Brought to you by Boats.com Europe, Scuttlebutt Europe is a digest of sailing news and opinions, regatta results, new boat and gear information and letters from sailors -- with a European emphasis. Contributions welcome, send to email@example.com
A First... Two Legs For One VOR Stopover
The Volvo Ocean Race has announced a new leg for the 2014-15 event, with unprecedented "second leg" at Itajai, Brazil.
A bit more than the usual stopover inshore racing, the new leg will run from Itajai out into the Atlantic to round Saint Helena, and then back, before the next leg to Newport Rhode Island.
"In effect now we have three stopovers in Brazil" said VOR CEO Knut Frostad. Leg one stops at Recife where the state of Pernambuco is sponsoring an entry. "We can now confirm a new entry from the state of Santa Catarina, and as usual, we like to base our legs around confirmed teams. We already had a stopover in Itajai at the end of the leg from Auckland, and to clinch the deal we've agreed to a long 'out and back' returning to port. This will make for a very prolonged venue party for visitors, but if any nationality can sustain those levels of partying, it's the Brazilians. Have you ever had a Caipirinha? Ever seen someone drink about 2 dozen of them in one sitting? I have. Not to name names, but don't go drinking with the Brazilian Olympic Team if you value your life and liver..."
Taking into consideration sailors' well-founded fears of a very slow leg across and back through the Doldrums, the race committee has reserved the right to allow the boats to use their engines for as much time as it may take to help the 3000+ mile traverse stay within the scheduled 10 days. "We can't have them just bobbing out there for weeks, if need be, we'll will impose strict horsepower limitations as part of the one design rules, one design propellers, possibly exact engines across the fleet, and then fire them up if the winds won't cooperate" added Knudson.
"Doesn't hurt, frankly that Volvo has a division that makes marine engines, so we will see some nice company cross-branding if the Doldrums really hurt the sailing. A win-win regardless, eh?".
Larry Writes a Check, "STFU" Program Gains Steam Worldwide
The San Francisco Business Times reports that ORACLE founder and leader of the ORACLE Racing America's Cup team has written a check to the city of San Francisco for $20 million USD, with an unusual stipulation: city councilman and gadfly John Avalos has to "shut the f*** up" about the America's Cup until it's over.
An animated Larry Ellison spoke to reporters after leaving city hall, saying "I'd just had it, frankly. My company employs tens of thousands of people, many here in the Bay Area. The mutlipler effect of our technologies in synergy with other tech giants has powered the Tech Boom that has added tens of billions of dollars in tax revenues and countless jobs."
"I spent tens of millions of my own money winning the America's Cup to bring it home to San Francisco Bay, one of the greatest, most spectator-friendly sailing venues in the world. The event is going to bring in millions in revenue and tons of jobs to the area. And yet this annoying little gnat whines about having been 'played' by the America's Cup, and fusses about a lousy 20 million. What a wanker. Not to be to flippant, but I have that much money in my couch cushions. Worth every dime to not have to hear him again. My lawyers have an ironclad agreement and Mr. Avalos will quite literally be sued into oblivion if he utters a single negative comment again until the event is over."
"I should have thought of this before. I've made lots of political contributions over the years, but now I think my money would be best spent buying silence from political cretins. I wonder how much it would take to get Sarah Palin to go hide in a bear cave for a few years..."
* In a related development, the STFU program has taken root in Europe, with English billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson paying a reported 30 million pounds to have David Cameron and George Osborne "put a sock in their pie-holes" according to a source inside the Virgin Group.
German industrialist and sailor Hasno Plattner, founder of SAP, has reportedly paid 3 milliion Euros "to never hear Angela Merkel speak another word about austerity budgets" which he claims, with ample evidence, are destroying Europe. "I'd have paid another million to videotape her eating a can of dog food, the same fate she's forced upon millions of pensioners across the continent, but she turned it down. She'd probably do it for 2 million. As George Bernard Shaw famously told a dinner date 'we've determined what kind of woman you are, now we're just negotiating the price' ".
Regrettably there have not been enough takers in the "Silence the Hound Dog" fund to get Silvio Berlusconi to shut up. "His fortune, his ego, and his contempt for anything remotely restrained and civilized have stymied our efforts" said a prominent Italian industrialist speaking on terms of anonymity.
Who Needs The 'X' Factor When Boats Are Being Assessed For The 'Taste' Factor
The IRC Rating Authority recently published guidelines on how to photograph your boat if the Rating Offices in Britain or France request images to help them assess the design. What they didn't mention is that in line with Issue 1 of the new ISO 130401 Avoidance of Visual Harm directive, they will be using photographs they receive for a new input added to the IRC program called TF: Taste Factor.
When we contacted the RORC Rating Office in Lymington, who jointly own and administer the IRC rule with UNCL in France, their official comment was that they were bound by international directives just like everybody else. However, a member of staff when pushed for confirmation, explained:
'We sometimes get applications from boats that have no taste in decor, are filthy dirty or are downright ugly; of course we also get some that are really, really nice. We think that pretty boats with nice upholstery should be encouraged, and the Taste Factor is one way of controlling what the boats on the race course look like.'
It has yet to be confirmed whether there will be a grandfathering clause in the new Taste Factor, but perhaps now is the time to give your boat a spring clean and order some new upholstery! It might also be wise to think pretty hard before applying those tasteless graphics, and if you're looking at purchasing a new boat, consider this: just how attractive is it?
You can find the IRC photograph guidelines here: http://tinyurl.com/irc-photo-guide
HPR To Embrace Wing Sails
Recognizing the leadership taken by the America's Cup in providing cutting edge ideas on making boats go fast, the HPR rating system will now embrace wing sail structures into its rating system. The other principles of HPR will remain intact - boats must be offshore-capable and conform to OSR Category 1 standards - but this new tolerance in sail propulsion is seen as a move to keep HPR at the forefront of design technology.
"We will have to make some adjustments in how to measure and rate boats with wing sails, but I'm confident we can find the right solutions," said Bill Lee, legendary Santa Cruz-based ULDB designer and builder, and author of the HPR Rule. "What's important is that we retain our perceptive edge at being on the forefront of technology in the sport, something the America's Cup has provided for over a century, and we see this as being a great place to make the millions spent in current AC design more relevant to the mainstream of the sport."
"Yes, it would be a little different having these boats to race against," said Steve Benjamin, a founder of HPR and co-owner of one the latest HPR designs, the Carkeek 40 Spookie. "But this is a class dedicated to innovation and speed, so we welcome all design attempts to provide fast, close racing and inspire others to want to join in on the fun."
From the AC side, the move is also seen as important to give a place to apply the technology development by the few remaining AC teams, as well as employment opportunities for team members once the current AC cycle has finished.
"Who knows what's going to happen after this summer is over, Larry could decide to start playing golf," said Russell Coutts, CEO of Defender Oracle. "I'm all set for a while, but our team and the others will likely do a massive downsizing this Fall, and these guys will need something to do. Winged sails on high-speed offshore boats sounds like a perfect solution."
Harken Winches Go Glam
Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Taking inspiration from laptop manufacturers, Harken adds three new fashion styles to their Radial® Winch line: Zebra, Leopard, and Glitter.
The Harken design team developed a complex pattern making element that, when added to their manufacturing process, allows them to create funky new designs on their winches. The first three patterns released in the fashion range are zebra stripes, leopard spots (in genuine fake fur effect) and a dazzling glitter finish.
The elements are interchangeable. If the mood of the yacht changes, simply take the winch apart as if you were servicing it, unclip the styled sections, and replace them with an alternative pattern or colour-way.
"Having listened to a number of requests from sailors, there is a proven need for personalising the look of our winch range," states Peter Harken. "We like to be at the forefront of the marine industry and when our engineers realised we had the manufacturing capabilities to style components of our winches, it was a no brainer to come up with some funky new designs." Harken's chief stylist, Toby LaRone, states his inspiration for our first three prints as from the early days of Harken in the late sixties and early seventies when glam chic was at the forefront of fashion. "I really felt it was a good fit for today's accessorized market. And why not put some jazzle on board!"
The Harken UK projects team specified the Zebra winches on T'rextasy, the new TP52 which is in build as we speak.
These glamorously innovative styles are available in sizes 20 - 70 and are available April 1, 2013. The design team continues their work on future style designs; neon fluorescent colour range and floral prints are coming soon.
Cutty Sark Burns Again
Cutty Sark's glass canopy, pre-fire. Click on image to enlarge.
Fire broke out last evening on the most famous of all Clipper Ships, the Cutty Sark. This just months after completion of a restoration project costing over 50 million pounds from a fire in 2007 that nearly destroyed the iconic vessel.
Virtually the entire hull has been destroyed, with only the three masts left intact with most of their rigging in salvagable condition.
This second fire was not caused by workmen as in 2007, this one was from Mother Nature... and glass.
The historic vessel had been hoisted more than three metres above the ground at its riverside location.
This allowed a gallery, cafe and entertainment space to be created underneath.
The glass canopy was installed to protect the lower part of the ship and lets visitors walk beneath the hull.
But conservation groups have in the past criticised the canopy, designed by Eden Project architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, for obscuring the lines of the hull -- one of the ship's main attractions.
Local fire marshall Beauregard T. "Scruggs" McTavish, leader of a group that's protested the Cutty Sark project for years stated today the design itself caused the blaze.
"A warm day, glass canopy, glass saltshaker and a pile of napkins. Ever used a magnifying glass to start a fire? The concentration of sunlight through that horrid canopy focused on a near empty salt shaker which in turn focused on a napkin dispenser. Whoosh! Fire. We warned them that the glass canopy was going to be trouble. To say nothing about it being an insult to a fine vessel. All so that yuppie larvae could sip their half-caf skim milk caramel frappa-whatevers beneath the greatest ship that ever sailed the seas. Drink enough of that swill and your gender orientation will change, but I digress..." said Scruggs.
Sailor and architect Julian Harrap, who restored the SS Great Britain and has sailed the Atlantic five times, was equally scathing. "Why on earth hoick it up into the air? Why do you have to put these bloody great beams right through the middle of it, to damage the fabric of it?'
He suggests that now the best path given England's dire financial straits is the opposite tack of what went before:
"Last time we hoisted her up. This time, let's set the burned husk of the hull into the earth where it belongs now, to the ages. Leave the masts and rigging sticking up above ground, plant some grass and turn it into the UK's greatest and most interesting picnic area. Ban any restaurant or gift shop from within a hundred yards of the place. Bring your own picnic basket and blanket, return the ship to the working class in honor of those who toiled in its crew those many years ago. The cost would be about as close to zero as you can get for a project like this. A backhoe, guy wires and grass seed. We can sort it in a week."
There was at press time no comment from the Cutty Sark Trust.
Selected excerpts from the Telegraph:
Demon Possessed Spinnaker?
Satan's own spinnaker? Click on image to enlarge.
Noted televangelist Pat Robertson, based in Virginia, USA, has taken a fair amount of criticism lately for telling a caller to his show that "Not all sweaters you get from a Goodwill store are demon-possesed" but also stating that "Can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes. Your mother's just being super cautious so hey, it isn't gonna hurt you any to rebuke any spirits that happen to have attached themselves to those clothes."
Comments across the political and religious spectrum ranged from "barking mad, a complete waste of protoplasm" to "I think you'd be hard pressed to find any sane person who'd bother to cross the street to piss on his head if his hair was on fire" and the like.
But if a couple in Brighton are to be believed, Robertson may not be far off the mark. They claim that the spinnaker on their Contessa 32 is demon possessed.
Roger and Rita Fairbanks purchased their spinnaker at the Batley Townswomans Guild boat jumble last fall, and in every instance of sailing this spring, they have suffered from single, double and even a triple wrap.
"Batley had an issue with some gypsy 'travelers' inhabiting the space a week before the jumble. Fortunately unlike the recently cancelled Dorset Jumble, they cleared out without a legal nudge, but they appeared to be Romany, less trouble than the Irish in some respects, but this one old woman I recognized from their encampment came to the jumble, shrieked some undiscernable words and was wearing what looked to be AC/DC light-up devil horns. I believe she cursed everything there." said Rita.
"Without fail, this spinnaker wraps itself, rather diabolically I think, for it will do so in any wind condition. It's like it's mocking me. I swear I heard growling from the forward locker where we stow it, but Rita thinks that was just Basil, her pet rat terrier doing a bit of mousing... Funny, seemed like a much lower tone than that wretched little rodent can manage. It sounded like 'GET OUT'. The local vicar isn't too keen on exorcisms, I'm at a loss of what to do. Sail in a non-spinnaker class and bury this thing in a garlic patch with a cross and a Bible is my well-considered opinion".
J/70 New Olympic Class, Upsets Star Hopes
Hopes that the venerable Star would return as a keelboat event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio have been dashed with the surprise announcement from the IOC that an eleventh medal WOULD be awarded to a keelboat. The new J/70.
"Three hundred fifty boats sold across the globe in a very short period of time... that was a huge factor in our decision making process" said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "The class met the global criteria in, what, a month? Simply astounding growth."
The site of the racing for the class is also a shock: Copacabana Beach. "With a lifting keel, and class rules permitting a 2.5 hp engine, we can rope off a section of the beach and launch right into the surf. With the Stars we'd have to have had an army of volunteers and countless boat lifts." said long-time ISAF staffer Simon Forbes. "Our toughest decision will be how far offshore to hold the racing from the beach. Not for considerations of wind or tides... we need to keep the nearly all-male crews a bit away from the beach. We need to make sure they concentrate on sailing, and not so much the girls of Copacabana. Shocking perhaps that world class sailors could be distracted by stunning women wearing about 4 square inches of cloth, but such is the nature of our sport" added Forbes.
"But even a few hundred yards offshore, the natural arena there is such that literally hundreds of thousands of people will be able to view the sailing. Now we just need to get the IOC to permit advertising on the mainsails and spinnakers, and make sure ISAF gets a good cut of that action" said ISAF Secretary General Jerome Pels.
The Last Word
This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. -- Pudd'nhead Wilson