SCUTTLEBUTT 3490 - Thursday, December 15, 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: Ullman Sails and West Marine.
MORE FICKLE WEATHER AT ISAF WORLDS
Perth, Australia (December 14, 2011) - It was a frustrating day for many
sailors today at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, with patches of
big breeze and patches of glass throughout the race courses.
This was the final qualifying day for the fleet racing events, and while
the Men's RS:X and 49er were unable to complete all of the scheduled races
today, the Laser, Women's 470, and Star events remain on track.
The leading teams in the fleet racing events have been assigned to the gold
flights where each fleet will proceed to advance the top ten for the Medal
Race to be held Saturday (Star only) and Sunday.
* Only 13 points separate the top ten in the 49er event, with Great
Britain's John Pink and Rick Peacock rolling a 1-6 to take top spot overall
by four points over Stephane Christidis and Emmanuel Dyen (FRA). Americans
Erik Storck and Trevor Moore stumbled with a 15-20 to slip down to 13th
* Spain's Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos maintained their hold on the
number one position in the Women's 470, with Japan's Ai Kondo and Tabata
Wakako retaining second place. A 5-12 by World #1 team Erin Maxwell/
Isabelle Farrar Kinsolving (USA) brings them up to 14th position. The
Women's 470 fleet has a rest day on Thursday and will resume racing on
* Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberghe shares the RS:X overall lead with
Israel's Nimrod Mashich after light winds plagued Centre Course on
Wednesday. A 20th by Canadian Zachary Plavsic in the lone race drops him to
13th position. Racing continues Thursday with a possible rest day on
* Defending Laser world champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) was setting the pace
with his fourth win on the third day of racing, with Great Britain's Paul
Goodison now seven points in arrears. An 8-6 by Clay Johnson (USA) moves
him up to 12th position. Racing continues on Thursday with a possible rest
day on Friday.
* Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada have extended their overall lead
in the Star thanks to two good results on Wednesday, and are now six points
clear of Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) who are second overall. The
Star fleet has a rest day on Thursday, with two races on Friday before
Saturday's Medal Race.
* The quarterfinal round of the Women's Match Race event began today with
its best of five knockout matches. Surviving the day to advance to the
semifinals was Claire Leroy (FRA), Lucy MacGregor (GBR), Ekaterina Skudina
(RUS), and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA). The pairings for the semifinals on
Thursday will be Leroy vs MacGregor and Skudina vs Tunnicliffe.
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
ON THE OLYMPIC TRAIL - CLAY JOHNSON
By Judith Krimski, Sailing Coach and freelance sailing writer
After three years of campaigning, over 240,000 miles traveled (9 times
around the world), American Clay Johnson is in the home stretch of his
quest to represent the United States as the sole male Laser sailor in the
Currently 12th in the World rankings, Clay is solidly atop the leader board
of Americans in that category. But his challenges aren't over - Clay needs
to beat Brad Funk by at least 5 points at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds to
earn the U.S. nomination for the Olympic Laser event.
Growing up on the shores of New Jersey, Clay started his love affair with
sailing at age five when his dad taught him how to sail a Toms River Pram.
From that point on it was all sailing. Clay counts among his
accomplishments international competition in the Optimist and Laser Radial
before moving into the Laser Full rig. In 2000 he was the youngest person
to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials - where he finished 19th. Clay
started his most recent Olympic campaign in 2009.
The following interview was conducted before the ISAF Sailing Worlds
Championship, where Clay has a 12 point advantage on Brad Funk as of
* You have tremendous family support. What is the strength of having your
family involved in this process?
CLAY JOHNSON: The great thing about having my family is they're sailors to
begin with. They know what it entails. When I came to them in September of
08 and said "Heh, I feel like I have some unfinished business here. I want
to stop working and start sailing." At first they were a little reluctant.
After I convinced them it was what I wanted they were 100 percent on board
and supported me to the fullest. They don't want me to look back at this
when I'm 50 and say "Wow I really could have done that." Now is the only
time I have the opportunity to do this. I'm not getting any younger or in
better shape. They understood now's the time for me.
* It's been a long road for you. What are you thinking leading up to Perth?
CLAY JOHNSON: It's kind of bittersweet because it's been a long time. Some
days I wake up and I'm ready to do the trials and Olympics and get moving
on. Some days I wish I could keep going cause it's so much fun. The
campaign's only been two 1/2 years but I've been sailing Lasers since 1998.
I'm only 27 but I've been in the class for 13 years. I'm anxious to get to
Australia and finish the trials process and hopefully have a great regatta.
If I qualify a lot of the pressure will be removed and I can enjoy the next
eight months, train even harder and focus on the Olympics.
Read on: http://centerofeffort01.blogspot.com/#!/2011/11/clay-johnson.html
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FORK IN THE ROAD
(December 14, 2011; Day 4) - While the first three days of Leg 2 saw the
Volvo Ocean Race fleet sort through the unusual conditions off the African
tip together, the fleet has now split into two groups to solve an
approaching problem. The first group is led by the Spanish boat to the
North-East and the second group is to the south and controlled by the
Two imperatives appear to explain this dichotomy: how to best traverse the
current on the nose from the Agulhas and how to tackle the transition zone
planned for this Thursday between the depression, which is passing below
South Africa whilst filling in on itself, and the Mascareignes High which
is being compressed between Kerguelen and Madagascar.
"It's the key to the whole leg," said Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian
Walker, whose yacht Azzam has been among the northern group. "It's about
who can get through this trough in the best shape. If we can get to the
trough, then we will have good northerlies and we will be fast all the way
into the high pressure, the ridge of high pressure known as the Indian
Ocean high. If we can't, then we are going to sit here for days bashing up
In this leg three years ago, three teams including both Team Telefonica
boats detached from the fleet and stayed north. History repeats itself now
when, once again, there is a substantial split in the fleet and overall
race leader Team Telefonica (Iker Martínez/ESP) is over 200 nautical miles
in the north. The team's navigator, Andrew Cape, made the same move three
years ago when navigating PUMA's il mostro.
Discussing tactics, helmsman Charles Caudrelier said the crew of Groupama 4
(Franck Cammas/FRA), were going to heed the old adage, 'if you don't know
where to go in the Atlantic, you have to go west; and if you don't know
where to go in the Southern Ocean, you have to go south'. "We got that
wrong on the first leg, we will respect it this time," the Frenchman said.
Groupama 4 is the furthest yacht south and clearly taking the adage
seriously. -- Event media
Course details: http://tinyurl.com/Piracy-121111
Leg 2 - Cape Town, SA to Abu Dhabi, UAE
Standings as of Thursday, 15 December 2011, 1:25:54 UTC
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP)
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 27.70 nm Distance to
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 53.10 nm DTL
4. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 54.90 nm DTL
5. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 56.10 nm DTL
6. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 113.60 nm DTL
Video reports: http://www.youtube.com/user/volvooceanracevideos
Race Schedule: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-2011-12-schedule
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. -
INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES
The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum provides an opportunity
for companies to announce new products and services. Here are some of
* Weymouth Harbour now accepting berthing applications for 2012 Olympics
* Vintage Nautical Charts
* Yachting Photographer Nicole Scott's new book: '200 Bowmen'
* December Issue of Sail Sense from Elliott / Pattison Sailmakers
View updates here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum/industry_news
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Is your event listed on the Scuttlebutt Event Calendar? This free,
self-serve tool is the easiest way to communicate to both sailors and
sailing media. These are some of the events listed on the calendar for this
Dec 17-20 - US SAILING Level 1 Instructor Course - San Diego, CA, USA
Dec 17-18 - US SAILING Level 2 Coach Course - Honolulu, HI, USA
Dec 26 - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Sydney, Australia
Dec 26-30 - Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta - Miami, FL, USA
View all the events at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar
* (December 14, 2011; Day 22 - 22:45:00 UTC) - Moderating conditions in the
Pacific Ocean find Loick Peyron (FRA) and his team on the 131-foot maxi
trimaran Banque Populaire V losing some of their advantage but still have a
1901.3 nm margin 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 10694 nm to the finish. --
* After a 20 year hiatus, the Atlantic City Race Week is back. This coming
July the Ocean City Yacht Club in conjunction with Golden Nugget Casino
have planned what should be a competitive racing experience in a superb
setting. The regatta includes an optional feeder race from Ocean City, NJ
to Atlantic City on July 20th followed by two days of ocean racing. One
design racing is planned for Melges 24, J/24 and J/105 classes as well as
Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker PHRF divisions. Other classes are welcome. --
* Don Wilson, founder of the Chicago Match Race Center, wants to create a
private club and lodge for the sailing club. Wilson bought a long-vacant
three-flat six months ago to convert into a club with space for events and
meetings and 21 guest rooms - a plan that requires adding a fourth floor.
However, the plan has received resistance from the local neighborhood
association, which has concerns that the club's plan will add noise and
traffic to the residential area. The proposal goes before the city's Zoning
Board of Appeals this week. Read more: http://tinyurl.com/CB-121411
THE FINAL STRETCH OF HOLIDAY SHOPPING
Believe it or not, we're a little more than a week out from Dec 25th. Today
through Monday (Dec 19), you can still order online and get Free Ground
Shipping on orders over $99 and we'll guarantee delivery by Dec 23.
Expedited delivery is also available for an extra fee for orders placed
after Monday. In addition, we have plenty of gift ideas for your favorite
sailor at westmarine.com as well as gift cards if you want to let them
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 Vincent Delany:
Regarding entrapment (in Scuttlebutt 3489), we had a death recently when a
Dragon sank in Dublin Bay in strong winds. A diver went down to put air
bags into the hull and became entrapped in floating rope tails and died.
Divers also need to be aware of the problem.
* From Jos Spijkerman, International Judge/Umpire:
The (Ben Ainslie) matter has been dealt with at the event. Is it now over?
Reading Rule 69.1(c):
'The protest committee shall promptly report a penalty, but not a warning,
to the national authorities of the venue, of the competitor and of the boat
owner. If the protest committee is an international jury appointed by the
ISAF under rule 89.2(b), it shall send a copy of the report to the ISAF.'
That means that four 'higher' authorities will be sent a report. The
Australian MNA: Yachting Australia (because the venue was Perth), the RYA
(Ainslie is from GBR), the MNA of the boat-owner (if that is an MNA other
than from Australia or Great Britain) and the ISAF.
In all likelihood Yachting Australia and the ISAF will defer from
investigating and leave the matter in the hands of the RYA. They are now
the first to respond. But if the decision of the RYA is not appropriate in
the eyes of either YA or the ISAF, they can then start their own
investigation and decide on whether an additional sanction is warranted. --
* From Ryan Wood:
An example of another sport in which media is allowed to directly interact
with the athletes to some extent is cycling. The camera men are on
motorcycles and in cars alongside the riders, and sometimes are responsible
for affecting the race.
A recent example of this was the 2011 edition of the Tour de France where a
French media car was passing some racing cyclists and collided with them
(both the cyclists and the car were moving in excess of 30 mph).
The result of this collision was that one rider hit the pavement extremely
hard and another flew of the road into a barbed wire fence. Both riders
finished the remaining two weeks of the race. This is not to justify the
camera boats actions; the driver was definitely in the wrong. -- Forum:
* From Anton van de Koppel, TV producer:
The sport of sailing has expressed its need for a more media sport. This
comes with the usual difficulties: more cameras, more chase boats and more
incident with sailors and media. The "Ainslie incident" should have never
happened if the media boat driver was more aware of how sailing with small
boats really work.
This incident goes back to the organisation table, where months ahead of an
important venue like the Worlds the organisers are desperately looking for
Media boat drivers. But there is no standard briefing for media boat
drivers and someone with the papers for a small RIB will do.
As a TV producer for sailing for the last 25 years, we have seen a lot of
drivers/ owner that could hardly handle their boat with no sailing going on
in the area at all, let alone when you are in a hectic start of a race.
Usually we guide the drive as good as we can, and we have managed to avoid
a lot of problems.
Powerboat drivers, however, tend to panic when racing sailboats come very
close and a wrong decision is quickly made. Furthermore, press boat drivers
who claims to have experience always think that close to the race makes the
nice picture. This is not the case. Professional media members use long
lenses, and know long before the fleet comes close to the mark where they
want to be to make that picture-perfect shot. -- Forum, read on:
* From Peter Jacobsen:
I am a professional photographer with a solid racing background. I raced
for many years in the junior, college and Olympic classes. As a sailing
photographer, I covered many high profile sailing events. In order to get
the shots I wanted, I needed to get as close as possible to the action.
Any still photographer or cameraman knows that getting close to the boats
is almost always the best way to get a decent shot. The only way to
guarantee that a photo boat will not get in the way is to ban them from the
race course. I'm surprised more sailors have not jumped onto photo boats in
fits of rage after being slowed down by press boats. As much as I always
tried not to get in the way of racers, I probably had my share of incidents
where I should have been more careful, especially when covering dinghy
racing. I cannot suggest a solution, except to say that it's unrealistic to
assume a cameraman can do his job on the race course without the risk of
interfering in a major way.
The best compromise is to require that all press boat drivers be
- who know when they are blocking the wind,
- who can anticipate when a boat might tack or jibe,
- who can see where there's more or less wind on the water,
- who knows what tack is the lifted tack,
- who knows ahead of time if he's about to get in the way,
- who knows how to get out of the way without causing disturbance and,
- who won't be bullied by a photographer or cameraman insisting on getting
to a certain location. - Forum:
* From Andy Steiner, Steiner Design:
The rig failures on Abu Dhabi and Puma in the Volvo Ocean Race are
devastating for crew and sponsors and in my opinion inexcusable. If this
happens after the 4th or 5th leg, it's another story, but one in the first
night and the other in average conditions in the middle of the first leg,
is prove of either wrong judgment or incapacity.
To develop a VOR rig is the biggest challenge for any mast maker, forget
America's Cup or the Vendee Globe. That's why even the best have to do a
lot of testing. During the time of the maxi's Merit, and Rothmans and in
'92/'93 Pierre Fehlmanns Merit Cup and Grant Dalton's Fisher and Paykel, we
developed aluminum rigs with a high level of knowledge about the materials.
For the standing rigging we used mostly cobalt rods but also pultruded
No matter how much we pushed the technology the first rule was, and is
still today, you have to reach the finish line without major failures. In
'89/90 and '92/93 we succeeded, none of the leading boats had notable
failures. I don't think we were better engineers; it was mostly due to the
fact that the boats had sufficient test periods to observe the rigs before
Now almost 20 years later, knowledge about carbon rigs is at a high level.
With the budgets available to the current crop of competitors, there is no
excuse. -- Forum, read on:
"The other day I came home and a guy was jogging, naked. I asked him,
'Why?' He said, 'Because you came home early.'" - Rodney Dangerfield
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