Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT #378 - August 12, 1999

The RORC Race Committee confirmed today that Catherine Chabaud -solo round-the-world racer in the Vendee Globe and in the Fastnet sailing with a crew of five -in her Open 60 Whirlpool Europe 2 is the winner overall in the IRC (monohull handicap) fleet in the Fastnet Race 1999 taking the Fastnet Challenge Cup.

Whirlpool Europe 2 is a state-of-the-art 60-foot out-and-out racer designed by Mac Lombard, built by MAG France. with a carbon-fibre sandwich hull. She draws 4.5 metres of water, and a canting keel (which can be moved outwards from the vertical centreline up to 40 degrees either side). The boat's weight is only 8500 kg and she carries 250 sq metres of sail area.

She has a small water ballast tank forward to alter fore-and-aft trim mainly to keep the bow down when going to windward. But in the Fastnet 99 there was little windward work, at least for the faster boats which got around the traditional course in little more than 48 hours. Chabaud was seen by others in her class: "We were sailing together in not much wind, Catherine either ahead or astern as we jockeyed to stay in front when the wind increased only a few knots. At once Catherine's boat, with the wind essentially on the beam, perked up and shot forwards. She probably had about two knots extra boat speed and simply disappeared over the horizon!" Catherine for her part is not only a highly skilled sailor but also has time to enjoy the milieu of the sea: in a fax to Race HQ soon after starting she said: "This is a wonderful race. We have made our way out of the Solent, the white lights ahead and the red and green lights astern making the water a magical place. Now we are making good progress." Prophetic words.

At the Fastnet Rock itself on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the start, the RORC team led by Tony Mark had the breathtaking experience of watching two of the fastest multihulls in the world flashing past in bright sunshine through a big ocean swell in a north-easterly wind of 28 knots - the boats in bursting showers of brilliant spay as they streaked through the water at speeds sometimes exceeding 30 knots. Broceliande was ahead of Fujicolor by only a few minutes at the Rock and but Fuijicolor managed to pull ahead of Broceliande over the 200 miles to the finish at Plymouth. Fujicolor will take the Erivale Trophy for first home (other than an IRC yacht) -Erivale was a famous former RORC ocean racing yacht. Fujicolor's navigator will receive the Keith Ludlow Trophy -named after a former RORC Rating Secretary and navigator.

Weather conditions for the race have been completely mixed. A south-westerly seebreeze at the start failed during the start sequence leaving boats in classes 2 and 1 drifting helplessly as the majestic liner Oriana threaded her way with great skill through the fleet, sounding an impressive send-off salute on her siren as she set out westwards. Finally the bigger classes got away, swept by the carpet of the ebb tide towards the sea. -- Alan Green, Race Director

Reports, photos and position updates on the event site:

In a recent column for Yachting World Magazine British Yachtsman Sir Robin Knox Johnston wrote: "Because of the high speeds they can achieve with a single crew, it has been taken as an article of faith that the fastest monohulls afloat are the Open 60's. Unfortunately they have never been raced against other yachts of a similar size designed for full crews, such as the Whitbread (now Volvo) 60's so the real truth of this assertion has yet to be tested."

The recent biennial Fastnet race did provide at least a partial test of the speed capabilities of the Open 60 monohulls and the Volvo 60's. Also in the race were several 60 foot Open Trimarans. While the Fastnet is not a truly scientific test, it is a 605 mile offshore race. A look at who sailed the course at what speed gives us some idea of which type fastest.

First amongst the 60's were the trimarans. In fact Fujicolour with French mariner Loick Peyron calling shots set a new outright race record. The 60-foot trimaran sailed the course in 1 day 16 hours an average speed of 14.96 knots. Only 14 minutes back of Fujicolour was Broceliande which actually led at the Fastnet Mark Rounding. Next amongst the 60's came Whirlpool-Europe 2 skippered by Catherine Chabuad. Whirlpool sailed the course in 2 days 5 hours at an average of 11.39 knots.

However the races two Volvo 60's finished up next. iIlbruck which was formerly one of the EF boats posted an elapsed time of 2 days 5 hours or 11.26 knots average. One can see that the Open 60 did edge the Volvo 60. However, this is Whirlpool's initial season meaning the Marc Lombard design is newer than the Farr designed Ilbruck.

Next in the finishing order was Yess a Volvo 60. This was part of Grant Dayton's stable for the previous Whitbread. Yess finished in 2 days 7 hours. Yess' time was faster than the next Open 60 the Italian boat Rivier di Rimini which sailed the course in 2 days 9 hours. Although there were only two Volvo 60's the race did have a 3rd Open 60 entered. The 3rd Open 60 was Group 4 sailed by Mike Golding. Group 4 sailed the course in 2 days 23 hours.

Also, in the race was Goss Challenger II Pete Goss' Open 50, which completed the race in 3 days 3 hours. So in the Fastnet environment a new generation Open 60 edged a past generation Volvo 60 by just 20 minutes. This would seem to indicate a very narrow speed edge to the Open 60. But it will be very interesting to see how the next generation of Volvo 60's performs.

It should also be noted that several other fast monohull types sailed the Fastnet. The Addeco Maxi One Designs sailed as the last race of their championship series. Ross Field sailed his 80 footer across the line in 2 days 5 hours faster than either type of 60 foot monohulls, an average of 11.39 knots.

Also in the race were 4 ILC maxis. First amongst these the Freres designed Boomerang in a time of 2 days 7 hours, 11.04 knot average. So, the extra waterline of the Adeco 80 footers did get them home a bit faster. At the beginning Sir Robin Knox Johnston stated that perhaps the Open 60's would gain speed from being fully crewed. From the results of the Fastnet, it looks as though they need to keep gaining speed to be known as the world's fastest monohull.

Below find a results table with the first 2 of each type of boat along with an average speed for the fastest of each type.

Ross Field Yachting Maxi 80 OD 2 5 8 51 11.39
Whirlpool-Europe 2 Open 60 2 5 22 59 11.33
Skandia Maxi 80 OD 2 5 27 00
Ilbruck Volvo 60 2 5 43 05 11.26
Boomerang ILC Maxi 2 6 48 33 11.04
Alexia ILC Maxi 2 7 6 49
Yess Volvo 60 2 7 30 24
Group 4 Open 60 2 23 11 09
Goss Challenger Open 50 3 3 37 14 8.00

Courtesy of the Torresen Sailing Site:


The deeper we get into the summer the more class winners emerge with Ullman Sails. The latest is the competitive Lido 14 class where Ullman Sails took the top two spots -- three of the top four. Big boats / small boat, keelboats / dinghies -- it doesn't seem to make much difference. Ullman Sails are kicking butt on the West Coast's ULDB 70 circuit and won the Around Alone Race. Maybe it's time you too found out why:

* The Swiss FAST2000 team is working round the clock to finish their new IACC yacht in time for the start of the Louis Vuitton series in Auckland on October 18. In early August, the hull was taken out of the shed and turned over and the deck attached. John Warren, one of the official class measurers was due to arrive in Switzerland mid-August to complete mandatory measurements of the hull, to ensure it complies with class rules.

Once the yacht has been completed, it will be loaded aboard a Russian Antonov airfreighter and flown to Auckland, stopping at Charlotte, North Carolina on the way to pick up a mast. The Swiss are scheduled to begin sailing in Auckland on September 18, a month out from the start of the action. -- America's Cup 2000

* New Zealand match race helmsman, Gavin Brady, has joined Paul Cayard's AmericaOne syndicate. Brady, who is ranked no.2 on the world match race ladder, was initially signed with America True, but quit after only a short time with Dawn Riley's co-ed campaign. Early in August after competing in the Admiral's Cup, Brady flew to California to start training with Cayard and his AmericaOne team. Brady was helming the tune-up boat in trialing sessions with the new AmericaOne yacht. -- America's Cup 2000

America's Cup 2000 website:

Cottage Park Yacht Club, Boston Harbor (36 boats) -- After a 60 minute postponement, we left the dock, and took a loooong drift out to the racecourse. At about two o'clock, the wind barely filled from SSE enough for a start. 5 leg winward-leeward course. The breeze was a spotty 5-10 at best, and a little shifty. Mark Reynolds and Rick Peters pulled a horizon-job on the rest of the fleet.

After the one throwout, Reynolds with Peters and Eric Doyle with Tom Olson are all tied up at the top. Peter Bromby and Lee White, from Bermuda are in third, six points behind.

Results after five of six races, counting a throwout: 1 Doyle, Eric / Olson, Tom USA 10; 2 Reynolds, Mark /Rick Peters USA 10; 3 Bromby, Peter / White, Lee Bermuda 16; 4 Schofield, Douglas / Schofield, Robert USA 23; 5 MacCausland, John / Iverson, George USA 26.

Event site:

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

-- From Jim Teeters -- What Chris Bouzaid needs to understand ('Butt #377) is that: 1) Ratings Plus does not use a VPP for absolute boat speed prediction. It uses PHRF. 2) The Ratings Plus VPP is used only for boat speed deltas due to wind or course changes. 3) Those deltas are quite insensitive to biases in the VPP (remember Prismatic). 4) They are sensitive to such things as length, beam, displacement, sail area. 5) Ratings Plus does not use measured offset files, but creates its own offsets from PHRF data. We understand the shortcomings of VPPs and are using ours only for what VPPs do best: deltas.

In 'Butt #375 Jerry Kaye has described some of the pitfalls of VPP based predictions. Some of the same concerns were brought up by Frank Whitton and others at US Sailing's spring meeting. Alan Andrews' comments in Butt #376 were right on the money and hopefully provided answers to Jerry. I will post an explanation of Ratings Plus on US Sailing's website and provide progress reports:

-- From Nicholas Longhurst -- I have followed with very keen interest the debate which has attracted so many expert viewpoints far and above my own, it has been extremely enlightening and is a true validation of the forum Scuttlebutt provides. That being said , I'm left with the feeling that PHRF is nothing but a bucket with too many holes in it. No sooner is one plugged than another lets go. Its admitted inability to successfully mirror race course performance criteria based on wind angles and strengths, and the far too political nature of local decisions are so far out of step with today's "Corinthian " sailor who feels he has to spend too much time and money getting to the start line to be defeated by a bad rating.

So many times have I heard owners use that argument to hang up their sailing hats completely or to switch to one design that I'm convinced a lot of the blame for diminishing participation can be laid at PHRF's door. Time for the broom , sweep it out and move on . IR2000, IRM, Americap, whatever comes next...the important thing is CHANGE...and it's time.

Next week is the 'Big One' -- ISAF World Match Race Championship -- Cottonfield Cup 1999 at Skovshoved Harbour, Denmark. And virtually all of the heavyweight match racers will be there. Second ranked Gavin Brady is the only absentee. Here's the lineup with their current match racing ranking:

1. Peter Gilmour Japan
3. Sten Mohr Denmark
4. Bertrand Pace France
5. Dean Barker New Zealand
6. Markus Wieser Germany
7. Magnus Holmberg Sweden
8. Morten Henriksen Denmark
9. Jesper Bank Denmark
10. Chris Law Great Britain
11. Jochen Schumann Germany

To follow all of the action:

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

Paul Cayard is planning on arriving in New Zealand early October, and being out on New Zealand waters for the first time by October 4 -- just 14 days before the Louis Vuitton Cup first race. His first boat is not unlike Black Magic in appearance, but is still very different to the '95 generation of America's Cup boats. The after deck is very open, the steering wheels are almost in the centre, and her mast is much thicker. Like most Cup boats of the 2000 era, she is extremely narrow, estimated to be not more than 3.1 metres at its widest point. Currently based at San Pedro, Cayard says they can have much more productive training in San Pedro than in New Zealand's winter, hence the decision to move base later than anyone else.

Blue skies, strong winds and the possibility of record times greeted the 115 boats in the Sydney to Hobart Race fleet on December 26, 1998. Only 40 of those boats would make it to Hobart. What began as a battle of tactics and speed, quickly became a race for survival -- a race six men would ultimately lose. With exclusive footage from cameras on board the boats, the OFFICIAL RACE VIDEOTAPE documents the bravery, the terror and the extraordinary rescue efforts. You've got to see it to believe it -- 80-foot seas and 80-knot winds. This impressive videotape is now available online:

Cascade Locks, OR (35 boats) -- The fleet was deep for the 1999 Tasar North Americans held at Cascade Locks the weekend of August 7-8. Three former world champion teams were present as well as several past National and North American champions. A team from Australia along with new fleet members from Hood River and Victoria helped round out the competition to 35 boats hoping for a big blow, which never materialized. Saturday's racing began with puffs in the 12-15 knot range but gradually lightened to end the third race of the day in a dying breeze. Charlie and Becky McKee beat out Jonathan and Libby McKee at the finish of race one with a little confusion concerning the placement of the finish line. Lisa and Jay Renehan took race two with superior down wind speed. Jonathan and Libby came back to win race three and end the day tied with the Renehans.

Most of Sunday was spent on the beach, waiting for the Westerly. At one o'clock the breeze arrived. With an excellent performance on the race committee's part, two races were held in building breeze before the three o'clock time limit.The McKees, Jonathan and Libby, continued their solid performance to come out on top. -- Carol Buchan

Results: A-FLEET: 1 Jonathan and Libby McKee, 8 points; 2 Carol and Carl Buchan, 12 points; 3 Lisa and Jay Renehan, 16 points; 4 Paul Beavis and Todd Adrian, 16 points; 5 Charlie and Becky McKee, 19 points; 6 Sandra Towers and Thilo Giese, 19 points; 7 Kent Powley and Cathy Sherwood, 29 points; 8 Bill Symes and Laura Lee Carman, 40 points; 9 Chris and Crickett Bittner, 40 points; 10 Trevor and Tina Baylis, 40 points.

B-FLEET 1 John Evetts and Frank Turnbull (17th overall) 2 Jeff and Liz O'Brien (18th overall) 3 Charlie and Malcolm Griffes (20th overall)

GRAND MASTERS - 1st Place Richard and Helen Spencer MASTERS - 1st Place Kent Powley and Cathy Sherwood

Complete Results:

The problem with doing nothing all day is that you can't stop and rest.