SCUTTLEBUTT 3334 - Wednesday, May 4, 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: USSTAG and APS.
By Nick Hayes, author
You’re probably reading this because you’re a sailor. But imagine that
you’re not a sailor. You’ve never done it, but always wanted to. You find a
sailing club that supplies all the boats and all the equipment and free
training to learn to sail and then use the boats as often as you want for
about $25 bucks a month. Sound like a good way to start?
You arrive for your first lesson, pull on a supplied wetsuit, a PFD and a
hiking harness and help rig a 15-foot planing dinghy with a high-tech
high-roach main, a roller furling blade and an asymmetrical kite on a
sprit. You’ve never sailed before, but you’re going to start by driving
this turboed machine in a 20-25 knot San Francisco bay breeze.
I saw this happen last summer, while visiting the area talking about Saving
Sailing (note: Nick authored a book by the same name). I was a guest crew
on a training sail that was extreme sailing for most, but the first time
ever for one of the students on board. In two hours, everyone drove,
tacked, jibed, trimmed and hiked. We experienced long stretches of
white-knuckle planing and capsized twice, so it was thrilling for me, a
thirty-plus year veteran and a sport-boat lover. The instructor was
excellent -- a calm voice with an eye toward safety and big fun -- and the
students, one a college kid and the other 70-ish, were ready for more when
it was over.
But there is more.
The Cal Sailing Club is everything you don’t expect about a teaching
sailing organization. It provides immersion learning at its best, but it
teaches far more than sailing skills.
There is no paid staff. Not one. There is no formal class schedule. If you
want to learn to sail, you put your name on a calendar for the time that
works for you, and a volunteer instructor tries to make the time work,
first come, first serve. Volunteer teachers are rewarded for giving their
time with reduced membership fees. There is no classroom, so most of the
teaching happens on the water. And since it happens aboard these ultra fast
boats and in big bay breeze, learning comes fast. It might take a newcomer
only a handful of on-water classes to “qualify” to use the club’s boats
anytime that they want. Training can go on as long as the student needs it
Once a Cal Sailing Club member feels confident enough to take and pass a
safety and sailing test, they are not just a member with a right to boats,
they are also welcome to take guests, but more importantly, to volunteer to
teach other newcomers.
Think about that for a minute: you might have just started sailing a year
ago, and now you’re teaching aboard a sailing rocket-ship in what might be
called a “small craft advisory” in most parts of the world.
I must report that the Cal Sailing Club is an extreme outlier; they sit
either on the farthest bleeding edge of innovation in sailing development
and instruction, or, arguably, they do things the way they used to be done.
Today’s typical sailing teaching organizations are far more structured,
with indoor and outdoor curriculum, set schedules, a more conservative
fleet and more docile prevailing weather, and paid professionals and
While it’s true that you will find excellent sailing graduates from both
the super-structured schools and the Cal Sailing Club, this place is
special in a radical way. -- SpinSheet Magazine, read on:
FOR WHOM DOES THE OLYMPIC BELL TOLL? - PART 1
Co-incidental with the conduct of trials designed to give sailing’s most
prestigious and oldest trophy, the America’s Cup, it’s most dramatic
makeover in 160 years, the International Sailing Federation will this week
meet to decide whether it too, has the courage to make fundamental changes
to its pinnacle event, the Olympic Sailing Regatta and its lead-up events
The time for back room consultation, avoiding the hard decisions, kite
flying and decision avoiding is over. This week the world body of sailing
will be put to the test to determine whether it has the fortitude to make
the change that is both required and overdue.
After making some progress, including the formation and reporting of its
Olympic Commission - set up on the realisation of some rather disturbing
statistics arising from the 2008 Olympics and a trend fuelled over several
Olympiads, the organisation now seems to have lost the plot.
The world body of sailing took a battering in November 2007, when its
ruling body, the ISAF Council voted by a narrow majority to eliminate the
Multihull as an Olympic Event for 2012. Just over three years later, they
will most likely about face and put the Multihull Event back into the 2016
Fixing mistakes is not something at which the ISAF is accomplished. Its
modus operandi is more to make very slow deliberate moves, at a pace
determined largely by dogma, sailing politics and reshuffling the same old
deck of worn cards. -- Sail-World, read on: http://tinyurl.com/SW-050311
CALENDAR: The 2016 Olympic events will be decided at the 2011 ISAF Mid-Year
Meeting in St Petersburg, Russia on May 4-8.
As the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ 2011 campaign moves on to Medemblik,
one thing is becoming pretty clear: our women rock! Paige Railey is
consistently at or near the top in the Radial, Erin Maxwell and Isabelle
Farrar have made huge strides in the 470 since they focused full-time on
sailing, and we have three world-class match racing teams led by Anna
Tunnicliffe, Sally Barkow and Genny Tulloch. Here at Atlantis, we’ve made
some pretty significant strides in 2011 as well as with a new line of
women’s performance gear that looks as good as it works. Check it out at
SAILING IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN
American Terry Hutchinson, who is skippering the Artemis Racing challenge
entry for the 34th America's Cup, shares his views about parenting and
sailing on the Clever Pig website:
* Do you enjoy being involved in sailing as a parent?
TH: Yes and no. I want my kids to love sailing for what it is to them, not
to me. The worst thing that can happen is for a coach or competitor to
compare my child to me or set certain expectations because Elias, Katherine
or Aden are my children. If they love the sport and the independence that
sailing brings to them, then that is enough for me.
* How does your sailing expertise affect your kids' sailing?
TH: It doesn't. I still get on the boat and they tell me what to do.
Nothing is different on land or on the water.
* What advice would you give to all the young sailors who are at the
beginning of their careers?
TH: Enjoy the sport and keep it for what it is at this point in your life.
Sailing is a life sport and you can achieve many great things, but the most
important things will be the people you meet and the relationships you make
through this great sport.
* What advice would you give to parents of young sailors?
TH: Remember that sailing is supposed to be fun. If you ram the sport down
a child's throat to the point that they don't enjoy the sailing, it will
chase them away forever. Not every child is going to be an Olympian or a
World Champion but that should not be the goal. If they have fun and enjoy
it, you will increase the chances of medals....
Full interview: http://tinyurl.com/CP-050311
BUT CAN IT MIX DRINKS?
While there is yet to be an app that can mix a good margarita,
theAppWhisperer.com has created a top 10 guide for iPhone and iPad sailing
apps. The one app that got our attention was the Sailboat Race Starter. The
SRS is an ISAF Countdown Timer for racing sailboats that includes:
- A sync feature which allows you to sync your time with the race committee
if you miss the warning signal.
- Audible alerts and vibration as timer approaches race start.
- A feature to mark both ends of the start line using GPS technology, with
the app providing information on how far away from the line you are, and
how long it will take to get there.
We are not sure how well it works for start line support, but when the
closest alternative may be the Velocitek ProStart ($599), the nominal app
fee could be worth trying. Has anybody test-driven the SRS?
Here is the full list of apps on the top 10 guide:
The Scuttlebutt website launched the Marine Industry News Forum so
companies could get free exposure by posting their personnel, product and
service updates online. In addition to website traffic, Scuttlebutt editors
randomly select updates each week to include in the Thursday edition of the
Here is the link to post Industry News updates:
* Newport, RI (May 3, 2011) - Following the recent launch of the PUMA
Racing Team’s new VO 70, the team began sailing the boat this week and
plans to take their entry for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race on a training
run to Miami, FL, departing approximately on May 11. The team will continue
to trial Mar Mostro on the east coast of the U.S. until they depart for
Europe as part of the Transatlantic Race, which starts in Newport, RI, July
4. The VOR starts in Alicante, Spain on October 29. --
* The ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings has seen some significant movement
in many of the Olympic Sailing Events and Paralympic Classes after the
Semaine Olympique Française in Hyeres, France. With four of the seven
events of the 2010-11 season completed, the U.S. is the only North American
country in the top five of any event, claiming positions in two of the
three Paralympic events and seven of the ten Olympic events. Complete
standings here: http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/standings/index.php
* The Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI) sailing team, which includes
three Bermudian sailors, is the top-ranked co-ed team in the U.S. That’s
according to the latest collegiate sailing poll by Sailing World magazine,
which determines the rankings based on an open coaches’ poll. The team
includes three sailors trained in the ranks of the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy
Association: Haley Powell, Sean Bouchard and Cameron Pimentel. This past
weekend they placed third in their regional collegiate semi finals and will
be one of eighteen teams competing for the Dinghy National Championship. --
* Fans of the Velux 5 Oceans will be able to ask their favourite skippers
questions in an audio/video webchat program to be held on May 10-11. Each
of the four skippers will chat with fans for 30 minutes in the lead up to
the final sprint across the North Atlantic from Charleston in the USA to La
Rochelle, France. The start of ocean sprint five has been delayed from its
scheduled date of May 14 to 3pm EST (1900 UTC) on Sunday May 27.
APS CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
APS is the brainchild of Kyle Gross. After getting his feet wet sailing in
Annapolis, Kyle recognized the need for a business that would supply dinghy
racers with everything they needed - from foul weather gear to obscure boat
parts that seemed impossible to find. In 1991, he did what any young
entrepreneur would do - he went to the bank and got a loan to open a shop.
The rest is APS history. APS 'The World Leader in Outfitting Performance
Sailors' shares its history: an interview with the President, timeline
video, and old catalog covers will make you feel nostalgic.
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 H.L. DeVore:
In response to the story in Scuttlebutt 3333, "For Youth Sailors To Become
Life Sailors", I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with the statement "The key factor
for youth sailors to become lifelong sailors is to have fun..."
I am a youth sailor that became a life sailor. I had the good fortune to
grow up in Watch Hill, RI which is (and was) the absolutely most fun most
place to experience ALL of the aspects of sailing. We went flipping, we
fired bottle rockets from our Lasers, we swam, beached our boats had
bonfires when on mini-cruises AND we raced. We did things we shouldn't have
done and we did things that were "scary" and taught us lessons to be better
sailors and more responsible people ultimately.
Very little of my love of sailing actually comes from competitive racing,
but I do that too. I wouldn't say I'm the fastest sailor out there. I am
often more interested in swinging on the spinnaker pole, fishing, swimming
or dreaming of trying that thing we used to call "Spinnaker Flying" when
you anchor from your stern. I enjoy the beauty of boats, water, nature,
sunrises and the smell of the ocean mist.
Sure, I rescued a Shields from three years on the bottom of Long Island
Sound and won the Nationals in it. That was cool, but my fondest memories
go much deeper than simple competition. I am very pleased my talented four
sailing daughters will be sailing Pixels this year instead of 420's. I am
very pleased that they are looking forward to goofing around in boats,
flipping and swimming.
* From Craig Fletcher: (re, story in Scuttlebutt 3333)
The Melges 24 Worlds is a perfect example of the state of sailing.
Extremely high priced sailing, to go race a bunch of pro's, with no chance
of winning if you are an amateur.
It's time ISAF faces reality; the majority of people who sail are amateurs.
Yet ISAF continues to pretend the amateurs love getting their heads beat in
by the pro's at every national and international regatta.
It is time to get the pros out of amateur sailing. The cost will come down
and the sport will grow. Note that the Etchells Worlds in San Diego next
month had low entries too, which resulted in the class relaxing the
COMMENT: There are few purely professional events, with the bulk of pros
earning their income in amateur events, gaining daily fees from owners who
are willing to pay for their services. Currently, ISAF does not limit
professional sailors in the sport, it only provides the guidelines to
determine what activities warrant a person receiving a Group 3
classification (ie, pro sailor). The only current limits in the sport
regarding the participation of pro sailors are those provided by a class of
boat or an event. Neither the Melges 24 or Etchells limit the participation
of pro sailors. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor
* From Chip Nilsen
Jim Fulton has a point and your comment (Scuttlebutt) drives further down
the track as it relates to the viewing experience of sailing to date.
Flying like sailing is much more analogous than the NASCAR example so
commonly used when talking about the spectator experience or the viewing
Howard Hughes was I believe the first to run into this issue filming the
epic 1930’s “HELLS ANGLES”. He understood the thrill and excitement in
flying but struggled to bring it to the screen. Howard Hughes, after
millions of dollars and thousands of hours of filming, realized that he
needed something in the background to showcase the film in order to feel
the speed and thrill of the dog fight, in his case “Clouds”.
He waited months to film the dog fights within the clouds in order to bring
the excitement to the audience. Sailing has the same issue of an open blue
sky/ocean in the background which will need to be overcome in order to
bring the excitement to the viewer. The technology, the San Francisco Bay
and the AC Cats along with Russell Coutts vision of the CUP have all the
right ingredients to bring the viewing experience of sailing to a level
comparable to a epic film, 18’s on Sydney Harbor comes to mind.
Like Hughes’s clouds, the Bay will provide multiple hard shorelines with a
variety of backdrops... and let’s not forget the fog. This along with the
dynamic movement of tankers, ferries, spectators yachts and the speeds of
the cats, not to mention the mishap potential will give the 2013 AC34 the
viewing thrill factor like never seen before, I cannot wait….
* From Matteo Salva:
I wanted to inform you that of an astonishing interview published on
Friday, April 29, on Style magazine, where Russell Coutts said that 65% of
the budget of an America's Cup campaign is in the cost of the crew (see the
attachment). Beyond the reasonable doubt that this statement may correspond
to the truth, Coutts puts forward a brilliant solution: reduce the number
of persons on board from 17 to 11, thus creating unemployment and
While he continues to earn his 10 million dollars a year - making him to be
the highest paid sportsman in New Zealand - others who earn much less than
him are out of their job. I'm the voice of hundreds of sailors, riggers,
boat builders and shore managers unemployed. We all thank Russell Coutts
Here is the Style magazine article:
Money talks. Chocolate sings.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Gowrie Group - JK3 Nautical Enterprises - North U - North Sails
Camet - USSTAG - APS - Melges Performance Sailboats
Ullman Sails - O’pen BIC - Quantum Sails
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