SCUTTLEBUTT 1492 - January 8, 2004
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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.
I am an admiralty lawyer, and although I am a member of both the US Sailing
Legal Committee and the Maritime Law Association, Recreational Boating
Committee the opinions I now express are my own and not those of either
committee. I will note that over the last several years this topic has been
discussed in both committees.
Generally speaking it is important to understand that the Inland Rules are
applicable inside the line of demarcation and the Collision Regulations
apply outside the line of demarcation. They have subtle differences and the
US can and does change the Inland Rules. I have seen draft language to be
added to Inland Rule #1 which would have excluded the racing yachts
vis-à-vis one another (but not third party non racing boats) from the
application of the Inland Rules. This of course would not have solved the
problem when the Col Regs are applicable. The issue was mentioned to
individuals at USCG but not pushed several years ago.
There is a circuit split developing over whether racers may contract out of
the application of the inland rules/col regs vis-à-vis one another. The
contract is comprised of the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and
Racing Rules. It is clear that with respect to non racing boats v. racing
boats the inland/col regs continue to apply.
It is true that many local laws incorporate the inland rules by reference
and make violations a criminal misdemeanor. There is an argument that
states may not legislate on this topic if the general maritime law has
already spoken because the area is preempted. That argument is even
stronger when you make it in a circuit which says you can contract out of
the inland/col reg application between racing yachts. (By the way, in those
circuits the protest hearing could be your only hearing on the merits to
determine fault thereby binding your insurance company and/or your own
wallet to its outcome.)
While I was in the midst of discussions about this topic on both
aforementioned committees, I was involved in a collision with a famous
sailor who shall remain nameless since he was on port. We were both given
criminal misdemeanor violations (what made this different than other
collisions is that there was serious injury). The rumor intelligence was
that this was the third time that any state prosecutor had attempted to
push the issue when challenged. (One was in Florida and the other was in
California but I understand in both cases the state refused to continue the
prosecution.) I saw this as a perfect test case to actually get a written
opinion from a court of law on the applicability of a state criminal
statute where the federal law had clearly preempted the field.
Unfortunately, Maryland prosecutors were unwilling to prosecute me (not
surprising since I was on starboard). I even knew the prosecutors and
begged them to prosecute but they said that it would be "a cold day in
hell" before they prosecuted me under this statute.
Unfortunately, it is still listed as "coming soon" on our website but we
have written a short piece on this topic and our web guys will get it up
soon. - Todd Lochner, www.boatinglaw.com
Anthony Young's Computer Associates 18ft Skiff team reversed their earlier
bad luck in the series to take out Heat Four of the Omega Smeg Giltinan
International Championships on Sydney Harbour. Computer Associates grabbed
a 1m21s victory over defending champion Howie Hamlin in West Marine. Avaya
(Peter Morrison) finished a further 1m25s back in third place. Rob
Greenhalgh finished fifth to improve his lead over Hugh Stodart who took
14th. Hamlin's second place finish leaves his West Marine team to eighth
place with 31 points.
Standings: 1. RMW Marine (Rob Greenhalgh) 9 points; 2. Asko Appliances
(Hugh Stodart) 22; 3. Computer Associates (Anthony Young) 23; 4. Maytag
(Tony Hannan) 23.
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THE BIG DAY
The Australians did not name Darling Harbour especially to honour Ellen
MacArthur, the solo sailor who earned her place in the UK's affections
three years ago, but they should have. For here, MacArthur will launch her
latest sailing project today. And in an adroit piece of marketing,
Britain's best-known sailor simultaneously will open the London Boat Show
via satellite link.
The point scarcely needs to be made, but the world is MacArthur's backyard.
Since coming second in the solo Vendee Globe race three years ago with
Kingfisher, this diminutive dynamo has barely paused for breath. Her
mileage at sea is fast closing on 200,000 and her new 75ft trimaran B & Q
Castorama is the second major element in a three-pronged, long-term campaign.
The aim is simple: to go further or faster than anyone else has managed
sailing alone. The three key records MacArthur will be chasing over the
next two years are the greatest distance sailed in 24 hours; the quickest
west-east transatlantic sprint; and ultimately, the swiftest loop around
* B & Q Castorama was designed by Briton Nigel Irens, built in Sydney and
soon will head for New Zealand, where MacArthur will carry out speed trials
and Southern Ocean rough-water testing. Then, just as she did with the 60ft
monohull Kingfisher ahead of the 1999/2000 Vendee Globe, she will sail the
boat back half way round the world, initially with a crew as far as Cape
Horn, and then solo thereafter. - Excerpts from a major story by Tim
Jeffery in the Daily Telegraph, full story: http://tinyurl.com/35fh8
* Melbourne, AUS - Defending champions, Szabolcs Majthenyi and Andras
Domokos (HUN) have won the 55-boat Flying Dutchman Worlds when the final
day's racing was abandoned due to excessive winds (40 knots at times). The
series was scheduled for seven races, but a lack of wind or too much of it
at times resulted in a six race series with one discard. Norman Rydge/
Richard Scarr (AUS) finished second, three points back with 18 points,
while Hans-Peter Schwarz/ Peter van Koppen (GER), ranked No. 1 in the
World, finished third with 21 points. www.sailmelbourne.com.au
* Melbourne, AUS - Australian's swept the podium positions in the Yngling
Worlds with Neville Wittey topping the 36-boat class with 39 points, seven
points ahead of Nicky Bethwaite, who was the top female. Adrian Nash & Sean
Edmiston took third place in the nine race (with one discard) championship.
There were no North Americans racing in the event.
* Checking in off Tasmania after 60 days on the water, Jean Luc Van den
Heede's 84-foot aluminum VDH now has 15 and a half days' lead over the
single-handed record for going round the world backwards (against the
prevailing currents and winds) held by Philippe Monnet in 151 days 19 h
54'36'' since 9th June 2000. "A huge depression is heading towards me,"
revealed Jean-Luc. "I've therefore taken the decision to head up 3 degrees
of latitude for the next two days to avoid hitting it head on." -
* The four finalists for Cruising World magazine's Overall Cruising Boat of
the Year Award were the Beneteau 373, the Catalina 387, the Etap 37s, and
the Hunter 41-range in price from $135,000 to $200,000 and in length from
37 feet to 41 feet. A common thread among these boats is that they each
come from high-volume yards whose production efficiencies diminish the unit
cost, adding value to each boat. The Belgian-built Etap 37s took top honors
for its layout above and below deck, its attention to safety, and its
sprightliness under way. To learn why it won the competition:
* Sailors have less than two weeks to complete on-line registration for the
2004 Rolex Miami OCR, which this year moves to a Tuesday through Friday
schedule - January 27-30. Online registration closes January 19, with
on-site registration taking place January 26. The global importance of this
event, the only International Sailing Federation (ISAF) grade-one ranking
event in the U.S. for Olympic and Paralympic classes, is reflected in a
traditionally high attendance by both U.S. and foreign Olympic hopefuls.
Last year, 526 athletes represented 34 countries, with more than half of
the 328 boats comprising the foreign entries.
* We've just posted on the Scuttlebutt website some pretty amazing photos
of the recently launched Mirabella V, which at 246 feet, is the world's
biggest single masted yacht. It is also the biggest composite ship ever
built, and will be used as a charter vessel, operating mainly in the
Mediterranean and Caribbean when she enters service early in 2004. Charter
costs will be some $250,000 a week.
* David Sebire has been appointed Chairman of Maiden Global Challenges
(MGC), the recently formed company which manages Qatar 2006's sponsorship
of Maiden 2. In addition, Pitch PR has been appointed as MGC's
communications and marketing partner. This follows the appointment of Brian
Thompson as racing skipper of Qatar 2006. Thompson, who was race skipper of
Maiden 2 when it broke 5 world records during 2002, including the 24 hour
speed record and the Round Britain and Ireland Record, has recently been
invited to sail as watch-captain on board Steve Fossett's Cheyenne for
their forthcoming Jules Verne record attempt.
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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 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 Olin J. Stephens: At age 95 I suppose I should keep quiet but
reading certain letters in Scuttlebutt I can't quite do so. I feel, now,
like saying how happy I am that I was most deeply involved in sailing
before either the USCG or the ISAF took the proactive positions they seem
to take today. I think it was more fun.
* From Campbell Field (In response to Petty Officer Anne F. Jaeschkes
comments): Please! Don't draw the analogy of wearing a seatbelt to PFD's.
Some US states give the freedom of decision whether or not to wear a helmet
to a speed freak on a 100Hp+ motorcycle! You see professional and 'smart'
bikers wear helmets full time, and you see professional and educated
amateur yachties wear safety devices when necessary (directed to by the
skipper or their own personal judgment).
PFD's can actually be dangerous, especially the self inflating type - those
who know frequently disarm the auto feature - for safety! Not to say PFD's
are not a good idea, but: 1) they can self inflate while on deck, sometimes
necessitating getting your knife out, leaving the crew with one less jacket
for emergencies and 2) in rough conditions can make the wearer over buoyant
and more exposed to inhalation of spray and prevent them diving through
A couple of rules: 1. Don't fall overboard, and if you do; 2. Make sure you
are clipped on (by a quick release clip). The USCG, RNLI and all other
coastal rescue teams are globally admired for their work, but please do not
get out of touch with reality, and trust the judgment of your fellow
educated yachtie. Don't slap broad draconian controls on us for the
careless actions of inconsiderate and/or uneducated others.
* From Tom Donlan (edited to our 250-word limit): Thanks to Petty Officer
Jaeschke for making it clear that the Coast Guard's experience with stupid
boaters has made some of its members bitter. But I won't accept the idea
that bitterness justifies a federal law requiring everyone on the water to
wear a life jacket at all times, the way the Coast Guard and Auxiliary
crews do. Every time I see one of their vessels chugging along at modest
speed on a pleasant summer day, with every man and woman fully life
jacketed, I wonder what--or whether--they are thinking. Mindless adherence
to a rule is no way to set an example for others to follow.
She also made it clear that the Coast Guard thinks it's "responsible" for
the entire U.S. coastline. Actually, it's responsible for guarding the
coast against invaders and lawbreakers, while letting citizens go about
their business undisturbed. If somebody goes out in a little boat in heavy
weather, capsizes and drowns, that is not a failure of the Coast Guard's or
the Coast Guard's responsibility. If somebody manages to import a ton of
heroin or a dirty bomb by boat or ship, on the other hand, that may be
deemed a Coast Guard failure.
The thankless task of enforcing a lifejacket law would detract from the
Coast Guard's real responsibilities. Or, what is more likely, having the
law but failing to enforce it would detract from the public's respect for
the Coast Guard.
* From Mike Frerker: All due respect to Petty Officer Anne F. Jaeschke and
the USCG (and she's right that the USCG is a fine organization). I always
wear my seatbelt, but it torques me no end that there is a law in my state
mandating me to do so. I wear a PFD when I see fit, but I don't want a law
telling me what to do there either. And occasionally, I like to lick steak
* From Paul LaMarche: As an avid sailor and charter boat operator, could
you imagine having to put on a lifejacket as you board the ferry from
Seattle to Bainbridge Island or try to get a tourist to where a lifejacket
on a harbor tour. The state of Washington studied drownings and passed
legislation that requires those under 12 years of age in vessels 19' or
less to wear a PFD. Now that seems reasonable. Can't these other agencies
take the same approach. As all captains know, they are responsible for
their crew and passengers. Good decisions will stop Big Brother from
encroaching on our lives.
* From Dean Cady: Morgan Stinemetz's Commentary on Sportsmanship in Butt
No. 1491 got it right! To quote Morgan, "Without it, sailing as a
competitive sport goes right in the dumper." 'Buttheads who support
Morgan's "right-on" article published in the January 3, 2004, edition of
the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and I have no doubts that all true buttheads
do, have an opportunity to nationally recognize their favorite sailor who
exemplifies good sportsmanship. It's easy. Just submit her or his name to
US Sailing along with a descriptive summary explaining why that person is
deserving of being named the US Sailing Sportsman of the Year. The entry
deadline is January 14. For a nomination form: www.ussailing.org/Sportsmanship/
* From Tim Zimmermann: Maritime authorities and taxpaying publics have long
been justifiably annoyed by adventurers who sail or row into dangerous
waters and then call for expensive rescue services as soon as they get into
trouble (to his credit, Richard Branson once offered to write the US Coast
Guard a six-figure check after he and Steve Fossett were rescued following
a balloon-ditching off Hawaii; the Coast Guard declined to accept it). So
there are plenty of calls for bond requirements or insurance. That is one
(expensive) way to go.
There is an alternative, of course, which might be called the Blondie
Hasler approach: don't rely on rescue services at all. Hasler, who launched
the era of single-handed racing with the Observer Transatlantic Race
(OSTAR) in 1960, believed that sailors who chose to take risks offshore
should live with those risks and refuse to place rescue personnel in danger
by calling for rescue when the going got bleak. In fact, Hasler argued that
solo racers should not sail with SSB radios, so they wouldn't even be
tempted to call for help. Now that's personal responsibility.
* From Mike Walbolt (re rowing across oceans): A proper analogy is going to
the mall on roller skates down the middle of the Interstate. Apples should
be discussed with apples. Going offshore on a properly prepared boat is
different from trying to achieve some superlative on something whimsical
that has already failed.
* From David Sprague: Rob Henderson said he had never sailed at a National
or NA regatta where more than 10% of the competitors are female, I suggest
that he get some experience in classes which do represent the world a bit
better. The Lightning NA's have normally had over 30% female competitors, I
have been involved in Hobie and 29'er Continental and World Championships
where the number of women seemed along the same ratio. We live in a world
where about 50% of the population are women. If we want to grow our share
of sailors we better be inclusive not exclusive.
* From Richard Collins: True statement re ColRegs in the Butte 1491. One
important feature as I recall is the "inextremis rule" and "more than two
vessels" in the vicinity: Each is burdened to keep clear. So a multi-boat
mark rounding, crossings, etc, with collisions causing "damage", shame on
the perpetrators. Useful to know if insurance is involved.
Don't suffer from insanity; enjoy every minute of it.