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SCUTTLEBUTT #289 - March 15, 1999

CONGRESSIONAL CUP - Report by Rich Roberts
LONG BEACH, Calif.-Defending champion Peter Holmberg of the U.S. Virgin Islands overcame a pre-start foul by executing a perfect penalty turn at the finish of the last race to beat Germany's Markus Wieser by three seconds and win his second Congressional Cup Saturday.

Wieser, the world's No. 6-ranked match racer, had won 12 consecutive races going into his climactic match with the fifth-ranked Holmberg in 12 knots of breeze on the outer harbor. The two wound up even with 15 wins and 3 losses through the double round robin, but Holmberg's win over Wieser in the first round was the tie-breaker. Holmberg won $7,500 and all of his crew received Longines watches worth a total of $10,000. Wieser won $5,000 and third-place Francesco de Angelis of Italy (12-6) won $2,500.

It was perhaps the strongest field in the 35 years the Long Beach Yacht Club has been staging the event. Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and Whitbread Round the World Race winner Paul Cayard was fourth at 11?-6, followed by 1996-97 winner Gavin Brady at 11-7. Cayard's half-point penalty for a collision Wednesday cost him third place and $2,500. All of the top four except Wieser will sail in the America's Cup starting at Auckland, N.Z. in October.

Holmberg integrated his own Team Caribbean campaign with Team Dennis Conner when funding fell short. "Back home we announced that [Conner] joined us," Holmberg said, joking. Conner already has a designated helmsman in Ken Read, who called tactics for Holmberg this week. "I'm just there to help the boat win," Holmberg said. He hopes to bring one or two of his Virgin Islands crew to TDC-particularly bowman Ben Beer. Other members of his crew were main sail trimmer John Gluek and headsail trimmers Jon Gunderson and Chris Busch.

All played critical roles in the final maneuver. "It's just timing," Holmberg said. "We talked 'em through it all the way down [to the finish line]." Holmberg was angered when the on-water umpires tagged him for a penalty less than a minute before the gun. "[Wieser] hit me from behind and they gave me the penalty," he said. "I don't know what the umpires were thinking."

The first time they converged upwind, Holmberg had starboard right-of-way and momentarily bore away to force Wieser into a deeper duck-a maneuver called "hunting." When he had to alter course to avoid hitting Wieser, Holmberg claimed foul and thought he had canceled out the penalty turn he owed. "But no call," Holmberg said. Then he was really angry. "But we kept our cool and turned that anger into aggression. I told my crew we had to sail fast and get far enough in front to do the turn."

A lead of 22 seconds at the last windward mark was just enough. "It's just timing," Holmberg said. "We talked it through all the way [downwind]." Just before crossing next to the committee boat, the crew hoisted the headsail, dropped the spinnaker and Holmberg turned hard left. As the Catalina 37 spun on its keel, the bow rotated around to cross the line just before Wieser blew through at the other end. Wieser, after reeling off a dozen wins in a row, said, "We should be happy with second place. But it was so close."

Betsy Alison, the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, had a winless week (0-18) to earn the event's traditional booby prize: the late Arthur Knapp's classic book, "Sail Your Boat Right."

Results: ROUND 16-Dave Perry, Pequot YC, Southport, Conn., def. Betsy Alison, International Yacht and Athletic Club, Newport, R.I., 0:35; Gavin Brady, Royal Hong Kong YC, def. Scott Dickson, Long Beach YC, 0:16; Peter Holmberg, St. Thomas YC, U.S. Virgin Islands, def. Neville Wittey, Royal Sydney YC, Australia, 0:54; Francesco de Angelis, YC Punta Ala, Italy, def. Luc Pillot, Club APCC Nantes, France, 0:39; Markus Wieser, Deutscher Touring YC, Germany, def. Paul Cayard, St. Francis YC, San Francisco, 0:14.

ROUND 17-Brady d. Perry, 0:51; Wittey d. Dickson, 0:29; Pillot d. Alison, 0:10; Wieser d. de Angelis, 0:03; Holmberg d. Cayard, 10.5-6.

ROUND 18-Brady d. Wittey, 0:24; Dickson d. Alison, 0:24; de Angelis d. Perry7, 0:23; Cayard d. Pillot, 0:33; Holmberg d. Wieser, 0:03.

FINAL STANDINGS-1. Holmberg, 15-3 (wins on tie-breaker); 2. Wieser, 15-3; 3. de Angelis, 12-6; 4. Cayard, 11.5-6*; 5. Brady, 11-7; 6. Pillot, 10-8; 7. Dickson, 6-12; 8. Wittey, 5.5-12*; 9. Perry, 3-15; Alison, 0-18.
*--Penalized one-half point.

Event website:


Factoid: For the second year in a row, Peter Holmberg used a jib from Ullman Sails to win the Congressional Cup. In fairness however, I should probably mention that all of the Catalina 37s used for this match race regatta had identical Ullman jibs. That's because Long Beach YC knows these world class sailors expect the best equipment, and Ullman Sails delivered just that -- within budget. Find out how affordable improved performance can be:

BACARDI CUP MIAMI, FL. (March 13, 1999) -- The 73rd Annual Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta came to a close today with an exciting last race. Canadians Ross Macdonald, 34, and Kai Bjorn, 30, crossed the finish line in seventh place to secure a first place win overall.

The six-day historic sailing regatta, held at the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, began Sunday, March 7th, attracting the world's best sailors, representing North America, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.

Despite a late start due to inactive winds, the conditions quickly improved and today's race began with the sailors facing 10 to 12-knot breezes and climbing, with a light chop in the waters.

Eric Doyle and Brian Terhaar, from San Diego, yesterday's first place finishers, looked as if they would win it all up until the very end when Macdonald and Bjorn continued to surge on the leaders. At the finish it was the team of Peter Bromby and Lee White, from Bermuda, who beat the rest of the 93 boats in the daily race, but placed fifth overall.

"Our strategy was to sail a clean race," said Macdonald, two-time Bacardi Cup Champion, 1994 Star World Champion and 1992 Olympic Bronze medal winner. Macdonald and Bjorn repeated their 1995 Bacardi Cup win. "We tried to stay offensive and catch up to the people we needed to beat, but it was a tough race which could easily have gone the other way," Macdonald added.

Results: 1. Ross Macdonald/Kai Bjorn (English Bay, Canada/Montreal, Canada), 3-1-8-3-47-7, 22 points; 2. Eric Doyle/ Brian Terhaar (San Diego, CA/ San Diego, CA), 7-10-1-11-1-8 27; 3. John MacCausland/Phil Trinter (Medford, NJ/Lorain, OH), 1-14-26-5-3-4, 27; 4. Mark Reynolds/Magnus Liljedahl (San Diego, CA/Coral Gables, FL), 2-9-18-4-11-2, 28; 5. Peter Bromby/Lee White (Bermuda/ Bermuda) 29-15-4-1-12-1, 33; 6. Cuyler Morris/Tom Olsen (Southwest Harbor, ME/East Dennis, MA), 9-8-13-7-35-3, 40; 7. Peter Vessella/Mike Dorgan (San Francisco, CA/San Diego, CA), 11-3-14-13-8-9, 44; 7. Vincent Hoesch/Florian Fendt (Germany/Germany), 5-12-20-9-55-5, 51; 9. Augie Diaz/Hal Haenel (Miami, FL/Los Angeles), 6-16-DSQ-18-5-15, 60; 10. Vince Brun/Rick Peter (San Diego Bay,CA/San Diego Bay, CA), 19-4-21-10-45-10, 64.

Event website:

With less than a month to go before the start of the 26th annual International Rolex Cup Regatta, the St. Thomas Yacht Club's Rolex Committees are finalizing plans for the event. Sponsored by Rolex of Geneva, the racing and regatta festivities begin on Thursday, April 1, with a Welcoming Party and Skippers' Meeting at the yacht club, followed by three days of racing on April 2-4.

Rolex of Geneva provides Rolex timepieces to winners of each class. The Swiss watchmaker has sponsored the regatta for all 26 years of its existence. Included in this year's roundup of top stars competing will be US SAILING's Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I., who is currently competing in the Congressional Cup with an all-woman crew.

The regatta's honorary chairman is Walter Fischer, a longtime St. Thomas resident who last summer was named President and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A. Bill Shoemaker and Colin Probyn of St. Thomas are sharing responsibilities as regatta directors, while Arthur "Tuna" Wullschleger and John Bonds are returning as Chief Judge and Senior Race Officer, respectively. Other jury members are David Kilponen from the United States, Cary Byerly Ferron from St. Martin, Jean Michael Criquet from Martinique and Richard Johnson, Henry Menin and Pat Bailey from St. Thomas. Local committee chairs who serve on a volunteer basis are Charlie Balch, Philip Brady, Cyndi Britton, Phyllis Brown, Marie Canfield, Frauke Feddersen, Nancy Firestone, Kirk Grybowski, Kathy McCarthy, Lyn Reid, Jackson Roberts, Majorie Roberts and Rob Schreiner.

Copies of the 1999 International Rolex Cup Regatta Program are available at the St. Thomas Yacht Club (340-775-6320.) Entry forms are available at the yacht club and on the regatta web page ( All entry forms must be filed by 6 p.m. at the St. Thomas Yacht Club on Tuesday, March 30.

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

-- From Chris Ericksen - I read Peter Huston's data in his guest editorial in 'Butt #286 and came to an exactly opposite conclusion: if since US SAILING only sells to one per cent of the target market, narrow the target market.

A few years ago, US SAILING decided to encompass recreational sailing. What a stupid idea! I'm sure the national authority for track and field isn't out trying to enroll joggers--so why is the national authority for the sport of sailboat racing trying to? I agree that a competitive sport needs infrastructure--those boring things like rules, judging, appeals, insurance--but a weekend sailor gunkholing along the coast couldn't care less, let alone want pay for, these things.

US SAILING, listen to one racing sailor: Stop selling to a market for whom you have no product. Stop wasting our money trying to create a product to sell to this market. Do a better job serving our needs--not what you think we need, but what we really need. If you don't know, ask some of us directly. And otherwise leave us all alone.

--From Annie Becker -- One way US Sailing could gain members is by sending them a notice and a bill for reinstatement when their membership expires. My 1995 membership expired and I was never contacted. Sometime later I found a form in someone else's Sailing World and rejoined. It has now been over two years since that would have expired and still nothing. Instead of working on 200,000 new members they could work on how to get current members to stay members and invite those whose memberships have expired to rejoin. Could I be the only one slipping through these cracks?

-- From Chris Luppens -- I would like to know if Mr. Huston belongs to US SAILING? He is not listed in the last Directory, but that could be an error or, maybe he joined later. Member or not he is welcome to come to the meeting in Dallas, and take part. Most folks who go to the meeting pay all their expenses, and do their level best to do what is becoming a much more difficult job. Good to know the efforts are appreciated. There are so many unrelated, unsubstantiated, and illogical statements made that any meaningful response to Mr. Huston's editorial is almost impossible.

I would like to offer the ongoing discussions regarding race quality and the noted improvement in same over the years. Who can argue with that overall? It must be one of those things that just happen though, since judges, umpires etc. are "just what I want to liven up a party". Yawn, the letter is sure to generate lots of comments and stir the pot, but I haven't seen a specific "how to" in it. That's the hard part though. I guess his editorial was published to stir things up, but constructive ideas on how to make things better would have done a lot more for the sport, but that wouldn't have been as much fun, would it.

Curmudgeon's comments: Yes, Peter Huston is indeed a USSA member. He has attended some 15 Annual and Semi-Annual meetings and has served on the General Service Committee, the inshore committee and the former IYRU Events Committee. He was president of the now dormant US Professional Sailing - a wholly owned subsidiary of US Sailing, and was the author of "Sponsorship in Sailing - The Club Perspective." Huston also served as Special Assistant to the President Hobbs for Sponsorship Affairs.

-- From Herb McCormick -- Some interesting letters on Around Alone. Thought Nick Longhurst's comments about the race being an endurance contest were spot on. But Richard Hazelton's remark--"Why are the boats getting more fragile--prize money, what else?" was off the mark. There is no cash prize for Around Alone.

DONQ REGATTA - Report by Alex Pline
Coconut Grove Sailing Club Miami, FL -- The regatta finished off with a single race in a 15 knot southerly. AP/H was flown after the finish to get the fleet back to the dock before the impending forecasted thunderstorms-not a problem. The boats were all packed up and trophies awarded in plenty of time as the breeze picked up throughout the afternoon.

Yesterday's top three finishers repeated today, except the order was a slightly changed as Augie Diaz/Pam Kelly (Miami, FL) won the race, George Szabo/Carol Newman Cronin (San Diego, CA/Jamestown, RI) finished the double triangle course with a second and Andy Pimental/Sherry Welch (Portsmouth, RI/St. Pete, FL) were third.

The order on the score sheet in the top five remained the same except that Hal Gilreath/Alex Stout (Atlanta, GA/Annapolis, MD) moved into 5th overall with a 5th in the last race. Augie Diaz, no doubt was hoping for a fifth race as he had some blazing speed and narrowly missed taking second overall from Pimental/Welch by 0.75 points.

Final Results: 1. George Szabo/Carol Newman Cronin (San Diego, CA/Jamestown, RI) 4.25 points; 2. Andy Pimental/Sherry Welch (Portsmouth, RI/St. Pete, FL) 9; 3. Augie Diaz/Pam Kelly (Miami, FL) 9.75; 4. Henry Filter/Lorie Stout (Annapolis, MD) 25; 5. Hal Gilreath/Alex Stout (Atlanta, GA/Annapolis, MD) 32.

The boats make their way to Nassau, Bahamas on Monday March 15, and racing starts on Wednesday with the Bacardi Regatta.

Event website:

At the Executive Meeting held in Paris on 29 - 31 January, the 2000 Olympic Advisory Board recommended that the Round Robin format at the 2000 Olympic Regatta and the principle of seeding, which was submitted by the International Soling Association at the 1998 ISAF Annual November Conference in Palma de Mallorca, should be supported. However, due to time constraints in the overall schedule, 12 teams from the Fleet Racing should qualify for the Match Racing competition. In order to have a fall-back result for the awarding of medals, the 2000 Olympic Advisory Board especially supports the International Soling Association's request that the Quarter-Final round should be a Round Robin.

In the format agreed with SOCOG, the top three teams are seeded to the Quarter-Final, the next three are seeded to Round Two, and the last six will race against each other in Round One. The format is as follows:
* 15/16 boats sail 6 fleet races - the last 4 boats are eliminated. Top 12 go through.
* 6 boats in places 7 - 12 from the fleet racing sail a single Round Robin. Top 3 boats go through to Round Robin 2.
* Places 4 - 6 from the fleet racing plus top 3 from Round Robin 1 sail in Round Robin 2. Top 3 boats go through to Quarter Final.
* Places 1 - 3 from the fleet racing plus top 3 from Round Robin 2 sail Quarter Finals to eliminate 2 boats
* 4 boats sail semi-finals and finals.

Further information:

BARCELONA--Strong winds prevented any racing on the final day of the third series of races for the Trofeo Majorica. With one race discarded from the score, David Maclean's Babbalaas, steered by Eddie Warden Owen, was the winner by three points from Ortwen Kandler's Faster K-Yote, steered by Luc Gelleseau. Three point further back was Chris Little's Bounder, steered by Jeremy Robinson.

There is one, possibly two, more series of races to complete the Trofeo Majorica in which Faster K-Yote is the leader by two points from Babbalaas. - Bob Fisher

Results: Overall points after six races with one discard: 1. Babbalaas David Maclean GBR 7 2. Faster K-Yote Ortwen Kandler FRA 10 3. Bounder Chris Little GBR 13 4. Indulgence Graham Walker GBR 16 5. Aifos Jaime Toubes ESP 22 6. La Casera Eugenio Jaudenes ESP 27 7. Exit Jose Joanpeira ESP 33

Series points: 1. Faster K-Yote 44 2. Babbalaas 42 3. Aifos 33 4. Bounder 32 5. Indulgence 32 6. La Casera 28 7. Investor Thomas Blixt SWE 26 8. Exit 17 9. The Full Monty Peter Morton GBR 13

AROUND ALONE French solo sailor Marc Thiercelin - his boat battered after a disastrous dismasting two weeks ago - guided the once-sleek, gold, 60-foot SOMEWHERE across the Leg 3 finish line of Around Alone at 0319 local time (0619 GMT) today after a long battle with light winds during the journey's last 50 miles. His time for the voyage from Auckland, New Zealand to Punta del Este, Uruguay is 37 days 07 hours 19 minutes 57 seconds, which includes the time Thiercelin was forced to stop for repairs. After three legs of the race, Thiercelin stands in second place in Class I and third overall, behind Giovanni Soldini (Class I, FILA) and J.P. Mouligne (Class II, Cray Valley).

After a dismasting that cost him the overall lead in the singlehanded race around the world, Thiercelin constructed a jury-rig and sailed to the Falkland Islands, where he met up with his shore crew and worked feverishly to get back in the race. He set sail late Monday using a replacement aluminum mast nearly seven meters shorter than the original carbon-fibre one, which he cut away after the accident. Thiercelin plans to spend his down-time in Punta working to repair the boat, including installing a new mast specifically built for SOMEWHERE.

Event website:

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