SCUTTLEBUTT 1513 - February 6, 2004
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Under the US Sailing Prescriptions to the Racing Rules of Sailing, a sailor
who feels a protest handled by a local protest committee was not correct may
appeal the decision. Such appeals are initially handled by local appeals
committees organized by regional sailing associations (RSA's) such as the
Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA), the Yacht Racing
Association of San Francisco Bay (YRASFB) and so on; a mechanism exists for
decision of these RSA appeals committees to be further appealed all the way
up to US Sailing, much as court decisions may be appealed to the US Supreme
Court. While some committees hear many such appeals, some hear few; there is
apparently some feeling at US Sailing that these less-active RSA appeals
committees are at worst inadequate to the task and at least not as efficient
in handling or adjudicating appeals as US Sailing would like. Unspecified
frustration among sailors whose appeals are not handled as quickly or
efficiently as they might like - by volunteers who have lives outside
sailing - is cited as a problem.
A memo sent to the RSA appeals committee chairmen by the US Sailing Appeals
Committee outlines a proposal to shift the responsibility to hear initial
appeals from the RSA's (of which there are 37, some with overlapping areas
of responsibility and some of which have poorly defined boundaries) to
appeals committees organized within each of the US Sailing areas (of which
there are only ten with well-defined boundaries). The US Sailing Appeals
Committee would define the makeup of these ten committees and approve the
number of members and the length of their terms. Qualifications of area
appeals committee (AAC) members would be defined by US Sailing, and
standards of performance defining the time to respond and act on appeals
would be set by US Sailing as well.
All this seems appropriate. However, the final point is a doozy: under this
scheme, all appeals would be routed to US Sailing to be assigned to an area
appeals committee (AAC) rather than directly to the RSA appeals committees -
and an administrative fee would be levied.
This is, I believe, a badly flawed plan. While I embrace the reassignment
from RSA's to AAC's, all the rest of this is, to paraphrase the chairman of
at least one RSA appeals committee, fixing something that is not broken. If
there are RSA appeals committees that are not doing their jobs, the US
Sailing Appeals Committee should work with those specific committees rather
than to paint the entire system with the same damning brush.
But there is an even more sinister part of this that has not been shared
with the RSA's. Information received by one RSA appeals chairman indicates
that this proposal is not a proposal at all: it is, in his words, a "fait
accompli." The US Sailing Rules Committee has apparently received
instructions to draft a change to the US Sailing Prescriptions to the Racing
Rules of Sailing that would implement this scheme. There is no evidence that
this proposal has received due process either within the enclave of US
Sailing or throughout its membership. Members of the US Sailing Executive
Committee have not seen or been asked to comment or vote on the proposal:
this has evidently been handled strictly within the US Sailing Appeals
More specifically, there is no evidence that this proposal has been
presented to either US Sailing area officials, the RSA's or indeed the
elected leaders of US Sailing. A memo from the US Sailing Appeals Committee
to RSA appeals committees cites a survey during which the US Sailing staff
was asked to contact each of the association appeals committee chairmen as
listed in the US Sailing database. While the memo says that only fifteen
responded, the RSA appeals committee chairman cited above - who has served
in this capacity for some years - was not contacted, and neither have many
of the more active and "major" RSA appeals committee chairmen this chairman
I cannot but feel that this is an ISAF-like approach to the administration
of our sport - making a unilateral change and trying to pass it off as a
reasoned and researched approach to a problem. US Sailing apparently fails
to understand that it is an organization of the members and should serve
them - but in accordance with its own rules and regulations. Making a change
without consultation with the affected parties - the RSA's and their appeals
committees - is such a unilateral change, akin to the abortive attempt at
ISAF to eliminate discards in the Olympic regatta without consulting the
parties involved. And the "administrative fee" that will be charged is a
blatant attempt to increase the income of US Sailing, an organization that
has apparently so little perceived benefit to sailors that it's membership
is made up of only a fraction of the sailors that presumably benefit from
the services of US Sailing.
In recent months I have commented on the moves by ISAF to concentrate
authority at the highest possible level rather than at the lowest possible
level, the latter a management technique that is universally practiced by
the top companies around the world. Now it seems that US Sailing has taken a
leaf from ISAF's book and is trying to concentrate authority and power at
its level in the guise of fixing a problem that may not in fact exist. I
hope the RSA's - and the Committee of Sailing Associations, that body within
US Sailing that coordinates actions between US Sailing and the RSA's - will
resist mightily and noisily this usurpation of their authority. - Chris
(Following are brief excerpts from stories by Félix García posted on the Cup
* Rita Barberá, Mayor of Valencia, welcomed Team New Zealand's Dean Barker
to town January 23rd. Barker, the Kiwi team's skipper, was in Valencia for a
few days last month with his wife to scout the city and to find the right
location for their stay in the city during the Cup. New Zealand's team
(composed of over 100 people) will arrive in Valencia to stay in 2006
accompanied by their families, although TNZ will also compete in the
Pre-Regattas of September 2004 and the regattas of 2005.
* Luc Gellasseau, technical director of the French challenger Le Defi 2007
was received on the 4th of February by the Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberá.
Gellasseau told Barberá what the teams will require when they arrive in the
spring of 2005 and he requested the assistance of Valencia's business
leaders to avoid a shortage of some key technological instruments,
equipment, and other resources when all the teams arrive. The
representatives of French team said that they plan to arrive in Valencia in
2005, intending to train on the regatta courses on the gulf of Valencia.
Gellasseau said that Valencia's accommodations and infrastructure will be
very important considerations for Le Defi, because they plan to bring as
many as four hundred people to the city during the Cup.
Read the full stories: www.cupinfo.com
The recently completed 2004 Terra Nova Trading Key West event attracted 302
entries from all corners of the US (and the globe). Based on a yacht's
homeport, the state of Florida had the most entries (42). Which other states
rounded out the top five? (Answer below)
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"WE'RE GOING . . ."
Cheyenne's skipper Steve Fossett has returned to Plymouth and confirmed
overnight predictions - a reasonable weather scenario is coming together for
an imminent Round The World start. Early Friday afternoon, February 6, Steve
and his crew will take the 125-foot catamaran off the dock Plymouth Yacht
Haven and make the 120 mi trip to the official Round The World Record start
line at Le Stiff lighthouse on the French island of Ouessant (Ushant). This
transit to Ouessant should take 10-12 hours - mostly heading upwind.
Their next leg will be a little longer - totaling 21,760 miles in fact:
Ouessant to Ouessant, via the three capes - Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin,
Cape Horn, Fossett expects to cross the start line Saturday morning -
between 0300-1200 GMT.
Cheyenne's target will be the 2002 record as certified by the World Sailing
Speed Record Council of 64 days 8 hours 37 minutes 24 seconds (average speed
-13.98 knots) set by Bruno Peyron and crew aboard the 110' catamaran Orange.
If anyone thought Britain's last America's Cup bid was hibernating one year
on from Auckland, they would be wrong. Founder Peter Harrison has endowed it
with £4.5 million to enable design work and fund-raising to carry on, while
tank testing resumes next week. Furthermore, Harrison has vowed to fund up
to 50 per cent of the projected £40 million budget for the 2007 cup while
removing himself from the role as figurehead and most visible face of the
GBR Challenge Mk II, will have a chief executive - Keith Mills was
interviewed before taking up such a role with the London 2012 Olympic bid -
and a board of directors. Harrison will have an executive role on the board,
but no more than that.
"He was hurt in the 2003 cup by the accusation that we didn't get
significant sponsorship last time because of his personal role," explained
Leslie Ryan, who, along with design boss Derek Clark, has been running GBR
Challenge since the team returned from Auckland a year ago. "Yes, Peter had
a dominant role but that wasn't the reason we didn't get sponsors. Rather it
was the reverse."
* "Peter's investment is a huge benefit to us," said Ryan, who is working
alongside outside sponsorship consultants. "The advantage we have is that
Peter is prepared to put in his personal money as well as us going out to
the market. Sponsors are saying this is good value given the amount being
put in but the total is much bigger. The title partnership rights [offered
at £3.25 million a year for four years] are a very good value proposition."
- Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, Full story: http://tinyurl.com/3cdqu
* US Sailing is asking active sailors of all levels to register as
'athletes' to help influence the decisions made within US Sailing and ISAF.
Registered athletes have the opportunity to elect the members of the Sailor
Athlete Council, or to sit on the Council. The Council has a permanent seat
on the US Sailing Executive Committee and can also nominate individuals to
the Board of Directors. There is no cost to for members to register, but
they must first determine what level is appropriate. To read the definitions
of A, B and C level athletes and subsequently register:
* There are some very photos and video footage and other interesting
material about Yves Parlier's innovative new twin rigged 60-foot catamaran
on his website - if you can fight your way through the French text:
www.parlier.org/site02/accueil/1024x768.html. Also, there's a well-done
English-language website that chronicles the amazing record of Francis
* Omega has become the official time piece sponsor of the Acura SORC. Omega
watches will be given to the winners of the perpetual trophies and a watch
will be raffled off to those participants who enter by Wednesday, February
11th. - www.acurasorc.com/
* The F-27 trimaran was honored at the Chicago Strictly Sailboats Show where
it was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame. It will join a
select group of only 24 boats such as the Laser and J-24, that helped usher
in the fiberglass era. Designed by New Zealander Ian Farrier, the
Corsair-built F-27 is only the second multihull in the Hall of Fame (the
other being the Hobie 16) and the first trimaran. The selection was made by
a committee of magazine editors comprised of Bill Schanen, Sailing magazine,
John Burnham Sailing World, and Charles Mason, Sail.
* Update - Two Cubans failed in their second attempt to sail to Florida
using a floating car or truck as the U.S. Coast Guard was returning them and
their passengers to the communist island Wednesday. You've got to see the
photo of "boats" and read this update:
At the 2004 Terra Nova Trading Key West event, after Florida the most
entries came from homeports in Maryland (24), Texas (20), California (19)
and Illinois (17). Canada led the way for foreign countries with fourteen
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LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.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 Eric C. T. E. Larsen: On the white boat theme, two questions and
observation, and a statement. Is it in the Corinthian Spirit to try and
hide, especially from the Race Committee? Would it not also be beautiful if
all hulls had nice artwork, designs, etc. on them? On the line even in
predominately all white Star boats I find I identify who is who very quickly
based on even the smallest details that I have identified as attributed to
that skipper, crew, or the lady in which they come to compete. I think of it
as a canvas that an owner has decide to leave blank, and that I believe is
* From Jim Champ: The 'Basic Principle' of the Racing Rules of Sailing is
spelled out on page two of the rulebook. It states, "Competitors in the
sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to
follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when
competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty or retire." If
you pick a white boat specifically to avoid the need to retire after being
over the line at a start, can you strictly be said to be complying with this
basic principle? It could be argued that if someone states they have a white
boat for that reason they are in breach of Rule 2 (Fair Sailing) every time
they sail it.
I don't sail a white boat: I'd rather not win at all than win by cheating,
and not returning when OCS is cheating, pure and simple.
* From Tom Willson: There was a time, long ago, when starting behind the
line was the skipper's responsibility. Kudos to "Team" Vanguard (ad in 'Butt
1510) for removing another stitch in the fabric of personal integrity by
suggesting that an all white Laser hull can provide a cheater head start.
* From Tom Ehman: White boats are not the issue, nor are manufacturers who
have the good sense to produce and advertise what their customers want. The
issue is, and has been for many years, our inability as a sport to solve the
OCS (nee PMS) problem in fleet racing. Superior race management often
mitigates but does not solve it. OCS problems are a constant source of
irritation and frustration from club racing to the Olympics. So much so that
ISAF had to reverse itself on an otherwise good decision to get rid of drop
races in the Olympics, primarily due to legitimate concerns from racers
General recalls, Z-flags, black flags, OCS/DSQ placards at the first
windward mark, the defensive use of "starting-line white" boats -- this is
no way to run one of the world's great participatory sports. We need a
simple, reliable and economical system for identifying OCS yachts, and
communicating same to competitors immediately and equitably.
Fifteen years ago we had a serious problem in match racing -- a
proliferation of protests causing late nights in the protest room, and, as a
result not knowing the outcome of matches until many hours later, indeed,
sometimes not until the next day. With a little leadership from ISAF and the
concerted efforts of many dedicated people around the world this was solved
with the advent of umpiring. Is it not high time that we as a sport commit
the time, energy and resources to finding a fix for this fleet-racing
bogeyman once and for all?
* From Fiona Brown, International Melges 24 Class: In response to Paul
Lowell's comments about the cover picture of the Melges 24 crew I would
politely suggest Mr Lowell check his facts. He is quite right that the
Melges 24 does not have lifeline tension rules - largely because the Melges
24 does not have any lifelines. What the boat does have is hiking lines (to
aid hiking in the same manner as toe straps, hobbles and trapeze wires do in
other inshore keelboats). There are several class rules governing their safe
use but they are not safety lines (see www.melges24.com or www.sailing.org
for full rule details).
With regard to the question "Did this regatta not use ORC regs?" the answer
is "No". The Melges 24 is not an Offshore Racing Class and the Offshore
Racing Council rules are therefore not appropriate to it. The Melges 24 is a
one-design day boat, such as say the Star, Dragon or Etchells, and is not
designed or intended for use offshore. All Melges 24 class racing is run
under Class and ISAF rules. I hope this clarifies the situation.
* From Pat Healy: When they call for continual testing of International
Judges, I wonder if Robert Atkins and Tania McKenzie aren't being
short-sighted. There are other ways to skin the cat. When was the last time
their doctor took a test? I wonder if they prove their driving skills
The 350 or so International Judges are thoroughly vetted and continually
reviewed by ISAF as they volunteer their efforts so others can enjoy our
sport. Their conduct, understanding of the rules and procedures and
contribution to the proceedings are judged and reported to ISAF after each
International Jury they sit upon. ISAF must do this because it entrusts them
with making non-appealable decisions that enable sailors to leave the
regatta knowing the results.
I've been that quiet judge sitting at the table. Usually I'm wondering why
the competitor didn't do their circles for such an obvious foul and how I
could speed up the hearing so that the next protest could be heard and the
sailors allowed to go to dinner.
* From Doug Jurrius: In reading 'Butt 1512, came across what had to be an
early April fools joke - Grog & Gruel the official sponsor of the Annapolis
to Bermuda race? But no, there it is on the official website. Sometimes real
life really is funnier than fiction.
Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.