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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 992 - January 24, 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.

TERRA NOVA TRADING / YACHTING KEY WEST RACE WEEK
Wednesday's breeze was up to 18 knots, strongest of the week.

While big winds often bring bad news, most sailors will welcome them and take their chances. Some paid the price at Terra Nova Trading/Yachting Key West Race Week Wednesday.

Foremost, there was the Titan XI-Decision collision in PHRF-1 class. Stephen Murray's Decision, an Andrews 70 from New Orleans, struck Tom Hill's Titan XI, an Andrews 68 from San Juan, P.R., near the windward mark on the first leg of the second race.

Decision, on port tack, tried to duck its rival but T-boned Titan XI smack on the middle T. Titan XI looked as if it had been cut almost halfway in two by a chainsaw.

"We thought we were going to sink," Hill said. "The regatta's over for us."

Well, not exactly. In what Titan XI helmsman Mark Ploch called "a very gracious offer," Murray put his boat, which suffered what was described as "superficial damage," at the disposal of Hill and his crew for the last two days of the regatta.

Madden Randle, Decision's navigator and boat captain, said, "We owed them the gesture. We probably made a mistake-well, we most certainly made a mistake in trying to duck them. We probably waited too long and were going too fast-10-plus knots by the time we collided."

In the Farr 40 class featuring celebrity tacticians, Atalanti XI, the double defending champion with Robbie Haines brainstorming behind owner/driver George Andreadis of Greece, slipped quietly into first place although it still hasn't finished better than third (3-7-4-4-3). Wednesday's winners were John Thomson's Solution and Jim Richardson's Barking Mad, but consistency is what counts there.

Consistently winning is even better. In the 1D35s, Chris and Kara Busch's Wild Thing from San Diego (1-2-1-1-1) now has an eight-point lead.

After three of five days, the only unbeaten boat left from the 324 entries from 33 states and 14 countries is Kerry Klingler's defending J/80 champion from Larchmont, N.Y., known only by its sail number, 395.

In IMS, Isam Kabbani's C/M 60, Rima, and George David's Nelson/Marek 49, Idler, remained tied for first place after swapping firsts and seconds-ditto Bill Alcott's Santa Cruz 70, Equation, and George Collins' Farr 52, Chessie Racing, in PHRF-1, as Titan XI and Decision went by the boards.

The hottest PHRF boats are Wairere, Trice and Chris Bouzaid's Thompson 30, with a 1-1-2-1-1 series going in PHRF-3, and Dream Cookie, Peter De Beukelaer's Tripp 26, in PHRF-8.

Richard Perini's Mumm 30 Foreign Affair from Sydney, Australia, won both of Wednesday's races to make it three in a row for a narrow lead. -- Rich Roberts

Complete results and photos on the event site: www.premiere-racing.com

MELGES 24 WORLDS
Italian Flavio Favini and his Swiss team, headed by owner Franco Rossini, led the fleet from start to finish in all three races taking him into a comfortable lead.

Overnight leader Jamie Lea, helming for Britain's Richard Thompson, had a disastrous start to his day when he was OCS in the first race. He was not alone as around 1/3 of the fleet found their numbers being called forcing them to head back round the ends.

Strong overnight winds had kicked up a significant swell and chop and with around 16 knots of breeze it was set to be a very hard day at the office, particularly with 3 races scheduled. -- Fiona Brown

Top five places after today's racing:
Place - Boat - Nation - Entrant - Helm - Points
1. Blu Moon - SUI - Franco Rossini - Flavio Favini - 28
2. Star - USA - Jeff Ecklund - Harry Melges - 39
3. Full Throttle - USA - Brian Porter - Brian Porter - 44
4. Black Seal - UK - Richard Thompson - Jamie Lea - 45
5. Region Ile de France - FRA - Laurent Pages - N/A - 53

See www.melges24.com or www.premiere-racing.com for complete results.

DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
Displayed wind direction changes from tack to tack or gybe to gybe. The electronic compass shows a different heading than the card compass in the cockpit. On one tack wind angles are always much tighter than the other tack. In 20 feet of water your 7 foot deep keel goes aground. This is not good, and it's time to calibrate. Start with boatspeed and compass.(and depth if you're truly going aground with alarming frequency). For more- lots more - download the Ockam System manual from the products section of www.ockam.com.

HOBIE 16 UPDATE FOR ISAF WORLD SAILING GAMES
The Olympic Sailing Committee of US SAILING, national governing body for the sport, has announced a clarification of the Hobie 16 entries to the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games.

The previously published Preliminary Notice of Race for the event has been amended to allow a mixed-gender team to sail the Hobie 16 men's event. The crew for the Hobie 16 women's event must be all women. A men/mixed and an all-women's team will be qualified from each of the following two events:

Hobie 16 Midwinter's West Area Championship, February 22-24, 2002, in San Felipe, Mexico (contact Stoney Douglas at sdouglas@accessnv.com or visit the event website at www.nahca.org/nors/mww_2002.htm);

and the Hobie 16 Midwinter's East Area Championship, April 13-14, 2002 in Pensacola Beach, Fla. (contact Kirk Newkirk at keysailing@keysailing.com).

A revised press release on the ISAF World Sailing Games qualifiers for U.S. sailors is available at: www.ussailing.org/pressreleases/2002/ISAFqualifiers.htm -- Jan Harley

BRAD VAN LIEW AT STRICTLY SAIL CHICAGO
For those going to the Strictly Sail Chicago boat show, the Around Alone 2002/3 will be represented by American entry, skipper Brad Van Liew and his Mission America project.

You can join him on Saturday 2nd February, 2002, at 4.30pm in Room 328 of the Strictly Sail Chicago at Navy Pier. One of only 12 Americans to ever race solo around the world, Brad will talk about his experiences in extreme offshore racing, share his extraordinary adventures and the reward of fulfilling a dream.

There will be a Dry Creek Wine Reception to follow presentation. Admission to the boat show is $12.00 for adults.

INVESTMENT ADVICE
Take five minutes RIGHT NOW to learn more about a shortcut to upgrading your boat's performance. Click onto www.ullmansails.com and find out what so many winners already know -- Ullman Sails are a solid investment. And a cost effective investment as well. Big boats, small boat, heavy boats, light boats -- it really doesn't make any difference. The lads at Ullman Sails have broken the code and can help move your program up to the next level.

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON -- This week to dmccreary@boats.com
(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 Ted Beier: To set the record straight with regard to Alan Blunt's comments in Butt 983. Mc Donnell-Douglas (now Boeing) has been building compression load dominated composite structures since the late '70s. Every Harrier and F/A-18 upper wing skin (over 1000 of them) carry very high compression loads without failure. Compression strength depends on a good resin and a well compacted layup with minimal voids.

Landing gear are still metal, not because of compression loads, but because of high point loads. Composites do not react high concentrated loads such as those at an axle joint or an attach lug very well.

* From Mark Gaudio: With regard to alternative penalties...It's simple, use a system that will self-administer itself thereby keeping competitors out of 'the room.' Many of the one-design classes have adopted a 360 degree penalty. It works well, because if in doubt, the prudent helmsperson will do 1 turn (tack and jibe) just for the piece of mind. The 720 is so severe it almost guarantees that marginal infractions will go to 'the room'. Nobody will stop their boat and loose 10-15 lengths unless they are 100% sure their goose is cooked and its their only option. This causes too many knuckle-headed wanker protests in many regattas, thereby reducing the fun-factor and bumming competitor's high.

If you're good at it, the manuever may only cost you 3-5 lengths, which is plenty for your garden variety 'minor violation'. Of course, there should be language put in the SI's explaining that violent rule infractions resulting in severe damage etc., are not subject to the 360 rule. However, for 90% of the potential or observed infractions that occur on the racecourse, the 360 makes perfect sense. In doing the 360 immediately the competitor will loose their lane (in a competitive fleet) and force them to keep clear while doing so...isn't that enough???

* From Peter Godfrey: I thought [multiple entries/ratings] was a great idea when we tried it in an Indian Harbor YC distance race maybe ten years ago, but one of the competitors apparently didn't like the result. His boat was entered in two classes, IMS and PHRF, started in the second division, and finished second in fleet in one of the classes. Apparently this wasn't good enough, as he protested on the ground that the boat that won that class started in the first division, giving him a 5-minute head start and thus an advantage.

Never minding that their decision would invalidate a century of overall results for all handicap classes in YRA of LIS events, the local protest committee upheld the protest and threw out the race. On appeal, the YRA of LIS Appeals Committee upheld the decision. It was finally overturned by the US Sailing Appeals Committee and the results reinstated, but not before IHYC [and yours truly] earned a Moosehead Supreme for this "stunt". So, go ahead and try it, but know that someone, sometime will be unhappy enough with an outcome to pursue some similar foolishness.

* From Ray Pendleton: For better America's Cup race conditions, how about Hawaii? Anyone who's raced the Kenwood Cup Offshore Series can vouch for its venue of clear, warm water and strong trade winds.

* From Gareth Evans: I have to disagree. The last place we want to see the America's Cup is in the USA. It would be much better back "home" in Great Britain. You guys have all had it for long enough!

* From Richard Brown: To call the last America's cup boring sounds like an American criticizing an event the Americans did not win. Suddenly millions of Italians discovered where New Zealand is, and good on them.

In just over 8 months the next Louis Vuitton series starts and promises to be even more exciting than last time with most teams having the last 2 years to develop more speed. This in turn will mean a closer competition for the Kiwis who, although they have improved their design will inevitably struggle against the multi-millionaires.

Auckland, the 'City of Sails' is an exciting place to watch yacht racing. The race course is within sight of many cliff top vantage points and there are endless inexpensive charter boats just waiting to take you out to watch the action up close. The downtown Viaduct Basin is buzzing with the Volvo fleet at present but once they have left on Sunday all the action will be Americas Cup. Why don't you come over and see for yourselves?

* From Mike Esposito: I don't know why there's all this talk of getting observer boats closer to the AC course. No matter how close an on-the-water observer gets, onboard cameras and boat-tracking technology give TV viewers a much better perspective. The same holds true for most sports: It's nice (and very social) to be there, but if you are interested in what's really happening, fire up the TV.

Here are a couple of format changes that might be fun to try:

1--Since the first AC race was an "around the island" fleet race, perhaps an element of distance fleet racing could be incorporated in the format--likely in the early stages. Boat tracking and onboard cameras could provide good material to cut away to during the later buoy racing, e.g., "Oh look, Sea Biscuit broke in half, we thought that iceberg encounter during the fleet race may have done some damage. Roll that footage...."

2--Add a swashbuckling element to the racing using paintball guns or water balloons. Hit an opponent's sail five times and they have to change it. Hit the helmsman and the boat must do a 360, e.g., "There goes their second main, Sea Biscuit surely regrets signing that sponsorship agreement with Target stores." Both changes might result in durability improvements for boats and sails, and curtail the disposable boat/sail mentality. Whaddaya think?

Guest editor: On that tongue-firmly-in-cheek note, this thread is officially closed.

LONDON AND HONG KONG JOIN CLIPPER 2002
Trade groups representing two of the world's major cities, London and Hong Kong, have announced their participation in the Clipper 2002 Round The World Yacht Race. Each will adopt one of a fleet of eight, identical 60ft racing yachts, to be called London Clipper and Hong Kong Clipper respectively. Equipped with a professional skipper and an amateur crew of 15, the yachts will do battle against those of six other cities: Liverpool, Cape Town, Bristol, Glasgow, plus two others yet to declare. This six-leg, 16-port, 35,500-mile race will begin from Liverpool, UK, on 27 October and return there eleven months later in September 2003.

Crew members participating in Clipper 2002 will pay 26,500 for the entire circumnavigation. Alternatively, they can participate in just one of the six legs. Over 60 per cent of crew berths have already been taken but applications are still welcome from London and Hong Kong residents with a taste for adventure. Age is no barrier providing candidates are in good health. Successful applicants, with or without sailing experience, will undergo a thorough training program. See www.clipper-ventures.com

ROLEX MIAMI OLYMPIC CLASSES REGATTA
At the close of early registration, 211 boats representing 22 countries had signed up for the Rolex Miami OCR. Mail entries continue to flow in at a brisk clip and will be accepted through January 29 when on-site registration begins and US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee and seven Miami-area sailing venues are at-the-ready to host the world's strongest sailors in the nine Olympic and two Paralympic classes.

A star-studded roster for the January 30-February 2 event includes the U.S.A.'s 2000 Star Olympic Gold Medallists Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Magnus Liljedahl (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). The two, who were named Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year in 2000, will have their work cut out, fighting off skippers Jose Van der Ploeg of Spain and Ross McDonald of Canada, respectively Barcelona's Finn Gold Medallist and Star Bronze Medallist.

Perhaps the most head-turning entry will be the 470 Men's team of skipper Paul Foerster (Garland, Texas) and crew Kevin Burnham (Coral Gables, Fla.). Foerster, who won an Olympic silver medal in the Flying Dutchman back in 1992, skippered in the 470 Men's event to claim the Olympic silver medal in Sydney, while Burnham, a 470 Men's Olympic silver medal crew from 1992, has most recently taken a foray into big-boat sailing. For anyone questioning whether either veteran had hung up his dinghy boots for good, this is the answer.

And it will be quite a sight to see ISAF President Paul Henderson sailing the 2.4 Metre. He'll have to measure up, however, to 2001 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Silver Medallist Tom Brown (Northeast Harbor, Maine), 2000 Paralympian Brian Harding from Great Britain, and others in this unique class that levels the playing field among disabled and able-bodied sailors.

In the Tornado, two-time Olympians John Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Charlie Ogletree (Houston, Texas) will face Australia's two-time medallist Mitch Booth, now sailing for The Netherlands. Savannah silver medallist in the Star, Hans Wallen of Sweden, has switched to the Tornado and will be a formidable force, as well, in that class.

Great Britain's 2000 Europe Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson and Bermuda's match racing champion Paula Lewin will headline the class set to make its Olympic debut in Greece - the Yngling - but will face a fierce American onslaught by skippers Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), Jody Swanson (Buffalo, N.Y.), Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I./New York, N.Y.) and Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.). Alison and Swanson are both Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year.

In the 470 Women's class, 1996 Europe Olympic Bronze Medallist Courtenay Dey (Westerly, R.I./Rye, N.Y.) will be taking her red-white-and-blue stand against Germany's Alina Grobe and U.S.A.'s rising star Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.), among others.

Defending champions registered include Star skipper John MacCausland (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Mistral sailors Peter Wells (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Dominique Vallee (CAN), Laser sailor Paul Goodison (GBR), Finn sailor Larry Lemeiux (CAN), Europe sailor Meg Gaillard (Jamestown, R.I.) and the 49er team of Andy Mack (Seattle, Wash.) and Adam Lowry (San Francisco, Calif.).

Event site: www.ussailing.org/olympics/miamiocr/

AMERICA'S CUP: ONE WORLD'S SECOND BOAT HEADS TO AUCKLAND
Seattle's America's Cup syndicate, the OneWorld Challenge, has completed construction of it's second International America's Cup Class yacht in the Pacific Northwest and it was loaded onto a ship bound for Auckland New Zealand on Wednesday January 23.

The yacht, USA 67, is the second of two that were constructed for the teams challenge for 2003 America's Cup. USA 65 was shipped earlier this month. The boats will arrive in New Zealand for rigging and completion before they are christened and begin racing and testing in early Spring in preparation for the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series, which begins October 1 of this year.

The OneWorld yachts were a collaborative effort of the OneWorld design team lead by veteran America's Cup designers Laurie Davidson, Bruce Nelson and Phil Kaiko. -- www.oneworldchallenge.com

SEAHORSE SAILOR OF THE MONTH
You can vote on Seahorse's Sailor of the Month for their April issue, the latest poll matches Trevor Baylis against Luc Gellusseau. See www.seahorsemagazine.com. The winner gets a pile of nice gear.

THE CURMUDGEON'S QUOTES
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then give up. No sense in being a damn fool about it. -- W.C. Fields