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SCUTTLEBUTT #444 - November 18, 1999

* Another strange day. Today's racing started under heavy conditions, the wind blowing from the North at near 20 knots, the seas heavy with a two metre swell. What followed was a day of postponements, withdrawals, penalties and an outstanding display of aggressive match racing between Asura and America True. In other words, it was just another exciting day at the Louis Vuitton Cup.

AmericaOne (USA-49) forced James Spithill on Young Australia (AUS-31) to the right of the starboard tack lay line, above the committee boat to win the pre-start and cross the line 13 seconds ahead. The wind shifted right by quite a margin on the first beat. Paul Cayard on AmericaOne defended the right but the Australians did a good job hanging on. The delta was 33 seconds at the top mark. With the wind far right, the run became a reach to the bottom mark. Young Australia sailed past that mark with its spinnaker up and took some time to solve the problem. The delta grew to more than three minutes before Spithill was sailing upwind again. The next two runs AmericaOne sailed away to finish first.

Bertrand Pace sailing Le Defi (FRA-46) lost out before the gun in the battle for the left, but succeeded in accelerating away from the line faster than Francesco de Angelis at the helm of Luna Rossa (ITA-45). Both boats pounded into big seas as they fought for control. But the Frenchman's glory was short-lived. Less than two minutes after the start, de Angelis had poked his nose into clear air and forced Le Defi away. Five minutes into the match they came back on opposite tacks and the Italian on port was able to cross and tack clear ahead. On the next meeting, de Angelis crossed three boat lengths ahead, took control of the right-hand side of the course and sailed steadily away, gaining on every leg, especially the beats. Luna Rossa finished over a kilometre ahead of the French.

Rough water and strong winds saw aggression and violence in the pre-start box. Peter Gilmour sailing Asura (JPN-44), chased America True (USA-51) sailed by John Cutler through the full array of rules situations. Asura forced a penalty on America True, which led off the line with such a clear advantage the Umpires gave the Americans another penalty which had to be taken straight away. The two headed off the line separated by the distance of a penalty turn. Straight away Nippon showed to be the slower boat and America True pointed higher to benefit from the better position relative to a right hand shift. Nippon led around the first weather mark by 37 seconds. America True gained just five seconds on the first downwind leg and the distance at the top of the second beat was fairly similar. The second run saw both boats gybe early and America True set an asymmetric spinnaker and roar up to take another 14 seconds off the leader. The last weather leg sailed in lighter and lighter winds saw America True take off. Nippon failed to cover and America True, obviously faster, was allowed to sail away and pass its opponent three-quarters of the way up the leg and round with a 28 second lead. In just 10-12 knots of breeze the pair set symmetrical spinnakers. America True still had a penalty to do and with Gilmour sailing faster the chance for Cutler to sting one back on his opponent was soon presented. Half-way down the run a flurry of gybes brought the boats to within metres of each other, and normally this would have been enough. Both boats had manoeuvered themselves beyond the layline to the finish and so headsails were prepared. With poles forward and Gilmour to weather, America True dropped its kite and started a series of luffs. Gilmour, still with his spinnaker set, had to stay high and couldn't avoid the luff that finally caused a collision. The Umpires gave Asura a penalty and Cutler had equalised - the penalties cancelled each other out. America True, now ahead, re-set their spinnaker and sailed unobstructed to the finish

Ed Baird, skipper of Young America (USA-58) requested a delay to fix a problem that prevented the crew from using its mainsail. The request was granted, and then the delay was extended due to strong winds. When the Race Committee initiated a second start sequence, Ken Read, at the helm on Stars & Stripes (USA-55) asked for a short delay. Again, the wind was judged to be too strong and a delay was granted. When racing resumed a third time, Young America started its race against Stars & Stripes without a mainsail, the Young Americans crossing the start line flying a red protest flag off the stern. Ed Baird's crew tailed Stars & Stripes for one circuit of the course in hope of a major breakdown on Team Dennis Conner, before withdrawing from the race. Stars & Stripes sailed alone to collect four points.

The other race on the Pacific course featured Spain's Bravo Espana (ESP-47) sailing alone, after the Swiss be hAPpy (SUI-59) announced it would not sail again in Round Robin Two. Pedro Campos and his Spanish team started without a mainsail, and sailed the course alone to collect four points.

Louis Vuitton Cup website:

* After having found a crack in the aft keel of 'be hAPpy' yesterday, repairs are now under way. A long and detailed examination of the keel by our technicians and local composite experts confirmed that the damage was reparable in time for the start of Round Robin 3. Marc Pajot said: "Before coming to this conclusion, we had to consult the architects and engineers involved in the boat. The cost of the repair will be limited to the purchase of the necessary materials (carbon, resin, etc), the work will be undertaken by our own technicians. We will also begin a number of modifications already planned for the boat. 'be hAPpy' will be back on the water in a week." Fast 2000

* The New Yorkers, whose first boat snapped in half a week ago, pulled out of their race against Young Australia Wednesday when something cracked on their substitute yacht USA 58. Just what had broken remained a mystery last night - Young America were keeping tight-lipped about it. But a four-hour protest hearing revealed that the damage was serious enough that they would not have been able to fix it if they had been granted a 40-minute delay.

In an unprecedented decision late last night, Young America were told they would be given points for the race - even though they packed up and went home before entering the start-box.

The Americans hoisted their red protest flag as they lowered their mainsail yesterday. They had asked race officer Vince Cooke for a delay when they suffered damage, but he turned them down saying there was only five minutes to the startgun - a new rule agreed to by all of the challengers before this round. Young America argued they had made their plea before the time limit - and last night they were proved right.

The jury ruled that there would not be a resail of the race, because the Americans would not have been able to fix the break during the delay. So the Australians keep their points, and this morning Young America will be handed an unknown number as well. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,

1. Prada 18-1 42 points
2. America True 13-6 34
3. Stars & Stripes 12-7 32.5*
4. AmericaOne 13-5 28
5. Young America 12-7 25**
6. Nippon 10-8 21.5*
7. Spain 8-10 17
8. Le Defi BTT 5-14 14
9. Abracadabra 6-12 12
10. Young Australia 3-15 9
11. FAST 2000 2-17 8

* 1/2 point penalty imposed for contact
** Awarded 1 point for redress
Victories are worth one point each in Round One and four points in Round Two.

There is never a reason for a race organizers to lose money on regatta apparel. Period! In fact, Pacific Yacht Embroidery has a program to supply race organizers with quality regatta apparel at a guaranteed profit. Call Frank Whitton (619-226-8033) for details on how to offset regatta costs while supplying high quality, affordable apparel to the racers. No event is too small to qualify for this program.

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 Bruce Harris -- An elaboration of Chris Welsh's Formula 1 comparison: The early season twisting and breaking wings were met with an early season rule change. They added a new stiffness test, preventing wings from twisting at high speed. The analogous response in AC boats is adding a hull bending test between the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the LV Cup! Formula 1's attempts to improve safety by regulating aerodynamics and reducing tire grip have created discontent and poor public exposure far beyond the structural failures in OneAustralia and Young America. I think the current rule should stand and be observed for a while (2 Cups?). If we can avoid scantlings, we can avoid "bigger government", and remain with the "market control" approach in the current IAC Class rules.

-- From Alan Johnson (In response to Chris Welsh in 'Butt #442) -- Swing keels on AC boats would be interesting especially in a tacking duel. There would be an extra set of grinders for the keel hydraulics and the arms race of "my pump is faster than your pump". A crash tack at a port- starboard with the keel on the wrong side- blub, blub, blub. Are the cockpits on AC boats self-bailing?

-- From Alan Capellin -- The America's Cup has always been about politics and money. On a trip to Boston YC for an Olympic class regatta, I spent time reading through several books on the history of the Cup. I also read the Sailing World Extra. Do you drink Lipton tea? Sir Thomas Lipton made a buck or two off of the America's Cup as well as many other families in the North East and New England.

Most companies that can afford to spend the dollars would rather invest the money is something that is going to generate more dollars than the shell out, i.e. Gatorade, Nike, Reebok, etc. How much air time do you think AC commercials will get in three or six months from now. Lets get Corporate America involved in the sport at the grass roots level. That is where the majority of the sailors are and want to stay. GMC/ Yukon and other Corporate giants have helped attract new blood to our sport. This is where Corporate America involvement will do the best for our sport. Look at KWRW or SORC or NOOD now compared to a few years ago.

The America's Cup is not the only "real" sailing going on and should not be the reflection of "our" sport. It is only one small part that make the whole, and it is a very small part. Something has got to change before we loose more sailors to other sports.

-- From JC Moore -- All of the discussion about the costs and construction associated with the America's Cup took me to page 180 of The Centennial History of the United States Sailing Association -- "By the turn-of-the-century the Seawanhaka Rule had led to extreme yachts built with long overhangs, skimming dish hulls and lofty rigs that made them both unmanageable and unseaworthy as exemplified in the Herreshoff America's Cup defenders, Defender (1895) and Reliance (1903) which at 143 feet overall, 90 feet on the waterline and carrying 16,159 feet of measured sail area, were super scows and according to W.P.Stephens: ... open to all the objections of extreme costs, fragile construction, and limited utility ... " A century later, the discussion continues.

ADVERTISING CODE -- Paul Henderson, ISAF President
Ad Code: What hung it up was the allocation of who plasters what on the equipment. Endeavoring to rise above the crowd and look only through the eyes of ISAF the following is pertinent:

Overview: ISAF must only give the guidelines and not micro-manage the problem leaving most of the situation up to the relevant jurisdictions to solve their own concerns.

Proposal: (Most of this has already been approved.)
- Class decides "A" (No Advertising) or "C".
- Class decides the level of Cat "C". (Hulls only if they want.)
- Olympic Classes full Cat "C". (Allowed to proceed Jan. 1, 2000)
- Sails 100% in the domain of the INDIVIDUAL Sailor to assign at their discretion (Sailor assigns it to who pays the bills.
-MNA or personal sponsor- or to no one if they pay own.)
- First 25% of the boat reserved as a minimum for the Event sponsor. (If an event wants to put a pennant on the backstay then just put in the Notice of Race.)
- In any Event where the equipment is supplied the Event Organizer is assigned the sails as they have paid for them
- Windsurfing has a special designation already passed by ISAF Council.

Conclusion: ISAF only stipulates the above as anything outside of this is not the concern of ISAF. It is a negotiation between the Class, Sailor and Event to decide if they want to/how to use the mast, boom or rest of the hull. (If a Sailor wants to allocate more to their MNA their choice.) It is up to these jurisdictions to solve their own problems not expect ISAF to make specific Regulations beyond the basics listed above.

If you're not seeing enough action photos of the IACC boats racing in the Hauraki Gulf it's obvious you have not been visiting the Quokka website often enough. Their photographers have totally captured the action -- and the carnage -- with a plethora of super photos. Great stuff. And when you add in the thoughtful commentary, the daily audio recordings and unparalleled news coverage, this is one website you MUST visit every day.

Ed Baird, on the noises that caused Young America to pull out yesterday: "We were trying to enter the starting line and we heard a noise out of our gooseneck that didn't sound like you wanted to keep putting load on it. So, we unloaded it and tried to check it out, put load on it again and it made the same noise again. We said no, we can't do this or we might be breaking the mast or something, we don't know. So we stopped."

Ed Baird of Young America, on racing under jib only: "Today we had a problem with our mast track that holds the sail on the mast and we asked for a delay which was granted . . . it's basically the same problem that Paul Cayard's team had when they raced us in the last round. We just really couldn't put the main up and have it stay in the track."

Ken Read on winning in heavy air: "Out on the Hauraki Gulf, having a fast boat is not good enough -- you also need a strong, well prepared boat. If there's a better prepared, more durable boat sailing in the Louis Vuitton Cup series than Stars & Stripes, I sure don't know which one it is."

Bryan Willis, on possible tension with the Race Committee: "We have a good relationship with the Race Committee and we often exchange ideas to help the regatta run smoothly. But I would say this, that we wouldn't let embarrassing the Race Committee affect our decision. Our decisions are based on being equitable to the boats concerned and so we . . . if that means embarrassing the race committee a little bit, well I'm afraid that that does happen."

Bryan Willis, Chairman International Jury, on awarding redress points: "We have the difficult task of making a decision which we think is fair and we thought there was a percentage chance of her (Young America) competing and winning but it was less than 50/50. So, we gave her one point and left the other points as they were. . . . The extra point is really nothing to do with the race. It's to do with trying to put right an error that occurred before the race."

Peter Gilmour on the Jury decision to award redress: "It seems to be a very, very strange process that you don't have to actually even start or enter in the race and you're given a point equal to, say, the same number of points as some competitors won in the First Round Robin

John Cutler on damage to his boat in multiple crashes: "I actually haven't looked. I saw it when I got off the boat and our nice yellow paint job is not quite as nice as it used to be. I actually didn't go up there (the bow) and examine it. They had me bailing the boat out on the way in instead. That's what I was up to."

Peter Gilmour of Asura on damage to his boat in multiple crashes: "We have yet to check our mast but the masts clashed in the pre start and so there may possibly be some damage from that. We don't know. Certainly, from one of the luffs from John, we certainly suffered damage to our bow from that."

John Cutler of Asura, on getting penalised twice at the start: "I guess the umpires were pretty comfortable that we'd infringed on the first one. We don't necessarily agree. On the second incident I've got no complaints with that. We clearly tacked too close and actually lost our mast unit at that point."


Here's a great idea for some go-getter, eager to make a pile of dough. There's something that everyone who visits New Zealand needs, but is not available -- yet. It's a pair of cargo pants, but instead of having those cute little pockets on the side of the pant leg, substitute a 'holster' designed to fit a little folding umbrella.

Down here, even if the sun is shining brightly and there's not a cloud in the sky, you know it will probably be raining within the hour. And if you put an America's Cup logo on the pants, you could charge a ton and still sell all you could manufacture. Change the logo, and you could probably sell a bunch of them in Seattle too.

Just an idea.

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery and Today is a gift - which is why we call it 'The Present.'