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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1211 - December 3, 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.

(Following are excerpts from an article by ISAF President Paul Henderson.)

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.

Up until the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the sports were very free to do what they wanted with no limitation on entries. A few classes have resisted any change because of their long-standing traditions.

* The Host Nation - who is allowed an automatic entry in every event.

* USA who is allowed to enter their athletes in all events with no overall USOC quota.

Therein lies the problem, as the USA sailors especially in the Star and Laser Class do not understand the difficulties all other MNA's have in getting sailors to the Games. The MNA's are challenged to have their sailors meet very strict NOC criteria competing against athletes from other sports in their country for the honour to go to the Games. - Paul Henderson, ISAF President

Complete story:

* The America's Cup Arbitration Panel has now issued directions for the OneWorld hearing. On Wednesday, 4th December, the two New Zealand members of the Panel will conduct a meeting to decide procedural matters ahead of the main December 7th hearing. Wednesday's session will determine, among other things, whether the hearing will be open to the media and also whether parties at the hearing wish to cross-examine witnesses.

It is understood that Team New Zealand has agreed to allow team members to testify at the hearing if required, and will make available relevant documents and designs, provided the Arbitration Panel guarantees their confidentiality will be protected. Further, Team Dennis Conner and Prada have each been ordered to put up US$ 20 000 as a security against costs for the hearing.

The main hearing is scheduled on 7th December. - Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story:

* While the issues now at hand lend an atmosphere of theatre to the Louis Vuitton Cup, they could have massive implications. OneWorld admitted some time ago that their designer, Laurie Davidson, had found himself in possession of his previous employer's design data after he had been lured to OneWorld from Team New Zealand. The one point that the team were docked at the round robin stage ultimately proved insignificant but OneWorld, at least, thought they had heard the last of it.

Not so. Ninety-two pages of alleged "new evidence" were lodged with the International Jury, who found there was a case to answer in a joint protest from Team Dennis Conner and Prada. The case has been handed to the Arbitration Panel, which will sit next weekend.

"I hope in many regards that they are cleared up satisfactorily and OneWorld go on to win the America's Cup. Then they can go home with a wonderful feeling that they've done a great job," said David Elwell of Dennis Conner's challenging club, the New York Yacht Club. - Excerpt from a story by Andrew Preece in the NZ Herald, full story:

A British sailor has drowned during a rally designed to help amateur sailors cross the oceans in safety. Phillip Hitchcock, 47, was sailing aboard the Formosa 51 Toutazimut in the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), organised by World Cruising Club, when he was knocked overboard by the boom in the mid-Atlantic on Saturday. Hitchcock was sailing with his 52-year-old brother David and was believed to have been attached to the yacht by a safety harness at the time.

It is understood an attempt was made by his brother to get him back onboard using a recovery sling, but according to World Cruising Club: "The equipment may have broken as he was trying to get him back on board. Details are sketchy." The reports suggested that David Hitchcock slowed the boat down, but was unable to recover his brother for at least half an hour. Phillip Hitchcock was thought to have died in the water while still attached to the boat.

Additional crew from competing yacht have been transferred to Toutazimut for the remainder of the crossing. Singlehanded sailors are not allowed in the ARC, but there has been a growing number of yachts entered in the two-handed category with a record 20 entries this year. - sailing website, full story:

The number one consideration in offshore racing should be a Man Overboard Drill. After a 2002 marked with unfortunate incidents, we know that not all boats are prepared for an emergency. The Forespar SP-2 Safety Package includes a U.S.C.G. approved horseshoe buoy, water light. It also has a drogue, whistle, dye-marker and 45' of polypropylene line, all inside our HLD-1 launcher to complete the package. The launcher easily attaches to the lifelines/stanchions and accepts the man overboard pole, vertically or horizontally, for quick deployment. See your local dealer or for more information.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has awarded the 2004 Women's World Match Race Championship to Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis, Maryland (USA) and the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup organizers. The Worlds will be held in place of the Santa Maria Cup in 2004

(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.)

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: The arbitration panel proceedings in Auckland have obviously upset many of our readers. As a result, much of the e-mail we're receiving is riddled with bashing and personal attacks. That's not what we do here, and a lot of the letters went straight into the trash today. While we will always be willing to print constructive criticism, any portion of those letters that resorts to name-calling or personal attacks will vanish before publication.

* From: Dick Enersen (edited to our 250-word limit): I love the America's Cup, and the sport, as much as anyone, but the attitude exemplified by Team Dennis Conner lawyer Luis Saenz's remarks is just turning the whole enchilada into a pile of pre-owned beans. It makes me sick. There is no doubt that the AC, in the course of its evolution has built itself an indefensible position but the problem is really much bigger.

Rightly or wrongly, the sport of sailboat racing was created as recreation for folks who could do, and were interested in doing, such things. The racing rules came about as a simple way to keeping two or more boats, sailed by "honorable people," from trying to occupy the same space. From the tiniest junior program, through the pinnacles of the sport, the "honorable" part has largely given way to other human characteristics, principally "greedy" and "egotistical."

What to do about it? First, simplify the rules. Kinetics, air-rowing and the above AC issue are examples of rules which are really impossible to enforce or adhere to, so get rid of them.

Second, restore the DSQ penalty, throwing out "penalty turns" and "time penalties." If you screw up, you're out of the race

Third, go back to the junior programs, schools and colleges and teach "fair sailing," not "winning in any way with which you can get away."

Maybe the sport can't survive under what some will call a "utopian" honor system. How's it doing under today's system?

* From David Gill: Well I think this is pretty much it for me. I am an avid sailor and enjoy all aspects of the sport. I have been trying to follow the Americas cup with some enthusiasm and I have also tried to be an advocate amongst all of the legal BS. However, the latest legal maneuvering by Team Dennis Conner has soiled any positive thoughts. This reminds me of San Diego a few years back. We should all give the sport some honor and if we should lose a match lose with some dignity.

* From Kyle Burleson: For years, Mr. Conner was "Mr. America's Cup, Mr. Sailing." He promoted the sport in the US in ways previously unknown. Now, as in 1995, he tries to make up for his team's lack of success by going to the protest room. As we all know, in 1995, he won the protest, gained entry into the LV semis, won, and then used the Young America boat, only to get beat by the Kiwis. Perhaps Mr. Conner needs to remember the aspect of our sport that separates us from others, the art of being "Corinthian."

Mr. Conner, you fought the good fight, you lost, the other boats were faster, the other crews were better, and if nothing else, Lady Luck was not in your corner. That's yacht racing, that's life. I would hate to see the sport I was raised on, thrive on, and spend almost every waking moment thinking about be relegated to a courtroom drama.

* From Peter Huston: The recent legal moves by NYYC and Punta Ala YC against Seattle YC sound to me like squabbling between Michael Jackson's backup singers over who is going to get the solo "do-wop" in the middle of the show. Neither NYYC or Punta Ala YC are likely to get on the main stage in this show, so what's the point of all this nonsense?

Maybe the best part of the Cup going to San Francisco would be if each team were required to feed their lawyers to the sharks - though that said, I wouldn't want to see the beautiful Bay waters polluted with that sort of slime.

And one question - after the '00 Cup when the NYYC team Young America sold their boats to Prada, did that purchase include the design and performance information? If so, does this lead to a question about design collaboration between these two clubs?

* From Ken Guyer: It would seem to me that if Craig McCaw really did not do anything wrong, he would not be sending letters to NYYC and Team Dennis Conner threatening legal action if they talk to Sean Reeves. It seems he would not be trying to keep Reeves from testifying before the arbitration panel or the international jury. I mean after all if you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.

I totally agree that the America's Cup should be won on the water. I am sure the members of TDC and Prada feel the same way. But IF there is evidence available that shows one team did not play fair, it should have a full airing and justice, not slaps on the wrist, should be handed out. Something seems to be out there that One World does not want presented to the panel or jury. I cannot believe they think that making threats against their accusers is any less distracting to their fine sailors than the action itself.

* From Mark Weinheimer: If Team Dennis Conner is submitting an affidavit sworn by Sean Reeves months ago, and TDC just received it from Team New Zealand last week, one wonders where it has been all this time. If there is new evidence to be considered, it is the obligation of those who know to make sure that this evidence is aired, regardless of what has gone before. There may be very little high ground left, if indeed there ever was any to begin with.

* From Paul Dunbar, Western Australia: It is with some disgust that I write to you. Firstly, I am, as are most people are, rather patriotic and would like to question weather John Rumsey (from Butt 1210) has had a look at a picture of the South Pacific as he believes that all four of the semi finalists are lead by Kiwis. If I am not mistaken there is a rather large landmass to the West of New Zealand that both the skipper and helmsman of OneWorld originate. Australia!

Secondly I feel that Team DC and Prada are throwing the sport into disrepute by not accepting the decision of the relevant governing body, the matter has been decided once before and a penalty handed down. I believe that one phrase in the blue book regarding fair sailing / good sportsmanship states that once a penalty has been handed down then all parties must accept it. If sailing is not decided on the water but in the court rooms of the world what next? Will "Mr Americas Cup" and the NYYC appeal the legalities of the winged keel and want a re-race of the 1983 AC??

On behalf of all Sailors around the world please get rid of the lawyers and let the cup be decided by the best boat and crew on the water.

* From Bruce Campbell: In regards to the comments of Paul Henderson, when will we realize that the demand for Olympic dollars is doing our sport no good. The demands placed on MNAs and now the classes themselves show me that we would be better off to leave the politics of the IOC to others. Please let's consider the benefits of leaving the Olympics and returning to sailboats racing.

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Five additions to Auckland's superyacht fleet have arrived in style - on a 140m floating marina. Curious spectators watched the Dock Express 12 berth at Wynyard Wharf this morning and scratched their heads as the specialised cargo vessel slowly sank. It can sink to 6m above its normal waterline to allow any sort of floatable cargo - such as yachts - to be floated on and off.

Ballast tanks in the hull are filled to sink the ship and bring the cargo deck down to water level. Once at the correct level, stern doors are opened to allow the yachts to motor into the ship, where they are secured on purpose-built cradles. The water in the tanks and dock deck is then pumped out, refloating the ship so the yachts and launches can be transported dry. The process is reversed for unloading. - Alan Perrott, NZ Herald, full story:

Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW Racing America's Cup team is using BMW engineers to optimise the performance of their sailing yacht through precision load testing. "In America's Cup match racing, an increase in speed of just a few tenths of a knot can make the difference between victory or defeat," stated Dr Byron Shaw. The 34-year old is a member of BMW's team of five engineers that constantly supports Oracle BMW Racing with its technical know-how during the closely fought preliminary qualifying contest for the America's Cup. Shaw was in the midst of things in Auckland for more than two weeks with his colleague Robert Passaro (30).

Both engineers from the Technology Office in Palo Alto, California collated valuable data while the team, led by skipper Chris Dickson and helmed by Peter Holmberg, was training and preparing for the races. They applied sensors to various components of the team's sailboats, USA-71 and USA-76, to inspect and analyze the tension forces on the mast as well as the strength, durability and lifetime prediction of various different components. The objective for Shaw and Passaro was to effectively and rapidly optimize the speed and performance of the team's two sailing vessels, USA-71 and USA-76. - Daily Sail website, full story:

Starting this Sunday, 7 December in Freemantle, Australia the 505 World Championship is hotting up to be an extraordinary event. Conditions should provide for a big sea and the legendary sea breeze, the "Freemantle Doctor" providing physical conditions. Prior to the World Championship, the Australian Open and National Championship starts tomorrow for four days, providing competitors the chance to test the conditions, and spectators the chance to see some of the in form teams going into the Worlds.

With 107 competitors entered so far, representing seven countries, competition looks set to be very tight, with a number of both former World Champions, America's Cup Veterans, and Olympic Champions sailing in one fleet in the World Championship. - ISAF website, full story:

Event website:

Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada has crossed the finish line off Cape Town. At 04:25:40 local time (02:25:40 GMT) Hatfield slipped across the line to take third place in Class 2. He was greeted on the water by fellow Class 2 competitor Tim Kent as well as race officials. -

May 28-31, 2003: BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup international women's match racing regatta, Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis, Maryland (USA). The deadline for submitting a Request for Invitation is February 1, 2003. -

What a difference 30 years makes.
1972: Hoping for a BMW
2002: Hoping for a BM