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SCUTTLEBUTT 3773 - Monday, February 11, 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: Doyle Sailmakers and JK3 Nautical Enterprises.

There aren't too many people that want to be called an old man, but not everybody is like Gonzalo "Old Man" Diaz. Now in his 80s, Old Man is among the most iconic sailors the Snipe class has ever known. His road took him from Havana to Miami, and after 68 years of Snipe sailing, he still remains a passionate advocate for the class.

* Your first time on a sailing boat?

OLD MAN: In 1943 I was sailing our Club sailboats but I noticed the Snipes coming back from racing with the Caribbean trade winds. They were beautiful coming into our Club little harbor. They were fast! I got in love with the Snipe right away! I was forever hooked.

* Your first time on a Snipe?

OLD MAN: In 1945 I was finally able to crew for one of our Club best sailors. I was 15 years old and after that my father bought me my first Snipe on August 1945. She was # 3686. So, in August 2015 I will be sailing Snipes for 70 years! I only missed 3 years, in 1961, 62 and 63 when I stopped sailing because the Cuban communists had confiscated all my friends Snipes (friends that have left Cuba) and I did not feel comfortable sailing against my friends Snipes crewed by people I did not know. In 1964 I had arrived to United States and sailed the Halloween Regatta in Atlanta, GA that year and never stopped again.

* Any races you would like to forget?

OLD MAN: It would be the 1959 Snipe Worlds in Puerto Alegre, Brazil. When I was approaching the weather mark in first place in the last race, my competition Paul Elvstrom was in the tank. He had already used his throwout race and I had a chance to win the Worlds, but the wind died and the race was cancelled.

* Your sailing dream?

OLD MAN: To be sailing Snipes in 2015. Then I will be 70 years sailing the Snipe!

* Any sailing goals for 2013?

OLD MAN: To be sailing in every possible Snipe race! But, at my old age, I am trying to be more cautious.

* Why the Snipe?

OLD MAN: Because I fell in love with the boat and that love has never died! The boat is now prettier and more comfortable than it was 70 years ago.


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Stalled efforts to bring in big donors could put San Francisco taxpayers on the hook for upward of $20 million for the America's Cup.

With the 55 days of steroidal sailing just six months away, fundraising efforts to cover the estimated $31 million to $34 million cost for police, cleanup, transportation and other expenses have pretty much hit the wall at $14 million.

Originally pitched as a competition between as many as 12 international teams, the race is now down to three entries. The shrinking size of the event has helped reduce costs, but it also substantially cut into corporate interest in sponsorships, which city officials originally thought would bring in $300 million.

Recreation and Park Commission President Mark Buell and his group have managed to raise $9 million from local donors and another $5 million from the race organizers in the form of a loan that may not have to be repaid.

Now those sources are about tapped out. So Mayor Ed Lee has personally taken up the drive to raise money. "He's optimistic that with a concerted effort, he can keep fundraising on par with expenses as they come in," said Lee's spokeswoman, Christine Falvey.

The mayor is also enlisting help from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. In other words, everyone is on this and hoping it works out. But if it ends in a bailout, the feeling at City Hall seems to be that it's worth it.

"Between the money that will come in from tourists and the crowds and the sales taxes it will generate," Buell said, "I still think that, no matter what, it will come out a boon for the city."

Still, time is short, money is tight - and those who have been working the phones tell us it's not easy asking for money to help finance a yacht race being put on by Larry Ellison, one of the richest men in the world.

SF Chronicle:

EDITOR'S NOTE: First the entries are less than predicted, and now the sponsor dollars may come up short. But if the "tourists and the crowds" don't generate sufficient money the sales tax revenue, will this city of liberal activism be picketing rather than partying during the 34th Match in September?

"(The America's Cup) is just ridiculously out of control, expensive. In its way, it's the last shot for this team. Maybe it'll manifest itself in another way because the brand is so strong, but as a put-together sponsorship package with the dollars adding up to create the sum, it won't happen like that again. We're unified as a team, we're culturally strong. We can't fight them on a money platform so we have to fight them on a culture platform." -- Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton,

Following a hugely successful London 2012 Olympic Games last summer, the Royal Yacthing Association (RYA) is now in the process of distributing a substantial amount of equipment used in Weymouth and Portland to Sailing Clubs around the country as part of their Olympic Legacy commitment.

Sailing is the envy of most other sports in terms of the abundance of equipment which was inherited from the London Olympic organizing committee once the Games had finished. Some of this equipment will be retained by the RYA for use in the delivery of future events around the UK to benefit the sport across the country.

The remaining pieces of kit, which include sets of marks which Sir Ben Ainslie would have rounded to confirm his status as Britain's most successful Olympic sailor of all time, will be given to the four National Academy venues as well as some other key clubs that have supported events in the build up to 2012.

The RYA has ensured there is a good geographical spread of the equipment to share the resource and allow other clubs and organizations to utilize equipment in their area, which will hopefully inspire sailors around the country to excel in the sport of sailing.

"We are very fortunate to have received such a large amount of specialist equipment and by distributing this around the country we believe the benefit will be felt by many sailors," John Derbyshire, RYA Racing Manager/Performance Director. "We have to also remember that we are grateful for the dedication and commitment shown by so many volunteer race officials who used this equipment at the Games and will continue to use it to run events in the future." --

The approach and impact on the northeastern U.S. of Winter Storm Nemo has been headline news since Friday. Here now are two stories commenting on its impact during the weekend:

* NEW YORK TIMES: "A gigantic midwinter storm buried the Northeast in snow on Saturday, leaving behind a debilitated and disoriented region digging through plump white drifts and reeling from gale-force winds. More than three feet of snow fell on parts of Connecticut, and more than two feet accumulated on Long Island and in Massachusetts, causing coastal flooding that forced evacuations of some Massachusetts communities. States of emergency were declared in five states. Gov. Dannel P. Malloyof Connecticut reported cars stranded across his state despite orders to stay off the roads."

* RIVERSIDE YACHT CLUB: "Today (Sunday) we had another beautiful day of sailing in the Dyer Dink Frostbiting series in Riverside CT. Twenty nine boats were on the start line at 10.30 am on a bright and crispy Sunday morning. In bright sunshine and with 5-8 knots of breeze oscillating between North and North West, we were sailing in a scenic winter wonderland. It was all the Race Committee could do to hold the exuberant sailors in check. Despite a slack high tide the RC had to call one general recall and impose the I flag. After two closely fought races up and down the harbor, the combination of a dying breeze and a beckoning bar prompted the fleet to head for the docks and lunch. What a wonderful morning. I wouldn't have missed it for the world."

What a difference a day makes...

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Kiteboard course racing continues to grow, and while kiteboards ably compete on a typical buoy course, they have enough unique attributes that required the establishment of Appendix F - Kiteboard Racing Rules - in The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

Here are excerpts from a few of the changes to the Definitions in the RRS:

FINISH: A kiteboard finishes when, while the competitor is in contact with the hull, any part of her hull, or the competitor in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side.

LEEWARD and WINDWARD: A kiteboard's leeward side is the side that is or, when she is head to wind, was away from the wind. However, when sailing by the lee or directly downwind, her leeward side is the side on which her kite lies. The other side is her windward side.

TACK, STARBOARD or PORT: A kiteboard is on the tack, starboard or port, corresponding to the competitor's hand that would be forward if the competitor were in normal riding position (riding heel side with both hands on the control bar and arms not crossed). A kiteboard is on starboard tack when the competitor's right hand would be forward and is on the port tack when the competitor's left hand would be forward.


(February 10, 2013; Day 93) - Twenty skippers began the 2012-13 Vendee Globe, with the final chapter soon to be completed. The current tally is...

Started - Twenty skippers
Finished - Nine skippers
Retired - Eight skippers
Disqualified - One skipper

There are two remaining competitors, though organizers need not staff the finish area this week. Frenchmen Tanguy De Lamotte and Alessandro Di Benedetto are 1615.4 nm and 2335.0 nm from the finish, respectively.

Here are some of the highlights from the weekend...

* Javier Sanso and ACCIONA located his boat that he was forced to abandon on February 3. On Saturday morning (Feb 9), the turning maneuver was conducted successfully and is now being towed by barge to Ponta Delgada, Portugal.

* After finishing ninth on Sunday, Bertrand de Broc received a 12 hours penalty from the international jury of the race after needing to use one of his two emergency cans of water. Each skipper has on board two containers of water for survival at sea to be used in emergency case only. Bertrand de Broc, struggling with the successive failures of its two desalination a few days ago, informed the race he had hacked one of these two cans for survival.

* Alessandro Di Benedetto reported a near miss with a cargo ship. "I detected the container ship on the radar detector. I tried several VHF calls until the last minute when I saw it coming out of the fog on my starboard side. We were on a collision course. The cargo was not on the AIS system and still did not answer my VHF calls. I decided to luff to slow down my boat and change my course in order to let the cargo pass at the front of the bow. It was about 100 meters or less from my boat when it crossed me and even after their crossing they continued not to respond on the radio."

Full rankings:

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. --

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* From Bill Canfield:
Of course Josh Adams and Richard Fenny are right (last week in Scuttlebutt) about retooling the Olympic path for the 10% of young sailors who want to follow it. However, let's allow the 90% who enjoy high school and college sailing the way it is continue to be turned on by what exists now. It's great and it's growing. Is one additional medal worth turning a good number of sailors off to our sport? I think not. Very few can afford the sport at the Olympic level. Can't change that!

* From John Lambert:
The February 8, 2013 edition of Scuttlebutt 3772 contained disparagement of the current U.S. youth sailing classes from three different individuals for lacking high performance characteristics thought needed for Olympic development.

One estimate from a college coach suggests that more than 5,000 sailors a year participate in college sailing, which if correct, means roughly 1,250 sailors a year graduate. To select an arbitrary time frame, 6,250 sailors every five years. The 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami event had 89 sailors from the U.S. over eight Olympic classes (not counting the windsurfers) from high schoolers to people in their thirties: slightly more than 1% of the 5 year graduation cohort.

If the Olympic product can only attract maybe 1% of sailors, why would anyone trying to maintain, never mind expand the number of US sailors, put more energy into that product? Why would anyone try to change successful youth classes: Optis, C420s, and Lasers - with thousands of participants - to pursue something that has such little appeal?

It would be refreshing to see the stewards of this sport focus on how to retain in sailing those graduating every year. After ten years of heavy involvement in youth sailing, I have yet to meet a household that came to sailing because of something they saw or heard about Olympic sailing. Many have joined, however, because of the present youth classes/high school and college sailing.

COMMENT: John brings up two important issues.

The first is in regard to the belief that the institutional-style doublehanded boats (ie, C-420 and C-FJ) used in the U.S. are not fully preparing young sailors for Olympic competition. To me this is less a disparaging remark about these classes as it is an analysis of what is needed at the Olympic level. I would also surmise that that if youth sailors were better prepared to compete at the Olympic level, the risk in taking the leap would be less, and more might be more willing to take it.

But even with more sailors taking the leap, John is right in that just like all sports, those that take the Olympic leap are a very small percentage of all the youth sailing that occurs. Participation in youth sailing is bigger than ever, largely due to the current menu of youth class boats. So the bigger question is how to transition young sailors into non-youth boats. I would offer the suggestion that exposing young sailors to non-youth boats DURING their youth years will enlighten them to the options that exist, and could help to retain them in sailing after they graduate from high school and college sailing. Are there other suggestions? - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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