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SCUTTLEBUTT 1437 - October 16, 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.

PIONEERING EFFORT
The St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California has announced it
will use IRC - not Americap II - for the handicap classes at its
prestigious Big Boat Series next September.

"For the past two years we've worked with US Sailing to handicap boats
using Americap II, but it's now obvious that system simply does not work in
the tidal conditions of the San Francisco Bay," said Norman Davant, the Big
Boat Series Regatta Developer for StFYC. "Because Americap II has been so
disappointing, we're encouraging US Sailing to embrace IRC as the handicap
system of choice, which would be consistent with what's happening in the
rest of the world." Davant has talked with other clubs about using IRC for
their major events in 2004, and is encouraged by the response he's gotten.

While StFYC is enthusiastically gearing up to use IRC to handicap the
existing fleet at the Big Boat Series, the club is also looking forward to
the publication of the new Grand Prix rule being developed by the ISAF
Rules Working Party. "We'd like to be able to use the new Grand Prix rule
to handicap custom race boats at the 2005 Big Boat Series," Davant stated.
"Considering the America's Cup rule was crafted in a single weekend, that
timeline certainly seems doable," he concluded. - www.stfyc.org

MYSTERY SOLVED
Jonathan McKee is onshore at Recife. Last Friday night, while he was
asleep, the V1 shroud failed, and the mast broke above the 1st (lowest)
spreader. He constructed a jury rig and was able to keep sailing but only
on one tack. His plan was to get to Salvador if the wind direction
cooperated. But the winds headed, and his jury rig would periodically fall
down and he would have to re-rig, so he made the choice to head into Recife.

Jonathan sounded well and strong on the phone and, even though he is
disappointed that he couldn't finish and that this gear failure kept him
from winning, he is proud of his performance. "Chalk it up to bad luck", he
said "I have had so much good luck and been so blessed. This was just a
random bad luck incident."

What remains is to get a good meal, and a decent night's sleep, then pack
up the boat and get it to Salvador for shipping back to France. - Libby
Johnson McKee

Note: A huge thanks to the many people who have called and e-mailed with
their words of support and empathy both for Jonathan and for me here at
home. And to those who just said a little prayer for Jonathan as he was
struggling to get down the coast. Your positive energy was very much
appreciated. It is great to have such good friends around the globe. - Libby
http://www.j-mckee.com/index.php

AUDI MELGES 24 WORLDS
Harry Melges showed blistering speed on day three at the Audi Melges 24
World Championships in San Francisco to take two further bullets. Although
very happy with his result Melges by no means had it all his own way and
today's racing was fast, furious and incredibly close. Melges' nearest
rival for the Championship, fourteen year old Shark Kahn, kept up an
incredibly consistent performance posting a third and second leaving him
trailing by just five points after six of the ten scheduled races.

Conditions on the Berkley Circle were the most testing so far with a
shifting wind which built from 12 to 20 knots as the day wore on. The start
of race five was initially delayed as a front went through and the wind
flipped back and forward through 20+ degrees. The unstable breeze meant a
long wait for race six by which time the tide had turned and the chop was
building. The wind had settled at 18 to 20 knots from 205 degrees.

With six races completed the discard now comes into play and whilst the top
four positions haven't changed there is now a significant points gap
between Harry Melges (6 points), Shark Kahn (11 points) and the rest of the
fleet. Third placed Luca Santella, helming Giovani Maspero's Joe Fly Team,
scored a somewhat lacklustre 13, 9 today leaving him on 32 points while
Brian Porter's 7, 10 gives him 36 points and fourth overall. Rob Greenhalgh
moves up from seventh to fifth (39 points), P&P went from sixteenth to
sixth (49 points), Dave Ullman dropped a place to seventh (51 points) and
Jamie Lea came up from eighteen to equal eighth with Philippe Kahn (53
points). Stuart Rix came from fifteenth to tenth (58 points).

With four more races to go its still wide open between Harry Melges and
Shark Kahn and third to fifth are only separated by seven points so we can
expect plenty more fun out of this championship. - Fiona Brown

Event coverage: http://stfyc.org/ & http://www.melges24.com
Hot photos of the Melges 24 Worlds: http://tinyurl.com/r3zx

SUNFISH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles - Standings after five races: 1. Malcolm
Smith, Bermuda, 18; 2 Cor Van Aanholt, Curacao, 18; 3. Hank Saurage, USA,
22; 3 Diego Zimmermann, Peru, 33; 5. Mathieu Moures, Martinique, 34, 13.
http://tinyurl.com/qygr

BRIDGE THE GAP
For you club racers and cruisers who want the advantages of high tech
running rigging without the high cost, Samson Rope Technologies has the
product for you - XLS Extra. Constructed of a Dyneema blended core and
braided with a durable 24-strand polyester cover, you get good strength and
elongation characteristics with a durable cover. What a great combination,
plus a price that won't make your head spin. Ask you rigger or dealer about
XLS Extra and bridge the gap from low tech to high tech.
http://www.samsonrope.com

COMMENTARY
(The Daily Sail spoke to Tracy Edwards about her new 38 million
sponsorship and examined its implications. Here is just a brief excerpt
from a very comprehensive feature.)

So the question is - do we need any more round the world races? The grand
prix fully crewed round the world racing market is more than overcrowded
with the Volvo Ocean Race, The Race, The Race Tour, the Antarctica Cup
(round the bottom of the world) and now Edwards' newly launched events (The
Oryx Cup and the Qatar Sports Global Challenge). Even if the global market
for corporate sponsorship in offshore racing, be it for events or
campaigns, is growing it is not growing fast enough to sustain all of these
events and at best some will fall by the way side. At worst we will end up
with a number of half-baked events with only a handful of entries in each
which could kill the sport dead.

The survivors are likely to be those on sound financial ground and with
backing that will presumably take up a majority of the quoted 38 million
sponsorship, despite being new events with their organization having no
track record and their exact details far from finalized, the Oryx Cup and
the Qatar Sports Global Challenge must be considered among them, alongside
the Volvo Ocean Race.

Unless Bruno Peyron can play a few aces, Edwards' new fully funded events
could well prove fatal for The Race and The Race Tour. Both events are
organized by Peyron, the man responsible for pioneering the new generation
of maxi-multihulls and who already has a track record with the first
running of The Race in 2001. - Full story: www.thedailysail.com

TRULY A VERY BIG DEAL - AND GETTING BIGGER
There are now 82 skippers entered in the Transat Jacques Vabre - a
double-handed Trans Atlantic Race from Le Havre, France to Salvador de
Bahia in Brazil for Open 50s and Open 60s monohulls, plus Open 60s
multihulls. The teams represent 12 countries: France: England, Australia,
Belgium, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand,
Switzerland.

This tenth anniversary edition of the race holds all the records for
participation and in particular the record for the number of international
skippers. Starting from humble beginnings with just 13 boats in 1993, and
now 10 years later boasting 41 in 2003, the Transat Jacques Vabre is
growing at pace as well as internationalizing. Within this unprecedented
fleet, a large number of skippers come from outside France. Birch,
Bourgnon, Golding, MacArthur, Ravussin, Soldini and Stamm are names as well
known in France as the French skippers themselves. Emma Richards, the only
female skipper of an Open 60 monohull 'Pindar', is delighted to be racing
for the third time in the Transat Jacques Vabre: "More sailors from abroad,
younger competitors and lots more women - it's fantastic!" She will be in
direct contention with one other female Brit, Sam Davies, co-skipper on
'Team Cowes'.

"The growth of international entries and sponsors is important for all of
us, for the races themselves and the sport of sailing in general," stated
Emma Richards. Nationality is only relegated by the spirit of competition,
as every competitor, regardless of origin, will be racing against each other.

The starts for the Transat Jacques Vabre are on November 1 and 2. And they
have an English language website. - ISAF website, full story:
http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=5627
Event website: http://www.jacques-vabre.com/pages_uk/accueil_uk2003.htm

J/80 WORLDS
Fort Worth, Texas - Wind conditions were less than desirable at the
scheduled racing time this morning, so the RC postponed on shore to wait
for the breeze to fill in. Patchy winds lured several of the competitors
out for early practice and after the PRO went out in the chase boat to
scope out the situation, he reported breeze all over the lake and dropped
the AP at 1030 hours. Blue skies and sunshine combined with a steady
southerly breeze provided three good 1-hour races at 10-15 knots with only
minor adjustments to the course in between the races.

Pending several protests, unofficial results show Jay Lutz with 20 points,
taking over from yesterday's leader Scott Spurlin with 44 points. John
Kolius is tied with one of the Swedish competitors, Christer Faith-Ell at
45 points and Kerry Klinger has 46 points after a total of 6 races - Karen
Smith, Full story: http://oemsites.com/OEM/oem.cfm?event_id=7

Preliminary results:www.fwbc.com

CORRECTION
The entire Scuttlebutt staff would like to thank the hundreds of readers
who took the time to write in to tell us that we screwed up in 'Butt 1436 -
that Meg Gaillard races a Europe Dinghy (not an Optimist) and it's
'Operation Gold' that will provide some of the funding for her Olympic
campaign.

ANTARCTICA CUP
Antarctica Cup race organizers announced the confirmation of the New
Zealand entry for the race to be held in 2005. The New Zealand national
team includes many of the world's foremost experienced ocean racers and
will take up the exclusive Country Franchise Owner rights allocated to New
Zealand for the race. Core team members include Stu Bannatyne (Illbrook -
Watch Captain), Steve Cotton (News Corp - Watch Captain), Carl Whiting
(Team New Zealand), Ray Davies (Illbrook), David Endean (Tyco), Rodney
Keenan (SEB), David Munday (Dolphin & Youth), Ian Darby (Morning Glory,
Merit Cup), Jamie Gale (Illbruck and Oracle Racing) as the team consultant
and Nick Crabtree (NZL 20) as the team manager.

"We now have our team from Australia and a very strong team from New
Zealand," said Antarctica Cup Chairman Bob Williams. "We have a race! We
are right behind both teams to get them to the start line of our 100 day
Antarctica Cup race regatta commencing in January 2005. The challenge now
rests with teams from the northern hemisphere to compete in this great
event." - www.antarcticacup.com

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THE BIG SHOW
Hamilton, Bermuda - A once-in-a-lifetime competition is set for October
18-26 when the greatest America's Cup skippers will gather in Bermuda for
the Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
Russell Coutts, Dean Barker, Peter Gilmour, Peter Holmberg, Dennis Conner
and Chris Dickson are among the invited skippers and will be joined by
Danish sensations Jes Gram-Hansen and defending champion Jesper Radich.
Sailing takes place in International One Design class sloops on Hamilton
Harbour and will feature live on-the-water commentary by Peter Montgomery,
New Zealand's 'Voice of the America's Cup.' The second event on the
prestigious Swedish Match Tour, the King Edward VII Gold Cup will mark the
first time since New Zealand that these America's Cup skippers will face
each other in competition. - Media Pro Int'l, www.swedishmatchtour.com

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Shark Kahn
When asked what he was hoping to do for the next few years, 'Shark' Kahn
responded: - "More Melges sailing. Start the 49er. I'd like to train for an
Olympic campaign in eight years or maybe four years." - Full interview:
http://www.melges24.com/news/main.asp?news_id=245

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com)
(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 Chris Ericksen (Regarding ISAF President Paul Henderson's comments
in 'Butt 1435): While I embrace Henderson's efforts to talk to sailors and
the efforts of USAF and US Sailing to train race officers, the idea that
ISAF should mandate who will run a world or continental championship
regatta is absolutely wrong. It should be the class that decides where a
world or continental championship regatta will be held and who will run it,
not ISAF or Mr. Henderson.

There are probably hundreds of clubs competent to run world or continental
championship regattas for smaller classes; there are probably only dozens
that can run such a world or continental championship regatta for a major
class. If a class is not confident that a prospective host club is
competent, let it choose another host club or negotiate some other
race-management arrangement; having a third party require the host club to
import a PRO who may not know the class, probably does not know the local
waters and absolutely does not know the rest of the race-committee
personnel upon whom he or she must rely to run the regatta is insulting to
the classes and the host clubs.

Sailing is a sport made up of the sailors, by the sailors and for the
sailors, organized in classes and served for the benefit of the sailors and
classes by ISAF. It is not a sport made up by ISAF - that the sailors and
classes participate in for the benefit of ISAF. As an honored American once
said, "That government governs best that governs least."

* From Ray Wulff: What Mr. Henderson fails to recognize is that classes in
which the competitors work with the organizers (PRO, Jury, Shore side, etc)
do not have such a problem as he suggests. As an organizer of a World
Championship in 2004, I can honestly say working with an experienced PRO
who is familiar with our class, outweighs the requirement to have an ISAF
certified PRO. This "Nationalistic Focus" you speak of may be prevalent in
the Olympic classes, however I don't see this as a hot topic of contention
in our world. What's next? Shall we dictate that the class measurers be
ISAF certified? Pin Boat Driver? OCS Caller? The Olympic classes are your
sandbox, but please stay out of ours.

* From John Hele: Paul Henderson's comment was timely in that this was also
heard at the recent International 14 World Championships in Japan. For all
the cost the class and host authority spend on judges and press personnel,
adding a top PRO is a minimal addition, and makes a great deal of sense,
especially for high performance boats.

* From Gail Turluck (re Paul Henderson's comments): It's all fine and well
to have those few well trained and respected individuals who serve for the
top of each of the Olympic classes. But this begs the question - who will
the next ones be? Down in the one-design trenches there simply aren't
enough trained judges of any certification or knowledge. I know from trying
to get certified Judges for many events.

A clear program of training, practice and qualification, needs to be
established. Many will howl that US Sailing, ISAF and other MNA's have such
training in place. It's there, but only at the premiere level. With the
quantity of regattas and races I've been to, trust me when I write that the
system that was in place when I was a junior (get three other racers from
the fleet who didn't see the incident) simply doesn't get applied any more.
Today, sailors are reluctant to serve on a jury. How can we change this?

* From Donal McClement, Cork, Ireland: Further to President Paul
Henderson's comments on PRO's for Major Events I would have to take some
issue with him. There a very large number of hugely competent Race Officers
who have never got involved in a regulated scheme and indeed have no wish
to be so involved.

Several MNA's have their own schemes running and surely a National RO will
be of a standard that should be sufficent for most events. In my experience
there are quite a few IRO's who cannot cut the mustard and again I would
stress that there are many who do not wish to upgrade.

* From David Sprague, President, Canadian Yachting Association (Re Jeff
Boland comments in 1436): Canada had an IRO seminar 3 weeks ago in Toronto,
Canada where there were about 20 officials trained (including one from the
US). Additionally there will be an IJ seminar in the spring of 2004 in
Canada as well. This too, will be open to North Americans not just Canadian
Officials.

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Any and all compliments can be handled by simply saying "Thank you", though
it helps if you say it with a Southern accent.