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SCUTTLEBUTT 1448 - October 31, 2003

Powered by SAIC (, an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
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Following a nine-month bid process that has seen candidates vying to host
the 32nd America's Cup, the identity of a South European city will be made
public on Wednesday 26th November 2003.

The four remaining candidates, Lisbon (POR), Marseille (FRA), Naples (ITA)
and Valencia (ESP) are each in the final stages of contractual negotiation
with AC Management, the organizing authority of the next America's Cup.
Details of the host city announcement ceremony to be held in Geneva will be
announced in due course.

Australia's biggest-ever ocean racing yacht will be launched by John
Bertrand at the Mornington Yacht Club in Victoria on Friday, 31 October at
10.30 AM. The new super-maxi is owned and skippered by Grant Wharington of
Wild Thing Yachting. At 30 metres in length (98 feet), it lays claim to
being the largest yacht permitted under the CYCA's regulations for the
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.

"After much discussion and research, we decided to go with an all Victorian
team," explained Wharington. "We appointed Don Jones as our chief designer
and he worked with our boat builder, Mal Hart. These two have previously
worked together on many successful projects and their being just minutes
away from each other in Mornington has really facilitated our design and
building process."

A veteran of 15 Sydney to Hobart races, Wharington is seeking line honours
in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race this year, building on his previous
campaigns in 2002 (4th), 2000 (2nd) and 1999 (3rd). The launch will
coincide with the announcement of the super-maxi's principal sponsor,
Skandia - a leading international long-term savings company, and for next
season the super-maxi will be known as 'Skandia'.

The new super-maxi will compete in a number of races including: the Canon
Big Boat Challenge; British Trophy Series, Skandia Geelong Week, Adelaide
to Port Lincoln and Sydney to Mooloolaba, as well as the highly prized
Rolex Sydney to Hobart. -

Over the summer there were strong rumours about Ainslie signing for GBR
Challenge and Ainslie agrees that he would love to sail with a successful
British challenge, but with the emphasis on the word 'successful'. "That's
foremost in my future ambitions, but there is no point in doing something
if you have not got the tools to win. So I'm not going to get involved with
something if it is not realistically going to be competitive. I really hope
GBR gets the money. Obviously Peter Harrison is in a tricky position. He is
passionate about the Cup but he needs support and hopefully someone will
step in and support him."

Ainslie says he would certainly consider signing with GBR Challenge if the
right pieces were to fall into place, but the clock is ticking..."Alinghi
and Oracle are already on the road. It is almost too late already. A lot of
the top players are getting taken off the market, so it is quite an
interesting time at the moment."

* Ainslie says he would like to helm, "but then so do 150 other people. But
I think that is where my talents lie and that is what I'd like to do in the
future." - Excerpts from a long story on the Daily Sail website, full

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Organisers of the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to
Salvador, Brazil, are considering whether to postpone the start for
multihulls on Sunday, in view of a forecast of headwinds of 30 knots ahead
of a deep low of 960mb. Race director Gérard Petipas has intimated that he
will start the monohulls as planned on Saturday in more moderate winds, but
may delay the multihull start scheduled for the following day.

Petipas treads a fine line. He is said to be reluctant to postpone the
start, thus setting a precedent that suggests the ORMA 60 trimarans are not
fit for their purpose. At the same time, he is sharply mindful of the
disastrous Route du Rhum last year, when the biggest, newest and most
expensive fleet in the class's history was decimated by a Biscay storm
which caused five capsizes and seven retirements as a result of structural
damage. Loïck Peyron's Fujifilm was pummeled to flotsam and a major portion
of the fleet was put out of action for months.

A possible delay has re-opened a debate about the development of ever more
powerful, but also more friable trimarans, as well as about the rigid
scheduling of the single-handed and double-handed transatlantic races in
November, when the odds of seeing Biscay at its meanest are inescapably
high. - Elaine Bunting, Yachting World website, full story:

Event website:

St. Petersburg YC - Winds were NE all day and shifty, for this ISAF Grade 1
women's match racing event. Wind velocity ranged from 8 to 14 knots,
starting the day at the upper end of the range, diminishing during the late
morning and freshening to 12 knots late in the afternoon. It was sunny and
warm (upper 80s). The RC ran 8 of the 9 flights that make up the first
round robin. After eight flights, everyone except Carol Cronin (USA) has
had her bye. Hannah Swett (USA) is undefeated, and has yet to race only
Giulia Conti (ITA).

- Hanna Swett, 7
- Claire LeRoy, 5
- Christine Briand, 5
- Carol Cronin, 4
- Sally Barkow, 3
- Deborah Willits, 3
- Giulia Conti, 2
- Rachel Silverstein, 2

* A steady stream of yachts crossed the Rolex Middle Sea Race finish line
in Malta Thursday. Thirty eight boats have now completed the 607-mile
course and although overall honours in the IRC Class was sewn up by Nokia
two days ago, second place overall on the podium has now been taken by the
Italian boat Squalo Bianco. Concetto Costa's Beneteau 40.7 Squalo Bianco
has also collected IMS and IRM honours and IRC Class B overall honours. -

* US Sailing has awarded its Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to Benjamin
Richardson (Gloucester, MA) for rescuing a fellow competitor whose boat
capsized in rough waters and for attempting to remove a navigational
hazard. -

2003 SCUTTLEBUTT PHOTO CONTEST (provided by Kaenon Polarized)
Any epic moments find their way to your camera in 2003? Scuttlebutt is
having its 1st Annual Photo Contest to seek out all the great photos that
truly communicate the thrill of sailing to the viewer. If you photographed
a sailing scene that was the most spectacular, the most dramatic, the most
horrific moment captured, we want to see it (and so does the Scuttlebutt

Deadline for submitting photos is November 14, 2003. Judges will screen all
entries, delete those we felt didn't qualify, and post the pictures that we
felt were special. All photographers will be credited, and the best will be
rewarded (read: Kaenon Polarized eyewear). Entry information at:

A win at last week's Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII
Gold Cup in Bermuda has elevated Australian Peter Gilmour of the Pizza-La
Sailing Team to the lead on the Swedish Match Tour 2003/2004 Rankings. The
25 points Gilmour picked up in Bermuda, coupled with the 15 points he
earned for his third place finish at August's Danish Open 2003, moved the
four-time America's Cup veteran into first place on the world's premier
professional sailing series rankings. It is the first time since the
conclusion of the third event on the inaugural Swedish Match Tour, the ACI
HT Mobile Cup in May 2000, that Gilmour has been on top.

In second place is the reigning Swedish Match Tour champion, Jesper Radich
of Denmark. Radich began Swedish Match Tour 2003/2004 with a fourth place
finish in Denmark, losing to Gilmour in the petit finals sail-off, and then
defeating New Zealand's Dean Barker of the Omega Match Racing Team in the
sail-offs in Bermuda.

Sweden's Magnus Holmberg of Team Continental Airlines is in third place
courtesy of his win in Denmark. Holmberg was an unseeded skipper in Bermuda
and failed to advance out of the qualifying round, resulting in no points
being added to his ranking. - Shawn McBride,

Current Swedish Match Tour 2003/2004 Rankings
1. Peter Gilmour, AUS/Pizza-La Sailing Team, 40
2. Jesper Radich, DEN/Team Radich, 27
3. Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team Continental Airline, 25
4. Jesper Bank, Denmark, 20
4. Chris Dickson, Oracle BMW Racing Team, 20
6. Dean Barker, NZ/Omega Match Racing Team, 12
7. Russell Coutts, Alinghi Team, 10
7. Kelvin Harrap, New Zealand, 10

Organizers of the Nippon Cup have announced the skippers who will contest
the third match of 2003-2004 Swedish Match Tour in Japan, from November 17-23:
- Gavin Brady
- Magnus Holmberg
- Peter Gilmour
- Dean Barker
- Andy Green
- Paolo Cian
- Luc Pillot
- Jesper Radich
- Staffan Lindberg
- Eiichiro Hamazaki
- Takao Ninomiya
- Yasutaka Funazawa.

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Day four of the ISAF Multihull Evaluation Event, started with lights winds
and rain, but with a repeat performance of yesterday, the wind increased to
30 knots this afternoon.

This morning's first speed test saw 18 knots of breeze from the south, and
a chop of .5 metre, producing very different conditions in the Bay of
Quiberon compared to yesterday. . The Hobie 16 original again showed its
upwind pace, and with a higher platform (trapeze) performed through the
waves a bit better. However, it was once again the Stream that showed good
upwind speed, but with continual pressure from the KL Booster and the Hobie

The downwind leg made for a very exciting ride in which a couple of boats
managed to capsize, though were righted. In the stronger conditions, the
Hobie 16 original showed that it could keep up with its more modern cousins
and did not lose as much ground as in the previous days' light-medium wind

The first race was started in 20 knots of wind, with gusts up to 24 knots
in the rain squalls. The Stream and Hobie Max were again leading the pack,
with the SL 15.5 showing improved performance in the heavier breezes. It
should be noted that the SL 15.5 is the smaller version of the SL 16, which
it is often ahead of! At the top mark it was the Stream followed by the
Hobie Max and then the Hobie 16 original.

Downwind was again an exciting ride with the Stream continuing to pull
ahead with the Booster and the SL 16 both performing well. At the end of
the second lap the Stream had sailed into a two-minute lead with the Hobie
Max second.

The downwind leg made for a very exciting ride in which a couple of boats
managed to capsize, though were righted. In the stronger conditions, the
Hobie 16 original showed that it could keep up with its more modern cousins
and did not lose as much ground as in the previous days' light-medium wind

The crews were then rotated for the second race, which started in similar
conditions. This saw the Nacra Blast showing some excellent upwind speed in
the heavier conditions, and coming to the top mark third behind the KL
Booster and the Hobie 16 original. The race was however abandoned after
gear damage to four of the boats. Respecting the increasing wind, all
testing was abandoned for the day, with the sailors able to free-sail the
boats. Weather permitting, tomorrow sees two final speed tests and two more

The Evaluation Panel has taken every opportunity to talk to the crews to
gain an insight into each boat. All crews have completed a questionnaire
after sailing each boat so that a complete analysis of each competitor's
feedback on each boat can be reached. -

US Sailing has announced the list of skippers who will participate in the
U.S. Offshore Championship for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy. The event will
take place from Friday, October 31 through Sunday, November 2 at the U.S.
Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. The participating skippers for this year's
events are: Warren Hudson (Chestnut Hill, MA), Bruce Kuryla (Milford, CT),
Leonard Sitar (Holmdel, NJ), Steve Murray (New Orleans, LA), Tim Molony
(Metairie, LA), Hank Stuart (Rochester, NY), Matt Dubois (Grosse Ile, MI),
James Hightower (Temle, TX), Thomas Wheatley (Seal Beach, CA), and Lindy
Thomas (Glenview, IL). An eleventh team representing the U.S. Naval Academy
and skippered by Midshipman Kris von Krueger (Baton Rouge, LA), will also
compete. In addition, each participating team will have a Midshipman on
board as part of the boat's crew.

The U.S. Offshore Championship is a fleet racing competition in offshore
keelboats on closed courses plus one long-distance race. Since 1994, racing
for this championship has alternated between the U.S. Naval Academy in Navy
44s and Long Beach Yacht Club, CA, in Catalina 37s. -

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 Rich Roberts: According to the rankings on the Etchells Web site,
Ken Read, the world champion, is 327th (out of 661). That's because he
sailed and thus collected ranking points in only one event -- the worlds.
Dennis Conner, who is ranked second, sailed 13, but several no-names who
sailed as many as 17 also are ranked in the top 20. Unfortunately, this is
typical of sailing's ranking systems. Why should they be taken seriously
when they're based less on results than just showing up, leaving us with
absurdities like 326 other men and women are better Etchells sailors than
Ken Read?

A procrastinator's work is never done.