Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 2651 - Friday, August 1, 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.

Canadians Oskar Johansson, a 31-year-old Oaksville sailor, preparing for his
second -- and perhaps final Olympic Games, is confident that he and partner
Kevin Stittle have done everything they could to challenge for a medal in
Beijing. They've scouted the Qingdao venue more than any of the competition
they'll face at next month's Games. They've planned on how to cope with the
possibility of encountering massive collections of algae on the water during
their races. And, between the two of them, they've lost more than 30 pounds
specifically for the regatta.

This is likely Johansson's last chance at an Olympic medal, knowing that the
Tornado class almost certainly will not be contested at the 2012 Games, if
ever again. “It's sad (Tornado will be discontinued) because it's probably a
result of Canada not voting for it (to stay in the Games),” he continued.
“When your country votes against you in the midst of a campaign where you're
giving up all these years of your life, it's pretty hard to accept. It has
lit the fire within.” -- Sail World, complete story:

* From Canadian Laser rep Michael Leigh: “As the Games have been
approaching, I've been reflecting on my past seasons in Europe and what it
is going to be like racing in China. I was quite amused the other day when
juxtaposing my expectations during my first trip to Europe in 2003 to my
present expectations, as back then I would have been happy to finish in the
top ten at a major grade one once in my career, whereas this season, if I
have been out of the top 5 it has been a tough event for me. However,
heading into China, I know that a top 5 or even 10 is going to be a
difficult result to attain, as there are so many good sailors racing there.
At the start of the season, I thought that the defining factor at the games
will be psychological, and throughout the season, it has only been
re-enforced. I think the quest for the Qingdao 'magic potion' has been in
vain, and in the end, it will come down to performing the fundamentals
consistently well.” --

* From U.S. Olympic Team Leader Dean Brenner: “The 2008 US Olympic Sailing
Team is getting settled in China, and we are all looking forward to the
beginning of the event. Everyone on the team is doing their final
preparations, and tapering in their own way. It's fascinating to watch elite
athletes in very different events each prepare in their own way. In some
classes, the final preparation includes wrapping up equipment projects,
along with the final sail testing. In other classes, equipment isn't very
technical, so the tapering involves a focus on the body and the mind. And in
some events, like RS:X, it's all about the body and the mind.” -- Read on:

* American Finn representative Zach Railey provides a video report from
Qingdao, showing the Olympic village for the athletes along with the layout
for the boat yard and the sailing course:

Russ George is the founder and current President of Planktos Science, a
privately held San Francisco-based eco-restoration and ocean eco-technology
company, whose mission is the restoration of damaged habitats. Here he
offers a lucid and alarming account of the real problem for the survival of
the world's oceans as we know them, and, literally blowing in the wind, an
approach to a solution:

“I have read some of the many news reports on the ocean acidification and
reef crisis that are presently extant. I beg to differ with the position
that reducing our global carbon footprint will help save our ocean bathing
beauties, the reefs. It's not that I don't fully support reducing our carbon
footprint, I am rather more concerned about the role of the present deadly
dose of anthropogenic CO2 already in the air on its way to our surface ocean
waters. Those hundreds of billions of tonnes of anthropogenic CO2, the bulk
of which we've prescribed and put en route in the past 75 years, are slowly
dissolving into the surface ocean.

“By most accounts CO2 in the atmosphere takes on the order of 200 years to
equilibrate with the surface ocean. Hence the pH drop we've been recording
is just the proverbial tip of the dry-iceberg. As the surface ocean absorbs
the rest of this deadly dose, regardless of whether we emit more which we
surely are doing, the acidification process already destined to occur is
more than sufficient to change ocean ecology in far wider and disastrous
fashion than merely scalding the bathing beauties at the shore. -- Sail
World, read on:

Want a competitive edge in your next regatta? Get a forecast from - the worldwide specialists in high resolution weather
modeling. For the first time ever, you can access a forecast using a model
that calculates the wind at an incredible 1km resolution for your local
area. High resolution equals better accuracy. The web based forecasts are
easy to use, and available in maps, graphs and even a text format that is
accessible on your mobile phone. It is the system that champion sailors rely
upon, and until January 2009 the forecasts are free of charge:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: is a new Scuttlebutt advertiser -
look for their weather forecasts to be included as part of our Olympic

In Issue 2650, America’s Cup historian John Rousmaniere provided his learned
opinion on the intent by the America's Cup Deed of Gift authors George L.
Schuyler and John Cox Stevens when they wrote the now famous and (he
believes) unambiguous “having” clause in the requirements for a challenger
to hold an annual regatta. It is this interpretation that much of the recent
event litigation has hinged on. John’s position was posted in the Forum;
here is the position of two others:

* From Steve Tsuchiya: I agree with my friend John Rousmaniere. Here’s more
In 1882, George Schuyler, with assistance from a committee of the NYYC,
revised the original deed of gift. This revision of the deed introduced the
now-famous “having” clause, among other changes. (Schuyler made a final
revision in 1887, but kept the “having” clause.) Why was the clause added?
According to evidence that I’ll share with you in a moment, the NYYC was
dissatisfied for having easily defeated two back-to-back challenges from
inland Canadian yacht clubs (one by an obscure club, the other from Royal
Canadian Yacht Club) that apparently had little experience in racing large
seagoing yachts. To make matters worse, the challenger was making plans to
challenge again. Thus, the NYYC decided to revise the deed of gift to
preserve the prestige and usefulness of the America’s Cup as a yacht-design
contest. -- Read on:

* From Tim Minogue: It’s remarkable that John Rousmanierre should quote a
statement regarding the 1844 bylaws of the NYYC as clarifying the intent of
the “having” clause of the America’s Cup Deed of gift. Considering that this
was 7 years before America sailed around the Isle of Wight, and 13 years
before the first Deed of Gift was framed (1857, not 1851 as John states),
it’s incredible that Schuyler should be so clairvoyant about the Deed. --
Read on:

* Lysekil, Sweden (July 31, 2008) - Claire Leroy from France has sailed very
well, losing only one match in the first round-robin in Lysekil Women’s
Match, the world’s largest women match racing event. Among the home sailors
Jenny Axhede ended up with 7-4, while defending champion Linda Rahm’s 6-5
score was enough to allow for the sixth and final slot that moves on to the
next round-robin. -- Complete report:

* At 18h49’14" (GMT), on Thursday 31st July 2008, Franck-Yves Escoffier, on
board the Class’50 Open trimaran Crêpes Whaou! crossed the finish line of
the seventh Transat Quebec-Saint Malo off the city of Saint-Malo, France
doing twenty knots. After 11 days 3 hours 19 minutes and 14 seconds of
racing, at an average theoretical speed of 10.68 knots, the skipper from
Saint-Malo and his three crewmen, Yves Le Blévec, Bertrand Chambert-Loir and
Christophe Aillet were first to finish this 2855 mile (5287 km)
transatlantic crossing that began in the Saint Lawrence river. -- Read on:

The good fortunes of Lauderdale Yacht Club sailors over the last couple
weeks have swung the spotlight toward this Florida club. Not usually
considered one of the top names in sailing, there is not a dock full of
grand prix racers, nor an adjacent mooring field full of sleek one-design
sloops. The parking lot isn’t full of Stars or Etchells, but the club does
seem to developing some pretty darn good sailors.

In the past couple weeks, sailors associated with LYC either as members,
children of members, or coaches have been the top females at Club 420
nationals, 1st at USODA Optimist Girls National Championship, 1st at USODA
Optimist National Championship, Top girl at USODA Optimist National
Championship, National Champion in the Melges 32 class, 1st in IRC 1 at the
NYYC Annual Regatta, and 4th at Laser North Americans (full rig).
Additionally, this summer a LYC youth was the top American at the IOD North
Americans, and shortly a frequent LYC coach will start her quest for a medal
in the Laser Radial in Qingdao (Anna Tunnicliffe).

Not bad for our little group. Aw, screw it, the yachting committee meeting
in August will be a blast! There will be so many toasts, we may need
designated drivers. -- John Payne

The Melges 20 has been introduced and is sailing with fantastic success –
see a new video now at A very successful Melges 32 National
Championship last week at New York Yacht Club was the buzz on Narragansett
Bay. Melges just unveiled a new look website for, with an
expanded parts section for their one-design racers that is sure to expand
over the coming months. Whether you sail a Melges 24 or one of the Melges
Scows, you can get detailed information on the new site. Look for
the Melges 20 up close and live at the boat shows! Race to

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include the US team meeting with the President, Optis in New Jersey, Lasers
in California, Scuttlebutt beer in Washington, diabolical winds in Rhode
Island, plus oldies but goodies: Sally Barkow in an Optimist and J boat
Velsheda’s historic return to the yard where she was built 75 years earlier.
If you have images you would like to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt
editor. Here are this week’s photos:

* If you have never raced dinghies in San Francisco, you will have after
seeing this gallery of images taken from the Laser North Americans:

* The Columbia River Gorge in Cascade Locks, OR was once only known as the
home for high flying aerial windsurfing, but now the site attracts a full
array of performance racing, and recently was host to the 29er US National

The Scuttlebutt editors regularly receive email press releases that are
dressed up as news, but most are only trying to promote someone’s products
are services. Since each newsletter only has room for a minimal amount of
paid advertising, these releases tend to get tossed. However, the
Scuttlebutt Forum has a section dedicated to these announcements, providing
the ‘buttheads with an arena to view the latest updates from the marine
industry. If your job is to pimp the media for free product promotion, we
strongly suggest you post your information in the ‘New Product
Announcements’ section of the Scuttlebutt Forum. Who knows, if you do a good
enough job, maybe it will get included into the newsletter. Post them here:

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 be no longer than 250 words (letter
might be edited for clarity or simplicity). 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 Scott Sellers: (re, story in ‘butt 2650) As a participant in the
regatta with weather gates referenced by Jeff Zarwell, I have a different
opinion on their use. They are a terrible idea for two reasons:

1) They are unsafe and more likely to lead to a collision. Most of the fleet
approaches on starboard layline and any boat rounding the starboard gate is
playing dodge 'em on port tack first going upwind getting to the starboard
gate and then going downwind with a line of upwind starboard tackers coming
at them.
2) They are unfair and more likely to have the race determined by race
committee error. With two gate marks and two offsets, even the best race
committee will be challenged to make them equal length and angle to the

The biggest beneficiary of weather gates that I saw was the boatyard that
repaired the boats from the collisions coming out of the starboard gate.

* From Iain Woolward: I believe that the 720 Alternative Penalty is eroding
standards of rule adherence to the detriment of the sport. Here’s why:

1. The relatively minor nature of the penalty seems to infer that the
associated infraction is also minor. But it is NOT “minor” to, for example,
ruin fellow competitors’ leeward mark roundings by disregarding the relevant
rules. It’s very, very annoying.
2. Because the 720 penalty is often no worse than the consequence of doing the
right thing, it acts as an INCENTIVE to break rules. For example: barging in
on port tack into a stream of starboard tack boats at windward roundings. Often
the port-tack boat can either chance its luck with a last second tack or duck
as many starboard boats as he/she would lose by doing a 360 ‘penalty’. Also,
the 360 turn is what many port tack boats end up doing anyway, should
they think better at the last second tack and have left it too late to bear
off. Since the ‘penalty’ isn’t any more penal than doing the right thing,
why not chance one’s arm by barging in?
3. The protest system appears to be atrophying as a consequence of on-water
penalties. Increasingly at the club and regional level, the expectation that
there will be no bothersome protests – and therefore no need to plan for
hearing them - has replaced the expectation to the contrary. Infringers can
increasingly rely on this scenario when assuming they can slide out of even
taking a 360 ‘penalty’. -- Read on:

* From Bruce Campbell: (re, letter in ‘butt 2650) As usual, Rich Hazelton
has it right. When you forget about fun, you’ve lost the way. Years ago I
heard someone in a clubhouse bar sum up another sailor who didn’t seem to
get it as “professional sailor, amateur human being”. That seems to work for

* From Steve Pyatt: I'm intrigued at Richard Hazelton's (Editor, 48 ° North
Sailing Magazine) attitude to the rules (as in "...studied the rules less").
Yes, we all want fun but if there is a reduced knowledge of the rules as he
suggests, then it is worse for all of us as chaos theory takes over. Most of
the unpleasantness I have experienced over the years is through sailors NOT
knowing the rules causing chaos in situations by not realising what those
who do are doing to avoid problems. Typical ones are those who really don't
know that rule 18 is the situation pertaining approaching and AT the
'circle', not inside it; or the outside of two port tack boats not giving
room to the other to duck a starboard tack boat (very messy) and boats
tacking onto port in front of those still on starboard at starboard-hand
rounding windward marks. All of these popular misconceptions leads to much
bad feeling and destroys the fun.

* From Adrian Morgan, Ullapool, Wester Ross, Scotland: The determination to
paint Bertarelli as the bad guy smacks of nationalism. The Swiss? Winning
the "Holy Grail" of Yaachtin'? Fact is the US of A yachting establishment
sees Ellison as the saviour of its (stolen) Cup, about which, it must be
said, more heroic b***t has been written than any other sporting event in
history. Ellison, for his part, miffed at being beaten on the water seeks
only to win the Cup by other means. Bertarell's vision of the future of the
Cup may have been a tad skewed, but when has that ever been otherwise in the
event's history? Go Bertarelli (and I really like your ice cream by the

* From Scott MacLeod: So what do you think? Alinghi has won a significant
ruling but now it is up to them in how they handle their win. They can:

1. Be magnanimous in victory and suggest that everyone get together (BMOR &
Team NZ), drop all the bad blood, and let's organize a multi-challenger
event in 2011 in Valencia in AC90's. Not only would this be a great PR move
but at least it would final show some sense to the process.
2. Or they could mutually consent a new event with CNEV and exclude BMOR and
TNZ from that event.
3. If they follow #1 and BMOR still appeals, then BMOR will look like the
bad guy and at least Ernesto can say "I told you so."

It's in Alinghi's hands to settle this once and for all. Each side has won a
battle, the sport is bloodied but it is now up to Alinghi to rise above the
personality issues and get a settlement with Larry. Nah! This would be too

Rectitude (n.): the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a Proctologist
immediately before he examines you.

Special thanks to PredictWind and Melges Performance Sailboats.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at