Living in the Scuttlebutt World

Published on November 16th, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
It’s award season, or at least award season this week as sailors, photos, and product announcements highlighted a year of achievement. With any system rooted in subjectivity and lacking defined parameters, the jurists go back to a phrase used by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 to describe obscenity:

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

Having been on these selection committees, I nearly guessed the World Sailing Award recipients, though I sense some horse-trading within the system. I even said as much with regard to the Rolex World Male Sailor of the Year and Team of the Year. As for missing on the Sustainability Award, I failed to recognize the pattern for past recipients. I vote for more transparency in 2024.

I have a history of criticizing the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award as the contest struggles to follow its own rules, so their solution was to eliminate most of them. For 2023, pictures had only to reflect the spirit of yacht racing, and be taken at any time – before, during, and after competition.

Okay, but the contest winner is an onboard image of an AC75, and the boat last competed in 2021, and will never compete again. Two years is a long time to meet the ‘after competition’ rule… it makes me wonder if the judges know the rules.

On a positive note, there is raves for the overall winner of the 2023 DAME Design Awards, a contest that celebrates everything that is important about marine equipment design, from aesthetics to functionality, integration to packaging, and price efficiency to lifecycle management. By all accounts, the electric propulsion product by Oceanvolt could be a gamechanger.

The 2023 DAME Design Awards had eight category winners, and I was pleased to see two prominent Scuttlebutt sponsors – Harken and Ronstan – recognized for their brilliance. In fact, the jury could not separate them in the Deck Equipment category, making these rivals joint winners. Love it!

This time of year is also noted for cruising rallies, and there were tragic events which occurred on both the east coast and west coast of North America. I can’t imagine the shock when a trip of a lifetime goes so wrong. Prayers to these communities.

I will be racing this weekend, but am not too excited about the rain in the San Diego forecast. We expect more for our sunshine tax payments, but I know there are legions of iceboaters elsewhere eagerly waiting for the water to harden. If you’ve thought about getting on the ice, these stories may get you off the fence… enjoy!

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