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SCUTTLEBUTT #217 -- November 13, 1998

FARR 40 WORLDS
The skippers and crews of the 19 boats had no complaints about the conditions - 12-15 knots of easterly breeze in bright sunshine off the Florida coast by Government Cut. With the knowledge that the Race Officer, Mike 'Grizz' Thompson, was standing no nonsense at the starts, the fleet was less eager and there were only three premature starters, all in the final race of the day.

'It was hard out there,' said highly experienced tactician, Dee Smith, who is calling the shots for William Ziegler on Gem, 'but we are the top boat of the day.' Their 6, 2, 5 scoreline just edged out Jim Richardson's Barking Mad, which had one more point from 3, 4, 7, but it is Richardson who is the overall series leader after five races of this eight race, no discard series to decide the champion. -- Bob Fisher

Points after five races (provisional)
1. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, 21 points
2. Phish Food, Alexis Michas, 32
3. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, 32
4. Alliance, Skip Purcell, 32
5. Gem, William Zeigler, 33
6. Wired, Steve Garland, 33
7. Solution, John Thomson, 35

Event site: http://sailing.org/regattas/farr40worlds/

NIPPON CUP '98 / ISAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF MATCH RACING
Hayama Marina YC have done a great job planning and organising the whole championship, and today had TV cameras on two of the boats. There will be live coverage during the semis and finals, and a large spectator fleet is expected at the weekend. The racing is incredibly close, the umpiring very high standard under great pressure from ten skippers who don't give an inch. The de-briefings have been very good-humoured and some of the very recent rule changes and umpire calls agreed in Palma have been implemented, much to the surprise and delight of the sailors. Good training for America's Cup sailors and Umpires alike. It is like having a Rules Seminar and Worlds at the same time. Enough to make your head spin.

For Days two and three, we have had a cool and shifty N.E. breeze off the land which has petered out in the early afternoon. So we are behind schedule by three flights, and we lost the whole of Monday when it blew a gale. -- Iain MacDonald-Smith, ISAF Sailing Manager

Here are the points after Round Robin One and Four flights of RR 2:
Peter Gilmour JPN 10 1
Marcus Weiser GER 9 4
Bertrand Pace FRA 8 4
Chris Law GBR 7 6
Gavin Brady NZL 6 6
Jochen Schumann GER 6 7
Peter Holmberg ISV 5 6
Magnus Holmberg SWE 4 7
Luc Pillot FRA 3 10
Sten Mohr DEN 3 10

Event site: http://www.hmyc.org/nipponcup/index.html

NIPPON CUP INSIGHT
(This is a special report from the Match Racing World Championship by Morgan Trubovich who is sailing with Gavin Brady.)
Well, this really was a day that had it all !! Once again the conditions were light and very difficult. We were on the edge all day long, not only in each race but also in the overall standings, and in our chances of qualifying for the semis. Our win one race/lose one race pattern continued as we won the first race against Magnus Holmberg first up, then dropped the next against Luc Pillot, then beat Bertrand Pace and then lost to an on-form Peter Gilmour. All the races were very close. We only had two races left to sail, and the way we figured it we had an outside chance of qualifying for the semis if we won both. We made quick work of Jochem Schumann in the next race. That left one race to sail - against Sten Mohr. If we lose, we miss out on a countback, if we win, we're in !

So, no pressure then as we entered the starting area ! Gav did nice work in the start and it seemed we had an advantage as the gun went, with us travelling faster and Sten off our hip and slow. However, we watched in horror as the Danes climbed out of our bad air and started romping to windward. Oh no ! Now we can't cross, and our lead is gone. Just before panic began to settle in our genoa suddenly backed, a huge header forced us to tack. We just crossed Sten, who had right of way. Then a big gain in the right allowed us to stretch. We were all nerves around the course as the wind was doing it's usual dying act at the end of the day, but we crawled across the line first !! We are in the semis finals, qualifying in 3rd place in the round robins, thanks to the final win against Sten.

Gilmour won the round robin series, earning him the right to chose his semi final opponent, but unfortunately he has reserved his decision until tomorrow morning. Best guesses around the dock are that he will chose either Marcus Wieser or us. Leaving the other to race Bertrand Pace.

SLED DIRECTOR FIRED
According to "Sledding," the official publication of the California ULDB 70 Association, Executive Director Jane Watkins "fired herself" on November 1. Watkins had served in that post for the past two years. She attributes her unprecedented action to, "the lack of solidarity and leadership in the class. Life is like sailing," Watkins wrote. "Sometimes it's fast fun and exciting and sometimes it makes you want to throw-up."

At the present time, there are six sleds in the ULDB 70 Association. Watkins pointed out however, that only half of them raced more than 50% of their schedule and one boat only sailed in a single championship event.

SPEED SAILING
For the second time in two weeks, Simon McKeon and Tim Daddo's radical sailboat Macquarie Innovation went out of control wrecking their bid to become the world's first sailors to top 50 knots. The problem started with a 15-centimeter high wave generated by a recreational sailboarder who refused to stop while McKeon and Daddo attempted a minute-long practice run. The wake the sailboard put across the 500-meter timed course Macquarie Innovation was using became a launching pad. They were doing about 36 knots when they hit it. Damage was considerable but repairable. -- Rob Mundle, Grand Prix Sailor

The full story will be posted on the Sailing World web site after 9:00 AM PST http://www.sailingworld.com

CALIFORNIA GRUDGE MATCH
Last weekend (11/7-8/98), the North (PICYA) beat the South (Yacht Racing Union of Southern California (YRUSC)) in the prestigious California Match Race Challenge. Jeff Madrigali from the North beat Scott Dickson of the South in the best of seven series with an impressive score of 4-0. Borrowed B-32 sailboats were used for the third annual contest that was held at the LA inner harbor and hosted by Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in San Pedro. There was a wide variety of weather concitions including some major wind shifts.

The Northern team crew was:
Jeff Madrigali, skipper (San Francisco YC)
Craig Healy, main (San Francisco YC)
Bill Erkelens, trimmer (Richmond YC)
Shawn Bennett, bow (St. Francis YC)
Kim Desenberg, pit (Richmond YC)

In 1996, the South (Dave Ullman) beat the North (Craig Healy) at Long Beach Yacht Club in Congressional Cup Catalina 37's with a score of 4-3. In 1997, the North (Melissa Purdy) beat the South (Mark Reardon) at St. Francis Yacht Club in J-24's with a score of 4-1. The North now leads the intra-State grudge match series 3-2.


COMMON THREAD

Is there a common thread between winning the Sabot Nationals (Junior and senior), the Lido 14 Nationals, the Santana 20 Western Regionals, the Tornado Nationals, the ULDB 70 class in the Big Boat Series, and Schock 35 High Point Series and the 505 Worlds? You bet there is -- Ullman Sails. Check into their web site for information or a price quote. It's more affordable than you think:

http://www.ullmansails.com/


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) and clarity and anything resembling a personal attack will quickly disappear!)

>> From Paul Larsen -- Following months of bitter wrangling between the ISAF and the WMRA (World Match Race Association) over who would call the shots at this year's World Championship of Match Race Sailing in Japan, the WMRA threw in the towel leaving the ISAF with the dubious distinction of placing their name on the event.

One would think that despite the ISAF's president's oft repeated debasement of match racing, the organization would at least assure that the daily results could be communicated to the English speaking world. I have had many journalists from the eight nations represented by the top ten ranked skippers ask me for news of what is going on. Yes, we can read the win-loss grid on what appears to be a state-of-the-art event Web site, but without detail it's like drinking stale beer.

This is the sport's (match racing) finest hour, its most competitive and prestigious event of the year featuring arguably the best sailors in the world, and to have it played out in silence is a discredit to both the ISAF and the WMRA.

>> From Pete Mohler -- Mr. Humphrey has named a lot of team sports as examples of how to administrate the amateur / pro question, but I maintain that sailboat racing is not a sport or game, but is racing. A better example would be to use IMSA, SCCA Car or AMA Motorcycle racing as a model for am/pro sailing. For instance in Motorcycle racing you are ranked as a novice until you qualify as an expert and then a pro, but experts and pros commonly race together. The novice class is a learning class and a couple of wins in the class will promote you up.

The point is it is a performance ranking, not an income ranking. Lots of rich guys could kick butt if they would just practice as much as the pros, but because they don't get any income from sailing they would still be ranked as amateurs. A pro badge should be a mark of honor, not reason for disdain.

Several sailing classes have experimented with giving trophies to the top owner / driver or the best newcomer or best old boat. Other classes have tried a gold and silver ranking within a big fleet. All are good ideas to increase participation, and keep everybody racing together. My point is, let's not eliminate the best sailors, then pat our selves on the back for equalizing the racing. Perhaps we should not allow the novices to race with the big boys until they qualify? It would be safer.

>> From Fred Jones -- The sooner that everyone in this sport accepts the fact that there has never been a rating that has not been beaten, nor will there ever be a rating rule that will not be beaten, the sooner there will be peace in the valley. Notice that I did not say equitable racing, I just said peace.

The two reasons that there will never be a successful rating rule between different makes of boats is because; 1) Designers are smarter than rule makers. 2) Rule makers paint themselves into a corner with a new rule, not the designer.

The first reason is self-explanatory. Designers make more money than rule makers do because they are smarter. Period.

The second reason is less obvious. When a rule maker writes a rule, he isn't limiting the designer. He's only limiting himself. He has just written a rule on what HE has to look for-NOT the designer. The designer, on the other hand, being free of spirit and independent of mind, simply looks at the new rule and knows that he has to look in another direction for his answer. It doesn't stop him from his goal of building a faster boat. It only gives him a sense of direction.

Remember the winged keel from the America's Cup? It was never the fastest ultimate design, but it beat the hell out of the America's Cup formula, considered at the time to be one of, if not the, most tightly restricted yacht design rules of all time. Do you really think they weren't doing belly-laughs on the floor in Australia after they thought of it?

>> From Cliff Thompson -- Today PHRF has become the only game in town, if not the whole country. Begging/Pleading for rating changes became the name of the game, much to the disdain of the 'measure or die' group. For the mainstream sailor, about seven years ago, the only other game in offshore racing was Offshore One-Design, which is the route a lot of sailors took, including myself. These sailors, after racing IOR, MORC, and PH, ended up racing in the S-35, J-35, or some other class that suited their area.

So here we are today, with multiple, multiple choices of one-design, no measurement rule, and PHRF reigns supreme. In the future, I believe the top-level mainstream sailors will migrate to the one-design group, and the newer racing sailors, will continue with PHRF. Its easy, quick, and cheap. Instead of always looking at measurement rules that are very expensive, lets get behind PH and improve the handicaps and procedures. IMS or any other measurement rule will never become "mainstream".

And don't ever forget that wives are 50% owners, and their interest is in the interior, and not how high the boat will point. If I had to do this over, I would buy a boat from Catalina Yachts to cruise, and a Etchells to race. This alone would have saved me tons of money, not to mention all the measurement costs over the years. However, I would still buy the handicapper a drink, and complain about how slow my Catalina was.

Ever try to sell a race boat? Good luck!

>> From Jeffrey Littell -- To Mike Schoettle: You can start improving the US Sailing web page by providing information regarding items being considered by every Committee at the Annual Meeting, so that those of us in the trenches can provide feedback to our Area rep before the meeting takes place. Then, logically enough, provide a detailed report from each Committee on their meeting, the actions they took, the items still on the table, etc.

US Sailing always wants more members, but at times keeps us guessing and then we become discouraged. If US Sailing would simply communicate with us better through the web site we all would benefit.

>> From Bruce Munro, Rear Commodore, StFYC -- Thanks for carrying our news about the Matt Jones resignation. It would also be nice if you let the sailing world know that we (StFYC) are now looking for a new race manager. Interested applicants should send their resumes to Race Committee Chairman, St. Francis Yacht Club, On the Marina, San Francisco, CA 94123.

>> From Al Gooden -- Geoff Jarvis' letter equating PFD's and participation seems to be a general condemnation of US Sailing ... and is an opinion I share. They are fiddling while Rome burns. They need to be out drumming up more members and participation, not making life miserable for those who do.

As for your equating PFD's with seatbelts, ask yourself this. At any given time on a weekend, how many sailboats are involved in organized racing across the country? My uneducated guess is 1000 to 2000 tops. Now ask yourself how many millions of cars are on the road at that same moment.

Let's compare apples to apples, shall we? If I extend your argument then all passengers in commercial airliners should have airbags and be issued parachutes as well. After all, your goal is to save lives. We should also ban cigarettes and alcohol. They kill, too. And while we're at it, let's legislate away cancer as well.

Let's ask one more basic question here. After subtracting out the number of lives lost during offshore competition like the grueling around the world races where lack of help nearby and hypothermia claim the victim, not the absence of a PFD, how many sailors drowned in organized competition in this country last year?

JEAN SCHENK TEAM RACE REGATTA
Sailed this past weekend at Newport Harbor YC, the Jean Schenk Team Race featured eight strong field teams from San Francisco to San Diego. With a collection of former college sailors racing, the regatta was extremely competitive and very close in the overall standings. Sailors were treated to great wind conditions all weekend and the introduction of Southern California's newest boat, the Vanguard 15 supplied by the builder.

Results: 1. Random Violence (Charlie Ogletree/Amy Halvorsen, Andy Zinn/Lauren Ellis, Scott Hogan and Becky Lenhart, Mike Martin/Stephanie Keefe) 2. UCI 1 (Jon Pinckney/Cara Harries, Andy Beeckman/Jonathan Posner, Nick Adamson/ mystery crew) 3. Less Grumpy But Still Older Men (Jack Franco/Mike Sturman, Chris Raab/Becky Lenhart, Bob Little/mystery crew)

MUMM 30 WORLDS
The 1998 Mumm 30 World Championship for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club Trophy--the class' first Worlds in North American waters--begins on Tuesday, November 17, off the coast of Hilton Head Island (South Carolina). Hosted by the South Carolina Yacht Club, this regatta will draw 35 boats from the United States, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Monaco for four days of intense one-design competition.
The Mumm 30 was launched in 1995. Today, some 140 boats have been built and Mumm 30s are racing in fourteen countries. The class has also been the pioneer in creating a competitive playing field in an international class for amateur boat owners. Pro sailors cannot helm a Mumm 30 unless they are a 50-percent owner. -- Cynthia Goss

TIP O' THE WEEK
I'm sailing dead downwind. I'm winning. I'm in a lull. What now?

Perfect, you have the fleet nipping at your heals DDW. They seem to be in a puff and you are definitely in a lull. What to do next? Key tip: Lulls, just like puffs travel straight downwind. So, if you are sailing DDW and you are in a lull and continue the same course, most likely that lull is going to travel right along with you. For the same reason you want to continue to gybe across puffs to stay in them, you want to gybe out of lulls to head in a contrary direction to the course they are headed. Simply put, sail sideways to lulls to get out of them and into better breeze. Once you have "re-positioned" yourself, then you can resume the course DDW in breeze. -- The Coach, at Sailweb.net

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.