SCUTTLEBUTT 3774 - Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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THE MOMENT THE LIGHT BULB WENT ON
By Rod Davis, Seahorse magazine
The kids think it's a mid-life crisis, but they are happy it does not involve dying my hair or buying impractical, expensive sports cars. Just sailboats - funny that.
It started, strangely enough when I was thinking about writing of the lack of 'trickledown' that the 2013 America's Cup was going to pass on to mainstream yachting. In the past America's Cup technology has had a direct, if not immediate effect on sailboat racing. Cup programs over the last 30-odd years have taken sail material from Dacron, to Mylar, to Kevlar, to Cuben Fiber, to carbon. Rigging systems, winches, carbon spars, gennakers, performance measuring instruments and software, all are spin-offs from various cutting edge programmes pushing to capture the Holy Grail of yachting.
In this America's Cup, when I look at what trickledown, or spin-offs, are on offer to the everyday sailor, it is clear to me that the cupboard is pretty bare. Oh we have lots of cool stuff, like wing masts, S-shaped boards that can be moved in any direction with hydraulics, big cats that ride up on foils like those Russian powered hydrofoils, but these are pretty irrelevant concepts to anyone without 60 people on the payroll and at least a 50-million dollar budget for their yachting. And that would be about everyone!
I am not bagging the new AC72 cats, heavens no, just that they are not very practical for normal sailboat racing. I don't see 100 boats being built like the last two America's Cup classes that were decided by consensus.
Take foiling for example. It not just a matter of plugging in a board that foils and you are off. At different speeds you need a multitude of different settings and most are changed hydraulically. It is the most complex, thus high maintenance, system I have ever seen on a boat. A genuine nightmare. It would be like me stepping into a Formula 1 racecar. 'Wonder what all these buttons on the steering wheel do... Oops'. And just like Formula 1, the gap between racing a Grand Prix single-seater and a weekend-racer's rally car is both huge and constantly widening.
There will be a couple things on the AC72 that will help the normal racer, like slick furling systems for the downwind sails. All the 2013 America's Cup teams have made big improvements there. And winch and hydraulic systems are making nice gains; but I am already thinking that the future for these systems will use electric not manual power - like the AC72 rule requires.
While all that was spinning in my head, I starting thinking... Where is the whole sport headed? What kind of boats and sailors are going to be racing in the future. -- Read on:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The above column was re-printed from the February 2013 issue of Seahorse. If you wish to become a subscriber, our friends at Seahorse have provided a Promotional Code - KEYWEST2013 - to use when visiting their secure web-based order system:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
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FUN = SUCCESS
"After decades of racing with inordinate concern about outcome--which may be necessary to acquire skills--I'm not certain about that. I finally realized several years ago that you can have more fun and get better results by finding a way to be less invested in outcome and more present. I really enjoyed sailing with my team, sailing against excellent sailors and having the challenge of a new boat to figure out." - Dave Franzel, top J/70 Corinthian team (and 8th overall) at Key West Race Week,
"I have a list of things I need to go back and work on before my next ISAF World Cup event at the end of March, and above all, I am going to keep having fun out on the water while working towards my goal of standing on top of the podium." - Isabella Bertold, Laser Radial bronze medal, ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami,
American John Kostecki has made a career as a professional sailor, and can now be found as tactician for America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA. His trail to the top began on San Francisco Bay, with a notable marker in 1982 when both the J/24 and Sunfish class world championships were held on his home waters.
As an eighteen year old, John won the Sunfish title and came close to winning the J/24 title too. John considers his diverse background as an important element of his success today, and would recommend it to children interested in the sport of sailing...
"Most important, have fun and enjoy it. There are so many classes out there, so find the one you love. I loved sailing from a young age, so I looked for as many opportunities as I could to get out on the water. I raced both dinghies and keelboats and learned every role on the boat. I'd go keelboat racing with my dad and his friends, then sailing in a junior program. I always tried to hang out with the older kids because they had so much more experience and I learned from them. I didn't focus on being the skipper, but rather on getting as many experiences as I could get..."
AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE SPORT
West coast college sailing will take its annual leap from dinghies to keelboats next month with 10 teams from across the nation racing Catalina 37s in the sixth Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta March 8-10. Among the fleet will be a bold newcomer to the game, the College of Charleston from South Carolina.
Charleston has one of the nation's top college sailing programs, ranked third in the country after the fall semester. But those events are mostly small boats, not the heavily crewed Catalina 37s otherwise seen in the Congressional Cup and other ocean racing events.
Greg Fisher, sailing director for the College of Charleston, is working to expand the Cougars' sailing program for big boats because, Fisher says, "it's an important part of the sport.
"So many sailors love the offshore races with a different type of technical skills required. The whole atmosphere is different. I see how important big boat sailing it to the sport in general.
"With dinghy college sailing there is unfortunately a size limitation. If you're too big it's hard to be competitive. A lot of our guys on our offshore team who are going out [to California] to sail the Harbor Cup are excellent sailors, but they're bigger guys and would have a hard time competing with the guys on our dinghy team."
"The team is all fired up and working hard at it," Fisher said. "This has given us the segue to go to our athletic department and say, hey, this is an opportunity to develop a new part of our team and offer more sailing for kids to come to our college."
NOTABLE College of Charleston freshman sailor Jake Reynolds will be among the crew of Team USA45 Racing which will represent the U.S. at the first-ever Red Bull Youth America's Cup to be held Sept 1-4 on San Francisco Bay:
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SHIP CLAIMS CROSSING WAS SAFE
(February 11, 2013; Day 94) - As one of the two remaining skippers in the Vendee Globe, Alessandro Di Benedetto reported last weekend a near miss with cargo ship SANTA TERESA from the Hamburg Sud. While in the proximity of the Cape Verde islands, Alessandro picked up its presence on his radar detector, and claimed the ship was not on the AIS system and did not answer his VHF calls. The ship eventually came out of the fog, with Alessandro describing how he had to slow down his boat 'Team Plastique' and change course to avoid collision.
News of this incident reached Hamburg Sud which made this statement:
(February 11, 2013) - Hamburg Sud has investigated the allegations described and closely questioned the ship's command of the SANTA TERESA. At the time of the incident, at around 1600 hrs, the captain was on the bridge in addition to the officer of the watch. The sailing yacht "Team Plastique" had been visible on the SANTA TERESA's radar units for some time, the radar image showing a probable passing distance of 0.7 nautical miles or 1300 m. The speed of the SANTA TERESA was 21.5 kn, visibility 4-5 nautical miles.
Delivered in 2011, the SANTA TERESA is a state-of-the-art newbuilding of the 7,100 TEU Santa class. All the bridge equipment was in perfect working order and in operation, that is to say, both radar units, both VHF sets on Channel 16, as well as the AIS and voyage data recorder (VDR).
The sailing yacht "Team Plastique" was received with her AIS data the entire time by the SANTA TERESA, both as target on the ARPA radar units and as text on the actual AIS device.
Although there was no danger of collision at any point, even if both vessels had maintained their course, the SANTA TERESA changed course by 7-8 degrees to starboard to give the sailing yacht more space. Owing to the safety drill taking place at the time, as every Friday, several crew members were on the SANTA TERESA's poop deck. They consistently reported that the passing distance of the "Team Plastique" astern of the SANTA TERESA's poop deck was far greater than the 100 metres stated.
According to the ship's command, at no time was the SANTA TERESA called on VHF (USW) Channel 16.
We know from long experience that encounters between large vessels and small ones are judged differently by the respective ship's commands. We can therefore well appreciate that Mr Alessandro di Benedetto must have felt very uneasy in the situation described. We wish to stress that we employ well-trained and professional ship's commands on all our vessels and that this incident was in no way a "near miss", since the passing space was sufficient at all times. -- Eva Graumann, Global Head of Corporate Communications, Hamburg Sud
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. --
* The Inaugural Lauderdale Olympic Classes Regatta hosted Finns, Men's Laser full rigs, Open Laser Radial, I-420s, and 29ers at Lauderdale Yacht Club (Ft Lauderdale, FL) on Feb 8-10. Over 60 boats from nine countries took part and were treated to three days of outstanding conditions and racing in the ocean just south of the Port Everglades inlet. The plan for next year is to expand the regatta by including 49ers, 49erFXs, 470s and Nacra 17s, providing sailors who compete at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami with another event. -- Full report:
* Forty-six teams competing in the second event of the 2013 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC), which was won by Marc Hollerbach with professional sailors Jonathan McKee and Ben Allen as crew. Finishing 19th overall and winning the amateur title was John Brown's Blind Squirrel with crew members Will and George Demand. The third and final event of the Winter Series is on March 7-9. -- Full report:
* Augie Diaz and Arnie Baltins won the inaugural 5-event 2012-13 Star Winter Series Presented by EFG International. Hosted in Miami, Florida by Coral Reef Yacht Club between November and February, the series included 12 days of sailing on Biscayne Bay in winds ranging from 8 to 21 knots. -- Full report:
* Tampa, FL (February 11, 2013) - John Mollicone's Helly Hansen team has seized the lead after five races on the opening day of the J/24 Midwinter Championship. Beautiful conditions allowed the abundance of racing for the 20-boat fleet, with Mollicone's team of Tim Healy, Geoff Becker, Dan Rabin and Gordon Borges posting a (8),3,1,1,2 two point lead over Mike Ingham. -- Full report:
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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 Paul Henderson:
Old Man Diaz is truly an icon in our entire sport of sailing - not just the Snipe class (Scuttlebutt 3773). I consider it an honour to be able to call him an old friend. I especially like it when he pays for dinner at a Cuban restaurant in Miami.
* From Kathleen Tocke:
I found it interesting in how John Lambert's stats (in Scuttlebutt 3773) about the participation numbers in the 2013 ISAF World Cup Miami would not include the windsurfing events. Are windsurfers not considered to be sailors?
Solvig Sayre, who represented the US in the RS:X at the Miami World Cup, had previously qualified for the 2012 Women's College Nationals as a skipper. I was also competing in the RS:X, and I was both a skipper and crew at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. The Women's RS:X silver medalist at the 2012 Games came from the 470 Class. Nicola Girke (CAN), who finished tenth at the Olympics, also came from the 470 Class and now sails Nacra 17s. Windsurfers are also sailors.
We need to encourage young people that are too small for the Laser or Finn or those that cannot afford a 470 or 49er campaign to try another challenging and affordable Olympic discipline like windsurfing. We need to be "right-sizing" youth and college sailors. I wish someone had come to me when I was in college and said you are the perfect size for Olympic windsurfing.
COMMENT: Regardless of Olympics, we need to encourage those young people not enthralled with the current menu of youth boats (ie, Optis, Club 420s, etc) that there are other options. Maybe it's the Techno 293 youth windsurfer or maybe it's countless other boats that are desperate for crew. Just because a kid is a kid doesn't mean he/she can only sail against other kids. Maybe they like sailing but not racing. Not every kid is a round peg. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
* From Jay Kehoe, Training Program Director, Oakcliff Sailing Center:
The Oakcliff program in Oyster Bay, NY answers your 'bigger question' in Scuttlebutt 3773 on how to transition young sailors into non-youth boats. Oakcliff is supplemental to a high school and university education and their sailing programs. Oakcliff teaches sailing on many levels, including creating a more extensive experience for those who may want to go up the Olympic path.
Oakcliff helps teens grow and develop technical and leadership skills that will serve them in sailing and life. The 4-week Acorn program is geared for sailors 15-18 years old and is the most comprehensive sailing program in the world.
Acorns do much more than sail, they are educated on everything from Rigging to Engine Repair, from Tactics to Fundraising. This is all taught by coaches top coaches pulled from Americas Cups, Volvo Ocean Races and the Olympics.
A typical day includes classroom and workshop sessions, an hour in the gym and at least 4 hours sailing our extensive fleet including: 10 Match 40's, 6 Melges 24's, 6 Shields, 2 Farr 40's, 3 IRC Ker designs, 8 49ers, 8 49er FX and 8 Nacra-17 catamarans. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.oakcliffsailing.org
* From John McNeill:
Certainly that sponsorship shortfall is affected by a tough economy and the downsizing of the field, BUT....even if sponsorship is primarily a business decision driven by marketing opportunity, it is also very much affected by how sponsors, and often their VIP guests, anticipate being treated at the event.
San Francisco rejected a megayacht harbor, then the intended base location in a prime area, essentially hi-hatting the moneyed stiffs who could have produced a much stronger support for the Cup. I wonder if all those righteous leftists even considered that the Sponsors might want to feel welcome.
* From Joe Eskenazi:
The news over the weekend that the city could be left holding the bag for millions the America's Cup Organizing Committee has failed to provide is a revelation in the same sense that it's revelatory that promiscuous couples in horror films tend to be killed off.
The very real possibility of San Francisco being made to cough up scores of millions of America's Cup dollars is, in fact, the exact scenario warned of by prudent city officials not cheerleading for the event. Just as so many filmgoers futilely shout "don't go in there!" to ill-fated protagonists, so San Francisco was warned regarding the America's Cup.
We went in there. And now it may cost us. And, in fact, it may cost us a bit more than the (dismal) figures bandied about over the weekend. -- Read on:
* From David Redfern:
What happens in the America's Cup if the first two boats in the challenger series crash and take three months each to mend? Does the one standing, and not raced win and go forward? And then if the two boats in the final crash, is the series postponed three months, and if they crash out again....ad infinitum...could be a series that takes years to finish? Just curious.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We may not know the answers to these questions until the Sailing Instructions are published. It is our understanding that there will be no provisions within the race schedule to specifically aid teams that have breakdowns, but we are not certain what occurs during a collision when the right of way boat is sidelined due to significant damage.
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