SCUTTLEBUTT #255 - January 12, 1999
99 WORLDS - Melbourne Australia
49ers -- Two times Australian world champion Chris Nicholson and his new
crew Ed Smyth still lead the Olympic 49er class after sailing four more
qualifying races at the 99 Worlds on Port Phillip Bay. However, they are
being strongly pressed by Italian brothers Francesco and Gabriele Bruni,
with the top five places still wide open as the big fleet goes into
tomorrow's last round of qualifying races. The 49ers today sailed in ideal
conditions, a light southerly and flat waters off Port Melbourne after
Monday's wild sailing which wrought havoc among the less experienced sailors.
1. Chris Nicholson / Ed Smyth (AUS) 1-(4)-2-1-1-3-4-1-(7) -- 13 points
2. Francecso & Gabriele Bruni (ITA) 1-(7)-3-1-(4)-1-1-4-3 -- 14
3. Jonathan & Charlie McKee (USA) (8)-1-4-3-2-1-1-2-(6) -- 14
4. John & Gary Boyd (AUS) (10)-3-1-2-2-4-(8)-1-3 -- 16
5. Adam Beashel / Teague Czislowski (AUS) 6-1-1-(9)-1-(7)-5-1-2 -- 17
8. Morgan Larson/Kevin Hall (USA) 4 1 2 2 4 8 3 (20) (DNF) - 24
CLASS A CATAMARAN -- Defending world champion in the A Division Catamaran,
America's Pete Melvin had a black day at McCrae Yacht Club. Melvin was
first to finish, only to discover he had been ruled out for a premature
start by race officials. The 1997 world champion (the A Division did not
hold a world title in 1998) has been struggling for form in Melbourne, with
a scoreboard of 9, 19 and 24 so far. Melvin worked his way through the
fleet to hit the front by the fourth windward mark but would have been
bitterly disappointed with his OCS.
LASER -- Britain's Ben Ainslie, the bridesmaid of the Laser Olympics and
World championships, looks strongly set to win his first world title at the
99 Worlds on Melbourne's Port Phillip tomorrow. Ainslie, silver medallist
at Atlanta, won the first race of the gold fleet finals today and although
he was back in 11th place in the second race of the day, his major
opposition were well down the line. Atlanta gold medallist and three times
world champion Robert Scheidt from Brazil finished 11th and 28th in today's
After two discards, this leaves Ainslie on 20 points, Scheidt on 34,
Suneson 37 and Blackburn 42 points. Ainslie is not unbeatable with just two
races to sail tomorrow, but is certainly looking good for a well deserved
Event website: http://99worlds.org
(Jeff Madrigali provided this special report about the action in the Soling
Worlds in Australia)
We did not get into then dock until after 7:00 PM, but had a pretty good
day with a 1st and a 11th. It was very windy (18 to 25) with huge waves. We
had several general recalls in the 1st race and we changed jibs just before
the real start which was a black flag start. We were on port tack
approaching the fleet with about 1 minute to go and I said to Craig (Healy)
to hike out so we could get a bit farther down the line before we tacked
and he fell right off the boat because he had forgotten to hook in after
the jib change. We tacked back and got him back in the boat with 30 seconds
to go and had just enough time to get to the leeward end of the line and
get a good start. Craig was very heavy with all the water he picked up and
we shot out of there and rounded the top mark 3rd. We went on to win the
race. The other Americans did poorly so we are now the top American and 3rd
overall. The next race was in the same conditions and we had a much harder
go of it. We did pass 5 or 6 boats on the last beat to end up 11th. We
missed the last shift at the finish or we might have beat Tony Rey and been
about 8th, but it was not to be. We ripped the lower leech of our main on
the twing block at the jibe mark in the last race and it looked like it
might blow in half, but it held up for two beats and a run - we were lucky
about that. We sailed in with it and right as we were about to drop it, it
blew up across the clew. We are all very tired and are happy there is only
one race scheduled for Tuesday.
Top 10....(there will be a throwout after 5 races....) 38 boats....
1. DEN120: Westergaard/Moller/Westergaard: 2, 3, 3 = 8 pts.
2. GER311: Schuemann/Bahr/Borkowski: 3, 7, 2 = 12 pts.
3. USA823: Jeff Madrigali/Craig Healy/Hartwell Jordan: 7, 1, 11 = 19 pts.
4. NOR131: Johannessen/Davis/Stokkeland: 8,4,8 = 20 pts.
5. AUS180: Walker/Drennan/Jackson: 22, 6, 7 = 35 pts.
6. RUS44: Shaiduko/Volchkov/Komarov: 6,12,17 = 35 pts.
7. ITA239: Cian/Colaninno/Fornelli: 5,19,12 = 36 pts.
8. FRA33: Presti/Rambeau/Dauris: 16,9,14 = 39 pts.
9. NED35: Heiner/VanNiekerkDeRidder: OCS, 2, 1 = 42 pts.
10. NZL28: Davis/Cowie/Smith: 18, 5, 19 = 42 pts.
11. USA831: Tony Rey/Tom Burnham/Dean Brenner: 4, 30, 9 = 43 pts.
22. USA830: David Curtis/Karl Anderson/Jeff Thorpe: 20, 13, 29 = 62 pts.
34. USA839: John Gochberg/Greg Enos/Chad Atkins: 29, 33, 34 = 96 pts.
As organizers roll out their best bib and tucker finalizing celebratory
plans for the 12th anniversary GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week, a
record-size fleet of more than 270 boats prepares for levels of competition
unparalleled in the event's history.
Competitors' bows are aimed squarely at the Yachting Magazine Trophy, Race
Week's ultimate prize awarded to the overall Boat of the Week, but the
year's first major international regatta also features three-boat team
competition for the Yukon Cup, presented by title sponsor GMC Yukon. The
Yukon Cup format loosely resembles England's famous Champagne Mumm
Admiral's Cup, but is intended as a fun sidelight to the individual class
competition of Race Week, which schedules eight windward-leeward races over
five days with no discards allowed.
The impressive field of 10 teams includes Europe, Far East, Germany, Italy,
New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA Red, USA White and USA Blue.
Teams are composed of an IMS-rated design, a Mumm 30 and a Melges 24. These
classes account for 35 percent of Race Week's fleet and distinguish the
regatta with strong international representation, counting 25 of the 38
International teams' helmsmen boast well rounded resumes and include New
Zealand's Russell Coutts (1995 America's Cup winning skipper) and Germany's
Karol Jablonski (a four-time International DN Iceboat World Champion).
Not to be outdone, American teams' helmsmen include Vince Brun (1998 Melges
24 World Champion skipper), Peter Holmberg (the world's No. 5-ranked
match-racer) and Peter Isler (1987 America's Cup winning navigator).
In order to generate broad interest, team composition may be one country or
regional when there aren't a sufficient number of boats from a single
country. Two of the three boats on each team must hail from the country or
region represented, with at least 30 percent of the crew on those two boats
citizens or legal residents of the particular country.
The competition for the Yachting Magazine Trophy and the Yukon Cup will be
features of a television special on GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week,
scheduled to air on the all-sports network ESPN2 February 21 at 1:00 PM
Eastern Time (10:00 AM Pacific Time). America's Cup personality Gary
Jobson, who'll compete at Race Week, hosts the show. Joining Jobson and the
ESPN production team is cameraman Laurie Gilbert, a specialist sailing
cinematographer from Singapore. Gilbert and Jobson have worked together on
events in the past, including the America's Cup, Olympics, Kenwood Cup and
After its premiere showing, the special is scheduled to re-air on April 2
at 1:30 AM Eastern Time (April 1, 10:30 PM Pacific Time). ESPN2 reaches
63.1 million households.
Racing at GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week takes place Monday to
Friday, January 18 to 22.
Yukon Cup Teams
Boat (design) Owner/Entrant, Helmsman (Flag)
Europe -- Exposure (Castro 50) Niek Lamm, Niek Lamm (NED)
Yauguru (Mumm 30) W. Scott Perry, Federico Grunwalt (URU)
Mad Cap (Melges 24) Henri Samuel, Henri Samuel (FRA)
Beau Geste (Farr 49) Karl Kwok, Gavin Brady (CHN)
Esmeralda (Mumm 30) Makoto Uematsu, Makoto Uematsu (JPN)
Whiteloaf (Melges 24) Scott Elliott, Scott Elliott (USA)
Rubin XV (J/V 49) Hans-Otto Schumann, Karol Jablonski (GER)
Rainbow (Mumm 30) B.B. Dietrich, B.B. Dietrich (GER)
Monsoon (Melges 24) Bruce Ayres, Bruce Ayres (USA)
Breeze (Farr 49) Paolo Gaia, Tommaso Chieffi (ITA)
Sector (Mumm 30) Carla Silva, Claudio Recchi (ITA)
Planet Loaf (Melges 24) Charlie Ogletree, Georgio Zuccoli (USA)
Numbers (Taylor 49) John Risley, Russell Coutts (NZL)
Wai wera Naturally Hot (Mumm 30) John St. Clair Brown, St. Clair Brown
Full Throttle (Melges 24) Brian Porter, Brian Porter (USA)
Heatwave (Corel 45) Sal Giordano, Ken Read (USA)
Illusion (Mumm 30) Ocean Race Club, Edi Roetlisberger (SUI)
FRA 382 (Melges 24) Christian Roman, Sebastien Col (SUI)
Hi Fling (CM60) Irvine Laidlaw, Irvine Laidlaw (GBR)
Phoenix (Mumm 30) E.DeSouza Ramos, DeSouza Ramos (BRA)
Snickers Workwear (Melges 24) Tony Wetherell, Tony Wetherell (GBR)
Nitemare (Corel 45) Thomas Neill, Peter Isler (USA)
USA 48 (Mumm 30) B. Allardice/E. Collins, Ed Collins (USA)
Moen "Pure Touch" (Melges 24) Harry Melges, Harry Melges (USA)
Idler (N/M 50) George David, George David (USA)
Trouble (Mumm 30) P. Garland/R. Shulman, Philip Garland (USA)
Rush (Melges 24) Vince Brun, Vince Brun (USA)
USA BLUE -- Vim III (N/M 43) J. Craig Speck, Peter Holmberg (USA); Moxie
(Mumm 30) George Collins, G. Collins & J. Allsop (USA); Rock & Roll (Melges
24) Argyle Campbel, Argyle Campbell (USA)
Event web site: http://www.yachtingnet.com
They are absolutely everywhere. They're in Norway, Spain, the UK and
Canada. There are two each in Japan, Australia and Mexico. Italy has three
and there are 10 in the USA. San Francisco even has one now. And every one
of these Ullman sail lofts will give an email quote on a new sail to show
you just how affordable improved performance can be for your boats:
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters may be edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude
-- From Fred Jones -- About the strange lack of urgency on US Sailing's
part on the Hal Haenel announcement: Always remember, in order to have a
communication problem, one must first have communication. No
-- Jana Madrigali -- I realize you picked up the news brief from the 1999
Worlds website, but Jeff Madrigali was the bronze medallist in the 1996
Olympic Games. He'd be happy to take the Silver medal if someone insists....
-- From Rich Hazelton -- I agree people get caught up in not "wimping out".
But that's supposed to be the difference between the skipper and crew.
Hopefully the position as skipper is because of experience and know-how
(not just the boat owner). He makes the hard, as well as the easy decisions
on the boat. Otherwise, how high up the chain do you want to go before
someone is responsible: racers raced because the skipper said OK - because
the RC said OK - because the weatherman said go ahead... Of course racers
push things for competition, but it's the skipper's ultimate decision to
race or not.
-- From Jack Tallman --
My comments are not meant to disregard or demean the losses that have
occurred during the Sydney Hobart race or Fastnet '79 or....
While Harvey Loomis (Scuttlebutt #253) may be correct about the lack of
maturity of some of the participants, it should NOT be the responsibility
of the race committee to decide whether or not the scheduled race should be
conducted. If it is deemed the race committee's responsibility to decide
on running the race, they are at risk of becoming the object of attention
of the legal crowd. The tendency is that the pendulum would swing to the
conservative extreme (probably even without the legal threat). Further
that decision is not really the race committee's territory.
The RULE I was taught when I first stepped onto a boat was and still is (I
hope) - "It is the skipper who is responsible for the safety of his/her
vessel and all who are aboard". This really has to be the guiding
principle for racing just as it is for cruising! When you are out there
and the going gets tough, it is not going to be the race committee who will
When we leave the dock, my expectation is that we will be on our own and we
plan accordingly. That is just the way it is and I have no problem with that.
-- From Chris Ericksen -- I violently disagree with Harvey Loomis who
suggested in 'Butt #253 that skippers cannot be trusted to make hard
decisions and it should fall to the RC to take prudent action. Good God!
Is society and sailing so far gone that no one is responsible for their own
personal decisions? The "stop me before I sail again" mentality has no
place in our conversations, let alone our sport!
If the Race Committee is expected to "have a realistic understanding of how
individual decisions are made or not made" and make them for sailors, where
will it stop? In a buoy race, even, where weather is a factor (in
dinghies, for example), will a RC be expected to say, "You are qualified,
but you are not."? And if an excluded sailor disagrees with the RC, what
then? I promise you that this is a slippery slope where Race Committees
will fear second guessing in a legal sense and just cancel races where they
fear that someone may be under-qualified; and that will reduce sailboat
racing to the level of the lowest common denominator of skill levels
Please, no more drivel about Race Committees making decisions on behalf of
the sailors who cannot be trusted to make their own decisions.
-- From John Baxter -- As we are all saddened by what happened in the
Hobart race, it is a bit unfair to claim the New " Cracker Jack Box" boats
are not fit for going offshore. After many trips to numerous builders, and
considerable experience sailing these new boats, I can assure you as to
which I would prefer to be on in a big blow, especially with large waves.
Not to say the new boats didn't break, but even a Whitbread-60 would have
had some breakage.
There are many boats of older vintage (IOR) that might be said to be true
offshore boats. While the new boats are built lighter and in many cases
considerably stronger, they have the huge benefit of a more sea-worthy hull
shape. Their concentration of weight low makes them even more seaworthy in
big waves. It is for this reason that rules such as IMS have had such a
task of trying to figure out exactly how fast these boats are especially in
Some Swans, Older C&C's, and the older IOR boats would have dificulty
sailing in the conditions experienced in the Hobart race and from the looks
of things they did. If you loose a mast in those conditions, it will not
matter if the boat is new, old, or extremely seaworthy. A flailing rig can
punch through anything in those conditions. I am sure the investigation
into the Hobart Race will include what vintage of boat had the most problems.
-- Chuck Skewes -- It appears that our fears of the press finding a
scapegoat for the Sydney Hobart disaster were unfounded. 20/20 did a great
job showing that no one but mother nature was to blame and that all of the
sailors in the race were deeply sorrowed by the loss of life and
destruction that the storm and conditions caused. I would like to commend
20/20 for the great job showing the sailors views of the event and bringing
it to the attention of general public.
-- From Eric Steinberg -- I give ABC a C+ on 20/20 segment.
-- From Craig Leweck -- Regarding the comments in "Butt" about the
Sydney-Hobart race, there have been many differing opinions but there are
two things that I think we can all agree on: 1) the deaths and destruction
were tragic, and 2) the race has been a huge wake-up call for offshore
racers and administrators.
As is often displayed in 'Butt, it is difficult to arrive at a single
solution. Or opinion. Or decision. And to those who think that race
administrators should decide when to go or not to go, do you think they are
going to have any easier of a time? Weather data includes projections and
assumptions...not the kind of information you want if your finger is on
In that we all have our own idea of how we would handled the administration
of the Sydney-Hobart race, it gives credibility to the current method of
letting us decide as individuals whether or not to participate. The
responsibilities of the Skipper have always been there, and incidents like
this remind us of the decisions they must make.
The system will inevitably be improved through tweaks and turns in many
areas. And we should all hope that the memories of this race and that of
the Fastnet will serve us well when we are out on the ocean, taking
responsibility for our own actions, and making decisions for ourselves.
Curmudgeon's comment - Well done Son, you've said it all! So with Craig's
concise and well-stated summary, I now declare this thread OFFICIALLY DEAD.
British skipper Mike Golding, who was the overall leader in the Around
Alone race until a grounding off Cape Reinga in the latter part of the
race's second stage forced him to retire from the leg, has announced that
he has officially withdrawn from the race. In a statement he said, "Since
our arrival in Auckland, we have investigated every alternative to allow us
to continue to race. However, following the advice of the yacht designer
Pascal Conq [along with] my own Project Manager Merfyn Owen [and] a
qualified naval architect as well as the insurance company surveyor we
believe we cannot justify the risks involved.
"The keel has sustained a severe blow which judging by the collateral
damage to the bearings was in excess of its designed capacity. This means
that it is impossible for anyone to be sure of its structural integrity. It
is not possible to replace the keel blade in time for the start of leg
three of the Around Alone [race] from Auckland on Saturday 6 February. --
Event website: http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll sit
in a boat with a line over the side and drink beer all day.