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SCUTTLEBUTT #427 - October 27, 1999

Jeff Madrigali won the 1999 Ficker Cup (Grade 4) in convincing fashion last weekend in Long Beach, California. Conditions for the event were quiet, with light-to-moderate winds and flat seas. Madrigali posted a 9-1 scoreline, losing only once to Scott Dickson (8-2) who represented the host Long Beach Yacht Club.

The six boat, double round-robin tournament is named in honor of America's Cup skipper Bill Ficker, who established the series to encourage the development of West Coast match racers. This year's field included several bright young talents, including: 1999 Prince of Wales champion Mason Woodworth; YRUSC Gold Cup winner Tony Stuart, and Dickson, who has finished 2nd in Congressional Cup and was recently 3rd in the PoW.

Sailing the local Catalina 37 fleet, sailors had to contend with lighter than normal wind conditions and thick fog in Saturday's first race, which caused one of Woodworth's losses. The final match was delayed a half hour on Sunday afternoon as the usual SW seabreeze lost its energy in favor of a moderate Santa Ana wind. By winning, Madrigali has earned an invitation to the 2000 Grade 1 Congressional Cup, also at LBYC. Second place Dickson will likely also earn a berth, as skipper for the home club. --Chip Evaul

FINAL RESULTS: Jeff Maddrigali San Fransisco YC 9-1 Scott Dickson Long Beach YC 8-2 Mason Woodworth Watch Hill YC 6-4 Tony Stuart Long Beach YC 5-5 Betty Sherman San Diego YC 1-9 John Drayton Newport Harbor YC 1-9.

MIAMI - More than 150 sailors from 14 countries converged at Shake-A-Leg Miami, a water sports facility for the South Florida community with emphasis on people with disabilities, for the 1999 World Blind Sailing Championships October 16-22. Harry Horgan, founder and president of Shake-A-Leg Miami, said that hosting the event was an honor that his organization and the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind worked hard to bring to South Florida. The Sonar boats were loaned to Shake-A-Leg Miami for the event courtesy of members of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Countries including Argentina, Canada, Finland, France, Great Britain, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United entered their top blind and partially sighted sailors to compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Awards were presented in three separate competing categories. In all, 29 four-person teams participated. Two persons on each team were blind, and two were sighted.

This was the first time the World Blind Sailing Championships had been held in the United States. The Championships started in 1992, when they were hosted by a blind group from New Zealand. The following are the final standings of the 1999 World Blind Sailing Championships:

B1 Gold: Northern Ireland: Michael Beggs, Lisa Royle, Gareth Flannigan, John Martin, Silver: USA-Florida: Carlos Riveron, Eric Torres, Didrik Hoag, Tac Uchino, Bronze: Great Britain: Vivki Sheen, Arthur Greatrex, Simon Davies, Gary Butler

B2 Gold: New Zealand: Mark Mulcare, David Monk, Brian Trubovich, Kevin Mulcare, Silver: Sweden: Linda Eklund, Andreas Kettlehoit, Martin Krite, Jonas Lindber, Bronze: Great Britain: Lucy Hodges, John Long, Chris Sinclair, Ian Savage

B3 Gold: New Zealand: Dale Deane, Tony Holmes, Jamie Logan, Terry Valder, Silver: Great Britain: Toby Davey, Rob Owen, Mike Hart, Ian Shirra, Bronze: Japan: Tatsuyuki Oshiro, Akira Ito, Takanori Toguchi, Toyoshi Terada

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* Seven of the eight matches scheduled today on the challengers' course turned into duds when the wind reached a gear-busting 20 knots. It was surely a day like no other in the annals of the America's Cup. In a race schedule that showed eight matches, only two could be described as conventional with two boats crossing the starting line together, completing the required circuits of the track and finishing. The other six matches either had boats jogging around the course on their own, or saw one yacht retire, or saw one arrive at the start line 28 minutes after the other had left.
At one point there was a procession of five yachts sailing down a single leg of the course and representing four different matches.

Red protest flags fluttered as postponements were granted to some competitors, but not others. So many flags and guns exploded from the race committee boat, it resembled a naval battle in progress rather than one of the world's great regattas. Principal race officer Vince Cooke said afterwards that he had received more requests for postponements in today's racing than during the 1992 and 1995 Louis Vuitton Cups combined. Against this backdrop was the spectre of Team New Zealand, which took its two new boats out on the track, trained without a break all day and then hurtled down the challenger track under spinnaker.

"We were very frustrated to see only two races out of eight starts today," said Louis Vuitton spokesman Bruno Trouble. "It was a bit embarrassing to see the two black boats (Team New Zealand) out training without any incidents." Quokka Website,

1. Prada 10 -0 10
2. AmericaOne 7-2 7
3. Young America 7-1 7
4. America True 6-4 6
5. Nippon 6-4 5.5*
6. Spain 5-5 5
7. Stars & Stripes 5-5 4.5*
8. Abracadabra 4-6 4
9. Le Defi BTT 2-8 2
10. Young Australia 1-8 1
11. FAST 2000 0-10 0

RACE REPORT -- Race 10
The first pair to get a start gun was Stars & Stripes (USA-55) and Young America (USA-53). But Young America was still being towed out to the racecourse after effecting repairs. Stars & Stripes raced a full leg ahead of Young America to pick up an easy point. She did not fly a headsail for the first upwind leg, and never raised a spinnaker. Team Dennis Conner didn't even gybe, preferring to wear around in the heavy winds. Young America did sail the course, in hope of a breakage aboard Stars & Stripes, but the effort was in vain. She finished 19:08 minutes behind Stars & Stripes. However she did not complete a penalty turn for failing to enter the start area correctly.

John Cutler on America True (USA-51) forced Peter Gilmour on Asura (JPN-44) to split away at the start but Gilmour picked up speed to start strongly with a six boat length (17 second) advantage while America True laboured to pick up speed. Gilmour built a comfortable lead even after Asura's spinnaker pole broke on the first run. The breakage came back to haunt the Japanese in the closing stages of the last run. The American boat, on the opposite gybe, hardened up and surfed into the finish line to cross just one second astern of Asura. This was the closest finish time so far in this Louis Vuitton Cup season.

Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel (FRA-46) was ashore preparing for its planned hull changes at the end of the Round Robin and hence, did not sail. Luna Rossa (ITA-45) sailed the course to claim its point for winning.

Be hAPpy (SUI-59) had not completed repairs to its runner support bulkhead and did not race today. Bravo Espana (ESP-47) sailed the course to claim its point for winning.

America True had a slight advantage at the start line (0.03) and held cover through a mini tacking duel up the left side of the course. At the top mark Bravo Espana had fallen 35 seconds behind. Spain lost this race when it wrapped its spinnaker around the forestay on a gybe. The Spaniards couldn't free the tangle, even with a man up the mast working on the sail for long agonising minutes. As America True sailed away, Spain could only watch helplessly. Bravo Espana retired from the race, and the Americans sailed around the course alone.

For the second time today, Stars & Stripes sailed the course alone to collect a point. Young Australia requested a postponement this afternoon, but the race committee did not grant it. Team Dennis Conner started alone and sailed the course, Young Australia was towed home with a red protest flag flying.

The Japanese had an easy afternoon, sailing the course while its opponent completed repairs in the boat shed. Asura sailed the course to collect its point, while the Swiss FAST 2000 team completed work on its boat to be ready for the Second Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Luna Rossa has won every race in Round Robin One, and Abracadabra 2000 was the final victim. It was not much of a battle. In the pre-start period, Abracadabra 2000 suffered gear failure. The Americans took down the headsail and re-hoisted it just before the start. Luna Rossa crossed the start line with a substantial lead of 57 seconds. Abracadabra flew the red protest flag at the start. The pair tacked only once on its way to the top mark. On the first run the Americans did not hoist their kite and lost a lot of ground. Prada won comfortably. --

* "You learn early on in this game that you can't win unless you finish, and that's what today was all about," Star & Stripes helmsman Ken Read said. "Our team was ready for the nasty conditions while both of our opponents had problems that kept them from competing. The two points we earned today came as a direct result of the hard work of Mick Harvey, Murp, Johnny and the support crew who had Stars & Stripes ready for the heavy conditions." -- Stars & Stripes website,

* The timely repair of AmericaOne would not have been possible had AmericaOne not had an HP Design Jet 755CM on site. Within hours of the Stars & Stripes collision, Bruce Nelson was able to generate sections of the hull which were printed onto mylar sheets in full scale. These sheets were then transcribed onto wood frames which served to build the mold of the damaged area. Carbon fiber and a core material were then laminated over the mold to bring the yacht back to original shape. "Having the plotter significantly reduced the time needed to get on with the repair", said Brad Fitzgerald, AmericaOne Shore Team Manager. "It is times like these when having the horsepower of America's top technology companies gives AmericaOne an edge." AmericaOne will be back in race trim after the measurers inspect the boat this afternoon to make sure the repairs comply with original construction. Tomorrow line up for AmericaOne; Young Australia and Young America. -- Bruce Nelson,

* Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet media company that offers a branded network of media, commerce, and communication services on the Web, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the New York Yacht Club/Young America Challenge for America's Cup 2000, Young America announced today. Yahoo! is Young America's second Premier level sponsor, the top level of corporate support for the America's Cup team.

The sponsorship package includes prominent branding on the mainsail and spinnaker of Young America racing boats USA 53 and USA 58, and extensive corporate hospitality throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Races and the America's Cup. Yahoo! also receives the right to brand the team uniforms and hats of the captain and crew throughout their quest for the Cup. -- Jane Eagleson,

Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks. And you only get one letter per subject, so think it through carefully.

--From Dick Lemke -- As a former Red Cross Sailing Instructor, I agree in principle with Mr. Hazelton to a point. Through a fairly aggressive program, we introduced young sailors (and older ones) to sailing through the program that was fortunate enough to have six similar sailboats.

No doubt we had enthusiasm, but when competing with all of the other "fun" things kids can/want to do, the cost to participate must be considered as a major factor. Not only the initial cost of a boat, which can be many thousands over the cost of a snow board or mountain bike, but the on-going cost to participate ... sails, maintenance, storage, and of course the wonderful fee called "yacht club membership".

If costs are covered, kids will participate, but the weed-out process begins when the donated equipment ends - as cost for college, car and of course girl friends/boy friends often take priority. I would offer a guess that the percentage of participants in a youth program that continue sailing is quite low compared to the beginning participant numbers.

-- From Robin Baker -- One of the things I really like about Scuttlebutt is that I now understand how hard we amateurs need to fight to try to retain control of our sport and keep it out of the hands of the professionals. Peter Hudson's comments about the hunting rule demonstrate this clearly. Excellent responses by Skip Ely and Jerry Kaye. We need to be vigilant and not let the sport change hands (and character) by default. The goals and objectives of the pros are different from the rest of us.

-- From Tom Burke -- Given that the Cup yachts are carefully constructed composites, vacuum-bagged and carefully baked at certain temperatures, etc, how effective and structurally sound are the repairs and proposed modifications, etc? Perhaps somebody can donate a "blurb" answer.

-- From John Roberson -- This is just a quick note regarding Pete Melvin's letter about Howard Hamlin and Mike Martin's win in the 505 Worlds. To my mind, this is one of the all time great achievements in the world of one design dinghy racing. It rates alongside winning the Star worlds. The 505 is the greatest one design dinghy of all time, and probably one of the hardest one design dinghy championships to win. Just take a look at the history on the class, and see how many of the "greats" from this class have gone on to be "greats" in our sport.

-- From Mark Mills -- My understanding is that Prada were using Tylaskas... and had been blowing them up all summer in training...

-- From Glenn McCarthy -- The new rules were to mirror the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREG). I find that not many in the sport have their own rulebook, much less have the COLREG's, but let me summarize the COLREG's: if you are nearing a boat, steer away from it regardless of right-of-way; and both boats have the responsibility to avoid collision.

Hunting is contrary to the COLREGs. This must be corrected not only for safety, as other Butthead's have noted, but for financial reasons too. Insurance companies are not going to spend thousands of dollars on attorneys for bumps and bruises to boats, most of the time the insurance companies will accept the findings of a Protest Committee. When damages get large, and it's beneficial for the insurance companies to put lawyers on the job, the lawyers will try to have the COLREGs take precedent over the RRS. "Cross liability" and "last chance" to avoid the collision will come into play, while the defendant is going to try to persuade the judge that RRS apply, since both were bound by contract (the RRS). Then the defendant is going to have to explain the nuances of our rules to the judge who is completely unfamiliar with them, and he is going to be much more comfortable on the COLREGs. How do you think it will work out? Clear this issue by eliminating hunting.

To order the "Navigation Rules International-Inland" (COLREG's) call the US DOT at (202)267-0352 or order on-line at

-- From Dave Bieling -- Regarding the AC shackle issue, syndicates have been supplied by several manufacturers. The hardware will open on occasion when not properly engaged in the setup for a maneuver or subject to inertial loading;(i.e flogging a sail) and VERY rarely will they catastrophically fail. Failure normally occurs with point loading or undersized for application.

. Another aspect of the issue is the age of the shackles and amount of previous usage.They need regular inspection and replacement of parts or the whole as needed. The campaigns involved may have gear dating back to 1990 ( italy- A3 two cups & Nippon-third campaign) or 1994 ( nyyc-2ndcup).I have had experience with two of the three camps involved.

On the whole they are well engineered and more than adequately do the job.As a bowman and a rigger I have always trusted them to perform within design parameters and will continue to do so.To be blunt it is always unfortunate when one is injured but I have been injured in similar instances and on the whole this is not a large issue.

-- From -- Mike Schoettle -- I really enjoyed reading Morgan Larson's reports on the 49er Trials and getting his point of view. His final message in which he wished Jonathan and Charlie McKee well and said that he plans to help them prepare for the Olympic Games brought tears to my eyes. It is hard for those not involved in an Olympic campaign to realize what a Hugh effort Morgan has made during the past twelve years and how close he came to being the United States representative at the Olympic Games this year. His attitude shows a maturity and strength of character that represents the spirit we want to see in our sport. Also, his attitude probably is shared by others in the 49er Class who participated in Olympic campaigns this quadrennium. The McKees were the first ones in the United States who sailed these boats at the elite level, and from the beginning, they showed the leadership to encourage others and to help them learn how to sail 49ers well. The Flying Dutchmen Class in prior quadrenniums had a similar collaborative spirit. This approach made the experience more fun for the competitors and raised the whole level of skill of the United States sailors in the class. Thanks Morgan for sharing your excitement and pain. Thanks Jonathan and Charlie for your leadership and good luck in Sidney.

Team Hall Spars/Hall Rigging with five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison and her all Rhode Island crew head off to Genoa, Italy on Friday to defend their title at the second annual ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship. Winners of the first women's gold medal in match racing last year in Dubai, UAE, Alison and her team have been busy preparing for what will be a hotly contested event.

Some of the best female match racers from around the globe will be competing, including #1 ranked Shirley Robertson of Great Britain, Paula Lewin from Bermuda, Silver Medalist Klaartje Zuiderbaan from Holland. This could be the prelude to a new Olympic event for 2004.

Team Hall includes Alison at the helm, Nancy Haberland as tactician and maintrimmer, Dini Hall trimming jib, and Kristan McClintock on the bow. The event will consist of a round robin elimination format, paring the group down in quarter finals, semi finals and finals.

The week long races will be held October 26-31 at the Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa, Italy. Teams will be competing in one design J-22's with crews of four women. The ISAF web site will provide daily updates.


In keelboat one-design racing you need boat speed -- not a soft rating -- to come away with some hardware at a major regatta. Do you suppose it's just a coincidence that at Coast Cadillac/North Sails Race Week the five trophy winners in the 16-boat Schock 35 class all used Ullman Sails? And that the boats that finished 1-3-4 in the 11-boat J/120 class also used Ullman Sails? Find out how affordable it is to improve your boat's performance at the Ullman Sails web site:

High pressure systems off the USA east coast have blocked the departure of the PlayStation maxi-cat on her TransAtlantic record attempt for the next 4-5 days at least. PlayStation - the worlds fastest sailing yacht - and her crew of 11 are now on 'code red' alert status (no likely good weather for the next 4-5 days) - awaiting the development of suitable weather patterns across the North Atlantic. Skipper Fossett explained

"Code Red means that favourable winds are not likely to be available for the next 4-5 days" The next level up will be Code Yellow - when the weather is likely to be favourable 4-6 days ahead." Code Green means we believe we are going within 48 hours and all team members should proceed to New York." Watch Captain Ben Wright clarified "We are standing by to stand by."

The TransAtlantic Crew: Steve Fossett (USA) Skipper Stan Honey (USA) Navigator Brian Thompson (GB) Watch Leader Ben Wright (AUS) Watch Leader Richard Branson (GB) Crew Mark Callahan (AUS) Crew Peter Hogg (NZ) Crew Pete Melvin (USA) Crew Gino Morrelli (USA) Crew Andrew Preece (GB) Crew David Scully (USA) Crew

Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!