Living in the Scuttlebutt World

Published on March 9th, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Among the problems with getting older is you know old people, and I knew Gonzalo ‘Old Man’ Diaz who recently passed away. Father to Hall of Famer Augie Diaz, he was a parent to all of us and I cherished his example of how to appreciate the sport. When it comes to the ripple effect, Old Man made waves, and I raise a Don Q Rum daiquiri in his honor.

It was in 1988 when a college hoops pool between a bunch of friends in Annapolis first got traction, but has since morphed into a nation-wide brag-fest based on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Aptly named Scuttleball, it is where sailors go to ball with proceeds this year serving a worthy cause (click here).

A frequent Scuttlebutt topic is the sport’s health, as anybody with a bit of history knows there aren’t as many boats on the start line as there once was. There are plenty of reasons for this, but when looking at youth sailing, the system nearly guarantees attrition. Thankfully there are still inspiring programs, one design class efforts, and communities to instill hope.

For the past two weeks, a hot topic has been the problems with the US Olympic Sailing Program. There is no shortage of experts on Facebook, and while criticizing US Sailing is often a default reaction, my conversation with US Sailing President Rich Jepsen offered more light on the topic (click here).

While I suspect there is much more to the story, I also wonder whether the regulations by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which mandate that each sport’s National Governing Body have 33.3% athlete representation on its Board of Directors, has had unintended consequences in how US Sailing functions.

Anyway, with Major League Baseball Opening Day for my San Diego Padres on March 30, I am off to Phoenix to smell the freshly cut grass and get inspired for another 162-game season, and hopefully a march to the World Series. Play ball!

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