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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1022 - March 7, 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.

SWEDEN'S VICTORY CHALLENGE
(Justin and Cheryl from the 2003ac website talked with Mats Johansson, project manager, skipper of Sweden's Victory Challenge for the America's Cup. Here are two excerpts from the story they posted in the 'spy network sightings' section of the site's Forum.)

* The new generation Örn was used in the International America's Cup regatta as they "needed to find so many answers; how the boat works; how fast it is. But we have got a lot of information now, so I think we can design a much, much better boat for the second one." Mats recognised that "you need to give something, to get something."

It was important to test Örn (SWE-63) against NZL-60 - the fastest boat in the last AC. In an informal inter-syndicate race won by Örn, Mats believed TNZ were doing the best they could, as their sponsor was present. Victory has also raced against One World in the International AC Regatta and informally against Alinghi using the old generation boats - SWE-38 and SUI-59, the modified former BeHappy.

Örn was not entered for the CORM regatta as Victory already had all the answers they were looking for and there was no reason to give other Challenger's more information than they already had.

Victory's target was to win the LVC final. They believed they had a very good chance of being one of the top four qualifiers. However, "one of the most important things in this game is boat speed and you never know exactly what your boat speed will be....You need to have a little luck to get the weather you have designed the boat for and there are other small things. If we get a fast boat, we are good enough to sail the boat to victory."

Asked if he considered it possible for one of the boats to be much quicker than the others in the series, Mats said yes - he thought it was quite possible.

* Who do you think will be the strongest competitors? "I don't know exactly. We don't look so much at other teams. We know Prada, Oracle, OneWorld, Alinghi - they spend huge money on it and, of course, they could be strong but I think Dennis Conner will be strong too. I have no idea. It is not easy to say." Victory are more focussed on their own effort, and did not have too much time to worry about the other syndicates. Mats said that they were better off concentrating on what THEY were doing themselves, rather than looking outside.

When do you hope to have your new boat in Auckland? "Say, at the beginning of August."

Will that give you enough time? "No, not enough time but you can never get enough time in this game.... All the results we get from Örn we use them to put the lines right on the second boat."

ENOUGH
Yachtsman Grant Dalton, Amer Sports One skipper, has said he will not compete again in the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. The 44-year-old New Zealander will end a 20-year involvement with the race in June when he steps ashore in Kiel, Germany at the end of the final leg. Dalton, who has competed five times in the race formerly called Whitbread, said: "I won't do another race like this Volvo again. "But I will do another non-stop race because I enjoyed it."

The Volvo Ocean Race consists of nine legs, with stops at 10 ports, racing through four oceans. Amer Sports One lies in second place, behind Germany's Illbruck after four legs. Dalton, with three previous wins and two second place finishes, broke two ribs in a fall on the Cape Town to Sydney leg and fractured three vertebrae. He also developed trench foot, a level of cold reached prior to getting frostbite, which involves serious damage to nerve endings, during the Southern Ocean leg from Auckland, New Zealand to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Dalton still intends to compete in The Race in 2004, a no-rules non-stop sprint around the world beginning and ending in Marseille, France. - CNN.Com/ Inside Sailing.

Full story: www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/

NEW PERFORMANCE LAMINATES FOR GRAND PRIX RACE BOATS
Bainbridge International has recently combined there renowned 'off shore' (OS) scrim and a grey pigmented adhesive system into a range of inshore racing laminates that provide improved shape retention, greater strength and longer life. The OS DIAX has proved to be very versatile and this development will allow the inshore sailor to benefit from the increased perfomance that is offered by this range of laminates. For more information contact your sailmaker or go to www.sailcloth.com

AMERICA'S CUP
Five America's Cup sailors feature in the new top-10 list of the world's best matchracing sailors. Leading the International Sailing Federation list is Victory Challenge helmsman Magnus Holmberg, who has held the top position since August last year. The top 10 are Holmberg, Peter Holmberg (Oracle), Denmark's Jesper Radich-Johansen (Denmark), James Spithall (One World), Jes Gram Hansen (Denmark), Bjrn Hansen (Sweden), Francois Brenac (France), Dean Barker (Team New Zealand), Peter Gilmour (OneWorld), and Luc Pillot (France). The next event on the world circuit is the Steinlager/Line 7 Cup in Auckland from March 19-24. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/

AC TRIVIA - There was no America's Cup racing between 1937 and 1958

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
leweck@earthlink.net
(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 Chris Welsh (Re: Powered Racing / Cruising Classes): I've won a non-powered class in a 7 day race to Cabo, and lost a 4 day non-powered race. Guess which one was fun, and which one left the whole crew suicidal?

Or the race where we counted down the impossibility of making the finish deadline of 7 days, while we were only half way there - and then had to power in after that! (we threw in the towel when we were going 1 knot, and the GPS was telling us 17+ knots would be needed to make the deadline) My father's last distance race was 9-10 days to Mazatlan, the one where he radioed my mom to skip her trip down because the boat was going to arrive just before the flight home. Note it was his last.

Powered distance racing has a place, and probably a healthy future. Every sled can easily power at 10-12 knots. Put a GPS governed 8 knot maximum in for powering, and everyone knows worst case when they are going to get to Cabo. Personally, I want to go for the 20+ knot portion - not 3 days of 2 knot windseeking. That's the part that makes me want to stay at home. Give me a powered sled class!

* From Joyce Andersen: Was looking for something on the web and came across this: Dear Word Detective - Where did the term "curmudgeon" originate? Are curmudgeons always crabby old men or can a woman also achieve curmudgeon status? -- Tom Parks, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

I don't see why not, although "curmudgeon" (defined as "an ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions" by the American Heritage Dictionary) has almost always been applied to men. Still, with sufficient grit and determination, any woman should be able to attain curmudgeonhood. I must, however, warn aspiring curmudgeons of either gender that the path to enlightened crankiness is arduous and unforgiving. Just one slip, be it a stolen moment with "Touched By An Angel" or a twinge of envy at Martha Stewart's dogged inventiveness, and all will be lost. Be strong, grasshopper, and don't swallow a smidgen of the wretched balderdash that surrounds you.

TEAM ALINGHI
After three days of regatta and six races against other challengers, the Swiss Team Alinghi is finding its 'feet' in a competitive environment. Skipper Russell Coutts gives his first impressions on the crew after these races.

"Tuesday we sailed in 20+ knots of wind and flat sea. It gives us good grounds for observation of the crew's behaviour not only while competing in a race but also in blustery conditions. We will take what we've seen on the water these past few days and apply it to our training and team-building. There are still a few things to work on".

Asked about the performance of the other teams on the water these past few days, he adds: "They're excellent. The level of preparation of challengers is much higher than it was for the last Cup at the same period. We can count on a fierce competition in October" (start of the Louis Vuitton Cup). "It was also very motivating to see boats from the last America's Cup 2000 series race against each other. It had been a long time". - Team Alinghi website.

Full story: www.alinghi.com/_gcmweb/web_alinghi/templates/flashintro.asp?NodId=127

EXTREME SAILING
The inaugural 18 Foot Skiff International Regatta will bring the Australian 18 Foot Skiff class back to the United States on September 1-7. Hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco is the ideal setting for one of the world's toughest sailing classes. Previously sailed in San Francisco two decades ago, this race marks the newest destination and final leg of the 18 Foot Skiff world circuit, which begins each January in Australia and moves to France each June.

The 18 Foot Skiff Championship North Americans will feature of the some world's top skiff sailors, including former 18 Foot Skiff world champions Trevor Barnabus and John Winning of Australia, and Tim Robinson of Great Britain, as well as the current world champions, Americans Mike Martin and Howard Hamlin. Countries expected to attend include Australia, France, Italy, Great Britain, Canada and the multiple teams from the United States.

THE BIG FOUR
Expertise, Quality, Service and Selection: That's what Team One Newport is known for worldwide. Check out the latest in technical clothing from Henri-Lloyd, Musto, Gill and Patagonia. Team One has supplied fun and functional crew uniforms for many of the winning racing yachts including the "Best Dressed" award winner Chippewa (Swan North Atlantic Regatta 2001). See why the top sailors in the world buy from Team One Newport! Check out our website or call 800-VIP-GEAR (800-847-4327) for a catalog: www.team1newport.com

TROPHEE JULES VERNE
* As hoped for yesterday, the maxi-catamaran Orange has picked up a slight shift to the east in the trades, which has enabled her on the one hand to gain speed but above all gain some Westing. An instant speed of 31.3 knots at 1000 this morning, 519.26 miles in 24 hours at the 1300 position report. So Bruno Peyron and his 12 men are now on a direct heading for the Cape Verde islands some 200 miles away which they must leave to port. The next objective is the Doldrums, which the maxi-catamaran Orange ought to tackle in less than two days, but obviously they are already getting prepared on board. www.orange.fr

* Since returning to the Northern Hemisphere, Geronimo has been making good headway towards her destination in Brittany. The task now facing the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Schneider Electric team is to reach Brest as quickly as possible and get started on diagnosing and repairing the problems encountered with the boat's steering gear at high speed. "We're making somewhere between 14 and 18 knots, depending on wind strength," explains Olivier de Kersauson. "We're going rather out of our way to avoid a low pressure system off Portugal." Geronimo therefore has some 4000 miles (7400 km) yet to cover before she reaches her homeport. Although it is still impractical to give any meaningful ETA, it will take at least another ten days at sea. www.grandsrecords.com

SAILOR OF THE MONTH
This month, Seahorse magazine has nominated the following two rock stars for their Sailor of the Month award:

DEAN BARKER - Taking the helm of NZL-60 for Team New Zealand's final win in the 2000 America's Cup led to a faster promotion than the talented and popular Kiwi could ever have dreamt of. But he grasped a tough mantle and has run with it - a great result at Auckland's recent IACC regatta was very well earned.

HOWARD HAMLIN - One of the all-time great 505 enthusiasts, and current world champion, the Californian also won this year's 18 Foot Skiff world title in a masterful display on Sydney Harbour. And he was building Five Os in Kevlar when Europe thought it was a herb.

You can vote to help decide who should get this award: www.seahorse.co.uk/sailor_month/sailormonth.php

UGLY WEATHER IN FLORIDA
* The second annual Acura SORC Pro-Am was cancelled due to inclement weather. www.acurasorc.com

* There was nothing posted about the Star boats' Bacardi Cup regatta. www.coralreefyachtclub.org/starclassevents.htm

YACHT CLUB WEBSITES
The Yacht Club Burgees Around the World website has selected the Best Yacht Club websites for 2002. Their announcement states, "These Yacht Club web sites are considered the very best Yacht Club web sites on the Internet. We provide this list as a reference tool for other Yacht Clubs and webmasters to use when developing their web sites."

American Yacht Club, NY, US
Arizona Yacht Club , AZ, US
Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club, NJ, US
California Yacht Club, CA, US
Cedar Point Yacht Club, CT, US
Dana Point Yacht Club, CA, US
Encinal Yacht Club, CA, US
Erie Yacht Club, NY, US
Hayden Island Yacht Club, OR, US
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, HK
Seattle Yacht Club, US
St Francis Yacht Club, CA, US

To read the judging criteria: www.burgees.com/burgeeframe.htm

TOMMY WILDER
"Tommy" Wilder of Santa Barbara, California passed away on February 19th. Slowed down but not hampered by the loss of a leg when a cavalry horse he was riding during WWII stepped on a land mine, he spent his adult life scampering over boats as skipper or crew in yacht races and as a certified IOR boat measurer. Known nationally as the "Curmudgeon" of "The Bitter End," a publication he wrote and mailed to hundreds of friends and acquaintances, he will be remembered for his love of beautiful boats, his prodding to improve race scoring and handicapping, and by his mischievous exploits. He left, as his legacy, the basis for today's Transpac Race handicapping system and an admonition to "never take our racing pursuits too seriously." He will be sorely missed. - Peggy L. Redler

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
A shotgun wedding is a case of wife or death.