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SCUTTLEBUTT 3445 - Tuesday, October 11, 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: Summit Yachts, Gowrie Group, and Salt Harbor Studio.
KILL THE CURTAIN, ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET
Of the notable events in the sport, the Volvo Ocean Race has arguably the
broadest appeal for both sailors and non-sailors. Mixing adventure and
competition, for 39,000 miles, around the world. Stops in ten countries.
Seventy foot high performance boats.
But despite this eager audience, Chris Nicholson (AUS), skipper of CAMPER
with Emirates Team New Zealand, doesn't believe enough is being done
amongst the competing teams to take advantage of this interest.
"I believe all the teams need to be more open to help push our sport within
the greater field of other major sports," commented Nicholson. "Our team
made the decision to be completely open, providing access to our boat,
including below decks. For the people that have toured our boat, we have
had nothing but positive responses from them.
"At the end of the day, we are not giving anything away in terms of secrecy
or boat performance. There's no downside for us, and hopefully we reach
more of an audience doing it. I am certain if all of the teams did this,
the success that we have seen would be significantly multiplied.
"At this stage, we are aiming our attention at things that will help us win
the race, and limiting access to our boat is not one of them. There really
is nothing to hide. It would seem to be only to gain a psychological
advantage. I am extremely confident that there are no secret ideas that
will win other teams the race. It's just not out there given the
consideration of the design rule. We are very limited with what we can do.
"We have literally had thousands of people through our boat, and it is a
thrill for them to experience the kind of boat that does this type of race.
If this was done by all the teams, just imagine how many people we could
Professional sports teams often provide tours of their facilities. Is being
in the locker room akin to being down below on a VO 70? "Absolutely! We are
heightening the connection we have with our audience. And it is also quite
enjoyable for our crew. The people that have toured the boat have gotten so
much out of it, that it's been a pleasure to do it. While it obviously
takes time away from our efforts to prepare for the race, we feel we have
been able to achieve all our training goals and still do it. Now, as we are
getting closer to the start, we need to focus more toward the race, but it
certainly has been a good experience to date.
"There should be no fear of disclosing your technology from the other
teams. The reality is that there is so little time from when each boat gets
launched to when the race starts. Even if there was a design or structural
breakthrough on one of the boats, the opportunity to adapt that idea to
your boat doesn't exist."
The six competing teams are now in Alicante, Spain in preparation for the
first In-Port Race on October 29. The 6,500 nm race from Alicante through
the Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa on November 5th is the first of the
nine offshore legs. During the race, the multimedia team will be producing
daily news updates, a weekly 3-minute news round-up and highlights from
each of the 9 legs and 10 in-port races -- all available online at the VOR
YouTube Channel: http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/home.html
WILL HELMETS BECOME AS COMMON AS LIFEJACKETS?
By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World
A helmet saved me the weekend before last. If it didn't save my life - and
quite possibly it did - it definitely saved me from a serious head injury
and very likely a brain injury. Most people don't make a 100% recovery from
a brain injury. I took a major hit while cycling, but more of that in a
Helmets are so well adopted by cyclists and horseriders that it seems
slightly shocking to see someone riding bareheaded.
They are fast becoming accepted in other high risk sports, such as skiing,
and are beginning to be seen in sailing. Think of the Extreme 40 circuit,
or the new America's Cup AC45s: everyone has to wear a helmet to protect
themselves on these fast-paced, capsize-prone multihulls.
There's a good argument for wearing a helmet on a smaller boat as well.
According to the Coastguard and RNLI, being hit by the boom is one of the
most frequent causes of injuries on board.
The problem with wearing a helmet, though, is that in normal civilian
sailing circles no-one else does. Let's face it, if you turned out for
weekend racing looking like Wallace from Wallace & Gromit you'd get some
One sailor has come up with a great answer. This is Tom Tait, and he has
produced a sailing helmet that looks like a yachting cap. -- Read on:
NEXT: How often did we see lifejackets worn on keelboats 20 years ago? Now
they are common. Will helmets soon be too?
KARASU STORMS JAPAN CUP
The Summit 40 Karasu has won Japan's major inshore regatta, The Japan Cup.
Interrupted by Typhoon Roke, which brought wind speeds of 130 miles per
hour, Karasu returned strongly to win the event with less than half the
points of the second place finisher, including a win in the offshore race.
Karasu has been the most successful IRC race boat in Japan since her
arrival in Japan. Check out the Summit 40 and our other great Mark Mills
designs at http://www.summit-yachts.com
TAKEN BY PIRATES
"It wasn't really a pretty night," Rachel Chandler recalled. Small,
sloshing waves were coming from the southeast, and a trickle of wind blew
from the southwest. There was no moon, and the stars were shrouded by
The boat was slowly edging away from Mahé, the main island in the
Seychelles archipelago, for Tanga, Tanzania, the beginning of a two-week
passage across the Indian Ocean. The wind was pushing them farther north
than they'd planned to be. With no ships or land in sight, the Chandlers'
38-foot sailboat, the Lynn Rival, bobbed along all alone.
Rachel, who is 57, was on watch - it was her turn to do the four-hour shift
- and her husband, Paul, was asleep below deck. It was about 2:30 a.m., and
she sat in a T-shirt and light trousers at the stern, feeling seasick.
Because the wind was so faint, Rachel turned on the sailboat's small
engine, which chugged along at five knots, just loud enough to drown out
By the time she heard the high-pitched whine of outboard motors at full
throttle, she had only seconds to react. Two skiffs suddenly materialized
out of the murk, and when she swung the flashlight's beam onto the water,
two gunshots rang out.
"No guns! No guns!" she screamed.
The crack of assault rifles jarred Paul awake. He had been sleeping naked -
as he often does on tropical nights - and hesitated before jumping out of
the cabin. "The first thing I thought," said Paul, who is 61, "was
Within seconds, eight scruffy Somali men hoisted themselves aboard, their
assault rifles and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers clanging against the
hull. Paul activated an emergency beacon, which immediately started
emitting an S.O.S., and then went up on deck. The men stank of the sea and
nervous musk, and they jabbed their guns at the Chandlers.
"Stop engine!" they shouted. "Crew, crew! How many crew number?"
One pirate was particularly concerned about anything flashing, and Paul's
heart sank when the pirate stomped below deck and discovered the emergency
beacon, blinking like a strobe, and promptly switched it off. The pirates
ordered the Chandlers not to touch anything else, and then they demanded a
This was Oct. 23, 2009. The Chandlers would be held for the next 388 days.
-- NY Times, read on: http://tinyurl.com/NY-Times-101011
FOCUS ON SUCCESS
No two races are won the same way, but sticking to this six-point plan will
help you win regattas. By Andy Horton with Dave Powlison from the Sailing
World October 2011 issue.
Good coaches in any sport usually advise their charges to focus on just a
handful of ideas when they compete. This advice is especially potent in
sailing because there are so many variables. Try to focus on them all, and
it's easy to get overwhelmed. Putting your emphasis on what's important
will keep you at the front of the fleet. Here are six general rules I keep
in mind whenever I compete.
1. Stay in line at the start
Generally, the worst starts are a result of getting to the line too early.
All of the other boats are just behind you, and when you slow down to avoid
being over early, the trailing boats overlap you and steal your speed and
maneuverability. At the gun, you're in the front row, but going nowhere,
and everyone else leaves you in the dust. Conversely, if you get behind the
line of boats that set up 50 to 20 seconds before the start, you may never
get through - especially in light air - and find yourself sucking bad air
off the line.
Try this: When everyone starts to line up, get in there and keep your bow
even with the other boats. Focus half of your energy on staying in line
with the other boats and the other half on determining whether the line of
boats is early or late. If you can't determine where the line of boats
stands relative to the starting line, when the guy next to you sheets on,
do the same. Nine times out of 10, if you're in the line of boats and sheet
on at the right time, you'll be in better shape than if you try something
2. Develop an anti-pack mentality
Packs of boats go slow. This is especially true in light air. On the
starting line, stay to the edges of the packs: maybe it's just to leeward
of a group of boats fighting for position at the committee boat, just to
windward of a pack trying to win the pin, or on either side of a pack in
the middle of the line. Staying on the edge keeps your options open and,
more importantly, keeps you from being controlled by other boats. Plus, it
usually keeps you in clean air at a very crucial time.
The same principle applies on upwind and downwind legs. When you see a pack
forming, get to one side or the other. Tactical issues, such as trying to
hold the inside position at an upcoming mark rounding, may determine the
side you choose. Regardless, avoid running with the herd.
Read on for the final four tips:
WHEN APPROACHING AN OBSTRUCTION
By Jos Spijkerman, International Umpire/Judge
This is an installment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book
2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations
by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or
interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book; only the comments are
written by me.
Case 54 - Summary of the Facts
A and B, close-hauled on starboard tack, were approaching the shore, with A
a hull length ahead and one length-and-a-half to leeward. A hailed for room
to tack but B did not hear the hail. After waiting for a short interval,
during which time there was no response from B, A tacked onto port. Then,
in spite of bearing away as rapidly as possible with her sheets free, A hit
B's leeward side. A protested B under rule 20.1(b) and B protested A under
At the hearing, B acknowledged that she was aware of the position of A
before A tacked, but B's helmsman and crew had not observed A during the
thirty seconds before the collision. The protest committee dismissed A's
protest and disqualified her on the grounds that she had hailed for room to
tack when not in imminent danger of running aground and that her hail was
inadequate, since B had not heard the hail or responded.
A appealed, claiming that the protest committee had improperly substituted
its own judgment for A's as to her safety. In addition, she argued that
when two close-hauled boats are approaching an obstruction, the boat to
windward is obligated to expect and be prepared for a hail.
Read on for the decision:
Rule 10 - When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep
clear of a starboard-tack boat.
Rule 20.1(b) - When approaching an obstruction, a boat sailing close-hauled
or above may hail for room to tack and avoid another boat on the same tack.
After a boat hails, the hailed boat shall respond either by tacking as soon
as possible, or by immediately replying 'You tack' and then giving the
hailing boat room to tack and avid her.
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NOAA TALLIES IRENE'S STATISTICS
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a
by-the-numbers look at Hurricane Irene, which hit the Northeast on August
- Irene was the first hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane
Ike struck Texas in September 2008.
- Irene was the first storm to threaten the New York City area since
Hurricane Gloria in September 1985.
- On August 27, Irene's hurricane-force winds extended outward as much as
90 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extended outward
as much as 290 miles. Irene was similar in size to Hurricane Katrina nearly
six years ago to the date. Katrina's hurricane-force winds extended about
104 miles outward, and tropical storm-force winds were felt 230 miles
- Flooding records were broken in 26 rivers: eight in New Jersey, 14 in New
York and four in Vermont.
- An estimated 40 people died as a result of the storm.
- Approximately 3.5 million customers (about 9 million people) were without
- 2.3 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders.
- 10,000 flights were canceled August 27 & 28.
- Irene will be the 10th U.S. billion-dollar disaster in 2011, breaking the
annual record, which dates from 1980.
WindCheck, read on: http://tinyurl.com/WindCheck-101011
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A Personal Message From Richard Schwartz, Chairman and Founder of BoatU.S;
and Bill Oakerson, CEO of BoatU.S.
On October 7, 2011, we lost an important member of our BoatUS family.
BoatUS President and the Publisher of our magazines, Nancy Michelman, 60,
lost her courageous battle with cancer.
This loss is a poignant one for our Association and for the Members whom
she loved and worked for. Many of you have known Nancy through her letters
to you, through meeting her at boat shows, and through our magazine, where
she wrote a personal message to you in the front of every issue.
We'd like to tell you a little more about Nancy as the vibrant person whom
we have been proud to call our colleague and friend. She was a rising star
at the American Automobile Association (AAA) before she burst into our
lives two decades ago, in the spring of 1989. From that moment on, Nancy
became a vital part of an energetic team of young idealists who built
BoatU.S. into the great boaters' advocacy organization we're all so proud
of today, managing the growth of membership from 350,000 to 650,000, as we
created the largest group of boaters in the world.
Nancy personified passion in everything she did - sailing and boats,
theater, music, golf, writing, her family and friends, all things Spanish
(she was fluent), and especially in her devotion to her adored husband,
Nowhere, it seemed, was she more passionate than here at BoatUS, where she
was a magnificent leader and mentor. In her role as President of BoatUS,
she oversaw our Membership and Government Affairs Divisions, our magazines,
and our website. -- Read on:
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