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SCUTTLEBUTT 2697 - Tuesday, October 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.

The Volvo Ocean Race got the ball rolling last weekend with their two
in-port races in Alicante, Spain, and will begin in earnest on Saturday,
Oct. 11, when the fleet of eight VO70’s set sail on a 6,500-nautical-mile
leg to Cape Town, South Africa. Another prominent race this fall is the
Vendee Globe, where 29 registered skippers will start November 9th from Les
Sables d’Olonne, France on this solo, non-stop circumnavigation in Open

However, lurking deep in the shadow of these two behemoths is the inaugural
Portimão Global Ocean Race that starts on October 12th in Portimão,
Portugal. The race is a new around the world event designed to fill a niche
in the realm of offshore ocean racing, where the opportunities for
non-professional sailors to participate in these kinds of events was
practically non-existent.

To make the race accessible, both single-handed and double-handed divisions
were permitted, and to keep the race affordable, the size of boats are
limited to 40 and 50 feet. The road to reality for the race was a tough
journey, but when the city of Portimão signed on as sponsor, it gave the
event the legs needed to continue, and ultimately attract four Class 40
doublehanded teams and two Open 40 solo entries. Here is the race course:

Leg 1: Portimão, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa
Leg 2: Cape Town, South Africa to Wellington, New Zealand
Leg 3 - Wellington, New Zealand to Ilhabela, Brazil
Leg 4: Ilhabela, Brazil to Charleston, USA
Leg 5: Charleston, USA to Portimão, Portugal
Event website:

San Diego, CA - Despite the high level racing reputation of San Diego Yacht
Club, what with two products of their junior program competing in the 2008
Olympics, three America’s Cup victories and as regular host for world
championship events, there once was a club sailing event that needed no
press coverage, yet attracted the finest sailors in the area. For year’s
summer sailing included the Wednesday night “beer can” sail out the channel,
which was not a race, and it had no start time, but was simply a sail for
all boat types out to a marker and back, and it provided that low key family
and friend’s event that so successfully promoted the local sport over the

The tradition was lost in the early 90’s, ultimately replaced by a
competitive series that ramped up the skill requirements, and limited the
opportunities to include the newbies. A group of club members were
reminiscing last summer about the “good old days”, and decided to try to get
some of those times back, and this became the genesis of the “Just 4 Fun”
sailing series (J4F). The inaugural event took place in October 2007 and has
been followed with four more “races” that included various themes for
costumes (thank you to Seattle’s Duck Dodge): “Hawaii Day”, “Ladies Day” and
“Pirates of La Playa Day”. -- Read on:

Congratulations to Guy Stening and his team aboard his M 30 'Optimum' for
winning the M 30 World Championship this past weekend in Newport, RI. Racing
with a 100% North Sails inventory, "Optimum" stayed focused during the
11-race series to finish four points ahead of Jim Richardson and his crew
aboard 'Barking Mad.' When performance counts, the choice is clear.

by Richard Spindler, Latitude 38
The more we see of Tom Perkins' 289-ft Dyna-Rigged Maltese Falcon, the more
we're impressed. If you've only seen the yacht from a distance, the main
thing you can't see is the quality of craftsmanship throughout. Obviously
this is a huge yacht, but every last detail — most of it done by Turks — is
absolutely superb. All the guests marveled at the quality.

The other thing you can't see is how brilliantly the unique Dyna-Rig sail
plan, perfected on Perkins' nickel, works. We were underway for about four
hours, with Perkins driving and controlling the sail plan almost the entire
time. The yacht is steered with a small knob, and the freestanding masts and
15 sails are controlled with the push of a few buttons. Indeed, Perkins
looked as though he was playing a nautical version of a mighty Wurlitzer.

The most thrilling moment was when Perkins jibed the boat. By pushing
several buttons, all three of the nearly 200-ft tall masts, with their very
wide fixed yards spreading out the sails, rotated very rapidly. Indeed, if
you stepped back about 10 feet from the helm position, you could watch and
touch as the six-ft or so diameter middle mast turned. By the way, Perkins
reports that none of the masts can ever be removed from the boat without
destroying the boat. -- Read on:

The World Match Racing Tour is in Bermuda this week for the 8th stage of the
nine event series, with the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup also being the
tour’s largest event. Whereas there are normally twelve entrants competing,
there are twice that on the entry list, with nine of them coming from either
the USA, Canada, or Bermuda. Among the leading skippers is Mathieu Richard
(FRA), currently leading the ISAF rankings, is third in the tour standings,
and is the defending champion and was runner-up in 2006. Here is an
interview Richard conducted recently with Anne Hinton on the SailRaceWin

* Are you a professional sailor, or do you do something else too?
MR: I am not 100% professional. I am also a teacher of sport, in colleges
and grammar schools (I am a substitute teacher). But I have a job that
permits me to sail a lot.

* Why did you start match racing?
MR: After the 420, I had the choice between Olympic sailing and match
racing. I chose match racing because my club had all the infrastructure for
developing match racing: high level teams (Luc Pillot), trainers (Marc
Bouët), umpires (Gérard Bossé) and the boats for training (the First Class
8), at La Baule. And the club wanted to help the youth teams.

* What is it that you like about match racing?
MR: I like the "intensive" side of the sport. It is very exciting and full
of play from start to finish. I also like the fact that it is very complete:
it is necessary to be good at tactics, at speed, at manoeuvering, physically
and mentally.

* You have money from the Federation Français de la Voile and from Areva for
training and travelling to many match racing championships? Do you need a
sponsor too?
MR: We have sufficient budget to cover all our expenses, but not enough to
be match race professionals.
Complete interview:
Event website:

Ken Read, skipper, PUMA Ocean Racing: “If I had to describe this opening
weekend of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante in one word, it would be relief.
As a team, you can only practice so much for something before you begin to
get stale. We've been out here in Spain for a month now and before the
in-port race, we were beginning to reach the edge of that. We're relieved to
have got the first race under our belts and are now looking forward to what
we have really been training for - going offshore. Then we can really see
what our creation - il mostro - can do.” -- Yachting World, full post:

The Annapolis US Sailboat Show kicks off this Thursday and Melges will be
featuring many of their sportboats. The Melges 32, Melges 24, and the all
new Melges 20 will be in the water on display. The Melges 20 will also be
featuring test drives during show hours. Come to Annapolis and see the new
Melges 20 up close and personal. --

* If you are coming to the show on Friday, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck
will be checking out the Melges boats, and then heading over to the Bitter
End Yacht Club’s booth at 5pm. Join Craig at the BEYC booth 53 in Tent D on
Friday to hear more about Bitter End's 2008 Pro Am Regatta (and Scuttlebutt
Sailing Club Championship) for November, and the January 2009 Medicine for
Mariners seminar. Or of course, you can also just come by the BEYC booth 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

American Zac Sunderland quest to be the youngest sailor to attempt a solo
global circumnavigation began June 14th with his departure from Los Angeles,
CA onboard an Islander 36. Nearly four months later, his trip has gone
essentially to plan, but with all the reports of piracy in the countries
bordering the Indian Ocean, Zac has now gotten a taste of this sad reality.
Read on:

“The wind stayed steady all through the night and I was making good
progress. The swell picked up to about 8 feet and I was back to the climbing
up and surfing down motion. Around 11:30am I was sitting in the cockpit when
I saw a boat about 4 miles away. I took a look at my radar screen and didn't
see anything. I took another look at the boat. We were heading parallel to
each other and would pass well clear of each other. I went down below and
switched on the VHF radio and tried to hail them on Channel 16 with no luck.
I went below and got my camera and got some footage of them but it was still
hard to make out who or what they were because they were still about 3 miles
off. I was sitting in the cockpit watching them and suddenly they changed
course. At this new angle we would hit. I moved the autopilot over a few
degrees to get out of their path. As I did they changed course dead for me
again. So I'm thinking, ‘I've got a ship that doesn't show up on radar with
no flags and no radio response, deliberately heading straight for me 150
miles off the coast of Indonesia, a place notorious for piracy.’” -- Full

by Steve Hunt and Clark Dawson
Getting a good start in team racing is extremely important if you want to
help your team win. Tim Wadlow, Olympian and champion team racer states,
"Team racing starts often become three individual match races, as each pair
try to win their section of the line." With that in mind, let's discuss the
starting technique of 'two to one'. Top match racers use that important
ratio to determine when to start their final approach towards the line.

Two to one meaning they return to the line with twice as much time as
needed. As they sail away from the line they are always estimating how much
time it will take to get back. When the time until the start and their
estimated return time have a two to one ratio, they start their return. For
example, if they are sailing away from the line on port tack and they
estimate they are 30 seconds away, they start their final approach at one
minute. If they estimate they are 45 seconds away, they start their final
approach at one minute and thirty seconds.

Why do the best match racers do this? Why do they give themselves twice as
much time to get back to the line as needed? They do so to give themselves a
time cushion for three things that may make their return longer:
1. The anticipated battle with a competitor.
2. The wind getting lighter.
3. The wind shifting left.

Battling a competitor takes time as both boats sail extra distance, slow
down and steal each others wind. Lighter breeze and left shifts make the
trip back to the line take longer as well. Having a system in place to help
you estimate the all important time to head back will improve your starting.
The top match racers use the two to one ratio as a starting point. They go
back a little earlier if it is light or they want the pin, and they go back
a little later if it is breezy or they want the boat. Improve your time and
distance skills by working with the two to one ratio. --

by Ed Mayo, Suncor Stainless
There have been a lot of misnomers since 2007 in regards to lifelines with
the passing of the ORC/ISAF regulation 3.14.6 (see below). This requirement
for racing sailboats has led to rumors throughout the marine industry that
must be clarified. While the regulation pertains to ORC/ISAF it does not
pertain to USCG regulations for passenger and recreational vessels. This was
clarified by Randy Jackson, the USCG Technical Advisor, based out of the
USCG headquarters in Washington D.C. Per the USCG there is no requirement
for Bare 1x19 stainless wire.

While it is a good idea to constantly check all rigging and lifelines for
corrosion and cracking it is the feeling of most marine professionals that
Vinyl Coated and PVC lifeline wire is completely sufficient. One of the
problems with the Vinyl Coated and PVC lifeline wire is that there is a lack
of attention in terms of inspection and replacement. Many cruising boats
built in the late 1970’s early 1980’s still have their original lifelines.
At the first sign of a problem all lifelines should be replaced.

If you race your sailboat under ORC/ISAF then you must use uncoated wire
rope per the revised regulation. If your boat is for passenger service or
recreation there is no rule or regulation per the USCG for bare or uncoated
lifeline wire.

ORC/ISAF Regulations
3.14.6 Lifeline Minimum Diameters, Required Materials, Specifications
a) Lifelines shall be stranded stainless steel wire of minimum diameter in
table 8 below. Lifelines shall be uncoated and used without close-fitting
sleeving. Notwithstanding 3.14.6 (a) above, temporary sleeving may be fitted
provided it is regularly removed for inspection
b) Grade 316 stainless wire is recommended.
c) A taut lanyard of synthetic rope may be used to secure lifelines provided
the gap it closes does not exceed 100 mm (4 in).
d) All wire, fittings, anchorage points, fixtures and lanyards shall
comprise a lifeline enclosure system which has at all points at least the
breaking strength of the required lifeline wire.

Boat length - minimum wire diameter
Under 8.5m (28ft) -- 3mm (1/8 in)
8.5m -13m -- 4mm (5/32 in)
Over 13m (43 ft) -- 5mm (3/16 in)

Speed & Smarts is a bi-monthly newsletter full of race-winning tips on
boatspeed, tactics, strategy, rules and more! If you subscribe now, you’ll
get our upcoming issue that explains the new 2009-2012 racing rules. You’ll
also receive a free copy of our special issue with 100 top racing tips!

* With only a matter of days until the start of the 29th Rolex Middle Sea
Race, the Royal Malta Yacht Club announced that the event may exceed seventy
boats for the first time ever. The 606-mile race starts from Marsamxett
Harbour on the October 18th, taking the fleet in a counter-clockwise
direction around Sicily, and is known for its amazing diversity of landscape
and sea conditions. The race is open to yachts from 9-metres to 30.5 metres,
with George David's Rambler (USA) estabilishing the current Course Record of
47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds in 2007. -- Event website:

* Snowfall ended the recovery efforts around the site of adventurer Steve
Fossett's downed plane in the Sierra Nevada last Friday, and officials do
not expect weather conditions to improve enough for crews to return until
next summer. Authorities say they completed most of what they needed to do
Friday when they removed debris from Fossett's plane and found three more
bone fragments for DNA testing. Fossett vanished in September 2007 during
what was supposed to be a short pleasure flight. Wreckage from his plane was
discovered last week, solving the lingering mystery of his disappearance. --
Full story with photos:

* (October 5, 2008) l'Hydroptère returned to her speed base at
Port-St-Louis-du-Rhône on October 1st, and last night the scientific team
analyzed the measurements recorded during the day's sailing session at Fos
sur Mer. They revealed the exact top speed in the 5th run: 52.86 knots. Said
Alain Thébault, "It is the first time that a sailing boat has crossed the
wind barrier, that is, 50 knots. Now all we have to do is to stabilize this
speed over 500 meters!" Now that the Mistral has since fallen, l'Hydroptère
will be taken to Marseille during the day. --

* There are two prime time broadcasts providing insight into the tryout
process used to select the Morning Light crew for the 2007 Transpac race.
This team was the focus of the film ‘Morning Light’, a true-life documentary
about a group of fifteen young adults who were recruited and trained to race
a high-tech, high-performance 52-foot boat in the event from L.A. to Hawaii.
The 60 minute show is scheduled this week on ESPN2 HD for Wednesday, October
8th and Thursday, October 9th. -- Details:

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at

Rohan Veal carries a lot of clout in the International Moth Class. He
established his authority by twice winning the Worlds, he used the muscle of
the internet to raise our awareness of this foiling boat, helped to launch a
company geared to mass producing what had essentially been a custom build
class, and now he is leading the pitch to get the class into the 2012

Well, he is not exactly pitching the class, but rather the Bladerider Moth,
a brand that he works for. I suspect he is getting grief from the class
about being a company man, but the other problem is that the slot the Moth
is seeking is now currently held by the … LASER.

The Moth is new and sexy, but is there a class that meets the Olympic ideal
better than the Laser? International, available, affordable, athletic,
unpretentious… it is the easiest “next step” for youth sailors, and with
Olympic status, it has become a legitimate landing point for elite sailors
to pursue excellence.

The events for the 2012 Games will be decided at the 2008 ISAF Annual
Meeting in November. I love the International Moth class; I just wish it was
not looking to be the men's singlehanded dinghy event in 2012. --

Young men exaggerate; Old men pretend.

Special thanks to North Sails, Melges Performance Sailboats, and Speed &
Smarts newsletter.

A complete list of preferred suppliers is at