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SCUTTLEBUTT #332 - May 27, 1999

GUEST EDITORIAL - by Peter Harken
Dawn Riley hit it right on the head regards her remarks addressing the United Airlines sponsorship of " foreign sailors". The reason Europeans, especially the French, do so much better at getting corporate sponsorship is they understand the meaning of the word " sponsorship" and 95% of the U.S. sailors and Yacht Clubs don't.

What we in American sailing think of as" sponsorship" is known in other parts of the world as a " gift "! Sponsorship means; for every dollar given, the sponsor company or person expects a dollar's value in return, same as any other business transaction. The typical sponsorship request we get is, "sponsor my campaign and I will put your name on my boat and say good things about your stuff ". Uh huh and even in Peeville, Wisconsin we weigh that against the value we receive from a full page magazine ad that may cost the same as that sailor's campaign request. We know the results. It's no contest: the ad will return a 1000 more times real value.

The typical Yacht Club regatta sponsorship return value is a mention of your company in their regatta brochure usually accompanied by a request for a highly overpriced ad in their brochure and " no, you can't hang a company banner on the YC because it makes it look too commercial." Excuse me, but isn't that what we're talking about? A commercial transaction??

Believe it or not, this is the typical sailing version of sponsorship in America. We know, we get hundreds of these "bad value" sponsorship requests. Sponsorship requires constant work and it does not stop with the banner in the beer tent and the sticker on the boat!

Corporations must spend their money wisely for their stockholders and their employees and therefore demand good value in their commercial transactions. Sponsorship is a commercial transaction, not a gift or charity. Companies like ours give to charities not expecting any sort of return, but that type of giving is restricted to needy social programs----NOT sailboat racing!

So, we in America must stop whining about the lack of sponsorship and get on with it----i.e. learn it as the rest of the sailing world has done and then work at it like any other job---HARD! Maybe U.S. Sailing and Sail America can take an active role in the process of U.S. sponsorship improvement? Our company is working on it's own requirement rules.

After two years spent in the waters of the Pacific (Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tahiti, Sydney, Yokohama then San Francisco), The big catamaran Explorer is turning her bows once again towards the shores of Europe, at the end of a long programme which started in 1992. Recently delivered from San Francisco to Miami via the Panama canal, Explorer is currently under preparation for two successive record attempts. Co-skippered by Bruno Peyron and his old 93 Jules Verne Trophy crew member (the American Cam Lewis), Explorer will first of all attempt, around about May 30th, to set a new speed record between Miami and New York (1100 miles) in the Gulf Stream and along the Florida coast. Then she will go on stand by in New York (from June 10th) to attack the mythical Atlantic crossing record, between the Ambrose light (New York) and the Lizard (the South westerly point of England).

Explorer which has held this record since 1990 (the catamaran was then called Jet Services V) will not however be able to wait too long for the optimum conditions for this record, because the rest of her programme means she must be on the other side of the Atlantic by June 20th next at the latest. So the big catamaran will set off with the first favourable weather window without knowing what the conditions might be for the rest of the course.

For this completely new record between Miami and New York, the crew of Explorer is preparing to meet difficult conditions, notably around the dangerous Cape Hatteras and during the crossing of these waters reputed to the "worst" on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Alongside Bruno Peyron and Cam Lewis, the crew will include the American Skip Novak (co-holder with Bruno Peyron of the double Pacific crossing record between Los Angeles and Honolulu in 1997, then between Yokohama and san Francisco in August 98), the Frenchman Nicolas Pichelin, a regular crew member of Explorer and cameraman and ocean adventurer Rick Deppe who will film the attempt for the TWI agency in charge of distributing the images of this record.

This attempt whose duration, between the Miami Sea Buoy and the Ambrose light in New York, should not last longer than 3 days, will be recorded by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council). The admitted objective, conditions permitting, is to beat the record of the number of miles sailed in 24 hours. Cam Lewis : "Other boats have already sailed faster over shorter periods. In my opinion, Explorer is still the fastest ocean racer in the world. If we meet good weather conditions, we might have a chance of setting a new 24 hour speed record". In any case this record will allow Explorer's crew to prepare for a completely different challenge, that of the North Atlantic crossing.

Mythical since in 1981, a certain Eric Tabarly smashed this record set in 1905 by Charlie Barr on the schooner "Atlantic", the Atlantic crossing record, beaten for the last time in June 1990 by Frenchman Serge Madec in 6 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes and 32 seconds, remains undefeated to this day. This record crossing time between New York and the South westerly point of England (the Lizard) will be very difficult to beat because the average speed over the whole crossing is 18.63 knots.

Explorer on stand by in New York, will not wait for long to cross the Atlantic ocean, because the rest of her international campaign programme of promotion for The Race will take her next summer to the shores of Scandinavia. This crossing will however be a test on one of the official qualification courses for The race, then its head for Sweden where she will take part in the Round Gotland Race (between July 4th and 8th), before stopping over in Gdansk (Poland), then to the Isle of Wight for Cowes Week, from August 1st to 7th.

The Race website:

You don't have to sail on the Atlantic Ocean to appreciate the benefits of Gill's breathable Atlantic GORE-TEX foul weather gear. The jacket features a built-in internal safety harness channel, reflective tape and the snug fitting peaked Southern Ocean hood. It's perfect for those who have no interest in sailing the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race but want the protection and comfort that Ocean GORE-TEX products provide:

SPA REGATTA - 49er report by Charlie McKee
Medemblik Holland -- 60 49ers are assembled on the beach 1/4 mile south of town, representing Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, as well as virtually every European nation. The fleet was divided into two groups, each of which sailed 3 races today, the first day of the regatta. After everyone has sailed 9 qualification races the fleet will be split into gold and silver, with 30 boats in each. Saturday will have 3 races , which will be brought forward to Sunday's 3 race finals as 1 score. This somewhat unusual format results in gradually increasing intensity as the regatta goes on, with final day upsets resulting in surprise winners each of the past two years. Since the first 3 days qualifying score is not brought forward however, the real goal is just to make it into gold fleet, where everyone starts even again on Saturday.

Given the depth of the fleet and shifty conditions nothing is certain however, and the results from the first 3 races reflected this. Conditions were 6-14 knots straight off the land, with very flat water (everything is flat in Holland) and big puffs and shifts. Adam and Teague onboard Renault came out of the blocks in fine form, fresh off their victory last week in the European Grand Prix. About 8 boats were OCS (over early at the start) in race 1, and in this regatta the race committee waits at the first mark and hauls the offending boats off the course! Team McLube (Jonathan & Charlie McKee) had a pretty mediocre start to the regatta, opening with a score of about 9th after missing some major shifts. Race two saw a battle up the first beat between Renault and McLube, with the Americans leading around the first leeward mark in wildly puffy conditions. Things were not so kind on the 2nd beat however, as McLube bounced between shifts up the middle and getting passed on both sides, before finally rebounding to finish 5th. The final race of the day for this group saw Adam ad Teague working the left side and set to round 2nd, McLube working middle/right and slipping before a late tack left set them up to round about 5th. Unfortunately for both, the RC was waiting with some bad news (OCS), and the winners of the first two Grand Prix events sailed back to shore earlier than expected, as the 2nd fleet left the beach to start their 3 races.

All in all life is good, the 49er fleet is exceptionally strong and there is good spirit among the competitors, and everyone is buzzing about the successful launching of the televised Grand Prix Series. - Charlie McKee

SPA Regatta website:

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

-- From Geoff Becker (In response to Ken Redler, 'Butt #330) -- In the definition of proper course some leeway is given to the leeward boat, if not the benefit of the doubt. There are two underlying reasons for this 1. the windward boat is required to keep clear under RRS 11. Never should a windward boat have the power to force the leeward boat down below a course the leeward feels is her proper course. 2. Looking at some of the history of the rules, one of the constants is the ability of a downwind boat to defend her clear air. A leeward boat should be able to retain this right to defend her wind. If a leeward boat comes from behind she is already limited to her fastest course and yes each boat's course is different, but that is what makes the game fun.

The rules don't factor in experience of the sailor, and they shouldn't. If one boat feels it is faster to sail low and the other feels it is faster to sail high, all we have is a difference of opinion. The rules then point us to a solution by telling us who gets to follow thier fastest course. Knowing that gives you a base for a strategy. Instead of worrying about the parts of the rules you do or do not agree with, use them to help plan your tactics. Knowing where there may be problems in the rules may just tell you what situations to avoid in the future.

-- From Chris Ericksen -- I could not agree more with William Cook when he suggests that racing sailors "approach your local protest committee chairman and volunteer to be on the committee." He goes on to say, " Not only do you learn how to prevail in the room, but youoften learn how to avoid these situations to begin with." There is an even better outcome: the jury is staffed with people who have races sailboats in the last decade, a situation not always seen in the protest committee (except when the curmudgeon or other active racer/judges serve, of course). I always like sitting on a jury with others that have wet feet and chapped hands rather than the "sea lawyers" that staff the committees in some clubs.

-- From John Welty -- Last Friday I received the revised Rule Book for which I paid twelve dollars. Today I received my annual membership renewal for which I paid forty dollars. Today I also received a solicitation from US Sailing offering me a year's membership and the revised rules for only forty dollars total. This hardly seems fair. Shall I let my membership expire every year so I can get in on the better treatment afforded "new" members?

-- From Mark Skipwith - I have a question about changing the one-design class for next years Lipton Cup from the Schock 35 to the J 120 Class. Why?

-- From Chip Evaul (Commenting on Rich Roberts' report in The Log about the proposed switch from Schock 35s to J/120s in future Lipton Cup Championships) -- J/120s are surely fun boats to race and produce close competition. My own club (LBYC) would probably benefit from the change, as we have a winning J/120 in our racing fleet.

However, I am very concerned about the potential for further cost escalation in putting forth a campaign capable of winning the Lipton Cup. Radically expensive and resource sapping efforts (a reported 3,000-4,000 man hours by the '99 winner; $30,000 spent on equipment and prep by the '97 winner) would only get worse if the J/120 were used...what with bigger sailplans / bottoms / rudders / keels, etc.

Finally, I would argue the counterpoint to Mr. Sprague's assertion. The very fact that so many Southern California clubs have put "...that much time and effort into a boat..." would imply that we should continue with the Schock 35, and reap the benefits of those efforts, rather than changing classes now.

If the change is made, it is time to discuss strict cost limitations as part of the Notice of Race and/or Deed of Gift. Don't know how this might be achieved, but something must be done, or only the richest clubs will ever have a realistic chance to win.

-- From Jeff Johnson, SDYC - Please note that the Commodore for San Diego Yacht Club in the year 2000 will be Bob Spriggs rather than Sprauge.

The Olympic Sailing Committee of US SAILING has announced the winners of the Pan Am Trials in the Europe and Finn classes and the non-Olympic Snipe class. The Sunfish class' Pan Am Trials, which will determine the remaining Pan Am representative, will be held July 9-11 at the Rochester Canoe Club in Rochester, N.Y. Upon approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee, these Trials winners will represent the U.S. at the 1999 Pan American Games, scheduled for July 24 - August 8, 1999, in Winnipeg, Canada.

The Pan Am Games is a multi-sport event held every four years. Competing are the 42 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organizations from North, Central and South America. The Pan Am Regatta will be hosted by the Gimli Yacht Club and is restricted to 140 competitors among the ten events. Europe:

  • Eleven sailors turned out for the Europe Trials hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club. US Sailing Team member Meg Gaillard (Pelham, N.Y.) earned her trip to the Pan Am Games by finishing first in three of the five races that constituted the series.
  • Finn: US Sailing Team member Russ Silvestri (San Francisco, Calif.) accumulated 13 points over his seven-race series to win the Finn Trials hosted by the Ninnescah Sailing Association at Cheney Reservoir in Kansas. Sailing in a fleet of 14 boats, Silvestri, who had won two races, did not need to sail the final race to win the event.
  • Snipe (skipper/crew): Southern Yacht Club hosted 26 boats for the three day Snipe Trials held on Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana, well-known for being an unpredictable place to sail. Posting a bullet in the first race, Henry Filter (Stevensvile, Md.) with crew Lorie Stout (Annapolis, Md.) held the lead throughout the six-race, no drop, series to earn their trip to the Pan Am Games.
  • Already named to the 1999 Pan Am Games Team are: veteran boardsailors Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) and Lanee Butler (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) both of whom will be making their third trip to the Pan Am Games.
  • Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Jane Codman (Boston, Mass.) who will compete in the Laser and Laser Radial events.
  • Wally Meyers (Marmora, N.J.) and crew Mark Santorelli (Colonia, N.J.) in Hobie 16
  • The Lightning team is Andrew Horton (Shelburne, Vt.), crew Bill Fastiggi (Burlington, Vt.) and Heather Rowe (Peru, N.Y.).
  • Heading the Pan American Games sailing delegation will be Team Leader Hal Haenel (Los Angeles, Calif.); joined by Head Coach Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), Assistant Coach Scott Ikle (Geneva/Manhasset, N.Y.) and Boatright Carl Eichenlaub (San Diego, Calif.)

US Sailing Team The winners of the Pan American Games trials, Olympic and non-Olympic classes alike, become members of the 1999 US Sailing Team. Rolex Watch USA and Sperry Top-Sider sponsor the US Sailing Team. Douglas Gill and Team McLube are suppliers. - Jan Harley, Media Pro

* The sailing community in general and San Diego Yacht Club in particular lost one of its finest members last week. Peter Case passed away bravely after a long illness. He has been recognized and honored with the Burgee of Merit by San Diego Yacht Club for his many many years of volunteer work. It was pointed out at opening day ceremonies that he had been on 42 different SDYC committees over the last 30 years, including the club's America's Cup Committee. He faced death as he faced life with bravery and honor and he will be sorely missed by those that had the pleasure of knowing him. - Frank Whitton

* Ben Ach, webmaster for the Seal Beach Yacht Club and the Association of San Pedro Bay Yacht Clubs, died over the weekend. There is a memorial service set at SlBYC for Monday, Memorial Day, May 31, at 4:00 PM. Ach underwent multiple heart bypass surgery last year. - Chris Ericksen

Despite fractured ribs and possible spinal injuries 83-year-old Alby Burgin stepped up to the helm of his 50-footer, Alstar, and steered it across the finish line in the inaugural Coffs Harbour to Fiji yacht race at 8am today. In doing so the world's oldest owner-skipper kept intact his record of never having retired from an ocean yacht race.

When Alstar negotiated the narrow passage through the coral reef at the entrance to Suva Harbour there was little evidence of the punishment the yacht or the crew had endured over the 12 days of sailing from Australia's East Coast. There was a gaping 18-inch long crack in the hull below the waterline at the bow. The only two working sails left in the wardrobe - a staysail and storm trysail - were set.

Burgin described the race as one of the toughest he'd faced in his 74-years of sailing. "It just didn't let up," he said. "It was 35 to 40 knots on the nose for nine days. We saw gusts to 50."

Within hours of being lifted from his yacht and being checked over by a doctor today Alby Burgin, was back on his feet and supervising repairs to his battered yacht. Burgin certainly wasn't given the all clear when it came to his own battered body. He has serious bruising and at least two cracked ribs - courtesy of the horribly rough weather he and his three crew had endured for most of the 1800-mile course.

"The ribs will heal with time. There's nothing I can do about them," said Burgin while he inspected the 18-inch crack in the hull below the waterline at the bow. He was arranging for it to be repaired as soon as possible in the hope that he can contest next week's President's Cup series at Port Denarau on the western side of Fiji's main island. Then he plans to sail Alstar back to Australia two-handed.

Alstar finished second across the line to Hugh Treharne's Bright Morning Star. It will also be second on handicap. The next yacht is not expected to reach Suva for another three days. - Rob Mundle

Web Page address:

Andy Beadsworth (UK), who is campaigning for the Sydney Olympics in the Soling Class, is to sail as tactician on the United Airlines Ultra 30 in the Hoya Vision Care Grand Prix Series. After finishing third in 1997 and second in 1998, it is hoped that Beadsworth and new skipper Mark Rushall will be able to claim the title in 1999, the third year of United Airlines sponsorship. Ian Wilson, United Airlines Sailing Team Manager, stated that "We've brought Andy on board to strengthen the afterguard, which should help us to take the quantum leap to top of the podium."

Mike Tunnicliffe, Marketing Projects Manager at United Airlines said: "We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the United Airlines Ultra 30 into its third year. Having finished third two years ago and second last year, we hope that trend continues, allowing us to take the title this year. I would like to welcome Mark and Andy on board as helmsman and tactician, and am confident that they will help us to mount a highly professional and successful challenge."

This announcement is the second element of United Airlines sailing team - already featuring Ian Walker and Mark Covell in the Star Class - with the third to be announced shortly.

For the full story:

Curmudgeon's comment: As a former PR guy, it seems to me that United Airlines is going out of its way to build drama into these 'three element' sailing announcements. It would sure be a disappointment if the final element didn't turn out to be a biggie. Do you suppose there's a chance that United is going to fund the Brit's America's Cup program?

Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up