SCUTTLEBUTT 2585 – April 29 2008
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GUEST COMMENTARY – OLYMPIC CLASS SELECTION
by Garry Hoyt
For sailing to preserve its place in the Olympics, the governing solons of
the sport must accommodate new realities and discard the burden of
persistent delusions. For example:
1. Reliable wind over 10 knots is the single most important element in
conveying the grace and excitement of sailing. Light, fickle breezes
introduce undesirable factors of luck and doom any coverage to acute visual
boredom. So, future competition should insist on areas that provide good
2. The essence of Olympic competition is individual achievement. This is
confirmed by the leading popularity of events in track, swimming,
gymnastics, skiing and skating, where the public can follow the action and
identify with the individual skills. Sailing should follow those successful
It follows that it is neither necessary nor desirable for Olympic Class
selection to attempt to represent all the varied aspects of sailing skill.
Like it or not, action that is friendly to TV will be increasingly important
to permanent status as an Olympic event. The tactical elements of sailing
that are so fascinating and challenging to the participants are largely
invisible or incomprehensible to the TV audience. So, while tactical sailing
skill - and the many classes that primarily reward that skill - will
deservedly remain the best choices for the general sailing public, those are
not the best choices for any hopes of Olympic survival. Recognizing this is
not pandering to TV, but rather simply adjusting to the new realities of
For example, to insist on the inclusion of female match racing in Ynglings
amounts to a foolish fixation on an arcane and visually unexciting aspect of
the sport. Likewise, the venerable Star Class is inappropriate because the
cost and complexity of the equipment - like the weight of its crew - is too
heavy. And given the Olympic goal of “higher, faster, farther”, why should
we exclude multi-hulls, which are demonstrably one of sailing’s fastest
forms? With all these thoughts in mind, here are my recommendations for
future Olympic Classes: (read on)
* Curmudgeon’s Comment: Always a pleasure when folks like Garry jump in, and
we are pleased to provide him the pulpit he has earned (Google his name if
you are unfamiliar with his contributions to the sport). As for Garry’s
recommendations, let’s just say that he has a vision of what an Olympic
athlete should look like, and those with a waist size of 36+ need not apply.
DEALING WITH ADVERSITY
What happens when you own ten identical 68-foot racing yachts, host a round
the world race for the boats, sell crewing positions on the boats... and
then two of the boats get dismasted on their way from China to Hawaii...
half way around the world from the European suppliers. It would be nice to
think that the “show must go on” but pulling it off is another matter. Here
is an excerpt from a report by International marine events company Clipper
Ventures Plc, which owns and administers the event:
* Clipper Ventures Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “When we lost two
masts in the Clipper fleet in just over a week during the race from Qingdao
to Hawaii (on March 5 and 13), the priority was to replace all the similar
fittings to those that failed within the fleet and to manufacture and ship
out two new masts to Hawaii.”
* Sparcraft in Cape Town, the company that manufactured the masts for the
ten matched Clipper 68s, had suffered a factory fire on March 7 and was
unable to make the new mast section as a result. On April 10 the company
confirmed that its other factories in France and the United States did not
have the spare capacity to make the mast. Later that day, Clipper Ventures
sourced the required mast section in France, which was transported to
Atlantic Spars in Brixham. This was for the first dismasting.
* Following the second dismasting, a similar section was sourced from the
Netherlands and sent to Atlantic Spars for finishing. Meanwhile, Spencer
Rigging sourced enough compact strand to complete two complete new sets of
standing rigging. -- Read on:
Who is the only man to have won the three most prestigious single-handed
events: The Vendée Globe, the Route du Rhum and The Transat? (Answer below)
PARALOC, THE RUNNING RIGGING REVOLUTION
Developed by the Swiss rope company mamutec AG, Paraloc’s patented parallel
braid interlocks the cover and core fibers, forming an integrated whole so
the individual elements (cover and core) cannot move relative to each other.
This produces a line with less stretch, better holding power in clutches,
and increased abrasion and tear resistance. Whether you’re a racer or
cruiser, in need of Vectran, Dyneema or Polyester, Paraloc has a line for
you. Paraloc can be found at Sound Rigging (Essex, CT), Ontario Yachts
(Burlington, Ontario), Rig Pro (Newport, RI) and Rigging Systems (Miami, FL)
or visit http://www.rwrope.com
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM
As boating season approaches, U.S. President Bush’s administration wants to
enlist the country's 80 million recreational boaters to help reduce the
chances that a small boat could deliver a nuclear or radiological bomb
somewhere along the country's 95,000 miles of coastline and inland
waterways. According to an April 23 intelligence assessment obtained by The
Associated Press, "The use of a small boat as a weapon is likely to remain
al Qaeda's weapon of choice in the maritime environment, given its ease in
arming and deploying, low cost, and record of success."
While the United States has so far been spared this type of strike in its
own waters, terrorists have used small boats to attack in other countries.
The millions of humble dinghies, fishing boats and smaller cargo ships that
ply America's waterways are not nationally regulated as they buzz around
ports, oil tankers, power plants and other potential terrorist targets.
This could allow terrorists in small boats to carry out an attack similar to
the USS Cole bombing, says Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen. That 2000
attack killed 17 American sailors in Yemen when terrorists rammed a dinghy
packed with explosives into the destroyer. "There is no intelligence right
now that there's a credible risk" of this type of attack, Allen says. "But
the vulnerability is there." To reduce the potential for such an attack in
the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has developed a new
strategy intended to increase security by enhancing safety standards. The
Coast Guard is part of the department. -- CNN, read on:
* The Notice of Race for the 2009 ISAF Nations Cup is now available online.
The ISAF Nations Cup is a global competition to find the world’s top match
racing nations in both open and women’s events and to develop match racing
infrastructure around the world. The Nations Cup encompasses a series of
eight Regional Finals from September-December 2008, from which the top team
will qualify for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final to take place in Porto
Alegre, Brazil on March 23-28, 2009. The Regional finals for the North
America/ Caribbean region will be held in Charleston, SC (date tba). --
* Earthrace, the world’s fastest, coolest and greenest powerboat kicked off
its round the world race at 1400hrs CET on April 27th from Sagunto in Spain,
in an attempt to break the round the world speed record and promote the use
of sustainable fuels. Earthrace is a 78ft wave-piercing trimaran that runs
exclusively on biodiesel, and has a net zero carbon footprint, making it one
of the world’s most environmentally-friendly powerboats. --
* Courageous Sailing Center of Boston, MA has completed the accreditation
process for sailing schools administered by US SAILING. Courageous Sailing
Center instructors must undergo the training program to be certified to
deliver curricula created by US SAILING’s National Faculty, which has been
developed to set the standard for sailing education excellence. --
* Free weather forecasts will be available for the 2008 USODA Team Trials
courtesy of North Sails and Sailing Weather Services. Hosted by the
Annapolis Yacht Club, the USODA Team Trials will be held from May 1-4, 2008.
Sign up by April 30 and also receive a regatta overview:
* The New York National Boat Show will move to December 13-21, 2008, nearly
two weeks earlier than it was originally scheduled. The announcement was
made in a statement by NMMA, the show's owner and organiser. The show had
straddled the Christmas and New Year's holidays for the last five years,
prompting complaints by exhibitors and lower attendance numbers for
show-goers. The show will continue to retain its nine-day format at
Manhattan's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. -- IBI Magazine, complete
THAT A BANANA IN YOUR POCKET?
On the way out the door Sunday, we were hastily putting together lunch. I
made some sandwiches, the boat already had snacks and water, so Camille was
left in charge of fruit. She innocently grabbed a couple of bananas to put
in the lunch bag. I freaked out.
Me: What in the name of Neptune are you doing?
C: Putting these bananas in the bag?
Me: Are you crazy, you want us to capsize, sink or worse?
Me: Then put those bananas away right now.
Me: The bananas, put them away...next thing you're going to want to sail on
C: Mama, there's something wrong with Daddy.
It went something like that. The point being, I won't have bananas on my
boat and I don't know why. I've heard the theories: methane gas rotting the
other fruit, scary spiders, methane poisoning, no fish. None of these
pertain to me or will ever pertain to me. So why do I worry? Let's call it a
hedge. I'm on the precipice of sailing disaster at all times; I sail in one
of the craziest places in the world (San Francisco), I barely know what I'm
doing (just kidding future crewmates) and I have a 30+ year old boat.
Something could so easily go wrong either through my doing or through no
fault of my own that I can't imagine why I would take one more chance when I
can control it. So, no bananas on board and I won't leave for Hawaii on a
Friday. – EVK4 blog,
* Here’s a follow-up post, which discusses the bad luck that Captain Jack
Sparrow had with bananas in the latest movie version of ‘Pirates of the
Caribbean.’ -- http://evk4.blogspot.com/2007/08/banana-on-board.html
MELGES 32: BOAT OF THE WEEK
Congratulations to Joe Woods and his Melges 32 team from Great Britain on
winning the Melges 32 East Coast Championship in Annapolis, MD this past
weekend. Woods traveled to the USA to participate in a popular Melges racing
series - Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta, where
Woods was also recognized as the Boat of the Week. Melges 32's traveled from
all over to participate, with the Melges 24 fleet also proving to be quite
popular, with many teams using the event to prepare for the 2008 North
Americans and 2009 World Championship, both to be held in Annapolis. --
Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) is undoubtedly the king of solo sailors, being the
only man to have won the three most prestigious single-handed events: The
Vendée Globe, the Route du Rhum and The Transat. Starting on May 11th,
Desjoyeaux will be skippering the latest generation of IMOCA 60 in The
Transat, joining a field of 13 IMOCA Open 60 and 12 Class40 monohulls (with
270 Atlantic crossings among them). The race begins in Plymouth, England and
finishes at Boston, MA approximately two weeks later. Full details on the
prominent shorthanded races: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar/sh
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Scuttlebutt Forum: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum
* From Walter I. Bostwick, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: (regarding the open
letter in Issue 2583 by Giovanni Maspero, owner of Joe Fly, following their
disqualification at the recent Farr 40 World Championship) Beyond my
personal high regard for the complete integrity of Mr. Henry Menin, his
selection as a member of the Jury for the 32nd America's Cup would indicate
that his impartiality towards Oracle was unquestioned. Also as a matter of
fact, Mr. Menin was an umpire during the 2000 America's Cup and went to work
for Oracle during the 2003 event. Top level sailing is a small family and
suggesting incestuous relationships is easy for someone familiar with that
sort of thing, but seldom productive.
* From Clark Chapin: To the casual observer here in the Midwest, the
protestations of Giovanni Maspero seem to ignore several previously reported
aspects of the incident:
1. The competitors knew the makeup of the Jury well beforehand.
2. Commentators quoted by Scuttlebutt remarked that Joe Fly had "overplayed
their hand" at mark roundings during the event. Could "overplayed their
hand" be a polite phrasing of "repeatedly violated the rules"?
3. There is no allegation that the facts found by the Jury were at all
incorrect or improper.
It seems to me that deciding a championship on the final day in this way is
a foreseeable consequence of a lack of competitor protests earlier in the
event to establish an expectation of rule compliance throughout the fleet.
Perhaps the Farr 40 Class would be better off without Joe Fly if the cause
of their exit is a willingness by the Jury to hear a valid protest.
* From Jonathan Smith, Newton MA: I find it inconceivable that Barking Mad
would not protest. It is just this sort of behavior that encourages the
bully tactics of the jerks on Joe Fly. If you slap them right away, they
might just learn. Instead, they got exactly what was coming to them. Find it
interesting that Barking Mad had only enough stones to witness a third-party
protest, rather than lodge the protest themselves, when they were the one’s
fouled in the first place! Protests can’t be “situational”, especially up at
the front end of the fleet. If you are both fighting it out for last at the
hoist, then that is an entirely different affair.
=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: There has been no shortage of opinions expressed on
this situation, and we have moved them all to Scuttleblog where they can
reside together. If you have something to say on the subject, please post it
* From Eric A Sorensen: (re, story, FRENCH ANNOUNCE CATTLE CALL, in Issue
2583) The French Spirit is amazing and truly a good thing. Calling for a
program to design a boat and put together a team for a contest that doesn't
exist is an example of adventurous thinkers from a culture which is trying
to keep its independence. The culture in the US could learn a thing or two
from this attitude. The 'shock and awe' attitude that America seems to
project in the use of military and movie genres is just flat out bluster
backed by technologic advances that are currently on top but destined for
the 2nd seat if the education of our population continues to decline as on
its current course. The French are merely exercising their mental muscles
and soon their physical ones on the race courses of the world. Their
participation in the ocean races as a population is way inverse to their
world population status, with only the Kiwis outnumbering them in an even
more inverse relationship.
Sailing is good for thinking in real time and in thinking of scenarios of
what could happen if.... (preparation, at least 2 days prep = one day
sailing). More sailing culture is good for producing less screen time and
that is a good thing!
I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No
brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it.
Special thanks to R&W Rope and Melges Performance Sailboats.
A complete list of preferred suppliers is at