SCUTTLEBUTT 3720 - Thursday, November 15, 2012
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providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
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SCOPE OF BOAT DAMAGE IS UNPRECEDENTED
The nation's largest group of boaters, Boat Owner's Association of The
United States (BoatUS), estimates that over 65,000 recreational boats were
damaged or lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy. BoatUS also estimates that
dollar damage to all recreational boats (only) is $650 million, making the
late October storm the single-largest industry loss since the Association
began keeping track in 1966. A video of the BoatUS Catastrophe response
team on the ground in New York and New Jersey can be found at
"We are all reeling from the huge impact this storm has had on communities
and people's lives," said BoatUS AVP Public Affairs Scott Croft. "We've
never seen anything like it. The scope of the damage to boats is
unprecedented, affecting large areas from the Atlantic seaboard as far
inland as the Great Lakes, with the majority of damage in New Jersey, New
York and Connecticut.
"The combination of boats stored ashore at low elevations and record high
surge levels caused hundreds, if not thousands, of boats to float away into
neighborhoods, parks and marshes," explained Croft. "The tri-state
coastline left no place for the surge to go, but up. While some boats that
stayed in the slips did fine, other boats tied to floating docks simply
lifted off too-short pilings and floated away - still tied to the dock.
Some vessels never made it out of their slip and rest on the bottom."
The BoatUS Catastrophe Response Team reports that the marine community has
rallied to gain the upper hand on the recovery process. "If there is a
story to tell, it's about how the boating industry got together immediately
after the storm to help each other out and get boats back in their place,"
said BoatUS Catastrophe Team Member Jack Hornor.
While some New Jersey barrier islands continue to restrict access delaying
boat recovery efforts, some marinas, boat clubs and yards have recovered
their customers' boats and put them back on blocks to undergo damage
assessments. Many boating facilities, especially those on New Jersey's
coast, Staten Island and western Long Island, sustained significant damage
to infrastructure such as docks, workshops, clubhouses and equipment, which
will likely have an impact on the 2013 boating season.
BoatUS estimates over 32,000 boats were damaged in NY, followed by New
Jersey's 25,000, Connecticut's 2,500 and 6,000 remaining in various states.
Dollar damage to recreational boats (only) in New York is estimated at $324
million, followed by $242 million in New Jersey and $23 million in
Connecticut. Previously, in the 2005 storm season, Hurricane Wilma and
Katrina damage was estimated at over $700 million combined. -- Read on:
DEMOGRAPHICS WILL DETERMINE FUTURE
(November 14, 2012) - Socioeconomic strides must be made if the growing
minority populations will get into boating. That was the message Steve
Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and a sociology
professor at Rice University, delivered during a seminar at the Marine
Dealer Conference & Expo, which wraps up today in Orlando, Fla.
"There's no MDCE 2012 Demographics will determine industry A s future
coming back to people who look like you and I," Murdock said. "It's just
demographically not going to happen. It's just not very likely, given the
age structure that affects fertility and the declining populations of
Keeping educational resources consistent among all racial and economic
groups is key to getting more minority-group members into activities such
as boating because that gives people access to more success.
"We have a resistance to immigrants as a whole and that slows this process
down," Murdock said. "It's not that they don't like boating or hunting.
It's just a resource issue," Murdock added. "And that is the issue I think
that, as it's tied up with demographics, is the most problematic."
Those cycles have been broken in the past though, for example, with the
Irish, Murdock said. The marine industry also might consider changing its
marketing, Murdock told the group.
"If I told you that you could win the presidential election by winning the
Hispanic vote by 34 percent you'd say I was crazy, but it happened,"
Murdock said. "And it happened because of selective marketing."
The marine industry isn't alone; there are a lot of recreational industries
that are predominantly composed of aging non-Hispanic white people, such as
hunting. "If some of these changes don't get made, you're all in for some
changes," Murdock said. -- Soundings, http://tinyurl.com/TOT-111412
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HAS ANOTHER ONE BIT THE DUST?
(November 14, 2012; Day 5) - The rollercoaster ride south is on for the
Vendée Globe leaders, as strong winds from the north have freed the fleet
from the shackles of the high pressure ridge, providing beam reaching
conditions that pushed speeds up through the high teens and beyond.
The 29 year old French leader François Gabart's strategy so far has been
brilliant. Not only did his southerly course keep making miles down the
race track while his rivals slanted west for an easier transit through the
ridge, but his course has blessed him with a less chaotic sea state which
has simply allowed him to drive harder and faster.
In contrast, rival skippers today experienced big, unruly confused seas
precipitated by the changing wind directions, requiring speed reductions to
avoid boat damage. Gabart's position finds him nearing the latitude of the
Canary Islands, keeping well offshore and clear of the archipelago's wind
The 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou (FRA) scored the comeback of
the day, rising up from tenth yesterday to fourth as his more extreme,
early move to the west finally paid dividends. But though he has gained
places, Riou continues to bleed miles to Gabart.
The day was not without drama as the youngest skipper, 27 year old Louis
Burton (FRA), confirmed that he will try and sail the 700 miles back to Les
Sables d'Olonne with a badly damaged port shroud. The Bureau Vallee skipper
struck a glancing blow off a fishing boat in the dark, early this morning
in bad weather.
"There was very poor visibility, rough seas and I had the radar and the AIS
on," explained Burton. "I was under the canopy to nap a bit and was making
about 20kts. I turned my head and saw a medium sized trawler slide along
the hull. I grabbed a light to inspect the hull in a panic to see if it was
OK. I was relieved but then saw the damage to the shroud and tacked to
The weather is due to ease for his passage back to Les Sables d'Olonne but
his immediate problem is that he cannot tack on to port. Additionally,
Burton must replace the custom shroud himself and restart before the rules
cut-off on November 20.
Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Wednesday 14 November 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. François Gabart (FRA), Macif: 22834.0 nm Distance to Finish (225.9 nm)
2. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 59.1 nm Distance to Lead
3. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 63.5 nm DTL
4. Vincent Riou (FRA), PRB: 134.9 nm DTL
5. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 155.7 nm DTL
Full rankings: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/ranking.html
BACKGROUND: Twenty skippers began the 7th edition of the Vendee Globe, a
solo, non-stop around the world race in the IMOCA Open 60 class. Starting
in Les Sables d'Olonne, France on November 10, the west to east course
passes the three major capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn before
returning to Les Sables d'Olonne. In the 2008-9 edition, Michel Desjoyeaux
(FRA) set a new race record by completing the course in 84 days. --
FINDING AND KEEPING YOUNG SAILORS
Australian born, Joe 'Coop' Cooper stayed in the U.S. after the 1980
America's Cup where he was the boat captain and sailed as Grinder/
Sewer-man on Australia. Living in Middletown, RI where he is a sailing
coach and consultant, Coop ponders the severe lack of Americans
participating in the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup.
What is going on with the U.S. sailing community that we cannot train and
produce more sailors with enough skills to get a berth in this professional
You and I know there is a (huge) difference between "yachting" and
"sailboat racing," but most people do not. The big media message is about
the wealth of the guys involved in the America's Cup. Sailing comes across
as far more rich/elitist than we know it really is. We need to change that
message so that people are not turned off from the start by a false
impression of sailing's elitist image and cost.
In Australia, New Zealand and Europe there is a social history of teenagers
learning a trade by apprenticing under a master: perhaps as a boat builder,
sailmaker, electrician or machinist. Most of the guys from Down Under are
skilled in a trade other than sailing, which is how they start getting the
nod to get on a race boat - assuming their sailing and other skills are
sound. This "dirty hands" career path is, of course, looked down on
socially in the US, although I occasionally now read essays arguing against
We lose too many kids early on because of the overly strong focus on
competitive junior sailing. I hear more and more reports of 7- to
10-year-olds losing interest in sailing because it is all about "racing."
We need to get the kids devoted to sailing first. -- WindCheck, full
COMMENT: While national pride would like to see more Americans competing at
the highest level, the bigger question I have is whether this situation is
a result of how sailing for young people has gotten segmented off from the
rest of the sport. It would seem hard for young sailors to be influenced by
older mentors when they remain in an environment of only their peers? -
UNPRECEDENTED FUNDING ANNOUNCED
(November 13, 2012) - The Canadian Olympic Committee announced today an
unprecedented funding boost of close to $100 million dollars to assist high
performance sport, games preparation, best-in-class National Sport
Federations (NSF) development and a specific envelope for the Toronto 2015
Pan American Games team. The Canadian Olympic Committee Board of Directors
and sitting Session members unanimously supported the four year quadrennial
strategic plan during its semi-annual meeting this past weekend in
Montreal, QC. The funding will be part of the 2013-2016 high performance
plan for athletes, coaches and NSF over the next four years. This support
includes direct funding by the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian
"Athletes and coaches are at the center of everything we do. With this new
funding, we are strengthening our sports system for today and tomorrow,"
said Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee. "With the
incredible support of our private sector marketing partners, we are set to
redefine the trajectory of sport in this country. Together we are just
beginning to write the next chapter of the Canadian Olympic Team story."
The Canadian Olympic Committee is funded almost exclusively by the private
sector, a testament to the value of sport in Canada. Corporate Canada
recognizes that value and has invested in Canada's athletes with their
partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee. -- Read on:
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* Clarification: The opening paragraph in Scuttlebutt 3719 about Marc
Guillemot titled 'Penthouse to the Outhouse' was a preface by Scuttlebutt
to the extract of a story written by Elaine Bunting. "I wouldn't have put
it that way as I think it seems a bit harsh," explained Bunting. "I have
deep sympathy for all the skippers who are forced out of this cruelest of
races. No matter what the cause it is a crushing end to the ambitions and
very hard work of a lot of highly committed people."
* Correction: It was reported in Scuttlebutt 3719 that Vincent Riou (FRA)
had won the 2008-9 Vendee Globe. In fact, Riou finished third in that
edition, but he did win the 2004-5 Vendee Globe.
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 Adrian Morgan:
The ISAF's bungling of the boardsailing vs. kite boarding issue simply
serves to underline what we all have known for years: ISAF is not fit for
purpose; staffed in the main (with huge exceptions, naturally) by
antiquated former sailors in blue blazers, junkies to the cash generated by
Olympic revenues, bound by labyrinthine decision making processes. I cannot
claim the authority of Paul Henderson (in Scuttlebutt 3719), but echo his
As the press officer at the infamous IYRU (as it was then) conference in
Madrid years ago, I saw firsthand the machinations reminiscent of the
Borgia papacy, with intrigue piled upon intrigue amid decision-making that
was truly bizarre.
One of my (covert) tasks was to push forward via subjectively worded press
releases, an idea that the IYRU had become too stuffy, and needed a name
change at least, and much else besides. Despite a huge furor in Madrid,
where as the lowly press officer I was blamed for exceeding my brief and
made to recant, the seed was sown and the name did change soon after, but
much else seems to be the same.
Poor sailboarders, told they are no longer wanted; happy kiters, enfolded
in the Olympic cloak, only to be cast out again. It was if the ISAF had a
moment of rare courage (or senile madness), one of many (remember the
catamaran saga?) then regret, then remorse, then back tracking and muddle.
And it may not be the final decision, says Mr Henderson! "Interesting, eh!"
he says, as if messing around with people's lives is just a game. No, it's
a joke. A bad joke. Plus change.
Bottom line: is ISAF fit for purpose? Do we need this type of leadership
telling the youngsters what to sail? Do we need ISAF?
* From D. Randy West, St. Barth:
I have only been doing the New England/West Indies run for thirty years or
so, and while I don't have the expertise that Don Street has (Scuttlebutt
3718), I do listen to his advice...often.
It seems to me that in the "Old Days" we could make it to Bermuda in three
days before the winter low blasted you. But now I have noticed that after
November there are no more three day windows unless you get very, again
very lucky. You find yourself running in a storm back across the Gulf
Stream and getting your reprieve somewhere around New Jersey to Hatteras
where you find time to change your pants.
The option would have been to sail directly to Norfolk, hang in Little
Creek for a day or two as the low passes and then head out. At the least
when the next low /front passes over you the water is warm.
* From Bob Colpitts:
Regarding south bound autumn passages to the Caribbean via Bermuda, God
Bless Donald Street (Scuttlebutt 3718). His earliest writings proclaimed
there was a mythical window of opportunity, after the hurricane season and
before the winter storms. Thankfully, he has modified that advice. The leg
to Bermuda can be wretched, to say the least, and I think many more boats
have been lost than Mr. Street suggests. In 2006 alone, four Canadian boats
were abandoned en route to Bermuda.
Forecasting is far better than it was but the danger of that passage is
still understated. Of the four southbound deliveries I have made, all with
good forecasts, three were train wrecks; on one passage on a 44-footer we
found ourselves running at 12 knots under bare poles less than a day after
My advice? Even with a great forecast, don't try it unless you are in a
damn good boat with a damn good crew.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you missed Donald's report on safely migrating to the
Caribbean, here is the link:
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