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SCUTTLEBUTT #472 - December 31, 1999

In a year in which 16 yachts finished this year's Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race inside record time, another record could be set for the number of yachts which fail to arrive in Hobart before the turn of the century. At least five yachts, possibly seven, could see in the next millennium at sea which, according to Race Media Director Peter Campbell, is looming as a record.

Based on this morning's position reports from the remaining 13 yachts still battling against 30 to 35 knot southerly headwinds along the Tasmanian East Coast, five boats seem likely to celebrate New Year's Eve at sea. However, at least two of these could just cross the finish line on the Derwent River at Hobart shortly after midnight to what could be an extraordinary welcome by thousands of New Year's revellers.

As at today's 0305 hours "sked" 37 racing yachts had finished the testing 630 nautical mile race, 30 had retired, leaving 11 still racing, including several boats that had resumed racing after sheltering most of yesterday in bays along the Tasmanian East Coast.

For the first 36 hours of this year's race, 30-40 knot nor'easters pushed the fleet southward at record-breaking speeds. An amazing 16 yachts, including the 40-footer Sword of Orion, finished inside the previous race record while Nokia set a new record of 1 day 19 hours 48 minutes and 2 seconds, slashing more than 18 hours off the previous time.

With the frontrunners safely berthed at Constitution Dock, the weather began to turn on the remainder of the fleet. Headwinds of up to 50-knots battered the fleet forcing many to retire and others to seek shelter behind Flinders Island and along the East Coast of Tasmania.

Of those 12 sailors who required medical attention for injuries suffered in the heavy conditions, just one remains in hospital. Steve Wayne Smith, crewman off the Papua New Guinean yacht Hi Flyer is in a satisfactory condition in Launceston General Hospital but is suffering exhaustion after being washed overboard for a short period of time. -- Peter Campbell

Event website:

Somehow in the excitement of the Louis Vuitton Cup Series we failed to notice that new ISAF Match Racing Ranking had been issued on December 14. I suspect few readers will able to name the top five. Think about it a bit, and then see how you did. The present rankings follow the Letters Section in this issue of 'Butt.

The following changes to the racing rules take effect on 1 January 2000. They were approved by the ISAF Council in November 1999. Please note that definitions of the RRS which would normally appear in italics, do not appear as such below. Also, this supplement also contains rule changes published in May 1999, December 1998 and December 1997.

Rule 16 - Renumber rule 16 to 16.1 and insert new rule 16.2:
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.

Rule 18.2(b) - Replace rule 18.2(b) with:
(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 after the starting signal 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.

Rule 87.2 - Replace rule 87.2 with:
87.2 Notice of Race; Appointment of Race Officials The organizing authority shall publish a notice of race that conforms to rule M1, appoint a race committee and, when appropriate, appoint a jury. However, the race committee, an international jury and umpires may be appointed by the ISAF as provided by the ISAF regulations.

Rule 89(c) - Replace rule 89(c) with:
(c) an international jury meeting the requirements of Appendix Q. A national authority may prescribe that its approval is required for the appointment of international juries for events within its jurisdiction, except ISAF events or when international juries are appointed by the ISAF under rule 87.2.

Rule C2.2 - Replace rule C2.2 with:
C2.2 Rules 16.2 and 17.2 are deleted.

Rule D1.1(a) - Delete rule D1.1(a).

Rule Q1.1 - Replace rule Q1.1 with:
Q1.1 An international jury shall be composed of experienced sailors with excellent knowledge of the racing rules and extensive protest committee experience. It shall be independent of and have no members from the race committee, and be appointed by the organizing authority, subject to approval by the national authority if required (see rule 89(c)), or by the ISAF under rule 87.2.


* It's called the semifinals. Beginning Sunday, 2 January, the super six teams in the Louis Vuitton Cup face off in a 10-race knockout series to whittle the fleet down to two finalists.

But the six teams -- AmericaOne, America True, Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel, Nippon Challenge, Prada Challenge and Team Dennis Conner -- will race as if it were the finals. For four of them, their multi-million-dollar, three- and four-year-long campaigns will come to an end. And in the wake of the Young America's meltdown in Round 3, they all know that advancing to the final round is no certainty.

All points have been thrown out and each team starts equal, with one point awarded for each victory. Each boat meets the other boats twice. The top two scorers advance to the final. -- Larry Edwards, Quokka Sports.

Full story:

* Hopes that the remaining Louis Vuitton Cup contenders might use crew or equipment from eliminated syndicates were dashed yesterday when the America's Cup Arbitration Panel issued long-awaited rulings. It was "thumbs down" from the international five-man panel on all issues except a request from the French Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel syndicate to take over the now-unused Bravo Espana sail loft and employ several Spanish loft workers, and a request from AmericaOne to use an "undeclared" dual national from another team in a non-crew role.

The interpretations of the America's Cup Protocol handed down by the panel confirmed that the six syndicates still in the running to challenge for the America's Cup are not permitted to use hulls, appendages, rigs, sails, and crew from syndicates that have already been eliminated. Team Dennis Conner had asked for rulings regarding the eligibility of sails, hulls, and crew. The French just wanted the sail loft. AmericaOne posed a series of questions seeking a green light to use eliminated Young Australia skipper James Spithill and several of his crewmembers for starting practice. -- Keith Taylor


Prada / America True
Nippon / Team Dennis Conner
France / AmericaOne

Prada / Team Dennis Conner
America True / AmericaOne
Nippon / France


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 Joseph Bracken (Re: Terence Gallagher's comments) -- Sellout? Traitor? Did Nippon commit some great transgression, simply because some of the competitors agreed amongst themselves that they wouldn't sail against the Kiwis? Maybe, underneath the whines and carps of the offended, this "free sail" is a better show of true sporting spirit than they would have us believe.

Although your idealism is commendable, as far as the America's Cup goes, the "competitive line" you refer to has been drawn in the sand and trampled over a thousand times in the last 15 years. The Cup is still a fantastic event organized and sailed by many extraordinary individuals, but it has become, in reality, a gathering of mercenaries.

How many competitors are natives of the flag they are representing? How many of the boats are designed by architects from the home country? The purity of this international competition has long since been diluted by corporate sponsorship, professional sailors, technology, media, and all the usual suspects; there is no sense complaining about it. The stakes are too high now to pay much attention to anything but winning. Honor, as in many sporting arenas, often takes second place. Perhaps Nippon and Team New Zealand chose to put sport before paranoia, honor and grace before winning at all costs.

-- From Bill Lynn -- Chill out, Terence. It's just sailboat racing. Besides, do you really think Peter Gilmour cares who wins the America's Cup if it's not him?

-- From Rick Hooper -- If it were a popularity contest the Olympic Classes would be Optimist prams, Sunfish, and small J-24 type keelboats. Much to my dismay, dinghy sailing is almost dead. The hundreds of sailors who sail weeknight club races on keel boats are certainly athletic. Include the 7-person keelboat ... it will reflect the sport as it is today.

-- From Dan Ibsen, Denmark -- "Sailor of the century" - Paul Elvstrom - 4 Olympic Gold medals (in a row), 15 World Championships in 8 different classes and numerous other championships and wins in int. regattas. Eight times at the Olympics, latest in 1984 and 1988 with his youngest doughter Trine; In 1988 at an age of 60, 40 years after his first Olympic Gold medal in Torquay, England. In my mind, no other sailor, and only a few other sportsmen, can show a stream of results, especially in One Design Classes similar to Paul Elvstrom's, and at the same time be world famous for fair play and he hardly ever protested against other competitor's.

The secret behind his success was, besides a unique talent, hard physical training and an incredibly high number of hours spent on the water, both summer and winter. His contributions to the development of sailing was for example: a life jacket which did not restrict the movement of the sailor, sailing boots with non-skid soles, the modern "self-bailer", the ratchet block, sails sewn in solar pattern, soft and flexible sheeting rope with external hose.

Over the years Paul Elvstrom has received several distinctions of honour for his fantastic achievements as a sailor and sportsman, among those:
1982: Danish Sailing Association's Medal of Honour
1982: IOC's Olympic Order in Bronze
1984: The Prize of Danish Industrial Design
1986: Royal Order of Dannebrog
1990: Beppe Croce Trophy, International Sailing Federation
1996: Sportsman of the Century - Danish Sports Federation

-- From Bob Kiernan -- Sailor(s) of the century, I name Lowell North because he has had a large hand in the direction our sails have taken. Boat design had to catch up to the power the sails created. People had to improve and all together we grow with the technology and became better at our sport. We should be nominating ourselves for being out there doing it. So, I nominate "the participants" one and all of us as sailors of this century. It is a sport, an industry, a challenge, a career and a means to raise our families in a healthy environment. My last words for this century: "Fear not the challenge, fear not having the challenge!"

-- From Michael vanBeuren -- The only difference between amateur and pro sailors is that the pros dedicated themselves to putting time and effort in to sailing in order to improve their skills. As such, they are now in a position to sell those skills to amateurs who want to learn. Prices are agreed upon by what the market will bear. And I don't think it is mandated anywhere that US Sailing exists for amateur sailors only.

There are two often-cited and venomously-defended positions on this issue. Some say, "In what other sport can a weekend warrior compete against the best?" others, like Craig Fletcher, favor and even playing field. What I think most "pros" will admit is that they are not light years ahead of amateurs in terms of skill or talent, they have just made more mistakes more recently and have learned from them. Craig, chances are that you are not that far off championship pace and you could probably straight-line your favorite boat with anyone in the world. The pros have spent more time getting comfortable with big fleets, crowded marks and intense pressure.

-- From Jim Durden -- While we're on the subject of pro-sailing, do any professional or non-professional Buttheads remember the short-lived PYRA? (Professional Yacht Racing Association) As a "newbee" to the sport I joined as a charter member. I was so turned on by the sport I would join anything that had to do with racing sailboats. I think it was circa 1978. Who remembers all the details? I recall that the founder sailed off into the sunset with all the $.

-- From Andrew Burton -- On my boat the guy who does foredeck (Mark Van Note) is one of the best natural sailors I've met. He also is the BN on a Farr 40 and races and delivers other big boats for money. He is the consummate pro. But he is also out every Wednesday night on my Shields sailing for fun and relaxation. I enjoy having him aboard and he enjoys the sailing. And there is the point; even the pros sail for fun. Most of these people are pretty smart, they could earn a much better living doing practically anything else, but they choose to sail. I say let them. If I can get out on the racecourse and sail against Buddy Melges or even Dennis, that's great! It's like a golfer getting to play against Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer. Besides, probably the best sailors around are Bill and Carl Buchan. They are also strictly amateurs. How are you going to keep them from coming out and beating up on you?

PS I do think paying someone to drive your boat is akin to paying someone to sleep with your girlfriend for you.

ISAF MATCH RACE RANKINGS -- Issued December 14, 1999
4 BANK Jesper DEN
10 JOHANSEN Jesper Radich DEN

Other rankings of interest to the curmudgeon:
21 WITTEY Neville AUS
25 BRADY Gavin NZL
27 LAW Chris GBR
28 PACE Bertrand FRA
32 DE ANGELIS Francesco ITA

Isn't it interesting that half of the top ten are from Denmark; only four of the top 100 are from the USA (including the US Virgin Islands) and that Paul Cayard is still listed as an Italian.


By rearranging the letters in "Year Two Thousand" you can come up with "A Year To Shut Down."

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again. I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer's day. I want to return to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.

All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all`the things that should make you worried or upset. I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. `I want to live simple again. I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So . . . here's my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first

OK - I know that I can't go back all the way. So I'll settle for second best -- being the curmudgeon. Happy New Year!

"Valuable things we can learn from dogs: "Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience. Take naps and stretch before rising. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Be loyal. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently. Never pretend to be something you are not. Thrive on attention, and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree. No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and right back and make friends. And finally, run, romp, and play daily." - Alan Cundall