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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1122 - July 25, 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.

Stars & Stripes USA 77, the newest of Team Dennis Conner's matched set of state-of-the-art America's Cup boats, was recovered after sinking in 55 feet of water during two-boat testing two miles off the beach of this Southern California city Tuesday.

Besides the damage in the rudder area a significant crack opposite the mast was revealed as the boat was raised early in the evening, minutes before sundown.

The 80-foot International America's Cup Class sloop suffered structural failure in the rudder housing while sailing upwind on a sunny day in 12 to 14 knots of wind in 2 to 3 feet of chop. It dropped straight down to the bottom in about five minutes.

A barge arrived at about 5 p.m. and positioned itself just upwind from the sunken boat to shield the site from wave action during the lifting process. Divers connected the crane's line to the boat's lifting point that is used daily to move the boat in and out of the water, and the lift commenced at 7:05 p.m.

The lift paused at two points---first, when the deck was still awash as hands cleared the headsail and loose lines, then later when its trademark dark blue hull was exposed below the white stripe along the gunwales.

At that point the 18-inch-long crack in the deck and hull opposite the mast was revealed. -- Rich Roberts,

From Team Dennis Conner:
At approximately 7:00pm PDT, Stars & Stripes, USA-77 was successfully raised from the ocean floor and is now back in her cradle at the Team Dennis Conner training base in Long Beach, CA.

All of the crew are safe and have sustained no injuries. The Team Dennis Conner America's Cup program is expected to remain on schedule, with sailing in Long Beach concluding on Thursday, July 25, 2002.

"It's too early to tell how much damage the boat has suffered," said Dennis Conner. "We'll have more detailed information tomorrow when it is daylight and we can fully survey the extent of the damage." -- Veronica Brown,

Excerpt from an article by Mark Chisnell on

It looks like sailing in general, and the America's Cup in particular, is at one of those moments of both challenge and opportunity. The challenge being that there are a lot less sports sponsorship dollars washing around, and the opportunity is that the Cup is now being seen by the global brand names as a safe place to spend those dollars.

But America's Cup sponsorship is still a risky business, much more so than Formula One, because the Cup is a zero-sum game, winner takes all. Compared to the scale of the investment, the only significant yield in the coming America's Cup is the right to pick the site of the next defence.

I don't think that this is good for the Cup - ask yourself how many successful businesses operate in a zero-sum game environment?

Full text at

Lunenberg, Canada: Winds were light until the end of the race day so the Mistral competitions were called off, and racing in the other classes was delayed until late in the afternoon at Volvo World Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2002. In the end, the 29er classes completed two races, while the Laser and Bytes completed one.

Friday is the final day of racing.

Class leaders after Wednesday's racing:
29er boys - 9 races, 2 discards: Nathan Outteridge / Ayden Menzies, AUS
29 girls - 9 races, 2 discards: Pippa Wilson/ Jenny Marks, GBR
Laser boys - 8 races, 1 discard: Andrew Campbell, USA
Byte girls - 8 races, 1 discard: Paige Railey, USA
Mistral boys - 7 races 1 discard: Byron Kokkalanis, GRE
Mistral girls - 6 races, 1 discard: Zofia Klepacka , POL

Volvo Trophy Standings (Top 5) - 30 nations are represented.
1. New Zealand, 259 points
2. USA, 221
3. France, 216
4. Great Britain, 197
5. Australia, 191

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Kingston, Ontario: Racing today on the inner (Alpha) course just outside the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. The cold front that passed through yesterday left a shifty north wind that was expected to die as the day progressed. The inner course provided flat water and some shore effects that made for big gains and losses in today's races.

Race one was started under the "I" flag after a couple of general recalls in nice 8-10 knot winds and overcast skies.

Winds continued to die, and race two was started in 5-8 knots under clearing skies. With the clearing skies and dying winds, the race was shortened to finish on the final downwind leg. Mike Ingham of Rochester, NY took the bullet and his teams 5,1 on the day was enough to boost him to second place overall in the regatta behind former world champion, Brad Read.

In other news, team USA defeated team Canada in the street hockey finals by a score of 3 goals to 2. -- Eric Faust

Top five after today's races (six sailed so far, enough for a valid championship, and also allows one throwout):
1. Brad Read, 28 points
2. Mike Ingham, 29
3. Geoffrey Moore, 36
4. Timothy Healy, 44
5. Andy Horton, 44

Lake Lucerne, Switzerland: Racing has come to a standstill on the third day of the Yngling World Championships, on Lake Lucerne, Brunnen, Switzerland, due to a lack of wind.

The competitors hung around all morning hoping for the breeze to show its face and when it became evident that it was unlikely to happen, the race committee took the decision to abandon racing for the day.

It is hoped that the championships can get back into full swing tomorrow, but the forecast is for continued light winds so it is looking doubtful that the full ten race series will be sailed. Only four races are required to validate the Championship, to date five have been sailed.

Top five after five races (one throwout), Women's fleet:
1. Betsy Alison / Lee Icyda / Suzy Leech, USA, 8 points
2. Ulrike Schümann/Wibke Bülle/Winnie Lippert, GER, 18
3. Melanie Dennison/Fiona Herbert/Caroline Aders, AUS, 26
4. Hannah Swett / Melissa Purdy / Joan Touchette, USA, 27
5. Paula Lewin / Peta Lewin / Carola Cooper, BER, 30

Top five after five races (one throwout), Open fleet:
1. Claus Hoj Jensen / Maria Holm / Morten Harmsen, DEN, 13 points
2. Christoph Skolaut / Georg Skolaut / Wolfgang Riha, AUT, 14
3. Steven Neijenhuis / Anne Jan Neijenhuis / Persijn Brongers, NED, 17
4. Rudi Mayr / Wolfgang Daurer / Ferdinand Huber, AUT, 23
5. Yska Minks / Marcel de Jong / Meroen van de Broek, NED, 23

From Suzy Leech:
As Tuesday dawned bright and sunny over Lake Lucerne, it brought the promise of a thermal breeze. True to predictions, a beautiful northerly came in at about 11 AM to make for some awesome sailing conditions. The race committee was determined to get in three races since the forecast for the rest of the week does not look particularly good.

The race committee here is of a "no nonsense" nature. They start the sequence with an "I" flag, and if there is a general recall, they go directly for a Black Flag. They really don't want us to have any starting practice! It makes for some interesting starts We are now at the halfway point, with 5 more races to go - and anything can happen on a glacial mountain lake!

Piraeus, Greece: Ben Ainslie from Great Britain took the lead of the 2002 Finn Gold Cup after two beautiful races sailed today out of Piraeus.

Karlo Kuret in second position. The Croatian who is campaigning for his 4th Olympic games is considered as a veteran in the Finn class. Defending Word Champion Sebastien Godefroid is placed 3rd. The surprise of this Championship is the young Brazilian, Joao Signorini in 4th place, one point ahead of Rafael Trujillo.

Top juniors are Chris Brittle, 14th, Marin Misura, 15th and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen 38th.

Four sailors received their second "yellow fag" today and had to retire from the race: Christoph Burger, Mauricio Bueno, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen and Piotr Zoltowski.

Top US Sailor after today's racing is Morrison Hart in 17th.

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON ( -- until the Curmudgeon returns next 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 Jon Alvord: What I recall is that the AC boat of yester-year had to be sailed to the venue, this no longer happens. AC boats were yachts, that people could live aboard, I sure don't see the owners living on them now! With the exception of Dennis Connor's Stars and Strips Catamaran, there has not been a multihull in the AC races, and as I recall a 60ft catamaran beat the Ausie 120ft monohull entry to retain the cup.

Lets change the boats, quit spending millions on boats that sink (sorry Dennis), or keels that fall, or masts that break! Let's use boats that can be handled by 3-4 crew, have high speed, instant acceleration. You are correct , we, the viewing public, need crashes, close calls, scary situations. Maybe 15-20 Multihulls on the line for 15 starts would be good. Do away with the match race and open the line to all the competitors. Run the L.V. to get the number of challengers down to 15. There would be a lot more interest, more sponsorship (more boats with a chance), and the crew's would have a lot more to talk about at the beer tent afterward!

* From Douglas Johnstone: I realize that America's Cup yachts, safety and seamanship do not go hand in hand, but do they have to build boats that sink at the slightest hint of failure? Whatever happened to positive bouyancy? There are thousands of yachts that can survive a rudder failure and get home, including Grand Prix yachts. If they had been practicing in the San Pedro Channel, recovery would have been a lot harder.

* From Russell Painton: While I agree with Bill Lee's observations regarding catamaran boats and the speed they can obtain, I must disagree with his thoughts about putting them into the AC racing scene.

I also agree that they are too expensive, and that some other boats should be considered for this venue. However, having watched many races between cats, it is obvious that, because of the speed here, and the ease with which they develop different speeds around the course, the racing rules are mostly useless because the boats are always so far apart, and the tactics (or lack of same) are boring. The boats simply drag race to the corners of the course, and it is purely a boat speed race around. They rarely are within 100 feet of each other throughout the entire race, and are often separated by hundreds of yards. Boring.

We need the close dueling that these boats provide, and the sail handling requirements. All of which make for a fun thing to watch. For those who simply want to watch fast boats speed around a course as fast as they can, and do it without much concern about the other boats out there, I recommend an offshore powerboat race.

* From Dieter Loibner:Here we go again. Pushing the envelope and finding out the hard way that it had been pushed too far. Wind for the time of the incident at Long Beach airport was recorded SW 7 kts, hardly a match for the conditions on Hauraki Gulf in spring.

At least this time nobody can say that the full set of engineering data was missing or that the material was beyond its peak , the two most common excuses for structural failures on second hand boats.

If those breakings and sinkings continue, future inductees into the America's Cup Hall of Fame may have to have a sunken IACC boat on their resume for consideration. The upside for Conner: Unlike John Bertrand in 1995, he did not have to do a belly flop on camera and swim.

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Hamilton, Bermuda: Today was Team Racing day in Hamilton Harbour. It was another beautiful day with light clouds and a steady, sometimes shifty breeze from the South.

In the mid to late afternoon we were down to the four finalists who were the #1 seeded teams from Mexico, Argentina, USA and Bermuda. Since things had gone so well with a dependable wind, it was decided that we had time for a round robin resolution. In the end it came down to a three way tie as Mexico, USA and Bermuda had each won 2 races. The tie breaker was calculated by Luis Horta on points and the results were, Bermuda 1st, USA 2nd, Mexico 3rd and Argentina 4th. The Bermuda team broke into cheers as the excitement of capturing Bermuda's first ever #1 in Team Racing overcame them. -- Robert Wilkes

Tomorrow is a spare day, racing resumes on Friday and concludes on Saturday.

Top five individual scores after Tuesday's racing, seven races sailed to date:
1. Facundo Alonso, ARG, 27 points
2. Jesse Kirkland, GER, 29
3. Fernando Ines, ARG, 53
4. Alex Bunt, USA, 54
5. Juan Manuel Monfort, ARG, 57

Mike Kelsey Sr., the man who built Palmer Johnson Yachts into one of the world's leading yacht builders, has died, the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., company said today.

Kelsey, who held the position of chairman emeritus at Palmer Johnson, passed away Sunday in France, where he has a home. He was one of the marine industry's best-known figures.

Kelsey had been in semi-retirement since the sale of Palmer Johnson to Internet billionaire Andrew McKelvey in 2000.

A funeral mass will be celebrated next Tuesday at St. Joseph Church in Sturgeon Bay.

Don't dwell on reality; it will only keep you from greatness. -Rev. Randall R. McBride, Jr.