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SCUTTLEBUTT #309 - April 13, 1999

Thirty one boats started on the annual Singlehanded Sailing Society's (of SF Bay) annual solo race from the Golden Gate YC out and around the S. E. Farallon Island, a distance of 58 miles. All but two finished the race which started at 0830 Saturday, April 10. Participation this year was down about 50%. A long series of shorthanded ocean races at the beginning of the season, iffy weather, and the numerous dismastings and the sobering death of SSS Treasurer Harvey Schlasky on the BAMA Doublehanded Farallones race probably contributed to the decline.

The first boat to finish was "Sundowner" a custom Santa Cruz 50 with an elapsed time of 7 hours, 30 minutes. The final boat to finish, "Nightmare" a Chrysler 22, finished at 2124, for an elapsed time of 12 hours, 44 minutes.

Racers reported a quick, but wet and lumpy ride out to the island along the rhumbline and back. Late finishers contended with "squirrley currents"around the GG Bridge South Tower all the way to the finish line, with several boats having to tack in order to get to and around the finishing mark off the GGYC. No significant problems were reported, just wet butts!

Results: Class II (PHRF 129 and under): 1st Place: "Lanikai" Douglas McClaflin, Catalina 42. 2nd Place: "Punk Dolphin" Jonathan Livingston, Custom Wylie 39. 3rd Place: "Berserker" Marke Deppe, Ericson 38. Class III (PHRF 130-168): 1st Place "Uno" Peter Jones, Wyliecat 30. 2nd Place: "Pelagic Fantasy" Rick Holway, Newport 33-PH. 3rd Place: "Sail A Vie" Phil McFarlane, Ericson 35. Class IV (PHRF 169 and over): 1st Place "Sabrina" Thomas Hoynes, Coronado 34. 2nd Place: "Tchoupitoulas" Stephen Buckingham, Santana 22. 3rd Place: "Go Dog GO" Bill Vanderslice, Santana 22. Class V (Non-spinnaker): 1st Place "Sensei" Terry McKelvey, Cal 2/27. 2nd Place "Big Dot" Doug Graham, Pacific Dolphin. 3rd Place: "Bravo" Bob Gay, Pretorian 35. Class VI (Ultralight Boats): 1st Place: "Starbuck" Greg Nelson, Blacksoo. 2nd Place: "My Rubber Ducky" Lee Garami, Hobie 33. 3rd Place: "Motorcycle Irene: Will Paxton, Express 27.

The next SSS Ocean Race is the LongPac, out 200 miles and back scheduled for August 18. -- The Brodericks


AMERICA'S CUP - The controversy heats up
A major row has broken out over the involvement of the National Institute of Water & Atmosphere (NIWA) in the provision of weather data to a challenger on an exclusive basis. At the heart of the row is the fact that NIWA is a taxpayer-funded organisation (namely a Crown Research Institute), who also undertake some commercial activities.

The issue was raised on a the leading NZ-wide sportstalk back radio show today, Sunday (NZT) and featured interviews from Gavin Fisher of NIWA, Brad Butterworth (TNZ) and Vince Cooke (ACCA). The view is that as a taxpayer funded organisation, NIWA must take into account the wider New Zealand interest, and not act against that interest. Simply put, it is not in NZ's best interest to lose the America's Cup, and therefore CRI's such as NIWA should not be assisting Challengers in this way. More particularly they should not be working on an exclusive basis with a Challenger.

Whether or not TNZ wishes to use the NIWA provided data is not an issue, but simply that it should not be provided to those who wish to beat NZ in the America's Cup, next February. If those groups wish to obtain their weather data then they can do it by themselves, or acting as a group, but should not be using the resources of a NZ taxpayer funded organisation.

According to Gavin Fisher the unique feature of the NIWA buoy is its ability to record wind data at a height of up to 4, 6 and 10 metres, whereas most buoys will only record at sea level. The buoy was developed in NZ. It seen as a commercial opportunity by NIWA, and has to show a return on assets used. Initially the idea was to supply the information to TNZ, or to the group of challengers. America One was the only group to come up with the money sought when it was required.

Fisher agreed with the proposition that the assistance of NIWA could take the Cup away from NZ. NIWA claim they have 'bent over backwards to keep TNZ in the loop'. Fisher confirmed that the cost of the project had been NZD 250,000 (USD 132,500), well above the funding paid by America One, however NIWA claim that not one cent of the funding for the project has come from the NZ taxpayer.

The issue is likely to escalate this week. As a CRI, NIWA is answerable to a Minister of the Crown, in this case the responsible minister is Hon. Maurice Williamson, in whose electorate also falls the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club ' headquarters of the organisers of the race management for the Louis Vuitton Cup. -- Richard Gladwell

For the full story:

Next month, the GMC Yukon/Sailing World NOOD circuit--a national sailboat racing series sponsored by GMC Yukon and organized by Sailing World Magazine--visits the Chesapeake Bay for the first time in its 12-year history. Sailors from the Great Lakes, Canada, and along the length of the Eastern Seaboard--from as far south as Florida and as far north as New Hampshire--have already entered. Seventeen one-design classes, with boats ranging 21 to 35 feet in length, are expected on the starting line. Competitors from 17 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada are already on the entry list.

The three-day Annapolis NOOD will be hosted by the Annapolis Yacht Club. Racing begins Friday, May 7, and concludes Sunday, May 9. Trophies will be awarded on Sunday, at the Annapolis YC, following the conclusion of racing. Eastport Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club of the Chesapeake will join Annapolis YC to carry out race committee duties. A total of four separate racing circles, set up at the mouth of the Severn River, are planned for the fleet.

Entries from the following one-design fleets will contend with tough competition and the challenges of Chesapeake Bay wind conditions:
  • A fleet of 8 to 10 local Alberg 30s are expected on the starting line. Built between 1964 and 1974, this fleet celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.
  • With a fleet of some 10 boats, the 1998-launched 1D35s will be the most recent design competing.
  • Since its launching in 1995, the locally designed Mumm 30-from Bruce Farr & Associates (Annapolis)-has fleets racing in 14 countries. Expect to see a fleet of 15 boats.
  • The Viper 640 class opens its 1999 Viper 640 NOOD Overall Championship at the Annapolis NOOD. The class expects 10 to 15 boats from as far south as Florida and as far north as Massachusetts. Several classes of J/Boats (Newport, R.I.) will be on the starting line.

At presstime, the largest fleets are the J/105s (15 entries) and the J/30s (12 entries). J/24s, J/29s, J/35s, and a large fleet of J/22s, with a heavy quotient of local talent, are expected. For the Laser 28 class, the Annapolis NOOD will be a chance to mix Canadian contenders with a handful of local boats that have not had much opportunity to race one-design. Expect to see some 20 Melges 24s and the following classes: Cal 25s, Catalina 27s, Pearson 30s, S2 7.9s, and Ultimate 20s.

The GMC Yukon/Sailing World NOOD series includes nine events. In addition to Annapolis, the circuit stops in: St. Petersburg, Florida (February); San Diego, California (March); Detroit, Michigan (June); Chicago, Illinois (June); Marblehead, Massachusetts (July), San Francisco, California (September); Larchmont, New York (September), and Houston, Texas (September). -- Cynthia Flanagan Goss

Event website:

There is never a reason for a race organizers to lose money on regatta apparel. Period! In fact, Pacific Yacht Embroidery has a program to supply race organizers with quality regatta apparel at a guaranteed profit. Call Frank Whitton (619-226-8033) for details on how to offset regatta costs while supplying high quality, affordable apparel to the racers. No event is too small to qualify for this program.

So you like to race sailboats? Have you ever applied the lessons you learned from sailboat racing to your job, business, or career? If you answered yes, Peter Isler and Peter Economy are looking for you!They're working on an upcoming business book for Doubleday (to be published in January 2000, in time for the America's Cup finals) and are now interviewing people who have combined their love for sailing with a successful work life.

Whether it's stories of teamwork, motivation, leadership, or any of the other qualities that find parallels in the world of sailboat racing and business, they want to hear from you. If they use your story in their book, not only will you have their undying gratitude, but you'll receive a free, autographed copy of the book as soon as it is published.

Send your stories to Peter Isler at or Peter Economy at, or call 619-218-7665 for more information.

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 Bruce Golison -- After nine months of hearings and protocol, I am glad to see that U.S. Sailing took a stand against fighting and poor conduct at a sailing event by suspending the people most involved in the brawl at our trophy presentation during Coast Cadillac / North Sails Race Week. I hope that these suspensions will send a clear message out to the sailing community - that sailing is a Corinthian sport, regardless of the level of competition and that we must all act in a civilized manner.

I can tell you that there are a number of race organizers that are greatly relieved to hear this news. I have spoken to a few of them over the past months and everyone of them felt that this behavior cannot be tolerated and that USSA must send down a strong message to the sailing community that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

What would have happened if this brawl had occurred on the front patio of San Diego Yacht Club, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, California Yacht Club or inside the St. Francis Yacht Club...or at any other Yacht Club? Hopefully it won't!

-- From Chris Welsh -- We seem to have hit an absurd set of rules regarding no talking to sailing competitors even between races. This weekend, while visiting the NHYC Bettina Bents Regatta I was shooed away by a competitor when I floated over to say Hello. This was proper according to the race instructions, but absurd. In virtually no other sport is outright coaching banned during the event, much less coaching between events. I am not aware of any sport where camaraderie and cheering is outlawed.

Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, auto racing, etc, all have coaching going on at all times! If a coach really wanted to cheat and show a competitor where to go on the race course, etc, all they have to do is take their spectator boat to that side of the course, or use some similar "code".

Come to think of it, on the water active coaching might actually shorten the learning curve for everyone - instant feedback and correction is arguably the quickest teacher and lets the student see what the teacher is seeing at the same time.

Last on this item: cell phone usage. If you want more competitors, let the guy who needs to keep in touch with his office/wife/kids stay in touch. For every competitor calling ahead for wind readings there will be 10,000 calling home. It's a worthwhile tradeoff, especially as systems like Iridium meet Transpac length races. (Iridium would be a good race sponsor...but not likely to do so if their product is outlawed)

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

* We reported earlier that Louis Vuitton have done a deal with the Buckland's Beach Yacht Club to use their club house as a base for the Challenger series. Well the club's facilities are in the Manukau City area and the city has indicated they will support the Challenger series. (No mention of money though). But in return they are suggesting that all Louis Vuitton merchandise should be branded with the Manukau City Logo. Some hope!

* When Bruno Trouble (from Louis Vuitton) was in town recently, he firmed up arrangements for the America's Cup media centre, a complex with 1300 sq metres of floor area for conferences and a newsroom. Whilst in New Zealand he joined Paul Cayard's call for a single independent body to run future America's Cup regattas and like Cayard, he maintains that neutral control over the event is a must for the future. "If we are not careful," he said, "and we do not take away some of the controversy of the cup - another race will take over the premier spot in the yachting world."

The Thompson Offshore One-Design Regatta for Schock 35's will be held on the 8th of May in San Diego South Bay. This one-day regatta will be run by CorYC in the same area as the Lipton Cup, which follows the next weekend.

As in previous years, this regatta is used as a tuneup for the Lipton, with many Lipton Cup crews testing their sails and crews. The Thompson also allows the Schock 35 owner the chance to race against the best on the coast.

With three races scheduled in one day, the competition should be outstanding, with some of the top names in Southern California in attendance.

Everyone has a favorite sea bag, but the one the curmudgeon always carries to weekend regattas is a lot like the 'energizer bunny' - it just keeps going and going. It's a Camet bag I got in 1997 when I served as a judge for the Star Class NAs. After two years of weekly workouts plus some trips to some pretty exotic places, it still looks as fresh and stylish as it did in '97. Check out the whole line of Camet bags, backpacks and briefcases:

Three Ways to Maintain Boatspeed Downwind in Light Air:
1.Minimize steering, the rudder is only an inefficient way to steer the boat... it turns the boat by braking right, or braking left. A bit of leeward heel to head the boat up and a slight heel to winward or flat to bear off!

2.Keep your weight centered, together and low. Crew weight out of the ends of the boat so you are not dragging the stearn; keep your crew sitting together to reduce hobby-horsing; and if they can stand it get your crew as low as possible, i.e. under the water line is best to allow the boat to punch through any chop.

3.Remember to sail up in the lulls (for more speed), and down in the puffs (to stay near rhumbline and sail in the puff longer). The Coach at

Although Lew Beery sold his Andrew 43 "It's OK!" he's put his plans "on hold" for a new custom, lightweight 50-foot Andrews design while he plays with his new toy -- an Etchells that he bought from Larry Harvey. Berry's crew is having a contest to name the Etchells. Entries include "Marginally OK," "Just Barely OK," and "Baby OK!"

Following the unfortunate dismasting of Brad Van Liew's Balance Bar, Class I skipper Marc Thiercelin offered the use of his spare aluminum mast and sails. Mike Garside and Mouligne also promised sails. Van Liew's project manager, Alan Nebauer, cancelled his flight home. So too did Mouligne's right-hand man, Phil Lee. It's all part of a grand Around Alone tradition of helping fellow skippers in trouble. In fact, in the last Around Alone, Lee was one of the craftsmen who helped build a new rudder for Nebauer when he lost his on the approach to Punta, in the same boat Van Liew is now sailing.

"The support's been amazing. I don't know what's going to happen, but I decided I needed to keep my options open," Van Liew said. So, using his lone spinnaker pole as an emergency mast, Van Liew set up a jury rig and hoisted a spare, sideways staysail for a foresail, and his storm trysail for a main. "I got lucky, the pole is the perfect length," he said.

He also reflected on the lost spar. "The mast was in the water countless times on the last leg, and maybe there was some fatigue. Alan and I also thought there might've been some stretch in the rod, the upper shrouds looked a bit stretched out. But we weren't worried about using it for the leg." Now Van Liew's looking forward.

Unfortunately, Thiercelin's mast is too big, but Nebauer and Lee are on the prowl for another. At roughly 1100 GMT Monday, Van Liew was 51 miles from Punta del Este and making about four knots. "We're down," he said. "But we're not out yet..." - Herb McCormick

Standings at 0400 GMT (distance to leader in parenthesis) Class I: 1: Soldini 2. Thiercelin (0.2) Class II: 1. Garside 2. Mouligne (6.5) 3. Yazykov (50.6)

Event website:

Where do you find the grapes in a grapefruit?