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SCUTTLEBUTT 2912 - Thursday, August 20, 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.

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Today's sponsors are e Sailing Yachts and Ullman Sails.

Tom Blackaller, one of yacht racing's most colorful and outspoken helmsmen, who twice won the Star Class World Championship and competed in three America's Cup campaigns, died a young man at 49 years of age in 1989. The 20 year anniversary of his passing will be next month on September 7th.

"Tom was a character unlike the rest," Buddy Melges said at the time. "He was always fair and true blue, and always his own man." Paul Cayard added about Blackaller, "He was not a conservative person by nature, and he was a risk taker, and he'd live with the outcome happily either way. He was happy to be a warrior and live and die with the choices that he made."

Blackaller's contentious rivalry with Dennis Conner was legendary, with him commenting in 1986 about Dennis' approach to the America's Cup, "I have been at odds with him for some time about the bludgeon tactics that he uses to try to win races . . . $15-million programs and three-year programs. I don't think that's good for the sport. If you just go out and get more money and spend more time, it becomes less a sport and more like a business."

In an era now when the top end of sailboat racing is highly professional, the colorfulness of Tom Blackaller's character is sorely missed. The sport needs larger than life personalities, and he was one of them.

As we approach the 20 year anniversary of his death, it is time to relive the color and character of Tom Blackaller. If you ever shared a race, a drink, a moment with Tom, it is time to relive his memory. Please post your stories here:

(August 19, 2009; Day 1) - Back on the waters where they won the 2008 TP52 Audi MedCup Circuit title a little less than a year ago, Terry Hutchinson (USA) and the crew of Quantum Racing gave themselves the best possible tonic after their disappointing seventh place finish last month in Sardinia when they won the first two races of the Portugal Trophy regatta today, then fought back to a well earned fourth place in the third contest to lead the event by three clear points. This is the fourth stop of the five event MedCup circuit.

The early, light sea breeze off Portimao built for the first race before it gave way to the NW'ly gradient wind which offered two excellent races in the shifty, puffy conditions close to the Algarve shore. The 2007 champion Artemis, helmed by owner Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) and assisted in this event by tactician Paul Cayard (USA), rolled out a consistent 3,4,2 to sit in second ahead by two points of a three team logjam on 11 points. -- Full story:

e Sailing Yachts has introduced yet another innovative feature for the e33, now offering the first and only daysailer with a square top mainsail. Similar to the sails seen on AC and VOR boats, the new mainsail leaves overall sail area unchanged, only redistributed. Benefits include even greater efficiencies in a broader range of wind speeds, more power in light air and an improvement in the automatic depowering that makes the e33 so easy to control in a higher wind range. See her at the Newport and Annapolis Boat shows this fall, and learn more at

San Francisco, CA (August 19, 2009) - After two days of completion at the 505 North Americans, the 67 teams competing have gotten exactly what you would expect on the Berkeley Circle in August: brutal, boat busting conditions. Most teams are using this event as a tune-up for the next week's World Championships, and with two races being held each day, the attrition is staggering as teams peel away from the afternoon conditions.

Today's winds provided 14-18 knots for the first race, increasing to 20-25 in the second race, with the final two legs of the afternoon race pushing the 'fun' meter to its highest level yet. Living up to the pre-Worlds hype has been Americans Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson, whose 2-1-1-1 scoreline leads a top three that also includes Mike Holt and Carl Smit (USA) in second and Nick Adamson and Steve Bourdow (USA) in third. Racing for the NA's concludes Thursday. -- Results:

The 505 class uses what they call 'The Gate Start' to begin their races, which is an evolved version of the 'Rabbit Start'. While they still have a Race Committee signal boat on station, their role is limited to timekeeping, horn blowing, and flag raising. For the actual starting of the fleet, the Sailing Instructions call for 'The Pathfinder' (a designated 505 team), 'The Gate Launch' (a small RC boat displaying flag G), and 'The Port Limit Mark' (a red truncated cone on the starboard side of the RC signal boat).

Approximately 10 seconds prior to the starting signal, the Pathfinder will begin a close-hauled port tack from the Port Limit Mark with the Gate Launch close astern of the Pathfinder. The starting line (except for the Pathfinder) will be between the Port Limit mark and the center of the stern of the Gate Launch. All boats (except for the Pathfinder) shall start on starboard tack after the starting signal. A boat starting prematurely shall retire from the race (no Individual Recall provision).

The Pathfinder shall sail its close-hauled course until it is released by the hail from the Gate Launch, after which it ceases to be a starting mark and may continue or tack onto starboard tack. After the release of the Pathfinder, the Gate Launch will continue its course and speed until the gate has been opened for the posted period in Sailing Instruction It will then stop, make a long sound signal, drift for three minutes, and finally signal the close of the gate by lowering flag G with a short sound signal. Thereafter no boat shall start. -- 505 Sailing Instructions:

How someone ever thought of putting foils on a Moth is a question for another time. The fact is it has happened, and don't be surprised when similar appendages spring up elsewhere in the sport. But how did the Moth get from concept to reality? Here is the history lesson provided by mothist Bruce McLeod:

"Once upon a time there were some bored moth sailors in Perth. These gentlemen had some crazy ideas about how to make their boats go quicker. John used Jane's Surface Skimmers as a guide to come up with the NACA 63-412, as the hydrofoil of choice for his design. After a period of evolution the first generation of competitive moth hydrofoils was born.

"The sizes of the foils were obtained through a series of trial and error experiments, with the final size being a foil that was of rectangular planform, 120mm x 850mm with an area of 1,020sq cm. With the art of setting up a moth in its infancy these foils were run with a designed angle of attack from 0 to +2 degrees. In reality this was simply not enough in most conditions, and all the boats of the time adopted a noticeable bow up attitude in average conditions as they sought more lift.

"These foils, in the hands of Rohan Veal (AUS) changed moth sailing forever winning the World Championships in 2006, just as Steve Shimeld had done 19 years earlier in Gladiator at the Adelaide Worlds when he proved once and for all that a Skiff could win in all racing conditions, including the heavy airs that had been the domain of the scow up until that point." -- Read on:

The Southern California junior racing season culminated in last week's 2009 Naples Sabot Junior National Championship, a week-long event in Alamitos Bay, CA. Ullman Sails customers had a dominating performance, winning the title and sweeping seven of the top ten finishes in the Gold fleet! Conner Kelter of Newport Harbor Yacht Club was crowned this year's champion, followed by Mission Bay's Kate Rakelly in second place. Hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, 140 sailors competed for the title. Ullman Sails - Make an investment in your performance. Contact a local Ullman loft and visit us at

For the 168 entrants, racing at the World Laser Senior Championship 2009 in Nova Scotia, Canada on August 20-26 will begin with a qualifying series followed by a Finals series. Hosted by St. Margaret Sailing Club, nearly a quarter of the fleet hails from North America, with Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, US Virgin Islands, and the United States represented. Traveling to the Worlds from Oregon is American Brad Funk, who was there to compete in the International Moth World Championship where he finished 8th overall.

Among the leading Worlds competitors is likely2008 Olympic gold medalist Paul Goodison of the United Kingdom, with the chief rival of the 32-year-old Brit being the 21-year-old Australian Tom Slingsby who won the 2007 and 2008 Worlds. Celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its design by Canadian Bruce Kirby, almost 200,000 Lasers are sailed worldwide by elite athletes and weekend cottage sailors alike. --

By Bob Johnstone, Commodore, NEHF
The Northeast Harbor Fleet in Maine just completed the 85th consecutive (without interruption) George Davenport Hayward Cup Race, dating back to 1925. This is an annual all-club pursuit race involving any of the one-design keelboats that were ever given a OD start by the club including: A Boats, B. Boats, 30 square meters, MDI's, Bullseyes, International One-Designs, Luder-16s, Mercury's, Cal-25s, Solings, J/24's and J/22's. Slowest handicapped boat starts first, first across the line wins.

It would be interesting to know what other yacht clubs…

(1) Have a trophy that has been raced for every year since 1925 (or earlier) without interruption, e.g the winner each year for 85 years or more is engraved on the trophy?
(2) Are there any other trophies dating back to 1925 or earlier that have been conducted as a pursuit race, or is this the oldest pursuit race sailed for 85 consecutive years on record?

If your race is older, email the Curmudgeon at

* At the second half of the Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) Annual Championship hosted by Green Lake Yacht Club in Green Lake, WI., Bill Colburn with crew Maureen Ness won two of the three races to win the overall trophy in the 33 boat MC fleet, while Andy Burdick with owner Terry Blanchard, Josh Garber, Peter Keck, Jim Petersen, Ben Porter and Coye Harrett rolled a 1-2 amongst the 22 A Scows for the regatta win. --

* (August 19, 2009) - As the first storm of the Atlantic Ocean season, Hurricane Bill has increased to Level 4 strength with winds of 135 mph, and is heading northwest at a 20 mph pace. The center of the storm is just east of the US Virgin Islands, and its projected path shows it passing between Bermuda and the United States on Saturday before it curves clockwise away from Canadian landfall. --

* One. That is the number of hurricanes a national boat owners group says it takes to wreck thousands of recreational boats in only a few hours. And with tropical storm activity heating up over the last few days, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is offering a no-cost, online storm preparation tool at that can help boaters ensure their vessel makes it safely through the next storm. "It's been a slow hurricane season, so far," says BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance, "which leads some to forget the importance of storm preparation." -- Read on:

* The ocean course off San Diego Bay will find 21 teams representing 11 countries competing in the International Snipe Class Junior World Championship, hosted by San Diego Yacht Club on August 24-28. For sailors under 22 years of age, among the leading contenders for this biennial event is defending champions Mario Tinoco and Matheus Gonçalves from Brazil. Tinoco will be seeking to become the first 3-time champion in class history. -- Regatta website:

* The 2009 IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Windsurfing World Championships take place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) - the home of the London 2012 Olympic Classes sailing events - August 22- 29. The event incorporates the Bic Techno Under 15 and Under 17 and Raceboard Youth and Raceboard Masters Worlds. --

* The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has published the provisional dates and venues for the World Championships of the events selected for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The schedule begins and ends in North America, with the 49er Worlds in Freeport, The Bahamas and the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship at Newport, RI, USA. In between events will be held in Brazil (Star), The Netherlands (470), Great Britain (Laser/Radial), USA (Finn), and Denmark (RS:X). -- Full report:

US navigation specialist Garmin has released a statement in response to Raymarine's announcement on Monday confirming that the UK satellite communications firm is in talks with potential buyers. Garmin's statement reads as follows:

"In accordance with Rule 2.10 of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the "Code"), Garmin announces that any offer it might make for the shares of Raymarine is likely to be solely in cash.

"Garmin notes that, at this stage, there can be no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. This announcement does not constitute an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer under Rule 2.5 of the Code."

Garmin designs, manufactures and markets GPS navigation, communication and sonar products for sectors including the marine leisure market. -- IBI Magazine,

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Is your event listed on the Scuttlebutt Event Calendar? This free, self-serve tool is the easiest way to communicate to both sailors and sailing media. These are some of the events listed on the calendar for this weekend:
Aug 21-23 - Herreshoff Classic Regatta - Bristol, RI, USA
Aug 21-22 - Ida Lewis Distance Race - Newport, RI, USA
Aug 22-23 - Sarcoma Cup - San Francisco, CA, USA

View all the events at

Scuttlebutt has embraced Twitter to provide occasional updates in between the daily distribution of the Scuttlebutt newsletter. The three most recent updates are always posted at the top of the Scuttlebutt website, or they can all be viewed on the Scuttlebutt Twitter page. Of course, if you have a Twitter account, you can also subscribe to 'Scuttlebutt on Twitter'. Updates from Wednesday included:

- Zac Sunderland on tour:
- Yacht Designer Bob Perry interview:
- When is a Worlds not a Worlds - when it's not a Worlds.
- Have you seen this...someone needs sailing lessons!!!

View 'Scuttlebutt on Twitter' at

Please submit your comments to the Scuttlebutt editor (aka, 'The Curmudgeon'). Published letters must include writer's name and be no longer than 250 words (letter might be edited for clarity or simplicity). 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 Howard Bentley:
So is Jessica Watson or Abigail Sunderland going to be the one that dies? Or should I say "the youngest person to die sailing around the world alone". Check your egos, this youngest crap is just plain stupid. Who will try and beat her? And the next. What is it going to take, some 12 year old getting lost at sea for people to wake up and realize how ignorant this is? Are the parents prepared to pay for rescue?

This could be the dumbest exploit I have ever heard of and the parents should be ashamed of themselves for playing to this look at me mentality. What a bunch of egotistical losers

* From Eric Sorensen:
After watching the Moth Worlds, I learned that the foils on these hotrods are apparently creating a bit of havoc out on the fish population as some were getting cut in half by the foils and found floating on the surface. Too much silence and speed for them to get out of the way!

Another bit of foil information was the prop wash from outboards and other boats leave a tunnel of air bubbles in the water that delaminate the foil's attachment to the water and freak them out so there were several crashes caused by the lurking water tunnel from a previous outboard.

The activating spoon that tells the foil when it doesn't need to lift higher is mounted on the bow and when the boat is 'lowriding' the spoon is pushed back and the linkage tells the foil to lift. When encountering waves that come into contact with the spoon (riding out of the water 6" or so, ) and the boat at full foil lift, the foil tries to go up and then the foil comes out of the water and subsequently crashes or dives hard. Lots of technique to mitigate the crashes gained by time on water once again.

* From Ralph Taylor:
In the rules scenario published in Scuttlebutt 2911, where one-half of a leeward gate no longer exists, the advice for the sailing instructions to deal with this scenario is well-taken.

But, re: "...Boats may leave the buoy on either side and may even touch it."

If a buoy is not a mark and no longer has a required side does it begin or end a leg of the course? Are boats required to round it in any direction? May they not turn to go upwind immediately on seeing the gate's missing? I see redress hearings in the club's future.

Why do we go under over-passes and over under-passes?

Special thanks to e Sailing Yachts and Ullman Sails.

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