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SCUTTLEBUTT 3650 - Wednesday, August 8, 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: APS, Vineyard Race, and IYRS.

Weymouth and Portland, U.K. (August 7, 2012; Day 10) - The 2012 Olympic
Sailing Regatta held the Men's and Women's RS:X Medal Race, marking the
conclusion of boardsailing as an Olympic event. A kiteboarding event has
been selected to replace boardsailing at the 2016 Games.

2011 World Champion Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) won the Men's RS:X Medal
Race and the gold medal to wrap up his total domination of the men's
windsurfing fleet at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Dutch sailor
entered the Medal Race with an unassailable 22-point lead after winning six
of the 10 opening races and only needed to start the double-points race to
take gold.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said Van Rijsselberge, "It means a great four
years with me and my coach. I'm super stoked. It was a dream to get the
gold but never a must. It's amazing to get it. It was already in the pocket
but seeing everyone on the Nothe course is good for me."

Athens 2004 bronze medallist and Weymouth resident Nick Dempsey (GBR) won
the silver medal in front of his home crowd after finishing second in the
Medal Race. After a lacklustre start to the series, Dempsey worked his way
up into medal contention with two wins, but Van Rijsselberge (NED) placed
the gold beyond his reach.

Men's RS:X Results - Top 5 of 38
1. Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) - 15pts
2. Nick Dempsey (GBR) - 41pts
3. Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) - 60pts
4. Toni Wilhelm (GER) - 64pts
5. Julien Bontemps (FRA) - 70pts

Marina Alabau (ESP) made up for her disappointment at Beijing 2008, where
she finished fourth, by winning a light wind medal race to claim gold. "Two
days ago I really felt I could see the gold," said Alabau. "When I came
back [from the lay day] I was super stressed but then I knew it would be
easy after a really good week. I knew the Medal Race would be good for me
as the others would fight."

Tuuli Petaja (FIN), who finished fourth to win silver, earning the first
Finnish medal at London 2012. "Everyone has been really looking forward to
us getting our first medal," Petaja said. "I would be happy if the other
athletes who have competed already had got some medals. I am sure there are
some more medals to come for Finland."

Since 2006 the Fin only has only finished on the podium on two occasions
with a bronze at Kieler-Woche 2009 and another bronze at the 2012 RS:X
Europeans. She added, "It's by far the best result I've done in any
competition." The pre-regatta favourite, Lee Korzits (ISR), went into the
Medal Race in second but finished in ninth place, leaving her sixth

Women's RS:X Results - Top 5 of 26
1. Marina Alabau (ESP) - 26pts
2. Tuuli Petaja (FIN) - 46pts
3. Zofia Noceti Klepacka (POL) - 47pts
4. Olga Maslivets (UKR) - 48pts
5. Moana Delle (GER) - 51pts

On Tuesday, the Men's 470 completed their final two qualifying races, with
leader Mathew Belcher/ Malcolm Page (AUS) and second place Luke Patience/
Stuart Bithell (GBR) both guaranteed the top two medals, with the Medal
Race on Thursday to determine who gets Gold. The Women's 470 continued
their qualifying races, with the top three (NZL, GBR, and NED) close on
points, and now building a nearly insurmountable lead over the field. The
best of five Women's Match Race Quarterfinals finds the world top ranked
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) losing both her races, and on the brink of
elimination against the 2012 World Champion Silja Lehtinen (FIN).

NORTH AMERICA: The 38-board Men's RS:X event concluded with Zachary Plavsic
(CAN) in 8th, Robert Willis (USA) in 22nd, and David Mier y Teran (MEX) in
32nd, while the 26-board Women's RS:X event saw Nikola Girke (CAN) finish
in 10th and Farrah Hall (USA) in 10th.

WEDNESDAY: The final two qualifying races will be held for the Women's 470,
the Women's Match Race conclude the Quarter Finals, and the Medal Race will
be held for the 49er. Southwest winds under 10 knots are forecast, with one
weather model indicating the chance of un-sailable conditions.

SKUNKED: It's beginning to look like North America may not win any sailing
medals in 2012. If the continent does get shut out of the medal count, the
quick reaction will be to blame the national team programs. But a close
look is also needed at the entire development path of the North American
sailors, and not just the period of time the sailors are elected to the
national team. Like in school, some students are simply better prepared for
college than others. If the focus for a sailor is to excel in the Olympics,
how does the consensus youth track in North America compare with other
countries? -- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

FUTURE PROSPECTS: The prominent gateway for the Men's and Women's 470
(doublehanded dinghy) is the 420, but only three North American teams, all
American, were at the 2012 World Championship. The top men's team finished
15th out of 36 in the Open event and the lone women's team finished 30th
out of 36. As for the 49er (doublehanded skiff), the gateway is the 29er,
with the top team (USA) finishing 9th out of 54 at the 2012 World

ISAF news:
Canada report:
USA report:


Canada broadcast:
USA broadcast:

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While it can be stated ad nauseum about the honor of representing one's
country at the Olympics, the mission is to win medals. After the completion
of 6 of the 10 sailing events on Tuesday, here are the leaders in the medal
Great Britain - 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 0 Bronze; 3 Total
Netherlands - 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 0 Bronze; 2 Total
Sweden - 1 Gold, 0 Silver, 1 Bronze; 2 Total
Full tally:

As legitimate medal contenders in the Star (men's keelboat), Canadians
Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn stumbled hard. Finishing 12th out of 16,
they now must take solace in reflection. Here skipper Clarke reports...
I am dreadfully disappointed. We trained incredibly hard for this event, we
sacrifised so much, our families sacrificed so much, so much money spent
and to not even qualify for the medal race. Honestly we failed to deliver.

As the days pass the disappointment will fade and the questions of why will
crop up. Maybe we will find solace in the answers, maybe there was
something at fault in our preparations? Right now I don't think so, we knew
our downwind speed was lacking and we spent countless of tiring hours
working on that side of our game. We knew our equipment needed to be
perfect and we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars making sure we had
the best gear. We knew Weymouth was a very tricky venue and spent months
training here. We knew that being the best meant training with the best so
we teamed up with the British, arguably the best team in the world. We knew
that the event could be a windy rough survival of the fittest so we split
gallons of sweat on the weight room floor. We knew the Olympics are a
pressure cooker of immense proportions so we worked closely with a sports
psychologist. But none of it vaulted us up the steps of the podium.

Yes it was great to be here and I took to heart all your messages of
support and encouragement. When our regatta started to slip away I tried to
relax, tried to let it all just flow but again that didn't help. To finish
with a medal a team must at least medal in a few races. We didn't do that
in any race. For now one thing we know is that every race in these games
was sailed in essentially the same conditions, similar wind strength and
similar direction. Maybe those conditions were the only hole in our armor,
maybe if the conditions had been more varied maybe we would have done

I am proud of our efforts and I am thankful for everyone who helped make
this journey possible. That list of people and organizations is a long one
and each and every one need to know just how very important they were in
enabling us to chase this dream. --

"Many people are asking me how I feel about our performance so far, and I
refuse to answer the question. There will be plenty of time to debrief the
good and the not-so-good aspects of our performance here. And we'll do all
of that when the event is over. Until that point, we are still competing,
and bringing the same energy every single day." -- Dean Brenner, US Team

"I have every title you could in the Radial; the only thing I am missing is
the Olympics. I can't walk away without having a medal. I definitely think
you will be seeing me in 2016. We are going to strategize correctly so I
don't become stale in the boat and I keep learning. We'll talk with all the
coaches and team director to see what the best route is for me so that I
keep improving." - American Paige Railey, following her 8th place finish in
the Laser Radial (women's singlehanded). --

Take part in an East Coast classic. Three courses; huge awards party;
cruising division; multihull division; race tracking; Corinthian challenge;
NORT qualifier and much more. Join Bruce Nelson at our skippers' meeting.
Start date: August 31. Register today: Follow us

Yachting journalist Andy Rice, who has been maintaining a diary of the
sailing events at the Olympic Games, has posted a slew of "behind the
scenes" stories from Tuesday. Here is a summary:

* With the Laser, Radial, and RS:X events supplying the equipment, the
question of whether this provides the best format was highlighted with
quality problems in the RS:X event. Small differences in shape in the fins,
and how they attach to the board, make for massive differences in
performance. Plus quality problems led to both boards and fins needing to
be replaced during the event.

* After Olga Maslivets (UKR) finished fourth overall in the Women's RS:X,
she filed a protest against the Polish bronze medallist Zofia Noceti
Klepacka, alleging the Pole didn't have sufficient damage indemnity as
required for Olympic competition.

* Danish 49er skipper Allan Norregaard alleged that the runaway performance
of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS), who have locked up the Gold
prior to the Medal Race on Wednesday, may be attributed to this one design
class not being completely one design. With almost a perfect split in the
20-boat fleet between Ovington and Mackay hulls, the Aussies are using a
hull built by Bethwaite Design.

Read stories here:

* The O'Pen BIC North American "Un-Regatta" was hosted in Oshkosh, WI on
August 4-5, offering great hospitality, energetic adult rigging slaves, and
near ideal conditions. Nic Mueller (recently 9th place at the Optimist
Worlds) was crowned champion of the Open Age Division, and Harry Melges IV
bested the Young Guns (Under 12). Many of the sailors are preparing for the
O'Pen BIC World Championships at Miami YC, November 1-3, where 130
competitors are expected. -- Full report:

* Shoreacres, TX (August 7, 2012) - Day two of the Lightning North
Americans saw Galveston Bay offering light and shifty winds to the 55 boat
fleet. Allan Terhune, Katie Terhune and Sarah Paisley dominated the first
race, while Jody Lutz, Jonathan Lutz and Jay Lutz won the second race of
the day by just an inch over the Dodge Family Team including Bobby Dodge,
age 9. Debbie Probst, Monica Jones and Lauren Jones won the day with a 2,
5. Team Terhune is tied with Todd Wake, Kristine Wake and Neal Fowler for
the overall lead. Racing continues through Friday. Full report:

* San Francisco Bay sets the stage for the next chapter of the US Sailing
National Championships season. St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht
Club, and Tiburon Yacht Club will host the three fleets of the 2012 Chubb
U.S. Junior Championships for the Sears Cup and the Bemis and Smythe
Trophies. First sailed in 1921, this is US Sailing's oldest Championship.
Three days of racing on San Francisco Bay begins this Wednesday, August 8.
-- Read on:

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What could be better than racing on a classic yacht in Newport? The 33rd
Annual Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai and hosted by the Museum
of Yachting, takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 1-2.
Headquartered at Fort Adams, the event includes two days of camaraderie and
competition that draws meticulously restored classics from small
traditional one-designs to large, majestic yachts built over a century ago
and spirit-of-tradition yachts that are modern in build and materials yet
traditional in design. The regatta will again be the third and final stop
on the North American Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.

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 Steve Peters:
I hope the Snipe gets reinstated for the Pan Am Games, as that class is
integral to the growth of sailing. What isn't realized is how certain
countries only recognize classes that are in the Games. A class like the
Snipe provides a significant gateway into the sport, much more so than a
hard-to-sail 49er. Sailors that are already vested in the sport can get
always get into the 49er, which already is an Olympic event. But if the
Snipe is pulled from the Pan Am Games, the class will take a huge hit in
Central and South America, and possibly disappear in some countries.

* From Rob Stephan, Fairfield, CT:
Regarding Bruce Kirby's commentary on Ainslie vs Elvstrom (in Scuttlebutt
3649), Ben Ainslie has a long way to go to even compare to Paul Elvstrom.
There is no contest to what Ben has achieved in comparison to the lifetime
contribution to the sport of sailing by "The Great Dane" Mr. Elvstrom. In
terms of sportsmanship, technical improvements and the spirit of
international competition, Ben Ainslie will have do to more than collect
medals that include a win made possible by another sailors mistake. When
junior sailors are able to look up to the sportsmanship examples of Ainslie
as they do today with Elvstrom, then there will be reason for a discussion.

* From David Barrow:
Paul Elvstrom and Ben Ainslie are two different products from two different

Paul came from an age where there were no coaches, Twitter, Facebook,
internet for that matter. He was my idol when a sailing youngster, and I
lost count of how many times I read 'Elvstrom Speaks' and fiddled around
with those little green and red plastic models in the clear plastic flap on
the back cover, that somehow never got lost!

Elvstrom learnt to sail his Finn fast upwind in Denmark in the winter, as
if he allowed water to get on the foredeck it froze so he learnt to sail up
wind in a breeze without getting water on the deck, and it was fast! Ben
can just go anywhere else in the World where there are good sailing
conditions. Virtually every comparison made would be tinged by similar
differences caused by time and they way the sport has evolved.

Neither of them would probably admit to being the best sailor in the world
as they are both modest men. However, they have to be two incomparable
sailors that would hold each other in great respect for what was achieved
in their time. Ben, maybe 'Elvstrom Speaks' needs updating now in digital
form lodged in "the cloud" and sold through Amazon to be downloaded onto a
Kindle , although I love my paper copy and most of it is still relevant,
bet you still got yours too.

* From Rodger Martin:
In the US Sailing independent review panel report on its investigation of
the sailing accident that occurred on April 14, 2012 during the Full Crew
Farallones Race out of San Francisco, Calif, it stated that "the essential
key to prevention would have been a more conservative course selection to
avoid breaking seas in shoal water on a lee shore."

No no no!

I have seen, over years of racing and cruising with racing sailors, that
seamanship is generally not well-considered or valued by racing sailors,
often believing you can tough it through, fast. The Farallones tragedy is a
horrible reminder that to win you have to finish. Experienced cruising
sailors know that sudden shoals can cause breaking seas. This is an
education issue that would not be cured by more conservative course

To succumb to this would be a disservice to all sailors. The ultimate
development of this? Light wind stadium sailing in lead-ballasted trimarans
with training wheels!

Conservative seamanship, yes. This is the Forgotten Factor.

* From Dana Paxton, Press Attache, U.S. Olympic Sailing Team:
In response to Pat Healy (Scuttlebutt #3649), the New York Times is indeed
accredited at the Olympic Games, and while I cannot speak for their
editorial decisions on covering sailing competition, I can point out a
series of features run in the lead up, including:

Profile on Zach Railey:
Meteorologist a Value Added Adjunct:
Weymouth review:

Due to the availability of instant results as well as the detailed daily
updates direct from the Associated Press's Bernie Wilson (who is based at
the sailing venue), many newspapers look to provide more in-depth stories
about the people and places surrounding the Games. For a look at some of
the best, we chronicle them in our "In the News" blog. Here is last week's

I welcome any journalist, including Campbell Robertson, with an interest in
profiling the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team to contact me at

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