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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1168 - October 1, 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.

In a nail biting clash of old, Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes crew have come out on top with a 20 second win over GBR Challenge in their first race on Tuesday. Although Team Dennis Conner will be happy to come away with the win they may need to step up their game when they foot it against defending champions Prada on Wednesday.

The race, their first against another ACC yacht since July, showed just how close the challenger field will be, with both boats fighting from the onset. But it was the narrow American boat which won the start and then kept the starboard advantage up the first beat, rounding the top mark 11 seconds ahead. Unlike the last Louis Vuitton series in Auckland the crews can't afford to lose any of their first round robin races as they push for the advantage of qualifying in the top four.

* In the other matches on Tuesday, Swiss favourites Alinghi have lived up to their reputation as favourites with a four minute 48 second thumping of Le Defi Areva on Tuesday. After a fairly even start the Swiss took control of the match and the inexperienced French were forced to trail SUI64 around the course.

It was a bad day for both Italian syndicates with defending champions Prada losing by 42 seconds to Oracle BMW Racing and the underdogs Mascalzone Latino crossing the finish line a dismal five minutes 43 seconds behind OneWorld. - Fiona McIlroy, website, full story:

October 1 - The (Auckland) forecast predicts cool, unstable southwesterly winds ranging from 15 to 20 knots and occasional showers - a pattern which is expected to continue throughout October and November. The rules of the challenger series state that no race will be started in less than seven knots or more than 19, and that racing will not continue if it is consistently blowing more than 23 knots. To cater for the changeable Auckland weather, reserve days have been slotted in throughout the regatta and will be used if racing cannot go ahead on a particular day.

* Oracle BMW Racing's meteorologist, Bob Rice, says the only thing it is safe to assume is that "there will be the usual mix of Auckland weather and race days will be lost through too much wind." He said that as we get into summer there should be lighter-air days. "But I don't think it will stray too much from the normal."

OneWorld meteorologist Ken Campbell says all indications point towards an El Nino weather pattern. El Nino is a natural feature of the global climate system. Elements of an El Nino weather pattern include high-frequency south-west winds and small seas. He predicts that October will continue to be showery, with frequent cold fronts and strong winds. Then he hopes that a warmer summer will follow.

Rice says forecasters have a rough idea about what is coming two to three days ahead, but anything more means they are guessing. "Long-range forecasts don't work. -Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

The US Sailing Racing Rules Committee invites you to a brainstorming session on Friday, October 18th from 4 - 6 PM, during US Sailing's Annual Meeting at the Marina Beach Marriott Hotel (4100 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA).

Today's rules governing protests and protest hearings are basically the same as they were over 100 years ago! The Racing Rules Committee is considering proposing that a new appendix be added to the 2005 rulebook. The appendix would contain optional sailing instructions to enable regatta organizers to use alternatives to the current protest and hearing rules. The committee's goal is to increase the fun of our sport by eliminating or shortening the dreaded post-race protest hearings that often spoil the party and delay award giving. Several options are under consideration including protest hearings with strict time limits on testimony (so called "six-minute justice"), reduction in the 720o Turns Penalty to encourage the taking of penalties on the water, ways to streamline traditional hearings (such as arbitration or mediation), on-the-water hearings, hearings without a protest committee, and hearings open to observers.

The committee is seeking ideas about alternatives to the current protest and hearing rules that clubs and fleets have tried and found to work well. If you have any ideas on these topics or any experience with alternative protest or hearing procedures, please come to this brainstorming session and share your ideas with the Racing Rules Committee. Everyone who attends will have a chance to voice his or her ideas and opinions and join in the discussion. - Dick Rose, Chair, USSA Racing Rules Committee

The key to enhance your sailing enjoyment is the right gear, check out the Camet web site for new ideas. The Camet Sailing Pants, as comfortable and practical as the shorts, can also be used with the foam pads. The Camet line of Neoprene Hiking pants, have new reinforced pads, and battens, combine these with the Bubble Top which creates and maintains a comfortable microclimate close to your skin surface, could make all the difference for your sailing comfort.

* Greenpeace activists in kayaks protested nuclear company Areva's involvement in the America's Cup as DefiAreva left the Viaduct Basin today. Twelve kayaks created a 'guard of shame' and flew banners saying "Keep the cup nuclear-free' as the French boat left the entrance of the Viaduct Basin to compete in first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup. "The arrogance of such a dangerous and dirty industry thinking that they can come to nuclear free New Zealand and use this event to promote their business can not go unchallenged," said Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace spokesperson.

* Though the nine challengers and the Team New Zealand defenders shroud their hulls in elaborate skirts, apart from France's Defi Areva and Team Dennis Conner, there are persistent rumours that GBR 78 is one of several boats with something more radical than a conventional fin keel/ballast bulb and aft rudder. Mast position or mast rake is often a good hint at a fundamentally different set of appendages because it trims the boat differently. It also means an entirely new set of problems to solve in terms of steering balance. GBR 78 remains ashore at present, the question as to whether the boat will be used later in the trials unanswered. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story:

* The OneWorld Challenge for the America's Cup announced today that they have joined forces with the non-profit conservation organization Oceanic Society, in an effort to raise the world's awareness about the issues of concern to both organizations. The Oceanic Society's primary endeavor is to protect marine wildlife worldwide. OneWorld is partnering with leading environmental outreach and advocacy groups to provide OneWorld spectators with information critical to environmental health, and to promote the fine organizations that are doing this great work which benefits us all.

(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be edited for clarity or space - 250 words max. This is not a chat room or a bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if others disagree.)

* From Michelle Master Orr: The following is an excerpt I wrote to OLN. If you were unhappy with the level of coverage, please join me in emailing them: Please improve your coverage, I am watching the first race and you didn't even broadcast the first mark rounding, one of the most exciting parts. Please lay off the mike a little and let us hear the tacticians on the boat. Also, why cut to the boring studio before commercial, just do voice over so we can see more racing!

* From Sue McCausland: I need to vent and you were the only one I could think of to vent to. I was watching OLN's coverage of the LVC last night and was most distressed that they failed to mention the other three races going on at the same time as the featured race ... some of us are interested in other teams! Also, I have signed on for the Virtual Spectator and spent the entire evening trying to get it to work ... to no avail. Am I the only one having problems?

* From Gary Wood: Is it just me, or is everyone having trouble with Virtual Spectator? I logged on, paid my $25 by Visa, and was ready to see how One World was doing. All I get is that damn poorly-drawn trawler bobbing up and down, and the local time in NZ. "Internal Pocket Errors" "Re-synching with Server", "Failure to get Pocket Control".

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: You are not alone. I used VS extensively during the 1999-2000 Cup Series, and loved it. However, based on what happened (or more correctly, did not happen) during the first series of races, it's pretty obvious that this year's version of VS is not yet ready for prime time. I suspect none of the VS technical people will be getting any sleep tonight.

There also seem to be some teething problems at the official Louis Vuitton Cup website. It took several hours after the racing ended before they posted the results. The website and chat rooms on website proved to be much faster sources for race results.

* From Doug Schickler: In 'Butt 1167, Steve Schupak countered the sailing press's description of "unproven" twin rudders in the America's Cup with the Schock 40. The proven technology of the Canting Ballast Twin Foil (CBTF) system is not overlooked by the AC world. Without the CB half of the equation, it simply hasn't been successful in defending or challenging - and not for lack of trying. Without getting that ballast to windward, it may not be worth the wetted surface penalty for AC boats.

* From Ralph Taylor: I see that Scuttlebutt's article on the New York Times replacing its sailing writer was quoted in e-US Sailing #95, September 27, 2002. I don't read the New York Times or have an opinion on the underlying issue, but does anyone else wonder whether it's appropriate for the national governing body of sailing to involve itself in an employment /contract dispute? What happened to freedom and independence of the press? Politicians don't get to choose the reporters who cover their campaigns. Some of those stories are decidedly critical.

Hypothizing here: It seems just possible that the Times decided as a matter of journalistic objectivity to cover sailing in a different way than in the past. (They're not saying, as most employers don't in these cases.) This could also explain the "my ox is gored" reaction from so many. If the replacement of one writer is so detrimental to the sport, it's in a sorrier state than I thought.

Following is a list that was published in the New Zealand Herald of those who left Team New Zealand to sail with other AC syndicates:

ALINGHI: Brad Butterworth, Russell Coutts, Simon Daubney, Murray Jones, Warwick Fleury, Dean Phipps, Andrew Witherspoon.

ONEWORLD: Laurie Davidson, Richard Dodson, Richard Karn, Matthew Mason, Ian Mitchell, Craig Monk, Jeremy Scantlebury, Kevin Shoebridge, Wayne Smith, Andrew Taylor, Peter Waymouth, Neil Wilkinson. (Sean Reeves has now left.)

ORACLE: Mickey Ickert, Philip Jameson, Chay McIntosh, Robbie Naismith, Bob Rice, Mark Turner.

Foreign nationals on Team New Zealand:

Adam Beashal, Roger Badham and Ben Fletcher (Australia); Clay Oliver (US-born); Betrand Pace (France); Andy Claughton (Great Britain); Christopher Miller (US).

Source: From a story in the NZ Herald by Helen Tunnah and Catherine Masters,

Capture the spirit of America's Cup 2003 from the comfort of your home or office with official America's Cup product from the online America's Cup Store. Currently selling clothing ranges for Americas Cup 2003, Team New Zealand, Alinghi, and GBR Challenge. Additional Challenger ranges are coming soon. See also the stylish America's Cup Gold & Silverware including replica America's Cups. Perfect for gifts, promotions, and staff rewards. Worldwide delivery is guaranteed at very low freight rates.

A year after the start of the Volvo Ocean Race in Southampton, England, Assa Abloy, whose boat of the same name finished second, announced the results of their final employee survey. The Global manager and employee survey, that was carried out by the international research company Opticom, showed that 14,250 employees during the year had increased their knowledge about Assa Abloy 's mission, priorities and ways of working. 18,250 employees feel very proud of belonging to the Assa Abloy Group. In total the survey included 70 companies in the Group.

Assa Abloy 's brand exposure during The Volvo Ocean Race is estimated to be 57.1 million US dollars. Assa Abloy was the syndicate that generated the largest quantity of brand exposure on television with 122 hours at a value of 54.5 million US Dollars and over 6000 articles to a value of 2.6 million dollars. In addition, some 3,000 Assa Abloy articles were clipped in countries that were not included in the study, leading to a media exposure valued at more than 60 million US dollars.

" Assa Abloy has participated in The Volvo Ocean Race to integrate more than 100 companies around the world with the ambition to unite all companies under a common vision as well as common values and work ethics. We have managed three to four years of integration work within a nine-month period. The results have exceeded our expectations by far," said Anna Bernsten, Vice President Corporate Communication Assa Abloy and responsible for the integration project. - Lizzie Green,

Veteran Around Alone competitor Brad van Liew sailed his Open 50 TommyHilfiger American Freedom across the finish line off Torbay at 08:42:49 UTC Monday morning in first place in Division 2. Van Liew's closest competitor, Spirit of Canada, was just over 500 miles from the finish line. Bruce Schwab, the sole entry yet to finish in Division 1, is slowly inching his way towards Torbay with his wounded Open 60 Ocean Planet, which suffered a broken boom on September 21. -

Due to a variety of reasons, delays besieged the 1999-2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. From not enough wind to too much wind, from broken boats to requests for postponements, 11 of the 48 scheduled days of racing were lost. Some of those days were lost due to boats being repaired after collisions on the racecourse or major structural failures.

A bigger problem in the regatta was each team's right to request a postponement during the pre-start. This provision was written into the Notice of Race and Conditions due to the delicate nature of an America's Cup Class yacht. "There were 40 odd breakdowns that impacted races in 1999-2000," said Peter Gilmour, the former skipper of Nippon Challenge and current skipper of OneWorld. "These are custom built, custom designed boats. To reduce breakdowns by one is great."

Although teams didn't have to explain why they were requesting the delay, typically it resulted from a gear failure. Countless hours of racing were lost due to broken halyards, winches, hydraulics and sails, to name a few maladies.

* The right to request a postponement has been written into the Conditions and Notice of Race for Louis Vuitton Cup 2002-2003. It is, however, more stringent. According to Condition 14.2(b), each team's racing yacht is entitled to one postponement for a period of up to 45 minutes in each of the first two round robins. The request must be made before a yacht's 10-minute warning signal and no later. The yacht isn't required to give any reason for the requested postponement.

If a team requests a postponement and does not use the full 45 minutes it may not carry over the unused time to another day or round. Condition 14.2(b) also states: During the Quarterfinals, the Quarterfinals Repechage, the Semifinals, the Semifinals Repechage, and the Finals, if a yacht is disabled through fault of her own, including a defect in her hull, sails, rigging or gear, or the handling thereof, there shall be no postponement.

There was no such postponement provision in the 30thAmerica's Cup Match and no provision is made for the 31st Match. - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

* October 4-6: U.S. Sailing Association's Offshore Championship Regatta, Long Beach YC. Crews from the ten U.S. Sailing areas, plus a team of Naval Academy midshipmen.

Hyannis, Cape Cod, USA - The 2002 Laser World Masters Championship at closed with the strongest winds of the championship and for the first time, sunshine. At mid morning it was blowing 27 knots gusting to 30 and the front had clearly stalled although it could be seen on the horizon. The fleet were held on shore for an hour pending the passing of the front and then the Race Committee decided race only the youngest two groups (Apprentices and Masters). Class winners include - Masters: Ed Adams, USA; Grand Masters: Keith Wilkins, GBR; Apprentice: Andreas John, GER.

St. Francis YC, San Francisco, CA - Tom Freytag won the Audi sponsored US Melges 24 Gold Cup with a race to spare just as he had the Melges 24 US Nationals only a few weeks ago. Having won the seventh race of the regatta Freytag was able to return to the dock and leave his rivals battling it out in the final race as he packed up early ready for the long drive back to Wisconsin. Final results: 1. Wicked Feet, Tom Freytag, 11; 2. Full Throttle, Brian Porter, 19; 3. Star, Seadon Wijsen, 29; 4. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn / Mark Reynolds, 36; 5. Monsoon, Bruce Ayres, 50.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.