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

Three New ORC Championship Events
The 2016 New Year brings new opportunities to race in three major ORC championship events being held later this year in Italy, Greece and Denmark.

The largest of these events will be the annual ORC World Championship, now in its 18th year of crowning the best in the sport of inshore and offshore racing in an event sanctioned by World Sailing. This year's edition will be held over 15-23 July 2016 and is being co-organized by the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) and Egaa Yacht Club.

The venue harbor will be Skovshoved Harbor located a few kilometers north of Copenhagen. Skovshoved has just been expanded with close to 300 berths, and is one of the best-equipped harbors in Denmark, including a boatyard, chandlery and sailloft. One of KDY's three clubhouses is also located at Skovshoved.

Sailing for the inshore races will be on the Oresund.

The event's preliminary Notice of Race is available now, with the final NOR to be posted soon. See orcworlds2016.com

The ORC European Championship being held in Porto Carras, Greece over 3-10 July 2016 and organized by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki.

Like the Worlds, this event will feature several days of inshore and offshore racing in the Toroneos Gulf and the North Aegean Sea.

The venue at Porto Carras Grand Resort is located in Sithonia peninsula, a one and a half hour drive from Thessaloniki.

See orci.ncth.gr

The third major event on the 2016 ORC championship calendar is the ORC Sportboat European Championship being held in Chioggia, Italy over 24-29 May 2016 and organized by Il Portodimare. The ORC Sportboat class is limited to boats under 2000 kg in weight and between 6-9 m in length, with displacement to length ratios of less than 4.50.

See www.orcsportboateuropeans2016.com

www.orc.org

Safety At Sea Seminar
The March 19-20 Safety at Sea Seminar at Newport RI will provide valuable advice and information for all who race to Bermuda, sail in a return voyage, or cruise or race in any waters. Organized by the Cruising Club of America, the US Sailing-sanctioned seminar will be at the Marriott Hotel, a new home for this widely respected biennial safety event.

Presented by sailors who combine extensive offshore experience with specialized knowledge, the topics include heavy weather, safety equipment, medical issues, calling for help, the Gulf Stream, damage control, boat and crew preparation, lessons learned from accidents, man overboard, and the Bermuda Race's regulations.

The CCA has been running pre-Bermuda Race safety seminars for more than 20 years. This one features some new presenters, some new features, and the same concern about all sailors and boats sailing offshore.

The 50th Newport Bermuda Race starts on June 17th off Castle Hill at Newport.

bermudarace.com

St. Thomas International Regatta: Something For Everyone! Register Now!
Sailors who like round-the-rock and round-the-buoy courses will find lots to suit their fancy at the 2016 St. Thomas International Regatta, set for March 24-27. The first-ever one-day Round the Rocks Race on March 24 offers a full range of exhilarating sailing challenges while circumnavigating the beautiful U.S. Virgin Island of St. John and its pristine National Park. Crews will need to keep on their toes with frequent tacks along offshore cays, cross currents and wind shifts around St. John's east end and slalom-like conditions in the downwind.

The three-day STIR follows with courses changing daily from a race to St. Thomas' dramatic harbor of Charlotte Amalie and back to buoy-racing, all a short sail from regatta headquarters at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Monohull and multihull, sport boat and ocean racer, spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats - there's definitely something for everyone.

"There's no penalty if you can't or don't wish to enter the Round the Rocks Race since scores don't count toward the STIR. It's just another way to sail and enjoy our beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands waters and win. There will be a special prizes awarded right after the race!" says regatta director, Chuck Pessler.

Can't BYOB (bring your own boat)? Several U.S. and European companies have top yachts already in the Caribbean to charter by the boat or crew spot:

Global Yacht Racing offers its J/120 (Sunset Child), Grand Soleil 43 (Quokka) and Beneteau 47.7 (EH01);

Performance Yacht Charter its Swan 51 (Northern Child) and Beneteau First 40 (Southern Child);

OnDeck Ocean Racing its Farr 65, Fast 42 and Beneteau First 40.7;

RegattaCharters.Pro a full fleet including a TP 52, Farr 60, Maxi One Design 80, VOR 70, Maxi 100, Shamlor 67, Stimson IRC 42, Saona 44 and Swans from 46 to 90 feet.

Register for STIR by January 31. A random drawing of all boats registered by this date will award one lucky crew customized long-sleeve tech shirts.

Bring family, bring friends! STIR takes place over Easter Weekend. St. Thomas offers a wealth of beaches, sights, shops, restaurants and more to keep everyone happy during their stay whether on sea or land.

Register at www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com

For information, call (340) 642-3204 or Email stycisv@gmail.com. Check out STIR on Facebook, Twitter @stycvi and Instagram #STIRVI

Statement On Youth Sailing World Championships
The RYA shares the global concern over events which transpired to prevent the Israeli team from competing at the recent Youth World Sailing Championships in Malaysia.

At the same time, it is encouraging to see the international show of support for the young athletes concerned who have missed out on the opportunity of World Championship competition for reasons outside their control.

Equal terms

The World Sailing constitution is unequivocal that the sport is to be open for participation by all, on equal terms, without regard for race, religion, or any other factor.
The obligation to uphold this principle applies to all Member National Authorities and is especially important in events involving future generations of sailors. Investigation

As such, the RYA asks that the investigation be swiftly and thoroughly concluded, and its findings shared transparently with the full World Sailing family.

www.rya.org.uk

Vandalism Suspected As Historic Tall Ship Defender Sinks
A 120-year-old sailing ship has sunk at its moorings in north Queensland.

People arriving to work in Townsville this morning were surprised to find the 35-metre tall ship Defender submerged at a wharf on Ross Creek in the city's CBD.

The hull of the vessel was completely submerged, while its rigging remained above the water.

Maritime Safety Queensland has cordoned off the site.

The Defender was built in 1895 and used as a trading vessel between the colonies.

In 1923 the Defender entered the history books with a record-breaking crossing of Bass Strait, and in World War II it was used to transport troops and supplies.

Defender was the last of the Bass Strait ketches.

www.abc.net.au

The Ancient Mariners Sail Through The Winter At Roadford
Over 50s keep sailing all year, and enjoy the social side of the sport too.

A group of over-50s is meeting every Wednesday to enjoy sailing together at Roadford Lake Outdoor + Active Centre.

Calling themselves the Ancient Mariners, the sailors - most of whom don't have their own boats or belong to a sailing club - enjoy not only the dinghies and facilities, but also the structure and challenges that tuition from staff at the centre brings to their sessions.

In poor weather, the group takes part in sailing theory sessions if sailing isn't an option, and some members are working towards RYA qualifications.

Gareth Maggs, who helps with the tuition at Roadford, reports that the group helps to keep the centre alive during the off-season months: "The Ancient Mariners' group is one of the reasons the centre can remain open on Wednesday throughout the winter - which means other people can use the facilities too."

www.rya.org.uk

Industry News
A new initiative, surveying the views and opinions of boat owners is being launched and available on the Haven Knox-Johnston, Stand D049 at the London Boat Show from 8th January 2016.

Sponsored by boat insurance specialists Haven Knox-Johnston, the purpose is to gain new and genuine insights into all aspects of boat ownership.

The online survey is quick and easy, taking only a few minutes, and is open to all boat owners. To encourage widest participation in the survey, the organisers are offering tickets to top sporting events. All those completing the survey will be entered in a free prize draw to win the tickets.

The 2016 Yacht & Boating Survey will run until 4th June 2016 with the intention of findings being published to coincide with the Southampton Boat Show in September.

To take part in the survey visit: www.2016boatingsurvey.com

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Following extensive trials in the USA, the Gulf Yachting Association (a group of 20 plus US Gulf-based clubs) have chosen the Viper 640 as their new club boat for the future, replacing the previous "Flying Scot". This, together with a very active US sailing programme, has increased demand for the boat throughout the USA and Rondar are now in full production.

In addition to the UK 2016 sailing programme, there is a great international regatta programme planned for 2016:

Miami USA: Miami Sailing Week 6-12 March 2016

Cork, Ireland: Cork Week 10-15th July 2016

Bermuda: Viper North American Championships - Bermuda, 13-19 November

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Taking place over the weekend of 30-31 January, the 2016 RYA Raymarine Yachtmaster Instructor Conference will this year take place at a new venue.

Alexandra House near Swindon, in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside will place host to the 2016 conference which is open to Yachtmaster and Cruising Instructors, Examiners and Principals.

During the conference you can attend expert led workshops and CPD sessions, it is also the perfect opportunity for you to have your say, share your thoughts and give feedback on various topics as well as hear about updates planned for the RYA Cruising Schemes.

To book your place simply complete the online booking form by Friday 08 January.

Please note that places are allocated on a first come first served basis. This year all bookings should be made via the online booking form, where you will find all conference information.

If you require any further information please contact john.whelton@rya.org.uk

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2015 was a busy year for the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School and the school is hoping to be even busier in 2016 writes school principal Kenneth Rumball.

2015 was a huge year of change for the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School. With thousands of sailors introduced to the sports of both sailing and powerboating at all levels. 2015 saw us invest hugely with the addition of LYNX our first yacht and new powerboats including a 9m and 6.5m RIB. We were delighted to be successful in all areas teaching new persons to sail and introducing old clients to the thrills and spills of dinghy, keelboat and yacht racing.

2016 is already looking to be just as challenging with LYNX currently undergoing a refit ahead of the Round Ireland Yacht race where we have already nearly sold all the places available for the trip around. 2016 will see us invest further in our dinghy fleet with new purchases already underway.

afloat.ie

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Ocean Safety, specialists in the worldwide supply, distribution, service and hire of marine safety equipment, will be exhibiting at Boot Disseldorf 2016 for the first time in the company's history.

Ocean Safety will be bringing some of the most popular products in their range of lifesaving and survival equipment including liferafts, man overboard systems such as the Jonbuoy, and lifejackets including the brand new Kru Elite and Kru Sport 185 cutting edge designs, launched just a couple of months ago.

The company will be supported by their German distributor SOSTechnic, who will be retailing the Ocean Safety branded products from their own stand at Boot.

The Ocean Safety team of experts will be available for advice and product demonstrations in Hall 11 Stand D65.

oceansafety.com

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Jared Cozza joins Lewmar USA team as Technical Support Manager in the Guilford, CT location. Jared recently graduated from The Landing School, acquiring an ABYC Marine Master Technician Certification and prior to that has been traveling the world on varies super yachts.

Austin Cohen has joined Lewmar as a new Technical Support Representative, working out of our Newport Shipyard office in Newport,RI. Austin started sailing at a young age participating in youth racing and is currently an active racer and cruiser throughout the northeast. After graduating with a degree in business management from New England College he started his career in the marine industry working at the New York Yacht Club in the waterfront department and most recently, as First Mate on a 40M sailing yacht. Returning to RI as a Newport resident in 2015, he will use his hands on and technical boating knowledge to assist in Lewmar's growing customer service department.

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 Zvi Ziblat: Quote from Scuttlebutt 3495

"Editor: We've received credible reports citing many sources that state that the visa issue may be more complex than initially thought. It is common knowledge that Israeli athletes are accompanied by armed bodyguards at sporting events. Including sailing events. And have been, quite understandably, since the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Reports from Malaysia are that visas were requested for up to nine bodyguards, and that the Malaysians were not inclined to oblige the presence of so many armed foreigners at the event... and may have used this as part of a planned exclusion of two Israeli RS:X youth world champions and likely Gold medal winners. "

And I thought that honest journalism requires asking the other side for any comment. As an Israeli close to the issue on hand I know for a fact that the Israel Sailing Association never asked for a permission to include bodyguards or any other personnel to the team which included the 2 competitors and a coach, and I am sure the Malaysian Sailing Federation will have to confirm that if asked. I challenge you editor to publish this in full.

* Editor: Spot the loophole in that statement? ISA would not be the entity requesting visas for bodyguards. MSF would not be the authority granting them. No defence of MSF here... but does anyone seriously think that Israeli athletes at foreign, world class events (particularly in nations with no diplomatic relations with Israel) are NOT protected by some very serious gentlemen? The Munich Olympics were not that long ago and there are at least as many murderous lunatics in 2015 as there were then.

See this for a very recent incident involving Shin Bet, boardsailors and Oman: www.tradearabia.com

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The Last Word
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