Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT #399 - September 17, 1999

HAMILTON, Bermuda - Two unseeded skippers, Andrew Horton (United States) and Chris Law (United Kingdom), made it through to the quarter-finals of The King Edward VII Gold Cup, presented by title sponsor Colorcraft. Today, Horton defeated local favorite Paula Lewin, while yesterday, Law took out Bermudan Olympic aspirant Peter Bromby. The quarter-finals of this prestigious, international match racing regatta features skippers from five countries. Represented nations include Denmark, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

Going into today's competition, local seeded skipper Paula Lewin, the second ranked skipper in women's match racing in the world, was tied with Horton. However, today was Horton's day. He out-sailed Lewin 2-0, finishing overall 3-1. In a spirited final match, there were close calls. Horton had trouble with the pre-start, but was able to take advantage of several opportune puffs of wind to beat Lewin.

"We were able to get a little bit lucky with a couple wind shifts up the course," said Horton when asked about his performance today. "We like sailing against Paula a lot; it's really fun. They're really good competitors, and she's first to congratulate you when you cross the finish line."

All other skippers advancing to the quarter-finals solidly defeated their opponents today 3-0, including Magnus Holmberg (Sweden) over Adam Barboza (United States), Marten Hedlund (Sweden) over Peter Hall (United States), and Jes Gram-Hansen (Denmark) over David Whelan (United States). Quarter-finals, best of five series will take place tomorrow, September 17, at 9 a.m.

Other race action today included The Cybersettle Pro-Am Regatta. Seeded skippers were matched with sponsors for three fleet races. Skippers included: Marten Hedlund, Andy Green, Bjorn Hansen, Jes Gram-Hansen, Peter Bromby, Marco Constant (Green's crew member), Paula Lewin and Markus Wieser.

Following the competition, Cybersettle Chairman Jim Burchetta, presented Andy Green with $1,000 in prize money. Peter Bromby and Paula Lewin received $750 and $500 for their second and third place finishes, respectively. In addition, Cybersettle made matching donations to Bermuda-based charitable organizations: The Bermuda Sailing Association - $1,000, The Neverland Foundation - $750 and Windreach - $500. Andy Green won the first of the three fleet races and Markus Wieser won the second fleet. - David McCreary,

With over half the races run of the 11 in the Mumm 30 World Championships, Walter Geurts relinguished his lead over his main rival for the title, Ed Collins of the U.S. But as the series allows no discards, the eventual outcome seems set to run all the way to the Saturday finale. Not least, as once again yesterday, the Solent produced a wide variety of testing conditions. And the forecast is not just for more of the same, but some heavy wind which will test both the crews representing 10 nations and 31 boats. -

Standing after six races: 1. Ed Collins/Barry Allerdice, USA (18 points) 2. Walter Geurts / R Graat, NED (21) 3. Malinda Massimo Mezzaroma/ Antonio Sodo Migliori, Italy (27) 4. Mark Heeley, UK (32) 5. Nantes & Saint Nazaire Laurent Sambron, France (45)

Finally -- the problems associated with the discomfort experienced with wetsuits have been solved with a new breathable neoprene top that lets your body breath while you sail. The breathing action increases with higher levels of physical activity - thus this neoprene is able to respond to the exercise level of the user. This product creates and maintains its own microclimate, which keeps you comfortable whether you're working hard or not. As a result you'll be comfortable all day long. Definitely a must have item for small boat sailors:

* Spaniard Luis Doreste is a university lecturer in the Canary Islands. In his spare time he drives an America's Cup boat. Doreste is probably the only helmsman in this America's Cup who isn't a professional yachtsman. Yet he is one of the world's best - a double Olympic gold medallist - from one of Europe's most famous yachting families.

For Doreste, the next 12 months will be the most frantic of his life. He will make his America's Cup debut behind the wheel of Bravo Espana, Spain's new white boat which arrived in Auckland this week. He has put his job on hold at the university in the Canary Islands, where he teaches computer studies - his profession for 12 years. "I have to work and to sail - all my life it has been this way for me," he said. "But I think I spend more time on the water than in the classroom." Yesterday he headed to Sydney to sail in the pre-Olympics, the final dress rehearsal a year before the Olympic regatta, to contest a three-man Soling.

In December, just before the semifinals of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series, Doreste will duck back to Sydney for a two-boat Spanish trial for one Olympic place. His opponent is his brother Manuel. A tactician on Bravo Espana, Manuel will step into Luis' shoes while he is across the Tasman next week - taking over the wheel of the cup boat next week when she gets her first taste of the Hauraki Gulf.

The four Doreste brothers have always been fierce rivals on the water. "I have been to four Olympics, but every time I had to beat my brothers to get there," Luis said. Why don't they sail together? "We are all helmsmen," grins Luis.

But all four siblings have sailed in the Olympics. Luis won gold in 1984 in the 470 class, and again in Barcelona eight years later in the Flying Dutchman. The oldest brother, Jose Luis, won gold in the Finn dinghy in 1988.

Family is very important to Luis Doreste, whose wife is expecting their second child in February. "Everything is happening at once for me," he smiles. "But it is all so far from Spain."

Doreste is already finding that the political world of the America's Cup is very different from the more sedate Olympic arena. "In the Olympics, everyone sails against everyone else for a year up until the racing starts. "Here, everyone keeps away from everyone else. In the America's Cup, no one wants to sail against another boat until the first race," he says.

But Doreste is already fascinated with the cup and what he has seen unfold in the Spanish challenge's build-up in Valencia. The Spaniards have been dealt their share of bad luck - crewman Martin Wizner died in an accident on the training boat, and the mast of their new boat snapped 15 minutes after she was christened.

But they believe they have turned the corner and brought a quick new boat to Auckland. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

* It was a mix of the old and the new America's Cup today when the aged IACC boat, Sydney 95, was re-christened Young Australia 2000, under the watchful eyes of 20-year old skipper, James Spithill, and America's Cup legends Sir James Hardy (syndicate director), and Syd Fischer (syndicate chairman).

Julia King, head of Louis Vuitton, Australia, toasted the boat at Garden Island Naval Dockyard in Sydney and wished the best to Spithill, the youngest ever America's Cup skipper, and his equally young crew, as they moved one step closer to the 1999-2000 Louis Vuitton Cup.

Over the past few weeks the team - all aged between 18 and 22 years old - have been toiling away to bring the previously known Sydney 95 (designed by Fluid Thinking), used by Fischer in the 1995 event, into shape and racing trim. 'It's been a massive maintenance program,' said Spithill. 'And by using our combined skills in areas such as boat building, rigging, marine electronics and hydraulics, we've been able to prepare the yacht with very little outside help.'

In addition to putting the boat-work in the team has also found time to get out on the water and learn how to sail an IACC boat, under the tuition of Australia's Rob Brown.

Despite little money (approximately US$1 million) and time, compared to his better-funded rivals, Spithill is quietly confident that the boat and crew will perform to their optimum in Auckland. Sydney 95's best results in San Diego were in the medium to fresh conditions -more akin to New Zealand than California.

Another factor Spithill has on his side is his freshness to the event and the fact that 1999-2000 is serving as a training platform for an Australian on-slaught on the Cup in 2003. He has nothing to lose. --

* The men who drive Switzerland's FAST 2000 challenge have set out to ensure that their campaign reflects its country of origin -- small but influential.

FAST 2000 has come to display, as a prominent badge of pride, the aspects of their challenge that other syndicates hold to be their disadvantage: their smallness, their forced economy, their time constraints in construction of boat and base.

Many cup challengers would hold these factors to be to FAST 2000's detriment, but the syndicate insists that each perceived disadvantage -- the one-boat nature of their challenge, the limited number of their personnel -- has a positive flipside.
The Swiss yacht 'Be Happy' was extracted from the belly of a huge Antonov cargo plane at Auckland International Airport early Monday morning and is being housed away from the Cup Village while construction of the syndicate's permanent base continues. FAST 2000 was among the last syndicates to begin construction of a shore facility, but it has made good time and expects to have a shed and other facilities ready for use by the weekend. Work continues concurrently on Be Happy. It is being fully reassembled after being stripped for transportation.

At the current pace of work, Be Happy should touch the water in Auckland for the first time on 26 or 27 September and will be formally christened at its base on 10 October. Twenty of the syndicate's small complement of 38 staff members are now in Auckland and the remainder, including skipper Marc Pajot, are due by the end of next week.

Despite budgetary constraints and the late acquisition of a principal sponsor, FAST 2000 has not stinted spending in areas of importance. "Yes, we have a small budget but we ensured most of our budget went to technology," Caspis said. "We have still managed almost two and a half years of computer analysis and work in towing tanks." -- Steve McMorran, Quokka Sports,

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

-- Jan Harley From Peter Campbell's excellent preview of the IBM Sydney Harbour Regatta had an omission -- the list of USA Skippers should have included Darrell Peck in the Finn class.

Curmudgeon's comment: I'm not sure Peter deserves all of the blame. His story was two or three times longer than the digest I presented in 'Butt #398. In it, Campbell listed the 'heavy hitters' in all of the classes, and my digest simply picked out the USA skippers from that summary. Apparently, Campbell does not view Peck as a podium candidate. Time will tell

-- From Russ Lenarz -- I think that it is important to keep the discussion on rating systems going as it is clear that there are several different opinions and that maybe it will help improve peoples knowlage on the subject. One of the problems is that not enough people know all of the facts concerning systems like IMS, IR2000 and Americap. It is clear that PHRF is facing some diffacult decisions in the near future as there are more Grand Prix boats racing under the system now, which is why PHRF needs to find a solution to improve ratings and possibly create more standard system.

Curmudgeon's comment: I'm sorry, but we beat this subject to death a month or two ago. I'm tired of it, and I think most of my regular readers are too. If and when there are some new developments on which to launch a fresh discussion, 'Butt will be there. But for now, we're going to give it a rest.

For a free subscription of Scuttlebutt, it's only necessary to send a blank email to:

The catamaran that won the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994, under the name of Enza New Zealand and in the hands of Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston, has had all of her rigging brought down. Under a tent erected in the heart of Bristol, she is undergoing a complete overhaul.

Tony Bullimore's Millennium Challenge will soon receive new bows that will lengthen her from 92 ft to about 100 ft. Because they are more buoyant than the old ones, they will help to avoid nose-diving when surfing on the big seas of the southern oceans. And to improve further the boat's seaworthiness, her freeboard will be raised by about one foot. Bodybuilding

Six builders are currently taking down the old bows. The operation is tricky because the front of each float has to be sawn off along two axes: horizontally to lift the deck and vertically to widen the space between the sides. Considering a front section of one hull, the cut looks like a "T". Its branches will then be spread and the cloths of the new skin laminated straight into place. No moulds are used here; this work is done freehand. But Nigel Irens, designer of this catamaran launched in 1983 (as Formule Tag) personally looks over the manuvre. Contrary to the existing mainly-kevlar skin, the new bows will be all carbon.

Carbospars (GB) has just started studies on the mast that will replace the one lost in the Pacific in 1998, during Tracy Edwards's attempt on the Jules Verne (under the colours of Royal & SunAlliance). The new spar will be 100% high-module carbon and measure 108 ft instead of 102 ft. It will increase sail area from 296 m2 to 330 m2 . Millennium Challenge thus will become more efficient in light weather, when catamarans are usually at a disadvantage against trimarans. Before the end of the year, the catamaran also will receive a new hydraulic helming system and ballasts. The latter will be filled only in case of emergency, to prevent the catamaran from capsizing.

In terms of absolute speed, even all this work cannot bring Millennium Challenge to the level of much newer and wider multihulls. But this boat has the advantage of her reliability and relatively reasonable cost. Above all, she has proven her worth on the water. She will have the opportunity to do so again even before The Race, for Tony plans to make an attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy early next year. The eight-man crew could include Frenchmen and Americans as well as Britons. The possibility of co-skippering Millennium Challenge also remains open.

Race Chair David Robertson reports that three boats have entered Long Beach YC's November race to Mazatlan: Roy Disney's Pyewacket, Doug Baker's Magnitude in the TurboSled class and Dean Burr's Positive Attitude has entered the Cruising Division. Reportedly, a half dozen other boats are watching from the sidelines, 'wanting more competition.'

For more information:, or

HOT WEBSITE, a division of The Cobalt Group, Inc., is the Internet's leading online marine publication. This site contains the largest photo database of new and used power and sailboats for sale and charter on the Web. With more than 18,000 listings from over 600 of the country's most prominent marine yacht brokerages, receives over 200,000 visitors each month. The site includes a Boating Yellow Pages with over 18,000 listings of marine products and services, as well as up-to-date news from various marine publications. Check out the popular discussion forum, charter section, and the boat shopper news:

Nominations for the 1999 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year are now open. Assuming you're a member of US SAILING, you can submit a nomination online:

The curmudgeon recently purchased a new home in Marina del Rey, and I'm moving into it this weekend. (For close friends, it's walking distance from the California YC and has a great guest room which may increase my number of close friends.) If everything goes as planned, the move should not interrupt the normal production and distribution of Scuttlebutt.

* Really close friends my want to note my new phone number: (310) 306-5678.

It's Hard to Be Nostalgic When You Can't Remember Anything.