Brought to you by Seahorse magazine, 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
America's Cup: Sandy Hook New Jersey
It's official... and a big surprise. The 35th America's Cup will be sailed off the shore of New Jersey, at Sandy Hook. Most recently famed for the catastrophe of Hurricane Sandy, Sandy Hook has a long history with the America's Cup and Transatlantic races.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, the Americas Cup races were held off Sandy Hook. The Twin Lights provided an ideal vantage point for following the action. It was during the 1899 race between the Columbia (USA) and Shamrock (Great Britain) that Marconi sent his historic wireless report from an observation ship to his groundbreaking radar array set up in front of the lighthouse.
Two years later, Columbia became the first ship to win the Americas Cup twice. The 1903 race featured the Reliance - still the largest racing sloop ever constructed. The competition moved north to Newport, RI after 1920.
In all, 13 Americas Cup events were run off the Jersey Coast. The United States won every one of them. The losing skipper in each of the last four Americas Cup was Sir Thomas Lipton of Lipton Tea fame.
"We welcome the America's Cup back to it's REAL historical home" said the Governor's spokesman Michael Drewniak. "We celebrate the traditional roots of the working class yacht crewman here, as opposed to those latte-sippers up in Newport whose primary connection with the lower classes was hiring them to polish their monocles."
"This also gives us an opportunity to shovel more Sandy Relief funds into the pockets of developers and finally get shoreline reconstruction finished. We've been planning this for over a year.... deny homeowners needed funds, use eminent domain to seize property, and build a new America's Cup center to attract all our billionaire friends and contributors to the fabulous New Jersey shoreline. Plus we get to flip the finger, again, at New York City. We'll probably shut down the George Washington Bridge just to make it a pedestrian viewing platform during the races."
Drewniak took no questions at the press conference on advice of counsel in light of the ongoing US Attorney probe of the Governor's office staff.
When asked by reporters at a fundraising event in Las Vegas to explain the contradiction in honoring the working class while at the same time seizing their property and razing their houses, Governor Chris Christie replied "Vaffanculo" and recommended an anatomical impossibility.
Elvstrom Sails New Apr-1 Makes Sail Reefing History!
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Elvstrom Sails technology team have invented the World's first fully wind 'reactive membrane', creating sails that never require reefing.
Developed from extensive research by Elvstrom's design team, the revolutionary APR-1 Film contains a honeycomb weave of micro-pores. Under the loads of increasing wind pressure, the micro-pores automatically open up, exhausting excess wind through the sail. This depowers the sail, and also causes acceleration on the leeward side of the sail, providing enhanced speed, lift and performance.
The APR-1 film is designed to be integrated into all Elvstrom's sail fabrics and non-delaminating membranes. Each sail is run through a DST trial, a bespoke 'displacement stress programme', in order to configure the exact wind strength and polars when the micro-pore exhaust system should react, to ensure maximum power is maintained in light to medium conditions.
For cruising sailors, or offshore racers, there's no more climbing out of the cock-pit in lively conditions to reef. Plus, it means a de-cluttered cock-pit and reduced weight as reef systems and lines can be discarded. And for the racing enthusiasts clean, aerodynamic sails without the addition of reef patches.
Jeremy White, loft manager for Elvstrom Sails UK says, "We are really excited about the launch of the APR-1 technology, which we believe opens up sailing in a much wider range of conditions for many of our customers. We are looking forwards to hearing our customers feedback!"
Find out more about the new Elvstrom revolutionary APR-1 film at www.elvstromsails.com
Personal Climate Controlled Offshore Clothing
MUSTO invent the first thermostatically controlled offshore gear for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's round the world race campaign.
MUSTO, the world's leading offshore sailing brand, has revealed it has been exclusively collaborating with the elite round the world race team to develop a range of ground-breaking personal climate controlled (PCC) offshore clothing. The new suit, the PCC, will sit within the HPX Pro Series range which has been developed to meet the specific needs of the professional ocean racing sailor.
Based on state of art technology developed by the space agency, the super-lightweight, fully waterproof and breathable, one-piece stretch-to-fit Abu Dhabi PCC suits will enable the crew to maintain a comfortable body temperature whatever extremes of hot and cold they encounter during the 38,739 nautical mile race.
The ambitious project was commissioned jointly by MUSTO and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing after physiologists in the UAE capital discovered that the Emirate's warm winter conditions, which average at 23 degrees Celsius in December and January, were the perfect conditions to support peak athletic performance and muscle recovery.
To activate the suits on board their new yacht Azzam, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew will plug themselves into the master PCC units located at the back of the boat. Once attached, the sailors can dial up their desired body temperature using a thermostat keypad built into the forearm of the suit. Lithium battery backup will maintain heat for up to two hours when not connected to allow the sailors to unplug during watch changes or to leave the cockpit for a sail change.
Additional upsides of the body hugging suits compared to traditional offshore gear are previously undreamt of levels of freedom of movement and massive savings in the weight of the crew gear.
Nigel Musto, President of MUSTO, said "For years we have been trying to reduce clothing weight whilst maintaining performance. Now with the innovative Abu Dhabi PCC suit not only have we achieved a significant weight reduction in kit, about 90% or 80kg, but we've also improved both performance and recovery by allowing the sailors to maintain a consistent muscle temperature. The performance gains we have seen as a result are extremely significant."
"As the suit is so innovative we nervously awaited feedback from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's first sail aboard Azzam the response was so overwhelmingly positive from all the team that we couldn't wait to unveil the PCC suit."
"In the new one-design world of the Volvo Ocean Race, every reduction in weight or improvement in performance is like gold dust to the teams and this offshore clothing breakthrough could ultimately make the difference between winning and losing."
ADOR Skipper Ian Walker commented "I'm certain that the MUSTO PCC Suit is a real game changer I can't wait to wear the finished version on the start line in October. We are now able to sail around the world in our own microclimates which for me will be set to mimic a perfect Abu Dhabi day in December. It's set to be the most comfortable Volvo Ocean Race I have ever done"
For MUSTO the breakthrough represents a new approach to offshore sailing clothing design, which it hopes will be adopted by more elite racing teams in the future. The Abu Dhabi PCC suits will undergo four months of further tests and modifications as part of ADOR's training programme in Europe and North America before the final race-ready suits are handed over to the team in September.
MUSTO plan to have the new suits available in stores by the end of July 2015.
Watch the video here
"Wave Strikers" Approved For Rio 2016
A series of secret memos leaked to Scuttlebutt Europe from insiders at the ISAF and IOC reveal that officials have agreed to a radical addition to all sailcraft at the 2016 Olympics. A new concept for the Olympics.. but an old nautical concept. They're being called "Wave Strikers".
The Wave Striker is in four parts (eight for the Nacra 17, a set for each hull)... a short bowsprit, martingale stay, dolphin striker, and bobstay... with just a few inches of the assemblage submerged.
"Turd strikers" is closer to the truth, said IOC consultant and Scottish sewage engineer Beaurigard "Scruggs" McTavish. "We've been forced to take radical action given the conditions at the sailing venue in Rio. And by conditions, I mean the foulest, most polluted waters anyone's ever been foolish enough to sail in willingly, and mind you, I'm a member of the River Lea Yacht Club. Local officials will use netting and trawlers to remove the larger pieces of flotsam (dead horse carcasses, beach chairs, old refrigerators, etc)... but it's the human waste, particularly 'floaters' that are the big issue here...
"Brazilian turds seem to have an affinity to fiberglass... a few of them stuck to your centerboard and rudder and your boatspeed is sure to drop below what will win you a medal" McTavish continued.
"We've come up with a fairly simple solution... a razor sharp striker that will both slice the big ones in half, but also push them to the sides to deflect from the boat's appendages. Granted, there's a bit of risk involved with collisions... any cut that is exposed to these waters will require instant tetanus shots, massive antibiotics... infection isn't a 'risk' it's a certainty. Does add an element of excitment and manliness to the endeavour, eh?"
Volvo Ocean Race: Extended Stealth Mode
Borrowing a page from the Clipper Round the World Race... and making it a chapter: that's the premise behind the new "Navigator's Leg" to be sailed between Sanya and Auckland in the upcoming 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race.
In homage to the navigators of the South Pacific who for centures only used the sun and stars to navigate, the entire fourth leg of the VOR will be sailed without electronics or communications of any kind. No GPS, no satphones, nothing but a sextant and astrolabe.
"We debated even those two instruments" said VOR head Knut Frostad. "It's been over a millenium since Polynesians voyaged to Easter Island with no instruments at all... nearly 250 years since Tupaia guided Captain Cook from Tahiti to Rurutu... but those ancient skills have vanished into the mists of time. Tough enough to use just a sextant."
The only electronics allowed aboard any of the VOR 65s will be an emergency satellite communication beacon that if used for anything other than an emergency will mean disqualification from the leg. No laptops, no cell phones, no sat phones, nothing.
"The lack of day to day reporting from the boats is a factor we had to come to grips with in terms of our sponsors and race fans," said VOR Technology Director Jordi Neves. "But then we saw what CNN could manage to do for days on end. Endless speculation annd commentary on the missing Malaysian aircraft... countless hours of utterly fact-free 'expert' opinions... and there were, of course, no communications from that aircraft at all. We think that the pent-up anticipation from the media on who emerges from the sea first will more than make up for the loss of daily 'food is wretched, we're all hot and smelly' reports. We just hope they all manage to find Auckland..."
New Rating Rule
The SuperRating Computer. Click on image to enlarge.
A new rating rule proposed by the Federazione Italiana Vela - (FIV) today has hit the grand prix sailing world like a thunderclap. The new rule promises to combine the best elements of IRC, IRM, PHRF, ORCi, ORC Club, HPR, ORR, PY... with additional factors: crew weight and constant, real time, on board wind measurements.
Genius amalgamation or mathematician wet dream? Time will tell... in terms of both time on time and time on distance, both of which factor into this as-yet unnamed rule (the acronym alone is rumoured to be over two dozen letters in length).
The new factor? "We weigh the crew before a race... everyone knows the value of 'rail meat' upwind. It's appropriate that that be considered into a comprehensive rating rule" said Ferruccio Ferrare, lead developer of the supercomputer program being developed at Tor Vergata University in Rome in conjunction with the FERMI computing system installed at CINECA.
Once all the boat, sail, appendage and crew measurements are entered into the race program, real time measurements of wind speeds during the race, aboard each boat, are factored in. "The advantage of suddenly finding a patch of wind... or the disadvantage of sailing into a calm patch, will be completely negated by the rating rule factoring this into the time allotment. Now it will be pure sailing without luck."
"Utter madness" said a spokeswoman for the RORC Rating Office. "One wonders how many PhD level mathematicians will be entered on crew forms as 'Gelato salesmen', a common practice taken to heart by several Mediterranean nations when the ISAF clamped down on professionals."
The complexity of the rule is so vast that competitors are unlikely to have any idea of how they've finished on corrrected time/distance/weight until well after a race has finished.
"Nonsense... our supercomputer can perform a 20 petaflops per second, we'll only need a few minutes to sort out the results." said Ferrare. "Trust me, this will be great."
Landsailing In The Tar Sands
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While environmentalists decry the "hellscape" that portions of Alberta Canada have become, a group of daredevil landsailors has found the promised land. Or so says Al Czervik, Commodore of the Athabasca River Yacht Club.
"When the River's levels of cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, arsenic, hydrochoric acid, sulfur, sulfuric acid, iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, uranium, radium, tungsten, vanadium, plutonium, polonium, aluminum, beryllium, phosphate and benzine went just ever so slightly above the 'instantly fatal' levels, we decided to turn our interest to landsailing."
"The tar sands extraction and mining companies that have provided such wonderful economic opportunities here have in many cases 'restored' the newly clear-cut arboreal forests as grazing land. Not only has that helped with the recovery of our beloved Wood Bison from near extinction, but it's given us thousands of acres of land that will only support the hardiest of prairie grass ... which it turns out is fantastic for landsailing...
"The winds howl here, and while we do have to contend with the occasional Haboob laden with heavy metals and prairie dog feces, you can landsail here for mile and miles. The biggest risk is hitting a bison at speed; but if you survive and the bison doesn't, you'll have hundreds of pounds of low fat, high protein meat to pack into your survival bunker. In case of a zombie apocalypse or another big fracking-induced earthquake. Come visit Alberta!"
Iceboats In The Olympics: Optional Rollerblades
The International Olympic Committee today announced an exciting development for sailing: Iceboats in the Winter Games.
"We tried hard to get the Star back in the Games" said an IOC representative who insisted on anonymity. "With Brasil as the host nation and that nation's long history of world class, and medal winning Star sailors, we thought that was going to be a shoe-in. But alas, the excellence of Brasilian Star sailors like Robert Scheidt, Lars Grael, Torben Grael, Marcelo Ferrera, Bruno Prada worked against Brasil! Many nations without a strong field of Star sailors actually opposed inclusion in 2016!
"So we turned a blind eye towards that rather treacherous back-stabbing, on the provision that they'd all support inclusion of another sailing class... in the Winter Games.
"One very big concern was brought to the forefront at Sochi... air temperatures and the utter impossibility of ice sailing in slush. So we've proposed a radical option that has solved the problem... the boats, rather heavily modified Skeeters, can be fitted with either blades... or roller blades.
"We'll not see the blinding speeds of true, hard ice sailing if the venue temperatures rise and we have to put on the rollers, but at least we'll get some sailing in, and we will have fewer high speed pitchpoles than when ice blades suddenly meet mush."
At press time, stock in Pewaukee Wisconsin-based iceboat companies was soaring.
Harken Preserves Maritime Tradition With Exclusive Rum Blend
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Recent rumors of a potential Barbados rum shortage prompted Harken to take action for their rum-loving sailors by stocking up on some exclusive, limited edition Harken Bay Rum! Rum, like Harken, has a history deeply embedded in the maritime community as sailors in the 1600s were provided with up to half a pint of rum per day as an essential ration aboard ships. Sourced in Pewaukee, Wisconsin USA, this exclusive, limited edition, premium dark rum originates back to 1967 and uses only the finest Black Magic sugar cane from the tropical climates of the Performa Islands.
In celebration of rum's dedication to sailors everywhere, we proudly display this limited edition bottle and blend of Harken Bay Rum. Enjoy!
COCKTAIL IDEAS: If you are more of a cocktail person why not make your Harken Bay Rum into a mixer? After a number of rigorous tests, we recommend Harken Bay Rum cocktails include a mix of Radial liqueur and a shot of T2 for an eclectic mix of flavors that will take you right back to the sea!
Harken, Innovative Drinking Solutions.
*Please drink reasonably responsibly.
The Last Word
In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre: 'Au revoir, gopher'. -- Caddyshack
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