SCUTTLEBUTT 3584 - Friday, May 4, 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: Gowrie Group and Southern Spars.
Forty-nine boats competed on April 14th in the 2012 Full Crew Farallones
Race, a 58 nm contest that has run continuously since 1907. It is one of a
handful of races in San Francisco that extends beyond the Golden Gate
Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean.
The 2012 edition will be remembered for the tragedy that befell the Sydney
38 Low Speed Chase, which was pummeled by waves while rounding the island,
tossing five of the eight crew members overboard, and to their death.
Scuttlebutt contacted Jeff Zarwell of RegattaPRO, a provider of Principal
Race Officers for regattas, who was the PRO for the 2012 Full Crew
Farallones Race. Here are Jeff's comments concerning the incident...
I will first state that what follows is my opinion, and does not
necessarily represent the opinion any of the yacht clubs I manage races
At the conclusion of the Farallones race, I was trying to find answers to
the tragedy, as well as what I could have done to prevent this. I myself
have participated in at least a dozen of these events and managed about as
many over the years.
The idea of setting up a waypoint perimeter did enter my mind, as well as
the minds of many others. After all, if we kept boats away from the island
this wouldn't have happened....right? The fact is that you and I could
probably sail that same course a half dozen or more times and never have
the same results as those on April 14th. On the other hand, there is the
distinct possibility that I could set waypoints well off the shore of the
islands (a mile, mile and a half, more?), and yet under certain
circumstances, a similar result could occur.
The reality is that it is the open ocean. Mariners have perished throughout
the ages attempting to conquer the sea. How do we tame a wave? Can we even?
Let's face it, like many other sports (rock climbing, cliff diving,
motorsports, etc), ocean sailing has an element of danger to it. That's a
big part of its appeal. If we could control the winds and calm the seas,
would we even want to go out there? Would there be enough challenge?
Read on: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/12/0503/
SEEKING TO DETERMINE THE FACTS
The Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is an easy 125 nm reach from
Southern California to Baja Mexico. Typically mild winds, typically mild
seas. If there is drama, it's usually at the pre-race party. Or the
post-race party. But not in the race.
In its heyday, 675 boats competed. Last Friday, there were 213 entrants for
the 65th edition of the race. And for the first time in the history of the
race, there were fatalities.
It remains a mystery why on the Hunter 376 Aegean, three people died with a
fourth crew is missing. A tracker indicates they hit the North Coronado
Island. The debris indicates significant destruction. Of the recovered
bodies, one drowned while two others died of blunt force injuries.
Seeking to determine the facts is the United States Coast Guard (USCG). An
investigation is now ongoing, with no details yet to release. Henry Dunphy,
Public Affairs Specialist at USCG, provides some insight into the
* What are the factors that initiate an investigation?
Henry Dunphy: Any time there is a marine casualty, which encompasses loss
of life, personal injury, or damage to a vessel, it is typical for the USCG
to investigate the incident. We are eager to determine what happened, and
if needed, take action to improve safety with either the type of vessel or
the operation of the event. We are hopeful too that our findings will give
family members some closure.
* Who has the authority to investigate?
Henry Dunphy: The USCG has the authority to investigate the incident
because this was a U.S. flagged vessel involved, and had American citizens
onboard. The Mexican authorities have been very cooperative in granting us
access to their territorial waters. But this investigation is primarily our
responsibility as we have jurisdiction.
* How is an investigation conducted?
Henry Dunphy: The investigators will be doing a number of things. They will
be identifying and interviewing any witnesses they can find, along with
speaking to past crew members and other people who are familiar with the
vessel that was involved. They will be talking with family members of the
crew that were onboard, and with the race organizers. They will also be
collecting and analyzing any debris from the vessel that has been recovered
to try and determine exactly what happened, and also looking at any
information on other vessel traffic that was in the area at the time.
* Will the investigation include underwater review?
Henry Dunphy: It is a possibility, but to this point it has not included
any diving at the location.
* How much time is required to complete this investigation?
Henry Dunphy: The investigators are anticipating the process will require
4-6 weeks from the time of the accident to complete their report.
* Will the findings be made public?
Henry Dunphy: Once the final report is done, it will get routed to the USCG
headquarters in Washington, DC. Once it is approved, it will be available
to the public. Additional information available here:
HELP NEEDED: If you have any information to share with the USCG regarding
this accident, please call them at 619-278-7033.
MEMORIAL: Funeral services for Kevin Rudolph, one of the four Aegean
sailors who lost his life in last weekend's Newport-Ensenada race, will be
held at the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club in Redondo Beach (CA) on
Saturday, May 5, at 12 noon. The club is located at 260 Portofino Way;
GOWRIE GROUP: SMART INSURANCE DECISIONS FOR TRAILERABLE BOATS
Disaster stories about trailering boats abound. One sailor arrived at a
regatta and realized his boat had mysteriously fallen off the trailer
somewhere on I-95. People think boat insurance is just to protect against
losses on the water, but with boats that are moved around on trailers and
car-tops, accidents happen just as much on land. Make sure you have the
insurance you need; read Gowrie Group's - the nations leading boat
insurance expert - article on the five characteristics of the right boat
insurance (http://tinyurl.com/trailerable). For a boat insurance review,
contact Gowrie Group at 800.262.8911, http://www.gowrie.com/yachtquote (use
ARE WE THERE YET, ARE WE THERE YET?
(May 3, 2012; Day 12) - The good news is the veering trade winds are thus
far lifting the Volvo Ocean Race fleet up and over the Caribbean islands.
The bad news is the race may turn inside out a few times before Leg 6 has a
winner. To make matters worse, the navigators are all now having to fend
off the questions from the crew..."when do we get there?" PUMA media crew
Amory Ross describes the process their navigator Tom Addis uses to appease
It can be amazingly difficult to predict when you're going to arrive at a
destination 3,000 miles away in a landscape of geographic uncertainty, but
today's software, weather files, and boat performance profiles combine to
give it an honest try. There are family flights to book, boat repairs to
schedule, food and fuel to manage, and the high hopes of the 11 of us
waiting for a burger, beer, and a proper shower, and they all hinge on a
very simple process.
Somewhere in the world somebody begins by analysing the weather. Their
findings are digitized into "grib" models, a virtual record of predicted
winds spanning up to several weeks out for the entire globe. These files
are loaded into the onboard routing software that use our current location
and our boat's performance polars (tables that suggest what speeds Mar
Mostro should attain at any combination of wind speed and wind angle) to
best map our course to the next waypoint.
Obviously, there is more than one way to decipher the weather, so there are
multiple models to choose from. With each update (several times a day), Tom
downloads either the "EC," (short for...ECWF), or the "GFS," (...God Forged
Scheduling?), loads it into the software, and out comes an ETA. Routing
doesn't take certain things into consideration, things like a rough sea
state that would prevent us from reaching our predicted polar speeds, so
there's a certain degree of human interpretation for Tom before he decides
on a route and a date, but eventually a day is picked. The closer we get,
the more accurate the prediction power is, but one thing that's for sure is
that we can never be sure.
In the context of this leg, it looks like we'll be one or two days late, so
it's time to start squirreling away some food again, just like we did on
the last leg. Extra bars for lunch instead of a meal when the wind is
light, split the chicken tikka - a notoriously large serving - into two
meals, things like that. It's not the models' fault, or the forecasters
that make them, because weather is weather and it changes. You can't
suggest that conditions are "supposed" to be anything, because they're
unpredictable by nature. All we can do is hope the models are more accurate
than not! -- http://www.puma.com/sailing/news/the-unpredictable-conditions
Leg 6 - Itajai, Brazil to Miami, USA (4,800 nm)
Standings as of Thursday, 03 May 2012, 22:01:42 UTC
1. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 1302.0 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 8.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 17.8 nm DTL
4. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 111.6 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 138.6 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
* Falmouth Harbour, Antigua (May 3, 2012) - It was yet another day of
episode and drama at Antigua Sailing Week. This year's Antigua Sailing Week
is producing intense battles right through the fleet with close encounters
a plenty. Stress levels were running high today with start line incidents a
plenty and a major collision on the first upwind leg of the day in the big
boat class with just one final race tomorrow, nearly all of the classes are
yet to be decided. -- Read on:
* Over 60 competitors made the trip to Rochester, NY for the Interclub
Dinghy National Championship last weekend. The event was hosted jointly by
the Rochester Canoe Club and the Rochester Yacht Club. Conditions ranged
from 5 to 20+ knots on the Irondequoit Bay and there were 10 races sailed
on Saturday alone. At the awards ceremony to emphasize the importance of
the crews, the winning teams had their crew name announced and each crew
would in turn introduce their respective skippers. Keeping with that
tradition, Alexa Schuler sailing with Jim Bowers took the 2012 Nationals
title. -- Full report:
* CORRECTION: Scuttlebutt 3583 reported how the 246-foot Phocea, recently
crashed into the rocks off Sardinia. While it did indeed happen, it was not
recently. The year was 2005. Whoops!
THE NEW SOUTHERN SPARS' RIGGED CARKEEK 40 GRAND PRIX RACER!
The new Southern Spars' rigged Carkeek 40 Grand Prix racer is a
ground-breaking design and represents the pinnacle of an all-round sailing
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Carkeek 40 has a 62ft TPT (Thin Ply Technology) hybrid modulus mast, a 19ft
high modulus racing box boom, EC6 continuous carbon rigging, twin topmast
backstays and hydraulically actuated deflectors. For transport
considerations there is an optional two part rig for transport on a 40ft
flat rack/platform container. With one already in the water and another two
on order, the Carkeek 40 will be one to look out for. For more information:
firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.southernspars.com
John Cook, owner of the English Cristabella boat saga, and one of the most
loyal fans and participants of the MedCup Circuit, passed away in late
April after a long struggle with a disease that eventually took him away,
despite him being a born fighter, as he demonstrated both on land and at
The memory of the Cristabella saga and its owner John Cook will remain
forever linked to the sea, the Mediterranean, the TP52 class, and the
MedCup Circuit. The TP52 Cristabella was part of the fleet which started
off the competition in 2005, and remained faithful to it, taking part in
almost all its events, until she had to leave due to her owner's health
problems, the same that would finally cause him to pass away in late April.
English by birth, Cook ran under the flag of the Real Club Náutico de
Palma, and was a "classic" sailor. In fact, the TP52 Cristabella was easily
recognizable not only by her white hull and blue letters, but by her rudder
wheel, which had not been replaced by the tiller, as it had already
happened onboard the whole MedCup Circuit fleet in recent years.
John Cook's is indeed an irreparable loss to the world of sailing, but his
name will live on in the history of racing in the Mediterranean.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include wings and things, perfect storm, dedication, sadness, fresh,
replica, seasonal, and incoming. Here are this week's photos:
* Photographer Cory Silken provides this latest gallery of images from the
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. It seems criminal for a pro shooter to
leverage the Caribbean backdrop to capture classic yachting. Enjoy:
* The west coast high school teams were in San Diego last weekend for their
National Championship Team Race qualifiers. It was a sunscreen weekend with
bay racing and dockside spectating. Photos by Bob Betancourt:
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
The ISAF Match Racing World Championship is awarded annually to the winner
of the World Match Racing Tour, a global series for match racing. There
were nine events in the 2011 tour, which has been nicely reduced to a 3:38
highlight production for this week's video profile:
* This week on America's Cup Uncovered Episode 37, we look back at the four
AC World Series events in Cascais, Plymouth, San Diego and Naples where we
saw the vision of the best sailors on the fastest boats come to reality. We
study the impressive depth of talent among the skippers and crews on each
team, and what it takes to live life on the edge. As we are pushing the
limits on the AC45s, we check in with ORACLE Racing's build team as they
are deep in AC72 design. Tune on Saturday May 5 at approx 0800 PDT 1600
* In the May 4 "World on Water" Global Sailing News Report we show the
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, the ISAF World Cup in Hyeres,
France, the start of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale also in France, the
world's largest one design regatta, the Guinness Book of Records breaking,
Lake Garda Optimist Meeting where 1055 boats started in Race one, Matt
Rutherford who is another record breaker, becoming the youngest person to
sail singly handed, non-stop, around both North and South America and in
our "Fresh to Frightening" segment how to do 75 km on a 12.5 kilo jet
propelled Surf Board. That's if you feel the need to do so. See it all in
this week's show on http://www.boatson.tv 10000 BST 0500 EDT.
* This week on episode 8 of Chalk Talk, the final college inter-conference
qualifiers were last weekend and the last of the National qualifiers are
this weekend. Find out whose season is ending and whose is just beginning -
even if you think you know, we've got a few surprises for you. Plus, the
last Sailing World national rankings and the last Better Know A District.
View here: http://ussailing.blogspot.com/2012/05/chalk-talk-episode-8.html
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.
* From Betsy Whidden:
Can you please include a blurb in the Friday edition about "The Walk to
Cure ALS" in New York this Saturday for John Thomson? Team Juliet Bravo
Tango Infinity (JBT FOREVER) is now in the lead for donations…..this means
so much to John!
Editor's Note: This is for Farr 40 class champion John Thomson, who is
currently battling ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Donations can be made here:
* From Jeff Johnson, SDYC Regatta Manager:
I would like to point out a miss-conception about boats going aground such
as Aegean at North Coronado Island. This was not washing up on a beach, or
even like where Low Speed Chase went aground at the Farallon Islands.
Even with a moderate sea state (4-5' swell), the NW side of the island
where Aegean must have struck is very abrupt (cliff like) and also has
spires at points that can hold a boat within a seething hydraulic blender
and grind a boat into small bits. In most places around the island, she
would have struck rock with her bow and still have 15 feet of water under
I once helped a biologist photograph harbor seal colonies that live all
around those three islands and have navigated closely around them all in a
powerboat. It is a dangerous place to loiter. Beautiful and forbidding from
a distance; deadly from too close. And a wave can transport you from 'a
distance' to 'too close' in a deadly, inattentive blink of an eye.
It takes prolonged exposure to the grinding mechanism to generate little
bits like were found, and a freighter prop turning at 60-80'rpms isn't
going to do that - 1) because the boat would get shot right out with all
the thrust/ water moving, but more so 2) the boat would never get that deep
under water, and 3) more than likely, the bow wave will push the boat out
of the way - with disastrous consequence mind you, but out of the way, and
unlikely into the props.
Doesn't seem like a mystery to me.
* From Robert Rice:
I was on the (Newport to Ensenada) race and started developing my own
theories, but then I stumbled across the tracking info which changed
everything. The GPS track clearly shows where they started motoring, and
there was no alteration in course or speed (7.64 kts) for over 3 hours
before impact into the north shore.
They hit at the worst possible location. There is a protrusion on the
island that would have trapped the 6-7 foot northwest swell and repeatedly
pummel the boat into the cliffs. The current would eventually spit out
pieces around the corner, leaving the keel in there somewhere. The north
island is very dark, and the angle they were approaching from would have
created a minimal silhouette. The track is so straight that they may have
had the autopilot on and dozing off, or they just didn't see it. That will
be the next debate I'm sure.
* From Ralph Taylor:
Thanks for publishing (in Scuttlebutt 3583) Jeff Johnson's superb review of
the race committee's decision-making process for the March 17-18 NOOD and
thanks to him for writing it. It's an excellent contribution to the sport.
The Mr. Bean Guide to Fun in an Elevator: Pretend you are a flight
attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the passengers.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Quantum Sails - APS - Atlantis WeatherGear
North Sails - J Boats - Team One Newport - North U
JK3 Nautical Enterprises - Ullman Sails - Gowrie Group - Southern Spars
Need stuff? Look here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/ssc/suppliers