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SCUTTLEBUTT 1315 - April 24, 2003

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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.

(In a new magazine for the Volvo Ocean Race, Matthew Sheehan considers what
the new Volvo 70s might look like. Here are a couple of excerpts from
Sheehan's story.)

Although the final version of the new rule will not be published until
November this year, top designers believe there is already a number of
clues as to the major influences in the style of the next generation. For
starters, the boats will be 70ft LOA. While an extra 6ft in overall length
might not sound like a big change, the increase in volume goes up by the
cube, while the sail area goes up by the square.

Taking the effects of scaling a stage further, stability increases by the
power of four. According to some of the world's leading designers,
stability will be at the heart of this new generation of boats, influencing
both the speed and the shape of things to come. But it's not just the raw
power developed by high righting moments that will shape the future of the
new breed of Volvo boats. The manner in which high stability is developed
lies at the heart of the matter.

Under the rules, canting keels will be allowed with water ballast still
under consideration. "A canting keel alone could move designs towards
narrow boats," said Bruce Farr. "Water ballast could mean we'll see beamy
boats, much like the current breed of Open designs." With an anticipated
bulb weight of around five tonnes canted to weather, the power developed
will be substantial. Under the Volvo 60 rules, 2.5tonnes could be carried
as water ballast on either side and, while this developed a considerable
additional righting moment, taking on this much water also increases the
displacement of the boat. "A combination of water ballast and a canting
keel could encourage boats with fairly narrow waterline beams, but with
flared topsides," added Farr. "A development of some of the later Volvo 60
shapes perhaps."

"The crew limit of nine, (in the case of an all male crew), is an
interesting choice. For this size of boat, the crew limit could suggest a
trade off between handling and performance." said designer Rob Humphreys.
"Fewer crew makes handling the sails more difficult, so furling sails are
frequently an option in this instance." -

"The sail plan could be as much as 50 per cent more powerful than that of a
Volvo 60 with a crew down from twelve to nine. This in itself will put new
and greater demands on the crew," Farr said. - Matthew Sheahan's entire
story will soon be posted on the Volvo Ocean Race website,

Sported by many of the top match racing sailors at last week's
Congressional Cup proved that Regatta Gear Yachting Apparel provides superb
quality with innovative fabrics, fit and looks befitting the successful
sailor. Why do they wear it? Because they want to.

Two American adventurers sailing non-stop from Hong Kong to New York
celebrated a major milestone Wednesday as they navigated clear of the
dangers of South Africa's treacherous Agulhas Current and entered the
Atlantic Ocean. Rich Wilson (Rockport, Mass.) and Rich du Moulin
(Larchmont, N.Y.) reported that their 53-foot trimaran Great American II
was just 74 nautical miles south of Cape Town, enjoying moderate winds and
seas as they headed northwest for New York before a following breeze.

In their 11-week-long 15,000-mile voyage the pair is aiming to break the
154-year-old passage record set by the extreme New York clipper ship Sea
Witch which raced her cargo of tea to Manhattan's waiting markets in 74
days. Du Moulin estimated they were 90 miles ahead of the position reported
by the Sea Witch, which also rounded the Cape on her 37th day at sea.

"We had a strategy for clearing the Agulhas Bank ahead of an advancing
cold front but we were becalmed and then got hammered by a low pressure
trough in advance of the front," Wilson noted. "Within five minutes of the
wind hitting us we were scrambling to lower sail right down to three reefs
and the staysail, then to just a corner of the staysail. We could make no
miles west and ran off to the south. "All afternoon and night my heart was
in my throat. How much abuse can GAII take?

"This morning at 8:02 am, we passed the longitude of Cape Agulhas, one of
the Great Capes of the world. What a feeling!" wrote Wilson in his log. "We
have rounded a continent, and a major maritime hurdle and historical point.
Think of the great explorers who made their way down this coast looking for
a route around to the treasures of the East. They all sailed right here. It
is, in the most literal sense of the word, awe-inspiring." - Keith Taylor,

Sources have confirmed that Steve Fossett and his gang of record assailants
may be at it again soon. First up, the Antigua-Newport record, a 1,650-mile
burn from one debauched sailing island to another. An attempt was made
earlier in the spring, but a spreacher block (spinnaker lead block) pulling
out from PlayStation's deck and a massive low forming off the East Coast
scuttled that run, so the team headed back to Antigua. PlayStation is
headed for Newport to prepare for an attempt at the 24-hour record, and
they need to get there before the summertime Bermuda Highs start to take
over. - Grand Prix Sailor, full story:

Team One Newport's catalog and website are here and they feature phenomenal
photography from Sharon Green and Onne Van der Wal. You really must see
them; they are packed with cool stuff from Henri-Lloyd, Musto, Gill,
Patagonia, Camet, Kaenon, Harken, and more. And did you know that their
crew uniform department works with a ton of boats? Clay Deustch's Chippewa
won the best uniform title in a number of regattas, and they were all from
Team One Newport. Give them a call at 800-VIP-GEAR or visit their website.
You will be very happy that you did!

The final 1,500 miles of Leg 5 of Around Alone 2002-03 is shaping up to be
the most exciting racing. Latest news is that Italian skipper Simone
Bianchetti, currently in 2nd place on Tiscali, and vying for 3rd place
overall with Emma Richards on Pindar, has spent the last 24 hours
repeatedly climbing up to the top of the mast after a segment of the
mainsail track on the mast came away yesterday afternoon.

On the satellite phone Bianchetti sounded exhausted but determined to get
the repair done: "It's not a problem at the moment with these light winds
so I've decided to take advantage of this moment of calm to repair it in
view of the stronger winds expected after the 20° parallel. My competitors
are going faster behind me but I'm counting on getting back up to pace as
soon as possible."

The British skipper herself is on the attack and gaining on her main rival
in their battle for the overall podium. Pindar is still positioned furthest
to the East as Richards makes the most of the steady easterly breeze to
catch up on Tiscali and remove a boat or to between them. "In the coming 24
hrs the wind will decrease and go aft until eventually we will be gybing
and heading off to Newport on Port gybe for a while… I have already seen my
whole sail inventory in the last 36 hours and I'm sure will see them all
again a few times before the end of this race, plenty of work (and
opportunities) to come."

According to distance to finish American Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet and
Frenchman Thierry Dubois on Solidaires lie in between Emma Richards and her
target still. Schwab is hand-steering his narrow Open 60 over to the West,
still making 9 - 10 knots boatspeed: "A bit more wind now and hoping that
Thierry & Emma to windward of us will be slowing down in the next position
report. They should be entering a light zone soon, and I'm keeping my tired
fingers crossed!" On the course, these three boats are actually spread West
to East as the fleet approach their biggest obstacle of the leg - a low
pressure to the East of Bermuda generating headwinds bang in the middle of
their route. -

STANDINGS: 2200 UTC April 23 ­ CLASS 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard
Stamm, 1490 miles from finish; 2. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 227 miles
from leader; 3. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 371 mfl. 4. Solidaires, Thierry
Dubois, 402 mfl; 5. Pindar, Emma Richards, 461 mfl;

CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 1904 miles from finish; 2.
Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 179 mfl; 3. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro
Shiraishi, 483 mfl; 4. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 741 mfl. - Spirit of
Canada, Derek Hatfield, still sailing leg 4.

* April 26: 50th Bullship Race . More than 75 El Toros are expected to
race from Sausalito across the Golden Gate to the St. Francis Yacht Club. -

* April 26-May 2: Bacardi Invitational Race Week, Royal Bermuda YC.
Racing in six classes of keelboats and dinghies. -

* April 27- May 2: Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Yacht Club. 197 yachts
from 29 countries as of April 23rd. -

* May 10-11: Laser Atlantic Coast Championship, Severn Sailing Association
in Annapolis. -

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* On June 8 and August 9 the Annapolis J/22 Fleet 19 will host a two-part
"Road to Rolex" women's sailing clinic, in preparation for the Rolex
International Women's Keelboat Championship (IWKC) to be held September 28
to October 3, 2003 in Annapolis, MD. U.S. Naval Academy coach Nancy
Haberland will conduct the clinic, which includes a skill assessment and
review of basic tactics for fleet racing. For more information:

* Australia's Arafura Games and Laser Asia Pacific Championship have been
cancelled because of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It is the
first international sporting event to be cancelled in Australia because of
the disease (Editor's note: Also the first sailing event that we are aware
of). The events would have brought thousands of competitors to Darwin from
around Australia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. -

* The early returns for the Scuttlebutt survey on sponsorship bode well for
event organizers, as over 80% of the respondents are okay with events being
renamed after the title sponsor. Feel otherwise? Cast your ballot at

* Correction: The results from the 2003 Antigua Classic Week as stated in
Issue 1314 have been revised. Complete results are available at

(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 Cam Lewis (edited to our 250-word limit): While preparing
Commodore Explorer for the (successful) 1st attack on the Trophee Jules
Verne back in late 92 and early 93, one of my tasks delegated to me by
Bruno Peyron was to figure out a solution to the whale/cat/boat collision
problem. As we would experience highs speeds in the 30's at times and cover
over 29,000 miles, the chance of being at the exact same place on earth as
a whale where reasonable. After some thinking, I contacted Derek Baylis
(father of Liz, Trevor and Will) who at the time worked at The Monterey Bay
Aquarium. He put me in touch with a top whale research scientist- Dr. John
Ford at the Aquarium in Vancouver.

The end result is that besides humans and human stuff- pollution, fishing
gear, ships and boats- whales only other predator/enemy is the Orca/Killer
Whale. So what needs to happen, as suggested recently in Scuttlebutt, is to
further experiment with a system that broadcasts the sounds, preferably
aggressive non-mating sounds, the frequencies of Orcas from boats. Due to
lack of time and funding I never put a system together. I do believe it
could be achieved and actually might work. The one unknown is if the Orcas
might attack the boat transmitting the fake Orca sounds. The other solution
is an active sonar, like an underwater radar. I do not believe an active
sonar is a practical solution yet for pleasure boats.

* From Jesse Deupree: With regards to Paul Pascoe's letter regarding how
World Championships are handled in sailing versus other sports, and his
worry that we will remain a minority sport-

I think you have hit on the crucial question, but I disagree entirely with
your opinion that we need to be "taken seriously, and have the public and
the media care about us", or allow event structure to be dictated by
sailors and organizers that want such attention.

There is nothing wrong with a sport that exists for the participants rather
than the spectators, and this is what most sailing has been about for
generations. Sailors in classes with long standing success at garnering
participation by the best sailors in the world (i.e. the Star), have every
right to want to manage their Class World Championship exactly as they see
fit- the Gold Star is really only visible to the other competitors, and
maybe that is how they want it.

* From Peter Huston: As Lightning Class President Paco Solo says, Tito
Gonzales is a great sailor, and last week under the rules of the regatta,
he can now say he is the best Lightning sailor in the world again for
another two years.

Not to take anything away from Tito's performance, because he won fair and
square according to rules that everyone accepted when they entered, but I
remain baffled as to why the sport continues to reward inconsistency in any
regatta, especially a world championship, by allowing a drop race. Truth be
told, the most consistent sailor last week, Steve Hayden, didn't win the
regatta. And perhaps if a drop race wasn't allowed, Larry MacDonald would
have sailed with a much different strategy in the last race, as might have
Jim Crane, either of which could have won.

The NFL doesn't allow a team to drop their worst defensive stand in the
Super Bowl. The World Series doesn't let a pitcher recall a fast ball that
got away which turns into a home run. The PGA doesn't give someone a second
chance off the tee in the Masters. If the sport really wants to determine
who the best, most consistent sailor is at a major regatta, ISAF should
mandate that all International Class World, if not continental,
championships, score all races sailed.

* From Tim Booth (regarding the Scuttlebutt Survey on sponsorship): The
subject deserves more than a click. Running quality regattas takes money.
In 1995 we ran a North American Championship (at Youngstown Yacht Club) for
less than 20K. This year our budget is almost double (for the 2003 VOLVO
J-22 North American Championship). We used to have experienced local
sailors do the mark boats, race committee and the like. Now we have paid
PRO's, mark set boats, etc. The competitors want and deserve quality shore
side entertainment, beers, dinners. If we had no sponsors the competitors
couldn't afford to come.

What do the sponsors get in return? Sailmakers and associated equipment
manufacturers show their support of the class and we hope get enough
business to make it worthwhile. Other manufacturers / suppliers get
exposure for their products-at the regatta and in the media. Title sponsors
use the venue for entertaining clients, suppliers, and their own employees.

We need these sponsors and we need to do the best job possible to make sure
that we deliver something of value to them.

Is the urge that makes men chase women they have no intention of marrying
the same urge that makes dogs chase cars they have no intention of driving?