SCUTTLEBUTT 2545 – March 4, 2008
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INNOVATIONS AT ETCHELLS MIDWINTERS
At the Etchells Midwinters in Miami last weekend, PRO Dave Brennan decided
to try something new, and in the process may have changed sailboat racing as
we know it.
The Etchells class has been around since the early 70’s, and at age 35+, it
is arguably the hottest one-design keelboat in the world. Many of the
biggest names in the sport sail them now along with a strong and committed
group of class stalwarts who’ve been sailing them for years. The Jaguar Cup,
an annual series consisting of four events sailed in Miami and capped off by
the Midwinter Championship, now draws 90 boats from all over the world. And
this isn’t just any 90 boats – it’s a deep 90 – and while the racing is
off-the-charts good, the unfortunate by-product is that even after a 2.2
mile first beat, everyone gets to the windward mark at the same time. I mean
The Etchells is a very pretty boat, and it’s a joy to sail. There are very
few designs that are quite as pointy, however, or as unresponsive when the
helm is hard over, which makes these “en masse” mark roundings particularly
scary. So the Biscayne Bay race management team decided to try something
new: two windward marks. And why not? Given the fact that the leeward gate
has become de rigeur at pretty much every event that I’ve sailed in over the
past 10 years, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for someone to take a shot
at the windward gate. Paul Elvstrom incorporated it into his innovative
“triple racing” format, but to my knowledge, it hasn’t been tried in a
high-profile fleet race yet. -- Bill Lynn, Spindrift blog, read on:
* Photographer John Payne provides an outstanding sampling of images from
the event, including some of the excitement at the weather mark(s):
2008 - THE YEAR OF THE ABSOLUTE SAILING SPEED RECORD
It is largely a challenge full of history that has gained interest and
passion for several years now. The sailing speed record is above all a
succession of contenders, a succession of cultures. First of all, there were
the speed prototypes such as the Crossbow 1 and 2 that reigned over the
Weymouth speed competition in the 1970s. Windsurfers then joined in this
quest in 1986, with Pascal Maka establishing the new record of 38.86 knots.
It wasn’t until the appearance of the Australian speed prototype, the Yellow
Pages in 1993, that the windsurfers were dethroned by a run at 46.52 knots.
This record made history and was not beaten until 2004 by the windsurfer,
Finian Maynard, on the Canal des Saintes Maries de la Mer, a canal
especially constructed for this race. In 2005, Finian managed to take this
record to the present level, 48.7 knots.
Among those actively seeking the absolute record is l’Hydroptère, a trimaran
with foils that attained the world record in Category D (sail area over 300
sq ft.) with a run at 44.81 knots in April 2007. Previously configured for
sailing offshore in rough seas, Alain Thébault and l’Hydroptère team now
have set their sights on becoming the absolute fastest speed vessel on the
planet, and have redesigned their craft for pure speed. The rigging, the
platform and the external parts have been carefully studied and modified in
order to increase the boat’s speed potential to over 50 knots. Important
research work and trials have been effectuated and a new sailing spot has
After a series of rigging trials in Brittany starting in mid-March, the boat
will be transported by cargo ship to the Vieux Port at Marseille, where she
will be based during the entire trial period. Alain Thébault and his team
have chosen the Mediterranean and, in particular, the spot of Port Saint
Louis du Rhône in front of Napoleon’s beach to attempt the record. This spot
will make it possible to take advantage of conditions favourable to the
trials. A land wind of often 30-35 knots, the Mistral, and a rather flat
surface of water will allow the boat to fully achieve its potential.
One thing is certain, 2008 is the year of the absolute sailing speed
record…There are too many contenders and there is too much motivation for
the record to remain at its current level. The whole community is dreaming
of sailing at 50 knots. -- http://www.hydroptere.com/_en
GITANA 13 COMES FULL CIRCLE
San Francisco, CA - While most folks at Corinthian YC came last week to
catch a glimpse of the 110-ft catamaran Gitana 13 and her 10-man crew, CYC
member Jim Gibbs was there on 'family business'. Seems that the 'Route of
Gold' record (from New York to SF) the big cat had just reset on Thursday
was held for 135 years by the clipper ship Flying Cloud, and Gibbs's great
great grandfather ("There may be one more 'great' in there") was aboard!
Israel Whitney Lyon and his two sisters were among 12 passengers on the
ship's maiden voyage in 1851, when she set a new record of 89 days, 20 hours
for the 14,000-mile voyage. Three years later, she lowered her own mark to
89 days, 8 hours. That latter record stood for 135 years. Israel Whitney
went on to great success selling tooth powder (early toothpaste) to 49ers.
Jim was at CYC to honor the memory of great great (great?) grandad by
checking out the latest sailing craft to make the arduous, non-stop journey
around Cape Horn.
Though both powered entirely by the wind, the two vessels could hardly be
more different. The 229-ft Flying Cloud was built to carry cargo and
passengers, flew 30-some sails off three masts and was built almost entirely
of 'organic' products — wood hull, cotton sails, hemp rope. The only wood on
Gitana is perhaps a couple of stirring spoons in the galley. She is all
aluminum and modern composites — foam, resin, carbon fiber, synthetic line —
and lightly built for only one purpose: to go fast. This she does very well.
Her new record of 43 days and change is less than half Flying Cloud's best,
and a full two weeks quicker than the previous record set in 1998. --
Latitude 38, read on: http://tinyurl.com/37zkk3
COINCIDENCE? WE THINK NOT.
It's no coincidence that the top SIX J/24s at the Sperry Top-Sider St Pete
NOOD were powered by 100% North sails. "We were higher and faster upwind
quicker downwind all week long," said J/24 class & overall winner Robby
Brown. "Our new North sails were user-friendly and the North tuning guide
made setting them up a breeze," said Brown. New North Sails customer Mark
Liebel finished third in the J/24 class and stated that the "groove was easy
to drive on the upwind sails and the spinnaker was fast and easy to fly."
Looking for speed and power on the racecourse? Head North:
STAR BACARDI CUP
Miami, FL (March 3, 2008) On another beautiful day on Biscayne Bay, the 118
entrants needed the black flag and three start attempts before beginning the
second race of the series. In the shifty 6-10 knots winds, the early leaders
were Mark Reynolds/ Jamie Gale (USA) and Henry Filter/ Will Wagner (USA),
with Luca Modena and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) staying near the top while
others faltered. However, Lars Grael and Marcelo Jordao (BRA) made a slow
and steady climb through the fleet, rounding the first mark in 34th place,
and after two windward-leeward legs, had moved up to 5th place with one
weather leg to go. The Brazilians, who just finished second in the
Olympic Trials, continued their climb to win the lone race of the day,
are currently the overall leader. -- Full story:
Current results (top 10 of 118)
1. BRA, Lars Grael/ Marcelo Jordao, 7-1, 8 points
2. USA, Augie Diaz/ Phil Trinter, 9-3, 12
3. IRL, Maurice O'Connell/ Ben Cooke, 8-6, 14
4. BRA, Robert Scheidt / Bruno Prada, 4-12, 16
5. GER, Iain Percy/ Andrew Simpson, 3-14, 17
6. POL, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/ Dominik Zycki, 11-8, 19
7. ITA, Luca Modena/ Sergio Lambertenghi, 18-2, 20
8. BRA, Alan Adler/ Ronald Seifert, 2-19, 21
9. POR, Afonso Domingos/ Bernardo Santos, 12-9, 21
10. ITA, Diego Negri/ Luigi Viale, 16-7, 23
Full results: http://www.starclass.org/search.cgi?Action=view&Event_id=1371
Two boats are sailing closehauled, both on port, overlapped, and are a half
of a boat length apart with the leeward boat’s bow slightly ahead. They are
approaching the finish line, of which a committee boat marks the right side
of the finish with a flag positioned halfway between the bow and stern.
While the windward boat is just laying the right side finishing mark, the
leeward boat is not, and will need to tack to both cross the finish and
clear the stern quarter of the finishing boat. Can the leeward boat hail to
the windward boat that they need room to tack, and is the windward boat
obligated to keep clear? (Answer below)
* St Petersburg, FL -- Light winds plagued the 2008 Disabled-Open Midwinter
Regatta, where 29 entrants competed last weekend in the 2.4 Meter, SKUD,
Sonar classes, won by Bruce Millar (CAN), Nick Scandone/ Maureen
McKennon-Tucker (USA), and J. Stordahl/ P. Kristiansen/ A. Wang-Hansen (NOR)
respectively. -- Complete results: http://tinyurl.com/2kx7ll
* Landfall, a leading marine offshore outfitter and safety expert, has
announced an agreement with the Sport-Sails Center to become the exclusive
distributor of Bluemagic Optimists for North America. Manufactured in
Poland, Bluemagic Optimists have won medals in 4 of the last 5 European
Championships and the 2006 World Championships. Landfall will stock a
complete line of hulls, sails, spars and foils as well as all related
hardware, safety equipment and accessories beginning April 15, 2008. –
* The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and
Physical Activity (CAAWS), in partnership with the Canadian Olympic
Committee (COC), is calling for applications for the fourth Carol Anne
Letheren International Sport Leadership Award. The award recognizes a
Canadian woman who has made an outstanding contribution in the area of
international sport leadership and has had a profound impact on sport and
physical activity. Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 28, 2008. --
Full details at http://www.sailing.ca/news/headline.asp?numNewsID=1440
* Sea Ray Boats will eliminate 350 jobs by midyear at its Merritt Island,
Florida plant because of slumping demand for boats, the company said last
week. Sea Ray will stop production of some boat models on Merritt Island
after June, and move production of those models to its plant in Palm Coast
and its two plants in Knoxville, Tenn., Kubera said. Sea Ray said it
anticipates adding 270 jobs at the Palm Coast and Knoxville plants to handle
the additional models, resulting in a net loss of 80 company jobs related to
the 350-person Merritt Island staff reduction. -- Full story:
* Birmingham, Al - Coastal Living magazine, a Time Inc. publication,
announced its multiple-year agreement as the title sponsor of Sail Newport’s
Newport Regatta to be held this year July 11-13 in Newport. RI. Invited
One-design classes include: Farr 40, Mumm 30, J105, Frers 33, J24, Etchells,
Shields, Melges 24, Vanguard 15, Club 420, Jet 14, Laser, Laser Radial,
Laser II, Sunfish, 210, 110, 505 and others. -- http:///www.sailnewport.org
* Mike Golding and Dee Caffari have announced that the two-boat testing that
they had planned for mid-March has had to be postponed until the early
summer. In the course of checks during the current post Transat Jacques
Vabre and Transat Ecover BtoB refit period, the MGYR team discovered several
full penetration cracks in ECOVER 3's keel blade (the keel was full of
water) as well as other significant keel blade defects, which it is felt
have rendered the keel unsafe for further use. -- BYM News, full story:
THE TOUR CONTINUES....
Santa Barbara, Chicago, Long Beach, Detroit, Long Island, and New Jersey are
among the upcoming locations where Dave Perry, David Dellenbaugh, and Brad
Dellenbaugh are teaching Rules and Tactics Seminars. From fundamental
principles to nuances highlighting the difference between right-of-way and
control, understand the rules and the tactics the rules dictate. Good seats
are still available. 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 http://www.northu.com
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Scuttlebutt Forum: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum
* From Lynn Fitzpatrick: As sailors, we collectively curse stink pots
blowing through our race courses, kicking up rooster tails and seemingly
having utter disregard for sailboats, sailors and championship events that
may even be determining the fates of Olympic hopefuls. Last year, a 65-foot
powerboat cut through the Etchells fleet at a Miami Jaguar Series event,
leaving such a large wake that the series leaders Oscar Strugstad, Andy
Beadsworth and Simon Fry lost their mast and watched Phil Garland’s boat
snatch the seasonal championship from them because of the incident.
Everybody was appalled.
Watching the top half of the last leg of the first race of the Bacardi Cup
on Sunday, I couldn’t get over the total disregard of all but a few of the
Etchells as they finished their final race of the Midwinters and the Jaguar
Series, and then headed toward Coconut Grove on close reaches in 14-16-knot
winds … RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STAR FLEET.
Yes, with four hoists and 90 or so boats to be plucked from the water and
put away for the season, there was going to be a long wait at the dock. It’s
no excuse. Regatta organizers should not have to police the fleets and
enforce seamanship and basic manners.
* From Richard Goldsmith: The JJ Giltinan International 18ft Skiff
Championship is like the World Series of Baseball, except we have crews from
many other countries. How many other countries are invited to the World
Series of Baseball? If ever you get a chance to watch a Historic 18ft skiff
race in Sydney Harbour, you will never forget the experience.
* From Martin Adams: (re February 29th) It isn't exactly 364 days and 6
hours, so those accumulating minutes will have to be corrected someday. Has
anyone calculated when the next 30th February will be?
* From Adrian Morgan: (re the ISAF decision that the 2012 Olympic event
selection would not be reviewed at their May mid-year meeting because it was
not an “urgent” matter) For heaven's sake, are we now paying these pompous
sailing mandarins to debate the meaning of "urgent"? Get a dictionary.
Meanwhile, sort out the problem, keeping in mind that we are only talking
about choosing a suitable boat or two to represent the sport of sailing at
the Olympics - essentially a celebration of the simple business of
harnessing the wind to have a bit of fun - nothing to get too pompous about.
* From Bill Tripp: From Scuttlebutt 2544 regarding statements from Cowes
1. Typical canting keelers are not welcome.
2. There are safety issues with them.
3. Sailing a typical canting keeler with the keel pinned would be welcome to
race with them.
4. This then necessarily is holding that these boats are safer with their
Said Alice in Wonderland. Who is going to explain this to the French?
* From Beau Vrolyk (re Canting Keel Comments in Issue 2544): The debate at
Cowes Week over canting keels is really part of a much larger discussion -
stored energy and movable ballast. If we are to allow the canting keel boats
to so clearly violate the prohibition on stored energy, why not electric
winches, heck why not a motorized canting mast? If movable ballast is OK,
why not a pile of concrete on rails that is motored up to the windward rail?
This is all quite stupid and won't last for long, just as the sandbaggers
didn't last and for the same reason. It's not sailing, it's moving weight
while getting wet.
Of course the powered canting keel, be it powered by a diesel engine or a
bank of batteries, so clearly violates the intention of the rules that they
all get "special" exemptions. Why is that? I suppose that race organizers
are more interested in attracting the largest, fastest, and most expensive
boats around. If so, why not multihulls? They are clearly faster. But, I
suppose that would be too rational. I find it quite disgusting that I can
find one of these boats when to leeward of her by the stench and rattle of
her diesel engines as she "sails".
Now the really fast way to windward on a calm day is to slam the keel back
and forth, rolling the boat and powering her directly into the wind with her
mainsail slamming side to side - now that's yachting!
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For the leeward boat to finish, Rule 19.1 permits them to hail for room to
tack due to the obstruction, wherein the windward boat must either tack as
soon as possible, or immediately reply “you tack”, in which case the hailing
boat shall tack as soon as possible and the hailed boat shall give room.
RULES ANSWER UPDATE
* From Art Engel: Oops. You changed the facts from ISAF Q&A 07-003 just enough so that the answer you gave is wrong and VERY misleading.
When the finishing line ends at a RC boat, the entire boat is the "mark." So, when you say W is "laying [meaning fetching] the right side finishing mark" that means she is fetching the RC boat (i.e., won't need to tack to pass to windward of it). In that case, under 19.2 L would NOT be entitled to room to tack under 19.1. But, W must still keep clear if L wants to luff up and shoot the mark.
In the original ISAF Q&A W could fetch the "flag" at the end of the finishing line but not the "mark" (meaning the RC boat itself). See the Definition of "Mark," which the ISAF Q&A should have mentioned but did not. -- ISAF website: http://www.sailing.org/1548.php
I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.
Special thanks to North Sails, North U, and LaserPerformance.
A complete list of preferred suppliers is at