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SCUTTLEBUTT #423 - October 21, 1999

On both coasts of Florida, organizers and competitors alike are utilizing a planned break in the racing schedule at the Olympic Team Trials - Yachting. Following the format of next year's Olympic Regatta in Sydney, today's mandatory lay day gives the 86 Trials competitors an opportunity to regroup before the final phase of competition in the 470, 49er and Mistral classes. For some volunteers conducting the three events, this will be their first opportunity since Saturday's brush with Hurricane Irene to return home and assess any damage. Indian Harbor, Fla., location of the Mistral Trials, fared the worst, with power outages still affecting locations in the area and hampering communication with regatta organizers.

Racing in both Indian Harbor, and St. Petersburg, Fla. (site of the 470 and 49er trials), was postponed on opening day - Saturday, October 16th - due to the hurricane. Additionally, racing on day three was canceled for 470s and 49ers due to too little wind in St. Petersburg. In another nod to the format planned for Sydney, organizers are changing daily the location each class sails.

Competition at these Olympic Trials resumes October 21 and concludes October 24 at St. Petersburg Yacht Club for 470 and 49ers, and at Eau Gallie Yacht Club for Mistrals. Eight members of the 2000 Olympic Team - Yachting will be named at the conclusion of the Trials.

470 Men (skipper and crew): With six points after four races, '92 Flying Dutchman Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Foerster (Garland, Texas) and ICYRA All-American Bob Merrick (Portsmouth, R.I.) hold a four-point lead over '92 Olympic Silver Medalists Morgan Reeser (Wilton Manors, Fla.) and Kevin Burnham (Coral Gables, Fla.). Following in third place with 13 points are '99 World University Games Bronze Medalists Steven Hunt (Poquoson, Va.) and Michael Miller (Fairport, N.Y.).

470 Women (skipper and crew): After four races, only nine points separate the top five boats. '92 470 Women's Olympic Bronze Medalist JJ Isler (La Jolla, Calif.) and Pease Glaser (Long Beach, Calif.) hold the lead, just one point ahead of '96 Europe Olympic Bronze Medalist Courtenay Dey (The Dalles, Ore.) and ICYRA All-American Alice Manard (New Orleans, La.). Following closely in third are ICYRA All-American Tracy Hayley (Coral Gables, Fla.) and '96 Olympian Louise Van Voorhis (Webster, N.Y).

49er (skipper and crew): After five races, West Marine Products, sailed by three-time ('99, '98, '97) 49er World Bronze Medalists Morgan Larson (Capitola, Calif.) and Kevin Hall (Ventura, Calif.) hold a two-point lead over Team McLube sailed by '97 49er World Silver Medalists Jonathan McKee and brother Charlie McKee (both Seattle, Wash.). Currently tied for third place are Andy Mack (Alameda, Calif.) sailing with ICYRA All-American Adam Lowry (San Francisco, Calif.) aboard Team Revo, and '98 49er National Champions Jay Renehan (Seattle, Wash.) and Chris Lanzinger (Medina, Wash.) sailing Niketown.

Mistral Men: '92 Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) holds a commanding ten-point lead after winning all six races in Indian Harbor. Randy Somnitz (Panama City, Fla.) follows in second place with 15 points. In close company are ICYRA All-American Will James (Easton, Md.) with 16 points; ICYRA All-American Peter Wells (La Canada, Calif.) with 17; and Jean Raas (Seminole, Fla.) with 18.

Mistral Women: After first-place finishes in all six of her races, '96 Olympian Lanee Butler (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) leads her fleet with an eight-point margin. In tight competition for second through fourth are Mariel Devesa (Torrance, Calif.) with 13 points, Kimberly Birkenfeld (Myrtle Creek, Ore.) with 14; and Cara Reid (Edison, N.J.) with 15. -- Jan Harley

Full results, competitor bios and venue information:

(A special Scuttlebutt report by Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall) We awoke to a building easterly this morning, and had high hopes for at least two races before it died. Sailing "two-strings" (both on the trapeze because there's enough wind) out to the start line we took wind readings and even considered pulling the vang on a little bit. By the start however Kevin had to decide whether to trapeze off the wing or the edge of the hull.

We decided while sitting around all day yesterday that there's a strong possibility of more days with very few races, and that a good way to look at the regatta from here would be to plan to win each day, if only by one point. Today that meant starting at the pin - in the chop starboard was much worse than port and this would allow us to foot, plus give us the advantage of being further up the starboard track at the gun.

We won the pin, tacked 3/4 of the way to layline, sailed most of the way across the beat on a decent angle, stepped up to the port layline to shut it down and rounded first, and far enough ahead to gybe when we wanted and extend our lead.

The next beat saw Kevin sitting on the wing as the wind continued to die. The committe shortened the beat some, presumably now worried about the time limit. With good speed and by staying in phase we extended on the beat and the run, and again the final beat was shortened. Now Kevin was sitting in the boat while Morgan trapezed all the way forward on the wing, most of the time crouched.

As we approached the final windward mark it was clear we were racing the clock to make the time limit and ensure that the race count. A few little puffs and the odd surf on the leftover chop got us to the finish with a few minutes to spare.

The committee started the sequence for race two, our plan was again to start at the pin, but with about 2 minutes to go they postponed, then sent us in. We hosed the boat and hurried back to the A/C and comfort of our house, where Olympic coaches Gary Bodie and Luther Carpenter met us for a competitive game of hearts with the Salvador Dali cards acquired at the St. Petersburg Dali museum. Hearts isn't just a way to pass time, it's a great way to keep the tactical mind active so when race time comes back around, we're good to go.

At two the committee sent us out onto a glassy Tampa Bay, having heard reports that the onshore westerly had filled on the coast. Our month of training here told us to bring the big hats, because with a very light easterly flow remaining from the morning, the odds of the westerly making it were slim.

We sat out there for 3 hours, contemplating the knot of current, while some swam with the jellyfish, others staying near the coach boat with the good stereo, and still others circled the spectator boats with the bikinis. When it was looking like a retreat to the dock was impending, we readied our tow so we could be first to the ramp, which we were.

Today is a mandatory layday, despite the 7 races we're behind, so we'll go over the bottom and the rig then maybe catch a movie. Leading by two points doesn't mean much at this stage, other than if we stick to our plan of winning each day's battle we are sure to win the war.

You can probably tell we're a little bored, trying to make it sound exciting down here in the land of 100% humidity... the trick is to not get frustrated too.

What do each of the top 5 America's Cup Challengers on yesterday's leader board, share in common? (Hint -- this question was submitted by J/Boats marketing whiz, Bob Johnstone.)

Right now, lots of yacht clubs are preparing their budgets for next year. And some clubs are actually including funds for anticipated losses in connection with regatta apparel at their major events. Shame on them. There is no reason any yacht club should lose money on regatta apparel -- not when Pacific Embroidery has a program to supply it to race organizers at a guaranteed profit. There is absolutely no risk to the race organizer. Call Frank Whitton (619-226-8033) for details on how to offset regatta costs while supplying high quality, affordable apparel for the racers. (

* The challengers did not go racing today. A storm front came through and Race Director Vince Cooke cancelled all racing because of the 25 knot - gusting 35 - northerly breeze. Weather permitting, there will be a single race on Thursday with the warning signal scheduled for 1320 hours.

RACING PARAMETERS FOR THE LOIUS VUITTON SERIES: If in the 15 minutes prior to the starting signal the wind speed is continuously greater than 18 knots for a period of 5 minutes, the Race Committee shall postpone the race. The Committee, moreover, shall abandon a race after the start when the true wind speed is continuously greater than 23 knots for a period of 5 minutes measured at 10 metres above sea level. According to the Race Conditions the Race Committee shall postpone a race before the starting signal if in the starting area the true wind speed measured at 10 metres above sea level is continuously less than 5 knots. -- Courtesy of Alessandra Ghezzi, Prada Press Office

* With the challenging teams refusing to match up against Team New Zealand before the America's Cup, the Kiwis are watching the Louis Vuitton racing very closely to assess who they might meet in February. Skipper Russell Coutts said his team is out racing and tuning their two new boats against each other, but that the team is working in isolation compared to the challenging syndicates. 'Obviously we're very interested in how the challengers are performingthere's some very good sailing teams out there,' he said. But so far, the challengers have refused to schedule any 'fun' races against Team New Zealand between the Louis Vuitton Cup round-robin series. -- Louis Vuitton Cup website,

* Peter Gilmour, skipper of the big-budget Nippon Challenge, cut up rough on the second day of the Louis Vuitton challengers' trials for the America's Cup. During the pre-start cut and thrust, Gilmour inflicted penalties on both Ed Baird, at the helm of the New York YC's Young America, and Paul Cayard on AmericaOne

Such tactics came as a surprise so early in the competition and the inescapable conclusion is that Asura, the first of the Japanese team's two boats, is only a modest performer. A clearcut top three has already emerged from the the 11 challengers - Cayard and Baird's teams, plus Italy's Prada. Each of these have four wins from four starts. -- Tim Jeffery, Electronic Telegraph,

* While Young America was winning their single race on Wednesday, Jim Brady was at the hospital with his wife, Olympic bronze medallist Julia Brady, for the birth of their first child - 7lb 1oz Lila Channing Brady.

* Other crews, and particularly other bowmen in the America's Cup have been quick to offer their support to Toshiki Shibata of the Nippon Challenge who was injured yesterday. "All the teams sent best wishes for his recovery," confirmed Nippon Challenge spokeswoman Emili Miura, "America True sent flowers, and others sent cards.

Probably the greatest act of friendship came from rival bowman Geordie Shaver of Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes crew, who gave Shibata-san a new carabina, a special tool that all bowmen use. Shaver said, "I went over to see Gilly (skipper Peter Gilmour) this morning at 6.30, and he filled me in on his condition, and I thought it would be a friendly gesture to give him a new carabina, it is a tool that all bowmen carry attached to their harnesses.

"Something like that helps to get a guy back on his feet again, back on his horse, although we're rivals, we all like to have a heads-up attitude towards safety. That is the sort of thing that could happen to any of us, it's not the safest place in the world up there by any means, and we tend to stick together."

Toshiki Shibata was released from hospital today, and it was confirmed that he had a broken nose, a fractured jaw, and had lost a tooth. However he was hoping to be fit enough to sail in the second round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup, which starts 6th November, but that will depend on how quickly he recovers. -- John Roberson, Reuters News Service

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

-- From Chris Welsh -- It is hard to avoid the smallness of our sport when viewing the TV Guide. No meaningful coverage of the America's Cup 1st Round Robin, live or taped. Yet in the time slot that would be live, the Wonder Dog Competition is covered on ESPN 2. ESPN, ESPN 2, several channels of Fox Sports, Speedvision, Outdoor Life Network, and the best we get is no sailing and the WWF for dogs Wonder Dog Competition?

-- From Steve Wright -- Carol Newman's comment "Don't forget the crews" is a message we all need to hear. I am sure Tom Olsen's experience helped Eric Doyle in their win at the Star Worlds. I am not sure the word "dramatic" is an accurate one, as Doyle and his previous crew for four years, Brian Terharr placed second in the Star Worlds in '97 and second at the last US Olympic trials, among many other great results. The point is, that along the way, skippers teach crew and crew teach skippers in quest for learning the sport and winning. And Vince can take pride in Eric's win, as well. Well done to them all.

-- From Rob Waterman -- Chris Ericksen should be supporting fellow ABYC members Howard Hamlin and Mike Martin for Rolex Co-Yachtsmen of the Year! Not only did they win the '99 5-0-5 Worlds against 156 other boats in a hull Howard designed and on blades Mike designed; they have helped a lot of geezers like me get up to speed too. The small but enthusiastic local 5-0-5 fleet has world-class speed (1, 2 and 14 in Quiberon), thanks mainly to the enthusiasm and hard work Mike and Howard have put in--we're talking summers of clinics. Chris (and everybody else) should give Howard and Mike the support they have earned.

-- From Jack Mallkinckrodt --Imagine a contest on the salt flats between Indy racers under a hunting rule. The rule permits and encourages a driver who is on the right side of the other to attempt to hit the other "as long as the other could still keep clear while manoeuvring in a safe way". Can you imagine the carnage. No amount of driver expertise could avoid it. Maybe a good event for Roman gladiators, but not for reasonable sportsmen. The hunting rule in sailing makes just about as much sense.

-- From Bob Burns (in reply to Jerry Kaye et al.) -- Most of the opinions about the so called hunting rule are missing the point. The starboard tack boat has the right of way. Period! wind shifts happen and boats respond. Bearing off a bit to discourage a lee bow tack is perfectly reasonable. It would be completely unreasonable to allow the burdened boat (port) to somehow transfer their burden to the right of way boat. Hold your course hails are an example. Requiring a boat to hold their compass course or reliance on a x (you name it) boat length circle just end up with more damage and less certainty on who has the right of way.

Current rules are clear. The starboard boat has the right of way and a limited hunting license. Avoiding a collision is still there isn't it? I think the current rule discourages foolish wanna be rock stars from getting too aggressive and makes the port tack boat pay sincere attention to how close they are willing to approach another boat. I like it. It's simple and clear.

-- John Drayton -- Just a quick correction and some notes for the C of C's piece. My crew at the regatta was Gail Nye - Jennifer couldn't make it because one of us had to take care of our kids. Gail and I had a great battle with Dick and Linda Tillman going throughout the regatta, but we were both "blown away" by Irene on the last day of the regatta. JY15's get to be real "squirly" when the wind jumps up to 25+. I watched one well-known class champion deathroll twice in the space of one downwind leg.

This is the second time I've had the privilege of sailing in the C of C's, and any "Buttheads" who have the opportunity should give this regatta a try. This is by far my favorite US Sailing event - and it's truly a unique event. Every year this regatta hits the highest marks for both competition and comradery. I know my crew is already conniving how to get invited back for next year.

-- From Paul-Jon Patin -- (Another) slight correction - John Molicone won JY15 North Americans in 1998 sailing with Danny. This year they raced against each other in the event this year at Sayville YC. John sailing with his girlfriend (who's name eludes me at the moment, sorry) led a good part of the event but was over taken by the "ever methodical," Paul Forester, sailing with wife Carrie.

-- Eric Steinberg, America True -- Wow, as a techno guy, I can say if you have not looked at (and purchased) Virtual Spectator you are missing out, big time. All the groovy virtual reality type of stuff really works. Instant gratification! It is too cool for school dude, gotta have it.


Now that summer has ended, it's obvious that more and more class winners are using Ullman Sails this year. Dennis Case's champion Schock 35 and the top two boats in the Lido 14 class championship had inventories of Ullman Sails. And Chuck Queen's National Champion Olson 30 and Howard Hamlin's World Champion 505 used them too. Big boats / small boat, keelboats / dinghies -- it doesn't seem to make much difference. Ullman Sails were kicking butt on the West Coast's ULDB 70 circuit and won the Around Alone Race. Maybe it's time you too found out why:

Sorry, but I don't believe in Santa Claus any more. However, I do believe in Craig Alan Levin. Oh how I believe.

Craig lives in San Diego but is in Auckland doing RC work for Round One of the Louis Vuitton Series. There was no racing today, so Craig generously stopped by the Stars & Stripes compound because he read that I was having computer problems. And what a computer magician he is.

No longer does my notebook boot up with messages that tell me to stop everything I'm doing - back-up all of my data IMMEDIATELY and replace my hard drive. Craig fixed it!

Happy days are here again. My computer is my friend again, doing everything I ask of it. And considering Craig did not charge me for the several hours he worked on the beast, he's likely to be my friend for a long time.

Each of the top five AC boats has one or two International J/24 Class World Champions aboard: Prada-Francesco DeAngelis (helm); AmericaOne-John Kostecki (tactician)& Terry Hutchinson (Main Trimmer); Young America-Ed Baird (helm)& Jim Brady (navigator); Team DC - Ken Read (helm); Abracadabra-John Kolius (helm).

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?