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SCUTTLEBUTT #293 - March 19, 1999

George Szabo/Peter Bruce Wassitch win the Bacardi Cup! For George that's 3 for 3 on the Snipe circuit. Past Commodore Jimmy Lowe won the last race to move up to fifth for the regatta. George's 5th in the last race must have been the result of a great Bacardi Party the night before! The last race, held in the morning was an olympic course in 12-15 knots, clear skys and temperatures in the high 70's. Life doesn't get any better than that. The afternoon race was the start of the Dudley/Gamblin Series. - Alex Pline

Top 5 Final Results:
1.George Szabo (San Diego, CA)/Peter Bruce Wassitch (Nassau, Bahamas)
2.Robert Dunkley/Ted Smith (Nassau, Bahamas)
3.Birger Jansen/Liv Ulveie (Norway)
4.Gonzo Diaz (Miami, FL)/Sherry Eldridge (Towson, MD)
5.Jimmy Lowe/ Gavin McKinney (Nassau, Bahamas)

Event website:

49ER NAs
Sonora Bay Club Med, Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico - Eighteen 49ers from Mexico, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the United States have all come to the Club Med for 4 days of racing. Conditions have been perfect for the skiff racing. With North Westerly winds from 10-25 knots we have had two excellent days of racing.

Results, Day One: 1. Larson, Morgan / Hall, Kevin (6) 2. McKee, Jonathan / McKee, Charlie (14) 3. Renehan, Jay / Lanzinger, Chris (15) 4.Mack, Andy / Lowry, Adam (20) 5.Baylis, Tina / Baylis, Trevor (21)

Event website:

A near-50 percent jump in entries and classes has assured keen competition for the second GMC Yukon/Sailing World National Offshore One-Design Regatta starting today (Friday). Entries topped 140 as crews from the Western states rigged their boats in final preparations at the San Diego Yacht Club Thursday. They will compete in 13 classes, including the popular Etchells and Melges 24s.

There were 97 boats in seven classes for San Diego's first appearance in the nationwide NOOD series last year. Defending champions competing include Newport Beach sailmaker Dave Ullman, Melges 24; San Diego realtor Andy La Dow, Etchells; San Diego's Cliff Odom, Ultimate 20; San Diego's Robert Wright, J/35, and Kim and Lynda Alfreds of Bellingham, Wash., Corsair multihulls. Races will be run on two offshore courses and another on south San Diego Bay.

Each class is scheduled to sail two races today, two Saturday and one Sunday, starting at 11:30 a.m., wind permitting. - Rich Roberts

Event website:

Dawn Riley's "America True", The San Francisco Yacht Club challenge for America's Cup 2000, is extending its pool of technical resources. The syndicate recently hired marine electronics systems specialist Eric Steinberg to design, implement, and manage electronics and data collection equipment for its new America's Cup boat.

"The equipment used for on the water testing is very sensitive," said America True Sailing Director John Cutler. "We need someone with the expertise to manage a smooth setup process who can also troubleshoot and solve problems. Eric knows his business and the equipment."

Steinberg, 36, owns and operates Farallon Electronics, a leading Bay Area marine electronics company providing equipment to high end racing yachts for the past 10 years. Before starting Farallon in 1989, Steinberg managed the service department of a local marine electronics company where he was able to fuse his two major interests - sailing and electronic communications - and now has 15 years of experience in the industry. In addition, Steinberg is a FCC licensed technician with factory service certification from major marine electronics manufacturers.

Steinberg has successfully implemented electronics equipment on many important racing yachts, including the Maxi yachts Morning Glory and Sayonara. He has also been a frequent contributor to Scuttlebutt. -- Grace S. Kim

America True website: h

Navigator/sailmaker Mark Rudiger and his wife Lori just returned from Hawaii with the new addition to their family -- adopted son Zayle Rudiger, who is two weeks old today. Now there will still be a man in Lori's life while Mark is off racing.


Buy a new mainsail today, and Ullman Sails will throw in a free belt. Hell, they might even do it if you only order a jib or a kite. Improved performance is more affordable than you think! Shop on-line:
Hurry - this offer probably expires at midnight.

(The following are excerpts from DEFENCE 2000, which is available from -- US $48 per year.)

* Journalist Blair Harkness interviewed Team New Zealand's Brad Butterworth over the support boat ramming incidence reported last issue. Butterworth made no bones about his message to Nippon Challenge and the New York Yacht Club. "Everybody else is getting on with it," says Butterworth." We don't bother them, and they don't bother us. But the Japanese and Young America from the New York Yacht Club are out there every day, watching us, shadowing us, and trying to match our speed. If they continue with this, it's easy for us to put some resource on them when they get here for the Louis Vuitton. They get pretty close at times. If we want to do something like try a new sail, then it becomes a bit difficult. Time is precious, and if it gets too much of a problem then we will need an interpretation of the protocol on what constitutes harassment." NYYC has gone home, but they and Nippon Challenge should now be getting the message .

* Legislation before New Zealand's parliament will allow the America's Cup organisers to charge for an entry to airspace above the regatta course. The Civil Aviation Amendment bill is under consideration by a parliamentary select committee, and is designed to designate airspace and give the event organisers the right to control access. Cup organisers say the rules are in the interests of safety, and are not a revenue gathering concept. There are some hot-under-the-collar aviators around declaring this legislation is draconian, and saying that it is a totally unacceptable precedent. Whilst there is no question that the space must be ably controlled, the thorny subject of money and who gets it will only be resolved once applications are made to the organisers. No one is yet saying what a permit for access will cost. Stand by for more on this issue!

* Torbjorn Smith, the New Zealand manager for Ericsson Communication, has signed an agreement on behalf of his parent company with America's Cup 2000 to supply equipment and technology to enhance the animated graphics for the Cup in 2000. Press reports indicate that there will be infinitely more graphic sophistication in 1999/2000 as compared with those supplied to world television in 1995.

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 Steve Schupak -- Peter Johnstone raises an interesting point in butt #292 about volunteering. After being named co-chairman for the W.D. Schock Memorial Regatta at Newport Harbor YC, and organizing three race courses, registration check in, protest committees, and a couple of social activities, you do gain a real appreciation for all the work involved in staging any regatta. These behind the scenes jobs are truly thank less and still vital to conducting any regatta. Sometimes we don't do enough to thank these people for all their efforts.

Everyone who races should make it a point to take at least one opportunity each season to volunteer to by RC, protest committee, or some other function for a regatta and help give back what you sometimes take for granted each time you race. This will help the regulars out by lessening their load and give you a better appreciation for the job they are trying to get done.

-- From the Wizard, Bill Lee -- There is a picture on our web site of me sailing one of those "dirt boats" at 85 mph at Ivanpah Dry lake back in the mid 70's. Unsafe at any speed. Even if you are going slow in the dirtboat, some nerd on a motorcycle runs into you. It is hard to get them to go really fast because in the upper speed ranges, the tires loose grip would just as likely go sideways. It is like trying to sail with the centerboard up. But remember, you can't have too much fun !!:

Hardly 3 months after the last Skippers Meeting in December 98 and the arrival of the 3rd major partner France Telecom alongside Disneyland Paris and the Mission 2000, things are accelerating for The Race of the Millennium. As for challengers, the list of the first competitors is taking shape. At six months from the latest date for starting to build the last projects, the organisation of The Race is today delighted with the confirmation of order for 2 new maxi-catamarans for the French Multiplast yard.

The situation on March 18th 99:
1. Catamaran, 32.50 m, designed by the American design duo Gino Morelli/Peter Melvin, for Steve Fossett (USA), PlayStation was launched at the end of December 98 in Auckland (NZ) where she has been sailing since the beginning of January. She will soon be going to New York to qualify on the Atlantic crossing record course.

2. Catamaran, 37 m, Goss Challenge, the twin rigged wave piercer by the architect Adrian Thompson for British yachtsman Pete Goss, has been under construction in Totnes (GB) since spring 98. Launching, end of 99.

3. Catamaran, 33 m, by French architect Gilles Ollier (signed on March 3rd 99) for Polish yachtsman Roman Paszke. Winner of the last Admirals Cup as a member of the American team, Roman is currently forging links with Swedish and German teams to give his challenge an international touch. Construction is to start in April 99. Launching April 2000.

4. Catamaran, 30 m, (made official on March 12th, 99), Millenium Challenge stems from the transformation of the venerable Enza of Peter Blake, for English yachtsman Tony Bullimore. Undergoing transformation work in Bristol under the control of her designer Nigel Irens, she will be stretched to 100 ft (30 m). Launching in autumn 99.

5. Catamaran, 33 m, (signed March 15th 1999), first of 2 boats ordered from Gilles Ollier by an International Group whose identity remains confidential. Her characteristics will be kept secret until September 99. Construction to start on April 2nd 99 in the Multiplast yard. Launching end of March 2000.

6. Catamaran, 33 m (sister ship of the previous one). Option to be confirmed in July 99, this second Ollier catamaran will be built in the same moulds as the first, starting in September 99. Launching end of June 2000.

With six months left to start building the final projects, the signing of these last two contracts brings to 6 (including 1 on option) the number of giant catamarans of more than 30 metres under construction for The Race. A further two big multihull projects, currently being finalised, should be confirmed in the next few months.

Finally, about ten projects remain under study, notably for trimarans and large monohulls.

Event website:

At the Opening Day ceremonies of Marina del Rey's California YC, Commodore Alex Benson flipped a switch, and CYC member, Around Alone competitor Brad Van Liew come on the loudspeakers to greet the several hundred folks present. After battling towering seas and gusts to 100 knots for the past month on Leg Three of Around Alone 'round Cape Horn, Brad was in Punta del Este. Relaxing? In a Jacuzzi? Nope . . . he was on his cell phone and in the middle of a dinghy race in the harbor. "This is a whole lot better than being upside down in the middle of nowhere," commented Brad. Talk about dedication to the sport of sailing . . . and the ease of modern communications! -- Frank Gleberman, Past Commodore California YC

The Viper 640 Class Association has formed a NOOD Overall Championship. This Championship is a three-event series that kicks off with the GMC Yukon / Sailing World NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, Maryland. Competition will continue at the NOOD in Marblehead, Massachusetts and end with the Viper 640 Nationals. The St. Petersburg, Florida NOOD will be added to the series in 2000.

The series will be decided by the low-score point totals across the three events, with the overall championship is restricted for owner/drivers only. Sailing World / GMC Yukon is providing the perpetual trophy.

The Class Association office has already received preliminary commitments from 10 boats. Upwards of 16 Viper 640s are expected on the starting line in Annapolis, which will make it the biggest Viper 640 regatta ever.

For information:

Charleston, South Carolina's Around Alone Internet is hosting a free race trivia contest where correct answers enter people into a drawing for a SonyR Digital Camera. A total of 50 questions will be posted to the site, approximately one per day. All correct answers will be automatically entered into the prize drawing, which takes place 29 May 1999. Rules of entry are posed on the site:

PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY: In the face of questions regarding Marc Thiercelin's lack of involvement in the Isabelle Autissier rescue, Around Alone Race Director Mark Schrader met privately for two hours with Thiercelin on Tuesday to discuss and clarify Thiercelin's actions during the emergency situation. Schrader and Thiercelin released these written statements late yesterday.

* From Mark Schrader, Race Director, Around Alone 1998-99 - "Direct communications are the first and most important action during crisis situations. After talking to Marc, I believe strongly that bad communications procedures on Marc's part and miscommunications on the part of the SOMEWHERE campaign led to Marc's errors in judgment during the Autissier emergency. I believe Marc now understands the situation better as it unfolded. He expressed to me his regret for not handling the situation better.

"I reminded him that doing all one can to help others in distress at sea is the cardinal rule, singlehanders are more aware of than most, and as a very experienced sailor he should stay more focused on that tenet in the future. He was 121 miles away from PRB when the first distress alert was sent to the fleet, although his boat was damaged and weather conditions were difficult, he should have realized the importance of staying in direct communication with the race organization. Marc agreed, and apologized to me and the race for his inappropriate actions. He will express the same directly to Giovanni and Isabelle.

"The Race Committee and competitors will review the communication requirements and penalties at the end of the race in an attempt to ensure total compliance in future races. I think it is now time for everyone to focus on the preparations for the final leg of this race."

* From Marc Thiercelin, competitor, SOMEWHERE Campaign - "After my discussions with Mark Schrader, who fully explained the events that transpired during Isabelle's emergency, I now know that had I been communicating directly with the Race Operations Center (ROC) in Charleston, I would have immediately stopped and waited for instructions on how I could have helped. I regret deeply that I did not do so.

"It was a very stressful situation for me because, when the ROC message came in, I was repairing my boom and gooseneck and trying to organize things inside from a near capsize. Because my English is not good, I called my shore crew in Paris to ask for assistance in keeping communications going while I was making my repairs. It was then that I was given the impression that Giovanni was already on his way to Isabelle.

"I know now that Giovanni had not yet received the emergency message and was not on his way. I know now Race Operation tried to contact me by phone to advise me of this but I was unable to receive the call. Some three hours after the notice, the winds changed to a more favorable direction for turning around and I had finished my repairs. Then I found out from my Paris connection that Giovanni was really on his way. I felt like Giovanni was then in a better position with wind and waves to more quickly assist Isabelle since I had sailed many miles further in the process.

"Knowing what I do now, I realize I made two errors to which my tiredness, the communications with my shore crew and the conditions contributed greatly. First, I should have confirmed the situation personally with the ROC before proceeding on to Cape Horn. And, I should have tried to hove-to until the rescue had been accomplished or I had been formally released from my station by Race Operations.

"The rule of the sea that you should always help anyone in distress is beyond a rule for me, it is an absolute demand on us all-particularly in a race like Around Alone. Circumstances forced me to make an error this time for which I am very sorry. If I had any thoughts at the time that I could have helped, I would have turned back. I am just extremely happy that Isabelle is now safe and I commend Giovanni for his great act to save her."

Event website:

Families who sail together -- fail together.