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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1024 - March 11, 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.

Boat speed development and tactical finesse will be the key features of the fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Rio de Janeiro to Miami which gets under way today.The crews of the eight-boat fleet have relinquished the heroics of the Southern Ocean as they face the calmer winds of the next three-week, 4,450 mile stage.

"We expect to spend at least 50 per cent of the time sailing under Code Os or asymmetric spinnakers," said Neal McDonald, British skipper of Assa Abloy, one of the four boats crowding the runners-up spot behind overall race leader illbruck, which is seven points clear. "We've come up with a new concept which two or three others seem to have too," said McDonald of the hybrid jib/spinnaker sails used in light winds." - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, UK

Full story:

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet picked their way through the largest spectator fleet seen yet, at the start of this leg five from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, in total 4,450 nautical miles.

A few hours after the start, a port-starboard collision occurred between SEB and illbruck while they were beating towards Cabo Frio. In a radio interview, the skippers of SEB, Gurra Krantz and illbruck, John Kostecki revealed details about the collision that happened yesterday afternoon. Short tacking along the coast of Brazil, SEB's and illbruck's tracks crossed. SEB tried to duck illbruck but seems to have misjudged their distance and speed and ended up with their bow in illbruck's portside, ripping off a stanchion and breaking a hole of the size of a fist in illbruck's hull.

SEB exonerated themselves by doing a 720 turn and continued racing. Illbruck effected immediate repairs and continued as well. John Kostecki said that they were able to repair the hole before dark last night and will make further repairs this morning. The repairs cost them little in distance, other than the weight penalty of having 2-3 people down to leeward for the time it took to make the repairs. The brief report received from illbruck lodged their intention to protest SEB.

Shortly later illbruck was stricken by bad luck when a strop, holding the big Code 0 sail broke and the sail was dropped into the water. To resolve the situation, illbruck had to bear away and ended up in the southernmost position of the fleet.

While the seven yachts of the main pack are tightly grouped together, News Corp managed to extend her lead further inshore. News Corp could still gain from the early advantage of the weaker Brazilian current closer to the coast of Brazil. Once Jez Fanstone decides to go further offshore, this advantage should be equalized.

STANDINGS at 0358 on March 11: 1. News Corp, 4227 miles to finish; 2. Team Tyco, 23 miles behind leader; 3. djuice dragons, 25 mbl; 4. Assa Abloy, 25 mbl; 5. illbruck, 26 mbl; 6. Amer Sports One, 27 mbl; 7. Amer Sports Too, 30 mbl; Team SEB, 30 mbl. -

Diverse conditions require versatile eyewear. Kaenon Polarized. illbruck Sail Manager and trimmer extraordinaire Rosco Halcorow, chose our Yellow 35 lens tint and LTL for leg 4. Kaenon Polarized's most extreme tint, Y35 utilizes our proprietary Glare 86 polarizing element to maximize contrast for accurate depth perception and performs best in changing light conditions, fog and haze. The 35% light transmission level (LTL) transmits enough light to your eye for dark, squally days, yet dark enough in brighter conditions. Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically. Available at West Marine.

Navigators & General, one of the country's leading yacht insurers and part of Zurich Financial Services, has become concerned over the past season by the number of racing yacht rigs that are being lost as a result of backstays failing that are made from high modulus polyethylene rope or cord, produced under a number of different brand names.

With the ever increasing demands on yacht performance in racing at all levels and the availability and use of new high-tech materials, owners need to be aware of some potential hazards in the use of such materials which have been brought to Navigators' attention through claims in various classes.

These materials have been used by many of the smaller racing classes over the past few years as it is very strong, light in weight, reduces windage and is very flexible compared with the traditional wire backstay. However, with many of the classes using this high tech material having fully battened mainsails, the wear on the backstays by constant contact with the ends of the upper battens has caused many rigs to fail. Additionally, the polyester outer covering which provides UV protection to the inner core, suffers gradual degradation in sunlight.

Together with Marlow Ropes, Navigators has compiled the following guide to help owners check their backstays and prevent backstay failure.

Regular inspection of the backstay is essential, both for signs of wear at points of abrasion and for significant stretch.
There is no definitive lifespan for a backstay of this type, but as an absolute minimum owners should give consideration to 'end for ending' their backstays during the season and replacing them each year.
Batten ends which overlap backstays should be regularly inspected and any rough edges smoothed off or patched.
Wherever possible hard eyes and splicing should be used as opposed to knots, which only act as a weak point. Splicing Spectraś or Dyneemaś takes a great deal of skill and it is recommended that this is carried out by a professional rigger.
Marlow Ropes has brought out two new products which contain a UV coating that is designed to reduce UV degradation and abrasion. Known as Excel D12 and Veteran these new products are worth considering when looking at an alternative to the traditional wire backstay.

By Joe Field:

(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 Glenn T. McCarthy: In response to Jan Visser's comment about the required Safety at Sea Training Requirement. It is only a requirement for 30% of the crew when the "2002-2003 International Sailing Federation Special Regulations Governing Offshore and Oceanic Racing Including US SAILING Prescriptions" (old ORC Special Regulations, note the new name) are invoked in the Notice of Race for Category 0 and Category 1 racing (or other categories if modified in the Notice of Race) and such program includes 8 hours of instruction approved by US SAILING. The new book "2002-2003 International Sailing Federation Special Regulations Governing Offshore and Oceanic Racing Including US SAILING Prescriptions" is at the printers and back orders are being accepted now, with shipments going out within the next few weeks. Order your new book here -

* From Matt Pedersen: Just to follow up on Jan Visser's comments about Safety at Sea seminars, the requirement to attend one applies only to Category 0 and 1 races. For Category 2 through 4 racing, it is not required but is strongly recommended. For US sailors the following applies, as noted in the 2002-2003 edition of the safety regulations:

6.01 US SAILING prescribes that training under this Regulation shall take place in a program that is approved by US SAILING and that shall require a minimum of 8 hours. Competitors who are members of other National Governing Bodies may demonstrate that they have completed such training in accordance with the requirements of those organizations.

If you need to find out where and when one of these seminars will be hosted, go to the US Sailing safety web site at These seminars are a great bargain and filled with worthwhile information. Even sailors with multiple years of offshore experience find them valuable.

As a side note, the US Sailing safety web site has lots of good reference materials and studies available on line about subjects such as anchors, harnesses and tethers, radar reflectors, life rafts, and man overboard. It's all good information. See

* From Tom Redler : The recent comments regarding the pros and cons of including fleets that allow some degree of engine propulsion in long distance races are interesting, but moot. The truth is that participation in blue water racing was declining in recent years, while the cost of presenting them was steadily escalating. If it were not for the additional participation of "cruising classes," races to Mexico might have been history. As one who has participated in DRYC's Puerto Vallarta Race in BOTH Racing (SC-70) and Cruising (Beneteau-440), I can testify that there is no drop off in pure sail racing excitement in the latter, and many advantages to boot ... especially for wannabe rock stars over 60!

* From Dan Fogarty: Scuttlebutt is a digest of yacht racing news. There it is every morning as I wipe my eyes and take a sip of coffee and open my Scuttlebutt. Now what surprises me is that as an online community discussing yacht racing some can sit and chat of the pleasures of performance cruising or power assist racing or whatever one might term it and pretend that they are talking about racing. Maybe I am just a purist but even the discussion of it seems silly in a serious forum.

Lets just imagine for a moment, I open 'Butt #5000 and read of a complaint from team hoopla that team skidaddle is using winged spark plugs again and dogonit those were banned during the same rule change that banned carbon propellers and afterburners during the start. If the sails are up, It's a Race. If the motors on, It's a delivery. Everything else is just cruising.

* From Jeff Robert: Was great to see the story in yesterday's 'Butt 1023 that Oracle Racing is being such a good neighbor by inviting the other AC teams to their base for Friday night barbeques. It's about time we see professional and personal courtesy in the Cup, and less paranoia and acrimony. Too bad, but I understand the only team to turn a cold shoulder to Oracle's hospitality has been Prada.

UK Sailmakers has expanded on the Gulf Coast with two new lofts. UK Sailmakers Luis and Pedro Gianotti are moving their production loft from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Seabrook, Texas. Both Pedro and Luis Gianotti have over 20 years of sailmaking experience each. The new loft is located near the mouth of Clear Lake on Hialeah Dr. UK second new UK Sailmakers loft is in New Orleans, run by local sailors Dave Constance and Niel Borne, who was a sailmaker for North.

March 28-31: International Rolex Regatta, St. Thomas YC, US Virgin Islands. The brand new USVI Governor's Race on March 28 adds a day to the regatta for some of the larger boats competing and also gives smaller boats an optional race day.

Just as a sword cuts a swath through your competitor, Contender Pentex sailcloth cuts a swath through your sailing competition. After a year of development, Contender Sailcloth is pleased to re-introduce our performance APEN PENTEX laminate line featuring our new, higher quality Pentex fiber. APEN film-on-film scrims for the serious racer. Durable APEN-T film-on-taffeta scrims for the racer/cruiser. Rugged ACL-PEN taffeta-on-taffeta scrims for the serious cruiser. 80% higher performing than Polyester, Pentex is an economical upgrade to your sail inventory whether racing, cruising or both. Your competition will get the point. For details visit:

In the final race, 15th and 14th places respectively confirmed Mark Reynolds and Paul Cayard as first and second overall. Peter Bromby's first place pulled him up to 3rd overall and Vice Brun's 2nd lifted him into the top ten. Brun was also the Masters top sailor while Gene McCarthy & Charley Rathkopf were the top Grand Masters team. Final results (99 boats):

1 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl USA 20
2 Paul Cayard & Phil Trinter USA 36
3 Peter Bromby & Martin Seese BER 38
4 Iain Percy & Steve Mitchell GBR 39
5 Augie Diaz & Christian Finnsgard USA 39
6 Marc Pickel & David Giles GER 51
7 Jose Van Der Ploeg & Diego Fructuoso ESP 53
8 Alfonso Domingos & Bernardo Santos POR 59
9 Ian Barker & Edmund Peel GBR 61
10 Vince Brun & Mike Dorgan USA 63

John Kilroy sailed Samba Pa Ti to victory in the North Sails Farr 40 National Championship at the Acura SORC. The outcome hung on the final race of this championship series of nine races after just one point had separated Samba Pa Ti from George Andreadis' Atalanti XII at the top of the leaderboard, when these two had finished in the first two places of this morning's race. The final proved something of an anticlimax when at the first mark Samba Pa Ti was 13th and Atalanti XII was dead last.

The climb back, after being covered all the way up the first beat by Kilroy, proved too much for Andreadis and he languished near the tail-end for the rest of the race. This final race result gave Kilroy consecutive Acura SORC - Bob Fisher

On the final day of racing at the 2002 Acura SORC Miami Beach finally delivered the idyllic sailing conditions for which it is known. Bright blue skies, warm sun and winds building to 15 knots over the morning provided a perfect backdrop to exciting racing. In the IMS class, George David's Idler finished the regatta with a spotless record to claim the title while Garth Dennis' Smiling Bulldog of Ithaca, NY, recorded a first and a second on the day to win the PHRF 2 competition. Smiling Bulldog also won the Florida Governor's Perpetual Trophy for the lowest point boat across all three PHRF classes, and the Acura SORC trophy, presented for the best performance by a series yacht. Kilroy also was awarded the Mark H. Baxter Trophy, presented for the best performance by a Farr 40 in the regatta. - Shawn McBride

Other class winners include: J-105: Larry Harvey, Angry Beaver, Calabassas, CA; J-80: Geoffrey Pierini, Bada Bing, Metuchen, NJ; Melges 24: David Happ, Whammo, Chicago, IL; Mumm 30: Dan Cheresh, USA320, Holland, MI; PHRF 1: George Collins, Chessie Racing, Fisher Island, FL; PHRF 2: Garth Dennis, Smiling Dog, Ithaca; PHRF 3: Bruce Gardner, L'Outrage, Annapolis, MD

For complete results visit

A shortage of America's Cup superyacht berths for the sailing world's mega-rich is raising fears their boats and their millions will stay away.

Papers released under the Official Information Act show a lack of berths for superyachts of 45 metres-plus at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour Basin is threatening financial gains from the regatta. The papers say because Ports of Auckland has sold viaduct berths there is little room for superyachts, "potentially deterring a number of high net worth individuals from coming to New Zealand in late 2002 and early 2003". At the 2000 America's Cup 65 superyachts pumped $118 million into the economy. The papers say 18 superyacht owners have expressed interest in berths for America's Cup 2003 - and it is believed that number has now doubled - but only two berths are available.

America's Cup Minister Trevor Mallard is criticising the "short-term profit" approach of Ports of Auckland in selling berths and inter city rivalry by groups wanting to take the focus off the viaduct. The papers say New Zealand's profile as a superyacht destination and the involvement of seven billionaires with the syndicate campaigns is attracting more and larger superyachts. "In terms of size and therefore quality for larger superyacht owners the offering from New Zealand in 2003 is not of the same standard as for the last regatta. This information is not widely known in the market . . ."

The viaduct advisory board is trying to clinch a last-minute deal to build a new facility catering for 14 superyachts before America's Cup Village Limited is in the embarrassing position of having to return deposits. Mallard described it as a very serious problem. "People are sending deposits down for berths that don't exist." - Guyon Espiner, Sunday Star Times (NZ), posted on the Stuff NZ website.

Full story:,1008,1129384a10,FF.html

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