Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1136 - August 14, 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.

(The following is an update from Fred Hagedorn, the Olympic Sailing Committee chairman, on the condition of Kimberly Birkenfeld, the number 1 ranked Women s Windsurfer on the 2002 US Sailing Team. Kim was injured by a motorboat while practicing in the waters off of Glyfada, Greece, on August 8, 2002, in preparation for the 2002 Athens Regatta.)

The doctors are pleased with some of the signs they saw over the weekend, but the next few days continue to be important to her recovery. In the meantime Kimberly will remain in the intensive care unit of the hospital. She is beginning to be able to respond to external stimuli, including the voices of her doctors and family.

I know that all the positive thoughts of Kim's friends and relatives have been a great source of help to Kim and her family. Kimberly's family and all of us in the sailing community who know her are very appreciative.

There are 2 major injuries. One was to the base of her skull, where two bones were pushed in toward her brain by the motorboat. Fortunately neither invaded the brain and apparently she has sustained no permanent injury. The second injury is a severe laceration on her leg, which has been treated.

The doctors remain optimistic, but cautious, and will continue to monitor Kim's condition over the next few days. - Fred Hagedorn, US Olympic Sailing Committee chairman

Luna Rossa ITA 80, completed a few days at the building yard in Grosseto, arrived today by truck at the Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa where it has been loaded, together with its appendages and mast, on a cargo plane for the airlift to New Zealand. ITA 80 is the second of the two new ACC class yachts built by Prada Challenge for the next America's Cup Challenge.

The air transport is made possible by a particular cargo plane, an Antonov 124-100 owned by a specialized British company, Air Foyle Heavy Lift. This giant aircraft can carry 140 tons of cargo and has a cargo hold measuring over 35 meters, capable of accommodating the boat and all its parts including the 32 and a half meter mast built in carbon fiber in one piece. The flight takes about 36 hours and there will be a technical stop-over in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Once unloaded in Auckland, ITA 80 will be reassembled and tuned for the last phase of her training in New Zealand waters before the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup, on October first. - Alessandra Ghezzi,

Carbon poles produced from pressure cured intermediate modulus carbon fiber and high-performance epoxy resin typically provide weight reductions over similar aluminum poles of 50% or better. A 2 1/2" x 12' carbon pole with composite end fittings and a Spectra double bridal sells for $569.95. A comparable aluminum pole sells for $429.95. Order online from, and you can have carbon pole for the price your rigger wants for aluminum.

* Bergens Seilforening - Former University of California Sailing Team Captain Jon Perkins from San Francisco won the Knarr Class International Championships.

* Oracle BMW Racing's chief executive officer Larry Ellison can keep an eye on his team's progress from America via his computer. Oracle's software captures data ranging from wind-speed and boat-speed, to direction and keel angles. Captured at 180 variables a second, the data is transformed into information about their boats - USA71 and USA76 - and then distributed to Maryland where the yachts were designed, to California where the boats were built, and to Auckland where the team is training. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

* The Team New Zealand base is a hive of activity since the arrival of their first new-generation Cup boat, NZL81, last Wednesday. The 32-strong sailing crew last week returned from a two-month break from Cup training, during which some of the crew competed in offshore regattas, but it is all go now. Only one crew is out sailing each day in the older NZL60, while the others take turns at staying indoors tending to the many needs of their newest baby. website, full story:,1278,123764-2-124,00.html

* The HSBC Global Education Challenge has been named the official schools' programme of the Around Alone 2002-3 Race. The HSBC Global Education Challenge is a programme of 32 online weekly modules aimed at children aged between 9 and 12. The modules will focus on the different aspects of the natural world that skipper Graham Dalton's HSBC-sponsored yacht 'Hexagon' will face on its circumnavigation, including weather systems and energy, wildlife, geography, nutrition and culture. The modules will be accessed through

(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 Bob Ratliffe, OneWorld Challenge (In reply to a number of the letters that appeared in Scuttlebutt 1135 & edited to our 250-word limit): Let me say on behalf of the OneWorld challenge team that we could not agree more with the fact that the America's Cup should be won on the water, lawyering should be minimized and competition should be friendly. We have stood steadfast behind our principles and tried to represent our principals in coming forward with things we may have potentially done wrong. We have treated our colleagues honorably and turned the other cheek when people have spread rumor and innuendo. We have held others to the same level of candor and honesty that we have operated with.

No one is more discouraged that we have been as the bad behavior of one man has drug us all through the mud. I could buy the team a new rig with the money I have had to spend on lawyers because of the actions of one man. We have tried and will continue to try and be good neighbors in New Zealand while we are there. We have planted 10,000 trees around the race course, recycled seven different materials, educated 21,000 NZ kids about the Cup and the peril of the planet, and recently donated a painted tank test model to be auctioned off with the benefits going to New Zealand youth sailing. We promise to each of our fellow sailing enthusiasts and professionals to do everything we can to bring honor to the sport and the great events that are about to begin on the Hauraki Gulf!

* From Pete Balash: This bashing of the Americas cup is getting a little old. Anytime you have millions of dollars involved there is going to be disputes. If you do not believe that then I would like to visit your Utopia. Compared to our "sports" of football, basketball, and baseball, our problems are minimal.

I understand it is hard to see being so far away, but lets not take away from the teams here. The sailors are working harder than a professional sailor ever has. Working out early in the morning, training meetings, all day of sailing an IACC boat, training meetings, and dinner.

These boats are very impressive, powerful boats that need the utmost attention from professionals all over the world. Lets not take away from any of the team's professionalism due to a few flaws. There is great pride on syndicate row and hard work going on seven days a week. Keep this in mind when you are searching for all the team's gear to wear proudly at you next yacht club function!

* From George Morris: The absurd things that go on during the build up to the America's Cup do not in themselves do any harm. Those who follow the event know the ground rules and they know that this event is not like other events. It is, however, hard to see that the event and its preparations comply with Rule 2 (fair sailing). This probably does not matter but I worry that the amoral approach to the event will trickle down to grass roots level, first via the Olympics and then through the National Championships and so on.

A part of the problem is directly traceable to the changing of the nationality rules. When the New Zealand challenge was a national effort there was no ambiguity about loyalty. Now that the majority of New Zealanders are actually sailing for other syndicates, simply selling the lines of their boat to another team seems pretty small beer in the disloyalty stakes.

* From Roger Shaw: I agree with Peter McColl that all lawyers should stay clear of the America's Cup, but for a slightly different reason. As a lawyer who is proud of my profession and avid amateur sailor, I have watched the AC "show" with increasing alarm. Lawyers are trained to deal with all manner of deception, skullduggery, cruelty and depravity and to represent their clients with their own personal dignity intact. Mostly we do.

However, nothing could have prepared us for the cesspool of ambition, greed, dirty tricks, obfuscation and the lust for power that is the modern America's Cup. Any lawyer involved in any capacity will inevitably exit with morals totally corrupted. Thankfully, my sailing skills or legal interests never reached the point where I might be drawn in to such a black hole.

Lawyers, stay clear, for the preservation of your immortal souls!

* From Prent Weathers: I enjoyed Peter Isler's insight into a day in the life of a naviguesser. One thing to note in his observation about long hours worked: Note that Mick Harvey was probably the last one to leave - and undoubtedly the first to arrive the following morning. The dedication of the shore crews on any successful (and even unsuccessful) team is remarkable.

Their contributions typically go unnoticed by the general public and unreported, yet without them, the boats would never even leave their slips, the event would never take place. Frequent "all nighters" are the norm, and days off are typically theoretical. There is a core of wizards like Mick in the elite yachting arena. They and all the people who work for them deserve a hearty attaboy ... and probably a nap and a raise too.

* From Steve Stevens: Concerning Mr. Ferrari's comment about the lack of wind and A-Cup racing conditions present in Puget Sound, I have this suggestion. If - and that's a big IF - the American OneWord team is successful in claiming The Cup over Oracle/BMW Racing, they should still choose to hold the racing in the San Francisco Bay, which not only provides great and challenging racing conditions - big winds, big currents, big courses - but is probably the greatest venue in the world for the spectators and the TV crews. And, yes, I am biased, being a member of the Golden Gate Yacht Club. But ... Puget Sound? For an America's Cup? 'Cummon!

* From David Storrs: Regarding the Transpac board of directors decision to increase the penalty for filing a false position report from 10 to 30 minutes, what about plain old Disqualification as the right remedy for being dishonest?

What kind of steering system do you put in a 147-foot sailboat? Edson International is working on that project for the new Baltic 147 project, designed by Reichel/Pugh and currently being built in Finland. The custom Steering Package will include dual wheels, two-speed steerers and a composite quadrant that are extremely light-weight yet robust enough to handle the demands of a yacht of this size.

The custom two-speed steerers will provide two different steering ratios with a simple twist of a knob. This allows the helmsman to engage a lower gear ratio (higher power/slower speed) for increased steering control in heavy weather when steering loads are high. The higher gear ratio (faster steering response) is used for maneuvering at lower speeds such as docking, navigating a narrow channel while under power or sailing in lighter air.

Edson Engineers have also developed a unique Vectranú line drive system specifically for the Baltic 147. It connects the two-speed steerers to the rudderpost via a custom composite quadrant, providing unprecedented levels of stretch resistance. All of the sheaves in the system are extra-large diameter and run on highly efficient stainless needle bearings. These features allow the steering system to be pre-tensioned to a much higher level than previous cable systems - a key aspect in helm sensitivity. All of these innovations are geared to provide the feel and response that sailors love.

When the Baltic 147 is launched in the Fall of 2002 it will have two custom composite wheels that feature wood and carbon inlays, dual spokes and a laminated teak and holly rim. -

Hall Spars and Rigging recently shipped the 182' Carbon mast for the new Baltic 147. What type of running rigging is inside? All the latest from Samson Rope Technologies including Validator II and Warpspeed. Hall Spars turned to Samson as a company that could easily handle a project of this magnitude. "Samson built exactly what we asked for. These lines turned out very well and were delivered ahead of schedule. We are very happy with their quality and Service," said special projects manager, Jens Hookanson. Got a Mega Yacht to rig? Turn to Samson Rope Technologies.

Sailing on (the maxi catamaran) Orange is a lot more pleasant than being on a V60. As a boat it is a lot more logical. Cruising is how I would describe sailing along at 19 knots on Orange, whilst aboard a V60 it would be much harder work, pushing the loads around and working the boat to its limit." - Neal McDonald

Last weekend Jim Close a veteran of four round the world yacht races and two America's cups from Sail Extreme of Williamstown in Victoria, put the award winning X3 sailing dinghy through it paces on the ski slopes of Mt Buller.

'' We wanted to complete our last stage of product development and test the X3 in extreme cold conditions. As the Southern ocean is a bit out of our reach, we thought that the snow on Mt Buller would be a great durability test for the plastic moulded hull and Mylar sails to simulate the harsh European winter." Close said.

At the top of the run looking downwards it felt pretty daunting but as we pushed off and the boat gathered momentum reality set in. The X3 sped down the run with full pace, rocketing towards the cafe at about 60km/hr, a push on the helm avoided catastrophe at the bottom as we neared the cafe. We were amazed at how easy to steer it was with the custom made snow rudder and that it seemed very stable, I thought in the back of my mind could this be the beginning of a new sport? Snow sailing.

Complete testing story and photos:

The Sunfish NA's were sailed at Barrington, RI. Conditions for the Qualification Series and Junior Championships were light the first day, medium and building the second. Conditions for the Finals and Alcort series were considered unusual, even by the locals, as a high pressure system following a cold front Tuesday night stayed in control for three days. It was breezy the first day with many competitors using "Jens" rigs to depower, then lighter each following day, with occasional williwaws to keep folks alert. There were a total of 105 boats.

North American Champion: Marcus Eagan, Bay St. Louis, MS; Junior North American Champion (not 18 this year): Simon Stampe, Rochester, NY, Midget North American Champion (not 14 this year): Craig Donald Williams, Stone Harbor, NY. - Gail M. Turluck Compete results:

North Cape Yacht Club LaSalle, MI/ Toledo, OH - Matt Fisher (Columbus, OH) closed out his qualifying series with two firsts on Monday and finished 2nd to Jody Swanson (Buffalo, NY) in the four race, one throwout Round Robin Qualifying. The fleet has been split into three divisions with no scores carried over.

Preliminary standings in the championship flight after two races on Tuesday: 1. Healy, B. 5; 2. Groutheer, 8; 3. Peck, 10; 4. MacDonald Jr. 11; 5. Starck, 19. Complete results:

Cowes, Isle of Wight - France's Red team drew out a handsome 14.25-point margin over their Commonwealth opponents after the second pair of Solent inshore races in the Rolex Commodores' Cup, with Gery Trentesaux's IMX 40, Courier Nord, easing ahead as the series' top scorer.

With her team-mates, Eric Fries' sistership IMX 40, Fastwave 3 and Jean-Yves Le Goff's X442, Clin d'Oiel 6, sixth and ninth overall, the French are showing the required consistency in this three-boat team event. None are especially fast through the water, the IMX 40s noticeably pedestrian downwind alongside the Ker 11.3s that are in three of the top five teams, but they do have competitive handicaps. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story:

Standing after four races: 1. France Red, 49.75; 2. Commonwealth, 63.5; 3.England Red, 71.5; 4. Ireland Orange, 71.5; 5. Wales, 78.5; 6. Netherlands, 109.5; 7. Spain, 122.25; 8. England Blue, 129.25; 9. France Blue, 137.5; 10. Ireland Green, 152; 11. Belgium, 158.5. -

* August 22-27: Atlantic Class Nationals, Cedar Point YC, Westport CT.

* August 31-September 2: MORC International Championship Regatta, Annapolis YC and MORC Station 15. The distance race has been waived for this regatta. -

* September 12-15: Big Boat Series presented by Rolex, St Francis YC, San Francisco, CA.

* November 1-3: 1D35 Nationals, Coral Reef YC, Miami, FL. -

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -Bill Cosby