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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1207 - November 26, 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.

Team Dennis Conner has protested OneWorld Challenge, its opponent in the Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter Final Repechage round, saying the Seattle team contravened the Fair Sailing Rule of the Racing Rules of Sailing. The submission, made Monday to the International Jury for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup, requests that the OneWorld Challenge be disqualified from both events. Rule 2, the Fair Sailing Rule, states that a boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play.

This action follows a request by the New York Yacht Club and Yacht Club Punta Ala to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel to investigate allegations that OneWorld Challenge possessed and used design information from other syndicates in breach of the Protocol governing competition. The two challengers filed with the Arbitration Panel only after getting consent from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand to use extensive documentary evidence in their possession that had not previously been released.

Today's protest said that the application was based on multiple violations of the Protocol that the applicants had reasonable grounds to believe the Seattle Yacht Club/OneWorld Challenge had committed. These beliefs were based on comprehensive documentary evidence.

Team Dennis Conner asked that the International Jury provide assistance to the Arbitration Panel in any manner possible. The syndicate asked that OneWorld be disqualified under Rule 2, the Fair Sailing Rule. The submission also asked the Jury take any interim measures necessary to reschedule the Quarter Final Repechage. - Keith Taylor, Keith Taylor,

After three days of weather delays, the Louis Vuitton Cup quarter final repechage at last got under way today - and provided enthralling racing with come-from-behind wins in both matches. The two higher seeded teams, OneWorld and Prada, both trailed in the opening stages of their matches against Team Dennis Conner and Victory Challenge respectively. But, both OneWorld and Prada justified their higher seeding by managing to overtake and take the victory guns in the vital opening matches. The best-of-seven repechage has a distinct life-or-death edge, because the two losing teams will exit the regatta, leaving only four challengers still in the game.

In the light north to north-easterly breeze, all four yachts on the course had men up the mast searching for the best breeze lines on the water. In the OneWorld vs Team Dennis Conner match, Stars & Stripes led around the first three marks, but then failed to cover on the second downwind leg as OneWorld split away and gained in a 30 degree windshift to the left.

In the second match away, Victory Challenge led the whole way up the first windward leg, but Prada came back and, right at the mark, squeezed into the lead to round the mark 8 seconds ahead, stretching away from there to a commanding lead.

Racing took place against a backdrop of on-shore activity as Team Dennis Conner has initiated a Rule Two (Fair Sailing) protest against OneWorld, over design information from rival teams and related issues. The protest will be heard from 6pm Tuesday by the Louis Vuitton Cup International Jury. - Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: We do not plan to delay the delivery of Scuttlebutt on the off chance that the International Jury will make a series-altering decision on this matter. Those who feel otherwise should repeatedly check the LVC website until the decision is posted:

RACING SUMMARY: Boat speeds between OneWorld and USA-77 (Team Dennis Conner) appeared similar; OneWorld simply took better advantage of the shifts today. Prada looked strong throughout its race with the Swedes, showing better speed. The boats started in a light, puffy breeze of seven knots which never got above the nine-ten knot range for most of the racing. - website, full story:

Prada leads Victory Challenge, 1-0
OneWorld Challenge leads Team Dennis Conner, 1-0

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.

OneWorld Challenge for the America's Cup announced today that they have joined with The Waterkeeper Alliance in an effort to protect and restore the quality of the world's waterways and to preserve and protect the world's oceans from polluters. Waterkeeper Alliance is the international umbrella organization of over 90 Waterkeeper programs throughout the North America, Latin America and Europe. Waterkeepers patrol their waterways, respond to citizen concerns, identify environmental problems and devise appropriate remedies and advocate compliance with environmental laws. More information is available at:

(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 Mark Michaelsen: James 'Chippie' Gair stated that the 14th Leg of the amateur crewed 2002-3 Clipper Ventures Round the World Race from Salvador, Brazil to New York would be passing through the Western North Atlantic in the height of hurricane season. Actually, the height of the Atlantic Hurricane season is not until the second week of September. You are correct that there have been a handful of dramatic hurricanes in August in the Atlantic basin but they generally hold off until August 24th or later. Nonetheless we hope that organizers recognize the distinct potential for disaster when they schedule events during what is a potentially active period for "nature's greatest fury."

* From Gary 'Cap'n Fatty' Goodlander: I've followed Ellen MacArthur's amazing career with interest. This is a huge win for her-----and to all of us who cherish a true challenge of speed, endurance and character. She was the best skipper out there, and proved that often the best man for the job is a woman.

* From Rob Drury, Sydney, Australia: Organizers of the 2002 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race blame the economy for declining entries in this prestigious event. Hang-on, the Australian economy has been the most resilient in the world in recent years and what about the Route du Rhum, presently in progress with an unprecedented 60 entries?

In past years the Sydney to Hobart has seen massive entries, with a peak of over 350, but this year only 50 odd yachts will cross the starting line. Why? Maybe the reason for declining entries is the race format, offering rating/handicap systems of IRC, IMS and PHS. Of the entries that have been received, there are more and bigger maxis, and what's their primary goal? Line honours! It can't be the economy because the 'big buck' end of the fleet is strong and healthy. Have the small and mid size boats just lost interest.

Would a Box Rule re-ignite interest for a new breed of tough racing boats up to 60ft, with a shift of focus from line honours and the Maxis? Visit to see a framework for a new rule. And what is the Route du Rhum? It's a race for box rule boats. No handicaps and no rating systems giving great level racing within length divisions. Is there a message here?

I'm not in the line honours league and I wouldn't build a new boat with IRC, IRM, IMS or performance handicap systems as the goal, but I would build a box rule boat for Cat 1 and 2 offshore racing. Maybe I'm not alone.

* From Andy Rose: When the challengers planned the racing program did any of them consult with the high-powered weather guys that each challenger has about the odds of being able to maintain a racing schedule, or even getting close? Maybe they just assumed that all the series would be 4-0 or it's just a plot by the Auckland business community to keep everyone on shore buying things.

* From Bob Knowles: What the hell's going on down in Auckland? Is there some kind of lunacy virus in the air? It seems that if the teams can't go sailing for a couple of days, the nuttier factions in the Viaduct Basin take control.

The last time I checked, a federal court in Seattle determined that Sean Reeves had, to put it mildly, a little trouble with the truth. It was probably the deciding factor in the Arbitration Panel's ruling in August that any testimony from Reeves, including an affadavit, would be less than meaningful or relevant. So now the legal eagles at Prada and TDC want to end-around the Panel by dragging in the International Jury; if I were those guys, I wouldn't get within a thousand miles of this one. I especially resent them cloaking all of this garbage in the mantle of "the sake of the sport of sailing"!

It's a shame that good guys like Kenny Read and Terry Hutchinson have to be pulled into this mess, if only by association. I hereby propose a new AC rule for next time: if you can't sail a boat, sew a sail, build the rigging and spars, or build the boat itself, you can't have access to the compound. Professionals only, please, from now on. Now, can we please decide this on the water!

* From Norris McNamara (Re: John Podmajersky's case): Podmajersky has created a situation that is outrageous to an unprecedented degree. Rule 3 very much applies, as do considerations of sportsmanship, friendship, and common sense. In my opinion it's simply a case of avarice and self-indulgence overtaking the well-established principals of our great sport.

The facts - not much in evidence in the discussions here and elsewhere - make his action all the more disgraceful. Rob Brandenburg's name was on the entry because he had chartered the boat for the Chicago to Mackinac Island Race. Brandenburg paid for the entry fee and all the required Mac-specific safety equipment including life raft, SOLAS flares, extra handheld VHF, etc. Podmajersky changed his mind two days before the race - asking Brandenburg if he could go. He knew how the boat was entered. Only when Illusion was declared the overall winner did the revisionist notions begin.

Just last week at the first court hearing on the case he was asked if he had read the Notice of Race. His response was, "Yes, this morning." Take your friend and your yacht club to court? By all means, then live with the consequences for the rest of your sailing life.

* From: Nelson Weiderman (re the Podmajersky suit against the Chicago YC reported in 'Butt 1205 and the comments by Alpern and Delany in 'Butt 1206): If you read the entire article from the Chicago Tribune rather than just the excerpt in 'Butt 1205 you will discover: a) Podmajersky was the real skipper and steered for 30 hours in the race, b) Podmajersky started the process of correcting the record before the race, c) Podmajersky offered at least three reasonable alternatives for engraving the trophy -- using the boat's name only, his name only, or names of the entire crew. After reading the entire article, one gets the impression that the dispute could have been easily settled early on had it not been for the CYC's insistence on gratuitously enforcing gratuitous rules. Such is our litigious society.

Only a fraction of an America's Cup budget actually goes toward building sailboats. A carbon fiber America's Cup yacht costs between $2 million and $3 million. Figuring out what to build, however, raises the overall costs."To build them is cheap," said Bill Erkelens, the chief operating officer of Larry Ellison's Oracle-BMW team. "To design them is not cheap."

Research and design - which includes tank-testing hulls and keels, and wind-tunnel-testing for masts, rigging and sails - can account for up to a quarter of a top campaign's total budget. Tank-testing costs about $4,800 an hour and the biggest syndicates might do upward of 150 hours of it. Smaller syndicates make do with smaller research-and-design budgets - the British team GBR, for example, spent less than 10 percent of its money on design - but those teams quickly hit the wall in the quest for speed.

Teams with more resources for design can build components for different conditions, in hopes of gaining an edge as the competition progresses. Oracle, for example, has 12 fins and bulbs, six masts (at $450,000 each) and an assortment of rudders, and can try different combinations of these appendages at will, a prospect that troubles the competition.

* The real financial drain on the current Cup campaign budgets is not hardware, but talent. While some crews stick with their skippers for years - Team Dennis Conner stands out as the most loyal group, with several members having sailed with Conner for two decades - the moguls have had to get their crews on the open market.

"We have 140 people, and 90 percent of them are the top in their field," Erkelens said. "We were bidding against the other billionaires. Prices went up." A mainsheet trimmer on a top boat can make as much as $240,000. A run-of-the-mill grinder makes around $14,000 a month for the campaign. Oracle has 36 sailors to crew its two boats, and they have been practicing together for nearly two years. - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story:

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(Following are two excerpts from a Q& A column written by Ron Judd in the Seattle Times)

Q: If OneWorld rights itself and manages to win the America's Cup, we'd have a Cup defense in the Seattle area sometime around 2006, right?

A: Uh, no. At least not for sure. The choice of venues for Cup defenses is up to the Cup holders, which in this fanciful scenario would be OneWorld and the Seattle Yacht Club - pretty much in that order. But as much as the local sailing faithful relish the thought of a Puget Sound America's Cup defense and its accompanying, billion-dollar shot in the economic arm, the reality is that a defense here isn't that likely. Reason? One word, according to OneWorld: "wind."

* OneWorld founder Craig McCaw, for obvious reasons, steers clear of the question, but did offer this in a recent interview: "We would think you should do the right thing for the Cup, and not be too oriented to your own personal desires," he said. "Obviously (OneWorld co-owner Paul Allen) and I have a strong tie to the Seattle area, and we recognize there are limitations in where it could be done." McCaw added that the choice would come down to usual key factors: "a combination of infrastructure and wind."

Completely unfounded, premature speculation around the SYC is that OneWorld might hold a defense at another U.S. Pacific port with better access to prevailing winds: The Bay Area, Long Beach, San Diego and Honolulu all get mentions. - Ron Judd, Seattle Times, full story:

Six boats have finished in Guadeloupe, but there are still 24 skippers who continue to experience these moments. Currently their reward is surfing in the warm winds of the trades, but there is still a struggle with difficult squalls. Nick Moloney, leading the class 2 monohulls on Ashfield Healthcare (50-foot) had 597 miles to go at 1500 GMT and is ahead of six bigger 60-foot monohulls! He is expected to finish late Wednesday or Thursday. Franck Yves Escoffier aboard Crepes Whaou!, is currently 60 nautical miles from Guadeloupe, and set to win the class 2 multihull category hands down with over 300 miles on current second place Anne Caseneuve on - Josefine Lemmel,

Over the weekend, Brad van Liew's Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America had a 24-hour ran of 345.03 miles for an average speed of 14.37 knots. This is likely to be recognized as the longest distance sailed by a 50-foot monohull sailboat when it is ratified by the World Sailing Speed Council. The previous longest distance was recorded by J.P. Mouligne in the 1998-99 Around Alone race aboard his Finot designed Open 50, Cray Valley. Van Liew is now just 320 miles from the Cape Town finish line and 845 miles ahead of his closest Class 2 competitor, Tim Kent's Everest Horizontal. Spirit of Canada sailed by Derek Hatfield is in third place, 1013 mile behind Van Liew, -

* December 4 - 6: Australian 505 Championships (Pre-Worlds Regatta)

* December 8 - 14: Grolsch 505 World Championships

* January 3-12, 2003: 18 foot Skiff World Championships for the J.J. Giltinan Trophy. /

* January 28-February 1: Rolex Miami OCR, US Sailing Center. Competitors may now register online, download the Notice of Race:

* March 6-9, 2003: Sunfish International Masters Championship, Upper Keys Sailing Club, Key Largo, FL.

* May 23-25, 2003: Sunfish United States National Masters Championship, Ninnescah Sailing Association, Cheney Lake, Cheney State Park, Wichita, KS.

* July 15-19, 2003: J/24 Silver Anniversary Regatta, Sail Newport, Newport RI. Three fleets to choose from: Grand prix, Club and Non-spinnaker., (401) 846-1983,

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