SCUTTLEBUTT 3576 - Tuesday, April 24, 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: BIC Sport North America, US Sailing, and Sailors Night
If sailing is anything, it's varied. Few sports have as many shapes and
sizes. And it is constantly changing, which comes with consequences. But as
long as people are enjoying the sport, all is good, right?
An email from John McNeill, Staff Commodore of the St Francis Yacht Club,
triggered the following exchange with Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck....
JOHN MCNEILL: There is lots of talk of sailing not growing, of kids not
racing, or kids not staying in the sport after college. Recently while out
on the water to watch the San Francisco Cup, the 45th annual Match Race
between the St. Francis YC and San Francisco YC, we also were able to watch
the Nor Cal High School Championships with 39 teams racing, and the Team
StFYC Team Race Scrimmage, which had 10 J-22's on the water, each with 4
crew, many in their 20's and 30's. Something for everyone!
I don't get the sense, here at least, that the sport is fading, but rather
that each group has its own way of participating, and its own cycle of
doing so. Perhaps the way of encouraging more activity, is to just provide
the opportunities and let them find them. It seems to be working at this
club (StFYC), but then, there are probably not many clubs that are running
Match Race, Team Race and Fleet Race events all on the same weekend! Might
be worth a try, and they do not need to be graded events.
CRAIG LEWECK: I think you hit the nail on the head. As long as equipment is
provided, people can remain engaged. But isn't that a problem too? Can
every club afford to support its members in this fashion? I wonder if this
isn't the result of how the level of support that clubs provide youth
sailors has steadily grown over the past few decades. When people are used
to being supported, doesn't it become harder for them to be
JOHN: Actually, Craig, that supply comes with a fee of course, which is
more an incentive to ownership than any recapture of costs, but the
underlying issue is one often missed - the youth are generally not yet
capitalists, in that they often can handle cash flow issues but cannot
produce lumps of cash needed to own a boat or, most often, join a club
The trick may be to make that capital requirement less of an impediment
during the cash-flow years. Some clubs have successfully reduced or ramped
out initiation fees, and in every case I've seen, those who have developed
club fleets (with fees) have seen a strong appeal to new young members in
the 25-40 range. When you run the numbers, those memberships over a few
years are a lot more valuable to the club than the boats.
CRAIG: And that all makes sense. I guess what I wonder about is what the
cause for this solution was. Is the increasing level of support provided by
clubs to young sailors causing them to continue this reliance into their
adult years? And while equipment supported sailing is doing well, one
design classes have suffered along the way. Maybe this is simply the
evolution of the sport.
JOHN: The discovery that there are loads of young sailors settling in
communities who really would like to continue, but assume that it is
impossible due to the costs. What was really revealing was when we realized
that they didn't necessarily come from our own junior program, but from
others around the country and world.
As for young adults continuing their reliance on Club supplied, that is a
wait and see question, but it doesn't take many years of membership for it
to pay off - especially when they bring along their friends. And most often
those who start with the club fleet soon move forward to crewing on other
boats, or partnerships. It is merely a matter of whetting the established
appetite, I think.
As for the lack of growth in one design classes, I wonder if the one-design
classes of the 20th century era may have actually been the anomaly, rather
than the other way round. In my day, there were few choices, as the number
of builders of production boats was limited, so you had strong classes.
Earlier, many boats were locally produced custom variations of a certain
style. Today production boats are the norm, and the range is vast.
Interesting evolution. Next phase.....???
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
The O'Pen BIC and Techno 293 Classes continue excellent growth in 2012.
Already, over 109 O'Pen BICs are eagerly pre-registered for Worlds at Miami
YC (Nov 1-3), and 350+ Techno 293s expected for Worlds in Holland. But
competition isn't the primary reason why more Junior Sailing Programs (JSP)
are adding these classes: kids LOVE them! O'Pen BICs and Techno 293s are
modern, less expensive, amazingly durable, and completely self-bailing.
Capsizing becomes fun. See the new O'Pen BIC and Techno 293 One Design
videos (below). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 508 273-1141 for attractive
JSP packages. BIC also offers Stand Up Paddleboards for your program!
O'Pen BIC: http://youtu.be/B9_botWb8KU
Techno 293 One Design: http://youtu.be/ju3HpUvBOPI
SAFETY IN HAND
Some offshore races are now requiring knives on deck and worn by each
crewmember, so if a personal safety knife isn't already in your sea bag,
it's time to blade up. Tim Robinson covers the options... from the May 2012
issue of Sailing World.
There is no survival tool older or more utilitarian than a knife.
Prehistoric man survived thanks to crude versions of them, pirates used and
abused them, and today dinghy sailors to professional ocean racers are
required to carry them. So, you'll likely need one this season, if you
don't have one already.
Search the Internet and you'll discover plenty of makes and models, but the
challenge in selecting one for personal use is that there's no such thing
as the perfect knife. Selecting the most appropriate knife comes down to
individual choice, environment, type of boat, and your expected use.
The requirement of a cockpit knife has always existed for most offshore and
inshore races sailed under the ISAF Special Regulations. Regulations
usually require a knife to be kept in the boat's safety grab bag as well.
These rules mandate the on-deck knife be accessible, secure in its
scabbard, and made of a quality steel alloy that can withstand
In 2011, however, several studies conducted following two high-profile
accidents each recommended all sailors carry a personal knife.
Consequently, the 2012 Mackinac [Race] Safety Requirements (MSR), used for
the Chicago-Mac and Bayview-Mac races now require every crewmember to carry
a knife while on deck, and always readily available (i.e., on the outside
of your gear or PFD). None of the regulations, however, require a specific
type of knife. -- Read on: http://www.sailingworld.com/gear/safety-in-hand
Launched last week, Bella Mente is the second racing yacht built for owner
Hap Fauth. This latest Mini Maxi is 72 feet long and was designed by
Judel/Vrolijk & Co yacht design. Built by New England Boatworks, Bella's
features include a Hall Spars mast, Southern Spars eC6 carbon rigging, a
winch package from Harken, hydraulics from Navtec and Cariboni, and sails
built by North Sails.
After getting launched for the first time on April 17, the team got the rig
in the next day, and has been readying this ride for her first sail. Here
is the report....
This past Sunday was the first day of sea trialing. It's a stressful and
exciting time for the team. So what is involved in sea trialing?
Once the rig is in and we have completed all the load tests on the dock, it
is time to start sailing the boat. It is very important to go slowly in
case something goes wrong, we don't make it worse.
First action is to hoist the main. At the first hoist of the main, it goes
right on the lock. We test the lock and successfully get the main off, but
not back on. So a trip up the rig is needed to get it on the lock. Add that
to the list but not a major problem.
Once the main is up, it is time to slowly lean on it. All the while, there
are half a dozen boat builders and sailors below decks listening for any
noises or cracks while on deck the rig team is keeping a close eye on the
rig. After some sailing in very light conditions we headed back to the dock
to grind away some carbon on the deck at a diagonal terminal.
Once on the dock the weather started taking a turn for the worse with rain
and wind. So we headed back out a second time to give things another test.
It was blowing about 18 knots and we sailed upwind with the main only. We
tacked a few times and then hoisted the jib to continue loading the boat.
All looked good with the rig with a few turns here and there needed.
After some more loading, a crack was heard below at the location of a
mainsheet sheave below decks. So back to the dock we go. Not a serious
issue but one that needs to be fixed with some proper attention. The boys
worked on it last night and again this morning.
If the weather cooperates, we will head back out this week to continue the
sea trials and systems check.
Team website: http://bellamenteracing.com
* Nearly 250 boats on the water, roughly 2,000 competitors, 300 volunteers
- those metrics mean that Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week definitely
attained critical mass this year. Thanks to PhotoBoat.com and Joy Dunigan
for sharing the action: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/12/0423/
* It was picture perfect weather on San Francisco Bay for J/Fest, with mild
winds gaining steadily through the day. Even the tides were kind, allowing
rusty crews a chance to remember and practice their skills without paying
too heavily before the racing season kicks into full swing. Photos by Chris
* Earlier this month, the Optimist army descended on Lake Garda in Italy to
successfully break the record for the largest sailing regatta of a single
class. The previous record was 998 in 2008, with this event reaching 1055
boats (out of 1073) that had completed at least one race. Guinness World
Records was on hand to certify the record, and photographer Giovanni De
Sandre was on hand to share the scene:
CHALK IT UP TO 500
Help US Sailing reach its goal of 500 new college members. The college
sailing team that registers the most new memberships by the start of the
2012 Collegiate Nationals on June 6, 2012, will be outfitted with footwear
from Sperry Top-Sider. There is still time for college sailors to purchase
a membership so, don't miss out! Currently, the top three schools are
Boston College, Stanford, and Old Dominion University. Tune in to Chalk
Talk every Thursday to gear up for the exciting last weeks of the season!
Sign up for a college membership at http://racing.ussailing.org/College.htm
NOTE: For college sailors who are not members of a yacht club, joining US
Sailing fulfills the requirement in RRS 75.1 to enter a race.
With just over 70 per cent of the 39,000 nautical mile round the world
course now completed, the final outcome of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
looks likely to go down to the wire.
As the boats left Brazil on the 4,800 nm Leg 6 to Miami in the United
States, Team Telefonica had a 16 point advantage over second placed
Groupama sailing team. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand lie a further
nine points behind in third, just seven points ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing
powered by BERG in fourth.
Before the finish of the race in Galway in July the sailors have almost
11,000 nm of tough offshore racing (Legs 6, 7, 8, and 9) and four tricky
in-port races to go. A maximum 144 points is still up for grabs for any
With the offshore legs getting increasingly shorter from now on Telefonica
skipper Iker Martinez says there will be a premium on the crews' close
quarter racing techniques. "We spent some days when we were meant to rest
trying to improve because now the legs are going to become more like
inshore races," Martinez said. "I'm very confident. The boat is even better
than it was in New Zealand. We can't ask for more."
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said the crew had been discussing the
reducing leg lengths in their team meetings in Brazil but did not plan to
adopt a different strategy just yet. "They certainly do get shorter from
here on in," Nicholson said. "We are talking about a 14-day leg to Miami
which is a lot less time than the last one took us.
"I think before you talk about strategies you have to think about the mood
in the team and we are all feeling good about things right now. For sure
there are a lot of points still on the table and we will be fighting right
until the end. This race is so close that you never know just what will
mean the difference between success and failure. It can be something really
small like one wave that you get on that sends you off into another patch
of breeze and then another weather system that means you win the leg." --
Read on: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-042312
UPDATE: (April 23, 2012; Day 2) - The fleet has been tight reaching on
starboard since the start, with now 45 nm of separation from the high and
low roads. Whether it be game planning or polar preference, CAMPER and Abu
Dhabi are paired to leeward and along the coast while Groupama and
Telefonica are both to windward and angling away from the Brazilian coast,
expecting to avoid the fickle winds inshore, as well as the adverse
current, and arrive at the trade winds in pole position. PUMA is directly
in the middle. "Nothing is quite set in stone," said cautious PUMA skipper
Ken Read, "that's why we're not putting on the blinkers and heading off
shore. I don't know that anyone is 100 per cent sure what is going to
Leg 6 - Itajai, Brazil to Miami, USA (4,800 nm)
Standings as of Monday, 23 April 2012, 22:03:07 UTC
1. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 4422.9 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 14.1 nm DTL
4. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 25.7 nm DTL
5. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 27.1 nm 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
* Hyeres, France (April 23, 2012) - The second day of the Semaine Olympique
Franšaise, fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, saw winds in
the high teens gradually decrease during the day. All ten Olympic events
and three Paralympic events were on the course today, with many events
seeking to get caught up after strong winds abbreviated the schedule on
Monday. Canadians Richard Clarke/ Tyler Bjorn lead the Men's Keelboat
event, while Americans Jennifer French/ JP Creignou are third in the
Doublehanded event. Americans Anna Tunnicliffe and Sally Barkow continue to
lead the Women's Match Race event. -- Event website: http://sof.ffvoile.fr/
* Oakland, Calif. (April 23, 2012) - Thousands of sailing aficionados of
all ages visited the 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show at Jack London
Square, Thursday, April 12 through Sunday, April 15. Space sales increased
by seven percent, and overall attendance was up more than eight percent,
with advanced ticket sales up by an impressive 24 percent. This four-day
sailing spectacular featured nearly 100 sailboats, gear and accessories
from more than 400 different manufacturers, more than 100 seminars,
on-the-water sailing clinics, free sailboat rides, an America's Cup AC 45,
and the entire Clipper Round the World Race fleet. -- Boating Industry,
read on: http://tinyurl.com/BI-042312
* A billion-dollar settlement was reached last week between BP and
attorneys on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in the litigation
surrounding the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion
killed 11 workers and triggered the largest offshore oil spill in U.S.
history. According to the U.S. government, about 4.1 million barrels of oil
were spilled. The agreement is expected to pay an estimated $8 billion to
resolve economic, property and medical claims by more than 100,000
Gulf-area businesses and individuals. Such a payout would make this one of
the largest class-action settlements in U.S. history. -- Soundings Trade
Only, full story: http://tinyurl.com/STO-042312
THE POWER TO SEE IN THE DARK
What every sailor wants this spring - hands free portable light where and
when you need it.
Offshore Sailors Night Vision Nylon Cap with Leash
(2) Red Led Lights to enhance night vision
(4) White LED lights that project out 60ft
Order at http://www.SailorsNightVisionCap.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 Bruce Thompson:
In regard to the Full Crew Farallones Race tragedy, I'd like to offer an
observation about what did work. Three people were saved by helicopters
summoned by VHF radio.
There is a reason the ORC regulations require offshore boats to have
permanently mounted 25 watt VHF radios with masthead antennas. The
effective range of such an installation is vastly superior to a 5 watt
handheld. And the signal is not as vulnerable to being blocked from a
line-of-sight connection to the receiving antenna by large waves. Having a
personal VHF radio with you, if you fall overboard, doesn't do much good if
potential rescuers 27 miles away can't hear you. So the best chance you
would have is if your competitors are listening on a pre-determined channel
via their masthead antennas. They are closer and have a much better chance
to hear you.
Maintain a radio watch.
* From Steve Nieves:
The description of Matt Rutherford (in Scuttlebutt 3575) as he stepped off
his boat completely put in perspective what it means to sail for 309 days
around North and South America.
"His first bare, calloused foot on dry land, his toenails brown and
gnarled, a crusty floppy hat, a pungent pair of black mesh shorts, the same
vintage Popeye T-shirt he had worn at his departure 10 months earlier..."
Almost made me feel sorry for Gov. Martin O'Malley who Matt sat beside.
* From Pete Thomas:
Only two boats in the 3,700-mile Los Angeles to Tahiti race? Sounds more
like a delivery to me. I took a look at the NOR, which said that both these
boats paid an entry fee of $3000 (more if entered late). Since this could
have been returned as of three weeks ago, maybe that's the price for peace
of mind that monitoring provides when crossing the ocean.
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