Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 2747 - Thursday, December 18, 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 Atlantis WeatherGear and Ullman Sails.

Olympian-turned-ocean-racer Jonathan McKee breaks down the key differences
between the Volvo Ocean Race and the Vendee Globe.

“Aboard the Volvo entry Telefonica Blue (above), many hands make light the
work. These next six weeks will be a fascinating time in offshore sailing.
The armchair watch captain can follow the Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Race
at the same time. This raises the obvious comparison between the two races
and the boats themselves. Having sailed both, I can say the craft are
substantially different, though from the same "family" of powerful,
open-class monohulls. The larger difference, of course, is the format;
singlehanded vs. fully crewed, and non-stop vs. with stops. These factors
alone deliver two very different experiences.

“The Volvo Open 70 is essentially a larger version of the IMOCA Open 60
sailed in the Vendee Globe. The Volvo rules are more restrictive in many
areas, including the use of water ballast (six large tanks on the Open 60
vs. one small rear tank on the Volvo 70), construction scantlings (none for
the 60s), rig dimensions (fixed for the 70s vs. open for the 60s), keel cant
angle, and bulb weight. The 60s have very few rules, basically length and
maximum heel when fully canted/ballasted. Thus, a number of ocean-racing
innovations have been developed or fine-tuned in this arena, including
canting keels, rotating wing masts, multiple water ballast options, and
planing hulls. The Volvo 70 is a bigger boat, and the loads are much higher,
but there are a lot more restrictions. In the end, the boats are more
similar than one might think, especially in this second generation.” --
Sailing World, read on:

(Dec, 17, 2008; Day 38) – With the Vendee Globe leaders lurking to the south
of central Australia, Roland Jourdain shows no sign of backing off , but if
he was especially nervous about Wednesday night and Thursday, it would be
entirely understandable. On 17th December 2007 (2220hrs GMT) Jourdain and
Jean Luc Nelias were forced out of the Barcelona World Race when their mast
broke. And, remarkably, in the Vendee Globe four years ago on 17th December
2004, he was forced to push the helm down and head 900 miles north for
Hobart when he was lying in third place. A cracked keel head, black liquid
oozing from it, was the cause of his retirement.

Jourdain says he is not especially superstitious and has sailed a superb
race to date, but he will be pleased to get through the next few hours on a
boat he knows so well. Indeed, with 19 new boats built for this race and 30
entries, who would have predicted that two of the three boats which formed
the top three four years ago, would again be in the top three, on the same
dates? -- 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, 13243.9 nm Distance to finish
2. Roland Jourdain (FRA), Veolia Environnement, 31.2 nm Distance to leader
3. Jean Le Cam (FRA), VM Matériaux, 81.5 nm DTL
4. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 87.2 nm DTL
5. Armel Le Cléac´h (FRA), Brit Air, 293.4nm DTL
10. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, 914.8 nm DTL
12. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, 1444.7 nm DTL
16. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 2439.5 nm DTL
17. Derek Hatfield (CAN), Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 2701.9 nm DTL
Complete standings:
Race tracking:

In sailing, timing is critical. It’s important in gift buying too, and if
you’re among those of us who wait until the last minute, we think you
deserve a great last-minute deal. Between now and 12/23, if you buy a Grand
Prix softshell jacket, you can get a red or green Microburst vest FREE. Shop
online at JSI, Landfall, Point Loma Outfitting, Preston’s, Sailing Pro Shop,
Sound Boatworks or Team One Newport. And for other last-minute gift ideas,
visit our website and check out the Atlantis Holiday Gift Guide. --
Discover: Your Atlantis

(Dec. 17, 2008; Day 5) - Life on board has all been about tacking and
stacking as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet makes its way upwind to the nearest
treasure chest – the scoring waypoint of Pulau We, at the entrance to the
Malacca Strait, over 400 miles away. From there they can turn right, and
hopefully do something they would not have done for the first three-quarters
of this 1,950nm leg: aim at the finish. For now, Telefonica Blue, having
invested heavily in the southern-most route on the eastbound race track,
continues to head the leaderboard. The lateral separation between Bouwe
Bekking’s men and the rest has grown to over 110 miles.

Comments Bekking, “We think we can make a gain with an expected South East
windshift to come. The risk is that the shift will not mature and then we
are in trouble, as being south it means as well that we have lighter winds
than all the others. Is it risky what we do? Yeeessss, very risky, but we
didn't have a real opportunity to tack to the north, so we stuck to our guns
and believe what we see on the weather charts. These are the days that your
tummy gets squeezed in like mad, and we all have to try to relax. It is a
matter of breathing in and out, and to stay calm, we all have faced worse
moments in our sailing lives. Another 24 hours we will see how our strategy
is paying off, very easy to go from the penthouse to the s^%t house.” --
Race tracking:

Leg Three from Cochin to Singapore is 1,950 nm, with the finish estimated on
December 23rd. Current positions (as of Dec. 18, 1:00am GMT):
1. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, 1025 nm Distance to Finish
2. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, 23 nm Distance to Leader
3. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Anders Lewander/SWE, 34 nm DTL
4. Telefonica Black (ESP), Fernando Echavarri/ESP, 36 nm DTL
5. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, 39 nm DTL
6. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, 42 nm DTL
7. Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, 99 nm DTL
8. Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, 103 nm DTL
Overall scores:
Race website:

Melbourne, AUS (Dec. 17, 2008) - Beijing Olympic gold medallist Anna
Tunnicliffe made an impressive start to her ISAF Sailing World Cup season,
topping the leaderboard in the Laser Radial class following the second day
of racing at Sail Melbourne. It was a busy day on Port Phillip Bay, as day
two of Sail Melbourne, the first event of the new ISAF Sailing World Cup
series, brought with it improved conditions. Unfortunately Radial racing was
postponed Tuesday due to the light air, With 20 knot winds forecast for
Thursday, the US skipper is set to have further opportunity to demonstrate
her famed ability across all wind ranges and conditions.

Also fairing well are US 470 class Olympic representatives Stuart McNay and
Graham Biehl, winning today’s final race to keep pace with the leading
Aussie pair, Beijing gold medallist Malcolm Page and his new skipper Mat
Belcher. Sail Melbourne is the first of seven World Cup events across
Oceania, North America and Europe that aims to build a Grand Prix type
circuit, providing a focus for the Olympic-class sailors. -- Full story:

Back to back gold is the ultimate aim for US Beijing Olympic Champion Anna
Tunnicliffe as she steps back into the Laser Radial dinghy for the inaugural
event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup at Sail Melbourne. The Florida based
Beijing gold medallist is in Melbourne this week for the inaugural first leg
of the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Sail Melbourne. At the completion of the
first day of racing in the Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial fleet,
everything is going to plan with Tunnicliffe sitting in a familiar position
at the top of the leaderboard.

Said Tunnicliffe, “The next regatta is the US team qualifier in Miami [US
SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, the second event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup]
and I wanted to have an event before that and it’s the first regatta of the
World Cup which I am going for too. I just want to get top three, work on my
fitness and tactics and get back into racing again.” As for another Olympic
medal, Tunnicliffe adds, “I’m a pretty driven person and I try to succeed at
whatever I set my mind to - it would be fantastic to win another gold medal
but I know it will probably be harder again this time. But if I do it again
it will just prove it was worth all of the effort I’ve put in … but right
now I’m just thinking of the small goals that I have to achieve to get
there.” -- Complete story:

Everyone in the worldwide Ullman Sails network would like to wish you, your
family and your crew a happy and safe holiday season. It’s been a big year
for sailing and next season is closing in fast. Once the madness of the
holidays is over, contact your local Ullman Sails loft. Our expert designers
and sailmakers can help evaluate your inventory and determine the best
upgrades for next year’s goals and budget. Decide on your New Year’s
resolution early. Ullman Sails – Make an investment in your performance.
Contact a local loft and visit us at

The technology of lightning protection hasn't changed significantly since
Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1752. The best way to protect
boat and crew from this random force is still to provide the strike a
straight, low-resistance path to ground. If the highest metal structure on
the boat is properly grounded, the risk of structural damage or personal
injury is extremely small.

Onboard electronics are, unfortunately, not protected. Lightning induces
current to flow in any conductor it passes near, and a powerful strike even
100 yards away may induce currents that exceed the capacity of the
low-current components inside most marine electronics. You can gain limited
protection by twisting all electronics power leads so induced currents will
tend to cancel. Electrical wiring should run perpendicular to bonding wires
to minimize the inductive effect of current flowing to ground. Ground the
chassis-the metal housing--to protect internal circuits and components from
directly induced currents. A surge protector in the supply line may stop a
limited range of lightning-induced power spikes.

But despite every protective effort, if lightning strikes your boat, your
electronics have only one chance in two of not becoming toast-so keep your
insurance paid up. -- RCR Yachts Racer's News,

* US SAILING has chosen five 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games medalists and
US Sailing Teams AlphaGraphics members as the sport’s 2008 Athlete of the
Year for outstanding performance and achievement this year. US SAILING’s
Olympic Sailing Committee has named Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe
(Plantation, Fla.) and Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater,
Fla.) as SportsWoman and SportsMan of the Year, respectively. Paralympic
Gold Medalists Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Maureen
McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) have been chosen as the Team of the
Year, and Paralympic Bronze Medalist John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) is the
Paralympian of the Year. -- Read on:

* Lausanne, Switzerland (Dec. 16, 2008) - Sailing scored a major coup as its
television coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games was recognized as 'The Best
Sports Coverage by the Host Broadcaster' at the International Olympic
Committee's (IOC) "Olympic Golden Rings" ceremony, which recognises the
contribution made by the world of television to the success of the Olympic
Games. In total 27 films were in the running for awards across four
categories. The films were watched by an international jury, chaired by IOC
Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch. -- Complete story:

* A record breaking fleet of over 700 junior sailors from 24 countries, as
well as 26 U.S. states and territories will convene for the 32nd annual
Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta based at the Coral Reef Yacht Club
in Miami, Fla. on December 27-30, 2008. The Orange Bowl Regatta is the
culminating event of the USA Junior Olympic Sailing season. This regatta is
the largest youth sailing regatta in the country, with racing held on
Biscayne Bay, featuring fleet racing on four courses for Club 420, Laser,
Laser Radial, Laser 4.7 and Optimist classes. -- Complete story:

* Acknowledging the downturn in US boat sales, the National Marine
Manufacturers Association (NMMA) said it would relax its model-year policy
for boats on display for the 2009 winter boat show season. The NMMA
Executive Committee approved a recommendation made by the NMMA Shows
Committee to allow exhibitors to display a higher percentage of 2008 model
year boats at this winter's shows. The new policy was established to help
dealers sell off 2008 inventory. -- IBI Magazine, read on:

Scuttlebutt began as a sailing newsletter in 1997, but has grown far beyond
those early days. The Scuttlebutt website provides:
* Comprehensive event calendar
* Complimentary classified ads
* Photo galleries and videos
* Sailing library
* No-cost sailing club membership
Find these options and others at

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 Michael de Angeli, Jamestown RI: As a patent lawyer, concerned above
all with the correct definition and use of technical terminology, I have
followed the recent debate of the proper definition of "boat" in connection
with the entitlement to the absolute speed record with great amusement.
Obviously one can write the definition of "boat" any way one likes. Absent a
clear definition the kiteboard folks have just as good a claim as the
windsurfer guys. A distinction could be drawn by requiring that the sails
have to be attached to masts - but that would exclude ocean-going cargo
ships flying kites, which aren't likely to set any speed records, but are
unquestionably boats. Likewise, if we define a boat as something which
floats, iceboats would be excluded; if we decide instead that a boat is
something that is supported by water, iceboats would be included.

So it's all a question of semantics, and the logical thing is to keep
separate records for different classes of boats, different water conditions,
and so on; that way all the leaders get legitimate respective bragging

This debate is very reminiscent of the problem in PHRF racing where those of
us in boats equipped with furniture, heads, etc must compete against
similarly-rated planing boats such as Melges 24s, Vipers and the like. It's
an imperfect system, but what isn't? Fortunately the one-design option is
available for those who prefer to discuss tactics, sailhandling, and
strategy rather than the inequity of rating rules over beers after the race.

* From Jim Whistler: (re, lead story in SBUTT 2746) I knew Peter Harken
would have a funny tidbit coated with his thick and humorous accent.
Whenever I read his writing, I can hear his voice and see his body language
in my mind as he rambles forward. A true classic, the last of a breed of the
guys that left their name all over the sport of sailing. So many of the
great soft water sailors seriously check their pulse on the hard water. It's
the acceleration that amazes me on the ice, I'll find my heart beating like
that of a hummingbird as every muscle in my body seems to get involved in
the process of going faster.

* From Ray Tostado: What has the world done to my sport? I entered sailing
through the sawdust and varnish of a wooden boat fleet, WHOA, then into
years of IOR racing. Now it seems that the "rules" I was introduced to have
vanished. Pro crews, moveable appendages, generator assisted deck equipment;
and now, "kite" technology. (I won't venture down the ACC alley.)

I just wish all the big boys and their weird toys would form their own
playground and its rules, and stop pretending this still includes dinghy
racing and the old PHRF rules. And my sentiments also go to the "cruise
class". Form your own associations and join us at the line, but not with the
ridiculous Home-Boy YC "adjustments". Note: "...a 35# anchor on the bow is
worth 3 spm".... This is whether you have a Cal 29 or a 52' Swan!

Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you
are not a hypochondriac.

Special thanks to Atlantis WeatherGear and Ullman Sails.

Please give consideration to supporting the Scuttlebutt sponsors when making
your holiday shopping decisions this year. A complete list of preferred
suppliers is at