Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1710 - November 12, 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.

The issue about increasing the number of people who race sailboats is
really simple - make it more fun, and more people will do it. For the most
part, we have allowed the sport to devolve into one formula for winning;
the perfectly prepared boat, the exact legal weight limit on the rail, new
sails, The issue about increasing the number of people who race sailboats
is really simple - make it more fun, and more people will do it. For the
most part, we have allowed the sport to devolve into one formula for
winning; the perfectly prepared boat, the exact legal weight limit on the
rail, new sails, and windward leeward races. Adding a few paid pro's seems
to help some people win too. Anyone want to hazard a guess why we've lost
participation? Fun under this formula is too often defined only as winning.
If nothing else, this format gets boring quickly.

Look at successful events that aren't tailored to the standard formula.
Take the Hot Rum Series in San Diego. A pursuit start, an "odd" shaped
course, a starting time, indeed an entire race format, that allows someone
to have a life doing something else besides spending the entire day
involved only with the boat.

While all the efforts to bring new people into the sport are valuable, the
low fruit in this equation is probably sitting around the yacht club, or
perhaps is riding around on a golf cart, but still owning a boat that
quivers on the mooring, just waiting to be used. Let's create fun reasons
for people to use their boats again.

Where flat out, hard core classes and events are well attended, don't
change a thing. But if you are a class rep or club event organizer and want
to increase the number of people who participate in your regattas next
year, just ask yourself this one question - what can we do to make it
easier and more fun in order to attract more people? Place the premium on
not wasting time, start closer to shore, maybe a LeMans start off the beach
or dock, finish in front of the clubhouse. Write a really simple modified
set of four rules - like starboard, leeward, clear ahead boats have right
of way, and don't hit anyone. Race only from 1pm to 3pm. The recent
Scuttlebutt Sailing Club series sure seems to worth considering, even if
your facility isn't in the BVI.

For a group of people who have been smart enough to acquire the resources
so that we can spend time racing sailboats, we sure have been collectively
dumb in making sure we have more people to race against. As class or club
event promoters do you want to be in the winning business, or the fun
business? - Peter Huston

The ISAF Events Committee voted on the options presented to them and put
forward recommendations for the selection of the following Equipment:

1. Multihull Open: Tornado
2. Keelboat Women: Yngling
3. Keelboat Men: Star
4. Double-handed Dinghy Open: 49er
5. Double-handed Dinghy Women: 470
6. Double-handed Dinghy Men: 470
7. Single-handed Dinghy Men: Finn
8. Single-handed Dinghy Open: Laser
9. Single-handed Dinghy Women: Laser Radial
10. Windsurfer Men: Neil Pryde RS-X
11. Windsurfer Women: Neil Pryde RS-X

These classes are purely recommendations and the final decision remains
with the ISAF Council, and will be made today. -

The protest hearing that will decide the final fleet positions of the
Global Challenge took place in Yacht Club Argentino, Buenos Aires. The
international jury is appointed by the International Sailing Federation
(ISAF) and organized by RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club). At the end of each
leg the jury is on standby, and should a protest hearing be necessary, they
are flown in to adjudicate and resolve the matter as a wholly independent
body. There are five judges, and three different nationalities must be
represented. Among the issues was the race committee's protest concerning
the passage of some of the yachts through the traffic separation schemes at
Ushant and Finisterre. In all, four protests were heard. The leaders in the
12-boat fleet after the protests, are: 1st, Barclays Adventurer, 15 points;
2nd, VAIO, 14 points; 3rd, Samsung, 13 points; 4th, 5th BG Spirit, 11
points; 5th, BP Explorer, 11 points. Full details and current standings:

New England Ropes is pleased to announce its involvement with Premiere
Racing's Key West Race Week and Miami Race Week in 2005. A Silver level
Industry Partner, New England Ropes will be offering vendor support to
several customers on-site and in the southern Florida area. Look for our
sales team while you're down there. We can answer any questions you may
have regarding running rigging for your performance sailboat. For more
information about New England Ropes, call us at 800-333-6679 or visit us on
the web at

The majority of the fleet, including all the leaders, are rounding to the
west of the Canaries. It will be interesting to see tomorrow how many "on
the water pitstops" are made between the islands with some relatively minor
worries on certain boats. As Mike Golding (Ecover) said earlier today,
there is clearly a zone of low pressure centred to the west of the Canary
islands which has meant that the trade winds have not yet kicked in. This
low is due to head north-east of its current location with models revealing
a ridge of high pressure extending further south to the Canaries with the
north-easterlies which should kick start the trades into action. When
exactly this will happen is the question on everyone's lips tonight.

Though the easterly breeze will surely drop away for the leaders out west
now that they are past the Canaries, and the boats to the east like
Hellomoto (Conrad Humphreys) are likely to get the new breeze first, the
fleet is likely to compress together slightly before the leaders get away
again - "first into the system, first out" as Golding said earlier. -

* One of the Vendee Globe favourites, France's Jean-Pierre Dick, ran into
trouble yesterday. In a couple of uncontrolled gybes, he broke four battens
in Virbac's mainsail but has managed to replace or repair three. However,
Dick is considering finding shelter to attend to the crucial gooseneck
joining the mainsail boom to the mast. "I haven't really felt in the match
since the start," said Dick, winner of last year's Transat Jacques Vabre. -
Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph,

Standings at 0400 GMT November 12:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou
2. Sill, Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 18.7 (distance to leader)
3. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 37.5 dtl
4. Ecover, Mike Golding, 37.8 dtl
5. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 56.5 dtl
6. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 74.9 dtl
13. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 245.2 dtl

"The main problem with this race is at what speed do you push the boats to
finish the race in a competitive way? You can push the boat very hard but
if you break there is no point in doing that. You can say 'I will go very
slowly and I will wait for everyone to break' and maybe you will win, but
maybe not. And the problem is where is the middle position? So you can go
faster than we did four years ago just by pushing the boats but will the
boat make it and will you be able to maintain that rhythm? That is the main
question with this race.

"There are not a lot of things that have been developed over four years.
For example we already had fin keels in steel or carbon, you could choose
between a wingmast or a standard mast, the only different is that people
are going for more central ballast in the middle of the boat. That
increases the power of the boat but it also increases the load on the rig.
Again the problem is to finish - not only to go fast and I'm not sure it is
so simple to have a very fast boat in all conditions if you don't finish."
- 2000- 01 Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux, The Daily Sail,

"What is concerning me is that Riou is able to do that in these conditions
which are roughly Southern Ocean conditions. While I haven't absolutely had
my foot to the floor for the whole time, I hope not to have to sail the
race like that. Then it becomes a gamble over who breaks." Mike Golding,
Ecover (As the old offshore racing adage goes, 'to finish first, first you
must finish.')

The Nations Cup, in the year 2005 will leave Trieste and will change his
format; there will be three stages instead of one and will leave Trieste
for the most exclusive destinations in the Mediterranean Sea. Capri,
Smeralda's Coast and Saint Tropez are now the locations that will host the
new sailing circuit which will develop from May to September 2005. The
event, as always, will be reserved to the best America's Cup sailing teams,
which will challenge on the 55-foot Tuttatrieste! Two identical boats
studied and realized for match races. Races will be with match race
formula, but other proposals are also under consideration. The best sailors
in the world, including Paul Cayard and Russell Coutts, have demonstrated
great interest in this project and are willing to participate to this brand
new circuit. Both Cayard and Coutts, have granted their participation to
the Nations Cup 2005 with teams of extraordinary level, promising, as
always, great shows, a lot of competition, technique and sportsmanship. -

* For Australian Nick Moloney on Skandia, there is a bit more at stake than
the other Vendee Globe skippers. In addition to competing in the Vendee, he
is also in a 'virtual race' to raise funds for Sail 4 Cancer. Moloney aims
to raise £42,000 / EUR60,000 / AUD100,000 - a British pound (or equivalent)
for every Kilometer he sails. Moloney's father, who is a Director of Sail 4
Cancer in Australia, has recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver,
lymph nodes and lungs. -

* With applications from 120 yachts, the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney
Hobart Yacht Race will have the largest number of entries in a decade. This
is the tenth largest fleet in the past 59 races, with the biggest being 371
boats in the 50th anniversary race in 1994. There are ten international
entries from New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong and the
USA. Eleven Sydney 38's have entered - easily the largest number of one
design boats in the history of the race. -

* Having set out yesterday on his Route of Discovery record attempt between
Cadiz and San Salvador in the Bahamas Francis Joyon returned to the Spanish
starting port Wednesday night to replace a genniker halyard. Joyon's boat,
IDEC reached port faster than anticipated and after just an hour feeding in
a new halyard, she was able to re-cross the line at 21:35:40GMT. - The
Daily Sail website,

* Cameron Kelleher has been appointed PR Director for the Volvo Ocean Race.
Kelleher has extensive experience in marketing communications in Formula
One having formerly held the positions of Head of Communications for the
Stewart Grand Prix and Jaguar Racing teams. A 10-year Fleet Street veteran,
he is also a former Deputy Sports Editor of the Daily Mail and London-based
correspondent for the Herald and Weekly Times Group, Australia. He has also
undertaken various contract freelance sub-editing and writing commitments
with The Times and Sunday Times before becoming Night Editor (Sport) of The
Independent in 1991. -

Henri Lloyd's new North Sea Jacket has it all. Warmth without weight in
this fleece-lined, highly breathable, windproof jacket. Great features like
non-bulky insulated sleeves to keep your arms warm and a stand up collar
around your neck to brace against the harshest of winds. Wear it to catch a
winter sunset or a plane way out of town - it's tough enough to withstand
the weather, but stylish enough to go anywhere. North Sea from Henri Lloyd:
all-weather, all-comfort, all the time.

(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 William E. Thogersen: So it will be IRC that is the magic cure-all
for Handicapping? I feel like Alice dropping down the rabbit hole and am
now in a land that has everything upside down. IRC is a single number
time-on-time rating system. About the same as Portsmouth - but doesn't even
have the flexibility of the different wind speed numbers. Being
time-on-time versus time-on-distance, the system does attempt to
incorporate wind speed in a race, i.e. the lighter the wind the longer the
race will take and the greater impact a handicap difference will have. In
that regard, IRC is an improvement over a single number time-on-distance
system like PHRF.

But, IRC is still just a single number system and thus cannot ever hope to
handle the varying speed differences between yachts based on point of sail.
I eagerly await next years Block Island Race Week run using IRC. Virtually
guarantee that yacht positions will be dramatically different between the
windward/ leeward races and the 'Round the Island' race. This will be due
in large measure to the fact that a 'single number' IRC rating can't fairly
handicap yachts for these two different conditions. IMS may be too
complicated and/or expensive but, in my opinion, switching to IRC is a step
backwards. US Sailing really missed a bet by not promoting Americap enough
and making it the standard.

* From Fred Roswold, Hong Kong: To respond to Holger Hinsch's hope that IRC
will yield results as good as IMS...Good luck! Rating sailboats is all
about science, and IMS has better science than IRC. No rating system has
held up very well against the pressure of GP owners and designers. Its not
likely that IRC will either. If the rule administrators stick to their
formulas, the designers will devastate them. If they arbitrarily slam the
hot boats, then the rule will be deemed to be unfair and arbitrary. IMS's
problem was the confusing and poor application of it by race committees,
not by it's competence in predicting speed of sailboats.

* From Hugh Welbourn: Although I was strong supporter of the aims of IMS
when it first appeared on the scene, the sheer over-complications of both
onshore measuring and then the calculating of results post-race was always,
and still is, a major hiccup in the very roots of the system. When it then
type-forms the boats from the inadequacies of the VPP engine into the
desperately slow and seriously ugly monsters now seen to be necessary to
win then I think that Herr Judel should step back from the idealistic
vision into the real world. Fast is fun; slow is stupid. No rating system
is ever perfect - but keep it simple and understandable and at least the
users will be able to use it. A final point on single figure TCF racing -
for a designer this ensures that he has to produce a good all-round
performer - there is no system at the back of the rating calculation to
rescue the one weather dogs!

* From Christine Hartmann: Jesse Gaylord (Butt 1708) is off the mark. He
claims to have successfully financed his own Thistle campaign, "without
(any) sponsorship" from his parents. Who paid for his room/board/education
so that he could spend all his summer job money on sailing? Did he buy his
own boat? He seems to have missed the point. If he were a financially
independent 19-yr.old and had to start from scratch (buy a boat, etc.) in
addition to his living/education expenses there's no way he'd choose sailing.

Even Optis, at the lowest level, require a significant initial investment.
Either can be purchased used for $1-2k, but this doesn't include summer
sailing lessons, which cost anywhere from $600-2700 depending on the yacht
club. And that's just for one child! Is it any wonder parents sign their
kids up for soccer, Little League, or swimming where the fees and equipment
prices are a fraction of the cost? We seem to forget that the folks we rub
elbows with at the yacht club are hardly "average" Americans. The median
income for a 4-person family was $62,732 in 2002, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau. Does this figure reflect most of your club's members? I
doubt it. Sailing is, and I believe always will be, somewhat of an elitist
sport. We needn't be apologetic about it, but we should at least call it
like it is and stop trying to prove that it's really accessible to all when
reality says otherwise.

* From Glenn Selvin: I whole heartedly agree with Jesse Gaylord's response
to the myth that sailing is too expensive for youth. While I'm no longer a
youth, (far from it, I'm afraid), I'm still a middle aged guy with a pretty
tight budget. Sailing old Cal 20's for fleet racing and a Vanguard Finn vs.
a new Devoti, I'm able to keep racing on a budget. Yet, if I were to read
my average sailing rags, especially those that tout their Grand Prix
section, I'd have to believe that we're all sailing new 40 and 50 footers.
Stick with small boat racing, and the youth of America will do just fine in
their Lido's, Lasers, Thistles, etc.

* From Dr. Paul Jacobs: There is an old saying attributed to Mark Twain:
"When there is steam on the river, you better steam". History is replete
with numerous examples of the slow, inexorable advance of technology.
Dacron sails replaced cotton. Then laminate sails replaced dacron. Why?
Because they provided improved performance.

* From Chip Pitcairn: The most important change to energize the America's
Cup would be to return it to a "competition among nations." With the
current system of naval architects, sailors, and sailmakers playing musical
boats every Cup, the only thing national is the emblem on the sail. The
longed for drama of Fremantle was not only the last event for 12 meters, it
was the last event when most sailors sailed for the country of their true

* From Tony Hitchings, ex-Kiwi, newly christened bareboat skipper: For a
great many of us, sailing is a way to get back to nature, and to relax with
no engine (noise). To not be in a hurry, and to idly chat with friends. Of
course, this makes for weak press.

The Parent's Curse: Your child will learn what you teach. And then, quote
it back to you.