Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1595 - June 2, 2004

Powered by SAIC (, an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

Every Time an Olympic host is chosen, every sailor with an interest in the
Olympic Sailing Competition, be it athlete, team leader, coach, or
spectator immediately asks the question, "What's the weather going to be
like?" It's not unusual. Success in our sport, more so than many, is
dictated by the weather, or more importantly wind and water conditions. The
equipment chosen, the Athletes that each NOC choose to send, the tuning or
selection of an individuals' equipment, even the way that equipment is
sailed, can all be influenced by what is expected to happen on the field of
play over the weeks that sailing medals will be contested.

Some nations spend massive time and resources on weather forecasting, and
some nations even send boats out onto the race courses months before the
event in order to beef up their data on the area. The Athens Organizing
Committee (ATHOC) will be providing a forecasting service throughout the
months of July and August courtesy of the Hellenic National Meteorological
Service. As well as this service, details of the weather and historical
data on Athens and the sailing area are readily available from a number of

During the summer the Aegean Sea is influenced by strong Northern winds,
called the Etesians. Although these local winds affect mainly the Aegean
Sea and the islands, they also affect the Athens area. At the east part of
Attica sea breeze blows from SE to NE directions, while at the West part
the wind conditions are more complicated, as sea breeze generally blows
from S-SW directions. Summer showers or thunderstorms can occur due to
excessive ground heating, often in combination with upper level
disturbances and poll of cold air.

Comprehensive historic weather data from the Hellenic National
Meteorological Service is available on the ISAF Athens 2004 Microsite, and
via their website at:
Full story:

The US Sailing Appeals Committee has recently issued an unpublished
decision which in effect says that if a competitor competes in a race
contrary to the provisions of the Notice of Race and he can blame the
volunteer at the registration desk for putting him in the wrong class, then
the competitor should not be disqualified. As I served on the jury for this
event, I have taken a particular interest in the decision. - Noel M. Field, Jr.

The facts are as follows: The notice of race stated: "Division I sailors
must not have reached their 15th birthday during the 2003 calendar year."
The father of a 13 year old skipper filed the entry forms for the skipper
and crew. The crew, while 14 at the time of the event, would reach the age
of 15 before the end of the year. The volunteer, seeing the ages of both
skipper and crew listed as 13 and 14, listed the crew in Division I. The
entry forms did in fact show the dates of birth of the two crew members,
and had the volunteer done the appropriate subtraction, she would have
discovered that the crew would turn 15 before year end.

The boats in each division flew streamers indicating which division they
were sailing in. The scores were posted after the first day of racing. Both
divisions started together, but were scored separately. These competitors
should have seen that they were listed in Division I, the division in which
they were ineligible. Nevertheless, they sailed the second day without
notifying anyone that they had been scored as racing in the wrong division.

This information was presented to the jury after the second day of racing.
The jury after an appropriate hearing disqualified the crew for a violation
of the Notice of Race in all the races previously sailed and from the races
scheduled for the following day. The jury's decision to disqualify the boat
in the races already held was upheld by the association appeals committee,
and the father of the skipper who had originally filed the entry forms
appealed to US Sailing Appeals Committee, blaming the volunteer for
entering the team in the wrong division.

The US Sailing Appeals Committee overturned the decisions of both the jury
and the Association Appeals Committee, placing the blame on the race
committee for failing to score the boat in the correct division. The
decision relieves a competitor from the responsibility of complying with
the notice of race, in my opinion a very questionable precedent. - Noel M.
Field Jr., Senior US Sailing Judge,

The Gorge - No regatta report, but final scores for the ICSA/Layline North
American Team Race Championship are in:
1. St. Mary's College (11-6)
2. Hobart William Smith College (11-6)
3. Dartmouth (10-7)
4. USC (9-8)
5. Brown (6-8)

Racing for the final event, the ICSA/Gill North American Dinghy
Championship, will be June 2-4. -

With an SPF of 50 whether fully immersed or bone dry, the Dryshirt™ will
protect you up to 2 ½ times more from the sun than a rash guard or cotton
shirt and keep you thermoregulated like nothing else on the market today.
Splash-proof and breathable, the Dryshirt™ is like no other top currently
available. Maybe that is why many of the leading Max Z-86, Trans-Pac-52,
FARR 40, J-109, J-105, and skiff crews are outfitting their boats with this
revolutionary gear. Yacht clubs and large groups are eligible for special
pricing. Now available in black, gray, white. 1(800)354-7245,

The first night at sea for The Transat entrants has been hard work in
20-knot headwinds with constant manoeuvring and frequent tacks within the
tightly packed fleet. The boats will have been fully powered up overnight
and with no reported problems the skippers will be settled into their
routine. Typically they'll be pushing harder than usual for the first 48
hours to make the break on their competitors, get to the first shift as
well as keeping an eye out for coastal traffic and fishing boats. Once
passed The Lizard, sea conditions calmed slightly, but this did not allow
any rest for the skippers. Early this morning Franck Cammas on ORMA 60
Groupama explained that he had spent all night on deck, strapped into his
seat at the helm unwilling to go below. Cammas opted to carry two reefs and
a staysail throughout the night to limit the risk of any early breakages.

The daggerboard on Marc Guillemot's 60-foot Trimaran Gitana X snapped clean
off at the point where it enters the hull and he is now making for La
Trinité sur Mer and will not be re-joining the fleet in this race. Mike
Golding's Ecover has a problem with the pump motor that moves the canting
ballast. The result is that Golding has to manually tack the swinging keel
each time he tacks the boat. To hand-pump the keel across would take even a
very fit former fireman around 30 minutes of hard graft. He has minimized
the effort on biceps and forearms by opting for an easier, if somewhat
unsettling, alternative of laying Ecover over hard to leeward side before
each tack, and letting gravity do most of the work. The result is that at
its worst the Open 60 is lying at 80 degrees over to leeward, the mast and
sails not far short of touching the water.

The next 24 hours will see the fleet slowed by light airs prior to getting
pummeled by an intense depression. It is unlikely that the skippers will
have a good chance to rest before the effects of the gale force,
southwesterly winds produced in the zone between the next low rolling
across the North Atlantic.

Images: We've just posted some really sensational photos of the fleet
taking off in big breeze:

Curmudgeon's Comment: Without question, The Transat race organizers have
put up one of the most useful websites we've ever seen for an offshore
race. It's very impressive!

A major player in the history of single-handed transatlantic racing sailed
into Plymouth last weekend in the form of Canadian Mike Birch. While the
majority of the competitors in The Transat this year have never sailed in
the race before, Birch first sailed the single-handed race the 'wrong way'
across the North Atlantic in 1976. Sailing his tiny Val 31 trimaran The
Third Turtle in that race, Birch finished an impressive second over the
line, a day after Eric Tabarly's 72ft maxi winner Pen Duick VI and almost
two days ahead of Alain Colas' giant four-master Club Méditerranée.

What remains consistent is the challenge of racing across the inhospitable
North Atlantic single-handed and the lure of this is as great as it always
has been for Birch. Despite his 72 years, Birch still looks exceptionally
fit. At the start of the year his trimaran, Nootka, was 53ft long and had
to be shortened to get into the 50ft size limit of The Transat's Class 2.
"I came over in February and cut off the stern," Birch says. He also moved
the staysail stay forward and added one of Fujicolor's old spinnaker poles.
Unfortunately, unsponsored, funds are short and Birch says he could do with
some new sails. At 1700 GMT (June 1), Birch was in placed fifth of six
boats in his class, some 152 miles behind the class leader-

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at

Cost effective wireless instrument information and system control - Ockam
introduces OS4 Eye. Load Eye software on your PDA (Pocket PC) and your
Ockam connected WiFi PC. View multiple pages of instrument data, set cals,
averaging and controller functions, track trends on stripcharts, all in
your pocket. - hiking hard on the rail or monitoring performance from your
bunk! OckamSoft's NMEA translator will even allow connection to a non-Ockam
system. Contact Tom Davis ( or visit

Sixteen of the world's top 25 ranked women match racers have accepted
invitations to the BoatU.S. 2004 ISAF Women's Match Racing World
Championship, which will be sailed in J/22s, June 5-12 on the Chesapeake
Bay out of Eastport Yacht Club. Racing begins Sunday 6 June, with the first
of two scheduled double round-robins and will continue daily, starting at
0900 hours. Finals and petit-final contests are set for Saturday 12 June,
with the prize giving, where it is guaranteed to crown a new ISAF Women's
Match Racing World Champion.

The skippers and their world match racing rankings are: Nina Braestrup,
DEN, ranked 3; Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN, 4; Liz Baylis, USA, 5; Marie
Fauré, FRA, 6; Betsy Alison, USA, 7; Paula Lewin, BER, 8; Sabrina Gurioli,
ITA, 9; Claire Leroy, FRA, 10; Christelle Philippe, FRA, 12; Katie
Spithill, AUS, 14; Deb Willits, USA, 16; Carol Cronin, USA, 17; Jenny
Axhede, SWE ,18; Elizabeth Kratzig, USA, 19; Sally Barkow, USA, 22; Linda
Rahm, SWE, 23. -

* Leading sailing clothing manufacturer, Henri-Lloyd, has again been
appointed as Official Technical Clothing Supplier to the Clipper 05-06
Round the World Yacht Race. All the participating crew in each of the ten
rival teams will be supplied with Henri-Lloyd's award winning Gore-Tex®
Ocean Racer range of foul weather gear. In addition to the Ocean Racer
suits, crews will be given the option to purchase at a special rate the
Henri Lloyd One Piece Suit. -

* Following the Olympic Games in Athens in August, the 2004 Paralympic
Games will take place from the Agios Kosmas Sailing Centre in Athens.
Sailed in two classes, the single-person keelboat and the three-person
keelboat (2.4mR and the Sonar respectively), the event will be the first
time that the organizing committee for the Olympic Games will also be the
same organizing committee for the 2004 Paralympic Games. The Notice of Race
for the 2004 Paralympic Sailing Competition is now available:

* Nearly 200 sailors are competing in the World Finn Masters Championship
in Cannes, France, where those born after 1964 need not apply. Gus Miller
informed Scuttlebutt that Canadian Larry Lemieux is leading the elimination
rounds, "while everyone else has been distracted by the nude beach just
below the club deck. If that had been on the brochure, a few more of you
might have made it..." Event website-

"I'm too old to take all these waves!" - Transat skipper Michel Desjoyeaux,
60-foot Trimaran Géant.

"Survive, finish, win. In that order." - Transat skipper Joe Harris, Open
50, Wells Fargo/ American Pioneer.

You may never get to shimmy down from a hovering 'copter into a snakepit of
enemy fire, but you can wear the same shoe today's Navy SEALS wear to
maximize traction and torque in extreme amphibious combat situations. It's
the Figawi Zip, $69.99. For a list of stores, visit

(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 Allan Johnson: Man! I just returned from the opening ceremony of the
Advanced Racing Clinic Association (ORCA) for junior sailors in Seattle,
WA. What a treat to see 60+ kids eager and excited to learn more from
sailing's champions. Adam Deermount set the tone with his opening remarks
and quickly Brian Ledbetter took the stage with a general overview on boat
handling. The kids then broke into groups according to their classes, and
there was Charlie Mckee with the 29ers, Emery Wager with the Lasers, Tine
Moberg-Parker and Agustin Resano with the Optimists, and Jen Morgan with
the 420s! With the wind blowing out of the south at about 14 knots, it was
looking like a great day. Junior sailors are our future!

* From Steve Gilbert: In the current issue of Sailing World there is a
story by Jon Ziskind about 'Adopting a Professional Attitude.' I have had
the pleasure of sailing with Jon on a few occasions, and I have to say that
all of the suggestions that he makes in his article exactly represent the
way Jon is. No matter if it is after 5 minutes or 500 miles, he is focused,
polite, energetic and competitive. Sailing is a wonderful sport, it brings
together young and old, experienced and novices and gives everyone the
opportunity to enjoy the sun and wind (and rain and cold but we won't
mention those). Somewhere out there I am sure there are people that have
found the joys of sailing because of experiences with professionals,
because of his hard work and attitude, Jon is one of them. Thanks to all of
those professionals that have made sailing fun for me!

* From Nick Kent: While I am sure a roomful of folks will attend the Storm
Trysail Club's day long seminar on July 21 to evaluate rating rules
currently in use and to explore alternative rules for handicap racing at
their events, I have already marked that date on my calendar to do
something else. If all goes well, my voicemail at work will say, "Sorry but
Nick is unavailable today as he has gone… one-design racing."

Last month the 'Buttheads filled the library shelves with eleven new books
for our pleasure. We will keep the May entries at the top of list for the
rest of the week for easy reference before we catalogue them among the
other 200+ titles. If you are a frequent library visitor, you might have
also noticed that each week we try to highlight those books that have been
popular sellers. Enjoy it all at

Have you ever seen a toad on a toadstool?