SCUTTLEBUTT 1514 - February 9, 2004
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Written for Scuttlebutt courtesy by Janet C. Baxter, President, US Sailing
- Chris Ericksen's guest editorial in Scuttlebutt 1513 refers to an
initiative that will be discussed by all sailors who attend our meeting in
March. The proposal is an attempt to make it easier to file an appeal, to
improve the quality of the decision, and to shorten the time it takes to
reach a result.
It seems that Chris is in agreement with most of the ideas being discussed.
His primary concern seems to be about the process for changes. As
President, that's my concern too; and I can assure you that there is no
attempt to keep anything hidden here. We prefer to have a full and frank
discussion of this and any proposed changes. In the past we have
occasionally moved too slowly and sometimes too quickly, just like ISAF.
Several versions of this proposal have been circulated, particularly to
those who will be impacted by a change in our appeals processes. This is
how we do our business, sending ideas across the nation with "white papers"
to be commented on. Many committees have been involved in the discussions
already and have contributed to the working draft. The current version of
the proposal is available at http://www.ussailing.org/raceadmin/. All
sailors can contact their various representatives and let them know how
they feel about the appeals process and this proposal.
US Sailing has target timelines at the national level for appeals it
receives, and has no control over the association appeals committees, but
we hear complaints about the whole process. For a variety of reasons, some
appeals drag on for months, causing great frustration.
Overlapping RSA jurisdictions create confusion on where to send an appeal.
By having all appeals sent to US Sailing's office, logged and then sent to
the appropriate Area Appeals Committee (AAC), it seems easier for the
sailor and ensures that the correct AAC gets the appeal. Where to send the
initial appeal could be spelled out with the process, eliminating further
research by the sailor. Using our office could also provide one place to
check the status of outstanding appeals and give visibility to any appeals
that are not moving through the system at a sensible pace.
The survey Chris refers to was not a survey; it was a poll of people at a
meeting, so it was not scientific or complete. I'm sorry for any confusion
on that. It is true that the Racing Rules Committee is working on a
revision to Appendix F. The draft prescription is an excellent discussion
vehicle because it contains the specifics that your delegates must discuss
and vote on.
Appendix F is entirely a US Sailing prescription and any change in the
appeals process must be reflected there. We will get the final wording on
the 2005-2008 rules from ISAF this summer and our Rules Committee will be
busy getting the prescriptions done so that the rulebooks can be
distributed in the fall. That is why it is advantageous for them to do the
preliminary drafting now.
We have not determined the fee, if any, but clearly there are costs that
must be covered. We currently spend more than three times the fee we
receive on most Appeals that come to the National level. I've had many
discussions about pricing our services at what they cost, but that's a
story for a different day. - Janet C. Baxter, President, US Sailing
JULES VERNE TROPHY
* Steve Fossett and his 12 person crew aboard the 125' maxi-catamaran
'Cheyenne' sped south and passed the observer of the World Sailing Speed
Record Council (www.sailspeedrecords.com) at 05:10 and 35 secs GMT on
Saturday. The Cheyenne crew hopes to pass him again (northbound this time)
in less than 9 weeks time as they target the 2002 official RTW sailing
record of Bruno Peyron (F) and the 110' maxi-cat 'Orange' of 64 days, 8
hrs, 37 mins, 24 secs (avg speed 13.98 kts). The record course length is
21,760 nautical miles, with actual sailing miles covered expected to exceed
By Sunday evening (8 February 2004 1930GMT - 200 miles west of Valencia)
Cheyenne made progress towards the Southwest through the day, despite
'hitting a hole' in the middle of the day. Speeds improved throughout the
afternoon and they are now making 12-14 kts westward and are on target for
a late night rendezvous with a Low pressure cell for further progress
South. - http://www.fossettchallenge.com
* At 20:21:22 (Sunday), the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran
(Geronimo) also crossed the Jules Verne Trophy start line between the
Créac'h lighthouse on Ushant and the Lizard Point in Cornwall. The French
crew must therefore re-cross the same line before 04:57:46 on 13 April to
beat the time set by Orange in 2002 (of 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes and 40
With less than 15 knots of easterly wind on the start line, conditions
remained modest, but in line with forecasters' data. The current weather
pattern promises no high average speeds, but a slow succession of
anticyclones should drive the trimaran at a steady rate until she picks up
the trade winds. On board, her crew has sailed around the world in
multihulls 18 times between them. - http://www.trimaran-geronimo.com
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The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has confirmed that the Overall Winner
of the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race would be the first yacht on
corrected time in the IRC handicap category.
CYCA Commodore John Messenger forecast this move in December 2003, citing
evidence of the growing popularity of the IRC rule 'down under'.
Rear-Commodore Roger Hickman confirmed the decision that the George Adams
Tattersalls Cup would be awarded to the overall winner of the IRC divisions
in the 2004 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. He explained, "The CYCA has not
locked themselves into the IRC handicapping system for any period beyond
this year, ensuring they have the flexibility to move to another system
should a better one arise." The decision means that almost the entire fleet
will be eligible for the prestigious Overall first place and to be winner
of the historic Tattersalls Cup.
The CYCA move follows the increasing growth of International and Australian
IRC fleet numbers. Over the last twelve months Yachting Australia records
show a significant increase in the IRC fleet numbers, with 78 new boats
being rated under this system in the first half of this season. Total
figures at the end of the current rating year (30 June) are expected to be
significantly higher than in previous years, demonstrating the popularity
and suitability of the rule to many Australian yacht owners.
There has been a slight decrease in IMS rated boats in Australia this year
and the CYCA decision is likely to cause a plunge in IMS certificate
numbers. In the 2003 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, the most successful yacht in
the fleet was the Beneteau 40.7 First National Real Estate, co-skippered by
Michael Spies and Peter Johnston, which won under the IMS handicap rule and
was declared the Overall winner. Interestingly she was also the IRC winner
and would therefore have won overall, had the IRC handicap rule reigned
supreme. - Rob Kothe, full story: http://www.sail-world.com
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The teams on the Swedish Match Tour invited to the first ever Portugal
Match Cup in Cascais this summer will be sailing six shiny new Swedish
Match 40s - straight from the wharf. Justino de Sá Machado, chairman of the
Portuguese race organization, signed the contract, worth approximately
400,000 euro with Pehr Edström, managing director of Maxi Yachts. The new
match racer Swedish Match 40 was designed by Pelle Petterson and the
development team at Maxi Yachts, who will build the boats. The yacht is
intended to be mass-produced primarily for use in the nine tour events
around the world. Because of its similarities with the America's Cup boats,
they can also be used by AC syndicates for meaningful match race training.
Last summers, the Swedish Match Cup teams in Marstrand had the opportunity
to try out two of the prototypes, and were full of praise.
Specifications: Length: 12 metres (39.4 ft); width 2.30 metres (7.5 ft) and
draught 2.10 metres (6.9 ft). Weight 3.8 metric tons (7600 pounds).
* Augie Diaz (Miami, FL), 49, and Hannah Swett (New York, NY), 34, were
honored Friday at a luncheon in Manhattan at the New York Yacht Club as US
Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The two accepted
engraved Rolex timepieces, symbols of outstanding on-water achievement in
the calendar year just concluded. Diaz was recognized for his performances
as skipper in three different one-design classes (Laser, Snipe and Star),
Swett for full-time dedication to her Olympic campaign in the very
competitive Yngling class, which will make its debut at the 2004 Olympic
Regatta in Athens, Greece. - http://www.ussailing.org
* The US Mariner Class Association wants to make contact with the over 4000
Mariner Owners throughout the USA and Canada. The 19' Mariner Sailboats
were initially built by O'Day starting in 1963 and now by Stuart Marine in
Rockland, ME. The Association publishes Quarterly Newsletters for all
members and maintains a website at http://www.usmariner.org
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LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.com)
Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be
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* From Clark Chapin: Chris Eriksen (Scuttlebutt #1513, 6-Feb) made several
good points, but before a mob of peasants armed with torches and pitchforks
storms the castle, lets think about this a little further. Chris
acknowledges that RSA boundaries are poorly defined. This is not a trivial
problem for those who fall into those areas. Our case has helped bring this
problem to a head: We are not currently members of an RSA We are near one
RSA to the east, but that RSA is active on one lake and its connecting
rivers, not the inland lake where we sail. A second RSA is farther away,
but contains clubs that are farther west than we are. Some clubs in the
first RSA are also in the second. Our club once belonged to a third RSA
(now inactive) that was in the adjoining US Sailing area. We have been told
verbally that the first RSA considers us in their area and that any appeal
from our club delivered to their office within the time limit will be
heard. Currently, if the appeal is delivered to the wrong RSA on the
fifteenth day, there is no provision to correct the error. Delivering the
appeal to a single location will solve that problem. An administrative fee
is a reality in the current budget situation. The Council of Sailing
Associations has previously considered making the RSA boundaries definitive
by zip code, but has not supported the proposal. I wholeheartedly support
the new appeal proposal.
* From Glenn McCarthy, Past Commodore Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation:
Chris Ericksen pointed out the root of the problem - RSA appeals turn
around time is long. Why is this? The appellant is required to deliver the
appeal in 14 days. Once the RSA appeals committee receives it, they do not
consider only what is written on the appeal. They write the yacht club who
held the protest, the judges who heard the protest and the appellant
defendant requesting their views to the appeal, providing a balanced fair
process. Are there time limits defined for the yacht club, judges and
appeals defendant to respond? NO. There have been many instances where all
three have dragged their feet. It is especially difficult when a yacht club
does not respond, and a copy of the protest form can't be acquired. Now we
are at real root cause of the problem.
By organizing different appeals committees, the problem is not solved. The
first appeal level will still take a long time to hear because the
documentation required takes a long time to assemble. The solution US
Sailing proposes does nothing but transfers the problem. US Sailing would
be better to study the root cause and develop time limits for the: 1. Yacht
Club; 2. The Judges; and, 3. The Defendant. The difficult part will be to
assess penalties to Yacht Clubs, Judges and Defendants who do not respond
by the deadline. Work on this to solve the real problem.
* From Peter Johnstone: By 1991, most Lasers being produced were all white.
The class had dwindled, and the business was, well, bankrupt. We purchased
the business and did everything possible to distance ourselves from the
failure of our predecessors. We paid our bills, raised the quality,
supported the class, and eliminated all white Laser production.
We introduced boats with vibrant colors and white bottoms with raised
waterlines. Some called us heretics and other such fine compliments. Class
participation grew, and a few years later, we helped get the world's
greatest singlehander into the Olympics. Putting color back into a bland
fleet was one element of that success. Being in the spotlight is part of
being a healthy class.
What photographer or magazine wants a photo of an all white boat? And what
fool believes that today's race committees will miss you because of your
boat color? Our Laser, at this point, is beater blue. Chip, keep the colors
coming....we're nearly due for a new one. And we're not going for the Klu
Klux Klan model.
* From Ken Legler: Regarding OCS boats, general recalls, black flags and
the like; someday we'll have electronic monitors on our Olympic dinghies.
In the meantime the solution is to employ multiple line boats. The racing
rules of sailing used to recommend this until the guidelines for race
officers were removed from the book for brevity. Too bad, it works.
Guidelines can be found in the US Sailing Race Management Handbook. I am
continually surprised by race committees that try to spot the line with a
"pin" boat near the pin with limited authority with multiple general
recalls and progressive (regressive) penalties.
With 20 boats, use a port line boat as the staring mark. With 40 boats, use
a mid-line boat as well. With 100 boats, use five line boats. This will
create four colinear starting lines with spotters at each end of each line.
Add a one-minute, round-the-ends rule, modified to allow offending
competitors to round any line boat and Voila! No more general recalls and
no black flags! It takes 20 minutes to train a qualified sailing instructor
how to spot the line and it costs less to pay them than to fly in a
The last general recall at Terra Nova Trading Key West Race Week was in
1996 and there has never been a black flag used there.
Curmudgeon's Comment: Ken is a great source on this subject, as he has
probably seen more starts than most as longtime sailing coach of Tuft
University and principal race officer at Key West.
* From Max Lynn: The letter from Fiona Brown stating that Melges 24's do
not have lifelines suggests that the boat does not meet the PHRF Category
1, 2 and 3 requirements for offshore racing. This in spite of the fact that
the boat is commonly entered in many of the local offshore events
(Ensenada, Santa Barbara to King Harbor, etc.). Is this the way the Melges
24 owners want it? This suggests (maybe mandates?) that Melges 24's cannot
be entered legally in any offshore races.
* From Mike O'Hara (edited to our 250-word limit): I am afraid I cannot let
Pat Healy's comments (Scuttlebutt 1513) go without comment. If my doctor
makes mistakes, the medical board takes away their accreditation. If my
driving creates too many errors the police take away my license. The doctor
still had to take a test originally as did I to get my drivers license, but
the ISAF Judge may have never taken a test. Add to the fact the rest of the
panel may have over ruled their erroneous thinking awarded the correct
decision. So the incompetent Judge is well hidden and protected in the
'system'. But what if he was not overruled or the whole jury is made from
people that have never passed the exam.
I was at an event recently when the International Jury overturned a rule
and a case in a very simple and straightforward protest. Their reason: "we
wanted to be fair to the competitor who simply did not understand the
rule." And Mr Healy wonders why the competitors have such a low
appreciation for most of the International Juries.
All the ISAF appointed Umpires, Race Officers and Measurers have had to
pass an exam so why shouldn't the judges. Are they such a protected species
in ISAF or is ISAF scared that many of the 350 judges would fail? Add to
the fact that these judges are making decisions at the Olympics and could
decide a Gold Medal.
A good friend is the person who comes to bail you out of jail. However, a
true friend will be the one sitting next to you saying, "damn...that was fun."