Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1193 - November 6, 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.

If one of the delights working-class fans have found in the America's Cup over the years has been watching the egomaniacal wealthy melt down, Larry Ellison and Patrizio Bertelli have been major disappointments.

Fire Oracle BMW's mellow and talented helmsman Peter Holmberg, then replace him with the overbearing Chris Dickson, who had been exiled eight months earlier with the crew in near mutiny?

It worked for Ellison. His Golden Gate Yacht Club entry from San Francisco hasn't lost since.

Fire Prada's designer, Doug Peterson, whose creations had won the Cup for New Zealand in 1995 and reached the final match again for Prada in 2000? After only one race?

It worked for Bertelli. Prada, 4-4 in the first round-robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger trials, soared to 7-1 in the second after rebuilding the front end of its boat -- under Bertelli's direction -- in only five days.

Maybe Bertelli knows something about boats as well as upscale fashion accessories.

Maybe Ellison understands people as well as software. Or maybe Dickson recognized the real problem when he suggested that Ellison get off the boat and bring Holmberg back on board. What it means is that Oracle BMW and Prada are in the top bracket of the quarterfinals starting next week, along with Switzerland's quietly efficient Alinghi and Seattle's OneWorld. -- Rich Roberts, in the LA Times

Full text at

Excerpts from a report by Dave Rosekrans, US Sailing President:

Fred Hagedorn, Bill Martin and I represented US SAILING at the USOC Board Meeting in Colorado Springs this past weekend. Janet Baxter was also there as a member of the USOC Audit Committee.

The USOC Board of Directors chose New York City as the bid city from the US for the 2012 games. The sailing venue will be at Breezy Point, across the water from Coney Island, and will be a short, high speed ferry ride from the Olympic Village.

Our own Board Representative from US Sailing, Bill Martin, was nominated by the USOC Excom as Vice-President, Secretariat. filling the vacancy that was created when Mrs. Marty Mankamyer was elevated to the role of President of the USOC earlier this year.

The Board of Directors approved a resolution designating the United States Sailing Association to govern the Paralympic Sport of sailing.

The Board of Directors approved a resolution distributing the USOC share of the estimated surplus from the Salt Lake City Winter games. The NGB's and direct athlete support will receive $4.5 million, some part of which will reach the US SAILING Olympic Committee.

Full text at

Annapolis, MD: Lawrence Dickie's Ptarmigan (NM 47) prevailed in Class 1 and as the 2002 IMS Mid Atlantic Champion over a fleet of 21 IMS yachts in two classes. Steve Kaminer's Predator (Farr 40 OD) was second in class and fleet and defending champion George David's Idler (NM 50) was third in both. This was the second year for the event, organized and run by the Storm Trysail Club's Chesapeake Station and sponsored by Dirty Dog Eye Wear.

While racing under the IMS rule has been in decline in the United States in recent years, this regatta, thanks to the initiative of the recently formed IMS 50 class, is seeing a resurgence in interest on the Chesapeake and has grown from 13 boats in 2001 to 21 for 2002.

Unique to this event - and a big hit with the racers - was on the water scoring after each race providing immediate feedback to the fleet. US Sailing's Offshore Director, Dan Nowlan, calculated class and fleet finishes from onboard the signal boat.

Overall: 1. Ptarmigan (NM 47), 7-4-4-1; 2. Predator (Farr 40 OD), 14-1-1-4; 3. Idler (NM 50), 3-3-12-3.

IMS Class 1 (top 5): 1. Ptarmigan (NM 47), 12 pts; 2. Predator (Farr 40 OD), 15; 3. Idler (NM 50), 15; 4. Canvasback (Farr 49), 19; 5. Javelin (Farr 49), 21

IMS Class 2 (top 5): 1. Moonracer (Ben 40.7), 11 pts; 2. LeCygne (Ben 40.7), 11; 3. Blue Angel (Farr 43), 14; 4. Down Time (Ben 40.7), 19; 5. Alix (Mumm 36), 22

Complete results at:

B&G Network remains one of the most truly innovative and high-performance marine electronics products available throughout the world. If you thought B&G prices were out of your league, think again. Significant price reductions allow you to purchase a complete system or individual components for about the same price as any other name-brand instruments.

Annapolis MD: Sailed in conjunction with the IMS Mid Atlantic Championship (and also run by the Storm Trysail Club), the inaugural Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championship attracted a fleet of 10 boats.

Racing was very close and nobody ran away with the championship. Wes Seigner, skipper of Abino, won by only one point over Jim Carkhuff's Wild Onion. Three different boats won at least one race, including Abino, Vitesse, and Gijma Kakhulu. Only one point separated Vitesse and Gijma Kakhulu for third and fourth places. First 36.7 crews traveled from as far away as California to compete in the two day, 5 race event.

The wind varied between 15 - 20 knots and temperatures were COLD. The dense cold air had the effect of making the breeze that much heavier.

Changes in Group 2 see John Dennis on Bayer Acensia moving into fourth place, passing Alan Paris and Tim Kent in the process. Brad Van Liew continues to dominate Group 2, stretching out his lead to over 400 miles over second place Kojiro Shiraishi.

In Group 1, Graham Dalton has taken a position much farther to the west, and during the last 24 hours that has not paid off, his 24 hour run falling 20-30 miles less than the leading boats of Stamm, Richards and Dubois.

Emma Richards went through what she describes as Black Monday, dropping her mainsail to repair a broken gooseneck and deck-jaw (what was a three man job in Brixham while tied in a calm marina). "Although I think I’ve mended the problem, I’m aware that this is only a temporary fix. It could break again at any moment, so I’ll just have to tip-toe into Cape Town."

Current positions
Class 1 - Open 60s
1. Bobst Group, Bernard Stamm, 1943 miles to finish of leg 2 in Capetown
2. Pindar, Emma Richards, 243 miles to leader
3. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 276 nm
4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 525 nm
5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 2519 nm
6. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 6799 nm (still in Spain for repairs)

Class 2 - 50s and 40s
1. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 4333 miles to finish
2. Spirit of Yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 406 miles to leader
3. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 417 nm
4. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 458 nm
5. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 464 nm
6. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 474 nm

(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 John Rousmaniere: Recent exchanges about the early America's Cup get a few things right about a story that's as tumultuous as some recent events. In 1851 John Cox Stevens and friends took a yacht across the Atlantic to show off  at Prince Albert's world's fair and get in a little competition. Calling at Cowes, America could not get a match race from a Royal Yacht Squadron member. Stevens was apoplectic with rage, yet he entered America in the Squadron's fleet race. She won a trophy called variously "the Squadron Cup" or "the 100 Pound Cup" (that's what it cost). The syndicate gave the trophy to the New York Yacht Club with a deed of gift dedicating it as "perpetually a challenge cup for friendly competition between foreign countries."

What this meant and what the trophy should be called were not settled for decades.  After the first challenge was sailed in a fleet race in 1870, the surviving member of the America syndicate, George L. Schuyler, demanded that the club run match races like the ones Stevens had hoped to get at Cowes. By the 1870s the trophy was usually called either "the Queen's Cup" or "the 100 Guineas Cup" (both misleading), and America's name was not regularly attached to it until much later.  

That the event survived all that confusion should make Cup Cassandras think twice about predicting imminent disaster. There seems to be something permanent about this notion of "friendly competition between foreign countries" played out as the founders planned it.

* From Adrian Morgan: Re Ken Guyer: the cup America won in 1851 was bought for £100 (pounds sterling) not guineas (a guinea was 21 shillings). One hundred guineas was therefore 100 hundred pounds and 100 shillings, ie £105 (pound sterling). Pedantry or simply accuracy?

David Redfern (Peter de Savary's former right hand man) was always keen to set that record straight but the error still persists. I have it on the best authority that the original invoice from Garrards, held at the Royal Yacht Squadron, will confirm the price paid.

* From Tom Keogh: Cheers to Ken Guyer for starting a good thread -  I'd like to be the first to disagree. Ron Katz is correct in saying that the first America's Cup was the 1851 race. The One Hundred Guinea Cup is The America's Cup. "America" won it in 1851, the 132 year streak ended in 1983 and the 150th anniversary Jubilee was in 2001 - QED.

The 1851 race was a fleet race and so was the first defense. In 1870, "Magic" won and beat the British challenger, "Cambria", in a fleet race which included "America". Anyone considering fleet racing for the America's Cup today should read about that one - a real demolition derby. "Cambria" was hit by another boat, lost the top of one of her masts and finished tenth. Too bad they couldn't televise that.

* From Andrew Howes: 18 foot skiff sailors were mentioned in Scuttlebutt 1192 as "the most 'in touch with the boat' sailors in the world", but surely it is hard to pass by sailors of the International Moth. A boat that is something like a cross between a single handed 18 foot skiff and half of an A Class cat. 11 feet long, less than 1 foot wide on the waterline and a total weight of 30 KG, hull, rig and wings included. See for yourself at:, or the classes' home pages in Australia and the UK

* From George Bailey: Sailing backwards is elite racing? Give me a break. All cruising sailors know how to sail backwards indefinitely. This is sailing 101. And I love the constant comparison some people make to "beer-can racing," whatever that is. You mean racing by people who are not paid to race? Is it being suggested that these events are in some way inferior to what paid sailors do? Racing is fun for the people doing it when its competitive, boring otherwise. It does not matter if one is racing in beer-keg boats (AKA that Japanese fellow's world cruiser). If the competition is close, the racing is fun. As to how much fun people have watching it, well, I surely cannot tell. Never liked watching other people race, or do any sport. The fun is in the doing. Got to wonder about the massively dominant voyeur mentality that explains the commercial success of TV as a purely passive source of pleasure to purely passive brains.

* From Rob Hahn: Regarding the AC being boring and all the suggestions put forth to spice it up: A lot of things could be altered in the AC (or any competition) to make it more appealing to groups that may find the current event lacking for them, but let's not go crazy. If a racing fleet of AC boats is what is wanted, then organize a new event that expands on the IACC fleet races that already exist. But this is MATCH RACING. As one person said, "It is what it is." I personally find watching golf excruciatingly dull, but that doesn't mean it should be changed so it appeals more to me. If a viewer doesn't like the AC as is that's ok, but that opinion alone is not a basis for changing the event and making it into something it's not. As Richard Bond said ('butt 1190), "It's the ultimate match race, one on one." Let's leave it that way.

* From Sherman Morss, Jr.: My grandfather, Chandler Hovey, would be turning in his grave - in ecstasy - if he heard people were suggesting fleet racing for the America's Cup. As owner at various times of the J-boats Yankee, Rainbow and Weetamoe, he relished the New York Yacht Club interludes of fleet racing during the cup seasons. The same held when he campaigned the 12-meter Easterner in the late 50's and 60's, making it possible for his children (and their spouses) and his grandchildren to experience racing in the trials.

Following his death, and in his honor, my family (Hovey and Morss) put up a prize for 12-meter fleet racing that promoted competition in a number of ports. The rise of secrecy, however, limited the interest in fleet racing during a cup year. How great it would be to see a half dozen AC boats on the line again, as with those impressive J-boat photos of the 1930's. And then there's the whole new approach to the competition....

EDITOR: And on that note, the "fleet racing in the America's Cup" thread is officially closed.

You can now buy official Oracle BMW Racing Team Clothing at The official online superstore of the America's Cup 2003 is also selling Team New Zealand, Victory Challenge, GBR Challenge, Alinghi and Le Defi official team clothing. America's Cup 2003 clothing, Replica Silverware, and accessories including Official Programs are also available. You can order from the comfort of your home or office with worldwide delivery at low freight rates.

The inaugural Isla Navidad race, a 1,185-mile run from Long Beach, Calif., to Isla Navidad, Mexico got underway with a staggered start on Oct. 31-Nov.1. Eleven boats started, and there were some players on the scratch sheet, including Bob McNeill's 86-foot Zephyrus V, which led the fleet as of Monday night. The three-boat big-boat class, which also includes Magnitude and Medicine Man, are ahead of the rest of the fleet on corrected time.The TP-52 Victoria 5 has retired.

Eckart Wagner, at the young age of 64, died of a stroke last week while sleeping in his house in Germany.

Eckart was one of those larger than life characters, adding excitement and interest to anything and everything he became involved with. At the age of 26, Eckart while sailing a 5.5 for Germany in the Olympics, met Lowell North. Even though Eckart had just earned his law degree, he flew to San Diego after the Olympics and convinced Lowell that he should start North's first loft in Europe, in between buying a Star boat in which he enjoyed many victories. Eckart, in classic fashion, got Lowell to agree to an exclusive. After creating the biggest loft in the North system, Eckart began to recruit other champion sailors to join him. Andre Nelis, who joined in 1973, was the first of many.

In 1981, Eckart, claiming he was bored, convinced Lowell and the other North managers to let him start a Windsurfing company. Working out of his loft, he soon required more room and correctly figured that he needed a low cost but high quality place to build the thousands of sails the sailors were demanding. So he moved to Sri Lanka and started North Sails Surf.

When North was sold to Terry Kohler in 1984, Terry asked Eckart to be president, which he did with his usual great enthusiasm and energy. But since his wind surf business was booming and his plant employing over 600 people, he had to return to be being President of North Surf. Soon after, he served for awhile on the North board and set up North's other Sri Lankan business near the surf plant. It successfully operates today with 280 people making sails, sail bags and an array of sail making parts.

Eckart retired from North and sail making in the early nineties, spreading his time between houses in Germany near his favorite Lake Starnberg, Whistler, British Columbia and Columbo, Sri Lanka. As a champion sailor, he continued to race his Star boat, race vintage cars and coach his daughter Kristin's Olympic campaign in the Yngling. Most fitting, his last regatta was a victory, with his brother Norbert, in the Gold cup on Lake Starnberg.

He wrote in his last letter to friends and family..."You see I'm busy, sometimes too busy but I enjoy it".

He lived life to the max until the end, an end that came all too quickly. -- Jay Hansen

Some truly astounding photos of the 60' trimaran Rexana Men towing a waterskier -- and flying two of its three hulls in the process -- have just been posted to the website. Photos by Yvan Zegga, guaranteed to astonish even the most jaded of sailors. Rexana Men is shown being singlehanded by her skipper Yvan Bourgnon, who in a few days will set off on the Route du Rhum. God help anyone who gets in his way.

The Daily Sail is the successor site to If you paid a subscription to MFS, TDS honors it. If you haven't signed up for The Daily Sail yet you should. The Curmudgeon and I both excerpt frequently from it, without a subscription you won't be able to read the full text of articles (many of which are quite long and very much in depth). £24.99 ($39 USD) for a full year is a bargain, even if just for these photos....

Love thy neighbor as yourself -- but choose your neighborhood carefully.