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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1067 - May 9, 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.

All the yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Race have now crossed their outbound tracks, and thus, technically, have completed their circumnavigation of the world. They have voyaged over 31,000 miles through some of the wildest and loneliest ocean regions on the planet, and still the competitive spirit is as keen as it was when they started their odyssey. Despite the fact that illbruck appears to be uncatchable as leader of this leg, and probably of the overall race, the crews continue to sail their yachts to the limits of their abilities.

Illbruck continues to maintain her strong lead, now 40 miles ahead of her nearest rival, but all boats with the exception of djuice, have caught up a few miles in the last 6 hours. The closest battle continues to be between Amer Sports One and SEB, the latter being just 6 miles ahead, and no quarter given!

STANDINGS at 0406 GMT May 9:
1. illbruck, 111 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 40 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 48 mbl
4. SEB, 71 mbl
5. Amer Sports One, 77
6. News Corp, 93 mbl
7. djuice, 158 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, retired

(Following are two brief excerpts from a comprehensive story in the Seattle Time about the OneWorld syndicate's AC program.)

With supercomputers, the designers can generate and test millions of designs, called iterations, to see which might work best. They use computational fluid dynamics, a relatively young field that uses high-powered computing to tackle the complexities of flowing gases and liquids to get a detailed analysis of the lift and drag on the keel, mast, sail and rudder.

After picking 18 computer-refined hull designs, the OneWorld team spent several million dollars to build them into one-third scale models. The designers put the models in the Navy's David Taylor Model Basin in Maryland and pushed them about at speeds from 7 to 15 knots.

At last the team built two hull molds on a computer-controlled milling machine at Janicki Industries in Sedro-Woolley. Workers covered the molds with resin-impregnated carbon fiber, a wispy material that separates easily when pulled sideways but is practically indestructible when pulled lengthways.

After a layer of honeycombed aluminum and another layer of carbon fiber, the entire hull was baked in a large box for eight hours at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The epoxy resin liquefied, flowed between the fibers and hardened. "It's a bit of a black art," said Wayne Smith, a composites engineer. "We're mixing chemistry and engineering." In the end, the builders had an 80-foot hull that, without any rigging, weighed only about a ton.

* An inordinate amount of work, worry and weight goes into the 20-ton, torpedo-shaped bulb of lead that hangs from the boat's keel, which can be up to 20 feet long. This will counteract the wind's attempts to lean the boat over, keeping the sails as upright and efficient as possible.

To test the lift and drag of bulb shapes, the designers put models in the University of Washington's Kirsten Wind Tunnel. They also covered them with a mix of kerosene and paint. When they turned on the fan, paint blew off areas of smooth, laminar flow and stayed where eddies were created by less efficient, turbulent flow. - Eric Sorensen, Seattle Times.

There's lots more to this story:

Paul Cayard, Roy Heiner and Australia's Grant Wharington have all booked their places in the Antarctica Cup, with another American group wishing to remain anonymous at the moment.

Paul Cayard who won the last Whitbread Round the World Race, now the Volvo Ocean Race, and has sailed in four America's Cups, faxed his Race Slot Reservation Form to the Royal Perth Yacht Club earlier this week. Roy Heiner, from the Netherlands, is also a former Whitbread Round the World race skipper, an Olympic medallist, and has been one of the world's top match racing skippers. Australian Grant Wharington, who has been a regular Sydney to Hobart race competitor in a string of boats called Wild Thing, and winner of the double-handed Melbourne to Osaka race will head the first Australian team.

Entries are also anticipated in the near future from Brazil, Ireland, Japan and England, with keen interest registered from New Zealand, France, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. Scheduled to start from Fremantle in December 2004, the Antarctica Cup is a non-stop race around the Southern Ocean, leaving the three great capes, Leeuwin, Horn and Good Hope to port. The race will be sailed in a fleet of identical Ron Holland designed 82 foot yachts, and there will be a total prize purse of US$6.4 million. -

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Mike Slade's maxi-yacht Leopard suffered serious damage when she slipped from her cradle and partially fell from the deck of the specialist yacht transport ship Condock III on Monday night. According to the yacht's skipper, Chris Sherlock, "the damage is quite severe."

Simply looking at the damaged yacht provides few clues as to what happened. Leopard appears to have moved between five and seven metres sideways, allowing the keel to drop over the side of the hatch-covers where she was originally secured. The topsides came to rest against the ship's crane while the keel bulb struck a substantial crate containing cast iron container parts. The crate and its contents cushioned the blow, while the crane in all probability prevented Leopard from simply falling over the side. The aft cradle was crushed while the forward cradle remained intact punching a very substantial hole in the port side of the hull forward. Indeed so serious was this impact that the cradle was cut away before any attempt was made to lift Leopard from the ship.

This accident follows directly from the loss of Leopard's rudder three weeks ago. Following her abandonment in the Atlantic, Leopard was towed to la Coruna in Northern Spain. Following limited repairs to seal the hole where the rudder shaft had been, it was decided to ship Leopard back from La Coruna to Southampton. - Peter Bentley, Madforsailing website.

There's a lot more to this story plus pictures of the carnage:

(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 Jim Stevralia: I thought it interesting to read the Sailnet article about the European influence on the Volvo Ocean Race and the lack of American participation. The underlying article actually indicates that none of the participants are American. This assertion is somewhat overstated. Those who have been following the Tyco situation in the Wall Street Journal will appreciate that Tyco is involved in many businesses, essentially all in the US. While sometime ago it incorporated its parent company in Bermuda, it is still headquartered in New Hampshire.

And Team Newscorp - Having attended the formal christening of the yacht last summer at Chelsea Pier in NYC (by Mr. Murdoch and Paula Zahn), and seeing the response and interest of the literally thousands of Newscorp employees mostly from New York - NY Post, Channel 5 -NYC, Fox News, Fox Sports, 20th Century Fox Film, Harper Collins etc. and of course the Homer Simpson spinnaker - there is clearly a US influence and interest.

Finally, there is Volvo - a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.

Seems to me that the US is well represented in the VOR. At least in New York, the NY Times and the Post each carry several Sports Section articles each leg. The VOR is an international event and as such no single country or continent dominates in the participation. However, the US is certainly well represented, both corporations and sailors.

* From Pamela A. Leigh: Perhaps Bill Vining is not aware that the days when grinders and bowmen were hired to simply "do a job" without the required knowledge of grand-prix-level sailing are long gone. These days, professional sailors are hired for their wide range of knowledge. The bowman might also be a rigging expert. The grinder may also be a downwind trimming expert. The reality is that all members of the sailing team have input into the deck layout /design. And it's constantly fine tuned with one goal in mind: winning.

* From Russell Painton: To those that are not dedicated sailors, and who watch the Cup as their only sailing event (which is the vast majority of the audience), we need to focus on just what the contest was originally designed to do. It was conceived as an inter-nation challenge, a race between countries. To see who can field the best overall team. That is it. And, for the average non sailing spectator, this format is much easier to embrace than watching a bunch of pros, who change sides after each event, and who simply duke it out to see who has the best match racing team every four years. It has become an ego thing for these sailors and the rich folks that pay them, and is losing its attraction with the average sailor and non sailor alike.

I suggest that if this is to survive, it needs these folks to want to watch the races, and if they cannot figure out who is on what team, and if they cannot feel any allegiance to any team because the members are from all countries and keep switching sides, then the audience will lose interest, and the sponsors will also. And the series will die on the vine.

* From Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: The performance of Bruno Peyron and the Orange crew commands admiration. It is less than 10 years since the 80-day barrier was broken, but now we are down to a little over 64 days. They could have made the voyage faster and beaten 60 days if they had had more luck with the weather, but you can never expect to be lucky all the way around. Can it be beaten? Yes of course it can and will be eventually. Any of the existing 110 footers could do it if they get the right weather all the way and sail as hard and as well - but there's the rub, they need the right weather.

Incongruous as it might seem Stuart, Florida has made the list as one of the nation's best sailing destinations. This national realization happened principally because of the US Sailing Center of Martin County, Inc.

Since receiving it's sanction as a small boat training center from the United States Sailing Association in October, 1992 -- at the time one of two in the nation -- the grassroots non-profit learning center has trained more than a thousand local sailors including national collegiate All-American Lee Icyda. The center continues to host some of the most prestigious small boat regattas in the nation including several Olympic qualifiers - events that attracted outstanding sailors from around the United States.

Now a winter training site for nationally ranked college sailing teams such as Yale, Brown, and Georgetown, and for high school sailors from throughout the nation, the little program that would has come into its own.

Located in a 5,000 square foot building that looks more like a prestigious yacht club than a learning center, officials at the Martin County facility have even greater ambitions in mind. In their crosshairs is the goal to be recognized as the finest small boat sail training facility in the nation, and considering the Center has been twice chosen as one of the nation's outstanding community sailing centers from of a field of more than 400, that goal is within their grasp.

In talking to founding members Chairman Emeritus Jack LeFort, Sr., Jack LeFort, Jr., Campbell Rich, and current president John Vance, it's obvious success did not come without personal commitment on the part of the founding members as well as a lot of community support. - us sailing website, full story:

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The normal leaders were dethroned in today's leg as Athletes in Action finished almost four minutes ahead of any other boats. This would be the final leg for Matt Struble to be sailing-- what a way to go out! Castrol has again resurfaced to the top of the head, taking second spot well ahead of the next finisher. Tommy Bahama they took third. And the proverbial dual between Tybee Island and Alexanders took on the same tone as they finished again only 18 seconds apart. Tybee still owns first overall, followed closely by Alexanders, but Athletes and Castrol closed a lot of ground in today's great finishes. -

Standings after four legs:
1 Tybee Island
2 Alexander's on the Bay, 1 minute 40 seconds behind leader
3, 2:44 bl
4 Castrol, 4:59 bl
5. San Antonio, 11:26 bl.

Event website:

Lars Guck & Jonathan Farrar are the first North American team racing in the 67 boat Tornado European Championship. Currently they are in 6th place with 21 points behind Darren Bundock & John Forbes from Australia who lead the regatta with only 8 points. Other North American teams include John Lovell & Charlie Oghetree in 24th place, Robbie Daniel & Eric Jacobsen in 27th place plus Oskar Johanssen & John Curtis from Canada and Ston Saharey & Forbes Durdin. -

"As long as the race goes on, there is more and more communication between teams and the atmosphere is better and better, at the end we may almost regret that this nine months race doesn't keep going on!" Sidney Gavignet, Assa Abloy

"None of the first timers in this race had a single grey hair. And look at them know, some of them have more grey than their orginal color. But most of us will come back in four years time, for more grey hair." - Bouwe Bekking, Amer Sports One

"Much of the conversation is now based on fine dining, beer and women's lingerie. We are now inside 400 miles from La Rochelle and after 10 days at sea, we are all looking forward to the delights it will offer." Stuart Childerley, News Corp

On May the 8th at noon, Livio Fioroni left all of us to sail towards a better world. Livio was acknowledged as one of the most experienced and talented sailing photographers and, personally for me, who had the luck to work together with him during the last ten years, a real Maestro, for my profession and my life.

During the last thirty years, he has covered any sailing event existing in this sport, from yacht club dinghy regattas, to the Olympic Games, the America's Cup, Whitbread and Admiral's Cup. In every media center all around the world and onboard every photo boat floating on every sea, besides from being famous for the great pictures he took, he was friendly and very well known for the fact that, after all these years spent travelling around the world, he couldn't speak a word of English. But he had a great friendship with every member of the big family of sailing. He didn't need to speak, his pictures did. - Andrea Falcon

* June 1-2: Cal Race Week, California Yacht Club, Marina del Rey. J/105's, J/24's, Schock 35's, Santana 30/30's, Santana 20's, Martin 242's, Stars, PHRF ratings from -60 to +150.

* August 3-9: Sunfish North Americans, Barrington Yacht Club, Barrington, Rhode Island. Separate scoring and recognition will be given to those sailors racing in "classic" rigs - standard "non-racing" sunfish sail, and a wooden factory supplied dagger boards. -

* August 10-16: Lightning North American Championship, North Cape YC, LaSalle, Michigan. Women's, Junior's & Master's Championships held August 7-9. -

* November 3-10: Annual Meeting of the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club, held concurrently with the Pro-Am regatta at the Bitter End YC on Virgin Gorda in the BVI. SSC members will race for the SSC Club Championship, plus have the opportunity to crew for Ed Baird, Mark Reynolds, Marie Bjorling, Dawn Riley, Keith Musto, Butch Ulmer, Rod Johnstone, Lowell North and / or the curmudgeon in the Pro-Am Regatta. SSC members are eligible for discount rates-

How do you respond to someone who says you are in denial, but you're not?