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SCUTTLEBUTT 3281 - Thursday, February 17, 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 Summit Yachts.

By Tim Ketten, SpinSheet
My wife, Connie, and daughters, Josie and Meredith, and I are building an 18-foot sport sailboat in our house and garage. This has been a long-time dream of mine, and the time was right. I’ve researched constantly for many years, looking at boats, plans, and websites and even toying with a self-guided small boat design course.

We finally opted for an i550 (hull number 296). This high-performance boat is affordable to construct, the stitch-and-glue assembly makes for a relatively fast completion, and it has a cool club of followers attached, too!

Early on, Connie knew that sailing was more than just a hobby for me. One of our first dates was onboard our newly re-built 29-foot Westerly; and for the past 13 years, we have dated, cruised together, raced, and taken family cruises on the Chesapeake. Good thing Connie likes to sail. Since she had plenty of warning, she had no trouble agreeing to this project. She doesn’t mind sharing the house, as long as the kids have space to do their homework and practice their music and dance.

Connie’s friends are horrified and surprised, asking how she ever agreed to this. My friends at work and the Hampton YC (Hampton, VA) say, “How cool is that?” and then ask how Connie ever agreed to this. Our daughters are thrilled to be involved. They have worked with me in the living room before with sail repairs and other projects for our Westerly.

The sportboat’s name is Mist. Last spring, our oldest daughter participated in a boat-building contest through school. Her team’s boat (called Mist) took first place and broke the state record for the number of juice cans it could hold and still stay afloat! We’re hoping our i550 stays afloat, as well.

I bought the plans and templates and cut the parts for assembly. In the middle of Christmas celebrations, we glued the hull panels together in the living room beside our Christmas tree. We celebrated the New Year 2011 by assembling Mist’s hull sides and bottom. -- Read on (go to Page 24):

QUICK: This time lapse video captures West System Technical Advisors and company founders Meade & Jan Gougeon building an i550 sport boat in only 3:08 minutes:

Double Olympic sailing champion Sarah Ayton, who was born in Ashford (UK), has announced that she is retiring from competitive sailing, ending her dreams of winning a historic third title at the London 2012 Games. The 30-year-old was part of Britain's famed 'three blondes in a boat' Yngling champions at the 2004 and 2008 Games.

Ayton said she was finding it difficult to strike a balance between being a mother to her 19-month-old son Thomas and the demands of being an elite sailor. She said: "To succeed at the highest level as an Olympic athlete you ultimately have to be pretty single-minded, and that's something that just doesn't sit happily when you're a mum as well.

"Winning gold is what Olympic sailing is all about, so working towards 2012 and feeling like I can't give it my full attention has made me question why I am doing it, especially when it involves missing out on important time with Thomas."

The juggling act of being a working sporting mother had left her drained and unhappy. Ayton, who is married to Olympic bronze medal-winning windsurfer Nick Dempsey, had been aiming to become the first British woman to win three consecutive Olympic golds. -- Read on:

COMMENT ONE: Sarah is currently ranked 9th in the World, but there are two other British teams ahead of her. For a moment we thought about hosting a poll on whether it is different for a mom than a dad, given that both parents were training for the Olympics. Then we decided not to go there. But we did find this video, which presents remarkable insight into their lives:

COMMENT TWO: Changes have also occurred for the top ranked American Women’s 470 team. Sarah Chin, who along with Amanda Clark represented the US at the 2008 Olympics, is moving on from Olympic campaigning. The team, currently ranked 12th in the world, will continue with their campaign, but it is not known who will now crew for Clark. Team website:

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By Jesse Falsone
Often times a new regatta comes about as the product of one man’s vision. Making the vision into reality is usually that which requires the most effort, starting with convincing his significant other that it’s a good idea. Presumably, Steve “Benj” Benjamin didn’t have too much trouble talking his wife, Heidi, into the notion that an InterClub regatta hosted from their beautiful home in Minnesott Beach, North Carolina had merit. After all, the Benjamin’s won three InterClub national championship titles together, and Heidi comes from a rich sailing heritage and competitive background herself.

Gazing upon their expansive new dream home, it’s hard to imagine that events like the inaugural InterClub Atlantic Coast Championship was not rooted in their initial planning. The accommodations for visitors is plush and plentiful, the views of the racing area spectacular, and the waters perfect for nearly any inland racing boat. It comes as a bit of a surprise that Benjamin claims that the regatta this past weekend is the first organized sailboat race ever to be held off Minnesott Beach. Strike one in the record books for the “Benj Yacht Club”.

Perfect regatta destinations usually come with a catch, and the catch here is that Minnessott Beach is 350 miles from the nearest IC frostbite fleet in Annapolis, and over 500 miles from others in New York. Realistically, these distances are a bit stretched for a weekend regatta, but the Benjamin’s saw to it that the participants were well attended to.

In return for the entry fee (a 12-pack of beer), we were treated to as much racing as we could reasonably handle on Saturday in 10-18 knots of wind, followed by copious good cheer and nourishment. The Benjamin’s had professional race management on staff, comprised of some fine young gentlemen that until last weekend had never witnessed a sailboat race in person. I do believe that their race committee boat was well-provisioned for the task at hand, and they did an admirable job keeping us moving on the water.

While competition clearly drives Benj, it was obvious to me that his vision of this regatta has less to do with determining a winner and more to do with bringing friends together to share in the brotherhood of frostbite sailing.... read on:

(February 16, 2011; Day 11) - When you’re alone on a 60ft yacht in the depths of the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles from land or help, the last thing you want is to lose to control of your boat. But that was the situation facing Canadian Derek Hatfield last night when he awoke to find his Eco 60 Active House screaming along at a dangerously quick 21 knots, struggling to cope with a Southern Ocean squall.

Competing in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the 58-year-old solo sailing veteran had been enjoying a rare moment of rest when he was woken from his sleep by the sound of Active House’s keel humming, a sign that she was travelling incredibly fast through the water. He scrambled on deck to find the wind had whipped up to 35 knots and Active House had accelerated from a comfortable 13 knots to 21.

“I was asleep when a squall came through and I woke to the sound of the keel humming,” Derek explained. “I put some foulies on quickly and went on deck to find Active House doing 21 knots. It was unbelievable, she was totally out of control. When you’re asleep and you wake up to that it’s a bit of a shock. It was the middle of the night, pitch black and quite disconcerting.

“I had to slow the boat down she was going so fast. It sounds funny that I would be trying to slow the boat down in a yacht race but it’s all about getting that balance between speed and safety.”

The incident took place near to Point Nemo, the most remote place on the planet, around 2,000 miles from land in every direction. “Going too quickly can get very dangerous very quickly and we are not in a place where you can afford for anything to go wrong,” Derek added. -- Read on:

UPDATE: Hatfield is currently in third place, trailing VELUX 5 OCEANS race leader Brad Van Liew (USA) by 188nm, but only 12nm behind second place Zbigniew Gutkowski (POL). Van Liew leads the fleet toward Cape Horn on their way to the leg 3 finish in Punta del Este, Uruguay. --

(February 16, 2011; Day 19) - Despite Sodebo being on the same track in the Indian Ocean as solo round the world record holder IDEC, the deficit continues to grow. “We knew we'd probably late on this stretch there,” noted skipper Thomas Coville (FRA). “A day would have been ideal; there is almost two but it could have been much worse with how the St. Helena High was spread in the South Atlantic. For the rest, we know we can win on the rise up the Atlantic over IDEC. Our goal is to round Cape Horn with maximum 1000 miles behind ... not easy.”

Current position as of February 16, 2011 (23:00 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: -1297.2 nm
Speed over past 24 hours: 19.9 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 478.8 nm
Distance remaining: 16,507 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.

Always the optimist, we know that spring will soon be here, and with that come thoughts of summer sailing. Summit Yachts has several of our Summit 35’s available for spring delivery, giving the new owner and crew time to ramp up for the summer racing season. With some of the great regattas on tap for this sailing season, wouldn’t you like to have one of the most successful racer/cruiser models on the start line this year? Check out the full line of Summit Yachts at

(February 16, 2011: Day 48) - Virbac-Paprec 3, long-term leaders in the Barcelona World Race, are currently in dock in Wellington (NZL) after Tuesday evening’s surprise announcement that they would be stopping during the Cook Strait passage of the race to make key repairs.

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac-Paprec 3: “What has happened is that my mainsail track has some ‘receptacles’ [cars] which are linked to the battens, and these receptacles that move on the mast are not very reliable pieces unfortunately. We discovered this - we thought they were strong enough but in fact they are not, and we broke two of them this morning, and we’d previously broken one.

“We had two spares, and we just needed two more which meant we would have had to finish the whole half of the world tour without any spares on board. With such a weak piece that was too dangerous, because it’s dangerous to sail without these cars. So I decided to stop and get some new ones, this is the reason I decided with Loick (Peyron) to stop as it’s not acceptable to sail without any spare.

Jean-Pierre and Loick are required to stop for a minimum of 48 hours, which will allow them sufficient time to deal with other minor damages and get some rest before they depart for Cape Horn and the final leg up the Atlantic to the finish in Barcelona, Spain.

Race Tracker:

Standings (top 5 of 14 as of 20.01.07)
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA), 11,533 nm DTF
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP), 438.3nm DTL
3. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, Alex Pella/Pepe Ribes (ESP/ESP), 671.2nm DTL
4. Groupe Bel, Kito De Pavant/Sebastien Audigane (FRA/FRA), 720.8nm DTL
5. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 1098.6nm 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 16, 2011) - The receipt of an eighth entry for the 34th America's Cup in 2013 was confirmed today. This seventh challenger for the America's Cup joins ranks with Aleph (France), Artemis Racing (Sweden), Energy Team (France), Mascalzone Latino (Italy), Team Australia, and one undisclosed team. The United States' ORACLE Racing, vying to Defend the Cup, is the eighth entrant. The entry period for the 34th America's Cup runs November 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011. --

* US SAILING has officially appointed Jack Gierhart as its eighth Executive Director in the history of the organization. Gierhart has served as the organization’s acting Executive Director since October of 2010 following the retirement of Charlie Leighton. He had served as the Associate Executive Director since November of 2009. -- Full report:

* The Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore has negotiated a new lease that will enable it to operate near Baltimore's Inner Harbor for another 25 years. The new lease allows the nonprofit sailing center to use the "riparian rights and submerged lands" off 1407 Key Highway, adjacent to the city's Fire Maintenance shop, through April 2036 for $1 a year. The site is next to the sailing center's larger marina location and has been used by the sailing center since 2000. -- Full story:

* The 184 entries preparing to set sail for Cuba in the Sarasota (FL)-to-Havana Regatta this May will have to wait another year. As of February 15, 2011, the Sarasota Yacht Club Charitable Foundation (SYCCF) had not received government permission to host the race. The SYC had established the mid-February deadline, and will pursue the race now for 2012. --

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Is your event listed on the Scuttlebutt Event Calendar? This free, self-serve tool is the easiest way to communicate to both sailors and sailing media. These are some of the events listed on the calendar for this weekend:
Feb 17-20 - Laser Masters MidWinters - Tampa, FL, USA
Feb 18-20 - St. Petersburg Sperry Top-Sider NOOD - St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Feb 19-20 - Elliott 6m Open Match Race - Miami, FL, USA
Feb 19-20 - Southern California Mid-Winters - SoCal, CA, USA
View all the events at

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:

* IYRS Event Gives Career Seekers Valuable Edge
* Inmarsat is Global Satellite Communications Partner for VOR 2011-12
* Win a Free Book from International Marine
* Noble Crew Awards
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 exiles (Forum):
I am planning a trip from Sweden-Norway-Scotland-Iceland-Greenland through the Northwest Passage this summer. If any of you have experience with high latitude sailing, sailing in ice, required equipment, etc., I would like to hear back from you. Post feedback here:

* From Paul Larsen, SailRocket team
The Outright speed sailing record has been raised by 9 knots, almost 20% since we launched our first boat. The kitesurfers recently knocked all the previous contenders out of the ring with the promise of more to come. Real physical barriers now have to be confronted. It's going to take something special to take it from here.

Well, something special is about to be shown publicly (on March 8th) for the first time. It's time to share the project with one and all. If this boat lives up to its potential, it will be remembered as a game changer. We have a long and daunting road ahead of us to see that it does. We don't expect it to be easy. Additional details here:

* From Doran Cushing:
The doomsday sayers who believe the America's Cup will be destroyed by racing in multihulls might take a step back and breathe deeply. So what if this latest manifestation of a constantly changing sporting event doesn't blow the wheels off the general public? It can't be fatal as the Cup has never had a significant audience in its history. So why not just get behind the program, learn something new (like how to go really fast on a sailboat), and just can the criticism? Divided we fail...remember that as you preach "the old way" in your sport.

A few years ago when I was racing my F-27 trimaran "tri Southwinds" at the St. Pete NOOD, I was berated at the yacht club by the old guard who were borrowing the club Sonars to race the event. No, they didn't own a boat. No, they didn't sail much. And no, they didn't really want to go fast, which is why they raced Sonars. But one of the boatless crusties said to me, "Why don't you get a REAL boat?" This was after our Corsair fleet, on the same circle with the Sonars, had scared the bejesus out of the fleet at mark roundings and everywhere else on the course. We're doing 15 knots at the leeward marks and they're doing 4 knots.

So let's not pretend the seasoned ‘traditional’ sailors of the world really have any basis for bitching about the Cup and its format. The time and the place for radical, high performance sailboats is NOW.

* From Brent Boyd:
In Scuttlebutt 3280, Chris Gill certainly cut through all the crap negative comments about money, venue, boats, ad nauseum concerning an awesome sporting event. Even my non-sailing friends stayed up half the night to watch the races and called me all night asking questions until I told them to just come over and watch with me.

Even though I will never forget the lead mines slamming off of Perth, this America’s Cup is going to rock and surpass all others. I am renting an apartment in SF and inviting my friends to come up and see the spectacle. PS - If they schedule even a couple races that go out to the Golden Gate, it will be rebroadcast over and over worldwide just like a Monaco Gran Prix.

* From Matt Bounds, US SAILING RRO and Judge:
The vast majority of general recalls are the PRO’s fault, not the competitors’. The line is too short, it’s improperly skewed (as Bill Gladstone pointed out in Scuttlebutt 3280) and/or spotting procedures aren’t matched to the fleet’s aggressiveness. Good race officers know that observing the competitors’ positions during the start sequence will quickly identify problems with the starting line.

A short postponement for a reset is preferential to a general recall and wastes far less time. If the fleet is evenly spread out along the line (which defines a “square line” no matter what the wind/current is doing) and they are still over in sufficient numbers to overwhelm the spotters, then it’s time to advance to RRS 30. I will always start with Papa as the prep signal, unless the class culture expects otherwise.

You can spend years trying to get better at sailing, or you can just brand yourself brilliant by wearing a Scuttlebutt University shirt or hoodie. And it has never been cheaper. An inventory reduction sale is on now, and when the gear is gone... it’s gone. Here is the link for the Scuttlebutt Store:

As you get older, the things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do. But you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore.

New England Ropes - IYRS - North Sails - West Marine - Lewmar
Doyle Sails - Team One Newport - US SAILING
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