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SCUTTLEBUTT 1271 - February 25, 2003

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The 31st America's Cup Match is fast becoming an endurance event with
Tuesday marking the fifth postponement in five attempts to start Race Four.
There hasn't been racing now for a full week. On Tuesday, Principal Race
Officer Harold Bennett was confronted with a weather forecast that included
a Gale Warning on the Hauraki Gulf and he was forced to cancel racing again.

Alinghi did go sailing in the morning, taking both boats out for a short
sail, while Team New Zealand went sailing on 34-foot MRX keelboats in the
harbour in front of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. At the scheduled
start time of 13:15, there was 25 - 28 knots, with gusts over 40 knots on
the Hauraki Gulf, with a two-metre swell.

Bennett revisited the weather forecast late on Tuesday afternoon, with the
hope of re-scheduling Race Four to Wednesday, a scheduled 'off' day. But
the weather models are predicting very strong winds overnight and into
Wednesday morning, moderating to 25 to 35 knots in the afternoon. That's
not a promising scenario, and Bennett decided to hold to the current
schedule, with Race Four to be attempted again on Thursday (Wednesday in
the US).

Although frustration is setting in among America's Cup sailors and race
fans alike, we're a long way from setting any records. The longest match in
America's Cup history was an 18-day endurance contest in 1899 between Sir
Thomas Lipton's first Shamrock and the American Columbia, co-owned by J.
Pierpont Morgan and with Charlie Barr at the wheel. It took 11 tries
between October 3 and October 20 to get the three-race series completed,
with Columbia winning in a sweep, 3-0. In fact, just completing Race One
took seven tries over 13 days. - America's Cup website,

The first ISAF World Match Race Rankings release of 2003, was issued 20
February. However, no change at the top with the forerunners in both the
Open and the Women's holding on tight to their number one world ranking.
With seven events included in this issue of the rankings, there was not
likely to be that much change. Karol Jablonski remains in the number 1 spot
which he has held since 27 November 2002. Not far behind however is Jesper
Radich (DEN) - only 16 points behind Jablonski - and Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
at number who is only 20 points behind Radich.

Marie Bjorling (SWE) continues to exert her dominance, having retained her
place as the world's number 1 since 2001. Her margin of more than 2000
points, will ensure her position for a while yet. With a top result at the
US Women's Match Racing Championship, Betsy Alison has secured a move-up
from 13 to 9. -

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The dismasting of Kingfisher2 has put an end to Ellen MacArthur's Jules
Verne record bid. "This was a one attempt project, we had the one shot and
unfortunately it has not gone to plan," MacArthur said. "We don't have any
immediate intention to try again, but never say never, some time in the
future I'd love to have another go. It is only safe to attempt the Jules
Verne during the months of December through to March during the Southern
Ocean's summer months - after late March/early April the threat of ice and
intense weather systems make it too dangerous to sail across the Indian and
Pacific there is no chance of doing anything this year that is
for sure. We've another 4 years of our sailing plans with Kingfisher as
title sponsor, so we have plenty of new challenges to take on.

"Unfortunately, the evidence to help us establish why the mast failed is
now floating in the Southern Ocean and we will probably never know the
reasons why the mast broke. We were sailing in moderate conditions with a
fairly flat sea - and it is often the sea state which causes the trouble -
no one saw anything amiss with the mast before it went.

"Within 8 hours the crew managed to lever the 15 metre boom into the
central mast position effecting a makeshift rig which will carry a
dramatically reduced sail area, but enough to power the boat towards SW
Australia 2200 miles to the north east... During today the guys improved
the jury rig further, and we are currently sailing with a 'cutter' rig,
very impressive! We are more than confident that we can sail safely to the
port of Freemantle or Perth under jury rig - although it will probably take
us 2 weeks or so. Neither the boat or any of the crew were in danger at any
time so it was not necessary to put out a request for any kind of
assistance." -

With no racing on the Hauraki Gulf, Gary Jobson filled the time by doing
interviews with both Ernesto Bertarelli and Russell Coutts. These
interviews are now posted on the ESPN website:

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has accused Alinghi boss Ernesto
Bertarelli of double standards after the Swiss billionaire lashed out at
the America's Cup organisers on Sunday. Bertarelli said the regatta's
organisation was akin to a "zoo" after Sunday's race was postponed because
of unstable winds on the Hauraki Gulf and accused Team New Zealand of
wanting to play two roles - "as the defender and race committee". He has
called for an independent committee to decide if racing should go ahead at
future America's Cup regattas.

This regatta's principal race officer, Harold Bennett, is a member of the
RNZYS, for whom Team NZ are defending the Auld Mug. But RNZYS commodore
Bill Endean said yesterday that Bertarelli's criticism was rich as he
signed up to a protocol before racing agreeing to Bennett's appointment.
"In addition to that, prior to the regatta starting, Harold had a briefing
with both parties and established the ground rules which included the
condition that no racing would start unless the strength and stability of
the wind allowed the races to be conducted fairly," Endean said. "I really
can't understand why he thinks he's been unfairly treated. And Russell
(Coutts) and Brad (Butterworth) should know the rules . . . they're exactly
the same as they were three years ago." - Yhe Dominion Post, full story:,2106,2287459a6033,00.html

Rick Arneson and Gus Wirth mastered the light and shifty conditions to win
over some very close competition in the Long Beach event. Rob and Bridget
Hallawell were second, only one point behind. See the full regatta report
at the class website. The Snipe Class has a full regatta schedule planned
this year. Check their website for the regattas remaining this winter
season down South, out of the snow and ice; start sailing Snipe and say
goodbye to cabin fever. Complete regatta reports, racing schedule and more

Skipper Steve Fossett (USA) and his crew of 12 aboard the maxi-catamaran
PlayStation broke the East - West TransAtlantic sailing record by over a
day. They arrived at the island of San Salvador, the Bahamas following
their 229-1/2 hour (a little more than 9 ½ days) crossing from Cadiz, via
the Canaries. Fossett and crew, following the same route as Columbus in
1492, averaged 16.93 kts over the official 3884 nautical mile record
course. This will be a new world record - pending final confirmation by the
WSSRC - World Sailing Speed Record Council -

Their total distance sailed - with weather detour - was 4704 nm, an
across-the-water- average of 20.5 kts. The existing record of 10 days 14
hours 53 mins 44 secs was set by co-skippers Bruno Peyron (FR) and Grant
Dalton (NZ) on the 110' cat Club Med in June, 2000.

Fossett - aboard both PlayStation and the 60' trimaran Lakota now holds 10
of the 13 fastest outright ocean passage records recognized by the WSSRC. -

French skipper Thierry Dubois on Solidaires, who has had more than his fair
share of misfortune playing second fiddle to Bernard Stamm in every leg so
far of Around Alone 2002-03, turned 36 years old as he passed Cape Horn and
left the Southern Ocean unscathed. Solidaires is just 50 miles behind and
going twice the speed of the wounded leader Bobst Group - Armor Lux. The
repair that skipper Bernard Stamm has effected on the damaged keel board
above the axis inside the boat is holding well, but the boat is "at 20% of
her potential," according to Stamm, with 2 reefs and Solent set.

After much reflection and consultation upon all the options for repair open
to him, Bernard Stamm is now heading for the Falkland Islands. He was less
than 200 miles from Port Stanley Monday afternoon, which is in the South
East of the main island. "With the means I have on board, I have made a
repair that will hold for about 400 miles: at the Falklands, everything is
there for me to make this repair last until Bahia."

Pierre Rolland and Denis Glehen are working on the job list for Stamm, as
Catherine Rouge, Bernard's partner, and shore team Benoît Lequin and JC
Caso get the operation into action so that Bernard will arrive in port with
a team ready to get to work on the boat. Philippe Poupon, a skipper who
knows the resources of this region well, is on side to help find an
effective team. The clock is ticking - this must be the shortest possible
pit-stop in the knowledge that the skipper and boat will be penalised 48
hours for receiving outside assistance. Thierry Dubois, his direct rival,
is only 3 points behind him. So a fourth placing in this leg will in effect
put Bernard on equal points with the skipper of Solidaires.

It is in light airs that Bobst Group/Armor Lux moves along at 6 knots
boatspeed, the skipper estimating his arrival at Port Stanley on Wednesday
morning at the latest. "I need to keep on manoeuvring the boat all the time
but with some caution. I can't push her as I'd like, as the keel is the
counterweight to all the pressure taken by the rig, and it is in no state
to support such big loads. -

OneWorld skipper Peter Gilmour said he would be surprised if Team New
Zealand failed to make an appearance at the next cup - always assuming, of
course, they lose it this time. There have been concerns that Team New
Zealand simply wouldn't be able to raise enough funds to travel to Europe
to challenge. "I think that certainly Team New Zealand will mount a
challenge - I don't think there are any ifs or buts about that," he said.
"There is going to be a lot of pent-up anger that is going to have to be
vented in some way. Rather than let people be angry, let them speak with
their feet." Gilmour swiftly rejected the idea of a joint Australian and
New Zealand team: "that will never happen." Julie Ash, NZ Herald,

Team Alinghi's physiotherapist and trainer, Xavier Jolis, has sustained a
broken left leg and has been taken to Auckland City Hospital for treatment.
His leg is broken in three places, and both the tibia and fibula are
fractured. The injury occurred February 24 during a regular training
session of football, when he collided with another team member on the
field. He will undergo surgery this morning for doctors to place a pin in
his leg. He will remain in hospital under supervision for 3 - 4 days.
Xavier has been with Team Alinghi since June 2001, and is responsible for
designing and maintaining a comprehensive and detailed fitness program.

* The joke around Auckland is that the average wind on Hauraki Gulf is 15
knots, perfect for sailboat racing if it weren't for the fact that half the
time it blows 30 knots, the other half it's at zero. - Angus Phillips,
Washington Post,

* To read 'Butt in a HTML format, just double-click on the Sailing
Scuttlebutt link after the date on the first line of each issue.

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(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 Richard Brown, NZ: As a race officer who has started a couple of
thousand more races on the Hauraki Gulf than any of your correspondents I
am concerned at the vitriol they are heaping on Harold Bennett and the
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The Gulf is a tricky place. The breeze
does not follow a nice easy pattern and can be shifty one day and steady
the next from exactly the same direction. Americas Cup syndicates have
spent millions trying to understand it and still they get it wrong.

Harold and his crew have been given a set of parameters in which to work so
that the conditions provide good quality racing. This means that some days
will simply be not suitable for racing. This is precisely what Peter Reggio
and his team found when they ran the Louis Vuitton Cup. How any of your
correspondents who neither have the knowledge of the Gulf nor the benefit
of the meteorological instrumentation that is available to the Race
Officer, can inteligently comment on whether he is right or wrong beats me.

Similarly anyone who has been fooled by Brad Butterworth's comment that
Alinghi were bitterly disappointed at the decision not to sail fails to
understand the man's sense of humour. I suggest your correspondents stop
criticising a highly skilled Race Officer and wait patiently until the
weather Gods provide him with conditions he can work with.

* From Shaun Donaghey: It's also worth remembering that in the last
America's Cup Prada did exactly the same tactics of raising sail and doing
fly-buys of the committee boat on one shifty day. The then Team New Zealand
afterguard (Coutts & Butterworth) declined to race, stating that conditions
were unsuitable.

* From Sean Paterson, New Zealand: Harold Bennett was interviewed on the
Holmes TV program Monday evening. He stated that 2 days before the Match,
Team NZ, Alinghi and the Race Committee met to discuss race conditions.
Both TNZ and Alinghi agreed not to race in conditions that have been in
force since last Thursday. He has followed a mandate agreed to by both
teams. The TVNZ commentary team gets info from the RC and others on the
course. Perhaps if one had the TVNZ feed then one would have a better
appreciation of what is happening from around the course regarding wind
strengths and direction. It was nice to see some positive comments from
Phil Lander and Hans la Cour who have a clearer understanding on what is
happening on the water.

* From Larry Butchart: I can't believe all this crying about the
postponements... do people really think 30-60 degree shifts, with one boat
getting a 20 minute lead is compelling television? People say with one
breath it's the pinnacle of sailing, and then expect it to be held with the
liberal interpretation of "fair race course" we use for Tuesday night beer
can racing. I'll let the experts make the decisions.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Hear, hear. And on this note we officially kill this

* From Wes Bray (edited to our 250-word limit): I was disheartened to
read the initial thinking about the 32nd AC in 'Butt 1270. Most of the
changes proposed were positive but to hear that the next cup might not be
until 2007 was very discouraging. Is it just me or does it seem as though
the America's Cup is really not about racing so much as it is about
waiting....waiting for the next cup...waiting for the next round...waiting
for the weather...waiting for the race to start.

Earlier on in the discussions of the 'next cup', someone mentioned the
possibility of holding the cups more frequently, possibly every two years,
so the next would be during the summer of 2005 (before the World Cup). I
think this is an idea worth considering, for several reasons:

-It will sustain/build fan attention
-It will be more appealing for media coverage
-It will make it easier for current syndicates to sustain operations
between races

It will also possibly reduce the massive and increasing amounts of money
being spent on the campaigns, since the design exploration phase of
development will need to be subordinated to the time required by on water
testing and training. Teams will be more inclined to evolve existing
designs in a continual process of design evolution since the next race is
not that far away. Ii might also have the benefit of making boats from
previous campaigns more desirable/ useable by new syndicates, since the
state of design will not have moved as far in the shorter time period.

* From Vince Cooke, Regatta Operations Director, Louis Vuitton Cup 2000:
Angus Phillips report on the next AC Protocol contains great ideas; fully
agree with all of them; long overdue. Speaking from personal experience
there is no justification for having TV, media, sponsorship and RC
functions duplicated by the Defender and the Challenger of Record. Even in
San Diego when the Defender conducted Defender trials, those trials and the
Challenger Selection Series races could have been conducted by one RC
operating two race courses. The TV, media, sponsorship duplication gets in
its own way with two different entities running it and entanglements ensue.
The Defender earned the right to run the whole show, and in this case the
centralization in one organization would provide economies of scale.

Nationality? Fully agree on this one as well. What's the point in making
the crew and designers jump through hoops to prove residency? It's going to
happen but at great difficulty, mostly for their families. Is there any
doubt in anyone's mind that Alinghi is a Swiss Challenge? Just because
there are 15 nationalities in the organization doesn't make it any less
Swiss. It bears a Swiss flag, it was designed in Switzerland, and it was
built in Switzerland, with Swiss money. Isn't that enough to give the team
Swiss authenticity?

* From Christian Badali: After reading Jan Corbett's embarassing article
on Russell Coutts, I felt compelled to write. New Zealanders really need to
get over it! This article was really an embarassment. The tone throughout
of "yeah, Russell's a good sailor, but not really great and a bore to boot"
is just too much. Jan Corbett needs to look in the mirror and ask herself,
if Russell Coutts were still sailing for New Zealand, instead of breaking
Kiwis' hearts by beating up on them so badly, would she have written the
same article. I dare say NOT!!

It's amazing how much easier it is for a team to work together when no one
has any idea where they're going