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SCUTTLEBUTT 2715 - Friday, October 31, 2008

Scuttlebutt is published each weekday with the support of its sponsors,
providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features and
dock talk . . . with a North American focus.

Today's sponsors are The Pirates Lair and PredictWind.

(Oct. 30, 2008; Day 20) - If you can stay logged onto the Volvo Ocean Race
website long enough (though suffering through the slow loading speeds), and
keep a running scoresheet from the Data Tables and follow along with the
TracTrac live tracking, you too can be an armchair quarterback, analyzing
the fleet tactics and mocking their missteps. The only problem has been for
the past two days, Ericsson 4 has been off the grid, where the havoc of
firehouse saltwater has likely dealt a blow to much of the data being
transmitted. We still know where they are, we still know how far they have
to go, but the details of their immediate environment and performance data
will remain a mystery for now.

What we do know is that PUMA has stopped the bleeding today, and has even
been chipping away at the E4 lead, pulling in 12 miles between 10am Thursday
and 1am Friday during a stretch of port tack reaching (130 degrees TWA) in
21-29 knots. And while E4 and PUMA are in line with each other and both
aiming for the bar stools - eager for the African-influenced chill out
sounds and perfect fruity cocktails to sip while the bikinis girls go by -
the rest of the fleet has lost miles but established a significant low road
that may provide for some handy leverage and improved sailing angles in the
lighter winds that are expected as the fleet approaches Cape Town this

The length of Leg One is 6500nm, with the leader expected to finish by
November 2nd. Current standings (as of Oct. 31, 1:00am GMT):
1. Ericsson 4, Torben Grael, 859 nm Distance to Finish
2. Puma, Ken Read, 65 nm Distance to Lead
3. Ericsson 3, Anders Lewander, 266 nm DTL
4. Green Dragon, Ian Walker, 314 nm DTL
5. Telefonica Blue, Bouwe Bekking, 396 nm DTL
6. Team Russia, Andreas Hanakamp, 479 nm DTL
7. Delta Lloyd, Ger O'Rourke, 492 nm DTL
8. Telefonica Black, Fernando Echavarri, 519 nm DTL
Race website:

By Ken Read, PUMA skipper
I guess I am late in writing my obligatory - "it is wet and wild out here"
blog. Well, first off it is windy and water is pummeling anyone on deck.
Average wind speeds in the 23-knot range means high speeds in the upper 30s
which we have had. Will have to go back to the log to see if we have had any
40s to date but I can tell you that things are moving along at a pretty good
clip. Many things have been interesting over the last few days. We have
sailed il mostro in some pretty breezy conditions pre race but none at this
fanatic pace.

To be sure this is an inherent problem of a one-boat programme. Protecting
the assets. I always felt reluctant to press the boat 1000 percent in the
pre-race practice because if something were to happen really badly to this
boat essentially the race was over before it even started. Not a very good
scenario. Plus there is the racing versus practicing mentality. You can
"think" you are pushing a boat hard when you practice but the fact of the
matter it is that with a competitor next to you on in the same water you
push much much harder than practice. It is a fact of life.

This all leads back to where our programme is at and something I have said
earlier in this leg. We are learning. How hard is hard enough to push? How
hard is too hard? Fact is the guys on E4 have schooled us all in this
condition and my guess is they knew where there boundaries were better than
we did. We are finding them slowly, and a lot of it is inside this base drum
called a carbon fibre boat. -- Read on:

* Ian Walker, Green Dragon skipper: “At 0130 (Thursday) there was a
deafening crunch and the boat went from 25 knots to a virtual standstill,
Neal (McDonald) who was helming smashed the wheel and everyone else fell
over. We inspected the hull, foils and keel for damage as best we could and
all seemed fine apart from a huge vibration - presumably caused by whatever
was now on the keel. We decided to live with this until daylight but a few
hours later it seemed to have cleared itself. Today we can see clearly on
the keel that we hit something hard - thank goodness it wasn't the rudders
or they would have broken.”

* Sailing at around 25 knots, Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP)
launched off a particularly large wave, momentarily lost control of the boat
and crash landed only to find that one of the rudders had sheared off and
part of a daggerboard and the bowsprit were gone. None of the crew was
injured and the damage to the yacht was not thought to be structural. The
crew has mounted an emergency rudder and are continuing on course to Cape
Town, albeit rather more slowly.

* Ger O’Rourke, Delta Lloyd skipper: “Due to rig repairs at the top of the
mast (starboard spreader), we only deem it safe to fly fractional sails
forward of the mast at wind speeds above 18 knots as a failure could mean
rig failure and race over (we have no spare rig as most/all the other teams
Complete report:

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Annapolis, MD (Oct. 30, 2008) - The Race Committee stepped up the pace today
at the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship, running four excellent
races (race four to seven in the 12 race series) in winds ranging from 10-15
knots. Terry Hutchinson on USA 751 Quantum Racing made his intentions clear
for this regatta by moving into a seven point overall lead. Gabrio Zandona
on ITA 777 Joe Fly had a mixed day on the water but won the first and last
races to sit in second place tonight. Chris Larson on USA 655 West Marine
Rigging / New England Ropes put in a steady performance to claim the final
podium place, eight points behind Zandona.

With light airs forecast for tomorrow, the race team wisely opted to put one
in the bag by running a five leg fourth race. Perhaps it was fatigue or
enthusiasm, but no less than twenty boats were called OCS at the start of
race seven. Significantly, several boats failed to return to exonerate
themselves, including Morgan Reeser USA 750 M-fatic, Ullman and Favini.
While understandably happy, new leader Terry Hutchinson remains wary about
Friday’s conditions: "Tomorrow will be a hard day, really hard. Third day of
an event like this with a cold front, we can expect light and shift
conditions. Very interesting conditions are definitely on the way." Leading
the Corinthian division is Othmar von Blumencron. Racing continues through
Saturday with a total of 12 races planned. -- Complete report:

Current results (Top 10 of 49; seven races)
1.) Terry Hutchinson, Quantum Racing - 4, 2, 4, [9], 2, 6, 1 = 20
2.) Gabrio Zandona/Giovanni Maspero, Joe Fly - 9, 6, 2, 1, [12], 8, 1 = 27
3.) Chris Larson, West Marine Rigging/NE Ropes - [8], 8, 7, 6, 1, 7, 6 = 35
4.) Dave Ullman, Pegasus 505 - 1, 3, 3, 12, 4, 17, [50/DCS] = 40
5.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon - 5, 9, 8, 4, 10, [15], 5 = 41
6.) Flavio Favini/Franco Rossini, Blu Moon - 2,7,1,2, 29, 3, [50/DNF] = 10
7.) Othmar Blumencron, Gannett - 13, 12, 9, 7, 3, [14], 10 = 54
8.) Stu McNay, USA-620 - 11, 5, 10, 14, [16], 2, 14 = 56
9.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle - 6, 10, 6, 10, 5, 24, [25] = 61
10.) Jamie Lea, Team Barbarians - 7, 11, 14, 11, [18], 4, 17 = 64
Complete results:

SailGroove videos:
SailRev videos:

Eleven challengers entered in the 33rd America’s Cup and the Defender,
Alinghi, met today at the Société Nautique de Genève, for the first of
several Competitor Meetings to discuss returning the competition to the
water as soon as possible. The meeting was called for by the Defender’s
event organising entity AC Management and chaired by Alinghi skipper Brad

This initial get together follows a series of individual discussions between
Alinghi and the challengers. At the top of the agenda was the need for a
financially sustainable model that includes cost-containment measures, such
as a one-boat campaign and the creation of a new class of race yacht; faster
and more spectacular than the Version 5.0 used for the 32nd America’s Cup,
but cheaper than the AC90 originally intended for the 33rd edition. -- Read

* The composition of entered teams is a mix of six teams that competed in
the 32nd Match, and five that are new to the event. Missing among the entered
teams are six of the eleven teams from the last Cup, including Mascalzone
Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA), BMW Oracle Racing (USA), and Luna Rossa
Challenge (ITA).

* Regarding Alinghi’s completion of the boat they are building in case they
must face BMW Oracle Racing in a Deed of Gift event (pending the Appeal
decision), Brad Butterworth said, “The current situation is very confusing
with the goal post moving all the time. All the parts are near completion
and we are very close to the hulls being put together. Our original launch
date was towards the end of the year, but given the new scenario, we might
want to postpone it.” --

* Additional comments by Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth are posted in this
interview with BYM News:

* (Oct. 30, 2008; 20:32 GMT) It has now been two days since the 97-foot maxi
trimaran IDEC triggered the stopwatch off Cadiz as French skipper Francis
Joyon (FRA) began his attempt to break the singlehanded Discovery Route
record, a 3,884 nautical mile couse between Cadiz, Spain and San Salvador,
El Salvador. Joyon’s routing has taken him south though the Canary Islands,
and currently on a WNW course across the Atlantic Ocean. With 2506 nm to go,
Joyon is currently 317.67 nm ahead of the record pace of 10 days, 11 hours,
50 minutes and 46 seconds set by fellow Frenchman Thomas Coville onboard the
60ft trimaran Sodebo back in July 2005. --

* The Coaching Association of Canada announced that the following three
sailing coaches are among 50 coaches named as 2008 recipients of the
Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards. Steve McBride of Victoria, BC,
coach of sailors John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit, Paralympic bronze
medallists in the SKUD class; Craig Guthrie of Halifax, NS, coach of sailor
Paul Tingley, Paralympic champion in the 2.4 MR class; and Rob Fox of
Thornhill, ON, coach of Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle, world silver
medallists in the Tornado class. -- Full report:

* France's Mathieu Richard gets a timely boost ahead of the battle for the
2008 ISAF Match Racing World Championship title as he holds on to the top
spot in the latest release of the ISAF World Match Racing Rankings on 29
October, whilst compatriot Claire Leroy remains untouchable in the Women's
Rankings. -- Read on:

* The organisers of The Superyacht Cup regattas in Antigua and Palma have
joined forces with the organisers of the St Barths and Newport Bucket
Regattas to adopt the 'Bucket Rating' system. The system was developed by
Jim Teeters, Associate Offshore Director at US Sailing, and has been refined
by Bucket Regattas over the last six years, creating an accurate and
transparent system for rating superyachts of all designs and sizes. --
Yachting World, read on:

Four months after its launch, the weather forecast system PredictWind has
been widely accepted and used by the international sailing community. Don't
take our word for it - listen to our customers at 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. 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. Please note that until January 2009 the
forecasts are free of charge:

Pete Goss gained notoriety with his innovative giant catamaran Team Philips
that he had built for The Race, a nonstop dash round the world, but was
destroyed in a mid-Atlantic storm in December 2000. Last year, Goss got our
attention again when he competed in the grueling 608 mile Rolex Fastnet
yacht race on a Seacart 30 trimaran. Goss is at it again, his latest big
adventure is completely different to anything he has done before. Pete has
built a wooden lugger and will follow in the wake of seven Cornishmen who
made a heroic journey from Newlyn (UK) to Australia 154 years ago.

Goss has built ‘Spirit of Mystery’ in Innsworke Mill boat yard at Millbrook
in South East Cornwall to celebrate their amazing achievement. The vessel is
as true to the original Mystery as possible and, although there are
concessions to safety, they will not use an engine and there are no modern
electrical and navigational systems. Spirit of Mystery was launched June
21st and set sail for Australia October 20th. This week’s video explains his

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

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include Roxy boat branding, El Toro sailing for the National Parkinson
Foundation, a busy boat yard in Maine, hiking in Halloween attire, more toys
for the Maltese Falcon, more meetings for America’s Cup hopefuls, a
Christopher Columbus replica ship, and fall sailing for the Tufts University
sailing team. 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 Andy Roy: (re, story in SBUTT 2714) Congratulations to the CYA's 2008
Rolex award recipients, but missing from the list and I think deserving of
at least an honourable mention is an accomplished and underrated Canadian
sailor, and undoubtedly this country's best racing coach. Alan Clark, a 48
yr old granddad, coaches the Royal Vancouver YC racing team, and he
continues to lead and inspire young sailors to the top of their respective
fleets. Al moulded Mike Leigh into one of the world's top ranked Laser
sailors (Mike finished 9th at the recent Olympics). The main reason Al has
been such a successful coach is that his athletes are challenged to try to
keep up with him both in on and off-the-water training, and also when
competing in major regattas. Over the past year Al finished first in both
the open (i.e., up against the young guys) Canadian Laser Nationals and
North America Laser Radials in San Fran (unheard of wins for a Master
sailor). In Laser Masters sailing he finished 2nd and 4th in the '07 and '08
Worlds, and smoked all of us at the recent Canadian Nationals in Halifax.

* From R. Geoffrey Newbury: The Volvo Ocean Race website can be sped up a
little: If you just want to catch up on the News, since you last looked, go
into your browser's settings/preferences and turn OFF 'load images
automatically' (or equivalent), turn OFF javascript, and turn OFF Java.

Then go to ->News -> Archives and enjoy a pure text, FAST, experience. Most
of the rest of the site is usable too. You will have to turn Images and
Javascript back on to use the Data Centre, and to view the small flash-based
movies on most pages, and turn Java back on to use the RaceViewer. I haven't
figured out how a Linux user can get at the full-sized video files hiding
behind the ActiveX curtain yet. At least killing Javascript stops the
top-of-the page banner from hogging all the bandwidth FOR NO DISCERNIBLE

* From G. E. Kriese, Ocean Racing: Regarding Ernesto Bertarelli’s plans to
put the AC back on track (after he knocked it off the rails) with a lower
cost format (Scuttlebutt 2714), I’ve always thought that cost control is the
most important thing. The lion’s share of an AC campaign is spent on R&D,
driving costs up and making sponsors that much harder to find. A 90’
standard hull design produced by one builder would alleviate that. Ditto for
masts. Teams could fool around with foils and sails if they wanted, but cost
on the most expensive components would be controlled. Total cost to mount a
campaign would plummet and the number of teams would grow exponentially.
Competition would be tougher than ever, it would make for a great spectator
event and TV. Boats could be sold and reused by other teams after the event
too. What’s wrong with that?

Pumpkin Patch: What a pumpkin wears when trying to quit smoking.
Vampire Bat: What Dracula hits a baseball with.
Full Moon: What your repairman reveals when he bends over to fix your
More at Scuttleblog:

Special thanks to The Pirates Lair and PredictWind.

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