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SCUTTLEBUTT 2750 - Tuesday, December 23, 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 sponsor is Seahorse Magazine.

(Dec. 22, 2008; Day 10) - "The best finish ever," raved Ericsson 3's Magnus
Olsson as his Volvo Ocean Race team pulled up to the dock at Sentosa Island in
Singapore. The irrepressible Swede, a veteran of six editions of the race wasn't
finished: "It was just incredible. If you like sailing, you have to love the
Volvo Ocean Race...2,000 miles and just a few seconds between us? Come on, it
was great." He was describing the most dramatic finish in Volvo Ocean Race
history, if not the absolute closest. But four boats finishing within 20
minutes, the last three separated by just two and a half minutes, after sailing
for over nine days and 1,950 miles, isn't something that happens all the time in
an offshore race.

On their second place finish, PUMA skipper Kenny Read noted, “I can officially
say that it was one of the most stressful seconds in my sailing career. In the
last 24 hours (prior to the finish), the lead changed hands amongst the top four
boats more times than I can imagine. We anchored twice. We were solidly fourth
several times. We were winning several times. We were picked off by a tug and
barge at the most critical time of the leg (about 15 miles from the finish
trying to keep both Ericsson boats from rolling us). We saw more fishing boats
and ships than any of us had ever seen before. We just missed massive logs and
hunks of rope and other debris on many occasions. We had to dive on the keel to
get a tree off it. No one on the boat really remembers the last time they slept
or ate. Let’s see - anything else I have forgotten? Sounds glamorous, eh?”

The next event for the Volvo Ocean Race teams will be the Singapore In-Port Race
on January 10, 2009. After that, the fleet will begin Leg 4, the 2,500 nm route
from Singapore to Qingdao, China, on January 18, 2009. -- Race website:

Leg Three from Cochin to Singapore was 1,950 nm. Current positions (as of Dec.
23, 1:00am GMT):
1. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, Finished Dec. 22, 14:51:22 GMT
2. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, Finished Dec. 22, 15:08:01 GMT
3. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Anders Lewander/SWE, Finished Dec. 22, 15:09:48 GMT
4. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, Finished Dec. 22, 15:10:28 GMT
5. Telefonica Black (ESP), Fernando Echavarri/ESP, Finished Dec. 22, 17:36:23
6. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, Finished Dec. 22, 22:49:36 GMT
7. Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, Finished Dec. 23, 00:08:25 GMT
8. Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, 155 nm Distance to Finish
Race tracking:

Current standings after Leg Three
1. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, 35 points
2. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, 30.5 points
3. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, 27.5 points
4. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Anders Lewander/SWE, 23.5 points
5. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, 20.5 points
6. Telefonica Black (ESP), F. Echavarri/ESP, 19.5 points
7. Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, 10.5 points
8. Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, 9 points**
Overall scores:
** Points for Leg 3 have been awarded.

Moments before it capsized on Saturday, the 60-ft French foiler l’Hydroptere hit
61 knots. That’s a tic over 70 mph, the legal speed limit on some California
highways. It’s doubtful the brief burst will be ratified by the World Sailing
Speed Record Council (WSSRC), since to qualify as official, a speed must be
maintained over 500 meters. But for Alain Thébault and his team of believers,
the evening of December 20 was one of vindication and celebration. There was
time enough on Sunday to tow the boat home and start feeling their cuts and

Thébault and famed French sailor Eric Tabarly conceived the idea for
l’Hydroptere (‘the hydrofoil’) way back in 1975. The complex, 5-ton boat — which
in winds above 12 knots rises onto port and starboard foils forward and a
combination rudder/’elevator’ in back — was launched in 1994. Since nobody had
ever built anything like her before, the learning curve consisted of sailing the
boat, seeing what worked or broke, and then fixing any problems before the next
outing. And lots of stuff broke. Thébault has suffered, nursed and repaired the
boat through many breakdowns over the years. -- Latitude 38, read on:

Marine photographers spend their life seeking the perfect moment to capture, but
some images stand out better than others because of the colors of the subject.
So Scuttlebutt asked a few of the top shooters what they thought were the best
colors for boats and crew gear.

* Gilles Martin-Raget: “Definitely red for the hull, a bit flashy. Get the
Ferrari paint code. For the crew, I like white, but I know it’s a nightmare for
the crews to keep it really white along the days.”

* Onne van der Wal: “I think my favorite color hull is a light grey blue, then
please dress the crew with a yellow faded color shirt. Also, red deck shoes and
no socks. Yellow or red spinnaker too. So there you go! That's my dream color
combo! Call me when it’s ready.”

* Daniel Forster: “I know what we don’t like: Dark hulls with black gear, like
Team NZL. Also, first crew gear rule: Every crew member should wear the same

Find their complete comments and photos on Scuttleblog. Also, post your comments
there too:

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(Dec, 22, 2008; Day 43) - Three low pressure zones stretching across the Vendee
Globe race course from front-runners to rear markers look set to ensure everyone
has a windy night tonight. Those on the western edge are still skirting the edge
of a low which will see winds averaging 50 knots affecting the west of the
Kerguelens, with a second storm brewing in the next 48 hours.

In the middle of the fleet a low is deepening to the south-east of Heard Island
and looks set to bring violent winds from Tuesday through to Wednesday - making
for an exciting Christmas Eve - as they move northwards towards the south of
Australia. For the leaders, a low that formed over Cape Leeuwin last weekend and
then headed off towards Tasmania is now moving towards the south of New Zealand,
generating some strong gusts in the thundery squalls.

In this evening’s update, the boats with most favourable conditions seem to be
in the second row - Vincent Riou (PRB) in 6th making the most ground in 24
hours, with fifth-placed Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) also clocking averages of
over 18 knots. Fastest over this afternoon has been Jean-Pierre Dick, whose
rudder repairs to Paprec-Virbac 2 seem to be holding with speeds creeping over
20 knots.

Further ahead, leader Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) is diving further south-east,
whilst the chasing trio have all gybed today onto a more north-easterly course.
Can they undo the damage Foncia has wreaked? In one week Sebastien Josse (BT)
has lost 150 miles in one week, Jean Le Cam (VM Materials) conceded 180 miles,
Armel le Cléac'h (Brit Air) nearly 270 miles and Vincent Riou (PRB) 250 miles -
there will be no let-up in the Pacific just yet. -- 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, 11439.5 nm Distance to finish
2. Roland Jourdain (FRA), Veolia Environnement, 72.2 nm Distance to leader
3. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 217.7 nm DTL
4. Jean Le Cam (FRA), VM Matériaux, 258.8 nm DTL
5. Armel Le Cléac´h (FRA), Brit Air, 476.0 nm DTL
8. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, 1509.3 nm DTL
11. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, 1939.6 nm DTL
15. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 3063.3 nm DTL
16. Derek Hatfield (CAN), Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 3206.8 nm DTL
Complete standings:
Race tracking:

What is sailed during the winter on the Great South Bay of Long Island and does
not use a rudder? (Answer below).

The NSW Bureau of Meteorology’s early weather forecast is predicting ideal fast
sailing conditions for at least the first two days of the 628 nm Rolex Sydney
Hobart 2008, where 100 boats will start on 26 December and will be compete on
the waters of Sydney Harbour, the Tasman Sea, Storm Bay and the Derwent River.
The race is expected to start this Friday in a 15 knot north-easterly breeze
which should freshen to 20 to 25 knots during the afternoon, providing downwind
conditions for the mostly southerly course to Hobart. These strong northerly
winds will hang in through Saturday and Sunday, possibly even reaching near gale
force later on Sunday before a strong to gale force westerly change associated
with the passage of a front sweeps through Bass Strait on Sunday night. -- Full

* Seven Network and Yahoo!7 will provide a live 90 minute webcast of the start
of the 64th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with coverage scheduled from 12.30pm
AEST until 2:00pm AEST on December 26th (or December 25th from 8:30pm to 10:00pm
ET). -- Details:

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include iron ore taconite and boats, guns and boats, grass roots and boats, snow
and boats, rum and boats, World Cup soccer and boats, lost control and boats,
and the Indian River and boats. Enjoy: If you have images you would
like to share, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor at

* Since Scuttlebutt's coverage of Felucca racing on the Nile has been shy, Rich
Roberts has provided some shots from the action at Luxor in Egypt. There were no
protests. --

* The Chicago Match Race Center has announced that the Key West Match Race
Invitational has three spaces remaining for the 8-team format. Held over 24-25
January, this will be the first match racing event in North America for 2009,
and is open to any team interested. Depending on entries, the intent will be to
fulfill the requirements necessary for this to be an ISAF Grade 3 or 4 event. --
Full details:

* Annapolis Sailing School announced that 2009 will be a year- long celebration
of the fiftieth birthday of the nation’s oldest commercial sailing school. The
School has been an Annapolis institution and a leader in the recreational
boating instructional industry since its founding by Jerry Wood in 1959. The
Sailing School plans a whole season filled with special programs and events to
mark this important anniversary. -- Read on:

* Match racing specialist Sebastien Col heads the list of the announced team
members that will sail aboard K-Challenge for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series
which will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from 1-14 February 2009. -- Full

* Following discussions and agreements between the Defender, the Challenger of
Record and the entered challengers in recent Competitor Meetings in Geneva, an
amended version of the 33rd America's Cup Protocol has now been published. --
Full details:

* Topaz Sailing Systems, LLC announced that they have been chosen by Topper
International as the exclusive United States distributor of the entire range of
Topper performance sailing dinghies. Available for the first time to the United
States market, the Topper line of sailboats are designed and built by Olympic
sailor Rob White and his UK team. -- Full report:

* Criminal charges have been dropped against four members of the University of
Vermont sailing team accused of hazing younger team members. The Chittenden
Prosecutor says four juniors on the team compelled freshman to drink alcohol as
an initiation rite. They were charged with criminal disorderly conduct, but
those charges were dismissed. The four members were instead issued tickets for
underage drinking. That means they will pay fines and take part in the diversion
program. --

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at

The Ice Scooter can be found on the Great South Bay of Long Island, which is
steered creating an imbalance between the jib and main. This may be achieved by
trimming the jib or moving ones weight forward or aft. Rather than sitting in a
small cockpit, once the boat gets going the driver and passengers can be found
hiked out and loving every minute of the ride. -- Full post with 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 Rasa Bertrand: The Australian Navy did an amazing job rescuing Yann. I
hope the organizers of the Vendee Globe realize what a huge effort this was and
courageous the Royal Flying Doctor and his team were to board and rescue Yann in
treacherous conditions. Great for adventurers but many Aussies are asking why
the tax payer has to be rescuing people at huge expense for a yacht race.
Interesting discussion.

* From Peter Bowker, Fort Lauderdale, FL: Permit me to disagree with Luiz Kahn’s
contention (‘butt 2748) that Time on Time (ToT) is a fairer system than Time on
Distance (ToD). All handicap systems are based on a series of measurements to
determine a yacht’s potential speed, the most significant being waterline
length, i.e. a larger boat is expected to sail faster than a smaller one.

Such theory depends on there being sufficient breeze to propel the various size
boats to their potential. ToT may well work in Northern Europe which tends to
have good and reliable wind, but many areas of the USA are not as fortunate,
think Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and Southern California.
Under ToT the smaller boats are always favored, for with the fleet barely
moving, that ToT meter is still ticking. It should be remembered that in the
days of IOR, in the Mediterranean, another light air venue, the members of
C.I.M., largely Southern France, Italy and Spain, saw fit in the late 70s, to
switch from ToT to ToD, as they considered the latter a more equitable
calculator for their conditions. IOR ratings were in feet and different formulae
were used to convert to ToT (seconds per hour) and ToD (seconds per mile)

What we need is to discover how IRC converts a series of metric measurements to
a TCC (time correction) and concoct our own tables for seconds per mile. Any

* From Peter Harken: (re, letter in #2749) Bob Dill, for whom I will respect for
now, is truly way off base when it comes to ice boat speeds. I must say I don't
think I've met the guy and ever seen him measuring our ice boat speeds in all my
25-30 years on the ice or ever on our Wisconsin and Midwestern lakes, but maybe
I have and old age took that part of my brain and muddled it.

As an example of my huge doubts regards his experience in ice boats is his claim
that that in light wind, say 10mph any good ice an E-Skeeter can go 8-12 times
the wind speed, so he is saying they will do between 80 and 120 mph. Holy Cow
and absolutely not. They can do about 5-6 times on perfect ice or 50-60 mph at
best. Then he contradicts himself and says they have only achieved 84 mph which
means we have never sailed in much anything over 10-12 mph, huh, huh?? And then
he claims the land sailors have achieved 116 mph so the land sailors with much
higher friction and crabbing at the same time (been there, done that) have
achieved speeds greater than ice boats.

Believe me, I am not prejudiced to either iceboats or land sailing, having done
both and like the guys equally well, but that logic and actual performance is
upside down, inside out and wrong! Ice boat speeds have been timed by radar,
GPS, and start to finish coarse times many times and usually we take the
conservative time (except at the bar after many beers).

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Soft water sailors are lucky that the International
Sailing Federation (ISAF) established the World Sailing Speed Record Council to
manage speed claims. Perhaps it is time for ice sailing to organize a similar
international authority. This thread is now closed.

Youth passes, but with luck immaturity can last a lifetime.

Special thanks to Seahorse Magazine.

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