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SCUTTLEBUTT 2572 – April 10 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.

by Richard Gladwell, NZ Editor, Sail World
To our mind ISAF Council needs to make a simple strategic decision, which is whether the Olympics should be representative of all the major sailing disciplines. If the vote to that question is 'yes' then the events must be selected which recognise that composition. If the vote to that is 'no', then the 2012 Olympic events schedule must be seen for what it is - an outcome from political lobbying by various classes to maintain a position at the Olympic table. And having secured that position, they then adopt the cloak of an 'Event' and justify their existence for another four years.

Looking at the former option, the disciplines are reasonably clear - windsurfing, singlehanded monohull, two handed monohull, multihull and keelboat. All the classes and forms of sailing (save maybe three man 18ft skiffs and sportsboats) can be tucked under one of these categories. Then we proceed to selection where ISAF current has a ratio of four women’s events and six men’s events. From the menu of five disciplines, for women, any four are chosen; and for men six events are chosen from the five disciplines - meaning that all must be represented and one can be duplicated.

If at some stage in the future, there is a shift to a gender equal Olympic events slate then the decision becomes a five events from five disciplines for men and women, which still works. Of course, this solution is far too simple to be adopted.

But if they support the status quo, then the ISAF Councillors should have the strength of character and honesty, to say why the Olympic sailing regatta should not be representative of the sport; why some disciplines of the sport should be at the Olympic table and why others should not; and why they support discrimination and exclusion in the sport they are charged with administering.

Everyone makes mistakes. Generally, no-one really minds, provided you don't make the same mistake twice. By now, judging from the reaction from the sailing community, the ISAF Council should be in no doubt they made a mistake in November 2007. In May 2008 they have the opportunity to fix it. Please do. --

* Not everyone has welcomed ISAF decision to vote again on the selected 2012 events with open arms. The UK Catamaran Racing Association's Simon Morgan questions some of the language used by ISAF in their procedural document, and question whether this is a mere charade to appease the disenfranchised, or if this is a serious review of the event decision made at the ISAF Annual Meeting in November 2007. His posting can be found on the Sail Juice blog:

* Some interesting results on the Scuttlebutt poll, where the ‘buttheads are rating which events should be in the 2012 Olympics on a 1 to 5 scale. Here are the current standings:

Men’s Events (only six events get chosen)
1. Two person dinghy - skiff (4.02)
2. Multihull (4.03)
3. One person dinghy (3.92)
4. Keelboat (3.44)
5. Windsurfer (3.15)
6. Two person dinghy (2.86)
7. One person dinghy - skiff (2.65)
8. One person dinghy - heavy (2.45)

Women’s Events (only four events get chosen)
1. One person dinghy (4.18)
2. Two person dinghy - skiff (3.68)
3. Windsurfer (3.07)
4. Keelboat (3.04)
5. Multihull (2.87)
6. Two person dinghy (2.84)

The polling booth will be open until Friday morning (PT). To place your vote, go to

Ullman Sails is proud to announce a new addition to its international group of sailmakers – Ullman Sails Croatia. The new loft, located in northwest Croatia in Rijeka, is family-owned and operated by Bojan Grego. Bojan has been producing cruising and racing sails for customers along the Adriatic coastline, including cruising keelboats, Elan 45s and First 40.7s. Ullman Sails is excited to welcome another European loft to the group that is committed to providing the highest standard of quality service and sails. For more information on the ‘Fastest Sails on the Planet,’ contact a local loft and visit

The final version of the Notice of Race for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition is now available online. Some of the highlights include how racing will be held August 9-23 on the waters off Qingdao, China. Eleven races are scheduled for each event except for the 49er class, for which 16 races are scheduled. Of the 11 (16) races, 10 (15) are scheduled as opening races and one as a medal race. Two races per day are scheduled for each event, except for the 49er class, for which three races per day are scheduled. The scheduled time of the warning signal for the first race each day is 1300. Any boat may be re-measured or examined at any time. Star and Yngling class crews shall present themselves for weighing on each racing day as scheduled.

The courses and target times for the opening series will be as follows:
(Class - Course - Target time in minutes)
RS:X - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward - 30-35 min.
Laser - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward – 60 min.
Laser Radial - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward - 60 min.
Finn - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward - 75 min.
470 - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward - 60 min.
49er - Windward-leeward - 30 min.
Tornado - Windward-leeward - 60 min.
Star - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward - 75 min.
Yngling - Trapezoid or Windward-leeward - 75 min.
The target time in the medal race will be 20 minutes for the RS:X class and 30 minutes for all the other classes.

Six races are required to be completed to constitute an opening series. One race is required to be completed to constitute a regatta. When fewer than five opening races have been completed, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores. When five or more opening races have been completed, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores excluding her worst score. However, the score from the medal race will not be excluded. -- Complete NOR:

(April 9, 2008) All 32 crew members on board the 88m (288ft) luxury French superyacht — captured by Somali pirates at the weekend — are alive and well and being treated, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said yesterday, citing the country's embassy in France. Le Ponant, owned by one of France's largest ship operators CMA-CGM, was seized en route to the Mediterranean. It was not carrying any passengers, but had a crew of 22 French sailors as well as 10 Ukrainian and Korean crew members. 

"According to information from the Embassy, the ship seized by pirates is still anchored off the south coast of Somali. The first communication with the pirates confirmed that the crew are alive, in good health and are being well treated," the ministry said in a statement. The French authorities, who have made contact with the pirates, said they were prepared to pay a ransom. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has been quoted as saying: "The case is likely to be lengthy. It is important that our contact is fruitful and we must do everything to avoid bloodshed."

A French frigate and a team of French commandos are reported to have been sent to the area to reinforce the group negotiating the hostages' release.
-- by IBI Magazine/Yachting World,

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Here are a few of the events that are coming up:
Apr 11-18 - Star World Championship 2008 - Miami, FL, USA
Apr 9-12 - First Coast Offshore Challenge - Jacksonville, FL, USA
Apr 10-13 - Rolex Women's Match - St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Apr 12-13 - Crawfish Classic Regatta - Shreveport, LA, USA
Apr 12-13 - NAVY Small Keelboat Scrimmage - Annapolis, MD, USA
View all the events at

During November 1976, a feature on a local Chicago television magazine show profiled a local guy who had devised a system to allow him to sail his skateboard up and down the bike path at Montrose Harbor. This rig looks remarkably like the kitewing that is now popular with skiers… but this footage is from over thirty years ago. This guy was really ahead of his time, plus the footage is good, and the speed he pulls winding along Lake Michigan is worthy. Interestingly, the show was co-hosted by Shelley Long, who would later star in the role of Diane Chambers in the American situation comedy television series 'Cheers', one of the most popular shows in television history, running eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993. 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:

* (April 10, 2008 - 01:26) The 100-foot maxi catamaran Gitana 13 completed the North Pacific of 4,482 theoretical miles of the (direct) course in a record time of 11 days 12 minutes and 55 seconds. Leaving San Francisco on Saturday, March 29th at 22h45’45’’UT, Lionel Lemonchois and his ten crew crossed the finish line off Yokohama, in Tokyo Bay on Wednesday, April 9th at 22h58’40” UT. The team improved on the previous reference time by 3 days 22 hours 27 minutes 46 seconds, held by Olivier de Kersauson and his crew on Geronimo since 2006. --

* Anacortes, WA (April 9, 2008) The third America’s Cup racing yacht to be built in Anacortes is well underway, BMW Oracle Racing, the U.S. Challenger for the 33rd America’s Cup, confirmed today. The multihull yacht is being built for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) team for a match against the defender later this year. This will be the third America’s Cup racing yacht the U.S. team has built in this waterfront community 100 miles (160 km) north of Seattle. -- Read on:

* Australia is back on top in the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings on April 9th, with Aussie team leading the rankings in three events to propel the team past Great Britain in the national standings. Among the North American teams in the top ten of their classes are Laser Radial: #1, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA); Yngling: #2, Sally Barkow/ Debbie Capozzi/ Carrie Howe (USA); Laser: #5, Michael Leigh (CAN); Tornado: #7, Oskar Johansson/ Kevin Stittle (CAN); and 49er: #7, Tim Wadlow/ Chris Rast (USA). -- Complete information:

* ISAF has announced that The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy - which honours an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing - has been awarded posthumously to ISAF Vice-President Nucci Novi Ceppellini (ITA). Nucci, who passed away in February this year, was dedicated to the sport of sailing throughout her life. An active and successful sailor, Nucci cared deeply for the sport she loved, demonstrated through her appointment as a national Race Official together with a far reaching involvement in the sport’s management. -- Read on:

Come see Tom Morris’ new M42 and the M36 at the new Charleston In-Water Boat Show at Brittlebank Park and The Bristol Marina in Charleston, SC. Thursday, April 17 through Sunday, April 20, 2008. We are really looking forward to this show, not only because spring has not sprung in Maine or that we are tired of the mud, but because Charleston’s coastal location, amenities, and hospitality promise to make this event a fashionable stop in our boat show circuit. For more information: call 207-244-5509 or email us 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 Ron Baerwitz: (Re: ON THE ROAD by John Pearce in #2571) What a great article! Twenty years ago my Olympic bid finished with partner Tom Pollack, yet it seems like yesterday. Memories of trips across America, South America, Europe and Asia are vivid and pleasing. And many of the great people we met I still call friends.

Few memories are of individual regattas (except the ones we won of course). Most are of moments like a Danish boarder guard telling us, " are NOT taking that piece of Sh&% into my country" referring to our rusted out 70's American station wagon we just shipped to Europe; or Ron Rosenberg being dragged around Hyres, France unconscious from too much celebration of his 21st Birthday; or the day the US Team first arrived at the sailing venue in Seoul, Korea for the 1987 Pre-Olympics. We were told it was a light air venue but when they opened the bus, we all got blown back inside. Oops! There are hundreds more.

While making our bid back in the 80's, it was all very noble - we were doing it for our country. Indeed we were, but little did we know that those four years would shape our life and our identity for the rest of our lives. With all that said, it was the hardest four years of my life - both physically and emotionally. To anyone with Olympic or World level aspirations, I say go for it. The experience will forever define who you are.

* From Sue Shaughnessy: (re, story in #2571) As a Midshipman parent, I am deeply saddened by the new administration's views on sailing. My son is about to graduate so he has not been significantly impacted as he participated in Command, Seamanship and Navigation Training Squadron (CSNTS) Program and was first Mid to skipper for CSNTS as a rising Youngster (summer after sophomore year)--a very nice honor which counted as his leadership summer block. He has had the chance to use his learned skills of navigation, boat handling, and teamwork to sail to Bermuda twice and many other events.

I have spoken to many Mids who had not sailed before the Academy who claimed CSNTS was one of their most beneficial experiences of all of their summer training programs. I sincerely hope that the Naval Academy administration will rethink their planned elimination of programs some of which truly are superb training tools for preparing Naval Officers to serve their country.

* From Butch Ulmer, USNA '61: I spent five years on the Fales (oversight) Committee a few years back and it was an honor and a pleasure to serve with so many distinguished sailors and be part of Navy Sailing again. My sources tell me that Vice Admiral Fowler is committed to getting the Midshipmen back on gray ships for their summer training. This is a tall order given the fleet's oversea's commitments and reduced size but it's great training. In pursuit of this goal, the Superintendent is 100% correct.

My sources also tell me that Admiral Fowler, a Submariner, sees little value in the time spent on a sailboat for training a naval officer. To the extent this statement is true, the Superintendent is dead wrong. A naval officer's training is not complete without a good dose of seamanshipand seamanship has no better classroom than a sailboat.

Perhaps Admiral Fowler just "took her down" when the weather got bad? The "Tin Can" I served on came close to being a submarine when it got rough but it always stayed on the surface and seamanship played a big part in minimizing danger and damage (it was never comfortable). What subject can we teach a young naval officer that's more important?

* From Brad Hill, Annapolis, MD: It’s great that the ISAF has reconsidered Olympic sailing events, but the most exciting event is still not on the table, team racing. Team racing is one of the few events that could capture a TV audience, encourage national pride and include both genders.

* From Peter Ingram: In the event ISAF do not listen to what the majority want (Scuttlebutt polls, National authority representation, etc.) should the council members not be considering their position within ISAF? They are not there to represent themselves, if they cannot see that then they should be offering their resignation, be asked for their resignation or be pushed from their positions!

* From Jim Champ (re, letter in #2571 on why the Finn remains in the Olympics) What would make it difficult for me to chuck it out, if I had a say, is that according to Class Association official returns to ISAF, the old dinosaur is sailed in about 25% more countries than any multihull class and about 250% more countries than any Women's skiff class, and the IOC are criticizing sailing for not being inclusive across a range of countries. You wouldn't catch me sailing one, but that's not the point. It’s only rarely sailed if you don't compare it to any performance racing multihull class or any women's skiff.

* From Peter Harken: On why we keep the "flat plate old clunker" Finn in the Olympics, I’ll open a "Butt can of worms", and reply by saying that somehow the old clunker has graduated more of the very best coarse racing sailors of the modern era than any other one class. Guys like Paul Elvstrom and Russell Coutts are only two famous examples of many world renowned Finn graduates. The modern America’s Cup has more former Finnsters helming those babies than any other class graduates. Another Olympic "old clunker" - the Star - is right up there with the Finn in producing the best of the best. Those two old, old classes require a special physical and mental toughness that has endured through the years from the early 1900s to constantly producing most of the finest of all around coarse racing sailors on an ongoing basis. Of course, this is in the male department only, so excuse me please, ladies! I await the responses with helmet on head!

* From Andrew Troup, Christchurch, New Zealand: Stevan Johnson asks, in relation to the Finn, “Shouldn't the Olympics be about the future, not the past?” Ummmmm, let me see.... like throwing the discus, the javelin, running with torches, and so on? Seriously though, unless we're talking about a technology contest, like F1, where it should be the cars on the podium, I get a little tired by the repetition of variations on this mantra.

Usually asserted as though it were self-evident, it always boils down to "only the latest, greatest and fastest technology is valid", and is applied indiscriminately in competition of almost any sort. Anything incapable of reaching escape velocity from the earth's gravitational field can be trumped when this simplistic, facile, 'more is more' argument is wielded.

“No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your webcam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.” -- George Carlin

Special thanks to Ullman Sails and Morris Yachts.

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