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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1018 - March 1, 2002

Scuttlebutt is a digest of yacht racing news of major significance; commentary, opinions, features and dock talk . . . with a North American emphasis. Corrections, contributions, press releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

I have just returned from the Winter Games in Salt Lake City where I was exposed to the Judging controversies caused by Conflict of Interest accusations against Judges.

ISAF started several years ago to implement Conflict of Interest Regulations and I along with Ken Ryan have been the premier authors of this initiative. It has caused great negative responses from ISAF IU's/IJ's and personal attacks.

The problems in Salt Lake have confirmed that ISAF was right to implement these restrictions. In fact when I explained to Dr. Jacques Rogge what ISAF had implemented he was very complimentary and wished other Federations had been so forward thinking. I told him that ISAF would further tighten the Conflict of Interest restrictions as it has been proven that perception is everything and that there must not be even a shred of evidence which could expose ISAF to any negative media scrutiny.

There may be a rebuttal that Sailing is not a judging sport. ISAF should do everything possible to make sure that it does not become one but areas of our sport are. Match Racing and the policing of Kinetics have introduced a judging aspect and the protest room has always had a judgmental component.

ISAF should make sure that Judges and Umpires have a minimal effect on the outcome of a race and where there must be a judgmental component to ensure that NO conflict of interest is either there or perceived to be there.

Geronimo off Brazil
Early yesterday afternoon, the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Schneider Electric trimaran was already heading for the north-west point of Brazil, thanks to the light trade winds now blowing from the east-south-east. At some 550 nautical miles from the South American continent, Geronimo was skimming over the waves of the South Atlantic at over 15 knots.

Geronimo seems decidedly at ease at this excellent pace and has clocked up another 344 miles on her log counter in the last 24 hours. On learning that Bruno Peyron has set off again on his record attempt, Olivier's comment was: "This new attempt by Orange will have no effect on our round the world strategy and the only meaningful comparison between our respective courses will be the time we are both trying to beat - the 71 days, 14 hours, 22 minutes and 8 seconds set in 1997." --

Orange Will Restart on Saturday
Within a few hours of pulling out Orange's rig on February 15, specialists at Multiplast - the yard in Vannes where the 110ft maxicatamaran was built - had found that the top meter had sheared off the mast completely and the remaining section had a 20mm split running down to the hounds four metres below.

The damage was quickly pronounced repairable. The masthead section would be trimmed and reused and the four-meter section between the masthead and the hounds would be rebuilt using the original half-shell moulds.

At Multiplast, pre-preg carbon fiber cloth was removed from cold storage and laid up in the moulds, sandwiching the honeycomb core. After curing, these shells were laminated together inside and out, grafted onto the mast above the hounds and then baked to 120íC. The masthead section was then grafted on to complete the repair and the new section ultrasonically tested for integrity.

Restepping is scheduled for this Friday 1 March. Sea trials are looking unlikely as Peyron has spotted a weather window between 0600 and 1200 the following morning. Orange will leave the Multiplast yard as soon as her mast is stepped and rigged and make for the startline off Ushant. --

What "upwash" IS NOT: vertical movement of wind flowing up towards the masthead, spilling off the upper leeches of the sails and messing up the wind. So what IS upwash? Picture a rock in a river. The water begins bending around the rock well before it reaches the rock; that's what wind does as it meets your sailplan - upstream, ahead of the sails, the "true wind" shifts: upwash. Ockam systems offer upwash calibration. Contact Tom Davis ( for a calibration crib sheet or to schedule an onboard calibration and system checkup.

To quote possibly the last finisher for Thursday, "If you didn't punch through the high today and hook into the land breeze - you didn't do much sailing today."

First to finish - on Thursday anyway, was Stars and Stripes at 0355. They managed to fight their way to the finish sailing the final 60 miles in 24 hours. That gives you some idea of the sailing conditions down below Cabo these last few days.

The AA boats and all A boats except Pendragon (retired) are painfully close to the finish with very little wind. The Welcome Party begins at 1900 hrs local time (1700 pst) and will be available to most of the competitors if the wind picks up even just a little. There was a great match race battle between Innocent Merriment and Stark Raving Mad. Both boats were close abeam around the imaginary 'bandito' mark. After 1000 nautical miles of sailing Stark Raving Mad crossed ahead of Innocent Merriment by a mere 51 seconds.

Boats finished as of 1230 cst today (in no particular order): Stars and Stripes, Allegra, M-Project, Sea Dancer, Between the Sheets, Stark Raving Mad, Innocent Merriment, and Windswept.

The 'Locals' stole our marks! Not once, but twice! The turning buoy used to guide sailors into the finish line at Punta Mita is just 1 nautical mile from the finish. The mark was set Wednesday evening just before dusk. The finish boat witnessed a local Punta Mita fishing ponga alongside the mark and assumed they were just checking it out or were tending some nearby drift nets. Checking it out is right. 15 minutes later the 8' yellow inflatable pyramid was gone along with three ACR strobe lights and three LED flashlights tied around the mark to light it for the sailors. Darn near a $1000 package shuttled off into the night and out to sea.

We borrowed another yellow mark from North Sails Puerto Vallarta and set it up Thursday morning, sans the lights. Along about dusk Thursday, a competitor not more than a 1/4 mile past the mark called Race Committee and asked if we were maintaining the mark. Of course we weren't was the reply - and three boats witnessed another fishing ponga load the mark, deflate it and speed off out to sea for a night of fishing and playing with their hot new toys. Buoy banditos make it really hard to run regatta. Expensive too. --

The Curmudgeon was navigator on Stark Raving Mad, you can see a picture of the crew at the dock in Puerto Vallarta at He's the raffish fellow in the center, first row.

(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be edited for clarity or space - 250 words max. This is not a chat room or a bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if others disagree.)

* From Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: Scuttlebutt has the claim that Geronimo set a new record from the start line to the Equator of 9 days 7 hours. In fact the outright record is 7 days, 4 hours and 24 minutes, established by Enza in 1994.

(Guest) Editor's note: Sir Robin was co-skipper of Enza (with the late Sir Peter Blake). He is the first person to have sailed single-handed around the world without stopping. Having built the WSSRC website with Sir Peter Johnson, I have no excuse for missing this one. Mea Culpa. See Sir Robin's website at WSSRC:

* Mike Koster: Regarding the announcement from ISAF pertaining to the new interactive web-based service, hopefully this will work better than their on-line classification service introduced May of last year. I'm still waiting for a classification that I applied for May 11, 2001. And this after numerous e-mails requesting the status of my application.

* From Steve Washburn: I think the recent practice over the last few years of establishing classes that allow for motoring in various Southern California races to Mexico is ridiculous. If participation is down, fine, deal with it in other ways. If you want to motor buy a powerboat -- If you want to cruise to Mexico with others-- enter the Baja Ha-Ha and/or establish a cruise to Mexico. But if you want to race-- then race - NO MOTORING.

* From George W. Adams: The wonderful photo sequence of the towboat going under the bridge that crosses a nasty bend on the Black Warrior River at Demopolis, Alabama, is miscaptioned.

The lift span is at the west side of the bridge. When the river is high, you cannot get a tow over to the open span and keep it in shape through the bridge. Standard practice at high water is to drop the tow under the low span on the east side, flank the towboat alone over to the open span, then catch the tow downstream. That is what this towboat is attempted to do.

In Image 1, the towboat is in the slow water at the inside of the bend, apparently shifting two barges into line. In Image 2, you see two deckhands left on the tow to make up the tow again. The towboat didn't start backing soon enough, perhaps because of an engine failure. (If she didn't have enough backing power to handle this bridge, she wouldn't have made it this far downstream.) In Image 3, you can see the open bridge span, and the wave from the first kick astern. Note that the main deck WT doors were closed despite every temptation - the reason this vessel recovered.

Unless it was shut down before the vessel was immersed, the port engine is probably no longer operating in Image 18. And aren't those valiant souls astern coming swiftly to the rescue? Almost just another day on that river.

In case you missed this the first time, see

* From Bruce Knecht: Just wanted to let you know that CNN will rebroadcast The Proving Ground, the one-hour documentary that's based on my book about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race, this Sunday March 3 at 7:00 pm Eastern.

The book continues to do well. In the U.S., the hardcover is in its sixth printing and a paperback edition will be published by Warner Books in April. The Dutch edition was launched last month and there will be others in Germany, France and Italy before the end of the year.

If you're thinking about a new instrument package, consider Brunton Nexus, and have a look at their Multi XL "Jumbo" displays with mast mounting brackets. These systems are packed with features, simple to install, easily calibrated and reasonably priced. One of the best things is that you can start out with a basic system, and build it out over time.

A&E Network today announced a partnership with the 2002 Acura Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) as the kick-off of a wide-ranging promotional campaign in support of its four hour original miniseries, "Shackleton", starring Emmy Award-winner Kenneth Branagh.

A&E will host a special private screening of the "Making of Shackleton," a behind-the-scenes documentary, as well as present The Shackleton Award. The Shackleton Award will recognize one crew member, across all classes, who best exemplifies the leadership and selflessness exhibited by the late Sir Ernest Shackleton who led his crew of 21 men to safety after a 20 month odyssey attempting to reach the South Pole. Sailors will be nominated by their skippers and the award winner will be determined by the race committee, umpires and event organizers.

In 1914 British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton attempted to reach the South Pole. When his ship, Endurance, was trapped by ice, Shackleton, his 27-man crew and their 69 sleigh dogs found themselves adrift on glacial floats -- a mere 85 miles from their destination. The ice-flow pulled them north, but after 10 months, they had to abandon ship when the Endurance was crushed and sank.

Shackelton and his men had to row and sail the lifeboats 100 miles across storm-tossed water to reach Elephant Island, where they expected to be rescued. With no signs of rescue, Shackleton and five others took a 22-foot long lifeboat on a 650-mile journey across one of the most hazardous parts of the freezing ocean. Then, Shackleton and two of his crew embarked on an unmapped journey across the glacier of South Georgia. Miraculously, they survived the climb and a night on the glacier to reach the same whaling station they had set sail from nearly two years earlier. Three months later, Shackleton returned to Elephant Island and rescued the men left behind. Incredibly, on a diet of seal meat and by sheltering under the remaining two up-turned lifeboats, all 21 survived, despite the sub-zero temperatures.

The four-hour movie will premiere on Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and will conclude with Part Two on Monday, April 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. -- and

Adoption of a multiple race format, introduced by the BVI Spring Regatta last year, that highlights class winners rather than an overall champion and a highly competitive fleet ranging from big boats to one-design sport boats and beach cats will add to the excitement at Puerto Rico's Heineken International Cup, set for March 15 to 17, and out of Puerto Del Rey, Fajardo.

"We have a perfect wind, called the Alisios, that will make you fly over the sea. It's a fun weekend on the ocean and the earth," says Club Nautico de Puerto Rico commodore, Angel Ayala.

This year, Ayala continues, "we'll be changing the format to have multiple races for individual classes with two separate race committees for the starts and finishes, no overall winner, and trophies for each class winner." -- Caribbean Racing:

* Another dismasting has taken place in the America's Cup Class. This time it is Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes campaign with the New York Yacht Club who were stricken last Saturday, 23 February while training about one mile outside of Los Angeles harbour.

Team Dennis Conner would not confirm to madforsailing which of their boats had suffered the dismasting, but it is believed to be USA 50 or 54 and not their new boat, on which they only began training this week. The dismasting took place in 10-12 knots of wind and flat seas. -- Mad for Sailing:

* This weekend sees the start of the CORM (Challenger of Record Management) Race Committee Trials. This is an opportunity for the Louis Vuitton Cup Regatta Management Team to refresh past team members and train up new race committee staff. Headed by Dyer Jones as Regatta Operations Director within CORM, it will be Merv Appleton who will be the Race Committee Chairman on the water each day.

In a request for authenticity with the race committee trials Jones has called for challenger syndicates currently training in Auckland to organize themselves and participate in the practice sessions. The challengers have duly met and agreed on a pairings list based on one Round Robin with six boats participating. The definitive list of entries, remember this is an unofficial event, includes two boats from Prada ITA-48 Luna Rossa and ITA-58 Young America, and one each from OneWorld Challenge with USA-51 (ex-America True), Oracle Racing USA-49 (ex-AmericaOne), Alinghi with SUI-59 (ex-Be Happy) and GBR Challenge with GBR-52 (ex-Nippon Challenge).

The Swedish Victory Challenge have been effectively sidelined because although they have two boats in Auckland currently, neither of them are a 1999 vintage boat. The Victory Challenge team didn't want to enter Orn (SWE-63), one of the most recently built boats in Auckland, and a boat that had showed good speed in last month's AC International Regatta. It was felt by the other challengers that the Victory Challenge's 1995 boat, the old NZL-38 and now known as Cristina (SWE-38), would be too slow, defeating any value in racing them. -- Louis Vuitton Cup website:

* GBR Challenge has named 12 April as the day when Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will visit the GBR Challenge base on Cowes' Medina River to christen GBR-70, GBR Challenge's race boat and the first ACC boat ever to be built in Britain.

GBR-70 was laid down on 1 November 2001 in Cowes with composite experts Jason Akers and Brandon Linton heading the 22-strong construction team. GBR-70 is the fifth ACC boat they have built together. -- Yachting World:

Determined by Sailing World's coaches panel: Michael Callahan (Georgetown), Ken Legler (Tufts), and Mike Segerblom (USC).

Top five Coed (prev. rank)
1. Harvard (1)
2. Georgetown (6)
3. St. Mary's (7)
4. Tufts (4)
5. Hawaii (5)

Top five Women (prev. rank)
1. St. Mary's (1)
2. Brown (2)
3. Old Dominion (3)
4. Connecticut College (4)
5. Yale (5)

Complete rankings at

* Olivier de Kersauson: "We're finally out of the glue, but with a bit of a hangover from days of being becalmed. We had a bit too much of it and we're all on our knees. Neither the time nor the heart to celebrate crossing the line or - as far as half the crew are concerned - to create those everlasting memories that the navies of the world concoct with their extravagant recipes. Gloomy, tired and almost humiliated by such impotence.

Four crappy days stuck like glue - I haven't seen anything like it for twenty years.

Not happy, not in a good mood.

Fed up with the quiet, too: nothing to do, we've done it all.

Fed up with not being able to control my anger long enough to appreciate the sublime sight of Geronimo making the most of each breath and sparkling in the moonlight.

With my eyes glued to the clock, I was so busy watching that I didn't see this extraordinary wind dancer skimming over the black sea. Washed by the returning wind, I now remember it and I realize that I was touched by a glorious moment that I didn't dare to grasp."

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. - Arthur Godfrey