SCUTTLEBUTT 3372 - Tuesday, June 28, 2011
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REFLECTING ON THIS TRAGEDY WITH DISBELIEF
By Hal Whitacre, Commodore, Severn Sailing Association
The last several days have been notably some of the most challenging of my
life. As the Commodore of Severn Sailing Association, I am faced with great
responsibilities relating to the loss of a fellow sailor. Even more
difficult for me, as a father of three children, are the haunting emotions
and sympathy I feel for the grieving family of Olivia Constants, a young
sailor on our junior race team who lost her life in a sailing accident last
I can only reflect on this tragedy with disbelief. Surely we all often
think of the dangers of the sea as we venture from the dock. Seldom,
though, do we hear of a life-threatening event occurring in our local
sailing community. In general, accidents of this magnitude are rare and
this one involved experienced sailors and competent instructors. However,
the rarity of such an accident is no comfort to me or any other parent.
My understanding thus far is that the 420 capsized to windward while
sailing downwind, and then rolled into a "turtled" position (mast pointing
downward). The coach immediately approached the boat, radioed for
additional assistance, and worked diligently to dislodge Olivia, who at
that moment appeared to be unconscious. Concurrently, another instructor
phoned 911. Once she was retrieved from the water, coaches immediately
performed CPR and proceeded to the Naval Academy's seawall,which was the
nearest point of land,to meet the emergency response team. Unfortunately,
Olivia could not be resuscitated.
At this point the exact cause of Olivia's drowning is unknown and under
investigation by Maryland DNR.
Conditions at the time were excellent for training, and both sailors have
sailed, and capsized, in much rougher conditions. Both Olivia, her skipper,
and all coaches were wearing their PFDs, in accordance with our Junior
The Severn Sailing Association's junior sailing program has a history of
over 50 years of producing world-class sailors, from local champions to
Olympic sailors; with thousands of students having safely completed the
program. The current junior program, consistent with our past programs, is
committed to making sailing accessible to the public and to help those
wanting to pursue higher levels in the sport. Our sailing program director
and his coaches have a passion to teach, and hold safety as a top priority.
As a result of this incident we are reviewing and critiquing our safety
procedures and equipment. As with any incident such as this, a greater
light is shown on safety and with this focus good safety measures can be
made even better. As this incident has had far reaching impact within the
greater junior sailing community, we have reached out to other junior
programs to both tell them our current safety thinking and to glean any
additional information they may have to contribute. We intend to have an
independent, expert, organization perform a safety review of our junior
program equipment and procedures and will share our findings with the
greater sailing community.
I have been in contact with the Constants family and they are very
appreciative of the outpouring of support and love expressed for Olivia. I
am grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. There has
been a clear message encouraging the club to continue with the current
program and its positive contributions to youth instruction and the
promotion of sailing. We appreciate your support of our program, and
particularly to our staff.
Olivia will be greatly missed by everyone. Our thoughts and prayers remain
with her family.
Brazilian Star sailor Robert Scheidt is one of the most decorated sailing
Olympians ever, having competed in four Olympic Games winning gold in the
Laser in 1996 and 2004.
But his journey on the international sailing scene began in the small
Scottish town of Largs in North Ayrshire. This is where Scheidt sailed the
Laser at the 1991 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship winning the gold
medal ahead of Dean Barker (NZL).
"The Youth Worlds in 1991 was an amazing event for me," said Scheidt. "It
was probably the event that made me more confident about myself and my
chances of being a great athlete."
Five years on from the 1991 Scheidt was picking up Laser gold at the 1996
Atlanta Olympic Sailing Competition ahead of another former ISAF Youth
Worlds gold medallist, Ben Ainslie (GBR).
And Scheidt, now sailing the Star with fellow Brazilian Bruno Prada, offers
advice to this year's competitors, "For the young guys who are going to
this year's event, just enjoy it. It is like the mini Olympics and will
show who will be the future champions. Enjoy it, make friends and do the
best you can." -- Full report: http://www.sailing.org/36154.php
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HE HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
Bruce Stone really, really likes racing J/105s. On Saturday morning, he
flew from Rhode Island, where he'd just spent the week competing at Block
Island Race Week, to San Francisco, where he had just enough time to zip
down to St. Francis YC and lead his Arbitrage team out to the racecourse
for the first start of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta.
In Block Island, the team was racing a borrowed boat in light and variable
conditions; returning to San Francisco, they were back in a familiar boat,
racing in familiar, 18-25 knot conditions. "It was like putting on an old
pair of shoes," says Nicole Breault, who calls tactics and trims mainsail.
"And that's such a good feeling. You just know when it's happening. All the
information is coming in, everyone is doing their job, and the boathandling
is like clockwork. If we had to make a last-minute douse at the leeward
gate, the team just made it happen."
With flawless crew work, stellar starts, and a never-say-die attitude, the
Arbitrage team put up a 2-1-2-1-2 scoreline to win the 17-boat J/105 class
and earn the event's overall prize, which includes an invite to compete in
the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship regatta this November in the British
Virgin Islands. "There were plenty of times this weekend when we found
ourselves in a tight spot," says Stone. "At a couple of the starts, we were
sandwiched between two good sailors and had to fight to maintain our lane.
Other times, we'd get the slows in the heavy chop, and we'd have to make
some adjustments to get back up to speed."
In addition to Stone and Breault, the Arbitrage team includes Terry Brennan
(pit), Mike Straus (trimmer), Will Madison (bow), and Marc Acheson (mast).
"What makes the teamwork good," says Breault, "is when you do make
mistakes, you fix them right away."
Stone moved to San Francisco from the East Coast in the early 1980s and has
been running a bi-coastal program for the past 11 years. "We keep Arbitrage
here on the Bay, and then we borrow boats on the East Coast," he says. "We
find owners who want to race but don't have a team, or don't have the
experience, and then we bring the team, help rerig the boat, and go racing.
I pay the variable costs, and they provide the boat.
"We've raced seven different boats in 11 years," he continues. "A few years
ago, on Power Play at the Sail Newport Regatta, we had three bullets in one
day. The owner was just ecstatic. He said, 'I've never been on a boat that
had one bullet, let alone three in one day.' We had him doing mast, and he
just had a blast. It's worked out really well that way." -- Sailing World,
read on: http://tinyurl.com/SW-062711
WANTING A TASTE OF THE ACTION
Still two years away, the America's Cup race has already made a splash in
San Francisco and, according to many in the sailing community, the ripple
effect is already being felt in Monterey Bay (100 miles south).
Some who saw television footage of one of the boats going through tests on
San Francisco Bay, and capsizing, "rushed down to the (Monterey) harbor,"
said Joe Headley, commodore of the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club. After the
public got its first glimpse of the latest high-tech craft capable of
speeds up to 50 mph, Headley heard comments like, "Boy, I'd sure love to
try something like that."
One of the largest sporting events in the world, the America's Cup is
expected to attract millions of spectators and pump more than $1billion
into San Francisco's economy between now and the end of competition in
September 2013. Such excitement about a sport that traditionally receives
little publicity has the local sailing community buzzing about what it
could mean for the popularity of their pastime.
"We're anxious for lots of enthusiasm about sailing to sweep through the
San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay area," said Terry Russey, commodore of
the Stillwater Yacht Club in Pebble Beach. "There's an increased awareness
already. I think people are getting more interested in sailing, and I think
that is going to build between now and 2013."
Although Cup fever was already evident before the trials a few weeks ago,
the event quickly became a YouTube spectacle. Rather than frighten off
prospective sailors, Headley said the images of the boat capsizing had his
telephone ringing off the hook with people wanting a taste of the action.
"It was a pretty spectacular crash," Headley said. "It generated an
interest level that wasn't there because you don't see sailing boats on the
news, or on sports stations." -- Monterey Herald, full story:
RACERS TEAM UP WITH DETROIT PRO TEAMS
For only the second time in the 87 year history of the longest,
continuously run fresh water race in the world, Bayview Yacht Club's
Mackinac Race on Lake Huron will include the "Pro Team Challenge" in 2011.
The challenge is sponsored by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association
with the participation of Detroit's Professional Sports Teams including the
Detroit Lions (football), Detroit Pistons (basketball), Detroit Red Wings
(hockety), and Detroit Tigers (baseball).
The boat names of those registered to sail the Shore Course in this year's
race were picked at random by each team last week. Each of the teams will
outfit the boats and crews of their adopted boat with team hats, jerseys
and a team flag. In addition, the logos of the teams will be shown on the
GPS tracking system so fans can follow their favorite team boat from Port
Huron to the finish at Mackinac Island. Cheerleaders and mascots of the
sports teams will cheer their adopted skipper and crews on Friday night
July 22 at the Blue Water Festival in Port Huron. The race starts on July
In 2010, each team "adopted" a boat in the race via blind draw, with the
Detroit Tiger's boat winning among the four teams. The Tigers honored the
crew on the field at Comerica Park this past September. For the 2011 race,
the adopted teams are...
Lions - Shillelagh, George L Mulqueen III, Tartan 30C, Crescent Sail YC
Pistons - Brandilee, Steve Nadeau, X-402, Grosse Pointe YC
Tigers - Limerick, Darrell Cope/Kevin Pearce, S2 10.3, Crescent Sail YC
Red Wings - Sorcery, Larry & Brian Smith, J/105, Bayview YC
Race website: http://www.bycmack.com/mack/
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* Long Beach, CA (June 27, 2011) - As the West Coast's largest keelboat
regatta, Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week on June 24-26 hosted 148 boats
in 15 classes. Jeff Janov's 17-point winning margin with Dark Star in the
Farr 40 was the widest in any class, while three other fleets were resolved
on tiebreaker countbacks: Gary Mozer's Current Obsession over David Gould's
Air Boss in J/105s, Steven Ernest's Aimant de Fille over Marty Burke's
Bella Vita in Beneteau 36.7s and John Laun's Caper over Chuck Nichols' CC
Rider in J/120s. -- Full report:
* Newport, RI (June 27, 2011) - An iconic brand has taken its decades-long
affiliation with the sport of sailing to a new level with the start of a
new tradition: BACARDI Newport Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. For this
inaugural event staged from Sail Newport, Rhode Island's public sailing
center, four one-design fleets - Star, Audi Melges 20, Viper 640 and J/80 -
got in three days of racing (June 24-26) under PRO Anderson Reggio who
received resounding applause at the awards presentation. -- Full story:
* Chicago, IL (June 27, 2011) - Ten teams competed in the Grade 3 GoPro
Match Cup B Event on June 26-27 at the Chicago March Race Center, with
Donald Wilson, Nevin Snow, Colin Rathbun, and Taylor Canfield advancing to
the semi-finals. Wilson faced GoPro Match Cup A Event (June 24-25) winner
Snow in the finals, blanking the high school senior 2-0 for the win.
Wilson's crew included Steve Hunt (main), Hans Pusch (jib), Mandy Markee
(floater), and Eric Champaign (bow). --
* Crystal Beach, ONT (June 26, 2011) - The 2011 Lightning Canadian Open,
hosted by Buffalo Canoe Club, was sailed this past weekend on the eastern
end of Lake Erie. Twenty-four teams from the USA, MEX, and Canada enjoyed
decent sailing conditions throughout the eight race series. The team of
Skip Dieball, Tom, Starck, and Maddie Waldron (Toledo, OH) held off Jody
Lutz, Jay Lutz and Derek Gauger (Brick, NJ) in the final race to win the
regatta. Rounding out the top five 5 were Tim Scanlon (Chautauqua, NY),
David Starck (Buffalo, NY), and Jamie Allan (Montreal, CAN). Full results:
* The U.S. Olympic Committee and CoSport today announced the timeline for
the U.S. launch of the sale of all remaining tickets for the London 2012
Olympic Games. CoSport has been appointed by the USOC as its exclusive
authorized ticket reseller and hospitality package provider for the 2012
Games. CoSport will commence this second phase of sales at 12 p.m. ET on
Tues., June 28, 2011. The sales phase is "live," meaning customers will be
handled on a first-come, first-served basis for all tickets not sold during
the first phase of sales. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/USA-062711
* Team Sanya, the first sole Chinese Entry in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race,
will compete in a modified version of the 'Telefonica Blue' boat that
finished third in the last race. Said skipper Mike Sanderson, "Our decision
to go for Telefonica Blue in the end was based around the fact that we
believe the boat gives us the best chance to be on the podium as often as
possible." The yacht will be rechristened 'Sanya Lan' and will undergo a
four to five week refit in the UK before hitting the water in early August.
-- Full story: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-062711
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Avid sailor and philanthropist Edgar T. Cato passed away at the age of 86
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at his residence.
Edgar was a proud and fiercely loyal man who became a friend and benefactor
of many sailing and equestrian organizations. He was truly an outdoorsman
who was an expert hunter, polo player, pilot and sailor.
As sailors, we celebrate the lasting affect that Edgar had on the Newport
and the Charleston sailing communities. He was a fierce advocate for the
restoration work of the International Yacht Restoration School and for Sail
Newport's public access sailing programs. His legacy lives on in Charleston
at the College of Charleston "Hissar Sailing Center" and in Newport with
the Edgar T. Cato Dinghy Park at Sail Newport. He was a member of the New
York Yacht Club and the Carolina Yacht Club.
With his fleet of boats ranging from a Beetle Cat to the various "Hissar"s
to the 12 Metre KZ 5, the Classic "Dorade" and "Whitehawk", Edgar had a
large impact on the marine industry. Scores of people worked for Edgar over
the years on his fleet. Each was part of his team, his family and his
heart. Edgar saw each race as a journey. Although he was highly
competitive, races were not to be necessarily won, but to be experienced
and learned from. He loved sailing for the freedom of being on the water.
Edgar was a two-time 12 Metre World Champion, an IRC Champion. His legacy
lives on at Sail Newport, IYRS and the C of C. I will miss Edgar for being
a good personal friend and confidant. Sail on Edgar! -- Bradford S. Read,
Executive Director, Sail Newport
RUSSELL, RED BULL, TRANSPAC AND EHMAN
What do they have in common? The answer is Long Beach, California. Russell
Coutts won the Gold in the '84 Olympics. Red Bull chose Rainbow Harbor for
back-to-back record setting events "New Year No Limits" and "Flugtag." And
this week Tom Ehman will provide Transpac competitors with a special
Cupdate presentation at the Aloha send-off party. Where to go for fun?
Gladstone's Long Beach, who in partnership with the DLBA and Shoreline
Village, will be presenting a family friendly Fireworks preview Saturday
July 2nd at 9 PM. All are welcome.
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 Peter Commette:
Regarding the tragedy at Severn Sailing Association, Amy-Gross Kehoe makes
an important point in Butt 3371; resist the knee jerk reaction to finger
point. When you look at the accomplished and dedicated member volunteers
who oversee the SSA junior program, the quality of their coaches, and the
particular quality of the individual coach who was most closely involved,
you see that this was a tragedy that can happen at any time. It's a
testament to the dedication and effectiveness of all involved, from US
Sailing and its coaching programs down to the coaches to whom we entrust
our kids, that this sort of tragedy does not occur more often.
All sports involve inherent risk. Our sport needs to learn all that we can
from the event to move forward even more safely, if possible, while at the
same time preventing irrational fear of youth sailing as a result of this
terrible, horrible, freak accident. A number of people's futures, young and
old, are at stake here (Olivia's family and friends, the junior sailors
involved in the event, the coaches involved, the SSA parent members who run
the program). They will be traumatized for life. Finger pointing prevents
the degrees of healing that can be accomplished and will overshadow any
good for the future that may be learned, if possible, from this event.
* From Gene R. Rankin, Madison, WI:
Regarding the story in Scuttlebutt 3371, there remains hope that the plan
to fence off a public park - preventing people from watching part of the
2012 Olympic sailing events - will not be approved:
On the other hand, my friends in England are quite cynical about the way
the Olympics are being treated, and are of the opinion that the UK-based
committee has the power to sell and will sell ANYthing.
* From Tej Trevor Parekh: (re, Olympic venue viewing)
That's terrible. ISAF should jump in and say something. Just two weeks ago
the local paper ran a story telling local residents to come to the water
front to watch the Olympic sailors!!!
NOTE: It should be noted that the tickets required to view the sailing
events appear to provide access only to the land that is along the race
course, and not onto the water. Additionally, the story in Scuttlebutt 3371
said there would be no seating provided.
* From Warren Nethercote, IJ, Canada: (re, U.S. Coast Guard thread)
I was a member of the International Jury at the Etchells Worlds in San
Diego, and one day we were stopped by 'the Coasties' for a safety and
documentation check. We were a typical IJ crew: an American from Georgia, a
Canadian, and a German, who drew the short straw by being at the helm when
we were stopped. As usual it was a borrowed jury boat and we weren't
exactly aware of where critical items like ownership were to be found (not
to mention hunting for flares).
I have to compliment the boarding crew for their civility and support as we
searched for required 'stuff'. They must have been a bit mystified by the
German's powerboat operator's license! It was my second 'stop' in a jury
boat, and I must say that I came away feeling positive about the USCG. My
other experience was with an RCMP inspection, but on that occasion we had a
member of the jury who had a mistaken impression of where the real
authority lay, which didn't make the police officer's job any easier.
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend. Inside of a dog,
it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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