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SCUTTLEBUTT 1485 - December 24, 2003

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

US YACHTEES OF THE YEAR
US Sailing has announced the final list of nominees five women and six
men -- who will be considered for the 2003 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman
of the Year awards. Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by
Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the
Year awards recognize outstanding on-the-water achievement in the calendar
year just concluded.

The nominees, determined by the membership of US Sailing, will be reviewed
by a panel of noted sailing journalists, who together will discuss the
merits of each nominee and vote by secret ballot to determine the 2003
Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The winners will be honored at
a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, on February 6,
2004, where they will be presented with Rolex timepieces.

Nominees for the 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year are: Snipe World Champion
Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.); Pan Am Games Gold Medallist Tim Healy (Newport,
R.I.); ISAF Match Racing World Champion Andy Horton (Shelburne, Vt.); J/80
World and Lightning World Champion Jay Lutz (Houston, Texas); Laser Master
and Snipe North American Champion Andrew Pimental (Newport, R.I.); Around
Alone Race winner in class two, Brad Van Liew (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.); and
Etchells 22 World Champion Ken Read (Newport, R.I.), who has previously won
this award in 1985 and 1994.

Nominees for the 2003 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year are: Rolex
International Women's Keelboat Champion Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.); U.S.
Women's Match Racing Champion Liz Baylis (San Francisco, Calif.), who
previously won this award in 2002; US Sailing's Women's Champion Joni
Palmer (Annapolis, Md.); ISAF Youth World Gold Medallist Paige Railey
(Clearwater, Fla.); and Yngling World Champion Hannah Swett (Jamestown,
R.I./New York, N.Y.). - Media Pro Int'l, www.ussailing.org

RULE 69 HEARING IN NEW ZEALAND
Olympic and former Team New Zealand sailor Daniel Slater has been let off
with a warning after being found guilty of unsportsmanlike behavior.
Slater's fate was decided yesterday by Yachting New Zealand's hearing panel
comprising Sir David Tompkins, Royden Hindle and Jack Lloyd. "A gross
breach of sportsmanship such as this can only be regarded as a serious
matter and as such the penalty should denounce such behavior," the panel
said. "Had it not been for one significant aspect, that is Daniel Slater's
contribution to yachting, in particular through youth coaching and often on
an unpaid basis, the penalty for such a gross breach would have been
suspension."

The panel said the publicity and awareness that Slater had committed a
"gross breach of sportsmanship" had served as a penalty and the appropriate
punishment was a warning. Slater could have faced suspension or a complete
ban from the sport. Yachting New Zealand's chief executive, Simon Wickham,
said he was satisfied with the outcome. "We were fortunate to have people
of the caliber we had on the panel who could ensure there was a fair
hearing," Wickham said. "We are confident that their findings will serve as
a message for others in terms of the standard of behavior expected."

Slater competed at the Sydney Olympics in the 49er class and is trying to
qualify in the Laser class for the Athens Olympics. It is understood he
emailed sailors competing at the yachting world championships in Cadiz,
Spain, to gang up on another New Zealand sailor, believed to be Andrew
Murdoch, to reduce his Olympic qualifying prospects. The September regatta
was the first stage of Olympic qualifying. Murdoch finished ninth in the
final race to grab overall seventh and qualify New Zealand for a spot in
Athens. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, http://tinyurl.com/29zw3

RULE 69 OMBUDSMAN IN USA
Do you have questions about the process for filing a grievance under the
Article 14 Bylaw or an appeal of a rule 69 (Allegations of Gross
Misconduct) decision? An ombudsman is now available to help racing sailors
understand what procedures to follow when filing a grievance or an appeal
of a rule 69 decision. The ombudsman is Noel Field Jr., a member of the
Article 14 Review Board. Anyone who has questions about the filing
processes may contact Noel Field by email nfieldjr@worldnet.att.net.

This position was created by the US Sailing Executive Committee to provide
sailors with quick answers to their questions and to help them avoid the
pitfalls associated with these processes. The Article 14 Review Board is
composed of five members: Robert H. Lane, Chair; Vince Brun; J. Theodore
Everingham; Noel M. Field Jr., and John B. Bonds, Sr. The Appeals Committee
is composed of six members: Thomas Farquhar, Chair; David Perry; Jim
Capron; William Bentsen; Dean Brenner and Kirk Brown.

HAPPY HOLIDAY GREETINGS!
From all the Ullman Sails lofts worldwide, we wish to send our fondest
Holiday Season wishes to you, your families, and crew. May the holiday
season be safe and joyous. We thank you for your support over the past year
and look forward to assisting you in 2004 with all of your sailmaking
needs. To locate the nearest Ullman Sails loft please visit us online at
http://www.ullmansails.com

REACTION TO THE NEW AC RULE
The French K-Challenge America's Cup syndicate has had a chance to study
the changes to the America's Rule, and has come to the following conclusions:

- Phil Kaiko, Principle Designer summed up the changes: "Generally, there
has been an attempt to tighten up on the design and construction aspects of
hulls and appendages and to open up the design of rigs and sails".

- Thierry Peponnet, Helmsman believes that: "upwind, it won't change that
much... One ton less in the total weight will be balanced by a deeper draft
of 10cm. But downwind, the boats gain and additional 8% of power!" Perhaps
one of the more surprising changes was that the boats will have an
additional crew on board, bringing the total sailors to 17. The crew weight
has been increased to an average of 95kg per person! Peponnet reflected on
this. "It won't be easy for the smallest ones to find their place on board;
One guideline we will all have to follow is: work hard at the gym!"

There is a clarification surrounding the 18th man (used to be the 17th
man). You have to carry the guest or now carry lead weights instead. This
is good for sponsors. In the past if the winds were very light, teams often
had to make the hard decision to not have the " guest " on board in case
the extra weight would make them heavier and then slower. Now it is all even.

- Team Manager Dawn Riley, noted: " The new rule is focusing on the
development of the class into sails and rigs: as an example, the inflatable
battens and battens in the headsails are now allowed. This has been adapted
from traditionally strong French sailing classes like Open 60's and
multihulls. This bodes well for K-Challenge." - www.k-challenge.org

NEWS BRIEFS
* Forget brute strength, the weather forecast for the 2003 Rolex Sydney
Hobart Yacht Race has ensured that the tacticians will play a crucial role
in determining who wins. At the Race Briefing this morning, the Bureau of
Meteorology Andrew Treloar told the skippers that the 2003 race will not be
your usual tough Hobart, with the fleet starting in South East winds and
finishing with North Easterlies to push them down the Tasmanian coast.
Treloar expects moderate to light winds for the duration of the race.

* This Friday, December 26th filmmaker Peter Rowe's documentary "To Keep
the Cup in Canada" will air on the Outdoor Life Network in Canada. This
documentary was filmed this summer and traces the efforts of Terry
McLaughlin and Robert Hughes in their quest to win the Canada's Cup - One
of the oldest freshwater match racing trophies in the world. It was a very
exciting series with lots of breeze and close racing. The filmmaker had a
cameraman aboard the Farr 40s to capture the match racing starts and some
very close finishes.

* The new and completely refurbished Athens 2004 Olympic Games website is
online. The breakdown of information is utilized to achieve even greater
functionality and ease of use in page browsing. The use of special "Index
Pages" has been adopted, where the main information of each section is
presented in a comprehensive and cohesive way. Internal "advertising" is
also heavily used to promote areas of the website with relative content.
All website information will be available in three languages: Greek,
English, and French. www.athens2004.com

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS
T'was the night before Christmas, I swung on the hook
With snowflakes a'landing, asleep with my book
When up on the deck I heard footsteps and stuff
"I've been boarded!" I thought, and I tried to be tough

Then down the companionway hatch came a dude
He was dressed like a nut and I thought, "I'm so screwed"
But he laughed and he hummed as he surveyed my junk
So I figured he must be the resident drunk

His eyes were lit up like a junkie on speed
But he gave me a whole bunch of stuff that I need
Like rum and cigars and new charts and a dinghy
And some kind of fancy electrical thingy

I knew it was stolen but I wasn't telling
I just hoped he was giving and wasn't just selling
And I poured him a grog which he downed with a wink
Then I poured one for me (Lord I needed a drink!)

Then he staggered above to the dark snowy night
As I peeked I beheld an incredible sight
Eight tiny dolphins and a beautiful sleigh
And the dude hopped aboard and prepared to make way

The dolphins were ready to power the sled
But the guy raised a genny and mains'l instead
With a burp and a chuckle he gathered the breeze
And called to the dolphins, now swimming with ease

"Hey Stalker and FEMA and Cancer and Nixon!
Or Stinky and Pepper Spray, Mason, and Dixon!
Or whatever your names are, you cute little fishes,
Here's to every last sailor, my best Christmas wishes!"

As he sailed away leaving a wobbly wake
I hoped he had not many stops left to make
He got close to shore and he soon was aground
But the dolphins proceeded to pull him around

And I heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight
Happy Christmas to all... and to all a goodnight"

OUTTA HERE
Mr. and Mrs. Curmudgeon will be spending the next few days in San Diego
with our son and his extended family - and will not be thinking about
Scuttlebutt again until next week. Next issue: Monday, December 29. Merry
Christmas!


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 Dan Hirsch: Shakespeare said it early - I believe she protesteth too
much! In a lifetime of belonging to organizations, I have experienced a lot
of the possible range of openness and transparency. Complete and total,
perfect, openness is ridiculous and impossible. You cannot tell everyone
exactly what you are doing at all times or you will never get anything
done. Nitpicking, such as this selfsame, will prevent you from taking step
one. Transparency, ditto. Mr. Henderson's claim of totally open and
transparent suggests that the situation is quite the opposite.

* From Guy P. Brierre: Dan Ibsen of the Danish Sailing Association
concludes that after a lot of sailors complained about the "no drops"
ruling, the ISAF's reversal of the ruling "proves, that ISAF is probably
nearer to the sailors, than most other sports organization in the world."

If the ISAF had listened, or even cared about what the sailors thought,
they would have asked first. Paul Henderson has repeatedly shown a
proclivity toward doing what he wants first, then being forced to back down
by his constituencies. I don't doubt that he acts in what he believes to be
the best interest of the sport, but it isn't just his sport, it is ours. I
beg him and the MNA's to think and ask before they act. Unfortunately if
people think like Mr Ibsen, that will never change.

* From Barrie Harmsworth: Just to clarify some of the comments with respect
to the 'No Drop Races' debate I can assure you that this decision was not
railroaded through by Paul Henderson . It was the result of a friendly
amendment that was approved in accordance with the ISAF Council procedures.
Its subsequent withdrawal was again in accordance with the ISAF
constitution. In the course of the public debate very little consideration
has been given to the needs of emerging and developing sailing nations in
the Olympics.

As Paul Henderson has rightly pointed out, the Olympic Regatta is the
property of the IOC and is not an event exclusively for the top sailors in
the Olympic classes. It goes with saying that in any race, the last
competitor is just as important as the first. In the no drop situation, the
event becomes fairer with sailors less likely to try and cheat and get away
with it. I would point out this attitude to push the envelope has become
the acceptable approach by a number of top Western sailors, one of whom has
even written a book on how to beat the judges and win.

The concept of the no drop, even though the original reason was to improve
the exposure of our sport, is one of aligning our sport closer to the
Olympic spirit, namely to provide a level playing field.

* From Clark Chapin: Both as a racing sailor and judge, I must disagree
with Geoff Newbury regarding the relative merits of the RRS compared with
the older versions of the rules on several counts. First, the tendency of
juries to list conclusions as facts is not a recent development. Any
appeals committee worth its salt should be able to make the appropriate
judgment there. Of course, the decline in protests has also led to a
decline in appeals. The net effect being that most committees see few
appeals each year.

Second, a fundamental principle of the current rules is that your boat is
not a weapon. RRS 14 is intended to give pause to those who would "crash
and bang". In my experience, the rule has had the desired effect. Third,
the organization of the book itself with the right-of-way rules in the
front and the others trailing is by itself an improvement for sailors.

Lastly, as Rob MacArthur's book "Room at the Mark" points out, a periodic
re-thinking of the rules from basic principles is an excellent antidote for
the creeping obfuscation that comes form small tinkering. From Harold
Vanderbilt to Bill Bentsen and Dick Rose was about the right interval. Are
they perfect? Certainly not, but they are a distinct and historic improvement.

* From Ron Baerwitz: Ted Beier said, "The current RRS are not simpler than
previous versions in content," but I couldn't disagree more. The current
rules are much easier to follow than in previous editions. The rules cannot
be simple because this is not a simple sport. There are hundreds, maybe
thousands of variables to deal with in any one race. Using the rules as
protection or to your advantage is an important aspect of our sport. I do
not see a simple solution to a sophisticated situation, except, for my
fellow yacht-persons to not only learn the rules but to accept their fate
when they break them!

* From Ray Tostado (edited to our 250-word limit): It is always a hoot to
read conversations and opinions concerning handicapping rules. To me they
have always been only as good as the administrators and the owner's
willingness to comply in spirit, and in fact. Designers, well, they get
paid to make the rules ineffective in all but one-design fleets. Does
anyone else shudder with excitement at the thought of what the design
geniuses of the past might be capable of achieving today with the new
technologies?
There is something being overlooked within the design genius of those
architects of the past. I just can't believe that what they demonstrated in
speed and grace is not relevant today. The break out was the fin keel and
the deep ballast draft it allowed, but only with the help of modern
composites to provide the required strength at such stress levels. What
would Alden have designed given this menu? What effect might he have upon
the current rules argument? Would his designs be concurrent to today's
designers, or would he just simply "blow them out of the water".

* From Seth A. Radow: Paul Lowell said the IMS "Rule" is not dead. But I
haven't seen any of the new breed of IMS optimized boats signed up the
Sydney-Hobart or Transpac either! Nor do I expect to see them in the
Americap class of Pacific Cup. For that matter, I don't see many Farr 40's
entering those races any longer either...though the 1D35 class seem to be
growing for Pacific Cup crossing...and proving to be quite
competitive...interesting!

* From Marty and Peggy Besant: While the landlocked Swiss can be well proud
of their America's Cup victory, the FIS Downhill World Cup is held by a
landlocked Austrian, Stefan Eberharter.

* From Richard Johnson: Come on Curmudge - we all love rumors, but don't
you think that story about the Sausalito YC's AC challenge was a bit over
the top?

CURMUDGEON'S QUOTATIONS
"Santa Claus has the right idea - visit people only once a year." - Victor
Borge