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SCUTTLEBUTT #414 - October 8, 1999

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 Both the proposed increase in emphasis on elite athletes and the initial decision (since rescinded for next year) to impose fees on volunteers receiving USSA certification (and therefore gaining "prestige" by association with USSA elite) would make the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

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 at:

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,

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 Herald,

* 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 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 costs.

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 others.
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,

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,

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

* 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 Auckland.

* 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.

On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.