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SCUTTLEBUTT #307 - April 9, 1999

'Butt Central has returned to sea level. The road crews in the San Bernardino Mountains did a great job of clearing the snow, ice and rocks off the roads leading to Lake Arrowhead. However, they still do not have the technology to remove fogand the fog frequently limited visibility to 20 feet or less. Although our trip down the windy mountain roads was without incident, there were definitely some 'bunched panties' along the way.

Pass Christian YC, Pass Christian, Mississippi, USA. Final results (26 boats): 1. Pickel / Auracher Germany (11) 2. Shiebler / Peters USA (19) 3. Vessella / Dorgan USA (22) 4. MacCausland / Trinter USA (22) 5. Bromby / White, Bermuda (23) 6. Reynolds / Liljedahl USA (23) 7. Beashel / Giles, Australia (26) 8. Doyle / Terhaar USA (28) 9. Dane / Bennett USA (28) 10. Walker / Covell UK (36)

Complete results:

Following are the results of the first two races of the 1999 US Women's Challenge for the Bettina Bent's Memorial Trophy. The event is sailed in Catalina 37s at the Newport Harbor YC and will continue today and Saturday with a total of 7 races scheduled.

1. Charlie Arms, Women's YRF-San Diego (4) 2. Betty Sherman, San Diego YC (5) 3. Stephanie Keefe, Newport Harbor YC (7) 4. Liz Hjorth, California YC (7) 5. Colleen Cook, Southwestern YC (12) 6. Pat Seidenspinner, St Petersburg YC (12) 7. Stephanie Wodolleck, Richmond YC (12) 8. Sandy Scheda, Davis Island YC (14)

Cam Lewis and his Team Adventure USA make the case for speed under sail on TLC, Sunday, April 11, at 5:00 PM (Eastern time). This is a rerun of a three-hour TV special about pushing the limits in extreme sports. Lewis is the only sailor featured in the entire three hours. His seven-minute segment comes at the end of first hour of the "Speed Demons" show on TLC. The segment was shot aboard the 85-foot catamaran Explorer on San Francisco Bay last Fall and includes some great highlights of Explorer's record-breaking 79-day voyage around the world to become the first winner of the Trophee Jules Verne.

Explorer will berth at Pacific Sail Expo, in Oakland, CA, next Wednesday to mark the opening of the all-sail in-water boatshow and will remain there on exhibit. From Sunday, April 18, through Tuesday, April 20, Lewis and Team Adventure will be sailing Explorer on San Francisco Bay as they entertain supporters and sponsor prospects for Lewis' campaign to build a 125-foot catamaran for The Race. The non-stop, no-limits sprint around the world starts from a Mediterranean port -- probably Barcelona, Spain -- on December 31, 2000.

Comfort is not a word most people associate with foul weather gear. PITY because the new Gill gear is truly comfortable. It's comfortable because it breathes; comfortable because it fits; and comfortable because it keeps you warm and dry. Even the price is comfortable. Check it out:

Copenhagen--Nokia has announced the sponsorship of the ambitious sailing project in Denmark. With Nokia Sailing Team's acquisition of two Volvo Ocean 60's racing yachts, the experienced team from the last Nokia yacht - the X-Yacht Nokia - enters a new era in Danish yachting. The team's primary objective is to participate in the Volvo Ocean Race - Round The World 2001-2002 .

Today Nokia and the team from the last Nokia yacht presents the largest yachting project in Danish sailing history. With an eight-digit sponsor investment (DKr) Nokia has facilitated the acquisition of two V.O.60s racing yachts. In the years to come the yachts will serve as a training platform for a Danish team of sailors - NOKIA SAILING TEAM - preparing for the worlds toughest ocean race - The Volvo Ocean Race (previously known as TheWhitbread).

Nokia has signed a four year contract and the V.O.60s is going to participate in regattas in Danish waters as well as in Sweden, Norway, Germany and England. Nokia's new sponsorship of course serves a strategic business objective. But at the same time the size and the professionalism of the contract signal a clear commitment to high level sports events. "Sport connects people and we do the same with our products, says Steen Boas Andersen, CEO (Managing Director), Nokia Denmark. "We are proud to be able to support a Danish national team within a classical sport" he added.

Four reputable and professional sailors are at the helm of this ultimate sailing adventure. The present crew behind the old Nokia yacht - the captains Lars Coling and Morten Veje - have joined together with the experienced sailors Morten Lorenzen and Christian Jensen and have organized this huge yachting project. The four Danes are eager to test their strength and sailing skills in The Volvo Ocean Race.

Nokia's new V.O. 60s yacht are well known from the last Whitbread. We have bought the two V.O.60s from Gunnar Krantz and the Swedish Match syndicate. Their racing yacht Swedish Match took overall third place in the last Whitbread, whereas the acting training yacht Very Bright participated in 93-94 race under Heineken flag. At present the yachts lie in Gothenburg but in approximately one week they will set sail for the new training base in the Tuborg Yacht Center, Copenhagen.

Nokia Sailing Team:

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON We read all e-mail (except jokes) but simply can't publish every letter. Those printed here are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.

-- From Paul Larsen -- John Roake's allusion to the "Grand Central Test" (#306) reminds me of the old parlor game Telephone in which someone whispers a sentence to someone else who whispers to someone else and so on around the circle. When the last person recites what he or she heard, it is inevitably different from the original.

Here's the original story, confirmed by the man who first told it. Seems that when Chris Dickson was competing, and winning, regularly on the world match racing circuit, he began confusing the sport and compensation value with that of professional golf and tennis. The young Kiwi had skippered Kiwi Magic in the America's Cup, achieved the number one match racing ranking, won the World Championship, and was a bona fide hero in New Zealand. When invited to race in the 1989 Gold Cup in Bermuda, Chris approached Scott MacLeod, the event organizer, and said he would only come if he received a $10,000 appearance fee. Scott replied: "Chris, tell you what. Come with me to Grand Central Station and if anyone recognizes you, I'll be happy to give you $10,000." Chris thought about it for a minute, shook his head and said, "See you in Bermuda."

Scott has used the same tactic with other sailors, including Kiwi Russell Coutts. He's yet to write a check based on the Grand Central Test.

Also, while no one would dispute that Dennis Conner is the American most identified with the America's Cup, it's difficult to believe he spends much time on New York subways!

PS. Chris won the 1989 Bermuda Gold Cup.

-- From Pat Broderick, SSS of SF Bay -- Come on, get a grip. An experienced long distance ocean racer like you concerned about clean underwear? Are you wimping out on us? We need "role" models, not "fashion" models.

-- From Vince Cooke -- 'Vettes are not snowmobiles; they are just funmobiles.

-- From Raymond Wulff -- Having a little bit of a dilemma with putting together a US Sailing qualifier for the Adam's and Mallory Cup. In the past, separate quailfiers were scheduled will little or no interest. In an effort to grow interest and participation, this year on the Chesapeake, we have scheduled the qualifiers within established local regattas. ( Mallory Qualifier - J-24 Class Leukemia Cup, Adams - Lightining Class - Local Lightning regatta).

Some have said this lowers the prestige of the qualifier. The main flaw with this argument is we rarely have had enough interest to hold a separate qualifier. We've found that there are so many regattas on the schedule now that creating another where there is little or no interest is foolish, however, we would like to build the events to where we have to turn folks away.

I turn to your readers for suggestions on how to better promote these events or ideas on how they have designed their qualifiers.

-- From Chris Welsh --
1. Donna Shalala in New Zealand on a America's Cup sail? Can you say featherbedding boondoggle?

2. I have read the J24 piece once before - reminds me of Ben Franklin's "In praise of older women..."

-- From Jordan J Dobrikin -- As noted in #306 the Federal Legislation recognized the Paralympics, Disabled Sailing/RACING a boost to its credibility and legitimacy. Precious little recognition ,as yet has filtered down into the day to day workings and public pronouncements of US Sailing. I am looking for a continuous and regular tie between Olympic Activity reporting and Paralympic Activity reporting. I would be curious to see if your readership has any interest in promoting Paralympic stream racing?

-- From Craig Fletcher -- Chuck Simmons is spot on. US Sailing should do more to help youth and Olympic sailing. We at PHRF are big boys and can take care of ourselves.

-- From Peter Huston -- Janet, you have validated my exact point. To burden the Board with an abundance of sailors deemed "worthy" by the USOC will then lessen the importance of ALL sailors, racing or not, in relative proportion. Structure the Board because it makes sense for the organization - not because of some "one size fits all sports" mandate by USOC. For all it's faults, US SAILING is in reality very well run by comparison to other sports.

-- From US Sailing VP Janet Baxter -- The budget for the US Olympic Sailing team is close to $4 million over the 4 year cycle. That is spent on coaching, equipment, travel (people and boats), and a tiny amount to support the athletes. Our suppliers give us some good stuff like raingear (Douglas Gill) and McLube. Almost all of the funds come from USOC special programs. Unfortunately, we don't know how well we will do and what money we'll get/earn from USOC . The better we do, the more money USOC sends our way. At this point, we haven't even qualified to send sailors to all 11 events. Setting up programs like the Junior Olympics also earns us points (and money), too. Olympic monies are "fenced", that is, not mingled in with other US SAILING expenses like championships or the Judges program.

Persons wishing to support the US SAILING team can make tax deductible donations- contact the US SAILING office or see our website. Olympic Sailing merchandise is also available. A large fund raiser is being planned for Chicago next spring.

Anyone intending to do an Olympic campaign can set up an account and have their friends make tax deductible donations to their program, rather than to the overall effort. This fundraising by each athlete takes enormous effort and the time spent soliciting can replace time in the boat, especially if they try to have a job, too. Please give generously.

Barely a week after his 24-hour sailing record on the maxi catamaran PlayStation with 580 miles covered, American adventurer Steve Fossett, back in California, accorded us an interview. He gave us his first sensations on this boat which he had been dreaming about for a number of years. In another interview, Steve's weather router Bob Rice, does not hesitate to bet on a 24-hour distance of more than 625 miles.

Very happy with this first exploit, Steve does not hesitate to acknowledge the quality and motivation of his crew: one of the crew members on board, an old Americas Cup hand, said that it was the most fun he ever had in his life. The skipper is especially proud of this record, as it was the first trip offshore for the boat. And it is certainly not the last because the big cat "can go much faster; well over 30 knots, perhaps even 40.

As for Bob Rice, he analyses this new achievement with a little hindsight. He has already laid down new bets. Objective 625 to 675 miles in 24 hour for PlayStation and records on the major crossings: at least a day less than Jet Services on the Atlantic and a strong chance of beating the 14 days, 17 hours and 22 minutes recorded by Bruno Peyron on the Pacific.

Steve Fossett is already thinking about The Race. He comments on the different projects of other challengers, those he fears and those he fears a lot less, and compares this new adventure with those he has been practicing for a long time.

According to John Reed, the secretary to the council of the WSSRC, the World Sailing Speed Record Council, PlayStation 24 hour sailing record should be ratified before the end of this week (9th of April 1999).

For the full text of the interviews with Fossett and Rice:

Australia is now certain to contest the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup in England in July following a commitment by three owners to back team yachts. The world's first owner of a Sydney 40, Ron Jones, will enter his yacht, Sledgehammer and Kenwood Cup team member Bob Steel will fill the big-boat slot with his optimized Nelson-Marek 47, Quest. Irish-Australian John Storey, who has raced a number of yachts named Atara in this part of the world, will take the Mumm 36 slot with a yacht he will charter in Europe.
--Rob Mundle, Grand Prix Sailor

The full story will be posted by 9:00 PDT:

POINT / COUNTERPOINT -- Open 60s too dangerous to race?
*** YES -- A. Todd Andre-Colton, naval architect/marine engineer I have been an avid follower of the Around Alone race for years, even while it was still the BOC Challenge. The events of this year's race have led me to conclusions that I don't really like, but feel a need to express. The Open 60 class has become too fast, too delicate and too dangerous for singlehanding. Of all the starters in the class, only two are left -- one of those with a replacement mast fitted after the original mast departed its step and ripped a giant hole in Marc Thiercelin's cabin top. Only some magnificent seamanship prevented the loss of SOMEWHERE. Isabelle Autissier's PRB was turtled in relatively benign conditions by an autopilot failure and was beyond saving, even by a sailor as formidable as Isa. The list goes on.

By contrast, only two of the original nine Class II starters have retired, both entries with relatively poor financial support. At the same time, the fastest of the 50-footers have generally finished within a few days of the lead Open 60s. Why is this? I think that it's because the 50s can be pushed to a greater fraction of their potential than a 60. At the other end of the size scale, Victor Yazykov's homebuilt 40-footer's performance should also inspire a lot of thought.

If we had done away with the 60s for this race, we would have had at least seven highly competitive skippers vying for the prize, and my firm belief is that they would all still be racing. NASCAR, the U.S. stock car racing organization learned a long time ago that it matters less to the fans how fast the cars are than how close the racing is.

Don't get me wrong. I love the technology that has been displayed in the 60s, and I would be sorry to see them go on that level. However, I think that the race should go to the fastest sailor in the fastest boat, not the sailor that is lucky enough to be spared the Southern Ocean's worst fury.

*** NO -- Stephen Pizzo, Senior Editor, Quokka Sports I am not about to argue engineering with a naval architect, so let me come at this from a different angle, one that I believe not only defends the Open 60 class but glorifies it.

First, though, I want to point out that the high attrition rate in Class I was not due entirely to the fragility of the Open 60s. Only Isabelle Autissier's boat raised any of those issues for its failure to right itself. Mike Golding ran aground and Josh Hall and Marc Thiercelin's problems were with masts, not the boat itself. Hardly an open ocean race ends without someone losing a mast. It's the equivalent of a racehorse throwing a shoe. For that you blame the blacksmith, not the horse. Forget that for a moment, however, and let's address the issue of the cutting-edge -- and some say dangerous -- nature of the Open 60 design and how it may put lives at risk.

We have a technology issue here and that changes the equation a bit. Humans constantly put themselves in harm's way when they decide to push technology beyond the known into the unknown. We are all direct beneficiaries of the efforts of such brave (or if you prefer, foolish) folks. How many aircraft designs failed while testing radical wing or fuselage design? How many pilots died during those tests? The Space Shuttle failed spectacularly, killing all its occupants. Drivers have been injured or killed trying to break the land speed record in rocket-propelled bullets with wheels. Indy 500 drivers die regularly while pushing their super-charged racers around the track. We can look at each of these efforts and make compelling arguments that such efforts are too dangerous and should be stopped.

The Open 60s are not just racing yachts. They are also floating R&D platforms, each one different in some way from the others, each testing the limits in its own way. These boats can be built, but unless someone is willing to sail them on the roughest seas on Earth, little can be learned. Not taking them "out there" would be like building a Formula 1 car and only driving it around town.

The Open 60 must continue to grow, continue to change and continue to race. As the old saying goes, "Those who move not forward move backwards."

To read the authors' complete arguments:

Whether you think you can or you think you can't -- you are right.