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SCUTTLEBUTT #470 - December 29, 1999

* Nippon Challenge can expect to come under fire from its rival challengers for fraternising with the enemy -- defender Team New Zealand -- in practice sailing on the inner Hauraki Gulf on Wednesday. There had been an unwritten agreement among the six challengers that will start the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals Sunday not to respond to invitations from the Kiwis, who have had no one to joust with except themselves.

In late October, Team New Zealand's Brad Butterworth, tactician, was asked how he felt about the challengers no-show policy. He jokingly replied, "It's rude. It's like inviting somebody to dinner and they don't eat your food. We invited them to go sailing and nobody wants to go sailing."

Emili Miura, campaign and public relations director for Nippon, said the team has considered the potential reaction from the other challengers. "We thought there might be some criticism," she said. "But there are some big races ahead of us, and if we have an opportunity it makes sense to prepare against the team which many people say is the best." Besides, she said, this isn't war. "We've always felt the spirit of the event should be, as the Deed of Gift says, 'friendly competition between foreign countries.' "

Miura said there is a good relationship between many of the sailors, from Nippon skipper Peter Gilmour and Kiwi counterpart Russell Coutts, down through the crew. "People like [trimmer] Simon Daubney have been of great help to some of our crew in the past," she said. "We have close ties with them."

Perhaps too close, some peers might say. A full press conference with all remaining challengers represented is scheduled for Thursday morning. "Peter [Gilmour] and I will be ready for them," Miura said, smiling. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports.

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* After weeks of waiting and hoping, America's Cup defender Team New Zealand got its wish today - a chance to check its Cup chances by lining up one of its black boats against one of the international challengers. Japan's Nippon Challenge obliged, in a four-hour session on the Hauraki Gulf that included straight-line speed comparisons on and off the wind, and a series of starts.

Japan's Aussie skipper Peter Gilmour took the helm of Idaten (JPN-52) against New Zealand's skipper and Cup-winning helmsman Russell Coutts who sailed Team New Zealand (NZL-57). I'm an optimist so I'm pretty happy, but both Team New Zealand and Nippon have agreed not to discuss the results from today," said Gilmour after he got ashore.

Team New Zealand's Brad Butterworth was a little more forthcoming. "We think the boats are bloody similar," he said. "We're quite encouraged."

Butterworth described the light Northeasterly conditions as a "shifty, funny old day" and said it would have been hard for anyone watching to have appraised the form of the two boats. However his team came away with the impression that the boats showed similar speed upwind and downwind in today's conditions.

Butterworth confirmed that the Kiwis had approached the Japanese and Dawn Riley's America True syndicate. "One wanted to do it, and one didn't," he said. Riley, whose team sent a tender out to monitor the combatants, had a different slant on the day.

"Well, I would say we're a little bit confused," she said. "I don't see how it helps the Challengers to sail against Team New Zealand, and we thought everyone felt that way. Obviously, Nippon doesn't. "It's not against the rules, it's just against common-sense. But there's no rule against it so there's nothing for us to say about it. I guess we might give them some grief in the bar or something, but there's really nothing we can do about it."

Italy's Prada Challenge, currently one of the favourites to win the Louis Vuitton Cup and go up against the Kiwis, was also on the scene with a chase boat, including designer Doug Peterson. "I think this helps the Kiwis a lot more than it helps Japan," said Peterson, echoing Riley's sentiments

Will it happen again? Gilmour says he's open to the idea. "I wouldn't rule out sailing against Team New Zealand again," he said. "In fact, I think it's quite likely that we'll do it again, sooner rather than later. But that will depend on each teams schedule and weather and the like." -- Peter Rusch and Keith Taylor, Louis Vuitton Cup website

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In voting that took place on the Torresen Sailing Site, at, website visitors have selected the 1999 Sailors of the Year. Voters chose Michigan native Dawn Riley as the Female Sailor of the Year. Italian sailor Giovanni Soldini was named Male Sailor of the Year.

In 1999, Riley has achieved success as the first women CEO of an America's Cup Team. Her team named America True begins the semi finals of the Louis Viuitton Cup Sunday 2 January 2000. In a break from America's Cup preparations, Riley also won the Santa Maria Cup match-racing regatta.

Soldini had several notable experiences this year. In February, he conducted an heroic mid Southern Ocean rescue of French sailor Isabelle Autissier. This rescue came during the Around Alone singlehanded sailing race. Soldini went onto win Around Alone in a record time.

In voting that started in October and ended in December, Riley and Soldini consistently led the voting. Torresen Sailing Site visitors have selected two sailors who have achieved right to the top of sailing.

Both sailors will be the subjects of a profile in Torresen Sailing Site's Around the World of Sailing 99-00 Sailing Report. This will be 'e' published by 1600 Wednesday 29. -- Ike Stephenson
To read the report:

WARNINGS -- A gale wind warning is current for Eastern Tasmanian coastal waters and for adjacent ocean waters with a Strong Wind Warning current for southern Tasmania coastal waters.

* The Papua New Guinea yacht Hi Flyer successfully rescued a crewmember in a man overboard situation in heavy weather on the East Coast of Tasmania between Bicheno and St Helens. Reacting immediately to the situation, experienced owner/skipper Carol Turnbull immediately turned the boat around and fellow crew members had the crewman, Steve Wayne Smith, 43 of Cairns, back on board in less than five minutes.

The yacht advised the radio relay vessel, Young Endeavour, that Smith appeared to be suffering from severe shock and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia race officials considered a helicopter lift. However, with three first aid certificated crew on board it was decided on medical grounds to keep the injured crewman aboard Hi Flyer and effect a transfer at sea to the Tasmanian police vessel, Van Diemen, which was in the area. At 5.30pm this evening Hi Flyer was one and a half hours south of St Helens where it will rendezvous with the Van Dieman.

For the past 24 hours southerly winds of between 30 and 40 knots gusting to 50 knots have presented testing sailing conditions for the smaller boats in the fleet and a number of crewmembers have suffered minor injuries.

* Two injured crewmen from yachts competing in the Telstra Sydney to Hobart yacht race are being taken aboard the Tasmanian police boat Pillara off Tasmania's north East Coast. A crewman from the Victorian yacht Amaya sustained a broken collarbone, and another crewmember from the yacht Esprit De Corps has a broken wrist.

The Pillara left Binnalong Bay at 10.30am this morning to meet the yachts, and had a medical officer from St Helens onboard. Amaya has officially retired, while Esprit De Corps indicated to race officials it would continue on to Hobart after their injured crew had been collected.

Another competitor seeking medical attention in Hobart this morning was Geoffrey Ross, skipper of the Hong Kong registered yacht Yendys, who injured his ribs during a wild broach. Ross was thrown over the stern of the boat but was able to clamber back on because he was wearing his safety line.

There have been thirteen retirements from the race up until midday today. -- Peter Campbell

* PROTESTS -- MARCHIONESS vs. NOKIA & BRINDABELLA vs. NOKIA -- In reviewing the protest we have found that the requirements for validity under rule 63.5 have not been met. Both protests are invalid and the hearing was closed. The parties have been advised that the International Jury has reviewed all of the rules applicable to this race and we can find no indication of crew number limitations under Whitbread 60 rules.

The only crew limits imposed on Nokia, which had entered both IRC and W60 categories of the rac, is under IRC rules which permitted 1620 kg upper limit. Her crew total was 1262kg. The rules quoted by the protestors referred to the Whitbread race and were not applicable to the Telstra Sydney to Hobart race. -- Ken Morrison, Chairman, International Jury

Event website:

Team New Zealand will have an extra body on board their black boats next week - making their intentions clear for the America's Cup. The defenders want to use on-board umpires - a Kiwi innovation - during the big match in February. If the challenger accepts, it will be the first time in cup history that the system will be used.

The challengers, who were told of Team New Zealand's plan through a draft of the sailing instructions delivered late last week, voted against using on-board observers for the Louis Vuitton Cup series.

The winner of the challenger series will have their say whether they want another person on board their boat for the cup match. New Zealand invented the concept of on-board umpiring for the annual grand prix matchracing regatta in Auckland. Team New Zealand made it clear earlier this year that they wanted to use the system in the cup after trialling it during the Road to the America's Cup regatta.

The observer stands at the back of the boat, wearing a headset to speak with the umpire boat following the yachts. The umpire on the racing yacht can advise the skipper on urgent rule issues, such as overlaps and rights of way. All decisions would still be made and signalled by the umpires on the water.

Team New Zealand rules adviser Russell Green said the on-board umpires' role was like a rugby referee "advising the players if it's a ruck or a maul." "Our view is that it worked extremely well in the Road to the America's Cup, and it was endorsed by the skippers who were there," he said. "We've seen a lot of incidents in the challenger series so far where the skippers haven't known what the umpires were thinking. Having an observer on board would have saved a lot of problems."

Team New Zealand will start using the system in their in-house racing next week. Three umpires from the challengers' pool will come over to the defenders' course each day to help out. Without a defender series, the Kiwis have been holding practice races since they put both new boats, NZL57 and NZL60, in the water in November. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald

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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 Bob Merrick -- Does anyone know exactly how the Olympic classes are selected? Evidently it's not done by a vote of countries but rather by some special committee. Who's on the committee? How do they vote?

--From Jeff Merrill -- Buddy Melges is the Sailor of the Century. A Star world championship, Olympic Gold medal in Solings and America's Cup winning skipper is a yachting 'trifecta' difficult to top - the triple crown? And I have never met anyone more enthusiastic about the sport of sailing and so willing and eager to share his knowledge.

Buddy's personalilty could skyrocket sailing's popularity if he could be properly brought to the attention of the non-sailing public. His down-home sense of humor and hilarious expressions easily compare with the type of enjoyment we get from baseball great Yogi Berra. (You should have heard Buddy's on air banter as a TV sportscaster for the 1987 America's Cup in Perth, unfortunately only broadcast in Australasia).

Buddy's career has been devoted to sailing - boat building, sailmaking and innovating - I believe he was the first person to ever race with Harken blocks. And when you add his passion for Scows and participation in the unbelievable pure speed thrill of ice boating (hey, potential Winter Olympics Sport?) which he has actively done for decades, you are looking at THE consumate sailor.

Maybe others have accumulated more hardware (though doubtful), but if I had the opportunity to vote for the one person who has achieved the highest success AND best represents the personality and sportsman's ideal that best reflects our sport, Buddy gets my vote!

-- From Todd Johnson -- There is no one who can compare with Paul Elvstrom of Denmark.

-- From Donal McClement -- Paul Elvstrom must be at the top of the list but what about Sir Francis Chichester, Rodney Pattison, Sir Robin Knox Johnson or perhaps the best of the all Sir Peter Blake. And I am Irish -- not British.

-- Randy Smith -- Hey, now we're talking! Sailor of the Millenium. I guess that means a sailor from anytime between 1000 AD and next week qualifies. I nominate Christopher Columbus, because without him I probably wouldn't be enjoying the Southern California lifestyle today.

-- From Kip Meadows -- An interesting suggestion by Craig Fletcher to have all sailing in the U.S. category 1 only. While we're at it, why not ask Congress to pass a law requiring Wal-Mart to charge the same prices as other stores in each city, or require the America's Cup to be sailed in Sunfish so that everyone will have an equal chance to participate. Sailing with pros on board is THE best way to take your sailing game to a new level, as an amateur helmsman/owner. The popularity of the 1D35, Farr 40 and other owner/driver classes which allow pros on board should be enough evidence to table Mr. Fletcher's recommendation without a second. Perhaps a better alternative would be to work within another one-design class, or series of regattas, for Cat 1 sailors only. Sailing needs to broaden, not narrow, its appeal to grow and survive.

-- From Dan Phelps (Re: Craig Fletcher's comments in 'Butt 469) -- I think I understand the "spirit" of what you are proposing in segregating the pros from the amateurs. But, IMHO one of the best things we have going for the growth our sport is that the Pros do sail with the amateurs. The opportunity to sail with Pros allows us insights into the thinking and strategy at the top level of our sport. The opportunity to sail against Pros gives us the chance to apply what we have learned. In very few sports are such opportunities so easy to find.

-- From Alexander "Ali" Meller VP International 505 Class -- I am an amateur. I want to race against the best sailors. I am not interested in having US Sailing or anyone else limit who can race against me. All sailors, professional or otherwise, are more than welcome to race in my class (International 505). I'll even charter/lend one of my 505s to them. Paul Cayard, Ed Baird, Dawn Riley, Cam Lewis, et al, feel free to contact me about this (

I do not know what Mr. Fletcher's reference to "unsavory actions" in the AC is about. In my opinion, the aspects of the AC that I find distasteful appear to be caused by the basic premise of the event (match racing by "national" teams in large very expensive development class keelboats), and perhaps by a few individuals running the campaigns, not the sailors on the water.

The USSA should stay out of determining who is an amateur and who is a professional and leave that to ISAF. If we have to have categories at all, let us at least have consistent categories country to country.

-- From Bill Cook -- Craig Fletcher drastically overestimates the amount of money available in the sport of sailing.

-- From Ken Guyer -- Regarding the "alleged" betting by A-1 and A-True team members and the comments by Steve Savaresen "confirming" the rumors...pardon me but someone from Young America told Steve that YA received a call from a member of the America One team and apologized for what was going to happen. If this is true, then we can now get to the bottom of this "rumor".

Steve, all you have to do is introduce the media to your friend on Young America, let them repeat the story so the media can go forward with an investigation into this rumor. So far all the accusations regarding the wrongful betting seem to be coming from Young America. The NY Times article lists its source as a member of YA, you claim your source is from YA. IF Young America has all this evidence then let them come forward and make a case.

Otherwise, as with the other threads about YA's troubles and A-True's decision not to sail, I suggest this thread full of "rumors" be closed, until someone can come forward with some real and tangible proof.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: I could not have said it more eloquently. This thread is officially dead until we some more than rumors and allegations.

AUCKLAND, N.Z. -- Officially, New Zealand's TAB betting service - yes, they really do bet on sailboat racing here - lists Stars & Stripes at 10-1, behind Paul Cayard's AmericaOne from the St. Francis Yacht Club, 2.5-1; Italy's Prada, 3.25-1; Japan's Nippon, 3.75-1, and Dawn Riley's America True, 9-1, and ahead only of France's Le Defi, 12-1.

The new millennium that will make its world debut here next weekend heralds a new order for many endeavors, including the America's Cup. Conner has dominated sailing's premier event for two decades, often by his success and always by his lightning-rod presence. But now he is 57, facing the affliction of age shared by anyone who has been lucky enough to avoid the alternative. Younger men now sail his boat, and when he returned to drive it in the meaningless last race of Round Robin 3 this month, losing to Spain, the day had the air of a farewell tour. Although he still races smaller boats, Conner has completed the transition from competitor to entrepreneur as far as the America's Cup is concerned.

Five other challengers died before the sun set on the old millennium and four more have only two weeks to live. Although Stars & Stripes figures among the four, the seas are littered with the wreckage of rivals who have sold Conner short too soon. -- Rich Roberts, LA Times

Full story:

CHICAGO, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Corporate sponsorship by North American companies will increase by 14 percent to $8.7 billion next year, according to an annual survey by a Chicago research and consulting firm that tracks such spending.

Driving the increase are the U.S. economy's overall strength, the dollars being directed toward the summer Olympics and America's Cup yacht race, IEG Inc. said. Other factors include ``the mad rush to sponsorship'' by dot-com companies, increased sponsorship by automakers and financial service firms, and the premium prices paid for more exclusive, less-cluttered events, IEG President Lisa Ukman said in a statement.

Sports properties will take the largest share of the sponsorship spending, bringing in $5.92 billion, or 68 percent of the total, IEG said. Rounding out the top five will be entertainment tours and attractions ($817 million); festivals, fairs and annual events ($740 million); causes ($700 million); and arts ($548 million), IEG said.

Worldwide sponsorship also will grow 14 percent next year to $22 billion, the consulting firm said. European firms will spend $6.5 billion, Pacific Rim firms $3.8 billion, Central and South American companies $1.8 billion.

Last year, the number of North American firms spending over $10 million on sponsorships grew to 67 from 61, IEG said. The top-spending firm was Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. (NYSE:BUD - news) at $170 million-$175 million, knocking Philip Morris Cos. Inc. (NYSE:MO - news), at $160 million to $165 million, from the top spot for the first time since the study was first performed 16 years ago.
Rounding out the top five were: General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM - news) ($125 million-$130 million); and Coca Cola Co. (NYSE:KO - news) and PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP - news) (each at $100 million-$104 million), IEG said.

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A friend is that rare person who asks how you are--then listens to your answer.