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SCUTTLEBUTT #315 - May 3, 1999


The curmudgeon just returned from the 32nd annual Antigua Sailing Week which set a record with 256 entries - and perhaps another record for the most tonnage at any regatta during this century. The 40-footers are the little guys at this event. Where else in the world could you see the 147' Mari Cha III dueling for a spot on the starting line with Sagamore, Jim Dolan's new IMS Maxi?

Once again, the fleet at ASW was predominantly European, with entries from the USA probably accounting for something like a third of the total. The Caribbean Handicapping System is used to score all classes in this regatta. This year, there were separate starting and finishing lines for the racing classes and the huge division made up of cruising boats and bareboat charters. It helped eliminate some of the carnage, but certainly did not eliminate it.

With the exception of a light air finale that was sailed in the big Atlantic swells on the East side of the Island, the regatta enjoyed some great sailing conditions. Heavy #1 and #2 genoas got the bulk of the workout. As a result, fleets got a little smaller each day as the conditions took their toll on sails and equipment. The bareboat fleet suffered the biggest attrition, but even some big guys like the Swan 68 Defiance and Maverick, Paul Cote's N/M 70 dropped out of the event because of broken stuff. Worse yet, Mariposa, a Sunfast 52 from Germany was lost when a sudden fire got out of control and forced the crew to abandon ship in the middle of race three.

Jim Dolan's new 78' Langan-designed Sagamore had things pretty much its own way in the Big Boat Class of the racing division. They rolled up a perfect score in class and then squeaked out a narrow two point win in the racing division over Aera, a German B/H 41 sailed by N. Lykiardopulo. Aera, sailing in Racing Class II, corrected out over Sagamore in three of the first four races. Although the B/H 41 got its fifth consecutive class bullet in the final race, it slipped to fifth in fleet which gave the overall Racing Division crown to Sagamore.

The curmudgeon sailed in the Racer/Cruiser Division aboard Peter Moss' owner-driven Swan 46, Kookaburra. Only three of the Kookaburra 'regulars' made it to Antigua for the event. Consequently we raced with a pick-up crew composed primarily of Brits and South Africans, plus a Canadian lad who joined us for the last two races when one of our Brits repeatedly demonstrated he that could not drink all night and get on the boat in time for the daily 0855 warning signal.

This year, the curmudgeon's tactics were clearly no match for the well-oiled program aboard Graham Smith's Swan 48, Vellamo. With crispy new sails and a well choreographed Seattle-based crew assembled by sailmaker / helmsman Brian Huse, Vellamo scored straight bullets, and coasted to first in class and first in the 51-boat Racer / Cruiser Division. Kookaurra, settled for a comfortable, but somewhat distant, second place in both the 22-boat Racer / Cruiser Class II as well as in the division overall standings.

Partial Results: RACING-BIG BOAT: 1. Sagamore (Langan 78) Jim Dolan (5) 2. Yes (Sidney 60) Adam Gosling (17) 3. Rima (CM 60) Isam Kabbani RACING II: 1. Aera, (B/H 41) N. Lykiardopulo (5) 2. Crash Test Dummies (Henderson 35) Paul Amon (30) 3. Sheerness (Taylor 41) Keith Rodney (20) RACER CRUISER I: 1. Bristolian (Frers 92) Michael Cannon (13) 2. Aspiration (Swan 86) A. Priest (14) 3. La Reverende (Swan 68) Norbert Plambeck (20) RACER CRUISER II 1. Vellamo (Swan 48) Graham Smith (5) 2. Kookaburra (Swan 46) Peter Moss (13) 3. Ain't Misbehaving (Lavranos 47) (17) RACER CRUISER III: 1. Fletchette (Dufour 39) Ron Roberts (11) 2. Pipe Dream (Sirena 38) (12) 3. Carnival (Frers 38) Esmond Farfan (16)

Complete results:

April 23, 1999 -- PlayStation, Steve Fossett's giant catamaran, was damaged by a severe explosion and fire in Auckland on Friday. The boat was in the port at the time. The fire was caused by the batteries in the starboard hull. Violent flames and smoke came out of the cabin entrance and prevented the crew to stop the fire, which was controlled by the firemen of Auckland.

The interior of the starboard hull is entirely destroyed. The heat has most likely damaged the inner lining and structure of the hull, entirely built of carbon by Mick Cookson's Shipyard in Auckland. Several months will be necessary for repairs. -- Brian Thomson, Auckland & Christian Fevrier

1D48 CHESAPEAKE GRAND PRIX - Report by Dobbs Davis
Annapolis, MD -- George Collins' 'Chessie Racing' led a spectacular parade of sail as the 1D48 fleet blew into Annapolis harbor Sunday to finish the distance race finale of the 1D48 Cheaspeake Grand Prix. One after another, each of the six 1D48's came screaming across a finish line set in front of the Annapolis Yacht Club, leaving only yards before the crews had to drop their sails and turn into the stiff northeasterly breeze before coming against the Spa Creek bridge. This dramatic finish seemed an appropriate end to a hard-fought 30-mile race which started within sight of thousands of spectators participating in the Bay Bridge Walk.

By virtue of the substantial lead in points gained in the inshore racing phase of the regatta, Russell Coutts and company aboard 'Numbers' had to simply finish this double-pointed race without incident in order to win the overall trophy for the event. With excellent boatspeed, brilliant tactics, and flawless crew work, this team were well-deserved winners of the event. The performance of the members of Team New Zealand on the 'Numbers' crew should act as a wake-up call to all the aspiring America's Cup syndicates that will be challenging them in their home waters starting early next year.

FINAL RESULTS: 1. Numbers, John Risley / Russell Coutts (21) 2. Chessie Racing, George Collins / Ken Read (28) 3. Prime Outlets, Peter Gordon / Terry Hutchinson (39) 4. Starlight, Jay Ecklund / Ed Baird (43) 5. Windquest, Doug DeVos (50) 6. Abracadabra, Dr. Jim Andrews / John Kolius (52)

Class website:

SQUAW VALLEY USA Bending winds, soft ski slopes and a strong field of international competition highlighted the 1999 Ski/Sail National Championships, April 23-25.

Coming from behind, three-time Olympian and 1992 Gold Medalist Mark Reynolds led Team Reno Air to the Melges class overall title. Starting in second place after two days of sailboat racing, the Reynolds' team made a remarkable comeback in the skiing segment of the three-day competition to take the victory podium away from the Team Sabotage crew led by San Francisco based UK sailmaker Jeff Thorpe. Reno Air team member Todd Kelly, a former U.S. Ski Team downhiller, recorded the fastest race time through the gates over Squaw Valley's Revo Race Arena to decide the contest.

In other Ski/Sail championship action, Canadian Steve Fleckenstein captured the Laser class while the team of Scott Sellers and Jeremy Hinman triumphed in Vanguard 15 competition. Fleckenstein, a Bronze Medalist in the Pan American and Goodwill Games, and reigning Canadian J-24 national champion dominated in both sailing and skiing insuring victory over a talented field which included former pro ski racer Stan Eriksson, and last year's overall second place finisher Martin Hartmanis.

Three-time collegiate sailing All-American Scott Sellers and teammate Jeremy Hinman upset the duo of former Omega Sailor of the Year Morgan Larsen and Tina Baylis. The Santa Cruz based Larsen team sat in first place after two days of sailing, but was overtaken Sunday by the stronger skiing of Sellers and Hinman. Sunfish World Champion Bruce Sutphen and America's Cup racer Melissa Purdy placed third.

Competitors included sailors and skiers from as far away as New Zealand, Canada, Michigan, and Rhode Island. The Melges 24's raced Standard Regatta format of windward-leewards. The Lasers and Vanguard 15's raced shorter windward-leewards using the start-finish as their leeward gate. Conditions varied from small craft warnings on Lake Tahoe the morning of Friday's opening sailing leg to moderate fluky winds on Saturday to warming spring conditions Sunday. Competitors enjoyed gala events throughout the weekend at the Friday night reception and registration at Tahoe City's Pete 'N' Peter's, the Saturday night banquet at the Sunnyside Resort, and Sunday awards party at Bar One in Squaw Valley.

Melges 24(6 boats) 1. Reno Air-Mark Reynolds, 2. Team Global Event Management-Jeff Thorpe, 3. When's the Skiing?-Eric Conner; Vanguard 15 (18 boats) 1. Scott Sellers / Jeremy Hinman 2. Morgan Larson / Tina Baylis 3. Bruce Sutphen / Melissa Purdy; Laser (12 boats) 1. Steve Fleckenstein 2. Martin Hartmanis 3. Stan Eriksson.

For complete results:

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At press time this morning the final results from the San Diego YC's Yachting Cup Regatta had not yet been posted on their website. We'll try to get them for tomorrow's 'Butt, or you might check in yourself later in the day:

April 28, 1999, Portsmouth (R.I.) - When top multihull sailors from around the country gathered on the northwest coast of Florida to compete for the 1998/99 US SAILING Multihull Championship for the Alter Cup-hosted April 20-24 by the Blue Water Bay Sailing Club of Niceville and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A.-no one skipper could dominate this fleet of Who's-Who talent. "In the end," said second-place crew Jacques Bernier of Clearwater (Fla.), "it all came down to the last race."

But according to winner Randy Smythe of Fort Walton Beach (Fla.), it was more dramatic than that: The title came down to "the last two feet of the final race," he said.

Clearwater (Fla.) sailors Robbie Daniel and crew Jacques Bernier entered the final race in the lead. Florida skipper Brian Lambert and Juliano Vianda were only 1.5 points behind Daniel, and Smythe was in third. As long as they covered their points on Lambert and Smythe did not finish in the top two, Daniel had the series locked. When Smythe had a hardware failure at the start and rounded the first weather mark in last place, Daniel's chances looked even better. He shifted his focus to covering Lambert, and ended up tenth in the last race.

But what Daniel wasn't counting on was Smythe and crew Keith Notary's comeback, which they made in the final feet of the last leg in an extremely close finish: After 8 miles of racing, the top 3 boats crossed within 5 seconds of each other. Smythe's second place put him in a points tie with Daniel. Smythe captured the title on an unexpected eventuality, with Smythe's eighth-place discard beating Daniel's tenth-place throwout in the tie-breaker. (Up until the last race, Daniel's worst race was a fifth.) "You can't get any closer than that!" said Smythe.

Third place overall went to Lambert and Vianda, only 1.5 points behind the leaders. Winds on the practice day piped up to 20 knots, but the conditions during the championship ranged from light, shifty breeze to winds of 16/17 knots. The final day of racing saw "two winds," as one competitor said, with a light, shifty wind of approximately 5-8 knots in the morning, and a new, stiffer afternoon breeze approximately 16 knots filling in for the final races. Races were held on the Choctawhatchee Bay. -- Susan Cook, US Sailing

Final Results: 1) Randy Smythe/Keith Notary, 22 points, 2) Robbie Daniel/Jacques Bernier, 22 3) Brian Lambert/Juliano Vianda, 23.5 4) Dave Sparkuhl/Greg Thomas, 26 5) Bob Curry/Steve Hast, 28.

Event website:

* In a yard in the land-locked Auckland suburb of Glenfield, Team New Zealand designers stare at the embryonic stages of the "extreme" boat they believe will win the America's Cup again. "It's come out pretty damn good," says Laurie Davidson, the veteran yacht designer who helped draw up the 1995 cup-winning black boats. "It's going to be different from anything we've seen before. It may be considered an extreme boat by some." You won't get much more detail out of the defenders than that. But it's a start.

Work began on Team New Zealand's first boat for the 2000 Cup defence - a white outline painted on the concrete floor of the Cookson Yachts boatyard. The boat will be launched in September, and Davidson predicts the second boat will join her a month later. The pair will have four months of trials before the defence starts on February 19.

The design team, led by Tom Schnackenberg, are still thinking about their next boat, but it won't be vastly different from this one. Design work began on April 1, 1996. They started with the plans of NZL 32 and NZL 38, the fastest cup boats in the world. They tested eight models in tanks in England, and in June last year they hit the jackpot. "We'd been making small progress; little jumps ahead in our testing. Then in June we made a huge step," Davidson said. "Since then, we've tried a few variations in the tank, but we haven't found anything better." -- Suzanne McFadden, New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand Herald website

* Aloha Racing, the Hawaii America's Cup Challenge, has confirmed plans to launch Abracadabra 2000, the first America's Cup yacht ever built in Hawaii, with a traditional Hawaiian Blessing Ceremony on June 12th at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina. The public is invited to enjoy the day-long activities at Lagoon #4 from 10:30am - 4:30pm. The Blessing Ceremony and first public viewing of Abracadabra 2000, painted by world renowned environmental marine artist Wyland, is scheduled for 11:45am.

The launching of Abracadabra 2000 represents a major milestone in Aloha Racing's effort to win the America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand and bring it to Hawaii. Major sponsorship by HealthSouth and in-kind donations from more than 40 Hawaii-based businesses, have enabled Aloha Racing designers and builders to move the Hawaii Team one major step closer to achieving their goal.

The State of Hawaii has also played a significant role in Aloha Racing's progress to date. The endorsement of the Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), as early as 1996, and the State's assistance through Lt. Governor Maize Hirono's office in securing a construction site at Barber's Point in 1998, have been important contributors to Aloha Racing's yacht construction program.

Aloha Racing, will begin sail training with Abracadabra 2000 and her America's Cup crew in June on the waters off Ko Olina. -- DJ Cathcart, Aloha Racing


* The Swiss America's Cup Challenge negotiations to close the challenge's budget were actively pursued with new potential partners, willing to enter the capital of the company rather than acting as sponsors. However, at the end of a highly turbulent period, some potential partners decided to withdraw the financial support already announced to the Board, arguing that the few millions missing to close the entire budget had not yet been secured by FAST. The Swiss Challenge is now facing a severe liquidity crisis that is making the daily life of its team member slightly more difficult than usual. Work at the yard and the development of the base has been temporarily suspended. Says buoyant Marc Pajot: "Considering that our design team has developed what we believe to be a break-through design, we are especially motivated to do whatever is and will be possible to get us on the starting line." Given the technical and logistic constraints, the challenge's members will now face some highly critical weeks in order to ensure the boat will arrive in New Zealand early in September. -- Hans U. Bernhard, FAST 2000

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 Jay Price -- I believe that the full range of issues related to the unpleasant post-race incident in California and subsequent penalties has been aired, but the discussion reminded me of something that has been troubled me for years: the continued use of the word "Corinthian" to describe a certain kind of person and approach to sailing. It's pretty clear that the connotations of that word include an implicit, and I think ugly, classism. Sure, the nature of the sport means that many participants are wealthy. But money doesn't make people better than those who don't have it and in fact it's ruined the character of more than a few.

It's impossible to disagree with much of what the word signifies -- the positive aspects of amateurism, good sportsmanship, etc. But because of the implication that the Great Unwashed need not apply, I say it's time to chuck it.

Those who disagree that the word Corinthian carries this extra baggage need look no further than this talk of proper behaviour being confined to yacht clubs, and comparisons of the troublemakers in this case to football game tail-gaters. My God! Not football fans! Hide your daughters!

Good character is no more common among the denizens of yacht clubs than it is anywhere else and if this attititude about "tailgaters" is common, I'd argue that its a damn sight less common inside those hallowed doors than outside 'em.

* Team Dennis Conner has become an Official Registered Syndicate for the Volvo Ocean Race - Round The World 2001-2002. Conner delivered the required forms and fee to Volvo Ocean Race Chief Executive Helge Alten, just prior to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race business seminar being held at the Long Beach Yacht Club.

This marks the first stage in Conner's Volvo Ocean Race campaign, which is his third Round the World Race effort. He remarked "You need to be registered to get the support package for the next race, so even though the race is a long way off our registration allows us to begin our preparations."

The race will be sailed in VO 60 class sailboats, which Team Dennis Conner has gained experience with in the last two races. Conner stated "We are pleased that Volvo has stayed with the 60's we used last race and that there have been no significant changes to the rule. We are very knowledgeable about this class and we have our boat from the 1997-1998 race as a starting point."

Team Dennis Conner is a Challenger for the 2000 America's Cup and continues to focus on the goal of winning the America's Cup for an unprecedented fifth time. Conner clarified the team's position in both races by saying, "While the start of the Volvo Ocean Race is not until September of 2001 we first need to raise the necessary funds to be there. We are meeting with corporations around the world on a regular basis to gauge their interest in joining our team for the America's Cup, but there are some companies that prefer the format of the Volvo Ocean Race so it is nice to be able to offer them either property, or both." -- Bill Trenkle, TDC

* Miami was selected as a host port for the Volvo Ocean Race - Round the World 2001 - 2002, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race. The racing yachts will dock in the boat slip flanking the Arena, which is scheduled to open December 31, 1999. Yachtsmen and boating enthusiasts will utilize a corporate village along the arena's waterfront featuring a hospitality area, sponsor exhibits, dining facilities and an international media center. Miami joins Baltimore, MD as the only two U.S. stops on the race. In the 1993-94 and 1997-98 races, Fort Lauderdale was used as an American host port.

* At an announcement made at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland, New Zealand, the Hon. Christine Fletcher, Mayor of Auckland City said, "As Mayor of Auckland City I am delighted that Auckland will be stopover port in the Volvo Ocean Race - Round the World in 2002. The Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Auckland will be able to take advantage of the infrastructure that has been developed for the Americas Cup."

* Sydney has won the right to host the only Australian stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race - Round the World. In a joint statement the Minister for Transport, Carl Scully, and the Minister for Tourism, Sandra Nori, announced that Sydney had beaten rival bids from Melbourne and Fremantle.

Helge Alten, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race said he was impressed with Sydney as a yachting venue. "It will also be a wonderful opportunity for the fleet to contest the famous Sydney to Hobart race before heading to Auckland," he said. "The Volvo Ocean Race fleet of some 15 yachts will arrive from Cape Town in November-December 2001 and stay for up to 30 days. The boats will start the next leg of their round the world event on December 26 by competing as a division in the 2001 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, taking a three-hour pit-stop in Hobart before continuing to Auckland," he added.

Event website: http://

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HYERES WEEK WRAPUP -- La Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile Last week a record 1100 competitors sailing 745 boats and representing 48 countries descended on the town of Hyeres for the thirty first French Olympic Sail Week, making this regatta one of the best attended and most competitive regattas on the Olympic class circuit.

The Americans were well represented in the 470 class by four men's and two women's teams competing in fleets of 98 and 49 boats respectively. With many countries using this event as part of their Olympic trials the competition was fierce and well prepared. Americans Paul Foerster and Bob Merrick won the men's division winning nine of the fourteen races.

Whitney Connor and Elizabeth Kratzig were the top U.S. sailors in the women's fleet finishing in eighth place. Other noteworthy performances were displayed by JJ Isler and Pease Glaser finishing tenth in the woman's fleet, and by Grame Woodworth and Andrew Gaynor with a twenty eighth place in the men's fleet. -- Bob Merrick

Everyone is someone else's weirdo