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SCUTTLEBUTT 3309 - Wednesday, March 30, 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: Point Loma Outfitting, North Sails, and LaserPerformance.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
By Roger Vaughan
When I started racing at age 9 (never mind when that was), my North
American Yacht Racing Union (NAYRU) rule book was 14 pages thick. I recall
that it did the job. The most recent Racing Rules of Sailing is 151 pages.
I suppose that reflects both the complexity our sport has attained, and the
litigious nature of our culture. In addition, there are several web sites
that present animated rules situations with explanations best understood by
those with law degrees.
All sports have rules, but I submit that no sport is as rules-dependent as
sailboat racing. Many of the tactics that sailors use on the water are
based on turning the rules to their advantage. And when those tactics come
to fruition with an encounter, it's often a judgment call seen in their
favor by both crews. When is tacking too close too close? Was the overlap
for buoy room established in time? Did you really have to alter course to
avoid that crossing port tack boat?
Sports played within reasonable confines (parks, stadiums, courts) have
umpires and referees on hand to make the calls and take the heat. If it's
big time, slow-motion television replays are consulted. Grand Prix sail
boat racing now has on-the-water umpires settling disputes, a big
I agree the rules don't need to be changed. For big time racing where
spectators are involved, we need to do a better job of explaining what
happened and why. We have the technology to do that (in the early days, the
NFL put a lot of hard work into explaining football, and it paid off
For the rest of us racing sailboats for fun (and okay, trophies too),
perhaps we need to simplify our own game by understanding the basic rules
and sailing by them; doing our turns when we screw up; talking about
situations we don't understand after races; and letting the spirit of the
RRS take precedence over the letter of those laws.
In our Friday night series in Oxford, Maryland, we don't allow protests.
That might sound radical; an invitation to a demolition derby, but our
fleet is mostly well-behaved. Competition is keen, and yet we often hear
this hail across the water: "Sail on."
Try it. You'll like it.
CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND CAVIAR DREAMS
Forty yachts, totaling almost three linear kilometers in length, were
'competing' this past week at the St Barths Bucket Regatta in the French
West Indies. The St. Barth's Bucket Regatta is an invitational event, open
to sailing yachts over 100' unless otherwise invited.
The Sailing Instructions includes extended safety sections to ensure that
the racing does not interfere with the fun. A pursuit start, a mandatory
Safety Tactician on each boat, permissible boat thruster use, and a minimum
of 40 meters amongst the yachts all help to keep collisions from spilling
The sheer diversity of this fleet was breathtaking, from classic Herreshoff
schooner Elena of London, to the ever-magnificent sight of Maltese Falcon
with her three Dyna Rig sails unfurled, "J" yachts Ranger and Hanuman,
racing machines Leopard and Sojanna, plus a slew of sleek Dubois beauties.
Of the 40 yachts sailing this year, an impressive 15 were new to the fleet.
A Scuttlebutt photo gallery with submissions from Pim Van Hemmen and Cory
Silken open the door to the world of 'champagne wishes and caviar dreams'
2011 SLAM ETCHELLS MID-WINTER WEST SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCED
Point Loma Outfitting is pleased to announce they will be the presenting
sponsor of the 2011 SLAM Etchells Mid-Winter West Regatta on April 8-10 in
San Diego. With the Etchells World Championship to be held at the same
venue in June, this event will provide an excellent opportunity to get used
to the local conditions. The entry list continue to grow, and already
includes several past world champions and Olympic medalists. To help the
local fleet, Point Loma Outfitting and SLAM have partnered in support of
the Mid-Winter West Regatta for the past several years as a way of "giving
back" to the sport. http://www.PointLomaOutfitting.com
POSTPONED IN PARADISE
(March 29, 2011) - The largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays,
Hamilton Island lies off the east coast of Australia, 16 kilometres from
the Queensland mainland, and is the main entry point for the Great Barrier
Reef. And with its azure waters, brilliant beaches, and fascinating flora
and fauna, it's nice... really nice.
A holiday destination used almost exclusively for tourism, this week
Hamilton Island is also host to the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship. Or at
least it's trying to. While two races were completed on Saturday, the high
winds and waves for the past three days have been deemed too dangerous for
American skipper Mike Martin and his crew Geoff Ewenson could not take the
sitting around any longer; Martin, apart from being the 2009 world
champion, is also a lover of heavy weather sailing. So down the sands to
their boat they went, and into the surf beating into Catseye Beach, while
the rest of the 85 boat fleet and assorted others watched and waited. As
the saying goes: "Warning - do not try this at home - it is dangerous".
And how did it go? "I thought it was going to be a little frightening,"
remarked Ewenson. "And yes, it was a little frightening, but it was great."
Fortunately, the media followed the duo on their escapade. Here is the
The race schedule continues on Wednesday through Friday. Sixteen teams
represent USA and Canada, with Americans Ted Conrads/Brian Haines and Mike
Holt/Carl Smit in a tie for second. --
OPENING THE DOOR
To help revitalize the E-Scow class on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, two
years ago a group of class members initiated the E-Scow grant program with
the Island Heights Sailing Foundation. The grant program was designed to
provide more access to the E-Scow for young sailors (under the age of 25),
and to participate competitively for a season.
Progress has been made. Four different skippers have had the opportunity to
put together a crew and campaign a boat. In the past two years, the
Barnegat Bay Yachting Association has seen a tremendous growth in E-Scow
sailing, and in the number of younger sailors who have caught on with the
"Crewing on the scow has become a hot ticket, and the foundation boats open
the class to sailors who, most likely, could not afford to compete,"
explained supporter Art Bailey. "In addition, the veteran E-Scow sailors
have helped the newer sailors succeed."
Now in its third year, two more grant winners - Andy Goetting and Randy
Hartranft - have been elected to receive support. Details:
WARM WATER. HOT RACING. GUARANTEED.
The travelling circus of Caribbean competition has moved this week from the
International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas, USVI over to Tortola, British
Virgin Islands for the 40th Anniversary BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing
Festival (March 30-April 3, 2011).
The start of the Sailing Festival's annual Bitter End Cup is Wednesday for
this 21-mile upwind course from Tortola's Nanny Cay Resort northwest
through the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the finishing line off of the
Bitter End Yacht Club (BEYC), situated on nearby Virgin Gorda. Once there,
sailors cam relax, socialize and sail the BEYC's dinghy and beach-cat fleet
that afternoon. On Thursday, the Nanny Cay Cup sees the fleet ease their
sheets and retrace their wake back to Nanny Cay.
While the bigger boats are racing to the BEYC and back, match racers will
be the staying in Nanny Cay for the inaugural Gill BVI International Match
Race Championships, a Grade-3 match-racing event. This event will be sailed
in IC 24s (modified J/24s) just off of Nanny Cay, with the winner receiving
an automatic invitation to the Chicago Match Racing Center's Grade 2 event
Things then get serious for some 140 boats on Friday (April 1) when the
guns for the 40th Anniversary BVI Spring Regatta begin sounding. On the SOL
course, the more ambitious boats will showcase their gybe-on-a-dime skills;
on the One Design course, IC24s will riffle through as many
windward-leewards - plus a few surprises - as they can handle; and on the
Norman course, the "more civilized" white-sail division will feature a
variety of scenic courses that will take the fleet around nearby rocks,
islands and marks.
Event website: http://www.bvispringregatta.org
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ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP
The European season gets into full swing this week in Palma de Mallorca,
Spain for the Princess Sofia Trophy, the third stop on the International
Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2010-2011 series. From April
4-9, over 600 teams from 59 countries will compete in 10 Olympic and one
Paralympic sailing class (2.4mR).
For the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG), the regatta is an important
qualifying event for the first of two selection events that will be used to
select the 2012 Olympic Sailing Team. "After a long winter of specialized
training and competition, our top Olympic-class athletes are ready to go
here in Palma," said USSTAG's High Performance Director/Head Coach Kenneth
Andreasen (Tampa, Fla.), adding that the U.S. 2.4mR athletes will not
compete in Palma and that competition in the Sonar and SKUD18 classes was
Racing starts Monday, April 4 and concludes with the medal race on
Saturday, April 9 in nine of the 10 Olympic Classes. Women's Match Racing
consist of an opening series, a knockout series, and a sail-off for boats
not advancing to the knockout series, with the final matches scheduled on
Saturday, April 9.
Here is a list of the USSTAG athletes who will be competing:
Event website: http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/
JOURNEY TO PALMA
Kyle Rogachenko, a member of the 2011 US Sailing Development Team (USSDT),
shares the challenges of getting to the island venue of Palma de Mallorca,
(A week ago on Monday) I called the shippers to make sure everything had
gone smoothly with my car and for directions how to pick it up in
Barcelona. There seemed to be some confusion on the phone and they needed
to call back later. I received a call back later in the day to find that my
car was only in Hamburg, Germany and it had not been loaded onto the ship
going to Barcelona. The only thing to do was change my flights and head
directly to Hamburg if I wanted to make it to Palma in time for training. I
moved my flight up to the Tuesday night red eye and arrived in Hamburg
A thirty minute taxi ride brought me to the Port of Hamburg (a very large
place). I found my way to the correct terminal and waited in line with all
of the regular truckers picking up anything from fruit to tractor parts. By
1:30pm I was on the road in my American Yukon XL headed for Barcelona,
Spain. I must mention that I don't speak any German and very few people
spoke any English. With map and printed directions in hand, I made it
straight through to Barcelona in 18 hours.
In Barcelona, I found the warehouse with all of the US team gear and
finally met up with my Laser! Fortunately, my Spanish is much better than
my French and German so communicating my plans to the employees in the
warehouse was relatively easy. All of my gear is now taken care of and it
is on to the issue of towing the US Laser trailer onto the ferry to Palma.
The Laser trailer was to arrive in Barcelona on the same day where USSTAG
sailor Caleb Paine would trade for his Finn trailer. There was a delay
moving the Laser trailer from storage in Weymouth, England so instead it
was decided that I would take the Finn trailer on my 11:00pm scheduled
ferry. I returned to the warehouse to find a brand new Finn coach boat
trailer (with unassembled racks) and Zach Railey's Finn. At this point is
was 7:30pm and time to get in line for the ferry. Thirty minutes, a couple
wrenches, and a fork lift later, the trailer was assembled with a Finn
riding on top. Back on Schedule!
My ferry to Palma arrived early this morning, Friday. The Finn trailer was
dropped off at the boat park and I headed to my hotel for some much needed
rest. You may have noticed that at this point I have not slept since Monday
night. So I ate plenty of food, drank a lot of water, and took a long (much
needed) nap. I plan to get settled in at the boat park on Saturday and head
out on the water for a short sail. Can't wait! --
* Since the demise of the Newport Spring show in the northeast two years
ago, a new spring boat show is coming to Mystic Seaport in Mystic,
Connecticut! SailQuest Mystic, a unique and family-oriented boat show, will
be held May 13 - 15, 2011. The show will include sailboats, trawlers,
downeast style power and select brokerage yachts from 20 to over 50 feet
long, as well as several land exhibits. Details:
* The World Sailing Speed Record Council has ratified a new 60 ft monohull
24 hour distance record. The new record, set by co-skippers Jean Pierre
Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA) on the Open 60 Virbac-Paprec 3 while competing
in the Barcelona World Race on January 21-22, is now 506.333 nm for an
average speed of 21.1 kts. The previous record of 501.3 nm/20.9kts was set
in 2007 by Alex Thompson/Andrew Cape (GBR/GBR) on the Open 60Hugo Boss. --
* Sport+Markt, one of the leading sports research and consultancy
companies, have concluded their research and evaluation of the 2010 Audi
MedCup Circuit with a result that ascertains the world's leading regatta
circuit returned 41,1 million euros in terms of media impact over the
course of the year. The study was focused primarily in six countries:
United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Portugal. -- Details:
* (March 30, 2011; Day 4; 00:12 UTC) - The VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet have been
relishing champagne sailing conditions - a stark contrast to the grey, cold
and wet Southern Ocean environment of the previous two sprints. Now leading
the 5700 nm fourth leg of the VELUX 5 OCEANS race from Punta del Este,
Uruguay to Charleston, American Brad Van Liew has increased his margin over
second place Derek Hatfield (CAN) to 25nm. -- http://www.velux5oceans.com/
* (March 29, 2011, Day 87; 21:01 UTC) - Barcelona World Race leader
Virbac-Paprec 3 expects to have one last blast of strong winds and agitated
seas to pass through before the challenges of Gibraltar, which they will
arrive at Thursday night or Friday morning. Co-skippers Jean Pierre
Dick/Loick Peyron (FRA/FRA) are 939 nm from the finish, with Iker
Martinez/Xabi Fernandez (ESP/ESP) on MAPFRE 325.7 nm behind. --
SUMMER IS COMING. ARE YOU READY?
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The April Fools edition of Scuttlebutt is coming Friday. This newsletter
for April 1st is completely written by Scuttlebutt readers who are
empowered to seek out all sectors of the sport... and have a little fun
with it. The more unique, yet plausible, the better chance the story will
be selected. The submission deadline is Wednesday, March 30th. Send stories
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: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum/industry_news
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 Wade Aust:
Great article on youth windsurfing (in Scuttlebutt 3307). People who have
never mastered windsurfing do not understand the subtlety of board and rig
handling and how easily it translates to dinghies, catamarans and
keelboats. Great example: leaning the rig forward downwind to promote
airflow up and over the rig is common in windsurfers, Stars (extreme
example) and any other racing boat that uses stays. I can provide numerous
other examples. Moreover, they are easier to transport and give kids an
early taste of planing - great preparation for the new breed of boats.
* From John Evans: (re, simplifying the rules in Scuttlebutt 3308)
Russell Coutts obviously has obviously not looked at the RRS lately. Six
pages of the RRS are more than enough for 90 percent of sailors to race
honestly and safely.
If Russell Coutts wants to find a bandwagon he might want to look at the 53
pages of Advice to Race Officers on Misconduct. If sailors obeyed the rules
10 - 23 of the RRS, those 53 pages would be unnecessary.
* From Larry Zeitlin:
"Simplifying the rules of sailing would hurt the sport" as stated in
Scuttlebutt 3308...what utter nonsense. I fully agree with Russell Coutts
that sailing rules can only be understood by professional diplomats.
Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, has only 17 rules. Only half
of them are procedural, controlling the action of the game. The rest simply
describe the dimensions of the field of play, the nature of the ball and
the player's equipment, and the number and duties of officials.
Sailing officials should winnow down the rules to a precious few. Certainly
no more than 20. Sailing is a simple sport. Maneuvering a boat from one
place to another with the aid of the wind. Can it be more complicated than
Soccer or Rugby? I think not.
=> Curmudgeon's Comment: If it was okay for boats to have the same level of
contact as soccer players, then I agree we could do away with some of
sailing's rules. As John Evans notes above, the most relevant rules in
sailing are included in Part 2 - When Boats Meet. This section includes six
pages for Rules 10 through 23 (13 rules). The only other biggee is Rule 42
(propulsion) in Part 4.
You know when you're getting old when many of the people in People Magazine
you've never heard of.
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