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SCUTTLEBUTT 1734 - December 17, 2004

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REBUTTAL
Tom Ehman's stimulating article "The Penguin Principle" in Butt 1732 asks:
"Do kids who grow up sailing with their parents tend to stay in the sport
over those in Opti and similar programs?" The answer is almost certainly
no. The question assumes that these are two distinct groups. In fact around
80% of the top U.S. Optimist sailors have parents who sail and therefore
probably fit into both categories. For example this year's best-ranked U.S.
Optimist sailor is Austen Anderson (Centerport NY) whose surname and club
are shared by the owner of a J/105.

Having accepted that the Optimist helps to produce Olympians, Tom asks "at
what expense to overall participation in the sport?" and asserts that the
sport "has been contracting or at least not growing". Gary Jobson and
others have repeatedly pointed out in your columns that the one area of
U.S. sailing that IS growing is junior sailing.

As regards ongoing participation in the sport, the International Optimist
Association has studied this question in some depth
(www.optiworld.org/dropoutreport.pdf). Part of this research was into
Under-13 Optimist sailors at the 1996 U.S. Nationals. At least 79% of this
group continued to sail. Yes, winner Zach Railey went the Olympic route but
there are plenty now sailing Snipes, Flying Scots, Lightnings etc.
including the crew of the winner of the 2004 Snipe Junior Worlds.

Tom is of course correct that "different personalities probably take to
different kinds of sailing" and kids who prefer to crew on family boats
should not be criticized or "made to race alone against other kids" as Tom
was. It is always possible that "The best is the enemy of the good". Junior
programs should be careful to nurture the less talented and less
enthusiastic. But to link dropout to single-handed racing is like linking
school dropout to the examination system.

The reference to the Penguin Principle is presumably to the logical
fallacy. There is a much simpler fallacy:
- Kids drop out of sailing
- Kids race Optimists
- My daughter has not (yet) dropped out
- She doesn't like sailing Optimists
- Those who don't like sailing Optimists don't drop out
- Those who do like sailing Optimists do drop out.

The facts, easily accessible these days by use of Google, do not support
this conclusion. - Robert Wilkes, Secretary of the International Optimist
Dinghy Association

UPDATE - VOLVO OCEAN RACE
Six new boats are now fully under construction for the 2005 Volvo Ocean
Race. Boat 1 for ABN AMRO will be out of the boat shed in Holland by the
end of December. "We have taken the wise decision to put the boat on a
ship and take her straight to our training base in Portugal," says skipper
Mike Sanderson. "We've chartered our own ship so that we can put all our
gear onboard and be as flexible as we can on when we leave." Boat 2
construction has begun in Holland and the crew selection process for this
'high performance team' as it has been dubbed, is well underway.

Jason Carrington and the team at Green Marine in Lymington, UK are working
flat out on the Volvo 70 for Atlant Ocean Racing. "We're fairing the mould
at present" says Carrington. The mould went into the oven on December 9th
where it will stay until mid February. "We have made a full size mockup of
the interior and all the frames are up," explains Carrington.

Brasil 1 is being constructed by Marco Landi's ML Boatworks, in Indaiatuba,
a small city near São Paulo in Brazil. The boat will be ready at the
beginning of May. It will first go in the water in Angra dos Reis, in Rio
de Janeiro state, and then the team will make one or two Atlantic crossings
to train the crew and test the boat.

Grant Wharington's Premier Challenge has opted for a female deck mould and
a hull plug for his Volvo Open 70. The outside of the plug has been
glassed and laminating started this week. The plug will be complete by
Christmas and the female deck mould laminating will begin over
Christmas. The boat is being built by Mal Hart at Hart Marine in
Mornington, one hour south of Melbourne. Mal Hart, who also built Grant
Wharington's maxi Skandia, has put 25 men on the project and is expecting
the boat to be finished by April.

The Australian yard of Boatspeed, just outside Sydney, is making quick
progress with Telefónica MoviStar - the Volvo 70 for Pedro Campos and Bouwe
Bekking. The majority of the bulkheads are in the boat and the interior
fitting out has started. The deck will be fitted at the beginning of
January and the boat will go in the water in early February for immediate
sail trials. The team will base themselves initially at Noakes Boatyard in
Newcastle just up the coast from Sydney, using the marina belonging to the
NCYC yacht club, which is only five minutes from the open ocean. For the
first month, the boat will be day sailed to test all the systems, but the
real trial will start on March 11th when the team sets sail for Rio de
Janeiro in Brazil. They will recreate leg four of the race, with a 48-hour
pit stop in Wellington, New Zealand, before carrying on through the
Southern Ocean around Cape Horn to arrive in Rio. - Lizzie Green,
www.volvooceanrace.org

PERSPECTIVE
The round-the-world race has become something of an institution for Kiwi
sailors, but less than a year out from the 2005/06 event, there are just
six entries confirmed. "We have six boats under construction which is great
news and we are working hard with the teams on the announcement of a few
more before March, which is about the last realistic date new boats can
start construction," race chief executive Glenn Bourke said.

Larger 21m yachts were introduced in September last year and some experts
have predicted they could be up to 21 days faster than the previous boats.
In other changes to the race, the yachts will visit 10 ports and the event
will incorporate seven inshore races. "Personally I have no doubt the
2005/06 Volvo Ocean Race will be a superb event as we have some innovative
additions this time round such as in-port racing and a new scoring system,
which will make it difficult for one boat to become a runaway leader early
on," said Bourke. "I'm particularly interested to see how the teams tackle
the various skills required for the different types of racing and how the
designers develop the boats so that they're adaptable for both ocean racing
and in-port racing." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:
www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=4&ObjectID=9003464

HELP SANTA OUT
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charge! Be Santa's helper! http://tinyurl.com/2ovl3

THE FINALISTS
The final list of nominees - nine women and 13 men -- who will be
considered for the 2004 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards
was announced Thursday by US Sailing.

Nominees for the 2004 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year are ISAF Match Racing
World Champion Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.); 2.4 Metre Paralympic Silver
Medallist Tom Brown (Northeast Harbor, Maine); J/80 and J/105 North
American Champion Glenn Darden (Ft. Worth, Texas); Interlake National
Champion Skip Dieball (Toledo, Ohio); 470 Men's Olympic Gold Medallists
Paul Foerster (Rockwall, Texas) and Kevin Burnham (Miami, Fla.);
around-the-world sailing record holder Steve Fossett (Chicago, Ill.); Rolex
Farr 40 World Champion Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.); Lightsurf
International 505 World Champion Morgan Larson (Santa Cruz, Calif.);
Tornado Olympic Silver Medallists John Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and
Charlie Ogletree (Houston, Texas); Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Jim
Richardson (Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I.); and Sonar Paralympic Bronze
Medallist John Ross-Duggan (Newport Beach, Calif.).

Nominees for the 2004 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year are: ISAF Women's World
Match Racing Champion Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.); Olympians Lanee
Beashel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.), Meg Gaillard
(Pelham, N.Y./Jamestown, R.I.), Katie McDowell (Barrington, R.I.) and
Isabelle Kinsolving (New York, N.Y.); U.S. Jr. Women's Singlehanded
Champion Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.); U.S. Women's Match Race Champion
Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.); and Lightning North American Champion Jody
Swanson (Buffalo, N.Y.)

The nominees will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists, who
together will discuss the merits of each nominee and vote by secret ballot.
The winners will be announced in January and honored during a luncheon at
the New York Yacht Club in New York City, on February 25, 2005, where they
will be presented with Rolex timepieces. Former 'multi-time' winners of
these awards include Ed Adams, Betsy Alison, Dave Curtis, Dennis Conner,
Courtenay Dey, JJ Isler, John Kostecki, Ken Read and Ted Turner.

For additional information on the accomplishments of each nominee:
www.ussailing.org/awards/rolex

THE PERFECT STORM
While the leading bunch of five Vendee Globe boats enjoy and relatively
quite time as they head towards the southern tip New Zealand, those behind
are preparing themselves for what looks to be the 'perfect storm'.
According to the latest forecast a low pressure system is building off
Madagascar. This will descend south and join up with a system already in
the north-west of the racetrack and create hurricane force winds. The likes
of Conrad Humphreys (Hellomoto), Karen Leibovici (Benefic), AKENA Vérandas
(Raphaël Dinelli) and Roxy (Anne Liardet) are already taking the full brunt
of this particular depression but Bruce Schwab (Ocean Planet), who is
currently furthest north in the fleet, will take a beating over the next 24
hours. Commenting on the situation Schwab said: "My northerly excursion is
looking like a bigger blunder every minute." - Sue Pelling, Yachting World,
full story: http://tinyurl.com/454e3

Leaders at 1900 GMT December 16:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou, 12,340 miles to finish
2. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 40 miles to leader
3. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 118 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 218 mtl
5. Ecover, Mike Golding, 241 mtl
6. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1179 mtl

Complete standings: www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar

NEWS BRIEFS
* B&Q is still heading east in 25-30 knots of north-westerly breeze, as
Ellen MacArthur waits for the expected wind shift to the south-west. After
18 days and eight hours, B&Q was 14 hours 44 minutes ahead of the record,
averaging consistent 19 knots of boat speed and making up good time on the
clock as Ellen sails a more southerly track then Joyon. - www.teamellen.com

* During one of the four segments on Sunday's Jeep World of Adventure
Sports (December 19), solo sailing legend Ellen MacArthur will take you
aboard the B&Q Trimaran as she pits her skill and courage against the high
seas in an attempt to break the Trans-Atlantic record. The NBC program airs
from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST.

* A posting on the Mariantic website indicates that there probably will be
a Spanish America's Cup syndicate. The deadline for filing an entry without
penalty is today. www.mariantic.co.uk/ac/six.htm#lastmin

* After seven years leading the International Star Class Yacht Racing
Association, Riccardo Simoneschi has stepped down. Bill Allen, senior
International Vice President, will take over for the next year.
www.sailing.org/default.asp?ID=j1,Fhtp`8

* After a major 19-day strip-down survey, Gipsy Moth IV, Sir Francis
Chichester's world famous 54ft wooden ketch, has been declared 'in a fit
state to be restored to sail around the world again.' So far, £100,000 has
been raised towards restoration costs, being carried out at 'cost' as a
charitable project by Camper & Nicholsons. It's estimated that shipwrights
will need to spend 5,800 man hours restoring the ketch - 4,000 hours alone
will be needed to make good the cold-moulded hull and keel. More money is
needed to guarantee the project's success. - Yachting Monthly,
http://tinyurl.com/5pfmr

CHRISMAKAH
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world. http://www.kaenon.com


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(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 Robbie Doyle: Having three offspring who are no longer children as
they are 21; 25 and 27, all who still sail, I have to agree fully with Chip
John's and the multiple program he prescribes and also the approach Pleon
Yacht Club has adopted. They do have Optimists, but they have been adamant
in maintaining the "cruising classes" as well as the crewed racing boats
even at the beginning levels. They also maintain an active social aspect to
Pleon which is a junior yacht club administered by juniors all under 21.
Their racing results in junior competition is admirable but not at the
level it perhaps once was for Pleon, and perhaps it is in other programs,
but its popularity continues to grow.

One sees many children who are not comfortable competing on their own in
Optimists enthusiastically enjoy the sport as either skipper with crews or
as crews who prefer not to skipper. Of my three children starting out one
was most comfortable as skipper with a crew; one preferred the optimist;
and the other preferred crewing only [and only when it was sunny and warm!]
The key message I want to convey to junior programs: take full advantage of
the diversity sailing offers and, if at all practical, present all aspects.

* From Nick Ryley: Tom Ehman struck a chord in his comments about juniors
learning to sail in single-handed boats rather than two handed boats. The
management aspects and social aspects of sailing are best learnt in two
handed junior boats. Most children are not going to be Olympians and sadly
many are turned off by the restrictions of club programs striving for
winners. Two handed junior boats with a fun program bring more people into
sailing which is what is needed in my opinion. In the UK the Cadet and
Mirror do this well and the children from these classes seem to do well as
they go on bigger boats and keelboats as they understand the dynamics of
working with other crew members..

* From Scott Diamond: An 8 year old sailing an Opti single handed learns a
lot more than sailing skills. They learn independence, decision making,
responsibility, things they don't learn as a crew for mom and dad. With
the huge growth in Opti sailing only time will tell if kids stay in it for
the long run, but from what I have seen, a kid who loves Optis as an 8 year
old will love sailing all their life. I have also seen kids dragged along
and forced to sail in dads double handed boat (Penguin of which I own 3)
and you can tell, as soon as this kid has a choice he's off to soccer or
anything but sailing.

* From Chuck Ramsay: As Chairman of the Vancouver Area Racing Council
(VARC) and an active participant in both OD and Handicap racing, it was
with great interest (and some sadness) that I read the comments from Marc
Herrmann. His comment "we have a serious lack of participation problem over
the past few years" is at best, misleading and at worst, simply not true.
Rules we race under is only one of the concerns. All of the Vancouver clubs
have been working on ways to increase participation at the crew and boat
level. It seems to be working. During the last 3 years the VARC series
(each 13 regattas/ 6 different yacht clubs over 8 months) for PHRF, ORC
Club & OD boats has grown every year. Our OD fleets (both Dinghy and
Keelboat) have continued to thrive as well (RVYC WAVES Regatta: 110
dinghies/ 80 keelboats over 2 weekends). I don't see that as 'a serious
lack of participation'.

Yes we have issues with ratings (that's why we race under different
systems) but you can pick your style. We also have an open class racing
under PHRF that puts the emphasis navigation which attracts another type of
racer. If anything we have too much to chose from and only so many weekends
in which to do it. Occasionally we have an OD event the same weekend as a
bigboat event. It's tough for those of us who like to sail both types of
boats but lack of participation? I don't think so…

* From Tom Priest (Re: Peter Huston's rules concepts): I must be missing
something … if the weather boat has right of way on the start line, by my
view, the barging would increase legally tenfold, not decrease ... unless
you're implying that as the weather boat, with right of way, there is now
no such thing as . Sounds very expensive to me! "Down! Down! Down!" crash -
protest, contact insurance carrier for the last time before they cancel,
forced to stay at home uninsured. Imagine a multi-boat overlap at the
starboard end of the line, now everyone of those is entitled to room under
the pin. Sorry, not interested!

* From Stephanie M. Ruiter: Peter Huston's comments seem to be more of a
desire to make sailing a daytime cruise rather than a sport. Last time I
checked, people who race sailboats do so because they have a desire to be
challenged both physically and mentally. Is this not the reason it is
called a sport? If the goal is to increase participation in the sport of
sailing, I suggest we not ruin a good thing.

* From Art Ahrens (Regarding the J-30/ J100/ Etchells): I used to own an
Etchells, and it was a very comfortable boat to daysail. Much more
comfortable to daysail on than a J-30, which has a cockpit that is 1/2 of
the proportion of a J-24 cockpit!! On a J-30, only the helmsman has room
in the cockpit. The new J100 rules live up to the problem with J-boats,
they are great to drive but they are crew beaters.

The BOTY design brief should be: 28-30 feet with cruising amenities for a
week long cruise, cockpit with comfort and security for women and small
children to feel safe in (J100 and modern shallow open ended cockpits are
great for racing, but are not really secure in a seaway), and sustained
breakaway speeds to keep a Melges-24/scow sailor happy that can easily be
handled by a couple when cruising. I agree with the comments about the
J-100. 135K for a daysailer with two bunks, and one head? Rod, adapt a
J109 style interior with more headroom below, make it comfortable to crew
on, and at 135K and you may have something.

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
To keep a healthy lever of insanity, tell your children over dinner, "Due
to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."