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SCUTTLEBUTT 3270 - Wednesday, February 2, 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: Morris Yachts, North Sails, and Sail1Design.

By David Wells, editor
The 2016 Olympics will hold some big changes for the sport of sailing and if the Kiteboard Class has its way the inclusion of Kiteboarding will be one of those changes. The Class is making a big push to put Kiteboard racing in to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, and as a prelude to the big show had set up an exhibition race this past weekend as sort of a litmus test. So how did it go?

Unfortunately, not so well. Racing was scheduled to occur on the backend of the Rolex Miami OCR being sailed in Florida’s Key Biscayne bay. With the current 2012 Olympic classes on hand, the Kiteboarding class was looking to make its debut in Olympic style course racing. Day one was set to go off on Saturday January 28th, the same day as the final medal rounds would be sailed for the official regatta.

With all other fleets, including the RSX windsurfer, getting off their final medal races it was then up to the Kiteboards to show their stuff. With winds in the 6 mph range some Kiteboards were able to get out and sail in an amazing display of just how far the Kiteboarding race gear has evolved over the last few years. However, with lulls dropping to near 2mph, and sometimes less, it just simply wasn’t going to happen. Unconfirmed rumors have the Windsurfer and the Kiteboard locked in an either/or but not both battle for a spot in the 2016 games.

In a year where proven fleets are on the Olympic Chopping block this did not bode well for the Kites. Venerable long time boats, like the Star, are still having their fates decided as to their Olympic fortunes, and with a decision pending at the ISAF midyear meeting in May 2011, expect the Miami regatta to be cited in the back forth between the classes as they contend for the 2016 spots.

For your author personally this is a tough decision as I’d love to see the old mainstays, like the Star, competing right alongside the more progressive fleets like the Kiteboards. This weekend however showed that some of the back room flames about the Kiteboards low end wind performance may have just gotten some gasoline poured on them. -- Full report:

Nearly 50 match racing events this year have been scheduled around the U.S. and Canada, ranging from one-day clinics and local ISAF Grade 5 regattas to world-class prize-money Grade 1 events.

“This growth in interest has been phenomenal,” said US SAILING’s Match Racing Committee Chairman and US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics match racing coach Dave Perry. “We’ve been fortunate to have some enthusiastic clubs and patrons help support the game, including forming some new match racing centers around the U.S. Plus we have had great response from sailors who see match racing as an exciting form of the game that can lead to more and more competition through a series of qualifiers to the big events.”

Event organizers in North America are working closely together to coordinate schedules and link their events to promote participation. “The integration of these regattas will make it much easier now for sailors to compete in their local and regional areas to improve their game and gain valuable ISAF Ranking Points, and as their ranking improves they will have the opportunity to race in higher level events, and maybe even get onto the World Match Racing Tour,” said Perry.

“I think the interest in the Olympics among women’s teams has also helped grow match racing,” said Liz Baylis, executive director for the Women’s International Match Racing Association. “Since the women’s teams can get valuable experience and points on the world ranking list by competing in Open events too, they now have many more options beyond just the Women’s events.”

"Furthermore, we are seeing a big surge in youth match racing as well," mentioned Perry. "The Intercollegiate Sailing Association just brought match racing into their program and held their first-ever intercollegiate Match Racing National Championship this fall. And there will be many youth match racing clinics around the U.S. this year, leading up to The Governor's Cup, an international youth regatta at the Balboa Yacht Club this summer." -- Full report:

Leave the snow and hassle behind and come to Morris Yachts’ boat show at Shake-A-Leg Sailing Center in Coconut Grove (in Miami) to view three Morris daysailers February 17-20. This year’s event features the M29, M42 and M52 dockside for your viewing. This venue is terrific for all sorts of reasons: great cause, great location and quicker access to some sailing in Biscayne Bay for those ready for a demo. We have reserved parking Saturday and Sunday due to the Arts Festival. So please call or email us to let us know you are coming - 207-244-5509,,

The 2011 DN Gold Cup world championship and North American Championship began as scheduled on Sunday, January 30. As is always the case with Iceboating, the venue that was announced in the NOR and online schedule was not a particular club or lake, but the entire "North American Western Region," since it wouldn't be known which site would be usable until just days before the regatta began. For iceboating, you not only need the right breeze strength for the duration of the event; you also need a clean sheet of ice.

On January 26, the online notice board announced the venue as Green Bay north of Menominee, MI and over a hundred DN owners booked motels and took off for the Michigan-Wisconsin boarder. Then, on Jan 29, after receiving 6" of overnight snowfall, the organizing committee made some calls and found a clean patch of ice in Henry, IL, five and a half hours south of Menominee. Behind Vermont's Lake Champlain, it was reported to be the best ice in the country, and had a better wind forecast than Vermont.

So with only a minor delay built in for travel, the sailors headed south, again booked motel rooms and started the regatta on Sunday at 1pm. The fleet sailed qualifiers and divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold fleets, each with about forty boats registered. Bronze and Silver Qualifying races were competed as scheduled, but the first Gold race was "black-flaggged" when the second lap exceeded the time limit by over 4 minutes. Racing continued Monday, and with enough races in the bank and storms in the forecast, was called Tuesday morning with Ron Sherry (USA) winning the 2011 Gold Cup World DN Championship.

Next up for the fleet is the North Americans, with most sailors heading north toward Green Bay where a new sheet of clear ice has been found near Menomonee and the storm is only expected to get as far north as Milwaukee. Torch Lake near Traverse City, MI is another possibility. So the adventure continues! -- Sailgroove,

(February 1, 2011; Day 11) - Ten days after leaving Ushant, Pascal Bidegorry and his men are plunged in the heart of the difficulties inherent in record attempts around the world. More than ever, the adverse effects of the St. Helena anticyclone are there to thwart and slow to let the 131-foot trimaran Banque Populaire V to head to Good Hope. But the depression formed over Uruguay began to be felt and should allow the giant trimaran to find his wings.

“The train has finally pulled out of the station, after we have been waiting around on the platform for 3 days,” notes crewman Brian Thompson. “We are now feeling the effects of a small low pressure and for the first time since the equator we have wind of over 20 knots and we are making the most of it, sitting at a steady 30plus knots of speed in relatively flat seas. The sky is now cloudy, and it is starting to cool down outside as we rocket down through the 30s in latitude. Whether this particular train is going all the way to the Cape of Good Hope, remains to be seen. The weather models still widely divergent even in a short time scale (something unlikely in the North Atlantic), so all we can do now is hang on and enjoy the ride.”

Current position as of February 1, 2011 (23:00 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: -286.4 nm
Speed over past 24 hours: 22.4 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 537.3 nm
Distance remaining: 19,692 nm

Team website:
Brian Thompson's blog:

BACKGROUND: The 131-foot trimaran Banque Populaire V is seeking to win the Jules Verne Trophy, a fully crewed round the world record attempt under sail. Skipper Pascal Bidegorry and his 13 crew began their attempt Jan. 22nd and must cross the finish line off Ushant, France before March 11, 2011 at 19:55:37 (Paris time) to break the record (48:7:44:52) set by Franck Cammas and crew in 2010 on the 103-foot trimaran Groupama 3.

(February 1, 2011; Day 4) - After leaving Brest, France last Saturday at lunch time, Thomas Coville has exceeded the latitude of the Canaries today at noon, clocking a the distance of 1643 miles in three days at an average speed of 23 knots. So far this pace has stretched Coville’s advance over the current solo round the world record to its greatest margin.

The other average isn’t so good - just four hours of sleep in the past 72 hours. Challenging sailing conditions in choppy seas with an unstable wind makes it difficult for the autopilot to adjust, and for Coville to get some sleep. But Coville’s experience tells him that it will not last. “It always happens the first week because you always leave with a window demanding.”

Current position as of February 1, 2011 (23:00 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: +79.6 nm
Speed over past 24 hours: 24.3 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 583.8 nm
Distance remaining: 22,754 nm

Team website:

BACKGROUND: Thomas Coville (FRA) and the 105-foot trimaran Sodebo is seeking to set a new solo round the world record under sail. Coville began the attempt Jan. 29th and must cross the finish line off Ushant, France by March 28, 2011 at 00:40:34 (UTC) to break the record (57:13:34:06) set by Francis Joyon in 2008 on the 97-foot trimaran IDEC.

Although winter is here (in the most northern part of the world), it hasn’t slowed North Sails’s production facilities which are nearly at capacity! If you’re thinking about ordering new sails for 2011, now’s the time to get in touch with your local North representative so you’re sure to have them in time for Spring sailing. North Sails offers one year of free sail care on all new sails (some restrictions apply), which is another reason to head North. If you’re looking for sails that will deliver performance, durability and quality - whether you race or cruise -- the choice is clear:

(February 1, 2011: Day 33) - Having slipped through ahead of a looming low pressure system, leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron (FRA) will now be aiming to outrun the depression as they resume a south-easterly course on a fast ride towards the next Amsterdam gate in the Indian Ocean. Whether they can continue to outgun the rest of the fleet is being challenged hard by MAPFRE, averaging almost 5 knots faster than the leaders over the course of the afternoon.

“The conditions here are really hard going,” explained Dominique Wavre (FRA) on seventh place Mirabaud. “There is not a lot of wind but the seas are huge and messed up. We’re not in control of our routing because of the ice gates put in place by the race organisers, so we’re at the mercy of everything the weather systems can throw at us. For example, at the moment we’re heading for the next gate, we have the wind directly astern and we’re sailing straight into an area of high pressure. There’s no wind ahead of us and we’re sailing at a bad angle.”

Race Tracker:

Standings (top 5 of 14 as of 20.01.07)
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA), 16,603nm DTF
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP), 530.5nm DTL
3. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, Alex Pella/Pepe Ribes (ESP/ESP), 670.4nm DTL
4. Groupe Bel, Kito De Pavant/Sebastien Audigane (FRA/FRA), 672.7nm DTL
5. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 839.5nm DTL

Full rankings:

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:

The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum encourages companies to post their personnel, product and service updates. Scuttlebutt editors will select Industry News updates each week to include in the Thursday edition of the Scuttlebutt newsletter. Here is the link to post Industry News updates:

* It’s been nearly 18 years since a world championship windsurfing regatta has plied the waters of San Francisco Bay but that’s just what is set to happen this upcoming July 17-24 2011 as the Bic Techno 293 (T293) Worlds roll into town. The upcoming Techno worlds will be hosted by the prestigious St. Francis Yacht Club and the estimated 200-300 T293 sailors will be treated to all the trappings of an America’s Cup-style regatta. With the strong sea breezes found on San Francisco Bay in July, full-planing racing is essentially guaranteed. -- Full report:

* Twelve youth sailors have qualified for US SAILING’s 2011 Youth World Team, and will receive invitations to represent the United States at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Youth World Championship in Zadar, Croatia, from July 7-11, 2011. Eight of these athletes were selected based on first-place finishes in their respective classes at the 2011 US SAILING ISAF Youth World Qualifier at the Houston Yacht Club, in La Porte, Texas (Jan. 15-17), while the boards and multihull team members were chosen by resume and did not compete at the Youth World Qualifier. -- Full report:

* The second annual St. Croix Yacht Club Hospice Regatta and Optimist Regatta will be February 11-13, attracting boats from the United States and around the Caribbean. The overall prize for the most competitive boat in the most competitive field is the skipper's weight in Cruzan Rum. This adult event is accompanied by a growing International Optimist Regatta for young people under age 16. The winner of the optimist fleet takes home his weight in Gatorade. St. Croix's race also kicks off the three-race CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) series, followed later in the season by races in Culebra, Puerto Rico, and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. --

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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 Tom Duggan: (Levesque black flag commentary in SBUTT 3269)
Pete, you are one hell of a sailor- but you would not be much of a race officer if you behaved in the manner you described in your black flag scenario. I would say it is funny, except for how insulting it is for someone of your stature to insinuate that you know standard RC procedure to be calling off numbers of boats close to the line- then listening to tapes so that numbers mentioned in the last minute can be listed as BFD in order that the RC will 'sound sure so that the start counts'. Or that we don't actually know who is over and that anyone who was 'close' becomes 'over' when we listen to our tapes.

Competent race committees don't OCS or BFD boats unless they are absolutely sure they are over- tapes are only used to make absolutely sure their original call was correct. You have a responsibility to our sport to avoid yelling 'fire' to readers who think you know firefighting. I'd be happy to show you how it's done- give me a call- I'll take you out anytime.

* From Peter Allen, Rochester, New York:
Pete Levesque's lead item "Black Flag - Behind the Scenes" in 'Butt 3269, brought back memories of our serving as PRO for the Sunfish Pan Am Trials for the Rochester Canoe Club some years ago. The regatta's Sailing Instructions specified that the signal boat end of the starting line would be defined by a yellow flag.

During the festivities at the end of the first day of racing one competitor brought his beer over and thanked us for the job we had done. He then suggested that starting might have been less confusing had the several workers (including me) on the signal boat hadn't been wearing their bright yellow RCC tee shirts which had been handed out to all workers prior to taking the boats out on Lake Ontario for the first race.

I completely agree that the situation should not be one of competition between the race committee and the competitors. We like to use the VHF to communicate with all racers, both before and after the starting signal. And we like to avoid using the Black Flag, as well as avoiding General Recalls if at all possible. One aid to fair starts is the use of a committee boat with an experienced committee member outside the pin end of the line. They then let the signal boat (on another radio channel) know about any OCS boats.

* From Karen Marriott, President, US Windsurfing:
In reading Dean Brenner’s final thoughts about the Miami OCR on the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics blog (in Scuttlebutt 3269), I was dismayed to notice that all he had to say about the windsurfing members of the US Sailing Team is that “we are clearly a few steps off the pace”.

I’m certain he couldn’t have missed noticing the huge improvements in performance that the US Sailing Team members have made in that class. Farrah Hall finished 12th in the competitive women’s fleet, which is one of the best finishes by a US windsurfer in the women’s fleet in a world cup event in quite some time. In the men’s fleet, Bob Willis has made huge gains in the last year and finished 15th in an equally competitive fleet.

Clearly, both of these sailors have lots of work ahead of them to break in to the top ten and more work after that to have a chance to medal in 2012. We have been “a few steps off the pace” in the RS:X class for the last seven years. But now, when there is terrific progress being made, I think this is worth celebrating and shouting from the rooftops! So, when the Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee thinks it is not even worth mentioning - it makes me think that he believes that windsurfing is a lost cause in the US and not worth supporting.

The members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics all work hard to improve their performance on the water, be in top physical condition and raise the funds that allow them to optimize their training and get results at regattas. US Sailing doesn’t have unlimited amounts of dollars to hand out, but encouragement and public recognition of a job well done and improvements in performance should be given freely when earned.

Visit Farrah’s and Bob’s websites ( and respectively) and read about their experiences at the Miami OCR, leave them a comment and let them know that you are cheering them on and join me in wishing them the best of luck in their upcoming training and regattas!

If you are not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

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