SCUTTLEBUTT 2563 – March 28, 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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HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES
by Herb McCormick, Sailing World
Woody Allen once said that a big part of success in life is showing up, and
by doing just that at a party midway through the recent St. Maarten Heineken
Regatta, I successfully wrangled a ride aboard the Farr 100 Rapture midway
through the event (and yes, that's one-hundred feet). It was an old story: I
knew a guy who knew a guy, there were three races the next day, they needed
manpower, etc. and so on. Seemingly before I knew it, I was stepping aboard
and someone was handing me a nice T-shirt.
That's when it hit me. Good heavens, Rapture was a BIG boat. As someone
usually racing with the 35- to 45-foot crowd, I was about to get a taste of
how the other, rarified half lives. I was introduced to the owner, a fellow
called Brooks. "Brook," he corrected, and I had my second revelation.
Superyacht racing in the islands with a pick-up crew is just like the bar
"Cheers" in the old sitcom, but exactly the opposite: It's the place where
nobody knows your name (even when you're writing the checks). -- Read on:
ALL THAT’S WRONG WITH THE SPORT
The idea of community sailing centers seems like such a magic potion for
instilling growth in the sport. Lacking of the exclusivity that keeps the
public from enjoying the sailing facilities of private clubs, these
municipal facilities seemingly provide the bridge to fulfill the interest of
potential participants. So when the city of Clearwater, FL which operates
the Clearwater Community Sailing Association, assigned a construction
company to build a two-story, 3,300-square-foot addition, you think that
good just got better, right?
Well, a quote from the City Council justifying the expansion is less than
encouraging: “This addition is the minimum necessary to meet the space
demand of our Sailing Center’s many community programs and will
significantly enhance their ability to increase revenues by providing a
larger rental area for weddings and corporate meetings.” Ugh! --
SUMMER BOOST FOR TOURISM
Word is spreading about the Newport Bermuda race as this year's event is
expected to bring more than 3,000 visitors to our shores. A total of 212
yachts have already signed up and the registration deadline isn't until
April 1. This surpasses all previous Newport Bermuda Races expect the race's
centennial in 2006, which welcomed 264 boats. Premier and Minister of
Tourism and Transport Dr. Ewart Brown said: "the sports tourism strategy was
creating excitement for the overall tourism product." He said: "Each of
those boats carries an average of ten people on the team, not to mention the
fact that every race participant typically brings in another one or two
people who take part in the on-island activities. Before long we're talking
about 3,000-plus visitors coming to Bermuda to fill our restaurants, shop in
our retail stores and stay at our hotels."
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore Ralph Richardson said: "There are 72
boats in the race for the first time this year and 45 new skippers. So that
tells me the publicity this year and the momentum of the 2006 race have been
a real plus in getting the numbers we have had so far. "The spirit of
anticipation is high and we are looking forward to a fantastic race." The
Newport Bermuda Race, which was founded in 1906, is run every two years from
Newport, Rhode Island to St. David's Island. The 2008 race begins on Friday,
June 20 and it takes about three to six days for the yachts to travel the
635 miles. -- http://bermudasun.bm
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The Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Hawaii is billed as the “Fun Race
to Hawaii.” With that kind of moniker, there must then be a “not so fun race
to Hawaii.” As there is only one other race - the Transpac from LA to Hawaii
- it is nice to see that this rivalry has remained out of court (much unlike
our beloved America’s Cup). Few can dispute the big lie attached to the
Transpac, as the first couple days of cold, windy, headsail reaching are
hardly discussed, with event marketing focusing on the warm, windy offwind
surfing. This reality formed the basis of TransPac Anonymous (TPA), founded
by the Curmudgeon, to help protect crew from deceitful boat owners. But
alas, we digress.
The fifteenth running of the “Fun Race to Hawaii” begins this July, with
over seventy boats and eager crew now prepping for the longest open-water
stretch in the world. This race is also hooking into the charitable side of
the sailing community, as several entrants have initiated efforts to create
awareness for some worthy causes. They are:
* Oceanaire (Tayana 47): raising money for Give Back a Smile.
* Le Flying Fish (Moore 24): raising money for Children’s Hospital Oakland.
* Elise (Express 27): raising money for the BeatSarcoma foundation.
=> Pacific Cup website: http://www.pacificcup.org
HOW TO SAVE THE AMERICA'S CUP
by Vincenzo Onorato, President, Mascalzone Latino team
I have received numerous requests to intervene, also in the light of the
ruling passed by New York Supreme Court. Over the past few years I believe I
have been quite restrained in commenting on the difficulties facing the Cup.
You'll have noticed that I wrote Cup with a capital "C", and this is
indicative of my respect and my passion for sailing and for the America's
Cup in particular. We undoubtedly now find ourselves in extremely choppy
waters, and it is therefore important to chart our position before plotting
The whole problem stems from the protocol drawn up by Alinghi for the 33rd
America's Cup which was presented at the end of the regattas in Valencia.
This affirmation might appear a trite observation but, as time has passed, I
have become increasingly convinced that very few people, including
journalists have taken the trouble of reading this document. Whoever has
done so with a minimum of attention, but with a sense of humour, will not
have been able to hold back a smile, because this is a document designed to
regulate a competition which totally lacks any sense of fair play: Alinghi
claims the right to choose, at its sole discretion, the regatta judges, the
committee, the umpires and the measurers, even going so far as to state that
they must be its employees; in short, it unilaterally lays down the rules of
the game. Alinghi, again at its sole discretion, claims the right to accept
a challenge or to penalise a rival. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/3ahhuz
* Curmudgeon’s Comment: For those that remain interested in the event, we
suggest you read on. For those that don’t see a big deal about the Defender
controlling the event administration, it might be good to reflect back on a
race Alinghi lost from the 32nd event. It was the third race, and it started
after an extended postponement due to variable conditions. The winds were
far from stable, and following the Swiss loss, they complained onshore that
the race was a farce, and directly phoned PRO Peter Reggio to ask for his
resignation. Makes you wonder if the Protocol changes were to prevent this
from happening ‘to them’ again.
Also, the court hearing is set for next week on Wednesday, where the
defending club, Société Nautique Genève (SNG), and the appointed challenger
of record, Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), will present their cases regarding
when the 33rd America’s Cup should be held. Look for the analysis of the
submitted position papers in Scuttlebutt on Monday.
L’HYDROPTÈRE BACK IN THE WATER
l’Hydroptère came back to La Trinité sur Mer marina this week after a
pure-speed configuration period of six months in the shipyard. l’Hydroptère
team took the opportunity of a quiet weather period to put the flying
trimaran back in the water and to remast her. Last season, the carbon bird
broke two world speed records. In April 2007, l’Hydroptère broke a first
record over 500 meters at an average speed of 44.81 knots and a second one
over one nautical mile, a performance which made her the fastest craft over
the last distance.
After this triumph, the team decided to temporarily set aside open sea
trials in order to concentrate on breaking the mythical speed barrier of 50
knots. Thus, 2008 will be devoted to pure speed. l’Hydroptère is now
specialized. In order to accomplish this, studies and trials have been
carried out by our team of engineers, in collaboration with the Ecole
Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, prior to and throughout the entire
works. The rigging, the platform and the external parts have been finely
modified to bring the boat’s speed potential over 50 knots.
The next few days will be devoted to a series of tests on the new rigging
and sails, and on the new textile streamlining, which has recently been
installed. L’Hydroptère will then be convoyed to Lorient, where she will be
transported by cargo ship to the Mediterranean. After a final phase of
assembly in Marseille, l’Hydroptère will be able to tackle her goal for 2008
– to become the fastest sailing craft on the planet. --
* Palma, Spain (March 27, 2008) Spanish teams Iker Martínez & Xabi Fernández
and the Alonso brothers are still at the top of the overall standings of the
59 entrants at the 49er European championship after the fourth day of
competition. Following the completion of the qualifying series, the top 25
teams sailed three races on Thursday while the silver group sailed only two,
all in strong SW wind conditions, 17 to 20 knots. Fleet racing continues
through Saturday, with the top ten advancing to the medal race on Sunday.
The lone North American team, Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast (USA), are currently
seventh overall. -- http://49er.cnarenal.com/49er/home.php
* St. Thomas, USVI (March 27, 2008) -- At the St. Thomas Yacht Club,
positive energy blended splendidly with the excitement surrounding
preparations for the 35th running of the International Rolex Regatta. The
three-day event starts Friday, offering handicap and one-design racing for
90 entrants who are giving two thumbs up to some new twists. First, the
event is offering IRC racing, which is very popular in Europe and now
growing in North America. Second, the event is the first part of Virgin
Islands Race Week, which combines the International Rolex Regatta scores
with those from next week's BVI Spring Regatta to determine winners in a
series that unites two Caribbean nations. -- Complete release:
* West Marine reported sales of US$118.3 million for its fourth quarter
ended December 29, 2007, a decrease of 4.6 per cent compared to the same
period a year ago. The company also reported a net loss of US$65.7 million
for the quarter, compared to a loss of US$12.8 million a year ago.
Same-store sales decreased 3 per cent during the quarter. -- IBI Magazine,
* Last week the MV Beluga SkySails, a heavy-lift project carrier outfitted
with a 160-square-meter kite, finished a breezy voyage from Germany to
Venezuela, the United States and Norway, powered in part by wind across
11,952 nautical miles. The Beluga SkySails system uses software that charts
a course to find the best wind conditions. The European Union-funded
company’s chief executive expects to see fuel savings of 10 to 35 percent
using wind power, depending on the route. To achieve further increases, the
company expects to move to a larger sail of about 320 square meters later in
2008. -- Full story: http://tinyurl.com/3aduov
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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include the Eastport 32 with its drop-down tailgate, a rusted memory in the
Falklands, a swimming pool for cruisers, a classic Hobie, a launched 49er, a
foolish 10-footer, a fleet of Buccaneer 18s in Arizona, and a slideshow from
the Rolex China Sea Race by esteemed photographer Carlo Borlenghi. If you
have images you would like to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor.
Here are this week’s photos:
* It has been awhile since we have added a game to the Scuttlebutt website,
but now that it is spring, here is a golfing game to help tune-up your
swing. Par on this course is 48, and the Curmudgeon’s record is 22. Play on:
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
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: email@example.com
-- Scuttlebutt Forum: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum
* From Tom Hubbell, Vice President, US SAILING: It has been interesting to
read non-members carping about the value of US SAILING. To believe all that
you would have to ignore 1300 sailing instructors trained in 2007, 1700
offshore rating certificates issued, and 18 US SAILING national
championships. The money I save insuring 3 small boats via US SAILING pays
for my membership; seems like a real value to me. The money I saved
registering for 12 regattas last year covers another year of membership; so
just those two benefits put me $60 ahead.
Several people are having a good time tarring the straw man of 'making
neophytes pay;' come on, that was never part of the idea. Club sailors and
neophytes, we're looking for language that excludes them from the
requirement. Youth and young adults to 30, existing and new dues schedules
give them a significant break.
Did we mention that you're using the results of services of sail training,
rules, race officers, judges, and appeals? How come you're not paying for
the infrastructure that created these? Then there is our successful
relationship with government in Washington. Did you notice that wearing
PFD's is not government mandated, or that you do not have to have a special
permit to dump your bilge water into the bay, or that you do not have to
have an electronic tracking device on your boat? US SAILING did that. Think
what added services your all-volunteer board could develop with broader
* From Bill Sloger: Regarding power lines at regatta/launching sites, it is
my recollection that Lenny Krawchek led the drive to elevate these lines
after the death of a fellow sailor during a regatta at Lake Waccamaw in
North Carolina. He started this by attending the annual meetings of the
Dixie Inland Yacht Racing and The South Atlantic Yacht Racing Associations
and convincing these associations to adopt rules making it mandatory that
power lines be elevated or buried for any sanctioned regatta to be held at
member clubs. I believe that it then spread to USYRU or whatever the
national association was then named.
* From Bruce Brown: (In response to Matt Bound's comments about the Hobie
Cat Company in ‘butt 2562) Matt is correct. I remember that the Hobie Cat
Company took it upon themselves to locate launch ramps (through Hobie Cat
owners) that had dangerous power lines and worked to have the lines moved.
They added the "look up for electric shock hazard" stickers to their spars
but did more than that. They went into the communities where sailors were
trying to enjoy their new sport to make it easy to go sailing. They made
sailing a launch ramp sport - and changed the sport forever. The number of
boats built and sailors put on the water is historic.
This was not yacht club sailing and it created a huge ground swell of
activity. Catamaran sailing became mainstream. Talk about a company that
understood how to expand their foot print! WOW!
We all might learn something from this history! They build loyal customers
and introduced sailing to an entire new group of enthusiasts.
* From Chris Dowling, Bruce Tait and Associates, Sag Harbor, NY: Maltese
Falcon is listed for Sale for $115,000,000 Euros, not 150,000,000 as in the
article reprinted in ‘butt 2562. It is available for co-brokerage, so please
feel free to contact me if you are interested! I would be happy to help you
move into this fine yacht! -- http://www.taityachts.com
* From Greg Cockburn: It appears one significant achievement has been
omitted from Mr. Dane's sailing very impressive sailing CV, as summarized in
Scuttlebutt 2562, in that in 1967 he won the Sears Cup, emblematic of North
American Junior sailing supremacy. The championship was hosted that year by
Hudson Yacht Club, a small and very active sailing club located west of
Montreal on Lac des Deux Montagnes (Lake of Two Mountains) and sailed in
Shark 24's. I can personally attest to this result as I was fortunate enough
to have participated in this regatta (sailing with my long lost buddies Gary
Walters and Gord Brown) where we finished well behind Mr. Dane.
1967 was the Celebration of Canada's Centennial, and one of the highlights
of this event was having Montreal host the 1967 World's Fair (Expo '67). As
a result, many fleets held their National, North American and World
Championship in Montreal (primarily on Lac St. Louis at the Royal St.
Lawrence Yacht Club, just west of Montreal). It was a wonderful summer of
sailing, competition and camaraderie.
* From Larry R. Law, President US - I-420 Class Association: I read with a
smile Bill Canfield’s comments (SB 2562) regarding the talents of additional
junior sailors. The reporting of the sailors qualifying to represent the US
at the Junior European Championships in Zadar, Croatia, in the International
420 Class was slightly editorialized by the Butt in #2561 – pointing out the
number of west coast sailors that made the team. These teams qualified by
virtue of their performance in the C-420 Mid-Winter Regatta – not by
geography. Past team members of the International 420 sailing teams have
largely been equally spread from coast to coast. Clearly the USVI and many
other places in the US have much to be proud of in our youth sailors.
Appreciate the perspective Bill!
* From Eric Jakimier, Dallas, TX: Both Oracle and Alinghi say they want to
open up the America’s Cup to a wider audience but I wonder if they have any
idea how the popular press is covering their snit? Most of the world does
not read Scuttlebutt or otherwise have access to such insightful commentary
as Cory Friedman’s analysis and letters from other readers. Here is how USA
Today reported the latest impasse in Thursday’s edition:
“America’s Cup champion Alinghi of Switzerland is heading back to court to
settle a dispute over the date of its showdown with BMW Oracle Racing.
Alinghi wants it to begin no earlier than May 1, 2009. The Americans want to
sail this October.”
I suspect the vast majority of the sporting public writes off the AC as
being very silly after reading such an announcement.
You know you are getting older when the hair on your head slides down to
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