SCUTTLEBUTT 3736 - Tuesday, December 11, 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 Sails, APS, and J Boats.
ALL EVENTS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
By John Strassman, US Sailing Race Officer
I am always interested to read things from my friends Glenn McCarthy and
Bill Gage, as Scuttlebutt provided last week. Like Bill Gage, I am one of
those US Sailing Race Officers and I also teach Race Management seminars.
I agree with Glenn that race managers sometimes can become too anal, and I
agree with Bill that all events are not created equal. There are way too
many Race Committees that are enthralled by the pageantry of the flags and
the guns and operate under the assumption that all races must be run as if
it was the America's Cup.
The intent of the Organizing Authority should be spelled out in the NOR, of
which Bill had two categories: Fun and Serious. I see sailing events
arranged in a spectrum of different types of events. Here are five points
along that spectrum.
1) "There is no such thing as bad pizza" events:
Week night beer can racing should be 3-2-1-GO events with minimal adult
supervision. These events are a time to have fun with your friends and
enjoy the water. The RC should provide on-time starts, traffic control and
scoring. There should be minimal structure but the RC must keep an eye on
the weather and don't be afraid to shorten if the wind collapses.
2) Week-end or season series local course races:
Start on time, set square starting lines and let the dice roll. By letting
the dice roll I mean that the RC must realize that shifts happen. If a new
breeze comes in, by all means change the course but DON'T CHASE THE
OSCILLATIONS! This is not brain surgery and don't worry, the RC will still
have a chance to use plenty of flags.
3) The lost art of medium distance races:
Instead of having three one hour races, have one three hour race over a
predetermined course and let the wind blow whichever direction it pleases.
These races often transit between shore and sea breezes and different tide
and current situations and can be very challenging. This will also give the
bigger boats a chance to try out all of those cool sails the sailmaker told
them they should have.
4) Marquee offshore point to point races:
The Organizing Authority and RC do need to be the adult supervision in
these races and assure excellent customer service at both ends of the race
along with state of the art scoring and tracking. The OA and RC must also
enforce the appropriate safety regulations.
5) Big time course race regattas that do require laboratory conditions:
Race Management for events such as the America's Cup, Olympics, ISAF World
Cup events, World, Continental and National Championships and the gold
standard big boat regattas must be held to a very high standard. The OA and
RC must be top notch with the manpower, skill set and equipment to pull it
off. The reason why these events are spread out over four or five days (or
longer) is so that the RC can be selective about the weather and can
abandon and restart a race if things turn out badly. These are the events
that the RC can use all of their flags.
The modern race officer must be flexible enough to discuss the options with
the OA and more importantly, listen to their customers and give them what
they want. -- Forum:
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(December 10, 2012; Day 31) - As the youngest skipper in the race, Francois
Gabart, a rookie to solo sailing in the Southern Ocean, raised the 24 hours
solo monohull distance record to a seemingly stratospheric 545.3 miles over
the 24 hours to 1500hrs UTC this afternoon.
The 29 years old Gabart bettered the recent mark of rival Jean-Pierre Dick,
set only ten days ago at a yet to be ratified 502.9 mm. This new best 24
hours distance, riding at the front of a generous low in a good sized,
orderly swell reflects an average speed of 22.3 kts, also surpasses easily
the two handed record of Dick and Loick Peyron at 506.333 nm set in the
last Barcelona World Race.
"I can't really explain why I'm going so fast in the same weather
conditions as the others. The autopilot is just fine, the boat is perfectly
balanced, so I'm not even worrying about that. That's what allows us to
sail fast and effortlessly. It's very noisy but you get used to it, same
for how much the boat shakes. These things become familiar conditions, the
norm," reported Gabart .
For a solo ocean racer on a 60 footer, 30 days into a nonstop, no outside
assistance three month race, the distance even compares impressively
against the outright crewed monohull record of 596.6 miles set in the
2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race by Ericsson, and is only 21 miles shy of the best
24 hour run on the last Volvo Ocean Race.
Perhaps even more impressive is that Gabart is sitting with the highest
average speed for the actual miles sailed so far in the race, presently at
14.9kts. Compared with the 2008-9 average of Michel Desjoyeaux, at 14kts
for his existing record of 84 days 03 hours 09 minutes, then a sub 80 days
circumnavigation is on target.
Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Monday, December 10, 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 15381.9 nm Distance to Finish
2. Francois Gabart (FRA), Macif: 8.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 87.7 nm DTL
4. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 121.4 nm DTL
5. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 148.3 nm DTL
Full rankings: http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/ranking.html
BACKGROUND: Twenty skippers began 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.
Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) set the course record of 84 days in the 2008-9
edition. -- http://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"The Vendee Globe implies a total personal investment from the skippers.
The race can be dangerous and this is part of its fundamental roots. We
live in a society that likes to control everything but in the Vendee Globe,
you don't. In fact you don't either in your daily life and this is another
reason why our event is so popular; it is a lesson of life!" -- Bruno
Retailleau, politician for Vendee, France,
The following sailors have their ISAF Eligibility suspended:
Anne Caseneuve, France
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; December 28, 2011 - February
Frank Bode, Germany
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; December 1, 2011 - December 31,
Andrejs Buls, Latvia
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; Aug. 2011 - Dec. 2012
Alberto Campos Perez, Mexico
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; May 7, 2011 - May 6, 2013
Maria del Mar Campos Perez, Mexico
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; May 7, 2011 - May 6, 2013
Ann Kuikka, Sweden
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; October 19, 2012 - June 18,
Anders Kuikka, Sweden
Breaches of good manners and sportsmanship; October 19, 2012 - June 18,
A competitor whose ISAF eligibility has been suspended or revoked shall not
engage in any competition in the sport of sailing.
Sailor list: http://www.sailing.org/sailors/suspended-sailors.php
ISAF Eligibility Rules, Rule 19: http://tinyurl.com/ISAF-Reg-19
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KEEP-OFF BUOYS AND RACE COMMITTEE BOATS...
On January 1, 2013, the new edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing will go
into effect. These rules are locked in through 2016, the year of the next
Summer Olympic Games. Rules authority Dave Perry helps explain some of the
Dave is chairman of the US Sailing Appeals Committee, Rules Advisor to the
US Olympic Sailing Team and Artemis Racing, the Challenger for the
America's Cup, co-author of the North U Rules & Tactics seminar, and author
of two books on the subject. Here Dave discusses the new 'Mark' definition:
Race committees often hang "keep-off" buoys off the transoms of their
committee boats to keep boats from getting too near to them. The age-old
question is: are these buoys part of the committee boat, i.e., part of the
"mark," or not? The new definition Mark answers that question. By removing
the phrase "or temporarily" from the definition, it is now clear that an
object attached temporarily to a mark is part of the mark.
Mark An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a
specified side, and a race committee boat surrounded by navigable water
from which the starting or finishing line extends. An anchor line or an
object attached accidentally to a mark is not part of it.
For more on the rules, get Dave Perry's two books Understanding the Racing
Rules of Sailing through 2016 (which includes the complete rule book) and
Dave Perry's 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes available at US Sailing, 800 US
SAIL-1, or http://www.ussailing.org
* US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) seeks nominations from the
public for the 2012 Coach of the Year Awards in Sailing. The OSC will
select coaches in five categories that recognize outstanding achievement at
the local, national and international level. Nominations will be accepted
from the public until Dec. 31, 2012. Details: http://tinyurl.com/USS-121012
* Tru-Markets will offer a large selection of boats damaged by Hurricane
Sandy in a series of monthly online auctions, beginning Dec. 18. According
to BoatUS, it is estimated that more than 65,000 recreational boats were
damaged or lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy. -- Soundings, full story:
* American John Bertrand has been appointed Finn class coach for the
Australian Sailing Team. Bertrand has also been named Queensland Sailing
Performance Coach in a program managed by Australian Sailing and Queensland
Academy of Sport in conjunction with Yachting Queensland. Bertrand sailed
for his native USA at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, winning silver
after close competition with New Zealand's Russell Coutts, who took gold.
He won the Laser World Championships in 1976 and 1977 and the Finn Gold Cup
in 1980. At the London 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, Bertrand coached
Australia's Finn Class sailor Brendon Casey. -- Full report:
There are few men who I have admired more in my life than Fred Smales, who
we lost on December 3 at the young age of 98.
Fred is a legendary Southern Californian yachtsman who aboard his beloved
ESCAPADE won enough trophies to fill a garage bringing tremendous pride to
the Balboa Yacht Club, which he served as Commodore long before most of us
After moving to Oahu in the 60's to run a second successful business, he
raced his black-hulled, Gurney designed GUINEVERE over during the Transpac
and then continued to win races in the difficult Hawaiian waters. Along the
way Fred served as Commodore of his second club, Waikiki Yacht Club. Fred
was a fierce competitor and genuine yachtsman.
I will never forget when I was a little kid and we were sailing across the
Molokai Channel and Fred's hat blew off. Shorthanded and with a couple of
kids on board he thought nothing of turning GUINEVERE around to go get his
hat, never mind it was blowing about 30 knots and the waves were typically
During Transpac it was always a camp out aboard GUINEVERE waiting for the
fleet to arrive. No matter the time of day, Fred always had a load of
guests aboard for a trip out to the finish line to welcome his fellow
yachtsman to Hawaii.
Aside from his love of yachting, Fred was a businessman to the core. He
always fought for the best deal he could, but always made sure it was fair
for both sides. He understood how important it was for everyone to be
successful. After retiring from running his second large company, he
couldn't stand being away from the work and started the successful Plywood
Hawaii with his wife Connie. Until his very last week's, they still
discussed the business and how to do the best they could. He just loved it.
-- Mike Nash, 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 Russ Chapman, President, Mass Bay Sailing Assn:
Bill Gage's idea in Scuttlebutt 3733 (ie, Category S for serious racing,
Category F for fun racing) is simply fantastic! I only wish I had thought
of it first. This should be implemented immediately by US Sailing and
promoted to the RSA's and clubs.
* From Tony Johnson:
Regarding Bill Gage's letter in Scuttlebutt 3733, it seems to me the San
Francisco Bay area has tons of fun races as well as serious ones. The Great
Pumpkin and the Three Bridge Fiasco and lots of beer can races are examples
of somewhat less serious affairs. The America's Cup is at the other
extreme. I think anyone can race at any level they choose, with no
difficulty finding amusement.
* From Lou Sandoval, Chicago, IL:
Glenn McCarthy gets one of the key issues challenging the sport of sailing
in his recent op-ed. (Scuttlebutt 3730: Evolving Into Extinction - How
Perfection Is Hurting The Sport). The 'fun-factor' is potentially missing
from sailboat racing. However, the challenges we face extend beyond just
the competitive sailing segment of the sport.
One might argue that sailboat racing, and the focus on competitive racing,
IS what kills the fun. Now don't get me wrong, if you are a Scuttlebutt
reader, there is a strong chance you have already bought into sailing to
the degree that sailboat racing might seem readily achievable. But to
preserve and grow participation in the sport of sailing, we have to look
beyond the competitive sailing portion and address recreational sailing as
When reaching out to new target groups and especially sailors that have
taken on the sport later in life, proposing that they take their boat out
and race might be a bit much for neophytes. After all, you have to walk
before you run.
The GEMBA study released earlier this year by the Yachting Australia
association presented a list of barriers to participating in sailing (as a
sport). Third on the list after "#1: The image of sailing as inaccessible
and exclusive" and "#2: Cost" ranked "focus on racing" #3 as a barrier to
New participants surveyed were interested in social relaxed activity rather
than competition. The more unique finding in all of this is that the survey
was done in Australia, which many would consider a 'hotbed' of sailing and
racing. Next to the National French s ailing groups, Australia has to rank
near the top in terms of countries where "learning to sail" ranks right up
there with walking and talking in the skills youth develop. -- Forum, read
* From Ned Hall:
I was on the foredeck of Weatherly that historic day in 1962 when Gretel
surfed by us (Scuttlebutt 3733). What was not mentioned by anyone -
including the remark by Stanley Rosenfeld - was that the Aussie's gave a
"war whoop" that we could hear across the water on Weatherly as they surfed
by. That was very depressing, especially as we were struggling to replace a
broken spinnaker pole as the result of the guy breaking and wrapping the
very light aluminum/ honeycomb pole around the headstay.
The next day was a lay-day that the Aussie's called and Bus Mosbacher put
us through a practice worse than anything I ever suffered in football,
swimming or lacrosse. We won the remaining races, but not without a great
deal of worry and great respect of these new competitors from down under!
But it was a great moment from many points of view and those still alive
from that magical summer on Weatherly - Bizzy Monte-Sano, Billy Kelly, Doug
Mercer and Don and Dick Matthews and me all celebrated the 50th anniversary
of that match via e-mail on September 20th with the living members of
Gretel's outstanding and fun-loving crew: Rob Thornton (with whom I
exchanged sweaters at the end of the races), Magnus Halvorsen and his
brother the builder Trygve Halvorsen, Dick Sargeant, Mick York, Bill
Solomon, Allan Belyea, Barry Russell, Colin Betts, John Bertrand and Terry
We will never forget them.
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Shakespeare on self-confidence: "Our doubts are traitors and cause us to
miss the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."
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