Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT #330 - May 25, 1999

Ninnescah Sailing Association, Wichita Kansas USA - Final results: 1. Silvestri, Russ (13) 2. Herrman, Mark (15) 3. Peck, (15) 4. Deyett, Mike (18) 5. Kern, Andrew (27) 6. Griffiths, Scott (32)

Event website:

MIT -- Conditions light and variable out of the north, south, east, and west. Get the picture. It was a bit shifty. Top notch fleet from around the country including high caliber collegiate sailors such as Navy, Harvard, and MIT. Also, top women sailors from Houston, Texas, Minnesota and Washington State have traveled here for the event. Windward leeward courses with excellent race committee who were able to get ten races off with only one general recall that we know about. Two lines, one for the laser radials and a second for the FJ's.

Day One Results - Double-handed: 1. Minton / Phillips (29) 2. Beck / Rosales (36) 3. Zaniboni / Gray (40) 4. Provan / Manning (40) 5.Gilbert / Melanson (43) 1. Laura Stearns (14) 2. Judy Woellner (20) 3. Julia Lillis (31)

Complete results:

Victoria, Canada -- Nestling between the Olympic mountains and three hours from Whistler the Compaq sponsored Cascadia Cup just finished. After a frantic round robin with John Cutler and his America True crew of Tucker Thompson, John Sweeney and Kelvin Harrop were tied for first with Andy Green and his crew of Jim Turner, John Ziskind and Tom Burnham. The teams had to cope with a 3metre logs on the race course, weeds and kelp of up to 2 meters wide adding to the difficult conditions. The finals started off in 5-6 knots of heavily shifting breeze before a 25 knot howler came in from the mountains. The next few races saw some great sailing, a real treat for the 200 or so spectators that came out to watch from Clover point on Canada's Victoria Day celebrations. Andy Green took first place from John Cutler who had to fight off a spirited challenge from Eric Koppernaes who took team America True to a deciding race in the 2nd/3rd play off. After a nervous moment with the kelp stopping John Cutler in his tracks they cleared the debris and went on to take second with Eric Kopperneas 3rd, Jeff Eckard 4th and Nigel Cockran in 5th. - Andy Green

The Viper 640 Class Association has scheduled its National Championship to be held in Newport, Rhode Island over July 16-18. This regatta will be held on the "outside" course in Newport harbor beyond the bridge. The Viper 640 Nationals will be held in conjunction with the Etchells East Coast Championships, both of which will be part of the Newport Regatta which begins on the 17th of July.

This second event is part of a three race series to decide the GMC Yukon/Sailing World Viper 640 NOOD Overall Championship. For 1999, this series includes the Annapolis NOOD, the National Championship, and the Marblehead NOOD. The NOOD in St. Petersburg Florida is expected to be added to the series in 2000. Finishing positions for the Nationals will count 1.5 times towards points to decide the Overall Championship. - Daniel Phelps (


The curmudgeon is always telling you to call Ullman Sails and order a full inventory of sails. That is such good advice that I took it myself. At my age, I need all the speed I can get. While I may not win the Cal 20 Nationals with my new sails, I really want to beat Barney Flam for the Masters' Trophy. So why not go for it? It's really affordable -- less than two Social Security checks:

Teams from Pinckney, MI, topped both the middle school and high school divisions Saturday, May 22 at the Young America Cup National Championship at St. Michael's School in Newport, RI. The teams demonstrated the best overall skill in a variety of categories including the design, construction and performance of their 16-inch racing boats. The 31 teams from nine states qualified at six regional events around the country this spring to earn a berth in the nationals of this educational competition. The Young America Cup is one facet of the National Education Program of Young America, the New York Yacht Club's Challenge for America's Cup 2000.

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. Along with the scientific elements of the boat design and construction competition, each team selects a nation to represent and conducts comprehensive research about that challenging nation.

The final field of students competing May 22 at the Young America Cup represented the best of the teams that competed at the regional level for this national test of science, technology and communications skills in this multi-disciplinary contest. The students design, build and race their own model sailboats and present in-depth written and oral reports on their research. The top teams from the regional championships competed in two divisions: Grades 5-8 and Grades 9-12.

The final scores were based on boat performance, aesthetic displays, and scores from oral and written reports on their research.

As part of its commitment to support innovative education programs, telecommunications company Bell Atlantic provided a $25,000 grant to support the Young America National Education Program. The Young America National Education Program also offers a comprehensive Teacher's Guide of hands-on activities that is currently in use in classrooms around the country. The education program 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. - Jane Eagleson, Young America

For the full story and listing of all of the winners:

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

-- From Dawn Riley -- United Airlines is sponsoring the British sailors because they want exposure in Europe and the UK, places where they do business. They are a GLOBAL company and I would bet that the dollars came out of the UK budget. Sponsorship is not a charity, it is a business decision. The more sailors whine about sponsors in sailing that don't directly benefit them, the less everyone will have. If you want sponsors, make your program professional and creative. Do not act like a 2 year old and complain, 'it's not fair, I wanted that piece of cake."

-- From Peter Huston -- If the costs of transportation to intercontinental regattas are something that the entire Europe Dinghy Class needs to address, perhaps they would be well served to make a collective sponsorship deal with an airline. Call Richard Branson. I think he might enjoy the opportunity to have his "Virgin" label plastered all over a bunch of floating billboards sailed by the bright fresh faces who race Europes.

-- From Ken Redler -- In Butt #327's TIP O' THE WEEK, there was a comment about proper course. Nothing is "clear" about the definition of proper course. The definition assumes that every sailor knows the fastest way around the course. In reality, each sailor has his own idea of how to sail the course the quickest, with the correct sailor being the winner. Thus, there will always be a discrepancy between two boats over proper course. It then becomes left to a protest jury to determine the proper course.

Most often those who sit on a protest jury have no idea whether the boat should be sailing high or low for the given conditions. The jury could determine that it is up to the leeward boat to decide the course. But that allows the leeward boat to be less than honest about what course really would have been sailed if the other boat wasn't there. Consequently, the jury usually ends up deciding that the proper course is the most direct course to the next mark.

So why not define the proper course as it would be interpreted by a protest committee. Officially state that the proper course is the most direct course to the next mark without tacking or jybing. I understand that in certain situations this definition gives a windward boat the right to force a leeward boat to bear off. But at least it is "clear" to both boats as to what course they should be sailing when they become overlapped.

-- From Ken Brooke -- The McKee's Scuttlebutt report on the 49ers was great -- the best race descriptive writing I've read in a while. The only disappointment was to note that one race was marred by the setting of a badly biased start line. Would seem that a last minute postponement would have been advisable. There is more criticism of race management over poor start lines than all the other things we PRO's do wrong put together!!!!

After more than 70 years of racing, including more than half-a-million ocean miles, 83-year-old Alby Burgin has never retired from a race. But the inaugural Coffs Harbour to Fiji race is tonight testing that record to the limit.

An emergency watch is being kept over Burgin and his three-man crew as they battle a worsening hull leak and 30 knot headwinds beyond 100 nautical miles from the finishing line in Suva. On top of that Burgin is trying to cope with his own problems - he's "not feeling too flash" after being slammed onto the deck of his 50ft aluminium sloop Alstar during a gale four days ago.

While Burgin fought his way into the closing stages of the 1800nm passage from Australia Hugh Treharne and his crew from Bright Morning Star were sitting in the sun under coconut palms at Royal Suva Yacht Club relaxing after a nine-plus day race for line honours. They sailed the yacht through the narrow coral reef passage just as first light broke today to claim line honours. They are also unbeatable for the handicap trophy.

"The Sydney to Hobart race was a lot worse, but the bad weather there was over in about 24 hours," said a tired Treharne. "This was a tough race - we were hard on the wind on starboard tack with a no. 4 jib and two reefs in the main for eight days. The punishment just didn't stop." Treharne paid great tribute to his crew, including brother Ian plus three male and three female "ocean racing rookies". He said that even when the weather was at its worst and a lot of other yachts were seeking shelter his crew was only concerned about how rare the roast beef in the oven should be and what sauce to make.

Tonight a large motor yacht was on standby at Musket Cove Resort, in the western region of the Fiji group of islands, to go to Alstar's assistance should the situation on board worsen. Burgin alerted race headquarters at Royal Suva Yacht Club early today that the leak that had been contained two days earlier had opened up again and become larger. A weld in the hull had split. They were fighting to stay ahead of the water flow with the pumps the yacht carried.

Communications stations in Australia and Fiji are tonight staging a listening watch over Alstar. Burgin arranged to report into race headquarters every two hours.

The third placed yacht in the racing division, Drina (Michael Thurston) resumed racing early today after being hove-to south of New Caledonia for more than a day. With the tropical low-pressure system that generated the bad weather now slipping south and weakening many of the yachts that sought shelter in Noumea and on Australia's east coast were rejoining the race. Antipodes of Sydney (Geoff Hill) was destined to be the first cruising division yacht to finish. True Blew (Scott Jackson) was back on the course and Tanilba (Stan Wallace) and Too Impetuous (Neville Watson) are expected to leave Noumea within 48 hours. Moonpenny (Anthony Doncaster) and La Violante (Fred Looijschelder) are reported to have left Brisbane today. -- Rob Mundle

Web Page:

Upwind and down, your eyes are the most immediate source of critical data. Exercising a rhythm when gathering data will keep all the pertinent information flowing as needed. As you sail upwind check these areas one by one in succession, when you get done start all over again. The actual order is up to you, but discipline yourself to check in on all the areas. Your eyes should be constantly on the move.

1) Luff of jib, check the telltales and keep them flowing. If you're fast maybe burn a little by pinching just a touch, if your feeling sluggish (the boat that is) then foot just a bit.

2) The Horizon; cross checking the angle of heel with the feel of the boat will keep you going fast. Every boat's taste for heel is different, learn what is fast for yours and maintain it with body weight, steering and sail trim.

3) Water; look out for puffs, lulls, flat water and choppy water. Keeping tabs on this information will allow you to make good tactical decisions and will assist you in making slight adjustments to course as you work your way through the waves.

4) Look Up; the leech of the main, make sure it is trimmed to perfection, this is the throttle, work it.

5) Look In; the boom and traveller setting. This should just be a quick check to make certain all is well.

6) Scan; quick check for other boats, right of way boats are one thing, clear air is another.

7) Leech of Jib; if your boat is set-up so you can see it easily from where you are steering, check it out. A telltale 75% of the way up with a window in the main is very handy for checking if the jib has flow.

1) Luff of Spinnaker; same as the jib, keep it flowing

2) Horizon; check that angle of heel

3) Water; keep looking for puffs, lulls and waves; this time, however, a quick look over your shoulder will help in assessing the best possibility for the next puff.

4) Look Up; check the mainsail, sheet tension and vang tension to make certain you are keeping that top batten parallel to the boom, adjust that vang to do so.

5) Scan; look for other boats and make certain your air is clear. -- The Coach at

Low-performance sailors are allowed to wear high-performance sailing gear. If fact two the top three boats at the recent Gardiner Bowl in Cal 20s wore Camet racing shorts. Cal 20s are 'slugs' with an un-ergonomic cockpit railing to punish your butt during a weekend regatta. The optional rubber padding in my Camet sailing shorts made the weekend bearable for the curmudgeon and my crew Daniel, who has more natural padding than I do. Hell, we might have won the regatta except Doug McLean wore also Camet shorts. See for yourself:

No one understands the power of positive communication better than Neal Petersen, so it was no major surprise that when the 31-year-old native of South Africa crossed the windy Around Alone finish line today at 12:51 p.m. local time (1651 GMT), he was chattering away on a cellular phone.

Petersen's 40-foot No Barriers completed the trip from South America after a passage of 44d, 01h, 51m, 24s, a time good enough for fifth place on Leg 4. Petersen's elapsed time for the circumnavigation was 195d, 17h, 29m, 11s. - Herb McCormick

For the full story:

Originality is the art of concealing your sources.