SCUTTLEBUTT 3663 - Monday, August 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: Samson Rope and Dieball Sailing.
ADVICE FROM A MASTER OF SELF-RELIANT SAILING
By Bill Schanen, SAILING magazine
I'd like to go sailing with Robin Knox-Johnston sometime. I understand he
can be a bit crotchety, but I think we'd get along. I admire his commitment
to the ethos of the self-reliant sailor. Besides, anyone who recommends
that sailors jump overboard instead of calling for help in some
circumstances would have to be an interesting shipmate.
RKJ, as he's frequently called to get around the clumsiness of a hyphenated
surname, got my attention when he wrote: "Why are so many sailors
frightened of the water? It's as if beneath the surface of the sea lurk
unimaginable dangers and monsters waiting to trap those who enter."
The comments rose out of his irritation over boaters whose first instinct
when something goes wrong at sea is to cry for help. He was grousing
specifically about sailors who call for rescue after wrapping a line in
their propellers. "Whatever happened," he asked rhetorically, "to jumping
overside with a knife or a hacksaw to cut the prop free?"
I can picture RKJ leaping into the sea with a knife between his teeth. At
73, he looks tough enough to do it. In the photo over his column in
Yachting World, the British sailing magazine with the same oversize pages
as SAILING, his darkly-tanned, deeply-lined visage looks like a topographic
map of Cape Horn.
I agree with him about the diminishing self-sufficiency of sailors. I can
also relate to his recommended remedy for a fouled propeller.
Once after a spectacular yard-sale broach (sheets and sails and pieces of
spinnaker arrayed everywhere as in a rummage sale) while crossing the
finish line in a breezy race, I started the engine, put it in gear
prematurely and promptly strangled the propeller in many turns of a
spinnaker guy. I figured that if I was dumb enough to do that (the memory
comes back every time we do a man-overboard drill), I deserved the honor of
freeing the prop.
I took a knife "overside" with me (in my hand, not my teeth), but found
that it was little help. There were so many layers of rope that I'd still
be sawing if I had relied on the blade. I was eventually able to unwind the
mess, but I have to say it was not quite as easy as RKJ makes it sound.
"Holding your breath underwater is not as difficult as it seems," he
offered helpfully. I don't usually find that difficult at all, but doing it
long enough, and frequently enough, to free a prop choked in snakelike
coils of high-tech line is another story.
But back to the old mariner's point. Making a mayday or pan-pan call
because you can't use the engine on your sailboat (assuming you're not in
imminent danger of fetching up on the rocks) is surely a trivial use of
emergency services. After all, if you weren't interested in a swim, you
could just sail the boat home and persuade or hire someone to deal with the
problem at the dock. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/SAILING-082612
HOME TEAM, HOME TOWN EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
San Francisco, CA (August 26, 2012) - Oracle Team USA today captured the
two championships of AC World Series San Francisco, thrilling the capacity
crowds who had front row seats to close-quarter, fast-paced racing on San
The day began with Russell Coutts, the four-time America's Cup winner,
taking out teammate Jimmy Spithill in the Match Racing Championship. In a
race that saw the lead change hands three times, Coutts eked out a 1 second
victory with both boats screaming across the finish line overlapped at
Then, about 40 minutes later, Spithill found himself in another charge to
the finish line. This time he needed to overcome Team Korea (Nathan
Outteridge) to capture the Fleet Racing and Event Championship.
Spithill rounded the last mark slightly overlapped on Outteridge's stern
and then got a penalty on his rival skipper. Outteridge was forced to slow
down by the umpires, and Spithill sailed through to leeward and into second
place for the race and a 1-point victory in the overall event standings.
"This is a fantastic result for Oracle Team USA, to win the match racing,
fleet racing and overall championship," said Spithill, the reigning ACWS
champion. "I can't emphasize how much the boys fought around the race
track. We battled our way back to the top in each event and were rewarded
The first AC World Series event in San Francisco, host city for the 2013
America's Cup, was hailed as a success by Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who presented
the prizes to the top three crews in the Match Racing and Fleet Racing
"This is the first of many races to come and we look forward to the second
event (Oct. 2-7) when all of these teams will be back," Lee said. "Thank
you to all of the teams for being here and to all of the city agencies who
have worked in collaboration with the event."
Local officials estimated that more than 150,000 people visited the AC
Village at Marina Green over the course of the event. Both of the ticketed
seating areas were sold out each day, and Regatta Director Iain Murray said
that a larger than expected spectator fleet turned out on the water to
watch the racing.
"The response from the public has exceeded our expectations," said Stephen
Barclay, the CEO of the 34th America's Cup. "This was our first event in
San Francisco and our first opportunity to get a taste of racing the
wingsail catamarans on the Bay. It's simply been wonderful for everyone
involved." -- Full story: http://tinyurl.com/ACUP-082612
Final results: http://tinyurl.com/ACWS-0812-Results
MORE: The Kiwis have done it, the Swedes have done it, and on Tuesday the
Yanks will do it too. They are all splashing their first AC72s. But don't
look for the defender to be immediately sailing. After a schedule of load
testing, expect the defender to look for manageable conditions on SF Bay
before releasing the dock lines.
MORE MORE: The racing scene on SF Bay continues to sizzle this week as the
18-foot skiff class hosts their Annual International Regatta. Details:
XCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS - NEW FROM SAMSON:
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winches where necessary. The core incorporates Samson's proprietary
Samthane coating, allowing the cover to be stripped to reduce weight.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"This America's Cup is a push to make sailing more appealing to a broader
audience. Those of us involved are very hopeful that sailing will become a
larger and better-known professional sport. Sometimes it's frustrating
because we're so focused on making our sport useful commercially, but
that's not the end goal. When you watch Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, they
are making golf useful commercially. But the heart and soul of golf is not
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. It's those people who are waking up at 7
a.m. on a Saturday after a long week and taking an old set of clubs out to
San Geronimo Golf Course. It's the same story for sailing. The important
part of this sport is the kids who take their homemade boats out to Lake
Merritt. What we do is just the tip of the iceberg." - Paul Cayard, Artemis
Racing CEO, Challenger of Record:
RETHINKING THE CURRENT TACTICS
Professional sailing coach, Olympic Gold and Silver medalist and long time
America's Cup crew and skipper, Rod Davis gives his insights on the effect
of current on catamarans, and the new tactics, in San Francisco.
We are always learning in this new Cat world.
You have to think a bit more laterally when comes to racing high-speed
boats like cats, particularly in current. Be it San Francisco's America's
Cup course, or anywhere else that you try to play the current.
A few quick facts: In your 50 foot mono hull, you sail up wind at say 8
knots. If the current is 2 knots that means current is about 25% of total
speed. The new Cats will sail up wind at, about 18 knots, a 2 knot the
current is about 10% of the boat speed.
That is two and half times different, and is a very big deal.
When you play the shore short by tacking into the shallow water where the
current is weaker, you can make big gains in your monohull. The wind shifts
are a secondary consideration to getting that 25% boost in performance.
With the cat it is only 10%, so balance between current and shifts enters a
different equation. On top of that, a monohull loses about a boat length in
A good tack in the cat costs you four boat lengths in smooth water, and
more in waves. That's a big part of the new cat equation too. You can't
afford to short tack up shore.
The easy conclusion - no short tacking up a shore for current.
Ahhhhh, not so fast. You don't abandon the current all together; just the
current has a factor, given the new situation we are in at San Francisco
There is a mind twister: Downwind in some conditions at cat will go two
knots faster with just a knot more wind speed. So, in those conditions, you
would sail out into adverse current of a knot, increasing the winds speed
by a knot, and boat speed by two knots, to get to the finish faster.
That's something you never purposely do in a normal boat.
Strange but true. Still learning.
Source: Sail-World, http://tinyurl.com/SW-082612
FLASH: U.S. DID MAKE THE OLYMPIC PODIUM
At the London Olympics, Richland (MI) boat builder Jon VanderMolen pulled
off a feat not even Michael Phelps could match: His PStar boats took gold,
silver and bronze in the same event.
In fact, VanderMolen's North American Sailing Center in Richland built 11
of the top 12 finishers in the premier Star-class sailing event. (The lone
holdout: The U.S. sailing team.)
"The U.S. snuck in there at seventh, so I'm proud for them. They had a
respectable showing," said VanderMolen.
For the teams, the medal round was a nail biter - with Sweden not realizing
they had won gold until their coach told them. VanderMolen and his partner,
German Olympic sailor and boat builder Marc Pickel, had the pleasure of
watching nine of their boats sweep in almost simultaneously. (He and his
crew had built some 37 boats, with 13 of their boats claiming 16 spots in
the Star-class final.)
"It was one of the most exciting races I've ever seen. All 10 boats
finished almost overlapping - within 10 seconds of each other," said
Since the Olympics concluded earlier this month, VanderMolen said the
company has had 15 inquiries for price quotes on its website. But right
now, he said, he's competing with himself.
"A lot of club races around the world are working feverishly to get their
hands on those boats," said VanderMolen of the Olympic star-class boats.
"Until some of the Olympic boats are sold, things will be a bit slow. It's
irony. All these guys that have inquired, they want to know price of new
boats, but also how to get their hands on the Olympic boats."
VanderMolen, whose company also began building the smallest boat in the
competition in June - the 2.4, which is sailed in the Paralympics - expects
his order book to fill up as of January.
"Because the Star Boat is granddaddy of the boats, the other boats classes
have taken notice of our dominance and other classes want us to build boats
for them now," said VanderMolen. "We're hoping our business could expand to
other classes as a result of the dominance in the Star class."
In the meantime, he said, his first Olympic experience couldn't have been
any better unless he was standing on the podium himself.
"It's always been a dream of mine to build a Star boat. I've sailed them
since I was a teen," said VanderMolen, who described himself as a
"professional amateur," and whose children all sail. "To see these guys do
what they're doing in my boat is probably the most rewarding thing that
could happen to me in sailing, outside of winning one myself." --
BIG FINISHES FOR DIEBALL SAILING
It's been a great summer for everyone at Dieball Sailing! Our customers saw
big finishes at Highlander Nationals, Thistle Nationals, T-10 North
Americans, as well as many of the local one design and off-shore racing
events. But summer is not over yet - lots of fall events to still be had!
Call for more information on the Fall Discount information: 419-726-2933.
* Campione del Garda, Italy (August 26, 2012) - The 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth
World Championships went down to the wire and were decided in the very last
race in fabulous conditions. Joshua McKnight (AUS) kept his calm, sailed
nearly flawlessly and prevailed over fellow countryman Scott Babbage with
two bullets in three races. Rob Gough had a very good last day as well to
snatch third place overall from Anthony Kotoun (USVI) to make it an Aussie
sweep on the podium. The 2013 World Championship that will take place in
October on Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. -- Full report:
* (August 24, 2012) - The Atlantic Class national champion for 2012 is Norm
Peck III from Niantic Bay Yacht Club, with his crew of Robb Wylie, Don
Landers and Dave Samson. The final day of racing had to be called off in
frustratingly light and fickle conditions. Peck hasn't won the event since
1981, but has been at the forefront of the class for years. In second place
was Ben Wells from the home club, Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club, with Tomas
Hornos, Massimo Soriano and Charlie Hatfield. Third were Terry Britton,
Charlie Britton, Joe Raynes and Dana Nicholson, also from KYC. -- Daily
* Seven years later, those caught in the destructive path of Hurricane
Katrina are being urged once again to prepare for the worst, as the threat
of Tropical Storm Isaac grows by the minute. Isaac is likely to be the
first significant hurricane to make landfall along the Gulf coast since
September 2008 when Hurricane Gustav struck south central Louisiana and
Hurricane Ike hit the upper Texas coast. Wednesday marks the seventh
anniversary of the day Katrina struck New Orleans and nearby Louisiana
parishes, causing massive flooding and billions of dollars in damages. --
Full story: http://www.weather.com/news/isaac-threat-new-orleans-20120826
* The World Sailing Speed Record Council has ratified a new outright record
for sailing Around the Isle of Wight. Skipper Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) and a
crew of 9 onboard the MOD70 Foncia completed the 50nm route on August 16,
2012 in 2 hours 21 minutes and 25 seconds; an average speed of 21.3 knots.
-- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/WSSRC-082612
SCUTTLEBUTT SAILING CALENDAR
Events listed at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar
Scuttlebutt strongly encourages feedback from the Scuttlebutt community.
Either submit comments by email or post them on the Forum. Submitted
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* From Peter Swanson:
After reading Richard Hazelton's post in Scuttlebutt 3662, I would be
curious to hear what the instructors of our sport are doing to teach
sailors seamanship rather than an over reliance on technology. I pray that
these instructors, prior to allowing a student onboard, is stripping them
of all their electronic tools. When we rely on tools to make our decisions,
or to save us from our mistakes, we fail to focus on learning proper
seamanship. Sure, these tools provide the experienced sailor with an
additional layer of knowledge to make good decisions, but the foundation
needs to exist first.
* From Donald Street:
Regarding Patrick Blaney's note in Scuttlebutt 3662 about the Irish
regulation regarding life jackets, when I climb into my 18' clinker dinghy
to row about 100 yards to our 74 year old dragon for day racing in Glandore
harbor, having sailed for 70 of my 82 years, and never having worn a life
jacket, I am not about to start now!
Some people say, "you might get arrested for not wearing a life jacket!",
to which I reply, "I will have so much fun arguing with the prosecuting
attorney, and the judge, it will be worth the fine! Also my fellow yachting
writers will love it. Think of the wonderful copy they will be able to
write about how Don Street, at 82, who has sailed continually for 70 years,
who is the oldest, and longest serving (first article in Yachting Sept 1964
Going South) yachting writer in the world, that is still sailing and racing
a 74 year old dragon, and still drinking Heineken, is arrested and fined
for not wearing a life jacket."
Then some people say" but you might fall overboard and drown!", to which I
reply, " a much better way to die than in a nursing home".
* From Derek K Bouwer:
To all who question the wearing of a life preserver while sailing, they
need only have to ask themselves one question: "How long can I tread
water?" in sea boots and foul weather gear? The answer is not very long,
thought the good thing is it only take 5 minutes to drown Q.E.D.
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