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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1201 - November 18, 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.

ROLEX FARR 40 WORLDS
Paradise Island, Bahamas - Steve Phillips of Arnold, Md., has steered Le Renard to win the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - and a new Rolex watch. Over four days of competition in poster-perfect sailing conditions at the Atlantis Resort, Phillips turned in single-digit finishes in all but one of ten races, which proved the key to his success.

Phillips, the current Farr 40 East Coast champion, credited his tactician Mark Reynolds, a three-time Olympic medallist from San Diego, with keeping everyone on track to victory. "I'd hate to play poker with the guy, he stays so cool," said Phillips. "He doesn't let us get in difficult situations."

Phillips finished with 61 points overall and a 22-point lead over second-place finisher Groovederci, skippered by the regatta's only woman skipper Deneen Demourkas of Montecito, Calif. Groovederci and would-be third-place finisher Crocodile Rock, skippered by Scott Harris of Santa Barbara, Calif., were over early in today's second race, and in their battle back to earn respectable positions encountered problems at a congested mark. Both boats were protested by Italy's Nerone, with Crocodile Rock losing the battle in the jury room to fall from third to fifth. - Barby MacGowan

1. Le Renard, Steve Phillips, USA, 61
2. Groovederci, Deneen/John Demourkas, USA, 83
3. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, USA, 83
4. Nerone, Massimo Mezzaroma/Antonio Migliori, ITA, 88
5. Crockadile Rock, Alexandra Geremia/Scott Harris, USA, 91
6. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn, USA, 92
7. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, USA, 95

Complete results: www.farr40.org

LVC QUARTER FINALS
Sweden's Victory Challenge and Team Dennis Conner of the U.S. have advanced to the Quarterfinal Repechage Round of Louis Vuitton Cup 2003. The two teams advanced to the next round of competition after winning their Flight 5 matches. Victory defeated France's le Défi Areva and Team Dennis Conner downed GBR Challenge, each by a score of 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.

On Saturday in Auckland, the French surprised Victory Challenge with a come from behind win to stay alive in the best-of-seven Quarter Final, and prolong their stay in the Louis Vuitton Cup. OneWorld didn't enjoy the same change in form as Oracle BMW Racing continued to roll through the Quarter Finals with a fourth consecutive win to knock OneWorld down to the Quarter Final Repechage. The Oracle BMW team now proceeds directly to the Semi Finals where it will meet Alinghi. However, that match will not begin until December 9.

Prada and OneWorld Challenge will have to sail in the Repechage round, scheduled to begin on November 23rd. On the strength of its Round Robin record, OneWorld will pick its opponent for the Repechage. - Excerpts from information posted on the Louis Vuitton Cup website - www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/

WEEKEND RACE RESULTS
Saturday (in Auckland)
Alinghi beat Prada by forfeiture
Team Dennis Conner beat GBR Challenge by 34 seconds
Oracle BMW beat OneWorld Challenge by 33 seconds
Le Defi Areva beat Victory Challenge by 34 seconds

Sunday:
Postponed - too much wind

Monday:
Victory Challenge beat Le Defi Areva by 2 minutes 34 seconds
Team Dennis Conner beat GBR Challenge by 1 minute 42 seconds

COMMENTARY
Oracle's Lazarus act has been spectacular, and no doubt is tied to near-perfect crew work shown since the much-ballyhooed lineup changes that put Dickson onboard - and left Ellison off. But we're not buying the notion that those on-deck swaps have made all the difference.

It's the boat, mates. The same boat (although some people watching it then and now would swear otherwise) that was getting spanked on downwind runs earlier in the regatta by the likes of Victory Challenge.

After a series of "mode changes" by the Oracle design team, USA-76 has surged forward like water out of a hydrant. Whatever designer Bruce Farr and company did, they did quickly - and perfectly. USA-76 today may well be the fastest boat on Hauraki Gulf - upwind, downwind, any wind.

* It doesn't take a Kiwi design guru to figure out why. USA-76 - a touch slimmer and probably lighter than any other boat in the fleet - is flat-out fast. Perhaps fast enough to give Alinghi's SUI-64, which likewise waltzed through its quarterfinal match with Prada, a run for its money. - Ron C. Judd, Seattle Times, full story: seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/americascup/134577765_judd17.html

LOST YOUR MAST IN A STORM OR AT THE WEATHER MARK?
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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 Reynald Neron: In response to your readers who want to outlaw single handed sailing because of the collisions during the Route du Rhum, I am wondering if we should also outlaw the ships of the Royal Navy? Indeed, one of them, the Nottingham, collided a few month ago with a rock off Lord Howe Island (408 nm off the East Coast of Australia) And I assume it would be easier to avoid a rock than another moving vessel...

* From Nancy E. Wigal: Thanks for publicizing the Gay Games! As a lesbian who has been sailing for quite a few years, I am glad to see the 'Butt not have qualms about acknowledging that there are gay sailors, too. In the Maryland and Virginia sailing community, there are two gay sailing associations that have good-sized memberships. As I sail the West River and the Chesapeake Bay, I'm always on the lookout for friendlies.

It's nice to know I'm not alone. However, I feel despair at any gay sailor coming out, because I know that she/he doesn't want to risk losing sponsorship. The sailing community is made up of society as a whole, and there are gay sailors everywhere. Maybe in my lifetime, all professional athletes will finally be able to be open regarding their sexual orientation, not just the brave few who really understand that they must be accepted as who they are, not just as an athlete.

You can print my name!

* From Aidan S. Bolger: It is obvious to me that Scuttlebutt and the Curmudgeon care little about the sexual orientation of sailors in general and Buttheads in particular, hence the enlightened report on the Sydney Gay Games. In my opinion a simple "Thank You" would have been appropriate. If you are openly gay then be so, otherwise do not go on at length winging about it and then request anonymity. Either you are or you are not and I am sure most Buttheads really don't care. Talk about a double standard. At least have the courage of your convictions or pipe down.

Tom should I also request anonymity? Please do not consider this a personal attack as we do not know who is the individual and again don't really care.

* From Bob Knowles: I'm outraged that any sailor, in this day and age, has been called foul names or denied opportunities for any reason! I don't recall the guy at the brokerage where I bought my boat asking if I was gay or straight. Likewise, when I visit Fawcetts or any other chandlery or call Team 1 or Masthead for goodies for me or the boat no one has ever said "Straights only welcome here". No one at the yacht club cares what I do in my spare time as long as I pay my dues, play fair on the race course, and don't embarrass everybody at the regatta parties.

There are serious issues of sportsmanship here. If this fellow sailor has been called names and denied opportunities because of his sexual orientation, or for any other reason, there are some sailors and/or sailing organizations out there that need a serious attitude adjustment. If this sport isn't open to everyone to enjoy (as I naively assumed it was), maybe it's time I haul my middle aged butt and my toys and go play somewhere else.

Thanks! I needed that.

* From Richard Clark: Here he is the "U-Boat" skipper, steely eyed, in full flight, who does he have in his sights, Russell Coutts? No way, this master sailor has the Cup itself and Team New Zealand truly in his sights. This is payback time. Chris is a genius and like most geniuses can be a handful or, as in Van Gogh's case, an ear full. His hardest strategy is going to be keeping Larry the Paymaster off the boat. Maybe Larry should remember his own comments as he stepped off Sayonara after Dickson won him Line Honours in the tragic Sydney-Hobart. Go Chris, there are a great many kiwi ex-pats riding on your winch handles.

* From David Redfern: You may be interested to see that the television coverage of the America's Cup has been scoring high on BBC2 in the UK. For the week ending 20 October, it was 7th in the list of top ten sports programmes with 2m viewers. 27 Oct figures have it at 8th with 1.8m.

CHANGING TIMES
When entries applications closed today Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania Commodore Robert "Biddy" Badenach revealed that the 2002 Sydney to Hobard race will have only 56 starters, the smallest number in 36 years and a fraction of the 350 boats that racing in the 50th. Race media director Peter Campbell says increased insurance and safety costs have deterred some from entering, but they are happy with the quality of the field. Certainly it's down a little bit on numbers, but quality- wise it's tremendous,' Mr Campbell said. 'It's a great fleet led by some of the best boats in the world.

The 58th race which starts on December 26th on Sydney Harbour is shaping as the battle of the super-maxis. Neville Crichton's giant new Reichel Pugh 90 footer Shockwave, considered by experts to be the fastest racing mono-hull afloat is being carefully tuned for the 627 mile sprint to Hobart. In a short overnight race two weeks ago, she blitzed her competition.

Large and fast but she won't be the largest boat in the 2002 classic. A 96 footer, Mike Slade's Leopard of London was yesterday unloaded in Sydney. In March 2002, Leopard was on a trans- Atlantic delivery when her rudder broke. She began taking water and her crew had to abandon her. After being salvaged, she fell off her shipping cradle. Now rebuilt, Leopard has been extended from 90 feet to 96 feet and her crew are confident she can take line honours.

The 2000 Line Honours winner Nicorette and Wild Thing will be ready to pounce if the 90 footers stumble and George Snow's little 79 footer Brindabella certainly knows the way south. - Rob Kothe, Sail-World website, full story: www.sail-world.com/sydneytohobart2002/

ROUTE DU RHUM
The incredible match racing between the frontrunners Kingfisher and Ecover is as exciting as ever. The Atlantic Ocean has turned into a serious game of chess, where every move can affect the result. Kingfisher has stretched out a 23 mile lead heading west. Ecover is on a more southerly course in search of stronger winds. There is less than half the course to go and today's ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) is indicating that the monohull record is likely to be beaten by more than 24 hours. The British duo is expected to finish in Guadeloupe early Friday 22 November, less than 14 days after the start in Saint-Malo. The reigning monohull record was set in 1994 by Yves Parlier on Cacolac d'Aquitaine, in 15 days, 19h, 23 min.

TechnoMarine is more than 200 miles ahead of his closest 60' multihull rival, Banque Populaire, but only 63 miles ahead of Kingfisher. - www.routedurhum.org

Leading boats: ORMA 60' multihulls: St¸ve Ravussin TechnoMarine
IMOCA 60' monohulls: Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher
Class 2 50' monohulls: Nick Moloney Ashfield Healthcare
Class 3 40' monohulls: Régis Guillemot Storagetek
Class 2 50' multihulls: Frank Yves Escoffier Crepes Whaou!

ULLMAN POSITION
Ullman Sails dominated the 2002 J/105 North Americans hosted by Chicago Yacht Club. With boat speed to burn both upwind and downwind, Ullman Sails won 4 of the 7 highly competitive races. Ullman Sails customers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th with a total of 6 boats placing in the top ten. From East to West Coast, Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, wherever J/105's are being raced you can be assured that Ullman Sails will be the top performers. www.ullmansails.com

AROUND ALONE
"It's hard to imagine six straight days of an enormous one-legged beat, but I'm on one," is how Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal started his email today. Kent, along with the rest of his Class 2 competitors are sailing the longest beat of their lives as they transit the length of the South Atlantic. For almost a week all of the Class 2 yachts have been hard on the wind with the breeze blowing over their port bows. The seaway is short and steep, and for those further to the north, violent squalls are still a part of their day. Even Brad van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America sailing far to the south is also still hard on the wind. At noon Saturday Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America was on the latitude of Cape Town, but van Liew had still not found a shift in the wind that would allow him to turn left and head directly for the tip of Africa.

Standings 2200 UTC November 17, 2002 - CLASS 1:
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, finished (29 days, 21 hours, 59 minutes)
2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, finished (30 days, 8 hours, 42 minites)
3. Pindar, Emma Richards, finished (30 days, 15 hours, 27 minutes)
4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, finished (31 days, 15 hours, 54 minutes)
5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 2341 mtfl
6. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 5354 mtfl

CLASS 2:
1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 2337 miles from finish
2. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 315 mbl
3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 355 miles behind leader
4. Spirit of Yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 710 mbl
5. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 801 mbl
6. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 829 mbl

Event website: www.aroundalone.org

VICTORY CHALLENGE
As the Swedish boat Victory Challenge heads out of its berth in Viaduct Harbor for a quarterfinal match against the French, its backer, Hugo Stenbeck, sends his team off by blowing the horn of his 83-foot yacht, Black Knight, and cranking the stereo to an ear-splitting level. The tune? A raucous heavy-metal fusillade, AC/DC's "T.N.T."

At 23, Stenbeck is the youngest head of an America's Cup syndicate. And while Team Dennis Conner, backed by the New York Yacht Club, usually gets the credit as New York's hometown syndicate, Stenbeck is actually the only New Yorker behind a Cup effort. The son of a Swedish father and an American mother, he grew up in Glen Head on Long Island, went to prep school in Maine, lives on the East Side of Manhattan and attends New York University.

His role at the head of the Swedish syndicate, though, is a reluctant one. His father, the Swedish telecommunications entrepreneur Jan Stenbeck, who was the original backer of the Victory Challenge campaign, died of a heart attack in Paris in August, at 59. News of Stenbeck's death jolted the Victory Challenge camp in Auckland just as the team was launching its boat to a Maori hymn. For a while, there was doubt that the campaign could survive without its founder, a larger-than-life man who spent $25 million for a weeklong millennium party in Stockholm. But Hugo Stenbeck said that at a "crisis management" meeting of executives and family advisers in the hours after his father's death, he made the case to keep his father's dream of a Swedish America's Cup challenge alive.

"I stood up and said, if I can convince you to keep the funding, then I'll go down there to see it through," he said. - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story: www.nytimes.com/2002/11/17/sports/othersports/17BOAT.html

QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* "We are comfortable with the boat and that's really changed the whole attitude of the team - even from our supporters to our sailors and I think we're simply sailing the boat better right now. We feel more comfortable and when you feel more comfortable good things typically happen. - Ken Read, Stars & Stripes skipper

* "This is a marathon not a sprint. We have a long road ahead. We have also been through a lot over the last two years and if any team can pull it off its ours," James Spithill OneWorld Challenge Helmsman

* "We saw that we still have a margin for improvement, surely now everything is closer, the gains are smaller and more difficult to attain. It is possible that in the near future we will face Alinghi again and this is one of the factors at the bottom of our decision. In fact through the repechage formula you can always find yourself facing again the same opponent against whom you have lost in the past. The difference is that by staying in the top tier of the scoreboard you have more time to do a great deal of work "in house", but without being able to test it against others. The repechage, on the other hand, is more costly in terms of energy, equipment wear and tear and fatigue but it allows you to sail more races. And this in turn means testing your boat against more opponents and furthering its development, together with that of the crew. You may then find yourself in the same spot but through a longer and more difficult route. Luna Rossa ITA 74 is now in the shed for the modifications while we still have some work to do on ITA 80, which will be sailing again in a couple of days." - Francesco de Angelis, skipper of Prada's Luna Rosa

* "We've just come from a half hour meeting where Bruce Farr has had us going through a long list of things of improvements that they've been working on and there's talk of how we're going to incorporate those improvements over the next few weeks. We have changes that are planned to come through. We'd like some time on the water to test those. Three weeks now will allow us to go to another level-we know where some of that level is, we'd like to think we can go a little more. Time is our friend and we have a long list of things we wish to achieve and three weeks is great for us and we'll use it well." - Chris Dickson, Oracle BMW Racing skipper

* "I think Chris has done a brilliant job. All of the afterguard are working better, it's not just the addition of Chris. Adding Chris was hugely important but all the afterguard are communicating better because of the facilitation of having Chris there. Everythings going better. I had a personal ambition to sail on that boat, but the fact of the matter is that my personal goals and ambitions have to take second place to the team's goal to win and Chris is the right guy to make those decisions." - Larry Ellison, Oracle BMW Racing

ANOTHER RECORD
American Steve Fossett and New Zealand co-pilot Terry Delore captured the 500 kilometer world speed record for gliders Friday, November 15 in the South Island of New Zealand. After circling for over 2 hours waiting for the ideal conditions, Fossett and Delore streaked around a 500 kilometer (310 mile) triangle course in 2 hours and 44 minutes setting a new World Record speed of 185.63 km/h (115 mph). Flying a German built ASH-25 (25 meter wingspan) glider, today's flight breaks the record set 12 years ago by Hans Werner Grosse of Germany at 171.10 km/h (106 mph).

This adds to Fossett's stellar year of world records in 3 sports. In July he completed the First Solo Balloon Flight Round the World on Bud Light Spirit of Freedom. And just 3 weeks ago he broke the Round Britain and Ireland sailing record in 4 days and 16 hours on the 125' (38 meter) ultra-catamaran PlayStation. This is Steve's first world record in gliding, although he made unsuccessful attempts on the glider altitude record in August. - www.fossettchallenge.com

MELGES 24 KING'S DAY REGATTA
Thirty Four Melges 24 raced in extreme conditions at the Florida Yacht Club. Brian Porter's Full Throttle crew scored tree bullets this weekend unmistakably making them the overall winners in Jacksonville. Argyle Campbell captured second place. Some of Saturday's contenders did not survive so well today such as Sheldon Echlund (USA-553) who was tied for second place overall, finished eighth in today's race resulting in a third place finish overall. Paula Zubrzycki finished fourth. Doug Fisher landed a fantastic fifth place finish, up from the eighth position in Saturday's results. Complete results: www.melges24.com

CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
I just saw a preview of the ESPN 2 'Best in the West' show that's on TV tonight and tomorrow morning. My advice- don't miss it: Monday: 10:30 PM PST with a re-air on Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM PST on Tuesday morning. - www.jobsonsailing.com/tvsched.html

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are beautiful.