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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1205 - November 22, 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.

BOTY
Cruising World and Sailing World magazines have named the Hallberg-Rassy 43 and the Javelin 2 as overall winners of their prestigious 2003 Boat of the Year (BOTY) awards. This year, judges surveyed a group of some 50 boats ranging 10 to 58 feet in length. All nominees are new (or substantially redesigned) boats launched since October 2001. The winners of the 2003 BOTY Awards will be featured in the December/ January issue of Sailing World and the January issue of Cruising World.

The Javelin 2, an 18-foot doublehanded catamaran, is built in Italy by Bimare and designed by Michelangelo Petrucci was named the Sailing World Overall Performance Boat of the Year, by judges Meade Gougeon, Alan Andrews, Chuck Allen. The Javelin 2, distributed in the U.S. by Novacaines Mutiny, Virginia Beach, Va. also won the High-Performance Day Racer category.

Other Sailing World awards went to:
- Racer/Cruiser - Swan 45 Nautor AB, OY (Pietarsaari, Finland) / Designed by German Frers

- Sportboat - Ultimate 24 Ultimate Sailboats (Santa Cruz, Calif.) / Designed by Jim Antrim

- Performance Dinghy - Fusion 15 Fusion Sailboats (Woodview, Ontario, Canada) / Designed by Steve Killing

- Best Value - Precision 185 Precision Boat Works (Palmetto, Fla.) / Designed by Jim Taylor

The German Frers-designed Hallberg-Rassy 43 became the Cruising World Overall Cruising Boat of the Year by an independent team of judges who took 10 days to sea trial and deliberate the merits of 30 nominated cruising designs. The Hallberg-Rassy 43 also won the Best Midsize Cruiser Under $400,000 category. Other Cruising World awards went to:

- Best Production Cruiser Under $150,000 - Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32 Jeanneau America (Annapolis, Md.)

- Best Midsize Cruiser Under $250,000 - Beneteau 423 Beneteau USA (Charleston, S.C.)

- Best Midsize Cruiser Under $400,000 - Hallberg-Rassy 43 Hallberg-Rassy (Ells, Sweden) / Designed by German Frers

- Best Full-Size Cruiser - Aerodyne 47 Aerodyne Yachts (Webster, Mass.) / Designed by Rodger Martin Yacht Design (Newport, R.I.)

- Best Cruising Multihull - Voyage 580 Voyage Yachts (Cape Town, South Africa) (Distributed in the U.S. by Voyage Charters, Annapolis, Md.)

- Best Value - Prestige 38 Broadblue Catamarans (Suffolk, U.K.)

- Most Innovative - Etap 32 Etap Yachts (Malle, Belgium)

For more information: www.sailingworld.com

ROUTE DU RHUM
After 13 days of extremely intense racing, Ellen MacArthur is still pushing the boat to its limits. She does not want to think of a first in Guadeloupe before the finish line is behind her. "It is not won yet!" However Kingfisher had a 68 mile lead on Ecover, with 433 miles to the finish at 1500 GMT today. Kingfisher is expected to cross the finish line off Pointe Pitre in Guadeloupe tomorrow Friday late evening GMT time. Gant, leading the 60-foot multihulls had 913 miles to the finish line at 1500 GMT and is estimated to finish late Sunday GMT time.

Ellen MacArthur has kept a steady lead on the monohull fleet over the last few days but the 68 mile lead is not enough to assure the successful English skipper of victory. Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding are charging away up front, crunching more than 360 miles in 24 hours, averaging 15 knots! "It is very difficult and very stressful. I am physically very tired.

The wind is currently east southeast, and the frontrunners are encountering close reaching conditions, with the wind still fast but at a tighter angle than the recent downwind conditions. The wind is likely to back easterly again closer to Guadeloupe and the big gennakers will once again be rolled out. - Josefine Lemmel, www.routedurhum.org

* Having left (his 60-foot trimaran) Fujifilm for the safety of a freighter after the trimaran started to break up, Lock Peyron rode as far as the Azores, then made fast tracks for the Spanish port of Vigo. There he met a support team and went back to sea aboard a towboat, hoping to effect a recovery. Instead, he reported, "We had covered only 5 or 6 miles when the towboat broke down. The following day, we had to fly over the zone to find her again. I saw that the central hull was heeled over at 45, and there was nothing much we could do. I even think she suffered a collision, given her condition. We tried to tow her anyway, but the seas were rough, with 4-meter waves and weather you'd only find in a "Commandant Cousteau" TV show. We couldn't do anything. Now the boat will end up on the rocks somewhere between Porto and Lisbon, unless favourable winds push her into the Porto harbour, but that's another thing. I think she'll reach the coast tomorrow or the day after. - Sail magazine website, full story: www.sailmag.com/html/briefing.html#havana

THE LEADERS:
ORMA 60' multihulls: Gant;Michel Desjoyeaux; 913 miles to finish
IMOCA 60' monohulls: Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher - 433 nm
Class 2 50' monohulls: Nick Moloney Ashfield Healthcare
Class 3 40' monohulls: Rgis Guillemot Storagetek - 1713 nm
Class 2 50' multihulls: Frank Yves Escoffier Crepes Whaou! - 984

SAIL FOR GOLD FINISHES STRONG AT N.A. TORNADO CHAMPIONSHIPS
Congratulations to the team of Oskar Johansson and John Curtis. These hot Canadians came in 2nd place at the recent Tornado North American Championships. To be a serious competitor Oskar needs the best equipment possible and gives high praise to his Samson rope "We use Samson's Lightning rope for all of our trap lines and guy wires. It is light, easy to splice, has very low air drag and absolutely does not stretch." Bolt to the lead with Lightning, made from a Dyneema/Vectran fiber blend. Choose Samson Rope Technologies as your high tech source. www.samsonrope.com/home/recmarine/index.cfm

LVC REPECHAGE
Seattle-based OneWorld is the only team to change boats for the America's Cup challenger series quarter-final repechage starting tomorrow. At a skipper's press conference this morning, OneWorld's Peter Gilmour said his team would be using USA-67, rather than USA-65 - the boat they sailed to a 0-4 defeat in the first stage of the quarterfinals against Oracle BMW.

Team Dennis Conner and Sweden's Victory Challenge, are to stick with the boats they used in the first stage of the quarter-finals. Conner's team will be racing Stars and Stripes USA-77 in their best-of-seven contest with OneWorld, while Victory will take SWE-73 into their matches with Prada.

After undergoing extensive work Luna Rossa ITA 74 went back into the water on Thursday. Matteo Plazzi, navigator on Luna Rossa, said, "We had a very long night yesterday: we stepped the mast around 2 am, put the boat in the water at 4 am and at 5 am began measurement. Around 7 am we were able to carry out the first structural tests and at 8.30 we left the dock. Today's outing was used primarily to check that everything was functioning correctly.

"Unfortunately the wind was very shifty and we were unable to assess the speed of the boat. However, the few hours that we spent on the water were precious because they enabled us to gain, once more, confidence in our boat and tomorrow we will be able to focus only on racing. In the ideal world we would have obviously liked to have three or four days to train with ITA 74 before the repechage round, but this was not feasible as we didn't have enough time. We trained with ITA 80 and were able to test some solutions that we might decide to use on ITA 74." Just prior to the 1305 hours deadline, Prada declared they would sail ITA 74 in the repechage round.

The two winning teams from this series will advance to the semifinals, where they will face each other in a best of seven series, starting December 9. The two losers will be eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup.

The popular America's Cup syndicate Mascalzone Latino have further endeared themselves to New Zealanders by donating all their team food to charity. The Italians, affectionately known as the Latin Rascals, were the first team eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup this month. Their early departure meant there was a lot of food left over - about 20 large pallets of long-life food such as cereal, tuna and biscuits.

Team manager Paolo Scutellaro decided it would not be practical to take the food back to Italy, so the decision was made to donate it to charity. The charity chosen was the South Auckland children's hospital Kidz First.

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 Jon Alvord: I believe this Route du Rhum will go down as a negative chapter in the multihull book. As an owner of a 31foot tri I told myself that I will never depend on a Autopilot, even sent the one I owned back. These boats all deserve the respect of a human at the helm, if that means not doing singlehanded distance races, then so be it! Yes there is a time an place for autopilots, like when you are motoring in dead wind for 20 miles.

* From Kevin Dibley, Auckland, New Zealand: George Backhus (Scuttlebutt 1204) has got it spot on. As one of the 'professionals' in the industry, I'm hoping it will stay. But you go where the clients are. "Supply on demand". In as far as the "Loyal" campaign here in NZ - they lost the plot and more importantly the big picture. Black Heart Campaign money should go to Team NZ for R&D et. And people need to remember the times when Russell & Co (including Chris Dickson etc.) sailed for NZ with their hand on their heart, 'Silver Fern' on their chest and hands in their pocket looking for change. They've done there bit. Our national Rugby Team the 'All Blacks' are going through similar changes now that they've become 'pros'. The young play for the country and the older move onto 'greener pastures'. It's life.

* From Jim Barber: With all of the money that's been spent putting together the nine challenger team programs as well as the defender's, and with all of the equipment on location in Auckalnd, why not do some fleet racing after the AC is over? It seems that this would, proportionately, not cost a whole lot more to fund, and would be a terrific event. Since there are two boats for most syndicates, if all of the boats raced, there could be close to 20 boats in the fleet. Now that would be an exciting event!

* From Scott J. MacLeod (In Reply to Peter Huston): If you want to see the same great racing at 9 events around the world. All you have to do is come to any Swedish Match Tour event. Over $700k in prize money, worldwide television coverage, over 100,000 spectators and great sponsors. Peter Holmberg of Oracle BMW Racing (the current Swedish Match Tour Champion) is showing the same agressive starting skills that he showed all last year on the Tour. www.swedishmatchtour.com

* From John Roberson: Five years ago, use of the Whitbread Race website provided simple "click" access to a very adequate and informative map, showing the positions of the boats racing, it was simple and fast to access. Try getting the same information now from the Route du Rhum, or Around Alone websites, to name but two of the current offenders. Internet geeks have made them into a combination of a maze and a minefield. "Technological progress" has made it more difficult and time consuming to access the information we're after - we've gone backwards!

My needs of a race website are that I can get information quickly and easily, I don't need things that flash at me, or other animation and clever tricks that make the webmaster look smart, but do little for the dissemination of information. Maybe I'm just a reactionary old f**t, but while I'm having a whinge ... How can Virtual Spectator claim to provide 3D animation when it is on a 2D screen?

* From Tom Price: We're from the ISAF and we are here to help " These chilling words, having the same meaning as with our Federal Gov. might as well have been spoken by our "service organization". I, like most 'Butt readers, generally am little concerned about the machinations of this body...(4 part mainsheets and all), until their tentacles reach down to the boat I sail.

The Star class, which has probably has existed longer than any International governing body, is being strong-armed by the ISAF into denying nearly 100 years of Class management and history in the management of it's World Championships. Being an Olympic class is clearly a double edged sword. It's way beyond the interest of most readers to discuss the dispute, but suffice to say that the "Body being governed" needs to be aware of its vulnerability. Any governing body that would overlook and run roughshod over a Class Association that has very successfully run it's affairs since the early 1900's, for the benefit of the very few Funded and Professionals and perhaps the chimeric hope of television revenues, should be watched very carefully.

AROUND ALONE
Out on the race course, the Class 2 skippers are now desperate to get to the finish and as 2nd placed Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield on Open 40 Spirit of Canada admitted: "The urge to save miles and head for Cape Town is very strong." He goes on to explain that although the High opened a door for them to cut the corner a little, it is now firmly shut again: "So after a few light air days, we are now back trying to get south and on the far side of another high approaching from the west. You saw both Everest Horizontal and myself take a bunch of miles from Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, but we will give them all back and more before the finish. It's going to be a real battle to the finish, with the the boats behind closing in as well..."

After enjoying a pace setting run for the last 30 hours, the speed on leader Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is finally dropping as the wind moves more into the west and the waves drop from their peak of 15 feet, to around 10 feet. Brad Van Liew expects to have to gybe during the day today and is concerned about a ridge of high pressure between where he is sailing, and the finish line. - Mary Ambler, www.aroundalone.com

Standings 2200 UTC November 21, 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, 1417 miles to finish
6. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 4334 mtf

CLASS 2:
1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 1372 mtf
2. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 627 mbl
3. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 696 miles behind leader
4. Spirit of Yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 743 mbl
5. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 888 mbl
6. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 1099 mbl

AND THE WINNER IS - LE RENARD
Aramid Rigging congratulates Steve Phillips and crew on their impressive win at the Farr 40 Worlds in Nassau. After an extensive re-fit that included custom jib sheets, Conception control lines, PBO steering cables and a Yale Pobon jib halyard, Le Renard won the competition handily. Aramid made all the running rigging for the boat and was in Nassau providing service for the regatta. Our next service stop will be Key West in January. Get ready for the competition! Place your rigging order before December 15th and we'll give you 10% off. (401) 683-6966. www.aramidrigging.com

QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"It is a shame the (America's Cup) rule does not produce more exciting boats in moderate to strong conditions. It would have been nice to encourage lower displacement boats that would tend to break out of waves downwind." - Bruce Farr, www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1067.html

IT'S THE AMERICAN WAY . . .
Four months after last summer's storm-tossed Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island, top sailors and the club are still squabbling over who skippered the winning boat--and whose name belongs on the trophies. And now, they're in court.

John Podmajersky, owner of the sleek sailboat named Illusion, wants his name listed on the prized hardware as the skipper of the winner of the "big boat" class. Robert Brandenburg, whose name has been inscribed on the trophies awarded this month, has made it clear in a letter that he would be more than happy to have his name removed from the prizes and records. But the Chicago Yacht Club, a stickler for rules, isn't budging, recognizing Brandenburg as the registered, and thus, winning skipper aboard Illusion.

At issue is who skippered the boat, orchestrating the campaign that won the most prestigious race in the Great Lakes. Podmajersky filed a civil suit in Cook County Circuit Court last month against Brandenburg and the yacht club, asserting that he was the skipper. A status hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

In his suit, Podmajersky sought to get official records, Web sites, press releases and Mackinac Cup and Ogden McClurg trophies changed to reflect that he--not Brandenburg--was Illusion's skipper. Podmajersky has also accused Brandenburg of fraud and has sought $100,000 in compensatory damages, $1 million in punitive damages, plus attorney's fees and costs. "I feel I'm doing what is right and I feel like I'm doing the only thing that is left to me outside of forgetting about a very significant life accomplishment," Podmajersky said Tuesday. - Bill Glauber, Chicago Tribune, full story: www.chicagotribune.com/news/

HIGH SCHOOL SAILING
Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, LA - Sixty-one sailors from ten states competed for the Great Oaks Trophy Invitational Regatta. Strong 25-30 mph NW winds and 4-5' seas had the teams retreating to the French Quarter for a day of sightseeing on Saturday. Sunday brought 10-15 mph WNW breeze and calmer seas. Fourteen races were sailed in Club420's provided by Southern YC, Pontchartrain Yacht Club, and Tulane University Sailing Team. Final results: 1st Place - Philip Schmalz/ Jackson Benvenutti, Metairie Park Country Day School of Metairie, LA, 45 points. 2nd Place - Martin Sterling/ Denise Kobashikawa, Maryknoll School of Honolulu, HI, 60 points. 3rd Place - William Pochereva/ Lauren Pochereva, Punahou School of Honolulu, HI, 62 points. www.highschoolsailingusa.org

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If carrots are so good for the eyes, how come I see so many dead rabbits on the highway?