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SCUTTLEBUTT 3731 - Tuesday, December 4, 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: North U, North Sails, and Ribcraft.
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
sailors. Here are comments from Ed Adams, past Star world champion and new
The Lightning Class has always been forward thinking about class growth.
Every person on the boat has to join the class, but I think it is only $10
for a crew. That puts them on an email list, so they get the newsletter and
Every regatta has a standard web page, with links for local housing, and a
list of "who's coming." You can easily search the archives to see what
attendance was like in the past. And if you within driving distance, they
send you email prompts every week about upcoming events and why you should
At the regattas you have the aging class stalwarts, and a smaller, but
still sizeable contingent of sailors who have graduated from the youth
program. The average age is still quite a bit older than you would want for
a healthy class, but they have managed to keep regatta attendance up.
They held the NAs in Houston this year, which I thought was risky, given
that only 13 Laser Full Rigs showed up for the NAs in Houston the month
before. But 50+ Lightnings came, and I think that speaks very highly of the
class. The primary builder, Tom Allen, has a year's backlog of boat orders
(usually around 10 boats), again a healthy sign.
As for me, I was looking for a class with a healthy regatta schedule, good
competition, and a boat that was inexpensive to purchase and maintain.
Cheap entertainment. You can get a regatta-winning used boat like mine for
10 grand, and other than sails, you really don't have to spend much to
maintain it. Class rules are strict, so it really is a "turn-key"
proposition. I don't have the energy anymore to spend my evenings upside
down under the foredeck trying to invent custom rigging systems.
MORE: This is a continuation of a series that began in the Monday edition
and will conclude in the Wednesday edition. Here is the segment from
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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PLAYING IT SAFE
(December 3, 2012; Day 24) - With the Vendee Globe now entering the Indian
Ocean, a prominent feature of the race route is the ice gates, which are
positioned to minimize the risk of collision with drifting ice as the
skippers seek the better winds that often exist in the lower latitudes.
The 1996-1997 edition of the Vendee Globe launched the concept. The
disappearance of Gerry Roufs and shipwrecks of Raphael Dinelli, Thierry
Dubois and Tony Bullimore pushed the race organizers to adopt certain
additional security measures. The ice gates were introduced in the next
edition in 2000-2001 as a solution to minimize conflict with icebergs or
The operation of these gates is simple. A gate is a segment of two points
on the same latitude, with the longitude of each point defined. The spacing
between these two longitudes is about 400 miles, with the gates spaced
apart 800 to 2000 miles. To validate their passage, each skipper must
either break the plane of the gate or simply stay to the north of both
To define the position of the ice gates, the Vendee Globe organizers work
closely with Collection Localisation Satellite (CLS), a French agency whose
job is to monitor boats, turtles, whales ... and ice. Thanks to several
technologies, they are able to determine the location and drift of the ice,
and position the gates accordingly.
The position of these gates is not fixed. They can "evolve according to the
reality of satellites, from the start," says race director Denis Horeau.
"But once the leader has reached a gate, the following gate is fixed for
all the other skippers." In addition, a gate can be added after the start
of the race, as was the case on Sunday when the Amsterdam gate was added.
"There is (now) a lot of known ice down there," remarked Gamesa skipper
Mike Golding. "They don't want us dicing with ice and so it is better to
play it safe. Quite honestly I guess the ice was there in previous Vendee
Globes but now with the technology at the level it is, if you know it is
there, we have the maps with dots on now, then you just can't ignore that,
but I don't imagine it is much worse than before."
The ice gates are not only a compulsory passage point for the Vendee Globe.
Australian authorities have also demanded that the gates are in place off
their coasts. "Australians have occurred repeatedly in the Vendee Globe for
rescues so they ask us to go too far from their shores," says Horeau. --
Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Monday, December 3, 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 17830.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 31.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. Francois Gabart (FRA), Macif: 40.3 nm DTL
4. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 72.1 nm DTL
5. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 165.8 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. --
TALK ABOUT A NATURAL
While the focus on college sailing is typically on dinghy competition,
there are several college service and maritime academies competing in
earnest on the keelboat playing field. Leading the charge, and deserving
recognition for their achievements in 2012, is the United States Naval
Academy Varsity Offshore Sailing Team.
Led by USNA Midshipman 1/C skipper Stephen Jaenke and his Midshipmen crew
of Charlie Johnson, Andy Beeler, Kelsey Ragsdale, Ethan Madison, Sean
Brown, Roscoe Thomas and Sam Ross, here is the honor roll they have posted
in the past 6 months.
* Newport-Bermuda - 1st in class aboard Swift. Also 3rd overall in fleet
and part of a three boat USNA team which won the CCA H. Irving Pratt
Overall Team Trophy.
* Storm Trysail Club's Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta - 1st in class.
Also awarded the Paul Hoffman Trophy for Best Overall Performance in the
regatta aboard the J/133 Bacchanal.
* McMillan Cup - 1st overall.
* Kennedy Cup - 1st overall. Considered the intercollegiate offshore
national championship, the victory qualifies USNA to represent the U.S. in
next year's Student Yachting World Cup (for the second year in a row).
"Interestingly, skipper Steve Jaenke came to the Academy to play baseball
but threw out his arm prior to Plebe Summer," remarked Head Coach Jahn
Tihansky. "Although he is from the Annapolis (MD) area, he had virtually
zero sailing experience before arriving here." Talk about a natural!
AC72 LESSONS LEARNED
Oracle Team USA chief engineer Dirk Kramers thought he had seen it all in
five America's Cup-winning campaigns. But nothing compared to the drama
that played out in San Francisco Bay on October 16, as he watched the
team's new AC72 catamaran pitchpole in big wind, drifting out to sea in
pieces just weeks after being launched.
Instead of watching the calendar while monitoring the restricted 30 days of
testing allowed for each boat, Kramers and his team have to re-engineer the
injured USA 17 while at the same time the team's second boat completes the
Kramers looks back on that fateful day in October, lessons learned, and
what it means for the team.
Many who watched the drama play out on live local television or the
internet questioned Oracle Team USA's decision to take the AC72 out in such
difficult conditions on only its eighth day of testing. Hindsight is always
20/20, especially when looking back on wind gusts to 25 knots or higher and
an ebb tide of over more than seven feet.
"What made life a lot worse for us is that we capsized in the second
biggest tide of the year and we got swept out," Kramers said. "At first,
when we capsized, we looked around and thought, Okay, we'll wash up on
Alcatraz. The next thing, you look up and realize you're going the other
way. Within an hour, we were outside the Gate. The wave action outside the
Gate is what did in the wing." -- CupInfo, read on:
HIGH ROAD: When the late Friday distribution of the Artemis Racing press
release (btw, slippery PR move) lacked comments from their newly deposed
skipper Terry Hutchinson, Scuttlebutt reached out to get his side of the
story. Hutch sent us an email over the weekend, hitching his train to the
high road. We posted his remarks on Facebook, where his high road has
earned high marks: "Definite class act! No Americans (now) at the helm of
the America's Cup!" and "Sounds like he was a scapegoat for a slow boat!"
More here: http://tinyurl.com/FB-120312
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* Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia (December 3, 2012) - The Monsoon Cup finally
gets underway Tuesday, and the eighth event of the Alpari World Match
Racing Tour will prove to determine the tour winner and 2012 ISAF Match
Racing World Champion. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and Ian Williams (GBR), the only
winners of two events on the 2012 tour, lead the overall standings. In
2011, Williams won the Monsoon Cup with a 3-1 victory over Johnie Berntsson
(SWE), elevating Williams to the overall 2011 season title. --
* (December 4 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. 24, Paul Larsen (AUS) piloted
the inclined rig hydrofoil proa Vestas SailRocket 2 to a speed of 65.45 kts
on Walvis Bay, Namibia. The previous Outright and "B" division record of
59.37 kts was set by Larsen on Nov. 18. -- http://tinyurl.com/WSSRC-120312
* Melbourne, Australia (December 3, 2012) - The launch of the 2012-13 ISAF
Sailing World Cup began today at the Sail Melbourne regatta for nine of the
ten Olympic events and one Paralympic event, with eleven other one-design
classes invited to participate. A fluctuating 7 to 12 knots for most of the
morning, predominantly from the sou'west, ultimately built to 17 knots
while clocking north. Racing continues through December 8. --
* (December 3, 2012) - A U.S. Coast Guardsman died off the California coast
after he was knocked off his boat by suspected Mexican drug smugglers, then
struck by a propeller, according to federal prosecutors. The 13-page
affidavit in support of charging two Mexican nationals in the death of
Terrell Horne III details a violent confrontation at sea, which included
gunfire and pepper spray, before the suspects surrendered. -- LA Times,
William P. (Bill) Thorpe IV (age 74), the 1999 Commodore of Bayview Yacht
Club (Detroit), died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, December 2, after a
long, courageous battle following surgery earlier this year to remove a
malignant brain tumor. He had been a member of Bayview since 1972.
Bill was a fiercely competitive sailor who raced big boats and small for
decades. He was active in the International Etchells fleet at Bayview for
many years and proud to be an "Old Goat", an honor reserved for those who
have completed at least 25 Bayview Mackinac Races. He sailed his first
Bayview Mackinac in 1971. His scores of shipmates had nothing but praise
for Bill as the news of his passing spread.
Bill never retired from racing sailboats, but in his later years he became
a well-respected and much sought-after judge and umpire. When he left us,
he was an International Judge (since 2006) and a US Sailing-certified
Senior Judge (since 1999) and Umpire (since 2004). Bill was a US Sailing
Regional Administrative Judge from 2007 to 2012 and a frequent instructor
in its judges training and certification program.
He will be remembered as deeply committed to sailors and sailing with a
strong, no-nonsense sense of fair play. Bill would have smiled at one
shipmate's description of his "curmudgeonly charm".
A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7, at St.
John's Episcopal Church, 2326 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, with a celebratory
gathering at Bayview Yacht Club, 100 Clairpointe Avenue, Detroit, after the
service. -- Forum:
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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 Julian Everitt, London, UK:
I couldn't agree more with Glen McCarthy (SB 3730) that the pursuit of
'perfection' in race management and courses has done more damage to
international yacht racing than any other factor in the past 20 years.
* From Jim Gardiner:
I have been thinking about a boat that I could take my wife and 5 and 8 yr
old sailing. A Lightning would fit the bill. I second the motion that the
Class organization is #A1 (re, Scuttlebutt 3730).
In the mid 1970's I collected a paycheck from Gougeon Brothers and built a
half dozen Tornado's. After moving to Miami, I was thinking of a boat to
sail with my wife and perhaps make some money building more. I could never
get the Tornado Class organization to reply to requests for a builder's
license and a set of templates. It turned out that one of the Class
administrators had the same idea. No friendly competition there!
As my Miami wife (the first one) was racing Lightnings, I considered
building one. After one call to the secretary, they had a set of plans
delivered to my home the next day. Whoa! At that time you could build your
own. I am no Vic Carpenter but I was thinking a modern Woody could be
* From Paul Bishop:
After Chris Corlett (Eight Bells, Scuttlebutt 3728) won the 1974 Half Ton
NAs on Animal Farm, he sailed the lightweight, fractional Peterson
daggerboarder Oooh No! in the 1977 Half Ton NAs. They were the fastest boat
there, but lost all points in the distance race that they won (on a
questionable protest), so they did not win the championship. They came back
in 1978 to dominate the NAs with a score of 1-1-1-1-3.
* From Bob Bausch:
I really enjoyed learning of the "South Bay Scooter" in Roger Baker's
article in SB 3730. What an elegant, beautiful craft! A subject that is
highly worthy of artistic interpretation. The South Bay Scooter Club has an
excellent website devoted to these amazing machines and their sailors. And
some striking images. Thanks to Roger for his article. It's great to see an
indigenous design that has continued down through the years, and still has
* From T.J. Perrotti, Perrotti Performance Design:
Years back, fresh out of naval architecture school, I had the great fortune
to sign up with the NYYC's "America II" 12-meter America's Cup team,
managed by Arthur "Tuna" Wullschleger (Eight Bells,Scuttlebutt 3726). I
told my mother that I would be moving away from home. "How far?", she
asked. "Australia!", I responded. She nearly died.
Fortunately, she found great comfort in Tuna's warm and embracing
friendship and concern for everyone on the team. He was our adopted father
in so many ways. He ran a tight ship, mind you ... we all feared being the
one to get caught not having swept up our work area all tidy at the end of
a busy day! But he always had a warm smile and friendly arm around our
shoulders. And he ALWAYS took great pride in wearing his red team sweater
and floppy white "keep the flies away" hat.
We all happily honored him one evening at dinner on his birthday, with each
one of us wearing our red sweater and floppy white hat in proud tribute to
the man we admired so much. Tuna pushed us hard on-the-water, but he often
let us squeeze in some time for a little Down Under fun. Like the time he
chartered the only double-decker bus in Australia, and carted us all off to
a medieval "wench waitress" dining hall in the hills outside of Perth. He
enjoyed that romp immensely, as did all of us.
While America II didn't quite meet our on-the-water racing expectations,
along the road thereafter, our teammates have remained close friends. We
have often gotten together for reunions, almost always supported (and
graciously paid for) by Tuna. Just last year, we gathered at the Harbour
Court in Newport where Tuna had a cocktail in tow, his smile aglow, and a
room full of sailors and friends feeling very, very fortunate to have had
known and befriended such a kind and giving man.
We're grateful to have had that most recent opportunity (with a tip of the
hat to Jake Farrell) to offer our thanks to Tuna. But it surely won't be
our last ... chances are, we'll all find moments to reflect again on our
happy times, and our fondness for the old man. He was, after all, our
EDITOR'S NOTE: All the published Tuna tributes are posted in the Forum
where additional comments can be added:
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
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"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but
reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or
happy." - Norman Vincent Peale, minister and author
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