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SCUTTLEBUTT 1285 - March 13, 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,
press releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are
always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

As the Syndicate Head for the Australian Catamaran Challenge and the person
responsible for all correspondence to and from the Trustees of the Deed of
Gift of the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy at Seacliff YC, I am
compelled to reply to the letter from John Dawson Jr., which contains a
number of explicit and implicit inaccuracies. The Trustees' written
correspondence welcoming a challenge from us in January 2002 did not
contain any time limitations. Throughout the remainder of 2002 we had no
further contact from the Trustees at all. I am not aware who the Australian
representative is that John speaks of, in his letter. By contrast we were
informed on January 14, 2003 that a meeting was to be held 5 days later to
decide the fate of the event. At this point we made a necessarily hurried
submission and forwarded a formal challenge.

In contrast to the behaviour of the Trustees, Steve Clark, the last winner
of the Little America's Cup and leader of the formidable Cogito team has
been the model of a sporting gentleman, happy to share with us and the
world all of their design features, construction techniques and so forth,
and to work tirelessly toward preserving this once great event.

One of the saddest aspects of the dumbing down of the event into a match
race on factory plastic, is that it ignores the fact that virtually every
aspect of the modern racing catamaran, including the trampoline bridge
deck, fully battened main sails, asymmetric dagger boards, aerofoil-shaped
over-rotating mast, the missing forebeam and so on, came from the
developments pioneered by the early Little America's Cup teams. One of the
best and more durable Olympic designs, the Tornado, arose from the early
British foray into the larger C class craft. - Ian Jenkins Syndicate Head,
Australian Catamaran Challenge

Champion yachtsman Russell Coutts took no special precautions when he sent
his Olympic gold medal to his old school this week. The three-time
America's Cup winner just bundled it into an envelope, wrote an
accompanying note on an Alinghi letterhead and posted it off to Otago Boys
High School in Dunedin.

"It's fair to say I was a little taken aback," Coutts' friend and Otago
Boys master of yachting Allan Garbutt said yesterday. "I'd been badgering
Russell for a while for some sort of memorabilia, but I didn't expect this.
The package arrived and out falls this big heavy gold thing. It's amazing,
an extremely nice gesture."

Mr Garbutt said Coutts, who skippered Alinghi to take the America's Cup
from Team NZ - his former team - two weeks ago, had been supportive of his
old school, donating a yachting trophy and frequently calling in to chat to
pupils. Three years ago he presented his Team New Zealand shirt to the school.

Coutts won gold in the Finn class at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics,
famously overcoming painful boils to sail to victory. Mr Garbutt said the
medal, which came with the original Olympic scoresheet, was most likely to
be displayed permanently at the school, alongside photographs of Coutts'
glittering career. Otago Boys rector Clive Rennie said Coutts' gesture was
"humbling". - New Zealand Herald,

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

* At 21:00 local time (24:00 GMT) Simone Bianchetti on Tiscali was 120
miles from the Around Alone finish line in Salvador, Brazil travelling at
10 knots. His latest ETA is 09:00 Thursday morning. -

* The Sunfish International Masters Championship was held at the Upper Keys
Sailing Club on Key Largo, FL, March 7-9. Chris Williams of Philadelphia,
PA, was the overall winner. All age group winners and complete results are

* Van Gorkom Yacht Design recently donated the tank test data for the
VG30, compiled at IMD in St. Johns, Newfoundland, to the ORC's
International Technical Committee. Jim Teeters, the technical director of
the ITC, said "this will be a valuable data point in the VPP's assessment
of drag due to heel." -

Since yesterday, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran has been
back up to speed, covering 405 nautical miles on her 60th day at sea; an
average of 16.90 knots. She is currently making the most of the southerly
winds that are driving her at over 20 knots and almost directly towards
Ushant. It's a weather situation that seems set to last until midday
tomorrow. "By tomorrow midday, we'll be about 1050 miles from Ushant," said
Geronimo skipper Olivier de Kersauson. "That will leave us 71 hours to
cover the distance, which in turn means we'll have to average 14 knots to
cross the line in time, but we're far from certain of being able to achieve
that. Despite everything we've put up with so far, all we need is a little
bit of air."-

Former Southern California sailmaker, talented, well-known and well-liked
racing competitor Neil Baker, 40, was found dead in his home Wednesday
morning. The cause of death was not immediately determined. The Cal 20
Class Association has announced that their 2003 Class Championship regatta
at the Long Beach Yacht Club will be dedicated to Baker, who won that
championship twice.

Aloha dear friend,
How we will miss you.
Since we were kids,
You were one of a special few.
No matter what the storm,
You were always bright.
Making me laugh,
Red hair such a fright.
We will love you forever,
As you sail on,
To far better seas,
Far beyond.

- Jennifer Golison

Race seven of the Clipper 2002 series gets underway this Thursday, 13 March
2003, on a 925 nautical mile race from Yokohama to Shanghai. The stretch
from Yokohama onto Shanghai will see crews contend with the notorious
Kuroshio Current, which can reach a speed of 4 knots, as they embark on a
south westerly course as far as the southern tip of Kyushu Island, some 500
miles away.

After six races and four different winners so far, Jersey currently lead
the overall Clipper 2002 standings on 39 points, with Bristol chasing hard
on 34 and London not much further behind on 31 points. The fleet is now
moving out of oceans, back into seas, and crews will wave farewell to the
Pacific as they pass Kyushu and enter the China Sea.

The latest stopover in Yokohama has been a welcome break for the Clipper
crews and with many arriving a day earlier than expected, this has enabled
them to fully enjoy the exceedingly warm hospitality of their Japanese
hosts despite the colder climate. One truly popular feature of the Bayside
Marina, the heated lavatory seats, has once again proved to be a big hit
with the crews. -

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(Magnus Wheatley has done a very interesting interview with Brad
Butterworth for the Yachts and Yachting website. Here are just two short

Magnus Wheatley: Okay but you and the 'Magic' team, as the most successful
AC sailors of all time, can surely write your own cheque now. If say Larry
Ellison came along and offered you $10m US would you go or is what you've
created at Alinghi too good to leave?

Brad Butterworth: If you look at the past you can see a pattern of who I
respect and trust in sailing. I think it would be very hard to work outside
Alinghi because of the relationship I have with Russell, Simon (Daubney),
Warwick (Fleury), Deano (Phipps) and Murray (Jones) and also the
relationships that have been formed over the last three years with Ernesto,
Michel Bonnefous and other sailors in this team. Also the goals that
Russell has set out and achieved for this team have been quite remarkable

MW: What has Russell got that no-one else seems to have?

BB: Well I'm a bit biased but I think he's just the complete package. He's
not a designer but he's got a great understanding of the design side of it
and his way of motivating people is incredible. He leads from the front and
he doesn't expect anyone to do things that he wouldn't do himself. He's
willing to do it the hard way if it has to be done the hard way and he's
got a mental strength that I think is second to none. In the end this time
it's wound up being bloody hard after all the local pressure he's had to go
through and I know the struggle that he's endured and throughout it he's
shown just incredible tenacity, that's what makes him tick. - Yachts and
Yachting website, full interview:

(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 Andy Vare: Whoa! Star sailors have just received this message from
Class President Simoneschi: "Through a long cooperative discussion with
ISAF, we have determined the final qualification procedure for the 2003
ISAF World Championship in Cadiz. The Central Office will verify the
entries and submit them to ISAF, who will have the final say to their
eligibility within this test event. There will be no Gold Star awarded.
This will be the only Star Class World Championship in 2003."

This is an unprecedented development, as the World Championship is, to most
Star sailors, the assignment of the Gold Star. At least, it has been since
1921 or so. The Star Class has an honors system unique to sailing, where
events are rated Brown, Green, Blue, Silver and Gold levels, and winning
skippers earn colored stars for their mainsails, or bars and chevrons for
placing in individual races at such levels. While it's probably a mistake
to put too much emphasis on class honors, I feel it's totally out of line
for the ISAF to undercut the class this way.

The ISAF now usurps Star class management, which is not a good development
for healthy, independent class associations. This will only be a positive
development if more sponsor money flows into the class association as a
result, something I highly doubt. We need Riccardo's explanation on the
'Butt, with no mincing of words. What's up with the IOC and why the arm

* From Tim Hedges: Whatever faults Peter Harrison may or may not have as
an individual at least he had the courage to put his money on the line to
put forward a British challenge. Maybe he was motivated by ego, but if so I
am sure that he was not alone amongst team owners in wanting to derive
personal satisfaction from entering. The history of the America's Cup is
littered with egos, and I can not believe that Ellison or Bertarelli were
purely motivated by altruism. There are many ways in which the very wealthy
can choose to enjoy their money, at least this way we can all share a
little in that enjoyment, even if it was sadly short lived in the case of
GBR Challenge. I wonder if the critics would have shouted so loudly were
the cup to have returned to Cowes?

* From Peter Harken: Magnus Wheatley was spot on regards GBR and Peter
Harrison's AC challenge. Peter Harrison put his money where his mouth was,
all of it by himself, earned from the ground up! The "whingers" dig into
others pockets. Good on ya, Peter and GBR peoples, great effort, good
country ambassadors, Britain is back!

* From John Mandeno: As a member of the RNZYS, I'm afraid I have to take
an exception to some of Dan Meyers' comments in his letter to you. He
implies that the RNZYS supported the Blackheart campaign. Wrong. There was
absolutely no correspondence to me as a member on that matter, either in
the form of the monthly broadsheet or magazine, or if things were really
desparate, a rallying phone call. Nor have I had any correspondence about
"tossing" Coutts and Butterworth out of the club. I understand that that
proposition came from a single member of the club, not the officers or
committee. To date, including the notice for a Special General Meeting
(Constitutional matters, folks - pretty boring) to be held on Thursday
(NZT), there has been no mention of the issue, if there ever was one.

Dan, you really need to come down to NZ &understand why, by and large, us
Kiwis have got over it all a few weeks down the track. In any event, the
country's sporting attention is focused right now on the Cricket World Cup.
As for Americas Cup, most folks would gladfully say "no regrets"

* From Howard Spencer: Can you please close down the Kiwi bashing thread.
Yeah we made some mistakes, some of us weren't the best of sports but let's
all just grow up a bit and get over it - can you look in the mirror and
tell me there aren't people in your country who'd be any better behaved?
Most kiwi sailors are embarrassed by what has occurred, ask one.

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Consider it done!

* From Senet Bischoff: Kudos to Dierk Polzin for doing the work to back
up what a number of us (both inside and outside of collegiate sailing) have
been saying about the existing ISAF rule on tacks and gybes for years. I
once saw Bill Hardesty and his crew (in a college regatta, where it is
legal) put his FJ mast absolutely horizontal on a tack, and then snap it
back to vertical without going past vertical in one quick move, and gain
three boat lengths in the process. Why should the rules disallow that if he
has the skills to pull it off?

My only question is, why haven't I (and other sailors who have to sail
under the rules) been asked this type of question before? Now all we need
is to have US Sailing and ISAF seek our feedback to other ISAF rules that
don't work well in the real world. My pick? The "new" windward/leeward rule
(that requires that a leeward boat with luffing rights give a windward boat
"room" to keep clear) creates a situation where every incident or protest
results in a judgment call by an umpire or judge, and no-one knows who's
right until its' all over. The old rule ('windward boat must keep clear, no
matter how fast the boat with luffing rights luffs') never had that problem.

* From Peter Commette: Reading Dierk Polzin's kinetics poll, your readers
should be cautioned that, while interesting reading, it should not be
quoted or referred to as authority for anything, except that there seems to
be a lot of interest in kinetics. His poll admittedly "is not entirely
scientifically accurate." "Scientific" polls have a calculated accuracy and
are conducted under set conditions.

As a trial attorney, I have had to commission polls to be taken on
tradename confusion, and then had to argue to the judge for admissibility
or to the jury on the persuasive weight to be given the poll. Believe me,
there is a tremendous difference between the accuracy of polls and the
conditions under which they are given. Also, report skewing bias can many
times be inserted in the form of appendices which do not report all
responses or even in the conclusions to be drawn from the data.

I am not accusing Mr. Polzin of being biased or trying to foster a hidden
agenda, but "unscientific" polls can be inadvertently misleading. For
example, I would be a bad person to take a poll on the subject. I like the
college rule on tacking; I hate the constricting Rule 42; and I think it's
a laughable situation where the ISAF is considering training "propulsion
observers." To me, there is a reason why over thirty years of propulsion
restrictions have failed. My bias somehow would find its way into the report.

* From Peter Huston: Whoever is writing for about the fancied
"merger" of TNZ and OracleBMW must not understand the difference between
"merger" and "buyout". No doubt that Chris Dickson will review all
available human and technical assets within all teams, and if he feels they
can add something to OracleBMW, then he will make them an offer.

A more likely merger could be that of TNZ and Team Dennis Conner, sailing
for a club such as the Royal MoolaHulaPuna YC, and funded by a large
European outfit. This team then of course would be nicknamed "Stars & Sheep".

* From Bill Lee: A comment on the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy
- Everyone keeps asking for a new development rule and the C Class
Catamaran rule is the absolute epitome of development rules. It encourages
VERY fast boats and there is no question that it represents the ultimate in
simple rules combined with many open ended creative opportunities.

If the Sea Cliff Yacht Club wants an event for Production Cats, they should
start one. But it would be far better to establish a new trophy, rather
than take this one away from the superb development challenge that it
represents. Then they would have two quality multihull events, each feeding
the other. The International Catamaran Challenge Trophy should remain in C
Class Cats and on a pedestal for those few at the pinnacle of inshore
multihull development who wish to try their hand at it.

* From Tim Bohan: I understand the frustrations of Steve Clark and I would
love to watch a couple of truly "high tech" C cats race for the Little
America's Cup but...Where are they?? Why no LAC race since 1996?? How can
you have a regatta if nobody shows up?

Joy is the jackpot. Anyone who still thinks jack is the jackpot, doesn't
know jack about joy.