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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 980 - January 8, 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.

COMMENTARY - Tim Jeffrey
(Tim Jeffery has taken a long, thoughtful look at the state of the Volvo Ocean Race in his story in the UK's Telegraph. Here's an excerpt.)

Having purchased the former Whitbread Race four years ago, Volvo now realise their reincarnated Volvo Ocean Race is not going well. Entries are at their lowest level, costs are at their highest and the event has lost some of its public allure.

Auckland has witnessed some heroic finishes in Whitbreads gone by, with thousands of spectators clinging to vantage points and enough spectator boats in attendance to step across the harbour on them.

The public have loved the Whitbread, no more so than New Zealanders. We can thank the late Sir Peter Blake for much of this. First there was Ceramco New Zealand's arrival in the 1981-82 race following her first-leg dismasting; eight years later Blake's Steinlager 2 edged out Grant Dalton's Fisher & Paykel, and then, in perhaps the most extraordinary finish of all in 1993-94, Dalton's NZ Endeavour beat Chris Dickson's Tokio to be the first boat home. New Zealand television ran a six-hour live outside broadcast through the pitch-black night. The pictures were poor, but it was climactic, enthralling television.

How Volvo must wish to rediscover some of this passion. The announcement of the format of the second Volvo Ocean Race was to have been made during the present stopover in Auckland but has been put on hold. Two extensive surveys are underway, a sign that Volvo know all is not well.

So what are the problems? In short, the number of entries is at an all-time low with just eight, two fewer than in the final Whitbread four years ago and miles away from the peak of 28 in the 1981-82 event. Costs have escalated to the point where an entry runs at 8 to 15 million. And, most telling of all, the public are less interested, even in Auckland. The look on Dalton's face when he finished here on Friday said it all - "Where are they?"

Some things are out of Volvo's hands. For instance, the America's Cup is held whenever the current holder chooses and Team New Zealand have scheduled the last and the next cups with five-year and three-year intervals. That made it impossible to compete in the current Volvo Ocean Race, which finishes in June, and the 2003 America's Cup, whose trials commence this October.

"The Volvo was ambushed by a combination of events outside its control," says Dennis Conner, who fielded teams in the last two Whitbreads. "The timing has definitely hurt it." - Tim Jeffrey, The Telegraph, UK

Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/

REDRESS DENIED
On Monday afternoon, the International Jury convened to hear two requests for redress for Leg Three of the Volvo Ocean Race. As both requests concerned the same incident, they were heard concurrently.

The requests came from Team SEB and Team News Corp, who claimed their standing in Leg Three was prejudiced by the Race Committee failing to take action against Team Tyco for not complying with the Sydney - Hobart Sailing Instructions, and scoring Kevin Shoebridge's team as DNF for Leg Three of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Tyco was scored DNF in the Sydney - Hobart race by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Race Committee after failing to make a compulsory radio safety check-in call within the required time frame, as required by the Sydney Hobart Sailing Instructions.

At that time, Tyco asked for redress from the Sydney Hobart International Jury, disputing that they had failed to make the radio call correctly. That request was denied, and Tyco was scored DNF for that race.

In Auckland on Monday, the International Jury denied both requests for redress. Their decision stated in part, "Between Sydney and Hobart, the VOR boats were sailing in two separate races, each being scored separately. This concept is supported by Leg 3 SI 300.17 which states that incidents other than those between VOR boats, are dealt with by the SH Jury, and penalties applied by the SH Jury apply only to the SH Race. Leg 3 SI 300.18 also supports this notion. The VOR RC did not make an improper action or omission in not recording TYCO as 'DNF' in Leg 3.

The Requests for Redress are therefore denied. Bryan Willis Chairman International Jury Jury: Doug Elder (NZL), Lister Hughes (AUS), Tony Mooney (AUS), Geoff Myburgh (RSA)

Within hours of the above decision, Team News Corp. filed a protest against Team Tyco for failure to comply with Sydney Hobart Sailing Instruction 43.2. The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 Tuesday 8 January 2002 in Auckland.

Sea lawyers will want to visit the race web site to learn all of the gory details. - www.volvoceanrace.com

SAIL FASTER. SAIL SMARTER. WIN MORE RACES!
Whether you're a new racer or an experienced racer looking to move up in the fleet, don't miss the Performance Race Weeks presented by North U and Offshore Sailing School. Held at South Seas Resort on Captiva Island, Florida, the Race Weeks are based on North U's Performance Racing Tactics and Trim curriculum. Each week includes six full days of instructional racing action, morning seminars and evening video review sessions. If you want to win more races next summer, come to Captiva this spring. For information call 888-454-5216 or visit: www.offshore-sailing.com/courses_content/performance_race.htm

ON THE HAURAKI GULF
At 2:30 PM today (Tuesday), while the Oracle Racing team was training on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf just off North Head in six knots of breeze, one of the team's trial (IACC) sailboats sustained a broken mast. All team members remained unharmed and promptly returned to the Oracle Racing sailing base where they will further investigate the cause for the breakage. - Gina Von Esmarch, Oracle Racing, www.oracleracing.com

DIFFERENT VIEWS
British crewmember Matthew Humphries resigns from Team SEB. Humphries who is watch captain and helmsman onboard SEB in the Volvo Ocean Race has decided to leave the team for personal reasons after three out of nine legs in the race.

Humphries, 30 years of age, has been with the Team SEB project since its beginning and has been one of the watch captains onboard. He has been sailing with skipper Gurra Krantz for several years and during the last Whitbread 1997-98 they sailed together with many of the SEB crewmembers onboard Swedish Match.

"I have been working together with Gurra Krantz for a long time now but we have different views on the future. Therefore I have decided to leave the team," Matthew Humphries says.

"It is sad that Matthew will be leaving us and he has been in the core crew for many years. We are splitting on good terms and I wish Matthew best of luck in his future endeavours,"Gurra Krantz says.

Matthew has participated in three Whitbread Round the World Races; on Integrity 1989-90 when he as an eighteen year-old became the youngest crewmember ever in the race. He skippered Dolphin & Youth 1993-94 and most recently he was watch captain onboard Swedish Match in 1997-98. - Fredrik Trahn, image.teamseb.com

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
leweck@earthlink.net
(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 Bill Whitmore: How can there be a fuss over the GBR challenge buying the Nippon AC Yachts as a starting point ? Wasn't precedent set by the Prada Syndicate buying the two Eric Goetz built New York Yacht Club yachts after the last America's Cup races ? This acquisition by the Italians was done specfically to acquire and test the advanced technology of these boats. I believe there are other examples which could be cited as well.

* From G. Edward Kriese: Mark Soverel was an amazing sailor & designer. Volition means "of the will" and a good name for the 39 he designed, built and drove to victory in the Palm Beach race a few years back. We sailed away from the other boats in our class B start and finished off Palm Beach right behind the 50's in Class A to win overall. Loosing him at such a young age is a tragedy.

MORE CREW CHANGES
Crew changes have been made to Lisa McDonald's crew onboard Amer Sports Too. New Zealander Sharon Ferris is leaving the syndicate to take up an option on another sailing project. Ferris said that details would be released in a few weeks time when the sponsorship announcement has been made.

Australian navigator, Genevieve White is also moving aside to make room for a replacement navigator with more experience. White, who was brought in almost at the last minute to replace French woman Marie Claude Heys in the navigators' role, commented, "The navigator comes under a lot of pressure at this level in the sport and I understand the syndicate wants to bring in a navigator with more experience."

Perhaps less surprising was the decision that Carolijn Brouwer from The Netherlands would once again replace Melissa Purdy from the USA. Brouwer sailed the Southern Ocean leg from Cape Town to Sydney onboard Amer Sports Too, and makes a planned return for the 6,700 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro, which starts on January 27th.

Skipper Lisa McDonald said, "we will announce the new members of the leg four sailing team when they arrive at our Auckland base next week." She also confirmed that the campaign was still working on crew development and finding the right mix of skills and experience as they prepared for the next leg, which takes them back into the Southern Ocean. - www.VolvoOceanRace.org

18-FOOTERS INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The first of the two traditional lay days during the JJ Giltinan International Championship has not been a day of rest for many of the competitors. For series leaders Howard Hamlin and his 'General Electric-US Challenge' team mates Mike Martin and Trevor Baylis, the priority has been to get their carbon fibre No 1 mast repaired in time for Heat 3 tomorrow, after it broke at the upper spreader within sight of the finish yesterday. They were able to cross the line without losing their Heat 2 second place.

Two other teams have needed to spend the day attending to carbon fibre repairs, after their spinnaker poles were broken yesterday. The American 'Total Recall' team of Dalton Bergan, Zack Maxam and Jeff Nelson lost theirs in a collision, while British 'White Stuff' sailors Victor Brellisford, James "Flossie" Fawcett and Dave Smith were desperately unlucky to have theirs explode due to a rigging swage failure when they were holding an excellent second place.

Even after only two heats, the series points situation is very interesting. First to finish in both the opening heats were the British national champions Rob Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Jonny Meers on 'RMW Marine', but they lost their first place in Heat 1 following a protest from an Australian team, which resulted in their disqualification after their spinnaker brushed the other boat, which was travelling in the opposite direction.

This promoted 'General Electric-US Challenge' to first place in Heat 1, and, together with their second place in Heat 2, they hold an excellent lead on points after only two heats. - Peter Danby, www.18footers.com.au

HEADING FOR KEY WEST
As you dream of sailing on the nice clear waters out of Key West, you can't forget to take your Camet padded sailing shorts. They are perfect for the nice warm weather, they are fast drying, and the pads are a must for those long hours on the rail. As you check out the Camet web page, to order your shorts, add one of the Mylar bags, to carry the rest of your gear down to the boat. www.camet.com

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* July 13-14: Newport Regatta, hosted by Sail Newport with race circle teams from Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Coaster's Harbor Yacht Club, Frostbite Yacht Club and Barrington Yacht Club. Invited classes: J/35, ID-35, Club 420 (Spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions) J/105, Etchells, J/24, Shields, Vanguard 15, JY 15, Laser, Windsurfer (2-1 Class), Sunfish, U.S. 2.4mR/ N3 Class, Flying Dutchman, 505, 110, Vanguard Vector, Yngling, J/80, J/22, U.S. Mariners, Ensign, S Boats, Independence 20. kimberly@sailnewport.org

OPEN 30
The newly formed Open 30 Class has undergone a change in web site address. The old address of (www.open30.org) has been changed to (www.open30.com) The Open 30 development rule is dedicated to producing high performance, innovative, offshore racing sailboat designs with a simple, cost - effective formula in mind. Many top Yacht Designers have joined in on the Open 30 Movement including Owen Clarke Design Group, Van Gorkom Yacht Design, Mills Yacht Design and Alan Andrews Yacht Design. - Russ Lenarz, www.open30.com

GOOD IDEA?
Was the three and a half hour pit stop in Hobart a good idea for the Volvo Ocean Racers? The general consensus seemed to be that a 24-hour stopover would have been ideal, with the race counting as a leg in its own right. Departing so soon after their arrival was a bittersweet moment for the victorious crew of Assa Abloy. Grant Dalton sympathised with the mixture of emotions they must have felt. "It's a bit like pushing your mother-in-law off a cliff in your own car," he suggested.

ROSE BOWL REGATTA
LONG BEACH- The nation's largest combined collegiate - high school regatta drew 19 college teams, including five from the weather-beaten East Coast, and 44 high school teams from throughout California. The latter were divided into Gold and Silver groups, based on skill level, and each school split into A and B teams, which swapped boats and combined their scores for the school's total.

USC and Coronado and El Segundo High Schools outsailed widespread fleets of rivals to claim championships in the annual Rose Bowl Regatta Jan. 5-6 hosted by the US Sailing Center and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.

All sailed CFJ dinghies on the sheltered waters of Alamitos Bay, where conditions were shirtsleeve sunny with light winds of 3-8 knots on Saturday, followed by fading and shifty breeze on Sunday. The collegiate and high school Gold crews sailed six races each, the Silver 10. - Rich Roberts

RESULTS: COLLEGE (19 teams)-
1. USC (A Division skipper Colin Campbell, junior; crew Luke Leffingwell, freshman; B Division skipper David Levy, junior; crew Tracey Treaccar, senior), 42 points; 2. Hawaii, 56; 3. Georgetown, 68; 4. St. Mary's, 72; 5. Boston College, 75.

HIGH SCHOOL GOLD (23)-1. (A Division skipper Mikee Andersen-Mitterling, senior; crew Lauren Usrey, sophomore; B Division skippers Brian Haines, senior, and Jon Nass, junior; crew Katie Eckert, freshman), 44; 2. Corona del Mar, 60; Newport Harbor, 72; 4. The Bishop's School, 72; 5. Point Loma JV, 85.

HIGH SCHOOL SILVER (21)-1. El Segundo (A Division skipper Parker Mitchell, sophomore; crew Willy Petersen, 8th grade; B Division skipper Michael Blunt, sophomore; crew Caytlin Hall, freshman), 71; 2. Agoura, 109; 3. Corona del Mar JV, 144; 4. Polytechnic, 165; 5. Dos Pueblos, 170.

Photos, complete results at: www.pcisa.org

AWARDS
The Southern California Yachting Association has named Jane Watkins as the 2001 recipient of their prestigious Peggy Slater Award. The Award is presented annually to a "female for outstanding contributions to the enhancement of women's participation in sailing or individual achievement in the sport of sailing." - www.scya.org

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
If you keep waiting for your ship to come in you'll miss the boat.