Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1082- May 30, 2002

NEW! -- SCUTTLEBUTT EUROPE -- Starting Monday the 3rd of June -- To subscribe to go to

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.

It is the sea that binds us, that affords us our collective pastime and pursuit. It also the sea that unites sailors when it becomes our most fierce foe. And it's the worst incidents at sea-the ones in which we lose fellow sailors-that have the potential to bring us most closely together both in memory of those who were lost and in thinking about the future and our own safety.

It is the sea that binds us, that affords us our collective pastime and pursuit. It also the sea that unites sailors when it becomes our most fierce foe. And it's the worst incidents at sea-the ones in which we lose fellow sailors-that have the potential to bring us most closely together both in memory of those who were lost and in thinking about the future and our own safety.

Every one of us will have feelings and thoughts about this sad event. SailNet seamanship columnist John Rousmaniere is among those who have studied tragedies at sea and thought deeply about their causes, their consequences, and ways in which people react to them. Rousmaniere followed the Blue Yankee incident closely from shore, and it's his contention that all sailors must attempt to find meaning in such tragedies. He says there are two issues: "Foremost, it's a terrible tragedy that leads us all to grieve. The Blue Yankee tragedy seems to have been a simultaneous, sudden, and unlucky coming together of several events-a radical windshift, a hard squall, a sail change, a broken spinnaker pole, and a brave, athletic sailor who was not wearing a life jacket or a safety harness, and who was standing on the bow at just the wrong moment. All that added up to a fall overboard by the last person one would expect to take such a tumble. So the first response must be sympathy."

Rousmaniere continues: "Yet the rule of the brotherhood of the sea requires that as we mourn the dead, we try to learn from them. Their last gift to us is a reminder that the sea can be a destroyer, and that we must be prepared.

"I wasn't on this Block Island Race (one of the few I've missed since my first in 1965), but I spent the weekend at a yacht club in eastern Long Island Sound where everybody was talking about the accident, and everybody was asking (in amazement): 'Why wasn't he wearing a life jacket?' That's a reasonable question, given the predictions of a frontal passage at the pre-race weather briefing (which I attended), and given the cold water of late May and the recent advancements in PFD design that allows extremely compact, lightweight units that inflate automatically when they hit the water. Implicit in this question is another query we've heard a lot recently, which is: 'Do professional sailors play by different rules?' Myself, for the past decade, racing or cruising, I've been wearing auto-inflatable PFDs whenever the conditions are worse than moderate air and a light chop. Why? Because I want to be around to bounce my grandchildren on my knee-and to take them sailing." - Dan Dickison, SailNet website.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: There is much more to this story. Please stop what you're doing right now and go to the SailNet website to read the rest of Dickison's story - plus the first person sidebar from Blue Yankee by Dobbs Davis, who was in the cockpit when this tragic incident occurred.

1075 nautical miles of racing. Five yachts within sight of each other at the finish. Less than seven minutes separated them as they crossed the line at Gothenburg. This was leg eight of the Volvo Ocean Race. A nail-biting, intense few days that left crews, who had had little sleep since the start on Saturday at La Rochelle, France, absolutely drained.

Assa Abloy got their third victory in the Volvo Ocean Race in Gothenburg after being on top of the podium in Auckland and Miami. After rounding Skagen in match race style and almost losing the lead to the hunting pack, Assa Abloy kept a cool head all the way to Gothenburg. At the Turbaduren light that marks the entrance into the Gothenburg archipelago Assa Abloy, Tyco, illbruck and News Corp were still within a mile of each other. Amer Sports One a mile further back managed to get in phase with the wind shifts, was able to sail a shorter distance to the next waypoint and once again was in direct contact with the leaders. Eventually leg eight of the Volvo Ocean Race was decided in the last two miles of the 1000+ miles the yachts sailed from La Rochelle to Gothenburg.

Assa Abloy's victory has kept the overall winner of the Volvo Ocean Race open to the ultimate leg from Sweden to Germany. If Assa Abloy wins the next leg, illbruck must not finish worse than fifth to secure overall victory.

Close to 300 small craft were out on a rainy night to greet the fleet and at the race village in Gothenburg several thousand lined the dock.

Leg Eight Standings:
1. Assa Abloy, 4 days, 7 hours, 6 minutes
2. Team Tyco, 4 days, 7 hours, 8 minutes
3. News Corp, 4 days, 7 hours, 10 minutes
4. illbruck, 4 days, 7 hours, 11 minutes
5. Amer Sports One, 4 days, 7 hours, 13 minutes
6. Team SEB, 4 days, 7 hours, 57 minutes
7. djuice, 4 days, 10 hours, 19 minutes
8. Amer Sports Too, 61 miles from finish @ 0400 GMT.

1. illbruck 54 points
2. Assa Abloy 49
3. Amer Sports One 40
4. News Corp 40
5. Tyco 40
6. SEB 29
7. DJCE 25
8. Amer Sports Too 11

Ullman Sails has brought you this issue of Scuttlebutt. If you need more boatspeed, one proven and affordable way to make it happen is to work with the pros at Ullman Sails to spruce up your sail inventory. For the location of the nearest loft that can provide you with a price quote:

* Challenge Business has announced that Invest Hong Kong is to be the latest yacht sponsor in the inaugural Challenge Transat 2002, which commences on August 25th. It will feature six identical 72ft Global Challenge yachts, racing from Southampton to Boston and back. Each yacht in the Challenge Transat will carry one professional skipper, one professional mate, and 16 crew, made up of people from all walks of life, from the complete novice to the more experienced sailor. -

* The WSSRC announced the ratification of a new World Record route from Antigua to Newport, and the World Record was set by Tracy Edwards' Maiden II sailed by Helena Darvelid and Adrienne Cahalan. between the 10th and 14th May 2002. Elapsed Time: 3 days 22 hours 31 minutes 58 seconds; Distance: 1560 nm; Average speed: 16. 50 kts. -

* The London International Boat Show, appearing in 2003 at the Earls Court exhibition centre for the last time, has been the victim of a planning fiasco by Earls Court Ltd. The Show, which was to have started on 9 January and run through to 19 January, has now been brought forward by one week, bringing it dangerously close to New Year hangover territory. The 2003 London International Boat Show will now run from 2-12 January. Yachting World website,

* The UK-based Skandia Ocean Row Team has arrived in St John's, Newfoundland, Canada, where on June 2 they will begin a record- breaking attempt to cross an ocean. The four man team aims to row West to East, passing through the Isles of Scilly, and continuing onto Falmouth, Cornwall, in under 35 days, 21 days faster than any other team to row the same route. Their revolutionary hi-tech rowing boat is arguably the most technologically advanced rowing boat in the world, built from lightweight materials more commonly seen in the Formula 1 motor racing industry. - and

* The Onne van der Wal gallery has moved from its former Brick Market Place location to downtown Newport's yachting epicenter: 1 Bannister's Wharf, Newport, RI 02840. -

* June 1 is the deadline for sailors less than 19 years old in 2002 to register for participation in the US Youth Multihull Championship for the Hoyt-Jolley Trophy, to be held at the Port Clinton Yacht Club (Port Clinton, OH), July 12-14.

(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 Max Williamson: My shock at hearing of Jamie Boeckel's loss at sea during the Block Island Race eventually turned to acceptance. Old age would never claim Jamie. He fit perfectly the profile of the square-rigger man of an earlier era. Rugged, capable, jovial, and loyal, he was as quick with a joke as to defend a friend in an occasional scuffle. Sailing has lost one of its best.

* From Darren Thurman: I have known Jamie for 10 years or so now and am deeply effected by the loss of such a great guy and good friend to so many. There are so many memories of Jamie from so many people I have spoken to in the last few days since hearing about his loss. I remember seeing him covered in bandages after crashing a scooter in Bermuda and yesterday spoke to Deb from Halsey Sailmakers about picking out the gravel from his wounds. He was one of the good guys in the business, humble and grateful for what he was doing and the friends he had in, and out of the business.

I have put together a tribute section on to Jamie and I would like to share photos, stories and comments about Jamie and how he has touched so many lives. If you would please send out an announcement inviting people to look at the site and contribute pictures and memories I would appreciate it. There will be information there about how to contribute to the scholarship fund that has been established, how to send in pictures of him, and share stories and memories and of course all the latest news surrounding his passing and the resulting celebration of his life. The page can be found at

* From Brett Davis: The loss of Jamie Boeckel over the weekend was an amazing tragedy - he was one of those special characters that come through life so rarely and make it so worthwhile. I have met a lot of wild sailors in the last 20+ years; however Jamie will forever hold the honor of the "craziest bastard I ever knew." Like "funniest bastard" or "best damn sailor", his is a title of ultimate distinction. He was the kind of guy that made you thank God he was on your side when life presented you with a "challenge". Jamie loved a good "challenge" and would often volunteer his personal services to put lost souls back on track. Even the largest guy on the circuit wouldn't dare wearing a muscle-shirt near Jamie.

On the other hand, the guy was a saint to his friends. He was funny as hell and loved to laugh at himself as much as anyone else. If you haven't heard his story about getting a shark tattoo from a deaf guy, it's a classic. His tattoo is, ah..., unique... and not terribly shark-like.

I invite everyone will join me in celebrating Jamie's life while we mourn his death. Winning the race, winning the party, making boats go fast, making boats look great - these are the things that Jamie did so well. Let us carry on his tradition with pride, dedication, and a little bit of insanity. I think we can all agree that he would expect nothing less.

* From Terry Harper: I am deeply saddened to read of the passing of Irv Loube. Several years ago our boat, Travieso, was dismasted on the west side of Santa Cruz Island during the Pacific Ocean Racing Conference. We were chasing Irv's 45' Bravura at the time. When we reached the dock in Marina del Rey, Irv came up to me and offered us his spare mast so that we could be ready for the next race. Irv was a tough competitor, but a true gentleman from start to finish. The sport could use more like him.

* From Dawn Riley: Can I make one more comment on the GreenPeace incident? I used to support them regularly with donations. I will no longer, but there is an environmental project that I will support and suggest that all environmentally conscious sailors switch to - BlakeExpeditions.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Yes, I know we killed this thread yesterday, but I could not resist opening the door a crack for Dawn's positive suggestion. However, that door is now shut and locked.

"What a day. Holy cow. You could cut the tension with a knife and I might even resort to a little drinking after this one. Magnus (Olsson) is running around like a cat on hot tin roof trying to make up his mind which way to go. Yesterday when SEB was ahead for a little while, we had to sedate him and lash him in his bunk. Klabbe is keeping his cool, but his eyes show an intensity that is a sure sign of an explosion waiting to go off. The rest of us aren't much better. After doing about fifty five tacks up the Norwegian coast leaving a track on the GPS plotter that looks more like a saw blade, with little dots marking rocks all around." Mark 'rudi' Rudiger, Assa Abloy

"Early this morning we entered the archipelago of the Norwegian coast in order to stay out of the strong current running in a southwesterly direction along the south coast. We tacked 47 times in 25 knots of wind in between hundreds of small rocks and island. Quite a thrilling activity, believe me...not what you expect in a round the world race." Roger Nilson, Amer Sports One

"My biggest goof ups so far have come in the food department.... still can't quite figure out what time it is to eat. I have now been accused of eating an entire watch's ration of Mars bars (very bad). Not wanting to offend anyone (and being quite fond of chocolate), I have been gladly accepting any bar that was offered. What I did not realize is that sharing treats is proper boat etiquette (that is why they were offered), but you're supposed to politely decline the offer if you have already eaten your daily ration." - (Rookie) Ed Adams, illbruck

blokarts fold up in a little suitcase, and they rig up real quick. blokarts only takes 5 minutes to set up and don't require any tools to assemble. One of the great things about blokarting is that you can do it all day long and you won't get exhausted. blokarts are great on the beach or in the car park.

There will be fewer policemen at the Viaduct Basin during the next America's Cup than last time Auckland hosted the event. The police deployed 182 staff on land and water in Operation Marlin during the 1999/2000 America's Cup. But police estimate only 105 staff will be needed for this year's campaign. Inspector Derek Davison says police analyzed their effectiveness and learnt how to improve the round-the-clock operation.

Extra officers will work under the Auckland City Police District during the America's Cup. This will double the number of frontline police officers in Auckland. Minister of Police, George Hawkins, says 22 of the extra staff will skipper aluminum-hulled inflatable boats to police the racing. Hawkins says the remaining officers will be based mainly at the Viaduct Basin and central city. There will be 24-hour police presence during the America's Cup. - Amy Patterson, Auckland City Harbour News, Stuff NZ website, full story:,1008,1161688a1501,FF.html

Do you suppose it's a coincidence that last Sunday's Dilbert comic strip seemed to be addressing problems not unlike those of the OneWorld America's Cup Syndicate. It's on the web. Take a look and decide for yourself:

Effective immediately, crewmembers of visiting superyachts are exempt from paying New Zealand income tax. "This decision has been made on a sound economic basis," Minister for the America's Cup Trevor Mallard said today. "While the crewmembers themselves are undertaking employment for reward in New Zealand, the yachts upon which they serve are in New Zealand only for the private and domestic purposes of their owners. They are not here to conduct business. Yet there is evidence that the way we tax the crews of the yachts while they are in New Zealand was causing the superyachts to spend less time in New Zealand than they otherwise might have. As a result the marine industry was missing out on refits that could last many months.

Details of the legislation will be worked-out with industry representatives and then included in one of the taxation bills currently before Parliament. Once enacted, the change will be effective from today. - Moerangi Vercoe

SPLIT, CROATIA - In a truly dominating performance on a long day on the waters of Split Harbor, Swedish Match Tour Rankings leader Peter Holmberg and his Oracle Racing crew rolled off eight straight wins to take control of the Swedish Match Tour's ACI HT Cronet Cup. Their record of eight wins against one loss sits them atop the leaderboard at the conclusion of Round Robin One.

Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing 8-1
Philippe Presti, Le Defi Areva 7-2
Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team SeaLife 6-3
Bertrand Pace, Team New Zealand 6-3
Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Marienlyst 4-5
Andy Beadsworth, GBR Challenge 4-5
Tomislav Basic, Croatia 3- 6
Chris Law, Great Britain 3-6
Paolo Cian, Masclazone Latino 3-6
Bjorn Hansen, SWE/GOL Sailing Team 1-8

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Racing got underway this morning in the 12th annual BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup women's match racing regatta, hosted by Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis, Maryland.A total of seven flights were completed in light but relatively steady southeasterly breezes. The matches are being contested in J/22s by teams of four women led by a number of the world's top-ranked match racers as well as a handful of newcomers. With 10 teams racing, 18 flights will be needed to complete the double round-robin phase of the regatta, before the semi-final and final rounds.

1. Liz Baylis (Ranked 6th in the world), USA, 6 wins-1 loss
2. Giulia Conti (12), ITA, 6 wins-1 loss
3. Marie Bjorling (1), SWE, 5 wins-2 losses
4. Sabrina Gurioli (9), ITA, 5 wins-2 losses
5. Marie Faure (13), FRA, 4 wins-3 losses
6. Carol Cronin (unranked), USA, 3 wins-4 losses
7. Sandy Grosvenor (14), USA, 3 wins-4 losses
8. Deborah Willits (83), USA, 2 wins-5 losses
9. Charlie Arms (29), USA, 1 win-6 losses
10. Capucine Pin (unranked), FRA, 0 wins-7 losses

Only in America do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.