Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1430- October 7, 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.

Robert Miller's 140 foot super maxi, Mari Cha IV, which is currently
attempting the west to east transatlantic record has already made its mark
on the sailing world. At 07:30 UTC Monday morning, Miller and his crew
re-wrote sailing history by becoming the first monohull ever to sail over
500 miles in one day. Mari Cha IV bettered the previous record, of 484 nm,
set by John Kostecki's Illbruck on 29th April 2002 during the Volvo Ocean
Race, when they sailed an unofficial 505 nm (pending ratification by the
World Speed Sailing Council).

"What an amazing feeling," said owner Robert Miller. "We have designed and
built this fantastic yacht with one aim in mind… to break records, and here
we are on our first attempt and we have broken one already! I have a great
team consisting of some of the best sailors in the world and together I'm
pleased to say that we're really showing what this awesome yacht can do."

The 140-foot monster boat, Mari Cha IV is currently on course to smash the
west to east transatlantic record. At 00:28 UTC Tuesday, (102:48:19 hours
after the official start) their speed over the ground was 21.6 knots and
their average speed for the trip so far has been 19.9 knots. Mari Char IV
has already covered 1,869 of the 2,925 miles of the course.

Curmudgeon's Comment: The crew on the super maxi, Mari Cha IV, pushed the
bar a little higher yet when they bettered their 24 hour distance record
further at 10:28 UTC Monday morning to 511.4 nm (to be ratified by the
World Speed Sailing Council).

For continuous updates and onboard photos:

What do Sir Thomas Lipton and Syd Fischer have in common? (Answer below)

It's twenty years since Australia's historical America's Cup victory in
Newport USA. Today, OzBoyz Challenge has been announced to contend for the
2007 America's Cup with a new generation of Australian yachting talent,
technology and business partners.

The OzBoyz Challenge for the XXXII America's Cup has been created with the
founding rule of the campaign: that 60% of the team must have been born in
or after 1983. The significant date in the America's Cup archives when
Australia II defeated Liberty 4-3. Etched in the public's memory are
glorious images of the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke demonstrating
Australia's jubilation at being the first country in 132 years to defeat
the Americans.

While most potential syndicates for the next America's Cup are focusing on
big budget campaigns, OzBoyz Challenge has a modest budget of AUD58
million. The campaign is based primarily on the youth of Australia. Male
and female team members will be selected for their practical and academic
talent in yachting, finance, marketing, administration, engineering and
business. They will work with experienced mentors in each of these fields
as well as legal experts, television, media and PR professionals who all
have previous experience in the America's Cup event. - Boating Online, full

Prior to the introduction of Ockam's 007 Matryx display, "trend"
information was restricted to systems running outboard computer programs.
Stripchart data is a powerful tool on the racecourse - the Matryx display
provides wind and current speed/direction graphs at the push of a button.
Ockam's new wireless PDA software package "EYE" provides stripcharting of
multiple functions across a wide range of time periods. Predict the future
(more) accurately with EYE and Matryx - visit

Because Peter Harrison, the man behind the GBR Challenge for the 2000/3
Amercia's Cup, is known never to do things by halves, it wasn't too
surprising to find that the present he bought for himself, to celebrate 50
years of working life, was an £8.7million carbon fibre yacht. Sojana, the
Bruce Farr/ Russ Bowler-designed, ketch-rigged, light displacement, fast
cruising superyacht, which has been in creation for the last five years.

Dressed overall, lying alongside the pontoon just off the Challenge base,
this115ft yacht with her 144ft main mast stood proud, dwarfing everything
around her. She's largest boat to be built in Cowes for the last 30 years
and certainly one of incredible high quality. Built by Green Marine, the
hi-tech structure of the hull, using pre-preg carbon laminate and Nomex
honeycomb core, is similar to the technology used in America's Cup yachts,
making her strong, light and able to perform well on the racecourse.

One of the most fascinating features of this new boat is the carbon fibre
rig - the 144ft main mast with 2,982sq ft of sail, a huge 118ft mizzen mast
(the same section as Leopard's main mast) carrying a 2,153sqft sail and the
2,379sqft jib. With such a massive, powerful rig, it wasn't surprising
therefore to learn that the boat will have to be raced with two crew (28 in
total). For cruising however, she'll be sailed by a permanent crew of five.
- Sue Pelling, Yachting World website, full story:

(Following are three excerpts from a story by Alan Farnham in Forbes magazine.)

Nautor, maker of Swan yachts, won regattas but couldn't turn a profit. Now,
with Leonardo Ferragamo at its helm, it's doing both. Nautor, which has
been making Swans since 1966, is regarded in Finland as a kind of national
treasure--but one whose inefficiencies have led to losses. It suffered in
the early 1990s when the U.S. levied a luxury tax on yachts, and by 1997
was losing $2.6 million on sales of $32 million. It has survived only by
being taken in as a kind of charity case by a succession of nationally
spirited owners, most recently a huge pulp and timber company whose
business had nothing to do with sailing.

Enter Leonardo Ferragamo, 50. In the mid-1990s, the scion of the Italian
shoe and apparel family (and chief executive of Palazzo Feroni Finanziaria
SpA, a holding company for the Ferragamo group) grew frustrated by what he
saw as Nautor's mismanagement. He had loved Swans ever since buying a
51-footer in 1988, six years after graduating from Columbia University with
a degree in business administration and finance. To Ferragamo, Nautor's
faults seemed obvious: There was too little specialization of the work
force; the same people made a 112-foot superyacht as a more modest
48-footer. Everybody made everything, though very different construction
methods were required for big and smaller boats.

Worse, says Ferragamo, the company had become complacent: "A yacht, like
any other kind of product, has to take advantage of evolution of
technology, of taste, of elegance--they're not stable, these things. And
they, Nautor, were not absorbing these changes." As an outsider, he found
his influence to be limited. "I always made very good suggestions," he
comments dryly, "but they never implemented them." He remedied this by
buying Nautor in 1998, becoming majority owner with a group of minority
investors. He describes acquiring the company--for a price never
disclosed--as a "difficult" process that took a year. "A number of times,"
he says, "I asked myself, did I really want to get involved?"

"Despite a certain amount of eyebrow-raising when Ferragamo took over,"
says yacht broker Robert Rodgers, "the quality and spirit of the company
have remained the same. The only thing I notice now is that they're making
money." Nautor posted a pretax profit of $440,000 on sales of $45 million
in 1998. Profit for 2002 hit $4.5 million on revenue of $79 million. - Alan
Farnham, Forbes magazine, full story:

The end of the season is coming-the perfect time to save a bundle of money
while picking up some of Henri Lloyd's hottest foul weather gear and
lifestyle wear. Check out Henri Lloyd's Web Specials at:

* Blythe Walker won the Bacardi Cup -- Bermuda's National Match Racing
Championship -- on Hamilton Harbour when he beat Adam Barboza 3-1 in the
"first to 3" final round. In the petit-final for third and fourth place,
Ricki Hornett defeated Pete Ramsdale 3-1. The winner and runner-up of the
Bacardi Cup will sail as "Team Bacardi" in the qualifying round and have
their entries paid for by Bacardi in this month's Investors Guaranty
presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup scheduled for October 18-26 at
the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. -

* BoatU.S. reports that losses to recreational boats from Hurricane Isabel
(not including marinas, other infrastructure or commercial vessels) will
total over $150 million, exceeding the damage from Hurricane Andrew in
1992. Storm surge caused much of the damage in the upper reaches of the
Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River watersheds, far from the storm's North
Carolina landfall. -
View some of the damage courtesy of Claire Bennett:

Sir Thomas Lipton and Syd Fischer might have shared a love for drinking
tea, but on the water they hold the record as five-time losers in
challenging for the America's Cup. Had Lipton not died in 1931when planning
a sixth challenge, he may well have presently had the record to himself.

Tripon and Jonathan have hit the big hole (aka: The Doldrums). Rolland has
held the NE breeze longer. But he should be in the doldrums now too. Its
total dice roll for the next couple of days - until the morning of October
8th or so. If everyone survives the doldrums equally, then the boat that is
farthest to the east (Tripon by 40 miles to Jonathan) should have the best
angle and best breeze first when the SE trades kick in - and it turns into
a port tack reach. But the Doldrums are not known to be equalizers, so
there's a lot of nail biting to be had. - Peter Isler

Standings at 15:00 TU Monday:
1. Jonathan McKee, Team McLube, 1407 miles to finish.
2. Pierre Rolland, Extrado, 1408 mtf
3. Armel Tripon, Moulin Roty, 1424 mtf
4. Willy Garcia, Ceylan Diamantes, 1448 mtf
5. Bruno Garcia, Saladino, 1448 mtf
6. Samuel Manuard, Tip Top Too, 1449 mtf
Event website:

Aramid Rigging is onsite in Miami for all your rigging needs starting
November 17th for the Rolex Farr Invitational. For advance orders call
401-683-6966. Onsite contact (401) 345-1907. Look for us at Key West as
well! Receive 10% off any rope order when you join our email list 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 Paul Henderson, ISAF President (re Doping and Pot): It is always
fair game for sailors to throw stones at ISAF. WADA is the world
anti-doping agency which sets the standards for what is illegal for
athletes to take. It is funded 50% by governments and 50% by the IOC. ISAF
has to accept their list as do all other 35 Olympic sports. ISAF only does
the minimum that WADA decrees: no more no less.

The governments have pushed to include cannabis which up to now was only
banned for the Olympic Games. No matter what side of this issue you are on
ISAF has no choice but to comply as the major countries USA, Canada, UK,
France, Germany etc. have agreed. ISAF will endeavor to get clarification
on this issue as I believe that banned substances should only be
"performance enhancing drugs for elite athletes" and that sport should not
be expected to clean up all social issues facing the world.

Curmudgeon's Comment: Canadian Paul Henderson will undoubtedly enjoy a
story we came across which explained why Canada's Prime Minister Jean
Chretien seems to be in such a hurry to push through a law decriminalizing
marijuana. Chretien, 69, said in an interview published on Friday that he
might give pot a try once it is no longer a criminal offense - presumably
after he retires in February. Under the new law, pot users would only pay a
fine if caught with small amounts. - MSNBC website:

* From Steve Morrell: I think it is important that pot be included on the
banned list of drugs, as if it was acceptable then everyone would be trying
to get the other teams smoking the stuff so they could watch all the antics
and comedy as a bunch of stoned sailors attempt to do things in an
organized fashion. Beating a team of stoned sailors would be easy. Sailboat
racing would degenerate to everyone spiking the other teams' brownies and
dropping cannabis oil in their meals just before the race. The behind the
scenes antics pursuing these attempts would become as disgraceful as some
of the America's cup spy chronicles. Cheshire cat-like smiles would give
away the stoned teams. Drug-testing would be unnecessary. It would be the
end of sailboat racing as we know it, if we kept it off the banned drug
list. The real question would be determining who is the guilty party and
guilty of what.

* From Malcolm McKeag (re Race Organizers' liabilities - edited to our
250-word limit): Everyone worries about law suits from participants or
their heirs. Here in UK much the greater danger for race organizers is
prosecution by the so-called Health and Safety authorities. While no yacht
club has yet been gone after, several other organizations have. On an
canoeing expedition school children lost their lives: the proprietor of the
activity centre, 200 miles away at the time, spent 18 months in jail.

Recently a national first aid organization was fined £30,000 for sending
some volunteers on a waterborne first aid course (on which there was a
non-fatal accident) without what the court deemed to be adequate briefing
on the dangers of falling in the water. Our government requires that port
authorities satisfy themselves that activities in their area of control are
adequately planned, the PA's pass the buck by requiring risk assessments
and safety management plans from organizers, including those of yacht
races. Sadly, the advice and assistance available from our usually
excellent national authority is in this respect is about as much use as a
chocolate teapot - but any club that does not take this issue seriously and
act is playing Russian roulette. If something goes wrong, it is not only
the race officer who might end up in court, but the paid officials, the
general committee and the Flag Officers. Happily, the law still recognizes
that accidents can happen - the prosecution will succeed only if it can
show that the race organizer did not make adequate provision or acted

* From Ron Baerwitz: Sorry, but I simply do not agree with Michael Panosh's
comments on the America's Cup. We have Olympic Sailing and no one gives a
hoot about seeing that on TV. I completely enjoyed the America's Cup this
past year and look forward to the next one even more. Whatever it is
called, it is the true World Championship of our sport.

* From George Bailey: If the general public and hence the media have almost
no interest in powerboat races which have many of the features popular
sports have that sailboat racing lacks, they how likely is it that the
general public can be made to take an interest in sailboat racing?
Yesterday, during a hospice sailboat regatta on the Pamlico River, 17 very
large powerboats blasted by at around 80-90 kts in their own race down the
river. So ask yourself, why aren't you a dedicated powerboat racing fan? I
bet most of you reading this are football and basketball fans. Maybe the
answer to why you are not a powerboat racing fan explains why the general
public never will be sailboat racing fans.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of