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SCUTTLEBUTT 3438 - Friday, September 30, 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: US SAILING and Beneteau.
THE BIGGEST QUESTION OF ALL
By Rod Davis, Seahorse
The show versus the competition. There is a new breed of regatta that I
call the 'show', because they have stepped into that murky bog that
separates competition from theatre. The Extreme 40 and America's Cup World
Series are the leaders in 'show' regattas, and if you believe everything
you read in the media you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the
way of all sailboat racing. Thankfully the vast majority of regattas are
all about the competition.
To distinguish between the two, just answer this one simple question: who
is the regatta run for? If your answer is the sailors, you have a regatta,
if your answer is the sponsors, TV and the general public, then you have a
It all sounds so wonderful. Get some sponsors to pay for regattas around
the world and for our sailing, then we can pay all our expenses and pay
ourselves too. It will be like getting money for jam. The sponsors want to
maximise their exposure, so we seduce the media and the public!
Nice concept, but never forget this is a business deal... your sponsor will
want his pound of flesh and more. You have now entered the entertainment
business. You might not think of it that way but your new boss certainly
does. You will perform on their terms, not yours.
In the new world order of show regattas, sponsors' ROI, TV airtime and
engaging the public are the prime targets. Fact: the yachting fraternity is
simply too small to justify the big money it takes to run events like the
America's Cup World Series, or to participate in them. Just too small a
base. Thus the need, and recent obsession, with taking yachting to the
Many have tried, and few have been successful. The leaders are the Extreme
40 series, the Volvo Round the World Race and, new to the scene but with
BIG ideas, the AC World Series. The game plan is pretty basic: give the
sponsors a viable return on their investment. The bigger the sponsorship
the bigger the payback will have to be.
And how do you do that? Make it spectator friendly and exploit the magic of
television. And that, my friends, is a tough nut to crack.
It's all about getting on TV. Sailboat racing is not a mainstream sport, so
getting a prime time slot is not easy. More like almost impossible. You
need WOW factor. But if you can get airtime, get on the evening news around
the world, then it is fantastic exposure and free! Capsizes, great big
collision - all good. Drama at sea - yep. Race results by themselves -
nope, won't make it to the airwaves.
Another emerging medium is live telecasts via the internet. Far cheaper
than TV but reaching people who actively seek out the event. Making one
hand wash the other is part of the new world of professional sailing.
If you thought professional was just about being paid to sail... sorry; in
today's world it has become all encompassing. The Coutts vision is a wholly
professional take on our sport. Not just paying a few sailors, but a
hundred people on the payroll to run all aspects of the event. Then buy
enough powerboats to fill a marina to serve as marks, TV camera platforms,
press boats, tents, cranes, the list is endless. We are talking big money
here, which comes from people or companies who want serious entertainment
to justify their investment.
When a sport or a section of a sport, any sport, dives across the line that
distinguishes amateur, with foundations built on volunteering, and
professionalism, then you are in for some interesting times. -- Read on:
PROMO: This column was in the October issue of Seahorse magazine, which
covers the cutting edge of the sport like none other. Seahorse is extending
a subscription discount to Scuttlebutt readers. Plug in the promo code
SBUSA722172 when purchasing your subscription here:
FAIR SAILING AT RISK FOR OLYMPICS
British Olympic sailors have pleaded with London 2012 organizers to forsake
spectator viewing positions for decent sailing courses at the Games venue
in Weymouth and Portland.
Team GB sailing manager Stephen Park said spectators would much rather be
celebrating a Great Britain victory than be able to see a fourth-placed
finish from close up.
The issue has arisen because the final courses being considered are close
to the cliffs off Nothe Point in Weymouth which creates turbulent
conditions if a northerly wind is blowing.
Park said the organizers were trying to strike a balance of satisfying the
spectators while not impacting on the racing or affecting the results.
"We won't know how successful they are until after the Games," Park said.
"But I think sporting performance will come first. Some days the spectators
may not get quite as good a view, but they would want that and then
celebrate medals, rather than finish fourth."
The first athlete selected for the 560-strong Team GB, three-time Olympic
gold medallist Ben Ainslie, who had to bulk up an extra stone to fight off
a fierce challenge from Giles Scott for the solo Finn berth, said he was
prepared for any conditions.
"If there is prevailing sou-westerly winds it won't be too bad a course,
but if they are northerly or nor-westerly then I hope there is a sensible
decision. I hope they run a fair race course," Ainslie said.
"Off Weymouth and Portland the winds are offshore more and a medal race
course near the spectator hill means the winds are blowing directly over
the hill. This produces turbulent and confused winds which is no good for
sailing at all." -- Washington Post, read on: http://tinyurl.com/WP-092911
COMMENT: It is one thing to run an entire event on a short course that may
be affected by random wind shifts. Run enough races and the law of averages
will benefit the best sailors. However, the Olympics are different. The
format for the Olympics is for the top ten in each event to advance to one
final short course double-point Medal Race. Would you like to commit 4+
years of your life and have your chance of medaling in the Olympics decided
on a course location that benefits land-based spectating but offers random
wind conditions? I say no thanks. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
What do Icebreaker Boats, C-Tech masts, and Quantum Sails Potsdam all have
in common? Answer below.
HELP SHAPE HISTORY
Submit your nominations for US SAILING's 2011 Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman
of the Year Awards. Who do you think are the best American sailors of 2011?
These prestigious awards recognize one male sailor and one female sailor
for their outstanding achievements within the calendar year and are viewed
as the nation's top sailing honors. Sailing greats Dennis Conner, Betsy
Alison, Ken Read and J.J. Fetter have held this honor. US SAILING members
can submit nominations for these awards starting TODAY. Make your
nominations at http://about.ussailing.org/Awards/Rolex.htm
PERFORMANCE, POLLUTION AND PIRACY
The double-handed, Class40 fleet in the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) are
now out of the Mediterranean Sea and are working their way down the
Moroccan coast toward Cape Town.
"We've been spending all our time either sailing or sleeping," explained
Campbell Field, who along with his dad Ross are in second position. "We are
hand steering almost 100 per cent of the time, although the pilots are very
good and have been very well set up, after reviewing data they are slightly
slower than driving, so for the most part, one of us is driving, the other
sleeping or making coffee," he reports.
"The Med is an interesting place of contrasts; stunning sunsets, teeming
with dolphins, but - at the same time - littered with monstrous feats of
engineering freighting our daily essentials all over the world," recalls
the 41 year-old Kiwi. "Initially, they can be admired for their sheer size,
then you sit back and observe the mountains and mountains of unnecessary
rubbish that is moved from one place to the other," he notes. "Easy to say,
I guess, from our little 12 metre space where we can't just whip up the
road and buy a steak from Argentina or cheese from Italy or a car from
Korea. The Med isn't only littered with ships, but with masses of plastic
that we see daily out here with bottles floating about."
Now sufficiently offshore with their bows aimed south-west toward the
Canary Islands, Fields is relieved to be clear of the coast. "We had a few
interesting encounters off the Moroccan coast," continued Campbell Field.
"A lone fisherman in his 30-odd foot traditional wooden fishing boat, 30
nautical miles from the coast.maybe just trying to feed his family?" he
wonders. "Then a much larger and ominous looking fishing boat that could
have just been curious and wanted a closer look."
In a briefing shortly before the start of Leg 1, GOR teams were advised of
the piracy threat off the western coast of Africa in the corridor bordering
the Spanish Sahara and south of the Canary Islands. While the risk is far
less than in the Gulf of Aden or off Somalia, in the Arabian Sea and across
the Indian Ocean, and methods are more opportunistic involving theft rather
than hijack and ransom, there is sufficient concert with recorded incidents
off Guinea, Togo and in the Bight of Benin. "It did give us a couple of
anxious moments as he seemed to be determined to get close to us,"
concludes Campbell. -- Full report:
BACKGROUND: Six double-handed Class40's are competing in the Global Ocean
Race 2011-12 (GOR), which started in Palma, Mallorca on September 25th with
an expected finish in Mallorca by May 2012. There are five legs to the
30,000 nm course with stops in Cape Town, South Africa; Wellington, New
Zealand; Punta del Este, Uruguay and Charleston, USA. --
* Glen Haven, NS (September 29, 2011) - All fleets have completed seven
races after two days of racing at the Trihedral Canadian Yachting
Association National Sailing Championships in St. Margarets Bay. Day two
leaders are Isabelle Bertold (Laser Radial, female), Hugh Macrae (Laser
Radial, male), and Chris Dold (Laser). Racing concludes October 1st. --
Event details: http://tinyurl.com/CYA-092811
* Chicago, IL (September 29, 2011) - The twelve teams at the ISAF Grade 1
Chicago Match Cup completed their qualifying round robin series, with the
top six teams advancing to the quarter finals while the remaining six teams
sailed the Repechage round to determine the two teams to also advance. The
top three teams at 8-3 are Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA), Phil Robertson
(NZL), and Keith Swinton (AUS). Racing is being held in the Chicago Match
Race Center's eight equally-matched TOM 28 class boats, with the finals
scheduled for Saturday. -- Event website: http://chicagocup.org/
* Annapolis, MD (September 29, 2011) - The ISAF Grade 1 Santa Maria Cup
International Women's Match Racing Championship completed today the double
round robin seeding series for the eight teams competing in J/22s. Posting
a 12-2 record, American Anna Tunnicliffe with crew Debbie Capozzi, Molly
Vandemoer, and Liz Bower were the top seeded team. The first race of the
quarter finals were also completed, which Tunnicliffe's team won against
their opponent Martina Silva (ARG). Finals are scheduled for Saturday. --
Event website: http://www.santamariacup.org
* Nice, France (September 29, 2011) - Austrian skipper, Roman Hagara,
managed to fight off the challenges of his 10 competitors to keep Red Bull
Extreme Sailing at the top of the leaderboard on the second day of Act 7,
Nice - but only by 1.5 points! On Friday Act 7 of the Extreme Sailing
Series opens to the public as the racing moves closer to shore in 'stadium'
mode and the WEBcam feed goes live online -- Full story:
* Rovinj, Croatia (September 29, 2011) - Sailed under the backdrop of
Rovinj's old town with the beautiful grand St. Euphemia Church towering
above the start line, the fourteen teams competing for the Adris RC44 Cup
enjoyed four great fleet races in the Croatian NW thermal wind today. There
was no standout performance on the fleet race opener. Three boats took race
wins with ORACLE Racing, (Stuart Hebb /Russell Coutts) winning the first
and third race, Artemis Racing, (Torbjorn Tornqvist/Morgan Larson) taking
the second and Team Aqua (Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton) the fourth and final
race of the day.Oracle Racing currently leads the series. -- Full report:
* Volvo Ocean Race skipper Mike Sanderson was rushed to a hospital
Wednesday evening in Alicante, Spain for an emergency appendicitis
operation and now looks set to miss the qualifying leg in just over a week.
Normally, patients who have had operations of this kind need around two
weeks to recover. However, his participation in the race proper is not in
doubt. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-092911
* In Sailing World's College Rankings as of September 29th, the College of
Charleston hits the top of the coed rankings with an overwhelming number of
first-place votes. Meanwhile, Yale, Connecticut College and Boston College
make up a close top three in the women's rankings. -- Full report:
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include being a dog, being a number, being a girl, being a scow, being a
skiff, being a Dubai racer, being polite, being timeless, and being old
school. 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:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
The International 14 World Championships 2011 were held on September 3-18
at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth, UK. It took awhile for the
racing to get rolling as the aftermath of 'Hurricane Irene' kept the
70-boat fleet ashore for five days. But when it did, it took all seven
races for the championship to be determined.
The final race loomed large with Archie Massey/Dan Wilsdon requiring a win
and Roger Gilbert/Ben Mcgrane requiring a seventh or better. The fleet
started under black flag, with the two contenders shot out the line, neck
and neck, never more than ten yards apart for the three lap race.
Gilbert/Mcgrane took the lead on the final beat, when Massey/Wilsdon
undercooked the starboard layline, but crossed the finish line to no sound
signal. They were black-flagged at the start - handing Massey/Wilsdon the
race win and an unprecedented third World title.
Here is a highlight video from the event:
BONUS: The RC44 YouTube channel has daily highlight videos from their RC44
Championship Tour event this week in Rovinj, Croatia:
BONUS: The Extreme Sailing Series YouTube channel has daily highlight
videos of the Extreme 40 racing from Act 7 this week in Nice, France:
BONUS: The September 30 episode of the "World on Water" global weekly
sailing news report features Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series in
Trapani, Italy, Audi MedCup Soto 40 Barcelona, Spain, Melges 32 Worlds
Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2011 Farr 30 Worlds San Francisco, USA and in the
"Fresh to Frightening" action segment we feature the recent Grade 2
Invitational Chicago Match Race Centre series off Navy Pier where, in heavy
winds, there was action aplenty, spinnaker roundups and collisions etc. See
it all on www.boatson.tv approx 1200BST, 0700 EDT Friday September 30.
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Besides Icebreaker Boats, C-Tech masts, and Quantum Sails Potsdam all
having Kiwi blood behind them, these suppliers are all deemed to be the
leaders in the OK Dinghy class. The OK Dinghy is an international class
sailing dinghy, designed by Knud Olsen (DEN) in 1956 as a preparation class
for the Olympic Finn. The rig is identical to a Finn comprising a single
sail set on a rotating, un-stayed, bending mast. The 2011 International OK
Dinghy World Championship in Largs, Scotland was won for a fourth time by
Nick Craig (GBR). -- Details:
BENETEAU LAUNCHES NEW MODELS AND FALL SHOW SAVINGS
This fall Beneteau will introduce two new models, the Oceanis 45 and 41,
which will both be built at Beneteau's factory in Marion, SC. They offer
more space and comfort while preserving the great sailing characteristics
of the original Oceanis range. Designed by naval architects Finot-Conq and
Associates, the boats have a sleek low profile cabin with long coachroof
windows. Major highlights of these new Oceanis include a luminous interior
plus an ingenious full width, electrically operated transom enclosure that
provides easy access to the sea.
In addition to the release of these exciting new models, Beneteau is also
celebrating its continued leadership of the North American sailboat market
with Fall Show Savings. See your dealer or visit Beneteau at one of the
major boat shows and explore all of the details of why more Americans are
buying Beneteaus than any other cruising sailboat. Click here to learn more
about these new models and fall boat show savings. --
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 Kathy Weishampel:
I bought a Dyer Dinghy and I learned to sail on my own. I used Royce's book
as my bible (as mentioned in Scuttlebutt 3437). I think I memorized most of
the book! No one even mentions it today and I think it is a great book.
Many people involved in sailing don't know the lingo which makes helping
them really difficult because we no longer speak the same language.
* From David Redfern
Aaaah, Royces's Sailing Illustrated...one of the favourite books in my
collection. I have often loaned it out to people who say they want to go
sailing. Who else described 'prop walk' in a better way?
* From Geoffrey Emanuel, Southlake, TX:
Continuing the youth sailing thread that began in Scuttlebutt 3433, we live
in a society that has adopted one overarching axiom: "Winning is
In education, winning is defined by maximizing grade point averages and
sports supremacy, not preparing a student for all of the complex and
diverse challenges of adult life. In business, the primary goal is
maximizing profit anyway you can, not building the highest quality product
or delivering superior service.
I think junior sailing programs have been dumbed down to teaching kids how
to finish first. No one should be surprised that seamanship, navigation,
and other important sailing skills get shorted.
I too wish junior sailing programs would return to teaching a more
balanced, broader curriculum. But I don't believe this will happen until
society decides that its overall approach to living could use a makeover.
There is only one perfect child in the world and every mother has it.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
JK3 Nautical Enterprises - Summit Yachts - Gowrie Group - North Sails
Melges Performance Sailboats - Morris Yachts - Doyle Sails
LaserPerformance - Team One Newport - Ullman Sails
Premiere Racing - US SAILING - Beneteau
Need stuff? Look here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/ssc/suppliers