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SCUTTLEBUTT #352 - June 30, 1999

GUEST EDITORIAL -- Brian Atwater
PHRF was a great idea some twenty years ago. It was a way for the guy with the stock cruiser/racer to compete against similar boats sailed at about the same intensity level, i.e. kids, wife, and a friend or two. Remember, that was the hey day of IOR, the beginning of brown sails and the first time most of us had heard about matched instruments and target boat speeds.

When IOR met its timely demise all those concepts had no place to go. IMS had not gotten enough of a constituency to make it viable. All the wannabees packed up the Ockams, brown sails, and take no prisoners attitude and moved right over to PHRF.

Once the wannabees looked around at PHRF they found a lot of loopholes to exploit. Sail limitations? PHRF has none. Hydraulic headstay and forestay? PHRF says nothing. Pros driving and trimming? No problem. In no time our friend with the stock boat realized he was outgunned. Having no natural enthusiasm for DFLs, he cut way back on his racing, if he races at all.

Take a look at the harbors that would be teeming with activity on race days. I know of one old line club that used to send out a minimum of fifteen good boats to every important event in the area. Not any more. It's a rare event that sees more than two boats from that club.

It's time to give PHRF back to the family racer. For the rest of us, let's coalesce around a system that offers something more sophisticated. I like the concept of varying handicaps based on wind strength and course configuration. I know the arguments about complexity. Frankly, I don't buy that. Almost all of the boats that I'm talking about sail with a laptop on board. It's not complicated to have the geek on the boat punch some numbers to tell you where you stand in real time.

Americap, ORC Club, the new, enhanced PHRF, let's find something that works for the almost Gran Prix competitors.

The Ronstan 49er of Kevin Hall and Morgan Larson return home after sailing the Lotus Cup in Norway and Kiel Week in Germany, the largest Olympic Class Regatta in the World. Zack Leonard from Rhode Island joins us as our coach along with the Swiss Team of Chris Rast and Bruno Zeltner as our training partners. We settled into our own boat for two days of training before commencing the 11 race event with 67 boats. After 6 qualifying races Larson/Hall finished up in 2nd behind Adam Beashel and Teague Cizslowski from Sydney, Australia. 5 more light to moderate races dropped us back to 4th while Beashel/Cizslowski take the title and lead the Australian Olympic race.

Improving our light air racing was at the top of our list for the trip. We still felt a little shaky on some points but managed to improve on many of our techniques. The trip was a success and the Ronstan 49er was looking sharp. Unfortunatley 3 different times we encountered the European thief. Wetsuits, tools and other sailing gear walked off. Other than that note we had a fantastic trip and look forward to sailing our other Ronstan 49er this week in San Francisco. - Morgan Larson

Douglas Gill guarantees ALL of their products against defects in material and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. PERIOD. And their sailing apparel is the most comfortable you can buy. With something as important as this, why would you settle for anything less?

Curmudgeon's observation: Undoubtedly because of the impact their ads in Scuttlebutt, Gill North America is growing and expanding. There are now sales job opportunities in both the Marine and Bike Divisions. The jobs are based in Buford, Georgia about 40 miles north of Atlanta. Check out the job postings on their website:

Ellen MacArthur and Kingfisher plc announced the construction location of their new Open 60 yacht, Kingfisher, for the Vendee Globe single-handed, round the world race, starting on 5 November 2000. Marten Marine of Auckland, New Zealand will build the hi-tech, carbon fibre, 60-foot raceboat, due for launch in February of next year.

The Kingfisher Design Team has been working hard for the past two months. Merfyn Owen will soon leave Rob Humphrey's Lymington office, and head to New Zealand to manage the construction phase - this continuity is an important facet of the project. Giovanni Belgrano of SP Technologies will also be in New Zealand and Alain Gautier will certainly be there for key stages of the build and preparation.

The R&D phase of the design work is concluding after some intensive work in the Wolfson Unit wind tunnel and tank testing facilities. Merfyn Owen commented: "No final decision has been made on the rig or sail configuration but we have gained some valuable knowledge. Combined with the work we are doing in the tank on hull shape and the results from WS Atkins of the CFD work (computational fluid dynamics) on the appendages, we have a high level of confidence in the performance and the design we have developed. Our aim has been to work from existing boats and produce a design that is faster, safer and easier to sail. We are more confident than ever of achieving this." -- Mark Turner, Kingfisher Challenges Limited

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

-- From Tom Ehman (ex-Californian) -- Mr. Golison is without doubt a fine regatta manager, but "six-minute" protests ("a rose by any other name...") have been a feature in USA collegiate sailing and elsewhere since at least the early 1970s, and in UK team racing even earlier. Credit nonetheless is due the innovative Californians who, it should also be noted, were the first to try umpiring at a major event -- the '88 Congressional Cup.

-- From Jesse Falsone -- On the issue of regatta sponsorship, I would like to comment that there is an economy of scale in "yacht" racing. Many of us sail one-design dinghies, and regatta sponsorship in the form of donated products has been a great help in promoting our events and reducing costs to competitors. The typical dinghy sailor has a pretty tight budget, and many sailors are enticed to travel to a regatta that provides the most "bang for the buck". Product suppliers have enabled regatta organizers to reduce the entry fee and/or provide better social activities by raffling off the various donated goods. In many cases, the raffle is free and a number of competitors walk off with a nice bag, hardware, clothing, sails, etc. I have found that while suppliers are not necessary to run a great event on the water, they add value to the event on shore - and having a good time ashore is a key component to the success of any regatta.

-- From Glenn McCarthy -- Congratulations to Jeff Borland for producing a TV show on the Santa Maria Cup and getting airtime. Way to go to promote the sport! He says the production used three times the event costs to make this show. Way beyond the sponsorship money used to provide fun for the sailors in the event. Would Jeff like to comment where the money came from to produce this show that airs July 3rd? To Peter Huston who agrees with me that sponsorship does nothing to grow the sport, Scott McDonald had made the suggestion that the approach on sponsorship needs to change to grow the sport. I have just been trying to sort out how a change could be made, what that change might be, but more importantly, how sponsorship has anything to do with growing the sport. IMHO sponsorship really seems to serve those that are already here.

-- From Jack Mallinckrodt -- Recent letters from Dan Nowlan and Jim Teeters have opened the window to some fresh air on the subject of handicapping and scoring. Jim's letter says of IMS " make proper use of its technical power, the scoring system is more complex than most sailors will tolerate".

PLS (Performance Line Scoring), the scoring element of AMERICAP was developed was developed to address this very issue and it does so very well. PLS was used successfully for scoring most IMS racing in Southern California from 1992 to 1996. For all practical purposes its results are identical to IMS-PCS. A comparison of PLS versus PCS scoring gave agreement within 2 sec/mi for 90% of all IMS measured yachts, over all courses, at all wind velocities.

When PLS was first adopted for AMERICAP I argued for its adoption in IMS. The idea was rejected at that time due to arcane international rule politics. With the fresh air, I suggest that possibility be revisited. A simply scored, maximum accuracy, objective handicap system is possible.

-- From Jerry Kaye -- PHRF needs to be defended from unsubstantiated attacks & groundless condemnation. Consider what's being said:

"...the system is not working well" GET SPECIFIC! Give PHRF a chance to correct a problem (if one exists).

"a rating change is not as simple as walking in the door and asking for one because of the self-serving interests of the administration." There's many ways to change ratings and there's good reasons not to. Cases are presented without results or times, just whining. Finishes are reported by owners including trips to the wrong mark! Others tack under larger boats, get rolled, then condemn PHRF! Unsubstantiated accusations obscure the progress PHRF has made.

I hear bitching and griping but we need facts if something needs fixing! PHRF is flexible enough to rate a Melges 24 and an old 50' IOR boat to fairly (not perfectly) compete in the same start WITHOUT a $1,000 measurement invoice. Since ratings are based on observed performance, we may need a couple of passes to get it right. If not, tell us!

PHRF thrives on members' participation & feedback. If PHRF racers won't participate, they deserve what they get. If you don't participate in the process, chill.

Cross 'Em When You Can -- This is a classic rule of thumb offered many years ago by Stuart Walker in his book Advanced Racing Tactics. When sailing upwind in an oscillating breeze and the opportunity presents itself such that the boats on your stern quarter are pointing down enough that you can tack and get across their bows... do it. Seizing this opportunity sets you up for the next shift. To defend, the other boats' only option is to tack in front and to leeward of your bow and wait for the next shift that will cause you to point down at them. However, if the group you are crossing sticks it out and allows you to cross, the gain you realize will be even greater when that next shift arrives and you are lifted and inside. Note, the same principle applies when jibing downwind in an oscillating breeze. -- the Coach at

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

"Unless you have the idea of winning planted firmly in your mind, there is not much point in taking up the challenge." Patrizio Bertelli, Prada.

* The USA computer corporation, Compaq, has become the fifth major sponsor for Team New Zealand , making up their so-called "family of five."

* Dennis Conner's retail shop at his Cup base in the Cup Village has been broken into. Missing; seventy pairs of designer sunglasses and a cash box with an undisclosed amount of cash. The shop opened for business on June 4.

A clear sky, temperature in the 70s and a westerly breeze of 14 knots sent the first fleet of boats on their way in the 40th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race Tuesday. Eight Cruising class entries and two tiny Doublehanded division boats hit the starting line off the Palos Verdes Peninsula at 1 o'clock, with the full-on racing classes to follow Friday, Saturday and next Tuesday.

Conditions were so good with the wind coming from 255 degrees that the boats were expected to lay the west end of Santa Catalina Island at 211 degrees without tacking.

For two boats, getting to the starting line on time was touch and go. The crew on Carl Vanderbeek's Goodnight Moon, a Swan 431 from Dana Point Yacht Club, discovered water in the fuel tank Tuesday morning. Goodnight Moon sailed out to the starting line from the Cabrillo Marina but believed it had fixed the problem.

Two Guys On the Edge, a Sonoma 30 from Waikiki YC manned by Les Vasconcellos and Bruce Burgess, reached the starting area just in time to pick up its Transpac burgee and fall into the 10-minute pre-start sequence. The same boat dropped out with a broken rudder two years ago.

Eight 40-footers are scheduled to start Friday, followed by the biggest and fastest monohulls Saturday. A single catamaran will start Tuesday. The first boats would normally sail the 2,225 nautical miles to Honolulu in 8 or 9 days. -- Rich Roberts

Race website:

Final results: 50 +/-: Cantata (Andrews 53), Ron Kuntz, Oceanside YC, 1-2-4. PHRF-1: High 5 (Farr 40), Ross Ritto, Cortez Racing Assn., 1-1-1. PHRF-2: Defiance (B-32), Scott Taylor, Cabrillo Beach YC, 3-3-1. PHRF-3: Invincible (Nelson/Marek 30), Thomas Carruthers, San Diego YC, 4-1-1. PHRF-4: Whisper (S2 9.1), Al Berg, Santa Monica Windjammers YC, 3-3-10. J/120: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Larry Harvey, Alamitos Bay YC, 1-1-1. Melges 24: Twist & Shout, Jessica Lord/Nick Adamson, St. Francis YC, 3-2 (class did not compete in Cal Race Week). Farr 40: Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, California YC, 1-1-1. Schock 35: Troublemaker, Jim Long/Todd Downey, California YC, 1-4-6. OVERALL: 1. Troublemaker; 2. Samba Pa Ti; 3. Defiance.

Southern California PHRF is debuting their monthly news column to inform members (and participants) of changes, improvements and developments in PHRF Racing. The syndicated column titled PHRF PERSPECTIVES debuts July 4th weekend. It will be published in Santana, The San Diego Log and the Baywatcher.

The column is planned to cover a wide range of PHRF works and how members can make it work for boat's ratings are derived, and how members can impact their boat's rating and the ratings of competitors. PHRF will explain changes to update, improve, and streamline the PHRF handicapping system. The column will also, from time to time present performance-oriented articles on how to make a boat go faster without changing the boat's rating.

The Southern California PHRF Board has also:
1. Created a Third rating (called OW for Off Wind) to more equitably rate sport boats and extreme ULDBs for primarily downwind courses. Initially, sport boats and extreme ULDB boats will be affected by the new rating.

2. Simplified the PHRF rating system and removed some of the autonomy from the local boards.

3. Eliminated Provisional ratings.

4. Established that boats having the likely capability to actively race in Areas other than their home waters be rated on a "regional" basis with the blessing of the Chief Handicapper. -- Jerry Kaye


The first of three West Coast 49er events just ended in San Diego, with 13 teams from 4 nations in attendance. The California State Champs was expertly hosted by the Coronado Yacht Club, the first ever 49er event in San Diego. In the end it was the most dominant performance of the year for Jonathan and Charlie McKee's Team McLube. -- CM

Final results: 1. Team McLube, 9 pts. 2. Team Revo (Andy Mack and Adam Lowery) 20 3. Carl & Carol Buchan, 31 4. Toyota, 40 5. Crowder/Dunn, 46.

Move over Land's End -- for the hot selection of sailing apparel, you simply have to check out North Sails catalog website. Shirts, pants, shorts, hats, bags, Hawaiian stuff, outer wear and accessories -- they've got it all:

Ludde Ingvall appears to be omnipotent in the Maxi One Design class; he scored his third successive victory with his European entry, Skandia, in the Adecco World Championship by winning the 386 mile race from Kiel to Stockholm by 11 minutes from Ross Field's RF Yachting. Ingvall leads the championship by 7.5 points ahead of Field.

The reason why Skandia was able to make the early break, according to Ross Field, who finished second into Stockholm, was that, 'Boat speed made the difference. Their sails are differently cut and that is why they go faster.' Ingvall would not entirely agree. 'We have set up out boat quite differently, and we will see how long it takes for them to find out.' Field believes he has the better crew and that it will not be long before he is regularly beating Ingvall's crew. 'My crew is better,' he declared, 'and we will win the next race. Only time will tell who is right. Little could be done during the race, but Field already had plans afoot in his search for some extra speed. 'We will re-cut all our sails in the next three days he said,' when RF Yachting reached Saltsjobaden.

Finishing times : 1. Skandia (EUR) Ludde Ingvall 06:36:44 2. RF Yachting (NZL) Ross Field 06:48:18 3. Le Defi Bouygues Telecom - Transiciel (FRA) Pierre Mas 07:26:44 4. Alinghimax (SUI) Ernesto Bertarelli 07:26:44 5. Synphony (BEL) Hans Bouscholte 07:45:05 6. Rainbow Magic (RSA) Geoff Meek 08:13:53 7. Seac Banche (ITA) Guido Maisto 10:43:53 8. Team Henri-Lloyd (SWE) Gunnar Krantz DNS

Event site:

One of the hardest things in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn.