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SCUTTLEBUTT 2655 - Thursday, August 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.

Olympic competition has never been more intense among sailors, according to
several experienced coaches at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. "I love
looking around the boatyard during these days. You see some big changes in
people. It's great drama," says USA 49er class coach Skip Whyte, who raced
in the 470 class for many years and coached 470 sailors to a gold, three
silver and a bronze medal over five Olympics.

German Star class coach Mark Reynolds (USA), who won two gold medals in four
Olympics, said: "It is so much more professional now. I can remember taking
three weeks off from work to sail the trials. Now Olympic-class sailing at
this level is a full-time job."

Tornado competitor and multiple medallist Mitch Booth (NED) agrees. "Sailing
has become more professional," he said. "There are more full-time sailors.
We used to sail two or three regattas that took place immediately before or
after the World Championships and that would be our programme for the year.
Now the Olympics are the highlight of an on-going programme."

The sailors are now in their final stage of preparation and making
last-minute adjustments. "It's too late to worry and too early to cry," said
Rod Davis (NZL), who won gold in the Soling in 1984 for the USA and silver
in the Star for New Zealand in 1992 and is now the Olympic Director for the
New Zealand team. - Read on:

by Dean Brenner, US Olympic Sailing Team Leader
I've been Olympic Chairman for nearly four years now, and anyone who knows
me knows that one of my primary responsibilities is to raise the profile of
Olympic Sailing in the US, and use that raised profile to increase our
support for the athletes in our program. And over the last four years of
shamelessly stumping for Olympic sailing, one of the questions I get asked
consistently is "Dean, I care about our sport, but why should I care about
Olympic sailing?"

Well, I wish I could use a little 1960s-era Star Trek technology to beam
everyone who has ever asked me that question over here to Qingdao. Because
anyone who has ever spent five minutes with the athletes on the 2008 Olympic
Sailing Team will never ask that question again.

I've been embedded with our team over the last few weeks. We eat together,
we play foosball together, we work out together, we live on the same floor
of the hotel, we crowd into the same small room to go online. And it's a
little known secret that I also provide a team-only haircut and salon
service. That's a long way of saying that I have a front-row seat to witness
the character and work ethic of this team. And I can say without hesitation
that if you care about our sport, you need to care about this team. -- Read

U.S. SAILING issued a press release (this week) about the upcoming U.S.
Singlehanded Championships for the George O'Day Trophy. As part of the usual
PR puff they chose to mention four previous winners of the O'Day, including
a certain Mr. Brodie Cobb who won the trophy in 1984 and 85.

The problem? Mr. Cobb is currently suspended (by U.S. SAILING) from
"participating as either skipper or crew member in any sailing competition
in the United States" because of what was euphemistically described by the
U.S. SAILING Review Board as an incident involving physical contact between
two sailors. Or if you want the gory details, here are some of the "facts
found" by the jury who heard this case...

Couldn't U.S. SAILING have found a better example of a former O'Day winner
to enhance the reputation of the event in their press release? What were
they thinking? -- Proper Course Blog,

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: Mr. Cobb is suspended until December 31, 2008.

LaserPerformance would like to wish all our athletes competing in Qingdao
the best of luck. We have been proud to support Anna Tunnicliffe (US - Laser
Radial), Andrew Campbell (US - Laser), Paul Goodison (UK - Laser), Penny
Clark (UK - Laser Radial) and Team Seven (US - Yngling) in their campaigns.
We have dedicated a portion of our website to showcase these athletes and
will be posting updates on their progress once the games commence. To check
out the Countdown to Beijing, visit us at

The numbers don't lie. The amount of Blue Jays on Long Island Sound have
slowly, but surely, been dwindling. There were a record low of 2 boats at
Blue Jay Champs this year. It makes one think: is it even worth holding Blue
Jay races next year?

We have heard our fair amount of complaints on this boat class but they have
definitely done more for sailing than they get credit for, particularly in
the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island (JSA) region. According to the
International Blue Jay Class Association, "The Blue Jay continues to be one
of the leading one-design, sloop-rigged sailboats in existence today." We're
not quite sure how accurate that statement is today, but it was definitely
designed to mimic the Lightning, which we all know to be a highly
competitive class. This boat has been the feeder for some strong sailors and
provides a firm base for every basic sailing skill such as spinnaker work,
working with a crew, and learning how to operate a heavy piece of boat.

Unfortunately for this class, the general consensus claims that the Pros
outweigh the Cons. So what do you guys think? Should we scrap Blue Jay races
altogether and let the Pixel progress, or should we keep this rich piece of
history sailing in our waters? Leave us comments, take the poll, or e-mail
JSA. We would really like to hear your reasoning on why the Blue Jay is so
awesome, or why it belongs in a bonfire. --

*At the 2008 Pixel/Blue Jay Championship, hosted by Noroton Yacht Club
(Darien, CT) on August 1 - 2, there were 23 Pixels and 2 Blue Jays.

* Ships visiting or leaving the port of Qingdao, venue of the Olympic
sailing event in east China, were under strict safety checks, an official
said here Wednesday. Cargo vessels, especially passenger ships, were
undergoing intensified examinations while passing through the port. Local
maritime affairs authority has dispatched 62 patrol boats to monitor or
provide maintenance services in the water area. -- Read on:

* From Derby Anderson, US media rep: "Here at the village we've seen
sunshine two out of eleven days, and I've heard that up in Beijing they are
shooting rockets into the clouds to disperse some chemicals that make it
rain and clear up the smog. Pretty impressive technology!" --

* From Andrew Campbell, US Laser rep: "Just outside the security fence are
towering skyscrapers and millions of people, nearly nine million in Qingdao
alone hustling through the streets and going about normal Chinese lives. The
culture shock is quite real, unlike any other place I have been. The
language is fluid at times and choppy at others and all the while completely
incomprehensible to somebody without any training. Even in Europe you can at
least get around thanks to the commonality of English's Latin roots. Let's
just say that if you get lost in a cab here, it could be hours before you're
able to direct the driver to a known landmark with little more than finger
pointing." --

* From Carl Williams, NZL Star rep: "Wednesday was the very typical Qingdao
conditions that we are all used to racing in from last year's Pre-Olympic
regatta. Light winds of 4-7knts with plenty of tide which causes a real mess
of a sea state. It makes sailing upwind a balancing act while still trying
to stay in phase. It makes sailing downwind a real battle to sail fast and
avoid flopping and flapping your self to pieces out there caught between the
tide pushing hard against the breeze."--

* The clear skies from earlier in the week have been replaced by the
overcast that drastically reduces visibility. Here are a couple photos of US
RS:X Women's rep Nancy Rios in the haze:

* The American audience for Olympic Sailing will view the racing online, as
there is no television coverage planned. According to Gary Jobson, who will
be providing race commentary for NBC at their New York studios, there will
be one featured class for each race, wherein there will be approximately two
cameras on the course, three competing boats with onboard cameras (should be
the top three in the standings), and one camera in the air. Daily online
coverage will include the featured races in their entirety, plus a short
highlight video that Jobson will produce. It is unknown at this time whether
shows will be archived for later viewing. -- Schedule:

* WEATHER FORECAST - Qingdao Olympic Venue: Light winds for Thursday, August
7th increasing to 10 knots by the end of the day. Wind direction from ESE
with no major trends in direction. View maps/graphs at - to get the animated
hour by hour forecast map images, sign up for free worldwide forecasts at

* From Vincenzo Onorato, Mascalzone Latino (ESP): Now that there is only one
last chance left for an appeal, last week's decision by a New York court to
re-instate CNEV as Challenger of Record puts the whole future of the
America's Cup at risk. For if their decision stands, our sport's premier
match will come to an end as a genuine sailing competition. What we will
have instead will be a regatta that just pretends to be the Cup.

Predictably, we have heard panicky cries for a multi-challenger event at all
costs. It is almost as if the rules don't matter. But what sort of event
will it be when a sham COR has already connived at ensuring the defender
can't lose? In case you've forgotten, let's recall the protocol Alinghi now
brazenly promotes as its "vision." -- Read on:

* From Captain Sarno, Team Shosholoza (RSA): The question has become now a
personal issue and even worst a battle between lawyers and advocates which
mean an endless legal battle based on the technicality. BMW Oracle has never
been genuine and has pursued only their own interests. As everybody knows
the 33rd first protocol had to be considered a draft as I did. Myself and my
technical representative, together with the other Teams worked a lot
specially to clarify rather than to change some points and I think that we
succeeded in this. The last 33rd Protocol was even better than the previous
one. -- Complete interview:

Bruno Pasquinelli and his crew on "Tiamo" took the title at the 2008 J/80
North American Championships last weekend in Marina del Rey, CA. The team
dominated on the race course, allowing them to win the event without sailing
the final race. Pasquinelli's team, competing with an Ullman Sails mainsail
and jib, skillfully handled the light conditions, consistently finishing in
the top four of every race. Dropping their final score, the team finished 8
points ahead of second place in the 14-boat fleet. For the Fastest Sails on
the Planet, contact a local Ullman Sails loft and visit

* Long Beach, CA - The Alamitos Bay Yacht Club is hosting the 2008
International Laser Class U.S. National Championship this weekend on the
waters just beyond the break wall of Long Beach Harbor. Over 150 sailors
from throughout the country are expected to attend the event. The Laser Full
Rig, Laser Radial, and Laser 4.7 are the three classes that will be racing
for their respective national championship. Many of the top junior, high
school, collegiate, and professional sailors will be vying for their chance
to claim the title. --

* The 36th running of the International Rolex Regatta is planning to build
on its successes last year, which included the addition of IRC racing and
joining with the BVI Spring Regatta to offer the inaugural Virgin Islands
Race Week. Scheduled for Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29, the
event is part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series but also hosts classes for
CSA (or "Caribbean Rule") racing as well as one-designs, beach cats and
large multihulls. --

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Here are a few of the events that are coming up:
Aug 8-9 - Beaver Island Race - Harbor Springs, MI, USA
Aug 8-9 - Flip Flop Regatta - Boston, MA, USA
Aug 8-10 - 2008 U.S. Laser National Championship - Long Beach, CA, USA
Aug 9-10 - Optimist Dinghy West Coast Champs - Cascade Locks, OR, USA
Aug 10-15 - Down East Race Week XIV- Blue Hill Bay, ME, USA
Aug 10-12 - Interlake Nationals 2008 - Traverse City, MI, USA
View all the events at

It has all the critical features that draw an audience: bitter rivals, huge
sums of money, speed and danger, spectacular crashes. With the threat of
multihull racing in the next America's Cup, and the ongoing litigation
between cup defender Alinghi and the BMW Oracle Racing Team, much had been
made of the two teams meeting at the iShares Cup Extreme 40 catamaran event
at Skandia Cowes Week in Cowes, UK on August 2-4, 2008. When challenging
conditions of brisk winds and confused sea played havoc on the fleet, it
made for great viewing as the dividing line between being in control and not
proved to be too narrow for some. Event highlights from each of the three
days gives us what we want: the good, the bad, and the bloody.

Also, if you have a video you like, please send us your suggestions for next
week's Video of the Week. Click here for this week's video:

* Scuttlebutt affectionately refers to its readers as 'buttheads, but in
this video, here's an example of someone taking the reference to a whole new

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 Paul V. Oliva: Thank you for posting the Women's Jr. Doublehanded
video. My daughter is 8 years old and in her second year of Junior Sailing
at South Beach Yacht Club (San Francisco, CA). She just watched it and said
of the girls, "Wow, can I meet them? It would be great to show them our club
and what we do." It was really terrific to be able to show her such a
well-made video about such a professionally run event. As I'm on the board
of SBYC, it's also a tremendous inspiration for me about how our club can
evolve youth sailing. (Video link:

* From Captain Michael J Dailey, Fort Lauderdale, FL: Let the Swiss have it
their way. They can have their venue of choice, their timing, their rules,
whatever Ernesto wants. Then let them find new challengers because any one
of the previously declared challengers who would have actually participated
under the "New Bertarelli Rules" would have been ejected for one reason or
another had they actually presented a clear threat.

If the real challengers stayed away, so would the sponsors. So if no one
showed up to play that would leave the Swiss playing with .themselves. Being
a yank, it is an embarrassing look at our Justice system as well. Cory
Friedman shouldn't feel bad about his predictions; I would still rather read
him than the court!

* From Tim Dick, Honolulu: Imagine baseball (or basketball, football,
soccer, tennis, take your pick...) if...

The season champion was allowed, at the end of the season, to rewrite the
rules of the game including on the court and sponsorship, rule on which
stadiums could have games (and which don't), when the season starts and
ends, how many players on the team, how big and what shape the court is and
how you score, how many games and what format the season will entail, and
have same ratified by the runner up. And if the runner up disputed the
winner's changes of any or all of these rules, the dispute would be fought
out in the New York Court system, and until that dispute was settled, no
games would ensue.

Would any players, sponsors, spectators, or stadiums sign-on to such
nonsense? Your move Alinghi: how about joining with GGYC to amend the Deed
of Trust to establish an independent administrative body before this train
wreck goes over the cliff?

It's not the dying that bothers me; it's the not being here anymore.

Special thanks to LaserPerformance and Ullman Sails.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at