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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1153 - September 9, 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.

CONNER DEFENDS ETCHELLS NORTH AMERICAN TITLE
Long Beach, CA: Backed into a corner by a pair of old rivals, Dennis Conner reached deep into his seabag Saturday and pulled out a clutch performance to successfully defend his Etchells North American Championship.

Conner led all four days of the regatta, but after the first of two races Saturday in picture postcard conditions his lead had shrunk to one point over Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass., with a handful of competitors including Canadian Dirk Kneulman within striking distance. Conner responded with a daring start in the final race that led to a second-place finish one minute behind San Diego's Artie Means but warily ahead of Kneulman in third and Smith in fifth.

Conditions were ideal---except for a 15-degree shift that hung Conner and several others out to the wrong side midway of the first race, sending him back to 19th place in the 38-boat fleet and dashing any hopes he had of wrapping up the regatta early.

Given that setback, he led a charge for the pin end of the line in the second race and timed it perfectly. If he had been one second earlier he would been over early and probably lost the title.

Conner, who called it a "killer start," sailed two minutes on starboard tack, then tacked to cross most of the fleet and followed Means for a few minutes before returning to mid-course to cover Smith and eventually locking up with Kneulman, as well. -- Rich Roberts

The final leaders (5 races):
1. Dennis Conner, San Diego, 1-6-1-(19)-2, 10 points.
2. Jud Smith, Marblehead, Mass., 2-1-(20)-6-5, 14.
3. Dirk Kneulman, Bristol, Ontario, 5-8-(19)-3-3, 19.
4. Andy LaDow, San Diego, 6-2-6-(20)-8, 22.
5. Mark Thornburrow/Tim Parsons, Hong Kong, 3-7-(32)-8-6, 24.

Complete results at www.abyc.org

LOUIS VUITTON CUP
With just over three weeks remaining before the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, all of the challengers are well into what can best described as the final preparations phase and the Viaduct Basin in Auckland is a hive of activity.

This is the period of the campaign when there is never enough time - each team will be wishing they had another week to make the boat faster, more sessions to get the crew work tighter, the sail development more advanced, or additional time in the gym so that the grinders are stronger. The exception to the rule is Oracle BMW Racing who gave the sailing team the first week in September off.

The format of the Louis Vuitton Cup is designed to produce the strongest possible Challenger. The first two Round Robins, sailed in October, will eliminate one team, and rank the remaining eight. The top teams that consistently win will have more time for in-house testing and development, whilst the bottom teams spend more time racing each other in an effort to remain in the tournament.

The sailors aren't the only ones readying themselves for racing. The America's Cup 2003 Louis Vuitton Media Centre is currently being set up in the New Zealand National Maritime Museum.

The America's Cup 2003 Louis Vuitton Media Centre opens on the 23rd of September.

The official website for coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup is www.LouisVuittonCup.com, which will be re-launched in mid-September with a new design, more content, and the backing of new media giant Yahoo!

Virtual Spectator (www.VirtualSpectator.com) is also back and will be the only online source for live coverage of the racing. The improved race viewer will allow subscribers to watch each and every match of the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup. Virtual Spectator has recently brought in designers and programmers from the video game world and the new animations are truly spectacular.

The America's Cup Louis Vuitton Opening Parade will take place on Saturday, the 28th of September with all the teams marching down Queen Street in downtown Auckland. Two days later, the Louis Vuitton Cup skippers will participate in the morning draw and skippers press conference. The nine challenging teams will draw to determine their opponents for the first Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup and face the press in the only formal press event scheduled before racing the next day. -- Marcus Hutchinson

DOUBLE RUDDER ON TEAM NZL?
The America's Cup defender has gone to great lengths, even by cup standards, to hide the yacht's hull shape and undersides since its official launch last week.

The yacht has been sailing daily on the Hauraki Gulf but leaves the Team New Zealand base each day shrouded in a skirt that only comes off moments before the boat begins its sailing trials.

International designers have theorised that a successful two-rudder configuration could be a huge asset in cup match-racing, particularly during critical pre-start manoeuvring.

A yacht with two rudders, one aft and another near the bow, would supposedly turn on a dime. Until now, no one has harnessed that technology with complete success.

Designers have toyed with that technology in previous cup regattas - in 1992 and again in 2000 when the Swiss yacht FAST2000 had two keels, one acting as a rudder.

Team New Zealand designers have hinted the most interesting feature of their new cup yacht might be below the waterline, but spokesman Murray Taylor had no comment yesterday. -- New Zealand Herald. Complete article at www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/

THE FASTEST SAILS DEMAND THE FASTEST CLOTH
Why are Ullman Sails are the fastest sails on the planet? It's simple: fast designs need the fastest cloth! That is why Ullman Sails chooses only the best cloth from Contender, Dimension / Polyant and Bainbridge International. Our fast designs combined with superior cloth have allowed our customers to collect 90% of the trophies coast to coast in all major J/105 regattas. If you and your crew are ready, let Ullman Sails bring our speed technology to your sails. Call your nearest Ullman Sails loft or visit us at www.ullmansails.com

AROUND ALONE
* Graham Dalton arrived in Newport Friday night. Dalton's shore team had already been in Newport preparing for the boats arrival, and work started moments after the dock lines were thrown ashore. There is much to do. Dalton was dismasted shortly after leaving England for his qualifying sail to the US, and had to return to land to get a replacement. Once the new mast and sails, borrowed from Kingfisher, were on board, Dalton departed Europe bound once again for Newport. Sixteen days later he arrived safely.

The new carbon mast built by Southern Spars in New Zealand is on the dock. Kingfisher's mast will be removed and the new mast stepped. The boat will also be hauled out of the water for some maintenance work. Once relaunched, Hexagon will be required by race rules to sail 110 miles with the new mast. With the clock ticking Dalton and his team have a lot on their plate.

* The race rules call for all yachts participating in the Around Alone race to be in Newport no later than midnight on September 1, 2002 otherwise face a penalty. They also call for all skippers to complete a qualifying voyage prior to noon on September 1, 2002, otherwise face a penalty. Two yachts infringed these rules and have been assigned penalties by the race organizers.

Bayer Ascensia, skippered by Canadian John Dennis arrived in Newport at 0710 local time on 2nd September 2002. The penalty is 6 hours for every 24 hour period (or part thereof) late ie., 15 minutes per hour, commencing at midnight on 1st September 2002. Accordingly John Dennis was assigned a 107 minutes, 30 seconds (1 hour 47 minutes 30 seconds) penalty which will be added to her finish time in the first leg.

Hexagon, skippered by New Zealander Graham Dalton incurred a double jeopardy. Dalton not only arrived in Newport well after the midnight deadline, he also finished the qualifying sail after noon September 2 and was therefore subject to two penalties. For the later arrival he was assessed 28 hours, 59 minutes, 30 seconds, and for failing to qualify by the deadline Hexagon was assessed 31 hours, 59 minutes, 30 seconds for a total penalty of 60 hours and 59 minutes.

* Bruce Schwab, skipper of the Open 60 "Ocean Planet" writes: After a frantic worldwide search by many insurance brokers on behalf of the race organization and the competitors, the only policy that has been found for the required $3,000,000 liability insurance has a premium of nearly $17,000. This is for each of the six boats still needing the coverage.

The race rules require that each yacht carries the $3M liability insurance irregardless of whether or not they have hull insurance on the boats themselves.

This is a dicey situation for me and the other five boats that need to cough up the $17k for just the liability insurance only, as that amount seriously detracts from the budgets for supplies, sails, preparation, etc.

There has never been a liability claim arising from any racing accident during the 20 years of the Around Alone. There are six boats who will buy insurance from [a company willing to write the coverage] if they can offer a reasonable deal. And insurance on the boats would be nice too!

HEY OCKAM WHAT ABOUT ME?
The Ockam Tryad system is designed to meet the needs of the boating world's most demanding users - the processing power, input choices, ethernet connectivity options, etc. enable some fairly exotic applications of yacht instrument technology. But what if you want to keep it relatively simple? Can you still get Ockam's legendary primary function performance without having to buy an overkill setup? Actually, by combining the Tryad T2 Multiplex interface with our "classic" Unisyn Model 001 CPU, a new Ockam system costs less and does more than ever before! See www.ockam.com

18 FOOT SKIFF INTERNATIONAL REGATTA
San Francisco Bay, CA: The world champion team of Howard Hamlin, Mike Martin and Andy Zinn won the 18 Foot Skiff International Regatta with a seven point margin over second place skipper John Winning. Hamlin and crew's worst results were two fifth places, both of which they threw out, giving them a final score of just 14 points for 11 races.

Final top five:
1. General Electric, Howard Hamlin / Mike Martin / Andy Zinn, USA, 14 points
2. Yandoo, John Winning / Jack Young / Euan McNicol, AUS, 21
3. RMW Marine, Robert Greenhalgh / Dan Johnson / Jonny Meers, AUS, 25
4. Total Recall, Tony Hannan / Greg Windust / Cameron McDonald, AUS, 36
5. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas / Trent Barnabas / Cam Lewis, GBR, 38

www.stfyc.org

* Tom Zinn has some great shots of the 18 footers at adrenalinimages.com/a18

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (dmccreary@boats.com -- until the Curmudgeon returns later this month)

* From Ted Chisholm: The passing of Paul Phelan means the end of a glorious era in the sport of Sailing. Paul was a champion supporter of the sport. He devoted countless hours and resources to keep sailing in the forefront of competitive sports. I first met Paul in 1972 when he formed the Course Bravo Team for the XXI Olympiad in Kingston in 1976. He lent me support and encouragement throughout my 20 years as Director of Sailing for The Royal Canadian Yacht Club. A finer mentor will be impossible to find. Thank you PJ for everything you gave the sport and everything you did for me. May you rest in peace knowing you left the world a far better place for those who remain behind.

* From Scott MacLeod: In regards to OLN, I would like to make a 'butt' wide appeal. I don't know if Charles Dolan, CEO of Cablevision owner of the Maxi yacht, Sagamore reads Scuttlebutt but OLN is about to cover the entire LV Cup live and he doesn't even carry OLN on Cablevision in CT. I have called cablevision a number of times and have received the lovely electronic secretary. I'm about to order DirectTV and drop Cablevision but thought at least Dolan of all people would distribute the America's Cup coverage on his system in an area which is heavily populated by sailors. Chuck if you're out there... what's up? If you know him...please forward.

* From Jerry Kaye: Regarding Keith Pelley (President TSN, Senior VP for Outdoor Life Network) letter in 'butt #1151. In my area that includes Marina Del Rey and areas inland, OLN isn't offered. The current operator of this cable system is AT&T (corporatese meaning "Acquiring all The Tokens") and they do not offer OLN. I'm sure there are other cable companies that, likewise, do not offer OLN to their customers. Perhaps Mr. Pelly can find out why and let us know.

* From Harry Keith: Lets face it. Fleet and even match racing is never going to make it as prime time TV material. It probably won't make it as late-late night either. However, from my experience judging, umpiring, and running team racing events it would be a great format.

I would suggest coed (50-50) three on three in two person dinghies. The V15 comes to mind. This event would blow the socks of any other Olympic Sailing event. It can be done close to observers on land, the public likes team sports, the audience can be taught how to score, the pace is rapid and dynamic and no other sport can be at its very best with men and women competing together.

* From Doug Hanna: We went out onto the Gulf yesterday and took a few new pictures of some of the teams training. You can check them out on http://www.cupviews.com

The training intensity has certainly picked up a notch or two over the last couple of weeks and now with all of the challengers on-site in Auckland with all their boats the "spirit" in the American Express Viaduct Harbour has risen dramatically.

It's really nice to see the teams waving and clapping to each other from their bases as their competitors tow their boats out of the harbour to go training on the Gulf. There's also been quite a lot of training action with challengers racing each other, a game of cat and mouse where they check out their boat speed against each other and hope to learn more than they give away.

The weather in Auckland over the last couple of weeks has been very nice - almost like summer - blue skies and mild temperatures. Let's hope it continues as we approach October 1 in just 3 weeks time.

LARCHMONT NOOD
Larchmont, NY -- Sailors who collected trophies at the Larchmont Sailing World NOOD regatta--hosted September 6-8 by the Larchmont Yacht Club--had their light-air skills down. During three days of racing on Long Island Sound, knotmeters never pegged above two digits. But even though the racing at the NOOD was played out in slow motion--in light winds that ranged four to eight knots--there were down-to-the-wire moments when inches made the different between victory and defeat.

A fleet of 91 boats competed in the Larchmont NOOD in eleven classes. Five classes used the event to run class championships.

The 2002 NOOD regatta circuit concludes on Galveston Bay (Texas), September 20-22. -- Diane Chase and Cynthia Goss

Class winners:
J/105 (21 boats) Jim Sorensen, Sag Harbor, NY, Wet Leopard
J/80 (6 boats) Geoffrey Pierini, Metuchen, NJ, Bada Bing!
J/30 (9 boats) (East Coast Championships): Joe McCann, Glen Cove, NY, Paddy Wagon
J/24 (9 boats) (Long Island Sound Championships): Tim Ryan, New York, NY, Racer X
J/27 (5 boats) (Long Island Sound Championships): Edward Tillinghast III, New York, NY, Areopagus
Farr 40 (6 boats): Alex Krstajic, Toronto, Ont., Honour
J/44 (6 boats): Eduardo Salvati, New York, NY, Mabuhay II
Express 37/Level 72 (7 boats): Adam Loory, Mamaronek, NY, Soulmates
Henderson 30 (6 boats): Neil Rattan, Westport, CT, Love Letter
Frers 33 (6 boats): Greg Ames, East Hampton, NY, Windswept
Soverel 33 (11 boats) (National Championships): Team Lake Norman, Matthews, NC, Outrageous

For complete results see www.sailingworld.com

LOUIS VUITTON CUP ON OLN CANADA
Beginning on September 30th OLN -Canada will be airing the Louis Vuitton Cup. OLN Canada sent us the September and October schedule, it's a bit much to post here, but it covers every single race day, with a 2 hour program each night from 9 to 11 PM local time. On Sunday October 6, the show is followed by an hour of "Shipwrecked", hmm.... Please check your local listings to confirm the times.

CAYARD / HAENEL QUALIFY U.S. STAR BERTH AT 2004 OLYMPICS
The Nautica 2002 Star World Championship attracted 103 boats to the waters of Santa Monica Bay and offered an added bonus to top performers the top-five finishing nations would secure their country a place at the 2004 Olympic Regatta. The strength of the U.S. competitors was evident with six teams placing top-20 in the final standings. As the top U.S. finishers, California's Paul Cayard (San Francisco) and Hal Haenel (Los Angeles) secured the U.S. its Olympic berth by finishing fourth overall.

All nations, with the exception of host country Greece, must qualify for entry in each class at the Olympic Regatta, scheduled for August 13-29, 2004, in Athens, Greece. The qualification process is a result of entry limits set by the International Olympic Committee and ISAF that specify no more than 400 total athletes in sailing, along with other restrictions. In 2002 the world championships of each class will qualify 35% of their entry quota, with 45% qualifying in 2003, and 20% in 2004. -- US Sailing

THE CURMUDGEON'S QUOTATIONS
When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?