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SCUTTLEBUTT 2531 – February 12, 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.

Dee Smith was living in Spain and preparing to begin a season of Farr 40 and
TP52 racing when he received the shock of a lifetime. Literally bedridden by
severe back pain, Smith was informed by doctors that it was due to a massive
tumor located on his vertebrae. Things only got worse when surgeons removed
the tumor, which had wrapped around Smith's spinal cord. More thorough tests
discovered the tumor, which was initially labeled as benign, was indeed

Thus began the longest, most grueling year of Smith's life. The San
Francisco native, a professional sailor for nearly 40 years, has been
battling Stage 4 cancer since last March and - while the latest news is
encouraging - he is not out of the woods yet. "The doctors gave me six
months to 30 years to live. Since I made it through six months, I told them
I'll take the 30 years," Smith said.

Smith, who now resides in Annapolis, made a triumphant return to the grand
prix circuit at Acura Key West 2008 as tactician aboard Rusal Synergy, the
TP52 skippered by Sergey Pichugin of Russia. Smith is admittedly far from
100 percent physically after his body was bombarded with radiation for most
of the past five months. However, the determined 52-year-old has fought
through fatigue, nausea and general discomfort in order to resume his highly
decorated career. -- The Capital, full story:

A recruiting letter was sent to the Curmudgeon from ABC's Primetime show,
"Wife Swap," seeking his help as they look for one-of-a-kind families with
plenty of personality. Apparently now in their fourth season, the show is
specifically looking for families who are passionately involved with the
sport of competitive sailing!

If you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two
different families and have the moms switch places to experience how another
family lives. If this sounds too bizarre to be true, follow the money, as
each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives $20,000 as
compensation for their time. Why does the Curmudgeon care about this? Anyone
who refers a family that appears on the program receives $1000 as a 'thank
you’ from the producers.

How come we think this may have already happened at regattas, just without
the cameras? Full details on Scuttleblog:

* Terrigal, Australia (February 11, 2008) - Beautiful summer conditions
greeted the first day of the 2008 Laser World's Finals races with a pleasant
10-15 knot north easterly breeze. In the 54 boat Gold fleet, Julio Alsogaray
(ARG) gained the lead from World champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) who remains in
second, but like other favorites such as Paul Goodison (GBR) and Andrew
Murdoch (NZL), struggled with Monday’s conditions. Other than Alsogaray,
only American Brad Funk has kept his race scores in the top ten, but Funk is
down at 18th overall when on Sunday he got Black Flagged in Race 5 and went
around a wrong mark in Race 6. With 8 races now completed, Funk will earn a
second drop races after his tenth race, which should considerable improve
his standings. Racing concludes on Wednesday. --

* Miami, FL (February 11, 2008) - With nearly all the female gold medallists
from the 2004 Athens Olympics (all but the RSX) competing at the Yngling
Worlds, it is the GBR team of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb, and Pippa Wilson that
keeps the lead with a third and a second in Monday’s races. In classic
Biscayne Bay conditions, with 15-18 knots building a moderate chop, the
surprise in this regatta so far is the Australian team of Krystal Weir,
Carol Gojnich and Angela Farrell. The helmswoman, Krystal, has spent only 8
weeks in the boat and is replacing Nicola Bethwaite who tragically got
injured in a biking accident. Krystal was runner up to sail for Australia in
the Laser Radial at the 2008 Olympics, and also holds a Laser Radial World
Championship title. After four races, the top North American team is Sally
Barkow, Carrie Howe, and Debbie Capozzi (USA) in 6th place. --

Dave Perry, David Dellenbaugh, and Brad Dellenbaugh are teaching Rules and
Tactics Seminars this winter. Perhaps you could learn a thing or two... From
fundamental principles to nuances highlighting the difference between
right-of-way and control, these rules gurus teach the rules and the tactics
rules dictate. The case-based curriculum teaches situations, not rule
numbers. 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

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

(Day 93 - February 11, 2008) At 20h 49.49 UTC, Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian
Foxall steered Paprec-Virbac 2 across the finishing line to win the
Barcelona World Race. Their 25,000-mile journey, non-stop around the planet,
has taken exactly three months, and been an impressive display of speed and
seamanship. The dynamic French-Irish duo has held the lead for the majority
of the race, fending off early challenges from PRB and Veolia Environnement
to grab the lead for good on December 7th. More recently, it's been Hugo
Boss clipping at the heels of Jean-Pierre and Damian as they made their way
back up the Atlantic Ocean.

Real obstacles came in the form of icebergs and equipment breakage. Deep in
the southern latitudes, Paprec-Virbac 2 played 'Russian Roulette' with
icebergs on several occasions, escaping unscathed, except for the toll the
added stress and fatigue had taken on the two skippers. Shortly after
passing through Cook Strait (NZL), they hit an object in the water,
seriously damaging their rudder system. But the were able to fix this
without stopping. Then, after rounding Cape Horn, their forestay broke, and
dismasting was a likely outcome. But again, quick thinking and on-board
acumen allowed them to fashion a repair that would hold to the finish.
Second placed Hugo Boss crossed into the Mediterranean Monday morning and is
due to finish on Wednesday. --

Positions at 21:00 UTC
1-Paprec-Virbac 2, Jean-Pierre Dick/ Damian Foxall, finished
2-Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson/ Andrew Cape, 426 nm distance to finish
3-Temenos II, Dominique Wavre/ Michéle Paret, 1,126 nm DTF
4-Mutua Madrilena, Javier Sanso Windmann/ Pachi Rivero, 1,366 nm DTF
5-Educación sin Fronteras, Servane Escoffier/ Albert Bargues, 2,803 nm DTF
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)

After a test sail on San Francisco Bay last Saturday, 39-year-old David Vann
of Tallahassee, Florida, hopes to leave Sunday on a four-month non-stop
singlehanded circumnavigation via the Southern Ocean aboard his trimaran Tin
Can. Given that Frenchman Francis Joyon recently did the same thing in just
57 days with his 97-ft trimaran IDEC, it sounds like an exciting possibility
. . . until you hear the details.

Unlike Joyon, whose IDEC is as modern as she is basic, Vann intends to do
his 26,000-mile voyage in the 50-ft aluminum trimaran that he built in a
matter of months with a total budget of $25,000. To say that Tin Can is
crude in design and construction would be generous, as she's what a kid's
homemade go-kart is to a Mercedes-Benz. But she's not as ill-conceived as
she could have been. After Vann's first naval architect quit as a result of
having nightmares about the project, his new naval architect, Yves-Marie
Tanton, was at least successful in convincing him to heighten the house from
two feet to four feet, and then widen it from 18 inches to 30 inches. Yeah,
she's one of those dream boats. -- Latitude 38, read on:

* Jules Verne Trophy (crewed circumnavigation around the three capes):
(Day 18 - February 11, 2008; 21:00 UTC) Positioned between two fronts at
46-degrees South latitude, Groupama 3 is alternating between accelerations
and reductions in pace after a great day's sailing on Sunday. Having
reconstructed their lead this weekend to now 506 nm, Franck Cammas and his
nine crew must now negotiate a depression in order to relocate some steadier
wind. Presently, they are behind a front that is shifting eastwards and
ahead of another front in the process of deteriorating, causing the 103-foot
maxi trimaran to face up to some very fickle breeze, both in terms of
strength and direction. For the past 24-hours, their average speed has been
23.4 knots while gaining 561.6 nm down the track. The next landmark for the
team is Cape Leeuwin on the western side of Australia, which they expect to
reach Wednesday afternoon. --

* Route de l'Or (crewed route from New York to San Francisco):
(Day 26 - February 11, 2008; 20:30 UTC) Onboard the 110-foot maxi-catamaran
Gitana 13, the thrill of rounding Cape Horn is fading as the crew gets back
to business in blustery conditions. Positioned now at the 38-degree South
latitude in the Pacific Ocean, Lionel Lemonchois and his crew of nine had a
busy weekend, as they had to deal with unstable winds along the coast of
Chile, getting knocked around on a close-hauled course by restive seas with
winds gusting at 50 knots. While the VMG has been pretty dismal Monday
afternoon, the latest report is markedly improved, and the team has managed
an average speed of 15.6 knots over the past 24 hours while traveling 375
nm, and are now 5,285 nm from the finish. --

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Thanks to all the ‘buttheads that were quick to
point out that the reference in Issue 2530 of Gitana 13 being off the
Argentinean coastline was incorrect, and that she was in fact off the
Chilean coastline. Our apologies for the error.

Jeff Ecklund and his team aboard his Melges 32 "STAR" won their class at
Acura Key West Race Week 2008 with a complete North Sails inventory and a
Southern Spars mast. "The whole group at North Sails is open and forthright
with their information and they are very helpful with me and with other
teams. They are always full of good quality information on the trends and
they recommend the best types of sails for every Melges 32." When
performance matters, head North:

* The International Optimist Class has announced that Sally Burnett has
accepted the position of Secretary General Designate of IODA. An ISAF
international judge and umpire since 1988, she has most recently been
involved in the revival of the ISAF Nations Cup, focused on bringing
keelboat match racing to countries with little experience in this
discipline. It is intended that after training - and a “holiday” at the
Olympics where she is on the jury - Sally will assume the position of
Secretary General in September. Robert Wilkes, the present secretary, will
then remain as a consultant. -- Complete announcement:

* New Orleans, LA - Thirty Finns competed last weekend in the first annual
Mardi Gras Hangover Regatta at New Orleans Yacht Club. Coming from as far as
California, Canada, and New York, many made the stopover on their way to the
Midwinters next weekend in Florida. Mike Milner and Brian Boyd match-raced
in the final race to determine the overall victory claimed by Milner with
Darryl Peck in third. Saturday's first two races were sailed in very light
winds (max gusts 3kts), with a nice 8 knots on Sunday for the final four
races. What happened in the French Quarter Saturday night stays in the
French Quarter. -- Complete results:

* The top brass of international women’s match racing are heading to Sydney
in March for the Harken Women’s International Match Racing Regatta hosted by
the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The world’s four highest ranked female
match racers will spearhead the competition as they gear up for their world
championships in New Zealand in April. They and six other highly ranked
teams will gather in Sydney pre-worlds to test their mettle in the grade 2
event that has attracted an outstanding line up from France, Denmark,
Australia, Germany, New Zealand and the UK. --

* Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov has chosen to head south of Macquarie
Island (54°30S, 158°57E) en-route to crossing Gate 7 (90°W) within the
Antarctica Cup Racetrack. Having started on February 1st, the 56 year old
Russian is now 2,560 nautical miles into his record setting endeavour with
approximately 4,680 nautical miles to Gate 8 at Cape Horn, the half way
point in this 14,000 mile solo circumnavigation of Antarctica. The chase
south for more favourable winds comes at a cost as temperatures fall,
daytime visibility lessens, and the threat of icebergs increases. --

* Tampa, FL (February 11, 2008) The 42 boat fleet began racing Sunday at the
J/24 Midwinter Championship, hosted by Davis Island YC. After two days of
racing, leader Doug Clark holds a three point margin over second place Peter
Bream with Mark Hillman ten points back in third. Racing concludes on
Wednesday. --

* The 505 and A-Cat Midwinters joined forces last weekend at Fort DeSoto on
south Tampa Bay, Florida, where 22 505s started with their usual rabbit and
gate boat, while the 24 A-Cats went with the normal sequence and starting
line. North American champs Ethan Bixby and Eric Boothe won the 505's after
close racing, while Ben Moon, new to A-Cats, has it figured out, winning the
last race Saturday in the rain by over a minute, despite the speed of the
boats. Ben Hall's wing mast boat was second. – Complete story, photos, and

* There were 54 sailors from 15 states and 5 countries gathered last weekend
for the Florida Laser Masters at Palm Beach Sailing Club, where light ocean
racing on Saturday was replaced by 20+ knot bay sailing on Sunday. Mike
Matan showed his speed in the heavier winds on Sunday to emerge as the
winner. The event proved to be a handy tune-up for the Masters Midwinters
East that begins this Friday. -- Complete report and results:

With IRC wins at major events across Europe and America and orders into
June, the 40’ J/122 is already one of J Boats’ most popular introductions
ever. Fleet #1 (LI Sound) is formed and class racing begins in 2008. Best of
all, owners love their J/122’s cruising comfort. --

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 Connie Bischoff: The Star ZAG Masters was truly a pleasure to work RC
(Saturday) and watch as a spectator (Sunday). When we pointed out 92 year
old Emil Karlovsky to our Opti sailors and told them that he had skippered
an entire Star race on Saturday, one of them said... "I guess that this is
something we can do our entire lives". So true!

* From Justin Scott: As a proud sponsor of one of our Paralympic teams going
to Qingdao, I sincerely hope that the location will produce fair racing.
However Robert Wilkes letter (in Issue 2530) did not reassure me. His
description of winds that were "indeed very light" and an Olympic race
officer that "could only complete 7 of the 15 race schedule" had rather the
opposite effect.

I could not make up my mind whether the fact that 7 out of the top 20
competitors in the 2001 Optimist Worlds finished in the top 20 the following
year was statistically significant. I was left wondering how the other 13
did, but most of all I was left wondering whether the competitors who had
expected 15 races had a good time and would they want to go back there for a
test of fair racing again. So it occurred to me to ask.... are any of the
competitors in the 2001 Optimist Worlds representing their nation in the
2008 Olympics?

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Here are the 2001 Opti Worlds results:

* From Lucia Nebel White, Upset Sailor: Good, let the NYYC hijack the
America’s Cup, preserve its heritage, and put it back on the table in the
room that was designed for it at the club.

* From Damian Christie, Melbourne, Australia: Isn’t it ironic that Malin
Burnham is offering advice about the America’s Cup? After all, like Ernesto
Bertarelli, Larry Ellison and Tom Ehman today, Burnham was a leading
antagonist in the 1988 America’s Cup fiasco.

Burnham’s suggestion that America’s Cup Management become a not-for-profit
body is by far the best of his five points – and it also underlines the
reason why the Cup has been embroiled in very similar controversies 20 years
apart, ie the defending syndicate should never be appointed by the Cup
trustee to stage manage its defence. ACM today is inextricably linked with
Alinghi, therefore Bertarelli will never give up the profits and kudos of
managing the 33rd (or 34th) defence. Similarly, 20 years ago, Burnham’s Sail
America syndicate was (like ACM/Alinghi now) appointed by San Diego Yacht
Club to run a 1991 12-metre Cup defence. That event also promised riches,
but was scuttled by Michael Fay’s big boat challenge. In turn, Sail America
vetoed several compromise solutions between Fay and SDYC because Burnham and
his then lieutenant Ehman vowed to give Fay a hiding both on the water and
in the courtroom (a double whammy Bertarelli no doubt wants to enact on
Ellison today).

The key then to a successful America’s Cup regatta is for the Cup trustee to
appoint an entirely independent entity to manage the event. It doesn’t
really matter if that is a not-for-profit body or an event management
company but it most certainly should not be the defending syndicate!

Since 1953, San Diego Yacht Club has been sending racers down the Baja
California coastline for distance races to Acapulco, Manzanillo, Mazatlan,
and Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, and this year’s Vallarta Race begins February
21st. These events have created lasting memories, and now it’s time to share
your SDYC race story. There is no better way to inspire people to go on a
similar adventure than to pass on to them a morsel of your own. Stories need
not be long – whatever it takes to describe the mental snapshot that you
have held on to. Special story prize to be given from 2008 entrant Dennis
Conner (who has submitted his own story). Email story to Scuttlebutt by
February 28th. Additional details at

If at first you don't succeed, try management.

Special thanks to North U, North Sails, and J Boats.

A complete list of Scuttlebutt’s preferred suppliers is at