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SCUTTLEBUTT #468 - December 27, 1999

Young America USA 53 sailed again today for the first time since the near-sinking of the America's Cup racing boat on November 9. The safe return of USA 53 to the Hauraki Gulf marks the end of a dramatic chapter in the New York Yacht Club/Young America Challenge. Thanks to a monumental effort from both team sponsors such as Brown & Sharpe, whose accurate measurement equipment allowed the boat to be rebuilt precisely to its original configuration, and the support of Goetz Custom Boats in Bristol, RI, the boat is race-ready once again.

The team took Young America USA 53 through a shakedown sail today in a light 6-10 knot breeze. "This was a terrific boat, and it is again," said skipper Ed Baird after sailing USA 53 today. "I'm sorry 53 won't see any racing action because it has a wonderful feel and presence on the water. Thanks to all who worked so hard to get her sailing again."

The rebuilding of USA 53 started immediately after the accident. The boat was moved to Salthouse Marine Group in Henderson, New Zealand, about 15 miles west of Auckland. In addition to Salthouse, many other members of the New Zealand sailing community stepped forward to assist in the repair including Adhesive Technologies, High Modulus, and Marten Marine.

Young America's boatbuilder, Eric Goetz of Goetz Custom Sailboats in Bristol, Rhode Island, arrived in New Zealand within 48 hours of the accident. Goetz brought a team of his boatbuilders from Rhode Island to repair the seriously damaged boat. Goetz also had a team working around the clock in Rhode Island building the necessary new parts for USA 53.

Young America principal designer, Farr Yacht Design Ltd., oversaw the design and engineering of the repair. Russell Bowler of Farr Yacht Design was on-site to engineer the design of the repair. Dirk Kramers of DKI of Tiverton, RI, assisted in the structural engineering. Peter Wilson of Marine Construction Management of Newport, RI, coordinated the repair project.

The rebuild took approximately 4,500 man hours to complete. This included the work done at Goetz in Bristol, RI. In addition to Young America's design/technology partners involved in the rebuild, many of the Young America shore team in New Zealand contributed many hours to the project.

Today's guest rider on USA 53 was Young America shore team member Sean Kelly, a native of Port Ohope, New Zealand. Kelly, who is the engineer on board Young America's science vessel Weetamoe, played an instrumental role in saving the boat on November 9. Kelly used some of his "Kiwi ingenuity" and experience from the New Zealand Navy to start five pumps and keep them running on the long tow in from the race course. While waist deep in water, Kelly managed to keep the pumps running to keep USA 53 afloat. -- Jane Eagleson,

* Young America's USA-53 sailed Monday for the first time since it was wrecked, but don't get too excited about the prospect of Team Dennis Conner using it in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals, even as a trial boat. As he prepared to fly home to Maine Monday night, Young America chief John Marshall all but squashed the notion that had been floating around the Viaduct Basin since his New York Yacht Club team was eliminated. "I don't think so," Marshall said. "We don't have anything in progress with Stars & Stripes to do anything."

As head of PACT 95 at San Diego five years ago, Marshall chartered his boat Young America -- the so-called "mermaid boat" -- to Conner to sail against the Kiwis in a 5-0 blow-out. But the winners then tightened the America's Cup Protocol to preclude any merging of major assets by syndicates from the same country.

After qualifying for the semifinals two weeks ago, Team Dennis Conner submitted a request for interpretation to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel asking, should it be interested, if it could use hand-me-downs -- including one of Young America's boats -- from the two defunct U.S. campaigns.

"A couple of things in the Protocol were a little vague and made us curious," said Bill Trenkle, Team DC's general manager. "We asked the day the third round was over and Young America and Abracadabra were packing up to go home, that should they want to sell off any of their equipment, would we be able to use it." The request for interpretation included the use of sails and hardware and also "the possibilities to acquire a second boat," Trenkle said. He added that the team was not anxious to replace Stars & Stripes.

It's not a big deal for us," Trenkle said. "We're happy with the way USA-55 is going, but since we're a one-boat team it would be nice to have a fast trial boat." It seems academic now, but with USA-53 and USA-58 both sitting idle, which one might Team DC prefer? "They're both very good boats," Trenkle said.

USA-53 has been repaired since its break-up in the second round on 9 November. One purpose of its sea trial Monday was to meet an insurance obligation. Marshall and several rivals, including Stars & Stripes helmsman Ken Read, agreed that Young America's problems did not include the speed of either boat.

Two other issues remained airborne. Besides TDC's inquiry, France's Le Defi BTT would like to use the Spanish Challenge's sail loft, and AmericaOne wanted to hire Young Australia skipper James Spithill and five of his crew as sparring partners.

Christmas and Boxing Day have come and gone and the semifinals start next Sunday, 2 January. Yet still no word had been heard from the Arbitration Panel on any of the three issues before it. All those matters were submitted to the panel on 15 December, the day the third round ended. The last one may also be moot. Spithill and his mates sat around waiting as long as they could before going home the day before Christmas to sail benefactor Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin in the Sydney-to-Hobart Race. Conceivably, they could return by the end of the week.

There are five members on the panel. According to the Protocol, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and the New York Yacht Club, as Challenger of Record, selected two each: Sir David Tompkins, New Zealand; Master John Anthony Faire, New Zealand; Andrew A. Scholtz, U.S.; and Robert Erskine, U.S. Those four then selected the fifth, Peter Dirk-Siemsen of Brazil.
The criteria include that "they shall possess extensive knowledge of America's Cup history, the Deed of Gift, and the Interpretative Resolutions, good general knowledge of yacht racing and yacht clubs, and they shall be known to be fair minded and possess good judgement."

The Protocol doesn't stipulate that they be on 24-hour call. One of the New Zealand panellists was said to be in Fiji for the holidays. One of the New York members was thought to be skiing. Majority rules in their decision, but it's not that simple. They usually meet by conference call and issue interpretations and decisions jointly, not individually. Submissions are made through RNZYS Membership Secretary Mary Grant, who forwards them to the five panellists. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports.

Full story:

Kenwood Cup 2000, 12th Hawaii International Offshore Series, is already shaping-up to be the pivotal event of the summer with boats from thirty-five to sixty-two feet racing the waters and winds of Paradise. The recent ORC/ ISAF gathering in Sydney, Australia, gave both owners and organizers an opportunity to firm-up on what had until then been largely tentative plans. Owners hope they have now been given the lead they need to know what to build for the next two seasons. Meanwhile Kenwood Cup Race Director Ken Morrison, putting together his, was able to talk dates, shipping and hotels with significant players from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the West Coast of the US.

The decision announced by the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup management committee (story elsewhere in this issue of 'Butt) to nominate both the Farr 40 and a new 50ft level-rating class using the International Measurement System as the mandated classes for 2001 (the Sydney 40 remains the third class mandated for the three-boat team event) has hopefully given the necessary lead time to allow international campaigning owners to focus their plans. More than 10 Farr 40 ODs are expected in Hawaii, while the event itself has been nominated the 2000 Pacific Region Championship for the class with entries expected from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US. Boats expected from Australia include Emotional Hooligan, Leroy Brown, Rapscallion, Young Australia and Terranova. The Farr 40 ODs have already asked the ORC to produce a one-design IMS certificate for the class, a development which will be imbued with fresh significance following the Admiral's Cup selection decision.

The IMS 50 announcement from Sydney is expected to bring players like Flash Gordon's owner and keen Hawaii participant Helmut Jahn back into big time racing. Jahn has a building slot reserved with Cookson's in Auckland for January, but has been holding back on a final commitment on what to fill it with until after the ORC meetings. Although the German-born, US-based architect likes to play his cards close to his chest, it is expected that he may now build an IMS 50 to be ready for Kenwood Cup 2000 and then go on to campaign for the big boat slot in the 2001 United States team for the Admiral's Cup. The new Flash Gordon (assuming Jahn sticks with the name that has already brought such gilt to the laurels of US international racing) will find competition in Makoto Uematsu's new Esmeralda, a Farr 49 already in build, Geoff Ross' new Farr 49 Yendys from Australia and Syd Fischer's venerable Farr 50 Ragamuffin.

European interest is also high. Hans Eekhof, owner of the Dutch Judel/ Vrolijk design Innovision 7 and current IMS world champion (Innovision 7 took the overall title in Sardinia in September) plans to defend his title in Newport, RI in July then ship the boat by the most expeditious means to Hawaii to race Kenwood Cup 2000.

Meanwhile Geoff Stagg of Farr International expects two new Farr 60s from Carroll Marine may be at the Kenwood Cup along with a pair of Farr 52s also building there. Three 60-footers boat-for-boating round Honolulu's famed inshore track and surfing the Waikiki rollers will be a sight worth seeing in itself - these two battling it out with John Kahlbetzer's Sydney 62 Bumblebee 5 from Australia will surely provide the big boat emphasis which is a traditional element in this always-spectacular series.

There will also be fierce competition, in the mid-size division, the 40-foot range and at least one 1D35 will be in Hawaii for the event.

Kenwood Cup 2000 begins July 31 and ends August 9, 2000. For more information, contact race director Ken Morrison: 00 1 808 946 9061

Coming soon:

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 Paul Henderson, ISAF President -- Honesty is a more important quality than flattery. The idea for the Sailor of the Millennium came from Tom Ehman over a year ago to the ISAF ExecCom. ISAF decided to do it during the Year 2000 rather than compete with all the other such polls. Also, the true millennium starts next year. I guess Scuttlebutt talked to Tom, also which has never been difficult.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Yes I do talk with Tom, however 'Butt's 'Sailor of the Century' thread was launched by Chuck Simmons of Newport Beach.

-- From Robert McClelland, Sydney Australia -- Here's my experience of so called inflatable sails. This story goes back to 1974 and at the time I was working at the Hood sail loft in Auckland New Zealand, then owned and operated by Chris Bouziad. The boys in the spinnaker department decided to do some secret product development and developed a new form of spinnaker.

Their development was to add an appendage in the center of the spinnaker that "inflated" as the wind grew stronger and stonger. When fully inflated the shape of this appendage had a definite phallic appearance because as it "inflated", it not only grew larger it raised up. All this was enhanced somewhat by its pink colour.

Needless to say the fact that "inflatable spinnaker" bore the HOOD logo drew quick and severe condemnation from the management following the first sail down Auckland harbour and it was never seen again!

-- From Katie Pettibone (Re: the Conspiracy Theory) -- Wasn't that a bombed movie at the box office? Scandal, rumors, nonsense and accusations- sounds like all the components of a bad Aaron Spelling nighttime 'soap.' And isn't he with Fox Network?

-- From Dean Brenner (viciously edited to 250-words) -- Let's assume for a moment that there was betting by America's Cup sailors in Auckland. Perhaps we should treat AC sailors as real professionals. That would mean being paid for their services like other pros (they are), being expected to perform at a very high level or be relieved of their duties (they are), and, among other requirements, be banned from their sport, potentially for life, if they are caught betting on races. This is the way other real professional athletes are treated. Why not sailors?

AC Jury Chairman Bryan Willis released an absolution of the AmericaOne and America True sailors regarding alleged betting in such a short time frame that there is little chance the truth could have been fully determined. Wouldn't it have been better to say: "We absolutely prohibit betting on the AC races. The sailors have been made aware of this fact prior to the commencement of the Cup Races. Therefore, any sailor caught betting will be immediately disqualified from the races and the issue will be taken up with the appropriate bodies. We will investigate this matter fully, because even the allegation of betting tarnishes this regatta and our sport as a whole. Betting will not be tolerated."

Instead you have regatta authorities tripping over spokespersons from the various syndicates to be first one to the media microphone declaring everyone's innocence. As a simple minded one design guy with a true love of sailing, I can say with certainty you are quickly losing my interest.

-- From Mort Weintraub -- The bookies are not naive, I have to believe that the New Zealand bookmakers are every bit as perspicacious as their American counterparts. Any time that these guys get a whiff of rumor about a sporting contest having a pre-arranged result the game comes off the boards.

-- From Gary Jobson, ESPN -- I too have received endless email with rumours. I have learned that the allegations on consiracy and betting are unfounded. This, after one week of digging. Sadly a giant waste of time. It is irresponsible for people to send out unfounded and I might add unsigned messages. I am happy that several other journalists here in the USA have found the same answer as me, independently. Let's get on with some good sailing in the Semis!

-- From Steve Savarese -- I have been in Auckland now for five weeks and I have heard all of these rumors. I was on the water the day AmericaOne lost to the French and it was clearly obvious to me and almost everyone else out there that AmericaOne purposely lost that race. It was also told to me by a Young America crewmember that a call was received from an AmericaOne crewmember the morning of that race. The AmericaOne crewmember apologized in advance for what was going to happen that day. Finally, I personally heard America True crew members make comments about how they placed bets on the French - AmericaOne race at seven to one odds.

To those of us who have been around the scene in Auckland there is no doubt that all of these so-called rumors are true. The media have not really picked up on it in fear of ruining the whole event and even the sailors have kept quiet to protect their friends and protect their livelihood.

I can understand why Mr. Jones made the public statements that he did, but I also believe that deep down he knows these allegations are true. I can only hope that he now has the backbone to take action to prevent these types of incidents from happening in the future. We all have a responsibility to make sure these things don't happen again. We cannot just simply cover up these problems. We need to fix them so they never happen again.

-- From Dieter Loibner -- Cam Lewis spoke truth about the Finn. It is a character boat, educational, tactically and athletically challenging and fairly inexpensive to campaign. Today it is the only Olympic dinghy suitable for someone who weighs 200+ pounds and wants to prove his mettle at the helm. It is a text book example for keeping up with technological advances of the past half century which were sensibly incorporated in a timely fashion. Strangely, then, why is the class all but dead in the U.S.?

Not too long ago, U.S. sailors and boats were the yardstick in the Finn class. Today you can't get a dozen of them to line up at a major regatta anywhere on the West Coast. Compare that to the triple digit fleets at regional events in Europe, especially the infamous Master's Gold Cup for old farts (age 40+) who never grew out of the Finn. They proudly declare to be (part of) the class culture - and they love the opulent social program at these events.

It is this loyal following that has kept the Finn alive as an Olympic class in a crucial vote after the 96 Games. Months before the vote, class representatives were confident about staving off Olympic death because they were assured support from the base. Therefore, the Finn continues to produce skilled sailors and characters who enrich the sport. How about that for a measure of Olympic worthiness instead of media-hype, Nielsen ratings and click-through rates?

-- From Bob Smith, NA -- Steven Schwartz may holler a lot, but he is not informed about the magnitude and contribution Paul Elvstrom gave to the sport of dinghy racing and yachting. Not only was he the best, brightest and strongest, he virtually invented the starting techniques, rules strategies, tactics, boat handling techniques, and yacht design that we all use today. As Cam says in his thread, those of us who were fortunate enough to be the next generation of Finn competitors after Elvstrom's generation, we constantly felt the awe of his inventiveness and talents.

Those sailors making the media headlines today are great sailors, but they didn't invent what they are doing: Paul Elvstrom did.

(Mixing threads, I'll also say that there is no comparison in athleticism between a dinghy sailor and a keel boat sailor. Don't cheapen the Olympics by replacing the Finn with a keel boat. There is plenty of opportunity later in life for money to replace determination.)

-- From Lt. Cmdr. Edgar Sherman, USPS -- Considering a Yachtsperson of the Century, it is a shame we have no Mohammed Ali; A person who is not only a great champion but also a benevolent ambassador.

-- From Rick Hatch -- There can be only one possible choice for male sailor of the Century: BUDDY MELGES. No other person in history that I know of (Matt Jones, enlighten me if I'm wrong) has won an Olympic Gold medal (Soling, Kiel - 1972), the Star World Cup (the first year he raced in the class) and the America's Cup (America3, 1992). Besides, these achievements, he's also a champion in ice boats; now there's some sailing that's not too slow for television (oops, sorry, Tom, I forgot; that thread is dead). Buddy has also been a major factor in the continued popularity of all those funky looking scow classes in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and created the very popular Melges 24 class.

All of us need to adhere to Buddy's enduring tactical advice for winning sailboat races: "Get a good start, win the first weather mark and stretch out your lead!"

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Buddy Melges may very well be sailing's Mohammed Ali.

27-Dec-99 - 03:30 PM -- Potentially 20 yachts could break the current race record set by Morning Glory in 1996 of 2 days 14 hours 7 minutes 10 seconds with the CYCA weather advisor predicting a dawn finish as the south east front moves through Bass Strait, slowing the fleet. As expected, the demonstration super yacht Mari-Cha III is leading the fleet and is due to cross the finish line first, although she is not eligible for any trophies.

Out of the fleet racing for line and handicap honours in this year's Telstra 55th Sydney to Hobart Race, Nokia (Spies/Myralf) is leading Melbourne maxi Wild Thing (Grant Wharington) by 16 miles, followed by the sentimental line honours favourite Brindabella (George Snow) two miles astern. When the front runners reported in this afternoon, they were south of Flinders Island, off the north east coast of Tasmania.

The forecast nor'easters have freshened today, maintaining the ideal downwind running conditions for the fleet. Boat speeds of 25-knots have been reported today by some of the maxis, extraordinary speeds which the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's speed calculation table cannot plot they are so fast. As the winds gusted to 40 knots, many boats have dropped spinnakers and are running with poled out headsails to give better control in the strong winds and rough seas.

A total of five yachts have retired from the race - the lowest percentage in many years - with damage, but all crews have reported they are in good shape and are heading to Eden, or have already reached Eden.

On handicap, this is a big boat race as well with Brindabella leading, followed by John Kalbetzer's 62-footer Bumblebee 5 and the Farr 40 OD Young Australia (Lawrence Shannon).

Full story:

The Management Committee of the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup is pleased to confirm the boat selection announced in Press Release CMAC 2001/01. A team will be made up of one each of the following boat type -- IMS 50' (GPH numbers to be confirmed), Sydney 40 AND Farr 40 One Design.

For the IMS 50' the exact GPH band will be decided at a meeting of the Management Committee to be held on 10 March 2000. The band-width will be announced soon after this meeting.

The Farr 40 One Design Class Rules including eligibility will be used for the 2001 event, however the Farr 40 One Design Class Association have agreed that there will be a three person (one nominated by the Class Association, one by the RORC and one mutually agreed) binding arbitration panel to hear any appeals relating to competitor eligibility.

The Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup will be held at Cowes on the Isle of Wight between the 16 - 18 July 2001. The racing will follow the same format as 1999 with the Wolf Rock Race once again counting as the long offshore race. -- SusanMcKeag


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