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SCUTTLEBUTT 2551 – March 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.

Just because it’s the Star Bacardi Cup, arguably one of this prestigious
class’s most prestigious events, that doesn’t mean that every entrant is at
the Olympic-level. Quite the contrary. One-design events rely largely on
those sailors that can be affectionately termed, “the entry fee”, otherwise
known as those boats that fill the middle and later positions, but whose
entry fee is largely responsible for the nice parties and trophies. They
compete for reasons other than winning, but without them – or specifically
their entry fee – the bells and whistles would be gone.

Before anyone gets their underwear bunched up, it should be said that
everyone at some point has been “the entry fee.” Heck, a quick look at last
week’s Star Bacardi Cup results and you can find a long list of celebrated
sailors who qualified. No shame in being “the entry fee”, particularly if
you know it from the onset. Stay up late, become pals with the YC bartender,
meet a regatta girlfriend… the benefits are endless. Among “the entry fees”
at last week’s Bacardi Cup was a team from Montreal who maintained a blog
during the event. These guys have a great attitude, probably had a lot more
fun than most, and their commentary on starting in a 118-boat fleet is
precious. Here is an excerpt:

“Almost all the fleet set up between the RC and the mid line boat, which
made for quite a stacking of boats. We wound up in a decent spot, until the
JPN boat decided that we had won the prize for ‘muffin of the day.’ They set
up just to leeward of us and proceeded to luff us into irons about 20
seconds before the start. At that precise moment, we attempted a start which
I had never seen or read of before: the ‘stand-still and pounce start.’ Let
me explain how it works. First the leeward boat takes you up into irons. You
then react quickly (okay, maybe not quickly, but really in a panic…) by
backing the jib to avoid the boat from tacking into a horrible mess. This
will inevitably stall the boat to a stand still with about 8 seconds to go
before the start. You then settle down, listen to the gun go off, and start
accelerating (barely). Next thing you know, you’re in a typical fourth row
start. Not pretty.” -- Scuttleblog, read their posts at

There is something about the azure blue sea, the warm tropical breezes of
the Caribbean and knifing through the water on a sailboat that is good for
the soul. Don’t believe us; well, just ask Bill Alcott. The
71-year-old-retired group medical administrator from Detroit lives for the
time that he spends each year sailing the waters of the Caribbean. Once
again Alcott and his boat Equation along with his motley crew known as “The
Knuckleheads” are headed south to Florida and then they are off racing in
one of the most beautiful areas of the world.

Alcott, is a St. Thomas Yacht Club member and he ventures to the Virgin
Islands every February and stays until May. The yearly hiatus is spent
racing his Andrews 68 turbo-sled Equation in the International Rolex Regatta
(March 28-30, 2008) and then taking part in what Bill likes to call the ”
Trifecta”. “It is just a continuous streak of sailing that starts with the
Rolex,” Alcott explained. “Then there is a day off Monday and then there’s
the race over to the Bitter End, which is about 18 miles maybe. You get to
the Bitter End and you have a lay day, which is joyous for all of us.

“For years I have rented all of the Lasers over there and we have ‘The
Equation Regatta’ with our own crew. I’m the PRO and cheating is encouraged
[laughter]. I think if you asked the guys, they would say that’s one of the
highlights of the year and any year. It is just a lot of fun [laughter].
Then following that there’s a race to Tortola. Then a day or two free there
and then there’s the series of races from Tortola and all told it is about
ten days and it is the time of year when life is good. We call it the
Trifecta because it involves three different areas and three different yacht
clubs. It doesn’t really matter if you win or lose. All that matters is
being there.” Sailing is also great therapy for Alcott, who missed racing
his boat last year after a battle with prostate cancer. -- Read on:

Andy Fisher and his team aboard 'Bandit' have made a statement in recent
weeks: They are the fastest Swan 42 on the water. Powered by a 100% North
Sails inventory, 'Bandit' won the Swan 42 class at Acura Key West Race Week
in January and the IRC class last week at Acura Miami Grand Prix. "When it
comes to buying sails there is no second choice really," said Fisher. "The
conditions in Miami were extremely testing for the sails and they held up
just fine." For performance and power on the race course, head North:

After a 20-year absence from sailing, Canadian Andy Roy has returned to a
world-class level. Roy, a Nova Scotia native who moved to Peterborough nine
years ago, placed fourth at the 2008 World Laser Masters Championship held
in Terrigal, Australia last month. The 50-year-old returned to competitive
sailing two years ago, in the masters class for sailors 45-and-over, two
decades after the peak of his career as a national team member. In 1982, he
placed second at the World Laser Championships and won a silver medal for
Canada in the Laser Class at the 1983 Pan American Games. Roy has also
sailed in many other classes over the years and was a member of Canada's
last America's Cup entry in 1986.

He says family and a career took him away from sailing, but after competing
at an event in Ottawa two years ago, Roy decided to return to sailing. "It
was great to get back in the boat," he said. "It was serious pain. The boat
can really punish you if you're not ready for it. It forced me to get in
shape which was a good side effect. I was pretty happy with my result
because I wasn't able to get a lot of practice. It meant a lot of gym time.
I went to the YMCA pretty regularly. It's a pretty physical boat. You need
to be in shape." There were 102 competitors in Australia completing a total
of nine races over five days. Roy's performance included two firsts and
three seconds. He was the only non-Aussie among the top five in his
division. The next highest Canadian placed 34th. -- The Peterborough
Examiner, complete story:

While other elementary-school children celebrate Easter with egg hunts,
11-year-old Geoffrey Nelson of Heath, TX will be representing the United
States in the 23rd International Optimist Easter Regatta in the Netherlands.
Getting to sail in the March 21-24 event is quite an honor – it attracts 270
of the world's best sailors under the age of 16. But Geoffrey doesn't intend
to stop there. "I want to be in America's Cup," said the Amy Parks
Elementary School honor student. "Another option would be to compete in the
Olympics with my brother if we could compete together in two-person boats."
Geoffrey qualified for the competition at an October regatta in Norfolk, Va.
He finished in the top ranks among 280 junior sailors from across the
country. -- Dallas Morning News, read on:

A very wise martial arts teacher once told me: “You will never learn to
perform a physical skill without making mistakes and making a fool of
yourself. Therefore, embrace the embarrassment of your mistakes and dedicate
yourself to learning.” Not a bad philosophy for learning to sail, eh? As a
sailing instructor, I hear some interesting reasons why my students are
taking sailing lessons. I usually start each class by asking everybody to
introduce themselves, talk about what sailing experience they may have, and
what they hope to get out of taking lessons. You would expect the answers to
those questions would be pretty vanilla, but sometimes I get surprised.

A couple of students told me the reason why they were taking lessons was
that they were engaged to be married and had already paid for the charter of
a yacht in Croatia for their honeymoon, but they didn’t know how to sail a
boat on their own yet. They powered through basic keelboat, coastal
cruising, and bareboat charter classes and became competent sailors in short
order. They had a wonderful time sailing the Dalmation coast, but told me
they would have appreciated learning how to do a stern-to Med tie for
mooring. Not something we do much here on Puget Sound. -- by Dennis Palmer,
48° North, read on for more:

Goetz Custom Boats and Rogers Yacht Design are teaming up to produce a new
82’ cruiser/racer sloop for a UK client. The yacht will feature a
contemporary, lightweight, superyacht interior with striking external
styling. She has been designed to be competitive under IRC and will be
participating primarily on the European regatta circuit. The yacht is
scheduled for delivery during the second half of 2009. This project marks
the first collaboration between Rogers Yacht Design, best known for their
Open Class race boats, Class 40s, and Rogers 46 designs, and Goetz. For more
information on this and other GCB projects, visit

Excerpts from Valencia Sailing website:
* Franck Cammas, the French mutlihull sailor, is in Valencia, training
together with BMW Oracle Racing. The American challenger resumed its
two-boat training onboard the Extreme 40 catamarans this week after a break
of a couple of weeks due to the participation of Russell Coutts, James
Spithill and most of the sailing crew in various events around the world.
Also, soon to be joining the team as a coach in Valencia is Tornado crew
Charlie Ogletree (USA), 2004 Olympic Silver medallist and 2008 Olympic

* Rising match racing star Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his BlackMatch Racing
team has aligned itself with Emirates Team New Zealand for the upcoming
match racing season. While there is no financial assistance under the
arrangement with the team, Minoprio has gained support from some of ETNZ’s
sponsors, and the alliance has provided the 43rd ranked BlackMatch Racing
team entrance to the 2008 Brasil Sailing Cup, in Rio de Janeiro, the opening
regatta of the World Tour to be held April 22-26.

* Melges Performance Sailboats is having McConaghy Boats in China produce
the Melges 20, their new design by the Reichel Pugh Yacht Design office,
which also drew the Melges 24 and 32. McConaghy Boats is currently finishing
the Melges 20 plugs and molds, with the Melges team heading to China in
April for test sailing the prototype. The first shipment of boats to the US
is tentatively planned for late spring. -- Photos and details:

* KO Sailing, led by president John Kolius and based in La Porte, Texas, has
recently been named an official dealer of Melges scows and sportboats for
the Central U.S. and Gulf Coast region in North America. --

* The biennial US SAILING Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship
will be hosted by Houston Yacht Club (HYC) in La Porte, Texas on October
14-17, 2009. The current champion, Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), recently
received US SAILING's highest honor as the 2007 Rolex Yachtswoman of the
Year based in part on her accomplishment of winning the Rolex IWKC a third
straight time. The event will be sailed in J/22’s; complete details at

* The VELUX 5 OCEANS won the prestigious ESA International Sponsorship Award
during the annual Hollis Sponsorship Awards ceremony held recently in
London. VELUX, the worldwide roof window and design company, was recognised
for its success in supporting the 5 OCEANS event, the classic solo round the
world yacht race organised by Clipper Ventures PLC. Billed as ‘The Ultimate
Solo Challenge’, Clipper Ventures delivered a winning platform for VELUX,
creating over US$100.3 million of global media value for their sponsor. --

* Three new TP 52s are due to be shipped from New Zealand this month as work
on Peter de Ridder's new Jodel/Vrolijk designed Mean Machine, the Reichel
Pugh designed Artemis, and Ricardo Simoneschi's Audi Quatro concludes almost
simultaneously in readiness for the 2008 Audi MedCup back in Europe. --
Yachting World, read on:

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Here are a few of the events that are coming up:
Mar 12-15 - Sunfish Midwinter Natl & Team Champs - Panama City, FL, USA
Mar 13-16 - Genesta J22 Midwinter Championship - Heath, TX, USA
Mar 14-16 - Culebra Intl Regatta - Bahia Ensenada, Culebra, Puerto Rico
Mar 14-16 - Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA, USA
Mar 15-16 - A Class and F16 Invitational - Gulfport, FL, USA
View all the events at

A group of sailors at Beverly Yacht Club wanted a modern, fun class that
would excite a wide range of sailors; energize the weeknight series; be a
good teaching platform for juniors and adults; and provide opportunity for
team racing, match racing, and international competition. The result...a
J/80 fleet for 2008!

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 Cliff Bradford: My understanding is that the 18-foot skiffs aren't a
recognized international class not necessarily because they don't meet the
ISAF's requirements as much as the skiffies don't care. The skiffs have been
around longer than the ISAF/IYRU and they'll probably tell you they're not
interested in ISAF recognition and all the regulation that goes with it.

* From John Cladianos: The decision to effectively ban canting boats at
Skandia Cowes Week is killing modern yacht design, and the trickle into
production knock-on effect, slowing the growth of faster, funner racing
yachts. Period. Plus, in my personal opinion, if you can't run a regatta,
balancing the starts, courses and finishes to the various strengths and
weaknesses of the yacht owners in attendance, thus making a fair and
challenging racing situation for all, you don't deserve anything but
compromised racing anyway.

Now tell me who doesn't want to see the VO70s, Open 60s, the dominant maxi's
at your regatta? You guys gotta get off the dime or you'll always be a
backward cottage industry restricting it's own development.

I've put many beers through the test and Miller Lite 12 oz cans come out on
top. And I don't take this pronouncement lightly. First, cans are preferable
to bottles on a heeling, pitching and rolling sailboat. When shopping for a
good sailing beer, avoid any labels which actually include pictures of
sailboats (usually on microbrews). A glass bottle --- other than rum or
whiskey of course --- on a sailboat is more lubberly than calling a line a
rope, for god's sake. I'd rather take a dozen bananas while leaving on
Friday than carry one six pack of Full Sail Lager. Glass will end up
shattered on a boat and in someone's foot, so save your money. And other
than safety, empty cans can be twisted and crushed and take up less space
than bottles as trash. So why light beer? Well, when you're out in the sun
for 12 hours, the last thing you want is lots of a calorie-rich, alcoholic
liquid. -- Read on:

You know you're a redneck when your working TV sits on top of your
non-working TV.

Special thanks to North Sails, Goetz Custom Boats, and J/Boats.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at