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SCUTTLEBUTT 2528 - February 7, 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.

The famous Malin Burnham, San Diego sailor, businessman and civic
leader, who helped organize San Diego Yacht Club's America's Cup
defenses from 1988 through 1995 and managed Dennis Connor's successful
challenge in Australia in 1986-87, has come to the rescue of the
America's Cup.

Let's hijack the event, he says. Let's have New York Yacht Club petition
the New York Supreme Court to corrupt the Deed of Gift and allow the
legal defender (Société Nautique de Genève) only one right -- namely, to
enter the next event. Then, let's take America's Cup Management --
actually let's corrupt that, too -- and let's make it a non-profit
organization. Let's stuff the board of directors with heavyweight
worthies from all previous defenders, plus a member or two from each of
the new challengers. Let's give the new organization all the rights for
everything, presumably now and forever, and let them do whatever they
want, whenever they like, for whatever reason, just like the Olympics.

Here is an idea that advocates assumption of the dictatorship of the
event, displacing the Prince of Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), and
reinvesting it with a group of individuals, most of them veteran AC
officials, under some vague and ill-defined authority that owes more to
Captain Jack Sparrow of Disneyland than it does to the late, lamented
and honorable George L. Schuyler. Is nothing sacred? Corrupting
America's Cup because Ernesto ran away with it doesn't repair the
damage. That sounds eerily like 'we have to destroy this village in
order to save it.' -- America’s Cup View blog,

The Aussies rule in this year’s first release of the ISAF World Sailing
Rankings, which features four changes in the world #1 positions. With
just six months to go until the start of the 2008 Olympic Sailing
Competition, it’s been an action-packed start to the sailing year. The
49er, 470, Finn and RSX classes have already held their World
Championships, with the Lasers and Ynglings set to begin later this
week, followed by the Tornados then the Laser Radials in March and
finally the Stars in April. With much of the action taking place down
under, it’s perhaps no surprise to see the Australians hold on to all
three of their World Ranking top spots (in the Laser, Men’s 470 and
Tornado) and move ahead of Spain as the leading nation in the ISAF World
Sailing Rankings. After the disappointment of a medal-less showing in
Athens four years ago, the Australian line up for 2008 appears to be
perfect poised for a return to form in Qingdao.
Along with the Aussies, Italy, Spain, Great Britain and France all hold
three top-three World Ranking spots. In total 19 nations have at least
one crew in a top-three Ranking position, a spread very similar to the
final medal tally from Athens, which included 20 nations. It’s
definitely the Europeans who are dominating, with 23 of the 33 top-three

Top ranked North American sailors include:
Laser Radial: 2. Tania Elias Calles Wolf (MEX); 3. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
Laser: 5. Mike Leigh (CAN); 15. Bernard Luttmer (CAN); 19. Andrew Campbell (USA)
Yngling: 6. Sally Barkow/ Deborah Capozzi/ Carolyn Howe (USA)
49er: 7. Tim Wadlow/ Christopher Rast (USA)
Finn: 12. Christopher Cook (CAN); 14. Zach Railey (USA)
Star: 13. John Dane/ Austin Sperry (USA); 14. Peter Bromby/ Lee White (BER);
16. George Szabo/ Eric Monroe/ Rick Peters (USA)
Men’s Windsurfing: 24. Zachary Plavsic (CAN)
Women’s Windsurfing: 39. Dominique Vallee (CAN)
Tornado: 6. Oskar Johanssson/ Kevin Stittle (CAN); 24. John Lovell/ Charlie
Ogletree (USA)
470 Men: 16. Stuart McNay/ Graham Biehl (USA)
470 Women: 12. Amanda Clark/ Sarah Mergenthaler (USA); 13. Erin Maxwell/
Isabelle Kinsolving (USA)

Complete story and standings:

The U.S. Ice/Snow Sailing Team has been practicing on Lake Sunapee for
the Ice and Snow Sailing World Championships coming up next week in Val
Brilliant, on Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula. Ice/Snow Sailing is much like
downhill skiing, except the rider uses wind instead of gravity as a
source of energy. The sport, which began centuries ago in the form of
skate sailing blossomed when windsurfing became popular in the late
1970's and early 1980's. In fact, the upcoming World Championship is the
longest running event in the history of windsurfing in or out of the
water! In addition to windsurfing on skis, there are skiers who use
wings and kites to harness the power of the wind to sail race courses
that add up to many miles.

Last weekend New Londoner Charlie Meding used his kite to sail over 40
miles on Lake Sunapee with a top speed of 43 miles per hour. William
Tuthill of Newport, Rhode Island, and Rick Hobbs of Lunenburg MA, sailed
over 50 miles each in Saturday's powerful breezes -- all in training for
the World Championships which starts on Monday and has attracted
athletes from Cuba, Belgium, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland. --

David Ullman and crew on ‘Pegasus 505’ led the way to a big finish by
Ullman Sails customers in the Melges 24 fleet at Acura Key West 2008.
Ullman won the regatta with a 1-2-1 result on the final day of racing,
competing with 100% Ullman inventory. European champion Franco Rossini
and team on ‘Blu Moon’ – racing with an Ullman mainsail and spinnaker –
finished just three points behind. And Alan Field claimed third spot
with his crew on ‘WTF.’ Field competed with a full Ullman inventory. Are
you fast enough? Contact an Ullman loft and visit

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

(Day 88 – February 8, 2008) The situation is getting more difficult now
for the race leading crew on board Paprec-Virbac 2 as weather conditions
have forced them further and further north of Gibraltar. The forecast
shows they'll have upwind conditions the rest of the way. And they'll
have to do it on reduced rations as their food supplies become more and
more meager by the day. --

February 6 positions at 18:00 GMT
1-Paprec-Virbac 2, Jean-Pierre Dick/ Damian Foxall, 826 nm DTF
2-Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson/ Andrew Cape, 558 nm DTL
3-Temenos II, Dominique Wavre/ Michéle Paret, 1,516
4-Mutua Madrilena, Javier Sanso Windmann/ Pachi Rivero, 1,601
5-Educación sin Fronteras, Servane Escoffier/ Albert Bargues, 2,955
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)

* The Scuttlebutt website's weekly snapshot of the fleet finds leader
Paprec-Virbac 2 closing in on Gibraltar, the gateway to the
Mediterranean Sea and the final leg to the finish at Barcelona, Spain.
Despite their healthy lead on Hugo Boss, P-V 2 skippers Jean-Pierre Dick
and Damian Foxall have gotten few breaks from the weather, which has
taken them much farther north than ideal. The remaining questions are
whether there remains enough race track for Hugo Boss to overcome their
deficit, and how far these teams will need to reduce food rations as
this final stage of the race drags on. See photo from race tracker at

With less than a week to go for the finish of the Barcelona World Race,
this week's video captures some powered up footage of one of the
entrants - Hugo Boss. It is quite a sight to see these Open 60's on a
reach in strong winds, seemingly on a full plane with walls of water
regularly washing over the decks. It is like they took all the
characteristics of a high-performance dinghy, and then just scaled it
up. Thinking back to the Southern Ocean leg, when the temperatures were
near freezing and twenty knots was a light air day, and you can
appreciate how challenging this race has been. Also, if you have a video
you like, please send us your suggestions for next week's Video of the
Week. Click here for this week's video:

* Jules Verne Trophy (crewed circumnavigation around the three capes):
(Day 12 - February 5, 2008; 17:22 UTC) Groupama 3 has passed Cape
Agulhas and left the Atlantic Ocean -- having already covered 7,200
miles, or over quarter of the Jules Verne Trophy course. The crew now
has built a lead of 23 hours and 30 minutes over Orange II’s 2005 record
- Distance covered in the past 24 hours: 648 miles.
- Average since the start: 22.47 knots

* Route de l'Or (crewed route from New York to San Francisco):
(Day 18 - February 4, 2008; 19:30 UTC) For over three days, Lionel
Lemonchois and his nine crewmates have been sidelined from their attempt
on the Route de l’Or record. Gitana 13 has taken shelter in the
Patagonian archipelago but is still experiencing the effects of the
storms raging several miles away: “The wind hasn’t dropped below 28
knots in three days, and yesterday evening another front came through
with 37-38 knots of wind! At this point they are sailing “on the mast
only” -- no sails are up.

* Day 11 -- Russian sailor Fedor Konyukhov passed through the Cottee
Gate (140E) at 15:17:56 UTC on Feb 5 to complete the first stage of his
solo record attempt around the 14,000 mile Antarctica Cup racetrack. It
has been a slow start, but with classic Southern Ocean winds – and snow
– forecast for the next few days, the 56 year old adventurer expects to
reach the next gate in much shorter time. His Open 85ft yacht Trading
Network Alye Perusa covered the 400 mile distance from Gate 1 in 2 days,
13 hours, 16 minutes, and 56 seconds. --

* US Sailor of The Week - Rick Merriman: As an 11-year-old in St.
Petersburg, FL, Merriman started sailing Optis and quickly earned his
way to the highest level, winning the Opti Worlds in Turkey. He
graduated to Lasers as a teen and later at the Naval Academy was voted
All American Skipper three times before graduating in 1985. Sadly, his
mother passed away last week, just before the start of US Sailing’s
Rolex Miami OCR. "I did it for her," he said about making the decision
to the race, where he finished in the top 10 in the Star Class. --

* The list of skippers who have accepted an invitation for the Rolex
Women’s Match, an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) grade 3 match
racing regatta scheduled for April 10-13 at St. Petersburg YC, includes:
Louise Bienvenue (Metarie, LA), JoAnn Fisher (Annapolis, MD), Corey Hall
(St. Petersburg), Sandy Hayes (Scituate, MA), Liz Hjorth (Marina del
Rey, CA), Lauren Knoles (East Lansing, MI). Katy Lovell (New Orleans,
LA), Sue McDowell (Bay Village, OH), Rossana Ramos (Brasilia, Brazil)
and Rachael Silverstein (St. Petersburg). The event will be raced in
Sonar keelboats to introduce women to match racing, with clinics and
practical on-the-water experience. --

* Following the practice race on Wednesday, the Championship starts off
Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia on Thursday with two races set to
start from 13:00. --

* The RC 44 Class has launched its second season with the support of DHL
as the tour’s Official Logistics Partner. The RC 44 Championship Tour
2008 will comprise six regattas in three different countries with DHL
developing new solutions for transporting the boats and equipment. The
2008 Championship Tour will crown both a professional match race
champion and an owner-driver fleet race champion. Seventeen RC 44
one-designs have been built to date with boat 18 due for completion in
early March.

The first O'Pen BIC Mid-Winter Championship, hosted by Shake-A-Leg Miami
and part of the Caviglia Blue Water Classic, came off as a resounding
success. Thirty-seven kids under age 17 loved the simple rules and
unconventional format of the O'Pen BIC "Un-Regatta", and most
importantly, excelled at Rule Number One: Have Fun. Check out the event
video at: And this year,
the 2008 Demo Tour plans to run up through the Mid-West and into Canada.
Contact to join the Tour, or for information
on Fleet Pricing, Dealer Inquiries and Industry Insider Offers. Energize
your kid today!

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 Angus Phillips: I like Malin Burnham even if he is a Republican,
but I have to say his formula for a new America's Cup is all wet. The
Cup was donated by George Schuyler more than a century ago. He set the
rules and they've worked far better than anyone could have guessed. He
felt strongly enough to register the deed of gift with the NY court, so
every Tom Dick and Ernesto who thought he had a better idea couldn't
change it on a whim.

Schuyler put up a challenger trophy. The rules are, whoever wins it must
accept a challenge from any bona fide yacht club from another country.
Them's the rules George set, and nobody can change his mind for him now
that he's long gone. If somebody wants to donate another trophy for a
semiannual regatta run in square riggers by a consortium of Swiss
chocolatiers, I'm all for it. But the Cup's the Cup.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comments: As most regular readers already know, Angus
Phillips is the outdoor editor for the Washington Post and has covered
every America's Cup since 1980.

* From Gregory Scott: While I have to defer to the experience and
knowledge of both Bruce Munro and Malin Burnham and the ideas they have
to save us from where we are, I ask; What was so wrong with 32. Everyone
seemed to have enjoyed the racing - the venue - the close outcome and
the boat wasn't that bad. The problem seems to lie with the Alinghi
program's ridiculous attempt to get all the cookies from the jar. Now
they’re upset because they got caught.

* From Bill Furry: Am's Cup - didn't the original deed call for boats,
crews, equipment, etc, to originate with each country challenging for
the Cup? Really pretty simple? And I don't think the sailing community
would have been any less 'advanced.’ Compared to where we now stand?
Kind of like 'dumping down' of our societies, mores, etc. Them that has
the gold make the 'rules'. Doesn't work.

* From Ray Tostado: I hear a growing echo of my sentiments as of 6
months ago. "Give the NYYC back the Cup then seal and end once and for
all the use of the event for such mundane self gratifying ends." Not one
word has come from either combatant that one would want quoted and
framed on display in a maritime museum of past 'Cup races.

I behest the NYYC to accept the Cup's return and exhibit it in a proper
display, along with the records in word and photo of the good times. The
current arena is no place for such a treasure of American and World
yachtsmen who by their efforts made the cup so great. If each party of
the current litigation would dip into their coffee change and donate a
building fund, then, and only then, will their names approach the level
of dignity and respect they seek, and become a legitimate part of
tradition. "Here Rests the Cup." "Funding made possible by the

* From Malcolm Kirkland: I was up all night when the Australians won the
America's Cup; a poster of Australia II hangs on a wall here. It took me
a long time to even look at the AC again after the grotesque fiasco of
the big Kiwi boat and the little cat. I am afraid that I now do not read
the AC part of your newsletter.

* From Susan Shingledecker, Director of Environmental Programs, BoatU.S.
Foundation, Annapolis, MD: The problem of plastics in the ocean and
specifically in the Pacific Gyre is dire but I am afraid the author of
the article in issue 2526 has confused NOAA’s desire to research the
problem with their ability to clean up the mess. Reading the article
could lead one to believe NOAA intends to waste tax payer money on a
clean-up effort. NOAA’s budget hasn’t been growing lately and the
government alone does not have the resources needed to address this
challenge. Even if all the plastics in the ocean were cleaned up today,
more would accumulate tomorrow. Clean-ups alone are not the solution.

NOAA has ramped up their Marine Debris program and funds many efforts to
research, remove and prevent debris from reaching the ocean. One example
of these efforts is a nationwide monofilament recycling program started
by The BoatU.S. Foundation with funding from NOAA. This is just one
small part of prevention. At the end of the day we are all part of the
problem and part of the solution. We need plastics for so many things,
boat hulls to name one, but we need to be sure to handle plastics
carefully and increase how much we recycle and use reusable containers
and bags when we can. An international effort to clean up the garbage
patch would be a great start, and it is important, but it will only be a
wise investment when we can be confident the plastics won’t reappear.

* From Steve Prime (Re Rick Dominique's letter about Tom Ehmans formula
for building a successful fleet.): I think that Rick misunderstood Tom's
formula. The fleet races whenever possible and then gathers after racing
for an informal and often impromtu pot luck dinner. This successful
formula has kep the Newport J 24 fleet above 25 boats on the line for
over 25 years. It also has kept the Newport Shields fleet above 35 boats
on the line for probably a dozen years.

* From Talbot Wilson: Although the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club marina is
now 'waiting list only' for the June 20th Newport Bermuda Race, there
are about 100 of berths available nearby at the Royal Hamilton Amateur
Dinghy Club and more at other clubs, hotels and private moorings in
Bermuda. Contacts at the RHADC are Operations Manager Allan Powell or

“Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are
moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,
but sail we must, and not drift or lie at anchor.” -- Oliver Wendell

Special thanks to Ullman Sails and O'Pen BIC.

A complete list of Scuttlebutt’s preferred suppliers is at