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SCUTTLEBUTT 3521 - Monday, February 6, 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: JK3 Nautical Enterprises and Kaenon Polarized.

Every day we race sailboats we take with us a foundation of experience unique to each one of us. That's one of the beautiful things about our sport. Sailors race in small boats by themselves, and small boats with other people, or big boats with tons of other people, and sometimes big boats by themselves. They race on odd little lakes as well as massive expanses of freshwater. They sail on the clear blue of the ocean as well as the nasty culs of the sea. Some race against the tidal currents while others dodge airplane jet outflow.

When we travel to some of these spectacular and less-than-so locations around the globe we drag along an ever-growing bundle of experiences that we can then apply to whatever situation we happen upon on a given day. No matter where we are, whether it be the home club where we've raced hundreds of races over the decades, or a brand new spot we have experience from which we can detect patterns to help match up with reality and react accordingly. Great sailors learn how to apply their experience to a new location.

That's why some sailors can excel no matter the racing venue. They recognize patterns developed from their own experience and meld them to the forces at work in an unfamiliar location. They use rules of thumb and are keenly aware of the changing dynamics that might demand alterations of their approach to the day's racing.

But how many times have we been to the regatta and had the locals say: "It's never like this here!" We had those very words come from the mouths of locals in Fremantle (Australia) at the 2011 ISAF World Championships after four days of less than 12 knots of breeze from all kinds of funny directions. For the years leading into the event the world was preparing for 18-25 knot seabreezes. Even the weeks leading into the regatta were classic Fremantle Doctor days.

Then the regatta started and things were somehow not expected. Sailors might have painted themselves into a corner by preparing only for breezy conditions or bringing sails tailored for breeze. If there had been a local fleet of Star boat sailors, they might have been the toughest in the world in 18 knots or more, but would have been brought back to earth by the variance in conditions.

Rule #4 in our list of 50: History can be dangerous.

Sailors are notoriously superstitious. Maybe not in the same way as they used to be. Modern sailboat racing can barely relate with whaling ships and tales of the kraken, but sailors do have their tendencies to rely on those gems of history. We've all heard these comments before a day's racing... read on:

Sanya, China (February 5, 2012) - Team Telefonica clinched their third victory from three legs in the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday, as less than nine hours separated the top five teams at the finish of the 3,051 nautical mile (nm) second stage of Leg 3 from the Maldives to Sanya in China. Not since Steinlager 2 in 1989-90 had a team won the first three legs of the Volvo Ocean Race.

"You always dream to start a race like this and I just hope everything is going to keep going smooth," said Martinez. "I think it was by far the most dangerous leg I've ever done in a boat. The Malacca Strait put us in a lot of difficult situations so that's why we are so happy. Now we start feeling more relaxed. We have a very nice boat in very good shape with only little jobs."

Navigator Andrew Cape, who masterminded Telefonica's route from the Maldives to Sanya, added: "I never thought we were going to win this leg to be honest. I just felt that something was going to go wrong because there are too many stages where I couldn't see the outcome, so I'm really relieved to get in without anything going bad.

"Mentally it was very difficult, tactically very difficult, physically it wasn't as tough as a long southern ocean leg but mentally it was really hard. It's one of the toughest legs I've done."

Telefonica's latest victory was remarkable given the damage they suffered to their code zero sail just hours after the start in the Maldives, a setback that pushed them into last place. However taking the high lane into the Malacca Strait pulled them into the lead two days later, a lead they would not relinquish. - Event media

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

Leg 3 results- Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China(4,600nm)
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 012d 19h 58m 21s
2. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 012d 21h 45m 24s
3. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 012d 23h 28m 23s
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 013d 00h 29m 12s
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 013d 03h 05m 05s
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 014d 04h 35m 16s

Overall leaderboard after Leg 3
1. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 6-1-1-1-5-1, 95 pts
2. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 3-2-2-2-3-3, 80 pts
3. Groupama (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 5-3-5-4-2-2, 71 pts
4. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 2-DNF-3-3-4-4, 48 pts
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1-DNF-4-5-1-5, 39 pts
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), 4-DNF-6-6-DNS-6, 16 pts

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. -

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(February 5, 2012) - The double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) fleet of five Class40s started the 6,200-mile Leg 3 on January 29th from Wellington, New Zealand, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, and less than a week later the top two teams in the overall standings have called it quits.

After crashing off a monstrous wave in the Southern Ocean last Thursday evening, leaders Ross and Campbell Field of Team Buckley Systems have suffered damage to their yacht and are heading back to New Zealand.

"We were leading the fleet under autopilot in big rolling seas," said Ross Field. "The wind was up to 45 knots, gusting into the 50s. Campbell was on watch in the cockpit and I was down below in the navigation station, when we just launched off a huge wave."

As the yacht crashed down into the trough behind the wave, all the wind instruments were wiped off the top of the mast. Ross Field was flung across the boat, injuring his back. The loss of the wind instruments meant their autopilots could not function, and they would have had to hand-steer the boat nearly 6,000 miles toward Cape Horn and up to Uruguay.

Without the autopilot, the Fields instantly spun out of control and crash gybed. "We ended up with all our ballast on the wrong side and lying with the mast virtually in the water, at the mercy of the waves," said Ross. After bringing the boat under control and assessing their situation, the father and son pair decided they could not continue racing.

Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on the Franco-British entry, Campagne de France in second place, were trailing the Fields by 20 miles when they had enough. "Given the weather and sea conditions we have encountered and given the forecast weather along the northerly route which we have to take because of ice to the south, we felt that there was a strong possibility of boat breakage on this leg if we were to continue," explained Halvard Mabire on Friday afternoon.

"It is the responsibility of each skipper to assess the risks involved and to decide to race or continue racing based on conditions experienced or expected," Merron explains. "Our decision to head back is the result of this assessment. It has been an incredibly difficult decision to take, and one not taken lightly. We have spent almost two years focused on this project and there are a considerable number of people who are supporting this campaign."

"We are waiting to hear whether they will rejoin the race later on or not," noted Race Director Josh Hall. "In the meantime the three other teams in Leg 3 are plugging into some very tough conditions. It is disappointing that the weather pattern is not currently providing the downwind sleigh-ride normally expected, but this is one of many reasons that racing around the world is a formidable challenge to boats and sailors."

Race website:

Events listed at

* The Farr 40 class has tabulated elapsed times from the recently concluded Quantum Key West Race Week to produce a Comparison Table showing the relative performance of the Farr 40 against the new Farr 400 and McConaghy 38. Details:

* Two corporations pleaded guilty January 26th in separate hearings in Baltimore for their role in managing and owning a ship engaged in deliberate discharges of polution. The companies were each sentenced to pay $1.2 million and serve three years of probation. The investigation began after an engineer complained to the U.S. Coast Guard when the ship arrived in Baltimore in February 2011. The crew member provided the Coast Guard with his cell phone containing 300 photographs showing a discharge sludge and oily waste overboard along with plastic garbage bags containing oil soaked rags. -- Full story:

* Hosted by Key Biscayne Yacht Club (KBYC), Florida, USA from February 1-5 2012, the ISAF Grade 2 regatta was the final chance for the Women's Match Racing teams to qualify their country for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The top three countries from this event (Finland, Spain, and Denmark) will join the nine countries that have already qualified for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition (Australia, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Russia, and USA). Details:

* Ft Lauderdale, FL (February 5, 2012) - Lauderdale Yacht Club hosted both the Women's Laser Radial North American Championship and Finn Midwinter Championship on February 3-5. Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN) edged out Brendan Casey (AUS) to win in the 13 boat Finn fleet, while Paige Railey (USA) posted a 2-1-1-1-2-(BFD) to blitz the 31-boat Laser Radial fleet. -- Results:

It's everywhere, not just the Malacca Straits. Flotsam and Jetsam on the surface, semi-submerged, just below the surface - snag a bag, hit a tree, even problematic seaweed - spotting and avoiding trash, in many locales are just as important as the need to read breeze correctly. No wonder Iker and Xabi cruised through the "most dangerous stretch of water on the planet" last week in the Volvo Ocean Race - unscathed and in the lead as they continue to rely upon their vision with Kaenon's SR-91 polarized lenses for superior visual recognition and navigation. Congratulations Iker and Xabi, terribly impressive! Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically.

COMMENT: Iker and Xabi were selected to receive the 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award... before they began leading the Volvo Ocean Race. As two-time Olympic medalist and three-time World Champions in the 49er skiff, this Spanish duo is now proving they can dominate at any level (as long as they have their Kaenons).

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 William LeFevre:
Concerning the question in Scuttlebutt 3519 about whether the Volvo Ocean Race route through Asia was responsible given the crowded waters, I think you missed a phrase though: "...and while this is certainly a pain for the racers, IT IS A THREAT TO THE LIVELIHOOD OF THE FISHERMEN."

If the VO70 gets tangled in nets, they cut the nets away. How much damage is done to the tools that supply the livelihood of the men on those fishing boats? Have you ever seen the bumper sticker "Stealing a Mans Tools Should be a Hanging Offense"? I would be pretty upset if I was laid off from my job because of someone else's marketing campaign came barging through my cube.

The apparent arrogance of the racers approaches that of the French aristocracy in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, and I would think that the sponsors might be a little concerned about their liability.

* From Dick Honey:
I agree that races should not be scheduled through a small country's fishing grounds. Not only is it a crap shoot for the racers, it could spell disaster for an impoverished fisherman.

* From Damian Christie, Melbourne, Australia:
The 1987 America's Cup was a triumph for Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes - but sounded the death knell for Australia's involvement in the Cup.

If I were to mention now that the 25th anniversary of the 1987 defence had just passed, the average Australian's response would be: "Who cares?" And that's the problem - the Australian public and corporate Australia is so languid, disaffected and disengaged from sailing that they don't give two hoots.

To add insult to (self-inflicted) injury, not only does Australia no longer compete in the Cup in its own right but its best sailors, due to disinterest at home, have been compelled to sail elsewhere. The fact that Aussie-born and bred sailors like skipper James Spithill, Darren Bundock, Joe Newton, Kyle Langford, Will McCarthy and Olympic hopeful Tom Slingsby (just to name a few), are in the sailing team for the US defender in San Francisco next year, will barely raise an eyelid down under. Even Kookaburra veterans Iain Murray and Ian Burns from that unsuccessful 1987 defence are on the US side - respectively as CEO of AC Race Management and as Oracle's design team co-coordinator.

The battle cry when Australia II won the Cup in 1983 was "Stand up Australia!" As we get closer to the 30th anniversary of that legendary victory, the new battle cry should be "Wake up Australia!" It's a national disgrace that the crop of Australians working for Oracle may never sail for Australia in the America's Cup.

* From Barry Demak
With regard to comments in S'butt 3519, I find it hard to believe that a Scuttlebutt reader would take issue with the Event Authority's plans to make public viewing centers available to the general public for free?! I can see why some might not want one anchored in their 54 degree swimming hole, but I not only don't see anything wrong with the picture - I'd love to see the picture as jumbo as possible.

At a time when it seems that so many of our social networking innovations may be leading to less in-person socialization, the America's Cup Live Site viewing centers will provide access to the event for a large population that might not otherwise be able to get to the San Francisco shoreline or on the water. More importantly, it will enable them to share the experience with other humans! Some will know more than they do and help explain what's going on. Others will know nothing at all, and even more fervently explain what's going on!

Some movies are better watched in the theater with others. Some books are more powerful when read with a club. Sport - if you enjoy it all - is most enjoyable watching with others: the high fives, the running dialogue. I've enjoyed many an awesome concert experience at the top of the hill projected on big screens just as I've enjoyed a few from the front rows, too.

The "oohs" and "ahhs" of the America's Cup will sound better to me in a crowd of hundreds than sitting in front of my computer. -- Forum, read on:

* From Paul France, Bay of Islands, New Zealand:
It was great for Bill Center and Geoff Mason to remind us of the wonderful times at the America's Cup regatta in Fremantle 25 years ago. I was the TV producer for New Zealand and I have just checked YouTube to see what was there. I'm amazed at the amount of our coverage hosted by Peter Montgomery which has been put there by several spirited individuals.

Many might enjoy the scenes of Tom Blackaller at the post-race skipper's events. Geoff is right that the Australians were very effective in providing exceptional host coverage. And for Bill's information we certainly did have cellphones (they were bricks but we could not have done without them) and while the internet was in its infancy we were electronically communicating with NZ (I know because I carried the damn IBM desktop and dial-up gear all the way to Fremantle!)

I came, I saw, I decided to order take out.

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