SCUTTLEBUTT 3746 - Thursday, January 3, 2013
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: Ullman Sails and Storm Trysail Block Island Race Week.
FORTY YEARS AS THE CARETAKERS OF SPEED
It is somewhat ironic that the creation of the World Sailing Speed Record
Council (WSSRC) in 1972 resulted from the boastful claim of a paint
company. This outfit, which made a special soft graphite paint, announced
that the C-Class catamaran.
Lady Helmsman, (which was indeed a very fast boat) had sailed at 30 knots.
This so annoyed Bernard Hayman, editor of Yachting World, that he demanded
to know how this speed had been measured and was told that by sailing close
to the promenade of Southendon- Sea, the boat could be paced by a car.
That was ridiculous, but inspired the magazine to propose a new event,
devoted entirely to measured speed. The Royal Yachting Association agreed
to organize it and after an extensive search Portland Harbour was selected
as the best venue and, because of its geography, 500m was determined as the
distance to be sailed.
Celebrating its 40th birthday, the integrity of WSSRC has always depended
on the skill and hard work of its Commissioners - men and women who seem to
spend an inordinate amount of time standing on windswept shores or in icy
water while strange sailing craft flash pass. One who has been involved
since the very beginning is Michael Ellison who has quite literally spent
years of his life ensuring that the right competitor gets the right time
and that it is an accurate one. Here's how he recalls it:
"Time? A frightening thought - I spent over a year on Fuerteventura alone!
The start was two weeks in Australia for Yellow Pages. A month in
California for Longshot, a month or six weeks in Namibia for kites and then
Sailrocket each year since 2006. Luderitz only has a small airport - a sign
on the gate says 'Please hand your guns to a member of staff before
boarding the plane.' Usually I am driven from Cape Town or last year from
Johannesburg by a competitor. It normally takes over 24 hours flying time
to South Africa via the Gulf or via Frankfurt to Windhoek. Two weeks in
Tonga (2004) and two weeks in Cape Verde islands clocked up some flying
hours plus the driving time down to the numerous early 'annual' French
events, totting up several months in total at Ste Marie, Fos, Port St
Louis, Leucate, etc.
"I hope that we can get across that WSSRC needs new records and our aim is
to help improve speeds - but at the same time we owe a duty to existing
record holders to see that their speed is fairly exceeded. I like to point
out that every competitor's best speed is their personal record and
therefore every attempt has to be measured with similar care."
Titled "A Short History of Timing", here is the story of the WSSRC and its
40 years as the caretakers of speed:
IS ANY PUBLICITY STILL GOOD PUBLICITY?
As 76 yachts lined up on Boxing Day to start the 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart
Race, two of its high profile entrants garnered regrettable attention:
DENIED: Just two and a half hours before the start of the race, Cruising
Yacht Club of Australia Commodore, Howard Piggott, announced: "The Race
Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will not be accepting the
entry of the boat Wild Thing as a result of non-compliance with the Notice
of Race, in particular NOR 4.1, dealing with documentation to be lodged and
verification of construction requirements."
The Don Jones designed super maxi Wild Thing had undergone extensive
modifications in recent months, including a new a section of her hull to
lengthen her to the permitted maximum of 100 feet. "We are absolutely
devastated to be told at the 11th hour that we are unable to race to
Hobart," said skipper Grant Wharington. -- http://tinyurl.com/BPN-010213
REDRESS: The International Jury ruled that Syd Fischer's Elliott 100
Ragamuffin-Loyal was not at fault when she failed to restart after crossing
the line early. Their decision came after the Race Committee brought the
redress action to the International Jury on behalf of Ragamuffin-Loyal,
stating that they had not fulfilled all the requirements due to an OCS
The RC had made a sound signal and displayed Code Flag X and repeatedly
called on VHF. However, the Race Committee did not contact the yacht in
accordance with Sailing Instruction 1.20.3 approximately five minutes after
the starting signal. --
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BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
(January 2, 2013; Day 54) - With Cape Horn now in the rear view mirror for
Vendée Globe leaders Francois Gabart (Macif) and Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque
Populaire), the advent of ice made turning this corner more harrowing than
"When we have all this ice around it makes it much more difficult," shared
Le Cleac'h. "We have 150 complicated miles with icebergs on the course. And
when night comes it will more difficult. Once we are past Staten Island
(off Cape Horn) we will be back to simpler sailing conditions."
After rounding Cape Horn, both skippers chose to exit the worst of the ice
danger zone by heading north - passing through the Le Maire Straits, gybing
through the 16 miles wide gap between Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island -
rather than the standard easterly route to clear land and seek stronger
winds. Certainly a safe move, but one that gives miles back to their
While relieved now of ice worries, their rest will be short lived as they
apply themselves to the weather conundrum that is the South Atlantic. The
simple maxim is to climb north as fast as possible. In the west there is
less wind because of the prevailing high pressure, but to the east there is
more wind but more miles need to be sailed.
PROTEST: The International Jury have taken the decision to disqualify
Bernard Stamm (SUI, Cheminees Poujoulat) for receiving outside assistance,
an infringement of article 3.2 of the Notice of Race. Following the
skipper's pit stop on 23rd December south of Enderby Island (Auckland
Islands, NZ) to repair his hydrogenerators, Stamm received help from the
crew of a neighboring ship when his anchors dragged. Stamm will try to have
his case reopened by the jury. Details: http://tinyurl.com/VG-010213
Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 20h00 (FR)
1. Francois Gabart (FRA), Macif: 6776.0 nm Distance to Finish
2. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 26.1 nm Distance to Lead
3. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 355.2 nm DTL
4. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 760.2 nm DTL
5. Jean Le Cam (FRA), SynerCiel: 1980.9 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/
IS IT TIME TO RETHINK OUTSIDE ASSISTANCE?
By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World
(January 2, 2013) - What on earth do you make of the startling news today
that Bernard Stamm has been disqualified from the Vendee Globe for
receiving help when his anchor was dragging at his repair stop in Auckland
Island? It's a decision that follows the letter of the rules of this race,
but feels incredibly harsh.
Fearing for your safety and that of your boat, would you have done anything
Yet the rules are absolutely clear. No assistance is allowed. So the race
committee's decision feels, bizarrely, both fair and very unfair.
Part of me thinks the statement that a crewman from the ship crew came on
board uninvited and began pulling up the anchor unseen by Stamm is odd. Can
you imagine that happening on your boat, never mind one so complicated at
the front end as these, with a bowsprit and bobstay to contend with?
Yet when things have to be done in a hurry and there's a situation to save,
who's to judge?
The disqualification feels incredibly harsh when you put it in context of
what happened to Stamm during the last Vendee Globe in 2009, when his boat
was driven ashore and severely damaged in the Kerguelen Islands.
He had sought shelter there to make repairs after the failure of rudder
bearings. The wind was so strong he wasn't able to motor on to a mooring
and somehow was driven ashore - any skipper's nightmare scenario. It must
have appeared horribly like history repeating itself.
What I wonder is exactly how small an act of assistance it would take to
risk being thrown out of the race? Even if no-one had helped Stamm weigh
anchor, presumably someone on board made fast the line from Stamm's boat.
Does that count as well?
The principle of no assistance is what makes the Vendee Globe the ultimate
round the world race. But these small acts for the safety of a vessel,
which make no advantage for a skipper, are a real conundrum and maybe
should be weighed up again.
Set that beside the oddity that the rules allow any amount of technical
information, photos, diagrams and documentation to be sent to skippers
about how to make repairs. Sometimes they are talked through stage by stage
by their shore teams. That's not as much, or more, a form of assistance? --
Read on: http://tinyurl.com/YW-010213
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"Let's face it: As an industry, right now, we do a great job of selling
boats to old, white men. But U.S. demographic trends suggest this group is
shrinking, while the black, Hispanic and Asian populations are on the rise.
The pace at which that change is taking place is startling and has
significant implications for our industry. We need to know what to expect
if we're going to have any chance of succeeding." - Liz Walz, columnist,
STORM TRYSAIL BLOCK ISLAND RACE WEEK, JUNE 23-28, 2013
The Storm Trysail Club plans a bang-up race week celebrating the 25th
running of the East Coast's premier five day race week. Compete for the
Rolex watch in the 'Round Block Island Race; North American Championships
in IRC, HPR and J80's; East Coast Championships in PHRF and J109's. Swan 42
New England and Beneteau 36.7 Northeast Championships. Navigator courses
for Double Handers, Cruising and Classic classes. Don't miss out! Get your
crew together, book your house, make your ferry reservations and enter now.
Pay by March 31st to earn 10% early entry discount. Other discounts, too!
* The High Performance Rule (HPR) Class will host its inaugural 2013
Midwinter Championship Regatta in Miami, Florida over March 4-9 2013. The
event is open to any entry between 38 and 45 feet with a valid HPR
* The production of the new Nacra 17, which was selected as the multihull
equipment for 2016 Olympic Games, has encountered quality issues with the
upper section of the carbon mast. After discovering cracks in the carbon
mast, the factory has suspended delivery of the Nacra 17 with the carbon
mast. The Nacra17 will be delivered with an alloy mast until further
notice. -- Full report: http://www.sailing.org/news/33759.php
* The International Jury has dismissed a protest by Italian challenger Luna
Rossa against the America's Cup Event Authority, the Golden Gate Yacht Club
(GGYC) and the Regatta Director for the cancellation of the AC World Series
Venice regatta in 2013 and the inclusion of two events in the USA at the
end of May 2013. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/ACUP-010213
* CLARIFICATION: Esteemed yachting journalist Bob Fisher noted some
confusion in Scuttlebutt 3746 where we reported that Ben Ainslie had been
recognized with Knighthood in Britain's New Year Honours list. While we got
that right, we pursued to include the appropriate acronym, which is a bit
confusing, and found that all reports either had it as CBE or did not list
it (probably because they were confused). We went with CBE... which was
sort of right. "Ben Ainslie was created a Knight Bachelor - a KB,"
explained Fish. "He retains the CBE in his official title, but not the OBE
and MBE he was awarded earlier (they were superceded by the CBE.)"
Most Minnesotans have never heard of Roger Swanson. But among voyagers
around the globe, he's known as the man who circled the world not once --
but three times -- on a 57-foot sailboat whose home port is listed as
His travels carried him from the tip of South Africa to the Arctic, winning
international honors along the way. He also happened to launch a half-dozen
manufacturing businesses in rural Minnesota, overseeing production of
everything from snowblowers to farm equipment.
Swanson is being remembered this week as an extraordinary adventurer who
lived an otherwise ordinary life in southwestern Minnesota.
"Roger Swanson was one of the greatest long-distance voyagers of this era
or any other era,'' said Herb McCormick, senior editor of Cruising World
magazine. "Few sailors have gone from the Arctic to the Antarctic and
everywhere in between. He was one of a kind.''
Swanson's death on Dec. 25 "is a great loss to the sailing world,'' he
Swanson, 81, gathered global admirers, in part, because of the spectacular
number of miles he sailed the high seas -- roughly 217,000 nautical miles.
He also became the first skipper of an American sailboat to cross the
fabled Northwest Passage from east to west in a single year. It was a feat
that landed him on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 2007.
"Roger was known around the world, not just for the scope of his sailing
but as a guy who sailed well,'' said McCormick. "He was a great seaman,
known as a careful navigator.'' -- Star Tribune, read on:
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* From Paul Henderson:
Although I had met Lynn Watters (Eight Bells, Scuttlebutt 3745) at several
regattas I did not really get to know him till we were both on the 1964
Canadian Tokyo Olympic Games Team. Lynn crewed and really was the glue
behind the Royal St. Lawrence YC Dragon Class Team skippered by Ed
Botterell with Joe McBrien.
We spent one month together at the sailing venue at Enoshima under the
shadow of Mt Fuji in a beautiful hotel by the ocean. At the 1968 Mexican
Olympics, sailing was in Acapulco, Lynn was the team's Technical Director
and Racing Rules advisor as he had shown great interest in that part of
Our lives really changed in 1970 when Montreal got named as host for the
1976 Olympic Games. There was only one Canadian on any International Yacht
Racing Union committee and that was Paul Phelan. Beppe Croce, IYRU
President, asked the CYA to send delegates to sit on standing committees.
Lynn was appointed to the Racing Rules Committee.
Lynn became Vice Chairman of the Racing Rules Committee under Gerald
Stambrooke Sturgess and then in 1980 became Chairman of the most important
IYRU Committee which dictates how all racing sailors in the World race, a
position he held for 10 years. Lynn also served as Chairman of the Olympic
Protest Committee during those years and upon retiring was honored by being
awarded the IYRU Gold Medal and remained as Consultant to the Racing Rules
It was not until Lynn retired did everyone realize what all he had done.
Owning Plow and Watters Printing Ltd., he would personally set the type for
the Racing Rule changes and get the books printed as his contribution.
* From Joe Cooper:
Concerning Vendee Globe leader Gabart, he is certainly the youngest skipper
left racing, at 29 years of age, but was not the youngest skipper when the
race began. The youngest starter was Louis Burton at 27, but Mr. Burton was
knocked out of the race, literally on 14 November when "a trawler hit him a
glancing blow...." and apparently buggered up his port shroud.
* From Pete Deluca:
Can America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA make any more mistakes? Will
they soon be joining the very short list of America's Cup winners unable to
defend? Their latest blunder is to establish anti-spying rules, and then
get caught trying to leverage a non-existent loop-hole (Scuttlebutt 3745).
This team stumbles along like it is the U.S. Government.
* From Michael Fortenbaugh:
Regarding Giovanni Soldini's attempt to set a NY-SF Record, it was stated
in Scuttlebutt 3745 that "there is no record for monohull." However, there
is a record which was set by Flying Cloud and then broken in the following
EDITOR'S NOTE: We defer to the World Sailing Speed Record Council as they
are the only authority that is empowered to ratify such a record. The only
record the WSSRC recognizes was set by skipper Lionel Lemonchois on
multihull Gitana 13 in 2006 (43d 3m 18s). The WSSRC states there is no
monohull claim to date under their rules but the benchmark was set by Yves
Parlier in 1998 (57d 3h 2m 45s). Soldini's website states that they are
seeking to beat a reference record (ie, an unofficial record):
A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the
SPONSORS THIS WEEK
Point Loma Outfitting - North Sails - KO Sailing
Ullman Sails - Block Island Race Week - North U
Doyle Sailmakers - International Rolex Regatta
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