SCUTTLEBUTT 3739 - Friday, December 14, 2012
Scuttlebutt is published each weekday with the support of its sponsors,
providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
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Today's sponsors: North U and Henri Lloyd.
IMPROVING THE OLYMPIC PROGRAM
Following the 2012 Olympic Games, the U.S. sailing program assembled an
independent panel to conduct a comprehensive review of Olympic sailing in
the country and to recommend changes going forward. One of the findings was
in how the U.S. spent high sums of money sending their sailors to Europe to
become competitive, and recommended that domestic training needed to become
a strength, and that more events were needed in the U.S. to bring the whole
class/program up to speed.
To support this paradigm shift, Tom Lihan has already gotten the ball
rolling. Tom knows about elite racing, himself a three-time college
All-American and past Finn champion and Olympic campaigner. Tom more
recently watched his daughter Sarah competing at the 2012 Olympics, and was
convinced that his Lauderdale Yacht Club (Fort Lauderdale, FL) could be
part of the solution.
Lauderdale Yacht Club was already the annual host to the Finn and Women's
Laser Radial Midwinter Championship in early February, but in 2013 the
event is being expanded. Now called the Lauderdale Olympic Classes Regatta
(Feb. 8-10), the event will be open to all Olympic events (and 29er), and
will follow the ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Miami (Jan. 28-Feb. 2).
Here Tom explains their initiative:
* What prompted the move to expand the LYC event?
TOM LIHAN: I attended the Olympic Games this past summer and watched almost
every race. Without rehashing the performance of the U.S. team, it was
apparent how other countries have more developed Olympic level feeder
LYC has resources and a venue to add value across the Olympic classes
spectrum, and we thought the best way to help was to supplement the Rolex
Miami OCR event and offer support for the U.S. teams training for the quad.
Our event is designed to dovetail after Miami so teams can get "double
exposure" for the minimum time. Foreign teams are more likely to do both,
and with nationality teams and coaches, all resources can double up.
* The 2012 Rolex Miami OCR hosted 354 entrants from 41 countries. How big
can the LYC event get?
TOM LIHAN: We can host full fleets of all Olympic dinghies at our club. The
membership is aware of the sacrifices that must be made and have embraced
the concept of our club' involvement. Two circles in the ocean will
ultimately be the logistic solution.
* Compared to Biscayne Bay in Miami, how will the sailing venue at
Lauderdale Olympic Classes Regatta differ?
TOM LIHAN: Biscayne Bay is an enclosed, shallow bay with limited "fetch"
and oscillating or geographic shifts. It is awesome for big fleet events
and easy, safe RC work in any conditions. Sailing out from multiple clubs
and venues offers an ideal training opportunity. LYC's venue is the open
The LYC course has a long fetch, big waves, zero geographic influence,
reliable pressure, and potentially epic racing conditions with 15-foot
breaking waves on our reef systems are possible. There have been days when
I was barely able to exit the inlet in my 59-foot sport fishing boat, but
our team has the talent to drop marks in up to 200-feet of water. Speed
testing is more reliable and downwind technique in the Finn, Laser and
other dinghies is rewarded and developed.
LYC member and past Laser World Champion Peter Commette always said that if
you can get comfortable in the big breeze easterly in Lauderdale, you will
be relaxed in anything else the planet has to offer.
WEIGHTY ISSUES OF COLLEGE SAILING
By Gary Jobson, Sailing World
College sailors are incredibly deft in short-course racing, but they lack
the skills for a wider range of disciplines available to them after
college, which makes me wonder whether college sailing does enough to
prepare them for a lifetime of sailing.
The Inter-Collegiate Sailing's Association's longtime president, and Old
Dominion University coach, Mitch Brindley says college sailing fosters a
passion for the sport. His peers also tout the benefits of the collegiate
experience. Russ O'Reilly, the coach of New York Maritime, says that no
other discipline exists outside of college sailing where sailors are
provided with the amount of starts, races, and tactical decisions. The
simplicity of the boats, he says, ensures that results are based on the
sailor, not on the equipment. College of Charleston Sailing's Greg Fisher
agrees that the sailors are highly technical and tactically sharp.
Georgetown's Mike Callahan notes, "It teaches the value of practice,
fitness, and teamwork - that there are no shortcuts."
Within this narrow discipline of sailing, the collegiate system is clearly
efficient, but it is deficient in several important areas. There is no real
tuning knowledge developed during the collegiate life span, says O'Reilly,
a sentiment shared by Callahan.
"College sailing doesn't prepare sailors for rig tuning and advanced sail
trim, spinnakers, long-distance racing, or boat preparation," says
These are fundamental areas for most sailors, and the sport as a whole,
which is why college sailing must be a broader sailing experience. -- Read
COMMENT: I am going to take a risk and disagree with Gary. Collegiate
sailing is essentially the same as it was 30 years ago when I was in school
- for the good reasons listed above. What has changed, however, is what
occurs before college. The heightened structure of youth sailing, with the
emphasis on simple institutional-type boats, has prepared young sailors for
what to expect in college, but not what to expect after college. If we want
to prepare sailors for a lifetime of sailing, my advice is to start before
college. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
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LAWSUIT: FARALLONES SAILING TRAGEDY
San Francisco, CA (December 13, 2012) - A former San Francisco Giants
executive whose daughter was among five people killed in an April boat
crash says errors by the vessel's captain caused the tragedy off the
Farallon Islands, according to a lawsuit against the boat owner.
Captain Alan Cahill allegedly "cut corners" when he sailed the 38-foot Low
Speed Chase into a dangerous area that other boats avoided during Full Crew
Farallones Race. That decision led to waves flipping the boat and killing
Alexis Busch and four others, her father Corey Busch wrote in a lawsuit
filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court.
The suit targets boat owner James Bradford, who was one of three survivors.
The crash was one of the worst yacht racing accidents in the Bay Area in
decades and marked the only fatalities in the history of the annual race
that was first held in 1907.
Similar to the lawsuit, a report by a national governing body for sailing
concluded the April 14 crash was the result of the boat's path through a
shallow stretch of water near the islands. The July 31 probe from US
Sailing says experts believe the decision on the boat's course was not made
"with an understanding of the risks." Cahill, 36, of Tiburon, didn't
survive the crash.
Low Speed Chase was one of 49 boats that left from the St. Francis Yacht
Club to make the journey around the uninhabited islands that sit about 27
miles west of San Francisco, the report says. As the Chase started to round
the islands, it passed over an underwater ledge that some of the other
boats were purposely sailing around. The ledge creates conditions where
waves can grow to 30 feet in height, the suit says.
Low Speed Chase was flipped and tossed onto the island by waves, which
dumped all but one crew member into the water.
Besides Bradford, Bryan Chong, 38, and Nick Vos, 26, survived. But Marc
Kasanin, 46, of Belvedere; Elmer Morrissey, 32, of Ireland; Jordan Fromm,
25, of Ross; Busch, 26, of Larkspur were among the dead. The bodies of
Cahill and Busch were never recovered, the report says. -- Read on:
BACKGROUND: Here is the Forum thread following the accident, which includes
the account by survivor Bryan Chong:
GABART HAS SECRET WEAPON
(December 13, 2012; Day 34) - It was fun while it lasted, as the 'Front
Five' of the Vendee Globe appears to now be the 'Dominant Duo'. Alex
Thomson was the first victim to fall from fast rolling low pressure, and
now Bernard Stamm has lost the grip too. The next could be Jean-Pierre
Dick, who fears he will no longer be able to hold on to the pace of the
leaders who are closer to the front of the system.
"These are the conditions we have," explained Dick. "They have more wind
that me. That's the way it is and I have to accept it. But I fear the high
pressure bubble coming behind me as according to the files there is no wind
in this ridge. I'm trying to get away from it as fast as possible. If it
catches me, I could lose hundreds of miles, even some days on the leaders.
And they won't be easy to catch."
There is still nothing to separate the two leaders. The delta between
Francois Gabart and Armel Le Cleac'h waxes and wanes by a matter of small
miles, but 2008-9 winner Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) believes that Gabart has a
secret weapon which could become a difference maker.
"He has a blast reacher sail which is an improvement of what I had four
years ago," explained Desjoyeaux. "We are sure now that Armel does not have
the same sail. It works on the angles that he had when he broke the record,
so around 120 degrees with around 35-40 knots of wind, with ideal
conditions of swell and sea."
Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Thursday, December 13, 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. Francois Gabart (FRA), Macif: 14053.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 10.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 185.5 nm DTL
4. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 383.4 nm DTL
5. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 455.6 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/
It's just a little smile but it's there every time Australian sailing's
miracle girl Tess Lloyd heads out for a race. And it's still there each
time the teenager comes back in, even if she's wet and cold.
The 17-year-old still cannot believe she is back doing what she loves most
just 10 months after she emerged from a coma that doctors induced to treat
shocking brain trauma.
"I consider myself lucky every day now," said Lloyd as she prepared for
three days of intense racing on Sydney Harbour in the Sail Sydney regatta.
Last week the incredible story of Lloyd's comeback from a life-threatening
accident on the water got a little more extraordinary when she and new
crewmate Eliza Solly won their first major 29er regatta together at Sail
Melbourne (Dec. 2-8).
The Melburnian hopes the story becomes even more astonishing. Lloyd and
Solly are chasing a spot on the Australian youth team to compete at the
world championships in Cyprus next year. "My dream is also to go to an
Olympics," she said. "I'll aim at Rio and the one after that."
In January at a youth championship in Brisbane, a then 16-year-old Lloyd
sustained a head injury when her 29er skiff was involved in a collision
with a sailboarder. Lloyd was knocked unconscious and her crewmate, Lewis
Duncan, held her above the water until help came, saving her life.
"No one really knew I had been hit in the head. Lewis found me in the water
with my face down," Lloyd said. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/OZ-121312
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* While an official announcement likely won't come until January, America's
Cup officials said they will host part of the ongoing World Series of
exhibition races in New York in May and June 2013. America's Cup organizers
anticipate the nation's media capital will help raise the event's profile
in the United States, which in turn can help build anticipation in the San
Francisco Bay Area for the event. -- Eric Young, SF Business Times,
* (December 13, 2012) - America's Cup announced today that Clear Channel
Media and Entertainment San Francisco will be the official radio partner
for the 2013 America's Cup. Clear Channel San Francisco AM News/Talk radio
stations, KKSF and KNEW, will become the flagship stations for America's
Cup coverage with information and updates throughout the year. In
addition, Clear Channel San Francisco's five FM stations will promote the
many lifestyle events that are part of the America's Cup experience. --
Read on: http://media.americascup.com/pressreleases/?id=1032
* The Offshore Racing Rule Owners Association (ORROA) announced that
Lawrence Dickie of Greenwich, CT and his Ker 43 Ptarmigan won the 2012
ORROA East Coast Championship Series. This series was open to yachts
holding a valid 2012 ORR certificate that entered in a minimum of 2 of the
following races: Block Island Race, NYYC Annual Regatta, Newport Bermuda
Race, RBYC Anniversary Regatta and Stamford Vineyard Race. In addition,
each yacht must have competed in at least one distance race (Block Island,
Newport Bermuda Race or Stamford Vineyard Race) in order to qualify. --
Full report: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/12/1205/
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include holiday spirit, reflection, proposal, singlehanded, wing driven,
past, and present. Here are this week's photos:
* Photographer John Payne loves this time of year. Based in South Florida,
there are few better places to sail in the winter, and the event schedule
(and his) will be full for awhile. Here are John's images from the first
event of the Etchells Jaguar Cup Series:
* Beetle Cat sailors braved calm water, sunny skies and mild temperatures
to compete in the first ever Beetle Cat Midwinter Championship.
Photographer Emily L. Ferguson was there to capture the historic occasion:
* The first event on the Melges 20 winter circuit attracted 42 teams to
Miami for sailing during the day and who knows how many people to Coconut
Grove at night. Sorry... we only have daytime photos:
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the
Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Among the skills needed to excel in the Optimist pram is epic upwind
bailing technique. You can be a brilliant strategist, but if you can't sail
and bail you will soon see your position slip in the fleet. Produced by
Scott Norman, this video provides an onboard view of what it takes to bail
and not flail.
You will notice how the legs are positioned to allow room for the bailer.
Mastering the timing of when to bail and when to hike is very important.
Also key is that the sailor not look at the bailer or the water in his
boat, but rather remain focused on the tell-tails, wave patterns and puffs
Note how the boat needs to be flat (or slightly heeled to windward) to
allow the water in the cockpit to come to the windward side. In strong
breeze this requires hard, consistent hiking and possibly easing the sheet
a bit, when over-powered. Click here for this week's video:
* This week on America's Cup Discovered Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna
Rossa Challenge are setting the pace on their AC72. We catch up with the
teams to get their reactions on sailing the big cats. Why does Jimmy
Spithill always punch above his weight? We ask Jimmy's Dad. When did the
sailors start living the dream by turning professional? Tune in on Saturday
December 15 approx 0800 PST 1100 EST to find out.
* Emirates Team New Zealand have sailed their AC72 for 30 days, and have
produced this video to share the experience: http://youtu.be/u-p3zc77W3U
* This video has nothing to do with sailing, but it does deal with water
and innovation. If you have an extra 26 minutes, and have always wanted to
surf but aren't too fond of salt water, here is The History of Wake
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Scott Kaufman, Scott Kaufman Yachts:
For me the Volvo Ocean Race in its purist form was always the first leg to
Cape Town and then across the Southern Ocean. In its attempt to bring in
other countries, the sponsors have reduced the race to a commercial
enterprise that complicated the course and took something away from the
spirit of the race. Let's go back to a simpler course. Let's go across the
Southern Ocean at high speed!
* From Alex Jomarron, West Dundee, Illinois:
The Volvo Ocean Race and Vendee Globe are apples and oranges, and it should
be that way. It's true that VOR may need to replace the 'Life at the
Extreme' slogan, as clearly now there are more extreme sailing races.
However, if the standard is to be that slogan, there would only be one
Round the world ocean race enthusiasts should embrace the variety we are
offered, which sometimes includes the unprecedented shipping due to piracy,
the slog through the Straits of Malacca, new routes, and other perceived
variances of the purist notions. Would it be okay if a multihull round the
world race was created? Would that spell the end of the monohulls? I doubt
Give me more and give me different. I'll take it!
* From Tim Patterson:
One of my favorite memories of Grant Dalton is from the Millennium Race. As
they dipped into the ice fields on their way around Antarctica, Club Med
was on track to break the 24 hour under sail record again, having already
done so at least once during the race and then having Cam Lewis break it
As I remember the post on the website, they had been heading up on occasion
to stay above icebergs and then saw a berg they would have to tack to be
able get above. Wanting the record, Dalton climbed the mast [90 feet up as
I recall] and guided the skipper and crew through the bergie bits [any one
of which would have sliced open the hull like a can opener] at speeds in
the high 20's low 30's for something like half an hour.
The entire crew said it was the most exciting 30 minutes they had ever
spent anywhere. A great sailor and a great ambassador for the sport.
An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
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