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SCUTTLEBUTT!

Number 197 - October 8 1998

HANDICAP RACING

(The following is an excerpt from an editorial by Andrew Hurst in the November issue of Seahorse magazine.)

Amid the build-up to the publication of IR2000 it cannot pass unnoticed that at this year's San Francisco Big Boat Series (taking place as this is being written) the 40-footer class is racing under PHRF. This in the USA, the supposed home, and certainly the birthplace of IMS.

It is increasingly hard to know how to address this thorny issue; is the UK becoming isolationist in its pursuit of a new rule, or does the fact that the USA now seems to have all but abandoned its once-beloved IMS mean that the split is much bigger in terms of geography?

The truth is somewhere in between, which means recent efforts to find an improved spirit of co-operation between those advocating either of the two principal avenues should be encouraged, preferably by the ISAF.

Whatever the pros and cons of IMS (and I will bore everyone again by repeating that I think the rule can now measure boats extremely well, but that the full scoring system is undesirably 'clever'), there are far too many good IMS boats racing in Europe and Australia, in particular, for any sweeping abandonment of that system to exist other than in the realms of fantasy.

If only those driving the various alternative systems proposed could pull together properly then I suspect that everything could actually be sorted very quickly. IMS, with boats being weighed and simplified scoring (please let every dog have its day again, so we no longer have to 'guess' wind strengths), would actually answer everyone's requirements.

This is largely what IR2000 is all about, and though some of its early presentation may have lacked tact, many of the new rule's core concepts are very valid and very practical.

All that is happening at present is an increasing geographical split; the UK and France will adopt IR2000 (which incidentally looks like encouraging some attractive boats). And then, if it proves successful, it will slowly spread in popularity. That's fine, but why should we not prefer to speed up the process?

A situation where the IMS supporting Italian Sailing Federation is saying, as it is at present, that 'we will not come to Admiral's Cup 2001 - on principle', is simply not satisfactory. I'm very sorry, Mr Henderson, but the game is now too big for anyone other than your world authority to pull it together. And even that will only work if you are seen to be listening to a fair cross-section.

The feeling among grand-prix sailors is that the handicap racing situation is actually 'almost right'. To get it exactly right will take a bit of compromise on all sides and a removal of some of IMS' mathematical idealism in favour of looking hard at what the sailors really want. I gather these issues are indeed top of the agenda for the ISAF meetings in Palma. Good luck! -- Andrew Hurst, Editor, Seahorse magazine

To read the complete editorial: http://sailing.org/seahorse/

SNIPE WOMEN'S WORLDS

Beautiful Sailing! Finally, we had the quintessential Annapolis fall sailing day. Moderate temperatures, 10-12 knot southerly and thin sunlight. Annapolis locals Lisa Pline and Sherry Eldridge were on fire, getting out of the blocks in the first two races and leading at every mark.

Nonetheless, the final results for places 2-6 were not decided until the third race of the day (seven and final for the series) as the point spread between 2 and 6 was only 2.5 points. It was up for grabs. First place, however was a different story. The young Russian Team (17 and 16) of Ekaterina Skoudina/Tatiana Lartseva had a 3,4 in the first two races to sew up the top spot with 18.5 points as the last could be used as their drop race.

In the end, Pam Kelly/Michele Bustamante of Coconut Grove, FL and Durham, NC squeaked out a win over Carol Newman-Cronin/Jerelyn Biehl to capture second with 29.75 points; The third spot went to Jennifer Lovell/Molly Alexander with 30 points. Newman-Cronin/Biehl discarded a 12th in race 6 to end up 4th while the great day of a 1,1,5 for Pline/Eldridge moved them up to 5th overall. -- Alex Pline

Final results (Seven races)
1 RUS 29480 Skoudina/Lartseva 18.50
2 USA 27872 Kelly/Bustamante 29.75
3 USA 28214 Lovell/Alexnander 30.00
4 USA 28142 Newman-Cronin/Biehl 31.75
5 USA 29147 Pline/Eldridge 35.50

Event site: http://www.snipe.org/regattas/results/1998/WomensWorlds98

MATCH RACING

A junior team representing the Portland Yacht Club of Portland, Maine, won the Third Annual Young America Junior Match Racing Championship Oct. 2-4 in Fort Worth, Texas. Nine teams representing the Partner Yacht Clubs of the New York Yacht Club/Young America Challenge competed in the America's Cup-style competition hosted by Partner Club Fort Worth Boat Club on Eagle Mountain Lake.

Portland Yacht Club dominated the competition, with their two teams taking first and second place overall. Peter Levesque skippered the first-place team that included R.C. Schmidt, Ben True and Luke Rioux. Levesque has competed in all three NYYC/Young America Junior Match Racing events, placing second in the first two competitions hosted at St. Petersburg Yacht Club. Sailing in J/22s, the Portland team had the best record in the 36-race round robin. The sailors tested their skills in three days of blustery conditions with squalls and storms occasionally interrupting the racing action.

"The Partner Club program is a fundamental element of our strategy to represent all of America in our Challenge for the Cup," said John K. Marshall, president of the NYYC/Young America Challenge. "The Junior Match Racing Championship provides young sailors of our Partner Clubs not only an opportunity to compete in a match racing format but also the chance to learn more about the sport from its role models - actual America's Cup sailors."

Hosted this year by Fort Worth Boat Club, the regatta included educational clinics and chalkboard talks with NYYC/Young America Sailing Team Manager Kimo Worthington. -- Jane Eagleson

RESULTS:
1) Portland Yacht Club, Peter Levesque, R.C. Schmidt, Ben True, Luke Rioux. 2) Portland Yacht Club, Ben Gent, Brigham Prescott, Adam Gent, Liz Bancroft. 3) St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Ryan Druyor, Justin Iserhardt, Randy Rood, Clay Eich. 4) Bayview Yacht Club, Chris Van tol, John Van Tol, John Moran, Scott Wake. 5) St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Rick Korab, Kevin Reali, Steve Lincoln, Zach Railey.

NYYC/Young America Challenge website: http://www.youngamerica.org


CHEAP SAILS

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LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON

>> From Jeffrey Littell -- Received the Hong Kong Shipping Newsletter today via e-mail which contained a very interesting article on how GPS receivers will/will not deal with the year 2000 computer problem. Actually, the problem will occur on August 22, 1999, which is when the GPS "register" will be full. It appears there is a chance that some GPS units will not function properly after the August, 1999, date. Do you think some of the "Buttheads" familiar with this issue could give us some advice in an upcoming issue of Scuttlebutt?

(The curmudgeon also received two email notes concerning his grumpy comments in 'Butt #194 about the 'responsibility' of yacht clubs to post important race results on their websites in a timely fashion. I doubt that either note was intended for publication, but both make some important points...and there is no such thing as "confidential email." The first reply is from hard working the Snipe volunteer Alex Pline, who the curmudgeon picked on sufficiently to prompt a well thought-out letter from another Snipe sailor -- my favorite son, Craig.)

>> From Alex Pline -- I guess my perspective comes from doing this in addition to being a competitor... In that case the web work takes the secondary position to being a competitor. When I'm not a competitor, and am doing web work in an "official" capacity for a regatta (such as the Womens Worlds) I take my "obligations" to report results very seriously. So in light of that, I agree with you that there is no excuse to not get the stuff up that evening or sooner, especially given the magnitude of the Star NAs.

>> From Craig Leweck -- And this is why you are called the curmudgeon. Try to remember that not every YC has the wherewithal (yet) to fulfill this latest duty. The '91 Snipe Worlds in Norway were held in a YC about a quarter the size of MBYC in both literal size and depth of volunteers. Really grass roots. Alex's angle is from the Snipe class, which is much grass rootier than the Star class. Alex races all day and inputs at night. Not too many can do that and still claim to enjoy a regatta.

The California YC type clubs are the minority, probably by a huge margin when you view all the US YC's which host racing events. The challenge for the curmudgeon is to maintain his grumpy persistence without discouraging those who are just doing the best that they can.

Curmudgeon's comment: With well-reasoned advice like that, it's easy to understand why Craig is my favorite son. (OK, so he's my only son -- so what?)

LITTLE ENSENADA RACE

(Earlier in the week we heard from Alan Andrews about his ride on Doug Baker's Andrews 70 TurboSled in the Little Ensenada Race. Now, here's an excerpt from a summary by Robbie Haines from Roy Disney's SC 70 TurbosSled, Pyewacket. Sometimes we forget what this sport is all about, but Robbie's summary helps to put things back into perspective.)

Since the regular crew on Roy Disney's PYEWACKET has children who are at an age where they can help with the sheets, take down the spinnaker and be helpful aboard the boat, Roy thought it might be fun to have the fathers and their sons race to Mexico (on the little Ensenada Race).

Under good conditions, this race can be a half-day ride. On the flip side, I have sailed this race many times on a sled, experiencing a "driftfest" where we didn't finish until early the following morning. This year, however, we had a steady 10-14 knots, meaning PYEWACKET would have a steady 10+ knot hull speed.

When the crew list was finalized, we had eleven adults and eight young men ranging in age from 8 to 15. We started the race at 12:10 PM under jib tops making 10 knots right on course. Our toughest competition, MAGNITUDE, an Andrews 70, started below us. We were basically dead even for the first thirty miles. Sail changes were needed approximately every half-hour and the kids each were assigned responsibilities. We had two or three youngsters below gathering the 4000 square foot spinnaker on the drops. They would occasionally disappear under mounds of nylon. The older boys helped on the grinder handles and, with dad nearby, each had a turn at the helm.

The last half of the race was exciting because we were now almost square running and the boatspeed reached windspeed most of the time. Five miles from the finish and only minutes behind us, MAGNITUDE, abruptly doused her spinnaker and turned head to wind. We initially thought they had lost someone overboard, only to learn later that a huge sunfish had wrapped around their keel, reducing their boat speed from 12 to 5 knots. Drastic changes in rudder movement and flossing of the keel didn't help so they had to back down to get the fish off. Strange as it sounds, this is not the first sunfish to fall prey to a sailboat here on the Left Coast.

At the finish it appeared we would be able to shave a bit of time off the races six-hour record. A mile from the finish, the adults decided to let the "rookies" sail PYEWACKET across the line. We put my 15-year old son Brian on the helm and assigned the others their tasks: one ten year old trimmed the 4000 square foot chute; 8 and 11 year olds manned the primary winch handles; mainsail trim was handled by a nine year old; and two lads were at the mast, ready to jibe the 35 foot pole in case we didn't lay the finish line. The full contingent of fathers was below deck at the finish.

The expression on the faces of the race committee was priceless. Imagine seeing a seventy-footer finish a 60 mile race doing twelve knots with a bunch of kids seemingly in command! Adding to our excitement was our finish time of 5 hours and 19 minutes -- a new record.

We are all fortunate to have shared this experience with our sailing companions and families. Our thanks to Roy for making it possible. By now I imagine each crewmember has explained to his son that sailing on a boat of this size and speed is a rare treat not every youngster will experience. I doubt this race will fade from memory any time soon. -- Robbie Haines

OOPS

The seminar for the Del Rey YC's race to Puerto Vallarta is Tuesday October 13 instead of whatever was reported here incorrectly in Butt #195.

TRIVIA

>> Sayonara, the American maxi yacht which took line honours in the 1995 Sydney to Hobart, is returning for this year's Telstra 54th Sydney to Hobart. Owned and skippered by San Francisco yachtsman Larry Ellison, CEO of the giant US computer systems company Oracle, Sayonara was a sensational competitor in the 1995 race, leading the 630 nautical mile race from start to finish. The bluewater classic, starting on Boxing Day, December 26, 1998, is expected to attract around 120 of Australia's best ocean racing yachts, along with yachts and crews from Britain, France, New Zealand, Italy, the United States and Hong Kong. -- Peter Campbell

>> Guests are arriving in Amsterdam this weekend to celebrate the launch of Jim Clark's $30 million sailboat, the Hyperion, but the 155 foot cutter won't be there. Mr. Clark, the wealthy co-founder of Silicon Graphics, Inc., Netscape Communications Corp, and Healtheon Corp. says the boat won't be ready to begin sea trials until early November, four months behind schedule. For now, it's sitting in a dry dock about 60 miles from Amsterdam.

Even so, Mr. Clark will party on. He rented his favorite Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam for Friday night's dinner. On Saturday, buses will ferry guests to the shipyard, where a large construction shed has been converted for the occasion. "It will look like it's completed", Mr. Clark says of the boat, which has 20 computers, 37 miles of cabling and 500 gigabytes of data storgage. After brunch the next day, five canal boats will float guests around Amsterdam. -- Wall Street Journal via Peter Huston

AROUND ALONE

The meteorologists at fleet weather forecaster Commanders' Weather said that the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lisa would be ugly, and ugly it is. At the 0940 GMT position update today only Mike Golding-averaging just under 8 knots-was making anything resembling decent boatspeed. The sounds emanating from the decks of the other top boats was the horrible slapping of slatting sails.

At the top of Class I, Marc Thiercelin continued to hold the lead, followed by Golding, Josh Hall, and Isabelle Autissier. On the "Distance To Finish" chart, only 46 miles separated this tidy quartet. In Class II, J.P. Mouligne held a six-mile edge over Mike Garside. Surprising Brad Van Liew, who is making good on his vow to pester the leaders, was only 16 miles behind Garside. As for Giovanni Soldini, who led the way for the better part of the first week, if there was no such thing as bad news he'd have no news at all. Were he racing his 60-foot FILA in Class II, he'd be in fourth place today. As it stands, the Class I skipper was almost 400 miles behind leader Thiercelin at this morning's update.

This report from BALANCE BAR skipper Van Liew this morning captured all the glamour of high-stakes offshore yacht racing: "This is one of those days I will not get excited about. There is no wind and a light swell (just enough to get the boat moving around). It is very hot and as I write I must continually wipe my arms so they don't drip sweat into the keyboard. My desire to succeed keeps me on deck working...and managing the biggest sails I have from getting damaged in the rigging as they slat back and forth. I am sure that it would make no difference in the long run if I just dropped the sails and waited for the first bit of wind, but I don't think I could swallow the lack of effort."

Van Liew added, "The good news and an excellent by-product of this predicament is that the boat didn't come to a stop until I got to within spitting distance (that is, if I had anything in my mouth except cotton) of the Finot Twins [Mouligne and Garside]. I'm sure that they must be very tired of this and I headed for them thinking there was no way they would be parked when I got here. OOPS! To quote the wicked witch of the west: 'I'm meellltiiiing.'"

Event Website: http://www.aroundalone.com

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION

A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.