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SCUTTLEBUTT #275 - February 9, 1999

Offshore racer Roy Disney has failed by a narrow margin to break the record set by the yacht Windward Passage in 1971 for the Pineapple Cup Race from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Disney's new 75-foot Reichel/Pugh 75-foot IMS sled Pyewacket glided across the finish line for the 811-mile race in Montego Bay on Sunday evening a mere 1 hour 48 minutes 27 seconds outside the long-standing monohull record. Earlier in the day Steve Fossett sailed his 60-foot trimaran Lakota to a new elapsed time record. Seven boats had finished by 1600 hours today.

Pyewacket, fresh from her builder's shed, was the second boat to finish. Her elapsed time was three days, five hours, 55 minutes and 20 seconds. The second monohull to finish was the Dumas 72, RX/Sight raced by Ola Astradsson for her owner Ludde Ingvall. She trailed Pyewacket by about six hours. Disney was the corrected time winner of the IMS Class. Astradsson was second. The third placed boat was Issam Kabani's Farr-designed C/M 60 Rima.

In PHRF Class A, Fred Detwiler's 70-foot sloop Trader was first to finish but Larry Bulman's PJ 77 Javelin corrected out to first place on handicap. Trader was second on corrected time. Jim Muldoon's Santa Cruz 70 Donnybrook was second on elapsed time and third on corrected time.

The MoBay classic is organized by the Montego Bay Yacht Club, the Storm Trysail Club and the Lauderdale Yacht Club. - Keith Taylor

Regatta website:

Winners win because of close attention to all details. A well-dressed crew is much more inclined to perform better. Pacific Yacht Embroidery has an impressive list of winners as clients and invites you to add your name to the list. Call Frank Whitton 619-226-8033 ( for more information. Frank provides the highest-level apparel at affordable prices.

(The following is an excerpt from an interview with Steve Fossett found on the website for The Race.)

"We are going to have one of the most exciting sailing projects in the world," Fossett said before stepping aboard for his first sail on his 32m catamaran. On his first outing, it was kept to gentle stuff. In less than 15 knots of breeze PlayStation sailed with the mainsail well reefed and the traveller well down, scarcely exploring the potential of the huge yacht, which is expected to reach speeds in excess of 35 knots.

Fossett would not speculate on PlayStation's top speed, accepting some predictions of 40 knots as possible, but saying he preferred to talk in terms of "over 35 knots". Fossett declared himself very pleased with the construction of PlayStation, which was built by Cookson Boats with the rig by Southern Spars. "The workmanship is quite outstanding," he said. He revealed the construction costs were about $US4.5 million and the operational budget would be about $US1.5 million per year.

Asked about the advantages or disadvantages of being first off the block with this new generation of super multihulls, Fossett said his principal competitors were slow off the mark with their projects. "It has taken us four years to get to this point. So far there are only two competitors who have started construction, Pete Goss with his 35m catamaran and Laurent Bourgnon with his 38m catamaran. That means there will be at least a year before there is another of these large catamarans sailing.

"The other teams will have to be concerned not just about whether they can build in time for The Race, but whether they can test properly in time for The Race." PlayStation, he reckoned, would have much less risk of equipment failure because of its long programme of testing and making record attempts.

Fossett said the design and construction of PlayStation had taken longer than expected. "With something so new, it was not practical to design it in all its detail and then hand it to the builder to complete," he said. "The design work was on-going and that did mean there were modifications during the building.

Of the decision to keep the boat at 32m, Fossett said PlayStation was a major leap in the technology of large sailboats. "We were concerned about making too large a leap in size, where the loads might break a fitting, or the whole boat. There is a much greater risk in building too large. Too big and there is too much risk of breaking the boat, which, of course, would be self defeating." Fossett indicated a keen competitive spirit when he said he hoped his competitors might have been lured into the mistake of building boats that were too big. "It was well known that I was building a boat," he said, "but I would not disclose the dimensions. We built smaller than our competitors believed we were building." He said he did not want his competitors to build something just slightly bigger than his boat. " I would prefer that they make the mistake of perhaps building something too big."

Although the boat is a dramatic leap forward in terms of scale - in itself a radical enough test of technology - the basic concepts are fairly conservative, particularly the single spreader, fixed rig with its conventional section. "We did not wish to bite off more than we could chew," said Fossett. "There are things we could do, like a rotating wing mast, at a later stage. At this time, we just want to get this design working properly."

For the full story with photos, check The Race website:

We read all of our e-mail, but simply can't publish every submission. Those that are published are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.

--From Laszlo Toth --The America's Cup syndicates make a big deal about "growing the sport," mostly with halfhearted "youth" programs and "educational" foundations. Which are mostly malarky and PR bull*&^%. Here's how the America's Cup could REALLY help the sport:

-- Hold it in one-designs, Farr 40, Corel 45, ID48, something like that would do nicely.

-- Charge a $10 million entry fee, unlimited advertising on the boat and sails.

-- Since the boats would be gladly supplied by any builder for the publicity (you could probably get them to PAY for the race to be sailed on them), one could take entire $10M from each syndicate and buy about 4000 Optimists and GIVE them away to youth sailing programs. 15 syndicates would equal 60,000 new boats in the hands of future big boat sailors for every America's Cup.

Would the much vaunted "trickle down" from tank testing and sail design do as much to increase the numbers of sailors worldwide? Has it so far? NO. Do we need more carbon fiber sails or more sailors? That's obvious. The numbers are declining worldwide despite increased media exposure.

Do this 4 or 5 times and in 15 years the sailing industry would see a boom in boat sales like they've never seen. We'll all be farting through silk instead of sticking up gas stations in the winter to feed our families.

-- From Kip Meadows -- Ray Wulff makes an excellent point (just as he makes an excellent mainsail trimmer on roXanne). I personally enjoy racing one design, but the sport needs IMS and its development, unless we want to cede the development of sailing technology to a few designers and even fewer boat manufacturers.

Watching IMS1 and IMS2 at Key West, the classes were clearly competitive and had great racing. One design sailors need IMS, and IMS probably needs one design sailors who might eventually have the economic resources to compete in IMS.

-- From Rich Hazelton, Editor, 48 Degrees North -- I love the example that Tom Wulff made with skiing vs bobsledding in describing what's competitive and what's popular. I remember one of my first interviews as Editor of 48 North. It was with Walt Little, the PHRF guru for the Pacific Northwest. As a Cal 29 owner, that rated the same as a Dragon, I was looking forward to a lively exchange on the fairness of it all. The first words out of his mouth were "It's an arbitrary system." Right. Of course it wasn't fair but it's the best we had to get people in unlike boats out on the water. And that's the purpose of any handicapping system. Designing boats just to optimize their advantage in any handicapping system seems counter productive to the original purpose, of getting more people and whatever boats they sail to participate in racing as a sport.

-- From Bill Muster -- With the discussions going on about One-Design class's and the fading interest around some areas I thought I should stand up for the Int'l Etchells Class. Our class has continued a very steady pace of growth the last 10 years. The entries at last years worlds of 105 shows not only the strength of the class but also the quality of sailors sailing....Curtis-Conner-Coutts-Bertrand-Knuelman-Warwick and many other great names. The class must have something going for it to draw this quality of sailors.... strict one-design rules....sailing by active fleets around the world.....and a great boat. A good example of growth would be in New Zealand Over 70 boats in three years and they will host the Worlds in 2002......This years Worlds are in Pittwater, Australia followed by San Diego in August of 2000. If someone is looking for a great one-design class come aboard with us on an ETCHELLS.

-- From Denny Haythorn -- As a regular Butthead I wanted to comment on the notice from St Francis YC regarding their instructor search. If Scuttlebutt becomes a clearing house for employers searching for instructors every yacht club with a Junior program will submit notices to you and complain when you don't run them. Jay Allen, the webmaster for ICYRA, runs a listserv regarding collegiate jobs and a website and list for all sailing instructor positions for collegiate openings including yacht clubs. Jay advises clubs and youth programs to "use the form at Jobs posted this way will be forwarded to the icyra-jobs-list, where there are many people waiting to receive them". If you are interested in collegiate sailing subscribe to their regular list (one can subscribe to areas of the country or the whole thing), Jay is doing a great job.

Curmudgeon's comment: I agree that a 'help wanted section' is not the most productive use of 'Butt's limited "news hole." In the future, we'll deal with those sort of notices as advertising ($$$).

-- From Peter Huston (Regarding ESPN/Fox-Young America deal) -- I'd say that the tea is still brewing on this one. If anyone believes that the America's Cup operates on the principle of truly free enterprise, then please contact me because I have a nice bridge in the New York area to sell you.

Young America may in the long run turn out to have been better served by understanding that it is better to be generally correct than precisely wrong.

** How to Put Together a Transpac Campaign is the topic of a Tuesday Feb. 9 program at Long Beach Yacht Club. Our panel of speakers will discuss Budgeting & Crew Selection; Weather & Naviguessing; Safety & Preparation; Class Breakdowns and Entry Requirements; Transpac History; Optimizing Sail Inventory; and a Question and Answer period will follow. Anyone interested in doing the Transpac will find this program fun and informative. Cocktails and videos 6:30; 7:30 dinner; 8:00 program. Please call for reservations: (562) 598-9401. - Betsy Crowfoot

** The Race Committee is gearing up for the next Victoria to Maui Yacht Race. The start dates have been confirmed as June 26th and 28th, 2000. To get things going, we're hosting an informational evening Wednesday, February 17th, 1999, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, 3811 Point Grey Road, Vancouver, B.C. Speakers will include our Race Chairmen, and past participants and winners. We'll have some videos and a lot of great information to impart. If you are an interested skipper (including racers from previous years), and wish to receive the Notice of Race (available March 31, 1999) and a Race Application form, fill out the request form at or contact Dwight Jefferson,, (604) 925-5568

The Downwind Finish -- This is so easy, yet so hard at the same time. You want to look at the finish as if you were starting, whatever end is favored if you were starting is going to be the un-favored end when finishing downwind. The trick is being able to discern the correct slant of the line while approaching from a good distance away. Use the flags blowing on the committee boat or flag end of the line, or better yet, when the opportunity presents itself make your analysis when heading upwind coming from the leeward mark. This is the perfect time to at least get a look at the line. Usually your attention is on other things, but it can truly serve you to take a quick look. Once you have decided which end is favored, finish all the way at that end, every boat length away from the bitter end translates into extra distance sailed. -- The Coach at

My travels have finally stopped with no regattas for a couple of weeks and I can catch my breath again. Since the Sydney international Regatta, I made the final preparations and competed in the Worlds. 142 boats from every point on this planet competed traveled to Melbourne to compete in this top-level event. The atmosphere was unbelievably friendly with everyone training together and sharing knowledge. A few days before the worlds I counted 44 international competitors practicing by doing informal rabbit starts and training together.

The World Championships consisted of 2 races per day for 7 days. The breeze was from the south all week with the lightest breeze of 12-15 on one day and a howling 30+ for two of the seven days. My performance was fairly consistent but I was consistent in the wrong part of the fleet. We, as Americans, still have a fair amount of work to do in the breeze before we will get to the next level in this international fleet. Mark Mendelblatt of St. Petersburg, Florida was the top American in 8th, I was second American in 29th, and Brett Davis was third in 34th. Ben Ainslie of Great Britain took the title of World Champion by winning 6 of twelve races. Robert Scheidt, the three time world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, was close behind.

Since the worlds I flew back to Thailand and due to flight schedules had an 18 hour layover. 48 hours after leaving Melbourne I finally arrived in San Diego. After 3 days at home it was time to leave for the Miami OCR. I packed up the 51 Chevy station wagon and drove across the country.

The Miami OCR was held the January 26-29 at the US Sailing Center in Miami, Florida. This regatta was the second US Sailing Team Qualifier so nearly every American Olympic Campaigner was there trying to qualify for the team. Peer Moberg of Norway, the Olympic Bronze Medalist made the trip and was going quite well. The weather was terrific with great breeze and warm temperatures. The race committee was very aggressive and they loved giving OCS's or false start disqualification. They were recording 25% of the fleet OCS and letting races go without a general recall. I was trying to be conservative after being caught once on day two. Only to be caught again the next day while in a midline bulge along with 10 others. I sailed well and calculated that I would have been close to third had I received a score in either of those races. This is purely more motivation to do better in the next regatta. -- Bill Hardesty, Team Vanguard, 2000 Olympic Laser Sailing Campaign

This year's Key West Race Week worked out pretty well for the curmudgeon - three shirts, a neat vest and a baseball hat. About the only thing I really needed to take to Florida were my sandals, some underwear and, of course, my Camet sailing shorts. These days I just don't go sailing without these shorts. Not only is the Supplex fast drying, these comfortable and practical shorts definitely have a good look. See for yourself:

** Having shaken off a futile take-over bid, the Spirit of Britain group, which is the operating arm of the Royal Dorset YC challenge for the America's Cup, is moving towards the construction of its first boat. A building shed is ready in Portland, reasonably close to the club's headquarters, and a group of traveling New Zealand boatbuilders led by Tony Smith will arrive from Italy at the end of this month to begin work. "Basically, we're hanging on for a few more days," said operations manager, Angus Melrose, "to see if a group of private individuals will supply funds to build a boat." Melrose confirmed that the IACC design was by Howlett and Phil Morrison and that it had been based on a huge program of computer modeling. -Bob Fisher, Grand Prix Sailor

For the full story:

** The announcement of Young America's sponsorship deal with Fox Sports has prompted cable TV network ESPN to consider pulling out of its agreements to be the U.S. broadcaster for the America's Cup Match and preceding Louis Vuitton Challenger Trials. In an article in The New York Times (Jan. 31, 1999), Geoffrey Mason, executive producer of ESPN's Cup coverage, was quoted as saying, "This is obviously a serious situation, and we're in the process of reviewing all our options." The article also said that the television contracts had not yet been signed. - John Burnham, Grand Prix Sailor

For the full story:

At 0940 GMT, Josh Hall had slipped past Giovanni Soldini, in the third spot, and fourth-place Isabelle Autissier, and was holding second in Class I, trailing division front-runner Marc Thiercelin by 28 miles. He's fighting on in less than perfect health. In a message to electronics guru Rick Viggiano this morning, he wrote, "Battling full-on flu here and have spent nearly all day in the bunk--hoping it's peaked but I feel very grim at the moment. Sorry, got to go lie down..." - Herb McCormick

Standings (Distance to finish in parenthesis) CLASS I: 1. Thiercelin (5174)) 2 Hall (5202) 3. Soldini (5210) 4. Autissier (5217) CLASS II: 1. Garside (5273) 2 Van Liew (5291) 3. Mouligne (5336) 4.Yazykov (5344)

Around Alone website:

He who dies with the most toys, is still dead.