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SCUTTLEBUTT #343 - June 14, 1999

Following are excerpts from a widely circulated 7000-word transcript of a discussion held at the ISAF Mid-Year meeting in Vancouver, Canada. This discussion centered on whether or not there are too many World Championships in sailing. Although these excerpts are just a small part of the total transcript, I've tried to fairly represent all viewpoints.

If you'd like to read the entire transcript, I'm sure that either Jonathan Harley ( or Lee Parks ( at the US SAILING office will be able to help you out. Both Jonathan and Lee are regular readers of Scuttlebutt and I know they are both interested in viewpoints that will assist the US ISAF Delegation in their thinking on this subject.

BJORN UNGER (SWE) - ISAF Council Member, Events Committee Member: We tried to assess the problem of sailing as of today with all its good values, trying to take care of both the communication aspect and the importance of the sailors in the bay. We also assessed the current situation that we had too few spectators, we have too few viewers and too few buyers. We have a poor communication, we have confused messages and we have 100 plus world championships every year. What we are facing is competition from other sports and events. We have Events with little attention and we face competition from private commercial organisations that want to enter into the sport and see business opportunity. We came to the conclusion that we should try to get to attractive events which are clearly communicated, focus on fewer and stronger events and create a communications platform.

HAJO FRITZE (GER), ISAF Council Member, President of Deutscher Segler Verband: To question whether there are too many world championships in the sport of sailing and the answer is firmly and squarely YES. There are currently more than 160 world championship titles in sailing every year which is a limiting factor of the promotion of sailing in the media. The reduction in the number of world championships to 10 in each credential will assist in the restoring the credibility of the title world champion. This proposal will transform the ability of interested parties to exploit the media and marketing opportunities inherent in each ISAF event series.

Now how to do it? How to reduce the world championships and related events? Either we go the way the Events Committee recommends, draconian was drawn from above or we review the classes criteria for international classes in our regulations. For instance, world champions with four countries or four nations competing, one of which is visiting a team from another continent or a borrowed boat are a joke. Let's introduce minimum criteria for world championships. There are too many championships in the sport of sailing today and lets do something about it.

Only the Olympic classes shall sail the Olympic Classes Combined World Championships the year before the Olympic regatta. Annually years 1, 2 and 4 the Olympic classes shall sail their class championships as a Gold Cup or as a World Cup as they wish. Apart from that ISAF shall only sanction the following world championships: ISAF Olympic Classes Combined World Sailing Championship, ISAF Offshore One-Design World Sailing Championships, ISAF Windsurfing Worlds - biannually, ISAF Match Racing World Championship, men and women - biannually, ISAF Team Racing World Championship - biannually, ISAF Youth Worlds - biannually. Strictly controlled limited number of World Championship titles will allow the appointed sports marketing agencies to promote far more attractive packages on behalf of event organisations, MNA's, classes and competitors.

Strictly controlled limited number of World Championship titles will allow the appointed sports marketing agencies to promote far more attractive packages on behalf of event organisations, MNA's, classes and competitors. Media attention is currently focused on long distance ocean racing and the Americas Cup. These organisations will help to focus eyes on other competition formats which are more within the financial reach of those members of the public wanting to participate in a recreational sport.

JEFF MARTIN (GBR) - Vice-Chairman ISAF International Classes Committee, Executive Director ILCA: Our sport is a participation sport not a media sport. In my country it is the second largest participation sport out of all sports, including tennis, golf and everything else. In fact only angling beats it. I think we should never forget that sort of criteria.

Our sport is a traditional sport. There is a big investment in the equipment and that equipment has evolved over the years in many different shapes or forms. It caters for a whole range of ages from 8 years to 80 years. It caters for all tastes. It caters for keel boat sailors, it caters for windsurfing, it caters for dinghy sailors, it caters for Round the World, it is a very, very big sport. There is a lot of equipment out there and a lot of that equipment is still in use 20-25 years later and there is nothing wrong with that. And what that equipment does is provides a base for our sport and an opportunity for introduction into our sport. You can pick up an Optimist or a Cadet for $200 to $300 and go sailing and that's a very important thing. In many countries they don't have Olympic classes, they don't have grand prix boats but they go sailing and they are part of this Federation. We have a very wide base and this base is different in countries all over the world.

Paul Henderson said that 98% of our racing takes place in clubs and below national level and I don't think any of us would disagree with that. That is where our base is and that's where all our sailing takes place. The top part is just the icing on the cake and hopefully can benefit back down. So that is the overview. Let's have a look at the bottom up.

The people who go into those classes and start sailing can look up and there is an opportunity an achievable opportunity to take part in international competition and that is at a world championship. The experience of a world championship not only affects individual participants but others back home. They take home from the championship that experience. They pass on the knowledge they learn and their example in taking part in a championship, a world championship, provides an incentive for other sailors who are slightly down the ladder in that wide base that I have been talking about.

Knock on the door of a government or a sponsor or a local council or anybody who might be supporting our sport at whatever level it is, and say to them we need help for a world championship, we need help to go to a world championship, we need help to organise a world championship and they understand. Say that it is a Gold Cup or some other event and they will not understand. In fact I am willing to bet that any presentations along those lines averse in the sort of terms of "We have got this Gold Cup coming to our country. In fact it's a world championship". If you talk about the press, the press will report the event, say the Finn Gold Cup, they report it as a world championship. How we will they provide the report in another event, they report it as a world championship. Let's not kid ourselves that just by changing badges and labels that things will change.

If we look at the list of world championships and we look at the countries they have been to we get a very good spread of major events throughout the world. And again that provides an incentive for our sport and the sailors within our sport. Reduce that number of championships and these opportunities decrease to a point where probably only a few rich countries fight over the few remaining major events and all others are isolated. So if they are so good why reduce them? The press can be confused, is that really such a big deal? The sailing press for sure know the difference between an important championship and a minor one.

Events like the Whitbread, now the Volvo, the America's Cup, the Vendee Globe, the Around Alone, they have all achieved wide exposure because of the press and because of the promotion that has been achieved by media consultants in the press. Our sports' profile is confusing? Yes, it probably is but again we are covering a lot of countries, we have a lot of different equipment and we are covering a very, very, very wide base. A very wide age group as I mentioned previously. What will we lose in this process? If we try to make our sport more like the high profile media sports like Tennis or football, what will we lose? I think we will lose more than we will gain.

We can achieve greater understanding but this will not happen just by changing labels. We can achieve better understanding with a more proactive and energetic media promotion focusing on our prime events which I believe are the ISAF world championships, and Olympic class world championships. We can elevate those championships with the right structure, above all the other world championships whilst still maintaining our existing world championships that serve our sport so well. There are many examples of high profile events that achieve that status by intensive promotion. We can do the same in sailing without messing with world championships which are a very important part of our sport.

Winds at the GMC Yukon/Sailing World Chicago NOOD, hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club, were generally light throughout the three-day series -- a 5 to 8-knot breeze on Day 1, and a 2 to 8-knot breeze on Day 2. On Day 3 (Sunday), the 1,200 racers on 206 boats were met with fog, rain, and no wind on Lake Michigan. With a slow-moving front that showed no signs of quickening its path across the Lake, the Race Committee postponed racing on land at 8:30 AM. Racers went into waiting mode, while the Race Committee scrambled for every piece of information they could gather to determine their next step.

The Race Committee abandoned Race 5 at 11:15 AM. So instead of motoring out to the racecourse, winners in 21 classes stepped up to the trophy platform to collect awards based on a series of four races. -- Cynthia Goss

Partial results: Great Lakes 70 (8 boats): 1 Albert D'Ottavio, THIRSTY TIGER (9) 2. Terry Kohler/ P. Reichelsdorfer, CYNOSURE (9) 3 John L. Nedeau, WINDANCER VI (13) Farr 40 (10 boats) 1 Helmut Jahn, FLASH GORDON (8) 2 Charles Tompkins, BANDIT (9) 3 Steven Mash, HOT LIPS (14) 1D35 (10 boats)1. Dan Cheresh/ Margaret Twombly, EXTREME (8) 2 Steve Pfeifer, NORTHERN BEAR (9) 3 Frank Schinco, AVANTI (10) Mumm 30 (11 boats) 1 Stuart B. Townsend, VIRAGO (11) 2 Mike Lathrope, TWISTED LIZARD (13) 3 Charles Wurtzebach Chicago IL CONTENDER (20)

Complete results:

While bowmen still have to expose their bodies to torrents of angry water, they don't have to get wet anymore. Douglas Gill's new Bowman's Smock has solved that problem. Developed and tested by some the world's top bowmen during the last Whitbread Race, it features breathable GORE-TEX with latex dryseal neck and cuffs to prevent cold water from invading your body parts. If want to stay dry, check out this terrific smock:

The deadline for breaking the fastest time sailing across the Atlantic from New York to the Lizard lighthouse in Cornwall was 10.37 GMT Sunday. When the deadline passed we were still 458 miles away - a full day out.

On Friday, the maxi-catamaran Explorer, attempting to break the speed record for an Atlantic Crossing ran 501 miles effectively in the direction of the finish. That was a spectacular sailing day, reaching in 25 knots of southerly wind, steadily registering 23 to 26 knots of boatspeed. In spite of this, a few 'holes' in the wind brought the average down below our target of 550 miles, so by then the writing was on the wall.

Our on-shore weather expert, Pierre Lasnier from France, had been watching a ridge of high pressure that had extended from the Azores to the English Channel ever since we left New York. If this barrier of light wind persisted it would spell the end to our hopes, but at day three, about half-way across, there was some sign of it weakening. But to cut a long story short, it never did. On Saturday, we ran only 308 miles in the direction of the finish - and the game was up.

Compete report:

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

-- From Chris Welsh (Re: Professional Sailing, Modifying Sailing for better television, etc.) -- Why? So far, as racing has emerged as a professional event, there have been a few positives, like interest in the Whitbread. And lots of negatives (see America's Cup - legal wranglings, cats vs. monohulls, 3 way finals, poisonous exchanges between yacht clubs, talent stealing, etc). Does this sport really need more of this? The first 20 years of my sailing life professional issues did not exist within the sport - and the sport was pretty unified. The last 10 years have been decidedly the other way. And who has benefitted? A few individuals - less than 1% of the sport.

The Olympics are a great example of this trend. The current Olympics have all of the charm of planned spontaneity. It's not about the sports any longer, it's about the money. Maybe sailing wasn't broken to begin with.

-- From Peter Huston -- Neil Humphrey suggests that a consortium of governing bodies, marine industry suppliers, and self-interest sailors get together for the purpose of creating a professional sailing league.

Mark Sweeny suggests that sailing take a page from Beach Volleyball and create a league designed solely for the purpose of being a made for spectator and/or TV appeal event. This assumes that Pro Beach Volleyball has been a financial and TV ratings success, which it has not. He also suggests that US SAILING do more to GOVERN the development of certain aspects of the sport.

Given my experience with many aspects of US SAILING, a variety of sports and entertainment events from a sponsorship perspective, I am certain that the best development and/or governing body is simply the free market.

There are many historical examples of people who have tried to create made for TV sailing events - some have worked for a short period of time, others continue to grow slowly.

Pro sailing will flourish when a single individual with a vision and financial stamina takes the risk necessary to create a pro sailing league. There is a small fortune to be made through the promotion of pro sailing. But I would suggest that someone first start this endeavor with a large fortune.

-- From Tom Priest -- two comments...first regarding Rich Matzinger's troubles; it sounds as if the Farr 40 board of directors are saying "all I want in life is my fair advantage! Self-serving boards are what makes PHRF unbearable. Pick a rule and stick to it guys! If you're an owner-driver class - then DRIVE, owners! If you CAN'T/WON'T drive -- don't buy a Farr 40. Go race an XYZ 41 where DH's are OK. Seems pretty simple to me.

Secondly, reading Mike Guccione's response about sponsor stuff and Americas Cup. I'm rather surprised myself that the NEGATIVE publicity didn't pay off better. After all, Jerry Springer does amazingly well by creating controversy. I would have thought the same with first the 'catamaran cup' and then the boat-swapping stuff. (Kinda makes ya proud to be a sailor, huh?) Maybe we should have topless Hooter-babes on the weather rail, or legalize contact between boats. Just think, we could re-create the chariot race scenes from Ben-Hur! Now that's racing! TV ratings would go thru the roof! After all, don't the majority of NASCAR viewers hang on the edge of their seat waiting for a wipeout?

-- From Mark Gaudio -- I am inclined to agree with John Welty in BUTT #342' -more notariety may not make the overall experience better. I don't want to be looked on as an elitist but I like the fact that a great majority of folks out there don't have a clue that yacht racing exists on a professional or non pro basis , or even that it is a real sport at all. We need to captivate a certain number of juniors every year to keep the sport growing (I think it is growing currently) but not under the illusion that it will solve world starvation- In fact can we advertise less to keep those personal watercraft watchamajiggeers (jet ski and seadoo's) and other wankers that litter our racecourse from watching altogether?

With regards to the Fletcher's driving the Farr- After reading all these horror stories from Matzinger and the Diaz inconsistency story , it appears that the class doesn't really have a rigid guideline that they are willing to stick to. MAYBE THEY ARE NOT CONCERNED WITH GROWING THE CLASS. That may be their prerogative, but they sure are creating some good animosities along the way.

--From Greg Tice -- Hey, what's up with the bananas on Explorer. Isn't a speed record like a race? I predict that things will get better when the bananas are all gone.

The Storm Trysail Club and the City of Baltimore announced the organization the Havana to Baltimore Race, to be sailed in April 2000. The race will be run by the Storm Trysail Club in conjunction with the City of Baltimore and the Club Nautico Internacional Hemingway de La Habana. The length of the distance race is approximately 1000 miles, making it the longest ocean race in the eastern North America. The Havana to Baltimore Race will follow the Gulf Stream from Havana through the Straights of Florida and up the East Coast to the Chesapeake Bay. The fleet will finish at Baltimore's Fort McHenry. The race is tentatively scheduled to start on April 23rd, which will enable the competing yachts to finish during the 3rd Annual Baltimore Waterfront Festival (April 27-30, 2000).

"The Havana-Baltimore Race provides an opportunity to build on the people to people exchanges with Cuba inaugurated with the Baltimore Orioles and Cuba baseball games. We look forward to welcoming this historic yachting event to the City during the Annual Baltimore Waterfront Festival," According to Baltimore Mayor Kurt L Schmoke

The Storm Trysail Club will impose a minimum size limit as well as limiting the fleet size. Further information will be available at the Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week XVIII this coming June 20-25, or by calling the STC office at 914-834-8857, email

STC website:

It always helps when you can talk about your problems with someone who really understands. And when those problems involve sailing hardware and rigging, no one will be more understanding and helpful than the experienced staff at Sailing Supply -- the only call you ever need to make for quality solutions and equipment at competitive prices. Sailing Supply has all the good stuff, they ship the same day and when you love what you do, you do it better than anyone else. (800) 532-3831.

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

A reader in San Diego has reminded us that New Zealand (Sir Peter Blake) promised the yachting world a controversy-free Cup regatta and that we would never see the like of the problems that have dogged previous America's Cups. Seems we are having difficulty in keeping that promise as the reader points that the New Zealand campaign has seen (a) Accusations of ramming. (b) spying (c) shadowing, (d) smashing of the Cup (e) team base prices being set too high and New Zealand bowing to pressure (f) ISAF threats to stop Cup sailors competing in the Olympics, (g) nationality of opposing crews in the 'Road to Americas Cup' regatta questioned, and (h) foreign Cup team member deported following assault on an Auckland taxi driver. We must be keeping up with tradition.

Morten Henriksen of Denmark was the winner of the Royal Lymington Cup. He improved his performance with every race and showed absolutely no difficulty in the final, defeating Luc Pillot of France 3-0 to score his first Grade One victory. The final, like the rest of the racing, was held in predominantly light airs in a fleet of Beneteau First Class 8s.

Prior to this regatta, Henriksen was ranked 11th in the world, but this was an event in which world rankings or reputations were of little value as Gavin Brady (number 2 in the world) and John Cutler were to show when they were dismissed in the first round robin. match.

Britain's Ian Williams failed to continue with his star performance of the first round and failed to make the semi-final cut, losing four of his seven second round matches. Murray Jones of Team New Zealand was the winner of the other first round group, and then topped the second round with two wins.

Jones met, and lost to, Henriksen in the semi-final. Henriksen won the first, then Jones hit back to level the score. Henriksen won both the next two starts and stayed ahead to go into the final 3-1. Andy Beadsworth went one up on Pillot and then the Frenchman won the next two, Beadsworth leveled the score. Pillot won the next start and despite Beadsworth's repeated attacks held on to go to the final. Beadsworth lost the third place match to Jones by 2-1. -- Bob Fisher

Final standings: 1. Morten Henricksen, 2. Luc Pillot, 3. Murray Jones, 4. Andy Beadsworth, 5. Tomislav Basic, 6. Ian Williams, 7. Francois Brenac, 8. Markus Wieser, 9. Gavin Brady, 10. Sebastien Col, 11. Jes Gram-Hansen, 12. John Cutler.

Event website:

California YC, Marina del Rey, California (33 Star boats): 1. Vince Brun / Rodrigo Morales (16) 2. Eric Doyle / Brian Terreharte (20) 3. Howie Shiebler / Rick Peters (22) 4. Peter Vessella / Myles Connolly (26) 5. Jeremy Davidson / Jeff Davidson (38). Complete results:

It's beautiful here in Southern California, so we're off to Catalina for a few days. I'll be back by at least Friday, so I can sail in Long Beach Race Week. Until then, you can stay current by checking the ISAF website:

One of the fastest ways to learn good manners is from someone who doesn't have any.