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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 999 - February 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.

The following message from Ken McAlpine, ACC Technical Director, confirms what Scuttlebutt readers have been hearing for some time now:

"ACC Sail Number 69 has been allotted to Le Defi Francais. Sail number 69 was warehoused (as for sail number 13) after GBR Challenge declined it and was allotted sail number 70. At the specific request of Le Defi Francais, and with the approval of AC 2003 and CORM, sail number 69 was released and is now allotted."

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: If nothing else, this will give people something to talk about other than the French syndicate's controversial sponsor.

Conditions in the Southern Ocean are still miserable for the Volvo Ocean Race crews. Most of the boats are reporting that conditions below decks are not an awful lot better than they are on watch. The main problem is the condensation for the off watch crews, while they are trying to sleep. "The boat seems to continually develop new places to let the water in" moaned Nicholas White from News Corp. Richard Clarke from illbruck reported, "I am being dripped on from the constant condensation" As for the cold, Grant Wharington confirmed from djuice, "4 degrees water temperature, outside temp around 1 degree and then there is the wind chill".

While illbruck is still reaching in 30 knots of southwesterly breeze the yachts behind get the wind more and more from the west and lighter. It is likely that the 40-mile gap that separates illbruck from Tyco, Amer Sports One and News Corp will widen.

Even though being struck by gear failure, the mainsail clew ring broke, and heavy snowfall, djuice manages to keep control over the fight for fifth place against Assa Abloy and SEB. SEB is less than forty miles from 60-degree south.

Positions on February 4 at 0348 GMT:
1. illbruck, 4469 miles to finish
2. Team Tyco, 38 miles behind leader
3. Amer Sports One, 39 mbl
4. News Corp, 45 mbl
5. djuice dragons, 89 mbl
6.Assa Abloy, 91 mbl
7. Team SEB, 116
8. Amer Sports Too, 295 mbl

There was good news and bad news for the German Illbruck team at the weekend. While John Kostecki's crew moved into a strong lead in the Volvo Ocean Race's fourth stage, there were reports that Michael Illbruck will abort his team's follow-up campaign in this winter's America's Cup unless new sponsorship can be found by April 1.

Kostecki leads the Volvo after three of the nine stages. When the race finishes in June, it was planned to head back to Auckland for the cup trials, a rehearsal for a full-scale assault on the 2006 series. The budget for all three events was £45 million and climbing.

Michael Illbruck will unveil the cup boat in Bremen this Thursday. Illbruck, though, has already told cup officials in Auckland that he will not ship the boat to New Zealand for the challenger trials starting on Oct 1 unless additional funding is found.

If Illbruck withdraws it will cut the number of challengers representing seven countries to nine. Crucially, it will give other smaller challengers, including Britain, more breathing space when the first cut comes after two round-robins. Eight teams go through to the quarter-finals, so losing the German boat means only one challenger will be eliminated in November. - Tim Jeffery, UK's Daily Telegraph.

Full story:

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OneWorld (America's Cup) Challenge's Mark Strube knows exactly where not to put his hands while out sailing. Strube, of Florida, lost the end of his little finger in a training session when he grabbed the mainsheet block on the boom to help steady himself after he was caught off balance. His finger got stuck in the mechanism, which sliced the end off it.

The grinder was immediately transferred to a chase boat and taken to shore along with the end of his finger but the tip could not be saved. Strube said he was recovering well from the accident and hoped to be back on board for the upcoming international regatta. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald

Full story:

MIAMI, FL -- The 2002 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes concluded with all but one of nine Olympic and two Paralympic classes working in light-air races on Biscayne Bay. Though not the preference of the 400 plus sailors competing, 5-6 knot breezes were welcome after yesterday's total lack of breeze, which led to cancellation of all racing. There was no racing on the Star course, so the 49-boat fleet used standings after its second day of racing to determine winners. Germany's Marc Pickel/ David Giles won with 12 points, followed by Bermuda's Peter Bromby/ Martin Siese with 15. Sailing for Canada, Ross MacDonald and George Iverson finished third. San Diego's Vince Brun and Mike Dorgan were the top-finishing U.S. team, with USA's 2000 Olympic Gold medallists Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Magnus Liljedahl (Miami, Fla.) finishing sixth.

The regatta, administered by US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Committee and co-hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club; US Sailing Center; Coral Reef, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; and Shake-A-Leg Miami, attracted 282 boats representing 26 countries.

Class winners included:
Europe (25 boats): Meg Gaillard, USA
Finn (29 boats): Andrew Simpson, GBR
49er (16 boats): Andy Mack/ Adam Lowry, USA
470 Men (14 boats): Steve Hunt/ Michael Miller, USA
470 Women (7 boats): Courtenay Dey/ Linda Wennerstrom, USA
Laser (64 boats): Paul Goodison, GBR
Mistral Men (12 boats): David Mier y Teren, MEX
Mistral Women (9 boats): Sigrid Rondelez, BEL
Tornado (18 boats): Lars Guck/ Jonathan Farrar, USA
Yngling (18 boats): Carol Cronin/ Liz Filter/ Kate Fears, USA
2.4 Metre (15 boats): Tom Brown, USA
Sonar (6 boats): Paul Callahan/ Keith Burhans/ Mike Hagmaier, USA.

Complete results:

(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 Chris Ericksen (tenderly edited to our 250-word limit): With all due respect, Jack Dreyfuss was badly misinformed when he suggested that, ". . . the '84 Olympics in LA came and left without a trace." And to say, " . . .the US Sailing Center in Miami (is) the site . . . most closely associated with Olympic Sailing" in the United States will come as a great surprise to the hundreds of high-school, collegiate, community, special-needs and Olympic sailors who have sailed out of the US Sailing Center in Long Beach for the last five years.

The seed money for the project came directly from proceeds of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, the first Olympics in modern history that "showed a profit." Dozens of facilities and programs in Southern California, including the US Sailing Center in Long Beach, are legacies of the '84 Olympics. The Pacific Coast Sailing Foundation, that operates the US Sailing Center in Long Beach, grew directly from the organizations in Southern California that organized and ran both the pre-Olympic and Olympic regattas. Their efforts earned those funds, and their leadership has enabled the US Sailing Center in Long Beach to grow and thrive.

We on the West Coast honor Ding Schoonmaker and the others who helped organize the US Sailing Center in Miami no less than we honor the late Chuck Kober and others who helped organize the US Sailing Center in Long Beach. The website for the US Sailing Center in Long Beach describes its Olympic legacy and how to become a supporter. -.

* From Chip Evaul: With deference to Jack Dreyfuss, Ding Schoonmaker and the fine US Sailing Center in Miami; there is also a US Sailing Center in Long Beach, California, established as a direct outgrowth of the successful 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. And like the Miami facility, our US Sailing Center is in need of funding to "keep the dream alive". Check us out at: .

Opposition is growing in France to a nuclear-sponsored America's Cup entry, nicknamed the Atomic Warrior. Groups opposed to a $33.7 million sponsorship deal with nuclear firm Areva will hold a press conference on Thursday at Vannes on the Brittany coast, where the boat is being built, to outline planned non-violent actions against the French entry. The anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire, Greenpeace, the Greens and the Breton Democratic Union, which has been fighting plans for nuclear plants in Brittany, are among the opponents.

So, too, is Jo Le Guen, a French rower who was forced to abandon an attempt to row solo across the Pacific from Wellington two years ago when he became seriously ill and had to be rescued. Mr Le Guen was trying to raise public awareness about the oceans. Christian Guyonvarc'h, deputy mayor of Lorient where the challenge team have their training base, told the Herald that there would be strong demonstrations in coming weeks unless the French Government dropped Areva as a sponsor.

* "We are not against the French entry Defi in the America's Cup in New Zealand," said Mr Guyonvarc'h, who is also president of the Breton Democratic Union. "We just refuse the kidnapping of the sailing competition by the nuclear lobby, because it is clear that Areva wants to use the America's Cup in New Zealand as a big publicity stunt." Mr Guyonvarc'h said it was important "to keep the sea and the America's Cup clean and free".

Alain Rivat, from Sortir du Nucleaire, said the group would use all possible non-violent means to block and interrupt the boat when it was launched in May. Greenpeace in New Zealand is also planning protests against the boat, which is due to arrive in the nuclear-free waters of Auckland in mid-August.

But Frenchman Bruno Trouble, spokesman for the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series, told France's Le Monde newspaper that no one in Auckland cared about the nuclear sponsorship deal. He said most of the challenger entries came from countries that used nuclear power. - Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald.

Full story:

(French syndicate) Le Defi's problems do not end there. An International America's Cup class yacht requires 3-4 meters of water everywhere they go and there is now no room for them on syndicate row and in the dredged American Express Viaduct. The only two remaining options are a site a few blocks away or at the Naval dockyard at Devonport on the opposite side of the harbor to the city. Perhaps the latter is a wise choice all things considered? - Nigel Cherrie, madforsailing website.

Full story:

(Team New Zealand's Tom Schnackenberg was interviewed by Murray Deaker on Radio NZ. Following are three brief quotes from his comments during that interview.)

* "We're testing little things and features full scale on the water and we're going to the towing tank again to have another look at hull shapes. We've got ideas coming in thick and fast. We've made some gains and we're trying to understand those and improve a little bit further. We still have a few weeks before we have to make a decision and we may as well take advantage of every opportunity we've got.

* "At Gosport they've developed four tanks, including a large one that we use. It's about 250 meters long, about 12 metres wide and 5.5 meters deep and that is just the water. The building is big enough to house that .The carriage that takes our boat down the tank weighs 30 tons. We climb on the carriage and it just hums along with big electric motors to tow our boat down the tank. It's a fascinating experience. We enjoy doing it."

"We look at the water flow round the boat physically. But we spend a lot of our time just looking at numbers. Looking at dots on the graph. There are very, very small differences between good boats and not so good boats. When we see these differences we spend a lot of time talking about them. I wonder why this data point is higher or lower. Why has this got a little more drag here or a little bit less there? And theorizing about the features that produce the data and then discussing what might come next or what does this mean in the big picture. So, we spend a lot of time with bits of graph paper."

* "One advantage we do have (over the challengers) is that its a lot more time efficient on our boats because we can chose to race when we want to. We can stop a race when something dramatic happens like one boat loses a rudder or breaks something and just go back to the dock. Or we can start a race earlier or later when it suits us. Whereas the challengers are stuck with the program. Secondly, we actually share information between the two boats while we are racing. We can see what's going on the other yacht.

"At the end of the day we sit down and spend an hour or so debriefing the race. We ask the other guy, 'Why did you tack then - what did you think?' The challengers don't have any of that. When they go out and race somebody they are blinkered to some extent. They only know what goes on on their yacht and they're surmising what happened on the other boat. So we probably get more information out of our racing then the challengers do out of theirs. So those two factors minimize the problem."

The entire interview has been posted by Cheryl in the 'Spy Networks Sightings' forum section of the 2003 AC website (Post #s 359 - 361)

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* Sometimes we sail with a shy kite [spinnaker] at 140 twa [true wind angle] then we have the 2 foot deep, ice jacuzzi. When we go with the blast reacher at 110 twa [true wind angle] we have the five degree [temperature] fire hose. Take your pick. In all cases everyone rides on the stack behind the helmsman to keep the bow up [out of the water]. It is a good place to view the scene. To be sadly honest, I love it. It is so bizarre, that you have to love it for the experience." - Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One

* "We've started waking up the new watch 40 minutes before they're due on deck. Its a little earlier than usual, but just enough time to put on the many layers of clothes we require out here." - Anthony Nossiter, djuice.

* "Waffler [Stu Bettany] started running around doing all his preparations for the change, as the wind was getting lighter quickly and a serious amount of snow was coming down. Because the wind dropped 10 knots and the decks were keeping dry, the snow stayed on deck and for Waffler, this turned him into a 5 year old who was playing with the snow and throwing snow balls at every body." - Dirk de Ridder, illbruck.

* "Many boats today reported growlers, small bits of ice, which were not showing up on the radar screen. This is scary. What do you do at night? Good question - we do not have an answer, except hang on and hope for the best. It is very difficult to sleep when you do get the chance. The boat is shuddering and bouncing around on top of the waves. The water noise is incredibly loud, rushing by at 25-30 knots of boat speed. Working the spinnaker sheet in and out as the boat surfs over every wave is probably the loudest noise on the boat." - John Kostecki, illbruck.

* "Never seen so many icebergs and growlers in all my sailing in the Southern Ocean. Spotted our first one and then all of a sudden sighted many others with growlers everywhere. We were sailing thru, surfing at 23 knots, small bits of ice and at one stage we passed within 20 feet of growler. Those jokes 'the ice bergs go away at night' have disappeared and there is real concern." - Ross Field, News Corp.

* "Icebergs are very scary things. Yesterday morning Alby [Pratt] saw a whale about five meters from the boat just under the water. We would have been in a very serious situation if we had hit it as we were doing 20 knots. Icebergs somehow are much more scary and I have a faint suspicion that they don't go to sleep at night as some people have theorized." - Nicholas White, News Corp

* "We have two men on ice watch, one staring at the radar and another checking forward with night vision goggles. We passed many growlers during the day and saw many on the radar at night. As for the night vision, well I don't know what the call would be if the spotter at the mast saw one anyway because your range of vision at 25-30 knots of boat speed would take only seconds to reach what you saw." - Grant Wharington, djuice

* "It's a great experience to come down here, but one that does not need to be repeated too often in my view." - Steve Hayles, Tyco

* "Will not be sorry to see this part of the race gone. There are definitely better ways to enjoy yourself on a yacht." - Kevin Shoebridge, Tyco.

* "There are times like this when you wonder why I am doing this crazy race." - Richard Clarke, illbruck

Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.