For all your commentary, questions, and updates.|
Click here to view.
SCUTTLEBUTT 3032 - Friday, February 19, 2010
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.
Scuttlebutt on Twitter: http://twitter.com/scuttbutt
Scuttlebutt on Facebook: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/facebook
Today’s sponsors: Summit Yachts and North U.
GRIDLOCK ON THE YELLOW SEA
Ten months, 35,000 miles of ocean racing and around 400 people facing the challenge of a lifetime. When the starting gun went off for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race on September 13, 2009 the fleet of ten identical 68-foot yachts began a seven leg circumnavigation of the globe. Damage has now pared the fleet down to eight boats, and for the participants who signed up for the current leg from Singapore to Qingdao, China, they are getting a shellacking. Here are excerpts from the Day 17 report on February 18th:
As the fleet enters the Yellow Sea, the challenges continue to stack up. Noted ‘Cape Breton Island’ skipper Jan Ridd, "I can clearly see why this leg of the Clipper Race has earned the reputation of being one of the hardest and can see why the yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race all complained about the same leg!
"Not only do you have to deal with the strong headwinds, sharp steep seas, the poor visibility and the freezing cold temperatures but for me the biggest worry has been the amount of shipping. In the UK, or most parts of the world I have sailed in, shipping normally follows official or accepted routes so, as a yachtsman, you have a pretty good idea which way to expect it to be coming from. Not so here in the East China Sea. Basically it is a free for all with ships coming from all directions and they all want to converge on the Big Blue Canoe. If this was not exciting enough there are random fishing fleets trawling their nets directly across the paths of the ships, paying no attention to what is going on around them. I have given up trying to work out where they are going or what they are going to do and every time I see one we change course and run away from it. How they do not get themselves killed is a mystery.
"On board all our yachts we use a system called AIS (automatic identification system). The AIS talks to other vessels and exchanges data on position, course, speed etc. These are fed into the navigation computer which works out the CPA (closest point of approach) and this is shown on the screen as two red dots, one marking the other vessel's position and one marking yours at the time when the two vessels are closest. I counted eight CPA of under one mile... 16 red dots all happening in the next 20 minutes. I quickly considered our options and unfortunately there was a fleet of Chinese fishermen quite happily heading towards the pile up area, blocking our safe exit path. A friendly master of a cargo vessel came on the radio and suggested I hold my course as he passed close (less than half a mile) on our starboard side. As soon as he had passed I followed his course, allowing him to clear a path for us to follow!
After breaking their mast on Sunday, ‘Team Finland’ has left Taiwan and is en route under jury rig for Qingdao, China. Team Finland is expected to take six or seven days to reach Qingdao and once there she will be fitted with a new rig. The new mast is en route to Atlantic Spars in Torbay, Devon, UK, where riggers are standing by to begin work on it before it is flown out to China. With 337 nm to the finish, ‘Qingdao’ is currently leading the race and could well be the first team of Clipper 09-10 to claim a home port victory. -- Full story:
ELLISON AIMS TO STEER AMERICA'S CUP TO THE BAY AREA
Fresh off the America's Cup victory, Larry Ellison - who is the Bay Area's wealthiest individual with an estimated $27 billion fortune, according to Forbes - discussed hosting the next America's Cup in San Francisco Bay.
* Is San Francisco a feasible site for the America's Cup?
LARRY ELLISON: Absolutely. We match raced [Switzerland-based rival sailing team] Alinghi in San Francisco Bay in the Moet Cup [in 2003]. It was a spectacular regatta because people could watch from office buildings. The boats are big enough that you can see the entire race. We had hundreds of thousands of people watching this race—it was probably the most watched sailboat race ever. And we beat them.
* To hold the Cup in San Francisco you would probably need a lot of space, though.
LARRY ELLISON: Well, that's the thing. I intend to talk to Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, and we'll see if there's room on the waterfront to do this. Maybe we can get out to Treasure Island. We want to develop a sailing village like they have in New Zealand and like they had in Valencia [in Spain, where the America's Cup was just held.] We want teams from all over the world to come here.
* The America's Cup isn't as popular in the U.S. as it once was. Would holding the race in San Francisco be a way to change that?
LARRY ELLISON: If we have the America's Cup here in San Francisco, it will allow many more people to watch it. But we also have to do a better job of televising it. We can make sailing much more understandable and much more exciting by putting cameras on the boats.
These boats twist and groan and the sounds are a very important aspect for gaining an appreciation of the sport and how much stress we are putting on these boats.
Complete interview: http://tinyurl.com/yen2a3g
Photos from Moet Cup: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/10/0209/
* San Francisco based marine videographer Vince Casalaina thinks SF Bay can do it too. In the Scuttlebutt Forum he says, “Over the years, people who’ve race for the Cup have floated a number of radical ideas to revamp the racing format of the Cup. One of those ideas was developed specifically to allow America’s Cup racing inside San Francisco Bay. The idea is to have multiple short races each day with each pair racing in a "first to 2" series for the points for the day. Why does this idea fit San Francisco Bay?” -- Read on:
SUMMIT 40 WINNING IN BOTH HEMISPHERES
Just as Mike Williamson and his crew aboard the Summit 40, ‘White Heat’ finished celebrating their victory in IRC 2 at Premiere Racing’s 2010 Key West Race Week, news arrived of another major win on the other side of the world. Peter Horn’s Summit 40, ‘Canute’, won IRC 2 in Australia’s Audi Victoria Race Week. It was a tough 19 boat class that included the recent Sydney Hobart winner and a host of competitive 35 - 42 foot IRC boats. This was ‘Canute’s first major IRC event and her first trip to the podium. ‘White Heat’ continues her winning ways after her class win in the 2009 IRC East Coast Championships. Find out more about the Summit 40 and her very hot little sister, the Summit 35 at: http://www.summit-yachts.com
THE GUTS BEHIND THE GEAR
By Charles Mason, SAIL
Harken has been supplying gear to America’s Cup competitors since the early 1970s, and been providing the winch and hardware packages for both challenger and defender since the 1995 match. “As you would expect, the Cup match in Valencia was very interesting,” says Harken’s Global Manager, Mark Wiss. Harken supplied the batten car systems for all three masts BMW Oracle developed for their soft mainsails. When the third mast fell down in San Diego, the wing that the team had been building in Anacortes, Washington had just arrived there. With the third rig out of action, the crew installed the wing, the team went sailing with it and they never went back.
“Actually the soft rig batten cars turned out to be a great example of the trickle up theory,” says Wiss. “The tracks for the batten car systems on the first two Oracle masts were attached with screws but we glued the third one; it was first tried by the Telefonica crews in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Gluing the tracks saved a lot of weight by eliminating the screws and of course there are a lot fewer holes in the mast. This technique will soon have a much wider audience.”
But Harken, as usual, was asked to come up with plenty of special items. The block controlling the canting wing on USA, for example, had a sheave diameter of about one foot and a working load of around 30 tons!
Finally, both boats used Harken’s 1135 carbon winches fitted with special load pins that can electronically sense when the load on the winch approaches a specified number. When the number is reached, an alarm goes off and the winch automatically stops turning. “Here again,” says Wiss, “I’m sure this feature is something that is going to be embraced by a much larger group of users.” --
FOR THE RECORD
(Day 19 - February 18, 2010; 17:25 UTC) - Though Groupama 3 has paid a heavy price at the entry to the Southern Ocean, she should soon get paid dividends from her investment in the Indian front. The very straight trajectory announced as far as the longitude of Tasmania is particularly favourable, not solely for making up her deficit on the reference time, but above all amassing a fair bit of credit at the beginning of the Pacific.
"We're happy to have finally tracked down the wind we were expecting so it's pedal to the metal now! We've been making an average of thirty knots since this morning, and though conditions aren't quite stable yet, the speeds are becoming reasonable again... The past few days have been frustrating with this front which could easily have set us free: on three occasions we attempted to traverse it but it didn't work until the fourth attempt," said skipper Franck Cammas.
Their passage to the North of the Kerguelen Islands is scheduled for the start of the weekend, and their deficit in relation to Orange 2's reference, now approaching a day, could then shrink again. -- Full story: http://tinyurl.com/ycovtaq
Current position as of February 18, 2010 (22:00:00 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: - 366.9 nm
Speed (avg) over past 24 hours: 22.2 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 533.2 nm
Distance to go: 15,727 nm
* After their start on January 31, 2010, Franck Cammas and his nine crew on Groupama 3 must cross finish line off Ushant, France before March 23rd (06:14:57 UTC) to establish a new time for the Jules Verne Trophy (21,760 nm) for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions. Current record holder is Bruno Peyron and crew, who in 2005 sailed Orange 2 to a time of 50 days, 16 hours, and 20 minutes at an average of 17.89 knots.
* The America’s Cup Victory Tour presented by ORACLE and BMW EfficientDynamics begins February 19-20 in San Francisco and continues on to San Diego on February 21. -- Full details here:
* The new route for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race will announced on Monday. The race is slated to begin in Alicante, Spain in the fourth quarter of 2011. --
* The Clearwater Yacht Club is hosting the Laser Midwinters East Regatta on February 18-21, 2010 at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, Clearwater, Florida. After the first day, Nick Thompson (GBR) is leading the 90 boat Laser fleet with Clay Johnson (USA) in fourth. Among the 94 Laser Radials, Sari Multala (FIN) is in first with Paige Railey (USA) one point back in second. Fifteen Laser 4.7’s are being led by Juanky Perdomo (PUR) with Brendan Shanahan (USA) in second. -- Preliminary results:
* Bruno Peyron has officially announced the relaunch of The Race - the non-stop crewed race around the world without outside assistance and without limits. After several months of consultation, a second edition of the around the world race for giant G-class boats is planned for 2013-2014, starting from a port in Southern Europe. After talks with leading maxi-multihull G-class skippers, apparently out of the dozen which have been built, between eight and ten of them will be lining up for the start, and that is not counting any new boats. -- Yachting World, read on:
* The Audi MedCup Circuit 2010 schedule has been announced for the TP52 and GP42 fleets. The 5-event circuit begins in Cascais, Portugal May 11-16, continuing on to France and Spain before concluding in Cagliari, Italy September 20-25. New rules for the TP52's allow for a square topped mainsail, bigger asymmetric spinnakers on bowsprits instead of a spinnaker pole, a reduction of crew numbers by two, and a required guest spot onboard every boat for each race. -- Details:
* Some of the world’s top international match race teams are set to descend on Auckland for the Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta in March. Skippers who have accepted invitations to compete are: Dean Barker (NZL); Ben Ainslie (GBR); Francesco Bruni (ITA); Sebastian Col (FRA); Karol Jablonski (POL); Magnus Holmberg (SWE); Chris Dickson (NZL); Bertrand Pacé (FRA); Adam Minoprio (NZL); Torvar Mirsky (AUS). Racing will take place in identical Farr-designed MRX yachts and will comprise a double round robin, semi-final and final. Weather permitting, the semi-finals and finals will be decided by the first skipper to win three matches. -- Details: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=9246
DAVID DELLENBAUGH, BILL GLADSTONE, ANDREW KERR…
…to name a few of the instructors leading NorthU Trim seminars. Not just great sailors, but expert instructors so the emphasis is on your sailing, not their sea stories. In one day you learn to control and balance power for better upwind performance, trim your spinnaker (A or S) to run faster and deeper, and how to set, jibe, and douse like a pro; plus you take home the NorthU TRIM Seminar-on-CD; all for about $100. US Sailing member discounts. Visit or call 800-347-2457 for schedule and details.
LETTERS AND FORUM
Please email 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 Ken Legler:
Vincenzo Onorato spoke in Boston last night at a meeting of the Italian Professionals of Boston about the sailing school he founded in Naples for disadvantaged inner city youth. He also met earlier in the day with officials from Courageous Sailing Center for ideas and a possible exchange program. His Scuola Vela not only teaches sailing but introduces kids to the marine industry.
Naturally the Q & A for the new Challenger of Record turned to the Americas Cup since there were many sailors in attendance. The questioner was smart enough not to ask what, where and when since we all know he cannot answer those questions yet. Instead it was about what kind of America's Cup regatta he dreams about. We still couldn't get direct answers but he did say that he would sit down with Russell Coutts (over some red wine) in about two weeks to begin sorting it out. He mentioned starting with a blank slate was a good thing.
Mr. Onorato seems to be very genuine and sincere and a man of integrity. Good thing, this Challenger of Record and the Defenders have their work cut out for them in restoring the face of the America's Cup and our sport in general.
* From Talbot Wilson:
As the new Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, the Mascalzone Latino team should push the defender to use Trapani, Sicily as the venue for AC34. They have the space and existing facilities for a proper village and support from their government and people. Their 'Act' for AC32 was classy and the sailing venue was excellent. At the very least, Trapani should be back on the schedule for the Challenger Series.
* From Warren Muir:
As a keen follower of the America’s Cup ever since Australia challenged with the first Gretel, I too was impressed by the 32nd challenge with a full list of competitors sailing mono hulls, but am now taking a different view. The recent 33rd Match brings back the basics of what the AC is all about.
The AC has produced over time some of the most up to date technical changes and design innovations that have been passed down onto the rest of the sailing world and revolutionized the way we all sail today. Going back to a closely regulated almost one design boat format will just make this another ho hum boat regatta. Why spend millions of dollars on a new one design boat when we already have a world match racing circuit in existence, if you feel match racing is the AC intent.
Let us instead, if the intent is to allow designers and inventors to progress the evolution of sailing further, allow multiple challenger elimination series racing a basic box rule as some people have suggested and if the consensus is for mono hulls confine it to 90ft DWL, 30ft beam, 20ft draft and 200ft mast height (or something they all agree about) and let the teams go at it and produce the fastest boat they can. If the intent is to allow multi hulls or any other hull form not yet invented there is no need to change the rules at all as it is written there in the deed of gift.
* From Chris Ericksen:
As one who has sailed both Stars and Etchells on San Francisco Bay, I would have loved to have seen an America's Cup regatta there. So I read with great interest the piece by Dick Enersen ('Butt 3031) as to why the races would probably not be sailed on the Bay. Aside from the notable and probably insurmountable geographical, economic and governmental problems, there is one more: the Deed of Gift.
According to my well-thumbed, 1920 edition of "The America's Cup Races" by Herbert L. Stone, the Deed says that the races "shall be on ocean courses, free from headlands...practicable in all parts for vessels of twenty-two feet draught of water." I suppose that the parties could "by mutual consent, make any arrangement satisfactory to both as to the...courses...and any and all other conditions of the match," but I don't think any races since 1887, when this Deed was executed, have been sailed on a closed bay so influenced by headlands and tides as is San Francisco Bay. Earlier races were sailed on the New York Yacht Club "inside course," which started in the Upper Bay off Staten Island and out through the Verrazano Narrows--a seriously headland- and tide-influenced race track, the limitations of which doubtless led Mister Schuyler to insert this text that did not appear in the first two Deeds.
Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
Special thanks to Summit Yachts and North U.
Preferred supplier list: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/ssc/suppliers