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SCUTTLEBUTT 2749 - Monday, December 22, 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 Melges Performance Boats and PredictWind.

Making headway in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, otherwise referred to as
the middle of nowhere, Thomas Coville aboard the 105-foot maxi-trimaran Sodeb
’O is back on a ‘supersonic’ point of sail thanks to a good NW’ly wind which
should remain established at 25/30 knots for the next 3 days. In his quest to
eclipse Francis Joyon’s solo circumnavigation record, Coville is slipping
along at over 34 knots under two reef mainsail and staysail.

“When the boat drops into a wave, in the pitch black, you feel like you’re
falling into an abyss,” described Coville. “Aboard, it’s unbearable as you’re
permanently being shaken and tossed about. You hit things and you don’t know
what it is; it could be strings of algae which are as hard as tree trunks, or
even seals. Life on a multihull at these kinds of speeds is something which
is unimaginable for a landlubber and I myself couldn’t even have imagined

Coville’s route has been plagued by challenging weather, and is now predicted
to reach Cape Horn on December 27th, with a deficit of around 4 days on
Francis Joyon, which is just about the time that the skipper of IDEC lost on
his climb up the Atlantic. --

Sailing World magazine announced the winners of its 25th annual Boat of the
Year awards. The King 40 by Summit Yachts, the overall winner, and four other
boats won awards from an independent panel of experts who inspected and
tested 17 nominated entries during the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis
earlier this year. Selections were based on extensive inspections and sea
trials of all the boats. All five 2009 Boat of the Year winners will be
featured in the January/February issue of Sailing World.

Other categories and their winners in the 2009 BOTY competition: Best
One-Design: Melges 20 (Melges Boatworks, Zenda, Wisc.); Best Club Racer:
Andrews 28 (Sylvana Yachts, Penticton, British Columbia); Best Crossover:
Archambault A35 (Archambault Boats, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Best Dinghy: Bug
(LaserPerformance, Portsmouth, R.I.). -- Complete report:

(Dec, 21, 2008; Day 42) - The leaders continue to drag race towards the New
Zealand gate this evening, newly moved north in order to bring the fleet away
from the ice risk below the West Pacific and East Pacific gates - not
everyone will be hoping for a white Christmas this winter. Leader Michel
Desjoyeaux’s relentless pace continues, with Foncia once again the fastest
boat in the fleet this evening, currently sailing at 18 knots and covering
over 375 miles in the past 24 hours.

Previous editions have seen this section of the race dotted with icebergs —
in 2004, Jean Le Cam took the lead on 20th December. Two days later, he
informs Race HQ that he has seen a dozen icebergs, and on the 23rd December
2004, Sébastien Josse hits a growler and breaks his bowsprit. That Christmas
Day, Mike Golding added his concerns after seeing some more icebergs.

Yann Elies, the skipper of Generali who broke his leg on December 18, was
successfully transferred to an Australian Navy frigate last Saturday morning.
The medical team on board confirmed a fractured left femur and also revealed
several broken ribs. Generali was around 850 miles south-south-east of Perth
and was left sailing slowly northwards under a very minimal sail plan, away
from the track of the worst of the low pressure systems. The Vendée Globe
race directors will continue to monitor her position as members of the
Generali team travel to Australia to go aboard a motor launch that will take
them out to the area, and they will sail her back to Southern Australia. --
Event website:

Solo, non-stop, around the world race in Open 60s.
Standings as of 18:30 UTC (Top 5 plus of 30 entrants; 18 now competing):
1. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia, 11785.5 nm Distance to finish
2. Roland Jourdain (FRA), Veolia Environnement, 62.2 nm Distance to leader
3. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 159.5 nm DTL
4. Jean Le Cam (FRA), VM Matériaux, 200.0 nm DTL
5. Armel Le Cléac´h (FRA), Brit Air, 494.4 nm DTL
8. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, 1403.1nm DTL
11. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, 1905.0 nm DTL
15. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 2972.7 nm DTL
16. Derek Hatfield (CAN), Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 3163.4 nm DTL
Complete standings:
Race tracking:

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Nearly half the fleet has been eliminated, with many
of the front-runners included. This race is a balance of how hard to push
both the boat and the skipper, with the ability of these two elements varying
greatly among the fleet. The results in Scuttlebutt have included the top
five, but also have monitored the only two women in the race, and the only
two North Americans in the race. While these four skippers are far from the
lead, they are still in the race, their onboard reports are generally
positive, and I hope to continue following their progress all the way to the
finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France.

The New Melges 20 was voted Sailing World Boat of the Year in the One Design
section. The experts raved, “A quick little sportboat with firm one-design
class rules, legs in hiking, and great light air performance. It delivers
high-speed sailing and excellent stability in heavy air.” Come and see the
Melges 20 up close at Key West Race Week as Melges will be giving test drives
and there will be a boat on display at the Melges Hospitality area at race
week headquarters. The Strictly Sail Chicago Show will feature the Melges 20
on January 29-February 1. Come check it out! Race to

(Dec. 21, 2008; Day 9) - Viva Las Vegas! The bright lights, the glamour, the
gambling. Fun for a visit, but a tough way to make a living. The Volvo Ocean
Race fleet arrived to the Malacca Straits this weekend, and much like any
romp to Sin City, some of the boys got lucky while others got robbed.
However, for this trip, even the hopes of good-looking gals have been dashed.
Noted Ian Walker, Green Dragon skipper: “This is by far the longest I have
ever been sailing upwind in my life. Even when we got to the Pulau We scoring
gate and could turn right, the wind shifted right with us so it was dead on
the nose again.”

While the wind did back around to the northeast by Sunday, finally providing
for close reaching conditions, the obstacles on the course remained.
Commented Walker, “The shipping lane is getting busier and busier but no sign
yet of many fishermen or pirates. But there is a lot of debris in the water
like bits of bamboo and tree trunks. We have a permanent spotter during
daylight but will have to keep our fingers crossed at night. It will only be
a matter of time before we hit something. Hopefully it won't be something as
big as the tree we have just sailed past that stuck 7ft up out of the
water!” -- Race website:

Leg Three from Cochin to Singapore is 1,950 nm, with the finish estimated on
December 23rd. Current positions (as of Dec. 22, 1:00am GMT):
1. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, 117 nm Distance to Finish
2. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Anders Lewander/SWE, 1 nm DTL
3. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, 1 nm Distance to Leader
4. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, 2 nm DTL
5. Telefonica Black (ESP), Fernando Echavarri/ESP, 16 nm DTL
6. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, 55 nm DTL
7. Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, 68 nm DTL
8. Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, 175 nm DTL
Overall scores:
Race tracking:

* The order at the Pulau We scoring gate was E4, T-Blue, E3, PUMA, T-Black,
GD, T-Russia, and DL.

Melbourne, Australia (Dec. 21, 2008) - As the first of seven events in the
inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup series, Sail Melbourne brought together a
combination of Olympic stars and 2012 hopefuls to Port Phillip Bay for six
days of intense racing. Australia ended top of the medal standings with three
golds, but despite the meager amount of international attendees, sailors from
Chile, France, Great Britain, Spain and the USA claimed ISAF Sailing World
Cup gold medals as well. Nearly all the top North Americans finished on the
podium, with Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) winning the Laser Radial, Stu McNay and
Graham Biehl (USA) overcoming the borrowed boat blues to capture second in
the 470, with Canadian Michael Leigh just missing the podium by one point,
finishing 4th in the Laser class. -- Final report:

The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 series consists of seven events:
16-21 December 2008 - Sail Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 January 2009 – US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, Florida, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-28 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain
Complete details:

Michael Perham, 16, from Hertfordshire, UK, may have to give up his dream of
becoming the youngest person to sail non-stop around the world, having
already been forced to make a series of stops in Portugal and Gran Canaria
because his autopilot system keeps cutting out. He hoped to beat Australian
Jesse Martin's record as the youngest non-stop circumnavigator, who completed
the trip on October 31, 1999, aged 18. But he has now been moored in Gran
Canaria for ten days while experts attempt to fix the mystery problem.

Michael said: “It is incredibly frustrating. It has now been three weeks
since I started and we are still at square one. “We always knew there was a
chance of stopping – only about a third or quarter of attempts ever make it –
but we were hopeful we could do it. “It’s still on the cards if I sail from
here with no more stops and finish in Gran Canaria, so fingers crossed we can
do that.” – Times, read on:

* Zac Sunderland continues with his quest to complete the youngest
circumnavigation with stops. He is currently in Durban, SA, getting ready for
the next leg to the Panama Canal. He completes his journey in Los Angeles,
CA. --

* The World Sailing Speed Record Council announced the ratification of a new
World B Class Record of 47.36 kts, set by Paul Larson (AUS) aboard Vestas
Sailrocket on December 3, 2008 at Walvis Bay, Namibia. The previous record of
44.65 kts was set in 1993 by Simon Mckeon (AUS) aboard Yellow Pages. --

* CORRECTION: In Issue 2758, a response by Luiz Kahl in the e-Newsletter to
the question “Any misconceptions for a newbie that has resisted so far?”
included a typo. The correction states that “ToT, since it uses your time on
the course, is a fairer handicap system, but although very simple to
calculate (handicap multiplied by elapsed time), it does take a little time
to make the transition and get used to it.”

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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 Bob Dill: Peter Harken’s interview in the Scuttlebutt 2746 newsletter
captured the essence of racing Skeeter Iceboats very well. His view that
Skeeters have achieved 120 mph is, in my opinion, off the mark.

I have been measuring iceboat and landyacht speeds for 20 years with radar
and GPSs. Skeeters are remarkable boats. On ice, they get around a
windward-leeward racecourse faster than anything else. On fast ice they can
achieve 8-10 times the wind speed in light wind. They are fully powered in 12
mph. They manage overpowering on the downwind legs by sailing deeper as the
wind increases. By wind in the upper teens they are jibing through 50 degrees
with boat speeds of 70+ mph (excellent VMG!). They go as fast in 20 mph wind
as they do in 30 although they feel faster in 30 as they are more on edge.

The fastest reliable measurement I know of is 84 in an attempt at max speed.
It is likely that Skeeters have gone a few mph faster, especially in high
elevation places like Canyon Ferry MT. 120 mph, however, is over the top as
it would require twice as much power from the boat. There is a long history
of wild speed claims in iceboating (120 mph in a Skeeter is one of the least
exaggerated). I expect this will be resolved over the next couple years as
more people take a GPS sailing with them. This has already happened with the
eastern Skeeter sailors.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Bob knows something about speed, as he designed the
'Iron Duck' that Bob Schumacher sailed to a top land speed record of 116.7
mph on March 20, 1999.

* From Neil Rabinowitz, marine photographer: I read your report in Issue 2746
about someone windsurfing near the glaciers in Alaska. It has been
done...many times. After shooting lots of megayachts in those waters for
years, some crew off the yachts have tried it. I have heard of others playing
the same watercraft games in a variety of Alaska's tidewater glaciers. Crew
of the big boats, some sailboats with their own boards, as well as residents
of Whittier, and Valdez have all toyed about their own local glaciers. We
often throw in jet skis, kayaks, inflatables, Hobies, etc....and play amongst
the bergs. In the summer it gets into the 70's and above, so it's less
strange than your contributor made out.

* From Euan Ross: (re, story about glacier windsurfing) I somehow doubt this.
When I visited Alaska back in 1982 there was already a Mistral dealership in

* From Paul Warren, Redington Beach, FL: (re, letter in Issue 2748) I agree,
from personal experience, with Dan Chesson/Ockam Instruments about lightning
vulnerability. My electronics - save the VHF - got fried aboard my Grand
Soleil 39 while in the slip. My boat did not take a direct lightning
strike -- it hit a yacht a couple of slips away. However, the voltage surge
made its way through the shore power system and destroyed my apparent wind
and depth sounder instruments, regardless of the indirect pathway. The boats
between me and the "struck boat" were also affected.

My suggestion: get an industrial strength surge suppressor and install it
in-line between the shore power source and your electrical panel. As Dan
suggested, a good grounding system should take care of most strikes on your

BTW, my insurance deductible just about equaled the replacement cost of the
B&G/Datamarine units that took the hit. Insurance wasn't a factor in my case.

* From Cameron McIntyre, Ocean Equipment: Another option to safeguarding
against a lighting strike is to install wireless instruments. Wireless
instruments have fared very well when exposed to lighting strikes, direct or
indirect. Total losses have occurred only in the masthead unit, transducers
and the transmitters but the displays are totally unaffected. In addition
when replacing parts due to lighting damage you don't have to run new wires.
Assuming you have insurance, and you should, the loss from lighting can be
dramatically reduced by exploring alternative equipment options.

* From Eric Sorensen: Ray Tostado has it right. The PHRF and small one
designs have little in common with the new tech sailing. Who is to say which
is more fun? I would love to play with the new toys but also like my cruiser
(which is raced with optional hiking by the crew). The best regattas include
a "Cruising Class for real boats that actually have creature comforts
(weight) and crew that likes ice in their drinks and fresh baked goods for
the downwind run. With a little drum beating we can get more boats off the
dock on a race course.

As far as high tech sailing, give me a foiler Moth and I would die in a crash
but I can still sail my beautifully restored 1968 Bailey Cates Moth for
thrills. But what a way to die!

* From Paola Cariboni, Cariboni Giovanni: I would like to point out that the
problem on Delta Lloyd in the Volvo Ocean Race was not a failure with the
hydraulic ram, but as you can see from the photos, it’s on the structure
(bulkheads) that holds the canting keel cylinder to the hull.

* From Adrian Morgan: (re, Volvo Ocean Race story in #2748) It's far too easy
to say "enough's enough. The boats are not up to the mark". But having read
the following I wonder: "Going upwind in a Volvo 70 sucks... these boats
don't point very high so it takes forever to get anywhere truly upwind...
they slam on every wave... in any wind the waves that make life so
uncomfortable come thick and fast." Grand prix racing boats that don't go
upwind? That's like F1 cars that don't go round corners.

Does your train of thought have a caboose?

Special thanks to Melges Performance Boats and PredictWind.

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