Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 989 - January 21, 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.

I just received in the mail a really nice Notice of Race from one of my favorite races- The Newport to Bermuda Race. Forget the fact that they essentially made a coffee table magazine under the alias of a regatta publication... one very important topic in the Notice of Race stuck out. The race is being run under 3 different rules or rule versions (IMS Racing, IMS Racer Cruiser, Americap). Therefore any sailor can enter the category that suits either their boat type, crew classification or sailing style. In fact, they have created trophies that are equally significant for each of these classes. It is something that needs to be more of a trend in our sport, as it will certainly bring back some of big boat participation that is lacking from many of our most prestigious events.

The reason that this is important right now is the fact that there are several different racing rule options that all have some merits. And until one rule really stands out, we have to allow all of them to go through their own interview process. Let the cream of the crop rise up and take over. But it is going to take some time.

The Bermuda Race has the luxury of being a yachting tradition with wide spread appeal. An even-year rite of passage on the east coast of the US. But for a race or regatta with smaller participation, you could even go one step further than the Bermuda Race has. For example, I sailed the Jamaica Race early last year on a Farr 60 called Carrera. A great all purpose boat that happens to have been built with the IMS rule in mind. The event offered participation in both PHRF and IMS classes to any boat that registered-- and you could sail to both rules and qualify for two prizes if you wanted to! Or you could only sail under one rule. It clearly helped raise participation, as well as gave us all more competition on the water. We sailed in a class that was twice as big as it may have been if only one rule was chosen. It was more fun!

On the other hand, while sailing Carrera in the Halifax Race last summer, the traditional one rule application was in effect. We sailed in a 3 boat IMS class surrounded by all the other boats that we competed against in the Jamaica Race- sailing PHRF. It was a shame. It would have been a great race knowing we were in competition with all of the boats around us during the race. And it definitely would have enticed more boats to do the race if they knew that there was more than one way to win or just to compete.

My point is this: All boats or sailing crews have their own perceived advantageous rule. And I still don't think we should write IMS off. It has come a long way. I am not writing this to stir up the hard core One Design sailors to hop on their soap box's with a rendition of "One Design is the only way to go". This opinion is for the thousands of sailors who own their own custom or semi-custom boat, who simply want to race against other similar sized boats. Events have to open their minds to make the racing more fun until one rule really sticks. Get 20 boats on a starting line for each class. That should be an unwritten rule.

With this in mind, events and individual boats alike should try Americap. They should try dual score events under IMS and PHRF, or Americap and PHRF. Or at least follow the Bermuda Race's lead and offer equally high profile trophies for several different rules. Let more people into the game with a chance to win a trophy. Participation will increase and more people will have fun. And that is what this is all about.

Who's winning? John Kostecki (Grey-28 lens), the Volvo. Iain Murray (Copper-12 lens), overall honors Sydney - Hobart. Cory Sertl (Grey-28 lens) and Pease Glaser (Grey-28 lens), Women's Rolex Sailing Championship. And last week Howard Hamlin (Copper-12 lens) and Mike Martin (Grey-12 lens) win the 18' Skiff World Title. One common advantage -- Kaenon Polarized. We call it Light Transmission Control (LTC). The first polarized lens technology offering varying Light Transmission Levels (LTL) in specifically developed tints. Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically. Available at West Marine and Key West Race Week.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the immediate future of yachting events like Key West Race Week, the annual winter regatta that attracts top racing sailors from all over the planet, was decidedly uncertain. After such devastation, the notion of going sailboat racing seemed to many people like a most inappropriate response.

Over a three-week period in October, our entries fell off to zero," he said in a phone interview last Friday. Considering that a record-setting 326 boats competed in Key West earlier in the year, it was a shocking figure.

"I think everyone in the country was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and not quite sure what to do about anything," he said.

With the passage of time, however, attitudes changed. After a brief hiatus, the college and professional sports leagues resumed their full schedules. People tried to return to their normal routines. And Craig's phone, at his headquarters in Marblehead, Mass., began ringing.

Tomorrow, 325 boats from 33 states - and including 54 foreign entries - will get under way for the latest edition of the Terra Nova Trading/Yachting Key West Race Week, which runs through Friday.

-- From Herb McCormick's Sunday Editorial in the NY Times:

A vocal minority within Royal Ocean Racing Club have started to express strong concerns about their club's plans for a rejuvenated Admiral's Cup in 2003.

Acting as the spokesman for a collection of RORC members based around the IRM Owners Association, long-time RORC member Peter Morton presented his views to the committee for over three hours on Wednesday night.

Morton's unease is not limited simply to the direct issues surrounding the Admiral's Cup. He and his group have wide ranging concerns that encompass the Commodore's Cup and the broader impact of the RORC's actions on the future of the IRM and IRC rating rules.

Discussions between the RORC and Morton's group are continuing, with both parties looking for a definitive solution in the near future. One can only hope that reason prevails. As Morton so rightly sums up "at the end of the day we all need this to work".

-- Excerpted from a long, must-read article by Peter Bentley in See

Contender Sailcloth has an immediate opening for a sales position to the applicant with the best qualifications. A working knowledge of sails and some experience in sailmaking combined with an ability to sell are important assets. If you would like to work with a motivated team selling high quality product, this is an opportunity to begin a career in the marine industry. Travel required. Please send resumes to:

Lisa McDonald's Amer Sports Too has added British sailing stars Miranda Merron and Emma Richards to their team for Leg Four. Both are highly experienced ocean racers. Merron comes in to replaced Australian Genevieve White as navigator while Richards will slot into the place left by Sharon Ferris who has left the Amer Sports Too campaign to start a new project of her own.

Prior to joining the Volvo Ocean Race Merron and Richards were involved with their own individual campaigns in the Transat Jaques-Vabre. "We only stopped sailing together about nine months ago, I wanted to sail monohulls and Emma wanted to keep going with the multihull racing," explains Merron.

Emma Richards: "We are looking forward to the challenge. We have been down there before [Southern Ocean], so we might have a little experience to bring to the other girls. My forte is steering - I like steering in heavy winds. It is just going to be a case of getting used to this boat before we go down there.

"I know the girls that were on Royal & Sun Alliance, both Miranda and Emma (Westmacott) I know well. Miranda and I have spent the last three years doing double-handed races and crewed races with. Anna Drougge was my skipper at the beginning of 2001 on the sixty-foot trimaran and so I know her very well and various others I have met at other times, so I am really looking forward to it. I know it is a strong team and it is a privilege to be part of it.

For McDonald the coup appears to be part of her long-term game plan. Half the distance may have been sailed, but still 70 percent of the points remain up for grabs. Not only are the later legs shorter, but also McDonald hopes the disparity of experience should reduce as the boats move further north. "We have a long way to go, but I'm confident that we will be among the fleet by the time we reach the Atlantic. Hopefully by then we will be giving the other teams a run for their money, we certainly have a lot more experience in the Atlantic than we do down in this part of the world." -- John Greenland


(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 Michael Silverman: Someone has to ask the question: Do the AC sailors really want more spectators near the race course? I'd be willing to bet that none of them mind the crowds as they're returning into the harbor, but all of those boats kicking up the seas must make their lives more difficult.

* From Dan McGreer: Reading Gary Hoyt's ideas for the America's Cup race course gave me an idea that I think would make the races more interesting. The current course has 3 windward/leeward legs. I suggest that at the end of each windward/leeward there would be a gate style restart. The boat that won the previous windward/leeward would wait for the trailing boat and would then start at the leeward mark first and the trailing boat would cross behind the lead boat. This would allow the trailing boat to catch up to the lead boat to make the race more interesting but would still leave the lead boat with an advantage. There would be 3 windward/leeward legs so the boat that won 2 windward/leewards would win the race. The course could also include the mid-course gate which I think is also a good idea. An option could also be considered if the trailing boat is with two boat lengths of the lead boat the race could be waved on by the on the water judges and a restart not required.

* From Mike Amirault: I found the absolute sure-fire cure for seasickness - absolute terror! While doing a pre-race delivery last year I got dreadfully sick. I even stayed on deck where I was freezing and getting drenched with waves because I would vomit if I tried to move down into the cabin. We were almost to our destination, cruising under engine power at 7.5 knots when - SLAM - we ran aground on rocks. Instantly I was awake and alert (it was my boat). We were stuck on the rocks and taking on water. I worked to get us off the rocks while my crew found the leak. It took about 5 minutes to fix the leak and free us from the rocks. From the instant we hit the rock my seasickness was completely cured. It's not a cheap way to cure seasickness but it works perfectly.

During a ceremony at city hall in Kingston, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, January 8, CORK volunteer Steve Buckingham received a commendation from the Governor General for rescuing a drowning sailor.

Buckingham and his crew were acting as a rescue team for a sailing regatta when they spotted a sailboat with no one aboard.

The 37-year-old father of two dove into the freezing waters of the St. Lawrence River to rescue a man minutes away from drowning after he was knocked into the water by the boom of his sailboat. "I'm glad I didn't die myself doing it," said Buckingham, who was surprised to learn he would receive the Certificate of Commendation from the Governor General for his courage.

When the man sank beneath the surface for the first time, Buckingham was already getting undressed. The man came back up, went down, came back up. When he went down for a third time, he didn't resurface.

"I dove in, got him about 12 feet under the water," Buckingham said.

"He was motionless. I thought I was bringing up a dead guy."

Buckingham managed to push the man onto the deck of a boat that his crew members had radioed for help. The boat headed for the Kingston Yacht Club dock, where an ambulance picked up the man and took him to Kingston General Hospital where he recovered.

Buckingham tried to explain why he risked his life to save a stranger, a man he's since met only once. He said he's happy to have saved a life and surprised to be receiving an award for it, but ultimately he seems most pleased by having acted in accordance with his conscience.

"I was asked a lot about why I did it," he recalled. "The only thing I can say is that I couldn't let someone die in front of me without trying [to save him]." Full article at

Dan Myers of Boca Raton, FL, won the 27th Annual Ft. Lauderdale - Key West Race aboard E-TICKET a Beneteau/Moorings 38. The victory in the 160-mile point-to-point race, combined with his second place finish in last November's Wirth W. Munroe Race, a 40 nautical mile race from Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach, gives Myers the Coastal Bifecta Series Championship and a Swiss-made OMEGA watch.

Forty boats set out from Ft. Lauderdale at 1pm on Wednesday, January 16, to begin the voyage to the southernmost point in the contiguous United States. E-TICKET's combined corrected time of 18 hours, 24 minutes set the pace and was 37 minutes faster than second place Contrails in its class.

Managed by the Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Yacht Club, the Ft. Lauderdale - Key West Race features PHRF and multihull boats and is a prelude to Terra Nova Trading Key West Race Week commencing Monday, January 21.

The Wirth M. Munroe Race featured PHRF Class entrants. The regatta was managed by the Sail Fish Club of Palm Beach and the Cruising Club of America. This 2001 event saw 35 boats line up to race along Florida's east coast. The winner of the 2001 Wirth M. Munroe was O'NO skippered by Phil Wallace. In the closely contested regatta O'NO defeated E-TICKET by just three minutes.

For complete results of the Ft. Lauderdale - Key West Race and the Coastal Bifecta Series visit -- Shawn McBride

* Bryan Willis of Ryde, Isle of Wight, has been appointed by the International Sailing Federation to be the Chairman of the Jury and Chief Umpire for the Louis Vuitton Cup and 31st America's Cup Match which will take place in Auckland, New Zealand from October 2002 to March 2003.

Willis has been involved with both the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup since 1980. Most recently he served as Chairman of the Jury and Chief Umpire in the 1999-2000 event. For the 2002-2003 events he will lead a team of 18 International Umpires who will oversee as many as 175 races over 5 months beginning in October 2002.

He is a member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee and the ISAF Race Officials Committee and is currently serving as Chairman of the International Jury for the Volvo Ocean Race.

* Team Dennis Conner announced a partnership with Nautica, who have created a new sportswear collection called Stars & Stripes. The collection will be sold in major department and specialty stores around the world and through the Team Dennis Conner website,, beginning this summer.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin