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SCUTTLEBUTT #220 -- November 18, 1998

The 35-boat Mumm 30 fleet finished two races today: a 5-leg, 10-mile race, and a 5-leg, 7-mile race. Winds in Race 1 were 5.5 to 8 knots. Winds in Race 2 were in the same velocity neighborhood; but a 35-degree windshift on the second weather leg reshuffled the fleet and opened doors for losses and big gains.

SISSABELLA, owned by Luca Bassani of Monte Carlo (MONACO), started the day at the front of the fleet: After the first two-mile weather leg, this boat rounded the top mark with a long, 55-second lead. SISSABELLA had room to sail her own race and stretched her lead to over a minute at the leeward mark--but the fight for second place was crowded: Roland Arthur's EXCALIBER, with Chris Larsen as tactician, was second at the top mark and eighth at the finish line; James Dill's MENACE, with Dave Ullman in the afterguard, was third at the top mark and seventh at the finish. While other boats scrambled in the crowd to gain an early low-point score in the series, SISSBELLA kept her lead to win Race 1. A second in Race 2 race puts this boat, with tactician Flavio Favini, into the lead after two races.

"We were in the right position, at the right time," said Francesco Iacono, owner of E.T.I.C.A., the Italian entry who won Race 2. Oscillations from 220 degrees to 310 degrees were reported, but E.T.I.C.A. tacticians Daniele Cassinari and Marco De Natale put their bets on a left-hand trend-and they won. E.T.I.C.A. was first at the finish of Race 2, despite a match-race with European classmate SISSABELLA in the last 300 meters of the race.

Tides of 7 to 11 feet are reported by local sailors in this region. The E.T.I.C.A. crew went out this morning to clock current speed and direction--estimated the top end of today's currents at approximately 2 knots. -- Cynthia Goss

1. SISSABELLA, Luca Bassani, Monte Carlo, MONACO 1-2 (3) 2. USA 65, Michael Dressell/Al Hobart, Shelburne, VT, 3-4 (7) 3. E.T.I.C.A., Francesco Iacono, Milan, ITALY, 9-1 (10) 3. DOWNHILL EXPRESS, Tom and Cindy Hirsch, Durham, NH, 4-6 (10) 5. USA 48, Ed Collins/Barry Allardice, West Dover, VT, 11-5(16) 6. MENACE James Dill, Jr. New Suffolk, NY, USA, 10-7 (17) 7. CAPRICORNO JR, Allesandro del Bono, Milan, ITALY 6-15 (21) 8. EXCALIBUR, Roland Arthur, Roanoke, TX, 8-14 (22) 9. CRIME SCENE, Nick & Sandy Malakis, Annapolis, MD, 20-3 (23) 10. THALIA, JB Braun/Bob Shear, Marblehead, MA, 2-21 (23)

Event website:

(The following is an excerpt from a feature by Barry Pickthall in the December issue of Seahorse magazine.) The world of sailing has had its fair share of big hitters, but none perhaps with the ambitions of Ernesto Bertarelli, the 34-year-old head of Swiss pharmaceutical group Ares-Serono SA, who has taken a controlling interest in developing a Formula One-style world series for an eight-strong fleet of 80ft one-design maxis.

There was Mike Vanderbilt, the American railroad heir whose wealth and drive kept the America's Cup firmly bolted down with the magnificent - and definitive - J Class defenders Enterprise, Rainbow and Ranger. Then there were the British, aircraft manufacturer Thomas Sopwith, with two Endeavours, and tea baron Thomas Lipton, who made no fewer than five (failed) attempts on the Holy Grail with a succession of Shamrocks. But none could ever boast having eight maxi yachts at their disposal.

Bertarelli, the major shareholder in the $5 billion publically quoted Ares-Serono, has no such interest in the America's Cup, but he does have plans to make an impressive splash by taking his fleet of yachts to prestigious corners of the world and put on a headline grabbing spectacle. 'These boats are very exciting to sail, and because they are all equal they can generate extremely close racing. They produce a spectacle, and, with on-board cameras, helicopter coverage and top names at the wheel, it's a perfect sport for TV,' says Bertarelli.

Putting money where the proverbial mouth lies, he paid to bring 100 or more top sailors from the America's Cup, Admiral's Cup and Whitbread Race to compete on five of the Bruce Farr Maxi One-designs (formerly Grand Mistral/Ericsson 80s) at the recent Sardinia Cup series at Porto Cervo. And to underline his own competitive streak, he beat them all in a tightly fought six-race series. It was no walk-over, however, for though his Swiss team won three of the heats, the final result went to the wire. 'The Swiss sailed extremely well. The boats are very close in speed and Ernesto and his crew were simply the most consistent. They deserved to win,' conceded Silk Cut skipper Lawrie Smith, whose British entry won the first race but faded thereafter.

Bertarelli was ecstatic, not only with winning, but with the support he gained during the week for the series of major regattas and long-distance races planned for next year. Having bought the five-strong former Grand Mistral fleet from BIL, the original Grand Mistral bank, that had developed cold feet over another revival scheme proposed by Pierre Fehlmann, Bertarelli has funded the completion of the three boats left part-built near Marseilles and has guaranteed a multi-million dollar world championship series in 1999.

The World Series kicks off with the Caribbean Cup; Key West in January, the 500-mile Montego Bay Race in February, the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, and the Heineken International Cup in Puerto Rico in March . This will be followed by a fleet race to break the transatlantic monohull record from New York to the Lizard in April, when the weather promises its worst.

The new class' world championship, now ratified by ISAF, is made up of the North Sea Race and North Sea Regatta in May, Kiel Week and a 300-mile race on to Stockholm in June - in time to compete in the Round Gotland Race on 4 July. Then, at the end of July, and with a nod to tradition, the fleet will congregate at Cowes for the 220-mile Channel Race and four races within Skandia Cowes Week, before setting off on the decider: the Fastnet classic. The year rounds off with four separate seven-race series, in Lisbon at the end of August, Porto Cervo and Cannes in September, finishing at Monaco in early October. -- Barry Pickthall

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Santa has been seen leaving the offices of Pacific Yacht Embroidery and Imprintables. Could it be that a lot of racers are going to be surprised at Christmas? For you appreciative boat owners and crew call Frank Whitton (619-226-8033) for your holiday needs. He can produce that something special for you. Time is flying though and don't wait until its too late to deliver before the holidays!!!

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

>> From Chris Ericksen -- My vote for Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year? Becky Lenhart! According to Scuttlebutt #217, she sailed for two of the top three teams in the Jean Schenk Memorial Regatta! Very impressive!

>> From professional sailor Hartwell Jordan -- I agree 100 % with Jeff Trask's comments about TEAM EFL as the Rolex "YACHTSMAN OF THE YEAR". Nominating one person, would be criminal in this case.

I never considered TEAM EFL as underdogs. I matched up their crew, man for man with the race favorites before the regatta started. In all cases, they were very strong to say the least.

Please do not underestimate my respect for all the other sailors nominated. However, the Volvo Trophy regatta encompassed all the same variables of a day race or World Championship regatta. Starts, wind shifts, tide, tactics, navigation, weather, crewing, etc. The long list is the same. Plus, it had the added difficulty of extreme conditions. The high level of concentration and focus, not to mention the safety concerns are mind numbing. J-24 World Championships can not compare here. I mean these guys were trying to save their own lives at times! Watch the videos! Clearly to even think about winning this event, a group must employ the very best, most professional sailors and individuals in our sport. O.K., EFL did that in many opinions. They proved it in the end by winning large!

To the EFL TEAM members I do not get to see on a regular basis, Congratulations to all of you! You are my heroes and set the best example for youth sailing I can imagine! I stress the term "TEAM" when I suggest TEAM EFL for Rolex "YACHTSMAN OF THE YEAR".

>> From Jon Little -- To reply to Fred Jones: If designers are smarter than rulemakers and rulemakers are designers then designers are smarter than themselves. This is quite obviously the problem. If owners didn't build new boats then the sport would always be the same but we would never advance making the sport dull. See what I mean? Me neither

>> From Neil W. Humphrey -- I believe John Mooney's comments reaffirm my call that the dividing line between pro and amateur be clear. The Olympics for decades were a prime example of the confusion of what is pro and what is not. One only has to remember the dominance of Eastern Bloc athletes being pros under the guise of being in military service. The Olympics sadly and finally got their head out of the sand bringing in real pros and letting big business make Olympic events VERY PROFITABLE and POPULAR.

As for playing on the same field as professionals in sailing this too is confusing in our present situation. There are very few 8 by 5 professionals in our sport although many consider sailmakers, chandlers, designers and the like as pros. This is humorous as it is like saying the person who makes the St. Louis Slugger baseball bat or the Bauer hockey skates is a pro when playing on the weekend. Finally, consider how in our sport the lack of clarity and having a plan to address pros, a amateur farm system and big business has caused our great sport to maybe wallow in growth and popularity when compared to other sports.

>> From Skip Ely -- The SC52 Owners Association has been debating the professional vs amatuear issue. We are not in complete agreement on the wording of the requirements yet. However we do agree that there will be pros on our yachts, and that we will require the drivers be owners or novices most of the time.

Mr. Mohler's position is that Yacht racing is a lot like Motorcycle racing. Come on! If as Mr. Mohler suggests novices not be allowed to race with the "big Boys", on what would the "big boys" race. The beauty of yacht racing is that the experts and the novices can participate together. Most if not all of my racing skills have been fostered by time I have spent on my own, or others, yachts in the company of and competing against expert sailors. Pro sailors are not necessarily experts, and many expert sailors have chosen to do other things professionally. Most of the pro's I know have developed their skill on other people's yachts. If you separate the pros from the novices there will be no pros!

The solution to this issue will involve compromises which must allow the novices and yacht owners to enjoy their particiapation, and provide the experts with challenges which further their expertise. Remember yacht racing IS a "rich guys" sport, if it weren't for the rich guys we would all be sailing Lasers. Hmmm doesn't a new Laser cost around $6000.00 these days. Hey you can buy a decent motorcycle for $6000 also.

>> From Dobbs Davis -- I throw my opinion in with Jon Gardner and Mike Donnelly on the PFD issue. There are inherent challenges associated with racing sailboats, and some of them are dangerous. By choosing to participate, we accept these risks, and accept, as adults, the responsibility to make our own decisions to best handle those risks. Why can't US Sailing allow us to behave as adults?

Is it any coincidence that the PFD rule comes from an organization based in Newport, where the water temps rarely go above 70 degrees? Maybe they should soften their blanket 'rule' into a 'guideline' so that local areas can decide what's appropriate. Here in the Chesapeake, they waived it off for the season, in deference to those unbearably hot, windless summer days of sailing. And in NO way are PFD's like seatbelts!

>> Chris Welsh -- How many sailors have been lost due to PFD issue? A hand-full, internationally. How many sailors have been hurt or lost to drunk driving/boating on the way home from the yacht club? More than I can count on one hand among people I know of.

Recreational boating accident statistics reflect this across the board. Objectively, it appears we are worrying about the risks we perceive, not what the statistics show the actual risks are. (P.S. I do not favor banning alcohol at sailing events - talk about a sailing popularity killer...)

If you like to read big print you'll love the way Scuttlebutt looks on Yacht Club Racing website. And it has background music too. Check it out:

>> "After all, he is Mr America's Cup." This from the sales team at Canterbury of New Zealand Ltd, who are delighted to be signing a manufacturing/sponsorship deal for sports wear with Team Dennis Conner. Dennis arrives in New Zealand tomorrow for the official announcement of Canterbury's association with Stars & Stripes 2000 and its America's Cup campaign. For us, we are giving up commenting on New Zealand companies aligning themselves with the opposition. We're out-numbered! -- Excerpt from DEFENCE 2000 which is available from for US $48 per year.

>> Line 7 will once again be providing crew uniforms for Team New Zealand when it defends the America's Cup in 2000. The well-known New Zealand sports clothing brand also supplied the crew gear for Team New Zealand when they won the Cup in San Diego in 1995.

To complement its exclusive clothing supplier status, Line 7 has also been awarded worldwide exclusive rights for all apparel associated with the America's Cup 2000 logo and the prestigious mark of the America's Cup itself. The apparel licensees for America's Cup 2000 and the Cup logo will assist in developing new markets for the Line 7 brand. The first designs in the America's Cup and America's Cup 2000 clothing range are now available from selected retailers.

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Money is the opposite of weather. Nobody talks about it but everyone does something about it.