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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1028 - March 15, 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.

(The ISAF website has published a major piece by President Paul Henderson about sailing equipment at the Olympics. Here's a brief excerpt.)

The Olympic games are the most important International Regatta in the Sailing World. ISAF is charged by the IOC to be totally responsible for all technical aspects of the Olympic Regatta. It is a responsibility which requires the utmost focus, dedication and foresight.

Over the years it has been obvious that more and more the Events Committee and Council come to the meeting table with a fixed position based on what is best for their respective Member National Authorities (MNA's) to win medals and which may or may not be in the best interest of Global participation.

The Olympics should be for "Talent not Technology". The wealthy nations will always lobby for more complicated equipment, use of space-age communications systems, expensive weather tracking equipment and an army of coaches and support staff, which they perceive will give their sailors an advantage.

I am committed to levelling the playing field so as the developing nations are not disadvantaged which means, as much as ISAF can, "Talent" will prevail.

Observations: The only class that has met this criteria is the Laser. The Laser sailors use supplied equipment all out of equal boxes. The most telling result is that no matter whether they brought their own boats or sailed in supplied equipment, Robert Scheidt and Ben Ainslie won almost every Laser Regatta for two Olympiads. Their medals, in my opinion, are the most valid with regard to the Olympic ideals. Sailing has 11 Events and I propose that of these 11 we endeavour to have 6 events where the boats are truly one-design and that the equipmpent be supplied at the Olympic Regatta, and 5 Events where technology does influence the outcome..

This ensures that the smaller MNA's have an equal chance against the more wealthy nations to compete for medals. The Olympic organizers are contracted to supply two classes, and if we pick popular classes then the manufacturers will supply them at minimal cost. ISAF should be prepared to subsidize a portion of the costs out of their Olympic TV revenue. - Paul Henderson, ISAF website, full commentary:

illbruck Challenge's chief executive Glenn Bourke put out one last call for Germany's first ever America's Cup campaign to be rescued from extinction. Just arrived in Bremen, north Germany, he told madforsailing: "We're just hoping that somebody might throw us a lifeline, for a project that is 80 per cent completed." The project is indeed a frustratingly long way down the track, with the new ACC boat just three weeks away from completion. "The hull and the deck have been put together - it looks like an America's Cup boat," said the Australian CEO. And yet it also looks as though that hull will never carry the green and white livery of the illbruck Challenge.

Challenge head Michael Illbruck had originally announced a cut-off date of 1 April for sponsorship to arrive, but Bourke said their financial predicament made it prudent to fold the Challenge sooner than later. That said, Bourke still holds a 10 per cent chance of the Challenge going forward in some form. - Andy Rice, madforsailing website, full story:

Global nuclear power giant Areva knew it would attract some New Zealand protest when it agreed to sponsor the latest French America ' s Cup challenge. The company's senior vice-president for communications Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier said he understood local unease generated by Le Defi Areva's appearance on the Hauraki Gulf course following the Mururoa testing and Rainbow Warrior bombing 17 years ago. "That is not a subject of pride in France," Mr Saulnier said. "We are aware of the reaction but as a new company Areva needed to build its profile to become better known and establish an image in the industry - the sponsorship was taken to do that.

Mr Saulnier said Areva had clients in all countries which had boats in the America's Cup , except New Zealand - "They all use nuclear power to produce electricity," he said. "In the European Union, 30% of all electricity comes from nuclear generation, with France the leader with 75%."

Le Defi general manager Xavier de Lusquen said the challenger had about $US4 million from two sponsors, and Bouygues Telecom, and was looking for a major cash sponsor when Areva stepped up with $US15 million. "That gave us a $US20 million campaign, which puts us in the same league as GBR and the Swiss," Mr de Lusquen said. "It will be enough for us because, after the last time, we don't have to repeat building capital assets. We also have a major partnership with the city of Lorient in Brittany, which has built a base for us."

Le Defi is training off Lorient with its 2000 boat and Team New Zealand's 1995 San Diego winner NZL32, which it is leasing until its new boat is launched in May and shipped to Auckland in September. NZL32 will then be returned to become a permanent exhibit at Te Papa. - Graeme Kennedy, National Business Review

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The leading Yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race are still playing nip and tuck as they approach the north east corner of Brazil en route to Miami. Assa Abloy who was lead boat until midday yesterday, has dropped to third place, one mile behind illbruck in second place, with Team Tyco in the lead, another 5 miles ahead. SEB, much to her relief has relinquished the wooden spoon to Amer Sports Too, who is 58 miles behind the leader.

The Fleet is now staying close inshore, no doubt hoping to pick up that branch of the South Equatorial Current which, at this time of the year sets north near to the coast at a rate of half a knot. Once round the corner they can take advantage of the Guiana Current which sets north west along the coast at a rate of 1 - 1.5 knots.

STANDINGS on March 15 @ 0406 GMT: 1. Team Tyco, 3335 miles from finish; 2. illbruck, 5 miles behind leader, 3. Assa Abloy, 6 mbl; 4. News Corp, 33 mbl; djuice, 53 mbl; Team SEB, 53 mbl; Amer Sports One, 54 mbl; Amer Sports Too, 58 mbl. -

(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 Arthur Strock: As you encourage sailors to join the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club in order to be eligible to race in regattas hosted by US yacht clubs, you might wish to acknowledge the fact that such regattas are almost without exception run at a substantial financial loss to the hosting club. Traditionally, it has been assumed that all yacht clubs would bear the financial burden of our sport, but the rise of "virtual" yacht clubs is putting this equation at risk. While most sailors, including those who belong to traditional clubs, would acknowledge that virtual yc's provide a valuable point of entry into the sport, at some point the cost burdens - facilities, race committees and equipment, staff, trophies, etc. - must be shared. So when will SSC be hosting its first regatta?

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Perhaps you've forgotten that the SSC staged its Club Championship regatta LAST November at the facilities of the Bitter End YC in Virgin Gorda. There was no entry fee, and all of the boats were provided without a charter fee. Ed Baird won the event, picking up a swell new Musto yacht timer as his first place trophy. Kristen Lane did even better. As the top-placing amateur, she won a free week at the BEYC. If that sounds good, the second annual Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship Regatta will be even better. It will be a two-day and a half day affair at the BEYC starting on November 3. Once again, there will not be any entry or charter fees, and we are planning a spectacular hosted cocktail party / prize giving reception. And the prizes will be awesome! It's not too early to make your reservations. And members of the SSC will be given discounted rates during the week of the club championship regatta. SSC members will also have the opportunity to crew for one of the 'rock stars' who will be sailing in the BEYC's Pro - Am Regatta . . . which takes place during the same week.

* From Kent Baker: Having crewed on a boat that was at-fault in a collision, I can tell you that shame and demoralization are two factors that go beyond penalties no matter how easy or severe they may be. Most of us no longer wanted to sail that week. We certainly didn't feel like joining the other sailors at happy hour. In our case it was our failure to control that resulted in giving the boat ahead of us a "push". Upon seeing that the stricken vessel was OK (mostly cosmetic damage) we proceeded with our 720 and finished the race - in last place.

What happens when a far more severe penalty is imposed on a burdened boat in an avoidable collision? How often in port-starboard crossings does this have the potential to happen? The starboard boat could elect to knock someone completely out of race by making contact rather than observing the basic rule of avoiding collision. I have seen some unfriendly rivalries where this reckless activity could occur. Sure would make a fun video game! Penalties need to be set up so both vessels are encouraged to keep sailing from becoming a contact sport.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will announce on March 19, that Rolex, the Swiss watch maker, will be the naming-rights sponsor for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the next three years. The deal is believed to be worth over A$2 million, with Rolex understood to be putting in A$750,000 per year for the next three years.

* This new involvement with blue water yacht racing, will complement Rolex's sponsorship of England's Fastnet Race, which they signed up last year, becoming the first ever naming rights sponsor of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's famous race. Rolex has so far committed to three Fastnet Races, which are run biennially, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight around the Fastnet Rock off the south west coast of Ireland, and finishing in Plymouth, southwest England.

Rolex has a long tradition of involvement in sailing, including sponsorships in the United States and Europe, most notably having been associated with Finland's Nautor Swan yachts for some years. Australia's biggest telecommunications company, Telstra, ended a six year sponsorship after the 2000 race, and are believed to have put in about A$1 million per year in cash and services. - Yachting Monthly website, full story:

* "The previous 48 hours were horrible, a seemingly endless stream of clouds marched across the horizon with their sights set firmly on us. The really bad ones act just like a vacuum cleaner, sweeping across the ocean in front of you sucking every last bit of breeze with them. For two days we had one of these experiences every six hours. Finally the tables turned late today and we spent four hours racing across the front of a couple of beauties in 17 knots of breeze while the group in front of us languished in the remnants of a giant Hoover . . ." - Jon Gunderson. SEB

* "I'm always sleeping on the top bunks due to the watch system we use. It's worked out very well this way. The boys on the bottom bunks don't only have to put up with their own sweat, but also the sweat of the man above dripping down upon him. At the moment we have a French sweat avoidance crewmember sleeping on deck trying to avoid the drips from above. Male bonding at its finest." - Anthony Nossiter, djuice

* "Jules, one of our trimmers was washing the dishes below in a bucket since our sink drain impeller is broken. One thing leads to another and Jules went up on deck to help out with a maneuver. Unfortunately he had left five of our six spoons in the bottom of the bucket, which was filled with water. Yes, you guessed it. Richard came downstairs to tidy up a little and emptied the bucket and now we have one precious spoon left." - Chris Larson, Assa Abloy

* "So what has happened in the fleet, and why are we split in two groups? Early on in the leg, we sailed very well strategically, but couldn't match the reaching speed of Assa Abloy, Tyco and illbruck, and on day three we had to let them go. It is horribly frustrating for the crew and myself to realise that we are slow in certain angles, and whatever we do, it doesn't help. We were completely depending on the others making strategic mistakesÉ" - Knut Frostad and crew on djuice

"It's a difficult year for a record!" declared Peyron, and the maxi-catamaran Orange's heading confirms it. It's no straight and narrow for the orange giant. The daily lot of Peyron and his men is a permanent combat against these winds that veer, disappear, and which have to be fetched far off the direct route. Orange is accumulating extra miles. Orange is progressing. Orange is still ahead. In the heat of the end of the southern summer, Peyron's men are ready; that far off murmur, that distant din, it's the Southern Ocean.

Orange should be accelerating today, keeping up the excellent average recorded since the start. "Our performance is as good as the leaders of The Race last year" said Peyron. "Despite our constant manoeuvring and an extended route and a very westerly position (175 miles further west than Club Med), our speeds are similar. On the other hand, we're 550 miles further west than Sport Elec in 97. But we also have a 3-day lead over Kersauson's position. The passage of the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope will be a good indication of our capacity to manage this lead". -

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* April 3-6: International Melges24 North American Championships, Eastport YC, Annapolis, MD. Melges24 fleet #22 and Greg Fisher will provide a day-long tuning clinic.

* May 18-19: SOCKS Regatta, Seattle YC. Separate Keelboat and Centerboard courses in the waters near Shilshole Bay.

* June 20: Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race, Beverly Yacht Club of Marion, MA, Blue Water Sailing Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. Open to cruising yachts from 32 feet to 62 feet LOD.

* June 28-30 - North Sails Race Week held in Long Beach, CA. PHRF classes (with sub classes based on age and displacement) and one design classes including Farr 40 (PCC's), J120 (NA's), J/105, J/24 (W. Regionals), 1D35, Melges 24, Schock 35 (PCC's) and Santana 20. Also Corsair Trimarans. -

OTTAWA, Canada - A team of female sailors has launched an unusual public search for someone to help them market their way to an Olympic gold medal. Career ads in the Financial Post have advertised for a volunteer management and marketing expert willing to help three athletes who want to compete in the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004.

The ad was placed by Deirdre Crampton, part of a team of competitive sailors. "We are a team of three dynamic national team athletes ... looking for someone to manage and market our team on the road to Athens in 2004," the ad reads. The team needs help with fundraising and organizing sponsorships, as well as the logistics of getting the team members and the boat to international competitions, Ms. Crampton said.

While no one in the sailing fraternity recalls a team advertising for marketing help before, athletes like Ms. Crampton are encouraged to come up with innovative schemes to raise money, said David Wolff, marketing manager of the Canadian Yachting Association and Canada's sailing team. The federation helps with elite coaching, clinics, qualifying championship matches and travel expenses, but it doesn't have enough to cover equipment purchases and living expenses.

* Ms. Crampton and her partners compete in the Yngling class of sailboat, which will make its Olympic debut in Athens. Ms. Crampton's team is ranked second in Canada, and so is not guaranteed a spot at the 2004 Olympics. Canada has to first qualify as a participating country in the Yngling class and then one crew will be selected to represent Canada.

* The ISAF recently relaxed rules for advertising and corporate logos on boats, sails and crew participating in competitions. Mr. Wolff said that creates the opportunity for more innovative sponsorships, which will help countries like Canada, where sailing is underfunded. - Jill Vardy, Financial Post, National Post Online website, full story:

The Swedish Match Tour's Steinlager Line 7 Cup, March 19-24, Auckland, NZ is preceded by a feeder series featuring 10 skippers battling to be among the top four to advance to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron-managed Grade 1 event. Among the competitors in the feeder series, running March 14-17, are five skippers representing four America's Cup teams.

Great Britain's GBR Challenge has two teams entered in the feeder series. Andy Green, ranked 33rd in the ISAF world match race rankings will helm one of the entries and Ian Walker will lead the second. Walker's crew will include Andy Beadsworth, himself a regular competitor on the Swedish Match Tour. Paolo Cian of Vincente Onorato's Mascalzone Latino Challenge also will compete. Rounding out the America's Cup team involvement in the feeder series is Team New Zealand's Cameron Appleton.

Among the remaining entries in the feeder series, two America's Cup veterans, American Ed Baird and Great Britain's Chris Law will be lining up for the chance to advance. Also competing are Johnie Berntsson of Sweden, ranked 22nd in the world, Australian Pat Langley, ranked 52nd in the world, and native New Zealander John Kensington. - Shawn McBride,

Judging from the press release sent out by the Assa Abloy group, they definitely feel they're getting their money's worth by sponsoring a boat in the Volvo Ocean Race. That release reads in part, "The Assa Abloy Group has achieved its main objectives with its participation in the Volvo Ocean Race. The race has supported and improved the integration process of more than 100 companies world-wide and strengthened the Assa Abloy corporate identity in an excellent way. The objectives are already realised before the other half of the globe will be conquered by the Assa Abloy Racing Team."

If 21 is pronounced twenty one, and 31 is thirty one, why isn't 11 pronounced onety one?