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SCUTTLEBUTT 3534 - Friday, February 24, 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: IYRS and Southern Spars.

San Francisco, Calif., (February 23, 2012) - A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee on Wednesday sent an agreement between city officials and organizers of the America's Cup sailing race to the full board for consideration.

The board's budget and finance committee voted 2-1 to move forward the agreement, under which race organizers would rebuild aging piers in exchange for the rights to develop waterfront property in the city. The board will vote on the agreement Tuesday.

Race organizers announced at Wednesday's committee hearing that they would no longer seek to include Pier 29, a property near Telegraph Hill, in the deal. Board president David Chiu, whose district includes that pier, called that concession "a big deal."

Kyri McClellan from the America's Cup Organizing Committee, which is tasked with raising private funds to compensate for the city's costs, also agreed to have $12 million in cash on hand by June 30.

While the city pushed for more concessions, Stephen Barclay, who is leading negotiations for the race organizers, told supervisors, "The (America's Cup) Event Authority is not prepared to go any further."

Mike Martin, the America's Cup project director for the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, encouraged the committee to move the plan ahead as quickly as possible. "Based on construction schedules, we need to have board approvals by next week's Feb. 28 meeting to move ahead with those," Martin said.

But Supervisor John Avalos, the lone member of the committee who voted against sending the agreement to the full board, said he thought more time was needed to consider the agreement. "It makes it very difficult with that contracted time to make good decisions," Avalos said. "I think we could spend a little more time to figure things out." -- Full story:

San Francisco got a real preview of just how first-class the America’s Cup 34 will be in 2013 following a media event held this week at the Oracle Racing Team Base in the City. During a press conference Russell Coutts, Team CEO, recognized that the AC34 negotiations with San Francisco are not yet a “done deal”. Nonetheless, he remains optimistic:

“I have every reason to believe that things will be resolved by the end of this month. It will be a spectacular event and I’m not sure that the Board of Supervisor’s actually realize what they’ve got here in terms of how positive this event will be for San Francisco. On the one hand I feel that the America’s Cup is lucky to have San Francisco but I’m not sure San Francisco has yet realized how lucky it is to have the America’s Cup. That’s a process - no doubt there were objections on AT&T Stadium when it was first proposed - but I think most people will agree that success won through in the end. We don’t have a plan B, we plan on success.”

* reports on the event:

Every avid sailor has probably wondered at some point: what would life be like if boating was my day job? IYRS Marine Industry Career Day in Newport (R.I.) is the place to find out. The free one-day event on Saturday, March 3 will attract marine employers from throughout New England who are coming to the school with one goal in mind: to connect with individuals with the skills and passion to work in the marine industry. A line-up of experts will be at Career Day to give seminars on the marine trades and its careers and training opportunities. Learn more at

The Extreme Sailing Series is entering its sixth season, and it is from this professional circuit that many of the feature have come which the 34th America's Cup hopes will help heighten its public appeal. With the ESS season to begin next week in Muscat, Oman (Feb 28-Mar 2), here's the second half of our interview with Mark Turner, Executive chairman of OC ThirdPole, the organizing company behind the series.
* Does the ESS give prize money?

MARK TURNER: We've never made it a priority, as it's not something that can bring you extra teams as it's never guaranteed for a team owner/skipper. You don't put down 650k Euros to compete in the circuit (full year 2012 budget included boat, salaries etc), on the basis of getting it back in prize money.

So whilst it might be nice in communication terms to have a 1 million dollar prize for example (although its seen as a negative to speak of money like that in some cultures we visit), I can think of a lot better ways of spending the money to enhance the return for team sponsors. It's not like golf where the guy has no real costs of entry, so prize money is a real driver.

Whilst a skipper might like to win it and be attracted by that, it won't help him raise the operational budget to compete. Nearly all the teams are fully commercial projects, running like small businesses in their own right, with revenues from sponsorship and hospitality. It's a commercial offering just like in other sports.

But with all that said, if we had a sponsor that saw a value in providing prize money, and was ready to fund it, we'd certainly embrace it though.

* Given the high cost of the America's Cup, the ESS appears to be in a nice position.

MARK TURNER: I think it's always dangerous to become a pawn of the America's Cup, as the World Match Racing Tour have found out. But we have no problem with being a possible place to grow a commercially funded team that has AC ambitions in the future, or equally for a team keeping its sponsorship going when the budgets are tightened (eg Ecover in 2009 and 2010). It's a great place to get sponsors involved with a team or in the sport for the first time, it's a great commercial offer, and the sport is short of them.

With a budget that remains in tens and not hundreds of thousands per event/venue, it means it’s more accessible than most parts of the sport. Equally it works well for a big team that has money in place, but that wants both a sporting and commercial product that is going to 3 continents and delivery top racing almost every month of the year. It's a very complimentary product to say a Vendee Globe, Volvo, or MOD70 campaign, which are more geographically limited year on year. I do think it hits a sweet spot on benefit/cost for sponsors/startup teams.

Read on:

Sydney, Australia (February 23, 2012) - The I-18 JJ Giltanan World Championship continued today on Sydney Harbor with Race 5, as did Gotta Love It 7’s domination of the Championship thus far. Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage brought the red hulled flyer home an easy winner of today’s race. Relative newcomers to the event, Californians Jody and Skip McCormack are one of two American teams competing - for the first time in their own I-18 as Jody reports:
This year’s “JJs” is our 2nd World Championships in the “Eye-deen”. The opportunity came up to sail the JJs in 2011 with a borrowed boat from the Australian 18 Foot Skiff club. That first year was our opportunity to begin to learn Sydney Harbor and its complex tides, wind, and Manly ferry schedule (they don’t give way to skiffs!).

We had such a great time that we set a goal to come back and do better in 2012. Instead of chartering a boat, we bought a second boat, CT Sailbattens, and shipped it from Auckland. We are sailing with a Kiwi, Murray England, who is great. There other US Team is Howie Hamlin, Mike Martin, and Matt McKinlay sailing the CST Composites skiff.

So far the regatta has been fantastic with beautiful sunny days and plenty of breeze. We have had mostly good starts and our new boat allows us to hold our lanes and get us into the fleet. Getting the chance to cross tacks with boats like CST, Yandoo, and C-Tech is exciting. We continue to make plenty of mistakes and lose boats here and there as a result. You begin to appreciate just how good these sailors are and how few mistakes they make. Our goal for this year is to finish the regatta making less mistakes each race.

Sailing on Sydney Harbor is wild. The harbor is smaller than San Francisco bay, but there are three times the boats in that area. Any day of the week you will find hundreds of boats racing, cruising or commuting. On weekends it seems like thousands are out on the water. With three on the wire and smoking downwind in the low 20kts, it’s hard to see who is below the kite which is problematic with such high closing speeds. We often have to dip the weather wing and scan the horizon for anything we might run into and end up constantly dodging boats that are going a quarter our speed. -- Read on:

* Event website:

(February 23, 2012; Day 4) - “It’s been a bizarre day of racing today,” said Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam. “Anybody looking at our tracks on the computer must think the navigators have gone mad - or that we do not know the way to Auckland. The route we are taking is so far off the scale of any historical routes it isn’t funny.”

Walker is referring to the need to get east in order to gain a much faster angle when they finally turn southeast to Auckland.

Walker’s navigator Jules Salter explains that the fleet is heading northeast to pick up a surge off China which will then translate into the longed for trade winds. Salter says that earlier today, there was a barrier to this. Around the bottom of Taiwan was an old weather system, which was stuck in the way. It was possible to sail downwind on one side of it with quite good breeze, or upwind on the other side.

“The key today has been trying to get as far east or northeast as we can using that old weather system before it fully decays and then finding a really nice time to cross over it and to get into the new breeze,” Salter explained. -- Reports:

Leg 4 - Sanya, China to Auckland, NZL (5,220 nm)
Standings as of Thursday 23 February 2012, 22:04:01 UTC
1. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 4599.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 5.8 nm DTL
4. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 8.9 nm DTL
5. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 26.2 nm DTL
6. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 121.2 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. -

(February 23, 2012) - London 2012 Olympics: Britain's sailors will be under same scrutiny as footballers during the Games, warns Sir Keith Mills. And, media boats will be held at bay to ensure there is no repeat of Ben Ainslie's shock disqualification from the World Championships.

“Our job here and the team at Locog (the London 2012 organisers) who will be officiating the competition is to make sure that those athletes who compete are doing so on as level a field as possible and that media boats and other things that could interfere with their competition are kept at bay."

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) confirmed this month Ainslie will face no further punishment after he boarded a media boat to confront the crew at December's World Championships.

Ainslie, who was leading the Finn race, had just crossed the finish line in second place when he believed a media boat passed too close, creating a big chop. A furious Ainslie lost his temper and let the media boat know it.

With sailing's attempts to make the open water sport accessible to a wider audience, the incident has renewed talk about the impact of the official television boat or helicopters with massive low-level downdraft.

New technology is being used to try to make the sport exciting viewing but a balance with getting the fairest possible racing has to be struck. Land-based cameras or filming from a fixed location on the water could be used to help bridge potential gaps in coverage, it has been suggested. Cameras can be set onboard to provide images as mast cams, bow cams and stern cams. They can possibly even be slung under helium balloons above the course as the innovative RS:X class has been trialing. -- Full story:

* Sydney, Australia (February 23, 2012) - At the end of day four of the Etchells World Championship 2012, the overall leader name may have changed, but the racing is far from complete. The top of the 74-boat scoreboard is very tight after six races and one drop. Roulette (Jud Smith, Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot) is in the lead with 13 points. Moving back into second place is Iron Lotus (Tom King, Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Owen McMahon) on 15 points and in third, Triad (John Bertrand, David Giles and Tom Slingsby) on 26 points. -- Full results:

* America's Cup yacht racing brought in £9.1m for Plymouth's economy, according to a report. The Devon city hosted the World Series event for nine days in September 2011 at a cost to the council of £225,000. An independent report said visitors spent £4.1m, the economic impact from increased business among hotels and local suppliers was £1.6m and media coverage was worth £4.2m. The council described the event as a "huge success". -- Full story:

* (February 23, 2012) - The latest Sailing World College Rankings, presented by Sperry Top-Sider, are now online. The top five Coed teams are (total points): Roger Williams (326), Charleston (305), Dartmouth (291), Yale (285) and Brown (267). -- Details at:

Southern Spars is set to raise the bar at the Volvo Ocean Race's (VOR) Auckland Stopover showcase, stand number 25. The stand will showcase Southern Spars history in the Whitbread/VOR; from the first Southern rig - Sir Peter Blake's Steinlager II in 1989, to the current rigs Telefonica and Camper. There will be a chance to win team clothing and a Whitbread/VOR history DVD will be screening. Our sales team will be on-hand for any inquiries you have about Southern Spars' products and services, and we will be using this time to offer as many people as possible a chance to visit our custom-projects facility in Auckland. For more information on Southern Spars please visit

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* From Hilary Wiech, (re Scuttlebutt 3532):
Having lived aboard a boat as a kid, been a collegiate sailor, and now an employee of an ocean conservation organization, Sailors for the Sea, I have witnessed changes in the ocean and coastal waters. Single use plastics are wreaking havoc on our oceans.

Whether it is the unsightly look of trash, fish eating plastics and entering our food steam, or oil being drilled, and possibly spilled, to create plastic products, it all hurts the ocean. However, the simple answer for me personally, waste is waste, and why use a water bottle that will be put in a landfill, or recycled (also using unnecessary energy) when you can choose to not.

* From By Baldridge:
Give it up. Those are the only words I can think of with all the hoo-hah about: green sailing/ water bottles/ coach costs/ travel costs/ why doesn't everyone sail/ BS. As Commodore of Houston Yacht Club last year we did our best to make the OPTI Nationals a green/ fun event for all competitors. By all accounts we had a successful regatta with plenty of youth involvement and low impact on the environment. END OF STORY.

Why is most of the coverage about the next America's Cup, talk only about the impact on the economy of San Francisco and not about the racing. At this point ahead of all the cups in Newport, San Diego, Perth, Valencia and elsewhere were focused on the sailing and sailors, not about dollars to the host city and whether it was economical and beneficial to the host city. Apparently the sailing is much less important than the politics in San Francisco.

In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the entire universe is composed of only two basic substances: magic and lies.

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