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SCUTTLEBUTT 2623 - Monday, June 23, 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.

Alex Jackson's 99ft super maxi Speedboat set the early pace last Friday as
the 198-boat Newport Bermuda fleet began a second century of racing to the
Onion Patch. Under sparkling sunshine on a brilliant Newport afternoon,
multiple boats were over the line early in the first 6 out of 16 classes at
the start of this 46th Newport Bermuda Race. An ebb tide pushing against a
nice 12 kt sea breeze forced the eager starters over the line in bunches.
Taking a couple of tacks, the yachts passed out of the East Passage, into
the Rhode Island Sound and headed south southeast to Bermuda.

Before the start, Stan Honey, Speedboat's navigator predicted their finish
time in Bermuda would either be on Sunday afternoon, or much later if they
find themselves becalmed under a lurking high system. His worst fears have
been realized as light air beating will keep the elapsed record safe for
another two years. Ken Campbell’s forecast calls for light winds from to S
to SSE in the vicinity of Bermuda Sunday night, with winds increasing the
further up the course you go, and veering back into the SSW at 20-25 knots
north of 35N on Monday. This could bring the smaller boats home in a big
rush, making for another small-boat corrected time year. Well up the race
course, the smallest boats in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division are
licking their chops at the potential opportunity to stick it to the big boys
on corrected time for two races in a row.
Race website:
Boat tracking:
Commentary and video:

* Thanks to photographers Cory Silken and Amory Ross who have provided
images from on the water and by the air:

Los Angeles, CA (June 22, 2008) - Never mind Tahiti, which way’s Catalina?
Good question to ask when four boats started the Transpacific Yacht Club’s
13th Tahiti Race Sunday in a dense offshore fog off the Point Fermin bluffs.
To further disorient observers, the onshore breeze was only 3-6 knots and
the Los Angeles Yacht Club’s race committee boat was pointing downwind
toward land into a favorable current, not toward Santa Catalina Island, 22
miles out and the first mark of the 3,571-nautical mile course.

The elapsed time record for the race, first run in 1925, is 14 days 21 hours
15 minutes 26 seconds set by the late Fred Kirschner’s Santa Cruz 70,
Kathmandu, in the most recent race in 1994. Magnitude 80 is projected to
break it by two or three days and, in good conditions, all four boats could
eclipse it. But there could be a snag in the plan, as the trickiest part of
the course is crossing the light air zone of the equator --- the
“Doldrums”--- which have, according to Magnitude 80 navigator, Ernie Richau,
“in the past week … expanded from 80 [nautical] miles to 320 miles.” –
Complete story:

When the Swiss Alinghi team, winner of the 32nd America’s Cup last summer,
announced the terms of the next event, they did so in partnership with the
Spanish Desafío Español team, who was accepted as their challenger of
record. Without reliving all the details that have transpired since last
July, the Spanish team was found to not fulfill the requirements as defined
by the Deed of Gift, with the primary focus being on the requirement that
the challenging club have an annual regatta.

At the time of their challenge, the Club Nautico Español de Vela (CNEV) had
just been formed, so they naturally had not yet held their annual regatta.
There was debate as to whether the Deed required an annual regatta to
already have been held, or for one just to be planned. While the issue was
under review, the CNEV quickly scheduled an event, then another, then yet a
third, all deemed to be their annual event, and all held later in 2007.

A posting over the weekend by the Valencia Sailing website points out a fact
that even the “best lawyers” would be challenged to argue. The term “annual”
is used to describe something that happens once a year. Guess what the CNEV
does not appear to be hosting in 2008? Their annual regattas! -- Complete

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* (June 21, 2008) A fire destroyed millions of dollars worth of boats at a
factory owned by Rayglass, New Zealand's largest boat builder. Last night
the whole place went up in flames, along with about 14 other boats, worth at
least $2 million in total. Firefighters managed to salvage some of the
half-built boats and boat moulds before the steel frame holding up the
ceiling collapsed. Among the boats lost was Ernesto Bertarelli's new 12m
craft that was three-quarters complete. Rayglass exports its fibreglass
runabouts to 17 countries. Its Protector and Legend boats are used for
on-water patrol and umpiring vessels in America's Cup regattas.

* (June 22, 2008) The ongoing court case that is the America's Cup took a
new legal twist yesterday with the first action in the Team New
Zealand-inspired lawsuit against Alinghi, claiming up to US$50 million
($65.5m). In a separate US action to that involving Alinghi and BMW Oracle,
Team New Zealand are arguing that Alinghi's decision not to compromise with
Oracle meant Alinghi could not live up to assurances of staging the 33rd
America's Cup in 2009. Emirates Team New Zealand had been preparing for a
2009 "all-challengers" regatta based on those assurances from Alinghi. They
are seeking US$37m if the regatta is delayed until 2010 and US$50m if
delayed until 2011. Team New Zealand's opening moves in the US Federal Court
were really just the opening shots across the bows, attempting to nail down
where the ETNZ case would be heard and on what basis. The next steps in the
ETNZ action will be taken in late July and then early September. -- NZ
Herald, full story:

* Brit Sarah Webb, gold medalist in Athens and reigning Yngling world
champion, injured her head whilst training at the Olympic sailing venue of
Qingdao, China. The accident occurred last Tuesday as Webb was transferring
from between the 20ft Olympic keelboat and the coach's boat when she slid,
falling heavily into a stainless steel towing post. Within minutes, a
tennis-ball sized swelling had grown on Webb's forehead. She was rushed
ashore and was taken care of by British team doctor David Gorrod. Four days
after the accident, and after a severe regime of pain-relief, the swelling
has reduced though Webb has an angry black eye. -- Telegraph, complete

* A recent report by Andrew Campbell (USA) from Qingdao: “It’s been three to
six knots with rarely a puff that would make us wish we had our hiking pads
on. It’s actually quite an interesting mix between San Diego’s morning light
air, swell and kelp with the Potomac River’s tidal current and dirty water.
Perhaps the biggest oddity here is the massive paddies of algae floating
across the racecourses and the fleet of harvesters hired to clear it up.
Very thin and gooey seaweed is the only form of life we can detect in the
water in off the YinHai Yacht Club where we are training. Every day a rally
of Chinese junk-style fishing boats lines up out in front of the club and
then disperses across the racing areas to clear the waters of the great
blobs of algae. It is a bit of nuisance while we are sailing having to dodge
the globs that can sometimes grow to be the size of a baseball diamond. They
generally form in the lines between different current. Yesterday I saw a
British laser sailor try and navigate his way through one of the blobs, but
before he stopped dead in the water.” --

(June 21, 2008) Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne were yesterday confirmed as
the Irish Sailing Association nominees for the Irish Olympic team following
an unsuccessful appeal against their selection. Max Treacy and Anthony
Shanks lodged an appeal to the Olympic Council of Ireland when O'Leary and
Milne were picked despite their performance at the Star World Championships
in April in which they placed highest of the three Irish contenders and
qualified the country for Beijing.

In a 10-page fax sent to the parties yesterday afternoon, the OCI tribunal
found that ISA's steering group had acted properly in their selection
procedure. Treacy and Shanks were said to be "mystified" at the decision and
would be considering the matter with their legal team on Monday. An appeal
to the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne remains a possibility. --

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* (June 20, 2008) A crucial piece of evidence in the sinking of the Texas
A&M University sailboat was pulled from the depths of the Gulf Friday
morning. A salvage team and the U.S. Coast Guard were able to recover the
keel to the Cynthia Woods from more than 100 feet of water. The keel had
broken free of the Cape Fear 38R during the 40th annual Regata de Amigos
event from Galveston to Veracruz, Mexico which led to the death of crew
Roger Stone. The keel of the Cynthia Woods has been moved to a Galveston
warehouse while the investigation continues. -- Full story and video:

* After three events on the M 30 North American Circuit, the consistency of
Bodo and Nick von der Wense’s Turbo Duck has them at the top of the
standings with the final circuit event to be held on July 11-13 in Newport,
RI. After the North American Circuit concludes, the class - now in its 12th
year - will remain in Newport to make final preparations for its North
American Championship on August 22-24 and World Championship on October 1-4.
Sail Newport will serve as a base of operations for the North Americans and
co-organizing authority for the Worlds. --

* The World's Longest Freshwater Sailboat Race started at 8:00 CDT, June 21,
2008, taking singlehanded entrants along a route just under 1,200 miles.
Sponsored by the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society, the race is known as the
Super Mac and Back, with entrants starting in either Port Huron or Chicago.

* Severe weather prompted a 20 hour delay for the start of the BMW Round
Ireland Yacht Race, finally getting underway at noon on Sunday, June 22,
2008. With a westerly breeze gusting 40 knots, 41 boats started this year’s
race though three have officially retired, with several others opting not to
start. The course is 704 miles with the rules requiring Ireland and all her
islands to be left to starboard. – Race website:

* South Dartmouth, MA - This past weekend Scott Ferguson of Jamestown, RI
won the 2008 Laser Masters US Nationals held up at the New Bedford YC. The
three day event had 58 entrants from as far as the Dominican Republic,
England and Canada. Ferguson is also known to be the chief spar designer for
the 33rd America's Cup with the BMW Oracle syndicate as well as the chief
Spar designer for the 2008-2009 Spanish Volvo Team "Equipo Telefonica". --
Complete results:

* Ecuador’s Maria Jose Cucalon was the overall first place winner at the
16th annual Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta, sailed out of the St.
Thomas Yacht Club, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 20 to 22. Cucalon
also won the Caribbean Optimist Champion 2008 title. A record 96, 8- to
15-year-old junior sailors from 14 nations – Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda,
the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Puerto
Rico, Spain, St. Maarten, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States, all three
U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela – competed in this event credited with
jump-starting Optimist sailing for kids in the Caribbean. -- Complete

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* From Terry Hutchinson: I was saddened to hear the news of George Fisher's
passing (in Issue 2622). As a pass member of the Lightning class, I have
great memories of racing against George and all the Fishers for that matter.
George was a great competitor and one thing that always struck me is that
regardless of the situation he always seemed to be smiling as if to say how
good is this? Probably a lesson somewhere for all of us.....

I know that there is a fraternity of sailor's worldwide that are saddened
but in the same breath fortunate to have had the chance to know and compete
with George.

* From Rick Bernstein: As humble a man as you ever met, George Fisher
embodied the persona we should all strive for. Having the incredible
experience of crewing for George and Greg in the 2003 Lightning World
Championships, I witnessed humility rarely seen in this age of thankless
so-called "champions." Racing in his mid 70's, racing in an extremely tough
US Worlds, going into the last day or racing, George was winning the Worlds.
In the early years of George's racing, there were no throw-outs; he would be
World Champion. In reality though it is secondary that he ended up 6th, his
highest finish ever.

The night before racing ended, George seemed almost uncomfortable, sort of
shy and modest at the evening's party as countless wanted to shake his hand,
discuss how he does it, ask where he gets the drive, and on and on people
kept approaching him. It was an evening I'll never forget standing back and
watching George shake off the attention, while really seeing the priceless
glow of excitement in his eyes; he was uncomfortably on Cloud Nine. The next
time you just don't have the energy, when you're feeling down or tired,
can't go sailing with your family because you've been racing, remember 81
year young George Fisher; I know I will.

* From Bill Munster: As a long time US SAILING member, and former Board of
Director, and a Vice-Pres, I totally agree with the comments last week from
Dobbs Davis and Bill Sandberg. Jim Capron was the most dedicated member,
giving of all his free time as well as every other moment he could spare
working on this great organization. He has left a trail that would be hard
to follow when it comes time to step down as President. I congratulate and
thank him for a job well done.

* From Fred Young: Kudos to for sponsoring the Australian team’s
attempt to break the 50kpm sailing speed record. We should do everything we
can to support companies that support the sport of sailing, including going
out of our way to do business with those companies. All of us should check
out their website (, and email them at telling them that because of their
sponsorship of this sailing event, we have learned about their company, and
will probably do business with them in the future. And good luck to the
Wotrocket team in getting to 50 knots before the French.

* From Mike Ingham: (re, personal chef story in #2622) Barbara was our chef
at the recently hel J/24 Worlds in Italy. What she failed to mention,
besides providing excellent food and the convenience factor, was that she
also brought me to the emergency room to get my fingertip sewed back on when
I mangled it during a race. Definitely full service!

A psychologist is a man who watches everyone else when a beautiful girl
enters the room.

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