SCUTTLEBUTT 3249 - Tuesday, January 4, 2011
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: Team One Newport, Melges Performance Sailboats, and New England Boatworks.
‘WE GOT PLAYED’ - THE SAGA OF LITTLE RHODY
By Herb McCormick, yachting journalist
Here in Rhode Island, like last year, and the one before that, it's been an exceptionally crummy year. In his Saturday column for the Providence Journal, the state's biggest paper, sportswriter Bill Reynolds summed it up thusly: "Let's see: high unemployment (about 12% and climbing), the Central Falls school disaster, everyone talking about moving to North Carolina, fear and loathing everywhere you go in R.I. Slink out the door, 2010."
I grew up here, in Newport, and my dad's longtime bookie, Nickie C at the old Cliff Walk Manor, would've wished the year farewell in similar fashion with his favorite expression: "Don't let the screen door hit you in the ass on the way out."
So when the news came down late on New Year's Eve that the America's Cup had been awarded to San Francisco after an 11th hour bid by the state to lure it to Newport, it seemed like the inevitable capper to a crappy year. As I watched the new flash on the tube a single word leapt to mind: "Perfect."
A more accurate analysis was put forth in the "comments" section of the online story in the next morning's ProJo. It was the first in a long string of like-minded assessments from folks who don't happen to live by the water and who saw through the sham from the outset. I can't remember if it was Vinnie from Cranston or Paulie from Pawtucket or Rocco from Woonsocket but it doesn't really matter. Vinnie or Rocco or whoever it was absolutely nailed it: "We got played."
Yo, Vinnie. Truth, brother.
Over the holidays I watched an old Charlie Brown Christmas special with my daughter. I love the fact that the "adults" never actually speak...you know they're saying something by the single, repeated, droning note of an oboe or something: "Wah, wah, wah..."
A lot of good people put a lot of effort into trying to bring the Cup "home," and though I tried to tell everyone who brought it up that there was an EXTREMELY strong possibility that we were being used as a negotiating tool for the ongoing talks in San Fran (not to mention the fact that finding the money that was being bandied about in a state on the brink of insolvement was going to be, um, tricky), optimism was high. There is little hope in RI at the moment (ironically, "Hope" is the state's motto), and the possibility of a flood of jobs and tourists and development was strong ju-ju. Like, man, we needed this. Bad.
And in the aftermath of the decision, a lot of politicians and an Oracle spokesman were quoted about how close we'd come, and how cool that was, and what little doucats we might get tossed our way if this or that might happen down the road. But it all sounded like a lecture to Linus to me: "Wah, wah, wah, wah, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah." Noise. More noise. Endless noise.
Anyway, congratulations San Francisco. You'll put on a hell of a regatta in the prettiest city on the planet. Honestly, when we first heard that the Cup was coming to Northern California, we were overjoyed.
Then, suddenly and dramatically, we were part of the discussion, and we allowed ourselves the luxury of dreaming, hoping against hope we weren't in the crossfires of shysters and soundbites.
But here in hapless Little Rhody, the song remains the same. We got played.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
“In years of trying to grow fleets, I've been told and have seen very clearly, that for the health of the fleet and sailing in general, the sailors we really need to take care of are not the ones in the front of the pack, but the ones in the pack itself.” - Andy Burton, in an email exchange with the Scuttlebutt editor about helping the sport.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO GET YOUR CREW GEAR!
Team One Newport can get your last minute Key West Race Week crew gear order done. Call your order in by January 5th and let the best in the business outfit your team! Also, check out our Clearance Section featuring brands like Patagonia & Gill at up to 50% off original retail. Click http://www.team1newport.com/departments.asp?dept=148 for our Clearance Section. Call 1800 VIP GEAR ext. 503 to order your crew gear.
KNOW WHEN TO HOLD 'EM, KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM
Since July of 2007, the America’s Cup has taken quite a tumble. Following the 32nd Match, the event has existed more in courtrooms than race courses. And when racing did occur, it was a forgettable series against two ill matched multihulls. It has not been the best of times.
But for the ever diminishing crowd of America’s Cup enthusiasts, the Golden Gate Yacht Club - the defender of the Cup - has assured us that good times are ahead. It was the GGYC that had taken the event on a nearly three year detour, but it was with the best intentions. And we wanted to believe.
Fast forward to today. As we dust off the holiday hangover, the future of the America’s Cup remains uncertain. Sailing fans wanted a return to monohulls, but GGYC said no. Sailing fans wanted a nationality rule, but GGYC said no. And finally, with what was assumed to be a no brainer, sailing fans were taken on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride before GGYC declared on Dec. 31st to host the 34th Match on their home waters - San Francisco Bay.
To be certain, it is only out of respect for the Deed of Gift that the defender of the America’s Cup is referred to as Golden Gate Yacht Club. The truth is that the club is a mere marionette of the Oracle Racing team that now holds the Cup. One can only imagine how somber the New Year’s Eve party would have been at GGYC had its members been told the venue had headed east.
But it’s a new year, and it’s time for renewed hope. As the Curmudgeon’s Observation notes below, “If you do not change direction, you are likely to end up where you are headed.” The inverse, of course, is that we currently have no idea where we are headed. The vision of GGYC is to create heightened excitement through high performance sailing. The fear is that what appears sugary and sweet on the outside will be without substance on the inside.
So as GGYC mixes their new batch of Kool-Aide for the 34th Match, engaged sailing fans are holding out their cup for a fill of needed hydration after a painful and historic drought. As for the disillusioned sailing fan, they are humming the title track of Kenny Rogers’ 1978 album, The Gambler: “You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away and know when to run.” -- Scuttleblog, http://sailingscuttlebutt.blogspot.com/2011/01/hold-or-fold.html
GOODBYE MED - HELLO ATLANTIC.
(January 3, 2011; Day 4) - The first prize of the Barcelona World RACE 2010-2011 has been won by race title holder Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), sailing with Loick Peyron (FRA) on Virbac Paprec 3. The pair have claimed the North to South Mediterranean Trophy by becoming the first team to the reach the longitude of 05 37W, having best overcome the capricious light winds and strong tides faced by the fleet on the 540-mile stage of the non-stop race across the Western Mediterranean to the Gibraltar Strait - the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean.
PROTEST: The protest of Virbac-Paprec 3 against Groupe Bel, Foncia and Hugo Boss has been dismissed as invalid by the International Jury. Virbac-Paprec 3 alleged that the trio had improperly passed a mark of the course shortly after the start, but the Jury dismissed the protest because Virbac-Paprec 3 failed to inform the three boats of her intention to protest as required by RRS 61.3, SI 15.2.1(a).
MIRABAUD: Dominque Wavre (SUI) and Michčle Paret (FRA) have reported that their IMOCA Open 60 Mirabaud had been boarded on Monday by Moroccan customs officials. Approximately 48 miles east of the entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar and 30 miles off the Moroccan coast, officials searched the boat over a period of around 35 minutes, opening many of the couple’s vacuum sealed bags of food and equipment. After receiving a radio call the customs officials left the IMOCA Open 60 Mirabaud without any further explanation.
TEAM NEUTROGENA: Ryan Breymaier, with co-skipper Boris Herrmann (GER), is the only U.S. entrant in the race. Said Breymaier, “Two days into the race and we have had light conditions and multiple sail changes between Spinnaker, Code 0 and Genoa, and not too much sleep. We work our asses off, constantly trimming, changing and driving to maximize the potential of our boat. The effort is paying off, as we are able to keep up with boats 7 years newer. We both are really hot to get out of the Med, and point the bow south, towards unknown seas to me, and the open ocean free of coastal influences which Boris prefers.” Team Neutrogena holds fourth place as they head towards the strait of Gibralter. The three teams taking the lead presently are Virbac-Paprec 3, Foncia and Estrella Damm.
REPLAY: British distance racer Mike Golding joins ESPN sailing commentator Gary Jobson for video coverage of the race. To relive the live start as it was aired on ESPN3.com, go to http://espn.go.com/espn3/player?id=112618&league=Sailing
BACKGROUND: This is the second edition of the non-stop Barcelona World Race, the only double-handed race around the world. Fourteen teams are competing on Open 60s which started December 31st and is expected to finish by late March. The 25,000 nautical mile course is from Barcelona to Barcelona via three capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, Cook Strait, putting Antarctica to starboard. Race website: http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org
TAKING A CHANCE TO IMPROVE THE SPORT
By Jay Greenfield, Team Chance
This past fall Team Chance - based out of Noank, CT - has been hard at work getting a program together for the upcoming summer. We are a team of sailing instructors and accomplished collegiate/high school sailors with a common goal to make the sport of sailing more accessible and appealing to children.
We plan to accomplish this by sharing a free sailing experience and offering sailing scholarships to ease the financial burden of participating in our sport or sending a child to a regatta. At the end of a session, we also want to make sure the children have the necessary resources to continue the sport in their area; whether it be knowing where their nearest community sailing program is or offering whatever financial support we are able to.
We strongly believe the future of our sport does not lie in the hands of yacht club programs, as very few of us are fortunate enough to be a part of those. Instead, we see more and more community oriented, affordable sailing centers on the rise. We hope to stop at any program that will have us, take their students sailing on a keelboat, and serve as positive role models in our sport. It is our intention that the students we work with leave with the following experiences... read on: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=11012
MELGES 32, MELGES 24 RACE TO KEY WEST
Key West has been a staple for Melges Racing. Yet again another good turnout of Melges Boats will race in this fantastic venue. A strong Melges 32 fleet as well as a tough Melges 24 fleet featuring many new boats built from our factory in Zenda, Wisconsin. For those of you thinking of getting a new Melges - stick close to melges.com as there is a Big Savings Week soon to be announced. Savings on Boats, Parts, Covers - everything! http://www.melges.com
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR
(January 3, 2011; Day 19) - After a catalogue of breakages and equipment failures, Belgian solo sailor Christophe Bullens has officially retired from the VELUX 5 OCEANS. Following a string of technical problems onboard his yacht, the final straw came just an hour after beginning the second leg from South Africa to New Zealand for the third time when the mast track onboard Five Oceans of Smiles too ripped out for the second time. Problems for Bullens began when his original boat was dismasted en route to start, with a replacement boat acquired just four days before start.
For the four remaining solo skippers, there were today setting up for a classic Southern Ocean battering as a huge storm speeds towards the fleet. The ocean racers can expect winds of more than 40 knots of breeze and giant swells when the low pressure system sweeps through.
Despite American Brad Van Liew enjoying a 200 nautical mile lead on his nearest rivals Zbigniew Gutkowski (POL) and Derek Hatfield (CAN), the final 2,949 nm to the finish line in Wellington, New Zealand promises to be a test for both man and boat. “The thing that is a little nerve-wracking is that there are two low pressure systems which are merging,” observed Van Liew. “Merging lows can be a lot deeper and intense than what is forecast by the weather models.”
BACKGROUND: The Velux 5 Oceans is the longest running solo round the world race, and has 28 years of rich heritage as the BOC Challenge and then the Around Alone. This edition covers 30,000 miles and features five ocean sprints over nine months. After setting off on October 17 from La Rochelle to Cape Town, the race will then take in Wellington in New Zealand, Salvador in Brazil and Charleston in the U.S. before returning back across the Atlantic to France. -- http://www.velux5oceans.com/
* Tom and Jane Schock have announced the closing of the sale of the W. D. Schock Corp. (WDS) to Alexander Vucelic von Raduboj. Alexander will take over as President of WDS and be responsible for day-to- day operations. WDS was founded in 1946 in Newport Beach, California, by Tom's father, W. D. "Bill", and has built more than 13,000 boats in its sixty-five year history. Tom Schock will remain on the WDS Board of Directors and continue to connect with sailors in the new role of Brand Ambassador. Jane Schock will also continue with the company helping to smooth the transition. -- Full report: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=11057
* Langkawi, Malaysia (January 3, 2011) The Thailand team of Noppakao Poonpat, Don Whitcraft, Totsapon Mahawichean, Jirawat Jadklay and Sarawut Phesiri are the newly crowned International Optimist World Team Racing Champions. In a field of 16 international teams, the Thai squad went undefeated in all their elimination matches, and then proceeded to also shut out Singapore in the finals. After a spare day on Tuesday, the final two days of the Individual World title will take place on Wednesday and Thursday. -- Results: http://www.optiworld.org/MiniSite/results.php
* Mar del Plata, Argentina (January 3, 2011) - Challenging conditions greeted the competitors for the opening day of the 2011 29er World Championship. With the starting gun at 11am, all 60 teams headed out in 18 knots of breeze and large swells to the two separate race courses. Argentines Pepe Bettini/ Fernando Gwozdz and Belen Tavella/ Franco Greggi are currently tied for the lead after the first of three days of qualifying. Championship commences Thursday and concludes Saturday. -- Full report: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=11055#11055
* The Oakcliff Sailing Center, located in Oyster Bay, NY less than an hour drive from New York City, has announced it will host twenty match race regattas in 2011, including four Grade 3 Invitational’s and a new Grade 2 event, The Oakcliff International. The Oakcliff International will draw the world’s best sailors to race in Oakcliff’s fleet of ten Swedish Match 40s on Oyster Bay. In addition to the prestigious inaugural event, the 2011 schedule will feature Clinegattas,. 1-Day Grade 5 events, and Tuesday Night Drills. Full details here: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=11050
* The Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta series has unveiled the dates and locations of its 2011 schedule. The 24th annual series will embark on an eight-city tour throughout the United States, culminating with its championship event, held in the British Virgin Islands. Last year, skipper Steve Lopez and his St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta winning crew took home the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta championship title. Details for 2011 here: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=11052
Bill Langan died peacefully on December 31 after a courageous two year battle with leukemia.
Bill joined Sparkman & Stephens working under Olin Stephens who two years later appointed him Chief Designer. He was the project manager for Freedom, the 12-meter that won the 1980 America’s Cup and was named designer for the 1987 America II campaign sponsored by the New York Yacht Club. Bill then directed the firm towards the design of large luxury sailing yachts and ultimately was responsible for over 300 designs at S&S. The firm still kept its hand in the world of racing yachts with the 72 foot sloop Encore coming in 1st overall in the 1993 Fastnet Race.
In 1998 he fulfilled his own dream to found Langan Design Associates of Newport, Rhode Island. With Bill at the helm, the firm completed over 40 designs. The first, Victoria of Strathearn, won design awards from both ShowBoats International and the International Superyacht Society which recently honored him with their Leadership Award. Later designs include the IMS maxi Sagamore and Eos, a 305-foot 3-masted schooner.
An ardent racer, Bill participated in 20 consecutive Newport Bermuda Races and eventually became the Technical Chair for the race. Following in a tradition established by Olin Stephens at S&S, Bill further invested countless hours to improving the safety and handicapping of offshore racers, giving back to the sport he loved.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 8 at 2 pm at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, where Bill and his family are members. Following the church service, there will be a reception at the Conanicut Yacht Club.
Additional details: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=11053
NEB BEGINS 2011 WITH NEW PROJECTS & NEW COMPOSITES SHOP
New England Boatworks will launch the Volvo Open 70-Puma Ocean Racing this spring and begin construction of an IRC Mini-Maxi. A new 5-axis automated milling machine is working overtime carving tooling for custom carbon components. For race modifications, service, refit or paintwork contact NEB today. +1 401 683-4000, http://www.NEBoatworks.com
Scuttlebutt strongly encourages feedback from the Scuttlebutt community. Either submit comments by email or post them on the Forum. Submitted comments chosen to be published in the newsletter may be limited to 250 words. Authors may have one published submission per subject, and should save their bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
* From Tim Dick:
The drama and spectatorship in San Francisco could easily be ten times Newport if history is a guide.
History tells us that spectatorship collapsed when the Cup went from New York to Newport, dropping from 50,000 to approximately 5,000 despite special trains and excursion boats to travel the 180 miles from New York or 80 miles from Boston to Newport. In 1920, over 35,000 people toured Sir Thomas Lipton's challenger in New York harbor.
To quote from ‘A Full Cup: Sir Thomas Lipton's Extraordinary Life and His Quest for the America's Cup’ (Michael D'Antonio, 2010) regarding the 1930 cup in Newport: "Although it was the largest fleet ever assembled for an America's Cup event, the actual number of people who turned out fell below the record floating crowd of 50,000."
* From Michael Roth:
To answer Ted Pike's question in #3248, yes many boats have B-Day parties. I fondly remember the 50th for S&S 55' Santana held at the St. Francis YC with her anchored right out the window. Large photos of her everywhere and many of the past owners and sailors were in attendance. A full model was on display along with all of her trophies. The only one missing was Humphrey Bogart.
Santana was famous for being owned by Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Santana was the brainchild of W. L. Stewart, Jr., the son of the founder of the Union Oil Company. She was designed by the hotshot young designer Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens (S & S). Stewart wanted a schooner that could show her heels to the best and brightest on both coasts. Constructed of mahogany planks over white oak frames at Wilmington Boat Works in Southern California, Santana was launched on October 24, 1935. Her 50th was in 1985 at the St. Francis YC. She is still sailing the Bay today. She can be found at: http://www.thesantana.com
If you do not change direction, you are likely to end up where you are headed.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Doyle Sails - Summit Yachts - Team One Newport - North Sails
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Harken - Ullman Sails - IYRS - North U
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