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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1156 - September 13, 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.

Newport RI: They're off. The 13 yachts participating in the Around Alone race are off to New York racing the Newport International Boat Show Prologue Race. At precisely 4pm the Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Almond, fired the start cannon and the yachts crossed the start line off Fort Adams and sailed out of Newport Harbor.

Graham Dalton sailing Hexagon was first to cross the start line and treated a gathering of spectators standing on land to a spectacular site as he sailed within feet of the shoreline. The steep cliffs and manicured lawns dropped sharply into deep water allowing Dalton to scream past at 14 knots. Unfortunately he found a private hole in the wind allowing the other yachts to catch up. Garnier sailed by Patrick de Radigues seized the moment and took the lead, and late in the afternoon when the yachts were a mere silhouette on the horizon, Garnier was still out front.

The forecast is for the wind to settle into the southwest providing headwinds for the boats, an uncomfortable point of sail for these Open designs. Luckily the predicted seas left over from Hurricane Gustav have settled down and dinner on board might be a reasonable affair. It's certain that the night is going to be a spectacular one for all the sailors.

The first boats are expected to cross the finish line off lower Manhattan by noon tomorrow with the prize giving in New York slated for tomorrow evening. -- Brian Hancock

The official start of Around Alone from NY Harbor is on Sunday.

BP Explorer:
Spirits are flying high after our extreme adventure with Hurricane Gustav.The facts are: Max sustained wind speed: 78knots of true wind, Average wind speed 55-65 knots of true wind, 40-45ft seas,pressure: 968mb.length of time in storm:approx 10hrs.sails up: Try sail + storm staysail.

Supper last night was a somber affair before we got ready for the storm. A storm watch was drawn up by Alfie consisting of 3 on, 3 off and the rest of the crew retired to their bunks and lashed themselves in. At first we could see in the dying light the hurricane approaching and the wind slowly started to build. Suddenly it was upon us like an express train.The wind went from 30 to 50knts in a matter of minutes and within 15 mins a huge sea was running.The wind howled thru the rig like a living animal while BP explorer was constantly lashed by huge waves breaking and smashing across the yacht. For the first couple of hours we ran SW trying to keep the wind on our beam as the hurricane intensified as the centre moved closer to us( approx 120 nm away). I had never seen anything like it.

The yacht was knocked down but came right back up again. DJan, Patrick, Mike and Keith all were completely underwater at some time and myself was physically knocked over at least 6 times behind the helm, once only being held by my lifeline- a good lesson to have reinforced. Dawn broke to see the system moving away and the stars came out to reveal a fantastic sky.

Spirit of Hong Kong:
What a night! We've all had some wild rides in our time, but last night she was something else! Despite leaving our ideal course towards the next way point to head West away from the storm, we managed to end up right smack in the eye of Hurricane Gustav with winds gusting to 74 knots (over 130 kph!). Fortunately we escaped unscathed, just a little damp and tired, and are back on course for the finish some time tomorrow afternoon.

Hyannis, MA: A strong cold front moved through the northeast United States Wednesday bringing cool temperatures and wind up to 50 knots throughout the region. Fortunately, the Laser World Championships hosted by the Hyannis Yacht Club on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, did not begin official racing until Thursday. 131 sailors representing 44 countries were greeted by 20 knot north winds this morning for the first day of competition.

This is the first opportunity for Laser sailors to qualify their countries for the fourteen berths available at this championship for the 2004 Olympics. The format for the seven-day event is for four days of qualifying races, followed by a finals series of a further six races over three days. Today the sailors were split into two fleets.

Winds moderated as racing began; two races were sailed today in 10 to 15 knots winds. After the finish of the second group the breeze dropped to below the five knot minimum wind speed limit and became unstable. The Race Committee waited for two hours, hoping for an improvement in conditions before sending the fleet home for an early shower. -- Jeff Martin

Top six overall (three from each fleet) after today's racing:

Place - Skipper - Nation
1. Maciej Brabowski, POL
1. Gareth Blanckenberg, RSA
2. Edward Wright, GBR
2. Benjamin Richardson, USA
3. Brendan Casey, AUS
3. Michael Kalin, CAN

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

* From Frank Betz: Bob Johnstone's letter about his days marketing dog food may be the first response ever to a Curmudgeon's Observation. All your 15,000 readers may not know the rest of the story. Back around 1972 the world "little noted and failed to remember" that Bob nosed me out (probably by 100 boatlengths), to be named VP Marketing at AMF Alcort to work for some of the most myopic corporate leaders of all time. I nursed my wounded pride, rationalizing it was just manifest stupidity on the part of the senior management of AMF to have passed me over, but Bob modestly omits the best part of the story after his post-dog food tasting career.

Shortly after assuming his new role with the company that had acquired Alcort, manufacturer at the time of the ubiquitous Sunfish, he presented his senior management with the concept of an interesting new 24 foot one-design boat he and his brother had conjured up, and offered them full rights to build and market it. But his corporate superiors there had only recently acquired the rights to build and market two established Canadian designs, the Paceship 23' and 26", so they dismissed Bob's offer (with extreme prejudice) as an absurdly expensive and unnecessary addition to their product mix. So Bob wandered off into the sunset up to Everett Pearson's shed, where the J-24 went into production and J Boats became arguably one of the most successful companies in the history of the marine industry. (Sure beats eating dog food in your old age, huh?)

* From Dave Culp: Regarding R. C. Keefe's letter about forward rudders on past AC yachts. Hats off to Tom Blackaller, but the concept did make it into the AC class, 10 years ago. NZL 20, built for the '92 Cup, had a "fork keel" incorporating 2 tandem keels, both rotating, and no rudder at all. The ballast bulb was suspended between the two keels. Looking at the boat up close, it's apparent that the forward keel performs much as a forward rudder would.

According to her present owners she was, "Considered by most as a faster boat than Il Moro 5, she lost in the Louis Vuitton Finals to a very well funded Italian team led by Paul Cayard." --per IACCSF's website.

Photos of her, including keels, are at:

Interesting that this concept was last fielded... by New Zealand.

* From Cory Friedman: With all the myriad controversies sailing seems to generate, praise, where praise is due, is often overlooked. The Buzzard's Bay Regatta alternates between the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, Mass. and the New Bedford Yacht Club. Anyone who experienced the regatta two years ago undoubtedly found the whole experience challenged to say the least. Realizing it had a problem, Beverly YC turned to Gordon Vineyard to lead a team for a fresh start. Gordon and his team (who all deserve credit, but I'm afraid to try to start listing names and leave someone out) did a spectacular turnaround job and made this year's BBR a model regatta, a much more pleasant experience and a lesson for all. Everything from boat storage to results promptly posted on the Web worked smoothly. They even arranged for sufficient steady wind. We often forget who makes our sport possible. Praise and thanks for Gordon and his team are definitely due.

* From Stephen Apostolacus: Not getting OLN? Get a dish! You'll never get a Cable company to carry it by the time racing starts. Just be sure when you call to cancel the cable you tell them why. Now how do we get Speedvision to carry the Aussie 18's again?

* From Neril Small: ATT does provide both digital and analog cable service in the Marina Del Rey area. OLN is available on digital channel # 128 and is not available on any analog channel that I can determine.

* From D'Arcy Muller: Concerning OLN's very poor coverage of the "Road to the Louis Vuitton Cup" and proposed coverage of the "Louis Vuitton Cup" and "America's Cup" Competitions: Living in San Diego and having RoadRunner Digital Cable, I, too, have had problems with shows not airing when scheduled. I called OLN and was transferred to George Smirnoff's voice mail. To his credit, he returned my call. To my disappointment, he gave me half answers, no answers, and evasions about the programming glitches. FYI: They are only planning on airing live feeds from NZ for two (2) hours every race day. Yet George stated that the bike race in Spain going late was the reason "Road to the Louis Vuitton" was not shown. He wouldn't answer when asked if they would offer the same coverage should Louis Vuitton racing go over the time limit.

Perhaps other Scuttlebutters will have better luck getting answers and results? If enough people call and complain, OLN may take this more seriously. I'm concerned that their purported coverage of the races will be handled the same way.

* From George Smirnoff: I just wanted to take a moment to apologize on behalf of OLN for any inconveniences our recent scheduling changes have made. As most of you have realized by now, OLN has made some changes to the September schedule which have affected some of our sailing programming, particularly Road to the Louis Vuitton Cup. These late changes were made to accommodate certain obligations we had made and in no way reflects any lack of prioritization we give to sailing and the sailing community. We are well aware of the conflicts these late changes can create, and any long-time viewer of the network will understand such changes happen very infrequently, as we do everything we can to either prevent them from happening or to alert our viewers as to the change. This month has been an exception to that rule.

The good news is that our daily coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup beginning 9/30 is live, so the schedule will be the same each day as dictated by the races themselves. You can always view our schedule on our website at We are placing the highest priority on our coverage of this series and believe the significance of the races will be reflected in our broadcasts.

We always welcome your comments and suggestions to, and thank you for your patience and understanding.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On that note, this thread is officially closed.

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In 2003, Mount Gay Rum turns 300. A favorite of sailors for nearly as many years, Mount Gay also sponsors over 150 regattas worldwide each year. At any sailors' bar you'll see the famed red Mount Gay hats, always embroidered with an event name and only available to skippers and crews.

Many people believe that rum was being produced on the Mount Gay Rum Estate from as early as 1663. However, the first surviving written evidence of this is a legal deed dated 20th February 1703.

Some legends have it that Mount Gay became the sailors' drink of choice in the eighteenth century because it proved their sailing skill. As Barbados was the most difficult island from which to return to the European mainland (because of the prevailing winds and ocean currents), sailors had to prove that they had been there. A barrel of Mount Gay Rum was testament to that fact.

At all the events the Mount Gay sponsors this year, registered boats will be entered into a drawing for a sign print by marine artist Jon Mecray. The winners of these limited edition prints will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a trip for two to Barbados.

* Catalina 34 National Race Regatta, September 20-21, Golden Gate YC in San Francisco. --

* Sunfish World Championships, starting October 5 at the Houston Yacht Club, Houston Texas. --

* Sonar North American Championship, September 18 -21, Lake Geneva WI.

* Tornado World Championship, September 21 - 28, Martha's Vineyard, MA,

* Disabled Sailing World Championship, September 22-27, Medemblik, Holland

* Sail for Hope, October 5, Newport Rhode Island.

* U.S. Men's Sailing Championship (Mallory Trophy), September 25, Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (Corona del Mar, CA),

* Mumm 30 Worlds, September 25 - 28, Annapolis MD, (kudos to Sandy Killian for the new Mumm 30 website)

Got this from Martha Henderson (yep, she's related...) today:
"You tout yourself as being 'a digest of yacht racing news of major significance ... with a North American emphasis.' However you omit the achievements of the Canadians and Mexicans on a consistent basis.

The Canadian Team of Jennifer Provan and Nicola Girke placed 19th in the women's fleet at the 470 World's and they deserve a mention since you have listed the US sailors who were 28th and 31st in the same fleet."

I will take this to heart, and pass this along to the Curmudgeon on his return from dreary old Porto Cervo next week.

Late on the night of September 9, our 15,000th subscriber signed up. Privacy considerations prevent me from giving out his name, but he's a 65+ year old former J24 sailor whose sons now campaign his boat. His response was so nice, I've decided to make him one of the 10 finalists for the 4 day, 3 night free stay at the Bitter End Yacht Club this November for the Pro-Am and the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship.

The other nine will be selected at random from our subscriber database (by my 6 year old daughter, so it will be very random and she won't recognize any names...) and will receive a notification in the next few days. The BEYC fellows will draw the 10 names out of a hat the evening of October 11 at the BEYC party at the Annapolis Boat Show, we'll announce the winner on Monday October 14. Thanks to one and all. Onwards to 20,000!

An intellectual carrot! The mind boggles! - The reporter from the film THE THING (1951)