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SCUTTLEBUTT 3556 - Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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Today's sponsors: North U, North Sails, and Soft Deck.

By Dave Reed, Sailing World
A friend recently shared a photo on his Facebook wall. The photo was taken
at the Mardi Gras Regatta in New Orleans, a one-design event that's
blossoming as the Gulf sailing scene hustles to reclaim its former glory as
the ultimate Southern regatta destination. What struck me about the photo
was that it didn't have anything to do with the racing: it was a heaping
pile of crimson crawfish splayed out on a newspaper-covered banquet table.

Other friends at the same regatta shared photos of them frolicking on
Bourbon Street and other iconic tourist traps. And yet even after it was
all over, there was not a single report of what actually happened on the
racecourse. I guess that's because when it comes to "away" regattas, the
memories that stick, or are worth sharing with friends back home, are
usually about the destination more than the races.

That's what I love about our sport: Wherever we go to play, our playground
is enviable. We are a privileged lot.

When I explain to people what I do for work and for play, I always get the
same response, "Wow, that must be cool going to all those nice places." It
is. I've never been to a regatta venue I didn't like. By virtue of being on
a little slice of waterfront, the view is always good, the sounds soothing,
and the lifestyle desirable. The host yacht clubs, fancy or not, are little
Shangri-Las where visiting sailors get to feel like members. We get to
mingle on the manicured lawn, have drinks on the deck, ride the launch,
share the showers, and when we're young, maybe stir a little mischief. When
the nightly regatta party is over, we hit the town with a good buzz and
mingle with the locals.

The big-city yacht clubs are nice, but my favorites are offbeat venues.
There's something special about regattas run out of public sailing
facilities, state parks, and campgrounds. Maybe it's because there's no
pretense, no expectations of white linen buffets and massive clubhouses
filled with trophy cases. At a lakeshore campground, the racecourse is your
view, and there's just you, your neighbors in RVs, cars, and tents, a
simple campfire to stoke, and the hope your tent's seams keep the
inevitable summer downpour at bay.

Regardless of where our sailing travel takes us or how plush our
accommodations, the point is it's essential to experience sailing in new
venues: commit to an out-of-town class championship or to a regatta that's
new and different. I'm looking forward to a few new destinations this year.
-- Read on:

There is a short list of venues that can host a four day event, have severe
conditions that permit only one day of sailing, but still keep the glass
half full. Enter Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans (LA), which hosted the
2012 Flying Scot Mid Winter Championship. Here's the story:
On Tuesday 3/20, our PRO Wallace Paletou tried hard to figure out a way to
get us on the water, but with winds blowing 24+ gusting to over 30, it was
just not possible to do that safely. Our top sailors still held the Top Gun
session - Paul Abdullah, Ryan Malmgren, Dave Bolyard, Kelly Gough and Al
Terhune gave us all some great tips to try to make us better sailors. Then
we all went off to various areas of the city - French Quarter, walking
along the Mississippi River, the malls, the casinos, the garden district,
the WWII museum and other venues and enjoyed a little New Orleans

Try, try, try again on Wednesday - well, that was not much better, with
winds at 22+ gusting to over 30 again. So we called it a day, went off
shopping and other places and came back at night for the seafood boil with
a boatload (in a real boat) of all the shrimp, crawfish and oysters, boiled
potatoes and corn on the cob that anyone could eat.

Thursday morning was a breakfast surprise, coffee and beignets courtesy of
Cafe du Monde, the premier coffee in New Orleans. Can you believe it?
Thursday the storm front continued with thunderstorms that we hoped would
subside. They actually did, and we decided to get out on the water. But
along with the storm went the wind, and we all agreed there was nothing we
could do, so we went back in and hoped for the best on Friday.

Finally on Friday, there was a chance to get out on the water. And Wallace
and his crew used every ounce of wind they could to get off four good races
in lots of sunshine, something we had not seen for several days! Who won?
Read on:

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Mike Urwin, joint Chairman of the IRC Technical Committee, comment on some
detail technical aspects of IRC.

* One objective of IRC is to provide a rating that will allow the existing
fleet to be competitive while not being a disincentive to development - a
delicate balancing act and one that is more important than ever in the
current environment. Would you like to comment on the 2012 rating changes
designed to change the balance between boats with non overlapping headsails
and designs with overlapping headsails?

MU: Recent years have seen a steady trend towards new designs having
non-overlapping headsails. This, and the trend among some boats originally
designed with overlapping headsails to convert to a non-overlapping
configuration, has prompted sail designers to develop improved designs for
these sails in lighter airs. Allied with the fact that modern sailcloth is
better able to deal with the higher loads in tall, high aspect ratio sails,
this has changed the balance slightly in favour of the non overlappers.

The changes this year are twofold. We have firstly taken a fresh look at
the efficiency of different styles of headsail going back to fundamental
physics and recognising also the sail design and cloth improvements. As a
result, we have made some detail changes in this area. Secondly,
historically, IRC has taken no account of leech hollow meaning that any
boat with a hollow leech headsail (sailmakers want to build hollow in to
improve sail longevity and to minimise leech curl and 'motoring') was
paying a small amount for area that they did not have. Reviewing this, we
could see no reason not to properly account for leech hollow.

* There is always a question with new sails regarding size versus the
rating and getting the balance right for a particular boat. What kind of
help and information can be obtained from the rating office, e.g. Trial

MU: A trial certificate tells an owner/designer/sailmaker what the TCC
(Time Corrector) would be for the proposed change. It is then up to the
owner/designer/sailmaker to decide in the particular circumstances of that
boat and the racing that she does whether the change is worthwhile. We do
not and cannot give consultancy in this respect.

But (without giving away secrets!) the sort of questions that owners might
perhaps be asking themselves are related to in what wind speed do we change
down/reef? Is my crew generally underweight? Do we do lots of reaching? Do
we race in predominantly light/heavy airs? Are we more competitve in
light/heavy airs? Upwind? Downwind? What sort of courses do we do? All
windward/leeward? Passage races? Etc, etc.

Answering those, and all the other issues, then helps in deciding how to
configure the boat.

Full interview:

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(March 26, 2012; Day 9) - As the current overall leader of the Volvo Ocean
Race, skipper Iker Martinez and his Telefonica team have been slippery good
on the distance legs. Nearly flawless. But if luck has been in their
recipe, it seems to be running thin these days.

Last week it was reported the International Jury will hear a protest during
the next stopover in Itajai regarding the legality of sails carried by
Telefonica during Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland. And now the team, which has
been bleeding miles the past couple days, has admitted they have damage to
the bow serious enough for the crew to slow the boat.

"We're battling on and making sure we don't do any more damage. We could
push harder, but we think that could lead to further problems," said watch
leader Neal McDonald earlier today. The team has had two crewmembers in the
bow for a week, patching up a repair. McDonald says they will continue as
they are and monitor it carefully. "Time will tell. It looks stable at the
moment and, at the pace we are going, we are in good shape," he said.

Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken
Read/USA), the only two teams to have avoided serious damage to their boats
so far on Leg 5, continue to hug the ice exclusion zone to the south as
they aim for Cape Horn.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson) remains bound for
Puerto Montt in Chile, though is concerned about a low-pressure system
forming in their path. Their aim is to make the repairs to the bow without
hauling the boat out of the water in Chile and return to the racetrack as
quickly as possible to complete the leg.

Team Sanya announced today that after exhaustive enquiries, the boat will
be shipped to re-join the fleet for the in-port race in Miami and the start
of Leg 7. The team are due to arrive in Tauranga on Tuesday evening, where
they will immediately prepare the boat for shipment to Savannah in the
United States. Once the repairs have been completed, the team will sail the
boat the 350 nm to Miami, arriving in early May.

For the leaders, it will be a further six or seven days of liquid hell
before they are in range of the notorious Cape Horn. -- Event media

Leg 5 - Auckland, NZL to Itajai, Brazil (6,705 nm)
Standings as of Monday, 26 March 2012, 22:04:21 UTC
1. Groupama 4 (FRA), Frank Cammas (FRA), 3396.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. PUMA Ocean Racing (USA), Ken Read (USA), 35.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Telefonica (ESP), Iker Martinez (ESP), 260.5 nm DTL
4. CAMPER (NZL), Chris Nicholson (AUS), 660.1 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Ian Walker (GBR), 1258.9 DTL
6. Team Sanya (CHN), Mike Sanderson (NZL), Retired

Video reports:

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. -

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A good start is one of the most important ingredients of racing, and head
coach Rulo at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic
describes this drill to help sailors develop better starting skills.
During the first three months of this year more than 100 sailors practiced
the 'no time' at the start. In this drill only one sailor gets the time
personally from the coach. All other sailors have to start by watching the
position of the sailor who has the time on his watch.

The objective of the other sailors is to line up bow to bow and accelerate
faster than the boat with the time when the start signal is given. We
learned quite a few interesting lessons from the 'No time' drill.

- The sailor with the time rarely had the best start.
- Sailors who usually struggle in other starting drills had the best start
when focusing on lining up bow-bow and on accelerating first.
- The sailors who start well with a watch, start well without one.

We don't want you to leave your start-watch at home on a regatta day. Just
remember that at the start line you should focus on how to beat the boats
next to you. Awareness to their position and timing your acceleration based
on the bows next to you are essential. --

* With interest building toward the 2012 A Class Catamaran World
Championship this October in the Florida Keys, 37 boats competed in the 4th
Annual Admirals Cup Regatta hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL
on March 23-25. The winning formula in the eight race series for Houston
Yacht Club's Bruce Mahoney was hockey sticks, who posted a double in the
first race (11th) and then rolled through seven singles (1st) to take the
title. -- Full story:

* The Laser Midwinters West was hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club on March
23-25 in Long Beach, CA. The title among the 43 Laser Full Rigs came down
to the last race, where American Olin Paine sailed his drop race to finish
in second behind winner Canadian Alexander Heinzemann. The racing among the
62 Laser Radials was not as close, allowing American Cooper Weitz to win
with a race to spare. -- Event details:

* The 29er Mid-Winters West was held hosted by Coronado Yacht Club (CA) on
March 23-25, with racing held in the South Bay of San Diego. Twenty-two
teams from Canada, Pacific North West, Florida, Connecticut, Northern and
Southern California competed, which included the current U.S. Youth and
European Champions. The full range of winds over three days provided for 12
races. Zach Downing and Andrew Cates of San Diego, won the event, followed
by Dane and Quinn Wilson of Santa Barbara; third place went to Patrick Snow
and Storm Brown of San Diego. -- Full report:

* (March 26, 2012) - The Maserati VO70 reached the Ambrose light station in
New York today at 11:50 am GMT (7:50 am EDT), destination point of the
Miami-New York record attempt. However, Giovanni Soldini and his team have
decided not to submit their route time to the World Sailing Speed Record
Council, as they felt the adverse weather conditions (tropical storms,
sudden blasts, windless zones) Maserati encountered did not warrant an
official record. There is no recorded time reference for monohulls from
Miami to New York. Maserati set sail from Miami on March 22 at 06:28:16 GMT
(02:28:16 ETD). -- Full report:

* A large fishing boat swept away by the tsunami that devastated Japan last
year was spotted adrift off British Columbia in western Canada. An airplane
contracted by the government spotted the 50-foot-long boat recently about
160 miles west of Haida Gwaii, slowly drifting toward shore, according to
media reports. The boat was identified as coming from Hokkaido, Japan. The
vessel is one of several Japanese ships swept away by the March 11, 2011,
tsunami that authorities are tracking as the debris field edges closer to
North America. -- Trade Only Today, read on:

* CORRECTION: The photo link in Scuttlebutt 3555 for the International
Rolex Regatta was incorrect. Our apologies to photographers Leighton
O'Connor and Ingrid Abery, and everyone that clicked on it. Here is the
correct link:

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* From Bob Colpitts:
Regarding Volvo 70 casualties (in Scuttlebutt 3555), with 50 years
experience in thundering seas, I've seen a lot of sprung floors and
delaminated bulkheads, and have had ample opportunity to learn what kind of
bow crumples first. As any designer will tell you, the flatter the entry,
the bigger the problem.

A crane once dropped my displacement Roberts 38 sloop with its generous 30
degree deadrise 12 feet into the water. There was a huge splash but not a
hint of damage. The same fall in a flat bottomed modern design would
probably have sunk it.

* From Pete Slaughter:
Amen to the Scuttlebutt editor and his directive (in Scuttlebutt 3555) for
the AC organizers to stop playing with house money and start focusing on
realistic objectives. Their initial plan was dream-like, and criticism
occurred when they wanted to re-tool the event into something clearly
unsustainable. Hopefully they have given pink slips to all their soccer
'experts' and can now focus on hosting a sailing event. Because that is
what it is.

* From Bob Marston, Newport RI:
I really hope Oracle and SF can work together to make hosting the Cup as
good as it can be. If done right it can be a great boost to the local
economy and future of the Sport. Just look at how it transformed Auckland
and Valencia.

Reading between the lines, I worry that it could fall short of what was
expected and therefore sponsors will be less enthusiastic. I hope the city
of SF can keep the big picture in focus. If not, all of us in Rhode Island
would sure like to have another shot at it!

If you stand in one place long enough, you make a line. Think about it.

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