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SCUTTLEBUTT 3520 - Friday, February 3, 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: Ribcraft and Dieball Sailing.

Twenty-five years ago, email and cell phones did not exist. The America's Cup was being sailed 7,931 miles, 16 time zones and a hemisphere away from San Diego.

As the Stars & Stripes crew awakened each morning at their compound in Fremantle, Western Australia, San Diegans were preparing to head home from work. Most Americans on the East Coast had finished dinner.

The racing each day started at 1 p.m. in the Indian Ocean - or 9 p.m. in San Diego and midnight in New York. Most of America was asleep when the Stars & Stripes crew performed the nightly, post-race ritual of boat maintenance.

"We lived in something of a vacuum," recalls Bill Trenkle, who doubled as a trimmer on the boat and the boat manager. "We were almost on an exact opposite schedule from most Americans.

"We were sleeping when most people in the United States were working. We were on the water and totally cut off when people back home had free time. When we got back to shore, the people back home were sleeping.

"We were cut off. If we needed something from home, we'd have to leave a message and then pick up a return message the next day. You seldom talked to anyone directly on the phone."

The Stars & Stripes crew was so isolated in their quest that they had no idea that they had become late-night cult heroes back in the United States. ESPN's live coverage of the America's Cup racing started after the late news on the East Coast and 8:30 p.m. in San Diego.

People on both coasts stayed up into the early morning hours to watch the drama unfold. The only clue that the Stars & Stripes team had that people were watching back home were faxes from the U.S. posted on the crew's bulletin board each morning.

"There were very few at first," recalls Stars & Stripes navigator Peter Isler. "I remember the number growing as we were beating New Zealand in the challenger finals. Then there were a lot ... that was the first clue I had that people back home were into it.

"But we really had no idea how big a story we had become. The boat had become our home. We had no idea was what happening beyond the boat and the compound. It was a little strange ... being so far away and so focused on one thing."

Trenkle's first clue that America was watching came during a phone call to his parent's home on Long Island.

"When we did interviews with the crew, we tried to tell them that America was watching," said ESPN commentator Gary Jobson, who got daily reports from the mother ship regarding the soaring ratings.

"But the Stars & Stripes crew was clueless. They were a bunch of young guys who just went sailing."

Not even Dennis Conner, who had more contact with the outside world than most his crewmen, had a complete grasp on the magnitude of the story back in the United States. -- Bill Center, Union-Tribune, read on:

Video highlights:

(February 2, 2012; Day 12) - An unexpected change in wind direction today dealt a cruel blow to PUMA Ocean Racing's plans to rocket to the head of the fleet on the home strait to Sanya.

While the leg leaders were heading upwind on starboard towards the shore of Vietnam on Wednesday, PUMA surrendered third place in the rankings to head offshore in the hope of a favorable wind shift to grab their first leg win of the 2011-12 race.

"We took the shift and expected the next sched to show a bunch of boats on port tack with us, but no-one was and all of a sudden we were exposed to the right," PUMA skipper Ken Read said. "Did we want to have 100 miles of leverage on everyone? Absolutely not, but sometimes these things just happen and before you know it you can't go back. The wind gods just took us that way."

There was little for PUMA to feel good about. "These are punishing conditions out here," described PUMA media crew Amory Ross. "The upwind slamming, smashing, and thrashing we're enduring is enough to make anyone hurt bad. The waves are big, they're steep, and they have no backs so we just fall off each one only to find the bottom in a severely sudden crash."

Overnight all the teams were pummeled by 25-knot head winds and steep waves as they dodged floating debris in the South China Sea on the approach to the Vietnam coast. "Something hit our daggerboard and rudder hard in the night," noted Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker, who was relieved both were still intact. "Given the amount of tree trunks, crates and other debris we see in the day I consider we got off lightly." - Event media

Leg 3 (4,600nm) - Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China
Standings as of Friday, 03 February 2012, 1:03:42 UTC
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 353.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 10.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 30.8 nm DTL
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 31.3 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 37.3 nm DTL
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 166.5 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 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. -

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As Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup and CEO of America's Cup Race Management, Iain Murray shared some of the following updates during his weekly conference call with the sailing media:

* The early testing of the AC45 wing extension by Emirates Team New Zealand has been successful. The purpose of the extension is to help lift the weather hull in lighter winds, and for it to be easily removable when stronger winds are forecasted. The nice surprise so far is the ability to carry the wing higher in the wind range than originally anticipated.

* The format for the Louis Vuitton challenger series in 2013 is wholly dependent on how many of the eight challenging teams fulfill their final entry requirements by June 1st. The dates for the series are July 4-Sept. 1. There are definitely three teams proceeding, with five of the other eligible teams seeking to compete if funding is in place.

* There is thought being given to AC45 competition on San Francisco Bay in 2013. This may occur if a number of the challengers are unable to fund an AC72 for the Louis Vuitton series. Also, the AC45s may be used for the Youth America's Cup that is being planned, or another type of catamaran may be used.

Event website:

* The six members of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team - Sailing were selected based on performances at US Sailing's 2012 Rolex Miami OCR, held Jan. 23-28, 2012, in Miami, Fla., and the IFDS Worlds held two weeks earlier in Port Charlotte, Fla. As the top-scoring eligible American athletes in their respective Paralympic sailing classes, Jen French and JP Creignou, Mark LeBlanc, and Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson have successfully completed qualification. -- Read on:

* (February 2, 2012) - Giovanni Soldini and his crew of seven onboard a VO70 set sail this morning at 11:50:08 hrs GMT from the port of Cadiz (Spain), heading to San Salvador (Bahamas) to establish a monohull reference time for this distance. The only record currently held for the 3884 nm passage is 7d 10h 58m 53s by Franck Cammas on the 103-foot trimaran Groupama 3. Among the crew is German yachtsman Boris Herrmann (navigator), American yachtsman Brad Van Liew and Spaniard David Vera (both watch leaders). --

* Craigslist recently added a "Boats by Dealer" category to its site. Although a section on Craigslist for "Boats" previously existed, many dealers had their ads flagged or received e-mails from Craigslist users who believed that only private sellers should post items for sale on the popular website. Although the new "Boats by Dealer" category can't guarantee that dealer ads won't be flagged in the future, it should alleviate many of the frustrations dealers have experienced, according to Nucleus, a data distribution service that helps dealers post inventory on Craigslist. -- Trade Only Today, read on:

* The 2012 Zhik Nautica Moth World Championship, which will be held at Campione del Garda, Italy in August, will also include a competition that will award 5,000 Euro cash to the competitor who designs their Moth with the most creativity, personality and style. Competitors will be able to submit, videos, text, music or whatever medium they choose to highlight their designs. Details:

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt include keel walking, bridge chasing, February calendar, broaching, Olympic venue, and something they do in the UK during the winter. Here are this week's photos:

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:

It is finally that time of year. No more dreaming about palm trees and warm breeze! It is One Design Midwinter Season and the DIEBALL SAILING support team will be on hand at the Thistle, J24, J22, Lightning, VXOne, Flying Scot, Highlander, Interlake and T10 championships. These events run February, March and April and it is not too late to get your sails delivered at you Midwinter Championship. Order some crispy new sails and let's get out on the water:

The six-day Rolex Miami OCR on January 23-28 was the second of seven 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas. The World Cup is open to the 10 sailing classes (equipment) chosen for the 2012 Olympic and the three Paralympic Sailing events. produced the coverage for the Rolex Miami OCR 2012, and this video is a compilation of their best footage from the water, the helicopter and right on board the boats. Click here for this week's video:

* Keel walking:
* Swiss Olympic team:
* Etchells racing:

* This week on Episode 24 of 'America's Cup Uncovered' looks back 25 years to one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time: Dennis Conner's America's Cup victory with Stars & Stripes in Fremantle, Australia. Then we go behind the scenes at the World's biggest boat show in Dusseldorf with ORACLE Racing's skipper James Spithill. We then uncover jet ski umpire Meike Schomaker. But not before checking out the restaurant scene on San Francisco's Embarcadero. Tune in on Saturday February 4 approx 0800 PDT 1600 BST:

* In the February 3rd Global Sailing News Report "World on Water" there's the ACWS Luna Rossa AC45 launch and trials in Auckland, New Zealand, Giovanni Soldini's Maserati Cadiz to San Salvador record attempt, Italy, Rolex Miami OCR Regatta, Miami USA, Festival of Sails Geelong, Australia, Global Ocean Race Leg 3 Start Wellington, New Zealand and in our action segment "Fresh to Frightening" we show what not to do if your boat is sinking in a flooded river. These boys nearly go under with their yacht. Frightening! See it on 1200 GMT 0700 EST.

SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:

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 Geoffrey Mason, Executive Producer, ESPN America's Cup 1987:
Regarding the report in Scuttlebutt 3519, with all due respect - credit where credit is due - the 25th anniversary (of Dennis' win in Fremantle) marks a watershed moment for AMERICAN broadcast coverage.

By 1987, both Channel Seven and Nine in Oz were well into onboard camera technology by then... and were extremely helpful to us in helping to implement our ESPN USA version.

And the bottom line is this... without the help and support of DC, Malin Burnham and Tom Whidden - and Budweiser's money - it never would have happened!

* From Adrian Morgan:
The truth about the America's Cup is beginning to emerge from a miasma of misinformation and wishful thinking. On the plus side, for all those fascinated by anything that moves at speed on the water, powered only by the wind, the sight of 72 ft catamarans with wings streaking under the Golden Gate Bridge will be totally, thrillingly unmissable, and for free, on TV. For that, thanks be to Larry.

However, the America's Cup will probably be watched from the waterfront by fewer people than pack Wembley stadium for a Stones concert; San Francisco will lose its shirt; the spectacle of so much money being thrown at such a frivolous pastime will disgust the dispossessed; of the dozen challenging teams prophesied at the outset, we will be lucky to see three, and the winner, both in terms of the real estate snaffled for a pittance from under the noses of the gullible city fathers, and most likely on the water, will be one Mr Ellison.

Ellison bought the last cup, by throwing sums that make Vanderbilt's and Lipton's look like petty cash, and will no doubt make a profit in the long run from his waterfront acquisitions. Good business plan.

* From Ari Barshi:
With the expected spectator and participant numbers dropping for the Cup in San Francisco, is it too late to hand the management over to the defender of the Valencia event? As I recall, they know about funding, crowed involvement, and team participation. By the way, was this all predicted by Hans Christian Anderson in a piece named 'The Emperor's New Clothes'?

* From Charlie Dana:
While I'm not intimately familiar with those fishing areas (of the Volvo Ocean Race), it's not just fishing nets; it's debris of all kinds... an overwhelming amount of it. The Strait of Malacca, where the Volvo boats were, is hugely busy with all sorts of commerce, boats of every description. Oceans and waterways need to be shared! The water knows this; it freely mixes.

Closer to home, have always felt cruising beloved Maine that much of the tension with yachting and lobstering comes from our moral archives... one is 'good' and one is 'bad'. We yachties know which one we are! Seems to me there are rights going both ways. If I chose to support my family running a liquor store, believe me I'd be told in no uncertain terms where it could be, and 'egress' would not be a dirty word.

There's a short season in New England, and the economic impact of cruisers and racers has been immense. Think of the spin-off effect, how they've fueled the economy and kept New England the destination that it is. Why is it necessary to string pots across so many harbor entrances during the short summer, making it literally impossible to get in? Go to the boatyards and see the 40' boats on the hard, shaft bent, vacation ruined... from a single pot they diligently tried to avoid.

We need to share the oceans, and respect without harshly judging, those we share it with.

* From Pam Birmingham:
If recreational racing boats are causing damage to local fishing equipment, it would be inexcusable. But these are well funded campaigns and I imagine some of the damage being done is to small family businesses where the loss of a net or other gear could be financially disastrous. Any damage done should be compensated fairly.

* From Max Bulger:
Looking at the (necessarily) short list of proposed Olympic classes (in Scuttlebutt 3519), does anyone else scratch their head a bit when they read "Men's 2nd One Person Dinghy"?

* From Jim Stevralia:
It was very interesting to read the letter from Rodney Pattisson, Olympic multi-medal winner from the UK (in Scuttlebutt 3516). It reminded me of a breakfast I attended in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in the early 1990's. The guest speaker was none other than the "Boss", George Steinbrenner. The primary topic that morning was how the U.S. would reverse the extremely poor showing at the 1988 Winter Olympics, which is a well-documented effort by Mr. Steinbrenner.

However, another topic of the day warrants discussion. There was much talk at the time about the Internationals Olympic Committee dropping the less viewer-friendly sports. I asked Mr. Steinbrenner about the campaign, and specifically, about such sports as equestrian and sailing. His comment was plain and simple - "It will not happen while I am on the Committee. Those athletes deserve just as much right to compete in the Olympics as the athletes in the high media attention sports."

COMMENT: If you recall, Rodney's commentary in Scuttlebutt 3516 included his disdain for the medal race in the Olympics. As a member of the media, I like the medal race as it allows for a focal moment to wrap a story around. However, as a competitor and advocate of the sport, I am not a fan. Given ISAF's urgency to make the Olympic sailing events more media friendly, you can draw your own conclusion as to the future of this format. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

* From Jim Champ:
With regard to the Ben Ainslie incident, I think one also has to have a lot of sympathy for the "no win" situation the RYA enquiry committee find themselves in through no fault of their own. I think it's safe to assume that no matter what they decide they will find themselves villified, be it for "spoiling Britain's medal hopes" or "keeping the best competitor out of the games" or "one rule for the famous and one for the rest" or "they'd never have let him off if he hadn't been a Brit" or any number more. I wouldn't be in their shoes for anything.

GUIDANCE: The RYA has published a comprehensive guide to the management of misconduct for race officials. The Introduction of this guide states:

"Being asked to deal with unacceptable behaviour is one of the most difficult but important jobs in our sport. It does not happen often but the future of our sport as an inclusive family activity depends on handling these complaints well and not sidestepping them."

The incident that Ben Ainslie was involved in goes before the RYA Tribunal, which this guide describes as having "the power to impose a greater range of penalties such as suspending a competitor from competition, banning them for a set period (including life) from events within its jurisdiction and suspending their ISAF eligibility."


This thread in the newsletter is closed for now, with all comments (both published and unpublished) posted in the Forum where additional comments can be posted if desired:

For every vision, there is an equal and opposite revision.

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