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SCUTTLEBUTT 2552 – March 13, 2008

Scuttlebutt is a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions,
features and dock talk . . . with a North American focus. Scuttlebutt is
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by Jos Spijkerman, ISAF International Umpire
I came across an appeal decision on the US Appeals Committee page answering
an interpretation requested by the Noroton Yacht Club. Published in
February: Question 100. In it, the US Appeals Committee states that it is a
proper action for a race committee to abandon a race for one of the reasons
listed in rule 32.1(a)-(e) after all boats have finished or retired. There
is no need to do this on the water, and if ashore, posting a notice is
sufficient. The RC can take this decision provided it first considers “the
consequences for all boats in the race or series.” And there's no time limit
to take this decision.

So far I don't disagree with this interpretation of the rules. But
personally I would need a very powerful reason to ever to this. And doing it
after protest time has ended is showing disrespect to the sailors.

The first reasons to abandon a race RRS 32.1(a) trough (d) all are reason
which occur during the race. Only in 32.1 (e) there might be a reason which
only becomes obvious after the race, like in this appeal question, the
appearance of fog and the influence it had on the race. Nevertheless all
sailors finished the shortened course. If we go with the "fairness" of the
race as an argument to abandon, I would be very reluctant to do so other
than based on an argument of several - if not the majority - of the sailors.
In my experience there are always one or two sailors who think that a race
wasn't fair - sometimes solely based on a their finishing place.

And perhaps a time limit on a decision like this would be needed too.
Imagine abandoning the first race of a series on the final day five minutes
before prizegiving. That would constitute an improper action in my opinion,
although the rulebook doesn't say it is. What is your opinion? Post comments

On Wednesday March 5th, Patrik Diethelm (ITA) set a new world production 500
metre speed sailing record with his F2 Missile XS windsurfer at 46.51 knots
on the canal at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (subject to WSSRC ratification).
Here is an excerpt from a recent interview:

* What is your feeling about this incredible March 5th?
DIETHELM: “To be honest, I am hungry for more and faster speeds! I was the
whole day on production Missile 43cm wide and it was a very big board.
Unfortunately I crashed at the first run I tried with my small prototype
37cm and I think it was because there was a lot of seaweed in the water. My
mast, sail and board were broken and both my shoulders hurt so I decided to
stop for the day and I could not find out how fast I could go with my

* Can you tell us about some of the wipe outs during the day, they were
DIETHELM: “It was a very windy day (60 knots) and the direction of the wind
was too much down wind and just sometimes it changed direction for a couple
minutes, and this was always the moment to get on the run. Because of the
strong wind and the deep angle it creates a very steep short chop which is
very difficult to pass without having spinout. Antoine crashed 5 times and
we all had a hard time to get started as the strong wind pushed down even
sails as small as 4.5m2. My first crash was not so bad as I had time to
react and I could hook out in time and let go my equipment, so I just slid
on top of the water for a couple metres until I stopped. My second crash was
quite hard as I had a spinout and crashed immediately at full speed. I
believe it was over 45 knots as I had a pretty good run the first
350-400metres before I crashed. My mast and sail broke and I ripped out the
strap plug of the board as well. My shoulders still hurt a couple days
later - hope I will be alright for the slalom season this year.”

Complete interview:

His hunger for an Olympic medal thoroughly whetted, Oakville, ONT sailor
Oskar Johansson must now curb his appetite. Canadian sailors Johansson and
Kevin Stittle cemented an Olympic berth – and their status as contenders
this summer in Beijing – by winning a silver medal last weekend at the 2008
Tornado World Championships in Takapuna, New Zealand. Now, they've got to do
more than trim the sails. They're embarking on a serious weight loss
program, particularly skipper Johansson.

Amid all the talk about the foul air expected in Beijing for the Olympics,
there's also the light winds that are expected to have a big impact on the
sailing events off Qingdao. "That will pretty dramatically drop the optimum
crew weight for the Olympics down from what it would be on an international
standard," said Stittle. Adds Johansson: "We're going to be shedding some
pounds." The 30-year-old skipper is speaking primarily about himself.

The duo tips the scales at a total of about 330 pounds at the moment, with
the 6-foot Johansson accounting for about 180 pounds of that. Stittle, at a
lean 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, can't afford to drop much weight, maybe five
pounds at most. The objective for Johansson is about 20 pounds. "We just
want to optimize this sort of thing," said Johansson. "It's really important
that you continue to work on certain things. It helps build confidence. The
minute you stop learning and growing, you're done, you're not going to win
an Olympic gold. The standard is always getting higher." -- Toronto Star,
read on:

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After reading the story below about windfarms, perhaps somebody will
complain someday about how sailboats “uglify” the oceans (and perhaps some
already do):

* In many venues wind power can be as controversial as nuclear power. In
Scotland there’s a big fight brewing over mountaintop windmills to generate
electricity. One charge: the tall towers holding the turbines uglify the
once beautiful landscape. Critics accuse the Scottish government of not
planning for the growing use of wind generators there. A little to the south
in Devon, England, a local governing body rejected a proposed wind farm.
Reason: protect the local bats. Flying mammals, not cricket bats.

On the American side of the Atlantic, the wind industry is having its own
problems. In Oklahoma, one utility has abandoned plans for a wind farm. When
the company announced plans to put windmills over a wildlife refuge land
even some of their own employees were disgusted. Talk about an ill wind.

The American fights over wind power will largely be on the coasts and in the
Great Plains where the wind seems to be eternal. Up in North Dakota the
federal government has gotten involved in the arguments over windmills for
generating electricity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says wind farms
could endanger the already endangered Whooping Crane. Less than 300 of North
America’s rare white cranes exist. North Dakota’s wind farm expansion would
be located on the cranes’ migration route, where they must take off and
land. --

* Team Russia, which will be competing in the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race,
has teamed up with the world’s largest non-governmental organisation devoted
to whales and dolphins, WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. As
marine environment partners, they will work together to highlight the need
for better global protection for whales and dolphins. --

* Sailors have a unique opportunity to demonstrate concern and respect for
our threatened oceans and their inhabitants. So by signing the Blue Water
Charter, each sailor agrees to limit the impact of their sailing activities
on the marine environment. But perhaps more importantly, sailors agree to
become an ambassador for the future of the oceans, estuaries, and inshore
waters. Sign the charter today and join the movement to save our Oceans!
Details at

* US SAILING has determined its 2008 schedule for Adult and Youth National
Championships. The 17 events, which began in January and continue through
September, will be hosted by sailing organizations across the country, with
events ranging from fleet, match and team racing to one design, offshore and
disabled sailing. The US SAILING Championships are sponsored nationally by
Rolex Watch U.S.A., LaserPerformance, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies,
Nautica, and Dry Creek Vineyard. -- Complete event list:

* North Sails has partnered with Sailing Weather Services to provide free
weather forecasts for the Sperry Top-Sider San Diego NOOD Regatta from March
14-16. To receive these complimentary detailed daily weather forecasts,
courtesy of North Sails, log on to North's online weather center:

* Tickets are going fast for the selected-scene preview of the
yet-to-be-released movie "Morning Light" this coming Friday, March 14 at 6
p.m. at the Jane Pickens Theater in Newport, RI. Co-producers Roy E. Disney
and Leslie DeMeuse will introduce members of the Morning Light crew for a
Q&A session after showing scenes from the film. Scheduled to be released
later this year, the movie chronicles one of the youngest crew ever to
compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii. The preview is in
conjunction with US SAILING's Spring Meeting, held March 13-16 in
Newport. -- Details:

* Applications for the 2008 U.S. Youth Championship will be accepted until
midnight Eastern Saturday, March 15. The event will be held in Lasers, Laser
Radials, Club 420s, and 29ers at the San Francisco Yacht Club, Belvedere,
CA, from June 26 to July 1. --

Jim Forquer, a well-known sailor within the California and Mexico sailing
communities, as well as former associates from within the high tech
industry, was found dead early Monday morning at the Isla Navidad Marina,
located just north of Manzanillo. Jim had dined with good friends Sunday
evening aboard the motoryacht Beseme, leaving at approximately 11:30 p.m. to
walk home to Legato on C Dock — a trip of about 200 yards which he had made
many times before.

About halfway along that distance, a 12-inch-high curb interupts the
walkway, defining the edge of a launch ramp below. It appeared obvious to
friends on the scene that Jim simply did not see the curb - the walkway was
unlit at the time - and toppled onto the concrete ramp, 8 to 10 feet below.
Jim's dead body was found shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday morning by a
security guard. According to friends, Jim had not been drinking heavily and
there is no suspicion of foul play. All indications are that it was simply a
tragic mishap. An autopsy is pending. -- Latitude 38, full story:

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The legal maneuvering that has become the 33rd America’s Cup has grown old,
and whatever scent of progress there was, certainly got blown away by the
recent court filings of Team New Zealand. Therefore, what better time to
rekindle some memories of the good old days, like when boats sank. Yea…
sank. In the 1995 event, during a race in 18-20 knots, One Australia
literally broke in half, and took little time to seek out her resting spot
on the ocean floor. Listen to the call by commentator Peter Montgomery.
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:

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 Mark Johnson: Thanks for sharing the blog on the Star Bacardi Cup
sailors (in ‘butt 2551). I sailed the Stars in Miami a few years ago with a
Master who has since passed away. We always had a great time sailing with
the best in the world, we always tried to get the best spot on the line and
be first at the top mark (our best was a 6th, with guys like Reynolds,
Sheibler, MacCausland, etc.) but generally ended up in the mid to late pack.
WE ALWAYS HAD A BALL! This is what makes the sport of sailing great - going
up against the big boys, and still having a shot, then to rub elbows later,
at the dock, over a beer, or on the deck at CRYC. Like Key West, the old
SORC in St. Pete, and so may regattas around the US.

* From Dan Dickison: I don't have any beef with the author of that gear
review regarding beer (in ‘Butt 2551), though I do prefer Fosters offshore.
But, I think you have to jump on him for referring to crushed cans as
"trash." ("And other than safety, empty cans can be twisted and crushed and
take up less space than bottles as trash.") Aluminum cans can be recycled
and recycling programs exist in almost every community in the U.S., so
there's really no excuse for not doing the right thing. Additionally,
sailors have a great opportunity here to become leaders on "green" issues
like this, and the sailing media (Scuttlebutt included) should be steering
us in this direction.

* From Doran Cushing: (re best sailors beer in ‘butt 2551) Like many of the
Internet myths, sailing has its own collection of BS beliefs. To be
specific, the idea that glass on a boat is tabu. It's a long and boring
story about my mom and farewell gifts when I was headed south from
California, but the outcome was having six pair of brightly colored socks
and absolutely no use for them. But I also brought along some fine crystal
wine glasses. A perfect match. Waterford wore the socks. Still have all
eight glasses some 20,000 miles later.

But to the point. Beer from cans tastes like caca. Quality beer (nothing
from the US except the microbreweries) is worth its weight in glass until
you can enjoy a local brew in Mexico, Panama, New Zealand, whatever. In the
late '80s we would carry a piece of rebar to break out the bottom of the
bottles, then dump them overboard in very deep water. May not be
"environmentally" proper these days but it seemed like a good solution then
after seeing some of the third world recycling programs - bulldozing refuse
off a cliff into the ocean. And how can you have a good barroom brawl with
aluminum cans?

* From Steve Chesney, Hampshire, UK: John Cladianos letter (in ‘Butt 2551)
concerning canting keels at Cowes Week leaves me almost speechless. Has Mr
Cladianos read the response from the organisers? They do not expect
sufficient canting kee entries to be able to provide fair racing for the
rest of the boats that would share their start. They have appealed to
canting keel boat owners to get in touch so that if there is sufficient
interest, a separate start may be provided. What more could be asked of
them? BTW, I have nothing to do with the Cowes Week organisation.

* From Craig Yandow: I had a hard time getting through all the verbiage in
the huge document that "explained" the voting that lead to eliminating
Multihulls from the 2012 Olympics (in ‘Butt #2549). And if I got this wrong,
I'm sorry, but, it appears that the US representation to that decision
making body voted against the Tornado on the grounds that funding in the US
would dry up if the Star wasn't in the Olympics.

I have supported US SAILING and its predecessors for 30+ years, but now I
wonder if they are supporting Multihulls effectively? If not they, who
"guides" our representatives to international sailing decision making
bodies? If US SAILING isn't looking out for multihulls, now that I own a Cat
again, is there a more appropriate body to support?

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: In the US, the Olympic Sailing Committee is
responsible for running a medal-producing team, and US SAILING is charged
with overseeing the OSC and everything else. The problem seems to lie with
how ISAF allows a country to vote for the events that will be in the
Olympics. If you are voting, do you vote for the type of events where you
are strongest, or do you vote for the type of events that best represent the
sport of sailing? Throw in the fact that ISAF was required by IOC to reduce
the number of events from 11 to 10, and the multihull got squeezed out
amidst a highly political situation.

You know you're a redneck when you know how many bales of hay your car will

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