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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1094- June 17, 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.

Sunday NIght's Report: Roy Disney's Reichel-Pugh maxi Pyewacket shattered the Newport Bermuda Race record. The slippery sled finished the 635 mile classic ocean race at 19:54:22 EDT with an unofficial elapse time of 53hrs 39min 22sec cutting 3hrs 52min 28sec off the previous record 57hr:31min:50sec set in 1996 by George Coumantaros' maxi Boomerang.

Boomerang crossed the line a close second at 20:17:44 also breaking her own record as well.

Roy Disney's 75ft 'Pyewacket' was reveling in 20 - 30 knot southwesterly winds, power reaching at 14 knots directly for Bermuda's St David's Lighthouse Sunday morning, her crew hopeful of finishing by 5:30 pm EDT - or earlier! Light winds slowed her progress but the record still fell.

Report from Saturday: 182 of the 184 entries on the final list started the 43rd Cruising Club of America and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Newport Bermuda Race. The previous entry record of 178 boats set in both 1972 and 1982 has been broken. The two boats that did not start were Canadian entry True North and Gitna from Tulsa OK.

In addition to these DNS yachts, two boats have withdrawn in the early going. Kiva, a double-handed entry from New Hampshire, withdrew because of mechanical problems and is returning to Newport. Talisman from Sag Harbor, NY experienced rudder failure and is returning to her home port.

The start went off without incident in 15-18knt easterly wind under cloudy skies. The boats were reaching off at about 50 degrees apparent wind. The press boats snapping photos had trouble keeping pace with maxis Morning Glory, Boomerang and Pyewacket who were easily doing 14knts in the choppy waters.

The race communications vessel Geronimo reported 25knt easterly winds at about 6:45 EDT on Friday evening. This is expected to build during the night and shift to Northeast by morning. Velocity should continue at around 20kts or higher. With these conditions, race routing forecasters are predicting the first boats may finish within 50-52 hours. This would take a big chunk off the record set by Boomerang in 1996 at 57hr:31min:50sec.

For race updates and position reports at 1100EDT daily go to

Two-time college sailor of the year Brad Rodi led the team from San Diego Yacht Club to a first place finish in the closely contested UBS Challenge Regional Qualifier at Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, San Pedro. A rare three-way tie at the conclusion of the round robin series called for a tie-breaking decision that left Team Rodi and Team Schopp of Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club to compete in a final best-of-three knockout series, which Team Rodi won 2-0.

Brad Rodi won College Sailor of the year twice (1992, 1993) and was a four-time All-American sailor (1990-1993) while at the U.S. Naval Academy.

By winning the Los Angeles regatta, one of six regional qualifying races in the UBS Challenge national sailing event, Skipper Rodi advances to the UBS Challenge U.S. Championships, held in Newport, Rhode Island on July 27 - 29. The top three finishers from that event will go on to compete in the UBS Challenge Finals, July 31 - August 4, also in Newport. The finals pit the nation's top amateur sailors against America's Cup teams for a purse of $100,000, one of the largest in sailing. --

Some 1,700 sailors competing at the Sailing World Chicago NOOD--a three-day sailing regatta presented by Mount Gay Rum that concluded today at the Chicago Yacht Club--were dealt a difficult hand: this event drew the toughest sailing competition in the region, yet wind conditions were erratic at best. Competitors saw 50-degree wind shifts, rain, no-wind conditions, hail, and squalls that packed 28-knot blows.

Local sailors know unpredictable weather on Lake Michigan is a factor in the game of sailboat racing. As Scott Lammers, who won the 11-boat J/24 class, said: "That's Chicago. You can get all of the above, any time of the year." But sailors facing a tight points situation entering the final day of racing knew that even if conditions were volatile on Sunday, their strategy in the last race needed to be foolproof.

Class Winners:
1D35 (10 boats): Douglas DeVos, Windquest, South Haven MI
33' Class (9 boats): Jerry Dodge, Yankee, Williamson NY
Beneteau 40.7 (11 boats): Alan C. McMillan, Finesse, Palatine IL
Beneteau 42 (8 boats): Jeff Comeaux, Outrageous, Winnetka IL
Corsair (9 boats): Matt Scharl, Gamera, Chicago IL
Farr 40 (12 boats): Robert L. Hughes, Heartbreaker, Ada MI
Great Lakes 50 (9 boats): Lindy Thomas, Goblin, Glenview IL
Great Lakes 70 (10 boats): Bill Alcott, Equation, St Clair Shores MI
J 105 (22 boats): Len Siegal, Lucky Dubie, Chicago IL
J 24 (11 boats): Scott Lammers, Intuit, Mt. Prospect IL
J 35 (11 boats): Jim Maltman, Noble Buffalo, Winnetka IL
Level 114-123 (9 boats): Alan Freysinger, Relentless, Shorewood WI
Level 99-113 (11 boats), Bob Vickery, Collaboration, Barrington IL
Level Farr/Sydney Class (12 boats): Chuck Boelkins, Ragged Edge, Ada MI
Melges 24 (11 boats): Jeff Jones, Kilroy, Shelby Township MI
Mumm 30 (9 boats): Dan Cheresh, Team Intermec, Holland MI
PHRF 126-138 (8 boats): Dennis Bartley, Planxty, Oak Park IL
PHRF 36-66 (14 boats): Richard Montplaisir, Fine Line, Chicago IL
PHRF 69-99 (9 boats): John J. Gottwald, Eagles Wings, Overland Park KS
S2 7.9 (19 boats): Doug & Jeff Padnos, K2, Holland MI
S2 9.1 (9 boats): Dick Daniels, Entropy, Highland Park IL
Tartan Ten (48 boats): Heidi Backus Riddle, Nuts, Vermilion OH

Complete results at

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LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON ( -- until the Curmudgeon returns later this week)
(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 Mike Blecher: As a former containership's deck officer, perhaps I can shed some light. Shipping companies do not pack the container, it is the shipper, usually located nowhere near a port city. The container may travel by truck, rail, even by donkey wagon, in addition to the sea voyage before the cargo reaches its destination.

Most of the time, containers are not watertight because of the way the loading/unloading process works. There is a male fitting on the corners of the cranes' spreader that needs to find its corresponding receptacle on the container, before the box can be lifted. These can cause damage while the crane operator manipulates the spreader until things line up. Sometimes, large fork lifts are used in the container yard, another source of damage to the box. This is all considered normal ops.

Many times, shippers will line the entire interior of the container with plastic sheeting to ward off weather damage to the cargo. Delicate cargo requires the use of Styrofoam to protect it. If a shipper is aware his box will travel "On Deck" (the only type of cargo likely to go overboard anyway) he may double his efforts with the plastic.

It's no wonder the things float, but the accidental loss overboard and resultant danger to yachts shouldn't be blamed on the shipping companies, but instead, on shippers. Due to all the plastic and other packing material, I doubt the hydrostatic plug idea would work to cause them to sink.

* From Wells Pile: Although, as was observed, container ships and sailing vessels traverse the same waters, containers are generally not lost and drifting in the more hospitable climes that host the vast majority of sailors. As a former merchant mariner and a lifelong sailor, I know that the majority of lost containers become that way while a ship is in an area most sailors avoid. I do not recall seeing too many sailboats in the Aleutians or along the great circle path from Seattle to Asia. Container ships lose their cargos in areas such as this, not the Caribbean or off New England. Deadheads from timber floating at or just below the surface are a far more prevalent ocurrence, especially in the Pacific Northwest, but I have yet to hear any call to make them sinkable or to sue the timber companies.

Sailing is, by its nature, a risky business, but hitting a container ranks 'way down the list of likely hazards faced by sailors. As the recently completed Volvo showed, a good watch is necessary to avoid collisions, whether with growlers, ice bergs, sides of channels, or other boats. Hubris, lack of preparation, stupidity, and carelessness will kill more sailors in one year than will be killed in a century from collisions with wayward containers.

* From Bob Ratliffe: OneWorld would like to herald Micheal Illbrucks "six-point program" reported on in Scuttlebutt1093 that includes "combing the elements of sailing, technology, teamwork plus nature and environment." We agree whole heartedly, and wouldn't it be great if we all set about focusing on these things in the Cup's to come, winning it in the name of the health of the world's oceans that cover 2/3s of her surface. It's in all of our interest to protect the place where we work and play!

* From Larry Law: RE: Laurie Davidson's spy career. Right! I'm sure Laurie Davidson is so insecure in his ability to design boats that he needs help - now that his boats are nearly complete! Give it a rest! If I'm Davidson, and I'm clearly not, being in the midst of Syndicate Row has to be like looking Christmas straight in the face. Not only can I not wait to open my presents - but I really want to see what everybody else has as well.. Has it escaped us that the curiosity built within us just might be that - not some devious plot. He made a protocol mistake - maybe - get over it and let's watch them sail.

* From Red Webb: Alan Bond commenced it all on 26 September 1983, when he ordered the skirts of Australia 2 (KA6) to be lifted in a moment of wank. Those televised pictures of a winged-keel saved millions of dollars of research, and redirected yacht designers worldwide. To gain the .01 knot advantage over the length of the America's Cup course now has to come from the designers, not the sailors. Laurie Davidson was looking for the .001 knots, but you have to know that many forms of 'binoculars' are already searching. The obvious man with the 'looking glass to his eye', may be the spy you see. Beware the man with the deep and searching wallet.

* From Winn Story (edited to our 250-word limit): Reading about Laurie Davidson being criticized for watching the launching of an ACC boat thru binoculars shows how ridiculous huge $ Cup racing has become. Selling design secrets, hiring spies, lists of protocols, what's next - satellite images, designer kidnapping? These rules seem made for lawyers more than sailors. It is not the money, if the billionaires want to spend their Dollars, Euros, etc that way that's their business. I would much rather see the cup as a one design maxi race, at least that way the winners might achieve a more realistic victory.

Box rules are fine as many development class folks would attest. However, designers, sailmakers, and boatbuilders seem the most likely real winners in this crazy debacle. Frankly the last Cup wasn't all that much fun to watch. Watching multi-millionaires play with multi-million dollar yachts doesn't have nearly the pizzazz as some of the aerial shots we used to get of the I-14's flying at the extreme edge of control on a wild reach.

As boring as golf tends to be to watch, even a duffer can relate to Tiger Woods' very rare three putt. I have far more respect for the men and women who choose to dedicate their time and talent to the relatively un-financially rewarding Olympic classes. They are my heroes. The best thing coming out of the America's Cup seems to be the financial reward for the sailors. Pay me $500,000 a year to race and last place would be a victory!

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Matt Struble and Dominique Martin finished 1st in race 10 in Syracuse New York to win the Alter Cup. Struble finished the event with 5 bullets - the next closest competitor had 2. Fleet 204's Bob O'Connor finished 5th in the Gold fleet. Fleet 204's Tom and Susan Korzeniewski took home 4th in the Silver fleet, and Fleet 204's Mimi Appel with adopted fleet member Wally Myers, took a bullet in the last race.

Over all there were 2 windy and warm days and 1 light air day - with racing. Only Monday (day one) was too light for anything, except the finest in Radio Controlled racing. The event was well received by all, and to quote Champion Matt Struble "... this was the most fun I have ever had at a major event..." --

Top ten final results:
1 Matt Struble / Dominique Martin 10 points
2 Alex Shafer / Eric Macklin, 17
3 Greg Thomas / Jacques Bernier, 19
4 Brandon Wallace / James Gumpel, 21
5 Bob O'Connor / Jamie Davidson, 24
6 Brian Lambert / Jamie Livingston, 24
7 Mike Ingham / Scott Ickle, 25
8 Nigel Pitt / Glenn Holmes, 27
9 Ken Marshack / Ian Marshack, 35
10 Jamie Gaines / Chris Brown, 44

Wednesday morning an ACC boat hull was observed on an articulated truck on the forecourt of the Oracle compound at the Viaduct Basin. The boat was across the base forecourt parallel to the waters edge and was gradually rotated and manoeuvred into Oracle's vacant boat shed - the one nearest the neighboring Prada base.

During this time, Oracle's training boat USA-61 was in the water at the front of the base, USA-49 was known to be competing in the IACC regatta (in San Francisco from May 25-26) and the newly launched 2003 generation USA-71 was observed sailing on the Hauraki Gulf.

The arrival of a third boat explains why USA-61 has found a permanent home on the base forecourt rather than in one of the two boat sheds.

The Oracle press release on the launching of USA-71 on 12 June states, "USA-71... will be joined by her sister yacht, USA-76, early in July - once the second boat is shipped to Auckland from Ventura...". Perhaps the July date refers to the launch date rather than the date of arrival in Auckland. --

One month ago Louis Vuitton launched a new division, Louis Vuitton Watches, and with it the first eight-piece watch collection, the Tambour line. Yesterday (Thursday), Marcello Bottoli, CEO of Louis Vuitton, and Luca Birindelli, Chairman of CORM (Challenger of Record Management), signed an agreement to make Louis Vuitton Watches the Official Timing Partner of the Louis Vuitton Cup, Challenger Races for the America's Cup.

This Official Timing status means that Louis Vuitton Watches, will be responsible for the publication and distribution of all timing related issues relevant to the Challenger Selection Series. From the official results sheets and books, to the instantaneous, live mark rounding times posted on the host TV feed, to the statistics and internet-posted results boards, Louis Vuitton Watches will bring the news.

To celebrate this association, and with the symbolic nature of the America's Cup in mind, Louis Vuitton has produced a limited edition of 270 automatic chronographs part of the Tambour collection. -- Marcus Hutchinson,

Olympic Medallist Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) will be featured in an upcoming broadcast of "US Olympic Gold." U.S. Olympic Gold is a 30-minute program that focuses exclusively on U.S. athletes as they prepare for their chance at making history. The show follows American Olympic-hopefuls on their journey to the Games and explores the training behind the performances that make them some of the best competitors in the world.

In some television markets, the story on Reynolds will begin airing the weekend of June 15-16. In New York (WNBC), Los Angeles (KNBC), Chicago (WMAQ), San Francisco (KNTV), Boston (WHDH), Dallas (KXAS), Seattle (KING), San Diego (KNSD) and Miami (WTVJ), the show will air the weekend of June 22-23. A complete listing for show #416 can be found at

I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, and I'm happy, Doctor, I finally won out over it. -- Jimmy Stewart