Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 3776 - Thursday, February 14, 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 Melges Performance Sailboats.

Standing for 100-plus years near the shore of White Bear Lake in Minnesota has been the iconic Johnson Boat Works building, which this week saw the end of an era as demolition began February 11.

"I've spent 40 years of my life here," Jason Brown said. "Change can be good but it's always difficult and bittersweet."

Stepson to Skip and the son of Marge Johnson, Brown grew up at Johnson Boat Works, the business Skip inherited from his father Iver, who took it over from his father, founder Johan O. Johnson.

A recap of the building's history and family lineage starts in the year 1875 in Norway when J.O. was born. Orphaned at a young age, he was sent to live with relatives but soon developed a taste for sailing. At 14, he worked as a galley boy on a mail and freight schooner traveling up and down the coast. Johnson met his future employer in Norway, Gus Amundson, who had immigrated to the United States in 1882. He offered Johnson a job if he ever came to White Bear Lake. In 1893, the 18-year-old Johnson took him up on the offer.

Johnson worked for Amundson for two years, building rowboats and traditional sailboats for inland lakes. But the young Norwegian was more fascinated with boat design than construction and began work on a radically different concept; a flat-bottomed sailboat that would ride on top of the water instead of through it.

One day Johnson told a customer about his idea and the man agreed to invest in the new design, "just for the fun of putting one over on his friends at the White Bear Yacht Club," or so the story goes.

Overnight Johnson became self-employed and rented a building on the site where the White Bear Boat Works is now, a block away from Amundson Boat Works in Cottage Park. He began building the first scow, which promptly won its first race in 1896 at the Yacht Club, "not only lapping the fleet but was home with the sails down by the time the second place boat crossed the finish line."

C. Milton Griggs, a wealthy businessman living on Manitou Island, was impressed by the victory and financed another boat, a 38-foot scow he named the Minnezitka, Indian for "Water Bird." It went on to win the club championship that year and is the predecessor of the legendary Class A Scow, still raced on White Bear Lake during the summer. -- Read on:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Do you have a Johnson Boat Works story to share? Send it to

The Ullman Sails FiberPath series combines the latest in membrane technology and design expertise to deliver the lightest, strongest string sails on the market. What makes FiberPath different? Our design team understands how to address the loads in your sail using fiber selection and layout. Paired with years of experience designing fast, efficient sail shape, you get performance sails for racers and cruisers alike. So whether you're rethinking your cruising inventory or upgrading your racing sails, Ullman Sails can offer a FiberPath sail to match your goals. Find out more information from your local Ullman Sails loft and visit

Over 650 boats registered with US Sailing for an ORR certificate in 2012, with the Offshore Racing Rule working closely with the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) to continually leveling the playing field for racers. To that end, 2012 saw the release of a major update in the ORR rule.

Last year saw the East Coast Championship Series launched, joining the already successful Great Lakes Championship Series, now in its fourth year. 2012 was also the first year of the ORR National Championship Series. Boats participating in either series - Great Lakes or East Coast - automatically qualified for the National Championship Ranking. In 2013, look for details soon about the West Coast Championship Series.

The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac continued to provide the largest ORR fleet. Other major events of 2012 included the Newport to Bermuda Race, Pacific Cup, San Diego Yacht Club's Puerto Vallarta Race, Balboa Yacht Club's Cabo San Lucas Race, the re-invigorated MEXORC, California Yacht Club's Cal Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club's Campbell Cup and Balboa Yacht Club's Long Point Race Week. Acapulco Yacht Club is entering their seventh year using ORR for around the buoys and distance racing.

On the Great Lakes, the Columbia Yacht Club's Colors Regatta adopted ORR while the Chicago Yacht Club Verve Cup, Queen's Cup, Bayview Mackinac Race, Little Traverse Yacht Club Annual Regatta and the Bayview Long Distance were all part of the ORR Great Lakes Series. On the East Coast, the Block Island Race, New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Regatta and the Stamford Vineyard Race were part of the ORR East Coast Series.

Coming up in 2013, odd-year ORR events will include: the Transpac, Marion to Bermuda Race, the Marblehead Halifax Race (MHOR), and Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Cabo San Lucas Race.

The ORR rule is based on a non-public Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) whose objective is to accurately handicap boats of diverse designs. The ORR rule is the only rating rule worldwide that offers customization for course configuration and course conditions. -- Full report:

The Cruising Club of America was launched in the winter of 1921-1922 by a handful of experienced offshore sailors, and today has mission-focused committees that focus on Safety at Sea, Offshore Communications, Technical, Environment, Cruising Guides and Charts, and the Bermuda Race. In support of their purpose, the CCA has created several awards to recognize and celebrate seamanship, adventure, service, accomplishments, performance and statesmanship.

Here are the 2012 award winners...

* The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected Stephen and Karyn James (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) to receive its 2012 Far Horizon Award for a commendable ten years and 38,000 miles of cruising. The award is given to a member of CCA "for a particularly meritorious cruise or series of cruises that exemplify the objectives of the Club."

* The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected Brin R. Ford (New Haven, Conn.) to receive its 2012 Richard S. Nye Trophy for his contributions to the Club in the form of meritorious service. For the past 18 years, Ford has brought distinction to the CCA with commendable service on the Newport Bermuda Race Committee through his programming skills, the creation of online race registration, and race scoring.

* The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected David S. Cowper (Newcastle, England) to receive its Blue Water Medal for his completion of six solo circumnavigations of the world and five solo transits of the Northwest Passage. The Blue Water Medal was first awarded in 1923 and is given "for a most meritorious example of seamanship, the recipient to be selected from among the amateurs of all nations."

* The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected Captain Thomas B. Crawford (Lopez Island, Wash.) to receive its 2012 Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship for the rescue of Derk Wolmuth and his 31-foot Vindo sailboat, Bela Bartok, during the 2012 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race. The trophy is given "for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht or one or more individuals at sea."

The awards will be presented by Commodore Daniel P. Dyer, III at the annual Awards Dinner on March 1, 2013 at New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. --

The sport of sailing has its share of historic perpetual trophies that continue to spur competition. In Scuttlebutt 3775, yachting journalist Kimball Livingston sought help to put in order the oldest of the match race challenge cups. Here is what we have learned...

1. America's Cup
On 22 August 1851, America won a race against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the Club's annual 53-nautical-mile (98 km) regatta around the Isle of Wight. The surviving members of the America syndicate donated the Cup via the Deed of Gift of the America's Cup to the NYYC on 8 July 1857, specifying that it be held in trust as a perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations. The trophy was first contested in New York City in 1870.

2. San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Trophy
Encinal Yacht Club's El Sueno defeated San Francisco Yacht Club's Queen on August 31, 1895 to become the first winner of the San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Trophy.

3. Seawanhaka Cup Match Race The Seawanhaka Cup Match Race is an invitational race run every other year or thereabouts to promote promoting small yacht racing and developing the corinthian spirit among yachtsmen. The date of the first race was September 21, 1895.
The oldest team racing event is The New York Canoe Club International Cup which began in 1886. The rules require that the races be held in the home waters of the Holder and subject to a challenge on behalf of a club representing a foreign country. Its currently (2011) held by a U.S. team of Chris Maas, David Clark and Willy Clark, with the next challenge scheduled for Summer 2014 in San Francisco, CA.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Paul P. Nardone, Jr., Steve Chamberlin, and Jim Champ for their help with this list. Please submit any needed corrections or additions:

This year marks 20 years of the exceptional Melges 24. A Melges Performance Boat that is still ahead of its time. Over 120 Melges 24's on the starting line in last year's World Championship in Italy. Upcoming World Championships in San Francisco and then Australia. The Melges 24 is strong, active and forever fun! Congratulations to Melges and the International Class Association. Race a Melges!

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, in response to reports that San Francisco taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $20 million in America's Cup expenses because of possible fundraising shortfalls by the America's Cup Organizing Committee...

"We're not in the hole, but we will be if we don't raise enough money. And I don't want the pressure on the General Fund, and that would end up being an obligation that we have. By the way, while I'm raising, or helping to raise, some $20 million to cover that, I'm also asking all departments now that we have a, relative to what was going to be a larger race, now we don't have as many boats, the expenses might be off so we have to kind of update it and reduce it.

"So with the combination of reducing the expense side and then raising some money as we're doing from the private sector, we're getting some new traction. But ultimately, this is a financial obligation that we signed on." -- Full report:

* Portsmouth, RI (February 12, 2012) - US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) and Youth Championships Committee announced that the 2013 U.S. Youth Championships will serve as a mandatory qualification event for the 2014 U.S. Youth Worlds Team. Hosted by Corpus Christi Yacht Club (Corpus Christi, Texas) from August 12-16, the regatta will expand to host more youth sailors and to include seven classes: 29er, Club 420, Formula 16, International 420, Laser, Laser Radial and RS:X. The online application process is open until March 15 at midnight ET. Any sailor who will not turn 20 years old in the 2013 calendar year is encouraged to apply. -- Read on:

* Tampa, FL (February 13, 2013) - John Mollicone from Newport, RI and his Helly Hansen team have triumphed as 2013 J/24 Midwinter Champions. With Tim Healy, Geoff Becker, Dan Rabin and Gordon Borges, the group was able to spectate the last of the 10-race series to allow the other 19 teams to duke out the remaining places. Dropping the DNS, Mollicone ended the three-day event at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL with 21 points and a line of 8,3,1,1,2,2,1,2,1. Will Welles helmed Cougar to an impressive series and 26 points for second place. Peter Bream's Team Tarheel notched 43 points for third. -- Daily reports:

* Having proved her mettle for inshore racing, Shockwave, driven by owner George Sakellaris, followed up her recent Key West victory with a near record breaking performance in the 2013 Montego Bay Race. Stretching 810 miles Ft. Lauderdale to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Shockwave and her crew were able to complete the course in an impressive 2 days, 11 hrs and 23 minutes and missed the course record by a mere 58 minutes. On corrected time, she also won the IRC division. -- Results:

* 11th Hour Racing, a non-profit organization with a mission to advance environmentally conscious sailing practices, announced a new Sailing Education and Stewardship Initiative, a unique grant opportunity for programs or projects designed to increase the personal investment in the health and protection of our waters within sailing education and racing. The 2013 deadline is March 15, 2013 and grants will be awarded in late May. -- Full report:

* The Florida Laser Masters Winter Circuit wrapped up this past weekend. The three events in the series are sailed over an 8-day period and include the Masters Midwinters, Midweek Madness regatta and the Florida State Masters. This year they were held, respectively, in Port Charlotte, Jensen Beach and Palm Beach. The weather was ideal, and all three host venues put on superb hospitality and race management. Entries for each event were between 50-60 competitors covering the four Laser Masters age groups. John McCausland, from New Jersey, won the Masters Midwinter East regatta, and Canadian Andy Roy won the second and third events. Full report:

Luxury Swiss watchmaker Rolex enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Rolex is also an active sponsor of the sport ... here are the dates of Rolex U.S. and Caribbean sailing events:

March 22-24 - International Rolex Regatta
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

June 14-16 - 159th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex
Newport, RI, USA

June 23-28 - Block Island Race Week
Block Island, RI, UA

July 24-27 - Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship
Martha's Vineyard, MA, USA

August 27-30 - Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
Newport, RI, USA

September 7-14 - New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex
Newport, RI, USA

September 26-29 - Rolex Big Boat Series
San Francisco, CA, USA

All these events are listed on the Scuttlebutt regatta calendar. Are you an event organizer? Add your event here:

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 Chris Boome - San Francisco, CA:
So it looks like sailing will remain a sport in the 2020 Olympics. But if it got voted out of the Olympics, how horrible would that be? Gee, maybe people would start having fun sailing again, even great sailors like Rod Davis (#3774) and Isabella Bertold (#3775).

* From John C. Wade:
I think everyone is over thinking the 'youth training for continued sailing as an adult' issue. Look, some people like sailing and are going to do it regardless of how much training they get. Some people like model railroad trains. Do you think if you immersed 90% of youths in model railroading a large part would continue to participate in adulthood? No... only those who like it and are enthralled by it. Same thing with sailing.

So the real question is: why make such a fuss about getting every kid brain-washed into sailing? Is the real reason marketing? I think so. Some people like horseback riding. Is everyone supposed do that because a few love it? All our sailing activities should be geared to those who love it, not for the purpose of increasing market share. There is no other reason to spend so much time on this matter. Give it break.

* From Bruce Thompson:
I have a few suggestions as to what to do for older and/or bigger Club 420 sailors. A key problem is the lack of space below the boom for the crew. So turbo the rig.

Use a sealed carbon fiber mast and boom, so both are water tight and float. That will increase the stability index of the boat by reducing the weight of the rig and also make the boat more tolerant of capsizes by providing floatation at the masthead.

Make the boom taller while simultaneously raising the boom, so it more closely resembles a Snipe rig. That provides room for the crew. Also add a fathead main for more power, with a laminated floatation panel for buoyancy at the head of the sail.

The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum provides an opportunity for companies to announce new products and services. Here are some of recent postings:
* Sponsorship grant and scholarship program for F18 & F16 multihull classes
* 11th Hour Racing Announces Sailing Education and Stewardship Initiative
* Reckmann takes over Holmatro marine hydralics
View updates here:

Shakespeare on taking smart risks: "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."

Doyle Sailmakers - JK3 Nautical Enterprises - North U -
US Sailing - - Gowrie Group - North Sails -
Waterline Systems - Ullman Sails - Melges Performance Sailboats -
Block Island Race Week - Samson - Samson Ropes -

Need stuff? Look here: