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SCUTTLEBUTT 2591 - May 7, 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 Barrie Harmsworth, Group I Alternate, ISAF Council
With the ISAF midyear conference looming later this week, the hot topic of how such an erudite, intelligent body of men and women can make such stupid mistakes has bubbled to the surface. After years of being on Council, in two words, very easily!

So now the UK Catamaran Racing Association has leapt, rather belatedly, into the attack over the demise of the multihull in the 2012 Olympic Regatta. They have published an appealing and comprehensive document that seriously takes ISAF to the hot plate. It even quotes the former President Paul Henderson as saying that Member National Authorities vote in their own selfish interests and not in the interests of "our beloved sport". That comes as no surprise. I have written on this topic before highlighting that the voting process of the ISAF Council is not democratic due to the strong bias towards Western European countries. Not that anything is likely to change because the very MNAs that enjoy this benefit also have the power to prevent change. That sounds an awful lot like Catch-22.

The UKCRA also published the voting record of Council on the issue of the equipment for the 2012 Olympic Regatta. As my vote is there for the public record I can truthfully state that it was based on what I believe is needed for the Group I region (Africa and Middle East). No, I know some of you are thinking about the effects of late night partying but I can assure you I'm far too old for that. Some of the voting was surprising, particularly my neighboring colleague from New Zealand Joe Butterworth. He was singled out as multihull sailing in his region is very popular but he voted against its inclusion. As the Beatle's refrain goes "very strange".

But it seems that the UKCRA's spirited challenge to the ISAF decision is a too little too late. To some extent I don't have a lot of sympathy. When I arrived at the last ISAF AGM I was made aware, almost immediately that the multihull was under threat. Yet there was only Dave Brookes from the Hobie Class Associations fighting a lone battle. The multihull associations know the game; you have to defend your position. Where were the Tornado crowd, they had most to lose, a couple of free drinks go a long way. As I said too little too late, particularly in light of the Secretary General's closing comment "what has the ISAF organization done wrong?" Apart from acts of stupidity, probably not a lot.
(This was an approved excerpt from Harmsworth's column "In His Own Words" featured in the Boat Owner Middle East magazine)

Sydney, Australia (May 6, 2008) -- The countdown to Australia's attempt to reclaim the 500m world speed sailing record last held in 1993 will begin this week with a crew safety drill before on-water trials commence on Botany Bay next week. With a diver on hand, pilot Sean Langman and co-pilot Martin Thompson will practice an emergency evacuation from the upside down pod of Wot Rocket in the Qantas Jet Base pool this Thursday 8 May at 10am. Then, from Tuesday 13 to Friday 16 May, Wot Rocket will be launched at the seaside suburb of Kurnell to attempt to break the current world speed sailing record of 49.09 knots (90.9 kilometres per hour) set by French sail boarder Antoine Albeau in France in March this year.

Wot Rocket is half sailboat and half sailplane; a nine metre long canoe style hull with two tiny foils, each about a sixth of the size of a Moth foil and a nine metre rigid sail, then a transverse beam out to an aerodynamic twin pod crew compartment. It is built entirely from carbon fibre and weighs approximately 400 kilos. The difference between this sailboat/sail plane and any that have come before it is that it will be attempting to break through the water speed barrier using a technology as yet untried on any sailing craft - supercavitation - to reduce the drag which is around 1,000 times greater in the water than in air.

The concept behind the Wot Rocket approach is to induce supercavitation at lower speeds where control can still be maintained and from there push through to the top speeds. Supercavitation means Wot Rocket should only require a fraction of the 45-50 knot winds that Albeau needed to go 0.39 knots better than the previous record. A moderate 18-20 knots should do the trick believes Langman. -- Complete report and photo:

Take a glance over this year's Audi Medcup TP52 entry list. It's easy to see there'll be a few dead certs with the racing; intense competition at its highest form, thrilling action for spectators and at the season's finale we'll know more about which new technology works and who's made the real performance gains. Having rigged the last two year's winners, this year five yachts will use the new 2008 Southern Spars designed rigs which feature further refinements to windage, rig stiffness, and boom design. Southern Spars wishes all teams good, fast sailing.

Among the positive attributes of the last America's Cup was in its openness. Past Cups had pushed away the people, but this one welcomed spectators. The Acts brought the racing to various countries, and the shielding curtains that hid the underbody of the boat were permanently pulled down prior to the Challenger Series (formerly known as the Louis Vuitton Cup). The fans once again felt connected with the event.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the next Cup, there does seem to be a continuation of the openness. Many of the documents, whether they are court papers or formal letters between the Clubs, have been getting posted online. Talk about bringing the sport to the people! The latest point-counterpoint between the two teams was reported in Scuttlebutt 2587, which had to do with the Swiss accusing the American team of not fulfilling the terms of the Deed of Gift regarding required documentation about their boat. To see what each team said, click here:

The latest America's Cup debate involves the Deed of Gift, and whether the teams for the multihull fiasco are required to construct their entire boat (hull, sails, mast, hardware) within the country they represent, or just the hull. Here is how the DoG reads:

"Any organized yacht Club of a foreign country... shall always be entitled to the right of sailing a match for this Cup with a yacht or vessel propelled by sails only and constructed in the country to which the challenging Club belongs, against any one yacht or vessel constructed in the country of the Club holding the Cup."

Our poll asking what the 'buttheads think on this interpretation so far has about 40% of the respondents saying that the Swiss can go shopping at Harken and Hall Spars like last time, and 60% effectively saying they are in deep chocolate. The poll will close on Wednesday by noon PT...cast your vote here:

Here are some of the highlights from Scuttlebutt last week:
* 2584: Commentary from the Farr 40 Worlds; the l'Hydroptere team getting ready to beat the 50 knot speed record; final results from an Olympic event in France, professional RC 44 event in Sardinia, World Match Racing Tour in Brazil; qualifiers for the ICSA National Coed Dinghies, Ensenada race, Annapolis NOOD, and U.S. Multihull Championship; and the next court date for the America's Cup dispute.

* 2585: Garry Hoyt's Olympic class commentary; how the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race overcame two dismastings; US governments latest terrorist plan; info on the Nation's Cup, the Earthrace record attempt, Courageous Sailing Center, and the New York National Boat Show; trivia regarding Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA); and a bad luck banana story.

* 2586: Story on the 33-foot foiling Mirabaud from Switzerland; update on Roger Sturgeon and his boat Rosebud; opening report from the Congressional Cup; numerology problems with Alinghi; Bermuda's junior sailing initiative; info on SEA-TV and Royal Thames Cumberland Cup; finding newbies in Annapolis; America's Cup stuff about Valencia, BMW Oracle Racing and Team ORIGIN; and the passing of Soundings Trade Only's associate editor JoAnn W. Goddard.

* 2587: Epic story from the Southern Ocean; Alinghi's latest dispute against BMW Oracle Racing; update from the Congressional Cup; 300 Optimist ordered from China to Finland; upcoming event info; Video of the Week; info about US SAILING instructor program; latest Olympic rankings from ISAF; West Marine's first quarter report; info on why green boats are not bad luck; and the numerology of Scuttlebutt.

* 2588: Stories on Olympic Laser sailor Mike Leigh (CAN) and Star coach Hans Wallen (SWE); update from the Congressional Cup; problems at the Panama Canal; white paper regarding water access; info about the US Team Racing Nationals and the College Nationals; the liquidation of the Global Challenge boats; report about the world's first deep-water device to generate electricity; and Photos of the Week, which included images of famous green boats.

All back issues are listed in the Archives, plus a search tool to seek out information:

Recent results for sailors using North one design sails include Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD (J/24 - 1st; J/22 - 1st; Melges 24 - 1st; Star - 1st), Melges 32 East Coasts - 1st , Etchells Midwinters East & West - 1st, MC Scow North Americans - 1st. With the summer just around the corner, more and more teams are heading North! Follow the leaders and give your program a boost with new North sails for your one design. Call North's dedicated one design team today!

* The IMS 2007 book and its sections have been re-arranged in 3 documents called IMS 2008, ORC Rating Rules 2008, and Green Book 2008. Due to the major overhaul, some clarifications or updates may be required in the course of the coming months. And whenever any corrections may become necessary, these will be published on the Rules & Regulations page. -- Complete report:

* GE Money announced on Friday that it will discontinue its retail boat loan programs. Cristy F. Williams,vice president of communications for GE Money Sales Finance, told IBI in an email that the company has been in the marine industry for 30 years. Industry estimates put GE's market share at about 10 to 12 per cent of the national total of retail boat loans. -- IBI Magazine, complete report:

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 Tom Price: (re, story in 'Butt 2590) The CBYRA/CORUM partnership sounds healthy and win-win on the surface, but in reality might represent the very worst of a direction our sport is taking. For sponsors to help a Club with regatta expenses is (has become) acceptable but direct reward to the few "best" through college scholarship is so wrong that I'm surprised that the CBYRA elders have been so seduced. Think about it. You think the parents are pushy now? You think kids are overly stressed and concerned by their results now? You think the investment in overpriced gear and little boats is bad now?

And worst of all is the message it delivers. Do we really want our next generation of kids to sail for results? The burden of success and resentment of being bested hangs heavily on children. The pressure of competition, the implied shame of "losing" and the unhealthy need to "perform" instead of play is wrong for children. Hang a college scholarship on that and you'll see burn-out like none seen before.

No less a sailing/medical authority than Dr. Stuart Walker (former head of Pediatrics at Mercy Hospital) has long advocated that it isn't healthy for kids to formally compete under the age of 12-13 years. That's when they need to learn aspects of play, cooperation and the joy of self-accomplishment. Will CORUM's rewards help that? Perhaps the kids who are eligible to win these rewards are of an appropriate age to compete but the message sent that cash is the reward for sailing well is wrong both for the competitors and their juniors.

* From Urban Miyares, Challenged America: Thanks so much for mentioning (in Issue 2590) the upcoming "Summer Sports Clinic" for disabled veterans in San Diego, but I need to let you know that the information you received is not entirely correct. The Department of Veterans Affairs has yet to sign contracts with the hotel, and the one mentioned in the preliminary, sample poster is incorrect, as of now. My mistake as I was under the impression that the VA had confirmed everything, and just discovered that they are still in negotiations with 3 hotels in the San Diego area. So as of this writing, the Summer Sports Clinic venue has not yet been confirmed, but Challenged America has been working on this 10 years...and it is going to happen.

* From Dick Katz: (Re: TIME TO PLAY JUDGE - SB 2590) Paul Cayard brings up a good point that the America's Cup DoG implies that a yacht and all it parts be constructed in the same country. However, before the yacht can be constructed - it must be designed - drawn up to meet not only the rules and regulations but expected sea and weather conditions. The question is, if Paul Cayard's interpretation is correct - shouldn't the designers also be from the same country?

We now know that BMW/Oracle has just hired the French multihull design firm of Van Peteghem/ Lauriot Prevost to develop its new mulithull boat for the America's Cup Deed of Gift match. So what we really will have here is a French boat built in the good ole USA! Does this meet the strict terms of the Deed of Gift?

* From Sandy Purdon (Ex. Director, Stars & Stripes '87 America's Cup Challenge; Defense Committee, San Diego Yacht Club 1988-1995): Without "mutual consent" between challenger and defender, the deed has to be strictly interpreted. (The Deed is posted on the Scuttlebutt website:

* From Ron Packer: (edited to the 250-word limit) Regarding Rob Mundle's ('butt 2590) and Bob Fisher's ('butt 2589) comments about the excitement of two 90ft multihulls racing over a short course to decide The America's Cup, the Deed of Gift states that:

"...three races shall be sailed, and the winner of two of such races shall be entitled to the Cup. All such races shall be on ocean courses, free from headlands, as follows: the first race, twenty nautical miles to windward and return; the second race, an equilateral triangular race of thirty-nine nautical miles, the first side of which shall be a beat to windward; the third race, (if necessary), twenty nautical miles to windward and return; and one week day shall intervene between the conclusion of one race and the starting of the next race. … The challenged Club shall not be required to name its representative vessel until at the time agreed upon for the start, but the vessel when named must compete in all the races; and each of such races must be completed within seven hours."

Not very short courses. It is conceivable that at times the boats will be out of sight of land and of each other. At the speed they are likely to be travelling only helicopter mounted cameras will be able to keep up. Not exactly a natural spectator sport. The Deed of Gift also states: "...and these races shall be sailed subject to its [the defender's] rules and sailing regulations." It will be interesting to see what these are!!

* From Stirling Ross: In regards to green boats, I am very surprised that no one mentioned a whole slew of very successful green boats named INFINITY. What's up with that?

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: Any others? Add them here:

* From Andy Rose: (re, story in #2590) I was saddened to hear of the death of Woody Brown but feel fortunate that as a 11-12 year old kid bumming rides on the Manu Kai in Waikiki with Woody and Herb Bessa during family vacations (they took pity on me and didn't make me pay after the first couple). Woody took the time to teach me about multi-hulls and tell great stories to an impressionable kid. I'll never forget him.

* From David Bolles: To add to Andrew Palfrey's response (in 2590) to Stevan Johnson's comments (in 2589) regarding Stars being non-athletic, on the top of the Star Class webpage ( there is the following quote by Robert Scheidt, 2007 Star World Champion, three Olympic medals (Laser), in Sail Magazine, May 2008: "There are so many sailors at a high level in the Star and the way we sail these boats now is very physical. This is a boat for the athletes, for the young."

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: I must add a small clarification that Stevan's letter did not say that the Star sailor was not athletic, only that the other class sailors were perceived from the outside to be more athletic. However, as Olympic Star crews Andrew Palfrey (AUS) and Austin Sperry (USA) pointed out in Issue 2590, there is no shortage of physical conditioning going on for these keelboat crews.

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Dumbwaiter: a person at a restaurant who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

Special thanks to Southern Spars, North Sails, and Orange Coast College.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at