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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1189 - October 31, 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.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP SERIES
Excellent conditions for racing on the Hauraki Gulf saw both flights of scheduled matches sailed with the exception of one afternoon race. This was an important day for the Louis Vuitton Cup with the schedule being held to.

In the morning, Southwesterlies of 9 -14 knots made for great action on the racecourse. The afternoon session saw three matches sailed in winds in the mid to late teens. Le Dfi was excused from its afternoon match against Oracle BMW Racing having suffered hydraulic problems during its morning race.

Prada's Luna Rossa continued its winning run, remaining unbeaten in six Round Robin Two matches. Oracle BMW Racing, with Chris Dickson as skipper and Peter Holmberg driving, won its biggest match to date, beating OneWorld Challenge. - LVC media center, www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com

RACE RESULTS
Oracle BMW beat OneWorld by 40 seconds
GBR Challenge beat Mascalzone Latino by 1 minute 40 seconds
Team Dennis Conner beat Le Defi by 1 minute 12 seconds
Prada beat Victory Challenge by 10 seconds
Prada beat GBR Challenge by 16 seconds
OneWorld beat Victory Challenge by 21 seconds
Alinghi beat Team Dennis Conner by 49 seconds
Oracle BMW vs. Le Defi was postponed - equipment failure on Le Defi

SCOREBOARD
12-1 Alinghi Challenge
11-2 OneWorld Challenge*
10-4 Prada Challenge
7-4 Oracle BMW Racing
6-7 GBR Challenge
6-7 Victory Challenge
5-8 Team Dennis Conner
1-13 Mascalzone Latino
0-12 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.

AROUND ALONE
Today's big news in the Around Alone is that the leader, Bernard Stamm, with perfect Swiss timing, crossed the Equator at 1300 hrs GMT exactly. Bernard is not resting for a moment though, despite a 197m advance on paper. "Pindar & Solidaires took the risk of crossing further to the East, and once they have come through, they will be in a better position than me, as I will have to sail back all those degrees in longitude towards the East." Emma Richards is 'on the outside track' now. compared to Dubois as they position themselves to skirt around the South Atlantic High.

Three boats in Class 2 are flanked together as they pass through the Canary Islands, just over 180 miles behind leader Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Kindly North Easterly trades are keeping their average speed at around 7 knots, which must be a relief for the skippers after the frustratingly weak conditions of previous days.

Standings 2200 UTC October 30, 2002 - CLASS 1:
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 3942 miles from finish
2. Pindar, Emma Richards, 174 miles behind leader
3. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 212 mbl
4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 288 mbl
5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1796 mbl
6 Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 2858 mbl

CLASS 2:
1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 5623 miles from finish
2. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 194 mbl
3. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 202 mbl
4. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 202 mbl
5. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 214 mbl
6. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 288 mbl
Event website: www.aroundalone.com

RACING PENALTIES
The policing of top level sailing events has been controversial recently, with concerns that some penalties are little more than symbolic slaps on the wrist. Two cases, in particular, have attracted criticism, one in the Volvo Ocean Race where a team was fined US$500 for a measurement infringement, and one in the Louis Vuitton regatta where OneWorld Challenge was docked a point for being in possession of design material from other syndicates.

Chief Umpire for the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup contests, Bryan Willis acknowledged the criticism, but said sometimes there were instances where discretionary penalties were appropriate. "There is an old adage in match racing that if you want to win a point, you must beat the other boat," he said. "We will always be reluctant to award points if a team did not achieve that."

In other words, transgressions would be judged on whether or not they affected the outcome of the particular match. If they did, points might be awarded to the aggrieved yacht. If they did not, a financial penalty or the loss of a point - but not a transfer of the point to the aggrieved yacht - would be appropriate. In these cases, the jury would first establish if an infringement had occurred and would then invite submissions from interested parties on the penalty. - Ivor Wilkins, Louis Vuitton website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com

TNZ
Team New Zealand took its second yacht, NZL-82, for its maiden sail on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf on Wednesday. Frenchman Bertrand Pac took the helm of NZL-82, while Dean Barker stayed with NZL-81 for the all-day session. The two yachts separated on the Gulf and did their own sailing programmes. "We were practising on NZL-81 and we left NZL-82 to get on with their work," said syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg.

After a debriefing today, Schnackenberg said everybody was very happy with the day's work. He said the checking process would continue until the new boat was ready to line up under full load against NZL-81. Assuming there are no problems, the two boats should be working together by the end of the week.

Team New Zealand is not in the habit of discussing design details, but the philosophy since 1995 has been to produce two yachts similar enough to make two boat testing meaningful, with subtle differences to give them distinct options. It is assumed a similar line of thinking has been pursued with this campaign. - Team New Zealand website, full story: xtramsn.co.nz/teamnewzealand/

HALLOWEEN
It's Halloween and what better day to offer Scuttlebutt readers some scary low prices on the best gear in the marine industry. Gill North America sent us a listing today of 2001-2 gear they are blowing out. Much of it is below dealer cost and it's all brand new -still in the bag! What better time to take advantage of these savings and do some holiday shopping? Quantities are limited - don't wait to take advantage of this pricing. There's a special deal on anything we sell today - but Scuttlebutt readers must mention this ad: 800-354-7245 www.sailingproshop.com

NEWS BRIEFS
* Nautor's Swan has produced a video "Volvo Ocean Race Story" charting the story of their participation in the first ever Volvo Ocean Race. This video has never seen before footage of the Amer Sports One and the all girl team, Amer Sports Too, and their crews over the 32,700 miles that were covered in approximately 10 months over 9 legs and 4 oceans. The footage shows the roller coaster of emotions that the crews endured, from exasperating total calm to the storms of the Southern Seas. www.nautorgroup.com

* Much ado about nothing. On Tuesday Oracle BMW Racing filed a Protest and a Request for Redress against Team Dennis Conner, claiming that TDC had failed to comply with recognised principles of fair play and sportsmanship by stalling their scheduled race. Apparently they had a change of heart on Wednesday - they withdrew both the Protest and the Request for Redress.

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (leweck@earthlink.net)
(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 Chris Ries: Sailing backwards in an 80-foot boat boring? Have you ever tried it? Thanks to Eurosport over here in Europe I was able to watch. I was utterly impressed how the two boats stayed in control while the skippers reacted to a tactical situation. This is sailing at its best! Just try to imagine how your beercan-race-crew would handle the situation then sit back, shut up, watch and learn how it's done. This is elite racing. Chapeau!

* From Ken Guyer: As with each year the Cup is sailed, sailors come forward with "ways to make the Cup more exciting". Of course one is always to line all the boats up for a fleet race. Sorry but the America's Cup is a competition between the holder of the Cup (defender) and another country (challenger). The so-called trials are just a way to give additional challengers an opportunity to race in the Cup against the defender.

The event is a match race, two boats. It is not necessarily even a spectator event in its original concept when you get right down to it. It is unique in the world of sailing competition. It does not need to be changed to something everyone else is doing. It is steeped in tradition and one of the oldest sailing competitions in the world! Stop trying to figure out a way to make it like every other regatta.

* From Gary Woodruff: The America's Cup is a match race event. It is meant to be a match race event. Changing to a fleet race format would be akin to changing a one-design class's worlds to a match race format. I believe that a large-scale well-publicized fleet race could bring more interest to the sport but changing the America's Cup to a fleet race is not the answer.

As for the maximum wind condition this is a safety concern. Since the inception of the ACC boats we have seen far too many keels fall off, boats fold in half, and boats sinking. This condition serves to protect the sailors on these boats. I have personally given thanks to RC's that have abandoned races in the face of unsafe conditions. To remove the maximum wind condition the ACC boats will have to cut back on performance in favor of safety and structural integrity, something with many syndicates would not favor.

* From David Bishop: Seems like many Buttheads have a fix for something that's not broken. Match racing and fleet racing are as different as NASCAR and Formula One, but both have their share of excitement. Most Boxing matches are forgone conclusions too, but nobody outside of the WWF proposes additional combatants in the ring to appease he spectators.

There have actually been a number of lead changes in both round robins, when it doesn't happen its because the boat that won the start has sailed a virtually perfect race. Every move of your opponent has to be covered, every tack , gybe, set and douse has to go like clockwork. (witness the loss by Mascalzone Latino to Prada because of a blown gybe).

I've found the racing to be as exciting as a close football game, where one mistake can determine the outcome. Also, judging by the number of yellow flags these guys fly with only two boats on the course, in a fleet race there would probably be two days of protest hearings after every race.

* From Andrew Vare: Stu Hebb nailed the reason I nod off every time the Cup is brought before me in the media. The match race format is interesting for about 10 minutes, as to who wins the start, but the rest is a prescription for narcolepsy. A fleet race with these incredibly powerful yachts would introduce a) jepardy of serious collision, and b) fleet tactics, which necessitate compromises and are geometrically more complex. No one wants collisions except the un-indoctrinated TV viewer, and the advertisers, for whom any controversy is good controversy. Follow it up with some good old fashioned trash talking (re: WWF smackdown) between skippers and you have a prescription for media success.

There is little argument that the recent IACC designs are incredible sailing boats and worthy of the spectacle. Just put 20 teams on the line at the same time, with a 20 kt. minimum wind threshold, and watch the real action begin.

* From Bob Jones: Those who complain that America's Cup racing should be fleet based rather than match racing forget that sailing is similar to sex. Sure, a quick orgy is a great way to enjoy yourself for an evening. But if you want something meaningful, you need that drawn out process of preparation, the selection process, the uncertainty, pre-event maneuvers, the romance. The final event may not be as exciting, but it's sooooo much more satisfying.

* From Skip Doyle: More and more it looks like we should be watching Louis Vuitton on the Comedy Channel rather than Outdoor Life.

* From R. Geoffrey Newbury (re ISAF proposals): This is amazingly wrong, overbroad and under thought! Where is there evidence that kids compete 'too much' in Olympic classes or any class? What part of the problem is specifically age related? What part depends on the idea that competing is bad for youngsters? I suspect many will agree with me that there *is* no problem with age in sailing. The IOC may have issues respecting competitors *at the Olympics* and is entitled to have a minimum age limit. But for ISAF to ban young teens from competing in 470's is arrogance, ignorance and stupidity at a breathtaking scale.

I am reminded of the teaching industry's feel good stance: kids are pressured 'too much' to compete; kids have their self-esteem 'hurt' by competing; therefore competition is bad for kids; therefore all kids must be banned from competition. This is a *great* way to encourage youngsters to enjoy sailing: ban them from doing it while young, so they will *want* to do it, like smoking and drinking.

Years ago, your wife was asked if she was bothered you spent so much time sailing. She said she always knew where you were, what you doing, and which young girl you were doing it with, namely your daughter. I cannot believe that you now believe that racing with your daughter was wrong and should not have been allowed.

* From Jeffrey Littell: I am a weekend warrior who goes down to the boat with a smile on my face, competes, and comes back with a smile on my face. I bet 90% of the people in the sport of sailing are basically weekend warriors too. Us weekend warriors are having a ball racing sailboats. So, ISAF President Henderson and national member authorities, please do not try to fix what is working for 90% of us in the sport.

* From Richard Hazelton: In reading Wednesday's Scuttlebutt, I was surprised there wasn't more said about the debacle between Stars & Stripes and OneWorld. I guess it was a moot point with the race being abandoned, but it would have been curious to see what would have happened had the race been finished Stating quotes from the Stars & Stripes camp "working hard to get and maintain their lead." Do these reporters actually watch the racing?

* From: "Peter Godfrey: Scuttlebutt is sure fun to read these days: Henderson is outta control, and in public, too; Stubbs etal are right on; Classes like the Star, Etchells, etal are far more capable of running their own affairs than is ISAF; The best parts of the AC / LVC take place on shore [not hard to beat Wednesday's on the water action].

REDEVELOPMENT
A $250,000 study will decide where America's Cup teams will be housed in future, as some "syndicate row" bases are earmarked for private development. Four of the 10 bases along Halsey St are on private land expected to be developed soon after the cup regatta ends in March, prompting fears that there may not be enough room at Viaduct Harbour for syndicates if Auckland hosts another cup.

America's Cup Minister Trevor Mallard said a privately financed feasibility study over the next two months would consider how to keep the Viaduct as the focus for the event. He said there was no interest in moving any of the syndicates to another base, such as Devonport. "People are not interested in losing the major advantage of the Viaduct. Because of commercial development, it is clear additional bases will be necessary."

Mr Mallard said there were two options to create enough room for challenging syndicates: reduce the size of the bases for each team, or expand the wharf on the western side of the Viaduct. He said the latter option would be pursued only if it was economically viable, including after the America's Cup leaves Auckland. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz

AS SEEN ON TV
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MASCALZONE LATINO
Mascalzone Latino skipper Paolo Cian was grief-stricken and unable to sail in America's Cup challengers racing on Thursday after the team botched a chance to upset Italian rivals Prada, the luckless Mascalzone team said. Mascalzone crew members cried bitterly after they lost on Wednesday to Prada, the defending champions of the Louis Vuitton Cup for America's Cup challengers, despite being ahead within sight of the finish line and the biggest upset of the regatta.

Mascalzone spokeswoman Lara Ciribi said Cian was too "grief-stricken" to take his place on the boat for Thursday's race against Britain's GBR Challenge. Ciribi said the team hoped Cian's decision to step down was only temporary. - Reuters, as posted on the nzoom website, full story: americascup.nzoom.com

TRANSATLANTIC CHALLENGE
The New York Yacht Club has announced plans for the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005 yacht race for larger sailboats. The 3,000-mile race from New York to England will start in mid-May 2005. It is open to single-hulled sailboats with a minimum length on deck of 70 feet and with no maximum size for entrants. The race is expected to attract many of the world 's largest sailing yachts, some 200 feet (61m) and longer.

The race will have at least three divisions: Classic, Performance Cruising and Grand Prix. The divisions may be further divided into classes. A highlight of the post-race festivities will be a race around the Isle of Wight on the same course where in 1851 the yacht America won what became the America's Cup. - nyyc.org

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* January 9-12: Atlantic Sail Expo, Atlantic City Convention Center, Sail America. - www.sailamerica.com/home.cfm

* May 9, 2003: Hemingway Ocean Race, Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore, Storm Trysail Club, www.stormtrysail.org

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Is it possible to be totally partial?