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SCUTTLEBUTT 3282 - Friday, February 18, 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: North U and West Marine.

By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor
As entries get submitted for the America’s Cup, the cynic in me slots them into three categories:

- Those that can legitimately compete to win.
- Those that are leveraging the event for a payday.
- Those that are leveraging the event for a cause.

The way I see it, for the America’s Cup to be a watchable event, it needs to be a legitimate competition. Viewing fast boats is not enough to sustain interest. It’s not knowing who will win that makes a race worth watching. So I am eager to see teams entering into the first category.

The Argo Challenge is actively fundraising in hopes of entering the America’s Cup by the March 31st deadline. The premise of the team is to demonstrate that a crew of sailors and athletes with physical disabilities can compete in the event. So according to my categories, this puts them in the third one. Is this what the America’s Cup needs? Absolutely, according to Lynn Fitzpatrick, Chief of Communications & Marketing for the team:

“There is no question that the Argo Challenge and the America’s Cup should have a synergistic relationship. Antonio Spinelli and others conceived Argo, because they believed that the America’s Cup is the most visible sporting event in the world in which to demonstrate that people of varying abilities are exceptional athletes. They can play a game of chess on the water as well as those who have been identified as the “best sailors” to sail “the fastest boats”.

“Lars Grael goes toe to toe with the best helmsmen and skippers on all types of boats, and there isn’t a single person who has sailed against him who would ever count him out in a regatta regardless of the type of boat - Tornado, Star, 6 Meter or IRC. Lars thought long and hard before agreeing to join the Argo Challenge and did so on one condition: To quote Lars, “The team cannot be looked upon as bears in a circus. We must enter the America’s Cup to win it.”

“Statistics vary, but one in six Americans is disabled. That’s a much larger population (approximately 54 million) than the US sailing community. There are countless networks, organizations and companies that serve the disabled community. The Argo Challenge represents a tremendous opportunity for the America’s Cup and sailing to be leaders in the international sports community and touch a large portion of this under represented global population.

“Numerous accomplished able-bodied and disabled athletes and sailors have expressed interest in joining our team. Our rule is that you have to be able to do your job as well as an able-bodied athlete to be considered. Recognizing how powerful these boats are we fully expect to be a mixed team of able-bodied and disabled athletes and sailors, especially during the early development and training stages.” -- Read on:

The headline is a quote from Mark Twain, and could be attributed to the Farr 40 class. One of the rumors at Key West Race Week 2011 was the Farr 40 class, which has had tremendous appeal since its launch in 1997, may be nearing the end of its dominance as a world level class.

Numbers at the class’ recent world championship have certainly been in a freefall. After 33 boats in Miami (‘08) and 25 in Sardinia (’09), numbers dramatically fell in the Dominican Republic where only 10 boats attended the 2010 Worlds. But numbers are up to 20 boats for the 2011 Worlds in Sydney, Australia (February 23-26), and there is optimism at the top. Here is an update from Class President Jim Richardson:

“Geoff Stagg (class administrator) and I have done a considerable amount of traveling over the past several months with trips to Los Angeles, Chicago, Annapolis, Istanbul and Sydney and we are pleased with how dedicated our owners are to the boats and the Class. Fleets in Annapolis and California continue to grow.

“The Canada's Cup scheduled for later this year is spurring revived interest in the Great Lakes as is the impending announcement of Chicago as the site of 2012 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds. Doug DeVos recently purchased Infinity and renamed it Heritage, to participate in the Canada's Cup and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Class. Interest in brokerage boats is increasing and the inventory of available boats is running low. We are hopeful that a three boat run of new boats will be commenced in the near future.

“In Sydney, we will convene our Annual General Meeting. On the agenda is a vote to add a Corinthian Class of Membership for owners who sail in the local fleets and do not travel to major events. We are pleased with the support this proposal has received. We are confident that class membership will significantly increase and that together we can promote and market the Class in ways which will not only sustain us but to grow our numbers.” -- Full report:

In the next three weeks the North U Tactics Seminar Tour will go coast to coast and from Canada to Texas teaching your rivals how to beat you with better positioning, better risk assessment, and a boatload of boat-on-boat tricks. Fight back. Find out when the tour is coming to your town and sign up. Top instructors, multi-media curriculum, a take-home Seminar-on-CD, US Sailing member discounts plus a free Tactics Tour Long Sleeve T to the first 20 registrations at each location. Learn more:

Holland, MI( February 17, 2011) - The Macatawa Bay Yacht Club (MBYC) today announced it will host, for the first time ever, the prestigious Canada’s Cup match race September 1-4, 2011. The world-class sailing event will draw top sailors from around the globe to West Michigan to compete in the US Defender Trials August 26-29 for an opportunity to defend the Cup. Team Heritage, led by Amway President and sailing enthusiast Doug DeVos and defending Cup champion and helmsman Bob Hughes, will represent MBYC as the Cup’s defender of record.

The 115-year-old Canada’s Cup is the most preeminent sailing trophy in the United States today. This year’s Cup match represents only the second time racing on Lake Michigan waters, and will be the first to take place on Michigan’s west coast. Hughes and then challenger MBYC won the 2007 Cup in Toronto against Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) defender Alek Krstajic, after narrow margin losses in 2003 and 2001 to the defending RYCC and Olympian Terry McLaughlin.

In October 2010, MBYC and RCYC collaborated to promote additional competition for the Canada's Cup by authorizing a Cup match for challenger Port Credit Yacht Club to be defended by the Chicago Match Race Center. Chicago’s Convexity team successfully defended the Cup, but under the terms of the agreement, MBYC resumes its position as defender of record and holder of the Cup in 2011. -- Read on:

By Rob Grant, Latitude 38
Although we haven't been able to confirm it as of this writing, we have very good reason to believe that Alain Thebault's 65-ft record-breaking foiling trimaran L’Hydroptere will be lining up with the already impressive fleet in this year's TransPac sometime around July 4.

Until American Rob Douglas took back the record for the kiters last year, the foiling trimaran held the outright sailing speed record over a 500-meter course at 51.36 knots. While the conditions on a TransPac course might not be ideal enough to replicate those kinds of speeds, L’Hydroptere nonetheless represents a significant threat to one of the softer records in West Coast sailing: the 5d, 9h, 18m, 26s mark for multihulls set in the '97 race by Bruno Peyron's Explorer.

We've been wondering when the attention that an America's Cup on the Bay brings to the region would translate into attracting noteworthy international racing programs outside the Cup. If the rumor mill has it correct, that might just be now! Normally we try to confirm these things before blasting them out there, but this tidbit got us so excited that we couldn't restrain ourselves. -- Read on:

(February 17, 2011; Day 20) - In the Indian Ocean along the longitude of Madagascar, the approach of Prince Edward Island and on the road of the Crozet Islands, the weather is now cold for Thomas Coville (FRA) on Sodebo. “The south wind here is not a warm wind and happy like us. This is still very wet behind the front with which I had been sailing for six days, we know each other well.” With 4200 miles to Cape Horn, Coville’s ride through the Indian Ocean is just beginning.

Current position as of February 17, 2011 (23:15 UTC):
Ahead/behind record: -1351.3 nm
Speed over past 24 hours: 21.3 knots
Distance over past 24 hours: 510.2 nm
Distance remaining: 15,993 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 17, 2011: Day 49) - Barcelona Race Leader Virbac-Paprec 3 will be beginning their second day on land in New Zealand, with the team scheduled to leave at 1111hrs (CET) - or 2311hrs local time in New Zealand following their 48 hour penalty stop in Wellington to carry out repairs.

Virbac-Paprec 3 is the only boat yet to arrive at the Cook Strait, but a stop for the remaining ten teams is being closely considered by some. As Iker Martinez (ESP) on MAPFRE explained this morning: “We would rather be third or fourth without stopping, than second with stopping. But we have not yet made a decision. It is difficult because logic tells us that we should stop for safety and performance, but we would prefer not to.

“At this point all the boats are damaged, that’s no secret, but we'll see what we do. Tomorrow we will decide. It depends on several aspects, the most important one being to think about what will get us to the finish faster? Right now, it seems that we’re more likely to arrive in Barcelona earlier if we stop.”

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), 266.2nm DTL
3. Groupe Bel, Kito De Pavant/Sebastien Audigane (FRA/FRA), 450.4nm DTL
4. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, Alex Pella/Pepe Ribes (ESP/ESP), 472.2nm DTL
5. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 768.6nm 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:

The Miami Boat Show is this week and we're excited! To help celebrate, we've put together some specials that can save you up to 40% off through 2/27. Okay, so maybe you don't happen to live within driving distance of the Miami Boat Show. That's no reason we can't celebrate the fact that it's FREAKY FEBRUARY! Yeah, that doesn't really work. How about WE'RE ONE MORE MONTH CLOSER TO SNOW MELTING AND GETTING BACK ON THE WATER! Whoohoo! Okay… fine. Better, but still lame? Check out these specials - they're MUCH better than my taglines.

* The Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL recently hosted the J/24 class U.S. Trials for the Pan American Games (Feb. 10-11) and the J/24 Midwinter Championship (Feb. 13-16). In the Trials, Team 11th Hour Skipper John Mollicone prevailed with crew Geoff Becker, Tim Healy, and Dan Rabin. Ten boats competed over a wide range of conditions for the right to represent the U.S. at the 2011 Pan American Games in October. Twenty-seven boats participated in the Midwinters, where Team Tarheel skipper Peter Bream edged out Mollicone for the title. The final two days of the four day Midwinter event were cancelled due to no wind. -- Full report/results:

* St. Mary’s College of Maryland is reviewing the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race with an interest in making the event more broadly appealing and more financially viable. A task force has been meeting and would like to gauge opinion on a number of proposed changes such as introducing a cruising class to attract a broader array of sailors, enhancing the on-shore event, replacing the formal dinner with a variety of vendors, and offering on-campus housing to alumni. The Governor’s Cup website has a full description of the proposed changes and a link to provide feedback:

* (February 17, 2011) - The 70th annual Miami International Boat Show opened this morning on a high note, with expectations that the industry will see improvements in 2011 and that the dark days are behind it. At an Industry breakfast prior to the start of the show, the president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association Thom Dammrich believed that a fairly strong resurgence within the industry is anticipated for 2011. -- Soundings, full report:

* (February 17, 2011; Day 12) - VELUX 5 OCEANS race leader Brad Van Liew (USA) continues to grow his lead, increasing his margin over second place Zbigniew Gutkowski (POL) to 208 nm with 2585 nm remaining to the leg 3 finish in Punta del Este, Uruguay. --

This Monday is one of the 11 federal holidays recognized in the United States. Initially established and named in honor of the country’s first president, George Washington, at some point president Abraham Lincoln joined the party, and it went from Washington’s Day to President’s Day. Anyway, Scuttlebutt World Headquarters will be closed... look for the next edition of Scuttlebutt on Tuesday.

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt include slow boat to China town, Caribbean tour, two guys in a boat, Bayliner-free harbor, approaching squall, the magnificent 55 metre A Class racing schooner “Elena”, and big rigs. Here are this week’s photos:

MORE: It was in the movie ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ in 2006 when Texas Ranger exclaimed to his grandfather, “Chip, I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew!” The same can be said for the 29erXX, which is a 29er that’s been jacked up with a little more performance. Photographer Fried Elliott caught up with the double X crowd during their Miami 29erXX Superbowl regatta. Photos:

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:

Unbelievable to think that the spring thaw is not far off, and yet we have not profiled any hard water sailing for the Video of the Week. This week we change that with a nicely produced video on Wequaquet Lake in Cape Cod, Mass.

Edited to the song Blurry by Puddle of Mudd, the footage follows a group of iceboarders enjoying incredible ice sailing conditions. If you are not familiar with iceboards, picture a windsurf rig attached to a large snowboard with ice runners. This is stand-up sailing, and these folks are flying.

As a bonus, we have both the iceboarding video and the music video. Click here for this week’s videos:

BONUS 1: America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill joins T2P.TV’s Lindsay Foster for a sit down interview during the RC44 season finale last December in Miami:

BONUS 2: It was business as usual for the 60' ORMA trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing as it beam reached across Auckland's Waitemata Harbour... until a cap shroud termination gave way and the rig went over the side. TeamVodafoneSailing was sailing head to head with the AC45 when the breakage occurred. If you are eager to see the mess, fast forward to the 6:20 minute mark:

BONUS 3: Filmed somewhere in the Indian Ocean onboard Team Neutrogena, here we see the eating habit os Boris Herrmann and Ryan Breymaier during the Barcelona World Race:

SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:

Scuttlebutt University t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts are on sale now, and when the gear is gone... it’s gone. New gear revealed next week. Here is the link for the Scuttlebutt Store:

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 John Lynch, Venice, FL:
I wish that the rabbit (or gate) start was given more serious consideration as a regular procedure. It is rather similar to the way many car races are started with a pace car or the way some harness horse races are run. With the rabbit start every single boat can get a perfect start and there are rarely general recalls and never individual recalls. By all reports, they worked quite well for the 505 Worlds and they work well for countless small fleets, both of one design and handicap boats every week.

Our club has used rabbit starts for almost every PHRF race for the past two seasons and everyone seems to like them. What's more, we can all race, with no need for a race committee, by just recording our own finish times. Most importantly, they take away any requirement on the race committee to make difficult (impossible?) judgment calls about who is OCS or if there are hidden OCS boats. You either sail between the mark and the rabbit or you don't, and in most cases everyone does.

You can move from a situation in which there is a great likelihood of some boats being unfairly penalized and near certainty that some will get away with cheating to one in which cheating is impossible, there are very few penalties and at least the theoretical possibility of everyone getting an equal start. What's not to like? Give it a try and I think you will like it.

* From Tony Furman:
I've been in the sports marketing business, including sailing and yacht racing, for over 40 years and Chris Gill's lead article in Scuttlebutt 3280 is the most truthful and direct answer to building the sport of sailing recreationally as well as competitively that I've read in a long time.

Will the powers that be listen or just say "interesting" as has been done before when a Jobson or someone of his caliber starts talking about the layman in the sport. Hopefully someone is listening right now... EXCELSIOR!

“Time's fun when you're having flies.” - Kermit the Frog

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