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SCUTTLEBUTT #445 - November 19, 1999

The discomfort of Young America became more public and more acute today as its performance and its credibility were placed under equal and searching scrutiny. On a day of fair winds on the Hauraki Gulf, the New York Yacht Club team suffered its sixth loss from 10 races, plunging to sixth place on the challenger leaderboard. The syndicate's slide from prominence began when its first race boat, USA-53, collapsed 10 days ago, and has hastened since the advent of USA-58. Two withdrawals and two defeats have followed after the new boat won its first two races.

Young America negotiated the racecourse for the first time in three races today but sailed uncertainly to defeat by one minute, 46 seconds at the hands of AmericaOne. The former member of the challengers' Big Three is now hanging tenuously onto a place among the top six teams. Opening beneath its feet is the abyss of early elimination.

There was an ill wind waiting for Young America off the racecourse today as it received the summons of the international jury to a hearing that sought to penetrate the intrigue surrounding its withdrawal from a race with Young Australia on Wednesday.

In all, the week has delivered an accumulation of difficulties to the door of the New York syndicate. It has completed its part in Round 2 with four wins and six losses, half a point behind fifth-placed Nippon, 21 points from leader Prada and eight points ahead of seventh-placed Spain.

The race with AmericaOne today, which would normally have been awaited with keen interest as a revelation of challenger strengths, passed off without incident. The match imparted little information about either syndicate, though it suggested Young America sails its new boat gingerly even in today's wind range of eight to 11 knots.
There was merit in the performances of two one-boat, bottom five teams against one-boat, top-six opponents. Spain lost to America True by 57 seconds after pressing the second-placed San Franciscans for most of the race.

Bravo Espana won the start by a second and trailed by between 20 and 30 seconds over the first four legs before America True dragged itself to a one-minute, three-second lead at the last weather mark. In losing by 57 seconds, Spain continued to show itself competitive with stronger teams.

Young Australia emerged with credit from their match with third-placed Stars & Stripes, losing a classic confrontation of youth and experience by 23 seconds. Young Australia was forced to make a headsail change on the first leg as the wind, which was recorded at 17 knots at the start, fell to eight knots. They lowered one jib and quickly raised another as red as the soil of the Sunburned Country, but rounded the top mark 43 seconds behind. Apparently at home in light winds and flat seas, they closely pursued Stars & Stripes for the remainder of the race, taking 40 seconds out of the Americans' lead on the third windward leg.

Prada was made to seem more vulnerable by Abracadabra, which led by 30 seconds after a luffing duel at the first windward mark. Their lead evaporated on the first downwind leg and Prada eventually built a win by one minute, 10 seconds. The first beat and the top mark confrontation with Luna Rossa was still a boost to the spirits of the beleaguered Hawaiian team. "As we headed up the course the wind went left and we got involved in a little tacking match, trading sides back and forth," said helmsman Chris Larson, who made his third consecutive appearance behind the wheel.

"Once we got near the weather mark we were able to tack underneath them on starboard tack, luff to weather and fall back down, luff again and when we went head to wind the boats were so slow that Luna Rossa had to tack back to port. We were able to fall back on starboard and go around the weather mark with quite a nice lead and that was about our race."

Larson replaced skipper John Kolius behind the wheel on Tuesday. Kolius has assumed Larson's tactician role and is now responsible for assisting with the running backstays. "I've got to fire Chris Larson," Kolius joked two days ago. "He's doing a really good job, but I never realised how hard it is to grind up the runners on these boats." -- Steve McMorran, Quokka Sports,

1. Prada 19-1 46 points
2. America True 14-6 38 points
3. Stars & Stripes 13-7 36.5 points
4. AmericaOne 14-5 32 points
5. Nippon 11-8 25.5 points
6. Young America 12-8 25 points
7. Spain 8-11 17 points
8. Le Defi BTT 5-14 14 points
9. Abracadabra 6-13 12 points
10. Young Australia 3-16 9 points
11. FAST 2000 2-18 8 points

Victories are worth one point in Round One and four points in Round Two.


You have to feel sorry for the sailors of New Zealand. This is one of the few civilized places on the planet where people race sailboats competitively but they still don't have an Ullman sail loft. Racing sailor are accustomed to finding Ullman lofts everywhere they go. They're in Norway, Japan, Spain, the UK and Canada. There are two each in Australia and Mexico. Italy has three and there are 10 in the USA. That's 22 in all, and every one of them will give a quote on a new sail, and show you how affordable improved performance can be:

As Team New Zealand continues to search for more boatspeed, key members of its design team have been fully integrated into the sailing program in a move to have them experience and identify at first hand the slightest hint of improvement. This process has been in place both during the development of the new designs and continuing during the post-launch optimization of the two new black boats; NZL57 and NZL60.

Design team coordinator Tom Schnackenberg and structural engineer Mike Drummond both have navigator roles on board, while yacht designer Clay Oliver, who shares the principal hull design duties with Laurie Davidson, made a conscious decision when he joined Team New Zealand to build his sailing skills enough to make a useful contribution on a daily basis. " As a yacht designer, Oliver finds that hands-on experience invaluable, particularly among a group of sailors as experienced and skilled as the Team New Zealand line-up. "It is all part of the integration of this team," says Oliver. -- Bob Fisher, Grand Prix Sailor,

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 Rick Hatch (re Request for Re-Opening of the Young America Request for Redress) -- Why am I not surprised? Having heard far more requests for redress (usually arising as a result of mistakes by the RC or the organizing authority) than I care to remember, I vividly recall the judges' obligations imposed by RRS 64.2, which reads (with my own emphasis added): "When the protest committee decides that a boat is entitled to redress under Rule 62, it shall make AS FAIR AN ARRANGEMENT AS POSSIBLE for ALL boats affected, whether or not they asked for redress."

It's going to be quite interesting to learn of the International Jury's decision in the matter this time around. And, as many 'Buttheads probably already know, under RRS 70.4, "there shall be no appeal from the decisions of an international jury..."

Remember Paul Cayard's remarks to the press when AmericaOne was forced to drop out of a race earlier this month, due to gear failure of some kind? He wasn't complaining then (I think it was battens problem), but he's certainly entitled to complain this time! Fair dues to AmericaOne and Prada for trying the International Jury on for size on this one.

-- From Peter Huston -- There are two rules that should be changed before the start of Round Three.

1- A team should only get a certain number of "Time Outs" per round - maybe three. Then, teams will have to be very careful in the manner in which they spend a "Time Out" - just like in the NFL. This will serve as a more Darwinian selector - well prepared boats shouldn't be de facto penalized because someone else built a boat too far on the edge of reliability. Or better yet, just get rid of "Time Outs" all together.

2- Teams must compete, or at least start and sail at least 50% of the first leg, in all races. To drop out of the competition to make radical changes to the boat skews the overall results for everyone else who races in a complete series. There should be a penalty equal to the number of points available for a win in that race for a boat that doesn't show up at the starting line, and at least makes a serious attempt at racing.

Under the current system, were one of the top three or four teams to drop out of the Third round mid way through the series after they were mathmatically assured of entry into the semi's, this could have a dramatic impact on the outcome for the "bubble boat" - the team that will be the 6th place finisher at the end of the third round.

-- From Lawrence Harasym - I am in despite need of some guidance and clarification. Would someone be able to explain to me why Young America is receiving all of this special treatment?! First, their boat nearly splits in half. They are allowed to use their second boat for the remainder of Round Robin 2.

I ask you: if AmericaTrue or even Stars & Stripes were to have such catastrophic damage, would the entire Round Robin be halted to allow them to be repaired? I would think not. However, Young America and all of its money allows them the luxury of a two boat campaign. So instead of keeping their mouth shut for the reminder of this Round Robin (and the benefit to use their second boat), Young America now is constantly complaining about something. In fact, all of their complaining has gotten them an additional point!

I've got three words for Young America: deal with it. It is painfully obvious the Cup organizers have the six semi-finalists already selected because they are doing every possible to make sure Young America is one of them...

-- From . Chris Ericksen -- I'm afraid Alan Capellin has his history backwards when he says, "Do you drink Lipton tea? Sir Thomas Lipton made a buck or two off of the America's Cup."

Lipton's Tea made Sir Thomas rich before he became a yachtsman, not after; and he spent his money not only on the America's Cup but also in deeding dozens of Lipton Cups around the US and the world (there are two in Southern California alone). It is a truism of the America's Cup prior to the Eighties that the syndicates and individuals who raced for the Auld Mug--Lipton, T.O.M. Sopwith, Thomas W. Lawson, Harold S. Vanderbilt--spent the money they made before competing for the Cup. In those days it was a money-spending process, not a money-making process, for the competitors

-- From Helen Johnstone Falk -- I have competed in many different competitive sports, including other highly competitive sailing events, that also involve the mysterious notion of "RULES"; however, in most sports rules are made and are not made to be broken. Is the America's Cup experimenting with the new philosophy of "rules are made to be broken"? I understand the NEED to make exceptions where exceptions are needed (such as Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding), but I do not understand the incongruency of the decisions being made in the America's Cup in New Zealand. Are the rules being written before, during and after each America's Cup Race? Too many SHEEPS and not enough land.

Six months ago, The Sailing Foundation in Seattle, WA presented their research paper on the 1999 Harness and Tether Study. To get a copy at cost, you had to mail in $20 to find out if you had a Harness or Tether that passed or failed the 220# dummy dropped 6.5 feet test, as specified by ORC. 47% of the off-the-shelf tethers failed, while 8% of the off-the-shelf harnesses failed.

Thanks to US SAILING's new website, the entire report, including photo's is now available for FREE on the web. Look to see if it is time for you to replace your tether or harness. Go to, click on "Completed Studies" and you will find the report listed there. If you aren't a member and the information was valuable to you, why not sign up for a membership in US SAILING (on-line) as a thank you while you're there? -- Glenn T. McCarthy US SAILING Safety-at-Sea Committee Web Liaison

Noumea: Barbara Kendall is comfortably ahead and looking like shes in charge of the womens fleet after Day 4 of sailing in the 1999 Mistral World Championships. A 2nd in both of todays races safeguards Kendalls place at the top of the table, and putting an enviable 21 points between her and next closest rival, Australias Jessica Crisp.

Barbara is mistakeless says coach Grant Beck, shes doing everything right. All round, shes technically and tactically the best sailor on the course. She is undisputedly in command of this competition he says. Kendalls scorecard is a regular pattern of ones and twos, with only a 6th as a discard, making her position appear unassailable. -- Virginia Stracey-Clitherow, Yachting New Zealand

RESULTS Day 4: 1999 Mistral World Championships, Noumea
MENS GOLD FLEET, 8 races, 1 discard (48 entries)
1. Lars KLEPPICH (Australia): 2, 2, 14, 3, 3, 3, 6, 3 (22pts)
2. Tony PHILP (Fiji): 3, 1, 7, 4, 1, 7, 19, 8 (31pts)
3. Aaron McINTOSH (NZL): 1, 1, 3, 2, 22, 1, 34, 6 (36pts)

WOMENS FLEET, 6 races, 1 discard (57 entries)
1. Barbara KENDALL (NZL): 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 6, 2, 2 (12pts)
2. Jessica CHRISP (Australia): 9, 5, 9, 4, 3, 2, 22, 1 (33pts)
3. Natasha STURGES (Australia): 2,1, 4, 1, 2, 10, 43, 24, 7 (49pts)

For complete results:

Francesco de Angelis on which boat Prada will sail in the next Round Robin: "This has still to be decided. We will use the time the rules allow us before making that decision. We are happy with the races so far and especially this second round. All the teams had to sail in clean strong winds so I think it was a good period for the crew to learn the boat."

Chris Larson on the Abracadabra timetable: "Obviously our programme is a little late getting down here and being able to sail two boats on the water. As we're going along, we're having more time with our boat and we're starting to figure it out a little bit more.

Louis Vuitton Cup website:

Bob Billingham, AmericaOne COO on testing their new boat (USA 61):"Once in the water, she was put through a series of carefully administered dock tests. This involves stationing the boat builders throughout the boat at all the major structures (mast step, keel box, runners bulkhead, forestay bulkhead) and slowly loading up the runners. Both of the running backstays are wound-up one revolution at a time. After each turn of the winch handle, everyone stops and listens for sounds - sounds we do not want to hear. This is truly a case of silence being golden. They slowly load the boat up until there is 22,000 lbs of pressure on the runners. As they load it up, they watch for movement in string lines and level beams set up and calibrated at certain stations in the boat. The hull bends and moves under the huge load, but only a few millimeters. All quiet on the loaded-up 61 led to satisfied smiles on Ted Brown and Mike Eldred's faces. These guys spent the busiest 19 weeks of their lives building 61." -

If selection is important to you, you really are going to have a ball browsing the pages of the new West Marine website. They've got it all -- more than 30,000 items from which to choose. It's like having a bookcase full of the catalogs of all of the major marine industry suppliers -- and it's right at your fingertips:

Here's the wording of the new Rule 16.2, devised at the ISAF meeting to appease all those poor sailors out there that have felt hunted while fleet racing:

"16.2 In addition, when after the starting signal a port-tack boat is keeping clear of a starboard-tack boat, the starboard-tack boat shall not change course if as a result the port-tack boat would immediately need to change course to keep clear."

And for those rule-smiths out there interested in the subtle problems contained RRS 18 (mostly in match racing with starboard roundings), 18.2 (b) has been changed to read as follows:

"18.2 Giving Room; Keeping Clear (b) If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the two-length zone, the boat then clear astern shall thereafter keep clear. Rules 10, 11 and 18.2(a) do not apply, and rule 16 applies only if the right-of-way boat changes course away from the mark or obstruction. If the right-of-way boat passes head to wind, rule 13 applies and this rule no longer does."

Both will go into effect on 1 January 2000, and be posted soon on the ISAF site. -- Dobbs Davis

It's VCR time again. At 1:00 AM Monday morning (Sunday night) Gary Jobson will have a Louis Vuitton Cup show on The Duece -- ESPN2 -- featuring the highlights of Round Robin Two.

At press time there was still no word of the jury's decisions on the two important matter they are considering tonight - the reopening of the Young America redress decision, and a protest by Nippon concerning yesterday's five-penalty race with America True.

I'm going to bed, but for those of you who need to know, the editorial team at Quokka Sports plan to stay up and post a story on their website as soon as they get the decisions. And for those of you with more patience, I'll copy and paste the Quokka report as a 'Butt Extra early tomorrow morning. Good night.

Some days you're the dog -- some days you're the hydrant.