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SCUTTLEBUTT #357 - July 12, 1999

HONOLULU, H.I. - Its main sail torn apart, Hawaii's Grand Illusion apparently claimed the Governor of Hawaii Trophy for fastest overall corrected handicap time in the 40th Transpacific Yacht Race Sunday. The award is not for the first boat to finish--Roy E. Disney's 72-foot Pyewacket grabbed that Saturday night in record time-but is based on handicap time according to a boat's calculated speed potential.

The 13-year-old Santa Cruz 70 needed to finish by 3:40 HST Sunday afternoon and crossed the Diamond Head finish line at 12:52 and 27 seconds. Only two other boats still at sea-Gone With the Wind from San Francisco and Stealth Chicken from Long Beach-had an outside chance of beating out Grand Illusion.

The aged "sled," one of several ultralight displacement 70s that emerged in the mid-80s to dominate Transpac with their downwind speed, does most of its racing in California but represents Lahaina Yacht Club on Maui, where skipper James McDowell, 39, resides. His father Ed, a part-time resident of Kauai, has owned the boat since 1988 but no longer sails long-distance races.

"We pushed the boat pretty hard," James McDowell said. "Maybe that's why we broke the main." That happened late Saturday night in strong winds about 150 miles from the finish. The boat was jibed to alter course and when the main sail slammed over on the new side a two-foot-wide gapped opened from the mast to the leech, right under the 97 sail number. But the leech cord along the back of the sail held together to keep the upper and lower halves effective.

"When Pyewacket finished [Saturday night] we knew we had the time on them," McDowell said. "But to fix the sail meant stopping to do it, and to stop would have meant losing. We just said, 'Let's keep sailing.' "

As it was, when the wind increased in the Molokai Channel, Grand Illusion achieved its top speeds of the race in the low 20-knots range with a split main sail and spinnaker. Then it surfed downwind through huge waves to the finish line as spectators gasped at the separated sail.

A few hours earlier, Disney had claimed his second consecutive race record and Barn Door as first to finish-although he said those honors belonged to his son, Roy Pat, who took over as skipper of the previous, smaller Pyewacket in 1997 when the elder Disney smashed his right leg in a car crash.

The new Pyewacket's elapsed time of 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 27 seconds-an average speed of 12.4 knots--lowered its predecessor's mark of 7:15:24:40

Two Guys On the Edge slipped into Ala Wai Harbor late Sunday night between racing machines more than twice their size, whose crews stood in awe. Les Vasconcellos and Bruce Burgess, representing the Waikiki Yacht Club, finished at 11:04 p.m. HST to complete the 40th Transpacific Yacht Race in their 30-foot boat in 12 days 10 hours 4 minutes 31 seconds. That beat all eight of the larger Cruising division boats with which they started June 29 and could wind up being faster than some of the larger, fully crewed racing boats that started three days later and were still at sea. . - Rich Roberts

Complete standings on the event website:

QUIBERON, BRITANY, FRANCE - Overall winner Howard Hamlin and Mike Martin on a Waterat 8266 with Proctor D mast, Ullman Sails and new Waterat foils. Second Andy Beckman and Ben Benjamin on a Hamlin hull 7771 with Proctor D mast Ullman Sails and Waterat foils It is a first for Howard Hamlin after having raced 20 505 World championships ! and he won on a hull he has designed himself 18 years ago and now built by Waterat in Santa Cruz. - Jean-Baptiste


Event website:

US Team Final Report - The races are finished, the awards presented and the dancing has started here at the Sandic Hotel in downtown Kupio, Finland. The regatta organizers have done a tremendous job with the event both in terms of logistics and racing.

Amanda Clarke is the star of the US Team winning a Bronze medal in her second World Youth Championships. Even better she has another year left to dig for Gold in Sydney Harbor in December of 2000. Amanda had a difficult race today attempting to put two boats between herself and NZL as she gunned for the Silver. Amanda had done it on the first beat of the race but unfortunately the girls she had inbetween could not hold of the NZL radial sailor. Amanda finished 5th in the race and NZL was 6th.

Andrew Lewis sailed to a second place finish in the last race of the event today. Andrew at age 16 has finished 5th place overall with two firsts place finishes. He is smiling wide tonight. Andrew has gotten to know the Canadian team very well over the course of the event. This was Andrew's first World Championship. He was one of only two sailors to earn more than one first place finish. Look out for Andrew to dominate some US Laser events in the near future.

Cardwell Potts and David Taylor turned up the heat at the end of the worlds finishing with a 1,6 put them into 6th place overall. They move up the scores everyday of the regatta and won three races with some good southern style. Only one other team matched their first place record.

Marin Diskant and Maggie Faught have had and interesting adventure at their first world championships. They found out that world championships are for real. With moments of brilliance and some unlucky situations they finished 15th in the end. Marin is looking ahead to Sydney and the year 2000 for her medal stand appearance.

For the Volvo Trophy (nations cup) the US Team finished 9th of 38 countries in attendance. This of course is without boys or girls board sailors in attendance. Counting 4 of 6 events, the team scored a good amount of points. The French walked away with this trophy winning three of the six events.

The US team has congratulated all the winners, showed outstanding sportsmanship and remained energetically determined through the bitter end. The team is ready for some hugs from parents and home cooked meal after three weeks on the road. Houston to Finland was a long journey but all the sailors thought the training helped and want more training in place for next year's team. - Brian Doyle, 1999 US Youth Worlds Team Leader

For full results:

It's now possible for race organizers to provide really neat, high quality regatta apparel, and be absolutely sure they won't lose a dime. It fact, Pacific Yacht Embroidery will guarantee they'll make money. Call Frank Whitton (619-226-8033) for details on how to offset regatta costs while supplying high quality, affordable apparel to the racers. No event is too small to qualify for this program.

The city of Barcelona has been chosen as the official starting venue for The Race. As such, Barcelona will host all the crews and boats during December 2000. A series of nautical and cultural events will be laid on for the benefit of the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected.

Designed to celebrate the passing into the third millennium, The Race is the first yacht race, round the world, fully crewed, no limits, non stop and without assistance.

The Race website:

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

-- Jerry Levy -- From I read with interest the comments of Tom Ehman regarding Golison Race Week. Whether or not Bruce was the first person to try to improve the bane of all race, the protest room, is irrelevant. Unlike the typical yacht club which changes Race Management Committee members annually, Golison Race Week has completed 15 years of race management utilizing the same team of individuals. Rather than gripe about a protest room situation which casts an ugly pall over many events, Bruce has tried to improve it dating back 10 years with the introduction of the I-flag (on the water admission of infraction resulting in an automatic 20% penalty), arbitration (40% penalty), fees to filing, to on the water turns to exonerate the infraction. Each of these has had some effect towards improving the process. By limiting the amount of time for protests and perhaps more importantly limiting the amount of time the 'judges' can speculate as to how many angels can dance on the top of the mast, may be the best improvement yet. The goal is to stage the best possible regatta for all of the participants. If anyone has a better idea, I would bet that Bruce would implement it for next year's race!

-- From Fred Jones -- The reasons that PHRF needs to be adjustable at the local are, first the fleet breakdowns affect the numbers. Most of us know that the numbers break down when the fleet is stretched more than 20-25 points apart from top to bottom. And most of us that different boats perform differently in different conditions (waves vs. flat water, etc.). A club needs to be able to adjust for these things.

For all of you out there who are looking at Americap as the means to fix all that is wrong with handicap sailing, I say, "GET OUT YOUR CHECKBOOKS!" Anyone who thinks the owner of an old 22-30 foot boat that isn't currently measured is going to pony up $600 to $1000 to be measured just so he can continue to race 5 or 6 times a year is dreaming. And after you write that check, who is going to correct the handicap number of a boat that is just a bad design by nature and is slower (or faster) than the numbers indicate.

What US Sail COULD DO is to put into print some guidelines to help a club use PHRF. Show them how it works, and how to make it work. But do it in PRINT. And while they're at it, they could add a column to show the fleet breakdowns (range), beside the number so you could get an idea of whether the boat in question is the scratch boat in the fleet or tail-end-charlie.

-- From Jane Pegel -- I am very appreciative of the responses received via e-mail and via Scuttlebutt regarding Star class crew weight compliance. To a large extent my faith in the honor of Star sailors has been renewed. It is time to get a good start and sail the lifted tack.

With respect to protest hearings, no one is a stronger believe than I that justice is best achieved via the court system. For those not wanting to devote time to the hearing procedure, the penalty acknowledgement is available. Fortuniately the rules give us options.

-- From Rich Hazelton, 48 North -- Frank Whitton's comments about PHRF really hit's the nail on the head "Not only is it easy to apply but if I win I'm happy and if I lose I can blame it on the lousy handicappers in their smoked filled room. Of course the PHRF rating system isn't perfect, but it does allow sailors to be so in their own minds.

Skipper Steve Fossett announced today his crew for an October challenge to the classic TransAtlantic sailing record (New York Harbour to Lizard Point UK) with the world-record setting PlayStation catamaran.

Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson has been named to the 10 man crew, all of whom have accompanied Fossett on previous sailing World Records. "Richard invited me to fly with him on his Round the World balloon attempt in December (1998); now I'm glad to be able to return the favour and invite him to sail with me. He will be a PlayStation crew member with full responsibilities" according to Skipper Fossett.

The Atlantic has been Branson's target before - both at sea and in the air. He held the Blue Riband for the fastest powerboat crossing (June 1986) and achieved the first hot air balloon crossing (July 1987).

PlayStation, the 32m (105ft) catamaran designed by Americans Gino Morrelli and Pete Melvin (who are also on the crew). PlayStation was launched only 6 months ago and is already the world's fastest sailboat, smashing the 24 Hour Record with an extraordinary 580.23 nautical mile day between New Zealand and Norfolk Island in March of this year.

The Crew: Steve Fossett (USA) Skipper; Stan Honey (USA) Navigator; Brian Thompson (GB) Watch Leader; Ben Wright (AUS) Watch Leader; Richard Branson (GB) Crew; Mark Callahan (AUS) Crew; Peter Hogg (NZ) Crew; Pete Melvin (USA) Crew; Gino Morrelli (USA) Crew; David Scully (USA) Crew.

PlayStation will be shipped to the USA in September in preparation for the October TransAtlantic record attempt. The record for the 2888 mile passage has been held since 1990 by the 75ft catamaran Jet Services V and French skipper Serge Madec at 6 days 13 hours 3 minutes 32 seconds. 1999 is a busy year for TransAtlantic challenges: Following Bruno Peyron and Explorer's unsuccessful record bid in June, co-skippers American Cam Lewis and Swiss brothers Yvan and Laurent Bourgnon (on board their 60ft trimaran Foncia Immobilier), launched at blistering pace last week but were let down Sunday and Monday by low winds just hours short of success

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

* The America's Cup Challenge Association, and Auckland's Volunteer Coastguard have announced that a new safety system recently developed called "Nowcasting" will broadcast immediate announcements of wind strengths and directions from around the Hauraki Gulf, picking up data from the weather buoy laid by ACCA in the precise centre of the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup course. This means that spectator boat owners will be able to hear the exact conditions on the Louis Vuitton Cup course before leaving their moorings. By advising boaties what they can expect when they reach the course or even assisting small boat operators in making the decision not to venture out on unsuitable days, they hope to increase safety during the time of the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup regattas.

You don't have to drive to a marine hardware store to find the perfect solution to your rigging problems. The experts at Sailing Supply can solve any problem by phone, and they'll even pay for the call on their toll-free number. Even better, the price is always 'right' and they ship the same day. Sailing Supply has all of the good lines of stuff, so what are you waiting for? (800) 532-3831.

COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT, JULY 11, 1999--The United States team preparing to defend the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup was on winning form this weekend as its boats finished first in two of three classes in the Berthon Source Lymington Regatta. Most of the boats from the nine international teams contesting the Admiral's Cup raced in the event as a warm-up for the 13-day Cup series which starts next Wednesday, July 14.

George David's 50-foot Nelson/Marek sloop Idler from Hartford, CT, won the big boat class, as did Matt Whitaker's Mumm 36 Ciao Baby, from Houston, TX, racing in the small boat class. Bob Towse's Sydney 40 Blue Yankee Pride, from Stamford, CT, finished sixth in the middle-sized boat class after steadily improving all weekend. Using Admiral's Cup scoring, the US team had 60 points, the European team was second with 81 points and the Italian team was third with 82 points, making the US a clear winner on the low-point scoring system.

The three-day Berthon regatta was sailed in light to moderate northeasterly breezes. In today's racing Idler finished first and second in two races while Ciao Baby was second and third in her class. Blue Yankee Pride, which has been working through a testing and research program, posted a third and a fourth in the newly-established Sydney 40 one-design class, her best performance since she arrived in Cowes.

The big unknown today was the radical French 50-footer Krazy K-Yote Two which sailed in company with the 50-foot fleet but which deliberately failed to provide a rating certificate and was thus not scored. Krazy K-Yote Two has an unstayed mast, a carbon fiber I-Beam with fore and aft fairings that make it look like a narrow wing. The lack of shrouds (stays) is expected to provide advantages in weight and windage and the French boat might be the surprise performer of the regatta. However her two smaller team-mates Bloo and Blan both performed poorly in the Berthon regatta and cast doubt on French hopes of repeating its 1991 Cup victory. - Keith Taylor

Regular updates about the regatta: Or the US SAILING web site:

No wind on the last day, so after having several boats on the water checking the wind for five hours the Race Officer decided to cancel the races for the day. The wind was approx. 3-5 knots, so it wasn't possible to commence a race. The Winners and New World Champions: Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher, Austria; 2. Andreas Hagara / Wolfgang Moser, Austria; 3. Roland Gaebler / Rene Schwall, Germany

USA Report from Charlie Ogletree and John Lovell: The 1999 Tornado Worlds are over and we finished 10th overall, 1st American boat and we qualified the United States for the 2000 Olympic Games. The final day of racing was canceled due to lack of wind. It was a pretty frustrating day waiting in the boat park all day for a chance to race and improve our result. The race committee made the right call, however, by keeping the fleet on land all day. At 3:00 PM they abandoned for the day and the regatta was over.

We are happy with our performance since we qualified the country and spent a lot of time racing in the front of the fleet. We need to improve our big fleet tactics and work on speed in all conditions. Our next two events are in Kingston, Ontario Canada. We have the U.S. Nationals and CORK. The fleet will be smaller so we are looking for a good result there. The next Worlds are in January in Sydney, Australia. We will have another chance then to race against the rest of the World.

Event website:

Addressing an enthusiastic audience at California Yacht Club Sunday, American offshore racer Brad Van Liew declared plans to challenge the world to an unpredictable and perilous game of endurance and skill. Van Liew outlined his campaign plans for an American designed and built Open 60 offshore racer to challenging the European-dominated sport in several races over the next four years. Joining Van Liew in his quest to conquer the competition, California Yacht Club announced a partnership with the campaign. The American-based campaign will also pursue corporate sponsorship on many levels to cover the comprehensive budget totaling $4 million.

An impressive race schedule begins with a Millenium launch of Van Liew's new Open 60 competition yacht on December 31, 2000. Competition begins with the recently announced L'Atlantique Challenge traveling through Europe and the East Coast of the U.S. The Gold Race from New York to San Francisco follows, and finally Around Alone 2002-2003, a grueling solo race around the world. California Yacht Club will work with Van Liew's campaign to design and host the new Open-Class race (title to be determined within the next six months) originating in Marina del Rey, California.

More information about Brad Van Liew and his new campaign can be found at:

Peter Gilmour did it again! For the fifth time, he won the Swedish Match Cup and $ 29,000 Sunday afternoon in Marstrand. This time it was the American and his future America's Cup opponent, Ed Baird, who had to admit himself beaten 3 to 1 by the Japanese team led by Gilmour: - My crew has done a terrific job again, said Gilmour, who after crossing the finishing line sailed a lap of honour along Marstrand's rocks to receive the congratulations of the tens of thousands of cheering spectators. In the fight for third place it was much tighter between Croatian Tomislav Basic and Magnus Holmberg from the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, GKSS, managing the event. It took no less than five matches to separate them and it was Basic who finally got the best of it: - "We were in tenth place after the first Round Robin, so I'm very pleased with our result in the Swedish Match Cup," said Tomislav Basic in his usual calm and polite way.

In the women's division, Dorte Jensen of Denmark beat Christine Braind of France in three races to claim the Swedish Match Women's title. Five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the year Betsy Alison sailing with Melissa Purdy, Joan Touchette, Merritt Palm, Linda Lindquist, and Nancy Hood won the petit finals against Marie Bjorling with a shut out series. The petit finals determined the third and fourth teams for the pairings for the event.

Event website:

HELSINGFORS SEGELKLUBB FINLAND -- Colin Beashel and David Giles who were lying third overall with only one day of sailing to go, sailed a tactical final race to claim the title.

Final results: 1. Colin Beashel, David Giles, AUS, 16 points; 2. Frank Butzmann, Jen Peters, GER, 19 ; 3. Mark Reynolds, Magnus Liljedahl, USA, 20; 4. Vincent Hoesch, Florian Fendt, GER, 23; 5. Reihnard Schmidt, Jochen Wolfram, GER, 30; 6. Mark Neeleman, Jos Schrier, NED, 37; 7. Stuart Hudson, Chris Gowers, GBR, 41; 8. Olle Johansson, Lars Edwall, SWE, 44; 9. Riccardo Simoneschi, Corrado Cristaldini, 49; 10. Marc Pickel / Thomas Aurcher, GER, 52.

Complete results at

Make sure your words to others are sweet -- one day you may have to eat them.