SCUTTLEBUTT 3695 - Thursday, October 11, 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: Harken and Ullman Sails.
WILL A NEW SPEED RECORD BE SET THIS YEAR?
Luderitz is a harbour town in southwest Namibia, lying on one of the least
hospitable coasts in Africa. It is also home to the fastest 500 meter race
track yet known for speed sailing.
A purpose built canal provides flat, shallow water, and is angled to take
full advantage of the strongest winds that arrive in September through
November. In 2007, the first edition of the Luderitz Speed Challenge (LSC)
was launched, with the idea to attract sufficient participation to pay for
the infrastructure needed to establish legitimate world records. Lightning
The combination of the canal and the kiteboard proved fast. The outright
female speed sailing world record was set in 2007, with the outright open
record broken in 2008. The evolution of kite equipment and technique, when
combined with the canal, saw records climb each year. The current records
were set at the 2010 LSC, with American Rob Douglas holding the outright
record of 55.65 knots.
But the steady escalation of speed took a hit in 2011 when the LSC
organizers undertook a mission to dig a new canal to improve speed and
safety. A private event was held that year, with only a few select riders
invited to test the new canal. Rob Douglas wasn't among them, and no new
records were set.
For the upcoming 2012 Luderitz Speed Challenge, organizer Sebastien
Cattalan (FRA), who has personally twice set the outright record with a
kite, appears to be using his position to reclaim the record this year.
Kites have proven faster than windsurfers, yet the windsurfers are
scheduled in the canal during the preferred winds in November 4-December 2.
The chance for record setting winds decreases in December when the kites
are scheduled on December 3-16. Time will tell if Seb is taking kite runs
in November when the fastest kiters are on the sideline.
So how does the fastest sailor in the world stay in the record-setting
"Two weeks for kites is a short window for a world record attempt in
Luderitz, especially in December," said Rob. "I am considering an event in
France organized by Alex Caizergues (FRA) in November/December. Alex has
held the outright record before so he knows what it takes. It is a risky
decision for me as his new French trench is unproven but the area is
capable of getting more wind than Africa. Can you imagine if France gets
55+ knots of cold dense wind? This could be wild!"
An outside chance for speed records to fall comes next week at the 2012
North American Speed Sailing Championship Invitational on Martha's Vineyard
October 15-31. With a $30,000 prize purse, the current forecast for Sunday
is calling for gusts to 40 knots. Here is a promo video:
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IS SAN FRANCISCO THE 'NEW' SOMALIA?
Local sailor Todd Tholke is either a Good Samaritan or a high-seas pirate.
On Sept. 30, Tholke was a hero when he went out on the bay in the middle of
the night to single-handedly rescue the runaway French AC45 catamaran
Energy. The America's Cup World Series boat snapped its mooring line at
Piers 30-32 that night and drifted off into the darkness, unmanned and out
of control. It fetched up on the rocks of Treasure Island, where it was
spotted from the land by Tholke.
At 3:30 a.m., Tholke pulled it off the shore with his 14-foot Boston
Whaler. He then towed it to the Treasure Isle Marina and handed it back to
the racing team. The French were so grateful they offered to give Tholke a
ride on the bay.
But last Friday, as the French prepared for the regatta, Tholke's
representatives presented them with a warrant from U.S. District Court to
"arrest" the boat and take it into custody as soon as Sunday's races were
Based on a law from the 1800s, Tholke's attorney John Edgcomb said in court
documents, the rescue had established "a valid maritime salvage claim" and
Tholke was entitled to "a liberal maritime salvage award." Edgcomb said the
amount was up to the court, but something "in excess of $200,000."
The French officially said in a statement that they were "surprised and
disappointed," but it would be more accurate to say they were
It is hard to blame them. After all, the boat only floated a mile. It was
only free for a few hours. And to be honest, if Tholke had just made a
phone call, they would rather have picked it up themselves.
It is tempting to speculate that Tholke figured his ship had literally come
in. He quietly nabbed the boat, claimed the Coast Guard declined to pull it
off the rocks, and went straight to legal counsel.
Ridiculous, says Edgcomb, who said Tholke would not be available for
"Todd wasn't doing this for the money," he said. "He thought he was doing
something heroic that people would appreciate." Read more:
U.S. TAX DOLLARS AT WORK
After his big wins at the America's Cup World Series last weekend, Oracle
Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill headed to southern California and the US
Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar on Tuesday where he had the honor of
flying with the US Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the 'Blue Angels'.
From a full-reheat take-off from which pilot Lt Mark Tedrow took the F-18
into a 500ft/sec vertical climb to a steep/hard simulated aircraft carrier
landing, Spithill had the ultimate 'Guest Racer' experience during the 45
minute flight from the back seat of the fighter jet. --
MOORE 24 + CIRCUMNAVIGATION = ADVENTURE
By Tim Zimmermann, Sailing World
If you are a sailor and a wanderer, here's someone I definitely think you
Webb Chiles is an American original, a sailor, poet, and explorer who has
circumnavigated the globe five times (once in an 18-foot Drascombe Lugger
called Chidiock Tickbourne). In 1975 he became the first American to solo
around Cape Horn.
In case it is not clear, he is not afraid to live a full life (he's also
been married six times), and to his credit appears to treat adventure as a
basic necessity, on par with breathing. Here's how he describes himself,
and introduces his website:
"People who know of me at all probably do so as a sailor; but I have always
thought of myself as an artist, and I believe that the artist's defining
responsibility is to go to the edge of human experience and send back
reports. Here are my reports."
Unsurprisingly, Chiles, now in his 70s, is not done yet. His wife, Carol,
expects him to fall off a boat in the middle of some ocean at age 90. In
preparation, Chiles has put together a Requiem playlist he'd like to hear
in his final moments. But until that moment, and perhaps leading to that
moment, he has plans.
His next adventure is another circumnavigation, naturally with an
interesting wrinkle: His boat choice is a Moore 24, which he has called
I'm inspired by what Chiles has done with his life, and I love what he is
about to do. So I contacted him with some questions, and he was kind enough
to respond. Here is an online Q&A....
WORLD'S LARGEST COLLEGE SAILING REGATTA
A record 425 college sailors from 38 schools racing 45 borrowed boats came
together for the 2012 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta ("IOR") hosted by
the Storm Trysail Foundation and the Larchmont Yacht Club (Larchmont, NY)
on October 6-7. With so many college sailors participating, the event has
become the world's largest college sailing regatta. Schools traveled from
Canada, the Midwest, New England and the mid Atlantic states with the
University of Wisconsin Madison travelling the farthest.
The regatta introduces college sailors, most of whom sail dinghies, to the
dynamics of big boat racing. This regatta also gives college sailors who
already have big boat experience a chance to take charge of some of very
vast and evenly matched offshore boats. The fleet racing boats were divided
into five divisions: J/105s (10 boats), J/109s (eight boats), J/44s (five
boats), a PHRF class (10 boats) and an IRC class (10 boats). The IRC class
included four Swan 42s, a King 40, a Farr 400 and an assortment of J/Boats
ranging from a J/133 to a J/111. These are very leading edge boats!
For the first time, the regatta had a Match Racing division on a separate
circle with on-the-water umpires. Four teams raced on two 52-foot match
racing machines lent by Brewer Yacht Yards. The boats were built in the
early 1990s by Dennis Conner when he was preparing for the first America's
Cup defense in Cup Class mono-hulls. Teams from SUNY Maritime, the U.S.
Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, Tufts and the U.S. Naval Academy
sailed an eight-race double round robin followed by a best of three finals.
Tufts won the round robins, and Navy won the finals 2-0. The Navy team was
the first winner of the Commodore James D. Bishop Trophy.
"Seeing the teams improve through the weekend was truly impressive," said
match racing PRO Dick Neville. "I don't think any of them had any
experience in match racing, particularly in big boats. They handled the
boats really well." Race Committee Chair Charles "Butch" Ulmer said: "Since
our first experience with match racing went so well, we intend to invite
more teams to participate and to enlarge this part of the IOR next year."
With match racing a new discipline in college racing, match racing big
boats is a great way for schools to merge their dinghy and offshore sailors
into one team for an event. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/STS-101012
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* Newport, RI (October 9, 2012) - A new record was set for the Around
Jamestown Record today by Dan Flanigan and Max Kramers, sailing their 18
foot Hobie Tiger around Jamestown with an elapsed time of 1 hour 47 minutes
and 24 seconds. The team chose to sail the course in a clockwise direction
with 17 knots of wind in a northwesterly on an ebb tide. If by October
31st, no other team in any division bests this elapsed time, they will own
the Around Jamestown Record and Skipper Dan Flanigan will win his weight in
Mount Gay Rum. -- Full report:
* The ISAF World Sailing Rankings, which are for events to be held at the
2016 Olympics, have been released for 10 October 2012 and for the first
time include Kiteboarding. Since the previous ranking release on 19
September, ISAF has re-graded the ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas of the
2011-12 circuit to apply the new grading system. The Nacra17 and 49erFX are
set to be introduced into the ISAF Sailing World Cup for the first time
throughout the 2012-2013 series and will appear on the rankings following
each regatta. -- Full report: http://www.sailing.org/news/32684.php
* The third edition of The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing will
kick off May 11, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina. The Atlantic Cup is
the only dedicated Class 40 race held annually in the U.S., with the 2012
event hosting an international fleet of 15 boats. The 2013 edition begins
in Charleston, South Carolina with a 642 nautical mile doublehanded leg to
New York City, which is followed by a 231 nm doublehanded leg to Newport.
In Newport, a full crew will race a two-day, inshore series. -- Full
* (October 10, 2012) - In the third Sailing World college rankings of the
season, Georgetown and Yale remain at the top of the coed rankings, while
Charleston moves up to third. On the women's side, St. Mary's moves up to
third place behind Yale and Navy. Twenty-two coaches voted in this poll. --
Full report: http://tinyurl.com/SW-101012
* Organizers of the U.S. Sailboat Show say an estimated 50,000 people
attended and dozens of boats were sold last weekend during the 43rd edition
of the annual event in Annapolis, Md. There were more than 600 exhibitors,
and organizers said attendance equaled or slightly exceeded that of the
2011 show. -- Soundings, read on: http://tinyurl.com/TOT-101012
INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES
The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum provides an opportunity
for companies to announce new products and services. Here are some of
* RIBCRAFT to Sell Nautica RIB Inventory
* Quantum Announces 2012 Fall Sale & Giveaway
* Special offer on O'pen BICs
View updates here: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum/industry_news
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 Garry Hoyt:
Apropos of the recent discussions in Scuttlebutt, the basic building block
for the growth of sailing - and for arresting the current lamentable
decline - is the development of a new, car toppable singlehander.
For the past 50 years, this category in the U.S. has been dominated by two
designs - the Sunfish and Laser - with the Olympic Laser the clear
international leader. Without disputing the deserved popularity of these
classics, the challenge of new growth would seem to require the kind of
stimulation that only a new product with clearly better performance can
I have been working on this and have developed a new design that meets this
criteria. I am sure there are other designers with ideas of equal or
greater merit. The small size of the market, the high initial cost of
building and proving a prototype and sailors' traditional resistance to
change, are all serious obstacles. It would be interesting to find out how
Scuttlebutt readers see this.
COMMENT: Garry is one of the foremost innovators our sport has ever known,
and is duly suited to take on this challenge. Please email to Scuttlebutt
your thoughts: email@example.com
* From Paul Henderson:
Regarding the Laser class situation (Scuttlebutt 3694), sailors tend to
have their own terminology which does not fit the IOC Regulations. IOC has
"Events" like Keelboat Men or Women Singles which must be decided at least
four years before each Games. What we call classes the IOC calls equipment
which ISAF does 4 years before but the IOC Regulations say must be done 3
years before the Games.
By changing the name of the Laser, it could be construed as just equipment
and therefore must be done by next summer. If ISAF approaches the IOC and
sensibly make the case for why it has to be changed they are not that
rigid... at least I found that to be the case.
* From John McNeill:
I was at the SF Marina both Saturday and Sunday for most of the day during
the AC World Series, and would repeat what has appeared in the local press
praising the event authority and City for excellent planning and handling
of the crowds. Yes, it was shoulder to shoulder on the beach, but open
enough for most to have good viewing, and the general air of civility was
What was most impressive to me, however, was the quick adjustments made
overnight by the authorities as they learned of snags from the prior day.
It appears from this peak experiment that 2013 should be a very good year
for the fans.
A special 'wow' should also go out to the competitors and John Craig and
crew for the awesome job of managing the racing in the midst of the air
show Sunday, when the fleet race was pocketed in the middle of the air
show. It was just amazing to see a large fleet of race committee boats and
the competitors mass to positions on the course and be ready to go in a
matter of minutes.
IS YOUR EVENT LISTED BELOW?
Posting your event information on the free, self-serve Scuttlebutt Event
Calendar tool is the easiest way to communicate to both sailors and sailing
media. But don't stop there. If your event is listed below, please send us
your race reports too:
Oct 13-14 - Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship - Deltaville, VA, USA
Oct 13-21 - Manhasset Bay Fall Series - Port Washington, NY, USA
Oct 17-21 - J/105 North American Championship - San Diego, CA, USA
If you do not say it, they can't repeat it.
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