports on volvooceanrace.com:

* At 1510 UTC, Saturday, November 29, Team Vestas Wind informed Race Control that their boat was grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.

Fortunately, no one has been injured.

We are in contact with the boat to establish the extent of the damage and ensure the crew is given the support needed to enable it to deal with the situation.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Reunion Island is aware of the problem. The crew has informed us that it is currently grounded on a reef but nobody is injured. Volvo Ocean Race and Team Vestas Wind's top priority is to make sure the crew is safe. The crew has informed Race organisers that it now plans to abandon the boat as soon as possible after daybreak.

* Race Control has had it confirmed that the Team Vestas Wind crew has now been rescued and will stay on the Íle du Sud, where there is a house and some facilities. All the crew is safe and nobody is injured.

Team Vestas Wind is making plans with Volvo Ocean Race on how to transport the crew off the island as well as how to salvage the boat.

Team Alvimedica has now been released and will continue racing towards Abu Dhabi.

* Australian skipper, Chris Nicholson, spoke on Sunday night of his immense pride at the way his Team Vestas Wind crew came through the ordeal of being grounded and being forced to abandon their boat in complete darkness on a remote Indian Ocean reef.

He told how the boat had run into the reef at around 19 knots and yet astonishingly, none of the nine on board suffered even minor injuries.

Nicholson was also amazed that the boat survived the impact without breaking up immediately.

He said his plan had been to keep the crew on board until daybreak, before being rescued, but had practised a drill for abandoning the boat 15-20 times, 'never with the intention of having to do it', he explained.

However, the 'massive pounding' of the waves eventually told and Nicholson decided he had no option but to abandon ship.

He now plans to meet up with shore crew chief Neil Cox (AUS) and assess the chances of salvaging the boat. "We have a pretty unique group of people to get as good an outcome as possible," he said.

volvooceanrace.com

RORC Transatlantic Race
After two delays to the start due to horrendous weather conditions, the RORC Transatlantic Race in association with the International Maxi Association started from Puerto Calero Marina at 1000 UTC, Sunday 30th November.

It was third time lucky as the RORC fleet departed Puerto Calero Marina, Lanzarote bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada West Indies, 3000 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean. Rain squalls had been disturbing the air in the early hours of the morning, but virtually nothing would have prevented the eager fleet to set off on the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race. Sunshine and a gentle northerly breeze prevailed for the start - the only abnormal weather feature was a perfect double rainbow, pointing the way to the turning mark off Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife - the only mark of the course before the fleet would make landfall in Grenada.

American Class40, Oakcliff Racing, skippered by Hobie Ponting, got away well and took an inshore line to take the lead. However, the young team from Rhode Island were soon overhauled by a trio of Maxi yachts; Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot 100, Nomad IV, Russian Southern Wind 94, Windfall skippered by Fabrizio Oddone and Jeremy Pilkington's British RP78, Lupa of London.

Five hours into the race, Nomad IV had rounded the southern tip of Lanzarote just ahead of Windfall and Lupa of London. Derek Hatfield's Canadian Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure was leading the chasing pack. Frank Lang's French X-40, Optim'X showed impressive speed, making the turning mark in the company of Class40, Oakcliff Racing and ahead of Nigel Passmore's British J/133, Apollo 7.

Race tracker: rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/tracking/2014-fleet-tracking.html

rorctransatlantic.rorc.org

One More Day To Tell Us About Your Favourite Bar
One Bar Playa Blanca, last year's winner.

If through your foggiest of memories you can spin a great tale of your favourite bar, please enter your submission now on scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars .

The submission deadline is Monday December 1st.

It is encouraged that you pontificate on the reasons for your love affair, including as much commentary on the atmosphere, the people, the food, and of course the after racing drinks. Poetic license is appreciated!

Our favourite comments over the years include:

"This place is known as the drinking bar with a yachting problem."
"High spring tides actually flood the bar."
"I perfected the art of taking upside-down Wight Vodka shots there."
"Even managed to have a bigger bar bill then my Dad (and he then paid it!)."
"Oh...it's where I met both my husbands."

From all of the submissions, we then choose the top 10 bars which are put forward for the online voting from Saturday the 6th December to Monday the 29th December. We announce the winner on the 31st December and similar to years past, the Wight Vodka crew calls each of the winning bars on New Year's Eve to congratulate them! It's a great occasion to ring in the New Year. May the best bar win!"

Send us your submission before midnight!
scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars

Abu Dhabi, Isaf Sailing World Cup Final Racing Wraps Up
Racing at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates has wrapped up with praise in abundance for the venue.

An 8-12 knot north westerly breeze tested the competitors on the final day of racing as the inaugural event came to a conclusion off of the stunning Corniche.

Sailors' attentions now turn to the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series. Melbourne, Australia plays host to the first 2015 Abu Dhabi Final qualification regatta with racing scheduled to commence on 8 December 2014.

Top three by class:

470 Men
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS, 20 points
2. Panagiotis Mantis / Pavlos Kagialis, GRE, 28
3. Stuart Mcnay / David Hughes, USA, 31

470 Women
1. Lara Vadlau / Jolanta Ogar, AUT, 17
2. Sophie Weguelin / Eilidh McIntyre, GBR, 20
3. Ai Kondo Yoshida / Miho Yoshioka, JPN, 23

49er Men
1. Tomasz Januszewski / Jacek Nowak, POL, 53
2. Carlos Paz / Anton Paz Blanco, ESP, 58
3. John Pink / Stuart Bithell, GBR, 60

49erFX Women
1. Alexandra Maloney / Molly Meech, NZL, 23
2. Lisa Ericson / Hanna Klinga, SWE, 46
3. Giulia Conti / Francesca Clapcich, ITA, 51

Finn Men
1. Vasilij Zbogar, SLO, 13
2. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 16.60
3. Caleb Paine, USA, 30

Laser Men
1. Tom Burton, AUS, 13
2. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 28
3. Jean Baptiste Bernaz, FRA, 32

Laser Radial Women
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 13
2. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 26
3. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 28

Nacra 17
1. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA, 34
2. Audrey Ogereau / Matthieu Vandame, 42
3. Moana Vaireaux / Manon Audinet, FRA, 50

RS:X Men
1. Louis Giard, FRA, 28
2. Byron Kokkalanis, GRE, 33
3. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 46

RS:X Women
1. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 23
2. Charline Picon, FRA, 41
3. Blanca Manchon, ESP, 58

Full results: www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

Bermuda - Phew!
Last time round when speculation was rife about the future of the America's Cup, after the monster cat v monster tri contest in 2010, I was outside the Pier View pub in Cowes, rather late at night, when I bumped into Herb Dercksen.

Herb was half the Dutch Tornado Olympic team with Mitch Booth, of Australian, Dutch and Spanish descent, and these dudes invented the Extreme 40 catamaran concept, which Mark Turner, the cleverest impresario in sailing (can't resist it now Mark) transformed into THE stadium format.

I'd produced about six Medemblik Olympic class regattas for TV, and filmed on Herb and Mitch's Tornado one year, which was outrageously good fun - great characters - so we had a lively chat which ended up in me betting Herb 50 Euros that the Cup would go back to monohulls. Teams were already lining up with funds, right?

"No way," said Herb, no doubt mindful of the billions Oracle had just invested in wingsail technology... and his upcoming contract to supply fast carbon RIBs and a TV cat for the event.

Herb settled for bottle of good Champagne when I went to film a story about his fantastic carbon RIBs outside Amsterdam a year later. Oh well.

So when Bernie Wilson pops up with a scoop on the Cup location, I'm not rushing in as usual. I hope it's true though.

I've never been to San Diego, but Jimmy's wife Jennifer comes from there, and she's lovely, so they must be nice people. But I did watch the World Series event on TV, and frankly the images were dull.

Now, go to Google images and type in: "Bermuda aerial photos". Go on. Give it a whirl...

Wow - bright blues and turquoise. Popping colours. My camera buddies Matt Connor, the Picasso of aerial sailing filming, and Adam Brown, the Michaelangelo of on-water sailing filming, will be delighted.

And so will all Cup fans, past and future, who we hope will again be absorbed by the contest on TV around the world. San Fran was great. Out the park. But Larry and Russell weren't feeling the love. Bermuda has passed some sort of Act of Parliament to get this gig, plus God knows what tax breaks etc etc, so the love is in Bermuda.

(Incidentally, for members of my immediate family, mentioning no names, Bermuda is not near Hawaii).

The Cup announcement is on Tuesday December 2nd. On Wednesday the 3rd, the Star Sailors League is live streaming four days of intense competition from the Bahamas. 20 teams, $200,000 prize money, a tennis style knockout tournament, involving big names like Robert Scheidt, Torben Grael, Freddy Loof, Giles Scott (mixing it up), to name just a few.

After three races per day over Weds, Thurs and Friday, the top ten go to the quarters, then the top 7 to the semis, and then the top four duke it out for the big money. That's on Big Saturday, December 6th, and if you're short of time, that's when it gets fascinating. Go to http://www.starsailors.com for times etc. and replays.

We've nicked a few tricks from the America's Cup (and Andrew Preece if I'm honest) which include Adam on the same Cup camera, plus Virtual Eye. We can't afford Matt, or three helis in the air, or Stan Honey's bag of tricks, but last year Dennis Conner and Paul Cayard joined our commentary team, and the drama and energy of the competition was explosive.

More wind is forecast for this year. Should be awesome. Well worth watching before the Cup in, er, three years time. -- Digby Fox, livethestory.com

Inspirational Speaker: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Available for conferences, corporate events and after-dinner speaking

Fresh from finishing the 3,500 mile Route du Rhum singlehanded transatlantic race, the ever-young Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (75) is ready to inspire others to exceed their expectations.

A likeable maverick and consummate seaman, Knox-Johnston has continued setting records ever since, becoming an example to thousands of young men and women to have followed in his wake.

In 1977/8 he skippered the British maxi Heath's Condor to line honours in two legs of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

1994 saw him co-skipper the giant catamaran ENZA New Zealand with the late Peter Blake to take the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation around the world - a feat that finally won him his knighthood.

In 2006/7 and at the age of 68, he set out on yet another solo circumnavigation and finished a highly credited 4th in the Velux 5 Oceans race. Uniquely, Knox-Johnston has been voted UK Yachtsman of the Year three times, was named ISAF sailor of the Year in 1994, and in 2007 was one of the first inductees into the ISAF Hall of Fame.

As Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc, Sir Robin now inspires others to race around the world in a fleet of identical yachts.

Sir Robin is available for conferences, corporate events and after-dinner speaking

To book sailingspeakers.co.uk or contact PPL LTD on +44 (0)1243 555561 or email: ppl@mistral.co.uk

www.pplmedia.com/speakers/sir-robin-knox-johnston.html

sailingspeakers.co.uk

America's Cup In Bermuda A Tough Sell For Team New Zealand?
With just two days to go before the next America's Cup venue is announced, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has confirmed it would be harder to justify government funding if the venue were Bermuda in 2017.

"It's hard to see the benefits of it from a New Zealand exporter's point of view if it's Bermuda [rather] than if it's San Diego, but we'll keep an open mind," he told the Herald.

He was expecting a proposal for funding from Team New Zealand no matter which venue was chosen.

"But I don't know the details of the proposals. I don't know if they'll be asking for the same money in both venues. I don't know if there's anything else we should take into account."

Mr Joyce said he had canvassed the relevant agencies such as New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Tourism New Zealand "and they were unambiguously more interested in the West Coast of the US than Bermuda". -- Audrey Young in the New Zealand Herald

www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/

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 Malcolm McKeag: Just for the record - the first use of on-the-water umpiring at the Royal Lymington Cup was in April 1988. The first use of on-the-water umpiring at the Congressional Cup was in March 1988. The World Championship of Match Race Sailing in Lymington to which Bob Fisher refers and at which he officiated was in 1989, by which time on-the-water umpiring was the norm at all major match race events except the America's Cup. On-the-water umpiring had been used, my (still) good friend Tom Ehman reminds me in parallel correspondence, in January 1988 at the Congressional Cup qualifiers and before that at the 1987 Maxi Worlds at Newport, RI.

My only point in writing originally was a) to correct the erroneous statement in the AWMRT press release, reprinted in Scuttlebutt Europe, that umpiring was innovated in California in the 1990s and b) to make the point that it was (as Kirk's letter of yesterday makes very plain) an international and not simply and only a 'Californian' innovation.

On-the-water umpiring was not invented out of thin air by just one person or just one club - it evolved from an international need and desire to get match racing out of the protest room and - not the least - to make the competition more comprehensible to television viewers (not to mention producers) who just weren't interested in a contest where the apparently plain and unequivocal result of a race between two boats could be and regularly was reversed by esoteric argument at a hearing held in secret later that night. That evolution involved and was developed collectively by the rules and match race enthusiasts of several countries and certainly the Congressional Cup was central to that evolution - as was the Royal Lymington Cup. That umpiring was first used in California rather than England had as much to do with the weather in California and England and the timing of the two events. The Lymington Jury were not, as Kirk would have it, 'still listening to tapes in the Jury room while the Californians were done and at the bar'.

Although not the longest-running match race tournament (if we exclude the America's Cup that is probably the Bermuda Gold Cup) the Congressional Cup was and remains the Daddy Of Them All in the world of match race tournaments and it hardly needs misleading claims to gild its reputation. The Royal Lymington Cup was started in unashamed imitation of it, and by a Californian - the late, wonderful and much-missed Bill Green - and was in fact originally called 'the Lymington Congressional Cup'. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And, of course, Long Beach YC has stayed the course while the Royal Lymington, for its own reasons, has not.

For my own part therein I claim nothing at all, save that I was there for at least some of it and as nothing more than a mere yachting hack felt privileged and even flattered to be considered by the real experts to be sufficiently knowledgeable to be invited to be one of the umpiring team at that innovative 1988 Royal Lymington Cup.

* From Philippe Serenon, UNCL Past President, re: VOR website:

For a couple of days, it has been asked to your website visitors not to use chrome but Firefox or Safari.

Having had past experience, I am not willing to set up another browser than my current Chrome one.

Therefore I can't follow anymore the race which is ridiculous.

In addition, there is not even a simple news on the home page summarizing what's going on. I am very surprised and disappointed not to be able to enjoy the race simply in a couple of minutes.

I do not have time to watch videos which are more or less showing always the same thing and focus on one single boat.

It seems that your website (as well as Route du Rhum's one) has decreased in access to qualified information which is particularly surprising for such events.

I guess I am not the only one to complain and I hope it will be sorted soon.

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The Last Word
Everything in moderation, including moderation. -- Oscar Wilde

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