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SCUTTLEBUTT #223 -- November 23, 1998

When Luca Bassani's SISSABELLA sailed to the starting line Friday morning to begin the final day of racing at the 1998 Mumm 30 World Championships, they were the only boat in the fleet that never dropped below a fourth place in this series. But a 15th in the first, light air race of the day changed their status, but the boat still lead the series.

In the final race, Bassani and his crew needed to sail clean and preserve their winning points. They needed, as Bassani said, "to keep one eye on USA 48 [their closest competition], and keep one eye on the regatta." But, "We did not have to come in first in the last race," said Bassani. They still finished the final race in first place.

Winds for the series ranged from light, 5- to 7-knot breezes to 20- to 23-knot blows. And, in a region where tides are normally 7 to 8 feet, playing the current was very much part of the game. -- Cynthia Goss

Final Results -- 1. SISSABELLA, Luca Bassani, Monte Carlo (26) 2. USA 48, Ed Collins/Barry Allardice, West Dover, VT (42) 3. OFF THE GAUGE, Jack LeFort, Stuart, FL (47) 4. USA 65, Michael Dressell/Al Hobart, Shelburne, VT (59) 5. MENACE, James Dill, Jr. New Suffolk, NY (61) 6. SECTOR, Francesco Iacono, Milan, ITALY (64) 7. CAPRICORNO JR., Allesandro del Bono, Milan, ITALY (64) 8. MALINDA, Sodo Migliori/Mezzaroma, Rome, ITALY (72) 9. TROUBLE, Garland/Keyworth/Shulman, Barrington, RI, (72) 10. STEADFAST, Fred Sherratt Toronto, CANADA (75).

Event website;

The St. Thomas Yacht Club and Team Caribbean, organizers of the Dec. 9-13 Marriott Frenchman's Reef International Match Race, announced the eight skippers who will compete for the $25,000 prize purse. Included are six of the top-ten ranked match racing sailors in the world and the winner of the recent Whitbread Round the World Race. All eight are affiliated with America's Cup teams that plan to challenge for sailing's most prestigious trophy beginning next year in Auckland, New Zealand.

Heading the list of competitors next month in St. Thomas is the world's number one and current World Champion Peter Gilmour. The Australian, who is the designated skipper for the Japanese America's Cup Challenge, is the only skipper to have won the World Championship two years in a row, having won last year in Sweden and earlier this month in Japan.

Holding down the number two position in the world rankings is Chris Law of Great Britain. Law returns as the defending champion of the Marriott Frenchman's Reef International Match Race. This year he posted wins at Spanish, Slovenia and Hoyal Royal Lymington evnts and was a finalist at the CIGNA Knickerbocker Cup where he lost to Gilmour. He represents England's Royal Dorset Yacht Club's challenge for the America's Cup.

St. Thomas native Peter Holmberg, number three in the rankings, was a finalist in last year's event. He is the co-founder and skipper of Team Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands America's Cup Challenge. Holmberg sailed to victories at this year's Congressional Cup, the St. Francis Match Race and the Trofeo Challenge in Italy.

Gavin Brady, a New Zealander currently living in Annapolis, Maryland, is the fourth ranked skipper in the world. Just 24 years-old, he has raised his profile by winning the 1998 Ullman Cup in Norway, placing third at the Hoya Royal Lymington Cup and helming Chessie Racing in the Whitbread Round the World Race. He recently signed on with the America True America's Cup syndicate in San Francisco.

At number five, Frenchman Bertrand Pace has climbed back into the top ten after months of inactivity due to a broken arm. The designated skipper for the Yaka Challenge, Pace has been involved with three French America's Cup teams in the past, most recently as tactician in 1995.

Also from France, Luc Pillot is currently ranked tenth in the world. He holds a gold medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in the 470 Class and has won the French Match Racing Championship in 1994 and 1997, the Yava Trophy in Russia in 1996 and 1997, and the Nations Cup Group B Qualifier in 1995.

Paul Cayard, the winner of the 1997/98 Whitbread Round the World Race, will be in St. Thomas representing the America One Challenge for the America's Cup. One of the best known and highest regarded sailors in the world, Cayard has competed in four America's Cup competitions, six world championships and countless international events.

Rounding out the field in St. Thomas is James Spithill, a 19 year-old newcomer to the international match racing scene. Spithill has worked his way up to the 66th position on the world rankings after beginning his sailing career on windsurfers and dinghies. He is a member of the Australia Challenge for the America's Cup. -- Gay Larsen

The official Web site of the event:

In January 1999 the world's best sailors, coaches and officials will descend on Melbourne to contest one of the largest international sailing events ever staged, the 1999 World Sailing Championships on Port Phillip. With the support of the Victorian State Government, the Melbourne Major Events Corporation and Tourism Victoria, the Victorian Yachting Council has secured the rights to host the first concurrent conduct of 15 World Championships, of which seven are country qualification events for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The classes involved include the 49er, Laser, Laser Masters, Soling, Finn, International Cadet, International 14, 470 (men and women) Mistral (men and women) Europe (men and women) A Class, Tornado, and the Hobie 17 & 18:

-- 15 world championships
-- 55 countries
-- 1800 competitors
-- 1200 competitors boats
-- 150 officials
-- 900 volunteers
-- 9 host clubs

The sailing instructions are now available:


If you don't know what MDT stands for now, you will. Soon. Technically it stands for Multi Directional Threading, but what is means is lighter, stronger and sooo affordable. Ullman Sails have built more than 300 of these Compound Sails with Stitchless Technology from fiber/film components that address the loading patterns in a modern tri-radial. Check out the Ullman Sails website to lean why they work and while you're there, get a quote online:

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

>> From Bruce Vandeventerre -- (Re: Skip Ely, pro/am, and motorcycle racing vs. sailing) The main reason the AMA provides a tiered licensing system for motorcycle road racing is probably because people get killed every year doing it and the insurance/legal issues force this. The bike guys do have some good things going for them, however. First, most road races have some contingency money. If you win on company X's tires, or bike, etc, you could pick up a few hundred bucks to maybe a grand. Yamaha also has contingency money for their water vehicles program, by the way. Pro races have cash prizes that, with contingency money, are enough to keep a handful of them on the road each year.

Another thing is there is essentially no restriction on advertising. This makes it much easier for people to cultivate local sponsorship to support their program. The costs of putting together a racing program are similar to sailing - you can go club racing for a few grand, while at the top end you have riders pulling down seven figure salaries, million dollar bike leases, and so forth. And the Aussies are big in bike racing. Hmm -- is there a connection?

>> From Cliff Thompson -- Response to Neil W. Humphrey and Skip Ely re Amateur vs Pro. One of the hardest things we had to do in the Schock 35 Class was how to decide the amateur vs pro question.

Curmudgeon's comments -- Although the Schock 35 class does not require owners to steer their boats, they have very restrictive rules about MIRs (Marine Industry Racers). They are much stricter than the 1D35s and Farr 40s rules which restrict Category 3 drivers while allowing a bunch of them on the boats. And then there are the J/120 class rules which require the owner to steer, but allows several (3 I think) MIRs. Pick your poison. Here in SoCal the $250,000 J/120 seems to be growing the fastest.

>> From Ike Stephenson -- (In response to the PFD Debate.) I will not dispute almost all cases you are safer on the water wearing a PFD. I think the problem is- what right does US Sailing have to make these mandates ? It is, to me, primarily a question of individual rights. You either think US Sailing has the right or you don't. This is one of many reasons I am no longer a member. I don't feel they have the right. Further, most of my sailing is single handed and quite often I wear a life jacket. However, I have no need to have my rights infringed upon by US Sailing.

>> From Bob Merrick -- In 'Butt #219 Jay Sinclair asked, "How do we get the masses to get excited about a sport they can not watch on TV?" I couldn't agree more, but how do you make sailing exciting to viewers who don't understand the tactics of the sport (not to mention the rest of us)?

The answer is simple. Show small fast exciting boats, sailed by athletes, zooming around short racecourses. This is exciting for even a non-sailor to watch. Sure the Americas Cup boats are fast but what looks more exciting? Picture a 49er or Tornado flying down wind, trying to stay upright, spray flying and total carnage every once in a while. Then picture an Americas cup sailor shooting his radar gun or making the big decision to duck or tack.

Maybe the announcers will have to talk about something other than how much money the boats cost, but on the up side maybe sailing will lose its elitist image. I'm not saying we should fabricate some hokey event to look good on TV, that's been tried with little success. I would love to see the Tornado or 49er Worlds on television. These kind of events are visually exciting and they don't sell out on traditional sailing skills to do it.

US Sailing is a political body. Some of the similarities between them and our august governmental leaders are: they make politically inspired half measure compromises for rules. Such as put the PFD on near the RC boat, take it off during the actual race and then put in on again for the finish? Does that not sound illogical ?

US Sailing/ the government obviously think they are there to make rules regardless of what is said. Did you ever think that sometimes, you have to respect the rights of individuals, rather than make self righteous rulings ? That is my take on this issue.

>> From Brian Trubovich -- I read with interest your quoting of Marcus Hutchinson re the Auckland housing shortage for the Americas Cup next year, yes, there will be a shortage, but I'd be interested to learn what his solution is. In this country private developers build the housing, and no developer will outlay millions of dollars in order to hopefully let the housing for 5 months during the cup, and then go broke afterwards. N.Z. relied heavily on Asian tourists and students and investors to rent or buy housing that dried up some time ago. The government doesn't build much, and certainly not for yachting events, and I don't think that is Team N.Z. core business. I feel sorry for those that will miss out, but for the intrepid I would suggest that there will always be a way, e.g. renting through real estate agents, house swapping, etc. Anyone who needs help in this respect, contact me,, give me your detailed requirements and I will be happy to advise you, if not actually find you accommodation -- not 57 miles away!

Curmudgeon's comment -- Brian Trubovich sounds like a helpful chap, but I do not know him nor has he been recommended by anyone I do know. Soooo, you're on your own on this one.

This weekend at the Alamitos Bay YC's Turkey Day Regatta there was a lot of talk about the 1999 Melges 24 Worlds are being held at ABYC next year on November 4 to 14. ABYC always does a great job, and Long Beach is a wonderful place to race but not in November. The most wind we saw this past weekend was maybe 7 knots. If Sharon Green bothers to show up '99 Melges 24 Worlds, the most exciting photo opportunities may be at the parties.

The Franco Swiss navigator, Laurent Bourgnon, aboard his trimaran Primagaz won the 6th edition of the Route du Rhum, trans-atlantic single-handed sailing race. He has become, at 32 years of age, the first skipper to win this race two times, following his victory in 1994.

Laurent covered nearly 7000 kilometers separating Saint Malo, France and Point a Pitre, Guadeloupe in 12 days, 8 hours, 41 minutes and 6 seconds, beating his own record set in 1994 by 1 day, 21 hours, 47 minutes and 23 seconds.

Behind Laurent is Alain Gautier aboard Broceliande. Gautier, who was only 10 miles away from the winner, had lost any chance of racing alongside Bourgnon when he hit a whale. Gautier arrived 3 hours, and 13 minutes after the winner.

Event website:

We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.