SCUTTLEBUTT 2550 – March 11, 2008
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A CUP IN LIMBO CASTS LONG SHADOW ON WMRT
by Herb McCormick, Sailing World
Last fall, during a swing through Southeast Asia, I found myself in Malaysia
covering the Monsoon Cup, the season finale for the ISAF World Match Racing
Tour (and the subject of a feature story in April's Sailing World). I'd
never attended a tour event and the wild Monsoon Cup was not only
otherworldly, it was incredibly entertaining. So, with the 2008 season
beginning to ramp up--the kick-off regatta takes place in Brazil this
April--I called tour director Scott MacLeod the other day to get a preview
of what to expect.
MacLeod is a sailor and an entrepreneur, and he's pieced together an
interesting career promoting sailboat racing, particularly match racing, and
you don't hear that every day. He started out by creating the Bermuda Gold
Cup; eventually merged the disparate events in the circuit into a dedicated
series with a flush sponsor, Swedish Match; and ultimately convinced ISAF to
come aboard and sanction the racing under its banner as a true World
Championship. In other words, he's gotten things done. Perhaps even more
startling, he's managed to maintain an upbeat, positive disposition while
This year's tour, in many respects, should be off the charts. MacLeod and
his team have introduced a dedicated slate of 20 qualifying regattas, the
winners of which will earn an invitation to one of the 10 major tour events.
They're making serious inroads into what has the potential to become a
booming Asian market, with a new tour event in Korea in June and an
exhibition event in China in May (which will become a tour event as well in
2009). They're injecting new talent into the tour with the addition of
up-and-comers Adam Minoprio, from New Zealand (who's found support from
Emirates Team New Zealand), and young Aussie ace Torvar Mirsky. -- Read on:
ISAF, MULTIHULLS, AND HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
by Paul Henderson, past president, ISAF
I like multihulls. It is a unique discipline and they must be sailed, as the
use of kinetics is of minimal advantage. Additionally, I fully understand
the militancy of the Tornado class as they work to change the current slate
of 2012 Olympic events that does not presently include a multihull class.
However, I consider their attacks on the ISAF Executive and especially the
President Goran Petersson to be unwarranted. The voting held at the ISAF
Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November 2007 by the 39 Council members was
open and transparent with how each delegated voted. The voting parties are
ultimately the ones who are responsible.
The ISAF President must now support positively the results, no matter what
his personal position might be. With regard to reopening the issue at the
mid-year meeting, this is not the forum to do so as it is not an urgent
decision at this time and the Mid-Year meeting is mainly for financial
subjects and not major policy discussions. The AGM in November is the proper
and Constitutional time to address the classes for 2012. The Executive is
right in deciding this.
Many times the November meeting has reversed decisions previously made after
due diligence, especially after listening to the sailing community. It is at
the AGM when the real in-depth decisions will be made. November 2008 is when
the final and binding decision on the 2012 events will be held. The Tornado
has a very good case to remain Olympic, and they should continue to make
their case in a positive manner and avoid the personal attacks.
The IOC required sailing to reduce the number of events from eleven to ten,
with the resultant vote leading to the dismissal of the multihull event.
However, the reason for doing so is now not relevant with the deletion of
Baseball and Softball, and it would be my suggestion to positively lobby IOC
President Rogge (Belgium) and his IOC sailing colleagues who are still IOC
Members such as Peter Tallberg (Finland), Ng Ser Miang (Singapore), Fernando
Lima Bello (Portugal), Prince Albert (Monaco), Barbara Kendall (New Zealand)
to delay the deletion of the eleventh sailing event until 2016. This coupled
with the fact that the 2012 Games will be in London, the home of the now #1
sailing nation, makes this request sensible. It is a positive solution to a
very disruptive problem.
TRUST OPPOSES MUSEUM SITE
The Maryland Historic Trust has recommended against allowing the state to
approve the National Sailing Hall of Fame on a waterfront property in
Annapolis because of the site's significance in city history. Director J.
Rodney Little advised the Department of Natural Resources, the property
owner, not to negotiate a lease unless the museum backers could come up with
plans that preserve the Burtis house, one of the few remaining vestiges of
the state capital's blue-collar maritime roots.
While the DNR does not have to follow the trust's recommendation, Little
said, Maryland law requires the agency to take it under consideration.
Little said the Hall of Fame should look into incorporating the site at 69
Prince George St. into the museum. "My own sense is that in order to make
that happen, they would probably have to scale back the scope and size of
the project," he said. -- Baltimore Sun, full story:
* The hall of fame is proposed for a site on Prince George Street now owned
by the Department of Natural Resources. The house on it was built in 1897 by
Capt. William Burtis, who ran a boat charter business. It has most recently
been used by the DNR for a marine police facility. Now the DNR has abandoned
the deteriorating building. Historic preservationists don't take kindly to
razing 19th-century buildings, and aren't much happier with the idea of
moving the structure to a public park, as suggested by Mayor Ellen Moyer.
Yet given the Burtis House's current condition, it's hard to picture
incorporating it into an attractive display area - that's the challenge for
the architects. -- Excerpt from
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LIGHTNING SOUTHERN CIRCUIT: STARCK DOMINATES SAVANNAH
The Deep South Regatta at Savannah Yacht Club, held last weekend as the
first event of the three stop Lightning Southern Circuit, saw racing started
and finished across Sunday, with three races snapped off in a brisk, mostly
breezy day. The racers got an early start (10 am), in the kind of chill that
most of the fleet came South to avoid. What Mark Taylor calls Oompa Loompa
weather, with human silhouettes snowmanned with multiple layers of fleece.
No one can sneak up on anyone else because of the din of foul-weather fabric
shush-shushing against itself.
David Starck gave a brief seminar about the challenging conditions at
Savannah after the Skipper's meeting on Saturday, but with strong winds
canceling out that day, he had to wait until Sunday before offering a longer
tutorial to the fleet of 49 Lightnings. Sailing with his brother Joe and
Jared JD Drake, Dave Starck took a commanding lead off the start in Race 1,
stayed in the hunt for a 4th in Race 2, and then took 1st in the Race 3.
Dave's team seemed to have the challenging conditions - where a new moon
made the currents even more powerful - well in hand.
Final results (top 5 of 49)
1. David Starck, 1-4-1, 6
2. Jeff Linton, 8-2-1/RDG, 11
3. Dan Moriarty, 3-6-3, 12
4. Neil Fowler, 12-1-5, 18
5. Jed Dodge, 10-5-8, 23
* Curmudgeon’s Comment: A reminder that Scuttlebutt will be following along
on the Lightning Southern Circuit, with the fleet now traveling from
Savannah to Miami for the ILCA Midwinter Regatta, and then back up Florida
for the St. Petersburg Winter Championship. This all fits into a long week,
with stories along the way. Look for the ongoing report here:
MEXORC IS BAAACK
by Kimball Livingston, SAIL WEST
So tell us, John MacLaurin, is the MEXORC back? "It's back." And I believe
the man, because I was there. The 7-day series that wrapped over the weekend
in Nuevo Vallarta was a rescue mission for a Mexican racing tradition of
thirty-some years, a tradition that was hanging by a thread after a
rough-edged series two years ago. As co-chair Mike Danielson put it, "We
couldn't just do a facelift. MEXORC had to be new."
Ernesto Amtmann, who "built" the series decades ago, was called upon by the
Mexican Sailing Federation (five months ago) to redefine the game for 2008
as regatta chairman. Amtmann said, "John MacLaurin is a bulldog. He's always
racing, always in there, and he is an important example because he came here
this year to give MEXORC one last chance."
He's not sorry. MacLaurin's red Pendragon (at left) won some races but
couldn't break the top three overall in the final tally. The housekeeping:
Twenty-one boats raced (I'm expecting more next time, 2010, given the
renewed credibility), and top-three placings went, in order, to Bill
Turpin's 77-foot Akela (Southern California), Jim Gregory's 50-foot Morpheus
(Northern California), and Amtmann's 43-foot IOR classic Bandido
(Acapulco). -- Read on:
IN TO THE ORC INTERNATIONAL YEAR
By the end of 2008, the Offshore Racing Council (ORC) will know if they made
the right decision when they launched ORC International. “So far so good,”
concludes Bruno Finzi, ORC Chairman, and Alessandro Nazareth, Chairman of
the International Technical Committee. Here are a few excerpts from an
interview with these two key ORC players:
* What was the goal and task for ITC when they got the job to make the new
ORC International rule?
“ITC was addressed by ORC Management Committee at the beginning of 2007 with
a very hard task: Deliver by 2008 a new VPP that will finally further
correct the IMS typeforming factors in the direction to encourage fast and
fun to sail boats; full compatibility with ORC club should still remain and
IMS will stay only as the standard measurement system.”
* Do you believe in a future with one common international Grand Prix rule?
“We at ORC are fully convinced that if an International Grand Prix rule
should be adopted it must be VPP-based and fully transparent for Designers,
Skippers and Owners. We therefore trust that ORC International can be the
* Does such a rule in your eyes need to be VPP-based?
“Yes, a VPP-based rule avoids the possibility to design special boats for
just one event, the so-called ‘horses for courses’. It must be clear that
the cooperation of very professional Race Organizers and Race Committees is
very important to avoid any mistake in the application of any VPP rule, but
when talking of a Grand Prix rule this should be a standard requirement.”
Complete interview: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/08/0310/
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* Dinghy sailing on San Francisco bay can be like bike riding on a BMX dirt
track. Typical conditions are unforgiving, and this was the case last
weekend during the annual St Francis Yacht Club Spring Dinghy Regatta.
Combine a 4.3 knot ebb tide with a steady 18 knots – gusting to 24 – and you
have a landfield looking for victims. Photographer Chris Ray found many and
has shared some images here:
* The prizegiving ceremony for the 18 skippers of the first edition of the
double-handed Barcelona World Race came to a conclusion on Saturday night
after a spectacular and emotional hour-long ceremony amid a 2,500-strong
audience and in the presence of the Mayor of Barcelona Jordi Hereu at the
Auditorium of the Barcelona Forum. The second edition of the race starts
winter 2010. -- http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org
* Three weeks after the 103-foot maxi trimaran Groupama 3 capsized off New
Zealand on February 18, 2008 in pursuit of the crewed, around the world
record, it has been loaded onto a Dutch cargo ship for a five week trip to
France. During this crossing, construction of a new mast will begin at
Lorima, along with the construction of a new float at Multiplast in Vannes.
However, conclusions still need to be determined as to the cause of the
damage suffered to the port float, and what relevant modifications can be
made to the starboard float, which was spared. --
* Sailboat production declined by 5 per cent or 787 boats in 2007 to 14,158
units, compared to 14,945 units in 2006. The Sailing Company's annual North
American Sailing Industry Study, compiled by Rick Walter MarketResearch
Associates, also reported that production of sailboats below 20 feet dropped
to five-year lows. Overall, this is the seventh straight year of decline for
North American builders. The industry hit a high note in 2000 with 22,164
boats. -- IBI Magazine, read on:
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
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-- Scuttlebutt Forum: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum
* From Doran Cushing: (RE: Keeping on the pressure to let multihulls race at
the Olympics) Imagine NASCAR racing 40-year-old cars (i.e. Star keelboats).
Imagine Tiger and the other pros using wooden shafts and "mashies" (470s).
Ask how sailing is keeping up with the fastest growing sports...then ask why
we're promoting 20th century technology in the 21st century. Dump the Laser,
keep the Finn (if it carries more weight in ISAF, no pun intended). Put the
women into skiffs for match racing. Yuengling is a likable beer, not a
likable (Yngling) boat.
* From Stephen A Van Dyck: Having known, worked, and sailed with
billionaires, I continue to be amused by the pervasive astonishment among
sailors regarding Mr. Bertarelli’s conduct. To me there is nothing
surprising happening. It has been pretty clear since the Kiwi’s were
excluded from the victory AC Press Conference that Mr. Bertarelli was going
There are all types of billionaires, but this one seems to have a gigantic
ego. (And while Mr. B may or may not be a billionaire, his conduct sure fits
that mould.) Particularly noticeable among billionaires is that they often
want and get EVERYTHING their way. And they do not listen very much to
anybody else. “Anybody else” is either on their payroll, is the enemy, or
worse, a nobody. And, when faced with big/complicated challenges they love
to unilaterally create a whole NEW simplified solution (change the game),
rather than work cooperatively to improve the existing system. In this case
it seems that his personal redesign of the event makes it all about him, his
total control. Sure it is simple, he makes all the rules. It looks to be an
attempt to transform him from a custodial winner of the Cup to “Mr. Americas
I have never met Larry Ellison, but I do admire his willingness and
commitment to prevent a hijacking of the Cup. Likewise I have to admire
Grant Dalton and his backers for saying enough is enough. Disappointing,
yes. Sad, yes. Ugly, yes, but necessary.
* From Kate MacDougall: This whole debacle currently known as the America's
Cup is quite simple & straighforward if it were looked at from a logical
perspective. Both Alinghi and Oracle should be thrown out of the competition
under "Rule 69 - Gross Misconduct" as they are, quite simply and
unquestionably, in "gross breach of good mannners or sportsmanship". Can't
some governing body for the sport of sailing enforce this rule in order to
maintain a positive reputation of sportsmanship, not only for sailing's
highest and most sought after match racing competition, but for the sport of
sailing in general. Enforcing this rule should have been done years ago, but
now is as good a time as any to introduce and impose this rule upon the
so-called sailing regatta known as the America's Cup.
* From Ben Fuller: The first truly successful modern canting keeler is Red
Herring, the late Van Alan Clark's Tony Hubbard (I think) design. Her
current owner, Van's son Steve Clark told me that on the trial sail in
November, Van put the boat about without shifting the keel. It was ugly and
the angle was ferocious but she stayed upright which is what she was
designed to do. And she was rigged with a pair of big winches to crank the
keel over which we did some when her crew was young and stupid. Electricity
has made that a little easier, but it is stored energy.
As for Gary Hoyt’s innovative rig (from ‘Butt 2544), this looks a lot like a
modern version of a balanced lug, which by the nature of the yard, is
offset, has a clean leading edge etc. The Chinese use full battens with it.
The interesting thing here is that the offset appears to be enough so that
there is no bad tack: on one tack the sail is to weather of the mast, the
other it's to leeward. Gary does not say it on his site, but perhaps should.
There is a lot to explore in the land of the lug; Nigel Irens has done some
with full batten standing lug rigs. The cleanest rig is a dipping lug but
its not very handy.
* From Chris Welsh: I love technology, but the canter motors are now
computer controlled with different modes including roll tacking. At a talk
about match racing 30 meter boats (Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats I think) in the
Sydney- Hobart, the presenter described how they won the tacking duel
because their keel came over 1-2 seconds faster than their sistership…
bigger motor, better batteries, you win. The fair cure for canting keels is
manual movement - hook the grinders to a hydraulic pump and get out the
You know you're a redneck when you go to the stock car races and don't need
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