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SCUTTLEBUTT #435 - November 8, 1999

* It was a big day on the racecourse today with two upsets and more gear failure. The Swiss FAST 2000 team earned its first win of the Louis Vuitton Cup and America True won the battle of the San Francisco rivals. This was a blow for AmericaOne as Paul Cayard was over the start line early and America True held the lead from start to finish.

Japan's Asura got off to a flying start doing an early hook on Prada and winning the start. Asura was still in the lead when the clew of its mainsail broke. Gilmour had to retire, surely frustrated at coming so close to being the first to beat Italy's Luna Rossa.

Racing started under overcast skies with light drizzle and 12 to 15 knots of wind. But soon the sky cleared and the wind built. By the end of the racing the wind had increased to 22 knots from the North. The Race Committee will work hard to get racing in on Tuesday as forecasters predict some nasty weather due later this week.

With a flurry of activity in the pre-start, the initiative switched from Luna Rossa (ITA-45) to Asura (JPN-44) with just a minute to go. Gilmour won a great start and headed out to the left of the course. Luna Rossa crossed the start line 15 seconds later and tacked away to the right to gain separation and try to sail past. But the left hand side of the course was obviously the place to be. Gilmour built his lead by staying on the left of the pair. He rounded the first mark with a 20 second lead. Luna Rossa lost more time with a poor spinnaker hoist. Gilmour stayed in control on the run to lead by 23 seconds at the leeward mark. But then disaster struck. Half way up the second windward leg the titanium clew ring on Nippon's mainsail broke and the Japanese syndicate was forced to retire. This allowed Luna Rossa to continue around the course and collect four more points.

be hAPpy (SUI-59) engaged in a pre start battle with Abracadabra (USA-54). The Swiss forced Kolius to tack away at the start line and continued with speed over the line, winning the start with three seconds. On the first beat be hAPpy could nearly cross ahead but tacked to leeward. A left-hand shift gave the Swiss just what they needed. When the boats met again Pajot and Schumann could cross in front of Abracadabra to take the right side approaching the first mark. The Swiss rounded the top mark 19 seconds ahead. After a very slow tack set on be hAPpy, Kolius caught up. But downwind the Swiss could sail deeper and kept the lead. It was a close race. At the bottom mark the delta was 16 seconds, at the second weather mark the lead was only 14 seconds. Downwind Kolius forced Schumann to gybe often but lost three seconds in the process. The Swiss started the third beat with a two boatlength lead. The wind increased to 18 knots when disaster struck for Abracadabra. The mainsail ripped from leech to luff just underneath the top batten. Kolius continued with a headsail only. But on the last run Abracadabra retired.

John Cutler and Paul Cayard battled hard for the dominant position at the start. Cutler, in control towards the end of the pre-start, lured AmericaOne into starting early. By the time AmericaOne had re-crossed correctly, it was 38 seconds behind. The first beat saw 11 tacks as Cayard and Kostecki tried to re-position themselves relative to the windshifts and America True. But their efforts were in vain. John Cutler and his team stayed calm and in control of the race and rounded the first mark with a lead of almost one minute. The first run saw America True pull 20 seconds out from the St Francis Yacht Club's challenger. The race continued in much the same vein with America True gaining all the time in the building breeze to finish the course with a significant lead.

After an even start Young America (USA-53) skippered by Ed Baird defeated Bravo Espana (ESP- 47) sailed by Pedro Campos. The pre-start was lively with Baird quickly going on the attack, chasing Campos away from the line in a series of circles before they both headed back. Campos went for the left side of the course, successfully protecting the pin end. Both boats hit the line at the gun but Baird was pointing higher and accelerating faster. Boat speeds were similar with a slight height advantage to Baird who edged away on every leg except the first run.

Le Defi (FRA-46) avenged a loss in the Rugby World Cup with a win over Young Australia (AUS-31). French skipper Bertrand Pace showed good form in the pre start forcing his Australian counterpart James Spithill to tack away from a trailing, leeward position to the committee boat end of the line. Le Defi crossed the line first, tacked and consolidated its lead with a quick covering tack after the start. Pace pushed Spithill towards the left layline and led by 32 seconds at the windward mark. France was never threatened the rest of the way. -- Louis Vuitton Cup,

* Two minutes before the midday deadline Friday, the Young Australians entered their "new-old" America's Cup boat into the fray. The Australians got the go-ahead from the Cup powers-that-be just before time ran out for the challengers to nominate which boat they will sail in the second round-robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup, starting today.

So while the rest of the fleet return to the racecourse Saturday, the Australians, who have a fortuitous bye, will take possession of AUS31, the 1995 OneAustralia, towing it across the Viaduct Basin from AmericaOne to their floating crane.

"I was happy to give it to the kids," Cayard said. "A lot of my guys worked hard on it to get it ready for them. "It doesn't help us win the America's Cup. But I think it helps the cup - it will make the competition better."

For Young Australia skipper James Spithill it was a six-month dream come true. "Since day one of this campaign I've been hassling everyone to try to get OneAustralia," he said. "Finally it's come off. The guys would have been so disappointed if it hadn't."

So AUS29, the boat which finished last in the 1995 challenger series, finally gets to retire from Cup racing. The boys reckon OneAustralia could bring them a few wins in round two, after they scored just one in the opening stanza. "Around the racetrack, we'll pick up speed in a whole lot of little areas, which should add up to a big margin at the finishline," Spithill said.

"The boys won't be able to sleep just waiting to race this boat." But the other boats haven't been sitting idle in the last nine days. All but one, the radical Swiss Be Happy, have been altered and had to be remeasured before today's start. Where the French openly showed off how they have changed their boat, the big guns like Prada, Young America and AmericaOne would not reveal a stitch about their modifications. -- Suzanne McFadden,

* Japanese sailor Toshiki Shibata is still struggling to stay on his feet after being knocked out cold on the bow of an America's Cup boat three weeks ago. It could be a while yet before Shibata is back sailing on board Asura in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series, after he was whacked in the face by the spinnaker pole during the opening round of racing.

The Nippon crew had hoped the three-cup veteran would be fit to rejoin them in the second round, which started at the weekend. But skipper Peter Gilmour said Shibata was not yet strong enough to return to the boat following his ordeal - where he was knocked unconscious, broke his jaw, his nose and lost two front teeth. "Shibata-san is still quite weak. He has tried to do a little exercise - a bit of light walking. But he gets quite light-headed after 10 minutes and has to sit down," Gilmour said. "He has been through a reasonably traumatic accident. So he just has to take it easy before he can sail again. At least he has two new front teeth now."

Thirty-four-year-old Shibata, one of the original members of the Nippon Challenge from 1992, will not be sent home early to Japan. He still manages to do some work at the cup village base while the boats are out on the water, as part of Nippon's mast building team. Nippon spokeswoman Emili Miura said Shibata had been overwhelmed by the support he had received from the other cup syndicates. -- Suzanne McFadden,

1. Prada 12 -0 18
2. Young America 10-2 16
3. AmericaOne 9-3 12
4. America True 7-5 10
5. Nippon 7-5 9.5*
6. Stars & Stripes 6-5 8.5*
7. Le Defi BTT 3-9 6
8. Spain 5-7 5
9. FAST 2000 1-11 4
10. Abracadabra 4-8 4
11. Young Australia 1-10 1

* 1/2 point penalty imposed for contact

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Reversing the previous decision to greenlight a midweek departure from New York, a disappointed PlayStation Skipper Steve Fossett communicated with crew and associates: "The weather pattern we had planned on for a departure has changed radically. The Low Pressure center is tracking to the west of NYC instead of the east, depriving us of the strong northwesterly winds we needed. Instead we would be sailing downwind to Cape Race, Newfoundland then continuing to struggle with downwind angles the rest of the way across the Atlantic. Too slow. There is not another candidate weather pattern within the forecastable range of the next week.


How many times did Sir Thomas Lipton challenge for the Americas Cup?
A Three
B Four
C Five
D Six

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 disagree.

-- From Watt Duffy -- Simple...Should the Cup be held with an expense cap like all American sports are? Then the money for marketing could go to more campaigns, more boats, spread over more countries, over more sailors. A number like 10 million US dollars per year, with a bonus for sailors acceptable? It might be that the Syndicates are making money but what about the "hired help" the sailors?

-- From William F. Cook -- Regarding the debate over Tom Ehman's proposal, I have a couple of points to make. The science of accounting is not *nearly* sophisticated enough to impose a hard limit on spending in the America's Cup. If you want example of how well this would work, look at campaign finance reform in American Politics. If you want to make the America's Cup a better event, with greater parity among the competitors, it needs to be managed in a better way.

Tom Ehman has made one very constructive proposal, some of which I agree with and some of which I don't, and I'm sure there will be more debate on the subject. As someone who is in Auckland working on the America's Cup, I would very much like to see some of the "big money" everyone here keeps talking about, but so far I've only witnessed average people making a pretty average living working 70+ hours a week. Most of us have sacrificed better financial opportunities to do what we love.

-- From Walter Siegenthaler, Mannedorf, Switzerland-- While this event is filling hundreds and hundreds of web pages the sailing itself, from a spectators view, is just about the poorest I have experienced during 60 years of racing in "normal" competitions. Already half a century ago Dr. Manfred Curry has told us how to defend a leading position. The only reliable weapons to do this are the disturbances of wind and water I am creating with my own boat. To use these weapons properly I have to stick to my opponent, keep him under my sails and do it consequently. So all this racing, supported by millions of $$$ boils down to a forseeable tacking and covering, with the leader usually drawing away and winning without further problems. What we are looking at now is a formula one grand prix where the driver ahead is allowed to stop the opponent by blocking his way, and where only two starters are on the course.

Look at the first series in round two: On the first leg Young America passes AmTrue, TDC passes LeDefi and AmOne passes Spain. That's it. No other changes of places.

There was an interesting publication how to improve the "America Cup". Unfortunately it just boils down to changing administrative procedures while I couldn't make out an improvement for the spectator's benefit. If you ask me what I really have in mind? Just introduce a third boat (triple racing) and you will change the world.

-- From Don McDougall -- With so many US campaigns, have we diluted our talent and resources? We all keep reading of campaigns soliciting the same sailors, and not sharing design information. Or has the national flavor of the Cup changed, and is it now corporate dollars and regional economic factors that drive the event rather then sportsmanship?

Racing in Round Robin Two of the Louis Vuitton Cup is underway. A typical Louis Vuitton Cup race day in Auckland begins long before the boats leave the Viaduct Basin and head for the courses out on the Hauraki Gulf. This is how a typical race day evolves, from the 0530 weather alert through the start sequence and round procedure.

0530: Louis Vuitton Cup Regatta Operations director Vince Cooke and his team begin checking weather forecasts and weather reporting buoys, and consult with several meteorologists, to determine where and whether racing can be run on that day.

0700: Cooke places a message on a telephone voice mail system advising Race Committee volunteers whether to report, or not.

0800: Cooke confers with the Defender regarding choices of racing areas.

0815: By e-mail Cooke informs the challenger syndicates of the order of the day. If the weather is inclement, he can postpone the racing and keep the teams ashore. It takes roughly three hours for a race boat to leave the dock, get to the race area and prepare for the start.

In his e-mail, Cooke has identified the start areas for the two courses, Atlantic and Pacific, from the three race circles available (red, green, and blue), and the eight circumference points on each circle. (For example, Cooke's call will be "Atlantic course will start at blue three").

The courses are located some 15 miles Northeast of Auckland, between Rangitoto Island and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Cooke can choose the two courses he wants, leaving the defender, Team New Zealand, with one course to practice on. Every other day the home team has the right to select its own course for training, Cooke then has to use the other two.

0900: The challenger syndicates leave their bases and start to tow out to the Hauraki Gulf Race courses.

0930: The Race Committee is underway from Bucklands Beach Yacht Club for an 1100 hours rendezvous on the race courses.

The criteria for starting is that the wind is not stronger than 18 knots (measured at 10 metres above the sea level) before the start for five uninterrupted minutes. The criteria for continuing a race is that the wind is not stronger than 23 knots (measured at 10 metres above sea level) for five uninterrupted minutes on the first weather leg. There also exist several time limits on the course. The first boat must round the first mark no more than 50 minutes after the start and must cross the finish line within three hours of the start. If these criteria are not attained, then the race is abandoned and re-sailed.

Each line of the day's pairings lists the side of the start line a boat enters from. The first entry comes from the left (blue flag) and the second entry is from the right (yellow flag). The first three pairs for each race will sail on the Atlantic course and the last two pairs will sail on the Pacific Course.

As there are 11 syndicates, one team does not race each day. These teams are said to have a bye. If the weather cooperates, it will take 11 days to complete Round Robin Two. If races are postponed, there are ten reserve days before the start of Round Robin Three, which begins on 2 December. -- Louis Vuitton Cup website,

If you love getting the inside scoop on what's happening in Auckland, but hate cruising all over the web for America's Cup news, stop what your doing and bookmark the Quokka America's Cup website. They've got the best writers -- lots of them -- and are highly motivated to be the only site you ever need for ALL of the America's Cup news. There is also an incredible collection of great images, the complete schedule, rules and so much more. Even the SIs are published there: Check it out now:

Sebastien Magnen made Mini-Transat history when he limped across the line dismasted on Saturday at 1746hrs (French time) in Basse Terre, Guadeloupe to achieve his double victory of this race in its 12th Edition. The top 5 rankings have been released and the news today is that two international's have finished in the top 5 of this heavily French-dominated event. After Magnen, Pierre-Yves Moreau lies 2nd in 'Sablieres Palvadeau', followed by New Zealand's Chris Sayer in 'NavMan'in 3rd, Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) in 4th and Brit Alex Bennett in 'English Braids' (Mark Turner's old Mini) coming in 5th.

Strangely, all top three overall skippers, Seb Magnen, Pierre-Yves Moreau & Chris Sayer, as well as Lionel Lemonchois, who arrived in 6th today, suffered a dismasting in this second leg - they had all been caught in typically violent rain storms, from which there is little escape but a lot of potential damage for a Mini. Pierre-Yves Moreau explained: "You are already pushing the boat as hard as it can go, and then you spill when it gets to the limit, and it lasts just a few seconds." Sebastien Magnen adds: "I go for cover, free everything off, I cannot hold the helm, I am on a huge surf and in less than a minute everything on the boat is broken!" Only Peter Heppel (Reality), Jean-Michel Roux (Reglisse of Sebago) & Alex Bennett (English Braids) have arrived intact so far. -- Mark Turner and Mary Amber

Overall Ranking (before jury) in Accumulated Time 1- Sebastien Magnen (Voile Magazine Jeanneau) 24j 15h 11' 16" 2- Pierre-Yves Moreau (Sablieres Palvadeau) 25j 1h 22' 1" 3- Chris Sayer (Navman) 25j 15h 6' 13" 4- Erwan Tabarly (Armor-Lux) 25j 21h 39' 42" 5- Alex Bennett (English Braids) 26j13h 39' 25"

Arrival Leg 2 - French Time 1- Erwan Tabarly (Armor-Lux) 6/11 02h08' 02" 15 j 6 h 52' 02" 7.52 knots 2- Peter Heppel (Reality) 6/11 17h25'04" 15 j 22 h 9' et 4" 7,22 knots 3- Sebastien Magnen (Voile Magazine Jeanneau) 6/11 17h 46' 46" 15 j 22 h 30' 46" 7,22 knots (dismasted) 4- Pierre-Yves Moreau (Sablieres Palvadeau) 6/11 17h 57' 29" 15 j 22 h 41' 29" 7,21 knots (dismasted) 5- Jean-Michel Roux (Reglisse of Sebago) 6/11 21h 07' 22" 16 j 01 h 52' 22" 7.15 knots

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Sir Thomas Lipton made five efforts to win The Americas Cup.

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