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SCUTTLEBUTT #302 - April 2, 1999

Although 4 races were scheduled for Wednesday, breeze of 18-26 Knots caused the shortening of the schedule. Tuesdays five races were held in the open Ocean outside the Long Beach breakwater. However the heavy wind and seas Wednesday forced the racing back inside the breakwater near the Belmont Pier.

10 of the 11 boats rigged up to race in the heavy air. 9 left the beach but after numerous capsizes and some gear failure only 3 made the delayed start of race 6. Only two boats (McKee's & Mack/Lowry) were able to attempt to start race 7 but when Andy Mack and Adam Lowry's Main began to tear they were forced to retire. This left only Team Mclube (Jonathan and Charlie McKee) to further perfect their World Class 49er form in the 25 knot winds securing another race win and class PCC title. -- Michael Segerblom, Principal Race Officer

Final results: 1 Jonathan McKee / Charlie McKee (9) 2. Morgan Larson / Bruno Oberhofen (31) 3. Andy Mack / DNS Adam Lowry (33) 4. Kenji Nakamura / Tomoyuki Sasaki (48) 5. Tina Baylis / Trevor Baylis (55) 6. Kris Henderson / Allan Johnson (58) 7. Sean "Doogie" Couvre / Brendon Couvreux (59)

49ER INSIGHT - Report by Jonathan McKee
The final leg of the 1999 spring tour was the 49er Pacific Coast Champs, held in Long Beach, California on March 30-31. Although the fleet was small, the standard was high, with 5 countries represented, and the top teams battle-hardened by the 2 previous regattas. Adding to the tension, this was the final event in the 1999 US Sailing Team ranking.

The first day we sailed outside the breakwater in the open ocean. The wind started out light, about 7 knots and out of the south, with a westerly swell and large surface chop making for challenging sailing. Team McLube (Jonathan & Charlie McKee) won the pin end at the first start, tacked across the fleet and never looked back, winning by a minute. Team Revo were second, and third was Sean and Brendon Couvreux on CSE Insurance. Sailing in only their third 49er regatta, these kids are an inspiration to up-and-coming 49er teams everywhere with their organization and professional approach.

The breeze stayed light and shifty for the second race. Again McLube controlled the start and had great speed to round the top mark with a comfortable lead. Kenji Nakamura and Tomo Sasaki from Japan rallied to 2nd, with Morgan Larson and Bruno Zeltner from Switzerland on Yale Cordage in third. The breeze built a little for the next race, but Team McLube remained unstoppable, with another easy victory. This time it was Larson/Zeltner second and Toyota from Japan third, with Mack/Lowery again fourth.

The wind finally built to 11 knots by race 4, and swung to a more traditional westerly direction. McKee and Larson duelled on the first beat, but McLube was a little faster and again was able to round in the lead. With solid downwind speed, the race was over. Kenji and Tomo again rallied for second place, with Larson/Zeltner third and Chad Hough/Dave Fox from Michigan 4th. More typical Long Beach conditions kicked in for the last race of the day, sailed in a 14 knot westerly. Tina and Trevor Baylis tacked to the right off the line, and with good speed rounded right behind Larson. But Morgan and Bruno went too far for the middle gate downwind, and the Baylis' rolled over the top, continuing on to a big lead by the finish. McLube rallied to a very close 2nd at the finish.

Racing Wednesday was a totally different story. The day dawned cold and clear, with a 20-knot westerly. By start time, the breeze had built to 20-25 knots with big puffs. These are marginal conditions for even the very best 49er teams, and too much for most of the fleet, who beat a hasty retreat to the beach after a brief foray. 3 boats started the first race. Andy Mack and Adam Lowery showed impressive form to win the race easily, followed by Team McLube. But Revo crashed hard just after finishing and ripped their main. So it was Team McLube sailing around the track alone in the last race of the series, getting in some valuable heavy air practice. -- Jonathan McKee

The US Sailing Team was selected as follows: 1. Team McLube 2. Morgan Larson/Kevin Hall 3. Andy Mack/Adam Lowery 4. Jay Renehan/Chris Lanzinger 5. Kris Henderson/Allan Jonnson.

ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. -- The 26th International Rolex Regatta begins today with between 85 and 90 entrants. One hot contender from Tortola is two-time Rolex winner Mermaid II - formerly known as Titan IV -- which also won the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit (SORC) in 1986. Mark Ploch of Clearwater, Florida will be at the helm. Owner Bill Berardelli will also be on board. No novice to Rolex, Ploch served as tactician for the two previous Rolex victories and skippered then-Titan IV for the SORC victory. Now fresh off a 1999 SORC class victory as tactician aboard an ID35, Ploch is psyched about the Rolex Regatta. Eight other boats from the British Virgin Islands will also be participating in the Rolex Regatta, in addition to boats chartered from BVI charter operations, according Mermaid II crewmember Bob Phillips.

The Regatta also will have a separate Melges 24 class for the first time ever. Chris Rosenberg's Marriott Frenchmans' Reef Melges 24 will no doubt attempt to defend last year's first place finish against Robbie Ferron's Grand Slam, Tony Teixidore's Gamberro, Fritz Bus' CaribMatra from St. Maartan, and Barney Crooks' Airgasm from Tortola, and Sassy Lady with St. Thomian Peter Holmberg and Puerto Rico's Eugene "Slacko" Balzac on board, among others.

Other boats to watch include Sheerness, a Taylor 41 with Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison at the helm. Ruff-Ian, a J-24 from St. John, has a crew all ages 15 or under, under Ian Beam's guidance. And All That Wins, a Sonar 24, will have an all-woman crew with Lisa Schmidt in charge.


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You've heard about the passing of Harvey Shlaskly on the Double-handed Farallones Race last Saturday. On a positive note, we were able to help in the rescue of the crew aboard a flipped trimaran.

The Double-handed Farallones Race is typically rough, but this year was extra windy. By most accounts, the wind was steadily over 35kts at times, especially near the islands themselves. There was quite a strong north to south current running, causing many boats not to lay the island, including ourselves.

I was sailing aboard "Azzura" the prototype Azzura 31 (owned by Sven Svendsen & Arne Jonsson) with Arne's son Joakim. I was cursing myself for footing too much early on, before we noticed the set. This cost us a good 15 minutes on port tack to get to a layline, but the delay turned out to be a good thing. Just before bearing off to round the back side of the island, we saw a flare launched not far ahead.

We had been passed by an F-31 and a J-35 while we were on port tack, but now could only see the J. As we got closer we saw the upside down tri and some flotsom in the water. The J-35 "Friday Harbor" had lowered their sails at least part way, and almost immediately snatched the first crew of the tri in a daring (in the large seas) close pass. We made sure none of the stuff floating around was a person, and then rolled up our jib, started our engine and stood by, reaching back and forth just to weather of the scene.

We could see Gary Helms (a fellow participant in the 96 singlehanded transpac) sitting on the upturned tri. The J was still close the him so we let them do their thing first. Somehow they got Gary their lifesling and began towing him away from the tri. Unfortunately, Gary couldn't hold on and let go.

We saw our chance and Joakim dropped our double reefed main and went for our lifesling. I motored just to leeward of Gary and headed up, but we didn't have the sling ready yet. I just spun around again (the Azzura powers very well) and we got the line in Gary's hands with him 10-15ft away. I backed down hard to keep from adding any distance, and shouted encouragement to Gary to hold on, since he didn't look so hot.

We gently pulled him up to the open transom, paused for a moment while Joakim and I got in position, and drug him into the back of the cockpit. Gary contributed with a last bit of strength, and then lay face down, completely spent. It would have been extremely difficult to pull him aboard without the open transom.

We made sure no lines were in the water and got the hell out of there (we were just outside the surf on the windward side of the island!). After a few minutes Joakim got Gary fwd, and eventually down below, out of his gear and in a sleeping bag. We re-hoisted the main and unrolled the jib and blasted home. We passed several boats on the way back, but crossed outside the finish line, I didn't want to mess with redress issues, as we were happy to get Gary back. Besides, I'd blown the beat out! -- Bruce Schwab, Svendsens Marine

Quokka Sports Virtual Race opened for the last leg of the Around Alone. Do it now and you'll have plenty of time to check the weather, currents, and properly prepare for the "ride" up the Atlantic. Registration will remain open until capacity is reached or until April 8, whichever comes first.

For more details:

I read all my e-mail (except jokes) but simply can't publish every one of your letters. Those that are printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.

-- From Janet C. Baxter, US SAILING Vice President -- The Olympic and Amateur Sports Act (revised and renamed recently) contains certain requirements for athlete representation on National Governing Body Boards of Directors. In the past couple of years, however, the US Olympic Committee has taken the position that, regardless whether the National Governing Body is in ACTUAL compliance, the organization's bylaws or regulations must specifically contain provisions relating to a minimum of 20% athlete representation.

We have long had "world class" sailors actively involved in our organization, whether on the board or on committees, and this is an opportunity to look for even more. It is well known that most, if not all, National Governing Bodies have difficulty getting their top athletes to actively participate in the governance of the sport. Where we have people in place that meet the definition, we will use them as part of the 20% minimum.

What Peter Huston proposes is a complete revamping of the organizational structure of US SAILING. This may be needed, and was attempted recently. But it is difficult to change the voting rights of specific groups, especially when those very groups will vote on the changes. At the request of many members, we are trying to focus our efforts on sailing and sailors, rather than the internal workings of the organization.

I encourage all sailors to contact their representatives and let them know how you feel on this and all issues. Anyone meeting the USOC's definition of "athlete" is encouraged to contact the US SAILING office to volunteer.

-- From Greg Weeger -- Lowell North's winning star campaign is a true feat of perseverance. I wonder if Matt Jones knows who crewed with Lowell during his winning world championships. Most star sailors come in pairs and each knows how valuable the other person is.

-- From Jessica Lord -- You Brat! You can't do that to oh-so-gullible people like me!! I almost believed every word of 'Butt #301, and sat reading with my jaw dropping lower with every lie you reported. It wasn't until the story of Bill Koch that I caught on. I will never trust you again. Phooey!

-- From Douglas Robbins -- Has Mr. Koch announced any of the crew yet? Is this likely to be a co-ed program? Do you think Kimo Worthington will be hired to be the coach like the A-cubed project?

-- From Craig Alan Levin -- Maybe it was because I only got 3 hours sleep this morning, or that I wanted to believe the sport would evolve, or YOU ARE A REALLY GOOD TALE SPINNER! But you roped me in on every one of these! Thanks for waking me up to today's date. I wonder how many of these will make it into the mainstream media by dinner.

-- From Casey Schnoor -- Nice April Fool's "RF" Tom!!!!! You got me for one and I am sure there are a lot more!

-- From Mark Michaelsen, Small Craft Advisories -- You have out done yourself with this one... I have tears in my eyes from laughter and can barely see the screen....


-- From Dieter Loibner -- I wish some of the outrageous "news" in today's Butt were real.

-- From Steve Roseberg -- It could all happen, that's the really funny part.

-- From Pete Melvin -- Thanks, Tom. Excellent entertainment, you had me saying WOW! all the way to the end.

Curmudgeon's comment: The thanks (or the blame) for 'Butt #301 properly goes to the person who wrote bogus stories, Peter Huston.

The curmudgeon attended the West Marine sponsored 'Gary Jobson on Tour' stop in Huntington Beach on Wednesday evening, and came away impressed (again) with Jobson's infectious enthusiasm for our sport. It was a fun and informative two hours with one America's greatest sailing resources. It's a shame the program was not promoted more effectively - Jobson deserves a SRO audience everywhere he goes.

For those who missed Jobson's Ultimate Sailing show about Key West Race Week, it will re-air tonight at 11:00 PM on the West Coast (PST) on ESPN2.


Pacific Sail Expo returns to San Francisco Bay, April 14-18, 1999, featuring the largest collection of new sailboats and equipment on the Pacific Rim. Over 300 sailing businesses from all across the country will gather this April for a festival of sailing activities in Jack London Square. Seminars, on-the-water demos, and a comprehensive 'Learn to Sail' program will appeal to both armchair sailors and high tech cruisers.

* Wednesday, April 14 will be a Trade and VIP day open to the public. Trade Events include two keynote presentations by renowned industry veterans - Sylvan 'Ham' Hamberger at an industry breakfast and Tom Ehman at the evening reception. Additionally Mayor Jerry Brown will be hosting Opening Ceremonies to the new marina with a guest appearance by Ascend Communications of Alameda who will be announcing a major new sailing sponsorship.

* Lin & Larry Pardey, world class cruisers, will be presenting a series of talks at the show as they introduce their new book, 'The Cost Conscious Cruiser - Champagne Cruising on a Beer Budget'.

* 'Explorer', the 85' catamaran that circumnavigated the globe in under 80 days will be docked at the show for public viewing.

* 'AmericaOne', the 75' International America's Cup Class racing sloop from the AmericaOne syndicate.

The show is located in Jack London Square and will be open daily from 10AM until 6PM and from 10AM to 5PM on Sunday, April 18. Tickets are available in advance or at the gate. -- John Arndt

Event website:

VOLVO OCEAN RACE - Report by John Kostecki
The illbruck Round the World Challenge started-two boat testing yesterday on Tuesday in Sanxenxo, Spain. Sanxenxo, is a small village located in Galicia, on the Atlantic Coast, which is on the northwest corner of Spain.

We have the newly-refurbished and identical Volvo 60's illbruck 1 and illbruck 2, which were formally the EF Whitbread 60's from Sweden. Both the boats spent the winter in a boatyard in Hamburg, Germany getting refitted after the last Whitbread race. The boats are now sporting the new illbruck image paint jobs, including the fading green to white bow sections. The boats are in racing condition, which made sailing on our first day easy.

We have assembled a crew of 18 here in Spain for approximately five weeks of testing. We will be doing a combination of day sailing and offshore sailing with the two boats side by side, testing various equipment. This allows us to test different sail shapes and boat configurations easily and what we learn here we can apply to our new boat and sails for the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race.

We have an international team here, with crew from seven of the nine boats from the last Whitbread Around the World Race. Some of the talent here includes, Mark Christensen, from the winning EF language, Jason Carrington and Stu Bannatyne from Silk Cut, Juan Vila and myself from Chessie Racing, Jared Hendersen from Merit Cup, Lisa Charles from EF Education, Timmy Kroger from Swedish Match, and Ross Halcrow from Kvaerner. Having the talent from seven of the teams from the last Whitbread allows us to share ideas from the top boats in the last race. -- John Kostecki Skipper, illbruck Round the World Challenge

"It is hard to make a starting line too long, but easy to make it too short." -- Matt Jones

Live every day as if it's your last, and one day you'll be right.