SCUTTLEBUTT 3428 - Friday, September 16, 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: Southern Spars and West Marine.
THE (LOST) ART OF SETTING REACH LEGS
By Ken Legler
"We want occasional reach legs" and "Reaches are parades" are two often
heard phrases on Scuttlebutt. Most reach legs have become parades with few
strategical options and as a result most big regattas are all
windward-leewards. It didn't used to be that way. Here is what happened.
In the 1960's many, if not most, one-design races were long modified
triangles. The reaches were so long you couldn't see the reach mark. They
were physically demanding in breeze and very strategical in variable winds.
In the 1970's US Sailing (NAYRU then) began emphasizing better race
management. Gold Medalist Bill Bentsen was the race management mentor/guru
at the US Sailing Center at Association Island, NY (Lake Ontario) where
race management was greatly refined.
Using a combination of Inland Lakes (ILYA) methodology and Bentsen's
creativity, sailing instructions were standardized, starting lines were
mobile for wind shifts, and windward legs were optimized. With the leeward
mark a tenth of a mile up from the start, the reach legs became short.
After ten or fifteen years of this reach legs became eliminated as W-L's
became standard. Gates were introduced (by Paul Elvstrom), improving upon
the W-L course.
Gary Bodie, former US Olympic head coach, once said that the demise of
one-design racing is partly a result of better race management. With
courses away from land set square to the wind, the fastest win and the
slowest give up and disappear.
Reach legs are attempted now and then and indeed too often are parades.
Bring back the big modified triangle especially in heavy air and while
we're at it, how about a longer point to point race such as the "Round the
Island Race." Let's do the math.If we have a one mile beat with a right
triangle (45-90-45 degree angles) and the leeward mark is at the start,
then the reaches are only .7 miles long. Now, let's set the course with the
same windward mark but the leeward mark is one mile downwind. Increase the
reaching angle with an equilateral triangle (60-60-60 angles) and voila,
two mile reaches which are no longer parades. Instead reaches become a test
of sailing skill that, like RC's setting the best angle and length reach
legs, is a lost art.
My next regatta is the Snow and Satisfaction at Yale in 420s. Some of my
best memories in the sport are the long high speed surfing and planning
reaches on the widest part of Long Island Sound during one of the windiest
times of year, November. It's been awhile because in recent years the RC
has attempted reaches by dragging a gate mark out for short broad reaches
instead of the epic modified triangle reaches. I don't ski, don't surf,
don't skate board, but I can still plane a club 420 in the right
NOTE: Ken is a highly sought out Principal Race Officer, and has been a
fixture at Key West Race Week since 1994. He has also been the head coach
at Tufts University since 1980, where he worked with such notables as Josh
Adams, Betsy Allison, Pete Levesque, Bill Lynn, Mark Mendelblatt, and Nevin
EIGHT RACES - EIGHT WINNERS
Newport, RI (September 15, 2011) - A lack of breeze and fog contributed to
a brief postponement ashore this morning to push back the start of the
third day of racing at the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
presented by Rolex. By noon, however, the 22 competing yacht club teams had
returned to now-familiar territory north of Newport's Pell Bridge and, with
two winners in the two races held today, continued the established pattern
that has now seen eight different teams win the eight races sailed thus far
in the series.
A key mover for the day was the Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC) team from
Newport Beach, California, who moved into third overall with 61 points
after finishes of 4-2. "We were getting off the starting line a lot better
today, that was a big part of it" said Payson Infelise, NHYC tactician,
explaining that NHYC had struggled with that. "We feel like we've been
sailing pretty well and we're happy to be here learning, especially for our
first time around.
"Putting time in on the boat is huge. There are a couple of teams that own
their own boat, and the North American teams [Annapolis, Eastern and Royal
Canadian Yacht Clubs] who have been here sailing this summer certainly have
an advantage. But, at the same time, we've already seen a huge improvement.
People are learning the boats and I think any advantage is almost gone and
everyone is up to speed. Its all about getting off the line, getting that
first shift, a clean lane and going fast."
There are three races left in the planned 11-race series and racing resumes
Friday and concludes Saturday. -- Full report:
Results after Day Three - Top 5 of 22
1. Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN), 2-1-4-2-4-2-8-6, 29 pts
2. New York Yacht Club (USA), 4-2-8-10-3-1-4-2, 34
3. Newport Harbor Yacht Club (USA), 8-3-7-1-17-12-10-3, 61
4. Annapolis Yacht Club (USA), 11-10-12-6-1-3-3-14, 63
5. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (HKG), 3-8-2-19-2-18-13-5, 70
Full results: http://www.invitationalcup.org/results-and-tracking
BACKGROUND: The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex is
an amateur fleet racing regatta held in Swan 42 Class yachts. The regatta
is hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) in Newport, Rhode Island, in
alternate years and was first held in 2009.
SUCCESS FOR SOUTHERN SPARS AT THE 2011 MAXI YACHT ROLEX CUP
Southern Spars-rigged yachts achieved impressive results across all four
divisions in the 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Ran's second successive triumph
in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds was in the bag after a convincing start to
the week, when she won three of her four bullets. Three weeks earlier
Niklas Zennstrom's Ran also claimed a second straight overall victory at
the Rolex Fastnet Race. Sir Irvine Laidlaw's 82-ft Highland Fling scored
overall victory in the Maxi Racing division, closely followed by Igor
Simic's bigger and faster 100-ft Esimit Europa 2 (SLO). For more
information on Southern Spars' maxi rig technology, visit
NATIONS CUP GRAND FINAL
Sheboygan, WI (September 15, 2011) - In a brisk northerly wind which made
for good but chilly conditions, Mads Ebler (DEN, crew Soeren Toender, Chris
Keene Boye) continued his domination of the open division in the Nations
Cup Grand Final Thursday as Olivia Price (AUS, crew Lucinda Whitty, Nina
Curtis) won all of her Thursday matches to top the women's division at the
end of the round robin sailed on Lake Michigan.
In the nine-team open division, Laurie Jury (NZL, crew Logan Fraser, Mike
Edmonds) and Lucy Macgregor (GBR, crew Annie Lush, Kate Macgregor) tied
with six wins each, securing their places in the semifinals with Ebler.
In the 10-team women's division, 2009 Nations Cup winner Claire Leroy (FRA,
crew Elodie Bertrand, Marie Riou) and Mandy Mulder (NED, crew Merel
Witteveen, Shannen Marck) each finished the round robin with seven wins.
Price, who also moves to the semifinals, lost only to Mulder during the
A repechage round on Friday determine the fourth semi-finalist in both
division. Light wind is forecast early but expected to increase toward
Full report: http://tinyurl.com/NC-091511
Results after Day 2: http://tinyurl.com/NC-results-091511
BACKGROUND: The Grand Final of the ISAF Nations Cup on September 14-18 is
the culmination of a series of eight match racing regattas that started in
Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 24th. --
NOTHING GREEK ABOUT ARTEMIS' SUCCESS
Plymouth, UK (September 15, 2011) - For the second day running, Artemis
Racing won two of the three fleet race heats in the seeding series for the
Plymouth Match Racing Championship. With a second place to add to the two
bullets, Terry Hutchinson's team will enter the Match Racing Championship
as the top ranked team. "The trimmers had us going as well as the boat has
ever gone," said skipper Terry Hutchinson."
The breeze was steadier and slightly stronger than the previous day, making
it easier for the leaders to stay ahead once they were in front. This put a
lot of emphasis on the need for a good start, and time after time some
crews pushed it too hard, being forced to go back and restart. In the first
race ORACLE Racing Coutts was over early, next heat it was Team Korea, and
in the final heat Green Comm Racing and ORACLE Racing Spithill.
The Plymouth Match Racing Championship continues on Friday, with match
racing quarter and semi finals scheduled. As top seed, Artemis Racing has a
bye into the semi finals, and will not race on Friday. The other eight
teams will fight to advance in head to head match races.
Full story: http://tinyurl.com/ACUP-091511
Video highlights: http://youtu.be/fFsCve_diBk
Current results: http://tinyurl.com/ACWS-Plymouth-results
ACWS-Plymouth website: http://tinyurl.com/ACWS-Plymouth
Race schedule: http://tinyurl.com/ACWS-Plymouth-rev-schedule
LIVESTREAM: Racing begins on Friday at 14:10 local time (09:10 EDT). There
will also be a post race press conference streamed at 18:00 local time
(13:00 EDT). Viewing online at www.youtube.com/americascup
TELEVISION: A reminder for U.S. viewers that the Versus cable channel will
be broadcast a one hour highlights show on Sunday, September 18 at 7:00
TECHNOLOGY: Since the replacement of the damaged port hull two days ago,
telemetry onboard the Green Comm Racing yacht has been malfunctioning. It
is the onboard electronics that provide input on the coarse boundaries, and
for the past two days the team has received what they believe are unjust
penalties for sailing outside the race area. According to the team, the
display of the distance to the border can freeze at 100 meters and then
suddenly show a penalty. "It is very hard to have a competitive start since
we don't know where the borders are," explained helmsman Vasilij Zbogar. "I
was actually more worried about the borders than about nailing the start
and positioning the boat." --
CONSPIRACY THEORY: Documents have been uncovered that are raising serious
questions about why San Francisco recently declared a pier unsafe and told
all the tenants to leave. As KTVU first reported last week, city building
inspectors have declared Pier 38 in San Francisco unsafe. On Wednesday,
Mayor Ed Lee emphatically stated the sudden red tagging and upcoming
evictions of the tenants was not done so the organizers of America's Cup
can take it over. "We don't have any plans to use Pier 38," said Mayor Lee.
"It's not been part of draft plans or permanent plans." But Aaron Peskin,
the former president of the Board of Supervisors, isn't convinced. -- Read
BANKABLE: An America's Cup regatta being held in Rhode Island next summer
will give the state's economy a $72 million boost and create 400 jobs,
state officials said Thursday. Keith Stokes, the executive director of the
Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, held up the nine-day
America's Cup World Series event - to be hosted in the seaside city of
Newport - as a jump-starter for the economy that will have a positive
"ripple effect" for years to come. -- Read on:
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Since its launch in 2005, the Audi MedCup has grown to become the world's
leading keelboat fleet racing circuit. No other series has as much money,
effort, and talent committed to winning the season championship. For the
professional sailor, this gig can pay the bills.
But an evolving TP52 design rule and a retracting economy has whittled the
fleet size down from its high of 21 boats in 2008 to just 7 teams this year
for three of the five events. While the level of racing remains
ridiculously high, can these numbers provide enough panache to keep the
commercial interests involved?
Nacho Postigo, Technical Director of the Audi MedCup Circuit, likes what he
has seen this year. "The potential of all campaigns has been getting higher
and closer every year. There are no more favourites or outsiders. Every
team can beat the others. We had four different winners in four events in
the 52 Series, and the boats often finished within seconds."
Regarding the fleet size, Postigo believes quality should rule over
quantity. "We prefer to have these eight truly competitive 52 Series
campaigns to just having higher numbers of boats that can't match the pace
on the race course. We are aiming for attractive regattas and want to
inspire new owners. The TP 52 is the de facto top monohull class for grand
prix racing in the world on the world's leading regatta circuit. It's
dynamic, challenging and telegenic."
Keeping the circuit vibrant relies on fulfilling multiple interests. "First
of all, a new regatta venue needs to provide good sailing conditions,"
explains Postigo. "But any venue should also appeal to the criteria
desirable to owners and crews, and it must represent an important market to
the title sponsor. And last every event has serious logistical
requirements, and it needs to fit into the budget."
Looking forward to 2012, Postigo anticipates some changes. "Right now we're
looking into a different route for the 2012 circuit. There might be a
regatta in Northern Europe next time. We plan to announce the route of the
upcoming Audi MedCup Circuit by the end of this year. This will still give
us enough time to build up the tension in all countries. I'm a hundred
percent sure that we'll have another great season with dramatic racing in
* Barcelona, Spain (September 15, 2011) - The race for the 2011 TP52 Audi
MedCup Circuit title stepped ever higher in intensity after the Spanish
crew on Bribon finished today's lone light air race in second to take the
lead of the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy, and to close the gap on
overall leader Quantum Racing. Less than 13 points separate Quantum Racing
from fourth placed Audi Azzurra (ITA) with up to four races of the season
left. The American flagged team, which won the overall title in 2008, lead
Spain's Bribon by just seven points. -- Full report:
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* Trapani, Sicily (September 15, 2011) - The second day of Act 6 in Trapani
delivered fantastic sailing conditions for the Extreme 40 fleet - sunshine
and a breeze that built to over 20 knots. While Alinghi managed to hold on
at the top of the leaderboard, Max Siren's team on Luna Rossa pushed hard
today scoring two 1st places and three 2nd places to climb from 5th place
to 2nd overall. The format now shifts from the ocean course to the
'stadium' where the 10 Extreme 40s will be racing inside the harbour of
Trapani for the next three days. -- Full report:
* In Sailing World's College Rankings as of September 15, 2011, Yale edges
out Boston College to claim the top spot in both the coed and women's
rankings after their third place finish at the Harry Anderson this past
weekend. Full rankings here: http://tinyurl.com/SW-091511
* Sail magazine announced the 2012 Best Boats fleet in its September issue.
This year's lineup of more than 40 newcomers is made up of monohulls and
catamarans of all sizes making their debut at the fall boat shows. There
are five Best Boats categories: small boats, cruising monohulls, cruising
multihulls, performance boats and flagships, plus awards for excellence in
systems, deck and cockpit plan and accommodations. -- Soundings, read on:
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include crash, fresh, friendly, hockey, carnival, national, eventual,
soaking, and broken. Here are this week's photos:
BONUS: Photographer Fried Elliott shares this gallery from the Star
Centennial Celebration at Larchmont Yacht Club:
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the
Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Featuring a race of the 2011 Sydney Flying Squadron's Historic Australian
18ft Skiff Championship, this clip profiles the offwind sail plan and crack
crew work on this classic design. We also get to see the skill of
internationally famous yacht racing skipper and match racer Harold Cudmore,
who wiggled the tiller just enough to cause a trailing boat to make a
mistake they shall hope to never repeat. Commentary by Robert Killick.
Click here for this week's video:
BONUS: This video captures what we believe to be the worst spinnaker drop
of the year... maybe the decade. Thanks to T2P.tv for being in the
helicopter at the Rolex Big Boat Series to film it:
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:email@example.com
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 Rodger Martin:
Hear bloody hear! I design fast boats and racing boats, but rarely race
because of the inanity of windward/leeward courses. I used to enjoy the odd
race with a friend at a local club that raced around islands or
navigational marks. That club's capitulation to W/L races in family evening
races has done it for me.
* From Russ Chapman, President Mass Bay Sailing Assn:
I am somewhat bemused by Gary Shaver's comment in Scuttlebutt 3427. While I
don't dispute that reaching requires thinking, I propose that any racing
requires thinking. The issue is that reaching requires LESS thinking than a
true downwind leg does. Just like an upwind leg requires anticipating,
recognizing and executing a strategy based on wind shifts, pressure and
current, why should the off the wind leg be any different?
Should we stop having upwind legs as well and simply reach back and forth?
I would posit that it is the reaching legs that "simplify" the racing by
taking away more of the strategic decision making. As far as spinnaker
handling goes, a typical downwind leg can have many gibes - not just one at
a wing mark. I will agree that doing a few reaches as in Gold Cup or
Olympic format courses can be a nice change of pace occasionally, but I
would wholeheartedly disagree that W/L courses are boring and reducing
participation. I can't tell you how many times I have heard that reaching
legs are the boring ones that mostly only provide a "parade" and are not as
NOTE: Russ is also a PHRF Marblehead Governor and a Director for the New
England Yacht Racing Council.
* From Giovanni Iannucci:
I read with much interest on Scuttlebutt 3426 'Tragedy Hits Home' and the
full story on the website. I was surprised the report by Peter Isler and
Gary Jobson did not mention at all safety harnesses. I think they are at
least as important as PFDs and in most cases they can prevent a man
overboard emergency. Here is the link to the story:
I'm not driving fast - just flying low.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Summit Yachts - IYRS - North Sails - Gowrie Group
Team One Newport - Doyle Sails - J Boats - Ullman Sails
JK3 Nautical Enterprises - Southern Spars - West Marine
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