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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1035 - March 26, 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.

COMMENTARY - Tim Jeffery
(Following is an excerpt from a story by yachting journalist Tim Jeffery in the UK's Daily Telegraph.)

The immediate future of the Volvo Ocean Race is green as John Kostecki's lime-hued overall race leader, Illbruck, is pushing strongly for a fourth win from five stages in Miami tonight or tomorrow. But what of the race's future? Will Volvo, having spent close on £28.5 million on their first, back a second? Most likely is the view of the race's chief executive, Helge Alten, who will hand over the reins after the finish in Kiel, Germany, in June, though Volvo remain uncommitted. The impact of the race, especially on the Volvo car brand, is still being measured.

Though upbeat, Alten recognises the race has drawn its smallest entry and appeared sterile compared with previous Whitbreads. He already has suggestions for his successor to cut costs and to re-engage the public. More are likely to come from outside consultants and internally from Ford's Volvo Cars division.

"In terms of media coverage it is very good," Alten said. "We have done pretty well. I think Volvo and the sponsors of the boats are happy. When it comes to the stopovers themselves, we haven't really made the race for the public. It's been too much for the corporate sponsors of the boats."

To cut costs, the race could be reduced from nine months to six. This could spell the end of short stages such as Miami-Baltimore, La Rochelle-Goteborg and Goteborg-Kiel. "This keeps the race to what it used to be, four or five stops and that's it," Alten said. "That doesn't mean you can't do things that are interesting to the public in the ports, such as mini regattas. I think we could make them count. They could score points: not a hell of a lot, but enough to keep the sailors interested."

Costs which bring little or no return to sponsors or the public are prominent in Alten's thinking. Hence his liking for replacing the Volvo 60s, used for three races now, with a bigger class of identical one-designs. - Tim Jeffery, Daily Telegraph, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk

VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The leading yachts in this 5th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race are currently sailing off Eleuthera in the Bahamas, and are 15 miles south east of Bridge Point at the extreme north of the island. Here they will turn into the North East Providence Channel to begin their final run-in to Miami. The crew of Illbruck must be looking anxiously astern, as Assa Abloy steadily reduces the distance between them, now a mere 3 miles. With only 200 miles to go to the finish, the tension on board the yachts must be tangible.

Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One was struck by lightning during a storm early at 0430 GMT Monday. A short communication from the boat to the Volvo Ocean Race HQ indicates that everyone on board is all right, and the boat appears to have suffered no structural damage although most of the electrical equipment on board has blown as a result of the strike.

"The weather was a beautiful spring shower, it was kind of like standing under Niagara Falls," the short communication from the boat reads. "We were in the middle of a cloud about 24 miles wide, sailing downwind in winds of 15 to 30 knots shifting 50 degrees for about six hours and we seemed to be moving at about the same speed as the cloud. The strikes started to come more often and closer each time until the major one... a flash at the same time as a big bang. The rest of the crew now have as much grey hair as I do."

"The guys are now working to load their Sony media computer with communication software and weather routing programmes. Once that's set up they should be able to communicate more easily because the Satellite C system appears to be undamaged. That should allow them to get the weather data GRIB files that the Race Office supplies to all the boats. But I think they'll have lost their internet connection and access to any other weather data. So while they're not 100 per-cent, they're not completely out of touch either" commented Andy Hindley, Yacht Equipment and Racing Manager for the Volvo Ocean Race.

POSITONS on March 26 @ 0400 GMT:
1. illbruck, 203 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 3 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 13 mbl
4. Team SEB, 61 mbl
5. News Corp, 76 mbl
6. Amer Sports One, 91 mbl
7. djuice, 218 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 221 mbl
www.volvooceanrace.com

BIG PROBLEM
For as long as I can remember, I've used my tired, beat up old shorts for sailing. But no more. I've gotten spoiled by my fast drying Supplex Camet shorts, and their foam pads pamper my aging butt. And the Camet shorts do have a good look. So now I have a problem- what do I do with my old shorts? www.camet.com

ON THE HAURAKI GULF
Yesterday afternoon ITA-45 re-emerged from the Prada boatshed at the Viaduct Basin and today, went sailing on the Hauraki Gulf despite the Prada team having officially left Auckland to return to Italy. The match racing teams of Rod Davis and Gavin Brady, however, remained in Auckland to compete in the Steinlager/Line 7 Regatta.

The hull of ITA-45 is now fully skirted from deck to ground level. Formerly only the keel was concealed. The rig is a conventional 2000 generation rig (not a millenium rig).

The latest information on the Prada website dated 9 March 2002 states: "We are on holiday. Team Prada completes training session in the Hauraki Gulf. The activity in New Zealand waters for team Prada is over and by the end of next week the boats and equipment will be ready to be shipped back to Italy via cargo ... Team Prada will be sailing again in Italy from around mid May."

It is now apparent that ITA-45 was not shipped back and testing is continuing on the Gulf. It seems the results from testing whatever modifications have been made cannot wait the six weeks it takes for the boats to be transported from Auckland to Italy. - Cheryl, 2003AC website, www.2003ac.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 Lloyd Causey (re Dean Ellis' comments of Assa Abloy encounter with the lobster pot): Commercial fishermen keep setting fishing gear in navigation channels all over the world with no concern of whose boat they will damage. Every sailor that I know has had the expense of tangled crab pot lines damaging boat gear. The idea that Assa Abloy should have stopped and tried to find a fisherman and notify him that his fishing gear was damaged is silly, no it is inane. I will go to Miami to make sure that Mark has his share of lobsters to dine on. That is if I have any money left after paying for the latest damage that illegally set fishing gear has caused to my boat. Would Mr. Ellis wish to donate to my repairs?

* From Michael Levitt, communications director, NYYC: I don't know if Christian Fevrier was writing as a "private citizen" regarding the Transatlantic racing record holder - Scuttlebutt 1034 -- or as a member of the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) on which he apparently sits. However, according to John Reed, the WSSRC secretary, in a letter dated July 10, 2001, "In the case of the Transatlantic Race from New York to the Lizard, the history of the New York Yacht Club organisation goes back to 1866. The WSSR accepts that there is only one organiser for this race and that therefore the Race Record is that which is confirmed by the NYYC.

"There is evidence that another race was organised in 1981, which was won by Kriter VIII in a record time. Had this information been authenticated and forthcoming, it is possible that WSSR might have considered this as the benchmark for the monohull Transatlantic record. However we would not have recognised this as the Transatlantic Race Record.

"On behalf of the WSSRC, I can confirm that we will re-insert the Transatlantic Race in our list, currently quoting the Atlantic record time of 12 days 4 hours and 1 minute..."

If Mr. Fevrier is not privy to this correspondence, he or anyone else can write communications@nyyc.org for the complete text.

The NYYC will be hosting a Transatlantic Race, the Transatlantic Challenge, in 2005 with Rolex as the sponsor. This will be the 100th anniversary of Atlantic's racing record.

* From Maxwell Rosenberg: Coastal California to Mexico races are fun. Sleds, sun and surfing. Between Boils, Bergs and small bunks, why race Volvo 60's around the world?. Why not wide bunked, mandatory fresh water makers and maxi sleds? Isn't it one design? Who is responsible for this madness?

AMERICA'S CUP
* Britain's GBR Challenge are heading home for a well-deserved break confident their America's Cup preparations are on track. Their general manager, New Zealander David Barnes, said most of the team had gone back to Britain to help with the new boat GBR 70, which will be launched in Cowes on April 12. The boat will then be shipped to Auckland and the team will resume sailing in early June. GBR will also add new sails and new rigs to their training boats GBR44 and GBR52 (the old Nippon boats). "Once we get the new boat up and racing at the end of June we'll phase out GBR44," Barnes said.

Chairman Peter Harrison said the team would build a second hull. Barnes said it was unlikely the boat would be used in this forthcoming regatta, but they were not ruling it out. "Our intention is to build a second hull so that we have two 2003 generation boats," he said. "We are plugging away at it, but we'll see how it goes and how the finances go." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story, www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/

* The hoopla around the staging of the America's Cup this summer has just taken a turn for the worse. Auckland City is cutting funds from parades and free events to concentrate instead on promoting its "brand name". The council's combined committees meeting on Wednesday cut the America's Cup parades fund by NZ$25,000. The chairman of the recreation and events committee, councillor Scott Milne, says money could be better spent lifting the city's profile "by getting our brand out there".

America's Cup 2003 director Tony Thomas says this will mean the parade might not be as good as it has been previously. "We'll still have a parade but it will have to be cut accordingly," Mr Thomas says. The combined committees decided the NZ$25,000 cut should be retrieved from the private sector. But Mr Thomas says it will be too complicated to get sponsorship as there are already sponsors in other parts of the event.

American Express public affairs manager Craig Dowling says sponsorship will be hard to find. "It's a very difficult time to get money. There aren't many organisations out there which are just able to write a cheque without seeing the benefits," Mr Dowling says. - Annabel Scaife, Auckland City Harbour News, posted on the Stuff NZ website, full story: www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,1141787a1500,FF.html

* Skip Lissiman has been appointed as coach for the Swedish Victory Challenge in the America's Cup. Lissiman, 44, has taken part in three America's Cups representing Australia, in 1980, 1983 and 1987. He was port trimmer on Australia II when it took the world's oldest sailing trophy away from the USA. Besides running his own marine service business, Skip Lissiman has been heading operations for a fleet of match racing boats in Perth in recent years.

* Auckland will need 105 to police the cup, Police Minister George Hawkins said in response to a parliamentary question about how many "additional police" would be required. - N.Z.P.A. www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,1145902a1501,FF.html

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

INDUSTRY NEWS
Philip Dowson has been appointed Managing Director Brookes and Gatehouse Ltd. Dowson brings to the company a breadth of business experience outside of the yachting world. Dawson has an engineering degree from Cambridge University. Later he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked for Motorola and BUPA before joining the board of Brookes and Gatehouse as Finance Director in February this year.

QUOTES FROM THE VOR BOATS
* For those of you who haven't been on these boats, the interior living space is pretty cramped. We have a useable floor area of about 6 foot by 6 foot in which you can move around and the surface is flat. Now imagine trying to unravel the remains of a spinnaker that is about 85 feet by 40 feet and is over 3000 square feet in area. Once you have worked out which way is up, you need to find all of the tears (there are often many), which quite often run the full height of the sail. You then need to use sticky-back cloth to stick them together, before you sew the whole thing back up with a portable sewing machine, only to put it back up in the same wind conditions that just destroyed it." - Steve Hayles, Team Tyco.

TROPHEE JULES VERNE
Two days beating into 40 knots of wind! The face offered by the Indian Ocean to the men of the maxi-catamaran Orange is astonishing both sailors and meteorologists. Exceptional weather situations have been accumulating for the maxi-catamaran, and they are getting more difficult and more complex. A boat-breaking seaway and mind-breaking weather forecasts, indeed not a year "for breaking records!". Anticyclones and walls of low pressure are playing with the men and their strange multihull. Peyron is taking it on the chin and mobilising all his men around what's essential: preserving intact the potential of the boat. The Indian is dictating its law and redistributing the order of priorities; spare Orange, find the exit, then restart the record hunt, temporarily put on the back boiler. "It's been a little better for the last two or three hours," said Bruno Peyron.

"We're progressing on an east-south-east heading at about fifteen knots, peaking at 20! Not bad under staysail and 3 reefs! We need to get down into the Fifties, and get under a tropical low that is forming ahead of us at 43 South. The sea is still untidy. It's hell for the helmsman who is permanently taking icy green water in his face." - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com/site/en/index2.cfm

YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
The Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) of US Sailing, national governing body for the sport, has announced the qualifying events it will use to select a team to represent the U.S.A. at the 2003 Youth Sailing ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Championships. Although the dates are yet to be confirmed, the championship will be sailed in Portugal and will offer competition in the following classes (events): Laser (boys singlehanded) and Laser Radial (girls singlehanded); International 420 (boys and girls doublehanded); and Mistral (boys and girls boardsailing). The Hobie 16 has been designated as the equipment for a multihull event if one is included by regatta organizers. The members of the 2003 US Youth World Team will be the winners of the events listed below, who have not have reached their 19th birthday in 2003.

Qualifying Events: Girls Singlehanded Entrant: The 2002 U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Championship (Leiter Clagett Trophy) scheduled for July 31-August 4, 2002, sailed in Laser Radials at Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, La. Boys Singlehanded Entrant: The 2003 Laser Midwinters East, dates and location t.b.a. Girls Doublehanded Entrants: The 2002 U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship (Ida Lewis Trophy) scheduled for July 5-9, 2002, sailed in Club 420s at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa, Calif. Boys Doublehanded Entrants: The 2003 420 Midwinters, dates and location t.b.a. Boys and Girls Multihull Entrants: The 2002 U.S. Youth Multihull Championship (Hoyt-Jolley Trophy) scheduled for July 12-14, 2002, sailed in Mystere 4.3s at Port Clinton Yacht Club, Port Clinton, Ohio. Boys and Girls Boardsailing Entrants: qualifying event to be determined. - Jan Harley, www.ussailing.org

INSIGHT
(Dobbs Davis took an look at the just completed Steinlager/ Line 7 Match Race Series for the SailNet website. Here's an excerpt from his story.)

Ken Read, skipper of Dennis Connor's Stars & Stripes challenge team, underscored the difficulty of the competition by saying "This is like being in sailing school. This is totally different than sailing in IACC boats, and I've not sailed on any boat with a tiller in a year and a half, much less in two knots of current!" Read's tactician and mainsheet trimmer Terry Hutchinson, an accomplished match race sailor in his own right, echoed the difficulty by saying the pre-start action "is so intense, I really haven't had any time to look around and help much on tactics. But we're getting better at it, and our teamwork is still solid." Completing their team's quintet, Read and Hutchinson had Andrew Scott and Morgan Trubovich trimming the sails and Greg Gendell on the bow.

Just as many of the Auckland-based teams have been chartering MRXs for their intramural competitions, the Stars & Stripes team (based in Long Beach, CA) has also been honing its match-race skills by sparring in the wheel-driven Catalina 37s made available to them by the Long Beach Yacht Club. - Dobbs Davis

WOMEN'S MATCH RACING
Eight teams sailed in the Sundance Cup grade 4 women's match race held at the Fort Worth Boat in all sorts of weather conditions. Final results: 1. Sandy Grosvenor (Annapolis, MD); 2. Charlie Arms (Vallejo, CA); 3. Stacie Straw (Marina del Rey, CA); 4. Debbie Willits (Houston, TX). - www.fwbc.com

CORRECTION
Stricken by the writer's morning-after curse, I took one look today (Monday) at Sunday's wrapup Olympic Classes Regatta release and realized that in the very first words I had identified the 49er winners as "Adam Mack and Adam Lowry." It's Andy Mack and Adam Lowry, as I well knew and as their names appeared in earlier releases. My apologies to you for the misinformation and inconvenience and especially to ANDY Mack. - Rich Roberts

THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
To make a long story short, don't tell it.