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SCUTTLEBUTT 2790 - Friday, February 27, 2009

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 Sailboats and North U.

FIJI PROVES TO BE MAJOR OBSTACLE FOR VOLVO FLEET
(Feb. 26, 2009; Day 13) - There have been some drastic deficit cuts on this
leg and chief among those wielding the axe are Bouwe Bekking's men on
Telefonica Blue. Initially handicapped by a 19-hour delay after a rocky
departure on Leg 5, the Blue boat set off 189 miles after the fleet in Qingdao
and had fallen as far adrift as 300 miles to the leaders. Notes Bekking, “We
feel like the storm chasers on the Discovery Channel, when every black cloud
appears, the adrenaline starts rushing, and the tension onboard rises. Luckily
we still haven’t found the real twisters.”

Along with seeking the best path through the rain clouds, navigators must
wrestle with Fiji now looming large on the radar screens. Four hundred miles
on the bow and about 200 left to right, Fiji is central to the tactics over
the next two days as the optimum routing is east of the south Pacific island
group. All the boats remain on port (now day 13), heading southeast, with a
true wind angle in the 50s to get to the upwind side of the islands. While
T-Blue’s comeback has been remarkable, her westerly position to the fleet
could be disastrous if the wind heads her, or if Fiji won’t move.

Crewed around the world race in VO 70’s, with ten distance legs and seven
In-Port races. Leg Five from Qingdao, China to Rio de Janiero, Brazil is
12,300 nm, with the finish estimated on March 20th. Current positions (as of
Feb. 27, 1:00 am GMT):
1. Ericsson 4 (SWE), Torben Grael/BRA, 8,496 nm Distance to Finish
2. PUMA (USA), Ken Read/USA, 18 nm Distance to Leader
3. Telefónica Blue (ESP), Bouwe Bekking/NED, 18 nm DTL
4. Ericsson 3 (SWE), Magnus Olsson/SWE, 22 nm DTL
5. Green Dragon (IRL/CHN), Ian Walker/GBR, 64 nm DTL
Telefonica Black (ESP), Fernando Echavarri/ESP, Did Not Start
Delta Lloyd (IRL), Roberto Bermudez/ESP, DNS
Team Russia (RUS), Andreas Hanakamp/AUT, DNS

Event website: http://www.volvooceanrace.org
Overall scores: http://www.volvooceanrace.org/rdc/#tab4
Race tracking: http://volvooceanrace.geovoile.com

THE EVOLUTION OF KITEBOARDING
The dates for the 2009 United States Wind & Water Open (WW09) have been set,
and not only has the event expanded in length, it's expanded in stature. This
year's event will be headlined by the 2009 North American Course Racing
Continental Championships as well as the US Kiteboarding National
Championships. The championships, which will be hosted by the Corpus Christi
Yacht Club, will take place Tuesday, May 5th through Saturday, May 9th.

The event will be sanctioned by ISAF (International Sailing Federation), and
although several kiteboarding championships have taken place during past U.S.
Wind and Water events (formerly the Velocity Games), this will be the first
year for this level of competition. Additionally, the kiteboarding
championship, the WW09 will also feature the US Windsurfing Regatta, the WW09
Volleyball Classic and the WW09 5K. -- Full report: http://linkbee.com/GLBS

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT MELGES
The winter has definitely not slowed down the news at Melges Performance
Sailboats. High tech sailing sportswear manufacturer SLAM was just named title
sponsor of 2009 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship Series, a thirty event
schedule spread across the USA, and will also be supporting the Melges 17, MC
Scow and C Scow fleets at their Midwinter Championships in March. Photos of
the new Melges MC for 2009 are now online, and the dates for the 2009 Melges
24 Worlds in Annapolis, MD are confirmed. Already, the Melges 20 class expects
to have six boats at Charleston Race Week. And next week, the Melges 32 class
will conclude their Gold Cup series at Acura Miami Grand Prix next week. All
the details at the Melges website: http://www.melges.com

SAILING WORLD REVEALS NEW RANKING SYSTEM
For as long as Sailing World has been doing college rankings—they go back to
at least 1979, when Ken Legler did them on his own—we've been using a select
panel of top coaches to do the honors.

There were a number of reasons for using this system, including the general
lack of sailing programs with college coaches in the late 1970s and the
prohibitive logistics involved with using a larger panel or opening it up to
every college coach.

Times have changed, however, and we are proud to unveil a new system for our
bi-weekly college sailing rankings, one that gives one vote to every team in
the country with a coach. Using an Internet polling site, every accredited
coach can submit his or her list of the top 20 coed and 15 women's team in the
country. -- Read on: http://www.sailingworld.com/0904rankings

* St. Mary’s and the College of Charleston stand at the top of Sailing World’s
first rankings of the spring college sailing season. Which other teams have
made the list? Find out at
http://www.sailingworld.com/article_search.jsp?typeID=489&categoryID=589&m=1

BRITISH AND FRENCH EQUALLY SHARE TOP RANKS
(Feb. 26, 2009; Day 109) - Finally triumphing after a frustrating duel with
the prolonged easterly headwinds in the Bay of Biscay, British solo skipper
Steve White sailed his Open 60 Toe in the Water across the finish line in
light NE’ly winds and brilliant sunshine at Les Sables d’Olonne’s South Nouch
mark this morning/afternoon to take a commendable eighth place in the Vendée
Globe solo round the world race.

White averaged 10.78 knots on the water covering 28,197 miles. He sailed the
24,840 theoretical miles at an average speed of 9.49 knots. Of the seven
British skippers who started the race, three were forced to retire. As White
finishes, British skippers occupy four of the top eight places, a level of
success for overseas soloists which is unprecedented in the legendary non-stop
solo round the world race which was first contested in 1989.

On his first venture into the southern latitudes: “I was fairly nervous when
the barometer started dropping and had some serious forecasts from Meteo
France, it’s such strange place, you are isolated, but you feel isolated, you
are very alone, a long way from any help. But once I’d been through the first
one it was ok, but the sense of isolation is not something I actively seeked,
but it’s so desolate, wild and very beautiful, it’s beyond me to describe it,
it needs to be experienced.” -- Full report: http://linkbee.com/GLBT

Solo, non-stop, around the world race in Open 60s.
Standings as of 18:30 UTC (30 entrants; 8 finished; 3 competing):
1. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia, Finished Feb. 1, 15:11 GMT (84:03:09:08)
2. Armel Le Cléac´h (FRA), Brit Air, Finished Feb. 7, 08:41 GMT (89:09:39:35)
3. Marc Guillemot (FRA), Safran, Finished Feb. 16, 01:21 GMT (95:03:19:36)
3. Vincent Riou (FRA), PRB, Dismasted - Redress Given
4. Samantha Davies (GBR), Roxy, Finished Feb. 14, 00:41 GMT (95:04:39:01)
5. Brian Thompson (GBR), Bahrain Team, Finished Feb. 16, 08:31 GMT
(98:20:29:55)
6. Dee Caffari (GBR), Aviva, Finished Feb. 16, 13:12 GMT (99:01:10:57)
7. Arnaud Boissières (FRA), Akena Vérandas, Finished Feb. 22, 14:35 GMT
(105:02:33:50)
8. Steve White (GBR), Toe in the Water, Finished Feb. 26, 12:38 GMT
(109:00:36:55)
9. Rich Wilson (USA), Great American III, 1876.7 nm Distance to Finish

Event website: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en
Complete standings: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/ranking.html
Race tracking: http://tracking.vendeeglobe.org/en

SAILING SHORTS
* The Case Book for 2009-2012, which contains interpretations of The Racing
Rules of Sailing, has been released and published on the ISAF website. The new
edition of The Case Book is a revision of the previous edition which reflects
changes in The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 (RRS), which came into
force on 1 January 2009. In order to maximize the understanding of the rules,
ISAF has been publishing interpretations of the RRS for over 40 years in The
Case Book, which provides details on the application of the rules to around
100 scenarios. -- Details:
http://www.sailing.org/27444.php?PHPSESSID=59a21254aec9844a1cbd9e0a77b93a8d

* The Canadian Yachting Association has announced the 39 members of the 2009
Canadian Sailing Team. Among the events for which representatives were
selected include 8 of the 10 Olympic events, 2 of the 3 Paralympic events,
plus the Tornado event. -- Full list:
http://www.sailing.ca/features/presenting_the_2009_canadian_sailing_team

* (Feb. 26, 2009) - Today, the Illinois State Legislature’s Revenue and
Finance Committee decided not to move forward with HB 451, a bill to impose a
five percent luxury tax on vessels sold in Illinois over a purchase price of
$200,000. Mark Adams, vice president of sportshows for the National Marine
Manufacturers Association (NMMA), along with opponents from six different
marine-related organizations and businesses, attended the hearing to testify
in opposition to the tax. However, before testimonies could be heard, the
committee echoed industry concerns about the tax and withheld a motion to take
up the legislation. -- NMMA, Full report:
http://www.nmma.org/news/news.asp?id=17641&sid=3

* Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation transferring $29 million
from the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund to the state’s General Fund.
The measure, SBX3 2, is one of a package of bills designed to close
California’s $42 billion budget shortfall, signed Feb. 20. It transfers the
money as a “loan” and stipulates that repayment shall be made “so as to ensure
that the programs supported by the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund are
not adversely affected by the loan, but no later than June 30, 2013.” -- The
Log, read on: http://www.thelog.com/news/logNewsArticle.aspx?x=9139

* A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has reversed a ruling by the state
Coastal Resources Management Council and will allow Champlin’s Marina to go
ahead with a major expansion in Block Island’s Great Salt Pond. -- Soundings
Trade Only, read on: http://linkbee.com/GLBU

* Puerto Calero, Canary Islands (Feb. 26, 2009) - Replacing James Spithill for
this event, Sébastien Col and the Slovenian team Ceeref have dominated the
match race event of the Puerto Calero RC 44 Cup, winning all their matches.
The conditions were once again light and irregular, and Race Officer Peter
“Luigi” Reggio did his very best to conclude the round robin before the night,
changing the course constantly to match the wind direction changes. Cameron
Appleton and Team Aqua finish second, and Russell Coutts’ BMW ORACLE Racing
third. -- Complete report:
http://www.rc44.com/en/regattas/news/index.php?idContent=1945

* CORRECTION: In Scuttlebutt 2769, it was reported that ICAP Leopard took line
honours in the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600. Unfortunately, this information
came from the team, which left out a small detail that they took line honours
in the ‘monohull’ category. Noted ‘butthead Grey McGown, “I'm a great fan of
the ORMA 60s multihulls, I must point out that Leopard, as fabulous a boat she
is, wasn't first to finish. The F1 Tri Region Guadeloupe beat her in by four
hours, without having 25 rail birds onboard!”

LEARN MORE FASTER
You can spend a lifetime learning to be a better racer, or you can accelerate
the process at the 9th Annual North U / Offshore Sailing Performance Race
Week. Enjoy six days of racing with an on-board coach, video review and
unmatched curriculum. Come to Florida April 26 - May 2 for the fun, and as a
bonus, go home a winning racer. If you want to learn more, call 800-221-4326
or visit: http://www.northu.com or http://www.offshore-sailing.com/racing.asp

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include memorable anniversaries, memorable events, Caribbean classics, ice
skate sailing, seal sailing, and a sequence shot of an unconventional manner
to measure a Thistle. If you have images you would like to share, send them to
the Scuttlebutt editor. Here are this week’s photos:
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/09/0227

VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Anybody ever strap a windsurf rig to a skateboard? Adjacent to the launch ramp
in Marina del Rey, CA, there was a large parking lot, and when the wind was
snotty, there weren’t too many boats getting launched, which made for a wide
open area to try skateboard sailing. That was in the 70’s, and there are
likely condominiums on that space now. However, you can’t build condos on
frozen lakes, and that’s where you will find people strapping windsurf rigs
onto snazzy sleds. Looks pretty fun… almost makes us want to give up on
Southern California (almost). Click here for this week’s video:
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/media/09/0227

* If you have a video you like, please send your suggestion for next week’s
Video of the Week to mailto:craig@sailingscuttlebutt.com


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
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: editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com
-- To post on the Forum: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum

* From Hal Smith: Regarding the pending Farrah Hall amendment to the RRS,
there is another unintended consequence that may be headed our way. There will
probably be almost no grants of redress. If the consequence of granting
redress will be the extremely difficult task of convening parties that are
impossibly dispersed, then protest committees will be loathe to alter scores
even when evidence is compelling. Protest committees are not paid that much.
This is a game changer.

* From Jim Mahaffy: Many years ago, won't mention how many, I was a member of
the Far West Ski Assn., a part of United States Ski Assn. (the snowboarding
thing was added later). The Olympic side and then the professional side
started to take over the organization until the amateur part became
non-existent. If this is where sailors want sailing to go, God help us! I find
it hard to picture an Olympic/professional side of the sport with their rules
and the rest of us trying to do our thing with our own rules. We Have WAY too
many lawyers!

* From Donald Brewster: The expressed wishes for Scuttlebutt to omit
publication of litigation reports is a bit of the ostrich axiom: if your head
is under the sand, you can't hear the commotion so it must not be happening.
Sailing's popularity and accessibility combined with a much more competitive
away-from-sailing world surely lessened the sport's respect for corinthianism.
Racing is now a big-dollar enterprise, waged increasingly by those whose egos
and ambitions are not adequately supported by a simple love for just plain
sailing: winning has become more important than competing. That the book of
appeals is so much heavier than the book of rules proves that competition no
longer just stays on the water. Our sport is what we made it, and the
courtroom is now an integral part. Better to know than to look like an
ostrich. Perhaps the bright searchlight of Scuttlebutt will illuminate the
worst cads so that the rest of us can clearly see who they are.

* From Michael Borga, Point Pleasant, NJ: (edited to the 250-word limit) It
would appear, to me at least, that the USOC made the correct decision re: Hall
v US Sailing if for no other reason than

74. Further, there is no irreconcilable conflict between the ISAF rules and
those required by the Act and USOC Bylaws. Although the Racing Rules of
Sailing do not require that athletes who may be affected by a decision of a
Protest Committee in a redress proceeding be notified and allowed to
participate as a party, there is no prohibition of this in the Racing Rules.
The same is true of the requirement that athletes comprise twenty percent of
the members of Protest Committees.

US Sailing's protestations have no merit. When was the last time you saw a
Protest Committee that didn't have "Sailors" on it. The 20% requirement has
probably been met since Protest Committees began. At US Olympic qualifying
events it would seem that finding one "elite" athlete to be part of the
committee shouldn't be very difficult, if you threw a bean bag in any
direction I bet you would hit one.

The obvious unfairness of not notifying an athlete regarding a judicial event
that will ultimately determine their result, banning their participation in
said event, and then requiring that within 30 minutes of the determination
they must file a request form with specifications on why they should be given
another hearing is ludicrous on the face of it.

It is no wonder that sailors in general avoid the protest room like the
plague, since it is rarely "what actually happened" that determines the
outcome only who has superior evidentiary skills.

* From Reynald Neron: (re, letter in SB2788 about Vendee Globe redress rules)
Indeed the Vendee Globe Race Committee has done the job, and frankly, there
was no need for a lawyer to intervene... that's the way we do it in France, We
killed the lawyers at birth. (why do I suspect you won't publish that line in
the US? Too many litigation risks maybe?)

Vincent Riou got a redress: He broke his mast due to damages sustained while
rescuing someone.
He is officially 3rd (equal with Marc Guillemot) in the Vendee Globe 08-09,
even if he did not finish the race (this is in line with ISAF usual policy to
encourage skippers to help in rescue efforts).

Various other skippers got time redress for helping (or in fact, just staying
nearby) other skipper in distress. (Marc Guillemot, Samantha Davis....) On the
other hand, nobody got time redress for hitting a whale, or breakage due to
weather circumstances or gear failure. This is also in line with ISAF policy
to not give redress in because of sailing circumstances. One can call them
luck (hitting a whale) or seamanship (breaking gear because did not slow down
enough, or maintain the boat properly).

* From Adrian Blunt: Dawn & Paul Miller offered an opinion (Scuttlebutt 2789)
on the USOC finding that US Sailing was in breach of laws and fair processes
regarding the selection of athletes for Olympic competition. Unfortunately
their opinion is misinformed by their reading of the USOC report as indicated
by their statements that:

"... it seems that ISAF does not follow US law, shame on them. I imagine it
does not matter to the USOC that the RRS protest and redress rules evolved
over a hundred years and work quite well."

A careful reading of the USOC report reveals that it was not ISAF's rules that
were the problem. It was US Sailing's failure to modify the ISAF rules to
ensure appropriate legislation governed their decision making processes.

The Hall & Rios case contradicts the Millers' claim that the rules "work quite
well." This was not a case about sailing rules. The USOC has revealed the
processes followed by US Sailing, in this case, to have been a travesty of
fairness and natural justice.

Neglect of their responsibilities, by US Sailing's senior representatives, to
ensure fairness in due process for athletes competing for Olympic selection
and their abuse of power and privilege is what the USOC has brought to light.
We are all now better off for their findings.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: It is important to note that through all the due
process, it had been found that US Sailing properly followed the International
Sailing Federation (ISAF) sailing rules that governed the event. I thought the
point the Millers were making is that these despite these rules having been in
place for a long time, this situation had not yet come up through countless
administrations, both within the U.S. and worldwide. Regardless, we will all
find out by or before Sept. 1, 2009 what changes will need to be made to the
U.S. version of the ISAF rules. A well written article on this situation is
now posted in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com


CURMUDGEON’S OBSERVATION
Kentucky: Five million people, fifteen last names.

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