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SCUTTLEBUTT 3512 - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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: North Sails and North U.

By Sam Rogers
The final finishing gun has sounded, the Green Parrot has run out of rum, and the roosters of Duval Street have given a final cocka-doodle-doo to mark the end of the 25th anniversary of Key West Race Week (Jan. 16-20).

What inadvertently turned out to be one of the greatest editions thus far with perfect sailing conditions and a lay day due to lack of wind in the middle of the week, this event never disappoints and the only shame is that more US sailors were not here to partake; it's the best event our country has to offer and for reasons that cannot be pinpointed, the weekend warriors that are the lifeblood of US Sailing are watching from afar.

The top-end programs are still attending, and KWRW is important for pro-sailors as it serves as a huge networking opportunity with owners and team managers actively setting schedules and ramping up for the year of racing. But the legions of PHRF and one-design sailors from the great white north that can typically be seen listening to Jimmy Buffet and lounging on their boats for hours after racing have become rare. KWRW built up a reputation of being on a bucket list for many sailors around the globe, and fingers crossed, whatever chased away the common sailor will have passed by next year's edition.

In early December, it looked liked I would be watching from the sidelines as the Volpe Melges 32 team was not planning to attend and most other teams I talked with were using this event to try out new team members to start priming for the Worlds coming up in September. Getting nervous that my string of 5 KWRW's in a row was coming to an end, I lobbed a facebook IM of "what are you doing for KW?" to Bora (Gulari), and plans were quickly in place to get a team together on his Melges 24, assuming he could dig it out of a frozen shed in Michigan.

I had not sailed with Bora up to this point, but duking it out with him in years past, I knew I would be learning a lot throughout the week and we would have a shot to win. With Bora's "do whatever it takes" attitude to get on the starting line, I also knew that I would be taking a trip back to the grassroots, get-on-the-water and get-racing-at-all-costs type of mentality that seems to have been lost in recent years.

I didn't think I would miss the college sailing days of cramped sleeping quarters, lurking around other teams houses' like tarpon under a dock in search of dinner, or giving an audible "sweet!" when discovering a day old slice of pizza on a cluttered kitchen counter before anyone else, but it just shows that if you have a fun team at a great venue, not much else matters…now if I can just find those 1,000 thread count bed sheets, my slippers and mint scented bubble-bath when I get home. -- Read on:

RECOGNITION: 2009 US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bora Gulari and his team of Rogers, Jeremy Wilmot, Kelly Stannard, and Andrew Wills blitzed the Melges 24 fleet by winning the first five races, then winning two of the next four before sitting out the last race when they secured the class win. For their impressive regatta, they are herein recognized as the Scuttlebutt Boat of the Week. Here are some helicopter photos of them planning downwind:

Final results:

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Yachting Association proudly declares that Paul D. Phelan, of Toronto, Ontario, is the winner of the 2011 Canadian Rolex Sailor of the Year Award.

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Yachting Association determined that Paul D. Phelan's continuing and unwavering support of Canadian high performance sailing and the National Sailing Team through The P. J. Phelan Sailing Foundation merited the most prestigious award in Canadian sailing.

Alan Lombard, President CYA, said 'The P.J. Phelan Sailing Foundation has been a source of considerable support for Canadian sailors for many years. Paul D. Phelan's stewardship of his father's legacy through the Foundation and Paul D. Phelan's creation of Wind Athletes Canada to serve Canada's sailors has been exemplary.'

Wind Athletes Canada, through the support of The P. J. Phelan Sailing Foundation, has inspired Canadian sailing excellence in many ways. Members of the Canadian Sailing Team have received needed funding and coaching support for many years. Wind Athletes Canada has also enabled promising Canadian sailors to acquire Olympic Class boats for their campaigns and provided logistical resources that contributed to Canada reclaiming the Canada's Cup in September.

More recently, Paul D. Phelan provided the vision and leadership for the 2011 O CANADA offshore racing campaign, a unique national platform, demonstrating that Canadian sailors can hold their own in the international offshore arena. The five man, all-Canadian crew included Canadian Olympic sailors and national team members. O CANADA competed in four major offshore races capturing a first and two seconds as well as a third overall in the 2,225 mile Transpac Race finishing just behind 2 boats 15 to 20 feet longer.

In addition, Paul D. Phelan has made a valued contribution to expanding the presence and knowledge of Canadian sailing through his production of high performance sailing documentaries featuring Canadian sailors. Two of these documentaries have been broadcast on Canada's national television network and are also viewed around the globe.

The Canadian Rolex Sailor of the Year award will be presented at an awards dinner in the Carlu, Toronto on February 4th. The other CYA awards announced are:

North-powered boats performed in Key West, taking 1st place in 6 of 12 classes. Congratulations to: Niklas Zennstrom and Team RAN for winning IRC 1; Joe Woods and team RED for winning the Farr 400s; John Kilroy Jr. and team SAMBA PA TI for winning the Melges 32s; Bora Gulari and team WEST MARINE RIGGING/NE ROPES for winning the Melges 24s; Bruce Gardner and crew on L'OUTRAGE for winning PHRF 2 and Robin Team and the TEAMWORK crew for winning both the PHRF 1 ToD Class and the ToT J Boat Subclass. Special congrats also to the J/80 SAIL Magazine BAB team GRINGO for finishing 6th in a very competitive fleet!

Miami, FL (January 23, 2012) - It started out a perfect day on Biscayne Bay, with sunshine and 12 knots of breeze, but those conditions gave way to struggling light winds by late afternoon, when several of the ten Olympic and three Paralympic classes at the Rolex Miami OCR regatta were trying to finish opening day races. The six-day event is the second of seven ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and the only one of those to be sailed in North America. In its 23rd edition, it is hosting 529 sailors from 41 countries sailing on 354 boats.

Canada's David Wright took two first-place finishes in the Laser Blue Fleet, putting him in second place overall and three points ahead of his prime competitor Chris Dold. Dold, in third place overall (behind GBR's Paul Goodison) with a 2-3 today in the Yellow fleet, is duking it out with Wright for Canada's berth at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"This is the second part of our Olympic championship qualifiers, and he (Dold) is leading me by three places, so I have to outperform him," said Wright, adding that Dold was in a different fleet from him today, because the Laser numbers were so large (78) they had to be split into two racing groups, then combined again for the purpose of overall scoring. "When we are in a split fleet like that we have to just make sure to finish with little points. I did it today, so hopefully I can do it again tomorrow."

"It was a good day - light, but good," said Chris Dold adding that he has been training against Wright for about five years. "I'm excited and sticking to my guns; if there's any match racing between us it's going to be later on in the week."

One team who doesn't have to worry about snagging an Olympic berth is Miami's own Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, who finished a solid 3-4 today in Star class to take second overall on tied points with Sweden's leader Fredrik Loof/ Max Salminen. They were named to the USA's 2012 Olympic Sailing Team after they recently finished third in their World Championship. "This is not a major regatta for us in the same regard, but we definitely want to train and improve our standing in the World Cup," said Fatih, adding that this will be his first time to the Olympics after four times trying and Mendelblatt's second (in Laser class). -- Read on:


(January 23, 2012; Day 2) - For the next 1,000 nautical miles, the Volvo Open 70 fleet will predominantly be on port tack in a drag race that is taking the fleet across the southern tip of Sri Lanka and into the Bay of Bengal towards the waypoint at Pulau We and the entrance of the Malacca Strait, nine miles off the northernmost tip of Sumatra.

The landmass of Sri Lanka is continuing to produce a slight wind shadow, which has slowed the fleet, but once clear of the island and out across the Bay of Bengal, about 125 miles to east of the fleet, the breeze will pick up and the charge towards the barn door will begin in earnest.

There is little in the way of tactics that can be deployed at this stage of the game to gain an edge and the racing continues to be largely a drag race where boat tune and sail choice are the deciding components.

Current leg leader Ken Read's PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG had a lucky escape after a brief encounter with a boat fishing with a long net earlier Monday, fortunately during daylight hours. "We probably lost a quarter mile to all the troops around us, but had that happened at night, we would still be floundering around inside the net," Read explained.

After winning the Abu Dhabi In-Port Race and the first stage of Leg 3, Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker thought they had resolved the boat speed issues that had previously troubled them. But the first day has shown that to be premature. "It's quite frustrating at the moment, we were hoping to be a bit quicker than a few of these boats at this angle and wind speed," admitted Walker. -- Event media

Leg 3 - Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China
Standings as of Monday, 23 January 2012, 22:02:09 UTC
1. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 2576.2 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 0.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 2.7 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 8.2 nm DTL
5. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 12.4 nm DTL
6. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 14.1 nm DTL

Video reports:
Race schedule:

BACKGROUND: During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain and concludes in Galway, Ireland during early July 2012, six professional teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles around the world via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajai, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient. Teams accumulate points through nine distance legs and ten In-Port races. -

"And now we are off. Sailing the leg that really nobody looks forward to when they sign up for this race. Upwind for about a million miles!" - PUMA skipper Ken Read commenting on Leg 3 through the northern Indian Ocean to China.

By Rod Davis, Emirates Team NZ
(January 23, 2012) - The trick is to keep the eye on the ball...

It has been a bizarre time for the America's Cup; the war of words and press releases has been nonstop for five years when Oracle questioned Alinghi's Challenger of Record. Since then we have been fed a fatty diet of spin doctoring.

Some would say "situation normal for the America's Cup". Not in my experience and I have been in the game a long time. Take the headline "Ainslie launches America's Cup campaign". What?

Uncle Larry is underwriting Ben's AC45 sailing and then he joins Oracle in the defence for the USA. Where is the Ben Ainslie America's Cup campaign in that? Or the nine challengers listed in the America's Cup web site, when, in reality only three have paid the money. The trick is to not allow the spin doctors to distract you from the real game.

When you blow away the smoke and see through the mirrors you find the America's Cup as it is:

Here's what you need to know:

1) The America's Cup will be sailed in San Francisco in 2013 in 72ft winged cats.

2) Each team will have the most advanced and competitive boat that it can produce and then sail it the very best it can.

3) The challengers (Artemis, Luna Rosa, and Emirates Team New Zealand) will compete in a Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series to decide who goes to the America's Cup.

4) Oracle goes directly to the finals (the America's Cup match).

5) Each team is allowed to build two AC72 boats; the first cannot be launched before July this year.

Point No 2 is the most important and the one that must be done better than all the competition. Everything else is detail.

Keep your eye on the ball...!2012/01/smoke-mirrors-and-reality

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* Australian Tess Lloyd has opened her eyes for the first time since being placed in an induced coma after a serious accident at the national youth sailing titles off Brisbane. Lloyd, 16, was skippering her 29er two-person skiff in the final race of the competition on January 10 when she collided with a sailboarder. The Melbourne-based sailor was brought out of the coma late last week and recognised her family, Yachting Australia said on Monday. There were fears Lloyd may have suffered lasting brain damage, but doctors found her motor skills were strong. -- Read on:

* (January 23, 2012) - At the Dusseldorf Boat Show, the 2012 MOD70 European Tour was unveiled. Starting on 29 August, five weeks of intensive racing will see the six competing MOD70s race nearly 5,000 miles in a mix of offshore competition, and races in the heart of five cities in five countries : Germany, Ireland, Portugal, France and Italy. The six MOD70s are helmed by Michel Desjoyeaux, Sebastien Josse, Sidney Gavignet, Roland Jourdain, Steve Ravussin and Yann Guichard. -- Full report:

* America's Cup organizers will see where they stand with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week. Two appeals of the environmental studies for the 2013 America's Cup go before the board on Tuesday. The environmental studies have already been certified by the city's Planning Commission. Now the Board of Supervisors must either uphold that certification, which would allow construction and other preparations to move ahead, or send the studies back for more work, which holds up preparations. -- SF Business Times, read on:

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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 Craig K Yandow:
The Volvo Ocean Race report in Scuttlebutt 3510 thankfully reminded us that "beating is sailing against the wind while tacking." This came from the event's media, which seems determined to dumb down their reporting for this edition of the race.

* From Rich Hayes, UK:
I agree with Scott Kaufman ('Butt 3511); the VOR is just another yacht race driven by the sponsors' requirements. But ...there's nothing wrong in that; it's still sailing, which is great.

I do however find it a bit irritating to read every day in Scuttlebutt "teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world's most treacherous seas". Sounds a bit hollow to me. By over-hyping the race, the organisers diminish it (editor note: revised above).

* From Jamie Hutcheson:
I am a big fan of the Newport (PUMA) boys. The fight back from losing their rig will be very interesting. And while I'm not saying that the traditional route was the only way across the Indian Ocean, but the need to load the yachts on a ship just has lost the normal momentum of the Volvo.

COMMENT: Ditto, plus the blackout on the Leg 2 tracking turned the route into a cartoon. As PUMA skipper Ken Read said, "I can't imagine what it has been like to try and follow. It has been hard enough to keep track as a participant." - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

* From Katrina Johnson:
I do not condone Ben's actions although I do have great sympathy for his frustration (story in Scuttlebutt 3511). Perhaps the RYA will take no further action considering that his penalty at the event to be enough and holding ISAF entirely responsible for the problem in the first place.

The bigger picture is, however, beware what you wish for. All the calls for better media coverage should make ISAF delighted with the situation. Remember that although there is a very small section of the sailing press that will be interested in the event and the sailing, the vast majority of the media are interested in a story and if they can't find one, then they will make one.

Winning a race is not media worthy, but scandal and sensationalism is and that is what the media wants. The sailor is no longer the most important person at an event, as paid professionals they are there as part of an entertainment industry and that is what media calls for - entertainment!

Calling for more media is a very sad day for the sport.

My reality check just bounced.

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