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SCUTTLEBUTT 3784 - Wednesday, February 27, 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: Block Island Race Week, Doyle Sailmakers, and GMT Composites.

By Bill Wagner
Back in 1992, Annapolis Yacht Club members wondered how they would ever find a race committee chairman as respected and dedicated as C. Gaither Scott. Some two decades later, a new generation of AYC members are fretting the loss of another longtime race committee chairman that more than lived up to the standard set by Scott.

Gordon “Chip” Thayer has retired from that role, leaving a void that will be as hard to fill as when Scott stepped down. Thayer further enhanced the reputation for excellence established by Scott and equally esteemed AYC race officers such as Ron Ward and Jack Lynch.

“Those men that came before me instilled a sense of quality and professionalism in race committee work,” Thayer said. “I just tried to build on that tradition and ensure the Annapolis Yacht Club was always known for conducting quality sailboat racing.”

Thayer is a longtime resident of Wilmington Del., where he worked for 31 years as a research manager for the DuPont chemical company. He was originally a member of the Columbia Sailing Association, racing a Columbia 30 and C&C 34 named Rampage out of the Sassafras River. He served as commodore and race committee chairman of that club before migrating south.

“As my kids got older, they didn’t want to do as much cruising with the family and became more interested in racing, which gradually dragged us down to Annapolis where most of the serious racing was going on,” said Thayer, who joined AYC in 1984.

Veteran race committee member Wayne Bretsch knew Thayer had experience running regattas with Columbia SA and suggested he contact Scott about continuing those volunteer efforts at AYC. Thayer made a strong enough impression over the course of seven years that commodore Isaac “Cappy” Kidd asked him to succeed Scott as race committee chairman.

“I always felt that you should give something back to the sport,” Thayer said. “I truly believe that serving on the race committee makes you a better racer. You see things on the committee boat that you don’t see from inside your boat.” -- Read on:

California-based Orion Racing has purchased the Veolia trimaran from the MOD 70 circuit organizers, and intrigued by this move, Sail Racing Magazine (SRM) editor Justin Chisholm tracked down Orion Racing skipper Cam Lewis to find out from the horse’s mouth just what the thinking was behind bringing the first MOD 70 to the USA.

Just back from a multihull class win aboard Paradox, Peter Aschenbrenner’s 63ft “cruising” trimaran in the Caribbean RORC 600, Lewis was enthusiastic about the prospect of getting his hands on a thoroughbred racing tri and upbeat about the potential of re-launching fast multihull racing on the west coast of America.
SRM: Why a MOD 70 and what are your plans for the boat?

Cam Lewis: The guy that has bought the boat wanted to go faster, farther and have more fun than the current catamaran that he has, and the trail that led to the MOD 70 is a good option compared to buying something like an old ORMA 60 trimaran. The ORMA 60 option has some issues because they were all built to a real limit and most of them have very expensive titanium jewelry that holds them together - for lightness and speed and such - so the maintenance and refit on one of those would have been an interesting exercise. Plus, there is no circuit to join - we would have ended up like in the RORC 600 racing on some silly handicap system against a houseboat. The MOD 70 guys happened to have bought the Veolia boat back and we looked at the options of a lease charter or a charter to purchase and it ended up at the end of the day being a purchase.

SRM: Do you plan to race the boat in class in the MOD 70 European circuit?

Cam Lewis: Right now I haven’t delved into what the MOD 70 circuit has planned for this summer in terms of a sailing season because it doesn’t really impact on our plans for the boat. I know that Offshore Challenges has a Round Europe Race and there is talk of the Transat Jacques Vabre. It’s not important to our programme currently, because we are not going to be there.
SRM: What are your immediate plans for the boat once it arrives in the US? Is the Transpac or Cabo Race on your radar?

Cam Lewis: The boat will be re-commissioned and sea-trialed in Lorient before we ship it to Mexico where the owner has a base. We will get the guys together there and do some sailing prior to taking it up to San Francisco. We don’t have a plan right now to do the Transpac this summer.

SRM: How do you think the MOD 70 will fit in amongst the other high performance boats on the west coast of the USA?

Cam Lewis: Things are heating up on the west coast. There are some coastal races and such so we will get some sort of handicapping system worked out between the various west coast groups. John Sangmeister has got his Tritium Racing program (the ORMA 60 Gitana purchased from 34th America's Cup Challenger of Record Artemis Racing). Loe Real is still the fastest ocean-racing sailboat in the USA right now. At one time George David’s chartered Rambler 100 was probably the fastest boat from the US, but I don’t know that it is faster than Loe Real, so the MOD70 will be the USA’s fastest racing sailboat. -- Read on:

Come for the competition and there’ll be lots of it, but don’t miss the parties and more at the Storm Trysail Club 25th Block Island Race Week, the premier East Coast five day race week. Extra exciting competition for yachts sailing for regional championships: North Americans in US-IRC, HPR and J80; East Coasts in PHRF, J109 and J105; Swan 42 New England and Beneteau 36.7 Northeast Championships. Navigator-style courses for Double Handed, Cruising, Classic and Gunboats. All PHRF-rated yachts, racing or navigator, will compete for the US Sailing East Coast Championship on a relative best-in-class basis.

The RORC Rating Office, a world-renowned centre of excellence for measurement, outlines how IRC is trying to find some equanimity when dealing with the equivalent of trucks and Ferraris competing on the same race course.
IRC is for all. This simple statement embodies a fundamental and clear message from the RORC Rating Office to racing sailors that IRC is for the standard cruiser/racer, for the sportsboats, for the latest modern race boats and the more traditional racing and cruising boats. Whilst it might look as though the grand prix racing yachts are all that anybody cares about because of their ability to attract the lion's share of the publicity, the reality is that the focus of IRC is on the mainstream.

However, there are almost as many different types, styles and ages of boats racing as there are owners. No rating rule (not even IRC!) is ever going to deal equitably with all of them, every day, on every race course and in all wind and sea conditions; not even “multiple handicap” rules. Nobody in their right mind would try and race trucks against Ferraris and yet that is precisely what the sport often persists in doing.

In the past, the RORC Rating Office has tried to separate the types of boats by introducing rules appropriate to those boats. There was IRM during the early 2000s, but that never had enough boats to achieve critical mass. The RYA/RORC Sportsboat Rule was very successful, but with the growth in one-design sportsboats, withered through the late 2000s to the point where with just 40 boats rated, it could not be justified. This leaves IRC trying to reduce the inequities, make allowances for the slower speed of the trucks, and rein in those Ferraris.

IRC gives the cruisers, and the ever-increasing band of cruiser/racers, proper allowance for the furniture and fit out that they carry. It recognises the speed and nimbleness of the Ferraris. It sees and accounts for the mass production nature of the cruiser/racers, and the hi-tech aerospace materials in the grand prix yachts.

IRC must remain up to date and continue to embrace the new and the modern - to be permissive and progressive. But its gatekeepers, the UK-based RORC Rating Office and UNCL in France, should also reach out to those who are to some degree marginalised by the current structures of the sport. For example, those who do not wish to spend money on the latest sailmaking sensation, or fairing the keel to within an inch of its life every weekend during the winter. We're talking “ordinary” club racers. -- Read on:

Alameda, CA (February 25, 2013) - Artemis Racing has announced the addition of 2012 Olympic medalists Iain Jensen and Andrew Simpson, as well as 2016 Olympic hopeful John Gimson. The newcomers will join the team's decorated Olympians Percy, Lange, Outteridge, and Monk.

Jensen and Gimson will provide sailing and training support for the team including maintenance and logistics for the team's AC45 and F18 fleet, while Simpson will provide weather and tactics support to the afterguard.

Iain Jensen, as crew for Nathan Outteridge, won the Gold Medal in the 49er class in last summer’s games in London. Iain is a 49er world champion in 2009 and 2011, and a 49er European champion in 2011. His accolades include winning “Sail for Gold” in ‘09, ‘10, and ’12.

John Gimson is campaigning to represent Great Britain in the Nacra 17 in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He has received many podium finishes ranging from the TP52 and Extreme 40 class to the Star, Etchells and Melges 24s.

Andrew Simpson medaled in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the Star Class as crew for Artemis Racing Sailing Team Director Iain Percy, winning a gold and silver medal. Simpson brings his experience from +39 Challenge and Team Origin America’s Cup teams to his role with Artemis Racing.

“As an America’s Cup team, we are investing in the team’s future with guys like Andrew, Iain, John and Nathan,” said Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard. “These young sailors bring talent and enthusiasm to our team. They are the future of the America’s Cup.”

By Carol Cronin
The US Sailing Executive Director from 2005-2011, Charlie Leighton made everyone feel like a close friend. The first time I remember really talking with Charlie was on a tour of his private gym. My two Olympic teammates and I had been invited up to the sunny, open room that housed several machines I’d never seen before. “Try this one out,” he said, throwing me yet another one of his infectious grins. “See how much of your body weight you can lift.” I stepped/sat onto the thing, grabbed the handles, and lifted.

“13, wow! I’ve put most of the Sailing Team members on this, and so far that’s a record. Great job!” He pumped my hand, and I walked away feeling like I’d really accomplished something. For an almost-retired Olympic athlete, it was nice to be reminded that I could still compete with the young upstarts. So it would’ve been a memorable moment, even if he hadn’t greeted me for the next few years as “13! How’re you doing?”

Charlie went to the great regatta in the sky this past weekend, and he will leave behind a gaping hole in many lives. I didn’t know him that well or spend that much time with him, but I was always impressed with his enthusiasm and his vision. Almost single-handedly he created the medalist fundraising program for Olympic sailing that will live on in his absence, because (in the words of former Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman Dean Brenner), he “taught us how to do it.”

And while he was raising money, getting to know athletes, and spreading goodwill, he brought many people together as members of the Olympic sailing family. He was uniquely able to bridge the typical gaps between donors and sailors (in age, income, and ability) with a warm smile, a firm handshake, and a goofy opener (“Let me introduce you to Lucky 13.”).

Charlie was always Charlie, no matter whether he was speaking before a board of directors, riding in a powerboat watching racing, or piloting his own plane up the coast of New England. Friendly, caring, personal, with just enough of a glint in his eye that it was all too easy to discount the wisdom of his words. He’ll leave behind a large gap of warmth in many lives. -- Read on:

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* 32 teams have been selected to compete in the prestigious Wilson Trophy 2013 British Open Team Racing Championship, which will be hosted and organized by the West Kirby Sailing Club on May 3-4, in the UK. The event brings together the world’s best team racers to duke it out for the highly acclaimed international team racing prize. Two US teams - the RI Pistols and the New York Yacht Club - have secured spots in the competition. -- Info at:

* Scott Barnes and his team of Jackson MacFarlane, Rawiri Geddes and Michael Boucher representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have won the Harken Youth International Match Racing Championship 2013. Barnes overcame Adam Middleton and his team representing the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club (RPNYC) 2-0 in the final. -- Full report:

* (February 25, 2013) - The St Moritz Match Race, an official stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, has been postponed to 2014 due to a lack of commercial funding for the event this year. During its 10 years on the international sailing calendar, the St. Moritz Match Race has crowned some of greatest champions of sailing as ‘King of the Mountain’ including Ed Baird, Mathieu Richard, Torvar Mirsky, Adam Minoprio and Ian Williams. -- Report:

* Miami, FL (February 26, 2013) - Less than a week before the fourth annual running of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank, and all the boxes have been ticked for another standout event. A hot list of competitors, great race management and the impossible-to-top winter sailing destination of Biscayne Bay combine with the hospitality BMSW is known for to put on an outstanding event for one-design sailors from 13 nations who will compete in five classes: Audi Melges 20, Melges 24, Star, Viper 640 and J/70, from March 3-9, 2013. -- Details at:

* The inaugural Rolex Swan Cup - Caribbean will take place from March 11-15, 2013, at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Marina and Clubhouse on Virgin Gorda. A full sailing and social program is planned for Swan owners and guests, and participants have the option to choose IRC or CSA rating and trophies will be awarded to the best placed in each class. -- Details:

Scuttlebutt is seeking 1 or 2 editorial interns this summer to help us produce our world famous publication. If you are in college and are seeking an internship, please review the requirements here:

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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 Dave Hollom:
In response to Scott McLeod’s observations (Scuttlebutt 3783) on one designs versus restricted design competitions, the America’s Cup only really started to gain worldwide interest and publicity in 1983 when Australia 2 won. It wasn’t what Dennis Conner or John Bertrand had for breakfast that interested them; it was the extraordinary technical innovation of Australia 2’s keel. A single technical innovation took the America’s Cup from the backwaters of a small minority sport and projected it onto the world stage. True, Dennis’ gritty fightback and the wind and waves of Fremantle gripped the public’s imagination, but that would never have happened without the technical innovation of Australia 2.

A technical sport needs characters but it also needs innovation. Tom Blackaller attracted many column inches but his technically clever boat attracted at least as many more.

* From Dan Cooney:
Scuttlebutt, thanks for the eight bells for Charlie Leighton. He loomed huge for the staff at US Sailing as I know he did for so many that he influenced. He bounded into to work, as Annie Becker would say. He was one of those people that makes the world more fun, brighter and more interesting. It’s a huge loss for the sport and the world. My memories here:

In the spirit of Charlie, let me take this opportunity to thank you for what you do for the sport. You help bring the community to the game and that makes it better for all of us.

* From John Strassman, Milwaukee, WI:
Charlie was the right man at the right time for US Sailing. Charlie had a unique set of personal and professional skills in that he could look you in the eye and tell you that the organization was so lucky to have you on board while at the same time extracting the maximum performance (and contributions) from you.

Charlie, we will all miss you very much.

* From John Field:
The news of Charles Leighton's passing brought back the memory of my first meeting with him. It was 1970 and Charlie's company, The CML group, had acquired Hood Sailmakers and were looking for someone to open and manage the West Coast sail loft. Subsequent to our interview Charlie hired me and I was proud to be associated with CML Group and Hood Sailmakers for several years.

The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, and the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.

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