In case you guys don't get the Scuttlebutt Newsletters, here is today's issue:
SCUTTLEBUTT EUROPE #945 - 1 APRIL 2005
Produced by boats.com Europe, Scuttlebutt Europe is a digest of sailing
news and opinion, regatta results, new boat and gear information and
letters from sailors. Contributions are welcome, send firstname.lastname@example.org
VOLVO OUT, JMC IN
Sources in Southampton are telling Scuttlebutt Europe that Volvo's car
division, owned by Ford Motor Company in the USA, will not be continuing
as a sponsor of what is now known as the Volvo Ocean Race. A Ford
executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, told our reporter "Nice
race, great sport, especially for our demographic, but we think this has
done more good for the Volvo Marine division in Europe than the car
division, particularly here in North America. And as much as we think
Volvo Penta engines are just swell, that's a separate company entirely,
and we're not much interested in spending millions of dollars promoting
"Just how many more Volvos are going to be purchased with the limited
exposure the race has seen in the USA? Haven't all the rich guys bought
their second wives Volvo wagons to drive the kids around in already? Any
Junior regatta parking lot looks like a Volvo showroom now! We seem to
have done just fine in that market segment, perhaps it's carry-over from
the last VOR marketing, but we've hit the wall, we're just not going to
get that much bang for the buck another time around."
Stepping into the void, and rather quickly, according to our sources, is
China's Jiangling Motors Company, a state-supported company which has been
marketing the "LandWind" sport utility vehicle throughout Europe this
year, the first Chinese automaker to extensively go after this huge
"The brand name 'LandWind' just couldn't be better for a big sailing
race!" said company executive Hwiang Phat. "We're going to use our JMC
moniker rather than the full Jiangliang Motors Company, as test marketing
of that name left our focus group of SINS journalists giggling about a
'Jing A Ling' Race and grabbing their crotches most provocatively. Perhaps
the open sake bar with the luncheon we gave them was not such a good
ALL CARBON OPTIMISTS
In a vote sure to spark global controversy, the International Optimist
Dinghy Association voted today at their annual meeting to allow radical
changes to that most venerable of junior sailing classes: the Optimist.
Carbon fibre is now allowed as a recognised material... and through a
loophole in the rule change, may be used for ANY part of the boat
including the hull.
"The rule change was supposed to just cover the boom and mast, this is an
unintended consequence of vague wording, but the council has no intention
of changing it. We are rather excited, frankly, about the prospect of a 40
pound all-up boat." said Optimist secretary Robert Wilkes. "Thanks to
Viagra and other 'E.D.' medications, the average age of fathers with
Optimist age children has increased by nearly a decade since the 80s.
Boats are heavy. Backs are weak. Hauling an Opti hull off a roof rack
loses its charm after the 50th time you've done it. I can't wait to see
the first all-carbon hull, I'll bet I can lift it onto my Volvo wagon with
Said Opti parent Beaurigard McTavish: "Let's be perfectly honest here, all
this happy talk about sailing being for everyone is balderdash. It's for
the children of the gentry. So what if an all carbon Optimist costs £8000?
The higher cost will keep some of the rabble out of our nice, Corinthian
The AIM-9M is now available for consumer sales through PWC Repellant Corp
of Grand Cayman Island, with guaranteed no-hassle-from-customs shipping to
anywhere in the world. Specifically modified for marine use, its small
size enables deck mounting on virtually any craft. With a low thermal
signature and stealth construction, the odds of successful return fire
from any surviving target are slim to none.
Perfect for scaring off Somalian pirates, jet skiers or just clearing a
spot at that crowded town dock, the AIM-9M is an accessory no serious
sailor should be without.
CLIPPER FLEET SEIZED IN CHINA
All ten Clipper yachts have been seized by the Chinese government. That's
the latest word from Qiangdao, where the fleet arrived this weekend after
a tumultuous race that saw the entire fleet taken out of the water for
keel bolt repairs in Subic Bay, Philippines.
Chinese government officials invoked a little-known law that allows
seizure of Chinese-made goods whose workmanship is such that it could
"bring insult and injury to the State, its glorious leadership and its
people". According to legal scholars at the Hong Kong offices of Dewie,
Cheatham and Howe, the law has never been so publicly enforced before,
having been previously used discreetly to stamp out poor workmanship and
corruption in state industries within the provinces.
The Clipper fleet was built at the Shanghai Double Happiness Yacht Co,
Ltd., and has suffered countless equipment problems since the start of the
race in Liverpool last September. Government officials are offering full
reimbursement to Clipper Ventures for the cost of the boats and are
negotiating a settlement on lost profits, but are moot on who will pay to
fly all the crews back to their home ports now that the race has been
The normally stoic Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was unavailable for comment and
was reportedly searching the Zhonggang Harbourfront for "a sailor's bar,
ANY sailor's bar..."http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk/2006/
GERONIMO LEAVES SAN DIEGO FOR HAWAII
The maxi trimaran Geronimo has diverted from its scheduled trip to San
Francisco and is reportedly headed directly for Hawaii as fast as
possible. A new crossing record? High speed testing? No... getting out of
California waters to avoid huge fines and possible forfeiture of the boat.
California law allows for a $100 fine per incident of littering in State
waterways, that includes privately held marinas. From Capt. Alan Hugenot,
writing in The Log:
"Under California law, it is only a misdemeanor if you are convicted of
dumping garbage into the navigable waters of the state, which means all
inland waters and all waters fewer than three miles offshore.
"In all navigable waters in California, you are subject to both California
and federal law all the time. This means one act of dumping in California
State waters is simultaneously two violations of the law.
"Throwing that beer can overboard can result in conviction for a
misdemeanor at the state level and a felony conviction with prison time at
the federal level.
"However, as you move offshore beyond the three-mile limit, California’s
jurisdiction ceases, and the federal law eases up somewhat allowing some
restricted dumping as you get farther away from the coast, based on the
type of garbage, and the location of the dumping."
Geronimo's infractions? Cigarette butts. Hundreds and hundreds of them.
Complaints first surfaced in Australia where the boat put in for repairs,
but she was gone before more than a few cartons' worth of filters were
tossed in. The situation in San Diego had reportedly grown far more
severe, with skipper Olivier de Kersauson reportedly flicking a lit
cigarette directly at a Coast Guard officer giving him and his crew a
warning. "That was the last straw", said a USCG official speaking off the
record. "Those Frenchies can smoke all they want, this is a free country,
but they can't toss the butts into my kids' drinking and swimming water.
We're going to hit them with a $100 fine for EVERY cigarette butt we find
within a 100 yard radius of that fatcat's floating Formula 1... this city
is about to land one big windfall. Ha. Let them smoke that!"
Realizing that the total fine could well exceed the value of their boat,
the crew hastily cast off this morning and, despite press reports that
they were headed to San Francisco to start a San Francisco to Yokohama
record attempt (that record of 19 days, 15 hours, 18 minutes 9 seconds is
currently held by American Steve Fossett), the boat and crew are headed
into International waters whilst their lawyers discern whether Hawaii and
California have reciprocal maritime littering laws. Perhaps this will be a
San Diego to Yokohama attempt...http://www.rivacom.fr/?page=event&event=geronimo
ELLEN TO CREATE NEW MISS BUDWEISER TEAM FOR WORLD RECORD
Ellen MacArthur has stepped off B&Q trimaran at Dalian China, leaving her
team to complete the next legs of their Asian Record Circuit. Ellen is
headed for Coniston Water, Cumbria, for a photo shoot leading up to what
she has termed "my greatest life dream".. to break the world on-water
speed record, on the same waters that claimed Donald Campbell in his
ill-fated "BlueBird K7" back in 1967.
The current record of 317.60 MPH (511.11kph) is held by Australian Ken
Warby on "Spirit of Australia", set on 8 October 1978 at Blowering Damn,
Another Brit, Nigel MacKnight and his Quicksilver team, have a new craft
that they believe can crack 350 mph... but Ellen and her team have a bit
of history and a huge pile of money behind them... Budweiser.
Famed for its Miss Budweiser hydroplane racing team, which dominated US
racing for decades, the Anheuser Busch company has given Ellen and her
Offshore Challenges partner Mark Turner essentially a blank cheque.
Rumours of a one hundred million US dollar budget are "wildly off the
mark" says Turner, but said that the promised funds were "open ended, and
as much as we're going to need."
Work on the boat to break the record, Miss Budweiser XXII, has been
progressing in secret at the same facility that built the Thrust SSC, the
first land vehicle to break the sound barrier. As with the Quicksilver
boat, Miss Budweiser XXII will reportedly be powered by a Rolls Royce
Ever the superstitious sailor, Ellen has announced her choice of co-pilot
for her record attempt: match racer Andy Green.
"When I read that the Land Speed Record, an astonishing 760 mph, is held
by an Andy Green of the UK, it was a clarion call to me. It's fate. I
called "our" Andy Green, Mark called some contacts at Anheuser Busch, the
entire deal took just 10 days from start to finish. The final sticking
point was Andy's insistence that we fly the burgee of the Imperial Poona
Yacht Club. Budweiser's guys gave in when they realized that a burgee on a
stick will be torn off the boat by the wind well before any 'at speed'
photos would be taken."
Budweiser marketing executives were reportedly unimpressed with the
proposal, reasoning that it is a far cry from 30 knots of boatspeed to
300... until they read about Ellen's exploits in automobile racing on the
popular British television show Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, where she
bested a field of 65 celebrities around a test track, finishing just 4
tenths of a second behind famed Formula 1 driver Damon Hill.
Ellen's record run on Coniston Water will take place in late spring. Sir
Richard Branson and Steve Fossett are also said to be considering a joint
attempt at this most dangerous of speed records.http://www.teamellen.com
* More trouble in the Valencia AC Basin, as there are signs of an open,
and enlarging, underwater vent at the entrance to the new harbour. "Our
dredging seems to have struck nature's equivalent of a high voltage line"
said mayor Rita Barbera. "The dredging barge guys noted a strange bubbling
and hissing sound after their final pass through the channel. In the past
few days the water in that area has become increasingly disturbed, with a
marked temperature increase. It's very puzzling."
Not puzzling at all, says a prominent Spanish oceanographer. But
remarkable nonetheless. Carlos Martinez, speaking through a hand-sign
interpreter, says that this is clearly a geothermal vent, normally found
at great depth in the ocean floor.
In 1977, scientists discovered hot springs at a depth of 2.5 km at a ridge
off the coast of South America. Since that time, numerous hydrothermal
sites have been discovered at the bottom of the ocean. These are also
referred to as geothermal vents - or smokers.
What happens here is that due to plate shifting, there are fissures that
open up in the earth's surface. The ambient bottom water is sucked down
into the cracks and goes down toward the center of the earth and comes in
contact with the hot molten magma at the center of the earth, is
superheated and then is forcibly discharged back into the environment
through the ocean floor.
"Clearly there is a magma tower very close to the surface here, combined
with a deep fissure in the seafloor. This could easily develop into a
major problem, with superheated water, even geysers erupting. Bit of a
problem for boats traversing the channel, I'd say." said Martinez.
"Not a problem for me" said a member of the Victory Challenge. "We love
hot thermal vents up in Scandinavia, the really hot ones you can cook fish
in, the milder ones make for great swimming. Not that I'd want to swim in
the swill around here.. but perhaps the superheated water will sterilize
the water here. We've had some stuff stuck on our rudder that wasn't
seaweed. It was natural, all right, but from the landsharks of Valencia,
not the fish. Floaters, ahoy!"
* Astonishing developments have AC rules gurus and lawyers scrambling this
morning, as it was revealed on the Challenger Commission website that
Alinghi may be ineligible to compete. Why? Their entry fee check bounced
and despite repeated promises from Alinghi's accountants, restitution has
not been made.
"We all wondered if Ernesto was in a bit of a pickle when he decided to
sell off Serono, apparently there were some serious legal issues with the
nuns' urine collection for Metrodin HP, a big payment to hush up the
sisters (all 110,000 of them) and that left the coffers a bit bare for a
couple of months. The Challengers turned a blind eye to this for as long
as they could, but it's past being a sore point, it's now time to rethink
this whole Defender-Challenger thing" said noted AC rules expert Tom
1999 Cruising Catamaran, US123,456. Located in Tokyo, Japan
Malt's Mermaid II, famed Transpacific yacht, recently optimised to IRC.
Definitely a rule-beater.
Complete listing details and seller contact information athttp://www.op97.org/cyberteen/2001/summer/horie/index.html
THE LAST WORD
The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days
of the year. -- Mark Twain