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SCUTTLEBUTT #221 -- November 19, 1998

The first day of light-air racing at the 1998 Mumm 30 Worlds in Hilton Head Island was, mostly, a mindbender. Today, racing at the second day of this championship was far more than a head game. On Tuesday the 35-boat fleet had 19 to 23 knots of wind, steep 4- to 6-foot seas, and wild downwind sleighrides clocked at 15 knots. The club of sailors who did not broach was an exclusive one. OFF THE GAUGE, owned by Jack LeFort of Stuart (Florida), won both races at the second day of this world championship. With long leads at both finishes (clocked in Race 1 at nearly three minutes), this boat sailed a performance that appeared to be sheer magic. But for LeFort, the reason for their triumph was very simple: "It was my crew. . . we all sail together so well."

Seismic shifts in the standings were business as usual in this competitive fleet: only one boat in the top-10 retained its standing after yesterday's two races-but that one boat stayed where it counts: in first place. Luca Bassani's SISSABELLA, from Monaco, has sailed flawlessly. Their worst finish is a fourth. And with finishes of 4-3 today and a total of 10 points, this European entry has a 16-point lead going into the third day of racing. MENACE, owned by James Dill of New York, moved into second place today, with West Coast sailor Dave Ullman in the afterguard.

1. SISSABELLA, Luca Bassani, Monte Carlo, MONACO 1-2-4-3 (10) 2. MENACE, James Dill, Jr. New Suffolk, NY, 10-7-2-7 (26) 3. OFF THE GAUGE, Jack LeFort, Stuart, FL, 16-13-1-1 (31) 4. USA 48, Ed Collins/Barry Allardice, West Dover, VT, 11-5-11-5 (32) 5. USA 65, Michael Dressell / Al Hobart, Shelburne, VT, 3-4-9-7 (33)

Event website:

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

In recent weeks several of the challengers have made announcements of new funding or of moving towards starting building IACC designs. Louis Vuitton have also confirmed their return to the event, which this time will encompass a presence in the Cup final itself, as well as resuming their traditional role as sponsor of the challenger series. But it is getting very late, especially if there is to be any hope of seeing an Auckland event of the size and impact that was being talked about in San Diego immediately after the last Cup.

Up until now there seems to have been a great deal of bickering over the splitting of what has threatened to be a pretty small cake. Meanwhile those raising the money elsewhere, to actually go sailboat racing, had a tough job, as once again the America's Cup was in the position where potential sponsors did not have to dig too deep before finding disharmony. This was never meant to be the case in Auckland, but the America's Cup seems to carry a malaise of its own (the word greed springs to mind quite readily), especially regrettable in this instance because Team New Zealand's sailing personnel are so universally respected.

As things do finally start to move forwards, it is important that the challengers now begin to receive the recognition and support from the Cup organisers that many will need if they are to put on the show asked of them.

Out on the race course, the home side's advantage this time looks frankly daunting. Where appropriate, some small, nominal concessions made in the challengers' direction over coming months could quickly help to patch up the bad feeling that still lingers. -- Andrew Hurst

To read the whole story:


Ullman Sails has brought you this issue of Scuttlebutt. Why don't you show Dave how grateful you are by ordering a complete new inventory for your boat? At least check into their web site for information or a price quote. It's more affordable than you think:

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

>> From Glenn T. McCarthy -- In response to Al Gooden in 'Butt 217, he asked, "how many sailors drowned in organized competition in this country last year?" There is no requirement for deaths to be reported to US SAILING (look in the RRS), but the number reported in 1997 was 5 deaths while racing. In 1998 there was 1 death reported, prior to enactment of the PFD Prescription on April 1. Since enactment, we have not had a report of fatality at the Safety-at-Sea Committee. This is not to say that there weren't any deaths, its just that we didn't have any reports.

In Seattle at the US SAILING meeting, it was learned that the United States Coast Guard does not help us decipher death statistics in our sport. First, any death outside of U.S. waters is not a recordable fatality. Second and more important, the USCG does not record deaths on sailboat race courses, since racing sailors are not following the Coast Guard Rules of the Road (COLREGS) and we are sailing under contract using the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). If we don't play the Coasties game, we don't count.

I've seen 3 deaths on race courses I've been on. We are a sailing community, when we lose one of our own, it hurts the entire fleet and participation.

Come on folks, haven't you read anything about inflatable PFD's? They are not cumbersome, they are not hot, they are not in the way.

>> From Al Gooden -- (Concerning Terry Harper's letter in #218 about the prescriptions being clear about what to do about PFD's in 100 degree weather.) I attended the Houston N.O.O.D. this year where we were required by the event sponsor, Sailing World Magazine (to which US Sailing is financially tied) to wear PFD's in 95-100 degree weather with 50-70% humidity. The HIGHEST wind speed we saw all weekend was 8-10 knots. No amount of arguing, rationalizing, or appealing to their common senses could change their minds. The answer that the Sailing World staff on site gave the competitors, when cornered and pressed repeatedly, was that U.S. Sailing, and you specifically, had told them to enforce that rule regardless of the weather, which they did.

US Sailing can not hide behind a vague prescription in the back of the rulebook. That simply was not the case in reality.

>> From Jack Mallinckrodt -- There is still misunderstanding about scoring complexity. There are two separate issues, handicapping and scoring. Handicapping is the derivation of the ratings that are used for scoring. Understanding handicapping, the mechanism behind the ratings, is very complex in any useful system; arguably, most complex in PHRF :>)

Scoring is how those ratings are applied to derive corrected times (CT). This is what the competitor needs to understand to figure out how he is doing in the race. There is little difference in scoring complexity between Time-on-Time, Time-on- Distance, and AMERICAP.

Time-on-Time (UK preference) is the simplest, just CT = ET x TOTrating It is also the most accurate single number scoring system.

Time-on-Distance (PHRF) is very little more complicated, CT = ET - DIST x TODrating

AMERICAP scoring is simply both of these put together, (but with different rating numbers) CT = ET x TOTrating - DIST x TODrating and gives far more accurate scoring than either TOT or TOD because of its ability to take into account correctly the vast differences beteeen boats in slow and fast races.

That's pretty simple isn't it?

>> From Eric Steinberg -- I also find myself in 100% agreement with Jeff (Trask). EFL would get my vote (for the Rolex).

The 'Butt-heads have spoken, and in a couple of months we'll know if the real judges for the Rolex Yachtpersons of the Year agree. The actual judging is done by an 'unidentified' group of yachting journalists who 'meet' by conference call. However, if the curmudgeon's email is any indication, their deliberations shouldn't take very long this year. We've been running comments since the end of October and here is how your preferences stack up:

Paul Cayard 12
Terry Hutchinson 4
Nick Trotman 4
Team EFL 3
Vince Brun 2

Also, Betsy Alison got two "votes" and was the only woman mentioned seriously in our unscientific survey.

Peter Gilmour (JPN) has underlined his dominance on the match racing circuit by winning the Nippon Cup 98 ISAF World Championship of Match Race Sailing. Ten of the top 12 world ranked skippers were present in Hayama, Japan to compete for the prestigious world title.

Paula Lewin (BER) took part in the Iridium Pro-Am Regatta earlier this month and the points she gained from that Grade 3 event mean that she now lies just 36 points behind Betsy Alison (USA). The two women are ranked 20th and 21st on the overall match race ranking list.

At the ISAF Conference in Palma this month, it was decided that a new, separate ranking list be implemented for women match race sailors. The new system will start early in 1999.

New rankings:
1 Peter GILMOUR (JPN) 2 Chris LAW (GBR) 3 Peter HOLMBERG (ISV) 4 Gavin BRADY (NZL) 5 Bertrand PACE (FRA) 6 Markus WIESER (GER) 7 Jochen SCHUMANN (GER) 8 Sten MOHR (DEN) 9 Jesper BANK (DEN) 10 Luc PILLOT (FRA) 11 Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) 12 Russell COUTTS (NZL) 13 Neville WITTEY (AUS) 14 Tomislav BASIC (CRO) 15 Morten HENRIKSEN (DEN).

Complete rankings online:

Jan 18-22 Key West Race Week Key West, FL
Mar 3-7 S.O.R.C. Miami FL
Apr 30-May 2, American Yacht Club Spring Series Rye, NY
Jun 4-6 Nantucket Gold Regatta Newport, RI
Aug 13-15 Verve Cup Chicago, IL
Sep 3-5 San Francisco NOOD San Francisco, CA
Sep 16-19 Big Boat Series San Francisco, CA
Sep 20-24 (tentative) World Championship San Francisco, CA
Oct 22-24 (tentative) San Francisco-Santa Barbara Coastal CA
Oct 28-30 Long Beach Yacht Club Long Beach, CA

Championship Circuit points will be decided from the best five scores out of the ten regatta series, using low point scoring from Appendix A of the RRS (1997-2000). Six boats must compete to qualify the regatta for series points. World Championship points will not count for the US Circuit Championship.

Farr 40 Association website:

They're coming : In less than two days they will be smelling the perfumes of the Antilles, tropical aromas, and the scents of Guadeloupe. The multihulls are almost there, but today is going to be very long for the three potential victors.

Because from now on nobody seems to be in a position to worry the "triumvirate": with 135 miles lead over Franck Cammas, 240 over Loick Peyron, 360 over Paul Vatine and 420 over Francis Joyon, the podium cannot logically be modified.

For the full story:

I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.