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SCUTTLEBUTT #431 - November 2, 1999

(The following is but a brief excerpt of a story written by Tom Ehman for the December Issue of Sailing World. I've copied the first two paragraphs to whet your appetite. Trust me on this one. You'll want to read the rest of this story, and it's now posted on the Sailing World website.)

"Conceived at the beginning of the Industrial Age, the America's Cup has changed relatively little since. The world, however, has changed a great deal-especially since the onset of the Information Age and the global political economy. As currently set up, the Cup can't keep pace with these changes let alone take advantage of them. The prestige, popularity, and perhaps viability of the America's Cup are at stake. There are obstacles to change, including the Cup's Deed of Gift, but I believe they're surmountable and that, in short order, we could recreate the America's Cup as an annual event with regular teams competing for it. At the same time, all of what's best about the Cup can be preserved. Compare the America's Cup to the Volvo Ocean Race, which is doing well because it has a clear plan, a structure and chief executive independent of the teams, and strong individual-entrepreneurial teams with identifiable owner-leaders. Sure, there has been some celebrated swashbuckling, piratical appeal to the Cup, but it's more myth than reality. Today most concerned yearn for a clean, stable, dignified, exciting, and financially sound event, and teams.

"One aspect of the Cup that's well run is also the one area that's centralized and professionally managed-technical/measurement. Another's the media operations under Bruno Trouble and Louis Vuitton. Arguably umpiring is becoming another example. The relative success of CORC in 1992 and, especially, in 1995 is yet another. So there is precedent, experience, a model even, for a cooperative commercial approach. Together with the recent initiatives by, among others, the New York and St. Francis YCs, we're presented with a unique opportunity to take a new tack." -- Tom Ehman,

Sixty-seven J/24's competed once again for the coveted East Coast Championship in Annapolis, MD. Light air and unusually high temperatures caused conditions that threw even the best competitors off of their game. Only 4 of the 8 scheduled races were completed. However, the champion was clear. Mark Hillman of Annapolis won the regatta with a 30-point margin over the next boat. He never once scored out of the top ten.

The win was not only unusual for the lead he developed but also because Mark is truly a top level amateur winning an event almost exclusively dominated by professionals. The fleet was by no means an easy one including Geoff Moore (current J24 North American Champion), Mark Mendelblatt (#1 ranked Laser sailor for the US sailing team) driving for Max Skelley, John Torgeson (#2 ranked Laser sailor) calling tactics for Tony Parker and many other famed J24 sailors. -- Jeff Borland,

FINAL RESULTS: 1. Mark Hillman 13pts 2. Doug Clark 43pts 3. John Wilsey 49pts 4. Tim Healy 52pts 5. Will Crump 55pts

Not many people knew it, but Dave Ullman has been in Auckland, coaching and sailing with Dawn Riley's America True syndicate. And with Ullmans's help, America True did just fine in Round One of the Louis Vuitton Series. Dave is back in California now, and tonight he'll 'tell all' about what he saw and learned. This seminar will be at the Ullman Sails Newport Beach loft. The curmudgeon had dinner with Dave just before he left. Trust me -- you'll want to hear what he has to say. And you can. Just call (949) 675-6970 for the specifics.

Which skippers have won The Americas Cup three consecutive times?
A Dennis Conner
B Harold S Vanderbilt
C Bus Mosbacher Jr.
D Charles Barr
E Briggs S Cunningham

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. But you only get one letter per subject, so think it through carefully, and be ready to take some flack without whining.

-- From Jim Denman (In regards to Tom Burke's question about rebuilding AmericaOne) -- The structural soundness of the work depends more on the design of the repair or modification and the quality of the workmanship than the processing methods. A good lay-up of a well thought out patch will work fine.

The use of high temperature resins, vacuum bags, and autoclave pressures ensure optimal consolidation (low voids), and allow the use of relatively low resin content prepreg systems in original builds. Rework done with room or slightly elevated temperature resins in a "wet layup" of the reinforcing materials have higher resin and void content.

The use of heated vacuum bags for in-situ elevated temperature cures improves the material properties compared to a wet layup repair. The biggest difference is that the original hull will be stronger and stiffer on a pound for pound basis. And stronger and stiffer is the key characteristic for composite applications.

-- From Paul Miller -- Paul Henderson's comment about the "inmates running the asylum" and the need for an impartial Race Committee may be appropriate for top level competition, but perhaps the reason the syndicates wrote their own rules was because they were dissatisfied with previous committees not meeting the desires of the sailors. As a one-design and handicap sailor I can't tell you how many times I've seen a Race Committee make a decision that was overwhelmingly unpopular. In one dinghy World Championship I sailed in the RC signalled another race at 5 PM, even though we had already had three races totalling over 40 miles that day! Needless to say the competitors ignored the signal. Race Committees have to be sensitive to what the sailors want, while still being fair. If boilerplate rules don't apply, don't use them. After all, we are out there to have fun!

-- From Chris Ericksen -- In 'Butt #429, Larry Law asked where were the boats that "could sail in the vagaries of Newport, RI and San Diego as well as the bashing seas of the Indian Ocean off Austrailia?", and wondered if he was "missing something here"? The answer, of course, is yes, you are missing something here: the 12 Metre boats that sailed off Newport, RI, were quite different than those that sailed off Western Australia. While the boats sailed off Australia could sail off Newport, they would suffer against boats designed for Newport; similarly, the boats optimized for Newport would have had a deuce of a time off Australia just staying on one piece! The IACC rule allows boats to be optimized for expected conditions, just as did the 12 Metre rule when applied to the America's Cup, and that is what they've done--but maybe carried the minimalist approach too far in many ways.

-- From Steve Ross -- Remember, this is just the first round. Everybody is using new rigs on new boats, and there is going to be breakage. In both '92 and '95, many breakdowns occurred in the early rounds. In the later rounds, and in the Semifinals, and Finals, breakdowns decreased. In '95, the day that One Australia broke in half, and sunk, both Stars and Stripes and A3 started a race under jibs alone due to broken battens in their mains. I think we will see fewer breakdowns as the America's Cup progresses

-- Ray Pendleton (re Alan Johnson's remarks about racing in 18 knots) -- How about in 10-foot seas and 20-30-knot tradewinds offshore of Waikiki, like the Kenwood Cup racers deal with, if Abracadabra 2000 prevails?

-- From Seth A. Radow (re the 18-knot limit on racing during the Louis Vuitton Series) -- Each team is only allowed 60 sails for the entire event (supposedly in an attempt to control costs) including the Challenger Series and the A-Cup. Team NZ can bring 30 sails to the A-Cup. That being said, with the huge number of races in the Challenger Series, there is a good chance that the Challenger Teams will have very little left in terms of sailing inventory if heavy wind races were allowed. It is conceivable that a Challenger team would have to race the A-Cup with a well worn sail inventory with few if any new sails if Challenger Series racing occurred in heavier wind conditions.

The two boat syndicates have indicated the inventory limits as one their primary reasons for agreeing to the 18 knot limit. Each team apparently had their own reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to funding. It would be interesting how the Cup would change if spending limits were put on each syndicate. The best-funded teams are clearly leading thus far. If one could eliminate the unlimited funding issue the Cup might become more competitive.

Limit each team to US$10 million, US $15 million... pick a number (I have no idea how to monitor this). The event would be a heck of a lot more competitive I presume. You might also drag out a few more teams. I wonder how many teams were not funded nor fielded as a result of conscious decisions not to play the A-Cup Arms Race.

-- From Bob Fisher -- We all have our own memories of that Easter in 1974 when Sayula II, a Swan 65, sailed up the Solent at the end of the first Whitbread, her crew in some doubt as to whether the forestay with five or six of its 19 strands would stand the load of the mainsail, finally hoisting it for the last few miles, and Keith Lorence's letter in praise of Ray Conrady stimulated many.

Prime among them, I have to admit, was standing on the foredeck of Sayula II with Keith just after the boat had docked at HMS Vernon, the race headquarters. I asked him what he had missed most, and his reply was a surprising "fresk milk". It was the work of a minute to nip ashore and find a pint for him. Those days it came in glass bottles!

-- From Mark Rudiger -- Thanks to Mr.Lorence for finding the error in our press release, we had mis-information and appreciate the correction. Also, thanks for pointing out "Radar's" Bay Area roots-it's nice to know I am in good company.

21 super yachts are now berthed in the AMEX Cup Village. Pretty amazing when you consider New Zealand normally gets something like two visits a year from such craft. The largest so far in the marina is the 40-meter American yacht Philanderer that arrived on Friday. Jim Clark's Hyperion is due in two weeks time.

Since October 1st, the Amex Village has hosted 703,829 people. Last week approximately 160,000 people came through. -- Sue Foley

"There is quite a bit that has to be done before a private vessel or 'yachty' as the locals call them can get an appointment to travel the locks of the canal." Want to learn more? You can by reading the rest of Genee Meleski informative piece on the West Marine website. It's just a small morsel of the enormous amount of useful information on that site not to mention the 300,000 items of hardware and marine equipment available for purchase on-line. Bookmark the site now. You'll want to visit it often:

TIP O' THE WEEK -- Communications
So I Communicate Better So What!
1. Good communication is the key to great teamwork. Think ahead and let the crew know as soon as key tactical decisions are made in order to keep everyone on the same page.

2. Always try to have a plan for the next portion of the race. Plan your strategy for the run at the end of the beat.

3. Only talk if it contributes to better decisions or better speed; i.e. Aim to know your boat well enough so that speed is second nature. Now you can keep your head out of the boat and think ahead in order to maximize your position.

4. Set up channels of communication: e.g. helmsman receives information from trimmers, tactician and possibly someone up forward calling breeze and waves. Trimmer receives information from Helmsman, Tactician and Bowman. Bowman receives information from Tactician as to what move comes next. Information should always travel through channels so that when something is missed you have accountability for next time to get it right.

5. Before tacking, jibing or rounding a mark do a quick responsibility check so that all tasks are covered.

6. Keep your crew happy... a post race beer or T-shirt goes a long way. -- The coach at

Both Charles Barr and then Harold S Vanderbilt won the Americas Cup three consecutive times.

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?