Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 2526 - February 5, 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.

Imagine leaving your warm comfortable home on a Sunday afternoon to go
play on the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay. That's exactly what one
group of sail boaters does each week. From the Tidewater Marina in Havre
De Grace when most boats are docked, the view from the dock of the bay
triggers all kinds of opinions. "They do it just for the sheer love of
doing it, but they do it in all kinds of weather which makes them
slightly off kilter," said Bob Holmes of Havre De Grace. And off to the

"It's fun, even though people think we're crazy with the cold water and
cold weather. It is fun," said one sailor. Every Sunday, members of the
Frostbite Sailing Club take to the waters of the Susquehanna. Father and
daughter Trevor and Danielle Prior felt froggy enough to drive three
hours from just north of Gettysburg. "I like to come out and sail. I
like to be on the water and have fun and be social," said Danielle.

At any given time, up to 15 members of this Frostbite Club come out to
the cold Chesapeake Bay to sail in the dead of winter. As to why they do
it, the answer is not only simple, but it's kind of selfish. "You really
have to have a competitive nature to come out here and do this, but we
like it because we have the water to ourselves," said a sailor.

This raises the question, what's a perfect Sunday? "They're having more
fun than we are; we're more comfortable than they are," said a passerby.
-- Tim Williams, WJZ Baltimore,

Few men in the world have as much knowledge or concern about the
America's Cup as San Diego business and civic leader Malin Burnham. In
addition to putting together the organization that conducted San Diego
Yacht Club's three defenses from 1988 through 1995, Burnham managed
Dennis Conner's successful challenge in Australia in 1986-87 and sailed
in the 1977 defense trials. Burnham hates what he is seeing in the
America's Cup these days.

It does pain me,” said Burnham, who knows the pain of these things given
the fact that he helped chart SDYC's successful court response to New
Zealand's Michael Fay that led to the infamous “catamaran defense” of
1988. We went through this before. We learned from that lesson. Now
(with the legal battle between Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison)
we're right back in that position.” Actually, a worse position.

It will survive,” Burnham says of the America's Cup. “But we're wasting
a lot of time. And it's all very unnecessary. If this type of thing
perpetuates, it will hurt the America's Cup.” Which is why Burnham
recently proposed a five-point plan that would put the America's Cup on
a modern sports footing while preserving the tradition. --
Union-Tribune, read on:

The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a stewy body of plastic and
marine debris that floats an estimated 1,000 miles west of California,
is a shape-shifting mass far too large, delicate and remote ever to be
cleaned up, according to a researcher who recently returned from the
area. But that might not stop the federal government from trying.

Charles Moore, the marine researcher at the Algalita Marine Research
Foundation in Long Beach, who has been studying and publicizing the
patch for the past 10 years, said the debris – which he estimates weighs
3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas – is made up
mostly of fine plastic chips and is impossible to skim out of the ocean.

“Any attempt to remove that much plastic from the oceans – it boggles
the mind,” Moore said from Hawaii, where his crew is docked. “There's
just too much, and the ocean is just too big.” The trash collects in one
area, known as the North Pacific Gyre, due to a clockwise trade wind
that circulates along the Pacific Rim. It accumulates the same way
bubbles gather at the center of hot tub, Moore said.

A 2-liter plastic bottle that begins its voyage from a storm drain in
San Francisco will get pulled into the gyre and take weeks to reach its
place among the other debris in the Garbage Patch. While the bottle
floats along, instead of biodegrading, it will “photodegrade,” Moore
said – the sun's UV rays will turn the bottle brittle, much like they
would crack the vinyl on a car roof. They will break down the bottle
into small pieces and, in some cases, into particles as fine as dust. --
San Diego Union-Tribune, read on:

Hot off the press from the Strictly Sail Show in Chicago, where Melges
had on display the popular Melges 32, Melges 17, and Melges MC, was news
regarding the new Melges 20. The Melges Team looks to be sailing the
first boat in early April, with production boats to follow. Pictures and
updates will be released on soon. Stay tuned. --

Most important for those interested in improving one-design sailing is
to remember that most people race to socialize as well as compete. They
want to have fun – party, party, party. Where sailing is social and fun,
fleets are alive and healthy. (Or is the converse true? I think not.)
Here is a string of ideas to make racing more social and fun:

* Have a potluck dinner after the race. Move it around from one fleet
member’s house to another. BYO drinks and protein. Hosts (or co-hosts)
provide salad and dessert. This concept was singularly responsible for
rejuvenating the J/24 fleet in Newport, RI a few years back. The party
is fun for those who win (they can savor their victory in public), and a
salve for those who don’t.

* Every now and then have a fleet “theme party”: Hawaiian luau, M*A*S*H
party, toga party… all the standard stuff. Invite non-sailors
(prospects) and those from other “fringe” fleets.

* Do a regular fleet newsletter announcing results of recent races and
regattas – and announcing who won the parties. Keep it simple and light,
and don’t be afraid to poke some gentle fun... People love the
recognition. -- Read on:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Yes, this is the same Tom Ehman who is involved
in the America’s Cup on behalf of Golden Gate Yacht Club. But in Tom’s
former life, he was somewhat of a one-design guru, claiming the US
Sailing Championship of Champions title among his accomplishments, and
is a former Executive Director of US Sailing (then known as USYRU).

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

(Day 86 – February 4, 2008) The race leader Paprec-Virbac 2 is being
forced to take the long road home, with a large high pressure system
blocking the direct route to Gibraltar. As a result, the Franco-Irish
pairing is sailing more miles to the north, in an effort to sail clear
of the system. This could provide an opportunity for Hugo Boss to cut
inside and gain some miles before reaching the Mediterranean. For
Paprec-Virbac 2, the situation is frustrating, but not critical as they
skipper Jean-Pierre acknowledges they'll probably spend some of their
500-mile lead over Hugo Boss over the next couple of days. The real
battle remains that between Temenos II and Mutua Madrileña. Skippers
from both boats proclaimed their motivation to come out on top of this
today, with the gap between the two under 90 miles again today. --

Positions at 18:00 GMT
1-Paprec-Virbac 2, Jean-Pierre Dick/ Damian Foxall, 1,374 nm DTF
2-Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson/ Andrew Cape, 544 nm DTL
3-Temenos II, Dominique Wavre/ Michéle Paret, 1,394
4-Mutua Madrilena, Javier Sanso Windmann/ Pachi Rivero, 1,488
5-Educación sin Fronteras, Servane Escoffier/ Albert Bargues, 2,808
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)

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: You can now watch exciting video from 'The
Barcelona World Race' online -- free. The first two dramatic episodes
are up and running now and a new one will be added each Friday. --

* Jules Verne Trophy (crewed circumnavigation around the three capes):
(Day 11 - February 4, 2008; 17:51 UTC) Sailing 70 miles to the South of
Tristan da Cunha at midday, Groupama 3 logged 601 miles in the last 24
hours as they head towards the Cape of Good Hope. However, though the
weather situation is fairly favourable as far as the tip of Africa, the
atmosphere will change considerably in the Indian Ocean! " After the
Cape of Good Hope, we are going to be blocked at 40° South to let a big
low get past us. We'll have to remain to its Northern edge for quite a
while without being able to slip along further South,” announced Franck
Cammas. Groupama 3 holds a 616 mile lead over the present record set by
Orange II. --

* Route de l'Or (crewed route from New York to San Francisco):
(Day 18 - February 4, 2008; 19:30 UTC) The ten sailors onboard the
maxi-catamaran Gitana 13 have been held up since Saturday evening by the
tumult common at the tip of South America. The rounding of the famous
rock has been postponed because of storms. The crew did a short out and
back toward the famous promontory in an effort to protect itself as much
as possible from successive low-pressure systems. To top things off,
high winds buffeting Tierra del Fuego make mooring difficult if not
impossible. The latest weather reports indicate an improvement in
conditions during the day Wednesday. --

..are the next four of 18 cities where Dave Perry, David Dellenbaugh,
and Brad Dellenbaugh are teaching Rules and Tactics Seminars this
winter. From fundamental principles to nuances highlighting the
difference between right-of-way and control, understand the rules and
the tactics the rules dictate. Turn rules situations into tactical
opportunities. Enrollment is limited. Sign up now (risk free) and
receive Perry’s Rules Quiz book and Dellebaugh’s Rules DVDs with the
course. Learn more at NorthU. Call 800-347-2457 or

* Less than 3 weeks after Alinghi, it was BMW Oracle's turn to receive
in Valencia their Extreme 40 training catamaran. According to our
information, the yacht arrived earlier this morning (Monday) and since
then the American team's shore crew is fitting her out. We don't know
whether the second catamaran also arrived today or will arrive at a
later stage. – Valencia Sailing,

* An impressive fleet of top-caliber racing programs hailing from over
15 different countries is gearing up for top tier racing next month. The
2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix (March 6–9) will carry on the winter regatta
excitement that recently concluded in Key West. Two high profile one
design classes, the Farr 40s and Melges 32s, and two IRC classes will
compete in the four-day, ten-race series. The Farr 40 class takes the
next step toward its World Championship in Miami later in April. –

* A 78-year-old California man was found dead in southern Mexico after
his yacht ran aground near shore, the U.S. Embassy said Sunday. The body
of a man believed to be John J. Long, of Alameda, California, was found
floating Saturday afternoon by his sailboat near the town of Puerto
Madero, just north of Mexico's border with Guatemala, embassy
spokeswoman Judith Bryan said. It was unclear how Long died or why the
vessel ran aground. Bryan said he sent a distress signal from the boat
'Culin,' which bore Irish, Mexican and U.S. flags. – There’s more:

* Wellfleet, Mass. -- The remains of what experts think was a
19th-century schooner have been unveiled on a Cape Cod beach. The
50-foot keel and wooden ribs appeared on Wellfleet's Newcomb Hollow
Beach last week, apparently exposed by waves. Bill Quinn, who has
written a number of books on Cape Cod maritime history, thinks the wreck
could be the remains of the Logan, a 19th-century schooner refitted as a
coal barge. He says the Logan went aground around 1920 and was abandoned
after it couldn't be towed off the sandbar. There were more than 3,500
shipwrecks in the waters off Cape Cod between 1850 and 1980. --

Whether at Key West Race Week, Miami OCRs, or the NSPS, Ribcraft is
proud to support sailors on and off the water. Providing the optimal
platform for setting marks, coaching, or just watching the races,
Ribcraft is the official RIB of US SAILING and the US Sailing Team. --

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 Lloyd Causey, New Orleans, LA: Last week, Paul Henderson and
David F. Clinnin presented a very simplistic view of the current legal
proceedings in the courts in reference to the America's Cup. Of all of
the items listed by Mr. Henderson, there is only one individual that can
instantly resolve the deadlock. I would like to quote from a recent Cory
E. Friedman report regarding the simplification of the issues:

"Periodically, sailors complain that if either litigant would just be
reasonable and stop this litigation, we could all go back to sailing
under the AC 32 format. That sort of equivalency (in legal jargon, “in
pari delicto,” of equal fault) ignores reality. Only one litigant has
the power to unilaterally go back to the AC 32 format and has declined
to do so, in favor of a different format which has not exactly met with
universal approval. That is why the Cup is before Justice Cahn."

* From Robert Laird: I entirely support David Clinnin’s sentiments in
his Issue 2523 issue letter but am not going to hold my breath for any
resolution of the GGYC – SNG dispute. The reason is money. If you open
the book titled “Plan for the Defence by SNG of the Challenge by GGYC”
at the “Sponsors” page, the chances are it is blank and likely to remain
so. Many may have signed up, committed or provisional, under the under
the ACM – AC33 Protocol but nobody has had a chance to sign up for a
Deed of Gift Challenge event that does not yet exist. If it ever does,
just 3 to 5 days of the world’s most profligate extravagance in sport
will be a tough sell.

In the worsening economic climate, the list of unanswered phone calls to
potential sponsors will get longer and longer. One name easily comes to
mind that will be a bit reticent. When the smell of burning flesh from
the sub-prime meltdown fills the board room and you have just managed to
lose SFr 12.5 billion in 90 days, you are just not in the mood for
prominent exposure in this kind of event. Your bank regulator might
start questioning your priorities.

Bertarelli will fight to the death to avoid coming to the start line for
a Deed of Gift Challenge and by now won’t want to see a date in the
calendar for an AC33 Protocol event until the dreaded “R” word has left
the economic commentary vocabulary.

* From Alexander "Ali" Meller, Annapolis, MD: In response to David F.
Clinnin (in Issue 2523), there may already be a mechanism to deal with
the AC Fiasco. Arguably both parties are in violation of Rule 2 and Rule
69.1a; hold a hearing.

* From David Shore: In contrast to Mr. Brieden's suggestion in 'Butt
2524, that the A Cup future is in good hands and patience is in order, I
maintain the opinion of the majority of others that feel this mess has
gone on long enough. Cory Friedman's ongoing analysis provides a lucid
picture of what is often wrong with corporate litigation today where
nobody wins but the lawyers.

In early September Cory referred to this case as "a one leg drag race
finishing at the top mark on October 22, 2007". That's what it should
have been, but Ellison and Bertarelli are both used to being able to
outlast their opponent. Without pressure from the sailing community and
it's sponsors, this "drag race" will do nothing but drag on and on,
depreciating the importance of the America's Cup brand every day...

* From Paddy Boyd: (regarding a request last week for ‘buttheads to
write to Alinghi and BOR) Well done David F Clinnin and the Curmudgeon.
This is what I sent to Alinghi:

“Your actions are not in the best interests of the sport of sailing.
You have a venue, you have the boats, '07 was a great regatta. All it
takes to get going in '09 is to repeat '07. For the sake of the sport,
do it!”

And to GGYC:
“The current legal wranglings and the potential match in catamarans does
nothing for the honour and integrity of the sport of sailing. For all
our sakes please work to emulate the wonderful Americas Cup of 2007.”

=> To write in, here is the info:
Team Bertarelli:
Team Ellison:

As I’ve matured I've learned that one good turn gets most of the

Special thanks to Melges Performance Sailboats, North U, and Ribcraft

A complete list of Scuttlebutt’s preferred suppliers is at