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SCUTTLEBUTT #205 -- October 26, 1998


Serving notice that his recent five-month absence from the international match racing circuit did little to diminish his sailing skills, New Zealander Russell Coutts won his fifth Bermuda Gold Cup today by beating countryman Murray Jones, 3-1. Coutts and his long-time crew of Brad Butterworth, Simon Daubney, and Warwick Fleury put on a masterful display of tactical expertise which dazzled the several thousand spectators who came to watch the action on Hamilton Harbour.

As the 5th seed in the regatta which brought 24 teams to Bermuda, Coutts had to make his way past unseeded skipper Dean Barker in the opening round of the Championship, 4th seed Gavin Brady in the Quarter-Finals, and top seed and defending champion Peter Gilmour in yesterday's semi-finals. Jones, the only unseeded skipper ever to make it to the Gold Cup final, had a 5-2 score in the qualifying round robin, then beat 7th seed Neville Wittey of Australia, 2nd seed Chris Law of Great Britain, and 3rd seed Peter Holmberg of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coutts and Jones have tangled many times in the past, both in competition and in training as co-members of Team New Zealand, the current defender of the America's Cup. Coutts won that trophy in 1995 as the helmsman while Jones served in the afterguard. The two have known each other since boyhood and both learned to sail in Wellington, New Zealand.

Coutts takes home $17,000 for his victory and Jones pocketed $10,200. In the petite finals, Gilmour beat Holmberg 2-0 to take third place and $6,500. Holmberg won $4,800. -- Gay Larsen

Gold Cup Web site:


>> America True, The San Francisco Yacht Club's challenge for America's Cup 2000, has signed fourth ranked world match racer, New Zealand native Gavin Brady. Brady's latest list of blue ribbon efforts include the Mumm 36 World Championships (1996 and 1997), the Congressional Cup (1996 and 1997), the Big Boat Series (aboard Beau Geste in 1996 and 1998), the York Cup (1997 and 1998), and the Polaris Block Trophy (1997 and 1998). In addition, Brady served as tactician aboard the third place New Zealand TAGHeuer America's Cup 1995 challenge, and he was the Chessie Racing helmsman in the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race.

In a separate announcement, America True announced it has partnered with James Betts Enterprises to build its first boat. Betts is working closely with America True and together they have assembled many of the world's finest boat builders.

The construction group is led by Team New Zealand veteran Peter Sowman, and includes John McConaghy, an Australian boat builder with 30 years of high tech boat building experience. "John has built every Australian America's Cup boat since 1990," said America True design team leader Phil Kaiko. Projected completion is Spring 1999. -- Grace Kim

The America True website:

>> French luggage maker Louis Vuitton will again sponsor the challenger races for America's Cup 2000. They will also be responsible for the communications of the event and the organization of the media centers. Round 1 of elimination racing is scheduled to begin October 25, 1999. Louis Vuitton first sponsored the challenger races in 1983 when the event was sailed off Newport, R.I.


Annapolis Yacht Club -- Final results
1. Kip Meadows 13
2. Roland Arthur 29
3. Robert Hughes 34
4. Sledd Shelhorse 36
5. Nick Worth 38

Event website:


Australia's Mitch Booth won the closely contested Nations Trophy event by one point from Spain's Fernando Leon, reversing their order of finish at the 1996 Olympic Games in Savannah, GA. Booth was the Tornado catamaran silver medalist in Savannah, while Leon took the gold. Leon was racing for Team Unicaja in Cadiz.

Cam Lewis and his two-man crew representing the United States finished third in The Nations Trophy raced in 25-foot one-design catamarans October 14-18, 1998, in the Water Sports Stadium of Cadiz, Spain. Lewis' crew were both Tornado sailors. Sailing World magazine Multihull Sailor of the Year (1991) Pete Melvin represented the US in Tornados at the Seoul Olympics. Jay Glaser is an Olympic silver medalist and won the Worrell 1,000.

1. Mitch Booth (AUS), 4-1-4-2-1-1-1-4-4, 58 points
2. Fernando Leon (ESP), 1-2-1-1-3-6-2-2-3, 57
3. Cam Lewis (USA), 6-6-2-4-7-2-3-3-6, 26
4. Yvan Bourgnon (FRA), 3-7-7-3-2-7-8-1-8, 24
5. Grant Dalton (NZL), 8-4-5-6-6-4-6-8-1, 21
6. Theresa Zabell (ESP), 2-3-6-7-4-8-7-6-2, 21
7. Thommaso Chieffi (ITA), 5,8,3,5,5,5,4,5,5, 19
8. Roland Gaebler (GER), 7-5-DSQ-8-8-3-5-7-7, 7


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(Edited to our limit of 250 words) >> From Frank Whitton -- Right on Bob Johnstone! If it ain't designed to the rule it ain't got the right numbers. That's the answer to my question put forth in Scuttlebutt #199 (Zephyrus/Pyewacket). Why don't the powers to be stand up and tell us this so that we can work with it??? IMS that is. It has the ability to be the best system and recognizing its shortcomings is the first step to regaining the respect and confidence of the end users (owners).

>> From Bill Lee -- The IMS rule was envisioned to fairly handicap a wide range of types. If bumping works to improve the rating of an otherwise excellent boat, then the rule is wrong, not the boat.

>> From Carl Schumacher -- Peter Johnson's book called YACHT RATING points out the difficulty in administering an international rule as Americans, Europeans and Kiwis, all look at the sport and their boats quite differently. Even within these groups the needs of the grand prix owners (and their professional crews) and the recreational sailor differ. One thing for sure, ocean racing needs a measurement rule that owners can have enough confidence in to build and race boats. IMS isn't doing this.

Given today's technology any measurement rule is going to be type forming. The sooner this is realized the sooner we can develop a measurement system that uses this fact to produce boats that people want to own and race. It is a noble gesture to continue to try to develop a rule that will encompass as many different approaches as possible, but don't let this fairytale get in the way of yacht racing today. Comparing a Swan 46 and a Mumm 30 by any form of equation has not yet been perfected. Peter Johnson suggests that this notion of total fairness in a measurement rule is an American delusion.

Any class, whether one-design or handicap, needs a leader that is strong enough not to submit to the self-serving pressure of a few individuals at the expense of the majority of the fleet. If owners and designers knew an exploited loop hole was going to be closed right away, maybe they would think twice about building boats before exposing the rule flaw to the administrators. So far the ORC has not shown much stomach to stand up to a vocal minority of well-healed owners and their professional advisors.


Robert Miller's 145ft Briand designed superyacht Mari Cha III came surfing in from the Atlantic to slash 2 days 13 hours off the transAtlantic monouhull record held by Ludde Ingvall's Maxi One Design Nicorette. Pushed by a 50 knot gale and driving rain, the 22 strong crew pressed the New Zealand built yacht hard over the final miles to complete the 2,950 miles from New York to the Lizard in 8 days 23 hours 59 minutes.

Bob Miller said afterwards: "We have had a few problems but the boat has behaved magnificently. She is a great ship. We have averaged 14.5 knots and during one surf reached 30.8 knots, which is a record for the boat. "We have had a problem with the booms and 1,000 miles out, the pounding damaged the bow thruster which dropped down. We were not able to fix it, and have completed the rest of the voyage with it stuck down which has slowed us.

The team sailing Maria Cha II hopes to build an even bigger monohull and sail it in The Race.

Event site:


Ft Lauderdale, FL -- October 16-18, 1998
Special report from Bill Hardesty -- This year's Pan-Am trials consisted of a small but very elite group of laser sailors. Nearly every US Olympic campaigner made an appearance and the 24-boat fleet was full of high level sailors from top to bottom. Gary Bodie, the newly hired "Head Olympic Sailing Coach," held a debrief every night which brought the group together to share information and make the everyone feel like a team. A large majority of the group is headed down to Australia this winter and the team learning approach should help the US rise out of it's recent slump in the international laser circuit.

After a four day light air clinic held at the Miami, US Sailing Center, the group was very well tuned up for a light air regatta. Typical regatta situation brought just the opposite, with generally 15-25 knots and 4-5 foot swells.

Final Results:
1. Mark Mendelblatt
2. Brett Davis
3. John Myrdal
4. Jack Dreyfuss
5. Andy Lovell
6. Bill Hardesty


PCISA held the Cressy eliminations, which is the single handed champs, at the sailing center in long beach. 34 high schoolers sailed in Laser radials with the top 5 qualifying to sail in the finals in Houston.

1. Troy Treaccar Newport Harbor
2. Brian Lake University High of SD
3. Andrew Campbell Bishop High
4. Mike Anderson-Mitterling Coronado High
5. David Horchart Mission Bay High


On Saturday, US Sailing Association President Jim Muldoon presented the Hyannis Yacht Club with a "Special Presidential Award" for hosting the 505 North American and 505 World Championships. -- Ali Meller


In the November issue of Sailing World magazine, Brad Dellenbaugh made some comments that I'm sure everyone has read by now, but let me repeat just a few of them for emphasis:

"In most fleets, racers deserve to know if they're over early. As a racer, I definitely want to know if I'm over early. Race committees, please notify me. When I'm PRO, I often use the VHF to communicate other information to the fleet to help make our intentions clear. Race committees should be encouraged to spread the word on the racecourse."

Curmudgeon's comment -- YES! I know the inshore committee discussed hailing OSC competitors at the US Sailing's AGM this past weekend. Did anything come of that?


MERCURY: 1. Pax Davis / Richard Hubbert, 9.00, 2. David West / Fogelgrist, 10.00, 3. John Hansen / Tony Basso, 13.00, 4. Dan Simmons / Laurie Davis 21.00, 5. Brendan Bradley / Patrick Bradley, 22.00, 5. Jim Taylor / Walter Smith, 22.00; SNIPE 1. Shawn Bennett / Debbie Bennett, 5.00, 2. Jaime Fontanella / Dani, 10.00 3. Doug Howson/Tom Potter, 13.00; SOLING PCCs J. Madrigali / C. Healy/K.Stanke, 5.00, 2. John Walton/Ezra Culver / T.Kamps, 10.00, 3. I. Wareham / A. Vance / J.Rodenburger, 12.00.

StFYC Website:


The petal is on the metal. Blasting along for the third day with average boatspeeds ranging from the mid- to upper-teens, the leading five boats in Class I of the Around Alone race this morning were continuing to enjoy near-perfect reaching conditions while gobbling up the miles toward Cape Town. With northerly winds funneling down the back of a major high-pressure system sparking her attack, Isabelle Autissier had once again slipped past Marc Thiercelin early today to top the leader board with just over 1,500 miles to go to the finish line.

Remarkably, Giovanni Soldini may also play a big role in the Leg 1 picture. Two weeks ago, he seemed hopelessly out of contention. Today, after setting a record for fastest-ever 24-hour run by a singlehanded monohull skipper, he is right back in the hunt. Race officials this morning announced that Soldini had bettered the mark that was reported yesterday. Soldini's new race record of 386.9 nautical miles was established between the 1540 GMT position updates on October 24 and 25 (the earlier number-381.1 n.m-was posted between the 0940 position updates). But he wasn't the only one hitting big numbers. Here are the mileage figures for the other Class I sailors aboard Groupe Finot Open 60s during the same time period: Autissier, 337.6; Thiercelin, 351.4; third-place competitor Mike Golding, 355.4; and fellow Englishman Josh Hall, 314. -- Herb McCormick

CLASS I (Dist. to Finish)
1. Autissier 1527
2. Thiercelin 1542
3. Golding 1616
4. Hall 1691
5. Soldini 1754

1. Mouligne 2261
2. Van Liew 2278
3. Garside 2479
4. Davie 2889
5. Stricker 3039

Event Website:

CCCC -- Curmudgeon's Catalina Cruising Comments
It was absolutely fantastic. October may have just slipped past September as the curmudgeon's favorite time at the island.


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