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SCUTTLEBUTT 1432- October 9, 2003

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talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
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welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

By the time you read this, Robert Miller's 140-foot Mari Cha IV may well
have finished her trans-Atlantic crossing - probably slicing more than two
days off the existing record while averaging something like 19 knots for
the 2925 mile passage. At our distribution time, their estimated time of
arrival was 0930 UTC Thursday.

The existing record held by Bernard Stamm's Armour-Lux stands at 8 days, 20
hours, 55 minutes and 35 seconds. Mari Cha IV will undoubtedly become the
first monohull ever to sail across the Atlantic in under seven days.

According to a report from Jef d'Etiveaud, Navigator / Project Manager:
"All the crew is pumped up to the max for our arrival. We are sill pushing
hard with all up. We have 32 knots of wind and a following sea, so the boat
was surfing at 30 + every 3 waves. The wind has dropped down a bit now, so
we will make our way through the night towards the Lizard and hope for a
safe arrival in the morning." -

Following the Mini Transat on the web is really not very easy. Thankfully,
Peter Isler is doing an incredible job of analyzing the race and making it
come alive us, and for our readers. Here's Peter latest report about the
race, and the performance of American Jonathan McKee:

Finally! Out the Doldrums and on their way. Yesterday progress was pretty
excruciatingly slow. What a change in the last 12 hours.

* 7 AM (UT) Positions: In the last 24 hours Jonathan's been jamming. I'll
bet he's finally gotten to the section on his hard disk with all the Dead
tunes. He's probably a bit sleepy too - because the sailing cannot have
been easy (I'll bet the wind averaged less than 6 knots in the last 24
hours). It looks Jonathan is now on port tack and probably getting clear of
the worst of things… with building SSE breeze and lifts to look forward to
(probably good for catching up on sleep - a nice jib reach).

Rolland seems to be paying for being so far to the west. He's averaged a
knot slower than Jonathan (and 20 degrees "worse" heading) which means he
probably didn't get the shift to the SE as soon, and spent more time on
starboard tack in a southerly. Manuard's success is interesting - he's
between JM and Roland (i.e. to the WNW of Jonathan) but has been always
sailing toward the mark. Maybe Jonathan put in a little tack to starboard
36 hours ago - to get a bit of easting and close up to Tripon to the east
(foregoing some VMG toward the mark - giving Manuard a gain). In any event,
in the last 24 hours Manuard and Jonathan have had virtually the same VMG
toward the mark ... and JM has a 28 mile lead (measured toward the next
waypoint) on Manuard - which should not erode any more, at least in the
near term as the SE builds in.

* Peter Isler's report from the 3 PM (UT) Positions: I'm getting hooked
on this now. But this is a pretty critical time, and Jonathan's gained a
ton. He's been blasting at the mark for the last eight hours averaging 6
knots. Rolland to the west is doing the same heading, but is still much
lighter... and Tripon to the east has fallen in astern - he seems to be
sailing 10 degrees lower on port tack to match JM's speed. Tripon's 3 PM
position is about where JM was at 7 AM. Meanwhile Manuard seems to have hit
a header and forced to go back to starboard tack. He's making good speed,
but towards the SE not the SW where the next waypoint is."

Standings at 1500 GMT Wednesday:
1. Jonathan McKee, Team McLube, 1212 miles to finish.
2. Pierre Rolland, Extrado, 1237 mtf
3. Samuel Manuard Tip Top Too, 1244 mtf
4. Armel Tripon Moulin Roty, 1262 mtf
5. Alex Pell, Aquatec - Santaiveri- Texknit, 1282 mtf

Event website:

During the last leg of a windy race, going straight downwind, following a
gybe, the main got engaged on a spreader and blew in pieces. Not even a
part of it was usable. It went all the way down and below deck. Running
straight downwind I kept the storm spinnaker flying with the spinnaker pole
on starboard side. I am overtaken by a boat on port tack. What tack am I
on? Does the position of the empty boom (over one side or the other) have
any meaning on determining the tack? (Answer below.)

Fill out Team One Newport's survey and you could win a 4-day/3-night stay
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The British Boating Partners UK Ltd syndicate has entered the Volvo Ocean
Race 2005-2006. The entry will be skippered by Manley Hopkinson (skipper -
BT Global Challenge 2000-2001) working with fellow syndicate team members
including chairman David Gant from South Africa (former chairman Worldsport
SA), yachting veteran Kevin Bennetts (WRTWR 93-94 and 97-98) and marketing
director Tim Howland of S2 Marketing (formerly CEO of World Sport Group
Europe and Evian Ladies European Tour).

The syndicate has already worked hard at forming partnerships which include
Ker Humphreys Design Partnership, Musto, North UK, Formula Spars, Marine
Pics, S2 Marketing, Mission Performance and World Sport SA. The city of
Portsmouth and its world famous Gunwharf Quay has also thrown its weight
behind the syndicate.

As well as being a professional yachtsman for many years, Skipper Hopkinson
was a former inspector in the Royal Hong Kong Marine Police, had his own
boat building and servicing company, served as an officer in the Royal Navy
during the Gulf War, attained a degree in marine engineering and worked as
a project manager for Granada Media, solving one of its major Year 2000
projects. - Lizzie Green,

* Olympic-size swimming pools are not just for swimming anymore, as was
demonstrated at an event recently held in Lyon, France. There a collection
of world champions, Olympic medalists and distance racers squeezed into
some mini-monohulls for some fan-assisted, spectator-friendly sailboat
racing: Check out these photo:

* Sequoia Yacht Club and the Port of Redwood City (California) hosted the
RC Laser North American championship designated as a "Gold Chevron" or
Championship Regatta by the AMYA (American Model Yacht Association) and run
by US Sailing Senior Race Officers. Final results: 1) Jon Elmaleh,
Brooklyn, NY, 12; 2) David Haggert, Omaha, NE, 30; 3) Mark Kennedy, San
Jose, CA, 36; 4) Nigel Seary, Great Dalby, England, 36; 5) Fred Ferris,
Burnsville, MN, 37. -

* While (America's Cup) Challenges are emerging in Spain and Australia,
Germany's first-ever America's Cup campaign appears to be in the dark and
it is now probable that the Michael Illbruck's effort is dead in the water.
- Cup in Europe, full story:

* Former Le Defi Areva tactician Sebastien Destremau is part of a new
Australian America's Cup challenge. OzBoys Challenge is based primarily on
the youth of Australia and has been created with the founding rule that 60
per cent of the team must have been born in or after 1983 - when Australia
II defeated Liberty 4-3 to win the America's Cup. Founding partners Saatchi
& Saatchi, Seek Communications and Sumo have established the OzBoys
Challenge, which has a modest budget of A$58 million, and is "… currently
in discussions with numerous companies interested in the philosophy and
benefits of this project." - NZ Herald,

* If you're attending United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis area between
October 9-13, stop by the Bitter End Yacht Club booth (E-3A) to learn more
about the Musto Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championships - which runs
concurrently with Dry Creek Vineyard Pro Am Regatta. Make sure you ask
about the discount available to SSC members (that's you).

* Four-time Adams Cup winner (1935, '36, '37, and '38) and trustee of the
Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Trophy emblematic of US Sailing's U.S. Women's
Sailing Championship, Frances ("Frannie") McElwain Wakeman of the Cohasset
YC has been inducted into the New England Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

Portoferraio, Island of Elba, Italy - Competitors at the Mumm 30 worlds had
lots of time in the morning to sip espresso in the cafes along the
waterfront while waiting for the 35 knot wind to die down enough to set a
race course. That may explain why they were anxious enough to merit five
general recalls before finally starting the only race that was completed on
day one of the world championship regatta. The third and fourth attempts at
starting were under a Z flag (20% penalty after restarting properly without
going around the ends) and the fifth trial start was signaled with a black
flag, which kept seven competitors off the race course.

The wind dropped to 12-14 knots by the start of the race, and continued to
drop to around 8 knots by the end. The waves were not so cooperative, and
the water was extremely choppy. The Swiss entry of Jean-Marc Monnard and
David Etienne Olympic enjoyed a great race in the somewhat unusual
conditions to get the first win of the series, crossing the finish line
three boat lengths before the next boat.

It was a close race for second between Claudio Rechhi and Carla
Umbertalli's Italian entry, Cheyenne and Bitipi. They were catching waves
in close succession, but Cheyenne was fortunate to catch the last wave to
carry them over the line for second place. Racing continues tomorrow with a
moderate northwest wind of 12-18 knots predicted. Three races are
scheduled, but more may be raced if the conditions are good. -

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Events listed at

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Provided the boat remains on a course that is directly downwind, the boat
will not change tack as a result of the mainsail blowing to pieces. The
boat will remain on the tack she was on prior to the destruction of the
mainsail. However, if she changes course from directly downwind with no
mainsail set, her tack will correspond to her windward side. - ISAF

There is little question that learning a bit more about demographic makeup
of those who participant in our sport would be very useful to information
to have. The good folks at the Regatta Dates website are doing something to
help gather that information. They've posted a survey on their website, and
they're encouraging sailors to participate. This is an "anonymous" survey -
they are not asked for any personal information - email, name, address,
etc. And best of all, people going to that link can actually see the
results to date.

To participate, or to just look at the results, go to
and click on the "Sailing Demographics Survey" at the top left of your
screen. The 'real-time' results are on the survey page, on the right hand
side, just above the form.

(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 Peter Commette: In reply to J. Dirk Schwenk, I am a maritime lawyer,
too, and I differ with his opinion. I know of a small number of successful
suits against race committees. The reason that there are no reported
decisions is because the insurance companies have settled them prior to the
point where a decision would be reached and published.

I was approached to handle one which was recently filed and subsequently
settled during discovery. I couldn't take the case, because the yacht club
involved was one with which I have some ties, but I thought it was a
meritorious case; so must have the insurance company. Although there may be
a dearth of reported decisions against race committees, there are reported
decisions against many athletic event organizers. The analogy is clear and
properly applicable. I agree that the chance for a successful suit is
minimal, but insurance should be purchased for many reasons, one of which
is that the threat of a lawsuit is real if a catastrophic event and
arguable negligence are involved.

* Edgar Westerhuys, The Netherlands: Dirk Schwenk claims, "The justice
system of the United States is among the best in the history of the world.
It can and does distinguish between meritorious and frivolous claims."
Well, how about the US lawsuit where a microwave owner sued the
manufacturer of the oven because his wet cat didn't survive his time in the
microwave to dry out. Don't you think that is a frivolous claim?

* From Malcolm McKeag: I don't want to re-open a thread that the Curmudgeon
has probably by now declared dead, but race officers who wish to assist OCS
competitors with calling numbers, but who rightly wish to avoid comebacks
and requests for redress, may find the following Sailing Instruction
useful. We have used it successfully here and it appears completely to
cover the issue, help the competitors and keep the RO's yardarm clear. In
the recent British-American Cup international racing tournament (sailed in
Sonars) we substituted a loud hailer for the VHF. Again, the SI sufficed to
make the situation 100% clear to competitors of what they could expect, but
where ultimate responsibility continued to lie.

In the event of an Individual Recall, the sail numbers of boats OCS and
still in breach of rule 29.1 or 30.1 if it applies may be announced on VHF
72. Sail numbers will not be announced until they have been verified by the
race committee and the broadcast may not be immediate. The existence or
otherwise and the conduct of such a broadcast shall not be grounds for
redress and nothing in this Sailing Instruction shall reduce the
responsibility of a boat to comply with rules 29.1, 29.2 and 30.1 if it

If lawyers are disbarred and ministers unfrocked, perhaps electricians get
delighted; Far Eastern diplomats disoriented; cashiers distilled; alpine
climbers dismounted; piano tuners unstrung; orchestra leaders disbanded;
artists' models deposed; cooks deranged; nudists redressed; office clerks
defiled; mediums dispirited; and dressmakers unbiased.