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SCUTTLEBUTT 1392 - August 13, 2003

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digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
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welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

Unexceptional conditions make for record-breaking situations in the Rolex
Fastnet Race, which is why Neville Crichton's 90ft Shockwave/Alfa Romeo
came closer to a new monohull record than had seemed feasible before
Sunday's start at Cowes. She reached the Plymouth breakwater finish line at
7.12 pm yesterday having recorded a time of 57hr 2min for the 608-mile course.

Such is the progress in yacht design that the 40th winner took less than
half of the six days and 14 hours that the cutter Jolie Brise needed in the
first race in 1925. When Marvin Green's 80ft Nirvana set her monohull
record in 1985 it was the same light-to-medium reaching winds. Similarly
Ross Field's RF Yachting achieved her still-unbeaten two days 5hr 8min in
1999 in similar winds. Crichton's crew needed to reach Plymouth by 3.18pm
yesterday to improve that time, missing out by nearly four hours.

Shockwave/Alfa Romeo was not without a late, strong threat from Robert
McNeil's Zephyrus V. Winner of June's Daimler-Chrysler Newport-to-Cuxhaven
transatlantic race, Zephyrus had trailed Shockwave/Alfa Romeo at the
Fastnet Rock by more than hour on Monday evening. The 31 hours that
Crichton's yacht took to reach ocean racing's most famous turning mark gave
the first firm hint that a record chance existed. Yet by the time the pair
had re-crossed the Celtic Sea, rounded the Bishop Rock off the Scillies and
closed on the Cornish coast, the American maxi had closed to within 400 metres.

At Rame Head, guarding the western approaches to Plymouth, the John
Bertrand-skippered Zephyrus had slipped into a half-mile lead by finding
better breeze inshore. Shockwave/Alfa Romeo reversed the order shortly, the
second time she reclaimed the lead during the race. Zeyphrus finished just
10 minutes behind. - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, full story:

Event website:

"That was the toughest battle for line honours we have ever had. This boat
has started 54 races and collected line honours on 53 occasions. It feels
really good to have collected line honours for the Rolex Sydney Hobart and
the Rolex Fastnet in the same year." - Neville Crichton, owner/ skipper of
Alfa Romeo.

"Gentlemen build yachts, they go racing and someone has to win. But it
wasn't us! - Robert McNeill, owner/ skipper of Zephyrus V.

(Jim Pugh, half of the yacht design house of Reichel-Pugh, compared Alfa
Romeo and Zephyrus V (both are R/P designs) for a story posted on The Daily
Sail website. Here are two brief excerpts.)

Zephyrus V and Alfa Romeo are similar in concept, says Pugh, in terms of
displacement: length ratio and sail area: wetted surface area, although
Alfa Romeo has a 4ft length advantage being 90ft compared to Zephyrus V's
86ft. "Both boats I am sure have excellent crews," says Pugh. "The Alfa
Romeo crew has more time in the boat and Neville is pretty fanatical about
preparation which as you know is key to any race. The impact of this may be
somewhat negated by the light air."

Both boats have fractional rigs with non overlapping jibs. Pugh thinks
Zephyrus V may be carrying her Code 0 straight luff masthead genoa which
would put her rating up above Alfa Romeo's. Alfa Romeo's TCC is 1.664
compared to Zephyrus' 1.693.

* Pugh says these boats really come into there own in real breeze and sea
and if anything they are biased away from light air. However in the light,
one difference may be that Alfa Romeo has no exposed propulsion drive
whereas Zephyrus V has a sail drive. "In light air in particular an exposed
drive is significant drag."

Alfa Romeo has a trim tab which Pugh adds can be very effective versus the
tab-less Zephyrus V. - The Daily Sail, full story:

Out on the start line of the 2003 Transpac was the new 22' Raider 665,
which had the distinction of the being the official photo boat for the
event. This new center console boat, complete with motor trailer, even has
an enclosed head and is available with special introductory pricing. With
all the speed and performance of the larger Raider RIBs, this smaller size
doesn't compromise on the superb handling that made Raider famous. Quality
made affordable. Test drive in San Diego, San Francisco or eastern US. Call
for details at (877) 772-4337 or view online at

Syndicate Row at the Viaduct Harbour is to stay in public hands but local
politicians are divided over whether any cash should change hands. The
region's leaders yesterday voted to keep the waterfront land on Halsey St,
used by six America's Cup bases, in public ownership in perpetuity.

Although there is strong support for the Auckland City Council taking over
the land at no cost, some councils believe it would mean less money for
transport and stormwater projects. This is because Infrastructure Auckland,
which pays for this work, owns the land through a subsidiary, America's Cup
Village Ltd. The company will cease to exist when the assets are handed
over to the Auckland City Council or a charitable trust set up by the council.

The council plans to develop the land into open space and a marine facility
for events such as on-water concerts and boat shows. The land could be used
for bases if New Zealand won back the America's Cup. Team New Zealand boss
Grant Dalton backed the decision to keep the land in public hands, saying
that if apartments were built on it and the cup came back there would be
nowhere for the boats to go. Auckland City Mayor John Banks said yesterday
that with so little open space left in the city "we need to save this
property from commercial exploitation". - Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald, Full

(Which side of the first beat to favor is often the most important, and
difficult, choice in a race. In the July/August issue of Sailing World
magazine Gary Jobson offers his advice on making this dicey decision.
Here's an excerpt - reprinted with permission.)

When you look upwind, split the leg into three sections: left, middle, and
right. After a couple of minutes of study, make a guess as to which side
seems better. Select a section to head for, and state your findings
aloud-this is part of giving yourself the courage to make a choice. Your
first instinct will usually be correct.

Now run a test; the best way is to arrange a tune-up with a competitor.
While you sail upwind on one side of the course, your partner sails up the
other. After 2 minutes, tack toward each other. Note which boat gains, and
after crossing, head toward the opposite side for another 2 minutes. Tack
back together and note the difference. Usually the boat on the same side
will have gained.

Return to the starting area and make a second visual observation. Ask
yourself, is the wind any different now? The key at this point is to make a
definite decision to favor one section of the course. Sometimes you may
think you'll get a shift going one way but stronger wind, the other. If
that's the choice, I like to head for stronger wind because it gives me
more speed and often more options.

Set up your starting strategy so you're heading toward the side you favor.
If your plan is to sail to the right side, start on the right end of the
line. The less sure you are of your choice, the closer to the middle of the
line you should start.

Once the race starts, head for your side at top speed. Right or wrong,
speed always counts. Strategically, your biggest decision now is to monitor
the rest of the fleet and consider whether to carry on or switch sides. My
first instinct is always to stick with my original call. But conditions
change, so one crewmember should continually analyze whether you're gaining
or losing; if you decide your side is losing within a minute or two, that's
the time to tack and stay in contact with the leaders. - Gary Jobson,
Sailing World magazine, full story:

* Twenty seven competitors from 15 countries have arrived in Moscow for
the Snipe Junior World Championship. Each country is allowed to send two
teams (not turning 20 in this year) with the host country allowed one
extra. This year Moldavia, Ukraine and Belarus are in attendance in
addition to the established Snipe countries of USA, Denmark, Norway, Spain,
Italy, Canada, France, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The US
Sailors are Mikee Anderson-Mitterling and Graham Biehl; Adam and Melanie
Roberts. :

* The San Diego-based Challenged America - a free, therapeutic
recreational-rehabilitation sailing program for adults and youth with
disabilities - recently received six donated sailboats from Loch and Clare
Crane of San Diego YC. Four of the boats were Martin 16s, which expands the
group's fleet to nine, making it one of the largest Martin 16 fleets in the
world. The other two donated boats were vintage Stars. -

* Correction: The URL for the Liberty Cup website is:

Ullman Sails customers continue there winning ways by capturing trophies in
all classes at this year's PHRF Championship hosted by Del Rey Yacht Club
August 9th & 10th. With fifty-eight boats competing in seven racing classes
and one non-spinnaker cruising class, Ullman Sails customers collected five
1st place trophies, four 2nd place trophies and three 3rd place trophies.
Congratulations to all the winners. Let your nearest Ullman Sails loft show
you how affordable the "Fastest Sails on the Planet" can be. Give your
local loft a call or visit us on line at

North Cape Yacht Club, LaSalle MI - U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship
for the Smythe Trophy; Standings after eight races with one discard:
1. Reed Johnson, Toms River YC, 20
2. Kyle Kovacs, Brant Beach YC, 22
3. Christopher Lash, Ida Lewis YC, 33
4 Michael Scott, Kaneohe YC, 37
5. Bryan Buffaloe, Southwestern YC, 45

U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship for the Bemis Trophy;
1. Frank Tybor/ Mandi Markee, San Diego YC, 11
2. Erik Storck/ John Kempton, Centerport YC, 13
3. Zachary Brown/ Nick Martin, Mission Bay YC, 26
4. Ben Sampson/ Michael Komar, Plymouth YC, 32
5. Charlie Modica/ Pat Bordner Shelter Island YC, 54

(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 Stuart Alexander: Butt rebuttal rebutted - Lest Butt Club readers
think that even sail boat racing reportage is running into BBC trouble,
though not, heaven forefend, into New York Times territory, I am very
comfortable with the way I reported both the substance and impressions
about those aspects of a conversation, subsequently rebutted, about the
timetabling of the Admiral's Cup. But, then, there are always differing
points of view within any organisation.

* From Andy Vare: As a prior participant in the Governor's Cup, both on
the water and at the food fight, I applaud heartily the Balboa YC's efforts
and Alan Andrews for taking the boats to the next level. The Congressional
Cup did so many years back and now the juniors have their due. I find the
large masthead kite a particularly solid design consideration, keeping the
groms from losing interest downwind in Newport Beach. The rest of the world
should stand up and take note, since some of the best match racers in
yachting have come through the ranks to sail in that regatta and gone on to
top levels everywhere, including the Americas Cup.

* From David Shore: L Skip Lissiman reminds us in Butt 1391 that "on the
final deciding race (of the 1983 America's Cup when Australia broke the
longest winning streak in history) - Australia II sailed past Liberty
downwind - when the winged keel was a liability not an asset."

Essentially, the final race was lost when Liberty failed to cover. During
the most recent Louis Vuitton Cup, Scuttlebutt readers in particular
pointed out how often a cover was broken, which typically resulted in a
loss. The first strategy we all learn in sailing is to stay between our
competition and the next mark, but I have yet to hear a decent argument for
breaking it. I realize the trailing boat can gain by choosing when to tack,
(like on a good wind shift) but it is really unusual for the trailing boat
to actually pass by doing this. It seems a lot easier and safer to cover
than to break off and hope your competition doesn't get lucky. Shifts
happen, right?

* From Chris Robertson: I was a sailing coach for about 7 years in Canada
and Bermuda and the idea of jet drive coach boats has been visited in the
past. I agree that the concern regarding propeller driven coach boats is a
significant one and has weighed heavy on many of our minds while in close
proximity to our sailors. Unfortunately, jet driven boats don't manoeuvre
with the same agility as their propeller driven cousins. From personal
experience, attempting to coach from a Jet-ski is difficult as jet drives
don't manoeuvre very well in close quarters. While this is nothing in
comparison to the tragedies that have occurred, it has been a thorn in the
side of a complete switch to jet drives.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, do the other
trees make fun of it?