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SCUTTLEBUTT 3626 - Thursday, July 5, 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: Ullman Sails and IYRS.

When Groupama crossed the finish line in the pitch black Galway night (July 3; at 00:49:11 UTC), they settled the closest contest in the 39-year history and crowned themselves Volvo Ocean Race champions 2011-12.

While CAMPER was celebrating victory in the ninth and final leg (Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland), Groupama skipper Franck Cammas led his team home in second place to take an unassailable 24-point lead with just one In-Port race to go.

While preparation and perseverance were crucial to Groupama's victory in their debut Volvo Ocean Race, if there was a single quality that summed up Franck Cammas and his team it was fearlessness. A team with vast offshore experience, though little of it gained in the Volvo Ocean Race itself, simply would not be cowed.

At the beginning of the 39,000 nm contest, leaving the Alicante dock back in November to their Highway to Hell theme song, they made a bold decision to split from the fleet. It ended up costing them dearly in terms of miles, but they carried the same determination to sail the race in their own way all the way through to the finish of Leg 9 in Galway in the early hours of Tuesday.

Cammas and his team sowed the seeds of their success when they took delivery of Ericsson 4, the winning boat from the last edition, to use for training.

Meanwhile, Juan Kouyoumdjian, who designed Ericsson 4 and the winner in 2005-06 as well, was working hand in glove with the team on a new Volvo Open 70.

"Franck is very involved in the project," said the Argentine designer. "He wants to know and to understand everything. I think it's a very good thing. New ideas eventually emerge from such discussions."

All that research, development and attention to detail would turn out to be very well invested, as the set-up of the boat, including sail plan, made them close to untouchable in reaching conditions. They were extremely competitive in every other mode as well, thanks to outstanding performance analysis and a determination to keep improving. -- Read on:

Overall standings (after Leg 9)
1. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 250 points
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 226 points
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 220 points
4. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 209 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), 129 points
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 50 points

STANDINGS: The In-Port race on July 7 will be the final event of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, and while the results from the race will not affect the overall standings, look for pride and celebration to be on display:

Video reports:

BACKGROUND: During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain (Oct. 29) 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. -

By Franck Cammas, Groupama skipper
To win the Volvo Ocean Race is a very fine challenge when you're a novice in this format and French to boot! That's what is motivating and exciting for a team: achieving what nobody expects of you.

We weren't a favourite or even an outsider at the start in Alicante. We were also in an easy position, especially as this first crewed race around the world was about learning the ropes prior to a planned second participation. We were here to discover the scene without any pressure on our shoulders, but to win was a surprise to everyone... despite putting a huge amount of work into the race over the past three years.

We entered a tunnel where all we thought about was the race and we didn't think beyond that: our world may well be a bit empty for a few days after this coming weekend. However, after a victory such as this, we'll have many great memories and such trust in our way of working and in our strategy that we can cast our minds forward to lots of other challenges.

This is an epic dream, which has come true today and I can honestly say that I didn't think we would win on our first attempt! We've become a good crew over the miles. Initially we thought that the Spanish were going to walk away with the race win but we knew that it was still very close between four boats, which all had a chance of winning.

It's been an extraordinary race as there have never been so many uncertainties in a round the world race. And we'd still very much like to win the last In-Port in Galway on Saturday, just as a thank you to Thierry Peponnet, who told us to finish in front in the short races: we need to round things off in style! We're very happy to be able to compete in the last race without any pressure on our shoulders…

Congratulations to Bill Markel and his crew on "Standard Deviation" who dominated the Farr 30 Great Lakes Championships at 2012 Cleveland Race Week last month, claiming their second straight win at the regatta! Markel and his team finished with 9 straight bullets over three days of racing on Lake Erie, hosted by Edgewater YC. Fully powered by Ullman Sails, "Standard Deviation" has been building momentum in the Farr 30 class with a 7th place finish at the 2011 Worlds in San Francisco and a 4th place at the 2012 Nationals in Annapolis earlier this year. Invest in your performance.

Yachting Magazine readers nominated their favorite ports of call in North America, now featuring the top 50 towns. After narrowing down the list to ten, the publication is hosting a poll to determine which destination deserves to be crowned the 2012 Best Yachting Town. Here is the list:

Marblehead, MA
Boothbay, ME
Sidney, BC
Annapolis, MD
Charleston, SC
Beaufort, NC
Port Washington, WI
South Haven, MI
Sag Harbor, NY
San Diego, CA

Description of all 50 towns:
To vote:

They've had plenty of ups and downs over the course of the race, but PUMA skipper Ken Read said he couldn't be any more proud of his 10 team mates as they secured third place overall in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

The American crew's campaign was dealt a cruel blow midway through the first leg from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa, when their mast broke but they refused to let it affect them, bouncing back to not only re-join racing but notch up 15 podium finishes in 18 scoring opportunities along the way.

And although they've been cooped up in a 70ft carbon shell for the majority of the race, Read said he wouldn't swap any one of his crew, who have become best mates through the epic 39,000-mile race.

"I wouldn't trade my 10 guys for anyone in the world," Read said. "The best part about it is we're all really good friends and that's really hard to do after going round the world. There's plenty of times when things can get a little testy and this crew didn't allow that to happen. They're 10 great people that I'll do anything with and I owe everything to at this stage. They're good friends and that's what's most important."

PUMA narrowly missed out on second overall with their Leg 9 lead snatched by CAMPER within four hours of the finish after they sailed into a wind hole off the coast of Ireland. Read said it was typical of the luck they've had at crucial moments of the Volvo Ocean Race - but concluded that settling for third in such a talent-strewn field of sailors wasn't all that bad.

"We're kinda the hard luck kids - we get a nice little lead, park and wait for everyone to catch up," he said. "It's happened so many times in this event. Never in my life have I ever witnessed anything like that.

"That said, we give all the credit in the world to CAMPER and to Groupama. You are what you are at the end of the day, and we're going to end up third overall. I guess that's pretty good seeing as we were sitting in the middle of the ocean without a mast not too long ago. We have something to be proud of for that."

Ever the gentleman, Read also had nothing but kind words for French rivals Groupama sailing team, whose second-place secured them overall victory.

"They're fast, they're smart, and that's a deadly combination," he added. "I give them so much credit because they started this event pretty far behind the eight-ball especially in light air. They made up ground in several of their weak areas like I've never seen another sailboat team do before.

"I've gotten to know a lot of these guys, I really like them as people, as competitors, and I give them all the congratulations in the world - they deserve it." --

* (July 4, 2012; Day 5) - Mostly overcast skies and light to moderate offwind conditions are reported throughout the 23 competitors in the Singlehanded TransPacific Yacht Race fleet. Alex Mehran's Open 50 'Truth' continues to blister the fleet, building a 350nm lead with 1097.2 nm remaining to the finish in Kauai, Hawaii. Each boat is fitted with a tracker that can be viewed here:

* Newport, RI (July 4, 2012) - Day One of the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship started off wet with storms predicted to loom in the forecast, but by the time the first of the fleet's 11 teams began crossing the finish line in Race 1, the sun had burned off the clouds, and the wind had built to a consistent 12-14 knots. Charisma's skipper Nico Poons (Monaco) enjoyed his first time racing in Newport by topping the scoreboard with a 5-2-4, putting his team one point ahead of runner-up Enfant Terrible, skippered by Rossi Alberto (Italy). -- Full report:

* Marstrand, Sweden (July 4, 2012) - The Alpari World Match Racing Tour saw another fantastic day's sailing from Bjorn Hansen and Peter Gilmour, leaving them amongst a group looking certain to progress to the Quarter Final of the STENA Match Cup Sweden after day three, whilst several skippers are desperate to secure wins in their remaining few matches to avoid elimination at qualification stage. Qualifying concludes Thursday with the Finals scheduled for Saturday. -- Full report:

* (July 3, 2012) - Steve Ravussin and crew of the MOD70 Race for Water won the 'race to New York', KRYS Ocean Race prologue from Newport to New York when they passed Groupe Edmond de Rothschild in the final half mile to the finish line. The fleet will reside at North Cove Marina in on the South of Manhattan until the start of the 2950 nm transatlantic race on July 7 to Brest, France. -- Full story:

* Porto, Portugal (July 4, 2012) - The Extreme Sailing Series Act 4, Porto gets underway on Thursday, with sailing conditions to be up to 15 knots of breeze and gusts of up to 22 knots forecast for the first two days. Eight teams will compete 5-8 July with open water racing each morning followed by stadium style racing each afternoon on the Douro river. For the first time, the format will include fleet racing, match racing, straight line duels and speed trials. Tour leader is The Wave, Muscat (OMA) skippered by Leigh McMillan (GBR). Online viewing available:

Come to IYRS this weekend to celebrate 15 Years of Mastering the Craft at the school's Annual Summer Gala. The event takes place Saturday night, July 7, and transforms the entire IYRS waterfront campus into Newport's best-attended party. Cocktails and dinner begin at 5:30 pm, but the best deal in town is to arrive later, at 9 pm, pay a fraction of the dinner-ticket price and catch the after party with dancing, open bar, dessert buffet, silent auction - and all your friends who summer in and around this Rhode Island sailing capital. The Gala caps an entire weekend of festivities. For more information:

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Either submit comments by email or post them on the Forum. Submitted
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* From Skip Doyle:
Keith Burhans was right on with his comments about Jerry Castle (Eight Bells, Scuttlebutt 3625). I was lucky enough to have raced against Jerry during the 6 metre glory days on Lake Ontario. Jerry was the classiest of men and a great sailor.

* From Platt Johnson:
I have to agree with Mr. Watson (in Scuttlebutt 3625 regarding ACWS commentary). If the broadcasters feel so compelled, they should set up an online page with 'Learn to Sail' information and let the racer's voices come through from the onboard Mics with profanity bleeped if you must. No one tries to teach people to drive while watching the Indy 500. "Take our word for it folks, a sailboat can't go straight into the wind."

* From RJ Lewy:
Regarding Stephen Watson's comments in Scuttlebutt 3625, saying the AC World Series broadcast commentary was too close to a "Learn to Sail" class, perhaps he has forgotten that sailing is a foreign language to all non-sailors and equally foreign to a lot of the people who claim to be sailors. So, like any foreign language, if you expect people to listen to you, you need interpreters.

Without the masses to watch sailing on TV, there is no sponsorship. Without sponsorship, there is no sailing on TV. So, get off of your high horse and find a way to contribute to the sport and leave the whining to the immature. In other words, if you are not part of the solution - you are part of the problem, so get on or get out of the way.

* From Bill Seifert:
I remember being on America 2's tender in Auckland for the Louis Vuitton series. Everybody watched the first start on deck, but then there was attrition to the large screen TV below deck. Most of us watched the broadcast coverage which was so good and interesting. Viewing up close sure beats being a quarter to half a mile away.

In Newport, I tried watching from shore, both directly and the Jumbotron. Thanks to Stan Honey and his crew, watching the broadcast with course limits and lay lines delineated provided reasons for some maneuvers which were not apparent from shore. The broadcast makes the races interesting as a spectator sport.

* From Dana Timmer:
Just to add a short note to the current discussion regarding steering after breaking a rudder.

In 1981 I was delivering a Kiwi Boats built 40 footer from Acapulco to San Diego. We ended up in a brief but intense storm, (80 knots + as I learned latter). We were surfing down waves with the storm jib only when just before sunset, suddenly the rudder shaft snapped half way between hull and deck. The immediate problem was that the rudder did not drop out of the boat completely so now we had this big lever trying to tear a hole in the bottom of the boat. We finally managed to drop the rudder out of the boat and everything went calm, (except for the storm). We drifted with it that night and by morning the sea was dead calm. In addition, the storm having well shaken the fuel tank and all the sludge on the bottom we no longer had a functioning engine.

We built a rudder with spinnaker pole and floor board, multiple staying lines off of each side going forward and to a winch. Most important was to fashion a topping lift on the aft end of the pole to the top of the mast. Lots of tension on all the lines so steering only takes minute adjustments on either the Port or Starboard winch.

By the time we sailed into Manzanillo harbor three days later in the middle of the night, we could maneuver as if with the boat's original rudder was still in the boat.

* From Peter Johnstone, Gunboat:
On a TransAtlantic passage in 2005 from Cape Town, South Africa to St Maarten, we had a high speed impact with some flotsam. The rudder sheered away, and we continued on making 240-300 miles a day as if nothing happened. Our Gunboat's other rudder was enough to steer safely in all conditions. Some Gunboats carry a spare rudder. In minutes a replacement can be in use. The redundancy and the safety of a proper offshore cat is simple good seamanship in itself.

The Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum provides an opportunity for companies to announce new products and services. Here are some of recent postings:
* Icom Introduces New VHF Handheld
* Mastervoyage deck equipments
* Launches Mobile Website
* Newport, RI Charters available: Bareboat or Skippered
View updates here:

My life has a superb cast but I just can't figure out the plot.

Doyle Sails - Soft Deck - Team One Newport - North Sails
Allen Insurance and Financial - Ullman Sails
IYRS - JK3 Nautical Enterprises - PUMA

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