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SCUTTLEBUTT 3476 - Wednesday, November 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: West Marine and Ullman Sails.
FROM RACING TO SURVIVING
Following the dismasting of PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG on Monday at 1500
UTC, skipper Ken Read reports on their new reality:
(November 22, 2011, Day 18) - It has taken me a long time to come to this
conclusion: There is nothing you should be surprised about in ocean racing.
Yesterday was no exception.
The day started off simply enough. Breeze filling from the northeast, and
it was a great ride due south with 20-25 knots of wind and average speeds
in the low 20s. Making tracks. Looking at the routing software and seeing
only five days and some change left in the leg. Looking at Telefonica and
trying to assess where and how we could get by them.
We were racing. Racing is great.
Then, in one brief moment, we started surviving.
I was on deck for a couple hours trimming the main for Kelvin and the new
watch came on deck. Jono took the main, and Tony grabbed the wheel. The
boat was ripping, we liked our spot and all was good. All morning it was
reef, un-reef, reef again.
About 10 minutes after I got below, the watch on deck asked for a hand to
reef again. Tom Addis had his foul weather gear on and said he would go up
and help. Then, three minutes after the reef was in and we were off again,
our world came crashing down around us.
The very last thing I thought of that day was we have to be careful of our
mast. This boat and everything on it was built to push and we were pushing.
Nothing out of hand, but we were certainly pushing.
We are trying to assess what happened to the mast and chances are it will
be some little fitting that simply gave it up at the wrong time. It usually
is. I hope for our sake it is as simple as that because our spare mast is
identical and we have to find the weak link so we can be sure this doesn't
Wake up racing, go to sleep 2,500 miles from where you need to be with a 15
foot stump for a mast and a storm jib and storm trysail lashed to it going
2.8 knots. Wondering when food will run out and how to use the limited
amount of diesel fuel that is on board.
This is when you need friends and people that care for you.
In these modern days of communication I can call anyone in the world from
the phone on the boat just as if I was in my car driving down Memorial Blvd
in Newport, Rhode Island.just a tad more expensive.
Calls to VOR headquarters sprung them into action...read on:
Comment from Hall Spars & Rigging: http://preview.tinyurl.com/Hall-112211
Puma video report: http://youtu.be/VVcKMrAPQOM
Standings as of Tuesday, 22 November 2011, 22:01:41 UTC
1. Team Telefonica, 1824.40 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ, 104.40 nm Distance to Lead
3. Groupama, 296.90 nm DTL
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - Retired from Leg 1
PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG - Retired from Leg 1
Team Sanya - Retired from Leg 1
Video reports: http://www.youtube.com/user/volvooceanracevideos
SCORING: If the three boats still racing complete this leg, 1st place
receives 30 points, 2nd place receives 25 points, and 3rd place will
receive 20 points. The three retired boats will score no points for the
leg. -- http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/Scoring/3/race.html
BACKGROUND: During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which started
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. -
CNN MAINSAIL NOVEMBER
Shirley Robertson OBE made it in the history books by becoming the first
British woman to win two Olympic Gold Medals at consecutive games, Sydney
2000 and Athens 2004. She now hosts CNN Mainsail, CNN's monthly sailing
show, and was in San Diego last week working on a forthcoming show covering
the America's Cup. Here is a description of their November show:
This month on CNN Mainsail, presenter Shirley Robertson is with pioneers
who competed in the early editions of the Whitbread Round the World Race
including the very first in 1973 and those who are currently heading for
Cape Town in the first leg of the current edition of the race, now the
Volvo Ocean Race.
This crewed lap of the planet by sail has in many ways changed beyond all
recognition, but the essence is exactly as it was, sailors heading off into
the unknown or an extraordinary adventure.
Today the professional crew are competing on carbon fibre boats, stacked
with technology, everything from the clothing they wear to the food they
eat, to the way they sail has changed. But.. has progress made life easier.
or will the crews of the 2011 Volvo Ocean Race find life on board tougher
then ever before.
Watch here: http://tinyurl.com/CNN-Mainsail-112211
WEST MARINE'S ONLINE THANKSGIVING WEEKEND SPECIALS
Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the last several years, you know to
expect some AMAZING West Marine deals over Thanksgiving Weekend. This year
is no exception and we won't disappoint. On Thanksgiving Day, take 15% off
sitewide. On Black Friday, we will have some really special deals good for
that day only. In addition, free shipping over $99 will be available all
weekend long starting Thanksgiving Day. http://bit.ly/ThxWeekendSpecials
A CURIOUS CONTRADICTION
By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The 34th America's Cup Match in 2013 should be phenomenal. Combining the
performance of the AC72 catamaran with the venue of San Francisco Bay will
definitely turn heads. However, the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) -
which I saw up close in San Diego - is a curious contradiction created by
the new guardian of the America's Cup, the America's Cup Event Authority
The series was born in part to familiarize teams with wing sails and
catamarans. The AC45 boat was quickly conceived and has received rave
reviews, but access to the boats has been limited. In 2011, most teams were
permitted only a few days of practice before each of the three events. The
AC45s spent more time on a container ship than in the water. And the ACWS
venues are in confined areas with inconsistent winds. While the teams are
elite, developing the technical skills and tools has been hard, not easy.
The larger purpose of the ACWS has been to expose sporting fans to the
brand, to the product, to the America's Cup. Think of the ACWS Event
Village as an active advertisement, with attendees visibly counted and
surveyed for marketing metrics. People were encouraged to watch a little,
eat a little, drink a little, shop a little, maybe catch a band. While it
is an exciting atmosphere for the sport, how long you stayed depended on
your interest and expectations. The focus was not so much to engage the
committed spectator, but to create an impression on the casual visitor.
Although the ACWS was conceived as the road toward the 34th America's Cup,
it has grown legs of its own. It has become a 'made for television' show.
The format is as much entertainment event as sailing contest. The boats are
exciting, the races are quick, the broadcast is good. It has proven to be
riveting. If the ACWS was conceived as a stand-alone event, it must be
considered a complete success. But as it is associated with the America's
Cup, it is held to a higher standard.
The needs of the teams and fans are in conflict. The more random the
racing, the better the viewing. A three hour competition is too much for
the fans, too little for the sailors. If a team were to plot out a training
approach to win the America's Cup in blustery San Francisco Bay, short
course competition on San Diego Bay might not make the list. Kart racing
and the Indianapolis 500 have never been this close. But ACWS participation
is mandated. Fines and expulsion follow absences.
There is now a five month break before the ACWS resumes in Naples, Italy.
While this may be bad from brand building, it will finally provide all
teams with access to their AC45s for training. The bottom four teams at the
Speed Trials in San Diego - China Team, ALEPH, Green Comm Racing, and Team
Korea - were the same four teams unable to properly train during the seven
weeks since the ACWS event in Plymouth. This period will help to close the
gap on Oracle Racing Spithill, which dominated the San Diego event. The
Oracle Racing team is the only program to own two boats for racing and two
boats for practice (at $1 million each).
So the ACWS will continue to be an active circuit until 2013 with an
uncertain future beyond that. Its primary sponsor - Louis Vuitton - is
working to improve the connection between the flash of the ACWS and the
history of the America's Cup. But more sponsors are needed as the circuit
is most certainly bleeding money. While optimism runs high within ACEA, the
goal toward self-sustainability does not yet appear close.
Given the infrequency of the America's Cup, the concept of the ACWS is
brilliant. But how the ACWS is currently measured depends on how closely
you view it. She's a hottie, for sure, but her beauty is now only skin
deep. Standing by to see how she looks in five months.
CHANGING THE LEXICON OF SAILING
By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Our sport is complicated. What sport isn't? But if you sail enough, the
obstacles soon disappear...except this one: right and left.
Pre-start strategy includes assessing the upwind leg. "I'm liking the
right. Definitely more wind to the right." And sure enough, half way up the
beat, the boats on the right are ahead.
Nearing the windward mark, it's time to assess the downwind leg. "The right
still looks solid. Puffs are coming from the right." After rounding the
windward mark, the boats gybe to the left to get the wind from the right...
The course is viewed again during the run. "The boats behind are gaining on
the left. More wind to the left now. We need to get to the right...looking
downwind." So the leaders gybe to protect, heading to the right to get the
wind on the left."
Soon it's time to choose which gate mark to round. "I think the right gate
is closer. Yes, definitely closer." This is good as the wind is still
strongest on the left... looking upwind.
And on it goes.
During the broadcast of the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) in San Diego,
the commentators would have this same conversation. As the AC45s were
zig-zagging throughout the bay, there would be confusion if their right and
left references weren't followed by "looking upwind".
I was thinking how complicated it sounded. At a time when commentators need
to be analyzing more and explaining less, they had to turn the listener's
head for every reference to the wind. And this was assuming the listener
knew how to "look upwind".
So what if we used green and red?
These colors have long been associated with right and left, starboard and
port. Stan Honey, who has developed all the broadcast graphics for the
ACWS, said he could stripe the sides of the course green and red. He could
also paint the gates green and red at the upwind and downwind ends of the
course. Could the lexicon of sailing be changed to colors?
"There is definitely more wind on the green side," said the broadcast
commentator. "The leaders downwind are coming from the green side, and the
key decision of the leg will be when to gybe. The team that nails their
approach to the green gate will have the advantage to own the green side on
the next upwind leg."
I can hear it now.
* Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia (November 22, 2011) - The final event of the
2011 World Match Racing Tour, the Monsoon Cup, will decide who among tour
leaders Ian Williams, Francesco Bruni and Torvar Mirsky will win the 2011
ISAF Match Racing World Championship. The opening flight of the First
Qualifying Session feature Ian Williams and will begin at 11:00 (GMT+8) on
Wednesday 23 November 2011 with live coverage from 15:00 to 17:00 (GMT +8)
* Washington, DC (November 22, 2011) - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and
U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) praised the House of
Representatives' final passage of H.R. 3321, the America's Cup Act, which
will create hundreds of construction and energy jobs in Pennsylvania. At
issue is the Jones Act, which prohibits foreign flag ships from traveling
from one U.S. port to another without a waiver. A new project at the Marcus
Hook refinery in Delaware County has been held up because there are no
qualified U.S. flag liquefied natural gas tankers available to transport
natural gas from Delaware County in Pennsylvania to the Gulf region. --
Read on: http://politicalnews.me/?id=10034&keys=JONES-ACT-CUP-FOREIGN
* US Sailing has announced that Philip Sauer (Honolulu, Hawaii), the owner
of Second Chance, a 44-foot sloop, and his crew will be awarded a Hanson
Rescue Medal. The crew of nine rescued a kayaker as their boat was
approaching the finish line of the 2011 Transpacific Yacht Race in Diamond
Head, Hawaii on July 19. The Second Chance crew consisted of Sauer, skipper
Harry Krum, Charles Clark, Mary Howard, Curt Ingram, Thomas Andrews, Graham
Paine, Edward Atwell, and Randall Alcorn. -- Read on:
* The eight maxi and super yachts participating in the Transatlantic
Superyacht Regatta - Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup crossed the starting line
off Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain on Monday to begin the fourth edition
of the event. The fleet of sailing giants will navigate 2700 miles to reach
the finish line in Virgin Gorda in approximately 8 to 10 days. -- Full
report and live tracking:
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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 Barrow:
I guess it is easy to be detractor of the number of boats in the Volvo
Ocean Race, plus now the failure of a couple of rigs
How does man ever progress without pushing. If you are into, probably, the
most sponsored event, with the most professional offshore sailors and back
up teams, then Volvo has it. As the race unfolds I feel sure there will be
other issues to discuss.
Had the old points system been in place, three boats would have been out of
the race and no new parameters in rig and hull design would be discovered.
This does not mean that the rig builders are using the race as a test bed;
they are trying to do the best possible job for the competitors. I know as
I have been in exactly the same position in the days of boats like
Nothing has changed! Life is about estimating risk. Eliminating it
completely would put us all completely in the hands of the health and
* From Gunther E. Hering:
Bill Reilly et al (in Scuttlebutt 3475) are absolutely right. Fifty percent
of the Volvo Ocean Race competitors out in the first leg with mechanical
breakage. And the America's Cup is now a jumble of somersaulting cats.
All of this is for the benefit of landlubber TV viewers and ad ratings,
just to raise the money to pay professional sailors to do what we all do
for fun... and do with prudent planning, competence and good seamanship.
And we pay for it out of our own pockets. This is supposed to be a sporting
event? Give me a break!
* From Vince Casalaina:
Commenting on the America's Cup World Series in San Diego, I was
disappointed in the amount of AV that was available outside the Broadway
Pier (audio only) and the Garden area (AV but you could not see the live
racing if you were watching this screen).
During the racing, I ran into lots of people who were watching the boats in
areas along the waterfront but they had little idea what was going on.
There seemed to be no audio commentary available to them and certainly no
video feed unless they had brought their iPad and broadband hotspot with
I know it's a question of money, but a few big screens in strategic places
along the waterfront plus live commentary & program books to buy so people
could get a little background on the event while waiting between races
would have drawn a lot more people into the fold.
I hope there will be a lot more of that sort of AV support available in San
Francisco when the boats race next summer.
* From Mal Emerson:
After reading his letter in Scuttlebutt 3475, Robert and I might well have
been shoulder to shoulder in San Diego for the series, and I totally agree
with his want of a scoreboard system accessible to spectators.
Yacht racing is a difficult spectator sport even to a racer but
particularly to the prospective non-sailing fan. Perspectives are
difficult, the concept of upwind being a lead position on the upwind and
downwind on the downwind being a leading position all make it tough to see
who's where. In a parade of boats, the lead boat may not be and it confuses
the new viewer.
Lifts, headers, pressure, leverage and their effects on who is leading are
tough from the pier or a boat. The best spectating I ever did was AC 2000
when on a boat with the video, graphics and commentary on a big screen and
the boats visible through binoculars over my shoulder. Obviously not for
the faint of wallet. The ACWS could easily make this sort of viewing
available to everybody.
I was duly impressed with the new format and am a rabid fan and enjoyed
every minute but have to say they may have missed the boat in many
opportunities to acquire new fans. From the end of Broadway pier, you could
barely hear short snippets of the commentary. There was no big screen like
near the stage and no indication of the lead until it could be clearly
observed at a mark or a crossing. How much could it cost to fix those
things in the grand scheme of things? -- Read on:
The Thanksgiving Day holiday is celebrated in the United States on the
fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition
since 1863, when during the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
proclaimed it to be a national day of thanksgiving.
The staff at Scuttlebutt World Headquarters will be enjoying this national
holiday with family and friends, and we are hopeful you can too. There will
be no Thursday and Friday edition of the Scuttlebutt newsletter, but we
will resume publication on Monday.
"I love Thanksgiving turkey. It's the only time in Los Angeles that you see
natural breasts." -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor/politician
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
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