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SCUTTLEBUTT 3433 - Friday, September 23, 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: Interlux and APS.

By Bill Sandberg, WindCheck
This month is a return to one of my favorite subjects - youth sailing.

Admittedly dating myself, when I grew up we choked up on a baseball bat to choose sides. The bases were any item we could find. Same with football. We needed four whatevers to mark the goal lines. Yeah, we occasionally wore uniforms for Little League or school sports, but the norm was shirts vs. skins.

When it came to sailing, we just took our boats out and gunkholed from harbor to harbor. Yes, I was part of a junior sailing program, and yes we raced, but we weren't so burned out by the weekend that we didn't want to sail on weekends. Sailing was fun. We also raced in the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound and did overnights with our parents or other adults.

Like other sports, sailing has become too formal. Regattas have NORs that were written by corporate attorneys that are so complicated even an adult Mensa member wouldn't understand them. I'm talking about Opti regattas - even Green Fleeters.

Then, of course, you have to have your team (club name here) shirts and maybe even pinneys. You must have only the best PFD and the glasses have to be, at worst, Kaenons. Foul weather gear must be the top name brands, replaced a number of times when Johnny or Mary inevitable loses it. I got one decent set, and if I lost it, the replacement came from the Army Navy store, which I did extra chores to pay off.

When you go to regattas, the organizers are often expected to provide meals, transportation, T-shirts, trophies, candy, sunscreen and various tchotchkes. And there has to be a "mommy boat," or multiples. You wouldn't want to be caught dead without at least an instructor or better yet, a private coach. Yes, there are private coaches at Opti Green Fleet regattas.

At teenage regattas, the organizers are expected to ban alcohol and drugs and then spend time policing it. Excuse me, isn't that a parent's job? Ban the substances, by all means. Police it? There's already too much to do for a regatta organizer.

Then there is the rulebook. It's so long and covers so many things unrelated to getting around a racecourse that most children will never read it. Don't forget, these are the same kids who do their required summer reading the day before school begins, by being locked in their rooms and under penalty of death. -- Read on:

With his chiseled jaw, bronzed face, and muscles uncomfortably large for his 5ft 11 frame, Britain's Ben Ainslie is to Olympic sailing like Tom Brady is to American football. Hollywood good looks and athletic dominance. For Brady, this convergence has him married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Ainslie also has a very special lady in his life. Details below.

By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World
There's no doubt the America's Cup World Series in Plymouth last week was a popular success. But can it really be a commercial success as well? Given the scale of the investment and operation, I'm not so sure. This is one of the largest financial gambles in sailing history.

The concept is largely Russell Coutts' vision of a means of commercialising the Cup by splicing it into a continuous, self-supporting circuit, and it is being done with no expense spared.

The man who has been taken on to oversee its transformation into a going concern is Richard Worth, chief executive of the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA). Worth's background is in marketing the UEFA Champions League. Football also has its own billionaire investors yet generates huge revenues in its own right. Can the same be done with sailing?

The scale of the risk is breathtaking, considering the sums of money and the short runway involved. "From the start of the World Series to the end of the America's Cup, the total cost is in the hundreds of millions," admits Worth. The figure, according to another ACEA source is around $300m. The investment in TV staff and equipment alone is said to run to $16m.

How is that funded? "The ACEA and the America's Cup Race Management are effectively borrowing money from Oracle Team," says Worth.

So ultimately, Larry Ellison is writing the cheque.

I ask Worth about the business plan for the World Series. "It would be normal in football to think of 80 per cent of the revenue coming from football and 20 per cent from sponsorship. In sailing, I think it will be the other way round," he says.

Raising money from venues to host the event has been a hard sell. Plymouth Council has estimated costs of set up and benefits of around 100-200,000 Pounds but there's no suggestion that they paid directly for the event. "Plymouth made a leap of faith. Most cities would have told us to go away. It wasn't the peak money, but we needed to get started," admits Worth.

The latest city to join up, Naples, has paid for the privilege, says Worth. The figure is rumoured as 5 million Euros plus benefits in kind. But only a few more venue slots are available before the America's Cup proper kicks off. Other host cities are said to be paying a lot less and Auckland and Sydney turned deals down flat so the World Series.

Worth hints that the event won't return to Plymouth without payment next time and says he thinks research will show it was worth 10m Pounds. But for business investors, a question remarks over the true value of yacht racing events. -- Read on:

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* Palma de Mallorca, Spain (September 22, 2011) - The third day of the 2011 Melges 32 World Championship delivered two more races, with light airs prevailing for the first race with winds building to 10-12 knots for the second race. Continuing to relish the event's moderate winds and sunny weather is John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti, who remains at the top of the chart after six races. With a drop race now scored, Italy's Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica is seven points back in second overall and Yukihiro Ishida's Yasha Samurai is third. Racing continues Friday and concludes Saturday. -- Full report:

* The 2011 Canadian Yachting Association Annual General Meeting and Conference will take place in Kingston, Ontario on October 26-30. Details:

* An evaluation program has commenced to determine which type of boat will be used in the 2016 Olympic Games for the Two Person Women's Skiff and Two Person Mixed Gender Multihull. ISAF have released the initial request for proposal of equipment for both evaluations with trials likely to take place at a suitable venue in Southern Europe in early spring 2012. The final decision will be made by ISAF Council at the 2012 ISAF Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland. -- Full report:

* The National Marine Manufacturers Association, and its partners in the Engine Products Group, filed suit this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's rule outlining a gas pump warning label as well as other misfueling controls for gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol. -- Soundings, read on:

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt include an IOD that is DOA, Opening Day, castles and classics, blue water, wing guide, stackable, practice, altitude, and variety. Here are this week's photos:

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:

The Farr 30 Class is making a comeback. This year they combined their World Championship along with the Rolex Big Boat Series hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay.

They signed up twelve boats from North America and Europe to come to the regatta based on what a great event the Big Boat Series always is. It's a prestigious event and every year sailors who know the Bay look forward to September. The strong winds and fog have mostly gone away and in their place there's sun and moderate breezes.

Not this year. The temperatures were chilly and the winds were rarely below 20k. That's a handful in a 30 foot boat and the sailors got a firsthand look at just what the Bay can dish out. It wasn't survival conditions, but it certainly put a premium on good boat handling skills.

Videographer Vince Casalaina was there to capture the action in this highlight video:

BONUS: View highlights from the final day of sailing at the 2011 ISAF Nations Cup at the US Sailing Center in Sheboygan, USA:

BONUS: The weekly 'America's Cup Uncovered' magazine show on the America's Cup YouTube channel provides behind-the-scenes sneak-peeks, athlete profiles and up-close action on and off the water. The first eight episodes are online, with the ninth show to be released by Saturday:

BONUS: Much has been written and said about September 11, 2001, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, but one story much less known is the one about the band of boats that came together to rescue nearly 500,000 New Yorkers from the World Trade Center site on the day the towers collapsed. This 12 minute documentary tells this story:

BONUS: This week's "World on Water" features the bi-annual New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup in Newport R.I. USA, the finals of the America's Cup World Series from Plymouth, England, PWA Cold Hawaii Regatta in Klitmoller, Denmark, the ISAF Nations Cup in Sheboygan, USA, the final Audi MedCup Regatta in Barcelona, Spain, RS:X European Windsurfing Championships in Burgas, Bulgaria and in our weekly "action" segment "Fresh to Frightening" hold on as the Russian Volvo Open 70 wipes out and rolls over at warp speed and her full sails hold her down. See it all on at approx 1200 BST. 0700 CST, from Friday Sept 23.11.

SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:

If Ben Ainslie medals at the 2012 Olympic Games, he would join Torben Grael (BRA) as holding the most sailing medals with five. If Ben were to win, he would equal that of Paul Elvstrom (DEN) who won four consecutive Olympics. In short, Ben would become the greatest sailing Olympian ever.

As is often the case, behind every great man is a great woman. In Ainslie's case, the only woman in his life is Rita - the name given to all his boats since his parents bought him his first dinghy at age eight. But while there have been many incarnations "there is only really one Rita," Ainslie says fondly. That's Rita, the 130 kilo, 4.5 metre single-masted Finn class he has been sailing since 2003. With trusty Rita he won gold in Athens and Beijing. -- Full story:

APS is committed to the future of the sport! As the Title Sponsor of the ICSA Team Race Nationals and the Official Outfitter of Scholastic Sailing, APS wants your team to be prepared on the water. Not only does APS give College and High School sailors a great discount, we offer special pricing on customized team gear. On our site, you'll find the APS What to Wear Guide and APS recommend Technical Gear so you'll be sure to outfit properly from head to toe! Check out our new Scholastic Landing Pages here:

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 Ari Barshi:
Thanks for the inclusion of my Wind Strength Myth in Scuttlebutt 3431, but I'm afraid I made a mistake.

To back up, I began to search for the difference of the wind pressure in dense air, as my racing results in cold weather are clearly worse compared with racing in warm weather which is what I am used to in the Dominican Republic. The important conclusion is that although there is a difference, our finding of 2% for every 5 degrees C change is minor and insignificant, assuming everything else stays the same.

But when reporting the facts in my newsletter (and the inclusion of this info in Scuttlebutt), I have reversed by mistake the data. I should have written that "20 knots of wind in 25 degrees C feels like 19 knots in 8 degrees C".

My goal was to get to a formula similar to the "wind chill factor" used in weather forecasts. Maybe in the future we will hear, "Today the wind will blow 22 knots with a wind feel factor of 26 knots".

* From Brooks Magruder (Istanbul):
Regarding density of wind/air, Tuthill (in Scuttlebutt 3432) mentions "punchy" wind when air is moist. Actually dry air is denser than humid air at same temperature/pressure because water molecule H2O is lighter than DISPLACED nitrogen molecules N2. BTW, salt water is denser than fresh water because salt doesn't need to displace any water in same volume.

* From Rick Sullivan (Rochester, NY):
Regarding the challenges that exist for some of the college programs, I do understand that travel and support of the program is a difficult obstacle to overcome. We here in Upstate New York are used to these hurtles and programs like HWS and Cornell have been able to travel a minimum of 6-8 hours each weekend to attend regattas and become some of the top teams in the nation with HWS winning national championships on several occasions. It does take a lot of persistence and alumni support as Scott Ikle (HWS 1984) could tell you. So don't give up.

* From John N Sweeney:
Concerning the rules question this week about hitting a finish mark, and the thread that has ensued, just because there is no specific reference to RRS 31 in the definition of Finish doesn't mean that it doesn't apply.

The rule states that: "a boat shall not touch a finishing mark after 'finishing'" (The RRS has italics on 'finishing', which is referencing the RRS definition of Finish)

Touching a finish mark, after finishing, sets off a chain of events which immediately brings into play this part of the definition of Finish: 'either for the first time or after taking a penalty'. Hence it is possible to have finished a race, but doing so does not turn off rule 31. What it does provide is the opportunity for a proper finish.

Touching the mark also brings into play the definition of Racing (again referenced in RRS31), which reads: 'and clears the finishing line and marks'. Hence if you touch the mark you're still racing and still have a shot at a proper finish.

While it is not so written, there are two logical, yet somewhat contradictory, conclusions: 1) that the RRS allow the RC to take back a finish and 2) that a boat hasn't finished if in the attempt to do so touches a mark. In either case the correct score would be DNF, without a hearing.

As a competitor it's obvious to me that a boat hasn't finished if after crossing the line she touches the pin or signal boat or fouls another boat. Absolutely the Basic Principal comes into play here, but so does Part 3 - Conduct of a Race.

It's unfortunate that the RRS isn't crystal clear on this. Hopefully the 2013 edition will address this and eliminate any room for (mis)interpretation.

COMMENT: I suspect if it was permitted in the rules to hit marks, it would open another Pandora's box. But given the comments in this thread, I wonder if it would be a smaller box than the one we have. -- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

The Mr. Bean Guide to Fun in an Elevator: Call the Psychic Hotline from your cell phone and ask if they know what floor you're on.

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