Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 3526 - Monday, February 13, 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: Summit Yachts and Hall Spars & Rigging.

Triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie (GBR) was given the green light by his country on Friday to compete at the 2012 London Games when he escaped further punishment for confronting a TV crew at the world championships last year.

The five-times world Finn champion was disqualified from the Perth competition for "gross misconduct" in December after boarding a media boat and remonstrating with the crew for impeding his progress.

Ainslie was quoted by British media as saying he feared the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) might impose a further penalty that could thwart his Olympic hopes. British sailing's governing body decided, however, that the original sanction was sufficient.

"It would not be appropriate for the tribunal to impose a penalty over and above that imposed by the international jury at the event," the RYA said in a statement.

"I welcome the RYA Tribunal's decision and am looking forward to fully focussing on my Olympic preparations," said Ainslie. "I deeply regret the incident, but would like to thank all the governing bodies involved for their thorough investigation."

Ainslie, 35, is Britain's most successful Olympic sailor with three gold medals and one Silver. If he were to medal at the 2012 Games, Ainslie would join Torben Grael (BRA) as holding the most sailing medals with five. If Ainslie were to win, he would equal that of Paul Elvstrom (DEN) who won four consecutive Olympics.

In short, Ainsle would become the greatest sailing Olympian ever.


Following the incident at the 2011 Finn World Championship in Australia, a report was to be sent per RRS 69.1(b)(2)(c) to the national authority of the competitor, the venue (Australia), and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The decision by the RYA closes the report for Great Britain, but no official statement has yet been released on the reports held by Yachting Australia or ISAF.

(February 10, 2012) - Six double-handed Class40's began the 2011-12 Global Ocean Race (GOR) in Palma, Mallorca on September 25th, with the five legs of the 30,000 nm course to have stops in Cape Town, South Africa; Wellington, New Zealand; Punta del Este, Uruguay and Charleston, USA.

But with one boat dismasted on the leg to New Zealand, and two more dropping out recently on the leg to Uruguay, the second edition of this race has shifted from promising future to uncertain present.

One of the recent casualties, Team Buckley Systems with Ross and Campbell Field (NZL), believe the race organizers should suspend racing in the current 6,200-mile leg and restart the race in Uruguay due to the decision to shift the mandatory Southern Ocean scoring gate in mid-race.

Scoring gates have become common for the Southern Ocean, with their purpose to keep racers from the lower latitudes where better winds mix with floating ice. But for this leg of the GOR, the gate's northern position had the fleet going upwind.

After the huge seas and storm force winds led to the leaders Team Buckley Systems and second-placed French Campagne de France pair turning back, the Race Committee put out a notice that the scoring gate would be moved 180 miles south, as a safety precaution for the remaining three yachts.

"We were opposed to the imposition of this arbitrary scoring gate in the first place," said Ross Field. "We warned the Race Committee that it would force the competitors to sail upwind in adverse and dangerous conditions - and that is exactly what happened. For them now to move the gate in the middle of the race is ridiculous."

Nick Leggat, skipper of Phesheya-Racing, which is still in the race, immediately said the decision had caused "serious anger and disillusion" and added: "This seems ridiculous to us, as it has made a mockery of our strategy and also Buckley Systems' and Campagne de France's decisions to retire."

Back in Auckland, Ross Field said Team Buckley Systems would be looking closely at the rules to investigate redress. But he believed the fairest solution would be to suspend racing in Leg 3 and then restart the race again in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Full report:
Race website:

Summit Yachts has expanded its already comprehensive line of high quality yachts for 2012. Available are the Summit 35 racer/cruiser, a dual purpose yacht with the emphasis on "Racer"; moving up the performance scale to the Summit 40, the most successful IRC 40 foot race boat worldwide over the last 3 years; to the ultimate, semi-custom, all carbon race boat, the Summit 45. All models are built to the highest standards, and all rate well in each of the most popular rating systems. All three models are able to compete at the highest level of competition. Built in the USA, and designed by Mark Mills, check them out at

When you think of the Straits of Hormuz, you may have a picture of Iranian torpedo boats buzzing like horseflies around huge American warships, or tankers steaming to and from oil ports in one of the busiest waterways in the world.

So what's a woman from Port Huron (Mich.) doing in the middle of all that on a 30-foot sailboat?

If you're Katie Pettibone you're racing with an all-female crew in the second annual Sail Arabia, a 900-mile race along the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula from Bahrain to Muscat.

Pettibone, a world-renowned sailor whose background includes two around-the-world races and two America's Cups, travelled from her home in Sacramento, Calif., to Oman on the Persian Gulf for today's race start.

"Women in Oman are very progressive. They can work in almost any career," said Pettibone, 39, who added that the Omani government was using the Sail Arabia race to begin training local crews to participate in world sailing events.

She will be one of eight aboard a boat called Al Thuraya Bank Muscat, racing against 11 other teams on identical Farr 30s. Pettibone's shipmates include three Britons, two Frenchwomen, two Omanis and a New Zealander, with a couple of them switching out on some of the six legs.

"I'm excited about it," she said. "We're going to sail through the Straits of Hormuz," the narrow slot that separates the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Pettibone grew up in a sailing family in Port Huron and became a professional sailor after graduating from the University of Miami. In recent years she has lived in California where she worked for two years for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, earned a law degree from the University of the Pacific and now works as a lobbyist for the Civil Justice Association of California. -- Detroit Free Press, read on:

POSTPONED: Scheduled to begin on February 12th, extreme weather forecasts of over 35 knots of wind prompted the race organizers for Sailing Arabia - the Tour to postpone the start by one day for the nine teams. Race website:

The six Volvo Ocean Race teams are in the popular tourist destination of Sanya, China, but their holiday will soon end with the In-Port race on February 18 and Leg 4 from Sanya, China to Auckland, NZL beginning on February 19.

ENVIRONMENT: Local students motivated to strengthen Sanya's tourism stronghold turned out in force at the Keep the Oceans Clean! beach clean at Luhuitou Village Beach on Saturday. The university students joined more than 100 locals, race supporters and VOR CEO Knut Frostad and made light work of the rubbish including plastic bags, cigarette butts and burger boxes.

The event was organised by environmental campaigners Skeleton Sea and the Volvo Ocean Race through their combined Keep the Oceans Clean! Project, and follows similar campaigns that were held at previous stopovers Alicante, Cape Town and Abu Dhabi.
PLANNING: The bid process to identify the host cities for the 12th and 13th editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (2014-15 and 2017-18) is now underway. The bid process, to be managed by London-based sports agency, The Sports Consultancy, commences with requests for Expression of Interest to prospective host cities around the globe by March 14, 2012. Interested parties will receive a formal Bid Application that must be submitted by May 11, 2012.

From the long list of applicants Volvo Ocean Race will select a limited number to participate in the bid process as candidates. The successful host cities will be announced at the end of 2012 and the race route for the 12th and 13th editions of the 39-year-old race confirmed. Parties interested in submitting an Expression of Interest should contact The Sports Consultancy by email at

Video reports:
Race schedule:

BROADCAST: Here is the television schedule for the U.S. in February:

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 sailing Volvo Open 70s 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. -

San Francisco, CA (February 10, 2012) - Projected costs associated with the America's Cup have skyrocketed to $163 million - up from the city's 2010 estimate of $86 million. Meanwhile, doubts are growing about whether the event will be as exciting or as lucrative as initially projected.

The cost to overhaul dilapidated piers has more than doubled over the past year - from $55 million to $111 million.

Under a proposal that will go before the lawmakers this month, America's Cup organizers, led by billionaire software mogul Larry Ellison, would pick up the tab for most of those costs in the short term, and then recover them from the city and its port through long-term leases or ownership of public waterfront land.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors' budget analyst, Harvey Rose, wrote in a report published Thursday evening that the city would need to spend $52 million on police, transit and other services to host the regattas this year and next - that's up from an estimate of $31 million published in late 2010.

To partly defray those costs, Rose estimated that San Francisco would reap $22 million from additional sales and hotel taxes and other revenues generated from visitors and event-related spending.

A nonprofit group established by America's Cup organizers to raise funds to defray city expenses aims to raise $32 million. So far, that group has told the city that it has received pledges for at least $12 million.

The supervisors' budget and finance committee hearing into the proposed deal will be held on Wednesday. The full board will vote on the plan later this month. -- The Bay Citizen,

Hall Spars recently delivered the longest mast in company history, the 66.7m, high-modulus carbon spar for the Wally 50m. At the same time, Hall stepped and sea-trialed the 18m carbon mast for the KiwiFC Class 40 'Bodacious Dream'. While these projects may seem worlds apart, the common denominator is performance. Hall's expert engineering, added to our Seamless construction, equals the highest performance spar, customized precisely to your project. Factor in Hall's expertise in rigging and service, and you have the solution - Hall Spars will help you get the most from your boat.

* Tampa, Florida (February 12, 2012) - After the first day of racing defending champion, Peter Bream, of Jacksonville, Florida leads the 2012 J/24 Midwinter Championship. The 28-boat fleet completed four races in beautiful 10-12 knot conditions under sunny skies. The remains of Saturday's strong cold front brought cool temperatures and 20 degree oscillations, which made staying of the lifted tack the rule of the day. Bream, aboard Team Tarheel, found the weather to his liking and posted four top-three finishes to take a commanding 13 point lead over Mike Ingham of Rochester, New York in second. Racing continues through Wednesday. --

* Newport, New South Wales (February 12, 2012) - The Zhik International Etchells 2012 Australian Championship began Saturday, with the series providing a tune-up for the World Championship that will begin on February 20th. For the 61 teams, the story after three races has been the big guns getting handcuffed with BFD starting penalties. Past world champions John Bertrand (AUS) and Vince Brun (USA) will need to get five or more races in the next two days before they can drop their 62 point score from the first race. Australian Julian Plante with crew Hannah Nattrass/ Michael Dunstan/ Nick Garland lead the field. -- Daily reports:

* Miami, FL (February 12, 2012) - By a substantial margin, Italy's Luca Lalli aboard, alongside of super tactician Lorenzo Bressani and crew Federico Michetti, won the 37-boat Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta, hosted February 11-12 by Coconut Grove Sailing Club. The top Corinthian team was Marcus Eagan on Cajun Underwriting, where he and his family based crew Marc and Andrew Eagan finished seventh overall. -- Photos/report:

* The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club are pleased to announce the 2012 Vic-Maui International Yacht Race has a 50% increase over the fleets of nine boats which sailed in each of the 2008 and 2010 races. Fourteen boats have filed entry papers, with 10 boats entered in the racing division and four boats entered in the new cruising division. The twenty-third edition of this 2308 nm ocean racing classic starts from Victoria, British Columbia, finishing near Lahaina, Maui. Staggered class starts begin as early as June 28, 2012. -- Race website:

* Puerto Calero, Canary Islands (February 12, 2012) - For the 14 teams competing in the first leg of the RC44 Championship Tour, their winter break proved not long enough as reigning champions Chris Bake and the crew of Team Aqua (GBR) picked up where they left off to take the Puerto Calero Cup. Led by tactician Cameron Appleton (NZL), they found their groove mid event to win three of the final five races. -- Full story:

* Australia's highest-ranked female match-racing sailors have surprisingly quit their campaign to compete at the London Olympics. Former world champion skipper Nicky Souter was teamed with Katie Spithill and Jessica Eastwell last September to bid for Olympics and they were good enough to place fifth at the world championships off Perth just three months later. But they issued a joint statement on Friday announcing their decision to quit, citing lack of preparation time before the Games start in July. -- Sydney Morning 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 Mark Lammens: Commenting on your lead story in Scuttlebutt 3525, the youth participation issue has been identified in Canada for all sports, including sailing. The new push is the Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD), which is sensitive to the physical and cognitive stage of the athlete. The question asked is "why do kids play sport?" Here is what the research found.

1. To have fun
2. To improve skills
3. To make new friends
4. To be good at something
5. For excitement
6. To get exercise
7. To play as part of a team
8. For the challenge
9. To learn new skills
10. To win

There are sailing specific barriers such as expenses; club and equipment, demystifying sailing, sport marketing, etc., but sailing should easily be one of the best activities and sport for kids, on the water in control of your own boat.

I think we do a good job in keeping small kids in small boats, but need to make sure when they get a little older, bigger, stronger and smarter that there is a good "next boat". If we are in the business of providing a good junior program we need to hire good instructors and coaches and be sensitive to the list.

* From Cindy Lewis:
I've often said that part of the problem with getting kids interested in boating is the simple fact that there is not a lot of open access to water. Kids can't be 'water rats" any more. Everything is now developed and fenced, locked, gated, or private. It has become more like "no dogs allowed".

I was blessed to grow up about 2 blocks from the water on Lake Minnetonka. There were little local beach and swimming areas, we could hang out and poke around, everybody had a friend with a canoe or some kind of vessel to get on the water. I even remember one summer all the kids in my neighborhood constructed a Huck Finn type of raft - our parents were certainly amused and of course supplied the materials and even lent a hand.

My dad had a small aluminum fishing boat and got a bigger one we could water ski behind and when I was 14 that boat was like my car. I went all over the lake and my friends contributed to the gas and we had wonderful summers. Eventually I learned how to sail, but had I not had the ability to have random and free access to the water I am not sure I would have found a lifelong passion for sailing and boating.

This is sadly not anything that will likely change any time soon. Waterfront access is going to be limited. Insurance and zoning will continue to be an issue as well. I don't think it is as much of a kids not liking sailing as it is that they can't discover the water and the fun of being on it and around it on their own terms any more.

Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

Summit Yachts - Hall Spars & Rigging - Doyle Sails - North U
Gladstone's Long Beach - North Sails - US Sailing - Soft Deck
Harken - Ullman Sails - The Pirates Lair - Melges Performance Sailing

Need stuff? Look here: