SCUTTLEBUTT #405 - September 27, 1999
SYDNEY HARBOUR REGATTA
The IBM Sydney Harbour Regatta 1999, SOCOG's final test event for sailing
before the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, with the unique sight of all 11
Olympic sailing classes racing on the one day. And fortunately, after
Saturday's frustrating day of seeing International Code Flags N over A
being hoisted to abandon racing through lack of wind, a light
north-easterly seabreeze filled in at noon to provide a grand finale to a
While there were several postponements and delays caused by general
recalls, each of the 11 classes completed its full schedule of races, with
the Mistral men's sailboard just getting a start in before the time limit
and the Solings finishing the match racing Gold Medal final with about 30
minutes to spare.
Sixteen nations shared the medals, with Australian winning three gold
medals, Great Britain and Italy each winning two gold medals. Australians
won the Tornado catamaran class, Star keelboats and the Mistral men's
sailboards, Great Britain the Finn and Laser single-handed dinghy classes,
while Italy collected gold in the 49er high performance dinghy class and in
the 470 double-handed dinghy class for women. Other Gold Medal winning
nations were the Netherlands (Europe), Portugal (470 men), New Zealand
(Mistral women) and Sweden in the Soling match racing.
Other medal winning nations were the USA, Denmark, France, Poland, Austria,
Brazil, the Ukraine, Germany and Greece.
Australian repeated its success of last year's first test event, winning
three Gold and two Bronze medals to be top-ranked nation for the third time
at major international regattas this year - the '99 World Championships in
Melbourne, Kiel Week in Germany and now the IBM Sydney Harbour Regatta
1999. The USA finished second top ranking nation with three silver and two
bronze medals, Great Britain third in rankings with two gold and one bronze
US MEDAL WINNERS:
Soling -- Jeff MADRIGALI, Craig HEALY, Hartwell JORDAN (Silver)
470 Men -- Paul FOERSTER & Bob MERRICK (Silver)
470 Women -- Tracy HAYLEY & Louis VAN VOORHIS (Silver)
Star -- Mark REYNOLDS and Philip TRANTER (Bronze)
49er -- Jonathan McKEE and Charlie McKEE (Bronze)
Complete results: http://sailing.org/olympics/sydneyharbour/
ROLEX WOMEN'S KEELBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 25, 1999) - Rhode Island sailor Pat Connerney
(Middletown) and her all-Rhode Island team of Louisa Holt Boatwright
(Newport), Melissa Ferdinandi (Jamestown), Meghan Kehew (Middletown), Kim
Hapgood (Newport) and Carol Newman (Jamestown) have won US SAILING's 1999
Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship. By yesterday, the team
had posted four victories in six races for a low point score of eight and
the lead over 28 teams from five nations. When today's racing was
abandoned, Connerney and crew were crowned champions in what has become one
of the world's most prestigious women's sailing regattas.
"I don't think I've ever had such a low score in a regatta," said
Connerney, who has crewed in this event three times, winning in 1987 aboard
Californian JJ Isler's boat, and steered twice, claiming a sixth as best
finish. "It feels good, especially being in the skipper's position."
The winning team's plan to sail two races today was foiled when the race
committee could not get a race off before the one o'clock time limit.
Victory was assured when 11:30 rolled around and a race had not yet started
due to too-light air.
Massachusetts skipper Elaine Parshall (Charlestown), in second place with
12 points, had a mathematical chance to catch Connerney's team only if two
races were completed. "At that point, we new if we got a race off, there
wouldn't be time to start a second one by one o'clock," said Connerney's
tactician Carol Newman.
"If Elaine won the race and we finished last, we'd have tied scores of 13,
with our team winning on the tiebreaker." Three back-to-back starts,
starting at 12:25, resulted in general recalls. "I think everyone was
anxious to get going," said third-place finisher Karen Lynch (Scituate,
Mass.), "and that's why more than half the fleet kept jumping the gun.
It was pretty amazing considering there had been mid-line sags all week
long." Parshall chose not to dwell on today's misfortune. "I blew it
yesterday when I didn't finish in the top five," she said, contrasting her
sixth and seventh in the 20-25 knot breezes to victories in both races the
"We hadn't sailed in that kind of wind in two years, and Pat had been
sailing in those conditions a lot." Connerney, who switches out with her
husband steering the family J/24 in regional regattas, agreed that lately
it has been her turn at the helm in only heavy air. "We've also practiced
in high winds, so I guess that has worked out," Connerney said after
winning both of yesterday's heavy-air races. -- Barby MacGowan
Final Results: 1. Pat Connerney, Middletown, R.I., U.S.A., 1, 1, 4, (5), 1,
1; 8. 2. Elaine Parshall, Charlestown, Mass., U.S.A,. 2, 2, 1, 1, 6, (7);
12. 3. Karen Lynch, Scituate, Mass., U.S.A., 5, 3, (7), 3, 4, 2; 17. 4.
Christine Briand, La Rochelle, FRANCE, 9, (14), 3, 2, 3, 3;20. 5. Felicity
Clarke, Toronto, Ontario, CAN, (13), 5, 9, 4, 2, 6; 26. 6. Vicki Sodaro,
Tiburon, Calif., U.S.A., 7, 4, 6, (8), 5, 5; 27. 7. Liz Hjorth, Marina del
Ray, Calif., U.S.A., (16), 8, 2, 10, 7, 14; 41. 8. Susan Reddaway, Flowery
Branch, Ga., U.S.A., 4, (15), 5, 7, 14, 11; 41. 9. Amanda Clark, Shelter
Island, N.Y., U.S.A., 6, 11(P05), (13), 11, 11, 8; 47. 10. Judy Woellner,
Minnetonka, Minn., U.S.A., 14, 7, 14, (16), 8, 9 (PO5); 52.
Event website: http://www.ussailing.org/championships/Rolex/index.htm
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In proud, sports-loving New Zealand, Dennis Conner was the man everyone
loved to hate. During the 1987 America's Cup trials in Australia, Conner,
the four-time cup winner, cast aspersions on the Kiwi team's sportsmanship.
He fanned the flames in 1988 by calling the New Zealand designer Bruce Farr
a loser during the contentious United States catamaran defense off San Diego.
Down under, Conner's nickname was Dirty Dennis.
But now the 57-year-old sailor is undergoing a public makeover in, of all
places, Auckland, New Zealand. That's the site of the Louis Vuitton Cup
series, a round-robin tournament beginning Oct. 18 to determine which of 11
challenging syndicates will face the defender, Team New Zealand, next
February for the America's Cup.
Conner's popularity was evident earlier this month when his new Stars &
Stripes was christened at his Auckland compound. Before a packed house, the
boat was unveiled with keel and rudder in full view -- a radical departure
from the usual cup practice of shrouding the underbody and appendages when
the boat is out of the water.
"This is my gift back to the people," Conner told a cheering crowd.
Back in San Diego last week, Conner admitted that his reputation in New
Zealand had been dicey. "But now they love me," he said in a telephone
interview. "They're pulling for me to be the challenger. But I'm under no
delusions. If I am the challenger, they won't be rooting for me to beat the
Conner has bolstered his image with frequent visits to New Zealand and with
his participation in two Whitbread Round the World Race campaigns. But good
feelings won't win yacht races, and many cup observers believe Conner's
odds on challenging are long.
The relevant issue is cash, or lack thereof, which is restricting Conner to
a one-boat campaign. Although he won't reveal his budget, Conner can't
compete fiscally with the flush two-boat programs from United States
syndicates Young America and AmericaOne, Italy's Prada Challenge, and
Japan's Nippon Challenge. Conner ranks these groups as his top competition.
The two-boat theory calls for contrasting designs, one for use during the
early stages of the round-robin, when the breeze is fresh, and a second for
the later, light-air rounds. "I don't think that's going to work like
everyone's dreamed," Conner said. "There's going to be some light-air days
and heavy-air days throughout. You can only change boats at the beginning
of each round robin."
So Conner, who pioneered the two-boat concept in the 80's but is now
banking on a boat for all seasons, won't concede that he's at a drastic
"For some of these programs, the second boat isn't in the water yet," he
said. "It's really full-scale design experimentation as opposed to a
two-boat program to optimize sails and crew work and appendages. It would
be good to have two bites of the apple as long as both could be optimized,
but it's yet to be proven how valuable that will be this time."
In fact, Conner believes the Auckland site will play to his strengths. "The
sailing is generally going to be in winds like those on like Long Island
Sound," he said. "Very shifty. There's going to be more of a premium on the
sailing than we've seen for a long time. Lately, the premium's been on the
Here, Conner feels he has an advantage. In girth and demeanor, he is
sailing's version of Bill Parcells. Like the coach, he attracts veteran
talent. With experience at every position and an afterguard including a
six-time J/24 world champion, Ken Read, as helmsman, a two-time America's
Cup winner, Peter Isler, navigating, and a match-racing master, Peter
Holmberg, calling tactics, Conner has an elite team.
"It would be hard for anyone to say they have a better crew than mine," the
Where does that leave Conner, who will be on board but has relegated the
bulk of steering duties to Read?
"I really don't know; we'll have to see," he said. "Ultimately, I'll be
making all the final decisions and I'll take the credit or the blame. As
Even though Conner insists he's still as competitive as ever, he says he
accepts his secondary role on the racecourse. "How could I do my best job
at fund-raising if I was out practicing in Auckland today like Kenny?" he
said. "And if I went out and steered now without practicing, would I be
letting my guys down? I would. It's hard to be the best at what you do and
do it part time."
So is this a kinder, gentler Conner? "I'm probably still feisty if people
try to take advantage of me," he said. "But I've always been very
straightforward and told the truth as best I could. Sometimes that gets me
And it's interesting to note that Conner calls all of his one-design
sailboats Menace. For, despite the new image, before all is said and done
Conner, who is approaching his eighth America's Cup campaign, will most
likely be menacing someone on or off the water. Still, the pressing
question isn't whether the old tiger is sporting fresh stripes. What
everyone wants to know is if Mr. America's Cup has another one in him. --
Herb McCormick, NY Times, http://search.nytimes.com/
* Bright yellow team jackets reflected the brilliant morning sunshine
Saturday when America True opened its doors -- and almost got trampled.
Some people throw a party and nobody comes. For this, everybody came.
"Shocked!" was how CEO and captain Dawn Riley described the turnout of 150
people for the first media day organised by any of the America's Cup teams
along syndicate row. Reporters, photographers, family and friends descended
on the team's Halsey Street compound like a discount sale at Tiffany's.
Riley said, "We were talking about whether we should do it in the morning
or do a barbecue in the afternoon, and should we include families." She
expected, oh, 30 or 40 to show up.
"Then [marketing communications manager] Grace [Kim] came into town and
said, 'This is what's happening,'" Riley explained. "We got the facilities
painted, the sponsor signs up, and last night she said, 'There are a
hundred people coming.' I said, 'I have to sit down.'"
Riley arranged some potted plants in her "secret garden" behind the
chalet-style office building as the crowd squeezed through the front door
into the souvenir shop. Armed with a microphone, she led a rare tour of the
facilities behind the scenes, ending with the introduction of team members
and one possible team member. Then the guests boarded a power cruiser out
to the Hauraki Gulf where the boats test and train daily. There were so
many people that the boat had to make two trips.
DEE SMITH, a veteran professional sailor from America True's hometown of
San Francisco, had been out sailing the previous two days with the team,
which is looking for a fourth member of the afterguard to join helmsman
John Cutler, navigator Leslie Egnot and Kelvin Harrap. They are checking
him out; he is checking them out. Smith was wearing team apparel, perhaps
just trying it on for size.
"No decision yet," he said. This year Smith has helped boats win the
Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup, Tour de France a la Voile, and the IMS
Worlds. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports, http://www.americascup.org/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.com)
Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250
words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Blake MacDiarmid -- Cam Lewis is right on. Think of the potential
exploded performance envelope if sanctioning bodies and course rating rules
really moved outside the box like The Race is. Since modesty (!) probably
prevented Cam from referring Explorer's Jules Verne record run in 93, I
will mention the fact that in 6 short years the " record" for the around
the world run dropped from 79 days to close to 70, and the targets for The
Race is 63-65 days. Not only is this far beyond a 1% improvement, but
we're talking day in, day out non-stop for over two months -- beat that,
-- From Robert Bethune, Editor, Freshwater Seas - I'm tired of the constant
drumbeat that sailing has to become a big-bucks, big-money, big-TV,
big-media sport. Why can't sailing continue to be a participant activity?
Why does it have to become a spectator activity? There are lots of very
healthy recreational activities out there focused on participants. These
activities don't need big-time media. In the US in 1996, people spent
almost 30 billion dollars on "wildlife watching," and they did that without
benefit of TV cameras mounted on their binoculars!
Also, it seems to me that the drive toward making sailing a big-media
spectator sport has very little to do with ordinary people who enjoy
sailing, and a lot to do with a very small number of people and
organizations who want to make big bucks off the sport.
This sport includes thousands of sailors who don't race, don't want to
race, never have raced, never want to race, never will race, and don't give
a rat's ass about racing. These people and their interests are totally
ignored by most sailing organizations and media. However, they buy most of
the boats and gear, support most of the yacht clubs and cruising clubs, and
in general provide the backbone that keeps sailing going.
-- From Jerry Kaye -- It was interesting to note comments on both USSA's
silly proposal for Judge's fees AND Corporate involvement in sailing
(including Pepsico buying market share in San Diego) in 'butt #404.
USSA shouldn't need to hire a Rocket Scientist to add 2 + 2. SELL USSA
SPONSORSHIP. Judges might not be terribly repulsed by having to wear
stylish apparal with the sponsor's logo(s) on it if there are no fees, beer
and foulies provided, hotel and air fare covered for certification, etc.
Cars can be loaned, free meals, official toothpaste & free deodorant
distributed! Old Spice anyone?
Once we get past the initial shock of a bunch of logos in USSA
publications, Sailing World and on Judges jackets, sponsorship can become
self-perpetuating with inflation built-in for each years rates! Sounds like
NASCAR but without decals on the cars. Sponsors would need to get their
money's worth, but sailing has a lot to offer. And every three or four
years there is the added exposure of the A-Cup. An independent sales force
working on commission can be retained for this purpose.
The option of raising dues for members and surcharges for non-members is, I
feel, a distasteful alternative to sponsorship.
-- From Niels Kisling -- I'm glad to see that some sailors out there are
still thinking about the purest reasons we go sailing...full moons at
anchor in an un-crowded anchorage while the rest of the world decides on
Jeopardy or re-runs of Seinfeld, the looks on your 8-year old's face when
he/she catches their first fish or the joy of your first "single-handed"
sail as your own skipper in command of the family El Toro. Racing is a
blast, but the basics of sailing are where it all begins. My fondest
memories aboard Merlin are "camping out" on the backside of Santa Cruz
Island with the Magma strapped to the stern pulpit, 22 dive tanks in the
sail locker and fresh lobster tails in the ice box. Surfing down a wave at
25 knots with the big kite up is really cool too, but no shower is ever
better, or more appreciated than the one at the yacht club after three days
at sea...Sailing to me is a great reality check that takes you back to the
-- From Scott Mason -- Thanks for publishing my "kids" letter. The
responses in Scuttlebutt and inquiries from media indicate to me that there
is a void in our sport. I am convinced that exposing kids to more aspects
of any sport than just the competition increases the likelihood that they
will remain connected to the particular sport. Kids today have more
activities competing for their attention than we did 30+ years ago. I want
an opportunity to sail Transpac with my son in 15-20 years like Roy Disney
did with Roy Pat, like the Ayres, etc, etc. No way its going to happen if
my kid can't wind a winch or steer by the stars, and that doesn't happen in
Sabots or FJ's. Thanks to you and your willingness to introduce this idea,
perhaps we can extend our kids involvement in sailing. This is not meant
as a knock on junior programs, they do a magnificent job teaching our kids
how to handle a boat, race, increase their confidence, etc. However,
teachers don't replace parents, and it is our responsibility to engage our
children in the activities we enjoy if we expect them to continue in our
-- From George Bauer -- To set the record straight, re the history of the
Newport Bermuda Race, the first "races to Bermuda" were in 1906-1910, with
starts in Gravesend Bay (NY) and Marblehead (MA) Revived by YACHTING
MAGAZINE in 1923, with starts in New London (CT) and Montauk (NY), the
start was moved to Newport (RI) in 1936 where it has been since. The
Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have run the race
since 1923, and will start it next on June 16, 2000.
505 EAST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP
With just two races completed in Saturday's lighter air, the pressure was
on to get in two races on Sunday to complete the full seven-race schedule.
Twenty-five teams were there for the 10:00AM sharp warning signal (which
meant launching by 8:30 AM).
Conditions were slightly windier than Saturday, ranging from marginal
trapezing to sitting in the boat on the upwind legs; most of the reaches
Defending champions Collins/Smith had sailed an outstanding series and won
easily with 9 points (after dropping a fourth!). The next six places were
within 4 points (23 to 27). Boyd /tenHove were 2nd overall with 23 points,
Fowler/Dyson were 3rd overall with 24 points, Meller/ Lockwood won the
three way tie breaker at 26 points for 4th, with Amthor /Amthor 5th at 26
points, Harris /Falsone 6th at 26 points and Nelson/ Gleason 7th at 27
points. - Ali Meller, VP International 505 Class Yacht Racing Association
Complete results: http://www.clark.net/pub/ssa/Results/
Most everyone I know grumbles about the continuing lack of TV coverage of
sailing events at the Olympic games. Well -- It appears the draught is
over. Gary Jobson just told the curmudgeon he's signed a deal (with the
permission of ESPN) to cover sailing at the Olympics for NBC. YES!
Also, Jobson's first America's Cup show will air this ESPN tonight in prime
time (on the East Coast). -- 8:00 PM EDT and 5:00 PDT. It covers the 1983
and '87 campaigns. "Good stuff," Jobson assured me.
REMOVING THE PAIN
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Last Friday afternoon Scuttlebutt added its 2000th subscriber. And we're
now geared up to handle lots more, so tell your friends. Subscriptions are
free, and they're going to stay that way.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
When you do a good deed, get a receipt--just in case heaven is like the IRS.