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SCUTTLEBUTT 3721 - Friday, November 16, 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: Henri Lloyd and Hall Spars & Rigging.

Richard Gladwell ( spent three hours perched on the after
beam of Emirates Team NZ's AC72 for a training session on the Hauraki Gulf.
Sailing in winds of up to 25kts, the AC72 hit an amazing 43.6kts and didn't
even feel like she was breaking into a sweat. Here's his report:
Imagine you are standing on top of an Emirates jet on that final mad charge
down the runway before takeoff.

The engines are screaming and every imperfection in the runway is magnified
into the jolting that reverberates through the plane just before it leaves
the ground.

Next, take that mental snapshot and overlay it on to a boat the dimensions
of a tennis court (well three metres wider), flying down the harbour, a
couple of metres above the sea, travelling at a speed of more than 40kts.

This is the surreal world of the AC72 catamaran and the 34th America's Cup.

Today Emirates Team New Zealand's skipper Dean Barker is putting his crew
through a seven-hour programme of race practice and testing on Auckland's
Hauraki Gulf, venue for the 2000 and 2003 America's Cups.

The AC72 is a boat like you've never seen or experienced before.

New Zealand has just emerged from her hangar, where she has been modified
to incorporate changes from her first 16 days of trialling. The America's
Cup rules allow just 30 days of test sailing before January 31, 2013

We came across the black hulled, red bowed catamaran flying upwind in a
stiff 15kt offshore breeze, as she finished her race practice session.
She's setting a very short hoist jib, the smallest in her inventory. The
40metre tall wingsail, longer than an Emirates A380 wing, is doing all the

The first impression is of a very stiff platform (multihull-speak for the
combination of hulls, beams, deck and supporting truss underneath the
40metre tall wingsail). There was no twisting. The whole boat is a single
locked unit, as she charges into the moderate sea.

Next take is the body language of the crew, almost motionless in the boat,
only occasionally moving the pump (winch) handles to adjust the sheet on
the wingsail, or pressure up the hydraulics. Dean Barker guides rather than
steers with minimal wheel movement. The AC72 sails smooth and fast - like
the flying machine she is.

The crew have been on the water since just after 8am.

This is the tail end of the day's racing phase where Emirates Team NZ
simulates an America's Cup course, complete with marks, and run through a
race scenario complete with pre-start, fast reach and then the beats to
windward and downwind legs, all within the constraints of the America's Cup
course boundaries. 'It's a test of crew-work,' explains team boss Grant
Dalton, as we clamber aboard. 'It went very well this morning.'

Aboard, our roller coaster phobia kicks in. We don't like roller coasters -
too much of the hang on, trust it knows where it is going, and won't fly
off the rails. The AC72 initially feels like that. Does man control the
machine, or will the machine control man?

We'll soon find out.... read on:

A feature of next summer's America's Cup calendar is the Red Bull Youth
America's Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4, 2013. The Red Bull Youth America's Cup
has been created to give youth sailors, aged 19-24, an opportunity to
compete in America's Cup-style racing and to identify the next stars of the

The first hurdle for each prospective team is financial. A deposit of
$5,000 was required to apply for consideration. If the entry is accepted,
an entry fee of $35,000 is required (plus a damage deposit bond of
$25,000). Six U.S. teams found the bank to take the next step...screening.

The six teams will be engaged in a two-day training program developed by
Oracle Team USA during the period of November 12-20. At the close of this
training period, one of four verdicts will befall the teams...

1) One team will be selected to represent the U.S.
2) One team will be selected to represent San Francisco.
3) Team(s) will be selected to advance to the Selection Series Trials.
4) Team(s) will be determined to have insufficient skills and be excused.

Either of the first two options means the teams will advance directly to
the Red Bull Youth America's Cup finals on September 1-4, 2013. The third
options means the team(s) is sufficiently qualified to advance to the
Selection Series Trials on February 9-24, 2013, where an as of yet
undetermined number of teams will advance to the Red Bull Youth America's
Cup finals.

And if a team is asked to be excused, there remains one final option...
they can buy their own AC45, which were selling new a year ago for nearly
one million dollars.

The six teams participating in the team selection trials: American Youth
Sailing Force; Ocius Racing; Team City Front; Team America Racing; Quest
for the Cup; Winged Victory. Details:

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(November 15, 2012; Day 6) - The first week of the Vendee Globe would be
simpler if it wasn't for everything. Collisions and keel breakages have
already afflicted fifteen percent of the fleet, with an assortment of boat
issues always lurking. And then there are the weather patterns of the North

The jackal nickname of Armel Cleac'h (FRA) proved most fitting today as he
hunted down the golden boy, race leader Francois Gabart (FRA). At the final
ranking of the day Cleac'h was just two miles behind Gabart and set to pass
him shortly.

Gabart, who has led since the night of the start day on Saturday, has been
forced to bear almost due west as he stalled this afternoon. The furthest
east of the lead group, Gabart finally hit the predicted high pressure
ridge that had led his opponents to burn miles to the west to avoid. Now
Gabart must do the same.

In the starboard reaching conditions, Gabart has been bleeding miles to the
westerly pack, and king of that high lane is 2004-5 Vendee Globe winner
Vincent Riou (FRA) in fifth position. While the forecast shows stronger
winds to the west, it also calls for the direction to clock. Whether Riou
rolls over the group to leeward will depend on... the weather.

With the front pack now past the Canary Islands and approaching Cape Verde
island off the western tip of Africa, who leads the fleet will depend on if
the winds are sufficiently stronger to the west to pull that group forward,
or if the clocking breeze puts the westerly group on the wrong side of the


Top 5 of 20 - Rankings as of Thursday 15 November 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. François Gabart (FRA), Macif: 22834.0 nm Distance to Finish (289.3 nm)
2. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 2.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 8.21 nm DTL
4. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 85.9 nm DTL
5. Vincent Riou (FRA), PRB: 86.0 nm DTL
Full rankings:

DISMASTED: At 1945hrs (French time), on Thursday, November 15th, Samantha
Davies contacted the race office of the Vendee Globe to report that her
boat had dismasted. Davies is not injured. She is safe inside the boat with
all the watertight doors closed. She is monitoring the situation and does
not require assistance. She is wearing her survival suit and has safety
equipment at hand. Winds were 40 knots at the time but are expected to
decrease. Davies is the third boat forced out of the race. --

WHO IS THIS GUY: So what does it take to be the leader of the Vendee Globe,
at the helm of a brand new IMOCA 60 sponsored by a major publically traded
insurance company? It turns out that for Francois Gabart, it all began when
he won the French Optimist Nationals. Joe Cooper reveals the tale of

BACKGROUND: Twenty skippers began the 7th edition of the Vendee Globe, a
solo, non-stop around the world race in the IMOCA Open 60 class. Starting
in Les Sables d'Olonne, France on November 10, the west to east course
passes the three major capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn before
returning to Les Sables d'Olonne. In the 2008-9 edition, Michel Desjoyeaux
(FRA) set a new race record by completing the course in 84 days. --

By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World
"We've already lost one keel in this race, and it's quite possibly not the
only one that's going to go."

So says one of the leading yacht designers for the Vendee Globe, a race
that has been blighted with a disastrous series of keel and mast failures.
Designers involved despair that the class - executive and skippers - has
not listened to their suggestions of a solution and are vulnerable to
repeated failures that risk lives, cost a fortune and are putting off

While the Volvo Ocean Race has had no keel failures in the last three
editions, the Vendee Globe has continued for well over a decade racking up
calamitous breakages and perilous mid-ocean rescues.

Admittedly, the loss of Safran's keel is a special case. It features the
first ever titanium fin, and you can see in photos from Thierry Martinez
that it broke off about a half metre below the axle. This massively
expensive item was specially made by the sponsor, a huge French defence
contractor (not an illustrious showcase of their expertise, it must be

But the point is that Safran's keel failure is the latest in a very long
line of major failures, and few involved are confident that the problems
have been properly tackled.

Why is this class not learning? Why is the Vendee Globe starting again with
such little prospect of the boats being more reliable, or safer, than in
the past?

To understand the scale of the problem, you need only look at the
statistics. Since the 1996/7 race when Thierry Dubois, Tony Bullimore and
Raphael Dinelli were rescued from their upturned boats in the Southern
Ocean with hours to spare, there have been 17 keel failures in the class.

Rig losses, not always so serious, have been even worse. In the last five
years, 20 boats have been dismasted.

The worst part of all this is that designers have been proposing a possible
solution for years, but the class organisation and skippers who make the
rule can't agree among themselves and have simply not taken heed.

Last week I spoke to Xavier Guilbaud and Quentin Lucet from VPLP/Verdier,
the design team responsible for five of the six newest designs in the
fleet. They were clear that, as the class contemplates the possibility of a
move to a one-design, one of the options they favour is for a one-design
fin with different bulb weight options.

"That would allow teams to have different hull shape, ballast and sail
area, and choose how to drive the boat," says Guilbaud. He adds that it
would also help reduce costs.

British designer Merfyn Owen of Owen Clarke Design Group (responsible for
Mike Golding's Gamesa, Dominique Wavre's Mirabaud and Javier Sanso's
Acciona) is outspoken on the subject.

"That [a one-design keel] was my suggestion back in 2008. All the European
designers and Farr, without exception, are in favour of it. Let someone
else design it, no-one cares. We've all swallowed our egos and said it's a
good idea.

"Keel and rig failures are by far the main reasons why people are leaving
the race, but IMOCA are crap, they are just not listening to us. Maybe we
could have sorted this out some years ago, but they have not addressed
these problems. Not one iota, right up to the present." - Read on:

Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include kids and boards, rating rules, Cali kings, over parenting, visual
test, dog-friendly, name game, teamwork and boat picnic. 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:

Hall Spars & Rigging manufactures premier carbon masts, booms and rigging
for sailing yachts of all sizes. In addition to seafaring ventures, Hall
creates aerospace-quality custom carbon components for projects on land and
in the air! Congratulations to the Pegase Project from the University of
Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada on the construction of a human-powered
aircraft. The team chose Hall to supply optimized carbon tubes to help keep
the weight of the aircraft at only 35kg, and introduce students to
fabrication of composite materials. The goal is to cover 200 meters in
flight before December 2012! For photos, visit

What do you get when you mix the beautiful island of Cres in Croatia with
the 2012 International One Meter European Championship? You get a pretty
sweet place to host a radio control regatta. Click here for this week's

Bonus Videos:
* This week on America's Cup Discovered we talk all things AC72. We are
onboard with Emirates Team New Zealand as their impressive preparations are
making news headlines. We have an exclusive interview with Oracle Team
USA's CEO Russell Coutts for an update after last month's catastrophic
capsize. We then catch up with Artemis Racing in advance of their first
sail on their newly launched AC72. Tune in on Saturday November 10 approx
0800 PST 1100 EST:

* The "World on Water" show celebrates the start of the 2012-13 Vendee
Globe Single Handed Round the World Race and checks in with TP52's Niklas
Zennstrom, the China Cup, the ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year and the
sickening crash of the mast slowly falling on a China Cup yacht. Log on to

* This week Chalk Talk goes way in depth for the College Match Race
Nationals in Texas this weekend, reviews a Women's ACC's that ended in a
tiebreaker and checks in with one of the winningest women's sailors of the

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 Bill Canfield, St. Thomas:
I was chatting with a well known international sailor about the mess called
ISAF and he in turn mentioned that on a recent European trip he had been
with a group of his peers, and their unanimous feeling was ISAF no longer
represented the active sailors of today.

He mentioned that the group as a whole were challenging each other to
approach their respective national authorities as they were finally ready
to get involved and make the changes to this stale, old, politically-driven
organization that it desperately needed. I hope this is true.

At this year's ISAF annual meeting, at least one of the new young energetic
future leaders already threw in the towel when he saw the political machine
chew up the presidential candidates and return to the status quo of past

As Steve Pyatt mentioned in Scuttlebutt 3718, one committee un-does what
other committees put in place. ISAF seems to not understand its own
procedures and the sailors lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on votes
traded for political favors.

The Match Racing Event was the same; two cycle guaranteed, political
decisions and investment lost. I really wonder how the IOC puts up with
sailing's incompetence. If it was swimming or gymnastics, there would be
outrage and heads would roll if decisions like the one's ISAF has made
occurred in those sports. Change 40% of your disciplines each 4 years and
leave your athletes in a state of absolute frustration? Only ISAF could
accomplish that.

I'm embarrassed for our sport. How about you?

* From Mark Bergin, Publisher, Boating OZ
If your faith in ISAF was already shaken, it will have crumbled completely
after Saturday night in Ireland when against all good sense, logic and
reason, David Kellett was not voted in as ISAF president. It is very
telling. He was by far the more experienced of the three candidates (check
out the ISAF site for the three bios) and spoke of the need
for change - it should have been his crowning glory, but it appears it was
his downfall - honesty.

Were voters too afraid to rock an already unstable boat? Nevertheless, we
wish Carlo Croce all the best in his new role as president and hope he
'mans' up' to the big task ahead and makes some of those much needed
changes - among them,, transparency. --

* From Arturo Delgado, past President, Spanish Sailing Federation:
On the comments of Adrian Morgan in Scuttlebutt 3720, we definitively need
ISAF in order to coordinate our sport around the world, but I agree with
Adrian that ISAF must change its structure as the organization is becoming
too big and obsolete.

There are too many nonsense Committees and at the end is the Council which
is composed of many ignorant members and others just making or doing
lobbies in their only private interests and not respecting the advice from
the expert Committees. I saw this all firsthand as a past Vice President of

Like other Sports and according with the IOC recommendations, ISAF must
help to improve Continental Federations under its umbrella and to cede (not
transfer) some jurisdiction. It's impossible to control the sailing
activity around the World from just Southampton. There are many easy ways
to do that without destroying ISAF.

Sorry but my lack of English prevents me to extend my comments.

* From Gregory Scott:
While I watch the Boat US video ( in great
sadness, and have empathy for everyone who has lost their cherished vessel,
having run boat yards and dealerships, I can't help but see a few positive
things emerge once every one is properly attended to.

It is evident everyone's marine insurance is going up for sure and that
isn't good. However, anyone who has the slightest clue about boats along
the affected area will have a job for months ahead, winterized and general
handling of vessels.

There will be the qualified repair person who won't see their family much
as the work rolls in - empty space will get rented to become repair sheds
etc. Brokers will be busy as the sales of used boats sitting idle in
brokerage yards and dealerships that will be purchased with insurance
money. Then all the new outboard engine and boat sales could see full
shifts at manufacturing facilities.

Hurricane Sandy could be the biggest boost to a limping marine economy I
have seen. The estimate that over 65,000 recreational boats were damaged or
lost as a result is a big number. Finding enough skilled people to work on
that many boats will be quite a challenge.

Scuttlebutt provides a limited amount of text ad slots in each newsletter,
and we are now taking ad reservations for 2013. Most of these ad slots will
be booked by November 30, so if you are interested in advertising, contact
us for details: 619-299-5678 or

I was always taught to respect my elders. The crowd is thinning.

Southern Spars - Melges Performance Sailboats - North Sails - North U
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