SCUTTLEBUTT #315 - May 3, 1999
ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK
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
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: http://www.sailingweek.com
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: http://:www.1d48.com
SKI/SAIL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
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: http://www.skisail.com
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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
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
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: http://www.ussailing.org/race/main.html
* 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
New Zealand Herald website http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nzherald99/
* 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
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,
* 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
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 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
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
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
* 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
* 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:// www.VolvoOceanRace.org
LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING
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any problem by phone, and they'll even pay for the call on their toll-free
number. Even better, the price is always 'right' and they ship the same
day. Sailing Supply has all of the good lines of stuff, so what are you
waiting for? (800) 532-3831. http://www.sailingsupply.com/
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
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Everyone is someone else's weirdo