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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1036 - March 27, 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.

In an impressive turn around in the expected result for this leg, Neal McDonald's Assa Abloy pipped race leader illbruck at the post to take first place on leg five. Assa Abloy has won leg 5, finishing at 0549 GMT Wednesday. The final run in to the finish line was as nail-biting as it was frustrating for the boat crews and race followers here in Miami.

* Without the use of her large downwind gennaker - shredded three days ago during a gybe - illbruck was severely crippled in the downwind conditions, allowing Assa Abloy to catch up and slowly overhaul her. The run into the finish was a full-on match race between the two boats.

But approaching the Florida coast line last night the wind backed to the northeast and then to north and all but disappeared. This dramatically changed the tactical options for the teams, who could do little to stop their boats from shooting north in the powerful current.

As the boats wallowed with miles of the finish line, the ETA went back from 1800 to 2200 to after midnight local time. Finally Assa Abloy picked up to the breeze and stormed across the finish line at 10 knots. - James Boyd, Volvo Ocean Race website

POSITONS on March 27 @ 0606 GMT:
1. Assa Abloy, finished
2. illbruck, 8 miles from finish
3. Tyco, 8 mff
4. News Corp, 27 mff
5. Team SEB, 28 mff
6. Amer Sports One, 44 mff
7. djuice, 171 mff
8. Amer Sports Too, 173 mff

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The OneWorld Challenge America's Cup team launched their second International America's Cup Class yacht, USA 67, which kicks off an intense racing and testing program with USA 65 which they christened on March 4, 2002. OneWorld is the first of the 2003 America's Cup teams to have both of their new boats on the water in New Zealand where racing will begin with the Louis Vuitton Cup in October of this year.

The OneWorld Challenge is also committed to focusing people's attention to the perilous health of the world's oceans. Toward that end, OneWorld has announced today, the beginnings of what will be a multi-media environmental campaign.

Sean Brealey, OneWorld's Environmental Education Programs Director, has been out in the Auckland and Seattle area schools presenting kids with a multi-media education program on the history of the America's Cup, the physics involved with these powerful boats, and the health of the planet Earth and her oceans. Brealey has already been in front of over 7000 school children with his program and will have seen over 20,000 by the beginning of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

OneWorld believes that recycling begins at home. On the Auckland shorebase the team members have sourced local organizations that will recycle eight different materials including aluminum, steel, titanium, plastic, office paper, shredded paper, cardboard boxes and glass. Rain water run-off from the OneWorld buildings is collected in a large holding tank and used for the daily wash-down of sails and the two boats themselves, when they are lifted out of the water after sailing each day.

OneWorld has worked with New Zealand's Landcare Research and their EBEX21 ("Emissions and Biodiversity Exchange) to calculate the CO2 emissions from the fuel that the team will burn in their automobiles and support vessels over the life of the campaign. Based on those calculations, OneWorld will work with the Motutapu Island Restoration Trust as well as a restoration project on Motorura Island where the team members will personally plant approximately 10,000 trees between now and the start of racing in October. These islands are within a few miles of the America's Cup race course. -

Ashley Reed, the co-owner of the yacht Shipping Central, competing in the Forrester Properties Sydney to Mooloolaba Yacht Race, collapsed and died early this evening aboard the yacht off the New South Far North Coast. The Cruising Yacht of Australia, which is conducting the race, said that New South Wales Police had advised the Club that Reed, aged 50, had died despite the efforts of a trained first aid person among the crew.

"From reports we have received, a Coast Guard boat rendezvoused with Shipping Central off Brunswick Heads, north of Byron Bay, early this evening and an ambulance service paramedic went aboard the yacht," CYCA Vice Commodore Martin James said. "When the paramedic went aboard the boat he pronounced that Mr Reed, was deceased.

Co-skipper Michael Spies told the CYCA tonight that the crew of Shipping Central had responded immediately after Ashley collapsed and had applied first aid, as well as contacting emergency authorities. Spies said the emergency authority response had been outstanding.

Shipping Central is a Beneteau 40.7 yacht and sailed with a crew of eight. - 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 McBride, Roger: To second Maxwell Rosenberg's observation, it seems the VOR boat design has evolved to madness. Before the race ever started, I felt the Volvo 60's were built with an interior design that was dangerous to the occupants and were largely non-functional. The fact that the most dangerous part of the race has elapsed without permanent injuries or death is almost a miracle in my mind. I cannot comprehend the sense in two people trying to sleep in a bunk built for one and a half on a 60-foot yacht. I understand that small differences mount up over thousands of miles. But, in fact routing and tactical decisions and basic design concepts to match expected conditions are making much more difference than the few pounds that have been saved on more than Spartan interiors. Why good and great sailors would subject themselves to these conditions is a mystery.

(On the Sailing World website, designer Merfyn Owen talks with Stuart Streuli about Graham Dalton's new HSBC - one of the few new Open 60s in the Around Alone fleet. Owen was one of the designers that produced Ellen McArthur's Open 60, Kingfisher.)

When we made choices on Kingfisher," says Owen, "we made the choice for reliability over speed. The idea with Kingfisher was she had to finish the race, and if she finished she'd be well placed because the Vendee tends to be a race of attrition. We knew we could do a faster boat. The result is Graham's boat, it's Kingfisher with the gloves off."

A key difference between the two boats is the standing rigging. HSBC is one of the first Open 60s to exclusively use PBO rigging. There isn't any rod rigging on the boat, allowing for a lighter, taller rig. "It's quite a big leap," says Owen. "We could've made the choice with Kingfisher, but we didn't feel there was enough known about the PBO. We now have confidence in the fatigue life of the PBO."

Another leap is the articulating bow sprit. Like PBO, this feature was usually avoided on earlier Open 60s because of reliability concerns. Owen feels that because the articulating bowsprit was a part of HSBC from the start-in the past many were retrofitted on to fixed-sprit boats-that there is a much higher chance of it surviving the race. While Open 60 bowsprits are, proportionally, fairly small, Owen says this ability to drag the spinnaker to windward, even slightly, is significant for two reasons: it increases the effective downwind sail area in light air conditions and it balances the boat, which helps to ease the load on the autopilots and enables the spinnaker to be carried in more wind. - Stuart Streuli, Sailing World website, full story:

At 0930 GMT Tuesday, the 110ft maxi-catamaran Maiden II was lowered into the water for the first time under her new name. This red letter day marks the start of Tracy Edwards' challenging three year program incorporating both the Jules Verne in 2003 and The Race in 2004.

The Ollier designed catamaran, Maiden II was previously the world record breaking yacht 'Club Med', and has spent her time in the fast developing French yachting centre, La Ciotat, since the finish of The Race, almost exactly a year ago. It is from this enormous boat yard that one of the largest and fastest sailing vessels ever made, was prepared for her new life as Maiden II.

The truly international, all female crew have been based in La Ciotat since Edwards launched Maiden II Challenge at the end of February. A mixed delivery crew will now take the boat to the main training ground in Vilamoura, Portugal, where the crew will begin their training in earnest climaxing in an attempt on the Route of Discovery record from Cadiz to San Salvador in mid - April. "It has been a long journey for the past four years but we are truly back," Edwards said. "Once we get sponsorship we will be up and running." - Karen Parker

"The boys downstairs quickly moved all the sails and gear from a light reaching position (forward and near the mast) to a full on heavy weather position (right back around the rudder). We rode out the squall in spectacular fashion with the boat nose-diving and then launching out and taking off down the next wave. We had to call in our specialist helmsman Marcel van Triest to drive, as he was the only one able to see over the torrents washing over the deck, the rest of us were under water." - Scott Beavis, Team SEB

"Since Saturday the 23rd, we have been fighting not only tooth and nail against djuice but fighting full stop just to stay in the race. It all started with what we thought to be a minor fuel problem - getting it to the generator. It has turned into a potentially serious situation (fortunately now under control) which has totally disrupted the watch system, left us without use of our generator, having to use our emergency fuel supply in this situation, not knowing if we would have any electronics or fresh water at all on a daily basis, lack of communication with the outside world and a shattered race crew using every ounce of energy to battle the fire breathing dragons trying to beat us while we are down. It has been an oceanic match race in the most frustrating circumstances. Are we having fun yet???" Lisa McDonald, Amer Sports Too

371 miles to the north of the Kerguelen Islands, the maxi-catamaran Orange is taking advantage of another day of transition, a short respite after the tough sailing conditions of the last 48 hours, and while waiting for a new low pressure system upon whose evolution or immobility will depend Peyron's choice of route. The zone of low pressure is expanding below Australia and is paving Orange's route with dips and bumps improper for man and record breaking.

Orange is taking advantage of the calmer reaching winds to gain a little southing and make up some of the difference in latitude with Olivier de Kersauson's route in 1997, a difference that makes it difficult to calculate the number of miles lead that skipper Bruno Peyron has over the Jules Verne trophy record.

Difficult days ahead for the maxi-catamaran, with strong winds and a sea once again made furious by the pressure of the elements. Peyron and his men know the facts; find the vein, the passage, the Eldorado? that narrow corridor of clement wind and sea for crossing the front, without damage, so that they can put the Giant from Marseilles back in phase with the rhythm of the Southern Ocean. "Our current speed is absolutely unsatisfactory," said Peyron. "The culprit is the direction and state of the sea preventing us from putting on the power on pain of breaking the boat. We have got a little respite today. But a new problem will be facing us in two days time: violent winds, rough seas. reduced speed."-

Dennis Case and Carolyn Hardy are both previous Schock 35 National Champions. Recently, they both took delivery of new J/105s - #514 & 516. Both of these skippers used Ullman Sails to win their Schock 35 Championships . . . and they also ordered Ullman Sails for their new 105s. So what happened in the just concluded San Diego NOOD regatta where the 105s attracted 25 entries? Case and Hardy finished 1-2. Ullman Sails also won the 105 class at Key West Race Week. I suspect it won't be too long before other 105 sailors figure it out.

There has been a change of plans for team Prada who had completed its training session in the Hauraki Gulf on 9 March. The team decided to continue the operations in Auckland with Luna Rossa ITA 45 in order to optimize the five and a half weeks of inactivity due to the shipping of the boats and equipment back to Italy (the other two America's Cup class yachts of the team, Young America USA 53 and USA 58, are now on their way back). This sudden change of plan enables the team to perform technical evaluations and weather analysis.

This "extra" training session in New Zealand waters should keep team Prada busy until the end of April approximately. The rest of the sailing team and shore team is already back in Italy, as originally planned, to follow the construction of the new Luna Rossa ITA 74 in the boatyard in Grosseto. The whole team Prada will be back together in Italy from the beginning of May in order to start training at sea with Luna Rossa ITA 74, whose launch is scheduled in late spring. - Alessandra Ghezzi, Prada,

(The follow clarification about the Trans-Atlantic speed record was prepared by Christian Fevrier of the WSSRC)

I quote an internal note from Sir Peter Johnson, our WSSRC Chairman, from 19 June 2001, and delivered to all members, which says, "The Kriter VIII monohull time of 1981 in the race exclusively for French owned yachts, multi and mono, returning from the Two-Star, was an improvement of 12 minutes over the time of Atlantic."

Jean Louis Fabry, also WSSRC member, responsible of the race start in New York in 1981, wrote this statement to Sir Peter Johnson on 20 June 2001: "I confirm that the 1981 race organised by Europe 1 and UNCL was opened to all yachts having taken part in the OSTAR if they arrived in time at New-York to start. This race was organized to beat the record between Ambrose and the Lizard."

So, for us, at the WSSRC, it is crystal clear that KRITER VIII bettered the Atlantic record. We effectively publish in our annual list of records the names of all yachts having improved the previous record. And Atlantic stands at the top of our historical list, but not qualified with the monohull standing record.

I update carefully since 40 years the list of the yachts having bettered the Charlie Barr's record. They are 32 yachts actually. It is correct to say that the WSSRC was requested by Mr.Rich Von Doenhoff, Chairman of the now cancelled NYYC 2002 Transatlantic Challenge Race, to ratify the performances of the yachts in that race. The club wanted from us to confirm that Atlantic was still the monohull record. From all my records of correspondence about this subject, we denied this request.

Anyone else can write to our WSSRC Chairman to have confirmation of these facts. - Christian Fevrier, WSSRC

April 17-21: Pacific Sail Expo, Jack London Square, Oakland, CA. The largest all-sail boat show on the West Coast and Pacific Rim.

If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.