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SCUTTLEBUTT 1484 - December 23, 2003

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releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS
No lows. No southerly busters. No race record but the chance of the
spinnaker start. This is the Bureau of Meteorology's early forecast for the
Boxing Day start of the 59th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this Friday,
December 26, and onwards. While this is good news for race organizers and
the lightweight yachts in the 57-strong fleet, skippers of the heavier
boats are collectively groaning at the long-range forecast - and hoping
that it will be modified over the next four days.

The 1.00 PM start of Australia's premier ocean race could see a spectacular
spinnaker run down the harbor with the light sou'easter predicted to stay
in for most of the afternoon before the north-easterly sea breeze kicks in
later in the day. The first night at sea should be quite comfortable for
competing crews with a 10-15 knot west sou'wester replacing the sea breeze
and holding until a high that is currently centered in the Great Australian
Bight descends on the racecourse.

"The quicker boats could ride the west sou'wester all the way to Hobart
before the high moves in but for the smaller boats, it could be quite a
long race," said the Bureau's senior meteorologist Brett Gage this morning.
Should these conditions ensue, the big boat skippers could be collecting
their fair share of silverware for handicap places while the small boat
skippers are pulling the warm bottle of champagne from the bilges to
celebrate New Year's Eve at sea. - www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

OLYMPIC DROP RACES
A lot of sailors, MNA's and other persons have complained about the
situation concerning "no drops" during the past month since the ISAF
meeting in Barcelona. Their voices have been heard! I believe this case
proves, that ISAF is probably nearer to the sailors, than most other sports
organization in the world.

Personally I believe that such a decision should not be taken this close to
the Olympics, and we have an exceptional opportunity to run test on formats
and scoring in the bigger graded events in the year just after the
Olympics, so this is the proper time to do this. We can make a final
decision on this in November 2005, for the Olympics in 2008, then we have 3
years to implement such changes in graded events and championships, so
every sailor in the world can prepare themselves through competitions at
many levels before the next Olympics.

We do not necessarily have to change the scoring system, if we want the
medal winning sailors to be on the water in the last race. We could just as
well change the format and create finals in our sport, where we secure the
excitement about the medals until the last race - and this would most
certainly attract media to cover our sport even more intensively than now,
and at the same time make it more understandable to the public. - Dan
Ibsen, Secretary General, Danish Sailing Association, ISAF website, full
letter: www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=6051

IS IT CHRISTMAS OR APRIL FOOL'S DAY?
The Sausalito Yacht Club who played host to the IACCSF/Challenge Series
regattas for the last two seasons has been rumored to be the club of choice
for a new San Francisco based America's Cup team.

Rumors have been circulating for the last two months that John Sweeney
(formerly with America True and Oracle/BMW Racing) and Tina Kleinjan both
Sausalito Yacht Club members will launch a campaign to be funded by two
prominent Bay Area residents and an Aerospace company.

It would be no surprise to anyone that Sweeney and Kleinjan who already own
four IACC yachts would fund and run a new team. It's said the duo have
always planned on having their own team and would run the entire operation
from there America's Cup base on Treasure Island. - Cup in Europe website:
http://www.cupineurope.com/LatestNews/2007-SausalitoLN.htm

NO WEED SPEED
In stock now at Ockam - the CS4500 Ultrasonic Boatspeed sensor. Another
amazing product from Airmar, our supplier of the Depth/Temp NMEA
Smartducer. Flush mounted with a hard, smooth surface, no moving parts,
removable sensor in a nylon or bronze thruhull. No more boatspeed problems
caused by seaweed or other junk catching in the paddlewheel. No more
damaged paddlewheels from lifting slings or lobster pots. On-the-water
testing proved excellent accuracy and responsiveness. Fully compatible with
both the Tryad T2 multiplex interface and older style Model 015 Boatspeed
Interface. For more information contact your Ockam dealer or Tom Davis
(tom@ockam.com).

A LOOK AT THE GIANT NEW ORANGE
The new maxi-catamaran Orange built for the next attempt on the Jules Verne
Trophy record by Bruno Peyron and his crew touched water for the first time
on Monday 22nd December 2003 at 17h00. The launch and the stepping of the
mast took place in Vannes, in front of the Multiplast shipyard, where the
boat was built. This was the first time members of the public were able to
see the "outsize" dimensions and design of this new giant, sporting the
colors of her sponsor, Orange. Bruno Peyron announced that the boat will be
starting her campaign of trials in the very beginning of January in to be
on stand-by for mid-February 2004. Orange will be sailed by a crew of 14.

Not far off 38 m long (125-ft), 50 metres high (164-ft), a beam of 17 m
(56-ft) and a downwind sail area of close on 1000 m2 (1196 square yards).
According to Bruno Peyron, "This boat is the 7th giant of the
maxi-multihull generation, but we did not want her to be the biggest of all
at any cost. She is a little bigger than her predecessors but a little
shorter than Cheyenne, Steve Fossett's maxi-catamaran. Together with the
Gilles Ollier Design Team which designed her, we concentrated on the boat's
versatility, to enable us to push a little harder, particularly in the
tough cross seas of the Southern Ocean.

"We'll be setting out this winter to try an improve upon the current record
time on the Jules Verne Trophy route, a record which we currently hold, but
which our competitors may well have bettered by then. It is our genuine
wish that this battle between Geronimo and Cheyenne be worthy of the event
represented by the Jules Verne Trophy."

NEWS BRIEFS
* One of the few remaining 'old salts' who sailed in the first Sydney
Hobart Yacht Race 59 years ago, 87-year-old Gordon Elliot, will fire the
cannon to send the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet on its way
south on Boxing Day, 26 December. Elliot was 29 years old and back from
serving as a gunner with the 2/1st Field Regiment of the Sixth Division
during World War II when the marine artist Jack Earl invited him to crew
aboard his yacht Kathleen Gillett in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Race in
1945. - www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

* Jean Luc van den Heede is now eight days ahead of Philippe Monnet's
record-breaking time at this stage of his global challenge. Van den Heede
who's sailing his 85ft aluminum cutter Adrien on a westabout solo non-stop
global record attempt rounded Cape Horn on 11 December and is gradually
increasing pace, despite the extremely rough conditions. According to van
den Heede, who communicated from the boat yesterday it was a difficult
Saturday not just because of the wind getting up to 40kts but because of
the heavy sea. - Sue Pelling, Yachting World, full story:
http://www.yachting-world.com/yw/home.htm

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
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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 Paul Henderson, President, ISAF: Just to clear up some points ISAF
cannot discuss new submissions at the June Mid-Year Meeting in San Diego as
that meeting is for the Council to discuss administration, financial and
regulation issues. Matters also on the table from November AGM can be
finalized.

No Drop was considered, after reflection, as outside the scope of the
original submission. ISAF acted very quickly on the issue. The No Drop will
be left for possible implementation in 2008 after more debate. Issues like
how many races a day or OCS notification or adjudicating Rule 42 in Athens
are a Notice of Race and Race Officials issue so as to ensure fair sailing.

ISAF does not work in a vacuum as ISAF is a totally open and transparent
organization.

* From Ted Beier: The current RRS are not simpler than previous versions in
content. There are merely fewer words with which to deal. Now, a few words
cover numerous situations, which are not always clear to sailors and
protest committee members alike who are not serious students of the rules,
and who do not attend seminars to hear from the experts about all the
meanings of those few words. Previously, there were many more words that
covered more limited situations explicitly.

There are fewer protests currently, but the reason is not that the "rules
are working better". The reasons heard from many sailors are:
1. They are not sure of all the hidden nuances so they avoid many close
or tactical situations. This holds for luffing situations in particular.
2. Even if they have a valid protest, and hail "protest" on the course,
they do not take it to a hearing for fear that the PC won't get it right.

As stated, a 50-50 chance when you know you're right are not acceptable
odds. Because of this, those that stretch their rule compliance (I won't
say cheaters) know they can get away with a lot more, and do, to the extent
that these practices would appear to be spreading.

Possible ways to solve these issues, some already stated, are:
1. Make more of the gray areas explicit in the rules.
2. Add onus provisions to those rules favored by the rule stretchers.
3. Add mandatory hails to announce when certain rules switch on.

* From Al Passori: When I first started campaigning my 33' Tartan Ten in
1982, after my first three races, the Commodore of our racing club managed
asked me for my fax number. I thought he wanted it to send me some
business-related material. How wrong I was. As a new member to competitive
sailboat racing, it was pretty much OJT -- On the Job Training -- by
watching my fellow competitors with the 'hot boats' and mimicking their
racing strategies. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

After the third week of racing, the Commodore sent copies of every rule and
a detailed diagram and explanation of each infraction (barging, room at the
mark, I pretty much did it all). After the first three months, I almost had
a complete copy of the USYRU Racing Rules (and sometimes, even copies of
the Protest Appeals rulings). His approach was 'innovative' to the point
that we then became close friends. I'll never forget the patience he had
'teaching' me to race and imparting the Corinthian nature of our sport. The
story was told many, many times in local sailing circles. He got a much
better, informed competitor. I got a free rulebook, one page at a time.

* From Barry Labow: I couldn't agree more with Bob Merrick's editorial. As
a Director of Competition for the 1984 Olympics, I think it is noteworthy
that the USA won medals in every event of the Olympiad. After the 1983
Pre-Olympic Regatta in Long Beach, CA and the Star Worlds at California
Yacht Club a week later, our Star Class sailors concluded that we were
probably 10th in the world and there was a great deal of work to be done.
Many of them returned to Long Beach for several Star Class sessions during
the year between the above named events and the Olympics. Aided by video of
the practices taken by Tom Shadden and narrated by Bill Ficker. The sailors
had a visual picture of what they needed to do with their sails. They
practiced many, many starts and made other adjustments. The results
included a gold medal in the event. All this costs money and the cream of
our Olympic Classes crop need financial support.

* From Jeremy Tolhurst, ORC Promotions and Development: There are presently
successful IMS events worldwide, including America, North and South,
Oceania, Japan and Europe. Over the last 12 months we have distributed
nearly 8500 certificates in 33 different countries. The schedule that was
announced this year reflected those events under direct control of the ORC
i.e. World and European championships for the ORC classes. This release is
merely an addition to all the other IMS events going on. The Development
and Promotions Committee of the ORC is absolutely keen to receive and
distribute all information about forth coming events and to include these
details in the recently launched ORC newsletter and on the web page.
Pictures are also welcome!

This year at the ORC conference, the congress made several key decisions in
relation to the ongoing promotion and development of the ORC and the
related events. These will, over the next 12 months be coming in to effect,
of which the promotion of worldwide events was highlighted as a key area.
We recognise that the ongoing promotion of worldwide offshore racing is
paramount to the enjoyment that sailors take from events and the ability
for individual events to encourage not only more participants but also to
increase the profile of these events by giving the event a worldwide audience.

* From Geoffrey Emanuel: As is typical in any debate over rating rules, we
hear predominantly from those that are disgruntled. No matter what handicap
system is used, those competitors with big egos and/or lots of $ that do
poorly will use their handicap as the alibi for their poor performance,
instead of looking in the mirror and blaming themselves.

I am excited about the new Gran Prix rule mainly because it unabashedly
intends to typeform good all around boats. But no matter how fair and
accurate a system it may be, you'll undoubtedly hear the same complaints
from the poor performers. Those complaints should not dissuade the good
folks from their intended goal.

* From Matthew L. Thomas: I keep reading about all the latest updates of
the various handicap rules. Isn't everyone tired of the continuous hoo-ha?
There will always be people who are willing to spend whatever it takes to
win, no matter what handicap system is used. Boats have become slower and
slower and watching them race is generally akin to watching paint dry! Even
AC boats are slow and many of the design updates have been instituted to
increase the speed of the boats. If you want to watch a fun regatta, go and
watch a 49er regatta or a multi-hull event. No wonder car racing gets the
money and sailing doesn't. Have a look where the French spend the money -
certainly not slow boats.

It is about time that we simplify the rules to simple box rules, like the
Mini Transat rules or the Open classes. Sure a lot of boats will become
obsolete, but who are we kidding? They already are!!! These race boats will
find there way over time to the club scene and a lot more fun will be had
by all! Let's make sailing fun and fast!

CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Who was the first person to see an egg come from a chicken's butt and
think, "I'll bet that would be good to eat?