SCUTTLEBUTT 3496 - Friday, December 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.
A quick note to begin the Friday edition. First, we love you. It's been a
great year, and you have helped make it so. You make coming to work easy.
Our commitment to Scuttlebutt is fueled by our tremendous respect for the
sport and for those that participate in it. For most of you, it's your
recreation. For a few of you, it is your business. For all of us, it
defines who we are.
Scuttlebutt has been chugging along, mostly unchanged, since 1997. While
our simplicity remains our strength, upgrades are planned for 2012. Nothing
to panic about. What you like about Scuttlebutt now, you will like more.
And what has been missing for you will soon be available. Consider it our
belated Christmas present to you.
Scuttlebutt gets published 51 weeks out of the year. Yep, next week is our
off week. We hope it's your off week too. Look for your daily sailing fix
to return on January 3rd.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
(Courtesy of Captain Jeffry Matzdorff)
T'was the night before Christmas, I swung on the hook,
With snowflakes a'landing, asleep with my book.
When up on the deck I heard footsteps and stuff,
"I've been boarded!" I thought, and I tried to be tough.
Then down the companionway hatch came a dude,
He was dressed like a nut and I thought, "I'm so screwed".
But he laughed and he hummed as he surveyed my junk,
So I figured he must be the resident drunk,
His eyes were lit up like a junkie on speed,
But he gave me a whole bunch of stuff that I need.
Like rum and cigars and new charts and a dinghy,
And some kind of fancy electrical thingy.
I knew it was stolen but I wasn't telling,
I just hoped he was giving and wasn't just selling.
And I poured him a grog which he downed with a wink,
Then I poured one for me (Lord I needed a drink!)
Then he staggered above to the dark snowy night,
As I peeked I beheld an incredible sight.
Eight tiny dolphins and a beautiful sleigh,
And the dude hopped aboard and prepared to make way.
The dolphins were ready to power the sled,
But the guy raised a genny and mains'l instead.
With a burp and a chuckle he gathered the breeze,
And called to the dolphins, now swimming with ease.
"Hey Stalker and FEMA and Cancer and Nixon!
Or Stinky and Pepper Spray, Mason, and Dixon!
Or whatever your names are, you cute little fishes,
Here's to every last sailor, my best Christmas wishes!"
As he sailed away leaving a wobbly wake
I hoped he had not many stops left to make.
He got close to shore and he soon was aground,
But the dolphins proceeded to pull him around
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight, "Killer whales!! ...
I'm just kidding, don't be so uptight!"
2011 CHRISTMAS CARD
We're old school at Scuttlebutt. We send out actual Christmas cards in the
mail. Sorry if you didn't get one... it is a big job even at the level we
do it. The photo in this year's card is so unique that it deserves an
"It was the spring of 1972 when I was a senior at Deerfield Academy, a prep
school in western Massachusetts. The Connecticut River swelled with the
melting Vermont snow, and the Deerfield River (an offshoot of the CR)
overflowed the school's lower level where all its playing fields were.
"I had just bought my new Laser that winter - brand-new out of the box -
British Racing Green - #931. I paid $695 all up. I later named her Barking
Spider and raced her hard for two years until I tore the mast step out.
"When the lower level flooded, I called my Mom (we lived two hours from the
school) and asked her to bring my Laser up to school. The coolest thing was
letting kids who had never sailed in their lives take it for a spin - it
was only about 3 feet deep!" -- Rules guru and champion sailor Dave Perry.
Here's the card: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/11/xmas.jpg
CLASSIC HOBART FORECAST FOR THE MIDDIES
While opinions may vary as to what are the world's most prominent offshore
races, everybody's list includes the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart,
which begins December 26th.
The early weather forecast, notes Bureau of Meteorology regional director
Rob Webb, isn't predicting huge winds this year, but nor is he forecasting
a pleasant or sunny cruise.
"We think the race will start in a 10 to 15 knot north easterly breeze, so
there will be a tailwind over the first 6 to 12 hours," Webb says, "but a
southerly will move in during that first evening. It probably won't have
that much push to it at first, maybe 15 to 20 knots, but overnight it will
build to 20, perhaps 30 knots. Over the next day or two it will be on the
nose, with south and south west winds affecting the fleet."
The timing of that first southerly shift will be crucial, especially if the
big boats are going to contest the handicap race. The various forecasting
models are undecided at this stage.
Some are saying the shift will come about 6 hours into the race, while
Adrienne Cahalan, co-navigator of Wild Oats XI, hopes the American model,
which pushes the change back to 12 hours, will turn out to be right.
"If we can just get 6 or 8 hours of running down the coast that makes a big
difference to us in terms of overall [handicap] possibilities," she says.
The longer the northerly lasts the bigger the distance the maxis can put
between themselves and the 50 and 60 footers that most threaten them on
handicap, both in terms of shear distance, and in terms of racing in a
different and perhaps advantageous weather system compared to the boats
further back up the coast.
"If we get 12 hours of running we're close to Gabo Island that makes a
massive difference. But there is too much southerly in this forecast for
the big boats [on handicap]," Cahalan added. She prefers the prospects of
the 50 to 60 foot grand prix yachts this year. "For the middle boats, the
TP52s, this is a." -- Full report:
Race tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/yacht_tracker.asp?key=522
ARMCHAIR GUIDE TO THE SYDNEY-HOBART
There was only one American entry in the 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart - Chris
Welsh' Spencer 65 Ragtime. This historic speedster, which made a name for
itself by setting the TransPacific race record in 1974, had returned to its
Southern Hemisphere roots, where her 1964 launching occurred in New Zealand
under the name Infidel. Here is Chris' armchair guide to the Sydney-Hobart
Like the Fastnet and Bermuda Race, history overhangs the Sydney-Hobart.
Each are 2-3 day blue water sprint distance races with the potential for
aggressive weather, and every year for decades, the top boats in the
worldwide fleet have shown up to compete.
The Hobart Race (no one down there calls it Sydney-Hobart) has three 200
mile sectors, plus opening and closing chapters. Most boat share dock space
at the CYCA, so you get to know the competition a bit. The start, with the
fleet split on two lines inside Sydney Harbor, is action packed. Crowded
close quarters, a rock in the center of the race course, and 8000 spectator
boats make for a exciting departure out around the headlands.
Once outside, the first segment opens up - 200 miles down the Australian
Coastline. Current knowledge is key. The downcoast current has massive eddy
swirls with a knot or more of current in either direction. Playing the
current is key, using water temperature sat photos, grib files, and looking
for the variation in the GPS vs. boat instrument speed. For this 200 miles,
the race is coastal, and if things go nasty, there are coves and harbors to
hole up in until the weather abates. -- Read on:
NOTE: Armchair quarterbacking in North America begins late Christmas Day.
The start is 6 PM PST/9 PM EST and the boats all carry trackers. Look for
Carina and Nemesis representing the USA in the 88 boat fleet.
FOR THE AVID SPORTS FAN
In addition to the ongoing events in this edition of Scuttlebutt, here are
some additional events you may want to follow during the holidays:
Dec 26-30 - Orange Bowl Intl. Youth Regatta, http://tinyurl.com/OBYR-11
Dec 30-Jan 9 - Optimist Worlds, http://www.optiworldsnz.org.nz
Dec 30-Jan 3 - Vanguard 15 Midwinters, http://tinyurl.com/V15M-11
Clipper Round the World Race, http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com
Global Ocean Race, http://globaloceanrace.com
Scuttlebutt Calendar: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar
UNDER THE CLOAK OF DARKNESS
(December 22, 2011; Day 12) - As one by one the Volvo Ocean Race fleet disappears
into the anti-piracy stealth zone, the skippers and navigators have been finalising
their Doldrums strategies. The top four boats entered the stealth zone on
Thursday, which was put in place to hasten the efforts of pirates that may
be monitoring the fleet.
With the Doldrums just beyond the stealth zone boundary, the chasing pack
have been pinning their faith on this area of uncertain weather for an
opportunity to reel Groupama back in. "The Doldrums is looking far from
straightforward so there could be a park-up and who knows what might come
out of that," observed Telefonica navigator Andrew Cape.
PUMA navigator Tom Addis said the Doldrums are looking messy. "No Doldrums
are tidy, but these Indian Ocean ones are a long way south of the equator
and it's summer in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment. Those things
combined make for a much more dynamic Doldrums than we are used to in the
"It's been a bit of a drag race for a while," CAMPER co-skipper Stuart
Bannatyne said. "We are absolutely looking at the approach to, crossing of
and exit from the Doldrums as a chance to take back miles from the leaders.
-- Event media
Course details: http://tinyurl.com/Piracy-121111
Leg 2 - Cape Town, SA to Abu Dhabi, UAE
Standings as of Friday, 23 December 2011, 01:02:50 UTC
1. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA)
2. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 66.8 nm Distance to Lead
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 77.2 nm DTL
4. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 96.1 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 156.8 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
XMAS WISH: Like a child on Christmas, we were giddy this morning after
opening the race dashboard and saw that some problems we'd noticed had been
fixed. The mileage reference of the trailing boats has been changed from
'Distance to Leader' to 'Distance to Lead' to accurately describe what the
mileage reflects. Also, the compass arrow for the boat heading now aims at
the correct number. Thank you Santa! --
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. -
APPROACHING THE HORN
(December 22, 2011; Day 30 - 23:00:00 UTC) - Loick Peyron (FRA) and his
team on the 131-foot maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V are seeking to lower
the non-stop circumnavigation Jules Verne Trophy record (48 days 7 hours 44
minutes 52 seconds). They're ahead of the record by 536.1 nm as their
eastward track approaches Cape Horn. Helmsman/trimmer Brian Thompson
provides this update from the south Pacific:
Looks like an arrival at the Horn tomorrow late morning (Friday).
Over the last few days we have been traveling over some of the most remote
places on the planet. We have been over 1500 miles from any land at times,
so no other human being except us 14 were likely to be in that enormous
circle with a radius of 1500 miles - as any other vessels would be unlikely
Even the seabirds have been few in number here. The albatross have stayed
away as there has not been enough wind and waves for them to soar on, and
for many of the petrels we are too far from land.
However, today we have had about eight small petrels flying with us, with
black head and tail, white body and the most graphic white and black
camouflage style markings on the wings. They looked like little fighter
jets, and fly like them too, pulling big G forces as they spin around the
boat. Saw three of them in close formation, turning as one, like a jet
display team... fantastic.
The thing that struck me as they flew with us for the whole four hour watch
is when do they eat. I have not seen any bird yet pick anything up out of
the water, they seem to be using us purely for entertainment, and even if
they are not, and there is a purpose to flying with us, we are being well
entertained by them. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/BP-122211
Daily reports: http://tinyurl.com/BP-JV-2011-12-reports
BITS AND PIECES
* The HR Constitution - the cargo ship that has served as the main mode of
transport between America's Cup World Series venues - arrived this week in
Valencia where it will discharge its cargo. "We took the decision to land
the equipment in Valencia, after considering several factors," explained
Regatta Director Iain Murray. "There is a possibility for a number of teams
to train together in Valencia, given the local infrastructure from the
previous America's Cups there." Following a three month stop in Valencia,
all the equipment will be shipped out from Valencia in the middle of March,
in time for the start of the World Series event in Naples, Italy on April
7, 2012. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/AC-Valencia-122211
* Green Comm Racing, the youngest team to compete in the history of the
America's Cup, brings together two of Europe's most dynamic regions,
Lombardy and Valencia, in its challenge for the 34th America's Cup in San
Francisco. With a budget of 54 million Euros for its 34th America's Cup
campaign, Green Comm Racing is now working on the development of the AC72
multihull, which will be launched on the waters of San Francisco at the
beginning of 2013. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/AC-GC-122211
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include some flashback, some frostbite, and a whole lot of holiday cheer.
Here are this week's photos:
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the
Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships took place in Fremantle,
Western Australia for the ten events of the Olympic Sailing Competition.
Racing was scheduled from 3 to 18 December.
As well as hosting the battle for World Championship glory, Perth 2011 was
the principal qualification regatta for the sailing events at the London
2012 Olympic Games where 75% of the national places will be decided.
While there were daily highlights shows produced from the championship
(click here), this clip provides a taste of the event in 148 seconds. Click
here for this week's video:
BONUS: The Dec 23.11, Week 51,"World on Water" Global boating news show
features the winners at the ISAF Perth World Championships, Sanya's broken
dreams in the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 2, Rolex Trophy Series of Sydney
Harbour, the 2011 Phuket Kings Cup, Thailand, Banque Populaire V dodging
the icebergs in the Great Southern Ocean and in our "action" segment we
feature the fearless kitesurfers breaking speed records in Luderitz,
Namibia. To see it, log onto www.boatson.tv approx 1200 GMT 0700 EST.
NOTE: 'America's Cup Uncovered' is off for the holidays and will resume on
January 21. The first 21 episodes are posted here:
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Jesse Deupree, Portland Maine:
As a counterpoint to Paul Cayard's claim (in Scuttlebutt 3493) that the
last America's Cup races were "fairly pitiful" and not "particularly
glorious in our history", please note that for some of us No. 33 was the
single great America's Cup contest in our lifetimes.
Count me among those that grew up reading about the great races for the
cup, and they were not tight races in small boats, with many participating
teams. They were design build contests showcasing the technology, skill and
wealth of syndicates and the country they came from. The boats were
glorious, the speed contest straightforward.
In 2010 we saw two magnificent boats, the first to match the spectacle of
"Reliance" and "Shamrock III", and two crushing victories that stamped one
side superior. That is what the America's Cup was deeded for.
* From D. Randy West, St. Barth:
With all the great hype going on about the AC72's and the America's Cup, I
was wondering if anyone was paying attention to other Americans still
trying to make a name for their craft in the Ocean Racing Circuit.
John P. Winter comes to mind and his 80' Morelli "Fat Cat". Having just
received line honors and first in Class in the Caribbean 1500 as well as
winning class in La Voilles du St. Barth as well as Antigua Sailing Week,
John has proved himself an exceptional 'round the cans and off shore racer.
John bought "Fat Cat" when it was a 62' cruising cat redesigned by M&M in
the 1980's from the mold of the OSTAR 60 "Fury" designed by Paul
Lindenberg. After bringing the "Super Cat on Steroids" as he called it to
Florida, he has spent the last 20 years reworking and rebuilding the boat
with the assistance of Tom Price of Jensen Beach, Fla. and
designer/engineer Skip Miller now of Sydney Australia to become a very very
Kudos to John and others like him who are keeping the multihull spirit
burning in the old US of A.
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent,
tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all,
charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. - Oren
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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