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SCUTTLEBUTT 2560 – March 25, 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.

Only half an ear or an eye was needed to the news over the weekend to
know that four words were being joined: Tibet-China-Olympics-Boycott.
The IOC seemed to want to forestall any such talk with president Jacques
Rogge taking the unusual step of issuing a statement on Easter Sunday
saying the "Olympics are a force for good" and that change in China will
come "by opening up the country to the scrutiny of the world".

Sailors tend to think Jacques Rogge as one of their own. Most call him
Jacky, familiar from his three Games from 1968 in which he sailed for
Belgium. He will have witnessed first the impact of the partial boycott
in 1976. Sailors can thank him to for his 10 year stint on the Medical
Commission of sailing's world body, one of whose best pieces of work was
to ban the wearing of weight-jackets. There are backs and knees all over
the world in (slightly) better shape because of this. They can probably
thank him too for stating swiftly and plainly his view on a Beijing
boycott. -- Excerpt from a very interesting piece posted by
international yachting journalist Tim Jeffery:

Overall, there is a great disappointment in Europe that the Americas Cup
has been dragged down into the slanging match it has now become.
Initially, the choosing of Valencia to stage the 32nd edition of the Cup
was greeted - and justifiably so - with jubilation by Valencia Mayoress
Rita Barbera and the President of the Valencian Autonomy Francisco
Camps, and although the Spanish government altered from centre right to
centre left, with the Socialists turning their back on Valencia for
undertaking something that was anathema to them - a rich mans sport, the
events all went off very well indeed, and everyone was eagerly
anticipating the 33rd edition of the Cup.

However, since the prolonged court case, and what is now a bickering
dispute between two yacht clubs, with the GGYC having managed to lure
Russell Coutts into their camp, many of the authorities in Valencia are
extremely disappointed that things have turned out the way they have -
particularly as there are so many syndicates that are twiddling their
thumbs and wondering what on earth the future will hold. What all this
has done is to drag the most prestigious event in the yachting world
down to the level of gutter press, and with every new swipe the two
sides take at each other, the initial high rating of the event sinks
even lower. It really is such a shame. -- Peter Gooch, Publisher, The
Valencia Life Network

Sean "Doogie" Couvreux spent a chunk of '07 on the bow of an AC boat in
Valencia, but he spent last weekend in a more elevated position, sailing
a foiler Moth a few feet above San Diego Bay. As he explains, "The boat
rises and accelerates. Everything goes quiet. You can't believe it till
you've tried it. And you wipe out from three feet higher than a 49er."

So with its first-ever Pacific Coast Championship in the bag and Bora
Gulari the surefire winner, the Moth has officially arrived in the USA.
There are boats scattered around the country, but San Diego has a
concentration. Twelve of these 11-foot, hydrofoil-born dinghies raced
there over the weekend out of Coronado Yacht Club, including true
believers who traveled many a mile for the moment. Gulari has been
racing these boats here and abroad, so he has the head start. His take:
"By the end of the weekend everyone was up on the foils coming off the
starting line, and even the newcomers were hitting some foiling jibes.
With such a high caliber of sailors joining the fleet, and the openness
and cooperation shown, the learning curve is going to be rapid".

There's tremendous energy in the class right now. The online forum is
all cranked up, and Charlie McKee (49er bronze medalist with bro,
Jonathan) says, "Moths have been around a long time, but it took about
five years for the pioneers to figure out foils. We have our
owner-builders in the class, and everybody knows about Rohan Veal's
Bladeriders - they can't build boats fast enough to meet demand - but we
also have manufacturers like Prowler pumping out a bunch of boats. --
Excerpt from a story by Kimball Livingston on the Sail West blog. Full
story and pictures:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Final results: 1. Bora Gulari, 10 points; 2.
Hans Henken, 17; 3. Charlie McKee 19; 4. Zack Maxam, 36; 5. Nigel Oswald
43; 6. Dalton Bergan, 50. --

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US Senators Barbara Boxer and Bill Nelson have introduced legislation
called the Clean Boating Act of 2008. The legislation, prompted by the
National Marine Manufacturers' concerns over an EPA permitting scheme,
was applauded by the association. If passed by Congress and signed by
President Bush, the Clean Boating Act would permanently restore a
longstanding regulation that excludes recreational boaters and anglers
from discharge permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act.

"This issue has been a cloud hanging over our industry and, as promised,
Senators Boxer and Nelson have worked to address it," said Scott Gudes,
vice president of government relations for NMMA, in a statement. "We
call on Congress to swiftly adopt this bill well in advance of the
September 2008 permitting deadline."

In September 2006, a US District Court in California ordered that the
EPA regulate ballast water discharges because of the danger of
transporting invasive species. The judge told the EPA to have a
permitting system in place within two years. The proposed legislation
would restore a 35-year-old EPA exemption for non-polluting incidental
discharges like weather deck run-off and engine coolant water. -- IBI
Magazine, read on:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: According to the Boat Owners Association of The
United States (BoatU.S.) the Clean Boating Act (Senate bill S. 2766)
promises to be a practical solution and is urging recreational boaters
to quickly contact their Senate and House legislators for support. --
Additional information:

The decision of Justice Herman Cahn had just been announced and
(Emirates Team New Zealand) CEO, Grant Dalton was very keen to get a few
issues straight and on the record. 'The is good for the sport, and for
Oracle, in confirmation of the original ruling of 27 November. But it
doesn’t change anything for us,' was the repeated message from the
hardest man in New Zealand sailing.

Dalton was clearly pleased (although he didn’t smile too often). And one
got the impression that for the first time in many months, that he could
see a glimmer of light at the end of a long dark America’s Cup tunnel.
In the circumstances the boss was relatively happy about how his team
had weathered the experience, and how they were now positioned.

But, he wasn’t giving Alinghi any leeway on Team New Zealand's own piece
of legal action – relating to the announced deferral of a
multi-challenger America’s Cup until 2011. 'If hypothetically, Alinghi
lost the Cup to Oracle. It still would not change anything we did. We
entered (the 33rd America’s Cup) based on contractual arrangements we
had with Alinghi, for a regatta in 2009. Whether they have the Cup or
not is irrelevant, they have still broken their contract with us.'

In the days that have passed since the Media Conference, Alinghi are
showing no signs of being able to extract themselves from the quicksands
of the America’s Cup. -- Excerpt from a comprehensive story filed last
week by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World. Full story:

Madrid (AFP) — The US syndicate Oracle could challenge Swiss champion
Alinghi for the America's Cup at a southern hemisphere venue during the
next winter season, the Americans said on Saturday. That, however, would
be conditional on the two resolving their long-running wrangle over when
their court-ordered, multihull duel for the trophy should be held.

Alinghi has offered to race Oracle in July 2009 for the 33rd America's
Cup, but the US team is insisting on October 2008, the Swiss syndicate
said Friday. "We stand by this date (October, 2008)," Oracle spokesman
Tom Ehman told AFP ahead of a clear-the-air meeting between the two
sides next week in either Geneva or the Spanish city of Valencia.
"However, if for some reason an agreement is reached for January, 2009,
Oracle does not exclude racing in the southern hemisphere," he added. --
Full story:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: We’ve just gotten a preview of the venue for
the Alinghi / BMW Oracle Racing ‘summit meeting.’ You gotta see this:

From Scows to the Melges 24 and 32, and now the new Melges 20, interest
in Melges products is reaching an all-time high. Some of the very best
one design sailing can be found among the Melges circle of boats. We
recently saw 67 Melges MC Scows race for their Midwinter title, and the
new class-approved Melges E Scow featuring an Asymmetrical kite drew
nearly 30 boats for the Charleston, SC Easter Regatta last weekend. The
Melges 32 class had 20 boats at the Miami Acura Championship, and the
Melges 24 World Championship in Italy this June anticipates 120 boats.
Get in on the excitement at

* US Sailing and LaserPerformance sent a team of five youth sailors to
represent the United States at the Laser Radial World Championship,
March 24 in Takapuna Beach, New Zealand: Emily Billing (Clearwater,
Fla.), Claire Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.), Nick Dugdale (Marin County,
Calif.), David “Bo” McClatchy (Annapolis, Md.), and John Wallace (St.
Petersburg, Fla.). The five sailors will receive a grant to help off-set
the expenses and the program also provides funding for a coach to
accompany them. --

* Larry Ellison is downsizing to a 260-foot Yacht. The CEO of Oracle
already owns the 2nd largest yacht in the world - his 452-foot Rising
Sun. Evidently, it’s just too big, as he can’t dock in many of the
world’s ports and is forced to tie-off in industrial ones when he does.
Beside that, he says it lacks “intimate space.” --

* Mike Slade’s 100-foot ICAP Leopard, and George David’s 90-foot
Rambler, are preparing for a rematch in the fresh tradewinds of the
Caribbean. For the two state-of-the-art race boats are among the early
entrants for the upcoming 41st edition of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week,
scheduled from April 27-May 3. Seventy-two boats have already registered
for the 2008 running of Sailing Week

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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
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discussion is available on the Scuttlebutt Forum.

-- Scuttlebutt Letters:
-- Scuttlebutt Forum:

* From David Searle: My respect for Ms Riley is pretty much boundless,
but I must side with the comments of Mr. Brown in Scuttlebutt 2559. My
wife and I, Canadians both, frequently travel individually or together
to serve as Race Officials for regattas in the States. So yes, we did
the "right" thing and joined US Sailing, feeling that, yes, it was our
duty. On the other hand, US Sailing has not even bothered to send us
membership cards, let alone the other "perq's" that they offer (frankly
a US Sailing version of the Racing Rules looks better at a protest
hearing in the US than the CYA version!). Good governance dictates that
organizations demonstrate that money we invest in them provides real
value. They can no longer simply rely on us being noble.

* From Craig Fletcher: May I suggest to Dawn Riley (SB 2559) and the
rest of the “Europe is so great” crowd -- MOVE! I and most Americans
enjoy our freedom. If you love US Sailing please give your time and
money, but do not try and force your beliefs on the rest of us. There is
a great organization named the USGA which has a rule book and does not
tax my Saturday golf game. I suggest US Sailing follow their model and
leave all of us non pro sailors alone. Say no to the sailing tax!

* From Scott Corder: Jay Brown raises a good point in SB 2559: The fact
is, most of us submit money every year to several sanctioning bodies in
sailing. My list is probably shorter than most, but includes US Sailing,
three one design classes, my regional PHRF administrators, multiple
fleets at two local yacht clubs, and numerous individual regattas. And
it’s my understanding that most of these organizations turn around and
send money to US Sailing in one way or another. I know this because, as
president of a National One Design Class, I submit annual Class dues to
US Sailing. This is in addition to the individual US Sailing memberships
each of our Class boat owners purchase every year!

While I feel it is generally good practice to support the sanctioning
bodies of our sport, at what point does US Sailing start to place an
inappropriate financial burden on participation? As I see it, US Sailing
is already getting money from me no less than six to ten ways every

Beyond all the money US Sailing gets from me annually, I support the
sport whenever I recruit newbies to sail on a Wed night. What signal are
we sending if we require infrequent participants to join US Sailing?
It’s already hard enough to find willing crew! It’s time for US Sailing
to recognize that its boat owning members already contribute financially
in numerous ways; that when we share this sport with non-members we add
value to this sport and to US Sailing, and that making our efforts more
difficult is absolutely counter-productive.

* From Tom Priest: In ‘butt 1558 US Sailing President Jim Capron said,
“".....The reality is that we spend a lot of time and energy into trying
to convince nonmembers to join, or convince existing members to rejoin
the following year…" I dunno … just a thought perhaps ... as the cost to
join for an individual really is quite minimal -- if the individual
thought they were getting their money's worth, don't you think it would
be less of a battle to get them to sign on the dotted line? Signed, a
former member.

* From Jackson Michaels: In reference to Alinghi's strongly worded press
release: Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to many of us that it is
not Larry Ellison that has put hundreds of people out of work due to the
sad state of the America's Cup race, but indeed Mr. Bertarelli himself
that has accomplished that task. Trying to pass it off as someone else’s
fault is not only an insult to most of those involved, but also a sad
commentary of the state of Mr. Bertarelli's perspective of trying to
place blame outside of his court. Those involved in this type of event
are not stupid enough to think that his passing the fault for lost jobs
has any merit. I am sure that many of those involved, long for the day
that his name and involvement will just be "gone" so that they may be
able to go back to work and enjoy an event without being tainted by
individuals such as himself. To own up to putting so many people and
families income in jeopardy is just one more by-product of his
destructive selfishness and he should own up to that! Take some
responsibility for your actions please! You are fooling nobody!

* From Tom Keogh: Stories about the late Dan Strohmeier (SB 2559) and
his contributions to sailing could fill volumes but I remember him best
as one of the legends of the Larchmont frostbite fleet. As far as I
know, he still holds the record as the only person to win a day's racing
by winning every race of the day. One of my favorite recollections about
him came from a spring day about 20 years ago with a cluster of
Interclubs rounding a leeward mark - Dan would have been in his later
70's by this time. An opening appeared, Dan jumped in and passed about a
dozen boats before anyone could box him out. As the group at the mark
hollered that he had no rights, Dan looked over his shoulder and, with a
big grin, answered - "You've got no rights when you steal a base,
either." It was typical of Dan that he could outfox the group and leave
them laughing as he sailed away.

* From Tom Ingram (Regarding Rick Mease’s story on Farrah Hall in SB
2559): Mr. Mease ran his first version of the Baltimore Sun story,
posted around noon Friday, without having talked to anyone for Nancy
Rios, I presume to get his story out quickly. Mr. Mease then sought
comments from Ms. Rios that afternoon and revised the story, published
the following day. Both versions of the story are on the Baltimore Sun
site. Not coincidentally, Ms. Hall's group likes the first one better.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Here’s a link to the second Farrah Hall story
in the Baltimore Sun:

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