SCUTTLEBUTT 3308 - Tuesday, March 29, 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: Team One Newport, Melges Performance Sailboats, and
SHOULD SAILING THROW AWAY THE RULE BOOK?
By David Fuller, YachtSponsorship.com
Sailing is too complicated. We need to simplify it. Right? One of the best
sailors in the world is saying we should rewrite the rulebook and replace
archaic nautical terms with language that is easier to understand.
Russell Coutts said the following in an interview about changing the rules
for the America's Cup recently.
"It's too complicated. We have a rulebook that is like this (holding up his
fingers to show a thickness of about an inch). Frankly, I think people have
got better things to do than sit at home at night and read the rulebook.
Once upon a time, I used to read the rulebook quite a lot - now it bores me
to tears to sit down and read a book of sailing instructions before a
regatta. We've tried to simplify it. We've got all these archaic terms, all
the nautical terms and all the yacht club BS and we need to get away from
that if we are going to encourage more people to participate in the sport."
It makes sense on the surface, but is there a real need to change the
rules, or does sailing just need to get better at communication?
Yes sailing has rules and jargon, but all sports have rules and jargon.
Formula One racing has two rulebooks - one of sporting regulations which is
37 pages and one of technical regulations which is 63 pages.
Rugby has only 22 rules, but rule 20, which relates to a scrum has 12 parts
and some of those parts have 9 sub-parts. Russell Coutts, a New Zealander
who by his nationality should understand Rugby, should try explaining the
difference between a ruck, a maul and a scrum to people who don't follow
But Rugby is an old fashioned game; what about the sports that excite the
facebook generation? Well skateboarding includes terms like Nollie, Fakie
and Indy and snowboarding features phrases like caballarial, crossbone
method air and Elgeurial. So that's simple isn't it?
You can't really imagine Tiger Woods coming out and saying 'let's get rid
of all this golf club BS, we need new terms for caddie, tee and eagle.
Bunker is too hard to explain, so let's dumb it down to sand-trap.'
Coutts' argument is echoed by broadcasters trying to make Olympic sailing
more accessible for a TV audience. Some think that having an event where
the first person across the line is not always the winner is too hard to
explain, yet hugely popular events like the Tour de France don't seem to
have a problem with it.
While it's great that sailing is finally thinking about the people watching
and not just the people competing, it would be a great shame to dumb the
sport down while other relatively complicated activities help their
audience understand. Poker has managed to educate millions of people about
blinds, flops and rivers
The idea that sailing needs to be simplified is a lazy alternative to
making the effort to teach the rules to a new audience. -- Full story:
BETTER TIMES MIGHT BE AHEAD
The last North American windsurfer to medal in the Olympics was American
Michael Gebhardt in 1992. But ever since the departure of Gebi and Lanee
Butler (USA), who came close with a fourth at the 2000 Games, there has
been an epic dry spell.
For the U.S. program, whose funding model is based on performance, the
sailors have been more or less on their own to raise the program's
productivity. And if the determination exhibited by top American Farrah
Hall is any indication, better times might be ahead. Here's a recent report
Life would be a lot easier if someone took over the responsibility of
planning my campaign, and all I had to worry about was training and racing.
However, like the majority of Olympic hopefuls who don't have a team of
support personnel, planning, logistics, and budget management falls
squarely onto my shoulders.
Without missing a beat, the day after the Rolex Miami OCR (on January
30th), I attended a USSTAG meeting to learn about what they had planned for
us regarding training camps, logistics, and coaching. As is the norm, the
boards are the least-funded Olympic class, and only $10,000 is allocated
for our coaching budget, a total of two regattas for both men and women
RS:X sailors. (All the other boat classes have coaches for most of the
World Cup events.) With this shortcoming in mind, I set to work raising
money for my own program.
Most Olympic-class sailors are well-aware that full-time coaching is an
absolute necessity. Without constant feedback, analysis, and support on the
water, jumping into Olympic-level training and competition is frustrating
and difficult. All the top teams have a fully-planned schedule with a
national coach, and most sailors wouldn't think of heading out to a serious
training session without this support. In order to compete with the best,
my resources must be at the same level, or better, in an innovative way.
Both coaching and the logistics of including a coach are expensive and
time-consuming, and I can't say that I've exactly found the most innovative
solution for myself, but that the resources have come slowly together over
the past few years and I'm now in a position to have a coaching program for
the spring World Cup regattas.
After the Miami OCR, I spent the entire month of February pushing
single-mindedly to get funding. I've applied for a few more grants, and
spent a lot of time following up with prospective donors. In some ways, I'm
"counting chickens before they're hatched" in that I don't have my full
budget, but I'm expecting my efforts to pay off, and put me in the best
position possible to make good results for the USA at the early World Cup
events, our first Olympic Trials event, and score the boards more funding
for the 2016 quadrennium. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/FH-032811
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The deadline has passed and from March 16, 2011, teams entered in the race
which have been using existing Volvo Open 70s as their training boats may
now only sail their 2011-12 race boats, currently under construction and
very close to completion.
Jack Lloyd, Race Director, says the introduction of this new rule, which
effectively forbids two-boat testing, is part of the ongoing cost cutting
measures introduced by the race organisation. "The measures were
implemented following the 2008-09 event and cover from the way in which the
boat and the sails are produced through to training with the new boats. The
costs involved in two-boat testing are very high, as a second boat needs to
be maintained in full race condition and requires a full crew to sail and
maintain the boat.
In Newport, Rhode Island, PUMA Ocean Racing Team eagerly awaits il Mostro's
successor. "The end of a new boat build is always the same story. The
sailing team is chomping at the bit to get the boat out of the shed and
take it for a ride, and the boat build team is trying to keep the boat in
the shed to finish every little detail. At the end of the day the sailors
have to learn patience and let the build experts do their thing," says
skipper Ken Read.
"This measure will not rush the boat builds, as the teams have known about
the rule since late 2009 and they have planned their build schedule around
the availability of funds and the design process," explained Lloyd. "They
all know how much time each process takes and that trying to cut corners
may affect the quality of the final product."
To comply with the rule, the teams have taken a break from sea trials on
their training boats and are now fully focused on the completion of their
new Volvo Open 70s, which will be launched this spring. With less than 32
weeks until the first in-port race in Alicante, launching the boats and
resuming training is a priority and a major milestone on every team's
ENTRY UPDATE: "We know about six boats today that will be on the start
line. Five of the teams have the calibre to potentially win this race,"
confirmed Volvo Ocean Race Chief Executive, Knut Frostad. Additional
entries that acquire existing boats can be submitted up to just prior to
the start date. The first In-Port Race will be in Alicante, Spain on
October 29th, with the 6500 nm leg from Alicante Cape Town, SA to start on
November 5 with an expected finish by November 25th. --
MADE IN CHINA
For the second time in America's Cup history, China has entered a team to
challenge for the 34th America's Cup. With the entry deadline of March 31st
fast approaching, China has revealed itself to be one of the three
undisclosed teams among the ten entries that have currently been submitted.
"All boats need to be designed by the team, and built in country," said
Wang Chao Yong, chairman of China Team. "We have been working with some of
the best worldwide designers for hull and wings for a few months already,
in partnership with top Chinese Universities. This is an opportunity to
showcase China's talents in the leading-edge hi-tech areas of both
hydrodynamics and aeronautics. Our boat will then be built in China, and
ready to sail by February 2012."
Thierry Barot, CEO of China Team, has been busy recruiting the worldwide
and Olympic champion sailors who will be responsible for training the
sailing team. "Our boat will be powered mainly by Chinese sailors, and we
are very fortunate to have an elite team of international sailors to come
to China and train our Chinese team."
The list of submitted entries for the 2013 event are Aleph-Equipe De France
(France), Artemis Racing (Sweden), China Team (China), Emirates Team New
Zealand (New Zealand), Energy Team (France), Mascalzone Latino (Italy),
ORACLE Racing (USA), Team Australia, and two other undisclosed teams. --
UNDERFUNDED: French America's Cup veteran Bertrand Pace, skipper of the
Aleph France, admits his team is not yet funded. However, he claims that
with the exception Oracle Racing, Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New
Zealand, all of the entered teams are in the same situation, and even
believes Team New Zealand hasn't yet secured the involvement of Emirates
Airlines beyond 2011. He is also concerned that there are three French
teams entered who will all be seeking the same sponsorship funds. An
interview with Pace is in Voiles et Voiliers and has been translated on the
Valencia Sailing website: http://www.vsail.info/2011/03/28/bertrand-pace/
AN OFFSHORE EXPERIENCE FOR YOUTH SAILORS
This summer, junior sailors will broaden their horizons - literally - as
they escape the confines of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island to embark on
an offshore adventure covering up to 177 nautical miles. The Organizing
Committee of the Ida Lewis Distance Race introduced its Youth Challenge
last year, and it was met with huge success when six boats out of a fleet
of 35 signed up to compete. It will be repeated this year when the seventh
race starts August 19th.
"The goal of the Youth Challenge is to introduce the junior sailing world
to offshore sailing," said Event Chair Dirk Johnson (Newport, R.I.). "There
is a whole new skill set that is needed to sail in an overnight race, and
this is the perfect distance to get juniors onboard and excited without
Johnson explained that the race attracts family cruisers as well as grand
prix racers. "In somewhat the same vein as the Youth Challenge, the
cruising spinnaker class aims at getting cruising boats without racing
inventories out on the race course and experiencing overnight racing,"
added Johnson. "This is a great 'starter' class for folks without racing
crew or equipment.
To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have
reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 19, 2011. All
youth sailors will be required to attend a brief informational meeting the
evening before the race and will be strongly encouraged to attend the Storm
Trysail Junior Safety at Sea Seminar, which will be held in Newport, R.I.,
the Wednesday prior to the race.
Race website: http://ildistancerace.org/2011/index.php
MARCH (MELGES) MADNESS
Congratulations to Mary Anne Ward on M&M Racing Team who earlier this month
was awarded the trophy and title of 2011 Audi Melges 20 Bacardi Miami
Sailing Week Champion. This is the first time ever that a woman has won a
premiere open championship in any of the Melges sportboat classes. In May,
speed will be king for Melges 24 sailors who compete in the Velocitek Speed
Challenge, where a $1000 USD prize will be awarded to the crew that
achieves the top speed at the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus
Christi, Texas on May 11-21. Follow all the Melges madness at
* Hamilton Island, AUS (March 28, 2011) - The 2011 SAP 505 World
Championship were forced to abandon racing for a second consecutive day on
Monday (3/28) when the course area was deemed too dangerous to send the
competitors out on. With only two races completed from Saturday, the plan
was to run two races back-to-back on Tuesday. Sixteen teams represent USA
and Canada, with Americans Ted Conrads/Brian Haines and Mike Holt/Carl Smit
in a tie for second. -- http://www.505sapworldchampionship2011.com
* (March 28, 2011; Day 2; 18:00 UTC) - After winning the first three of
five legs in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, American Brad Van Liew has again
jumped to the front on the 5700 nm fourth leg from Punta del Este, Uruguay
to Charleston on the east coast of the U.S. Van Liew currently leads second
place Derek Hatfield (CAN) by 11nm . -- http://www.velux5oceans.com/
* (March 28, 2011, Day 86) - Barcelona World Race leader Virbac-Paprec 3
has passed the Canary Islands, and is expected to reach Gibraltar on the
night of March 31st. Co-skippers Jean Pierre Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA)
are 1172 nm from the finish, with Iker Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP) on
MAPFRE 263.4 nm behind. -- http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org/en
LASER CLASS CALLS FOR URGENT VOTE
The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) has reached out to its
membership to make what the ILCA World Council and Advisory Council
believes to be an urgent and necessary rule change to help protect the
class against a dispute that is occurring between one of its boat
manufacturers and the entity that holds the authority to license
The ILCA lists three manufacturers for the Laser on its website, each of
which is permitted to build the boat for a given territory, and allowed to
do so by way of an agreement the manufacturer holds with the boat's
designer, Bruce Kirby. However, Bruce sold his rights about two and a half
years ago to a New Zealand company called Global Sailing, and it is now
Global Sailing that is disputing with the largest of the three
It is unclear what the dispute is about, but given the territory for
LaserPerformance includes Europe, North America, Central & South America,
Far East and Asia (excluding Japan, North & South Korea), Middle East,
Africa, Russia, and all other territories not specifically covered by other
builders, it is likely the dispute is about money.
To maintain the status quo, the ILCA has determined that a rule change is
needed to protect its members, to insure the uninterrupted supply of
class-legal Laser boats, and to maintain its ISAF recognition and Olympic
status. However, the rule change requires the Laser Class Association
members to vote on it. Details: http://www.laserinternational.org/rules2011
IS YOUR HALL OF FAMER ON THIS LIST?
The U.S. National Sailing Center & Hall of Fame will honor its first class
of inductees this year. Information on how to make a formal nomination will
be available later this week, but Scuttlebutt had asked for some advance
brainstorming to see who should be considered for a nomination. As of
Monday afternoon, 91 names had been submitted to either Facebook or the
Forum. Here is the list:
Betsy Alison, Bob Allen, Hobie Alter, Bob Bavier, Derek Baylis, Faye Bennet
, Bill Bentson, Tom Blackaller, Ash Brown, Bill Buchan, Starling Burgess,
Malin Burnham, Frank Butler, Don Casey, Paul Cayard, Owen Churchill, Steve
Colgate, Dennis Conner, Newman Darby , Bob Direcktor, Roy Disney, Robby
Doyle, Gerry Driscoll, Hank Easom, Carl Eichenlaub, Earl Elms, Skip
Etchells, JJ Fetter, Bill Ficker, Buddy Freidichs, Gilbert Gray , Cy
Gillette, Jan Gougeon, Meade Gougeon , Amy Gross Kehoe, Olof Harken, Peter
Harken, Fred Hazzard , Nat Herreshoff, Stan Honey, Ted Hood, Adrian Iselin,
Gary Jobson, Rod Johnstone, Bruce Kirby, Arthur Knapp, John Kolius, Timmy
Lahr, Bill Lapworth, Bill Lee, Tom Leweck, Sir Thomas Lipton , Bill Luders,
Monica Manzer , Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, Harry Melges, Buddy Melges, Jim
Michales, Bus Mosbacher, Tim Mosley, Dick Newick, Lowell North, Doug
Peterson, Robie Pierce, Brad Read, Kenny Read, Peter Reggio, Mark Reynolds
, Dawn Riley, Nick Scandone, Betty Sue Sherman , Ding Schoonmaker,
Cornelius Shields , Peggy Slater, Joshua Slocum, Paul Smart, Randy Smyth,
Myron Spaulding, Olin Stephens, Rod Stephens, Commodore Tompkins, Don
Trask, Ted Turner, Dave Ullman, Harold Vanderbilt, Dr. Stuart Walker, Kenny
Watts, Ted Wells, Skip Whyte, 'Captain Tuna' Wollschlager, Jack Woods.
Do you see any missing names? Post your suggestion on either the Forum or
Facebook, where all submissions will be eligible to win an Optimum Time
121/122 sailing watch from Ocean Racing. Random drawing will be held at
12:00 pm PT on March 29th. Links:
THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FARR 400 HAS LAUNCHED!
And Southern Spars is on hand to oversee stepping, tuning and sea-trialling
of the spars and rigging. The first production boat to feature a custom
carbon mast engineered to optimise weight, bend, stiffness & VCG
Characteristics, with a full set of EC6 rigging, the Farr 400 will be
presenting one view to her competitors - her transom!
You know when you're getting old because just at the point you realize
everything your farther said was right is also the point when your kids
tell you you're wrong.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Gowrie Group - Summit Yachts - Team One Newport
Melges Performance Sailboats - Southern Spars
Point Loma Outfitting - North Sails - LaserPerformance
Ullman Sails - Mount Gay Rum - Doyle Sails - APS
Need stuff? Look here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/ssc/suppliers