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SCUTTLEBUTT #283 - March 5, 1999

The curmudgeon is back after two weeks of racing in Mexico. While I was gone, a number of things happened that deserve at least a mention:

-- America True team member Gavin Brady is leaving his post to pursue the number one world match racing rank and other projects. Brady was training with the crew in New Zealand. He resigned this week.

-- Roy Heiner officially registered his 'Team Heiner' syndicate as a potential competitor of the Volvo Ocean Race Round The World 2001-2002 The first registration fee is paid.

-- Marc Thiercelin's 60-foot yacht SOMEWHERE, which was leading Leg 3 of the Around Alone singlehanded race around the world, was dismasted off the coast of Argentina at approximately 1000 GMT February 25. Thiercelin continued under a jury-rig to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

SORC - Report by Keith Taylor
George David's Nelson/Marek sloop Idler overcame challenging conditions and determined competition to move to the front of the International Measurement System (IMS) Class at the Acura Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) off Miami's South Beach today. Racing in the second day of the five-day event, Idler scored double bullets to lead the class after finishing third yesterday.

International boats in contention for the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup to be sailed in England next July dominated the top of the IMS Class. Idler, which was steered by Ken Read, with tactician Jim Brady, is now a clear leader with 4.5 points on the low-point scale. She has already been named as the big boat of the United States three-boat team for the international championship.

"We have made some changes to the boat since we raced in Key West, and we've very happy with the result," said David. "We also have the benefit of a very good crew of mature and experienced campaigners."

Hans-Otto Schumann's Rubin XV and the Italian boat Brava Q8, campaigned by Pasquale Landolfi and Flavio Favini are now tied for second place in the series with 11 points each. Rubin, from Hamburg, Germany, is a contender for the German Admiral's Cup team, while Brava has been named to the European Economic Community Team.

Paolo Gaia's Farr 49 Breeze, steered by Thommaso Chieffi is a contender for the Italian team and won the first race yesterday but dropped to fourth place today with 12.75 points on the low-point scale.

Racing started in perfect conditions with a 20-knot northerly driving the boats over a sparkling sea under bright sunny skies. The sun persisted but the breeze didn't. The northerly softened before the end of the first race and there was a long delay before the second race got underway in a puffy six to eight-knot northeaster. -- Keith Taylor

Results, Day 2, Mar 4, 1999, (with owner, city, state, boat name, places and points) after three races:
1. George David, Hartford, CT, Idler (3-1-1 ) 4.5 points;
2. Hans-Otto Schumann, Hamburg, Germany Rubin (5-2-4), 11;
2. Landolfi/Flavini, Rome, Italy, Brava Q8 (6-3-2) 11.

1. Jay Ecklund, Wayzata, MN, Starlight (1-1-3), 4.5;
2. Kiger/Saylor, Norfolk, VA, Fatal Attraction (2-2-2) 6;
3. Chris Bouzaid, Jamestown, RI, Wairere (6-5-1) 11.75.

1. Dick Steffen, Dorval, Quebec, Canada, Zoo II (1-2-2), 4.75;
2. Don Priestly, Mashpee, MA, Wet Paint (2-1-5), 7.75;
3. John Tihansky, Annapolis, MD, Fitikoko (4-4-1), 8.75.

1. John Esposito, New Rochelle, NY, Hustler (1-1-1), 2.25;
2. John Duncan, Coral Gables, FL; C-Shell (3-3-3), 9;
3. Tom Seghi, Miami Beach, FL, Happy Apple, (7-2-2) 11.

Hobie 33:
1. Mike Catalano, Miami, FL, Moving Party (3-1), 3.75;
2. Ron Nolan, Louisburg, KS, Jonathan Swift (2-2), 4;
3. Mike Naugher, Grand Prairie, TX, Coyote (1-4). 4.75.

1. John Tehloh, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Lunatic Fringe (1-3-2), 5.75;
2. Randy Smyth, Fort Walton Beach, FL, Yo! (6-1-4), 10.75;
3. Doug Harkrider, Flowery Branch, GA, Occam's Razor, (OCS-2-1) 14.75

1. Vincent Brun, San Diego, CA, Hissar (1-3-4) 7.75;
2. Mike Law, London, England, Danish Blue (2-1-7) 9.75;
3. John Ulbrick, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Champagne II, (6-6-2) 14, 3.

Melges 24s:
1. West/Musto, Bloomer, WI, USA-364 (2-3), 5;
2. Scott Elliott, Charlotte, NC, White Loaf (5-2) 7;
3. Kent Haeger, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Mach Schnell, (4-5) 9.

1. Dick Robertson, Erie, PA, Pigs at Sea (2-1), 2.75;
2. Chuck O'Malley, Annapolis, MD, Late Bloomer (3-3) 6;
3. Mike Kam, Richmond, VA, Insatiable, (1-7) 7.75.

Race Week website:

Del Rey YC's 1125-mile race to Puerto Vallarta had something for everyone - sometimes more of it than the competitors wanted.

Big wind? Oh yeah! There were a couple of days and nights of 25+ that sent boats cascading blindly into the starless darkness. Lots of boats shredded kites, but everyone clicked off big numbers on their logs. Ed McDowell's SC 70 Grand Illusion logged 213 miles in under 13 hours while Bob Hanel's 76-foot catamaran Double Bullet II had a 24-hour run of 378 miles.

No wind? Yeah, there was some of that too. Getting out of California was painfully slow. Then 800 miles later, most boats spent 12 hours or more drifting aimlessly off the windless tip of the Baja Peninsula as they inched their way to the new breeze coming out of the Sea of Cortez.

David Janes's J/120 came as close to a clean sweep as anyone could expect of a 40-foot sailboat. His JBird corrected out to first in fleet, first in PHRF C, and got to Puerto Vallarta more than a half-day ahead of the other 22 boats in the racing division. However, the staggered start used by Del Rey YC gave JBird and the other boats in PHRF C a 24-hour head start over the Class A and B boats, and they were two full days ahead of the maxi boats. The shortest elapsed time was recorded by Doug Baker's Andrews 70 Magnitude which sailed the course in just over five days.

Three turbo sleds started the race but when Lou Grasso's Front Runner retired into Turtle Bay with a fractured mainsail, the quest for line honors quickly developed into a match race between Magnitude and Bob McNeil's and John Parrish's Reichel/Pugh 75 Zephyrus IV. The two boats were within sight of each other all the way down Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Abeam of Cabo San Lucas -- more than 800 miles from the starting line -- they were separated by less than 100 yards.

Magnitude escaped the 'parking lot' before Zephyrus and built a 22-mile lead as they approached the Mexican mainland. In the last 20 miles of the racecourse, the fickle wind inside of Banderas Bay helped Magnitude stretch their lead to more than six hours for a comfortable win in the Turbo Sled class, second in fleet plus line honors.

Curiously, Del Rey YC split the Racing Fleet into very tiny groups. There were seven separate classes for the 24 starters. No class had more than four finishers, and four of the classes had only two finishers or less. It was pretty hard not to win a trophy.

The curmudgeon had a great ride aboard Harry Smith's J/160 Bushwacker. We won our class by more that four and a half hours - although much of that margin can be attributed to the fact that the evening offshore wind turned off shortly after we finished. (Banderas Bay can be really cruel.)

After talking with many of the racers in PV there was almost universal agreement about certain facts:

-- The California legislature should pass a law requiring all Mexican races to start from San Diego. On Bushwacker, we logged just 66 miles at the first roll call as we crawled towards the Mexican border. Once in Mexico, we logged 213 miles in the next 24-hour period.

-- All Mexican races should finish at the Cabo Falso lighthouse at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Jeff Madrigali took this theory a bit further. He suggested that the boats should finish at the lighthouse and pull into Cabo San Lucas just long enough to pick up the wives and significant others -- and then proceed on a sailing-powering-fishing leg to Puerto Vallarta for the MEXORC Regatta. One thing everyone agreed on was that no race should finish inside of Banderas Bay. The "now you see it, now you don't" wind cycles totally distort the corrected times.

Results: MAXI CLASS: (1) Sorcery (Mull 82) Jake Wood; (2) Christine (Custom 100) Fred Priess; TURBO SLED CLASS: (1) Magnitude (Andrews 70) Doug Baker; (2) Zephyrus IV (R/P 75) Bob McNeil & John Parrish; ULDB 70 CLASS: (1) Evolution (SC 70) Brack Duker; (2) Mongoose (SC 70) Bob Saielli; PHRF A: (1) Ingrid (SC 52) Bill Turpin; (2) Rosebud (SC 52) Roger Sturgeon; (3) Stealth Chicken (Perry 56) Lee Lewis; PHRF B: (1) Bushwacker (J/160) Harry Smith; (2) Bay Wolf (SC 50) Kirk Wilson (3) Blue Chip (Farr 40 O-D) Walter Logan PHRF C: (1) JBird (J/120) David Janes (2) Airstream (Centurion 42) Michael Roach; (3) Phoenix (Kihara 37) David Fell; EXHIBITION CLASS: (1) Double Bullet II (Hanel 76 catamaran) Bob Hannel; CRUISING CLASS A: (1) Surprise (Schmacher 46) Steve Chamberlain; (2) Amazing Grace (Farr 55) Allen Puckett; (3) Pegasus (Hunter 54) Hall Palmer; CRUISING CLASS B: (1) Pakele (Islander 36) Gary Gould; (2) Blue Nomad (Nordia 58) Carl & Myra Harris; (3) Seaquestered (Freedom 45) Mel & Marty Fliegel.

Event website:

PV Trivia

As near as I can tell, there were only two boats in the PV Race with complete inventories of Ullman Sails - JBird and Bushwacker. JBird was first in class and first overall, and Bushwacker won its class by four and a half hours. Isn't it time you talked with the professionals at Ullman Sails about improving the performance of your boat? It's more affordable than you think:

Sorry folks, but there simply will not be better racing conditions on the West Coast of North America this year than we had at the MEXORC Regatta in Puerto Vallarta. Bright sun, warm air and water, white caps every day and great race committee work. It just doesn't get any better than that.

26 boats raced in four classes, and although the competition was not as deep as it will be at other West Coast events this year, the racing conditions made everyone overlook that. The race committee work may have been a bit too good for some of the locals. They raised the yellow cone for race #4 precisely at the scheduled time -- 1150 hours -- in spite of the fact that more than half of the Mexican boats had not arrived on the scene. While there was some grumbling about this 'break with local custom,' there was certainly no complaining about the trophies. Each of the four class winners went home with a new Rolex watch.

Dave Janes followed his strong showing in the PV Race with another sensational performance. Overcoming a brief bout with the 'touristas,' Janes put together a 1-1-2-2-1 series in his J/120, JBird. That gave him a 2-point edge over Richardo Brockman's Beneteau 42, Iorana -- and got Janes a new watch. And because this nine boat class was judged to be the most competitive in the regatta, his name was also added to the regatta's big perpetual - the Copa Rolex Trophy.

For the second consecutive year, Jake Wood's vintage Mull 83 Sorcery won Class A. Sailing Sorcery against the R/P 74 Zephyrus IV and Doug Baker's Andrews turbo sled, Magnitude was a bit like racing a Greyhound bus against a Porsche and a Ferrari. But once again Sorcery proved that in 12+ knots of breeze, the hot modern boats can't give her a half a minute per mile and expect to win.

There were white caps on the bay for five of the six races, and Sorcery won all five of them. The curmudgeon sailed on Bob McNeil's Zephyrus IV. We won the first race which was sailed in 8-10 knots of breeze, but that was it. Our final score (with a throwout) was 1-2-2-2-2 - good enough for a distant second place.

With Dave Ullman calling tactics, Jorge Ripstein's fractionally rigged R/P45 Nitissima from Acapulco YC won Class B for the second year in a row. With straight bullets in the first five races, Ullman jumped on an airplane for the SORC a day earlier than expected, and Nitissima didn't even go out to the racecourse for the final race. This is the third consecutive year that the boat Ullman sailed on picked up a Rolex.

Class C was won by a Long Beach YC syndicate sailing a chartered Capri 37. With Hank Schofield at the helm, Team LBYC racked up a 3-1-1-1-1 series for a 7-point class win. The six members of the syndicate will take turns wearing their new watch, with each member getting it for two months during the coming year.

Results - Class A: (1) Sorcery (Mull 83) Jake Wood, 5 points; (2) Zephyrus IV (R/P 74) Bob McNeil & John Parrish, 9; Class B: (1) Nitissima (R/P 46) Jorge Ripstein, 5; (2) Stealth Chicken (Perry 56) Bill Murray, 12; PHRF C: (1) Team LBYC (Capri 37) Bear Myers/LBYC Syndicate, 7; (2) Crew2 (Capri 37) Guillermo Tapia, 14; (3) Super Tlocac (Capri 37) Chino Vazaquez, 17; (4) Saeta (N/M 41) Rogelio Partida, 20; PHRF D: (1) JBird (J/120) Dave Janes, 7; (2) Iorana, (Beneteau 42) Richardo Brockman, 9; (3) Veloce (J/120) Andy Baptista, 13; (4) Bagheera (J/120) Pancho Guzman, 19.

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 Vince Cooke, PRO, 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup -- OCS: Plus or minus two feet via technology is not good enough. Chris Dickson missed the Challenger Finals in 1995 by less than one foot. Who knows which Kiwi boat might have been the ultimate winner. Chris was notoriously underfunded, but would entry into the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals in 1995 have brought him more sponsor money, enough to outfit his boat with sails that might have beaten Team New Zealand? He had already obtained an additional sponsor after he made it to the semi-finals.

-- From Rick Hatch, Vancouver, BC-- When you're OCS, YOU'RE OCS! It's your own fault, dude! Stop whinging and get better line transits! I would not want to see the sport resort to relying on electronic technology (which, were it to fail, would create more Requests For Redress for the volunteer judges to sort out than they should have to spend their time on). Having been racing since 1961, usually I know when I'm either OSC or so close to the line at the gun that if Code Flag X is displayed (promptly, mind you) I assume it's me and restart. In the Pacific Northwest, when hailing has been the RC's practise the sequence of hails has never been an issue that I am aware of.

I would prefer to see organizing authorities focus on better race management generally. More volunteer host club members for the RC work usually goes a long way to solving the logistics needed for great race management.

-- From Neil W. Humphrey Vancouver, BC ( Re notifying OCS boats)-- My bets are with GPS based technology to replace Radio, Loud Hailer, Flags or Shotgun Blasts to the sail. Although having been a 'Motorolan', Paging technology (tone, voice, numeric and alphanumeric pagers) does have broadcast capabilites or group call as it is called in the industry, it does have the downfalls of radio, loud hailer and flags.

Basically, the downfall is that the RC has to collect (which boats are over early), input (record/list) and send (broadcast or selective to individuals) the information to the selected and lucky boats. This is very time consuming and open to mistakes. Water level line of sight beam technology of where boats would break a beam between the RC and the Pin would have it's downfalls as well. Here once the boats break the beam they would have their onboard alarm (boats next to you could hear it) automatically go off alerting them of their infraction and at the same time the event would be recorded/logged on a PC on the RC boat. Once the boat has completed the require RI/SI penalty the RC would clear the onboard alarm of that boat. Downfall here is that at water level line of sight beams would be affected by wave/tide action and RC would have to manually clear those that have restarted.

A hand held gun on the RC boat would make things better, but still difficult. Benefits are auto recording/logging early starters. GPS technology would be similar to water level line of sight beam technoloy but have some distinct advantages.

-- From Ken Brooke -- Although I don't always agree with Bob Fisher I must with his view that the thought of one design racing for the America's Cup is ridiculous. The competition is equally or even more concerned with design and research,testing and development than a competition between skippers and crews. It has been so since the inception of the competition. There is enough one design match racing around the world to satisfy the one hundred and fifty or so ranked helmspersons and one more would be worthless. The money poured into the event spreads far and wide and is of considerable benefit to our sport as a whole.

-- From George Bauer -- Many thanks for the item on the Newport Vermuda Race in #280. Just noticed that the Committee's email address isn't quite correct (my error!) Would it be possible to run a correction? It should be I left out a zero on the 2000! Tired eyes.

Auckland, New Zealand, 5th March, 1999-- The racing scheduled for today - fourth day of the Road to America's Cup Regatta held in Auckland, New Zealand - has been cancelled due to the strong northeasterly wind, blowing at 35 knots speed on the racing course. The situation remains as yesterday. All is delayed until tomorrow, when the organizing committee will decide how to complete the round robins for the challengers. If the bad weather conditions prevent the last race of the third round from being carried out tomorrow, America True (the challenger with the highest score after the second round robin) will race in the final against Team New Zealand.

Provisional scores after two races of Round 3: Prada 8 points (skipper Francesco de Angelis), America True 4 points (skipper: John Cutler), Le defi 3 points (skipper: Bertrand Pace)

Weather forecast for tomorrow: Northerly wind, 17-20 knots gusting to 25 knots. Cloudy with periods of rain in the morning Sunny breaks in the afternoon.

Boats are gathering in Sint Maarten for the 19th version of the Heineken Regatta. At this time the entry exceeds 250, and amongst them are some of the finest and newest that the boat building industry can produce and sail fast. About half of the boats entered are chartered "bare"boats. These boats are devided into 5 classes with very close racing between the boats being inevitable through the great similarity of so many of them.

The Big Boat class is outstanding ; besides the two Carrol Marine 60's (Hi Fling and Rima) there is a brand new Sydney 60 ("Yes") which has yet to sail to weather. They will probably chase the highly anticipated and also brand new Sagamore 3 on which designer Bill Langan will discover whether his brainchild is not only handsome but also hopefully fast.

Two Swan 60's should be right behind them (Innovision and Sotto Voce) . Other boats in the class include a Meriten 65 (Mischievous) Santa Cruz 70 (Pied Piper) two W Class boats (White Wings and Wild Horses) Andrews 70 (Trader) and two maxis (Bols Sport Travel , ex Maxima and Jaguar , ex Cote d'Or). Other classes include beach cats , large multihull , racing , racing cruising , cruising and the uncomplicated "Fun" class in which quite a number of round the world sailors are participating. There will be 18 classes starting over 16 starts as well as an exhibition class consisting of five 12 meter Americas Cup boats.

Event site:

Giovanni Soldini, Italian skipper of FILA, was awarded 24 hours in elapsed time for Leg 3 of the Around Alone race for his diversion to assist and subsequently rescue Isabelle Autissier more than two weeks ago. A jury of six members, including ISAF International Jurors, from South American countries met at the Yacht Club Punta del Este for more than three hours before announcing their decision. Soldini now stands in first place overall in the race. -- Dan McConnell

Standings (Distance to finish in parenthesis), Class I: 1. Soldini (finished) 2. Thiercelin (1011) Class II: 1. Mouligne (319) 2. Garside (394) 3. Van Liew (487)

Around Alone website:

Never agree to plastic surgery if the doctor's office is full of portraits by Picasso.