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SCUTTLEBUTT #254 - January 11, 1999

The curmudgeon's computer went "south" last night, which is the reason for this late issue of 'Butt today. Although it is still not fully restored, we have the web stuff and e-mail going well enough to send out this issue of 'Butt. If it hadn't been for my Zip Drive backup, this would have been really ugly. Nonetheless, I lost some of the e-mail I got on Sunday, so if you sent me something important, you just might want to re-send it again.

Despite his upsets yesterday, Australia's Chris Nicholson leads the overall points score after two days of qualifying races in the 49er class. Nicholson won his final race in the wild conditions just off Station Pier, to have an overall scoreboard of 1-4-2-1, just one point less than the fancied American pair of Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall.

The British brothers Andrew and Ian Budgen are in third from the Italians Francesco and Gabriele Bruni. It's brotherly love all over. Fifth are Sydney twins John and Gary Boyd with Jonathan and Charlie McKee in sixth.

LASERS -- World number one ranked Laser sailor, Ben Ainslie of Great Britain today had a perfect score in trying conditions on Port Phillip Bay, winning races three and four of the 1999 World Laser Championship. Sailed from Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron at St Kilda, Ainslie excelled in the heavy conditions, where winds gusted to 30 knots, kicking up short, steep waves.

Flight 1 Flight 2
1. Ben Ainslie (GBR) Roope Suomalianen (FIN)
2. Maciej Grabowski (POL) Andonis Bougiouris (GRE)
3. Robert Scheidt (BRA) Brendan Casey (AUS)
4. Michael Blackburn (AUS) Karl Suneson (SWE)
5. Daniel Birgmark (SWE) Brett Beyer (AUS)

Flight 1 Flight 2
1. Ben Ainslie (GBR) Brendan Casey (AUS)
2. Serge Kats (NED) Robert Scheidt (BRA)
3. Michael Blackburn (AUS) Fredrik Westman (FIN)
4. Nik Burfoot (NZL) Jim Taylor (GBR)
5. Anthony Merrington (AUS) Peder Ronholt (DEN)

For the first time ever at an Olympic class World Championship, ISAF officials yesterday carried out a random drug test. Six Laser sailors were chosen after sailing yesterday and we are hopeful that no results will be known! Usually, the only time we are alerted to the outcomes of this procedure is when a test comes back positive.

SOLING -- In a heavy weather race that saw the lead change hands three times, American Jeff Madrigali today won an aggressively sailed second race of the world championship for the 99 Worlds on Melbourne's Port Phillip. Sailing in a 20-25 knot south-westerly with lumpy seas, Madrigali and his crew, Craig Healy and Hartwell Jordon, came from third at the end of the first leg to take the lead on the second mark. With the margin of the first boat never greater than 35 seconds, the Americans led around the second last mark by 8 seconds, to take over the lead from Dutchman Roy Heiner and his crew of Peter van Niekerk and Dirk de Ridder who had led from the second mark.

The American, who was silver medallist in the Soling class at the Atlanta Olympics, got the gun by just 22 seconds from Heiner, third going to Denmark's Stig Westergaard and his crew of Jens Bolsen Moller and Bjorn Westergaard. In the second race, Heiner, who won a silver medal in the Finn class at Atlanta, scored his first win of the series, beating world match racing champion Jochen Schuemann. The full story.

AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based challenger for America's Cup XXX, began a two-month intensive training program on the Hauraki Gulf today. It is the team's first sail together since their training boat OneAustralia arrived in New Zealand last month. Skipper Paul Cayard and tactician John Kostecki took the sailing team through their paces on the waters of the actual America's Cup 2000 race course, where AmericaOne will continue to benchmark the computational and meteorological data they have gathered from the Gulf over the past three years.

AmericaOne's team currently in New Zealand, including shore crew and support staff, includes: Sailing Team: Bil Bates, Josh Belsky, Curtis Blewett, Paul Cayard, Sean Clarkson, Justin Clougher, Kevin Hall, Robert Hook, Terry Hutchinson, Mark Keenan, John Kostecki, Paul Larkin, Morgan Larson, Pablo Marquez, Moose McClintoch, Bruce Nelson, Carter Perrin, Rolfie Steitz and Morgan Turbovich.

Shore Team: Don Anderson, Mark Cosby, Brad Fitzgerald and Brett Healy. Support Staff: Gina von Esmarch, Bob Billingham, Carol Ann Henderson, Sarah O'Kane, and Kevin Reeds. -- Gina von Esmarch The full story.

Led by US SAILING's Olympic Director Jonathan Harley (Middletown, R.I.), a strong U.S. delegation '99 Melbourne World Sailing Championships includes coaches Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), Luther Carpenter (New Orleans, La.) and Skip Whyte (Bristol, R.I.), along with the following sailors, listed by class:

EUROPE (skipper) Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I.) 1994 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Danielle Brennan Myrdal (New York, N.Y.); US SAILING's 1998 Female Athlete of the Year Meg Gaillard (Pelham, N.Y.); Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.); Danielle Soriano (Brielle, N.J.); Erica Mattson Ruhne (Santa Cruz, Calif.); Leslie Osmera (San Francisco, Calif.); Lynn Olinger (San Francisco, Calif.); Krysia Pohl (San Francisco, Calif.); Linda Wennerstrom (Miami, Fla.); and Samantha Barnes (Greenwich, Conn.)

FINN (skipper) 1998 Finn National Champion Darrrell Peck (Gresham, Ore.); Andy Kern (Chicago, Ill.); Mike Deyett (Windham, N.H.); John Callahan (San Francisco, Calif.); Scott Griffiths (Mission, Kansas); David Byers (Nassau Bay, Texas); Mo Hart (S. Portland, Maine); Chic Parsons (Portland, Ore.); and Gus Miller (Portsmouth, R.I.)

470 MEN (skipper/crew) 1992 Flying Dutchman Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Foerster and Bob Merrick (Garland, Texas/Portsmouth, R.I.) fresh from their win at the 1998 Sydney International Regatta; 1992 Olympic Silver Medalists Morgan Reeser and Kevin Burnham (Wilton Manors/Coral Gables, Fla.); Steven Hunt and Michael Miller (Poquoson, Va./Fairport, N.Y.); Peter Katcha and Jim Elvart (Dallas, Texas/Chicago, Ill.); and Graeme Woodworth and Andrew Gaynor (both Watch Hill, R.I.).

470 WOMEN (skipper/crew) Tracy Hayley and 1996 Olympian Louise Van Voorhis (Coral Gables, Fla./Webster, N.Y.); 1998 Australian 470 Women's National Championship winners Whitney Connor and Elizabeth Kratzig (Noank, Conn./Corpus Christi, Texas); 1996 Europe Olympic Bronze Medalist Courtenay Dey and Alice Manard (The Dalles, Ore./New Orleans, La.); and 1992 470 Women's Olympic Bronze Medalist JJ Isler and Pease Glaser (La Jolla/Long Beach, Calif.).

49er (skipper/crew) 1997 49er World Silver Medalists and brothers, Jonathan McKee and Charlie McKee (both Seattle, Wash.); Two-time 49er World Bronze Medalists ('98 and '97) Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall (Capitola/Ventura, Calif.) who recently won the 1998 49er Pacific Champions held in Sydney; 1998 49er National Champions Jay Renehan and Chris Lanzinger (Seattle/Medina, Wash.); Andy Mack and Adam Lowery (both Mercer Island, Wash.); Bates McKee and Adam Koch (both Seattle, Wash.); and Chad Hough and David Fox (Ferrysburg/Spring Lake, Mich.)

LASER 1998 Laser National Champion John Torgerson (Annapolis, Md.); Jack Dreyfuss (Miami, Fla.); 1998 College Sailor of the Year Bill Hardesty (San Diego, Calif.); Brett Davis (Largo, Fla.); Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.); Kurt Taulbee (Williamsville, N.Y.); Mattea d'Errico (San Antonio, Texas); and Charles Mead (New Orleans, La.)

SOLING (skipper/two crew) 1998 National Champions Dave Curtis and Karl Anderson with Jeff Thorpe (Marblehead, Mass./Barnstable, Mass./Alameda, Calif.); Tony Rey, Dean Brenner and Tom Burnham (Newport, R.I./Watch Hill, R.I./Newport, R.I.); 1996 Soling Olympic Bronze Medalist Jeff Madrigali, Craig Healy and Hartwell Jordan (San Anselmo/Tiburon/Discovery Bay, Calif.); and John Gochberg, Greg Enos and Chad Atkins (Miami, Fla./Miami/Rochester, N.Y.). -- Jan Harley, Media Pro,

Hal Haenel of Los Angeles, Calif., has been elected a vice-president of US SAILING, the member-based organization that regulates all levels of competition in the sport. Haenel's election to the post was announced at US SAILING's Annual General Meeting in October as part of a strategic initiative to involve more athletes in decisions made at the national level.

Haenel, an Olympic medalist in the Star class (gold 1992, silver '88) is also the designated Team Leader for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team and holds a position on US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee.

The U.S. has won 50 Olympic yachting medals -- more than any other nation. Twenty three were won over the last four Olympiads, with Haenel claiming his two while crewing for Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif). - Jan Harley, Media Pro Int'l

Curmudgeon's comment -- This is clearly one of the most visible, positive steps US Sailing has taken recently╔which makes it hard to understand why it took them three months to release the information. I also found it "interesting" that this item is not posted in News Release section of US Sailing's web site.

The quality of sailing apparel is measured over years of service, not how an item looks hanging in the store. That's why Douglas Gill works so hard to exceed "industry standards" in everything they do. And they do a lot - a huge and diversified selection of foul weather gear, jackets, boots, gloves, hats, PFDs and everything you'll need for "layering." Check it all out on their impressive web site:

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

-- From Will Howard -- I'm a local sailor in Hobart, and have several impressions: The Australian media has really been pushing the "someone must be blamed" angle on the Sydney-Hobart losses. The sailors and race organisers have been insisting that decisions to race or not to race, and responsibility for consequences, lie solely with the skippers and crews.

My perspective is a little different. The responsibility does not lie solely with the sailors, as long as the larger society accepts an obligation to send rescuers out to aid stricken vessels. Crews of SAR ships and aircraft risk their own lives and taxpayers foot the bill. So I think the organisers and sailors have some obligation to insure the safety, seaworthiness, and preparedness of the vessels and crews.

Sailors who are going to be at sea for several days have to expect that a storm could form and intensify during the course of the race. The weather forecasters substantially got this one right within the limits of the computer model outputs from which they make the forecasts.

It is unbelievable to me that someone would go to the trouble and expense of buying an EPIRB and then not register its signal. Rescue crews need to know exactly who's putting out distress signals, and if they just plucked someone out of the ocean, that they still have others in the vicinity. Otherwise they may keep looking, at further risk to themselves or others who are still waiting to be picked up.

-- From George M. Isdale Jr., Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. -- The New York Yacht Club wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the six Sydney-Hobart sailors who lost their lives or are missing at sea.

Nothing we can say can make up for the profound loss of family members, friends and shipmates - indeed, the entire sailing community. However, the hope is that they were doing what was special to them; what made them special to you. And to us.

We may master many things in this world, but the ocean is not one of them. That is its blessing and bane. While safety-first is a first principle, it cannot be the only principle for people who look to the sea for adventure, challenge or solace. If it were, we would never climb tall mountains, ride rockets into space or cross oceans. Or even cross the street.

Nevertheless, a loss such as this saddens us all.

-- From Ken Brooke -- Re the Sydney Hobart tragedy. I endorse all that Rob Mundle and others have said. That the responsibility for starting and continuing to race must lie with the yachts.(boats?) A race committee cannot be expected to predict what might happen in a lengthy ocean race and the indications given by meteorologists are just that. However I do believe that conditions prevailing at the start should be taken into account and when appropriate the start postponed.

-- From Michael Ford -- In response to Mr. Loomis' comments regarding the responsibility of the skipper and/or the crew. Certainly, the skipper bears the burden of a large decision. And yes the two cases presented seem fairly realistic. However what skipper, especially a father, would risk the lives of his family and crew for the chance to say I didn't "wimp out".

Any skipper worthy of holding that position should have the courage and strength to assess the conditions and make a decision based on not only their view but their crew. The old chain adage applies here. The weak link could easily be a frightened crewmember. Admittedly there are times when pushing the crew helps them gain confidence in handling more difficult conditions but this must be weighed very carefully.

While the ultimate Yes or No comes from the skipper it should involve the entire crew. As for the decision based on "Well, if everyone else is going, I guess we're going too," I hope I am never involved in a team that portrays that attitude. That represents reckless and downright poor decision making regardless of the situation.

AROUND ALONE - Sooooo close
Magellan Alpha and Balance Bar have, for the last hundred miles, fought a tack-and-tack battle for second. For the final 12 hours of Leg 2, it was a full-on skipper duel, in a healthy 15-knot northerly breeze. Mike Garside, thin after 7,000 nautical miles, edged out Brad Van Liew -- and it all came down to just two minutes and 21 seconds. That was a bit of a bummer, but I wouldn't trade it for anything," said a disappointed Van Liew.

A last gasp by Garside put him over the line first, at 3:49 p.m. local time, after 35 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes and 56 seconds at sea. He now holds a tentative lead over Van Liew of one hour, 29 minutes and 27 seconds at the halfway point of the race. " -- Emily Robertson, Quokka Sports Staff The full story.

Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.