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SCUTTLEBUTT 1232 - January 3, 2003

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digest of major yacht racing news, 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.

UGLY
AUCKLAND - JANUARY 3, 2003 - Executive Director of Team Alinghi, Michel
Bonnefous, today confirmed that Team Alinghi has made a complaint to New
Zealand Police about threats against the children and family members of
Team personnel. Mr. Bonnefous said that letters sent to the syndicate from
what purported to be a group of patriotic activists had spelled out a clear
intention to target the children and family of sailors.

The letters identified team members who have young children. The letters
warned that the group would damage team members' property and inflict
violence on their families. They said they had tracked the movements of
children and other family members, and gave personal details about one crew
member.

Mr. Bonnefous said the Team's security advisers and the Police took the
threats very seriously, and as a result no further specific details can be
given at this stage. He said the Team were now confirming the threats with
the full agreement and support of the Police.

Mr. Bonnefous said Team Alinghi urged anyone who might have information on
the source of these threats to immediately contact their nearest Police
station. He said: "Alinghi is an international team. We are open and want
to share our passion for sailing. We want the focus to return to sport and
to the action on the water. We came here, in New Zealand, to sail, not to
have our children threatened." - http://www.alinghi.com/en/index.php

NEW FORMAT
Clipper Ventures plc, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, announced new
proposals for the 2005 Round the World Yacht Race at The Schroders 49th
London Boat Show. Clipper 2005 will break with the established format of
the company's four races run so far. New, faster yachts are being built, a
new route has been planned and there will be a new boat sponsorship formula.

The boats are from the drawing board of yacht designer Ed Dubois. At 68 ft
long, they are 8 ft longer than the Clipper 60s in use since 1996. Yet,
despite their larger size, thanks to their epoxy/foam sandwich
construction, they weigh two tons less than the yachts they are replacing.
The new yachts have a taller rig and larger sail area.

While not trying to produce a Volvo or Open 60 class of boat, which is
specifically for professionals, the new Clipper 68s will provide their
amateur crews with the fastest round the world ocean racers in the
non-professional field. Each of the new yachts has a capacity for 20 people
but will race with 18 crew.

The increased capabilities of the new boats have also allowed the
introduction of a newly challenging and ambitious route for the 2005 race.
The course starts start by following the traditional tea clipper route to
Australia via Southern Africa, providing a sleigh ride through the Roaring
Forties of the infamous Southern Ocean. The boats next boats head for
Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China and Japan before taking the passage
across the northern Pacific to the west coast of Canada and the United
States. The Panama Canal follows, then the Caribbean and New York, before
the final dash across the northern Atlantic to Europe and home. This route
is the longest of all the round the world races and crews that were novices
at the start will have become seasoned veterans by the end of the challenge.

A new boat sponsorship format means that city will still compete against
city, but now they will represent their country as well. This means that
cities around the world will have the opportunity of promoting themselves
at each of the stopover ports as the fleet forges its way around the world.
- www.clipper-ventures.com

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AWARDS
Ben Ainslie from Lymington, Hampshire is named as the 2002 Yachting
Journalist Association Yachtsman of the Year. He wins this top yachting
award for an unprecedented third time ahead of four other top British names
in the sport - Route du Rhum Transatlantic Race winner Ellen MacArthur,
four-time World Class 1 Powerboat champion Steve Curtis, Star Class world
champions Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell, and Peter Harrison and his GBR
America's Cup Challenge team. - Barry Pickthall, Yachts and Yachting
website, full story:
http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/default2.asp?section=11&article=8623


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (editor@sailingscuttlebutt.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 Trevor Lewis: Robert Baker criticizes the rule that requires
protests to be found invalid when the requirements for hailing and flagging
are not met. As he points out, the purpose of hailing and flagging is to
try to make the other boat aware that you are upset, and that you reserve
the right to take it further unless the other boat exonerates, where
allowed. This goes a long way to stopping 'out of the blue' protests.
Indeed, the withdrawal of the need to flag on boats under 6m is seen by
many as a retrograde step. Since it is always possible that a hail will not
be heard, my experience is that nearly every small boat protest has now to
be found valid if the protestor claims a hail was made, however dubious the
circumstances.

Obviously though, it is a nonsense if a protest is thrown out for lack of
hailing or flagging after a serious-damage incident - which was why rule
60.4, presumably exercised by the Jury against Valheru, allows the Jury to
bring its own protest when a protest from a major coming-together is found
invalid. However, it might have been better for ISAF simply to allow the
Jury to waive the hailing and flagging requirements in such cases - less
paperwork, quicker, and no chance for the jury to exercise its discretion
not to protest.

* From David Hagler: Mr. Baker should be comforted that juries do follow
guidelines and are not making arbitrary decisions. As judges we follow the
RRS and are guided by the published US Appeals (or other national authority
guidance). I suggest you read Appeal 67 (from the old US Appeals book). We
as judges are advised that the hail must be immediate and a flag should
only be delayed for extreme cases related to safety or other extenuating
circumstances. Senior judges advise me to not allow for more than 30
seconds for a flag.

Imagine if a competitor could wait a minute or two to put up the flag. If
you crossed tacks at 6 knots and waited for 60 seconds to put the flag up,
the boats would be separated by 860 ft (assuming 45 degree sailing from
windward for each boat). For a 30 ft sailboat, that is almost 30 boat
lengths. Would you be able to see a small signal flag from almost a
kilometer away?

The rules were written so in cases like the one with Valheru a jury can
protest a competitor due to 'serious damage' or 'serious injury'. Too many
competitors continue to sail when they should retire (or take a penalty)
hoping to 'win it in the room'. This wastes the jury's time and doesn't
reflect well on the competitor (who doesn't understand the rules). Many of
us judges are competitors who hear protests, not referees who just watch
from the sidelines.

* From Ralph Taylor: Many of us empathize with Robert Baker about the
apparent injustice of requiring a boat in danger of sinking and with crew
in the water to think first about protest requirements. And, we sympathize
with skipper Vail.

Protest committees and juries differently interpret the first sentence of
rule 61.1(a): "A boat intending to protest shall always inform the other
boat at the first reasonable opportunity." as well as the rest of the rule.
Only in "reasonable" do the rules recognize the "shock factor" of a serious
collision or the priority of saving lives. "Reasonable" is the squishy
concept; some protest committees are tighter than others on what's
reasonable. It's why I advise sailors to make the "Protest!" hail
automatic. (One can decide later not to follow through, but once the moment
passes without the hail the window is closed for good.)

We should applaud the jury in looking to rule 60.4 ("report of serious
damage") to reach a correct result with the messy fact of an invalid
protest. Perhaps some wouldn't have gone beyond 60.3 which prohibits the
jury protesting a boat as a result of information from a competitor or an
invalid protest.

Clearly, Peugeot needs to work on a couple of things in its racing program.
One would be mastering the "duck" maneuver. Another would be the last
sentence of rule 44.1: "However, if she caused serious damage or gained a
significant advantage by her breach she shall retire."

* From Chris Welsh: Canting ballast technology is great, and in terms of
making sailing more exciting, I hope we see more of it every year. Having
said that, mixing CBTF boats with regular boats on a fair handicap basis
based even remotely on length or PHRF is virtually impossible because the
polars on the CBTF boats are so unusual - in their conditions, they are
light years faster than a conventional boat, and the next day in different
conditions, they are just another 40 footer.

The only possibly fair handicap would be one that included wind and sea
state in order to correctly even the field. For the most part, CBTF boats
should race each other, or have handicaps that reflect the conditions.
Transpac is an example of a race where a fair handicap can be assessed,
since the conditions are somewhat predictable. Around the buoys or
especially in short ocean races with a predetermined course, good
handicapping is not available.

* From Craig K Yandow: If we are going to permit keels to cant using
battery or engine power to move them, why don't we eliminate the middle
man, and just apply the power directly to the propeller? I can't tell the
difference anyway.

* From Laurence Mead: The pages of Scuttlebutt are still going on about
the America's Cup and all its associated politics and intrigues, most of
which are boring in the extreme. For Christmas I was given a video called
"Awesome Aussie Skiffs". Even having seen it before, it is truly amazing.
Fantastic machines sailed to the limit with some great crashes and
capsizes. Check out David Witt and is crew sailing their skiff downwind in
30 knots of breeze with the kite up...Wow! The next day my son and I had
our 29er back on the water. In contrast, it doesn't seem like the AC is
getting many "scut readers" on the water!

PERSPECTIVE
(In a story written by Sean McNeill for the Louis Vuitton Cup website, John
Kostecki freely shared his thoughts about some of the issues associated
with the present Cup Series. Here's a brief excerpt.)

Kostecki also has been disappointed by all the legal issues dominating the
headlines. From cheating accusations against OneWorld Challenge to public
squabbling between challenger and defender, the America's Cup, as an event,
has taken another broadside swipe by pundits who say it's just a rich man's
game. "This time around, with the different protests and allegations, it's
not making our sport look good," Kostecki says. "For a person that's very
involved with the sport, I'm embarrassed. I feel the America's Cup has so
much potential to be such a great event and (the contentiousness) kind of
spoils it a bit."

The most controversial issue regards OneWorld Challenge, which came under
intense scrutiny one month ago when two challengers, Team Dennis Conner and
Prada, reopened "Reeves-gate", the story of design secrets for sale. The
two teams' actions forced the America's Cup Arbitration Panel to make a
hasty trip to Auckland for two days of hearings. The panel had previously
penalised OneWorld one point for six violations of the America's Cup
Protocol in a decision handed down last August.

The panel found OneWorld in contravention of the protocol again, but that
decision, like the earlier one, came from OneWorld's admission that it
possessed information that it shouldn't have.

Despite the penalties, Kostecki feels OneWorld is the most honest team on
syndicate row. "Every syndicate has done whatever they have done. I think
it's pretty common," Kostecki says. "They just kind of got caught in a bad
position. They ended up admitting something maybe they shouldn't have.
That's where they got penalised. "I see them as being one of the cleanest
campaigns on the block. Unfortunately they're getting penalised for it,"
Kostecki says. - Full story:
http://www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1592.html

DEAR LAYLINE CUSTOMERS:
Goodbye holidays - hello Key West. Who knows the effect El Nino will have
on wind and weather, but two things are certain: (1) there will be a big
white tent in Key West, and (2) Layline can erase your last minute bind by
delivering Pre-Stressed halyards for your race week machine! See our new
"Iron Maiden" on our website. Her specialty is the "medieval-ish"
pre-stressing of "unruly" halyards. Samson Cordage writes about
Pre-Stressing at: http://www.layline.com (scroll down). During January,
Layline is offering free Pre-Stressing, 1-800-542-5463! See You In Florida
...Walt

FOR THE RECORD
Wild Oats 2003 Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs line honours record now
stands at 18 hour 29 minutes and 14 seconds, a 2- reduction from The
Office's 1984 time. Travelex has also broken the race record finishing at
08:24:13, 92 minutes ahead of the old number. Travelex crossed the finish
line at 08:24:13 In third place on the water and second overall on IRC was
Andrew Short Marine, having just rounded Smokey Cape, some 23 miles behind
Travelex.

Espresso Forte 9 miles north east of Tacking Point is third on IRC handicap
overall. Fourth on the water is Future Shock 4 miles south of Korogoro Point.

In the Sydney 38 One Design division Peter McNamara and Jamie McPhail have
teamed to lead the One design fleet. At the morning sked they were 7 miles
south of Camden Haven, a mile ahead of the Business. Teamsail Tassie 2 was
four miles back in third place. The rest of the Sydney 38 continued their
usual tight racing all within site of each other.

The sensational new Reichel Pugh 30 Cone of Silence is 20 mile ahead of the
Mum 30's and is second on PHS overall and division 2 leader. Leading her
division by four hours on corrected time, her handicap will suffer
considerably. - Al Constable, Sail-World website, full story:
www.sail-world.com/pittwatercoffs2003

AROUND ALONE
While the Class 1 boats rocket under Australia with the leader Bernard
Stamm almost around Tasmania, the Class 2 boats, with the exception of
Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, are approaching the longitude of Cape
Leeuwin on the southwest corner of Australia. Brad van Liew on Tommy
Hilfiger Freedom America passed that famous cape, one of the five great
southern capes, a few days ago. He has a substantial lead in his class and
is sailing a fast, yet conservative race across the bottom of the world. -
Brian Hancock, www.aroundalone.com

STANDINGS 2200 UTC January 2 CLASS 1: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard
Stamm, 1558 miles from finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 298 miles
behind leader; 3. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 549 mbl, 4. Tiscali, Simone
Bianchetti, 676 mbl; 5. Pindar, Emma Richards, 821 mbl; 6. Ocean Planet,
Bruce Schwab, 990 mbl.

CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 2825 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 584 mbl. 3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield,
679 mbl; 4. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 780 mbl, BTC Velocity, Alan
Paris, 1213 mbl.

EDUCATION
Schoolchildren, parents and other visitors to the London Boat Show at
Earl's Court (2-12 January) are invited to experience The HSBC Global
Education Challenge, the official online education programme of the Around
Alone round-the-world yacht race, on HSBC's interactive stand. The expected
170,000 visitors to the show will be welcomed to stand A3, where they can
register for the Challenge, try out the website and claim a free learning
pack that includes an Around Alone race route map, a HSBC Global Education
Challenge pen, stickers and pin badge.

The HSBC Global Education Challenge is a programme of 32 online weekly
modules aimed at children aged between 9 and 12, and can be accessed
through the website. The modules focus on the different aspects of the
natural world that HSBC-sponsored skipper Graham Dalton and his yacht,
Hexagon, will face during the Around Alone race, including weather systems
and energy, wildlife, geography, nutrition and culture. -
www.education.hsbc.com

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* January 9-12: Atlantic Sail, Atlantic City Convention. Seminars plus
the latest in boats and gear from over 250 exhibitors. www.sailamerica.com

* February 1: Women's Sailing Convention, Bahia Corinthian YC, Corona del
Mar, CA. Water and land based workshops. www.scya.org

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
An egotist is someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.