SCUTTLEBUTT 3574 - Friday, April 20, 2012
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providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
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BACK IN THE DAY
There are many names associated with great offshore sailing events, and
most of those reflect the owner, the skipper, the navigator or the designer
of the boat, but few times are the names of the hardworking guys or gals
behind the scene.
Case in point, you would be hard pressed to find another West Coast sailor
with the resume, miles or experience of Santa Cruz's Zan Drejes. Zan has
probably forgotten more about blue water miles than the average sailor will
ever sail in his or her lifetime.
From his humble beginnings in a recovered El Toro to crewing aboard many of
the elite programs on the planet, Zan IS the go-to guy for excellence in
offshore sailing, yet remains off the public radar. We were able to track
Zan down while he was doing some prep work on Alex Mehran's Open 50, which
just set a blistering pace in the BAMA Double Handed Farallones.
"We used to take the El Toro to go out to Angel Island and camp out, and
would each tell our moms we were going to the other person's house. Part of
our ritual would be to sail to downtown Sausalito to steal candy as our
provisions. We never planed ahead enough to bring food or anything!
"We would always tie up at the Sausalito Yacht Club, and there always this
guy checking us out. Eventually he came down to talk to us as we were tying
up our hillbilly boat, and he tells us "Hey!! You can't tie up here
anymore, this is for yacht club members only...!!"
That really threw us for a loop as there aren't a whole lot of places to
tie up in Sausalito. But it turned out the guy really liked us, and even
offered us a membership for something ridiculous like $2.50 cents a month."
That guy? Turns out it was Gordie Nash.
Zan and friend signed up and were soon bona fide members of the Sausalito
YC Junior Program. "Gordie was a great instructor; he would take all us
kids out into Hurricane Gulch there in Sausalito, and it was a lot of fun"
The kids from the St. Francis YC junior program showed up one summer after
their kids were getting beat up on the City Front, seeking a mellower place
to practice. They were also looking for kids to join their program, and Zan
and the others signed on. -- Pressure Drop, read on:
MORE: There are several video segments in the link above that are worth a
view too. Zan's experiences reflect an era of the sport, with his story
including the likes of Steve Jepson, John Bertrand, Craig Healy, Paul
Cayard, Kenny Keefe, Tom Blackhaller, Bill Lee, Don Trask, Peter Sutter,
the Baylis brothers, Bill Erkelins, Roy Disney, Philippe Kahn, etc. Good
FARALLONES DEATHS FOLLOW DANGEROUS YEAR IN SAILING
By Chris Museler, New York Times
(April 19, 2012) - The Farallon Islands, 28 miles from the Golden Gate
Bridge, are known as the Devil's teeth for their sharp, rocky spires that
spring from the open ocean. They often see gale force winds and steep,
breaking waves that make it a threatening shore for approaching boaters.
But since the annual Full Crew Farallones Race began, in 1907, using the
islands as the turning point, there had never been a fatality.
On Saturday, the San Francisco Bay was uncharacteristically calm when the
38-foot Low Speed Chase was among the 52 sailboats to start this year's
race. The boat and its eight-person crew even remained in the race after
nearly half the fleet had retired after three miles, when the typically
powerful wind from the northwest began gusting to 25 knots.
But around 3 p.m., as conditions worsened, the Low Speed Chase was flung
into the rocks while making the turn at the Farallones, and its crew went
overboard. Three were rescued by Coast Guard and Air National Guard
helicopters. One body was found, but four others were lost in the swirling
With participation rising each year in ocean racing events, accidents are
gaining more attention. Deaths in ocean racing are so statistically rare
that when three sailors died in accidents last year, U.S. Sailing, the
national governing body for the sport, decided to open its first safety
In early summer, a young girl drowned after becoming caught under a
capsized dinghy in Annapolis, Md. During the biannual Race to Mackinac in
Lake Michigan last July, a 35-foot sailboat capsized in a squall, trapping
and killing a couple. During the Fastnet Race in August, the 100-foot
Rambler, with a crew of American sailors, capsized in the Celtic Sea when
the boat's ballast keel broke.
"Part of sailing is risk management," said John Rousmaniere, a member of
the panel and the author of "Fastnet, Force 10," which chronicled the 1979
Fastnet Race in which 15 sailors died. "You make one little mistake in
demanding conditions, and suddenly it becomes a big mistake." -- Read on:
MORE: Author Chris Museler is that rare breed of elite racer and major
market columnist, and has done a service to fold the SF incident into the
broader landscape of the sport. For Bay Area readers, the members of San
Francisco Yacht Club have organized a flotilla this Saturday to honor the
crew of Low Speed Chase. Yachts from throughout the Bay Area will meet up
at 7 p.m. at Racoon Strait between Belvedere and Angel Island. A ceremony
with bagpipes, a minute of silence, bells and wreath-laying will begin at
7:25 p.m. and end at dusk. Event information will be broadcast on VHF
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2012 SOUTHERN TOUR
By Skip Dieball
Being a Midwestern One Design Sailmaker, there are stretches in the
schedule that require massive amounts of time away from home. This year was
no different....Seven big events & counting!
It all started for me back in late January and a trip down to Jacksonville
from my new home in Mason, Ohio. All weather missed and I had Jeff Eiber
riding shotgun as he was going to continue on from Jacksonville to Ft.
Lauderdale for vacation. In tow was the Thistle. We were to stage our
double deck rig with Paul Abdullah and head to San Diego for the Thistle
After a few days of business, Paul and I embark on the coast to coast trip.
We've done this trip a time or two and frankly, neither of us really mind
the 36 hour trip. We have similar tastes in music, talk radio and can
generally entertain each other to the point of monotony!
Thistle Midwinters West is a great event. With mid-day sea-breeze, there's
no need to wake up early, so the social side takes over a bit more than
most regattas! Both Paul's team and our team stayed at MBYC on members'
boats, which made the event far more manageable logistically. You can read
more about MWW here: http://tinyurl.com/SD-MWW12
After a week off and having Paul and Jeff take the boats back to
Jacksonville, Jeff and I re-rally, this time in New Orleans. We are entered
in the Mardi Gras Regatta at the New Orleans Yacht Club, which is a
multi-class event over the course of an entire week. We rig my brand new
VX-One, which is an exciting new design from Brian Bennett. The boat is a
modern design with the first production boat being delivered this past
November. Jeff and I are excited as there will be 8 boats on the line for
the inaugural event!
A breezy Mardi Gras event made sailing the VX extremely fun. We sailed a
good event and ended up winning. More important than the score, was our
collective fun in a new boat. This thing is so much fun to race and so easy
to sail. We spent the weekend talking about regatta schedules and making
sure we definitely pack in as much VX sailing as possible.
After Mardi Gras, I am able to fly home for a few days after driving the VX
to our base in Jacksonville. The 2-day visit with my family provides a nice
break in the action, which is going to increase in both events and time! --
Read on: http://tinyurl.com/SD-041912
VOLVO OCEAN RACE BEGINS AGAIN THIS WEEKEND
Victory in Leg 6 from Itajaí to Miami could hinge on key decisions made in
the first few days of racing, according to race meteorologist Gonzalo
Leg 6 presents the fleet with a minefield of tropical weather systems on
their 4,800 nautical mile (nm) tropical trek north, as they return to the
northern hemisphere in what are expected to be predominantly moderate down
The first 500 nm section across a stretch of ocean known as the South
Brazil Bight to Cabo Frio could see the cews take on a low-pressure system
packing winds over 30 knots.
Latest weather models suggest the fleet is likely to head offshore to take
advantage of the south-southeast winds associated with this South Atlantic
"These can be very violent low pressure systems with a lot of squall action
and electrical activity from the clouds," Infante said. "It is a bad system
to sail in, but currently the only real choice."
The next 1,000 nm rom Cabo Frio to Recife round out the opening ection that
Infante believes could hold the key to the remainder of the leg. Infante
says the way the teams handle the transition from the low into the
south-southeast trade winds will be critical.
"The most crucial strategic gains and losses of this leg will be made in
the first three to four days and could set up the positions for the
remainder of the leg,'' Infante said. -- Read on:
ARRIVED: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's wounded Azzam arrived in Itajai Thursday
morning on the deck of a cargo ship from Puerto Montt in Chile where the
crew had to pull in after sustaining structural damage in the Southern
Ocean. The cargo vessel's arrival in Brazil has triggered a round the clock
operation by the shore crew to carry out repairs in time for the DHL
In-Port Race Itajai just two days away. -- Full report:
DISMISSED: The international jury has dismissed a protest regarding Team
Telefonica's sails during Leg 4, deciding the original rule was ambiguous
and that the team were reasonable in assuming they were in compliance. The
case centred around the number of storm jibs each boat can carry during a
leg, and whether the wording of 5.2.1 in the Notice of Race which states
each team must carry one such sail should be regarded as a minimum number
or a maximum number. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-041912c
BROADCAST: The Pro-Am Race on April 20 in Itajai will return the teams to
the race track, with video livestream coverage of the In-Port Race on April
21 (1000 PDT) and the start of the 4800 nm Leg 6 to Miami on April 22 (1000
Overall Points (after 5 legs)
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 147 pts
2. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 127
3. Camper (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 119
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 113
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 55
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 25
Race schedule: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-2011-12-schedule
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
* Annapolis, MD (April 19, 2012) - American Matt Rutherford, who Wednesday
became the first person to solo, nonstop circumnavigate both North America
and South America, will be arriving on Sat., April 21, at City Dock near
the Sailing Hall of Fame at 11:30 a.m. A celebration is planned and real
time, livestream video will be available. -- Details:
* Qingdao, China (April 19, 2012) - Skipper Roman Hagara's Austrian Red
Bull Sailing Team came out to defend their position on the penultimate day
of Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series, only to see their dominance toppled
by the Omani flagged The Wave, Muscat - led by British skipper Leigh
McMillan. Another Brit, Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team, had a strong
day to move from 5th overall yesterday to 3rd. America's Cup challenger
China Team, with skipper Phil Robertson (NZL), remains in ninth place in
the nine boat field. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/ESS-041912
* Bacardi's Bermuda International Invitational Race Week action begins this
Sunday in the waters of Bermuda's Great Sound. The annual event organized
by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and supported by the Spanish Point Boat
Club will feature racing in four one-design classes - Comets, Lasers,
International Etchells and International One Designs (IOD). Racing for the
Lasers, Etchells and IOD's will conclude Friday April 27. The Comets will
hold all of their races on the opening Sunday. -- Read on:
SAILING SEASON STARTS EARLY AT NEW ENGLAND BOATWORKS
After an unusually mild winter, New England boat owners are serious about
an early start to their racing or cruising season. Three travelifts are
working overtime as winter refits are completed and boats begin launching
in preparation for upcoming events including the Bi-Annual Newport Bermuda
Race. NEB's build crew is proud to be unveiling Hap Fauth's new JV 72.
Bella Mente will begin training in Newport before the Bermuda Race.
Meanwhile, Team Puma Ocean Racing's impressive Leg 5 win in the Volvo Race
was great news at NEB. Contact NEB today for service, race prep or refit
plans. 401-683-4000, http://www.NEBoatworks.com
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 Bob Billingham:
Regarding the Farallones tragedy, one wonders if we could take a lesson
from the Volvo and other Southern Ocean races where the use of virtual
marks is now common place to keep the boats out of the ice zone and in
Crossing bay between the north point to the western point (or vica-versa)
of the Farallon Islands has always involved a decision about how far to
stand off to avoid the big waves and the leeway they create. Wouldn't a
couple of virtual marks at a reasonable stand-off distances published in
the race instructions help eliminate some of the risk?
This, however, may not be practical as it could require more elaborate
electronics aboard the boats and for the RC to document the correct
rounding position than a local racing fleet can afford, but it might be
worth some thought by those who understand this better than I. Setting
physical marks in those locations is not really an option.
* From the Forum (Road warrior):
I hope this doesn't sound like Monday morning quarterbacking. I certainly
respect and share the shock and grief that all Bay Area sailors are feeling
right now. But at some point in the future when considerations are put
forward as to how a tragedy like this might be prevented from happening
ever again, I agree with an earlier comment in hoping no new rules or
restrictions be put into effect - except one.
One appropriate gesture might be for San Francisco YC - perhaps in
partnership with one or more other clubs - to raise funds to place a buoy
at SE Farallon Island offshore of this danger zone. Boats in all the
various races that round the island would be required to leave this buoy to
port (inshore), thus staying well clear of the surfline or sneaker waves.
The buoy could be painted with the names of the lost sailors. I don't know
if this area of the island has a formal name, but if not (or even if it
does) it would also be a worthy endeavor to formally bestow a name (or
change the current one) on this cove as a permanent memorial to the tragic
loss of these people. --
* From David LaPier:
I have a different perception than some of your readers regarding the
history and traditions of the America's Cup. It has always been about
pushing the technical and engineering limits of sailing. The best example
being from 110 years ago - the purpose-built "Reliance" that raced, at
most, only 4 times. She incorporated countless design innovations and was a
marvel of engineering, design, materials and construction that pushed every
envelope. The real tradition of the America's Cup is high-tech backed by
big-money and the best professional sailors.
* From Paul Grimes:
In response to Ken Read's article on the Volvo Race stopovers (in
Scuttlebutt 3573), we in Rhode Island can't help but wish the next stopover
was in Newport.
Newport is exactly the type of city Ken is describing - small enough for
the event to take over, but large enough to do it justice. The general
population and number of sailors within a short drive of Newport is HUGE.
Brad Read and his committee did a great job pursuing the Volvo Race
stopover and the America's Cup, and have secured the final America's Cup
World Series event here in June. Furthermore, major improvements are
underway on the Ft. Adams waterfront so that Newport can host this event -
and more world-class sailing events in the future.
On April 6th, as we watched Puma hold off Telefonica for the leg win, half
of Newport came to a grinding halt. If the boats had been finishing here,
everything that could float would have been out off Block Island to follow
them in. Here's to a stopover in Newport next time!
It appears the annual flu vaccine was not quite enough to carry the staff
at Scuttlebutt World Headquarters completely through the 2011-2012
influenza season. As a result, we regret that our weekly Friday feature of
Photos and Videos didn't make it this week. But it'll be back next week.
Have a good weekend! - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
If you explain so clearly that no one can possibly misunderstand, someone
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