SCUTTLEBUTT 3701 - Friday, October 19, 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: Allen Insurance and Financial and Soft Deck.
ANSWER NEEDED TO PROCEED
For those that choose to race singlehanded around the world, in the beastly
Open 60s, there's only one question: Why? The 20 entrants that will compete
in the Vendee Globe have until the start on November 10 in Les Sables
d'Olonne, France to have the answer.
"Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?" George Mallory, the English
climber, was asked by a reporter in New York, before his third, fatal,
attempt in 1924. "Because it's there," he said with the height of brevity.
With less than a month to go before the start of the Vendee Globe, it is a
sentiment with which the twenty skippers preparing for the ultimate solo
sailing race will sympathise.
They have just watched Felix Baumgartner, the supersonic Austrian, plunge
128,000 ft to earth at a speed of 1342 kilometres an hour, or Mach 1.24,
making him the first human to break the sound barrier propelled only by
Among the complex and different reasons that propel people to attempt these
things seems to be one common core; the desire for an extreme challenge.
That is what sets them apart from those only seeking money or fame.
But there are many ways to experience that challenge and a variety of
feelings at the summit. "When I was standing there on top of the world, you
become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do
not think about gaining scientific data," Baumgartner said after Sunday's
jump. "The only thing you want is to come back alive. Sometimes you have to
go up really high to understand how small you really are."
Contrast that with Philippe Petit, the Man On Wire, who walked between the
twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1974. His wonderfully
insouciant answer to the question why? from a television reporter was:
"When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk." And
his smile as he walked back forth across the wire to the frustration of the
waiting police are proof he was not putting on a brave face.
The Vendee Globe is different because it is a race; not only a challenge.
But every skipper will have times during their 25,000 nautical mile journey
through the mountainous icy seas of the Southern Ocean or rounding Cape
Horn, that are about survival more than competition, about wanting to come
back alive more than winning. In the previous six editions of the race two
sailors have been lost and there have many epic rescues, with rivals
turning to rescuers.
But like any of these modern challenges, no one is forced to go on the
Vendee Globe. "I'm not brave, I just choose to do things that push me very
hard, Dame Ellen MacArthur, who finished second in the 2001-02 edition,
said, pondering her sailing feats. "That's not bravery, that's a choice."
The French and English reasons for exploration of time and space are often
caricatured at opposite end of the spectrum; the French poetic, the English
prosaic. Doubtless sometimes, as with most cliches, this is true, but
Mallory was more expansive on the why than is often remembered. -- Read on:
REMEMBERING BRITT: ALWAYS PUSHING THE EDGE
By John Longley
Very sad to hear of the passing of Britt Chance (in Scuttlebutt 3697). He
was a terrific bloke and a lateral thinker in the mode of Ben Lexcen.
After the 1988 Deed of Gift America's Cup, I was put in charge of running
the first Cup Protocol that had been signed by the then existing and past
Trustees of the Cup - NYYC, RPYC, SDYC and the current Challenger RYNZ.
One of the tasks was to decide on the class for the next match. Twelve
metres remained in the frame (John Marshall was opting for a bigger rig)
and the catamaran world was knocking on our door. But a group of us decided
we needed a new class. That group was Derek Clarke from the UK, Iain
Murray, Tom Ehman and Britt Chance. Ken MacAlpine provided the technical
expertise and I pulled the project together.
The culmination of our efforts was a meeting in Southampton to which every
recognized America's Cup designer in the world was invited and most came.
The rules of engagement were simple: You had to pay your own way, no fees,
and you had to come for the whole 5 days.
At the end of what was an incredibly exciting, creative week, Rob Humphries
was charged with designing the first IACC yacht which he did on the
Thursday night. This design was tested at the Wolfson tank in Southampton
and all attendees were subsequently given the lines and the test results.
The line in the sand had been drawn and the gun fired. One hundred one of
these yachts were subsequently built over the next 18 years with their era
ending in the final race of the 2007 match when Alinghi beat the Kiwis by
Britt Chance was right in the thick of it. All week long he was running
around lobbying everyone who would talk to him for elements of the class
that he supported. He was always pushing the edge, for example he was a
strong advocate of carbon spars when at the time many felt it was one step
too far - seems weird from this distance but it was a major discussion
point at the time.
Interesting to reflect on all this just after watching the sad sight of the
Oracle 72 slowly being destroyed by the Bay ebb tide.
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The most precious commodity for an America's Cup team is time, and
America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA now has a whole lot less of it. With
video and photos recording the tragic capsize of their AC 72 on Tuesday,
what plans the team had have clearly been scuttled. So now what?
"The platform can be repaired and we're developing a work list for that
now," commented Grant Simmer, Oracle Team USA General Manager. "The biggest
issue is the wing. We salvaged most of the wing, and we're beginning to
assess which parts we can reuse. We don't know our schedule quite yet.
Obviously, we're committing the resources needed to get the second wing
finished, with our ultimate plan to have two wings operational for the Cup.
As for our training schedule, we don't anticipate sailing the AC72 before
The only good news was the capsize did not cause any serious injuries. Here
are the fourteen people who were onboard at the time:
Primary crew (11): Rome Kirby, Jono MacBeth, Sam Newton, Kinley Fowler,
Brad Webb, Simeon Tienpont, Dirk de Ridder, Jimmy Spithill, Tom Slingsby,
Brian MacInnes, Joe Newton
Extra crew (2): Murray Jones, Kyle Langford
Designer (1): Michel Kermarec
MORE BAD NEWS: Challenger of record Artemis Racing, which has yet to sail
their AC 72, will have to wait a little longer. Their wing, which was
damaged in May during testing on another boat, is now ready but their AC 72
apparently is not. Today (Oct. 18) the team damaged the front beam while
conducting structural tests in San Francisco. The AC72 has been hauled out
of the water and the design team, led by Principal Designer Juan
Kouyoumidjian, is on site to evaluate the damage. --
HATE TO BE A BUZZ KILL, BUT...
By Bob Adriance, BoatU.S.
It's not a secret that if you've been drinking heavily and your boat's
involved in a serious accident, you could be liable (and in serious
trouble). Anyone who drives a car knows that. What may not be as apparent
is the liability you assume for other people aboard who have been drinking.
This is true even if you haven't had a drop of alcohol and are completely
Seaworthy has frequently written about the affect that alcohol has on a
drinker's balance and perception, which can lead to serious falls. The
falls - on deck, from fly bridges, into open hatches, and down the
companionway - can happen while the boat is being tossed around in a storm
or while the boat is moored quietly at a dock. In addition to stumbling on
deck, the BoatUS claim files contain numerous instances of passengers who
drowned after falling overboard. Inevitably, the toxicology report shows a
high blood alcohol level (BAC), a condition that was not always apparent to
the skipper or to other guests.
One claim involved a passenger who had been drinking beer for most of the
day while the boat was tied in its covered slip. The passenger fell asleep
on a cushioned bench at the stern and apparently awoke in the middle of the
night, fell from the boat or the dock, and drowned. The boat's owner, who
was sleeping in the cabin, heard a loud "thump" and rushed aft to see what
happened. But, despite looking for several hours, he could not find any
trace of his friend until well after daybreak, (Claim #0101879).
In another claim involving alcohol and passengers, a group of people went
to a bar on Lake Erie and then headed back to the marina aboard a 37' boat.
The skipper had not been drinking. While returning at sunset, someone
noticed that one of the men was missing. The skipper immediately turned the
boat around to look for the man overboard, but could not find him. The man
had drowned. An autopsy found that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 2.8
- three times the legal limit, (Claim #0009514).
Both of these cases resulted in lawsuits against the skipper. There have
been many others that were similar. The complaints always allege that the
skipper should have known of the passenger's condition and prevented his or
her injury or death. In some states, a boat owner can be found liable
simply for serving the alcohol. -- Seaworthy, read on:
* San Diego, CA (October 18, 2012) - Chris Perkins sailed Masquerade to the
top of the leaderboard on day 1 of the J/105 North American Championship.
Strong overnight winds produced large swells, but a decreasing breeze went
from 10-12 knots for the first race down to an all-out drifter by the
finish of the second race. Masquerade posted a 1-2 to hold a five point
lead over Gary Mozer's Current Obsession 2 in second place with Dennis
Conner on DC's Pholly one point further back in third. Twenty-five teams
are competing. Racing continues through Sunday; 10 total races are planned.
* St. Petersburg, FL (October 18, 2012) - After light winds on Wednesday
prevented any racing at the 2012 Sunfish World Championship, conditions
improved today to allow for two races. After now posting three consecutive
bullets, Alexander Zimmerman from Peru is the new leader with 19 points,
opening a 26 point margin on Andrey Quintero (COL) and Jose Vicente
Gutierrez (VEN) who both have 45 points. Racing continues through October
19. Full results here: http://sunfishworlds.org/resultsfull.asp?j=2012&e=N
* Martha's Vineyard, MA (October 18 2012) - Insufficient winds prevailed
for the second consecutive day at the 2012 North American Speed Sailing
Championship Invitational, preventing the completion of any heats. Better
conditions are expected Friday. Daily reports:
* Nice, France (October 18, 2012) - Excessive conditions cancelled the
first day's racing at the penultimate Act of the Extreme Sailing Series.
The forecast for today was 14 to 17 knots but the French Riviera over
delivered, where the wind was blowing a steady 25 knots, with gusts of 30
knots throughout the day. That combined with a strong tide and rolling
waves was deemed unsafe for the eight teams. Three more days of racing
remain with the conditions expected to subside enough Friday to allow for
racing. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/ESS-101812
* The IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association) has signed a
collaborative agreement with Open Sports Management (OSM), a newly
established commercial rights & event management consultancy set up by Sir
Keith Mills, with the aim of optimising the profile and the commercial
potential of IMOCA, one of the world's leading ocean racing classes. The
multi-year contract will see OSM develop and implement a new marketing and
commercial strategy, capitalising on the strength of the IMOCA class
programme, and ensuring its future commercial success to the benefit of all
parties involved. -- Full report:
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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include wings and things, throwback, down under, aging afterguard,
cakewalk, gauntlet, all good, and all bad. Here are this week's photos:
* Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is an amazing rendezvous of modern sailing
boats alongside the most beautiful traditional yachts to do battle in the
bay of Saint-Tropez. Carlo Borlenghi shares images from the event:
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
Britain's Alex Thomson may be more famous for his stunts to promote
sponsor's Hugo Boss brand, but his focus now is to win the world's toughest
sailing challenge: the solo 26,000 mile non-stop Vendee Globe Ocean Race.
Alex is one of 20 skippers that will lead their Open 60s to the start line
in France on November 20. This video provides a preview of what lies ahead:
* A wild 24 hours for Oracle Team USA, from training on San Francisco Bay
with their AC 72 to capsizing to salvage: http://tinyurl.com/OTU-101812
* Shirley Robertson and her CNN Mainsail program are in Sardinia to profile
the owner/driver class that competes for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup:
* This week's America's Cup Discovered goes behind the scenes in San
Francisco during October's America's Cup World Series. We send Discovered
reporter Genny Tulloch into pit row to get the stories from the sailors.
Look for next week's show to have full backstory to the Oracle Team USA
capsize. Tune in on Saturday October 20 approx 0800 PDT 1100 EDT:
* This week's episode of Chalk Talk looks at a weekend of collegiate
interconference regattas, highlighted by an incredible performance by this
week's guest, Juan Maegli. View here: http://www.youtu.be/iahCW5PSX0o
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Gregory Scott:
Over a number of years I have attempted to impart levels of acquired
observation upon the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA). While CYA have my
full support to carry on in any manner they choose, I once again offer an
observation that seems to be ignored by the recent decision to consider an
organizational name change to Sailing Canada (as reported in Scuttlebutt
Due to many factors there has been a substantial decline in the funding of
sailing in North America and the effect of that decline is appearances on
the World and Olympic podiums by Canada and the USA. Meanwhile, my sense is
that Great Britain has substantially outpaced North America in funding and
as a result, so have their podium results.
A look at Great Britain's Royal Yachting Association website
(www.rya.org.uk) shows that "Yachting" includes both power and sail. And
power includes power boat racing. Funding is based on numbers, and as
sailing numbers drop, we need to find solutions.
I have said for years that excluding power denies a reality that occurs
every race night and every regatta - without power we don't go sail racing.
By including power, we broaden our potential base of support far beyond
where we are today.
A Sea Ray owner has a more reasonable ability to relate to an Olympic
sailor than he or she may have to seeing themselves in the 100 metre final
or decathlon. The Carver 50 owner sees sailors every day at the marina.
Re-branding in a manner that further excludes power owners is like a car
manufacturer that will only sell cars to sailors. It would sound absurd if
we read that Ford had made such a decision.
Each year since the halcyon days of sailing yacht manufacturing in Canada,
the Toronto International Boat Show has seen a continued decline in
physical space represented by sail and a profound switch to power.
I believe in today's world - inclusion will see far greater benefits to
* From Fred Roswold:
Watching the video, it looks to me like Oracle was foiling as it bore away;
both daggerboards are clearly visible after it completed the turn. Further,
it appears the boat had completed the bear away and was going straight for
a period of about 4 seconds before it dropped off the foils and the bows in
started to slice in. http://youtu.be/drgglIebuQY
* From Michael Silverman:
What happens if/when a similar AC72 incident occurs during the Louis
Vuitton Cup for the challengers or the America's Cup match? Does a team get
a postponement to repair their boat? I could see the jury awarding a
postponement if the incident occurred from being fouled, but what if it's
just a team pushing a bit too hard?
EDITOR'S NOTE: It is our understanding there will be no muligans for teams
that break down. This America's Cup might be decided on who can afford the
maximum number of spares and still have some left at the end.
Who needs common sense when you have a cell phone?
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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