SCUTTLEBUTT #285 - March 9, 1999
CONGRESSIONAL CUP - Report by Rich Roberts...
With three former winners, three America's Cup skippers, the current U.S.
male and female Rolex Award winners and competitors from six countries,
the Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup has perhaps the strongest
field of its 35 years.
Competition starts Tuesday in the outer harbor off Belmont Pier, where
conditions are expected to be ideal with a prevailing southwesterly breeze.
The 10 entries will sail Catalina 37s in a double round-robin schedule
through Saturday. Contrary to most world-class match racing events, there
will be no sailoffs, except to settle a tie for first place. There is $15,000 in
Gavin Brady, a 25-year-old New Zealand native living in Annapolis, won in
1996 and '97 but was unable to compete in '98, when Peter Holmberg of
the U.S. Virgin Islands claimed the traditional Crimson Blazer that goes to
the champion. Brady is ranked second in the world, Holmberg fifth. Brady
recently resigned from Dawn Riley's America True America's Cup Team after
winning the Australia Cup, citing a difference in policy about whether he
should compete on the match-racing circuit with his usual hand-picked crew
or less experienced hands from America True. "It wouldn't have worked with
me taking them on the circuit," Brady said. "We wouldn't have won in
Australia, and it would have reflected [negatively] on America True."
Holmberg scuttled his underfunded Team Caribbean campaign to join Team
Dennis Conner. Ken Read, Conner's designated helmsman for the
America's Cup, will sail as Holmberg's tactician this week. Read is coming
off a dominant IMS win for the Nelson/Marek 50 Idler in the Southern Ocean
Racing Conference last week and will sail that boat this summer in defense
of the Admiral's Cup that he helped the U.S. win in '97.
The strongest competition for Brady and Holmberg would be expected from
Paul Cayard, who in 1997-98 became the first American to win the
Whitbread Round the World Race, collected the men's Rolex. Cayard is now
driving his AmericaOne team toward America's Cup 2000 in New Zealand.
If one of those three doesn't win, it could be Francesco de Angelis, skipper
for Italy's powerful Prada syndicate, who missed by only a meter of winning
a best-of-three final from Team New Zealand in the Road to America's Cup
prelude event at Auckland last Sunday. De Angelis has been on a steep
learning curve as a match racer, with four-time Congressional winner Rod
Davis as his mentor.
The other former winner competing is Dave Perry, who gave up the game
after winning in 1983 and '84 to become a full-time schoolteacher and serve
the sport as a rules expert. In the "Legends" Congressional of '95 featuring
former winners from Ted Turner to Bill Ficker, Perry showed he was still
competitive in a close second to Harold Cudmore.
The rest of the field:
-- Scott Dickson, the host club representative who finished second to
Holmberg last year with his brother Chris calling tactics. This year he has
Long Beach sailor Steve Flam, who has been tactician for two Congressional
-- Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I., who won the women's Rolex for her
match-racing success, and will be sailing with an all-woman crew.
-- Markus Wieser of Germany, who seldom misses an event anywhere and
carries the world's No. 6 ranking.
-- Neville Wittey of Australia, a popular and skilled regular whose rivals say
he might be more successful if he took himself more seriously.
-- Luc Pillot of France, who is ranked 12th.
Brady is only 680 points behind Australia's top-ranked Peter Gilmour, who
isn't competing, and could claim as many as 1,800 points by winning. But
the International Sailing Federation's ranking formula is so complex that
not even Brady knows whether he would pass Gilmour if he wins. "I never
thought after we won in Australia that we would got to number two," he said.
"We'll just try to sail our best and see what happens." - Rich Roberts
Event website: http://www.lbyc.org/cup.html
CONGRESSIONAL CUP SIDEBARS...
-- Last weekend, Congressional Cup participants Dave Perry, Gavin Brady
and Scott Dickson borrowed Cal 20s and practiced match race starts on
Alamitos Bay in front of the home of Farr 40 sailor Peter Tong. Obviously,
all three could not sail at once so the 'odd man' sat on Tong's dock
observing...and learning. Brady was the first to bailout. Observers agreed he
really did not need much practice.
-- When five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the year Betsy Alison's 7 person
team go racing this week in the Congressional Cup regatta, they will all be
wearing their new Gill breathable Dinghy Smock Tops and Tradewinds
trousers. "Breathable clothing is key," says Alison, "Match racing is very fast
paced and performance clothing that is comfortable is a must. If you want
to "get dressed for it" like the top sailors do, check out the 1999 line of
Douglas Gill foul weather gear: http://www.douglasgill.com
The international teams in the 73rd Annual Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta
flexed their sailing muscles in day two of the prestigious race held at the
Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami. Ross Macdonald, 34, from English Bay,
Canada, and Kai Bjorn 30, of Montreal, Canada, finished first, followed by
Mats Johansson, and Leif Moller from Sweden, currently not on the top ten
Macdonald and Bjorn now lead the 94-team field, followed by Alexander
Hagen, 44, and Thorsten Helmert, 21, second overall after a sixth-place
finish on Monday.
The six-day historic sailing regatta began Sunday attracting the world's best
sailors, representing North America, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.
While the mild conditions on the first day of the regatta forced the delay of
the race for almost three hours, mother nature gave the sailors a tougher
ride on Monday. Light winds turned into high NE to E winds at 20 to 25
knots. The waters of Biscayne Bay were moderately choppy, making the
10.5 mile course much more challenging for the Bacardi Cup sailors. On day
two, 24 teams opted not to sail due to high winds and rough conditions,
leaving the day1s count at 70.
Bacardi Cup Standings (after two races):
1. Ross Macdonald/Kai Bjorn
(English Bay, Canada/Montreal, Canada), 3-1, 4 points.
2. Alexander Hagen/Thorsten Helmert
(Hamburg,Germany/Hamburg, Germany), 4-6, 10.
3. Mark Reynolds/Magnus Liljedahl
(San Diego, CA/Coral Gables, FL), 2-9, 11.
4. Peter Vessella/Mike Dorgan
(San Francisco, CA/San Diego, CA), 11-3, 14.
5. John MacCausland/Phil Trinter
(Medford, NJ/Lorain, OH), 1-15, 16.
6. Eric Doyle/ Brian Terhaar
(San Diego, CA/ San Diego, CA), 7-10, 17.
7. Cuyler Morris/Tom Olsen
(Southwest Harbor, ME/East Dennis, MA), 9-8, 17.
8. Vincent Hoesch/Florian Fendt
(Germany/Germany), 5-13, 18.
9. Mark Neeleman/Jos Schier
(Holland/Holland), 13-7, 20.
10. Vince Brun / Rick Peter
(San Diego, CA/San Diego, CA), 19-4, 23.
Event website: http://sailing.org/regattas/99bacardicup/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON...
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 John Mooney -- Entertaining as discussion of pagers, GPS, and
other electronic whiz-bang may be, it strikes me that if they're anything like
any of the other electronic equipment I spend my entire day with, they're
too cranky to be successfully operated by amateurs in a marine (read:
hostile) environment. They also sound like pretty high-ticket items for RCs
and competitors to be required to purchase in order to go racing, and like
most sailors, I'm cheap. Finally, I'd hate to get to the end of a hard-fought
buoy race and discover that I didn't start properly, and didn't know it
because the batteries in my pager died.
That said, I hasten to add that I don't have the same reservations about
promptly hailing OCS boats on a radio which is designed for use on the
water. In fact, I think RCs should communicate with their fleets liberally by
radio - the most smoothly run regattas I've participated in all shared this
The "order of hail" concern is, I think, a red herring. If the proper visual and
sound signals are made in a timely manner, the radio hail is not required
anyway - it's just a courtesy and it's not prejudicial because the other
requirements have been met. If there's no rule change and RCs simply hail
on a VHF in addition to making those other signals, it seems to me they're
-- From Peter Huston (regarding Dobbs Davis comments in 'Butt #283) --
Dobbs Davis - Unfortunately you have read far more into the meaning of
one word, "innocence", than is necessary. I'm not implying anything about
"guilt" when discussing issues related to Group 2 & 3.
I do not agree at all with the manner in which this list is administered. And I
would never support any more intrusion or regulation into the sport by US
SAILING than we already experience. I think the entire subject of Group 2 &
3 placement should be left to each sailor - just plain declare in which Group
you belong. If anyone wants to challenge your group ranking, then that
should be handled through normal protest procedure. The very competitive
foundation of our sport is based on competitors behaving in an ethical,
self-policing manner. Why should this subject be any different?
Of course, this would imply that everyone would have a clear understanding
of the Group ranking parameters - and under the current Appendix, those
meanings are open to fairly wide interpretation. Therefore, for this system
to truly succeed, we need a more clear, concise Appendix.
A better solution would lie in a worldwide, commonly understood
ability-based personal handicap system. Then event/class organizers would
have a better system to more fairly equate talent levels on each boat
according to the free market forces for that event or class.
The evidence is clear - there are large segments of participation within the
sport that wish to sail against people with similar motivations. The
leadership of the sport needs to address this market desire in a proactive
-- From Terry Harper, Executive Director, US Sailing -- Mr. Huston does not
speak for US SAILING. US SAILING does not consider any of the eligibility
groups "guilty" or anything similar.
-- From Ciff Thompson -- I vote yes on all of your Mexico race
-- From Tom Redler -- I must take exception to your idea of "finishing at
Cabo Falso." One of the highlights of my racing career was capturing a
"Clean Sweep" on the old Santa Cruz 70 Citius in the '87 P.V. Race. The
absolute highlight of that race was the 4-boat dogfight between Citius,
Prima, Sorcery and Christine that took place in the fickle winds of Banderas
Bay for four hours before the finish. Anybody can finish on a broad reach at
Cabo, but it took real sailing skills to engineer a 4 boat virtual dead heat
finish! (Just 2 minutes separated the first and fourth place finishers after
1125 miles of racing.)
Curmudgeon comment - For the record, finishing all Mexican races at the
Cabo Falso lighthouse was not my idea. As reported in 'Butt #283, "After
talking with many of the racers in PV there was almost universal agreement
about certain factsÉ" And it was Jeff Madrigali who suggested picking up
wives and significant others at the Cape and making the trip across the Sea
of Cortez a sailing-powering-fishing leg.
Dawn Riley's America True syndicate will have its own boat--but only one--in
defiance of the fact that since 1983 when the Cup left Newport, R.I., nobody
has won the Cup with fewer than two boats. "You have to make a decision
at some point about whether to do a second boat on a shoestring or put the
little extra into the first boat, and we decided to do that," Riley said.
Unlike Paul Cayard's AmericaOne, its rival for the hearts of San Francisco,
America True has no major sponsors. It certainly doesn't even have a
billionaire like Bill Koch, who was Riley's employer in the last two Cups.
What it has is Chris Coffin, its 40-year-old chief operating officer who is only
modestly wealthy by modern Cup standards. On his stake in America True,
Coffin said, "I was instrumental in the seed funding." And it's apparent he
isn't prepared to go it alone. "That's not an issue," he said. "We have
major sponsors that will be coming around. We're very close. Let me put it
this way: We're gonna be on the starting line." - Rich Roberts, Grand Prix
For the full story: http://www.sailingworld.com/gps/gpslead.htm
I thought it was interesting that half the crew I sailed with to Puerto Vallarta
on Bushwacker only brought along one pair of sailing shorts - their Camet
sailing shorts. I don't think it was the good looks of the Camet shorts that
influenced that decision. More likely the comfort, or the fast drying Supplex,
or the reinforced Cordura seat patch, or the two deep side pockets were
more important as the crewmembers packed their bags. But for two of us
'seasoned' sailors (with bony butts), the foam pads were defnately the most
important factor. Check them out for yourself: http://www.camet.com/
BLOCK ISLAND RACE WEEK...
The Storm Trysail Club announces the return of the Original American
Sailboat Race Week, scheduled to be based on scenic Block Island, Rhode
Island from June 20-25th, 1999. "We are proud of the fact that Block Island
Race Week is the oldest event of its type in the United States," explains
Commodore John Storck, Jr. Setting the standard for Big Boat Sailing Race
Weeks, the biennial regatta draws over 200 racing sailboats from across the
United States and around the world. America's Cup Skippers, Olympic
Medalists, Whitbread Around the World Racers and other seasoned sailboat
racers will test their skills in boats ranging from 24 feet to 80 feet.
Organizers expect to see tough competition in both the traditional PHRF
Classes, and the popular one-designs (Mumm 30 & 36, 1D35, 1D48, J44,
J105, J80, J29). The popular International Farr 40 Class will be competing
for their National Championship at this year's BIRW XVIII. In addition,
International Swan and 12 Meter Classes have added Block Island Race
Week XVIII to their 1999 World Calendars.
"Increased popularity for Block Island Race Week has allowed us to bring
more racing to the waters of Block Island Sound this year," says Vice
Commodore and Event Chairman John Osmond, "we have been able to add
a third racing circle to allow more racing by all competitors."
Event website: http://www.stormtrysail.org
Elliott Marine North America, Ltd., the sole North American di3tributor of New
Zealander Greg Elliott's Yacht Designs, announced the formation of the
Elliott 770 North American Class Association. The E770 Class Rules from New
Zealand are expected to be accepted at the first meeting to be held in mid
The Elliott 770 is a 25 foot, trailerable yacht, sporting a retractable bulb
keel, four adult berths, five feet of headroom, and options for a sink, stove
and toilet. Its sizable interior and accommodations differentiate the E770
from other high-performance yachts in this category; neither room nor
performance is compromised. The E770 can fly a standard spinnaker or an
asymmetrical spinnaker on a retractable bowsprit. Construction is from fully
molded, closed-cell PVC foam core for lightweight, durability, easy
maintenance and long life. The Elliott 770 is priced at $34,490, which
includes a kevlar main and jib.
Based in Duluth GA, Elliott Marine North America, Ltd. produces the
high-tech line of performance yachts from New Zealand designer, Greg
Elliott. Elliott yachts, please contact
Elliott Marine website: http://www.mindspring.com/~bshelton
(The following are excerpts from DEFENCE 2000, which is available from
John@roake.gen.nz -- US $48 per year.)
-- Paul Cayard gave Auckland businessmen the low-down on how to sign
sponsorship deals recently. The AmericaOne skipper and CEO told the
luncheon meeting how syndicate sponsors like Hewlett-Packard are
leveraging sponsorship benefits, and why they see the America's Cup as a
viable sport marketing tool for their USA and New Zealand markets.
-- We have made much of the number of Kiwis that have joined overseas
challengers, but Team New Zealand has some solid support from two
Americans who are members of the New Zealand organisation. They are
Clay Oliver and Rob Rice. Clay Oliver is a boat designer from Annapolis
Maryland who had to make a decision on whether to support the New York
Yacht Club or join Team New Zealand; he elected the latter.
Rice is not new to our scene, and was an advisor to Team New Zealand on
winds and waves at San Diego. The 67 year old says he forecasts anywhere
(with the aid of a battery powered notebook) and input observations from
the crews. Rice has been working with Sir Peter Blake for the past five years,
and has previously been involved in round the world balloon attempts and
the scaling of Mt Everest. Oliver is a specialist in velocity prediction
programmes and is heavily involved with Team New Zealand's design group.
Two very important members of New Zealand's defence organisation.
-- Sydney 95, Syd Fischer's previous America's Cup challenger, will be used
for crew training on Sydney Harbour; that is, until the new boat is launched
mid-year. According to Syd, they are not rushing into team selection. "There
are" he says "plenty of good sailors around and we don't want to involve
them too early." Meanwhile, the Australian directors have announced
through the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, that they well advanced with a
major sponsorship deal on the funding of Australia's only challenger.
JOBSON ON TOUR...
West Marine is sponsoring a series of seminars by a world-class sailor,
television commentator and author Gary Jobson. Jobson's topics will provide
insight into the Whitbread Round the World Race, a preview of the Americas
Cup 2000 and the Expedition Antartica.
Jobson, based in Annapolis, MD, raced in the Americas Cup with Ted Turner
in 1977, the infamous Fastnet Race and many of the world's ocean races.
In college he was named an All-American sailor three times, and was twice
named College Sailor of the year at Hampton University. In addition,
Jobson has been ESPN's sailing commentator since 1985 and produces over
30 shows per year. He has produced or narrated 40 home videos and
authored eleven books.
These West Marine seminars run from 7:00 to 9:00 PM and are $10 in
advance: March 18 Annapolis, Md - MD Hall (Tickets at all local West Marine
& E&B Stores) March 25 Ft. Lauderdale, FL - PA Center (Tickets at all local
WM & E&B Stores) March 31 Huntington Beach Library (Tickets at Southern
California West Marine stores) April 1 Tiberon CA - Corinthian Yacht Club
(This is NOT an April fools joke! Tickets at most Northern California Yacht
Mike Garside and Brad Van Liew sailed into Punta today to close their epic
Leg 3 journeys from New Zealand via Cape Horn. Garside steered his
50-foot Magellan Alpha across the line at 0637 GMT (3:37 a.m. local time)
to take second for the leg with a time of 30d 07h 37m 57s. Van Liew and
his 50-footer, BALANCE BAR, arrived just shy of eight hours later at 1430
GMT (11:30 a.m. local time) to record a passage of 30d 15h 30m 45s. Both
skippers wore weary expressions that conveyed equal measures of elation
and relief. With one leg to go, for now Van Liew trails Garside by roughly
nine-and-half hours in their race for second place in Class II (division
leader J.P. Mouligne's elapsed-time lead is just short of eight days). But
Van Liew is expected to receive a time allowance for the hours he spent
diverting towards Josh Hall's position when the British skipper was
dismasted on 11 February.
Garside, whose previous arrivals have sometimes seemed as joyous as a
wake, was in a decidedly upbeat mood early today. "Three things really
came out of [the voyage]," he said. "Finally we've got the boat right. Every
single thing worked, the pilots worked, the keel was utterly reliable, I had
no problems and that was terrific. Secondly, I finally learned to sail it.
Despite what I've said about swing keels not being able to go to windward, I
finally managed to do it. You need to finesse the keel inch by inch and
tweak things little by little. You need much less sail altogether. So my
sailing skills have improved. But I'm still crap at tactics. I have no idea what
to do. I'm still a bloody novice." - Herb McCormick
Event website: http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OXYMORONS