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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1137 - August 15, 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.

ATHENS, GREECE (August 14, 2002) - Making the transition from a vision to reality, the first official test event in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games has begun. As Olympic host, Greek organizers are committed to holding a test event in every sport under conditions similar to those expected during the Games. Not only will sailors from around the globe be the first to preview the Olympic venues of Athens, but due to the varied conditions on the field of play they will be the only athletes to have a second test event - in August of 2003. With many anxious to test the waters of the Saronic Gulf, the Aghios Kosmas Sailing Centre expects to host close to 600 competitors between August 12-25, 2002. With a temporary venue, intense security and volunteers at hand, organizers hope to provide an experience similar to what sailors will encounter two years hence at the Olympics when nine classes (11 divisions) compete for Olympic glory. The Games of the XXVIII Olympiad are scheduled for August 13-29, 2004.

A large U.S. contingent -- 43 athletes, several personal coaches and numerous family members -- has assembled in Glyfada with a support staff that includes Team Leader Fred Hagedorn (Chicago, Ill.); Olympic Director Jonathan R. Harley (Middletown, R.I.); and US Sailing Team coaches Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.) and Skip Whyte (Bristol, R.I.). Due to a direct conflict with the Star World Championships there will be no competition for the Star class. The U.S. will have competitors in eight classes (ten events) as follows:

EUROPE: Tanya Haddad (Portland, Ore.); and Lauren Bernsen (Coronado, Calif.).

FINN: Geoff Ewenson (Annapolis, Md./Newport, R.I); and Mo Hart (S. Portland, Me./Santa Cruz, Calif.).

470 MEN: Steve Hunt (Hampton, Va.) with Michael Miller (Charleston, S.C.); Stu McNay (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) with Ross Anderson (Preston, Conn.); and Mikee Anderson-Mitterling with Graham Biehl (both San Diego, Calif.).

470 WOMEN: Courtenay Dey (The Dalles, Ore./Rye, N.Y.) with Linda Wennerstrom (Miami, Fla.); Katie McDowell (Barrington, R.I.) with Isabelle Kinsolving (New York, N.Y.); and Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) with Sara Mergenthaler (Colts Neck, N.J.).

49er: Andy Mack (Seattle, Wash.) with Adam Lowry (San Francisco, Calif.); David Fagen (St. Petersburg, Fla.) with Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.); and Dalton Bergan (Seattle, Wash.) with Zack Maxam (San Diego, Calif.).

LASER: Andrew Campbell (San Diego, Calif.); Brett Davis (Largo, Fla.); and Andrew Lewis (Honolulu, Hawaii).

MISTRAL M: Peter Wells (Newport Beach, Calif.); and Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.).

MISTRAL W: Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.).

TORNADO: Lars Guck (Bristol, R.I.) with Jonathan Farrar (Miami, Fla.); Robbie Daniel (Clearwater, Fla.) with Eric Jacobsen (Annapolis, Md.); and Stan Schreyer (Newport, R.I.) with Forbes Durdin (Houston, Texas).

YNGLING: Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.) with Lee Icyda (Stuart, Fla.) and Suzy Leech (Avon, Conn./Annapolis, Md.); Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) with Linda Epstein (Arlington, Mass.) and Liz Filter (Stevensville, Md.); and Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I./New York, N.Y.) with Joan Touchette (Newport, R.I.) and Melissa Purdy (Tiburon, Calif.). -

This year, Cowes Combined Clubs Ltd (CCC Ltd) has for the first time undertaken an experiment with over 500 of the 893 entries racing at Skandia Life Cowes Week using SMS texting of courses to their mobile phones. The software for sending courses by text message was developed by Simon Middlemiss. It was designed to link in with the course setting software written by Graeme Winn of Sailmath that has been in use for the last three years.

Some early glitches in the system were quickly ironed out and the system now appears to be accurate, robust and speedy. One particular problem we found is that Orange do not support text messages from outside the UK. As we use an SMS gateway based in Switzerland, this meant that we had to ask competitors using the Orange network to give us a mobile number on a different network.

Competitor feedback has been very positive. Although billed and used as an experiment, with the traditional methods of transmission as the only 'official' courses, we now have over 500 boats signed up to receive text messages. From competitor comment, the format of the text string has been modified slightly to make it easier to read and various other minor changes have been incorporated.

On the Platform at the Royal Yacht Squadron, the course setter computer operators input the course that has been set by the race officers. The Sailmath software then converts this into a diagram and shows the estimated times of rounding each mark, as well as highlighting any course clashes.

At the 10-minute warning signal, the operator then selects the class and presses 'send'. The list of telephone numbers for that class is sent via the Web to the Swiss SMS gateway together with the message string. Within 5-seconds of the operator pressing 'send', all the mobile phones for the class are beeping to show that the course has arrived.

We can also send other messages, either to an individual boat, a class or the whole fleet so competitors can be easily told of postponements etc. - Stuart Quarrie, CCC

AMERICA'S CUP STORE is the official 2003 America's Cup online store - your one-stop shop for America's Cup clothing and memorabilia from the comfort of your home or office with worldwide delivery at very low . Offering Team New Zealand, Challenger, and America's Cup 2003 event clothing plus, America's Cup silverware & memorabilia. Check out the stylish Alinghi & Team New Zealand ranges.

* The flight of the GBR 78, Wight Magic, from Cowes to New Zealand took 48 hours and went without a hitch, stopping in Singapore and Bangkok. The precious cargo arrived at its final destination at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning and quickly cleared customs. Wight Magic is now in the Viaduct Village where it is being prepared for sailing.

* Lady Blake will return to New Zealand later this month to christen Team New Zealand's first new-generation boat, NZL81. The first of two boats built for the 2003 America's Cup defence will be officially launched at a public ceremony in Auckland. As is tradition, the boat will be named New Zealand. Pippa Blake will come from her home in England for the ceremony. She also christened the first boat of the 2000 cup defence, NZL57, accompanied by her husband, the late Sir Peter Blake - who was then the head of Team New Zealand. The naming ceremony will be held off the island in the American Express America's Cup Harbour in the early evening of Monday, August 26.- Team New Zealand website,,,7136-1672511,00.html

* The 'Site of the Month' on US Sailing's website focuses on their Championships events - many of which have concluded or will conclude this month. Adult - Men's, Women's, Match, Team, Singlehanded, Championship of Champions, Sailors With Special Needs, Offshore, Women's Match, Women's Keelboat and Multihull. Junior - Singlehanded, Doublehanded, Triplehanded, Women's Singlehanded, Women's Doublehanded, and Youth Championship. -

(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 T.L.Lewis: Did you really open the door on this one? Mr. Stevens missive in #1136 says San Francisco is "the greatest venue in the world". Beg to differ, but how about Steak and Kidney (Sydney). Warmer water, no fog, and miles and miles of beautiful vantage points (check out the start of any Sydney to Hobart), and with the number of foreign nationals on any of the syndicates, you'd have a good case for taking the Cup anywhere you felt like it.

* From Jonathan Pope: I'm surprised that the TransPac committee is still requiring position reports via radio. This year's Bermuda Ocean Race committee arranged a deal with Globalstar so that each boat was equipped with a satellite phone for reporting positions. Cost was nominal - $90 for a week plus $1.69 per minute of airtime. Positions were reported twice a day, then each boat's position was updated on the race web site after all reports were in. No listening in.

As an added bonus, the phones were packaged with a subscription to Maritime Medical Access, a service provided through George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. That service was available for the ride home, too. Unfortunately we had the 'opportunity' to try out the service. They were super, walking me through diagnosis and recommending medications and treatment with more specific information than I got out of our medical book.

* From Greg Weeger (In response to Rich Roberts reporting of Transpac Yacht Clubs recent decision on expanding safety regulations, and position reporting): During pre-race preparations on Ragtime for "89" Transpac I jumped overboard with no warning to the team (other than running out of the companionway during daylight hours). The pickup took only 12 minutes as I timed it.

As a Zephyrus V crew member on Pacific Cup, and I believe I speak for the Mari-Cha's crew (and thank you again for your assistance) this drill should be mandatory, book learned, at night, and without warning.

As for TPYC's decision to return to position reporting every 24 hours I would like to express my gratitude. After navigating in last years Transpac and serving a regular shift as many navigators do, the second reporting provided for little or no time to sleep.

* From Charlie McLaughlin: Several recent tragedies and close calls in Southern New England remind us to wear PFD's and practice MOB drills. There isn't a sailor who wouldn't benefit from regular early (or late) season drills.

Our Marion and Newport-Bermuda crews routinely spend a full afternoon practicing MOB recoveries. But even with exceptionally experienced crew, things rarely go as smoothly as we'd like. Murphy's Law always lurks and there are unlimited opportunities for real disasters. MOB practices need to be routine for all sailors, including in-shore race committees.

Even more to the point, recovering a cushion is infinitely easier than a 200 lb. "dummy", a role that I have regularly filled, donning my survival suit and hurling myself overboard. The crews take a close vote and, to date at least, have responded. The serious lesson learned each time is that rigging the gear, getting the boat alongside, getting a sling around an "unconscious" MOB, and hoisting the dead-weight MOB aboard is difficult and time-consuming. In any kind of seas and wind, it becomes progressively and exponentially more difficult. It's an invaluable experience for everyone. Do yourself (and your family) a favor... try it.

Two other thoughts. First, everyone should try a survival suit. Staying dry is great but maneuverability is limited; the suit's powerful buoyancy is a challenge and a bit disorienting. Secondly, if you do a live MOB drill, check for sharks first; I didn't once, adding greatly to the crew's efforts and my laundry bill.

* From Dick Hale: Given the number of man-overboard incidents this year, It would seem to me that there could be great value to your readership in finding out from the participants answers to the following questions:

What were the events that led up to some one going over the side?
What were the sea, & wind conditions at the time?
What were the specific actions taken by the helmsman and others?
What were the biggest problems that had to be faced during the recovery?

What would you do differently?

Trust me I am not a lawyer, just another boat-owner who would like to learn more about what works and what doesn't from people who have had to face the nightmare of all sailors. Perhaps your organization could facilitate the collection of the information and dedicate a day's news. It might save some lives!

* From John McBrearty: As a lawyer, I find another lawyers comments that, "Lawyers, stay clear, for the preservation of your immortal souls!" regarding sailboat racing, to be in conflict with our duty to represent our clients regardless of our personal feelings. If there is a conflict that requires that the legal system get involved, is that not a better solution than duels or gunfights in getting the problem resolved? America's Cup is big business and, despite what most media would like you to believe, most lawsuits in America involve a business suing another business

* From John Marsh: Do us all a favor ... until the America's Cup stories in your subscription tell stories about things happening on the race course, don't bother printing them - Reminds me of People magazine or the AOL headline news. I'm sick of reading how much money one syndicate spends to overnight/ cargo a boat to New Zealand, or how much another spends on legal fees, or how much is being spent on a spectator boat that's as long as a football field and can't fit under the Golden Gate Bridge. Lately, when I read your column, I scroll by everything that has anything to do with Cup "gossip" - It's rubbish.

A "priceless" magnum of wine autographed by Sir Peter Blake will be auctioned in Auckland tonight for a cause close to the legendary sailor's heart - the defence of the America's Cup. The Marine Export Group is holding a charity auction at a black-tie Spinnaker Ball at the Hilton Hotel to raise NZ$70,000 for a replacement spinnaker for Team New Zealand.

The Australasian managing director of Sotheby's, Martin Gallon, will put 37 lots under the hammer, including the big bottle of Church Road reserve merlot. Other lots include a party for 20, valued at $20,000, aboard the 34m superyacht Ubiquitous; dinner for 12 with the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, at Government House in Auckland; and mounted halyard blocks from Black Magic NZL60. - NZ Herald, full story:

* A new interactive centre in the Viaduct Harbour will get Team New Zealand fans so close to America's Cup action that downing sea-sick tablets before entering may be a good idea. The Telecom Shed on the Eastern Viaduct will contain interactive Team New Zealand and America's Cup games and demonstrations, as well as the latest communications technology. Entry to the 750sq m, Telecom-financed shed will be free.

It will be open from the start of the Louis Vuitton Challenger series in October through to the end of the America's Cup in March. Telecom's general manager, Kevin Kenrick, said it wanted to create something where New Zealanders could go to learn more about Team New Zealand and celebrate their achievements. "People will be able to go to the shed to keep in touch with the action, have a go at using the interactive grinding Machine, and learn about the history of the America's Cup. Last time a lot of New Zealanders came to the Viaduct Basin, but few were able to get out on the water. This time we want to connect people to the event and Team New Zealand."

Construction began last weekend. Kenrick could not say how much the venture was costing, except that it was a "significant seven-figure sum." Swiss syndicate Alinghi have opened an interactive plaza at their base. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, the University of Auckland and Massey University are hosting the inaugural High Performance Yacht Design Conference in Auckland from 4-6th December this year. Papers will be presented by prestidgious international researchers on topics including aeroelastic modelling, wind tunnel testing, computational fluid dynamics, seakeeping of planing hullforms and structural analysis. With the Louis Vuitton Cup in progress, December will be an exciting time in Auckland, however delegates are reminded to book their travel and accommodation early to avoid disappointment. For details of papers and delegate registration:

North Cape Yacht Club, LaSalle, Michigan/Toledo, Ohio. 117 boats. Standings in championship division after four races: 1. Healy, B, 14; 2. Starck, 25; 3. Peck, 25; 4. Fisher, M, 30; 5. Grotheer, 31; 6. Swanson, 39. Complete results:

The William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup - Final Results: 1. Hartman/Gurley-CA, 13; 2. Brown/Carson-NZ, 24; 3. O Cotera/Coppock-FL, 31; 4. Johnson/Hughes-UK, 32; 5. Hitchins-Thomsen-IL 51,

US Junior Singlehanded Championship - Final Results: 1. Mike Wilde, Rochester YC, 12; 2. Matthes Barry, Riverside YC, 14; 3. Kyle Kovacs, Brant Bea, 16; 4. Michael Scott, Kaneohe YC, 25; 5. John Romanko, Royal Vancouver YC, 27.

US Junior Doublehanded Championship - Final Results: 1. Storck/ Goldman, Northport YC, 12; 2. Roberts/ Brun, San Diego YC, 17; 3. Stemler/ Loufek, Newport Harbor YC, 20; 4. Sampson/ Komar, Plymouth YC, 22; 5. Kavanaugh/ Bowen, New Bedford YC, 43.

* September 13-17 J/24 Women's Open, Edgewater YC, Cleveland Ohio.

* September 18-22: J-24 North Americans, Edgewater YC, Cleveland Ohio.

It's hard to soar like an eagle when you sail with a bunch of turkeys.