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SCUTTLEBUTT 3769 - Tuesday, February 5, 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: North Sails, North U, and J/Boats.

By Willy Clark,
I have seen iceboats race a number of times before, but I never really thought much about it until my cousin and close sailing buddy Oliver Moore got hooked into the New England Ice Yachting Association a few winters back. I knew that they were absurdly fast, and I obviously thought they were extremely cool and exciting. However I must admit that I never really thought much about iceboating. This is the way it is for a lot of "soft water" sailors; they are aware of iceboating and that it's very special in its own way. But that is about the extent of it, and after a day spent in and around the things I think I can explain why - it isn't really like sailing.

After a few scratch races Oliver gave me the chance to take his DN for a spin. It was a new experience in every sense of the word. The first thing that jumped out to me as odd was that you can't see the puffs coming. Ice doesn't ripple the way that water does, so you have no warning of the puff. It's just there all at once and you had better react fast. This makes it an even more intuitive sport than "conventional" sailing already is. You can't see what is happening. Even your tell tails aren't all that helpful. You just have to feel it.

The other thing that really got to me is that you can just stop. When you go for a sail even when you let out your sails and are just waiting around luffing you are still sailing. You don't stop sailing until you are back on land. Ice boating isn't like that. You can just get out whenever you want. If the wind gets to high or too low once can simply take the sail down and walk home, and the idea of doing that really gets in your head. Going for a sail in an ice boat really isn't like spending an afternoon sailing. Yes that is the activity, but the fact that you can just stop for 15 minutes in the middle makes it very very different. It's a hard thing to wrap ones head around.

During my brief spin in the DN I got hit by two very large puffs. The wind was extremely spotty that day at Squam Lake (New Hampshire), with 15 knot gusts oscillating up to 45 degrees. The first one hit me and the boat took off so fast that I simply had to wuss out. I dropped the sheet and headed up until I felt under control again. However when I felt the second one hit I knew I had to put the bow down and see what it could do, so I gripped the sheet, held the tiller rock steady, and just hung on for 30 seconds of pure terror. It was very clear, after my heart had descended out of my throat, why people get into this - the speed is something else. Nothing can really compare to it. However it wasn't just the speed that was different, the whole experience was totally unrelated to anything I had done in my whole life of sailing. -- Read on:

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The ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami was used as a test bed for potential formats being considered for the 2016 Olympic Games. Among the classes participating in the experiment was the Men's and Women's skiff events (49er and 49er FX), which created a rectangular "theater" course with two buoyed parallel sidelines approximately 220 meters apart marking the 400 meter W/L leg. Winning the men's event were Americans Fred Strammer and Zach Brown... here Zach explains the experience:
The 49er class officials have embraced the idea of experimental finals to determine the winner of regattas. The Miami World Cup was the 49er's fourth regatta to use a non-traditional scoring and race format. The idea of theatre style racing is exciting and entertaining to watch, but fairly stressful to participate in. I believe the theatre racing is a great platform, but the scoring aspect of the finals still needs some work. And, I don't really have an answer for what the proper solution should be.

Let's take a look at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami from last week. The format consisted of two stages: a five day series and a final on day six. In stage one, the low point system was used for fifteen races sailed over five days to determine the top six boats that graduated to stage two, known as the "Big Sixty" finals format. The winner of stage one is awarded one victory point in stage two. The first boat to win twice in stage two, wins the event and ends the finals. The rest of the boats in that stage are ranked 2nd through 6th in accordance with their second stage scores and the carried over finishing position of stage one. The finals could be over in as short as one race (if the winner of stage one wins the first race of stage two) or could take as long as six races.

The concerns of the Miami World Cup finals stage scoring focused on the premium placed on winning races. Traditionally, regattas are won by consistency and a team can win an event without ever winning a single race. Despite the alarm, the finals results of the 49er fleet changed very little from the fifteen race series of stage one. The general consensus in the boat park from sailors and coaches was that the short course theatre style racing is intense and well enjoyed by competitors and spectators, but there are still some modifications needed to create a more fair and balanced scoring system.

Final 49er results:
Ben Remocker provides video and commentary of the deciding race of the Finals in Miami for the 49er class. At this stage, there were two teams who could win it all, either Americans Fred Strammer and Zach Brown or Ryan Pesch and Trevor Burd. Watch here:

Prior to the start Blue established an overlap to leeward from astern while Yellow luffed near the line. Coming off the line Blue pinched up to squeeze off Yellow, hoping Yellow would tack away. The boats rubbed rails and both protested... Any foul here? See answer below.

(February 4, 2013; Day 87) - The Vendee Globe welcome afforded to fourth placed Jean-Pierre Dick by a huge and passionate crowd was one worthy of a race winner. Having sailed more than 2500 miles with no keel, having lead the race - his third participation - and having been among the top three for most of the course, all clearly inspired a big, partisan crowd to take to the channel into the heart of Les Sables d'Olonne this afternoon to welcome ' JP'.

As one of the pre-race favourites, JP took his disappointments in his stride but they ultimately took their toll on his overall performance.

First was the loss of a key small gennaker - one which would have been his reaching workhorse in the South which forced him to re-think his strategy at times. Then he struggled with a jammed halyard hook which left him unable to set the optimum headsail for some time. He eventually climbed the mast of Virbac-Paprec 3 several times to free it but lost more miles. His problems were capped when he lost his keel on the evening of January 21.

"The welcome here has been extraordinary. That transition between being alone and arriving here makes me so proud to be here. You are a racer at heart. I left trying to win this race, but it changed course and became an adventure. In sporting terms, the goal was not achieved, but in human terms, it is much more than I could have hoped for. I think that it will be easier for me to get over the loss of my third place, because there is this glorifying side to the end of the race. I am proud to have brought back my Virbac-Paprec 3 to Les Sables d'Olonne."


Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Monday, February 4, 2013, 20h00 (FR)
1. Francois Gabart (FRA), Macif: Jan 27, 14:18:40 UTC, 78:02:16:40
2. Armel Le Cleac'h(FRA),Banque Populaire: Jan 27, 17:35:52UTC, 78:05:33:52
3. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: Jan 30, 07:25:43 UTC, 80:19:23:43
4. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA),Virbac Paprec 3: Feb 4, 15:05:40 UTC, 86:03:03:40
5. Jean Le Cam (FRA), SynerCiel: 619.9 nm Distance to Finish
Full rankings:

RESCUED: Javier Sanso, the Spanish skipper of ACCIONA 100% Eco Powere which capsized on Sunday morning, was lifted off his liferaft by helicopter at 2340hrs UTC on Sunday night and arrived at the Azores island of Terceira at 0330hrs UTC Monday morning. Sanso's health was found to be satisfactory.

BACKGROUND: Twenty skippers began the 24,000-nm 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. --

Blue broke Rule 17 by sailing above her proper course after establishing her overlap from astern. Yellow broke Rule 11 for failing to keep clear as a windward boat. And both broke Rule 14. Learn more about this and dozens of other tactical scenarios at North U Rules & Tactics Seminars and Webinars. The course includes Dave Perry's new Racing Rules & Tactics Workbook. US Sailing Memberships and Discounts! Full details and registration: 800-347-2457,

By John Payne, photojournalist
"Water, water everywhere and barely a place to race." With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coloridge and his Ancient Mariner, last week Biscayne Bay had nary a free patch of water that wasn't a race course. South Florida once again proved to be the place to sail in North America in January and February.

All week, the ISAF Sailing World Cup had 237 boats and boards out on 5 courses. On Saturday, they consolidated their racing to two medal circles, and 21 Stars and 19 Snipes joined the mix on their respective courses. Finally, the 2012-13 Etchells Midwinters Series continued this weekend (February 2-3) with the Florida State Champs. "The Jag", as it has come to be known, is a series of four regattas between December and March. Hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, the series consistently draws forty or more boats to the good weather, great competition and even better camaraderie.

Nine of the top ten boats from last year's Florida State Champs were present amongst the fifty-eight Etchells that reported to the starting line Saturday morning for the first of five scheduled races. The conditions on Biscayne Bay were just what the Chamber of Commerce would have ordered, with mostly sunny skies, temperatures in the low-seventies and a nice breeze of ten to fourteen knots.

Winning the regatta were Dirk Kneulman, Phillip Carlson and Andreas Josenhann on Tiburon. Taking second was Marvin Beckman sailing his Keep Smiling with Steve Hunt and Andrew Lee. Third went to Ernie Pomerleau and Mike Dressell with Chris and Monica Morgan. In fourth place were Shannon Bush, Brad Boston and Curt Oetking on La Tormenta. Rounding out the top five were Phil Lotz, Rodrigo Morieles and Eric Doyle on Arethusa.

Photos and complete race by race report:

* John MacCausland topped the 60 boat fleet that contested the 2013 Laser Midwinters East held on Feb. 2-4, 2013 at Charlotte Harbor, Florida. MacCausland won the 45-54 age division, with other division winners including Buzzy Heausler in third (55-64), David Hiebert in fourth (35-44), and Tim Millhiser in eleventh (65 and up). Complete results:

* Twenty-eight teams competed in the Thistle Midwinters West (Jan 31-Feb 2), overcoming the "harsh winter conditions" in San Diego to complete nine races. Dave Tillson with crew of Eric Heim and John Fretwell took the title by 3 points over skippers Doug Hart and Chris Snow. Complete results:

* America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA re-launched their AC 72 on Monday, revealing several modifications which include replacing the tiller with a wheel, next generation wing and boards, and more structure to reduce platform twist. The team hopes to sail the boat later this week. -- Full report:

* Bavarian helmsman and newcomer in the 5.5m Class Markus Wieser has captured the 2013 World Champion Title in Curaçao last week with his crew composed of German Star sailors Frithjof Kleen and Thomas Auracher. Twenty two boats representing seven nations got together in the Caribbean island of Curaçao for a fierce battle on deep blue seas with easterly winds between 18 and 22 knots. -- Read on:

* Sailors from six islands took home trophies from the 12th San Juan International Regatta (SJIR) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The February 1 to 3 regatta hosted by Club Nautico de San Juan welcomed over 140 sailors in 102 boats racing in 10 classes. Conditions proved perfect with generally sunny skies and winds blowing under 10 knots the first day and gusting to nearly 20 knots on the final day of competition. -- Read on:

J/111 ACTION IN 2013
The J/111 has been lighting up sailing around the world. This 36' easy-to-sail speedster, uncompromised by rating rules, has brought the fun back into sailing larger keelboats. Even better, the J/111 class is ISAF approved and the 2013 calendar includes the European Tour and the inaugural North American Championship.

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 Herb Motley:
I have just read the synopsis of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in Scuttlebutt 3768. It seems clear that TV driven Olympics has joined the America's Cup in a departure from the sport of sailing. Once again the rule makers have added layers of complication to an essentially simple sport for the purpose of TV ratings.

Is it now time for ISAF, US Sailing, and other National Authorities to simply recognize the fact that they have taken an ancient sport loved by a diminishing number of 'lifers' and moved it into a 'show business' mode which has its own rationale, but frankly bears very little resemblance to 'boat racing' as practiced by most of us who cling to it?

COMMENT: It is best to recognize that the sport of sailing which is practiced amongst amateurs need not follow the formats being pursued by professional events. Amateur events that encourage participation and consistent performance, and perhaps offer some diversity in the selection of race courses, will better meet the needs of those people seeking a recreational activity. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

* From Peter Allen - Rochester, New York:
Molly Winans' words in 'Butt #3738 really hit the starting line at full speed, at the best end of the line and right at the starting signal. We shouldn't reject her wise counsel.

To most outsiders when we say "yacht club" or "yacht racing" their eyes glaze over and they tune out. Yacht clubs are for other people. We who love our sport need to emphasize SAILING and, as Molly points out, "OUTDOORS" every time we talk about our favorite SPORT.

For the most part we aren't wearing "yachting" clothes when we go out on the water. The blue blazer hangs in our closet, along with all the other fancy clothing. We usually go out on the water in smelly foul weather gear, torn jeans and a sweat shirt, or cut-offs and a holey tee shirt, or maybe just a bathing suit. And we are as likely to kick back with a beer in the cockpit as we are to retire to our clubs' bars, if there even is such a thing in our sailing club house.

Do our egos really need to be bolstered by the word "Yacht"? Seemingly the answer to that question, all too often, is "Yes!" I know I've raised that very question to both local sailing clubs where I have been a long-time member. Both of my sailing clubs have rejected my suggestions that we switch from being a "yacht club" to what we really are; a "sailing" club". I suspect there are no more than thirty to fifty real "yacht" clubs worthy of that appellation in the United States.

Hasn't our National Authority changed its name from including "Yachting" to including "Sailing"? Why do we cling to that old-fashioned, exclusionary word: "Yachting"?

I guess snobbish image is everything to some people; growth be damned. Well-said Molly!

* From Fred Bieberbach, Jr:
Pursuant to: "STOP TALKING LIKE THURSTON HOWELL III" in Scuttlebutt 3768, as a life-long water-rat, life-time marine industry professional, and sailor for more than 50-years; I have not yet run into anyone who talks like Mr. Howell (fictitious character as he might be). Those that take sailing or the marine industry seriously; already knew that Captain Jonas Grumby was the real "Skipper" ...and we all understood that Thurston Howell III was the "pretend sailor".

Sure we can research websites such as "Under Armour, Patagonia, REI, and Eastern Mountain Sports" and not see any references to sailing. One could also say there are very few references to sailing in the websites such as: Golfmax, Epic Ski, snow mobiler's '', or Victoria's Secret (swim-suit section of the website of course)... and are ALL outdoor sports websites as well.

With the possible exception of Patagonia; none of those websites mentioned - cater to sailing (and Patagonia no longer specifically targets the sailing market)... and why should they? The sailing-market for clothing and equipment is very small but is supported by those companies who specifically target the sailing-market and have done so successfully for the sport and on-water activity of sailing. -- Forum, read on:

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