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.

ISAF Knew Of Youth World Champions' Exclusion Issue From Outset
The possibility that all entitled competitors might not be able to sail in the 2015 Youth Worlds was noted and reported through all levels of the International Sailing Federation - from the Events Committee through to the Executive Committee and ISAF Council, in November 2011 when the prestigious regatta was awarded to Langkawi.

The Chairman of the Events Committee at that time was Chris Atkins (GBR), now an ISAF Vice President and the man sent by now World Sailing, to Langkawi to report back to the Executive Committee on the reasons why the visas were not sent for the two World Champions.

Although the Secretary General/CEO (then Jerome Pels) was tasked with investigating the Malaysian proposal and specifically the restriction of entry, there is no Minuted summary or comment of the visit and report (which was undertaken by the Sailing World Cup manager). Any assurances given by the Malaysians were not minuted - if they were received.

This is the first formal indication that the ISAF were aware that there was a potential issue with the issuance of entry visas to competitors for the World Championship - which according to the Notice of Race approved by ISAF in December 8, 2014 states that the event must be open to to all MNA's in good standing with the ISAF.

While the ISAF/World Sailing may claim that they were caught unawares by the Israel Sailing Association's withdrawal on Christmas Eve - three days before the start of the World Championship, there can be no doubt that the world sailing body was aware of the issue from the outset.

If assurances were given by the Malaysian Sailing Association over competitor entry, and these have clearly not been met, then that is a very serious matter.

The consequences for the two World Champion sailors involved are irreversible.

The situation is compounded by the Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport saying before the regatta that the visa issue was for security reasons, and after the opening ceremony told the local media that they were not issued for political reasons. Many would see that comment and change in stance as being a deliberate act of deceit by the Malaysians.

World Sailing has called for an emergency meeting for January 7-8, 2016.

Excerpted from Richard's article in Sail-World.com:

www.sail-world.com/ISAF-knew

Faster Ride, Bigger Prize
London UK: After a year of great change - with new racing formats and new ownership - the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is set for a thrilling season in 2016. The prospect of high-octane multihull racing and seven-figure prize money is attracting new names to the World Match Racing Tour for the first time.

The Monsoon Cup (26th January) concludes the 2015/16 edition of the Tour, and it will be a final opportunity for the keelboat experts to make the most of their skills in Malaysia before the shift to M32 multihulls begins. At the top of the standings, Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar crew are looking to extend their record of five Tour world titles to six, at a tricky venue where they absolutely dominated last year, despite the fickle conditions.

A compressed Championship season begins little over a month later in Fremantle, Western Australia, the first time that the M32s will be used in Tour competition.

- Fremantle, Perth, Australia, March 2nd-7th
- Long Beach, Los Angeles, USA, April 5th-10th
- Undisclosed Venue, April 18th-23rd (TBC)
- Copenhagen, Denmark, May 9th-14th
- Newport, Rhode Island, USA, May 30st-June 4th
- World Championship Finals, Marstrand, Sweden, July 4th-9th

The Congressional Cup in Long Beach will be the only event where the M32s aren't used, when the teams will have to dust off their keelboat racing skills in the Catalina 37s.

www.wmrt.com

Clipper Race: Viet Nam Leads Charge Into Ocean Sprint But Falls To Second
The last 24 hours in the Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race have seen the fleet getting a bit of a battering from a developing low with unstable and unpredictable conditions. LMAX Exchange has repositioned after tackling the Scoring Gate and is among the front-runners which have entered the Ocean Sprint some 850nM from Airlie Beach. But Da Nang - Viet Nam has lost the lead in the process.

Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell confirmed that the weather charts are having trouble keeping up with the rapidly changing nature of the developing low. In his latest report to skippers he says: "There are very different wind directions across the relatively small area of the fleet. Once the low moves a little further away from the coast the GRIBs (forecast charts) should catch up with it…but for the moment the teams will need to depend on their own observations more than ever."

All the yachts want the two valuable extra points up for grabs for the fastest team between the two designated lines of latitude in the Ocean Sprint. Inshore vs offshore tactics will have a bearing on performance in the Ocean Sprint in addition to progress to the finish line, final positions in the fleet and associated points.

Race Director Justin Taylor feels the offshore teams may well have the advantage but light winds due in the next 24 hours will hamper the progress of the fleet.

Although Da Nang - Viet Nam was first to start the Ocean Sprint, GREAT Britain has now overtaken them on the leaderboard with just over 800nM to the Whitsundays as at 0800 UTC. LMAX Exchange is in third place with 832nM DTF (Distance to Finish).

clipperroundtheworld.com

Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua Sailing Week It's blowing twenty gusting twenty-five, blue water's hissing at the rail. The helm loads up, the boat takes off, down another Caribbean roller. The wild ride continues, stem-deep pristine ocean cascades over the bow. The deck is hot, the sun is brilliant, and so is the competition. Sun, Sea and Surf, the pace is on. Palm trees dance on Pigeon Beach, the 'Trades' are in, and you don't want them to stop.

Cracking jokes on the dock, salt encrusted, a cold one soothes the thirst. The beat goes on and the rhythm hits you. You nod, shake your hips, and move your hands and feet. You're tuned-in and the DJ's playing your favourite song with a hundred or more dancing with you. The sun sighs farewell, setting the skies ablaze, but the party goes on. You don't want to stop but it will be blowing twenty when the sun says - Good Morning.

The 49th Edition of Antigua Sailing Week - April 23-29 2016

www.sailingweek.com/v4/

To enter: www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=1477

McDougall McConaghy 2016 International Moth Australian Championship
After a hazy start, day two of the McDougall McConaghy 2016 International Moth Australian Championship was a much better day for racing out on the Swan river in Perth, WA.

Around midday a light and shifty breeze filled in from around 290 degrees enabling the PRO Les Swinton to bang off four short races to keep the series on track.

The starts again proved crucial and Josh Mcknight (NSW) showed his class with 3 straight bullets and a 3rd to lead the championship by 8 points. His boat handling is a class apart but he was pushed hard by Rob Gough (TAS) who scored consistently with (2,3,6,2) for the day. Rob sits in second overall with 16 points.

The top international sailor Ed Chapman from Great Britain also had an excellent day moving up from 18th overall yesterday to third today. He scored (8,2,1,3). -- Jonny Fullerton

www.sopyc.com.au

Schooling Graduates From Oxford With Flying Colours
Ben Schooling navigated his Musto Skiff around a challenging square-lap course to beat a record entry of 146 boats at the Oxford Blue. The GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series has been a predominantly breeze affair this season, and the forecast for Farmoor Reservoir was shaping up for another windy one.

As the fleet launched, the gusts started hitting the water, sometimes in excess of 20 knots, although the problem was more the wild variation and unpredictability of the breeze than the wind strength itself.

The breeze continued to soften for the final race, although the fast boats were still fully stretched on trapeze as they launched out of the start. Schooling made good use of the dying breeze to make good ground ahead of the slower boats, although once again Lyons was looking very good in the Blaze, finishing 2nd.

Now the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series moves on to this Saturday's Bloody Mary at Queen Mary Sailing Club, with the long-range forecast suggesting yet another windy outing.

For provisional results from the Oxford Blue: gjw.sailracer.org and to enter other events in the Series: http://www.SailJuiceSeries.com

Warsash Spring Series
Starting on Sunday 13 March the Warsash Spring Series will run over six Sundays with starts from 10.00 am in the central Solent. These are Sunday 13 and 20 March and 03, 10, 17 and 24 April 2016 with a week's break over Easter.

Within the event there will also be the Warsash Spring Championship which will take place on Saturday and Sunday 16/17 April and 23/24 April 2015. All classes included in the Spring Series can enter. -- Gerald New, Sailweb.co.uk:

www.sailweb.co.uk/Offshore/

www.warsashspringseries.org.uk

Ultra-High On Board Bandwidth Without The Price Tag
We live in an age where bandwidth is king. From business services to entertainment, our lives - and yachts - rely more and more on reliable, high-speed data connections, and not just for owners but for crew too.

At METS in 2015 all eyes turned to German company CELLweaver, who demonstrated a new unit offering far greater power and usability. By combining up to four 3G/4G SIM cards, the CELLweaver unit uses a unique method of bandwidth aggregation to create a reliable, secure ultra-high bandwidth connection, backed up by a subscription service to guarantee that reliability and quality.

"Users can expect a realistic average speed of 160 Mbit/s plus in 4G areas, and 40 Mbit/s where there is 3G," says Wilko Darger, CELLweaver's head of finance and sales. "Costs are highly competitive compared to VSAT and the technology works up to several miles offshore."

While new satellites and revised price plans may improve offshore services, it is clear that in coastal waters 4G systems such as CELLweaver offer a viable alternative for bandwidth intensive applications. And with 5G crawling ever closer - the latest indications are that it will hit the market around 2020 - the future is bright indeed. -- Tim Thomas in SuperYacht News

www.superyachtnews.com

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 Zvi Ziblat: I agree that the Shin-Bet are in direct contact with governments but they cannot stop competitors to attend on their own risk.

For Malaysia there was never a bodyguard issue when the Israelis registered.

A few weeks after the RSX event in Oman there was the 2015 Radial Worlds which was also Olympic Qualifiers, and an Israeli sailor entered without a shin-bet bodyguard. She was not allowed to wear any reference to Israel nor IOC country letters ISR on her mainsail thus breaking the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing.

* From Len Davies: The RYA are to be applauded on issuing their no-nonsense statement re the ISAF Youth Worlds admission debacle as published in EuroButt #3496.

Very succinctly written, this statement leaves little room for World Sailing to wriggle their way out of the situation they find themselves in by not having respected their own constitution.

* From Malcolm McKeag: I'm faintly amused by the notion implied in recent Scuttlebutts that Shin Bet bother with visas! Best not go there, perhaps. Seriously, in all the righteous indignation being dumped on WorldSailing/ISAF and on the Malayasian Sailing Authority for the unhappy but not unprecedented problems with Isreali athletes' visas can anyone really think that the solution lies in the hands of amateur or even professional sports administrators?

I do not for a moment condone the actions of whichever branch of the Malaysian government decided to impose deliberate humiliations on the Israeli sailors simply to reinforce a diplomatic position but since when have visas and other travel arrangements for competitors attending regattas been the responsibility of the host nation or its Organising Authority?

The Lord (and possibly the occasional reader of Scuttlebutt) knows that I hold no brief for WorldSailing/ISAF/IYRU and its self-important authoritarian ways (well - let's forgive IYRU: I quite liked the old pre-1984 IYRU and rather wish we could go back to it) but really! Those lambasting ISAF and pronouncing on what it should do or should have done should ask themselves what would happen if this situation arose in their own countries. And do not suppose or pretend that it might not.

What would or even could US Sailing do if the Department for Homeland Security, a body that thinks nothing of putting armed rummage crews aboard local yachts engaged in local coastal races or requiring young ladies to strip off and remove their nipple rings before allowing them into airports, denied entry to the US of two competitors?

Or for that matter if the Department of Immigration denied a visa to a competitor wishing to attend a world championship on the grounds that they had publicly admitted taking recreational drugs (vide Nigela Lawson and others)?

And while armed freelance bodyguards wandering round a regatta venue would clearly be no problem in the United States where anyone can buy a gun from the local store I would be interested to know what private arrangements were permitted for the Israeli athletes attending the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth and London. Were they allowed to bring their own or were they told that 'it's ok, thanks - we have our own people who look after that sort of thing'?

* From David Evans: Well put Henry L. Menin in his letter to editor in Scuttlebutt (04 Jan) in respect of the disgraceful actions of the Malaysia Government in refusing entry to the Israeli competitors to the World Sailing World Youth Championships and ISAF /World Sailing's spineless acquiescence to this.

As I read today's Scuttlebutt (4 Jan) it is clear that the spin merchants, obfuscators and general apologists are already gathering, private off-the-record briefings and half-truths will no doubt continue to muddy the waters - based upon the Rio example we know they are already very experienced in muddying (or should it be accepting) polluted waters.

The undeniable facts of the case are that ISAF/World Sailing knew in November 2011 that there was an "issue" about some countries representatives not being permitted to participate.

After years of protracted negotiation between the Malaysian Sailing Association and other parties, which resulted in a letter being sent to the Israel Sailing Association.

This letter contained, what were described by the CEO of the Israel Sailing Association as, 'grave conditions' relating in part to the requirement that they could not compete as Israel flagged entries, could not have their anthem played if they won.

There were a total of seven draconian requirements, any one of which would not have been tolerated by any other team.

It seems that ISAF did not stand its ground and alloed these conditions to be imposed, so by failing to represent the interests of ALL its members, and in supporting a Championship that broke its own rules, it has failed on every count.

I repeat the charge made in my letter of last week that that ISAF/World Sailing is clearly not fit for purpose, it is corrupt in going along with the Malaysian Government's discrimination and even more corrupt by pretending this is a World Championship to the competitors, when not all nations have been permitted to compete. (Even FIFA has not sunk this low).

I note the RYA has now (rather belatedly - after the horse has bolted through the open stable door) made a strongly worded formal comment and requested an 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. "

In response the the criticism, in a rather FIFAesque manner, ISAF/World Sailing has asked for a report on this from Chris Atkins who was rather worryingly the Chairman of the Events Committee when the regatta was awarded to Malaysia and when the whole issue originally surfaced in 2011!

Regards and a happier New Year to all passionate yachtsmen!

* From Henry Menin: I am puzzled as to why so many people are hung up on the visa issue with Israel and Maylasia.

Forget the visas. Even if Maylasia had promptly issued all the requested visas, the issue is still the discriminatory action of not allowing the ISR team to brand their clothing or equipment with their national flag or logos, not to be able to display their national flag in any ceremony, nor to play their national anthem if they won a gold medal. No investigation or report is needed on these latter issues. They are admitted.

Absolutely disgraceful. MAS should have their MNA status challenged immediately, no matter what the situation was with the visas.

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