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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1154 - September 10, 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.

Excerpts from Rich Robert's interview, published in The Log, online at

Among [the Around Alone competitors], Van Liew is the veteran: the only one of the 14 ever to finish an Around Alone.

Q: You sound more professional this time.

VL: "There isn't any doubt. This is all Meaghan and I do. At this point my life has been dedicated to it. When I'm not racing my own boat I'm getting hired to go race somebody else's somewhere. Now I'm kind of an expert in the Open boat [competition], whereas before I was trying to learn."

Q: The reason for moving the start to New York seems obvious.

VL: "It was moved to Newport, R.I., then to New York after 9/11 because of the Sail America event. They were looking for a crescendo to that weekend event. Mayor Bloomberg approached Around Alone and asked if they'd be interested. It was something we were all concerned about . . . making sure it's not perceived as exploitation.

"At first I was a little nervous about it. The whole thing starts near Ground Zero, right off Battery Park. My impression is that New York is still more sensitive than people thought it would be. It's intended to be a respectful remembrance in that we're carrying a message of adventure and progress and discovery and world unity to the rest of the world.

"[Also], we start on 9/15. One of the reasons the race organizers wanted to wait that long is, OK, 9/11's over, let's get on with it."

Q: How much does your kind of program cost?

VL: "A winning 50 program? About 2 million bucks. This is as much a team sport as a Formula One team. We have six people that work full-time on this project."

Q: Any circumnavigation seems to experience a calamity or two. Last time a small plane crashed near you after the restart at Auckland, and later you lost your mast off Brazil.

VL: "My biggest concern is the things you don't have control over: hitting a container, whacking an iceberg. Christophe Auguin said it best when he won his first BOC in 1992: 'This sport is 40% good team and good skipper, 40% good boat and 20% luck.'

"I feel we have a good team a good boat and I'm as experienced as anybody in the race. Then there's that 20%."

Complete article at

It is more mission invisible than mission impossible as the giant multihulls, Maiden II and Geronimo, home in on the Round Britain and Ireland record while refusing to divulge their positions or say much about their progress.

But yesterday afternoon, Tracy Edwards's Maiden II, skippered by Brian Thompson, was off south-west Ireland, hurtling across the Celtic Sea towards the Scilly Isles. Given the fresh winds raking across southern England, Steve Fossett's record of five days and 21 hours must be in peril.

The whereabouts of Geronimo, Olivier de Kersauson's trimaran, were unknown, but she ought to be in the hunt in this blind race for the record. Geronimo must return to her start point at The Lizard by 09.12 BST tomorrow to break one of the many yachting, aviation and ballooning records held by Fossett. Maiden's target is 09.53 BST at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight.

The World Sailing Speed Record Council are monitoring both attempts, and both multihulls are known to be in good shape and moving briskly.

A crumb of news came from Maiden's Sue Crafer yesterday: "A combination of lighter south to south-westerly breezes, as one low pressure to the west of Ireland and one over northern France form a strung-out weak pressure trough, will decide our progress back to the finish."-- Tim Jeffery in the Telegraph:

From Sir Peter Johnson, World Speed Sailing Record Council:
Round Britain and Ireland, all islands and rocks. Both record attempting vessels, Geronimo (Olivier de Kersauson) and Maiden II (Brian Thompson) are expected to finish at their respective start finish lines sometime between 0800 and 1100 BST Tuesday 10th Dependent on weather and all usual sailing risks!!

Both are still being very cagey on positions, but as far as I could glean both had (about 1930 this evening) boat speed of 15 knots, reaching. All well on board both vessels.

Boat websites: (de Kersauson and Geronimo) and

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* This morning, Le Defi Areva had quite a special appointment on the Hauraki Gulf. At ten o'clock, at the third mark of the 'blue' course (one of the courses to be used in the Louis Vuitton Cup), Le Defi met with the British GBR Challenge for some 'friendly' races.

The French and the British ran three races, in which FRA 79 displayed an advantage in the first, but the British turned the tables by winning the second and third.

This result, not favouring either side dominantly, does not display the true potential of Le Defi. "The crew work and boat handling was impeccable," noted Pierre Mas, Le Defi's sporting director. "All the starts were excellent. The outlook is promising, especially with regard to FRA 79, a boat which has sailed only six days - two in Lorient and four in Auckland."

Tomorrow, Le Defi's sparring partner will be Victory Challenge, still with FRA 79 while FRA 69 awaits completion in the boatyard.

Source : Le Defi Areva translated by Matt Willis on

* To skirt or not to skirt is something all America's Cup syndicates have to decide when determining how far they will go to protect their design secrets.

Of the nine challengers this time, all but three are skirting their boats while taking them to and from the water.

Team Dennis Conner, Le Defi Areva and Mascalzone Latino are baring all, but the cup defenders, Team New Zealand, have taken skirting to a new level, opting to keep their new boat covered all the way out to the Hauraki Gulf.

Prada skipper Francesco de Angelis said it was worth trying to protect the huge amount of work which had been done on the appendages of the yachts.

"Each team choose whether or not to protect the research and development carried out over the past two years by using heavy skirts," he said.

Team Dennis Conner helmsman Ken Read would ban them if he could.

"The cup will survive by getting more of the public involved," Read said. "Part of the excitement is seeing the boats. Covering them up just doesn't make any sense.

"Our designers have just spent years working on making the fastest boat they know how. If they look at another boat which doesn't have a skirt on it, do you think all of a sudden they are going to say, 'Oh, that's got to be right and ours has got to be wrong and we have got to change it'?" -- New Zealand Herald:

* Team New Zealand has announced a spectacular line-up of some of New Zealand's finest talent and top international acts to perform at the heart of the American Express Viaduct Harbour during the America's Cup Regatta.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's performance of the Lord of the Rings Suite, accompanied by images from Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Rings, will begin a series of fifteen open-air concerts in the Amex Viaduct Harbour on December 7th 2002. The concerts form part of Summer Festival 2003 and will run until March 2003. Nine of the fifteen acts have been confirmed by the producers of Summer Festival 2003. In addition to two performances from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the festival will include performances from Australia's current chart-topping Little River Band.

The Auckland Philharmonia's 'Not A Silent Night' will provide families with a uniquely New Zealand Christmas concert. Internationally acclaimed vocalist, Hinewehi Mohi, accompanied by Waihirere, New Zealand's 2002 National Kapa Haka Champions, will take the stage in January with the spell-binding 'Maui'.

Tickets to the fifteen evening events will be available for purchase from October 1 2002 through Ticketek.


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

* From Robert Johnstone: Regarding who tastes new and improved dog food: In my former corporate life I had the dubious distinction of being Product Group Manager for Ken-L Ration dog food and Puss'n Boots cat food for the Quaker Oats Company and the man who brought you Ken-L Ration Cheese Burgers. It was among the top 5 grocery products when introduced and took us past Gainesburgers as the market share leader.

Although, they'd already anthropomorphized the category with Ken-L Burgers, management didn't believe that dogs loved cheese. I had to run consumer research to prove that 55% of  dog-owning Americans knew this. People knew that cheeseburgers tasted better and we did taste those cheese bits. I dreaded Fridays. That's the day when the pet food research and kennels people showed up at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago with their latest canine offerings. We did our sniffing and took an occasional bite. But, one of the purposes of the kennels was to evaluate dog reaction to new dishes put before them. If the reaction of these dogs was good based upon the enthusiasm with which the dog attacked the food, frequency of tail wags, etc., then the product would be sent out to a panel of up to 1000 real homes to verify the results before the "new, improved taste" went on the label.

* From Russ Wallace: In "The Leathernecks Com Through", by W. Wyeth Willard: "Scuttlebutt" was another word for gossip. It originated on board ship in the days when men gathered around the water barrel to swap the latest news. According to the dictionary, a "scuttle-but is a cask having an opening in its sides or top to hold water for daily use". It became a commonplace word among both navy men and marines.

When the book was published, the South Pacific was a "far away place" to most of us in the States. All the America's Cup activity in Australia and NZ plus your daily news has changed all that--most markedly. Communications can be wonderful!

* From Shawn Bennett (edited to our 250 word limit): I grew up sailing out of ABYC and sailed in various classes for almost 20 years. I believe and often say that Long Beach has some of the best consistent sailing conditions of anywhere I have sailed. Please realize my comments were meant in relative terms and that almost anywhere is light air relative to San Francisco in the summer.

You could only truly appreciate what I mean by "relative" by spending an August on the bay where it is usually windier by 11am than Long Beach will see all day. Also, I think I speak for many sailors in saying that with wind, more isn't always better, i.e. just because So Cal has less wind doesn't make it a bad place to sail, your example of the A Cup teams liking Long Beach for the consistent direction and speed of the afternoon Sea Breeze for tuning is a good one. Also, I think what makes a good sailing Venue is the balance between consistency and diversity in both speed and direction. I will say though there is something about planning down wind in a 30 knot puff on the San Francisco Bay that is tough to beat.

High performance sailors deserve high performance gear. The great looking Camet Sailing shorts, Coolmax T-shirt , Neoprene Hiking Pants, or the Bubble Top are used by these sailors around the world. The Bubble Top is made by using an advanced technology that compensates you for your hard work, and sweating, by flexing the special designed Neoprene fabric to pump out the vapor. Keeping you dry. This product is now being used by sailors on the America's cup teams. Check them out on

The September issue of the Olympic Sailing Committee's monthly online magazine "Sailing Medallist" is now available at

In the September issue Olympic Director Jonathan Harley reports on the preparations for Athens 2004, and two-time Olympian Morgan Reeser discusses making the transition from college to Olympic sailing.  Also included are reports from the Yngling Worlds, the Europe and 49er Europeans, the Finn Gold Cup, and three major 470 events.

Porto Cervo, Sardinia: The 12th edition of the Swan Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, started today with the Bvlgari Swan 45 Match Race Regatta.

Former World Number One match racer Ed Baird (USA) sailing on Tom Stark's Rush, today defeated Ben Ainslie (GBR) steering Tony Mack's McFly in the one race sailed. Both yachts had high profile guests as Francesco Trapani, CEO of Bvlgari, joined the crew of Rush, and Nautor's Swan Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo on board McFly. The victory, in front of a packed spectator fleet, earned Baird and Stark, previously a partnership at Young America, special Bvlgari Scuba Chrono - ClubSwan Limited Edition watches.

A 27 knot breeze provided challenging conditions for the regatta, with the course set just outside the famous harbour entrance.  Due to the rough conditions, the regatta was limited to a one-race contest.

Tomorrow sees the Bvlgari Race Day, with America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors from throughout the world joining a host of amateur sailors as crews of the 112 yachts for an Island Race. America's Cup legend and winning skipper of the 1997/98 Whitbread Round The World Race Paul Cayard (USA) heads the list of high profile sailors, joining Enrico Scerni's Swan 80 Kora. Leonardo Ferragamo has enlisted the support of one of his Nautor Challenge crew, Steffano Rizzi, on board his Swan 82RS Solleone. Rizzi will be competing against other crewmembers from the Volvo Ocean Race, as Stuart Bettany from the victorious Illbruck team and Jeff Scott (News Corp and Djuce Dragons) are amongst the competitors.

(Editor: The Curmudgeon is at the Swan Cup through next week).

Madison, WI - Mike Darrow of Pewaukee, Wisconsin won the E-Scow Nationals, held September 5-7, 2002 on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin hosted by Mendota Yacht Club and Hoofer Sailing Club. Finishing second was Brian Porter of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and 3rd was Jim Gluek of Pine Lake, Wisconsin.

Seventy E-Scows from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Colorado and Ohio converged for annual championship of this premier 3-4 person racing machine.

The Fleet Championship was won by Minnetonka Yacht Club with best four finishers in each race. Twenty-one fleets were represented, the oldest competitor was Dick Turner 78 (Lake Chautauqua, NY) and the youngest was Richard Ryon, 22 (Little Egg Harbor, NJ).

Full results are available at

There will be no issue tomorrow, September 11. In remembrance of those who were killed one year ago, and to honor those who now serve their country to protect us, please take a moment to read the following, and to remember what the United States of America is all about:

Declaration of Independence:

United States Constitution:

Bill of Rights:

Those that would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety -- Benjamin Franklin