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SCUTTLEBUTT 1336 - May 23, 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 focus. Corrections, contributions, press
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

Medemblik, The Netherlands ≠ The sailing conditions were close to perfect
for the second day of this enormous regatta (1,200 competitors representing
60 nations) for Olympic class boats - 12 to 17 knots of wind. Prominent
class leaders include Ian Percy/ Steve Mitchell, GBR, (Star), Robert
Scheidt, BRA, (Laser) Shirley Robertson/ Sarah Webb, GBR (Yngling) and Ben
Ainslie, GBR, (Finn).

Following are the North American sailors who rank in the top 20 of their
respective classes:
- 470 Men (71 boats): 2. Paul Foerster/ , USA
- 470 Women (38 boats): 16. Erin Maxwell/ Jen Morgan, USA
- 49er (55 boats): 5. Tim Wadlow/ USA; 18. Morgan Larson/ Adam Koch, USA
- Europe (84 boats): 17. Tania Elias-Calles, MEX
- Finn (78 boats) 8. Christopher Cook, CAN
- Laser (143 boats): 19. Mark Mendelblatt, USA
- Mistral Men (55 boards): 16. Peter Wells, USA; 17. Zachary Plavsic,
CAN; 19. Kevin Stittle, CAN
- Star (54 boats): Peter Bromby /Lee White, BER; 3. Mark Reynolds
/Magnus Liljedahl, USA
- Tornado (39 boats): 14. Oskar Johansson/ John Curtis, CAN; 16. John
Lovell /Charlie Ogletree, USA; 18. Eric Holden /Mark Coakley, CAN
- Yngling (28 boats): 3.Carol Cronin /Liz Filter /Bridget Hallawell,
USA; 5. Betsy Alison /Lee Lcyda /Suzy Leech, USA; 14. Hannah Swett /Joan
Touchette /Melissa Purdy, USA; 16. Felicity Clarke /Martha Henderson /Kari
Mackay, CAN; 20. Jody Swanson /Cory Sertl /Elizabeth Kratzig, USA

Every evening the Champions Cup is sailed in front of the harbour of
Regatta Center Medemblik. It is a daily knock-out competition with the best
competitors in every class of that day. They strive in little so-called
"battleboats" for the honour of the day and off course the Champions Cup
itself, completed with a cheque of 440 Euros. Today after a tough
competition, 470 sailor Paul Foerster from the USA won from Tornado sailor
Leigh McMillan from Great Britain.

Curmudgeon's Comment: It's hard to ignore the fact that British teams lead
the Star class, the Yngling class, the Finn class, and they are 1-2 in the
49ers, second in the Tornados, and top ten in the Mistal women, 470 women
and the 470 men. The Brits seem to be doing something right.

The regatta ends this coming Sunday.

Paralympic sailing Gold medallist, America's Cup sailor, ocean racer and
dinghy champion, Noel Robins lost his battle for life after a tragic car
accident in Perth left him in a coma four weeks ago. Today, Australia's
sailing community mourns the passing of one of its most well respected and
honoured sailors.

Noel's sailing achievements over his extensive career have made him a true
icon and inspiration to the sailing community; both locally, nationally and
internationally. He continually displayed his excellence throughout his
sailing career, challenging the world's best in such events as the
America's Cup, Admirals Cup, Paralympic Games and many other regattas and
races around the world.

In the lead up to the 2000 Paralympic games, one of Noel's sporting goals
was to win a Sonar Olympic Gold medal and he did just that! In Sydney,
Robins and his crew, Graeme Martin and Jamie Dunross triumphed, winning
Australia's first ever gold medal in the Sonar class. For this achievement
he and his crew were honoured with an Order of Australia Medal in 2001. -
Simone Green, Sail-World wesite, full story:

Ever wonder why you end up soaking after a day in your foulies even if no
waves hit you? If so, it's time to think about upgrading those fisherman
foulies to something more breathable. Grumpy sailors are slow sailors. Not
having to worry about being uncomfortable allows one to focus on more
important things. Annapolis Performance Sailing encourages you to take
advantage of Gill's Breathe Easy promotion. Act before June 15th and get up
to $50 cash back on Gill breathable gear. Breathe easy, APS and Gill can
help you rid your boat of grumpies, check out

It's a down-to-the-wire race for the trimaran Great American II and her two
crew members as they prepare to finish their Hong Kong to New York sailing
record attempt at the Statue of Liberty early next week. Thursday, the
53-foot trimaran was south of Bermuda and 1,230 miles from New York as Rich
Wilson (Rockport, Mass.) and Rich du Moulin (Larchmont, N.Y.) plotted their
route through three storm systems blocking their path. The two have been at
sea 66 days in their attempt to eclipse the record of 74 days, 14 hours set
by the extreme clipper ship Sea Witch in the China tea trade a
century-and-a-half ago.

Steering and navigating their boat on alternate four-hour watches, the two
adventurers are matching their progress against the log of the 196-foot
square-rigged Sea Witch, renowned in history as one of the fastest clipper
ships ever launched. The modern-day sailors currently hold a narrow lead
over the ghost of the clipper, after trailing several times during the
long, arduous voyage down the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope
and up the Atlantic Ocean.

"We're very, very close in the challenge for the record," said du Moulin,
in an email from the boat today, transmitted via satellite. "Yesterday's
analysis showed Great American only 142 miles closer to New York than Sea
Witch. That's less than a day's sailing, or only 11 hours difference when
each of us is at maximum speed - two great sailing vessels, 154 years and
142 miles apart!"

The tactical puzzle facing the two sailors requires them to ride the
favorable currents of the Gulf Stream while avoiding any counter current or
back-eddies that could bring them to a standstill if the wind goes light.
At the same time they must pick their way through the storm fronts marching
up the coast.

Some 360,000 schoolchildren are following the adventure of Great American
II on a daily basis through the sitesALIVE! educational program at - Keith Taylor

Rugby is poised to snatch much-needed sponsorship cash from New Zealand's
bid to reclaim the America's Cup. Lion Breweries, which says its
sponsorship of Team New Zealand "is up in the air", said yesterday it was
about to announce a significant new rugby investment. This heightens the
chances of Lion greatly reducing its involvement in Team NZ or leaving its
family of five sponsorship group entirely.

The loss of a big sponsor would hit the Government's controversial $33
million investment in Team NZ, which is based on a $1 contribution for
every $2 it raises in other commercial sponsorship. The brewer's corporate
affairs and sponsorship director, Graeme Seatter, yesterday confirmed the
sponsorship agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

He has yet to meet new Team NZ boss Grant Dalton but said Lion is
conducting a feasibility study on its involvement. That, however, has been
hampered by uncertainty over whether Team NZ would be competing and where
the yacht racing would be held. Some parts of Europe ban alcohol sponsorship.

"We've made a decision with rugby. We haven't yet made a decision about
Team New Zealand. But the two need to be taken in isolation," Mr Seatter
said. "We want to see what develops (with Team NZ's future). It's hard to
make a decision when you don't know what you're making a decision on.
There's too much up in the air at the moment." - The Dominion Post, NZ,
full story:,2106,2490957a6427,00.html

(The UK's Daily Sail website did a story on how US Olympic medallist
Jonathan McKee, a newbie solo sailor, creamed the competition in leg one of
the Mini Pavois. Here's a brief excerpt.)

Possibly one of the reasons for McKee's success is that his boat was well
and truly sorted prior to the last Mini Transat by Brian Thompson and
Thompson's then shore crew Tanguy de LaMotte [who now has his own Mini].
This Team McLube is a Simon Rogers design with a keel that can not only be
canted but can be hauled fore and aft in the boat at the same time. McKee
said that nothing major broke during the leg. "I was lucky. I had a couple
of instrument issues, nothing that turned out to be critical . That was
lucky and my sails did great. Keel, rudder and all the main stuff was good.
Fortunately it is all pretty battle tested now."

Aside from some small tweaks to his jib McKee says he has not changed the
sails since the Mini Transat. "It is pretty tested stuff, so we have a good
basis to go forward. We are going to make a couple of new sails. I can't
afford all new sails." Thompson sailed with him in the two handed Course
des Lions and McKee says helped him a lot, but since taking the boat to the
Atlantic coast of France has been without shore support. "That's how it is
for most of the guys. It is a fact of life on a low budget program." - The
Daily Sail, full story:

* There is more detail about the proposed tribute to the late Sir Peter
Blake online ( and the museum will be
keeping this updated when fundraising starts in earnest. Those interested
can subscribe to the museum's on-line newsletter for breaking news (form at

* Northshore Yachts 'Northshore 369' has won the 'Australian Boat of the
Year Award' -

* One of Scuttlebutt's loyal advertisers, Kaenon Polarized, has been
drawing quite a bit of praise these days. In their 2003 Buyers Guide,
Outside Magazine listed their Kore model above all others. And now the June
issue of Sailing World Magazine just came out with their tech review, and
they too judged the Kaenon Kore as their first choice. Outside Magazine -

Check out the results and comments on our latest stretching tests where we
put some new lines through their paces. The results will drive home the
importance of "preloading/ prestressing/ prestretching" your new halyard
before hitting the starting line. We advise racers everyday about which
Line/Clutch/Boat combination is correct. Our strength is in our experience
and knowledge, advising our customers and selling more cut lengths of line
for racing halyards than anyone else in the country. Layline, The Latest
and the Best for 18 years!

* June 13-15: San Juan 24 North American Championships in Seattle, WA. A
separate class for "non-flying sails" will be offered.

"A great weather mark" is not how most sailors want their destination
defined when they're sailing a race that's nearly 800 miles on the rhumb
line, but that's how it's felt for most of this year's Charleston to
Bermuda. A southerly shift brought some relief overnight and favored boats
to the south. Eleven of 16 starters are still racing. - Sail magazine
website, full story:

The leaders of the Charleston to Bermuda Race as of 7AM on May 22 are Rex
Conn's Alacrity, Newick 48 Tri (123 miles from finish), Teddy Turner's
Troika, Condor 40 Tri. (125 miles) and Mike Finn's J 160 SC, Kativa, (130

The curmudgeon is off to Catalina Island for the Memorial Day holiday
weekend, which removes any hope for a special holiday issue of 'Butt on
Monday. Our next issue will be Tuesday, May 27. Enjoy the three-day holiday
weekend - we certainly plan to.

(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 John Rowley: The Sea Story about Ship High In Transit needs some
additional thinking. Why in the 16th and 17th centuries, when there were
beasts of burden everywhere, would someone be shipping their residue from
place to place? It was already there! And, why would a good sailor of a
rather round bottomed boat without a deep keel be placing something light
like dried manure down in the bottom of the boat, that was usually for
heavy stuff to keep the boat on an even keel? And, does this label come out
with the same acronym in all languages, or were only the English shipping
this Bull Ship High In Transit around?

Checking with Google's Language Tool:
Spanish: Nave Alta En TrŠnsito or NAET
German: Schiff Hoch Bei Dem Transport or SHBDT
French: Bateau Haut En transit or BHET
Italian: Nave Alta In transito or NAIT
Portugese: Navio Elevado No Tr‚nsito or NENT

* From James King: Thanks for printing the amusing story of the origin of
the word 'sh*t'. I trust you're aware that this is one of many such stories
of the origin of this word (I was warned once before travelling to
Singapore in the days when I had longer hair that my passport would be
stamped 'Suspected Hippy In Transit').

Indeed, there are many stories of words originating as acronyms. Perhaps
the most common of these is 'Posh', supposedly short for 'Port Out,
Starboard Home', being the favoured side of a ship for comfortable passages
to and from India.

The common link between all these stories is that they are recent
inventions, generally amusing, but without any supporting historical
evidence. Acronyms only started being used in the 20th century, and the
word itself only dates to 1943. For more info on this subject, have a look at:

* From Jaime Edwards: I know you take great care in the accuracy of your
reporting. Thus I thought I would pass this on after reading your reporting
of the urban legend regarding the origin of the sailing term "sh*t". While
I have no doubt that this term is an integral part of the sailing
vocabulary, it may well have not originated there.

According to, The word
sh*t entered modern English language derived from the Old English nouns
scite and the Middle Low German schite, both meaning "dung," and the Old
English noun scitte, meaning "diarrhea." Our most treasured cuss word has
been with us a long time, showing up in written works both as a noun and as
a verb as far back as the 14th century.

Scite can trace its roots back to the proto-Germanic root skit-, which
brought us the German scheissen, Dutch schijten, Swedish skita, and Danish
skide. Skit- comes from the Indo-European root skheid- for "split, divide,
separate," thus shit is distantly related to schism and schist. (If you're
wondering what a verb root for the act of separating one thing from another
would have to do with excrement, it was in the sense of the body's
eliminating its waste -- "separating" from it, so to speak. Sort of the
opposite of today's "getting one's sh*t together.")

* From Stephen C. Kratovil:Well, clever as that all is, etymologists
everywhere must be holding their noses right about now. According to my
dictionary, the word "sh*t" is much older than the 1800s, appearing in its
earliest form - before 1,000 A.D. - as the Old English verb scitan. That's
confirmed by lexicographer Hugh Rawson in his bawdily informative book,
"Wicked Words" (New York: Crown, 1989), where it is further noted that the
expletive is a distant relative of words like science, schedule and shield.
They all derive from the Indo-European root skei-, meaning "to cut" or "to
split." For most of its history "shit" was spelled "shite" (and sometimes
still is, euphemistically), but the modern spelling of the word can be
found in texts dating as found in texts dating as far back as the
mid-1700s. It most certainly did not originate as an acronym. " -

Curmudgeon's Comment: I think we have covered this subject sufficiently to
declare this thread officially dead.

* From Michael W. Fortenbaugh, Commodore, Manhattan Sailing Club: Thank
you for spreading the proper philosophy of weekday evening racing. You are
doing a great public service. But please add one more:

16. Thou shall not consume beer or other alcohol until you get back to dock
and the boat is tied up.

Even one beer starts to affect your judgment and decision making. Recently,
we have found that asking skippers to keep their crew from drinking until
their boat returns to dock, increases the civility on the water and leads
to a safer atmosphere. The skippers who have embraced this philosophy are
demonstrating great "leadership" and have been leading us to a safer
sailing environment. Plus, we have found that a little abstinence on the
water leads to a more spirited post-race celebration at the docks.

Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.