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SCUTTLEBUTT 3288 - Tuesday, March 1, 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: IYRS, North U, and LaserPerformance.

While the popularity of match racing in North America has traditionally lagged behind the levels of enthusiasm seen elsewhere around the world, a recent steep rise in the number of events and participants indicates that the tide is starting to turn.

Match race sailing is now very much on the rise, with growth being supported by over 25 clubs and match racing centres around the US with Canada, Bermuda, and the US Virgin Islands also actively running match racing events.

The numbers alone show the dramatic increase in the sport. From 2007 to 2010 the number of graded match races nearly doubled from 34 to 65 events. This year will see a host of both open and women’s Grade 1, 2 and 3 events, many inter-connected with each other as qualifiers, as well as “clinegattas” for youth sailors and the annual international youth match racing championship the Governor’s Cup.

This focus on getting youth involved in match racing is also prominent with the Intercollegiate Sailing Organisation adding match racing to their programme by introducing a new national championship in 2010.

US Sailing’s Match Racing Committee Chairman Dave Perry says the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) - the nine event international series which sees the crowning of the ISAF Match Racing World Champion - is “having a magnet effect on the growth of interest” in match racing in the region.

He says the quality of competition, the level of publicity it gains and the substantial prizes mean many young sailors tell him they aspire to be on the WMRT someday.

“The WMRT is the pinnacle of one-design match racing. It sets the bar high for running match racing events, and is innovative with new ideas on bettering the racing and the promotion of the sport and its players. This has a trickle-down effect. It is the big show that our young match racers aspire to compete in and work towards.”

Perry also says the WMRT is a known proving ground for talent which sailors hope to parlay into other professional sailing opportunities.

Mike Buckley is a young pro sailor in the US, and has managed to qualify for two events on the Tour last year. He says that these events have been very inspiring to him and other young talent in the US. “The World Match Racing Tour has younger guys doing really well so the US sailors really look up to that.”

Twenty-two-year-old Tulane University student and avid sailor Patrick Ryan says he watches the WMRT races online and dreams of competing on the world stage. “If my team and I had the time to practice as well as the same type of backing, we would unquestionably be able to compete at that level.”

And this is the problem: how will this aspiring talent overcome the barriers of geographic isolation from the events and a lack of funding to get on to the Tour? The current level of momentum in growth and popularity of match racing may yet yield some opportunities to overcome these barriers.

Perry says in order to continue this current level of growth and get more North American sailors on the WMRT, they are building a clear pathway from entry level through to the WMRT. -- Read on:

Two guys who have spent most of their lives sailing on San Francisco Bay should have heaps of advice for America's Cup match racers from around the world who'll be dipping into these cool and quirky waters over the months leading to the 34th America's Cup defense in 2013.

There were a few examples over the weekend climaxed by locals Shawn Bennett's 2-0 victory over Russ Silvestri on Sunday to win the first of three stops of the California Dreamin' Series. The next two events are in Long Beach (March 5-6) and San Diego (March 12-13).

The overall winner of the California Dreamin' Series gets a pass to the Ficker Cup at Long Beach March 17-19, and the winner of that gains entrance to the most prominent match racing event in the United States, the Grade 1 Congressional Cup, which will feature a world class line-up on March 22-26.

Bennett, who won the 2010 U.S. Match Racing Championship last September in Detroit, MI, is looking forward to the America's Cup two years hence. "That's gonna be a blast," he said. "I'm general manager of a tugboat company and we have a dock right at Pier 17, so the finish line is going to be right near us."

As for offering advice to the participants based on his local expertise, Bennett shied away. "I doubt if I have the credentials to give anybody coming in here for the America's Cup any advice," he said. However, he added, "I can tell 'em about some good restaurants probably."

Full report:

The marine industry is driven by passionate sailors who have turned what they love to do into a profession. If you are looking to follow the same career path, come to IYRS on Saturday, March 5 for Marine Industry Career Day. The free one-day event will draw employers from throughout the region looking to connect with skilled individuals interested in marine careers, and experts who will give seminars on trends in training, technology and hiring. For more information:

Sailboat racing as a stadium sport comes to San Diego Bay this week with the inaugural RC-44 championship regatta. The five-day event starts Wednesday and concludes next Sunday and will feature 11, high-performance RC-44 sloops.

While most San Diegans have no idea what an RC-44 is and who is actually racing, although one of the favored boats is owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle America’s Cup fame, the regatta will give event the most land-locked among us a chance to see close-quarter sailboat racing.

All the starts - and finishes - during the racing will be just off the end of the Broadway Pier. Depending on the direction of the wind and the day of the racing, the courses will take the boats up along the Embarcadero or toward Harbor Island.

“I think this promises to be an exciting event even for those not into sailboat racing,” said John Laun, the president and CEO of the SEA San Diego responsible for bringing the RC-44s - and eventually other sailing events - to San Diego Bay.

“The boats will be big enough to see from the shore because they are going to be close to shore. And the boats are exciting. They are very high-tech and very demanding to sail. They are capable of reaching speeds of 20 knots.” And rather than sailing away from the shore, the RC-44s will be racing on very short courses close to the bayfront.

Wednesday’s match races, for example, will likely be contested on a half-mile course with pairs going off every five minutes. The twice-around windward-leeward races (that’s back-and-forth for rank novices) will last around 20 minutes. And race officials are hoping to get in as many as four rounds starting at 11:30 a.m.

The program switches to fleet races Thursday through Sunday with each leg being 1 1/4 miles for a five-mile race. Officials expect the races to take 45 minutes apiece with hopes of getting in three to five rounds each day.

The 11 boats entered will represent nine nations. For those more knowledgeable of sailing, the list of skippers reads like a Who’s Who. Among the world-class skippers entered are Russell Coutts, the hero of New Zealand’s America’s Cup victory off San Diego in 1995, Paul Cayard, Coronado native Rod Davis, Kevin Burnham and Morgan Larson. -- Union-Tribune, read on:

UPDATE: The weather forecast for the event is calling for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s. But it’s the forecast that is really exciting, with winds in the teens and a direction slightly right of normal. If the WNW wind direction does hold true, the racing will remain close to the city front... awesome. Time to check in with Southwest airlines for flights. Event details here:

SOCIALIZING: If you are a follower of Scuttlebutt updates on Twitter or Facebook, look for your faithful editor Craig Leweck to be providing photos and chirps as he rides shotgun on Team Katusha on Wednesday with Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard for the match racing. Got a question like “How does Paul look without his mustache?” Send it! Here are the Scuttlebutt pages:
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Striving to be the American representative in the Laser at the 2008 Olympics, Brad Funk came as close to winning the bid, and not winning it, as is possible in the sport. After 16 races at the 2007 U.S. Olympic trials, he was tied with Andrew Campbell, and he lost the tiebreaker. Campbell went to the Games; Funk went to the couch.

Since then, Funk has remained in the Laser class but he has also been one of the top Americans at the last three International Moth World Championships. But it’s now 2011, and with the U.S. now beginning their Olympic selection process, Funk has recommitted himself to make up for what happened four years ago.

At the US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR last month, the second ISAF World Cup event of the season, Funk finished 36th out of 103 competitors. Since then he has been full-on with sailing, gym workouts, biking, eating, and sleeping. But training hard only goes so far without occasional reinforcement, and that came this past weekend when he won the 77-boat Laser Midwinters East in Clearwater, FL. Here is an update from Brad:

“I went to Mexico for 9 days to train with some of the best Laser sailors in the world: Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson both from England; Rod Crane, from US; and Pablo Rabago from Mexico. While there, we sailed everyday and took video to study and use for debriefing. We had a cook who supplied us with the nutritious food we needed to keep our calorie intake at the correct level. And we used the gym every day. Let's face it, from a training point of view, you can't get much better than that.

“On returning to the States, Matias Del Solar, from Chile, came to train with me in Lauderdale for 4 days with his brother as coach and I got a lot of tips from them. Then this weekend was the Laser Midwinter's East Regatta in Clearwater, in which I pulled away with a win. Nick Thompson wasn't sailing because of tendonitis in his knee, so he was coached me instead. He was very positive and observant on and off the water and gave me great feedback.

“Next up is training in Ft. Lauderdale for two weeks before going to Palma, Spain for the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre, the third ISAF World Cup event, starting March 3rd.” --

CORRECTION: In Scuttlebutt 3287, it was reported that Clay Johnson (USA) won the Laser Midwinter's East. This was correct based on the online results, which we have now learned were not finalized until very late. After the results were updated, it was American Brad Funk who narrowly edged out Canadian David Wright, with Clay finishing third. Here are the results:

(February 28, 2011) - The America’s Cup-winning trimaran arrived in San Francisco Bay today aboard the freighter M.V. Star Isfjord after a 7,900-mile passage from Valencia, Spain, via the Panama Canal. The ship carrying USA 17 passed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge at 0530 PST and berthed alongside ORACLE Racing’s new base on Pier 80.

San Francisco journalists today got treated to a first glance of the promise that the America’s Cup 34 will bring as they gathered at Pier 80, south of the City of San Francisco, to view the fastest racing yacht in the world, USA-17.

On hand to talk to media were ORACLE Racing’s design coordinator Ian “Fresh” Burns and tactician John Kostecki, both Bay Area residents. On seeing USA-17 for the first time in a year Kostecki said, “It’s good to see it, it’s great really.” When asked what the highlight for him was racing the boat, Kostecki grinned and said, “Seeing the finish line on the second race! But, it was pretty cool - it rated up there.”

Seeing the winning boat again was bitter sweet also for Burns. “It’s a sad but kind of glad moment- it’s nice to see it again because it’s a reminder that the whole project was just a struggle all the way through - everything was harder and bigger and more complicated - it was just a series of unknowns all the way. Everyone was going full-speed 24 hours a day for month after month after month. Then it stopped, we went away and now the boat is back. You look at her and think, ‘Yeah, that was pretty amazing. It was actually an incredible project.’ You lose perspective when you’re in the middle of it but it's actually really cool.”

Longer term plans are to put the yacht and her 223-foot wingsail on public display, with future sailing plans somewhere between not known and not likely.

Excerpts from: Oracle Racing team:


The 30 City North U Tactics Seminar Tour continues. Top instructors, multi-media curriculum, a take-home CD for review and further study. Learn the tactics that will put your boat in a position to win this season. US Sailing member discounts. A free Tactics Tour Long-Sleeve T to the first 20 registrations at each location. (PS: Your rivals have already signed up.) Learn more:

(February 28, 2011: Day 60) - At the front of the fleet, the Pacific face off between leaders Virbac-Paprec 3, who have been at the head of the fleet since January 23rd, and MAPFRE has lost none on its intensity. With the promise of a fast, but challenging rounding of Cape Horn, the two leading duos remain on the edge whilst also reviewing their final approach which will be driven by a low pressure system which is entirely in keeping with what would be expected off the wind ravaged promontory. According to current routing models, the leader should pass Cape Horn perhaps between 0600hrs and 0800hrs Thursday morning, the conclusion of a rapid passage of the Pacific.

Race Tracker:

Standings (top 5 of 14 as of 20.01.08)
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA), 7930 nm DTF
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP), 50.5nm DTL
3. Renault, Pachi Rivero/Antonio Piris (ESP/ESP), 1446.9nm DTL
4. Neutrogena, Boris Herrmann/Ryan Breymaier (GER/USA), 1477.4nm DTL
5. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre & Michele Paret (FRA/SUI), 1614.1nm DTF

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:

* St. Petersburg, FL (February 27) - Sail To Prevail, a national disabled sailing program, held its 1st Annual Paralympic Regatta and Clinic from February 23-27. Thirty Paralympic aspirants completed in ten races in Sonar and 2.4 Metre Classes. In the Sonar Class, Rick Doerr (Clifton, NJ) took top honors while Sandy Hayes (Scituate, MA) won in the 2.4 Metre Class. Sail To Prevail, based in Newport RI and formerly called Shake-A-Leg Newport, is a national disabled sailing program operating in three states that assists disabled children and adults overcoming adversity through the sport of sailing. -- Full report:

* It was a beautiful weekend in Cocoa, Florida as the Indian River Yacht club hosted the Catalina 22 Midwinter Regatta with 7 races and no throw outs. There were 17 boats in the Gold Fleet and 5 in the Silver Fleet as Florida sailors reached out to increase the size of the future sailing fleet. -- Results:

* (February 28, 2011; Day 23) - Overall VELUX 5 OCEANS race leader Brad Van Liew (USA) is expected to cross the finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay Tuesday afternoon local time, but light winds have hampered his daily progress. Keel problems have restricted Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski (POL), and now Derek Hatfield (CAN) has taken over the second place position, though only two miles separate the rivals with 483 nm remaining. --

* (February 28, 2011; Day 31, 22:00 UTC) - Thomas Coville (FRA) on the 105-foot trimaran Sodebo has taken a hard angle south to 57 degrees south latitude in search of stronger winds and a shorter course to Cape Horn. He hopes that the short term loss of this tactic will ultimately help his pursuit of the solo round the world record. Coville currently is 1181.2 nm behind the record set by Francis Joyon (FRA) set in 2008 on the 97-foot trimaran IDEC. --

I just received word that Brad Tooman passed away on Tuesday, February 22, in Tampa, Florida after suffering a heart attack. Brad was a Port Huron, Michigan native, past commodore of the Port Huron Yacht Club, and for many years a key race committee member of the Bayview to Mackinac Island yacht race. I made Brad's acquaintance as a member of the race committee for the Toledo Yacht Club's Mills Trophy Race on Lake Erie. Brad knew his stuff! He was always calm and personable and a terrific fellow to work with. Brad will be missed. Sail on sailor. -- George McCroskey

Yacht Clubs and individual sailors alike love THIS roto moulded polyethylene (Plastic!) sailboat, with a flexible sail plan for double or singlehanded sailing. With ISAF recognized status in 2009, this boat is gaining a hold on racing fleets across North Americas as it does in Europe. For more information go to

Advertising in Scuttlebutt is limited, which is why the classified ad section of the website was launched. However, it proved to be too time consuming to charge for the ads, so several years ago we stopped charging. An email this week from Brent Boyd confirmed the model: “Sold the OS drysuit - great place to advertise gear - and the price is right too.”

Classified Ads provide a marketplace for private parties to buy and sell, or for businesses to post job openings. Here are recent ads:

* Gear and Hardware Accumulated and ready to sell
* Wanted - Finn
* Wanted - Mount Gay Figawi Race Hat 2008
* Manhattan Sailing School - Sailors Wanted!
View/post ads 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 Lawrence Zeitlin:
According to news reports this week, there were 340 pirate attacks on private vessels during the last year. The recent attacks on cruise ships, freighters and private vessels off Somalia by pirates using AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades suggests adopting the strategy of the "Q" ships of WW1.

For those of you not as old as I am, the "Q" ships were scruffy looking tramp steamers. German submarines deemed these ships not worthy of an expensive torpedo and often surfaced to use their deck gun to finish the tramp steamer off. As soon as the submarine emerged from the depths, the walls of a deck house on the tramp steamer collapsed. The submarine found itself looking into the bore of a 5" deck mounted cannon manned by a Royal Navy crew. If the submarine managed to survive the gunfire exchange, it would be much more careful about attacking apparently harmless looking shipping in the future.

A hidden deck mounted Bofors 40 mm cannon manned by a trained crew might similarly discourage pirate attacks. Piracy on the high seas used to be punishable by death. It's time to revive the custom of hanging at the yardarm.

Isn't it odd how we automatically assume that what’s in the dispenser by a sink is always soap? The next time you have a party, fill it with mustard to remind people of the danger with assumptions.

Team One Newport - Doyle Sails - IYRS - North U - LaserPerformance North Sails - Melges Performance Sailboats - Lewmar Summit Yachts - Ullman Sails - Morris Yachts

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