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Number 196 - October 7 1998


With the conclusion of the Sydney Harbour Regatta on September 27, sailing earned bragging rights as the first Olympic sport to have a test event conducted by the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG). The regatta, which gave 330 sailors from 37 countries a taste of what's in store for 2000, utilized the Olympic venue -- the historic former Navy base in Rushcutter's Bay on the southern shores of Sydney Harbour -- complete with athlete's village and full security. Racing followed the same format planned for the Olympics and could be watched by spectators from vantage points around Sydney Harbour.

Twenty-nine members of the 1998 US Sailing Team competed in eight Olympic classes (ten divisions) -- Europe (women), Finn (men), 470 (men and women), Laser (open), Mistral (men and women), 49er, Soling and Tornado (all open). (The absence of the ninth Olympic class, the Star, was due to a conflict with the '98 Star World Championship.) The U.S. athletes were part of a full delegation that included Team Leader Hal Haenel (Los Angeles, Calif.); US SAILING's Olympic Director Jonathan Harley (Middletown, R.I.); Head Olympic Coach Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.); and US Sailing Team Coaches Luther Carpenter (New Orleans, La.) and Skip Whyte (Bristol, R.I.). Haenel, a veteran of three Olympic Star campaigns that yielded two medals ('92 Gold, '88 Silver), was satisfied with the overall results of the U.S. Team. "Our sailors are making good progress toward next year's Trials. Our primary goal at this event was to evaluate ourselves against the foreign teams and gain more experience for our sailors on local waters. The organizers varied course locations, and the weather was dramatic with winds ranging from equipment-busting to barely there, forcing racing to be delayed. It gave our sailors a variety of challenging conditions and invaluable experience sailing at the Olympic site." "The general consensus among the Americans is that SOCOG has done an excellent job," said Harley, who has coordinated logistics at the last four Olympic Regattas. "The Olympic venue is way ahead of any I've seen two years out -- they could hold the Olympics tomorrow."

In the 49er class, the U.S. team's most successful, '98 World Bronze Medalists Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall (Capitola/Ventura, Calif.) captured the silver, finishing behind Australia's top Olympic prospect -- two-time world champion ('97/'98) Chris Nicholson. Taking bronze in the 25-boat fleet were brothers Jonathan and Charlie McKee (both Seattle, Wash.). The Australian-designed 49er, a 16-foot double-trapeze skiff with wings, is the newest Olympic class boat and a favorite among spectators. On the first day of racing, 20+ knots of wind led to a broken wing by the Swiss team as it came off a wave, and a capsize by the Portugese boat sent the crew through the mainsail, shredding it.

The Laser fleet, with 42 entries, was the largest of the classes and featured tough competition for John Myrdal (Kailua, Hawaii), who finished fifth. Claiming the gold was current World Champion and '96 Olympic Gold Medalist Robert Scheidt of Brazil, with '96 Olympic Silver Medalist Ben Ainslie of the U.K. taking the silver. John Torgerson (Annapolis, Md.) finished 26th.

Ignoring shark sightings on their course, the Soling team of Tony Rey, Tom Burnham and Dean Brenner (Newport/Newport/Watch Hill, R.I.) finished fourth out of 12 boats in the fleet racing portion of their event. Racing against several Olympic veterans, the trio successfully retained that position through the round-robin match racing, despite -- in the span of three races -- a ripped jib and spinnaker, a broken batten, and damage to part of the main boom. Germany's '96 Olympic Gold Medalist Jochen Schuemann won the gold, with Sweden's '96 Star Olympic Bronze Medalist Hans Wallen taking silver and two-time Olympic Medalist Rod Davis of New Zealand taking bronze.

In the 25-boat Europe fleet, Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I.) finished 13th, while Danielle Brennan-Myrdal (New York, N.Y.) took 24th. The gold medal went to '98 World Champion Carolijn Brouwer of The Netherlands. Australia's Sarah Blanck and '96 Olympic Silver Medalist Magriet Matthysse of The Netherlands took the silver and bronze, respectively.

In the 15-boat Finn class, '97 World Champion Fredrik Loof of Sweden, Xavier Rohart of France and '96 Olympic Silver Medalist Sebastian Godefroid of Belgium topped the leader board in first through third places, respectively. Darrell Peck (Gresham, Ore.) finished 14th followed by Andy Kern (Chicago, Ill.) in 15th.

Fresh from their '98 World Championships in Spain, the 470 fleets were judged to have been 'raced out' at the start of the Sydney Harbour Regatta. The '98 World Champions Gildas Philippe and Tonguy Cariou of France took the silver in this event, which was won by Alvaro Marinho and Miguel Nunes of Portugal, the fifth place finishers at the Worlds. Having just qualified the U.S. for a 470 slot to the Olympic Regatta, Paul Foerster (Garland, Texas) sailed in Sydney for the first time with substitute crew Jonathan Farrar (Miami, Fla.). The duo finished seventh in the 22-boat fleet. Peter Katcha and Jim Elvart (Dallas, Texas/Chicago, Ill.) placed 18th. In the 15-boat 470 Women's fleet, Whitney Connor and Elizabeth Kratzig (Noank, Conn./Corpus Christi, Texas) finished fifth, with '96 Europe Bronze Medalist Courtenay Dey and Alice Manard (The Dalles, Ore./Newport, R.I.) placing 10th. The gold was won by Nicola Birkner and Wibke Buelle of Germany, who were third at the Worlds. Italy's Federica Salva and Emanuela Sossi and Denmark's Susanne and Michaela Ward took silver and bronze, respectively.

In the 23-board Mistral Men's event, '92 Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) placed 15th, with Randy Somnitz (Panama City, Fla.) finishing 17th. Two New Zealanders -- World Champion Aaron McIntosh and John Paul Tobin -- won gold and bronze, respectively. Australia's '96 Olympic Bronze Medalist Lars Kleppich took silver. In the 16-board Mistral Women's fleet, '96 Olympian Lanee Butler (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) was sixth behind Hong Kong's '96 Olympic Gold Medalist Lai Shan Lee, who finished fifth. Cara Reid (Edison, N.J.) placed 15th in the event which was won by New Zealand's two-time Olympic Medalist Barbara Kendall ('96 Silver, '92 Gold). Italy's '96 Bronze Medalist Alessandra Sensini took eighth.

Amid plenty of carnage on the Tornado course, Richard Feeny and Brian Doyle (Ithaca, N.Y./Darien, Conn.) finished tenth in the 16-boat fleet. 1996 Olympians John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree (New Orleans, La./Newport Beach, Calif.) missed two races due to equipment failure and finished 14th. Victory was all too sweet for Darren Bundock and John Forbes who won by four points over fellow Australians and '96 Olympic Silver Medalists Mitch Booth and Andrew Landenberger. Though arch rivals now, Booth and Forbes teamed up to take home the '92 Olympic Bronze medal from Barcelona.

The US Sailing Team is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Sperry Top-Sider. Douglas Gill and McLube are suppliers. The Olympic Regatta, scheduled for Sydney, Australia, September 17-October 1, 2000, will restrict entries to countries that have met the qualification requirements and will allow only one boat per class per country. -- Jan Harley, Media Pro


Five races in 11 Meter yachts -- Final results:
1. Jeff Madrigali USA 15
2. Morgan Larson USA 18
3. Seadon Wijsen USA 21
4. Stefan Winberg SWE 25
5. Hans Wallen SWE 26


Woodies Rule! In the single race held today, Annapolis local, Joni Plamer-Gauthier and Laura Jeffers, gave the fleet a sailing lesson. They had a great start and were launched, leading and expanding their lead at every mark of the windward/leeward (5 leg) course. Joni and Laura were sailing Pinochio, a custom cold molded Snipe, beautifully crafted by local contractor Ray Gauthier. It's more beautiful than any piece of furniture I'll ever own!

During the race the breeze clocked right with better pressure so the boats that generally favored the right prevailed. The breeze ranged in speed from 5 to perhaps 10 knots max, but generally in the 5-8 knot range. Luckily this light air is occuring during the week, so the chop on the bay is not as brutal as it can be on a hot, sunny Sunday in August.

In second throughout the race was Jennifer Lovell from New Orleans sailing with her former College crew Annapolitan Molly Alexander. Kimie Isobe and Yoshimi Matsuura of Japan, kept up their light air consistency adding a third place to their tally. The two Russian Teams of Svetlana Maliouk/crew and Ekaterina Skoudina/Tatiana Lartseva were also consistent finishing 4 and 5.

After the breeze clocked around to about 120 by the end of the race, it lightened so much the RC raised the AP flag to await a more sailable breeze. Good for waterskiing (which we did on the spectator boat!) but not for sailing. About 3 pm the breeze filled back in from the north east and the second race was started. Alas, it was not to be as the race was abandoned about the time the first boat ghosted into the vicinity of the weather mark. The fleet was rounded up by the RC and spectator boats and towed in for some well deserved beers! As is always the case the 10-15 knot NE predicted breeze came in at about 5:30 during the second beer. Oh, well, we'll try again tomorrow. -- Alex Pline

After 4 races:
1 RUS 29480 Skoudina/Lartseva 11.50
2 USA 28142 Newman-Cronin/Biehl 22.75
3 USA 28702 Stout/Filter 27.00
4 USA 28728 Palmer-Gauthier/Jeffers 29.75
5 USA 28955 Brown/Morphew 32.00

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>> From Mike Benedict -- Your comments (about a 3-year cycle for Mexican races) are well taken. As I'm sure you know, there were abortive moves to do as you suggest. Unfortunately the egos of some involved caused this not to happen. It is an idea that should be revisited. I know the Boards of host clubs have to take a hard look at the effort, expense, etc., etc. to run a long-distance race with very few participants. I know at SDYC there have been hard discussions about this, as well as about the number of our members participating.

From Steve Tupper -- (Regarding ocean racing) I would like to make one observation re your discussion on why attendance in some of these races has dropped. Last year I sailed (the Little Ensenada Race) and there was general consternation when our Tripp 40 was lined up against a Melges 24. Here we had two dissimilar boats competing. I think that this was a major factor in over half of last years entries in our class giving the race a pass this year.

In any event when I arrive the owner said Steve there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the Melges was in a different division. The bad news was that the Turbo Sleds were in our class. This meant that we were racing against boats that had to beat us by 3 hours in a race that only took us 8 hours. They did not and if they do not come next year I can understand why. There is just no logic in placing boats that sail at 8 knots in a class against boats that sail 12 knots. I would like to make a plea for some resonable allocation of classes so that Turbos aren't sailing against Tripp 40s.

>> From Susan Beckett -- I don't want to start one of those incessant Butt-arguments, but it's too bad Chip thinks (Long Beach YC) RC's efforts -- and his - were unappreciated. Chip was a one man show out there moving the gates around and our crew commented more than once while watching him work what a tough job he had and how well he did it. However, there were lingering issues being discussed and debated after the regatta, and I felt "Butt" was just one way to express ideas and open discussion. It isn't a recent phenomenon in sailing that competitors sit and debate about race management, protest committee actions, on the water scuttles, crew work/mistakes/successes. Many times these open, quite frank discussions are heated. To me, this is one component that makes sailing so interesting - the fact that we are always learning and always endeavoring to be better competitors.


Allegations of Gross Misconduct take time to properly unravel. However, event organizers Golison & Golison have just received "Partial Protest Committee findings" from the Coast Cadillac / North Sails Race Week Rule 69 hearing concerning the brawl at the trophy presentation:

"The protest committee has informed Golison & Golison, CC/NSRW's organizer, that two boats, Dixon Hall's "B32 Again" and Dave Brennan's "Zoos," have been disqualified from the 1998 CC/NSRW based on the actions of their crew at the trophy presentation brawl. Both boat's scores will be removed from all races sailed in the 1998 regatta.

"The protest committee's report to Golison & Golison did not include any information on the seven individual crewmembers who were involved in the brawl due to the fact that the whole matter is subject to U.S. Sailing's review as required under RRS 69.

"The protest committee has sent its complete report, with the statement of facts found, to U.S. Sailing. U.S. Sailing will announce the complete final results of this matter when they have concluded their process." -- Bruce Golison


Less than two weeks into the first leg of the Around Alone race, things are sorting themselves out in the Atlantic Ocean. In the last 72 hours the front-runners have truly pulled away from the pack, and the figurative "A" and "B" divisions that currently exist have nothing to do with classes or boat lengths. At this morning's 0940 GMT position report, for the second straight day Marc Thiercelin remained at the top of the leader board. He was followed in the "A fleet" by, in order, Class I skippers Isabelle Autissier, Josh Hall and Mike Golding, and the Class II trio of division leader J.P. Mouligne, Mike Garside and Brad Van Liew.

Because of the separation that exists between them, the two packs are experiencing different weather systems. The leaders this morning were sailing south on fresh southwesterlies in the wake of Tropical Storm Lisa, which followed predictions and continued its northerly track. Some members of the "A fleet" cut close to the western edge of the storm and took advantage of favorable winds.

Brad Van Liew this morning offered this assessment of Lisa. "I seemed to have dodged the bullet," he said in a COMSAT-C message to race officials. "I had done a little too much southing and lost more miles than necessary while trying to ensure not encountering the wrath of the storm. The conservative side tends to take over in scenarios where the consequences...are so critical... I will say, however, that J.P. and Garside did a masterful job of giving up the absolute minimum in lost mileage to the storm while getting around it safely." -- Herb McCormick

CLASS I (Behind leader)
1. Thiercelin 0.0
2. Autissier 41.0
3. Hall 69.6
4. Golding 97.2
5. Soldini 334.1

Mouligne 0.0
Garside 6.3
Van Liew 61.7
Stricker 268.5
Saito 366.9

Event Website

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