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SCUTTLEBUTT 3787 - Monday, March 4, 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: Gowrie Group and Harken.
MAYBE THE BOAT NEEDS A BETTER NAME
Jennifer French, who claimed the silver medal in the doublehanded SKUD 18
event at the 2012 Paralympic Games, was honored last week as the recipient
of US Sailing's 2012 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Her award makes Jen the
first female to be recognized for her disabled sailing achievements, but
what she would really like now is to go mix it up on the able-bodied race
Designed by Julian Bethwaite and selected in 2005 as the new two-person
boat for the 2008 Paralympic Games this summer, the SKUD18 continues to fly
below the radar. "The 2.4 and the Sonar both began with able-bodied racing;
they each had established classes before they became Paralympic boats,"
explained French. "But the SKUD 18 was just the opposite. It has been
harder to build on the able-bodied side; that's the crux that the boat
needs to overcome."
Maybe it's the boat's name. The Urban Dictionary defines Skud as: 1) A
person that appears attractive from far away, but when seen closer is
actually ugly; 2) A derogatory reference to someone or something; or 3) A
spliff with only tobacco at the beginning, the rest being purely marijuana.
None of these references seem to have great marketing qualities.
"It is remarkable that this boat is only used for disabled sailing,"
remarked Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck, who reviewed the boat in 2008.
"It has all the elements of a skiff with the benefit of being lead
assisted. With a tube-launched asymmetrical spinnaker and a modified high
performance 29er stayed rig, the boat is fast and fun to sail. For people
learning how to sail, the fixed seats eliminate the awkwardness that new
sailors experience when moving around in a boat. For the daysailor, add
surround sound and drink holders, and the SKUD 18 is speedy way to tool
around the harbor. And for the aging keelboat sailor it provides the dinghy
experience without all the athleticism needed."
Interestingly, the SKUD's commitment to disabled sailing may also become
its detriment. "It is a fun boat to sail, but what I dearly missed while
doing the campaign is that it is not an open class," said French. "I want
to be able to compete against able-bodied people too. But what the boat did
introduce me to was the fun of sailing with an asymmetrical spinnaker. Once
you sail with that configuration you kind of get addicted to it. However,
now I am looking for the next able-bodied class I can participate in.
That's what makes sailing so unique for people with disabilities; we can go
out and race against able bodied people and be treated the same."
Does French have aspirations for the 2016 Paralympic Games? "I am taking a
break right now. The SKUD was a reminder of how important open sailing was
to me, so that's what I have been doing lately. I have been doing some
beach cat sailing, and I have been checking out the J/70. What I need to do
is take a look at the available options for me."
Rolex award ceremony video: http://youtu.be/bnKhuwlkh0g
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PAUL CAYARD: FOILING AND THE AMERICA'S CUP
In Scuttlebutt 3786 (Friday), Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard spoke openly
of the work the Swedish America's Cup challenger was doing to prepare for
the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 7 - Aug 31). In Part 2 of his
interview with Scuttlebutt's Craig Leweck, Paul shares more details on
foiling and the other variables that are in play for the 34th America's
"With the focus on full foiling (entire hull above water), it is important
to recognize there are wind crossovers that impact the equation. If the
winds are too light to fully foil, then the excessive drag caused by the
foiling blades will be a big problem. While July and August are windy
months on the Bay, September can offer a wider range of wind strength. The
foiling package that works in the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 7 - Aug 31) may
not work in the America's Cup (Sept 7-23)."
"So far no team has been able to fully foil upwind. We see it when reaching
and running, but not closed hauled, and I don't think we will see it in
this America's Cup. But remember, even if the boats are not fully foiling
upwind, they are still foiling to a less degree. A good estimation is that
about half of the hull's displacement is getting lifted when sailing
"It has been pretty interesting watching Oracle sail since the time we
trained with them. They now, along with most of the other teams, are
sailing with two different boards at the same time. One board is more
suited for upwind and less stable when sailing downwind, while the more 'V'
shaped board is more stable for downwind but produce more drag when sailing
"We can learn from watching how the teams deal with the unsteadiness of the
less draggy board. They might fly lower on the less stable board since that
will minimize the hull pitch, whereas they will fly much higher on the
stable board since they offer a much safer ride. But again, more stability
when fully foiling off the wind means they are paying the price upwind with
the additional drag of the stable board."
More than foiling...
"While so much of the focus is on the foiling, it is good for the public to
recognize that this America's Cup is different in a lot of other ways too.
When you consider the extreme conditions we expect in July and August, and
the tightness of the race course, we are doing things no one has ever done
before. Even in monohull racing, we have never been hemmed into a box that
is just three quarters of a mile wide. The reaction time needed for the
helm and crew is going to make a big difference. Add in how the boats are
fragile, breakdowns are going to happen, and maintenance will be a big
factor. There are just a lot of new factors that will be determining the
outcome of this America's Cup."
Full interview: http://sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/13/0301/
IMPROVING THE OUTPUT
It's still over a year before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race,
but we are already getting excited about the race's heightened commitment
to onboard media. Rick Deppe, who is responsible for the media output from
the boats, provides this update for Sail Racing Magazine editor Justin
We have the two spreader cameras as normal, plus the one on the back
communications mast - they stay the same as they always work and so there
is no reason to change.
The larger bubble around the hatchway means we couldn't use the aft facing
camera positioned on the mast below the boom this time - which incidentally
I was never a big fan of anyway.
So now we have built an aft facing camera into the top of the coaming
around the hatchway. This will be a great location for pitman interviews
while they are working. We can also rotate this camera like we can with the
spreader-cams so we can point it up at the helmsman, or down to leeward at
someone trimming. The microphones will be under the coaming, protected from
the wind noise.
We expect to use this setup a lot and I think this will be one of the
biggest changes to the look and feel of the media output because it reduces
the need to be on deck with a handheld camera where you are shaking and
falling around as the boat moves. The footage from the new camera should be
rock solid and really, really cool.
Another new camera position I am really excited about is at the front. This
new camera is in a kind of steaming light assembly fitted about 500mm above
the boom height on the front of the mast and built into a custom fairing.
That will be looking forward and because we are so much lower down and
closer to the deck, when the guys are working on the foredeck fighting with
a sail or when the boat is screaming along, we will see the water rushing
towards the camera.
The spreader cams were great for that but because they are so high, it kind
of flattens the visual impact compared with being down lower. I think the
footage from the new lower position will be really dramatic. -- Full
* The Volvo Ocean Race organizers have announced that the Portuguese
capital of Lisbon will be a stopover port for the 12th edition in 2014-15
and again for the 13th in 2017-18. The boats will reach Lisbon in 2015
after setting out from Newport, Rhode Island and crossing the Atlantic back
to Europe. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/VOR-030313
* Tampa, FL (March 2, 2013) - Allan Terhune controlled the competition at
the J/22 Midwinter Championship to win by 14 points. Racing Dazzler with
Katie Terhune, Jeff Linton and Louise Neuberger, Terhune dropped his lowest
score of only 4 and kept a line of 3,1,1,1,1,1,2 for just 10 points in the
eight race series. He was quick to praise the host Davis Island Yacht Club,
saying "We couldn't have had a better three days of sailing - warm, good
breeze, challenging and fun!" -- Full report:
* The World Sailing Speed Record Council has ratified a new record for
monohull sailing a route from New York to San Francisco (13,225 nm).
Giovanni Soldini (ITA) and 8 crew sailed the 70ft Maserati from December
31, 2012 to February 16, 2013 in a time of 47 days, 42 minutes, and 29
seconds (average speed: 11.72 kts). The previous benchmark time was set by
Yves Parlier in 1998 of 57d 3h 2m 45s. -- http://tinyurl.com/WSSR-030313
* Sail Canada announced members of the 2013 Canadian Sailing Team. The ISAF
Sailing World Cup Miami event in January marked the final team
qualification opportunity for the Canadian Sailing Team. This year's lineup
includes many familiar faces along with nine new team members. Details
* (March 1, 2013) - U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., introduced a bill
this past week that would block the use of gasoline blended with 15 percent
ethanol until its harmful effects are further investigated. H.R. 875 would
repeal the Environmental Protection Agency's waiver approving the sale of
E15 until the agency seeks an independent scientific analysis from the
National Academy of Sciences to explore the harmful effects of the blend,
according to Sensenbrenner's office. -- Read on:
* Buzios, Brazil (March 3, 2013) - After two days of competition at the 7th
edition of the RS:X Worlds Championship, the 63 men and 41 women have five
races completed, allowing a discard of their worst result. The men's fleet
will now be divided into gold and silver fleets, with the first 50% of the
best sailors on the first and the second half of the fleet on the last. The
girls will continue sailing a single fleet through Tuesday, with the top
ten of both men and women advancing to the medal race on Wednesday. --
Event website: http://tinyurl.com/RSX-030313
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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 Brown - Chicago:
In response to Mr McCarthy's OpEd in Scuttlebutt 3785, if he believes that
sailing is a millionaire's club then he can get a look at my W-2! I have
taught and raced and cruised...for 30 years...while I maintain an hourly
job that buys me the essentials in life, and maintains my minimalistic
approach to the path I have carved out day to day. Lake Michigan sailing is
ever-changing and an attitude that reflects "elitism" when it comes to
sailing will get you fewer and fewer participants in your weekly regattas
and beer cans.
* From John Graham:
Sailing expensive? Not for the 50 to 80% who sail as crew and don't own a
boat. The cost of equipment to sail as crew is less than the cost to go
skiing, cycling, surfing, etc. Costs about the same as playing soccer,
tennis, squash, etc.
* From Rob Stephan - Fairfield, CT:
I found the story of what John Ross-Duggan (Scuttlebutt 3785) accomplished
before and after becoming a quadriplegic inspiring. Not only was he a
skilled sailor/racer but he finished medical school and a four year
residency/fellowship in neuroradiology after his injury and continued
racing and winning. Hats off to a life well lived. John's story can serve
as a fine reminder to any of us who may complain about any adversity that
we experience to think again.
* From Jim Leatherman:
Regarding the passing of John Ross-Duggan, it is with a heavy heart that I
reply to this sad and unexpected news of the loss of a friend, a great
teammate, fierce competitor, roll model, and world class sailor (how many
Paralympic Medals did he have in sailing?). Over the course of one's life,
individuals come and go but there are those few that make a lasting impact
on you. JR was one of them for me.
I remember when we first met. I was struck by the fact that I was going to
let this guy take me out into the middle of the Ocean just after the
Perfect Storm, on a little sail boat, while being duct taped into some
twisted metal parts that sort of resembled a chair. As we exited Marblehead
Harbor and the sail boat in front of us completely disappeared in the
trough of the swell, I knew I had lost my mind to have been talked into
being onboard. After all, we had a QUAD driving the boat. As I hung on for
dear life, I remember JR barking out orders as if we were simply on a day
cruise at the Islands. When we got back to the dock that day, right after I
got off the boat and kissed it, I know this guy was something special, and
I now "wanted" to sail with this Quad at the Helm. -- Forum, read on:
* From Deb Aronson:
I'd like to respond to Dave Ullman's observations (#3781) on keeping the
balance between competition and a healthy class. I can't think of any class
that does this better than the Flying Scot class.
The class is among the strictest of one-designs; boat #1 can sail as fast
as boat #6000, skippers being equal, of course, so no one has to run out
and buy a new boat every few years. The competition is fierce, and the
sailors are world-class, but just as importantly, Scot sailors are the
friendliest group of people I have ever competed against.
When we showed up at our first Scot regatta, having bought our boat the
previous week, our competition showed us how to rig it. Another thing that
keeps the class healthy is the amazing willingness of the top sailors, even
the professionals, to share tips with those of us back of the pack. And,
although this might appear off topic, I also want to point out that this is
the only class I know of that has an annual, class-sanctioned, national
regatta for wife/husband teams only. This year's regatta attracted 27 boats
and competition was so hot they had to use the around-the-ends flags on
both days. 2007 Rolex Yachtsman of the year Jeff Linton and his wife, Amy,
won it, but not without a fight!
COMMENT: A successful balance has as much to do with the boat as the people
that sail it. I have fond memories sailing FS #742 "The Pretender", which
included sailing with 19 friends onboard, trying to launch her off a water
ski ramp, and placing second in the North American champs. How many boats
provide that much fun? - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
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