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SCUTTLEBUTT 2648 - Tuesday, July 29, 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.

A lawyer for Peggy Fossett, widow of the aviation adventurer Steve
Fossett, has dismissed claims he may have faked his own death. Michael
LoVallo disputed suggestions from investigators and insurance assessors
that the record-setting pilot and balloonist, a friend of Virgin boss
Sir Richard Branson, could still be alive after his mysterious
disappearance in the Nevada desert 10 months ago.

Mrs. Fossett petitioned a Chicago court to have her husband declared
dead. Her request was granted in February and her husband's estate of
more than $10 million was awarded to her. "The remarks (that Fossett
could still be alive) were in disregard of the fact, many facts," Mr
LoVallo told The Daily Telegraph.

Fossett, 63, the first man to fly non-stop round the earth in a hot air
balloon, went missing last September after taking off from a remote
Nevada airstrip on a short trip to inspect a site for possible use in a
land speed record attempt. He never returned. His disappearance sparked
the most intensive hunt for a missing aircraft in US history, involving
Civil Air Patrol's Black Hawks, fitted with infra-red technology, as
well as 30 private planes and a global internet effort led by
and Google. Mrs. Fossett contributed over $1 million to the efforts, her
lawyers have said. Neither Fossett's body nor the plane's wreckage were
ever located.

But Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Ryan, of the US Civil Air Patrol, who
briefed the media during the search, has said the adventurer's body
"should have been found", given the extensive search efforts, suggesting
he could still be alive. "It's not like we didn't have our eyes open. We
found six other planes while we were looking for him. We're pretty good
at what we do." Lt Col Ryan said she believed Fossett may have faked his
own death due to personal problems or fears about his business dealings.
Fossett made millions trading futures and options on Chicago exchanges.

Risk assessor Robert Davis, who conducted an eight-month investigation
for insurers Lloyd's of London, said he had "discovered that there is
absolutely no proof that Steve Fossett is actually dead". Lloyd's is
said to face a £25 million (approximately US$50 million) payout on
Fossett's death. -- Catherine Elsworth, The Telegraph, UK, full story:

* Last week, the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics went up to San Jose State
University for team processing. “There we got all of our official
Olympic team gear, and even had to dress up in our opening ceremonies
outfit to be told how to wear it correctly by the Ralph Lauren Polo
fashion designers. We also got fitted for exclusive Nike leather jackets
and got to choose our Olympic Team ring. After our processing we had to
hurry up to St. Francis Yacht Club for yet another party! We had one
more final send off and it was really great. The very next morning we
were on a plane to Beijing!” -- Graham Biehl, US Olympic 470 sailor,

* The Qingdao Olympic village opened on Sunday. Decorated with Chinese
paper cuts, water paintings and kites, the dwelling district for the
Olympic sailors has a special display room for folk culture, where
craftsmen perform Chinese traditional arts like sugar painting, paper
cutting and metal sculpting. It also has a Chinese painting learning
area where athletes and visitors can learn calligraphy. They can also
taste a special Qingdao tea in the tea ceremony area and relax in the
Chinese massage room. Sailors from 42 countries and regions had checked
in at Qingdao Olympic sailing center as of Monday. According to the
sailing committee (BOCOG), a total of 400 sailors from 62 countries and
regions had registered for the events.

* Postponing a popular beer festival, recruiting underwater robots and
deploying navy ships, these are just a few measures Olympic co-host city
Qingdao is using to fend off any possible terror attack. The renowned
coastal resort in east China's Shandong Province has launched a security
network that covers a sea area of 50 square km where the 29th Olympic
Games' sailing competitions will be held, said the city's mayor Xia
Geng. Qingdao police have placed the competition area under close
monitoring by using underwater robots with video cameras, as well as
bomb-detecting devices and helicopters, according to Zhao Chunguang,
Qingdao Public Security Bureau director. The Chinese navy will also
deploy ships around the cordoned area, and a group of frogmen from the
navy will conduct underwater security checks ahead of the competitions.
--, full story:

* The drafting of thousands of troops to battle a massive algae bloom in
Olympic co-host city Qingdao showed China's resolve to hold a successful
sailing event at all costs. It also added to an already heavy security
presence aimed at safeguarding the Games regatta which locals complain
has kept tourists away, hurt business and left a tense atmosphere in a
usually bucolic seaside resort. As bands of sweaty soldiers, common
volunteers and melancholy tourists toiled on beaches to fight the
stinking green tide, tourism workers chafed at stricter rules governing
visas, an unspoken ban on mass gatherings and pricey hotel rooms.
"People here are already talking of a missed Olympic opportunity," said
Nigel Edwards, general manager of the four-star Copthorne Hotel, one of
Qingdao's six official 2008 Games hotels. "The authorities have created
a situation where no one comes, so they can control what happens. All
they want to do is hold an incident-free Games. They really don't care
about the financial aspect," said Edwards. --, full story:

Come to the Morris Service yard in Northeast Harbor, Maine for a great
night of sailing. With slides and video, Gary Jobson will preview what
to watch for in sailing at this summer’s Olympic Games; and he will give
an overview of the Americas Cup Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race and a
first look at parts of his new feature on Antarctica. Come for a glass
of wine or a beer at 5pm, the evening will wrap up around 7pm. For more
information call Morris Service 207-276-5300 or visit

The International Optimist Dinghy Association is looking for help as
they attempt to establish how many of this year’s Olympic sailors had
previously competed in an Opti. “The Optimist Class’s own research at has already established that at least
60%, as in 2004, of boat helms sailed Optimists when younger and that
over 70% of these did so at international level,” explained class
secretary Robert Wilkes. “We also know that 12% definitely did not. We
would much appreciate it if your readers could give us this information
about the missing 28%, identified on our list by being printed in
lowercase (e.g. “provoyeur”). Any corrections would also be appreciated.
Unfortunately our resources do not permit a full analysis of crew though
we know that at least ten of the 470 male crew are former Optimist

“This research is most important in persuading countries new to dinghy
sailing to “start at the very beginning” if they have Olympic
aspirations. We are especially proud to note that Barrows (ISV), Douglas
(BAR) and Maegli (GUA) and possibly others made it,” Wilkes concluded.

Fortunes continue to rise and fall in the waning days of the
Singlehanded TransPac. The 16th running of this popular event started
off Corinthian YC on July 12 and has ended for a third of the 22-boat
fleet as you read this. Boats are now finishing daily off picturesque
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, and with two exceptions, the remainder of the fleet
should finish easily before the Saturday, August 2, deadline. Currently
anchored in Hanalei (in order of finish) are Dogbark, Hecla, Alchera,
Polar Bear, Chesapeake and Ragtime! Over the weekend, misfortune befell
Ruben Gabriel, whose Pearson 23 Sparky had lost its mast 680 miles from
the finish. Details were sketchy, but we understand that, as of Sunday
evening, Ruben had fashioned a jury rig and was proceeding toward
Hanalei at about 3 knots. The Coast Guard is aware of and monitoring the
situation. -- Latitude 38, full story:; event

Dame Ellen MacArthur admits she would "love" to win back her world
record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe - but it will
not happen for at least three years. The 32-year-old, who completed the
27,354-nautical mile voyage in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33
seconds in February 2005, had her time smashed by Frenchman Francis
Joyon by two weeks in January this year. "I'm young enough to have a few
more attempts yet," she said.

Nothing will happen for at least three years as MacArthur is currently
committed to a partnership with BT that began in September 2007 and
involves Extreme 40 sailing in the iShares Cup as well as IMOCA 60
events, but she insists she is in no rush. "At the moment we don't have
a boat that is capable of doing that (breaking the record). Afterwards
we will have to see." -- Riath Al-Samarrai, PA Sport, full story:

In the North Atlantic, the crewed, non-stop Transat Quebec Saint-Malo
fleets are in the middle of nowhere enveloped in fog and yet they’re
racing as if they’re in a harbor. Following yesterday’s damage to his
rudder, Laiterie de Saint Malo is making towards the French coast by its
own means.

Given the poor visibility, vigilance is the order of the day. Still the
overall leader, trimaran Crêpes Whaou! has eased off the pace slightly,
a little scalded by the misfortune suffered by Laiterie de Saint-Malo,
but envisaging an arrival in Saint Malo sometime between Thursday and

In the monohull category it is debatable whether the FICOs or Class 40s
will be first to make the finish? After eight days of racing, seven of
which have been at the mercy of capricious winds, often on the nose, to
extract themselves from the Saint Lawrence, the first competitors in the
40 foot Class are still maintaining an infernal pace. The top players in
the class are sailing virtually neck and neck with the leader of the
FICO fleet, An Ocean of Smiles, testifying to a difficult night in 25
knots of breeze under spinnaker. --

North Sails clients sped through NYYC Race Week presented by Rolex
winning IRC-1 (Rosebud); Swan 42 (Tiburon); Melges 32 (STAR); IRC-2
(Sforzando); J/109 (Gut Feeling) and Beneteau 36.7 (Elan) classes.
Second place in IRC-2 was Craig Albrecht and crew on his Farr 395
'Avalanche.' "Over the winter we worked with our North Sails
representative to optimize the boat's sail inventory," said Albrecht.
"This was the first event of the year for 'Avalanche', but we quickly
found ourselves sailing faster than ever in a very tough division. Time
and time again, North finds ways to make my Farr 395 go faster."

* Do you like the idea of working for North Sails One Design in San
Diego, CA? This premier company is currently seeking a detail-oriented
designer for hands-on product development to join them in their new Pt.
Loma facility. Read on for qualifications:

* Last Sunday afternoon, the 140-foot, two-masted schooner, Spirit of
South Carolina was struck by lightning while sailing off the east coast
of Block Island. The incident disabled most of the electronics onboard
and the engine power which is controlled by electronic components. There
were no injuries to passengers or crew. The ship, which is devoted to
experiential education programs for South Carolina youth, is equipped
with substantial lightning protection as well as surge protection in the
electrical system. The crew assessed that its huge wooden hull “appeared
to be uncompromised.” --

* 109 boats gathered on Lake Winnebago for three days for the annual X
boat championships held at the newly renovated Oshkosh Yacht Club’s site
known as the Waters. Senior Fleet: 1. Davis and RJ Porter, Lake Geneva,
21; 2. Michael and Mitchell Lee, Lake Geneva, 27; 3. Charlie Morris /
Mac Six, Lake Geneva, 47; 4. George Kutschenreuter / John Barr, Lake
Beulah, 41; 5. – Nicholas and Madeline Clemence , Pewaukee, 43. Junior
Fleet: 1. Joe and Griffin Rolander, Lake Geneva, 15; 2. Eddie Cox / Cole
Lee, White Bear, 37; 3. Addy Ferguson / Hayley Jewett, Minnetonka. 44.

* The Chesapeake Bay in late July usually isn't the best place to find
two days of steady breeze, but that's exactly what the sailors at the
Lightning Atlantic Coast Championship in Rock Hall, Maryland enjoyed
last weekend on the Eastern Shore. David Starck (Buffalo, NY) and crew,
Scott Ikle & Ellen Starck, won the event followed by Allan Terhune, Jr
and Geoff Becker - both from Annapolis, MD. Full results and photos can
be found at and

* Lorain Sail and Yacht Club hosted the 2008 Interlake Nationals this
past Thursday-Sunday on the southern shores of Lake Erie. Ten races were
completed in near perfect conditions. Skip Dieball (LaSalle, MI) & Craig
Koschalk won the event with 20 points followed by Greg Fisher (Annapolis
) and Hank Boissoneault (Sandusky) tied for second with 39 points, with
Fisher winning the tiebreak. Fourth was Scott Savage (40 points) and
fifth was Matt Fisher (46 points). Bryan Sarber (Indianapolis) won the
Challenger Division. Ryan Kyle won the Junior Division. Betsy Bradley
won the Women’s Division. --

* The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water honored
Safe Kids of Greater Toledo, OH with its 2007 Boating Safety Grant
Excellence Award and announced the granting of nearly $50,000 to 19
groups across the US for its 2008 Boating Safety Grant program. The
Boating Safety Grant Excellence Award is bestowed on the group that
conducts the year's most innovative, resourceful and effective grant
project. Safe Kids of Greater Toledo will receive an additional $1000 to
use towards last year's grant program that included public service
announcements promoting life jacket use that aired in regional movie
theaters. --

* Stan Gibbs’ Cal 25, Calamazoo, proved too tough to beat as he took
first place honors in the Cal 25 Regional Championship Regatta hosted by
the local Cal 25 Fleet V and Long Beach Yacht Club. In the two-day
regatta under sunny skies and constantly shifting breezes of 8-10 knots,
Gibbs won the first five races and sat out the sixth for his throw-out.
Don Reiman’s Rhyme N Reason took second place with One Time, sailed by
Art Melendres, LBYC finishing third. .

* Surf City YC on the NJ shore hosted the 40th Annual Mariner Class
National Championship Regatta with 23 boats participating with skippers
and crew ranging in age from 15 to 75. Six windward/leeward races were
held over the two days with winds ranging from 8-25 mph. The close
competition within the fleet ended with Newt Wattis and son in law Eric
Joesten as crew winning the last race and the regatta by a single point
over Paul Coward and Ginny Fine of Brant Beach YC. Terry Moulton with
crew John Gray was a close third. -- and

* Reminder: A live webcast of a memorial party for Mark Rudiger at the
San Francisco Yacht Club is scheduled for Tuesday, 1-4 p.m. Pacific
Daylight Time, at Rudiger, 53, died July 17 after
a relapse of lymphoma at the height of his career as one of the world's
top ocean racing navigators. The webcast will feature friends and family
offering tributes and anecdotes.

Sally Barkow and Team Seven Sailing have already left for China. The
Olympics are only two weeks away; show your support with an official
Team Seven Technical Tee by SailFast Apparel. It’s quick drying and
offers UV 50 protection. Shop now at

Reader commentary is encouraged, with letters to be submitted to the
Scuttlebutt editor, aka, ‘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, and save your bashing and personal
attacks for elsewhere. As an alternative, a more open environment for
discussion is available on the Scuttlebutt Forum.

-- To submit a Letter:
-- To post on the Forum:

* From Bob Patterson: I used to race Lightnings in Sheboygan when I
lived in Iowa. Great place to sail, lovely people. As far as the
equipment and facilities now present, I have a feeling Terry Kohler,
who, besides running one of the largest bathroom and kitchen fixtures in
the US, is also owner of North Sails, may have had something to do with
it. Bill Koch supports the Sea Scouts, Roy Disney did Morning Light and
supports junior sailing in SoCal. We need more guys like them to help
grow and support sailing.

* John Schalka: It was great to see Greg Norman do so well at the
British Open. Kind of makes aging look like a relative thing. I would
like to point out that Al Clark at 50 or so, from Vancouver has been on
an awesome run in recent weeks in the very tough Laser class. He won in
the full rig at WAVEs against about 40 boats, the Canadian Nationals
also in full rigs, and he easily won the just completed North Americans
at St Francis against 85 Radial sailors. Al coaches several of the best
sailors in North America including Mike Leigh, Abe Torchinsky, Luke
Ramsey, Andy Wong and Kevin Grierson. He actually sails the Laser with
these guys almost every day and his hard work is apparent both in his
own performance and in the results of his guys.

One man practicing sportsmanship is better than a hundred teaching it.
-- Knute Rockne

Special thanks to Morris Yachts, North Sails, and SailFast Apparel.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at