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SCUTTLEBUTT #420 - October 18, 1999

* The first day of the 1999-2000 Louis Vuitton Cup went true to pre-regatta predictions with the favoured syndicates putting in strong performances. AmericaOne, Prada and Young America are jammed at the top of the leaderboard with 2-0 records.

AmericaOne beat the Spanish Challenge and America True. Prada defeated FAST 2000 and Nippon. Young America won over America True and the Spanish Challenge. Team Dennis Conner is also undefeated after the first day, winning its first match over Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel by nine seconds. Team DC had a bye in the afternoon. Quokka website,

* At a press conference after the crews came ashore, several skippers were quick to emphasize that this was just one day, with difficult shifty conditions without any great implications for the longer haul. Races in this first Round Robin only count for one point, versus four and nine points respectively for the second and third Round Robins.

Prada shredded a spinnaker at a leeward mark drop in her race against Nippon and lost crew member Simone di Mari overboard as they cut the chute loose. Di Mari clung to a trailing sheet and was dragged back on board, but the Japanese boat used the incident to pull level with the Italians before a wind shift and perhaps faster boat speed gave the victory to Italy.

'We did not plan that manoeuvre perfectly,' said de Angelis. Actually it was a big mess but at least we were able to occupy the space and had the chance to go to the right, which at the end of the race was good. -- Louis Vuitton website,

* A dramatic wind shift on the final run (of their race with the French Le Defi Challenge) gave the Stars & Stripes afterguard its first big test of the series. Do they continue to push their asymmetrical chute beyond its design limits, or drop it and limp to the finish under a headsail? "They made with the right decision," Conner acknowledged. "I really didn't want to see a new $25,000 kite explode so early in the series. We've got a lot of racing left to do."

As a result of the sail change of the final run, the lead Stars & Stripes had built on each leg of the course shrunk to a meager nine seconds at the finish.

Conner steered the boat for about one third of the race, including the final leg. "I raced my guts out for an hour and a half," helmsman Ken Read said with a big grin. "Then DC took the helm and in a few seconds he cut the margin down from nearly two minutes to just a couple of boat lengths. It takes a real America's Cup veteran to do that," he quipped jokingly to a smiling Dennis Conner. --Stars & Stripes website,

* STANDINGS after two races (Team Dennis Conner and Young Australia have only sailed one race): AmOne -2 points, YoungAm -2 points, Prada -2 points, TDC -1 point, Nippon -1 point, Le Defi BTT -1 point, Abracadbra -1 point, YoungAus -0 points, FAST 2000 -0 points, Spain -0 points, AmTrue -0 points.

* SUMMARY OF THE RACES: Race One: Young America over America True; 37 seconds, AmericaOne over Spanish Challenge; 1:09 Stars & Stripes over Le Defi Francais; 9 seconds Prada Challenge over FAST2000; 4:20 Nippon Challenge over Abracadabra 2000; 38 seconds BYE: Young Australia 2000

Race Two: Young America over Bravo Espana: 1:49, Prada Challenge over Nippon Challenge; 2:03 AmericaOne over America True; 3:45 Le Defi Francais over Young Australia; 5:35 Abracadabra 000 over FAST2000; 10:17 BYE: Stars & Stripes -- Jane Eagleson,

* Predicting the winner is an impossible task because each team is an unknown quantity. Who's good in heavy air? Who's good in the light stuff? Who's too narrow? Who's overpowered? What conditions will prevail? These are the questions inquiring minds want answered.

Nevertheless, America's Cup 2000's menacing writers -- Larry Edwards, Steve McMorran, Sean McNeill, Rich Roberts and Ivor Wilkins -- gathered over dinner and tried to make sense of the scene. We listed each team from one to 11. First place earned 11 points, and 11th received one point. The highest point total won. These rankings were made on the basis of skippers, crews and design teams, but we agreed an underdog could challenge the mighty two-boaters with superb tactics and boat-handling because of the tricky conditions on the inner Hauraki Gulf.

PREDICTION (total possible points-55): 1. AmericaOne 54 points, 2. Prada, 51, 3. Nippon, 43, 4. Young America, 42, 5. Stars & Stripes, 35, 6. America True, 28, 7. Abracadabra 2000, 22, 8. Bravo Espana, 21, 9. 6eme Sens, 14, 10. FAST 2000, 13, 11. Young Australia, 8 -- Quokka Sports America's Cup Staff,

* Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel is publicly acknowledging that its boat, 6eme Sens, is not as fast as hoped. Even before the first round of the Louis Vuitton Cup has begun, a new fin and bulb are being produced for use in the second round. Work on the appendage modification began in August. Five New Zealand companies are involved in the construction, although their identities were not revealed.

In practice races during the past two weeks, the big-bellied red and blue boat did not have stellar performances. Design team coordinator Philippe Pallu de la Barriere explained that they had two options regarding keel design. They could either make manoeuvrability the priority and sacrifice boat speed, or they could make straight-line speed the priority and sacrifice manoeuvrability. They chose the first. Now, however, they are having second thoughts.

"After seeing 6eme Sens on the water vis-a-vis the other challengers, we realised that our choice was a little extreme," de la Barriere said. "Thus we are modifying appendages to bring us closer to the other competitors and gain speed. On the other hand, the boat is likely to be less easy to sail." -- Larry Edwards, Quokka Sports,

* The Swiss are keeping quiet about their appendages, but it is believed they are hiding keels at either end of their yellow boat. Skipper Marc Pajot admitted yesterday that there was something strange under his boat. The appendages have been designed by Peter van Ososanen, responsible for Australia II's radical winged keel which won the cup in 1983. The Swiss will be without tactician Enrico Chieffi for the first round after he could not get off work in Switzerland. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

* Following many months of active discussion amongst the challengers on re-structuring the America's Cup organisation, a paper on the subject has been presented to the America's Cup Challenge Association (ACCA). The challengers agreed on the concept of an independent organising authority for future Cup defences, but have deferred formal approval of the plan. The plan is published in its entirety on the Louis Vuitton Cup website:

The maxi-catamaran Explorer arrived near Gdansk (Poland) on Sunday Oct. 10, 1999. Her new skipper, Roman Paszke, was at the helm. His team has just purchased Explorer to line her under Polish flag at the start of The Race, on Dec. 31, 2000.

By selling his 105' all-carbon boat, Bruno Peyron (organiser of The Race) brings a 10-year story to a close. Aboard Explorer, he was the first to sail around the world in less than 80 days (1993 Jules Verne Trophy). From 1995 to 1999, he then undertook a second circumnavigation to promote The Race around the world. At the same time, he gleaned several records such as Los Angeles / Honolulu (Hawaii) and the West-to-East Pacific crossing (from Japan to San Francisco).

On Sunday Oct. 24, 1999, the maxi-catamaran will be christened with the names of her new Polish sponsors. With her, Roman Paszke and his team plan to set out on the qualification courses for The Race at the latest in March 2000. They should first tackle the Discovery Route, between Cadiz (Spain) and San Salvador (Bahamas).

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The George O'Day Trophy, started in 1962 to be the North American Single-handed Championship, was first won by?
A Lowell North
B Henry Sprague
C Peter Barrett
D Alan Holt

Answer at the end of this issue of 'Butt

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

-- From Beau Gayner -- What is the story with the Australians? How could a country so rich in sailing history, previous defenders of the cup, end up with so little support and cash flow? Everyone seems to be focusing on the lack of participation from England. Who cares? Australia, and their lack of financing is a much more interesting topic. If they had the cash, they would have a chance. Even if our friends across the pond had the cash, they still wouldn't stand a chance against the U.S., New Zealand or Australia.

-- From Jordan J. Dobrikin -- It would be nice if Mr. Gaudio had given us a clearer description of what the term "dial" actually means. The use of rules in strategic situations, to put your self at an advantage and/or put an opponent at a disadvantage, is, has been, a time honored, part of Sailboat Racing. Time has shown that such tactics have added a dimension to the sport that is good and positive, and rewards those who take the time to learn and use the rules.

There have always been examples of irrational use of the rules; the quintessential luffing match of two (2) boats with both of them so engrossed in each other that other boat(s) pass them by; or the fallacy of having to keep Handicap Division spreads close, so that boats could "relate" to each other and/or sail tactically against each other. T

he new rules now allow the starboard tack boat to "hunt" down an approaching port tack boat, to the consternation of some, however it does not seem to have caused a rash of problems and/or protests, as attested to by a lack of of discussion about same in the print media and/or the Internet. Speaking of the Internet, what do Butters think of using a Forum such as the one on the Sailing Source, (who also carries Scuttlebutt, as a major feature), to continue and/or discuss in more depth, topics that originate on Scuttlebutt.

-- From Randy Smith (Re: Mark Gaudio's Comments on Dialing/Hunting for dollars in fleet racing.) -- While this is a tactic that was born on the match racing circuit, there are MANY times in a fleet race that it is appropriate. Last race of the regatta, fighting for 1st or 2nd in the results. Blocking a group of port tack boats trying to get to the favored left-hand gate mark. Beating your arch rival one more time in your club championship. These are all reasons to use the rule in fleet racing.

The option for the starboard boat to make course changes causes the safety zone of distance between the boats to get larger, making collisions LESS likely. I have been on both sides of this situation dozens of times. It's no fun when you are the port boat. The rules put you in "no mans land", and the only way out is to get as close as you can and gybe to starboard with lots of speed. Only the port boat that doesn't know or understand the rule is the one at risk for damage or collision, but that would apply to any boat that is unsure of the options available under a rule.

-- From Peter Huston -- on earth would you know what a decent rock concert stage looked like. Your favorite band, Lawrence Welk, only played in hotel ballrooms.

-- From Nick Gibbens -- In May of '99 my Express 27 was dismasted while sailing on SF Bay. My insurance company (Reliance) disallowed my claim basing the failure on wear and tear. They had the mast inspected and a lab reported that the original weld at the hounds was inadequate and after 16 years of use it failed. I fought this decision with the help of Glenn McCarthy of Myers-Briggs Ins. and Chris Corlett of Sail California who sold me the boat and referred meA to my Insurance agent.

I am happy to report that I have received payment ($6K) in full for the mast, sail repair and a days rigging to step, tune etc. I commend Reliance Insurance and Dave Sneary for seeing that Markel Insurance underwriters followed through and honored their policy for accidental damage.

The moral here should be to interview your agent, and their underwriter, on their procedures and experience with sailboat masts. Also, I learned to connect the damage to an incident, "big puff" or "round up" seem like good terms instead of "just fell over" as in my case. Looking forward to sailing again.

What a day! Day two of the Olympic trials opened with a bang. 15 knots from the west was all that was left of Irene as she made her way north out of our area. The unstable onshore breeze made for unstable finishes as consistency was very difficult. Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall scored a 3,1,2,4 to move into a 4 way tie for first. Andy Mack and Adam Lowery, Jonathan and Charlie McKee and Jay Renehan and Chris Lanzinger all matched those scores to form a four way unbreakable tie at the head of the fleet. Tomorrow we start the event all over with four more races scheduled in what should be a 10 knot Westerly as Irene takes her breeze and leaves us back where we started. --Coach Zack

Curmudgeon comment: Sorry that we can't tell you what's happening in the 470 or Mistral trials -- at press time there was nothing posted on the US Sailing website:

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Rankings as of October 10, 1999, as determined by Sailing World's coaches' panel: Mitch Brindley, Old Dominion; Ken Legler, Tufts; and Mike Segerblom, USC.

COED (previous ranking in parenthasis): 1. St. Mary's (1) 2. USC (2) 3. Dartmouth (4) 4. Navy (10) 5. Tufts (8) 6. MIT (3) 7. Georgetown (5) 8. Old Dominion (9) 9. Harvard (6) 10. Charleston (7) 11. Hobart/WmSmith (11) 12. UC/Santa Barbara (12) 13. Boston Coll (15) 14. Vermont (19) 15. Stanford --- 16. Boston Univ (14) 17. Hawaii (13) 18. Connecticut (18) 19. Coast Guard (17) 20. Brown --- Also receiving votes: Kings Point Queen's

WOMEN'S: 1. St. Mary's (7) 2. Tufts (4) 3. Harvard (1) 4. Boston Univ (5) 5. Hobart/WmSmith (6) 6. Dartmouth (2) 7. Old Dominion (9) 8. Stanford (3) 9. Charleston (8) 10. MIT (10) 11. Brown (11) 12. USC (12) 13. Queen's --- 14. Georgetown --- 15. Boston Coll (15) Also receiving votes: Hawaii Coast Guard U/Florida -- -Ann Campbell

Peter Barrett, one of the greatest skippers and crew to come out of the Mid-west, was the first winner of the George O'Day Trophy.

I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.