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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1208 - November 27, 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.

The America's Cup challenger series was potentially thrown into disarray Tuesday night when the Cup's race jury agreed to hear a protest by Team Dennis Conner accusing its American rival OneWorld of stealing design secrets.

If the protest succeeds, OneWorld, which is backed by the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and the cellphone entrepreneur Craig McCaw, could be thrown out of the Louis Vuitton Cup, as the challenger series is known. A decision to disqualify OneWorld could open the door for two syndicates already eliminated from the competition - the GBR Challenge of Britain and Le Defi Areva of France - to be reinstated.

Bob Ratliffe, OneWorld's executive director, dismissed the jury's ruling as "procedural." "At the end of the day people realize there's nothing new here," he said. "It's the same issue we've dealt with for 18 months. We're going to move on and go racing. Our hope is that the jury will realize this is more of a tactic to drag out the event." - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story:

* As many of the potential witnesses in the case are also on the OneWorld sailing team, the Jury has deemed it fair to wait until the end of the Quarter Final Repechage to hear the case, so as to not prejudice OneWorld's performance on the water. The last scheduled reserve day for this Repechage series is Sunday, 1st December.

* This protest to the International Jury doesn't have any direct bearing on the joint submission that Prada and Team Dennis Conner made to the Arbitration Panel on Sunday requesting a hearing on the OneWorld case. The Arbitration Panel has indicated a time frame for its decision process that could take over four weeks. - Peter Rusch, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

Prada and OneWorld both increased their grip on the Louis Vuitton Cup quarterfinal repechage in Auckland today by taking their scores to 2-0 over Sweden's Victory Challenge and Team Dennis Conner respectively.

Prada and OneWorld led their matches against Victory Challenge and Stars & Stripes all the way around the course, with almost identical starts and uncannily similar mark rounding deltas for most of the race. Prada and OneWorld each need just two more wins to advance to the semifinals, although both Victory Challenge and Stars & Stripes have shown they remain dangerous opponents.

Light winds once again greeted the four teams competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup quarter final repechage on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf today, but after a short delay the Race Committee was able to get racing under way. Shifty south-easterly winds that swung into the south-west and then back again tested the skills of the afterguards, as positioning the yachts to take best advantage of the puffs and shifts counted for more than boatspeed.

The starts were very similar with OneWorld and Prada powering off the line at speed, while their opponents were forced into last minute tacks at the committee boat end and came off the line at less than full power. The pattern then saw the lead yachts gain upwind and then lose downwind as the trailing yachts brought breeze down with them. But the leading yachts were seldom threatened and crossed the finish line more than a minute ahead of their opponents.

Prada defeated Victory Challenge by 1 minute, 23 seconds
OneWorld Challenge defeated Team Dennis Conner by 1 minute, 50 seconds

Prada leads Victory Challenge, 2-0
OneWorld Challenge leads Team Dennis Conner, 2-0

Full story:

Want the inside scoop on what's happening in Auckland? Want to read about the America's Cup from the eyes of Team New Zealand CEO Ross Blackman? How about first-hand reports from Harken's AC service team? Harken is sharing some great stories and photos taken during the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series. Check out this special AC page at:

The largest congregation of Olympic Class Sailors will converge on Cadiz in south-west Spain for the 2003 ISAF World Championships from 11-23 September 2003. For the first time ever, the most important event for Olympic Class sailors outside the Olympic Games, will be held in the same city, at the same time. This makes the 2003 Olympic Qualification Regatta and Olympic Class World Championships in Cadiz the largest ever World Championship held in one place at the same time, which will be a spectacle and an event not to miss.

Preparation has been underway for the event since the city and the Bay of Cadiz was chosen by ISAF in 2000 to host what is to be an ambitious undertaking by all involved. The Worlds will be held between three venues, Puerto de Rota who will host the 470 Men and Women, Puerto Sherry hosting the Mistral Men and Women, the Yngling, Finn Europe, Star, Tornado and 49er and Club Nautico Alcano hosting the Laser fleet.

By the time the first races start in the eleven classes over seven courses next year, some of the world's best known and best prepared Olympic hopefuls will have been through a newly implemented qualification process to entitle them to participate at the 2003 World Championships. The ultimate decision of which sailors will represent each country at the 2003 Worlds will remain with the respective Member National Authority, the number of entries per country per event will follow a system approved by the ISAF Council at the recent 2002 ISAF Annual Conference in Limassol, Cyprus. - ISAF website, full story:

(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 Craig Fletcher: I will never understand the phrase "Decide it on the water". Why are the people who file a protest most always looked at unfavorably? To those who would "Decide it on the water" I suggest we remove all law, no protests, no wasted time and the best sailors with the best boat will always win. NOT. Without rules and the people to enforce them we have. you know the rest.

* From Curt Schoeppner: Wasn't it Peter Gilmore who was protesting TDC in the last Luis Vitton cup? That was serious on one hand & beyond petty on the other. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

* From Tom Ehman: In yesterday's 'Butt, our old friend Andy Rose asks, no doubt somewhat tongue in cheek (but what's new?), whether the AC teams consulted their "high-powered weather guys" before agreeing the LVC race format and schedule. The answer, of course, is yes...but that was not the real issue. At a meeting during the AC Jubilee in August 2001, a more aggressive schedule of races (both in terms of the number of series, and races per series) was proposed by the Challenger of Record. The challenger group was brought back to reality by veteran representatives of the American teams who insisted on a schedule with fewer races and more reserve days because of our LVC experience here in 1999-2000. Good thing, because as everyone knows the weather has been even less cooperative this time around.

Regardless, the new format seems to be working well as both a training series and a selection series. And despite the vagaries of the weather, looking at the big picture we remain well on schedule (knock on wood!), thanks especially to Dyer Jones, Peter Reggio and their competent challenger race organization. Looking ahead, it may be that staying on schedule is threatened less by too much or too little wind, but by the windiness of some of the syndicates' legal teams.

* From Andrew Vare: In "Butt 1207, you quoted a NY Times article stating "...A run-of-the-mill grinder makes around $14,000 a month for the campaign." Ahem, retraction please? I would hesitate to call grinders "run-of-the-mill". The late Sir Peter Blake could have done anything on the victorious New Zealand effort, and chose to take the handles. Indeed, without good horsepower on the boat, all the brains in the world are just lime jelly with carrots. Denigrating the grinder's physical execution of the afterguard's strategy is tantamount to dividing the boat into factions, which is rarely successful. It's a shame this slur made it into print in Mr. Sulzberger's otherwise esteemed publication.

* From Peter Dreyfuss: I keep reading and hearing about these astronomical salary figures of the Cup sailors, and although I'm happy (jealous) for them, I've got to wonder how those salaries can be justified when the Cup is 90% (?) decided by which boat is faster. Common perception is that NZL was faster than Prada in 2000, NZL was faster than DC in '95, Koch was faster than Il Moro in '92, etc. (The '88 Cup !! I might have steered that one to victory!) Back to Australia II being faster than Liberty - I'm not going to argue that Buddy Melges isn't a great sailor, or that Dennis would beat Coutts in equal boats, but, it seems to me that those precious seconds per mile (and the $$ associated with them) are what makes the difference and as such, deserve the lion's share of any Cup campaign's budget.

* From Ike Stephenson: I'll also defend the Around Alone website. If you enter in and then click positions chart you get position info. Alternatively bookmark or commit to memory which will get you straight to the positions. As a sailing web designer, it works for me.

Also, whether on or off the water the whole team at Kingfisher/ Offshore Challenges is the best in the business. All whiners about the relative merits of commercially viable sailing should study their story deeply.

* From Scott Diamond: Today it is snowing in Chicago and we are still talking about the Mac race, but not for positive reasons. Our sport is one rich in History and Protocol. It does not matter who drove or if for 30 hours, I sailed a 600 mile race and one of the owners never touched the helm or a sheet for that matter, but his name went on the trophy. Did I sue because I drove 25% of the time and did not get my name on the trophy, no, I was just happy to be there. If Podmojersky decided to go on the race late in the game, then it is his responsibility to make any changes, and he had plenty of opportunity to do so himself. The Chicago Yacht Club is right in standing by their NOR. And by the way, the Chicago Yacht Club was willing to put both Rob's and John's name on the trophy, but John said no he would not accept that.

It is one thing to air our sports dirty laundry with in the inner circle of sailors but by bringing it out in the public forum it does our sport no good - it makes us look like a bunch of rich spoiled brats. Anytime you have more than one person on a boat, it is a team sport and you are only as good as your worst team member.

* From Lenore Goldman: Illusion's elapsed time was 34:53:22. There is virtually no way that Mr. Podmajersky drove for 30+ hours...especially with the storm during the race. Other some of the Farr40's...changed helmsmen every 30-60 minutes during the race due to the heavy winds and sea conditions.

* From Angus Cooper (re Clipper 2002 Round the World Race thread about their race going from Brazil to New York in August): Mark Michaelsen's comment that Hurricanes generally happen after August is rather misleading. He is correct the stronger hurricanes do generally happen later in the season. However there still have been many Hurricanes in August and that's not including their 'little' brothers, tropical storms & depressions. There's a good sight showing all the tracks of the previous season's hurricanes / tropical storms at

Since 1996 there have been about 12 hurricanes in the North Atlantic in August. Having a look at the Clipper route, Hurricane Alberto 3-23rd August 2000 and Hurricane Felix 8 - 22nd August 1995 would have been big trouble for the fleet. Luckily for them they weren't running through the area on those years. Didn't the Whitbread and the Volvo go through during June? Seems to be a more sensible time to me.

Three months after sustaining a closed head injury with skull and vertebrae fracture, US Sailing Team member Kimberly Birkenfeld (Miami, Fla./Myrtle Creek, Ore.), has made notable progress in healing. She spent 62 days in four different hospitals on two continents after the August 8 accident that occurred while she was training for the Athens 2002 Regatta. Birkenfeld, the number one ranked Women's Windsurfer on the 2002 US Sailing Team, is continuing her out-patient therapy from her family's residence in Portland, Oregon.

"I am very proud of my family for what they were able to accomplish and endure," Birkenfeld said recently. "I just hope that none of the wonderful people I have met in life and sailing, or their loved ones, get hurt and need to go through what I went through. Thank you to everyone who helped out while I was hospitalized in Athens. All my sailing equipment and personal belongings made it back to my home in Miami. The only thing that came up missing was my sailing booties!"

Birkenfeld's progress to date is attributed to the strength of her athletic body at the time of the accident. That said, she has difficulties walking, mobility in her left arm is restricted, and she suffers symptoms of numbness and spasticity that mean she cannot work, drive, swim or sail. Noting that she was a business consultant with an M.B.A. from Harvard, and an athlete accustomed to an above-normal level of physical functioning, her physician has asked her physical therapist to be extra-aggressive in working toward Birkenfeld's goal of a return to her previous activities.

"This has been quite an experience - and disappointingly detrimental to my Olympic campaign. I am working very hard in recovery and really look forward to the day when I can sail, compete, and travel the world meeting people again."

Future updates on Birkenfeld's progress will be available at

How to get to the Farr 40 Worlds? Last week, we ran two 28' Protectors from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau. 4 to 6 foot seas couldn't slow our crew down as we made the 160 mile trip in five hours. These boats joined the six boats already in Nassau to support the Farr 40 worlds. Come watch and check out the new 35' Protector with teak decks, or see us in Miami or Key West to see our new 22 foot center-console coach boat. We now have a boat for everyone. Go Anywhere. - 877-664-BOAT

After the rocket ride of the last few days, Brad Van Liew's Class 2 Open 50 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America now has an upwind slog just before the finish. This morning the wind was out of the East Southeast at 25 knots and Brad was sailing in a choppy sea at an average boatspeed of 9-10 knots. The cause of the headwinds is a small, localised high pressure system that formed behind Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, but ahead of Bruce Schwab's Class 1 Open 60 Ocean Planet. Schwab has altered his course to the north so that he can sail over the top of the system and remain in good wind. ETA's: Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is still on track for a daytime finish on Wednesday 27th November around 1000 - 1200hrs local time (GMT+2), while Ocean Planet for 0600hrs local time on 28th November.

The second boat in Class 2 is Tim Kent on Open 50 Everest Horizontal who has wisely sailed much further south, even as far as the 'Roaring Forties', in order to escape the edge of the high pressure and stay in strong breeze. His closest rival, Canadian sailor Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada was able to cut the corner on the High and so has sailed less distance - but at 2 knots less boatspeed. -

On a beautiful, though chilly, day for sailing at the Belmont Station of the Chicago Yacht Club, New Trier High School took the title of Great Lakes Champion. Three separate divisions sailed six races each. The 2002 Great Lakes Championship saw tough sailing conditions with the breeze direction shifting 180 degrees. The New Trier 2 team took the overall honors, edging their fellow classmates of the New Trier 1 team by merely two points. Final results: 1. New Trier 2 - 63; 2. New Trier 1 - 65; 3. St. Ignatius - 66; 4. Iggy/Bob/Matt - 74; 5. Loyola 1 - 118. Complete results:

Does Peterson have Prada over a proverbial barrel? Word out of Auckland tonight is that the America's Cup Arbitration Panel has just handed down a decision in the question asked by Prada about any continuing residency requirements for designer Doug Peterson, who was terminated by the syndicate on 3 October. ACAP has ruled that Doug Peterson, "must maintain a principal place of residence" in Italy until the first race of the America's Cup Match (15 February, 2003). Moving back to San Diego, or remaining in Auckland (as he has done since he was terminated) could risk his Italian residency status thereby putting Prada in breach of the Protocol.

There will not be an issue of Scuttlebutt tomorrow on Thanksgiving Day. However we will resume our normal distribution schedule again on Friday.

If you can't make it as a lumberjack, do they give you the ax?