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SCUTTLEBUTT 3730 - Monday, December 3, 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: Ultimate Sailing and Summit Yachts
EVOLVING INTO EXTINCTION - HOW PERFECTION IS HURTING THE SPORT
By Glenn McCarthy, Commodore, Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation
I admit it, I am a Hardcore XXX Racer. It is in my blood. I can't wait for
the next race. I want races with a lot of pressure and tactics. However,
having watched this sport get to this level, where we made courses short,
made them upwind/downwind or "sausage" shaped, and eliminated reaches and
long distances, this all translated into eliminating luck and making racing
based on "skillsets."
Additionally, we expect race committees to run races at Olympic level with
drop marks, perfectly square lines and straight upwind and downwind legs.
Not only do we study the racing rules, we also study the appeals, case book
and race management manual, ready to jump on any error anyone does and make
big drama about it.
Somewhere in this pursuit of perfection, the fun was pushed aside. Along
with it, we have been losing people and boats. When you ask why people
stopped racing, they say, "I wasn't having fun."
Let me expand on the first paragraph. In Stars (23-foot day sailor, no
spinnaker) in the 1970's we were required to have 11.8 mile length races
with the first beat close to two miles long. We sailed the Olympic course
in those days, as most did, with a Windward, Reach, Reach, Windward, Run,
Windward. Many things occurred differently out there. One thing was on
those reaches, which most agreed were just "parades" and gave little room
to pass or be passed, there was time to tell stories and to tell jokes,
lots of jokes. It provided a break in the tension.
What did the long windward and leeward legs provide? The experienced
sailors commonly went the correct way and took advantage of the shifts. The
newcomers, or those who just enjoyed racing but weren't putting lots of
time into it, commonly would fall behind. But wait! Sometimes those folks
would go to the wrong side, just at the right time, and catch an anomaly
shift that would put them in the lead of the race!
Back then, we said that they "won by a country mile" or they "did a horizon
job." We have lost using this type of language in short course
windward-leeward races. What we also lost was the fact that these newcomers
and folks who didn't put in the time to be on top actually won a prize
during the year. They would put that trophy up on their mantle and say, "I
beat McCarthy, and Gary Comer (founder of Lands' End) and Bill Parks
(Bronze Medal Olympian), etc. All winter long they would regale in their
story how they beat everyone.
Do you know what this did? It gave them the taste and it kept them coming
back for more. In short course racing, shifts don't separate boats by great
distances and don't give a chance (luck) to give the bottom-fleeters a
trophy. All of this has been lost in the pursuit of making racing perfect.
Of course we Hardcore XXX Racers think that the transition to perfection is
good. But what does it mean to participation? -- Read on:
CAPTURING THE IMAGINATION
While the Lightning may not be sexy looking or high performance to sail,
its strong class leadership has helped it to remain popular for over 70
years. Participation remains strong, with the class attracting both top
competitors and family programs. Scuttlebutt asked some of the class
insiders how the Lightning continues to capture the imagination of today's
From Dave Starck, class booster and top competitor:
1) The Lightning Class has been focused on / working hard at attracting and
retaining college and post-college sailors. The ILCA Boat Grant program
targets these sailors and it's been effective. The percentage of 'Boat
Grant Grads' who have bought boats and/or still compete in the class is
2) Leadership. The class has a history of strong class officers and
executive secretary (class office). Today's management is as good as ever,
and Laura Jeffers (ILCA Exe. Sec) is rock solid. Communication with
members, promoting regattas, etc, etc is non-stop, plus we are effectively
using multiple social media outlets. Really good stuff.
3) Supporting the fleet internationally. We have a program in place where
the class subsidizes shipping costs to get new or nearly new boats
overseas. Keeping the class strong in non-North American countries is a
priority. This has been keeping the boat builders very busy. There are a
ton of new boats being sailed today and the builders have lots of orders.
4) At my club (Buffalo Canoe Club, Ridgeway, ON), we have our own version
of a Boat Grant (BCC Boat Grant). The fleet owns a Lightning and we go thru
a similar process as the class. We have so many kids feeding into the
Lightning it feeds on itself.
5) Finally, it's a tremendous boat/design for any/all ages. Excellent
leadership, very good sailors, strong internationally, the list goes on.
The 2013 Worlds will be held in Italy next June.
Charleston, SC reflects a recent success story. Three years ago there were
less than five Lightnings in Charleston, and maybe three of them were
active. Today there is well over 20 active boats and growing. Local class
champion Greg Fisher helped, but ultimately a group of one design sailors
got together with a list of criteria and all chose to buy Lightnings -
instant fleet. Recently there was a regatta with 39 boats. Good stuff.
MORE: Look for this series to continue in the Tuesday and Wednesday
GRANT: The International Lightning Class Association is now accepting
applications for the 2013 ILCA Boat Grant Program. The program, entering
its seventh season, offers a few select teams the opportunity to sail a
race-ready boat in one of the strongest one-design classes in North
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details on how your group can participate. While supplies last.
ONE LESS AMERICAN
In a major shake-up at the Swedish-backed America's Cup challenger Artemis
skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA) has been "released" and British triple
Olympic medallist Iain Percy has been made sailing team director.
Percy, who won gold in Sydney and China and silver in Weymouth this year,
is part of the guiding quartet which includes another Olympic gold
medallist, Australia's Nathan Outteridge, the Argentinian double Olympic
bronze medallist Santiago Lange, and the French solo sailor and round the
world record holder Loick Peyron.
The team has been struggling to hit its stride. An experimental wing failed
when trialling in Valencia and its new 72-foot wing-powered catamaran
suffered damage on an initial trial, but is sailing again in San Francisco.
This is the second time that Percy has been engaged in a dual America's Cup
role, having been with Italy's +39 challenge in 2007 and subsequently he
teamed up as tactician with Ben Ainslie on the British Team Origin.
Lange has been driving the second boat in the 45-foot World Series but it
is expected that Outteridge will take the helm, though Peyron shared that
job with Ernesto Bertarelli when Switzerland's Alinghi lost the cup to the
current holder, Oracle, in Valencia in 2010. Paul Cayard continues as chief
executive officer. -- Stuart Alexander, The Independent,
STATEMENT: "I am very proud of my tenure as the skipper and helmsman of
Artemis Racing. On the water I experienced an aspect of our sport that was
new, exciting and this challenge culminated in the 2012 America's Cup World
Series match racing championship. Ashore, I had the opportunity to work
with some incredibly smart and talented people. I wish nothing but success
for Artemis Racing and I thank Torbjorn Tornqvist for this opportunity." --
Terry Hutchinson, www.HutchinsonRacing.org
SCHEDULE: The race schedule on San Francisco Bay for the Louis Vuitton
challenger elimination series is July 4-Sept. 1, 2013 and the 34th
America's Cup Match is Sept. 7-22, 2013.
PROTESTS OVER SPYING AND VENUE SWITCH
It has been a busy week for rules advisers for the Italian Challenger for
the 34th America's Cup, Luna Rossa. Two protests have been lodged with the
International Jury. And the Jury Chairman has responded with a terse
reminder to teams about leaking Jury documents to the media
The first revolves around espionage by the America's Defender, Oracle Team
USA, and would seem to be the latest round of a long Cup tradition of
information gathering on competitors, during the vital final design window
before the commencement of the America's Cup Regatta.
The latest incidents appear to arise from some cute wording in the 34th
America's Cup Protocol, which require that unauthorised teams, are not
allowed to navigate within 200 metres of another competitor.
In a cute interpretation of the word 'navigating', Oracle Team USA are
believed to be stopping their RIB outside a 200 metre circle of the New
Zealand and Italian AC72's but obviously on their direct sailing line, and
then waiting for the competitor they are observing to sail past in close
proximity, and taking images plus other performance measurement devices,
well within the 200 metre circle.
The second protest involves changes to the venues for the 2013 rounds of
the America's Cup World Series, where the America's Cup Regatta Management
have posted a notice, apparently without obtaining the agreement of the
competitors, cancelling the Venice round of the ACWS, and substituting it
with two events in USA, at an unnamed venue, at the end of May, to early
Under the terms of the Protocol for the 34th America's Cup, competitors are
obliged to compete in the America's Cup World Series, and it is claimed
that the new schedule, announced arbitrarily, and the compulsory nature of
the participation will disrupt the build up of teams for the 34th America's
Full report on Sail-World.com: http://tinyurl.com/SW-120212
NEXT STOP - INDIAN OCEAN
(December 2, 2012; Day 23) - The Vendee Globe leaderboard is shuffling
around between the leading trio of Francois Gabart (MACIF) Jean-Pierre Dick
(Virbac Paprec 3), and Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) who are nearly
bows even heading east. With 100 nm lateral separation, they are blast
reaching in the high teens and low twenties, with Gabart the first to cross
the Aiguilles gate (20:01 UTC), the first Ice Gate on the race course. The
leaders are approximately 300 nm from the longitude of the Cape of Good
"We're still going really fast, the sea is tougher so we can't be as fast
as we've been these past couple of days," said leader Gabart. "The boat is
doing great, it's so satisfying. The temperature has dropped, but it's
still all right, not very cold yet. But I've taken my boots, oilskin and
fleece jacket out of the bag. Same for the sea, it's agitated but bearable.
I think I've seen my first albatrosses, they're following the boat."
It was a record breaking weekend, with Jean Pierre Dick smashing the 24
hour singlehanded monohull record of 468.72 nm (19.53 knots) set by Alex
Thompson in 2003. Dick established the new standard on December 1 of 502.53
nm in twenty-four hours, averaging speeds of 20.9 knots (subject to
ratification of the World Speed Sailing Record Council).
Since Friday, Gabart has benefited from being the southernmost of the trio,
but forecasted conditions don't present any distinct advantage for the next
36 hours. The next target is the Crozet gate, approximately 1400 nm due
Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Sunday, December 2, 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. Francois Gabart (FRA), Macif: 18211.8 nm Distance to Finish
2. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 5.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 20.3 nm DTL
4. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 93.6 nm DTL
5. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 172.8 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. --
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* (December 2, 2012) - The World Sailing Speed Record Council announced the
establishment of a new Outright World and World "B" Division (150-235
square feet) Sailing Speed Record. On Nov. 18, Paul Larsen (AUS) piloted
Vestas SailRocket 2 to a speed of 59.37 kts on Walvis Bay, Namibia. The
previous Outright and "B" division record of 59.23 kts was set by Larsen on
Nov. 16. On Nov. 18, Larsen also set a new Outright Nautical Mile Speed
Record of 55.32 kts. The previous nautical mile record of 50.17 kts was set
in 2009 by Alain Thebault (FRA) on Hydroptere in Hyeres, France. --
* Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 2, 2012) - After two days of winds of 15-20
knots, Roberto Tomasini Grinover aboard Robertissima 1 held the overall
Gold Cup lead. However, the Swiss team stumbled today with a 5-14 to drop
to second, making way for Jason Carroll's Argo team to take the title.
* Miami, FL (December 2, 2012) - The second event of the Star Winter Series
attracted 2009 Star World Champ George Szabo who was joined by 2000 World
Champ crew Magnus Liljedahl, with the pair blitzing the 15-boat fleet with
a 2-1-2-1-1 to win the Commodores Cup. The next event of the SWS will be
the Levin Memorial Regatta on January 5-6. Full results:
* CORRECTION: Correcting the correction in Scuttlebutt 3729, Animal Farm
was a Half Tonner, not a Quarter Tonner. It was a Tom Wylie design and they
won the 1974 Half Ton North Americans.
SCUTTLEBUTT SAILING CALENDAR
Events listed at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar
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 Chip Pitcairn:
When Chris Corlett won the 1974 1/2 ton NAYRU Championship in Corpus
Christi, Texas, I was picked up as local crew by Chris and was very
fortunate to sail on that great little boat with a great crew including Dee
We won every race and even won the long distance race (approx. 250 miles)
after starting over two hours late. We broke the headstay turnbuckle on the
way to the start and had to make a 30 minute drive across a ferry from Port
Aransas to Aransas Pass to find a machine shop to weld it. My job on the
drive back was to use a coat hanger to hold the turnbuckle out the van
window so it would cool enough to install by the time we got back to the
We sailed in some very heavy conditions and throughout the regatta Chris
kept the mood on the boat very low key and calm. The boat was easy to sail
compared with some IOR monsters and the mood on the boat was lighthearted
and fun, but very focused. I learned a lot about racing a sailboat that
week and that regatta remains a very fond memory.
* From Forrest Williams:
My Tuna Wullschleger story happened at Key West 6+ years ago (Eight Bells,
3726). At a leeward mark rounding, the boat behind our J/109 sticks his
sprit under our lifeline and turns our wheel (and nearly our helmsman) into
a pretzel. That night we're filling out the protest form and we see Tuna
walk into the jury room to hear the protests. Our crew boss, Gary LeDuc (a
legend in his own right), gets a glint in his eye and says to "go get the
wheel". He struts into the room with the wheel over his shoulder, Tuna
looks up, points his finger at Gary and booms, "You win!" Shortest protest
He will be missed.
* From John Denman:
In the Photos of the Week last Friday, thanks for including the J/24 photo
sequence from the Downeast Regatta on Casco Bay, Me. We were the
beneficiary of that late gybe broach; I was driving #2109 and we were just
yards from the finish line when "Mr. Hankey" was kind enough to take a
detour and let us past. They are very generous up there in Maine with a
great Clambake dinner, free beer and drinks, and letting the visitors pass
right before the finish line.
* From Roger Baker
We down here on Bellport Bay (Bellport, NY) also sail on the hard water
when the opportunity arises. We do not sail/drive an iceboat... we sail a
South Bay Scooter (www.ice-scooter.org).
This is a craft which evolved from the "market gunners" back in the late
1800's. These boats are capable of traversing open water; not recommended
in a DN or stern steerer. The South Bay Scooter Club has also been in
existence for nearly a century and has a membership of 30 to 120 (on a good
year when there is ice on the Bay). We also hosted the 2008 Optimist U.S.
Nationals with over 400 Opti sailors attending.
Our scooter group occasionally travels and are greeted with much curiosity.
Having no positive steering (no rudder or steering runner), we steer with
the pressure on the sails. That and looking for open water to scoot across
makes us quite a side show.
We look forward to a cold snow-free winter!
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"The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from
worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget
self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised." -
Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
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