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SCUTTLEBUTT #434 - November 5, 1999

The reorganization of US SAILING's adult championships was a major initiative at the 1999 US SAILING Annual General Meeting (AGM), held October 28-31 in Baltimore (Md.). Some 250 volunteers from across the country met at the AGM over this four-day period to hammer out the next phase of policy and programs for American sailors and to recognize those who have had a significant impact on the sport.

In a final Board of Directors meeting on Sunday, October 31, a plan to restructure the US SAILING adult championships into a tiered system, with four premiere national championships followed by "Cups" and Open events, was passed by the Board. Although the vote to begin this reorganization went smoothly and swiftly on Sunday, the process of rethinking these championships and their place in the sailing world was year-long course of research, opinion gathering, and careful planning by Vice President Dave Rosekrans.

"We have taken a well-thought-out and mature step toward making these championships better for sailors, and for this organization," said President James P. Muldoon after this vote was finalized.

At the 1998 AGM, Muldoon asked Rosekrans to conduct a study of the US SAILING Championships. The sense that media, sponsors, and the general public were confused by having so many US SAILING championships prevailed, and there had been a drop in participation in some ladder events. But with great tradition attached to these events, any change necessitated thorough research and consideration.

Over the past year, Rosekrans conducted 75 interviews with world-class sailors, media members, industry figures, and championship participants and organizers. He also looked at the history of other sports and their tournaments, including golf and tennis.

The model for a reorganization was taken to different committees at this year's AGM for their input. The final design approved by the Board includes a premiere tier of four national championships. These include the U.S. Women's Sailing Championship (Adams Trophy), the U.S. Men's Sailing Championship (Mallory Cup), the U.S. Team Race Championship (Hinman Trophy), and the U.S. Match Racing Championship (Prince of Wales Bowl).

Included in the category of Cups are the U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championship (O'Day Trophy), Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, U.S. Championship of Champions (Jack Brown Trophy), U.S. Offshore Championship (Lloyd Phoenix Trophy), and the U.S. Independence Cup. The Open category includes the U.S. Women's Open Championship and the U.S. Multihull Sailing Championship (Alter Cup).

The new design of four national championships followed by a family of Cups and Open events, each with their own unique appeal, is created to reenergize these events by inspiring participants and host clubs and attracting media and sponsors, among other goals. The year 2000 will be a year of transition. The restructure of the adult championships does not affect the junior championships, which are being examined separately by the US SAILING Youth Working Party.

OFFSHORE DEVELOPMENTS -- The Offshore Committee brought two key motions before the Board on Sunday. In regard to the IMS rule, many boats in the 8.5 to 12 meter size range are being constructed and racing as one-design classes, when sufficient numbers are generated. While many of these yachts have workable interiors, many have less headroom than meets the requirement of Paragraph 303. An examination of current designs and a reformulation of the headroom equations to accommodate these yachts would make IMS more inclusive of the kinds of boats that would fall into the racing division. In the event that the ORC does not approve this US SAILING submission, the Offshore Committee asked, and the Board approved, to make this submission a U.S. prescription to the IMS rule 2000. It is expected that this move will impact IMS participation at events held in the U.S. this summer.

On Saturday, October 30, IMS Committee member Fred Pipin gave an update on IMS activity in the U.S., followed by a request for action on US SAILING's part. Pipin asked for a policy on which of the several competing rating rules the organization supports. The Offshore Committee examined the issue. On Sunday, they put a motion before the Board to define a policy on which systems US SAILING and its Offshore Office endorses and will support. The rules proposed are IMS, AMERICAP, PHRF, MORC, and Portsmouth Yardstick. This roster of rating systems was approved by the Board.

SUPPORTING MEDAL POTENTIAL IN SYDNEY -- In less than 12 months, sailors from around the world will meet in Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games. Bob Hobbs, chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee, gave the Board and volunteers an update on the U.S. Olympic effort. Several classes have completed their Trials, and a core of Olympic veterans (some of whom have medaled at past Games) will be heading to Sydney next year. But the U.S. effort, according to Hobbs, would benefit from additional resources to maximize the team's potential as they head into the final stretch on their road to Sydney. Hobbs requested, and the Board approved, an additional sum of $150,000 from the Olympic windfall fund created from the 1984 Games excess. The fund is restricted by US SAILING's Board of Directors to be used by the Olympic sailing program.
ISAF DELEGATION -- The ISAF Delegation finalized the policy direction they will bring to the 1999 ISAF World Conference in Sydney on behalf of U.S. sailors. During the AGM, U.S. delegates traveled to committee and council meetings for discussion on the issues. The 2004 Olympic Regatta was a key topic. The U.S. policy will be to support three keelboat classes for this regatta, and to support a women's match-racing event. Additionally, there will be continued support for adoption of an anti-hunting rule and support for the US SAILING advertising code submission. Key concepts of the U.S. advertising code policy include: recommending implementation on March 1, 2001; improving the balance between event organizers and classes; and limiting advertising on clothing at Category A events.

CHANGES FOR INDUSTRY ADVISORY BOARD -- Chip Johns of the Industry Advisory Board moved to introduce a bylaw change that would dissolve this group. The rationale is that there are many members of the marine industry already active on other US SAILING committees and councils. The Board approved this move, and the bylaw change will be reintroduced at the 2000 Spring Meeting. -- Ken Signorello,

When you buy on-line at most website, they instruct you how to add items to your bag. At the website for Camet International, you'd be well advised to make sure you buy the bag too. Their rugged, high tech sport travel bags are made of Mylar laminated sailcloth, the same material used for the America's Cup boats, are accented with a waterproof, 600 denier Vinyl/ Polyester laminate. Featuring a unique, modern take on the classic look, these bags have the strength of steel and the weight of a feather. For blue-water sailing, camping, and traveling, these bags are a must.

* The 11 America's Cup challenging teams racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup today announced the boats they will race in Round Robin Two which starts tomorrow. All, with the exception of Australia, will compete with the same boats they sailed in Round Robin One.

Young Australia 2000 chose to sail its newly-acquired oneAustralia (AUS-31), following a ruling by the America's Cup Arbitration Panel today that approved the Aussie's move to take over the charter of the boat from San Francisco's AmericaOne syndicate. The Panel's decision only covers Round Robin Two. -- Louis Vuitton Website,

* "The game is going up," said Francesco de Angelis, skipper of undefeated Prada. "All the teams will be stronger." The races will be longer and victories will be sweeter. Prada will carry over the 10 points it won in the first round, but that's pocket change compared to the four points each win is worth in the second round and the nine-point bonanza in the third round.

Unlike the doubled-up first-round format, there will be only one set of races each day, starting with a warning signal at noon. The races will be three times, instead of two, around the windward-leeward course for a total of 18.5 nautical miles.

With the stakes climbing, so will the level of intensity -- especially for the marginal teams that hope to stay alive into the next millennium. Six of the 11 will survive into the semifinals starting 2 January. Prada (10-0), the New York Yacht Club's Young America (8-2) and Paul Cayard's AmericaOne (8-2) are already on everyone's dance card. Next comes Captain Dawn Riley's America True (6-4), which so far is the best of the one-boat teams in the America's Cup's economic natural order. The yellow boat from San Francisco has been impressive with the wind filling its sails from behind. Between rounds America True modified its appendages, sails and mast in an attempt to improve its upwind speed. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports,

* After three years as a captain at the height of conflict in Vietnam, five years in the Pentagon, and a decade dealing with unruly high school kids, Vince Cooke reckons he can handle anything. Well, almost anything. He admits a bunch of rebellious America's Cup challengers stretched his tolerance in the first round of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Now on the eve of round two, race officer Cooke promises it will be a different regatta from here on. "We've left all the nonsense behind us," he said. "We're in for a very nice summer. I'm told the pohutukawas are starting to bloom early so we should have a dry season with plenty of breeze. "I don't mind the wind, as long as there isn't any rain. When I take my 'Grey Power' people out, I'd rather not have them get wet." 'Grey Power' are the 180 local volunteers who Cooke oversees, who run the challengers' regatta. Eight years ago, Cooke was one of them.

After 26 years in the United States Navy, the father-of-six fell for yachting - and the America's Cup. Cooke's love of the sea began when he joined the Navy straight out of college. He commanded ships in Vietnam and was chief engineer on an aircraft carrier "I was very fortunate to be in command of a ship in the last year of the Vietnam War. It was an opportunity to do in combat what we had trained to do all our lives.

"Sitting in Saigon with [the North Vietnamese] lobbing shells into the compound was no fun. Anything else is a piece of cake. "But running that first round robin was a bit harder than some of those jobs I had in the Navy. I guess you could describe it as 'engaging'."

Cooke came under a barrage of criticism for refusing to grant any more delays on a bizarre day's racing last week - his decisions later being overturned off the water by an international jury. But after that the challengers agreed to change the rule and stop postponements in the pre-starts, leaving Cooke a relieved man.

After his days at war, Cooke moved into the Pentagon, where he had "very significant" roles, among them controlling shipbuilding for the US Navy. When Cooke retired from his defence career he became a maths and physics teacher at a high school in San Diego. He signed on as a volunteer for the 1992 America's Cup, and got a watch for his efforts. In 1995 he was asked to be race operations manager for the challengers.

"I didn't make any enemies then, so they asked me to come to Auckland," he said. Cooke stresses that he is neutral, isn't affiliated with any yacht club and has no bias towards the American challengers. "But I have to say I wore red socks in '95 - I was one of Team New Zealand's most ardent fans. I bought the Marine Corp Exchange out of red socks," he said. "I don't care who wins this time - as long as the cup goes to the Northern Hemisphere." He and his wife Pat miss the new home they built in Alabama, on the Gulf of Mexico.

When asked, Cooke refuses to reveal his age. "Tell them I remember putting my little red wagon on the scrap heap as my effort in the Second World War." -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

* Chris Larson didn't get the call to join Abracadabra until September after on-and-off negotiations with Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes fell through. "I sent them an e-mail in September and got a response right back," said Larson. "A week and a half later I was getting plane tickets." He arrived with his wife, Victoria, on Sept. 30 and went sailing for the first time on the newer of two Abracadabras when it was finally ready for sea Oct. 3, just 15 days before the regatta began.

He had never sailed with Kolius before, but was acquainted with at least three shipmates, Greg Gendell, Per Andersson and Jonathan Swain, all fellow Annapolitans. "I had two weeks to figure out the America's Cup," said Larson, who was surprised by the amount of paperwork and politics that go into a campaign as competitors battle with organizers and rivals over the way racing will run.

When not in meetings, he's working to forge a working relationship with Kolius that banks on trust and mutual respect, not something you create overnight. "We've been three weeks together," he said last week during the first round of challenger trials. "I'm getting a sense of what he wants to know and what he wants to hear. I was glad to get a few races under our belt. In the heat of battle, things get tense, particularly on the starting line. We've come a long way."

Abracadabra won four of 10 outings in the first round to wind up eighth in the standings, while Hutchinson and the AmericaOne crew are tied for second in the 11-boat challenger field at 8-2. Abracadabra faces an uphill battle. The Hawaiian team had strong financial support in the early going from Jim Andrews, the wealthy orthopedist who treats U.S. sports superstars for knee, shoulder and elbow troubles, and the medical organization with which he is affiliated, HealthSouth. But funds grew scarcer as the Cup neared and it wasn't until September, when Amway founder Rich DeVos came in with an infusion of cash, that Abracadabra got a second wind. -- Angus Phillips, Washington Post,

* AmericaOne's Second International America's Cup Class Boat, USA 61, arrives in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday. The shrink wrapped boat will be flown into Auckland International Airport. This is the first time in America's Cup history that an International America's Cup Class (IACC) yacht has flown on a 747 air freighter. Transportation arrangements are being handled by Air New Zealand Cargo.

It was a unique project for Air New Zealand Cargo, as this is the first time it has carried such a large yacht. Weeks prior to the planned departure, templates were created by the AmericaOne boat building team to replicate the boat's dimensions and girth. The templates enabled the Los Angeles-based cargo team and the AmericaOne shore team to develop the loading and unloading techniques of the yacht. Both of AmericaOne's new IACC yachts, USA 49 and USA 61, were built in Costa Mesa, CA at Westerly Marine.

USA 61 arrived ahead of schedule and is the last IACC yacht to arrive for competition. It is anticipated that USA 61 will be ready to sail prior to Round Robin 3. -- Gina Von Esmarch,

Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks. But only one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if people disagrees.

-- Bruce Vandeventer -- From I can't believe that the "science" of accounting isn't sophisticated enough that we couldn't impose a limit on America's Cup campaign spending. In the U.S, we limit political campaign spending and people seem to think it works. Other pro sports have some mechanism for limiting the cost of team ownership, such as players' salary caps or revenue sharing. The real issue is whether this will move the competition in a desirable or undesirable direction. I'd like to hear what the sponsors and competitors think.

-- From Christian Fevrier Sailor, Yachting journalist and Photographer -- I totally agree with the John Roberson. The only reason I see to change what we have here, is a greed for big money. We have eleven challengers, the most beautiful arena for the races, a country who has invested a lot to welcome the challengers and create the first America's Cup village, and an enthusiastic nation behind all the sailors. The racing rules have been strenghtened after all the sad tricks offered to the international media by the San Diegans. So, why you would like to destroy all these efforts ? The Sailing World piece said it : "For a cooperative commercial approach". You cannot be more clear about your true motivation.

In an interview I did with Sir Peter Blake for the French newspaper Le Figaro, the Defender was more than clear in warning the people who wish to changes the rules totally: " If you are not satisfied with the America's Cup, you are free to create your own event. You can call it the San Francisco Cup, the San Diego Cup, etc.

So, the people who are keen to modify totally the America's Cup rules are entering in a big dangerous area. They should read carefully what they have signed. Any attempt to substitute new rules could conduct to an immediate disqualification of the challenger for THIS Cup. If somebody wishes to destroy the history of the America's Cup, we will bite them, believe me.

We have a saying in France : "A bon entendeur, salut !"

-- From James Nichols -- Dear Mr. Ehman - Why don't you try your idea first with the Olympics, which have a much greater following than the America's Cup? Try holding them every year, and let us know how it works out.

-- From Michael vanBeuren -- The media better keep the reports of all this Etchells sailing quiet or someone who doesn't understand how important it is to spend millions of dollars on sailing is going to ask that burning question, "Why don't they just sail those Etchell things in The America's Cup?" Of the active Etchells sailors in the Viaduct Basin right now, I am pretty sure that Coutts has bragging rights coming second at the '98 Worlds beating DC by a bunch. Kenny Read can certainly make an Etchells go as well.

I don't want to start any threads with this as I am perfectly comfortable with the budgets involved versus the technology gained by the sport but I know there are some out there who feel differently.

-- From Jeffrey Littell -- is there any way to obtain live coverage of the off days match racing taking place with the teams using the Etchells boats? Russ Silvestri's commentary makes this racing sound terrific. Hmmm, maybe an idea for a major league series in San Francisco Bay in front of St. Francis YC with spectators galore!

Curmudgeon's comment: As I'm sure Jeffrey knows, they tried that for a number of years, until they ran out of boats

-- From Dietner Loibner -- I vividly remember what an old salt told me about the essentials of winning: "Be ready. Show up. Finish." Following the LVC, I get the impression that it has become a lot more complicated. Maybe too complicated for the American public - minus the .05 percent of the demographic pie representing sailing geeks - to show mild interest. Or perhaps we just need to do a better job educating viewers, clickers and readers that "blowing dogs off the chain" is Challenger vernacular for the moment the windmeter hits 18.1 knots. Just don't tell anyone that a good kicker can make a 35-yarder into this breeze.

Instituting the 18-knot rule to "insure that the boat that won the Louis Vuitton Series would not be too heavily skewed towards heavy air and thus potentially less competitive during the America's Cup itself " is lame. The best win in all conditions and they rarely break down in critical moments because they COME PREPARED.

In many ways, RR1 was like an opera where the orchestra still tuned up during the opening aria. Picking the right boat, sails and gear is part of the game, but I'd prefer if it happened BEFORE the opening day parade, so there are races to watch when conditions get interesting. What a concept. Maybe it is naive fiction for the AC, but it sure would be a lot of fun.

Like wildflowers in the Spring, they just keep growing and growing and growing. J/Boats just sold yet another J/105 in Southern California (that makes 20) to compliment the 40+ 105s in Northern California. And there are now 33 J/120 in SoCal. Why are these boats so popular? If you really want to find out, just call Jeff Brown or Jeff Trask. They'll not only give you the scoop -- they'll take you for a sail. That sure seems like a win/win proposition to me. -- 619/224-6200 or 760/212-5141 (cell),

The 1999 Telstra 55th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has attracted entries from 11 overseas yachts, including the state of the art US maxi, Falcon 2000, the Volvo 60 Nokia from Denmark, and a yet to be launched grand prix IMS racer being built in Australia for a Hong Kong-based yachtsman.

Two other US entries are Alaska Eagle, a classic former Whitbread round the world 65-footer, now based in Seattle, and Pipe Dream IX, a J160 fast cruiser/racer from Bermuda. Other yachts are coming from New Zealand, Ireland, the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea to contest the 630 nautical mile ocean classic that starts from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, December 26.

In addition, the British registered, French owned superyacht Mari Cha II, crewed by America's Cup and Admiral's Cup yachtsmen, will sail to Hobart as a "demonstration entry" in a preview to the exciting SuperYacht Division planned for the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart. Falcon 2000, a Nelson/Marek 78, is expected to be a major line honours rival for Australian maxis Brindabella and Marchioness from Sydney and Wild Thing from Melbourne. However, while the CYCA has received a formal application to enter the yacht in the Sydney to Hobart, the name of the owner or charterer of the 23.91 metre LOA sloop is being kept confidential.

With applications to enter the 1999 Telstra Sydney to Hobart now closed, the CYCA has received 94 nominations, 21 fewer than last year, with Club officials pointing out the major attraction of being on Sydney Harbour with friends and families for the spectacular New Year's Eve Millenium festivities rather than a reaction to last year's tragic, stormswept race.

"They Sydney contingent is not as big as usual, with many regular competitors not entered, but we have strong nominations from other States," CYCA race director Phil Thompson said today. "The 55th race has attracted a high standard fleet, in overall quality it is the best in some years." -- Peter Campbell

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