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SCUTTLEBUTT 2557 – March 20, 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.

If George Fisher is one thing, he is consistent. So consistent that he has
competed in more than 50 of the last 60 Lightning St. Pete Midwinter
Championships, even spending his honeymoon there with his wife, Marty, in
1953. Aside from that, there isn’t enough space here to include all the
other things George is to his family and friends, but we’ll give it a try.
George is “modest, a gentleman yet a fierce competitor. It is a coveted spot
to be on his boat,” according to an old friend. George is “a great mentor,
and has been a mentor for many sailors in a lot of classes,” says his son
Greg. His efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2001 he received US SAILING’s
W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Sportsmanship Award and currently serves as that
committee’s chair. He is also current chair of the One Design Class Council.

It all started in the late 1940’s in Ohio where George started sailing and
eventually bought his first Lightning, #721. He has owned 9 Lightnings since
then and now races #15181, a boat that sailed him to victory at the 2007
Masters North Americans and the Masters Midwinters. He is also a past
Masters NA champion in the Snipe and Flying Scot classes. He was runner up
in the MC Scow Masters NA’s and has won the Interlake Class National
Championships 13 times. Health issues have kept George off the starting line
lately, but even at his last regatta he was sailing at the top of his game.
He was as proud of his 5th place finish at the 2007 Lightning Frigid Digit
regatta in Annapolis last October as he was of his crew: his oldest son
Greg, an accomplished sailor in his own right, and Greg’s wife, JoAnn.
Sailing has always been a family affair for George, who followed his
children through junior sailing and beyond, never pushing but always
encouraging. Now he is bringing up a new generation, supporting his
grandkids and other junior sailors at the yacht club where he started,
Buckeye Lake Yacht Club in Ohio. – US Sailing,

=> Back in the 80’s, there was a west coast kid that spent two years in
Ohio, and in the midst of experiencing the parts of the country east of
Interstate 5, he got to know George Fisher. He spent Thanksgivings with
George and his family, and when he needed help, George was there for him.
Over twenty years later, the memories are just as vivid, and the man just as
special. That kid was me… thanks George! -- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

Palma, Spain (March 19, 2008) The light winds that have been prevailing
since the start of the 39th Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca were present
again for the fourth day of racing. With nearly 900 boats competing in the
first event of the European Olympic class season, the fields will be
narrowed to only the top ten in each class following Thursday, with Friday
being for the final medal race when points are doubled. Stronger breeze are
also expected for Thursday, which may shuffle the rankings. As for the North
American contingent, the strongest contenders to qualify for the medal race
are in the Finn (3rd, Zach Railey, USA), Yngling (5th, Barkow/Capozzi/Howe,
USA), Laser (9th, Andrew Campbell, USA), and possibly 49er (12th,
Wadlow/Rast, USA).
Daily report:¬i=98
Complete results:

British sailors competing in the Beijing Olympic Games this summer are
aiming to lose on average a tenth of their natural body weight to counter
the light winds expected at the sailing venue in Qingdao. Members of the
team are on a low-fat, high-protein diet and a strict exercise regime that
includes two hours of cycling before breakfast to burn off excess body fat
before the Games in August. They are expecting to lose 2-8kg each. “We are
looking to have our skinniest team ever,” Pete Cunningham, the nutritionist,

Managers from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) will also equip athletes
with lighter clothing and sail cloth as part of a strategy to tackle the
summer conditions on the northeast coast of China: light winds, strong
currents and enduring fog. “The average wind speed at that time of year is
six knots and at last year's test event it was less than four knots,”
Stephen Park, the Olympic team manager, said. “The tide can run at up to two
knots. So you can't be lardy or you won't go anywhere.” -- Times Online,
read on:

* US 49er representative Tim Wadlow, regarding the fleet in Palma: “The only
countries that have not chosen their (49er) team are France and Austria. The
sailors for these two countries are still racing all out, trying to earn
their Olympic spot. Most of the sailors who have earned a berth at the
Olympics have already started their "china diet", in anticipation of light
winds at the Olympics. The average crew weight of the fleet is down
significantly. If we have some windy days here in Palma we could see the
unselected teams do really well because they are racing all out and have not
yet lost any weight.” --

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Auckland, New Zealand (March 19, 2008) Lijia Xu of China continues to lead
the Women's Laser Radial World Championships, being sailed off Takapuna, New
Zealand, going into the final day of the regatta on Thursday. After regular
postponements over the initial four days, conditions on the Hauraki Gulf
today required no delays, offering a predominantly overcast sky and a north
easterly breeze between 6 and 10 knots along with a challenging chop. Three
races were sailed today, with a total of eight races now on the board. With
just six Olympic berths still available and 23 nations here in Auckland who
have not yet qualified, the battle for national Olympic qualification is on.
The pecking order for those in the hunt for Olympic qualification is as
follows... Greece, Spain, Russia, Ireland, Croatia and Czech Republic with
Paraguay further down the list.

Preliminary results (116 boats)
1. CHN, Xu Lijia, 3-(DSQ)-1-1-3-30-6, 45
2. BEL, Evi Van Acker, 1-2-7-2-14-(DNF)-19-4, 49
3. FRA, Sarah Steyaert, 6-1-2-2-(36)-24-20-3, 58
4. GBR, Penny Clark, 10-7-18-13-(39)-17-2-2, 69
5. GBR, Andrea Brewster, 9-12-(28)-17-10-4-15-9, 76
10. USA, Anna Tunnicliffe, 6-(OCS)-1-33-13-34-1, 93
13. USA, Paige Railey, 3-2-(DNF)-7-8-34-4-45, 103
33. CAN, Lisa Ross, 37-14-3-14-20-(55)-22-38, 148
Complete results:

After America’s Cup defender Alinghi presented (read: poorly presented) the
Protocol for the 33rd America’s Cup in July 2007, commentary was strongly
suspect of the changes that they had made from the rules that had governed
the previous event. While everyone else complained about it, the BMW Oracle
Racing team could sit no longer, and went about submitting their Deed of
Gift challenge, with the kicker being the giant multihull that they proposed
for the race. It all seemed so surreal, but given that Alinghi had goofed by
appointing the “bogus” Spanish club as their Challenger of Record, BOR
seemed to have momentum on their side.

Did BOR really want to race multihulls in the America’s Cup? Nah, they just
wanted to get Alinghi’s attention, and have them re-write the rules. But if
that was truly the case, they underestimated the Swiss team, for they were
not to be bullied, and would rather drive their truck into a brick wall than
succumb to the pressures from the American team. Ca-bang! With the Swiss
truck now totaled, but the brick wall still standing, the America’s Cup
defender now finds itself at the card table across from BOR, who continues
to hold the better hand.

Now that the NY Courts have dismissed all of Alinghi’s complaints, and have
in so many words told them not to come back with any more crummy defense
tactics, the Swiss find themselves flat-footed. They claim to be unable to
build a boat in time for the October 2008 race dates, and BOR is not
obligated to extend (read: further extend) the timeline. All the potential
challengers want the fall event so as to sooner get on with an open event.
So what does BOR do? If this whole catamaran plan was hatched to force
Alinghi into fixing the initial protocol, can they still play that card and
have an open challenger event? Or, with all the failed negotiations between
these two teams, is BOR ready to force Alinghi to fold? Dang… this is one
heck of a card game!

* Alinghi hasn’t given up in trying to postpone the event. They have now
sent a letter to the Golden Gate Yacht Club (and also posted it on their
website), providing reasons why the soonest date possible to meet is May 1,
2009. Interestingly, one of the reasons they provide states that GGYC’s
challenge specifies a race in the Northern Hemisphere, which interestingly
(or not), may prove to be another analytical review of the English language,
similar to that prior sticking point regarding what an “annual regatta”
Alinghi’s letter:
GGYC Challenge:

* BMW Oracle Racing has announced its core sailing team for the 33rd America
’s Cup. The team also confirmed the start of a comprehensive 2008 training
and racing program that includes both monohulls and multihulls. Joining
skipper Russell Coutts in the accomplished afterguard are American John
Kostecki and Australian James Spithill. Among the crew roster are nine
sailors returning from BMW ORACLE Racing and 11 from Luna Rossa’s 2007
Italian challenge. The team’s on-the-water training program began last week
in Valencia with sailing in two Extreme 40 catamarans. This summer the team
will compete in the Extreme 40 European tour. Team members will also be
competing in the TP 52 Med Cup Series, a European grand prix sailing tour in
monohulls. -- Complete announcement:

* Sydney, Australia (March 19, 2008) The world’s #1 woman match racer,
Claire Leroy (FRA), became the first overseas competitor to win the Harken
Women’s International Match Racing Regatta, concluding today. With two races
apiece in the best of five finals, Leroy and Australia’s Nicky Souter went
into the starting sequence for the sudden death final race, but when Souter
started prematurely, she was unable to recover. The final podium place went
to Katie Spithill (AUS) beating Lotte Melgaard Pedersen (DEN) 2-0 in the
petite final to finish third. The majority of the teams will soon head to
Auckland, New Zealand for the ISAF World Women’s Match Racing Championship
on April 1-6. --

* The International Moth continues to gain traction in the United States,
and has planned for the first Moth Pacific Coast Championships on March
22-23, hosted by Coronado Yacht Club. Thirteen Moths are expected from
California, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan. --

* US SAILING’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) recognizes three outstanding
sailing coaches for the 2007 Coaches of the Year Awards. The awards are a
part of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Coach Recognition
Program, which highlights the accomplishments and contributions of coaches
who train athletes at all levels of sport. The OSC has nominated sailing
coaches to the USOC in three categories: National Coach: Bill Ward;
Volunteer Coach: Matt Dubois; Developmental Coach: Ben Glass. -- Details:

* Highlights from Acura Key West Race Week 2008 will be on ESPN2, scheduled
for Sunday, March 23 at 2:30pm eastern. Gary Jobson and the ESPN sailing
team take you aboard a series of Grand Prix racing yachts at the 21st annual
regatta in Key West. Exclusive onboard footage features among others, Race
Week winner Terry Hutchinson aboard Barking Mad, the new 65 foot speedster
Numbers, as well as J-80s, Melges 24s and 32s in some very powerful winds.
The ESPN2 show will be played again on April 13 at 12:30pm eastern. --

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CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Here are a few of the events that are coming up:
Mar 19-23 - Brasil Sailing Cup/World Match Race Tour - Angra dos Reis, BZL
Mar 21-23 - Southern Straits of Georgia Race - West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Mar 21-28 - Mead Madness Sail - Las Vegas, NV, USA
View all the events at

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 Chris Ericksen: I am a happy and voluntary member of US SAILING and
first joined the North American Yacht Racing Union back in the old days.
Like Mason Chrisman ('Butt 2556), I appreciate what US SAILING does for our
sport, including "good racing rules, great race administration, great
training and safety procedures." Like Peter Huston (same edition), I
remember the last time US SAILING--then named the United States Yacht Racing
Union--bandied about a mandatory membership requirement for folks racing
under the rules. I wonder, as he does, if "mandatory membership (will) help
make recreational racing more fun for more people." But most of all, I
wonder at a leadership corps led by Mister Capron who think they can push a

* From Nick Salvador: What is US Sailing proposing to provide us once they
make membership mandatory? I’d like to see a list of services that they
“think” they provide to the recreational sailing and racing community. It’s
all about value added, and frankly I (and many many other sailors) don’t see
any value in paying membership dues to US Sailing. How about negotiating
some insurance rates that we can afford so that we’re not forced to race w/o
rig insurance to HI and return? Do that and I might consider my membership
dues to be well spent.

* From Paul Warren, USSA-certified instructor: (edited to the 250-word
limit) People join an organization because they support the group's purposes
and want to further its programs. Forced membership is not the answer. In
Issue 2556, Reader Dwight Gertz is "right on" when he points out that the
"value add" is the legitimate basis for deciding about joining or not.

I believe mandatory membership is counterproductive: many casual racers
(beer can series, occasional weekend warriors vs. hard-core, full schedule
racers) will likely drop out (read: go cruising) OR create competing local
events that will further dilute participation in any individual event. I
raced for years in the Annapolis YC's Wednesday Night Series (150+ boats on
average) and I'll bet that only 50% at best were USSA members.

Again, this is not the way to promote our sport and draw more participants.
US Sailing has a substantial opportunity to expand its membership base by
creating benefits and programs that benefit ALL sailors, not just Grand Prix
or Olympic-level racers. Boat US has many times the member base of US
Sailing (yes, I'll agree there are many more 21' runabouts out there than
sailboats.) BUT, BoatUS membership costs $25 (vs. $60 minimum for USSA) with
a 50% dues discount available for groups. Boat US offers marina and fuel
discounts, plus towing services to its members; USSA promotes a small
discount on regatta entry fees and member pricing on its logo-ed products -
not a lot of real value there.

US Sailing should focus on broadening its base by make its programs more
relevant, instead of trying to "force" membership on any/all would-be racing

* From Jim Eddy: Dwight Gertz is spot on in his comments today. Requiring
membership in US Sailing for racing sailors is a bad idea and will not help
to grow our sport. US Sailing needs to provide services that sailors value
and will therefore join and support.

* From Andrew Burton, Associate Editor, Cruising World Magazine: I'd have a
lot more sympathy for US Sailing if I thought they were using the money I
send wisely. But since the beginning of December I must have received at
least a dozen letters asking me to renew my membership. This ain't cheap
when you add all the others who must get the same onslaught. I will be
renewing my membership - when it expires at the end of this month! One
reminder is enough. Twelve makes them seem desperate.

* From Doug Mills: While both my wife and I are US Sailing members and
support the organization strongly, in my region (Southern California) the
last thing we need is a requirement that US Sailing membership is compulsory
for a skipper/ owner to race. Throughout our region, turnouts for local
weekend races have been declining steadily for some years now. All of us
engaged in racing or organizing races are trying very hard to find various
mechanisms for encouraging and stimulating participation. The last thing we
need is one more obstacle placed in front of the newbie, or the person who
shows up just a couple of times per year.

We need to do everything we can to eliminate as many barriers as possible
for such people. So far as I know, most serious racers are members of US
Sailing, so if we can lure more people into the sport, US Sailing will see
its membership increase without forcing membership down everyone's throat. I
suspect the trends we see herein SoCal are common around the country. These
people at US Sailing, sad to say, must have their head in the sand and they
must be completely out of touch with our sport.

What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots? If a
pilot screws up, the pilot dies. If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.

Special thanks to Newport Shipyard and Ullman Sails.

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