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SCUTTLEBUTT 2554 – March 17, 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.

(March 16, 2008) Nearly 600 boats and 900 competitors are in Palma, Spain
for the 39 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE on March 15-21, which marks
the beginning of the European Olympic class sailing season. Besides the
Dragon as an invited class, all Olympic classes except for the Star fleet
will participate in the regatta. Despite the conflict with the Tornado,
Laser Radial and Yngling World and European championships, these classes
will be well represented in Majorca.

The highest number of entries is registered in the Laser class (119),
followed by the RS:X M (99) and the 470 M (88). Among the 48 nations that
will be represented, entrants will include the 90 top world sailors and the
Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists of the past Athens Olympics as well as the
Olympic classes World and European champions. Competitors enjoyed excellent
weather conditions on Sunday for the first day of racing, with 8 knots for
race one, increasing throughout the afternoon to 11 knots for the second
race. Top North American entrant is Finn sailor Zach Railey (USA), who is
presently in second position, trailing only triple Olympic medallist Ben
Ainslie (GBR). Those sailors attending the Palma event from the US and
Canada are:

* United States: Sally Barkow/Debbie Capozzi/Carrie Howe (Yngling), Stu
McNay/Graham Biehl (470 M), Tim Wadlow/Chris Rast (49er), Andrew Campbell
(Laser), Zach Railey (Finn), Ben Barger (RS:X M), and Farrah Hall (RS:X W).

* Canada: Chris Cook (Finn), Gordon Cook/Ben Remocker (49er), and Stephan
Locas/Oliver Bone (470 M).
Event website:

The entrants from the US and Canada will also be representing their
countries in the 2008 Summer Olympics, with the exception of Farrah Hall who
lost the US Trials to Nancy Rios. However, Hall is disputing a redress
protest by Rios that led to her win, and has taken her case to the United
States Olympic Committee. As is customary, an arbitrator has been appointed
by the American Arbitration Association, with a hearing scheduled for May
21-23. Per AAA rules, the cost of the arbitrator is split between Farrah
Hall and US SAILING, though the arbitrator can reallocate the costs as part
of the award. The arbitrator’s decision is likely final, as an appeal in
cases of this nature is typically not permitted.

US SAILING has announced it is presenting its Harman Hawkins Trophy for
excellence in Race Administration to Bill Bentsen (Chicago, Ill.), which is
an award given annually to an individual who has made outstanding
contributions to the sport of sailing in the field of race administration.
After an outstanding sailing career capped by two Olympic medals, Bentsen
has been influential in setting the direction for the US SAILING Judges
program, and has become a highly respected US SAILING Senior Judge and an
International Judge serving at all levels of the sport, including the
Olympic Games.

Additionally, Bentsen has had a significant role on the US SAILING Appeals
Committee as well as both the US SAILING and the International Sailing
Federation Racing Rules Committees. He served on those three committees for
decades and his contributions are legendary. It is no exaggeration to say
that Bentsen’s knowledge of sailboat racing and his analytic and writing
skills have affected every racing rule, every US SAILING appeal and every
ISAF case. Following in the footsteps of Harold Vanderbilt, Gregg Bemis,
Gerald Sambrook-Sturgess, and Mary Pera, Bentsen is the person who has made
the most contributions to improving the racing rules of sailing in the last
thirty years. -- Complete report:

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by Amy Smith Linton
Alas, the 2008 International Lightning Southern Circuit is past us now.
Using government math once more, there were 171 entries between the three
regattas (Savannah, Miami, St Petersburg). Real math: 33 boats made all
three venues, and hundreds participated between sailing, race-committee
work, and assorted bar staff. At least three dozen people made new friends.
At least five people made a resolution involving drink and/or working out
more. About 300 of us tried with varying success not to tear up during the
tribute to George Fisher on the banquet on Saturday night. And about 270
people are presently driving home in a pungent fog comprised of wet gear,
misplaced socks, forgotten bananas, and the natural high-tide mark of
sailing humanity. Others are surprising their seat-mates on board various
packed airlines.

The final leg of the three-event circuit was the 61st Annual Winter
Lightning Championship in St. Pete this past weekend, which was won by Brian
Hayes, Sr. with Laura Jeffers and Jay Mueller, who also took top honors in
the combined St. Pete-Savannah trophy. As for the Overall Circuit itself,
the results came down to the last race, when leading skipper Dave Starck
ended on the wrong side of the shift, having to keep 37 points. My favorite
skipper, Jeff Linton, won the Circuit by 10 points – with some help from
crew Amy Smith Linton, and Will Jeffers (and an assist by Andy Hayward and
Maegan Ruhlman).

A brief word about the Southern Circuit banquet: This is an annual tradition
that changes as the time passes. This year, the focus was on recognizing the
contributions of Ohioan George Fisher. The Fisher family has had three
competitive generations on the water for years, winning national and
international titles galore. Despite his terminal health diagnosis, George
was able to jet down to St. Pete for the weekend to see many of his
Lightning friends and award the first annual George Fisher Sportsmanship
Award. It goes to the Southern Circuit competitor who demonstrates
sportsmanship during the Circuit as voted by the sailors at each venue. The
landslide winner was Tom Allen, Jr.

* Curmudgeon’s Comment: Amy’s reports and photos from the Lightning Southern
Circuit are all posted on the Forum, which additional comments can be added.

Most of us remember the S.S. Minnow from the 1960's sitcom Gilligan's
Island. That voyage was crewed by a mighty sailing man (Gilligan) and a sure
and brave skipper. They were only going to be out for a three-hour tour but
ran into some bad weather. What most people don't know is that the brave and
sure skipper never filed a Float Plan, failed to check the weather forecast
and did not carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon or EPIRB
thereby delaying search efforts for weeks and making locating them on an
uncharted deserted island almost impossible.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary strongly suggests that all
recreational boaters, regardless of the size of their boat, carry with them
not only the federal and local mandated safety equipment, but also a VHF
Radio and an EPIRB, which are not mandated. If the Minnow carried an EPIRB
there never would have been a series since the five passengers and crew
would have been located very quickly. -- Jersey Boating, read on:

Houston, TX - Little boats make big contributions in teaching people to
sail. Just ask Richard Hoover and the Clear Lake Sailing Club. Hoover has
been teaching sailing since 1968. The Clear Lake Sailing Club, which
sponsors his sailing courses, is a strong proponent of small sailboats. He
focuses most of his efforts on beginners. He stresses two things to his
students. “Look for a small sailboat,” he said, “and look for one that is
popular locally.”

Small sailboats accelerate the learning curve, the time it takes to get a
feeling for the boat. “If you make a mistake in a little boat, it’s going to
slow down right away,” he said. In a larger keel boat, with all its
momentum, a mistake might not be immediately apparent. You might make
another mistake or two and then do something right before mistake No. 1
catches up with you. That can leave a beginner scratching his head. He’s
talking about sailing dinghies, little boats with center boards and sailed
by one or two people. Owning a boat popular in the area is good for both the
social and the competitive side of sailing. -- The Daily News, full story:

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* (March 15, 2008) – US SAILING has created a new financial aid program -
named Sailorships - aimed at providing financial assistance to junior
sailors between the ages of 13 and 19 who are interested in competing in US
SAILING Championships and/or clinics. The program, made possible by a
generous donation from two US SAILING members, offers travel funds to youth
sailors traveling to US SAILING Championships and/or clinics. Depending on
the amounts granted, US SAILING could help up to 100 youth sailors before
the program’s conclusion at the end of 2009. -- Complete release:

* The Sailing World College Rankings as of March 11th has St. Mary's holding
the top spots in both the coed and women’s divisions. Full rankings:

* Auckland, New Zealand (March 16, 2008) The strong south easterly winds
forecast for day one of the 2008 Women's Laser Radial World Championship
didn't show, and the 116 boat fleet was becalmed and unable to race on
Saturday. For racing on Sunday, a 20 knot south westerly greeted sailors on
the Hauraki Gulf for race one of the regatta, easing slightly for race two.
Sari Multala (FIN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) have the early lead with a win
and a second place apiece, with both Sarah Blanck of Australia and Paige
Railey of the USA just two points back in third. --

* Hamilton, Bermuda (13 March 2008) Luis Chiapparro, Katrina Williams and
James Anfossi were named, respectively, the BSA 2007 OMEGA Male, Female and
Youth Sailors of the Year. The BSA Board of Governors, using nominations
made by the BSA membership, selected these sailors for this distinctive
honour. -- Full report:

* 470 enthusiasts from the United States and Canada gathered in Sarasota, FL
for the 2008 U.S. National Championships March 13-15. Competitors ranged in
age from 14 to 82 years old, and arrived from British Columbia, Wisconsin,
Illinois, Texas, and Maryland to challenge the local Florida boats. Three
women’s teams, three men’s teams, and five coed teams raced together on
courses set in the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. Conditions ranged from 5
knots to 18 knots, from flat water to steep chop to rolling waves, with the
event won by Allison Jolly/ Molly O'Bryan. -- Full report:

* Nassau, Bahamas -- The International 5.5 meter class completed their 2008
World Championship last weekend, which was won by defending champions
Kristian Nergaard (NOR) with crew Mark Strube and Harry Meges III onboard
Artemis XIV. -- Final results:

* Terry Flynn of Shoreacres, TX beat out a fleet of 46-entrants in the
Genesta J/22 Midwinter Championship, hosted by Rush Creek Yacht Club, with
the 8-race series held on Lake Ray Hubbard. Fellow Texans Scott Young and
Max Scott were in second and third, respectively. -- Complete results:

* The Sperry Top-Sider San Diego NOOD Regatta this past weekend had 145
entrants in 14 classes that ranged from the Viper 640 and Buccaneer 18 up to
the Beneteau 40.7 and J/120. Winds during the three-day event ranged from
light air and a huge swell on Friday that had some seasick folks hugging
their stern pulpits, to winds up to 20 knots on Saturday and light/moderate
conditions on Sunday. Winning the 19-boat Etchells class was Will Stout, who
was also voted as the regatta's overall winner, earning a Sunsail charter
boat and entry into the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Caribbean Rendezvous in the
British Virgin Islands in November. --

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On the evening of Wednesday 25th February 2008, our wonderful brother,
Captain Paul Fitzgerald of S/Y Hetairos departed this world. Paul's
impressive sailing career included skippering many well known mega yachts
such as Jay Hawk, Diablesse, Saudade, Rebecca and Hetairos. He was a
trustworthy, highly respected captain, with extensive world-wide cruising
experience including multiple seasons around New England, the Carribean and
the Mediterranean. He was a remarkable friend, loved and known to many ocean
racers, America's cup sailors and mega yacht crews. We will all miss him.

A cremation service will be held in England at St. Peter's Church in
Heysham, Lancashire, on Monday, March 17th at 1:45, where friends are
welcome. Once matters have been settled on this side of the Atlantic, the
family will be travelling with Paul’s ashes, to hold a celebration in
Newport , RI of his life and invite all of his friends and colleagues to
join them at the Newport Shipyard on May 17th at 4:00 in the afternoon. –
Additional information at

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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 Peter Nielsen, Editor, SAIL Magazine: I well recall the schadenfreude
with which the New Zealand public greeted the sinking of One Australia; the
rivalry between the two countries is legendary. The next day, a full-page
newspaper advertisement for a well-known beer featured a photo of the
stricken yacht surrounded by its floating crew, with a tagline that went
something like: "The only thing that goes down faster than a Steinlager is
an Australian America's Cup yacht."

* From Geoffrey Mason: (regarding the sinking of One Australia) I was the
Director for America's Cup Television that fateful day off Point Loma, and
will always remember with profound respect what an incredible job our lead
cameraman George Johns did. His was the ONLY camera on the scene (fog and
rain had prevented our helicopter cameras from covering the race that day),
and the way he documented this catastrophic event will be revered and
appreciated for generations to come.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: If you missed the video last week, here it is

* From John Harwood-Bee: (re: the lead story in ‘butt 2593 by Urban Miyares,
Challenged America) What a great shame that such sportsmanship and
camaraderie are not evident in the AC now. It is rapidly becoming time that
the deed specification regarding friendly competition is invoked and SNG
chooses a new defender or relinquishes the Cup.

* From Bruce Campbell: In regards to Richard Johnson’s comments (in Issue
2553) about US SAILING and the ISAF vote, I have the following observation:

US SAILING changed its board structure several years ago. The changes were
made to make the board more nimble in responding to the needs of the sport
of sailing. As part of the process, the board was thinned by removing all
those who represented a particular interest group. We were told that these
special interest groups could not be trusted to do what was in the best
interest of the sport. So much for those high ideals.

Btw: As to the question of what group will be disenfranchised next. In that
process US SAILING managed to disenfranchise the sailing organizations and
clubs that make it possible for US SAILING to fulfill its charge to be the
NGO of sailing in the US.

* From Glenn Hansen: (regarding story in Issue 2553) It usually makes little
difference what type of boat one sails when heroics are involved, but just
for the record, Larry was holding down a Finn when he rescued the two
Olympic sailors from Singapore.

* From Stephen Voller, CEO Voller Energy: (re: last week’s environmental
news in ‘Butt 2552) A logical and less controversial alternative to wind
power is the use of fuel cell technology to generate electricity. Voller
Energy, a UK based company founded in 2002, has developed the
environmentally friendly Emerald fuel cell, leading the way in
decentralization of power away from national grids.

The fuel cell runs on LPG, Calor Gas or Propane which is reformed into
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applications. Benefits to the boat owner include low maintenance, serious
reduction in weight compared to a traditional diesel generator and overall
security in reliable energy production. The Emerald fuel cell is currently
available through a chain of European distributors and will be available to
the US market during 2009. --

Why did God invent whiskey? So the Irish would never rule the world. (Happy
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