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SCUTTLEBUTT 3465 - Tuesday, November 8, 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: Harken, Summit Yachts, and North Sails.
THE JUEVOS ARE WINNING
(November 7, 2011; Day 3) - After two boats experienced leg ending damage
within the first 24 hours of the Volvo Ocean Race, it did not take long to
remember that to win this first leg from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town,
South Africa you had to first finish it.
The exit out the Mediterranean called for an upwind course of 30+ knots - a
route the Volvo Open 70s are not well designed for. Their hull form, more
suited to reaching angles, does not land well. Launching off the back of
waves is a ticket to an early exit.
Watching the fleet during the first two days was an early education on how
hard each team was willing to push their boat. Sailing under the European
coast insured flatter seas and calmer winds, while moding the sail plan and
keel cant allows the boat to endure a sizeable sea. Go slow and survive, or
risk breakage for better performance? At times like that, experience
Another nugget gleaned in these early days was that among the remaining
four boats was one French skipper who would not let the fleet dictate his
actions. While the Franck Cammas led Groupama may not look well prepared
for the closed course racing, he may know this section of the race track
better than the others.
When three of the teams hugged the Spanish coast on their approach to the
Strait of Gibraltar, Groupama split towards Africa for advantage. And when
all four boats regrouped as they entered the Atlantic Ocean, three boats
headed offshore for wind while Groupama stayed along the coast. Clearly,
Cammas is comfortable in his own skin.
"This is a part of the race that he has done, I don't know, 12 to 15
times," notes Stan Honey, who navigated for Franck to help set the round
the world record in 2010. "And Franck is not afraid to follow his instincts
and play a hunch. Assessing weather and tactics, Franck is definitely
involved. He is a guy with a ton of experience and extremely smart, and is
particularly skilled in that part of the world. And he is fearless."
So while the rest of the fleet has mounds of keelboat ocean racing
experience, the first three days of the race has shown that Cammas has
juevos. And right now, the juevos are winning. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Standings as of Tuesday, 08 November 2011, 1:01:53 UTC
1. Groupama Sailing Team, 6010.7 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Telefonica, 11.1 nm Distance to leader
3. PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG, 12.2 nm DTL
4. CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ, 13.1 nm DTL
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - Suspended Racing
Team Sanya - Did Not Finish
Video report: http://youtu.be/o7A5Ptuo9oc
BACKGROUND: During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts in
Alicante, Spain and concludes in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012,
six professional teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world's
most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around
Cape Horn to Itajai, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient. Teams accumulate points
through nine distance legs and ten In-Port races. -
UPDATES FROM PIT ROW
The Volvo Ocean Race was not a day old before damage struck two teams. Here
is an update on Monday, November 07, 2011:
* Following their dismasting after six hours of racing, Abu Dhabi Ocean
Racing is now hoping to have rejoined the race by Thursday morning at the
latest. With the entire team working flat out to repair minor hull damage
and rig the new mast, Skipper Ian Walker admits to feeling slightly
redundant."We have a fantastic team and I feel like a spare part at the
moment. I think I should have learned more about rigging as a nipper. I
can't do much more than make cups of tea and go round and check with people
and encourage them to get it all done quick."
Walker says that there have been plenty of logistical knock on effects from
the dismasting to deal with. "We are now using all our spares, so we won't
have any spares and we will have to get stuff manufactured. Stuff is in the
wrong containers. Plus all the shore guys who would now have been having
time off are here working double overtime. Logistically it's a very big
challenge, but everybody is very motivated to make it all happen." Under
the rules, Abu Dhabi can motor to the spot where they suspended racing to
restart the leg. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/AD-110711
* Team Sanya, the Volvo Ocean Race's first-ever Chinese entry, announced
their official retirement from Leg 1, after sustaining serious damage to
the bow of their boat, reported at 0834 UTC November 6, not yet a day after
leaving Alicante, Spain for Cape Town, South Africa.
Mike Sanderson, CEO and skipper of Team Sanya, now face a major logistical
challenge to get their boat to Cape Town and effect repairs before the
in-port racing and the start of Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi. "We need to take the
time to do some serious thinking and planning, assessing the logistical
options and making the right choices that get us back in the race as soon
as possible," explained Sanderson. "We need to repair the hull perfectly; a
rush job is not an option."
"The repair is no small task. We have to chop out a large section of the
boat and replace it - normally a two to three week job, we will have to
shoehorn it intto seven days. Our worst-case scenario is that we ship to
Cape Town but are not able to fix it in time, meaning we are late starting
from Cape Town and consequently miss the ship from our stop point during
the second leg." -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/TS-110711
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SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
The recent release of the US SAILING inquiry into the youth sailing
accident that occurred in Annapolis, MD on June 23, 2011 revealed a
sequence of events that resulted in the drowning death of 14-year-old
Olivia Constants. Scuttlebutt legal consultant Cory Friedman files this
report that focuses on the trapeze system - a key contributing factor in
A few years back Julian Bethwaite came out with an innovative trapeze
system that might well have saved Olivia Constants' life had she been using
it. Instead of a hook on a spreader, the harness has a slot in the
spreader, which is a curved aluminum plate. Instead of a ring on the
trapeze adjuster, there is a semi rigid plastic tube with a plastic ball on
the end. The ball goes into the slot at the bottom of the spreader and
stops at the end of the slot halfway up the spreader. Compression of the
plastic tube between the edges of the slot keeps the ball from slipping out
when not under tension, but makes it easy to unhook.
This system is less likely to accidentally unhook than a hook and ring. It
is also easier to learn than the hook and ring and transition to a hook and
ring if desired should be no problem. Because there is no hook, it is
virtually impossible to accidentally get hooked to something and the
mechanics of the system make it virtually impossible to get twisted around
so that you can't unhook, as Olivia did. The ball simply rotates in the
slot and you can intentionally unhook even under tension, unlike a
The system is quite elegant from a design and engineering perspective, as
well as cheap to manufacture. Unlike quick release hooks, the system is
virtually foolproof, has no mechanical parts, and can't unexpectedly fail.
I'm a little surprised John Rousmaniere didn't mention the system in his
report, which might have led to a different conclusion.
I bought two sets. Naturally, there was no way I was going to convince the
family teenagers that they should use a system none of their friends were
using and might put them at some theoretical competitive disadvantage,
although I think it might actually be a competitive advantage. Luckily
It might make sense to consider making such a system mandatory for junior
trapezing. If it was mandatory, no one would be at a disadvantage.
Obviously, someone can still get tangled in rigging, but, as the two other
examples in the report demonstrate, that is less likely to be fatal. It is
the hook that is really dangerous.
The commercial existence of such a system gives Olivia's family a
substantial leg up in a defective design products liability/wrongful death
suit against the harness manufacturer, boat builder, vendors, etc., as it
proves a safer system is practical, an element of a products liability
case. It also bears on the potential negligence of any junior program that
continues with existing hook and ring systems.
Junior programs may think their form releases and the RR's will protect
them, but don't bet on it. The fact everyone uses the existing system is no
defense. Just ask the owners of The T.J. Hooper in Judge Learned Hand's
famous admiralty case every first year law student reads. Sailing has
inherent risks, but there is no reason to fail to minimize them. More
importantly, nobody wants another avoidable junior sailor death.
The US SAILING report can be found here:
HOW THE CIRCUS CAME TO CHOOSE SAN DIEGO
In a few short days, the America's Cup returns to San Diego, the Auld Mug's
home from 1987 to 1995, when Team New Zealand and Black Magic snatched it
away in a dominating performance. But this time around the action won't
happen out at sea, out of mind of all but the most hardcore sailing fans.
"Stadium sailing" is coming to San Diego, promising enough thrills, chills,
and spills to entice a whole new generation of fans.
John Laun, lifelong sailboat racer and owner of the San Diego Yacht
Club-based J/120 Caper, watched the America's Cup making its "victory tour"
around San Diego in 2010 and knew the city still had the interest and the
ability to run a Cup regatta. He and Chuck Nichols, former SDYC commodore
and 1995 AC President, formed Sailing Events Association (SEA) San Diego to
make that goal a reality. On the eve of the America's Cup World Series in
San Diego, Laun talked to CupInfo about the steps they took to secure the
regatta, lessons learned, and what it will take for the event to be a
success in his view:
"We formed the Sailing Events Association San Diego to pursue America's Cup
regattas," explained Laun. "It was clear early on that if we could
demonstrate our capabilities and showcase San Diego -- our team, our
environment, our stadium sailing concept -- that it would promote ourselves
as a viable venue."
Step one was to host an event to demonstrate to the America's Cup Event
Authority (ACEA) that SEA was capable of staging a major regatta inside San
Diego Bay, including providing facilities for teams on the downtown piers,
spectator viewing options on and around the race course, on-the-water race
management, and plenty of waterfront entertainment. Enter the RC44 class;
for their first event SEA signed the international one-design fleet for a
west coast stop. The regatta in March, 2011, featured the top RC44 teams
from around the world, with names familiar to America's Cup fans, such as
Russell Coutts, Paul Cayard, Cameron Appleton, and Paolo Cian.
"We wanted to host a spectator event that people could enjoy, something
that would energize the San Diego community around sailing. It was our
first event and it was exactly on spec for what we wanted --
spectator-friendly and exciting. We had a meeting with the ACEA the night
of the trophy presentation and were up in San Francisco the next week and
it was a done deal." -- CupInfo, read on: http://tinyurl.com/CI-110711
PREVIEW: The America's Cup World Series Event Village in San Diego will be
open to the public on Wednesday, Nov 9th. Get an insider's look of the
village after 3:30 pm and you'll also get to see the AMERICA'S CUP TROPHY.
Unveiling the trophy will be Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of Golden Gate Yacht
Club, who will be joined by Ian Murray, Bruno Trouble, and Terry Hutchinson
for 'Cupdates' at 4:00 pm (youth sailors) and 5:30 pm (open). No RSVP
Ehman will also be providing presentations (but no trophy) this week for
yacht club members at...
Nov. 8 - Los Angeles, California YC at 7:30pm
Nov. 9 - Newport Beach, Newport Harbor YC at 12:00pm (rsv. required)
Nov. 10 - Long Beach, Long Beach YC at 7:30pm (rsv. required)
THERE'S THUNDER DOWN UNDER
Melbourne, Australia (November 7, 2011) - Now in its fourth edition, the
2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup began its seven event tour today at
Sandringham Yacht Club, host to Sail Melbourne. With the London Summer
Olympics looming large next year, the focus is now down under as most
countries solidify their qualifications between now and the 2011 ISAF
Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia (Dec. 3-18).
With only the Star and Women's Match Race teams absent among the 10 Olympic
sailing events, a steady 10-12 knot breeze from the south-west allowed the
fleets to complete 2-3 races to commence the six day event. Quick out of
the gate today from North America were Americans Stu McNay/ Graham Biehl
who lead the Mens 470, and Canadians Zac Plavsic (3rd - RS:X Men) and Lee
Parkhill (4th - Laser Men).
Daily report: http://www.sailing.org/37359.php
Event website: http://sailmelbourne.com.au/website
SUMMIT 35'S AVAILABLE FOR KEY WEST
Summit Yachts has two 35's available for immediate delivery in time for Key
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market. These US built, Mark Mills designed boats have a well earned
reputation for race winning speed and easy cruising. Check out the Summit
fleet at http://www.summit-yachts.com
* The Canadian InterCollegiate Sailing Association (CICSA) hosted its
inaugural CICSA Team Racing National Championship in Kingston and CICSA
Fleet Racing National Championship in Montreal. Queen's University won both
titles, which were attended by a total of 7 of the 12 CICSA member
Universities. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/CYA-110711 /
* Ft. Walton Beach, FL (November 7, 2011) - An international field of 59
teams from four countries are competing on the gulf waters in the Hobie 16
and Hobie 20 North American Championships. Day 1 saw winds from 5-10, where
two races were completed before the wind died. In the Hobie 16 class there
were a few general recalls as the sailors were pushing on the line. After
the first two races Greg Thomas/Karen Sikora (USA) lead followed by Wally
Myers/Isabelle Strasser (USA). In the Hobie 20 class Kevin Smith/Rundell
Curtis (USA) lead followed by Phil Collins/Bev Collins (USA). Racing
continues through Friday. Full results: http://tinyurl.com/Hobie-110711
* Sailing enthusiasts are invited to vote for their favourite image from a
shortlist of photographs selected for the 'Yacht Racing Image of the Year
2011' presented by Mirabaud & Cie Private Bankers. The winning image will
be announced during the 4th World Yacht Racing Forum from 13-14 December in
Estoril, Portugal. The shortlist was chosen from over forty images
submitted by professional yacht racing photographers from around the world.
Vote here: http://tinyurl.com/Photo-110711
* Ten teams from USA and Great Britain raced for three days at Southern
Yacht Club in New Orleans this weekend, competing for the Southern Soiland
Cup Team Race. Sailed in Flying Scots, New York and Newport Harbor had each
stumbled only twice after two days of racing. On the third and final day,
NYYC swept the field while NHYC fell a third time to finish second in the
event. Southern's SYC-2 placed third. NYYC was lead by skippers Colin
Gordon, Pete Levesque and Brian Doyle. -- Full report:
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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 David Storrs:
Regarding the Volvo Ocean Race, are the boat designers/sponsors crazy to
build boats that - two out of six - blow up within one day of the start in
winds of - oh, my goodness - 30 knots? Do they think it will not be windier
than that at some point over the next 30,000 miles? Should we be
sympathetic to the teams that are knocked out or lose time and points, or
just think they are not thinking clearly?
COMMENT: It will be interesting to learn the cause of Abu Dhabi's mast
damage as the spar came from Future Fibres' newly launched mast building
division. Team Sanya also has a Future Fibre spar. The remaining four boats
have masts from Hall Spars, Southern Spars, and Lorima. - Craig Leweck,
* From Laurence Mead:
I can't imagine what it was like for David Greene to lose his son at 18
(letter in Scuttlebutt 3463), it is of course a parent's worst nightmare,
and he has my deepest sympathy. But, as a father of two mad keen sailors
who were 29er sailing at 11 years old, I would say that his proposal is
entirely wrong and surely is symptomatic of our modern flight to a culture
of safety above all else.
I am not sure Scuttlebutt is the forum for the debate, but the search for
something bigger in life than merely surviving is surely buried deep in
man's psyche and blocking it off is both impossible and wrong. On that day,
Olivia Constants was searching out her own freedom as an individual, and
while I mourn her loss, I am sure she would not have wanted the chance to
sail at her limits restricted by an age limit.
* From Chuck Bolduc:
Perhaps a deeper explanation of which 60 "ships" are needing a waiver for
the AC? Is Sen. Pat Toomey implying the little support 'boats' and the
competitor 'boats' themselves? Anyone remember why the real reason the
Jones Act came into being? Mr Toomey is an opportunist.
COMMENT: The Jones Act limits the commerce of foreign built boat on U.S.
waters. As for Mr. Toomey, he saw a vine and swung on it...frightening to
think how much of this occurs in U.S. government. - Craig Leweck,
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