SCUTTLEBUTT 1389 - August 8, 2003
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Kimberly Birkenfeld had it all at 37 - an MBA from Harvard, a successful
consulting business, the No. 1 ranking among women windsurfers on the U.S.
Sailing Team, all leading into a week with her boyfriend Magnus Liljedahl
at his birthplace in Sweden.
After a flight together to Amsterdam, where they parted, he returned to his
adopted home in America to sail in the Nautica Star Worlds at Marina del
Rey. She went on to the pre-Olympic regatta at Athens.
"It was the epitome of my sailing career," she said. "I couldn't have been
happier that I had earned the right to represent the [U.S.] in the Olympic
test event. I had everything lined up. Then the next thing I knew I woke up
Aug. 8, 2002, a year ago today from this publication date, was the day
Birkenfeld's life crashed. She didn't feel a thing. She remembers nothing.
About a half-hour before a race start, she was involved in a violent
collision with a rival team's inflatable chase boat. It was piloted by
Bruce Kendall, a New Zealand coach and former Olympic gold and bronze
medallist. There were no witnesses - none who came forward, anyway - other
than Julia Conrad, a German windsurfer who was riding along with Kendall.
Birkenfeld suffered severe traumatic brain injury, spinal-cord injury, and
the effects of nearly drowning. Doctors told her that only her athletic
fitness kept her alive.
Kendall told Greek authorities that he turned his boat and saw a sailor
coming right at him. Conrad supported that account. Birkenfeld, in a coma
for a month and unable to think clearly long after, was in no position to
dispute them. Until now.
Curmudgeon's comment: There's more to Rich Robert's story…much more:
U.S. JUNIOR WOMEN'S SINGLEHANDED CHAMPIONSHIP
Mentor Harbor Yacht Club, Mentor Harbor, OH (August 8) - Charlotte Hill
from Miami, FL won the Leiter Trophy competing against forty-one junior
women from across the United States. Nathalie Mulhern of La Porte, TX, came
in second with Allison Blecher of Fullerton, CA, taking third. Case
Hathaway-Zepa of Pasadena, CA was chosen by her competitors to receive the
sportsmanship trophy. When asked what she liked best about the event she
said, "All the people and their attitudes. Everyone went out even when the
weather wasn't so good with no complaints and the competition stayed on the
water." The coaches and judges awarded the spirit trophy to Katherine
Greene of Honolulu, HI. Complete Results at:
- by Fred Hagedorn, Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman:
In mid-August our Team will arrive at the venue of the 2004 Olympics for
sailing's second and final test event. Every nation will have a maximum of
one entrant per event, and we will be traveling with a full team of 18
athletes. Full team support will come from Team Leader Jonathan Harley,
on-site weather reports provided by Chris Bedford, the unparalleled skills
of our illustrious Team Boatwright Carl Eichenlaub, and from the coaching
staff led by Gary Bodie.
The focus for all our athletes will then turn to September and the Op Gold
event of the year -- The 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championships in Cadiz,
Spain. Our Paralympic hopefuls will have their first opportunity to
experience the venue in Athens during the IFDS Worlds at the same time.
Half way up the final beat to the finish it happens... your headsail falls
to the deck. Don't you wish you had inspected your halyards? Annapolis
Performance Sailing reminds you that proper race prep includes inspecting
all your cordage for signs of chafe, rot or other damage regularly. If you
haven't been doing this, now is the time. To help you ensure your second
half of the season is as good as the first, APS is running a 50% off
rigging sale. Check your cordage and give our line experts a call at
800.729.9767. For more details, http://www.apsltd.com/depts/dept3269.asp
The Cascade Locks at the Columbia River Gorge was an in-crowd thing for
years-a favorite with Pacific Northwest dinghy sailors who like their
action in wild open spaces. Lately, the Locks have become a training ground
for Olympians, and top sailors are buying houses there.
The Locks went mainstream in 2002, and the 2003 calendar has been full. The
29ers wrapped up their North American championship in July, and now the
49er Nationals are next on August 16-17, the Snipe North Americans August
22-24, and the Melges 24 Gorge Regatta September 13-14.
Back in the Eighties there was the windsurfer rush to Hood River, which is
to say to the town farther upriver where the Hood joins the Columbia. Hood
River is known for its booming winds and big air. But the Locks offer
At the Cascade Locks, the breeze blows upriver and builds through the day,
reliably. And the wind blows against a two-knot river current, so the beats
are shortened and the downwind legs are lengthened. The water in the
summertime is warm, and it doesn't even taste bad. 17 knots is a typical
afternoon breeze. What's not to like?
Conditions change mile by mile along the river, with more-and more
stable-wind in the open stretches and significant waves where a fetch has
time to build. In the protected zones you find smooth water and shifty
winds. You can pick the kind of sailing you want to do. - SAIL Magazine
Additional information at http://www.gorgesailing.org
Newport, R.I. (August 7, 2003) A new event was recently unveiled to
better serve the disabled sailor component in the US. The Clagett Memorial
Cup, an inaugural event for disabled sailors, is set to take place August
21-24, 2003, in Newport, RI. The hallmark of the event will be the
combination of an annual regatta with a dedicated coaching component. The
specific goal of the event - to take good disabled sailors and position
them to move up to elite-level sailing is enhanced by a long-range goal of
increasing the talent pool for future Paralympic competition. Unique due to
its purpose and intended perpetuity for disabled sailors, the event will
take place at the newly expanded Shake-A-Leg Sailing Center at Fort Adams.
"This event will be the first of its kind in the country combining
top-level instruction followed by a competition for a perpetual trophy for
disabled people," explained head coach and Regatta Chair Scott Callahan,
himself a C-4 quadriplegic. His personal evolution from a novice sailor in
1996, to one of the best disabled skippers in the world, representing the
U.S.A. at the 2000 Paralympic Games
For more information on their programs, contact Shake-A-Leg-Newport at P.O.
Box 1264, Newport, R.I., 401-849-8898; or visit them online at
- Jan Harley, Media Pro
THOUGHTS FROM THE RAIL
The Curmudgeon recently observed, "Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we
messed up in our life we could press 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' and start over?"
Having sailed Transpac and blasted into the night with a white chute up and
full main doing 19.5 knots with the boat vibrating like crazy. I cherish
the memory. I've dreamt of crewing in Whitbread/ Volvo Ocean Race but the
decision to stay home and raise my son held strong. For so long I thought
those times anchored just off hotel Oa Oa on Bora Bora, lazing on the deck
of a 100' schooner and having a tanned lady crewmember with flower lei for
a top handing me a refreshing Hinano, was the top of the heap. That is,
until my son introduced me to his second grade class for show and tell "as
his dad." I don't know what feeling was worse, when the regatta was over
and the next one was six weeks away and thousands of miles from where I
stood. Or, how I felt when my boy refused to pull weeds even when I offered
money for the household chore. Oh, for what lies ahead? Tribulations and
fear of what is before you always aid the soul in creative conclusions!
Braving the tempest adds character and humbles that soul all the while
developing the wisdom to be who you are and gives the foundation you use to
assist in guidance of those that follow. So, no! I am glad I did not have
the "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" to change and start over. - Bob Kiernan
US OPTI NATIONALS
Chicago, IL, August 7th - With clear skies, steady 8 to 12 knot winds and
seas up to one foot all day, the Championship fleet completed four races
and the Green fleet completed five. Weather conditions remained steady
until the middle of the final race of the day when the winds picked up to
14 knots with whitecaps. After six hours of intense competition, race
officials made the call to send the competitors in for the day.
"Conditions today were ideal for this competition," said John Vandemoer,
Chicago Yacht Club Sailing School instructor and head coach. "The first two
days' light winds set us back, but we made up all that was lost in today's
racing." Race committee is aiming to complete an additional three races to
wrap-up the event Friday, thereby reaching the 12-race maximum for the Opti
Nationals. "It looks like we'll see 10 to 15 knots from between the
northeast and northwest for tomorrow's racing," said Vandemoer. "The scores
are tight at the top, so we are definitely excited to get these last three
races off and name our national champion." - Haley Pingree, PCI
Results through Thursday
Green Fleet (55 entrants):
1. Will Dennis, Saratoga, CA - 24 points
2. Kelly Seago, Grosse Point Shores, MI - 38 points
3. Andrew Pate, Naples, FL - 38 points
Championship Fleet (208 entrants):
1. Kiel Killeen, New Orleans, LA - 35 points
2. Elijah Simmons, St. Georges, BER - 45 points
3. Alex Bunt, Fair Haven, NJ - 46 points
Event website: http://www.chicagoyachtclub.org/opti/index.html
HENRI LLOYD SWEETENS THE DEAL
Henri Lloyd USA adds a new prize to the Layline photo contest! Last Friday,
we announced our photo contest. Tom from Henri Lloyd said, "Walt, great
idea! Could you add a bonus prize?" So now there is another way to win:
send photos of yourself or friends wearing Henri Lloyd product, and you
will be entered to win $1,000 of brand new Henri Lloyd gear. Enter up to
ten photos per person - each one is eligible to win Layline's weekly prize.
Don't forget to vote for your favorites; your vote enters you in Layline's
The competitors at both the Snipe Worlds and the Pan Am Games were
observing a scheduled day off on Thursday. Racing resumes on Friday for
Pan Am Games: http://www.ussailing.org/Olympics/PanAm
Snipe Worlds: http://www.borstahusens-ss.org/snipe2003
* The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) and Boat Owners
Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) are hosting a series of Town
Hall Meetings this summer to discuss the critical funding issues that are
hindering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to maintain the
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW). There is a real possibility that
commercial and recreational use of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
(AIWW) in Florida will lose parts of the waterway due to shoaling. Full
report at http://www.boatus.com/news/releases.asp
* More than 240 boats are set to sail the course of the RORC's 2003 Rolex
Fastnet Race. Run biennially, the 608-mile long offshore race will start at
10:00 on 10th August from the traditional start line in front of Cowes'
Royal Yacht Squadron on the Isle of Wight.
The current monohull race record stands at 53 hours and amongst the fleet
this year are several boats capable of setting a better time, the favorite
being Neville Crichton's 90-foot Maxi monohull Alfa Romeo. Crichton's New
Zealand-registered yacht has already picked up line honours in the Rolex
Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December last year and recently broke the
record for the offshore race in the Giraglia Rolex Cup in the
Mediterranean. Additional information at http://www.rorc.org
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* August 15-16: Volvo Leukemia Cup in Bristol RI. Racing includes
one-design as well as PHRF spinnaker and non-spinnaker. Funds raised go
toward disease research. More information is available by contacting John
Handfield III at 401-683-4704 or at
* August 15-17: Yngling North American Championship in Minnesota. Event
* August 16-20: CORK in Kingston, Canada. Event website: http://www.cork.org
* August 22-24: Laser National Championship in Sayville, N.Y. Event
Curmudgeon's comment: I am pleased to announce the debut of the official
Scuttlebutt event calendar on our website. Regatta organizers can use the
inputting features to help publicize their event, while the rest of us can
use the search tool to find out what's going on. Bookmark it at
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be
edited for clarity or space - 250 words max. This is not a chat room or a
bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best
shot and don't whine if others disagree.)
* From David Scully: Will Cosmos 1's time for circumnavigating the earth
qualify for Jules Verne record consideration?
* From Ed Crouch: The juxtaposition of the interesting piece about Space
Sailing on Cosmos 1 and the ad for UV protective clothing struck me as
quite funny. How long until the ad reads "....a back flip on the
centerboard, leaping for a surprise jibe on your Farr 40, or hurtling
through outer space where the UV is really intense....?"
* From Marc Skipwith: ISAF's international world "wide" ranking list is the
most useless information that anybody anywhere publishes. It is an
attendance list, period. Absolutely favoring the Europeans. Within a five
hours radius from most European Country's you are able to attend ISAF
sanctioned events!!!! You might say who cares, well, with ISAF's combined
ISAF Worlds, limiting the entry to a guaranteed attendance if you are in
the top 100, guess what, based on just that "attendance" list makes it
unfair for the rest of the world.
* From Will Glenn: Having just spent the winter in this beautiful
archipelago I agree we should pay our way; the Bahamians have a treasure
and those of us who are fortunate enough the use it should help support it.
* From Giles Anderson: Has anyone looked at the Pan Am Games web site
(http://www.santodomingo2003.com)? Sailing is listed as the sport of
"Candle." It's right after the sports of "I Swim Synchronous," "It Fights
Olympic," and "Rise of Weights." No, I'm not making these up. My favorite -
in the Athletics competition under the "Tests of Launching" there is a
"Wild Sow" event.
No wonder we have so many problems attracting spectators and sponsorship to
Candle when the competition is having wild sow tossing contests.
* Bob Knowles: What an interesting pair the nominating committee has chosen
to be inducted this year into the AC Hall of Fame. With Gary Jobson, you
get the cool analysis of a veteran tactician with the gift of being able to
translate all of the complexities of sailboat racing down to it's most
basic elements and conveying it to audiences worldwide, entertaining
sailors and non-sailors alike.
Than there's Alan Bond. Here's a man whose name alone would fulfill the
definition of "maverick" in any country's dictionary, whose approach could
best be described as plunge ahead, learn as you go from (very expensive)
mistakes, don't give up or be discouraged 'till you get to the goal you've
set and win that damn cup!
Two very different men from very different backgrounds who exemplify what's
so neat and exciting about what we all love to do. Congratulations to both
of them and to the committee for nominating them.
Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side and a dark side, and it
holds the universe together.