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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1030 - March 19, 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.

AMERICA'S CUP
Judging by the appearance of the Mascalzone Latino base, the syndicate is as low-budget as it claims. But the Italians may just surprise a few people in the Louis Vuitton Cup in October. The team arrived in Auckland last week, taking their place on "Syndicate Row" between OneWorld and Oracle Racing. While most of the other syndicates arrived to swish new bases with high-tech security systems, Mascalzone Latino turned up to an empty boatyard surrounded by a rickety old wire fence.

"It was not planned to come to New Zealand at this time," said syndicate president and team skipper Vincenzo Onorato. "The plan was to train up the crew in Italy on Mascalzone 10 - the old Spanish boat Bravo Espagna - but then we had the opportunity to buy Stars & Stripes [from OneWorld] and that was really a marvelous opportunity for us to come here immediately and start practicing. The base we are starting to build up and we expect it to be ready by mid-June. We are a low-budget syndicate so we are just taking care of ourselves."

Onorato returns to Italy next week, and the sailing team who are here will go back in a fortnight. The whole team will come back to Auckland with their new boat in July.

* "We have a good helmsman in Paolo Cian, he is very good at match-racing, and then we have Flavio Favini, who is wonderful tactician," Onorato said "In business - and in the America's Cup - it's very important to put together a good group of people."

While many new to the game may find Syndicate Row a tad daunting, Onorato is not fazed. "We have no time to sit here and look at the others. We are a new and young syndicate. The time we have is to take care of our own problems." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/

VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The whole fleet has entered the northern hemisphere trade wind belt and accelerated to exhilarating speeds of up to 20 knots. The close racing between illbruck, Assa Abloy and Tyco we saw over the last days in the 10-knot boat speed range has been carried forward to the 20-knot range. The yachts are in full planning condition on a northwesterly course with the kite up and the wind coming over the starboard quarter with 20 to 25 knots. The bows are searching for the perfect path in the ever-changing landscape of the four meter high waves. The bows dig up the 28 degree C warm water and rush it back, giving the crews a welcome soaking in the tropical heat. SEB, Amer Sports Too, Amer Sports One and News Corp are spread over a line perpendicular to their course and it is a very open race for all of them to go for the places four to seven.

However, once more we are watching illbruck increase her distance on all around her as she puts even more miles between herself and her nearest competitors in the last few hours, extending her leading to 12 nautical miles over second placed Assa Abloy. Tyco is one of the few yachts to have held her own and not lost any distance over the last six hours, she remains 15 nautical miles behind the leader, which is opening up the fight for second place once more, with only three miles separating Assa Abloy and Tyco.

Whilst the back runners can just sit and hope they will soon be in the trade winds, illbruck is speeding off with a speed over the last 24 hours of 14 knots. Compare this to djuice's run of just 9.1 knots and it is clear to see why she is increasing her lead once more. The jostling for places continues too further back in the fleet, with Amer Sports One hot on the heels of SEB, closing the distance by the minute, while News Corp is just 11 miles behind Amer Sports Too, the girls who have sailed better than ever this leg will be pushing hard to avoid loosing their current sixth position. Whether djuice is out of the doldrums or not remains to be seen, although her 24 hour speed is disappointing, she'll be pleased (and relieved) now that she is making consistently 13 and 14 knots.

POSITIONS at 0403 GMT on March 19:
1. illbruck, 2208 miles to finish
2. Assa Abloy, 12 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 15 mbl
4. SEB, 97 mbl
5. Amer Sports One, 132 mbl
6. Amer Sports Too, 157 mbl
7. News Corp, 168 mbl
8. djuice, 213 mbl
www.volvooceanrace.com

AROUND THE WORLD:
At all regattas, around the world, just look at what the crews are wearing. It is no surprise, the Camet Padded Shorts and Pants are everywhere from Opti sailors to the Farr 40's and America's Cup teams. The comfort of the pads, and the quick drying fabric is the solution to hours on the water. Check them out on the Camet web site: www.camet.com

BIGGER AND FASTER
German Maxi Morning Glory submitted her entry to the 2002 Newport Bermuda Race Monday to challenge record holder Boomerang and California speedster Pyewacket in the Racing Division of this 635-mile ocean-racing classic. Records may fall because the Maxis are now bigger and faster since the Maxi limits have been 'speeded up' to include more of the big boats actually racing or wanting to race in events worldwide.

Only 12 more days remain till regular entries close in the 2002 Newport Bermuda Race. Applications for entry are due at race headquarters on or before April 1st. Applications may be filed on-line or downloaded in PDF format. As of March 18th, 156 entry applications had been filed for the 635-mile ocean classic that starts June 14th in Newport RI. Of these, 23 are AMERICAP cruising, 8 are AMERICAP double-handed, 9 are IMS racing and 116 are IMS Cruiser/Racer.

IMS yachts will sail in Racing and Cruiser/Racer Divisions, while AMERICAP yachts may enter the non-spinnaker Cruising Division. The Classic Yachts Division, the Double-Handed Spinnaker Division and the Double-Handed Non-spinnaker Division will also sail under the AMERICAP rule. - Talbot Wilson, www.bermudarace.com

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 Mike Wilcox (Re Herb McCormick's story about world speed records): "Debutante" is holder of the world speed record. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. It was officially recorded in 1938 by a class "A" stern-steerer on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. It lists the record as 143 mph (229kmh) with a wind speed of 72 mph (115 kmh). It was set by a man named John D. Buckstaff who lived in Oshkosh at the time.

* From Chuck Losness (In response to Tom Cain's and Arthur Stock's comments about regatta's being a financial loss): We don't have that problem at Dana Point Yacht Club. The small cost of trophies, mailings and maintaining race equipment is more than off set by the increased food and bar sales that take place after a day of racing. We consistently have over 50 boats racing in the Dana Point Series and our other regatta's average 20+ boats. The financial success of a racing program begins with increasing the number of participants. If you have a good racing program, you will have more entries. The finances will then take care of themselves.

* From Craig Fletcher: Regattas never lose money. Yacht clubs choose to purchase regattas with dues, sponsor dollars, entry fees or fundraising. Most YC dining rooms do not cover costs. Are they losing money? No. Dues cover their cost. The debate in most clubs is simple. Do the majority of members want to spend their collective money on fine dinning or on the water activities? We should all remember we make our reputations on the water, not in the dinning room.

* From J. Joseph Bainton: Is the Olympic Regatta the most important regatta in sailing as Paul Henderson suggests? I observe that only a very few teams participate and obviously only one from each country. While I am both a fan and friend of Mark Reynolds, who won Gold in the Star in Sydney, I point out that Americans Eric Doyle and Vince Brun, each of whom have also won a Star World Championship, did not participate and each would have had a far better chance of beating Mark Reynolds in Sydney than did a number of the other competitors. Every sailor who has won both Olympic Gold and a Star World Championship believes that winning the Star World Championship was by far the more difficult of these two great achievements. I suspect the same is true of the Laser Worlds versus the Olympic Games. I also suspect that winning the Etchells, Snipe or 505 Worlds is far more difficult that winning Gold in the 470 Class.

All of these world championships typically consist of between 75 to 125 boats. In my view this suggests that Mr. Henderson's focus on the Olympic Regatta has more to do with his own political aspirations within the International Olympic Committee than it has to do with the best interests of the vast number of ISAF members who aspire at most to participate credibly in a World Championship and are content to leave both the America's Cup and the Olympics to the professional sailors to whom ownership of both events was ceded years ago.

SPRING MEETING
(Following is an excerpt from a report of US Sailing's Spring Meeting by Sailing World magazine's editor John Burnham.)

The spring meeting of the U.S. Sailing Association was an unlikely high-altitude gathering in of all places, Colorado Springs, home of a major U.S. Olympic Committee training center. From this lofty vantage point, a planning session produced strategic objectives for the association's executive committee that underscored the organization's long-term shift toward balancing its emphasis on competitive and non-competitive sailing. An increasingly diverse cadre of committee members attending the meetings also represented US Sailing's continuing shift toward being more inclusive.

A proposal was put in motion to create a Cruising Council to provide representation for cruising sailors including a board of directors' seat. The leaders of the National Women's Sailing Association continued talks with the US Sailing Women's Sailing Committee on integrating the broad-based efforts of the former with the competition focus of the latter. Exploration also began on how to further expose the work of the Safety at Sea Committee and to improve and expand on the Cruising World/US SAILING Safety at Sea Seminars, which are sponsored by West Marine.

At the same time the recent move to require more high-level athlete/sailors on all committees of US Sailing, including board and executive committee, has had the noticeable effect of bringing the elite sailors including Mark Reynolds, John Lovell, Louise Gleason, Hal Haenel, and Dean Brenner into prominent positions. A voluntary registration system for all sailors has been established to define Category A to C levels of accomplishment (www.ussailing.org/saac/). - John Burnham, Sailing World website. There's lots more: www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=729

JUMBO DISPLAYS
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. www.pyacht.net/online-store/scstore/h-nexus.html

QUOTES FROM THE BOATS
"No, no, no. Can't eat, can't drink, can't sleep!!! It's just too frustrating! Why us? Why now? We should have seen this? With Jean Yves I run through the last satellite pictures again. The newest one shows a huge cloud all over the whole fleet. You wouldn't be able to say that we where the only one parked in there. Now I can say that it probably moved in from the east as it developed and therefore hit us first and probably at a worse time of the day (night) than when it hit the boat further west, but still, that we parked up badly, and no one else did? This sport can be so incredibly frustrating at times." - Knut Frostad and crew on djuice

"Anthony Merrington crossed the equator today and he will remember this day for years to come. Total humiliation is the only way to describe it with Tom Braidwood and Scott Beavis eager to hand out the punishment after their first leg experiences. King Neptune asked many a question of Anthony. Not one was answered right. Some of them were just plain simple, like, 'how long is a piece of string?' We can only assume that he was away from school that day. To his credit he performed a marvelous rendition of 'Waltzing Matilda' all the time covered from head to toe in stew, while wearing some marginal attire more suited to the cross." - Tony Mutter, SEB

TROPHEE JULES VERNE
"At last we can say that this is our first day in the Southern Ocean," said Bruno Peyron. "The boat is doing between 25 and 26 knots and we should be enjoying this NW flow for several days". And with the great long swells of the South Atlantic settling in, the maxi-catamaran Orange has been able to taste its first 25 knot downwind surfs. The great merry-go-round of southern lows would seem to be underway and the mile eating maxi-catamaran will now be able to satisfy its enormous appetite! "We're under full main and big gennaker or single reefed main and small gennaker. We're on a good track with a heading of 110 and we're making for the southernmost tip of Africa on a fairly northerly route". And while yesterday the maxi-catamaran Orange was sailing to the west of Sport Elec's (the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy) wake, she crossed over her track last night and is now to the east of her route. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com/site/en/index2.cfm

STEINLAGER/LINE 7 REGATTA
Peter Holmberg of the Oracle America's Cup team is anxious about the Steinlager/Line 7 regatta which starts on Wednesday (20th March), he hasn't sailed for a month, having suffered a broken collar bone, so he's starting right back at the deep end. "I'm a little anxious," he admitted, "I've been side-lined with this injury, and I'm going from plaster cast, to sling and straight back to sailing, I've been studying, so I'm mentally prepared, but I may be a bit behind physically."

This is probably the hottest line-up the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has ever attracted in the 23 years they have been running this event, with eight America's Cup team represented. Harold Bennett, the race director of the Steinlager/Line 7 commented, "when you get a line-up of top guys like this, there is going to be some very hot competition, and some aggressive racing." The twelve skippers contesting this event will sail a single round robin, before the top eight progress to the quarter finals, followed by semi-finals, with the finals scheduled for Sunday 24th March.

Skippers:
Magnus Holmberg - Sweden, Victory Challenge
Peter Holmberg - U.S.A., Oracle Challenge
Jes Gram-Hansen - Denmark
Dean Barker - New Zealand, Team New Zealand
Luc Pillot - France, Le Defi Areva
Gavin Brady - Italy, Prada Challenge
Rod Davis - Italy, Prada Challenge
Ken Read - U.S.A., Team Dennis Conner
Ed Baird - U.S.A.
Andy Green - Britain, GBR Challenge
Paolo Cian - Italy, Mascalzone Latino Challenge
Ian Walker - Britain, GBR Challenge

-- John Roberson, www.rnzys.co.nz/racing/events/sl7/info.html

SPONSORSHIP
It's now official. Confirming speculation published here earlier, the Cruising Yacht Club announced a long-term sponsorship agreement with Rolex for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which extends to include the 60th Sydney Hobart Race in 2004.

Rolex has become very supportive of major races. Other races they sponsor include the Giraglia Rolex Cup from St Tropez, France, to Genoa, Italy; the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship in Capri, Italy; the Rolex Fastnet Race in England, to be held next year; the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia; the Rolex Commodore's Cup in England; the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship in the USA. Additionally, Rolex sponsors the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, the 2001 winners being solo ocean racer Ellen MacArthur (female) and Olympic gold medallist and World champion in the Laser dinghy class, Robert Scheidt.

Notice of Race for the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is expected to be available from the CYCA in early April. Rolex will present two of their magnificent chronometers to the winners. - Peter Campbell

SAN DIEGO NOOD
If sailors came to the Sailing World NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) regatta looking for a challenge, they got more than they bargained for. Unusually strong winds turned this three-day sailing regatta, hosted March 15-17 by the San Diego Yacht Club, into intensive spring training for 166 boats from 12 States and Canada.

A low-pressure system ushered in 15- to 20-knot winds for the opening two days of the event, and the fleet saw its requisite carnage in rugged conditions with swells that ran 10 feet high. By Sunday, the breeze had calmed to 5 to 10 knots: contests of wet and wild survival were over, and the fleet's tide of adrenalin calmed into what is known as business as usual in this part of the world. - Elizabeth Carroll

Class winners included: Etchells (30 boats) Erik Bentzen, Odin; J/105 (25 boats) Dennis Case, Wings; Melges 24 (15 boats) Cathy Wood, Foxtrot 22; Ultimate 20 (12 boats) Bob Aman, Rogue; International 14 (11 boats) Zach Berkowitz; J/24 (11 boats) Troy Smith, Danada; J/120 (10 boats) Chuck Nichols/ Chick Pyle, C.C. Rider.
Complete results: www.sailingworld.com / www.sdyc.org/raceinfo/noodresults.htm

DOWN UNDER
Yachting New Zealand has a new official website that is a true portal for all facets of Kiwi yachting. The site contains information and links, and does not assume the reader is familiar with yachting in New Zealand. www.yachtingnz.org.nz

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If electricity comes from electrons... does that mean that morality comes from morons?