Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 3382 - Wednesday, July 13, 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: Vineyard Race, Morris Yachts, and Samson.

Brazilian Torben Grael has the highest number of Olympic medals in his
country, and holds the highest number of medals in the history of Olympic
sailing. A lot has changed in the sport since Torben won the silver medal
in the Soling class at the 1984 Games, and he is not certain about much of
it. Here are his remarks, republished from the July 2011 edition of
Seahorse magazine:
As an Olympic sailing veteran I ask myself this question very often. Since
I started my Olympic career so much has changed in our sport; some changes
were great as the introduction of female classes but some others were

It took me 25 years to learn them (at least the ones we used most); then
some clever people decided we should have more simple ones. The idea was
great but the reality is not, as simple rules left many holes that were
slowly amended and now we are back to the same complicated set of rules
with one difference: they are different and I won't even bother to learn
them again as they keep changing anyway.

Starting sequence
We use to have something simple that worked pretty well: 10 minutes, 5
minutes, 1 minute and start. If there was a subsequent start the RC could
opt to go straight to the 5 minute. Then some clever people decided that we
should go straight to the 5 minute. As a result you have only 1 minute
after the attention is given and many times people don't manage even to
make it to the line. So now either boats stay very close to the RC or the
committee has to improvise with ways to advise you that they will soon
start a sequence!

Finally why bother trying to start without the black flag? It is such a
waste of time, especially these days when we spend more time hanging around
than racing.

Coach boats
In the past we had an equal field with each team on its boat. And that was
it. We had to sail to and from the course and it was the same for everyone.
Then some clever people decided it was ok to allow coaches and coach boats.
The result is now we have more RIBs out there than boats.

And now some teams are investing fortunes into America's Cup first-shift
technology. Is this what we want? More costs, more people travelling, more
costs, more housing, more costs... and what for? Didn't we sail back
safely, even in a windy place like Pusan, a light place like Barcelona or a
distant place like Savannah?

We used to have fair, long races with a good balance between the start and
the rest of the race. We used to reach. How boring are these endless
windward/leeward races no matter how much it is blowing. Once you spent 3
hours on the water and raced at for at least 2 hours. These days you spend
up to 8 hours on the water and consider yourself lucky if you race for the
same 2 hours.

Read on:
Seahorse magazine is available in several formats for consumption. If you
would like to take advantage of a special Scuttlebutt promo rate, here are
the information links:
Print -
Digital book -
Ipad app - Please visit the app store.

Multihulls are great for the America's Cup. We get it. Sport changes and
sports where technology is a driver become almost unrecognisable from one
era to another. The new America's Cup has the potential to be exciting, and
spectators will come to see a new kind of sailing, however it is sad to see
the ambassadors of the sport, denegrate the tradition that made the
America's Cup what it is.

It's great to see Jimmy Spithill on 'everyman' sports shows like Chronicle
Live, but the current PR spin that everything that has come before was
"boring" is a little insulting to those who have built the brand that now
allows sailors like Spithill and Coutts the opportunities they currently

Rather than denigrating past Cups, like the event which took place in
Fremantle, which until the most recent re-invention of history was
considered one of the most successful ever - ambassadors like Spithill
should recognise that though different, the America's Cup events that came
before were fantastic, athletic, technology led competitions. Otherwise,
the new America's Cup has no soul.

If the new format for the 34th America's Cup has a solid foundation in
marketing fundamentals, then it should appeal to the markets that allow
Oracle Racing and the America's Cup Event Authority need to sell
sponsorship and television rights against. It's different and perhaps its
better, but trash talking every America's Cup event that has come before is
not good for the America's Cup brand and is not good for sailing.

Without the 'boring' America's Cup events of the past, where the skill
level was so low and the action so tedious that sailors 'could read a book
while competing', leaders of the sport like Jimmy Spithill would not get
invitations to live sports shows.

So let's think a little more long term shall we. Let's try to bring a few
more people along for the ride and stop sticking two fingers up at the
past. The new deal America's Cup promises to make the sport of sailing a
little more accessible to a wider audience. Catamarans with wing-sails will
promote speed and technology over match-racing tactical skill, but let's
make the 34th America's Cup part of the long tradition rather than a new
event that just happens to have the same name.

Watch Spithill's television interview here:

Take part in the East Coast classic, presented by Thomson Reuters and
hosted by Stamford Yacht Club. Three courses to choose from: cruising
division; multihull division; race tracking and post-race trophy party.
Join Tom Whidden at our skippers' meeting. Start date: Sept. 2. Register

* America's Cup organizers were rebuffed by the U.S. National Park Service
in their efforts to use Alcatraz (in San Francisco Bay) as a high-end
corporate spectator venue during the upcoming sailing regatta. The island,
owned by the federal government, sits in the middle of the planned
racecourse, providing potentially spectacular viewing opportunities. Luxury
box-style seating had been considered for the island, but events are now
being considered for corporate sponsors inside buildings on the island
after races finish for the day. -- Bay Citizen, full story:

* Almost 500,000 people could crowd onto the shores of San Francisco and
Marin to watch the America's Cup competition, according to the draft
environmental impact report released Monday. The eport is the most detailed
description of the 2013 America's Cup race to be published since the city
won the right to host the race last December. The series of late summer
races is expected to bring $1.4 billion to San Francisco and other parts of
the Bay Area, but the city estimates the event also will generate tons of
trash and a flood of visitors who could clog highways, BART and other
public transit. -- SF Chronicle, full story:

(July 12, 2011) - Lighter winds, as predicted, and a bit of lane-shifting
re-sorted parts of the Transpac racing fleet overnight, but James
McDowell's SC70, Grand Illusion, continued to run 1-1, first in the Sleds
and first overall with about 1,200 miles to go at 0800 roll call.
Positioning on the north-south line suddenly goes from being very important
to Very Important.

In a re-sorted Division 2, we see Jorge Ripstein's Patches, a TP52
navigated by John Rumsey, popping out to a nice lead while previous
division leader Katana slowed on its more-northerly track. Katana navigator
Eric Bowman had placed the brand new Kernan 49 to take advantage of a
shorter track in the big breeze of two days ago, but what looked like a
good bet at that moment looks less so at this moment. What that means, time
will tell.

Katana was built "for this race" for radio personality "Dr. Laura"
Schlessinger, a former motor yachting enthusiast who comes to sailing with
the passion of a convert. "I never thought I'd like sailing," she says. "I
gave it a try, just a try, when I moved to Santa Barbara and I was shocked.
Immediately, I fell in love with it. Sailing empties you of the daily junk,
and that's the meaning of life. To put amazement into every day."

With Patches showing up first in Division 2 and Chip Megeath's Criminal
Mischief second, Katana today stands third. This is a great group to watch.
Mischief, an RP45 navigated by Jeff Thorpe, has enjoyed tremendous success
on the ocean, winning its division, for example, in the 2009 Transpac and
2010 Pacific Cup. And I reckon that makes it one tall poppy. "This boat was
a target when they were building Katana," Thorpe says. "Kernan admits he
took a close look at us. That boat's just a touch bigger, and it's no
accident." At morning report the corrected-time spread among these top
three boats was a considerable seven hours. -- Full report:

Race website:

(July 12, 2011) - Dreams -- of deep sleep and wholesome food -- have come
true, as three more Transatlantic Race 2011 class winners arrived at The
Lizard in the south of England today. While the sailors have put to an end
the days of going without, memories of the adventure will linger forever.

Just after sunrise Zaraffa, a Reichel Pugh 65, passed The Lizard to finish
the Transatlantic Race 2011 with skipper Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne,
Vt.), who, at age 80, is believed to be the oldest competitor in the race.
Zaraffa completed the 2,975 nautical mile course in less than 12 days and
was over 400 miles ahead of any other yacht in Class IRC Three, winning the
class by a handsome margin.

Notably, on Zaraffa, Sheldon took both line honors and the overall win of
the 2003 Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge, which also started in
Newport, but finished in Hamburg, Germany [with a course time of 13 days,
15 hours, 7 minutes and 28 seconds]. He subsequently donated the yacht to
the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.) and chartered it back for this

In the two-boat Open Class, Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy), skipper of
the Gunboat 66 Phaedo, was ecstatic when the Lamborghini-orange multihull
crossed the finish line in light air. With a 100-mile lead, Phaedo was the
victor in a David and Goliath battle with the magnificent 289' Maltese
Falcon. Jazz, Chris Bull's Cookson 50 which is being skippered by Nigel
King (Lymington, U.K.), was the fifth yacht to finish the Transatlantic
Race 2011 and appears to have won IRC Class Two. -- Full story:

Martha's Vineyard, MA - A large fleet of Morris yachts will race in this
week's Vineyard Cup regatta with their own start on both Friday and
Saturday. A private waterside dinner hosted by Morris Yachts will kick
start the event for Morris owners. "We're thrilled to have such a large
number of our Morris family and yachts together," says Cuyler Morris.
"Getting everyone out there on the water, enjoying their boats is what it's
all about". Morris Yachts are renowned for their quality, seaworthiness and
performance and we are looking forward to seeing this gorgeous fleet racing
this weekend!

* Double digit winds prevailed during the four day Formula Windsurfing
World Championship, held July 5-9 on Puerto Rico. Antoine Albeau (FRA),
former world sailing speed record holder and current holder in the 10 sq.
mtr. subcategory at 49.09 kts, dominated the 40 entrants in the men's
division to win by a 22 point margin. Competition was closer on the women's
side where Marion Lepert (USA) won by 3 points in the 9 board field. --
Full report:

* Although the law has not changed, the Canada Border Services Agency
modernized its reporting requirements for pleasure craft entering Canadian
waters to make it easier for private boaters to comply with the
requirements, the agency said. All recreational boaters are required to
present themselves when they arrive in Canada. That includes all foreign
boaters entering the country, as well as private boaters who leave Canada,
enter foreign waters and subsequently return. Certain private boaters may
present themselves to the agency by calling the Telephone Reporting Centre
from their cell phones from the location where they enter Canadian waters.
-- Soundings, read on:

* As a result of a new proposal to use radio bandwidth right next to the
existing GPS service, the future reliability of the GPS system across the
United States is now in question. BoatUS is encouraging people to contact
the FCC during a short 30-day public comment period, to help them
understand the public's need for continued, reliable GPS signals for safe
navigation on boats, in cars, and for so many other daily uses. -- Details:

* CORRECTION: In Scuttlebutt 3380 it was reported that 50 teams competed at
the 2011 Formula 18 World Championship on July 1-8 in Balatonfured,
Hungary. Apparently we did not scroll down far enough as there were
actually 101 teams at the event. In 2012 the F18 Worlds comes to the U.S.,
hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, CA on September 7-15. --

The Marine Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum was created so
companies could get guaranteed exposure by posting their own 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 Scuttlebutt newsletter. Here is the link to post
Industry News updates:

The Scuttlebutt newsletter hosted a raffle to donate advertisement space to
a business or organization eager to promote something to the Scuttlebutt
readership. And the winner? 'Sailors for the Sea', which educates and
engages the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans.
Look for their ad to appear in the August 26th edition of the Scuttlebutt

Brad Van Liew on Samson AS-90, WarpSpeed, and AmSteel-Blue covered with
Flavored ICE, which completely rigged Le Pingouin for the VELUX 5 Oceans
Race: "Samson's products are so reliable and consistent that you can sail a
boat basically 30,000 miles in an intense racing environment, consistently
pushing the lines well beyond 50% of their breaking strength and still be
confident that they can take more! I've now sailed two races solo around
the world with Samson. That is the better part of a year at sea. I have
never had one rope failure. Frankly, Samson lines helped me win the race."
For more information, visit

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 Jill Nickerson: (re, 'Wrong On So Many Levels' in SBUTT 3381)
Having been involved in the Olympic Regattas for over 12 years and also
having been involved in the coaching side of things I can tell you that you
are WAY off base with your view of coach boats.

First and foremost, most of the regattas that I have attended since I
started racing in 1981 have always been graciously staffed with volunteer
safety boats, but for the most part grossly understaffed in rescue
knowledge, particularly if the conditions get bad.

It is the coach boats that facilitate a safer course with knowledgeable,
experienced people on the course.

Your 200 RIBs on a course is also grossly exaggerated. At an Olympic
Regatta, where you have multiple courses set up for all the classes, you
don't even have that many coach boats on the WHOLE scene. You should always
have 1 safety boat on the water for every 10 experienced sailors. More than
that for kids. Those numbers are rarely met. -- Forum, read on:

COMMENT: On the ISAF Sailing World Cup schedule, the Skandia Sail For Gold
Regatta (GBR) had 745 boats entered and 318 coaches registered, though it
did not specify how many RIBs were being used.

* From Eric Sorensen: (re, 'Wrong On So Many Levels' in SBUTT 3381)
It is the micro managing by coaches, teachers, and parents and lifetime
commitment needed by any competitor in just about any sport.

The sad thing is we have lost creativity in creating these skilled
automatons. I do not envy the highly trained youth, as mostly they are
having way less fun than my generation (now 60) who were able to make
mistakes in order to learn. Those mistakes would show us how to not do
things and yet we stayed alive (mostly) and had fun doing it on our own.

To be sure there are parents who let their children figure things out but
the bulk of kid activity is so filled with coaching 24/7 there is little
time for just making things up. As a public school teacher for 30 years I
noticed the creep of the coach. I am not sure it makes for a better person.
A better honed competitor for sure, but at what cost?

Let the kids play, ride bikes, crash, and figure things out! Get out of
their way and let them develop some independent cognitive skills.

* From John Diggins:
It has been my experience that the staff of the Transportation Safety
Administration have varying (and generally inadequate) levels of training
on items such as inflatable PFDs. I now carry a copy of the TSA Prohibited
items. Under the heading "Disabling Chemicals & Other Dangerous Items" it

- Small compressed gas cartridges (Up to 2 in life vests and 2 spares. The
spares must accompany the life vests and presented as one unit).

As indicated these are allowed to be either brought on the plane as
carry-on or checked baggage. Most often I have to show the inspector my
copy which they then look up on their computer for verification. Here is
the link:

A well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without
getting nervous.

Quantum Sails - Vineyard Race - North Sails - LaserPerformance
Morris Yachts - Samson - Ullman Sails - APS

Need stuff? Look here: