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SCUTTLEBUTT 3724 - Wednesday, November 21, 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: Atlantis WeatherGear, Ullman Sails, and J Boats.
BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION
The decisions from the ISAF Annual Conference (Nov. 1-11) have once again
stirred our passions, with commentary in Scuttlebutt offering 'friendly
feedback' on their administration of the sport. But as Latitude 38
Associate Publisher John Arndt reminds us, being part of the solution
occurs as soon as we release the dock lines and raise the sails.
I think almost my entire understanding of ISAF comes from years of reading
Scuttlebutt, following the banter and appreciating the comments and efforts
of people like past president Paul Henderson who try hard to make it all
Paul mentioned this week that "Sailors by nature are complainers and
believe that through their local eyes the world of sailing can be run." I
don't think sailors like to complain, but I do think they are passionate
about sailing - and most passionate about their niche within sailing.
I can't imagine how to organize it all. People say leading any association
is like herding cats, but in the case of sailing it's worse. You have to
herd cats, tris, monohulls and boards. Cruising and racing are different
enough never mind all the different ways there are of doing each.
Personally I pretty much enjoy all sailing. There are days when I'd love to
be sailing a Hobie off the beach, I've spent a lot of nice afternoons on an
Ensign, I cruise on weekends with the kids on a Ranger 33, and love it when
I get a chance to race - big or small boats. Enjoying a night at anchor in
a protected cove is idyllic. It's all fun.
Ever since I founded Summer Sailstice in 2001, it was to promote one day of
the year where we don't focus on the style or equipment but on the simple
act of sailing. It's a day to strut your stuff, sail how you like but, in
the big picture, celebrate all of sailing. In the end sailing is simple - a
boat and a breeze. From Tall Ship to the recent, awesome run by the Vestas
We've probably all spent some time bonding with sailors as we hoist a few
at the yacht club bar. For Summer Sailstice, the idea is for all of us to
hoist a few on the weekend closest to the summer solstice - in this case
though we all hoist our sails - and anything else that brings enjoyment to
your sailing. It's intended as a day where we all quit fussing about how we
sail (or how everybody else should sail) and just feel lucky that we get to
sail. Then, just maybe, when the non-sailing world looks at the infinite
ways there are to sail, it will look like fun and they'll find one that
The next time you see that MacGregor 26 with a deeply scalloped jib, two
fenders bouncing in the water to leeward but three laughing kids on the
foredeck, you might spend less time noticing the jib and fenders and more
time noticing how much fun they're having. Just celebrate that they're out
there sailing. We all started somewhere.
The next Summer Sailstice celebration is June 22, 2013. Details here:
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
After the U.S. Olympic sailing team failed to win a single medal at the
2012 Games, an independent panel was comprised to conduct a comprehensive
review of Olympic sailing in the U.S. in its current state; to form
conclusions about performance in Weymouth; and to recommend changes going
The panel was led by Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing
and included Ed Adams (Middletown, RI), Andrew Campbell (San Diego, CA),
Jay Cross (New York, NY), Andrew Kostanecki (Bridgewater, VT), Bill Martin
(Dearborn, MI), Jack Mathias (Buffalo, NY), Jonathan McKee (Seattle, WA),
Cory Sertl (Rochester, NY), and Tim Wadlow (Beverly, MA).
The Olympic Review Panel Report has been released. In the report, some of
the 2012 program deficiencies included:
- Too focused on top team rather than building core group
- Coaching/training not sufficient for specific event needs
- Excessive costs due to emphasis on European schedule
A significant section of the report was dedicated to improving the youth
development program. Given the evolution of youth sailing in the U.S.
toward heavier, simpler, institutional boats, the report noted how young
sailors needed increased exposure to Olympic and high-performance boats.
The report also noted that the US Sailing Youth Championship should be the
premiere youth event in the U.S., a status the event once held but has
since diminished in recent years.
Full report here:
WORST DOLDRUMS EVER
(November 20, 2012; Day 11) - Jean Le Cam's 2004 record time to the Equator
of 10 days 11 hours and 28 minutes is safe for another four years as leader
Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA) remains just over 100 nm north of zero latitude. As
long as the pack of five boats stay behind Le Cleac'h, he could care less
about the record.
The chasing five have been breathing the same stale air and almost
eyeballing each other they have been so close, and they have all been
rinsed - literally and figuratively. There was little time for sleep as
they had to take care not to get caught out by sudden wind changes and
Boiling one minute, drenched by a thunderstorm the next and then utterly
becalmed in the inky black night, it has been a testing period. "I have
never experienced a Doldrums like that before," Vincent Riou (FRA), the
2004 winner and competing in his third consecutive Vendee Globe, said.
"It was a really tough night last night and I haven't been able to get any
sleep," said Alex Thomson (GBR). "It was like one constant squall. It was
monsoon rain for 7 hours straight. I had practically no wind at all, so I
have been steering by hand the entire time.
"I think I am out of the Doldrums, but every time I go through the Doldrums
I always think to myself: 'now Alex, you know, whenever you think you're
out, it means that you're not'. I get my dry clothes out and then bang, it
starts all over again.
"But I do think I am now out. I am sailing upwind. I am completely
exhausted but I can't get any sleep just yet. I have the boats all around
me and I can see them, so I want to stay awake at the moment."
Top 6 of 20 - Rankings as of Tuesday 20 November 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 21167.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 24.8 nm Distance to Lead
3. François Gabart (FRA), Macif: 25.7 nm DTL
4. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 27.4 nm DTL
5. Vincent Riou (FRA), PRB: 28.5 nm DTL
6. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 28.8 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. --
THE DECADE OF THE 60-KNOT SAILBOAT
By Brian Hancock, SpeedDream
On a chilly, blustery day in Fall 2002 I made my way to Weymouth on the
south coast of England. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. I have always been a
huge fan of fast boats and back then Weymouth Speed Week was a Mecca for
speed enthusiasts from around the world who came to do a timed run over a
500 meter course.
Before I started sailing professionally boat names like Crossbow and
Slingshot were burned indelibly into my mind. They were the revolutionary
speedsters of the day, radical boats capable of unheard of speeds (which
back then was around 30 knots.)
By the time I got to Weymouth, kite boarders and wind surfers had taken
over as the fastest sailing vessels, and they were ripping it up close
inshore where the wind was steady and the water flat. The main reason for
my trip was to write an article about a brand new boat that a good mate,
Paul Larsen, had built. He called his project Sailrocket, and along with
his partner Helena Darvelid, they had come up with the first generation of
what Paul called the 60-knot sailboat.
It certainly was unlike any other boat I had ever seen. The origins of the
design were in a book by the renowned rocket scientist Bernard Smith
entitled The 40 Knot Sailboat. Without complicating this story by trying to
describe Smith's concept, suffice is to say that it was a radically new way
of thinking and the boat that Paul and Helena had built was futuristic in
I chased Paul down the short course in a fast RIB, but despite the
conditions being almost perfect, Sailrocket was barely able to hit 30 knots
top speed. I know Paul was a bit disappointed; they were aiming for 50 but
were also realistic in their expectations as those were early days. "There
is a ton of room for development," Paul told me. "For starters we have a
soft sail. At some point we will build a fixed wing and that will greatly
Paul is nothing if not an eternal optimistic and his engaging enthusiasm
leaves no one in doubt that he is on a mission to succeed. I left Weymouth
that day optimistic, but secretly feeling that kite boarding was the future
and an actual sailboat was never again going to hold the record.
Fast forward a decade and here is where the story starts to get
interesting.... read on: http://tinyurl.com/SD-112012
EDITOR'S NOTE: For those of you not paying attention, Sailrocket eclipsed
the 60 knot barrier last Sunday on Walvis Bay, Namibia, setting a new
outright record (59.38 knots) and one nautical mile record (55.32 knots).
After celebrating the feat, the team has been prepping the boat this week
in hopes of raising the bar further when the next weather window arrives on
Wednesday (Nov. 21). Record details:
SAILS AND SERVICE FOR ALL SEASONS
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TWO'S COMPANY, THREE'S A CROWD
For the first time, two AC72s have been sailing together in race formation
this week. Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge trained
together on Tuesday (NZ time) on the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland.
"You learn a lot faster when you have another boat around you to punish you
for your mistakes," said Kiwi coach Rod Davis, explaining the benefit of
sailing against another team.
But the Kiwis and Italians weren't the only America's Cup teams on the
gulf. Oracle Team USA had crewman Simon Daubney tracking the racing
closely, taking pictures from a chase boat.
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton said the fact Oracle had representatives
keeping a close eye on the Kiwi team and Luna Rossa indicated it was
nervous about their progress.
"If I was in the other teams I'd be envious for sure," boasted ETNZ
managing director Grant Dalton of the arrangement. "I'd be a little
worried, because this isn't making us go slower, I know that."
It is expected America's Cup defenders Oracle and Swedish team Artemis, who
are also based in the San Francisco area, have a similar arrangement where
they will hold practice races. Dalton said Team New Zealand will also keep
a close watch on their competitors, although at this stage there is little
Artemis are still in the very early stages of testing their boat, which
they launched just over a week ago, while Oracle remain shore-bound after
suffering catastrophic damage last month when their AC72 pitch-poled in
choppy conditions on San Francisco Bay.
ANYBODY WANT A MAI TAI?
Organizers from the Transpacific Yacht Club (TPYC) have announced the
starting dates for their 47th edition of this classic biennial race from
Los Angeles to Honolulu to be held in July 2013. The first start will be on
Monday, July 8th, 2013, with subsequent starts planned for Thursday, July
11th and Saturday, July 13th.
The staggered starts help compress the finish times for a fleet that will
have widely different speeds over the 2225-mile course, which could range
from the record-setting 16.5 knot average course speed made in 2009 by
Neville Crichton's R/P 100 Alfa Romeo to a more leisure pace at half that
rate among some Aloha Division entries. Depending on weather conditions,
entries could be crossing the finish line at Honolulu's Diamond Head as
early July 19th and keep coming right up until the final awards ceremony a
"This is a system that has proven effective for our entries, the race
organizers and the media," says TPYC Commodore Dave Cort. "We lose the
spectacle of the big fleet starts off Point Fermin, but it helps have more
people around to enjoy all the fun activities at the finish." -- Read on:
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 John Fisher:
For anyone who does not clearly understand Bill Sandberg's point (in
Scuttlebutt 3723), please take the time and get involved in a regatta that
requires digging in and truly rolling up your shirt sleeves. It is all too
easy to criticize from the sidelines.
Stop and think for a minute how many "soft dollars" ( ie, volunteer labor,
RC, Judges, etc... people who are giving back to a sport they love) that it
takes to run a first class event, which is what is expected if not demanded
nowadays. On the whole, entry fees make up less than half of the "hard
dollars" to make a regatta happen.
If you don't understand or appreciate sponsorship in sailing - open your
eyes - do the math. Run a regatta that people want to come back to, and
once you are qualified and in the position to offer insightful commentary,
take the time and truly thank your sponsors and the volunteers.
* From Jim Champ:
In Scuttlebutt 3723, Mr Bainton wonders how ISAF could justify the absence
of any keel boat class in the 2016 Olympic competition. It is of my opinion
that there are an awful lot of things that ought to be in the Olympics, and
personally I've never managed to work out a decent slate of events within
ten medals, bearing in mind all the factors I can think of.
Just to represent short course racing, there probably should be mens and
womens medals in accessible singlehanders and two handers, high performance
singlehanders and two handers, sailboards, kites, multihulls and keelboats.
Trouble is that's 16 medals. Then to represent the sport a bit more there
probably should be passage racing in singlehanders, crewed boats and
multihulls, and also a 500m speed course sprint in boats, boards and kites.
I'm sure most of us can think of a good many more appropriate categories.
* From Paul Henderson, ISAF past president:
Regarding the deletion of keelboats from the Olympics, it was a decree from
IOC President Jacques Rogge who, as an Olympic Sailor himself, believed
that keelboats did not fit into the Olympic ideals. He tried to delete them
for the 2008 Games but I was successful in deflecting that IOC directive.
However, as one of his final acts before retiring, he did succeed in
removing keelboats for RIO2016. I still consider this a mistake.
COMMENT: ISAF is eager to heighten the spectator appeal of the Olympic
sailing events, which has thus far taken normal sailing classes and sought
to make the racing more appealing. However, might it be time to realize
that what we really have are 10 Olympic events that all appear essentially
the same to the uneducated, but compete in an unusual race format to the
Does Track and Field have a 200 meter race where the athletes compete in
running shoes, and another 200 meter race where the athletes compete in
flip flops? No, they have significant diversity in their events. For
sailing, rather than having 10 increasingly similar events competing on the
same race course, what if the events better represented the full scope of
The media likes two things: interesting stuff to talk about and interesting
people to talk to. If ISAF delivered greater diversity and charismatic
athletes, I think they might achieve their goals without selling out the
sport. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
THE J/97 IS THE FIRST "J" ...
...Under 32' in 25 years to combine full accommodations in a high
performance, easily driven hull. The J/97 sleeps more than it takes to sail
her, and was named 2011 IRC Boat of the Year in France. No need for hotel
rooms at the next regatta! On display in Annapolis.
The Thanksgiving Day holiday is celebrated in the United States on the
fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition
since 1863, when during the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
proclaimed it to be a national day of thanksgiving.
The staff at Scuttlebutt World Headquarters will be enjoying this national
holiday with family and friends, and we are hopeful you can too. There will
be no Thursday and Friday edition of the Scuttlebutt newsletter, but we
will resume publication on Monday.
Did You Know: Outdoor temperatures can be determined by counting the chirps
made by crickets.
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Doyle Sails - International Rolex Regatta - Ultimate Sailing - North Sails
New England Ropes - Atlantis WeatherGear - Ullman Sails - J Boats
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