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SCUTTLEBUTT #440 - November 12, 1999

Regarding the Farr 40 One Design acceptance as the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup small boat: The boat was submitted and accepted on the condition that ALL Class Rules are complied with for the event - including the owner amateur driver rule, limits on professionals and sail limitations - as per the owners' wishes. -- Renee Mehl, Farr 40 Class Secretary

* SYDNEY, Australia--It is only when all is said and done at the International Sailing Federation's Annual Conference that any conclusions can be drawn because when the final two days' Council Meeting is over before the word passes into law. There are trends, however, that seem unbuckable and perhaps the re-writing of Racing Rule 16, to prevent "hunting" by the right-of-way boat in fleet racing is one area where the change has been demanded by the Council. The Racing Rules Committee has accepted the demand, and change is certain.

The Events Committee endorsed the decision of the Women's Committee that the next Olympics should include a keelboat class for women and that it should be for a match-racing discipline. Contrarily, the same committee voted in favor of the three-man keelboat for men being a fleet event only. This goes in the face of the generally held opinion that the fleet/match option should be retained, especially from the strong lobby of the Soling class. -- Bob Fisher, Grand Prix Sailor,

* The advertising code put forward by ISAF in November last year has dominated the first day of discussions at the ISAF Council Meeting today. The issue of advertising on clothing was discussed in respect of the category of advertising. Council accepted that clothing advertising is unrestricted for category A advertising. Whilst they also noted that alcohol and tobacco advertising would be dependant on local laws.

In other discussions today, ISAF also approved the motion of granting associate membership to certain nations. "This is a transition stage for smaller, developing nations," said Mr Paul Henderson, President of ISAF. Under the associate membership code, the smaller developing nations will have the opportunity to receive all the ISAF mailings, publications and compete in ISAF Championships, whilst paying a reduced annual subscription. However, as an associate, they will not have the ability to make submissions to Council, vote on Council issues or vote at the General Assembly.

In discussing the budget, it was noted that priority and funding in the upcoming year would be given to the technical aspects of ISAF's operations. ISAF also noted today, that they will be following the IOC Medical Code, advising that testing of marijuana will only take place at the Olympic Games. "This is not a moral statement," said Henderson. "The only thing ISAF is saying is when we will be carrying out testing. We are waiting on further direction from the IOC on this issue."

Council will continue on Friday, and they are scheduled to hear numerous recommendations, including further discussions on the advertising code media rights, and the keelboat events for the 2004 Olympic Regatta. -- Megan Seton Media Officer, ISAF Conference,

The Council met Thursday, 11 November for 4 hours, discussing the potential changes to the Advertising Code, which is slated to replace Appendix G on 1 January 2000. There are some 50 submissions (proposed changes) on the code. Decisions were made on approximately 25.

There are fundamental differences in opinion and interests at play. The interested parties are (1) class associations, (2) individual sailors, (3) member national authorities, and (4) event organizers. At times these interests conflict. For example, several of the European MNAs have sponsors for their Olympic teams, who wish to display adverting on the team's sails. On the other hand, individual sailors may wish to display advertising from their own sponsors. The issue gets even more complicated when the interests of the class are considered - what happens when both the class and the MNA wish to display advertising on the sail? Finally, what about the event organizer which spends a great deal of money to host the event? What about the event organizer that simply wishes to prohibit advertising?

Appendix G currently grants the right to decide advertising to the event organizer. The Advertising Code is an attempt to shift most of that authority to the individual sailors. That's a good idea. But, finding the right balance between the interests of the individual sailors, classes, MNAs and event organizers has been tough. Despite these conflicting interests, and very different approaches from region to region, the debate has been civilized and interesting.

So far, the implementation date seems solid for 1 January 2000. There are a few other points that also appear solid. Council voted overwhelmingly to prohibit restrictions on advertising on clothing. US SAILING felt that event organizers and classes should be permitted to restrict such advertising. The Council voted to permit it under Category A. This category sets out minimal amounts of advertising which must always be permitted (maker's marks on sails, spars, etc) and can't be changed. The rationale for doing so is that restrictions on advertising are impossible to enforce (for example, how many kids would be penalized at Opti regattas for wearing regatta t-shirts?).

Council also voted to add a provision permitting juries to issue warnings for breaking the advertising code if it is felt that a DSQ is inappropriate. --

It's really not important if you like your America's Cup news in bite-sized capsules, or as a more thoughtful and detailed analysis -- the Quokka AC website has it all. Plus photos, audio and video reports. Plus team profiles, commentary and the racing schedule. Plus detailed results and standings. And the people who write the words and shoot the images are the best. And it's updated so frequently, that you always have the very latest scoop. If you're looking for more America's Cup insight, here's the hot link:

* "It's blowing oysters off rocks today." -- Eric Steinberg, America True

* Faced with gale force conditions on the Hauraki Gulf and following a three-hour weather postponement, the Race Committee for the Louis Vuitton Cup abandoned racing today. Race Director Vince Cooke ordered the AP over A signal pennants to be flown from Louis Vuitton Cup Race Headquarters at 11:00 am, signifying that today's matches will be sailed tomorrow, Saturday.

As rain squalls alternated with rainbows in Auckland, all boats remained on their hard stands in the downtown Viaduct Basin berthing area. This is the third day since racing started seven days ago that competition for the 11 challengers for the America's Cup has been knocked out by weather.

The delayed start to Day Five of racing was a welcome reprieve for the New York Yacht Club's Young America syndicate which is rushing its newest boat USA-58 into race readiness following the massive damage and near-sinking of its USA-53 on Tuesday. The replacement boat was not ready to race today and would have forfeited four points to the French challenger Le Defi if there had been racing.

The Japanese challenger Asura was ready to race today after a concentrated all-night effort by the Nippon Challenge to remove a broken mast and tangle of rigging resulting from a dismasting yesterday and replace the wreckage with a new mast and rig.

The deep low that is bringing Auckland strong North-West winds should pass Eastwards over central New Zealand this afternoon. This morning's official forecast for the Hauraki Gulf called for winds rising to 30 knots and gusting to 40 knots. The forecast calls for moderating breezes tomorrow but there is some doubt about whether racing will be possible. -- Louis Vuitton Cup website,

* Yachting New Zealand has received a warning letter from America's Cup organisers for signing a contract allowing the TAB to take bets on the regatta. The letter, from America's Cup 2000 and the America's Cup Challengers' Association, does not initiate legal action, but does shift the focus of the discussions from the TAB to the yachting organisation.

America's Cup 2000 spokesman Alan Sefton said the letter had been sent after the organisers took legal advice. "The letter reflected the advice we had received, and we are now awaiting a response from Yachting NZ before we determine what our next move, our next step, might be."

The TAB has been taking bets on the Louis Vuitton Cup challengers series since last Friday, after signing a contract with Yachting New Zealand. But Team New Zealand, the defending syndicate, are unhappy because one of their main sponsors is another New Zealand gambling heavyweight, the Lotteries Commission.

America's Cup 2000 and the Challengers' Association argue that commercial-scale betting on the regatta is contrary to its 150-year history and spirit. -- NZ Herald,

* America True's CEO and Captain Dawn Riley was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of the Women's Sports Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing sports opportunities for girls and women. Riley will serve a 3-year term on the board, beginning January 2000. She served as a WSF advisory board member in the past, and is now stepping up her involvement.

Trustee responsibilities include policy making and development and as well as helping to lead the Foundation in the accomplishment of its goals and objectives, including the expansion of grassroots through professional opportunities for girls and women in sports. The Foundation's champion athlete trustees, like Riley, play an additional role of publicly visible spokespersons advancing gender equity in sports.

The WSF pursues sports opportunities for girls and women through education, advocacy, recognition, and grants. Foundation members include anyone with an interest in women's sports. -- Grace Kim,

* The French probably write the most colorful America's Cup press releases of any of the syndicates. I just love the following release, which unfortunately arrived too late to include in yesterday's 'Butt:

"The weather cocks were spinning, disorientated tacticians, snapped masts, broken jockey poles. The wind didn't stop shifting in direction as well as intensity. Some huge squalls here and no wind there. 12 knots on the Pacific course and 26 knots on the course Atlantic only a few hundred meters away." -- le defi Bouygues Telecom T

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 Tucker Strasser -- After reading about the money spent on the cup It seem to me that none of the Big boat manufactures sponsor any of these teams even though they will benefit from the technology gained from the development no mater what type of boat they manafacture. I see car manufactures sponsoring the cup but I don't see boat manufactures sponsoring the Indy 500 . Am I missing something?

-- From Craig Leweck -- All the chatter about sailing getting on TV, most specifically the America's Cup, seems kind of unproductive as we are not talking to the right people.

Has anybody gone to a professional football game lately? If you have sat through a game, you would have noticed the mind-numbing number of delays, otherwise known as "TV Timeouts."

American football succeeds mostly due to the television revenue, but it seems that the television networks have used their position to create more time-outs for advertising opportunities. But do these same network executives also have a say in rules revisions?

If we want the America's Cup on television, and I think we do, we need to ask the people with the cameras how we can work together. The traditionalists will cringe at the changes needed, but for anyone who has watched an America's Cup race from start to finish, the racing is ONLY interesting for those on the boats.

As is, the America's Cup seems kind of stuck between the past and the future. Anybody game to move on?

-- From Mark Gaudio -- I was racing the Curmudgeon's old Cal 20 two Saturday's ago in the ocean, (outside my favorite venue) when we were asked to wear our PFD's, as code flag Y was flying. The conditions started out at about 3 knots and steadily built to a max of 8 knots by the end of the day. My point is clearly not to single out, or poke fun at the organizing body of the event, or the Race Committee (they did a magnificent job given the conditions). I'm guessing that for insurance purposes when racing in the ocean, no matter what the conditions, contestants must wear their PFD's.

I must admit it was quite amusing to see the manner in which some people were wearing these devices. Knowing that the conditions did not match the customary rule of thumb (whitecaps at least), people were taking the Y Flag very lightly, to say the least.

What really concerned us was that juniors helping set the marks were not wearing life jackets while on the bow of a Whaler with its engine in gear. These youngsters were in far more 'danger' than the participants, however the Y flag does not apply to them. Ie. whalers go 20 knots cal 20's go 4. Can we come up with a sliding scale between inside and outside courses, size of boats, and age that will help keep these instances from re-occuring? Can we fly the Y flag when conditions warrant, and not to appease some other governing body?

-- From Mark Michaelsen -- While the America's Cup teams are followed by chase boats just feet away to ensure the safety of their crew, retrieve overboard sails, and take notes, it is rare in the real world of fleet sailing to have this sort of support. I fully support the new rules requiring the wearing of lifejackets inshore and offshore.

I was there when Larry Klein went overboard at BIG BOAT in San Francisco Bay which was jammed with boats at the time and it took several minutes before anyone knew there was a problem and rendered assistance. By that time Mr. Klein had passed away leaving behind a wife and kids. He was a good man and there are too few of them...

I am fortunate enough to run a company that specializes in safety gear so I have had a chance to work with the leading manufacturers who have now developed a static (non inflating) USCG approved series of jackets that are VERY comfortable and can provide thermal insulation as well.

If you want to "beat the rule" you can wear the Stearns "Fanny Packs" but if you go over and you are unconscious you don't stand a chance. I have heard good and bad things about the SOS suspender system and have chosen not to chance it. If you are married with kids, as I am, I saw it as selfish and irresponsible to disregard my own safety and spent the time and money to find the best money could buy.

-- From Max Rosenberg -- Awesome---boats breaking up, masts falling down, sails blowing up!!! Lame---Its too windy (boo hoo) Hike! and quit wining. Scantlings? we dont need no stincking scantlings!

-- From Stacie Straw -- I'm forwarding a co-worker's reaction to the latest america's cup action - absurd, yes, but as you can see, it gets them interested:
- I love the daily carnage; this time the Japanese. I think this adds a new and exciting element to the America's Cup,
- at least from a non-sailor's perspective. I think they should add hazards to the course to up the ante. Mines??? Sharks???
- Large motor boats piloted by drunken captains in the course (I envision something like Rodeny Dangerfield from Caddyshack).
- These revisions would certainly make for better yachting. At a minimum, they could inaugurate a "Hardcore" Division where these kind of obstacles are added.

-- From Paul Miller -- Numerous people (including many engineers) have made opinions about what caused the failure of Young America, not to be out done, here are my two bits! Having participated on the structural design of four IACC yachts and numerous other yachts and ships, and evaluated a number of failures, it is important to note that it is a very complex and time-consuming process to design the structure of an IACC yacht "to the edge".

As with the majority of engineering failures the likely cause of this accident may be traced to either human or organizational error. This could be errors made in analysis (material properties, mathematical models, load determination, reliability analysis), construction (preparation, cure cycles, bond prep, fairing, etc.), or operation (gear use or operation not as "spec'd" to the designers).

Specific "finger pointing" is rarely useful and is unprofessional. Those involved with the design, construction and operation of Young America are all tops in their fields, have extensive training, years of experience and are known for quality work. On the other hand, so were those involved with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the Challenger, the Titanic and Sleipner A. Mistakes are inevitable.

As with those other accidents hopefully the Y.A. participants will be willing to share the lessons learned from this incident to further the safety in the design and operation of racing yachts. As Gary Mull once told me, "successful structures rarely determine who wins, but unsuccessful ones usually lose!"

LVC COMMENTARY -- -- John Bertrand
The big question here in Auckland is: Should these boats be falling apart? First, Young America creases then nearly sinks. Nippon loses its mast. What's going on?

This crop of IACC sloops are being pushed harder than ever before in the Hauraki Gulf. Twenty-two knots true. Dense wind. Lots of pressure. Severe chop created by wind against tide in shallow water. The design engineers working on the edge of strength vs. weight have to overcome the huge problem of impact loads. Just what safety factor do they design into this high-tech equipment?

Clearly, the industry standard between 1.3 and 1.5 will not suffice. The impact loads compared to flat water can increase 200 to 300 percent. They need to design equipment that's two or three times stronger than what suffices in flat water. A boat becomes semi-airborne when it hits consecutive waves, leaping out of the water 15 feet into the air. The helmsman throws it around, trying not to slam too hard. Sometimes he misses. Heady stuff!

Meanwhile, Team New Zealand is out there training by their lonesome, probably breaking equipment that nobody knows about because the daily press isn't covering them and they aren't saying.

Eventually, these boats have to get around in one piece, with a minimum of weight in the structure and adequate safety factors built into their equipment. This is a race not only in tactics and design, but a race in structural design: a race for structural design perfection. Too heavy and you're slow. Too light and you don't finish the race. Where's the balance?

The balance we'll know in December and January when the final contender wins the Louis Vuitton Cup series. What we are now witnessing on the racecourse is very close racing for the first time in the modern America's Cup era, and the potential for the challengers is enormous.

Within this intense competitive framework of racing, the New Zealand defence team knows the ante has been lifted. The defenders are under no illusions. They know this thing is going to be tough to successfully defend. -- John Bertrand, skipper of the ill-fated oneAustralia, which in 1995 became the first America's Cup boat to sink in the course of a race. He is co-founder of Quokka Sports.

For the full story,

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Thursday November 10th - Steve Fossett's PlayStation continues 'Code Red' for TransAtlantic departure. No likely departure over the next week. Maxi-cat team and 11-man crew still planning record attack later in November. Skipper Fossett of is still planning a November assault on the TransAtlantic sailing record (6 days, 13 hrs, 3 minutes, 32 secs) but he has advised that that a suitable 'weather window' is unlikely to open over the next week. Steve elaborated yesterday on the weather patterns facing the attempt on the 9-year old record:

"A classic 'European Block' (high pressure system) has set up - which prevents a decent finish to a TransAtlantic attempt. However, weather systems should blow through 'the Block' every couple of weeks. "I expect we'll get one chance before the end of November - and we'll take it - because December has additional problems of sea ice off Newfoundland and confused sea states mid-Atlantic. "But we do not think that the opportunity will be during this coming week." --

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked and dry cleaners depressed?