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SCUTTLEBUTT #266 - January 27, 1999

In recent issues of 'Butt there has been a lot of discussion about the high cost of maintaining a proper website for US Sailing. This just blows me away.

One of the wonderful things about our sport is the willingness of its participants to give back something. I think of Arthur "Tuna" Wullschleger, Mary Savage, Henry Menin, Pete Ives, Ken Morrison, Gay Lynn and other judges I see all around the country. They not only give up their time, they frequently pick up there own travel expenses to help sort out protest situations at major regattas. They do it because they can -- not unlike the thousands of volunteers who gladly give up their weekends to raise flags, fire shotguns, set marks or tabulate race results in every corner of our nation.

And then I think of people like Ali Meller, Alex Pline, John Fracisco, Jeff Borland and hundreds of others who routinely design, update and maintain websites for the class organizations in which they race - without charge, and without much recognition. And people like Peggy Redler, Ben Ach and Alex Benson, and Lord knows how many others, who have created and maintain magnificent websites for their yacht clubs.

That's the way our sport operates. US Sailing is an organization of volunteers. It's made up of thousands of people who make selfless contributions of their personal time for the betterment of the sport. I simply cannot believe there aren't dozens of qualified USSA members who have the time, the talent, and the desire to work on the website of Sailing's National Governing Body as a volunteer if only someone would ask.

You'll have a tough time convincing me that finding the funds for a proper website is the real issue here. As a long-standing member of US Sailing, I believe this is a simple question of resource allocation. And in US Sailing, the members are our most precious resource.

Having said all of that, it's also important to remember that a proper website is not by itself a communications program. In fact, for communications to be truly effective, it must become a basic philosophy - not just a tool.

For the tenth consecutive year, Biscayne Bay will be the venue on which the top sailing talent in the U.S. comes together. Sailors in eight of the nine classes selected for the 2000 Olympic Regatta -- Finn, 470, 49er, Laser, Mistral, Soling, Star and Tornado -- will face competition in the1999 Miami Olympic Classes Regatta (OCR), the only International Sailing Federation (ISAF) grade-one ranking event in the U.S. Hosted by the U.S. Sailing Center; Coral Reef, Biscayne Bay, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; and the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, racing will take place January 27-30.

This year's event is especially important as a ranking regatta for those sailors hoping to make the U.S. Sailing Team in the Laser, Mistral, Star and Tornado classes. The US Sailing Team annually distinguishes the top-five ranked sailors in each Olympic class,

Classes with notable competitors to watch:

FINN - Finn: '94 Goodwill Games Silver Medalist Eric Oetgen (Savannah, Ga.); Mark Herrmann (Seattle, Wash.); and Brian Huntsman (Drexel Hill, Pa.).

470 MEN (skipper/crew): '92 Olympic Silver Medalists Morgan Reeser and Kevin Burnham (Wilton Manors/Coral Gables, Fla.); ICYRA All-American Peter Katcha and Jim Elvart (Dallas, Texas/Chicago, Ill.); and Kevin Teborek and Talbott Ingram (Winnetka, Ill./Fair Haven, N.J.).

470 WOMEN (skipper/crew): Tracy Hayley and '96 Olympian Louise Van Voorhis (Miami, Fla./Webster, N.Y.); and '92 Olympic Bronze Medalist JJ Isler with Pease Glaser (La Jolla/Long Beach, Calif.).

49ER - 1998 49er National Champions Jay Renehan and Chris Lanzinger (Seattle/Medina, Wash); Chad Hough and David Fox (Ferrysburg/Spring Lake, Mich.); and Scott Ikle, the U.S. Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year in Sailing, with Mike Ponnett (both Geneva, N.Y.).

LASER - 1995 Miami OCR winner Jack Dreyfuss (Miami); 1998 Laser National Champion John Torgerson (Annapolis, Md.); Kurt Taulbee (Williamsville, N.Y) and Mattea d'Errico (San Antonio, Texas).

MISTRAL MEN: '92 Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.); Doug Stryker (Edison, N.J.); and Jean Raas (Seminole, Fla.); and Canada's '96 Olympic representative Alain Bolduc.

MISTRAL WOMEN: '96 Olympian Lanee Butler (Aliso Viejo, Calif.); and Cara Reid (Edison, N.J.); Beth Powell (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Kimberly Birkenfeld (Myrtle Creek, Ore.); Laura Chambers (Cocoa Beach, Fla); and '96 Olympian Caroll-Ann Alie of Canada.

SOLING (skipper and two crew): Harry Melges III, Hans Melges and Brian Porter (Fontana/Fontana, Wisc./Winnetka, Ill.); Kent Heitzinger, Peter Manion and Ezra Culver (Wilmette, Ill./Larchmont, N.Y./Huntington Beach, Calif.); and John Gochberg, Greg Enos and Chad Atkins (Miami, Fla./Miami/Rochester, N.Y.).

STAR (skipper and crew): 1998 European and North American Champions Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl (San Diego, Calif./Miami, Fla.); John MacCausland and George Iverson (Cherry Hill, N.J./ Marblehead, Mass.); Peter Vessella and Mike Dorgan (Burlingame/San Diego, Calif.); and Howie Shiebler and Rick Peters (San Francisco/Los Angeles, Calif.). Notable foreign competitors in this class include Australia's '96 Olympic Bronze Medalists Colin Beashel and David Giles (the current world champions); along with German teams Alexander Hagen with Thorsten Helmert; and Marc Pickel with Thomas Auracher.

TORNADO (skipper/crew): Robbie Daniel and Jacques Bernier (Clearwater/Daytona, Fla.); 1996 Olympians John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree (New Orleans, La./Newport Beach, Calif.); Lars Guck and PJ Schaffer (both Bristol, R.I.); and Mike Ingham and Erik Goethert (Northport/Irondequoit, N.Y.). -- Jan Harley

Last week in Key West, the only item that was more sought after than the Race Week shirts were our official 'Butthead tee shirts. And now, Pacific Embroidery is making these shirts available to all readers of Scuttlebutt for just $12.95 plus three dollars for shipping and handling. They come in yellow and blue and both colors have the handsomely embroidered 'Butt logo. Call Frank Whitton now to be the first on your block to have this distinctive preshrunk cotton shirt: (619) 226-8033.

America True, The San Francisco Yacht Club challenge for America's Cup 2000, has reached another essential milestone in its bid for the America's Cup. Last week, the coed sailing team led by CEO and Captain Dawn Riley received sail number 51 for the race in New Zealand.

To earn an official International America's Cup Class sail number, a challenger must have begun the construction process on new boat. America True started building a new boat in November 1998. "Getting our number gives the team a sense of destiny," said Riley. "The number acknowledges all our hard work up to this point, and also represents the future."

America True builder James Betts Enterprises in Northern California will complete USA 51 by May. The team plans to christen America True later that month and begin using it for training in New Zealand by July.

Also, Corinthian Yacht Club of Tiburon, CA has officially extended its support to America True, The San Francisco Yacht Club challenge for America's Cup 2000. As a regional True Ally yacht club, Corinthian will help America True with its commitment to broadening the awareness of sailing and to bringing the America's Cup back home.

"We are thrilled to have another Bay Area yacht club come aboard as a True Ally," said America True COO G. Christopher Coffin. "Corinthian is a welcome addition to our challenge." Corinthian is situated about four miles north of San Francisco, at the southern end of the Tiburon Peninsula, near Raccoon Straits and Angel Island. An SFYC neighbor, the club participates in the rich sailing history of the San Francisco Bay.

In other news, America True announced that it will quench its thirst during its exhaustive training and racing schedule with mineral water from new sponsor Waiwera Mineral Water, a subsidiary of the world famous Waiwera Thermal Resort in New Zealand. Waiwera Thermal Resort will lend its support by providing its water and resort facilities to the crew. In addition, America True plans to sell the Waiwera Mineral Water from its retail store at its America's Cup compound in Auckland.

Waiwera Mineral Water was first bottled and distributed in Auckland around 1875. The product was advertised as Waiwera Seltzer - an invigorating and cooling draught and purifier of the blood. For more information, visit the Waiwera web site at

America True has chosen a design by Benicia, California artist Wayne Kohler for the hull of America True, the training boat that the team is currently sailing in New Zealand. Kohler's rendition of the Golden Gate Bridge embodies the unity, equality and indomitable spirit of our country, which the crew and the boat will represent during the race.

Kohler's recently exhibited work at Sterling Vineyards in Napa, California. The spirit and quality of Kohler's paintings featuring the America True team in this exhibition impressed the syndicate committee, and they invited him to enter the hull design competition. He is presently working on a series of original America's Cup works to be completed by July 4, 1999. Kohler's work is also represented in the Wieting Collection, the state capitol, the Department of Education in Washington D.C., and through Nobel prize winner Jose Ramos Horta. - Grace Kim

America True website

We read all of your letters, but simply can't publish them all. Those that we do publish are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.

-- From Rob Overton Chairman, Racing Rules Committee, US SAILING -- It was said in 'Butt, "The J-24 class voted overwhelmingly to advise US SAILING NOT to adopt those rules because of the problems that all the ambiguities in them were going to cause (like hunting)." When was this? I've been an active member of the J-24 Class for over 13 years, and I never heard of any such vote.

US SAILING' 1996 rules submission to ISAF, which became the "new rules", included an anti-hunting rule. So neither the J-24 Class nor anyone else could have recommended to US SAILING before the ISAF meeting that the rules not be adopted on the grounds that they allowed hunting. Dropping that provision was one of the few changes that ISAF made in adopting our submission, and in the view of the US Racing Rules Committee (RRC), that was a mistake.

The racing rules process is surely not an example of how US SAILING acts in haste and repents at leisure. The process of generating the new rules took more than four years, with yearly Experimental Rules provided to sailors with a request to try them out and report problems to the RRC. Many sailors took an ostrich approach and waited until after ISAF had passed the new rules to comment on them. By then, of course, it was too late.

Changes can be made (or at least, proposed to ISAF). I urge anybody with ideas about how the Racing Rules of Sailing can be improved to send a proposal to me at BTW, the RRC meets for approximately 6 hours at every US SAILING meeting. Our meetings are open, and generally there are more non-RRC members than RRC members present.

-- From Alex Pline -- Fred Jones asked, "Is there anyone in America who has seen INCREASED participation at the local level in the last two years?" As a matter of fact, yes. The decline in participation in many areas of the sport can't be blamed on US Sailing as Fred Jones implies. It's a matter of personal time.

For dinghy sailing at the local level, the thing that creates growth is significant EFFORT on the part of fleet promoters, pure and simple. While US Sailing does support these efforts with helpful materials etc., they certainly don't make/break a fleet!

In the northeast US, we frostbite the InterClub Dinghy (class website: The fleet in Annapolis four years ago consisted of 3 people knocking around occasionally on Sundays. Today we have 23 boats in the fleet with average participation of 10 boats every Sunday, rain, snow or shine. This build up is a result of the relentless effort of the (former) fleet captain Jesse Falsone, who pursued his goal of expanding the fleet in a nearly evangelical (I hate that word, but it fits) way.

Bottom line: What it takes is someone to be the marketer - get people excited about the class and the people, get unused boats sailing again, and spend lots of personal time/money promoting the fleet and getting people signed up to assist and spread the word. Now if only US Sailing could fix it so that I could live on 4 hours of sleep a night...

From Jeffery Littell -- I do not know if it possible to elect a Dictator, but if is, then I vote for Peter Huston to be the Supreme Dictator of US Sailing.

Curmudgeon's comment - Hmm? Could we start Peter as Communications Director just to see how he works out?

-- Peter Johnson (UK) -- I was just recounting in the light of the appointment of ex-CYA commodore to head Sydney-Hobart inquiry, what happened after Fastnet 1979. In that Fastnet, 15 persons were lost and five boats sunk. Many others taken off etc.

At first the flag officers of the organizing club (equivalent to CYA), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) began to gather data. This was speedily changed and a three man inquiry appointed (obviously with logistic support) headed by a judge of the High Court of England, who was a senior yachtsman, but not a member of RORC and not on the race. However this was voluntary and did not involve government nor judiciary. The panel of the judge, Sir Hugh Forbes QC, was to report to the national authority RYA (equivalent of Australian yachting Federation, AYF) as well as RORC. A 20-page questionnaire was circulated to all yachts, three per yacht, skipper and two other crew. Return was requested within seven days.

Of the 303 yachts which started, 235 returned the forms/booklets. The resulting report was a 76 page tightly printed affair of text, tables, charts and, of course, recommendations and facts. Circulated world wide, especially interested were Australia and USA - there were a number of conventions and meetings in the US based on it.

-- From Peter Johnstone, Escape Sailboat Company, LLC -- The AmericaOne numbering story was deja vu all over again. As the conceptual & organizational partner behind a new skiff a few years back, the designer, Julian Bethwaite, came to me with his idea for the boat's brand name. "You see it is 4.9 meters. 'Niner' is cool aussie slang. And we're deliberately aiming it towards Olympic selection. A gold rush, if you see. And I know the 49er's are your favorite football team, so let's just name this boat the 49er? OK?" Sounded good to me.

Owning Your Starting Line Real Estate -- Practice, practice, practice. The caveat is make your practice effective. Here is a drill that will give you the boat handling and confidence to enter the sequence confidently and get off the line consistently: Find or place a buoy in an open, safe area and approach the buoy from its leeward side, then stop with your bow right on the buoy, luffing close-hauled. Now the tricky part - stay there. If your bow drifts down sheet the main and leave the jib out, steer up slightly (scull if your boat is accommodating); if you accelerate too much, put the bow head to wind and backwind the main; if you drift to far to leeward, back the jib and tack back toward the buoy.

Experiment with backing the jib and main, steering techniques like sculling and body weight. The more low speed control you master the more confident you will be in tight quarters on the line. From this you will learn when to accelerate and how far it takes you to get up to speed, and how to control other boats immediately around you.

The next time you're on the line with 20 seconds to go your crew will thank you for the added skills found out on the practice field. Remember, the only two boats on the line that count are the one to weather and the one immediately to leeward, control them and you win every time. -- The Coach @

It's easy to 'subscribe' or 'unsubscribe' to 'Butt. Just send an email to the curmudgeon with either one of those words on the subject line or in the body of the message:

"This was another outstanding day on the water. We did several practice starts and two races with America True. Both teams are pushing hard and our goal to continually improve our teamwork and communication is happening. Boat handling on an America's Cup is like scripting a football play. If each player does not do their part then mistakes happen. That is the beauty of practice, and that is why we are here right now. This practice will pay off and our team will be fine tuned machine a year from now!" -- Terry Hutchinson

For Hutchinson's full report:

ANOTHER OOPS Another Southern Cal. boat overlooked in the Key West Race Week report was Artie Means' Melges 30 "Muddy Waters" that placed 4th in PHRF 2.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.