SCUTTLEBUTT 3387 - Wednesday, July 20, 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: Doyle Sails, Team One Newport, and LaserPerformance.
A 62-year-old windsurfer from Los Altos (CA) who spent 13 hours stranded on
the bay because of equipment problems was rescued in good condition this
morning, authorities said. Cathy Caton, whose husband described her as an
experienced windsurfer, was spotted draped over her board by a U.S. Coast
Guard helicopter crew about 200 yards north of the San Mateo Bridge near
Foster City at about 6 a.m (south San Francisco Bay).
Coast Guard swimmer Gabe Pulliam was lowered into the water and brought
Caton into the helicopter. "I told her we'd been looking for her all night,
and she said, 'I know,' " Pulliam said at a news conference at the Coast
Guard Air Station at San Francisco International Airport. "I just asked her
if she was OK, and she said, 'Yes, I'm just ready to get home.' "
"We're elated, of course," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Emily Wilhite.
"We spent hours and hours searching last night, so to be able to find her
this morning was a really good thing."
Hamman said Caton floated underneath the bridge during high tide Monday
evening and "came back through the bridge when it started ebbing." This
morning, he said, Caton was "picked up on the north side (of the bridge)
when the tide started going out."
Caton left the Foster City shoreline near East Third Avenue at about 5 p.m.
Monday. Hamman was there to see her off, then went windsurfing himself.
When she did not return, he called for help. Caton told Pulliam that "her
sail fell in the middle of her outing and she wasn't able to piece it back
To make matters worse, her marine radio's battery failed after 10 minutes,
her strobe-light battery didn't work and she didn't realize that she had a
whistle with her, Hamman said. The conditions for Caton's survival were
favorable. It wasn't particularly cold, the water was 70 degrees and the
waves were calm, according to the Coast Guard. Caton was also "dressed for
the cold. She had a wetsuit and boots, gloves, a hat and a flotation
device, so all that helps," Hamman said. -- Full story:
PRECOCIOUS AND INEVITABLE GRAVEYARD
The nine competitors will face-off for the first time August 6-14 at the
inaugural America's Cup World Series event in Cascais, Portugal where a
fleet of ten AC45s (Oracle Racing has two teams) will compete in both fleet
and match racing.
But according to Cascais resident Mario Sampaio, these teams better bring
their A Game: "In Cascais the wind has been blowing nonstop for over two
weeks, anywhere between f5 and f7, gusting f8 on many occasions during any
given day or night! (note: that range is the equivalent of 16-40 knots).
"Even for the normal Cascais summer, this has been very unusual. So, if
these conditions continue into August, which I am afraid they will, I hope
the AC45 fleet has done their homework, and that someone has remembered to
figure out how to reef or at least de-power the rigs, otherwise Cascais
could become the new AC45's precocious and inevitable graveyard."
Photographer Gilles Martin-Raget goes walkabout in Cascais, taking in some
sights ahead of the America's Cup World Series - Cascais:
Doyle Sailmakers would like to commend the crew of Sociable and the other
10 boats who abandoned the 2011 Chicago-Mackinac Race to assist WingNuts.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Mark Morley and
Suzanne Bickel, who lost their lives when WingNuts capsized during the race
from Chicago to Mackinac. http://www.doylesails.com
100 KNOTS AND OFF THE CLOCK
Hearing that it's windy and rainy is one thing. Hearing that water is
vaporizing all around you is a completely different tale of horror. That
was the scene being described during the Chicago Yacht Club's 103rd Race to
Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot.
Tim Prophit, owner and co-skipper of Fast Tango, a North American 40 out of
the Bayview Yacht Club, and his crew have seen the other side. In fact,
their descriptions of the 'strobing' lightning and 'white water everywhere'
are on an entirely different level than anything that racing sailors in
North America have seen in many, many decades.
But then again, how often have North American Corinthian sailors seen
sustained winds of 100 knots? Answer: never.
Tragically, WingNuts, a Kiwi 35, capsized during this meteorological melee
and two sailors, Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel, from Saginaw, MI were
Some back story: For the 361 raceboats entered in the Chicago Yacht Club's
(CYC) 103rd Race to Mackinac, the first 30 hours (tack on 24 hours for the
cruising boats) were brochure-quality sailing. No bugs, plenty of breeze
from the right angle, a kindly sea-state, warm air and spinnakers
punctuating the horizon as far as the eye could see. Nothing broken about
this picture at all.yet.
The dogs came howling off their chains on Sunday night (July 17), sometime
around 2300 hours, EST. According to several different sources (all racing
sailors), the breeze (18 knots) was coming from the south before the
maelstrom struck. Sheet lighting started illuminating the sky, and the
scramble became one of getting the kites down and hoisting heavy-air sails.
For Prophit and his Fast Tango crew, the feeling was that this storm would
produce intense, short-lived winds of the one-or-two minute variety - the
sort of squall that simply requires running off and letting the action pass
before resuming the race. According to Peter Wenzler, Prophit's co-skipper
aboard Fast Tango, this was a very, very different situation. -- David
Schmidt, Chicago-Mackinac Race, read on:
DETAILS: A report in the Detroit News provides further information
regarding the tragic events that led to the deaths of skipper Mark Morley,
51, and his girlfriend Suzanne Bickel, 41, after the Kiwi 35 WingNuts
capsized between Beaver Island and South Fox Island, about 13 nautical
miles off the coast of Charlevoix.
"They saw on the radar the storm was coming," Linda Morley said, recounting
the event along with Mark's brother, Peter, who also was on board. "They
dropped sail...All had life jackets on, all were tethered. 'Clear the deck'
was yelled, and everybody jumped," she said, describing the moments as the
boat was capsizing. Some of the boaters managed to free their tethers, but
none saw Mark or Bickel, she continued. -- Full report:
Race website: http://www.cycracetomackinac.com/
WINNERS SHARE COMMON THREAD
By Kimball Livingston, Transpac
(July 19, 2011) - Just when we thought we were ready to show some serious
aloha-love to the Aloha Division - Eric Gray's Morris 46, Gracie, led most
of the way and finished mid-day Monday - in comes Jack Taylor's Horizon to
polish off a brilliant win in the SC50 division and raise the question, how
do we tell this? Which story is the story?
And then... It came clear.
Even though they started four days apart, and even though the boat designs
are light-years apart, Gracie and Horizon shared a common thread. While
much of the competition knifed up and down across latitudes, these two
winners sailed about as close to a straight-line course as you could hope
No, you couldn't call it a classic Transpac year, but Jon "Mr. Horizon"
Shampain, from his perspective as navigator, put it this way: "The High was
so far north, at 40 degrees or so, that we were on the great circle route
for the first 24 hours. Then, as we bore off with the jib top, the code 0,
spinnakers, we sailed a pretty classic route. When the breeze went light in
the middle, we had to cross north of the rhumb line, but by then it was
pretty much over in our class."
Which just keeps on happening. The short list for Mr. Taylor's SC50
includes division wins in Transpac 2009, Pacific Cup 2010, Cabo 2011 and
now this. Footnote: They love the stern scoop. "Now we can talk to each
other and hear ourselves," Shampain said. "That's not why we added the
scoop - we had no idea, but now we know."
From the Department of Wisdom: Prior to the start, Shampain said, "I get
weather from multiple sources. I go to Rich Shema for a briefing, and I get
Commanders' Weather because that's what the competition uses."
Know thy "enemy."
And it doesn't hurt to have a seasoned crew that's not making it up on the
spot. This is a family boat, with Taylor's brother Scott aboard and son
John. Shampain's son Eric was in for the race as well, and let's round that
out with Tom O'Keefe, Dan Geissman and Mel Wills, who informs us, "The only
thing that broke, in 2,225 miles, was the bottle opener."
Well, if it was going to break, it was going to break on the way to Cabo.
Ask the Bella Mente boys. -- Read on:
UPDATE: At press deadline time, hearings were under way in Honolulu
regarding Outside Assistance issues with multiple Transpac entries. The
Jury's findings and decisions will be announced when available.
Race website: http://www.transpacrace.com
BECAUSE IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN
It was on Friday night of last week when Eastport Yacht Club started the
120 boats competing in the 31st edition of their annual point-to-point race
from Annapolis to Solomons Island in Maryland. With a healthy fleet spread
among PHRF and one design classes, it would seem to make this overnight
race a success. And based on this report by Bryn from APS, it may be
popular because of the attitude...even on a grand prix boat like a Farr 40.
Five minutes before the start of the 2011 Solomons Island Race, the crew
on-board Farr 40 Yellow Jacket was busy cooking up burgers so we'd be
smokin' fast, on Fire at the start! We may not have been the most serious
racers on the Bay that night, but we managed to do a pretty good job of
sailing and having a little too much fun...
The wind gods were kind for our 55-mile trek down the Bay. A steady
southerly breeze kept us upwind the entire race. We were guided by a full
moon that may or may not have caused a little craziness on board.
About 8 1/2 hours after the start, we reached Solomons. Everyone on-board
miraculously stayed awake for the entire race, mainly thanks to Bill's
espresso liquor shots! We reached Solmons at 3:11am, sleep-deprived, and
looking for the infamous Solomons Bloody Marys. Only problem was, the bar
at the Solomons Holiday Inn opens at 6am. So we took a power boat ride to
kill some time and watch the other class boats finish.
At this point, finding a comfortable place to crash would have been a great
idea, but as they say, there's no rest for the weary! At least, that was my
motivating force. After the $2 spicy Bloodies, most of the crew piled into
a van and headed back to Annapolis to sleep for the rest of the lazy day.
It felt like the weekend had just ended. Luckily it was only Saturday! --
The famous Team One Newport Warehouse Sale is now called the Annual Tent
Sale and it's this weekend July 23 and 24 at the STORE on the patio. The
address is 561 Thames St in Newport, RI. The hours are Saturday 9 am to 5
pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. Get Musto, Henri-Loyd, Gil, Slam, Patagonia
and much more at unbelievable prices up to 75% off. Don't miss this one!!
For more info call 401-847-4327 or email email@example.com
AN ESTEEMED CLUB
When it was stated in the July 2011 issue of Latitude 38 that Scuttlebutt
editor Craig Leweck was the first full-time sailing journalist to win a
legitimate world championship (2011 Etchells title), we had our doubts. How
could such an admired industry be devoid of world titles? As much as we
love our friends at Latitude 38, there does appear to be company in this
esteemed club. Here is what we have learned so far:
Peter Huston said...
Bob Fisher won the 1966 Fireball Worlds.
Warren Nethercote said...
Wendy ??? (last name forgotten) who was a Yachts and Yachting Editor won an
early (first?) worlds or Europeans in the Laser as I recall. Jack Knights
may have also had success in Quarter Tonners, although perhaps not in 'Odd
Job' (his first qtr tonner).
John Burnham (former Sailing World editor) has won several IOD world
Kristan McClintock said...
John Burnham did win the IOD Words in '94 and '96, when he was editor of
Sailing World magazine. David Dellenbaugh, a former SW editor and
editor/writer of Speed and Smarts, won the Lightning Worlds in 1991. And I
won the International Penguin Class Worlds (yes, there is such a thing)
twice, in '84 and '86. In 1984 I was working as an editor at Yacht Racing &
Cruising, now Sailing World.
Irish sailing journalist David O'Brien (Afloat.ie) won the 1992 Fireball
Peter Johnstone said...
I'm pretty sure Chris Hufstader, as an editor at Sailing World, won a J24
Worlds or two with Ken Read in the late 1980's.
Are there more? Post them here:
* Balboa Yacht Club's 45th annual Governor's Cup International Junior Match
Racing Championship will take July 20-24 in the ocean near the Balboa Pier
in Newport Beach, CA. The event features some of the best young match
racing talent from all over the world. The teams include two from
Australia, two from New Zealand, one from Bermuda, one from the United
Kingdom, one from the Virgin Islands and five from California. Among the
field are Judge Ryan, Kevin Laube, and Caitlin Beavers who will be
representing Scuttlebutt Sailing Club. -- Event details:
* Beverly, MA (July 17, 2011) - Carol Cronin and crew Kim Couranz tackled
an 18 boat fleet to win the Atlantis WeatherGear U.S. Snipe Women's
National Championship. The two day event had 3-6 knots on Saturday with
almost 15 knots on Sunday. Finishing in second and third was Lynne Shore/
Julia Marsh and Dru Slattery/ Linda Epstein, respectively. -- Full report:
* YachtWorld.com and the Yacht Broker's Association of America have
unveiled the 2011 industry expert and best practices panelists for the
Yacht Brokerage Universities in Toronto and Houston, according to a release
from YachtWorld.com. This year's Yacht Brokerage Universities will take
place on Aug. 4 and 11 in Mississauga, Ontario, and Seabrook, Texas,
respectively. Industry experts and brokers will share their views on the
current state of the brokerage market, the future of the marine industry
and the influence of social media on the industry and more, according to
the release. -- Boating Industry, read on:
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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 Gene Rankin:
In the commentary 'Best of Times' in Scuttlebutt 3386, I started racing
offshore in 1971, coming from dinghy racing, and I can only agree with the
publisher's views. We dinghy racers discovered that we could, with a
compliant owner, race with the fast & rich guys, finishing ahead of
gold-platers while we were in stock "Clorox bottles". We'd sometimes get
reimbursed for bus fare to Chicago to race, and usually get to sleep in the
owner's spare bedroom before the race, but that was the extent of the
I have again taken up racing, now in my retirement, and I have been asked
to chip in for foot & booze while paying my own airfare to the venue. I had
such a excellent time that it never occurred to me to ask for
So the good times are still out there to be had. Ya just gotta be choosy
about who you hang with. -- Forum,
* From Bill Seifert:
Back in the early seventies, one could race and comfortably cruise the SAME
BOAT. Boats had real berths, real heads, and galleys with gimbaled stoves
with ovens. The boats were well built to a point of being overly heavy.
How about starting a rule that the owner and crew must live on board for
five days prior to the start of a race: cooking, sleeping, performing
bodily functions, etc.
Today's race boats are so lightly built that a Fastnet-type tragedy is
waiting to happen. Designers forget that thickness plays an important part
of dissipating impact force. While a thin skin may have the physicals
required, it will be easily punctured regardless of the high modulus. You
can impale one page of a phone book with a pencil, but not the whole book.
Localized reinforcing with high strength materials frequently lacks an
adequate transition zone to unify the laminate. If you sew a wire down the
middle of a spinnaker, it will break right at the wire in less wind
pressure than if the wire were not there, as the force has been
COMMENT: Naval Architect Bruce Nelson pointed out the flaws of modern yacht
design following the attrition of 9 of the 15 big boats from the 2011
* From Phil Smithies, St. Petersburg, FL:
I have read most of the arguments for and against coaches and their boats.
There are good reasons for and against, love them or hate them, it is your
choice. Allow them or not is the organizers choice. However, one area that
has not been covered, and maybe why the organizers have not joined in the
debate, is the money they are receiving from the coaches.
I was at the ISAF Sailing World Cup event Sail For Gold in the UK, and if
you wished to check out RIBs and their equipment, this was better than any
boat show in the world. As for the coaching fees, there were 318 coaches
registered at the event, with the coaching registration fee at 100 pounds
sterling. That is 31,800 pounds, and at the current exchange rate (1.62),
that equates to $51,516 U.S. dollars. Not to shabby, especially when all
you have to do is give someone a wrist band!
Maybe the areas plagued by coach problems should copy the Brits and charge
excessive fees for the privilege, and if they still wish to pay, then put
that money back into the youth program or better still set up a scholarship
for a less advantaged youth. Just a thought.
COMMENT: There was a time when a 100 boat regatta meant that you planned
for 100 boats and their crew to determine the budget. But with the growth
of coaching, event organizers must now accommodate more boats and people
for a 100 boat regatta. It does seem fair that entrants pay for their
impact on an event. At the 2011 Etchells Worlds, there was a higher entry
fee for 4-man teams than 3-man teams, but there was no entry fee for
coaches. Maybe there should have been. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert
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