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SCUTTLEBUTT 3050 - Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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Today's sponsors: Southern Spars, Flexofold, and Landfall.

(Day 44 - March 16, 2010; 18:04 UTC) - Groupama 3 has made up the ground on
Orange 2 very quickly and is now ahead of the reference time. "We have some
good conditions, we're going fast and there's a great atmosphere on deck,
but we're going to have a battle on our hands with the ridge of high
pressure that's lying across our path," observed bowman Jacques Caraes.
"Nevertheless, we can really smell home now! We've been waiting for this
moment to get ahead again. At times recently, it's been possible to read a
bit of doubt on our faces. However, our routing was right and we're
beginning to make gains now."

After amassing a lead of up to 620 miles (6th day) and a 492 mile deficit
(40th day) off Brazil, Groupama 3's progress has often been thwarted by
rather unfavourable weather. And despite the current conditions, skipper
Franck Cammas and his men have yet to traverse a ridge of high pressure. At
that point the giant trimaran is bound to slow down in the lighter breeze,
where it will be necessary to put in a gybe before hooking onto a low which
will propel her as far as Brest.

"The last few days will be pretty tough and we're going to have to stay on
our guard, because we've certainly accumulated some fatigue along the way,"
cautioned Caraes. "But five years ago on Orange 2, we didn't really get
going again after the equator until we were level with the Azores. We've
certainly got an advantage today, especially as Groupama 3 has a superior
speed capacity when sailing close-hauled. We're also driving the boat a bit
harder because (Orange 2 skipper) Bruno Peyron had a bit more room for
manoeuvre to beat the Jules Verne Trophy in 2005: he always remained below
the maxi-catamaran's potential."-- Full report:

Current position as of March 16, 2010 (22:00:00 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: +124.7 nm
Speed (avg) over past 24 hours: 20.8 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 499.0 nm
Distance to go: 2,338 nm

* After their start on January 31, 2010, Franck Cammas and his nine crew on
the 103-foot 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.

Navigator Stan Honey (USA) is among the nine crew sailing with skipper
Franck Cammas onboard the 103-foot maxi trimaran Groupama 3 during their
attempt to win the Jules Verne Trophy, a fully crewed round the world record
attempt under sail. Stan will be updating 'butthead readers from onboard
Groupama 3, and replied to some questions below:

* Watching your slow progress online from Cape Horn to the equator was
brutal. Could the conditions have been much worse?

STAN HONEY: In principle it could be still worse, but I have never seen it
worse than what we had.

* How much could you rely on your weather tools to make strategic decisions,
or were you dealing more with your onboard observations?

STAN HONEY: Of course you race in the wind that you've got, which often
varies from what the forecast predicts for the current time. One of the most
important skills in navigation is dealing well with this discrepancy.

The right answer is to use your observations for the current time to correct
the forecast, but blend out those corrections over time. The error in the
forecast is often due to a weather system that is moving at a different
speed or direction to that forecast, or due to a mesoscale feature that is
not reflected in the forecast.

In the present, your onboard observations are perfect and certain, and you
need to race in the wind you're in. But in the long term you HAVE to bet on
the forecast. The forecast is not always right, but if you instead play
hunches, your competitors who use the forecast well will crush you.

* Your team reported countless maneuvers in the South Atlantic to negotiate
the various weather obstacles. What is the process onboard for making those

STAN HONEY: Everybody was working hard. In some cases the timing of a tack
or gybe is a major strategic decision. In other cases the directions to the
on-deck watch is to tack or gybe on the shifts, sailing whichever board is
favored relative to a specified wind direction.

Groupama 3 is tactically much more nimble than a Volvo Ocean Race boat. On a
VOR boat it takes the entire crew 30 minutes or more of hard labor to tack
(or gybe) and then completely restack the boat. On Groupama 3, after a tack
or gybe the standby watch can be back in their bunks in ten minutes and the
off-watch can sleep through it. So it is much easier to navigate Groupama 3
than a VOR boat where a decision to tack too early can be devastating to the
crew as you may need to tack back, and end up doing three tacks with 30
minutes of hard labor stacking, instead of one.

* I don't want to jinx you, but the weather seems favorable now.

STAN HONEY: Good idea not to jinx us now, thanks. We can't see all our cards
quite yet.

* What are the hurdles that remain before the finish at Ushant, France?

STAN HONEY: We have to cross the ridge of the Azores High, then we have to
find our way through a rapidly changing and complex Westerly flow. There
will be spots of too much wind, risks of dropping back into the trailing
ridge, sea-state problems West of the cold front, and concerns about
Finisterre becoming a lee-shore. If we could stack the deck, we would get a
broad SW flow with the normal flat sea-state of a SWly, associated with a
system that was moving at a speed that we can match, and that would take us
directly to Oessant. We got that (corresponding Southern Hemisphere
condition) in the Indian Ocean and early in the Pacific, but not since.

Complete diary:

With the Caribbean cruising/racing season soon to come to a close, crews
will soon be heading back on delivery to ports in Europe and the US. Our
teams in Newport, RI and the Med are standing by with full service shops
including hydraulics, running rigging and hardware. If you'd like your rig
checked prior to departure from the Islands, give Chuck a call at
+1-401-683-6966 to arrange a visit. For those heading onto the Med, give
Steve a call +34-620-103-783, book a visit anywhere in Europe and get your
'10 season off to the right start.

Auckland, NZL (March 16, 2010; Day 8) - "That was a good team building
exercise!" With those words Paul Cayard, skipper of the Swedish boat Artemis
summed up their Louis Vuitton Trophy race today with Britain's TEAMORIGIN,
one that was more akin to a bar brawl. Packed with protest flags, incidents
and flogging sails at three marks of a four-leg course, this close-fought
duel went ultimately to Artemis and her helmsman Terry Hutchinson on a
series of umpire calls.

The race was one of seven packed into a long, incident-filled day of racing
on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour that passed without breakdown, or damage to
boats, sails or sailors. There was shifty breeze all day from 14 to 20 knots
and ranging from the south to the southwest and Principal Race Officer Peter
Reggio and his team miraculously squeezed in seven matches to complete the
Round Robin.

All eight teams now proceed to Elimination Round One where the competitors
sail a knockout series, using the rankings from the round robin series (1st
vs. 8th, 2nd vs. 7th. and so on). The two highest ranked teams (using the
round robin ranking) that win their matches in Elimination Round One will
advance directly to the semi finals. The two lowest ranked teams (using the
RR ranking) to lose their matches in this round will be eliminated. In
Elimination Round Two the four remaining teams will be paired up and race
for the two remaining semi final berths. -- Full story:

Live streaming web coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland is
available on the event website. Complete report:

Day 8 match results
Emirates Team New Zealand def. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 01:00
Azzurra def. ALEPH, 01:39
Artemis def. All4One, 00:22
Mascalzone Latino Audi def. TEAMORIGIN, 00:06
Artemis def. TEAMORIGIN
Mascalzone Latino Audi def. Azzurra, 00:13
All4One def. Synergy Russian Sailing

Rankings after completion of round robin series
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), skipper Dean Barker (NZL), 6-1, 6 pts
2. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (ITA), skipper Gavin Brady (NZL), 5-2, 5 pts
3. All4One (FRA/GER), skipper Jochen Schumann (GER), 4-3, 4 pts
4. Azzurra (ITA), skipper Francesco Bruni (ITA), 4-3, 4 pts
5. Artemis (SWE), skipper Paul Cayard (USA), 4-3, 4 pts
6. TEAMORIGIN (GBR), skipper Ben Ainslie (GBR), 3-4, 3 pts
7. ALEPH Sailing Team (FRA), skipper Bertrand Pace (FRA), 2-5, 1 pts*
8. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, skipper Karol Jablonski (POL), 0-7, 0 pts
*Penalty point deducted

Team lists:

BACKGROUND: The Louis Vuitton Trophy series is designed to be a
cost-effective format for match racing competition in Version 5 America's
Cup Class boats. Teams will take turns on the two Emirates Team New Zealand
yachts NZL 84 and NZL 92 that have been fitted out, optimized and rigged
after a year in storage. They will race four matches a day to complete a
round robin seeding series before a ladder elimination culminating in the
finals on March 21st. The 2010 series continues on to Sardinia (May 22-June
6) and Dubai (Nov. 13-28).

"Speed wins races. No matter what you race - bicycles, bobsleds, sailboats -
speed wins races. Many racers mistakenly believe their tactics are at fault,
when in fact it is a lack of speed that creates insoluble tactical problems.
When you are fast - tactics are much easier." -- Bill Gladstone, North U,

(March 16, 2010; Day 15) - 'Team Finland' has left the Olympic Sailing
Centre in Qingdao and has begun her race to San Francisco where she will
join the rest of the Clipper 09-10 fleet. The yacht was held up in Qingdao
after being dismasted during the race from Singapore. The team in China took
delivery of the rig on Saturday and while monsoon rains and lightning on
Sunday put a small spanner in the works, lifting the 27-metre mast into
place was completed on Monday morning, standing rigging installed and today
skipper and crew were able to take her for a test sail before departing at
0930 GMT (1730 local), 14 days after the rest of the fleet.

With a lead of more than 90 miles over their closest competitor, 'Cape
Breton Island' skipper Jan Ridd reports on the current conditions. "After a
few days of exhilarating downwind sailing in Force 7 to 8 winds we are now
serenely sailing along in much calmer seas and a relative gentle Force 5 to
6," he explains. "To be sailing comfortably along at 9 knots now feels very
slow. The temperature has dropped again as we head north and even below
decks thermal clothing needs to be worn." -- Full report:

* The Volvo Ocean Race will continue to introduce the new route for 2011-12
on Thursday 18 March. A press release will be issued at 0700 GMT, 0800 CET.

* The American Sailing Association (ASA) announced the release of its latest
book, Sailing Made Easy, a highly visual, easy-to-read teaching tool for
would-be sailors with little or no prior exposure to the sport. Sailing Made
Easy will serve as the new official textbook for the ASA's Basic Keelboat
Sailing Standard course, ASA 101. Sailing Made Easy was written by a team of
expert sailing instructors, and was co-edited by Peter Isler, world famous
America's Cup winning navigator and commentator, and Jeremy McGreary, a
30-year veteran sailing writer and editor. -- Details:

* (March 16, 2010) - West Marine today reported sales of US$103.9m for its
fourth quarter ended January 2, 2010, a 6.4 per cent decline compared to the
same period a year ago. The US national retailer's net loss narrowed to
US$12.8m compared to a loss of US$29.0m a year ago. For its fiscal year,
West Marine reported sales of US$588.4m, a decline of 5.9 per cent compared
to 2008. Its net income was US$12.4m, compared to a net loss of US$38.8m for
the same period a year ago. -- IBI Magazine, read on:

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=> Curmudgeon's Comment: I am very, very pleased to announce Flexofold as
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props from Flexofold. best of both worlds!

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 William Tuthill, Jamestown, RI: (regarding Volvo Ocean Race route)
PLEASE! Use common sense and choose Newport R.I. for the eastern U.S.
stopover. Miami will not work as the inshore waters are too shallow, and the
way in and out of the inlet is not safe for VOR boats. If you want a venue
where the boats can easily race within view of the public, with easy access
to the heavily populated Boston-Washington corridor, and with the proven
infrastructure, then come to Newport. Case closed.

* From Ted Ritter, Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Congratulations to Abu Dhabi for being awarded the new Volvo stopover
port-of-call. Their enthusiasm is apparent with the added twist of building
their very own entry.

My secondary reaction and surely that of others is that the route (from Cape
Town) potentially takes the fleet through the heart of Somalia pirate
territory. Perhaps a well offshore placed waypoint is in order...a "pirate
avoidance" waypoint much like an ice way point in the Southern Ocean.
Perhaps a naval vessel attached to the multi-national anti-pirate force all
ready in place could be persuaded to hang out in the vicinity of that same
way point after having dogged the fleet leaders on their way there?

* From Tim Dick:
Does anyone else think a leg from South Africa to Abu Dhabi past the Horn of
Africa and the world's most pirated area is nuts? If pirates capture poor
yachties in a 36 footer
(, wouldn't they
just love to capture a glamorous multi-million dollar race yacht (or two)
and hold the wealthy sponsors to ransom? Or perhaps they think the world's
navies will shadow each yacht instead of defending the commercial ships that
must transit these waters.

* From David Tabor: (regarding story in Scuttlebutt 3048)
Bruno Trouble is exactly right. It is all about tradition and image. Thirty
years ago I had no idea what or who Louis Vuitton was, but I knew the LV Cup
was what the challengers raced for to reach the America's Cup. Talk about
branding. Of course I am a bit worldlier now even though my wardrobe isn't.
(My foulies still outnumber the suits in my closet!) The perversity of AC33
is that Bertarelli's trashing of the AC "brand" may have left us salivating
for a return to "tradition" and the purity (?) of the sport; in effect
saving it from itself and the likes of his ilk. Hopefully Mr. Ellison will
deliver an AC34 that sets the standard for the Cup for many years.

* From Doran Cushing:
The "pro sailing with amateurs" debate likely is not to be resolved in this
thread but I'd like to add this tale. In the west coast of Florida PHRF and
one-design fleets there was a true competitor we'll call Barber Bill. He and
his buddies/crew moved up from the S2 fleet, usually PHRF, to the Melges 24
one-design fleet. With probably less than two year of experience in the
boat, BB and friends entered Key West Race Week.

It was the same year some youthful rock stars from California had their
boats, pros, and high budget programs there. BB beat a few boats each race,
but he and his crew shared with me a feeling of being champions because they
could check out the pro boats on the ramp, chat with the pros on land before
racing, and genuinely share the tent experience that evening with Olympians,
AC pros, and a host of great sailors.

But the story doesn't end there. After one season in the Boat of the Year
series around Tampa Bay, Barber Bill and his friends won honors in their
class. Barber Bill and crew came in a stretch limo from Punta Gorda, all
wearing tuxedos among a crowd of tee-shirts and shorts. It was all in fun.

Let's all hope there are a lot more Barber Bills in our sailing/ racing
community. His spirit and humor are priceless. And don't ask me to tell you
about how BB and his friends sailed some "Escape" dinghies to Havana from

* From Henry Filter:
Can we please close this thread? This professional amateur thing is getting
old. I don't work in the sailing industry. Whatever happened to good sailors
wanting to compete against other good sailors, whether pro or amateur? The
sport is all about enjoying yourself on the water and trying to improve your
game. Good sailors work both in and out of the industry. Who cares where
they make their living?

I love one design sailing. There are so many great one design classes to
choose from: Lasers, Snipes, Lightning's, Thistles, Stars, J22s, J24s,
Sonar's, Melges 24s, Melges 32s, Farr 30s and Farr 40s. There are many more,
these are just the few I have been fortunate enough to race over the years.
They all vary by budgets and number of people needed to compete. The point
is, regardless of your budget and skill level, there is a class that is
right for you. So figure out your budget, grab some friends and family, shut
up and go sailing!

=> Curmudgeon's Comment: While this thread is closed now in the newsletter,
the forum thread remains wide open:

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On Wednesday March 3, 2010, the University of New Hampshire sailing team
suffered an arson fire that resulted in the total loss of their equipment
and boats. The blaze destroyed 55 boats, five motors, three coach launches,
trailers and additional equipment - totaling a complete loss for both the
sailing team, the UNH Community Sailing Program, a summer program for youths
between 6 years old and 18 years old, and a combined junior and senior high
school sailing team.

To help the program, Scuttlebutt collected donations last week, and will be
forwarding the amount of $2372.29. Here is an update from Diana
Weidenbacker, Head Coach, University of New Hampshire Sailing Team:

"Thank you so very much. As soon as I meet this week with the insurance
adjuster I may know a bit more about what they will be covering. Likely not
much, maybe a small fraction of the $600,000 loss. Regardless, what
Scuttlebutt raised, plus alumni and the money we have been saving for new
boats, we might reach $50,000. Hey that's a start. This will go a ways to
getting the summer Community Sailing Centre back up as we will desperately
need boats (i.e. Opti's, FJ's, 420's, and Lasers). Of course, a facility to
store everything in would be nice too. What you have done will get us closer
to meeting the needs of many."

Additional donations can be submitted here:

Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an
impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made
him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This
made him a 'super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis'.

Special thanks to Southern Spars, Flexofold, and Landfall.

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