SCUTTLEBUTT 3579 - Friday, April 27, 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: North Sails and Melges Performance Sailboats.
The Full Crew Farallones Race tragedy in San Francisco rekindled memories
of the 30th Annual Doublehanded Farallones Race from two years ago. For
most of the 79 competitors, the race on March 28, 2009 was a bust. Light
winds led to nearly 90% of the fleet dropping out. But for the handful that
stuck it out, their offwind ride home had winds in the low-20s with gusts
to 30 knots.
Dave Wilhite and David Servais had invested too much preparing their J/80
to quit, and now were reveling in the conditions. Until their keel ripped
off. Here is an excerpt from Latitude 38 of the race...
"By a little after 8 p.m., we were beam reaching under jib and a reefed
main," Wilhite recalls. He noted the waves were 12-14 feet with a fairly
long period between, a fact the Coast Guard confirmed, though they put the
wind speed closer to 40 knots. "Dave (Servais) was setting us up on a wave,
reaching across it, when we heard a whuump," said Wilhite. "The helm turned
to slush, the boat slowed and the wave we were shooting broke over us. Then
we heard a cracking sound like a tree falling over - that was the sound of
the keel ripping off."
The boat immediately turned turtle, submerging the pair, who were tethered
to the boat and wearing PFDs. Wilhite had a short tether while Servais was
attached with a long tether. Once the boat settled and they popped up,
Wilhite realized his tether was keeping him too close to the water so he
pulled out the knife he had stowed in his pocket and cut himself free. "It
was weird not to be attached to the boat," he said. "Dave was holding onto
the rudder and there was nothing else to grab, so I held onto the lifelines
underwater. My hands are really cramped and cut up today."
It was then that they noticed why they had flipped - nothing at all was
left of the keel. "It ripped off at the root," Wilhite said. "The only
thing sticking out of the bottom of the boat was the bilge pump." He says
he has no idea why the keel fell off - "It's not something you're prepared
for" - saying there was no evidence they'd hit anything. Some wonder if
it's possible they hit a large sea mammal that was moving in the same
direction, but the question quickly becomes irrelevant when you're holding
on for your life in the North Pacific.
Just moments after getting their bearings, the duo realized a Moore 24 -
they have no idea which one - was screaming by about 100 yards away. They
yelled but went unheard. "My first thought was, 'Oh my God, we're going to
die.'" Instead of panicking, the two experienced sailors discussed their
options. They had a knife and a compact but powerful waterproof LED
flashlight that Wilhite had stowed in his pocket. But without a way to
communicate, things would turn ugly fast.
Wilhite knew there was a waterproof handheld VHF in a sheet bag in the
submerged cockpit. "I was presented with a choice," Wilhite said. "I
remembered a line from Shawshank Redemption: 'Get busy living or get busy
dying.'" So he took a deep breath, let go of the lifeline and swam back
under the boat!
Complete report: http://tinyurl.com/Lat38-042612
UNPRECEDENTED: The U.S. Coast Guard in San Francisco has temporarily
suspended all marine event permits for offshore races in the wake of the
Full Crew Farallones Race tragedy on April 14th in which five sailors
perished. The USCG will request US Sailing to determine if safety
regulations for offshore races need to be changed. The investigation is
expected to take about a month. Never before has the USCG canceled permits
after an ocean tragedy. -- Latitude 38, full report:
TEAM RAGIN' PERFORMS IN CHARLESTON
Bob Moran and team aboard his J/111 'Ragin' might be new to the sailing
scene, but their performance at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week
certainly wasn't amateur. Scoring three bullets in their nine-race series
put them on top, winning their class by 8 points. "Simply put, we have a
great team of individuals and supporting organizations that don't mind
working hard to achieve a goal. Mike Coe, hailing from North Sails in
Annapolis, not only helps us 'set up' our boat, he makes sure the trimmers
understand what the sail is trying to accomplish and how to get the most
out of it." For full article visit: http://na.northsails.com
Hyeres, France (April 26, 2012) - It was another day of extreme weather in
the Semaine Olympique Franšaise (4th event on ISAF Sailing World Cup
circuit), limiting racing among the Olympic and Paralympic events prior to
the final day on Friday. While the North American contingent remains in
medal contention in the Star, 470 Women, and SKUD fleets, it is the Women's
Match Race event where the U.S. is dominating.
Currently undefeated is the Americans team of Anna Tunnicliffe/ Molly
Vandemoer/ Debbie Capozzi who are already assured a berth into the Finals.
Here is their report from today...
One race was all we were able to do today due to the wind and wave
conditions but we were able to win the race to take our record to 14-0, and
with the format change for tomorrow, we are locked into a medal.
Today's racing was supposed to start at 8:30am. We headed down to the boats
around 7:10am to start rigging, but the boat park was 'dead' and we thought
we had the time wrong but I think three days of 6am wake up calls and 8pm
dockings were getting to all of us. The timing was correct and shortly
after we arrived, everyone else showed up.
The teams all rigged and then we were told to wait onshore while the race
committee went out to check the conditions and to get set up. The first
report that came in around 8:15am was that it was blowing 20-25kts and the
waves were very big. We sat around waiting until around 11am when we were
finally given the OK to leave the dock.
We got out to the race course to find 4-6ft waves with the wind in the
mid-twenties. We had a chance to do an upwind and a downwind to get
comfortable (it's all relative) in the conditions and then the sequence
started. We were first match, so we didn't have too much time to sit
around. -- Read on: http://www.annatunnicliffe.com/content/view/551/1/
The extreme winds have forced a revision to the Women's Match Race
schedule, with the top two positions from the 17 team round robin series
going straight to the finals, while the next two teams compete in the
bronze medal match. The forecast for the last day of racing is for very
strong winds that could further compromise racing. Event website:
AND THEY'RE GOOD FOR YOUR FEET TOO
(April 26, 2012; Day 5) - The Volvo Ocean Race turned into a sprint today,
with the shoe boats logically leading their telecom, tourism, and insurance
rivals. And what better gear to have on your feet than PUMA's.
The trade wind fuelled fleet is now aimed north to Recife on the corner of
Brazil where the course will turn north west towards the Caribbean's
Windward Islands, the only remaining landfall before the Leg 6 finish at
"This doesn't seem like the Volvo Ocean Race," reports PUMA skipper Ken
Read. "Not one single bit! It is comfortable on deck; the water is warm,
amazing temperature, starry night, heading reasonably toward the next mark.
What is up with all of this!?!?!
"I can't get used to it. No thrashing, bashing, soaking, freezing, boiling,
upwind hate mission. Maybe I am just dreaming. So I pinch myself, and sure
enough this is reality. And we are doing all right as well. Extra bonus for
being with the lead pack."
The fleet is on starboard, but not yet laying Recife. PUMA's position ahead
and to windward of the pack should help them manage their lead, though
Volvo meteorologist Gonzalo Infante noted how the trade winds are expected
to ease, compressing the fleet as they near the point.
Once the fleet rounded the final corner, they would be in more stable
southeast trades that would herald better angles that would suit strong
reaching teams. The latest estimated time of the fleet's Miami arrival is
on or around May 7. -- Event media
Leg 6 - Itajai, Brazil to Miami, USA (4,800 nm)
Standings as of Thursday, 26 April 2012, 22:02:27 UTC
1. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 3764.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 18.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 39.5 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 40.9 nm DTL
5. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 80.9 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
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"Blazing hot sun, no wind, black carbon boat, eleven guys. You do the
math!" - Shannon Falcone, PUMA
"F*@k!! This is waay better than the Southern Ocean." - Brad Jackson, PUMA
GET YOUR NEWS PUBLISHED
Yachting New Zealand, the sailing federation for that country, is making a
plea for its constituents to submit more 'grass roots' stories from Yacht
Clubs around New Zealand. The tips they provide are repeated below, and are
worthy for anyone seeking media coverage for their event...
Avoid writing a creative novel - we'd prefer something short and snappy of
around 200-300 words. Here are a few 'media writing' tips which may help
1. Start with the date and where/who it's coming from
2. The most important information should be in the first sentence or two -
no one wants to have to read through to the end to find out who won
3. Start by covering... WHO, WHEN, WHAT, WHERE, HOW
4. Supporting info follows in descending order of importance
5. Timeliness is important - don't let it become 'old news' before you send
6. Word economy is important - make it short and snappy
7. Limit paragraphs to around one to three sentences
8. Include quotes from key people if possible
9. Put the report in the email, or attach it as a word document
10. Attach one or two images to the email if you have them (With photo
credit note if required)
11. Accuracy - proof read it and use spelling and grammar check
Included in the list should be promptly posted online results. Scuttlebutt
has additional tips, along with distribution lists for North America and
International media, here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/pr
AUDI MELGES 20 WRAP UP
Over 60 Audi Melges 20's participated in this year's Winter Series of
events. The class Audi Melges 20 continues to grow internationally allowing
Melges Racers to experience exciting racing in North America and in Europe.
Race to melges20.com to check out regattas, photos and the latest
information. New boats are already being built for next season's Winter
Series! -- http://www.Melges20.com
* One hundred and two incidents of piracy and armed robbery have been
reported for the first quarter of 2012, with dangerously increasing numbers
in West African waters, according to figures released this week in the
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau's
(IMB) global piracy report. In total, 11 vessels were reported hijacked
worldwide, with 212 crew members taken hostage and four crew killed. A
further 45 vessels were boarded, with 32 attempted attacks and 14 vessels
fired upon - the latter all attributed to either Somali or Nigerian
pirates. -- Read on: http://www.iccwbo.org/index.html?id=48110
* The America's Cup World Series heads to Venice, Italy with racing on May
17-20. The format has been compressed to four days, with adjustments to the
match and fleet racing schedule to improve event scoring. The daily
broadcast will focus on fleet racing for Thursday through Saturday, with
the Sunday broadcast to include both the match and fleet racing finals.
* Hamilton, Bermuda (April 26, 2012) - Will Thompson and Tim Patton battled
all week for Etchells bragging rights and the Trimingham Trophy awarded to
the winner of the class in Bacardi's Bermuda International Invitational
Race Week. Today Thompson snatched the prize with a third and a first on
the final day. Bermuda's Malcolm Smith put a ten-point lead on Brett Wright
in the 13-race Laser Class series to win the International Race Week
Championship Trophy. -- Full report:
* St. Petersburg, FL (April 26, 2012) - While winds were too light today at
the Contender World Championship, four races have been completed since the
regatta began on Tuesday. Joachim Harpprecht of Germany is the current
leader with American Ethan Bixby seven points back in fourth. Racing
concludes Saturday. -- Full report:
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include sinking, yesteryear, conspiracy theory, the 'other' San Francisco
Bay, Comets in Bermuda, ski and sail, serious fun, match racing, and kids
having fun. Here are this week's photos:
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the
Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2012 is America's fastest growing
regatta with nearly 250 boats. Held on April 19-21 in South Carolina, the
event featured major one design, PHRF, IRC and boats to 70 feet.
T2P.tv was onsite, producing daily regatta shows ...all in HD. This week we
highlight the music production from the event along with the daily shows.
Click here for this week's video:
* This week on America's Cup Uncovered Episode 36, we are in Naples, Italy
for the fourth stop on the AC World Series. Commentators Gary Jobson and
Mitch Booth highlight the spectacular moments on the water, including
record breaking crowds lining the shore of Naples by the tens of thousands
to cheer on home team Luna Rossa Challenge. Artemis Racing experienced
thrills and spills in Naples as they capsized on the first day of racing,
pulled an all-nighter to replace their wing and came out the other side
victorious in the Match Racing Championship. Tune in on Saturday April 28
at approx 0800 PDT 1600 BST: http://www.youtube.com/americascup
* This week, April 27, the "World on Water" global sailing news show
features the Volvo Itajai In-Port Race, the New Zealand Young 88
Championships, Transat AG2R La Mondial Start, Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series
in China, Leg 6 start of the Volvo and in our regular "Fresh to
Frightening" segment the failed attempt by Sir Richard Branson in Speedboat
to break the Transat record. See it on http://www.boatson.tv 1000 BST, 0500
* This week on Chalk Talk, the team recaps a wild weekend of women's
college qualifiers. We've got nasty weather, districts snatching Nationals
berths, and a handful of stupid-fast sailors who trounced their competition
this weekend. With only a month before College Nationals, you'll also want
to know who's left to qualify and make your predictions for this weekend.
All that, plus Better Know A District, College Sailor of the Week and some
funky tunes to guide you through it all. View here:
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:email@example.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.
* Alistair Murray, CEO, Ronstan:
My friend Nick Hayes hit the nail so soundly on the head in his article
titled "At the Pinnacle of Sailing" (in Scuttlebutt 3578), that I had to
add my words of agreement.
Pinnacle events like the America's Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race excite
sailors immensely and get us viewing the videos and reports in awe, while
talking to our sailing mates about how exciting it all is. The next edition
of the AC, with its 72ft catamarans blasting around SF Bay will be no
exception, and I for one will be glued to it.
But that's as far as it goes. In my opinion, few people outside of sailing
will show more than a passing interest and none of them will buy boats as a
result of the exposure that sailing gets through this medium.
Australia II's victory in 1983 stopped the nation, and united the nation
like no other event before or since. Aussies everywhere went crazy and
celebrated our underdog, come from behind win, like there was no tomorrow.
All Australians over a certain age still remember that day vividly. But how
many of them took up sailing as a result of it? Having tracked the fortunes
of the sailing industry so closely through Ronstan, I would say that there
is no evidence that this fabulous achievement had any impact on our sport
Like Nick Hayes says, "sailing isn't a spectator sport.....it's time spent
with friends". Take a friend or family member out sailing today. One day
they might be excited about the America's Cup too.......... because you
introduced them to sailing.
* From Frederic Berg:
The answer to the question in Scuttlebutt 3578, "what will it take to
convert dreamers..." is simple - opportunity.
The opportunity to go sailing, try it out, get to know the players, etc.
When I walk into a private Yacht Club like my own, "opportunity" for the
average Joe is not the message that comes screaming out at me. Compared to
a game of pickup basketball on the municipal court, we have a long way to
EDITOR'S NOTE: There are more comments about growing the sport on the
Scuttlebutt Facebook page:
* From Keith Mackeown:
Regarding the letter of Patrick Blaney (SB 3578), there is a recent report
of the sinking and subsequent rescue of all crew of the yacht Inception
during the annual Melbourne to Port Fairy ocean race on the 6th of April
2012. This account of the rescue by the yacht TryBooking.com given by the
skipper of TryBooking describes a truly remarkable rescue - replayed as if
the whole thing was as easy as 1,2,3.
To find six sailors in the water, at night, in the middle of a full gale
and recover them all on board was a truly heroic act of seamanship. Not to
mention they only had four on board, one of whom was seasick, and another
who is technically a geriatric!! Hats off to you Grant Dunoon, Peter Fetch,
Ross Fisher and Kim Walker- a stunning achievement.
Read about it here: http://www.dunoon.com.au/
* From James King:
Your recent observation on the origins of the phrase 'Sleep Tight' is
almost certainly wrong. A quick bit of research on the web shows that the
expression was not recorded until at least the late 19th century, making it
extremely unlikely to have come from Shakespearian times. Instead, 'It
seems that tight in this expression is the equivalent of the only surviving
use of the adverb tightly meaning 'soundly, properly, well, effectively''.
As with many other examples of netymology, urban myths and back-formations,
this one has an element of plausibility, which in turn gives it 'legs' out
there on the interweb.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Too bad no one is disputing the validity of "Don't let the
bed bugs bite". Those critters are horrid!
If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you
really make them think they'll hate you.
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