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SCUTTLEBUTT #342 - June 11, 1999

A DIFFERENT OPINION -- From Mark Sweeney
I was intrigued by the assertion that Neil W. Humphrey made (Butt #341) that other sports have passed sailing by as a viable spectator sport. It is, after all, not the athlete that sponsor companies target, its the people who want to associate with the athletes and the sport. Rather than join the long list of those complaining to the Curmudgeon about the problem, I figured I'd throw some totally random ideas out and see if any stick to the wall:

1 - Tailor the sport - Neil mentions volleyball as one sport that has passed us by. Well, fastest growing segment of that sport is 4-person pro beach. The truth is that the 4-person format was CREATED to attract sponsorship. Beach volleyball has traditionally been played in 2-person format, but that configuration suffers from too many service aces and sideouts without points being scored. The organizers of the sport realized it's the big hits, long rallies, and point scoring that gets the fans going, so they put more people on the court to insure this. We need to find out what the fans like about the sport, and enhance it.

2 - Improve the access to the sport - The Olympics in Atlanta set up huge viewing screens all over the city and had non-stop parties all the time events were taking place. We need to use examples like these to attract the fan, because it's the fan that draws the sponsor. Do you think every fan at a event party in Atlanta really cared, let alone understood the modern pentathlon? But the party was the thing, and lord knows the sailing community knows a thing or two about a good party. Sailing venues could easily do the same, and sell sponsorship space on the screens. This has to improve because sooner or later GMC/Yukon et. al. will realize they can only sell so many Suburbans to us!

3 - Standardize the levels of the sport - This is where US Sailing has totally dropped the ball. Every other major sport's federation makes GOVERNING decisions (i.e., figure skating doing away w/ the compulsory figures because fans didn't care), while US Sailing just collects member checks (and lots of them by the letters I've read in the 'Butt). Who's directing the FUTURE of the sport? We need to set specific boats or designs that can grow and become bedrocks for competition, like the Olympic classes. Heck, even boat designer contribute to this. Farr Ltd. puts out the Mumm 30, and rather that support and build the class, they turn around and cleave off the top portion of that class with the Farr 40, and more importantly, leave the rest of the class vulnerable to defection to the 1D35s. Sailors really only want good competition, and to train and prepare, we need something to shoot for. If US Sailing would GOVERN some standardized the levels (i.e., a boat design in each length level) we would be able to shoot and train for those levels. If nothing is governed for the good of the sport, nothing will ever change. I'm suggesting something like what the Admiral's Cup does. If people can train for it, they get good, and if they get good people will watch, and, well, you get the picture.

* The Royal Lymington Cup, Britain's Grade One Match racing event, has produced surprises in its early stages. Two of the world's best skippers, Gavin Brady, ranked number 2 in the world, and John Cutler, the America True helmsman, were eliminated after the first round robin. Brady won only one of his five matches and Cutler none.

Ian Williams, the runner-up to Chris Law in the British Championship, has been the early star, winning all his five matches, including one against Markus Wieser of Germany, the world ranked number 6. Williams also defeated Morten Henriksen, runner-up to Andy Beadsworth in Dubai.

Murray Jones of Team New Zealand topped his group in the first round, but suffered one defeat, at the hands of Croatia's Tomislav Basic. In the as yet uncompleted second round, Jones reversed that result and also beat Wieser and Henriksen.

Beadsworth qualified for the second round, from which four of the eight will go into the semi-finals by beating Brady, Cutler and Basic. In the second round, he was beaten in the first flight by Francois Brenac of France, but immediately beat Luc Pillot (FRA) who, at 14, outranks him by six places on the world scale.

Williams suffered his first defeat in the competition when he met Basic in the second round, then he beat Wieser. His third match was the all-British affair, and the greater experience of Beadsworth was the telling factor. There are four more flights of the second round before the semi-finals. - Bob Fisher

Event Website:

* LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - Final results, Gold Cup Match Race Regatta (Sailed the Catalina 37s): 1. Tony Stuart, 2. Bob Little, 3. Mike Pinckney.

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Two new America's Cup boats will be launched this weekend - under very different circumstances. Italian challengers Prada will slip their second Luna Rossa boat into the Mediterranean sea without fanfare. But in Hawaii, there will be a full blessing in downtown Waikiki of the new Abracadabra 2000.

It is a race against time for the Aloha Racing syndicate to get their first boat out of the shed in time for the launch on Sunday. The building crew have been working around the clock seven days a week for three weeks to get USA50 completed. Aloha boss and skipper John Kolius would like to have both Abracadabra boats in the water by July 15, but he knows that August 1 is a more realistic date. "The second boat will be pretty different - but I think that's something you have to do for this America's Cup. You're going to see severely different weather conditions from one day to another in Auckland."

The entire crew has yet to be settled, and next week will be the first time most of them have sailed together. The Aloha team have not had an old cup boat to train on. If the Hawaiian boats are not the fastest challengers, they will certainly be up for the prize of best-dressed - their hulls have been decorated by renowned ocean wildlife painter Wyland.

Italy's second boat will join the first Luna Rossa, launched a month ago, in testing at Punta Ala for the next six weeks. The French Le Defi syndicate and the Spanish Challenge will launch their new boats next weekend. -- Suzanne McFadden, New Zealand Herald

For the full story:

ANOTHER CURIOUS TALE -- by Rich Matzinger
Regarding the thought provoking comments of Craig Fletcher on the Farr 40 Class's decision to blacklist him from steering a Farr 40, I recently had a similar experience. I was asked to sail on an East Coast Farr 40 in last year's World's. The plan was that Steve Flam would steer and I would trim. Steve met all of the requirements of the Farr 40 by-laws, correctly answering the class eligibility questionnaire and submitting his amateur status certificate from US Sailing. After that we traveled east to do the Annapolis Fall Series on the boat.

About three weeks before the Worlds the owner was advised by the class that Steve Flam would not be allowed to steer the boat. When asked for a reason, it is my understanding that the owner got no other answer than Steve was too good. To say the least the owner was extremely frustrated, as Steve met the class' guidelines, already had an airline ticket and it was getting late to find a replacement. Steve was equally frustrated as he was excited about doing the event, for it was one of the first times someone had asked him to steer a "Big Boat" in a regatta of this caliber (he's usually given the tactics role for good reason) and he had also made arrangements to be absent from his non-sailing industry job.

At this point the owner was seriously considering withdrawing from the event altogether. Instead he chose to submit my name as helmsman. I also filled out the obligatory questionnaire and submitted my amateur status certificate. Within two days I was rejected with the reason given that I was an "Import" and not a regular on the boat. Steve Flam has never been paid to sail, nor worked in the marine industry. The closest I have come is washing boats in high school. The Farr 40 Class ultimately approved someone to drive the boat that had been a sailmaker only three years prior. I found this as surprising as when I read in Scuttlebutt that someone the caliber of Augie Diaz steered a Farr 40 to victory a week ago.

I certainly understand the desire of the Farr 40 class to control professionalism and I equally understand the trials and tribulations of any new organization finding it's way, but the class, and any others interested in being successful needs to have an objective process in place that is applied equally to all if it is to succeed. Otherwise you will not only have unhappy sailors, but more importantly, unhappy owners that get caught up in the process and become disillusioned with the class or don't join it at all.

The Farr 40 class might consider bolstering their rules with a page from the J-35 class which required that a non-owner helmsman has to race on the boat in a required number of races before being allowed to drive. This would eliminate, or reduce the concern with having "roving rogue amateur hit men". The other alternative is simply change the rule to owner driver only. Either alternative would be an improvement on the current process. -- Rich Matzinger

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

-- From Gail M. Turluck -- As I continue to read the editorials on defining professional vs. amateur sailor, I think I have discovered why the sport has yet to progress. The sport has always been volunteer driven and administered, and with exceptions in places like Portsmouth, RI (the US Sailing Association office), having volunteers attempt to plan and administer a professional sport is the key tripping point to the development Neil W. Humphrey is calling for. Money will need to be invested, startup costs planned for, and strong leaders hired.

For the sport of sailing to develop a truly professional arm, it needs to establish a professional platform, with a "Commissioner," an office of administrators, secretaries, public relations specialists, and all the rest. ISAF might be the ultimate overseer, but the professional version of the sport needs its own separate, stand alone, arm. I hope when the help wanted sign goes up it goes up to 'Butt readers first!

-- From John Welty -- Perhaps I am selfish, but every sport or hobby I have pursued became a source of income and ceased to be fun. I have tried very hard to prevent that from happening to my sailing. The results of an informal poll of those we race against, the vast majority are doing it to escape the stress and general cut throat atmosphere of their everyday world. The people already deriving their livelihood from the sailing industry I would imagine are in favor of unlimited growth. Not every person out there is a potential sailor. Watch out, the pro soccer, settle it in the pits afterward stock car racer attitude has begun, not unlike most other trends and may be headed towards a lake near you. Growth for growth's sake is not always a good thing.

-- From Rick Merriman -- In regard to the Farr 40 who is allowed to drive and who is allowed to call tactics: The next test will be if they allow Augie Diaz to steer again after his recent win on Hissar. While Augie is an amateur these days and earns a living outside of sailing, his driving skills and sailing ability is right up there with the best. Will his name be added to the list like Craig Fletcher and Tom Lihan?

-- From Lauri Berkenkamp, Nomad Communications/ Volvo Leukemia Cup Regatta Series -- I've been following the discussions regarding sponsorships with great interest--I work with Volvo on its title sponsorship and participation in the Volvo Leukemia Cup Regatta series, a nationwide series of regattas benefitting the Leukemia Society of America. Every sailor I have worked with thus far has been incredibly supportive of our presence in the events, especially because it draws media attention to their cause and their sport.

-- From Mike Guccione -- I have been reading with great interest the articles of Seth Radow and Chris Bouzaid. Chris is giving us the path but will anyone follow it? I think the only way you are going to get Sailing popular in the United States is by large corporate efforts. Maybe Volvo can do us some good. Then of course I remember being in San Diego for the last America's cup and seeing the lack of attention the locals gave the event let alone the nation and being embarrassed to be an American Sailor. So if the America's cup is not motivating enough to get us the press we need then what is?

Without a shadow of doubt, the last 24 hours were tough on board maxi-catamaran Explorer, attempting to break the speed record for an Atlantic Crossing between New York and the Lizard (south westerly point of England). Crewmember Bruno Peyron, said, "It's damp, stressful and tiring. Difficult to get any rest, or to get into the right rhythm when you're sailing between 20 and 25 knots all the time in high seas and gale force winds. But it's no surprise. We are getting what we deserve? However yesterday was particularly difficult. We already had a few little technical problems inherent with racing these big boats (broken battens, rudder problems, small leak in the starboard hull).

"But above all, we were roughly handled by giant waves. One bigger than the others literally swept the boat, exploding onto the net when Elena was crossing from one hull to the other. She sprained her ankle rather badly. As for co-skipper Skip Novak who was at the helm, he was propelled by the mass of water to the limits of his safety harness. He violently struck the aft beam.

"It knocked him completely groggy, with a nasty cut to his scalp. He went down below and suffered a slight loss of consciousness. We called up Dr Jean-Yves Chauve, on shore, the ocean racing doctor, for a diagnosis. Skip rested for three hours. Now all is well. He is back on watch."

Elena Caputo : "?The truth of it, is that our rhythm of life is monopolised by damp extenuating watches and rest periods in the hulls are damp also. We still haven't eaten one single cooked meal since the start. We swallow mainly muesli and bars of chocolate, biscuits and apples, accompanied by some rather spongy bananas. As Nicolas Pichelin says : "?.the Pacific was cruising compared to this old Atlantic?".

Despite these mishaps, Explorer is continuing to swallow the miles, achieving after three days racing, a daily average of 505 miles. Concerning the record, Bruno Peyron was worried about the delay and was still waiting for the change in wind direction to allow Explorer to really get onto a direct heading, especially as for the landfall with England, the weather door seems to be opening.

Weather for the next 24 hours : wind SSW 20 to 25 knots. Sea slightly rough. - Pierre Giboire

Follow the action:

Commodore George M. Isdale Jr. announced that the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) has established a new trophy and will host a team-racing regatta in August for Masters sailors. To be eligible to compete, the skipper/helmsperson must be at least 45 years of age and represent a recognized yacht club. Combined crew age minimums will be established as well.

The trophy will be known as the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Invitational Trophy, in recognition of the long commitment of the club's former commodore to sailing and friendly competition between yacht clubs. This is the second Hinman trophy for team racing. The annual US Sailing Team Racing Championship is also a Hinman Trophy. The hope is that The Hinman Masters Invitational Trophy will join the Hinman Trophy as one of the premier team racing events in the country.

The Masters Invitational regatta will be initially managed by the NYYC's Committee on Competitions Team Racing sub-committee. The deed of gift states that the regatta may travel to locations around the U.S. and be co-hosted by interested yacht clubs. The first competition will be August 27-28, 1999, at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, in conjunction with the US Sailing Team Racing Championships for The Hinman Trophy. -- Michael Levitt

For more information:

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

A synopsis on the America's Cups challenger's likely chances:

Fifth attempt by Syd Fischer. Unlikely to improve on past performance. First time ever he has been sole Australian challenger.

Has the potential to be a semi-finalist. This challenger has a very capable helmsman in John Cutler, but will need a fast boat. Doubters may be eating humble pie.

Hawaii - Could well be the wild card - Have a strong design team, and a very skilled helmsman. Their approach to the challenge gives them a number of pluses i.e. staying/training in Hawaii. One of the better prepared syndicates.

Japan - Third attempt. Achieved semi-finals in last two challenges. Exclusive Japanese crew but with an Australian born skipper, Peter Gilmore. Without a doubt a semi finalist in 1999 - Limited finances this time round - expect to see more dedication than in the past from this crew - only a "maybe" at this stage.

Switzerland - First America's Cup, limited funding, little depth in crew. Not a likely contender.

All the elements for success but without funding. Even if funding now found chances must be regarded as poor.

Competed in two previous Cups. Have kept their campaign very much under wraps, but on past performance, an "also ran."

What can you say? Not a Cup without him. A one boat campaign puts him at a disadvantage, but he should not in any way be discounted. A very strong crew with talent. Whoever beats him will deserve to be the challenger. Question: Has he still got his heart in America's Cup campaigns. His yachting interests are widely (thinly ?) spread.

Italy - One of two most likely challengers. An exceptionally impressive organisation, with the best designers money can buy. The boat will be capable of winning and the crew the best prepared of all the challengers.

New York Yacht Club -We are not so sure that we agree with most commentators that this challenge is formidable. They certainly have the desire to recapture the Cup. A strong design team and a very experienced management team led by John Marshall. We do not rate them as highly as Prada, but almost.

Not enough known to comment other than to say that if they appear, it will be a learning curve.

Without a doubt a semi -finalist, Cayard will take some stopping. Financially strong challenge with the best sponsorship backing of any. Strong corporate support. Rated as highly as Prada.

France - Another challenger with financial problems. Very capable sailing team, but are mounting only a one boat campaign which puts them at a disadvantage. If their designers produce a fast boat, they could be the dark horse of the race.

After months of sluggish sales and rising debts, Iridium is getting ready to cut prices worldwide for its pricey satellite phone service. This week, one of Iridium's largest US distributors introduced a flat-rate pricing plan that charges US$4.29 per minute for international calls. At the same time, several of Iridium's overseas distributors are also lowering prices and simplifying service plans.

The changes come as Iridium, the first of several planned satellite phone networks designed to make calls anywhere on Earth, is under massive pressure to restructure its debt-ridden business. After reporting losses of close to $1 billion since launching commercial operation in November, Iridium has already negotiated two extensions from lenders. The latest extension expires at the end of the month, giving Iridium only a few more weeks to restructure its debt and revamp its service plan. -- Joanna Glasner, Wired News

For the full story:

On Sunday, June 13 at 1:30 PM EDT on ESPN2, join Russell Coutts, Ed Baird, Ken Read, Terry Hutchinson, John Kolius and Kimo Worthington as they race 1D48s in Baltimore. This is a real look at what it is like to sail on board for the professional sailors. Also included is an exciting interview with Simon McKeon, skipper of the world's fastest sailboat, Yellow Pages Endeavour. Video from his record breaking run is also included in the program.

* German skipper Tilmar Hansen and Annapolis, MD, helmsman Chris Larson will defend their Mumm 36 World Championship Trophy in Kiel, Germany, June 19-24, with the Mumm 36 New Yorker. The international duo led their crew to victory in the class worlds last year in Miami.

For Hansen, this is an opportunity to defend his World Championship title at his home club, the Kieler Yacht Club. Hansen who owns the New Yorker department stores throughout Germany and Europe, is a German Admiral's Cup veteran, campaigning his boats named Outsider and New Yorker.

Hansen and Larson will be joined aboard their '98 championship boat, the former Jameson, by the largely-American crew Larson has assembled for the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup campaign in Cowes, England, in July. Larson sailed the same boat to victory in the Admiral's Cup two years ago. The tactician for New Yorker is Annapolis-based New Zealander Geoff Stagg, the President and owner of Farr International. Paul "Flipper" Westlake, from Boston, MA, is an Australian national and returning crew from the 1998 New Yorker victory in Miami. Mike Drummond, from Auckland, NZ, has raced as a navigator in the '93, '95, & '97 Admiral's Cup series and will navigate New Yorker in Kiel. Australian Mike Mottle from Sydney, is jib trimmer on the boat. American Eric Arndt, Santa Barbara, CA, will crew in the pit. New Zealander Brad Webb will be bow man. -- Keith Taylor

World Championships website:

Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups