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SCUTTLEBUTT 3550 - Monday, March 19, 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: Kaenon Polarized and Quantum Sails.

British 4-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie has officially been cleared to
compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. On March 16th, the International Sailing
Federation (ISAF) announced they would not impose further sanctions on
Ainslie stemming from an incident that occurred at the 2011 ISAF Sailing
World Championships.

Ainslie had been disqualified from two races in the Finn event after a
confrontation with a media boat cameraman on December 10th. Following the
incident, a report was sent per RRS 69.1(b)(2)(c) to the national authority
of the competitor (Great Britain), the host country of the event
(Australia), and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

Any one of these three bodies could have suspended Ainslie's eligibility to
compete in events leading up to, and including, the Olympic Games.

On February 10th, Great Britain announced they would not impose any
additional penalty. Less than a week later, Australia took a similar
position, stating that any further penalty should now be considered and
determined by ISAF. Here is the announcement that was provided by ISAF...
The ISAF Executive Committee has met to consider the reports from the
International Jury of the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships and
the RYA Tribunal. The role of ISAF under Racing Rule of Sailing 69.2(a) is
to first determine whether or not it is appropriate to conduct a further
hearing into the reports received.

The Executive Committee has reviewed the decisions of the International
Jury and the RYA Tribunal, the video evidence of the incident, other
relevant documentation from Perth and has taken legal advice. Mr Ainslie
was asked to comment and did so.

The Executive Committee supports the decision and the report of the
International Jury and the report of the RYA Tribunal that found that Mr
Ainslie committed Gross Misconduct and believes that the penalties imposed
to date are appropriate. Accordingly, ISAF does not regard it as
appropriate to conduct a further hearing into the incident and no further
action will therefore be taken.

The issue of Media Boats is a separate matter from the decision issued
today. The ISAF Media policies were clear and the issue of adherence will
be considered separately.
Ainslie is Britain's most successful Olympic sailor with three gold medals
and one Silver. If he were to medal at the 2012 Games, Ainslie would join
Torben Grael (BRA) as holding the most sailing medals with five. If Ben
were to win, he would equal that of Paul Elvstrom (DEN) who won four
consecutive Olympics. In short, Ben would become the greatest sailing
Olympian ever.

Full report:

The 34th America's Cup seeks to combine its history with extreme action
when the challenger series begins next summer on San Francisco. But how
extreme is extreme?

When the first AC72s get launched this July, we will finally see how
extreme this 161 year old event has become. But the latest performance
predictions reveal that these boats, when sailed on the notoriously windy
SF Bay, could be dangerously extreme.

Monitoring and managing risk is a common thread as other sports push the
envelope, but with so little history, danger lurks closer than ever.
To the pulsing beat of blaring music, hard-edged athletes will push the
limits before a pumped-up throng of 100,000 screaming extreme-sport
devotees at this weekend's Crashed Ice competition in Quebec City.

The sport, a combination of hockey and downhill skiing on an obstacle
course, sees groups of skaters racing at 60 kilometres an hour through the
city's streets.

Crashed Ice, heavily promoted by Red Bull, is just one of many new extreme
sporting events that advertisers and broadcasters are latching onto to
reach new audiences.

However, the recent deaths of Canadian skiers Sarah Burke and Nick Zoricic,
both participants in extreme-skiing events, call into question the delicate
balance between an athlete's desire to push boundaries and the need to keep
them safe.

Skiing is not the only sport dealing with high danger to its stars.
Auto-racing, mixed martial arts and professional hockey all have dealt -
and continue to deal - with these issues.

"As an organization, we feel the pressure," said Kelley Korbin, spokeswoman
for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, the body that oversees Canada's
skiers in superpipe - the event for which Burke was training when she
crashed on Jan. 10 in Park City, Utah and later died.

"These sports are progressing so fast that we can't tell you what a winning
run is going to look like at the Olympics two years from now," Korbin said.
"What we want to do is provide a safe environment for them to try and do
those things. But obviously, these sports are risky, that is part of what
makes them so exciting and fun."

World Cup downhill skier Ed Podivinsky, who spent more than a decade racing
at speeds of more than 100 km/h, notes an often-overlooked difference.

"You have to separate the newer sports from the traditional sports," said
Podivinsky. "In my sport, we had 70 years of history on some of those
tracks and you pretty well know how things turn out at that high level."

Today, extreme sports are still in their infancy and, as in the case of
Burke and Zoricic, who died March 10 after slamming into safety netting
during a run in Grindelwald, Switzerland, there are obvious growing pains.

Read more:

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If Emirates Team New Zealand win the next America's Cup, they will dump the
AC72s and take a clean-sheet approach to selecting the design and size of
boats for the 35th Cup, according to team boss Grant Dalton.

Dalton has made no secret of the fact that he considers the current AC72
class too big and too expensive, noting that building an AC72 soaks up
65,000 manhours, compared with 20,000 for a Version Five monohull.

"It would be nice to be in a position where we have to decide the next
boat," he said in a question and answer session at the Royal New Zealand
Yacht Squadron.

While being careful not to get ahead of himself in the sense of predicting
a Cup win in San Francisco, Dalton said: "The AC72s are too big and too
expensive. These are the wrong boats. It might have been a great idea, but
it is a folly really."

He noted that the Cup community was not rushing to participate, suggesting
that the extreme nature of the boats might have scared teams away. "There
are three billionaire teams and us," he said.

"If we won, we would start again with a clean sheet approach and make new
decisions," he said. He noted that this would be something to discuss with
the Challenger of Record, which, if ETNZ managed to win, would be Luna
Rossa. -- Read on:

The port of Auckland proved to be little more than a pitstop for the six
Volvo Ocean Race teams this past week. After their arrival last weekend
from China, it was all each team could do to prepare for their return to
racing this weekend...

(March 17, 2012) - Local heroes CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand
clinched a dream victory on Saturday, winning the Auckland In-Port Race in
front of tens of thousands of ecstatic fans to reinvigorate their Volvo
Ocean Race campaign. CAMPER, the Spanish sponsored team who count Auckland
as one of their two homeports, earned the advantage with a tack right to
the shoreline off the start and once in front never let go, keeping a
comfortable lead all the way home on the 60-minute course. PUMA Ocean
Racing powered by BERG finished second, just 54 seconds behind, followed by
Groupama sailing team in the third podium spot. -- Full story:

(March 18, 2012) - A decidedly heinous forecast loomed for the start of the
6,705 nm Leg 5 to Itajai, Brazil as crews would be quick to get into the
challenge of the Southern Oceans.

"The first thirty-six hours will doubtless be the hardest part of this leg
with a great deal of headwind, current and big seas," said Groupama skipper
Franck Cammas. "We can expect wind up to 50 knots and the accompanying
seas. Over the duration of the leg, we're going to have some windy
conditions, but in principle it'll be downwind."

The conditions took its first casualty after five and a half hours of
racing when Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing made the decision to return to Auckland
when a bulkhead in the bow which secures the heavy weather J4 headsail had
ripped clean out.

"I don't think it was a structural threat to the boat, but it would have
been a big repair to get the bulkhead back in and take the load of the J4
which is a sail we're probably going to use 80 per cent of the time in the
Southern Ocean," skipper Ian Walker said. The team was 40 miles from
Auckland at the time, and hopes to resume racing within the next 24 hours.

Following their departure from New Zealand, the fleet extended upwind to
the north east on starboard to escape the worst of the massive low-pressure
system and pick up northerly winds on the eastern section of the storm.
Telefonica took the lead when they were the first to tack to port, and are
now the low boat as the fleet heads in an ESE direction toward Cape Horn.
-- Full story:

Leg 5 should take approximately two and a half weeks, with the leader
estimated to finish by April 4th.

Leg 5 - Auckland, NZL to Itajai, Brazil (6,705 nm)
Standings as of Sunday, 18 March 2012, 22:01:39 UTC
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 6543.7 nm Distance to Finish
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 5.4 nm Distancer to Lead
3. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 16.4 nm DTL
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 16.4 nm DTL
5. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 22.2 nm DTL
6. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), Suspended Racing

Video reports:

GROUPAMA: Groupama's chief executive Thierry Martel announced 15 March that
the company is to pull out of all sailing and football sponsorship.
Groupama's sponsorship of Franck Cammas' team was originally intended to
include the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race but will now run until the end of this
race. -- Yachting World, full story:

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 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. -

Events listed at

* Long Beach, CA (March 18, 2012) - The final stop of the three event
California Dreamin' Series met with too much wind for the Butler Cup, an
ISAF Grade 3 match race hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. With a severe
storm watch in effect and high winds, no races were able to be run. Nicole
Breault of St. Francis Yacht Club was declared the winner of the series
based on accumulated points. The first place earned an invitation to next
week's Grade 2 Ficker Cup, March 22-24, a gateway event to the Grade 1
Congressional Cup, March 25-31. -- Full story:

* Brisbane, Australia (March 17, 2012) - After three races were conducted
on Friday to help get caught up after Thursday was abandoned, three more
races were held today for the 233 sailors from 19 nations to conclude the
Laser World Masters Championships 2012. Laser Standard Apprentice leader
Chilean sailor Matias Del Solar won all three races to win the title, which
he hopes to expand on when he competes this summer at the London Olympics.
Standard Grand Master Wolfgang Gertz won his third Laser Masters title
after wins in 2009 and 2010. Tracey Usher (USA) finished second in the
division, and was top North American for the event. -- Full report:

* (March 15, 2012) - This week, after struggling somewhat at the St. Mary's
Team Race, Yale and Roger Williams have dropped in the Sail1Design College
Sailing Team Race Rankings, making way for big jumpers Georgetown and
Boston College who top out the list in first and second. Stanford remains
consistently ranked third, with Charleston moving up one place to fourth.
In general, the same ICSA powerhouses remain on the list, slightly shuffled
from the last rankings. Strong performances by Connecticut College and URI
earn them new spots in the rankings as well. -- Full list:

* (March 16, 2012) - The Alpari World Match Racing Tour today announces
that Chief Executive Officer Jim O'Toole will not be renewing his fixed
term contract with the Tour and after discussions with the Board of
Directors it has been agreed that he will part company with the Tour with
immediate effect. -- Read on:

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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 BJ Jones:
Concerning the comment from Andy Zimbaldi in Scuttlebutt 3549 about aging
of yacht club membership, we made an attempt at Lake Norman Yacht Club
several years ago to address this by drastically lowering the membership
costs for younger prospective members. We are a lake YC on Lake Norman,
just north of Charlotte, NC and are probably no different from many clubs
trying to deal with an aging membership.

Previously we had an under 30 membership dues and initiation price and an
over 30 price that were different, but not by much. We had maybe one or two
under 30's in 5 years join. We then totally revamped our dues and
initiation structure for the under 30's to make it much easier and enticing
to join.

For a member just out of college, we made the dues $125 and initiation the
same. The structure was then adjusted upwards each year by a bit until it
got to where at 29, it was the same as before. Our reasoning was that we
weren't getting any young members anyway, and we wanted them in the future
so it wasn't really costing us anything to have them join now.

We definitely have more under 30's join than we did before and they are
actively involved.

* From Ken Bertino:
Steve Gregory's comments (in Scuttlebutt 3549) hit a chord with me. The
amateur sailor and owner are taking this all a little too seriously.

I have, as have many others who've sailed with pro sailors. And while it is
good, it is not always fun but we learn from it. We learn from the
experience, but do we grow the sport because of it? Or do we take that
approach onto the next boat we sail on with all amateur sailors and demand
too much from the owner and crew? I am not trying to cast aspersions but
ask, is this a part of the problem when it comes to racing?

The other issues about clubs, access, costs have been around for many,
many, many years. Yachts clubs have their place and in my opinion are a
good tradition for our sport. Public sailing is more available now than
ever. And yes, boat ownership is expensive?

* From Glenn Selvin:
Regarding the Australian survey that cites the cost of sailing (in
Scuttlebutt 3548), a close friend just spent a whopping $1300 on a Lido 14,
and he can't wait for summer races to start! For bang for the buck, $1300
is a steal, and certainly isn't exclusive.

I, on the other hand sail a Finn, and yes, $10,000 is pretty stupid for a
15' boat. Indeed, the price of the boat is keeping people from sailing

But the best answer to people who think sailing is too expensive? Show them
a picture of a small boat like a Lido, Sunfish, Laser, or even a Cal 20!
And the old Ericksons, Islanders, Cals? A bargain!

* From Rob McNeal:
I live in Bayshore Gardens, Florida, which is a small canal community with
a neighborhood not-for-profit marina (no facilities - only slips). The
marina was intended for residents only, but due to the economy and a lack
of slip holders, it's open to anyone at this time.

Many of us who sail (and have powerboats) belong to the 52 year old
Bayshore Gardens YC. This club is a relatively informal group averaging
anywhere from 30 to 60 members a year, most of whom don't even have a boat.
Our yearly dues are under $20. And we do struggle for membership.

When I talk to people about the fun we have and possibly joining us, I am
careful to no longer lead with the phrase "Yacht Club". I have visibly seen
the negative reaction when I use that phrase, which means I then have to
try to explain how our little YC is not what they perceive a YC to be -
specifically elitist and expensive.

No survey could be clearer to me. There is certainly a place for the formal
YC to be - but there aren't many places for those that cannot afford it and
want to be much less formal about it and still have a sailing experience.

We are lucky to also have the Sarasota Sailing Squadron in this area (which
BTW has a tremendous kids sailing program). I suspect the choice long ago
to use "Sailing Squadron" as opposed to "Yacht Club" may have been
intentional there too.

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