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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Voting Is Open In The Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar Competition
The top ten are ready for your review and vote. The King & Queen in Hamble has taken an early, commanding lead after nearly a thousand votes cast in the first 2 days.

Vote! scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars

Too Close To Call
Team Brunel are just ahead in the race to win Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race and join Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing at the top of the leaderboard - but the sprint into Abu Dhabi still looks too close to call for sure.

Bouwe Bekking's (NED) Dutch boat was leading Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) by a mere 12 nautical miles (nm) at 0940 UTC on Tuesday with Ian Walker's Azzam boat just 27nm further behind.

The trio have a huge lead of nearly 275nm over the fourth-placed boat, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), with MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), also seemingly out of the running for a podium spot.

The top three have around 750nm left to sail to the arrival in the Emirates and are expected to reach the destination on Saturday, December 13.

Dongfeng Race Team will join Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing on four points if they retain their current second place. However, the Dutch and Chinese boats would be ranked above them under the race's tie-breaker rules because each of them would have had a leg victory.

www.volvooceanrace.com

ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne
Shifty conditions and a cool and crystal clear Melbourne day greeted all the Olympic events racing off Sandringham Yacht Club on day two of the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne. Southerly winds 8-10 knots built late in the day to 16 knots, a more true local summer sea breeze.

Port Phillip is so vast and empty midweek, the fleets are well separated. Other than the on-water race officials' and coaches vessels there are no other power boats and equally no wash interfering with the fleets. A clear, clean and fair track for the 504 boats and 800 or so competitors from around the world.

It's noticeably quiet inside the course boundaries too, the occasional polite reminder indicative of the opening light conditions and early stage of competition.

Event winners from each ISAF Sailing World Cup (SWC) Regatta will qualify to the 2015 SWC Final whilst the best placed 'home continent' sailor in each round will also qualify. The top three finishers at the 2015 Class World Championships (if already held) will qualify to the 2015 SWC Final. The remaining SWC Final places will be awarded via the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

Up to twenty 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots are available in Melbourne, the first stop of the 2015 series.

Top three after 2 days of racing:

2.4 Metre
1. Matthew Bugg, AUS, 4 points
2. Peter Thompson, AUS, 7
3. Paul Franncis, NZL, 8

470 Men
1. Alexander Conway / Patrick Conway, AUS, 2
2. Angus Galloway / Joshua Dawson, AUS, 4
3. Chris Charlwood / Timothy Hannah, AUS, 5

470 Women
1. Sasha Ryan / Amelia Catt, AUS
2. Jeni Lidgett-Danks, Jaime Ryan, AUS

49er Men
1. Nathan Outteridge / Iain Jensen. AUS, 8
2. David Gilmour / Rhys Mara, AUS, 14
3. Nico Delle - Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 16

49erFX Women
1. Tess Lloyd / Caitlin Elks, AUS, 8
2. Helene Naess / Marie Ronningen, NOR, 14
3. Olivia Price / Eliza Solly, AUS, 17

Finn Men
1. Edward Wright, GBR, 2
2. Jake Lilley, AUS, 4
3. Oliver Tweddell, AUS, 5

Laser Men
1. Colin Cheng, SIN, 4
2. Tom Burton, AUS, 4
3. Wannes Van Laer, BEL, 12

Laser Radial Women
1. Alison Young, GBR, 4
2. Ashley Stoddart, AUS, 4
3. Tatiana Drozdovskaya, BLR, 7

Nacra 17
1. Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin, AUS, 5
2. Darren Bundock / Nina Curtis, AUS, 11
3. Euan McNicol / Lucinda Whitty, AUS, 12

RS:X Men
1. Juozas Bernotas, LTU, 11
2. Evgeny Ayvazyan, RUS, 17
3. Alexander Askerov, RUS, 17

RS:X Women
1. Stefania Elfutina, RUS, 8
2. Maria Aadland Mollestad, NOR, 17
3. Joanna Sterling, AUS, 20

SKUD 18
1. Dan Fitzgibbon / Liesl Tesch, AUS, 3
2. Amethyst Barnbrook / Brett Pearce, AUS, 8
3. Jovin Tan / Desiree Lim, SIN, 10

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

Marinepool - Official Clothing Partner Of The Extreme Sailing Series™
Marine Pool Marinepool is widely regarded as one of the leading sailing clothing and maritime lifestyle brands and is the "Official Clothing Partner" of the Extreme Sailing Series™.

We have built a reputation for outstanding quality, excellent service and quick and reliable deliveries. These are only a few of the reasons why no less than 4 of this year´s teams in the Extreme Sailing Series™, among them 2012 and 2013 Champions The Wave, Muscat, are racing in Marinepool kit.

Using only the best materials and state of the art production technologies, no detail is omitted to ensure every product is optimized before it reaches the market. More than 23 years of experience and design excellence, plus the invaluable input of the world class athletes proudly wearing Marinepool garments, guarantee the products are at the cutting edge of technology.

Uncompromising, highly functional and extremely light weight; Tested and approved by many of the world's finest sailors.

As a group of companies with German roots and head quarters, operating in 43 countries, with product lines ranging from performance sailing clothing and a test winning life jacket range to maritime fashion, Marinepool is uniquely qualified and the perfect match for the clothing requirements of YOUR sailing team or company.

Purchase the Extreme Sailing Series™ Collection by Marinepool directly from the official online store: www.extreme-sailing-series-store.com or contact us for your customized team wear on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Marinepool | Design. Technology. Passion.

www.marinepool.com

Two U.S. Champions On Sydney Harbour Last Sunday
Photo by Chris Part. Click on image for photo gallery.

Skiff J.J. Giltinan champion (2002 and 2003) Howie Hamlin and U.S. 100ft Maxi Yacht Comanche were on Sydney Harbour last Sunday despite the horrendous storms which battered most sailing classes.

The ever-professional attitude of Howie Hamlin brought him to Sydney where he recently had brand new North Sails built, apparently, to an Iain Murray design.

This was the first stage of preparations for the 2015 J.J. Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, which will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from 14-22 February.

Howie competed in the Australian 18 Footer League's Club Championship race by invitation, but the bad weather shortened the hit out when the storms hit midway through the race.

The 100ft Comanche, in Sydney for the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race, was in the vicinity of the start of the 18 Footer race and showed the enormity of its size alongside the 18ft Skiffs. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League, www.18footers.com

2016 Vendee Globe: All Lights Are Go
With less than two years to the start of the Vendee Globe, Bruno Retailleau, President of the Saem Vendee, gave a complete rundown of the situation concerning the eighth Vendee Globe at the Paris Boat Show this afternoon (Tuesday). As well as confirming the start date for Sunday 6th November 2016, we also learnt that around fifteen sailors are already certain to compete and that 20-25 were well advanced in their project. This press conference was also an opportunity for Sodebo and the town of Les Sables d'Olonne to announce that they have renewed their commitment to the race. Many skippers were also present to present their projects.

The digital boom with Internet and social networking means we can look forward to even greater coverage for the 2016-2017 edition. Bruno Retailleau explained, "New media arrangements and innovative editorial formats will mean increased coverage of the race, the skippers and the partners. During the race, the Vendee Globe will have its own Web TV broadcasting 24 hours a day with three live daily broadcasts and two weekly shows. People will be able to follow closely the lead up to the race with a video magazine "Aiming for the Vendee Globe" which will throw the spotlight on all the news concerning the various projects."

In addition to this, 90 % of the budget for the event has already been secured, in particular, because the three major partners for the Vendee Globe, the Vendee Council, Sodebo and the town of Les Sables d'Olonne have renewed their support for the Everest of the Seas.

www.vendeeglobe.org

Yann Elies Competing In The 2016 Vendee Globe
Excellent news! Yann Elies will be competing in the Vendee Globe in November 2016. And not just with any old boat. His sponsor, the Queguiner Group, has just bought Marc Guillemot's 60-foot IMOCA Safran, the very same boat that rescued Yann, when he had his terrifying accident to the south of Australia in the 2008 Vendee Globe.

On Thursday evening (4th December), at a press conference in Paris, Yann and the Queguiner Group (specialising in the production and distribution of building materials based in Landivisiau in NW Brittany) made the news official. They will be setting out together in the next Vendee Globe and have bought Safran, the first to bear the name. In other words, the boat that Marc Guillemot took to the podium of the Vendee Globe (3rd). That was back in 2008-2009. A few weeks before making it to the podium on a boat that lost her keel, Marc Guillemot went to the assistance of a certain Yann Elies in a storm in the Southern Ocean south of Australia.

Seriously injured, Yann almost lost his life in this accident. A chance to gain his revenge now in the Everest of the Seas on board the boat that was his Saint-Bernard of the seas… A real symbol; but great news in terms of the competition, as Safran is above all a 60-foot boat that Yann knows well, as the two sailors brought together by this rescue also sailed together on board her. In particular, around Britain and Ireland and in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

www.vendeeglobe.org

Ranger To Rainbow
Ranger to Rainbow Ranger to Rainbow is a fascinating and in-depth exploration of the classic J Class yachts, from their rebirth to the present day. The author, David Pitman, was secretary of the Class for more than 12 years, from the launch of a new Ranger in 2002, then Hanuman, Lionheart and finally Rainbow in 2012. Meanwhile, Shamrock V, Velsheda and Endeavour all underwent major rebuilds.

This new publication offers a detailed account of the build process, the technical development of the yachts, the crewing and the Class Association, and is packed with stunning images throughout.

"What a wonderful account of the past 10 years in the Class and how great to have it written by the one who was on board and on the inside of it all. I read it in one go"

"It's a great read about how the fleet was reborn and how the Class developed from three boats to seven. Packed with sailing pictures and technical detail that is amazing. And they are supposed to be sailing in the UK again in 2015. Can't wait!"

www.rangertorainbow.co.uk

The Restoration Of Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch
By mid-summer 2015, Noah and Jane Barnes hope to have the historic schooner Nathaniel Bowditch back in the water, plying Maine's Penobscot Bay with guests aboard once again.

The Barnes's acquisition of the Nathaniel Bowditch came about at the beginning of August, from an unnamed owner and for an undisclosed price. The schooner had been seized Dec. 23, 2013, by U.S. Marshals, when a civil foreclosure case was filed against its previous owners, Owen and Cathie Dorr.

A public auction of the vessel was held on Valentine's Day 2014, but there were no bidders and the private holder of the bank note retained ownership until its sale to the Barneses.

When it was seized, all of the Bowditch's equipment was removed, it was dismasted and towed from its berth at Lermond Cove in Rockland to Camden Harbor, where it spent the winter. The schooner is now on land in Thomaston, at Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, on the waterfront under a temporary, wood-heated heavy plastic "building."

This week, the Nathaniel Bowditch is virtually unrecognizable. It's been gutted and stripped, and it's in the process of being renovated, repaired and reconstructed.

"It is a magnificent vessel and we are doing all we can to get it back to its former state," said Noah Barnes. "We are grateful to the Dorrs for their stewardship and also the good work that was done in the past 10 years they had her, keeping her safe and doing the work necessary to get it to where we can now bring her back."

www.penbaypilot.com

Howth Yacht Club To Host Irish Match Racing Open
In little over a fortnight Howth Yacht Club will host the Irish Match Racing Open bringing to a close a year that has seen reinvigorated participation in the discipline by Irish sailors.

Many of the female sailors who took part in June's Women's World Match Racing Championships in Cork have been active through the rest of the year at WIMRA events while in the men's division Philip Bendon and his Glenmar Match Racing Team made their debut on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour at the Dutch round in September and have reached an Irish high of 29th in the world rankings.

Several young Howth sailors have also spent time at the world renowned Chicago Match Racing Centre and their names have started to appear on crew lists at match racing events at the highest level. The recent establishment of match racing divisions in the top Irish sailing universities is yet another sign match racing is growing in popularity and participation.

The Irish Match Racing Open will take place on the 13th and 14th December and will bring together women's and men's teams from the World and European Tours in what is hoped will be the first of a series of domestic events in 2015 leading to the qualification of an Irish team for the Nations Cup and European Match Racing Finals. Entry is open until the 28th of November via the Howth Yacht Club events page.

afloat.ie/sail/match-racing/

Letters To The Editor - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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: It would be very interesting to review Vestas Wind's track as plotted on her own plotter, if that has been retrieved. All of us who use these devices for close pilotage in narrow waters have experience of occasions when, for example, we have been alongside a berth and the plotter shows us to be still some way off it, rounding a breakwater that apparently isn't there and so on.

And the converse: there is a passage, for example, between two islands in the approach to the popular port of Simi in the Dodecanese where one can navigate by eye and echo sounder (and good old paper chart and Yeoman plotter, already mentioned by John Burnie) quite safely through, remaining afloat at all times, but where the track on the plotter clearly indicates that one is crossing the land.

To attempt the passage by night relying only on the electronic chart would end in at the least acute embarrassment, at worst disaster. And that's in popular and oft-navigated waters. It has already been noted that the area where Vestas grounded was last surveyed 150 years ago.

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The Last Word
The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little. -- Thomas Merton, d. December 10, 1968

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