Guest Commentary

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 Paul Ludgate:
It makes me want to throw up seeing comments like this in Scuttlebutt 3465:

“The commercial existence of such a system gives Olivia’s family a substantial leg up in a defective design products liability/wrongful death suit against the harness manufacturer, boat builder, vendors, etc., as it proves a safer system is practical, an element of a products liability case. It also bears on the potential negligence of any junior program that
continues with existing hook and ring systems.”

Most certainly it was a tragedy to take the girl’s life, but all that will come of this type of action is that some lawyers will line their pockets and our “nanny state” will try to ensure there is one less thing that may harm us. Perhaps we should not be on the water at all. After all, drowning is a distinct possibility whenever we venture off terra firma

COMMENT: I received several calls and emails today, all critical of Cory’s comments and my decision to publish them. The purpose of this report was not to drum up business or dismantle youth programs, but rather give thought to insure today’s standard equipment remains the best solution, and for sailing programs to review the tools they believe will protect them in the event of an accident. My apologies to anyone who was offended by this intent. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

* From John McNeill:
The debate regarding a requirement for mandatory PFDs, posted for many races, brings up valid pro and con arguments, but they do not necessarily solve the dilemma. After decades of sailing, and seeing or reading of the huge variety of situations, I have become convinced that the only correct solution today is the inflatable (NOT self-inflating) PFD. It may not serve in the case of unconsciousness, but will provide the individual with control over use in case of rigging entanglements or a full turtling.

One issue with these PFDs however, is maintenance, and it is time for some forward-thinking producer to come out with a program that provides the necessary replacement cartridge and instruction on a timely basis for users. In that manner, we may once again defeat Darwin, and survive.

* From Mary-Ann Sharwood:
I suspect that the breakages in the Volvo Ocean Race are more to do with the sea state than the winds. The waves in the Med would have been steep and short compared to the long swells found in the open ocean in 30 knots.

* From Jesse Fradkin:
I know that I wouldn’t want to be sailing around the world in a boat in which I had any doubt about its ability to take a pounding from a mere 30 knots going upwind. It certainly means I do not think it wise to attempt to race around the world in a similarly under-built boat built for speed way over safety or structural integrity in a decent sea state.

When these lightweight super sleds or cats start to break up in 25 to 30 knots of wind in a race, I truly think it’s past time to rethink exactly what we’re doing here for speed at any cost. So far, thankfully, only the race has been lost in these unfortunate incidents.

COMMENT: The VO 70 rule has evolved to improve safety and durability, but the race organizers must now be wondering what more needs to be done. Risk must exist to foster interest in the race, but the business of the race requires boats to be on the water and not on the hard. Luckily, the four remaining boats are all legitimate contenders, and the video production is light years better than the 2008-9 edition ( – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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What Will Happen on Friday?

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Sailing Shorts

* Ft. Walton Beach, FL (November 8, 2011) – The gulf delivered some sporting conditions for day 2 of the Hobie 16 & Hobie 20 North American Championships. Winds in the 10-14 knots most of the day with very large waves, making upwind a struggle to keep moving through the waves while downwind was all about surfing. Four races were completed. In the Hobie 16 class past champions, Francisco Figueroa/Jolliam Berrios (PUR) now lead followed by Greg Thomas/Karen Sikora (USA). In the Hobie 20 class Kevin Smith/Rundell Curtis (USA) continue to hold the lead over Phil Collins/Bev Collins (USA). Full results:

* St. Thomas, USVI (November 8, 2011) – Watch match-racing at its best in scenic Charlotte Amalie harbor when over a dozen of the world’s best men and women’s skippers will duel in Inter-Club (IC)-24s in the 4th Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), presented by Ulysse Nardin/Trident Jewels & Time, December 1 to 4. There will be waterfront viewing plus a live webcast of this International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade Two Official World Tour Qualifier (WTQ) for the 2012 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). — Full report:

* US Sailing has published a list of frequently asked questions and answers for competitors, race officials or clubs/organizations who are filing or contemplating filing an appeal under rule 70.1, requesting confirmation or correction of a decision under rule 70.2, or requesting an interpretation under rule 70.4. The answers given are merely advice intended to be helpful. The actual rules governing these matters are rules 70 and 71, and
the rules in Appendix F in the US Sailing edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing. Read the FAQ here:

Marketability Matters

(November 8, 2011) – The World Match Racing Tour has today announced a new Tour Invite Policy for the 2012 season which is designed to ensure the world’s leading professional sailing series continues to attract the best sailors and teams to its World Championship events.

A key part of the Tour’s blueprint is for the series to provide its event promoters with access to a consistent pool of the world’s top match racers to ensure high quality racing at their events. The new Tour Invite Policy will therefore adopt a selection model that reflects a combination of performance and marketability. For 2012, the nine Tour Cards will be allocated on three key selection criteria: performance in previous year; rankings; and, an analysis of the team’s ability to add value and consistency to the Tour as a Championship, sports property, media vehicle and as a business.

The fee for a 2012 Tour Card is based on past performance and market availability. The current World Champion will pay $25,000 while everyone else pays a minimum of $45,000. To insure that Tour Card holders represent the international sport, there will be a maximum of two teams per market (ie, country). For markets with more than two bidders, the fee for the Tour Card may increase.

To help Card Holders demonstrate the level of return on investment each season to their sponsors, each Card Holder is also presented with their own team valuation report created by the Tour’s independent valuation agency. Based on the level of exposure that teams receive across the Tour’s multimedia platform, the individual reports provide not only a team valuation figure but also a valuation breakdown for each of their sponsors. In 2010, the average team value for the Tour’s nine Tour Card Holders across the season was over US$770,000.

The Tour requires all applications and confirmation of preferred event options to be submitted by 31 December 2011. Tour Cards for the 2012 season will be allocated on 13 January 2012. — Full report:

BLING: The World Match Racing Tour this week unveiled its new ISAF Match Racing World Championship trophy at jeweller Garrard’s flagship store in Mayfair, London. The new Tour trophy is made from sterling silver with partial gilt and enamel, and adopts a nautical theme complete with spiralling waves, nautical rope detail and the Tour’s famous double sails symbol which sits at the top of the trophy. — Full report:

BACKGROUND: The eight event World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is the leading professional sailing series, and is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with “Special Event” status. Prize money is awarded for each event, with event points culminating in the crowning of the “ISAF Match Racing World Champion”. —

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