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SCUTTLEBUTT 2746 - Wednesday, December 17, 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 North Sails and LaserPerformance.

The upper management at Harken Yacht Equipment opens each issue of Scuttlebutt,
worried if the iconic Peter Harken has been given the opportunity to rant about
something. We like Peter, not just because he produces great products, but
because he is often right, and he is not afraid to say it how it is. Here he
comments about speed and ice:

“I've been asked to respond regards the speed of iceboats in regards to the
controversy surrounding what are legitimate sailing speed records. The Kiteboard
controversy has been settled as a legitimate "sailing" (as we know the term)
record of 50 knots plus … and good for them! I have read in Scuttlebutt that the
kite and windsurfer runs are in very shallow water, where they also may possibly
gain a ground effect. True or not, makes no difference in that the record
stands, a truly great effort on those people nuts enough to stand on a wee board
going 50 knots - especially in very shallow water, because what if you do a face
plant, ugh?

“Okay, the E-Skeeter, the Ferrari of ice boats, is an open builder’s class
designed for coarse racing and not speed records, of which I have at least 4
plus one busted good along with me in it resulting in a 6 month bone repairing
rehab program. None of them are now fast enough to be on the podium, or far more
likely and truthfully, my incompetence of getting them there.

“We have been clocked by police radar, yes, curious cops who couldn't quite
believe what they were seeing blazing across the ice. Anyway, they've read 120
mph as we bored down towards the leeward pin. It's not the speed getting to the
leeward pin that makes me change my pants between every race, it's my outright
fear of rounding the pin with several other boats all aiming at the same spot
and no one letting up on the gas pedal - insane idiots!” -- Read on:

(Dec, 16, 2008; Day 37) - After leading the Vendée Globe for just around six
hours, one vicious squall of nearly 50 knots took down Mike Golding’s mast this
morning. Golding was down below at his navigation station checking the
meteorology files when a combination of a sudden, unexpected squall and a big
wave which dragged the stern off the boat off course and led to the dismasting.

Described Golding, “It was knocked by a wave, not knocked flat so it was still
powered up. The first thing you do with a gust is dial the pilot down while you
work out if you have to do something about it or you can sit it out. There are
very awkward seas and a big sea just pushed the stern round, so the boat was
probably at 120-130 degrees and so the boat was very powered up at that point.
The rig gave way very quickly so it was over in seconds. On the data feed you
can see the wind gear stops at 49 knots and the boat speed was 30 knots. So it
is just an overload on the rig. I wasn’t expecting the squall.”

Previous race leader Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac) is now sailing north to
seek calmer weather to repair his mangled rudder head mechanism. Said JP, “In
the south are two large low pressure areas with waves of over 8 metres. It would
be impossible to repair in these conditions and it would be particularly
dangerous for the boat and therefore, for me too. It’s going to be surgery. I am
currently making the appropriate carbon blocks to do this. It will be a MacGyver
style improvisation!” Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty is also heading north with Groupe
Maisoneuve, needing to drop out with autopilot and main halyard problems, while
2004 winner Vincent Riou (PRB) reported today that he had hit a glancing blow to
a growler last night, but has detected no damage. -- Event website:

Solo, non-stop, around the world race in Open 60s.
Standings as of 18:30 UTC (Top 5 plus of 30 entrants; 19 now competing):
1. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia, 13611.4 nm Distance to finish
2. Roland Jourdain (FRA), Veolia Environnement, 10.8 nm Distance to leader
3. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 46.2 nm DTL
4. Jean Le Cam (FRA), VM Matériaux, 66.2 nm DTL
5. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Paprec-Virbac 2, 156.3 DTL
10. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, 911.2 nm DTL
12. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, 1354.4 nm DTL
16. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 2344.6 nm DTL
17. Derek Hatfield (CAN), Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 2638.6 nm DTL
Complete standings:
Race tracking:

The holidays are quickly approaching and as a gift to you, we are offering free
shipping on all North Sails Gear ordered online through Friday, December 19th.
We have a great line of 3DL totes & duffels, sporty clothing for men, women &
kids, sailing gloves, videos, and LOTS more at
Offer applies to surface shipping within the USA only. Mention 'Scuttlebutt' in
the comments box during check-out and shipping will be deducted.

(Dec. 16, 2008; Day 4) - “Have you ever run on a treadmill,” asks PUMA skipper
Ken Read. “Hop on, plug in your iPod. Watch the news. Run for a while without
getting anywhere and be happy about it? Get off with a good sweat and move on to
the next set of workout gear. Well, we are on a treadmill and we have no other
amenities, but we do have a good sweat going. The big difference is, we can't
get off!

“Welcome to leg 3 (of the Volvo Ocean Race), and the beginning of the ‘beat from
hell’, crossing the Bay of Bengal. We have been rounding the southern tip of Sri
Lanka for what seems like a week now, and it is getting tiring. The fleet is all
in the same boat though. Light headwinds and lots of current on the nose - two
knots for well over a day. Doesn't Mother Nature understand that we have
Christmas dinner waiting at the other end and we have to make it on time?” --
Complete report:

This new leg for the race is proving to be quite a contrast from the traditional
rumble through the Indian Ocean from Cape Town to Cape Horn, with all the snotty
weather that is currently consuming the Vendee Globe fleet. There are over 600
nm remaining to the next way point, with twice that for the finish line. With
the course due east, the wind just to the left of that, and 116 nm of separation
between the sides of the course (PUMA to the left and T-Blue to the right), this
upwind leg is far from over. -- Race tracking:

Leg Three from Cochin to Singapore is 1,950 nm, with the finish estimated on
December 23rd. Current positions (as of Dec. 17, 1:00am GMT):
1. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, 1195 nm Distance to Finish
2. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, 23 nm Distance to Leader
3. Telefonica Black (ESP), Fernando Echavarri/ESP, 31 nm DTL
4. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, 36 nm DTL
5. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, 38 nm DTL
6. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Anders Lewander/SWE, 43 nm DTL
7. Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, 77 nm DTL
8. Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, 98 nm DTL
Overall scores:
Race website:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Gary Jobson sent me an email with all the PBS
television stations in the U.S. that are currently running the Volvo Ocean Race
series, and the information is now posted on the Scuttlebutt website:

Thomas Coville aboard the 105-foot maxi-trimaran Sodeb’O has reached the midway
point in his solo circumnavigation, now entering the Pacific Ocean. Despite
setting a new record holder for the most distance covered in 24 hours, his
attempt to set a new around the world record has been thwarted by unfavorable
weather in the south Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Now nearly 1700nm behind
Francis Joyon’s record pace, Coville comments on his situation and the Vendee

* Your reaction to Mike Golding being dismasted in the Vendée Globe?
COVILLE: “We all live with the fear of breakage. I can feel that my boat is
suffering, so I’m obviously tense, wondering ultimately what is going to give up
the ghost. Sailing is a mechanical sport above all else. Knowing when you are
just on the limit and when you’ve gone beyond it is very tricky.”

* Why are you maintaining such a northerly trajectory?
COVILLE: “Last year, an enormous sheet of ice measuring several kilometres long
came free from the Antarctic bound for the Pacific and it has since split up. We
aren’t gladiators. We aren’t in a circus and when we have information about a
risky zone we seek to avoid it. This is one of the reasons that I’m making a
more N’ly course than that of Francis at the moment.”

* How will you tackle the second stage of the circumnavigation?
COVILLE: “I’ll take it as it comes, with this deficit. We knew that Francis’
trajectory up till now was exceptional and that the second half is where I’m
going to have to make gains. Doubtless there’s fairly little I can do in the
Pacific but it’s on the climb up the Atlantic where I have a chance of making up
my deficit. We estimate that there is between 3 and 4 days to be gained over
this section. The boat will have to be in perfect condition and I will have to
be in sufficiently good shape to get the most out of her.” -- Read on:

The ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne Regatta launched the new Olympic quadrennial
today, the first regatta of the new ISAF Sailing World Cup, a series of seven
regattas through 2009 that aims to build a Grand Prix type circuit, providing a
focus for the Olympic-class sailors. Australia's Olympic 470 gold medallist crew
Malcolm Page is now teamed up with new skipper Mat Belcher, with the pair
winning their only race. American Olympians Stu McNay/Graham Biehl finished
second in the 470 men’s division, while Laser Radial Gold Medalist Anna
Tunnicliffe (USA) and Canadian Laser Michael Leigh will need to wait a day as
light winds cancelled their racing. -- Results:

Just in time for the shopping season. Lowest prices on the year for class
approved Laser and Sunfish gear plus a lot more! Check it out at your local
dealer or go to and get free shipping on orders
of $100 or more.

(Dec. 16, 2008) - The M30 International Class Association announced today its
Owners have voted unanimously to change the name of the Class Association to the
Farr 30 International One Design Class. In November, the Class successfully
completed an agreement with Farr Yacht Design, Ltd and Bruce Farr to rename the
Class. The agreement was subject to approval by M30 Owners in a Class vote under
the Class Constitution. The name change and adoption of new logos will now be
effective January 1, 2009.

The Class operated for 10 years under a naming rights and sponsorship
arrangement with Champagne Mumm. Due to corporate reorganizations and a sale of
the Champagne Mumm brand the arrangement was not renewed. After operating as the
M30 Class on an interim basis, the Class is very pleased to announce its new
name, reuniting the image of the Class with the original designer of this very
successful One Design boat. -- Complete announcement:

* With an entry deadline of January 2nd, nineteen entries are now confirmed for
Del Rey Yacht Club's PV09 International Race Series to Puerto Vallarta starting
Jan. 31. A fresh approach to the 20th biennial event expands on the event's
popular Salsa (Cruising) Division format of recent years to feature four
individual races marked by stopovers along the Baja California peninsula: 376
nautical miles from Marina del Rey to Cedros Island outside of Turtle Bay; 220
nm to Magdalena Bay; 152 nm to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja peninsula;
and the last 286 nm across the Gulf of California to Puerto Vallarta on the
mainland. Participants have the option of sailing one or all four legs, which
will be scored separately, but the 19 entrants are currently planning to go all
the way. --

* The Transpacific Yacht Race is off to a vigorous start with 16 boats from five
countries already signed up for the next summer's 2,225-nautical mile race to
Hawaii. Those include Ragtime, the Spencer 65 now owned by Chris Welsh of
Newport Beach. The two-time Barn Door winner will be extending its record number
of Transpacs to 15. Also notable include Challenged America's new boat, B'Quest
II, a Nelson/Marek 43 that blind skipper Urban Miyares and his disabled crew
will race in their third Transpac. Miyares said, "We're off and going full-bore
to get the new boat adaptive/accessible and raise the funds. We have quite a few
crew candidates from throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Ireland and Japan. We
might have an international disabled crew aboard on this trip across the big
pond." --

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 Dave Carroll: Recent articles regarding kite sailing, Vikings and such
are not too surprising in light of the construction of the composite bows of the
Genghis Khan horse mounted warrior. Historically made of ox or other animal
tendons on the tension side, and horn material on the compression side, with a
birch core in the center, these recurve bows were capable of ranges of 900 yards
and the short arrows would penetrate any armor carried by man at the time.
Accuracy was, of course, dependant on the user. They lost favor to gunpowder
which was easier to keep dry, and didn’t take 5 years to cure (adhesives weren’t
fast cure in those days) nonetheless they were made by ordinary folks without,
chemistry laboratories, autoclaves, computers and even calculators or calculus.
They were probably green too!

* From Andrew Troup: (re, letter in Issue 2745) Ted Sensenbrenner may have
received a slightly skewed explanation of the causes of the water formation
under an iceboat's runner - my understanding is that it is generally considered
to arise from local pressure rather than frictional heat.

To my mind, that takes absolutely nothing away from his observation that ice
boats should be eligible for the world sailing speed record, which is pure
brilliance. It falls under satisfactory outcomes, for those of us unmoved by
kites "sailed" on vanishingly thin water, best described as 'hoist with their
own petard'.

* From Craig Yandow: The AC events over the past couple years have given me a
keen appreciation of how important legal correctness is to sailing. And Ted
Sensenbrenner’s letter in #2745 has made part of an important point with his ice
boats in a thin layer of water. Sure, as he says an upper layer is frozen, but
the top layer and those below it are not. Are we to dismiss records just because
there is some solid matter below the boat, possibly from a passing fish? Of
course not! How could we know what is down there? Thus, ice boats must be
eligible for speed sailing records. After all they are sailing in water and
almost certainly "deep" water at that.

* From Fritz Mueller: It seems that anything goes these days with the new
spectrum of "Sailing" speed records, and that given the right set of
circumstances, limitations and acceptable criteria, one could qualify under a
myriad of speed records.

Many years ago, when I subscribed to a periodical published by the Experimental
Sailing Association(?) based in Southhampton, England, I remember there were all
kinds of "gadgets" out there pushing the envelope - mostly trying to make the
best of /objects trying to move through two media, air and water/...... I had to
wait months to find they had actually tried hydrofoils on a Tornado. This was a
serious group of Brits who were really dialed-in to extreme stuff.....and I
don't know whatever became of the association, but I think their intention was
all about sailing craft, and there was genius in it. In those days, Russell
Long, the American, comes to mind as one of the few so inspired on our side of
the pond, to push the envelope in a "sailboat" and then to become the closest to
make good of it.

With all the 50kt drama, politics, and not-so-free-for-all attitude going on
about the sport of sailing and for wind powered vehicle records, I would like to
propose for the record that lonely weather/ observation balloon in the jet
stream moving at 100+kts. Chase that, or be clear what we are talking about.

If knees were backwards, what would chairs look like?

Special thanks to North Sails and LaserPerformance.

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