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SCUTTLEBUTT 3528 - Wednesday, February 15, 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: North Sails, US Sailing, and Soft Deck.

By Andrew Campbell, 2008 Olympian
The plan was to meet my Star boat as it arrived in a container after six weeks' voyage from Perth, and use the Zagarino Masters Regatta (Feb. 11-12) as a shakedown for Bacardi Cup in a few weeks. More than that, it would provide a cool opportunity to get Dad some tiller time in the Star for the first time since the 1978 San Francisco Worlds (and maybe the second time ever).

As it turned out, the container with George Szabo and my boat was delayed by two weeks and will barely make it for Bacardi much less this past weekend. In the face of a botched plan, the Star Class rallied yet again to help me out. We ended up borrowing Tom White's boat that happened to be available for the weekend.

I've said it before (and it won't be the last time): the sailors in the Star have been unbelievable in their willingness to help other sailors get on the water. It's rewarding to have such hospitality from such a competitive group. The outcome: I was lucky enough to go Star boat sailing with my father this weekend in Miami at my first experience of the annual ZAG Masters hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club.

The trick of the Masters Regatta is that the skipper must be 50 years old to sail in the regatta, but anybody can crew no matter the age. There is a long list of young sailors crewing for a legend or a mentor in the regatta for the weekend. I will be honest and tell you that I wasn't really looking forward to jumping into a full weekend of Star boat crewing. I'd rather leave that to the experts. If you think the Star class is a fraternity, the Star class crews are a union within that fraternity that takes a different mentality to enter into.

Part masochist, part water-breathing fish, all super-human, Star crews must love sailing in a way that not many others possibly can ever dream of. Star crews spend upwind beats with their feet going numb and ribs getting squeezed by their vests, all the while trying not to drown because of their heads are barely six inches above the water.

Every tack is a technically demanding dance as they jump up out of the droop-hike, uncleat the old jib sheet, kiss their knee-caps as they squeeze under the low boom and explode up to the new rail yanking the new jibsheet into the cleat as they take a leap of faith over the new windward rail, hanging upside down by their knee ligaments until they can hook into the new rail and "relax" as they get fire-hosed down by the next wave.

MORE: If you read on, there's a moral to the story that's worth the click:

Making the decision to buy a boat comes easy for some people. Picking out a name for the boat, however, can prove to be much harder, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). The half-million-member boat owners group has been tallying the Top Ten Boat Names List for over two decades. The 22nd Annual List Top Ten Boat Names are:

1. Seas the Day
2. Nauti Buoy
3. Aquaholic
4. Dream Weaver
5. Pegasus
6. Serenity Now
7. Second Wind
8. Liquid Asset
9. Miss Behavin'
10. Blew ByYou

Full story:

The Audi Melges 20 continues to be one of the fastest growing one-design classes in the world! Thirty-six boats participated in the two-day winter series held in Miami, FL this past weekend. North Sails is leading the way in sail development for this exciting class and has put a major emphasis on moving forward with 3DL technology for Melges 20 upwind sails. The overall winner in Miami, Luca Lalli, was sporting a new set of North 3DL sails along with 2nd place finisher Grant Hood. These two boats won all six races of this event - congratulations to both teams! North-powered boats were: 1,2,4,5,6,8,10!

By Tim Zimmermann, Sailing World
What would you rather do? Race or do race committee? Well, the answer is pretty easy. We go to the trouble of buying boats, maintaining them, practicing with them, and spending down marital credits to disappear for a day - the price varies according to season, mood, and the behavior of children - because we want to sail and compete against other sailors.

So lots of sailors moan about, bitch about, and even actively shirk their race committee duty, even though it's glaringly obvious that if there is no race committee, there is no racing.

I never really mind doing race committee, though it often seems a shame when you have to pull the members of the race committee from the fleet that is racing, thereby reducing the fleet by one or more boats. But it is what it is, and so I recently pulled my shift in the Potomac River Sailing Association Laser fleet, turning out - along with a fellow fleet member, Eric Petersen, who took the online pictures - to run an early February frostbite series on the Potomac River, just south of Reagan National Airport.

It was a partly sunny but cold Sunday, which nevertheless once again proved the axiom that any day on the water beats a day inside (likely doing chores). And I love the venue - a friendly sailing marina, with views of the Capitol building and the Washington Monument when you're out on the water, and big-ass jets landing close enough overhead to send tightly spinning vortexes down to the water (though I haven't figured out how to play them, yet). The fleet is great, too, regularly putting 15-20 boats on the line for some of the most enjoyable Laser racing I do all year.

I've met sailors who always seem quick to complain about a race committee. That seems unduly ungrateful, and most sailors endure whatever mysterious trials the race committee puts them through because they're racing, instead of stuck doing, well, race committee. But all of us, even if we try to be patient and keep our mouths shut, sometimes find ourselves wondering, "WTF are they up to?"

The best antidote for race committee grousing is, of course, to do race committee. It's refreshing to see the fleet and the racing from the anchored perspective. It's also a fun and interesting challenge to try and deliver lots of good racing - especially from a single small skiff, using marks that are by now almost perfectly camouflaged when placed in the muddy water of the Potomac - and to make decisions over the course of a series that leave no one thinking "WTF are they up to?" -- Read on:

The Scuttlebutt store has adult medium 'Scuttlebutt University' t-shirts and sweatshirts which will be given away this Friday. Yes, for free. A notice will be posted Friday at 11am PST on Facebook and Twitter.


Arriving in Auckland victorious in the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race would be akin to winning the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, according to Groupama helmsman Thomas Coville.

The 5,200 nautical mile fourth leg sees the race return to Auckland for the first time in more than 10 years, and given the sheer level of interest in the sport in New Zealand the winners, whoever they are, can expect a warm and appreciative welcome back to land.

"To go and win in Auckland is like winning the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand," Coville said. "It is definitely at the front of everyone's mind. Auckland is also pretty much the halfway point of the race, and it will give everyone the first good idea about who will ultimately take victory in the Volvo Ocean Race."

With just nine points separating Groupama from second-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in the overall standings, Coville said his team would look to cause an upset for their rivals, who launched their boat in Auckland and boast seven Kiwis in the crew.

"Beating them into Auckland, whether that's just about the numbers, getting the points, or whether it's purely psychological, it's certainly very important."

Leg 4 will see the six teams sail out of the South China Sea, through the Philippine Sea and into the Pacific."It's a tricky leg," Coville said. "It's a leg which, more in terms of psychological significance than in terms of the pure sporting result, is of utmost importance." -- Read on:

SCHEDULE: The Sanya In-Port race is on February 18 and Leg 4 from Sanya, China to Auckland, NZL begins on February 19:

Video reports:

BROADCAST: Here is the television schedule for the U.S. in February:

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. -

If you would you like your business news to be published in Scuttlebutt, our advice for you is to buy ad space. However, the Industry News category of the Scuttlebutt Forum does allow companies to post their personnel, product and service updates at no charge. As a bonus, each week Scuttlebutt will include some of the recent updates in the newsletter. Are you in the marine industry? Post your updates here:

* The Naval Academy Sailing Foundation has announced that Mr. Jonathan Wright is the newest incumbent of the Vanderstar Sailing Chair at the United States Naval Academy. The Vanderstar Chair incumbent is a key civilian advisor to the Director of Naval Academy Sailing. The position is responsible not only for coordinating the curricular management of the sail training program but also for the oversight of all safety aspects of the program - on the intercollegiate, inshore, and offshore training levels. Jon relieved Ms. Renee Mehl who moved to the position of Program Manager for the Offshore Sail Training Squadron. -- Read on:

* Tampa, Florida (February 14, 2012) - After a brief morning postponement, the seabreeze filled as expected and three races were completed on the third day of the J/24 Midwinter Championship in Tampa, Florida. The sailors were treated to perfect sailing conditions with 10-15 knots southeast winds, sunny skies and warm temperatures. After eight races, defending champion Peter Bream tops the leader board ahead of John Mollicone of Newport, Rhode Island in second and Tony Parker of Annapolis, Maryland in third place overall. The eleven race series concludes on Wednesday with more sun and wind in the forecast. -- Full report:

* Newport, New South Wales (February 14, 2012) - The NSW team of David Clark, Andrew Smith and Alan Smith have won the Zhik Etchells Australian National Championship ahead of an enormously talented field of Australian and international competitors. Clark and his team had only a three point advantage going into the final day of racing today ahead of Etchells World Champion, USA skipper Jud Smith. At the end of today Clark's team walked away with a nine point lead over what would easily be considered a World Championship quality, 61-yacht fleet. In second overall was Smith and third was day one leader Julian Plante (AUS). Seventy-three teams are expected to compete in the 2012 World Championship which begins on February 20. -- Full report:

* A former high ranking official in Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources is facing four felony charges accused of stealing nearly $100,000 from state boating funds over a nearly two year period. The theft and forgery charges filed Monday come nearly a year after the Attorney General's office opened an investigation into the employee. Forty-nine-year-old Wesley Choi turned himself into sheriffs Monday morning and was released on his own recognizance. -- Read on:

College sailors, US Sailing wants to know why you deserve a new drysuit from Gill. Wear your team gear and make a two minute video explaining to US Sailing in your own creative way, why YOU want a new drysuit ... and you could win. Contest concludes on Friday, March 2 - details can be found on our blog,
While you are dreaming up video ideas, check out our College Membership. This four year membership costs $95, and is available exclusively for college sailors. Details:

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 Jonathan McKee:
In Scuttlebutt 3527, the idea that juniors should be encouraged/ pushed away from junior boats toward other opportunities makes a lot of sense to me, and is consistent with my own experience.

I never really did much "junior sailing" and almost all my racing as a kid was with and against adults or mixed fleets. This allowed me to experience high performance boats sooner than many of my peers, and forced me to interact positively with adults from the very beginning. Thus I had some excellent adult role models who really helped me get a good perspective on sailing (and life), as well as learning how to sail fast boats. This experience also forced me to get more organized and take control of my own destiny at a much younger age.

Maybe this is part of the reason I still love sailing so much and have never burned out!

* From Tom Price:
As noted a sailor and author as Dr. Stuart Walker is, he is equally respected as a head of Pediatrics at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. According to Stuart, children have a good sense of play at a young age but do not have the capacity to properly handle competition until later years. Junior sailing forces them into fairly serious competition where they face failure, resentment, greed, success, and other more adult pressures that turn play into something else more serious and intimidating.

They can often manage but the joy that should properly develop competitive urges is displaced. Ultimately they don't "love" racing and even sailing because it becomes something other than joyful play. Start them racing, but don't score and don't award trophies! Keep them from serious competition until 13 or so and you might have them for life.

* From Chris Welsh:
I read 'Kids Sailing - Is There A Problem?' in Scuttlebutt 3527 and thought who asks the same question for adults? So for my 65' monohull (Ragtime), it's a membership in US Sailing, and three rating systems to pay for each year (ORR, IRC, and PHRF Norcal and SoCal). Add more fees anytime we do anything to optimize the sailplan. There are no boundaries on evolution of technology... according to the latest magazine. I now need a live feedback optical analysis system checking sail shape as we go so that we can improve the shape of a new tech main that costs $23K vs. $11K for the previous carbon tech version. Is there a reason why we let this progression occur?

Crew is harder to get - everyone has competing activities, kids in soccer, volleyball and competitive banjo. Being gone all day is a tough one. Entering a weekend race is now pay $XXX a month in advance, $XXX + later than that. Fill out forms online, liability waivers, media waivers signed by all crew, and ratings cert's. Anyone see the fun sucking out?

How to fix it? Make race timing work and family friendly. Maybe even Friday/Saturday rather than Sat/Sun. Eliminate 3/4's of the paperwork. Allow maybe only one rating change per year. Carefully look at new tech to approve for acceptance rather than perpetuating the arms race. No live imaging cameras for sail trim, for example. If your sailmaker wants to bring one for evaluation day, fine, but not on race day. Be okay by me if we eliminated true wind numbers and only had apparent, but now I'm being a luddite. More reverse races; common starts mean everyone legs out and boat X is just in front of you, boat Y right behind almost all the time. Do different race formats. Make it fun.

That's enough for now. Maybe more after a scotch.

* From Howard Paul:
Thank you Kimball for putting the investment in the infrastructure for the America's Cup in its proper perspective (in SBUTT 3527)!

* From Stan Phillips:
As the Northern California Fleet Captain for the Farr 30, I hope to inspire a renaissance of Farr 30 (former Mumm 30) sailing in the bay area. My goal is to double the number of actively racing Farr 30's in the SF bay area by 2014, -- giving us enough for a one-design start in major regattas. I am appealing to you to help me reach this goal. You can help me by connecting me with friends who may be looking for a great boat to race. I can help them by providing information about the Farr 30 fleet and possibly even connecting potential partners for boat ownership. - D1D, read on:

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