SCUTTLEBUTT 3571 - Tuesday, April 17, 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: Gowrie Group, North U, and Soft Deck.
SAILORS REMAIN MISSING
The Bay Area's tightly knit sailing community was reeling Sunday after one
of the region's most catastrophic boating disasters in decades - the wreck
of a racing yacht near the Farallon Islands that killed one sailor and left
The wreck happened Saturday when 12-foot waves pummeled the Sydney 38
during the 58nm Full Crew Farallones Race and hurled it onto rocks at the
Farallon Islands, pitching most of the crew overboard. Three sailors were
rescued from the scene, but one, Marc Kasanin, 46, of Belvedere died in the
water and four more disappeared in the waves.
Rescuers saved boat owner James Bradford, 41, of Chicago, Ill., and crew
member Brian Chong of Tiburon as they clung to rocks about 300 feet from
their damaged vessel. Crew member Nick Vos of Sonoma, who is in his 20s,
suffered a broken leg but managed to stay on the 38-foot yacht.
Listed as missing are Alexis Busch of Larkspur, Vos's girlfriend, who is in
her 20s; Alan Cahill of Tiburon, Jordan Fromm, 25, of Kentfield and Elmer
Morrissey, who is in his early 30s and is from Ireland. They were all
wearing life vests and heavy weather gear, but the chance that they would
be found was fading as evening fell on Sunday. After more than 30 hours of
searching, U.S. Coast Guard and Air National Guard assets suspended their
efforts Sunday evening
At least one other yacht was within eyesight, and its horrified crew
watched the tragedy unfold but was unable to help in the tumultuous waves.
"It's a disaster - they were inside, too close to the rocks," said one of
the onlooking sailors, Steve Hocking, a Sausalito Yacht Club member who
finished the race in a 45-foot boat. "Once you get in that close and a wave
hits you like that, it rolls you over. There's not much you can do. The
power of those waves is incredible."
The deadliest local boating disaster in recent decades came in April 1982,
when six people died in a storm that walloped the Double Handed Farallones
Race, which takes the same route as Saturday's contest.
SF Chronicle: http://tinyurl.com/SFC-041612
Latitude 38: http://tinyurl.com/Lat38-041612
RESCUE: Coast Guard air assets involved in the search included a Coast
Guard C-130 from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, an MH-65 from Coast
Guard Air Station San Francisco, two Blackhawk helicopters from the
California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field, the
225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, the 87-foot Cutters Pike and Sockeye,
and a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Coast Guard Station Golden Gate. The
number of assets involved in the search was increased to account for the
expanding size of the search area, which was approximately 15 X 30 miles as
of early Sunday morning.
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CAN THE AC WORLD SERIES SURVIVE?
The America's Cup World Series (ACWS) was launched in 2011 to re-build the
America's Cup brand, and to help teams get their footing prior to the 34th
America's Cup. It was intended as an on-ramp to the Cup, but has quickly
taken on the appearance of its own super highway.
Already on its own road is the Extreme Sailing Series (ESS), which has an
eight event professional international tour using the one design Extreme 40
catamaran. Scuttlebutt asked Mark Turner, whose company owns ESS, if he
could envision the ACWS becoming an independent entity, separate from the
America's Cup. Here was Mark's response...
Naturally that has always been in Russell Coutts mind I'm sure, and it's a
good idea to have a stepping stone to help teams into the America's Cup.
The logic at first glance was definitely there to create it, and I think
they needed for the Cup brand to have a new boat too. The Extreme Sailing
Series already works on that at one level, and the ACWS at a higher level
(but at approx. 5 times the budget for a team).
The interest in ACWS (in commercial terms, per dollar of investment) is, of
course, that it is linked to the AC brand, even if that is sometimes rather
smudged (what is entering the America's Cup, as opposed to entering ACWS),
and its being heavily subsidized to ensure it's a big event.
Certainly, I'm sure it's bigger than what it could be sold for in its own
right on a pure commercial basis. And ultimately, I think that is what will
be challenging if one tried to make it a totally stand alone event.
The interest is there because it's a way to 'touch' the Cup world, and
maybe step up to a proper AC entry. If you take that away, and have to pay
for it commercially, it would be tough - both at event level and team
level. The wing is very cool for the sailors and techie sailing audience -
but the consequences on cost and logistics are huge even at the small boat
size of the AC45.
Perhaps privately owned teams would be ready to pay, and that is maybe the
way it will work - but I think it would really struggle to find pure
commercial backing at both event and team level at the level of cost that
is built in with these boats.
And equally, once you have the association with America's Cup, the
expectation on size of event and quality of delivery is very high. But you
know it just takes a rich guy to think it's worth doing, and like in many
sports, it can still happen.
The dream of having this long term plan with the America's Cup, with a
consistent product to sell to sponsors etc, will always be chased. The
tricky thing is that whoever wins tends to rewrite the rules, so there is
so little long term assurance for investors.
The ACWS, as a constant platform would be great, but I suspect without a
private backer, its future is totally tied to the AC, and in reality that
means it's tied to who wins the Cup. As has always been the case in
sailing's oldest trophy.
China Team, which finished in last place at the ACWS event in Naples last
week, is the lone AC team that will be competing this week in Act 2 of the
2012 Extreme Sailing Series. They will be joining the 8 full Series teams
as the circuit travels to the waters of the 2008 Olympic sailing venue in
Qingdao, China on April 17-20. -- http://www.extremesailingseries.com/
SCOW BOW: UGLY - BUT FAST?
By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World
The latest hot trend in ocean racing design is the scow bow. But it's ugly
and it looks as if it'd be brutal upwind
I'm torn when I think about the latest trend for ocean racing, the scow
bow. On the one hand, it's a fascinating development. On the
other...cripes, these new designs are ugly.
Round bowed scows have been well proven; the skimming dish designs have
long been popular in the US, though less so in Europe. Yet the design
principle made no major inroads into offshore design until last year, when
French engineer and solo sailor David Raison won the Mini Transat in his
self-designed mini 6.5m Mini Magnum/Teamwork Evolution.
This round bowed, push-me-pull-you 21-footer beat the 2nd placed prototype
Mini to the finish in Brazil by 130 miles - a huge margin in such an evenly
matched fleet - and recorded an average across the entire Atlantic of 6.8
He nicknamed his wide-bodied design 'le gros porteur', the jumbo jet, in
reference to its max beam, carried as far forward as possible.
Now there is a proposal from design group Reichel/Pugh for a 90ft scow (see
picture on website) designed to attempt to beat the Transpac record. We've
got a full report on this intriguing design in our May issue.
The basic principle of the scow design is to maximise hull righting moment.
The beam is carried well forward which means that, when heeled, the hull
lines are further outboard than with a conventional bow. This makes the
scow design very powerful when reaching, obviously important on races such
as the Mini Transat or the Transpac, which have a predominance of reaching
It has the added advanced advantage of large reserve buoyancy in the bow to
prevent the bow from burying or nose-diving when driven hard off the wind.
Put that together with a canting keel, as is the case on David Raison's
boat, and you have a potentially very powerful yacht indeed.
However there are two snags with this design.... read on:
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WHAT THE SKIPPERS THINK
(April 16, 2012; Day 30) - The Telegraph newspaper has spoken with three of
the six Volvo Ocean Race skippers, where they confronted them with their
list of ten questions. Here is an excerpt:
Ken Read, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG...
* Best aspect of the race so far?
That's not such a long list right now, but the best thing for us has been
keeping the team together as a unit through some really trying times.
* Most awkward moment?
It was pretty awkward living in Tristan da Cunha (after dismasting) for
five days - eating what you kill took us out of our comfort zone.
* The Volvo route I would most like to race?
From Newport Harbour in Rhode Island around Aquidneck Island and back
again. It is about 60 miles but it's a tough 60!!
* The best thing about these Volvo 70 boats are...?
Awesome, powerful, fast machines that on a good day are the greatest boats
you could ever dream to sail and on a bad day, can scare the crap out of
Chris Nicholson, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand...
* The thing you least like doing on the boat?
Docking the boat - especially when there's a load of wind and current.
* The Volvo route I would most like to race?
Any route that requires you to go from Auckland to Brazil. You get to go in
the Southern Ocean, see some marine and bird life and use sailing skills
that you don't use anywhere else, especially round Cape Horn. Nothing else
comes to close to that route.
* The best thing about these boats are...?
They are incredibly difficult to sail fast and need the best people on the
planet to get the best out of them.
* Nicest surprise?
I had a picture of my family given to me on Christmas Eve. Someone had
packed it away and I had no idea. It felt like a special Christmas present.
Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing...
* Funniest moment so far?
Reading the article on the Telegraph's Volvo website that said skippers are
earning 2 million pounds. I wish it was true but as Lawrie Smith once said,
the more people are talking about how much you're earning, the more they'll
be prepared to pay.
* The thing you least like doing on the boat?
Trying to eat when its rough - best way is to shovel the food in as near to
the mouth as possible but it's not pretty.
* Most awkward moment?
The moment the mast fell down - bit more than awkward I would say.
* The Volvo route I would most like to race?
Maybe Cascais to the Canaries because it is all downwind.
* The best thing about these boats are ...?
The speed with which you cover the distance downwind - they are awesome.
Full report: http://tinyurl.com/Telegraph-041612
ABU DHABI: Since leaving Puerto Montt, Chile by ship on Apr 10, the team
estimates their arrival to be the evening of April 18. Once in Itajai, the
team needs to chop out 4m x 1m sections on each side of the boat, which
will be replaced by new core foam pieces. The repair is estimated to take
72 hours. The In-Port Race is on April 21.
PROTEST: The International Jury has scheduled a hearing on Thursday (Apr
19) to review a report from the head of the Measurement Group over the
sails carried by Team Telefonica during Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland. The
protest concerns an alleged breach of the Notice of Race 5.2.2, which
specifies the sail requirements and limitations while racing. PUMA skipper
Ken Read discusses the issue on Sailing World: http://tinyurl.com/SW-041512
SCHEDULE: Racing will commence in Itajai with the Pro-Am Race on April 20,
the In-Port Race on April 21, and the start of the 4800 nm Leg 6 to Miami
on April 22. -- http://tinyurl.com/VOR-2011-12-schedule
Leg 5 - Auckland, NZL to Itajai, Brazil (6,705 nm)
Standings as of Monday, 16 April 2012, 22:01:59 UTC
1. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), Apr 6, 019d 18h 09m 50s
2. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), Apr 6, 019d 18h 22m 28s
3. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), Apr 10, 023d 12h 58m 44s
4. Camper (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 153.7 nm Distance to Finish
- Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), Retired
- 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's Sabot season! Time to get whatever kind of bath mat you have in your
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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 John McNeill:
Damn, I wish I had said that, Russ (in Scuttlebutt 3570)! The endless
stream of well-meant shoulda, coulda, woulda commentary on the plans and
activities leading to the Cup have completely blinded too many to the
simple fact that all this would not even be taking place without the
personal commitment of the Defender to our sport and my beloved venue.
THANK YOU, indeed, Mr.. Ellison!!
* From David S. Greene
I have watched the Volvo 70's race over the last couple months, and as
exciting as some of the pictures and videos are, one thing really hits home
with me. I would never go on one of those boats unless it was an inshore
race. Akin to Wingnuts (in the Chi-Mac Race), I think they are dangerous
and it paints a negative picture around our sport. The closest thing I can
compare it to is Auto Racing where you have Formula One's, Grand Prix,
Dragsters, Touring, Production, Sports Car and Stock Cars - to name a few.
What disappoints me the most is the fact that these sailors are racing
Formula Ones on a Touring class race. The breakdowns are the obvious
"facts" these boats do not belong on a race like this. From my perspective
this whole series is a complete failure. What has been proven through the
races so far? People are not attracted to this sport or have lost interest
as a result of stories surrounding this series. I have experienced this
myself. My friends who have not sailed before look at our sport, see what's
written on FB and decide before they have ever stepped foot on a sailboat
that it's dangerous and might put them in situations that frighten them.
With all the discussion about how this sport has shrunk we only need to
look at auto racing as a template. They went through their growing pains
where too many accidents and deaths forced the sport to modify what types
of cars raced in what races. Safety rules were enhanced and the focus
changed, which saved the sport. I hope those that drive this sport can look
beyond their own self interest so we can build this sport and not continue
to disenfranchise those that might have an interest in sailing.
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