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SCUTTLEBUTT 3532 - Wednesday, February 22, 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: Gowrie Group, North U, and Pure Yachting.

The business formula of the America's Cup seems simple: If you race them, they will come. But as city officials consider a waterfront investment deal finalizing the terms of the yacht regatta, they are left guessing just how many will come.

Along with the complex long-term agreement for race officials to fix crumbling piers in exchange for lucrative development rights on public property, the event's popular appeal also is raising questions.

The event's power to infuse cash into its host city is commonly touted as only less than that of the Olympics and World Cup. But low turnout of spectators and racing teams could make The City's massive preparations a costly albatross.

The eyes of the sailing world will be fixed on San Francisco Bay's 58 days of yacht racing over the next two years. But county supervisors are more concerned about how many spectators will patronize local hotels, restaurants and other attractions.

The City is set to spend $52 million preparing for the race, which it hopes to cover with sales and hotel taxes, plus fundraising by a nonprofit arm of the America's Cup. But slow fundraising progress has raised red flags with city leaders.

Disappointing turnout for a November event in San Diego raised questions among local skeptics. Supervisor John Avalos said last week he doubts the claim that more than 5 million people will attend the 2013 finals, which could mean up to 500,000 people in The City on peak days.

"I'd say we're not seeing that," Avalos said.

Promoters say the regatta will create 8,800 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic benefits. But that analysis was conducted well before officials even agreed to hold the event here.

The analysis based its estimates on past America's Cups in Spain, New Zealand and San Diego. The benefit estimates included a sizable economic impact from the racing teams themselves, which typically spend months building and testing vessels. But to date, only three of eight anticipated teams have signed up for the 2013 finals, casting doubts over such spending.

Critic Aaron Peskin, the local Democratic Party leader, calls the forecast laughable.

"We should be delighted if we get 25 percent of their pie-in-the-sky estimates," Peskin said. "There's no history of sailing regattas being a mass spectator sport in San Francisco or the world."

Peskin called the regatta a "real estate deal masquerading as a boat race."

Chief Operating Officer Stephen Barclay of the America's Cup Event Authority says that while the benefit projections may be shaky, there is little doubt that plenty of sailing fans will come to enjoy a full schedule of events.

"Who knows if the numbers are underinflated or overinflated," Barclay said. "It's going to mean a lot of jobs and a lot of economic benefit - that's the point."

San Francisco Examiner:

COURSE: The race course area for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco is now confirmed, which stretches the length of the city front. Much like the America's Cup World Series events, the course will incorporate a reaching start. However, what is notable is the decision for the first turn to be at the windward mark, rather than mid leg like the ACWS. The course than sends the AC72s on an offwind leg of about 3 nm before they arrive at the leeward marks. Details here:

BIGGER: Workers at the defender Oracle Racing teamís base at Pier 80 in San Francisco, Core Builders Composites in New Zealand and Janicki Industries in the Pacific Northwest are targeting July for the launch of their first AC72. Americaís Cup rules permit teams to launch their first AC72 yacht after July 1. -- Read on:

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(February 21, 2012; Day 2) - The early stage of the Volvo Ocean Race's fourth leg was supposed to take the fleet from Sanya on a long fast reaching course to the east. Once past the northern tip of the Philippines, a southerly turn towards Auckland would provide for more offwind sailing.

Guess what... the travel agent lied (again).

"I reckon we could race around the world the opposite way, the upwind way - the 'wrong way' - and have more downwind sailing than we've had, " observed Tony Mutter on PUMA. To exit the China Sea, what's another 700 mile upwind leg between friends?

"There's a reason they call upwind sailing 'beating' - it's what we take while doing it," observed Amory Ross on PUMA. "These boats are just not made to sail this way. But we insist on doing it, like all the time."

"The waves are between three and four metres high, but above all we are virtually sailing into the swell, said Franck Cammas on Groupama 4. "The reality is nothing like the forecast but we're beginning to get used to that in the South China Sea."

With two-thirds of the transit to the Philippines completed, the solutions on how the fleet should exit the South China Sea still vary wildly. Options include shooting away to the southeast and just shaving the Philippines, while another suggests heading north around the island of Taiwan.

There is little history on how best to handle the next 24 hours. And there likely won't be much history after they get out of the China Sea, either. Some things are simply best to forget. -- Source: Scuttlebutt, Event media

Leg 4 - Sanya, China to Auckland, NZL (5,220 nm)
Standings as of Wednesday, 22 February 2012, 0:01:03 UTC
1. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 4780.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 16.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 18.3 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 19.7 nm DTL
5. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 34.6 nm DTL
6. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 45.1 nm DTL

Video reports:
Race schedule:

GAMERS: For the Volvo Ocean Race, adversity has come in the form of piracy and boat breaking weather. And now adversity has stricken the gamers too. Following a technical problem that affected 80% of players on February 21st, the Volvo Ocean Race Game has been forced to abandon Leg 4 and have the players return to a starting point which will be as near as possible to the real boats. This position will be determined when the site re-opens at 18:00GMT on February 21st. The race will restart at 12.00 GMT/UTC (13.00 CET) on February 22nd. --

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. -

The oceans of the world have rules. Consider them visitation hours. And when you choose to go 'after hours', you might come across a force of nature. Mother Nature.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and ends November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15th and also ends November 30th.

And there is a reason why the global races transit the Southern Ocean during its summer. As mean as it is now, it's meaner during its winter. Just ask 16 year old Abby Sunderland, whose desire to be the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe found her stranded in the Southern Ocean after a storm snapped her mast. In June.

And what about the China Sea? In the current Volvo Ocean Race and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Mother Nature has not been kind. Upwind sailing in brutal weather. Same as the previous edition of these races too. So with China proving to be a valuable commercial partner for these races, is there a better time to be in the China Sea than now?

Apparently not, says VOR CEO Knut Frostad. "The adverse weather in the China Sea is not only seasonal as statistically other periods could be worse. It would be possible to tweak our schedule slightly, but not by much as long as we have the Southern Ocean in the race and we intend to keep it in."

North U is offering a limited schedule of on-line Webinars taught by Subject Matter Experts. America's Cup Champion Peter Isler will change the way you race at the Performance Instruments & Expedition Software Webinar. You'll get a speed boost as North U Director Bill Gladstone leads the Racing Trim and Boat Speed sessions, and you'll never be caught out after Weather Guru Bill Biewenga's Weather for Sailors course. Learn more at

By Max Bulger, Sailing World
The first thought I had when I woke up this morning was: "Just another casual Thursday afternoon flight to Muscat. Good thing I'm packed and got a full night's sleep, but it's too bad I'm stuck spending the next two weeks sailing boring old Extreme 40s."

OK, maybe it didn't go quite like that. I got slightly less than a full night's sleep, and woke up before dawn to finish cramming for my fourth straight midterm exam. I ran straight out of the Tufts University Center for Cognitive Science the second I filled in the last multiple choice bubble, breathlessly broke into the Tufts Varsity Sailing Team cave at 211 College Avenue, Apartment #2, and pirated a teammate's computer to print boarding passes.

That was followed by a leisurely sprint up the street to my own apartment to frantically stuff my suitcase full of shorts and Atlas gloves, while even more Jumbo sailors watched with amusement and patiently waited to drive me to Logan International Airport. A whirlwind of hugs, good luck wishes, and a short jaunt down I-93 later, I'm standing in line to board Lufthansa 423 and hoping I remembered clean underwear.

Perhaps I should have started packing about four weeks ago, when this all began. I was barely back from Key West long enough to drive from home to Foxboro for the AFC Championship (the last relevant football game of the season) when Morgan Larson called me.

He was inviting me, he said, to join him on Team Oman Air for the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series. Still reminiscing on what a privilege it had been to sail with the talented and hard-working (Melges 32) crew of Samba Pa Ti in Key West, I was elated to get another offer to go to battle with phenomenal sailors.

And, once he explained that the Series had adopted a new rule requiring teams to race with a fifth sailor who was under 24 or female, I started to actually believe Morgan might seriously be asking me, a 132-pound 21-year-old, to go Extreme 40 sailing. -- Read on:

* Sydney, Australia (February 21, 2012) - On day two of the Etchells World Championship 2012 being held offshore of Sydney Heads, racing was abandoned for the 74-boat fleet due to large seas and heavy wind conditions. The forecast for the rest of the week looks promising, with two races planned for Wednesday, two races on Thursday, two on Friday and one on Saturday. After two races, the top three of Graeme Taylor (AUS), Tom King (AUS), and Vince Brun (USA) kept their scores in the top ten to lead the field. -- Full report:

* (February 21, 2012; Day 2) - The 214ft supermaxi Hetairos today claimed poll position in the RORC Caribbean 600. Passing to leeward of George David's 90ft maxi Rambler off the east coast of Montserrat, Hetairos let loose on a broad reach, blasting through the Caribbean surf at a speed in excess of 22 knots. Hetairos has twice the water line length and more than double the sail area of Rambler. Hetairos and Rambler are expected to finish by Wednesday morning, but both are unlikely to finish by 0340 to break the course record set by Rambler 100 last year. -- Race website:

* The seven event Sperry Top-Sider NOOD national circuit began last weekend in St. Petersburg, FL. After two days of nearly no wind, the breeze showed up in force on the final day with gusts into the 20s, and a short steep chop. It made for some challenging conditions for all 114 teams competing, some of whom didn't make it through the day unscathed. -- Final results:

If anyone embodies the spirit of life as a sailor, it is Lou Morgan - Past Commodore of the Inland Lake Yachting Association. It with a sad heart but with memories of joy that one of the most favorite, most well-loved leaders of the ILYA died last Sunday (Feb. 19). Lou was present at the 2012 Winter Inland, along with his wife Jackie and son Lou, Jr. He was hospitalized last week and lost a battle with a sudden ruptured appendix.

Funeral services for Lou will be held on Friday, February 24th at St Catherine of Alexandria Church, W359 N85112 Brown Street, Oconomowoc, Wi. Visitors may arrive from 10:00am to 1:00pm at which time a Mass of Christian Burial will begin. A celebration of Lou's life will be held at the Golden Mast Inn, W349 N5293 Lacy's Ln, Okauchee, Wi. from 2:00pm until 6:00pm immediately following the Mass.

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:

* Mackay FX- Olympic Womens Skiff Trialist
* New blu30 from bluboats
* David Doody joins Coecles Harbor Marina and Boatyard as Service Manager
View updates here:

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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 Rich du Moulin:
I am enjoying the thread (in Scuttlebutt) about father-son (parent-offspring) sailing started by our family friends Bill and Andrew Campbell. Onboard Rives Potts' 48 foot sloop Carina in 2011, we took this to an extreme. With four fathers and five sons, plus a few additional friends, we raced Transatlantic, Fastnet and Sydney-Hobart. It's a great sport when you can share one design day races or long ocean races.

* From Casey Robert Baldwin:
With a boat-load of criticisms about sailing's Governing Bodies and Race Committees over past many months, the decision by Volvo Ocean Race organizers to delay Leg 4 Start from Sanya because of brutal boat and crew breaking weather in the South China Sea, was refreshingly sane and sensible.

As covered in S'Butt 3531, the Global Clipper Race on their way to North China, had been battered in very tough conditions a few days before, just East of the Volvo boats moored in Sanya.

By the time the 68 foot Clippers got through Luzon Strait and up the East side of Taiwan, the NE monsoon was still producing monster waves and 40 knot winds, resulting in a bowman on leader Gold Coast Australia breaking his leg in two places and another crewman suffering head injuries while becoming airborne in the cabin. The weather prevented a medical air-lift, so Gold Coast had to give up her lead and put into port in Northern Taiwan.

Some arm-chair bloggers stated Volvo should start Leg 4 on schedule no matter what the weather. Nonsense; the Race Committee should be commended for its decision to spare boats and crew from very dangerous racing conditions.

* From Rick Mallinson, US Sailing Senior Judge:
This is in response to the commentary of Kay Kilpatrick in Scuttlebutt 3531 concerning disposable plastic bottles. I am professionally involved in the consumption of our natural resources and also on ways to minimize and reduce their use and the impact of their use. I strongly applaud the actions she has taken, and support the unnecessary use of water bottles, as well as their recycling. However, as someone who was present at both regattas, I think the second paragraph of her comments does a disservice to that effort.

While the use of water bottles at the 2010 Optimist U.S. Nationals is correct, I think the characterization is very misguided and the use of staggering and horrifying both inaccurate and inflammatory, and also unjustly besmirches a very nice regatta run by the Cabrillo Beach YC. Assuming 7200 bottles is correct, this was a weeklong regatta, with numerous volunteers. So this number works out to perhaps 3 bottles per day per participant/volunteer.

A bottle weighs less than an ounce, and this represents about the weight of 55 gallons of crude oil, 75% less than suggested. The plastic is unsightly and can cause some environmental problems no doubt, but it is not anything like dumping barrels of crude oil into the environment. Further I would guess that 95 percent or more of the bottles were returned to shore and handled in accordance with California's laws regarding recycling. The recycling effort was significant, and along with recycling containers, included multiple announcements by the organizers to encourage this effort.

There is every reason to reduce, and understand the impact of, our use of natural resources; and to teach young people to be good shepherds without resorting to gross exaggeration of reality that ultimately leads to skepticism and makes the case harder to make.

* From Tom Keogh:
There are two big problems with the water bottle movement.

First is that the numbers don't add up. Even if they did, the argument that the energy used to produce disposable PET bottles is equivalent to dumping crude oil is nothing but alarmist nonsense. Consider the costs of making and cleaning the reuseable alternatives in polycarbonate and the scale tilts way back. Use the pretty aluminum bottles with the shiny enamel finish and it tilts some more. Sometimes it makes sense to go with resueables and if it does, or it makes you feel better, refill all you like.

That leads to the second point. Sometimes it's cost effective and environmentally responsible to use a disposable bottle (you might even decide to refill it.) If I enter a regatta and have to be hectored by some ill-informed do-gooder who wants to substitute their judgment for mine, I might decide to not enter regattas like that anymore. This is the kind of bureaucratic silliness that drives people away. It's great that people appreciate the responsibility we share to not mess up the water and shores we all enjoy so much. That's not a license to make up dumb rules that don't accomplish what they set out to do.

Thanks, I'll now don my Kevlar bodysuit to await the replies.

COMMENT: Thirty-five years ago when I was a kid, finding a coin on the ground was quite a treasure. I can only imagine the thrill that collecting bottles to sell at the recycling center would have been for me. Fast forward to now, my fifteen year old begrudgingly sorts our home refundable bottles, and he is surrounded by the homeless community when he turns them in for cash. Not sure what changed along the way, but something did. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

In every work of genius we recognize our rejected thoughts.

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