Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT #419 - October 15, 1999

Notwithstanding possible disruption by Hurricane Irene, the first 10 members of the 2000 Olympic Team - Yachting will be determined in less than two weeks time. Olympic Trials racing is scheduled to begin Saturday, October 16, at St. Petersburg Yacht Club (St. Petersburg, Fla.) for 470 and 49ers, and at Eau Gallie Yacht Club (Indian Harbor, Fla.) for Mistrals. The schedule for all classes includes a lay day on October 20, with racing resuming October 21 and concluding October 24.

In advance of registration closing on October 14, the following sailors registered early for competition at the trials:

470 MEN'S CLASS (skipper and crew): Ward Brooks and Jason Baker (West Islip, N.Y./Lindenhurst, N.Y.); ICYRA All-American Tim Fallon and Ramsay Key (N. Falmouth, Mass./Arlington, Mass.); '92 Flying Dutchman Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Foerster and ICYRA All-American Bob Merrick (Garland, Texas/Portsmouth, R.I.); '99 World University Games Bronze Medalists Steven Hunt and Michael Miller (Poquoson, Va./Fairport, N.Y.); '99 College Sailor of the Year Mark Ivey and ICYRA All-American Ward Cromwell (Huntington Beach, Calif./Mandeville, La.); ICYRA All-American Peter Katcha and Jim Elvart (Dallas, Texas/Chicago, Ill.); '92 Olympic Silver Medalists Morgan Reeser and Kevin Burnham (Wilton Manors/Coral Gables, Fla.); ICYRA All-American Kevin Teborek and Talbott Ingram (Winnetka, Ill./Fair Haven, N.J.); and ICYRA All-American Graeme Woodworth and Andrew Gaynor (both Westerly, R.I.).

470 WOMEN'S CLASS (skipper and crew): ICYRA All-American Whitney Connor and Elizabeth Kratzig (Noank, Conn./Corpus Christi, Texas); '96 Europe Olympic Bronze Medalist Courtenay Dey and ICYRA All-American Alice Manard (The Dalles, Ore./New Orleans, La.); ICYRA All-American Tracy Hayley and '96 Olympian Louise Van Voorhis (Coral Gables, Fla./Webster, N.Y.); Susan Hofacker and Sharlene Simpson (Friendswood/Houston, Texas); ICYRA All-American Casey Hogan and Liz Bent (Newport Beach, Calif./Gloucester, Mass.); '92 470 Women's Olympic Bronze Medalist JJ Isler and Pease Glaser (La Jolla, Calif./Long Beach, Calif.); and ICYRA All-American Erin Maxwell and Jen Morgan (Stonington, Conn./Shoreline, Wash.).

49ER CLASS (skipper and crew): Sean Couvreux and Brendan Couvreux (both Petaluma, Calif.); David Fagen and Jason Seifert (both St. Petersburg, Fla.); three-time ('99, '98, '97) 49er World Bronze Medalists Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall (Capitola/Ventura, Calif.); Andy Mack and Adam Lowry (Mercer Island, Wash./San Francisco, Calif.); '97 49er World Silver Medalists Jonathan McKee and brother Charlie McKee (both Seattle, Wash.); '98 49er National Champions Jay Renehan and Chris Lanzinger (Seattle/Medina, Wash.); and '97 College Sailor of the Year Tim Wadlow and US SAILING's '98 Developmental Coach of the Year Scott Ikle (Brookline, Mass./Geneva, N.Y.).

MISTRAL MEN'S CLASS: Jon Azevedo (Indian Harbor, Fla.); Ben Barger (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Ian Barense (Cocoa Beach, Fla.); Steve Bodner (Toledo, Ohio); Vojta Cervenka (Golden Valley, Minn.); Connor Cook (Tavernier, Fla.); '92 Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.); ICYRA All-American Will James (Easton, Md.); Mark Kedrowski (St. Paul, Minn.); Dan Kerckhoff (Naples, Fla.); George Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.); Philip Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.); Mark Powell (Coconut Grove, Fla.); Jean Raas (Seminole, Fla.); Randy Somnitz (Panama City, Fla.); Doug Stryker (Edison, N.J.); Marcus Wells (Newport News, Va.); ICYRA All-American Peter Wells (La Canada, Calif.); and Greg Winkler (Cocoa Beach, Fla.).

MISTRAL WOMEN'S CLASS: Kimberly Birkenfeld (Myrtle Creek, Ore.); '96 Olympian Lanee Butler (Aliso Viejo, Calif.); Laura Chambers (Cocoa Beach, Fla.); Mariel Devesa (Torrance, Calif.); Taylor Duch (Savannah, Ga.); Heather Hertel (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); Beth Powell (Cocoa Beach, Fla.); and Cara Reid (Edison, N.J.).

Trials for the remaining Olympic classes are scheduled as follows: The Tornado Trials will be held March 23 - April 2, 2000, and hosted by Santa Cruz Yacht Club (Santa Cruz, Calif.). California's San Francisco Bay will be the location of the Europe, Finn, Laser and Star Trials from April 6-16, 2000, as well as the Soling Trials from June 1-11, 2000. Richmond Yacht Club (Pt. Richmond) will host the Finn class, St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco) will host the Soling and Star classes, and San Francisco Yacht Club (Belvedere) will host the Europe and Laser classes. The Olympic Regatta is scheduled for September 16-October 1, 2000, in Sydney, Australia. -- Jan Harley

Results, competitor bios, and venue information:

So you think you can predict the outcome of America's Cup? Well, here's your chance. Sign up for the FREE "America's Cup Fantasy Challenge." Accept the challenge and be the best at forecasting the winners of each race on a daily basis. There will be leagues, daily postings of the standings, prizes -- this is going to be fun. Join up and see if you can do a better job of handicapping the syndicates than the curmudgeon:

* If the match for the America's Cup were raced tomorrow, Paul Cayard reckons Team New Zealand would win. No doubt about it. Wouldn't put a dollar on himself. Of course when it comes to the real thing in February 2000, and if Cayard's AmericaOne is the challenger to face Team New Zealand's defence, you would hear a different story.

Three days from the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series, Cayard is comfortable with the tag of favourite. But he doesn't necessarily think he will be No 1 at the end of round robin one. "I feel pretty good," he said.

"I think we have everything we need to win, but I don't think everything is assembled the way it needs to be to win the America's Cup. "Honestly I believe we are a notch below Prada and Team New Zealand right now.

"Humbly I believe if the America's Cup were sailed tomorrow, Team New Zealand would win. If I'm wrong, it would be pleasant news. But I'm approaching it that way."

With the new breed of cup boats lacking any history, it is tough to pick who will come out on top. But AmericaOne is seen as one of the strongest challengers in the pack of 11. A lot of that comes from Cayard's track record - finalist in the last two America's Cup matches. But he has raised eyebrows in Auckland by turning up to the startline with just one boat - the other still in the construction yard in California. When USA61 arrives here next month, there won't be a lot of time for the team to discover if it is a fast boat.

The secret, Cayard says, is absorbing from everyone else - which could give the challenger an advantage over Team New Zealand. "In the challenger series, the resource pool is huge. "There are 15 or 16 different boats, 25 different mast designs, hundreds of sails," he said. "In this game it's the team that can learn well from observing the others and assimilates as many of the good traits and characteristics which expose themselves over the next three months." Obviously you have to have the cash to go out and make a new mast or sail.

Cayard looks over at his neighbours, the Italian Prada campaign, and sees himself eight years ago. "When I was with the Il Moro campaign in '92, we were like Prada is now. "We had all the money, were on the leading edge of rigging and sail innovation - and people were just watching and learning from us. Now the shoe's on the other foot," he said.

Cayard has had time to check out the opposition in practice racing on the gulf course in the past week, and he's happy with his first boat so far. "When we scrimmaged with some of the others we won fairly easily, but the top guys didn't get into it," he said. "I'm expecting we'll be strong in the early days - we will be one of the top teams."

Is he okay wearing a "favourite" cap? "I went into the Whitbread as a 20-1 underdog and won. The fact is I've been in the finals the last two times, we've got John Kostecki who's a damn good sailor and [designer] Bruce Nelson has been in the game a long time. Americans have inevitably done well in this event. But it all goes out with the washing starting October 18." -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

* Of the 27 confidential interpretations issued (by technical director Ken McAlpine), nine were about masts. The push this time has been to explore wide section, wing-like masts. The rule does not set a maximum section size, so it is up to the designers to balance issues such as weight and drag against possible aerodynamic benefits. Young America has gone furthest down this track with two very wide section masts, nearly a yard across the base.

The more complicated issue is twisting rigs. The rule expressly forbids rotating masts. The trick is to obtain some of the efficiencies of a rotating rig by allowing masts to twist. McAlpine's interpretation is that twisting is legal, as long as it is the result of sail pressure only. The laminate designers and engineers have worked hard to figure out how to come up with a structure that twists, but remains straight and doesn't break. -- Ivor Wilkens, Grand Prix Sailor,

* Translating Eastern philosophy into Western comprehension is tricky at best. Australian Peter Gilmour knew he wasn't in Oz anymore when he stepped into a different culture as skipper and sailing coordinator of Japan's Nippon Challenge for the 1995 America's Cup. "It's important to understand the cultural differences," Gilmour says. "I'm just scratching the surface of starting to understand it myself. These people see life differently, feel life differently, understand life differently, and they are highly intelligent."

Gilmour and rookie trimmer Chris Main of New Zealand are the only non-Japanese on the sailing team. Bowman Kazuhiko Sofuku, 34, hardly gives it a thought. "The cultural difference becomes important when it relates to a person-to-person relationship and understanding each other," Sofuku says. "However, our goal is to win a yacht race and that has nothing to do with the country of origin, and the sailing skills have nothing to do with the culture."

After the '95 Cup at San Diego, Gilmour moved his wife, Christine, and their three sons to Japan. They are thinking about staying there after this Cup. For the past three years he has been generally insulated from Western society, except for periodic forays to win 10 of 18 events, including two world championships, and sustain his ranking as the world's top match racer. "It's something that I never achieved with an all-Australian crew," he says. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports

Full story:

* New Zealanders have, believe it or not, adopted the Australians (AC syndicate), who have a meagre cashflow. The crew were prepared to walk barefoot down Queen St in this afternoon's welcome parade until Auckland company Line 7 yesterday donated 30 pairs of leather shoes. The young men have been given sausages, chickens, bicycles and free lunches. A local bar has taken them in, but some of the crew are only old enough to sup softdrinks. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

* Yesterday, Sean McNiell's story talked about the person painting the cup logo on the tower in Auckland. Daniel Forster photographed it and you can see the images (and others) at

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

-- From Chris Ericksen -- Mr. Carruthers obviously thinks that Mr. Broerick and others of us who have opinions about US Sailing do not give of our time ('Butt #418). I venture to say a very high percentage of 'Buttheads work their butts off (pun absolutely intended) in support of our sport; certainly many of the names of those who have been "taking shots" at US Sailing in the last couple of weeks are names I recognize as fellow volunteers.

-- From Marc Skipwith (In response to John Roberson regarding the English and there involvement with Sailing.) -- Let's not forget Nelson on Trafalger Squere, I am just sorry they did not sail the America's Cup at that time.

-- From Mark Gaudio -- Dial'em up, dial' em dowm,double dial'em, wow, I can't believe we got away with tripple dialing'em ! DIALING FOR DISASTER...

Is this the language for the new millenium? Scuttlebutt has proven to be a successful tool in communication and raising the awareness regarding certain 'hot issues' in the sailing (particularly racing) community...soooo here we go . . .

I was wondering if there are other 'Buttheads' out there that think that this language belongs specifically on the match, or team racing race courses only, and that it has no place in fleet racing. I believe one of the objectives of the rules are to set a guideline to limit the potential for bumper cars (in this case bumper-boats).In some cases one can argue that certain rules can be used as a sword, doing much more that they were originally intended. There is definitely a 'GREY' area with respect to 'when is too close' to dial both upwind and downwind, in my humble opinion...

Not claiming to be a match racing or team racing whiz by any stretch, I'm wondering is these 'manuevers' are really what 'fleet' racing needs. Some will argue various points (especially that if 2 boats are way ahead of the fleet, that in fact it is a match race).

My contention is not to provoke any party involving any specific incident just to ask the other readers of this piece if they think this 'maneuvering' of their opponents in a fleet racing setting is over-all beneficial to the sport.

Wow! You had to be there to feel the excitement. It was indeed electric!

Every America's Cup syndicate marched down Queen Street in downtown Auckland -- the sailing teams and the support crews too. There were thousands of cheering people lining Queen Street, waving plastic flags generously distributed by the event organizers.

There was an obvious level of enthusiasm for the America's Cup that somehow was never attained in San Diego. For the locals, it was a time to get up close and personal with DC, Paul, Russell, Ed, Dawn, John and a huge bunch of other really big names in the world of yacht racing.

On my scorecard, DC emerged the winner. It seemed like every 300 feet or so, he'd take the Stars & Stripes baseball cap off his head and toss it to some wide-eyed kid in the crowd. And the crowd loved it. Be aware the curmudgeon is DC's PR guy, so the scoring may be a bit subjective. But the cheering and clapping throughout the parade was real, genuine, sincere and greatly appreciated by the marchers. It was exciting!

The opening ceremony was a choreographic audio-visual masterpiece. There was a huge stage that would have done justice to any major rock concert. A monster TV screen put every seat in the house in the front row. That was a big plus, because the bleachers were absolutely crammed with thousands of syndicate supporters who somehow wangled an invitation to this SRO event.

It was a class event that showcased the Auckland Mayor, government officials, Peter Montgomery, Gary Jobson and our hosts from Louis Vuitton.

The people from Louis Vuitton did good! Real good!

The skippers from each team were then called for the Official Draw Ceremony; the pairings for Round Robin One are the following. -- Alessandra Ghezzi, Prada syndicate

Race 1 1st Match Young America vs America True
2nd Match The Nippon vs Abracadabra 2000
3rd Match FAST2000 vs Prada Challenge
4th Match Le Defi Francais vs Stars & Stripes
5th Match AmericaOne vs Spanish Challenge
Not racing Young Australia 2000

Race 2
1st Match Prada Challenge vs The Nippon Challenge
2nd Match The Spanish Challenge vs Young America
3rd Match America True vs AmericaOne
4th Match Young Australia 2000 vs Le Defi Francais
5th Match Abracadabra 2000 vs FAST2000
Not racing Stars & Stripes

ESPN presenting a one-hour preview program of America's Cup 2000: The Long Shot Down Under, hosted by Jim Kelly and Gary Jobson. All twelve syndicates are covered with interviews by skippers, syndicate chairmen and key designers. This program takes a look at the technology behind the boats and features sailing footage of every boat now sailing in Auckland. In addition, an in-depth history of the America's Cup from 1851 through 1995 is included. Exclusive footage from Mystic Seaport and photographs from the Edwin Levick collection at the Mariners' Museum are included. Round robin one gets underway on October 18. This program kicks off the America's Cup season. ESPN2 Sunday, October 17 at 2:00 PM ET -- 11:00 AM PT

Until now, every America's Cup syndicate has been a winner - at least in their own mind, but soon, we will have a better idea of the relative speed, and strengths of the various teams. Here's how the Challenger Trials (a.k.a. Louis Vuitton Cup) works:

There will be three early rounds - called "round robins 1, 2, and 3". In each round, every challenging team (11 in total) will sail against every other team once, in a two boat match race. So, for example Stars & Stripes will sail ten races per round. The three rounds are structured so that a race victory escalates in value. A round one victory equals 1 point, round two - 4 points and round three - a whopping 9 points. A team's score accumulates through all three rounds. The goal is to finish round 3 in the top six - as those lucky teams move on to the semi finals with the scoreboard reset to zero.

There is a two week break between rounds during which time teams can make major changes to their boats - or even bring in a new boat (as the teams with two new boats may do, in order to avoid revealing their best equipment in the early rounds when there is still time for teams to try and copy a go-fast idea). In theory - if you had a really fast boat - so fast that it could win every race - then you would not even have to race in the first two Rounds - because a sizable batch of those 9 point victories in round three would be enough to qualify for the semis. Of course, that would be a risky move because other teams might also be holding back their good stuff too. And from what we have seen so far sailing here - a few races will be decided by wind shifts - not boat speed.

The six Semi-Finalists start off the new millennium racing a double round -robin, that is we will sail each boat twice, ten races per team. Each victory counts one point and at the end of the semis (after a two week break where major changes to your boat are again allowed) the top two teams move on to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals - a best of nine series - first team to win five races gets to face the Kiwis in the Cup in late February!

Bottom line, a lot of teams will plan to use the low scoring October and November rounds as an opportunity to get a feel for their competition and test out various go fast ideas (like new sails and mast tuning variations) with the focus being to peak for the December's round three. However, sailors will be sailors - and in a race, its pretty hard to be disciplined enough to try out a new idea - which may prove slower - rather than just give it 100%.
An "official/unofficial" informal fleet race held here early in October will give some teams a chance to check in on the competition - but the real fun begins when the focus is one on one, in a two boat match race - with 11 challenging teams all out there with bounding optimism on October 18! This is the second biggest field in America's Cup history (there were 13 challengers in Perth in 1987) so it should be a fantastic America's Cup trials...enjoy!
Louis Vuitton Cup (Challenger Qualification Series): Auckland, New Zealand
Round Robin 1 - October 18, 1999. (1 pt/ victory)
Round Robin 2 - November 6, 1999. (4 pt./ victory)
Round Robin 3 - December 2, 1999. (9 pts/ victory)
Semifinals -January 2, 2000. (top six scorers from RR 1-3)
Finals - January 25, 2000. (top two from Semis - best of 9 series)
America's Cup (best of nine match) begins February 19, 2000.
One Defending Team - Team New Zealand, Royal NZ Yacht Squadron

-- Peter Isler, Great Outdoors website:

You don't have to spend a lot of money to have the best looking custom crew attire at the regatta. Honest! Frank Whitton at Pacific Yacht Embroidery can give you the quality stuff designed by California artists at really affordable prices. Call Frank for quotes and a free apparel catalog. (619) 226-8033 (

"Passed away Oct 12, 1999 . . . an avid life-long sailor, John's retirement years were spent traveling with family and friends and cruising on his beloved boat Pau Hana II. He was a member of the Cruising Club of America, the Transpac YC and was a staff commodore of the Los Angeles YC. A celebration of his life will be held at LAYC, Sunday Oct. 17 at 11:30 a.m. Donations in his memory to Friends of Alzheimer's Caregivers or Catalina Island Conservancy."

If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?