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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1034 - March 25, 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.

Peter Holmberg of the Oracle America's Cup Challenge, out of San Francisco, won the Steinlager/ Line 7 Regatta on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, after a 'countback,' when lack of wind prevented any competition in the final. Holmberg had a tough fight with Rod Davis of the Prada Challenge, to claim his place in the final, and faced Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen in the final that didn't happen. As race officer Peter Carr of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron commented, "trying to run sailing without wind, is like trying to run Wimbledon in the rain, disappointing."

This is the second consecutive Swedish Match Tour event that Holmberg has won, having picked up the Bermuda Gold Cup in October last year, and he has now moved to the top of the Tour leaderboard. Commenting about the event he said, "it's the Steinlager/Line 7 man, it's a big one, and this year you'd have to say the field was probably the biggest I've ever seen here, and we're real proud to have pulled this one off."

Holmberg plans to do three more Tour events this year, the Congressional Cup in California next month, May's ACI Cup in Croatia, and the final event on this year's circuit, Marstrand's Swedish Match Cup. supporting Peter Holmberg, who is originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, was a crew of Kiwis, John Cutler, Robbie Naismith, Mike Sanderson and Brad Webb. - John Roberson

1. Peter Holmberg - U.S.A., Oracle Challenge
2. Jes Gram-Hansen - Denmark
3. Paolo Cian - Italy, Mascalzone Latino Challenge
4. Rod Davis - Italy, Prada Challenge
5. Gavin Brady - Italy, Prada Challenge
6. Ken Read - U.S.A., Team Dennis Conner
7. Magnus Holmberg - Sweden, Victory Challenge
8. Luc Pillot - France, Le Defi Areva
9. Dean Barker - New Zealand, Team New Zealand
10 Ed Baird - U.S.A.
11 Ian Walker - Britain, GBR Challenge
12 Andy Green - Britain, GBR Challenge

SWEDISH MATCH TOUR LEADERBOARD after four events of year 3:
1. Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing, 80
2. Magnus Holmberg, SWE/ Team SeaLife, 68
3. Gavin Brady, Prada Challenge, 42
4. Jes Gram-HAnsen, DEN/ Team Marienlyst, 40
5. = Jesper Bank, Victory Challenge, 20
Dean Barker, Team New Zealand, 20
Morten Henriksen, GER, 20
8. Ed Baird, USA/ Team Musto, 15.

SEMI-FINAL RESULTS: Peter Holmberg beat Rod Davis, 2-1; Jes Gram-Hansen beatt Paolo Cian 2-0.

The fleet leaders are now 150 nautical miles southeast from the island of San Salavador. This island was previously called Watling Island, until and act of the Bahamas Parliament restored the name of San Salavador in 1927. At the moment our fleet are experiencing moderate seas with a breeze of sixteen knots from the east. The skies are reported to be partly cloudy, the water temperature twenty-six centigrade and the air eighty five Fahrenheit.

POSITONS on March 25 @ 0400 GMT:
1. illlbruck, 485 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 21 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 22 mbl
4. Team SEB, 70 mbl
5. News Corp, 85 mbl
6. Amer Sports One, 87 mbl
7. Amer Sports Too, 168 mbl
8. djuice, 171 mbl

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The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will allow yachts to enter both the IMS (International Measurement System) and IRC (International Rating Club) handicap categories in the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race handicap categories. However, the IMS corrected time results will again decide the winner of the historic George Adams Tattersalls Cup. At the same time, the Club will continue to include the PHS (Performance Handicap System) for yacht owners who still prefer not to compete under a rating system.

All yachts competing will again have to have a current valid IMS rating certificate as proof of stability, with the exception of yachts over 70-foot LOA which may provide hydrostatic data from their designer as proof of stability. However, this data will be verified by an Australian Yachting Federation measurer who will perform an inclining experiment on the vessel. Yachts wanting to use water ballast will not be eligible to compete in the IMS rating category, although the international rules allow them to compete in the IRC category.

Notice of Race for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is expected to be available from the CYCA in April. - Peter Campbell

(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 Kimball Livingston: Peter Bowker and those who have followed him are certainly correct that there is a fundamental difference between a "race" record and a "course" record. Though no one has spoken of this in a way that impugns the accomplishments of Steve Fossett, I think it is worth noting that he has never pretended otherwise. His says he never liked racing nearly as much as going for a flat-out record.

* From Peter Hogg: Peter Bowker's comments in Scuttlebutt #1032 about what is yacht racing are entirely valid. However he is off base in his criticisms of Steve Fossett's sailing activities. Steve does not pretend to be engaged in races. His interest is specifically in setting course records, using all of the tools that are available to optimize boat speed, including selecting the most desirable weather patterns.

We are all fortunate that the sport of sailing has so many facets such as type of boat from dinghies to maxi catamarans, from beer-can races to long distance ocean races, from classic schooners to the hi-tech machines of the America's Cup, etc. Even if you are not interested in the specific area of sailing that attracts the likes of Steve Fossett, it is appropriate to recognize the achievements of these specialists because they all add to the wonderful diversity of the sport of sailing.

* From Christian Fevrier: For the information of Peter Bowker (Scuttlebutt # 1032) who tells us that " the Transatlantic Race record set by the schooner Atlantic in 1905 still stands", this monohull record in a fleet race has been bettered ... 21 years ago!

On 17 July 1981, the slim dark blue monohull Kriter VIII, skippered by the French skipper Michel Malinovski and crewed by Yvon Fauconnier, Halvard Mabire and Denis Gliksman, crossed the finishing line in 12 days 3 hours 41 minutes and 33 seconds. Which means 19 minutes and 46 seconds less than the nearly three time bigger black schooner owned by Winston Marshall in 1905.

Kriter VIII did not wait for the best forecast. She was racing in a fleet race, starting at a fixed date in New York. Five yachts bettered the Charlie Barr's record in that race, the new winner being Marc Pajot on the catamaran Elf Aquitaine, which managed to sail in 9 days 10 hours and six minutes. Start in New York had been given by Commodore Jean Louis Fabry (a RYS, RORC, and WSSRC member)

Sir Robin Knox Johnston was also part of the race, finishing third (behind a proa!) on his catamaran Sea Falcon.

* From Glenn McCarthy: While there was a hub-bub of activity during the US SAILING meeting in Colorado Springs this past weekend, I left with one overwhelming thought, I hope each of you can promote this in your part of the country - a representative from "Operation Sail America" came and described their effort to honor 9-11. They hope to fill New York Harbor with more sailboats than anytime in history on September 14, 2002, offer rides to victims families, fly the largest American Flag from under a helicopter over the boats, have a sail boat parade around the Statue of Liberty, around the corner past ground zero and these are just the early ideas. I was pretty choked up when this was described. Please tell your clubs, associations and groups about this and see how many boats can make it to NYC for the day!

* From Dean Ellis: I have just read Mark Rudiger's account on Assa Abloy in the Volvo Ocean race of accidentally sailing over a locals fishing gear. Being a commercial fisherman and sailor in Northern BC, I am saddened by their account of powering through and breaking the line of some 3rd world fishermans livelihood. Are these sponsor-crazed professional sailors so unaware of other people using the oceans? I would suggest the appropriate way to deal with this situation would be first keep a watch, second luff up and untangle immediately and if you did break the buoyline contact the fisherman (the boats do have a bit of communication equipment aboard) so the fisherman is not spending endless hours searching for his destroyed gear. Also Mr. Rudiger's comment he will feast on lobsters in Miami as compensation for destroying a Bermudian's livelihood shows a rather marginal grasp of world economics. What is the position of the sponsor Assa Abloy?

* From JA Booker (re Lloyd's big mess): Yet another example of the insurance industry attempting to shape our lives, I gather. My vessels will always have women's names. How appropos for the "other woman" in my life. I suspect this echoes the sentiments of many skippers through the ages. Lloyd's knows what to do with "it."

* From Steve Fedde (re Lloyd's List): Give me a break. This is the kind of political correctness that I expect to see (and do see every day) from ignorant, do-gooder, Hollywood types in America, not from an institution and country that bleeds tradition and has a maritime history like no other.

The press release suggests that you have been around since 1734. One would think that you would attempt to enrich your connection to history, not run away from it. "Technical issue"? "Ships are commodities"? Who is going to tell HMS Victory that She is now an It? Nelson must be rolling over in his grave.

"The Volvo 60's seem incredibly equal in boat speed. The biggest differences are generated by the individual sail inventories. From time to time one boat will fine a sweet spot and have a little advantage, however the conditions are always changing making it boat-for-boat racing." - Chris Larson, Assa Abloy

"I have seen a lot of dolphins in my time, but never with so much vertical pace, these boys had some serious fun, and wanted us to see every bit of it. I could honestly say 30ft might have been the record of the launch-fest with a beautiful back floppy and a crazy tail wiggle to finish. Now the humpback on a slower note was aiming to please as well but could not quite get her tail out of the water but tried her best." - Jeff Brock, Amer Sports One

"The intense heat is combined with the constant exposure to salt water. It causes most of the crew to break out small boils where their clothing chafes on their skin. Some guys have it so bad that they are taking antibiotics to prevent any infection setting in. Sunburn is also a major issue and we seem to be churning through the Hawaiian Topic [sun cream] like water as we try to keep the melanomas at bay. The only respite is the occasional bucket of salt water, which we throw over ourselves, but this soon dries off leaving the itchy salt behind and some more aggravation for the boils."- Alby Pratt, Team News Corp

"I was just thinking of the big differences there are compared to previous races. My first race in 85/86 on the Dutch yacht Phillips Innovator brings a smile back on my face. Only the skipper [Dirk Nauta] had done the race before, and for the rest it was a first time experience. Plenty of fresh food onboard, a four-pit stove including an oven, which was situated in a real galley with pots and pans, plus having the luxury of a full time cook onboard. Everybody had his own Walkman so he could listen to his own music, plus electric shavers, I can go own with this list. No wonder we were not so quick in the light conditions, we must have carried at least 1500 kg in excess weight." - Bouwe Bekking, Amer Sports One

April 4-7: BVI Spring Regatta, Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI. Multi-course, multi-start format using separate start and finish lines.

The Alinghi America's Cup syndicate is a new entry to this prestigeous event yet many consider it to be well placed to win the Louis Vuitton Cup and possibly even the America's Cup itself. So why would people think so highly of a team that didn't exist at the time of the last America's Cup?

The reason comes from the potent combination of formidable match racer and ex-Team New Zealand helm Russell Coutts and Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli who is financing the project. And they are just two of the many top names involved with this syndicate, which many feel will fly come the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup this October. - John Greenland, Madforsailing website,

Waves are not far off 10 metres high, breaking waves cover the cockpit submerging the crew on the maxi-catamaran Orange. The steaming sea is striped with long trails of white foam and there are gusts of up to 65 knots (between 110 and 120 km/h). Bruno Payton said during a radio chat, "It's time to take your foot off the accelerator! Sailing in 50-knots winds is no problem with this sort of boat. Sailing in these sorts of seas is a problem! It's a veritable cauldron."

Orange rode out the worst of it under bare poles but by midday things had moderated and they are once again sailing with three reefs in the main and are making way south some 1000 miles south of the Kerguelen Islands and was back on her normal course.

Is your boat's performance data available from US Sailing's "in stock" Polar Performance database? While the best source for a thorough and complete Ockam format file remains a custom run VPP, services are available to refine and expand "off the shelf" polar information for use with OckamSoft or burned to chip for our 037 Interface. For more information, contact Tom Davis ( See

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Peter Holmberg
(Excerpt from a radio interview with Peter Montgomery about Oracle Racing.)

"We've had a team that's gone through its ups and downs. I think we've found our core group and we feel very comfortable and solid with each other. At this stage of the game we are definitely racing everybody - I think now you're going to see the real Oracle. It's a great bunch of guys. Larry Ellison with his money behind it. We've got a great opportunity and I think the people that are in there now are really going to do their best to pull it off." - Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing.

George Fisher of Columbus Ohio received US sailing's National Sportsmanship Award. Fisher was nominated by members of the Interlake Sailing Class Association, the International Lightning Class Association, and Hoover Yacht Club (Columbus, OH) "Over the past twenty years, George Fisher has embodied the finest traditions of sportsmanship within the Midwest and nationally," began the nomination.

George Fisher exemplifies a bygone era when yachting was a competition between gentlemen. This would be an easy statement to make about a creaky septuagenarian bringing up the back of the fleet, lending quiet dignity to events only by virtue of silver locks and a crinkled smile. Not so George, who at 74 still competes at the top of the Lightning and Interlake classes, and whom every opponent recognizes as both a serious threat on the racecourse, and a friend in the clubhouse.

So Adam Mack and Adam Lowry of Seattle validated their top ranking on the US Sailing Team by coming from behind to win the 49er class in the 42nd Olympic Classes Regatta at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Sunday, but where does that put them in the international picture? "We're going to find out next week," Mack said. They were off to Spain Sunday night to compete against the best 49er sailors in Europe in the Princess Sofia Regatta on the island of Majorca.

The competition may be keen but the conditions won't be any tougher than they found over three days in Long Beach, including the final day with 18 knots of chilly breeze and lumpy water even inside the breakwater where their acrobatic class performed. It was gnarly well before noon. Several boats in various classes took one look and returned to the harbor; others dropped out through the afternoon. But most of the 143 entries in nine classes considered the outing well worthwhile in the pursuit of their Olympic dreams.

Meg Gaillard, 28, of Jamestown, R.I., also sailed every race, even though she had the Europe class wrapped up with one to spare. She won 8 of 10 races, including the last seven. The effort earned her top ranking in her class for 2002. Peter Wells already was assured of such status. Wells, 28, of Newport Beach, Calif., was able to sit out the last two Mistral races after winning the first eight. Farther offshore, veteran Finn campaigner Darrell Peck, 37, of Gresham, Ore. steamrolled the fleet in winning all three races Sunday, dropping Bryan Boyd of Jacksonville, Fla. to second. Honolulu's Andrew Lewis, 19, also scored a triple Sunday for 8 wins in 10 Laser races in the 47 boat class. - Rich Roberts

Other class winners include: MISTRAL WOMEN (2)-1. Sherry Burgess; STAR (13)-1. Mike Dorgan/Eric Weintraub; SOLING (7)-1. Jim Medley/Marc Hulbert; SNIPE (6)-1. Ken Redler/Julie Redler. -

Midwinter Championship, Clearwater, FL, March 10-12;
1. George Szabo/Brian Janney, San Diego, 6.75
2. Rob & Bridget Hallawell, San Diego, 17.75
3. Hal Gilreath/Hugh Hallawell, Annapolis, 20.

Don Q Rum, Miami, FL March 15-17
1. Andrew Pimental/Carol Cronin, Newport, 15.5
2. George Szabo/Brian Janney, San Diego, 17.25
3. Augie Diaz/Gus Wirth, Miami, 23

Bacardi Cup - Nassau, Bahamas March 20-21
1. George Szabo/Brian Janney, San Diego, 6.75
2. Augie Diaz/Gus Wirth, Miami, 7
3. Robert Dunkley/Michelle Lakin, Nassau, 10.75

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your door for years.