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

Transat Jacques Vabre
The first 24 hours of the 12th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the two handed race from Le Havre to Itajaí, Brazil have been fast in a building breeze. But the Bay of Biscay and an Atlantic low pressure system will hit most of the fleet this evening and tomorrow bringing building seas and big winds with gusts over 40kts. There is no big surprise in store. The ominous system has been lurking west of Ireland for some time, but is only moving slowly SE before it fills and loses some of its intensity later on Tuesday. But the duos in all four classes have been preparing as best they can for the tough conditions, drysuits and boots are on now and may be for 48 hours or more.

A number of retirements and damage reports. Fortunately no injuries reported:

* Maitre CoQ Retire

Following the damage that happened at around 2300hrs yesterday evening to a mainstay attachment, Jeremie Beyou and Philippe Legros, who were in 4th place, were forced to make their way to Roscoff, which they reached this morning at 0830hrs. The shore team and suppliers analysed the situation and attempted to replace the faulty part.

In spite of their hard work, late today they were unable to guarantee that the replacement part would be solid enough to allow the two sailors to head back out to sea without any worries. The situation was in fact all the more tense with the weather that has been forecast for the coming hours, as Maître CoQ would have likely faced some strong winds (30 - 40 knots) with a wave height of 6-7 metres

* Damage on Safran, heading to Brest

At 2020 hrs CET this evening, Morgan Lagravière, skipper of the IMOCA 60 Safran, contacted the Transat Jacques Vabre Race Directors to inform them there had been some damage aboard.

The crew (Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven) has taken the decision to head for Brest. Both skippers are fine and the conditions should allow them to reach the Breton port.

* Edmond de Rothschild Abandon in the IMOCA class

Leaders of the more westerly group of the IMOCA fleet of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Sebastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier have confirmed they have abandoned the race. They are the second of the 20 IMOCA 60s which started Sunday from Le Havre to retire. The pair made the difficult choice which was dictated by good seamanship and their aim to bring the newest Gitana back to port safely.

Sebastien Josse explained the reasons:

"Since the afternoon we had a series of incidents aboard Edmond de Rothschild. Taken individually these problems are quite minor and if we had better weather we could probably put them right. But all added up to one another and given the weather conditions we see these incidents as potentially endangering us and the boat. The weather files show more than 40kts of wind at times and seven metre seas. Charles and I consider it would not be responsible to carry on in these conditions. The boat was only launched two and a half months ago, and despite all the work which was done by the Gitana team to optimises and be ready is so short a time, these are problems associated with a recently launched boat. The decision to abandon was a very hard one but we do not want to jeopardise more than a year of hard work. The boat was designed for the Vendee Globe and that remains the major objective of the team. It is hard to retire but we must not lose sight of that as the goal."

* Team Consise head to Cork with damage.

Jackson Bouttell (GBR/AUS) and Gildas Mahe (FRA) on the Ker designed Class 40 Concise 8 informed their Team Concise directors that they have sustained damage and are heading for Cork 120 miles to their NE.

The two co-skippers are in regular contact with Transat Jacques Vabre Race Direction and are not injured in any way and expect to reach the Irish haven by mid morning Tuesday. A full assessment of the extent of the damage will be made on arrival. They anticipate missing the worst of the imminent strong winds. Further details will be released Tuesday morning. 

* Prince de Bretagne Capsize, Skippers safe

The Ultime trimaran of Lionel Lemonchois and Roland Jourdain has capsized while they were 140 miles off La Coruna. The two co-skippers are safe and have taken shelter inside the trimaran. They have not requested assistance and their technical team is making every effort to organise help to rescue them and their vessel. At the time of the incident the boat was upwind in 20 to 25kts of SSW'ly wind.

www.transat-jacques-vabre.com

The Knighthood Of Yachting
There are just four days left to cast your vote for the 2015 Yachting Journalists' Association's prestigious Yachtsman of the Year award, sponsored by boats.com.

'It's been called "The Knighthood of Yachting" by one of our previous winners, Geoff Holt,' says Paul Gelder, chairman of the Yachting Journalists' Association. 'It's been won several times by those two great knights of the helm - Sir Ben Ainslie and last year's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.'

This year is the Diamond Jubilee of the award, first presented in 1955 to cruising sailor Eric Hiscock for his three-year circumnavigation with wife, Susan, in their 30ft wooden sloop, Wanderer III (the only boat to have twice won America's Blue Water Medal, under both sets of owners).

The award was established in 1955 by the late Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, newspaper tycoon and sailor Sir Max Aitken, who handed over the management of the award to the YJA in 1979.

The roll call of previous winners includes Dame Ellen MacArthur, Chay Blyth, Pete Goss, Tracy Edwards and the late Sir Peter Blake.

Members of the public can nominate their yachting heroes and up-and-coming talent with a second category for Young Sailor of the Year. You can nominate in one or both categories, which salute British sporting excellence in power or sail - like breaking a world record, a phenomenal win, overcoming adversity, or showing exceptional courage. Winners are selected from a shortlist voted on by YJA members.

This year marks the second year of sponsorship of the awards by boats.com, a division of Dominion Marine Media. President Ian Atkins, commented: 'We're delighted to be part of this historic event and expect 2015's nominations will be of an extremely highly calibre.'

Nominations close Friday, October 30. The winners for each Award will be announced at a gala lunch on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at Trinity House, London.

Note: The Young Sailor of the Year will not have reached their 19th birthday before 31st December, 2015 and will hold, or be eligible to hold, a British passport. Click on the link below for the online nomination form:

www.yja.co.uk/viewpages.lasso?&id=162

Check-Out CNN's October Mainsail: Ken Read Shows Where The World's Fastest Sails Are Made
October's edition of CNN Mainsail, the highly respected global sailing programme, airs this week and follows the life of Ken Read. President of North Sails, skipper of the world's most exciting monohull Comanche, TV commentator for the America's Cup and family man, it is an exhausting but energetic ride following the busiest man in sailing. His passion and dedication to sailing is clear to see and the show shines a light on a man with an exciting vision for the sport.

Join CNN Mainsail presenter and British Olympic sailor Shirley Robinson on a tour of the world's largest and most advanced sail manufacturing loft in Nevada to the finish line of the Rolex Fastnet, and the TV compound of the America's Cup World Series. We hope you enjoy the ride!

Watch the episode here: edition.cnn.com/sport/sailing

Learn more about Ken Read's life on the waves

www.northsails.com

Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/northsails and www.twitter.com/northsails
#northsails #kenread #lifeonwaves #cnnmainsail

12ft Skiff Parramatta River Championship
The Geotherm crew of Brett Hobson and Billy Lusty led the 12ft Skiff Parramatta River Championship almost to the end, only to be pipped to the post by the Sydney Sailmakers crew of Nick Press and Andrew 'Noddy' Hay in the Abbotsford Sailing Club hosted event late yesterday afternoon.

Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones) and Arrogant Frog (Peter and Steve Hill) were fastest off the start, but Geotherm's crew quickly headed east and hooked into a nice lift up the first beat, leaving the rest in their wake.

Hobson, who lives at Abbotsford, and Lusty, from Berowra, looked to be in unstoppable form until the very end. They made the best of a near-perfect 15-16 knot north-easterly breeze and flat water, which suits the skiffs to a tee.

The Parramatta River Championship was a preview of things to come in the 12ft Skiff NSW Championship, which gets underway on the last weekend of November at the Sydney Flying Squadron at Kirribilli.

Top Five Scratch Results:
1. Sydney Sailmakers (Nick Press/Andrew Hay)
2. Geotherm (Brett Hobson/Billy Lusty)
3. Lincoln Crowne (Jonathon Temple/Richard Jones)
4. Bigfoot Foot Custom Trapeze Harnesses (Murray Press/Scott Lanham)
5. The Bird (Dave Lusty/Glenn Farquhar)

For full scratch and handicap results go to: www.lc12ftssc.org.au/skiff/index.htm

Masters Regatta
San Diego, California: The International Masters Regatta was established in 1975 by St. Francis YC member, Don Trask. For years, the world's greatest master sailors such as Elvstrom, Buchan, Burnham, Tillman, Trask, Irish, Harken, North, Holland, Hinman and Dickson had competed in this prestigious international sailing event on the San Francisco Bay. After a three-year hiatus, the San Diego YC ushered in a new era for the event and hosted for the first time in 2012.

From October 23rd to 25th, the SDYC hosted the Masters for the third consecutive year in a fleet of matched J/105s supplied by the generosity of their local fleet.  A dozen legendary master sailors from around the world sailed buoy races inside the beautiful bay alongside San Diegoʼs gorgeous waterfront.

"I'm going to tell my crew we've got to go faster" said Malin Burnham on the first day of the International Masters Regatta, and that is just what they did. Just shy of his 88th birthday, Malin Burnham can also celebrate his 2015 International Master Regatta first place victory. Sunday's wind conditions were less than favorable, but the Race Committee tried their best to find whatever San Diego Bay could offer. A race was finally started right after 2:30 pm but abandoned before the first boat reached the windward mark.

Results, photos and tracking replays are posted at www.sdyc.org/masters, with video interviews on the Masters Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mastersregatta

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Gery Trentesaux (FRA)
'He is the best' - Patrice and Mimi Carpentier; 'We too were OCS in Fastnet Class 3, but Gery took an hour to recross and we took two ... chapeau!' - Tom Hayhoe; 'A great sailor and gentleman' - Tony Lawson; 'What a great offshore sailor' - Bart Vroon; 'He has won virtually every offshore race he's competed in, certainly this year' - Pierre Ghewy; 'He must win, it will be the cherry on the top of one of the most brilliant offshore campaigns ever' - Herve Dereux; 'Offshore he is such a consistent winner, respect!' - Koen van Gils.

This month's nominees:

 

Thomas Bscher (GER)
As you'd expect, there are few gaps in the technical know-how of a man who was once CEO of Bugatti Automobiles. So when Bscher purchased the first, unloved WallyCento Hamilton, over weight and under-clubbed, there was much interest in the plan... And the plan was quite successful; 'big' changes to Bscher's renamed Open Season led to wins in 5 of the 7 races at the Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo...

 

Larry Huntington (USA)
Supporters of sailing don't come much more enthusiastic than this great American Corinthian. Now aged 80, the 2015 Transatlantic marked the former New York YC Commodore's seventh such race, finishing this year as winner of Class 3 on his trusty Ker-designed 50-footer Snow Lion. As usual, having raced to Europe Huntington made the most of his 'trip' by competing in the Rolex Fastnet and other major events

 

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month/vote-for-sailor-of-the-month

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/digital

111 And Counting...Entries Climbing For 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week
The number of entries to the 2016 edition of Quantum Key West Race Week has exceeded 100, indicating one of the strongest early turnouts in years to this mainstay on the international sailing calendar held over January 17-22, 2016. Currently there are 16 classes organized: nine one-design and seven monohull and multihull classes racing under handicap. This indicates a diverse range of boat types attracted to race in the winter sun in Key West, with teams from 10 nations represented among the entries thusfar.

One design classes include the following: Melges 24's (14 entries), J/70's (21 entries), J/80's (4 entries), Farr 280's (5 entries), Viper 640's (3 entries), J/88's (7 entries), C&C 30's (10 entries), J/111's (8 entries), and J/122's (2 entries).

Among the handicap classes, IRC 0, 1 and 2 have thusfar attracted 13 committed entries, and the three new class offered at this year's event are also gaining interest: ORC Club (9 entries), Multihulls (4 entries) and Performance Cruisers (3 entries).

Besides providing the best in race management on the water, organizers from the Storm Trysail Club will enhance the shoreside experience for all entries with afternoon seminars, evening prizegivings and social events, and full logistic support through their partners and vendors on site...plus the unique ambience offered by time spent in Old Town Key West.

For more information and to enter 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week, visit www.keywestraceweek.com

Etchells Asia Pacific Championship
Hong Kong: The third and final day of the Etchells Asia Pacific Championships got off to an early start, with the first warning signal sounding at 1000hrs. With 15 to 17kts of consistent north easterly breeze and a 1 to 2m swell, Race Officer Kevin Wilson set a course of 1.7nm and sounded the warning signal on time. For the first time in the regatta, a general recall was required as a mass of Etchells decided to push the envelope and ended up over the line before the gun.

The final downwind leg proved to be the clincher for the overall series winner.  Heading towards the finish with only five minutes to go, Steve Benjamin on Scimitar seemingly had it in the bag.  Even if Racer X 2 beat Benjamin by one place, Scimitar would still take the series.

Swedish Blue in hot pursuit of both was also able to get through Scimitar giving Mark Thornburrow's Race X 2 the series in spite of not recording a win throughout the regatta proving that consistency pays, with Steve Benjamin's Scimitar finishing second, also with no wins.

The crews now have a five-day break from the water, giving them a chance to ready their boats for the 2015 Etchells World Championships which gets underway with a practice race on Sunday 1 November and continues through to 7 November.

Final top five
1. Mark Thornburrow, HKG, 19 points
2. Steve Benjamin, USA, 19
3. Ante Razmilovic, GBR, 25
4. Jake Gunther, AUS, 28
5. Marvin Beckmann, USA, 32

rhkyc.org.hk

Cluster Of Champions To Defend Abu Dhabi Titles
Abu Dhabi sets the stage for a fascinating conclusion to the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup this week, with the sport's top athletes heading into four days of intense race competition at the end of a year-round journey towards gold medal glory.

In six of the eight classes which will see action in the UAE capital, defending champions will be aiming to repeat last year's World Cup final success in Abu Dhabi in order to carry another world title towards next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Following the official opening ceremony which takes place at 18:30 on Wednesday 28 October at the Abu Dhabi Theatre, Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club will the next morning launch four days of competition in eight of the ten classes chosen for the 2016 Olympics, as well as kitesurfing.

All the race action takes place in the waters around Lulu Island off the Abu Dhabi corniche, presenting a great spectacle for spectators, and a worldwide ISAF television audience of millions.

www.sailing.org/worldcup/home.php

Twenty-Three Yachts Line Up For New Cuba Ocean Race
Pensacola, Florida, USA: A classic race returns to Florida's Gulf of Mexico waters. It's the first fully permitted, major 'offshore' yacht race from a US port to a port in Cuba since 1959. The new Pensacola a la Habana Race starts this Saturday, Halloween morning, from Pensacola Bay, Florida. The First Warning is scheduled for 8:00AM Saturday morning October 31 from the committee boat "Maxine" anchored near Bayou Chico mark #2.

Racing will be for a spectacular new perpetual trophy donated by Pensacola's Pace family. It's the "Pace Perpetual Trophy" awarded to the first overall monohull yacht in race on corrected time. Division trophies will be large pewter sailboats appropriately inscribed for the occasion. Class trophies will be awarded as well as participation medallions.

Trophy presentations for the Pensacola a la Habana Race and the Castillo del Morro Race will be held at 7:00PM at the Hemingway International Yacht Club.

www.cubarace2015.com

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 James Troup: I read your piece about the US Navy Academy re-introducing celestial navigation classes today. My comments are as follows - firstly you titled it 'Naval Academy Reinstates Celestial Navigation' when you should have made it clear that this was the US Naval Academy which is a somewhat younger and more junior cousin of the Royal Naval College Britannia!

It is interesting that Britannia has never ceased celestial navigation training and all Royal Navy ships still have to take a noon day sight daily when not operating in UK waters.

Far be it from me to cast aspersions against the Navy that has taken on the mantle of the Royal Navy since WW2 i.e. as the policeman of the world's oceans but, really, will those 'Yanks' never learn from the oldest, wisest and best navy in the world?

All the above is said with humour and not too much hubris as the Brits do actually appreciate the 'Yanks'!!

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The Last Word
One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time. -- Robert Kennedy

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