Misconduct charges dropped against Volvo Ocean Race skipper, while navigator steps down
Rule 69 protest brought against Team Scallywag’s David Witt and Steve Hayles, following a complaint made about an onboard video produced during Leg 2 of the race.
Australian sailor David Witt, the skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race entry Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, and Scallywag navigator Steve Hayles, have been cleared of a charge of misconduct.
Witt and Hayles were today called to a hearing under Rule 69 of the Racing Rules of Sailing; Rule 69 concerns actions that may ‘bring the sport of sailing into disrepute’.
Charges of misconduct were brought against Witt and Hayles, following a complaint made to World Sailing about a video produced during Leg 2 of the race.
The complaint, which was lodged by an anonymous third party not associated with the race, focused on content contained in a video produced on board Scallywag during Leg 2 of the race.
At a hearing in Cape Town today, the International Jury dismissed the charge. In a press release issued by Volvo Ocean Race, the International Jury reported: “David Witt and Steve Hayles did not commit misconduct because the video has not caused widespread offence worldwide and has not brought the sport into disrepute.”
Navigator Steve Hayles aboard Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag during Leg 2. Photo: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race
The video was titled the ‘Steve Hayles Breakfast Show’, and featured David Witt and Steve Hayles presenting a spoof phone-in chat show. In it Witt makes mocking comments about some of his crew, including John Fisher who appears wearing a face mask in a Hannibal Lecter style, before inviting Dutch sailor Annemieke Bes onto the show as ‘Doctor Cloggs’ and asks for medical advice in treating the navigator’s ‘scrotum rash’.
The video divided opinion, with many viewers questioning the timing of its publication, which coincided with the Harvey Weinstein case and widespread revelations of sexual harassment in the workplace. Bes is the sole female sailor on the boat. Others opined that Bes appears to be a willing participant who is laughing throughout the skit, and pointed out that she is dressed with a beard as a male doctor.
Witt introduces the video, which lasts 96 seconds, with the caution: ‘Adult warning! Everything in this segment will offend most sections of the public domain.” When posted on the Volvo Ocean Race social media feed it was captioned: “Even the editors aren’t touching this one.” The video was later deleted from the Scallywag and race media feeds.
A source told us that a Volvo Ocean Race employee was also investigated during Leg 2 following the complaint, but no charges were brought against them.
We understand that several female Volvo Ocean Race sailors are uncomfortable with the suggestion that such onboard humour might equate to sexual harassment, and moved to present their views to race organisers.
Annemieke Bes remains part of the Scallywag crew for Leg 3, which leaves Cape Town for Melbourne, Australia on Sunday 10 December. However, it was announced yesterday, before today’s hearing, that Steve Hayles was stepping down as navigator, with Antonio Fontes taking the role for Leg 3.
Antonio Fontes takes over as navigator on Scallywag. Photo Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race
In a team press release Hayles commented: “It’s been great to work with David and the rest of the Scallywag crew, preparing this project from the beginning and getting it off the start line.
“But I’ve decided to leave the boat in Cape Town.”
Hayles, who has sailed with Witt over several decades on different race campaigns, remained in Cape Town to assist the incoming navigator Antonio Fontes.
Fontes has already had an unusual start to his Volvo Ocean Race campaign, training and racing with Scallywag in Leg 0 before being ‘loaned’ to Team AkzoNobel for Leg 1 after the Dutch-flagged team lost several key members of crew following the last minute reinstatement of skipper Simeon Tienpoint.
“We’re sad to see Steve leave us,” skipper David Witt said. “He’s been a great asset, with his experience, in getting us ready to compete with some of the best teams in the world. Now it’s up to Antonio and the rest of us to step our game as we head into the Southern Ocean and prepare for the leg home to Hong Kong next month.”
In the Volvo Ocean Race press release following the hearing, Dee Caffari is quoted as: “I’ve seen the video and I think it’s unfortunate that this resulted in a hearing.
“This case has shown all of us, I think, that the banter and jokes that are an essential part of life on board, don’t always travel well off the water. But to have singled out these guys for a charge when it’s clear that nobody on their boat felt offended in any way seems misguided to me.”
Jordi Neves, chief digital officer of the Volvo Ocean Race comments: “As event organisers we are constantly undertaking a review of our and the teams content workflow. We are providing updated guidelines to our communications team, including the on board reporters.
“Our focus now is to evolve and respond in a responsible manner, as we continue our authentic storytelling of the race as the sailors take on the ultimate test of a team in professional sport.”
This is the first edition of the Volvo Ocean Race where every boat has sailed with mixed male and female teams due to changes in the crew allocation rules.
Day 12 from the sky on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Photo by Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race
The video incident is not the first time David Witt has been at the centre of controversy. Before the race he was widely quoted as saying that he planned to sail with seven men only, because he considered the crew allocation rules a ‘social experiment’.
Before the race start in Alicante, Witt told Yachting World he was “100 per cent misquoted”, adding: “What I said was, I think the rule is terrible, that I’m not supportive of the rule. I think it’s ridiculous that there’s a boat left in the shed and there’s not an all-women team in the race.
“I’ve had women sailing on my boat for the last 15 years, and there are more women sailing in this race that have sailed with me in campaigns outside the Volvo Race than any other person in the race.”
Olympic silver medallist Annemieke Bes has previously sailed with Witt on Ragamuffin, and left Team AkzoNobel to join the Scallywag campaign.
In another innovation, for this race the onboard reporters (or OBRs) are not employed by the competing teams, but are part of the Volvo Ocean Race media team and embedded within the teams on rotation.
A key element of the OBRs’ remit is to produce more honest, unvarnished coverage of the race than previously seen before. However, an approvals process remains in place before publication. Sensitive content can be ‘tagged’ for checking before publishing – we have been variously told that the video in question both was, and wasn’t, tagged as requiring approval.
We take an in-depth look at how the unprecedented coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race is changing the game in the next issue of Yachting World, out on January 11, 2018.
40 great Christmas gift ideas for sailors – our pick of the very best kit
Stuck for Christmas gift ideas for the sailor who has it all? Yachting World is here to help with 40 great ideas
Are you wondering what to get the sailor in your life for Christmas. Here is our pick of 40 top products that are perfect Christmas gift ideas for sailors:
1. Garmin inReach
Christmas gift ideas: Garmin inReach
This is a clever portable device that provides an affordable way to keep friends and family in touch with your whereabouts when offshore. It allows you to send and receive SMS text messages to any mobile phone, email address or other inReach device, anywhere in the world, via the Iridium satellite constellation.
In Reach works like a Sat phone and provides live online tracking and email and can also be sinked with your phone and operated through an app.
Christmas gift ideas:Proshotcase waterproof phone housing
GoPros and similar action cameras are great devices, but they are both expensive (some more than £500) and need charging. Recent smartphones have a camera that is just as good as a high-end action camera. This neat case turns an iPhone into a fully waterproof action camera.
It’s waterproof to 50ft or 130ft, depending on model, and is compatible with all GoPro mounting accessories. Full control of the phone’s camera is achieved via the volume buttons.From US$99. proshotcase.com
5. Red Limited Edition SUP Paddleboard
Christmas gift ideas: Red inflatable paddleboard
Red’s 10ft 6in Ride model is the most popular and arguably most versatile all round inflatable stand-up paddleboard. Having used one on our boat this summer, I can vouch for it being a fantastic edition to the sail locker. It’s ideal for getting to or from the beach, exercising/paddling or surfing when at anchor and it provides a dive platform and extra floating space for the kids.
It comes with cargo tie-downs and three fins attached – and the pumps and backpacks supplied are also superb. 2018 marks Red’s 10th anniversary, hence this limited edition 10’6” Ride in a new colour scheme.
The simple ideas are the best. These compact LEDs stick to the underbelly of each bladder, which uses the large fluorescent surface like a diffuser to maximise the visibility of the flashing light. Once activated, the Lume-On provides up to two hours of intense flashing light. It adds very little extra weight, has a smooth profile so will not chafe the bladder, and is very simple to retrofit to most lifejackets. £15 per pair. spinlock.co.uk
7. Karun recycled Sunglasses
Christmas gift ideas: Karun VOR Sunglasses
This small company in Patagonia makes unbreakable sunglasses from recycled fishing nets collected from the coast of Chile. It worked with professional sailors to design sunglasses with technical [Zeiss polyamide] lenses designed to meet the demands of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The sailing edition glasses were developed with and are being worn and tested by the Vestas – 11th Hour Racing crew. The frames have stainless steel hinges and rubber temple tips.
€245 for the VOR Sailing Edition. www.eu.karunworld.com
Christmas gift ideas: Olaf scooter
Here is an ingenious compact solution to getting around in foreign marinas and towns. The Olaf Urban combines four products in one: a kick-scooter, a trolley, a backpack and a skateboard. The Urban backpack is designed to carry the folded scooter. The combined backpack and trolley weigh just 3.5kg and the trolley can take a 120kg payload.
The esa is the first smartwatch designed for sailing, fusing the sailor’s thirst for gadgetry with high-street technology. The esa watch uses wifi to display information from onboard instruments on your wrist. As well as the ability to show performance sailing data including speed and polar target data, the watch is still essentially a smartphone, offering full Android capabilities.
For those who don’t fancy drilling holes in their cockpit lockers, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker is the answer. The California Roll will play for up to 15 hours on a single charge of the battery and is fully waterproof, even when submerged. Integrated solar panels further extend the operation time and the 5000mAh battery can be used as a USB power bank to recharge other devices.
This Australian innovation blends rowing with outboard motors to produce a clever lightweight solution for your tender. It uses a 3:1 gear ratio contained in the collar by the handle, driving a high-pitch propeller to provide a smooth, silent and fuel-less means of manual propulsion in either direction. Time to ditch the outboard, oars or both?
We conducted a waterproofing test on mobile phones, looking at nanotechnology sprays in particular, but concluded that a waterproof case remains the most secure way of protecting a mobile device. With more people using tablets for navigation, a case with a built-in GPS, like this SLXtreme Navigator could be the ideal solution.
The SnowLizard range include a built-in solar panel and back-up battery. US $349.99 or phone cases from $49.99 snowlizard.com
13. Lifedge Ultimate Cable
Christmas gift ideas: Lifeedge Ultimate cable
If you’re going to get a waterproof case for your mobile device, you may want one of these charging cables too. The extra long (2m/6.5ft) and durable Ultimate cable is corrosion and tangle proof, and allows for waterproof phone charging when used with a compatible case.
Raymarine’s most affordable thermal camera to date, the Ocean Scout TK can extend vision afloat, day or night, by creating images from heat. It can spot objects up to 119m away, including boats, buoys, landmarks or wildlife. But its ability to potentially thermally identify a MOB could quickly make it high on sailors’ wishlists. Price £412.50. raymarine.com
15. Sealskinz waterproof hat
Keeping your head warm and dry is vital to enjoying winter sailing. This waterproof hi-vis Sealskinz Bobble hat looks like the ideal way of achieving that, while making sure you can be spotted easily. It is water and stain repellent, with a Teflon coated acrylic outer fabric and micro fleece inner lining. £20. sealskinz.com
It can alert any AIS-equipped vessels in the vicinity to the precise location of a casualty in the water, and it will fit on any inflatable lifejacket’s oral tube. It also includes DSC alerting so can both pinpoint a MOB location via AIS, plus trigger the yacht’s own VHF alarm.
Most multitools are at best a compromise, which means that while they’re useful for quick jobs that would be a faff if you had dig around in a tool box, they are not good for serious work.
On any yacht the most challenging task you might be engaged in without warning is to cut a line. SOG’s Reactor RC1001-CP has a proper blade, which maximises the chances of cutting a problematic loaded line before a tense situation spins out of control.
This compact, lightweight double-ended torch shines a powerful white beam from one end and a red light from the other. Both can be operated simultaneously for a variety of uses from onboard, to the tender ride or cycle home.
Accessories include a headband that allows either colour to shine forwards, a reflective neck lanyard, plus stanchion, helmet and magnetic mounts.
Those who need to swipe screens in colder climes can now keep their digits warm too with Mujjo’s latest fleece-lined touchscreen gloves. These have black leather cuffs and anti-slip palms with silicon grip dots. Price from €29.95. mujjo.com
20. Splash Drone
Christmas gift ideas: Splash Drone
This is the first fully waterproof quad copter – and it floats. The drone is not only designed to carry a GoPro, but has a payload release feature for carrying and releasing other items, including safety gear.
Race tactics involve decisions based on the wind direction and trends, gleaned from the yacht’s compass. This Danish TackingMaster helps make wind shifts quick and easy to gauge using a watch-style wrist mount.
Once the wind direction and course to the mark have been set, you can track any shifts by using its inner course dial. So you can easily see how a shift may affect the next tack or leg and keep track of the average wind trend. Price €79. tackingmaster.com
Christmas gift ideas: Restube safety device
Anyone who partakes in extreme watersports will know there are times when wearing a lifejacket is simply not practical afloat. And others may simply want the comfort of a personal flotation device without the bulk, perhaps when taking a swim away from an anchored yacht.
The Restube is a personal lifebuoy developed by a kitesurfer that stows into a small bum-bag like pouch. It uses a vertical or horizontal belt attachment, and a sports model is available with a harness mount.
If I were to recommend one piece of repair kit to carry aboard it would probably be this new emergency epoxy adhesive. The fast curing epoxy can be used on sails plus most materials in virtually all conditions – including underwater – so it can even help patch a hole below the waterline. Watch the video here
A Satsleeve turns your mobile phone into a satphone. It wraps around the phone, utilising the mobile’s internal electronics and encodes and boosts the signal for connection to the Thuraya satellite network. The SatSleeve+ has a universal adapter, so the user can switch between most smartphone models from 58 to 85mm in width. £370 ex VAT or £5 per day to rent from www.globaltelesat.co.uk
25. Fizzics portable beer tap
Christmas gift ideas: Fizzics beer tap
Sailors are discerning types with quality tastes. So why not ship a portable beer tap for draught-tasting beer with the perfect head? The founders of Fizzics have really delved into the science (or ‘fizzics’) of beer drinking, and created a device that they say will deliver the perfect pour, creating an ‘ultra dense, long-lasting foam head’ from any standard size beer can or bottle – and all beer types from lager and ale to stout.
It’s strictly for those who take their drinking seriously – I’ve asked Santa for one.
We did a test of folding bikes and portable transport in 2017. If you can afford it, this GoCycle is a clear winner. This beautifully engineered electric-assist bicycle has 20in wheels, balloon tyres, and a well-cushioned saddle, which gives a smooth fast and comfortable ride. It is proper, enjoyable bike to cycle manually and the rider can select from zero to 100 per cent motor assistance on demand.
The GoCycle is a premium product that needs space to store and time to assemble. But, it is a game-changer, giving real freedom to enjoy time away from the boat. £3,500 gocycle.com
27. TaskOne G3 case
Christmas gift ideas: TaskOne phone case
For those who don’t already rely on their mobile phones enough, the TaskOne G3 case turns a smartphone into a Leatherman. It includes 22 tools and a mount for attaching saw blades. So you can now use your phone to cut, saw, grip, and screw things – then open a beer after your hard work. £79.99. thetasklab.com
28. Garmin Virb X and XE
Christmas gift ideas: Garmin Virb X
If your choice of action camera is more defined by durability, audio and picture quality, consider Garmin’s Virb cameras. Garmin continues to upgrade its excellent rugged and waterproof (to 50m) Virb cams.
The main improvements are with picture resolution and an increased variety of mounting options. The dedicated photo button to take stills at any time, even while the camera is recording, is also a neat addition.
Christmas gift ideas: Leatherman wearable multitool
This very cool wearable multitool completely reinvents the concept – it’s worn on the wrist like a watch. As standard 29 tools are provided, including flat, Phillips and Pozi-Driv screwdrivers, hex drives, box wrenches and Torx drives. There’s also a cutting hook, sim card pick, carbide glass breaker and bottle opener. As there is no conventional knife you can fly without putting it in hold luggage.
Keeping keys, passports, wallets and electronic gadgets safe when travelling can all too often be a challenge. The Flexsafe is a lockable bag made of slash-proof materials that cannot be cut open with a knife that incorporates a piercing 110db motion sensing alarm. When on shore simply attach the bag to a convenient tree, your folding bike, the dinghy or any other suitable structure.
Price US$59.95. www.theaquavault.com
31. Digital Yacht Aquawear
Digital Yacht Aquawear
This blackbox server will wirelessly stream information from onboard instruments to mobiles, tablets and laptops. The splash-proof wrist case included helps promote wearable navigation – the viewing of instrument, charting and AIS data on deck via apps on your smartphone. Aquawear aslo creates a wifi hotspot for the whole crew. £264. digitalyacht.co.uk
32. Spinlock Essentials chest pack
Christmas gift ideas: Spinlock Chest Pack
Spinlock’s Essential Packs are snug fitting solutions for keeping accessories like mobile phone, VHF, personal EPIRB to hand on the water.
They are available as belt, side or chest packs that attach with Velcro tie-downs, and neatly compliment Spinlock’s Deckvest 5D lifejacket. £14.95. spinlock.co.uk
33. Personalised champagne
Christmas gift ideas:Champagne by you
Here’s your chance to create your own bespoke bubbles. Buying a case of Champagne By You involves a tasting session to decide on the exact champagne style, all imported from family growers in the champagne region. Clients then get to design a unique handmade aluminium label using anything from a corporate logo to a photograph.
Sampling, design and delivery of a case of 24 bottles costs from £2,257. champagnebyyou.com
34. Vaavud Wind Meter
Christmas gift ideas: Vavuud windmeter
Vaavud is essentially a set of whirling cups that turn your smartphone into an anemometer. Live wind data through crowd sourcing – clever and particularly useful for those of us that dither on the shoreline wondering which sail/boat/kite/board to take, or whether to mow the lawn.
A new compact Sleipnir model is now available that uses an electronic sensor and can read wind direction too. Video here From £37. vaavud.com
Christmas gift ideas: Sugru
Sugru is a new material that feels like play dough but acts like superglue and sticks to most objects and surfaces. It’s very user-friendly, highly malleable and waterproof and comes in 10 bright colours. It’s ideal for both fixing things and giving items a new lease of life as it sets like silicone rubber (flexible and insulated) – it’s also surprisingly fun to apply.
Bring out your inner kid… Must watch WTF is Sugru video here From £6.99. sugru.com
36. Yacht Cufflinks
Christmas gift ideas: cufflinks
For that time when you need to collect the silverware in your blazer at the yacht club, you need to look the part…
These silver cufflinks come in a velvet lined gift box.
Wichard has produced knives in Thiers, the French home of knife making, since 1919. Its latest range includes Offshore and more economic Aquaterra models.
The Offshore knife has a serrated blade that can cut through Dyneema, and is available with a combined shackle key/marlinspike. The Aquaterra uses a conventional or serrated blade and has the accessory all sailors really need: a corkscrew.
Price from €17. wichard.com
38. Tiwal 3.2 inflatable dinghy
Christmas gift ideas: TIWAL inflatable dinghy
This French inflatable sailing dinghy stows into two compact bags and can be launched, assembled and sailed anywhere in 20 minutes. It looks like safe, enjoyable and family friendly fun, ideal for getting kids into dinghy sailing. It uses the same high-strength PVC material as stand-up paddleboards, inflated via a high-pressure pump. An alloy structure gives it a backbone and allows the helm or crew to sit out, and a freestanding carbon mast splits into four.
Keep in the locker or trailer sail – without the need for a trailer. Video here
The 2018 models have been updated. They are now more streamlined, practical and comfortable. Hiking rack pads have been added to the accessories.
As well as the usual great mix of pictures – which this year includes action from the Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week, Quarter Tonners as well as cruising the Swedish archipelago – this special 30th edition includes is a 30-year celebration spread featuring Rick’s choice of one image from each of his past calendars.
2-for-1 Yachting World reader offer for London Boat Show 2018 tickets
The London Boat Show will take place at the London ExCel 10-14 January, and Yachting World readers can take advantage of our 2-for-1 ticket offer now
Yachting World readers can now get 2-for-1 entry to the 2018 London Boat Show. The offer applies to advance London Boat Show tickets, which start from £15*.
The London Boat Show returns from 10-14 January 2018 at ExCeL London, with a new five-day format that will feature more than 300 exhibitors.
The Yachting World team will be at the Time Inc stand LC014, where you can find the latest Yachting World subscription deals.
New for this year will be the Practical Boat Owner Theatre (opposite, at stand LB012), which will take place from the deck of a fully rigged Westerly Centaur. Well-known sailing personalities and equipment experts from our sister title will be presenting regular illustrated talks, which are targeted at practical cruising sailors of all levels.
Confirmed speakers include the pilot book author, Rod Heikell, and renowned celestial navigator, Stokey Woodall. Practical Boat Owner’s regular columnists, Sam Llewellyn and Stuart Davies, along with budget boating guru, David Selby, and PBO’s editor Rob Melotti, will also be on stage.
Among the exhibitors confirmed Jeanneau will be debuting its Sun Odyssey 440. Beneteau, Churchouse Boats, Cornish Crabbers, Hobie Cat, English Harbour Yachts and Nestaway Boats will also be at the show, along with the likes of Sunseeker, Princess Yachts, Prestige and Rib Eye. There will also be many charter operators and a wealth of electronics and kit manufacturers.
Running alongside the London Boat Show will be two sister shows – The Boating & Watersports Holiday Show and Bespoke London.
The new Lock & Waterside Pub will celebrate the UK’s inland waterways and the Broads in Norfolk, with displays of narrowboats, whilst the Beach Club & Activity Pool gives visitors the chance to learn the art of dinghy sailing, kayaking or stand up paddleboarding.
Meanwhile, Bespoke London showcases luxury brands that reflect a boating lifestyle.
You can buy your tickets now from londonboatshow.com and access this offer by using the code YM15.
*A £1.95 transaction fee applies per transaction not per ticket. Promotional offer 2-for-1 allows two tickets from £15 to use any day between 10 – 14 January 2018 ends midnight 31 December 2017. Normal price £20 per person for advance Preview Day tickets and £15 per person for advance Standard Day tickets. Not valid in conjunction with any other offer. Excludes premium tickets. Ticket offer is restricted to two adult tickets per transaction. 15 years and under go free with paying adult, max 2 per adult ticket. Terms and conditions apply. See londonboatshow.com for details. All details correct at time of going to press.
Today was scheduled for our Albemarle Sound crossing, although “schedule” is a misnomer here. You don’t schedule the Albemarle. You go when it tells you that your particular boat model and your crew can cross. It’s only 16 miles across at the shortest point, but it has a vast fetch to the east. And it’s very shallow, only 20 feet deep. If you’re from the Chesapeake Bay, then you know that shallow depths do strange things to waves, forcing that energy into waves that are steep, square, and with short frequency. These two-foot waves feel like cinder blocks.
If you have friends or family in the Rally, and you haven’t heard much from them lately, don’t worry. We’re in the area of North Carolina known as the Inner Banks (protected by the Outer Banks). For ICW travelers, it’s known as the area with no cell service. Here’s an AT&T coverage map: That’s us, in the white, no service, area.