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SCUTTLEBUTT #328 - May 21, 1999

A Northland farmer is building Britain's first yacht for the America's Cup in 13 years. Boatbuilder Tony Smith, a former world sailing champion, has taken a gang of fellow New Zealanders to Dorset to start constructing the boat for the Spirit of Britain challenge. The Brits' campaign has been an on-again, off-again affair. The latest rumour around the Viaduct Harbour is that they are as dead as dodos. But project director Angus Melrose says they have scraped together enough cash to build a boat, and construction has begun.

Smith lives on Lemon Farm in Warkworth, north of Auckland, with his English wife, but he moved to England three months ago. He had ties to the last British syndicate back in 1986. "He was involved in the Crusader programme as a boatbuilder and a full-timer on the boat.

The yacht has been drawn up by Ian Howlett, who designed British cup boats Lionheart in 1980, Victory in 1983 and Crusader in 1986.

Despite the latest burst of energy, the Spirit of Britain team are in no way certain of making it to New Zealand. Funding has been a huge obstacle and it still stands in their way. "We're not there financially, but we're plugging on," Melrose says. "We're hoping it will be touchy, feely along the way and sponsors will join in. At the moment we'll be able to finish the boat.

The Brits have pulled together a crew led by round-the-world skipper Lawrie Smith. But they have yet to find somewhere to base themselves in Auckland should they turn up before the October 18 start of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series. -- Suzanne McFadden, New Zealand Herald

For the full story:

SCHEVENINGEN, HOLLAND-Ludde Ingvall's European entry, Skandia, emerged from a grey North Sea murk off the Dutch coast to take the first race of the Adecco World Championship for the Maxi One Design class. The 80 footer finished 16 minutes ahead of Ross Field's New Zealand entry to take the top double points score for this 222 mile offshore race. Skandia had taken almost exactly 23 hours for the race.

During the race there had been some good breeze, but at the finish it had died away to almost nothing and the eight Maxi One Designs finished with considerable help from the northerly going tidal current. While Skandia had her lightest spinnaker set, the New Zealand boat kept hers in a bag on deck and used a reaching jib.

It was 21 minutes before the next boat finished and it was undecided as to which it would be until the last few minutes. Bertrand Pace (FRA) steering Le Defi Bouygues Telecom - Transiciel was spearheading the group, but was passed to leeward by Geoff Meek (RSA) in Rainbow Magic. That move was the precursor of the final one when Gunnar Krantz (SWE) in Lex Sea came up from leeward with a spinnaker set and just pipped them all on the line to be third.

Finishing order: 1. EUR Skandia Ludde Ingvall 23h 57m 56s; 2. NZL Ross Field 24h 14m 16s; 3. SWE Lex Sea Gunnar Krantz 24h 35m 42s; 4. RSA Rainbow Magic Geoff Meek 24h 39m 34s; 5. FRA Le Defi Bouygues Telecom - Transiciel Jules Mazar 24h 40m 06s; 6. BEL Belgian Synphony Hans Bouscholte 24h 41m 43s; 7. ITA Seac Banche Guido Maisto 24h 44m 10s; 8. SUI Alinghimax Christian Wahl & Pierre-Yves Jorand 24h 48m 22s.

Official web site:

Former shipmates and world record holders Cam Lewis and Bruno Peyron will join forces again next week as they prepare to set a new sailing record from Miami, FL to New York, NY aboard the 86-foot catamaran Explorer. This team, on the same boat, was the first to break the 80-day Around the World barrier when they won the Trophee Jules Verne in 1993. They also set the Los Angeles to Honolulu sailing record in 1995.

Lewis was the first American to sail around the world in less than 80 days. He is a winning America's Cup crew, holder in the Guinness Book of World Records of the Transatlantic westbound sailing record and decorated world champion sailor. Lewis will rejoin well-known French skipper Peyron in Miami next week as they complete preparations for their latest high seas adventure. The pair will co-skipper Explorer, the fastest ocean racer in the world, with a history of record-smashing runs that stretches back more than a decade.

Their 1,100-mile voyage up the Gulf Stream, around treacherous Cape Hatteras, and through some of the roughest waters on the Eastern Seaboard, is expected to take less than three days. The World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), based in England, will formally record and ratify the Explorer voyage.

Chicago's Skip Novak, one of the best-known Whitbread Round the World Race sailors, will be with Peyron and Lewis on the Miami-New York record run. The trio will be joined by three other crew, including regular Peyron crewman Nicolas Pichelin, and television cameraman and ocean racer Rick Deppe who will film the voyage for TWI, the sports television production and distribution company.

The Miami-New York record will be a warmup for a bid Explorer will make in early June to break the Transatlantic Record she set nine years ago. That record, from Ambrose Light to Lizard Point marking the entrance to the English Channel, stands at six days, 13 hours 3 minutes. It was set in June, 1990. At that time, Explorer was named Jet Services V.

Peyron and Lewis both have ambitions that stretch well beyond the Miami New York Record and the Transatlantic Record. They are both focussed on non-stop round the world racing and record-making, in particular, Peyon's event, The Race.

Lewis and his Team Adventure USA are currently preparing to build a 115-foot catamaran to set new records and win The Race -- the no-holds-barred sailing sprint around the world to mark the beginning of the new Millennium. The Race will start from a Mediterranean port on New Year's Eve, December 31, 2000. -- Keith Taylor

It's been widely rumored that one of the keys to San Diego YC's Lipton Cup victory last weekend was directly tied to increased stability. And how did SDYC get their extra righting moment? One source is sure it was because of the weight of all of the embroidery on the crew attire supplied by Pacific Yacht Embroidery. The SDYC crew carried heavy 'signage' on their new vests, Camet shorts, polo and tee shirts. If you need the stability that fine embroidery can provide, or just want spiffy personalized crew gear, call Frank at PYE. (619) 226-8033 (

* As part of its commitment to support innovative education programs, telecommunications company Bell Atlantic today provided a $25,000 grant to support the Young America National Education Program. Young America is the New York Yacht Club's Challenge to win the America's Cup back from New Zealand in 2000.

"The Young America Education Program provides students with an intriguing, hands-on way to learn the complexities of science, math, and technology in a fun environment that instills in them the desire to learn," said Ed Dinan, state president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Maine.

The Young America National Education Program offers a comprehensive Teacher's Guide of hands-on activities that is currently in use in classrooms around the country. The education program, founded in 1994, is based on the premise that the challenge and excitement of developing an America's Cup yacht can be used to inspire students to value science and math subjects. The program, developed with teachers and leading education publishers, underscores our belief that a "hands-on," "minds-on" approach, linked to a high-profile technological competition, is an ideal way to improve the scientific literacy of students and teach them about decision making and the importance of taking intellectual risk.

The Young America Cup National Championship is the flagship event of the Young America National Education Program. Thirty-one teams representing middle and high schools from nine states will compete in the National Championship at St. Michael's School in Newport, RI, Saturday, May 22. The Young America Cup is a comprehensive educational competition designed to enhance the scientific literacy of students by involving them in a hands-on, inter-disciplinary challenge that parallels the rigors of mounting a successful quest for the legendary America's Cup. - Jane Eagleson, Young America

NYYC/Young America Challenge web site:

* America True, The San Francisco Yacht Club challenge for America's Cup 2000, is getting dressed by Pendleton Woolen Mills, the syndicate's newest sponsor. As part of the sponsorship arrangement, Pendleton is now the exclusive supplier of shoreside apparel to America True crewmembers for official events and public appearances.

"I'm very pleased to have Pendleton as a sponsor," said America True CEO and Captain Dawn Riley, "It is important that we reflect a professional appearance, as we represent the United States and its people. It's entirely appropriate for us to be associated with a genuine American brand with an innovative spirit."

Members of the America True sailing, management, and technical teams will dress in their new Pendleton outfits during the campaign's boat dedication at Pier 17 in San Francisco on May 26. The women will wear navy wool blazers, yellow sweaters, and Pendleton Signature Plaid skirts. The men's outfit also includes a navy blue blazer, with a Signature Plaid shirt and khaki pants.

Since 1863, Pendleton has been a part of how America dresses. They produce extensive lines of men's and women's clothing in wool and cotton, as well as fabric for home furnishings. "Pendleton is classic and upscale. America True is a perfect fit for us," remarked Pendleton President Mort Bishop III, "As a producer of both men's and women's clothing, we are very excited to be involved with the first coed America's Cup crew." - Grace Kim

America True website:

Letters selected to be printed here are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.

-- From Bob Fisher -- I can understand Rick Merriman leaping to his pen to complain about United Airlines sponsorship of Ian Walker and Mark Covell's Star campaign for Britain, but he lacks knowledge of the background of this local funding arrangement. For the past two years, United Airlines has sponsored Glyn Charles with his Ultra 30 and were extremely happy with the benefits they received.

Glyn was all set to repeat his assault on an Olmpic medal in the Star class, having represented Britain last time. His tragic death in the Sydney-Hobart robbed him of that. His boat, owned by the Royal Yachting Association, was made availible to Walker and Covell, who was to crew for Charles, expressed a reciprocated desire to carry on.

So too, it seems have United Airlines, who would have done the same for Glyn.

These local sponsorships by global airlines might make little sense 'back home', but they do attract notice in the countries where they are originated. It Rick thinks this is strange, let him view (perhaps from Chris Law's angle) the sponsorship of an ex-patriate Frenchman living in Western Australia by British Airways for match racing. Chris finds it hard to fly in economy while the sponsored sailor is in business class!

-- From Tony Pohl, San Francisco (Re the comments to the editor about United Airlines sponsoring a British Team) -- My daughter, Krysia Pohl, is presently engaged in a full-time Olympic campaign -- competing for the women's spot in the Europe Dinghy class. The bare bones budget that we've developed for her is around $75,000 and could easily be more if we got all the coaches, coach-boats, etc., that we'd really like to have.

Most of her travel (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South America) is done on United - yet except for allowing her to transport her mast with her, United has not done one thing to assist this one particular Olympic hopeful. As we get more and more involved in the Olympic process, we begin to realize just how much other countries help their respective athletes while the US does literally nothing. Now adding insult to injury, UA is helping a British team.

Being English myself, I suppose I should be very glad that a US firm is helping English athletes, but can I expect that British Airways will help Krysia - I doubt it. I for one am just about ready to throw away my UA passenger miles and give my allegiance to another carrier.

-- From Peter Huston (Regarding Rick Merriman's comments on United Airlines sponsoring a UK based Starboat team) -- Serving patriotic interests is about the 57th on a priority list of 3 items for companies that sponsor anything. The first three items of importance to sponsors are 1- sell more stuff, 2- sell more stuff, 3- sell more stuff. Every other consideration is nearly meaningless.

Teams and events gain sponsors when they can demonstrate the tangible financial benefits to the prospective sponsor of association with that team or event. Simply slapping a logo on the side of boat is meaningless to them, and they could care less about the "problems" a team is having in gaining appropriate funding to be competitive. It's sort of like the line in "The Jerk", where the Texas oilman asks Steve Martin for money to refurbish the leather seats on his LearJet so that he isn't embarrassed when he takes his friends to the Super Bowl.

The sad reality is that Olympic athletes, and worse yet, prospective Olympians, are nothing more to sponsors, and even more so to NBC, than unpaid talent for a TV show. The pay scale for the marketing brokers of Olympic properties far exceeds that of the Olympians.

So the issue isn't individual team sponsorship, it is really the rights of all prospective Olympians. Olympians, and prospective Olympians, ought to align themselves with SAG and AFTRA so that they can gain a bigger share of the TV money.

-- From Terry Harper, US Sailing Executive Director (regarding Rick Merriman's editorial in 'Butt #327) -- The call is already in to United Airlines.

-- From Peter Johnson -- For Daniel L. Phelps and others re handicapping 'skiffs' and sports boat type racers, where accommodations and cruising assets should not count: It is worth looking at a copy of British Sports Boat Rule (SBR). It has track record now of about three to four years. Enquire at -

-- From Ron Sherwin -- The personal EPIRB sounds like a great product. Where I live, in Northern CA, if you're in the water for about 15 minutes, hypothermia sets in and you die shortly thereafter. It's important that you be found quickly. A personal EPIRB with a boat-mounted homing device would enable those still on board to find you, particularly in rough seas and shorthanded situations. Would the curmudgeon be so kind as to confirm the e-mail address and republish it?

Curmudgeon's comments: Either 818.998.1100 or will get you more information.

-- From Chris Ericksen -- A small correction: my modest friend Jerry Montgomery was co-skipper of RALPHIE, the Santa Cruz 50 that won the '97 Transpac, with RALPHIE's owner John Latiolait. John is even more modest than Jerry!

The first day of racing in Bandol had the promise of the legendary Mistral and the legend certainly lived up to its name. By the end of race three, the boats were sailing in 30+ knots when the French race committee said that it was enough for the day. Thirty-nine boats were registered from five continents, and 18 countries were split into three groups. The competition was organized on a rotation basis, so that every boat sailed in two of the three races, thus competing against every other boat.

The story of the day was the dominance of the world champion in what was a bit of a re run of his 1998 victory in the world sailed on the same venue. He and his Australian arch rival Adam Beashal made short work of what were otherwise trying conditions and Nicholson would hold a very slender 1 point lead on 3 points. Also making an impressive return to form is Paul Brotherton of England after his forced lay over without crew, winning the windiest last race with his new team mate Mo Gray.

On the crash and burn front, the leg one winners? The McKee brothers from Seattle embraced their love of the water too much, as did the number one French team of Aunineau/Farnarier.

Top ten after today's qualification races: 1. Chris Nicholson / Daniel Philips, AUS, 3 points 2. Adam Beashal / Teaque Czislowski, AUS, 4, 3. Tim Robinson / Zeb Elliott, GBR, 6, 4. Alister Richardson / Peter Greenhalgh, GBR, 7, 5. Francesco Bruni / Gabriele Bruni, ITA, 7, 6. Tom Ruegge / Claude Maurer, SUI, 10, 7. Ian Barker / Simon Hiscocks, GBR, 14, 8. Paul Brotherton / Mo Gray, GBR, 14, 9. Christoffer Sundby / Vegard Arnhoff, NOR, 17, 10. Dimitri Deruelle / Philippe Gasparini, FRA, 18

Event website:

(Reprinted with permission from DEFENCE 2000, which is available for US $48 per year from

* Vince Cooke, race director for Louis Vuitton says "New Zealand will lose its huge technological advantage when it defends the America's Cup in February. The design for this type of boat is now 10 years old and the learning curve has flattened out. There was not a lot of difference between keels in San Diego and I expect there will be little difference between the shape of boat bodies in 1999. The major difference will be how the designers trade off sail areas, displacement of boat and length" he says. Cooke expects a far more even contest in both the challenger and defender series.

* Immediately on the border of the America's Cup course in the Hauraki Gulf, lies Rangitoto Island, an extinct volcano that last erupted five/six centuries ago. A warm day's sun on Rangitoto's remaining lava flows has the ability to change the wind across the Cup course by as much as 40 degrees.

* This - from Richard Pennick, Canadian Tourism Commission. "Thousands of visitors were attracted to Fremantle for the America's Cup. The commercial value of the Cup was the extensive TV exposure overseas that went on for years. This attracted tourists even though they lost the Cup. Folk who watched the America's Cup are the same kind of people who considered an Australian holiday." Our comment: It's a win win situation for New Zealand and many of the current degraders of the event may (will) eat their words before the next decade passes.

An anticipated storm with wind gusts to 60 knots took its toll on the fleet in the inaugural Coffs Harbour to Fiji yacht race today. Tony Levett's 38-footer Ellene was dismasted while 83-year-old Alby Burgin was injured when he was hurled across the cockpit aboard his 50-footer, Alstar.

The crew of Ellene was safe aboard their yacht having motored to shelter inside a reef off New Caledonia. Alby Burgin said he had been checked over by the doctor in his crew and while he didn't appear to have spinal injuries he had suffered severe bruising. He added that he was determined to reach the finish in Suva - around 400 miles away.

The smallest yacht in the fleet, Anthony Doncaster's 10.6 metre sloop Moonpenny, was heading for Mooloolaba in Queensland while Bryan Clague's S&S 34, Misty, was still riding out the worst of the storm.

Scott Jackson, steering the Coffs Coast entry True Blew, reported they had experienced wind gusts of between 50 and 60 knots from the east all day. Peter Hansen, owner of Fudge (which retired earlier in the week) reported from his anchorage in Noumea tonight that they were experiencing 50 knots and torrential rain.

Hugh Treharne's 51-footer, Bright Morning Star continued to claim ground an Alstar throughout the day. By tonight Treharne, who was sailing to the south of Alstar, had reduced his yacht's deficit from 60nm to 17nm. Bright Morning Star was also the leader on handicap.

Only five of the 13 starters were actively racing towards Suva tonight. The majority of others indicated they would resume racing once the storm abated. Race meteorologist Roger Badham said tonight the worst of the storm would remain over the first half of the 1800-mile course and begin to clear on Sunday. The leaders could expect 20 to 30 knot headwinds tomorrow. -- Rob Mundle

Web Page:

Less than 500 miles separates Brad Van Liew's 'Balance Bar' from the finish line of the 27,000-mile solo race around the world. Over the last eight months he has encountered the ferociousness of the Southern Ocean, a becalmed Tasman Sea, the ominous nautical summit of Cape Horn, playful whales, exotic birds, and fellow competitors capsized, dismasted and run-aground. As he nears the completion of a lifelong dream and overwhelming accomplishment, his thoughts remain focused on the immediate mission of keeping the boat moving in light, variable winds to the finish line. "Admittedly, I am trying to suppress the complex emotions that encompass the completion of the race," Van Liew said. "It has been a wild ride, with times of triumph, defeat, devastation, intrigue, and accomplishment. It is hard to imagine the feelings that will emerge when competitors who have acted as lifelines and companions to each other for eight months, say goodbye and head in new directions." -- Meaghan Van Liew

Distance from finish: Van Liew (371); Petersen (433); Saito (651); Hunter (844)

Event website:

Why do the terms 'fat chance' and 'slim chance' mean the same thing?