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SCUTTLEBUTT #331 - May 26, 1999

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY - Conditions light and variable out of the north, south, east, and west. Final Results, Double-handed: 1. Minton / Phillips (58) 2. Provan / Manning (62) 3. Zaniboni / Gray (77) 4. Beck / Rosales (83) 5. Gilbert / Melanson (90) Single-handed 1. Laura Stearns (32) 2. Judy Woellner (42) 3. Julia Lillis (63)

Complete results:

49ER GRAND PRIX - Report by Jonathan McKee
After a sparkling debut regatta in Sardinia, the innaugural 49er European Grand Prix Circuit moved across the Mediterranean to Bandol, France for leg 2. 40 of the world's top 49er teams gathered from 5 continents to contest the second event in this exciting pro racing circuit. After 2 days of excellent training conditions, the first day of qualifying dawned stormy. By the third qualifying race, the Mistral breeze had built to a puffy 25-30 knots. With each boat having sailed only two of the four scheduled races, racing was eventually cancelled for the day. Some of the sailors went go-kart racing to let off steam.

Friday brought more of the same. 6 races were needed to complete the qualifying series, which splits the top 20 teams off from the rest to race for the big money. Conditions seemed race-able at first, but by the time the RC was ready, the breeze was up into the extreme range again, and the postponement flag was hoisted. Although conditions periodically moderated during the day, we sat on the beach until 6pm, when the day was scrubbed. Some of the more daring teams went sailing anyways, but the qualifying series remained at the 2 original races (of 8 planned).

The bad news for Team McLube (Jonathan & Charlie McKee) was they were sitting in 21st position, after 2 mediocre qualifying races, 1 point shy of making the Gold Fleet. The qualifying series was won by reigning World Champ Chris Nicholson and Daniel Phillips of Australia, sailing Bandol. Second was Renault, sailed by countrymen Adam Beashal and Teague Czislowski, with Tim Robinson and Zeb Elliott of UK third.

Saturday had more moderate conditions, still Mistral in direction but a little lighter and more erratic. The first Gold Fleet race was dominated by Nicholson and Phillips by playing the shifts to the right on the first beat. Audineau and Farnarier of France were second, followed by Beashal and the Ukranians. For the second race, the breeze was more consistent left, and Adam and Teague on Renault were the first to pick up on it, scoring the victory. Second was the Bruni brothers of Italy on TNT, with Helly Hansen of Britain third. Things were even more mixed up for race 3, but again the crafty Australians played it best to notch another bullet, taking control of the series. Richardson and Greenhalgh on Helly Hansen again had a solid race for second, with Bandol fourth.

The final Gold Fleet race featured even more erratic shifts and puffs from the offshore wind. Bruni played the left side correctly on the first beat, then escaped in a big puff on the first run to win easily. Renault rounded third but missed the breaze on the next leg to finish sixth. The Budgen brothers from Britain rallied to finish second, followed by the French. The usually consistent Nicholson and Phillips scored a 10th, leaving them in a bit of a hole midway through the series.

The Silver fleet also had four shifty races. The day was dominated by the speedy Poles, Pawel Kacprowski and Pawel Kuzmicki, with scores of 1, 2, 4, 2. Also sailing consistently was Team Revo, sailed by Andy Mack and Adam Lowery of the US. Team McLube started with a second in the first race, but crashed just before the finish of the second race while in second, effectively taking them out of the series. They rallied to win Race 3, but were torpedoed at the start of Race 4. Sometimes it's just not your regatta, I guess! At the end of the day, the Poles were six points up on Revo, who was 1 point ahead of McLube in third.

More drama unfolded in the jury room on Saturday night. The Italians were reinstated from an OCS in race 1, because the recall flag was 7 seconds late going up. This vaulted them nearly to the top of the leader board in this no-discard series, 6 points behind the Australians for the lead.

The exciting final day was not to be. A very light sea-breeze was insufficient to even start any races in either fleet, despite waiting all day, revved up and ready to go. So the 2nd leg of the Grand Prix series was decided on just 2 qualifying and 4 final races, of a scheduled 15. Nevertheless, Beashal and Czislowski sailed brilliantly for a well deserved victory, following up on their 5th place finish in Sardinia, Equal on season prize money is Nicholson and Phillips, with a 2nd and a third, followed by the young Brits on Helly Hansen, and Team McLube. Tina and Trevor Baylis sailed solidly in challenging conditions to finish 16th, top North Americans.

The final two legs of the European Grand Prix are scheduled for August, with stops in Germany and Sweden. Most of the fleet is heading north to Holland for the prestigious SPA regatta.

Bob Sprague, who will be SDYC's commodore when the club defends the 85th Lipton Cup in 2000, indicated after (Vince) Brun's runaway victory in San Diego's South Bay the weekend of May 15-16 that the Schock 35s-the area's strongest offshore fleet-may be passe. "After you put that much time and effort into a boat, maybe it's time for a change," Sprague said.

There were 19 Schock 35s in last month's Yachting Cup hosted by SDYC but also 13 J/120s-including three owned by SDYC members. At 40 feet, the J/120s are five feet longer and fly asymmetric spinnakers off bowsprits. - Rich Roberts, The Log

Your favorite boat picture or logo will take on new life if you let Pacific Yacht Embroidery convert it to stitches. They specialize in custom work created by California artists. There's no reason to spend a lot of money to have the best looking crew attire at the regatta when Frank Whitton can give you the quality stuff and affordable prices. Call Frank for quotes at 619-226-8033 (

The Smithsonian Associates is proud to announce an upcoming all-day seminar, The Allure of Sailing, Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • 10 to 11 a.m. The Charm of Chesapeake Bay The coastline, lighthouses, and anchorages that can be truly appreciated only from the water. Dave Gendell, veteran sailing writer and co-founder of SpinSheet magazine.
  • 11 a.m. to 12 noon The Making of a Sailor The nuts-and-bolts of sailing-from sail handling and navigation to its cognitive and physical challenges. U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Program staff.
  • 12 to 1:30 p.m. Lunch (Participants provide their own lunch).
  • 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Across Three Oceans: A Family Cruising Adventure One man's story of sailing around the world with his young children. Ralph Naranjo, technical editor, Cruising World magazine, and Vanderstar chair, U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Program, who has incorporated decades of global cruising experience into books, articles, and lectures.
  • 2:30 to 3 p.m. Sail Training: What to Look For Where to go and what to look for at all levels of sail training. Joni Palmer, assistant director for intercollegiate sailing, U.S. Naval Academy, and a member of the board of directors of US SAILING.
  • 3 to 4:30 p.m. Ocean Racing Behind the scenes at the big races, including the Whitbread and America's Cup. Ted Reugg, regional manager, Sailing World magazine. Coordinator/moderator Karen Stansbury began sailing six years ago. She has a Navy D qualification for offshore coastal sailing and volunteer Sailing Program and at the Pentagon Sailing Club.
--Anabeth Guthrie


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

-- John Roberson -- As we would say here in Australia, "Onya Dawn." Couldn't agree more. If you don't like it, get out there and do something about it. Dawn is a shining example to sailors - correction sportspeople - the world over. If you want a sponsor, show that you are worth sponsoring.

-- From Chris Bouzaid -- I agree with Dawn. Whining does not help. Raising sponsorship money is a professional business. Air New Zealand are one of Young America's sponsors!

As a general statement some overseas countries have done a far better job at fund raising than we have in the US. If you look at the money raised foe sport in countries like New Zealand and Australia on a per capita basis it tells the entire story. USSA has a huge number of employees compared with sailing governing bodies in other countries. A lot more of their effort should be devoted to raising money for Junior and Olympic sailing instead of promoting themselves.

-- From Hugh Elliot Chairman, Committee on Sailors with Special NeedsUnited States Sailing Association -- I do not take great offence that United has chosen, as a business decision, to sponsor a British team. What sticks in my craw is that United, under the USOC Joint Marketing Agreement, has an exclusive position with respect to US Teams. If United declines to support a team - as it recently declined to help the US Disabled Sailing Team attending the 1999 Disabled Sailing Worlds in Cadiz, Spain - then we are, as I understand it, prohibited from approaching any other airline.

This is unfair, at best, since the US Disabled Sailing Team has never received any funding from USOC. Nor is this the first bad experience that I have had with United: the first involved their insistence that I entrust a $20,000 prosthetic leg - that was going to be very uncomfortable if I wore it for the duration of a Trans-Atlantic flight - to their baggage department rather than allow it to be put in the closet. I, for one, will avoid travelling by United wherever possible.

-- From Rick Hatch Vancouver, BC US Sailing and CYA Judge -- In reply to Ken Redler about the meaning of "proper course", I refer Ken to the definition on page 139 of the RRS 1997-2000, published by U.S. Sailing, and in particular, the words "in the absence of the other boats referred to..." Contrary to Ken's opinion, quite a bit is clear about the definition. Perhaps Ken has been the victim of a hearing in which insufficient evidence was either provided by or solicited from the parties to the protest to enable the protest committee to reach a reasonable conclusion. Given sufficient evidence, most judges I've worked with have at least a vague idea about what a particular boat's proper course would be "in the absence of other boats."

The secret to understanding the RRS is in understanding the definitions, which appear extensively throughout the rules. Read them, reflect on them, read the appeals, then, if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself going to "the room" (instead of celebrating with your fellow competitors at the post-race festivities), prepare a thoughtful presentation to enable the judges to discern the facts from your evidence.

In some 13 years of judging, I've never had any trouble with the meaning of the term "proper course." I only misunderstood "proper course" before that time, before I had taken the time to reflect on the meanings of the definitions.

There's a time and place for harsh criticism; I prefer constructive discussion.

-- From William F. Cook -- Ken Redler asks why "proper course" is not defined as the course directly at the mark, since he feels that protest committees usually come to this definition. I think that Ken misunderstands how protest committees deliberate, or possibly he has had a bad experience with one.

I think that most protest committees are reasonable about this sort of thing, and decide what was actually happening based on the testimony given. The testimony is usually pretty questionable, however. I cannot possibly overemphasize the need to prepare your evidence, to understand the time/distance tables and how they apply to your case, and most importantly to call witnesses if you have them. If a couple of people on your boat come in and testify that the other boat altered course significantly as a direct result of your presence, that goes a long way toward resolving the issue.

Perhaps the best way to find out how to handle yourself in a protest room is to approach your local protest committee chairman and volunteer to be on the committee. Like any volunteer job, it is time-consuming and you miss out on some of the parties, and it is at times thankless, but it is well worth the effort to participate with people who have experience running a proper protest. Not only do you learn how to prevail in the room, but you often learn how to avoid these situations to begin with.

-- From Jim Hammitt -- I'm glad that at least part of my social security taxes are going to such a worthwhile cause...

Throughout today 83-year-old Alby Burgin and his exhausted crew have continued to battle headwinds of up to 50 knots off the southern coast of Fiji's main island in a determined bid to reach the finish line in the inaugural Coffs Harbour to Fiji yacht race.

Every two hours Burgin, who is "still in agony" after an on board accident, or one of his crew were relaying their position to Royal Suva Yacht Club so a watch could be maintained on the progress of their leaking yacht. And each time news came that Burgin's 50-footer was that little bit closer to the finish in Suva locals were chanting "Tabu Soro" - never give up.

Burgin advised on tonight's sched. for the fleet that he now expected to reach Suva tomorrow afternoon. They would be spending the night tacking to clear the large reef off Beqa Island, the one and only rounding mark of the course. They were down to their last two working sails - a storm jib and trysail. The rest had been blown away.

Alstar has overcome horrendous odds to still be limping towards the finish and second place in fleet. Almost every other yacht sought shelter during the mid stages of the 1800-mile passage when a tropical low roared in from the top of the Coral Sea.

Today, with Burgin sleeping in his bunk, one of the crew requested that a doctor be on the dock to check him when the yacht arrived. It now turns out that Burgin was injured when he was hurled across the cabin from the nav. station when the yacht was at a steep angle of heel and fell off a wave.

Apart from the horrible headwinds Burgin and his crew have had plenty of incidents during the previous 24 hours. They had to repair a broken mast stay, send a man aloft to replace a broken halyard, continually man the pumps because of an 18 inch long fracture in the bow of the aluminium yacht and retrieve their staysail after it blew out.

There's a gap of near 500 miles back to the next yachts, Antipodes of Sydney (Geoff Hill) and Drina (Michael Thurston). Drina has been hove to in 50-knot winds for much of the past week. -- Rob Mundle

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