Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1186 - October 28, 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.

Steve Fossett's 125-foot catamaran PlayStation's shaved nearly 55 minutes off the 'Around Britain and Ireland' sailing record that was recently set by Maiden II. PlayStation's record-breaking passage took 4 days, 16 hours, 9 minutes, 36 seconds, with an average speed of 15.93 kts for the 1787 nm course. All figures are subject to checking and eventual ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council before the record becomes official. -

Friday: Big breeze - racing postponed.
Saturday: Big breeze - racing postponed.
Sunday: Big breeze - racing postponed.

Forty per cent of scheduled race days, nine out of 21, have been lost since the series began on October 1, mainly because of high winds. In an attempt to complete the seven outstanding flights, the committee has now scheduled two races, Flights 3 and 4, for Monday (which is Tuesday in Auckland). The first warning signal will not be fired before 10:30 AM, and racing will be conducted on the alternate 12.5-mile course. The weather forecast is marginal, with winds expected to approach the upper wind limits again, but the Race Committee and the teams are more optimistic than they've been in days.

The International Jury released an interpretation on Monday that gives the Race Committee broad discretion over how to best complete racing in the limited number of race days left on the schedule. "It is unreasonable to expect the race committee to accurately predict how the schedule may be affected by weather, breakdowns during the first race of a two-race day and postponements at the request of competitors," said the statement signed by jury chairman Bryan Willis of England. "Therefore, the Race Committee would not be in error if it schedules two races on any race or reserve day when it judges it necessary to complete a series."

The interpretation goes on to say the Race Committee shall issue an updated schedule for the remainder of the round, each time a change has to be made. As such, Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio issued an updated schedule Monday afternoon that follows on page two. If more races are lost early in the week, Reggio said he intends to continue sailing two flights of races per day as long as is necessary to maintain two reserve days at the end of the schedule. - Louis Vuitton Cup media center,

Prada vs Le Defi Areva
Alinghi vs. Mascalzone Latino
Team Dennis Conner vs. Victory Challenge
GBR Challenge vs.OneWorld
Oracle BMW vs. Team Dennis Conner
GBR Challenge vs. Le Defi Areva
Alinghi vs. Prada
Victory Challenge vs. Mascalzone Latino

9-1 Alinghi Challenge
9-1 One World Challenge*
6-4 Oracle BMW Racing
6-4 Prada Challenge
5-4 GBR Challenge
4-5 Victory Challenge
4-6 Team Dennis Conner
1-9 Mascalzone Latino
0-10 Le Defi Areva
* Note: As a result of a penalty imposed by ACAP, one point will be deducted from OneWorld's score at the end of Round Robin 2.

"Doubling up the races becomes more of a logistical problem," says James Stagg, GBR Challenge's pit crew boss. "You have to leave the dock pretty early which means being up even earlier to launch the boat. Potentially you can be back late in the day or evening, so if there's been a problem you can be up quite late into the night. Apart from that, it's keeping your concentration throughout the day that's often the biggest challenge," he said.

Given the huge sail areas that have to be handled from the moment their humped aboard, until the time their packed back in their bags, it's interesting to hear that the physical side isn't the first major demand on the crew. Surely two races take their toll? "I don't think so because we've done far harder training days," says Stagg. "During the build up to this event our daily routine would involve going to the gym for an hour or so, do a very hard session and then go on to do our sail training. Also, if you do eight pre-starts it's a lot harder than doing two races." - Matthew Sheahan, Louis Vuitton website, full story:

San Diego Y.C. chose Ullman Sails to defend the San Francisco Challenge against St. Francis Y.C. because they wanted the fastest sails! Why are Ullman Sails so fast? Simple, fast sail design demand fast cloth! At Ullman Sails we choose only the best sail cloth from Contender, Dimension / Polyant and Bainbridge International. What good is a fast design if the cloth can't hold the shape? Our fast designs combined with superior cloth continue collecting trophies for our customers across the country. If you and your crew are ready, let Ullman Sails bring our speed technology to your sails. call your nearest Ullman Sails Loft or visit us at

* Less than one week remains for yacht owners intending to compete in the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race to lodge their Application to Enter documentation with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The deadline is 1700 hours on Friday, 1 November, with the CYCA Sailing Office expecting a late rush of nominations this weekend and during next week. Applications to Enter received late today totaled 30 boats, but CYCA Sailing Manager Justine Kirkjian confident that the final line-up would be double that number. The fleet will be smaller than last year when we also had the Volvo 60s racing to Hobart, but the quality of the fleet will be outstanding," she said.

* Team Dennis Conner's request for redress has been denied by the International Jury. The case brought by Stars & Stripes against the Race Committee was based on the fact that during their match with the GBR Challenge the average wind speed was below the mandatory seven knots by as much as 0.11 knots for a period of approximately 28 seconds in the 15 minute lead up to the preparatory signal. The Jury would be satisfied that the equipment and the computer alarm program provided a reliable method for the Race Committee to ensure that the requirements of the wind speed conditions were met, and hence that the RC's decision not to postpone was correct. The Jury denied the request for redress, the race will not have to be re-sailed and the result of the match stands. - Read the whole story on the Louis Vuitton Cup website:

* St. Petersburg YC has announced the names of the ten skippers who will compete in the Rolex Osprey Cup Grade 1 match racing event: Betsy Alison (ISAF Rank: 18), Charlie Arms (23), Evan Brown, (23), Giulia Conti (5), Arabella Denvir (33), Marie Faurˇ, Hy¸res (6), Sandy Hayes (29), Capucine Pin (122) & Deborah Willits (44). The four-day event begins October 31 and will be sailed in Sonars. -

(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 Paul Lowell: Replacing Holmberg with Dickson is not a bad management decision if the Boat is suspected of being a bit down on boatspeed. The only way to win a match race in a slower boat is to win the start and control from on top. Certainly this is a daunting task, but I'll take a bayonet fighter like Dickson in this circumstance.

* From: Richard Clark: The icy gaze of a U-boat Commander were, I believe, the words used to describe Chris Dickson years ago when he first appeared on the Americas Cup scene. To be sure in the years since he has enjoyed his share of controversy, some well deserved others not so. But damn it, you have to give him credit, he is a great sailor who has earned the trust of "The Oracle" by winning him yacht races all over the World.

Team New Zealand won the Cup because they were a team and as a team they competed around the World including the Whitbread under the inspirational soul of Sir Peter Blake. It was a long term campaign that bore fruit. Many of the present contenders/pretenders have not raced as a team, anywhere else. This has to be an enormous disadvantage.If anyone can get a grip on Oracle I believe it is Chris Dickson. So, some will be upset, but cream rises and it is not without a certain irony that Chris Dickson now has his best opportunity to finally and deservedly win the bloody great mug. Now, if only he could get past the guys on the black boat!

* From Patricia Lawrence, US Sailing One-Design Class Council Chair: One-design sailors at the US Sailing One-Design Class Council meetings held in Marina del Rey, CA discussed some of the pending ISAF submissions which will be on the November ISAF meeting agenda. Many representatives of Olympic Classes, ISAF classes, and National classes were represented during these discussions. The ODCC unanimously voted for the following resolutions, which were adopted by the US Sailing Board.

- US Sailing is opposed to ISAF rules or regulations that disenfranchise class organizations and their members. ISAF classes should retain their autonomy and class management, including their class rules and the rule amendment procedures.

- US Sailing opposes any move by ISAF to place additional age limits on participation in World Championship events.

- One-design classes have established class rules and the proper procedure for amending these class rules is a vote of the class association members.

I am requesting specific examples of how ISAF submissions, specifically: 026 Eligibility Rule ISAF Sailors, 051 Events of the Olympic Classes, 063 Age Limit, and 139 Propulsion, affects one-design classes.

Please send me your letters by October 30 and I will ensure that the US delegates to the ISAF meeting receive them, Additionally, I'd like to invite one-design sailors to continue this discussion on the ODCC listserv. You can enroll by going to

* From Ralph Taylor (re: the proposals for ISAF to take greater control of continental and world championships): It looks to me like we're seeing a culture clash between a European, aristocracy-centered view of how sailing should be governed and an American-inspired, don't-trust-the-government philosophy. (Daniel Webster: "No man's property is safe while the Legislature is in session.") Clearly, some in ISAF believe that classes and national authorities can't be trusted. In contrast, we believe that democracy is not "mob rule."

They claim "there is too much at stake for the sailors.." I suspect ISAF recognition might prove to be the kiss of death for classes if these proposals are adopted. Does ISAF respond to the needs of sailors? Look at what happened for women in the Olympics; in the triple-handed event, they wanted match racing in fast boats -- they get fleet racing in slow boats. 0 for 2.

* From Fred Schroth: Please read this note as a contribution whose author's goal is a solution. It is not meant as a slam to the ISAF. Currently, with respect to scheduling, ISAF is the problem. The rest of us cannot schedule in a rational manner until a system led by the ISAF is in place. The International regattas are the events that must be put on the schedule so that the rest of us can schedule around them. Schedulers can only work with each other when a proper pecking order is described, managed and the communication is constant.

Here is one man's solution. Web sites are a great tool for this sort of plan. ISAF must tentatively schedule at least 10 years in advance and publish rock solid schedules at least five years in advance. Then will we be able to schedule regional and world events four years ahead. And nationals three years ahead. And District and special events two years ahead. Local sailors need plenty of time to plan and schedule events and until we make a solid plan that allows At least a full season of advance planning for those local sailors we will not have a system that serves our needs.

I am all for ISAF control and centralization as soon as the ISAF has demonstrated that it can schedule its own events properly I will be interested in hearing further proposals about "how ISAF might help the next level down."

* From Hugh Wainman-Wood: Is ISAF President Paul Henderson kidding about requiring a 4-part mainsheet? If 4 part means 4:1 purchase then I guess I'd better sell my Laser, because the class rules say I can't change my 3:1 mainsheet so I'd be offside no matter what I did! I get that he's thinking about making 'pumping' your mainsheet impractical, but I think he'd better look at some different ideas.

* From Bill Muster: Can you tell me how to rig a 4-part mainsheet on a Windsurfer?

At their recent Annual General meeting, US Sailing presented the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy to the organizations long time volunteer, Faye Bennett. Susie Trotman was honored with the newly created Timothea Larr Award, given for a person's national contribution to sailor education, safety, and training. The California Yacht Club was awarded the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Award for Race Management. The winning regatta was the Nautica 2002 Star Class World Championship.

The President's Industry Award went to Vanguard Sailboats for their long commitment to the sport of sailing. The President's Award went to the group of people who helped create and execute the UBS Challenge This group included UBS Financial Services, Octagon Marketing, the late Chuck Kober who revived the Prince of Wales Championship, Kirk Brown who currently oversees the Prince of Wales Championship and US Sailing staff member Linda Christofersen. -

* To say that (Larry) Ellison's decision to axe Peter Holmberg has left jaws gaping is not far off the reality. Why so? For starters, it seems as if Holmberg is the human sacrifice for a technical problem. To everyone outside Oracle BMW Racing Team, the issue facing Ellison was not whether Holmberg was doing a good job but did his boats occupy the right design space? - Tim Jeffery, Yachting World website, full story:

Not much is truly custom made anymore - but Ockam Instruments has quietly provided custom products since the early 1980s. A few examples from our "099 Custom " series: Depth Below Keel that changes with centerboard height, Yanmar engine RPM, oil and water warnings on Ockam displays, enemy tracking by laser gun or radar screen "pinging", dual depth sounders (fore and aft for BIG boats), weather boat systems, race committee boat systems, and more. To discuss your custom application email Tom Davis ( Visit

The wind has filled in for the Class 2 yachts, and all except John Dennis on Bayer Ascensia are enjoying ideal sailing with the wind from behind and clear skies above. They have passed the latitude of Gibraltar and are now off the African coast making good speed.

Standings Fleet Positions 2200 UTC October 27, 2002
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 4385miles from finish
2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 163 miles behind leader
3. Pindar, Emma Richards, 235 mbl
4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 374 mbl
5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1839 mbl
6 Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 2361 mbl

1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 6022 mff
2. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 118 mbl
3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 129 mbl
4 Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 168 mbl
5. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 178 mbl
6. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 285 mbl
Event website:

Prada of Italy faces a tight schedule to have its second America's Cup yacht ready for next month's challenger quarterfinals. Syndicate operations manager Laurent Esquier said Saturday that Prada, the challenger champion, was not expecting the return of ITA-80 to its Auckland base for some time. "It's going to take another few weeks," he said.

Esquier said work on ITA-80 was continuing at an Auckland boatyard within a set timetable but the amount of time available to test the boat against its sister, ITA-74, before the quarterfinals would be limited. Prada has raced ITA-74 in both the first and second challenger rounds. "We wish to be able to try or test 80 against 74 as soon as possible," he said. "We have very limited time and we're working very hard at it." - Fox Sports website, full story:

* "Peter Holmberg is an asset I intend to use. I suspect there will be times when we think Peter should be at the wheel. There could be times I elect not to be on the boat." - Chris Dickson, as reported by Tim Jeffery in The Telegraph:

* "What you see is what you get. Our budget hasn't allowed for any tricks, and it will be difficult to beat the likes of OneWorld and Alinghi." - Dennis Conner as reported on October 26 by Di Pearson on the Sailing Online website,

If you did not get Scuttlebutt last Friday, it may have been that Stu Argo's candid quote triggered your company's e-mail blocking mechanism. There were a huge number of copies returned to us with the message, "The following message has been blocked." The reason generally given was either Inappropriate Content or Offensive Language. I you didn't get 1185, it's archived at

The Louis Vuitton website has posted an incredible photographic tribute to the IACC bowmen who defy their own hostile environment (and good sense) to put on one of the greatest shows in the yacht racing game. It's a must see:

The US Sailing Championship of Champions Regatta ended as it began, with very light winds. A total of 13 races were sailed on Lake Norman, NC in Flying Scotts. Final results: 1. Bill Draheim (Flying Scott representative); 2. Mike Ingham (Thistle); 3. Dick Tillman (Windsurfer); 4. Allison Jolly (Fireball); Tony Passafiume (Y-Flyer).

Nobody is perfect. But just because you're a nobody does not mean you're perfect.