Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1413 - September 12, 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.

Mari Cha IV is the largest racing yacht afloat in the world today has just
completed her first much awaited sea trials. With the vision of building a
140' megayacht totally dedicated to racing, the design team of Philippe
Briand, Greg Elliott and Clay Oliver was assembled. Under the guidance of
Jean Francois D'Etiveaud as project manager, and built at JMV Shipyard in
Cherbourg france, the stunning speed machine was completed.

The owner's previous yacht, Mari Cha III, was successful in taking the
Transatlantic record in 1998. The new Mari Cha has taken aim at beating the
great sailing records of all time. In order for the records to qualify, the
yacht must be totally manually operated. To achieve this, the sailplan was
split between two equal size masts allowing any maximum sail unit to still
be handled by winches and pedestals operated solely with the manpower of
the 25 person crew.

The yachts upwind sail area is 904 square meters with 1415 square meters
for downwind runs. Once sail power had thus been defined, several
variations in length, hull form and appendages were tested for a year and a
half. Tank testing was carried out at the Wolfson Unit while wind tunnel
testing was done at the Auckland University. Besides her keel which cants
by +/- 40 degrees, the whole yacht is made of carbon to keep it as light as
possible. The first attempt at the Transatlantic record might be as soon as
this autumn. - website

See a great photo of the new 140' Mari Cha IV under sail:

(The September issue of Seahorse magazine had a number of very interesting
observations about the recently concluded Admiral's Cup regatta. Here are a
couple of them that caught our attention.)

* There is little fresh to be said about the woeful path IMS has take
from the fast yacht 10 years ago to their current typeform of boats that
are tippy, slow for their length and, with simplified rating-efficient
rigs, stop-go in their performance as they fall in and out of their
targets. To many eyes they make the old IOR one-tonners look sweet. - Tim

* One thing (needed to restore offshore racing) is a new rating rule and
we are making progress with the Working Party. Until that is settled there
will be uncertainty. This isn't the first time we've been here; when CHS
was replaced by IRC and IRM for instance. Likewise the internationalization
of IMS. Until we have a settled rule you won't get people to build boats
for a particular competition. - Chris Little, RORC Commodore and Chairman
of Admiral's Cup Management.

* Seahorse: Is CBTF (Canting Ballast Twin Foil) the way to go?
"It's fantastic; but you certainly get into some
situations with it! You're never too sure whether you're the dog, or the
tail getting wagged." - Ian Burns, navigator of the Admiral's Cup top boat,
Wild Oats - a R/P CBTF 60-footer

Seahorse website:

Outdoor Life Network (OLN), home of the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger
Series, will begin airing sailing's Moet Cup on Tuesday, September 16 at
7:00 PM ET. The coverage will continue through the weekend. In the first of
a series of America's Cup Class events preceding the next America's Cup,
the 2003 winner of sailing's most prestigious prize, Alinghi, will face off
against the Challenger of Record, Oracle BMW Racing, on the San Francisco
Bay for the first time since the races in New Zealand concluded earlier
this year. The event will be hosted by Peter Isler, Gary Jobson and Dawn Riley.

The two-part Moet Cup will feature a daily match race known as the
Owner/Driver Series, which will consist of five races worth one point each.
The second part of the Cup, the Pro/Driver Series, will feature seven races
each worth a point, with the silver Moet Cup awarded to the overall winner.

Airdates and Times:
Tuesday, September 16 - Friday, September 19 (Days One through Four)
- 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT
- Reair: 2:00am ET/11:00pm PT

Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21st (Day Five and Six)
- 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT

As you read this, Tacktick's New Micronet systems are clearing US customs.
Shipments are expected weekly as systems roll off the production line. If
you are thinking about solar-powered wireless electronics for Late Fall
'03/Early '04, save your place in line by ordering now! (You can always
cancel.) All September shipments are already committed to customers, and
prices are going up October 1st. So pre-order now, and lock into 15%
savings. Call for more information: 800-542-5463. See our newest web pages
with all the Micronet details and more:

The 70-strong Mini Transat fleet continues its slow progress in 2-4 knots
of wind heading towards the Spanish coast. Samuel Manuard is still leading
the field with 5.5 mile gain on Jonathan McKee and Pierre Rolland. Frédéric
Duthil, who took the option to go further west in search of a more direct
route, made a wise decision and although he's down in fifth position, he
seems to be the best position. The route to the Cape of Finisterre could
signal the end to these calm conditions with a north-easterly wind in the
east of between 5-10 knots predicted for Friday during the day. - Excerpts
from a story by Sue Pelling on the Yachting World website, full story:

* Chris Sayer, the New Zealander refused entry into the Mini Transat Race
by the French organisers, is the current unofficial leader in the race
against the official 70 starters. Sailing in very light airs, on Thursday
afternoon (September 11), local time, Sayer was 10 miles off the north
Spanish coast, where he took the lead, holding a six mile gap to his
nearest rival with a further 15 miles to the next group. Since he was
refused entry, Sayer has said he would complete the course, careful to
start behind and out of the way of official entries. - Sail-World website,

During the layday of the BVI Sailing Festival and precursor to the BVI
Spring Regatta, eight teams flying their national flags will be battling it
out on the waters of the North Sound in Virgin Gorda for top honors in the
first annual "Nation's Challenge Cup." This international regatta on
Wednesday, March 31, 2004, will be open to two-boat teams representing
their country of entry.

The event will be sailed in the Bitter End Yacht Club's new fleet of Hunter
216s. With two flights, the "B" teams will race in the morning, and the "A"
teams will race in the afternoon. Four races will be sailed in each flight
with the boats swapped after each race. Crew weight per boat will be no
more than 675 lbs.

The entry fee is $100 per country and includes boat usage and backstay
national flag. Entries are expected from the USA, BVI, UK, Germany, Puerto
Rico, Netherlands, US Virgin Islands, and Antigua or St. Maarten. However,
the first eight two-boat teams to enter will be accepted with a waiting
list thereafter to allow for last minute dropouts. - For information:

* The Photo Zone website has posted three sets of exclusive photos of
damage caused in Bermuda by Hurricane Fabian. Many of the images depict the
carnage in the harbor. Photo 23 in Set II shows Tim Kent's Everest
Horizontal washed up in the shore:

* The Quassapaug YC in Connecticut was the sight of the US Snipe Masters
Championship. Competitors had to deal with shifty winds throughout the
event and no races were completed on Saturday due to a lack of wind. Art
and Jennifer Rousmaniere won 3 of the 4 completed races and took home the
title. John Lally and Kerry O'Brien finished second, closely followed by
Lee Griffith and Nancy Gilreath. - full story:

Alex Thomson, 29 year old professional skipper, has launched his campaign
to compete in the 2004 Vendée Globe non stop, single handed, round the
world yacht race by acquiring one of the world's fastest Open 60 monohulls,
the Lombard design 'Sill Entreprises'. In order to manage the 2004 Vendée
Globe campaign, Alex has established a new company, AT Racing Ltd, with
marketing entrepreneur Keith Mills, who is currently Chairman and Chief
Executive of Air Miles International Group BV (AMIG). The new company will
be responsible for managing the Open 60 yacht and providing all of the
shore support and marketing facilities necessary for a project of this
scale. Alex Thomson is no stranger to racing around the world: in 1999 he
won the Clipper Round The World yacht race and became the youngest skipper
to do so at the age of 25 years.

His training and racing programme begins immediately: Alex is pairing up
with the 2002 FICO Lacoste World Champion & IMOCA (International Monohull
Open Class Association) Champion, also the previous skipper of 'Sill
Entreprises', French skipper Roland Jourdain, to compete together on the
boat in the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race. This classic, biennial
short-handed event starts from Le Havre, France on November 1st, following
the coffee route across the Equator to Salvador, Brazil, and counts 18 Open
60's amongst the record 45 entries. After winning the 2001 edition,
Jourdain will be defending his title with Alex as co-skipper this time.

Next on the agenda for Alex is the crucial Vendée Globe solo qualifier
race, a new event for the Open 60 class, which starts from Salvador,
Brazil, on 30th November 2003 and finishes in La Rochelle, France, just
before Christmas. The boat will then be based in Gosport, England, and the
2004 schedule will include the single-handed Europe 1 STAR event, plus
several record attempts, in the build up to the fifth edition of the Vendée
Globe itself on 7th November from Les Sables d'Olonne, France. - Mary Ambler

Sick of settling for men's gear that doesn't quite fit? To better serve our
lady customers, Annapolis Performance Sailing stocks the Harken Torbole
Donna shoe for women. Designed and manufactured by Cappelletti, an Italian
company renowned for its expertise in leather goods, Harken's Donna shoes
are hand-stitched incorporating innovative, quality materials; including
quick-drying mesh, water-resistant Italian leather uppers, anti-microbial
sock liners as well as a completely new-designed sole for superior traction
and water-shedding. APS, we're not just unisex. Check out Harken's Donna
Torbole shoe now...

The ISAF just released their "World Sailing Rankings" - only days before
their very own ISAF World Championship regatta starts in Cadiz. And the
accompanying press release announced, "…these rankings provide a perfect
guide as to who is where in the world at this moment. Who is coming on
form, stable at the top or consolidating a position will be apparent from
any big movements."


We were particularly impressed with the fact that Ben Ainslie, who has been
unbeatable in the Finn class in recent months, is still ranked third in the
ISAF rating system.

With all top sailors in the Olympic classes in Cadiz right now, won't the
World Championship regatta results tell us who are truly up to speed and
who are the 'wannabees' in Olympic sailing?

ISAF rankings:

The St. Francis Yacht Club's Big Boat Series presented by Rolex kicked off
a seven-race series on San Francisco Bay today in 8-to 15-knot breeze and
slightly cloudy skies. Over 1,000 competitors on 115 boats sailed two races
in each of three Americap II classes and seven of the eight one-design
classes: Farr 40, Santa Cruz 52, Beneteau 40.7, J105, J120, 1D35, and
Express 37. Racing continues through Sunday when five perpetual trophies
and Rolex timepieces will be awarded. In the America's Cup class two races
were held, with the second and final race scheduled for tomorrow.

Onshore spectators were given a sneak peek at what America's Cup racing
would look like on the Bay with ORACLE BMW Racing and Alinghi Team fleet
racing their ACC boats. However, they followed the Big Boat Series
presented by Rolex racecourse of fleet racing along the City Front, not
match racing, the format used in the America's Cup. Oracle BMW Racing beat
the Swiss America's Cup winner Alinghi Team, led by Jochen Schümann, by a
healthy 30-second margin. "The Big Boat Series is a great prelude for the
Moët Cup," said Chris Dickson, skipper of Oracle BMW Racing.

As in all of the classes the tide played a crucial role. The tide was the
key to John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti taking the overall class lead on the
15-boat fleet. The largest class competing here is the J/105 class with 34
boats. Tom Coates' Masquerade took two first place finishes and is a class
favorite to win this year. - Media Pro Int'l,

Events listed 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 nor a
bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best
shot and don't whine if others disagree.)

* From Bruce H. Munro: Rand Milton should also know about the pathetic
coverage sailing gets by the media in the San Francisco Bay area. Back in
the '70s and early 80's the leading paper in San Francisco had regular
sailing columns by reporters dedicated to sailing stories. The last such
person was Kimball Livingston who still writes on a free lance basis for
various sailing magazines. But, for an area that is truly a hotbed of
sailing activity and produced a Paul Cayard and a John Kostecki in the same
generation, the coverage for the past two decades has been dismal. Kostecki
and Cayard are both better known in Europe than they are in San Francisco.

Unless we have an America's Cup program going with a full time PR person
pumping the papers with stories, sailing becomes an ignored sport even
though many readers are themselves avid sailors. Apparently the editors of
our major newspapers are not.

* From David Hazlehurst: Newspapers understandably publish news that has
mass interest. After the last day of racing in Sydney the London Observer
devoted not one but two whole pages to the British Team that ended the
Olympics with the most medals of any nation, including from memory, four
golds. Paul Cayard wrote in a recent Scuttlebutt about the British program,
which continues to develop world class sailors. I've been in England during
Cowes week and that get's a mention, but far less than two whole pages.
Worthy news will always attract readers, and help sell newspapers.

* From Charles Zusman: Commenting on Rand Milton's letter ('Butt 1412)
regarding the lack of sailing coverage in the media in the New York Metro
area, I must point out that we have a regular sailing column in The
Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) covering local activity in New Jersey and nearby
New York. It appears nearly every Thursday during the season, and every
other week in the off season. It's in back of the sports section, next to
one of the fishing columns, but it's about sailing and it's there. The
column has been a very rewarding one for the writer, me.

* From Hans J. Oen: I wish Mr. Chance would clarify what he means by
"1952 Helsinki! Sailing won eight golds out of 45 total for all sports"?
The 1952 Olympic Helsinki Games had a total of 5 classes: 6mR, 5.5m (in
which Mr.Chance won the Gold), Dragon,Star and Finn. As far as I can
determine the US won two Golds and one Silver medal in these games. For
everyone interested, Olympic sailing results can be accessed on the ISAF

No-one is ever a complete failure - you can always serve as a bad example.