SCUTTLEBUTT 3561 - Tuesday, April 3, 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: North Sails, Atlantis WeatherGear, and J Boats.
FUTURE OF SAILING
By Bruce Kirby
Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future. When
discussing the Future of Yachting the question immediately arises "The
future for whom?"
More than ever before the sport is a strange mixture of dissimilar parts.
We have the pure professionals tearing around the world in the Volvo 70s
with square-topped mainsails, bowsprits, double rudders and twin dagger
boards - sailing boats that are structurally so close to the point of
disintegration that five of the six that started have already had to pause
There's the really high priced help in the America's Cup; and don't forget
the pros who stand behind their owners and instruct them on every move - I
think they're called tacticians.
Then there are the much less stressed PHRF groups in their 25-year-old
comfortable fiberglass 30 to 50 footers. And there are any number of
measurement rules and we know they will change any minute now - and we have
a thousand one-designs, and sailors who don't race at all but have just as
much fun as the rest of us. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
There is obviously a significant age factor here as well as the
ever-present leisure time problem which we share with a hundred different
I began serious racing in International 14s in my teens during World War
II, and kept at it until moving from Canada to the U.S. in my mid 30s.
(eh?) The 14 was the hottest class back then, and because it is a
development class it has remained at or near the top of the extra high
performance classes. In the 40s and 50s we had no trapeze and set small
symmetrical spinnakers. In about 1965, one trapeze was allowed - and then a
few years later a second trapeze. And then bowsprits and masthead
asymmetrical spinnakers. The non-trapeze 14s with only hiking straps to aid
the crews, could be - and were - raced by crews as old as 65 or 70.
It would be the rare senior dude who could steer a present day 14 in any
kind of breeze - hooking on and off his trapeze, jibing the huge
asymmetrical spinnaker, and crossing the boat with his 6-foot long tiller
I use the 14 as an example because it is a development class and has gone
from what was extreme in the 1930s to what is definitely extreme today -
moving in small increments over a period of 70 years. When new hot one
designs are introduced, the 14 is already at about the same technology
These little thoroughbreds do not sell in big numbers because they are
virtually custom designed and built so the price of a top of the line 14
today is about $65,000 and it might well be out-designed next year. The
class will remain relevant into the future because it continues to keep
abreast of everything new, whereas a true one-design is fixed in time, and
unless it is an extraordinary boat it will soon be left behind - very few
of them will remain relevant into their second decade. -- Read on:
PERFORMANCE BREAKTHROUGH FOR CRUISING SAILORS
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Radian uses a unique, patented process to combine low-stretch radial
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performance than any other non-laminated sailcloth. If you're looking for
more from a woven sail... this is big!
(April 2, 2012; Day 16) - After going head to head for more than 6,000
nautical miles there's still nothing between PUMA and Groupama today and
PUMA skipper Ken Read reckons Leg 5 won't be decided until the final day.
"All this drag racing is fun but the race is most likely going to be won
and lost in the last 250 miles where it is notoriously fluky," he said.
"We have to get round the top of another high forming in front of us, which
means getting offshore a little bit, heading away from the mark. But if we
can get around it we'll cruise up to the last 300 miles or so, probably
park up and start the race all over again."
Read, the 'old man' of the race at age 50, joked that while the tight
racing was great for fans, it wasn't so good for his health.
"If you said to me when we were leaving Auckland that we'd cross the
Southern Ocean through storm after storm, round Cape Horn, cruise halfway
up the coast of South America and be within 200 metres of another boat,
battling it out for first place, I would have told you that you are
absolutely insane," he added. "It's great for sailing and for the fans, but
terrible for my ulcer!"
While Camper is bound for Puerto Montt in Chile to repair bow damage before
continuing to Itajai, Abu Dhabi's game plan is less clear. Despite
'MacGyvering' a patch for their delaminated hull, they are uncertain what
it can sustain.
"Our next weather report should give us an idea as to what we could expect
if we should decide to turn and burn towards the horn," explained media
crew Nick Dana. "If it looks as heinous as it was forecasted a few days
ago, it is likely that we will seek an alternative option to getting to
Itajai." -- Event media
Leg 5 - Auckland, NZL to Itajai, Brazil (6,705 nm)
Standings as of Monday, 02 April 2012, 22:01:49 UTC
1. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 970.0 nm Distance to Finish
2. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 970.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 1157.7 nm DTL
4. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 2704.7 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1826.3 DTL
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), Retired
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
Oakland, Calif. (April 2, 2012) - A brutal low pressure system off the
coast of California became the final hurdle for the ten teams seeking to
complete the 6,000 mile stage from China to the U.S. in the Clipper 11-12
Round the World Yacht Race.
For two crew members from the yacht Geraldton Western Australia, this storm
led to injuries that required their rescue. The following extracts from the
US Coast Guard statement from the operation explains the rescue procedure:
"The successful rescue of the two people now safely aboard the US Coast
Guard Cutter Bertholf follows two days of intensive search and rescue
"In today's operations, a San Diego-based Coast Guard MH-60T crew,
operating from the deck of the Bertholf, had planned on airlifting but once
on scene the aviators determined that the boat's rigging and mast presented
too great a hazard. Instead, one of the Bertholf's two rescue boats, a
National Security Cutter equipped with a stern-launch system for effective
launch and recovery of small boats, successfully transferred the injured
crew to the cutter. Once on board, they were evaluated by the cutter's
"Bertholf's commanding officer, in consultation with medical experts
ashore, decided the best course of action was to head back to shore with
the injured yacht crew.
"In addition to the rescue helicopter and Bertholf, a long-range Coast
Guard HC-130J Hercules aircraft based at Air Station Sacramento also were
involved in the rescue operation. On Saturday, one of these aircraft flew a
California Air National Guard pararescue team to the scene of the stricken
sailboat in hopes of delivering the highly trained medical and rescue
personnel directly to the sailboat. That team could not parachute down to
the damaged sailboat due to rough weather, however, was able to drop
medical supplies to the yacht. A second Coast Guard C-130 assigned to the
rescue today provided communications support and safety backup for the
helicopter flight operations.
The two crew who have been transferred are: Jane Hitchens, 50, a doctor,
has suspected broken ribs and is being treated with oxygen; Nik Brbora, 29,
a software engineer who lives in London who has a suspected pelvic strain.
BACKGROUND: The Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started on July
31st from Southampton on the UK's south coast and will return to the Solent
in July 2012 after 40,000 miles of ocean racing - the world's longest ocean
race. Over 500 people representing more than 40 nations plan to compete
among the 10 equally matched 68-foot long masthead cutters designed by Ed
Dubois. They can sign up for the whole circumnavigation or one or more of
eight legs. http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/
WILL NEW U.S. FUEL STANDARDS MEAN BIGGER VEHICLES?
As an industry dependent on selling products that are towed behind cars,
SUVs and light trucks, we've long been concerned about increasing CAFE
(Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and the likely result that
vehicles will be made lighter with reduced safe towing capacity.
Those concerns were escalated when the Obama administration announced
doubling the current 27.3 mpg CAFE standard by 5 percent per year to a
shocking 54.5 mpg by 2025. A guaranteed prescription for much lighter
vehicles ahead, right? Perhaps not. In fact, vehicles may get bigger
because of two things: consumer demand and an unheralded twist in the
That's the unique conclusion of a study reported by the University of
Michigan's News Service for its College of Engineering. CAFE will likely
lead to bigger vehicles, more light trucks and SUVs!
The study examined market surveys of what vehicle buyers want and
determined drivers prefer larger vehicles for the room, comfort and safety.
Recognizing auto makers will build what buyers want, the study combined an
examination of the formula used to establish target mpg and bingo - there
is the loophole. -- Soundings Trade Only, read on:
DISCOVER: THE SANDBOX THAT SAILS
When Tim Fetsch and Ben Poucher were looking for a boat last year, they
found one that had been on the beach - literally. The race to get the
Classe 40 Icarus to the start line for the Atlantic Cup last spring started
with the removal of a couple of buckets of sand, and Icarus became
affectionately known as "the sandbox". After a year of hard work on the
boat, sails and budget, Team Icarus is in top form for this year's edition,
and here at Atlantis, we are stoked to provide them with the gear they need
to stay warm and dry. Check out Icarus Racing on Facebook:
Discover life on the water. Discover your Atlantis.
TEN THINGS YOU CAN AFFORD TO GET WET
We've all been there. That last wobbly step from the dock to your boat,
legs splayed, arms laden with all the accoutrements for a day on the boat,
when a small wake causes you to stagger, and ... kerplunk, you hear that
fateful splash. Inevitably the item you've just dropped in the drink is the
most expensive/useful/irreplaceable one - that new GPS, the iPad you were
looking forward to reading your charts on, your favorite sunglasses. But
all may not be lost. We've compiled a list of useful items that were never
destined to become interesting playthings for fish. They'll float, flicker,
or just plain refuse to get water-damaged. -- BoatUS magazine, read on:
* Palma, Spain (April 2, 2012) - Sunshine and light breeze provided for
gentle but technical sailing for all classes engaged in the 43rd Trofeo
S.A.R. Princesa Sofa MAPFRE, the third of seven ISAF Sailing World Cup
Regattas. Leading performances for North America on day one included
Charlie Buckingham (USA) and Tania Elias Calles Wolf (MEX), who stand
fourth and fifth in the Laser and Laser Radial respectively. Competition
concludes on April 7. -- Full report: http://www.sailing.org/38118.php
* Twenty three nations have qualified to sail at the London 2012 Paralympic
Sailing Competition in Weymouth and Portland from 1-5 September 2012. Host
nation Great Britain, along with Australia, Canada, Italy and the USA, has
filled their quota with sailors in all three of the Paralympic events -
2.4mR, SKUD18 and Sonar. Nations qualified for the 2012 Paralympic Sailing
Competition are: http://www.sailing.org/38115.php
* (April 2, 2012) - Strong winds have led to casualties among the 18 yachts
which started the 800nm Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas International
Yacht Race. Two yachts are now retired, with Medicine Man (Andrews 63)
breaking their boom and Rapid Transit (Andrim 49) unable to overcome
steering issues. James McDowell's SC70 Grand Illusion is the current
overall elapsed and ORC B leader. -- http://cdmtocabo.com/
* Tortola, British Virgin Islands (April 1, 2012) - A southeasterly breeze
of about 12-15 knots emanating from Dead Chest Island, provided shifty
conditions for a tense last day of racing at the BVI Spring Regatta &
Sailing Festival. Today all classes raced in the Sir Francis Drake Channel
outside Nanny Cay and there was a lot of traffic to contend with. Probably
the most important factor was staying in clear air and spotting the shifts
as they whipped over and around the chain of islands on the south side of
the Channel. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/BVI-040212
ADVERTISING. FREE ADVERTISING
The Scuttlebutt Classified Ads provide a marketplace for private parties to
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each week the Scuttlebutt newsletter includes some of the recent classified
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J/111 ACTION IN 2012
The J/111 has been lighting up the sailing world over the past twelve
months. This 36' easy-to-sail speedster has brought the fun back into
sailing larger keelboats. Even better, enough are sailing (70+ in 8
countries) for class racing in some of the world's greatest venues. See the
J/111 next at Strictly Sail Pacific April 12-15. http://www.jboats.com/j111
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 Brian Hancock:
How does Chris Caswell get it so right so often? His piece (in Scuttlebutt
3560) about savoring the moment was pure poetry. Life's little gifts come
so rarely, or so it seems. So when they do take some to enjoy them. It is
after all the juice of life...
* From Skip Lissiman:
I am pleased to read Russell Coutts (in Scuttlebutt 3560) has finally come
around and publicly supported the single biggest issue facing the America
Cup now to get a broad base fan base... Nationality!
I will admit, I come from the "Flintstone" generation of AC crew (Australia
-1980, Australia II -1983 and Australia IV -1987), but at least we had a
huge fan base (well beyond sailing and sport in general) from Australia
when all the crew were nationals of the challenging (and defending)
To start with a 50% national crew for the next AC and boost to a minimum of
75% national over another AC cycle will greatly boost the support base from
the challenging country from both the media and the public.
By mandating AC teams to have nationals aboard will also leave a legacy
within the challenging/defending country with programs to develop future AC
talent - which is good for the sport in general.
COMMENTS: I have chirped about this since day one, and contend that a 30%
nationality rule would have been sufficient for the 34th America's Cup,
allowing future editions to increase the percentage. If a challenger
doesn't have at least three people in their country that could sail in the
America's Cup, then maybe they are entering for the wrong reasons. - Craig
* From George Morris:
Plotting the relatively slow progress of Camper and Abu Dhabi across the
Pacific, and allowing at least a week for a new bow, it seems to me that
neither are likely to make the start of the next leg. And then Telefonica's
patch is going to need some attention, and how much of Groupama's repair in
Auckland will need re-doing before the most destructive leg of the course
which has always been the North Atlantic? I see Camper and AD arriving in
Miami via the Panama Canal - probably on a ship and I reckon the other two
would gladly skip the next leg.
* From Stephanie Marston:
Regarding your Curmudgeon's Observation in Scuttlebutt 3560, the other name
for the tiller extension is the hiking stick. But as you said, they are
both related to something else. It's funny to think about it as I never
had. Mast, keel, boom, tiller, rudder... they all have their own unique
names. However, there is one other boat part that is suffering an identity
crisis: the winch handle.
* From Scott Boye, Friday Harbor:
Back in the day, the tiller extension on my boat was referred to as 'the
swizzle stick'. But that lead to other forms of miscommunication. Now I
race on a boat with a wheel - problem solved!
"Any woman can have the body of a 21-year-old... as long as she buys him a
few drinks first." - Maxine
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
APS - IYRS - North Sails - Atlantis WeatherGear - J Boats - Gowrie Group
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