SCUTTLEBUTT 3562 - Wednesday, April 4, 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: Atlantis WeatherGear, Gowrie Group, and Dieball Sailing.
KNOCKING THE SOCKS OFF PERCEPTION
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is charged with determining
what sailing events are in the Olympic Games, and what kind of equipment is
to be used in each event. To help finalize their decisions for the 2016
Games, ISAF hosted an evaluation event in Santander, Spain on March 21-25
to gather information on kiteboarding, which is being considered for the
Assisting ISAF was American Johnny Heineken, who is the current Kite Course
Racing World Champion. Scuttlebutt checked in with Johnny after the
* What do you believe was important to accomplish at the evaluation event?
JOHNNY HEINEKEN: While we were there to test racing formats, on a basic
level we needed to prove how high performance we really are.
Most people still think of kiteboarding as a sport that needs 15kts and up
just to sail upwind, and many of the ISAF folk and sailors were of this
mindset. In our own little world we know that we are some of the fastest
craft on the water. If I am close to keeping up with Jimmy Spithill and the
boys on their AC45 on San Francisco Bay, I can sure as hell knock the socks
off the 49ers and Tornados.
We proved this in all wind conditions, sailing laps around the skiffs and
multihulls at the trials in everything from 6kts and up (to give you an
idea, we were reaching at over 25kts in 7-9ks of breeze). Higher and faster
was the name of the game, and everyone noticed, including the ISAF
president who spent much of his single day on the water learning about the
gear and tactical side of kite racing.
* How is equipment currently controlled?
JOHNNY HEINEKEN: We have a box rule for the board: Maximums of 70cm wide,
190cm long, 50cm maximum fin length. Starting this year any board used in
an IKA sanctioned event must be a production board.
Kites must be production, meaning available to anyone and registered with
the IKA. We are also limited to 3 kites per event, which is new this year
and in my opinion not a great rule. We haven't proven the range of our
kites to be quite this good, but we'll see how it goes.
We don't have a minimum and maximum size because these are somewhat
self-governing. For instance my biggest kite is a 17m Ozone Edge. In 6 kts
of breeze I have just enough power to get up and planing, and then I'm
instantly going 15kts upwind and starting to depower. If I had a 20m kite,
I may be able to get up and reach back and forth in 4kts, but I would be
overpowered in 6-8kts. This is just not practical, because in 4kts of
breeze there is inevitably a 2kt lull that will drop my kite out of the sky
anyways. Furthermore, I will use up one of my three kites on this tiny wind
Full interview: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/12/0403/
DISCOVER: BURLY GEAR FOR CHILLY SAILING
The spring sailing season is starting to ramp up, bringing a mixture of
both excitement and fear. Excitement, because we've been staring at an
empty harbor for far too long, and fear, because the water is still pretty
freaking cold. Here at Atlantis, we specialize in making the gear to keep
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(April 3, 2012; Day 17) - The longest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is
nearing the end. PUMA media crew Amory Ross shares the onboard sentiment...
Yet another day of close-proximity sailing with Groupama, yet another day
of multiple lead changes with the French. It's been said before, but it
still amazes me that after all we have been through, here we are trading
places less than a thousand miles away from the finish line. Our seesaw
battle for first place is growing in intensity, and it's a source of
Even though Telefonica has been making quick northerly progress in better
winds (almost to the point of contention), it's still very much a two-boat
game, and that has changed the way we operate. Scheds? What scheds? Half
the time the position reports go unnoticed and unread. Nobody looks, nobody
cares. Walk up on deck and see with your own eyes! Are we up? Are we down?
Fast? Slow? This morning - if they gybe, what do we do? This evening - if
they tack, what do we do? Each scenario is scrutinized again and again
(until they then do the unexpected!).
These last few days very well could have raced with an offshore mentality
on an inshore scale, in other words, coastal weather and routing take
precedence. But it has turned out differently: we are sailing with inshore
mentalities - boat to boat tactics - on an offshore scale, shorthanded and
under-fed. If the last 15 days are any indication, each and every boat
length gained or lost is going to prove critical; it could be the decisive
one to win with, or the heart-breaking one to lose from. So we push the
boat and ourselves as if we're sailing 2-mile beats, though we are most
The resulting consequence is fatigue. We were all tired to begin with, but
the intensity of these last few days - and the next four or five expected
to come - is wearing us out. Fortunately, while we're low on food and
energy, we've got plenty of enthusiasm, and this close racing is keeping
things interesting... time is flying by. Miles on the other hand? Not so
much - still too many of those to go! --
(April 3, 2012) - CAMPER suspended racing today just south of Isla Guafo,
about 180 nautical miles from their destination Port Montt in Chile. The
team's estimated arrival was 2100 UTC, where they would immediately begin
what they anticipate is a three day job of repairing the boat's structural
A team of six shore crew members would be involved in the boat building
operation, with the assistance of an ultrasound technician. Once the area
is marked out where the replacement structure must align back into the
boat, the team will begin physically fitting in the replacement parts and
bonding them to the boat. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-40312
COMMENT: The real-time updates are what make the race interesting to the
fan, which is why the stealth shipping plan in the Indian Ocean during legs
2 and 3 was such a disaster. Equally rattling now is the silence from race
organizers concerning Abu Dhabi, which the tracking clearly shows is bound
for Chile. We know they sustained hull damage, so why are their plans now a
secret? Telling us the story means telling us the story all the time. We
can handle the truth. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
From the movie "A Few Good Men"...
- Jack Nicholson: "You want answers?"
- Tom Cruise: "I think I am entitled to them."
- Jack Nicholson: "You want answers?"
- Tom Cruise: "I want the truth."
- Jack Nicholson: "You can't handle the truth."
Leg 5 - Auckland, NZL to Itajai, Brazil (6,705 nm)
Standings as of Tuesday, 03 April 2012, 22:02:10 UTC
1. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 769.8 nm Distance to Finish
2. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 0.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 73.3 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1935.0 nm DTL
5. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), Suspended racing
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
It was last November when the America's Cup teams were on public display in
San Diego, and after nearly five months, they return again in Naples, Italy
for the fourth regatta in the 2011/12 America's Cup World Series. The Event
Village opens April 7 and practice takes place over the Easter Weekend.
Championship Racing runs from April 11-15.
The immediate question will be who took best advantage of this break. While
the newer teams like Energy Team, China Team and Team Korea could have
gained significant ground, they appear underfunded to have done so.
Additionally, the two Asian teams have dramatically shuffled their sailing
Will this be a case of the rich getting richer? Quite possibly, as the
teams from the USA, New Zealand, Italy, and Sweden have actively been
training on AC45s, carefully evolving their personnel and building on the
knowledge already gained.
The event will feature nine boats from seven countries, including: Luna
Rossa Challenge (Italy), with two boats, helmsmen to be revealed April 4;
Artemis Racing (Sweden), skipper Terry Hutchinson; China Team (China),
skipper Fred Le Peutrec; Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), skipper
Dean Barker; Energy Team (France), helmsmen Yann Guichard; ORACLE Racing
(USA) with two boats, skippers James Spithill and Darren Bundock; and Team
Korea (Korea) with skipper Nathan Outteridge.
While two crews from Luna Rossa Challenge join the field, two of last
year's teams will not be competing in Naples. France's Aleph has withdrawn
from the AC World Series and the 34th America's Cup, and Spain's Green Comm
Racing has informed Regatta Director Iain Murray that it will not be
participating in Naples. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/ACUP-040312a
Aleph statement: http://tinyurl.com/ACUP-040312b
BROADCAST: North American viewing will be available live on YouTube, which
will offer the option to view the Main Feed and Liveline. For California
viewers, a television broadcast is also provided on Comcast SportsNet:
Wed, April 11 - 12:00-2:00 pm PDT
Thu, April 12 - 12:00-2:00 pm PDT
Fri, April 13 - 12:00-2:00 pm PDT
Sat, April 14 - 1:00-3:00 pm PDT
Sun, April 15 - 5:00-6:30 pm PDT
Matt Rutherford had initially planned to sail single-handed East to West
through the Northwest Passage. That was last summer, and after he made it,
he proceeded to sail around the Americas. Singlehanded. In a 27-foot
Matt, who had spent time working with Chesapeake Regional Accessible
Boating (CRAB), helping persons with disabilities get out and enjoy the
water, was also hoping his voyage would help raise money for CRAB.
Here is an update after nearly 300 days...
So the plan is to make my first landfall in Annapolis on April 14th around
noon. In order for this to happen I need to enter the Chesapeake Bay by the
12th. The trip ends when I cross the finish line at the southern entrance
of the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel, but I'm not going to step foot on land
I might pass though the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel at 3am, it's really
hard to say and if the wind is good I'm going to continue to sail up the
bay towards Annapolis. I will be tying off to the Sailing Hall of Fame dock
downtown. If I don't make it to the bay by the 12th then I'll be in
Annapolis roughly 2 days after I enter the bay. If I get there early then
I'll just go slow so I can arrive on the 14th. It's really not up to me -
I've got a bunch of light winds and head winds coming up so I don't know
exactly how long it's going to take before the ocean spits me out into the
Chesapeake Bay, but that is the general plan. -- Read on:
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* The Strictly Sail Pacific boat show is at Jack London Square on April
12-15. Scuttlebutt readers can save $5.00 by purchasing tickets here:
* Palma, Spain (April 3, 2012) - Patchy winds of 7-10 knots challenged the
field for the second day in the Trofeo Princesa Sofia, the third of seven
ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas. With just over 100 days before the
Olympics, the U.S. team is struggling aside from the Finn and Women's Match
Racing events, while the Canadians appear to be pinning their hopes on
Richard Clarke/Tyler Bjorn in the Star. -- Full story:
* (April 3, 2012) - The cervezas are now flowing at the finish of the 800nm
Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race. John MacLaurin's
Davidson 40 Pendragon 6 was the first to finish with James McDowell's SC70
Grand Illusion next in line. -- http://cdmtocabo.com/
* Ever since E10 gasoline (gas containing 10% ethanol) became widely
available several years ago, the nation's largest recreational boat owners
group, BoatUS, has received hundreds of calls and emails complaining about
boat engine problems. The majority of complaints concern older outboard
motors, those made before about 1990. BoatUS' Seaworthy magazine asked
Mercury Marine's Ed Alyanak and Frank Kelley, who between them have over 60
years of experience, to find out what's made these decades-old outboards
more susceptible to ethanol's well-known problems and what owners can do.
-- Read on: http://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?id=769
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 Forum allows
companies to post their personnel, product and service updates at no
charge. As a bonus, each week the Scuttlebutt newsletter includes some of
the recent updates. Are you in the marine industry? Post your updates here:
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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 Annie Peterson:
Amen to the Scuttlebutt editor for his comment (in S3561): "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."
Where is strong leadership when we need it? Russell Coutts said how teams
are struggling to build their brand, yet he didn't have the forethought to
tell prospective teams that the easiest way to build a brand is through
nationalism. Plus he radically changed the boat for the 34th America's Cup,
but he couldn't bring back a nationalism rule that had once existed?
Why do I think the person he really couldn't convince was his Australian
skipper Jimmy Spithill?
* From Scott Thomes:
When there is commentary about the 'future of sailing', as Bruce Kirby
provided in Scuttlebutt 3561, I can't help but think we'd all be better off
if we focused on the 'present of sailing'.
This isn't a race to see who is the first to Mars; this is how we have some
fun on the weekend. The future of anything includes the possibility of
heightened technology, which is only good if the demand can justify the
cost. Hopefully I'm not the first to realize it hasn't occurred in sailing.
So while our equipment improves, it becomes more expensive and/or
complicated. And the push for better equipment either follows or leads the
push for better skills. Combine both and you create an atmosphere where
people decide the effort and cost aren't worth it anymore.
One design classes with tight tolerances may create racing that is stuck in
time, but so are most other sports. Are there new shin guards getting
developed for soccer? How about lacrosse stick development?
We all do enough chasing during our work week. Do we really have time to be
chasing our recreation too?
* From Donna Wotton:
I nominate Bruce Kirby as the Yogi Berra of sailing. "Prediction is very
difficult, especially if it's about the future." CLASSIC! I hope there's
more where that came from.
* From Jim Champ
Further on in Bruce Kirby's commentary (in Scuttlebutt 3561), he says "but
we cannot slow down the quest for ever higher performance."
And yet, and yet. I was looking at some of the ISAF annual reports the
other week, and it seemed to me (although maybe I missed a class or two)
that outside of the youth and Olympic classes, the most popular high or
highish performance dinghy class is the 505 with 27 boats built last year.
If you're not in your 50s like me maybe you won't find that shocking, but
it knocked me back on my heels.
i) 27 boats in a year - go back to the early 80s and the Fireball and 505
were both building over 100 boats a year and more popular than any youth or
ii) Outside of the Olympic and youth classes - the Olympic classes are
*popular* or at least less unpopular than others? We used to think Olympic
status was the kiss of death for a class back then.
iii) When I look at Championship turnout figures in the UK (only data I
have), if you exclude youth classes then turnouts are down a bit, but many
of the same classes are still at the top of the list, the new comers are in
the middle of the performance range, and the higher performance boats are
amongst those that have dropped in numbers most.
The conclusion seems to be that many people are sending their kids out on
the water rather than sailing themselves, and high performance is
Would you think that reading the magazines?
* From Edward Fryer:
Regarding tiller extensions, Uffa Fox relates in one of his books how when
he invented it, he and his crew called it the joy stick. But perhaps that's
a name best left to the past.
Experiment and theory often show remarkable agreement when performed in the
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