Number 197 - October 8 1998
(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
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
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:
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
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
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
"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
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
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:
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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
>> 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
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
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.
>> 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
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
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
A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.