Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1209 - November 29, 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.

Racing started on time Friday, hastening the demise of 'Mr. America's Cup', Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes squad, and the tenacious Victory Challenge, from Sweden. Following defeats on the water, both teams were eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Cup today, subject to protest. Team Dennis Conner has protested OneWorld to the International Jury, alleging a breach of Rule 2 - Fair Sailing. In association with Prada, Team Dennis Conner has also brought a case against OneWorld before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel. Decisions on these are expected before the start of the Semi Finals on December 9th.

The Seattle Yacht Club's OneWorld Challenge, and the Italian Prada Challenge, representing the Yacht Club Punta Ala, now provisionally advance to the Semi-Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup where they will race each other beginning December 9th.

Facing elimination, the Swedish boat changed helmsmen today, handing the reins to Magnus Holmberg. But despite looking strong early, Victory Challenge trailed at every mark - the Italians were just too strong. Team Dennis Conner elected to stick with the same sailing squad, and the result followed the pattern established earlier in this Repechage. OneWorld's James Spithill got the better of Conner's Ken Read on the start line, and went on to lead around the racecourse.

OneWorld Challenge defeated Team Dennis Conner by 1 minute
Prada defeated Victory Challenge by 1 minute, 37 seconds

OneWorld Challenge defeated Team Dennis Conner by 1 minute, 2 seconds Prada defeated Victory Challenge by 51 seconds

Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

The International Olympic Committee has complete control over the Olympic Games and they make the rules by which the sports can participate. ISAF must adhere to these constraints as the World Governing Body for Sailing. As must all the other 28 International Federations.

The IOC can delete sports, disciplines and events at their discretion and there is a major reassessment going on now. The IOC are attacking 18 sports which include the deletion from the Olympic Program of Baseball, Softball, Modern Pentathlon, Lightweight Rowing, Synchronised Swimming, 3-Day Equestrian, Race Walking.

The IOC wants the deletion of Keelboats and to reduce the total number of sailors from 400 to 360.

IOC wants no more than 10,500 athletes, 28 sports and 300 events for the future Olympic Games.

ISAF, along with the other federations, is fighting the reductions on behalf of the sailors. IOC makes the rules, which they can change whenever they want and then delegates all technical aspects of the Games to the relevant International Sports Governing Body, such as ISAF, including authorization of the National Olympic Committee's (NOC) entries. The specific athletes sent are totally in the domain of the NOC not the MNA or ISAF or the Class.

ISAF has always had the right to change the Class Rules as the class chosen is only the equipment to be used. Usually the ISAF Olympic Rules are the same as the classes but not always especially with regard to advertising, format, entries and nationality.

* The contracts with the Olympic Classes must become more clear and expanded as the pressures escalate. ISAF must have the right to adjust the contracts so as to react to the demands of the IOC when required. ISAF has no choice but to act, as we are responsible for providing a level playing field for all sailors from all ISAF MNA's. ISAF does not force a class to be Olympic. The Classes choose to apply and if they are chosen they must respond to the Olympic obligations which in some cases erodes their autonomy.

ISAF is responsible for the Governance of World Sailing and the Member National Authorities are delegated that governance in their respective countries. - Paul Henderson, ISAF President, ISAF website, full story:

I am the 2d District Secretary for the Star Class and have been following this whole mess with the "New, Fair Method of Qualification for the ISAF World Championships in Olympic Class Boats".

First of all, it violates the rules of the Star Class, rules that have governed the organization for more than 90 years. Second, they are not fair. Each country will be granted up to 6 slots in the regatta for "quaified" sailors. They must come from the first 100 people listed in the ISAF rankings if I understand the new rule correctly. The United States has 28 people that are in that group. If we get 6 slots, that will constitute 21.4% of the people who are qualified to race. The country with the next highest number of "qualified "sailors has 12 or 13 in the first 100. The remainder of the countries with people in the first 100 have 1-5 people on the list. All these countries will have 50% or more of their "qualified" sailors at the regatta. This is not fair by any definition that I can think of.

Third, and perhaps most important, is the unspoken comment by ISAF that the MNA's are unable to effectively govern entries to World or Olympic Regatta's. This is a slap in the face for the MNA's and all the members of these organizations. If ISAF is going to tell us what we have to do to run a major event, (approve venues, judges, committee's), why do we need MNA's? We should all be very scared by the blatant attempt of ISAF to control all aspects of sailing. - Larry Parrotta, 2d District Secretary, ISCYRA

November 28, 2002 - The critical witness in Team Dennis Conner's bid to have OneWorld Challenge thrown out of the America's Cup has not decided whether to give evidence. If Sean Reeves, OneWorld's former operations manager, does not back up his claims that OneWorld used the design secrets of Team New Zealand and two other syndicates, Conner's protest to the international jury may collapse. Reeves told the Herald he was still talking to his lawyers about whether he could appear before the jury.

A United States court ruling that found Reeves broke a confidentiality agreement, which could cost him $1.7 million in costs and damages, may prevent him speaking. Legal constraints have already stopped Reeves directly outlining to Team Dennis Conner his allegations, which are denied by OneWorld.

But Conner's legal team is expected to put to the jury an affidavit sworn by Reeves months ago and obtained last week from Team New Zealand. The Conner group will reveal tonight what evidence they have. Reeves said yesterday that he had not ruled out giving evidence. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:

(Following is just a brief excerpt from a story by Warren St. John in the New York Times about the matter that Team Dennis Conner and the Prada syndicate have placed before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel concerning the OneWorld syndicate.)

Lawyers for the syndicates exchanged letters accusing each other of playing unfairly.

Lawyers for the OneWorld syndicate of the cellular phone entrepreneur Craig McCaw sent a letter to Team Dennis Conner and its sponsor, the New York Yacht Club, saying that by talking to Reeves, they might be subjecting themselves to civil contempt charges for violating the order of silence in their Seattle lawsuit.

That prompted a response from Richard F. Scruggs, the Mississippi tobacco lawyer who is a supporter of Team Conner, in which he accused OneWorld's lawyers of trying to use United States courts to keep evidence from the arbitration panel. He urged OneWorld to withdraw from the series so as "not to taint the dignity of this event." - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story:

Looking for a place to get your holiday shopping done start to finish? Annapolis Performance Sailing's gift page is it. Find great gifts like Gore-Tex socks, Suunto watches, Harken sailcloth purses and one that you'll just have to see to believe. Here's a hint, think dock party. APS, the most comprehensive performance sailing store in the Americas, is poised to throw you a life ring and save you from holiday shopping hassles. Check out Annapolis Performance Sailing's gift page and find out what a 23cc Homelite weed whacker engine and sailing have in common, click

(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 Doug Holthaus: Knowing Doug Peterson as I do (but not presuming to speak on his behalf), I cannot imagine his threat of discontinuing Italian "nationality" as a means of improperly pressuring Prada. Like other business dealings, relations between a client and designer sometimes sour, and given the unique composition of the AC sailing world, word of break-ups spreads far and fast. If for no other reason, this close scrutiny given to such disputes, and the participants' behavior in reaching resolution, counsels avoidance of 'hardball' tactics such as that described in Scuttlebutt 1208. After all, a designer's future clients are amongst those observing.

Lest this be misinterpreted as applicable to Prada and Peterson only, be reminded that in about 100 days there will be a whole bunch of AC team owners unhappy with their designers.

* From Jim Barber: In 'butt 1208 Peter Dreyfus "wonder[s] how those salaries can be justified[?]". The folks managing these programs do exactly that - they manage. Their job is to work within their constraints to create the program with the best chance of winning. There are many investment options to create performance improvement, one of which is personnel. They pay the sailors, and the rest of the team, what they pay them because that's the price of elite talent; there's essentially a fixed supply of it, and the folks funding the syndicates determine the price sensitivity on the demand side. So the answer to the question is: The justification lies in the value of winning the cup to those that are willing to fund a syndicate to attempt to do so. Any other "justification" is irrelevant.

Secondly, although there is common lore about which boat is faster, I'd like to know how this can be ascertained independently of the crew that sails them, and the shore team that supports them? At the end of Round Robin 1, lore had it that Oracle/BMW was "a bit sticky downwind." Take a look at round robin 2. Now the slow boat is a fast boat. You can't buy a fast boat, you can only buy talent and hope for fast performance.

* From Dan Lauer (Regarding the article in the New York Times that states, "...A run-of-the-mill grinder makes around $14,000 a month for the campaign"): Considering the context, this is neither a slur nor a large sum of money. Remember that here in New York we have a baseball team where a run-of-the-mill short stop makes around $1,800,000 a month.

* From Rick Best (Regarding Chicago-Mac lawsuit): As a lawyer in recovery, it is my opinion that if John Podmajersky wants his name on the trophy then he should ask for an injunction, declaratory judgment, or mandamus action. A million dollars in damages is harassment, not a quest for equity. If he won the race he should know it, and everyone on the boat should know it. Leave the law suits for people who actually need them. And don't you know, fame is fleeting? Even winning the Chicago-Mac race fame. It appears to time to for Mr. Podmajersky internalize his value and rewards system.

27 November - Six weeks and two days after leaving Torbay, England, American skipper Brad van Liew sailed his red, white and blue Open 50, Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, across the finish line in Cape Town to win Leg 2 of Around Alone 2002-03. This was Brad's second straight leg win and it solidifies his hold on the overall lead for Class 2. By any measure Van Liew sailed a masterful leg and leaves the second place yacht, Everest Horizontal, skippered by fellow American Tim Kent, a distant 800 miles astern. His official finish time was 13:48:13 GMT (15:48:13 local time) for a total elapsed time of 44 days, 2 hours, 48 minutes, 13 seconds. Bruce Schwab's Class 1 Open 60 Ocean Planet finished early in the morning of the following day. -

Nick Moloney aboard the red Group Finot 50' Ashfield Healthcare surfed across the Route du Rhum finish line in Pointe ˆ Pitre at 0508:04 GMT, Thursday, 28 November. His race time from Saint-Malo to Pointe-ˆ-Pitre is 18 days, 16 hours, 23 minutes and 4 seconds. Moloney finishes ahead of six bigger 60-foot monohulls and beats the previous 50-foot monohull record set by Ellen MacArthur in 1998, by almost two days - 20 days, 11 hours, 44 minutes and 49 seconds. His average speed on the direct route (3551 miles) was 7.90 knots. The closest competitor in the class was 220 miles behind in the latest position report. Moloney is the Australian to complete the Route du Rhum, and this was his first completed solo race.

Raider Rigid Inflatable Boats are the "Official RIBs of Terra Nova Key West." Three models from 22'- 30'will be available for your inspection during the event. The new Raider RIB Coach Boat will be making it's North American Debut at Key West. This 22' Center Console is the perfect coaching platform with 130 hp 4stroke, Full Electronics, Bimini Top, For and Aft Sampson Posts and even a enclosed Marine head with Trailer for $49,000! Check it out today at and pick it up at Key West.

The founding owners of the maxZ86 Class have voted to embrace the use of canting keels for their new 86-foot turbo-sled maxiboats. Bob McNeil of San Francisco, who six months ago launched the water-ballasted Zephyrus V as the first of the new maxi class, is joining sled owners Roy Disney, Los Angeles, and Hasso Plattner, San Francisco, in building canting-keel maxi-raters designed to the modified maxZ86 level class rule. Other potential owners are expected to follow suit.

Disney & Plattner's boats are already under construction. Disney's new Pyewacket is building at Cooksons Boatyard in Auckland, New Zealand and will be launched in September next year. Work has also started on Plattner's new Morning Glory at McConaghy Boats in Sydney for delivery in the Australian spring. McNeil will use his present boat as a test-bed and will start construction on a new canting keel boat in the latter half of 2004.

The maxZ86 owners will race as the new line honors class for the 43rd Biennial Transpac Race in 2005. The Transpacific Yacht Club approved canting keels in 1997, and has approved the new class, subject to three boats starting in the 2005 race.

McNeil's maxZ86 Zephyrus V has showed plenty of speed in both the West Marine Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco to Kaneohe, HI, and in the inaugural Isla Navidad Race spanning 1,178 miles from Long Beach, California, to Manzanillo, Mexico. However the debut performance of Bob Oatley's canting keel Riechel Pugh 60 Wild Oats at Australia's Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week 2002 this August foreshadowed the future. The decision to adopting canting keels was a logical path for our class to follow while still in its formative stages."

The owner-led class has directed class executive Bill Lee to incorporate canting keels into the level class rule. Lee, who intends to publish the first draft of the revised rule in the near future, is seeking input from interested designers and potential owners.

"We intend to open this class to as many designers and owners as possible," Lee said. "To that end, the rule will recognize boats using a variety of canting keel approaches, including single and twin daggerboards common to the Open 50s and 60s and the patented DynaYacht Canting Ballast, Twin Foilª (CBTF) technology used on the Schock 40s and Wild Oats."

Elaborating on the rule philosophy, Lee added: "The mechanism by which the maxZ86 rule intends to create close racing is to allow generous, but not unlimited, amounts of each speed-producing factor. The rule will be subject to a freeze for a period of time, followed by systematic reviews as newer and faster technologies become practical, such that the fleet can be updated at reasonable intervals."

There will be an Owner-Driver Rule for inshore racing and for starting and finishing offshore racing. For more information about the class, including a draft copy of the maxZ86 Rule, contact Bill Lee at - Keith Taylor,

In the penultimate ranking release for 2002, the ISAF World Match Race Rankings sees no change at the top of the Women's Rankings but much shifting of positions elsewhere with Karol Jablonski (POL) leading the world in the Open Rankings.

A meteoric rise in the world of match racing has culminated in claiming pole position at the top of the ISAF Open Match Racing World Rankings for Karol Jablonski (POL). From unlucky 13th on the world rankings twelve months ago, to the World's Number 1 is a fantastic achievement. Since the last rankings, Jablonski's best result was a 5th at the ISAF Grade 2 Berlin Cup from 1-3 November, but as we all know it is consistency that can play dividends not always taking the gun.

Not so hot for Peter Holmberg (ISV), who until today's unseating had been enjoying a nine-month uncontested reign as the world's top match racer. This issue of the rankings sees three new entries into both the top 10 and the top 20. At the top, out go Francois Brenac (FRA), Gavin Brady (USA) and Philippe Presti (FRA), making way for newcomers Mathieu Richard (FRA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Mattias Rahm (SWE).

In the Women's Rankings, the only event to be included was the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Osprey Cup in St Petersburg, USA from 31 October to 3 November. However, this has no effect on the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Ranking Leader Marie Bjorling (DEN) who remains number one in the world. While she can't climb any higher on the women's rankings, there is still room to improve on the open rankings, and with a 5th place at the ISAF Grade 4 Winter Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden on 9-10 November Bjorling has moved from 143rd to 108th on the Open circuit.

Betsy Alison's win at the Osprey Cup took her from 18 up to 11, almost into the top 10, a position which she can normally expect to find herself. Meanwhile, fellow American, Liz Bayliss, who is the current ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion, did not compete at the Rolex Osprey Cup, and as a result has dropped from 3 to 8. Bayliss has maintained a steady rise up the World Rankings over the past two years, enjoying her highest placing of second in the world in June this year.

Open Rankings: 1. Karol Jablonski, POL; 2. Jesper Radich, DEN; 3. Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN; 4. Peter Holmberg, ISV; 5. Mikael Lindqvist, SWE.

Complete rankings:

Before lapsing into a turkey-induced food coma, don't forget to set your VCR to tape OLN's broadcast of the 54th Bermuda Gold Cup on Saturday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. (EST). Denmark's Jesper Radich won the Gold Cup, the fourth of nine stops on the Swedish Match Tour, by defeating countryman Jes Gram-Hansen to claim $20,000 and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's King Edward VII Cup. Check local listings for the schedule in your area.

Brain cells come and go, but fat cells live forever.