SCUTTLEBUTT 3697 - Monday, October 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: JK3 Nautical Enterprises and BIC Sport North America.
"THE CURRENT MOULD HAS TO BE BROKEN"
While it's risky to deal in generalities, it's safe to say that being a kid
today is a lot different than it used to be. When it comes to sailing, the
debate follows whether today's young people have sufficient freedom that
will help to lead them toward a lifetime of sailing.
Jahn Tihansky, Director of the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team at the United
States Naval Academy, recalls his teen sailing in the 1970s, and how
valuable those years were to his connection to the sport.
I grew up sailing at the Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL, and although
I did some pram sailing in the beginning (it took a while for me to figure
out mine was not an Opti), I had the good fortune to get picked up off the
dock as crew aboard a MORC sized keelboat when I was about 12 years old.
First I sailed with them for beer can racing and soon for weekend and
overnight races too. The boat wasn't particularly competitive but the owner
and his wife, as well as his other adult crew, welcomed me aboard as part
of their sailing family and fostered my learning every position on the
boat. They even let me clean the bottom!
Before long, I was trusted to deliver the boat across the bay to St. Pete
which I usually did double handed along with similar aged friends on Friday
nights after school. We did some crazy stuff on those deliveries. Rigging
trapezes, flying two kites at once, swinging from the spin halyard and
worse (or better, depending on your perspective). For better or for worse,
my parents didn't sail so they had little clue of my shenanigans. The
boat's owners were my weekend keepers and far more permissive than my
parents likely would have been.
Somewhere in there, my family acquired a Sunfish which provided more
adventure, although my buddies had Lasers. With money saved up from mowing
lawns and cleaning bottoms, I picked up a beater Laser too. None of us
weighed over 120 lbs. Another friend had a 470 which was very cool, but
with no others around to race against, it was for joy rides only.
While we did do some Laser regattas (mostly against adults) the majority of
our races were aboard the keelboats as crew with our adult 'peers' in
events similar to today's club PHRF races. Little did I realize how awkward
it must have been for them to have us tagging along in the sailing social
scene of the time. But they put up with us and I count many of those same
'adult' sailors as close friends today.
Pretty much all that are still alive from that time are still sailing in
some form or another. And I am too. I am no Olympian but consider myself a
pretty versatile and well-rounded sailor, and reasonably competitive in a
wide variety of boats from an A Cat to a TP52 to a lead mine Swan 44. I can
jibe a symmetric kite end-for-end as well as dip pole and rig an asymmetric
for inside or out. I can also navigate without a GPS, anchor in a tight
harbor, splice a piece of 3-strand and start a cranky diesel. Where did I
get the foundation for these skills? From the myriad of adult mentors who
were willing to give me a chance.
I give thanks daily for the environment I grew up in and the cast of
characters within it which provided me such opportunity and experience!
If we want to prolong the interest of today's young sailors in the game,
the current mould has to be broken and the kids turned loose! And every big
boat owner with a modicum of passion for the sport should open their arms
and welcome them aboard. Then teach them the ropes! -- Read on:
SUPPORT WHERE YOU NEED IT
JK3 is proud to sponsor the 2012 J/105 North American Championships hosted
by San Diego Yacht Club, October 17-21. The event will consist of 4 days of
ocean racing along with a full schedule of festivities and social events
throughout the week, concluding with the award ceremony on Sunday evening.
This is a must attend regatta! And, as always our JK3 sales staff in San
Diego, Newport Beach, and Alameda stand ready to help you fulfill your
boating goals. Check out our brokerage listings http://www.jk3yachts.com
PRAYING FOR WIND
The first thing you notice about a kiteboard is how ridiculously small it
is. It is so small, it makes a luge seem roomy. So small that what it can
do - carry a grown man at speeds approaching 60 knots - seems, at first
Then there are the courses where kiteboard riders seek to achieve these
speeds: shin-deep stretches of water no more than a few feet from shore, in
places where winds routinely reach gale force. Places where success can
mean traveling faster than any sailing vessel ever to knife through water,
and where wiping out can mean broken bones, and worse.
The windswept, sandy coastal ponds on Martha's Vineyard provide several
prime spots for kiteboarding, which has made it a magnet for the sport.
Here, starting Monday, competitors from around the world will converge to
vie for the best speeds in an event organized by a coterie of local
enthusiasts who also happen to include some of the fastest sailors on
To gear up for the event, on a recent autumn day when the southwest breeze
kicked up a wicked chop on Vineyard Sound, these hardies - some might say
crazies - practiced their madcap sport.
"Windy is better. It can also be more dangerous, but it's more exciting,"
opined Brock Callen, 33, a professional sailboat racer from Edgartown who
first stepped onto a kiteboard five years ago. "We look for the storm
systems and that's what we get excited about."
Calling this sport "sailing" caused a squall of controversy in 2008.
Kiteboarders had to fight for recognition when Rob Douglas, a lifelong
sailor and windsurfer who had been racing a kiteboard for only three
months, broke the world record for fastest time under sail.
At first, the International Sailing Federation balked at acknowledging the
record. But in December 2008, it recognized that the times should be
counted by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. In 2010, Douglas, who
runs the Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven and its affiliated shops, set a
record - an average speed of 55.65 knots over 500 meters - that still
"It's quite simple. Kitesurfers are sailboats," said Douglas, 41, whose
burly, 220-pound physique looks incongruously weightless as he skims
lightly across the surface. "Any sailing craft on water that uses the wind
for propulsion qualifies for the outright world speed sailing record. . . .
Different yes, but it's still sailing." -- Read on:
* The North American Speed Sailing Invitational on Martha's Vineyard
October 15-31 has a $30,000 prize purse. Details:
CONDUCT UNBECOMING A MEMBER
It was reported in Scuttlebutt 3695 how the French AC45 broke from its
mooring prior to the AC World Series, and was rescued from the rocks by a
witness to the incident. It was presumed the rescuer, Todd Tholke, was just
doing a good deed, but he has since then lawyered up and is seeking a
$200,000 salvage claim.
Who is Todd Tholke? Regional publication Latitude 38 reports that some time
ago he identified himself to the San Francisco Bay Guardian as a street
musician who lives on his sailboat. "I work on the docks and I've been
living aboard my sailboat for fifteen years," Tholke told the Guardian.
"That's how I supplement my lifestyle as a songwriter and musician in San
Francisco. I live on a boat."
But Tholke also might be the only San Francisco street musician who is also
a member of the venerable St. Francis YC, one of the most revered and
celebrated yacht clubs in the world. If you think St. Francis members are
pleased that a fellow member is demanding $200,000 for the 'salvage' of
Energy Team, you'd be wrong. Indeed, a very reliable source at the St.
Francis YC has told Latitude that a letter is being composed and will be
sent to the flag officers of the club asking that Todd Tholke come before
the flag officers for "conduct unbecoming a member of the St. Francis Yacht
Club." -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/Lat38-101412
* Authorities say a sailor from Wisconsin in the annual Great Chesapeake
Bay Schooner Race was killed after a sail on his vessel knocked him
overboard. The Virginia Marine Police say 68-year-old Paul Stephen Case of
Racine died following the Friday night incident off Windmill Point, near
Gloucester. Officials say the crew of the 43-foot Cuchulain was taking down
the sails when Case was struck on the windy and choppy seas. He was not
wearing a life jacket. More than 30 vessels participated in the race from
Annapolis, Md., to north of Hampton Roads. -- Full story:
* Sheboygan, WI (October 14, 2012) - Caleb Paine, US Sailing Team member,
won the 2012 US National Championship held October 12-14. Paine and
Canadian 2012 Olympic Finn sailor, Greg Douglas, swapped lead changes
several times during the grueling Lake Michigan conditions. Paine led after
two light air races on Friday, with Saturday cancelled due to 8 to 10 foot
seas and 20 knots of breeze. Conditions moderated on Sunday to allow for
three more races. -- Complete report:
* American Addison Hackstaff won the 19-boat 2012 Youth Sunfish World
Championship, hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Florida) on October
11-13. Hackstaff won on a tiebreaker with Nic Baird and Liam McCarthy. The
Sunfish World Championship are scheduled for October 15-19. Full results
* The US Multihull Championship, hosted by Pensacola Beach Yacht Club, will
be raced in F16 catamarans. Sixteen races are scheduled on November 15-18,
with a clinic on November 13-14. Information on charters, travel discounts,
and registration here:
THIS IS GOING TO BE BIG
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EIGHT BELLS - BRITTON CHANCE, JR.
Britton Chance Jr., lead designer for the successful 1987 and 1988 Stars &
Stripes America's Cup campaigns, died October 12 at the age of 72 years.
Britt Chance grew up around boats - both sail and power - became seriously
interested in yacht design at 15, trained in the sciences at the University
of Rochester, worked at the towing tank at Stevens Institute, studied
mathematics at Columbia University, worked for Ray Hunt and Ted Hood, and
went on his own with Chance & Company in 1962.
Britt has a diverse design portfolio which ranges from racing shells to
dinghies to multihulls, fast cruisers and offshore racers to power boats,
including the high-tech Flarecraft, as well as Meter and America's Cup
boats. Indeed, Chance is closely identified with Cup design; Britt was a
lead designer in both the '87 & '88 Stars & Stripes campaigns, played a
leading role in the formulation of the IACC Class, and, in the '92 Defense,
led the joint PACT/Boeing appendage research project for all US Syndicates.
An active rower and sailor, with extensive dinghy, IOR, IMS and 5.5 & 12
Meter experience, Britt was alternate helmsman in the Olympics for the 5.5
Meter and Dragon Classes. He has crewed, or skippered, in major events
including the America's Cup Trials, One Ton Cup, Admiral's Cup, 5.5 Meter
Worlds, and offshore in the Bermuda, Fastnet, Middle Sea, and SORC Races.
For a change of pace, he rows competitively.
The Barnegat Bay Sailing Hall of Fame inducted Britt on October 6, 2012 as
one of eight inductees who have distinguished themselves in the sport.
EIGHT BELLS - BRUCE LOCKWOOD
W. Bruce Lockwood, 90, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012.
Born in Boston, on May 14, 1922, to W. Bruce and Mary Lockwood, Bruce grew
up in Ohio and in his early years spent summers on the North Fork of Long
Island. Growing up on Long Island Sound, his passion for sailing began at
the age of four. As teenagers, several times Bruce and his brother John
rescued a capsized neighbor of theirs who was not as talented as they were
with sailboats: Albert Einstein. In 1938, he and his brother founded the
Old Cove Yacht Club in New Suffolk, Long Island, still going strong today.
Throughout his life, Bruce belonged to many sailing organizations:
Woodridge Association, Ram Island Yacht Club, Shennecossett Yacht Club,
Baldwin Yacht Club, Off Soundings Club, Storm Trysail Club, Palo Alto Yacht
Club, and the Mystic River Mudheads. In 2007, Bruce wrote the book
"Reflections-Off Soundings Since 1933" which was published and sold to
sailors and non-sailors alike.
Bruce raced penguins in midwinter in Connecticut, snipes in San Francisco
Bay, dinghies in the Phillipines, knockabouts on Peconic Bay, J-29s in Key
West, and all types of sailboats on Long Island Sound. Among other things,
he won three Block Island Race Weeks, Key West Race Week, the Mumm 30
Northeast Championship, was an eight time champion of the Mystic River
Mudhead fleet, and won too many Off Soundings Series to count, the most
recent win being the 2012 Off Soundings Series, four weeks before his
Bruce estimated he'd sailed in almost 7,000 races over the course of his
life. "He was an incredible man, who seemed to know everyone at everyone
regatta we went to...no matter where it was," said stepson Peter
Bruce's zest for life was contagious, and he had a unique way of seeing the
best in everything. Friends are invited to join the family at a celebration
of Bruce's life at noon Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Shennecossett Yacht Club.
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* From Gregory Scott:
The report in Scuttlebutt 3695 of the maritime lawsuit reminded me of an
incident in the sixties when my father re-wrote maritime law.
A ship had run aground on a shoal in Lake Ontario off the end of Wolfe
Island. My father's clients were in a bar and overheard these crewmen who
were drinking merrily away and telling my father's clients they were from a
ship on a shoal. The clients asked if all the crew were onshore - answer
At which point the front door of our house was being pounded on with
considerable vigor. My father's initial sense of marine law turned out to
be correct as he told his clients to get out to the ship asap and take
charge of the vessel. Our house became quite a wild place to be, and in the
end this band of fresh water pirates and a good maritime lawyer became the
owners of an "abandoned ship".
Technically, as I recall, the court ruled that the seaway was "an arm of
the sea". And hence I have been an AC watcher ever since. So it will be
intriguing to watch how the courts describe the waters where the event
occurred, and to see if our favorite Scuttlebutt attorney will soon be back
* From Philip Walwyn:
The story in Scuttlebutt 3695 about the salvor seeking compensation for
rescuing the French AC45 reminded of how many years ago a rather immaculate
and expensive Riva went adrift from its mooring in the Caribbean. The
Trades quickly took her way offshore. Several teams went off in search and
the best team, sailing a 40 foot catamaran, fought off (literally) the
others to secure the Riva, bring her back under tow and deliver the boat to
The owner asked of the salvers what he owed them. The answer was "nothing",
after all there is a brotherhood/sisterhood of or on the sea. They received
a wonderful letter from the owner, who was Italian, saying, "You have done
me a favour, anytime you need one back, etc."
* From Donald Street:
After 48 years in the insurance business, and having been involved in
settling a number of salvage claims, I have seen that the salvor who
negotiates a quick settlement with the owner or insurance company comes out
with much more money in his pocket than the salvor who pushes and achieves
a large settlement. By the time lawyer's fees are paid, the salvor's take
home pay is often less than if he had made a quick settlement out of court.
In Scuttlebutt 3695, Tim Zimmermann wrote that Webb Chiles became the first
American to solo around Cape Horn in 1975. This was followed by a letter
published in Scuttlebutt 3696 that said it was Slocum who had previously
soloed around Cape Horn sometime between 1884 and 1886. More letters came
to Scuttlebutt this weekend stating that Slocum was not American as he was
born in Nova Scotia.
Slocum, who was inducted in the U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011,
was born in Nova Scotia in 18744 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in
San Francisco in 1865. As for Cape Horn, Tim Zimmermann explains. "I would
never want to take anything away from Joshua Slocum, one of America's
greatest and most inspiring seamen. However, Capt. Slocum sailed from the
Atlantic to the Pacific via the Strait Of Magellan, and not via Cape Horn."
The Strait Of Magellan, named for the Portuguese adventurer Ferdinand
Magellan, is a navigateable route between mainland South America and the
islands of the Tierra Del Fuego archipelago where Cape Horn is at the
southernmost tip, and was considered much safer than the Drake Passage.
A fail-safe circuit will destroy others.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
JK3 Nautical Enterprises - BIC Sport North America - Dieball Sailing
North Sails - Team One Newport - North Sails - Point Loma Outfitting
Allen Insurance and Financial - Ullman Sails - APS - Soft Deck
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