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SCUTTLEBUTT #396 - September 14, 1999

The RORC confirmed the banding details and timetable for the Rolex Commodores Cup (RCC) 2000. The event is open to teams of three yachts, representing different countries and regions and will be based once again at Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The principal changes for 2000 are:
- the introduction of IRM as the rating system RCC 2000 will be the first major international regatta to adopt the system
- a more compact programme - racing is spread over an 8 day period, with a day for weighing in and a reserve day included
- An August timing - this is aimed to keep the event in the summer holiday season, but take account of other potentially conflicting dates and to allow crews a proper chance to arrive at the event well practised and prepared

RORC anticipate that teams will be attracted to the new format and that team selection will begin in earnest earlier than previously. Indeed, the English team will confirm Trials details at the beginning of October following a meeting of the RYA Keelboat Committee. Rod Carr, Racing Manager at the Royal Yachting Association said "The RYA is fully in support of the new IRM rating initiative and we believe the new timing for the event will give teams, including home teams, the right opportunity to develop their skills".

With a number of IRM boats already in build - led by Peter Rutter previous competitor and Chair of the RCC Steering Committee - or in the planning stage at least, hopes are high for a competitive fleet. Interest has already been expressed from Spain (a possible two teams), Germany - the 1998 winners who have issued a challenge to other national authorities - and the Netherlands which entered two teams in 1998.

The three size bands are as follows - IRM Size Bands (expressed in "L" which is LOA minus bow overhang):

Small Boat Class 8.95 to 11.00 metres
Middle Boat Class 10.50 to 12.50 metres
Big Boat Class 12.00 to 16.00 metres

Teams must select one boat in each band. The table below shows that a good team could be put together very easily using existing boats from established One Design fleets such as the J125, Mumm 30 and Farr 40 - with only limited and straight forward modifications. The overlap in bands will also allow wider choice.

The full notice of race will be published shortly. In the meantime, IRM racing will be available in the UK in 2000, at all RORC events and in at least six other major events to be advised. The RORC is working on an incentive scheme for the provision of IRM certificates, details of which will be published later.

Boat LOA L
Reflex 28 8.450 8.450
Mumm 30 9.434 9.279
MM 32 9.586 9.491
Mumm 36 10.910 10.678
J/125 12.490 12.142
Farr 40 12.415 12.180
Sydney 40 12.490 12.190
BH 41 12.460 12.320
MM 41 12.513 12.363
ILC 40 12.480 12.415
Ref. IRM41 12.500 12.500
R/P IRM42 12.800 12.800
ILC 46 13.540 13.390
J/V 45 13.595 13.445
Corel 45 13.901 13.635
IMS 50 15.125 14.786
IRM 52 15.850 15.850

The information in this list is not intended to be absolute and is published only as a general guide. - Alan Green,

(The follow story by Dobbs Davis appeared in the September issue of Seahorse magazine. It is reprinted here unedited with permission from the author.)

Among prominent designers and builders in the US, reaction to the currently-formulated IRM shows a surprising degree of uniformity in concern for the rule's efficacy in addressing the needs of Grand Prix and club-level sailing on this side of the Atlantic. While everyone agrees that a single-number handicap system has merits for its simplicity in marketing to the sailing public, and having the rule characterized on a single spread sheet makes it vastly more accessible to those firms that lack the computer hardware to run complex VPP programs and the like, there is widespread concern for how the rule will necessarily type-form and create the age-old "horses-for-courses" dilemma for all who contemplate constructing a racing yacht to this rule. Moreover, all agree that the rule in its current guise does not go far enough to include the current fleet of both custom and production IMS and IMS-style boats into the future of IRM competition.

Bruce Farr has been foremost among this group in his intimate familiarity with the rule, being retained as consultant to advise the RORC in shaping its future direction. However, there is suprising concordance among other designers such as Greg Stewart of Nelson/Marek, Alan Andrews, Bill Tripp, and Jim Taylor on their specific concerns: - Displacement/length ratios: while the IRM seems reasonable for boats in the 40-50 foot range, "at the scale of Maxis the displacements are 20-30% lower than the current norm for ILC Maxis, even approaching Sled values"; - The base righting moment values are too high to achieve in most boats for the given base values in displacement and keel draft without resorting to some exotic high-tech structures. Barry Carroll of Carroll Marine, builder of the Mumm 30, 1D35, Farr 40, Corel 45, and the Farr 60 has said these structures "would be very expensive to fabricate, incorporating some very careful engineering." Moreover, a concern of Alan Andrews is "the added cost of now absolutely requiring carbon-fibre spars, due its miniscule penalty and trying to achieve the rule's base righting moment, versus having a cost-rating trade-off in certain situations under IMS"; - Without some sort of beam waterline function, girth measurement, or other mechanism to help encourage hull form stability as a contributor to righting moment, the rule in Farr's opinion will encourage narrow boats with minimal wetted surface and necessitating sophisticated structures - in his words, "a recipe for failure"; - Unlike other type-forming rules like the CCA and MORC, Farr and Greg Stewart feel the rule is too intolerant of deviation from its base values, creating boats that will be even more type-formed than those produced under the IOR. Stewart advocates use of quadratic functions to "soften" this intolerance, and thereby open the rule up to a range of designs which may be competitive in a broader range of conditions; - No consideration of the mainsail as part of the downwind sail area means that the preferred configuration for upwind will be towards huge mainsails and very small (i.e., less than 100% LP) jibs. While this may not be bad in itself, Bill Tripp is concerned that anyone with a masthead-rigged boat in the existing fleet will be handed highly non-competitive ratings; - Due to the manner in which length is determined, the stems on IRM boats will have very little rake (0-20%), deep forefoots, and sterns with vertical planes. In fact, Farr reckoned that by cutting only 200 mm off the stern of a Farr One Design 40, the boat would thereby approach the base IRM values and thus make it rate significantly slower without changing much of its actual performance - an indication of the IRM's over-sensitivity.

With the IMS holding a small but devoted following in the US, Bill Tripp wonders how the IRM can overcome the inertia of switching to a new system, particularly at a time when issues which plagued the IMS have started to melt away. "For example, in the IMS 40 class in Block Island Race Week, we had one boat which cut its keel down to achieve a better rating, yet the boat was harder to sail, and they didn't do well. The winner of the class ignored the optimization, concentrated on sailing the boat well, and didn't miss the few seconds per mile they may have gotten through an expensive optimization program." He goes on to say that "the IMS, for all its management faults, has produced great boats that are fun to sail, as well as influenced a whole generation of production boats that have brought this fun to a broad level of affordability."

As for single-number handicaps, Tripp feels this is much to simplistic and "antique" an approach, exacerbating the "horses-for-courses" dilemma of encouraging boat designs which will be ideally suited for competition in only a narrow range of conditions. He advocates a dual-number system, which combines a time-on-time and time-on-distance format so that a broader range of boat ratings can be competitive against one another in changing conditions. This is in limited use in the US under US Sailing's Americap system (though Tripp points out that Americap is "like a bad parasite - it cannot enjoy widespread application at the expense of IMS, since it needs IMS' VPP and data base to derive its ratings!).

Farr, Carroll, and others, while acknowledging the great job that the RORC has done in soliciting commentary for development of the rule, all wonder if the rule's original brief will be met in promoting competitive racing among reasonably-priced boats, given the reliance on expensive materials, structures, and carbon rigs. Alan Andrews, who has numerous West Coast clients who build custom and semi-custom boats, is openly skeptical of how an IRM boat could be built with the same resources that a current IMS design could be produced. "Many of our clients like to have the option of construction materials, rig types, and other features that match their idea of best bang-for-the-buck." Greg Stewart, one of many who have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort at improving the IMS VPP, laments that "if the RORC had spent half the resources it has allocated to marketing IRM on helping fix the problems with IMS, we'd not be having this debate."

Farr summed up this sentiment perhaps more succinctly: "The club has to decide whether they want a fleet of a hundred boats under this rule, or just ten."

Yet despite all this skepticism, there is one US design office that has already committed to an IRM design, albeit not for the US market. San Diego-based Reichel-Pugh is has drawn a production IRM 42 design that is currently under construction in Malaysia by Dian Kreatif. Three have been sold thus far in the Far East, with launches expected to begin in December this year. -- Dobbs Davis

Seahorse website:

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HAMILTON, Bermuda - Exciting competition prevailed at the final qualifying rounds of, presented by title sponsor Colorcraft. Skipper Chris Law (United Kingdom) finished first in the qualifying rounds with a 5-2 overall result. In a tie breaker, Law edged out Andrew Horton (United States) and Peter Hall (Canada) who finished second and third respectively, both with 5-2 overall results. While the win/loss numbers are identical for these three teams, in a tie-breaker, rankings are based on individual matches. Since Law defeated both Horton and Hall, he is in first place overall. Horton was the victor in his match race against Hall.

The competition for third, fourth and fifth place was also decided by tie-breakers. Bill Buckles (United States) placed third overall, and Bermudians Glenn Astwood and Adam Barboza finished fourth and fifth respectively.

The championship rounds begin Wednesday, September 15 at 9 a.m. Tomorrow, Hamilton Harbour host the Bermuda Commercial Bank Challenge and the Bermuda Commercial Bank Corporate Challenge. The eight seeded skippers will sail four flights of four matches each. Competition will begin at 11 a.m. - David McCreary,

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

-- From Tom Spoelman -- What is our recourse of action? We just raced our boat in a Volvo Leukemia Cup race, and were disqualified by the race committee. They were sitting on their race committee boat and thought that they didn't see us round a yellow buoy that was a part of their gate.

We are experienced sailors (our crew). We knew the gate. We went through the gate. I think that maybe because it was quite far away from where they were sitting and the fact that our boat was tan, and the fact that we were about 20 feet from within the buoy that it may have looked like we could have gone behind it. But we didn't. I'll also mention that we were well ahead of our competition, (an hour) that maybe they thought we could not have possibly done it, even though it was a jibe mark for us. We were jibing down wind.

I asked the committee what they thought our route was and they drew a straight line! We jibed once we were in the gate. We Won Our Division! An OD 35 beat us as did a ILC 40. But we were the next boat through, an S2 9.1. Well ahead of a plethora of racing sailboats.

Please help us. You see, we're sailors, Don't sailors have rights? Or are we just toys for the people on race committees? Anything that can help, or anybody you can tell me to contact I would greatly appreciate it.

Curmudgeon's comment: Perhaps if you'd written a request for redress instead of a letter to the curmudgeon you might have been have been power-gloating instead of pouting.

-- From Peter Huston -- James Nichols seems to not have like Tom Ehman's comments about trying to revamp the way Cup campaigns are currently financed. Perhaps upon reflection James will consider that any model which helps to lessen the burden of donations with which to run one of these campaigns will then help to increase the amount of charitable money that can be used for other broader based initiatives such as community sailing centers.

-- From Dana Paxton (Re: #395, James Nichols) -- Who's to say these guys don't have real jobs? They employ a large group of the most talented designers, sailmakers, researchers, sailors, naval architects, and engineers in the world. They put together a multi-million dollar operating budget for a business that needs to be up and running in a very short amount of time.

-- From Rich Hazelton, Editor 48 North -- They don't need a box on the tax form to support America's Cup campaigns -- after all, donations are (choke) tax deductible.

-- From Helen Johnstone Falk -- Congratulations to Rob Mundle for his excellent "suspense-thriller" book, "FATAL STORM". Rob concisely illustrates in detail the most recent Sydney-Hobart race. He combines the facts with the thrill, risks and consequences that can occur in any outdoor sports activity and the importance of taking responsibility for our own decisions. Strap yourself in when you read it - it kept me on the edge of my seat for two nights.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (19 boats)-With a first and a second in today's races, Doug Mongeon's Flyer was the top scoring boat and in doing so has widened the chances of the other competitors in the Lewmar sponsored Farr 40 World Championship. Each of the top three boats had a less-than-starring finish which leaves the final outcome more open with two races scheduled for the final day.

Mongeon won the morning race in light winds and led the afternoon race until the halfway stage when Flyer was overtaken by John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti as the breeze in the Bay increased to 20 knots. Kilroy, however, had a bad race in the lighter winds earlier, finishing 15th, but so too had the series leader, Jim Richardson's Barking Mad, who was ninth. Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino finished second to Flyer in the first race, and took over the lead, but her sixth place in the afternoon allowed Richardson to come back with a third to tie the points at the end of the third day.

With no discards in the championship, Samba Pa Ti's fifteenth may be her undoing, and it came as the result of a massive wind shift on the first beat of the morning race. Tactician, John Kostecki, made a deliberate move to take Kilroy to the right hand side of the course, but as he was considering a tack back into the fleet, the wind flicked left. 'It shifted 32 degrees,' said Kilroy, 'and we felt sure that it would go back, but it didn't.'

Flyer had started well at the pin end of the line and was able to drive hard to the left. When the wind shifted and increased from 6-10 knots, Mongeon tacked and had slightly overstood the windward mark, but with slightly more speed, he was able to round ahead of Jack Woodhull's Persephone and Tom Neill's Nitemare. On the run, Flyer's lead was stretched and Mongeon never looked like being passed.

Onorato was sixth to the first mark and made gains on every leg, finally overtaking Persephone on the third beat of the five-leg windward/leeward race. Barking Mad, on the other hand, slipped from seventh at the first mark to eighth at the finish, a position which lost Richardson the overall lead to Onorato.

During the break before the second race, the wind increased to 16 knots and it was decided to sail a seven-leg windward/leeward course. Once again, Flyer nailed the pin end of the line, and with such consummate skill that Mongeon was soon two length's clear of the fleet. Onorato and Richardson were 'buried' in the pack and tacked away to clear their air while Kilroy found a suitable lane for Samba Pa Ti.

At the weather mark, Flyer was well clear of the pack led by Helmut Jahn's Flash Gordon. Samba Pa Ti was clear and Barking Mad came in from the left, Richardson dipping Kilroy's stern before tacking for the buoy. Onorato approached the mark on port tack, and in doing so fouled David Thomson's Peregrine. When the Italian took a 360 degree penalty turn, he rejoined the race in last position.

By the end of the next beat, Onorato was back up to tenth and Samba Pa Ti was challenging Flyer for the lead. By the time the third beat was over, Kilroy led and Richardson had established a safe third place, or so it seemed. One more round and Richardson was only just able to hold out Richard Marki's Raging Bull on the finishing line, while Onorato snatched sixth place from Michael Condon's Endurance. -- Bob Fisher

Results: After seven races: 1. Barking Mad Jim Richardson (USA) 1-2-8-1-1-9-3 (25 points) 2. Mascalzone Latino Vincenzo Onorato (ITA) 5-6-1-2-3-2-6 (25) 3. Samba Pa Ti John Kilroy (USA) 3-1-2-6-5-15-1 (33) . Flyer Doug Mongeon (USA) 4-7-6-11-11-1-2 (42) 5. Southern Star John Calvert-Jones (AUS) 7-5-3-8-2-8-10 (43) 6. Persephone Jack Woodhull (USA) 9-8-5-14-7-3-11 (57)

Event website:

The Olympic Sailing Committee of US SAILING has announced the dates for the Trials to select the U.S.A.'s 2000 Paralympic Team - Yachting. The Team is comprised of the Trials winners from the two Paralympic classes -- Sonar and 2.4 Metre. Scheduled for April 12-16, 2000, the Paralympic Team Trials will be hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, Florida. The Notice of Race is available from US SAILING through its website:

The Games of the XI Paralympiad will be held October 18-29, 2000, in Sydney, Australia. At the Paralympic Regatta, scheduled for October 20-27, paralympic sailing will make its debut as a full-medal sport. -- Jan Harley


First and second places at the recent UK B14 Nationals in Falmouth used Ullman Sails to lead the fleet home. Steven Lovegrove, Ullman Sails Director, sailing with Ruth Lovegrove, clinched the title from Tim Fells and Richard Dowsett. Also over the Bank Holiday weekend John and Stella Dyer and their team on board Exocet secured second place at the X-332 National Championships in Dartmouth. John and Stella took delivery of a new Ullman Kevlar inventory earlier in the year and a new all-purpose spinnaker at the event. With excellent pace the team sailed a steady series for a well-deserved result.

The ISAF Executive Committee awarded the Beppe Croce Trophy to the racing rules guru Mary Pera (GBR) in recognition of her outstanding contribution both in and to the sport of sailing. The Beppe Croce Trophy is the highest award ISAF presents as recognition of such outstanding voluntary contribution.

Known around the sailing world for her involvement in, amongst other areas the Racing Rules of Sailing, Mary has been a member of the ISAF's Racing Rules Committee since 1982, to which her sharp perception and gift of making complicated issues clear have proven invaluable. She is currently chair of the Racing Rules Committee working party who were instrumental in the introduction of the new simplified Racing Rules of Sailing 1997-2000.

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