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SCUTTLEBUTT 3461 - Wednesday, November 2, 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: North Sails, Melges Performance Sailboats, and Southern

By Ken Read, Sailing World
I never - ever - envisioned myself sailing around the world, never mind
doing it twice. But here I go again. As most of you know, our PUMA Ocean
Racing powered by Berg Propulsion Team has been together for nearly five
years. Last time we finished second. Hardcore Volvo Ocean Race fans know
that this will be a crazy nine months with a cast of high-end talent. But
for any of you new to the Volvo, a quick VOR 101 should bring you up to
speed on what we are about to do and how to follow your favorite team.

Our brand new Volvo Open 70 is one of five new boats designed specifically
for the race. There's one other boat that has been around once already. And
trust me when I say that this six-boat race will be the most competitive
ever. That's no hype: we're all dealing with similar budgets and a
phenomenal pool of sailors. In the previous two editions, the winning
two-boat powerhouses - Ericsson Racing in 2008-'09 and ABN AMRO in 2005-'06
- pretty much smoked the fleet. But there's no giant in the room this time

The race isn't simply scored on long legs, because each stopover has its
in-port race as well. About 20 percent of the overall score comes from the
in-port racing. Volvo Ocean Race organizers have decided to show off the
speed of these machines incorporating more reaching in the in-port races,
so expect the courses to be like those used at the America's Cup World
Series events. For these made-for-television, one-hour sprints around a
series of buoys, we must sail with the same 10 crewmembers as are on the
ocean legs (no more flying in a couple of big boys to grind). For us, it's
like having a sprint in the middle of a marathon. It's quite a change of
pace, but it's the only chance we get to show our stuff in front of the

The stopover schedule is a bit different as well this time around. The
average leg length is about 21 days. After finishing the race, the sailing
team will hand a beaten-up boat to the shore crew, along with a long work
list, and take off for about five days of serious R&R. We then come back,
help put the boat back together, deal with all the sponsor and media
obligations, and then start the sailing schedule at the end of our second
week ashore. Thursday is a practice in-port race day. Friday is a Pro-Am
day of fun sailing (which doesn't factor into the scoring). Saturday is the
in-port race, and next leg starts on Sunday. Will we be exhausted after
eight months of this? There is little doubt about that. -- Read on:

GAMERS: Nearly 40,000 people have signed up for the Volvo Ocean Race Game
to participate in this round the world race. Do you plan to test your
sailing prowess over 39,000 nautical miles of the world's most treacherous
seas...from your couch? The first leg of the race (and game) from Alicante,
Spain to Cape Town begins November 5th. The Volvo Ocean Race Game is hosted
on the Scuttlebutt website:

TELEVISION: The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 is being produced and distributed
globally in partnership with IMG Media, a unit of IMG Worldwide, the global
sports, fashion and media company. Broadcast partners in North America are
Rogers Sports Net (Canada), Hi Fidelity (Canada), and Fox Sports Net
(United States). Full air times and dates will be posted closer to the
start of the race at

By Michelle Slade, Sailing World
The third and final edition of the America's Cup World Series 2011 takes
place in San Diego, Nov. 12 to 20. With the AC45s already offloaded from
the cargo ship and the event's "little city" under construction, it's all
go in this West Coast sailing town.

On the water, conditions promise to be light, which could cause some
changes on the leaderboard. "There'll be a lot more finesse used here,"
says regatta director Iain Murray. "Don't be surprised to see the Europeans
do very well."

As the first stateside America's Cup event under the new regime, the San
Diego regatta could give U.S. fans a taste of what's to come in San
Francisco in 2013. "There's a lot of interest here in America because the
final event will be in San Francisco," says Craig Thompson, CEO of
America's Cup Event Authority, whose hoping the San Diego event will help
land some corporate sponsorships. "Companies are sending representatives to
actually see our product, where they haven't come to Portugal or England
because of the travel distance."

Thompson said corporate hospitality sales have been slow for San Diego, but
he expects it's more a function of the locale than anything. "We think
that's due more to the last-minute mentality of the region and expect an
upsurge anytime. We really feel that we've established our product in the
way that we've wanted to and are hopeful of a big turnout."

Whereas three previous America's Cup events held in San Diego took place
miles offshore, the World Series racing will take place in the confines of
the harbor. For those familiar with the venue, the racing area is similar
to that used for the RC 44 event earlier this year, with most activity
wedged between downtown, Harbor Island, and the back of Coronado Island. --
Full report:

Event schedule & activities:

COMMENT: Watching the races from Navy or Broadway pier will be closest to
the course, but I've been told there will be no bleachers. Be prepared to
stand in crowds (or buy a VIP package). An idea is to have lunch at one of
the restaurants on the bay during the races. The Fish Market (nice) and Top
of the Market (nicer) are near the leeward marks (SE of Navy Pier), while C
Level (nice) and Island Prime (nicer) are near the windward marks on Harbor
Island. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

North-powered boats won the 2011 J/24, J/22 and J/105 East Coast
Championships (ECC) this past weekend. "Will Welles and his gang at the
North loft in RI have provided us sails and service to win," said Flip
Wehrheim, J/24 ECC winner. "Because of their knowledge, we have gotten up
to speed quickly which has been a secret to our success," he continued.
"The sails we used were awesome. My favorite is the 3DL Genoa, it's a
superior product and hands down the best looking sail I have seen on a
J/24. Thanks to North Sails for providing a sail platform that could win a
huge regatta like the ECC!"

By Matthew Sheahan, Yachting World
The rumours have been doing the rounds for months, could there yet be a
British team in the next America's Cup? Ben Ainslie thinks so.

With his place at the 2012 Games now assured and with a change in the
America's Cup Protocol that sees the AC World Series in 45 foot wing masted
cats now extending into 2013, the opportunity for the former Team Origin
skipper to participate in the 34th America's Cup now looks more feasible.

Joining the Oman Sail team for three Extreme 40 events has helped to fuel
speculation that Ben Ainslie was planning a move back into the Cup after
the collapse of Team Origin. To add more credence to the notion, Ainslie
and his team made an immediate impact from the start making the podium on
his first attempt and scoring another third place in his third event.
Ainslie is clearly a quick learner, but was his experience relevant to a
future Cup campaign?

"Having developed some new skills racing on the Extreme 40, if after the
Games there's an opportunity to get involved with the AC45s, I'll have a
better idea of what I'm taking on," he told me.

So is it possible that he would be involved in the 34th America's Cup?
"Yes, I think so," he replied. Yet he is quick to dismiss the idea of him
appearing on the AC World Series with the Oman Air team.

"I haven't spoken to them [Oman Air] about it. I don't know if it is
something they are looking at. They are a great team and could no doubt get
into it," he said.

But what about the prospects of a British team? "For the Cup itself? I'd be
very surprised," he said. "But for the AC World Series, possibly. There's
definitely potential there for a British 45 and maybe build that into a Cup
team. -- Read on:

By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
It had been two years since I last raced Snipes. I have had a Snipe since
1983, twice won the U.S. Nationals and North Americans, but the time
between outings had steadily increased in the past decade. I still liked
the boat and the people, but had tired of the training needed to remain
competitive. The problem with having success is that it becomes hard to
settle for less.

Certainly family needs was vying for time, but I found the emphasis of
windward-leeward race courses had magnified my problem. Gary Bodie, former
US Olympic head coach, once said that the demise of one-design racing is
partly a result of better race management. I agree. A perfectly set W-L
course left little room for part-timers like me, as the fastest win and the
less able give up and disappear.

I can already hear people saying, "But isn't the point of a race to provide
the fairest test?" And to that I say yes, but while some races are to
determine championships, most racing is for recreation. Some races should
provide different challenges. Some races should provide variety. Racing
should be fun, and when it isn't fun, people leave.

When I heard the annual fall Snipe regatta this past weekend in San Diego
would not use W-L courses, I had to experience it. The races used the
permanent marks in Mission Bay, and some legs were not perfectly in line
with the wind. Courses criss-crossed the entire bay. One race went around
an island. This thirty boat fleet was tested in new ways, and for me, it
was exhilarating.

This coming weekend is the biggest event of the year for keelboaters in San
Diego. It is the Hot Rum Series, where legs are not perfect to the wind,
and the inverted start allows the smallest boats to begin first. But people
support this event because it is fun. Like sailing is supposed to be. --

The Marine Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum provides
companies with guaranteed online exposure of their personnel, product and
service updates. Plus, each week the Scuttlebutt newsletter selects a
sampling of updates to feature in the Thursday edition. Are you in the
marine industry? Post your updates here:

* Three hours of sailing programming is scheduled for ESPN Classic on
November 4, 2011. Beginning at 7:00pm ET, three separate shows cover the
world of one design racing, the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup,
and long distance racing. Full details here:

* Eighteen sailors competed in the Laser Full Rig and Laser Radial Rig
divisions at the ISSA High School Singlehanded National Championship hosted
by Chicago Yacht Club in Chicago, Il on October 28-30, 2011. After 18 races
(and no throw outs), Eric Lawrence of Martin County High (Stuart, FL)
dominated the Full Rig while Mitchell Kiss of Black River High School
(Holland, MI) equally schooled the Laser Radial fleet. -- Results:

* Virgin Gorda, BVI (October 31, 2011) - The 2011 Scuttlebutt Sailing Club
Offshore Championship was won by Tom Leweck - the original Curmudgeon and
creator of the Scuttlebutt e-mail newsletter. Leweck won the title at the
Bitter End Yacht Club's annual Defiance Day Regatta which takes the fleet
on a series of middle distance races from the BVI's North Sound to The
Baths on Virgin Gorda, and back. Sailing a Leopard 45 catamaran, Leweck and
his crew of BEYC guests took line and corrected time honours on both legs
of the event. -- Full report:

* The field has been announced for the Monsoon Cup, the final and
determining event for the ISAF World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Four invited
teams join the top eight teams on the tour for the showdown in Malaysia
from 22-27 November where USD480,000 is on the line, along with a
USD500,000 tour bonus pool. -- Full report:

* The Canadian Yachting Association Race Official's Summit took place in
Kingston October 26-27. Interactive sessions and lively discussions
provided opportunities to discuss best practises and review the current CYA
programs. Presentation materials from the sessions are now available

After Hurricane Irene cancelled the first attempt at the 2011 Audi Melges
20 U.S. National Championship, 36 teams are now headed to Miami for the
rescheduled event on November 11-13. The Melges 24 class will be at its
Atlantic Coast Championship in Tampa on November 19-20, and then the winter
schedule gets really golden. Check out the 2011 Melges 20 Gold Cup in Miami
on December 8-11 and the 2011 Melges 32 Gold Cup on December 2-4 in Fort
Lauderdale. Head to Florida this winter with Melges Performance Sailboats:

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 Martin Adams:
The story of the lady rescued from the Med near Corsica (in Scuttlebutt
3460) reminds me of a story I heard some time ago about a transatlantic
crossing. One night the couple on the boat realized their cat had gone
missing. They immediately turned round with faint hopes of finding the poor
animal. After a short time they spotted two faint lights ahead, and when
they got nearer saw their cat in the water thanks to its eyes reflecting
the torch. One very wet cat was rescued and made it with them to the UK
without further mishaps.

* From Marc Jacobi:
I am a Laser sailor since the 1970s, and I have to strongly agree with
Bruce Kirby on his Guest Commentary in Scuttlebutt 3460.

It seems to me one of the builders is trying to get out of paying its
royalty obligation, plain and simple. It has tried to get the Class and its
leadership to support its position by saying that the big bad rights holder
will not allow Lasers to continue to be built. Unfortunately, this tactic
has so far been successful, even though the rights holders have permitted
Lasers to continue to be built while negotiating the dispute.

In my opinion, putting the issue to a vote was/is completely irrelevant.
Laser (Kirby Sailboat) design rights were and always will remain the
property of the holder, whoever that was/is. Said rights-holders are due
royalties. A builder cannot shirk that responsibility.

I also feel Class leadership handled the situation poorly. It posted the
proposal in its newsletter, along with a recommendation to approve the
proposal drafted by a World Council member, but did not include a
counterpoint for members to ponder. Clearly, it was a biased presentation
of the situation, the other side(s) of which only came to light to the
wider membership in online forums after many had already voted.

Design royalties are a cost of doing business. What can the royalty be - a
hundred bucks or so per boat? What's that in relation to the price (well
over $6000) of a new Laser? C'mon...

* From Chris Caswell:
I just finished reading literally every word of the Chicago-Mac Report and
I have to say that this is an absolutely brilliant and completely useful
piece of investigation.

This report should be required reading for anyone going offshore, racing or
not, because it underlines so many important things to consider, from
double-ended tethers to having a lightning plan of action.

Bravo to all of the report committee for an investigation done so quickly
and so thoroughly, under such intense scrutiny, and in the face of so many
wild theories and rumors floating about.

* From Bruce Thompson:
Now that the official U S Sailing accident report on the tragic loss of
life aboard the boat, WingNuts, during the 2011 Chicago-Mac Race has just
been published, I find that I would not change one word of the comments I
made in "Butt 3390 dated July 25, 2011. I would note that it took about one
week for those comments to appear versus over three months for U S Sailing
to act. That is the worst thing about this event, the national authorities,
USSA and the USCG, seem to continue to think they are wiser than the people
on the front lines.

For example, the report highlights the Coast Guard's current use of VHF 21
as an incident specific communications channel as the remedy to the
problems encountered with the use of VHF 22A by Coast Guard Station Calumet
in the 1997 incident. This report does not even hint at why there were
problems on VHF 22A that have subsequently informed the USCG's decison to
switch to VHF 21. Add to that, the reality that for an accident on the
Great Lakes, not one member of the USSA investigation team sails on the
Great Lakes and you have a concise example of why so many sailors believe U
S Sailing to be an elitist East Coast organization.

If they really want to demonstrate that they are willing to change their
ways, they could re-examine the 1997 event. One really significant
advantage in such an investigation is that the accident occurred near shore
in daylight and with aerial photography from the local TV station's
helicopters available at that time (and hopefully still in their archives).
I would also point out that in this incident, as with WingNuts, the USCG
did not make an appearance on the scene while it might have made a
difference to the survival of those who died.

The lesson to be drawn is that each of us needs to depend on our own skills
and equipment supplemented by those of our competitors as first responders
and we should leave only the second response to the authorities.

Chi-Mac report:

* From Kent Gardam:
Frank Kern in #3460 mentions the life jacket requirement for the Mac races,
but inadvertently wrote that they were required from sunrise to sunset.
It's actually from sunset to sunrise. An easy typo to make.

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