SCUTTLEBUTT 3577 - Wednesday, April 25, 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: Point Loma Outfitting, Doyle Sails, and Pure Yachting.
On Saturday, April 14, 2012, one sailor died and four others remain missing
after waves pummeled James Bradford's Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase, which was
competing in the 28nm Full Crew Farallones Race, sponsored by San Francisco
Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA.
Bradford, along with Nick Vos and Bryan Chong, survived the accident that
took the life of Marc Kasanin. The four that remain missing are Alexis
Busch, Alan Cahill, Jordan Fromm, and Elmer Morrissey.
The following onboard account is provided by Bryan Chong...
A Letter to the Community:
This letter goes out to a devastated sailing community still confused about
the events surrounding the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race. There have been
inaccuracies in the media, mostly stemming from the survivors' silence as
James ("Jay"), Nick and I are still reeling from tragedy and the loss of
close friends and loved ones.
I've chosen to use Sailing Anarchy, Seahorse, Latitude 38, and Scuttlebutt
for distributing this story because they're of a kindred spirit and were
the favorites amongst the crew of Low Speed Chase and those who already
know the answer to the question, "Why would you sail in the ocean on a
windy day with big swells?"
I've also included the Marin Independent Journal and The Tiburon Ark, as
they're the hometown newspapers in an area teeming with sailors. Many
sailors relocate from around the world to Marin and the Tiburon Peninsula
in order to live in proximity to the world's best sailing. Alan Cahill
moved from Cork, Ireland to race sailboats professionally in the Bay Area
and the Pacific Ocean. He was the best man in our wedding and will be
dearly missed while I journey this planet.
This letter does not contain every detail, but my account should provide a
basic understanding of our day on the water and what happened after the
first wave hit our boat. It is meant both to illustrate how things can look
normal until one event changes everything and to begin to address what we
can learn. It's my hope and intention that it will spark a wider dialogue
within the sailing community about safety standards and, more importantly,
Why do we sail?
A sailor's mindset is no different from that of any other athlete who
chooses to participate in a sport that has some risk. It's a healthy
addiction. Despite the highly publicized deaths of Sonny Bono and Michael
Kennedy, skiers all over the world continue to hit the slopes each winter.
Sitting on the couch is safer than ripping down a slope, but the reward
makes the risk worthwhile.
Next, we should all agree there are a wide variety of interests within the
sailing community. Some sailors prefer racing to cruising, small boats to
big, or lakes to oceans. We all make personal decisions about the risks
we're willing to take to enjoy our own brand of sailing.
Naturally, I have personal preferences. I most enjoy one-design and ocean
racing. I generally consider sailing to be at its finest when you're coming
around a mark alongside 20 identical boats, or when you're in the ocean
with a kite up on a windy day, the wave action is perfect and you're
surfing downwind at speeds usually reserved for powerboats. I was a guest
crewmember on Low Speed Chase and I got the sense the others were seeking
the same downhill ride back from the Farallones as I was. There were eight
sailors on board: one professional, six experienced sailors and one sailor
excited for his first ocean race.
Read on: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/12/0424/
COMMENT: It was a pleasure to speak with Bryan about his experience, and an
honor to share his words, unedited. I hope he soon finds the peace he needs
to hop back on the horse. The sport needs him. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
SALVAGE: Crews took advantage of a small window of time on Monday to
salvage the Low Speed Chase racing yacht and bring it back from The
Farallon Islands. The boat Low Speed Chase was lifted and flown 28 miles on
Monday in a delicate salvage operation. The 15,000 pound yacht was hoisted
from the rocks and brought to the Half Moon Bay Airport just before 7 p.m.
It was really quite something to see the big boat dangling midair and there
were plenty of spectators as the boat was coming in and they kept saying
"amazing." -- Video, full report: http://tinyurl.com/ABC-042412
WHEN FOUL WEATHER GEAR IN TOO MUCH
There are times when you are out sailing that you really do not need the
full protection of foul weather gear, but shorts, or pants just aren't
enough from the occasional spray from waves. SLAM has introduced the Force
2 trousers, and they fit right in the middle. Highly breathable, and almost
waterproof, these two-layer pants can take the spray with ease. These
waist-high pants have reinforced knees and seat, as well as zippered side
pocket to keep everything where it ought to be. They come in three shades:
black, steel grey and light grey. Check them out at:
FCC APPROVES NEW AIS DISTRESS DEVICE
(April 24, 2012) - A little over a week after one of this country's most
tragic man-overboard incidents in recent U.S. sailboat-racing history, we
got news that the Federal Communication Commission has approved promising
new technology for man-overboard recovery.
According to a press release issued today from Kannad Marine, the FCC has
approved for sale in the U.S. Kannad's SafeLink R10 SRS, a personal
Automatic Identification System (AIS) device designed to be worn by
individuals and activated to assist in man-overboard recovery.
It seems unlikely that this device would have saved lives in the Farallones
Race tragedy, but its usefulness to the offshore sailor who worries about
man-overboard recovery seems self evident. The new technology will be
particularly handy for cruisers who venture far afield, where self-rescue
is the only real option.
When we last reported on this topic (Feb. 14, 2012), new standards for
these devices had just been established. All that was preventing them from
entering the market was FCC approval. That hurdle now behind us, we can
look forward to them hitting the market soon. -- Practical Sailor, read on:
(April 24, 2012) - Sperry Top-Sider, the leading global nautical
performance and lifestyle brand, announced today its title sponsorship of
the US Sailing Team, newly named US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. The
title sponsorship is the brand's highest profile sailing sponsorship to
date and is effective immediately through December 31, 2016.
"We've had a close, successful relationship with Sperry for a long time,
but this represents a whole new level of their commitment and our
partnership," said Dean Brenner, Chairman of US Sailing's Olympic Sailing
Committee. "The Games begin in three months, and this significant expansion
of our relationship comes at exactly the correct time, with an extension
through the 2016 Games. We are thrilled to have a partner like Sperry, and
our athletes will benefit immensely from all the resources they bring to
The title sponsor for the US Sailing Team was AlphaGraphics, which was
under contract through 2012. However, this past January the team was
informed by AlphaGraphics that, due to a change of ownership, they would be
terminating their partnership with the team. "We were obviously very
disappointed at the time, particularly as this was in the Olympic year, but
we quickly realized we had a significant opportunity in front of us. Our
first phone call was to Sperry, and I am thrilled that this new partnership
is now currently scheduled through December 2016."
With this new sponsor comes a significant increase in resources for the
team. "Sperry will continue as our footwear partner, it will include
eyewear, and soon apparel in 2013," said Brenner. "This deal is
significantly larger than the one we enjoyed with AlphaGraphics, with an
increase upwards of 40 to 50% more. The plan is to proceed with our 2012
budget, with the funding increases beginning in 2013."
US Sailing Team is the only U.S. Olympic team in either the summer or
winter games with a title partner.
Team announcement: http://tinyurl.com/USST-042412
CRYSTAL BALL, WHERE ART THOU?
(April 24, 2012; Day 3) - Leg 6 leading skipper Camper's Chris Nicholson
will be sleeping with one eye open while he keeps watch on his adversary
Abu Dhabi as the dueling pair dodges rocky outcrops up the coast of Brazil.
At just 20 nautical miles off the Brazilian coast the pair has a lot more
to worry about than each other - - it is the competitors who can't be seen
that they need to be most wary of.
The leverage across the fleet has grown to 94 miles, with Telefonica
defending the offshore position. "(Camper and Abu Dhabi) opted for faster
sailing closer to the coast," explained Telefonica skipper Iker Martinez,
"which is great at first because you get to where you want to go quickly,
but we've preferred to sacrifice those miles now because we think that
passing the cape close to the coast could be risky. In less than a day
we'll know how one of the first tactical calls of the leg has worked out
Groupama skipper Franck Cammas is happy to be offshore with Telefonica,
viewing the inshore option as risky. "There's a fair amount of instability
inshore, but it's hard to judge how many miles away you need to be," Cammas
said. "Our aim is to gradually distance ourselves from the Brazilian coast.
We're set to hit another zone of light airs on Wednesday, and there's even
a strong chance of being forced onto a beat, which will enable us to heave
even further offshore."
All the boats are beam reaching on starboard at near identical headings,
with Puma have hedged toward the easterly boats. With the south east trade
winds still a tantalising 48 hours or so away, the immediate concern is
dealing with the instability of the transition zone, and the need for
patience. -- Event media
DAMAGE: Team Sanya expects their damaged Volvo Open 70 will arrive at the
US city of Savannah on Friday. The team was forced to retire from Leg 5 and
return to New Zealand when one of its rudders broke four days into the
race. When hauling the boat, a 1.5 metre crack in the bottom of the boat
was also identified. The team will repair the boat in Savannah and sail the
remaining 350 nautical miles to Miami. -- Full report:
PREDICTION: There is now a 'crystal ball' icon on the tracker (see link
below) that attempts to predict the positioning of the boats up to three
days in the future. It factors in the weather forecast and boat polars, and
draws the path each boat would take to maximize their position.
Leg 6 - Itajai, Brazil to Miami, USA (4,800 nm)
Standings as of Tuesday, 24 April 2012, 22:02:14 UTC
1. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 4250.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 3.8 nm Distance to Lead
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 7.8 nm DTL
4. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 36.5 nm DTL
5. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 41.7 nm DTL
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), Did not start
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
WINS BIG, WINS SMALL: OFFSHORE IRC AND OD
The 72' "Shockwave" with a full Doyle Stratis inventory won the IRC
division at the 2012 Charleston Race Week, winning 7 of the 8 races.
"Shockwave" benefited greatly from Doyle's in-depth CFD analysis. In the
first ever 40-boat Viper 640 fleet, Doyle finished 1-2. Jason Carroll and
team "Argo" sailed a great event to win, with Doyle's Brad Boston and team
"Jackpot" finishing in 2nd. Doyle sails dominated the Ultimate 20 class,
with Keith Ziegler just beating out BJ Jones to finish 1-2. All the winning
Doyle Sails were designed and crafted in North America. Start winning,
LOOKING GOOD IN YELLOW
Hyeres, France (April 24, 2012) - The third day of the Semaine Olympique
Française, fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, started
early as strong winds were expected for later in the day. With the end of
the qualification ending tonight, priority was given to the classes sailing
in groups. Stars, Sonars and 49ers sailed only one race, while Finns, 2.4mR
and Skud stayed ashore. All other classes completed their two scheduled
Americans Anna Tunnicliffe and Sally Barkow remain atop the Women's Match
Race standings, while Canadians Richard Clarke/ Tyler Bjorn continue to
lead the Men's Keelboat event. Here is a report from Richard following
I thought I set my alarm incorrectly this morning as it was dark out when
it went off, unfortunately it was correct and indeed it's dark at 6am.
Luckily when I peered through the darkness there was only a hit of breeze
so hopefully we did not wake up early in vane and the committee made a good
call to race before the big winds. Sure enough when we got down to the site
in the post dawn grey the winds were starting to pick up but still moderate
enough to send us out for one windy race.
The toughest call of the day was when to leave the dock, our race course is
the closest to shore and in strong winds we get there pretty quick.
Normally we like 45 minutes of prep time before the first race of the day
to get a handle of what the winds are doing and confirming our setup but
when conditions are on the edge of sailable our sails deteriorate rapidly
so we try to cut it a bit finer. We left the dock at 815 and blasted
downwind to the course arriving 25 minutes before the race, just about
The race started in a little over 20 kts and actually died a bit as it went
on. We had a solid start a few boats down from the boat, played the shifts
nicely up the first beat to round the first mark in 4th. Some solid sailing
down the run found us in 2nd nipping at the tail of our British training
partners Percy and Simpson. We both stretch away from the fleet making it a
2-boat battle for the win. On the second lap they stretched their lead but
a crewing error on the last lap saw their lead evaporate to one boat length
down the final run. We drew even with them approaching the finish but they
caught a little more of the last puff and surged ahead to take the bullet.
Second place was enough to keep us in first place overall and in the
leaders yellow bibs. Tomorrow (Wednesday) forecast is for lighter breeze
and 3 races, looking forward to it.
Event details: http://sof.ffvoile.fr/
* Hamilton, Bermuda (April 24, 2012) - After racing was postponed Monday
because of weather, Bacardi's Bermuda International Invitational Race Week
resumed today. Peter Rugg took the helm for the Fishers Island team today
and steered his IOD of the day, #10 named Bounty, to a 2-1 performance.
Adding that to John Burnham's top performance on Sunday, the team now leads
the IOD 'A' series by 8 points over Giles Peckham of Cowes UK. With one
throw out race, Fisher's Island should be assured of winning the seven-race
'A' series. -- Read on:
* Manuka Sports Event Management in association with Double Cross Vodka,
Café Zelda and Mount Gay Rum are excited to announce The Around Jamestown
Record, a perpetual all out record for sailing around Conanicut Island
(also known as Jamestown) in lower Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Similar
to other outright speed records, contenders will decide when they to make a
record attempt and also the direction in which they will sail around
Jamestown. This means contenders can choose the most advantageous weather
conditions and tidal flow in which to attempt the record. Details:
* A list of apps for mobile devices has been compiled by MyBoatsGear.com,
which includes Navigation and Charting apps, Rules of Road apps, a Compass
app, AIS apps, apps and devices for importing NMEA data, Weather apps,
Racing apps, Systems Monitoring and Cruising apps. -- Full report:
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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 Bill LeRoy, San Francisco:
Maybe John and Craig are both right (in Scuttlebutt 3576). I think San
Francisco presents young sailors with a unique problem and thus a problem
for our clubs. Affordable one-design boats in SF are a problem with the
typical weather conditions. Many popular dingies in other locations are
just not practical or safe in SF Bay. That said, the Commodore of the NYYC
encouraged us to invest in the J22 Fleet, as their one design fleet had
increased the 20 something membership in NYYC, and that has held true at
* From Doug Fredericks, Newport Beach:
Bob Connell's passing cannot go without comment. In my mid-teens I had the
good fortune to participate in the New York YC summer cruise on a couple of
occasions. This was a super big deal to a kid from the Great Lakes, and
it's where I met Bobby Connell and Constellation's other crew members; they
were my heroes. Bob had a sterling reputation as a marine surveyor and was
in high demand in the industry. I attempted to book his services the week
before he left us and, unfortunately, it was our last conversation.
I'm so thankful for the efforts of Jan Slee, and others, in organizing the
AC 12 Metre Era Reunion in 2010. Jan had the foresight to get us all
together for what appears to be, in more and more cases, our last
opportunity to sail together. I will always treasure the memory of sailing
with Bobby aboard USA in the reunion regatta. Bob's shipmate, Dick Enersen
(Offshore Productions), put together a retrospective of the Constellation
campaign and there are some great photos of Bob during that era and at the
Fair winds Bob, you'll be missed.
TOOT YOUR HORN HERE
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sleep on. Hence the phrase... "Goodnight, sleep tight."
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