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SCUTTLEBUTT 3782 - Monday, February 25, 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: Dieball Sailing and Southern Spars.

When American Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer crossed the RORC Caribbean 600 finish line off English Harbour, Antigua last week (02:07:44:34), the 12-man crew knew they had sailed their socks and would soon learn their efforts earned them the Overall IRC Trophy.

This would be the fifth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, which attracted a record fleet of 53 yachts from 31 nations. Conceived by a group of RORC members living in the Caribbean, the growth since its inaugural 2009 edition - considering the economic climate - is phenomenal.

Could it be so simple that a 600-mile race threading through 11 stunning Caribbean islands in favorable weather is what we have all been looking for? Providing more detail is Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read, who was among the winning Privateer crew...
Everybody is is a great race!

There is resolve behind the race from all the right sectors... Government, Tourism, the Superyacht owners, RORC and the wonderful relationship they have built with Antigua Yacht Club.

The weather in the Leeward Islands is certainly a nice feature while England and most of North America is freezing in February. But even with the obvious Caribbean warmth, it is the racetrack that is so special. Most distance races, or even windward-leeward course races, have a "race within the race". But this race takes that term to another level.

The Caribbean 600 is the "short track speedskating" version of an ocean race! A series of sprints from Island to Island that are exhausting and exhilarating. The Islands are just incredibly scenic, the tactical decisions made on how to approach the enormous volcanic peaks of the islands of Guadeloupe, Redondo, Saba and Nevis can make or break your race.

Sometimes you simply have bad or incredibly good luck. Sometimes you make an educated guess based on wind direction and strength to cut a corner and go close in and it works! Sometimes that strategy can cause a world of hurt!

A 90 mile close reach is followed by a 50 mile beat, then a 80 mile broad reach that on most boats is the ride of a lifetime. The chicane around St. Barths and St. Martin is incredibly challenging navigationally and certainly can be a bit hairy when blasting through at 18 knots.

You are racing alongside 100 footers, Class 40's, and an eclectic group of charter boats and grand prix monohulls and multihulls! Whales, turtles, incredible night skies with crystal clear views of the galaxies. All worthy of seeing on an annual basis.

This year was incredible. Trades were ripping. Enhanced by one of the ocean low pressure systems that battered the northeast and maritimes with hurricane force winds. It was a true ocean race complete with 10 foot waves and 25-30 knot squalls!

So why is it growing? Great track, spectacular scenery, the organizers who make sure you feel welcome in the race village at the AYC. Plain and simple, it keeps you coming back because it is an incredible racetrack and is a well managed event. See you next year!
Race website:

The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, will be the first Summer Olympiad to do what? Answer below.

February/March marks the annual pilgrimage south for many One Design sailors. Classes like Etchells and J/24 have been active in Florida, while the J/22, Thistle, Flying Scot and Lightning will all hit the water starting this week! Dieball Sailing will be there to support them. Our goal is the same as yours; take in some sun, relax and help you enjoy great sailing. So while other sailmakers chase the latest classes, we will be enjoying the camaraderie of classes that are as loyal to us as we are to them. - - +1-419-726-2933

When the Volvo Ocean Race teams line up for the start of the next edition in 2014, they will be doing so in an identical 65-foot boat. No longer will the race be a test of technical boat design skills, but rather focus more on each team's ability on the race course.

Ian Walker, who skippered the Green Dragon skipper in 2008-09 and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2011-12, suffered through those races with boat designs unable to keep pace. Ian will return for the 2014-15 edition, and is - not surprisingly - excited with the one design concept:

"If it hasn't been for the new rule, then I probably wouldn't have done the Volvo Ocean Race again. It's just too painful. Too much work goes into these projects and I think one of the biggest advantages is not just the reduction of the budget, but it's the fact that anybody who invests in the Volvo Ocean Race, whether they start now or in six months' time, know that they will have the same equipment and that they are gonna be competitive. That's definitely going to be the tightest race in history - it has to be! All of which excites me. Having been so enthusiastic of it, I was even more desperate, I guess, to get a chance to race in a One Design race."

So while the Volvo Ocean Race hopes the one design concept will help to resurrect their race, another sport is seeking to salvage itself from its decision in 2007 to move toward one design.

NASCAR's new season began this past weekend at the Daytona 500, and it did so with a new car - the Gen-6 design, which NASCAR hopes will drive them into the future by resurrecting its past.

The Gen-6 displaces what was called the Car of Tomorrow (COT). A core component of the COT was to also balance the playing field with a one-design car that would give every driver the same package. The problem was that every car looked the same. In a sport born of founder Bill France Sr.'s mantra that "the stars are the cars," the COT made Fords, Chevys, Toyotas and Dodges indistinguishable.

The result was that the fans hated the COT, the manufacturers hated the COT, the drivers hated the COT, and the sponsors hated the COT. During the six-year run of the COT, all the momentum that NASCAR built in the 90s plunged. Attendance was down. Television ratings were down. Sponsors dropped out.

"The introduction of the new Gen-6 has created buzz," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "Everyone around the sport is excited about this car."

The hopes of both the Volvo Ocean Race and NASCAR are riding heavily on the new platforms that are now to be used. While not a perfect 'apples to oranges' comparison, the jury will remain busy amid both sports delivering its verdict.


Following a couple of training sessions on San Francisco Bay earlier this month, when Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing lined up with their two AC72s for the first time, the Swedish team has decided to suspend their sailing program in favor of boat modifications.

"In some ways it was tough," admitted sailing director Iain Percy (GBR), when asked about the results of the two-boat training. "We've learned we needed to make some changes to the boat and hence she's come into the shed."

Of the four teams, Artemis Racing is the only team that has not designed a boat with foiling attributes, and it is believed that the changes will focus on that area.

"It's going to be a full team effort," said CEO Paul Cayard (USA). "We have the shore team, the design team and everyone is enthusiastic and we are going to roll up our selves and get into it before we get back out on the track."

Despite Oracle Team USA now forced to train alone in San Francisco, their focus appears solid on defending the America's Cup. Rather than sending their top team led by skipper Jimmy Spithill (AUS) to the final 2012-13 AC World Series event on April 16-21 in Naples, Italy, an alternate team led by Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby (AUS) will skipper their entry.

Event website:

Sean Langman's the ORMA 60 trimaran Team Australia smashed the previous fastest time from Sydney to Hobart (630 nm) by a whopping 12 hours and a half hours.

"Our top speed was 39.6 knots," said crewman Josh Alexander. "All the boys were clipped in and taking a bath worse than having a fire hose turned on us. I think they sent four trucks to put us out, but we didn't care, we were still on fire."

The team set a new elapsed time of 29 hours 52 minutes and 23 seconds, bettering the previous time set last December by Bob Oatley's 100ft supermaxi Wild Oats XI by 12 hours 30 minutes 49 seconds. Wild Oats XI will remain the Sydney Hobart yacht race record holder with their time of 42 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds, while Team Australia will be added to the WSSRC's list of sanctioned passage records (subject to ratification).

* Sydney, Australia (February 24, 2013) - After the sixth race of the Winning Group JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship got scratched on Saturday when gusts exceeded 30 knots, the finale today saw Gotta Love It 7's Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage and Peter Harris became the 2013 champions by winning Race 7 on Sydney Harbour today. A great start by the '7' crew took the lead, and when closest competitor Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel later capsized, the title was sealed. American teams CST Composites (Howie Hamlin, Matt McKinlay, Dave Gibson) and Southern Engineering Services (Katie Love, Christine Neville, C.C. Childers) finished tenth and twenty-ninth, respectively. -- Details:

* Scott Barnes and his team of Jackson MacFarlane, Rawiri Geddes and Michael Boucher representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron defeated a field of 14 to win the HARKEN Youth International Match Racing Championship 2013. Teams from Vancouver (ONT), Chicago (IL), Portland (OR), and Corona del Mar (CA) also competed. -- Details:

* (February 22, 2013) - The 2012-13 Vendee Globe came to a close today when Italian skipper Alessandro Di Benedetto became the 11th and final skipper (104 days 2 hours 34 minutes and 30 seconds) to complete the 24,000-nm race that begin with 20 entrants in Les Sables d'Olonne, France on November 10. Alessandro finished 26 days, 17 minutes and 50 seconds after the winner Francois Gabart, making this the smallest gap between the first and the last skipper in the Vendee Globe history. The previous record was 34 days during the 1996-1997 edition. --

Five of the top eight Open 60's that completed the 2012/13 Vendee Globe circumnavigation (including unofficial finisher Bernard Stamm) sported EC6 bundled carbon rigging and all five completed this marathon race without rigging issues. Southern Spars' rigged 'Maserati' (ex Ericsson 4) have set a new record to sail 'The Golden Route' from New York to San Francisco. After a lap around the world and many ocean crossings, the Southern Spars rig and EC6 rigging package stands up to the test.EC6 bundled carbon rigging provides strength in numbers - even if a single rod breaks, the bundle of rods will stay strong. For more information on EC6 rigging please visit

The 2016 Summer Olympics are scheduled to be held August 5-21, 2016, making this the first Summer Olympiad to be actually held entirely during Winter, as the southern hemisphere winter ends on August 31st. However, since Rio is inside the tropics this period will not see "typical" winter weather, while the term "winter" is inappropriate given that the tropics follow a wet and dry season. The Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be the first held in South America, the third held in the southern hemisphere (the first outside of Australia), and the first Games in a lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) country. Following the games, Africa will be the only inhabited continent to have never hosted an Olympic games.

SAILING EVENTS: Following the 2012 ISAF Annual Meeting in November, the ten events and equipment chosen for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will now seek final confirmation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This will occur in 2013 by late summer at the earliest. Any change to the sailing program is wholly under the discretion of the IOC. The sailing program as confirmed by ISAF is posted here:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Danish champion Paul Elvstrøm turns 85 years on February 25. He competed in eight Olympic Games from 1948 to 1988, winning four consecutive individual gold medals (1948, '52, '56, '60), first time in a Firefly, subsequently in Finns. After the 1960 Olympics, he participated in a further four Olympics, narrowly missing out on a medal in the Star class in Acapulco in 1968. Sailing with his youngest daughter Trine, the Elvstrøm's finished fourth at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

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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 Mike Perry:
Reading Dave Ullman's reasoning (in Scuttlebutt 3781) on the failure of high performance one-design keelboats to find local fleet support should get all competitive sailors thinking. The inability of "mid-fleet sailors" to compete with experienced, well-trained crews is, in my opinion, the main reason for the diminishing numbers in racing fleets nationwide.

Losing is not much fun (with the possible exception of golf) in any sport and catching up to trained, talented professional sailors is daunting when you start sailing later in life. Answers are difficult, but perhaps the consistent winners at all levels of our sport should spend more time helping the " mid-fleeters" catch up and less time trying to get further ahead.

* From Sherwood D. Kelley:
Dave Ullman's summary on managing class balance (in Scuttlebutt 3781) was so prescient and reflects what a lot of us "old" guys have experienced that still race one design. When this subject comes up in comparing say, Lightnings to newer classes, there is one difference that I have often observed and it may be the negative one.

Many years ago in my old haunts on Long Island Sound, we saw this new boat arrive on the scene, a J/24. The following year there were as many as 65 boats for one of their regattas. The newsletter and the promotions came out of the factory and there was this commercial push to make it the boat that everyone/every family had to have. The following year, they practically all disappeared, many on the road going from regatta to regatta. Some just got dumped on the market.

Commercial development of a class may not work as an enduring motivation to keep a class going. Without participation in class development from the sailors, "subsidized" popularity may work against class development in the long run. Unfortunately, to justify a new design, the builder has to sell boats and make money...and that's reality.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The J/24 is enjoying a bit of rebirth. Boats are affordable, and with 39 fleets listed on the US class website, one design keelboat racing could be within reach of a lot of people. This month Robby Brown was recognized as the overall winner of the 2013 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta by virtue of his victory in the 15-boat J/24 class, and the March 2013 edition of Sailing World provides several 'snapshots' of the 96-boat J/24 Worlds that were in Rochester, NY last year. All good!

* From Warren Ray:
Regarding the champagne comments last week, the Candy Store in Newport (RI) has a picture of Dennis Conner drinking from a bottle of champagne after winning the America's Cup and next to it is a picture of Dan Gurney spraying champagne after winning the 24 hours of Le Mans. Both photos are signed, and there's a plaque reading "sailors drink...race car drivers spray"

* From Sandy Wills:
Really? Seriously? I can't believe (or I prefer not to believe) that Adam Cort was not being at least a little facetious (regarding champagne in Scuttlebutt 3780). That said, Mr. Painton (in Scuttlebutt 3781) is showing some elitist leanings of his own and needs to get his facts straight regarding auto racing. If he wants to point to wasted champagne, he should look to the world of F-1, IndyCar, etc. It serves no legitimate purpose to condescendingly point to NASCAR (the bluest of blue collar sports) victory celebrations. Besides, the NASCAR celebration will almost always include beer and soda (prominently displaying the sponsors' brands) being sprayed and slung around, but rarely, if ever, champagne.

* From Peter Rugg:
Pete Wilson's Appendix T work (in Scuttlebutt 3781) is a great step forward, mitigating in the 'Draconian' RRS provision that the only result for a guilty party in a protest is DSQ. I cannot find Appendix T in the RRS 2013-16 that I downloaded in a PDF from ISAF last month. Where is it and how does it get implemented into sailing instructions or other pertinent documents?

The Appendix, as presented in Scuttlebutt, deals well with Part B infractions on the water during the race. We still need to apply the same thought process to giving our juries the option to assess a punishment that fits the crime for non part B protests such as an out of date flare, lapsed liability insurance policy or other boats failing to report rounding a mark of the course as pointed out in Rich Wilson's recent book about the 2008-9 Vendee Globe.

Requiring juries to deal out Draconian punishment is not a logical way to grow our sport.

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