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SCUTTLEBUTT 1461 - November 19, 2003

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digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

JONATHAN
(On Jonathan McKee's website, there is a fascinating account of his Mini
Transat adventures, as well as the story of the recovery and shipping of
his disabled Mini 6.50 from Recife, Brazil. Here's an excerpt.)

Loading my Mini onto the little flatbed truck for transport down the coast
was another interesting adventure. The crane was barely big enough, the
harbor was so shallow that I couldn't get the boat very close to shore, and
nobody had any proper straps to lift the boat. I made some slings out of
Vectran and we managed to get the boat out of the water, but then the crane
couldn't lift it high enough to put the keel on the hard. So we ended up
dropping the boat onto the mud while I crawled aboard and undid the keel
bolts. A little messy but we got the keel off, and dropped the boat onto
the trailer. Of course the truck drivers hadn't brought the proper padding
to put under the hull, so there was a lot of frantic discussion in
Portuguese about what to do next. Eventually we procured some more tires
and lashed to boat down for the road trip. Another hurdle overcome…

Because the paperwork was a little shaky, my new friends determined that it
would be safest if I rode with the truck to Salvador. This seemed alright,
I would see a bit of the country and save the money of a plane flight. I
figured, 400 miles, how long could that take? So we set off that afternoon,
a driver, his partner and me, all crammed in the cab of the 1960s vintage
truck. Our conversation was somewhat limited by our language differences,
mostly sign language and a little Spanish. After we got out of the city of
Recife, the guys stopped to cook up a meal in the little kitchen built into
the side of their truck. This turned out to be the first of many such
cooking stops.

As we wound our way south of the city, I began to realize that there was no
freeway between Recife and Salvador, to say the least. Suddenly there was a
load bang from the back of the truck, and we pulled over to the side of the
road. Another truck stopped behind us, and within minutes a towing cable
was produced, and we were being towed down the road, albeit at a much
reduced speed. After two hours of painfully slow progress, we arrived at a
truck stop. Despite the late hour, the place was teaming with activity. I
thought my days of sleeping in the Mini were over, but I crawled up onto my
boat one last time and bedded down for the night. The next morning work
began on fixing the broken rear axle. - Jonathan McKee

Full story: http://www.j-mckee.com/en/news/fiche.php?actu=73

* FOOTNOTE: Just two months after the formation of the Mini Class US, the
organization is up and running with Jonathan McKee and Adam Seamans
becoming first members of the new class organization. Mini Class US's
administrative headquarters are located in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Operational headquarters are at Piers Park, Boston, Massachusetts, ten
minutes from Logan International Airport. The Piers Park facility provides
Mini Class US with 365 day a year sailing capabilities. - Jack Boyle,
www.miniclassus.com

TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE
It was at 0518hrs GMT 5s that the brand new Farr Open 60 Virbac, skippered
by Jean-Pierre Dick and Nicolas Abiven, ghosted across the finish line in
the darkness of the Brazilian night to take a convincing victory in their
first ever major oceanic yacht race. Nearly seven hours later, the
Anglo-French team of Alex Thomson and Roland Jourdain crossed the finish
line on Sill in Salvador da Bahia at 1209hrs GMT 11s (0909hrs local time),
to clinch 2nd place just 19 minutes 26s in front of British duo Mike
Golding and Brian Thompson on Ecover who finished in 3rd place at 1228hrs
GMT 37s, after 4 days of match-racing neck and neck right down to the line.

Sandwiched between two brand new Open 60 yachts, the 1999 Lombard design,
recently acquired by 29 year old skipper Alex Thomson for the Vendée Globe
2004, covered the theoretical distance of 4,340m in 16 days 22 hrs 9 mins
11 s at an average boat speed of 10.69 knots. Ecover, the new Owen/Clarke
steed also for the Vendée, spent 16 days and 22 hrs and 28 minutes 37s on
the water with an average theoretical boat speed of 10.68 knots. Class
winner, Virbac, covered the 4340m theoretical route in 16 days, 15 hours,
18 minutes and 5 seconds at an average theoretical speed of 10.87 knots. -
www.jacques-vabre.com

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THE TRANSAT
More than forty 50-foot and 60-foot state-of-the-art boats, raced by the
superstars of the solo offshore sailing circuit, are expected to take part
in the 2004 'The Transat' race, will be started by single-handed sailing
heroine, Ellen MacArthur, MBE, in Plymouth, UK at 1400 on Monday 31 May
2004, a holiday weekend in the UK. Established in 1960 as the OSTAR, 'The
Transat' was the first-ever single-handed ocean race. It is arguably the
most challenging of all trans-ocean races, taking competitors nearly 3,000
miles upwind, across the grueling North Atlantic Ocean.

The race is the key event in both the IMOCA (60-foot monohulls) and ORMA
class (60-foot multihulls) 2004 calendars. For the 60-foot monohulls, it is
effectively the prologue to the Vendée Globe, the single-handed, non-stop
around-the world race. For the multihulls, it will be the first solo race
since 2002 Route du Rhum, where violent storms prevented all but two
multihulls from finishing the race. . For the 50-foot class it will be an
opportunity to line up on the same start line as the very best short-handed
ocean racers.

Race organizer, Offshore Challenge Events has chosen to keep a single start
and the same course for all classes of boats, in tune with the philosophy
of one of the race's originators, Blondie Hasler - "one man, one boat, the
sea". Following a broad evaluation of potential venues on the Eastern
seaboard of the US, Boston has been selected as the finish destination. The
Corinthian Yacht Club is the official American host yacht club. -
http://www.thetransat.com

COMMENTARY
There has been an explosion in the number of yachting events recently. The
next leg of the Swedish Match Tour is underway in Japan, the first of no
fewer than six major events taking place in the next four years. Next
October, the Global Challenge starts from Portsmouth. In 2005, the Volvo
(formally Whitbread) Ocean Race gets under way, as will the non-stop
round-the-world Oryx Cup, organized by British yachtswoman Tracy Edwards
and due to start and finish in the UK. Also taking place in 2005 is the
Clipper World Challenge Cup. The following year sees the multi-stage Qatar
Sports Global Challenge, also organised by Ms Edwards, and in 2007 the
America's Cup returns to Europe for the first time since the inaugural race
round the Isle of Wight in 1851. The America's Cup is a match event, as
opposed to a round-the-world race, so lasts for only about four months, but
it is always the highlight of the racing calendar.

It is, by anyone's judgment, a lot of racing. Mark Bullingham,
vice-president of strategy at sports marketing firm GEM, says: "The reality
is that there are too many races and not all can survive." In other words,
the fear is that there will not be enough sponsors to go round, and those
in the running will be able to pick and choose events. "The races that will
survive are the ones that are really looking at what people want, both in
terms of the sailors and sponsors, and are well-funded and forward
looking," adds Mr Bullingham.

One event that already looks in jeopardy is The Race, a round-the-world
event organised by the French yachting impresario Bruno Peyron. It was due
to start in February next year but has been postponed through lack of
interest; there are concerns that the current proliferation of races means
it will not get off the ground.

"The Volvo is potentially another one," says an industry expert. "They got
a lot of things wrong in the last race, though they do now have a good
product for the next race." - Abigail Townsend, The Independent, full
story: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/media/story.jsp?story=464055

THINK YOU'RE A HOT SAILOR? - CHECK THIS OUT
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NEWS BRIEFS
* After extreme scrutiny, ISAF has authorized IRC as the first ISAF
Recognized Rating System for a broad spectrum of multi-crewed offshore
yachts. This recognition, which was finalized during the 2003 ISAF November
Conference, has been asked for by many of the ISAF Member National
Authorities who have local racing without a national rating office, and who
want certificates that can be accessed, cheaply and electronically from a
central source. - ISAF website, full story:
http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=5808
Rating information: http://www.rorcrating.com/

* Geronimo, the Cap Gemini/ Schneider Electric trimaran, crossed has the
start line early Tuesday in an attempt to break the Discovery Route record
from Cadiz to San Salvador. The current record of 9 days, 13 hours, 31
minutes and 18 seconds was set in February by Steve Fossett in his 38-metre
catamaran, PlayStation. To beat it, Olivier de Kersauson and his crew must
complete the 4,700 miles by 22:15 (GMT) on Thursday 27 November. Geronimo
started doing 28 knots with a 20-knot north-easterly blowing.
http://www.grandsrecords.com/ker/rec/en/homepage_flash.htm

* Jim Richardson and his Barking Mad team won the inaugural Rolex Farr 40
Match Race today in Miami. Six international teams competed in the two-day,
double round-robin series as a warm-up to the Rolex Farr One Design
Invitational. Nerone, owned by Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori
(Rome, Italy), beat Barking Mad, but suffered two defeats, to finish second
overall. Final standings: 1. Jim Richardson, 8-2; 2. Massimo Mezzaroma &
Antonio Sodo Migliori, 7-3; 3. Peter de Ridder, 5-5; 4. Erik Maris, 4-6; 5.
Steve Phillips, 3-7; 6. Peter Stoneberg & Alex Geremia, 3-7.
www.farrinternational.com/rolexinvite03

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
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LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com)
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 nor a
bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best
shot and don't whine if others disagree.)

* From Mason Chrisman I have taken great pleasure over the years in
disagreeing with Tom Ehman on a wide variety of subjects. But in his
editorial on the throw out race in the Olympics he is dead right. This
action needed to be done for all the reasons Tom stated.

* From Richard Russell: If discards are to go then so should having to
finish within a time limits of the first boat. In one men's 470 race at the
last pre-Olympic regatta only 4 boats finished due to the time limit. All
the others scored DNF (31 points). With no discards this would be far too
great a penalty for something, which arguably was not the competitors' fault.

* From Mark Townsend: In response to Tom Ehman's guest editorial I am
afraid I have to respectfully disagree.

1. "Premature starter problems will all but end." This has not been our
experience when we introduced throw outs at our club regattas what happened
was that the automatic YMP protests from a boat called OCS disappeared. The
number of OCS boats stayed about the same.

2. The leader is still going to match race their nearest competitors at the
end of the regatta when only two boats are in with a chance. The match race
will simply occur in the middle of the fleet rather than the back of the fleet.

3. "Competitors might take better care of their equipment", I suspect not
though, the good sailors already do and the ones that don't will probably
not change.

If simplified scoring was an indication of popularity, NASCAR should have
no followers. Can anyone explain that scoring system, number of laps lead
get bonus points... The danger of no throw outs is that someone can win
every race but the last, and due to a breakdown loose the regatta. Maybe
they should have gone a step further and considered a high point scoring
system with no discards and bonus points for lead laps and double points
for the last race.

* From Bill Simpson US Sailing Sr. Judge: Tom Ehman's analysis of the
positive effects of "no throw-outs" (Scuttlebutt 1460) is eloquent. But we
need to straighten out one point. A request for redress for a breakdown of
supplied equipment depends upon the rules (i.e. RRS and SIs). RRS rule 62.1
lays out the conditions upon which requests for redress can be based. Rule
62.1(a) provides for "an improper action or omission of the race committee
or protest committee," but there is no language extending this to the
organizing authority. Therefore, unless the Sailing Instructions so
provide, breakdowns on loaned boats will not qualify as justifications for
redress. So all OAs, please note, if you're providing boats, be sure to
provide something on breakdowns in the SIs, especially for major events. [I
was on an appeals committee which reviewed such a case. We denied redress
because there was no breakdown provision in the SIs. The appeal went to US
Sailing, and our ruling was upheld.]

* From Carol Boe: Holy sh*t! Talk about a morning caffeine alternative! I
finally took a moment to peak at the pictures submitted for the Scuttlebutt
photo contest and couldn't tear myself away until I saw them all! Wow ...!
Though I seldom experienced the real nasty wind and weather racing here in
Southern California for 20 years, it brought me back as to why I started
racing in the first place -- and why I quit! Keep 'em coming, 'buttheads!
I'm more than happy to re-live those years via my high and dry Barcalounger
and PC.

* From Kris Bundy: Just took a look at the Scuttlebutt photo gallery for
the first time. Maybe it's just me, but somehow the only shots that make my
heart skip a beat are those of the 12/14/18 footers. Whoa nellie, that's
sailin! http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/03/contest/gallery/

* From Clifford Bradford: In referring to Mari-Cha IV's records in
Scuttlebutt 1460 the writer of the article should have mentioned that these
are monohull records as these marks are well short of the absolute records.

* From Malcolm Kirkland, Project Manager, Bermuda Sloop Foundation (re
Master and Commander - Hiking in 1805): As Captain Aubrey would have known,
the most weatherly ("weather gauge") and fastest sailers of 1805 were
Bermuda sloops. The Royal Navy used them for communications, eg, HMS
"Pickle" brought word back of Tralfalgar. In civilian use, Bermudians used
them for privateering etc often carrying prize crew with them. Large
numbers of crew were also needed to manhandle the 60' boom - 6' longer than
Pride of Baltimore II's. Necessity makes genius. Without external ballast,
a 70' might carry 50 crew which was 7500 lbs of movable ballast. To preempt
a thread on the definition of a sloop, the RN defined sloops of war in
terms of numbers of guns not masts. For history on the Bermuda sloop, see
www.bermudasloop.org

* From Chris Bolton (In answer to Scot Truesdell re piling crew on the
weather rail): I just got through reading a biography of Captain Thomas
Cochrane, the real man behind the novels. He did indeed throw crew on the
rail and brace up his masts to get more speed. During one chase in a
squall, he also rapidly furled his sails and gybed (barely surviving), then
watched his three pursuers go 2-3 miles past him downwind before they could
manage to turn after him (he got away). Intelligent, clever, aggressive,
and willing to take huge risks after careful planning; he would have made a
hell of an America's Cup skipper. An amazing man all-around, and clearly
one who relished the command of a good ship and a well-trained crew. His
story makes the novels somewhat pale.

* From Alan Blunt: I realize that this seems to be a never ending thread,
but John Gardner's response to the air born coach boat photo brings up a
very valid point. At all these Junior Regattas the coach boats do double
duty as safety boats (quite often the only safety boats) and as such when
necessary must be allowed both to enter the race course and travel at the
fastest possible safe speed. From first-hand experience I know of many
serious incidents that have been avoided because of the quick response of
experienced coaches. Unfortunately, I've also experienced coaches that have
not assisted in rescues that don't involve their own sailors.

Current Level I coaches receive basic instruction in powerboat handling and
have to pass an on-the-water test that is conducted in a sheltered harbor.
It does not address high speed boat handling or rescue procedures. At most
large regattas the coaches are required to register with the race
committee. Maybe U.S. sailing should offer an additional safety
certification that, along with proof of Level I certification, would be
required before a coach boat is allowed near the sailors or the race course.

CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Who opened that first oyster and said, "My, my, my - doesn't this look
yummy!"?