Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 3666 - Thursday, August 30, 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: Melges Performance Sailboats and Ullman Sails.

It hit us like a sledge hammer during the 2008 Olympics. As favorites for
the 470 Men's gold medal, Aussies Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page announced
the naming of their 470. And then the Internet blew up.

Apparently, Wilmot and Page name all their boats after Academy Award
winning actor Nicole Kidman's films. When they named their Olympic boat
Dead Calm, it drew a response from Kidman, and this connection of celebrity
and sailing led to more stories about sailing in non-sailing publications
than we had ever seen before. Cross promotion had arrived.

Fast forward to now, the AC World Series last week got a giant gift when
Olympic gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson fell off the back of Oracle
Team USA's AC45 during a race. News of this splash instantly flooded
countless non-sailing websites. And Red Bull's sponsorship of the American
team is proving to expose the America's Cup "brand" to its action sports

American professional snowboarder Travis Rice, who managed to stay onboard
the American boat during a race last week, spoke to ESPN about the
experience. Here are a few excerpts that he shared with this non-sailing

"I've always been a little wonderstruck by the act of sailing and the
adventure that comes with it. You travel completely sustained by trade
winds. It's pretty insane, if you think about it. I mean, look at all the
ways we get around on land. It used to be horses, and you could go
anywhere. Once our culture came away from horses and paved roads all over
the planet, then we became limited to roads."

"We're living in a world where it's hard to do dumb s---. What's amazing to
me about sailing is how boundless it is. You're not protected by this
safety net of stoplights and safety features. You're truly at the mercy of
your own decisions, and if you're an idiot you're going to get smacked."

"This new style of sailing is amazing. It's like F1 racing. I think it's
really going to change the demographic, to take it from this frumpy old
man's sport to something that people are way more interested in watching.
They're basically turning it into an "action sport," because new boats go
over 30 knots. I mean they haul ass, and they flip all the time."

Complete story:

CONCERN: After the hangover healed from the excitement of the AC World
Series last week in San Francisco, the sobering reality of the America's
Cup challenger series looms large. With only four challengers, which may be
reduced to three teams if Korea can't find additional funding, will there
be sufficient fan interest to financially support the 44-day Louis Vuitton
Cup? "I guess it's going to be intriguing to see how much the (fan)
following is on these boats," regatta director Iain Murray said. "If one
boat is dominating, it's probably going to be tough." Read more:

Lawrie Yearsley of St. Paul, Minnesota asks: "I own a 1973 C&C 30. It came
with a staysail, which I have never flown. We typically use a mainsail, jib
and spinnaker. We race frequently, and I am wondering if the boat would be
faster with the staysail on. The sail looks pretty old and grungy, but is
usable, and I have noticed them being flown on the large Volvo 70s. Is
there any advantage to me using one on my boat?"

Win Fowler (Maine Sailing Partners) Replies: "There are many flavors of
staysail, and probably the most useful ones for increasing speed every now
and then are those you see on the Volvo 70s you mention - lightweight sails
with a full hoist, high clew and vertical leech. These work best at
apparent wind angles close to a beam reach. On a broad reach or run, they
are mostly eclipsed by the mainsail, and on a tight reach there is not much
room for them in the slot between a spinnaker and mainsail. A planing boat
like a V70 is more likely to sail in the staysail's apparent wind range
than a boat like yours, but that doesn't mean you'll never find it useful.
The ideal place to tack the sail is 60 to 70 percent of the distance from
the mast to the spinnaker tack."

Source: SAIL,

This is the time of year to freshen up your sailing program. Especially
with the Melges 32, Melges 24 and Audi Melges 20 Winter Series coming up.
Whether you want a Melges Sportboat or you want a Melges Performance Scow
you can save big during our Fall Savings. Included in this Fall Savings
Campaign is the Melges 29er. New boats are being produced now! Race to for further details.

By Zach Brown, Airwaves
It's an exciting time to be involved in high school and college sailing.
Even in the face of an economic downturn, new programs are popping up all
over the country. Teams are receiving more support from their Universities
in the form of money or varsity status. And the governing body of ICSA has
been progressive, introducing new changes over the last years.
LaserPerformance is adding to the improvement of college sailing with the
introduction of the Collegiate 420.

Over the last ten years there has been plenty of discussion about the
creation of a modern collegiate boat. The debate has always been between
performance and durability with the price tag serving as the moderator.
Modern boat building technology combined with an increased focus on
advancing collegiate sailing has given LaserPerformance the ability to
improve the Club 420's speed and strength without raising the cost.

History Lesson
Born in France in 1959, the 420 first gained traction as a development boat
for the 470. It grew in popularity over the 60's and made its way to the
shores of the US. Yale was the first University to create a sailing club,
and also the first to order a modified version of the 420 in 1977 from
Vanguard. Yale's Club 420 was thicker and stronger, preventing cracking of
its rails when it bumped into a dock or another boat.

The evolution of the 420 to Club 420 was motivated by the need to lower
costs and minimize boat repairs. Although fixing boats taught students
valuable lessons about handiwork, boat care, and responsibility, the
materials and equipment were expensive. The tradeoff between spending time
on boat repair or time on the water drove college programs to request more
durable boats. Breakdowns and byes were a common issue that plagued college
sailing until the Club 420 evolved into the sturdy but heavy pigs sailed
today. -- Read on:

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:
* R&W Rope Hires Marine Sales Manager
* Travel Group Launches Sailing Team & Regatta Logistics division
* Latitude 46: A Tofinou boat in Nantucket
View updates here:

* San Diego, CA (August 29, 2012) - Sunken debris from the 37-foot Hunter
376 Aegean has been found. Theo Mavromatis, owner and skipper of Aegean,
and his crew of three perished on April 28 while participating in the
125-mile Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. The debris discovery,
conducted during dives by Russell Moore of Xplore Offshore and off duty
lifeguard Ed Harris, was located at Mexico's Coronado Islands, the site
where it was suspected Aegean had collided. Photo and video evidence of the
debris, which includes the motor, keel, and spars, has been submitted to
the U.S. Coast Guard. --

* Gimli, Manitoba (August 29, 2012) - Day one of racing at the Craig & Ross
CYA Youth National Championships got off to a great start today with the
sun shining and winds between 8 and 12 knots on three courses. The Charlie
Course played host to the BIC Techno 293 for 3 races, and the 29er's who
completed 4 races. Racing on the Bravo Course were the 420 and 4.7 fleets
completing 3 races each and furthest from shore, on the Alpha course the
Laser and Laser Radial fleets put in four races apiece. -- Full report:

* (August 29, 2012) - New Orleans appeared to have avoided major damage
when Hurricane Isaac came onshore Wednesday, but the city was littered with
fallen trees and power lines, and 200,000 residents were without power. By
afternoon, the National Weather Service downgraded the system to a tropical
storm, but cautioned that significant damage can still occur. Plaquemines
Parish to the south took the brunt of the storm. has created
a dedicated Isaac tracking page as a public service, providing free access
to their subscriber data which comes from their weather stations positioned
in the path of the storm:

* America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA is seeking to launch their first
AC72 this week and has tentatively scheduled the first sail on Friday,
August 31. The hulls were constructed at the team's base in San Francisco
(Pier 80, with the cross beams, wingsail, appendages (rudders and
daggerboards) and other key structures made in New Zealand by Core Builders
Composites. Prior to sailing, a myriad of mechanical, electrical, and
hydraulic systems that control the steering, wing and sails must be tested
and approved. The inaugural outing is contingent on the fulfillment of
checks and appropriate weather. --

* St. Moritz, Switzerland (August 29, 2012) - Laurie Jury (NZL) made an
early statement on day one of the St. Moritz Match Race, going undefeated
for five wins in shifty winds on Lake St. Moritz. Also posting no losses at
the fifth stop of the eight event World Match Racing Tour was Johnie
Berntsson (SWE). Twelve teams are competing in the Blu26 One Design. --
Full report:

Helen K. Ingerson, recipient of U.S. Sailing's most prestigious award, the
Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy, passed away on August 25th, 2012. Her late
husband, Joseph P. Ingerson, introduced her to his love of sailing and,
next to him, it became her greatest passion in life.

Helen was an active member and officer of Rochester Yacht Club, and with
Joe, initiated the Platinum Point Yacht Club in Punta Gorda, FL, where she
served as Commodore. Helen was known world-wide for her commitment and
dedication to the sport of sailing. She was a competitor, a Senior Race
Officer and Judge for US Sailing, an International Sailing Federation Judge
and a leader of other sailing organizations including the Great Lakes Yacht
Racing Association.

Helen was highly recognized as a pioneer for women in sailing, running
racing clinics for women, and being at the forefront at the inception of
women's events such as the International Women's Keelboat Championship, the
Women's Open and the Adams Cup at the national level. In 1996, she was
awarded U.S. Sailing's most prestigious award, the Nathanael G. Herreshoff
Trophy, for her outstanding contribution to the sport of sailing. She has
earned her place in sailing history. -- Complete obituary:

It's been a summer of one design titles for Ullman Sails customers! Jon
Thompson and Willie Tippet kicked off the season, claiming the Cal 20
Canadian National title in June. Mark and Bruce Golison quickly followed
suit on their Cal 20 "Bandini Mountain," winning the U.S. Nationals in Long
Beach. Jerry Thompson and Mandi Smith were crowned the Lido 14 Class
Champions last month in Anacortes, WA. And across the pond, Jack Fenwick
and John McLaren recently placed 1,2 respectively at the Seascape UK
Nationals! All teams competed with the red and blue. Well done!
Invest in your performance.

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 Eric Steinberg, America's Cup Race Management:
In Scuttlebutt 3665, Olof Hult suggested an improvement for the AC World
Series would be a means for the spectators to hear what the broadcast
commentators are saying. I have good news, as the TV commentary can be
heard on marine VHF channel 20 for all races that are broadcast. This was
tested in Newport, and seemed to work well on Thursday through Sunday in
San Francisco. Please pass this on to anyone with a marine VHF.

* From Jeremy McGeary, Farnham VA:
Thank you, Ted Jones, for that wonderful tribute to Alan Gurney
(Scuttlebutt 3665). Alan would never have known it but he was a big
inspiration to me. For two years I ran Humphrey Simson's 1972 Kittiwake, a
brilliant design, and my faith in her was total after we came through
Hurricane Gilda on the way to Bermuda in 1973.

When I left her in 1975, I asked Alan if I could visit him in his office to
discuss "improvements" he could have made to Kittiwake. He gracefully took
me in and we went over some of her plans, where I saw that some of my
"improvements" would not have been necessary had the builders not made
their own "adjustments" to the original design. Our meeting was brief, but
I came away from it with his reassurance that if I wanted to be a yacht
designer, all I had to do was work hard at it, and not expect riches to

To this day, I still have fond memories of those days on Kittiwake, and of
the years I spent designing yachts (I dropped out when pixels replaced
ink). On my bookshelf, I have "Compass", which is only appropriate, since
Alan Gurney helped me set mine.

* From Donald Street:
In Alan's early career in the states, he had problems designing interior
accommodations. He was short, about 5'6" (the English in those days were
short), and his interiors and bunks were designed for 5'8 or 5'10" English
men... not 6'2" Americans! Hump Simson's first boat was designed as above,
but for his second boat (Kittywake), Hump insisted all bunks be 6' 6" long
with plenty of headroom and a BIG head.

* From Bill Wheary:
Regarding Ken Legler's (Scuttlebutt 3664), the Curmudgeon's and others'
advocacy of including non-windward/leeward courses in the racing schedule,
the Round the Lights Race in Southeastern Virginia is a wonderful example
of a "different" race that has become very popular among big boat racers.

The race starts in a creek near the entrance into Hampton Roads from the
Chesapeake Bay. Upon exiting the creek, approximately 5 miles to port in
the Bay is Thimble Shoals Light and about the same distance to starboard in
Hampton Roads is Middle Ground Light. The currents in the Bay and the Roads
change at different times and in both of these wide bodies of water the
currents flow in a variety of directions and strengths. Naturally, the wind
5 miles out in the Bay and nearer to the Atlantic are likely to differ
considerably from winds in Hampton Roads in direction, strength and time of

The race is a pursuit start (spread out over more than an hour and a half)
and the course takes the boats first around one lighthouse, then the other
and back to the start/finish line. Now here's the good part - the boats may
sail the course in either direction (as well as leave either lighthouse to
port or starboard). The conditions challenge even the best navigators and
it is not unusual to see the fleet fairly evenly divided between those who
first head out into the Bay and those who head in the opposite direction.
-- Read on:

* From George Wheeler:
Occasionally deviating from the 'perfect' windward-leeward course for day
races, as Ken Legler suggests (in Scuttlebutt3664) tests a crew in far more
ways, and as a result, is far more interesting for the crew. What will be
our wind angle? What sails should we use? What will be the fastest course?
And if your course is near land, that adds a myriad of questions too. If
regatta organizers don't start shuffling the deck on race course selection,
we are going to be 'perfecting' ourselves into extinction.

* From Paul Warren Redington Beach, FL:
Regarding Peter Swanson's inquiry in Scuttlebutt 3663, as a US Sailing
certified basic sailing & cruising sailing instructor, I definitely try to
teach my students the sailing and seamanship skills they need to have full
confidence on the water.

Among the things I specifically try to focus on: sailing away from/into the
dock/slip; at least a half-dozen knots beyond a square knot, clove hitch
and bowline, and when/how to use them; close-quarters maneuvering (my
quote: "You're only close if you hit!"); keeping a "weather eye"; and,
heavy weather sailing + emergencies-at-sea, to name just a few.

Obviously, every sailor is on a lifetime journey of learning: new sailing
conditions, different boats, unfamiliar harbors, crew teamwork or not. I
see my job as a sailing instructor as entailing three elements:
1) share my passion for sailing and the adventures it brings;
2) build as much competency for a student as I can during my (usually)
short period of instruction; and,
3) instill a sense of responsibility for each skipper and/or crew: they're
always responsible for the safe operation of the boat and the crew -- a
successful cruise/race is when the boat comes back intact and the crew
returns with the same number of fingers and toes they left the dock with.

Most of all, I like to think that I teach my students to have FUN on the
water. Many of them have gone on to long sailing careers of their own,
along with boat ownership in many cases.

No, Peter ... electronics, engines, air-conditioning, gen-sets are all
amenities that, in my opinion, should be "earned" by learning and
appreciating the basics of sailing.

For the record, I've taught over 1,000 people either basic sailing or
advanced racing/cruising during instructor stints at Offshore Sailing
School, Annapolis Sailing School and the sailing/racing program at the US
Naval Academy.

Posting your event information on the free, self-serve Scuttlebutt Event
Calendar tool is the easiest way to communicate to both sailors and sailing
media. But don't stop there... send us your race reports too. Here are some
of the upcoming events listed on the calendar:
Aug 29 - Sept 2 - Knickerbocker Cup - Port Washington, NY, USA
Aug 31 - Vineyard Race - Stamford, CT, USA
Sept 1-2 - Bronte Rocks - Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Sept 6-9 - Beneteau First 36.7 North Americans - Cleveland, OH, USA
Sept 6-9 - Viper 640 North Americans - Marblehead, MA, USA
View all the events at

Inspiration and perspiration are related by more than rhyme.

Samson Rope - Dieball Sailing - Gowrie Group - North Sails
KO Sailing - Summit Yachts - US Sailing - Allen Insurance and Financial
Melges Performance Sailboats - Ullman Sails - Doyle Sails - Pure Yachting

Need stuff? Look here: