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SCUTTLEBUTT 2507 – January 9, 2008

Scuttlebutt is a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
and dock talk . . . with a North American focus. Scuttlebutt is published
each weekday with the support of its sponsors.

by Steve Bodner
The latest speed record attempts on January 3rd at the speed canal in
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France raised an issue that is more than just a
little bit interesting, regarding the fact that the faster the speeds get,
the smaller the actual intervals between the leading riders! Let's explain
that in numbers: actually achieving 50 knots of speed would give you a time
for covering the 500 metre distance of 19 seconds and 440 hundredths. The
current record, held by Finian Maynard (48.70) equates to a run time of
19.955 seconds, and kitesurfer Alex Caizergues' speed (47.92) a run time of
20.283 seconds, leaving 3rd fastest all-time man Antoine Albeau (47.69) a run
time of 20.380 seconds.

To put that in perspective, it means that Albeau is just 1 second off 50 knot
speed, but, closer still, there's only just a tenth of a second between
Albeau and Caizergues! And with his 48.70 knots Finian Maynard is just half a
second off 50 knot pace. Which all goes to say that, it all comes down to
fractions and that the last few tenths to the record will also be the hardest
to achieve!

Meanwhile the Hydroptere team has been in the Marseille area since January
1st looking for suitable spots for their own speed record attempt. They
finally decided on Port-St-Louis-du-Rhone (PSL), not much more than a stone's
throw from Saintes, as the most appropriate spot for the famous foil boat to
set up camp, a spot that Bjorn Dunkerbeck also used recently for his
private/invite only record attempt. Still in the workshops in the process of
being reconfigured for pure speed, the Hydroptere team could be ready for its
attempt as early as March, with one single aim in mind, that of smashing the
legendary 50 knot barrier! -- Scuttleblog,

Qingdao, East China -- The Chinese organizers on Monday played down concerns
about light wind conditions in Qingdao, venue for the 2008 Olympic sailing
events, saying the coastal city is absolutely capable of providing adequate
racing conditions. Speaking to a pack of Chinese journalists, Qingdao Vice
Mayor Zang Aimin said that judging from the last two years' test events and
the meteorologic data for the past 30 years, Qingdao's wind conditions can
meet the standards to hold Olympic sailing competitions. "Though the city's
wind conditions are far from perfect, we are confident that the Olympic
sailing events can proceed without a hitch," she said.

Average August wind speeds are about 5 meters per second --over the minimum
required for racing by international rules, but short of the ideal, 7 to 8
mps. Several of the scheduled races in the 2006 and 2007 Qingdao
International Regatta, the test events for the Olympic sailing competitions,
were postponed or canceled due to light winds. Zang said scheduling more
lay-off days in between racing days would allow help to make up any backlog
this summer. "We will schedule a 15-day period in order to play safe," she
said. -- China Daily, read on,

* Curmudgeon’s Comment: A conversion of 5 meters per second is 9.7 knots, but
there has been concern that Qingdao’s average wind speed records are affected
by the extreme storms that occasionally pass through and influence the data.
Also, in Issue 2415, Canadian Sailing Team Head Coach Ken Dool wrote an
article where he introduced a new term called “Qingdao knots,” which is the
wind strength forecasted by the weather gurus at the Pre-Olympic regattas in
an effort to keep everyone’s spirits up. Said Dool, “by my math skills a
Qingdao knot is about ½ a North American knot and definitely less than a ¼ of
a true European sailor’s knot.”

* Triple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie of Britain has been selected to
represent his country in the Finn class at the 2008 Olympic Games. The Royal
Yachting Association had initially been hesitant to grant Ainslie the slot as
he had been away from the class while countryman Ed Wright had been
accumulated top results, but Ainslie’s wins at the two Olympic Test Regattas
at Qingdao in 2006 and 2007, along with his impressive showing at the Sydney
International Regatta last month, sealed his nomination to compete at a
fourth Olympic Games.

“The America's Cup in many ways is like the U.S. economy, so big, established
and powerful that no matter who finds a way to gain control, it survives.
Right now, both are being put to the test.” -- Angus Phillips, Washington

Need to tune your winches or replace that handle you misplaced in the Gulf?
Harken's full-service mobile workshop is equipped with a drill press,
grinder, corkscrew, hand tools, and lots of spare parts. We'll even charge
your VHF or European cell phone! If you don't find Scott, Charlotte, Nick,
Neil, or Harv on the water or at our tech trailer on Caroline Street, try the
local establishments where we've volunteered to fine-tune and cycle-test the

The availability of tidal information is a crucial resource for racers and
cruisers in North America, and for that matter, the world. It is printed
daily in newspapers, easily found online, included on some wristwatches, and
even downloaded to phones and other PDA devices. But what if you had to pay
for this information?

The UK is one of the only countries in the world where the harmonic variables
used to calculate tide tables are deemed to be a copyright of the Crown.
Currently, Her Majesty's Government is requiring payment by any who wish to
use and publish this data. As an aid to the safety of all shipping around the
coast of Great Britain, an effort is in the works for this data to be made
available to any who require it, and who wish to publish the results either
on paper or electronically.

British citizens that support the availability of tidal information are
encouraged to sign a petition before the January 11, 2008 deadline. Link:

Melbourne, Australia (January 8, 2008) – The pressure this week at the 49er
World Championship is heightened by it being the final determinate for many
countries choosing their Olympic representative, or if the county qualifies
at all for the limited number of entries permitted for each Olympic event
this summer at the Games in Qingdao, China. The top North American entrant
Tim Wadlow/ Chris Rast (USA) was able to maintain their fifth place position
on a day when many other suffered. Here is Wadlow’s report:

“We thought Monday was a tough day, with challenging conditions, but today
was even tougher. The wind was once again from the land, and this time we
were on the inner racecourse, which meant our weather mark was extremely
close to shore. The wind was absolutely crazy, and reminded me of my days at
Boston University, sailing on the Charles River, in the lee of skyscrapers.
Skiff sailing in these conditions is not easy, as we can't just bounce from
one shift to the next like we used to do in FJ's.

“We somehow managed to survive the day with scores of 1, 9 , 13, 13. While
these scores were nothing special, the scores for the fleet were all over the
place, and everyone had some tough races. The race committee decided to go
one race ahead of schedule today and we sailed four races. This means we have
only one Gold race Wednesday, and then the medal race. We are mathematically
guaranteed of making the medal race, which is only the top ten teams overall.
The medal race counts double, and the score cannot be dropped. Lots can
change, and we hope to make the best of it.” --
Racing continues through Wednesday; complete results:

* For the RS:X Men’s and Women’s Worlds to be held January 10-20 in Takapuna,
New Zealand, online viewers will have access to both scoring and minute by
minute updates on progress. Start times, mark roundings, and finishes will be
posted to the internet with a minimal time delay. Additionally, mobile phone
text messages can provide information on individual sailors. Details at

The Scuttlebutt staff is based in California, where Opening Day is a
ceremonial tribute to tradition, and an opportunity for local dry cleaners to
get some blue blazer business. Regardless, there are matters of etiquette
that we just don’t know, and since being ignorant is no excuse, we publicly
accept the indignation that comes from the Scuttlebutt community when we
cross the line.

Here is a recent letter: “I know you guys are Californians, but I was still
shocked, shocked I say, to see your usually excellent web site's ‘Holiday
Greetings’ card posted showing an undersized national ensign flying from a
port spreader.” Eager to learn something from our misstep, we tossed a
lifeline to this reader, who replied with the information for Yacht Routine
from the New York Yacht Club yearbook. -- Read on:

Tagged as the ultimate do-it-all design, the Camet Agility short is ideal for
your Key West outing with an aerobic component. In addition to the shorts
breathable and versatile function, the two-tone shell features side pockets
placed high for easy access when sailing. CametflexT is 98% nylon and 2%
CFlex double weave with three-way mechanical stretch. The yarns are
specifically processed to resist deformation. The resulting fabric has great
stretch and no propensity to hold moisture, with super durable water
repellency. See it at

Open 60 doublehanded round the world race (started Nov 11; 25,000-miles)

(Day 59 – January 8, 2008) Paprec-Virbac 2 is closing in on Cape Horn, as the
leading boat in the Barcelona World Race has just over 500 more miles to run
before reaching this landmark at the tip of South America. “It’s the gateway
to the Atlantic and the exit from the Southern Ocean. The thing about the
Southern Ocean is that it’s constant and it feels like it is just
never-ending,” says Damian Foxall, from on board Paprec-Virbac 2. “It’s
relentless, it’s always blowing, or about to blow or it’s just been blowing
and there’s always a big sea – and this in the summer! It’s an amazing place,
but Cape Horn marks the door to leave and we’ll be happy to leave because it
means we’re heading north for the final section of the race.” As Hugo Boss
predicted yesterday, they were a full 10 knots slower than the leader for
much of the last day, but conditions have recently improved to hopefully stop
the bleeding. --

Positions at 18:00 GMT (+gain/-loss from leader since previous day)
1-Paprec-Virbac 2, Jean-Pierre Dick/ Damian Foxall, 7,381 nm DTF (+364)
2-Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson/ Andrew Cape, 1,031 nm DTL (-130)
3-Temenos II, Dominique Wavre/ Michéle Paret, 2,897 (-47)
4-Mutua Madrilena, Javier Sanso Windmann/ Pachi Rivero, 2,897 (+60)
5-Educación sin Fronteras, Servane Escoffier/ Albert Bargues, 3,473 (-132)
Retired - PRB, Vincent Riou / Sébastien Josse (broken mast)
Retired -Delta Dore, Jérémie Beyou/ Sidney Gavignet (broken mast)
Retired - Estrella Damm, Guillermo Altadill/ Jonathan McKee, (rudder damage)
Retired - Veolia Environnement, Roland Jourdain/Jean-Luc Nélias (broken mast)

* (Day 46 – January 8, 2008 - 16:52 UTC) Weather conditions have improved for
Francis Joyon and his maxi-trimaran IDEC in their solo round the world record
attempt, with speed and distance numbers for the latest 24 hours having
increased by 58% over the previous day, and now 16.1 knots while covering
385.4 nm. Joyon has been working his way up the Brazilian coastline, and is
nearly at the eastern most tip of the country (and continent), where he will
break away and cross the Atlantic toward the finish at Brest, France. With
4,079 nm remaining, Joyon’s has slightly improved on his advance of 2,504 nm
over the 2005 record set by Ellen MacArthur of 71d 14h 18m 33s (12.66 speed
average). --

Running quality regattas takes the effort of many, and the preparation needed
must be on the same level as top flight racing programs. Systems must be
tested, and the team must be able to anticipate and react to changes.
Depending on the host club and/or the accountability of its members, keeping
track of needed equipment can be a task and a half. An annual inventory is
likely needed, and perhaps the winter is the time to be doing it. The Desert
Sea blog has posted a comprehensive list of equipment needed for hosting a
sailboat regatta in inland or coastal waters for the race committee signal
boat, mark set boats, and other support boats; personal equipment for the
principal race officer, RC mark/support boat captains, and RC crew. Race
equipment is organized into the categories of (1) boat requirements, (2)
navigation, communications, and time keeping, (3) race course and signaling,
(4) paperwork, and (5) personal. -- Read on:

* After nearly eight years working full-time as Yachting World's Website
Editor, Sue Pelling has set up her own freelance business as a journalist
specializing in yacht racing, marine, lifestyle, and travel. She can be
contacted at

* Bill Goggins, commercial manager at Harken Yacht Equipment, has been
elected Sail America’s new president. The organization is responsible for
managing Strictly Sail Shows, marketing sailing to newcomers, and providing
services to its marine industry membership. Goggins continues a history of
association with Sail America, as both Peter and Olaf Harken were both
involved since the foundation of Sail America, with Olaf being the
organization’s first president. --

* American sabot sailors from California might enjoy these images of the
Australian version of the sabot, which last week held their 44th National
championship on Sydney Harbour. The hull looks similar, though the rig has
stays, the sail has three full-length battens, and many of the boats
are sailed two-up. Photos:

* San Juan, Puerto Rico -- After struggling aboard his storm-damaged yacht,
American sailor William P. Archer III watched his sailboat sink into the
ocean — just as he was rescued by a passing tanker in rough seas off the
Bahamas. Archer, who had been attempting a solo Atlantic crossing, ran into
trouble just 10 days into his six-week journey from Cape Verde, when storms
destroyed the boom and shredded two sails on his 39-foot yacht. He had hoped
to reach the Caribbean island of Antigua within a month. -- International
Herald Tribune, complete story:

Online registration is open and discount applies until January 31st! Come
enjoy great racing in the harbor and offshore in one of America's favorite
cities. Amazing beach parties every evening featuring Gosling Dark n'
Stormies and grand prizes on Sunday from event sponsor Raymarine. PHRF,
one-design, and IRC friendly. Details at

Australian yachting legend and Olympic gold medallist Peter O'Donnell has
passed away after a long battle with cancer. The 68-year-old, who was
Australia's inaugural yachting Olympic champion at the 1964 Tokyo Games,
became one of the country's most decorated sailors collecting several
national and international titles throughout a long and illustrious career.
O'Donnell's achievements included sailing aboard 'Gretel' in Australia's
first challenge for the America's Cup in 1962 and being awarded the
prestigious title of 'Australian Yachtsman of the Year' in 1980. -- Complete

Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name, and may be
edited for clarity or simplicity (letters shall be no longer than 250 words).
You only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot, don't whine
if others disagree, and save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
As an alternative, a more open environment for discussion is available on the
Scuttlebutt Forum.

-- Scuttlebutt Letters:
-- Scuttlebutt Forum:

* From Rich Jepsen, CEO OCSC Sailing, San Francisco Bay: (Re: article in
Issue 2506 about Call of the Sea) Great to see Seaward and Call of the Sea
get some well deserved props. The schooner is comfortable and seaworthy and
Ken is a 'can-do' guy with a dream to inspire kids and adults alike. We have
been some of the paying passengers that help support his youth programs. He,
Alan Olson, and crew are first rate, great teachers, and lots of fun to be

* From Sarah Fielding: Great story about US Paralympic team member John Ruf
in Issue 2506. Not sure about others, but I get fixated on what it must take
to compete with disabilities, forgetting that each of these sailors are
battling either disease or the results of a catastrophic accident. Achieving
success in Paralympic sailing is a tribute to their ability to overcome so

* From Betsy Altman: Frank Ustach’s report in Issue 2505 on the USTRA
Midwinter team racing event held at Martin County Sailing Center was an
excellent blow-by-blow account of the regatta with a vast array of teams and
talents. All racing depends on volunteers and few events engage more
volunteers than team racing. The race committee did an excellent job in
trying conditions and the umpires worked hard. A special thanks to Jackie
LaFort, regatta chair, John Westbrook, PRO, Allison Robin, rotations, and
umpires Rob Overton, Charlie Shumway, John Lee, Carol Robinson, Harry Keith,
May Wong and my co-chump, Tom Rinda.

What makes equality such a difficult business is that we only want it with
our superiors.

Special thanks to Harken, Camet, and Charleston Race Week.

A complete list of Scuttlebutt’s preferred suppliers is at