SCUTTLEBUTT 3494 - Wednesday, December 21, 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: US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and US Sailing.
BEING HAPPY WITH THE SPORT I LOVE
The U.S. was among many countries using the 2011 ISAF Sailing World
Championships in Australia to help select their 2012 Olympic
representatives. But with the end of the event (Dec 3-18) came closure for
many Olympic dreams.
"Losing a Trials is a harsh and abrupt end," remarked U.S. team chairman
Dean Brenner. "There is an awful finality to it, especially when you think
you have a legitimate chance to win. Everything in your life for the last
several months or years, would have been focused on succeeding at the
Trials. When it is over, and you lose, it is completely surreal."
Experiencing this abruptness now is American Laser sailor Brad Funk, who
entered the Worlds leading the two part U.S. trials but ended up third.
Here is an excerpt from his blog:
I have had a love-hate relationship with the Laser. I have always needed to
go fast in a sailboat and the Laser took the edge off that need, most of
I was 'gyming' (going to the gym) to build muscle like a steroid freak,
eating to the point where I couldn't sleep all through the night because I
had to wake up and eat a bar or have a 1200 calorie shake, biking with so
much discipline I didn't know if I spent more time looking at my power-tap
(power meter) or where I was going; it was totally my life.
The objective was to log something towards the campaign everyday, as my
wife, Anna Tunnicliffe (2 time world sailor of the year), said to me about
a year ago, and I've lived that way ever since. My mission: to go to the
Olympic Games as a serious player in a class in which, in the gold fleet at
any World Cup event, all 50 guys could win a race!
I left nothing on the table and am holding my head high from how far I've
come since January. It's been an honor to work with Arthur Brett. He is a
wise man, who coaches with egoless eyes, has tremendous passion for sport,
and has helped change and shape me as a person to be the fighter that I am
now and the better sailor.
Taking the grand-picture-of-life perspective is the best recipe for coping
with the emotions of not making the Olympic spot. And being a veteran of
the Olympic sailing life, it's now the journey of what I do with myself in
the future that in the end matters, not the 'being compared to others'.
They are all just parts of one's self floating in Mother Nature's soup of
what we call sailing.
I am in a good place. Yes, I have waves of 'what if ...' but after writing
all this, I'm moving on to bigger and better things like A-cat's, match
racing my wife, big boats, moth sailing, and being happy with the sport I
love! I'm out.
There's much more to his report here: http://tinyurl.com/Funk-122011
REWARD TRUMPS RISK
(December 20, 2011; Day 10) - Groupama 4 skipper Franck Cammas may be a
newcomer to the Volvo Ocean Race, but he is an experienced round the world
racer and is not afraid to take radical tactical decisions. While it did
not work out so well on Leg 1, his aggressiveness on Leg 2 is now paying
"We found ourselves out on our own again when we left the African coast,
then we got back in contact again, before heading South to hunt for an
opening by going around the front," explained Cammas. "Basically, we try to
work on a long term strategy. Right now, the focus is on racking up the
maximum number of miles so as we can consolidate our lead. After that
though, we'll hit the Doldrums with some very changeable conditions."
Groupama 4 is now 1613 nm south of the equator.
For most of the afternoon, Groupama 4 has been averaging just under 19
knots boat speed. Wind speeds hover between 20 knots on the beam for the
French team and up to 28 knots of headwinds for the chasing pack who are
135 nautical miles further to the west. On board Groupama 4 it is wet and
wild. Helmets are a necessity as the crew is constantly fire-hosed. For the
four boats sailing close-hauled, it is much wetter.
PUMA skipper Ken Read, currently steering Mar Mostro in third place, said
he took his hat off to Cammas for making the bold decision to break from
the fleet and go south: "I give the French credit. They took matters into
their own hands. They stuck to their guns and went for it and it looks like
it's going to pay off for them, at least for now."
But Read is ultimately happy with where his boat is. "We're happy with how
the boat's going in our little group of three with Telefonica and CAMPER
and at this point we like our position," the American skipper said.
Far away to the west in Madagascar, the racing crew and shore crew of Team
Sanya, which suspended racing early this morning, is busy examining the
state of the boat's rig after the D2 part of the standing rigging was found
swaying unattached in the wind on Monday.
Skipper Mike Sanderson explains what needs to happen to ensure the Chinese
boat is back on the water and completing Leg 2 as soon as possible. "We've
got our hands full because now there is an inherent issue with our rigging
solution. It's not as if we can just replace this one stay, we are
replacing all the stays on the side rigging on both sides, so it's no small
task.'' - Event media
COMMENT: Future Fibre comments on the rigging damage onboard Team Sanya:
Course details: http://tinyurl.com/Piracy-121111
Leg 2 - Cape Town, SA to Abu Dhabi, UAE
Standings as of Tuesday, 20 December 2011, 22:02:01 UTC
1. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA)
2. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 53.6 nm Distance to Lead
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 61.0 nm DTL
4. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 73.5 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 170.8 nm DTL
Suspended - Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL)
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. -
USSTAG SPONSORS CONGRATULATE 2012 OLYMPIC TEAM!
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics sponsors would like to extend their
congratulations to those who have qualified as the top U.S. sailor(s) in
their class to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, England:
49er, Erik Storck and Trevor Moore; Men's 470, Stuart McNay and Graham
Biehl; Women's 470, Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan; Finn, Zach Railey; Laser,
Rob Crane; Laser Radial, Paige Railey; Men's RS:X, Robert Willis; Star,
Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih. Note Farrah Hall was top Women's RS:X but
needs to qualify the country and Women's Match Racing will be determined in
SPANISH CASTLE TO WHITE NIGHT
Spanish Castle to White Night is Mark Chisnell's account of the Volvo Ocean
Race 2008-09. This short extract introduces one of the race's great
characters - Jerry Kirby. Interestingly, it is Jerry's son Rome that is
among the crew on PUMA in the 2011-12 edition of the race.
Amongst PUMA's crew for Leg 5 was the American Jerry Kirby, famous for
being, at 52, the world's oldest bowman. It was a title he had held for
some time, despite the fact that it's widely regarded as a young man's game
up at the pointed end. After sailing Leg 1 to Cape Town, Kirby had gone
home to deal with the impact the credit crunch was having on his
construction business. To say that the process was ongoing would be an
understatement, but not even financial apocalypse, defaulting clients and
troublesome employees were going to stop Jerry Kirby from doing Leg 5.
Afterwards he said, "It was really stupid to do this leg, as a
Kirby is the eternal optimist, famous for his perpetual cheer and a wealth
of stories. He had come up through the sport the old way, the hard way.
Born in the original home of the America's Cup, Newport, Rhode Island, he
had watched his first Cup from his grandfather's tugboat at the age of two.
At 14, Kirby was hanging around outside the Intrepid America's Cup camp,
begging for work. They showed him the rigging container and told him to
clean it out while they went sailing. By the time Intrepid returned to the
dock, the container had been emptied, swept, painted, sorted and restacked.
Kirby had his foot in the door, and three weeks later he was sailing. It
was the summer of 1970, the year the Beatles broke up, the year Jimi
Despite all that experience, Kirby knew exactly where he stood in the
decision-making process: "The eight sled dogs are on deck, blinders on,
pulling the sled... So what, you're going to go and argue with them
[skipper and navigator]? Forget it, whatever they come up with, we go that
way, you don't even think twice..."
Kirby's sled-dog metaphor was bleak, if apt. They were on deck for four
hours, burning every calorie they could eat and crawling into the bunk at
the end of it, with little mental stimulus and virtually no knowledge of
the outside world. But sceptical bells rang over something that Kirby had
said earlier in Cape Town - was the atmosphere really so intense on deck
that there was little or no conversation even from Jerry Kirby? It was no
surprise when PUMA's media crewman, Rick Deppe, blew this image apart after
Kirby returned for Leg 5 (the 12,300 nm route from Qingdao in China to Rio
de Janeiro), writing from the boat:
"I think that in one 15 minute period there he [Kirby] took the banter from
a discussion about whether or not to shake a reef out, to an extended
history lesson on the carriage houses of New England and the relative
merits of red cedar over slate as a roofing material, then on to a
self-diagnosis of his ribs, which he thinks might be broken, and finally
for this 15 minute window of time a great story about dirt biking on the
Baja peninsula with a retired line-backer who owns a bar in Tijuana."
To relive the last edition of the race, 'Spanish Castle to White Night' is
now available in an eBook - available at all good eBook retailers, and for
the Kindle at Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/kindle-072811
CATCHING THE AMERICA'S CUP BUZZ ... YES THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS
In Scuttlebutt 3492, David Munge posed the question in regard to the
wing-sailed America's Cup cats: "You can see all the guys who sail them
come off with a real buzz ... how many of us normal people will ever get
Since that letter was published, an elf from AC management sent this reply
Yes there is a Santa Claus! As a "normal" sailing fan, here are just a few
aspects of America's Cup racing designed for your enjoyment in 2012 and
- With less emphasis on the start and more passing in this new format, it
will be just as likely to have a close result in the new format as the old.
- The new boats are just as tactical as the old boats - if not more so!
- A reaching start and the boat behind being able to attack on the second
leg means the race is more evenly balanced.
- The new boats are more physical and offer a dynamic balance between
athletic and tactical skill
- The new format has allowed new teams and sailors to come into the game
and be competitive.
- Onboard cameras and microphones capture all this and put fans like
yourself at the heart of the action.
- A wider wind range means racing - and TV - can start on time.
- And for those who can come for the live experience at an AC World Series
venue (Naples, Venice, Newport, RI and San Francisco in 2012), race courses
are practically shouting distance from shore.
If you aren't yet convinced, think for a moment of America's Cups past:
- Race delays - racing possible only between 8-23 knots of wind.
- Deep draft - making transportation around the world difficult and
limiting access to just a few harbors.
- Slow, drawn-out racing generally did not make for great TV - at least
David, we hope you will stay tuned at americascup.com in 2012 and keep
believing in the magic that is the America's Cup ... both where it has been
and where it's going ... meanwhile we will try our best to deliver
consistently exciting racing for you and your fellow Scuttlebutt readers in
2012 ... here's to catching the buzz in the New Year!
STUCK IN TRAFFIC
(December 20, 2011; Day 28 - 23:00:00 UTC) - It's been another tough day in
the south Pacific for Loick Peyron (FRA) and his team on the 131-foot maxi
trimaran Banque Populaire V. With their daily mileage now under 300 nm,
their mission to lower the non-stop circumnavigation Jules Verne Trophy
record (48 days 7 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds) is looking like less than a
sure thing. Helmsman/trimmer Brian Thompson describes their situation as
they close in on Cape Horn:
We are now sailing VMG downwind in 13 knots of wind with the big gennaker,
full main and staysail. It's ironic that we have carried this big gennaker
on the deck, right through the Atlantic Tradewinds, and the first time the
wind is correct to hoist it, is at 58S, in the Southern Ocean, below the
latitude of Cape Horn!
Unfortunately, we are traveling just behind a high pressure ridge, that is
traveling eastwards at 15 knots. We have caught this ridge up during all
the strong northerly winds we had before, but at present are having
difficulty overtaking it and getting to the stronger Southerly winds on the
It's pleasant sailing conditions.... for Greenland, with the sea and air
temperature around 5C. True night never came, which is great, and the
visibility is excellent, so we are not worried about hitting growlers
tonight. The last two nights when we have been slightly north (darker
nights) we have slowed down and continuously scanned ahead with radar,
light intensifying camera and the Raymarine infrared camera.
We passed pretty close to one growler, so they are certainly out here.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT NSPS!
US Sailing's 2012 National Sailing Programs Symposium features
presentations on ways to rejuvenate your sailing program, provide new
innovative teaching and coaching strategies, present tactics on how to
better promote your program, and more. Join us Jan. 11-14 in Long Beach,
Calif. Register and learn more at
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
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save their bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
* From Scott Murin:
It looks as though I am a day late in my response to Ian Williams'
commentary (in Sbutt 3492) on Matt Cassidy being omitted from the list of
nominees for the US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. I am thrilled to see so
many supporters of Ian's comments.
When I saw the list of nominees I was surprised that Matt was not included.
I have sailed with some of the other nominees and they are all deserving,
but I feel that Matt deserves to be on that list as well. Ian has listed
Matt's impressive list of accomplishments this year. In addition to that
resume, I would like to add that Matt is a consummate professional and one
of the hardest working sailors I know in the industry.
Whether it is boat prep, crew work or any of the numbers of other elements
that go into our sport Matt goes above and beyond what is expected of him.
I know that he has made me a better crew member in the 7 (or so) years that
I have sailed with him.
I think it would be great step forward to recognize Matt and the
contributions of crew in the list of nominees for the US Rolex Yachtsman of
COMMENT: It is worth noting that the US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year
typically has certain exclusions. While it has recognized teams in its
past, it now strives not to. Also, it seeks to recognize achievement at
individual events rather than series events. For example, Ian had said how
Matt won the Audi MedCup, the RC44 Championship Tour, World Match Racing
Championship, TP52 World Championship, and the Congressional Cup. However,
the first three events - all significant accomplishments - may not be
considered because they included multiple and separate events.
Interestingly, 2010 nominee Bill Hardesty also sailed with Matt to win the
World Match Racing Championship, which is a nine event series. While I have
not seen Bill's complete list of accomplishments to be given to the award
voters, I am guessing that Bill will likely get credit for the four events
they won but not get credit for the championship title. - Craig Leweck,
* From Bruce Thompson:
In an effort to support women and girls sailing in Lightnings (our fleet
members have daughters not sons!), Fleet 5 in Chicago is working on the
outline for a new regatta to serve as an adjunct to the Red Flannels in a
manner similar to how the Masters, Womens, Juniors does to the NAs. The
idea is to schedule the regatta the weekend after the start of the
Chicago-Mac when things would otherwise be pretty quiet and the weather is
more benign that in late September. I
Inspired by the example of Debbie Probst and her kids, the entry would be
for a woman (preferably a Mom) and two kids (preferably hers, though we
have junior fleet kids available) supported by Dad as go-fer (driver,
babysitter, RC help). We would start by inviting Debbie and other Moms from
the Lightning Midwest and surrounding districts.
The pool of Moms is quite impressive., Kristine (Mrs Todd) Wake, Kim (Mrs
Pete) Orlebeke, Tobi (Mrs Dan) Moriarty, Laurie (Mrs Skip) Dieball etc etc.
NOR and SIs similar to the Red Flannels (including an entry fee of zero
Loonies for our friends from Thunder Bay Ontario). Any interest out there?
Would it work better to start the same weekend as the Mac, so Dad could
race in it while Mom has her Girls Weekend Out? Suggestions?
Help someone when they are in trouble and they will remember you when
they're in trouble again.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Team One Newport - Interlux - North Sails - New England Ropes
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics - US SAILING
Southern Spars - Ullman Sails
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