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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 978 - January 4, 2002

Scuttlebutt is a digest of yacht racing news of major significance; commentary, opinions, features and dock talk . . . with a North American emphasis. Corrections, contributions, press releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

Three ill crewmembers could not stop Assa Abloy from taking the victory in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in a convincing manner. After taking the Sydney - Hobart Race with line honors, the yacht continued on how they had finished, sped up and never looked back. The day before they reached New Zealand's north coast, worrying news was sent back from the yacht. Three guys were reported ill and injured, with bowman Jason Carrington in his bunk under heavy medication. It seemed this just pushed the determination of the remaining nine to win this leg. They all pulled together and stormed along to a tremendous victory.

When crossing the finish line, a weather front went through and not long after Skipper Neal McDonald was thrown into the water by his teammates, surrounded by a bunch of spectator boats. Even though it was raining heavily several hundred spectators welcomed Assa Abloy into Viaduct Basin.

Amer Sports One crossed the finish line in Auckland, just under two hours after Assa Abloy. Amer Sports One managed to gain some distance on Assa Abloy in the last 24 hours, but not enough to beat the boat, which maintained her lead almost throughout the second stage of leg 3. She did however, manage to keep the cushion between her and the tussling trio, illbruck, News Corp and Tyco.

In an extremely close finish the three yachts Tyco, illbruck and News Corp fought for places three to five. Tyco decided for a more easterly route ten miles from the finish and split. illbruck faced the dilemma to decide whether to stick with main rival News Corp or to go and cover Tyco. They let Tyco loose and had to accept losing third place to her. Finishing third in his hometown was a great satisfaction for Kevin Shoebridge and his crew.

Shortly later Jez Fanstone and the News Corp crew started to attack illbruck and managed to draw even with the green German yacht. Kostecki pulled out his America's Cup match race skills and finally managed to secure fourth position when News Corp got stuck in less wind.

Over the morning the harbor has filled with several thousand spectators and a fleet of boats welcomed the three yachts that have delivered them on of the closest finishes in the history of round the world racing.

djuice finished on the disappointing sixth place, not having the chance to improve their performance from the last two legs. From the beginning on they were stricken with bad luck as their bow section started to fill with water shortly after the start. In their latest email while racing, skipper Knut Frostad admitted speed problems, but that they are fully motivated to use the long stopover in Auckland to take a hand on that.

Erle Williams was taken off the boat at the finishing line and taken to Hospital as he was suffering from suspected intestinal problems. Tests are being carried out now and djuice will issue a report later.

FINISH TIMES: 1. Assa Abloy, 17:20:42 GMT
2. Amer Sports One, 19:09:06
3. Tyco: 20:18:39
4. Illbruck: 20:22:41
5. News Corp: 20:24:54
6. djuice, 23:16:10
7. Amer Sports Too, 354 miles from finish at 0400 GMT January 4
8. Team SEB, in Auckland - retired.

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Grant Dalton
"I take my hat off to Mark Rudiger as he has tried a brave move twice in the last legs and has missed out both times yet he was prepared to do it again, and that takes a lot of self-confidence. A good job by him to have enough confidence to stick by his guns and do what he thought was right.

"We started with 26 to one shot at the start of the race, and I think we were probably seventh on paper, but now I'd say we are one of the top four but probably no better than that. We had no sail development, we did that in the first two legs and now our sails have come on stream here, We will go faster from here, that doesn't mean we will go out and blitz the leg but I think we are on an improving track and we'll get better. I think we're still playing catch-up in sails, and learning the techniques of the boat, but I think we're getting there." - Grant Dalton, Amer Sports One.

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Knut Frostad
We definitely had a speed problem jib reaching. We have to rethink a few things. We didn't sail very well, we were too exhausted as we sailed out of Hobart. We had the wrong watch system, we focused on having too many people on deck in the first part of the leg I think. So we all felt a bit too tired. Maybe that was one of the reasons why we made a mistake. We will be making improvements. We will see. We always try to improve. We have already decided we are going to start training on Sunday morning with the two boats, going out here in the Gulf, testing lots of stuff to increase our jib reaching speed. - Knut Frostad, djuice dragons.

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Professional sailor Ellen MacArthur, MBE officially opened the 48th London Boat Show at Earls Court, and then announced her future sailing plans and a new 5-year title sponsorship deal with International retailer, Kingfisher plc, that will permit her to continue to work towards her goal - to be at the top of her sport.

* "Maybe the Vendee Globe again one day, but not in 2004..." Ellen surprises a few..."It may be the Everest of sailing, and there is certainly some unfinished business for me, but for now I want to move on to what could be described as the K2 of sailing - multihulls, extreme, fast, on the edge - with a crew around the world, alone across the Atlantic and everything in between."

* So its the [4 yearly] Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race on 'Kingfisher' monohull in November 2002, and then on to multihulls in a steady build up to the Route du Rhum 2006 solo race on a new 60 foot trimaran, 'Kingfisher3', designed in 2004 for a 2005 entry in to the International ORMA circuit

* Winter 2002/3 will be busy following the Rhum with a Jules Verne, no limits, crewed attempt to be the fastest around the globe, in a chartered 110ft mega-catamaran, renamed 'Kingfisher2' - 71 days is the record to beat.

* 2002 will be spent gaining more valuable experience on the trimarans, racing with Alain Gautier, concluding with some unfinished business of the Transat Jacques Vabre event - 2 up France to Brazil, the event in which just a few weeks ago the pair had victory snatchedÊ away in the final few hours.

Ellen's company Offshore Challenges also launched the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team and announced its first full time professional sailor - Nick Moloney - who will leave in just a few weeks time with Bruno Peyron to attempt to break the Jules Verne record, on his mega-cat to be renamed 'Orange'.

(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be edited for clarity or space - 250 words max. This is not a chat room or a bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if others disagree.)

* From Bob Perry: I continue to be amazed at the amount of vitriolic comments directed at various yacht races, the recent Sydney-Hobart race for instance. As the designer of the 65' cruiser/racer ICON that came second in the IRC division I can say with certainty that I view this race as an excellent test of a new design. Despite the derogatory comments about the race I'm very proud of my design's performance in this year's race.

I can think of no other sport with the exception possibly of Little League Baseball where there is so much whining.

* From Russell Painton: Grant Dalton epitomizes just what has happened to sailboat racing in the last few years. He thinks that if you don't have the newest and most expensive boat going, you just are not racing. Wrong. The future of sailboat racing depends on the continued support of the average racing sailor. That is one who: 1. owns and sails his own boat, and 2. pays for it himself. Neither of these criteria does Dalton meet. Until he does meet these criteria, I suggest that he not bother the rest of us with his opinions.

* From Sherwood Kelley (re Craig Fletcher's comments on Pros vs. Amateurs): This is always a great debate worth commenting on. While it is true that sometimes it may seem that the amateurs get pushed back in the final standings because of the presence of pros, it is also true that the issue is class specific. Witness the Etchells class where Craig sails regularly; this class has always welcomed pros in their midst and the class has immensely benefited from their contributions over the years. Pros come into the class because of the tremendous competition they get from amateurs, as evidenced in the final standings of the last 3 Etchells' Worlds championships. Weigh the great contributions these guys make to raising the quality of racing vs. those (infrequent) times where they consistently finish first. I personally would rather be down in the standings against the best there is vs. finishing at the top with guys who are just out there for the fun of it. By the way, Craig does very well against the pros.

Peter Harrison launched the official GBR Challenge Business Club at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London. The club gives businesses the opportunity to support the historic British sailing team in it's bid for sporting's oldest trophy, whilst reaping exclusive business benefits.

The Business Club sits as the third level of partnership with GBR Challenge, giving companies who are not in a position to become sponsors or suppliers the opportunity to take part and support GBR Challenge. In return for a donation of £25,000, Business Club members will benefit from a range of networking, hospitality and promotional activities for their business and brand, as well as for clients and employees.

Among the many special offers and exclusive opportunities available to Business Club members are networking receptions, on the water hospitality days, corporate travel packages and even the chance to sail on an America's Cup boat. All members will have access to GBR Challenge's sponsors, partners and supporters as well as being part of an online directory which can only be accessed by other Business Club members, providing further exclusive networking. -

Around Alone Race organizers, Clipper Ventures plc, have announced the start dates for each leg, although the New Zealand ports are still under negotiation, allowing the 28 registered competitors to continue with the preparation of their campaigns.

Torbay, England, will host the first stopover in the five leg Around Alone 2002-03 solo, round the world yacht race. This West Country region will become the first European stopover in the 20-year history of the race. This also marks the first time a solo RTW yacht race has involved England, since the Sunday Times' Golden Globe, 34 years ago in 1968.

Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said that a great deal of time had gone into researching the average speeds of the anticipated fleet which looks to be significantly faster than in 1998, the last time Around Alone was raced. "We have reduced the overall time of Around Alone by nearly a month. The schedule is challenging, but speeds in recent races have shown it to be perfectly possible and we remain conscious of costs of the fleet in long stopovers and have thus reduced stopover times in each port, whilst still allowing for boat repairs to be carried out in time for the start of the following leg." Knox-Johnston reported.

Start dates of legs 2-5 will be reconfirmed 24 hours after the first boat crosses the finish line.

Race Schedule:
* Start (Newport, RI to Torbay) : Sunday 15th September 2002
* Leg 2 (Torbay to Cape Town) : Sunday 13th October 2002
* Leg 3 (Cape Town to New Zealand) : Sunday 1st December 2002
* Leg 4 (New Zealand to Salvador, Brazil) : Sunday 26th January 2003
* Leg 5 (Salvador to Newport): Sunday 23rd March 2003

The first boats are expected to complete the round the world race in Newport around 14th April 2003, with the remainder of the fleet finishing by 23rd April 2003. - Mary Ambler,

Two new styles of AIRX have been added to Bainbridge Internationals winning range of spinnaker fabrics: AIRX-650N: A true 3/4oz fabric specifically designed for classes with a 40gsm minimum weight. AIRX-900N: The strongest 1.5oz available for when the going gets really tough. Make sure to ask your sailmaker about the extra performance of AIRX spinnaker fabrics. More details at

* January 29: Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. Event headquarters will be located at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, and the regatta will be hosted at the U.S. Sailing Center; Coral Reef, Biscayne Bay, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; and the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. In the 12 years the regatta has been held it has attracted an average of 350 sailors representing 25 countries. -

* November 9: Route du Rhum, a single-handed transatlantic race from Saint-Malo (Brittany) to Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe, a sunny Caribbean island). The organizers will allow up to 60 entries. The start for the monohulls and the 40 and 50-footer multihulls will be on Saturday November 9, 2002 and another start for the 60-footer multihulls on Sunday November 10, 2002.

St.Maarten Heineken Regatta, BVI Spring Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week will again host the series. The Heineken Regatta is a 3-day, 4-race, 4 party format, traditionally held on the first weekend of March. The BVI Spring Regatta follows a month later in early April and the Series winds up at Antigua Sailing Week late April, early May. These three events combined comprise a 12-race series for monohulls over 60 feet, scored as one series with no change in class divisions.

The organizers of the CBBS are delighted that "Roy Disney will travel to the Caribbean to take part in the series. This is Mr Disney's first time at trying his hand at Caribbean racing. Someone must have told him about the secret that we have been trying to hide for so long as to how wonderful it is to race on crystal blue waters with the warm sun on your back and a glass of Caribbean rum after the race to celebrate."

Some more new entries to the series are Roy Disney's Pyewacket; Tom Hill with his Andrews 68 "Titan" (ex Grins); the open 60 "Gartmore", skippered by Josh Hall, 3 Farr 65's from Formula 1 events in the UK. -

The crew of Jetstream will receive the US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal on January 10, 2002, to be presented by US Sailing Past President James P. Muldoon at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Scott Livingston, Kelly Pittlekow, Steve LeGendre and Michael Erdek, the crew of Jetstream, will receive the award for rescuing a mariner in distress, calling in outside assistance to have a second mariner rescued, and the safe rescue of a sinking boat, and clearing the waterway of a hazard. The Rescue Medal recognizes acts of exemplary seamanship, and the award process is also used as a way to gain more education about rescues at sea. - Penny Piva Rego

A strong fleet of fourteen Australian 18 foot Skiffs will find stiff opposition from eleven visiting teams from seven countries when the International Championship begins on Sydney Harbour tomorrow (Saturday).

Four previous winners of the famous JJ Giltinan Trophy, which has been raced for since 1938, will be competing - Australian skippers Trevor Barnabas (who has won the trophy on no less than 5 occasions), John Winning and John Harris, together with Tim Robinson from Great Britain.

Ten of the eleven visitors come from the northern hemisphere (the exception is the team from New Zealand), where it is currently the closed season. This, together with the fact that there are some new and unknown teams, makes current form very difficult to judge, which will make the opening heats particularly interesting. In addition to those who have won the trophy previously, the favourites will include Howard Hamlin from the United States and Robert Greenhalgh from Great Britain.

Seven heats will be sailed between the 5th and the 13th of January, with each boat's best six scores counting for the championship. - Peter Danby

Friendship is like wine, it gets better as it grows older.