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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1040 - April 2, 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.

THE PROTEST
The International Jury convened, Saturday, March 30th, in Miami, to hear the protest brought by the Volvo Ocean Race Committee against SEB for having caused serious damage to herself during a collision with illbruck on leg five.

THE FACTS:
1. SEB performed a 720-degree turns penalty in acknowledgement of breaking rule 10 and 14 on the first day of Leg 5 as a result of a collision between SEB on port tack and illbruck on starboard tack.
2. SEB continued racing and finished fourth in leg five, moving from last shortly after the collision with illbruck.
3. The collision caused damage to SEB. The damage to SEB's hull falls into two categories. First, the sacrificial, non-structural foam collision bow and related skins were damaged. Second, a hole approximately 30 mm in diameter was made in the hull above the static water line.
4. Some water entered the bow through the hole.
5. The crew effected temporary repairs to the hole, preventing further infiltration of water. This repair took less than three hours.
6. SEB was able to continue racing with no significant impact upon her performance. The loads placed upon the boat caused no further damage.
7. There were no injuries to the crew on either illbruck or SEB.
8. Permanent repairs to SEB are estimated to take less than 40 man-hours.

CONCLUSION:
The damage had no significant impact on SEB's performance. SEB was able to continue racing safely. The cost of repairs is minimal in comparison with the total value of the boat.

The boats are designed and constructed to withstand damage far beyond what could be anticipated in close-to-shore racing. The design and construction of the boats must be considered when determining whether damage is "serious."

The damage to SEB is not considered "serious."

DECISION: The protest is not upheld and SEB shall retain her 4th place finish in leg 5.

Stephen Tupper, Chairman, International Jury, Jury Members: Charles Cook USA, Barbara Farquhar USA, Bo Samuelsson SWE, Lorenz Walch GER.

REACTIONS
* SEB skipper Gunnar Krantz commented, " I am very happy, it was fair judgment of the protest. It would have been devastating if we had been penalized. I think it was a fair outcome. The jury did a very, very good job. They took everything into account and it was a very fair judgment. It was very professionally organized."

* Other skippers are known not to be so happy about the outcome and at least one has been consulting with his rules adviser to establish whether or not possible redress is possible. If SEB had lost five places then Amer Sports One, News Corp, djuice and Amer Sports Too would all have gained one - www.volvooceanrace.com

COMMENTARY
(The following is an excerpt from a story on the madforsailing website by John Greenland about the decision of the VOR jury.)

It seems that the jury have considered the issue of what constitutes 'serious damage' in the context of leg five. Would SEB have continued racing had the same collision occurred leaving Auckland at the start of leg four with several days hard racing in the Southern Ocean ahead of them? Surely in that instance the damage would have been serious?

But what is most galling is that at the end of the day SEB did collide with illbruck and seems to have got away with a 720 degree penalty turn as the only form of punishment. Surely this cannot be a good precedent to be set by an International Jury. Under the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing SEB would have been forced to retire from the leg had she caused serious damage, this is dictated by rule 44.1, but the particular rule governing this is amended in the Volvo Ocean Race rules due to the lengthy duration of the legs.

A 720 degree turn also seems to be an entirely inappropriate penalty in an ocean racing event. While this might work well on a round the cans race, surely a time penalty that is a percentage of the duration of the leg would be more appropriate?

Prior to the hearing Dee Smith, tactician on Amer Sports One (who would have gained a point if SEB had been penalized) gave his view: "I think what you have to look at is what's proper for sailing and the rules were designed to avoid collision. That's one of the main rules and if you crash you crash and you can't race anymore. If they try to stay in the race and the jury lets them stay in the race then we don't have any rules and that's saying that we can go crash boats and we might as well put our helmets on". - John Greenland, madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
The Assa Abloy Racing Team has decided to use its second boat from now until the end of the race. During the regular repair work structural damage was discovered that would endanger the safety of the crew in the coming legs. The 'Twin boat' has been used for hospitality sailing ever since it was last used for two-boat testing in June 2001. The boat is in Miami at the moment and in perfect condition. According to the team's rules advisor this change is allowed by the race rules and Assa Abloy has requested approval with the Race Committee.

Skipper Neal McDonald comments, "We need to change the boat for safety reasons, we cannot take any risks. We feel convinced that the rule allows us to do so. Of course this is a lot of work but we also have the advantage that the twin boat is stronger and less used in severe conditions. Next to that it has a further improved ballast system and our shore crew has also managed to take out more weight to suit the dynamics of the shorter sprint legs in lighter air."

Helmsman and technical director Magnus Olsson always had a preference for this Twin boat. "I always wanted to sail the race with this boat. But last year the popular vote of the crew was in favor of the one we have been using so far. I am really happy with this and it will put us in a better position to be optimally prepared for the last four legs and to catch up with illbruck now and get a further jump on the teams chasing us."

AROUND THE WORLD
As you travel around the world, to different regattas, where you can watch the America's cup teams, the Farr 40 fleet , Etchells, Stars, Snipe, Laser, Optimist etc. You will find that the Camet Shorts and Pants and Hiking Pants are always there. Spring is here, and it is time to get your own gear ready for the season. Check out the Camet website, for their new gear and colors. www.camet.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 Larry White, President, ISSA: April Fool? For those reading carefully, the youth sailing piece in today's Scuttlebutt seems to be a cutely satirical piece appropriate to the day, but I'm concerned that many will not read beyond the text. School sailing has been working hard to validate itself and to abate the fear which some school administations have concerning safety. This piece may be someone's idea of an April Fool's joke, but "it ain't funny, McGee."

* From Scott Walsh: I didn't really appreciate the comments in the end of the junior sailing segment of how the boats cost "30,000 and if you can't afford that you are either poor or you are a bad parent or you are both." That is a very unethical thing to say, we should be spreading the sport of sailing and try to let everyone have a chance to experience the feeling of sailing. I don't see why you would want to only have rich people in a sport, I understand that is how you pay for things, but you may miss the best sailors in the world, because they had "bad parents."

* From Mike Martin: Forget April fools. I fully support the proposed format for the 2006 AC boats. It sounds a hell of a lot more fun than the format use now.

* From Seth A. Radow: April Fools or not... the handicapping idea was a good one!!!

* From Mark Gardner: I find no humor in your Aprils Fools foolishness...

* From Marc: I don't want more mails from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* From Joe Lotuff: I thought the world had gone completely mad. Took a while to clue in - about 3/4 through 1st cup of coffee it hit me. Such a devious mind you have. You must have been up all weekend.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Not really. Yesterday's April Fools edition was the product of a lot people with too much time on their hands - all of whom prefer to remain anonymous. For those of you outside the USA and UK, there is a proud April 1 tradition called April Fool's Day. In that tradition, absolutely everything in Scuttlebutt #1039 was pure malarkey. BTW - The April 1 issue is archived along with all back issue of 'Butt at www.sailingsource.com.

* From John Cole: GPS was developed by the Department of Defense to guide missiles to their targets. Originally it had variance built in so that foreign nations could not use it against us. As technology progressed systems were developed to take out the variance (i.e. DGPS).

At that point Al Gore 'gave' us the GPS system without the variance for the future (yes, the same guy who 'gave' us the internet - another DOD invention). During the Gulf War the DOD reportedly turned off the variance because many of the troops had off the shelf systems that did not compensate for the difference.

GPS was a worthwhile investment for the US taxpayers as was the Internet.

* From Dieter Loibner: Having lived in Europe for 30 years and 10 in the US of A, I endeavor to offer an opinion to the GPS/Galileo story. The "plucky" Europeans still are an economic Goliath but they play second fiddle in the game of world politics because the have relinquished military power. The deployment of Galileo is seen as a step toward geopolitical independence from the US. It is a bit like navigating your own boat.

Supporting the idea of free enterprise one would have to ask: why not a European satellite navigation system? More standards, more boxes, more business: vendors will join in and the consumer will buy happily.

A provocative thought in the other direction: GPS is required to operate "intelligent" weapons as used by the US military and its allies. It also might have been used to fly planes into buildings. This technology - at no fault of its own, of course - has had as much part in destroying lives as in saving them.

NEW LEVEL-RACING MAXI MONOHULL CLASS
Roy Disney has joined Bob McNeil in laying the foundation of a new class organization for a fleet of level-racing maxi monohulls. McNeil's new Reichel / Pugh Zephyrus V, the first of the new class of 86-foot turbo-sled maxis, begins her sea trials on San Francisco Bay next month. Disney has also chosen Reichel/Pugh to design his new 86-footer, and will select a builder in the coming months.

The two owner-skippers are working with Santa Cruz-based ULDB sled designer Bill Lee to develop a level class rule for the type. "Our vision is to create a competitive class of purpose-built racing yachts for the world's great offshore events," Lee said. "Multihulls and larger yachts may at times be faster. However, this is a vision of creating not just one large fast boat, but a class of large fast boats that can race one another on a level basis without a time allowance - in many cases for course records."

The maxZ86 boats will have water ballast, a sail plan bigger than an America's Cup Class boat, and the easily-driven, highly-efficient characteristics of a modern turbo-sled. Zephyrus V displaces 43,127 pounds (19,562 kg), of which 21,385 pounds (9700 kg) is the bulb keel 14.56 feet (4.44 m) below the waterline. Under the class rules, she can carry up to 1321 gallons (5000 liters) of water ballast, weighing approximately 11,000 pounds (5000 kg), for extra upwind horsepower.

The maxZ86 class will be owner-led, with a professional executive director and technical director, and while it will encourage professionals and amateurs, there will be some owner-driver clauses in the rules - for example, at race starts.

"A long useful life is expected for these boats, for several reasons," Lee explained. "A Limit Rule does not allow trading of factors - the ratios of length, draft, sail area and sail area proportions, etc. Under handicap rules, the early boats are experiments in trying to find the best combination of boat proportions. Under the maxZ86 rule, these critical factors are fixed in advance so that the range of allowed experimentation so common with other rules is much narrower. For this reason, newer boats in the class will not have better ratios of the critical proportions than the earlier ones.

"Under handicap rules, a rating rule authority independent of the class or class association often changes the underlying handicap rule," Lee continued. "The results are two-fold. Boats must recalibrate after each rule change. Also the rule changes may adjust the desired ratios and obsolete some boats. Neither of these situations will occur under a Limit Rule administered by the Class."

The maxZ86s will be the new line honors class for the Transpac Race in 2005. The Transpacific Yacht Club has already approved the class, subject to three boats starting in the race. - Keith Taylor

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: The May Issue of Seahorse magazine has a feature story on Zephyrus V and the maxZ86 Class Organization.

APEN MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD?
Just as a sword cuts a swath through your competitor, Contender Pentex sailcloth cuts a swath through your sailing competition. After a year of development, Contender Sailcloth is pleased to re-introduce our performance APEN PENTEX laminate line featuring our new, higher quality Pentex fiber. APEN film-on-film scrims for the serious racer. Durable APEN-T film-on-taffeta scrims for the racer/cruiser. Rugged ACL-PEN taffeta-on-taffeta scrims for the serious cruiser. 80% higher performing than Polyester, Pentex is an economical upgrade to your sail inventory whether racing, cruising or both. Your competition will get the point. For details visit: www.contendersailcoth.com

TROPHEE JULES VERNE
The longitude of Cape Leeuwin has fallen astern today in the wake of the maxi-catamaran Orange and the boat has broken the record between Ushant and the mythical Australian cape. She has a little over 1 day's lead (1 day, 7 hours and 22 minutes) over the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy and is currently sailing at almost 20 knots average. The Marseilles giant is enjoying good conditions (30 knots of mainly westerly winds) and is reeling in almost 500 miles per day. "The Indian cost us dearly," admitted Bruno Peyron during the chat session. "But the Pacific ought to be more clement and should allow us to exploit the boat's potential more fully!"

DOCK TALK
It appears that (Larry) Ellison likes to keep the competition guessing. From the outset, many pundits feared that Oracle Racing might suffer from a top-heavy program with many more chiefs than Indians on the roster. But just days ago word leaked out from the syndicate that Ellison had also taken himself out of the program. Evidently he'll still sign the checks, but won't sail on board unless "it becomes absolutely critical." Sources at Oracle Racing say that the on-the-water activities are now in the hands of helmsman Peter Holmberg, tactician John Cutler, and a behind-the-scenes personality called Elmo. Nice move, we say. Wouldn't it be interesting to see Cayard, Dickson, and Ellison pop up from down below as Oracles's boat was being towed out to the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup series in October? - SailNet website, full story: www.sailnet.com/collections/racing/index.cfm?articleid=sailne1286&tfr=fp

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Is the SailNet website doing April Fool's stories too? I really have no idea. Plug into their website and judge for yourself.

INTERNATIONAL ROLEX REGATTA
St. Thomas, USVI (March 31, 2002) -- It was the perfect ending to both a day that started off slowly and a three-day regatta forced by light winds to count only two days of racing. After waiting on the water for two hours this morning, sailors on 79 boats entered in the International Rolex Regatta got the weather break they needed when clouds over a course set on the south end of St. Thomas spirited up enough wind for two races. It was almost a repeat of yesterday's scenario, when three races were completed in similar 10-15 knot northeasterly breezes that emerged during the afternoon. With five races to count in this 29th annual mainstay of Caribbean racing, 12 winners from as many classes went home with trophies and Rolex timepieces. - Complete results: www.rolexcupregatta.com

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* April 2-4: United States Yacht Club Challenge, Newport Harbor YC. Competition between teams from invited yacht clubs in Catalina 37's, Lasers and CFJs. www.nhyc.org/USYCC/2002USYCC/USYCC2002.htm

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?