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SCUTTLEBUTT 3524 - Thursday, February 9, 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.

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Today's sponsors: Ullman Sails and Point Loma Outfitting.

Spain's Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez are the formidable duo at the heart of Team Telefonica, current leaders of the Volvo Ocean Race, and current holders of the ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year award. After winning Leg 3 from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, Xabi shares some nuggets from their race:
We started this leg with very high hopes in terms of the boat, as we knew it would perform well in the kind of conditions that we thought we'd be getting and it looked like things were on our side. Things went the other way very early on, and just four hours into racing we had a problem with the (Code Zero) sail with the tack breaking off, which also caused the bobstay (support for the bowsprit) to break.

There was one thing we were sure of and that was that without the bowsprit we wouldn't have finished by now, or we'd be finishing. Fixing the bobstay was a fairly complex repair and that's where the stress kicked in. We were approaching the Malacca Strait, which we knew would be a complicated passage, so there were nerves there already and the fear of getting stuck and everyone getting past and the race turning into a real struggle after that.

Concerning our tactics for the Malacca Strait, history is there to help you not to make the same mistake twice, but Capey, our navigator is of the opinion that whatever happened three or four years ago happened, but there's no reason for anything to be the same this time. The Malacca Strait is an area with very light airs and you can get a bit of everything there: storms, tornados at five miles.

What we did was to sail with the breeze we had, because that's all you can really do. You can't throw all of your tactics into something that happened in the past, because you don't know if it will necessarily happen again. Often, both here and in Olympic sailing, when you don't know exactly what you should do sometimes you just have to live in the moment and at that moment there was some good breeze and a shift to gybe with, so that's what we did, whilst always keeping one eye on those behind us.

When we were exiting Singapore there was more breeze than during the passage through the Malacca Strait, it was night-time and rather than just 'traffic', there were hundreds of cargo ships anchored and a lot of current and lots of rocks. There was a lot of tension off the Vietnam coast. I don't know how many fishing boats we came across and they were all these wooden boats that don't show up on the radar, with no net markers, nor buoys or even lights.

As we were coming into Sanya we spent ten miles 40 degrees off course because there was a complete mess of fishing nets and we couldn't see the end of them and we couldn't really judge them at that point in the race. It really wasn't until the finishing line that we were able to relax. -- Full report:

SCHEDULE: The Sanya In-Port race is on February 18 and Leg 4 from Sanya, China to Auckland, NZL begins on February 19:

Overall leaderboard after Leg 3
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 6-1-1-1-5-1, 95 pts
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 3-2-2-2-3-3, 80 pts
3. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 5-3-5-4-2-2, 71 pts
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 2-DNF-3-3-4-4, 48 pts
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1-DNF-4-5-1-5, 39 pts
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 4-DNF-6-6-DNS-6, 16 pts

Video reports:

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. -

To all of the superstitious sailors out there, painting a gigantic leaping black cat on your sails may soon become the equivalent of packing bananas onboard. In each of the offshore legs, Puma Ocean Racing has shown the ability to match the speed of Team Telefonica - before meeting disaster. In the first leg, a fitting failure sent their mast over the side in the midst of a heated duel with Telefonica towards the southern trades. In the second leg, Puma was leading into the Doldrums before finding a windless hole that Telefonica avoided. Leg 3 saw Puma again in the thick of the action. With the dangers of Malacca Straits - floating debris, heavy shipping traffic, local fishermen - nearly behind them, Puma was within 100 yards of Telefonica and Groupama before the black cat crossed paths with disaster again. -- Ryan O'Grady, Sailing World, read on:

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By now, some 20,000 miles into this audacious odyssey, nearly everything onboard Matt Rutherford's boat is either flat-out busted, rotted through, waterlogged beyond repair or otherwise reduced to ballast. If the insidious Arctic fog didn't do the job, seeping into every crevice of the 27-foot sailboat and all its humble contents, then the rogue waves near Cape Horn surely did.

He's down to one pair of pants, the rest having fallen victim to a black mold infestation that also cost him every last book he had carried on board, way back in June 2011, when he set out from Annapolis on this half-crazy mission to circumnavigate the Americas alone and non-stop.

The four solar panels he had hooked up to power his electronics? Busted, one by one. The canvas dodger, which protects the cabin from waves and spray? Shredded by a huge wave in the Bering Sea. His freighter radar, which alerts him to any huge ships bearing down on his little speck-in-the-ocean of a sailboat? Destroyed. His Kindle reader? Kaput.

His shotgun is half-rusted and may or may not be capable of shooting, but that's not important anymore. The shotgun was for one purpose: fending off polar bears in the Northwest Passage, in the event he became iced in, marooned until the following summer's thaw. But that leg of the journey was some six months, 15,000 miles and one continent ago.

"At this point," Rutherford said of the shotgun, "it's just a clump of metal."

His satellite phone still works, and he can send and receive e-mail through his GPS service which is how he is able to stay connected with a handful of Annapolis-based friends who provide support. It is also how it was that he came to be speaking to a reporter recently while pointed north, some 2,000 miles east of Argentina. Now roughly parallel to the southern tip of Brazil, he is within 5,000 miles of completing his journey, with a mid-April return to Annapolis. (You can follow his voyage, in map and blog form, at

"It does get incredibly lonely," he said during an interview conducted partly by e-mail and partly by satellite phone. "Lonely to the point where anything living is comforting. A bird, a fish, even a barnacle. I think I'm beyond lonely."

It is difficult to convey fully the audacity of what Rutherford is attempting to do: sailing some 25,000 miles, through some of the Earth's most treacherous ocean, on a 36-year-old Albin Vega boat (which he christened the Saint Brendan, in honor of a sixth-century explorer) best suited to weekend sailors who never venture beyond Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake. Already, the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge, England, has recognized him as the first person in recorded history to make it through the fabled Northwest Passage alone and non-stop on such a small sailboat.

But for the sake of context, allow Herb McCormick to tell you how incredible Rutherford's odyssey is. In 2009-10, McCormick, a veteran sailor and a senior editor at Cruising World magazine, completed the same journey (though he did it in a clockwise direction, while Rutherford is going counterclockwise) - and it was grueling and mind-numbing and treacherous, testing both his skills and his fortitude on a daily basis.

"There were times when I shook my head and said, 'What am I doing?' " McCormick said.

Washington Post, read on:

When the sweeping changes for the 34th America's Cup were announced on September 13, 2010, the 72-foot catamaran was a vision of cool and modern. But since the AC72 rule was finalized a year ago, close scrutiny by designers and sailors have seen it grow to be something more than expected. More speed, more work, more cost.

Iain Murray, Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup and CEO of America's Cup Race Management, shares some insight into the new design for the 2013 America's Cup:
For sure these boats are looking to be more difficult to sail than anyone ever envisioned. It is not that the jobs are any different; it's more about the speed it happens at and the loads generated by these boats.

There are some crewing positions that are going to be all about pure power, and there are other jobs that will be more about pure brain power. Close attention in crew selection will be paid to power to weight and total endurance, and there's no reason why a woman can't do many jobs on these boats. But bottom line is there's no rest, which is what keeps these very high heart rates among the crew as they physically do the jobs in the time period required. I think that has really crept up on people.

The other thing with the 72s is the wing is proving to more complex to build than was envisioned. There are more moving parts, and now that the teams are into designing them, they are exploring all forms of ideas in looking for gains. They are also finding how the design and the construction of these things can be as simple or as complicated as one can make them. So yes, the project has grown.

In this America's Cup, sailing these boats on San Francisco Bay in all this wind, on these very tight courses, and having to do all the maneuvers, your priority is to get around the course at 99%. The realization now is that these boats are going to be very difficult to sail, probably more difficult than first thought, and keeping it simple may be prudent as you simply won't have the time or manpower for additional complications and controls.

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
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Feb 11-12 - Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta - Miami, FL, USA
Feb 11-15 - J/24 Midwinters - Tampa, FL, USA
Feb 17-19 - St. Petersburg Sperry Top-Sider NOOD - St. Petersburg, FL, USA
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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:

* McMichael Now Offering C&C Yachts
* Sport boat plans for home build
* Sparkman Stephens 30 Daysailor

Want to see your updates in the Scuttlebutt newsletter? Post/view updates here:

* The St. Croix Yacht Club Committee responsible for planning and executing the annual St. Croix International Regatta has announced the cancellation of the 2012 International Regatta, scheduled for March 9-11. As a result of recent economic developments on St. Croix, the present financial climate has not been conducive to attaining critical sponsorship needed to host the event. The same committee is already at work to plan the 2013 event. --

* (February 8, 2012) - The ISAF Match Race Rankings were released today, where Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Ian Williams (GBR) have retained their place at the top of the Women's and Open Match Racing Rankings. -- Full report:

* Best Around the Buoys is a grass-roots racing initiative to reward sailors for their team's performance at the local racing level and encourage racers to set a goal of racing on the national level. Previous BAB contests centered on Key West Race week, but a BAB team is now being recruited to compete at Charleston Race Week (April 19-23). Winning team earns free entry, housing, dockage, and use of Beneteau Oceanis 37. Details:

* (February 8, 2012) - The 2012 RC44 Championship Tour kicked off in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote with a full day of match racing. A familiar team was at the top of the leader-board after nine flights and six matches a piece, and some new faces showed they will be real contenders this season. Cameron Appleton (NZL) was at the helm of Ask Team Aqua (GBR) today and had a familiar team that included Matt Cassidy (USA) and Andrew Estcourt (NZL). With six wins and no defeats their season started as it ended in 2011. -- Full report:

Starting February 9 and running through the end of this month, Point Loma Outfitting will be having a Winter Clearance Sale. Patagonia, SLAM, Musto and Kaenon all will have items marked-down, up to 50%. This is a great opportunity to save some Washingtons, Lincolns, Grants, even Franklins (although he wasn't really a President)! Check out the link below, or stop by the store.

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 Neil W. Humphrey:
I believe the Volvo Ocean Race is missing a great opportunity to help educate and give resources to these locations along their race route that have poor net markings and stuff gets thrown of ships.

I find it hard to believe that multi-million dollar race event full of professional sailors haven't considered the impact of their race and the joint seafaring knowledge could have combined to be used as a helpful hand to other seafarers who have limited means and education.

Restrictions are one thing, enforcing them are another, but teaching the keepers of the sea how to do better by lending a hand and educating on a peer to peer basis might solve a lot of problems sooner. It might also go a long way in breaking some barriers of the sport being only for the wealthy and help connect the sport to others who use the seas for pleasure and existence in a third world country.

As sailors, part of our responsibility is to lead by example and to teach where we can in how the seas of the world need to be cared for by all. To see the VOR once again playing in someone else's backyard, without connecting to those whose neighborhood they play in, is not good stewardship of the sea.

* From Linda Anderson:
My dad was a Captain in the Merchant Marine for 40 years. His biggest complaint about serving in the South Seas was fishing nets that he would run over when placed in deep channel sites and pots in the same spots.

He several times hit small junkes and fishing boats who did NOT have any lights or respect for 750 foot tankers bearing down on them with no place to go. The fact that it took his ship 3 miles to stop at 10 knots wasn't in the heads of the locals.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have a fleet of racing boats bearing down as a group on a few native fishing boats. Should they dive overboard or just trust to luck?

COMMENT: Clearly there is conflict in this region, and if the International Regulations For Preventing Collisions At Sea have jurisdiction, the fishing fleets do not appear to be upholding their responsibilities. These regs are online for sale, but they (shock and awe) have also been posted on Wikipedia. Scroll down to Rule 26, Lights for fishing vessels:

* From Betsy Allison:
Adding on to the comment by Chris Museler in Scuttlebutt 3523 that both the 2011 U.S. Rolex Yachtsman AND Yachtswoman of the Year Award winners had ties to Old Dominion University, this is not the first time for a college program. Dave Curtis and I won the award in 1981, and we both graduated from Tufts University and were part of a longstanding powerhouse in college sailing. "Jumbo says YES!"

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