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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 996 - January 30, 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.

The yachts have crossed the date line, gaining 24 hours in a moment. While yesterday they would have been the first ones to welcome the new day to the world, today they will be the last ones to see the sun set.

All the V.O. 60s except Amer Sports Too have gybed in the hope of finding stronger winds, which they expect to pick up soon, helping them to obtain a faster route south. Roger Nilson, navigator on Amer Sports One, said, "We expect the wind to increase and to move to the left."

The weather predictions expect the high pressure which has caused the lighter winds of the last couple of days, to elongate and remain slow moving just to the north of the fleet. As Nilson is predicting, the forecast also expects the wind to pick up to around 20 knots later from a northwesterly direction.

This could give djuice an opportunity to gain some distance first, as she is the furthest west of the fleet. News Corp and SEB are furthest to the east and therefore have fewer miles to sail at this time, but it remains to be seen what will happen, as Amer Sports One is now the most southerly boat.

Positions on January 30 at 0359 GMT: 1. Team SEB, 6076 miles to finish; 2. Assa Abloy, 1 mile behind leader; 3. News Corp, 1 mbl; 4. Amer Sports One, 1 mbl; 5. illbruck, 2 mbl; 6. Team Tyco, 4 mbl; 8. Amer Sports Too, 25 mbl. -

(On the madforsailing website, Ed Gorman spoke to former Olympian Andy Beadsworth about GBR Challenge and his role within it. Here are just two of Beadsworth's quotes.)

* "The key area is just learning to sail the boat fast and what makes them go fast including sail design, boat design, foils. We're very new to all of that game. Although we have some very good people involved we don't have a huge amount of experience in the Cup boats particularly in Auckland. The likes of Oracle and OneWorld have picked up a lot of personnel from previous campaigns where we haven't. So we are completely fresh to what makes the boats tick in this venue and we have got a whole lot to learn on foils, wings, rudders, balance, rigs, sails. We're very much at the bottom of that learning curve."

* "I'm sure one of the biggest things that the team really believes, is that we are going to rattle the cages of the big guys and we are going to be able to take races off them. Some of it is unknown yet - we haven't had all the card dealt yet and we're not sure of the handle were holding - but we feel fairly punchy. Even if we don't win the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup we'll probably have a major deciding influence on who does." - madforsailing website.

Read the full interview:

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January 28 - Windjet, a British project to shatter the wind-powered world speed records, was again out testing at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The weather conditions were not ideal for a record attempt with a predicted 20 - 30 knot wind at about 25 degrees to the runway, however Richard and the team seized the opportunity to put in some more valuable high speed test runs.

Leaving the hanger at 1600 hrs, Windjet waited patiently on the runway threshold for two F-15 fighter jets to perform a 'touch-and-go' manoeuvre. No sooner had they roared overhead, the 'Windjet all clear' message came from Waddington Air Traffic Control over the cockpit radio.

Releasing the brake, Richard shot out on to the runway, accelerating with the windward wheel clear of the ground for the first few hundred metres.

That first run recorded 116 mph (185.6 km/h) according to the onboard speedometer, however the team know that this 'mechanical' device reads at least 3-4 percent lower than the actual speed (demonstrated last time the team used the high performance GPS tracking system).

Richard is saying nothing of the potential top speed achieved. "Today we had some great speeds, clocking over 108 mph on every run, with a top recorded speed of 116. The vehicle was handling superbly and it looks as if we now have really got to grips with the turbulent Waddington conditions. Even better, is that the acceleration has now moved up a gear with top speed being reached by roughly the middle of the runway, in less than one mile. It's quite incredible."

The vehicle is now back in the hanger waiting for that next weather opportunity when the official timers and press will be back to witness and verify the record. -

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover" - Mark Twain

(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 Peter Willcox: I feel I have to respond and object to Tim Jeffery's story of the Areva sponsorship of the French America's Cup Challange. I object to the linking of Greenpeace to the Alain Rivat organization.

As captain of the first Rainbow Warrior when she was blown up in Auckland, and as captain of the present Rainbow Warrior today, I want to assure Scuttlebutt readers that Greenpeace has never threatened violence to anyone. We have a strong policy against any kind violence or even property damage in our direct actions. Bunny McDiarmid's quote is undoubtedly correct. But to classify it as a threat, in a story about another group I believe gives the wrong impression.

I would like to wish the French America's Cup sailors good sailing and good luck. They should know that they will never be threaten with any kind of violence by Greenpeace. Period.

* From Bob Tillett, Auckland: Just a small correction to the Sport Telegraph story in 'Butt 995. The Greenpeace vessel was sunk by the French terrorists at a wharf in the Auckland port area, about a kilometre from the Viaduct Basin itself. After the sinking the surviving Greenpeace crew chartered a small brigantine, the 'Breeze', to sail to Mururoa. This vessel is now part of the small fleet operated by the Maritime Museum adjacent to the Viaduct Basin, maintained and sailed by volunteers.

* From Kris Anderson: In her statement regarding the French nuclear company Areva, Greenpeace spokesman, Bunny McDiarmid stated that Areva was looking to "greenwash" it's image by linking itself to the "clean, green image of sailing". Although the millions of sailboats in the world do not use a whole lot of fossil fuels in their primary propulsion system they are however, in the majority, not very "green". Save for a handful of diehards that are still building and sailing boats made of wood most of the sailing industry is about as deeply entrenched in the petro-chemical industry as can be - in a word, plastics. Plastic sails, plastic hulls, plastic decks, and even now more and more, plastic masts. Not to mention ropes, blocks, lifejackets, etc.

Although I do not proclaim that this is neither bad nor good, it has made our sport more affordable, lighter and faster. If those that do not agree with Areva's sponsorship place in the America's Cup or in New Zealand are willing to put up the financing that le defi France needs to mount this campaign than they can do whatever they want. If not, they should just be quiet and mind their own business.

* From Ed Sherman: It should be noted that Senator Glenn McConnell, who has teamed with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the South Carolina Marine Association (SCMA) to fight SB 808, is a State Senator - not a US Senator. He is a Republican from a coastal district - District 41 - in Charleston.

Back from Auckland, Pierre Mas (Technical Director to Le Defi Areva ) confirmed that Le Defi will have to start constructing a base in Auckland, outside of the Viaduct Basin!

After multiple contacts and meetings (greatly facilitated by Team New Zealand), Pierre Mas selected two options : the Devonport military base or a piece of land in a "former industrial area", not good looking but closer to the Viaduct Bassin (1 1/2 km / 1 mile). In both options, major construction works are to be scheduled.

The Kiwi Marine is quite willing to lease the Devonport base, but the French will have to pay for the fitting of the quay and destruction of a useless warehouse. On the other hand, the land for development (located between two huge fuel containers) needs a full installation program and moreover some massive dredging works to make sure the ACC have sufficient water depth! - The French Newspaper, L'Equipe, as reported on the 2003AC website,

* "We were frustrated for the first 24 hours with a case of the slows. Boats seemed to be able to pass on both sides and we checked everything trying to figure out why, to no avail. One of those mysteries of the universe I guess. Every day now another layer of clothing, hats, gloves, goggles etc. will be coming out until nobody will recognize anyone or be able to understand a word they say." - Mark "Rudi" Rudiger, Assa Abloy.

* "We have had two full days' of nice sailing, unheard of for the start of any Volvo leg so far. Everyone looks pretty, even with illbruck perhaps having a slight edge in these conditions." - Kevin Shoebridge, Team Tyco.

* "The race is now to get south around the high and into the westerlies. Course is irrelevant, as the first boat south will take the lead." - Mark Christensen, illbruck.

* "We've just had our daily snacks. Today it is a protein bar and beef jerky/biltong [dried strips of beef]. The biltong is the most tasty thing we have on board, so it is always looked forward to eagerly. Saying that, the new meals have been better than in the past. Maybe food technology has advanced in the last few months!" - Nicholas White, News Corp

* "Those that went out first gained as we sailed back into better pressure offshore and the original gradient wind, which was to the left. It is amazing what a guessing game it is. Las Vegas has nothing on ocean racing." - Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One.

* "Being this close to the center of such a big high pressure system is like walking on eggshells. As soon as the wind shifts and starts to drop I hold my breath for a quick glance at the barometer - so far so good. The only thing that would ruin this cool running downwind with light tropical airs, would be to get swallowed up by the high pressure and stop." Lisa McDonald, Amer Sports Too.

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(Following is an excerpt from the diary of Mo Gray posted on the GBR Challenge website.)

So another week with GBR Challenge draws to an end and it is all becoming apparent how little time we have for 2-boat testing/training before "The America's Cup International Regatta" in early February. This week was our first 2 boat testing this year, so all attempts were made to make the most of it. Luckily the Auckland weather has been fairly kind to us this week - as far as 2 boat testing goes, but it is still raining!

Two boat testing is one of the less glamorous sides to an America's Cup campaign, but an extremely important one. A standard day of testing will start with the 2 boats lining up together and sailing long upwind legs on one tack for a10 minute period. During this time the boat will be sailed to its absolute optimum, with full concentration from everyone. Unfortunately not all the crewmembers are involved with sailing the boat upwind, so there can be long periods of inactivity. As a mast man I have to grind on the mid-pedestal (which trims the mainsail) upwind, which is on the whole a continuous process, as the mainsheet trimmer is continually adjusting the shape of the mainsail to gain maximum performance from it. So you are continually involved in working the best out of the boat. We then turn downwind and the same process happens with the spinnakers. During the testing a record of each of the boats' performance and data is logged constantly by computer. This is then all analysed at the end of a days testing. This will tell us the subtle differences in speed between the 2 boats and hopefully the reasons for them. - GBR Challenge website.

Full story:

Lightning Southern Circuit: Savannah Deep South Regatta, March 9 -10; Miami Midwinter Regatta, March 12 - 13; St. Pete Winter Championship March 15 - 17.

During Strictly Sail Chicago, US Sailing will recognize the extraordinary effort exerted by Paul Murphy, Jeff Goff and Shane Vowels, in placing their own lives at risk to save a fellow sailor and safely delivering the victim to medical assistance and the crew of Inferno for being prepared to effect a rescue; for recovering the victim and one rescue swimmer; for providing Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation to an injured sailor. US Sailing Secretary Sarah Alger will present the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to the group, which includes Farr 40 Inferno crew members Dr. Stuart Feldman, Scott Payant, Kathryn Kessel, John McClellan, Jeffrey Shuert, Christopher Williams, Aaron Housten, Marsha Dowd, and Phillip Dowd. -

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?