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SCUTTLEBUTT 3531 - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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.


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LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP
The Volvo Ocean Race and China have a love-hate relationship. Commercially, the country is a significant partner for the race, particularly due to Volvo Car Corporation's Chinese ownership. But sailing conditions on the China Sea have not been kind, forcing competitors to endure its wrath. Here is an update from Sanya, China - the fourth port of the 2011-12 race:
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* (February 18, 2012) - Team Telefonica held off PUMA by a narrow margin to win the Sanya Haitang Bay In-Port Race on Saturday and extend their overall lead to 18 points before the start of Leg 4 to Auckland. It was the second victory in four in-port races for skipper Iker Martinez's crew, who have also won all three offshore legs. Telefonica went into the race under some pressure after a last minute change of rigging and with two poor performances in the three previous in-port races. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing took the third podium place. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/VOR021812

* (February 18, 2012) - Race director Jack Lloyd informed the teams on Saturday that Leg 4 to Auckland, which was due to start on Sunday, would be revised for reasons of safety after forecasts of unsailable conditions in the South China Sea. Every offshore leg in the race starts with a 40-60 minute buoy course to allow for both spectator viewing and live television broadcast. Only this section of the race would be held on Sunday, with elapsed time differences at the final turning mark used for a staggered re-start on Monday. Forecasts on Sunday of winds gusting above 40 knots and waves of eight metres prompted the decision. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/VOR021812a

* (February 19, 2012) - Team Telefonica took advantage of an astonishing collapse by PUMA to win the 43.2 nm Leg 4 Stage 1. PUMA had built a huge lead only to sail into a wind hole, leaving them forced to watch the entire fleet sail right past them. They eventually finished over 39 minutes behind the leaders. "I've never seen anything go so bad that started so good," said PUMA skipper Ken Read. "We got literally a two-mile lead after sailing fantastically, park in a hole and then watch the fleet sail by a couple of hundred yards from us." Groupama was second, followed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team Sanya, CAMPER and finally PUMA. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/VOR021912l

* (February 20, 2012) - Leg 4 Stage 2 got underway at 0700 local time, with the re-start staggered according to finishing times in Stage 1. Winds were light at first but on board conditions soon became brutal as winds built to 20 knots accompanied by monster waves. "Needless to say it has become nearly impossible to do anything at this point on board," reported Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Media Crew Member Nick Dana. "The airdrops we are experiencing off the backs of these sharp waves make it difficult to keep your feet below you let alone a sail or a steering wheel in your hands. Down below looks like a war zone. Several people have been sick already, and the rest just keep swallowing." The lead boat is expected to arrive in Auckland by March 8th. -- Race website: http://www.volvooceanrace.com

Leg 4 - 4 Sanya, China to Auckland, NZL (5,220 nm)
Standings as of Tuesday, 21 February 2012, 0:02:56 UTC
1. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 4981.9 nm Distance to Finish
2. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 2.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 8.4 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 9.2 nm DTL
5. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 12.3 nm DTL
6. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 26.2 nm DTL

Tracking/Standings: http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/racetracker/rdc.html
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 (Oct. 29) and concludes in Galway, Ireland during early July 2012, six professional teams sailing Volvo Open 70s will sail over 39,000 nautical miles around the world 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. - http://www.volvooceanrace.com


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THE DECISION
The 2010-11 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race can't catch a break. The first leg to Cape Town saw half the fleet retire due to damage, and the second leg to Abu Dhabi had to be re-routed due to piracy concerns. Then there was the third leg to Sanya, where the fleet dealt with uncharted shallows, shipping traffic, fishing nets, and ocean debris.

But all that would have been forgiven as the race was now headed to Auckland, New Zealand, which had hosted seven stopovers in this race's history. Getting back to the race's roots would have been good for the soul... except for one thing: the China Sea.

With forecasts of winds gusting above 40 knots and waves of eight metres for the start of Leg 4, the China Sea was deemed impassible when the fleet was to start on Sunday (Feb. 19). "Due to the weather advice issued by our experts and the teams'," explained Race CEO Knut Frostad, "they all believed we would waves that could break the boats if you sailed into them."

"We decided to hold the fleet in Sanya for approximately 13 hours based on advice from our weather team of potentially boat breaking conditions in particular related to wave heights, wave type and frequency in the China Sea.

"The reason we decided to split the leg rather than postpone a day was to ensure that we could provide the visitors, guests, public and media in Sanya, as well as the audience following the live production, with a proper event on Sunday without compromising the actual race. The plan to stagger the start Monday morning would ensure that the first stage raced on Sunday would count.

"The reason why it was not postponed for a full day was simply that we wanted to minimise the postponement according to the weather predictions. We believed that the 13 hours that the boats were held in Sanya would reduce the risks significantly enough to continue racing in the best interest of the teams and the race in general."


MORE CHINA SEA
Gold Coast Australia, one of the ten equally matched 68-foot long yachts designed by Ed Dubois competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, was forced to divert to Taiwan to evacuate a crew member who broke his leg in the grueling conditions the amateur teams are currently enduring in the race from Singapore to Qingdao, China.

The high winds and heavy seas with waves of up to four metres made it impossible for the search and rescue helicopter and Taiwanese Coast Guard vessel dispatched to the scene to transfer the casualty from the yacht.

Round the world crew member, Tim Burgess, 31, from Petersham, NSW, Australia, was on the foredeck changing a headsail when broke his left leg above the knee. Over 500 people representing more than 40 nations plan to compete on one or more of the race's eight legs. - http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com


DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK
It's like the diagram for the evolution of man. It begins with the ape, and then each successive being gets closer to man. The America's Cup is that way too.

It began with the controversial format change to wing-powered catamarans, but the surge of entries provided a positive sign. "We're only a few hours into a five-month entry period, so to already have a total of four entries is a very positive sign," said Iain Murray (AUS), Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup, when entries opened on November 1, 2010.

As the entry period closed at midnight on March 31, 2011, 14 challengers had filed applications. Some didn't get approved. The Challenger of Record quit by spring, realizing they bit off more than they could chew. The number now stands at eight teams.

But being a team up until now was easy, relatively speaking. Buy an AC45, get some crew gear, and compete in the America's Cup World Series events. And despite many of the teams appearing financially suspect, their claim at being a legitimate challenger was defensible.

However, as the ape evolves to man, the challengers must slowly evolve too. And some don't appear to be.

An entry deadline of June 1st will separate the wheat from the chaff, but given that only three teams - Italy's Luna Rossa, Sweden's Artemis Racing and New Zealand's Team New Zealand - have begun building their AC72s, a smaller field is looking more likely. Is this bad?

Richard Worth, chairman and CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority, doesn't think so. "We don't need doom mongers telling us four or five boats is a disaster." His reasoning goes like this: If there were 10 teams competing for the America's Cup then four of five of that 10 would be the strongest anyway. "Essentially we're already there" with the four teams that are committed to the 2013 competition.

While it can be argued that a smaller field of challengers should reduce the economic bonanza for the City of San Francisco, it can also be argued that this could spell trouble for the defender Oracle Racing.

Each of these three challengers will be good, so each race in the Louis Vuitton challenger series will be competitive. Each race will mean something. And with fewer teams, they will get to know each other better. In short, this group of challengers has the ability to put forth the most refined team for the Match.

While bigger may be better for the City, and bigger may be better for the Defender, this smaller field of Challengers might be best for them.

Source: Scuttlebutt, SF Business Times: http://tinyurl.com/SFBJ-022012

FADING: Initially appearing as a promising challenger, the China Team has since appeared like anything but. After firing skipper Mitch Booth (NED) following the first America's Cup World Series event (Cascais, Portugal; August 6-14, 2011), their program has not appeared to be sufficiently funded. And now Charlie Ogletree (USA), who had since been the China Team skipper, announced last Friday that he resigned, citing differences with the team management. No official word yet from China Team.


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SAILING SHORTS
* The Canadian Yachting Association has announced the members of the 2012 Canadian Sailing Team. The team was established based on the 2011-12 Sport Canada carding criteria. CYA has also launched a new website dedicated to enhancing and profiling their sailors leading up to the 2012 Olympics and beyond. In the next few months CYA will be announcing the members of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team. Already qualified are Richard Clarke/Tyler Bjorn (Star), David Wright (Laser), and Danielle Dube (Radial). -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/CYA-022012

* Sydney, Australia (February 20, 2012) - Winds were in the low to mid teens for the first day of racing of the Etchells World Championship 2012. The 74-boat international fleet began the demanding six day schedule with two races, where the 2+ nm upwind legs proved to separate the men from the boys. The top three of Graeme Taylor (AUS), Tom King (AUS), and Vince Brun (USA) kept their scores in the top ten to lead the field. -- Full report: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=13298#13298

* US Sailing has partnered with the St. Petersburg Yacht Club to organize the 2012 Rose Cup, a national youth match racing event to be held on June 20-24 in St. Petersburg, Fla. This is the third running of the Rose Cup and the first by US Sailing's Match Racing Committee, who look to build this event into a US Sailing youth national championship in the near future. Skippers will be invited to this event based on information on their Requests for Invitation. Skippers requesting invitations by April 25, 2012 will receive preference. -- Details: http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=13304

* After crashing off a monstrous wave in the Southern Ocean on February 2nd, Global Ocean Race overall leaders Ross and Campbell Field (NZL) of Team Buckley Systems suffered damage to their yacht and were forced to retire from the leg from Wellington, New Zealand to Punta del Este, Uruguay. Ross had also injured his back during the incident, and it is now determined he will need surgery. Despite a desire to return to the race, Ross and Campbell Field announced on February 17th that Team Buckley Systems is officially withdrawing. Three Class40s continue in the double-handed race, with the leaders within 400 nm of Cape Horn. -- http://globaloceanrace.com

* (February 20, 2012) - There was drama right from the start today of the 4th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 for the 39 teams as a massive squall caused a torrential downpour. The feisty conditions caused some hair-raising action under the cliffs of Fort Charlotte outside English Harbour, but the weather cleared to provide winds in the mid teens for the fleet. Following the start in Antigua, the fleet will race close to Barbuda, then onto Nevis, Saba, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, onto Guadeloupe to finish back in Antigua via Barbuda again. -- Race website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/

* Eleven youth sailors have qualified for US Sailing's 2012 Youth World Team, and will receive invitations to represent the United States at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Youth World Championship in Dublin, Ireland, from July 12-21. The U.S. Youth Worlds Team members were selected based on first-place finishes in their respective classes at US Sailing's two 2012 ISAF Youth World Qualifier events, hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Jan. 14-16, and hosted at the Tradewinds Regatta, Jan. 13-15. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/USSA-022012


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GUEST COMMENTARY
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.

Email: editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com
Forum: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum


* From Bill Campbell:
To answer Mike Borga's question (in Scuttlebutt 3530) as to what boats my good friend Gary Jobson and I sailed when we were growing up, I would offer this brief history.

Gary and I grew up in the Beachwood Yacht Club (New Jersey) junior sailing program. We sailed Toms River prams; eight feet long, centerboard, sink like a stone when capsized. When we sailed the prams, we also crewed regularly for our fathers on Barnegat Bay Sneakboxes. We graduated to Penguins and sailed them until we went off to college, all the while crewing for people on E-scows. We raced Penguins in the Saturday morning races on the Barnegat Bay and crewed on the scows in the afternoons. We raced Penguins in frostbite regattas all over the East coast all year long. In college we sailed 420's, CFJ's, IC dinghies, and Lasers after they first started in production.

We may not have loved every minute of it, but in retrospect, we loved every minute of it, and still do.


* From Allan Terhune Sr:
I read with great interest, the article written by Andrew Campbell sailing with his Dad (in Scuttlebutt 3528). Sailing with family is what makes this sport great. I've seen it with the Campbells at TRYC for generations. Cliff with Bill, and now Bill and Andrew. Many families are enjoying the same generational bonds.

The Terhune Family has long generational bonds too. I sailed with my Dad, Richard, many times and now realize I probably should have done more. My son Allan sailed with us as a child on our J-24 and J 29 and did many years on the BBYRA circuit. His sister Kristen the same...it was great several years ago to see Allan Jr, his wife Katie and Kristen sail together and win the Lightning North Americans. Allan and Katie continue sailing together at a high level and they take their two daughters with them everywhere they go!

I was fortunate to go sailing with Allan once last spring and it was a great thing. This year we are planning on doing the Ensign Nationals together in Michigan. I am really looking forward to it. The competing part is one thing, but as Andrew said, getting to sail with Dad was special, I agree, and looking to sail with my son is a moment I am really looking forward to and I'm sure will never forget.


* From Kay Kilpatrick:
I read the lead story in Scuttlebutt 3830, and am hopeful that what is happening in youth events regarding water bottles may trickle up to the 'big-kid classes'.

At the 2010 US Optimist Nationals in Cabrillo Beach, the organizers reported having used a staggering 7200 bottles of water... 23 bottles/sailor. Those water bottles represent the equivalent of 225 gallons (four 55 gallon drums) of crude oil dumped into the environment. After seeing that horrifying statistic, the organizers of the 2011 US Optimist Nationals in Houston followed the lead of the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association which had banned disposable plastic bottles.

I was the sponsor in 2009 of the ICSA disposable water bottle ban, and it is gratifying to learn that the 2012 US Optimist Nationals organizers are continuing the ban and trying to one-up Houston in green efforts. At ICSA events, you no longer see trash cans over flowing with water bottles, and on campus students carry refillable bottle.

Unfortunately, we can still attend major open sailing events and organizers are tossing water bottles to competitors as they cross the finish line. Regatta organizers should stop being facilitators and maybe the adults will eventually get it too.


* From Alex Watters:
Most people don't get a boat name painted in old english script artfully installed on a Laser, both sides and roughly 3' long!! Not being 'most people' I did. For a period of time back in the 70's my boat was better known than many of the top sailors! The name...'Rumple IVskin'. Classy or what!


* From George Morris:
Sometimes it is necessary for the Old World to give the upstart New World some gentle guidance on taste. Your boat names jokes last week are in jarring poor taste. Your readership does not consist, for the most part, of high school kids - drop it.

COMMENT: Agreed, enough is enough. Thread closed.


* From Ted Beier, Carlyle Sailing Association Junior Program:
Commenting on the Photos of the Week (Scuttlebutt 3530), you probably could not get 18 kids on a Sabot (or Opti) today because the required PFDs would take too much space. Looks like junior programs back then did not require wearing PFDs at all times on the water.
Photo: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/12/0217/


CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Humpty Dumpty was pushed!


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