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SCUTTLEBUTT 3655 - Wednesday, August 15, 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: US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, Doyle Sails, and Pure
REVIEW - US OLYMPIC SAILING
Dean Brenner, who has been Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program for
eight years, is stepping down. The position has a two term limit, and his
successor Josh Adams is ready to take over September 1st. Scuttlebutt
editor Craig Leweck spoke to Dean last week about the progress of the team,
its failure to medal at the 2012 Games, and the future of the U.S. program.
* You began this position as a volunteer. How has it evolved?
Except for one instance, the job had always been a part-time volunteer
position. Those were the terms I accepted under in 2004, but we knew right
away that the world of Olympic sailing was becoming more professional, we
needed our sailors to be more full-time, and it is pretty hard to ask a
full-time sailor to be led by part-time leadership. So we were on this path
toward making my position full-time during my entire eight year term. I did
four years of part-time volunteer, and four years in a part-time paid
position, and now my successor will be taking over as a full-time paid
* When looking at the progress of the program, there are two sides: the
sailor side and the administration side. Explain the progress on the later?
When I took over in 2004, our only staff was two administers (Gary Bodie
and Katie Kelly) and two coaches (Skip Whyte and Luther Carpenter). We
didn't even have a Paralympic coach. Now we have a full-time staff of nine
(ten if you include me). I know people may view the growth on the
administrative side as costly, but the growth was a result of the workload,
and if you want to seek out volunteers to fill them, the talent pool
* How important is team performance in terms of seeking team funding?
It is definitely important. I have been saying for eight years that results
matter, so it would be disingenuous for me to change that tune. So yes,
results matter, and I contend that our results for the last eight years
have in general been very good. They weren't good at these Olympics, but
they have been good, and it is important to the funding.
But it is important to keep in mind that we are a program in transition.
There are other elements to the long range plan that we have not executed
yet. For example, the big initiative from a program perspective in the
2005-8 quad was to add sponsorship and learn how to fundraise. We had to
grow our revenue, and we did that. Our budget on an annual basis has grown
400% in the last eight years. It was about a million a year when I took
over and it's about four million now.
Our big initiative this quad was to change our culture, create a supportive
atmosphere, to make our team training more collaborative. This also has a
commercial element to it which gives donors and sponsors something to get
excited about. But there are clearly some other pieces that we haven't
gotten to yet and those are important too.
We need to do a much better job on pipeline development, and we need to do
a much better job on talent retention, so that we can get multiple quads
out of certain people. So we are not there yet, and even if we had won two
or three or four medals, we still would be saying we are not there yet. We
still have a lot of work to do. That hasn't changed.
MORE: In the second half of this interview on Thursday, Dean will discuss
team performance and its future.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of esteemed photographer Carlo Borlenghi, Scuttlebutt has
produced an Olympic gallery which captures the scenery, celebrations, and
sailing in each of the ten events:
US SAILING TEAM SPONSORS RECOGNIZE OLYMPIANS AND PARALYMPIANS
Sponsors of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider recognize the 16 Olympians who
represented our country at the Olympic Games in Weymouth and Portland,
England: Graham Biehl, Debbie Capozzi, Amanda Clark, Rob Crane, Brian
Fatih, Farrah Hall, Sarah Lihan, Stuart McNay, Mark Mendelblatt, Trevor
Moore, Paige Railey, Zach Railey, Erik Storck, Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly
Vandemoer and Bob Willis. Good luck wishes to Paralympic sailors Tom Brown,
Paul Callahan, JP Creignou, Jen French, Brad Johnson and Mark LeBlanc, who
begin their competition on September 1. Sail fast!
ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH THE OLYMPIC SAILING EVENT
By Paul Henderson
There is nothing as useless as a Past ISAF President or IOC Member
(retired) but here I go anyway. I have just returned after three weeks at
the 2012 Olympics, living in the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
hotel and making the trip to Weymouth to do my usual stroll through the
boat park to take flak from the sailors. The discussions about ISAF and the
changes in the Events were disconcerting to say the least.
Many IOC members cannot believe what has happened, and they are the ones
who vote to keep Sailing as an Olympic event. The sailors in the events
being eliminated (men's and women's windsurfing and men's keelboat) are
livid. They are lashing out at other disciplines, promoting their bias
which only does a disservice to sailing in total.
Saying the need for keelboat facilities escalates the cost is just not true
as the cranes, boat park, etc are needed for the Paralympics. Properly
designed Olympic marinas leave a great legacy as happened in Kingston,
Barcelona and now Weymouth, which has given the UK a wonderful sailing
venue. The cost of the equipment is also a poor argument, as it is only a
small part of the cost of an Olympic campaign. The top racing bicycles, any
horse, or racing eight are equally as expensive as any Sailing equipment.
London 2012 Sailing at Weymouth was spectacular with 15 different countries
winning medals. Seventy nations qualified to compete, several small nations
medaled - like Cyprus - and 4 out of the 5 continents were represented on
the podium. All this begs the question: Why tamper with success? (I asked
the same question about America's Cup after AC 32 in Valencia, but that is
Never before in any Olympic Sport's history has its International
Federation voted to change 40% of their Events in one Olympiad. These are
very trying and uncertain economic times. Maybe the wealthy countries can
move from one discipline to another, but the smaller countries who have
invested in training youth, classes, coaches and all that entails cannot.
-- Read on:
AN IDEA OF OLYMPIC PROPORTION
The sailing events at the 2012 Olympic Games were the latest experiment on
how to present the sport to a larger audience. These efforts, which will
continue, tend to exploit venue location, positioning the course closer to
shoreside spectators... at the typical expense of consistent winds.
But what about the race format? Sailing, in how it determines its
medalists, remains acutely unique in comparison to the other Olympic
sporting events. As managing director of the Ronstan sailboat hardware
empire, Australian Alistair Murray offers an alternative that could help
the sport achieve the audience interest its leadership seems so eager to
I loved the Olympics, and I loved the sailing events. Why? Because I'm a
sailor! Australia did well, so sailing was the talk of the town down-under,
and many non-sailors were engaged in conversations about the sailing
But these people find the sport unfathomable! They don't understand the
scoring, the heats, the discard or that somebody coming 9th in the medal
race wins gold while the winner gets nothing. They tune out!
Let's continue with the regatta formats we all love, but the Olympics is
our shop window, the chance to showcase our sport!
The most understandable and exciting for the non-sailors was the match
racing, and it has been canned!
Why not have every sailing event race a 3 day, 3 race regatta around a 1
1/2 hour course, so that the luck of a shift or a poor start is largely
Everybody races in the first fleet race. The top 16 go through to the
second day's race, with the top 8 advancing to the third day and the race
for the medals. No point scoring, just elimination with the winners of the
final race winning the medals.
Formats similar to this work in other sports, and in fact, in the cycling
road races, marathons and triathlons you only get one chance.
TV covers sailing in grabs anyway. Show the start, highlights, finishes,
and televise the whole medal race.
My non sailing friends will love it, and I still will too! And the best
sailors will still win.
HOW BEST TO WIN THE AMERICA'S CUP
Emirates Team New Zealand Coach Rod Davis muses on the big debate as the
America's Cup action warms up with the appearance of the AC72...
There is always a difference of opinion amongst challengers, defenders and
the sailing community in general on how best to win the America's Cup. In
fact I suspect the debate goes on within each team.
In the Blue corner are those who see an America's Cup campaign as an
academic challenge... almost like a science project.
Blue corner residents are very clinical in their approach. Do this and
that's the result. How do they know? Because the best science, in our case
the best software tools available, tells them so.
In the Red corner are the guys who think nothing is as straight forward as
that. They believe sailing/racing skill is the key to winning the Cup.
The Blue corner insists the fastest boat will win the America's Cup. While
history does not back up that statement completely, a fast boat is
The Blue corner believes the switch to catamarans for 2013 strengthens
their position. The pendulum swings away from the sailing side to the
design side every time the America's Cup changes the type of boat.
It's not one group versus the other as designers and engineers can be in
Red corner and a lot of sailors can be in the Blue camp. It is more of an
outlook in how best to win the Cup.
The Red corner's world is far from clinical. There are few tools that
anyone would trust. Trial and error are still the way to learn. Hours on
the water, practicing starts and tactical situations - and racing. Anything
and everything to make a team match fit.
Write a play book: when your competition does this, your defence is this.
Moves and counter moves. The problem is real life almost never mirrors the
playbook. -- Read on:
CLASSIC LOOKS, WINNING PERFORMANCES
At the 2012 Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, 68 classic boats raced in
four divisions. David Curtis (Taylor 38, Rival) won the Spirit of Tradition
Division and the W. Starling Burgess Trophy as the Overall winner of the
regatta. Gary Gregory (12-Metre, Valiant) won the Panerai Classic Yacht
Division and was second Overall. David Gardner (Bristol 35.5, Solstice) won
the Classic GRP (Fiberglass) Yachts Division. Timmy Dittrich (IOD,
Sagacious ) won the International One Design Division. The common
denominator in the wins? Sails by Doyle. To join the list of winners, call
Doyle Sailmakers at 1-800-94-DOYLE or http://www.doylesails.com
HOW TO GET TWICE AS FIT IN HALF THE TIME
Can you improve your strength and core stability in less time? Andrew
Verdon says you can.
Training methods are evolving all the time as more research is done into
new and established techniques in the quest to get an edge in high
performance sport or find a health benefit for the wider population.
You may have read or heard of short but hard interval style training or
even tried this "new" style of training that has become more main stream
via Cross Fit/Boot camps and other training styles that are popular at
Intervals, Tabata protocols, metabolic circuits, high intensity intervals
training (HIIT) - lots of names are being thrown around at present. The
correct name is Micro Intervals; short but intense efforts (normally 60
seconds or less) repeated several times with some active recovery between
Micro Intervals have been around for a long time in the athletic world -
Roger Bannister relied on them during his half hour lunch breaks as a med
student before he broke the four minute mile in 1954.
Benefit for sailors
Sailing is a sport with a constant low to moderate level of activity with
bursts of high activity and repeat during a race. Many sailors (both
professional and recreational) have demanding lives with work, travel,
family and other commitments and do not have the large amounts of spare
time to exercise.
* Weight loss through increased metabolism and fat burning.
* Increased overall fitness and work capacity.
* Links become more efficient between brain and muscle via the nervous
* Less wear and tear on joints.
* Good when travelling with no equipment or when a hotel gym has minimal
How does it work? Read on:
* US Sailing will hold its annual election to fill three seats on its Board
of Directors, beginning Sept. 14 through Oct. 24. Thomas Hubbell is running
for President unopposed and will be elected by the new Board of Directors
on Nov. 3. The nominating committee has named three candidates to fill two
slots on the Board. The nominees are Charlie Arms, John Craig, and JJ
Fetter. Jim Walsh was nominated by the House of Delegates and is running
unopposed. All current US Sailing adult and family members are entitled to
vote. Details here: http://tinyurl.com/BOD-080712
* Talented young sailors in four fleets will be put to the test this week
on the Columbia River Gorge at US Sailing's 2012 Youth Championships. The
four day regatta begins this Wednesday, August 15. The Columbia Gorge
Racing Association in Cascade Locks, Ore. will play host to this premier US
Sailing Championship. The venue is well known for its fierce winds and
ferocious currents. All competitors are selected by US Sailing through a
resume based application process. Racing will be held in the Laser Radial,
Laser, 29er, and Club 420. Full report:
* Insight Editions, Inc. - one of the leading publishers of illustrative
books on photography, music, and popular culture - has announced plans to
publish an extravagant, oversized photo book entitled Sailing On The Edge:
America's Cup, with Sharon Green as Photo Editor and Senior Photographer;
and written by Robert Fisher and Kimball Livingston. -- Read on:
* CORRECTION: In Scuttlebutt 3654, Charley Cook was incorrectly listed as
the Principle Race Officer for the Women's Match Race event. Charley was in
fact the PRO for the entire Olympic sailing regatta (10 events, 5 course
areas, 6 race management teams).
PREFER YESTERYEAR'S OLDSMO-BUICK OR CITROEN?
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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 Lew Sacks:
Regarding the lead story in Scuttlebutt 3654 (What is Red Bull Storm
Chase), and at the risk of sounding like an over the hill wuss, hasn't our
sport had enough of "that kind" of publicity over the last couple years
with the Aegean tragedy, the Farallones losses, the 2011 Mac losses, the
NARC rally and the 14 year old girl in Severn? Now we have to put ten guys
on Boards in force 10+ winds? Does Red Bull, the founder of extreme
"sports" events really know what it's getting into here? They'll get plenty
of publicity alright...the same kind Glock got after the Denver massacre.
* From Peter Young:
Asking for a bit of help from the Scuttbutters: Boat missing on Lake Erie-
Blue Dog, a C&C 115, went missing Saturday evening - east of Mentor, Ohio
(last known location 41:46.73N, 81:19.24W). All crew members are safe and
no one is on board the vessel. If anyone says or hears about the where the
vessel may be please post: http://tinyurl.com/FB-081412
* From William Sandberg:
As the NY Times article this morning said, "And the gold medal for whining
I feel compelled to stand up for my friend Dean Brenner, US Olympic Sailing
Team Chairman, who is, and will be, the object of many personal attacks. I
have worked with Dean for the last 8 years, helping to raise funds for the
Olympic and Paralympic sailing teams. That's right. Eight years. Longer
than anyone has held that position as far as I know. A position that is
basically a volunteer one. A position that Dean has poured his heart and
soul into, not to mention the hours away from his business and family.
As Dean himself said going into the Games, "in the end, it's all about the
medals." And for the first time since 1932, the US has not won an Olympic
medal in sailing. So the naysayers say the program is an abysmal failure.
However, let's look at some of the accomplishments during Dean's
leadership.... read on:
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