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SCUTTLEBUTT 1239 - January 14, 2003

Powered by SAIC (, an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American emphasis. Corrections, contributions,
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always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

There were no races scheduled … but neither of the challengers took the day

The portents are not good for Oracle BMW. Larry Ellison's San
Francisco-based America's Cup team lost their second successive race in the
final of the Louis Vuitton Cup selection series, breaking a spinnaker pole
in the process. Such errors - caused by a combination of the angle of
approach by skipper Chris Dickson and speed that the spinnaker was dropped
- are symptomatic of a team fighting for survival. In previous rounds, for
example, the crew work of Prada and Team Dennis Conner became ragged when
elimination beckoned.

* "We are planning to do a bit of work today," said navigator Ian Burns,
the Australian who is crew spokesman for Oracle BMW. Burns is not ready to
concede that morale is seeping away, or that USA 76 cannot beat SUI 64.
"The real trick is to keep the guys confident so that, if we do get behind,
they believe we can fight back," said Burns. "To date, that has not been a
problem but, as the round goes on, it will more difficult if we don't win a
few races." - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, full story:;$sessionid$PGABTENGN3KLJQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/sport/2003/01/14/soyots14.xml&sSheet=/sport/2003/01/14/ixothspt.html

"It's my opinion that Alinghi has a bit of an edge upwind, maybe a second
or two per mile upwind and we probably have about the same advantage
downwind. So probably the time around the course, if we were racing in
isolation, would be about the same." - Ian Burns, Oracle BMW Racing

"I think they may be a little bit faster than us downwind." - Russell
Coutts, Alinghi skipper,

When things are going well for someone, New Zealanders might say that lucky
person is "happy as Larry." These days, they're definitely not talking
about Larry Ellison.

* Twice on the first leg, onboard microphones captured (Alinghi's Brad)
Butterworth advising the skipper: "We want to go forward now," and the
crew, "Let's get going fast here, guys." Both times, bursts of speed put
the Swiss into controlling position and (Russell) Coutts, a two-time Cup
champion and Olympic gold medalist, played the advantage expertly to widen
the lead. - Angus Phillips, Washington Post,

Many of you have or are thinking of getting the Camet Sailing Shorts, but
if you haven't looked at their web site lately, you have missed seeing all
the new gear they have this year. Different models of women's and men's
shorts, with the same important features, the fast drying Breathable
Supplex, and the Cordura seat pocket for the foam pads, etc. the Rash
Guards, CoolMax Shirts, Bubble tops, Neoprene Hiking pants and Gear bags,
All in one site making it easy for you to choose.

America's Cup yacht measurer Ken McAlpine leads a tiny and elite team who
may be the only independent minds to know the secrets of Team New Zealand's
radical new design. McAlpine is one of the four official measurers, who
determine whether boats meet the rules of the class and regatta. He guards
his team's integrity jealously, knowing the compliance process - which
allows measurers to view in confidence the most detailed of syndicates'
design secrets - depends on complete discretion.

McAlpine, an Australian naval architect, has worked as a measurer for 30
years, and at six America's Cups. Team New Zealand worked closely with the
measurers when developing their false hull appendage, known as the hula, to
ensure their campaign yachts were built within the rules.

Before the hulls' unveiling this week, McAlpine's team inspected the hula
and declared it legal. Valid measurement certificates were issued for NZL81
and NZL82. How McAlpine's team checked the hula is confidential, but teams
such as Alinghi, of Switzerland, are trying to work it out, in part by
asking probing questions this week of the measurer and international jury.
Alinghi asked if electronic devices should be fitted to boats to make sure
hulas never touch the hull - a rule requirement - and if colour stains
could be used to check scuff marks. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:

(In a response to seven questions put to the Measurement Committee by one
of the syndicates following the unveiling of the Defender's yachts last
week, America's Cup Technical Director, Ken McAlpine, has issued a public
interpretation clarifying a number of issues relating to the Hula
appendages on Team New Zealand's two yachts. Here's an excerpt from a
report posted on the Louis Vuitton Cup website.)

McAlpine's reply says that deliberately placing any foreign material
between the hull and the appendage would contravene the rules. Accidental
lodgement of materials like seaweed or debris might not contravene the
rules. He further rules that no device or contrivance can be installed to
alter the gap between a hull and an appendage while the yacht is in the water.

McAlpine also notes that any competitor using a close hull appendage must
initially satisfy the measurers that the appendage cannot touch the hull
while racing (in order to receive a measurement certificate). "The
responsibility remains with the competitor to satisfy the measurers of
continuing compliance," McAlpine says. He adds that the touching of an
appendage outside the permitted area could not be considered "normal wear
and tear".

Two questions were put regarding ACC Rule 26, which prohibits appendages or
devices whose purpose is to bleed off or alter the water flow of the
boundary layer. McAlpine says that subject to the limitations of Rule 26 …
"there is no limitation on devices which may affect the speed of water
moving between the hull and the appendage, provided the device is not
movable or flexible and does not touch the hull outside the hollows
permitted area whilst racing." - Full report:

While most racing yachts lie dormant under blue tarps hiding from ice and
snow, the Snipe Class has an active racing schedule throughout the winter
in both Florida and Southern California. Tampa Bay Jan 25-26, Coconut Grove
Feb 1-2, Alamitos Bay Feb 15-16 and Mar 8-9, San Diego Women's Mar 1-2,
Florida-Bahamas Winter Circuit Mar 21-Apr 5. Don't just daydream about
sailing; get a Snipe, and get racing. Check the US Snipe website for
regatta schedules, reports, and great racing photos. Start sailing Snipes
and say goodbye to cabin fever.

(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: Putting umpire/observers on the competitor boats is an
interesting idea, but it raises some questions; particularly when these
individuals are permitted to communicate with the competitors. Over the
years race officials have taken great care to insure that a competitor does
not receive information that is not available to all competitors. If each
observer is not in communication with both teams as well as with the
umpires, I can see where this effort may fail. Also, what tools will the
observer have to judge when his boat is on a close hauled course, and hence
have completed a tack? Then there are other details such as: if the
observer and umpires disagree, whose opinion governs, and in such a case
did the helmsmen get the correct information?

* From John Roberson: In reply to Rich Roberts desire to change the
America's Cup, it is the very fact that it so difficult to win, that makes
very wealthy and successful men want to challenge for it. The America's Cup
is a challenge to the holder, not a world championship. If Everest was the
same height as all the other mountains in the world, would the ambitious
mountaineers of this world want to climb it? If the America's Cup was just
another class championship, would the world's best sailors all want to win it?

* From Vaughan Robertson: The New York Yacht Club held the Auld Mug for
decades because of a superbly tilted playing field that still attracted
challengers. Now Rich Roberts for the constituency of the three-time loser
makes plaintive cries to change the deed of gift for the purpose of making
the Cup a "World Championship"? Hah! Why don't we just let the oldest
sporting trophy in the history of the world carry on as it has been, with
input from egotistical mega-rich challenge leaders; superbly innovative
yacht designers; world class sailors; generally incorruptible officials;
keen public spectators and of course locally and internationally biased media.

* From Mark Weinheimer (edited to our 250-word limit): So Rich Roberts
wants a World Championship of Sailing. Fine. Start one. Choose the boats,
send out the Notice of Race, run the regatta. Award the trophy. Leave the
America's Cup alone. "The foundation of the America's Cup" is not the
venue. It is the Deed of Gift, which is an exceedingly short document -
essentially four pages, paperback book size. It is the document of last
resort for a non-negotiated challenge and quite wide open, as the Kiwis
found in 1988. If we were to "deep-six" the basis of the Cup, it will
simply become another sailboat regatta in a world full of events looking
for cachet.

Does Rich really think anyone would get this worked up about another
sailing regatta? The whole premise of the Cup is "we have it, come get it
if you can". It's worked for over 150 years, longer than baseball, soccer
or Formula One racing have been in existence. And this is somehow broken?
The right to take the trophy home is the whole point of the event. If home
field advantage (and the enormous influx of attendant wealth) was
discarded, how many people would even consider spending the money and time
pursuing the dream?

Key West Race Week is rapidly taking on the aura of the "Worlds" for lots
of people. "Dozens of classes...have their own world championships" - so
does the America's Cup Class, and look who showed up. Why does it have to
be more than that?

* From Bob Osterholt (re Rich Roberts article): Hear Hear! I especially
applaud the two following items in his commentary; --Break the 'spirit' of
the rules and you (I would prefer) 'shall' be disqualified, and - No more
wimpy wind regulations- multi-million dollar boats should be designed for
'sailing' and if sailing in strong wind (25knots) or more is required, let
it fly! Maybe discrimination could be made for the type of seas encountered
for the safety of crew. The wind is the bedrock of this endeavor!

* From Nick Pipsy: Where did some of your readers get the notion that
developments in America's Cup class yachts should benefit yachting at
large? There's nothing in the definition that states this nor is there any
intent for this outcome. The purpose of a development class is to create a
design and innovation competition as well as a sailing one. Look at the
nearest equivalent - Formula 1. There a tiny percentage of what is
developed flows through to road cars. You don't hear cries of banning a
development because it is irrelevant to road cars.

As far as the HulA is concerned its development is on no lower or higher
moral plane than Alinghi's square headed mainsail and other such
innovations. If critics who complain about measurers not applying some
"intent" test to class rule interpretations actually read the relevant
confidential interpretations they would see that this would be an
impossible demand. The actual questions posed were not, "Is the HulA
legal?" but more along the lines of, "Please define in detail what an
appendage is?" The answers refer explicitly to the class rules. Having
defined an appendage you cannot then disallow something that matches your
definition because of some "intent" test.

Note that Oracle BMW Racing put forward the questions not TNZ. It would
also be relevant to note that the measurers in question are highly
respected by the competitors and do a fantastic job. It is easy to whinge
and complain instead of using that energy to find out the facts.

* From David Weatherston: I am surprised that this 'venturi' idea is
taken seriously enough still to be discussed. Your correspondent appears to
believe that the water will enter the leading edge of the space between the
hull and 'hula', be accelerated in that space and then expelled at the
trailing edge in a manner that provides additional speed. This is silly.

For there to be any acceleration of the water between the panels of the
hull and 'hula', there must be an increased pressure of water at the
leading edge of the plate. The energy represented by that increased
pressure might then turn into an accelerated flow, but note that the
increased pressure at the forward edge could only come from the boat's
forward motion through the water, and that motion comes from and only from
the power of the sails (unless the Kiwis now possess magic, in which case
they don't really need rule-beating devices).

By the time you've added the energy required to create this presumed zone
of increased pressure, to overcome turbulence at the edges of the 'hula'
and to compensate for trebling the wetted surface in the hula area, hull
drag must be significantly greater than for an un-hula'd hull. We have to
presume that the rule-beating virtues of the 'hula' exceed its
drag-inducing deficiencies. We do not have to presume that the New
Zealanders have discovered the marine equivalent of the perpetual motion

* From Craig Fletcher: Ha Ha! ISAF and US Sailing are going to produce
another Grand Prix rule. Pigs are going to fly, the government won't waste
any more money and Brooke Shields is going to call me up for a date. NOT.
The owners and the builders running their own classes and rules are the
only solution.

The America's Cup may head to the Mediterranean Sea if skipper Russell
Coutts and his Alinghi syndicate wrench yachting's biggest prize off Team
New Zealand. The Swiss syndicate, if victorious, cannot hold the cup in its
landlocked homeland and the possibility of Auckland again playing host has
been touted. However, it has always appeared a long shot especially given
the revenue-generating power of the huge European market.

"My first choice would be the Mediterranean," said billionaire backer of
Alinghi Ernesto Bertarelli. "Emotionally, I am very attached to Italy. I
was born Italian." Bertarelli's list of cup venues also includes Barcelona,
Palma de Majorca, Lisbon, and Saint Tropez.

If there was ever any genuine intention of considering New Zealand, it is
likely to have disappeared during the challenger series. Alinghi has been
upset and hurt by the BlackHeart campaign while threats against the
families of syndicate members would have been the last straw. - Andrew
Sanders, The Daily News as posted on the Stuff NZ website, full story:,2106,2184163a6649,00.html

Put your boat on the line and shades on your head with Aramid Rigging.
Starting January 15th, our fully equipped 40-foot service trailer will be
in the A&B Marina parking lot daily. Get your free Chums (tm) at the
trailer and have Aramid's top professionals handle all your rigging needs
during Race Week. Our daily on-site service includes: high performance
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service, hardware, lifelines, splicing, swaging, rig tunes and inspections.
Call 401-345-1907 in Key West or find this trailer at A&B. -

Is a picture worth truly 1000 words? Check out the photo of Larry Ellison
and Chris Dickson aboard USA 76 on the NZ Herald website and judge for

A couple of additional boats should have finished by now, but the website
has been off-line for more than four hours, so we have no idea what's
happening. -

The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Schneider Electric trimaran had a most
unexpected encounter off the Straits of Gibraltar when a giant cephalopod
became tangled up around the rudder blade. It took over an hour before the
creature released its grip and allowed Geronimo to resume her rapid
progress south. The wind moderated in the middle of the day, but didn't
prevent the giant trimaran from maintaining an average speed of 20 knots…
and covering 485 nautical miles on day 2. Geronimo has now passed Madeira
and by midday today was just over 100 miles from the northern tip of the

John Bertrand and his crew of Ernie Lawrence and Bill Brown won their third
Australian Etchells National Championship at the Mooloolaba Yacht Club.
Final results (45 boats): 1. John Bertrand, 15; 2. Noel Drennan, 17; 3.
Julian Plante, 25; 4. Jamie McWilliam, 25; 5. Peter Conde, 28. -

Key Biscayne YC - Final results (38 boats) 1. Tim Healy, 23; 2. Andy Horton
31; 3. Mike Ingham 42; 4. Will Wells 43; 5. Doug MacLean 53.

* February 8-9: InterClub Midwinters, Severn Sailing Association,
Annapolis, MD. College-style regatta, free loaner boats available. -

* May 28-31: BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup international women's match racing
regatta, Eastport YC, Annapolis Maryland. The deadline for submission of
the invitation requests is February 1.

You know you're getting on in years when the girls at the office start
confiding in you.