SCUTTLEBUTT #222 -- November 20, 1998
MUMM 30 WORLDS
For the over 200 sailors competing at the Mumm 30 Worlds at Hilton Head
Island, the sight of no wind this morning was-almost-a blessing. After a
tough day on the race course in 20-plus knots yesterday, there seemed to be
few complaints as crews waited for the breeze to arrive: Sailors were
sacked out comfortably on foredecks, and in cockpits-taking advantage of
free time forced on the fleet by the absence of wind.
After a postponement of over 3 hours, a light southwesterly breeze filled
in on the racecourse and the Race Committee began a starting sequence. But
the breeze was short lived: it dropped below 5 knots, shifted some 50
degrees, and the committee abandoned the race before the fleet reached the
windward mark. No other races were started.
The final day of racing is tomorrow, and the 1998 Mumm 30 World Champions
will be presented with the Royal Canadian Yacht Club Trophy on Friday
evening. With the minimum number of four races completed, yesterday's
results will stand for the world championship if tomorrow's weather brings
a repeat performance.
The current standings are: SISSABELLA, owned by Luca Bassani (Monte Carlo,
Monaco), in first place with 10 points; MENACE, owned by James Dill (New
Suffolk, NY), in second with 26 points; OFF THE GAUGE, owned by Jack LeFort
(Stuart, FL), in third with 31 points; USA 48, owned by Ed Collins and
Barry Allardice (West Dover, VT) with 32 points; USA 65, owned by Michael
Dressell and Al Hobart (Shelburne, VT) in fifth with 33 points. -- Cynthia
Michigan's Bayview YC's website the latest to post Scuttlebutt on a daily
basis. By the curmudgeon's last count, that makes five places you can get
'Butt on the web but who's counting. Check it out:
ATTENTION YACHT CLUBS AND RACE ORGANIZERS
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at a guaranteed profit. Help offset your regatta costs by selling apparel
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for this program. Call Frank Whitton(619-226-8033) for details on how this
can put dollars in your pocket and a quality product on the racers back.
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) and clarity and anything
resembling a personal attack will quickly disappear!)
>> From Frank Gleberman -- We learned that Hurricane Mitch ending the lives
of 31 valiant sailors and their ship. Our group and hundreds of other
friends have sailed with me on Fantome some fifteen times. We knew many of
The tragedy was chronicled by the Miami Herald reporters in a sensitive and
caring way. We must remember that our loves, the Ocean and Mother Nature,
sometimes present us challenges beyond our ability to handle. Around the
world today, in homes and cathedrals, many of us tolled Eight Bells,
signifying the sailors' traditional End of the Watch for Fantome and her crew.
>> From Graham Kelly-- Am I the only person to notice how the CURMUDGEON'S
OBSERVATIONS in SCUTTLEBUTT #218 seems to delineate the USSA life jacket
controversy rather cleverly:
"Tell a man there are 400 billion stars and he'll believe you. Tell him a
bench has wet paint and he has to touch it."
USSA seems to perceive itself as an astronomer (or philosopher-king) with a
large and powerful telescope which gives it knowledge outside the
perception of ordinary mortals. Based on their esoteric research, these
"scientists" pronounce facts regarding the nature of the universe and are
prepared to tell each of us how we should conduct ourselves to conform to
the "scientific reality."
In contrast, many of the "questioners" believe that, like the wetness of
paint, the issue of lifejacket use is empirically verifiable from personal
observation (with the possible addition of relevant statistical
information). Such persons consider that the necessity of a life jacket is
subject to objective analysis, and their individual experience qualifies
them to exercise independent judgment.
Of course, the controversy is fueled by a widespread perception that,
unlike astronomers who constantly test and refine their hypotheses, the
pronouncements from USSA are not supported by relevant observations which
demonstate the problem, and also that the solution proposed is unlikely to
resolve the underlying problem, if one exists. Unfortunately, the
combination of scarce statistical information and irrelevant comparisons
does little to resolve the controversy. However, until the powers at USSA
can demonstrate that the issue of life jacket use must be taken on faith, I
believe that most sailors will continue to rely on their personal
observations as the most accurate guide.
>> From Shipwreck Schupak -- Ok, I took the bait and checked out
Scuttlebutt on the yachtracingclub sight. Sure the type is bigger,
flashier, easier to read and the formatting looks great and they even throw
in a couple of pictures. But where did you get the background music. I'm
sorry, but listening to Romeo loop doesn't get me into a lather to go out
sailing. I know you're the curmudgeon, but let's at least get some
uplifting if not exhilarating music. Don't forget, you're trying to market
>> From Colin Case -- Scuttlebutt with music ...? Let me guess:
I. Barry Manilow
V. None of the above ?
>> From Peter Huston -- (To Dobbs Davis) The ORC Special Reg which governs
the use of PFD's in races sailed under rules governed by the ORC did not
"come from Newport where the water is rarely over 70 degrees". US SAILING
is a broad based, national organization with decisions such as this made by
the volunteer committee members who come from all corners of the country.
The prime motivator in this instance, was Retired Navy Captain John Bonds,
former ExDir of US SAILING, now a resident of South Carolina, and someone
who probably has much salt water, both hot and cold, in his boots as any
other person reading this publication.
Contrary to the assumption made by many people, this Special Regulation is
not a nationwide mandate by US SAILING. The reality is that it only
applies to a very small number of races held in this country. But what this
Special Regulation did was prompt thoughtful discussion in many parts of
the country as to how best handle this subject for their local
environments. I remember the initial resistance in San Francisco when
StFYC first implemented mandatory life jackets. Big Boat series attendance
doesn't seem to be hurt too much since this rule has been adopted.
The people who continue to complain about the application of the US SAILING
ORC PFD Special Regulation are continuing to show their ignorance of the
specific wording of this rule.
Anyone care to ask Leslie and Alexander Klein what they think of this rule?
>> From Bill Sturgeon --I have to agree with others that have written; we
are adults and SHOULD know when to wear our PFD's. Unfortunately in
practice this is rarely the case. A perfect example would be San Diego's
Mid Winter Regatta this past year. We left the dock with wind gusting into
the high 20's. By the time we reached the race coarse our B & G's had shown
gusts to 30+ with seas over 10ft. The race committee decided to abandon
the regatta for safety issues. On the way back in, 2 boats lost masts.
These conditions definitely warranted the wearing of PFD's. Everybody was
in full foul weather gear, and at best I saw only a handful of people
wearing PFD's. The issue about being a good swimmer is laughable. I have
grown up in So. California surfing, rough water swimming, and have been a
Red Cross Certified Lifeguard. The point is, I am a very strong swimmer and
I can't swim with full foullies on -- I've tried.
Let me pose one question to those of you that bring up the statistics --
how many lives must be lost before you think the inconvenience of a PFD is
worth it? Personally I feel one life is too many. For those of you that are
like me and don't like the bulk of the old school PFD's, try the USCG
approved fanny pack inflatable PFD's. They're so small you forget you're
PUBLIC SERVICE ADVERTISING
'Butt is not in the habit of providing free commercials to anyone -- ask
Ullman Sails or Pacific Yacht Embroidery. However, a number of 'Butt-heads
have had problems getting insurance when taking their trailerable boats
overseas, and there is a solution to that problem. David Williams told the
curmudgeon he has a new insurance program offering worldwide coverage with
a $5 million liability limit for owners of Olympic class sailcraft. The
minimum premium is $250.00 and boats like a new 470 run about $350.00
annually. Williams can be reached at:
Marcus Hutchinson, spokesman for Louis Vuitton, the challenger series
sponsor, has spoken out against perceived complacency amongst New Zealand
companies and a number of local authorities. "Kiwis seem to be oblivious to
the fact that the America's Cup starts in October 1999, and not February
2000. I would remind you all that the bulk of overseas visitors are likely
to bury Auckland during the challenger series, supporting their national
syndicates whilst they are still in there with a chance.. We are worried
about the shortage of accommodation." Mr Hutchinson expressed his concern
about the number of building projects that will still be under construction
during the challenger series. Visitors and super yacht owners tied up
adjacent to apartment blocks under construction will not take lightly to
construction mayhem and dust.
He has a very valid point. Economic times have not seen a buoyant sales
period for high priced apartments in New Zealand over the past six months,
and there are still at least three new complexes awaiting sales to a
break-even point before construction can commence. For sure, they will not
be completed by October 1999, and this will be a great pity for New
Many of our overseas readers failed to take us seriously, when we told you
more than two years ago that there would be a major shortage of
accommodation in New Zealand at the start of the Defender series. This was
no idle comment. The Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) has booked
every available bed in Auckland, and even the Italians have been asked to
vacate the two floors they have booked for the month of September '99. We
tried last week on behalf of a visiting group of 22 to find them beds, but
without success. We had to settle for accommodation 57 miles from the
village. (And that is going to get a lot further out as September and
October '99 gets nearer.) -- -- Excerpt from DEFENCE 2000 which is
available from John@roake.gen.nz for US $48 per year.
ROUTE DU RHUM
>> Aboard Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher -- The first problem to spoil the
morning was to find that the forward hatch had been sprung slightly open,
possibly aided by the violent motion of the boat in what were very confused
seas. That meant water down below in quantities that were indeed a problem.
Whilst just getting on top of this issue, everything was suddenly
overshadowed by a much bigger event. With a sudden lurch, the boat took on
a very different motion and it quickly became apparent that the keel was no
Kingfisher has a swing keel - this means, in basic terms, that it is
designed to swing laterally in order to keep the boat more upright and
therefore faster. The swing is controlled by a hydraulic system that uses
rams to pivot the keel from one side to the other depending on which tack
you are on. A failure in the hydraulic system of this kind meant that the
keel was then able to swing freely from side to side, limited only by the
resistance of the water. MacArthur is now working hard on implementing a
system to at least block the keel in one position.
For the full story:
>>Alain Gautier (Broceliande) hit a whale while he was sailing at 17 knots.
He had almost caught up with Laurent Bourgnon aboard Primagaz at the time
of the accident. As a result, his rudder is ruptured and his spinnaker boom
is damaged. Gautier is still confident and is still hoping to gain on
JUNIOR OLYMPIC SAILING FESTIVAL
The US Sailing Center on the Jensen Beach Causeway in Martin County (Fla.)
is the place to be from Friday November 20 to Sunday, November 22. A USA
Junior Olympic Sailing Festival, sponsored by West Marine, is taking place
and the activities range from clinics, to a regatta to a day full of
Advanced sailing clinics, featuring Olympic sailors will be held on Friday
and Saturday. Louise VanVoorhis, Tracy Hayley, Kim Logan and Kurt Taulbee
have each planned training sessions for the youth sailors. Clinics will be
held for single/double-handed and windsurfing.
Saturday and Sunday will be exciting as the competition is played out on
the water. The boats for the regatta include Optimist, Byte, Laser Radial,
and 420s. Racing will be held on the Indian River.
USA Junior Olympic Sailing is a grass-roots program that provides a path
where young sailors can become involved in sailing and develop their skills
through events nationwide. The program involves more than 3,500,000
For more information:
TIP O' THE WEEK
Maybe this is a life lesson, or maybe it's a sailing lesson. Either way
it's definitely one to note. There I was on the first beat, battling for
the lead. After a good start and a well executed first leg I was
approaching the weather mark and starboard layline, about 7 boat lengths
shy of the port tack layline. A nice lead on the pack and only one boat to
worry about - the starboard tacker one boat length above the starboard tack
layline. What do I do? I get greedy.
Instead of ducking and fighting for the lead on any of the remaining three
legs of the race, I leebow the starboard tacker. A mediocre tack, a little
current at the buoy, an extra long anchor line, a nice deep centerboard
(V15), and there it is: "The Egregious Error." I hit the mark, get stuck,
turn my circle and am in 5th place in the pack and the leader is launched,
Knowing your risk entering any given tactical decision is imperative to
making the right move. Sure, going for the lead is great, however, with
three legs remaining of a race, nice separation from the pack and a touch
of current, waiting for another window of opportunity looks pretty good in
retrospect. In fact, in retrospect it's a no-brainer. In the moment it
would have been a no-brainer too, if I had made a quick check of the risk
versus the gain. -- The Coach at Sailweb.net
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?