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

Hugo Boss Dismasted
HUGO BOSS lost their rig this evening at 21.02 GMT, 370 nautical miles off the coast of Brazil

Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes, skippers of the IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS, which was leading the Barcelona World Race, this evening lost their mast overboard at 21.02 GMT. The yacht was reaching in moderate conditions when there is reported to have been a rigging failure and the mast fell over.

Briton Thomson, 40, and Spaniard Ribes, 43 will now cease racing in the Barcelona World Race 2014 -2015. The skippers and the shore team are currently evaluating how to get the boat to the nearest landfall, which is likely to be Salvador de Bahia in Brazil which is a significant distance from the boat's current position.

www.alexthomsonracing.com
www.barcelonaworldrace.org

Terry Hutchinson and Stephanie Roble Named Us Sailing's 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman Of The Year
Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, Md., and Stephanie Roble of East Troy, Wisc., today were named US Sailing's 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A total of ten men and seven women had been shortlisted for the 2014 honors based on nominations submitted by members of US Sailing, with these two sailors then selected for the noteworthy distinction by a diverse panel of sailing journalists.

Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that saw him atop the leaderboard at major regattas more times than any other American sailor. The 2014 award is Hutchinson's second; he previously earned the honor in 2008 following his win of the TP52 World Championship.

As tactician on Alex Roeper's Plenty, Hutchinson won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, capping a successful season that also saw him win the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship and the California Cup and take class honors at the Rolex Big Boat Series. He also reclaimed the World Championship title in the TP52 class, collecting a class win at Quantum Key West Race Week as well as the TP52 U.S. Championship title. His success in one-design classes did not stop there. In the RC44, he won the Oman Cup as tactician; in the J/70 class, he drove to the win of the Fall Brawl in his hometown; and he finished second at the Melges 32 Gold Cup, again as tactician.

Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. A first-time shortlisted nominee, she was recognized by the selection panel for her versatility; her accomplishments as a skipper and as a crew; and her competitive successes on a variety of platforms, sailing against both men and women.

A member of the Etchells World Championship winning team, Roble also crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship, and the fifth-place finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship. As a skipper, she won the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship and placed third at the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship. Based on her 2014 match racing results, she begins the New Year as the top American match racer, with a ranking of number three in the world.

www.ussailing.org

2015 ORC VPP and Rules Now Available
Milan, Italy - Rating offices, race officers, and sailors around the world will now have access to the 2015 ORC Rules used by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) for its rating system and related products. The ORC technical staff has also loaded this year's VPP into the ORC Manager software, so valid 2015 certificates can now be issued by national rating offices, while ORC International and ORC Club test certificates, ORC Speed Guides, and ORC Target Speeds can now be obtained in the publicly accessible Sailor Services system.

Available now in eight languages, Sailor Services also now offers a single payment option, where 10 credits can now be purchased for €12. This is a cost-savings benefit to all those who do not use the system more than a few times for the most popular items that cost 10 credits: test certificates and Target Speeds. There are over 77,000 measurement records in the ORC database for users to find their boat design and use as given, or modify to suit their interest.

Find out more at www.orc.org/sailorservices

The texts of the 2015 International Measurement Rules (IMS), ORC Rating Rules, and the ORC Championship Classes and Events Rules (the "Green Book") are also posted and available at www.orc.org/Rules. The ORC VPP Documentation will be available soon, but the 2015 ORC VPP is available now and has numerous improvements in hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, as well as the ability to rate boats with multiple water ballast tanks, an improvement in the formulation of rated righting moment, and a new implied wind calculation method for Performance Curve Scoring. Go to www.orc.org/vpp for more information about how the VPP works, and to www.orc.org/dvp to download the 2015 Designer VPP (DVP).

Take note that the discount period to the annual subscription to the ORC DVP is expiring very soon: after tomorrow, 15th January 2015, the price of the DVP will rise from €300 to €500. The DVP includes the 2015 VPP as well as any upgrades if that are needed and when they becomes available. Upon receipt of payment, new subscribers will receive credentials to log on to the DVP Subscribers web page, while credentials of existing subscribers will be renewed. From this DVP page the user can download the installation software package and regularly check for updates for one year of both the VPP core and the editing and management interfaces.

www.orc.org

Seahorse February 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

I'll be back
Jocelyn Bleriot talks to Armel Le Cleac'h about Rhum disappointment and also the exciting Vendee Globe story that lies ahead...

Man at the helm
He won the first Fastnet Race and went on to found an 'Ocean Racing Club' in its image... Clare Mccomb and Ben Hooge - Werf look back at the fascinating life of EG 'George' Martin

The story of a passion...
From offshore oil exploration to creating an innovative new range of IRC designs... Patrice Carpentier talks to incoming Archambault Shipyard supremo Thomas Duhen

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Quantum Key West Race Week 2015
Florida Keys, Key WestL PHRF 1 figures to deliver unique competition as the fleet of eight boats covers a wide range. Joining the fray this year are a pair of hot new designs - the Farr 280 and C&C 30. Those light displacement boats fit fairly well with a Farr 30 while on the opposite end of the spectrum are a pair of J/122 sloops that have been traditionally found in this class.

Teamwork, a J/122 skippered by Robin Team of Lexington, North Carolina, placed second in PHRF 2 a year ago. Team has been coming to Key West since 1994 and will be racing the J/122 for the eighth straight year. He earned PHRF Boat of the Week honors in 2003 aboard his previous Teamwork, a J/120.

Sailing World Magazine recently named the Farr 280 its Overall Boat of the Year, calling it an "innovative, grand prix, go-fast one-design." The high-tech, 28-foot racer was created by Annapolis-based Farr Yacht Design and built by Premiere Composite Technologies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

With four boats entered, Quantum Key West 2015 will host the largest gathering of Farr 280s to date. Ian Gordon, who oversees the class for Farr Yacht Sales, said the owners are keen to test themselves in a one-design format. Three of the boats just arrived from Dubai and were put together in Key West earlier this week.

Regatta dates are January 18 - 23, 2015

Entries, Preliminary Scratch Sheet, Past Results and Photos: www.Premiere-Racing.com

Musto Performance Skiff Worlds
Mounts Bay Sailing Club, Perth: Today it was the last day of the World Championships. We already had a winner, so "It was on" for the rest of the top 10. Our prediction of changes was wrong, the regatta had already shown us the best sailors on the top. Marcus and Thor kept their second and third position and will be together with Jon Newman on the stage.

The final day of racing started as the previous day left off - a course lying across the Swan River, meaning flat water but big gusts and shifts in the 15-20 knots of breeze.

Gusts came through at 20-25 knots and boats that rounded in that gust could often ride it the whole way down.

Final top five:
1. Jon Newman, AUS, 12 points
2. Marcus Hamilton, AUS, 43
3. Thor Schoenhoff, AUS, 52
4. Ian Renilson, GBR, 60
5. Denis Jones, AUS, 62

Full results: www.mustoskiff.com/results/2015/5th-worlds-perth.html

Mirror World Championship
Theewater Sports Club, South Africa: Consistency paid off for Michaela and Ryan Robinson at the Mirror World Championship in Villiersdorp, South Africa as they took the title on their home waters.

The South Africans shattered the perception that you need a 'plastic' Mirror to win at the highest level with their immaculately prepared 8 year old wooden boat. Michaela crewed for Ryan when they won the Worlds at Lough Derg in Ireland in 2013 and continuing the Robinson family sibling mentoring policy this time the tables were turned and Ryan helped Michaela to win.

With the Race Officer having done a great job in packing in 11 races in 4 days, he only had to fit in 1 race on the final day which started in a good 8 kt breeze but inevitably it switched off on the final beat with the Australians at the forefront.

Final top five:
1. Michaela Robinson / Ryan Robinson, RSA, 34.0
2. Simon Barwood / Tyson Barwood, AUS, 58.0
3. Eleanor Keers / Isobel Pugh, GBR, 65.0
4. Gemma Keers / Imogen Bellfield, GBR, 70.0
5. Eben Vivier / Johan Vivier, RSA, 74.0

Full results: 2015worlds.mirrorsailing.org

Padeye Damage Compromises Dongfeng
Reports came in a few hours ago of a new problem with the aft padeye for Dongfeng - the same padeye that broke in dramatic fashion during Leg1. This padeye which controls the lines for the big masthead gennaker (aka MH0) has once again left the determined men of Dongfeng facing a compromise to their performance with new issues to this vital piece of deck hardware.

All the padeyes themselves across the fleet were replaced in Cape Town, but it seems the structure around the padeye itself is unable to take the normal operating loads required on it, and is now deformed onboard the Chinese boat.

This means at the moment Dongfeng cannot use their biggest gennaker in the conditions they wish, and can't sheet it in the way they would normally want to as they cannot load up this most-aft control point. Kevin Escoffier, working with the Dongfeng shore team and Nick Bice from the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard team have been working on repair and reinforcement solutions but clearly its a setback for the Chinese team just as things were going so well for them.

From Charles earlier "We are not able to perform at 100%. We cannot use our MH0 in certain conditions and we cannot trim it perfectly at all. We will try to reinforce it [the padeye fixing] because if we use it now and it breaks we have no solution to fix it."

www.volvooceanrace.com

2015 John Merricks Tiger Trophy
Tiger Trophy will be held on Saturday the 31st January and Sunday the 1st February 2015 instead of its traditional date on the first full week end in February. This is now part of the GJW Sailjuice series of regattas for 'winter warriors'.

The two day regatta and dinner are used to raise funds for the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) but tradition has not been completely ignored. Rutland Sailing Club caterers will be serving John's favourite meal of 'bangers & mash' with peas and onion gravy on the Saturday evening for £7.50 with a third of this going to the JMST. To accompany the meal, Everards are supplying their traditional Tiger bitter which will also be sold for the benefit of the Trust.

To quote from their brewery page, "A true award winning best beer with universal appeal... A perfectly balance... brewed with premium ingredients including Maris Otter and crystal malt gives Tiger its wonderful rounded toffee character...Tiger received a silver medal at the Brussels Beer Challenge in 2012. In the same year, Tiger gained a Gold Medal at the British Bottlers' Institute Competition (Ales, Lager and Cider 4.0% - 4.9% ABV) in 2011 and a Silver medal at the same awards in 2012."

They have been supporting the regatta from its inception 22 years ago. It was the Breweries then Chairman, Tony Everard who provided John with the 420 'Rutland Challenge' at the right moment to further his sailing career. He went on to World and Olympic success as well as encouraging youngsters like Ben Ainslie. He was killed in an accident while competing in the Melges 24 Europeans in 1997 and the John Merricks Sailing Trust was established in his memory.

www.tiger-trophy.com

Frans Bolweg
It is with great sadness that ISAF announces International Judge Frans Bolweg (NED) passed away on Saturday 10 January 2015, aged 64, after a short illness.

Frans was active as a judge, an umpire and a race officer and contributed to each discipline in his own unique way. Above all he was a gifted teacher and a source of inspiration.

Frans was one of the co-founders of a Dutch yacht club simply known as 'Uitdam' that provided one of the first platforms in the Netherlands for international windsurf competitions on open water back in the 1980's. He was also the first PRO responsible for the then brand new match racing event at the 1989 SPA Regatta in Medemblik.

He remained a loyal volunteer for the SPA (now Delta Lloyd) Regatta throughout the years, as race officer and commentator and in more recent years in a free role as overall supervisor.

Frans fervently believed in attracting young people to all aspects of event organising and he was an inspiration to all of them.

Dutch sailing owes Frans a debt of gratitude. -- ISAF, sailing.org

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