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SCUTTLEBUTT 1434- October 13, 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.

Disaster has befallen American (Mini Transat) entrant Jonathan McKee. The
race organizers believe that the most likely scenario is that McKee's Team
McLube has dismasted. It is presumed that McKee has erected a jury rig,
probably at first light Saturday. In the last 24 hours the American has
sailed 75 miles compared to Sam Manuard's 151 miles. The organizers believe
that McKee's course indicates that he is heading for Natal on the Brazilian
coast to the north of Recife, however it maybe that McKee is unable to make
the course with his lashed up rig. - The Daily Sail,

* Posted on the Yachting Universe website on Saturday 11 October @
23:24:33: One thing is certain; the former Olympic champion has had a big
mechanical problem. The race management still believes that he has
dismasted and is making 5 knots under jury rig. This set up will prevent
him from luffing however, which would explain his current course and the
difficulties he is likely to have when the fleet are forced to leave the
island of Fernando to starboard as the second passage mark of the leg.
Unless the wind backs, McKee will suffer further problems as they dive
south towards Salvador de Bahia.

The second possibility for McKee is that he may have broken a rudder blade
that would create less of a handicap. Whether this explains why he stopped
for five hours when the beacon was set off remains to be seen. The coming
hours will determine what has actually happened aboard " Team Mc Lube ",
officially still racing and still leader. Behind him though, the race has
turned into a gallop and it looks as if McKee's days in the driving seat
are numbered. -

* From Jonathan's wife, Libby, on Sunday: The Southern Atlantic continues
to make it tough going for Jonathan. It appears from the latest position
reports that he is underway, doing about 3.5 knots and heading fairly close
to the wind. We still know nothing about what damage the boat has incurred.
We do know that he is physically ok, appears to still be racing and is
heading 25 degrees below the next mark at Fernando. Speculation about what
he has broken or if he is heading to shore seems a little premature at this

The way point of Fernando de Noronha is becoming a bit of a nuisance to all
the competitors including Jonathan. However, the wind seems to have lifted
to about 140 degrees and is more from the direction of the typical trade
winds. The last report was a good one regarding Jonathan's progress. His
course is up a few degrees so it looks like he has a chance to make the
waypoint and leave it to starboard. His speed is up to about 4.5 knots. He
is still out of radio communication so the nature and extent of his
problems are still unknown. However, the lifting breeze and the ability to
make the way point make finishing a viable option. Tomorrow's reports will
give us a better sense for what he is planning.

Standings at 1500 GMT Sunday:
1. Samuel Manuard Tip Top Too, 696 miles to finish
2. Armel Tripon Moulin Roty, 728 mtf
3. Jonathan McKee, Team McLube, 739 mtf
4. Pierre Rolland, Extrado, 759 mtf
5. Alex Pell, Aquatec - Santaiveri- Texknit, 795 mtf

Event website:

Cold--Wet--Maniac Boat. For a regatta like this you want warm gear. The
Pirate's Lair supplies Gill, Henri Lloyd, and Pro-Rainer gear to regattas
nationwide. If you need custom graphics, banners, tees, polos and fuzzy
wear for your team or regatta, call or email The Pirate's Lair. (888)

Some seventy Melges 24 teams from nine nations are gathering at the St
Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco in preparation for the Audi Melges 24
World Championship, which kicks off on Monday 13 October. The entry roster
includes all the leading Melges 24 teams as well as some interesting new faces.

Reigning World Champions Harry Melges and Jeff Ecklund have teamed up with
Steve Inman and Hans Melges in a bid to get their hands on the title for a
second time, whilst 2001 World Champion Flavio Favini is back in the class
after time out for the Mescalzone Latino America's Cup Challenge. Having
won the 1998 and 1999 Melges Worlds Vince Brun obviously has his sights set
on a record third win and has joined forces with Brian and John Porter and
Andy Burdick making a formidable combination.

2003 European Champion Luca Santella, with tactician Morgan Larson, has his
eye on a grand slam this year, whilst Jamie Lea, winner of the last two
Melges 24 World Ranking Series, will be determined to finally take a major
championship to go with his ranking successes. Frenchman Philippe Ligot's
high successful P&P Sailing Team are joined by helmsman Morgan Reeser and
with Sebastian Col on tactics could well do some damage. US sailors to keep
an eye on are Dave Ullman, Argyle Campbell, Bruce Ayres and Don Jesberg
whilst the European contingent includes Paul Brotherton, Benoit Charon,
Stuart Rix, Rob Smith, Egidio Babbi, Rob Greenhalgh and Oliver Ponthieu.

Of the new faces John Bertrand and his Windquest team will be worth
watching, as will James Spithill's Southern Spars crew of One World
America's Cup Challenge veterans Scott Vogel and Matthew Mason with Mark
Hauser. - Fiona Brown,

* In a best-of-seven series match race series sailed in a shifty 9-15 knot
breeze, Terry Hutchinson won the Senator's Cup Regatta presented by
Annapolis Volvo during the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis. The two-time
America's Cup veteran defeated Gavin Brady, current helmsman of Oracle BMW
Racing. This two-day charity event was sailed in Swan 45s with the proceeds
benefiting the Annapolis Community Foundation and the Box of Rain
organization which helps underprivileged kids in the Annapolis area
experience sailing.

* The website of Bedford Basin YC in Nova Scotia has posted some amazing
photos of the damage caused by Hurricane Juan. The damage from the worst
storm to hit Nova Scotia, Canada in at least 50 years is extraordinary.
Boats were lifted and tossed on the shore all around the basin. To see
shore side homes with boats in living rooms and other the devastation, go
to the URL, then click the 'resources' pull down menu, and the 'photo

* Portoferraio, Island of Elba, Italy - Italians Claudio Rechhi and Carla
Ubertelli's Cheyenne navigated their way through the last day of very tough
conditions to claim the Mumm 30 World Championship title. The Mumm 30
Worlds in 2004 returns to North America and will be hosted by the Royal
Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto, on August 25-28. The regatta ended
Saturday, but unfortunately, complete results were not available on the
event website at our distribution time Sunday night:

* The Storm Trysail club ran its Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta in
blustery conditions on western Long Island Sound. Georgetown University
sailing the Express 37 Lora Ann triumphed in the seven-race weekend series
over a team from the US Naval Academy by three points. The defending champs
from the University of Michigan finished third.

It accelerates so quickly in the lightest of puffs you wouldn't know there
was a full cruising interior with 6'4" headroom. Introducing the 43' J/133,
the newest racer-cruiser from J Boats. See one this fall in Newport,
Chicago or Hamble. Click here for pix:

(Following is a brief excerpt from a story by Angus Phillips in the Sunday
issue of the Washington Post.)

The Volvo Ocean Race as usual has an information tent at the U.S. Sailboat
Show in Annapolis this weekend, but how much information you'll be able to
glean there is a good question.

Two years before the start of the prestigious 'round-the-world race, which
once again will stop in Chesapeake Bay, not a single, credible announced
team is in place, not a single boat is sailing or boat designer under
contract. Even the start and finish lines haven't been designated. Much
remains up in the air, but executive director Glenn Bourke was upbeat
anyway in a high-profile visit here, as were his hosts.

Bourke spoke at a news conference Tuesday at the Maryland State House
alongside Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Anne
Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, all of whom gave high marks to the
Baltimore/ Annapolis stop, which drew huge crowds when the Volvo was here
in 2002 and when its predecessor, the Whitbread, stopped in 1998.

Everyone agrees the event is a boost for the hosts, who expect to mop up
$26 million in direct spending from teams, supporters, tourists coming in
for a gander and the like. "Politicians love events like this" because they
showcase the city and the state, Ehrlich said, "and we like the money. It's
a great investment - put a little in and get a lot out."

Indeed, it's hard for anyone interested in boats and the sea not to be
intrigued by the quadrennial visit of a fleet of state-of-the-art ocean
racers crewed by some of the best sailors in the world, fresh from Cape
Horn and the Southern Ocean. But who will these racers be?

"I wish I could tell you," said Bourke with a sigh. He claims five
campaigns are in final stages of fundraising and promised an announcement
of one in four to six weeks. Meantime, he's stuck trying to drum up
interest in an event to which names and faces cannot yet be attached.

Bourke said the top five come from new places but would not be specific.
Dockside scuttlebutt has two Spanish teams in the mix, from Galicia on the
Atlantic Coast and Barcelona; other likely players are said to be from
Denmark, Germany, Brazil and Sweden. Three other teams have announced plans
to race, including one from Maryland, but all are in formative stages and
Bourke said none are yet on his short list of likely contenders. Angus
Phillips, The Washington Post, full story:

(From a post by Cheryl in the forum section of the website.)

Yesterday's Sunday Star Times contained some interesting news about Alinghi
and AC developments. The article is not online. Summarizing some major points:

- Bertarelli will not be funding Alinghi's America's Cup defence. He
believes Alinghi will be able to find corporate sponsorship to fully fund
its defence. He will, however, underwrite the defense. For the 2003
challenge Bertarelli provided 50% of the funding. Brad Butterworth and
Grant Simmer said they were confident Alinghi could find close to 100%
corporate sponsorship. Russell Coutts has started looking for sponsorship
and was in Germany last week.

- Alinghi is considering engaging several more New Zealand sailors (not
from Team NZ) for its defense.

- Grant Simmer said there was the possibility of a South African
challenge. The South Africans had made inquiries about buying one of
Alinghi's old boats.

- Alinghi has started planning their defense boat. Grant Simmer predicted
new developments in mast and sails to add speed. "There are big
improvements to be made, like how the mast moves. They are fairly subtle
changes if you're not a sailor, but still it's the little improvements that
will win us the cup."
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Last month Kaenon Polarized dominated the podium. Ben Ainslie and Hannah
Swett led the way in Cadiz, Ken Read dominated the Etchells Worlds, and
Gavin Brady and John Kostecki drank the magnums at the Moet Cup. This week
in San Francisco, Harry Melges, Brian Porter, Pease Glaser and many others
will rely on the Kaenon Polarized advantage for a podium spot at the Melges
24 Worlds. Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically. Available in the San
Francisco Bay area at Lombardi's, Solstice in Corte Madeira, Destination
1440 in Bezerkely, and West Marine around the Bay.

(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 Huston: Indeed Bernard Stamm's record was impressive, but if
his effort was so Corinthian, they why was his boat named after a French
clothing company? I'd say instead that Bob Miller's team is more Corinthian
because it seems complete absent any commercial sponsorship.
Congratulations Mari Cha 4, a beautiful boat that will soon, if it hasn't
already, take its place in the history books along side boats like
Ticonderoga and Windward Passage.

* From Jeff Penny, Vancouver B.C. Canada: Records are meant to be broken.
Everyone I know, sailors & non-sailors were glued to their PC's watching
the events unfold. Watching new technology and bigger faster boats break
records is great for the on going development of the sport of sailing.
Better boats, new technology, faster records equal more money for everyone
from sponsors & more T.V. coverage. I know that I will never sail a boat
like Mari-Cha IV or be able to own one, but I tell you that it gave me
goose bumps watching this record fall like a stone, & the best thing is
someone else will come along & shatter this record. I can't wait for there
around the world attempt.

* From John Cole: Those grapes must taste pretty sour. Good job Bernard
Stamm - good job Mari-Cha IV. I hope we all live long enough to see someone
beat the new record.

* From Jef d'Etiveaud/ Mari-Cha IV Navigator/ Project Manager (In response
to the candid letter claiming that we "bought the Atlantic record"): I
would be grateful if Mr. Kurt Biancully could give us the price for a Jules
Verne monohull record. We would very much like to buy this one as well. I'd
love to know on what market these are traded. Can one buy 27 000 miles of
blue skies and following seas there as well?

* From John McBrearty (Response to J. Joseph Bainton): If Mr. Bainton had
his way, the exploding Ford Pinto would still be on the roads of America
because no injured party would be willing to pay the fees of Ford Motor
Company's team of lawyers if victim lost. As for a $50,000.00-$100,000.00
per month lawyer's fee for defense, at $200.00 per hour (most insurance
companies limit the amount they pay to their lawers to around $100-$150 per
hour) , that's 250-500 hours per month. For a period of 1-2 years? That
would be an obscene amount of money for any person/ entity to pay if they
had done nothing wrong. However, nobody who had done nothing wrong would
see the need to spend that much defending him/her or themselves.

Incidentally, since he brought up the infamous "hot coffee" case, the lady
involved had third degree burns (the ones that leave horrendous scars) from
her belly button to her knees, including the most sensitive regions in
between. The jury that heard all the evidence was is the best position to
judge what happened.

* From Bruce Monro: I was general counsel for the St. Francis Yacht Club
when we had to deal with the tragic death of Larry Kline during the 1994
Big Boat Series. Larry was the skipper of an experimental boat that used a
hiking rack for stability. The rack broke and every crew member except one
was dumped into San Francisco Bay. Our crash boats and some volunteer boats
picked the crew out of the water, but Larry lapsed into unconsciousness on
the way to the dock. The paramedics were unable to revive him. All the
other crew members were successfully rescued.

Larry's widow sued the boat owner, the boat builder and our club.
Litigation discovery established that the welds holding the rack to the
boat were inadequate and broke under load. The club's liability was based
on an argument that we should have rescued Larry sooner and we should not
have let the boat into the regatta because of its experimental nature.
Against my advice, the insurance company settled for an amount I am not at
liberty to disclose.

Without cases like this going the distance in a court of law, we have no
precedents to tell us what liability exists or does not exist for yacht
clubs. Unfortunately, insurance companies would rather pay some amount in
settlement rather than find out what liability really exists. Until we get
some good legal precedents, yacht clubs will continue to pay insurance
premiums based on liability assumptions that have not been established in

* From David Brookes, Executive Director, International Hobie Class
Association, Australia: Life continues for the Hobie 17 & 18 around the
world. While there is disappointment that Hobie Cat Company has decided to
discontinue production of these great boats, other Hobie Manufactures
continue to build these 2 stalwart catamarans. The racing cat sailor will
still see the Hobie 17 & 18 at many regattas around the world. There is a
scheduled Hobie 17 & 18 World Championships in Melbourne January 2005 so
the Class is still racing and is looking towards the future. With strong
fleet racing world wide the organisers have received positive responses
from the North American Hobie 17 & 18 sailor's to attend these world
championships. The Hobie 17 & 18 will still continue to be two of the most
popular world wide catamarans ever produced with very competitive racing
now and in the future.

* From Dan Mangus, Director of Marketing, Hobie Cat Company: It is true
that the Hobie 17 and Hobie 18 are no longer being produced, but the bright
side to this announcement is that we have introduced some boats in recent
years that have, slowly but surely, rendered the H17s and H18s virtually
obsolete. The Hobie Getaway, in particular, has fulfilled, and to some
extent surpassed, many of the features of both boats for the recreational
user, and for less money. The Hobie Tiger and, to a lesser extent, the
Hobie FX-1 in this size range have raised the bar a bit on the racing side
of things, and have re-invigorated the racing scene in many parts of the
country. Our Hobie 16 sales remain constant, which in itself is unusual for
a boat of its vintage, and thus remains a very healthy and important part
of our product lineup.

As with previously discontinued models (Hobie 14 for example), we expect
that sailing and racing of these boats will continue to be strong for many
years to come. With this in mind, we have set aside parts to support those
boats for the foreseeable future. In addition, our network of dealers have
many parts and some may even have these boat models (new) in stock. There
are 11 models in the current Hobie USA product lineup:

To keep a healthy level of insanity, sit in your parked car with sunglasses
on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.