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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1037 - March 28, 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.

* If was elation, then it had been completely consumed by exhaustion, as a weary Neal McDonald brought Assa Abloy home to the Miami finish line to win the Volvo Ocean Race's fifth stage from Rio de Janeiro. It was Assa Abloy's second victory since the Briton was promoted to skipper in Cape Town and moved her ahead of Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One into second place overall. In a thrilling skirmish all the way from the Bahamas into Miami, Assa Abloy slipped passed John Kostecki's Illbruck, the overall race leader which had been in front for seven of the stage's 17 days.

Kostecki's team fought back, re-passed Assa Abloy, who in turn got ahead until both boats ran out of wind on a sultry night off a broiling Miami. Eventually Assa Abloy slipped home 1hr 12min ahead, with Kevin Shoebridge's Tyco pressing strongly, less than 15 minutes behind Illbruck. Tim Jeffery, Daily Telegraph, UK, Full story:

* In the last six hours djuice dragons has managed to maintain their slim five mile lead on Amer Sports Too. The very light winds are making progress painfully slow for the two remaining yachts at sea in this the fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The wind is only averaging three knots from the east.

1. Assa Abloy 17d 13h 19m 57s
2. illbruck Challenge 17d 14h 21m 52s
3. Team Tyco 17d 14h 34m 15s
4. Team SEB 17d 17h 16m 20s
5. Team News Corp 17d 18h 26m 28s
6. Amer Sports One 17d 20h 47m 40s.
Others at 0400 GMT:
7. djuice, 86 miles from the finish
8. Amer Sports Tpp, 91 mff.

RACE STANDINGS after five legs:
1. illbruck Challenge, 36 points
2. Assa Abloy, 28
3. Amer Sports One, 25
4. Team Tyco, 24
5. Team News Corp, 23
6. Team SEB, 17
djuice & Amer Sports Too are still racing.

While the French Challenge crew is training with FRA-46 and NZL-32 at the French seaside resort of Lorient, another type of crew is building the boat that is needed in order to take part in the America's Cup challenge. The French building program began months ago on computer screens and later with scale models in wind tunnels and half-mile-long testing tanks.

Now, FRA-69 is being built at the Multiplast Boatyard in Vannes, near Lorient, where Gilles Ollier is working with the 25-strong boat building team. The entire construction project is nearly completed and, on Tuesday, the builders applied a light black paint to hull before sanding them to a glassy finish.

The hull and the deck are ready and the last phase of finish is scheduled to begin the first week of April. The French boat is expected to be completed mid may in Vannes and will brought out to Lorient as well. At this stage, the French designers focus on modifications of appendages. - Hauraki New Website, full story:

Bainbridge International has recently combined there renowned 'off shore' (OS) scrim and a grey pigmented adhesive system into a range of inshore racing laminates that provide improved shape retention, greater strength and longer life. The OS DIAX has proved to be very versatile and this development will allow the inshore sailor to benefit from the increased perfomance that is offered by this range of laminates. For more information contact your sailmaker or go to

The plucky Europeans, who continue to fall further behind the U.S. in almost all technologies, have agreed to fund development of Galileo, an independent Global Positioning System (GPS). The project won't be operational until 2008, at which time it will have cost $3.2 billion. The EU wants to 'shake off' dependence on the system operated by the United States. For obvious reasons, the U.S. Department of Defense would prefer that the Europeans didn't build their own system.

Here's the thing about GPS we've never understood. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, which means we U.S. taxpayers funded it. Nonetheless, we have simply given the use of this incredibly valuable and life-saving technology to everyone else in the world who can afford $79 to buy a unit. The way we see it, there should have been a $1,000 royalty due on all GPS units sold to non-Americans to help pay for the incredibly valuable information. - Latitude 38 website,

(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 Manfred C. Schreiber (re the articulating bowsprit on the Open 60 HSBC): It is absolutely right that an articulating bowsprit increases the effective downwind sail area . A great feature, but hey, if that Open 60 thing crash jibes (or the windward pulling rope brakes or slips in a jibe) and has its articulating bow sprit on the wrong side, (articulated to leeward) you are lost. The boat will stick on its side like this two masted thing many years ago and will only get up after you have shredded the gennaker.

But who shall do that on a 90° heeled boat which slips to leeward due to the wind pressure on the high hull and wants to go to a 180° due to the bowsprit and gennaker being dragged through the water. I have done it twice on different small boats (crewed) and it is nothing I would experience being out there. And it will happen sooner or later. Precautions or not.

* From Michael Rosenauer: The discussion regarding the habitability of the V.O.60s is incomplete and mere conjecture without the input from the men and women who have been aboard for the past six months. Habitability is subjective and largely based on the eye of the beholder. These boats were obviously expensive and took a significant amount of time and effort to design. I cannot believe that the designers received no input from the leaders of the various crews. Further, I have seen no crewmember leave a program because of the "living" conditions.

These men and women are participating to win. They understand that to win, weight must be minimized; space optimized; crew maximized. These boats obviously synthesize these attributes.

* From John Warren, Volvo Ocean 60 chief measurer: For the record all the VO60s have enough bunks of adequate length, but there is an old saying that 'you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink', or something like that.

* From Enrico Alfredo Ferrari: There exists a bright spot in the corporate pursuit of the AC. Having a reduce, reuse, and recycle theme at the heart of their theme for their pursuit of the Cup is extremely laudable. The One World focus on "less is more" is an even more powerful stimulant to my emotions than a required national citizenship of the crew. This campaign has taken the moral high ground and should be a shining example for all involved. Win or Lose, One World has made a statement with this attitude (albeit expensive initially) that will shine a bright light on yachting in general. The better this consortium does in the competition the further the message will spread making this competition much more appealing to the green minded population of the world, even if they know nothing of sailing.

* From Michael Levitt, communications director NYYC: Clearly, Christian Fevrier cannot be speaking for the World Sailing Speed Record Council as official WSSRC documents contradict all of his points. He refers to an "internal note" dated June 19, 2001. I quote below from a formal-policy statement from John Reed, secretary of WSSRC, dated nearly a month later July 10, 2001. (Anyone wanting a copy should write

"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. This time would be replaced if a yacht subsequently broke this race record in the NYYC race of 2002."

"Had (the Kriter VIII) information been authenticated and forthcoming, it is possible that the WSSR might have considered this as the benchmark for the monohull Transatlantic record. However we would not have recognized this as the Transatlantic Race Record."

Mr. Reed acknowledges that there is nothing to stop another organizer from staging a race over the same course - he uses as an example the RORC's Fastnet -- but at a time promising more optimal sailing conditions. "This yacht might have a case to claim a WSSRC ratified passage record, provided the WSSRC rules had been observed. However, the WSSRC would not recognize this new time as the Fastnet Race Record."

The 100-year-old Transatlantic Race Record of Atlantic will be in play in 2005.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Enuf - this short-lived thread is now officially dead.

"I think all the boats are pretty equal, if you've watched the schedules over the 17 days you'll see that all the boats, or at least the lead pack, were pretty much toe-to-toe the whole way. I think the biggest difference really is sail inventory; some boats have sweet spots and certain wind ranges over other boats. If you're out there for long enough over the 17 days you'll experience enough situations to hit everyone's sweet spots at least once." - Chris Larson, Assa Abloy

"I think a lot of it had to do with taking care of ourselves on this trip, and squall management. We didn't break any crucial sails, we made good sail changes during the squalls, and we actually ended up getting into a little less current, which made the big gain on them." - Mark Rudiger, Assa Abloy

"Sailing side by side with Assa Abloy and Tyco, it was very noticeable that they were similar in speed. They really have copied our sails and a lot of things that we have learned. We thought we had an advantage, but now, they're catching up. It's going to be a tight race for all the rest of the way around the world." - John Kostecki, illbruck

"The point of sail that we do miss out on is power reach, you know, pressed-up reaching which is basically stability sailing. illbruck has always been very fast on this and I suppose it's more of a hull-shape thing. And Assa has this heavy bomb at the bottom which obviously does something for them." - Kevin Shoebridge, Tyco

"We have to target Assa Abloy in terms of trying to take a few points off them. I have always played down their speed, everyone was talking about them being a quick boat, but I have reversed my thinking having raced against them in this leg: they're blindingly fast." - Steve Hayles, Tyco

"It highlighted what none of us expected in any way, that we are desperately slow reaching. As much as half a knot, which with all our new sails, I didn't expect at all. There was nothing we could do about it. We didn't sail that bad, but we didn't sail that well. But we were going real slow. I think short legs are probably good for us, because on the long legs in the highways, we are going to get rolled. On the short legs we are quite strong." - Grant Dalton, Amer Sports One

"By Day 3, we had a 20 mile lead. We were on our own, holding the Westerly position. We should have rejoined the fleet at that point. That was a mistake. We recovered very well, but the overall result is disappointing for us." - Ross Field, Team News Corp

Dr. Bob McNeil's Zephyrus V was moved out of McConaghy Boat's shed in preparation for shipping to San Francisco. The 85ft yacht, named after the Greek god of wind, is the first water ballasted maxi to come from the drawing board of Reichel Pugh Yacht Design.

Zephyrus V will be rigged and sail tested in San Francisco before her first race, the Pacific Cup in July. The yacht will compete in the race from San Francisco to Hawaii against Philippe Kahn's 78ft Pegasus. A serious attempt at the world 24-hour monohull speed record is also on the agenda.

Below decks in the galley the cutlery is stored under the stove in 3 holes, designed so that when the boat heels over they can't fall out. There are no drawers or side-hinged doors on Zephyrus V. Objects are held in lockers with mesh netting on shockcord. Next to the stove, 4 large thermoses sit inside cut out rings in the bench for continual hot drinks with minimal boiling of water. Up forward is the head and a large open sail area.

Still to be completed at McConaghy Boats' is the 90ft Shockwave, commissioned by Neville Crighton. The new Shockwave will be shipped to New Zealand in mid June, where it will be rigged then sailed to Hamilton Island for Race Week. This is the same program as the 79ft Shockwave which was launched in 2000, won Hamilton Island Race Week, lead the Sydney to Hobart fleet to Bass Strait and then retired due to rough conditions. Soon after it was sold to Germany. The new Shockwave will sail in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. - BoatingOz website, Australia, full story:

West Marine is proud to announce the first annual West Marine Sailing Seminar and Expo, April 6th at the Newport Beach Marriott at 900 Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach, California. In addition to a host of educational seminars, the West Marine Sailing Seminar and Expo will hold an exhibit with a wide variety of vendors to showcase their products. Don't miss this exciting event. Tickets are $5 for Seminars and Expo, and $20 for Seminars, Expo, and Lunch with featured guest Gino Morrelli. Available at any West Marine Southern California location.

It's been days since they've had anything like a normal day... And that is exactly what is happening right now on the maxi-catamaran Orange. "It's true that it does one good finding a sea in harmony with the wind", said Bruno Peyron with a tinny voice during today's chat session. "We have picked up a WNW wind as forecast and have at last found some normal speed". Today the maxi-catamaran Orange is getting her mile chomping appetite back as the hours go by, now averaging 26 knots. At 1300 today she was less than 2000 miles from Cape Leeuwin (the south-west tip of Australia), the next mythical cape to be left to port.

The giant from Marseilles is starting to get back to 400 miles a day while the average speeds are getting better by the hour. The heading remains ESE and the maxi-catamaran Orange is cruising along at about 45° South, which is still a very northern route compared to Olivier de Kersauson's who passed the French Kerguelen islands 100 miles to their south. And while the next passage point is the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, Bruno Peyron and his pals will not be beating the Cape of Good Hope/Cape Leeuwin reference time recorded by brother Loïck Peyron and his crew (Innovation Explorer, which became Orange) in The Race, in 7 days and 14 hours. To beat it, the elder of the Peyron clan must pass the Australian cape by tomorrow March 28th at 1616. Mission impossible, but we can say that the stopwatch is ticking again! -

27 March 2002 - From the Board of the "Association Round The World in 80 days," - Olivier de Kersauson, President of the Association and present record holder of the Jules Verne Trophy (1997: 71d 14h 22' and 8") is keen to make the following statement: To his deepest regret, the Board of the Jules Verne Trophy is put in a situation to publish a correction about the wrong analysis made actually by the Orange Society, the Bruno Peyron's main partner for his round the world, non-stop record attempt. The Jules Verne Trophy is a high level sporting event in which the calculations and the declarations delivered by the sponsors must stay coherent and close to maritime reality.

Now, since more than 25 days, the informations published by the Orange web site are presenting a flattering position for the boat flying its flag. But alas, quite far from reality. Today, the Orange position on the Jules Verne Trophy track - of which Bruno Peyron and the late Sir Peter Blake have been the first winners - is still behind the Enza position from 1994 and approximately 600 miles ahead of the Sport-Elec position in 1997. And this, after 25 days at sea.

The people in charge of the communication and responsible of the Orange web site have certainly not understood that the Jules Verne Trophy is a timed competition in which the number of miles behind you doesn't matter. To simplify, you must consider the remaining number of miles to cross the finishing line at Ushant. And not those accumulated by the Orange log, on a track still far from the target to reach.

Consequently, we wish that the media as the journalists are not misled by the Orange daily information which divert from the sporting spirit and the Jules Verne Trophy ethics regularly. - Olivier de Kersauson, president of the Association Tour du monde en 80 Jours.

As rope technology has advanced we've all gotten used to the constantly shrinking diameter of halyards and other running rigging. A 12,000-pound load on a polymer rope of a size that you wouldn't have used for a light-air spinnaker sheet 15 years ago is no biggie. Wire is almost totally gone and rod-rigging may not be long for this world-Graham Dalton's Open 60 is rigged with PBO standing rigging, lighter and stronger than rod.

With feedback gleaned from The Race and the Volvo and with the assistance of the high-end rigging experts at Aramid Rigging in Portsmouth, R.I., Yale has developed and patented Loups, a product that's been designed to replace steel shackles. Realizing that there was more than one way to rig a cat, innovative riggers of high-end programs have been successfully using loops of low-stretch rope for applications once regarded as the sole territory of large, heavy metal shackles. From running backstays to guy block padeyes, Loups not only save weight they also lower costs. - Sailing World website, full story:

* April 3-6: Melges 24 North American Championship, Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis MD.

* April 4-7: California International Sailing Association's Advanced Junior Racing Clinic at Alamitos Bay YC. Clinic director Peter Wells with instructors Charlie McKee, Meg Gaillard, Mark Mendelblatt, Kevin Hall, Nick Adamson, Carisa Harris, Bill Hardesty, Rich Feeny, Robert Dean, Skip Whyte, Brian Doyle, Zack Leonard, Jon Rogers, Jaimie Malm and Adam Dearmont. Speakers include Ken Read, helmsman for Team Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes, and Keith Kilpatrick who sailed on Amer Sports One in the Southern Ocean during the Volvo Ocean Race. -

If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?