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SCUTTLEBUTT 3276 - Thursday, February 10, 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: Ullman Sails and APS.

Have you ever thought about the how and why the sport of sailing has several starting system options? Recent commentary in Scuttlebutt has been poking around this issue of starting fairly, but perhaps the underlying problem is in how the start is organized.

While the Racing Rules of Sailing describe one system for starting a race, there are multiple Starting Penalty options for the Principle Race Officer (PRO) to utilize, and as a result, little consistency for the competitors.

For premature starters, a PRO can:
- Call each boat individually to restart
- Call each boat individually, have them round a start pin to restart
- Call each boat individually to restart, but also give them a 20% penalty
- Call each boat individually for disqualification
- Call the entire fleet to restart

Actually, the rules for Recalls (RRS 29) and Starting Penalties (RRS 30) are more complicated, but you get the point.

Here are the only starting rules for two other Olympic sports:
- A swimmer is disqualified after their first false start.
- A runner is permitted one false start but is disqualified after second.

While starting a sailing race for a competitor is more complex than for track or swimming sports, do the rules need to be more complex too?

The current Racing Rules of Sailing provide each PRO with many options to determine what Starting Penalties they feel are needed. But is this how a start should be managed, or is it better for there to be a single system of starting and penalties that are known in advance by the competitors and PRO?

What do you think? Is the current system best, or should we consider a single system?

Vote and post comments here:

By Chris Museler, NY Times
The world’s top Olympic sailors were in South Florida reading wind and waves aboard two-person dinghies, keelboats and windsurfers at the recent Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. The sailing lineup has not really altered much in the last 20 years.

But that is about to change, and this regatta provided a sneak peek into the sport’s future. While Olympic medalists were being towed to their courses, kiteboarders skimmed along at twice their speed attached to inflatable kites at the end of 80 feet of razor-thin lines.

A new Olympic slate of classes for 2016, proposed last fall by the International Sailing Federation, or ISAF, has turned the traditional sailing fleet on its head in the hope of attracting young viewers and higher television ratings and created a sort of X Games for sailing. If men’s and women’s kiteboarding is selected, it would replace windsurfing.

“The Olympics want to promote the most advanced levels of sailing,” said Mike Gebhardt, a two-time Olympic medalist in windsurfing who raced his kiteboard in Miami. “This is high speed, visibly athletic, there are crashes, and you can tell who’s winning. That’s what sells.”

To boost support, the International Kiteboarding Association has been showcasing the fledgling discipline of kiteboard course racing at Olympic class regattas starting with a demonstration at ISAF’s first sailing World Cup event last December in Melbourne, Australia, and in Miami.

The venerable Star keelboat, in which the sport’s famous America’s Cup and Olympic medalists currently compete, including Brazil’s triple gold medalist and world yachtsman of the year, Torben Grael, is marked for elimination. “The Star’s best asset is the sailors,” the two-time Star gold medalist Mark Reynolds said. “It represents the best of the sport with medalists from other classes racing.”

Two coed events being proposed would also shift the gender split for Olympic sailing from nine men and seven women per national team to seven men and nine women.

“ISAF is on the right track to elevate the sport to a high standard,” said Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing and an ESPN and NBC sailing commentator. “Young people want action and excitement, like the X Games and slopestyle skiing.” Jobson filmed the Miami event and said in a phone interview that it was time for an image change away from the coat and tie yachtsman.

Mandates by the International Olympic Committee have all Olympic sports re-evaluating the marketability of their events.

“The I.O.C. has moved from using a quantitative list to select events to an overall value-added selection process,” Christophe Dubi, sports director for the I.O.C. since 2008, said recently in a phone interview. “The criteria could be provenance or universality. It’s an issue of maximizing the platform we offer at the Olympics.” -- Read on:

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It’s not that long ago when American Andrew Campbell was best known for being the Collegiate Sailor of the Year (2006). But he is now known as an Olympic athlete, currently on his third campaign. After struggling as the U.S. rep in the Laser for the 2008 Games, he has successfully made the transition to the Star, and is currently ranked 6th in the world.

In terms of expenses, it is a huge jump, and with the Star on the brink of elimination from the Olympics, the valuation of Star equipment could take a tumble. Such is the life of the Olympic campaigner. Here Andrew shares some of his reality:

“I had a question posted last week during the OCR asking about whether we were continuing to charter and borrow boats like we had been the last two years or whether I’d settled on a boat. The Beg Borrow and All-but-Steal Era is for the most part over.

“Without the help of a number of very generous members of the Star class, I wouldn’t have had the introduction that I did. Timely offers from sailors in various fleets coinciding with convenient delivery schemes and other acts of indenture enabled me to race a number of different types of boats in varying locations throughout the world. Charters were not uncommon in this process, but the costs involved were far less than investing in a boat at the time, and also gave me insight into the choice I would make when purchasing a boat for the final effort into these Olympic Trials.

“Through a not-so-minor effort of borrowing and fundraising this summer I was able to buy a new boat from a builder in Michigan called PStar. Their website is actually a great resource to check out how the boats were designed and how they are built now. I think my boat was the 12th off their mold and about 5th from the Michigan facility. My brother and I drove out and picked the boat up in August and I spent much of the fall in Oxford, MD rigging and prepping the boat for the winter season in Miami.” -- Read on:

Some boating gear and sailboat equipment you use almost daily, and other equipment you hope never to use. But if an emergency strikes, you'll need to have the right gear and to know what to do. Tom Lochhaas ( Guide) prepared his Top 10 countdown of disasters you should be prepared for, just in case. Is this your list too?

10. Your Anchor Won't Come Up
9. You Drop Your iPhone Overboard
8. Your Prop Catches a Line and Your Engine Stalls
7. You Start Feeling Seasick
6. A Hurricane Is Coming Your Way
5. The Boat Is Buffeted by a Terrible Storm
4. Someone on Board Falls Overboard
3. You Fall Overboard
2. The Boat Is Sinking
1. You Have to Abandon Ship

Details on each list item here:

(February 9, 2011; Day 12) - The Carnival of Brazil isn’t until March, but at his current pace Thomas Coville may still be near the country to participate in the annual revelry. Coville remains along the South American coastline, seeking a suitable weather window through which to head east across the South Atlantic toward the Cape of Good Hope to continue his pursuit of the solo round the world record attempt.

Current position as of February 9, 2011 (23:15 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: -577.4 nm
Speed over past 24 hours: 12.4 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 297.9 nm
Distance remaining: 19,717 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 9, 2011: Day 41) - Losing miles consistently to the Spanish duo ahead of them Estrella Damm and MAPFRE, it is now learned that Groupe Bel has been sailing without two of their workhorse sails since January 11th.

Co-skipper Kito de Pavant revealed that Groupe Bel damaged two sails before the Cape Verde islands while in strong NE'ly trade winds. The boat is reported to have luffed violently damaging the big gennaker which was rendered unusable. They continued under heavy spinnaker which they damaged the next day.

Kito says they no longer have the ideal sails for 15-25 knots and are considering a stop in New Zealand for repairs. By the rules, any stop after leaving the Indian Ocean must be of a mandatory minimum of 48 hours.

Race Tracker:

Standings (top 5 of 14 as of 20.01.08)
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA), 13,655 nm DTF
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP), 505.8nm DTL
3. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, Alex Pella/Pepe Ribes (ESP/ESP), 519.6nm DTL
4. Groupe Bel, Kito De Pavant/Sebastien Audigane (FRA/FRA), 726.6nm DTL
5. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 1054.4nm 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:

February already? This one goes out to those who let time get away from them. Ensure one crucial part of your system won’t fail: new rigging is lighter, has less friction, and makes everything run smoothly. Keeping the sails up is what it’s all about, right? APS, “The World Leaders in Outfitting Performance Sailors” offers you our Annual February Rigging Sale - the last rigging deal of the year. Save 15% off rigging services, 10% off one design packages, and 10% off cordage and wire. Get in on this deal before it’s too late! We’re nearing Last Call.

By Brad Read, Sail Newport Executive Director
On January 12th, 2011, during one of Rhode Island’s worst blizzards in a decade, the Edgewood Yacht Club, in Cranston Rhode Island, burned down to the water, taking with it all of the Optimist sails, blades, spars, airbags and lines with it.

Edgewood Yacht Club has a not-for-profit sailing organization that runs its youth sailing program and they need our help. To get the Edgewood sailing school back on the water, Sail Newport is donating 14 Club Opti sails to the effort to get the Edgewood Sailing School.

To finish rebuilding their fleet, they still need the following gear:
42 Airbags
14 Mainsheets
14 Masts
14 Sprits
14 Booms
14 Daggerboards
14 Rudder/tiller/extensions
14 Praddles

All of the above items will be donated to the Edgewood Sailing Foundation and are tax deductible within IRS Guidelines. ESF will send all donation correspondence.

Items will be collected at the Sail Newport Sailing Center through June 10, 2010 or can be mailed directly to:

Edgewood Youth Sailing Relief Effort
c/o Sail Newport
60 Fort Adams Dr.
Newport, RI 02840

On behalf of all of us in the Rhode Island sailing community, thank you for any help you can be to accomplish the goal of getting the children of Cranston, Edgewood and greater Providence back on the water.

* (February 9, 2011; Day 4) - A low out of the tropics has given the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet a strong bubble of up to 30 knot winds, offering a north/north westerly wind direction for good reaching conditions toward Cape Horn. Brad Van Liew (USA) now leads second place Derek Hatfield (CAN) by 58 nm. --

* Energy Team, the new French challenge set up around Bruno and Loick Peyron, has been officially registered for the 34th America’s Cup since 27th January 2011. It is the sixth Challenger (and second French team) aiming to grab the silver ewer. The Energy Team will be backed by the Yacht Club de France. -- Full report:

* The latest ISAF World Sailing Rankings were released February 9, 2011, taking into account scores from the Rolex Miami OCR event in January. Top North American sailors are from the U.S., with Zach Railey in the Finn (3rd) and Mark Mendelblatt in the Star (4th). The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be on 23 March 2011 and will include the 49er North American Championship in Mexico, RS:X North American Championship also in Mexico and the RS:X South American Windsurfing in Argentina. --

Why do certain events get more publicity than others?
How can your event get more publicity?
Take the first step and list your event online.
Post your event on the most widely used sailing event database.
Post your event here:

The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum provides an opportunity for companies to announce new products and services. Here are some of recent postings:
* Phone app for Miami Boat Show
* Learn about Anchoring
* Randy West's The Hurricane Book

View and/or post Industry News updates here:

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 Doran Cushing, Sarasota, FL: (re, "middle of the fleet awards")
First off I agree totally with any program that recognized the majority of sailors who do NOT win a regatta, or even finish in the top 10 percent. In most cases those regattas would not happen were in not for the "middle fleet" and lower finishing sailors...the numbers would not justify a great race among four or six boats.

But from another perspective, I would like to blow my own horn about how "Southwinds" magazine published results during its first nine years of monthly rags. With rare exception, I would print every finisher, every boat, and with as much credit to crew as possible, regardless of winning or not. In that era before e-mail and the web became dominant media, I personally would hand type the results received in print form. I say this not for self interest but that it was then, and is now, possible for sailing media to do justice to everyone who shows up to race at any level of competition. Unfortunately, the demise of most print media, and clearly in the sailing print media, has drastically diminished that concept.

There is still no replacement for seeing your name in print, albeit in a losing cause, versus having it maybe seen somewhere in cyberspace or not "recognized" at all. Nice guys can finish last...and that's a good thing.

=> Curmudgeon’s Comment: Doran founded Southwinds magazine for the southern U.S. in 1993.

* From Ed Vincent:
Most Australian clubs and classes present awards for class winners and also “handicap” winners. The handicap system is generally designed to reward competitors that, while not at the very pointy end of the field, nevertheless show consistent performance and especially reward steady improvement over the season or series.

While not quite having the stature of the outright award recipient, this system is a great way to recognise the efforts of lesser mortals, who sail for the enjoyment, who turn up every week and support the club’s events (it also rewards participation) rather than the trophy hunters, who sometimes are less than great club members.

* From Jim Mahaffy: (re, cleanup project in Scuttlebutt 3275)
I don’t know if they do it anymore, but a few years back the umpires at Long Beach (CA) events like the Ficker Cup and the Butler Cup had long handle nets to peck to trash in the harbor. There is a lot of it.

* From David Shulman:
Unfortunately, many municipalities are either disconnecting storm sewers from sewage plants, or are installing storm sewers that drain directly to the nearest open water. In Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the surface is disgusting on the downwind end of the harbor, and only G-d knows what is discharged but not afloat.

In the NYC - western Long Island Sound area, the flotsam has steadily increased despite the last few years’ reduction in boating numbers.

I urge all to be involved in their own communities to prevent the degradation of storm sewers or installation of direct discharge drainage systems. This is an uphill fight, because of the waterfront space required, but the payoff for ALL who use the water is tremendous.

With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

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North U - Interlux - Harken - Point Loma Outfitting
J Boats - Ullman Sails - APS - Quantum Sails

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