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SCUTTLEBUTT 1393 - August 14, 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
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

The Rolex Fastnet Race, now into its fourth day, has been marked by light
winds, strong tides and slow progress across the fleet. Although six boats
have made it to the finish line in Plymouth, at 16:00 this afternoon 90
boats had still not rounded the Fastnet Rock lighthouse 260 miles up the track.

After the thrilling duel between Alfa Romeo and Zephyrus V, that resulted
in the former snatching line honours in sight of the finish line at 19:00
on Tuesday, it was another two hours before Charles Dunstone's Nokia slid
across the line at the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race, setting the IRC
reference time to beat for the Fastnet Challenge Cup. First of the Open
60s, Sebastian Josse's VMI, found the line off Plymouth Breakwater at 01:30
this morning, there were no more finishers until late this afternoon today
when the orange-hulled Open 60 PRB drifted past the last hurdle.

Sailing conditions for the fleet have been nothing but slow today. Light
and patchy winds have dogged the fleet everywhere it has gone over the last
24 hours and many boats have used their anchors to hold progress against
the strong spring tides. - Trish Jenkins,

GUEST COMMENTARY - Magnus Wheatley
Let's take the Fastnet Race as an example before sponsors commit to any
future offshore sailing project. The coverage was at best, hopeless, and as
a blue-ribbon event it hardly even registered on the radar of the media at

Okay, say the hacks (and I'm ashamed to say I'm one of them), sailing isn't
a mainstream sport, well it never will be unless there are reporters
actually on the boats giving flavour and colour to the sport. A one-line,
out of date position report on the RORC website quite frankly isn't good
enough in today's world of multi-media. It would be marvelous to receive a
brief account every six hours from onboard one of the 'glamour' boats but
instead the public gets next to nothing.

The owners are culpable, the skippers are culpable, the organizers are
culpable, indeed the journalists are to some extent culpable whilst the
sponsors don't seem to know what year it is. There are good, young, fit,
informed journalists out there who can do it, if only sailing's hierarchy
would wake up and smell the coffee. Look what Paul Cayard did for the
1997-1998 round the world race.

Look what Andrew Preece did for Kingfisher in the multi-hull RTW challenge
or go and talk to Russell Coutts and hear what his plans are for the next
AC and the amount of info that will be coming off the boats.

The first name on the crew list should be the media guy, no question, and
if just one boat in the Fastnet had thought about it, they could have
stolen the show. Glenn Bourke....are you listening? The Volvo and all other
offshore races will be dead ducks if attitudes don't change and the sport
will simply pass by un-noticed. Change or die, it's 2003 not 1983.

U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship for the Smythe Trophy
North Cape Yacht Club, LaSalle MI - Kyle Kovacs representing the Brant
Beach Yacht Club and Area C finished first, four points ahead of the second
place finisher Reed Johnson from the Toms River Yacht Club, Toms River, NJ.
Complete results:

U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship for the Bemis Trophy
North Cape Yacht Club, MI - Frank Tybor and Mandi Markee representing the
San Diego Yacht Club and Area J finished first, ahead of the second place
team from the Centerport Yacht Club, Centerport NY. Complete results:

U.S. Junior Triplehanded Championship for the Sears Trophy
Detroit Yacht Club, MI - Baker Potts, Allan LeBlanc and Edward Levert
representing the Southern Yacht Club and Area D finished first, 18 points
ahead of the second place team from the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Complete

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US Sailing Team women's Olympic keelboat campaigner Betsy Alison became the
first woman ever to win the Yngling World Championships. Here is Part One
of a two-part interview Betsy recently had with Scuttlebutt:

Scuttlebutt: This is the first Olympic cycle for the Yngling class. How has
the class accepted becoming an Olympic class?

Betsy Alison: The Yngling class has always been very much a family-oriented
class. I think that when you introduce the "Olympic element" to any class,
it changes the dynamics a little bit. I think that in the Yngling class,
the women that have jumped into the class are obviously maximizing the
potential of the boat and raising the technical bar. Technologically, we
are looking at things a little bit differently, we're pushing limits and
we're trying to develop new equipment. There was a big hue and cry over
introducing carbon spinnaker poles and carbon tillers. It certainly makes
the boat better, but it introduces a higher level of cost to most of the
sailors in the fleet.

Some people feel that in order to compete at the top right now they have to
match what we're doing. I think that poses a little bit of a problem for
some of the stalwarts in the class. But then on the other hand, we're
bringing new things to the class and sharing them with the class, in hope
that we can be a benefit to the class. There are some people that I think
are resentful of the women being there, pushing so hard and raising the bar
as high as we've done. I would hope that we're welcome in the class and I
hope we're not doing anything to irritate people.

Scuttlebutt: We understand your team has a new member.

Betsy Alison: One of our greatest assets is our Norwegian coach. In April,
we started working with a new coach, Espen Stokkeland, and he has been a
great neutralizer for us. With Espen, we are really a team of four as
opposed to a team of three now. Where Espen's been great is that he has a
strong knowledge based on the Yngling. He was on a crew that won the
Yngling Worlds in '90, he has ten years of Soling campaign experience and a
bronze medal from Sydney, plus he was working as a navigator with the
Victory challenge syndicate in Auckland so he knows the differences little
things can make.

Espen has guided us down this path where he has had a lot of experience
before, and experience is a great teacher. Particularly in the last four
months, his outside influence has accelerated our learning process, kept us
directed, focused and on track with where we need to go. We may have gotten
to the same place without Espen, but not nearly as quickly. His influence
and outside observations have kept us from being critical of each other.
We're being more constructive, and it's really helped us grow as a team

Scuttlebutt: Talk to us about communication.

Betsy Alison: I think that the biggest challenge that any team faces going
into one of these campaigns is being able to communicate well both on and
off the water. Sometimes the on-water communication is far easier because
it is all part of the game we play and the job we do out there. But it is
as equally important off the water. We realized early on how critical it
was to step up to the plate to clear the air because how you interact off
the water is a big component in terms of how you function on the water.
Being efficient at what you say, and being positive in how you say it is a
key to success. I think we have done a good job of that. -
Complete interview:

Campaign information:
Curmudgeon's comment: Look for Part Two of the interview on Friday.

Cleveland YC - Final results, six races with one discard (45 boats): 1. US,
Rick Strilky, Chicago Corinthian YC, 17; 2. Voodoo, Grunsten/ Flinn,
Chicago YC, 19; 3. Twins, Carroll, Cleveland YC, 24. -

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* New on the web: Sailboat offers a wealth of technology
resources to the sailboat design and research community. Its main objective
is to enhance knowledge and promote communication among yacht designers,
naval architects, sailmakers, researchers, students and sailors. It
features the first and only online References Database on sailboat
technology including more that 1,000 references from journals, conferences,
theses, magazines, etc.; forums, to discuss technical matters; a Glossary
of technical terms; a calendar of Conferences; links to free Software and
online Articles. -

* The CCA took time out from its annual Spring business meeting this year
to celebrate the career of Olin Stephens - the man who has had as much
influence on the sport of recreational sailing and yacht racing as anyone
in the world, and is arguably, the greatest yacht designer of the twentieth

* As England basked in temperatures that sometimes topped the
Caribbean's, two lucky competitors at Skandia Cowes Week walked away with
BVI vacations at next year's BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
presented by Nanny Cay Marina ­ one on-shore and the other afloat. Fiona
Brady from Warwick won a week's stay at the world-renowned Bitter End Yacht
Club while Sarah Kafetz from London will be racing onboard a Bavaria 36
courtesy of Horizon Yacht Charters. -

* Correction: The lead story in Scuttlebutt 1392 about the Fastnet Race
commented that Zephyrus V won the Daimler Chrysler Trans-Atlantic race that
was sailed in June of this year. Actually, Zephyrus V had rudder bearing
problems and had to withdraw from the race, which was won by Zarraffa,
Skippered by Skip Sheldon who won both IMS & IRC divisions.

New on the market from Sit 'n' Sail, catamaran benches for the Hobie 16.
These are "Bench Seats" that you sit on; they attach to your trampoline
frame using our supplied stainless steel bracket hardware. We have field
tested these products for about one year, and they are rock-solid. This is
a legitimate product made by a Hobie enthusiast for other Hobie enthusiasts
to enjoy. They are not available anywhere else, inside or outside of the
U.S. Go ahead, just try to find some. We are a new company, Sit 'n' Sail,
and we'd like to promote our revolutionary new product for the popular
Hobie 16 market. It's hard to believe that no one made these Bench Seats
until now.

Again, this is a legitimate product made by a Hobie enthusiast, and now you
can have a pair on your boat and begin sailing in total comfort, while
remaining high and dry.

This product was developed and engineered over the course of one year. The
inspiration began with a desire to make the Hobie 16 catamaran more
comfortable and family oriented. We also had a desire to breathe some extra
life into a hobby that had somewhat peaked over the years. We saw
significant potential with the popular Hobie 16 cat. Surprisingly, up until
now, there has been no other product like Sit 'n' Sail Bench Seats
developed exclusively for the Hobie 16. -, full story:

Events listed at

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(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 Allan Prior: Many organizations already mandate propeller guards
for rescue boats (see attached from Australian Surf life saving, for Guards
for rescue boats). These guards are very simple to fit; most engine
manufacturers already have these available. Surely coaches, etc., should
follow what professional Life Guards already practice. This way nobody has
to rush out and buy new boats, etc. Solas rescue boats for large pleasure
boats incorporate these also. We have 2 x Yamaha 90's with Guards. Jet
boats are difficult for novices to drive.

* From Jamie Horner, Canada (Re Chris Robertson on the maneuverability of
jet drives and the dangers of propeller boat): Seems the kiwis are not just
good sailors. The Hamiliton Jet boat designed in NZ in the 1950's has no
external rotating parts, single turn lock-lock steering that feels like
power assist, zero speed maneuvering, and infinite control between forward
and reverse.

* From Peter Willcox: I have a couple comments about the jet boat thread.
One is that I was surprised to see Chris Robinson's comment that jet boats
were less maneuverable than propeller boats. My experience is that while
jet boats do maneuver differently from prop boats, they are at least as, if
not more maneuverable than prop boats.

Many years ago, we tried putting guards around the props of our inflatables
to make them safer around swimmers. These guards were I think being used by
either Kiwi or Australian lifeguards. They were shaped much like Kort
Nozzles on tugs: a round guard around the outside of the blades. They also
had a couple thin horizontal blades at the front. They worked well except
for slightly reducing the top speed of the boat. I would recommend them to
anyone who wants a safer boat around swimmers without going to the cost of
a new jet.

* From Roy Sherman: Just a quick reminder that OLN is still showing
sailboat racing on Sunday at 3PM Eastern. While the show may not be the
most up to date each week (last week was 2002 match cup) we should support
it when we can. If you like to watch the match racing events they do show
some of the interesting parts.

* From Jerry Coe: It is welcome news, long overdue, that Alan Bond is to
be inducted in the America's Cup Hall of Fame. But where is the designer of
Australia II, Ben Lexcen? He conceived the use of an upside-down keel, plus
wings, the whole design yielding a 12 meter that was fast in both light and
heavy air upwind, and demonstrably faster than Liberty downwind. It seems
likely that Australia II was the lightest of all the 12 meters in 1983, and
yet she was as good or better than any in a breeze upwind.

In the following 1987 AC challenge raced at Fremantle, every 12 meter had
low ballast and some kind of wings. Ben Lexcen had the concept; he tested
his design, believed the results, and risked his reputation (and Alan
Bond's money) on a radical innovation. His name is on the design; his name
is on a Dutch patent for keel wings. He may have been stimulated and helped
by technical exchange at the Dutch testing pool. But he is the designer of
Australia II. I believe it a travesty that he has been denied a place in
the AC Hall of Fame.

Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.