SCUTTLEBUTT 1567 - April 22, 2004
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releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.
(Earlier this week, Ellen MacArthur sailed her 75-foot Nigel Iren-designed
trimaran into Newport, Rhode completing her 6,500-mile solo voyage from the
Falkland Islands. Here are some of her reactions to that experience.)
Though physically demanding, she is a joy to sail, and I really am very
pleased with how she performs in various conditions and under pilot. In big
waves she is unbelievable - skimming over them, haring down them
seemingly never sticking her leeward float in and stopping. All the time in
the back of your mind is the fact that one mistake and the consequences
could be really bad. On the monohull, you can make some mistakes, the boat
can get laid flat and you have a good chance of coming out of ok. That
margin doesn't exist on the trimaran. That makes for a stressful time 24/7.
Physically, as expected, manoeuvres are tough. Re-hoisting the mainsail for
example is a 35 minute full on, exhausting grind. This is a new level of
physical challenge for me. I am ready for this though, and I think we have
made the right choices in terms of how big a boat I can manage on my own,
any bigger would have been too much"
One of the hardest issues to manage in this environment is the rhythm of
life on board. In order to keep to a consistent and productive rhythm the
sailors must manage their sleep efficiently and be aware of when they are
becoming sleep deprived. Ellen's average sleep of just over 3 hours every
24, confirms that her ability to take short naps to recharge her energy is
working again. For several years Ellen has been a student of Dr. Claudio
Stampi of the Chronobiology Research institute associated with Harvard
University, their work on this project is ongoing. -
Curmudgeon's Comment: Next on Ellen's schedule is an attempt at the solo
CONGRESSIONAL CUP - SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
The sound of crunching fiberglass was a sour note in Gavin Brady's
otherwise brilliant day Wednesday when he extended his win streak to eight
by winning all four of his races and took over first place in the Long
Beach Yacht Club's 40th Congressional Cup, the fourth event on the Swedish
A windward mark collision with fellow New Zealander Cameron Appleton---Kiwi
vs. Kiwi---in the last round of the day was ruled a foul on Appleton
because Brady was on starboard tack at the mark, while Appleton was on
port. But after crossing the finish line 57 seconds in front Brady was
informed by umpire John Standley that because, in the umpires' view, he
didn't try to avoid the incident a half-point would be deducted from his
That left Brady, 30, a two-time winner of the event in 1996 and '97, with
an 8-1 record halfway through the double round-robin but only 7.5 points, a
half-point ahead of first-day leader Peter Gilmour of Australia. The '88
winner lost to Brady and Long Beach's Scott Dickson on a 2-2 day and stands
7-2. There is a four-way tie for third at 5-4.
"It's ludicrous," an angry Brady said at the dock. "Cameron never did
anything to keep clear." Standley, an Australian, agreed---but noted Rule
C8.6 of the event's Sailing Instructions: "When the match umpires . . .
decide that a boat has broken [Racing Rules of Sailing] 14 and damage
results, they may, without a hearing, impose a penalty of half of one point."
Brady's brightest moment was his win over Gilmour by 24 seconds after
starting with a penalty that he did not dispute. "We were in a compromising
position when we dialed up [in the pre-start sequence]," Brady said. "We
had to give way and we were slow to do so, and we got a justly deserved
At the windward mark he schemed to erase the infraction "when we got
[Gilmour] trapped." Dialing up again, this time with Brady in the
advantaged leeward position, Gilmour couldn't hold his bow into the wind,
and as he bore away his jib touched Brady's boat---foul on Gilmour. From
there it became an even sailboat race. Gilmour said, "The tolerances are
very fine if you make a mistake. We're very lucky to get away with a 2-2
The sea breeze built quickly from 8 knots to 14 through the afternoon, but
principal race officer Bobby Frazier called off racing after four rounds
because of a severe wind shift to the right, foretelling a possible Santa
Ana condition of desert winds for the next day or two. "The wind went from
220 to 280, and looking [west] toward Wilmington we could see it was coming
out of the northeast," Frazier said.
That was fine with (Allan) Coutts' crew. "Our boys were commenting on the
way in that we'd had a better day today," Coutts said. "I said, 'How do you
figure that?' " 'Well, we had five losses yesterday and only four today.' "
Standings (after 9 of 18 rounds): 1. Brady, 8-1 (7.5 points); 2. Gilmour,
7-2; 3. tie among Hutchinson, Baird, Gram-Hansen and Harrap, 5-4; 7.
Appleton, 4-5; 8. tie between Rahm and Dickson, 3-6; 10. Coutts, 0-9. -
Rich Roberts, full story: http://www.lbyc.org/
Yesterday we carried an item about the 75th anniversary of the naval
architecture firm of Sparkman and Stephens. Most readers could quickly
identify Olin Stephens as one of the founding partners of that firm, but
what was Mr. Sparkman's first name. (Answer below)
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TROPHEE JULES VERNE
Ever since she picked up the northern trade winds Tuesday night, Geronimo
has been making good headway northwards. Their task now is to head due
North and catch the first available train to the Azores, for an onward
connection to Brittany. By the 23:00 GMT position fix Tuesday night, they
had regained most of the ground lost to Orange as the result of an almost
windless South Atlantic. Since this morning, Geronimo's average speed has
been consistently above 17 knots on a heading of 350 degrees.
Day 55 Update: The Capgemini and Schneider Electric trimaran covered 339
nautical miles in 24 hours for an average speed of 14.15 knots. Geronimo is
nearly 90 hours behind the round the world record-setting pace recently set
by Steve Fossett's Cheyenne. http://www.trimaran-geronimo.com/
ISAF is seeking comments on proposed new guidelines concerning the use of
water as ballast. In a nutshell, the guidelines restrict the discharge of
untreated ballast water taken up in coastal waters to 200 miles from the
point of uptake of the ballast water. There are other provisions for
certification, tank maintenance, etc.
This is an issue for some modern racing boats as well as for cruising boats
that use ballast water. It is, of course, an environmental issue as well.
As is always true with such international initiatives, large ships are the
main concern. The ISAF proposal is a modification for pleasure craft.
Nevertheless, we do not really know how many boats will be impacted,
although we do understand the environmental concerns. Comments will be
appreciated. Please send them to Michael Devonshire as indicated in the
attachment or to Dan Nowlan (DanNowlan@ussailing.org) so that he can
collate and forward the remarks. - Bruce Eissner, Chairman, US Sailing
Curmudgeon's Comments - We've posted the proposed guidelines at:
COMING TO NEWPORT TO RACE TO BERMUDA?
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fulfill all lightweight and composite rigging requirements. Our 40' black
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at 401-683-6966 or http://www.southernspars.com
* Strong sales and strong attendance marked the 9th annual Pacific Sail
Expo (PSE), the largest sailboat show on the West Coast that concluded
Sunday, April 18 at Oakland's Jack London Square. Some 13,000 people
attended the five-day event, which represents a 7% increase over last
year's attendance. This crowd also proved to be a buying public: several
exhibitors left the show with sales that set a new company record. PSE 2004
drew an international group of over 300 exhibitors. -
* The Notice of Race and Request for Invitation for the 2004 U.S. Women's
Match Racing Championship are now available. This ISAF Grade 3 event will
be hosted by New York Yacht Club at Harbor Court in Newport, RI, September
30-October 3 and the winning team will take home US Sailing's Allegra Knapp
Mertz Trophy. http://www.ussailing.org/
* Fáilte Ireland, a major sponsor of Cork Week since 2000 through the
Government's International Sports Tourism Initiative, will invest €120,000
in supporting Cork Week 2004. The regatta plays a central role in Fáilte
Ireland's strategy of internationally promoting Ireland's distinctive
sailing profile. It has contributed greatly to the development of the
Ireland's reputation as of one Europe's premier and visitor friendly
sailing holiday destinations. Cork Week's event office team has already
processed almost 400 entries for the biennial event, which takes place from
July 10-16. - Yachting world, http://tinyurl.com/2vq5p
* As US yacht clubs make plans for their season's sailing calendar, they
should really consider submitting their top event in the St. Petersburg
Yacht Club Trophy competition. Emblematic of excellence in race management,
this trophy is a way to bring recognition to your club and race management
personnel for their hard work on the race course. The 2004 award will be
for events completed between September 1, 2003 and August 31, 2004. The
forms and other information may be found at:
* On Thursday, April 29 the 12 identical, 72ft Global Challenge race yachts
will set sail from Plymouth to London on their maiden voyage, following
their multi-million pound refit. The fleet will arrive in the heart of the
capital on Saturday 1st May, sailing along the Thames in formation and
through Tower Bridge, which is being raised especially for this occasion. -
The first name of Mr. Sparkman of Sparkman and Stephens was Drake.
ULLMAN SAILS AT AHMANSON CUP
Ullman Sails customers swept the top five places in the J105 and Schock 35
fleets at the Ahmanson Cup. We congratulate Ed Cummins on his J105 "Bold
Forbes" and Ray Godwin on his Schock 35 "Whiplash" and their crews for
their 1st place finishes. Carolyn Hardy/David Levy's "Mischief" and Dennis
Case's "Wings" rounded out the top three J105's. Jeff Janov's "Ripple" and
David Voss' "Piranha" were 2nd and 3rd in the Schock 35's. For the "Fastest
Sails on the Planet" call Ullman Sails and visit our web site at
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 Edward Trevelyan (edited to our 250-word limit): From my perspective
as Liberty's port side genoa trimmer, the last part of the seventh race
wasn't quite as Tom Ehman has described it. His slightly detached
perspective (off the boat, but up close) no doubt allowed him to make a
pretty fair judgment, and may also be preferable to the perspective of
crewmen caught up in the action of the moment. Nevertheless, being on the
boat does have its advantages.
Australia II didn't sail past us just because they were a downwind rocket
ship. They would have beaten us 4-0 if that were the case. No, it was just
another flukey, puffy run that can favor the trailing boat. They brought a
breeze with them, hit a few shifts well and, presto, they were even with
us. Naturally, we were beginning to get worried at that point, and
consequently made a bad situation worse by trying to match Australia'a low
angles with less pressure on our sails. The game was over by the leeward mark.
While the position change occurred on the final run, the beginning of the
end may have occurred on the previous upwind leg, where I believe we took
some risks in hope of establishing a good cushion by the top mark. There's
no doubt that the "mystique" of the boat (carefully nurtured by John
Bertrand, as pointed out in his book) was a factor in the perception that
risk taking was necessary.
It's funny we're still talking about this race after 20 years!
* From Michael (DOC) Greenaway: Great letter from Tom Ehman, flawed only by
paragraph #7. Aus 11 was not the faster boat in most conditions. Check the
splits. But dead down in little breeze? Smaller spinnakers that sit still.
That's what it all came down to.
* From Bruce Kirby: A couple of days ago someone named Wheatley wrote a
letter criticizing the appearance of the magnificent new Ron Holland
designed Mirabella V. This vessel is not only a masterful piece of
engineering, but is also a work of art. When a designer is asked to venture
into the unknown, as Holland was with this latest Mirabella creating the
largest sloop ever he can scale up a successful smaller yacht or scale
down a ship of the line. Holland took the high road and did neither, coming
up with a beautifully proportioned hull, and a massive rig to propel it.
The only feature that might bruise the eyes of petrified opinion would be
the tinted glass in the huge deckhouse. But considering that Mirabella will
spend her days in the sub tropics, this feature is most practical if not
entirely necessary. (Let's do all we can to help the air conditioning cope!)
As to the mainsail, which also came under the untutored condemnation, this
monster from Doyle is perhaps the most clever piece of work seen in the
industry since square sails gave way to fore and aft rigs. It is made of
six panels that are attached top and bottom to hydraulically manipulated
carbon fiber battens. In the photographs released so far this sail has not
been fully hoisted, as when venturing into the unknown, small and cautious
steps are recommended. I expect that when fully hoisted and tensioned it
too will be a masterwork.
* From Jim Champ UK: One issue about inverting boats is an important safety
one. If a modern dinghy with lots of buoyancy stays floating on its mast
and side tanks then it will be blown downwind far faster than the crew can
swim. This has happened to me, and if you are two heads bobbing in the
water then I can assure you that even the Solent is a very large place
indeed. If on the other hand the boat inverts you can swim back to it, and
even if you are too tired to recover it you can climb on top, get your
breath back and wave for assistance. When it happened to me I took the foam
out of the mast and have never put it back.
I've seen Frank Bethwaite make the claim that the Bethwaites design boats
deliberately to invert for this very reason. I suggest that bottles on
masts and the like are only desirable on small lakes where there is not the
risk of being unable to locate a crew that has got separated from their boat.
* From Craig Yandow: I too spent my youth in capsizable boats, including
the J24. I learned that Mother nature can turtle a J24 or hold it over with
two teen age boys on the keel. In spite of a ton of righting moment, the
force of a thunderstorm on the hull will keep a boat over, perhaps driving
the mast into the bottom. A dingy is just that much easier to flip and hold
over. Catamarans are easier still.
While keeping water out of a mast designed for it, is a good idea, bottles,
foam and the like don't make much difference in the severe conditions that
are everyday normal in thunderstorm country. They routinely pump out 30 to
70 knot blasts that "blow away" all of that stuff. What you do is, stay
calm, and wait out the fury. Then right the boat to the point that the mast
drains before you finish righting it. In a real mess, disconnect the
shrouds and leave the mast in the mud. You may be able to pull it out after
you get the hull upright. We need to teach calmness and thinking under
duress, instead of legislating safety equipment that can't handle the real
world or forbidding people to go play.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Two antennas meet on a roof, fall in love get married. The ceremony wasn't
much but the reception was great.