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SCUTTLEBUTT 2573 - April 11 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.

"I was lucky: I had a goal. As far back as I can remember I wanted to design
fast boats." And that's exactly what Olin Stephens (b. 1908) did, starting
at 19 as an apprentice with a successful 6-meter designer of the time. By
21, he'd joined forces with Drake Sparkman and began creating legends,
starting with Dorade in 1930. In 1937, in collaboration with Starling
Burgess, Stephens designed the Super-J, Ranger. The last of an impressive
breed, Ranger was also fast; she was selected to defend the Cup after only
seven races.

The Cup began again 26 years later and Stephens had used the time well,
designing everything from amphibious assault vehicles and 110-foot patrol
craft for WWII to timeless boats such as Baruna, Vim, Brilliant, Stormy
Weather, Northern Light, and Nyala. His experience with 12-Meters such as
Vim-designed and built in the 1930s yet barely eliminated in the defender
trials of 1958-made him a central figure in the America's Cup until 1980,
when he designed the last 12-Meter to successfully defend the Cup, Freedom,
in 1980.

Stephens has also been a central figure in the development of rating rules
from the CCA, to IOR, to IMS, and to this day, Stephen's designs grace the
waters of the world and provide a link to a bygone era. From Finisterre to
Brilliant, Freedom to Nyala his designs are cherished, as is he. -- Sailing

Olin Stephens turns 100 years on April 13, 2008, and Scuttlebutt has a cake
and a big birthday card for 'buttheads to send him their birthday wishes.

The US RS:X Women's Olympic Trials Jury conducted two hearings on April 8
and 9, 2008 in Providence, Rhode Island. The first hearing was a reopening
of a request for redress filed by Nancy Rios (USA 323) after the last race
at the US Olympic Trials held in October 2007. The hearing was conducted "de
novo" (that is from the beginning with all testimony from the prior hearing
disregarded) on April 8th. After hearing all evidence, the jury granted
redress to Ms Rios. Farrah Hall (USA 3) then requested redress based on the
jury's decision. The hearing on Ms. Hall's request for redress commenced at
9 AM on April 9th and ended at 10 PM. The jury concluded the evening by
stating that it would render a decision as soon as possible.

At issue were a tear in Ms Rios' sail caused in a collision with a
competitor required to keep clear and the time Ms Rios took to recover her
sail and resume racing. The collision took place at the start of the final
race in the Olympic Trials. At that time Ms Rios was winning the regatta.
.Both Ms Hall and Ms Rios agreed that the tear occurred in that incident,
and that the tear affected. Ms Rios' performance. Both athletes also agreed
that the collision caused Ms Rios to lose some time. The athletes disagreed,
however, on the extent to which Ms Rios was affected. -- Read on:

* Curmudgeon's Comment: We understand that if Hall is dissatisfied with the
result of her redress hearing, she will follow through with all the options
that remain: a complaint to the US Sailing Review Board, two complaints
already filed with the US Olympic Committee, and the hearing already
scheduled with the American Arbitration Association on May 21-23. For Rios,
she will wait to decide on her next move following the results of Hall's
redress hearing.

Since the 'buttheads have been asked to play god, and to provide ISAF with
the wisdom that they perhaps lacked in November 2007 when they selected the
2012 Olympic events, the Scuttlebutt poll is providing some interesting
information. At the ISAF Mid-Year meeting in May 2008, the chance exists
that the 2012 event list could get a makeover, and if you look at the poll
results so far, you could argue that the 'buttheads are closely lining up
with the ISAF Events Committee.

To refresh our memory, the ISAF Events Committee was tasked with
recommending to the ISAF Council the events to be used for the 2012 Olympic
Sailing Competition. Of course, we know now how the Council disregarded that
recommendation, and went about choosing another list. Hmm, perhaps Ernesto
Bertarelli and the ISAF Council need to consider this Curmudgeon's
Conundrum, "How many roads must a man travel down before he admits he is
lost?"Here are the current poll results:

Men's Events (only six events get chosen)
1. Two person dinghy (3.35)
2. One person dinghy (3.30)
3. Two person dinghy - skiff (3.02)
4. Multihull (3.00)
5. Windsurfer (2.82)
6. Keelboat (2.59)
7. One person dinghy - heavy (2.51)
8. One person dinghy - skiff (2.08)

Women's Events (only four events get chosen)
1. Two person dinghy (3.46)
2. One person dinghy (3.43)
3. Two person dinghy - skiff (2.91)
4. Windsurfer (2.75)
5. Keelboat (2.42)
6. Multihull (2.28)

* The polling booth closes Friday morning (10:00am PT). To place your vote,
go to

* Here is a link to Scuttlebutt 2471, which includes the story regarding the
ISAF Events Committee recommendation:

The class of 2008 is about to converge: some of the hottest on-the-water
action we'll see this year from the world's top names in keelboat racing. If
you haven't already guessed - it's the Farr 40 Worlds, the test of true one
design racing. As official mast supplier and supporting sponsor of the Farr
Worlds, Southern Spars wishes all teams good, fast sailing. And if fast
off-the-water action is needed at the Worlds, Rig Pro's fully staffed mobile
rigging shop is on-site with a complete inventory of top quality cordage,
rigging and hardware. --

The Los Angeles law firm of Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP has filed a
class-action lawsuit against the main oil companies on behalf of California
boaters. The law firm said in a statement that oil companies like
ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, Valero, and ConocoPhillips are manufacturing
and selling ethanol-blended gasoline that damages marine fuel tanks, engines
and other components. The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in the US
District Court, Central District of California in Los Angeles.

"The price of gas is bad enough, but selling gasoline that dissolves gas
tanks is a new low even for the oil companies," said Brian Kabateck,
managing partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner and the lead attorney on the
case, in a statement. "The oil companies knows this fuel is corrosive, but
they're keeping consumers in the dark to pump up their profits. The cost to
the consumer is thousands of dollars in repairs."

The suit seeks to represent all owners of boats with fibreglass fuel tanks
who filled their tanks with ethanol blended gasoline from a California
retailer. The statement noted that oil companies replaced MTBE with ethanol
in 2004, when MTBE was banned in many states because of environmental
concerns. -- IBI Magazine, full story:

* Many of the past Star World champion winners having been training on
Biscayne Bay amongst the fleet of over 110 teams from 30 countries that are
in Miami, FL for the 2008 Star World Championships, to be sailed April
11-18. With four country berths for the 2008 Olympics up for grabs, some
sailing federation's Olympic trials being decided, and a gold star for the
winning skipper and crew, there is plenty to be played for. The event will
have six full length races to determine whose names will be engraved at the
base of an impressive trophy that lists an extraordinary fraternity of
sailors. --

* Skipper Andreas Hanakamp and syndicate president Oleg Zherebstov have
announced five key crew members that will join Team Russia to sail in the
Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Included in this group are two former Volvo
veterans Guillermo Altadill and Stig Westergaard named as watch captains.
Guillermo sailed on Ericsson during the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 and Assa
Abloy in 2001-02, and skippered Estrella Damm in the recent Barcelona World
Race. Besides with Volvo Ocean Race and America's cup experience, Stig is
also a triple world champion in the Finn and Soling class. --

* (April 10, 2008) West Marine, Inc. today reported net sales for the
thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008 of $113.3 million, a decrease of $12.5
million, or 10.0%, from net sales of $125.8 million a year ago, primarily
due to a $9.4 million decrease in comparable store sales. Comparable store
sales for the first quarter decreased 9.4%. -- Read on:

* A poll for New Zealanders to declare their most beloved sporting heroes
finds America's Cup skipper Dean Barker amongst the least favoured by men.
Barker shared this distinction with All Blacks loosie Jerry Collins and
golfer Michael Campbell. -- Full report:

* Hot yachts from the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe sailed in the inaugural
Virgin Islands Race Week (VIRW), a glorious 10-day holiday for sailors and
sailing families that encompassed the International Rolex Regatta held in
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, March 28-30, and the British Virgin Islands
Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, hosted out of Tortola & Virgin Gorda,
March 31 to April 6. Brisk trade winds in both regattas added to the
challenge and excitement this year. In the end, it was Bill Alcott's Andrews
68 Equation, and Rick Wesslund's J120 El Ocaso on top. -- Complete story:

* New Zealand-based composites specialist High Modulus has opened a new
office in Qingdao, China to serve the company's growing list of Asian
clients. The office will be run by Linda Teoh, who has spent the last five
years managing Asian clients from High Modulus' head office in Auckland, New
Zealand. Teoh has practical experience of working in Asian shipyards and
speaks fluent Mandarin. -- IBI Magazine, full story:

* Hurricane experts at Colorado State University predict an above-average
Atlantic hurricane season, with 15 named storms and eight hurricanes - four
of them major. This is an increase from predictions made in December, when
scientists Phillip Klotzbach and William Gray predicted 13 named storms and
seven hurricanes, with three of them major. The probability of a major
hurricane making landfall on the U.S. East Coast is 45 percent, according to
researchers, with a 44 percent chance of such a storm hitting the Gulf
Coast. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. --

Kick off the 2008 sailing season by refreshing your skills and learning
something new with a J/World San Diego sailing class. Maybe you are just
starting out and need the basic skills from "A Learn to Sail Class" or want
to fine tune your racing skills in one of our racing classes. Don't miss
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Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include an awesome shot from Australia for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week,
containers landing in Santa Cruz for the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht
Race, participants from the annual youth CISA clinic, the Olympic torch
going offshore in San Francisco, Virgin Islands Race Week winners, BMW
Oracle Racing team training in France on 60-foot trimarans, and a guy
launching his dinghy in a frozen Midwest lake. If you have images you would
like to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor. Here are this week's

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 Glenn Selvin, President, U.S. Finn Association: (In response of
Stevan Johnson's wondering about the Finn in #2571) Calling it a boat that
is rarely used? I'm sorry, Stevan, but please check your facts. At the
Master's North American's two weeks ago, we had 35 boats out racing. At the
U.S. Olympic Trials last fall, we were, I believe, the largest class, with
44 boats out. On the club level, as well as on the Championship level, Finn
sailing in North America is at an all time high. As for being expensive?
Hmmm... let me do the math. Lasers are cheap, and are dumpster bound after
just a few years of hard work. I've got a five year old Finn, and its still
a stiff, and very bullet proof little boat in great shape. Oh, and a throw
back to the past? See if you can find a Laser with a carbon fiber wing mast,
or even a traveler for that matter. And when you're all done? Try sailing a
Finn, and see if you can hang with the best!

* From Tom Ehman Jr: (re, letter in #2573) Only Peter "Harkoon" Harken, our
sport's Yogi Berra (for you non-Yanks, he was an American baseball team
manager famous for, well, infamously funny turns-of-phrase), could so
beautifully describe -- intentionally or otherwise -- Finn sailors as: "the
very best coarse racing sailors of the modern era." And as Harkoon says,
there is something magical about the Finn, and the Star for that matter,
when it comes to producing top racing sailors -- whether coarse racers,
course racers, or otherwise. Keep them both, but add back the Tornado as it
not only represents a large, growing and important segment of our sport (and
one which, thanks to the AC Deed of Gift, is about to get more media
attention than ever), but is a class, like the 49er, that is high tech,
athletic, fast and telegenic. As we watch ISAF's quadrennial Olympic class
selection saga play out, no doubt two other Yogi Berra-ism's will come to
mind: "deja vu all over again" and "it ain't over 'til it's over."

* From Tom Whitmore, Stockholm, Sweden: I enjoyed the video on skateboard
sailing (in #2572), and agree that the rig is quite comparable to the now
popular Kitewings used on skis and skates. However, it reminds me even more
of the Scandinavian skate sails, which became popular nearly 100 years
prior; cirka 1880. (Unfortunately the photo I dug up only dates back to
1923.) --

* From Will Tuthill, Newport, R.I.: Thank you Scuttlebutt for finding that
cool skateboard sailing video (in #2572). My goodness does Shelly Long look
young and cute in that piece. Here are a few links that tie into that very

* From Herb Zoehrer, USNA '51, Capt USN [ret]: I've stayed current with the
Naval Academy issue in SBUTT 2571. Unsaid in the article by Angus Phillips,
but conveyed to him by Cmdr. Jay Cavalieri (Director, USNA Sailing Program),
is the important point that no one in the Navy believes that big boat
sailing should be a substitute for sending Midshipmen to sea on 'gray ships'
during summer training. Rather, the Navy 44's are most useful assets to
supplement / and complement summer training. The high tempo of Navy ship
operations may not accord all the summer at-sea training opportunities
required for Naval Academy and NROTC Midshipmen. The 44's are available and
provide valuable small unit leadership training in a blue water environment.
Not to use them would seem to be shortsighted.

* From Tom Hart, Annapolis, MD: Like Butch Ulmer, I am a former 'Tin Can
Sailor' who hopes that Vice Admiral Fowler will reconsider his USNA sailing

Unlike Butch Ulmer, I was an enlisted Second Class Radarman/Operations
Specialist whose teenage sailboat racing background benefited the Navy in
many ways: 1) by being able to 'visualize' relative motion, relative wind
(for small ship helicopter operations), tactical task group and battle
situations in my 'my mind's eye' by using skills developed on the race
course; and 2) by completely understanding what it meant to be an integral
part of a crew.

While I respect and totally agree with Admiral Fowler's goal of increasing
Midshipman experience in fleet activities, I can attest to the frustration
of having voluntarily gone into the USNR in 1971 after four years of USN
blue water deployments, only to find myself aboard gray ships that were
'welded to their piers' when I reported aboard for annual training duties
during the fleet cutbacks of the 1970's.

* From Rick Dominique: To expand Richard Gladwell's position on Olympic
Sailing (in #2572), he states, "If the vote to that question is 'yes' then
the events must be selected which recognize...(all major sailing
disciplines)", then also match racing and team racing in some format (2on2,
3on3 or 4on4) and big-boat sailing, though nearly everyone will concede that
big-boat racing is much too expensive for the Olympics. So what about team
and match racing???

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: The selection process seems to be influenced by
class organizations, and neither match racing nor team racing organizations
have the political strength as classes such as the Finn or Star. Also, while
the interest in team racing does seem high, it loses momentum due to a push
to reduce the total number of sailors competing in the Olympics.

* From Fred Bieberbach, Jr.: (re, story in butt # 2572 - April 10 2008 -
"KIDNAPPED CREW ALIVE AND WELL. FOR NOW") The French Commandos will only
agree to go aboard this vessel when the Somali pirates have proven they've
got some cold carrot-ginger soup aboard. and only after the French Commandos
learn how to say: "we surrender" in Somalian.

* From Matthew Pimm, New York, NY: Gregory Scott writes in SCUTTLEBUTT 2571,
claiming that the current holder of the cup is bringing AC Racing not only
into line with the money and glamor of F1 but also the worst of F1. He
states that "While all the best parts of F1 haven't been reached, we seem to
now be on the way. But sadly, have started at the bottom..."

As much as Bertarelli et al. parrot the acrimony and insanity of F1 I am
afraid there is still quite a way to go before the AC equals the lunacy
level of the Grand Prix set. I refer him to the following article in the New
York Times: Possible Nazi Theme of Grand Prix Boss's Orgy Draws Calls to

It also bears on CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION "Unlike the rules of sex and
society, it's perfectly acceptable to pay a professional to sail with you
once in a while." It appears that it IS legal in the UK to pay prostitutes
for sex and unfortunately it remains to be seen whether European society
will accept such behavior because the megalomaniacal Max Mosley refuses to
step down as head of the FIA and they won't even meet to vote on his tenure
until June.

Shopping tip: You can get shoes for 3 dollars at bowling alleys.

Special thanks to Southern Spars and J/World San Diego.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at