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SCUTTLEBUTT 1732 - December 15, 2004

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Is it more than a coincidence that since we as a sport started pushing kids
into singlehanded boats like the Opti and Laser, instead of encouraging
them to sail multi-handed through those same pre- and early-teen years with
their parents or others in "family classes" such as the Lightning, Rebel,
Snipe, Flying Scot, Lido 14, Thistle, Blue Jay, Scows and -- yes -- the
Penguin, the sport has been contracting, or at least not growing the way it
did in the 60 and 70s?

Obviously, there are other factors at play here, but I remember at age 8 or
9 our club running a junior program for us in an awful little boat called
the Tag-Along Clipper -- a 1960's Michigan version of the Opti or Sabot --
and being made to race alone against other kids.

OK, most of us were decent sailors by then, having crewed for our parents
in Snipes, Rebels and Lightnings on our lake. But after all these years, Mr
Dickson's letter reminds me how much we disliked sailing the Tag-Alongs,
and that we much preferred sailing and racing together on the faster, more
responsive and more social "big" boats.

And now that I think about it, our 12 year-old daughter had an Opti from
early on but never liked sailing it or the Sunfish, etc; she is, however,
enthusiastic about crewing with her grandmother and myself in a Flying Scot
and has taken a new liking to the sport.

Recently in 'Butt a couple of the Johnstone kids have written warmly along
the same social, family-participation lines, and I think back to what Bob
and Mary did that resulted in all four (and others like them) becoming
enthusiastic lifelong, lifestyle sailors -- and none of them grew up
sailing Optis.

No doubt some kids thrive on Opti sailing, and the hard working leaders of
that class like Robert and Helen Mary Wilkes (will they ever talk to me
again?) have helped produce current and recent Olympians. But at what
expense to overall participation in the sport? I am not a psychologist, but
different personalities probably take to different kinds of sailing, and
maybe Opti-style single-handed sailing appeals only to a small percentage
of kids? What happens to the others?

Optis may be the right "junior league" for some future grand prix sailors
like Robert Scheidt and Ben Ainslie, but is there a Penguin Principle? Do
kids who grow up sailing with their families and friends on bigger,
multi-handed boats tend to enjoy more and stay in the sport over those in
Opti and similar programs? - Tom Ehman

Representatives from the Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games
visited the ISAF Secretariat on Friday 10 November, taking the opportunity
to give an update to ISAF President Göran Petersson. As sailing is being
held at a remote venue, the 29th Olympiad Organizing Committee Sailing
Sub-committee has been formed, as a branch office of Beijing Olympic
Organizing Committee. The Sailing Sub-committee will have 100 personnel in
employment by 2008, and currently has 40 staff working. The masterplan of
the sailing venue was agreed with ISAF and will leave a legacy to the city
of Qingdao through the regeneration of the waterfront area.

Development of the venue is progressing well, with all infrastructures and
facilities currently under construction. The entire site for the sailing
venue is being developed from a ship terminal, and the environmental impact
of the development has been high on the Organizing Committee's agenda,
with, as for all sports, a department of the Sailing Committee responsible
for Environmental issues in Qingdao. As an Olympic venue, the Organizing
Committee representatives spoke of the fantastic opportunity Qingdao has to
accelerate social development and upgrade the city's infrastructure.

Qingdao is twinned with the cities of Brest, France and Southampton, Great
Britain and representatives will be working with both these cities to
develop Qingdao as the "sailing city" of China. This focus will also see
the building of sailing clubs and increased development of sailing in the
region. There will be two test events for the 2008 Olympic Sailing
Competition, in 2006 and 2007 at a similar date to the Games. The 2008
Olympic Games will take place in Beijing, China from 8 to 24 August 2008. -
ISAF website,

(Ian Walker examines the desperate situation at Qingdao, the sailing venue
for the 2008 Olympics, in a piece just posted on The Daily Sail website.
Here are some excerpts.)

Several top Olympians have voiced their personal concerns about Qingdao and
how it might affect their decision to campaign in the first place. I am
talking about the prospect of there being little or no wind. Who would want
to commit three and a half years of their life to Olympic sailing only to
go to a venue with little or no prospect of wind?

The problem now is that having an Olympic regatta with little or no wind
could be disastrous for both ISAF and the sport's reputation. Sailing needs
the Olympic regatta to be a success as it is the primary international
showcase for our sport. Even if they do get enough wind to sail some races,
do we really want people to believe that seeing people sat motionless in
the bottom of their boats in little or no wind is what our sport is all
about? Watching Ynglings in any wind is bad enough but having to watch any
of the classes in no wind is dreadfully dull.

The British Olympic Team have already carried out detailed weather studies
of Qingdao and while guarded about the details the conclusion of team
manager Stephen Park is that "8 knots could be a big day in Qingdao" - this
says it all. Not only is there little chance of wind but Qingdao is fairly
tidal and getting races in any light winds could prove to be problematic. -
Full story posted on The Daily Sail subscription website,

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US Sailing has posted the events that will be used to select the members of
the 2005 US Sailing Team and US Disabled Sailing Team. The Rolex Miami OCR
as a mandatory event for all classes except the Star class and the new Neil
Pryde RS:X class. Curiously, the Rolex Miami OCR appears to be the one and
only 2005 ranking event for the 470 (both men and women), 49er, Tornado and

The US Sailing Team is composed of the top five ranked sailors in each of
the nine classes (11 events) selected for the next Olympic Games. The top
three ranked disabled sailors in the 2.4 Metre and the Sonar classes will
be named to the US Disabled Sailing Team. Members of the two teams will be
announced next spring, when all qualifying events have been completed. With
the exception of the recently selected Neil Pryde RS:X for the men's and
women's boardsailing events, the schedule of qualifying events is on-line

Winds peaked at over 65 knots for Nick Maloney onboard Skandia at the end
of Monday, and continued to punch him hard all night, culminating in a big
knockdown just after daybreak. Skandia was bowled over by a powerful
breaking wave, that rolled the boat right over to what Nick estimates was
130 degrees. That is to say the mast well and truly underwater, and the
view from inside out of the cabin windows being that of solid green water.
The boat righted herself quickly, and as far as can be ascertained at
present the damage sustained was that the lazyjacks broke and more
seriously for later that the wind instruments have been lost as the two
'wands' at the masthead have been destroyed. "It has been a mad 24 hours,"
Maloney said. "It has been very hard to see the way out of this, I feel
like I have been in an agitator, constantly being thrown around." The
leaders are set to move into the Pacific Ocean by the end of the week after
racking up 12 knots averages since the start of this global marathon.

Leaders at 0400 GMT December 15:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou, 12,785 miles to finish
2. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 104 miles to leader
3. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 323 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 408 mtl
5. Ecover, Mike Golding, 451 mtl
6. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1301 mtl
7. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 1521 mtl
8. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 1877 mtl
9. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 2123 mtl
10. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier 2414 mtl

Complete standings:

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

Optimism continues to grow that Ellen MacArthur will be able to put the
technical turmoil behind her and carry on with her solo, non-stop round the
world record attempt on the 75-foot multihull, B&Q: "The difference in my
outlook between now and 48 hours ago is absolutely black and white. We've
had some terrible issues and it really did seem like the odds were stacked
against us for a long period of time. The boat seems back on track now. The
[battery] charging seems under control - there have been a few issues with
it but nothing too bad - and it's actually possible to be inside the boat
and charge the batteries at the same time so things are much, much better,
my outlook is much more positive." In a phone call Tuesday evening, Ellen
reported: "Wind not increased as much as we anticipated - I am sitting
ahead of the front and sailing fast enough that the bigger breeze hasn't
caught us yet..." Her advantage on the record continues to grow and was
more than 10 hours at our distribution time. - -

( We don't need reality TV; we have Ellen MacArthur, and
Ellen's doing something that would make Mark Burnett hide under his desk
and quiver. MacArthur is currently somewhere in the South Atlantic and
looking to break the time record for sailing solo and non-stop around the
world - a feat accomplished by just one other person in history. If she
succeeds, she'll be the youngest person and the first woman to do so; if
she fails … did we mention the open ocean, sailing solo? The site is
astounding - she's got Webcams and a journal and all sorts of other gear
aboard - but it utterly pales compared to the human endeavor. Mesmerizing.
- USA Today,

* Athens 49er Class Olympic gold medalist, Iker Martínez, will join Pedro
Campos and Bouwe Bekking as co-skipper onboard Telefónica MoviStar for the
Volvo Ocean Race. Iker has already started training in the gym to adapt to
the needs of the Volvo Ocean Race. "I need to be bigger and stronger for
this race - I have to gain muscle mass and weight," he acknowledged. Pedro
Campos is the general manager of the team and will be the inshore skipper
for the in port races. With four round-the-world races behind him, Bouwe
Bekking is helmsman and skipper. -

* Forty-three Melges 24 teams invaded the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key
Largo, Florida this past weekend. Brian Porter and his Full Throttle team
consisting of his brother John, Andy Burdick and Dave Navin took home the
overall top honors. John Bertrand took second place ahead of Bruce Ayres,
Samuel Kahn and Rick Orchard, in that order. Over the course of two days,
seven races were conducted in variety of weather conditions major
temperature changes and wind speeds testing the true ability of every team
and pushing their sailing skills to the maximum. - Complete results:

* Team Stelmar (Global Challenge) turned back for South America yesterday
evening (to land an injured crewman). Counting the distance to land and
then onwards to New Zealand, they now face 5,000 miles of sailing and an
additional two weeks at sea. If they retire (from this leg), they will be
able to refuel and take on extra provisions when they reach port. The race
organizers consider it possible that some of the crew of Team Stelmar may
want to leave the yacht in South America, in particular those on board for
just this leg. - Elaine Bunting, Yachting World,

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(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 Marc Herrmann: I couldn't agree more with Peter Huston's comment
regarding a simplified approach to the RRS. This should make for some
interesting debate and I am sure this thread can and will be debated for
some time. However, I truly believe that a simplified approach to the RRS
including "bench" testing at several venues throughout the year (or years)
would be very productive in achieving the original objective which is
increased participation. We race in the PNW (Vancouver, BC) and we have a
serious lack of participation problem over the past few years. However, not
all lack of participation is contributable to the complex/ convoluted rules
but includes handicapping as well.

* From Scott Olsen: With respect to Peter Huston comments by having the
windward boat as right of way at the start there will be more barging,
everyone will sit to windward and push everyone else out the way - the poor
boat who picked the layline will need to give way to everyone else.

* From Mark Weinheimer (edited to our 250-word limit): While I applaud Mr.
Huston for his efforts to expand participation, I think awarding the
weather boat right of way will dramatically change the dynamics of control
on the race course - and not for the better. This will not eliminate
barging, it will make barging the only way to start. Imagine setting up a
Vanderbilt start upwind of the line and button-hooking around the committee
boat while driving off the boats under you as you protect your weather

Under the current rules, incidents between boats are primarily in
down-speed modes. The luffing matches that Huston wants to get rid of
actually create safer, slower collisions. While collisions in general are
not good, they are bound to occur - and perhaps more so in a group of
beginners. To be awarded right of way is only effective if the give way
boat recognizes the fact and acts accordingly. Are you ready to bear off
across the bow of another boat and hope he responds?

Finally, what happens when a newcomer wants to go to the next level? A new
set of rules, dramatically different in basic concept - you don't learn
baseball playing kickball. Interestingly, the "weather boat rules" concept
is already in play. Iceboats use it because they turn over if you have to
head up to bail out of a bad situation. It was also used in the Pro 40
catamaran circuit for the same reason - both very specialized high speed

* From Kingsley Piesse: Vendée Globe sailor Mike Golding is not being
'forced' to sail up to the waypoint. Didn't he read the course and accept
it before he started the race. The waypoint was a mark of the course long
before he sailed so far south. Put it in your routing and sail the course
like everyone else and don't blame anyone but yourself or the weather for
the position you are in.

* From Janene Marasciullo: I laughed when I read the comments from Tom
Donlon and Bob Johnstone regarding the new J/100. I also own an old model
J-boat: the J/22, which has far more in common with the J/100 than the
J/30. However, it's clear to me what the J/100 offers: a new marketing
opportunity! Cynicism aside, I was less disturbed by J/Boats efforts to
reach a new audience with a re-engineered J/22, than I was by Bob
Johnstone's comments regarding the J/100 class rules on crew hiking. Any
visitor to the J/22 website can attest to the continuing debate about our
hiking rule, which, like the J/100 rule, prohibits the torso outside the
sheerline when the crew is hiking with legs out. The biggest complaint is
that the rule is unenforceable.

It's sad that J/Boats did not consider the experience of the J/22 sailors
when writing the class rules for the new J/100. This would not be a big
deal if the class rules weren't so difficult to change, but the J/22 class
constitution make it is very difficult to change the rules, no doubt
because the original drafter (J/Boats) wanted to keep control over the
rules. The boat builder may have some legitimate reasons for laying out
strict specifications about how boats are built, but the interests of the
boat owners ought to govern how the boats are sailed.

* From Ralph Taylor: The Curmudgeon is absolutely right in his comment.
(And, his decision not to publish the letter without authentication.) If
Team Stelmar did seek redress for putting an ill crew member ashore, they
come off as "crybabies", unwilling to face reality. Having a crew member
get sick or injured in a long race is part of "racing luck" which every
racer must face. It happens, it's nobody's fault, you just have to take
responsibility and deal with it. Thanks, too, for reprinting rule 62.1,
which makes the prospects for redress clear, especially in "except to
herself or her crew". Beyond this one issue, I've had doubts about the
concept of this race. Now, those doubts are a little stronger; it's a
little too much like those faked "reality TV" shows. The Southern Ocean
might not be the place to take those who don't know what they're getting into.

* From Doug Pope: Tim Daniel hit the nail on the head. My son was hooked
when I put him on the helm and gave him some pointers on driving upwind.
After a few years he is quite good and he is my crew in short handed races.
He rarely misses a club race. We sail as a family all summer, sometimes
four days out of seven. Having said these things there is no guarantee that
your child will take to sailing. My other son could take it or leave it, he
has other interests. I suspect, though, that one day he will come back to

"The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that
perhaps they're too old to do it." - Ann Bancroft