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SCUTTLEBUTT #237 -- December 15, 1998

(A special report to the 'Butt-heads from Bill Hardesty)
Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, Australia December 9-13, 1998 -- The Laser Pre-World Championship was held as a warm up event for both the competitors and race committee in preparation for the upcoming 1999 IYRU World Championships held this January. 59 of the top international Laser Sailors from 19 countries competed in hopes of gaining some local knowledge.

The course was always a double trapezoid with lots of reaching and short runs with a finish line upwind. Day one brought good breeze, 15-18 knots from the south with moderate to large chop and short courses. The racing was tight and lots of position changing. Nothing new in the front of the pack with Robert Scheidt from Brazil taking control right away with a 1,3 followed by the other two consistent top finishers Michael Blackburn of Australia and Ben Ainslie of Britain. I was doing much better having trained in breeze for a few weeks but still didn't quite have the edge. Day one ended with disappointing 12, 17 finishes.

The second day was quite similar to the first but with longer courses and slightly less breeze and wave action. I had exact duplicate finishes of the preceding day while Blackburn started to move with a 2, 3 while Scheidt had a 1, 7. A changing weather pattern was in store for the next few days with strong offshore breezes and temperatures in the 100's degree F.

Unfortunately the breeze never came but those ever so loved Australian Flies sure made an appearance. The flies on these hot days are so bad you have to be careful opening your mouth as you will have an unwanted visitor trying to enter. You feel like a farm animal continuously swatting at these pests as you sweat in the hot sun. Enough on that miserable note, the racing went much better. The breeze was 4-12 from the north with large shifts and flat water. I was second around every mark just behind Blackburn, followed by Ainslie with Scheidt moving to a close 4th after an awesome comeback on the downwind. On the final beat things began to get very unpredictable as the breeze was quickly dying. The top group was tight and I saw breeze on the right closer to shore while Scheidt and Nathaniel Stoffelsma of Canada headed left in hope of something good. Blackburn followed me and it looked like anybody's game in the last 100 yards. The breeze filled left and in the end it was Scheidt and Stoffelsma with great luck getting that left shift and passing both Blackburn and I as I settled with a 4th. No second race was sailed this day.

Day four was hot (with FLIES) once again, The breeze was strong early from the west with a forecast of a front passing through and shifting to the south. The committee postponed on shore to see what would happen as the front passed through. We wasted about an hour on shore before realizing that everything was only getting calmer as the breeze shifted. After multiple general recalls the race committee went to a black flag which means if you are over within one minute of the start you are disqualified. If the black flag start is a recall you, then you must leave the race area with your DSQ. Well it happened to me and 6 others! This is actually quite common and doesn't totally kill your result as you get one drop race from your final score. It really hurts if do as fellow American John Torgerson did and get two DSQ's which means he would have to count one of them. After all of the delays there was no time for another race.

The final day was rainy and cold. Temperatures in the 60's and moderate breeze 12-14 knots from the south. The results had Scheidt on top with Blackburn close behind. Ainslie had to make a big move if he was to pull something off. I was seated 10th with hopes of moving up. The condition were strange with large windshifts and breeze primarily coming from the right as a storm passed on the left. I got caught middle left never committing to the side and making too many tacks trying to stay in phase with the shifts. Both sides of the course seemed to do better and I was fighting my way out of a hole from the first beat. I had mediocre races of 15, 23.

Goals to focus on before the worlds: Reaching, Downwind, Heavy Air, and Strength. Sounds difficult, but not for focused individuals like us! -- Bill Hardesty

Results: 1. Robert Scheidt BRA 11 2. Michael Blackburn AUS 19 3. Ben Ainslie GBR 44 4. Brendan Casey AUS 59 5. Paul Goodison GBR 61 6. Nathaniel Stoffelsma CAN 69 7. Adonis Bougiouris GRE 69 8. Andrew Simpson GBR 82 9. Mark Tonner AUS 82 10. Jim Taylor GBR 95 11. BILL HARDESTY USA 100 12. Tim Shuwalow AUS 102 13. Fedrik Westman FIN 112 14. John Torgerson 113 15. Anthony Merrington 123 16. Pieter Lantermans NED 126 17. Simon Small NZL 127 18. Nik Burfoot NZL 133 19. Marc Jacobi USA 134 20. Brad Jones AUS 140

The winners of the five categories for the 1998 BT YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards have been determined by the postal ballot of the 248 members of the Yachting Journalists Association. The Award, first presented in 1955, is being sponsored by BT, who have been active sponsors of sailing for many years. This is the eighth year in succession that BT have sponsored the BT YJA Awards.

YJA Offshore Racing Yachtsman of the Year -- Ellen Macarthur
Ellen, who was BT YJA Young Sailor of the Year in 1994, has shown herself to be an incredibly determined competitor this year, posting excellent results in the Mini Transat, in which she was the only woman competitor and in the Round Britain Race, partnered by David Rowan. However, both these efforts were dwarfed by her quite remarkable performance in the Route du Rhum Race, sailing the 50ft Kingfisher, during which she overcame obstacles that included relentless bad weather and an out-of-control swing keel to place first in Class II and fifth monohull overall. Ellen lives at Whatstanwell near Matlock in Derbyshire. (Nominations: Ellen Macarthur; Richard Tolkien and Robert Wingate; Mike Golding)

YJA Inshore Racing Yachtsman of the Year -- Ben Ainslie
For his outstanding performances in the Laser class in which he won the 1998 ISAF World Sailing Championship. Other successes in 1998: included 4th, Australian National Championship; 1st, Sail Melbourne; 2nd, Hyeres Olympic Classes Regatta; 1st, Kiel Olympic Classes Regatta; 1st, British National Championship; 1st European Championship; and 2nd, Sydney Harbour Regatta (Pre pre Olympics). Ben lives at Lymington in Hampshire and is currently campaigning his Laser in Australia. (Nominations: Ian Walker; Charles Stanley and Mo Gray; Chris Law; Ben Ainslie)

Sealine Power Yachtsman of the Year -- Captain Ian Bosworth
With a crew of 15, Ian left Gibraltar on 19 April 1998 in Cable & Wireless Adventurer in a successful attempt to beat the 83-day world speed record for global circumnavigation by a motor powered vessel. They completed the circumnavigation in a time of 74 days, 20 hours, 58 minutes and 15 seconds. En route they established a further 14 world records from port to port as well as establishing the UIM-ratified record for circumnavigation. Ian lives at Falmouth in Cornwall when he is not at sea as master of a cable-laying vessel. (Nominations: Ken McCrorie; Steve Curtis; Ian Bosworth)

Sunseeker Endeavour Award -- Tracy Edwards, MBE
Many felt that Tracy had taken on an impossible task when she set out to capture the Jules Verne Trophy, for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation, with an all-woman crew. Yet the catamaran Royal & Sun Alliance was ahead of schedule at the half-way point, just before a catastrophic rig failure ended this superlative effort. Tracy, who previously won the Yachtsman of the Year Award in 1989, lives at Pangbourne in Berkshire. (Nominations: Dave Wheldon; Robert Miller; Tracy Edwards MBE; Sir Chay Blyth CBE) BT YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award -- Hannah Stodel, (13)
Born without a right arm, Hannah will represent the UK in the Mirror Dinghy World Championship in Cape Town in 1999. Crewing for Melissa Heppel, they were first ladies in the 1998 Mirror National Championship. Hannah has helped other disabled youngsters into sailing by taking part in the Kids into Sport campaign programme produced by Carlton TV. This is the second year in succession that Hannah, who lives at West Mersea near Colchester in Essex, has been nominated as the RYA Eastern Region winner.

The members of the YJA will now vote by postal ballot to decide which of these will be the overall winner of the 1998 BT YJA Yachtsman of the Year. The name of the winner will be announced at a gala dinner and dance at the London Hilton on the evening of Friday 8 January 1999, the social highlight of the yachting year and the London International Boat Show.

For the full story:

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) or clarity or to exclude personal attacks.

>> From Hogan Beatie -- One point seems to be missed by the sailors complaining (whining?) about the new rules, and a more powerful Starboard tacker, is that they seem to be forgetting one of the greatest things about the sport of sailing. That is the fact that you can delete, correct, or even reverse any rule you wish by simply stating the changes in the sailing instructions. You would think if classes can decide who is allowed to crew and steer certain one designs, the least they could do is pick what sort of rule system they would like to sail under.

At the bi-annual Citibank Regatta in San Francisco Bay, we have been racing under simplified, experimental rules for over three years. There is on the water judging, and all kinetic rules are dismissed. This one of the longest running televised, prize money regattas in the US. At the end of each race, everyone knows where they stand. There are three levels of penalty; the first is admission of foul to protestor, and immediate 360 degree turn, the second being flagged by judge boat and immediate 720 turn, the third being black flagged by judge boat and sailing clear of the fleet for DSQ points. Boats are even allowed to touch marks as long as they don't drag them! Ask anyone who has sailed in one of these regattas, and I guarantee that they will tell that it's a blast. Sailors, realize that you can have it your way anytime you wish.

>> From Helen Johnstone Falk -- I believe Peter Johnstone has carried on the Johnstone philosophy of "cut to the chase". He clarifies the point very clearly that we ALL need to stay away from politics and say what we mean and mean what we say. Keep politics out of sailing, and concentrate on sincerely getting the less fortunate involved in the sport.

For those of us who have been gifted enough to be "born" into the sport, we should be very gracious and thankful. It is truly a gift to escape the everyday stresses of society through nature via means of a boat, on the tranquil ocean where the soul is cleansed and purified. Not everyone has been gifted with this. It is up to the sailing community to design programs whereby the less fortunate are provided with the opportunity to experience this gift. It is truly rewarding to pass the gift on to others.

I, personally, have experienced this. As an Outward Bound Instructor and Volunteer at Hurricane Island in Maine, I found that the under-priviledged individuals from the city of New York were transformed by their boating excursions at Outward Bound; they were set free from the "chains" of city life by the freedom of the ocean experience. Need I say more? I hope this response opens up channels of communications on how we can make this sport more available to those who don't have the means to access the gift that we have all been gifted with.

>> From Paul Henderson, ISAF President -- As President of the Toronto Olympic Bid 1996 I have been grilled about the IOC Bidding scandal. I was asked by the press today whether scholarships to Universities should be considered Bribes? My answer was: "If it was to the University of Toronto YES! If it was to the University of Georgia it was a sentence!" Oh well Billy Payne never was my greatest supporter.

John Jourdane's book, "Icebergs, Port and Starboard; The Whitbread Round the World Race," is back in print and is available for immediate delivery. Check it out on his website:

Bashford International announced the appointment of Gordon Maguire, renowned yachtsman as their international representative. He will fill this newly created position attending a selection of international yachting regattas, be available for current owners and potential customers to use him as a contact base and information source on any questions they may have on the Sydney range of yachts. He will also be available to sail with clients, at a negotiated cost, to assist them in their campaigning or to fine tune their boat or simply learn some finer aspects of sailing a Sydney yacht.


Autissier's performance thus far is amazing. She has extended her lead over Marc Thiercelin and was making an average speed of almost 13 knots. She's admitted to slowing down in the leg's first week to monitor a malfunction with the mechanism that controls her swing keel, but since that time she has apparently thrown caution to the wind. Yesterday, Groupe Finot associate Pascal Conq, when queried about the design features in Autissier's boat PRB that might explain her current dominance, offered this view: "When PRB was being designed, Isabelle wanted a forgiving boat. And PRB has more volume higher forward, and lines that aren't as sleek as her competitors'. But I don't seriously think that's a factor. For me, the main explanation is that Isabelle knows her boat perfectly, she has sailed in these parts [of the Southern Ocean before], and she knows where she's going. In sum, Isabelle is very much on top of the situation." - Herb McCormick

Standings (with distance to finish in parenthesis) CLASS I: 1. Autissier (4186) 2. Thiercelin (4219) 3. Soldini (4225) 4. Golding (4255) CLASS II: 1. Garside (4779) 2. Mouligne (4827) 3. Van Liew (5034) 4. Yazykov (5074)

Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are stupid.