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SCUTTLEBUTT #277 - February 11, 1999

SYD FISCHER'S new challenger for America's Cup 2000 will be built by the internationally renowned Sydney boatbuilder, JOHN McCONAGHY, with construction starting this month at McCONAGHY'S Newport boatbuilding complex.

Extensive tank testing of models and other detailed research is well under way to achieve the optimum performing yacht for Auckland conditions in February 2000, within the rules of the International America's Cup Class. "The design team is working under the direction of Grant Simmer as design coordinator," says FISCHER in an interview published in the latest issue of Offshore Yachting magazine.

"We are going into this with a distinct advantage in design research as we bought all the oneAustralia syndicate data information, all their drawings and other technical resources. We are already a long way down the track and JOHN MCCONAGHY will start building in February. He has built all my previous challengers; in fact, he has built every recent Australian challenger," added the famous ocean racing yachtsman and chairman of Australian Development Corporation.

McCONAGHY is internationally renowned for his skills with composite exotic materials and carbon fibre for hull construction. He has not only built America's Cup challengers but Whitbread round the world racing yachts and some famous IMS racers, including Sydney to Hobart record-holder Morning Glory and the successful Hong Kong registered 66-footer Exile.

FISCHER will use his previous America's Cup Challenger, Sydney 95, for initial crew training on Sydney Harbour, until the new boat is launched mid-year. "We are not rushing into that; there are plenty of good sailors around and we don't want to up their time too early," the veteran yachtsman added.

Meanwhile, Fischer's co-directors of Australia's Quest for the Holy Grael challenge through the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia are reported to be well advanced with a major sponsorship deal to lift the funding of Australia's only challenger for America's Cup 2000. - Peter Campbell

An Anglo-French rule of measurement and rating, known as IRM, is now close to its operational form. An updated version of ongoing work has been issued this month. It can be found at:

It is a major project: if you download or print out, it will cover nearly 50 pages. The operational form will be published on July 1, 1999. It is available for use on the racecourse from January 1, 2000 (in other words the boat's rating certificate is then effective).

In this rule a boat's rating is given as a theoretical length in feet or metres (as in the days of the CCA rule and IOR) with recommended single figure time-on-distance (seconds per mile) or time-on-time (minutes per hour).

The British and French measurement authorities originating all this are those which have handled for the last fourteen years the CHS measurement rule (not a performance rule) in Europe, Asia and Australia. Last year it showed over 5300 paid up annual rating certificates. Its world total overtook IMS in about 1994. -- Peter Johnson, UK

Not many products come with a lifetime guarantee -- the reasons are too obvious to explain. However, when you buy a Douglas Gill product, they proudly guarantee it "against defects in material and workmanship for the lifetime of the product." Doesn't that sound like the kind of company you'd like to do business with? Check out their very complete line of Gill foul weather gear and sailing apparel:

On Friday, the Cruising Fleet boats begin their 1200-mile race down the Baja California coast in the Del Rey YC's Puerto Vallarta Race. They are part of a 37-boat fleet -- the largest this race has enjoyed in quite a while. The racing fleet will have a staggered start with PHRF C leaving next Wednesday. Bob Hanel's 76-foot catamaran Double Bullet II will be the last starter, leaving at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 20.

The boats in the Cruising Fleet will have their ratings 'tweaked' after each of the first two legs. However, the PHRF handicaps for the boats in the Racing Fleet (which sail non-stop to PV) were "fine tuned" just last night which seems very late in the game to set the guidelines that will determine who the winners will be.

Christine, Custom 100, Fred Preiss
Sorcery, Mull 83, Jacob Wood

Turbo Sleds
Front Runner, Andrews 70T, Lou Grasso
Magnitude ,Andrews 70T, Doug Baker
Renegade, Andrews 70T, Dan Sinclair
Zephyrus IV, Reichel/Pugh 75, Robert G. McNeil

ULDB 70s
Evolution, Santa Cruz 70, Brack Duker
Grand Illusion, Santa Cruz 70, Ed McDowell
Mongoose, Santa Cruz 70, Robert Saielli

Charisma Andrews 56 Dave Sallows
Ingrid Santa Cruz 52 Bill Turpin
Rosebud Santa Cruz 52 Roger Sturgeon
Stealth Chicken Perry 56 Lee Lewis
Vitesse Santa Cruz 52 Bill Siegel

Bay Wolf Santa Cruz 50 Kirk Wilson
Blue Chip Farr 40 Walton M. Logan
Bushwacker J-160 Harry R. Smith
Lina Santa Cruz 50 Walter Pressel
M Project Sprint 50 Manouch Moshayedi

Airstream Centurian 42 Michael Roach
Goodnight Moon Swan 431 Carl Vanderbeek
J-Bird J-120 David A. Janes Bahia
Le Reve Swan 46 E.J. Gantz
Phoenix Kihara 37 David Fell

Double Bullet II Hanel 76 Robert D. Hanel

Allegra Baltic 55 John L. Cahill MD
Amazing Grace Farr 55 Allen Puckett
Ariel Tradewinds 40 Hugh McIntyre
Boat Swan 44 Norman Krevoy
Pegasus Hunter 54 Hall Palmer
Surprise Schumacher 46 Steve Chamberlin

Class B
Battalion I Endeavor 43-ket Butch Johnson
Blue Nomad Nordia 58-ket Bob Truett
La Buena Vida Island Packet 38 Leonard Edwards
O'Liberty Liberty 458 Lindley Metzinger
Pakele Islander 36 Gary Gould Navy- Sequestered Freedom 45 Melvyn Fliegel

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 Jessica Lord - I've been thinking... if ESPN pulls out of the deal, maybe YOUNG AMERICA (and all of us BUTTHEADS) should approach FOXSPORTS and try to get them to step up to the plate to televise the AC races....ALL of them - not just some of them as ESPN wants to. That way, we get to see the entire event, and FOX gets to cash in on their investment in YOUNG AMERICA.

-- From Bob Fisher (UK) -- I loved the theory in Laszlo Toth's letter concerning the America's Cup's perceived lack of "growing the sport", but know that it has the practical persuasiveness of three day old beer. Unless there is a grandeur about the event, no one will bother with it and the "increased media exposure" will show a faster downturn than the Korean economy.

It just wouldn't work, holding it in Farr 40s, Corel 45s or 1D-48s, however good those boats are. They simply don't cut the mustard in AC terms. As for charging an entry fee of $10 million, those who play the game would laugh and find another one to play.

The vast sums spent on the AC by all the syndicates is not lost to the sport, it is because there is this pinnacle that the rest of the pyramid exists.

Let the syndicates do as they do now - and look closely at what IS being done - and thank our lucky stars that some of it is returned to the grass roots.

-- From Joe Erwin -- On the subject of the growth, or lack thereof, of sailing, I have seen little empirical evidence. All the comments (in Scuttlebutt and other media) are based on anecdotal experience of individuals. Some people say their fleet has grown exponentially, some say numbers are declining --- often in the same region of the country. There are some sources of data: 1) every year Sailing World publishes a survey of one-design class associations, and 2) on the much maligned US Sailing website is posted an analysis called "Sailing vs. Golf," a most apt comparison. I'm sure there are other such studies and data, but they probably are lost in the never ending banter of the relative merits of IMS, PHRF and whether God really did create one-designs.

-- From Dee Smith -- IMS is providing the best handicapping rule the world has known, and it would be much more popular if it hadn't been initially (and improperly) sold a system that could fairly rate all types of boats. And the powers to be certainly do not have the owner's interest at heart when they change the rule. It only sets off another round of development forcing owners to either refit their boats or get another. Then after spending, who knows how much, the level is the same because all the competitive teams do the same changes. The un-competitive teams are left further behind with more frustration.

My suggestion is to freeze the rule for a minimum of 5 years. At the end of the third year, send out the new rule, so everyone can plan for the change and critique it. By the beginning of the fourth year, the new rule would be known by everyone to make plans for refit or new construction. I believe we would get more boats built and sailed in more regattas.

The ILC 40 class a couple of years ago saw the whole problem very clearly. They requested the ORC, ITC and ISAF to freeze the rule. Nobody listened, and we have no more ILC 40s. If we don't stop changing the rule, we will lose the IMS in favor of some new rule that has to go through the same development that the IMS already has. Who is going to pay for it? I don't see the rule makers building new boats.

-- From Dick Rose -- The Coach at Sailweb wrote: "whatever end [of the finishing line is favored if you were starting is going to be the un-favored end when finishing downwind." I think he's goofed. Generally, you want to start at the windwardmost end of the starting line, and when you're finishing downwind, you want to finish at the windwardmost end of the finishing line. So---if the race committee has not touched the line during the race and if the wind has not shfited, you will finish soonest if you finish at the same end that was favored at the start.

Curmudgeon's comment: Sharp-eyed Peter Huston and someone with the email address of also caught this error And the Coach at Sailweb also caught (or was told about) the error and sent out a correction.

Nobody wants to be over the line when the starting gun fires, but it pays to be early in the Transpacific Yacht Race. Boats under 50 feet signing up by March 1 will pay an entry fee of only $600, compared to $750 after that date. Boats 50 feet and longer will pay $800 by March 1, then $1,000. Members of US Sailing are entitled to $50 discounts.

Forms are available by writing to entry chairman Dan Nowlan at 4224 Point Loma Ave., San Diego, CA 92107. Nowlan also may be contacted by phone or fax at (619) 224-0198 or by e-mail at .

Starting dates for the 40th biennial classic from Los Angeles to Honolulu are June 29 for the Cruising class, July 3 for all other monohulls and July 6 for multihulls. For the Cruising class, introduced in 1997, entries must be a minimum of 34 feet in length overall with a Southern California Region PHRF Random Leg rating between 27 and 195 and a ULDB performance rating factor of less than 1.8, ensuring a class of comparable performance levels. Other monohulls must have a rating of 140 or lower. Multihulls must be 45 feet LOA.

Sailors with limited ocean racing experience planning to do Transpac may pick up some offshore savvy at Orange Coast College's all-day Safety at Sea seminar Saturday, March 13. The eight-hour, hands-on course will feature all aspects of offshore sail and power boating, including preparation, heavy weather handling and life raft deployment. Fee is $50. Details: (949) 645-9412. - Rich Roberts

The Sailing Instructions, with entry information, are available on the race website:

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) announced its sponsorship of AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based challenger for the 2000 America's Cup. As Modeling and Analysis Supporting Sponsor, UTC is applying proprietary technology, advanced research capabilities, and proven high-technology modeling processes to the design of two racing sailboats. Paul Cayard, the 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race champion, will skipper these boats for AmericaOne in the America's Cup to be held in New Zealand in 2000.

As an AmericaOne partner, researchers and engineers from United Technologies Research Center and Pratt & Whitney are applying computational fluid dynamics modeling to the hull, mast, sails, keels and appendages of the AmericaOne boats and also conducting structural analysis of the masts. -- Gina von Esmarch

AmericaOne website:

The first major ocean race in Australian coastal waters since the tragic Sydney to Hobart, the 156 nautical mile dash from Adelaide to Port Lincoln, starts tomorrow with a near record fleet of 85 yachts for this 49th annual offshore classic off the coast of the state of South Australia.

Although only an overnight race for most of the fleet, the course is across the exposed waters of the Gulf of St Vincent and Spencer Gulf. Among the 85 yachts setting sail from Adelaide's Outer Harbour are several which contested the storm swept 1998 Sydney to Hobart, in which 71 yachts out of the fleet of 115 retired, 55 crew members were rescued as seven yachts were abandoned, and six yachtsmen lost at sea. Race officials of the Port Lincoln Yacht Club and the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron have emphasised safety to all competitors with spot checks being carried out today.

Heading the Port Lincoln race fleet is the Victorian yacht Wild Thing, Grant Wharington's new maxi yacht which made its debut in the Telstra Sydney to Hobart only to be forced out with mast problems. Wharington's has set his sights on not only taking line honours but also breaking the race record of 15 hours 33 minutes set in 1995 by veteran Adelaide yachtsman Keith Flint with Helsal II.

Favourite for overall IMS handicap honours is Adelaide yachtsman Kevin Pearce's Farr 47, Ausmaid, which sailed an outstanding race to Hobart to finish third in fleet and second overall on IMS handicapping. The yacht was overall IMS winner in the 1996 Sydney to Hobart. -- Peter Campbell

A Southern Ocean gale swept over the fleet in the Around Alone singlehanded race around the world yesterday, and left an indelible mark on two of the Class I front-runners. At 2318 GMT last evening, British skipper Josh Hall reported that he'd lost the mast aboard his 60-footer, Gartmore Investment Management. Several hours later, race coordinator Pete Dunning delivered the news to leg leader Marc Thiercelin that he'd set a new 24-hour speed record of 392.3 nautical miles aboard his Open 60, SOMEWHERE. The incidents underscored a fact proven countless times before--deep in the Roaring Forties, there's a fine line between glory and catastrophe.

Shortly after informing race headquarters of his condition last evening via a COMSAT satellite phone call, Hall sent this message to Gartmore shore manager Claire Lewis: "Disaster has struck--at 2315 GMT last night the mast broke and the whole lot went into the ocean. At the time we were blasting along at 20-plus knots in 35 knots of wind and heavy seas. We were under triple-reefed main and staysail and though it was fast and furious she was comfortable. I was at the chart table plotting a position, heard a huge bang and on looking out the window saw the mast tumbling down. It appears that it broke beneath the lower spreaders. It took about 2 hours to cut it away from the boat to avoid hull damage and it appears that the hull and deck are unscathed. I am about 300 miles from the Chatham Islands... I am exhausted , my flu not helping my energy levels at all, but some time in the coming 12 hours will organize a jury rig to help progress. For the moment we are motoring north still in heavy conditions, at about 3 knots... My vague plan at present is to reach safe harbor, organize a sensible jury rig, and sail to New Zealand... Whatever, the race is run for us again prematurely, I am gutted, I don't know what to say or do at the moment. A bewildered Josh..."

At 1300 GMT today, Hall was still some 300 miles southeast of the Chathams and making less than three knots under power. The immediate weather picture is not pretty. Ken Campbell of Commanders' Weather told Dunning this morning that conditions will ease over the next 24-hours, but afterwards an approaching cold front will bring west-southwest winds of 25-30 knots, with gusts to 40 knots and accompanying seas of 12- to 16-feet. "He hasn't got a good ride going there," Dunning said. Dunning also pointed out that the closest boat to Hall--Brad Van Liew's BALANCE BAR--was the ex-Newcastle Australia, the same vessel that came to Hall's aid in the last Around Alone race when he struck an object and required rescue on Leg 1 of the event.

Race officials diverted Van Liew towards Hall's position for roughly five hours in case the English skipper required assistance, but released him from the mission when Hall assured everyone that he was safe and could carry on alone. Early today, Van Liew sent this update to the race operations team: "I last spoke to Josh a few hours ago... He said he was too exhausted to fashion a jury rig but would do so in the next day or so and motor until then. He had 50 gallons of fuel on board and figured he could motor for 120 hours if necessary. He thought [that was] probably enough to get to the islands but [he] would fashion a jury-rig anyway. The mast tube [broke] below the first spreader and he has been able to salvage the boom and the mainsail.. He has shattered dreams but he is a strong man and he will get through it because he loves life, his family and, believe it or not, sailboat racing." Remarkably, as Hall's news reached race headquarters officials they were confirming the fact that Thiercelin had sailed 392.3 miles between the 0340 GMT position reports on 10 and 11 February. In a COMSAT email to Thiercelin, Dunning wrote, "Congratulations, but take care!!!" Wise words, for as Hall knows, it only takes an instant for the world to be turned upside down. - Herb McCormick

Standings (Distance to the leader in parenthesis) CLASS I: 1. Thiercelin (0.0) 2. Autissier (10.6) 3. Soldini (106.4) CLASS II: 1. Van Liew (0.0) 2. Garside (30.6) 3. Mouligne (98.5)

Around Alone website:

It seems like no one listens until you make a mistake.