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SCUTTLEBUTT 1570 - April 27, 2004

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welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

The piece about Kevin Hall's practice methods (very long sessions of
downwind sailing--Scuttlebutt 1568) was interesting and showed some clearly
different methods for practice. But this technique of massing long hours of
continuous practice at a single thing violates some very well-known
principles from the scientific field of human motor learning, in which we
conduct research.

Long-duration, repetitious practice (so called "blocked practice") as
opposed to very short sequences of highly changing contexts (so called
"random practice") is strongly beneficial for performance during practice
(which we might expect), but is detrimental for performance on later Tests
of Retention (which is a surprise). In fact, the results in retention tests
are just reversed from those seen in the practice phase: random practice is
better for learning (i.e., retention) than blocked practice. Now, the
ultimate goal for someone such as Mr. Hall is not simply to facilitate
performance during his practice sessions downwind, but rather to facilitate
performance on some later test of retention (e.g., racing in the Olympic
trials). If so, then the practice method he used (long hours of continuous
downwind sailing) is far from an optimal use of his time.

This sounds counter to common sense and counterintuitive. It is. But, this
principle has been shown in literally dozens of studies dating from 1978
when John Shea and Robyn Morgan first published their research. These
studies have used laboratory skills and real-world skills, highly skilled
learners and novices, cognitive and motor tasks, kids and adults. The
scientific evidence is solid, and this is one of the established principles
of human learning.

The generalization from this work is this. It is clear that maximizing the
number of repetitions of a skill (here, the number of waves surfed) is
critical for Olympic success. But the repetitions should be done without
repetitiveness. (The only exception seems to be in situations where the
learner is a rank novice.) Practice lots, but vary the practice from
repetition to repetition. As Dave Ullman told us decades ago, "maximize
time in the boat," but now we know that this time should be spent with a
mixed variety of tasks, minimizing repetitiveness.

Those interested might consult one of our recent books (Schmidt & Wrisberg,
2000, Motor Learning and Performance; Schmidt & Lee, 1999, Motor Control
and Learning; both are published by Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign,
IL). These give complete explanations and references for these principles.

Here's a question to see if you were paying attention: In practicing jibes,
how many consecutive jibes should you do in a row before switching to
another task (like tacking)? Hint: One. - Dr. Richard Schmidt
( and Dr. Tim Lee (

Gaeta, Italy - Unlike the April storm clouds and 26 knot breezes of Sunday,
Monday was a picture perfect day with broken clouds forming off the
mountain ranges of Formia and Naples bringing with it, a shifting breeze
that peaked at around 20 knots before fading to a consistent 14 knots. A
clean start by all competitors saw the 103 boats get away with the major
contenders huddled down at the pin end of the line on a long starboard leg
into the shoreline of Formia to pick up the first shift.

The day belonged to the Netherlands team of Mark Neeleman and crewman Peter
van Niekerk who, from the starting gun, sailed into an unprecedented lead
that at times topped 1 minute. Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom stormed
through the fleet with outstanding boatspeed to claim a second place and
the overnight lead in the championship. Peter Bromby from Bermuda was to
top North American boat taking third place while Paul Cayard bounced back
from Sunday's OCS to finish eighth. The winners of Sunday's race, Iain
Percy and Steve Mitchell fell out of the top ten with a finish of 22. -
Excerpts from a story by Magnus Wheatley, full story:

Standings after two races
1. SWE Frederik Lööf & Anders Ekström, 5 points
2. NED Mark Neeleman & Peter Van Niekerk, 11
3. BRA Torben Grael & Marcel Bastos Ferreira, 11
4. IRL Maxwell Treacy & Anthony Shanks 11
5. IRL Mark Mansfield & Killian Collins, 18

Event website:

The 2005 Ultimate Sailing Corporate Calendars. Put your corporate logo on
the deluxe wall calendar or the new Ultimate Sailing desk top calendar. 10%
early bird discount if you order before April 15. Details available at

(Laurie Fullerton caught up with three time America's Cup helmsman Russell
Coutts on Monday afternoon in Newport, R.I. after a press conference was
held to officially launch the UBS Trophy Regatta in June. Following are a
few of the quotes from that story attributed to Coutts.)

"I would say that on that September day 21 years ago that Australia II beat
Dennis Conner to win the America's Cup, and Cup racing left Newport, it
really opened up an opportunity for New Zealand," he said. "With the event
moving to Fremantle in 1987, it really helped us enter into Cup level
racing. The timing was great for me and I had the opportunity to get into
it which I probably wouldn't have had if it stayed in Newport.

"It is great to come back to the place where there is so much history
behind this event. I think I will be driving at least a few of the races. I
would like to and I look forward to sailing here. These are expensive boats
to just put in the water and go sailing, we want to win. So, we are going
to be trying very hard to beat Oracle and they are going to be trying very
hard to beat us. People who come to this event shore side are going to see
America's Cup racing at its best." - Laurie Fullerton

The Alinghi design team is once again behind closed doors. The challenge -
how to build another winning boat. With Valencia confirmed as the venue for
the America's Cup 2007, the designers have a general idea of how a new boat
will require to be modeled for the prevailing weather conditions at that
location. Back at the drawing board, structural ideas are under
investigation. Also underway is the setting up of tools - primarily
software - that will be used in the design process as well as ensuring
certain improvements at the tank testing site to improve test accuracy over
the previous time. The scheduling and planning of tank sessions that may be
required to complete testing is in progress and with luck, the design team
will start work on modeling the boats for testing during 2004, with the
goal to go to tank testing some time in mid-2004.

The priority is designing the hull lines and the first step is to generate
geometries for analysis using CFD (computational fluid design), essentially
numerical simulation of the fluid movement around the hull and a more
efficient tool to use than scale models. When the design team is satisfied
with the hull line designs, it's off to Canada for tank testing. Between 10
and 20 models of about 8 meters in length (the length limit for tank
testing models is restricted by terms in the rules governing the America's
Cup), will take the plunge during an intensive tank testing workout.

The models are run in the tank at different speeds and angles to test drag
and lift in different simulated conditions. The results from these tests
help to build a picture of the perfect hull and based on these results a
VPP - Velocity Prediction Program - is run, a race modeling program that
provides an impression of boat performance. TheVPP process simulates
weather conditions and what the statistical chances are, more or less, of
how the boat will perform. - Alinghi website, full story:

The Sausalito Challenge's stab at selling itself on eBay wasn't a success -
unless you count publicity. Sausalito Challenge officials, the subject this
week of national television spots and print and broadcast stories around
the world, are confident they will find the right sponsor. "Using the eBay
format has given us front row seats to CEOs worldwide," said co-founder
John Sweeney of Tiburon. "It's a sample of what we can create for our
(America's Cup) sponsor and proof that we lead the way in innovative ideas
in our sport on and off the water."

As of 6:30 p.m. Friday when the auction ended, three companies from France,
Japan and Switzerland had bid the sponsorship price up from a minimum of
$18 million to $20 million, he said. However, that was still not enough to
match the $26 million needed to buy exclusive sponsorship for the team's
run in the 2007 America's Cup in Valencia, Spain. "It's a three-year
marriage between a team and a sponsor," said co-founder Tina Kleinjan of
Belvedere. "We want to make sure the company we choose is for the long
haul." She and Sweeney said they expect to engage in private talks in the
coming weeks with the bidders. - Keri Brenner, Marin Independent Journal,,1413,234~24407~2106059,00.html

The big race is on between the maxi's and sleds. Looking around you see the
crews ready for the races in their Camet Sailing shorts. Now is the time
for you to get on the Camet web page to view the different models of shorts
and colors available. The 3000, Bermuda, Aruba, Cargo, Women's 3000 and
Ocean shorts are all made out of the fast drying breathable Supplex (UV
40+) and with the Cordura seat patch to hold the foam pad to help you get
through those long hours on the rail. Coolmax shirts, Mylar bags,
Rashguards etc.

By midday Monday, Geronimo was no more than 1,300 sea miles from the line
as the crow flies, but when we take account of her obligatory detour to 50°
North, the total distance left to cover is more like 1,500 nautical miles,
which will require her to average over 15 knots to claim the Jules Verne
Record. Despite the fact that Geronimo keeps all non-biodegradable waste on
board, she is still lighter by around one tonne of consumables after 60
days circling the globe, and is therefore much livelier.

Day 60 Update: Geronimo covered 314 nautical miles in 24 hours for an
average speed of 13 knots. -

* Olympic Sailing Week Hyères, France (April 26) - Sailors and racing
committees were ready to spend the day ashore after a weather forecast
predicting poor sailing conditions. Luckily, the "Meteo" was wrong once
again. By early afternoon, the wind was still very light but settled and
most classes were racing under a bright sunshine. Current top U.S.
finishers: 49er: 7. Wadlow/Spaulding; 470 Men: 21. Foerster/Burnham; 470
Women: 28. McDowell/ Kinsolving; Europe: 16. Gaillard; Laser: 20.
Mendelblatt; Mistral Men: 36. Wells; Tornado: 2. Lovell/ Ogletree; Yngling:
8. Barkow/ Howe/ Capozzi. -
Event website:

* A new website has been launched for the UBS Trophy Regatta that will
showcase America's Cup style match racing between old rivals Team Alinghi
and Oracle BMW Racing in Newport, Rhode Island, between June 19-26. The
site will also provide information on media accreditation for working press
who plan to attend the regatta. The site will feature a photo gallery,
daily race results, plus background information by John Rousmaniere,
America's Cup writer and historian. A notice-board located prominently on
the homepage will provide last minute updates on the racing and other
activities. -

* The Olympic Sailing Committee of US Sailing has unveiled a new website to
provide detailed information on the US athletes who will compete in the
Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions this summer. Once the Olympic
Sailing Competition starts, from the Laser boat draw on Tuesday 3 August,
right up until the final day of racing on Saturday 28 August, and the
Closing Ceremony on Sunday 29 August, ISAF will bring you the latest
information direct from the Agios Kosmas Sailing Centre, including mark by
mark roundings, weather information, results and photos. New website:

* The Laser recently passed another landmark when they issued building
plaque number 180,000. The boat has come a long way since its humble
beginning as an "off the beach fun boat" The original concept was the
result of a telephone conversation between the first builder, Ian Bruce,
and designer Bruce Kirby. During that conversation Kirby sketched the lines
on a scrap of paper which were very similar to the final production boat. -

* GBR Challenge, the British America's Cup Team, has signed a Design
Software Technology Partnership with UGS PLM Solutions. This is the first
time in America's Cup history that such a strategic partnership has been
involved in the core design and development of America's Cup boats. UGS PLM
will also be the exclusive provider of product lifecycle management
products and services to provide planning and race configuration data for
the British-based team. GBR Challenge will join companies such as Formula
1's Jaguar Racing and British American Racing (B.A.R.) as one of UGS PLM's
technology partners. -

* With deep regret the ISAF reported the passing away of Mr Kenjiro
Matsuda, the Managing Director of the Japan Sailing Federation. Mr Matsuda
passed away suddenly on Sunday 25 April, aged 69 years old. Alongside his
role as Managing Director, Mr Matsuda was also the Chairman of the Olympic
Sailing Committee of the Japan Sailing Federation.

See if you can you find the lady walking on the boom of Mirabella V in the
photos we've posted on our website? To help you with the scale, remember
that if Mirabella V tried to get into San Francisco Bay, the mast would hit
the Golden Gate Bridge eighty (80) feet from the top. BTW - If you find the
lady in the photo, she is Kristen Heisenbuttle, who works at Doyle Sails
and was a technical consultant throughout the designing and building of the
sails for Mirabella V.

Save 15% on Lewmar winches with their winch trade-in, April 29-May 31.-
Test sail a new Hunter Sailboat during their Go Farther Faster Sales Event
April 29-May 9 and get a free West Marine Gift Card, up to a $200 Value.
Sign up at your nearest Hunter Dealer.-

(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 Graham Kelly: I was interested to see Bob Kiernan's comment (S'butt
1569) on the ebay auction of a sponsorship for the America's Cup. The
benefit of ebay is that it exposes esoteric goods to a world-wide market,
whether my aged uncle selling WW II pilot's gear, a sponsorship opportunity
for the America's Cup, or a sailor's son selling old Mount Gay hats. In the
case of our friend John Sweeney's Sausalito challenge, the ebay auction has
been accompanied by a goodly amount of publicity. That is good for John
Sweeney, and good for the America's Cup.

Mr. Kiernan may be offended at the temerity of the offer, and a certain
group of sailors might agree that it is "tacky" to offer sponsorship
opportunities on ebay, but most sailors would agree that a tacky
sponsorship deal is better than sitting on the sidelines. And the reference
to the Sean Reeves case in the same issue shows that the days of the
crooked pinky in the America's Cup are pretty much over. As much as we
might admire the myth of gentility, devout yachting history buffs will tell
us that the America's Cup has long been something of a rough and tumble
affair, even in the days of the Morgans and Vanderbilts.

So let's hear it for ebay. It's a great way to stimulate demand for
undervalued and overlooked items. I hope the Sausalito Challenge finds its

* From Peter Sherwood: After hanging up my bailing bucket I was promoted
and moved into the dry comfort of the coach boat. In serving 3 years as the
Sailing Master of the school I observed several thousand more capsizes at
very close range.

A lighter crew's mast rises more slowly giving more time for the water to
drain, usually (seen this many times) draining the mast completely by the
time the tip leaves the water. I estimate that 3 liters would be the
maximum amount of remaining water for an average weight crew. One cannot
argue that a heavier crew, will right the boat more quickly, trapping more
water, but surely this is of little concern to a heavy crew?

In any case, once the mast passes through horizontal any remaining water
immediately rushes down towards the heel. This increases the righting
moment, as the heel of the keel stepped mast is below (or on the crew's
side) of the centre of buoyancy. The effect of this movement of water is
quite noticeable if one watches closely.

I do agree that a capped mast is a dangerous thing unless ALL voids are
filled to prevent flooding with water. The other, (and in my opinion more
preferable) option, is to remove the cap to allow fast draining from the
tip and attach a plastic bottle. They are extremely effective, completely
removing all possibility of inverting, something that a foam filled mast
will never achieve.

* From Alexander Bruce: What's going on? Well over a day has gone by since
the NOSA Newport to Ensenada Race's trophy presentation, but their
'official' website still has nothing posted on the page labeled "2004 Race
Results". Nothing!

NOSA gave away a ton of trophies Sunday, but there is nothing on the
website to indicate who won them. And when you go to the 'Press Release
section' of their website, the top posting proudly proclaims that, "Lexus
signed a three-year agreement to become the Official Automobile Sponsor" -
but no information about the race whatsoever. Huh?

I wonder if the NOSA officials are embarrassed that the only story about
their race on the ISAF website - and a bunch of other sailing websites
around the world - is a rather self-serving press release issued by one of
the competitors. Probably not - I suspect they aren't even aware of it.

There is way more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra-type
medications than Alzheimer's research. By 2020, there may be a huge elderly
population with melon-shaped breasts or never-ending erections, and no
recollection of what to do with either of them.