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SCUTTLEBUTT 3273 - Monday, February 7, 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: Kaenon Polarized and JK3 Nautical Enterprises.

By Morgan Reeser, Olympian/Professional sailor
The current starting system is still essentially the same as it was a hundred years ago, relying on human judgment often in a very challenging environment. If the system is not going to embrace starting technologies that other sports utilize, then sailing should at least aspire to show fairness and equity towards the competitors with its OCS and redress procedures.

I am the first to admit that sighting the line accurately in a competitive fleet is the hardest thing to do in sailing. Try to stop action at exactly zero, when 30 boats are approaching the line at 7 kts (or about 12 feet per second). Human judgment is required when you would have to ask yourself if those four boats at the pin were just exactly on the line or six inches over at the gun. Add in boats that are early OCS and obstruct one or both of the ends and it is impossible for a RC to accurately sight the line. Once one end of the start line is obstructed, then the RC is just guessing who is over after that. The RC is human and humans can make errors in such compromising conditions.

Unfortunately, the ISAF Redress system is very heavily weighted against the sailors. The sailors are required to provide proof that they were not over, when the RC has all the proof. All the RC has to provide is a recording (if they even have one) with the sailor’s number written on a piece of paper. The sailor's best (and only?) proof is video which is usually summarily dismissed by the Jury because the video is not taken exactly on the line, or there is no proof exactly when the start time occurred. To further stack the deck against the sailors, Organizers often will not allow coaches or support boat to be near the extensions of the line to video, and many classes will not allow video taken from a support boat to be used as evidence.

So how is the Sailor supposed to provide any proof that they started behind the start line, when they are prevented from accessing video evidence, and when the RC has all the proof, but only needs to validate their decision with a recording and a piece of paper? If memory serves me correctly don't other sports rely on Video Replay/Review to conform that the correct decisions have been made on the field of play? In our technologically advanced age, why is the RC not required to provide video of the start, so that they can confirm sailors that actually OCS?

The Race Organizers, Jury, Race Committee and Coaches are all obviously there to support sailing and do their best for the sailors. So while we wait for some highly advanced technology to appear and solve our OCS challenges, why don't we take a step out of the dark ages and at the least require the RC to video the starts. The RC can then remove some human error from the system and allow themselves to review and confirm the sailors that were definitely OCS. This is something that definitely cannot be done with a tape recorder.

Anybody else want to comment?


(February 5, 2011; Day 16) - After the 131-foot trimiran Banque Populaire V hit an unidentified floating object Wednesday/ Thursday night last week during their Jules Verne Trophy attempt, skipper Pascal Bidegorry announced on Saturday they would retire from their first attempt at the crewed, non-stop round the world record.

With a lead of 324 miles over the reference time, the Banque Populaire V was handicapped for more than 48 hours by a damaged daggerboard due to the collision. The crew tried to repair the daggerboard and resume, but determined it was not possible for them to continue with a shorter daggerboard that would restrict their upwind potential. Following their repair, it is estimated that the board length was reduced to 2 meters under the boat instead of 5.8 meters.

Said Brian Thompson (GBR) from onboard:
“With only half a daggerboard we were only remotely likely to get the record, performance wise but also there was the added risk of the repair not working at 40 knots of boat speed, and the rudder in the central hull being more exposed.

“Everyone on board realizes that it was the only sensible option. We tried really hard to keep going after the accident, but some things are just not going to happen in the way that you want them to. The good thing about the Jules Verne Trophy is that it can happen when you want; it’s not like the Vendee that occurs once every 4 years. The team is already planning improvements, ready for the next try.

“A 33 percent success ratio is the historical norm for this record, backed up by Groupama having two failed attempts before finally getting the record last year. It is par for the course.”

Team website:
Brian Thompson's blog:

BACKGROUND: The 131-foot trimaran Banque Populaire V was 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 needed to reach 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.

What are you in to? Speed? Innovation? Then the new Cup is for you and Coutts is a visionary. He sees the future, wearing Lewi G12 on the new AC45. Maybe it’s one-design? The Olympic and dinghy circuit, where Anna Tunnicliffe rocks Soft Kore with G12 SR-91 polarized lenses. Or is it offshore? We’re getting a kick out of watching Spanish Olympic hero’s Iker and Xabi make the transition from the wire to blazing tracks in the Southern Ocean - continuing to rely on Kore in C12 and C28. Like the diversity of our sport, where everyone can find their path, you’ll find a pair of Kaenon’s that’ll fit your fancy. Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically.

(February 6, 2011; Day 9) - Thomas Coville (FRA) and the 105-foot trimaran Sodebo are now nearly 500 nm south of the equator, but his search for good news is currently thwarted by the weather situation in the South Atlantic. While record holder Francis Joyon was able to turn to the east at the height of the 25th degrees south, any advantage Coville had hoped for appears to be either blocked by the St Helena high to the north or the presence of icebergs to the south.

Current position as of February 6, 2011 (23:00 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: -252.9 nm
Speed over past 24 hours: 17.3 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 415.7 nm
Distance remaining: 20,484 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.

(February 6, 2011: Day 38) - For Virbac Paprec 3, this afternoon has brought more of what ‘the brochure promised’ - fast sailing with the wind aft of beam, allowing Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron (FRA) to extend their lead over second placed MAPFRE. From first to twelfth, the Barcelona World Race fleet may now find itself spread almost from Australia’s Cape Leeuwin back to South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, but for the first time with all the fleet in the Indian Ocean, this Sunday finds the race fleet in favourable downwind or reaching conditions.

Race Tracker:

Standings (top 5 of 14 as of 20.01.07)
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA), 14,642 nm DTF
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP), 656.6nm DTL
3. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, Alex Pella/Pepe Ribes (ESP/ESP), 722.1nm DTL
4. Groupe Bel, Kito De Pavant/Sebastien Audigane (FRA/FRA), 792.3nm DTL
5. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 1047.0nm 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 wing sail, brought forward from BMW Oracle Racing’s successful America’s Cup 33 challenge, might just be the area of greatest design advancement for the 34th defense of the America's Cup in 2013. As co-author of the AC72 Class Rule, there is noticeable excitement in Pete Melvin’s voice when he discusses the possibilities of a Class Rule left wide open -- and left that way for a reason.

“I think the wing and the underwater foils will be two huge areas of development. The wing needs to be a certain height and area, but how you get there, how many elements or slots or what your structure is or what your controls are, that’s up in the air. There’s been some good development on the wing in the past, but budgets have been pretty small, so we’re hoping to see development in that area.”

What sort of advancements?

“You never know, things that work better and are simpler and less expensive…. There’s a lot of promise for wings on boats, so I think this will be one of those areas that will be a good trickle down. We think there is some area for improvement in wing design, so we didn’t want to limit it to geometries that have been used in the past. We looked at a rule that’s more restrictive, such as the wings that are being used in the C-Class, but it was very difficult to write a rule around a 3D object with moving parts. Whenever we wrote a rule to limit something, we would find five ways around it. By writing very restrictive rules, you actually increase complexity and cost, so by leaving things open, things turn out to be much simpler, elegantly efficient.

“For instance, the Oracle trimaran originally had six foils,” Melvin points out. “It ended up with four -- the center daggerboard and rudder were removed in the end. The wing could have been any design. But it actually ended up with a fairly simple wing, geometrically, and the appendages were as simple as you could get. If you look at the very successful racing classes around the world, such as the Open 60, they have very few rules. They’re a box rule and they’ve ended up very elegantly simple. Every year, there are incremental performance gains, but the boats don’t cost any more, it’s just different geometry and configurations. If you’re going to spend time and money on something, you might as well leave it a little bit open and let true development happen.” --, read on:

The San Diego Boat Show has come and gone, but there’s still time to make a trip to San Diego to take a look at one of the 4 new models that were on display at the show. Voted Best One-Design Keelboat by Sailing World magazine, the J/111 is proving to live up to the hype by being the best performing and easiest to sail boat of its size on the market. Also at our docks is the Sabre 456, with a beautifully hand crafted cherry interior and unparalleled construction; she is the most luxurious of the bluewater cruising yachts. Contact JK3 in San Diego 619-224-6200 or Newport Beach 949-675-8053 to view one of these fine yachts.

* It was announced on February 4th that the Yacht Club de France is the sixth challenger to be accepted for the 34th America’s Cup. This brings the current total to seven confirmed and validated competitors. The seven include ALEPH Equipe de France, Artemis Racing, Mascalzone Latino, ORACLE RACING, two undisclosed teams, and now the Yacht Club de France team.

* One of the undisclosed teams is believed to be Team New Zealand, which narrowly lost to Alinghi in the 32nd America’s Cup. After ORACLE Racing wrapped up the sea-trialing period of the prototype AC45 catamaran on Friday, skipper Dean Barker led Team New Zealand on Saturday as the first team outside of the defender to sail the prototype AC45.

* Harold Bennett (NZL) has been appointed to the race management team for the 34th America's Cup. Bennett, who has been a race officer for the last four editions of the America's Cup, will be the Director of On-Water Operations and Assistant Principal Race Officer. For the 34th America's Cup, Bennett will work with John Craig (USA), the recently appointed Principal Race Officer, and Regatta Director Iain Murray (AUS).

Event website:

“The best sailors, sailing either an Optimist or an AC72, the cream will always rise to the top. Some people may not be able to get their heads around a totally different concept, but if you’re a world-class sailor and you have an open mind, there’s no reason you can’t become a world-class multihull sailor as well.” - Pete Melvin (USA), who nearly qualified for the Olympics in the 470 class, got to the 1988 Games in the Tornado, and he has been a multihull guy ever since.

* Eighteen boats began the 811 mile Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race on Saturday with two starts for the PHRF and IRC fleets. With a route from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Montego Bay, Jamaica, George David's Rambler 100 (ex Speedboat) heads the list that will be looking for line honors and a record breaking run to beat current record of 2d, 10h, 24m, 42s. Photos/race info:

* After Ron Sherry (USA) won the storm shortened 2011 DN Gold Cup World Championship last Tuesday in Henry, IL, the class sought to find suitable conditions in the U.S. to commence their North American Championship. However, it was soon determined that the weather had ruined all the venues that could be reached in time to complete the regatta by the Saturday deadline. Therefore, the governing committee was forced to cancel the 2011 DN North Americans. --

* (February 6, 2011) - The third sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS solo round the world yacht race started today for the four remaining ECO 60 solo skippers. The 6,000 nautical mile leg from Wellington, New Zealand to Punta del Este in Uruguay will see the fleet head deeper into the Southern Ocean than they have been yet as they dip down to the latitude 56 degrees south to get round Cape Horn, the southerly tip of South America. --

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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 Bill Sandberg:
I must take exception with Ted Beier's idea (in Scuttlebutt 3272) to go to the I flag to control an aggressive group of starters. All that does is force the fleet to each end of the line, because those that start in the middle are screwed with the I. I believe giving the group one chance to do it right. When that fails go directly to the Z. If it is a notoriously overaggressive group, go straight to the Black.

* From Zvi Ziblat IJ/IU-ISR:
Regarding the report in Scuttlebutt 3272 --- ‘THIRD PARTY PROTEST - TACK OR CROSS’ by Matthew Knowles, Unruly blog --- the scenario is quite common and in my opinion the two opinions expressed that P should be disqualified are wrong. First there is no demand on S to sail any specific course in the described scenario. Secondly, once S changed its course there is no more "collision course" and no need for P to "keep clear".

* From John Doerr:
I have just read the opinions of Jos and Matt (in Scuttlebutt 3272) and I think they have missed a very important few words in the definition of keeping clear. The definition reads: 'One boat keeps clear of another if the other can sail her course with no need to take avoiding action....'. In the case described, S did not NEED to take action as P was prepared to tack, S ELECTED to take action. I would conclude that P did keep clear and there was no rule broken. This, not surprisingly, is not a new issue, and the rule book is smart enough to let S have the choice to duck P without risk of penalty to either.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: THIS is why you read Scuttlebutt! In addition to Zvi’s reply, John has been an International Judge since 1987 and an International Umpire since 1980, and is a past Chairman of the ISAF Race Officials Committee. John has been a jury member in the 29th and 33rd America's Cup, will be a jury member for the 34th America’s Cup, and has been the Chief Umpire at the last four Olympic Games.

* From Matt Princing, Average Joe Sailor:
The quote by Scott Ostler, SF Chronicle writer (in Scuttlebutt 3272) is a bit disturbing. His perception of the sport of sailing is one of the reasons sailing is down, he has pasted a seriously skewed stereotype on us and unfortunately his opinion was published so now he has dragged other uniformed and possibly new sailors with him.

Would someone from the San Francisco area please contact this guy and take him for a sail? Preferably one of the millions of average joe sailors that exist in the area.

* From Chad Burns:
Try quoting something a bit more positive than the perennially negative and cynical Scott Ostler. The 34th America’s Cup will be good for San Francisco and California in general. Without it, we have 20+ more years of rotting, decaying waterfront with zero alternative solutions. Doesn't it make sense to give a little and get a lot back in terms of public city front beautification that all will enjoy for years to come? It's going to be great for SF.

* From Oily Liniger:
Bravo Scott got it!

A TV can insult your intelligence, but nothing rubs it in like a computer.

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