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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1151 - September 5, 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.

Long Beach, CA: A 38-boat fleet rode a roller coaster of swells through the first race of the 2002 Etchells North American Championship Wednesday, led by Dennis Conner in defense of the title he won at Holland, Mich. last year.

The unsummerlike scene also featured a lingering coastal fog that formed a daunting backdrop around the 1.75-nautical mile windward-leeward course set in the San Pedro Channel between Santa Catalina Island and the mainland. It might also rain Thursday or Friday.

Conner, with Peter Burton and Al Pleskus as crew, sailed from third place to first on the last leg of the nine-mile race to edge longtime Etchells rival Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass. and the Mark Thornburrow/Tim Parsons entry from Hong King after a two-hour battle.

The latter led at every mark before their disappointing defeat.

The wind was about 14 knots southwest at starting time, when there was one general recall, but after the first two legs the breeze started to fade to about 8 knots at the end. That left the sea condition out of proportion to the wind strength as the short, steep chop undulated through the crests and troughs of the 10-foot swells.

The swells, unusual even for the unprotected ocean course which the race committee selected Wednesday, were the product of Hurricane Hernan churning some 900 miles south off Cabo San Lucas and were expected to continue through the week. Competition continues through Saturday with two races daily. -- Rich Roberts

The leaders (after 1 of 7 races):
1. Dennis Conner, San Diego
2. Jud Smith, Marblehead, Mass
3. Thornburrow/Parsons, Hong Kong
4. Erik Bentzen, Seattle
5. Dirk Kneulman, Burlington, Ontario.

Complete results at

San Francisco, CA: It's a pretty rare sight in the US, and an amazing one: 18 foot skiff sailing. The International Regatta is hosted this week at the St. Francis YC, with 11 teams from around the world, including World Champion team of Howard Hamlin, Mike Martin and Andy Zinn. At press time the results for Tuesday's three races were posted.

Top five places after 3 of 11 races scheduled through Saturday:
1. General Electric, Howard Hamlin / Mike Martin / Andy Zinn, 2-1-5, 8 points
2. RMW Marine, Robert Greenhalgh / Dan Johnson / Jonny Meers, 1-2-6, 9 points
3. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas / Trent Barnabas / Cam Lewis, 5-3-1, 9 points
4. White Stuff, Victor Brellisford / James Fawcett / David Smith, 6-6-2, 14 points
5. Total Recall, Tony Hannan / Greg Windust / Cameron McDonald, 7-4-3, 14 points

Event site:

Pictures from Sandra Cannon are posted there, more on

* Team Dennis Conner launched Stars & Stripes USA-66 yesterday and took her out on the Hauraki Gulf off of Auckland, New Zealand for her maiden voyage in Kiwi waters. After concluding their six-month training session in Long Beach, CA at the end of July, Team Dennis Conner has now relocated to Auckland for the start of the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series which begins on October 1.

USA-77's new bow section is nearly complete and is scheduled to be flown to Auckland within the next week. The bow will be joined to the rest of the hull and the team hopes to be sailing her by mid-September.

* According to plan, Areva FRA 79, the second of the French Challenge's two new carbon fiber racing boats, today sailed for the first time on the Hauraki Gulf.

Skipper Philippe Presti was at the helm for the maiden voyage with the bright yellow-hulled yacht. Luc Pillot was tactician.

In 12-13 knots of breeze, FRA 79 took the first shakedown sail since the boat arrived in New Zealand last week. Le Défi Areva team took the boat through the paces in the overcrowded (16 IACC) waters that lie between the volcanic Rangitoto Island and Takapuna at the mouth of the Hauraki Gulf and on the site of the actual America's Cup 2003 race course.

The team is expected to begin two-boat testing and training with both new boats on the America's Cup race course soon. -- Hauraki News,

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.

* Four teams have been selected to race at the U.S. Team Race Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy. The regatta will be held at Southern Yacht Club, November 8 - 10, 2002. Complete team resumes are at

* Complete information about this year's Annual Meeting at Marina Del Rey CA, October 16 - 20, is posted at

* The Sailor-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) will welcome nominations and hold elections for the next council during the month of September. Election results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting. The new SAAC's term will begin at the conclusion of the AGM. All registered athletes may vote. A and B level athletes are eligible for election to SAAC. The Sailor Athlete Advisory Board was developed to improve the representation of active competitive sailor-athletes within US Sailing.

The nomination period will be September 10 - 24, 2002. Any registered sailor-athlete may nominate up to 14 registered A or B level sailor-athletes for positions on the council. Each nomination must be accepted by that sailor and seconded by another sailor athlete. The voting period will be September 30 - October 6, 2002.

All nominations and voting will take place online, at

Sailor-Athlete registration can be found at:

Harken's Carbo Blocks feature a major materials innovation. Carbos are the first blocks to use long glass fibers instead of heavy stainless steel sideplates; representing a major strength-to-weight ratio advancement in plastic ball bearing blocks. These blocks are perfect for smallboat owners that demand the most free running hardware that is stronger and lighter than ever before. Find out more about Harken's Carbos. Go to

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON ( -- until the Curmudgeon returns later this month)

* From Craig Metcalfe: I too have spoken with OLN Canada regarding the lack of coverage for AC2003. The official word is that they are currently in negotiations for purchasing the broadcast rights from OLN (US) and should reach a decision in the next week or so. OLN Canada is part of a group of stations owned by CTV that also includes The Sports Network (TSN). TSN has traditionally rebroadcast the ESPN feeds from previous AC's and according to sources, the past ratings were very good and it is likely that we (Canadians) will see at least some coverage this year.

* From Keith Pelley (President TSN, Senior VP for Outdoor Life Network): It has come to my attention that in your newsletter and or sailing magazines there is mention of OLN and the networks lack of coverage in Canada. OLN is currently is close to 5 million homes and will be the exclusive broadcaster of the Louis Vuitton race. The network is currently in talks re the rights for the America's Cup and expect to secure the rights shortly.

* From Bill Browning: Regarding "Southern California" weather at the San Francisco NOODs; I don't know when or what part of Long Beach Mr. Bennett sailed as a kid, but from March till the end of September Long Beach sees a consistent 15 knot plus breeze every afternoon. Why do you think Dennis Conner's crew was here all spring and summer, consistent good wind, that's why! We don't get days under ten knots until October or November when the winter winds can be a little fluky. The one thing we do have is shorts and shirt sleeves sailing for 9 months or more a year. I'll be thinking of all you poor people freezing your butts off, while I'm sailing our last club race December 15th, in my shorts pants and T-shirt and sun screen.

* From Ralph Taylor: Beau Vrolyk is on to something with his suggestion that board sailors shouldn't be forced into the same windward/leeward/reach race model as other boats and that we should follow the example of how skiing (and, now, snowboarding) has broadened its definition of the sport.

Skiers and boarders intuitively know that "chasing bamboo" (as timed skiing through gates is colloquially known) is only part of what can be done while using water frozen into tiny grains -- snow. FIS, the international skiing federation, has recognized this and sanctions events that recognize a vast range of abilities: jumping or flying, air tricks, skiing through moguls for time and style, half-pipe tricks, and cross-country, as well as the timed events through a course defined by gates.

The differences in requirements is illustrated by the fact that a downhill racer never wants to be upside-down or going backwards, but for a free-styler or half-pipe boarder, these are normal conditions.

Of course, this broadening would greatly complicate administration of the sport and require different sets of rules. But, think of the possibilities for great television images of those inverted arials!

* From Gareth Evans: Surely in this great sport of ours we have room for both sides of the argument. Take athletics as an example - you don't find 100m runners doing the 5000m, and vice-versa. So surely we can allow the windsurfers to pump around the course, the Finn and Laser sailors to ooch, and the other classes to do as they wish. Allow each class to decide how much kinetics they will allow and surely everybody will be happy! Incidentally, if the proposals to accept the Formula windsurfing class for the Olympics eventually get the go ahead, much of the pumping should be eliminated.

* From Robert Bowden (edited to our 250 word limit): I'm a Judge. Let's admit it, Rule 42 is difficult to enforce. We judges are not trained to recognize "subtle" violations and, we are not looking for it. It is not our priority as we assume the self policing spirit of our sport will prevail. When on the water, my primary concerns are the weather conditions and the performance of the Race Committee.

It is very difficult for a competitor to protest a violation of this rule successfully. About the only way for a successful protest is for the Jury on the water or the Race Committee to observe it and have a witness(s) or tape recording to take to the protest hearing.

Maybe it's time for a clarification to Rule 42. It should be specific in its definition of kinetics so there is no question to a competitor or RC or Jury when they are violated. I have a hard time watching a Laser sailor in light airs who is "wriggling his butt" and calling him for Rule 42. However, it is easy to call overt violations...........if I'm asked to look for them. Like, pumping and rocking down wind. On the other hand, when does aggressively hiking and sailing the boat flat become rocking or pumping ? Anytime rule 42 is to be enforced on the water, please include Appendix N in your Sailing Instructions. It keeps judges on their toes and give the competitors a chance to do a "720" and continue to race.

* From Harry Keith (edited to our 250 word limit): It is only in a very few racing situations that adequate funds and resources are available to even come close to properly enforcing Rule 42. I was just on the Jury for a large regatta with Gold and Silver Laser and Laser Radial on two courses and there were no on the water judges. Kinetics was rampant. What resources would it have taken to properly police several hundred boats in four classes on two circles? It sure is a shock for the competitors when they show up at a yellow flag regatta.

I believe that it would help if the Class defined what is best for the Class and not the rule writers. I have found that Rule 42 works best in classes that have modified the rule for their class and then adopted it (Lightning, Mistral (like it or not), Fireballs among others). All ISAF Classes should be required to adopt their own version of Rule 42 complete with guide lines for protest/enforcement: Is Appendix N to be used; is three skulls to the right followed by three to the left OK, etc?. It would then be their rule that they have approved and believe is proper for their Class. Hopefully the competitors will also help in its enforcement and the judges will know exactly what the Class wants.

* From Madeleine McJones: The biggest kinetics problem I have is "mouse" kinetics I am getting skipping over all these kinetics threads.

EDITOR: On that note, this thread is now officially closed.

Heading in opposite directions -- Prada's new site has stripped most of the Flash (which your humble narrator personally hates, does everyone else hit the "Skip Intro" button as fast as I do when confronted with some damnable Flash entry page?), making it quite a bit faster. Around Alone has added some, but it's done sparingly, and the site design is quite nice. Have a look at both: and

50 boats registered for the seven course, one 20 mile distance regatta, sailed from the Chicago YC in mid August. Tartan 10s are one of the most successful, long lived one-design offshore classes, with more than 100 of the 400 built from 1978 - 1985 still actively racing.

Some racers of note who took part include Heidi Riddle, a Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year; Olympic medallist Dick Stearns; and Chris Larson, one of the top sailors in the world.

Final scoring:
1st Grunsten/Flynn's VooDoo
2nd Richard Stearns' Glider XIX
3rd Jimmy Mitchell's Contumacious

Race results are available at

This past weekend the United States Team Racing Association (USTRA) held an event in Maine, at Bowdoin College in Larks. For this increasingly exciting, popular form of sailboat racing, and for this growing group, this achieved two "firsts."

The USTRA "Tour" came for the first time to Maine, and, more importantly, sailed newly re-designed Lark sailboats owned by Bowdoin College, equipped with clear mainsails from Quantum Northeast for ease of vision. The Lark was re-designed partially to make it the "ultimate team racing boat" and reaction from USTRA veterans seemed quite positive.

Team racing involves 3 on 3 dinghy sailing with short, unique courses, and has become very popular in college sailing. The USTRA attracts many current and former college sailing stars, and even high school age players are getting involved.

For photos, results and reports visit:

* Hospice of the Chesapeake, September 14. The nation's first and largest fund-raising regattas. Shearwater Sailing Club, Annapolis MD. or call 703 460 9219.

* NYYC Interclub Team Race for the Glencairn Trophy, September 6-7, on western Long Island Sound near Rye NY. The masters division calls for a skipper over 50, and combined two-person crew age of over 100. Varsity division open to all ages. Contact Peter Benedetto at (212) 532-9191(

Someday we'll look back on all of this, laugh nervously and change the subject.