SCUTTLEBUTT #414 - October 8, 1999
GUEST EDITORIAL -- Arthur Engel
Two things have happened this year that should be causing sailors around
the country to question the direction of US Sailing. First, at its March
meeting the USSA BoD voted (subject to ratification at the October AGM by
member associations and councils) to increase the size of the Board,
Executive Committee (ExCom) and certain other important committees so that
at least 20% of their members will always be elite athletes (essentially,
recent Olympic level competitors). While done to comply with Federal laws
dealing with Olympic sports organizations, it is significant that USSA
chose to reorganize itself to increase the emphasis on elite athletes
rather than create a new subsidiary entity to perform this function and
comply with the new law. I think everyone would agree that probably fewer
than 1% of USSA's 35,000 non-voting individual members would qualify as
elite athletes - certainly nothing like 20%.
Second, the USSA Executive Director acted recently to impose a fee on
volunteers who receive USSA "certification" as race officers or judges.
Fortunately, the ExCom voted by a slim margin to rescind these fees for the
upcoming year. The justification for the fees is that USSA certification
confers significant "prestige" on these volunteers, presumably by
association with "elite" individuals at USSA, prestige for which the
volunteers should be expected to pay. The "powers that be" at USSA
apparently don't realize that the vast majority of USSA certified
volunteers seek certification in order to improve the services they can
provide to the sport, not to gain "prestige" or associate with USSA elite.
For years, the average US sailor has resisted joining USSA in part because
it was perceived as serving only "elite" elements of the sport. Both the
proposed increase in emphasis on elite athletes and the initial decision
(since rescinded for next year) to impose fees on volunteers receiving USSA
certification (and therefore gaining "prestige" by association with USSA
elite) would make the problem worse, not better. And the problem is more
than perception alone. USSA's audited financial statements for the last
three years show that on average it spent $60,000 a year to "support"
(expenses in excess of revenues) the elite USSA Championship events and
only $16,000 a year to support all of the services in the race
administration area, including appeals, race officers, judges and the
racing rules - services that support all competitors, not an elite few.
Clearly, more membership dollars are being funneled to the elite than to
the grass roots of our sport.
In my opinion it is time for USSA to turn more of its attention to
supporting the grass roots of our sport. People expect their membership
dues, like their taxes, to be spent on programs with broad benefit (like
the race administration programs) not on programs in which only a
relatively few participate. More than 20% of the USSA Board is already
comprised of individuals whose chief (if not sole) constituency is the
elite Championship events, in which a tiny fraction of competitors in our
sport participate at any level. Ten of the Board's approximately 46 members
are the heads of the Area Councils, individuals whose primary, and perhaps
only, responsibility is coordination of the regional ladder events leading
to the national Championships.
I am active in USSA and am strongly in favor of the things it does to
provide support to the sailing community at large. With modern
technologies, many services could be provided at little or no cost and the
potential for benefiting our sport is almost boundless. But an emphasis on
the elite and an obsession with maximizing revenues threatens to send USSA
down a path I don't think will be good for either our sport or USSA. I
would urge voting association and council members of USSA (individual
members don't have the right to vote, but that is another issue) to vote
against ratifying the Bylaw amendment increasing the size of the Board,
ExCom and other committees and instead support creation of a separate
entity to serve the Olympic athletes and comply with the new law. USSA's
mission is supposed to be to provide support for the entire sport, not an
elite few. It should seek ways to provide the most possible support to the
widest possible audience at the least possible cost and not try to maximize
revenues by taxing hard- working volunteers in order to provide services to
an elite few. -- Arthur Engel
MELGES 24 WORLDS
Defending World Champion Vince Brun of San Diego, CA, moved into the lead
the 1999 International Melges 24 World Championship Regatta, hosted by
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. But he's not counting on a repeat--at least, not
yet. "We're taking it one day at a time," said Brun, a sailmaker and past
winner of the Star Worlds. "Everyone gets good breaks and bad breaks.
We're very fortunate to be where we are."
Italian Giorgio Zuccoli, who led after the first day of racing, slipped
into second place ahead of Bob Tennant of San Francisco, CA, who is sailing
a brand-new Melges in its first regatta. Dave Ullman of Newport Beach, CA,
is tied on points with Jessica Lord of Sausalito, CA, and her helmsman Mark
Brink of Seattle, WA.
Good breaks and bad breaks are shown in the raw scores, with almost all of
the top ten teams having at least one forgettable race. Tennant finished
33rd among the 49 boats from four European countries, Canada and the US
while Lord/Brink carded a 20th; fortunately the scoring permits discarding
the worst score after five races are completed, so one disaster might be
one from which recovery is possible.
A really bad break befell the boat sailed by Steve Flam and Mark Golison of
Long Beach, CA: a collision with the boat owned by Michael Stone of San
Rafael, CA, and helmed by Shawn Bennett of Berkeley, CA, took the
Flam/Golison team out of Race 5 and maybe out of the regatta for at least a
day. At day's end the boat had been lifted out of the water and
transported to a repair facility to see if it could be repaired in time for
Friday's races; if not, a loaner boat may be available.
The Race Committee, led by Principal Race Officer Mark Townsend, chose
Thursday as a three-race day: with the warm, offshore "Santa Ana" winds
that commonly blow through Southern California forecast for the weekend,
the committee performed the nautical equivalent of making hay while the sun
shone. The breezes were far more westerly than is common for Long Beach,
and occasional warm, dry puffs interspersed with the normal cool, moist
seabreeze kept the committee on edge all afternoon. -- Chris Ericksen
Sorry, but at 'press time' Friday morning the results were still not posted
Genoa, Italy -- No wind -- no racing. After much waiting, mark laying,
practice beats, sleeping & speculation the committee finally postponed
racing at 4 PM. Instantly the outboard motors were on and all the boats
headed for the marina. -- Mark Jardine, http://www.j24class.org
PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
You're making a big mistake if you think Douglas Gill just produces the
world's best foul weather gear. No way. Gill has made the same commitment
to insuring that sailors also have proper footwear, no matter what kind of
sailing they do. Not just one or two products -- a full line designed
specifically for every kind of sailing. From tall thermal sea boots to Aqua
Tech Booties, they've touched all the bases - with style and the famous
Gill quality. Check out their new Deck Techs. These sailing sneakers are
re-designed to be lighter and better looking than ever.
* The Baywatch episode featuring Abracadabra 2000 will air on Saturday,
October 9h, on Fox Network, at 5:00 PM Hawaii time. Check your local
listings for air times in your area. -- DJ Cathcart, Aloha Racing,
* Three New Zealanders are in Paul Cayard's AmericaOne crew - Morgan
Trubovich, Sean Clarkson and former world No 2 matchracing skipper Gavin
Brady, who both sailed for Chris Dickson at the last America's Cup.
America True has the largest contingent of locals, with six Kiwis in the
sailing crew, including all of the afterguard - helmsman John Cutler and
tacticians Leslie Egnot and Kelvin Harrap.
Young America have three New Zealanders - new dad Grant Spanhake, and
former Team New Zealand members Ross Halcrow and Jamie Gale.
Cameron Dunn, Chris Main and Ed Smyth are making their cup debuts for the
Hawaiians, Japanese and Australia respectively.
Virtually every campaign along Syndicate Row - and even the Australians a
stone's throw across the basin - have New Zealanders in their shore crew,
such is the depth of yachting in this country. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ
* With the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup only 11 days away, the
challengers continued to crowd the narrow confines of the Hauraki Gulf with
practice match races. While most of the participants were the same as those
that participated in Monday's practice fleet race, there were a few notable
additions on the water. AmericaOne came out of hiding to play with the
others on Thursday and managed to scoot home safely without incident. In
its first head-to-head skirmish with another competitor, the stealth-grey
and kiwifruit-green boat skippered by Paul Cayard took on Le Defi Bouygues
Telecom-Transiciel's 6eme Sens in a practice race and won.
The match was one of four in the first of a series of practice match races
on the Hauraki Gulf conducted by the Louis Vuitton Cup race committee. On
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday a series of fleet races were held, but the
San Francisco syndicate had chosen instead to keep its distance, testing
its new boat, USA-49, against its trial horse, the former oneAustralia
(USA-31).The 15- to 18-knot northeasterly breeze was the stiffest condition
the competitors had seen since the practice races began, and it took its
toll. The match between the Spanish and Young Australia ended quickly when
Bravo Espana's main blew out sailing up the first weather leg.
America True was also scheduled to race the Spanish boat, but had to settle
for a formal sparring match with its stablemate, USA-39. The remaining
match-up was an intramural affair between Prada Challenge's two Luna Rossa
yachts from Italy.
AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki said the crew was pleased with the day's
outing, but kept mum on the details. "We managed to beat them, but I don't
know by how much," he said. "We seemed to be a little faster in the
stronger wind and to have a boat-speed edge upwind." The most important
thing, he said, was that the one-on-one skirmish got the crew focused on
racing again, after being involved in boat testing since July."It was good
to go around the buoys and get the cobwebs out," he said. "We wanted to get
the boat handling down and the level of crew confidence up."
The two Italian boats, ITA-45 and ITA-48, which have kept to themselves
since going in the water last week, had skipper Francesco de Angelis and
sailing coach Rod Davis at the helm. Prada spokeswoman Alessandra Ghezzi
said they were pleased with the way the boats performed, but declined to
reveal which boat won the duel.
Race committee chairman Vince Cooke said the practice session, "went
wonderfully well. The weather behaved -- we had a steady breeze at 040
degrees." In fact, the normally shifty conditions were too cooperative.
Cooke said he ordered course changes on each leg by at least five degrees,
even when it wasn't necessary, just to put the race committee through its
paces. "We have a crew of 170 volunteers and they are performing
fantastically well," he said. More practice races are scheduled through
Tuesday. The racing begins in earnest on Monday, 18 October, with Round 1
of the challenger trials -- Larry Edwards, Quokka Sports,
* America's Cup Challenge Association (ACCA) announced today that St
Petersburg Yacht Club's Age of Russia is no longer eligible to compete in
the Louis Vuitton Cup , reducing the number of challengers from 13 to 12.
In accordance with the Notice of Race and Conditions for the regatta,
Condition 9.3, St Petersburg Yacht Club's qualification expired on 04
October. The team - which holds a measurement certificate for their IACC
boat - was required to have a boat in Auckland, New Zealand, 14 days prior
to the start of racing on 18 October.
YC de Cannes, which has been the other 'inactive' syndicate to date - do
have a boat in Auckland, and therefore continue to remain in compliance
with the conditions, and eligible to compete. Louis Vuitton Cup website,
We've gotten a number of email notes from New Zealand stating that the item
we published yesterday about the first sail of Team NZ's new yacht, NZL-60,
was bogus. Normally reliable sources have told us that NZL-60 is still in
the shed, and will be for a while.
For a free subscription of Scuttlebutt, just send a blank email to:
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 Mark Michaelsen -- Mark Gaudio could not have said it any better
than he did in BUTT #413 when he said "The bottom line is, to keep our
sport growing (particularly racing) we must promote from the "bottom up"
and continue to SUPPORT junior sailing at all levels." Everyone who has
access to their club newsletter should cut, paste and send that statement
in for the next issue and try to have them "not bury it" in the back. The
juniors programs in our area (Newport Beach, CA) are all sold out! It is
an attitude like Mr. Gaudio's that makes that happen.
Consider this a challenge -- If your program isn't sold out at YOUR club
next year YOU are doing something wrong. Fix it now or your membership
will dwindle like the leaves in autumn...
-- From Shipwreck Schupak (re Jack Salerno's comments about dampening the
knotmeter) -- The way I heard the story from Peter Isler and Matt Brown
about the Red Hornet doing 30 knots on the Farallon Islands race, was that
they were getting their readings from the GPS. Which if I'm not mistaken
doesn't come with a dampening adjustment.
-- From Chris Bouzaid-- At Antigua Race Week in 1997 (under the old racing
rules) Longhorn (ex Matador) crashed into the stern of Kialoa III just
prior to the start of the race. Kialoa III was close hauled and Longhorn
luffed to cross her stern but misjudged the distance. The damage to Kialoa
III was extensive (over $100,000). It was amazing that nobody was hurt.
Both boats protested each other. The protest was long however the split
decision of the judges was to disqualify Kialoa III from the race. Jim
Kilroy tried to appeal the decision but was denied an appeal.
Jim Kilroy's insurance company was very unhappy and they litigated the
incident. Based on the facts found Kialoa III's insurance company won the
case and the insurance company for Longhorn had to pay all the expenses and
It is unfortunate that the appeal based on new facts was denied. I believe
the appeals process should be easier especially in a case where extensive
damage is involved.
-- From Eric Steinberg, America True -- For clarity, the America True boat
building crew picked up the Young Australia from their barge compound,
repaired the damage on the stern, painted the fix, and delivered the boat
back to Young Australia before 8 AM the next morning and included a case of
beer in the delivery!
Sportsmanship is difficult to define but it is something we all recognize
when we see it. The high standards exemplified by the true sportsperson are
vital to the health of our sport of sailing. That is why, each year, US
SAILING is pleased to be able to honor nominees for the prestigious W. Van
Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy, for their outstanding example of dedication and
graciousness in the sport of sailing, and for sharing these talents with
Please complete submit the nomination form for the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr.
National Sportsmanship Award, no later than Wednesday, January 12, 2000.
Your nominee will then join the Honor List of those nominated for this
prestigious award, with each person nominated being mentioned in a national
news release and on the US SAILING web site. The 1999 winner will be
presented with the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy at US SAILING's Spring
Meeting in March, in Chicago, Illinois. -- Dean. S. Cady, Chairman, USSA
Sportsmanship Committee, http://www.ussailing.org/sportsmanship/
One-Design racing will feature prominently again at GMC Yukon Yachting Key
West Race Week. The Notice of Race for the popular winter yachting
rendezvous, founded and owned by Yachting Magazine, was mailed last month.
Premiere Racing, organizer of Race Week, announced it would accept the
first 300 entries received for the week-long race series, which runs
January 17-21, 2000.
GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week has always drawn top competitors and
the latest designs from around the world, and next year will be no
different. The first Farr 52 One Design will debut at Race Week under the
IMS rule, joining George Collins' turbo sled CHESSIE RACING (former
record-holder PYEWACKET) and at least two Carroll Marine 60s.
Last year's fleet of 273 boats, the fourth record fleet in five years,
included 156 one-designs, 98 PHRF entries and 19 IMS boats. While the IMS
will be strong next January, the recent trend of One-Design growth
continues. Early indications point to more than twenty Farr 40's including
the top three finishers from their September World Championships in San
Francisco. The Melges 24 (50 boats), Mumm 30 (30 boats) and 1D35 (20
boats) classes have projected particularly strong showings.
PHRF racing promises to be as close and competitive as in previous years,
building on the seven classes that competed in 1999. The J/105 class looks
to double their numbers in January with 16 entries. Other groups projecting
strong showings are the J/80s, J/29s, Tartan Tens, Big Boat 'Class A'
sprit-boats, as well as the 30-foot sport boat group.
The Historic Seaport at the Key West Bight, will be home to Race Week
headquarters and the evening reception tent for years to come. A multi-year
extension was signed this summer. This historic waterfront area was very
well received by yacht owners, crews and sponsors alike in 1999.
Racing at GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week takes place Monday to
Friday, January 17-21. Registration begins at 1300 on Sunday, January 16.
-- Cynthia Goss, http://www.yachtingnet.com
Whether you're racing in a world championship, a local regatta or just
going cruising, Sailing Supply is the sailing enthusiast's choice. Their
first choice. For good reason. Actually, thousands of good reasons. Just
one look at their very complete web site will give you an idea of how deep
their inventory runs. And it's all the good stuff -- priced right, and
delivered expeditiously. More importantly, the quality of their people
matches that quality of their abundant product lines. (800) 532-3831 /
(Reprinted with permission from DEFENCE 2000, which is available for US $48
per year from John@roake.gen.nz)
* From Sir Peter Blake -- The Team New Zealand campaign will cost a little
more than the NZ$30.6 million spent in 1995.
* Dennis Conner has bought a waterfront apartment in the NZ$52 million
development, declaring that Auckland is already a winner in the race for
the America's Cup. "It's the best venue we've ever had," said Conner. Due
for completion in December, Conner plans to use the apartment during his
frequent visits to the city. He plans to see in the new millennium in
* Normally New Zealand Customs handle about 600 yachts visiting New
Zealand October through December in any one year. This year they are
expecting 1500. If you get into trouble on race days, it will be comforting
to know that the Auckland Coastguard is boosting its normal roster of five
boats to twenty one. In addition, there are their dedicated boats, working
in conjunction with 11 police vessels, six navy boats and 20 patrol boats
assigned to Cup duties. That number should be able to take care of the gin
palaces and the other 3500 spectator boats.
The ISAF has just issued amended world rankings for the Star class: 1. Mark
REYNOLDS /Magnus LILJEDAHL, USA, 2. Colin BEASHEL/ David GILES, AUS, 3.
Alexander HAGEN /Carsten WITT, GER, 6. John MACCAUSLAND /George IVERSON,
USA, 7. Eric DOYLE /Tom OLSON USA.
Tomorrow evening I'll be jumping on Quantas QF 100 bound for Auckland, NZ
-- the new home of Scuttlebutt World headquarters. While in New Zealand,
'Butt will be distributed at a different time of day, but we plan to
continue publication uninterrupted. (We'll see how that works out.) While
in New Zealand, I'll still be able to pick up e-mail sent my Earthlink
address, but the mailbox I'll be checking most frequently is
Although this move will facilitate a sharper focus on America's Cup
activities, but be assured that I have no intention of ignoring the rest of
the yacht-racing scene during our extended visit down under. And although
the curmudgeon will also be a part of the Team Dennis Conner syndicate,
I'll sincerely try to maintain objectivity in 'Butt's AC reporting.
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.