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SCUTTLEBUTT #230 -- December 4, 1998

In winds of 8-10 knots the 49ers revealed in the conditions. The high quality fleet of 42 boats from 17 nations boasts seven of the top ten crews from this year's 49er World Championship in France. The event is the second regatta in the Schneider 49er Series, and with such a large field, the fleet has been split into two groups. The top 20 crews will go through to the final series on Saturday and Sunday.

MORGAN LARSON and KEVIN HALL of the USA got away to a great start in the yellow 49er fleet, finishing the three races with two firsts and a second placing. In the final race of the day, Larson and Hall were neck and neck with world number ones, Audineau/Farnarier of France and top Australian crews Nicholson/Smyth and the Boyd brothers. The American's managed to pull away from their rivals in the final leg to finish the race in first position ahead of Nicholson. In the blue fleet Australia's Adam Beashel and Teague Czislowski sailing Smith's Kodak Express are only two points behind on the overall point score after finishing with two firsts and a fourth placing.

Current World Champion, Australia's Chris Nicholson and new partner Ed Smyth are in equal third position overall with John and Gary Boyd of Lake Macquarie, sailing Boart Longyear/Wilson, and Paul Brotherton and Neal McDonald of Great Britain.

Schneider 49er Series, Sail Brisbane, Preliminary results (after three races) 1. Morgan Larson/Kevin Hall, USA (4) 2. Adam Beashel/Teague Czuskiwski, AUS (6) 3. John Boyd/Gary Boyd. AUS (10) 3. Paul Brotherton/Neal McDonald, GBR (10) 3. Chris Nicholson/Ed Smyth, AUS (10)

Event website:

Next September, Larchmont Yacht Club (Larchmont, New York) will host a stop on the 1999 GMC Yukon/Sailing World National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta circuit, a national series of nine sailing regattas sponsored by GMC Yukon and organized by Sailing World Magazine. The Larchmont NOOD will be held September 11-12.

Larchmont will replace the Newport (Rhode Island) NOOD in the family of GMC Yukon/Sailing World events. The first NOOD regatta was held in Newport, eleven years ago. "Newport was where the concept for this national circuit was born. But the other regattas on the circuit have grown in popularity and fleet size while the fleet at the Newport NOOD has declined in recent years." said George Brengle, Director of Marketing for Sailing World Magazine.

One reason for the decline is attributed to the popularity of Newport as a destination. In the past two years, Rhode Island sailors have made up a small contingent of the Newport NOOD fleet (approximately one-third in 1997 and 1998). The majority of the fleet traveled from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and other States, and these visiting sailors competed for hotel rooms with people visiting Newport's attractions, festivals, and other events.

For information on the NOOD series:

>> Up to now, ALOHA RACING'S efforts have been involved primarily with fund raising, and hull design and testing on the mainland. But now, with major funding from the HealthSouth Corporation and the use of a vacant, state-owned warehouse, Aloha Racing is moving from testing and talk, to action. The team is preparing to construct the first of two International America's Cup Class boats which may prove to be the most technically advanced in the world.

As anyone who has followed America's Cup racing will tell you, Aloha Racing's isolated building site is ideal. Virtually every time the Cup has been taken by a challenging team, it was due to boat design innovations which the defending team knew nothing about. To maintain such secrecy, it won't surprise me to soon see "KAPU" signs posted on the building, and very limited access once the construction begins. There is a rumor though, that since there will be such a high degree of secrecy about the boat's bottom and keel - and there will eventually be need for a skirt to hide them - the skirt will, of course, be grass-like in nature.

The building site is also ideal in another way. Once the first boat - Abracadabra 2000 - is ready to be launched and sailed next spring, she can be berthed and sailed out of the adjacent Ko Olina Marina. -- Ray Pendleton, Honolulu Star Bulletin

For the full story:

Not every New Zealander is wildly enthusiastic about the America's Cup series in Auckland. If we are to believe the Wellington press, it seems that few outside of Auckland are even remotely convinced that the Sir Peter Blake message "this is a New Zealand event, not an Auckland event" has a ring of truth about.

According to the narration in the capital's major morning paper, Blake's point that the start of the cup is now less than a year away, raised little or no emotion, and it was clear that even a moderate distance (from Auckland) diminishes enthusiasm. This must be disappointing to Blake and his team; he is obviously has a battle on his hands to increase his support base outside of metropolitan Auckland.

Figures quoted about the worth of the Cup to New Zealand are meaningless according to Bob South and the Sunday Star-Times, who takes a shot gun to Sir Peter Blake's estimates and quotes. South concludes his tirade by saying that "not everyone has cup fever now or ever; I hope that Dirty Dennis will take the thing back home to America where hardly anyone cares a hoot about it."

There are obviously more defectors than realized in New Zealand as far as supporting the endeavors to retain the America's Cup is concerned. No one ever said that everyone will agree with Team New Zealand, nor would they have expected it, but the past week has seen more antagonists surface than they would have ever expected (or wanted.) -- Excerpt from DEFENCE 2000 which is available from for US $48 per year.

As technology moves forward in sail design and materials so it does in custom embroidery as well. New machines software and techniques have been made it possible to produce a product far superior today than in the past. Call Frank Whitton at Pacific Yacht Embroidery and Imprintables(619-226-8033) to stay up with the rest of the world. Don't settle for less when for the same price you can have the best.

Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) or clarity or to exclude personal attacks.

>> From Whit Davis -- New subject now that we have buried the PFD issue. Good riddance! Can we start one about getting inflatable PFDs on airplanes as a carry-on? Talked to Southwest (Airlines) and was told NO! Received a call back from their Texas office and was told not even as checked baggage. Makes it difficult.

>> From Steve Glassman -- I'd like to resurrect an issue discussed earlier in the "Butt," that of hailing OCS on the race course. Recently, I had a discussion with a member of one of the Marina del Rey fleets. His members all thought that NOT HAILING OCS was inappropriate. My philosophy has been not to hail OCS when I am PRO. However, the synthesis of his thoughts, mine and some of the comments in the 'Butt helped us reach a very rational (I think) solution.

If his fleet turns out in the kind of significant numbers that makes giving them a separate start and adds to the enjoyment of the regatta, I agreed, in my capacity as Race Chair at Del Rey Yacht Club, that if his fleet requests it, I will see that OCS is hailed for his fleet at their start. By the way, that goes for any fleet that races in a DRYC Regatta this year.

The general rule will be that OCS will NOT be hailed. However, upon request of a fleet or the majority of the PHRF fleet in a particular class, OCS will be hailed. I suspect everyone will ask that we call the OCS, but I want to share the responsibility, thus the requirement that the fleet request it. Yes, the RC is there to serve the racers, but the racers have to show the regatta organizers that they want to race and that means showing up in the first place.

Curmudgeon's comments -- I've found that racers are like other people. They go to places (like regattas) that are enjoyable -- that are fun. But I've never found a racer who thought it was fun to sail all afternoon only to learn later that he wasn't racing at all -- that he was OCS. Wouldn't it make more sense to hail OCS boats as the "default setting," and not hail them if a fleet specifically requested it? Trust me -- you won't get a lot of requests to NOT hail OCS boats.

The Ski/Sail National Championships will be held April 23-25, 1999 in Lake Tahoe, CA. This unique event, now in its sixth year, combines the best of two worlds as the sailing venue is just 10 minutes away from Squaw Valley USA. Participants include Olympic Medallists, World Cup skiers and Americas Cup sailors, but all levels of competitors have a great time and can be competitive.

This year's event will introduce Vanguard 15's as a doublehanded class! Previous years featured the Laser as a single-handed boat while teams competed on Melges 24's. Those classes will stay the same and the addition of the V-15 will add new excitement as we have charter boats for those of you too far away to drag your boats out here.

For more information:

Of the 15 sailors here preparing to set off for Leg 2 of Around Alone this Saturday, December 5, no one understands the fury that may lie ahead better than Isabelle Autissier. In the 1994-95 event Autissier finished the first leg with a lead of more than five days, an advantage that appeared insurmountable. It seemed that only an act of God could stop her from becoming the first woman sailor to win a solo race around the world. But just six days and 1,200 miles from Cape Town, the mast aboard Autissier's 60-footer-to say nothing of her skipper's dreams-snapped and toppled into the uncaring sea.

In a now legendary series of events, Autissier fashioned a jury rig and sailed on to remote Kerguelen Island. There, she stepped a replacement mast and set out once again. But later in the same leg, some 850 miles southwest of the wild Australian state of Tasmania, she was rolled and dismasted a second time, and her boat was mortally wounded with a gaping hole in its deck. Autissier was eventually rescued by the Australian Navy. But she wasn't the only skipper overcome by vicious weather. Current Around Alone competitor Neal Petersen was also the victim of a dismasting; he too rigged an emergency mast, then returned to Cape Town under his own power. But his race was also over.

History shows that bad things happen on Leg 2. In the inaugural 1982-83 race, American Tony Lush's boat was flipped by huge seas and suffered irreparable keel damage on the second leg. Lush was picked up by fellow Yank Francis Stokes, who took him on to Sydney, Australia. Later, Stokes described the strange waves he discovered on the passage in the so-called Roaring Forties and Screaming Fifties between South Africa and Australia: "Down there, I think there is the potential to be capsized at any time. I had heard stories about the Southern Ocean swells being long. But [on Leg 2] the seas were close together and the big ones seemed to come in threes. There was no real pattern. Basically, I feel boats of this size are too small to be sailing way down there." And maybe Stokes is right. For it was on Leg 2 that French competitor Jacques de Roux perished in the 1986-87 event.

The list goes on and on. It was in the first race that Desmond Hampton ran aground and lost Gipsy Moth V on the final approach to Sydney. The same thing happened to Jean Luc Van den Heede the last time around, but luckily he landed on a sandy beach and his boat was saved. This time the fleet avoids Sydney and for the first time sails on to Auckland, New Zealand. But the Hampton and Van den Heede incidents underscore the need to stay vigilant on the final stretch of the voyage, which will be especially important after the roughly 7,000-mile-long trip across the Southern Ocean, up the Tasman Sea, around the top of North Island, and down the coast to Auckland.

An especially nasty portion of the course exists south of Western Australia. It was here, during the last Vendee Globe solo non-stop race around the world, that three competitors came to grief in appalling conditions and required assistance to be rescued from their crippled boats. As a safety measure for the 1998-99 Around Alone race, skippers must honor a "floating waypoint" located at latitude 46 degrees south and between 105- and 120- degrees east longitude; at any point between these longitudinal coordinates, each competitor must pass north of 46 S or face automatic disqualification. Race officials monitor compliance via satellite through an exclusive system devised by COMSAT Mobile Communications. A second mandatory waypoint, which must also be left to starboard, has been established just north of distant Heard Island. Both waypoints will dissuade skippers from following the shorter, but more risky, great circle route that cuts miles but wanders into the Antarctic ice zone. All things considered, the Around Alone racers will be wearing smiles when Auckland-the outstanding "City of Sails"-at last appears on the horizon.
-- Herb McCormick

Event website:

Always do right. This will gratify some, and astonish the rest.