SCUTTLEBUTT 3553 - Thursday, March 22, 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.
Today's sponsors: Ullman Sails and Team One Newport.
HAPPY TO BE ON HOME TURF
By Michelle Slade, SailBlast
John Kostecki is the sole American on the American America's Cup sailing
team, in an event that is being held in America for the first time since
1995. Fortunately, the renowned tactician's career successes more than make
up for the absence of fellow countrymen on the Oracle Racing team.
I recently caught up with JK in a cafe near his home in Marin County. He
arrived on bike, one of the creature comforts he's been enjoying since
spending more time at his Bay Area home. JK grew up sailing his parents
Lido 14 - the same boat, by coincidence, that his boss Larry Ellison grew
up sailing on. When he was 8 years old he joined the Richmond Yacht Club
and its junior program. It was a great program for JK, and the club/junior
sailing became a big part of his life. Later his dad graduated to a Cal 20
and the young JK raced on that.
Like most America's Cup sailors, JK's humble beginnings proved to be the
foundation essential for his future success in the sport. He says, "I
wouldn't be where I am today without dinghy sailing. Every time I go back
to it I really enjoy it. It's probably the best way to become a better
sailor and a fast way to learn as they're so sensitive."
Fast forward more than a few years...JK's focused on the next 15 months and
his job as tactician for Oracle Racing.
* What does it mean to you personally to have the Cup in SF?
JK: It's great - it's even a little surreal. It hasn't happened yet but
it's great for me, being from here. Every once in a while I have to pinch
myself, "Heck, is this really happening, you know?"
* What's changed in the role of tactician?
JK: With the AC45, there's only 5 guys on the boat and it's obviously quite
demanding - we'd rather have 6 or 7 crew to do all the jobs. There isn't a
dedicated tactician per se - the helmsman is really the tactician and the
rest of the crew contributes to the tactics - that's how it's mainly
different to more traditional Cup boats.
* What about equipment that you use to do your job?
JK: It all depends on what kind of racing you're talking about - say Bay
Racing - there really hasn't been a whole lot of change - there's a lot
more access to weather information, tidal information - you can now
download it to your phone - not huge changes.
But, you're going to see a lot of exciting changes for this next Cup with
equipment and electronics because of the way the boats have changed and the
races have changed with the shorter courses. The last Cup with the trimaran
and the catamaran were a stepping stone - there's going to be big changes -
stuff that's being developed in-house. (Ed's note: JK was clearly excited
about some of this "stuff" that he couldn't talk more about.)
* How do you become a good tactician?
JK: Good question - sailing singlehanded boats on my own starting out - you
really have to become your own. Growing up we weren't a financially wealthy
family so it was always hard for me to get even decent equipment - it was
always below average so the equipment held me back so I had to make up for
it in other ways. LOL! That's probably the start of it all - how I learned
to become a smarter sailor I guess.
Read on: http://tinyurl.com/SB-032112
WILL KITEBOARDING BE IN THE OLYMPICS?
In May 2011 ISAF Council confirmed there would be a board event at the 2016
Olympic Games. But they weren't sure what type. Both Windsurfing and
Kiteboarding remained on the table.
While ISAF was familiar with Windsurfing, they needed more information on
how Kiteboarding could be presented. So they scheduled a series of
Kiteboarding format trials in Santander, Spain from 21-25 March.
"Eighteen sailors from 10 nations and 4 continents will demonstrate what
kiteboarding is capable to do," said Markus Schwendtner (GER), Executive
Secretary of the International Kiteboarding Association. "An ISAF
evaluation panel consisting of members of the ISAF windsurfing and
kiteboarding committee, events committee and equipment committee will
collect all data and present a report to the ISAF mid-year meeting (May
The list of participants read like a who's who of the international kite
racing scene: both men's world champions - Johnny Heineken for course
racing and Damien Leroy for Slalom - are present as well as women's course
racing world champion Steph Bridge. The European Champions Julien Kerneur
and Katja Roose are there as well as the freshly crowned Asian Champion Yo
On the evaluation panel is Bruno de Wannemaeker of the ISAF Equipment
Committee, who shares additional insight into the process: "Santander is
about testing the Kiteboarding formats and evaluating their suitability to
fit as the Olympic 'boards' event in 2016. My understanding, from ISAF
Technical Staff, is they are not concerned about selecting equipment, or
'class', as is normally the problem faced with other sailing events.
"Basically there are a few possibilities: only windsurfing in the 2016
Olympics, only Kiteboarding in the 2016 Olympics, a mix of both disciplines
either as team event, duathlon, national teams, relay, etc.
"In an ideal world, the International Olympic Committee should grant ISAF
one or more additional medal(s) for the inclusion of Kiteboarding. But IOC
did not do this, and none of the current sailing events want to leave the
Olympic scene, so ISAF decided that the windsurfers and kiteboarders would
be trialed against each other for the board medals.
"It is the stated objective of ISAF to evaluate formats for all the Olympic
events, with a view to changes (improvements) that will make the Olympic
Sailing Regatta more relevant in the modern era. Several formats will be
tested in Santander such as course race, slalom, boarder-cross, stadium
racing, short track, etc.
"We assume that the ISAF Executive will make a submission to the midyear
meeting in may 2012 based upon reports they receive from the Santander
trials; or delay for further investigation until November."
ULLMAN SAILS EARLY SEASON TIP: CHECK YOUR SAILS!
The northern sailing season is getting ready to shift into high gear - days
are getting longer, boats are splashing back into the water and crews are
getting into shape. But have you checked the sails?! That forgotten tear
could turn into an ugly and expensive first hoist. So pull out your sails
and give them a thorough inspection long before the boat leaves the dock.
If you find something that needs attention, Ullman Sails provides
comprehensive sail care. We also help with inventory evaluations and
upgrades that can make the 2012 season a memorable one.
Invest in your performance. http://www.ullmansails.com
PREPARING FOR LAUNCH
(March 21, 2012; Day 4) - As forecast the negotiation of the bubble of high
pressure, which was blocking the way level with the Roaring Forties, has
compressed the Volvo fleet. This Wednesday afternoon, the crews are sailing
within sight of each other in a dozen knots or so of north-westerly wind.
Groupama 4 is making the most of the conditions to momentarily snatch the
lead, whilst a very big depression is looming.
With the separation between them being so minimal and the trajectories so
similar, everyone has bunched up again at 45 degrees South, and their
eventual aim is to bend their course around towards the first ice gate,
some 800 miles ahead of them.
"We're going to quickly get into breezy conditions once we're into the big
depression, which is in front of us and will be making headway towards Cape
Horn for about a week. There will be a lot more breeze and big seas and the
wind won't drop below 30 knots for a while!" indicated Franck Cammas.
On the menu is half a day of medium north-westerly wind, which will
gradually back round to the West. From Thursday lunchtime, the fleet should
be making headway in increasingly heavy seas and a westerly wind of over 30
knots. It will be a real kick up the behind as this austral disturbance is
tracking very slowly and the downwind conditions are set to last till Cape
Horn! -- Full report, courtesy of Groupama:
PROTEST: The International Jury will schedule a hearing during the next
stopover in Itajai after receiving a report from the head of the
Measurement Group over the sails carried by Team Telefonica during Leg 4
from Sanya to Auckland. No date has yet been set for the hearing into the
protest, which concerns an alleged breach of the notice of race 5.2.2. --
Read on: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-032112
Leg 5 - Auckland, NZL to Itajai, Brazil (6,705 nm)
Standings as of Wednesday, 21 March 2012, 22:02:43 UTC
1. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 5817.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 1.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 2.0 nm DTL
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 4.3 nm DTL
5. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 15.6 nm DTL
6. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 253.3 DTL
Video reports: http://www.youtube.com/user/volvooceanracevideos
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 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
BETTER BOATS, BETTER SAILORS
If you count all the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Races, there have been
eleven editions. For each race, the route got slightly tweaked, but none so
much as the last two editions.
In the 'good old days', the route would blast across the Southern Ocean. It
was cold and rough, but with the wind typically behind the beam, it was
fast. But the last two races have included the Asian detour. And this has
meant upwind sailing.
In the current race, the route that took the fleet from Cape Town through
Asia to arrive in New Zealand amounted to 15,250 miles. All of them mostly
upwind. To blast reach from Cape Town to New Zealand would have been less
than half that.
While these upwind legs have been hard on the crew, they've been harder on
the boats. In the 2008-9 edition, when the boats launched off waves, frames
and bulkheads popped during re-entry. Hulls cracked too. Hard landings were
And though the hull damage has continued in the current race, it has
seemingly decreased. According to Puma General Manager Kimo Worthington,
the improvement has as much to do with the boats as it does the sailors.
"These boats are built to a huge safety margin," Worthington said. "In the
last race, we saw Telefonica survive several groundings. Any other boat
would have had significant damage. So the safety margins are pretty good.
But the boats in this edition are better, they are stronger than in the
Knowing when to throttle back is important to preserving the boat, but
knowing how to throttle back has improved too.
"The teams are now better at handling the rough conditions," explained
Worthington. "When the winds or waves reach a certain point, they put the
keel in the center and they move all the sails below and forward. They let
the boats heel over. The downside is the hull form is a little fuller when
heeled, which may have been the recent problem with Abu Dhabi. Her hull is
the fullest of all the boats, and when she landed it probably just popped
out the bulkhead."
The underlying reality is that despite the improvement in engineering and
technique, the VO 70 is a hard beast to tame.
"It is incredible how fast these guys can push these boats," observed
Worthington. "I am amazed every time I get out in a tender, and its blowing
20 and the boat is going 20. I don't think anyone has gotten the footage to
capture the speed and noise of how hard and fast these VO 70s go. And how
uncomfortable it is."
NOTE: Kimo was onboard EF Language when skipper Paul Cayard drove it to
victory in the 1997-8 edition, but has wisely been riding his laptop as a
team manager in the last three editions.
* New leaders have emerged in Sailing World's College Rankings as of March
21, 2012, where Yale tops the coed poll, while Georgetown leads the women's
rankings. Full rankings: http://tinyurl.com/SW-032112
* The tender and selection process for venues interested in hosting an
Extreme Sailing Series event in 2013-2016 has begun, with 3 new slots
opening up in 2013. The award-winning and innovative circuit provides Host
Venues with an outstanding value-for-money destination marketing package,
alongside the direct economic benefits that each event brings to the host
cities. Closing date for the tender process is 18th May 2012, by 1st June a
shortlist will be confirmed and final confirmations made by 29th June,
ahead of announcing publicly the 2013 Extreme Sailing SeriesT circuit dates
and venues in September. -- Details: http://tinyurl.com/ESS-032112
* A revised America's Cup plan for the port to spend up to $8 million to
partially refurbish Piers 30-32 to house the up to five team bases will be
considered by the Board of Supervisors on March 27th. Read more:
GET YOUR GRIP ON...
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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
Mar 23-25 - International Rolex Regatta - Cowpet Bay, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
Mar 23-25 - Etchells U.S. Nationals - Coconut Grove, FL, USA
Mar 26-Apr 1 - BVI Spring Regatta - Road Town, Tortola, B.V.I.
View all the events at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar
DON'T PANIC BECAUSE AD SPACE IS NOW SOLD OUT
If you would you like your marine business news to be published in
Scuttlebutt, our advice is to buy ad space. But since the advertising
opportunities are now sold out for 2012, the Industry News category of the
Scuttlebutt Forum allows companies to post their personnel, product and
service updates at no charge. Here are some of recent postings:
* Kaenon introduces optical frame collection
* North America distributor for the SOS Dan Buoy
* New wind forecast app by PredictWind is launched
* New Stephens Waring Yacht Design brokerage service and satellite office
View updates here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum/industry_news
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 Bill Canfield, St Thomas:
In Scuttlebutt 3552, Gael Pawson words "the world is crying out for an
Olympic skiff for women" remain as silly now as they did four years ago
when others spoke the same words. If there is such a demand, why aren't
women sailing in skiffs at yearly skiff world championships right now.
Simple answer is they don't exist, and if women wanted them so badly, they
would not need the Olympic Games to create them.
This addition of the women's skiff to the Olympic events, which meant the
loss of women's match racing at the 2016 Games, will do nothing but squelch
the spectator interest that excellent ticket sales in Weymouth seems to
suggest now exists.
Match racing fulfilled every single requirement that the paid for study
said was needed to create more interest in Sailing at the Olympics.
Ignoring these findings makes as much sense as creating classes at the
Olympic level that don't exist. What am I missing?
* From R. Casey Schnoor:
To echo Marc Jocobi's comments on juniors and beer cans (#3552), our J-29
crew aboard "ono" consistently sailed the San Diego Beers Can's last year
with 3-5 "under 10 yr olds" (only one was mine), my wife (Mom), and 2-3
dad's, new to sailing or who had been away for many years. We had a great
time with the kids involved in tactics and maneuvers and they were just as
excited when we got the class gun as when we couldn't hear the class gun.
Making it a class requirement might be a good idea but I suggest you DON'T
WAIT; it is too much fun and extremely rewarding to share those Wednesday
nights with kids and new sailors! Ono is very much looking forward to the
2012 season with the same great multi aged crew!
Photos on Scuttlebutt Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/SF-032112
"If you have something to say, raise your hand and place it over your
mouth." - Maxine
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