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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1056 - April 24, 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 - Michael Hobson
Sailboat racing is just about the most complicated and demanding sport there is. The combination of so many variables found on the racecourse, makes for a mind-blowing set of skills, challenges and decision-making ability, needed when planning how to approach your next race.

Because there are so many variables, each race you compete in is in some way different. It's never the same as your last race, or any previous race. The variations found in sailboat racing include a combination of winds, currents, geography, temperature, humidity, competitors, equipment, rig tune, crew. And these are just some of many external factors.

We could also include the internal factors like health, experience, and personality, (are you a street fighter or are you the studious type) fitness level, ability, confidence level, and even hangover level. All these variables need to be considered, analyzed and reviewed when forming a game plan for an upcoming race.

So each race needs to be approached differently. But how do you anticipate the situations that you will encounter during each race? This is the biggest challenge for sailors, to prepare for a race, be it nationals, worlds, or just a weekend contest where the conditions are constantly changing. You need to be able to operate on the fly and make decisions as situations present themselves where there are no hard and fast answers.

First you need sailing technique and ability, the right equipment, crew, rig tune, sails, boat preparation, rules knowledge, sail trim, knowledge of your competitors and very important your commitment. These very important skills/techniques/equipment are part of your pre-race preparation and are practiced and learned before the race starts.

The second and equally important quality you need is found on the racecourse, the street fighting part of the game, the tactical brain and the quick thinking needed to get you ahead of your competitors. This quality makes the difference between a good performance and a winning one. - Michael Hobson

Full story:

Sailwave has just release a new version of their free scoring software for Windows - version 1.42. Unlike a lot of free software, Sailwave is supported by the author and a thriving Sailwave User Group.

Functionality is based around RRS 2001-2004 with additional multi-fleet capabilities and facilities for ISAF Sailor. Supported rating systems include RYA PY, USSA PN, ISAF SCHRS, Texel, PHRF (TOT&TOD) and TCF, as well as a user-defined rating system capability.

Based around user defined templates and style sheets, published results are generated as HTML and can be directed to a number of destinations. Typically, results are saved to a file and then uploaded to a web site, but other destinations include your web browser, MSExcel, MSWord and an email attachment. The concept of 'plug-in' development facilitates more specific functionality, with examples including a wizard to publish reports and results to the Yachts and Yachting web site, an ISAF SCHRS rating calculator and a Volvo Prize wizard to be used at the ISAF/Volvo Youth Worlds in Lunenburg later this year.

Used by over a thousand clubs and associations, Sailwave is becoming a popular choice for regional, world, national, open and club events. You can download Sailwave and get more information from the web site:

There were 23 J/105s at the Newport Harbor yacht Club's Ahmanson Series last weekend. Tough competition - very tough. But to no one's surprise, Ullman Sails swept the top three positions. Why? They were just faster! And it's probably not a coincidence that the top three boats in the 12-boat Schock 35 fleet also used Ullman Sails. Why don't you let Ullman Sails make your weekends more rewarding?

In the Whitbreads of old navigators would fight for information from WeatherFax, nowadays they have the Internet. It's a small precise racing environment with a world of data, but how do the teams survive? The majority of teams have navigators and meteorologists to scour the data. Some teams even have two specialized navigators. In general, however, the consensus is you need more than one person to take in and digest all of the possible weather data generated on a daily basis.

Kevin Shoebridge's Team Tyco has navigator Steve Hayles and the Tyco subsidiary EarthTech to process and manipulate weather data during the stopovers and for each leg. "The Earthtech team takes a huge load off our shoulders during the stopovers," explained Hayles after another day behind his computer with the latest weather models.

Day after day the navigators and meteorologists trawl through weather sites looking for the latest forecasts, comparing data to previous races, searching for the edge over the other seven boats in the fleet. For just one person this job is too much. - John Greenland, Volvo Ocean Race website, full story:

Designers Olin Stephens and Nathaniel Herreshoff each designed six successful defenders.

(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 Bob Cooper (edited to our 250-word limit): Thousands of competitive skippers know the rules and most have an understanding of the physics of fluid and aerodynamics that affect the hull and sails. They all have excellent crews and superb execution in the evolutions of sailing a boat upwind and downwind. Yet, out of thousands of talented and capable skippers who try, only a few matriculate to the top as a race, season or career develops.

It's my observation that the core skills that set these few apart from the masses, and from other winners, is their ability to immediately sense each of the hundreds of changes that are taking place around them, to recognize the significance and the impact upon their plan for success and to immediately make the adjustments that keep their plan successful.

It is as if they have a system of dynamic priorities where events are grouped into categories. As the race progresses priorities change in value and occasionally whole categories change in value. These top few keep this system of priorities in their minds eye and compare the new, constantly changing information, to this dynamic priority list.

It is as if they have a messenger repeatedly running around a loop network requesting reports from all the sensors. Each time the messenger completes a loop and returns to central, these few compare the new information against the dynamic plan and act accordingly. The next best players have similar systems but less accurate sensors or make more wrong choices or hesitate to react as fast.

* From Jack D. Tallman: Cole Price discussed the problem of retrieving an overboard person - MOB. In that case, two men and a boy had to try their hardest. There is a solution for this. This is exactly what the "Lifesling" is designed to do.

It first establishes a connection to the MOB. When the MOB has been drawn to the boat, a block and tackle is attached to the Lifesling and the MOB is winched onto the boat. This system will allow a small adult to perform a single-handed rescue of a large adult in full foulies. This is the first item of our safety gear that I check.

I have no financial connection with Lifeslings - I just realize how functional they are. I am aware (and did a very small part) of the extensive testing of the Lifesling and the process for retrieval.

BTW, there IS a process for using the Lifesling; it was rigorously developed; and it should be practiced (If a "dummy" is used; it should be something that will not float away such as an overboard pole.).

* From Val & Carl Fast: In regard to Ed Sherman's FAIR rating. You might want to try a silent auction, offering competitors the opportunity to 'buy down' their competition's PHRF rating(s). (Maybe even provide a cap based on the the last three finishes of the boat.) Great entertainment and profitable for a charity fundraising event!

This South Atlantic really is wide! But the gateway out really is narrow. And it will keep shifting. The Doldrums are not a fixed phenomenon. They are rather a succession of micro-systems that oscillate just north of the Equator. Orange skipper Peyron is making a rush for it. Once again the maxi-catamaran is aiming for a mouse hole, a tiny zone to her north, under the Cape Verde Islands, where the transition between the systems of the South Atlantic and the north-east trades should pass without a pit stop. Because Orange is blistering along, 560 miles in the last 24 hours, and is putting the accent on speed, even if it means momentarily sacrificing the track and extending her route.

Average speed required to beat the record: Only 6.45 knots -

(Andy Rice speaks to the Prada's match racing star, Gavin Brady in a new posting on the madforsailing website. Here's a brief excerpt.)

(Gavin) Brady is not necessarily expecting to race on the A boat come competition time, but that does not seem to bother him. "I would expect Francesco to be the skipper/helmsman, and Torben [Grael] will be on the boat too, as he has a very good relationship with Francesco which dates back way beyond the America's Cup association. Then I think either Rod or myself will be on board, but really. It's better to do a job that you enjoy, and Rod and I both really like steering the B boat."

So the afterguard is likely to remain unchanged from two years ago come competition time. But are they up to it? "People forget that Prada put in some really good match racing against Paul Cayard and AmericaOne," Brady points out. To criticise de Angelis and Grael's performance in the Cup finals is not fair, he believes. "One had a knife and the other had a gun," is how he sees the relative merits of Luna Rossa and the now legendary NZL-60 - the benchmark for all current America's Cup campaigns. "I think if I had been racing on the boat, I think you'd have seen me taking some risks and not looking that good." - Andy Rice, madforsailing website; full story:

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - John Cutler, Oracle Racing
"Between now and October 1 when racing starts, you're going to see all the new boats arrive down in Auckland so some of the teams already have both their new boats like One World, our boats are arriving shortly, so you're going to see that quite alot of work in conditioning these boats, so you might see some more break downs, some gear failures and stuff going on, but once the team has the new boat there's a lot of work on trying to develop it, test some new gear, see what they can learn, what we all can learn from it. And then the focus comes more and more on to racing and because the round robin this time is worth each the same number of points each race, you've got to come out of the starting blocks fully prepared. So there'll be a lot of pressure on that." - From a radio interview in NZ with Peter Montgomery.

When Montgomery asked Cutler who Oracle Racing is likely to meet in the Louis Vuitton Cup finals, Cutler answered, "That's a tough question Peter, but since you're putting the pressure on us, I'll say Alinghi." - Posted on the 2003ac website by Elly;

You've seen the ads and many of you stopped by our booth at recent boat shows to hear about the new ColorMatch 24 high performance rigging lines. But how do you tell if a line is really from Samson? Simple; look for the red and green tracer threads! These are unique to all Samson sailing lines. So when you want to be sure you have Samson, always check for the red and green tracers. Samson, The Sailor's Line.

A huge sendoff party is planned for the crews of the Volvo Ocean Race on Friday, April 26. The public is invited to mingle with the Volvo Ocean Race crews on the grounds of Eastport Yacht Club and Severn Sailing Association. The party begins at 6 and lasts until 11 p.m. No speeches, no fancy stuff ... just music, dancing, a lot of talk about sailing and camaraderie. Gary Jobson serves as Master of Ceremonies introducing the eight Volvo teams, nine bands on two stages and new race footage.

Formal crew lists are not expected until after midday on Friday, April 26th, but News Corp, winner of leg six from Miami to Baltimore, is the first team to reveal their line-up. Meteorologist, Nick White, will work on weather for the leg from the shore, making space for Campbell Field, the son of campaign director, Ross. Field, 31, from New Zealand, will join the team as a navigator. He will provide on-board technological expertise, working alongside tactician, Matt Humphries. -

Amer Sports One skipper Grant Dalton cannot see illbruck being beaten in the gruelling (Volvo) round-the-world yacht race, which finishes in Germany in June. "Since Miami, no one has been able to win this [overall race] other than illbruck," Dalton said. "I think most of the boats have said that or accepted that already. This is a race for second, third and fourth." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald

Full story:

Gary Jobson has signed an exclusive agreement to act as Beneteau USA's official spokesperson for the video promotions of their sailing yachts. Jobson is a former All-American collegiate sailor, America's Cup winner as tactician for Ted Turner, broadcaster/producer, ESPN commentator, lecturer, and writer.

College Rankings Determined by Sailing World magazine's coaches' panel: Michael Callahan (Georgetown), Ken Legler (Tufts), and Mike Segerblom (USC). Based on results through April 23, 2002

COED (prev. rank):
1. Harvard (1)
2. Old Dominion (4)
3. Georgetown (2)
4. Tufts (3)
5. Dartmouth (6)
6. Navy (12)
7. Charleston (7)
8. St. Mary's (5)
9. Stanford (15)
10. Hobart/Wm. Smith (13)
11. Boston College (8)
12. Hawaii (13)
13. Brown (14)
14. Yale (9)
15. UC Santa Barbara (11)
16. USC (16)
17. Kings Point (19)
18. Connecticut College (20)
19. MIT (unranked)
20. UC Berkeley (18)
Also receiving votes: UC Irvine, Washington College.

WOMEN'S (prev. rank):
1. St. Mary's (1)
2. Old Dominion (2)
3. Brown (3)
4. Yale -
5. Hobart/Wm. Smith (7)
6. Tufts (8)
7. Georgetown (4)
8. Boston Univ. (12)
9. Stanford (15)
10. Connecticut College (unranked)
11. Hawaii (5)
12. Dartmouth (9)
13. South Florida (unranked)
14. Charleston (10)
15. Boston College (6)
Also receiving votes: Michigan.

Sailing World website:

Why is it called lipstick if you can still move your lips?