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

Britain's Megan Pascoe Leads 2.4mr Worlds
British sailor Megan Pascoe is looking hard to beat in the world championship for the International 2.4mR class on the Derwent with two days to sail on Saturday and Sunday

Her 3-5-1 scorecard yesterday in races four, five and six have given her a net score of 9 points, well clear of the opposition from Australia and Finland.

The only representative of Great Britain in the fleet, the paraplegic sailor from Weymouth, England, has not finished worse than fifth in the 32 boat fleet, having adapted quickly to the winds and waters of the Derwent.

Australian champion Matt Bugg had a luckless day with a 9-3-7 scorecard yesterday to be on a net 25 points in second place overall.

Provisionally third overall (there are protests) is ACT sailor Mark Leydon on a net 31 points with Finland's Niko Salomma fourth, also on 31 points, with Lisa Blackwood fifth on 37 points.

None of the top contenders are involved in the protests. -- Peter Campbell

www.ryct.org.au6

World Sailing Must Address A Sailing Travesty
The major concern now of both the major sailing nations and media is for a full and independent inquiry into the matter, and for a resolution that will rid the sport of this scourge.

Universally the call has been for the report on the Malaysian hosted world championship to be made public in its entirety, however, many have little confidence in World Sailing's ability to deliver on that demand.

Several of those whose roles should be investigated seem to be the investigators. Sail-World correspondents are calling for them to be stood aside and for an independent investigation panel to be appointed to both uncover the facts of the matter and to put forward solutions that will ensure that there is no repetition of the incidents of the past 12 months.

There also has to be action against the Malaysian Sailing Association if it is found in an independent investigation that undertakings were made in the hosting agreements and proposals undertaking to allow the entry of all eligible sailors as described in the Notice of Race for the regatta issued in December 2014.

The wider inquiry must also look at the practice of at best creating considerable angst as to whether visas will be issued to Israeli competitors at World Championships and at worst an effective decline.

The issue of imposition of special conditions on Israeli sailors wishing to compete in World Championships regattas for which they are eligible also needs to be thoroughly and independently investigated.

Requirements that they compete anonymously, or under some other country or entity are repugnant, and it is hard to believe that these were not highlighted in regatta reports routinely filed to the world body. And if that matter was disclosed in regatta reports then why it was not acted on in the first instance by the ISAF and suitable actions taken to prevent a repetition.

World Sailing faces a major test of its credibility over these incidents. This is not a time for cover-up and damage control but for confession and strong action.

Weasel words and blame-storming are not an acceptable response.

Nothing will be quite so effective as the disinfectant of transparency regardless of the pain that process may cause. -- Richard Gladwell

Full editorial: www.sail-world.com

North Sails Helping You Get Ready For Sailing In 2016
North Sails latest North U webinars with Peter Isler on Monday 11th Jan, 7 - 11pm EST

The information age is hitting sailing full force. Today's top racers use Expedition software to optimize racing strategy and boat performance on the fly (while also compiling data for later analysis). The North U webinar series have been devised to show sailors how to use Expedition tactical and navigation software to improve their racing experience and results. As a software training program, these courses are perfectly suited to on-line Webinar delivery and World reckoned sailor, Peter Isler, will be talking participants through it, showing how to optimise performance and enhance enjoyment. This Webinar will be focused on an introduction to the software's navigation, routing, strategy and performance features.

For anyone who would like to join live or download the session:: www.northu.com/Webinars/

SMA In A Safe Haven In The SW Of Ireland
Since Paul Meilhat was airlifted off on 15th December, the 60-foot SMA has drifted up from the Azores to Ireland over the past twenty days, during which the SMA team has attempted several recovery operations, in spite of some horrendous weather.

On 5th January, the boat was finally recovered 100 miles off the coast of Ireland. SMA is now safe in Crookhaven Bay in SW Ireland. On board, the boat captain, Marc Liardet and his team are trying to sort the boat out. Their goal is to get her back to France and to Port La Forêt as soon as the weather allows.

In early January, two operations were set up at the same time with Mer Agitee, the owner of the monohull and the boat's insurers, Pantaenius. On 4th January, on a boat was chartered by the insurance company with the ocean racer, Adrien Hardy on board. He managed to get aboard SMA, in some very rough conditions in 40 knots of wind and 20-foot high waves, while the Mer Agitee shorte team joined in aboard an Irish tug.

As the Mer Agitee predicted, after following the progress of SMA thanks to her Argos beacon, following on from the operation to rescue Paul Meilhat, the mast was still in place.

The recovery team in Ireland:
Marcus Hutchinson, Marc Liardet, Anne Liardet, Antoine Brunel and Damien Guillou.

www.vendeeglobe.org

Islanders Prepare For Epic Anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Series
Blue Peter. Click on image to enlarge.

With just over a week to the start of the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series (16-24 January 2016), the festival island spirit is in full flow.

Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Mount Gay, this year's anniversary event (which also marks 50 years of independence for Barbados), promises to be the best yet with plenty of top class racing, record-breaking opportunities, and a Mount Gay-themed social scene to beat all others.

The headline event, the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race, traditionally takes place on 21 January. This 60 nautical-mile blast around the beautiful island of Barbados is one of the biggest attractions for most out-and-out race teams because as well as the potential for crews to claim bragging rights, there's the chance to win their skipper's weight in Mount Gay Rum as a prize for the fastest time if any of the 14 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race records are broken.

With some super-serious speed junkies lining up including Ned Collier Wakefield and team on MS Barbados (Concise 10) MOD70 trimaran who are going for the outright record, and Clint Brooks and team on the TP52 Conviction representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS) who are looking to defend the 60ft and Under Monohull Round Barbados record they established last year, there'll be no shortage of excitement.

The MOD70, Phaedo3, Ms Barbados Concise 8 (Class 40), Maximizer (Farr 72), and Spirit of Juno (Farr 65), are among some of the others looking to post record speeds.

Matt Barker's Alfred Mylne 65 - The Blue Peter - that recently arrived in Barbados from New England, via Antigua, may not be the fastest boat on the course but is probably one of the prettiest charter options still available. This classic beauty is real treat to sail and her owner, the skipper, says the charter guests always have fun and occasionally win a race or two.

mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com

M3 Abandoned And Aground
A yacht has been left stranded on the sand during the horrific storms which claimed the life of a Sydney yachtsman over the new year break.

The yacht M3, owned by Peter Hickson, was one of a number of vessels that fell foul of the horrendous conditions during the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race, which set off on January 2 from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Newport.

M3 was disabled, and ran aground north of Port Stephens on Wednesday night, but luckily all crew safely made it to shore.

A catastrophe was averted when M3's crew had to abandon ship near Seal Rocks and swim to shore after the Port Stephens Volunteer Marine Rescue could not get to them because of the rough seas.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that M3 was returning from finishing second in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, and had got into difficulties earlier in the day after a sailor spent seven hours stuck up a mast in the bad weather.

www.dailymail.co.uk

Remains Of Lost 1800s Whaling Fleet Discovered Off Alaska's Arctic Coast
Abandonment of the whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September 1871, including the George, Gayhead, and Concordia. Scanned from the original Harper’s Weekly 1871. (Credit: courtesy of Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library). Click on image to enlarge.

NOAA archaeologists have discovered the battered hulls of two 1800s whaling ships nearly 144 years after they and 31 others sank off the Arctic coast of Alaska in one of the planet's most unexplored ocean regions.

The shipwrecks, and parts of other ships, that were found are most likely the remains of 33 ships trapped by pack ice close to the Alaskan Arctic shore in September 1871. The whaling captains had counted on a wind shift from the east to drive the ice out to sea as it had always done in years past.

The ships were destroyed in a matter of weeks, leaving more than 1,200 whalers stranded at the top of the world until they could be rescued by seven ships of the fleet standing by about 80 miles to the south in open water off Icy Cape. No one died in the incident but it is cited as one of the major causes of the demise of commercial whaling in the United States.

Using state-of-the-art sonar and sensing technology, the NOAA team was able to plot the "magnetic signature" of the two wrecks, including the outline of their flattened hulls. The wreck site also revealed anchors, fasteners, ballast and brick-lined pots used to render whale blubber into oil.

www.noaanews.noaa.gov

Fife's Moonbeam III To Go On Auction
Click on image to enlarge.

An auction in Paris next month offers a opportunity: a 1903 luxury yacht estimated to fetch $1.7 million.

Retromobile, the Parisian classic car show that features both strange and stunning exhibits from across the motoring world, will play host to the auction by Artcurial, which will feature the boat as well as a collection of rare Ferraris.

The Moonbeam III is a work of the Scottish yacht designer William Fife, who earned his fame at the pinnacle of the sailing world by building two America's Cup challengers for English tea mogul Sir Thomas Lipton.

He made a reputation for himself by designing yachts that were both fast and breathtakingly beautiful.

www.businessinsider.com

The Transat AG2R La Mondiale
Starts from Concarneau - April 3rd
ETA in St Barts - April 23rd
On Sunday 3rd April 2016, the 13th edition of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale sets sail from Concarneau, France. Since the first edition in 1992, ambitious offshore skippers have been pairing up to take on this biennial transatlantic marathon, racing double-handed in 33ft Beneteau Figaro IIs.

The Transat AG2R La Mondiale is a major milestone in the career of a solo offshore racer, with legendary skippers like Michel Desjoyeaux, Franck Cammas, Armel Le Cleac'h, Jean Le Cam, Philippe Poupon all having taken part. This year the race will cover 3800nm between Concarneau in Brittany and the Caribbean island of St Barts.

For the first time crews will use new 'Openport' onboard technology to send photos and videos direct from the boat to the shore. This advance in communications will enable fans to engage with the highs and lows of the drama unfolding offshore like never before.

transat.ag2rlamondiale.fr

2016 Hansa Worlds Halfway To Their Goal With 60 Entries
Medemblik, Netherlands: With 60 entries from 13 nations, the year has a good start for the 2016 Hansa Class World & International Championship. The organisation is now halfway toward their set goal and the competition in the participating classes will be really strong. With well-known names in the Hansa World, past champions and Paralympic sailors have subscribed.

The 2016 Hansa Class World & International Championships will be held at the International Sailing Center in Medemblik, the Netherlands, from June 3-9 2016. The Dutch Championships will also be incorporated whitin the event.

The strongest entries have been for the Liberty World Championship, with 24 sailors from 6 nations entered so far. British sailors Paul Phillips, David Durston and Monique Foster made up the podium for the 2015 European Championships in Rutland and all are now seeking the greater prize. They will be joined by Helena Horswell (NZL), winner of the Servo Division in the last Worlds in Sydney, and the sailor finishing 4th in this year's European Championships, Genevieve Wickham from Australia.

The Hansa 303 two-person World Championship will also be hotly contested. While 16 entries have been lodged, this could be the largest fleet in the regatta.

Entries for the 2016 Hansa Worlds stay open till the end of April 2016.

www.2016HansaWorlds.com

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The Last Word
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