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SCUTTLEBUTT 1451 - November 5, 2003

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ELLEN MACARTHUR
Ellen MacArthur, aged just 27, is now the senior figure in the world of
shorthanded sailing. Such has been the impact the tiny colossus since her
first solo race in The 1997 Mini-Transat Race. To many she is still the
schoolgirl who saved her dinner money to buy her first yacht, or the
heart-on-her-sleeve woman who found fame thrust upon her during
Kingfisher's runner-up result in the 2000/1 Vendee Globe non-stop round the
world race four years ago. Yet consider what she has done since 1997. She
raced in Route du Rhum with Yves Parlier and also in two previous Transat
Jacques Vabres with Alain Gautier, each man a legend in French ocean racing.

In addition she tackled the Jules Verne record for the fastest
circumnavigation which ended in a dismasting, raced for three years on the
ORMA grand prix circuit for 60ft multihulls with Gautier as well as
expanding her business owned with Mark Turner into the Offshore Challenges
Sailing Team which manages Aussie Nick Maloney and fast-rising British
woman Sam Davies.

More recently, she took over the famous OSTAR solo transatlantic from
Plymouth's Royal Western YC which she and Turner are revamping for next
year. And, finally, under construction in Sydney is a new 75ft trimaran in
which MacArthur will have a crack at the solo transatlantic and
circumnavigation records next year. "It is bizarre. I can't describe it
clearly," admits MacArthur. "But I feel that I have lived 20 years in five.
Yet other times, I feel like it was all yesterday."

MacArthur's own chances among the 17 60ft trimarans (that start today in
the Transat Jacques Vabres) have been compromised by what happened earlier
this year in May. Foncia capsized when rudder problems led to a sudden loss
of steering when she and Gautier were racing in the Cherbourg to Rimini
Challenge Mondiale Assistance race. The capsize was the first time
MacArthur had required assistance at sea. - Tim Jeffery, Telegraph, full
story: http://tinyurl.com/tnvb

TRIVIA QUESTION
Alinghi's victory in the 2003 America's Cup was not the first time a new
challenger had won the Auld Mug. Who preceded the Swiss in this feat?
(Answer below)

TROUBLE IN THE WIND
The decision last week to postpone the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre
for the 60ft trimaran fleet (from last Sunday to today) given forecasts of
50-knot winds posed serious questions about the hardiness of this
increasingly light and powerful fleet. Foremost in the minds of organisers
and crews was the scourging experience of last year's Route du Rhum, in
which five trimarans capsized and seven suffered serious structural damage.
One of these, Loïck Peyron's Fujifilm, broke into pieces and was destroyed.

After being salvaged, similar types of failures were found. Designs by
Nigel Irens and the team of Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prévost
both suffered, albeit in different areas. In the year since, the reasons
have been investigated and these trimarans have been modified and
strengthened.

Nigel Irens talked to Yachting World's Elaine Bunting about the work done,
the changes that are being made to temper development in this class, and
about why - and how - the race programme should be changed to harden the
class for offshore racing. "At the end of the Rhum everyone felt the need
to put their heads together. The designers had a couple of meetings in
which everyone put their cards on the table, which was a healthy sign,"
Irens says.

"Last year there was a bulge in new boats being built and a wholesale move
towards building in pre-preg carbon and Nomex core. Everybody had drifted
towards this technology and although the stuff's been around for a long
time, what went wrong was the result of that. There may be a big learning
curve now underway and it may be that some people won't use these materials
again. We certainly haven't used them on Ellen's boat (her new 75ft
trimaran, currently building in Australia). We've gone back to more
traditional core material.

"Basically, what it's all about is the materials have very adequate static
strength and there's no problem in terms of sheer pressure head. But in
reality what's appears to be happening is that there is not enough capacity
to absorb the loads that the skin sees." What made it all the more
catastrophic, says Irens, is that failure of this type of structure spreads
very quickly. "It's a very localised sort of wave impact or slap that
causes the damage. But because the material is very rigid, the rate of
propagation of damage is very fast." - Elaine Bunting, Yachting World, full
story: http://www.yachting-world.com/auto/newsdesk/20031004130431ywnews.html

OUCH! WHO PUT THAT *#!!* WINCH THERE?
Lines and travelers and blocks, oh my! Are your sheets laughing at you? Do
your winches think you're a power boater? Are your lines strangling you in
a web of confusion? Have you shrink-wrapped your bowman to the deck with
the chute executing a ghastly jibe? If so, tack over to Harken's Tech
Corner for a matrix of technical sailing information. Download a winch
diagram to unscramble those parts now scattered in a box. Buy a Competitive
Boathandling video to fix those jibes before your crew ties you to the
mast. See you at Harken's Tech Corner. Harken - Innovative Sailing
Solutions. - http://www.harken.com/scuttlebutt/techcorner.php

OLYMPIC PREVIEW - Skip Whyte
The calendar says November 4th so the Olympic Trials must be about to
begin. The first race is only 4 days away on November 8th and that date has
been boldly etched in the brain of every competitor for the last two years.
The anticipation is building for all.

It has been just over a month since the end of the Worlds in Rota, Spain.
The boats were shipped the day after the last race and arrived at Houston
Yacht Club after a few obligatory logistical dramas on October 21st. All of
the top teams have been here since mid October training almost every day,
spending countless hours massaging their boats into top form, and
sharpening their focus for the event that everyone knows they must win. The
pressure tends to build up in these situations, but this group is looking
like a bunch of pretty cool customers.

Four of the top teams, two men and two women, have imported top European
teams as training partners. The addition of these four teams has elevated
the game considerably and added a bit more to the general excitement of the
event. Typical training days feature several training alliances working
independently, but in close proximity, with some combined interchanges
thrown in to keep the juices flowing. The Lasers, whose Trials are
concurrent with the 470s, are here with their own collection of
international sparring partners, private coaches, etc. There is quite a lot
going on that doesn't show up in Scuttlebutt!

Typically the men and women sail in a combined fleet in domestic events
because our fleet is small, but the Trials are an exception, so the men and
women will sail in separate fleets. Barring last minute entries, there will
be six women's and seven men's teams. With a wide open race course speed is
huge, but strategic decision making is just as important. All of the boats
in both fleets are capable of winning races, so match racing won't be a
viable strategy in the early stages of the event. Inevitably there will be
very close situations at most marks despite the small fleet, putting a big
premium on boat handling skills. Every point added to the score will seem
like 10 in a normal event. Here is an unofficial listing of the competitors
expected for the Trials:

Women-
Katie McDowell / Isabelle Kinsolving
Erin Maxwell / Jen Morgan
Amanda Clark / Sarah Mergenthaler
Courtenay Dey / Linda Wennerstrom
Allison Jolly / Susie Reishmann
Molly O'Bryan / Annelise Moore

Men-
Paul Foerster / Kevin Burnham
Steve Hunt / Eben Russell
Mark Ivey / Howard Cromwell
Tom Hall / Jonathan Farrar
Stu McNay / Arthur Kinsolving
Mikee Anderson / Graham Biehl
David Dabney / Brock Schmidt

Complete report and photos:
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/03/1104whyte

THRILLING PHOTOS
The judges for the 1st Annual Scuttlebutt Photo Contest are in big trouble
based on the quality of pictures that are posted right now on the
Scuttlebutt website. The contest, provided by Kaenon Polarized eyewear, is
accepting entries until November 14, 2003. For contest information, or to
take a look at the current submissions:
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/03/contest/gallery

AMERICA'S CUP
* The Oracle BMW boats, USA-71 and 76, arrived at the Viaduct Basin from
San Francisco yesterday (Monday). Russell Green, commenting on the reasons
for remaining in Auckland, stated "Nearly all the team are Kiwi so we're
living here; the infrastructure is here and the Hauraki Gulf is a great
place to sail …" Oracle BMW will re-commence training in the New Year with
two boat testing and crew training through February and March. For the
syndicate to remain in Auckland beyond June 2004 depends on where the
America's Cup and schedule of pre-regattas are to be held. -
http://www.cupineurope.com

* Poland's Karol Jablonski confirmed that he had just signed up to skipper
Italian's Toscana Challenge. According to the Polish match racer, a €90
million budget is provided by four title sponsors and several Toscan
companies which each paid 100,000 euros. More, Karol Jablonski confirmed
his new team had bought the two former Conner's Stars & Stripes and is in
discussion with Terry Hutchinson and renowned designers Reichel/Pugh. -
http://www.cupineurope.com

* A short-list of four cities has been drawn up, but rumours abound
Valencia (Spain) will be announced as the successful host in three weeks.
Commentator Peter Montgomery says it comes down to two, most likely
Valencia but also possibly Lisbon in Portugal. But he says Lisbon has been
affected by fishing protests and Valencia appears to have the most cash.
P.J. Montgomery says the King of Spain is also involved in the Valencia
bid, which appears to have pushed the Cup to a new level. - NZCity,
http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/default.asp?id=36771&cat=977

NEWS BRIEFS
* Annapolis, MD - Dame Blanche a Beneteau 40.7 owned and skippered by
Othmar Blumencron, Alexandria, VA, dominated IMS Class 2 to win the 2003
IMS Mid-Atlantic Overall trophy last weekend. In doing so, Dame Blanche
finished one point ahead of Class 1 winner, Talisman, a Farr 53 owned and
helmed by Marco Birch, with Terry Hutchinson calling tactics. A very
competitive 23 boat fleet sailed in conditions more reminiscent of summer
than early fall. Light winds of 4-6 knots limited the event to four races
rather than the hoped-for seven race series. Complete results at
http://www.stormtrysail.org

* Challenge Business announced Tuesday that it is selling its ocean rowing
races to Woodvale Events Ltd, the current title sponsor for its latest
Atlantic Rowing Race. The Company's current portfolio of ocean rowing races
includes the Atlantic Rowing Race for pairs and the Ocean Fours Rowing
Challenge, a race for teams of four. The Atlantic Rowing Race currently has
15 teams making their way across the 2,900-mile route from La Gomera,
Canary Islands to Barbados, West Indies in the third edition of this unique
event. Challenge Business's decision now will allow them to focus all their
attention to their sailing events. - IBI News, http://tinyurl.com/tnno

* France's Raphaela Le Gouvello arrived in Tahiti Monday after windsurfing
5,000 miles for 89 days across the Pacific Ocean. Le Gouvello set off on
her adventure at the beginning of August, leaving the Peruvian capital,
Lima, on a specially built surfboard, which allowed her to eat and sleep in
special watertight compartments. A back-up vessel did track her progress,
but was not allowed to come within 600 feet for the voyage to qualify as a
solo achievement. She has previously windsurfed across the Atlantic and the
Mediterranean. - http://www.raphaela-legouvello.com

SHARK ATTACK ON SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Congratulations to Shark Kahn and crew of Team Pegasus for winning the
Melges 24 World Championships. At J Fest, Ullman Sails customers continued
their domination: J/105 class- 21 competitive teams and Ullman Sails
customers sailed away with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th places finishes; J/120
class- 2nd, & 3rd; PHRF B- 1st and 2nd. At the Dana Point Harbor
Championships: 1st overall- Henderson 30 "Power Point," powered by full
inventory of Ullman Sails. If you and your crew are ready for the "Fastest
Sails on the Planet" call your local Ullman Sails loft or visit us at
http://www.ullmansails.com

TRIVIA ANSWER
While the Swiss team's victory was significant as it was their very first
attempt at America's Cup racing, the US holds the title of being the
first-ever first-time challenger to win the cup. Stars & Stripes' victory
over Kookabura III in 1987 was the first time the US had ever been a
challenger in the event (except perhaps for that August day in 1851).


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 Dean Hubbard: The latest carnage in the latest French transatlantic
race shows that it's time for a new race rule: In the event of a start
during boat breaking weather, a "trial horse" boat sailed exclusively by
race officials shall be sailed into said questionable weather. If the
officials survive the subsequent twelve hours the race shall start on time.
If, however, any race official happens to be inadvertently sacrificed to
King Neptune, the race start shall be postponed until weather improves or
until no more race officials are left to sacrifice.

* From Pete Sherwood: I disagree completely with Rich Roberts' comments
about the Etchell ranking system. Firstly, to suggest that anyone on the
top twenty of that list is a "no name" is downright offensive. The Etchell
is arguably the most competitive one design class in the world. The
association has worked hard on setting limits on crew weight and
expenditure on sails to keep the class open to as many competitors as
possible. Almost anyone can sail an Etchell and be on level terms with the
biggest names in sailing.

Yes, it is a fact the Ken Read won the last world championship in a very
convincing fashion. Does that make him the greatest Etchell sailor in the
world? Of course not! One good regatta does not mean you are the best. If
you look at ranking systems in other sports, you would see very similar
patterns. Rankings are designed to highlight the best people in the sport,
not just someone who had a good weekend. Ask any tennis player or golfer.
Winning a tournament is a piece of cake compared to getting the number 1
spot. If Ken Read wants the #1 spot then he can earn it like anyone else.
I'm sure the majority of competitors out there take rankings very seriously
because they are an un-biased mathematical formulae. Perhaps Mr. Roberts
would like to explain why readers should take his comments seriously?

* From Jon Alvord: Rich Roberts said, " 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?" Maybe they are better than Ken Read! They at least have taken
the time, effort, and cost to compete in more than just one event in this
class! Not everyone can compete at the worlds, for a multitude of reasons,
like $$$, time, etc. Now, if he did participate in more than one event he
could have proven that his win was not a fluke, but he didn't. On the other
hand, those 326 who are ranked higher should hold their head high knowing
that just very well may be better than him.

* From Jim O'Meara: Good point about the pyrotechnic signal flares burning
up California. A safe and effective option is the Rescue Laser Flare
(http://www.greatlandlaser.com). It is good news to any sailor in a pinch
on land or sea.

CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?