SCUTTLEBUTT 3396 - Tuesday, August 2, 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: Melges Performance Sailboats, North Sails, and SailFast.
JUST WHAT THE AMERICA'S CUP NEEDS
Since Oracle Racing won the 33rd America's Cup, their intent to revamp the
34th edition into a commercially sustainable model has led them to make
drastic changes. At times ignoring the event's base of sailing supporters,
they contend their move to high speed wing-powered catamarans is the
preferred platform to grow the much larger non-sailing audience. Their
bottom line is, in effect, to fill the 'seats in the stadium'.
To this point, it has been a 'sugar over substance' approach. They have
sought to grow interest by creating an exciting boat, where the narrow line
between control and disaster is often crossed. And it has worked, with the
occasional crash being hot internet fodder. But can an all-candy diet be
sustained? Not likely. At some point we still need to know what we are
Regardless of the sport, we cheer for the people. Our tie to any sport is
beyond the helmet, the hockey stick, the race car. We may favor certain
sports because of the action, but the depth of our commitment is linked to
our familiarity with the player's experience. The closer we feel to them
and what they are doing, the more vested we become as a spectator.
And from the looks of it now, the America's Cup organizers know this too.
They got our visual attention with the boats, and now they're working on
making the more cerebral connection. This past weekend was the launch of
their new weekly video magazine program called America's Cup Uncovered. If
the future shows can maintain the standard of the first edition, this
program should succeed in heightening fan interest during the march toward
the 2013 Match.
But heightening fan interest is also reliant on the watchability of the
sport. Never a strength of sailing, significant investment has been made in
this area too. The first public showing of the broadcast technology will be
at the inaugural event of the America's Cup World Series in Cascais,
Portugal on August 6-14, 2011, which will showcase the AC45 wing-sailed
catamaran in its first-ever competition. Viewing will be online at
The course will be littered with cameras in the air and the water, plus
improved graphics will detail the race area with imaginary reference lines
to help follow the race. Each boat will have four onboard cameras with crew
mic's integrated into their personal flotation devices. Additional onboard
mic's will pick up the sounds of the boat.
While the similarities between the America's Cup and the amateur roots of
the sport appear to be decreasing, there is still hope that the event may
be worth following. Here are some links to help...
America's Cup Uncovered: http://tinyurl.com/AC-072811
America's Cup World Series: http://tinyurl.com/ACWS-Cascais
Television technology: http://tinyurl.com/SFE-080111
MY LIFE AS DEAN
The focus of Olympic sailing begins this week on the 2011 Weymouth and
Portland International Regatta, an event designed to test the Olympic
sailing venue and its operations in advance of the 2012 Games. It's also a
rare opportunity for the sailors to get valuable experience amid the
pressures of the Olympics - a year before the Games.
Racing for the ten Olympic sailing events is August 2-13, where 325 entries
representing 135 countries will compete across five courses on Portland
Harbor and Weymouth Bay. Consistent with the Olympic Games, each country is
allowed just one representative in each event.
Pulling back the curtain on the American effort is Dean Brenner, who is
Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee. Here is his latest report from
(August 1, 2011) - I don't travel with the team as much as I used to during
the 2008 quadrennium, for a whole bunch of reasons, some because of
changing roles, some because of evolving life. This is both a bad and good
thing. It's bad because it's fun to travel with this team. The energy, the
drive, and the passion are all invigorating. But it's also a good thing
because it makes the evolution within the team even more obvious to me when
I do show up. It's just easier to detect change when you aren't staring at
something all the time.
I arrived here in Weymouth last Saturday evening, July 30, and was among
the last on our team to arrive. The team, coaches and most of the support
staff had been here for almost a week of training. By the time I got to
town our operation was up and running and I came on board a well-run ship.
And let me tell you what I see when I look around...
I'm watching the most professional and thorough operation we've ever had
within US Sailing's Olympic Program. We have essentially three groups of
people here: 16 athletes, 9 coaches, and 9 support staff. The support staff
includes a team leader, a team manager, two communications people, a
meteorologist, a trainer, a physical therapist, a chef and a boatwright.
Later on in the week, a sports psychologist will join us as well as an
official from USOC. That's a big group, and it's hard to keep everyone on
the same page. But when you have the correct group, it's much easier to do
Almost all of the team is staying together in four-person apartments
overlooking Weymouth Harbour. For some of us, the day starts very early.
Our meterologist Doug is up at 6am working on his initial forcast for the
day. Some others are up for an early morning run. The team comes together
for a full breakfast served at 8am at our housing, followed by a
coach/staff meeting at 9:30am in our team compound where team leader Katie
and head coach Kenneth give specific information on a range of issues. Then
it depends on the day and each athlete's plan. Some go sailing (wind
permitting) and some do boat work. Sometimes Kenneth gives the coaches some
additional assignments, such as taking current or wind readings out on the
water. -- Read on:
Event link: http://www.londonpreparesseries.com/sailing/index.html
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics: http://tinyurl.com/USSTAG-073111
SCHEDULE: Beginning of competition for the ten sailing events at the
Weymouth and Portland International Regatta will be staggered between
August 2 through August 6, with final racing on August 13. The Women's
Match Racing competition will be the first event to begin racing with
twelve teams from Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great
Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and USA. ISAF
Sailing World Cup Women's Match Racing title winner Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
will not participate after losing to teammate Sally Barkow in a selection
series. -- Full report: http://www.sailing.org/36377.php
MELGES FALL SAVINGS IN LINE
Lots of Melges Racing to come this summer. However, the fall season will be
here soon as will savings on new boats and gear from Melges. Everything
from the new Audi Melges 20 - through the Melges Scows and other Melges
Sportboats. Fall Savings will kick in on September 1 and last through
October 15. Get ready! Stay close to http://www.melges.com
THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN
Peter Isler, two-time America's Cup winner, has sailed in and won hundreds
of races over the last forty years. In his latest book - Peter Isler's
Little Blue Book of Sailing Secrets - he shares lessons and stories that
have helped him succeed and enjoy the sport. Here is an excerpt from the
book titled This Is Supposed to Be Fun:
Maybe the most valuable lesson I've ever been taught about sailing came
during the fall semester of my sophomore year at college. My crew, Susan
Daly and I, were doing well in team practices, consistently at the top of
the fleet, but at regattas we seemed to be just a bit flat. We were putting
in the time, practicing hard and doing what seemed like everything
necessary to be successful on the college circuit. But we never seemed to
be able to put it all together at the big regattas - we always fell short.
It got to the point that I was really getting stressed about our
performance because I felt we should be doing so much better.
Then one night after team practice, Olympic medalist Glen Foster (bronze
medal, Tempest Class, 1972 Olympics) came up to give an after-dinner talk
to the team. As I was listening to his entertaining story about his
experiences at the Kiel Olympiad, something inside of me clicked.
He wasn't talking about the special light-air jib with the fuller head that
he and his sailmaker developed and unveiled at the Games; he wasn't talking
about his conservative starting technique or his crew's heavy-air
spinnaker-pumping technique. He was talking about how much fun it was to be
in the Olympics, the competitor friends with whom he shared a laugh on the
dock before racing, and the thrill of representing his country. He was
talking about enjoying his sailing and all that is a part of the sport.
For me, it was an epiphany, and it slowly sunk into my thick skull.
At that particular time, I wasn't having any fun with my sailing. The fact
that I was now representing my university and sailing on the varsity team,
along with the higher expectations and my own competitive ego, all built up
until I was just taking my sailing too darn seriously. I wasn't smelling
the roses anymore, or enjoying the beauty and fun aspects of the sport that
had drawn me to it in the first place.
The next day in practice, I shared my thoughts with Susan on the boat
before the racing started. Susan listened to this confession of my sins -
of my treating sailing like a grim professional - and it was music to her
ears. As it turned out, Susan had been putting up with my ever-increasing
stress level and didn't like it one bit. The less fun I had sailing, the
less fun she had sailing with me. I promised her that I was going to make a
real effort to have more fun with our sailing, and to enjoy the privileges
we had in being able to spend time on the water and race for Yale.
Almost overnight our performance jumped. We started really clicking at the
regattas, and our results rocketed. It was no small coincidence that our
Yale team won the College Dinghy Nationals that spring. Looking back
through the perspective of several decades of America's Cups and countless
high-pressure events, I still consider that moment when Glen Foster
unknowingly unveiled that important lesson to me to be a watershed moment
in my career.
Additional information about Isler's book can be found here:
US SAILING APPOINTS INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL
After two sailors' lives were lost during the recent Chicago Yacht Club
Race to Mackinac (July 18, 2011), Commodore Joseph Haas of the Chicago
Yacht Club, the race's organizer, asked US SAILING to conduct an
independent study of what happened. On July 28 Gary Jobson, the President
of US SAILING, appointed the Independent Review Panel for the 2011 Mackinac
Race, and directed it to consider what lessons might be learned and also to
The members of the Independent Review Panel are (Chairman) Chuck Hawley,
Santa Cruz, Cal.; Sheila McCurdy, Middletown, R.I.; Ralph Naranjo,
Annapolis, Md.; and John Rousmaniere, New York, N.Y. Each is an experienced
offshore sailor, a longtime member of US SAILING's Safety-at-Sea Committee,
and a moderator of US SAILING-certified Safety at Sea Seminars. The Chicago
Yacht Club appointed one if its members, Leif Sigmond Jr., to serve as the
club's liaison to the panel.
The Independent Review Panel will present its report to the Chicago Yacht
Club and US SAILING's in mid to late October. Additional details:
BLUE IS GREEN - SAVE ON A NEW NORTH SAIL...!
Recycle your old sail and SAVE. From July 1st-September 3, 2011, you can
receive savings toward a new North sail after you register on our Web site
to return your old sail. We will also email you you a pre-paid UPS shipping
label to return your sail to the North Recycling Center. Once your old sail
is received, we will send you a free recycled sail cloth tote bag from Sea
Bags, Inc. If you're looking to elevate your sailing, now is the time to
buy a new North sail and save! Blue is Green:
WILL THE CURMUDGEON BE INVITED NEXT YEAR?
Anyone wondering where some of the major names in sailing might be hanging
out August 17-19th should check out Nantucket Race Week's Celebrity
Invitational Regatta. "Celebrity" tacticians join Corinthian teams from all
over North America to race in Nantucket's fleet of fifteen identical
International One Design sloops.
Celebrity Tacticians generously donate their talent for the benefit of
Nantucket Community Sailing. They must like it - nine of last year's
tacticians are returning - and six new recruits reflect the event's growing
appeal. Celebrity Tactician names include:
Most are bringing spouses for a true "busman's holiday" on Nantucket at its
best and busiest week of the season. Tom Whidden will act as Honorary
Chairman of the Celebrity Invitational Regatta, alongside Gary Jobson,
Honorary Chairman of Nantucket Race Week.
While the tacticians are called "celebrities", the roster of Corinthian
helmspersons and their teams is also a who's who, sailing and otherwise:
Jim Allsopp, Jim Bishop Jr. (defending), John Dane III, Peter Denton, Carlo
Falcone, Heather Gregg, Zenas Hutchison, Courtenay Jenkins, Sen. John
Kerry, Peter McCausland, Jim Richardson, Craig Venter, Geoff Verney and
Whitey Willauer are all expected. With one boat reserved as a spare, that's
a full house for 2011.
Nantucket Race Week: www.nantucketraceweek.org
Nantucket Community Sailing: www.nantucketcommunitysailing.org
A STAR SHINES IN MARBLEHEAD
by Michael Lovett, Sailing World
Bill Lynn is a Marblehead local through and through. He's been sailing at
Marblehead Race Week since he was a kid, and he's a partner in Atlantis
Weather Gear, the sailing apparel brand based right downtown. But to say he
was a favorite to win the J/105 class at the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider
Marblehead NOOD would be a long shot.
First of all, he doesn't usually drive Shooting Star; the boat's owner,
Laurie Willard, does. But Willard couldn't race this weekend, so he put
Lynn at the helm. The crew also included Ben Willard (Laurie's son), Matt
Contorchick and his wife, Catherine Sullivan, former Sailing World senior
editor Chris Hufstader, and Lynn's daughter, Hannah.
Going in to Sunday's racing, Shooting Star sat in fourth place in the
31-boat J/105 class, three points out of first. It was only a wing and
prayer that got the team past Henry Brauer and Stewart Neff's Scimitar,
Bernard Girod's Rock & Roll, and Matthew Pike's Got Qi?, and up onto the
podium at the Corinthian YC, where they received the regatta's overall
prize - and an invitation to compete against the winners of the other NOOD
regattas at the Sperry Top-Sider Caribbean NOOD Championship, which takes
place this November in the British Virgin Islands.
* How did you manage the final day?
BILL LYNN: We weren't sure how many races we'd sail, and the problem for us
was that our throwout wasn't as bad as everybody else's. As you factored in
the drops, we had a deeper hole to dig out of. So we just went out there
and tried to win a race. It was a matter of seeing who could tee it up for
one last win.
* So what's your stance on throwouts?
BILL LYNN: I go back and forth. I've probably lost as many regattas by not
having a throwout as I have by having a throwout. So, over the course of
time, I think it all comes out in the wash. I guess I've been burned both
ways. I sort of like having no drop, but then again, if you get
black-flagged or have an OCS early in the series, your regatta's over.
* What was the most memorable incident that happened on the racecourse?
BILL LYNN: Well, the one that probably pissed the most people off was in
the first race on Sunday [what turned out to be the penultimate race of the
series -Ed.]. They ended up shortening course and finishing us after the
first downwind leg. We had a lousy start at the pin end, and rounded the
windward mark in ninth. The guys we needed to beat were third or fourth.
Everybody was parading downwind on starboard. All the forecasts had been
calling for the classic sea breeze to fill in, but the wind was at 230
degrees, which is way right of the sea breeze direction. So we gybed and
sailed away from the fleet, and when the sea breeze filled in we were left
of the fleet. We ended up crossing everybody for the win. That was a bit of
a hail mary, but we did have a game plan in place.
Read on: http://tinyurl.com/NOOD-080111
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THE HARDEST WORKING SHIRT ON THE WATER
Finally, a shirt for sailors that does it all - The new SailFast
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The reoccurring topic of how inshore racing has evolved into a steady diet
of Windward-Leeward courses surfaced in Scuttlebutt 3395. Nobody disputes
the sausage is the most tactical selection. But is it the best selection
for every race - casual to competitive? For every type of boat?
There was a time when the sport had a lot of boats on the water. There was
also a time when racing had reaching. Could the more tactical W-L race
course have pushed out people that just wanted to go fast? Has the
Curmudgeon poured more gasoline on the fire? Flame away...
Here are some comments posted on Scuttleblog and Facebook:
* Barry Demak said...
On SF Bay, the Open 5.70 fleet has organized two "invitational" events,
just for us. Golden Gate Yacht Club is hosting us in August. We hope to
include more small format sprit boats in the future. The benefit is that
the courses, with regard to distance, # of legs, and W/L vs reaching are
geared to our boats. We include options for reaching legs if the winds are
light. We do something quite outlandish - we communicate with the RC before
the race day and between races to "pick" courses that we want to sail.
Sure, VMG "mode" downwind is a lot more tactical - but fast reaching on a
plane is a lot more fun! On most SF Bay days, we have 15+ knots anyway - so
this becomes a moot point. But, it's nice to have the option.
* Anonymous said...
I hate reaching legs unless I'm in a dinghy in planing conditions. The
other night our RC signaled a triangle and our 6-boat fleet of sprit boats
almost mutinied wanting to sail W-Ls so there are some tactics. We sailed
the triangle, but the first boat to the weather mark led on both reaches
and won the race. Lame! Even though it was me.
* Erin Schanen said...
Despite the fact I do the majority of my sailing on a sprit boat, I'm
pretty surprised by the results of your surveys. I can't believe so many
people want to parade around the race course with little opportunity for
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
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