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SCUTTLEBUTT 1273 - February 27, 2003

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Strong winds and choppy seas today have forced the seventh delay in
America's Cup racing. A subtropical low-pressure system positioned just
north of Cape Reinga has been the problem over the past few days, bringing
strong winds and unsettled seas. Race four was originally meant to take
place last Thursday but was postponed due to fickle conditions. It was
postponed again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday due to light or shifty
conditions. But strong winds were the problem on Tuesday and yesterday.

The forecast was for 18-24 knot east-north-easterly winds with gusts of up
to 28 knots, and Friday's prognosis is not much better, with strong winds
and big waves expected. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

* After nine days of unsuitable weather for racing, the forecast is much
better for Friday (Thursday in the US) with moderate conditions due on the
Hauraki Gulf. Northeast winds of 13 to 18 knots are expected under overcast
skies. Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett has said Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday are now scheduled as 'race' days. A decision will be made as to
whether to race on Monday, if needed, over the weekend. -

* The schedule for the best-of-nine Cup match between Alinghi and Team
New Zealand shows five scheduled competition days left before racing ends
March 6. With Alinghi leading, 3-0, six races could be needed to conclude
the series. Cup rules call for races to continue daily after March 6 if no
one has won five, but each day's racing would be by mutual consent of the
competitors. Both sides have veto power over nonscheduled race days,
meaning a team in danger of losing could just say no - forever.

"When we looked at the rules beforehand, it seemed okay," said principal
race officer Harold Bennett, who has taken heat for the string of weather
delays that stopped the Cup in its tracks. "But in this situation I have no
control. It's in the hands of the competitors, as it has been for 150
years." - Angus Phillips, Washington Post, full story:

Writing in the nav station of Kingfisher2 - I still feel completely gutted
and empty even thinking of where we are right now. Our objective has gone,
our focus has gone and our Jules Verne is well and truly over. I have been
bowled over by the spirit with which so many people have dealt with our
problems. So many emails, so much positive energy flowing through to us on
Kingfisher2, still deep in the Southern Ocean.

It would have been hard to pick a place much further from a major port to
lose our mast - and what seems like a blessing and a punishment is the time
it will take us to make our way to Australia. Time to come to terms with
all that has happenned, but also a long time to think of what has been. It
really has to be said that we are thankful for everyones energy that has
gone into this project, from Kingfisher Plc giving us the chance to try for
this record, and to the hundreds and thousands of you who have sent both
your encouragement when things were going to plan, as well as your
encouragement when things have not. In so many ways it's the encouragement
that people have shown when things are not going so well, that makes the
difference. I suppose like cheering for your football team even though
they've just had a bad result. It's a hard realisation that things go wrong
- but a very real realisation. Life is without purpose, right now. However,
we go on though.. there are new challenges out there, many of which I am
sure I have never even dreamt about yet - many I am sure not even related
to sailing...

So here's to getting to Australia - here's to the next challenges, I hope
you'll be able to live those with us too ... whatever that may be. - Ellen

Cold fronts are windy with sudden shifts. Sea breezes start on the beach,
work outward, then die outside first. Racing or cruising, weather affects
every aspect of our sailing. Learn to understand the weather at the daylong
seminar presented by Commanders' Weather and Bill Biewenga. Sponsored by
Ockam Instruments, Blue Water Sailing, and Spinsheet Magazine, the
interactive classes are available in Chicago, Annapolis, Detroit, Newport,
and Marblehead this March and April. Ockam U sessions are scheduled on the
day following in Chicago and Newport. For Weather Seminar details visit or e-mail For Ockam
U information, email

Yes! I am one lucky girl! I'm always admired the quiet, romantic and
private side of Mike. And for all those emails and phone calls that we
received ... no date yet ... but it will definitely not be on a regatta
weekend (that really narrows it down!). - Kellie Fennessy

After an average day yesterday, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric
trimaran has been averaging nearly 20 knots off the Brazilian coast for the
past few hours, making the most of some reasonably sustained westerlies.
"It´s allowing Geronimo to get a little further east," said skipper Olivier
de Kersauson. "The waves are disgusting, but at least we´re making good
headway. The trouble is that there´s an enormous area of calm to our north.
There may be a tiny mouse hole that we can get through, but we´re not
entirely certainly where it is. We´re wondering how we can get out of the
bloody awful position we find ourselves in. Nevertheless, when I look at
the route to the east that I we could have chosen, I can see that we
couldn´t have got through, so that makes things a little easier to accept,
but it still comes down to a choice of two poor routes and let´s hope that
we´ve chosen the least bad." Distance traveled in the last 24 hours: 315nm.

* March 14-16: Sailing World National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta,
San Diego YC -

America's Cup weather hitches have wreaked havoc with charter boat bookings
as operators report waning public interest in the regatta. Refunds are
being offered and prices discounted for remaining races after delays caused
by wild weather.

* Sunsail's financial manager, Fraser Smith, said the company had only a
few bookings for their boat the Oleanda at the weekend. "People are just
giving up," he told the Herald yesterday. "The phones have stopped." He
said refunds were given for any postponed races.

* The owner of Nick's Cruises, Sally Lewis, said the weather delays were
annoying, but there was nothing that could be done about them. However,
bookings throughout the entire season, including the challenger series, had
been weaker than during the last cup, especially because there had been no
racing over the peak holiday period around New Year.

"We just have to be patient. There's one thing we can't control and that's
the weather. People are a little more upset this time - we started a month
earlier, and then there was no racing over the holidays, which really upset
a lot of people. That was so dumb. The tourists didn't come. The last
America's Cup was a lot more fun for me, it was really humming, now it's

She said that if sailing had gone ahead yesterday she would have had only
seven people on board. - Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:

All the Class 1 boats in Around Alone 2002-03 are safely round Cape Horn
now, and with Salvador de Bahia a transatlantic race away, the bets are
already on for finishing points and positions in Leg 4 for the overall
rankings going into the final leg. New leader for leg 4, French skipper
Thierry Dubois on Solidaires, has been sleeplessly fire-fighting in squally
upwind conditions to the North East of the Falklands for a couple of days,
let alone trying to eek out as much of an advantage on Stamm whilst he
stopped in port.

At 17:00hrs GMT Wednesday Bernard Stamm restarted his race on Bobst Group -
Armor Lux after a 22 hour pit-stop in Port Stanley to repair his broken
keel board. The impatient and exhausted skipper snatched just an hour's
sleep and mended his mainsail rip whilst three men worked in the confined
space in Bernard's rabbit-warren of a boat on fixing and bolting the two
steel plates either side of the keel.

Bruce Schwab on wounded Ocean Planet rounded the Horn earlier today and is
heading for the Falkland Islands to pull in and repair his broken boom.
Graham Dalton is sheltering Hexagon in the archipelago to starboard of Cape
Horn and made the rendez-vous with his shore manager last night to get the
carbon splint onto his boom, but he has yet to rejoin the race. As both
these boats also will take the 48 hour penalty once they receive outside
assistance. -

STANDINGS: 2200 UTC February 26 ­ CLASS 1: 1. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois,
2234 miles from finish; 2. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 225 miles
behind leader; 3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 412 mbl; 4. Hexagon, Graham
Dalton, 623 mbl; 5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 652 mbl 6. Pindar, Emma
Richards, 686 mbl.

CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 3061 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 702 mbl; 3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro
Shiraishi, 935 mbl; 4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 1367 mbl; 5. Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, 1539 mbl.

Russell Coutts has been quick to recognize the part played by the weather
team in Alinghi's success so far. Mike Broughton wrote a story about the
Alinghi weather team for the America's Cup website that provides real
insight into the process and the equipment used by the team. -

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Auckland, NZ - A group calling itself September 11 and claiming to possess
25kg of "weapon grade cyanide" is behind the terrorism threat to the
America's Cup. The threat is outlined in the letter sent to the United
States Embassy and the British and Australian High Commissions. Police
disclosed the contents of the letter last night, saying they had an "open
mind" as to the intent of the author.

The police counter-terrorism chief, Assistant Commissioner Jon White, said:
"We have no knowledge of any such group in New Zealand." He said a group
called September 11 had been identified in Australia but there was no
indication it had any connection with New Zealand.

A poisons expert said while it was possible that someone could collect 25kg
of cyanide it could not be made into a weapon such as a bomb. - Patrick
Gower and Natasha Harris, NZ Herald, full story:

FACTOID: Russell Coutts turns 41 years old on Saturday, March 1. Michelle
Slade has done a feature about the "skipper of the most successful
challenger ever," on the Cupviews website. -

(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 Michael J Dailey (2x Cup Vet - re the Swiss flag and the Harbor
bridge): That just about cooks it. How can the powers that be in Auckland,
let some mid, or worse yet, lower level bureaucrat decide the public image
of NZ on the world wide stage? I just don't get it. Kiwi's are well thought
of world wide, and beyond the sailing world as well.

So, how does something as embarrassing as this go on, not just the first
day of racing, but through the first three race days? Guess the guys from
NZ Transit just don't get out much eh? The Cup going to NZ was definitely
one of the best things to ever happen to the event. But with a
demonstration of such a lack courtesy and sportsmanship as the flag issue,
maybe it is time for the event to move on after all. Let the Auckland
politicos figure out who they can throw their next parade for, after the
Cup is long gone. Sadly,

* From David McNicoll: Congratulations to Sherwood Kelley (Butt 1272) for
so clearly spelling out what thousands of sailors around the world must
have been thinking. The glory must be in winning the AmCup -- not plodding
around the track by yourself. Bertarelli will forever regret crossing the
finish line in the first race.

* From: Fred Jones: I am writing in response to Sherwood Kelley's
incredibly naive suggestion to reward TNZ for not being prepared for Race
#1 of the America's Cup. Being ready to race in both boat & crew prep is a
requirement for successfully competing. This is The Event, the amount of
effort put out to be at this point is not to be squandered. The
sportsman-like thing to do was to in that situation was to inquire if TNZ
required an Alinghi tender to stand by to render assistance. In
motorsports, yacht racing, horses ... the loss of an individual competitor
has no impact on the event or the remaining participants.

* Robert A. Constable (Re Sherwood Kelley's letter in 'Butt 1272): You
must sail around the course if you want to win the race. It's that simple.
Except in regatta-supplied boats (and even then, sometimes), breakdowns are
part of our game. The ACC boats are a development class, which means that
there is as much emphasis on boatspeed as there is on crew work, tactics
and strategy. And boatspeed means that the equipment has to hold
together--otherwise it was under-designed for the conditions or

When TNZ clearly had a faster boat than Prada in 2000, should they have
given the Italians a head start to make it a "race" instead of five
consecutive wire-to-wire "sail-arounds" (I exaggerate for effect)?

This might have started as a friendly competition among nations, but, like
it or not, it has evolved into a hard-nosed, and expensive, competition
between businessmen. I wouldn't expect any tough syndicate boss to forego a
victory because the other boat's hardware couldn't handle the conditions,
just as I wouldn't pull up in Saturday afternoon club race because one of
my competitors popped a backstay or lost a halyard.

Coutts & Co. have sailed a fast boat to three victories - some more
exciting that others, but excitement doesn't count on the scorecard. They
are there to win a regatta, not a public relations skirmish. Whatever your
views on the nationality/ loyalty issue, Team Alinghi doesn't deserve to
have their performance discredited.

* From Chris Corlett: I don't believe it! Surely, Sherwood Kelley was
kidding when he suggested that Alinghi drop out of Race 1.

* From Jeff Penny: I'm sorry but I have to disagree with Ed Du Moulin.
The Americas cup race committee should be international. If we want the
world to experience the great fun in yachting by promoting it on TV, we
need to manage this cup better. It's time for a race committee to be made
up of people who have no personal interest in the cup.

* From Don Goyette: My wife, Karen, and I were at the Bitter End YC for
the 2001 ProAm Regatta and enjoyed observing the antics of Mike Priest in
his quest for Kellie's attentions. Good on ya, Mike, and Kellie: just say

* From Andreas Stüven: Way to go Mike, this development is certainly more
interesting than the loyalty battles in Auckland.

* From Joe McCoy: A marriage proposal on "The Scut-Butt?" How wonderful!
Please say yes! I wish you both the best.

* From Dean Hubbard: Hey, Kellie. I don't know the man but Mike Priest
seems to be one class act! Don't miss the boat. Good luck to both of you.

* From: Rick Hatch: So Mike, just how big of a reception were you
thinking Kellie might consider? Let's see: Wedding invites x more than
17,000 Buttheads = who the heck needs a dowry?

* From David Tillson: A proposal through scuttlebutt! Maybe you should
consider adding a "Scuttlebutt Singles" section to your web site . . .

* From Ralph Mailloux: As a member of Team Pendragon and one who was in
attendance at the Bitter End Yacht Club Pro Am Regatta, I can only convey
that this was a match made in Virgin Gorda (Heaven). Kelly and Mike are
perfect for each other. As I sat here and read the proposal this morning,
and Mike, you got stones.

* From Kelly Mathews: Call me a romantic, call me a sook, but Mike - you
put a tear in my eye this morning! Good luck!

* From Bruce Munro: Is this a first -- a marriage proposal on
Scuttlebutt? All of us at the St. Francis Yacht Club would like to wish
Kellie and Mike all the happiness in the world. They are great people and
deserve it.

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.