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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1178 - October 15, 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.

The ISAF Sailors' Classification Code was introduced two years ago to provide a worldwide system which event organisers and classes can use to tackle the issues many sailors have been raising. Nearly 5,000 sailors are already classified The Code is available to all classes and event organisers - free. The word 'available' however is critical because ISAF does not impose this code on any sailor, event or class. It provides a 'tool' available off the shelf, which if they choose to use it, gives organisers the possibility to lay on whatever level of racing they and the sailors want. So as to ensure uniformity worldwide, it was agreed that no other code should be used in International events or ISAF classes after 2002.

Classification is based on financial involvement in boat racing, and/or the use in their work of knowledge or skill capable of improving the performance of a boat in a race, not on racing success or prowess. The Code does not automatically make sailors who work in the industry Group 3, many fulfil the requirements of Group 1 or 2. The panel plans to issue Guidance Notes and FAQs shortly.

No moral or ethical judgements are attached to these classifications - ISAF does not discriminate between 'amateurs' and 'professionals'. It is up to classes and organisers to determine whether and how they use restrictions and if so whether they apply just to Group 3 or Group 2 as well. More often than not, Group 2s are allowed with Group 1s, but this does vary from country to country and class to class. Ford Cork Week for example only excludes Group 3 except in their Class Zero, which is open to all groups. Many classes allow all sailors to race together but award a prize to the first non-Group 3 so as to encourage Corinthian sailors.

The Code is developed and managed by a panel of very experienced sailors, drawn from all over the world and representing Group 1, 2 and 3 sailors. This panel is also available to help and advise how to get the best out of the Code. - Antony Matusch, Chair, ISAF Sailors' Classification Code

* The race schedule for the Louis Vuitton Cup built in five reserve days for Round Robin One, a series that should have taken just nine race days. But with four flights of racing completely wiped out due to too much or too little wind, and three other days when only some of the flights were sailed, Round Robin One will now not be completed until the first day of Round Robin Two. Monday was the last possible day for racing before the end of the 'no change' period.

The seemingly never-ending Round Robin One is now scheduled to finish on Tuesday, 22nd October, when Prada's Luna Rossa races Mascalzone Latino. - Peter Rusch, LVC website, full story:

* OneWorld and Russell Coutts' Alinghi appear to be the boats to beat. Both have proved they have adequate speed downwind and in a range of upwind conditions.

"We have focused on doing a lot of starts and racing out here which I think prepared us well for the first round,' Gilmour said. "As racing has gone on, I think people have learned from each other and it has closed up a bit."

Coutts said his team was happy with their first-round efforts. "We haven't put our top 16 on the boat yet," he said. "I am pretty happy where our boats sit against the opposition. The second round robin will be a lot tougher - some of the teams are planning major changes, but we aren't at this stage. We feel we are near the top of our group, but to stay there we have to work very hard. OneWorld are out front, so we need to figure out a way of closing the gap." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

* ITA-80, the second Luna Rossa of the Prada syndicate, has gone to Cookson's yard to have a new bow added. The highly volatile head of the syndicate, Patrizio Bertelli, wants a boat with a double knuckled bow like NZL-60. Like all fashion conscious tycoons, he wants to be with or ahead of the rest in style, and Doug Peterson, who tested plenty of the type of bow profiles that Bertelli sees as omnipotent, holds that the bow shapes he signed off are superior. Consequently, Peterson goes and Bertelli draws the double knuckle and Prada rips off NZL-60. It's the fashion world all over again. Bob Fisher, Sailing World website, full story:

Not everyone needs a high-tech sled to sail the Transpac, and some dedicated competitors hope to demonstrate that next summer by reviving an icon of the race's tradition: the Cal 40. Wendy Siegal, a Long Beach schoolteacher, is organizing Cal 40 owners along the West Coast to form a class of their own for 2003. Transpacific Yacht Club directors have supported her campaign by establishing a Cal 40 class for the 42nd race next July.

The entries could include Stan Honey, who is better known around the world as a record-setting navigator for Roy E. Disney's maxi sled, Pyewacket, and Steve Fossett's 125-foot catamaran, PlayStation. "If there is a class, I'll probably do it," Honey said.

Dennis Conner recently bought Persephone, the first Cal 40 built, although he has not indicated whether he will race it in the Transpac. Siegal said, "I have a list of 10 Cal 40 owners who might be doing Transpac, but nothing is sure until July 1 when the gun goes off.

Additionally, the Transpac directors have amended a recent decision to revert from two to one mandatory position reports daily by adding a mandatory "bed check" call-in to the communications vessel each evening between 7 and 8 p.m. Pacific time. Competitors will not be required to report positions at that time. The purpose is to continue to keep in close touch with the fleet without compromising tactical options. Boats also will be required to monitor VHF Ch. 16 constantly. The penalty for failing to answer the morning roll call of position reports or to call in with the "bed check" will be 30 minutes for each occurrence. - Rich Roberts

The Notice of Race for Transpac 2003 is now posted:

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* Protector USA is supporting Team Dennis Conner by supplying the all-American team with a new 28-foot Protector for the duration of the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series and the America's Cup. Team Dennis Conner took the Protector while training in the waters off of Long Beach, CA, and has been using the boat as one of its main support vessels while training in both Long Beach and now on the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand.

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON ( (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 Bill Lee: How about this for OCS. There is a model sailboat racing club in Silicon Valley and they have developed a unique approach to OCS. They project an electronic beam the length of the line and past the ends too. Each yacht is equipped with a very loud and embarrassing buzzer. If a yacht becomes OCS, the buzzer goes off, calling the R/C's and the fleet's attention to this competitor. The buzzer does not become silent again until the competitor is back on the pre start side of the line. The buzzers have different tones and beeping intervals so it is obvious when more than one yacht is OCS. Certainly this system could be expanded to full size yachts and courses.

* From Tom Donlan: Bravo to the gentleman from Toronto who used the Black Flag as it was meant to be used, and said that tough enforcement of existing rules is the way to go.

There are two problems, however, with large fleets and long lines. 1. It's hard for spotters to spot all the premature starters. 2. A half-mile line (eg., for 110 J-24s) requires a weather leg at least 5 miles long to give everybody a chance to play either side of the course and to thin out the fleet enough so that everybody doesn't arrive at the weather mark simultaneously.

Two possible solutions that would make it harder to be over early without being noticed:

--A short line. Who says there has to be room for everybody to start on the line?

--A "Pace Car" approach, with a starting line between two boats that would start side-by-side and move upwind at approximations of port and starboard tack courses. At some point when boats are spread out on the line--not a timed signal--a gun would go off and the two line boats would hold their positions.

* From Tom Keogh (Re starting procedures): The Etchells class used to have a good rule about this - I hope they're still using it. It said that there would be no hails to early starters and, if possible, no general recalls. If one or more boats were over early, the individual recall flag went up. Once all had properly restarted, it came down. Other than that you were on your own. I remember plenty of races when it was still flying at the finish.

This rule is probably not ideal in all cases but it did put responsibility where it belongs - with the sailors on the boats. It encouraged good habits by rewarding sailors who could start well and discouraging those who thought they might be spared by a general recall.

* From J. Joseph Bainton: This continued carping about the negative impact of professional sailors and therefore the need to segregate them is just plain amazing. Those troubled by the presence of such sailors should take a walk to their local golf or tennis clubs and ask how "upset" any of their members would be if Tiger Woods or Pete Sampras wanted to play in their local events. A geometrically greater number of "weekend warrior sailors" have had the benefit of competing against and socializing with the icons of our sport than have their golf or tennis colleagues around the water cooler at work had with the icons of their sports.

Can anyone hazard a guess as to how many hundreds if indeed not thousands of different yacht clubs and sailing centers around the world have to date been graced with the company of Dennis Conner? As amateur sportspeople, we should count our blessings and buy whatever silverware we need at home.

* From Barry Ault Can Someone tell me why US Sailing charges $100 for an amateur to race on a Farr 40 and pros race for free. Something is broken.

* From Platt Johnson (edited to our 250-word limit): It has been my observation here in Newport Rhode Island that some kids get really bored with what local yacht clubs are offering. Programs are packed full of beginners as parents put their kids into programs but the drop out rates as they get older is awful. Once they get about 11 or 12 and start expressing their preferences they'll do anything to get out of the Opti's and move to the 420. Kids in 420's are happy for a bit but also get bored eventually with the performance. The 420 was hot stuff 20 years ago and the Optimist is fine as a junior trainer but "kids these days" are treated to much more exciting fare. Skateboarding, Surfing, BMX, Snowboarding, etc are all on their minds and constantly marketed at them. For sailing to move forward it must start changing at the club level. Offering skiffs and windsurfers in order to ad excitement and challenge is one way to do it.

Windsurfing, while it offers great racing, also appeals to the majority of advancing juniors who, believe it or not, do not want to race. Freestyle windsurfing (tricks, flat water spins and loops) is also the only part of sailing that is like these cool extreme sports that are fed on a daily basis to today's youth. Sail Newport here has added windsurfing with great success. More clubs need to wake up to these important realities. And guess what - the kids want it. See and

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday Torbay was whipped white from gale force winds lashing the coast; today it was a perfect postcard as the fleet of Around Alone yachts set sail for South Africa. The day could not have been better with a light northerly wind blowing and sunny skies above. The northerly wind brought a chill to the air, but nothing could detract from the festive atmosphere as eleven yachts out of the twelve entries sailed a short leg across the bay, and then set a course for the northwest corner of France. Only Bruce Schwab's Ocean Planet was still on the dock making last minute adjustments to the rigging after fixing on the new boom. (Ocean Planet left the pontoons at 15:30 local time).

Now the fleet are easing sheets and are set on a course to take them across the English Channel towards France and the notorious Bay of Biscay, and then beyond to the Southern hemisphere. It's going to be a tough few days for the yachts. The idyllic sailing will not last long as another cold front is approaching from the west forecast to bring strong southerlies. For now though the weather could not be better. - Mary Ambler

Fleet positions on October 14 at 2000 hours UTC - CLASS 1: 1. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 5815 miles from finish; 2 Pindar, Emma Richards, 5820mff; 3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 5824mff; 4. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 5833mff; CLASS 2: 1. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 5389mff(?)*; 2. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 5835mff; 3. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 5838mff; 4. BTC Velocity, 5838mff. -

* Note: While this mileage figure was taken from the event website, it obviously is a mistake

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is internationally renowned as one of the world's toughest ocean races, attracting billionaires in high-tech maxis to veteran Bluewater sailors in cruiser racers. The NOR and entry form for the 58th race, starting December 26, are available at Bookmark the official web site (live Dec 1).

The Columbus Day Regatta, an annual event that attracts thousands to South Florida's sun and surf, was marred by at least two deaths, a missing boater and 18 alcohol-related arrests, authorities said Sunday. One man was found dead Sunday after the boat in which he was traveling apparently smashed into mangroves about one mile south of Deering Channel in South Miami-Dade County. Investigators were searching for another man who reportedly also was on the boat.

The regatta is known for a carefree alcohol-laced party atmosphere as large numbers of spectators in boats of their own gather along the coast to follow the race - engaging in clothing-optional celebrations.

* The regatta, which began in 1954, takes sailors from the east end of Miami's Dinner Key channel to overnight anchorage areas off Elliott Key and Sands Key. They return to the Miami finish line after all-night parties. This year the event involved about 600 vessels.

Ann and John Lovellette -- who raced their 25-foot Hunter, Shure Thing, on Saturday and have participated in the regatta since 1978 -- echoed Whipple's charge that the problem is not the racers, but the spectators. - David Ovalle & Elaine DeValle, Miami Herald, full story:

Class winners include: Hobie 20 (50 boats) John Tomko / Tiffany Beckwith; Hobie Tiger (26) Greg Thomas / Jacques Bernier; Hobie 18 (16) Ken Marshack / Debbie Marshack; Hobie 17 (43) Dan Ward; Hobie 16 Open (68) Enrique Figueroa / Carla Malatrasi; Hobie 16 US Pan Am (19) Paul Hess / Mary Ann Hess; Hobie 16 Women (14) Susan Korzeniewski/ Kathy Miles; Hobie 16 Youth (18) Bret Sullivan / Eric Raybon; Hobie 14 (18) William Jeffers - Dan Mangus,

Six unseeded skippers have advanced from the qualifying round to join the eight seeded skippers waiting in the wings for the start of the Swedish Match Tour's Bermuda Gold Cup Championship, scheduled to begin Wednesday and hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club: Those advancing are Andy Horton (6-1), Glenn Astwood (6-1), Tucker Thompson (6-1), Peter Bromby(5-2), Mason Woodworth (5-2) and Chris Law(4.5-2). - Shawn McBride,

At the same time, four of the eight international women skippers gathered at the RBYC for the Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship have advanced into the semi-final round and are one step closer to the $15,000 prize money and a shot in the upcoming Bermuda Gold Cup. Bermuda's Paula Lewin (6-1) retained her lead on the fleet, gaining an additional two wins today and will draw her competitor from the remaining three advancing skippers: World No. 1 Marie Bjorling (5-2), Dutch sailor Klaartje Zuiderbaan (4-3) and American Debbie Wililts (4-3). The winner and runner-up will advance into the Qualifying Round of the Bermuda Gold Cup. - Dana Paxton,

* October 26-27: ISSA National High School Singlehanded Championship Houston YC. Sailed in Lasers full rig and radial provided by Vanguard Sailboats. -

* November 16-17: Great Oaks National Invitational Regatta, Southern YC, New Orleans. Ailed in C420s provided by Southern YC, Tulane University and University of New Orleans.

The curmudgeon is leaving in less than 30 minutes to catch a red-eye flight to Bermuda for the Gold Cup Regatta. My plan is to issue Scuttlebutt from Bermuda each day, although the normal 'Butt schedule will undoubtedly be substantially altered for the next seven days.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.