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SCUTTLEBUTT 1460 - November 18, 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.

Finally! After years of debate including an excellent thread or two in
Scuttlebutt, the drop race is being dropped from Olympic scoring. One can't
blame Ben Ainsle and others for being a bit upset when the decision was
taken less than a year before the next Games. Nor can one understand why
the sole justification given for the decision was "to make the sport more
understandable and exciting for the media" (by simplifying scoring and
assuring that the last race always counts). While important, forget for a
moment about the media -- it improves the regatta for the competitors as a

+ OCS (premature starter / general recall) problems will all but end as
sailors become much less willing to risk being over early, and those who
are OCS will for for sure return to re-start which clears the first leg for
those who started properly;

+ the leader can no longer use a throw-out race to "match race the
nearest competitor into the tank;"

+ competitors will take even better care of their equipment, and be more
resourceful in fixing on-course breakdowns; and

+ rules compliance in general will improve -- after a foul competitors
will more likely take a 720, and be less likely to make the risky move to
begin with.

As to DNF's resulting from a clear failure of supplied equipment through no
fault of the competitor, they will be able to obtain redress from the jury
same as with any other prejudicial act or omission of the organizing
authority or race committee.

In the "old days" when the Olympic regatta was 7 races and had no 720, a
throw-out made some sense. But with 11 races and a 720 in effect, it does
not. Congrats to ISAF for taking the hard decision, albeit a bit late, and
following the lead of the Farr 40 and other major classes which,
increasingly, are throwing out the throw out. Good riddance. - Tom Ehman
(Olympic judge, 1992 and 1996)

The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) announced the first two entries in the Rolex
Transatlantic Challenge 2005. The race, for the world's largest monohull
yachts, is to start off New York on May 21, 2005. The entries are from very
different ends of the spectrum: the brand-new but already record-breaking
Mari-Cha IV and the venerable but transatlantic-race-winning Sumurun. Both
yachts will be looking to break the 100-year-old transatlantic-race record
of Atlantic, skippered by the legendary Charlie Barr. In 1905 the 185-foot
(56.4m) Atlantic raced from New York to the Lizard in England in 12 days,
four hours, one minute and 19 seconds. That is the oldest race record in

Last month, the 140-foot (42.7m) carbon-fiber canting-keel Mari-Cha IV,
skippered by Robert Miller, of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, set the
west-to-east transatlantic passage record in six days, 17 hours, 52 minutes
and 39 seconds. During this record-breaking crossing, Robert Miller and his
crew also shattered the 24-hour distance record by sailing 525.7 nautical

Sumurun is skippered by A. Robert Towbin, chair of the NYYC's Rolex
Transatlantic Challenge Committee. In 1997, his 94-foot (28.7m) Fife
design, built in 1914, won the Classic Division in the Atlantic Challenge
Cup, this race's predecessor. Also expected to compete are the 257-foot
(78.3m) Stad Amsterdam, chartered by the Storm Trysail Club, and several of
the new Volvo 70s.

The Rolex Transatlantic Challenge is for monohull yachts 70 feet (21.34m)
length on deck or greater. There is no maximum size. The race is sponsored
by Rolex and hosted by the New York Yacht Club with the cooperation of
England's Royal Yacht Squadron. There will be at least three divisions:
Classic, Performance Cruising and Grand Prix. Yachts will race for elapsed
time, as well as handicap prizes. The classics will race under the NYYC
Cruising Rule; the Performance Cruising and Grand Prix yachts will race
under Americap II or IRC. The race is registered with the World Sailing
Speed Record Council, part of ISAF, in case the record of Atlantic is
broken. The deadline for entries is January 21, 2005. - Media Pro Int'l,

In addition to the Ultimate Sailing Calendar, there are new t-shirt designs
featuring Sharon Green photographs. Available in S, M, L, XL and XXL. For
details about these and our other Ultimate Sailing products, check out

Farr Yacht Design has begun research and development for the next Volvo
Ocean Race and the new Volvo Open 70 in advance of any confirmed design
commissions. They started their research this past August when they
commissioned weather studies, began rule review, developed base designs,
race modeling, and other preparatory work.

During the month of December Farr Yacht Design will be testing one-third
size scale models of their next generation Volvo Ocean Race designs
including a wide variety of appendage configurations. It's Farr's goal that
any team desiring and early start can be building by April of 2004 or
sooner given builder availability, which will give the team the time on the
water they need to develop, test, train, and make changes. -

* Past Farr 40 world champion Jim Richardson and his Barking Mad team lead
the round robin of the Rolex Farr 40 Match Race Regatta where six
international teams are competing as a warm-up to the Rolex Farr One Design
Invitational. Richardson has 5 wins, 1 loss, with Massimo Mezzaroma and
Antonio Sodo Migliori and the Nerone team also with 5-1, but in second
overall as their one loss was to Barking Mad. Others: Peter Stoneberg, 3-3;
Peter de Ridder, 2-4; Erik Maris, 2-4; Steve Phillips, 1-5.

* American Adventurer Steve Fossett teamed with Terry Delore (NZL) to
exploit the mountain wave in the lee of the Andes range and establish a new
glider world record for Out and Return Distance of 2002.44 Kilometers -
adding nearly 300 Kms to the previous mark. In total the team captured a
total of three world records. They also established a new 'Out and Return
Distance to a Pre-declared Goal' Record at 1804.7 Km - plus a new Speed
Record for 1500 Km (avg speed of 156.61 Km/h). All records are subject to
Fédération Aéronautique Internationale ratification. -

* 192 - That's how many pictures qualified for the 1st Annual Scuttlebutt
Photo Contest, provided by Kaenon Polarized eyewear. The judges are
currently determining the winners, but we think they are all outstanding.
As we hunker down for the winter, we hope viewing these images help to keep
you excited about the sport of sailing until spring:

* A broken mast scuppered Tracy Edwards's first bid to break the record
time for sailing around the world non-stop. Now the demands of motherhood
could mean she has to put plans for a second attempt on hold. Edwards has
yet to decide whether to join her 16-strong crew for another crack at the
record in January 2004. Why? The single mother is worried about being away
from her four-year-old daughter Mackenna. "I really want to break this
record," Edwards said in an interview this week. "It's unfinished business
for me." - Reuters, UK, full story:

* US Sailing has awarded its Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal to the crew of
the container ship CSX Discovery for saving the lives of four sailors and a
dog racing in the Bahamas 500 cruising rally from Beaufort, NC, to the
Bahamas. The incident occurred on November 17, 2002, when David Hope,
skipper of the Hunter 376 Summer Heat, and his crew encountered 50-knot
winds and 20-foot seas. The boats was dismasted, causing the rigging to
wrap around the propeller. The 700-foot container ship, CSX Discovery
responded to a mayday call from Summer Heat.

It was at 0518hrs GMT 5s (0218hrs local time) that the brand new Farr Open
60 Virbac, skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick and Nicolas Abiven, ghosted across
the finish line in the darkness of the Brazilian night to take a convincing
victory in their first ever major oceanic yacht race. Out of 13 boats still
racing, and 17 starters in the international Transat Jacques Vabre Open 60
Monohull class, it was Virbac who came in 72 miles ahead of their nearest
rival Sill (Jourdain/Thomson) and covered the 4340m theoretical route in 16
days, 15 hours, 18 minutes and 5 seconds at an average theoretical speed of
10.87 knots.

At the 0500GMT update Sill was just 2 miles ahead of Ecover sailed by Mike
Golding & Brian Thompson, and they are navigating in sight of each other
now. -

When you start getting your gear together for a regatta, the first thing on
your mind will be your Camet Padded sailing shorts. You may already own
some, but now is the time to get on the Camet website to see all their
different models and colors. The Bermuda, Aruba, 3000, Cargo, and Women's
Ocean shorts are all made out of the fast drying breathable Supplex (UV
40+), with the Cordura seat patch to hold the foam pad that helps you get
through those long hours on the rail. Rash guards, Coolmax shirts, etc.
Check them out at

With over 35 measured Open 60s and 50s, IMOCA has become the world's
largest active offshore racing Class and the focus for many sponsors and
event organizers. Their continued focus on the trans-ocean and round the
world short-handed formats (solo and two-up), with additional, smaller
events focused at interaction with public, media and sponsors. A new format
for the non-oceanic races has also been confirmed, with event organizers
now invited to bid for slots in the programme in 2004/5.

IMOCA remains committed to managing both the Open 60 and Open 50 classes -
its aim is to continue to develop the fleet, assist the skippers, encourage
sponsorship, and provide a robust and powerful circuit giving confidence to
sailors and sponsors alike. The technical rule that governs how the boats
are built and designed, will remain stable through this coming 2004/5
Vendée Globe season, but will be reviewed for the following seasons.

IMOCA programme for 2004/5:

- Between April 15 - May 15, 2004: 1000 mile event - the new format for
short course racing for the Open 50s and 60s - this will be the first in
the series of events, crewed by 5 sailors plus one journalist/ sponsor/
guest, and starting and finishing in the same port. Pre-race and post-race
friendlies inshore to help the campaigns share their story and interact
with the public. This same format will repeat once or twice each year in
the future.

- May 31, 2004: The Transat (La Transat Anglaise) - established in 1960
as the OSTAR, this was the very solo ocean race, the one that started it
all! Plymouth to Boston. Open to 50s and 60s.

- Nov 7, 2004: Vendée Globe: solo non-stop around the planet.
- Spring. 2005: 1000 mile event
- Summer, 2005: Round Britain and Ireland Race
- Autumn, 2005: 1000 mile event
- November, 2005: Transat Jacques Vabre

Ernesto Bertarelli has split Alinghi in two, leaving Russell Coutts to head
the sailing team from their Lausanne offices, while his long-time associate
Michel Bonnefous heads the specially-created America's Cup Management in
Geneva. They are in charge of venue-selection and running the event.
Cleverly, ACM are continuing to discuss agreements with at least three of
four bid cities so as not to betray a choice probably already made. That
said, Valencia is the pick of several informed sources.

True to their aim, the Swiss intend the venue to be much more like an
Olympic venue than anything hitherto seen in the America's Cup. Expect
everything from a dedicated base and club for the likes of Ellison and
Bertarelli and their superyachts to on-site hotels. - Tim Jeffery, The
Daily Telegram, full story:

Brindabella, an 80' icon of Australian maxi yachting. Sydney Hobart line
honors and race record holder. Outstanding, all-around ocean racing yacht.
Brindabella's current configuration ensures she is equally at home around
the cans, blue water racing or sailing short-handed. For further details,
contact or see at

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: Bravo to ISAF for getting rid of the throwout race in
the Olympics. Because of the anti doping rules, there is probably a far
greater probability of having a regatta go sideways on a sailor should they
have a hay fever attack and not be able to take a simple over the counter
medicine to stop the sneezing than there is of losing as a result of
breaking down. Real sailors score all races, and sometimes luck plays a
bigger factor in the final outcome than some winners want to admit.

* From John Gardner (President of The Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association):
I wish to respond to Matt Baldwin's comments on photo 68; a photograph that
I took. I appreciate your compliment that it is awesome but I only consider
it to be a fortunate picture; fortunate on two counts, the least of which
is that I happened to capture a dramatic moment in time. I, our team, was
more fortunate in that our coach was acting quickly and professionally, at
some risk to himself, in extreme conditions, to attend to members of the
fleet (including a capsize).

He was delayed after helping a sailor who was experiencing difficulties
during training. Our sailors were in unfamiliar (cold) waters, in very high
winds and exceptionally sharp and tall seas. If you look carefully you will
notice that the boats are relatively far away; there was no risk of anyone
being landed on. To parents on the breakwater he was acting not
inappropriately particularly since he slowed down for his own safety
immediately after being surprised by the gust of wind that contributed to
this picture. Sometimes you just have to be there.

Curmudgeon's Comment: The photo in question is #68 on the Scuttlebutt Photo
Contest posting:

* From Roger Jolly: It's clear that sailing is not exclusively for the
rich. It's also clear why so many people think that it is. Take a look at
any sailing publication and all you see are mega yachts and Americas cup
boats. Yes, buried deep in the back there may be a short article about a
Lightning regatta but it's clearly billed as second rate. Looking at
Scuttlebutt 1458 I have to scroll past "Americas Cup Venue" ­ "Grand Prix
Rule" ­ "Tranat Jaques Vabre" before I get to an article about a boat that
I can afford to buy.

To make matters worse that article is about the US Olympic trials. Since
when is the US Olympic trials back page news? This is the top of the top,
the gauntlet that many of those well paid AC sailors only dream of making
it through, hell Paul Cayard has been trying to do it since 1984. So here's
our big chance, Olympic Sailing is the most competitive racing in the world
and most of us can afford to buy one of these boats. Sure actually doing an
Olympic campaign will cost a bit more, about as much as a Farr 40 sail
inventory. But at least you and I, or maybe our kids, can afford to go to
Nationals and race against these guys. The day we spend more of our media
attention on Olympic Sailing than we do on the Americas cup will be the day
sailing looses its rich guy image.

* From Leo Austin (Re sailing being a rich man's sport): To get things in
perspective, maybe some of the "rich man" view should visit any New Zealand
keel boat yacht club south of Auckland in New Zealand.

* From Bill Betts: Mr. Fletcher's admonishment last week to Gail
Turluck-"what part of 'sailing is a rich man's sport' don't you understand"
- seems to have offended a number of readers. I got a laugh out of it,
myself. Astute readers will recognize Gail as this year's recipient of
collegiate sailing's (ICSA) award for Outstanding Service by a Volunteer
(Scuttlebutt #1366), so if anyone has earned a right to a "free pass…"

I know Gail through a different one of her several and diverse sailing
activities: class officer of the very large and active Sunfish class. Now
granted, most used Sunfish will set you back more than the cost of a new
pair of good running shoes (unless perhaps you factor in end-of-season
residual values of shoes and boats)---but anyone who has competed in a
Sunfish fleet will attest to its egalitarian nature. And we're not talking
about a bunch of kids whose parents have them on a tight sailing budget-the
average age of most regatta participants is about 50. It's probably no
accident, either, that at the international level there's strong
representation from countries with lower-than-typical per capita incomes.

Anyway, the mental picture of a big-boat sailor using that "rich man's
sport" line on a Sunfish sailor is just too good to let go by. What a great
New Yorker cartoon.

Curmudgeon's Comment: On this note we officially kill the 'rich man's
sport' thread. As some of you may have noticed, we did a silent 'mercy
killing' on the Baja Thread over the weekend.

* Scott Truesdell: Everyone owes it to themselves to see "Master and
Commander: The Far Side of the World" on the big screen. They pretty much
captured 1805 sailing technology and life at sea. The only thing I had a
question on was this: did any captain really pile the crew up on the
weather rail while beating? That notwithstanding - good movie!

Never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed person.