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SCUTTLEBUTT 3516 - Monday, January 30, 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: Camet and Summit Yachts.

By Bill Schanen, Sailing magazine
We knew it was too good to be true, right?

I'm referring to GPS, a phenomenon so utterly amazing that decades after
its invention it still seems more fantasy than reality. After wandering the
seas for millennia never quite sure of where in the watery world they were,
sailors were given the gift of precise knowledge of their boat's position
on command.

When this gift first arrived, some of the skeptics among us really did say
it was too good to be true. Don't depend on it, they warned. The satellites
could go haywire or fall out of the sky.

Well, the satellites are doing just fine and GPS remains reliable and
accurate, not to mention cheap and available in all kinds of mundane
electronic gizmos, but the prophecy that the gift could be taken away is
starting to seem credible.

Thanks to an odd pairing of ruthless capitalism and weak-kneed government
regulation, GPS navigation could be rendered untrustworthy and, as an
auxiliary disaster, the millions of GPS receivers now in use could be made

I wouldn't blame readers who don't know about this for thinking I'm writing
science fiction. Why would anyone do anything to undermine one of the
greatest inventions of the space age and why would the government approve
it? Read on.

A company funded by a hedge-fund billionaire proposes to build a broadband
cell-phone communications network it calls LightSquared. To do that, the
firm needs a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission because its
license is limited to low-power satellite communication and its plan calls
for high-power land-based signals.

The FCC granted the waiver. That news was received with shock and horror by
the makers and users of GPS devices and organizations that represent them,
and for good reason. The LightSquared network has the potential to destroy
GPS as we know it. -- Read on:

Miami, FL (January 28, 2012) - The final two days at US Sailing's Rolex
Miami OCR, where 529 sailors from 41 countries were competing, proved to be
pivotal. Friday saw the three Paralympic classes (Skud-18, Sonar and 2.4mR)
conclude their events, with the standings being used by many countries to
select representatives for the 2012 Games in Weymouth, England, this
summer. And for the nine Olympic fleet events, Friday was the final day of
open racing, with the top ten advancing to the final medal races on

In the US Paralympic Team Trials, Jen French and JP Creignou (both St.
Petersburg, Fla.) secured the bronze in the SKUD-18 and with it the Team
Trials. They'll be joined by Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) in the 2.4mR,
and Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla./Newport R.I.), Tom Brown (Castine, Me.)
and Bradley Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.) in the Sonar.

The final races on Saturday would see the lightest breezes yet over six
days of sailing on Biscayne Bay. Amid the podium celebrations, the strength
for the North American contingent would be found in the Finn and RS:X Women
where five of the six medals were won by Canada, Mexico, and the United
States. Additionally, the Miami results finalized that the Canadian
representatives in Laser and Laser Radial events at the 2012 Olympics would
be David Wright and Danielle Dube, respectively.

Friday report:
Saturday report:

BACKGROUND: The six-day Rolex Miami OCR was the second of seven 2011-2012
ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas. The circuit now moves to Europe for the
Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia - MAPFRE, to be held in Majorca, Spain on
March 31 - April 7. The ISAF Sailing World Cup is open to the sailing
classes (equipment) chosen for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing
Competitions. --

I sit here staring at the computer screen in my four by three cubicle under
the flickering fluorescent lights wearing pants and a sweater. My mind
starts to wander to the dog days of summer when the wind and the
temperature are just right. The main and jib are full and so is the cooler
as I lean back, take a deep breath and look down at my Camet Sailing
shorts. I think to myself. that sales person was right! Life is better in
Camet Shorts. Feel life again at

Before Ben Ainslie was Britain's sailing star, Rodney Pattisson brought
fame to the country. During his tear as a three-time Flying Dutchman World
Champion (69, 70, 71), Pattisson accrued two gold medals and one silver
medal in the three successive Olympic Games (68, 72, 76).

However, in his position now as a spectator for sailing's elite events,
Pattisson isn't happy with what he sees. Here is an excerpt of a column he
wrote in the February 2012 issue of Seahorse Magazine:
For years now ISAF have submitted to the continuing demands of the IOC,
that all Olympic sports must change to become a true TV spectacle. The fact
is Olympic sailing is on the whole boring and uninteresting to watch, even
to the initiated, and so never will be a spectacle; participation, of
course, is a very different matter.

Firstly, ISAF agreed to more races with shorter courses. This immediately
put more emphasis on the need for a good start and the chance of being
black-flagged, however careful, increasingly likely.

In my day, a 12-mile course meant a windward leg of some two miles, making
it often impossible to see the weather mark at the start, but at least one
could make a safe start with time to clear your air, use the shifts,
generate boat speed, and then the fastest sailor invariably won the race.
This is not the case today.

To add further to the wound, ISAF's previous president came up with the
micky-mouse 'Medal Race'. Why should one race, run in an unsuitable area
chosen primarily for the press and shore spectators, count for double
points on the last day - and so be non-discardable? The reason, apparently,
is to prevent the very best sailor amassing sufficient points that they do
not need to sail on the final day. Frankly, any sailor that good deserves
this privilege and shouldn't be obliged to sail in what can only be
described as no better than a sailing lottery. In reality this final race
often involves the leading points scorer simply sitting on his nearest
rival and pushing him back - nothing very spectacular to watch there.

God help Olympic sailing. It is unforgivable that such an uncaring sporting
authority has allowed Olympic sailing to develop in this way. We need to
turn the clock back, to say NO to some of the demands of the IOC and to
tailor the sport to the sailors, to revert to decent courses and most
definitely to say NO to the Medal Race. Sadly it is already probably too
late. -- Complete column:
This column came from the February 2012 issue of Seahorse Magazine. Here is
a dedicated link which offers a discounted subscription rate to the
Scuttlebutt family:

COMMENT: The 2012 Olympics won't be the first Games with the medal race,
but it will be the first Games where the course location is so close to
shore that bleachers will be erected and tickets will be sold. What this
also means is the course conditions will be a lottery if the wind comes
from the wrong direction. For young sailors who are considering a run at
Olympic glory, it may make them think twice if their investment of time and
money for a medal will be obscured by a final race where the value of luck
in the equation has been increased. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

(January 29, 2012; Day 8) - While following the Volvo Ocean Race this past
weekend, we are reminded of a Monday Night Football game on October 16,
2006. After the Arizona Cardinals lost a 20-point lead over the Chicago
Bears in less than twenty minutes, the post-game media conference saw the
Cardinal coach Dennis Green provide what remains a memorable tirade.

"The Bears are what we thought they were. They're what we thought they
were. ... That's why we took the damn field. Now if you want to crown them,
then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were! And we let 'em
off the hook!" (video:

Much of the same can be said about the Volvo Ocean Race fleet that is now
transiting the Malacca Strait toward Singapore. This section of the course
is proving to be exactly what everyone thought it would be like. The wind
has been light, the current has been ripping, and the amount of trash and
traffic has been epic.

"We have probably 40 or 50 echoes on the radar at any one time and a number
of them are unlit fishing boats with nets joined between them," commented
CAMPER navigator Will Oxley. "I wouldn't call it safe."

"It's an incredible place to sail but the sad part is how much stuff is in
the water, how much junk there is in the water,'' said PUMA skipper Ken
Read. "How people in the world can't treat the ocean with more respect is
just fully beyond me."

PUMA's MAR Mostro has already hit a tree and took a chunk out of their
dagger board. "The night time is scary because it's all still there, but
you can't see any of it," PUMA bowman Casey Smith said. "We went through a
patch of shallow water and there were logs in the water 20ft long and a
couple of feet wide. If you hit one of those you're going to knock a rudder

Leg 3 - Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China
Standings as of Monday, 30 January 2012, 0:01:22 UTC
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 1181.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 0.1 nm Distance to Lead
3. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 2.5 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 44.5 nm DTL
5. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 45.0 nm DTL
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 131.5 nm DTL

Video reports:
Race schedule:

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. -

After two sailors' lives were lost during the 2011 Chicago Yacht Club Race
to Mackinac, event organizers planning for this year's edition sought the
advice of industry experts in safety and naval architecture, and worked
with the offshore office of US Sailing in determining what changes were

The result of this process has seen the committee make some modifications
that are now reflected in the recently released Notice and Conditions of
Race (NOR) and the Mackinac Safety Regulations (MSR) for the 104th Running
of the annual event. "The changes we have instituted compliment the
approach to organizing a quality and safe race that have always been a part
of the rich tradition of the Race to Mackinac," said race chairman Lou

Among the changes implemented for 2012 is the issuing of a minimum
stability for a boat's eligibility to compete in the race. The handicapping
rule used for the Race to Mackinac (Offshore Racing Rule-ORR) has adopted a
new version of the Stability Index, as discussed in the US Sailing report
of the 2011 Race. The committee established a minimum Stability Index of
103, with additional changes made in personal and boat safety equipment,
continuing sailor education and the vessel inspection process.

Full report:

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COMMENT: I am exceedingly proud of the list of companies that choose to
advertise in Scuttlebutt. They are an elite group - the finest in each
division of the marine industry. This alliance by two of our advertisers,
New England Boatworks and Summit Yachts, is bound to lead to an impressive
new racing boat. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

A massive field of debris washed into the Pacific Ocean by the tsunami that
hit Japan in March 2011 is on track to wash up on the North American West
Coast sometime in 2014. For a month after the tsunami, NOAA satellites
picked up the mass of building materials, boats, trash, and anything else
that would float, but as the debris field became more widespread it could
no longer be seen on the satellites. University of Hawaii scientists
developed a computer model to predict the field's position based on ocean
currents, but without being able to see it, their model was untested.

In September, though, the Russian sail training ship Pallada set out to
find the debris field while on a trip to commemorate the 270th anniversary
of Russia's colonization of Alaska. The 300-foot, three-masted frigate,
owned by a university in Vladivostok, sighted scattered debris along its
course between the Midway Islands and the coast of Japan, with the highest
concentration halfway between the two.

The Pallada picked up a 20-foot Japanese fishing boat, according to Natalia
Borodina, the information and education mate aboard the ship, who noted on
September 21 that "we also sighted a TV set, fridge, and a couple of home
appliances," according to a University of Hawaii press release. A week
later, Borodina listed "wooden boards, plastic bottles, buoys from fishing
nets (small and big ones), an object resembling a wash basin, drums, boots,
other wastes." -- BoatU.S., read on:

* North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue announced that Gunboat Company, a
maker of high-end cruising catamarans, will locate a new shipyard into the
state. The company plans to create 71 jobs and invest more than $1.8
million over the next three years. The project was made possible in part by
a $213,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. Gunboat had been
producing overseas in lower labor cost markets for more than a decade. The
new facility will allow the company to increase production and meet the
growing demand for Gunboats. -- Full story:

* (January 29, 2012) - The double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) fleet of
five Class40s started Leg 3 today from Wellington, New Zealand, to Punta
del Este, Uruguay, with a 6,200-mile course across the Pacific Ocean,
around Cape Horn and through the South Atlantic.
Ross and Campbell Field (NZL/NZL) onboard Buckley Systems are the current
overall GOR points leader. -- Full story:

* The tenth annual Warren Jones International Youth Regatta starts on
Tuesday 31st January, which has grown to become one of the most prestigious
youth match racing events in the world. Part of the allure is the size of
boats sailed, Bakewell-White designed Foundation 36s, more akin the size of
boat used on the senior circuit, and therefore an ideal step up the ladder
for aspiring young sailors. In fact, three of the past seven winning
skippers have made it into the top ten on the world rankings, with two
going on to be no. 1 in the world. -- Full report:

* Some frank discussions over the direction of the next America's Cup will
take place in Auckland on Monday when the competitors gather for the first
time this year. America's Cup Race Management (ACRM) chief executive Iain
Murray is in town to meet representatives from the defender and each of the
challengers. Held every two months or so, the competitor forums are an
opportunity for the teams to voice any concerns that have arisen and vote
on issues affecting the event. -- NZ Herald, read on:

Events listed at

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 Gregory Scott:
What a wonderful story by Chris Caswell (in Scuttlebutt 3514).Sailing was
brought to the pinnacle it once held in thousands of basements and backyard
sheds by people building simple vessels. Backyard builders sprung up after
the development of high quality plywood, Resorcinol glue and Bakelite in

These simple durable materials allowed people to combine some moderate
skill, mail order plans (or backyard genius) and a bit of time combined
with the desire to have some fun on any puddle they could find. These
materials "democratized" boat building and it is wonderful to hear it
carries on today.

Interestingly, I just learned of the news that "snow shoeing" has seen a
twenty two percent increase in sales of equipment and activity in the past
two years. Could be a trend here.

* From Ritchie MacDonald:
I find that it isn't all that difficult to understand why sailing
participation has been falling, just look at what the America's Cup has
turned into. A circus!

Back in the day, most everyone who sailed believed that they could, if
asked, participate and do reasonably well enough. Now it's crash helmets,
wired microphones, four years prep... all unrealistic. This means the
bottom of the pyramid is thinning and it will soon topple over and crumble.

To be honest, all professional sports are turning this way; the "average
Joe or Jane" had something in common with the pro's. Not anymore. Must be
progress for the sake of progress.

"The hard part about being a bartender is figuring out who is drunk and who
is just stupid." -- Richard Braunstein

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