Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 2607 - May 30, 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.

When the new Judel/Vrolijk TP52 Mean Machine won the first event of the 2008
Audi MedCup Circuit two weeks ago in Alicante, Spain, it was a big relief
for the team to have produced another winning platform. Chief among those
getting praise was Chris Reid, Mean Machine's renowned Kiwi boat builder,
who has been with the team for more than five years. Here are some of the
new features that the team hopes to keep them on their winning ways:

* The most noticeable feature on the rig is that there are no external
halyard exits, all the halyards run below deck. "We have a few different
things, trying to get the windage down, trying to get the weight down low,"
explains Reid. "The main thing has been reducing the windage around the
foredeck, getting the winches out of the breeze and trying to add stiffness
to the boat."

* "The rig is Southern Spars is from the same tooling as the other Southern
Rigs, the same section we had developed for the '06 boat, with a higher
modulus carbon, just a stiffer rig- as stiff as you can possibly get. We can
get the sheeting angle in to 4.5 degrees, on the last boat we were probably
getting to 5.5 degrees. That is another mode, a function of the boat when
you need a bit more height. I don't think it will be possible to go closer
than that."

* Their much admired pit winch is a new system which they are trialing, and
their kite hoists at the weather turn were awesome: Said Reid, "Our hoists
are now about three seconds, hand tailing on the last boat the best you
could possibly hope for was about five and a half, six seconds. If you can
get that extra boat length away from the top mark, that just gives you
breathing room. You can extend from there, just one length is all you need.
We are very happy with it." -- Complete story:

=> Fourteen TP52 teams are expected for the City of Marseille Trophy, the
second leg of the Audi MedCup Circuit. A series of practice races on Monday,
June 2nd will feature guest spots on the boats for media representatives and
VIPs. Racing for points will begin on Tuesday, June 3rd and will continue
until Saturday, June 7th, with up to three inshore windward-leeward courses
scheduled for every race day, except Thursday, when a double points scoring
coastal race is planned. The Mean Machine team will be looking to retain
their Audi MedCup Circuit lead that they earned by winning the first event
in Alicante two weeks ago. --

For the 2008 Olympic sailing events in Qingdao, it will be the first games
where the race schedule utilizes the "Medal Race" concept. The idea was to
avoid the possibility of an entrant winning the Gold Medal with a race to
spare, and to create a dramatic ending that might heighten viewing interest.
This format has been trialed in Olympic class events now for the past couple
years, wherein the top 10 placed teams race in a final race that counts as
double points, and may not be discarded (normally you can discard your worst
finish of the series). This heavily weighted race often has a big impact on
the final standings and we need to know how to manage this race if we are to
win a medal in China.

Following their sixth place finish in last week's ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd
Regatta in Medemblik, Holland, US 470 Men's team of Stu McNay and Graham
Biehl shared some of the guidelines in their approach to the Medal Race,
which are easily applicable to any short course racing event: 1) the course
is so short (we sailed three laps of windward-leeward on a 25 minute course)
that starboard advantage is key, upwind and downwind, so do not be afraid to
gybe set the spinnaker so as to have starboard advantage toward the leeward
marks.; 2) the fleet is very close for the whole race, so every decision
will matter for your place, but also, you will make so many decisions that
everyone will make mistakes and you are looking for a good average on
decision making rather than perfection every time. --

Ragtime is reborn. again. Californian Chris Welsh has completed the
reconfiguration of the underwater profile of his John Spencer designed
'Ragtime', along with structural improvements to stiffen the hull.
Originally launched in Auckland, New Zealand as 'Infidel' in 1964, Ragtime
is now preparing for the Los Angeles to Tahiti Race on June 22, 2008, which
is a long time from when she first moved to the Northern Hemisphere, and won
line honors at both the 1973 and 1975 Transpac Races. She set the stage for
the West Coast ultralight revolution that occurred soon thereafter, and now
over forty years later, she still turns heads. When she lines up for the
start next month to Tahiti, she will be at her lightest weight ever, with
more sail area and a modern, lower drag fin package.

Ragtime's ability to sustain her competiveness got Welsh to thinking about
what other boats are out there like his. "We started to speculate if any
racing boats out here anywhere have done the racing miles and total miles
Ragtime has done," said Welsh. "We calculate she has 14 Transpacs at 5,500
miles round trip, 20 Mexico races at 1,800 round trip, and another assorted
10,000 miles on Coastal Cups, Ensenada Races, and local racing. Add it up
and we are at 123,000 miles under the keel, half of which was racing. The
2008 Tahiti Race and sailing on to New Zealand will add another 7,000 miles
to that. Five or six times around the globe, more or less. Like the Mount
Gay hat collection challenge, what mileage under the keel have other race
boats done, racing and/or with deliveries?"

* Do you know of any other boats like Ragtime? Post your comments here:

At Hall Spars & Rigging, we say "leave the pain at the pump." You'll get
more pleasure from upgrading to free-running Harken Carbo blocks on the
spinnaker sheets or replacing that sticky traveler car with a quality Harken
ball-bearing car. June is Harken month at Hall, which means we are bucking
the trend and lowering prices. Until midnight June 30, everything Harken is
an additional 5% off our already terrific pricing. Only at Hall, and only
during June. Visit our online store and log in for the best pricing.

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include the Melges 24 Worlds in Italy, yellow jersey concept exemplified, a
Buccaneer 18 that is admittedly 'fugly', Olympic newlyweds, Laser sailing in
the Caribbean, windmills and tornados in Holland, and RC 44s in Austria. If
you have images you would like to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt
editor. Here are this week's photos:

Discover Boating, the national public awareness campaign on behalf of the
recreational boating industry, began exploring boating activity hot spots
with a call for nominations, searching for boaters' favorite waterways
throughout the country. After polling suggestions from hundreds of boaters,
industry experts and travel enthusiasts, Discover Boating identified a list
of top locales from coast-to-coast to enjoy boating activities and truly
experience why life is better on a boat. The list was announced this week,
and includes sites for cruising, fishing, watersports; here are the top ten
areas for sailing:

Barrier Islands - Charleston, S.C.
Biscayne Bay - Biscayne Bay, Fla.
Block Islands - New Shoreham, R.I.
Chesapeake Bay - St. Michaels, Md.
Lake Ouachita - Hot Springs, Ark.
Lake Superior - Bayfield, Wisc.
Lake Washington - Seattle, Wash.
Mission Bay - San Diego, Calif.
Outer Banks - Nags Head, N.C.
San Francisco Bay - San Francisco, Calif.
Full report:

* Overlooking Boston Harbor, Fan Pier has been confirmed as the venue for
the Boston stopover when the 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean Race visits the US East
Coast port city in April-May 2009. The area is currently under development,
with the entire stopover facility including berthing for the seven-boat
fleet, race village, entertainment complex, and haul-out area to be
accommodated on a five-acre space within the site. Two weeks of festivals
and local events are planned for the beginning of May 2009, to celebrate the
arrival and departure of the Volvo Ocean Race, Boston's maritime history,
and the sport of sailing. -- Complete report:
Google maps aerial:

* Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (Argo Group), an international
underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in niche areas
of the property and casualty market, announced today that it is the new
title sponsor for the King Edward VII Gold Cup to be sailed October 7-12,
2008 in Bermuda's Hamilton Harbour. The event will be titled the King Edward
VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group, and will be the eighth event of nine
events that comprise the 2008 World Match Racing Tour. --

* Gmunden, Austria (May 29, 2008) Following the loss of racing on Wednesday
due to a lack of wind, the organisers of the RC 44 Austria Cup were able to
complete to complete an entire match race round robin for the nine entrants,
with the James Spithill driven Team Ceeref besting Team Aqua/Cameron
Appleton in second and BMW Oracle Racing/Larry Ellison in third. The format
now switches to fleet racing for the team owners, with races concluding June
1st. --

* (May 29, 2008) An Antonov 225, the biggest aircraft in the world, will
arrive at El Altet Airport in Alicante, Spain one week from today, and open
its doors to discharge one of the new craft of the Telefonica syndicate that
will take part in the Volvo Ocean Race that leaves from Alicante next
October. The Antonov will in fact unload the VO70 hull of Telefonica Negro
that has been under construction in shipyards in New Zealand. The giant
aircraft is expected to arrive at 8:30 in the morning, having made refueling
stops in Jakarta and Baku in Azerbaijan. -- Valencia Life Network,

* US SAILING recently awarded its Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to three
teenage sailors and a father and son team from New Orleans' Southern Yacht
Club credited with saving the lives of three adults whose boat had capsized
on Lake Pontchartrain in January. Chris Algero, 15 years old, Clerc Cooper,
14, and Jon Nunn, 14, were sailing their Club's 19-foot Flying Scot on a
windy January day when they noticed a shallow-draft fishing boat, having
difficulty with its outboard engine, being tossed about in the heavy chop.
As they watched, the boat swamped and capsized. The teenagers sailed closer
to assist the three adults, who had been dumped into the frigid water,
noticing as they approached that the victims were without floatation devices
and having a hard time keeping their heads above the surface. -- Read on:

* They are successful surgeons and coaches, professors and investment
bankers, entrepreneurs and parents. They are nationally and internationally
recognized as outstanding athletes. And: they are physically disabled.
Dozens of sailors from the United States and Canada will gather on the first
weekend in June to compete for US SAILING's Chandler Hovey trophy and the
Judd Goldman trophy at a four-day event hosted in Rye, N.Y., by the American
Yacht Club (AYC) and neighboring Larchmont Yacht Club (LYC). It is the only
national sailing championship for disabled sailors. -- Complete report:

* US SAILING has announced that a new benefit will be provided to US SAILING
members by the title sponsor of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Effective
June 1, all US SAILING members will receive a 15% discount on products and
services at participating AlphaGraphics business centers in the US. With
more than 225 locations nationwide, AlphaGraphics is an industry-leading
print, graphics and visual communications franchise network headquartered in
Salt Lake City, Utah. -- Read on:

WHERE DO YOU FIND THE BEST BOAT EQUIPMENT? is a free online magazine dedicated to finding and reviewing
the best boating products. When choosing the best products to review we look
through hundreds of products. This week's newsletter is the second part of
Clean drinking water onboard. We organize gear into 20 easily-accessible
categories; our aim is to promote boating products in an unbiased format. stores product information for access anytime, anywhere. --

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 Robert Wilkes, Secretary, International Optimist Dinghy Association:
With reference to the letter of Paul Grevens on coach boats (Issue 2606:
"However, I guess that is what's happening at the junior level in
Optimist"), please note that the International Optimist Class, in the
interests of low costs, restricts such boats at its major events. At the
North Americans, for example, the Notice of Race specifies:
11.2 The maximum number of adults per team allowed on the water in support
boats (hereinafter
'coaches') at any one time shall be
11.2.a Teams comprising 10 or fewer sailors: one coach.
11.2.b Teams comprising 11 to 20 sailors: two coaches.
11.2.c Teams comprising 21 or more sailors: three coaches.
11.3 Each support boat shall contain at least two coaches at all times.

* From Ray Tostado: (re, "Creative marketing" story in #2606) I do not miss
the good intentions in this article. It is in line with helping competitors
fulfill their dreams of getting into the top level regattas. But back deep
in my bleak existential mind lurks a caveat to this generosity. It, in Econ.
560 level thinking, amounts to nothing other than a subsidy for the oil
companies. The message it sends is, "charge whatever you want, charity will
make it affordable...". I hope the competitors will not grow too fond of
this generosity. It could become a bad habit.

* From John Cladianos: Why can't US SAILING do like any other insolvent
business and take a look at the almost non-existent value proposition for
the average member, and build a better product? Is strong-arming the
declining customer base you've got the only answer at your company? Jeez,
are they awake?

* From Keith Burhans: (edited to the 250-word limit) Once we realize that
"free" things in life actually have NO value, we can then determine what is
important, and how much we value it. I find it easy to support the different
organizations that effect the things that matter to me in life. I have been
a member of US Sailing since 1981 (age 25) and will continue to do so
because I view it as giving back to the sport that has given and continues
to give me so much.

However, I would recommend US Sailing scuttle the mandatory membership
strategy, because after all this is America, where we are told that we are
free to choose. Instead, I would suggest that you retool your membership
plan strategy to align with the "Rules" quadrennial calendar. Currently, I
receive the rule book if I join willingly, and you should keep doing that.
But you should also price the rule book to reflect its true 4-year value. I
wonder how many will join next year to receive the next rule book
(2009-2012), and then toss the barrage of renewal notices during the next
three years?

When viewed through the larger prism, spending $55.00/ 60.00 annually to
support the monumental efforts to manage the rules and appeals, set
standards and manage certification of Judges and PRO's, to provide training
materials and certification for sailing instructors, foster youth
development with junior Olympic festivals, oversee the sanctioned National
Championships, and serve as NGB to the International and Olympic components
of our sport with US Sailing Team, Pan-Am Team and Youth Teams, it seems
like a great value to me.

* From Mark Osterman: (regarding photos in #2606) As someone who traveled to
China on average 3 times a year for ten years and spent extensive time
working in over thirty Chinese cities including Qingdao, I have to respond
to the nonsense about food in Qingdao. Yes, you can find some pretty exotic
food if you look for it. Some of my pictures will out-gross yours, but so
what. In the Qingdao hotels I have stayed in the food was uniformly
excellent, healthy and safe. But if your diet is heavy on Big Macs and Deep
Dish pizza you can also do very well! I and the consulting team working with
me logged literally thousands of days in China eating local food, with nary
a day lost to gastrointestinal illness. As for the food itself, try eating
as varied a diet of fruit and vegetables in any American city: just about

Bottom line: you aren't in the US of A! Get over it! And enjoy the food.
But don't swallow the seawater...therein lies trouble

* From Rick Hatch: Like the Ford Frick Award winners commemorated in
Cooperstown, does the America's Cup Hall of Fame have a section for
journalists? If so, I would like to nominate Cory Friedman for his selfless
contribution to our reading enjoyment. Compared to a Grisham novel, which
usually only takes a few evenings' reading, it's still anyone's guess how
and when this chapter in the Cup's very colourful history will end (if ever,
if at all)!

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: We are proud to host Cory's commentary, which has
been fairly presented and invaluable for following the progress of the legal
process. We suspect that if/when the America's Cup ever finds itself again
in the New York Courts, his words will become mandatory reading for those
involved. Link:

* From Nick Kroeger: The story of Zac Sunderland is great (in Issue 2606),
but I'd like to bring your attention to a guy by the name of Jesse Martin; I
believe he holds the current record for the youngest person to sail around
the world and not Dave Dicks.

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: As near as we can tell, there are two references
here regarding the age of the sailor when they completed their
circumnavigations. One is the youngest, non-stop singlehanded,
circumnavigation that is held by Jesse Martin (18 years and 66 days old),
and then there is the singlehanded, circumnavigation by Dave Dicks (18 years
and 41 days old) who did make stops. As Zac reflects, "When faced with the
decision of whether or not to try to beat Jesse's record there were two
major considerations: my father is uncomfortable with me going around Cape
Horn with it's icebergs and violent storms, and I really wanted my journey
to be more in the vein of Robin Lee Graham who sailed on the Dove back in
the 60's. He stopped and explored so many cool places. With modern
technology, many people should be able to experience this trip along with
me." --

Basic Flying Rules: Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the
edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of
ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more
difficult to fly there.

Special thanks to Hall Spars & Rigging and

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at