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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1200 - November 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.

We are now halfway through the conference. All committee meetings have now concluded, and the list of recommendations being made to the ISAF Council - the final decision making body of ISAF - is growing.

One of the more controversial submissions, regarding a minimum age limit (Submission 063-02P) was considered by the Youth and Development Committee. It was submitted by the Executive Committee and proposed a minimum age limit of 15 for competitors in a World Championship. After consideration of classes affected by this submission, including most notably the Optimist class, the Youth and Development Committee supported the submission in principle and the reasoning which was to reduce the pressure on young people to compete at top-level events, but changed the minimum age limit to 12 in their recommendation to Council. Other proposals from the Youth and Development Committee included a proposal to have age range events within the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championship, but this was subsequently rejected by the Events Committee, yesterday. However, it will be the Council that finally decide.

On Monday, the Windsurfing Committee covered the selection of equipment for Olympic Regattas beyond 2004, it is to be recommended to council that an evaluation panel consisting of current and past high level windsurfers be formed, together with technical experts and ISAF representatives be responsible for conducting trials, which would take place next year. Alessandra Sensini, is one of the top sailors who is proposed be included on the panel, and was attended the meeting herself.

The Race Officials Committee, who also met on Monday, agreed with the ISAF President's submission regarding the creation of a uniform and consistent application of rule 42 across all classes by submitting that classes must seek ISAF approval before any class specific changes are made to the rule. This is in response to the increasing use of the "Yellow Flag Rule", allowing certain other methods of propulsion above a certain wind speed, and is deemed urgent due to the proximity of the Olympic Games in Athens. ISAF will also be addressing this issue with the holding of an ISAF Judges Conference in March 2003.

Monday also saw the meeting of the Match Racing Committee who have given their backing to the re-launch the ISAF Nations Cup, a match racing event for national teams, with geographical qualification matches, culminating in a finals. This proposal was also endorsed by the Women's Sailing Committee. - ISAF website, full report:

All of yesterday's winners repeated, despite some close racing. The results mean the French Le Dfi team is one loss away from being eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup. Both Alinghi and Oracle BMW Racing can win their series and advance directly to the Semi-Finals with one more win. Team Dennis Conner and GBR Challenge are in the closest series, with the Americans up 2-1, but the races themselves have been very lopsided for the past two days, with the Stars & Stripes crew shrugging off a first match loss to turn in two dominating performances.

The conditions were favourable for racing again, with Southwesterlies of 13-18 knots on the Hauraki Gulf. - Louis Vuitton Cup Website, full story:

* Oracle looks to be on their way to the semifinals after coming from behind to beat OneWorld again by 19 seconds on Friday. After an aggressive start the Americans began on split tacks with Oracle out to the left with the early advantage and OneWorld to the right. The wind shifted to the right, giving USA65 a rare lead as they rounded the top mark eight seconds ahead of Oracle.

And it was a rare sight in the Louis Vuitton Cup when Oracle skipper Chris Dickson was able to make a downwind pass. Oracle showed great speed as they got up on the inside of OneWorld and forced them well past the layline before choosing the moment to gybe back and around the bottom mark with a 12 second lead. Gilmour tried to fight back but their rivals speed was too much, with USA76 covering well to make sure of their lead.

Oracle extended to 32 seconds by mark four and protecting the right side in the final beat to windward pushed on to be 41 seconds ahead by the final mark. It was an easy glide home for Dickson to remain unbeaten since he took charge. - nzoom website, full story:

* Prada kept it tight but Alinghi has taken a stranglehold on their match-up by claiming their third victory by eight seconds in the Louis Vuitton Cup quarterfinals on Friday. The Swiss looked comfortable again, despite a problem round the fourth mark that allowed ITA72 to get right back in the race. Alinghi's gennaker got caught under the bow leading into the second leeward mark and though they were able to get it in eventually, Prada tacked away and gained advantage on the right side before the Swiss were able to tack across.

The Italians were able to get level at one stage on the final beat to windward but Alinghi narrowly led them round the final mark 12 seconds ahead and although Prada closed on the run home, the Coutts-skippered boat looked comfortable. - Daryl Fenemor, nzoom website, full story:

Alinghi beat Prada by 8 seconds
Team Dennis Conner beat GBR Challenge by 2 minute 10 seconds
Oracle BMW beat OneWorld Challenge by 19 seconds
Victory Challenge beat Le Defi Areva by 1 minute 12 seconds

Alinghi Challenge (3 pts) - Prada Challenge (0 pts)
Oracle BMW Racing (3 pts) - OneWorld Challenge (0 pts)
Victory Challenge (3 pts) - Le Defi Areva (0 pts)
Team Dennis Conner (2 pts) - GBR Challenge (1 pt)

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Teams earned one point for each win during the eight races of round robins 1 and 2, after which the top eight teams advanced to quarter finals. The top 4 teams will have the easier route to the semi-finals because, even if they lose in their quarter-finals, they will get a second chance against winners of the quarter-finals for teams 5-8. Losers in the quarter-finals for teams 5-8 will be eliminated. - 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 David Vieregg: I wanted to relay how impressed I was to watch Geordie Shaver and Matt Smith perform on the foredeck of Oracle when their spinnaker pole broke. An incredible feat to keep their composure, get the pole fixed and ready to jibe when One World was attacking on starboard. There wasn't jumping around, screaming or yelling each man focused on the task at hand. I have known and sailed with these two guys for years and can attest to their focus, desire to win and ability to get the job done. It is terrific to see collegiate sailors making it to be one of the worlds best, another testament to why collegiate sailing is the best training ground for competitive sailing.

* From Charles Allen (edited to our 250-word limit): Doug Petter wishes to outlaw single-handed sailing based on two collisions in the Route du Rhum. I have sailed extensively on the 50 'Apic' that was involved in one of these collisions. I can assure Mr Petter that the boat in question has a radar set the can support 360 degree guard zones and two sets of navigation lights. She also carries a radar Target Enhancer. Both the RTE and radar dome are mounted half way up the mast. When the RTE operates it sounds an alarm in the cabin, the rest of the time it draws a minimal current. There would be no reason to disable it to avoid charging.

By suggesting Apic was not showing nav lights Mr Petter makes the assumption that the collision occurred at night. Not only would this be against the IRPCS but against the racing rules too. Perhaps you should considered the alternative option, that 'Apic' was rammed by a merchant vessel not operating her RADAR with no-one on the bridge. This, in my experience, does happen. In 10m seas and gale force winds it would be difficult for a small boat radar to pick up even a freighter. However the freighter would be hardly likely to miss a ping the size of an aircraft carrier returned from the RTE ... if anyone was watching.

If there are questions to be asked perhaps it should be to the organisers of a single-handed race starting in mid-November from Brittany, France.

* From Leo Voorneveld: (reply on this message: Doug Petter- edited to our 250-word limit): When you are sailing a 50' or 60' racing monohull and you don't see a ship, you are a menace on the water. You should not say and rant on what a danger single-handed sailing is till the moment that no fully crewed boat hits another boat. That just happens too. In heavy weather an outlook is not the most accurate observer. Imagine the weather they encountered. How do you know they do not have the lights on?

"What if the racing boat had just punched through the side of a crewed boat on a delivery ride?" They will take the blame. Just like a big ship would do.

"What about the damage they might cause to a working vessel trying to make a living on the sea." They will take the blame and pay up.

"If the freighter had been unlucky and crushed the hapless bloke there would be tremendous outcry at the negligent ship's captain!" I never heard that argument before.

"The ship may or may not have seen the sailboat on radar, but the sailboat certainly should have seen the ship on radar, they are a pretty massive target." Hmm, in heavy weather a radar is less effective. I bet the boats had their radar on with an alarm even. ( if it was working) It is stupid to not use the radar and every single-handed sailor I know respects it and use it.

Please let the sailors take a risk, live is already boring enough.

* Thank you for your coverage of the Sydney Gay Games in Scuttlebutt #1199. As the only openly gay sailor I know of who trained for the Olympics in both 1996 and 2000, it's encouraging to see the efforts of other gay sailors acknowledged in a "mainstream" publication with such wide reach.

Sailing is a very homophobic sport. Over the years I have gotten a lot of grief from competitors for my orientation, been called a "fag" and had innumerable opportunities withheld. To be fair, there have also been some terrific people who have stepped up and been supportive, including the sailor from Alabama who, at the end of the 1996 Savannah Trials said: "I've never really known a gay person before, but being around you has changed my attitude (toward homosexuals)." It's one of my most cherished memories.

Today I am the "sailing pro" at a conservative east coast club. While some here are aware of my orientation many are not, so I ask you not post my name. I held the torch for a long time and at this time don't care to have my livelihood threatened.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: We don't often publish letters without identifying the writer, but we will honor this request for anonymity.

* From Rick Hatch: After losing to Dennis in the LVC finals in January 1987, watching the determination in Chris Dickson's eyes and demeanour since he has been aboard USA 76 has been the best drama thus far in the 2002-03 AC/LVC regatta. Although for the time being Larry isn't getting to crew on his IAAC race boats (maybe he's needed in the companionway aboard Katana?), he gets full marks for the most astute decision any syndicate chief has made since the racing started Oct. 1. Have no doubt (One World - take note); Chris has the bone in his teeth. The intrigue of this story is tantalizing for the ensuing chapters.

* From Mark Green: The most interesting race going on in the Around Alone now is between fellow Californians Bruce Schwab (in a Class 1 Open 60) and Brad Van Liew (in a Class 2 Open 50). Brad has a 120-mile lead with 2600 miles to go but Bruce is closing fast. Can he fend off the larger boat that long?

Thomas Coville, the skipper of Sobedo, leader of the Route du Rhum until Wednesday, has decided to return to port: structural problems on the beams are the origin of this retirement. For the moment, the boat like the skipper is not in danger, but Coville would rather take shelter in a Portuguese port to preserve the structure. The sea is once again very big and the wind is now blowing above 35 knots.

The British tandem Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) and Mike Golding (Ecover) are almost sailing neck and neck towards the West Indies at more than 15 knots. The Azores are less than 200 miles away and the duo have extended their lead on the boats in their wake.

So far, 19 of the 58 starters have abandoned the race. Leading boats 0700 GMT on November 14:
ORMA 60' multihulls: Marc Guillemot, Biscuits la Trinitaine
IMOCA 60' monohulls: Ellen MacArthur, Kingfisher
Class 2 50' monohulls: Nick Moloney, Ashfield Healthcare
Class 3 40' monohulls: Rgis Guillemot, Storagetek
Class 2 50' multihulls: Frank Yves, Escoffier Crepes Whaou!

Event website:

Graham Dalton crossed the Cape Town finish line on Hexagon at 02:54:12 GMT Friday after a struggle in light airs in the last few miles. Dalton finished fourth in Class 1. It will be several days before there will be another finisher. At 2200 UTC November 14, Brad Van Liew's Class 2 Tommy Hilfiger is the closest boat to Cape Town - 2566 miles away from the finish line. -

Paradise Island, Bahamas - It was another good day for Terry McLaughlin's Canadian team aboard Defiant, but the evening could prove tough in the protest room. Defiant won the first and third of three races on this second day of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships in Nassau. The team's two victories are threatened, however, by two protests involving incidents at the start. In race three, the Race Committee has protested Flash Gordon, Helmut Jahn's Chicago entry, for fouling on the anchor line of its committee boat. A resulting chain of protests worked backward to Defiant, the alleged source of the problem. In race one, Crocodile Rock, owned by Alex Geremia and Scott Harris of Santa Barbara, Calif., protested Defiant for barging at the start.

"The fleet is very aggressive," said Crocodile Rock's tactician Robbie Haines, an Olympic Gold medallist from San Diego, Calif. "Consistency and staying out of trouble is the key here." With finish positions of 12-10-2 today, Crocodile Rock rose from ninth to third overall in the 20-25 knot breezes.

Also making huge gains today was Le Renard, skippered by Steve Phillips of Arnold, Md., when it posted finishes of 2-7-10 to move up from eighth to second place overall. "As much as everyone wanted to win today, you just have to say that a second is fine," said tactician Mark Reynolds of San Diego, Calif., explaining that Le Renard was winning today's first race up until the last quarter of the last downwind leg. It was then that Defiant caught them. "I've learned from experience that in this class you just need to be in the top ten every race."

Today's second race was won by Breeze, the Italian entry skippered by Vincenzo Onorato, who came straight to this championship after being eliminated from the America's Cup Challenger Races in New Zealand. Breeze currently is in 13th. - Barby MacGowan

Results before protests:
1. Defiant, Terry McLaughlin, CAN, 16
2. Le Renard, Steve PhillipsUSA, 38
3. Crocodile Rock Alexandra Geremia/Scott Harris, USA, 44
4. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, USA, 46
5. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, USA, 47

Complete results:

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison says he'll be back aboard his race boat before the America's Cup finishes, but for the moment he's happy to sacrifice his personal sailing ambitions "for the good of the team."

Ellison told an audience of 900 in Auckland and about 8,000 in San Francisco via a satellite television link that he fully expected to rejoin the Oracle crew for future challenger or Cup races. Ellison was delivering the keynote address to Oracle Week technology convention.

"I've been in the race boat for several races, I've driven in several races and every time I drove we gained," Ellison said, to applause and laughter. "However, that didn't stop Chris from kicking me out of the boat. Chris Dickson took my spot in the race boat. I'm trying to figure out who's the better sailor, me or Chris? I thought about it for a while and no matter how I thought about it I couldn't come up with me as an answer." But Ellison says he expects to be back on board at some point. - Fox Sports website, full story:

"Best in the West 2002," an ESPN2 special presentation, is scheduled for showing next week. The production hosted by Gary Jobson and Paul Page features includes the record-breaking Tommy Bahama Newport to Ensenada Race, the Nautica Star Worlds at Marina del Rey, the San Francisco Big Boat Series, with detours to Key West and Auckland, N.Z. U.S. broadcast times: Monday, Nov. 18, 10:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 19, 10:30 a.m. PST (Please check local listings in case of schedule changes) -

We've been informed by Oracle BMW Racing that their published sailing team for Race Two of the quarterfinals was, "changed last minute prior to racing" and John Cutler was on the boat for that race.

If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.