Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1172 - October 7, 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.

Approaching the halfway point of the opening round of the Louis Vuitton Cup, a ranking order is beginning to emerge - although observers caution there is still plenty of opportunity for fortunes to change.

Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts said he was surprised at some of the performance gaps that had been revealed in the opening stages of the regatta. But, he warned against reading too much into the early results. "The conditions have been very shifty and that tends to favour the boat that gets in front," he said. With more stable wind conditions, the racing was likely to be much closer.

Early results are suggesting the three top teams to be Oracle BMW Racing, OneWorld Challenge and the Swiss Alinghi syndicate. A mighty battle looks set to be waged between Team Dennis Conner and the Swedish Victory Challenge group for the fourth place. - Ivor Wilkins, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

* Three teams have established themselves as almost certain to move into the top four of the two rounds robin, OneWorld, Alinghi and Oracle -BMW Racing, while two defeats for Team Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes drops them back into potential contender for the fourth slot along with the Swedish Victory Challenge, Britain's Wight Lightning, and Prada's Luna Rossa.

It's the relative failure of the strife-torn Prada, following syndicate head Patrizio Bertelli's sacking of Design Chief, Doug Peterson, that brings the 2002/3 Louis Vuitton Cup into its true perspective. Luna Rossa's victory in 2000 is nothing more than a mere memory. - Bob Fisher, Sailing World website, full story:

The Hauraki Gulf served up a second consecutive day of ideal racing conditions on Saturday, Race Day Three of the Louis Vuitton Cup, with strong 16-22 knot Southerlies whipping up the seas. Sweden's Victory Challenge was forced to wait for three days before getting its first taste of action yesterday, but has quickly established itself as a force, today handing Team Dennis Conner its first loss by 33 seconds. Struggling for the second day in a row with spinnaker problems is Le Défi Areva. Today the Défi fell to Louis Vuitton Cup defender Prada Challenge, who earned its first point of the competition with their.

Results of the other races
- OneWorld beat GBR by 3m22s
- Alinghi beat Masvslzone by 7m8s

Racing was delayed for nearly four hours with light, shifty conditions plaguing the sailors on the Hauraki Gulf. Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio and his crew waited for predicted strong southerlies to reach the race area, and their patience was rewarded just minutes before the 16:00 time limit for starting racing.

Wight Lightning (GBR-70) skippered by Ian Walker, was over two minutes late into the start box following a problem changing mainsails. The lower batten was not installed in time and GBR-70 sailed the whole race with this handicap. Andy Green at the helm of Wight Lightning managed to start at the pin end just two seconds behind. The French held off a British advance to the top mark but were held above the starboard tack layline and the complicated rounding saw the French boat penalized twice. For the rest of the race the pair sailed in close quarters with the French struggling to extend sufficiently to fulfill their penalty obligations on the water without losing the lead. That didn't happen. As the French did their penalty turn the Brits crossed the finish line 13 seconds ahead.

Results of the other races:
- Victory Challenge beat Mascalzone Latino by 35s
- Alinghi beat Prada by 1m32s
- Oracle beat Team Dennis Conner by 1m58s

A postponement for the day on Juliet course meant only two of four matches were completed for Flight Five. The two delayed matches will be sailed at the end of Round Robin One. The race conditions were very difficult for the afterguards, with light, shifty winds, moving from the southeast at the start, to the north by the middle of the race. Shifts of up to 50-degrees on a leg weren't uncommon, and early in the racing, advantage lines moved with alarming frequency

OneWorld Challenge jumped to the top of the leaderboard with its victory over Team Dennis Conner. The Seattle Yacht Club challenger remains undefeated after four matches. Conner's Stars & Stripes dropped its third consecutive match. Equal on four points with OneWorld is Alinghi after a tough match with the GBR Challenge. But the Swiss entry has one loss on its scorecard and has yet to sit out its lay day. - LVC website,

- Alinghi beat GBR Challenge by 4m33s
- OneWorld beat Stars & Stripes by 1m21s
- Oracle BWM vs. Victory Challenge - postponed
- Prada vs. Mascalsone Latino - posponed

4-0 One World Challenge*
3-0 Oracle BMW Racing
3-0 Victory Challenge
4-1 Alinghi
2-3 Stars & Stripes
1-3 GBR Challenge
1-3 Prada
0-4 Le Defi Areva
0-4 Mascalzone Latino
* Note: OneWorld has been penalized one point by ACAP, which will be deducted at the end of Round Robin 2.

- Le Defi vs. Stars & Stripes
- Oracle BMW vs. One World
- Victory vs. Prada
- GBR vs. Mascalzone
- Bye: Alinghi

Do you know how to interpret Polar data? The difference between target speed and polar speed? How to Wally on a short course or adjust Heading based on VMC while distance racing? The OckamU manual covers all this and more in easy to understand terms. Whatever brand of instrument system you use, the OckamU manual is an invaluable resource. The price is $25. To order, please email Tom Davis ( with your name, street address and method of payment. See

* While the Mascalzone Latino team is in Auckland they will drive Maserati cars. The Modena based company has agreed to become Official Car Supplier to the 'all Italian' syndicate and will provide two Spyders and two Coupé models equipped with Cambiocorsa and supplied by the Australian importer.

* Never has a piece of outdoor furniture made such an impact in an America's Cup. It is a unique seat reserved for the 17th man, or principally Peter Harrison, the techno-tycoon who founded this British comeback campaign. He calls it "the cheapest chair in the world's most expensive race." No other boat in the regatta has anything like it. It's a kind of corporate box, without the chardonnay and prawns, and it is a privileged pew. Where else in sport can the owner get such a seat, smack in the middle of the action? - Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

* Team Alinghi, backed by one of the world's richest men, plan court action to recover Auckland City Council rates the syndicate say they have been overcharged. The Swiss team have asked the America's Cup Arbitration Panel for leave to file proceedings in the district court against America's Cup Village Ltd, a subsidiary of Infrastructure Auckland. The syndicate say they have been overcharged $24,847.80 in rates. The syndicate are backed by pharmaceutical billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, who has pumped about $US55 million into his America's Cup campaign. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald,

(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 Beau Vrolyk: I find the discussion about boats designed for "interesting" or "exiting" television viewing amusing, but painfully off the point of what sailing is all about for many of us. I doubt that any one who has raced sailboats all their lives ever spent an afternoon pounding to weather in a Laser or sleeping on the off watch on the weather rail of a two tonner just so they could be on TV some day.

Sailing is one of those wonderful sports in which it is far more enjoyable to participate than it is to spectate. It puts it in the league with Cricket, Baseball, Golf, and Cross Country running. Each of these sports is really about the people who are participating; after all how interesting is it to watch a golfer walk slowly up the course? In participatory sports the events are inclusive, they allow people of all sizes and shapes to compete, thus our various sized boats. In spectator sports it is typical to have only one class of people who are really competitive, the height of a basketball hoop is a typical example, or it's a sport where someone could die, auto racing. I'm hoping that very lack of "interest" to television viewers will allow us to leave the sport I love entirely alone.

* From Dave Few: Wow, what an improvement in OLN coverage between 1st and 2nd races. Looks like they will soon get it about right. The overhead coverage is the most interesting but it is all good. The other races coverage was appreciated and hopefully will become more a part of the format as time goes by. No mark roundings were missed due to commercials.

* From Randy Smith: After just two TV days, I am impressed with OLN's coverage with one exception: Why do they spend 2 hours showing a blowout race with very little action, when they could switch to the match that is the closest? Sounds like the One World vs Alinghi match would have been the best one to watch yesterday.

RESPONSE FROM OLN: We have no control over which race is being shown ... we just relay the feed as given to us by New Zealand. - George Smirnoff, Outdoor Life Network

* From Paul Notary: Hooray - us Aussies got to see Americas Cup yachts on Prime Time news. Our National, free to air Channel 10, presented highlights of yesterday's racing during the Sports Tonight programme. Sure it was only 90 seconds but from little spots, big specials grow !

* From Frank Betz: The new Virtual Spectator service blew me away as I checked out the races in progress on the site! I've never been more uncomfortable on the water than off Newport through 1983 while being bounced around in the miserable chop generated by hundreds of spectator boats vying with each other to give viewers a glimpse of what was happening during AC races (usually with little success.) The Virtual Spectator experience, and its multifaceted information flow, is infinitely superior in every respect to being an onsite observer, lacking only the salt-water spray. The Curmudgeon is 100% on the money in his endorsement of this service.

* From Greg Young, CEO, Virtual Spectator: We would like to thank our subscribers for their patience on the first day of Round Robin One when we experienced technical difficulties with our US based servers. Over the last couple of days we have delivered live Louis Vuitton Cup racing to thousands of yachting fans around the world via the internet. Virtual Spectator is the only way to watch all the races live and we currently have around 100 new subscribers signing up for our 3D viewer every hour. Virtual Spectator looks forward to bringing you live 3D racing throughout the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup's. We appreciate all feedback, so please email any suggestions or improvements to us at

* From Justin McJones: Thank you to Vince Cooke (Scuttlebutt 1171) for so clearly stating why the AC Challengers have an imposed upper wind limit. All the complaining about how "real boats" could race in more wind is just irrelevant. These are specially built boats for a very specific purpose. Take them for what they are.

* From Chris Freeman: There is more to life than money. Everybody seems to be drawn to the big bucks syndicates, but they forget that sometimes these have their consequences (i.e. aristocratic leadership, lack of input, no guarantees, etc.). Maybe next time people will think a little bit before they jump into their next campaign.

Over the weekend, New Zealand moved their clocks forward one hour to go on Summer Time, while much of Europe changed their clocks back to Winter Time. For those of you in the USA, that should mean the LVC races will start an hour earlier. And in two weeks, when the US goes off of Daylight Saving Time, the races will start an additional hour earlier. At that point, clocks in California and Auckland will only differ by three hours (six hours for New York), although Auckland will be a day ahead. (The actual difference between the US West Coast and NZ will be 21 hours.)

Team Dennis Conner's second America's Cup boat USA-77 went for its first sail in Auckland waters on Saturday after being repaired following its sinking off California in July. Spokesman Keith Taylor said the Stars and Stripes boat got "thumbs up on all counts" on its first day back on the water. "Basically the first thing you always do with any new boat, you load it up, load up the winches," he said. USA-77 was out sailing again in yesterday's light conditions as the process of retuning it continued.

USA-77 went down during training in 17m of water near the south entrance to Long Beach Harbour when it suffered a failure in the rudder shaft area, allowing water to flood the hull. None of the 15 crew on board was hurt, but onboard pumps and airbags were unable to keep the boat afloat. It was recovered the next day, and found to have hit the bottom relatively softly, with the bulb and bow appearing to have gone into the mud together. The only significant damage was to the bow.

The damaged boat was shipped to Auckland, and a new bow section built at New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where the two Stars and Stripes boats were constructed. The new bow section was flown to Auckland, the damaged section sawn off and the new one grafted on. Taylor said USA-77 was now "as good or better" than it had been before the sinking. "You always do things a little better when you go back and try it a second time," he said. - NZ Herald, full story:

Order Harken winches online from between now and October 30, 2002 and Harken will send you a check for 15% of the MSRP when you trade in your old winches. You get 25% off Harken prices everyday from PLUS 15% back from Harken while this offer lasts. That's 40% off, which is an incredible deal. Don't miss it! Order now!

The International Jury of the Louis Vuitton Cup has imposed on Team Alinghi a fine of US $10,000. Alinghi retains the point earned for their win against the Italian syndicate, Mascalzone Latino. According to the Jury, the microphones necessary for the transmission of the match were not turned on for the period of six minutes preceding the start until seven minutes after the start of the race. The members of Team Alinghi maintain that the microphnes were turned on as required. - Yachting World website,

* Alinghi helmsman Russell Coutts said on Sunday the Swiss challenger plans to contest the US$10,000 fine imposed for allegedly turning off two on-board television microphones during racing on Saturday. Coutts says the same problem occurred during Sunday's win over Prada and that people have misunderstood what happened with the microphones, believing that he had one, and had not turned it on as required by the race rules.

"I think there was some confusion some people thought I was wearing the microphone, I wasn't. It was Brad and Ernesto who were wearing the microphones yesterday and I was assured they were both turned on, and in fact today they couldn't get our microphones working," Coutts said. "It was some sort of technical problem. They were on the whole time and they couldn't transmit." - nzoom website, full story:,2523,137054-296-297,00.html

In the old days of the America's Cup, people got fired. Helmsmen, designers, you name it. Now apparently everybody has a contract that makes that impossible. Paul Cayard is not sailing on Oracle, but he's locked in, and Peterson, according to Prada head and syndicate boss Patrizio Bertelli, is not exactly fired. He's just not going to be doing his job anymore, because he and Bertelli disagree on how to make IACC boats go fast on the Hauraki Gulf. - Sail magazine website, full story:

Long Beach Yacht Club hosted the US Sailing Offshore Championships for 10 teams from across the country, which competed over three days on Catalina 37s in the Long Beach outer harbor. Claudia Wainer and her team did what it took to win the regatta on the water. But a protest by the US Naval Academy and subsequent disqualification of Ross Ritto's team from San Diego in the final day of racing moved Scott Soonier from Southern Yacht Club into a first place tie with Wainer. Soonier had two first place finishes to Wainer's single bullet, which broke the tie and gave Soonier the title for the second time. He'd previously won the event at the Naval Academy in 1997. - Rich Roberts

Final results: 1. Scott Soonier, Southern YC, 13pts, 2. Claudia Wainer, Long Beach YC, 13; 3. Doug McLean, Alamitos Bay YC, 15; 4. Mike Stapleton, U.S. Naval Academy, 26. -

* October 12-13: 10th Annual Northern California Women's Sailing Seminar, Island YC, Alameda, CA. Brochure is available at

Doug Peterson may yet have the last laugh.... Under Cup rules Peterson, an American citizen, qualified to design for an Italian team by establishing a "principal place of residence" in Italy before March 1, 2001. He must live substantially in that residence through the end of the Cup, the exception being when he is in New Zealand "designing or sailing with the syndicate." Yesterday, Mr Bertelli said Peterson is no longer designing for the syndicate. Under the rules, Peterson must, therefore, now return to Italy. If he remains in New Zealand, or if he returns to his home in San Diego, Prada could once again find itself in breach of a basic tenet of the Protocol.

Have you noticed that since most everyone now has a video camera, people just don't see UFOs like they used to?