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SCUTTLEBUTT #241 - December 21, 1998

The ORC Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a revised IMS VPP intended to curb a growing generation of unstable IMS designs, and bring the 1998 formula up to speed. At the heart of the revised formula is a new "twist model." The previous formula didn't account for the common practice of twisting sails to reduce heeling moment, which was allowing some less stable boats to enjoy a more than favorable rating. With the inclusion of the twist model, the VPP is said to predict more accurately a boat's righting moment, and in turn bring its rating more in line to what it should be.

According to ORC director Ken Weller, the initiative to update the formula stemmed from the practice of a handful of Mediterranean-based grand prix yachts reducing their stability. Their results were fruitful, and the practice was beginning to spread to other parts of the world. - Dave Reed, Grand Prix Sailor

For the full story:

Andy Green, whose consistent match racing performance has pushed him up 10 places this year to 32nd in the world rankings, has secured a sponsor, Margent International Re-insurance Group, to take him and his team around the Match Race Circuit through to the end of 2000. Andy, who made the final 16 in the last two Bermuda Gold Cups, and won the coveted Omega Award in 1997, expects to race in 1999 events including the Grade 1 Gold Cup and the Knickerbocker Cup in New York.

Andy is joined by the formidable team of Jim Turner, Gerard Mitchell and Tim Powell. All three are integral parts of the 1999 British Admirals Cup team. Tim is a past Laser European champion and Silk Cut helmsman. Gerry was also on Silk Cut and was part of the World Championship winning Farr 40 in 1998. Jim Turner has been sailing with the team for a year and is a two time Fireball World Champion and Endeavour Trophy winner.

In a double coup, Andy has been signed with the Aloha Racing America's Cup Challenge and will be on the afterguard of the tune-up boat. He explains "Aloha Racing is building a strong B Team with a mix of top international crew, all with additional talents that will contribute to the main challenge effort. My role will be based around the match racing experience I have gained in the last two years on the circuit and to give specific rules advice." Andy will join the team in Hawaii at the start of the training programme in the summer of '99, integrating his America's Cup commitments with the match-racing circuit. -- John Roberson

Sydney Harbour has provided some great conditions for the third day of racing in the Sydney International Regatta. In breezes blowing up to 18 knots early in the day, competition in all classes was strong, with many of the underdogs showing some great form.

In the 49ers, Adam Beashel and Teague Czislowski (AUS), sailing Smith's Kodak Express, have continued their stunning performance today, leading racing for the majority of the day. The pair won all three of today's races, leaving them 13 points ahead of current World Champion, Australia's Chris Nicholson sailing Skilled (on 17 points). In third position is Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall of the USA on 20 points ,whilst current world rankings' leaders, Marc Audineau and Julien Farnarier (FRA) are in fourth position on 27 points. With the final day of racing tomorrow, Beashel and Czislowski are looking forward to another good day.

Competition in the Tornado Class continues to be a battle between Darren Bundock/John Forbes and Mitch Booth/Andrew Landenberger. The two Australian crews have been fierce competitors for many years, and Bundock and Forbes appear to have the edge at the moment. After winning the World Championship less than a month ago, Bundock and Forbes are now leading this regatta, after winning three races Sunday. The pair lead Booth and Landenberger by only three points, setting up a great day of competition tomorrow as we head towards the end of the regatta.

In the women's single handed Europe Class, '96 Gold Medallist, Margriet Matthysse of the Netherlands is leading the fleet by 25 points. She leads Sari Multana of Finland and Monica Bronicka of Poland. Current World Champion, Carolijn Brouwer also of the Netherlands is currently in fourth position, whilst Australia's Sarah Blanck is in sixth place and Melanie Dennison is seventh overall.

Farm Cove played host to the Solings Match Racing today. Competition in Pool A has been a tough battle with an even tie between the Australian teams of Ian Walker, Cameron Miles and Matt Hayes. In Pool B, Australia's Nev Wittey is leading.

Sailing offshore in 8-10 knot breezes, the Finn Class is being led by current World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz. He leads Sweden's Frederich Loof by only two points, creating a close battle for the final day of racing.

Meanwhile, in the Laser Class, Brazil's Robert Scheidt is leading local boy Michael Blackburn. Ben Ainslie of Great Britain is sitting in third place, with Brendan Casey of Australia doing well to be placed fourth at the end of the day. With three races to be sailed tomorrow, competition in the Gold Fleet is set to be tough.

Complete results:

(The following is a special report from Team McLube (Jonathan and Charlie McKee) racing in the Sydney Invitational Regatta (SIR) in Australia.)

The first three races in the Gold Fleet Finals of the SIR Regatta were sailed yesterday on Sydney Harbour. A 15-18 knot NE breeze combined with a big ebb tide and Sunday traffic combined for steep, chopy waves and difficult sailing conditions. The course was extremely short as well, putting a premium on course management and boat avoidance (both upright and flipped).

Race one saw the Smiths Kodak boat sailed by Adam Beashal/Teague Czislowski take the lead from Americans Larson/Hall on the first downwind and cruise to a comfortable victory. As has become a common theme this regatta, once Kodak gets in the lead they rarely relinquish it. A solid combination of good starts, consistent speed, and flawless boat-handling have left them in the drivers seat in this regatta, and looking like the team to beat for the upcoming World Championships.

Race 2 was more of the same, with a battle around the course between Kodak and Larson/Hall finally won by Kodak, but the American duo fighting back into series contention after a disappointing 6th place qualifying score. Current World Champ Nicholson onboard Skilled was still in contention as well, with several comebacks to score 3,4 in the first two finals races. Things were not going as well for Team McLube however, with a pretty decent result in race 1, emerging from the pack for a 5th, but disaster struck in race 2. Lined up for the start with 20 seconds to go, their tiller extension came disconnected, and they were forced to stop and tape it back on while the fleet sailed away. McLube managed to sail their way back to a 13th placing, mostly due to numerous flipping in the fleet caused by the short, choppy course.

The final day's race saw a wire-to-wire Kodak win to cap a dominating performance, while Larson/Hall capsized jibing while well placed, Skilled rallying from a poor start to score 3rd, and McLube struggling to a 7th. - Jonathan and Charlie McKee

The three final races are scheduled for Monday: 1. Smiths Kodak, Australia (4) 2. Skilled, Australia, (17) 3.Larson/Hall, USA (20) Audineau/Farnarier, France 4. (27) Team McLube, USA, (28) 5. Bruni/Bruni, Italy (29) 6. Budgen/Budgen, GBR, (30) 7. Boyd/Boyd, Australia (31)

At the request of the U.S. Melges 24 Class and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club the International Melges 24 Class has agreed to change the date for the 1999 Worlds from early November to October 1-10. The U.S. Class organization and ABYC requested this change in order to improve the racing conditions. We appreciate the action of the ICA, as it involves a substantial sacrifice by the European who want to compete. -- Steve Maseda

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 Terry Harper, Executive Director, US Sailing -- Interesting that a couple of people have hit on this entry level. What may not be known is that US SAILING and the National Recreation and Park Department are currently collaborating on a learn-to-sail curriculum for R&P water-accessible programs. The program is called "Sail Smart" and is supported by a grant from the United States Coast Guard, among others.

San Diego Yacht Club, Golison & Golison and California Yacht Club have announced the creation of the "Volvo In-Shore Championships." Commencing in the spring of 1999, this three regatta high point circuit will be comprised of San Diego Yacht Club's "Yachting / Leukemia Ton Cup", California Yacht Club's new "Cal Race Week" and the Golison's "North Sails Race Week".

Invited classes include a standardized grand prix 40-45 footer +/- class and a 30-footer +/- class for entire series, plus J/120's, Schock 35's, Melges 24's, J/35's, Farr 40's, 1D35's ULDB 70's and PHRF boats with ratings 0-174. Other one-design classes will be considered. The combined scores of the three regattas for each class will be tallied. Trophies and prizes for both skipper and crew will be awarded.

The entry fee for the Volvo In-Shore Championships (VIC) is $25 and is not in lieu of entry fees for each race. VIC Entry forms will be mailed in March. Each entrant receives:

* VIC Skipper and Crew series participation awards provided by our sponsors.

* VIC Battle Flag and Regatta Winner Flag from each event (like yellow jersey).

* Unique prizes for series class trophy winners and the overall winner.

* Preferred slip packages.

EVENT #1: Yachting/Leukemia Ton Cup, April 30-May 2, San Diego Yacht Club, Jeff Johnson, (619) 758-6309,

EVENT #2: Cal Race Week, May 28-30, California Yacht Club, Bill Stump: (310) 456-2002,

EVENT #3: North Sails Race Week, June 25-27, Long Beach, Bruce Golison: (714) 379-4884,

The America's Cup Challenge Association (NZ) Ltd. (ACCA) announced the appointment of Vincent E. Cooke (Lillian, Ala.) as Regatta Operations Director for the 1999-2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. Cooke was the Regatta Operations Manager of the 1992 and 1995 for the Louis Vuitton Cup events held in San Diego.

As Regatta Operations Director Cooke will be responsible for managing the day to day activity on the water for the Louis Vuitton Cup. With up to 400 races scheduled to run over 65 days, Cooke has got his work cut out for him. Among his most pressing tasks is recruiting candidates for the Race Management Team. He will also be responsible for drafting the sailing instructions for the Louis Vuitton Cup and securing assets for use during the regatta.

Cooke recently spent several days in Auckland, New Zealand surveying sites to host the race management fleet of boats and to meet various representatives from local authorities whom will assist in the management of the entire America's Cup Event. He will return to New Zealand with his wife, Patricia, mid-January.

The America's Cup Challenge Association is an independent organization formed by the Challenger of Record for the 30th America's Cup Match-New York Yacht Club-to execute the responsibilities of that appointment. ACCA's primary objectives as the organising authority for the Louis Vuitton Cup are: to produce a successful challenger for the 30th America's Cup Match by offering the highest competition possible during the regatta; and to represent the interests of all Challenging Yacht Clubs in its dealings with Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for that Match.

Presently there are 16 challengers from 10 nations. Start dates for the Louis Vuitton Cup have been finalized:

-- Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin 1 - 18 October 1999
-- Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin 2 - 6 November 1999
-- Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin 3 - 2 December 1999
-- Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinals - 2 January 2000
-- Louis Vuitton Cup Finals - 25 January 2000

For more:

After braving a night of fierce thunderstorms, Chicago millionaire Steve Fossett, British tycoon Richard Branson and a teammate soared over Central Asia toward the Himalayas on Sunday -- day three of their attempt to circle the globe in a balloon. The storms forced the adventurers to navigate through a narrow corridor bringing them close to three countries that had denied permission to fly over their territory: Iraq, Iran and Russia. "Somebody was looking over us last night," an elated Branson told the ground crew of ICO Global, a mobile telephone company that is supporting the trip.

Fossett, who lost a balloon in the Pacific Ocean two months ago as a result of a thunderstorm, shouted to his teammates to put on their parachutes Saturday as they headed north over Turkey to avoid Iraq.

"What was worse -- a possible storm ahead or the 'storms' of Iraq?" Branson told the ground crew, according to a statement. "We decided to risk the thunder and press on." The balloon missed Iraq by 60 miles, Iran by 7 miles, and Russia by just 10 miles. "I have never seen anything like this in the 30 years I have been ballooning," said ICO Project Director Mike Kendrick, saying going through such a gap was "like threading a needle."

The crew hoped to have a quiet day Monday, flying across Turkmenistan before heading into Afghanistan and then along the Himalayas. -- Associated Press

For the full story:

Better late than never," two-time solo circumnavigator Robin Davie set out from Cape Town yesterday afternoon to round out the field of 15 sailors now underway on Leg 2 of the Around Alone race. From a competitive standpoint, Davie is hopelessly out of contention. But he is still very much on target to join a very select club. Two-time race winner Philippe Jeantot and tough-as-nails South African Bertie "Biltong" Reed are the only sailors to have completed three Around Alones. - Herb McCormick

Standings (distance to leader in parenthesis) CLASS I: 1. Soldini (0.0) 2. Golding (95.8) 3. Thiercelin (111.8) 4. Autissier (469.0) CLASS II: 1. 1. Mouligne (0.0) 2. Garside (104.7) 3. Van Liew (573.4) 4.Yazykov (584.9)

Event website:

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