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SCUTTLEBUTT 1478 - December 15, 2003

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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.

The Olympic Sailing Committee of US Sailing has recognized five athletes as
the sport's U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Athletes of the Year. Recognized
in the Team category are Yngling sailors Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I./New
York, N.Y.), Joan Touchette (Newport, R.I.) and Melissa Purdy (Tiburon,
Calif.). Laser sailor Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Europe
sailor Meg Gaillard (Jamestown, R.I./Pelham, N.Y.) are Male and Female
Athlete of the Year, respectively. Bestowed annually, the USOC Athlete of
the Year awards are based on outstanding performances in competition.

As US Sailing's USOC Athletes of the Year, these sailors will be considered
for the overall USOC Team of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year and Female
Athlete of the Year Awards. The USOC award winners will be selected from
the Athletes of the Year recognized by each Olympic sport's national
governing body.

Team of the Year ­ Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I./New York, N.Y.), Joan
Touchette (Newport, R.I.) and Melissa Purdy (Tiburon, Calif.) were
recognized for their performance in the Yngling ­ the class that makes its
Olympic debut in 2004 as the women's keelboat event. Two medal winning
performances this summer -- silver at the 2003 Athens Regatta in Greece and
gold at the 2003 Yngling World Championship in Spain ­ capped a year that
started well when Swett, Touchette and Purdy won the Yngling Olympic
Pre-Trials (the practice event for the US Olympic Team Trials).

Male Athlete of the Year ­ Laser sailor Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg,
Fla.) was recognized for his performance in three key events in 2003, which
started with a bang when he won the Laser title at the Rolex Miami OCR.
Mendelblatt followed with wins at the Laser Pacific Coast and Gulf Coast
Championships before traveling to Athens for the Saronikos Gulf Regatta,
where he finished fourth out of 40 Lasers. His placement of sixth overall
in the 171-boat fleet at the Laser World Championship in Spain was a
personal world-best that also earned the U.S.A. its Laser berth for the
2004 Olympic Regatta. Mendelblatt was previously named US Sailing's Male
Athlete of the Year in 1999.

Female Athlete of the Year ­ Meg Gaillard (Jamestown, R.I./Pelham, N.Y.)
showed her mettle early in the year at the Rolex Miami OCR where, after
trading first and second finishes during a challenging 11-race series, she
placed second overall out of 25 boats. With a win at the Europe Olympic
Pre-Trials (the practice event for the US Olympic Team Trials) she
solidified her first-place U.S. ranking in the class, a position she has
held for three consecutive years. By far, her most significant performance
of the year took place in Spain at the 2003 Europe World Championship.
Competing in the 116-boat fleet, she closed out a consistent performance
with a 10th place finish in the final race of the series to take third
overall and her second bronze medal at a world championship (her first was
won at the 2000 Europe World Championship). Gaillard was previously
recognized as US Sailing's Female Athlete of the Year in 1998. - Media Pro

Spain's Marcelino Botin has joined Team New Zealand as a principal
designer. Botin and his South African design partner, Shaun Carkeek, are
widely recognised as leading IMS (International Measurement System)
designers in Europe.

Team New Zealand design co-ordinator Andy Claughton said Botin had produced
some great designs and was clever at exploiting the IMS rule, which relates
to an international handicapping system. "We were looking for someone who
could bring a different eye to the whole design side of things," Claughton
said. "The boats he designs are very much in the Alinghi style - flat
bottomed, hard-turned bilge, slab-sided, so we saw him as a good advocate
of that style of boat."

Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said Botin added strength
and flair to the design team. "The fact that he is Spanish and the 2007
America's Cup will be held in Spain is a happy coincidence," Dalton said.
"He is a leading European designer and was actually in Auckland for our
design team meeting three days before the venue announcement."

It is understood neither Clay Oliver nor Mike Drummond, who were Team New
Zealand's principal designers in the 2003 defense, have re-signed at this
stage. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:

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More than 20 years after being swept away by Australians, the America's Cup
is coming back to Newport, R.I., in the arms of the Swiss. Alinghi, the
syndicate that won the oldest trophy in sports in March, announced plans
Friday to host a regatta in Newport from June 19-26. It will be the second
of several planned regattas leading to the 2007 America's Cup in Valencia,
Spain. So far, only Alinghi and San Francisco-based Oracle BMW Racing are
confirmed entrants, but organizers will plan for up to six syndicates.

Besides giving teams a chance to compete against each other during the long
buildup to the next cup, Alinghi is trying to put a warmer face on a
152-year-old competition that's usually viewed by the public as elitist,
confusing and boring. Races will be held close to shore and will last just
an hour, about half the time it took to sail races in the last two cups in
Auckland, New Zealand. "I think with the history that Newport has with the
America's Cup, there should be a fair bit of interest there," said Russell
Coutts, Alinghi's New Zealand-born skipper who sailed unbeaten through the
last three America's Cup matches. - Bernie Wilson, AP,,

For the 24-hour period beginning at 0444 hours on Thursday, December 12,
Alex Thomson, 29 (GBR) in AT Racing covered 466 nm, which subject to
ratification by the WSSR will be a new 24 hour Singlehanded Monohull
record. The existing record is held by Dominique Wavre (FRA) 430.7 nm set
in Dec 2000. "I'm absolutely knackered, Thompson said by satellite phone.
"I've been running on adrenalin and spending at least 70 percent of my time
on deck, surviving on tuna and Hellmann's sarnies, a lot of Lucozade Sport.
This doesn't distract me from the goal of this race, to finish the race and
qualify for the Vendée Globe, but I'm enjoying the extras along the way!"

- No. of miles covered in 24hr period: 466m
- Conditions for 24hr period: 30-35 knots, gusting 40, from SSE - S,
perfect swell
- Average boat speed in 24hr period: 19.4 knots
- Sailing angle: ideal - power reaching between 060° - 040°
- No. of sail changes: 6 headsail changes, with 1 reef in the mainsail
- Hours sleep: None at all

Back on the race course, the battles continue with positions changes at
nearly almost every roll call:

Standings at 1700 UT on December 14:
1. Vincent Riou, PRB, 523 miles to finish
2. Alex Thomson, AT Racing, 4.5 miles to leader
3. Mike Golding, Ecover, 27 mtl
4. Sebastien Josse, VMI, 42 mtl
5. Nick Moloney, Team Cowes, 176 mtl

Event website:

US Sailing sadly notes the passing of Mary Huntsman, of Red Bank, NJ, on
Wednesday, December 10, at Hackensack University Medical Center,
Hackensack, NJ. She was an avid Lightning-class sailor who served many
times as fleet captain and district commodore and a US Sailing race
officer. She was the president of the International Lightning Association
in 2000 and 2001. A memorial visitation will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.
Monday at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Ave., Red Bank. A
memorial gathering will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20 at
the Monmouth Boat Club, Red Bank. Interment will be private. - US Sailing,

Attention, smart shoppers: On the Holiday Specials web page at Henri Lloyd
you'll find great gear at prices that'll blow your Christmas stockings off!
Check it out while it lasts:

* Bernard Stamm was crowned Champion of World FICO-LACOSTE 2003. This
trophy rewards the best performances in the races for the seasons 2002
/2003 reserves by the FICO (International Forum of the Oceanic Race). It is
allotted starting based on the results of 16 races. Additionally,
Armor-luxes and Bobst Group received the title of Champion of the World of
the marks. -

* The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Australia's premier ocean racing
club, this week will announce its Ocean Racer of the Year Awards,
recognizing excellence in four categories of ocean racing. Three yachtsmen
this year that stand out as having achieved outstanding results for
themselves, their crews and their countries over the past year - Neville
Crichton with Alfa Romeo, Bob Steel with Quest and Bob Oatley with Wild
Oats. -Peter Campbell, Sail-World.Com, full story:

* Tracy Edwards and her crew have decided against another Jules Verne
attempt in Maiden II next year in favour of preparing the boat for The Oryx
Cup in 2005 and a special trip to the home of her new sponsor, the Gulf
State of Qatar. The boat, which set the world 24 hour distance record of
694 miles in 2002, is undergoing a complete refit to be ready for launch in
new colours and under a new name in February next year. It will then sail
from Cowes to Doha, the capital of Qatar, to establish an inaugural record
for the distance. - Yachting World,

* Sydney, Australia - Geoff Ross has moved into an unbeatable position on
the IMS pointscore of the Rolex Trophy Series after winning the seventh
race of the eight-race event. This is Yendys' sixth consecutive victory, a
remarkable performance given that Geoff Ross and his crew have had the boat
less than three weeks. Ross has withdrawn the boat from the final race now
that she cannot be beaten and is this afternoon preparing to pull the boat
out of the water. -

A quick glance through the nominees for the Halberg (Sportsman of the Year)
Awards underlines the successes and rich diversity in New Zealand sport.
The judges are to be commended for casting their net so wide. Let's hope
that produces a surprise or two when they name their final four in each

The big four are more likely to be Scott Dixon, Ben Fouhy and Cameron Brown
- all winners - and one other. But who? Surely not Russell Coutts. One has
to wonder whether he would even want to be among the final four anyway.
Coutts headed a team not of New Zealanders but a multi-national mob sailing
under a Swiss flag in an effort to take a trophy back to a country which
has already said he would not qualify for any award there. Not wanted in
Switzerland, many now question why should he push out a genuine New Zealand
contender for the top gong here?

Over the years, individual members of a team have won the supreme accolade.
Don Clarke, Bert Sutcliffe and others spring to mind, but at least their
team-mates were New Zealanders playing for their country. While Coutts may
have had a major role in getting Alinghi across the line first, how much
did he rely on input from Brad Butterworth and others to do it? - Terry
Maddaford, NZ Herald, full story:

* Dame Susan Devoy, who said she would not vote for Russell Coutts to win
anything at the Halberg Awards. That suggests she thinks the awards would
be sullied by recognition of the yachtsman. She's right. The way Coutts
engineered his shift to a Swiss syndicate while still attached to Team NZ,
then actively worked to attract others away, rules him out of any test of
sportsmanship. Let the Swiss give him a prize. - Peter Jessup, NZ Herald,

30+ J/105s will be racing for the class midwinter trophy at Terra Nova
Trading Key West 2004 in January. What started as a family-friendly
daysailer/racer now boasts 630 boats worldwide, 17 active fleets in North
America, and a thriving owners association and website. Wow!

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: There seems to be never ending debate over what a new
big boat rating rule should be. And there seems to be a lot of anger placed
upon PHRF for its failings. Aren't we asking too much of any rating rule to
accurately rate boats of all types on all varieties of courses?

Many people scream "PHRF Sucks!" If PHRF is deficient, then why is it the
most popular form of racing in the US? Let's back up a moment and
understand what PHRF was first intended to do, which was rate boats that
looked and behaved very similarly. Now, we are asking that rule to rate
boats of equal length, but with vastly different sailing characteristics.

And what of any rating rule trying to accurately measure performance of
even two similar style boats, but of different lengths, say 55 and 47 feet.
Say both of these boats are brand new, of the same design brief, from the
same design office. A simple fact of life is that the bigger of the two
boats will usually always prevail upwind, and the smaller will be sailing
in dirty air upwind all day. How does anyone propose to rate this inequity?

Should we therefore consider more different styles of race courses that
help reduce the advantage that bigger boats have, regardless of the rating
rule that is employed on any given day?

* From Harvey Brand: After many years as a member of a local Race Committee
and having served on too many Protest Committees, I couldn't help but read
Mr. Thompson's wise words and nod my head up-and-down. He raises an issue
which is the bane of race management today, and that is the loss of what
used to be called "gentlemanly conduct" on the race course. And I'm not
that old, either.

My classic example, however, is from the late '70s or early '80s when Ted
Hood was sailing in the Marblehead area. There was a minor incident in
which he inadvertently fouled someone and, in what was typical of the man,
he called the RC and retired from the race. There was no protest to be
heard. He saw that he was wrong, and he left the course. There were others
out there who conducted themselves in that same manner, but they've become
very rare birds.

Contrast that with today's typical protest hearings, where as Mr. Thompson
so accurately states, you must rely on the veracity of the witnesses - and
you know you're going to hear from the best available practitioners of
"spin" about what happened on the water. For a protest committee trying to
determine what happened in three dimensions and time while listening to
sailors who were situated at varied angles and distances from the incident
in question, it's a tremendously difficult undertaking and one in which
you're hoping to arrive at a fair and just decision. Just food for thought.

* From Marc Fountain: I believe that a main flaw in the current sailing
rules is that not enough rules have an onus or burden of proof. Lack of a
burden of proof presents competitors with a 50/50 chance in a situation.
Thus, there is a built-in incentive to do what is necessary to win even
when one is clearly breaking the rules. With an even chance of winning or
losing each protestable situation, the good statistician will roll the dice
each time even if they are in the wrong. This framework encourages
rule-breaking and destroys rather than builds Corinthian spirit.

The protest room isn't scary when you have the onus in your favor - and if
you don't have the onus in your favor you tend not to push the situation on
the water and you therefore don't end up in the protest room very often -
and only when the situation is complex. The issue described in Butt 1475-77
could probably be resolved by adding an onus to the applicable rules.
Furthermore, I suggest that a rule that cannot be fairly and openly applied
in an easily understood manner by a protest committee (while an onus in
place) is anathema to a self-policing sport such as ours and should be
removed. The veracity of sailors cannot now be relied on, the onus is one
way (in the absence of universal on-the-water judging) to encourage fair
sailing and reduce protests.

* From Fred Eaton (Regarding John Stovall's letter about President
Henderson raising money to help out two "hot young kids" from Toronto many
years ago): The "Plumber's" judgment proved to be excellent, important and
influential. Jamie and Hugh Kidd went on to win World Championships in the
FD and International 14 classes.

* From Chris Ericksen (Re Mike Esposito's allusion to the schooner Thomas
W. Lawson and her seven masts in 'Butt 1425): An interesting note is that,
for ease in remembering, they referred to the masts, in order from bow to
stern, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

* From: "Bill Goggins: As a follow-up to your story about Mirabella V's
mast in Scuttlebutt 1477, I wanted to share with you the news about the
battcar system that will be installed on that mast. The sheer stack height
of the cars when the mainsail was dropped on Mirabella V would have been
over seven meters tall (23 feet), so we (Harken) designed a system that
will split the cars onto two tracks...

If you want to get to the top, prepare to kiss a lot of the bottom. -