SCUTTLEBUTT 3581 - Tuesday, May 1, 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: Atlantis WeatherGear, North U, and J Boats.
IDENTITIES RELEASED, MYSTERY CONTINUES
(April 30, 2012) - The identities have been released of the three people
killed in the 124-mile Newport to Ensenada Race between California and
Mexico, but the destruction of the boat remains a mystery.
Confirmed dead are Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., William
Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Calif., and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64,
of Bradenton, Fla. The fourth sailor, Aegean's skipper Theo Mavromatis of
Redondo Beach, Calif., remains missing.
Wreckage of the yacht Aegean was found Saturday near the Mexican border and
there is speculation that a freighter or other large boat hit it in the
middle of the night. No distress signals were sent.
Sailboat shards, mostly no more than six inches long, floating in the ocean
were the first sign something was wrong. Eric Lamb spotted them while on
safety patrol for the race. Lamb said the 37-foot racing yacht looked like
it "had gone through a blender."
"It was real obvious it had been hit just because the debris was so small,"
Lamb said Sunday. Officials suspended the search for a fourth sailor later
that day. Authorities on Monday were still trying to determine what caused
the yacht's destruction.
The Coast Guard said conditions were fine for sailing, with good visibility
and moderate ocean swells of 6-to-8 feet. Officials have not determined the
cause of the accident, and would not speculate on what ship, if any, might
have collided with the sailboat.
The race goes through shipping lanes and it's possible for a large ship to
hit a sailboat and not even know it, especially at night, said Rich
Roberts, a spokesman for the race organizer. Two race participants who were
in the area at the time the Aegean vanished said they saw or heard a
UPDATE: Michael Lawler, a crewmember aboard the Newport Beach-based Choate
48 Amante, reports having a close encounter with a freighter in the same
vicinity and time as Aegean's tracker stopped working. "We were farther
offshore, about 10-12 miles west of the Coronados," says Lawler. "Around
1:30 a.m., I went on watch and saw a freighter bearing down on us at what
was probably 20 knots. His range lights were lined up and I could see both
red and green bow lights. I didn't have time to get on the radio, so I
grabbed my two million-candlepower spotlight and aimed it at the ship. That
caught his attention and he took a hard left turn to take our stern. He
passed about 1/4 mile behind us." Lawler, who circumnavigated aboard his
North Wind 47 Traveller, says the wind was light, the seas were a little
lumpy, and visibility was good. -- Latitude 38,
"GREAT PARTIES, LOTS OF GIRLS ON THE BEACH"
By Kimball Livingston, Blue Planet Times
There's more to it, I think, but that quote from reigning world champion
Johnny Heineken (USA) is not a bad start for explaining why kites are hot.
Heineken continues to dominate the course-racing scene with a combination
of raw speed and the tactical smarts developed out of growing up racing
dinghies and skiffs. How long can the man stay on top? It's a young sport.
The first course racing championships were held on San Francisco Bay, where
the game was developed, and the first Worlds was held in 2009.
On to the Olympics? I wouldn't bet against it.
Here's a (video) look at the just-wrapped Professional Kite Racing
Association event at Playa del Carmen, Mexico (April 19-22):
DISCOVER: A GIRL'S REAL BEST FRIEND - GOLD
Based on the results from Hyeres, it's becoming increasingly clear that the
women of the US Sailing Team are on a mission for bling. Gold and Silver in
the Women's Match Racing, Silver in the women's 470 and Bronze in the SKUD,
and that doesn't even include a former Yachtswomen of the Year in the Laser
Radial who sat this one out. With the Olympics less than three months away,
these athletes are peaking at exactly the right time, and as the team's
official apparel provider, we're looking forward to seeing more bling
around their necks. http://www.AtlantisWeatherGear.com
Discover life on the water. Discover your Atlantis.
CELL PHONES AND CHART PLOTTERS, WORKING TOGETHER
By Lenny Rudow, Boats.com
Got both a cell phone and a chartplotter? Well, if both are WiFi and
Bluetooth capable, you're at the forefront of electronic navigation.
Between these two modern devices navigation is a breeze, and these days,
they can even work together to get you from point A to point B.
By now you've probably heard about the nav apps you can arm your phone
with, which can turn it into a navigational wonder. And there's no doubt
you already know how to use your chartplotter to make waypoints, set a
course, and steer in a straight line. What's new is the ability of these
units to combine via a WiFi link or Bluetooth, and help each other do their
One way to make the cell/plotter connection is with Raymarine's new
e-series. If you have Navionics Mobile on your phone, it gets regular
cartographic updates via cell link. When you walk onto your boat and fire
up the Raymarine, it'll automatically link up with your cell phone, sync
with it, and download the new cartography right into its own navigational
Another player in the cell-cum-chartplotter arena is Furuno. Their new
NavNet TZ Touch unit can also talk to your cell phone (or tablet), as long
as you have Furuno's free Viewer App. Once they're gabbing with each other,
you can see the chartplotter's functions on the cell screen. Or take it one
step farther and with the Remote app you can use the phone or tablet's
touch screen to operate your helm station from afar. -- Read more:
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
(April 30, 2012; Day 9) - PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG tonight leads
the fleet into the Doldrums for the fourth and final time during the Volvo
Ocean Race 2011-12 having crossed the Equator earlier today.
After failing on Leg 1 to supply King Neptune with the correct libations,
something to which the crew attribute their subsequent dismasting, this
time, they were careful to correct the error of their ways and offered the
King a drop of rum to keep them safe in the northern hemisphere.
The lead trio raced up the north east coast of Brazil, 200 nm offshore. So
far, the light airs Doldrums zone, which stretches about 200 nm, has been
well behaved, although a lot thunderstorm activity is on the cards for
"We want to be leading this race from start to finish," said PUMA skipper
Ken Read. "So far so good, but we have a long, long way to go. We all
understand that the game is just starting. From here to Miami we have the
doldrums, light trade winds, the Caribbean Islands, Jamaica and Cuba, the
Bahamas and finally the Gulf Stream leading into Miami. What could possibly
While Telefonica and CAMPER remain in touch with PUMA, both Abu Dhabi Ocean
Racing and Groupama have been leaking miles. However, once through the
Doldrums, the north east trade winds are known to be fairly unstable at
this time of the year.
"It's not uncommon to have a front push down from Florida and mess things
up even more from the Bahamas onwards," CAMPER co-skipper Stu Bannatyne
said. Recalling the finish of this race 10 years ago into Miami, "There
were a lot of place changes in that last 150 miles. It's still all on the
table at this point." -- Event media
Leg 6 - Itajai, Brazil to Miami, USA (4,800 nm)
Standings as of Monday, 30 April 2012, 22:03:39 UTC
1. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 2463.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 15.6 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 20.3 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 118.0 nm DTL
5. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 152.7 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
MIXING SPORT AND MARRIAGE
High level sailing competition is not the average life for married couples.
In sailing few have the chance to share their passion with their better
half! At Semaine Olympique Franšaise (4th event on ISAF Sailing World Cup
circuit) in Hyeres, three couples were competing, taking the opportunity of
a multi class event to be together on the racing circuit.
Robert Scheidt (BRA) in the Star class and wife Gintare (LTU) in the Laser
Radial, or French couple Pierre-Alexis Ponsot racing also in the Star
married last year to Match racer Claire Leroy; for them the chance to meet
on the circuit is rare outside the multi classes events like the Sailing
World Cups; ISAF Worlds and later this year, the Olympic Games.
However, for Matt and Riky Belcher both racing in the 470 class (ranked 1st
and 13th, respectively), racing and married life is routine. Home, for the
Australian skipper and the German crew is either the Gold Coast in
Australia, or an apartment in Munich, but much more often home is in their
"We are lucky to be sailing in the same class and have the opportunity to
travel to competitions and live together." says Matt, "Sailing often
demands sacrifices; you need to stay focused on your campaign, especially
when you are sailing with a crew. The other good thing about both sailing
470 is that we can easily understand the other's need as we face the same
situations. We support each other when one of us is down without affecting
the other's mood or performance."
With both teams selected for the Olympic Games and racing for two
countries, Australia and Germany, training and sharing could have its
limits. "Our Federations are both understanding and flexible to suit our
married life," explains Riky. "And it is not as we are far apart in term of
experience," adds Matt. "We both started racing at the same time and have
evolved together on the circuit." For Riky, sailing "is no magic but hard
work. Sometimes there is a level of confidentiality, for example we don't
use the same sails, but for the rest it is just the amount of time on the
What will life be like after the Olympic Games? "It depends a lot on our
results. There can be opportunities, however, we are both keen to continue
our studies at university. We are lucky to have the choice to keep racing
or get a normal life, start a family. One thing is sure we are not
interested in being just professional sailors!"
Would the Belchers be tempted in racing together in a mixed boat?
"Absolutely not! We care for each other too much and don't want to put our
marriage at risk! When you race with another person, even in the best
relation you need a break and in a couple as well! We have found a very
balanced way of being together while pursuing our sailing career and want
to preserve that!" -- http://sof.ffvoile.com/sof2012gbr/news/belcher's.aspx
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HOW SAILING HELPED AUTISTIC BOY
Last year, Bonnie Monroe searched tirelessly for a summer camp that would
enroll her autistic son, Mark. She found Clearwater Community Sailing
Center (FL) and Rich White, an instructor who taught Mark to sail.
"Rich told me to bring Mark out," recalled Monroe. "After Mark went out
with Rich in a Hobie, he said, 'I'm ready to sail, Mom, let's go.' Rich
didn't know about working with children who had autism, but he was willing
The encounter changed Mark's life forever and became the catalyst for Camp
Awesome, a new summer camp at the Sailing Center that will be aimed at
helping children with disabilities. "We will start out this program in a
small but phenomenal way and work up to the best way of moving forward,"
said Sue Steward, the Sailing Center's director. "I'm overwhelmed by the
amazing local support and donations we've received."
Mark Monroe, 12, has high functioning autism. By the end of last summer,
not only had he learned to sail and paddleboard by himself, he had joined
the Sailing Center's regular summer camp activities.
"After meeting him and evaluating him to make sure I could teach him, I
started with one-on-one instruction three half-days a week," said White,
the sailing instructor. "Within two weeks we went to full days. Mark is
amazing. Not only does he sail alone, but he has become much more social."
Monroe was so pleased, she told White she wanted to stay connected with the
Sailing Center and become a member. "That's when the idea about a program
that reached out to the community began," said Monroe. She wants to help
make the sailing program for children with special needs a success. She's
working for it to become financially self-sustainable and able to offer
help for families that might not otherwise be able to afford it. -- Full
* The U.S. Optimist Class Team Trials were held at the Brant Beach Yacht
Club in Beach Haven, NJ on April 26-29. Four days of racing with 13 races
completed had 186 sailors facing every conceivable condition including a
day of heavy air with gusts exceeding 30 knots. Sailors competed to qualify
for the world championships as well as seven other events around the globe.
The top five sailors will represent the USA at the 2012 World Championship
in the Dominican Republic on July 15-26. Results:
* The four double-handed Class40's competing in the Global Ocean Race
2011-12 (GOR) are nearing the finish line in Charleston, SC, with the
leader less than 100 miles away. The 30,000 nm GOR, which started in Palma,
Mallorca on September 25th, has five legs with stops in Cape Town, South
Africa; Wellington, New Zealand; Punta del Este, Uruguay and Charleston,
USA. The final leg from the USA to Les Sables d'Olonne, France starts May
20th. -- http://globaloceanrace.com
* Falmouth Harbour, Antigua (April 30, 2012) - The second day of Antigua
Sailing Week will be remembered for sparkling racing conditions which piped
up at the end of the day to deliver some high octane racing in the sublime
waters on the leeward side of Antigua. So far Antigua Sailing Week has
produced dream-like conditions. Heavy upwind work with warm sea spray
breaking over the deck rewarded with a wild ride downwind through the deep
blue Caribbean surf. -- Read on:
* The 16 entrants for the 2012 ISAF Women's Match Racing World
Championship, set to be held from 20-25 June in Gothenburg, Sweden, have
been named. The regatta will be one of the last opportunities for the
Women's Match Racing teams to test themselves against each other ahead of
the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. -- Read on:
* (April 30, 2012) The Luhrs Marine Group, consisting of Silverton Marine
Corp., Mainship Corp., Luhrs Corp., Hunter Marine Corp. and five additional
subsidiaries, today filed voluntary petitions to reorganize under Chapter
11 in bankruptcy court in New Jersey, Hunter Marine president and chief
restructuring officer John Peterson confirmed to Soundings Trade Only. The
powerboat companies - Silverton, Luhrs and Mainship, located in Millville,
N.J. - had ceased operations in January. Florida-based Hunter Marine, the
sailboat builder, has never shut down production, Peterson said, and
continues to be up and running. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/STO-043012
J/111 ACTION IN 2012
The J/111 has been lighting up race courses around the world. This 36'
easy-to-sail speedster, uncompromised by rating rules, has brought the fun
back into sailing larger keelboats. Even better, enough are sailing (65+ in
8 countries) for class racing in 2012 in some great venues - Annapolis,
Cowes, La Trinite, Newport, Lake Michigan, San Francisco.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bob Moran and team aboard his J/111 Ragin' won PHRF B at
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. Here's Bob's debrief after the
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* From Alfred Poor:
I've been thinking about the Newport-Ensenada tragedy. Coming on the heels
of the Farallones fatalities, our community should not be surprised if we
start to draw the attention of the federal regulators (and legislators who
love a new cause, especially in an election year). One need look no further
than recreational aviation to see how restricted an activity can become,
even with the addition of "relaxed" requirements.
I don't advocate certification and licensing of private, recreational boat
captains, but this latest accident does make me wonder if it's time to put
some new minimum equipment requirements in place. If we don't do it for
ourselves, we risk having the government do it for us. While we don't yet
know the specifics of this latest unfortunate event, I have to wonder if it
could have been avoided by adding a $400 AIS-equipped radio.
In my book, "see" far outweighs "be seen" as a strategy to avoid big ships
at night. Radar is nice, but if you can't have that - or even if you do -
AIS provides excellent information to locate and avoid the big ships. I
don't race at night in shipping channels, but if I did, I'd at least have
AIS helping to keep a lookout. I don't know what the race committee
required of entrants for this race, but AIS would seem to be a minimum.
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