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SCUTTLEBUTT 3723 - Tuesday, November 20, 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: Ultimate Sailing, North Sails, and New England Ropes.

(November 19, 2012; Day 10) - The top six boats in the Vendee Globe entered
the Doldrums today and slowed their southbound descent to a crawl after
making over 15 knots 24 hours ago. "I'm completely stuck and it's been like
that for a while," described Vincent Riou (FRA). "Alex Thomson (GBR) came
from behind. Things are not working the way I'd like them to. He managed to
catch some wind and he's now sailing at 11 knots. I'm at 3!"

The Intertropical Convergence Zone, known better as The Doldrums or le Pot
au noir, as the French say, will be the first test of the skippers routing
skills. The compression in the fleet has been immediate - with the top six
only 64 nm apart - but the first through to the trade winds on the other
side will pull away quickly.

The Doldrums are a lottery with conditions changing by the hour as the
skippers try and jump from cloud to cloud. But the thunderstorms, that are
to be avoided at all costs, can appear as quickly as they disappear. When
the lead group emerges by Tuesday morning, the current gap of 164 nm
between sixth and seventh position could fully blow up to officially turn
this into a six boat race.


Top 6 of 20 - Rankings as of Monday 19 November 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA), Banque Populaire: 21302.3 nm Distance to Finish
2. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac Paprec 3: 32.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. François Gabart (FRA), Macif: 32.9 nm DTL
4. Bernard Stamm (SUI), Cheminees Poujoulat: 41.0 nm DTL
5. Vincent Riou (FRA), PRB: 63.2 nm DTL
6. Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: 64.1 nm DTL
Full rankings:

RETIRED #5: In the night between Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 17-18), a key
part of the keel - the hydraulic jack - broke on Maitre CoQ. Since then,
Jeremie Beyou (FRA) diverted to Cape Verde to seek shelter and a solution
to this major technical issue. However, after determining that no solution
guaranteed Jeremie's safety without receiving outside assistance, he was
forced to retire on Monday (Nov. 19). Beyou's boat is the old Foncia which
Michel Desjoyeaux used to win the last 2008-9 Vendee Globe.

ROLL CALL: The 2008-9 edition of the Vendee Globe saw 19 of the original 30
starters withdraw from the race. As of Monday (Nov. 19), 5 of the 20
starters in this edition have withdrawn. Here is the damage roll call from
both races:

NEW IS NICE: The top five boats in the current ranking are also the newest
boats in the fleet - all launched within the past two years. Four out of
five came from VPLP-Verdier designers, with Bernard Stamm's entry designed
by Juan K. If Alex Thomson cracks the top five, he will do so with his 5+
year old Farr design.

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. --

We're thankful for needle-nose yachts piercing cobalt seas. For dinghy
sailors who shred the course in an explosion of foam. The burst of spray
off the bow, and curl of a wave off the stern. For sailors who hike-out in
colorful gear on gloomy days. Colorful sails. Color anywhere! Tacticians
who time the start so precisely, they line up like Redcoats. And anyone who
goes up the mast underway. For daredevil helicopter pilots, chase boat
drivers who take us out at dawn, and all who've made it possible to create
the spectacular 2013 Ultimate Sailing Calendar: thanks! $22.95 at

Navigating stormy seas by day and night, hundreds of thousands of virtual
skippers are sailing the Vendee Globe while safe and dry at home thanks to
an online version of the round-the-world yacht race.

"Virtual Regatta" has signed up some 300,000 players from around the world
since the 20 real-life skippers set off from Sables d'Olonne in western
France on November 10, on a three-month solo quest for yachting's ultimate

"I've been immersed in it from the word go thanks to the real-time weather
simulator," Philippe Barrier, a cameraman and sailing enthusiast from the
Paris area, told AFP. "You can't feel the spray, but you get a lot of the
same sensations as at sea," said Barrier. "I'm competitive by nature, so
it's amazing to be able to take part in a real race, in real time, with so
many people."

With real-time weather reports, feeding them accurate wind speed and
direction, the players set a course as if they were alongside the real-life
competitors. Latecomers are free to join at any point, tacking on to the
end of the race. And here of course, nobody gets hurt.

"Our goal was to bring yachting to a wider public -- we've achieved that
tenfold!" said Andre, whose firm has since developed versions for other
major races -- the Route du Rhum, or Jacques Vabres.

"I try to spend as little time as possible at the computer -- but to have
good visibility over the coming seven days," said Barrier, who plays mostly
after his baby son is tucked up in bed.

"If I plan things right, then I only have to log on to check my course." He
estimates his daily play time at half a hour -- racing as a "purist"
without add-on options. Weather maps are updated twice a day, at 7:57 am
and pm, for players to tweak their strategy.

For David Houzelot -- codenamed "Dadouteam_1", racing in around 6,000th
position -- the comfort of having satellite navigation, an automatic pilot
for nighttime, and extra choice of sails was well worth paying 20 euros
($25). "Without it's like navigating with a sextant," joked the 43-year-old
businessman, himself a yachtsman.

"The game is about playing with the wind, about thinking ahead, racing hard
but also making friends," he said. "Lots of people play in a team, like a
relay race. You can spend a minute or an hour on it." -- Full story:

With the new one-design boat being developed for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean
Race comes the opportunity to improve the media systems. So what will
differ then from the previous boat, the third generation Volvo Open 70, in
terms of media?

"We got rid of the previous hatch arrangement and in the new design there
will be a coaming cam between the two doorways and under a protective
bubble," explains Rick Deppe, co-ordinator of the Media Crew Member
programme. "That camera will turn and you will be able to get different
angles, with shots of the trimmer or the helmsman.

"We will also have attached cameras around the boat, in the spreaders for
example but also at the bow. We should get some amazing footage of the guys
working on the bow."

Deppe, himself an award winning MCM for PUMA Ocean Racing in 2008-09,
stresses the need for improving the working conditions for these embedded

"The MCM used to work in really bad conditions at times - in some cases
even sustaining injuries such as neck stresses because of poor ergonomics.
Next race they will be able to work at a proper desk, just next to the
navigator. We thought of a small window in the bulkhead separating them
too, so that the MCM can easily interview the navigator.

"They will be able to work wirelessly, moving cameras around with a tablet,
for example. Their work will be more software-based than before. All this
should make the MCM job more efficient and subsequently give even better
results." --

BOOK REVIEW: If you enjoyed following the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, the
book '39270' will allow you to remember it forever. Online information that
was once handy on the race website will soon move to Siberia, so race fans
are encouraged to secure a copy of this book for their race library. If you
are looking for an insider story about the race, this isn't the book. But
if you want to keep the facts and images fresh in your memory, '39270'
(named after the course distance) fills the need. Available on Amazon:

For youth competitors under the age of 19, there is no bigger mountain than
the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. In 2012 there were 63 countries
that sent 255 entrants to compete in Dublin, Ireland amid the eight events.

Planning for the 2013 Youth Worlds is underway, with the championship
provisionally scheduled for July 11-20 in Limassol, Cyprus. The
events/equipment to be contested are:

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - International 420
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - International 420
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X (8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin)
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X (8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin)
Open Multihull - Sirena SL16
Open High Performance Dinghy -29er

The US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Committee recently announced details on
its qualifier regatta, which will take place January 18-21, 2013 in
Clearwater, Florida. All eight events will be contested, but what is unique
for 2013 is a partnership forged between the U.S. and Canada to improve the

"Our teams have a very friendly relationship, and we like to work together
and help each other out when we can," explained Josh Adams, Managing
Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing Program. "By extending the invitation to
Canadian youth sailors to compete in the RS:X, 29er and Formula 16 classes,
it gives both American and Canadian sailors an opportunity to sail in a
larger fleet and gain that much more experience in advance of the Youth

The U.S. will host the qualifier for only their candidates in the One
Person and Two Person Dinghy events. Full details here:

With the winter months upon us, now is a great time to take your sail(s)
into your local North Sails loft (regardless of the sail brand) to have
them washed and inspected before next season. North Sails' certified sail
care experts recommend washing sails at least once per year to ensure
maximum sail life. Instead of tumble washing, we will soak your sail in a
proprietary solution giving you a cleaner, longer-lasting sail. For
additional sail care tips and to find the North Sails sail care location
closest to you, log on to:

Indian Lt Cdr Abhilash Tomy set out on November 1, 2012 with the intention
of carrying out a solo non-stop circumnavigation. The project, called
"SagarParikrama 2", is completely funded by the Indian Navy, and is being
carried out with the intention of spreading greater awareness among the
youth and the people in general of the country about the oceans and ocean

"The offshore sailing scene in India has been almost nonexistent until
Commander Dilip Donde undertook a solo circumnavigation of the globe in
2009-10," explained Tomy. "He did so with four stops and when he completed
the voyage, he became the first Indian and 175th person in the world to do

"I set out on the same boat (the 56-foot Mhadei), and have crossed the
Equator on November 16 at 080E and am on my way south. Anyone who wants to
follow the voyage may do so through these links":

YouTube Channel: sagarapaikrama2
Twitter: @abhilashtomy

MORE: Chinese sailor Guo Chuan set out on Nov 18 from Qingdao for a solo,
non-stop sail around the globe. The 47-year-old Guo, the first Chinese
sailor to have taken part in the Clipper Round the World (2006) and the
first Chinese to complete the Volvo Ocean Race (2008-2009), hopes to
complete the route in 130 days in a Class 40. After departing from China,
Guo will take the eastward course across the Pacific Ocean toward Cape
Horn, then cross the Atlantic Ocean, round the southern tip of Africa into
the Indian Ocean before passing through the Indonesian islands to return to
Qingdao. -- Full report:

Kiwis are looking comfortable in their AC72,
And the Italians are now making progress too.
The Swedes have finally begun collecting sailing days,
But the Americans remain in their purple haze.

For the defender of the America's Cup, the littered remains of their AC72 -
a result of an October 16 capsize - was not what Oracle Team USA had
planned for this stage of their defense. After only eight sailing days on
their AC72, they are now forced to sit and watch the challengers prepare to
spoil their party.

"Purple haze all around. Don't know if I'm comin' up or down. Am I happy or
in misery? Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me. Help me help me." -
Jimi Hendrix

Here are more recent quotes from the crowd...

"I think the boat has to be a challenge. It needs to have all the
horsepower and risk. If you can only race to the top of first gear, it's
boring. You need to be pushed." - Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA skipper

"Everyone wants the fastest boat. But you can't win the race unless you
finish." - Richard Spindler, founder and publisher of Latitude 38.

"We (AC72 design) would have been better off with a small wing." - Paul
Cayard, Artemis Racing CEO.

"If nobody takes risks there will be no progress. That's what's kept this
game alive for 100-and-some-odd years." - Dirk Kramers, Oracle Team USA
chief engineer.

Quote source:

MORE: Scuttlebutt associate Michelle Slade has been partnering with Sailing
World magazine on America's Cup reports. In her recent interview with crew
member Brad Webb from Oracle Team USA, he provides a damage update
following their capsize on October 16:

"We won't reconstruct the first wing at this point; all our effort is going
into wing 2. Most of those elements are under construction in Auckland and
the plan is to have that here in January, so we'll have wing 2 on boat 1.
Boat 2 is humming along with the same amount of manpower going into that.
Its schedule is as it was with a plan to launch sometime March or April.
The team's a long way into engineering wing 3. Most of the elements are
done in NZ but construction of it takes place here obviously because
they're big to move. But, we are a wing down, which is a disadvantage."

Complete interview:

* Over 750 young sailors will be descending on South Florida for the 2012
Orange Bowl held at the Coral Reef Yacht Club. New England Ropes again is a
proud sponsor of this annual event, continuing to support youth events
around the US to encourage participation and grow the sport of sailing.

* In January, New England Ropes again will sponsor and be onsite at
Premiere Racing's Quantum Key West 2013! They will have onsite support with
key partners West Marine Rigging, Florida Rigging & Hydraulics, Annapolis
Rigging and Sail 22. Stop by any of their partners and see what is new for

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 Sandberg:
The article (in Scuttlebutt 3722) by the editor of Sailing Sponsorship is
so naive it defies imagination. If it were true (titled, Is Sponsorship
Killing Sailing?), regatta organizers would be beating off sponsors with a
stick, and the US Sailing team would be fully funded and then some. As
someone who has been on every side of sponsorship, I can tell you it just
isn't true.

Sailing is lacking one main ingredient sponsors demand -- demographic
information on participants and race followers. It doesn't exist. You can't
simply say "all sailors are rich." For one thing it isn't true. In addition
many events have little to offer a sponsor, including such a basic thing as
publicity beyond the local newspaper (if that).

Sponsorship is now a necessity if you want a major successful event. They
cost a lot of money, and the participants will not pay an increased entry
fee. Is sponsorship killing the sport? I would say it is keeping it alive.

* From J. Joseph Bainton:
In response to Paul Henderson (Scuttlebutt 3722), it is interesting to note
that the passage of time has neither changed Paul Henderson's distain of
ordinary -- particularly American -- competitors nor his unique command of
the Queen's English. I wonder how he would explain to his hypothetical
Martian the absence of any keel boat class from 2016 Olympic competition.

* From John McNeill:
As convenient as it may be to flog ISAF for a litany of errors and
omissions, it is important to note that they are, by design, our conduit to
the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has absolutely NO
interest in dealing with the horde of myopic fleets, teams and national
authorities in our rather fragmented sport!

Like it or not, we are stuck with a body which has the unenviable task of
trying to bring hundreds of vested interest parties to some degree of
consensus, then take what they may have gleaned out of that process and
create a proposal to negotiate with IOC that they might actually accept. Of
course that suggests that the solution must be inexpensive, actively
inclusional, and media-friendly (read as $$). All this is concocted in a
system in which decisions are carefully engineered to not be attributed to
any individual.

ISAF is our messenger for sailing, like it or not. It just might make sense
to strive toward how to cooperate together to get the very best out of the
system. I suspect all the carping about, "It isn't fair" isn't going to
change much.

Bravo to Presidente Croce for exposing his family's long and revered
generations of devotion to sailing to the stresses of this post. I hope
that all (or at least most) of us will remember that volunteering history
of support when preparing to throw rocks.

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