SCUTTLEBUTT 3331 - Friday, April 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: The Pirates Lair and O’Pen BIC.
FOR THE GOOD OF SAILING...MAGIC BUTTONS AND ALL
By Leighton O'Connor, photographer
(April 28, 2011) - I was invited to a press conference in New Zealand on
Thursday where they were wrapping up the third day of testing the new
course configuration and technical systems for the AC45's. Unfortunately, I
had to journey down under via a conference call. The kick off time was 4PM
their time - midnight my time. I figured what the heck. Conan is all
repeats this week and Letterman has been pretty lame lately.
I was late in getting dialed in because my land-line didn't like the
conference call software. I joined the press conference in mid sentence of
Principal Race Officer John Craig as he described how protests will be
handled. "Boats will have magic buttons,” explained Craig. “Skippers can
press a button for a black protest flag or a button for a red protest flag
. That request goes to the umpire booth, they review it and they will
declare if there is a penalty or not and text the offender." What? It was
late, but did I hear that right? Magic buttons? Texting a skipper?
America's Cup CEO and the Regatta Director Iain Murray and Craig took turns
answering questions about the weird high tech gadgets on the AC45's. The
skippers will have four buttons. Two for protests and two to announce tacks
and room. So if James Spithill wants to protest Terry Hutchinson, he
presses a button. The umpires are notified instantly in their cozy booth on
land that there is a protest.
The umpires will now be using monitors to determine protests. If they feel
the protest is justified, they issue a penalty to the offending boat's
black box via a text message making lights blink on and off on the box and
the skipper needs to take the penalty. Not only do the umpires get cues
from the magic buttons, all the teams get a text about other team's
protests and penalties via their own black box with blinking lights.
"The boats can be tracked within two centimeters and are tracked ten times
per a second. We are testing the tracking this week to see if it's accurate
enough for calling the start line," Craig said. Imagine calling the line
from a booth on land and not even seeing the boats? Just a little weird.
And in case the umpire's tracking software goes bad, there will be umpires
on two jet skies watching the action the old fashion way and reporting back
to the land locked umpires. -- Scuttlebutt Forum, read on:
NEED TO ASSESS WHO THE CUSTOMERS ARE
By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor
I remember it well. The Snipe class had awarded the 1995 U.S. Nationals to
Richmond Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay. Now, this is a great club with a
one design tradition, and it was the hub of Snipe racing on the Bay. But
the Nationals were scheduled for August. And on SF Bay, the wind snorts in
The Snipe class is main/jib only doublehander that’s popular on both
coasts, but also quite popular in the interior of the country. I knew the
top teams would welcome the venue, but big wind, waves, and current would
be a bit much for the lake sailors. To get a good attendance at this event,
the organizers would have to lie through their teeth about the conditions.
When I say lie, I mean it in only the savviest marketing sense. They just
left out details. Their big pitch was that the race course would be close
to the club, and positioned in the lighter winds to leeward of Angel
Island. And this was all true. But the reality is that Angel Island could
only do so much, and when the fleet got out to the reach mark (because we
reached back then), it was a carnival of carnage.
Despite their marketing plan, the event only drew 41 boats, lowest turnout
in 43 years. I recall the first couple days during qualifying, where my
wife/crew and I raced only as much as we had to so as to save strength for
the finals. We weren’t in good enough shape to sail full-on for five days,
and this strategy helped us survive to finish second overall.
Why am I sharing this story? In two weeks, the Melges 24 World Championship
will be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. This class has grown to be an
exceedingly competitive fleet, and the conditions for this Worlds are going
to be warm and windy, really really windy. For a well-sailed sportboat,
this should be Mecca. So why have only 34 boats registered?
I believe the top teams will go just about anywhere to compete. Give them a
decent location with decent conditions, and they will fight it out for the
big pickle dish. But for the rest of the class, the Worlds should provide a
convention of both competition and camaraderie. And this venue appears to
have missed the mark. Said one professional sailor who preferred to remain
nameless, “You couldn’t pay me enough to sail this year. That event is
going to eat up the crew.”
No doubt, the sailing in Corpus is going to be off the hook, and I have
every reason to believe the event hosts at Corpus Christi Yacht Club will
show competitors a great time - because that’s how they roll in the south.
But when the event only pulls 34 boats, half that of the previous year in
Estonia and two thirds of the 2009 entrants in Annapolis for a dreary fall
event, all class organizers need to assess who the customers are, and how
can they best be served. -- Scuttleblog,
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ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP - EVENT FOUR
Hyeres, France (April 28, 2011) - Ever since the inclusion of the Medal
race, which advances only the top ten in the Olympic fleet events to a
single non-drop double point race, days like today at the Semaine Olympique
Française are all about who is in, and who is out.
At the fourth event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup season, the Medal race
tomorrow (Friday) is for those that survived the cut. But the intent of the
Medal race was to keep the event alive with a high value final race. But
dominance in four of the nine Olympic events - Finn, 470 Men, 470 Women,
and Star - finds the gold medal confirmed.
Most dominant among the events was Ben Ainslie (GBR), who won 6 of the 10
Finn races and never finished out of the top ten. “It’s nice to win with a
day to spare - it takes the pressure off the medal race,” notes Ainslie.
“There’re a lot of new faces [in the fleet] and there’s been some changes -
it’s much more physical now than we’ve seen in the past, which is good.
It’s hard work, but it’s good - I think it makes the class very physical. I
guess that’s what the Olympics is all about, right?”
Among the North Americans advancing to the Medal race are Zach Railey
(Finn, 3rd), Erin Maxwell/ Isabelle Farrar (470 Womens, 7th), George Szabo/
Mark Strube (Star, 4th), Andrew Campbell/ Ian Coleman (Star, 5th) and Rick
Merriman/ John Von Schwarz (Star. 10th) of the United States. In the
Women’s Match Race, Lucy Macgregor (GBR) eliminated Genny Tulloch/ Alice
Manard Leonard/ Jenn Chamberlin (USA) 3-1 in the Quarterfinals, with
Macgregor advancing tp face Sally Barkow/ Elizabeth Kratzig/ Alana O'Reilly
(USA) in the Finals.
Racing concludes on April 29. Racing begins at 10 am. Daily report/results:
GETTING THE JOB DONE
After winning the 2008 Women’s 470 World Championship, Erin Maxwell and
Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar (USA) have been juggling work and competition as
they seek to represent the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics. Their results have
suffered during this span, but they are putting their ‘real lives’ on hold
this year so as to have no regrets. It’s hard not to like these two, who
consistently crank out daily reports from their events. Their update from
Thursday was a particularly good one...
We placed 6th in the one race today, and moved up one spot to 7th overall!
We accomplished our goal of qualifying for the medal race, and are in a
position to move up to 6th place tomorrow!
We started the day in 8th place. The pressure was on to have a good race
today in order to qualify for tomorrow's medal race. We had to beat two of
the three teams immediately behind us, BRA 177, JPN 4151 and GBR 855.
Additionally, CRO 111 was only 13 points back, and FRA 9 and RUS 700 were
only 15 points back. In a 55 boat fleet, those points can disappear in a
hurry! We knew that with that many boats to worry about, our best plan was
to do well in the race. After all, if we placed 4th or better, we were
guaranteed to be in the medal race!
The forecast for today was dismal, but as we launched a light southeasterly
filled in. We saw this same direction yesterday, and had seen better
pressure on the left. Looking upwind before the race, we thought that it
looked like that same pressure was on the left again, so we decided to go
left. We had another great start at the pin, left end of the line, and
As we sailed left, the breeze picked up about 2 knots to approximately 8
knots. We were set up for 6 knots, so struggled with our speed initially
before we changed our settings. We did well on the left with pressure and a
left shift. We approached the windward mark somewhere between 12th and 15th
-- awesome! FRA 9 was third around the windward mark, and GBR 855 was just
two boats in front of us. All the other teams that we wanted to beat were
behind us. -- Read on: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/11/0428/
* Following a hugely successful campaign in the Clipper 09-10 Round the
World Yacht Race and an overall position of second place, Finland has
confirmed it will return to the race track with an entry in Clipper 11-12.
At 40,000 miles the Clipper Race is the world’s longest global ocean race
and this year’s entry, named Visit Finland, will act as a floating
billboard as she races around the world, promoting the region as a tourist
destination to an audience of more than half a billion people who visit the
race stopovers or follow it in the media, over the course of eleven months.
-- Full story:
* (April 28, 2011) - Velux 5 Oceans racer Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski has
passed the halfway mark of his passage from Fortaleza in Brazil to
Charleston, USA. The Polish solo skipper pulled into Fortaleza for 11 days
during this race leg to repair damage that included a broken forestay and
bowsprit, and also to help heal broken ribs. He expects to finish the leg
in Charleston in five to seven days. The final race leg from Charleston to
La Rochelle, France begins May 14th. -- http://www.velux5oceans.com
* With the completion of the Barcelona World Race, the 2010 rankings in the
IMOCA Open 60 class find Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) on top. Each
year, the IMOCA class draws up its rankings based on the results of the
previous two years, with these rankings using the results from the 2009
Istanbul Europa Race, the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre, the 2010 Route du
Rhum and the 2010 Barcelona World Race. Full report:
IT’S NOT TOO LATE
It’s not too late for 2011 to excite your junior sailors. Several prominent
Yacht Clubs, Community Programs, and Camps are taking delivery of their
O’Pen BICs and/or windsurfing fleets in May, June, and July. As retention
rates in sailing programs remain an issue, it’s no coincidence that modern
alternatives for kids are hot topics at the National Sailing Program
Symposium and the Yacht Club Summit. You can join the fun too. See why more
Junior Programs are successfully adding excitement at O'Pen BIC and Techno
293 windsurfing (see videos below). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
508-291-2770. BIC also offers great Stand Up Paddleboards.
O'Pen BIC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9_botWb8KU
Techno 293: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOa8rhmGI7c
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include reggae regatta, new breed of boats, public helicopter, proud man,
nice ride, and Opti-zoo. Here are this week’s photos:
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the
Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
The choice of events for the 2016 Olympics will be the focus of the 2011
ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in St Petersburg, Russia on May 4-8. One of the 10
events in question is Women's Match Racing, which will debut at the 2012
While the Video of the Week feature is not for politics, this week's clip
provides a unique presentation of how match racing believes it fits into
the objectives of the Olympics. The video is fast paced, well produced,
entertaining, and exhausting (in a good way). And it's only 1:51 minutes!
BONUS 1: Have you ever seen a Laser stick the bow into a wave downwind and
“head down the mine”? That’s what happened when 12 Laser Masters went out
on San Francisco Bay for Pre Worlds Master Clinic:
BONUS 2: When you need a ‘personal day’ from work to recharge the
batteries, where do you go? Philippe Kahn recently snuck down to Santa Cruz
harbor to take out his Devoti-One singlehander. And he strapped on a GoPro
Hero Camera to the sprit to show us how fun an outing like this can be.
BONUS 3: There may be a time when it gets old watching the America’s Cup
catamarans capsize, but it’s not yet. Here is a video of the latest
casualty when Oracle Racing ‘crossed the line’: http://youtu.be/ddZNDavV4Y4
BONUS 4: The 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race doesn’t start until October, but the
Kiwi team is already trialing their boat AND Media Crew Member (MCM) Hamish
Hoooper. Here he provides a slice of life off the east coast of New Zealand
as the crew onboard CAMPER battle through winds in excess of 40 knots. Good
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:email@example.com
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 A L Crafer: (re, ‘Call to Arms’ in Scuttlebutt 3330)
I completely disagree and cannot believe that Scuttlebutt is promoting
sailors to oppose the bill. Anything that helps to preserve the world's
seas, oceans, lakes and waterways should be commended.
* From Renata Goodridge
Why is it that if I can find this (ePaint, a copper-free antifouling paint)
on the internet in under three minutes and the RBOC can't??? There is no
excuse for all sailors not to change to products that help to keep our
waters clean. And if it has to start with recreational boaters, then step
up and set the example!
* From Brian Todd:
Regarding the comment in Butt 3329 by John Harwood Bee about Olympic costs,
the World wide sailing community and the town of Weymouth has already seen
the benefits of the Olympic investment in the area with the new facilities
set up for the Games. In several visits, I have seen this community
transformed to a World class sailing venue for not only the Olympic sailors
but for the hundreds of local kids that sail from the site on a daily basis
in a safe clean environment.
On top of this the local community and businesses must be doing very well
as it is very difficult to even get a room in the area unless it is a long
term lease. The site is also recouping costs by charging countries for
parking boats on site, up to the Olympics (and it’s not a small amount,
As an example, Kingston Ontario Canada, home of the sailing in 1976
Montreal Olympics, 35 years later still holds the annual CORK regatta plus
numerous World and continental championships from the venue. It is also the
home of the Canadian Yachting Association. As all Games, it is not about
the year that they are held, it is about the legacy and what they will do
for sport for years to come.
NOTE: Thanks, ugh, for the reminder of how the U.S. has no lasting legacy
from the sailing events of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
* From Roger Marshall:
With two sons active in sailing all the way from optis to worlds - and at
last count ten boats, including a J 22 and a J 24, in the yard and driveway
- I find the issue of coaches in sailing to be a no brainer. Aren't we all
coaches at some point? Haven't we all helped a newbie or a beginner learn
more about 'our" fleet, "our" boat or "our" race course? Haven't we all
been a fleet follower in a powerboat? The goal is to share and impart
information to improve every sailor.
At a recent Worlds, my sons got help from a "pro" sailmaker who volunteered
(read coached) to help them go faster and compete against him. When they
returned to their fleet they spent time helping others in their fleet to
compete with them. As one member of the fleet said, "By their going to the
worlds, they raised the bar for the entire fleet."
Whether the coach is paid or not, the best coaches help everyone. Having a
coaching boat in the area is a safety net for all junior sailors. For
people concerned about coach boats on the race course, simply write in the
Sailing Instructions to keep coaches outside a designated area during a
race and ban communication with the sailors until after the races.
There are people who look to you for stability, so hide when you bite your
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
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