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SCUTTLEBUTT #259 - January 18, 1999

The curmudgeon is in Key West where North America's most prestigious keelboat regatta is about to begin. 276 boats have registered -- a new record for this event. More importantly perhaps, this is a real gathering of the eagles - the Who's Who of sailboat racing is definitely here. It is also a collection of more plumb-bowed boats than the West Coast-based curmudgeon has seen before. If this regatta is any indication, there are still plenty of people willing to spend money on shiny new boats and sails.

The racing starts every morning at 10:00 AM, so I suspect that for the rest of week I will be distributing 'Butt in late afternoon. But you never know.

FINN -- Frederik Loof (SWE) has reclaimed the Finn Gold Cup from defending champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL). Kusznierewicz, the '96 Finn Olympic Gold medalist, failed to finish the final heat of the 11-race series which cost him the title. Extreme heat was blamed for the inability of several sailors in the 71-boat fleet to complete the final day's racing. Loof takes home the Finn Gold Cup, the trophy presented the world championship winner, for the third time having previously won in '97 and '94. Sebastien Godefroid (BEL), the silver medalist in Savannah, was sixth overall.

In 26th place, 1998 Finn National Champion Darrrell Peck (Gresham, Ore.) was the top U.S. competitor. Remaining U.S. finishes are as follows: Mike Deyett (Windham, N.H.) in 40th; John Callahan (San Francisco, Calif.) in 50th; Scott Griffiths (Mission, Kansas) in 52nd; David Byers (Nassau Bay, Texas) in 57th; Chic Parsons (Portland, Ore.) in 60th; Mo Hart (S. Portland, Maine) in 63rd; and Gus Miller (Portsmouth, R.I.) in 67th

Working toward a quota of 28 countries/boats in the Finn class, this championship added eight more countries to the eight that previously qualified for the 2000 Olympic Regatta. The U.S. finished as 10th country at this event and will have one remaining chance to qualify for Sydney's Games. The next Finn Gold Cup is scheduled for June 6-18, 2000, in Weymouth, England, taking place after the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. -- Jan Harley

470 MEN -- France has claimed back to back 470 Men World Championships - but this time, featuring a new team. Skipper Benoit Petit and his crew Jean Francois Cuzon today won the final race off Black Rock to win their first world title. They had to win to defeat Swedish pair Johan Molund and Mattias Rahm. Sailed in up to 25 knots and a big sea, the French pair said this was their ideal conditions. 470 men World Championship Overall standings 1. Benoit Petit / J Francois Cuzon FRA (55) 2. SWE315 Johan Molund / Mattias Rahm SWE (67) 3. Stanczyk Tomasz /Jakubiak Tomasz POL (79) 11. Morgan Reeser /Kevin Burnham USA (113)

470 WOMEN -- The Ukraine pair of Ruslana Taran and Elena Pakoholchik has made it four World Championships in a row in the 470 Women class. Taran and Pakholchik's love of Melbourne blossomed this afternoon, finishing third and first in the final two races of the championship, to defeat Danish sisters Susanne and Michaela Ward by one point. The Ukrainians, who have spent a considerable period of time training in Melbourne, finished with a net point score of 44. 470 Women World Championship Overall results 1. Ruslana Taran/Elena Pakholchik UKR 2. Susanne and Michaela Ward DEN 3. Federica Salva/Emanuela Sossi ITA 11.Whitney Connor /Elizabeth Kratzig USA 13. Tracy Hayley / Louise Van Voorhis 14. Courtenay Dey /Alice Manard USA 15. JJ Isler /Pease Glaser USA

49er --Australia's Chris Nicholson is in a class of his own when it comes to skiff sailing. After his brilliant heavy weather victory in the Olympic 49er world championship on a windswept Port Phillip in Melbourne today, he must rank as a Australia's number one prospect for gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Nicholson, from Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle, took command of the championship to win his third world championship in the 49er class, adding to his two previous world titles in the International 505 dinghy and a world title in 18-foot skiffs. Australia now holds world titles in three Olympic classes-- the 49ers, Stars (Colin Beashel and David Giles) and Tornado (Darren Bundock and John Forbes).

49er World's Final Results: 1. Chris Nicholson / Ed Smyth AUS (32) 2. Adam Beashel / Teague Czislowski (38) 3. Morgan Larson / Kevin Hall USA (53) 4. Boyd/Boyd AUS (93) 11. USA205 Jonathan Mckee / Charlie McKee USA 3 (119)

(INSIGHT -- Charlie McKee prepared the following summary about the 49er worlds.)
Clearly the dominant country in 49er racing continues to be Australia, with 4 of the top 6 spots. The team has been working very hard, both individually and collectively, for the past several months, and the dedication and professionalism these guys are bringing to the game is evident in their mastery. The top two have set a new standard that is far ahead of most of us, with the only team close being Morgan and Kevin. They have also been working hard, and are sailing better than ever, especially in breeze. After starting the series slowly, they were top 4 in all but 2 races. The Europeans continue to improve also, but have a ways to go to catch the top group, especially in breeze.

This was mostly a heavy air, big wave regatta. The qualification series had some light races, which had much more mixed results. But the finals had only two races that weren't overpowering conditions, and seven of the races had very challenging chop conditions. This is where the top 3 boats really dominated, with the rest us obviously much less comfortable. Much of the advantage is in boathandling. They jibe when they want to, while we jibe when we can. The top group also has a distinct upwind speed advantage. Clearly their rig settings, mast preparation and technique are a notch ahead of us. As usual, this edge is the result of a combination of small things, rather than one obvious difference. Much of it comes down to physical conditioning and training time on the water. You can bet there will be a lot of big breeze practicing in the year ahead.

SOLING -- Denmark's Stig Westergaard finished eighth in the ninth race of the weeklong series sailed from Royal Brighton Yacht Club, taking out the world title without winning a race. Consistency was the keynote of success in a series that saw eight different skippers win races in a wide variety of conditions, Westergaardis placings being 2-3-3-9-2-4-2-15-8 for a net total of 33 points. 1.DEN120 Stig Westergaard (33) 2. GER311 Jochen Schuemann GER (56) 3 Roy Heiner (59) 12. Jeff Madrigali /Craig Healy / Hartwell Jordan (100) 13. Tony Rey /Tom Burnham / Dean Brenner USA (102) 14. Rod Davis NZL (106)

The 99 World Sailing Championships on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay has moved into the final of competition, with the opening round robin of the match racing world championship for the Olympic Soling keelboat, Sailing in a south-westerly seabreeze which built up from 12 to 20 knots during the day, Jeff Madrigali and his crew from the USA came through unbeaten with seven straight wins. Madrigali goes through the second round robin against the next highest four nations, based on the Soling fleet racing world championship national rankings, tomorrow.

The three other successful nations were Italy (skipper Paolo Cian) and Britain (skipper Andy Beadsworth) who each finished the round robin with five wins, and New Zealand (skipper Rod Davis) who four wins out of seven races. Eliminated were Austria (skipper Hans Spitzauer), Russia ( skipper Georgy Shaiduku, the silver medallist at the Atlanta Olympics), Canada (skipper Hans Fogh) and Finland (Jali Makila).

LASER MASTERS --Argentinian sailor Hector Romero, at 76 years of age the oldest competitor in the Laser Masters world championship, broke his leg when he boat was capsized in a 25 knot squall on Melbourne's Port Phillip late this afternoon. Romero was one of five older sailors who got into difficulties as the squall capsized more than 50 boats during the last race of the day, already being sailed in a 15 knot breeze and choppy sea. Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron's rescue plan immediately swung into operation, with course laying and course mark boats joining the specified rescue boats, with some 20 craft in total checking the safety of the 250 boat fleet.

In today's first race, British sailor Mark Littlejohn scored his third successive win in the Apprentice Masters Division (35-44 years age group), while Australian Jack Schlachter sailed to the lead in the Masters Division (45-54) and Canada's Johan-Marie Van Rossen scored his second win of the regattga to lead the Grand Masters.

Australia has won the prestigious IOC President's Cup as the top scoring nation in the seven Olympic classes which have held their world championships at the huge 99 Worlds regatta on Melbourne's Port Phillip over the past two weeks. The President's Cup scoring is based on the topscoring competitor for each nation among the top 10 final placegetters in each Olympic class - with Australia finishing in the top 10 in six of the seven Olympic classes at the 99 Worlds. Australia finished with 37 points, winning from Sweden on 33 points and early leader, Great Britain on 31 points, followed by Germany on 27, Holland 21, Denmark 19, Ukraine 18, Poland 17, France 16 and Italy 15 points. The USA finished in 11th place with 11 points.

In an outstanding performance, with only 18 months to go to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Australian sailors won a gold and a silver medal in the 49er high performance skiff class, and a silver medal in the Europe dinghy class for women.

The seven gold medals were each won by different nations - France, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Australia, Denmark and Sweden each winning a world championship. In addition to Australia's gold and two silver medals, Sweden won a gold, a silver and a bronze, with Denmark, Great Britain and The Netherlands each winning a gold and a bronze medal.

Event website:

Key West, Florida (40 boats) Final results: 1. T. Healy, Mookie, 38 2. B. Read, Blind Squirrel, 51 3. C. Larson, Writing Instrument, 53 4. G. Moore, Pipe Dream, 66 5. W. Crump, Satisfaction, 96 6. W. Zaleski, Twins, 97

Pacific Yacht Embroidery has a program to supply you with regatta apparel at a guaranteed profit. Help offset your regatta costs by selling apparel at your event. There is no risk to you and no event is too small to qualify for this program. Call Frank Whitton(619-226-8033) for details on how this can put dollars in your pocket and a quality product on the racers back.

Helly Hansen, the worldwide leader in performance outdoor apparel, has signed a sponsorship agreement with Young America, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) America's Cup Challenge. As a part of this sponsorship Helly Hansen has developed technical Seagear for the team as well as Young America branded merchandise. All available to the consumer in the brand new summer 1999 collection.

The illbruck Round the World Challenge (IRWC) offshore racing yacht for the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002 will be constructed in-house at corporate headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany. The yacht will be named "illbruck" just like the team's two Volvo Ocean 60 training boats. "With this project we'll establish the name 'illbruck' as a brand," said the 38-year-old chief executive Michael Illbruck. "By doing this we will also benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our worldwide engineering team."

The yachting press speculated about the campaign's choice of a shipyard last summer after the boat's design contract went to the well-known design team of Bruce Farr & Associates based in Annapolis, MD.

The new Volvo Ocean 60 class yacht will be built in the illbruck factory only a few hundred yards away from corporate headquarters. This is the Technical Center of the company, focusing the engineering expertise of the company's four divisions -- automotive, construction technology, office and industrial products. The company develops and sells sophisticated customer solutions. The illbruck group employs around 3000 people at 26 locations in 19 countries.

The illbruck round the world challenge will open a base camp in Sanxenxo, near Vigo, on the north-west Spanish coast, in the beginning of March. The team is preparing for the Volvo Ocean Racing Round the World 2001-2. The team's two Volvo Ocean 60 training boats will sail to Sanxenxo from Wedel, near Hamburg, Germany following a winter refit. For the second half of the year the boats will return to Keil, Germany for demonstration sailing in the Baltic Sea with employees and business partners of the international illbruck Group which is headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany.

The ten-week training period will continue through the middle of May. The program will include crew trials to help select the Volvo Race crew and boat-on-boat-testing to assist with the design of the campaign's new boat and the development of sails. "By the end of the year we will be able to tell you eight names of the 12 sailors who will be in our team," Skipper John Kostecki said.

Crew already selected includes Kostecki, Sailing Manager Tim Kroeger from Hamburg, and sailmaker Ross Halcrow from New Zealand. Kroeger was the only German participant in two Round the World Races. Halcrow a crew member of New Zealand's successful America's Cup winning crew, will focus during the training period on sail development work.

The training boats are the two former Whitbread 60's "EF Language", winner of the last Whitbread Race, and her sister-ship "EF Education". IRWC purchased the two boats in early October 1998, with all their support gear. Until the middle of February both boats are undergoing a refit in a shipyard in Wedel/Germany. After a full mechanical overhaul, both boats will be painted in the typical white/green illbruck design. -- Keith Taylor

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

-- Charles "Butch" Ulmer RC Chairman, BIRW XVIII -- I read your piece about PFDs and the Del Rey Yacht Club. The Storm Trysail Club will using a different approach for its upcoming Block Island Race Week XVIII. We are requiring that all participants have "wearable" PFD's and encouraging their use on an individual basis any time. Additionally,if the RC think that the conditions warrant, they will fly code flag "Y" which will require that the PFDs be worn while racing. RRS 40

-- From Chris Welsh -- 1. The new PFD "SHALL" regulation in the Mexico Race is the natural progression of unnecessary dogoodism. Unhappily, it will continue to spread. Note that it has even caused you to reopen a dead thread!

Will the RC be making any other decisions for the boats now (designated "safe" routes, properly conservative sail choices, no smoking and/or drinking at sea, etc)? I say eliminate any jib larger than a #3, require a reefed main, and under no circumstances allow spinnakers to be used.

I wager the chance of injury is still higher at the post race pool party after uncounted rum and cokes than during the race. Perhaps this is a new environment in which to require PFD's and/or helmets.

2. Re: unsinkable catamarans ('Butt #256 - Speed Records) Unsinkable is a word like never. See "Titanic".

-- From Tom Ehman -- On the PFD issue, the mistake US SAILING made was to enact the regulation without first notifying the constituents it was under consideration and seeking input. Problem was, and is, communication. US SAILING is simply the process. When the process is flawed, so are the decisions. Even if the decision is in the end correct, if the constituents do not have a chance to comment before the decision is made, they are angry -- as in this case. Haste makes waste.

For years I have suggested that US SAILING should either (a) adopt a "submission/agenda" procedure like ISAF's so that all issues to come before a meeting are known and published well in advance of the meeting, giving constituents and representatives time to discuss and react; and/or (b) adopt a "first/second reading" procedure similar to many city and county governments so that all major issues arising at a meeting get a "first reading" but cannot be acted upon until the "second reading" at a subsequent meeting. US SAILING meets twice a year, so this would assure at least six months of discussion and consideration for any major, new initiative.

When US SAILING was USYRU, this was not such a problem because the people involved were interested in and focused only on racing. And the leadership was wise enough not to rush into things. Today US SAILING, predictably, looks more like the Triple-A of sailing rather than the tight, clean racing organization it once was. For racing sailors, the PFD issue is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg....

-- From Mike Benedict -- It is probably stating the obvious re the concerns over KMI's termination of services, but this only effects those services offered by KMI - like SSB phone calls. Not having KMI has no effect on using SSBs for communications with other yachts, listening in/participating in various nets, using SSBs for offshore race position reporting, communicating with the USCG, etc. SSB-Email services (like PinOak) are at least a partial, cost effective alternative to more sophisticated servives like Mini-M.

-- From Eric Steinberg (re: West Coast Ship to Shore stations) -- Oops... just for accuracy, ATT has 3 stations nation wide. One in SF, FL and NJ.

The American billionaire, whose maxi catamaran Playstation was launched in Auckland (New Zealand) on the 21 December 1998, has just officially entered The Race / La Course du Millenaire. Fifty-four year old Steve Fossett is a regular participant in world record attempts. Just recently, in December, he attempted the non-stop round-the-world record in a hot-air balloon with Richard Brandson, head of Virgin.

Steve Fossett, whose interest in The Race has long been known, is the 16th official entrant, joining his fellow countryman Cam Lewis. "We are going to have one of the most exciting sailing projects in the world," he said before stepping aboard for his first sail on his 32m catamaran. Fossett has been in Auckland for the past week, impatiently waiting for a break in the weather to get his first opportunity to sail the Morrelli-Melvin designed cat.

With just two years to go before the start, 16 competitors - of which two remain secret - have officially entered The Race. Eleven different countries are represented: New Zealand, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Russia, USA, Sweden, France, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. The 14 known entrants are : 1 - Ross Field (New Zealand) 2 Pete Goss (Great Britain) 3 - Henk de Velde (The Netherlands) 4 - Fedor Konioukhov (Russia) 5 - Loick Peyron (France) 6 - Grant Dalton (New Zealand) 7 - Lawrie Smith (Great Britain) 8 Cam Lewis (USA) 9 - Tracy Edwards (Great Britain) 10 - Lionel Pean/Peder Silfverhjelm (France/Sweden) 11 - Tony Bullimore (Great Britain) 12 - Florence Arthaud (France) 13 - Roman Paszke (Poland) 14 Steve Fossett (USA)

Event site:

26th Annual International Rolex Cup Regatta, April 2-4, 1999 (Easter Weekend). Sponsored by Rolex of Geneva, the event will be the second regatta of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle (CORT) Series.

Next Tuesday Jan.19th "Yachtsmen's Lunch" at St. Francis YC will feature Oracle CEO and "Sayonara" owner Larry Ellison speaking on the recent Sydney-Hobart disaster. No charge for this talk, but contributions will be encouraged. The contributions will go to the American Red Cross for the families of the lost sailors. Call the club for details at (415) 563-6363 and to make reservations.

Don't bother me. I'm living happily ever after.