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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1066 - May 8, 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.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE
In the last six hours the leaders have been averaging more than 10 knots and there have been no change in yacht positions. However, Assa Abloy and Tyco have both made small miles up on the current leg leader Illbruck. Most of the fleet is heading straight for the finish with reacher and staysail in good visibility, although skies are overcast with an air temperature of 14 degrees centigrade.

STANDINGS at 0358 GMT May 8:
1. illbruck, 407 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 39 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 43 mbl
4. SEB, 69 mbl
5. Amer Sports One, 73
6. News Corp, 75 mbl
7. djuice, 142 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, retired.
www.volvooceanrace.org

VOR BACKGROUND
Of the 13 sponsors in the last running of the (Volvo Ocean / Whitbread) race, only two are on the roster this year. One of them, Volvo, bought the rights to the Whitbread 'Round the World Race from Whitbread, a British brewer that co-founded the race in 1973.

The race has always had a European accent, but even more so this year. Among the eight boats in the 32,700-mile race, none has an American firm as a principal sponsor. Of the 15 official race suppliers and sponsors, only two are US-based. This is mainly because sailing is more popular and receives more media coverage in Europe, (Scott) MacLeod (of Octagon Marketing) said.

Volvo bought the race from Whitbread for $7.5 million and has spent another $25 million to run it. The sponsorship is part of a global makeover of Volvo's image designed to add fizz to the brand. - SailNet Website, full story: www.sailnet.com

IT'S AN EQUIPMENT SPORT
When you are pressing to win, you want the best lines available. Look to the leader, Samson Rope Technologies. You've seen the ads and heard the talk about the new Color Match 24 system. But how do you tell a Samson line from all of the others? Simple; look for the red and green tracer! This critical I.D. marker is your assurance that you have Samson quality on board. Don't trust the race to cheap alternatives. Rigging failure is not an option. Check for the red and green tracer! Samson, The Sailor's Line. www.samsonrope.com

AMERICA'S CUP
The next syndicate to unveil its new boat will be Le Dfi Areva. FRA-69, the newest French boat has left the Multiplast boatyard of Vannes by truck and was be berthed on a trailer directly in the Lorient Base. In the following days, it will be finished to be officially launched and shown to the public.

If all goes according to plan, a private christening ceremony for the yacht, which will represent the France when preliminary races for the next Cup regatta begin in New Zealand in October, is scheduled on 17th May. - Hauraki News website, full story: www.hauraki-news.com/LatestNews/LeDefi-LN6.htm

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
leweck@earthlnk.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 Bill Lee (Re Bill Menninger's concerns about the Pacific Cup start date): Much thought goes into picking start dates for races across the Pacific. Here are two important considerations:

Maximizing the full moon which is on a 28 day cycle is often forgotten, but is most important, both for enjoyment and safety, and Timing the classes to they are most likely to arrive in Hawaii the right number of days before the awards dinner is another challenge.

* From Fredrick Rutledge: In spite of Bill Menninger's concerns, the Pacific Cup race organizers must be doing something right. In recent years they typically have had nearly three times as many entries as the Transpac Race.

* From Peter Wilson (slashed to our 250-word limit): It seems to me that to force people to work on a syndicate that represents their "true" nationality, would seriously reduce the caliber of the event. There are any number of cases where a foreign national has made a real difference to the success of a challenge or defense, Charley Barr would be a pretty convincing candidate! In more recent times how would the Nippon Challenge have done without Chris Dickson? Would Il Moro have made it to the America's Cup finals without Paul Cayard and German Frers? Would Prada have been as potent without Doug Peterson bringing his A3 knowledge to the team?

It seems to me that there are two options ... either we open it up and have it be like the Formula One where there is recognition for the constructor and the driver but it is not limited as to nationality, or lock it down so that the builders, designers and sailors are not able to just pay lip service to the rules. The latter in my opinion would be a mistake, as that would preclude or certainly dishearten certain nations from ever seriously competing.

The America's Cup is a professional, corporate and international event. To think otherwise is naive. To limit designers and sailors for capitalizing on their skill and knowledge as a result of their nationality, diminishes the event and stymies development.

The crux of the matter is not nationality, but controlling intellectual property. That is a task that corporations deal with every day.

* From Ken McAlpine, America's Cup Class Technical Director: My thanks to John Bishop for his concerns about my perceived thankless task and his suggestion that I publish a little black book of America's Cup "lines plans and rating certificates". Be assured that most (well, nearly most) of the time it is fun, more rewarding than imagined and no where near as thankless. Perhaps on second thoughts ask me the same question at the end of February! Sometimes the measurers even manage to have a laugh at some of the "reasons" proffered as to why the boat/mast/sails don't measure.

Curmudgeon, please leave this thread open for a while to allow the publishing and distribution bids to escalate.

* From Bill Vining: How about this? If you leave an America's cup team you have to sit out the next AC campaign, example, if you leave a team after the 2000 AC you are not eligible to join another team until after the 2003 AC. This would cut down on the design secret issue, any design information would be dated by the time you were eligible to change teams. Maybe make an exception for the crew or guys that don't have a hand in the design, like the grinders, bowmen, etc. These crew would be eligible to move around, but once you were in a position involving design or perhaps a certain level in the AC "management" you have to sign a document that says if you leave, you lose your edibility for a certain number of years. This is pretty standard practice in a number of non sailing industries, such as high tech, software, etc.

* From Jim Champ: I have to dispute that one design is the fairest form of racing. Every crew, indeed every sailor, has their own set of talents and physical attributes. In handicap rating or box rule classes the crew can use design and development skills to optimise the boat to give them the best chance of winning. In one design one has to optimise the crew to suit the boat - hence the endless round of crew weight limits, new sails every six races and goodness knows what else.

And the strange thing is, if you actually sit down with major event results and look at the spread of finish times, as I did a few years ago with some major multi class events in the UK, you'll find it impossible to distinguish which classes are the tightest one designs and which have the most open rule sets. So actually all racing is fair and all is unfair. Just pick what you enjoy and enjoy it...

* From Geoffrey Emanuel: At times, Scuttlebutt letters dwell on the negatives. I'm sure it's not the editor's choice. I guess I'm sick and tired hearing people whine about the problems with handicap racing. My god, why do we participate in this sport anyway? I race PHRF and have since 1980. I've raced as wide a variety and size of racers and cruisers, from J-29 to Nordic 40 to custom IOR leadmines. I've done Key West Race Week, Annapolis Fall Series, PHRF New Englands and mostly club racing on the Maine Coast. In no case did I feel cheated or impaired by handicaps. In fact, I'm constantly amazed how well the system works. I say let's stop using handicaps as alibis, scapegoats and excuses and go out on the water, have a good time and sail hard. Be satisfied with the notion that good sailing wins races almost every time!

* From Ken Haring I can only concur with Ron Baerwitz comments in 'butt #1065. I have sailed on winning boats and loosing boats and the winning ones were usually the quietest. Many years ago I was fortunate to sail in a regatta with Peter and JJ Isler and a crew of regular (not rock star) sailors. While a few things did not go well, the boat remained quite while the problems were corrected and we won every race. I once did a beer can race with Rod Davis, we didn't win, but the boat was still quite and we all enjoyed the experience. Yelling disrupts the crew's concentration which may led to other mistakes, and it doesn't contribute toward an enjoyable sailing experience.

* From Roger Vaughan: There has been a lot of talk lately about the need to publicize sailing, and nothing speaks to the point better than the Worrell 1000. The Butt of 5/7/02 had a small item that the Worrell was underway, much to my surprise. And I keep up with this sport, and I'm a fan of the Worrell 1000. It's a crazy idea, a crazy race, but I like it. It's racing and adventure at the same time, the kind of far out escapade you might consider doing with a good pal when you were a teenager. The Butt item went on to say there was no attention being given this event, and not even anything was posted on the web site. How come? Last time I followed the Worrell every day and dug it. And what a demolition derby it was, with the boats surfing in to the beach out of control and turning turtle. Wild stuff. Extreme. If this mad, mad event can't attract the media, what can? Even NASCAR buffs would appreciate the Worrell. But it isn't being publicized, so for those of us outside the Worrell loop, it doesn't exist. That's lousy for sponsors, competitors, and sailors like me who wish that event had been around when I was a little crazier.

* From Phil Danbe (About the Worrell 1000): I agree reports are lacking at the official website. However, some of the team websites have good almost real time reports. PI Sailing (http://www.pisailing.com) is not a frontrunner, but a "participant." The crew even comments during the race from a cellphone. These reports are transferred to the website in minutes along with ground crew reports. The Tommy Bahama team (www.tommyBsailing.com) , also middle of the pack, has good reports, photos and GPS tracking.

* From Ray Seta: Want updates on the Worrell 1000, check out www.teamsa.com, it's the official site of Team San Antonio. We do updates at least 5- 10 times a day and live time finishes as they come in.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Many of the 19 competitor have websites that typically provide more information than the event website.

WORRELL 1000
Team Alexanders had a narrow edge over Tybee Island coming to the finish gate. "I got sideways to the last wave and had no steerage and was heading right for the guy holding the flag. He jumped out of the way, but to the south of our boat," said Brian Lambert of Alexanders.

Lambert felt that if the flag holder had jumped the other way, they would have finished with no problem and their would not any controversy. As it was Lambert and Jamie Livingston had to turn the boat around and pull it through the gate. Meanwhile, Tybee Island took advantage of Alexander's problem and broke the plane of the finish line to take first place. Then it appeared that race officials were going to give the victory to Alexanders. This led to another complaint by Tybee. Chuck Bargeron, manager of Tybee Island said, "If there is a gate there, you have to go through it."

Michael Worrell said, "I will have to read the rule before I make a decision either way."

The rule seems to specifically say if there is a gate, you must go between them. And in a subrule it says that in some cases there may be only one flag. In that case you must finish north of the flag and in no more than fifty yards away. Either way, Tybee Island still will maintain the overall lead by a very slim margin. - Catamaran Sailor website - www.catsailor.com/worrell02/worrell02.html Event website: www.worrell1000.com

FREE SAILING GEAR
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QUOTES FROM THE VOR BOATS
"We have been screaming along on the front of a strong westerly system running neck and neck with Tyco battling for second with Illbruck dead ahead. Two nights ago we had a full battle. We had our biggest kite up and got hit by nearly 40 knots of breeze and at the same time we ran into a back eddy in the Gulf stream so had some very difficult waves, the bow dug in hard and just kept going down with the boat totally underwater and loaded to what felt like the brink of destruction, Nelly (Neal McDonald) who as ever was doing an amazing job on the wheel screamed to get the kite down, we fired the Martin breaker, a device that releases the tack of the spinnaker, with the kite gone the boat popped back to the surface in one piece with all crew still on deck and ready to fight another day, another close call!" Jason Carrington, Assa Abloy

"The biggest casualty from our point of view was illbruck, who has cleverly slipped into a 40-mile lead. We have hade some comebacks before now, but 40 miles may be asking a bit too much! Still never give up." - Neal McDonald, Assa Abloy

TORNADO EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Racing was cancelled on the first day of the Tornado Europeans in Vilamoura, Portugal, due to appalling weather conditions. Racing was due to commence at 1pm, but was delayed all afternoon and finally cancelled as the race committee attempted to lay a course five times in the unusual conditions that Vilamoura had to offer. Vilamoura this time of year is renowned for thermal breezes and calm weather which is why racing is scheduled to start at 1pm each day, in the hope that wind would be present by then. Instead, today sailors experienced breezes of 0-22 knots and thunder and hail storms.

A total of seventy-seven boats have congregated at The International Club of Vilamoura's Marina including the best Tornado sailors in the World. - Madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com Event website: www.tornadoeuropeans.web.pt

STAR WORLDS
Nautica International has signed on as title sponsor of the Nautica 2002 Star Class World Championship. The regatta, hosted by the California Yacht Club, will take place August 14 - 25, 2002 in Marina del Rey, CA with 240 Olympic-class sailors representing over 25 countries. It is the first qualifier for the 2004 Olympics.

As part of the title sponsorship, Nautica will outfit race officials, event staff, volunteers and competitors. Nautica will also outfit the ESPN2 on-air talent featured in a one-hour show "Best of the West" which will profile the best sailors and the finest sailing events on the West Coast. The show is scheduled to air on November 18 and 19, 2002. Nautica is also the official watch sponsor of the regatta. www.starworlds2002.com

INDUSTRY NEWS
Lower Hutt venture capital company Endeavour Capital has bought Internet-based sports software group Virtual Spectator, which won international acclaim for its animated graphics coverage of the previous America's Cup. Endeavour, chaired by technology entrepreneur Neville Jordan, paid an undisclosed sum to take over all of Virtual Spectator's assets and most of its staff. Listed technology specialist IT Capital had held a minority stake in Virtual Spectator.

The sale to Endeavour appears to rule out a Stock Exchange listing for Virtual Spectator in the immediate future, which had been among its options to fund its aggressive business expansion. The company will now operate under a wholly-owned Endeavour subsidiary called Virtual Spectator International. - Craig Howe, The Dominion, as posted on the StuffNZ website. Full story: www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,1193714a1896,FF.html

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* May 11-12: ISSA National High School Doublehanded Championship for the Mallory Trophy, hosted by the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association (PCISA) and SanFrancisco YC, Treasurer Island, San Francisco. - www.highschoolsailingusa.org

* June 22-30: Mercedes Benz WAVES Race Week, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Vancouver Canada. - www.royalvan.com

* July 12-14: Youth Multihull Championships, Port Clinton Yacht Club, Port Clinton, OH. Sailed in Mystere 4.3 sloop rig w/spi. - www.portclintonyachtclub.com

* July 13: Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race, Bayview YC. More than 270 yachts will sail one of two courses. - www.byc.com

* July 27-28: Baltic Yachts 2002 Regatta, Newport Yachting Center, Newport, R.I. www.balticyachts.com

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.