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SCUTTLEBUTT 2695 - Friday, October 3, 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.

Mammoth Lakes, CA (October 2, 2008) - More than a year after millionaire
adventure Steve Fossett vanished on a solo flight over California’s rugged
Sierra Nevada, searchers found the wreckage of his plane with body parts
among the debris. National Transportation Safety Board acting chairman Mark
Rosenker said Thursday that searchers had found “very little” at the scene
but enough to provide coroners with DNA. Rosenker refused to say what
exactly searchers had found, but said it was not surprising how little they
uncovered considering how long it had been since the crash.

The mangled wreckage of Fossett’s single-engine Bellanca was spotted from
the air late Wednesday near the town of Mammoth Lakes and was identified by
its tail number. Investigators said the plane had slammed straight into a
mountainside. “It was a hard-impact crash, and he would’ve died instantly,”
said Jeff Page, emergency management coordinator for Lyon County, Nev., who
assisted in the search.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were sent to figure out
what caused the plane to go down. Most of the fuselage disintegrated on
impact, and the engine was found several hundred feet away at an elevation
of 9,700 feet, authorities said. “It will take weeks, perhaps months, to get
a better understanding of what happened,” said Mark Rosenker, the NTSB’s
acting chairman.

Fossett was 63 when he vanished on Sept. 3, 2007, after taking off from a
Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton. The intrepid balloonist,
pilot and all-around thrill-seeker was scouting locations for an attempt to
break the land speed record in a rocket-propelled car. -- Tahoe Daily
Tribune, read on:

* Fossett’s yachting accomplishments include numerous crewed and
singlehanded records:

by Mark Chisnell
The 2000-01 Vendee Globe was the race that made Ellen MacArthur famous. It
would have been hard to believe if you’d read the British headlines at the
time, but she didn’t actually win. She came second behind a yacht called
PRB, sailed by Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux, also known as Le Professeur for
his analytical, intelligent approach to the sport. But it was a close run
thing, and it was never closer than on the approach to Cape Horn, when PRB
reported that the starter motor on the Professor’s generator had given out.

As you may (or may not) know, the generator is absolutely essential aboard
these boats, as they don’t carry enough water to complete the voyage.
Instead, they carry a desalinator to make the water as they go along. These
machines are run off the electrical power in the batteries, and the
batteries are charged by the generator or engine. No generator or engine
means no water, and since pretty much all the food on board is freeze dried
and needs to be rehydrated, nothing to eat either. And that’s before we’ve
got started on all the other systems that go down when there’s no power on
the boat – navigation, communication, lights... although the toilet should
still work.

And the Vendee is non-stop, no assistance – for Desjoyeaux, a stop at Cape
Horn for spares meant that he was out of the race, handing our Ellen (or
l'anglais, depending on your viewpoint) the lead. As the hours ticked by,
Desjoyeaux and his support team ashore racked their brains for a way to
repair the motor with what was onboard. The boat held north, heading for
Chile and retirement, while everyone watching (via the internet) held their
breath. -- Read on:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: For those that can think back to the glory days of
2007 America’s Cup, Mark provided some of the most engaging commentary, and
now that he has a media position with the Volvo Ocean Race, we are hopeful
to see more of the same.

(October 2, 2008) - Ericsson 3 was today handed a scoring penalty by the
International Jury for failure to comply with the Volvo Open 70 measurement
rule relating to their keel. The decision was taken after the race
Organising Authority applied to the Jury for dispensation to allow Ericsson
3 to race without having been issued a measurement certificate. Anders
Lewander and his crew will be eligible to compete without that certificate
but the penalty will be a one point deduction for each in-port race day, one
point for each scoring waypoint and two points for each offshore leg.

The penalty will apply as long as Ericsson 3 continues to use their existing
non-compliant keel. Ericsson 3’s score shall not be less than 0 points in
each instance. At issue are several cavities in the keel, which have been
filled with steel rods in an effort to comply with the measurement
definition of ‘solid’. Despite attempting to completely fill the cavities
with a series of steel rods, some voids remain. The team’s other boat,
Ericsson 4, skippered by 5-time Olympic medalist Torben Grael, has a
different keel design and received their measurement certificate. Both boats
were designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian. -- Full story:

* Ericsson Racing Team (ERT) is seeking to have their case re-opened by the
International Jury after Ericsson 3 were penalized for failure to comply
with the Volvo Open 70 measurement rule relating to their keel. At an ERT
press conference following the Jury's verdict, managing director Richard
Brisius said they were seeking the chance to present new evidence in an
effort to have the sanction re-considered. -- Full story:

* Valencia Sailing asked the Schickler-Tagliapietra yacht design firm to
give their insight into the fleet of VO70's gathered in Alicante. Included
is comprehensive commentary on each boat, with their early picks being one
of the Equipo Telefonica Farr boats to win it all, and the powerful
Humphry-designed Team Russia to break the 24 hour record. The first test
will be the in-port races on October 4th, with the first leg from Alicante,
Spain to Cape Town, SA to begin October 11th. -- Full report:

Recent reports on the performance of Samson Deep Six have been beyond
expectation. The patent-pending 6-strand anchor line combines the firmness
of a 3-strand and the flaking ability of an 8-strand. Deep Six has been
rigorously used by Terry Mangold, captain of a 74’ Viking sport fisher that
cruised Alaska this summer. Anchoring as many as 60 times in two months, the
crew noticed that, in addition to the reduced windlass slippage and great
flaking ability, the shock absorption of the anchor rode provided a very
comfortable anchoring experience. Learn more about Deep Six at or come see us at U.S. Sailboat in Annapolis,
October 9-13.

* Samson was presented with the Industrial Compass Award at the Marine
Technology Society’s (MTS’s) annual Awards Luncheon on September 16 in
recognition for its outstanding contributions to the advancement of marine
technology. Samson was acknowledged for several patented technologies that
include a synthetic rope replacement for wire ropes used as fire wires, the
use of DPX fiber in ropes that result in very durable ropes with increased
grip properties, and a reduced-recoil-risk technology that incorporates a
controlled-failure mechanism in a rope called Mooring Defender. Samson was
also commended for its commitment to the advancement of rope research
through donations of rope to science. -- Details:

Lausanne, Switzerland (October 2, 2008) - Four-time America's Cup winner
Simon Daubney was banned for two years Thursday after testing positive for
cocaine ahead of Team Alinghi's victory last year. The Court of Arbitration
for Sport upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which asked for
the 49-year-old New Zealander to be suspended. Cup officials originally had
cleared him after he denied knowingly taking the drug.

A CAS panel of three lawyers ruled Thursday that the America's Cup jury was
wrong to decide Daubney was not at fault for the presence of cocaine in his
doping sample. In a statement, CAS said Cup organizers "did not adopt
anti-doping rules consistent with the World Anti-Doping Code. The objective
presence of cocaine metabolites in Mr. Daubney's urine samples is
undisputed," the panel said. "Daubney has not established that he bears no
significant fault or negligence."

Daubney tested positive before racing began in last year's America's Cup at
Valencia, Spain, the first failed doping test in the 157-year history of the
competition. He was a trimmer with the Swiss-based Alinghi crew which went
on to beat Team New Zealand 5-2 to retain the trophy. Daubney was told about
the positive test 10 days after racing ended and left the Alinghi team two
months later. Alinghi's victory in the 32nd America's Cup is not affected by
Daubney's suspension because he was judged as an individual athlete. – ESPN
Sport, read on:

by IBI Magazine
* French boatbuilder the Beneteau Group's share price hit a 52-week low on
Tuesday following the release of its 2007-2008 financials, announcing a
strong performance for 2008 but warning of a drop in orders in 2009. The
group reported an 'atypical start to the boat season' for 2009 alongside its
2007-2008 figures, saying the current banking crisis has resulted in a
'wait-and-see' attitude among certain clients. -- Read on:

*Sweden's largest sailboat producer, Hallberg-Rassy Varvs AB, yesterday
announced that it plans to lay off 25 of its 327 employees. "The global
crisis has an impact also on us. I would be very surprised if there were not
more announcements of lay-offs from other boatbuilding companies," managing
director Magnus Rassy told local newspaper Bohuslaningen. -- Read on:

* According to Info-Link's rolling 12-month "Bellwether" report of the US
retail market, retail sales slid about 2.5 per cent from July to August.
Retail sales were off by 23.6 per cent for the 12-month rolling period ended
in August, compared to the previous 12-month period from July 2006 through
August 2007. Info-Link's Bellwether report includes major boating states
that represent over half of retail sales in the US. -- Read on:

* Santa Cruz, CA, October 2 - It took no time for Lars Guck to pop into the
lead on the first beat of Race 6 of the 2008 A-Class Catamaran North
American Championship. It was a long course and Pete Melvin and Phil Kinder
did all that they could to reel Guck in, but it was to no avail. Following
the clearing of a fog bank, Guck rolled through the fleet to win the
afternoon race as well, further increasing his overall lead. -- Full report:

* Newport, RI (October 2, 2008) – For the second day of the M 30 World
Championship, last night’s rain cleared out and the morning brought sunny
skies accompanied by 14-17 knot shifty westerlies to Rhode Island Sound.
Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino showed their championship winning style
taking bullets in two of the day’s three races to pull within two points of
Guy Stening’s Optimum. The forecast calls for 13-18 knots at start time on
Friday and is anticipated to build over the course of the day. Final day of
racing is on October 4th. -- Event website:

* A new online Professional Captains Locator service from BoatU.S. aims to
connect boat owners seeking on-the-water transportation services with U.S.
Coast Guard licensed delivery captains. The service allows boaters to search
by region, and includes credentials such as USCG licenses held as well as
any special endorsements, knowledge of familiar waters or types of boats,
locations served, full contact information and the types of delivery
services offered, including instruction and hurricane hole deliveries. To
find a delivery Captain near you, go to

The weather system that brings the nuclear 40+ knot winds to the second
lagoon in Lüderitz, Namibia, is building. Moderate winds were expected
Thursday, building on Friday and peaking on Saturday, with tides at the
right level for many hours of competition speed sailing.

The speed sailors are starting to get edgy with anticipation, as the
conditions during the next few days will be as good as or better than when
American Rob Douglas had his historical run at this course on September 19,
2008 that set the new outright world speed record of 49.84 knots over a 500
meter course.

Since that time, with the training and equipment modifications that have
taken place for all competitors, expectations are high to finally cross the
50 knot barrier. This week’s video has footage of Douglas’ record run, and
his comments on establishing the new mark. Click here for this week’s video:

* If you have a video you like, please send your suggestion for next week’s
Video of the Week to

RONSTAN ORBIT THE BEST RATCHET BLOCK? recently looked at the Ronstan orbit blocks, to discover
their pros and cons, and find where they performed best. These cool looking,
light blocks are designed for dinghies, and the larger series 70 is for
small sportsboats. Get an idea how the Orbit blocks performed here
( will
help you find the best gear, by reviewing hundreds of boating products and
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Alan Walz ‘Trapper’ Lippincott, 62, of Annapolis, died of cancer Sept. 21,
2008, at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The
son of Stanley ‘Skillful’ Lippincott and Helen Walz Lippincott, he was born
March 4, 1946, into the extended boatbuilding and sailing clan associated
with the legendary Lippincott Boat Works of Riverton, NJ. Growing up in and
around the boatyard, he worked with his uncles Howard, Marcy, Raymond and
Bob and numerous cousins at the Boat Works through his teen years and into
adulthood, mastering virtually every facet of sailboat construction.

An accomplished sailor, he began his racing career as a youngster in
Dusters, then competed for more than 40 years in the Star class, taking part
in numerous championships not only in Stars but also in Lightnings, as both
skipper and crew. Popular on the U.S. Star racing circuit, he was known for
his sense of humor and willingness to offer help, and share information and
technique. He also participated in other classes, and was sought-after as a
valuable senior crew member and tactician by numerous racing skippers.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 am., Friday, Oct. 3, at
Eastport Yacht Club, 317 First St., Annapolis. In lieu of flowers, memorial
contributions may be made to the American Red Cross or the American Cancer
Society. -- Full report:

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include Emirates Airlines TP52 branding, Snipe mast inverting, aerial
photographing, innovative boat building, Maltese Falcon spectating, Noah’s
Ark re-living, and end-of-season racing. If you have images you would like
to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor. Here are this week’s photos:

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 Todd R. Berman, Hartford, CT: (re, story in Issue 2694) Three cheers
for Brad Read and Whitney Slade, two people working for not for profits,
working to leverage up the many great values of international sailing
competition. While self serving billionaires are destroying the America's
Cup before our eyes, creative new bridges to get more kids into sailing are
being built by those with far less resources.

* From Rick Tears: (re, the passing of John Biddle in Issue 2694) What a
great man! When I first started sailing here in Dallas, TX way back in the
mid 1960’s on a Flying Scot, one of the winter “highlights” was to go to the
John Biddle show which was generally held during the dead of winter in
either January or February. The annual event was “nominally” sponsored by
the local United States Power Squadron/U.S.P.S. – but was instead almost
totally underwritten by a couple of John’s great friends David Steere (the
owner of the S&S 56’ ‘Yankee Girl’) and his brother Bruce Steere who
generally handled the navigation duties onboard Yankee Girl. I had the great
privilege of actually doing a partial S.O.R.C series on that great boat

We would all head over to McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus here in
central Dallas and pay something like $3.00 for the show. I can guarantee
you that they never even came close to covering John’s charges or the
expenses of renting out a 5,000 person auditorium (hence the sponsorship by
the Steere brothers) – but it was a very convenient venue. John (all some
6’5” of him if I remember right) would come out and in his very dry delivery
announce the schedule for the night’s show which included a brief
intermission half way through. His opening line was something like: “And
away we go to……” – and the show was on! – Read on:

* From Pru Blundell: I understand that you can’t find the film of the
seventh race from the 1983 America’s Cup. I have access of the whole race on
beta tape, about 4 hrs of the series plus VHS the whole last race. They were
given to my brother "Chas from Tas" who ran a marina during the Cup. If
interested, contact

The annual US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD brings together all the top
suppliers in the marine industry, and often provides the first look at some
of the new products for next season. The show dates are October 9-13, and if
you are planning to attend, look for Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck roaming
the aisles, and attending the show party at the Bitter End Yacht Club’s
booth on Friday the 10th at 5pm. Please come by the BEYC booth 53 in Tent D
on Friday to hear more about Bitter End's 2008 Pro Am Regatta (and
Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championships) for November, and the January 2009
Medicine for Mariners seminar. Or of course, you can also come by just for
the snacks and adult beverages, and to offer the Curmudgeon your gripes,
opinions, complements, or observations. To make an appointment in advance,
email at

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Special thanks to Samson and

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at