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SCUTTLEBUTT 3421 - Wednesday, September 7, 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: Morris Yachts, Atlantis WeatherGear, and

Yacht clubs are the “core institution” in recreational boating and need to
take proactive steps to survive and prosper, sailing legend Gary Jobson
told an audience at the Seattle Yacht Club last week.

Speaking at the International Council of Yacht Clubs 2011 forum, Jobson
outlined the challenges facing today’s yacht clubs, including increased
environmental concerns, high waterfront properties values, declining
participation in boating and an aging membership.

“I believe it’s a miracle that our yacht clubs exist at all,” said Jobson,
who has sailed with more than 400 yacht clubs worldwide and belongs to more
than 30. “It’s up to us to not only preserve them, but to make them

To do that, he said, yacht clubs need to take a broad view and update their
mission statements as needs and priorities change over the years. Clubs
must also develop long-range plans that focus on all aspects of the
operation, Jobson said, including the following.

When he was on the board of the Annapolis Yacht Club, Jobson said, someone
decided to scrap the club’s print publications and do all communication
electronically - not the best decision, he noted, considering that club
members had an average age of 61 and many didn’t use email.

The club eventually hired a communications director and relaunched its
print newsletter with a greater emphasis on events, which got more people
coming to the club. It also created a bi-annual magazine that was a bit hit
with members, Jobson said.

To boost positive media coverage and increase its visibility, the club met
with editors from several newspapers in the area, which prompted a local
paper to start covering sailing one day a week.

Jobson recommended yacht clubs review their websites and ensure they are
providing information people want, such as weather forecasts and live
weather cams.

Clubs need to have a plan for communicating with members in the event of an
emergency, Jobson said, such as the death of a 14-year-old Annapolis girl
who drowned in June after her boat capsized during a sailing lesson.

“It’s easy to ignore this stuff until something happens,” he said.

Three Sheets Northwest, read on:

MORE: Further in the above report, Jobson provides advice on how to handle
the vociferous minority: “Every yacht club I’ve been to in the world has
the same six guys sitting at the bar, and whatever the issue is, they’re
against it,” Jobson said. “Here’s what you do - you walk right past them.”

SADNESS: I am a proud member of San Diego Yacht Club, and while the
facilities are among the nicest in the world, it is the familiar faces at
the club that mean the most to me. Among those people I have come to
appreciate is Debbie Howard, the club’s longtime bartender. So it was with
great sadness that I learned Debbie had died this past weekend as a result
of a scuba-diving accident. If there is someone at your club that defines
your membership, let them know about it. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

Did you watch the 2011 Indianapolis 500, when Dan Wheldon won in dramatic
fashion as race leader J.R. Hildebrand crashed in the fourth turn heading
to the checkered flag? The possibility of a crash, at any time, is what
attracts the casual fan to motor sports. And now the America’s Cup is
leveraging our animal instincts to build its audience too.

But while the catamaran platform is undoubtedly more extreme than the
previous rules, it doesn’t mean that past Cup matches were without danger.
American Bill Trenkle, who competed alongside Dennis Conner in eight
campaigns, has the scars to prove that 12 meters and ACC boats were not
that safe.

“There was plenty of drama with them,” recalls Trenkle. “Think of Australia
One breaking in half and sinking. Ralfie Steitz at the top of Star &
Stripes mast swinging around like a piñata, the French boat losing its keel
and capsizing, the Japan crew getting hit in the head by the spin pole on
Nippon. Not to mention broken masts, wire sheet scars from the 12 meters
days and my false teeth from the winch that blew up and shot a 1 pound gear
into my mouth at warp speed.

“The issue is that there is a tradeoff between safe and fast. Just like an
F-1 driver has to control his speed in a turn, Cup boat designers have to
make these decisions too. Crews also have to make that same risk vs reward
decision all the time. That is what makes catamarans interesting because to
go fast you have to get closer to the edge of flipping or pitch poling. The
guy with the biggest cajones will go faster.

“In AC V5 boats the risk reward came into play more at the start line. Guys
like James Spithill and Russel Coutts never hesitated in taking high risk
moves to win the start. Dennis Conner once said that as he got older and
had more responsibility and more financial risk in his campaigns, his match
racing deteriorated because now subconsciously in the middle of high risk
maneuver he would back off because he did not want to risk damaging his
boat. So many sports are all about who pushes the hardest, and I certainly
enjoy that aspect of these sports. Think downhill skiing, car racing,
motocross, snowboard cross, etc.” --

Come see Morris Yachts at the Newport International Boat Show Sept 15-18 in
Newport, RI. They will have their M36 daysailer and a Morris 42 Ocean
Series on display for viewing. Morris Yachts Service staff will also be on
hand to answer any service related question and to discuss refit projects
and capabilities. To find out more about their exhibit and to book a demo
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By Dave Reed, Sailing World
“Send up six!” shouts Lance Smotherman, skipper of the Great Lakes 70
Details. “And tell those guys down there to get their @sses up here.

Up the companionway comes a utility bucket piled haphazardly with cans of
cold beer, and, eventually, the last two of 14 crewmembers.

With everyone finally gathered around the expansive cockpit, Smotherman, a
towering figure with a booming voice, standing between Detail’s chest-high
wheels, kicks off the day’s rehashing.

“OK. First, I want to thank you all for the excellent jobs you did out
there,” he starts. “I feel really good. I feel we’re getting faster upwind.
Downwind - we’re still really fast - so let’s keep working on that.

“Now, I don’t want to drag this thing out like we did last night,” he
continues, “and don’t think we’re being a bunch of wankers by having these
debriefs - it’s important we get things right.

“OK. Who wants to go first?”

And so the session goes, each of us contributing our thoughts on what went
right, what when wrong, and what needed to be fixed. It goes on for nearly
45 minutes. Meanwhile, every other crew in the marina has put away their
boat and either left or turned their focus toward the party.

As I await my turn, I find myself dwelling on Smotherman’s earlier comment
about being wankers. When did a post-race debrief become so un-cool? Why
are we the only ones still dissecting what happened out on the racecourse
when everyone else is off having fun? Sure, maybe a Sperry Top-Sider NOOD
Regatta isn’t the Audi MedCup or the Melges 32 Worlds, where the debrief is
as an important part of the day as breakfast. But the debrief is an
essential part of any race day.

It’s the best way to learn, to discuss new ideas, and most importantly, to
solve problems. A debrief can be comical, insightful, serious, or light.
The only thing it can’t be, a pro sailor once told me, is personal. And on
Details, it isn’t. Because most of these guys are friends first and
teammates second, no one is afraid to admit mistakes, and conversely, no
one holds back their criticisms. -- Read on:

QUESTION: How many women are thinking right now why men are able to
communicate their issues about a sailboat race, but seem completely
incapable of communicating about anything else?

One of the chief questions about an inflatable PFD-harness is whether you
want an auto-inflating PFD or a manually inflating model. (Some sailors
prefer just a harness without any integral flotation, also an option.) The
auto-inflating devices are activated by water or pressure change;
manual-inflating devices require the wearer to pull a lanyard. Commonsense
would suggest that an auto-inflating harness/life jacket is the best choice
for the cruising sailor. After all, if the sailor is knocked unconscious,
he or she will be unable to manually inflate the PFD.

However, there are cases in which an inflated harness can be a hindrance -
for example when you are trying to climb back aboard under a lifeline, or
dive free of debris or rigging. And as our tests have shown, rain and waves
can inflate some models, a nuisance that could interfere with managing the

An inflated PFD can also interfere with releasing from the tether.
Ordinarily, you would not want to release yourself from your tether, but
there are cases in which it is better to cast yourself free from the boat,
or you risk drowning. Several crew who survived the capsize of Wing Nuts in
the 2011 Chicago-to-Mackinac race were forced to detach themselves. One,
Stan Dent, had to cut himself free. The captain and crew who died, Skipper
Mark B. Morley and Suzanne Bickel, were still tethered to the inverted
boat. The circumstances surrounding their death are still being
investigated, but so far, no official reports link their deaths to an
inability to release from their tethers. -- Practical Sailor, read on:

* Co. Dublin, Ireland (September 6, 2011) - For the second time in the past
three days, racing at the Star European Championship has been cancelled due
to gale force winds. Wednesday's forecast does appear more hopeful though
the unsettled frontal conditions are set to continue towards the weekend
and racing is certain to be testing for the fleet and race management team
alike. Only two races have been completed thus far, with Canadians Richard
Clarke/Tyler Bjorn as the top North American team in fifth overall with a
9-1. -- Event website:

* Porto Cervo, Italy (September 6, 2011) - With 20 knots circulating in the
marina and a menacing 25-28 knots recorded out on the course, the start of
the 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Sept. 6-10) was postponed today for the
47-strong multinational fleet. The strong breeze experienced today was
predicted to drop off overnight, but build again in the afternoon,
prompting an early start Wednesday to fit in coastal courses for all four
classes. -- Full report:

* (September 6, 2011) - The 2011 International Association for Disabled
Sailing World Rankings has been released. The world rankings leaders are
Thierry Schmitter (NED) in the One-Person Keelboat - 2.4mR; Alexandra
Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) in the Two-Person Keelboat - SKUD18; and
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel, Stephen Thomas (GBR) in the Three-Person
Keelboat - Sonar. -- Full report:

* The 100ft US maxi Rambler, which lost its canting keel and capsized in
the Rolex Fastnet race, is “very unlikely” to contest this year’s Rolex
Sydney-Hobart race, says her boat manager Mick Harvey. Commenting on
speculation that charterer George David would have the boat and her new
keel shipped directly to New Zealand to be fitted and rig re-installed
before crossing the Tasman for the start, Harvey said: “It is very unlikely
that we will be racing Rambler 100 in the Hobart race this year. -- My
Sailing, read on:

Etchells sailors are starting to trickle in to Marblehead for this week's
Atlantis WeatherGear Etchells North American Championship. The Etchells
represents a spectacular combination of looks and performance - kind of
like the gear we've created for sailing them - and we're looking forward to
watching sailors like Kneulman, Gulari, Smith, Lammens and Duncan duke it
out for the title. Visit our Facebook page for updates and to let us know
who you think will bring it home - if you get it right, there might be some
AWG schwag in it for you:
Discover Your Atlantis

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* From Bill Buchan:
Regarding the trivia in Scuttlebutt 3420, the "three boat length room at
the mark rule" originated as the result of a successful appeal that was
made in my behalf by a member of the Bellingham Yacht Club protest
committee who felt that I had been "wronged" by their decision at the PIYA
Regatta of 1954.

* From John Buckley:
Your trivia question (in Scuttlebutt 3420) asks "What year do you think it
was when a mark room rule was introduced?" Your answer, regarding the
establishment of a "zone", is undoubtedly correct (and this is hardly my
area of expertise) - but here's another thought. In "Room At The Mark" by
Robert C. MacArthur, (a 1991 history of the sailing rules), he observes
that in 1875 a group of British Yacht Clubs formed the Yacht Racing
Association (YRA) and drew up a set of rules to improve the consistency of
inter-club racing. According to MacArthur, the 1875 YRA rules contained the
first identifiable "mark-rounding" rule.

To quote MacArthur: "For the first time anywhere, we see the words 'room'
and 'overlap' and 'outside', and the beginning of a definition of clear
ahead and clear astern." The rule includes this statement: "An overtaking
yacht shall not, however, be justified in attempting to establish an
overlap, and thus force passage between the leading yacht and the mark,
after the latter has altered her helm for the purpose of rounding." Not
much - but it's a start.

Also, regarding your opinion piece on event communication (in #3420) - not
only is information lost, but local event organizers are forced to reinvent
the wheel each time a recurring Class event is held. This adds to their
burden, and means there's little or no consistency in the quality,
functionality, and timing of event websites from year to year. Like it or
not, these websites represent the Class - and to that extent the Class is
at the mercy of local organizers to present an acceptable image. I don't
see how this is good for anyone, yet we keep doing it. So thanks for
raising the visibility of this issue.

* From Jared Wohlgemuth:
I agree a custom event URL makes it difficult to find the information after
the event is long gone. From my perspective as the SDYC webmaster, what
would you recommend we do for our large scale events where a custom URL is
important for marketing?

One idea would be to host the full site at something like, and
just have a domain forward that goes from the custom URL to the event URL
on the SDYC domain. (Example: all Snipe Worlds 2009 files would be hosted,
as they are now, at So all linked URL would go
to various places on The custom URL would
simply forward to for marketing purposes but
wouldn't host any files. Is that the best solution for us at SDYC and
similar organizations? Any other ideas?

COMMENT: Every year, each one design class gets a host for their prominent
championship(s). And for nearly every championship, a new website is
born... and paid for by the host. It would seem the bulk of that money
could be spent once, and then the site could be refined for future events.
In the case of the Snipe class, what if they purchased and
then had an extension for each year (ie,, etc.)? -
Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

* From Mario Sampaio:
I would like to remind Tyler Carder (in Scuttlebutt 3420) that at the
outset, and for a century and a half, the America’s Cup was a challenge
between nations.

If we repeatedly brag about the 'tradition' of the oldest sporting trophy
in history, does it make any sense to forget the reasons why it came to be?
Does the current multi-national crew / national team format make any sense
to the public at large? I don´t think so...

If the AC returns to national crew / national teams format, I strongly
believe the Cup will gain popularity once again, and after all the law
suits of the recent past, re-gaining popularity is the real challenge!

COMMENT: My guess is that until a team wins the America’s Cup that is
already crewed by nationals, the open format will remain. For Russell
Coutts (NZL) and Jimmy Spithill (AUS) to have helped Larry Ellison (USA)
finally win the America’s Cup, did we expect a nationality rule that would
have turned Russell and Jimmy into free agents? When it comes to the
America’s Cup, he who has the gold makes the rules. -- Craig Leweck,

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“Who wishes to give himself an abundance of expense let him equip these two
things: a yacht and a woman. For nothing involves more expense, if you have
begun to fit them out. Nor are these two things ever sufficiently adorned,
nor is any excess of adornment enough for them.” -- Titus Maccius Plautus
(c. 254 BC - 184 BC)

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