SCUTTLEBUTT 3488 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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SACRIFICING THE PURENESS OF SPORT
As high profile sailing events seek to package themselves for broadcast
appeal, the sanctity of the 'perfect race course' will be compromised. And
when highly vested athletes meet with imperfect conditions, tensions
When four-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie (GBR) grew frustrated with a
media boat at the ISAF Sailing World Championship, he could not hold back
his anger. But it is arguable that his inexcusable actions - boarding the
media boat and physically shaking its driver - were predictable.
This excerpt from a publication that follows Olympic events sheds some
light on this path that high profile sailing events such as the Olympics
and the America's Cup are taking...
Sailing is trying hard to improve its profile - and their key tactic is to
make the action more television and spectator friendly.
In no other sport do media get quite so close to the action, press boats -
with demanding photographers, cameramen and reporters shouting their
instructions - are right in the thick of it, sharing the same crowded water
with the competitors.
Broadcasters want their dramatic close up shots and this week's ISAF World
Championships has seen several new ideas trialled to deliver them - to the
annoyance of Ainslie's British team manager Stephen Park.
"At the moment the sport seems to be fumbling its way into trying to make
the sport more appealing for television," he said. "But surely there is a
better way than trialling new race formats, rule regulations and,
specifically in this case, media initiatives, than trialling them at the
And it's the same with spectators. Next year, for the first time in Olympic
history, a ticketed area has been introduced for the sailing regatta with
4,600 pass holders accommodated every day on Nothe Gardens, which overlooks
the planned medal race course in Weymouth harbour.
Tickets, which cost up to 55 pounds, have already sold out, generating
revenue of approximately 250,000 pounds ($390,000) a day for London Olympic
But former windsurfing world champion Nick Dempsey and Skandia Team GB
colleague Ainslie have both expressed serious concerns about the
suitability of the inshore course in certain weather conditions.
They rightly claim that it's not about the spectators, the television
audiences or the atmosphere - it's about providing the best sailing course
for those athletes who have worked their entire lives for that moment - and
may never get it again.
"Sailing is going through a transition, they want more races closer to the
shore because maybe that is the future of the sport commercially," said
Ainslie, after his London 2012 selection was confirmed by the British
Olympic Association in September.
"But this is the Olympics and the pureness of sport should come first."
Full story: http://tinyurl.com/OLY-121211
PROTOCOL: The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is awaiting the report from
the International Jury, of the Perth 2011 Worlds, in order to consider what
further action, if any, to take in regard to the incident involving Ben
Ainslie. The RYA will follow its established procedures for responding to
Rule 69 reports, and has the authority to take such disciplinary action
within its jurisdiction as it considers appropriate. -- Full report:
COMMENT: In regard to the Ben Ainslie incident at the 2011 ISAF Sailing
World Championship, the media boat involved was hired by ISAF as the
official host broadcaster to videotape the racing. Additionally, the
Sailing Instructions changed RRS 62 (Redress) such that actions by media
boats and helicopters were not grounds for requesting redress. I am going
to assume that Ben knew he could not file for redress. While Ben's actions
were clearly in error, it is asking a lot of a highly vested sailor to
accept being hindered for broadcast purposes as part of ISAF's media
objective. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
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ISAF WORLDS - PART 2 BEGINS
Perth, Australia (December 12, 2011) - The massive participation in the
ISAF Sailing World Championship requires a two week schedule to complete
the competition of the ten Olympic events. While the Women's Match Race
event will need all 14 days to find a champion among the 29 teams, the
remaining nine events are divided into the first week and second week.
With the Finn, Laser Radial, Men's 470 and Women's RS:X class completing
their events on Sunday, the focus now turns this week to the Star, Laser,
49er, Women's 470 and Men's RS:X classes. Racing was greeted today with
strong south easterly winds of up to 22 knots, heavy showers, thunder and
lightning. With the exception of the Star, the event schedule begins with a
qualifying series to determine which teams will advance to the championship
* Denmark's Jonas Warrer and Soeren Hansen (DEN) and Peter Burling and
Blair Tuke (NZL) are the joint overall leaders after the opening day of
49er racing on Monday. Americans Erik Storck/ Trevor Moore are in 17th
* Japan's Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata finished the day in first place
overall in the Women's 470 followed closely by Lisa Westerhof and Lobke
Berkhout (NED) with Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) in third.
Americans Amanda Clark/ Sarah Lihan are in 5th position.
* Israel's Nimrod Mashich and Piotr Myszka of Poland share top spot on the
leader board after the opening day of racing in the men's RS:X. Canadian
Zachary Plavsic is in 11th position.
* Jesper Stalheim (SWE) holds a seven point lead over the three-time Laser
champion and 2010 ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby (AUS).
American Charlie Buckingham is in 8th position.
* British Olympic Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson consolidated
their first place position in the overall standings after race four in the
Star fleet, holding a twelve point lead over Americans Mark Mendelblatt and
Brian Fatih (USA) in second.
* The repechage round is near complete to determine the final four teams to
advance to the quarterfinal knockout stage. Great Britain's Lucy Macgregor
leads this round on 9 wins and 2 losses, with American Genny Tulloch's team
in 6th position with 6 wins and 6 losses.
BACKGROUND: The ISAF Sailing World Championships are held every four years,
bringing together the Olympic class organization to host their most
prestigious event. The 2011 edition on December 3-18 will see over 1,100
sailors from 78 nations coming to Perth, Australia to compete in their
class World titles and to qualify their nations for the London 2012 Olympic
Sailing Competition. -- Event website: http://www.perth2011.com
GO CANUKS! GO YANKS! KICK BUTT!
By Rory Ramsden, RS:X class
Perth, Australia (December 12, 2011) - Something very interesting is
happening (at the ISAF Sailing World Championship). New names are appearing
in the top 10. Zac Plavsic [CAN] smacked in a 4th and a 9th to claim 11th
place. Robert Willis, the American Team Rep in the Pan Am Games, put in 2
top ten finishes in a class field. David Hayes [CAN] should not be
forgotten either. With a 9th and a 12th on his scorecard tonight, he can be
there when the scores are being counted to decide who competes in the medal
There will be cynics out there who will say that this was just the first
day. That this will be a long regatta. That the hot shots who were firing
on only three cylinders today will come back into it. And they may be
right. But that's not my point.
My point is that North American Windsurfing is showing signs of recovery
after a long time in the wilderness since the 'Gebhardt Years'. That
despite all the obstacles that they have to face, a determined new crew is
elbowing its way to the front of the fleet mainly under their own steam.
"Good on them" I say "And more power to their elbow"
It's inspiring to see such passion and determination start to bear fruit.
They have worked hard and they deserve their places in the sun even if that
sun passes behind a cloud in the next few days.
Today, they have shown they have the potential to mix it with the
'best-of-them'. In fact, some of the 'best-of-them' would pay dearly to
acquire the scorelines the new kids on the block have posted today for they
languish far below on the leader board. They may even be going to bed
tonight fearful that their championships are already 'cooked'.
Go Canuks! Go Yanks! Kick Butt!
IT'S NEVER LIKE THIS
Cape Town, SA (December 12, 2011; Day 2) - The Volvo Ocean Race fleet
remains tightly bunched along the African coast, with no clear strategy at
this stage of the race from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. It will be conservative
sailing until the crews are forced to declare their plans, perhaps
overnight, or tomorrow morning.
Light winds and the typically strong Agulhas Current have thwarted the game
plan to charge south to pick up a cold front or low pressure system off the
southern tip of Africa. At press time the fleet was close hauled, with wind
speed and boat speed at around five knots.
"Our weather strategy is in pieces now as the fleet has failed to catch the
low pressure as planned and I suspect we will all sit waiting for a new
westerly wind to pick us up in the next day or two," explained Ian
Walker/GBR, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam earlier today. --
Course details: http://tinyurl.com/Piracy-121111
Standings as of Tuesday, 13 December 2011, 1:02:39 UTC
1. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS)
2. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 0.40 nm Distance to Lead
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 4.20 nm DTL
4. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 6.90 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 10.70 nm DTL
6. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 15.20 nm DTL
Video reports: http://www.youtube.com/user/volvooceanracevideos
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. -
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REVAMPED WEIGHT STANDARD
As of Dec. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard's calculated vessel capacity has
changed, based on an assumed higher average weight of passengers.
Since 1960, the Coast Guard has calculated vessels' capacity using an
assumed average weight per person of 160 pounds. An amended federal rule
that took effect this month recalibrated the average weight of a passenger
at 185, a 25-pound jump. Recreational boats and cruise ships are not
affected by the change.
"The U.S. Coast Guard feels the U.S. people have gotten fatter over time,"
Capt. Ed Sparrow, owner of a Miami-based charter yacht called Holiday of
Magic, told The Miami Herald. Its legal capacity has shrunk from 49 to 35
The revamped weight standard applies to all passengers, regardless of
gender, and was based on a 2004 report by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention that found the average man 20 to 75 years of age weighs 191
pounds, up from 166 pounds in 1960. For women, the tally went from 140 to
164. -- Trade Only Today, full report: http://tinyurl.com/TOT-121211
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* (December 12, 2011; Day 20 - 23:00:00 UTC) - Loick Peyron (FRA) and his
team on the 131-foot maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V have built a 2087.2
nm advantage over the non-stop circumnavigation Jules Verne Trophy record
of 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds set by Franck Cammas on the
103-foot Groupama 3 in 2010. They now have 11739 nm to the finish. --
* (December 12, 2011) - US Sailing will award a Hanson Rescue Medal to
sailors Mary Kovats, Jacob Karlin and Dave Stix of Chicago, Ill. for the
bravery they displayed during their rescue of three distressed sailors from
the cold, stormy waters of Lake Michigan on May 7, 2011. US Sailing has
awarded these sailors with a Hanson Rescue Medal for the seamanship and
regard for safety they exhibited. -- Read on:
* The America's Cup Organizing Committee - the nonprofit fundraising wing
of the event - is responsible for bringing in $12 million from donors by
the end of the environmental review process of the race plans, which is
expected to be completed by early next year. After that, the committee is
seeking to raise an additional $20 million over the next two years before
the 2013 main event in San Francisco. By late September, the committee has
raised $2 million with no further updates available. Read more at the San
Francisco Examiner: http://tinyurl.com/SFE-121111
* Organizers for the U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame say the poor
economy has hurt their efforts to raise the $30 million the state requires
before construction can begin on the hall of fame in Annapolis. A total of
$3 million have been raised. On Feb. 24, 2010, the state granted NSHOF a
50-year lease for the land and building, but as a condition was required to
raise the funds. The state gave the organization two years to meet this
goal, or the lease would terminate automatically. A three extension will be
requested next month. -- Full story: http://tinyurl.com/HOF-121111
* CORRECTION: We had a couple of hiccups in Scuttlebutt 3487. First, we
failed to mention that the Jaguar Cup is a four event series for the
ETCHELLS class. Then we said that the 131-foot maxi trimaran Banque
Populaire V had built a 3034.1 nm advance over the Jules Verne Trophy
record, which was a thousand miles more than their pace was at the time.
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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 Steve LeMay, Frisco, TX:
Regarding the Ainslie incident (in Scuttlebutt 3487), I was a casualty of a
similar but much more substantial incident involving a press boat. We were
literally cut in half by a RIB at the 2009 J/80 Worlds in Santander, Spain.
The incident occurred before the practice race. A media boat driven by the
club manager came over our port rail and literally landed in our cockpit
with the outboard still turning. This sent our helmsman to the hospital and
our hopes of a win down the tubes.
Since the two circumstances are related to press boats, something has to be
done. While I agree that our sport needs all the positive media we can
throw at it, we also need adequate regulation regarding who is actually
allowed to enter a race arena in a motorized vessel. Do we need a fatality
or something more severe to raise awareness of this increasing and
* From Mario Sampaio:
We are a bit tired of hearing these totally false and misleading arguments
that try to convince the sailing community that we need to go in this 'new'
direction in order to save sailing, when the truth is what they are
exclusively after is making a huge profit with sailing events, while
totally ignoring that along this process they are completely destroying our
If they did want to get people back on sailing boats, nothing would have to
be re-invented nor copied, all they would have to do is to center sailing
on the family, on honour and sound moral and ethical principles, once
again. Unfortunately the only criterion today is to win at any cost, full
So every time I re-read all these BS 'new' arguments, my modest and quite
decrepit intelligence feels insulted, and I have a feeling many other
sailors do too, which obviously will not do anything good for sailing.
* From Daniel Meyers, Newport RI:
Imagine the following: It's the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Score is
tied. Your team has the ball, first down, goal to go. The quarterback goes
to pass, but a crazy fan or press photographer runs onto the field and
tackles him. The ball pops loose, is recovered by the other team who runs
it back into the end zone. The play would ABSOLUTELY be whistled dead. No
turnover, no touchdown, no advantage to the other team. The fan arrested.
The security chief probably fired.
The same would happen in any professional sport. Well, you would hope so.
But in sailing, it is common to have overzealous spectators and press boats
come on to the course, foul the competitors, cause danger or collision.
They affect performance and results.
The regatta organizers and race officials should have responsibility to
keep the course clear. Photo boats could be suspended or banned. It has
happened to us on 'Number' many times. At the Rolex BVI regatta, a
professional photographer swam onto the starting line 30 feet abeam of the
committee boat to take pictures while treading water; we had to come head
to wind not to kill him because we had a competitor to leeward.
Now, it appears all logic is lost. Ben Ainslie, clearly one of the best
sailors in history who seems to be an overall good guy, great ambassador
for the sport and perfect gentleman, gets waked by a photo boat so
maliciously that he warns them off repeatedly and then HE gets
And the photo boat in question was working for the regatta, where officials
should have complete control over their own people? The photo boat crossed
the finish line during the race? Are you kidding? They have cost this guy a
chance at another world championship. This is insane. No wonder so many
sailors are taking up golf.
There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin, one slept on an
elk skin, and the third slept on a hippopotamus skin. All three became
pregnant. The first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the
hippopotamus skin had twin boys. This just goes to prove that... the squaw
of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two
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