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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1029 - March 18, 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.

* Herb McCormick in the New York Times: Going 50 Knots on a Catamaran

Along stretch of lonely beach along the coast of southeastern Australia became the staging area for a fresh run at speed sailing's holy grail last week. There, aboard a spindly- looking craft that appears better suited to aerial than waterborne pursuits, three Australians will attempt to do what has never been done before: exceed 50 knots under sail.

For the iconoclastic Australian multihull designer Lindsay Cunningham and his two countrymen - the helmsman Simon McKeon and the sail trimmer Tim Daddo - the reunion last Tuesday off Sandy Point, southeast of Melbourne, was a return to familiar territory.

In those same protected waters in 1993, aboard a Cunningham creation called Yellow Pages Endeavour, Daddo and McKeon became the world's fastest sailors after negotiating the standard-length 500-meter speed-sailing course at an average speed of 46.52 knots. The record stands.

Now they have a boat called Macquarie Innovation, and they want more. Their mantra and their goal is one and the same: 50.

Complete article:

* Peter Bentley in Olympic debate

That Paul Henderson is on the warpath with respect to the Olympic regatta comes as no surprise. And to a greater or lesser extent, he is right to be.

But being right does not mean that ISAF President Henderson will have an easy time getting things changed. The whole structure of ISAF, right down to the very roots of its constitution is designed to resist change. Indeed the very essence of a class association is to maintain the status quo. The National Authorities also have an interest in keeping things as they are. If you had invested tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in a 420 and 470 squad for the last two decades, how keen would you be for the 470 to be replaced as an Olympic class?

The simple fact is that the process by which the Olympic classes are selected is based more on politics than the good of the sport. Anyone who has witnessed the unseemly lobbying, debate and decision making at an ISAF November meeting will have quickly worked out that it is all about alliances between National Authorities and Class Associations. If we vote for this will you vote for that? And the object of the exercise more often than not: to try and make sure nothing changes.

Complete editorial at:

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Day 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race, and the girls on Amer Sports Too are continuing to make inroads on the rest of the Fleet. They are holding on to 5th place, and what is more they have made further gains. In the last 6 hours they have increased the distance from News Corp, currently in 7th place, by 6 miles, and have an extra 3 miles on Djuice who is bringing up the rear. They remain 13 miles ahead of their team mates in Amer Sports One, who are still in 6th position. They have also reduced the distance to the current joint leaders, Illbruck, and ASSA ABLOY by 6 miles, which puts them 76 miles off the pace. The leading 3 boats remain locked in mortal combat, with Illbruck and ASSA ABLOY neck and neck, and Tyco just 2 miles behind in 3rd place.

The boats will shortly be approaching the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), otherwise known as the Doldrums. This area, sandwiched between the weather systems of the northern and southern hemispheres, is an ever moving phenomenon, which at this time of the year is located around the latitude of 5 degrees north, and has a north/south span of 3 - 400 miles. The current forecast suggests that the boats may escape with just very light winds of around 5 knots, in this area, and will, hopefully, escape being completely becalmed.

Positions at 2200 GMT Sunday March 17
1. ASSA ABLOY; 2. illbruck, distance to leader 0 miles; 3. Tyco, 2 miles; 4. Team SEB, 39 miles; 5. Amer Sports Too, 76 miles; 6. Amer Sports One, 89 miles; 7. News Corp, 105 miles; 8. djuice dragons, 123 miles.

Between Africa and South America, the masses of air circulate at high speed over an empty ocean devoid of any land obstacles. Very quick! Too quick! Even for a maxi-catamaran of the latest generation. The high arrived at a gallop and seized the "Giant" catamaran Orange. On board they're taking it as best they can and putting up with the adversity, a dying wind and chaotic sea, and even worse, right on the nose. But deliverance is near. The men know it, but it's not stopping them cursing and swearing, but the flight of the first petrels announces the furious winds and long cavalcades of the Southern Ocean

"We're heading east again" explained Bruno Peyron, "we're going to let the center of the high go by and wait for the rotation to the SW, then NW, before diving due south in a strong wind, 30 knots probably tomorrow morning..." "The Forties, here we come!"

The Tristan da Cunha islands are right on the maxi's route, the final terrestrial vision for a long time for Peyron and his men. The next landfalls will be called "Prince Edward, Crozet and Kerguelen..."

Position report / Comparison Table
Monday 16th march 2002 at 0800 GMT

Position: 33°40' S / 24°13' W
Speed 24h: 17.44
Distance since departure: 5850.5 miles
Distance 24h: 420.85 miles

Compared to Sport Elec (current record holder) in 1997
Position: 21°13'S / 24°29' W
Speed 24h: 15.29
Distance since departure: 4456.40 miles
Distance 24h: 367 miles
-- and

Geronimo, the Cap Gemini Ernst &Young and Schneider Electric trimaran, returned to Brest harbour earlier today. Having already come through quite a blow the day before yesterday, Geronimo came in from the West on 50 knots of wind, driving at over 25 knots under jib alone.

As soon as the weather permits, Geronimo will return to the Brest Arsenal to have her rudder removed for detailed analysis in the boatyard.

MVP&VLP naval architects, the HDS design office and the crew have already worked out a number of possible solutions that could be applied as soon as the real reasons behind these serious rudder problems are known. --

An ongoing quest at Ockam is the hunt for boatspeed and wind sensors with no moving parts - the theoretical advantage being considerable. As of today, the choices we've tested are either somewhat compromised in performance or durability, or are very costly. However, there are some promising new devices currently under evaluation. Because the Ockam system is designed to allow a wide choice of sensors and easy integration of custom components, future steps forward can be made available to existing clients. Stay tuned. Please visit or email Tom Davis at

(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 Tom Cain: Arthur Stocks' comment that regattas are "without exception run at a substantial financial loss to the hosting club" typifies the prevailing philosophy and focus of today's yacht club. Translation: "if we can't see any money in it, then we will scrutinize it off the schedule". Today's YC race committee budgets are treated like necessary evils and are grossly disproportionate to other club budgets including the "more cash positive" and/or image conscious endeavors: banquets, bar, dinning, holiday parties, landscaping and Persian carpets. Don't believe it? Go count how many kids show up next month at your YC to have their sabots inspected on "Opening Day". Want more kids and racing in the sailing program? Then you will have to restructure the entire strategic / financial plan of the club towards the marketing of low cost sailing programs and equipment especially targeting the K-8 and local High Schools. As those kids come into the club membership, they would bring the new dynamic...but Goooood luck!

* From Marc Herrmann: I fully agree with his analogy and logic approach to recognizing unilaterally that "talent" not "technology" or unlimited funding should be the deciding factor within the Olympic spirit. Having said that, how about addressing the physical limiting factors of the current Olympic classes? I vaguely remember that a similar topic was discussed in Scuttlebutt some time ago. However, what about a men's or for that matter open class (M/F) where individuals who might be "vertical and/or physically" challenged, be able to show off their talent in an equal "neutral" boat such as the Europe?

* From P. Crevey: Regarding Paul Henderson's thoughtful piece on the equipment race - I agree with him, and guess it doesn't take much more comment than that. That said, here's an incident from a major Snipe regatta of more than a decade ago. At the time it was just becoming common to see some sailors with battens in the backs of their sailing shorts, to increase their ability to hike. During the pre-regatta skippers' meeting, one of the perennial class warriors raised the point and suggested that the class not allow sailors to compete with anything stiff in their pants. There was a long, pregnant silence, followed by howls of laughter, as this sailor suddenly recognized the double entendre of what had been a very serious suggestion. I doubt that there was a dry eye in the place.

* From Nina Grundler (Edited to our 250 word maximum): You have an interesting discussion in your latest Scuttlebutt # 1026 about the collision between SEB and illbruck in the Volvo Ocean Race. Some comments are quite surprising, especially the ones, where some sailing colleagues want to accept that a boat gets holed in the middle of the ocean.

If you recall the situation, you will see that collision didn't occur in a crowded situation of an Europe class start, but on the open waters. I cannot think of a single reason, why you have to duck a boat in such a situation so close that you hit it. One boat length behind the transom should be acceptable in a 4500 mile race, shouldn't it?

Any other decision from the jury than disqualifying SEB or inducing a 5 point penalty would be terrible message for sailing from the worlds' most prestigious ocean racing event, telling everybody: 'Go out, hole the other one and just make sure you count right when doing your 720. That's the way the pros do it'.

Study the ISAF cases and find out where the grey zone lies between serious and minor damage. You will easily find out that punching holes is not in the grey zone. The RRS are not free for interpretation but brought forward by decisions of international juries and published in the Cases for future reference.

* From Ken Brooke: I was astonished to learn that a 720 degree penalty was used by SEB to attempt to exonerate herself after her collision with Illbruck in a race of over 4000 nms. Was there an oversight by the race organization? Surely some sort of time or place penalty which relates to the Leg distance should have been written into the instructions.

* From Rick Hooper: (re: Paul Henderson's editorial about the Olympic Classes): With the Finn you're defeating the 'talent' because the rigs are so important. Why not all Lasers with weight classes [as in collegiate wrestling] for men and women and/or a 'super rig' for heavy weights. The same with a two person dinghy, possibly with adjustable racks to compensate for weight differences. Also, for cats, sailboards, and keelboats a deal like Shumway Marine has with the Sailing Center at St. Petersburg with Sonars. Builders provide the boats and a new fleet is born or the regatta boats are sold to individuals or clubs for training programs. Locking in classes with brand name one design boats [for 20 years?] would be the ultimate 'win - win' deal for the Olympics and youth sail training.

Subject to ratification, Steve Fossett in PlayStation has broken the record for the Fastnet course.

Playstation left Cowes, Squadron line, at 16.23.53 on Friday 15th March 02, rounded the Fastnet Rock exactly 18 hours later and finished in Plymouth at 03.41.07 on Sunday morning - an elapsed time of 35hours 17minutes 14seconds.

The previous record time, set in the Fastnet Race by Loick Peyron in Fujiicolor II in 1999, was 40h 27m . -- John Reed, World Sailing Speed Record Council,

A the US Sailing Spring Meeting, US Sailing President Dave Rosekrans presented the organization's One-Design Awards, given annually for outstanding contributions to one-design class leadership.

Bernie Kuse of the Jacomo Sailing Club (Kansas City, MO) received the John H. Gardiner Service Award, given in recognition of distinguished service and exceptional leadership in the promotion of one-design sailing and class organization. Joseph Sullivan (New York, NY) received the One-Design Leadership Award given in recognition of individual initiative, enthusiasm, organizing ability and leadership in creating the one-design fleet-building program of the year. The Corinthian Yacht Club (Seattle, WA) received the Club Award for administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support, and member contribution. -- Full story:

This ISAF World Sailing Games, which follows on from the 1994 and 1998 ISAF World Sailing Championships, held in France and Dubai respectively, returns to France for 2002 in the historical port of Marseille from 29 June to 10 July 2002.

The 1994 Championships saw 76 countries and just over 1000 competitors competing for the event medals and the IYRU Cup for the overall winning nation went to Italy, closely followed by Sweden, France, Great Britain and Germany.

In 1998, 67 countries and almost 1000 competitors raced on the beautiful waters of Dubai. H M King Constantine, ISAF President of Honour, presented a new trophy, The King's Cup, to the overall winning nation, which Italy successfully retained from 1994, with Great Britain 2nd, Netherlands 3rd, Ukraine 4th and Germany 5th.

Equipment for the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games will be supplied free of charge, with each ISAF Member National Authority entitled to two entries in each event, with additional entries allowed from the leaders of the ISAF Sailing Rankings Lists for the Olympic Classes (Laser; 470 male female; Mistral male female) issued at the end of April 2002, the 1998 Dubai ISAF World Sailing Championship winners and the winners from the 2000 Olympic Regatta, as detailed in the preliminary Notice of Race.

Please note the entry deadline is 1 April 2002.

The events and equipment for 2002 are:
Single-handed Dinghy Male - Laser
Single-handed Dinghy Female - Laser Radial
Double-handed Dinghy Male - 470
Double-handed Dinghy Female - 470
Multihull Male or Mixed - Hobie Cat 16
Multihull Female - Hobie Cat 16
Keelboat Male - J80 Keelboat Female - J22
Sailboard Male - Bic Techno Formula
Sailboard Female - Bic Techno Formula

Visit the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games website for full information-

The Walt Disney Company has signed on to sponsor US SAILING's 2002 US Youth Championship. The San Diego Yacht Club will host this year's event June 21-27, 2002.

The event will be sailed in Laser and Club 420s. Smaller fleets of 470s and Europe classes will compete in a developmental event.

As part of their sponsorship, Disney will provide financial support for costs associated with running the six-day regatta; this will include housing for 150 top young American sailors and a new web page devoted specifically to youth sailing.

West Marine and Vanguard Sailboats will continue as event sponsors.

The Notice of Race and application for entry are now available online at The application deadline (strictly enforced) is April 1, 2002. Applicants will be notified of the entry status before May 1st.

* Newport Gold Regatta, Newport RI, May 31 - June 2. One Design and PHRF racing, all proceeds to benefit various children's charities.

* Mumm 30 European Championship, Medemblik Netherlands, June 11 - 16.

* Charleston Race Week, April 25-28. Over 80 Boats expected with several PHRF fleets and One Design Fleets including Melges 24(Southeast Series), J105, J24, and others. Beneteau will be giving away a trip for 2 to the Paris Boat show to one lucky skipper. --

* Charlotte Spring One-Design Invitational, April 27-28, Vanguard 15 and Lightning,

* Richmond Yacht Club, Richmond CA will host the Laser and Laser Radial National Championships May 29,30,31, June 1, 2. Information at

* Protector Boats Ski/Sail Championships, Lake Tahoe CA, April 19-21. Vanguard 15, Laser and Melges 24 classes. Skiing at Squaw Valley and Sunnyside. Contact Ralph Silverman 775-772-2664 or Jenny Barba 415-215-3558

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