Part one: January to March
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) was branded a ‘bunch of gangsters’ for imposing hugely increased royalty fees on nautical publishers that use its chart and survey data, leaving yachtsmen facing higher costs for almanacs and pilot books.
Managing director of chart publishers Imray, Willie Wilson, said: ‘We were told the fees were going up and we just have to swallow it, but inevitably it will filter down to the yachtsman.’
Nigel Brown, chairman of the publishers of Brown’s Nautical Almanac, said his royalty fee had increased from £25,000 to £41,776, resulting in the almanac cover price rising from £59 to £65.50.
A well-respected marine industry figure, who asked not to be named, told YM: ‘What a bunch of gangsters. It’s little better than sending around the heavies and demanding protection money.
‘This doesn’t happen in America, where material paid for by the taxpayer is deemed to be in the public domain and is free to reproduce.’
The head of the UK Border Agency revealed that the controversial £1.2 billion e-Borders scheme, which will log the details of everyone entering or leaving the UK, including British sailors, could be implemented in 2011, three years earlier than the RYA had thought. Yachtsmen who fail to provide crew data could face a £5,000 fine or six months imprisonment.
Brodie Clark, strategic director for border control, said: ‘It’s not our intention to see yachtsmen fined and criminalised. In genuine cases, where sailing plans change, due to the weather or safety reasons, the law allows for “reasonable excuse” as a defense for failure to supply data.’
Stuart Carruthers, cruising manager of the RYA, said: ‘Having the system up and running by 2011 is news to us. We still don’t know how it is going to work. ‘We thought we had until 2014. We think the whole scheme is an enormous waste of money.’
Footnote: In July 2010, the Government terminated the eBorders contract with prime supplier, Raytheon Systems. On December 6 in a House of Commons statement, Damian Green Minister of State (Immigration) said: The priority for the coalition remains to secure the border and to control migration. At this stage, final budgets have not been agreed for e-borders.’
A salvage team ruled that Cork (pictured above), one of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s round-the-world Clipper race fleet, was a total loss, after it hit a rock in the Java Sea.
The 68ft, £1million sloop was competing in the 2009-2010 race when it ran aground 200 miles north-east of Jakarta.
All 16 crew were evacuated to a nearby island and subsequently to two sisters yachts, Team Finland and California.
Sir Robin said: ‘It is with great sadness that we have to accept that Cork will remain on the reef as we lose her to the sea.
‘This is the first loss Clipper has experienced in seven races and since the first race in 1996 more than two million miles of racing has been safely and successfully completed.’