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SCUTTLEBUTT 2733 - Wednesday, November 26, 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 Ullman Sails and Team One Newport.

Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal of the UK’s Team Origin, says his serious
interest in the America’s Cup began, fittingly enough, at sea. In 1998, Mills
shipped aboard Ariel, a Dubois 68, for the Clipper Challenge round the world
race. Among the reading material he brought on board was a book about the
gracious British sportsman, Thomas Lipton, who challenged for the Cup five times
over a 31-year period, and never won. Mills says that book got him thinking
about an America’s Cup campaign.

As a young boy, Keith Mills got stuck on sailing his first time out. His father,
a non-sailor, chartered an old Wayfarer on a little lake during a family
vacation. Mills recalls the unique sense of freedom he felt, even on that small
body of water. For many years, education and career reduced sailing to an
occasional pleasure for Mills. But he acquired an Oyster 485 when he could, and
in his late 40s, looking for a break after selling one of his companies, he
turned to sailing. He says he wasn’t exactly having a mid-life crisis, but he
needed time to think about the rest of his life. He was looking for an
experience out of his comfort zone. He admits that signing on for the Clipper
Challenge was a bit of a stretch.

Mills recalls his first day on board Ariel, meeting his 23-year-old skipper,
Alex Thompson. “There I was, a multi-millionaire, chairman of a number of
companies, having this 23-year-old screaming at me, `Grind, you fat bastard!’ --
Read on:

(Nov. 25, 2008; Day 11) - A traffic jam of Volvo Open 70s is developing in the
Indian Ocean as they try to avoid the pot holes lying in wait in the Doldrums.
The gaps between the boats is falling while at the navigation stations, the
stress levels rise. A concertina effect is unfolding as the leaders find buffer
zones which their pursuers have yet to hit on the final approach to the finish.
Delta Lloyd’s gain of over 100 miles in the past 24 hours bears that out.

“To say the last 18 hours of my life have been stressful would be a bit of an
understatement!” said Simon Fisher, Telefonica Blue navigator. “Sailing or
rather limping along with our busted wing (broken daggerboard) we found
ourselves last night in all kinds of bother. A massive header that we couldn’t
escape by sailing high, which had me biting me nails pulling my hair out and
staring at the computer screen in disbelief as the guys around us wound out
massive amounts of easting.”

“I think it’s very unfair for Volvo, to send us down in the Doldrums in one leg
and straight up in the Doldrums in the next leg,” whines Green Dragon navigator
Ian Moore. “It’s a real unknown for me, for us all. A couple of guys have sailed
through in multihull but nobody has done it in a monohull.”

The length of Leg Two from Cape Town to Cochin, India is 4,450 nm, with the
leader expected to finish by November 30th. Current positions (as of Nov. 26,
1:00am GMT):
1. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, 940 nm Distance to Finish
2. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Anders Lewander/SWE, 8 nm Distance to Leader
3. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, 15 nm DTL
4. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, 22 nm DTL
5. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, 27 nm DTL
6. Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, 89 nm DTL
7. Telefonica Black (ESP), Fernando Echavarri/ESP, 97 nm DTL
8. Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, 124 nm DTL
Overall scores:
Race website:

* REALLY, REALLY WET - Bouwe Bekking, Telefonica Blue skipper: “Late yesterday
afternoon we got the following message from race headquarters : ‘MRCC Madrid
have just rung us to say one of your EPRIBS has been set off. Can you confirm
all is ok onboard and if you are aware that an EPIRB has been activated?’ Of
course we responded quickly back that all was ok and we checked the EPIRB which
is mounted at the stern of our boat, and indeed she was switched on. It has a
hydrostatic release, so in case a boat sinks, it switches itself on. As we were
more under water than over the water by sailing so fast, the machine thought we
were going under, so it switched on. Actually good to know that this system
works flawlessly and big brother is watching us.” --

Etchells “Fifteen” team of David Clarke, Andrew “Spot” Smith and Sean Leonard
sealed their victory in the Sydney Etchells fleet’s 2009 Melbourne Worlds
Qualifying series last weekend, securing a berth to the World Championships in
March. “Fifteen”, who competed with full Ullman Sails inventory, won the
ten-heat series with a dominant final score of 22 points - 17 points ahead of
second place. The team has shown superior speed throughout the early season,
winning four of the ten heats in the series and the prestigious Milson Silver
Goblets. Invest in your performance with Ullman Sails. Visit us at

Things could be different for American John Kostecki. For the past couple
months, Kostecki has been in San Diego, CA, training on the BMW Oracle Racing
(BOR) team’s 90-foot trimaran during the day, and comfortably asleep at night.
However, Kostecki had planned to be doing the Volvo Ocean Race, in which case he
would be anything but comfortable. Before resigning as the Ericsson team skipper
in August 2007 due to the arrival of his first child, Kostecki was in charge of
the program. How did a team so troubled in the 2005-2006 race initiate this turn
around? “Start early, secure a sufficient budget, and run a two boat program,”
said John Kostecki.

Kostecki still feels very attached to the team, and while no longer involved, is
pleased to have helped point them in the right direction. “I do feel that I
contributed to the team and in some measure to the success they are achieving
now,” said Kostecki. “I follow the race closely, checking in on the website 2-3
times a day. I think the new course has created several new challenges to make
for an interesting race. I miss it sometimes... but I am very happy with the
decision to not do the race.” However, Kostecki has not completely hung up his
thermals and balaclava. “I would consider doing it again, said Kostecki. “But it
would have to be a perfect opportunity and the timing would have to fit.” Like
when day sailing maxi multihulls in San Diego isn’t fun anymore.

(Nov. 25, 2008; Day 16) - The South Atlantic High might be ready to pull a mean
trick. As the leaders approach, the High stands tall, forcing them to continue
south to get around it, rather than turning left now toward the Cape of Good
Hope. However, what if the tenth place entry got a “Pst, heh you”, followed by a
wave toward a secret door? The High can do this, splitting to allow risky
passage through it rather than around it. Makes for an epic short cut, and the
tale of French sailor Isabelle Autissier in the 1994 Around Alone race (BOC)
resonates aboard every boat. Autissier saw the split, took the chance, got
through, watched it close behind, and arrived in Cape Town a full week ahead of
her nearest rival. For Loïck Peyron, it might be wise to hide the live ammo for
the next few days. -- Event website:

Solo, non-stop, around the world race in Open 60s.
Standings as of 18:30 UTC (Top 5 plus of 30 entrants):
1. Loïck Peyron (FRA), Gitana Eighty, 20222.7 nm Distance to finish
2. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 10.1 nm Distance to leader
3. Armel Le Cléac´h (FRA), Brit Air, 40.5 nm DTL
4. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Paprec-Virbac 2, 40.9 nm DTL
5. Vincent Riou (FRA), PRB, 49.9 nm DTL
13. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, 325.6 nm DTL
15. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, 522.1 nm DTL
21. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 842.6 nm DTL
25. Derek Hatfield (CAN), Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 1462.4 nm DTL
Complete standings:

* Having spent six months bashing uncomfortably upwind when she became the first
woman to sail solo around the world against prevailing winds and currents in
2006, Dee Caffari was not expecting more of the same in the Vendée Globe. “This
is not what the brochure promised - I’ve been done!” joked Caffari as the fleet
charges south in upwind conditions which are in stark contrast to the downwind
sailing that skippers normally encounter in the South Atlantic. “I did this for
six months and it sucks. And now I’m in a boat that really doesn’t like these
conditions. These Open 60 boats are very noisy upwind. I was sold the exciting
downwind ride but here I am going upwind again. I’ve been sold a duff!” --

Nearly every corner of the sport has been evaluating itself to make sure it is
best serving its participants, and the economic news of the last few months has
turned up the volume on this task. Distance racing in California has
particularly required some creative thinking, as a shrinking base of offshore
boats and an overstock of offshore races has divided the fleets. One of the
races in question is the biennial Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta
International Race, which has now turned their 1000+ mile race in January 2009
from Los Angeles to mainland Mexico into a series of four shorter sprints. Do
some, do all, but please do something.

To back up some, one of the popular shorter offshore races in Southern
California is from Newport Beach to Ensenada (125 miles), but to go longer, the
next step up is 800 miles to finish at the end of the Baja California peninsula.
The problem then becomes that a minimum ten days are needed to do these longer
races, and with crew lodging, airfare, and return delivery crew, the fee gets
close to $10,000. To address this dilemma, a new race within a race is being
presented. What, you say, a new race? Got too many already. Maybe not. Read on:

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* (Nov. 25, 2008) - Setting out from Brest, France last Tuesday, Frenchman
Thomas Coville said that the first goal of his attempt to set a new solo round
the world record aboard the 105-foot maxi-trimaran Sodeb’O was to reach the
equator in seven days. Today, Coville completed the task in seven days and 28
minutes at an average speed of 16.3 knots, but current record holder Francis
Joyon took seven and a half fewer hours. Coville will be soon passing through
the Vendee Globe fleet. -- Complete report:

* Danish sail maker Elvstrøm Sails has been sold to a group of private investors
led by former CEO of the company Claus Olsen and triple Olympic medalist and
America’s Cup skipper Jesper Bank. The group has purchased the company from its
previous owner Peter Jørgensen who acquired the company a year and a half ago.
-- Read on:

* The World Match Racing Tour has announced a new invite policy for the 2009
season that rewards skippers and teams with guaranteed entries on the series for
next year. “This is an unprecedented change in the way the World Tour provides
entries to its events,” explained Craig Mitchell, World Tour Director. “For the
first time, skippers and teams will have a clear path to win the World
Championship, and to guarantee to their sponsors a schedule of participation.”
-- Read on:

* Punta del Este, Uruguay (Nov. 25, 2008) - There are 49 entrants representing
nine countries and three continents at the 2008 Snipe Western Hemisphere &
Orient Championships, which began in 15-18 knot winds and warm temperatures. The
Brazilians samba'd their way to win both races, and currently hold the top three
positions in the standings. Top North American is Ernesto Rodriguez and Raúl
Ríos in fifth. Racing resumes on Maldonado Bay through November 30. -- Event

* With 112 boats entered, and 63 sign-ups on the “I want to sail in Key West”
crew board, the 22nd edition of Acura Key West 2009 is only 54 days away from
the event dates of January 19-23. “We are very pleased with the way the fleet is
coming together,” said Event Director Peter Craig. “Given the current global
economic uncertainties, we are certainly not taking participation for granted.
I’m impressed with the high caliber of international and U.S. entries and it’s
clear that there will be no drop off in the quality of competition this year,”
he added. -- Event website:

Here is a bonus video this week, and while we don't want to encourage carnage,
particularly at the college level, occasionally "sh$t happens." This footage is
from the Atlantic Coast Championship on November 15-16, hosted by Hobart and
William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, and shows what happens when you mix windy,
puffy, shifty, and college sailors at a weather mark. Click here for this week’s

* 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 all
include seasonal action, the kind of action you would expect this week,
including cunning moves, irony, misunderstandings, innocence, and helpfulness.
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 Skip Allan: With the passing of Fred Schenck, Southern California lost a
true gentleman, terrific small boat sailor, and friend to all. Fred's intensity
and colorful character on and off the race course led to many memorable moments.
As a kid I was crewing for Freddie when the butt of our Lehman 12 mast went
through the bottom of the boat as we were leading the last windward leg of the
Championship. I dove for the bailing bucket to keep us afloat, but was
immediately admonished by Freddie. "Hike out,” he said. “We'll get to the finish
line before we sink." Fair winds, Freddie.

* From Bill Lee: (re, kiteboarding not being included in the outright speed
record) The future I find interesting is not the depth of the water, but the
length of the kite strings. With modern materials the strings can get longer and
longer. We all know the wind is stronger up high and up to 200 knots in the
jetstream. As the strings get longer, going faster will be a matter of
progression, but keeping the board in the water will be become harder. This will
create another judging issue regarding the percentage of the course that the
board must be in contact with the water. I agree with the World Sailing Speed
Record Council. My reason is that the official outright speed record should be
in the spirit of the Ancient Interface, that being the sheer between the wind
and the water. Yes it should be limited to boats where the boat and sails
operate in adjacent conditions.

* From Andrew Mason: Regarding the discussion of kitesurfing and speed records,
it is important to distinguish between the arguments regarding depth of water
and the arguments regarding whether a kitesurfing is sailing.

On the question of depth, the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) has
implemented a depth limit of 50cm and this applies to sailboards, who have been
speedsailing on shallower courses than this for years, as well as kitesurfers.
So the exclusion of kitesurfers from the outright world speed sailing record has
nothing to do with water depth.

As to whether kite powered vessels can be classified as sailing craft for the
purposes of world records, there didn't seem to be any objection to kitesurfers
competing for the speed record until they broke it. Prior to that, kite powered
vessels have competed in speed sailing contests at least as far back as 1982,
when Jacob's Ladder, a catamaran powered by a stack of flexifoil kites, took the
'C' class speed record and held it for six years.

The decision to exclude kite powered vessels at this late stage is arbitrary and
illogical. As I recall there were similar calls for the banning of sailboards
from holding world sailing speed record about 30 years ago when their speed
potential became apparent. Thankfully this did not occur and the sport of
sailing has been the better for it. Radical developments in sailing, such as
multihulls, lightweight planning boats, trapezes, sailboards and now hydrofoils,
have always met with initial resistance before becoming accepted parts of the
sport. It would be a shame to penalize the kitesurfers, not because they are
more radical than previous developments, but because their development has been
so successful.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Additional comments are posted here:

* From John Doerr, International Judge and Umpire: (re, rules question in SBUTT
2732) There are many, many occasions in the rules when both boats have
obligations under the rules. Often the right-of-way boat has to give room to a
boat required to keep clear. All boats have to avoid contact even if they have
right-of-way. A boat luffing above its proper course does not relieve a windward
boat of her obligation to keep clear. In all of these situations it is quite
possible (and not so rare) that both boats break the rules and are therefore
should be penalised. This case, of one boat taking a penalty and one boat
returning to start, appears stranger as both obligations are in the same rule 20
(to become 21). However, the answer is the same. It is quite possible for them
both to break a rule and for both of them to be penalised.

Of interest to some will be the situation where both boats are leeward and on
starboard. Now neither of them has any obligation to keep clear (but they must
avoid contact). Can you construct that situation?

For the American ‘buttheads, Thanksgiving Day is this Thursday (Nov. 27), a
holiday to gather with friends and family, eat too much, and hopefully pause and
appreciate the things we have in life. As acting Curmudgeon, I would like to
thank the Scuttlebutt readers for the support they provide, and the kind letters
I regularly receive. While Scuttlebutt is 100% intended for sailors, it could
not be made possible without the support of our esteemed sponsors. When making
your holiday shopping decisions this year, please give consideration to
supporting Scuttlebutt advertisers. Thank you in advance. - Craig Leweck

* There will not be a Scuttlebutt newsletter published on Thursday and Friday,
with normal distribution resuming again on Monday, December 1st. A complete list
of preferred suppliers is at

The most satisfying work...............helping others.

Special thanks to Ullman Sails and Team One Newport.