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SCUTTLEBUTT #471 - December 30, 1999

COMMENTARY -- Andrew Bray, Editor, Yachting World
Crystal ball gazing can be a dangerous occupation, but that does not seem to deter thousands of soothsayers as we move into a new century. I say dangerous because in the past so many people have got it horribly wrong. I can recall sailing articles published back in the Seventies and Eighties predicting how we would be sailing by the year 2000. There were drawings of brightly coloured, futuristic-looking concept boats with unlikely-looking self-tending rigs, complete with happy 2.4-children families warmly dressed in seawater-repellent, soft clothing, living in a carefully climate-controlled environment with a push-button retractable cockpit dome. Well, they were wrong. All you can be sure of in 20 or 30 years' time is that the sea will still be wet and salty.

This time I am going to stick my neck out, but to be realistic, I'll measure the future using the yardstick of the past. In 2025 the boats we sail will still be much the same as the boats we sail today. Styling will play a more important role in design, but basically we will still have moulded hulls, aluminium rigs and mainly stainless steel rigging. Carbon fibre will still be expensive and the domain of specialist and racing boats. Variations on Dacron will still supply the power and, below decks, diesel electric propulsion will be commonplace. Clothing will be more comfortable and lighter, and builders will pay more attention to cockpit shelter.

Otherwise, yachtsmen will still be moaning about berthing costs, old gaffers will still be making derisory remarks about Tupperware and the Editor of Yachting World will be laughing his or her socks off when they read this. -- Andrew Bray

Full editorial:

Top 10 IMS Overall Placings
1 Yendys HKG
2 Brindabella NSW
3 Ausmaid SA
4 Ragamuffin NSW
5 Atara NSW
6 Bumblebee V NSW
7 Sword of Orion NSW
8 Young Australia VIC
9 Terranova VIC
10 Red Jacket WA

More than 36 hours of strong to galeforce southerly headwinds has taken its toll on the smaller yachts and their crews in the Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, with the retirement list rising to 19 boats overnight. In addition, at least 12 crew members have suffered injuries requiring hospital attention, injuries ranging from broken ribs to dislocated shoulders, while others have received medical treatment for minor cuts and bruises in what has become a very rough race over the final 200 nautical miles.

Among the latest to pull out of the race and seek shelter on the Tasmanian East Coast is AFR Midnight Rambler, the 35-footer which was the overall IMS winner of the storm-battered 1998 race. AFR Midnight Rambler pulled into Bicheno early this morning after apparently suffering mast problems, while other overnight withdrawals included Long Shot and Magic.

The Bureau of Meteorology this morning renewed its gale warning for Tasmania's eastern coastal waters from the northern tip of Flinders Island south to Wineglass Bay, forecasting south-east to south-west winds of 25 to 30 knots, reaching 40 knots at times with isolated gusts to 55 knots. A strong wind warning has been renewed for coastal waters between Wineglass Bay and Tasman Island.

More than seven million hits have been registered on the official Telstra Sydney to Hobart website this year, creating a record for the popular event site. Last year over four million hits were recorded on the site which features up to date race information, weather forecasts and news. This year the website has been further developed to include a dynamic mapping system using sophisticated satellite tracking technology to display up to date positions of yachts as they progress in the race to Hobart. -- Peter Campbell

Event website:

* America True designer Phil Kaiko on boatspeed -- "I think the top four boats are equal in speed. On any given day anybody is gonna win, and I think now that applies to the fifth and sixth boats as well, because there's not enough difference in any of them."

"If we had a clean sheet of paper to start all over, we know we would do a different boat, and we know it would be a better boat. We all have refinements that we'll try, but the days of looking for 10 percent gains are gone. Now we're looking for half a percent. None of the changes are major enough to warrant shutting the programme down long enough to do the job." -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports.

Full story:

* A1 skipper Paul Cayard on boatspeed -- "The reality is that 61 is simply a better boat than 49. Like everybody, we have the tools that predict the speed of the boats. Based on that, 61 is faster than 49 all the time. "It's a lot faster at a certain end of the wind range, but I'm not going to tell you what that is. But even when it's at its worst, it's still slightly better than 49." -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald.

Full story:

* Peter Gilmour on sailing against team NZ -- " "I'm sure we helped them, but I think we helped ourselves more. And I believe we helped the challenger group as a whole ... gave them a benchmark."

"This is sport -- pure sport. New Zealand is a very competitive and great sporting team and should be respected as such. They don't need to be treated as pariahs so they're somehow not part of the competition. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports

Full story:

* Dennis Conner on Peter Gilmour's Nippon Challenge sparring with Team New Zealand -- " It was quite surprising, because this was a big edge for New Zealand to find out how fast the challengers are going, especially in view of the fact that they probably didn't have their best boat out there."

"[It was] all win, win, win for New Zealand, so you have to ask yourself, what's in this for Peter. Maybe he thinks he's not going to the America's Cup and he wants to get a picture of the Japanese boat sailing against New Zealand. And if you're steering the New Zealand boat in the defence of 2003, maybe we'll understand."

"Whoops, I shouldn't have said that." -- Larry Edwards, Quokka Sports.

Full story:

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 Jerry Kaye -- Rich Robert's quote: "...the seas are littered with the wreckage of rivals who have sold Conner short too soon." was Top Dead Center (pun intended). If Stars & Stripes' boatspeed is at all close, Paul, John and Luigi will be dumb and dumber to take Dennis's TDC team lightly. Kudos to Dennis to give up the helm to someone that has the energy (and talent) for the long haul! Go Dennis! If you can't beat up on the American teams, push them just as hard as you blanking can so the Cup gets yanked back to where it belongs! America.

-- From Terence Gallagher -- Gilmour is a SELLOUT. It may not be against the rules to sail against Team New Zealand, but it is against common sense, and it shows no respect for the other challengers. Although Nippon Challenge may not have to face any real repercussions, they should be made to pay for their traitorous acts...where it really hurts, in their pocket books. I call on all supporters of any of the challengers: boycott all sponsors of Nippon Challenge; call or E-mail ESPN and request that no video of the Nippon boats be shown; and purchase no "Team Nippon Products". It may not be much, but it will make a statement that Team Nippon has crossed a competitive line, and this kind of reckless, un-sportsman like, self serving behavior should not, and will not be tolerated.

-- From Alan Blunt -- It's a no brainer! Paul Elstrom is in a league of his own. Not only is he a multi-world and Olympic champion in many classes, he is the original thinker. He was way ahead of his time. One example of his innovative brilliance was at the 505 worlds in Australia in the early 60's. He was sailing with a light weight crew, and because of the heavy winds, he decided to trap instead of his crew, while also trimming the main and driving the boat. At the time, nobody had thought this was possible. Not surprisingly, he won every race. He is my vote for the sailor of the century.

-- From Bob Billingham -- It's supposed to be Sailor of the Millennium right? Seems like all the nominations involve sailors of this century. What about Magellan, Columbus, and Drake ? How about the South Sea Islanders with their Kon-Tiki passages. Lets not forget the Vikings - how'd you like to row through the North Atlantic, dodging icebergs to land at the tropical paradise of Newfoundland? These guys didn't show up at the starting line having had a hot shower and good breakfast at the old yacht club. And look at the boats they sailed? Seriously scary designs with poor sea-keeping traits, over canvassed, made of primitive materials. No electronics, no GPS - just plain old fear of falling off the edge of the World.

Is it "racing sailors" we are talking about or all "sailors?"

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Like so many other things we do here, it's whatever you want it to be.

-- From J. Joseph Bainton -- Where will all the pros go after the America's Cup? Many of the Americans will proceed directly to the major regattas preceding the remaining United States Olympic Trials. For example, the new Mader star boat which Paul Cayard will sail with George Iverson is on the ocean as we celebrate the New Year. America One grinder Phil Trinter will resume his regular position in the front of John MacCausland's star. It is a great privilege for we "amateurs" to compete against(and every now and again beat) the likes of Cayard, Kostecki, Conner, Coutts, and so on.

If you have any doubt about the notion that this is indeed a privilege, go ask you club tennis champion if he would like to play a match against Sampras notwithstanding the fact that outcome would never be in doubt. If you are racing principally to acquire silverware, I would be far easier to simply buy it. If you do not want to follow that advice, then you can avoid competing with (and learning from) these great sailors by simply avoiding the grand prix one design and IMS classes.

-- From Tim Prophit -- Mr. Fletcher does not speak for me, nor, for many other amateur sailors I know. I appeciate and enjoy the opportunity to sail with, and against, the "pros". Sure, they will beat me far more than I beat them, but, in the process I am learning far more than if I were to race only against other amateurs. Sailing does not need separate pro and amateur divisions.

-- From Mike Moore -- One of the things I love about racing sailboats is that if I want to, I can find a way to go out and race against or with the very best in the world. Without question my most memorable moments in the sport have come racing Stars, Melges 24's, or Finns when I, or the crew I'm sailing with, manage to round a mark or even finish a race in a top position. It means that even if for only that short moment, I got it all right. And I can't begin to figure out how much I may have learned racing with and against the "pros".

Will they run you ragged around the course? Sure. But afterwards, they will usually tell you how and why if you haven't already figured it out. So let them come back, lets go race with them, and everybody wins in the end. If you really don't want to sail with them, trust me, you can find a class they don't want to sail in.

The W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy is presented annually by US SAILING to the American sailor who best exemplifies the ideals and traditions of good sportsmanship. The program was established by US SAILING, and the trophy donated by Mr. Clark's family, the 1977 recipient of the US SAILING's Herreshoff Trophy, in 1986. Over the years, the winners of this coveted award have come from different areas of our sport. From Buddy Melges, our very first winner, the Newport Harbor High School Sailing Team (1993), to our current recipient, the mix has been as varied as the definition of Sportsmanship itself. As most sailors will acknowledge, sportsmanship is difficult to define, but it is something we all recognize when we see it.

US SAILING's Sportsmanship Program recognizes good sportsmanship on the local as well as the national level, making US SAILING trophies available to member clubs. Harris won the national award over a field of outstanding sailors who were nominated by their yacht clubs, classes or sailing associations for making significant contributions to the quality of the sport.

To continue to make our National Sportsmanship Program truly meaningful, we depend on the active participation and support of sailing organizations such as yours. Upon receipt of your completed nomination form, you will receive a certificate to present to your nominee. In addition, US SAILING makes available, at a reasonable cost, a keeper and or perpetual plaque with 10 brass plates suitable for engraving.

Please complete submit the nomination form for the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Award, no later than Wednesday, January 12, 2000. Your nominee will then join the Honor List of those nominated for this prestigious award, with each person nominated being mentioned in a national news release and on the US SAILING web site. The 1999 winner will be presented with the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy at US SAILING's Spring Meeting in March, in Chicago, Illinois.

1986 Buddy Melges (Zenda, WI)
1987 Hub Isaacks (Ft. Worth, TX)
1988 Runyon Colie (Mantoloking, NJ)
1989 John Odenbach, Sr. (Penfield, NY)
1990 Scott Steele (Annapolis, MD)
1991 Dick Ronan (Larchmont, NY)
1992 George M. Antarr, III (Marina del Rey, CA)
1993 Newport Harbor High School Sailing Team (Newport Beach, CA)
1994 Jessica Uniack (Huntington Beach, CA)
1995 Harry Carpenter (Oakland, MD)
1996 Richard Besse (Skaneateles, NY)
1997 Gonzalo Diaz, Sr. (Miami, FL)
1998 Joseph Harris (Chicago, IL)

For more information:

A duplication of the 1975 Port-Huron to Chicago race is in place for July 15, 2000. This is a celebration of Chicago Yacht Club's 125th year. The race will run concurrent with the Bacardi Bayview Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, with the Millennium 600 Race racers passing through the Mackinac Island finish line, continuing to Chicago for completion of the 600 mile race. A survey of both Mackinac Race participants of last year indicates that 80 entrants will enter in this every 25-year fresh water classic. With the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac start on July 22, 2000, boats can easily sail the Bacardi Bayview Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, the Millennium 600 Race and the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac in about 9 days time. -- Gene T. McCarthy, Chair Millennium 600 Race

Notice of Race: or

Sully Sullivan is interviewing Paul Cayard today at 4:30 PM PST on KSDO - 1130 on San Diego's AM radio dial. For those people not in San Diego, the interview can also be heard via internet simulcast at Simply click on "Listen Live" and tune in!

While death and taxes seem inevitable, death doesn't get worse every year.