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

ISAF Disabled Sailing Committee Statement
The ISAF Disabled Sailing Committee (IFDS) is profoundly disappointed by the decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to exclude sailing from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

IFDS responded in a timely and comprehensive manner to queries from IPC, with details of sailors that participate regularly in international regattas or national championships, on Paralympic boats.

IFDS ensures an extensive quadrennial program of international competitions replicating the Olympic Program organized by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), including ISAF Sailing World Cup. IFDS sanctions and organizes yearly Combined World Championships in the Paralympic classes.

Development has resulted in the regular addition of new countries to competitive sailing. The process of merging with ISAF (with a membership of 139 Member National Authorities) was completed in November of 2014, with the main aim of opening a whole new field for the development of disabled sailing. During the period of pre-merging, ISAF always respected the independence of IFDS decisions. Through ISAF's development programmes, worldwide participation initiatives and event structure, the opportunities for disabled sailing are better than ever before.

IFDS fully appreciates how devastated all the stakeholders are by IPC's decision, be they sailors, coaches, sponsors, National Sailing or Paralympic Authorities.

Now ISAF will promptly address any items identified by the IPC in a bid to reinstate sailing back into the Paralympic Games as soon as possible.

* The RYA has issued an update to their original comment on the International Paralympic Committee's decision to remove sailing from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The RYA is unaware of the content of ISAF's submission to the IPC, but considers that opportunities were missed to address the IPC's concerns at a number of stages, and since the decision was announced ISAF's silence on this issue has been deafening.


Full statement from RYA:

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2014
The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award revealed a stunning collection of images sent in by 120 professional photographers from 25 countries. Started in 2009, it is the world's premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing, celebrating the very best yacht racing image taken during the year.

The winner, Alfred Farre, from Spain, received the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award and a stunning Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 watch for his picture of Mariquita, one of the most beautiful classic yachts, pounding into a wave during the Regatta Puig Vela Classica Barcelona 2014. French photographer Charles Marion won the Public Award trophy with his poetic aerial picture of a Wally playing with its own shadow.

Based in Barcelona, Alfred Farre has been a professional nautical photographer since 1984. 'This job is all about passion, perseverance and an unconditional love for the beauty of the sea,' he says. 'It is almost an obsession.'

Full article in Seahorse magazine:

Dubarry Crosshaven - 'Race Face' Protection
It's pitch-black. We're on the wind halfway across the Irish Sea, heading for 'The Rock' in a Force 6 - and it's building. On the rail we might look like a troop of Japanese snow monkeys on valium but we've huddled into something like comfort when skip calls the headsail change we've been dreading for the last five minutes. Three minutes later I'm clipped on with my feet on the leeward toerail with an armful of changed foresail when a wave engulfs the foredeck. The water clears and I'm still onboard thanks to the combined efforts of my tether and the stanchion lodged in my crotch. Lucky me.

Sail change over I'm back on the rail but my feet are cold and wet and my enthusiasm for this caper ebbs quickly away, unlike the sea water - the boots were still wet a week after the finish in Plymouth. It's 1989 and, though the stylishly weathered Shamrock boot is much in evidence, the Crosshaven is but a dream. Had I been wearing Crosshavens, the gaiter and drawstring would have kept my feet dry and my race face on. Funny how something so simple can be so incredibly effective.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

ISAF World Sailing Rankings
The ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 2 February 2015 have been released.

The 30 in each Olympic event receive ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres invitations. The ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, a 200-point regatta, ensured significant changes across the ten Olympic events. There is a new world #1 in the Women's 470. No change at World #1 across nine other fleets.

Top three:

470 Men
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS
2. Panagiotis Mantis / Pavlos Kagialis, GRE
3. Luke Patience / Elliot Willis, USA

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
2. Fernanda Oliveira / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA
3. Annne Haeger / Briana Provancha, USA

49er Men
1. Jonas Warrer / Peter Lang / Anders Thomsen, DEN
2. John Pink / Stuart Bithell, GBR
3. Nico Delle-Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT

49er FX Women
1. Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA
2. Ida Marine Baad Nielsen / Marie Thusgaard Olsen, DEN
3. Alexandra Maloney / Molly Meech, NZL

Laser Men
1. Tom Burton, AUS
2. Nick Thompsonn, GBR
3. Robert Scheidt, BRA

Laser Radial Women
1. Marit Bouwmeester, NED
2. Evi Van Acker, BEL
3. Anne-Marine Rindom, DEN

Finn Men
1. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO
2. Edward Wright, GBR
3. Caleb Paine, USA

NACRA 17 Mixed
1. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
2. VIttorio BIssaro / Silvia Sicouri, ITA
3. Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin, AUS

RS:X Men
1. Byron Kokkalanis, GRE
2. Nick Dempsey, GBR
3. Thomas Goyard, FRA

RS:X Women
1. Flavia Tartaglini, ITA
2. Bryony Shaw, GBR
3. Blanca Manchon, ESP

The full ISAF World Sailing Ranking lists, results from all ISAF Graded events, lists of Graded events throughout the year, Ranking release dates and the method of calculation for the Rankings can be found on the ISAF website at

Southern Ocean Storms
Back in the 'old' days of the Whitbread maxis, the route through the Southern Ocean was radically different from that taken by today's Volvo Ocean Race. There were no waypoints and yachts headed deep south, as far as crews dared, to shorten the distance. In 1978, John Ridgway took Debenhams down to 66°S and was confronted by pack ice. He called all hands and the shaken crew had to sail back they way they'd come.

It made sense for the maxis to head deep: they were after big winds and the speeds achievable from surfing the big Southern Ocean rollers. Even after waypoints were introduced, crews pushed south. Navigator Roger Nilson remembers one of the early Volvo Ocean Races:

"We counted 110 icebergs in three days," he remembers. "It was Russian Roulette. I would never do that again."

That has all changed - the tactics are different because the yachts are so much quicker and every round the world race today has its route hauled north by ice gates. Apart from rounding Cape Horn, at 56°S, there is no need for these yachts to go deep south and every reason to avoid it.

Elaine Bunting takes a look at Southern Ocean storms and how round the world yacht try to harness the brutal forces of low pressure systems:

Jon Sanders Returns Home To Perth After Ninth Circumnavigation
Jon Sanders broke world records in 1988 when he completed a triple circumnavigation of the world alone.

Twenty-seven years later, at the age of 75, he is still sailing and on Friday returned from his ninth journey around the world.

Sanders spoke to Geoff Hutchison on 720 ABC Perth from his yacht the Perie Banou II as he arrived in Fremantle Harbour.

His record for sailing round the world three times solo is still unbroken, but he said these days he prefers to take his journeys more cautiously.

"I go slowly but surely and it is easy and my boat is very manageable," he said.

On his most recent trip he left Fremantle in April 2013 and since then has travelled the 'long way round' the world'.

One thing he was looking forward to about coming home is a break from the tinned food he lived on while at sea.

"I'm sick of my cooking," he said. -- Emma Wynne

Miller Files Suit Against AC Jury
New Zealand sailor Matt Mitchell has filed complaints of gross misconduct against all five members of the international America's Cup jury, alleging "a trail of conspiratorial ineptitude that is hard to refute."

Mitchell's filing Wednesday with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is the latest fallout from one of the biggest scandals in America's Cup history.

It comes less than two weeks after Mitchell asked ISAF to investigate former Oracle Team USA teammate Simeon Tienpont for breaking a racing rule and lying during a hearing prior to the 2013 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay.

The jury assessed the harshest penalties in America's Cup history, including suspending Mitchell for the first four races after determining he helped illegally modify a catamaran used in warmup regattas. Mitchell says he was punished because Tienpont lied to the jury. -- Bernie Wilson

Haven Knox-Johnston Sponsors The Seamanship Award 2015-2016
Race Partner Haven Knox-Johnston is the new sponsor of The Seamanship Award for the next two editions of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. The Seamanship Award has been associated with the Race for many years, recognising and paying tribute to acts of good seamanship on Race day; an outstanding action made by someone connected to the Race.

The Award nominations are open to all those involved in the Race, whether competitors, spectators, members of the emergency services, outside authorities or race officers, and nominations are judged by a group led by Dave Atkinson from ISC Race Management, the Commodore of the ISC and a representative from Haven Knox-Johnston.

Nominations are sent to the ISC following the Race and the Trophy will be awarded in September.

Letters To The Editor -
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 Eddie May: With reference to Jim Champ's letter in today's column and now as an airchair sailor I would like to reply to his comments.

In the 'old' days the sailing regatta at the Olympics represented a four yearly chance to be the best in the world. If my memory serves me correctly there were very few annual World Championships in those days. Nowadays very many classes have annual National, European & World Championships and series like the ISAF series regularly pit the best in the world against each other.

Admittedly the winning of an Olympic medal is a very significant achievement in a sailor's CV but with an increasing demand for the sport to become more TV orientated, as Carol Cronin points out at the top of your column what are the chances of any sailing being in the Olympics in 20 years time. The implications for the RYA & its policies could be far reaching.

The skills of sailboat racing are already narrowing with racing being conducting in a smaller wind range and on a two dimensional course (up & down). How many of your readers remember shy spinnaker reaches ?

* From Victor Mildew: Great news that that sailing might leave the Olympics.

In the last twenty years the sport we all love has been steadily debased by the increasing control of television sponsors that have demanded destructive changes, including

 -forcing sailors to sail in sewage- and the ISAF abdication of responsibility for sailors' welfare. What does the ISAF actually do?

- the removal of boats like the Star and Flying Dutchman and the threat to the Finn, that add physicality and seamanship. Some of the rest resemble drifting for lightweights.

- ridiculous medal races that are a lottery on a local pond e.g. at Weymouth

- the sad political boycotts that robbed Pat Blake and other UK and USA Olympians their chance of a medal in 1980

- the debasing of Olympic sports- i.e. the introduction of tiddlywinks and snooker ( OK, I made that up..) but golf?, synchronised drowning?... Do sailors want to gain medals that are the same as theirs?

Sailing the sport would be better off managing its own future, without centralised sponsor control, as shown by the successful international classes that display innovation in design, and great technique from committed sailors. And television does not need the Olympics- the AC, Round the World and drone-based cameras are recent dinghy regattas( e.g. 505s) present realistic action that the Olympics will never provide.

The sooner sailing leaves the Olympics, the better for the sport of sailing and sailors .

* From David Evans: Now that it seems that Sailing will no longer be in the Paralympics, we all need to take a step back and consider whether or not this will be a bad thing for disabled sailing and disabled sailors.

All the attention (and funding) that a handful of "elite" competitors receive, has no bearing on the achievements and enjoyment that disabled sailors gain from going sailing/racing and their efforts to achieve this.

The current focus on a few "elite" disabled athletes does not seem to be relevant to most sailors who have a disability. At a marina near me a hugely successful disabled sailing club has been established (for many years), many disabled sailors sail regularly, many non-disabled sailors and volunteers give their time to help.

None of this has any dependence on the Paralympics and its success will continue without ISAF being involved in any way, because it is not for external media consumption, it takes place for the benefit and enjoyment of the participants.

So the exclusion of Sailing from the Paralympics will be an irrelevance for the vast majority of disabled sailors and in fact may be a very good outcome for disabled sailing, in that the emphasis will shift away from so called "elite" training and "elite" squads, competitors will compete as they see fit, in boats they choose to sail, at locations and in events they choose and will enjoy it all the more for it.

The same arguments apply to the able-bodied Olympics and maybe soon Sailing will be excluded from these too. After all, is it good for a sport to be totally fixated on on event held only once every 4 years and involving only a handful of competitors?

For years sailing has been consistently criticised as being a poor spectator sport, but this is the whole point it isn't a spectator sport, it is a participant sport and all the better for it.

Personally I think we need a lot less of the "elite" and a lot more widespread participtation in our sport.

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The Last Word
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