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SCUTTLEBUTT 2519 – January 25, 2008

Scuttlebutt is a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
and dock talk . . . with a North American focus. Scuttlebutt is published
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(January 24, 2008) There was much rejoicing around the Conch Republic on
Thursday. The wind gods smiled on Acura Key West 2008, presented by Nautica,
delivering excellent racing conditions and bringing much joy to both
competitors and organizers. Early forecasts for Thursday were not favorable
and talk on the dock was that another day of racing might be lost. Racing had
been abandoned on Monday because of too much wind and Wednesday as a result
of too little.

However, conditions proved even better than expected with the wind starting
at 5-8 knots from the southwest then clocking around to the north and
increasing to 12 knots. That allowed for two races on all four courses and
resulted in an awful lot of happy faces when the boats returned to port.
“What a surprise! We had very nice sailing conditions today, the best we’ve
had all week,” said Dave Ullman, who holds fourth place in Melges 24 class.
“It didn’t look promising last night, but if any of us could really predict
the weather, we would be in a different business.”

There was minimal shakeup in the standings with the lead changing hands in
only five of 16 classes. However, the difference between the first and second
boat in the other 11 classes is six points or less and things could change
dramatically before this series concludes. It sets the stage for the final
day at Acura Key West 2008 with organizers moving the first gun up one hour
and planning to conduct three races, with early forecasts calling for 15-20
knot winds. -- Complete report:

On-the-water updates:

With the recent roundings of Cape Horn during doublehanded races and record
attempts being fairly benign, here is a reminder that the brutal reputation
of this point of land is well earned. Canadian Derek Hatfield was competing
with his Open 40 Spirit of Canada in the "Around Alone" Single-handed Yacht
Race when rounding Cape Horn in March 2003. Here is his story:
About a day and a half before getting to Cape Horn the wind started to blow.
Once it got above 40 knots Derek had to hand steer the boat because that
amount of wind, and the size of the waves, was too much for the autopilots.
So began a long, long stint at the helm. "The waves were really starting to
get huge as I approached Cape Horn," Derek said in a phone interview. "They
were at least 40 to 50 feet with breaking crests. I knew that if one of them
got the boat we would be in trouble, but because I was on deck at the helm I
could see them coming and steer away from them." As Derek and Spirit of
Canada got closer to Cape Horn the waves began to increase in size as the
continental shelf caused the water to shallow. They were also getting
dangerously steep.

Hatfield had stood way off land and figured he was about 10 miles south of
Cape Horn when he passed its longitude. "I never saw the land," he said. "And
I was glad of it, I wanted to be far away because the visibility was very
bad. We were getting slammed by a hail storm and the wind was picking up the
waves making a real mess of things." It was sometime mid-afternoon when the
wave that had his name on it came up from behind. "I was so exhausted that I
could hardly think, but when I heard the wave I knew that I was in trouble.
It was not as big as some of the others, but it was breaking and it made a
huge roar as it approached the boat. In seconds we were falling down the face
of it until the bow dug in and then we pitchpoled. The boat went straight up
and then fell over sideways. I was at the back of the boat and got flung
forward, and the next thing I knew I was in the water under the boat." Spirit
of Canada had just undergone the worst possible scenario; an end-over-end
capsize. -- Sailing Breezes, read on:

by Lynn Fitzpatrick
“It’s Ruf with one “f” and it’s pronounced like the thing over your head,”
said the affable US 2.4 Meter Paralympic sailor. John Ruf grew up in
Pewaukee, Wisconsin sailing scows. His great grandfather helped to design the
E-Scow, so it is no wonder that John was at home steering E’s, M 16’s and X
Boats around the lakes of the Midwest.

When he was in kindergarten, doctors discovered a tumor on his spine. John
spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals undergoing operations,
radiation, and chemo treatment while dreaming about days on the water. With a
strong upper body and legs that sort of worked, John could get himself from
one side of the boat to another during tacks and gybes. He was able to get
around with the assistance of a cane and crutches until he was a junior in
college, but after suffering complications following an injury from an
automobile accident in 1998, John’s mode of mobility switched to a
wheelchair. -- Read on:

Goetz Custom Boats, one of the world’s preeminent builders of composite
yachts, has been at Acura Key West Race Week providing shore services. GCB is
flying the flag at West Marine on Caroline Street, and has had skilled
composite technicians on-site for any repair needs. If your service
requirements extend beyond Race Week, Goetz has now converted its old
facility into a full service repair and refit service center, providing IRC
optimizations, a full canvas shop, and a machine shop to clients from around
the world. For more information on their full range of services, call John
Boone at 401.965.8947 or visit

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

(Day 75 – January 24, 2008) Paprec-Virbac 2's great "Trade Winds escape"
continues, as they are presently outpacing Hugo Boss rival at roughly a two
to one pace. While the advantages are largely due to the differing weather
situations that the two teams find themselves in, Hugo Boss also finds itself
facing rudder problems that do not seem to be easily fixed onboard. This is
the second time the team has tried to fix the rudder, but given that a
substantial part of the port rudder blade is missing, they are not overly
hopeful at this stage. --

Positions at 18:00 GMT (+gain/-loss from leader since previous day)
1-Paprec-Virbac 2, Jean-Pierre Dick/ Damian Foxall, 3,349 nm DTF (+324)
2-Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson/ Andrew Cape, 836 nm DTL (-170)
3-Temenos II, Dominique Wavre/ Michéle Paret, 1,798 (-132)
4-Mutua Madrilena, Javier Sanso Windmann/ Pachi Rivero, 1,846 (-114)
5-Educación sin Fronteras, Servane Escoffier/ Albert Bargues, 3,118 (-152)
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)

Groupama 3 set off this Thursday, January 24th at 07h 50' 17'' (GMT) from the
start line of the Jules Verne Trophy attempt (crewed circumnavigation around
the three capes), a line defined by the alignment of Lizard Point (UK) and
the Créac'h lighthouse (Ushant). Franck Cammas and his nine crew must cross
this same line after rounding the three capes before 15 March at 00 hours 09
minutes 21 seconds (GMT) in order to take the round the world record. The
103-foot maxi trimaran was sailing in a fine NW'ly breeze of around fifteen
knots, with the weather forecast indicative of a fine descent for this first
day at sea since the breeze should rapidly clock round to the North as it
fills to twenty knots, where it will then reach over thirty knots as it
shifts round to the East. The first 24 hours should therefore enable the team
to get as far as Lisbon by Friday morning. --

(Day 7 – January 24, 2008) Gitana 13 exited the Doldrums Wednesday morning
and since then has gradually picked up a more sustained air current in the
form of easterly winds from the Saint Helena high-pressure system. In its
attempt to break the 14,000-mile record from New York to San Francisco, the
110-ft catamaran Gitana 13 skippered by Lionel Lemonchois was sailing off
Recife by Thursday morning, on the northeast coast of Brazil. Gitana 13’s
average speed, which had slipped to 10-15 knots for more than 24 hours,
climbed back above 20 knots Wednesday night. This pace should increase
further during the day and remain there for around 48 hours. “The next
stretch is shaping up pretty nicely for us, and the descent toward Cape Horn
looks like it will be fast despite a tricky passage that we’ll have to
negotiate in the next two days. We’ll be on a beam reach until we’re opposite
Rio de Janeiro and the wind moves aft, but then it should be back abeam the
rest of the way to the Horn,” said onboard navigator Dominic Vittet. --

* Amateur boaters in New Orleans are praising the quick, bold work of three
teen sailors, who helped rescue three chilled and exhausted people whose boat
swamped in Lake Pontchartrain this month. Tom Long, a board member of the
Southern Yacht Club, said the club hopes to gain national recognition for
Chris Algero, 15, Clerc Cooper, 14, and Jon Nunn, 14, who were sailing a
19-foot Flying Scot sloop on the chilly afternoon of Jan. 13 when they saw a
shallow-draft fishing boat swamp in heavy chop on Lake Pontchartrain. -- The
Time-Picayune, complete story:

* US Sailing is seeking a PR Coordinator for the US Sailing Teams, joining a
dedicated group of staff personnel and a volunteer committee that is
responsible for all decisions, policy, and practices for the Olympic Sailing,
Paralympic Sailing, Elite Youth Sailing, and all National Teams. The PR
Coordinator will assist with all aspects of promoting and publicizing the
Teams, in addition to developing a strategic media plan to ensure maximum
coverage and visibility for all aspects of the Olympic Sailing Program. --
Read on:

* Sail Newport’s Brooke Gonzalez Advanced Racing Clinic presented by Helly
Hansen will be held for the seventh year on June 19-22, 2008 in Newport, RI.
This is the weekend prior to the start of the Youth Championships, this year
in San Francisco, CA. Based on the success of the spring CISA clinic in
southern California, the three and a half day program consists of lectures
and on-the-water drills with an emphasis on boatspeed, and will be held in
Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, 29er and Club 420’s. -- Full details:

Scheduling is now underway for 2008 North American Match Racing Clinics. The
series is derived from the WIMRA (Women’s International Match Racing
Association) clinics offered world-wide in 2007 using a curriculum created by
Dave Perry and Liz Baylis. Your club or fleet can host a 2 or 3 day clinic.
To host (or attend), contact Bill Gladstone at North U:, 800-347-2457, or

* Melbourne, Australia (January 24, 2008) The second day of racing at the
Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne proved to be challenging with light and shifty
wind. Multiple World and Olympic Champion, Ben Ainslie (GBR) made his way
through the fleet to cross the line a few meters behind Florian Raudaschl
(AUT). The young Austrian who had nurtured a good lead around the course
could not match Ainslie speed on the downwind leg. To further his
disappointment, Raudaschl found himself disqualified for starting early
giving the race victory to Ainslie. Dan Slater (NZL) capitalised on his
earlier outstanding results with a 4th place which gives him a comfortable
lead on the overall standings, 12 points ahead of Ben Ainslie (GBR). -- Event

* Melbourne, Australia (January 24, 2008): There was an Italian feel to the
opening day of 470 Worlds in Melbourne, with Gabrio Zandona and Andrea Trani
leading the men’s standings and Gulia Conti and Giovanni Micol ahead in the
women’s. Following three days of qualifying, the fleet will be split into
Gold and Silver flights for three days of racing beginning January 27th, with
the medal race for the top ten to follow. -- Event website:

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include images from the US Youth World Qualifier, the Sail Melbourne Asia
Pacific Regatta, the United States Coast Guard Academy fleet of FJ’s, a youth
school event in Hong Kong, kite skiing on Lake Sunapee, a glimpse of the good
times at Maddies, along with one of the good days this week in Key West. If
you have images you would like to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor.
Here are this week’s photos:

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 John Harwood-Bee: Before anybody gets excited about the ISAF letter
presented to Justice Cahn, may I suggest that they read it in full. Hopefully
they will understand that it says very little to contribute to the case. In
fact it confuses itself (hardly surprising for ISAF) in one line it refers to
KEELBOAT, which most sailors would probably accept as a monohull. Later it
switches to KEEL YACHT, a term that I and many others would consider to be
any keeled vessel including multihull. Its definition of a keel is 'a fixed
hull appendage attached approximately on the hull centre plane, primarily
used to affect stability and leeway'. . Not everybody considers a keel to be
'fixed', and I quote a dictionary definition:

“In sailboats, keels use the forward motion of the boat to generate lift to
counter the lateral force from the sails. Keels may be fixed, or they may
retract to allow sailing in shallower waters.”

The etymology of the word is from Anglo-Saxon c?ol, Old Norse kjóll, = "ship"
or "keel". As for multihulls being keel or keeled yachts? I have sailed
catamarans over many years. Every one of them had 'keels ' that would fit the
ISAF definition. It is my submission to Judge Cahn that the whole subject is
a red herring. Nonsense used as ammunition between protagonists that
increasingly have nothing to do with sailing and more with some personal
vendetta between Bertarelli and Coutts. Pathetic!

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: The ISAF document mentioned above, which was used as
evidence by SNG on Wednesday, can be read here:

* From Malcolm Kirkland: I was surprised to read in the Key West report that
there was no racing in 25-30 knots. I note heavy weather races in the Solent
in 45 knots (1978), a Laser world championship race starting in 32 knots true
(Hyannis, 2002), and our advanced Optimist sailors regularly training in
25-30 knots. Is not 25-30 knots part of the game?

* From Dave Wilhite: (regarding the term “keel” that is being debated in
America’s Cup circles) Most sailors, including those that claim educational
authority, would call the appendage that provides stability and lateral
resistance on most monohulls a keel. However, the Oxford Companion to Ships
and Sea first defines a keel as "the lowest and principal timber of a ship,
or the lowest continuous line of plates of a steel or iron ship, which
extends he length of the vessel and to which the stem, sternpost and ribs or
timbers of the vessel are attached. It could be called the backbone of a ship
and is its strongest part..." etc. etc. etc. I would not be surprised to find
IDEC, Sodebo, and Groupama 3 all have keels. A quick check in my dictionaries
and reference books including Skene's Elements of Yacht Design and The
Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction concurs with this definition. (there is
an exception in my US Sailing textbooks written in a rather digestible, if
not over simplified, easy­to­read form but i might posit that in this case
they are referring to a "ballast keel")

Considering the entomology and history of the word keel, I truly don't see
what all the ruckus is about. What is so hard to understand about the
stipulation that the challenging vessel is to be 90 feet long and 90 feet
wide with a mast height of hundred plus feet? My guess is that no matter what
the design, BOR's entry might sport quite a substantial keel should it have
any hope of not folding up like a swiss pocket knife.

* From Frederic Berg: (regarding the sail-assisted cargo vessel story in
Issue 2517) We should all applaud the MS Beluga SkySails and technical
manager Stephan Brabeck for its development work in using kites to alleviate
the impending energy crisis we will certainly have if attitudes like those
expressed by Mark Dolan (Scuttlebutt 2518) persist. Five years ago, it would
have been but a dream to see a kite on a cargo ship. Today it is a reality
with some constraints. Tomorrow, companies not embracing the technology will
find their investors jumping ship. I can see a time when SkySails finds a way
to harness the jet stream at 20 to 40 thousand feet in its arsenal to
optimize the use of the wind to generate a return for its customers. Maybe
the future holds unmanned cargo ships. Give technology a chance, its what
makes America great!

A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.

Special thanks to Goetz Custom Boats and North U.

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