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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1158 - September 17, 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.

New York, NY: After a picture perfect send off from New York, the fleet faced a wet night sailing along the coast of Long Island with a strong southerly wind blowing on their starboard beam. Speeds were up and the spray flying as the skippers settled into a routine that will become a way of life for the next two weeks. Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm and New Zealander Graham Dalton set the early pace at the head of the fleet as they navigated the tricky waters south of Nantucket Island. Dawn found them off Cape Cod, and by early afternoon they had cleared land and were out in the Atlantic. Speeds have been excellent with most of the 60s averaging well into the mid teens, but as the weather gradually improved during the day the wind started to ease. By early evening there were breaks in the clouds and a cool night lay ahead.

The second night at sea will be much the same as the first, however with less shipping to watch out for and the fact that the boats are free of land should make it a more pleasant sail. It will be interesting to see how long Hexagon and Bobst Group keep up their ding-dong battle at the front of the pack, and if Thierry Dubois on Solidaires, who holds a more northerly position, is able to make some gains. -- Brian Hancock

Positions at 2354 GMT Monday
Class 1 - Open 60s
1. Bobst Group, Bernard Stamm, 2604 nm to finish of leg one
2. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 2606
3. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 2627
4. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 2644
5. Garnier, Patrick de Radigues, 2662
6. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 2672
7. Pindar, Emma Richards, 2674

Class 2 - 50s and 40s
1. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 2705
2. Bayer Ascenzia, John Dennis, 2747
3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 2754
4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 2771
5. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent 2822
5. Spirit of Yukoh - No Poll

Hyannis, MA: It was tough sailing for the first race of the final series at the Laser World Championship being sailed from Hyannis Yacht Club on Cape Cod. The forecast winds of 10 to 15 knots turned into 25 knots plus with rain showers affecting visability. After a short delay waiting for a gap in the rain showers the gold fleet got away first time.

The wind dropped to 20 knots for race two.

With four races remaining Scheidt holds an eight point lead over Casey after nine races. If one more race is completed a second discard comes into play which can still affect the overall positions especially if the forecast light winds for the next two days are correct.

Top five, Gold Fleet:
1. Robert Scheidt, BRA, 19 points
2. Brendan Casey, AUS, 27
3. Karl Suneson, SWE, 32
4. Fredrik Westman, FIN, 39
5. Edward Wright, GBR, 40

Top US Sailor: Andrew Lewis, 28th, 145 points
Top Canadian Sailor: Bernard Luttmer, 19th, 109 points

Attending regattas around the world, it is very obvious that the sailors have one thing in common, boat after boat is seen with crews wearing the Camet sailing shorts. Now available in two designs the Camet 3000 shorts and the Camet Cargo shorts.

Different design, same quality, comfort, fast drying and made in the USA. When you go to the Camet web page to check them out, don't forget to order one of the Mylar bags, to carry your gear down to the boat.

* Double Olympic medallist Luc Pillot was named skipper of the French America's Cup team Le Defi Areva last night.

Pillot, who won bronze in the 1984 Olympic Games and gold in the 1988 Games in the 470 class, is also the team's tactician.

Two-time world Finn champion Philippe Presti was named as the helmsman and Philippe Mourniac, who was a performance analyst for the 1992 French Challenge, will navigate. -- New Zealand Herald:

* Here is a superb comparison / compilation photo of the current flock of AC Boats, courtesy, we found it on

* A group called "Blackheart" has been set up claiming it is fundraising for Team New Zealand. However, there have been reports the organisation is harassing other syndicates to protest the defection of former Team New Zealand members including sailor Russell Coutts and tactician Brad Butterworth.

Police say no formal investigation is underway but Inspector Mark Hall says police have spoken with members of Blackheart and have been assured the group's purpose is to fundraise for Team New Zealand. Blackheart spokesman Dave Walden admits there will be a bit of ribbing of the defectors on tee-shirts and bumper stickers. --

* Are big budgets overrated? Sitting in a large, stylishly decorated meeting room filled with comfy chairs and a huge boardroom table, Alinghi designer Glyn Davies tries to convince that a fat wallet doesn't necessarily equate to America's Cup success.

Maybe true, but in a sport where space-age technology is crucial to success, it certainly helps.

Backed by Swiss multimillionaire Ernesto Bertarelli and sponsored by multinational heavyweights like UBS, Alinghi's $US55 million budget dwarfs the bank balance of Team New Zealand.

Yet Davies insists big budgets are overrated by the vast majority of New Zealanders.

"We definitely have a big budget but I think something that people have to remember is that it costs twice as much to get anything done as it does in Europe. So, while we have more money we also need more money to achieve the same things.

"It is good in other ways, though, in that you're not always fighting for every last cent, which costs time and effort, but there's a lot of experience in New Zealand in the boat-building and racing industry which gives them a big advantage, so having all this extra money doesn't provide the edge everybody thinks it does." -- Fiona McIlroy, full article at

Boston, MA: Nothing has been easy for the crew of BP Explorer and that included their arrival. The tired crew, which has been motoring towards Boston after withdrawing with a torn main sail, had to circle for two hours just 300 yards from the welcome dock waiting for US Customs to clear them to land.

"We could smell something cooking onshore," said BP's skipper Alex Johnson, "I don't know what it was but it smelled good."

In the midst of leg 1, Challenge Transat Race Headquarters in Southampton diverted the team to search for Team SpirIT with which they had lost communications.

Once they were cleared to return to the race the team was so far behind their only hope was that race officials would later credit them time for their diversion.

But, just days later even that slim hope was dashed when a gust of wind shredded their main sail from end to end - and beyond repair.

With hurricane Gustav bearing down on the team skipper Alex Johnson and his crew decided in the name of safety to retire from the race and motor to Boston. But, even that sensible decision did not spare the team yet more suffering.

The team was hundreds of miles east of the rest of the fleet and right in the path of Gustav. While the boats in front of them would avoid the brunt of the storm, poor BP would enjoy its full fury.

It was 24-hours of slamming and danger before BP Gustav passed followed by days of boring motoring towards Boston.

The final insult was the wait at Boston's gate while bureaucracy was satisfied. -- Stephen Pizzo

Traverse City, MI: The Grand Traverse Y.C. hosted the Melges 24's Nationals in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan September 13th-15th. 29 Boats from around the US & Canada attended the nine race, one throw-out event. Conditions varied on West Bay over the three day event putting a premium on consistency and good boat speed. Tom Freytag sailing "Wicked Feet" with 2002 World Champion Harry Melges as tactician, won the event without having to sail the last race. Local ace Mike Dow and his team on "Flying Toaster" sailed a great event finishing second. Scott Nixon driving Jeff Jones' "Kilroy" finished up in third place.

Top three final places:
1. Wicked Feet, Tom Freytag
2. Flying Toaster, Mike Dow
3. Kilroy, Scott Nixon / Jeff Jones

Complete results at

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

* From Robert Johnstone: re: Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

Not a bad idea. You might follow up with a canary flavored product. But, as your pet food expert:
(1) There's no infrastructure for catching enough mice to supply demand, so the cost is likely to be prohibitive. The cat owner may feel that their cat gets enough of a 4-legged diet as it is.
(2) Animal rights advocates might create too much negative publicity surrounding the brand about the plan to grind up all those cute furry creatures. Remember the problem with using horsemeat from plains ponies in canned dog food?

Of course, a very creative olfactory research lab might be able to produce a synthetic, mouse flavored product (they came up with musk aftershaves and perfumes, after all) to solve both the above problems. But then we're back to square one as to who's going to do the tasting.

If you're trying to get me excited about starting up a pet food company. Forget it. I'm sticking to boats.

* From Ralph Taylor: Re: "*The Cup's 2003 logo is being stuck onto the side of [Auckland's] Sky Tower. Understandably it is a rather complicated and painful process attaching a 2.5km long adhesive vinyl logo onto the tower some 53 stories high."

I'm having a hard time picturing how 2,500 meters (about 1.5 miles) of logo fits on a 53-story building, which can't be much more than 550 feet tall, about 167 meters.

Have they perhaps cut the logo into little strips, whose lengths all added together total 2.5 kilometers? Or, does New Zealand have a unique form of math? Or, does the process involve multiple wrappings?

* From Mike Nash: In Monday's Scuttlebutt Rich Roberts pointed out that the Del Rey to PV is the longest of the So Cal to Mexico races. Unfortunately he must have forgotten about the inaugural Isla Navidad Race that is being sailed this fall. The race renews a long tradition of running distance races from California to Mexico for the host clubs Newport Harbor Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club. Starting in Long Beach and finishing in Barra de Navidad this race is 1,175 nautical miles making it the longest of the California to Mexico races.

Entries close at the end of September but the list of boats already entered is impressive. West Coast record setters Doug Baker's Magnitude and Roy Disney's Pyewacket who along with Phillipe Kahn's Pegasus 77 and Bob Lane's Medicine Man will be battling in Class A for corrected honors, while Bob McNeil's new 86 footer Zephyrus V is expected to take line honors. More information can be found at

Founded in 1931 and currently active in 11 European countries, the Snipe Class has continually produced top ranked sailors all over the world, including recent Star Worlds leaders Torben Grael (2nd), Rick Merriman (5th), Mark Reynolds (9th), and George Szabo (13th). Along with the serious racing, the Snipe Class is also well known for serious fun. The Snipe Class World Masters (October 20-24) and Women's Worlds (October 15-19) will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Charter boats and hotels are still available. Check the official website for all of the details:

The Annapolis Yacht Club hosted the J/22 East Coast Championship, with 52 boats, in southerly winds of 15 - 20 knots on lumpy seas on the Chesapeake Bay. After seven races with one throw-out, Last year's J/22 North American Champion, Greg Fisher, won the regatta with finishes of 3-1-(11)-1-2-3-1 for a score of 11. Sailing with Fisher were Keven and Jeff Eiber and JoAnne Jones. Second were Ray and Jenn Wulff with 14 points, Nancy Haberland was 3rd with 23 points and Peter McChesney was 4th with 26 pts. Full results are at

Sydney, Australia: Police divers from Sydney have been sent to search the overturned hull of the capsized yacht Excalibur off the mid-north coast as part of a large air and sea search for three missing sailors.

Owned by Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron's Vice Commodore Alan Saunders, the 15.2 metre (50 feet) racing boat was sailing south, after Hamilton Island Race in Queensland's Whitsundays when the boat lost its keel and the delivery crew of six abandoned the yacht late last night.

One of the crew set off a personal EPIRB which suggests that the keel may have separated from the boat, causing it to turn upside down even before the crew had time to set off the boats larger 406 EPIRB.

The crew of a Swiss merchant ship diverted to the area in response to the EPIRB alarm rescued two men from the boats 10 man life-raft when a search aircraft spotted a strobe light late last night.

A massive search with six helicopters was launched for the remaining two men and two women, thought to be in the water in life jackets, this morning.

The body of a fourth person was pulled from the water near the upturned orange and blue yacht at about 8:30am AEST but at this stage it is unknown if it's a male or female.

The newly launched Excalibur had competed in the Sydney to Southport race, the Mooloolaba to Airlie Beach race, the Hogs Breath regatta at Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island race week. She was on a routine delivery voyage back to Melbourne. -- Rob Kothe,

The Canadian Yachting Association is seeking an independent and service minded individual to provide administrative support to the Canadian Sailing Team and the domestic racing programs. The application deadline is 27 September 2002 and for more details go to:

* Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America: Last night I sailed into a large rain squall that sucked much of the wind away for a few hours and cost me some mileage.

It was interesting because I had Solidaires and Tiscali in sight and then the rain squall hit me. The next thing I knew the Class I boats were way out in front. It is interesting that a couple of miles can cost so much.

It looks as if I am in the lead of class II at the moment, which is a nice place to be, although it is really only important to lead at the finish of the leg. A confident start and the leading position only means that everyone will be gunning for me so I will remain conservative for the moment.

* Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet: It has been more than 24 hours since the start of Leg One from New York. The start was very intense since I was very nervous, and we all had to maneuver in very close quarters in the harbor. I did a very conservative start with the mainsail alone just to leeward of the bulk of the fleet and waited a few tacks for things to open up before unrolling the jib. After that, OP and I did well and slowly moved up to the front of the fleet! In fact, in the light air just outside the shipping channel we passed Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group to be in first for a little while.

Ocean Planet is really good in light air, so I had an advantage. Where we are not so hot (yet) is on a windy reach, so when the predicted southwesterly wind came up Bobst and Graham Dalton on Hexagon came steaming by and slowly pulled away. This morning they were pretty far in front of me (the three of us are staying a bit further south than the others in the fleet), but I'm not pushing that hard as there is a LONG way to go...

* J/105 North American Championship, Chicago YC, Sept. 19 -22.

* Ideal 18 North American Championship, Stamford YC, Sept. 28 - 29,

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?