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SCUTTLEBUTT 3284 - Wednesday, February 23, 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: APS, Quantum Sails, and Southern Spars.
FOUR AMERICANS HELD ON HIJACKED YACHT ARE KILLED
Four Americans taken hostage after their yacht was hijacked by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa last week were killed early Tuesday when gunfire erupted during attempts by the United States Navy to negotiate with their captors, American military officials said.
Two pirates were also killed in a confrontation with Navy forces and 13 were taken into American military custody.
The four travelers appeared to be the first American hostages to be killed in a Somali piracy since a wave of hijackings around the Horn of Africa began two decades ago. A French hostage, held with his family, was killed in 2009 during a rescue operation by French commandos.
The Americans, Jean and Scott Adam, from Southern California, and Phyllis Mackay and Robert A. Riggle, from Seattle, were sailing on their 58-foot yacht for the tiny nation of Djibouti to refuel when they were hijacked several hundred miles off the coast of Oman on Friday afternoon.
A Navy warship had been shadowing the yacht, called the Quest, since Saturday. The pirated vessel appeared to be moving towards the Somali coast in the days before the confrontation, The Associated Press reported; once pirates reach shore with hostages, options for a rescue are extremely limited.
American officials had opened a channel of communication between the pirates’ financier as well elders from their village to help negotiate the hostages’ release. “There was a dispute about money and the situation went south quickly,” said one American official involved in the discussions. -- NY Times, read on:
OUTSTANDING SEAMANSHIP AND SPORTSMANSHIP
The North American Windsurfing Championship was held February 17-20 in beautiful Cozumel, Mexico, with the Techno 293 (U15 and U17), Formula Experience, RS:X Men, and RS:X Women classes participating. The event will long be remembered for the local hospitality, breathtaking venue, and camaraderie amongst the young sailors. The event will also be marked by the joyful ending to a rescue at sea by a 13 year old American Techno sailor of an 18 year old Mexican girl in the RS:X class.
In an emotional ceremony, Rasmus Sayre (Vineyard Haven, MA) was awarded "Hero of the Regatta" for his outstanding seamanship and sportsmanship in rescuing Nicole Level (Cancun, MX) who ended up winning the RS:X Youth Women and qualifying for the Youth World Champs in Croatia.
It was a dangerous situation on the far outside of the course when the joint between Nicole's board and rig failed, and she lost both her board and rig in the big waves. Nicole was left swimming alone in the strong off shore current, and was wearing no life jacket. "I thought I was going to die," said Level. "I'm never going on the water without a life jacket again."
As Rasmus rounded the final turning mark in the Techno 293 fleet, he happened to see a hand frantically waving at the crest of a wave. He immediately dropped out of his first place position in the U15 Techno Class, sailed out to her, and Nicole, completely exhausted, struggled onto Rasmus' board. Rasmus attempted to sail the two of them to shore but was unable in the big waves, and they were being swept further out to sea by the 4 knot current.
Luckily, an alert fishing vessel with high lookout tower noticed Rasmus' sail from a distance. The fishing vessel came alongside, and Nicole had regained enough strength to swim to the boat and was taken safely back to shore. Rasmus was then able to sail to shore alone. Nicole's board was never found.
The conditions in Cozumel provided excellent preparation for the Techno 293 World Championships at St. Francis YC (CA) in July where over 200 kids are expected.
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LIFE SAVING EFFORTS
This is a recap of an event that happened Sunday, February 20, 2011 while the Ideal 18 fleet was frostbiting outside of Black Rock Harbor on the Long Island Sound.
During the downwind leg of the third race, competitor Russell Dunleavy collapsed in brisk conditions of about 15-17 knots. His sailing partner Chris Gill, who was aware that Russell has a heart condition, immediately called for a chase boat which arrived quickly just after another Ideal sailed by Betsy Sorenson came along side. Betsy is a registered nurse who along with Chris commenced CPR.
Russell has had a heart condition for some time and carries nitro pills. Russell was unresponsive and was transferred to the chase boat and brought to Fayerweather Yacht Club (Bridgeport, CT) where he was further treated (defribbed, etc) and transferred to an ambulance to Bridgeport Hospital. The committee boat had called 911 and an ambulance was waiting at the dock.
Russell has made it thus far. He had four complete blockages hit while on the water. The doctors have said everybody's efforts saved him, and were certain that if his heart hadn’t been massaged the whole way back into the dock he wouldn't have made it. Apparently one of the blockages was opened by compressing him. He is now being stabilized for quadruple bypass surgery.
This reinforces that we can't predict things out there. Here were some of the discussion items following the incident:
- Anyone sailing that carries medication that may be required should make it aware to your sailing partner and make its location known to them. Fortunately, Chris knew this which helped him immediately realize the seriousness of the situation.
- Having two people on a chase boat was critical in saving Russell. Having a nurse on the water was vital too.
- Encouraging CPR certification within racing fleets.
- Carrying onboard horns or whistles might be needed to expedite initial assistance in stronger winds or larger race courses.
If not for the efforts by Chris Gill and Betsy Sorenson, and Charlie Gulotta and Greg Wykoff on the chase boat, this day of frostbiting could have turned out much differently. -- Scuttlebutt Forum,
BOATS READY FOR BATTLE AT ORACLE RC44 CUP SAN DIEGO
International high-tech sailing has been brought to the very front steps of downtown San Diego as nine 44-foot carbon fiber RC44 Class yachts have arrived at the Broadway Pier in preparation for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego. Tilted provocatively in their innovative shipping containers, these carbon fiber yachts will soon join two already launched to compete in a series of match and fleet race sailing on San Diego Bay March 2–6.
Featuring a 50-50 mix of the world’s top professional and amateur-level talent, this is the RC44 Class’s first event of their 2011 Season and the only U.S. stop in a tour which spans six nations. Numerous stars from sailing’s top events - the America’s Cup, Olympic Games, Volvo Ocean Race, and many World Championships - have spread themselves among 11 teams representing nine nations for this high-caliber regatta.
“The level and intensity of the competition is going to be greater than ever,” said 4-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, founder of the RC44 Class. “It’s always great to race in San Diego, it will be a natural amphitheatre those watching from onshore. I’m looking forward to a great regatta.”
As a venue, San Diego will continue its long history of hosting world-class sailing events - the America’s Cup was first held in San Diego in 1988, then again in 1992 and 1995 - but with the racing taking place in the Bay it will be more accessible than ever. Unlike previous America’s Cups, the boats, the teams, the sponsors and all the organization for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego Cup will be based at the Broadway Pier and its brand-new Port Pavilion, with a Race Village planned for easy public access to all the activities of the event.
From Broadway Pier and other waterfront vantage points, spectators will get an unprecedented close look at all the action that comes from highly-competitive one-design racing. Racing will start daily at 11:30 AM and continue until the fleet returns to the Pier at about 4:30 PM.
As further enticement for attendees, event organizers from the Sailing Events Association San Diego (SEA SD) have forged partnerships with select top hotels along San Diego Bay and throughout the downtown Gaslamp area to offer special event rates for those planning a visit to San Diego for the event. These deals can still be found for a limited time only on the event’s website at
WEBCAM: To get a look at the scene as the teams prepare the boats, here is a live webcam focused on the new Port Pavilion:
VOLUNTEER: One of the ways to experience an event like this is to be a volunteer. Joanne O’Dea is actively recruiting and coordinating volunteers to help with this exciting event. If interested, Joanne can be contacted at
STADIUM FORMAT SUITS HUTCHINSON
Muscat, Oman (February 22, 2011) - After the first two days of open water courses, today was the first day of short course ‘stadium’ racing for the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet, with their course positioned along the shore in front of the spectators and VIPs. The new team led by Terry Hutchinson and his crew on Artemis Racing had an exceptional day, posting a score line of 2,1,2,1,1 in the five races to elevate them from fifth overall yesterday to second place overall.
“We had a brilliant day on the water today, there were a lot of people on the shore line - close enough to hear them cheering on the finish line. I have never experienced something like that before. It was a first!” said Hutchinson. “The stadium racing format delivered everything it promised - short and intense races right in front of the spectators. When you have a good day you love it, when you have a bad day you hate it, and we absolutely loved it today!”
Artemis crew Morgan Trubovich explained further: “This was our first ever day racing an Extreme 40 in ‘Stadium Format’ racing. We were told to expect a lot of very short races in very close proximity to shore. They were right. The racing was really short, sailing on tiny little loops around a bunch of different marks that didn’t really seem to fit any pattern. It was awesome. Like freestyle sailing.
“The story of the day was that Terry was on fire. With such short races it was critical that you had a good start and a good first beat. We did that every time. Start after start we were right on the start line, at full speed, going in the right direction.”
Today’s conditions were less challenging than on the previous two days with 7-9 knots of NNE breeze. Whilst the racing played out within meters of the shore, the public Race Village came to life with the Beach Football League and the Red Bull Freestyle shows. And if the public couldn’t see the live sailing action, then they could watch it on national TV as Oman TV broadcast live throughout the afternoon.
Day 3 Results after 17 races; Top 5 of 11 (team name, helm, points)
1. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Pierre Pennec (FRA), 133 points
2. Artemis Racing, Terry Hutchinson (USA), 130 points
3. The Wave, Muscat, Torvar Mirsky (AUS), 124 points
4. Alinghi, Tanguy Cariou (FRA), 121 points
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, Roman Hagara (AUT), 120 points
BACKGROUND: Now in its fifth season, the nine event 2011 Extreme Sailing Series has 11 international teams that will be competing in the Extreme 40 catamaran. With the America’s Cup moving to multihulls, the ESS has attracted America’s Cup skippers Terry Hutchinson (USA) Artemis Racing and Dean Barker (NZL) Team New Zealand, along with top World Match Racing Tour skippers Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and Ian Williams (GBR). The 2011 ESS will travel to three continents, with its North American stop in Boston, USA on June 30-July 4. --
QUANTUM SAILS FINISH 1, 2, 5, 8, 10 AT J/24 MIDWINTERS
Congratulations to Peter Bream and his team on Tar Heel, winners of the 2011 J/24 Midwinters. Powered by Quantum’s 2011 J/24 sails, the team sailed a flawless regatta, with great starts, breakaway speed and an uncanny ability to stay on the correct tack. Kudos also go to John Mollicone and team on 11th Hour Racing who also sailed with new Qs to capture second place with 13 points. Contributing to the teams’ speed were tuning tips provided on practice day at the Quantum One Design Tuning Workshop. Get the details here:
GETTING INTERESTING AT THE FRONT
(February 22, 2011: Day 54) - In a race where the lead boat has typically had a healthy lead, the Barcelona World Race is beginning to look interesting again at the front, thanks to the stop by Virbac-Paprec 3 for repairs in Wellington, NZL. Chasing down the leader on the 2007 Farr designed Mapre are Spaniards Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernandez, double Olympic medallists and three-time European and World champions in the 49er class.
“We did what we wanted to do and did not stop,” said Martinez. “On the one hand they (Virbac-Paprec 3) have a boat which is close to 100% and that will benefit them for sure in the future; that is not what will be the case for us, but it is fine for us just now. Out boat is sufficiently good for the moment. The important thing is to find time to solve technical problems on the boat.
“On the other hand, the stop by Virbac-Paprec 3 must cost you by breaking your rhythm before getting back on the boat. We are very well and the physical aspect does not bother us. We must take special care for icebergs, the nights are very dark and nothing is seen. Also we must have a little luck, going little by little. Regatta Direction is doing good work monitoring the positions of the ice and that makes us feel more secure.”
Race Tracker: http://tracking.barcelonaworldrace.org
Standings (top 5 of 14 as of 20.01.07)
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA), 10,380 nm DTF
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP), 51.2nm DTL
3. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 738.0nm DTL
4. Neutrogena, Boris Herrmann/Ryan Breymaier (GER/USA), 914.3nm DTL
5. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre & Michele Paret (FRA/SUI), 1025.9nm DTF
Full rankings: http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org/en/ranking/
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: http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org
A VERY UNFORGIVING PLACE
(February 22, 2011; Day 17) - VELUX 5 OCEANS skipper Brad Van Liew sailed into the history books on Monday when he rounded the iconic Cape Horn solo for a third time. The 43-year-old veteran ocean racer is the only American ever to race round the notorious landmark singlehanded three times. “It was pretty emotional,” said Van Liew. “I’m going to remember it forever. It’s a very small band of people who have been round Cape Horn solo three times and I am very proud to be one of them, it’s a remarkable feeling.”
Known for its extreme weather conditions, Cape Horn lived up to its reputation. “The run up to Cape Horn was a really tough one with really dangerous waves and a lot more wind than was anticipated,” he added. “It was supposed to be blowing 30 knots but I had 50. As I came up on to the shelf the waves were unbelievable. I stuck the bow into the back of a few waves really quite bad. On two different occasions the boat actually tipped up on its nose and the rudders came out of the water. It was a reminder of how unforgiving this place is.”
Van Liew continues to lead the field on the third leg from Wellington, NZL to Punta del Este, Uruguay, with a margin of 358 nm over second place Zbigniew Gutkowski (POL) with 1208 nm remaining to the finish. --
* Jensen Beach, FL (February 21, 2011) - A fleet of 77 boats competed Saturday through Monday in the Club 420 MidWinter Championships at the United State Sailing Center of Martin County. The double-handed boats sailed under sunny skies with light, but steady, winds in nearly ideal sailing conditions on the Indian River Lagoon. Teams traveled from two Canadian provinces and fifteen states in the U.S. Korbin Kirk and Haley Kirk of the Long Beach Yacht Club from California took the title after leading the regatta each day. -- Results:
* (February 22, 2011) - On day two of the RORC Caribbean 600, the majority of the fleet was at the top part of the course and passing around St. Maarten. George David’s Maxi, Rambler 100 is well on course to beat the monohull course record of 44hr 5m 14sec, set by Mike Slade’s Maxi, ICAP Leopard in 2009. Gonzalo Botin’s Class 40, Tales has retired with an injured crew member (badly swollen ankle), while Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension was dismasted just after dawn NW of Saba. --
* (February 22, 2011; Day 25, 22:00 UTC) - A wind shift and located ice led to five gybes by Thomas Coville (FRA) on the 105-foot trimaran Sodebo as he crossed the 54th degree south latitude in the Indian Ocean. Coville will pass Cape Leeuwin Wednesday in his attempt to set a new solo round the world record, though he remains 1246.9 behind the current record by Francis Joyon set in 2008 on the 97-foot trimaran IDEC. --
* The Miami International Boat Show closed with 104,168 in attendance, according to show organizers. That represents a 14 percent increase over 2010, when the show attracted 91,415. Strictly Sail Miami was down 8 percent against 2009 (the last stand alone show) for a total of 18,122 (vs. 19,723). According to organizers, exhibitors from both shows reported strong buying crowds and increased sales. -- Boating Industry,
* American Bill Koch has stepped forward and offered a $500,000 challenge grant to the U.S. National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame as they launch the 2011 Capital Campaign. Koch, a prominent American businessman, America's Cup winner and avid competitive sailor, joins Ted Turner, Dennis Conner, Paul Cayard, Gil Grosvenor, Morgan Freeman and other outstanding leaders in the sailing community on the Honorary Advisory Board. -- Full report:
* ISAF has chosen Santander, Spain as the host venue for the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. The ISAF Sailing World Championships combines the World Championships of all the events included in the Olympic Sailing Competition. Historically, the ISAF Worlds is held every four years, the year before the Olympic Sailing Competition, with the next event to be held in Perth, Australia in December 2011. At the ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in Hungary in May 2010, the ISAF Council approved a change for the following event to take place in 2014 and not 2015. -- Full report:
* CORRECTION: In Scuttlebutt 3283, the event reported as the Laser Radial North American Championship was in fact the Women's Radial North Americans. The Laser Radial North Americans will be sailed July 12-15 along with the Laser North Americans at the Brant Beach Yacht Club (BBYC.net) in New Jersey.
AS GOOD AS IT GETS
The epitome of high performance one design class racing will be showcased in Sydney this week with the Rolex Farr 40 World Champs kicking off today. As official mast supplier for the class, Southern Spars wishes all teams a successful regatta and unforgettable sailing. --
INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES
The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum encourages companies to post their personnel, product and service updates. Scuttlebutt editors randomly 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:
PROMOTE YOUR EVENT
The Scuttlebutt Event Calendar is a free, self-serve tool that is powered by the most utilized database in the sport. Are you doing enough to promote your event? To view all the events, or to post your own event, visit the calendar at
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