Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1486 - December 29, 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.

Australian yacht Skandia won the incredible battle of the super maxis at
the head of the fleet in the 628-nautical mile Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race,
beating New Zealand rival Zana by 14min 24sec. The two 98-footers were
alongside each other at Cape Raoul, only 30 miles from the finish, in a
calm patch. Skandia wriggled out of the new north-west breeze first to gain
a three-mile jump, but still had to cover Zana's every move as the two
yachts tacked the last few miles up the Derwent River to the finish in the
light and shifty breeze.

Surrounded by more than a 100 spectator boats, Skandia finished at 4.14
local time, just before dawn, with Zana in view, as it had been all race,
about a mile behind. Skandia's owner and skipper, Grant Wharington, said:
"We were fully pressed by Zana the whole time."

Zana had twice passed Skandia: on the race's first day and again on the
morning of the day before the finish. "Fortunately, they tacked off and
went inshore a little bit, which hurt them," Wharington said. "And tonight,
at Cape Raoul, they were within about four boat-lengths of us. We just went
into a hole. Trying to figure a way around that corner is a nightmare."Then
they came up to us, we both stopped. We just tacked over, drifted out, took
off and put three miles on them. We were just covering them all the way up
the Derwent. Even in the bay just short of the finish, you can run out of
breeze and someone can pass you right there. We've had it happen to us." -
Bob Ross, The Daily Telegraph,

* Sean Langman the skipper of the 66-foot pocket maxi that finished third
over the line in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is convinced there is a
"Grundig Triangle" off Green Cape where he has suffered misfortune in this
race many times. On the first night following Grundig AAPT was leading the
fleet until she hit a sunfish that rendered one of her two rudders useless.
"The sunfish hit the leeward rudder and jammed the bearing," said Langman
this morning. This meant they had to disconnect the second rudder and rig
up a jury system.

The loss of one rudder made steering upwind extremely difficult, especially
as the effective one was mostly out of the water on our starboard tack.
"It's a 638 nautical mile race and 600 of it was upwind. We would have been
a lot closer [to the leaders] if it hadn't happened." The problem also
meant that the boat was no longer watertight. "We only had a crew of eight
and every hour someone had to spend a full hour bailing."

Minimal crew weight is something Langman trialled successfully in this
year's Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and he adopted the same strategy for
the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. However, this morning he admitted that
in the final stages of the 628 nautical mile race the "sense of humour on
board was waning." Some of the crew sustained injuries on board. Joseph De
Kock suffering a suspected broken rib and Adam Barnes suffering swollen ankles

The maxi yacht Nicorette abandoned the race after suffering damage to her
new canting keel supporting structure and, subsequently, to the adjacent
part of the carbon fibre hull in rough seas in Bass Strait. Owner/skipper
Ludde Ingvall advised the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race race committee
that the 80-footer had firstly broken its canard keel and then the welds on
supporting struts either side of the canting keel had cracked. The crew had
also noticed that some non-structural carbon fibre inside the hull had been
torn, damage, which, while not serious, could have worsened as the big
yacht pounded to windward. Nicorette, which was in fourth place in the
fleet when she retired, underwent major modifications before the 628
nautical mile ocean classic, being fitted with a triple foil system that
included the canting (swinging) keel, the canard rudder (a retractable
centreboard forward of the main keel) and trim tabs to the rudder.

A yacht owner's worst nightmare is when his old boat looks like knocking
off his new boat in a race; Sydney yachtsman Geoff Ross is this morning
facing that prospect in the IMS division of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht
Race. Yacht Tracker polling of the fleet this morning had Bounder, Ross'
previous boat, heading the IMS leader board at 0800 hours on progressive
corrected times, while his new boat, Yendys, dropped from first to third in
standings. In between these two is Michael Spies' First National Real Estate.

Yendys, a Judel/Vrolijk 52 and former Mediterranean IMS champion, had
headed IMS standings for the previous 24 hours, but the Yacht Tracker
polling of the fleet at 0800 hours showed Bounder leading from the
consistently well placed First National Real Estate, a Beneteau 40.7, with
Yendys third. These four boats, still sailing across Bass Strait or down
the East Coast of Tasmania this morning, have all at times figured in the
top three on IMS standings.

In the IRC handicap division, Australia's best-known maxi yacht, George
Snow's Brindabella has displaced the two super maxis, Skandia and Zana,
from top of the board, as have at least five other boats. At the 0800 hour
Yacht Tracker polling, Brindabella was placed first ahead of First National
Real Estate, Yendys, Quest (last year's IMS overall winner), Pippin and

In the PHS division, Tony Williams' Balmain Experience heads the
progressive handicap standings although she is still in Bass Strait, north
of Flinders Island. In second place is Wahoo (Brian Emerson) and third
Witchdoctor, skippered by Maurie Cameron.

The 10-year anniversary voyage for the Melbourne 46-footer Dysons Cobb & Co
ended some 102 miles from the finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
with a dismasting off the East Coast of Tasmania. As Ninety Seven, the Farr
46 outlasted the gale-battered 1993 Sydney Hobart as the bulk of the fleet,
including the fancied maxi yachts and most other big boats, retired
allowing her to become the smallest line honors winner in 30 years. -

If you like photos of heavy air sailing, you must check this out:

The Cup is all about winning through technology, and so is Henri Lloyd's
new HL Innovations line, featuring the most technologically advanced
fabrics and foul weather gear ever, developed from lessons learned during
the last Cup campaign. The skirts come off February 27th!

December 28 - Plymouth, Devon, UK: Skipper Steve Fossett is gathering his
crew for the 125' maxi-catamaran 'Cheyenne' here on Britain's south coast
in preparation for their upcoming attempt on the 2-year old round the world
sailing record - and advised that next week's sailing will be additional
final testing - and that a record weather pattern was at least 2 weeks away.

Fossett's message to the crew said in part, "Please arrive in Plymouth by 2
January for test sailing with full crew beginning on 3 January. Our RTW
start criterion is a good wind forecast for the first week. We are now Code
Red through 11 January for the RTW start due to a poor North Atlantic
weather pattern. Our time in Plymouth then will be well spent in sailing
together and making final boat preparations. Let's do everything we can to
make this voyage a success." -

An update to the "Offshore Communications Memorandum" dated December 2003
has been posted on the Cruising club of America's website. The Memorandum
is oriented to the North American yacht headed offshore with a SSB radio
onboard. Subjects include Satellite communications, the SSB radio in
emergencies, voice and fax weather broadcasts, ship to shore communications
and email, GMDSS, transmission ranges, VOA and BBC broadcast frequencies
and their schedules for the winter of 2003 - 2004 in Europe and the
Caribbean, emergency antennas and so on. The Appendix lists the FCC
authorized frequencies for SSB, SSB and Ham nets worldwide, WX Fax
schedules and frequencies, Navtex, SailMail, conversion tables and more.

These files are large and to reduce their size and download time, they have
been converted into Adobe's Acrobat. The latest free version of Acrobat
Reader (Ver 6.0) is also available at the website. You will need this
version if you are using Windows XP and want to print these papers. Note
the margin settings to get a proper printout.

Also on the CCA's website under a separate tab on the sidebar is a paper
titled "Cruising European Waters". It was written for the benefit of
cruisers who are planning to cross the Atlantic in 2004. Subjects include
buoyage, charts and cruising guides, European datum, nautical almanacs,
regional identification, tidal ranges, Beaufort wind scales, part shipments
from the US, VAT, Shengen countries, cruising charges, Med mooring,
telephones, electricity, propane and so on. - Walt Paul,

* The Notice of Race for the 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race is now posted
online. The race begins June 18th, but application for entry must be
completed no later than April 1. The NOR is out later than usual to allow
the Organizing Committee to work with international technical committee
members on safety standards for boats with water ballast and canting keels,
which are now allowed by the IMS. The NOR has appendices dealing with
special the regulations to address the safety issues of these designs.

* A record 620 youth sailors are at the Coral Reef Yacht Club and US
Sailing Center in Miami to race in the USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival
- Orange Bowl, presented by West Marine. Saturday saw the first day of
racing and it was a great day on the water with sunny skies, temperatures
in the mid-70's and winds of 8 to 12 knots. The largest fleet in the event
was the Opti Championship fleet with 282 racers. The event organizers must
be a bit overwhelmed - neither the Saturday nor Sunday results were posted
on-line when we distributed this issue. -

* Sailors entered fourteen different classes for the fourth annual Boxing
Day Pursuit Race held on Saturday December 27th on Alamitos Bay in Long
Beach, California. A perfect winter's day greeted the sailors with clear
skies and light breezes. Classes participating ranged from eight-foot
Naples Sabots to a Cal 40. Bruce Golison's Santana 20 managed to pass
earlier starters and finished just in front of Jeff Cohen's fast moving F31
Tri to win the event. Dave Rustigan's Chaser 29, Cardinal Sin took third
place. -

Let WMR take care of all your rigging needs before and during KW Race Week.
Located at the West Marine Store, 725 Caroline Street. Services and
products include: Splicing, Wire Swaging, Shackles and Cordage by NER,
Samson and Yale. Contact numbers: 888-447-7444 or 803-979-1298. Stop by and
visit our truck.

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 Kelly Henson: I am sorry not to see Jonathan McKee on the list of
potential Rolex Yachtsman of the year. He has had a stellar year dominating
the Mini Transat Fleet. Winning the Tasar Worlds and at home on the waters
of Puget Sound wins onboard his new Riptide 44. He is a sailor that has
more miles on the water in a year than most do in ten years. His lifetime
accomplishments will make history sailing books one day. He has my vote.

* From D.T. Crockett: I do not know Daniel Slater, but based upon what I
have read it seems this is another instance of special treatment for an
individual for behavior unrelated to his actions. If "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" why isn't Mr. Slater
suspended, or worse? What bothers me most is that he is given a break for
his work with youth sailing. This appears to be setting the very poor
example that you can act in an unsportsmanlike manner without serious
penalty. I assume he will be allowed to continue to work with young sailors
which may reinforce this example. I think Yachting New Zealand's hearing
panel got this one wrong.

Curmudgeon's Comment: The members of the jury are the only people who heard
all of the evidence, facts and testimony. Personally, there is no way I'd
second guess their decision based solely on a media report.

* From Graham Kelly: In S'butt 1483, Paul Lovell said: "I doubt that any of
the current Med IMS boats are being shipped to the Big Boat Series in SF,
or will be sailing in the Newport-Bermuda Race."

|Surprisingly enough, one such boat, Talisman, did appear at the Big Boat
Series this year, and sailed well enough to take third place in Class 1.
Talisman (ex-Bribon??) seemed to sail reasonably competitively upwind, but
the Transpac 52's left it in the dust downwind. The TP52's were using much
bigger spinnakers, while Talisman used its tiny "rate low, go slow" IMS

It was obvious that the VPP did not adequately evaluate the potential of
the lighter boats to plane downwind in heavy air. The older boats, which
did not plane or match current IMS thinking, were helpless and hopeless.
This suggests that the VPP is type-forming, rather than achieving its
stated goal of accurately rating dissimilar boats. That is, I believe, the
reason that St. Francis YC has decided to abandon Americap/ IMS, at least
until it can do a reasonable job of handicapping the fleet.

* From Douglas Messer: You guys still don't get it. Speed doesn't matter!
Unless it is the absolute speed record for that "sport" it is close
competition that creates excitement. Rules and handicap or rating changes
that promote place changes during a race will kindle interest. No parade of
boats will ever be interesting but ten boats all about the same speed
charging at the start line and meeting at marks and crossings and cutting
each other off will. NASCAR's Bill France built the biggest spectator sport
in the country by slowing down the fastest cars. Race walking raises
spectators to a fever pitch at three miles per hour.

PHRF has the ability to create this kind of competition but the old guard
that runs it will not make the adjustments to bring back the casual racers
in the numbers we used to see so you can put five to ten boats that are
within ten seconds of each other in handicap in a class and have close
racing. If handicap committees would really follow the mandate and base a
boats PHRF number on demonstrated performance for that boat, there would be
a lot more skippers out there on race day. Sure, you would still have
people buying the latest go fast but with a properly administered PHRF
system tactics and boat handling would determine the outcome of a race not
how much money was spent.

* From Gary Morgan: I agree with Ted Beier about the Racing rules. Growing
up and racing in Seattle, racing mainly one design boats, you had to know
your rules. Everyone understood and used them as they were designed, and
the Appeals were very good. Now, relearning the new rules, they don't seem
to be any easier, just slightly different, with alot more grey areas.

And after being in two protests with damage a few years ago, I was stunned
after winning both, that one of the other boats would not pay for the
damages. Their insurance company even got into it, saying that they had a
guy in their office that was a sailor, and that we were wrong, not their
insured. What happened to either excepting the outcome or appealing? What
happened to the Corinthian way of sailing? I have tried to follow my
father's ideas of staying out of protests as much as possible, but when you
have to put your foot down, you do it.

Another problem we have, is that if you are involved in a protest, they are
always after racing, during the after race party, or in some cases, late
into the night. No one wants to stay around that long unless they really
have to. We need to make changes in the way the protests are heard. Give
back the onus to one boat, so that everyone knows they better make sure
they are right and can prove it before crossing a right of way boat.

* From Tim Prouty, Race Director, Sausalito Yacht Club: It is too early to
confirm any plans that the Sausalito Yacht Club may have for a new San
Francisco based America's Cup challenge. We can confirm our ongoing
relationship with the Challenge Series and that we have three regattas
featuring IACC boats on the schedule for 2004. The Challenge Series events
(formerly IACCSF), begun in 2002, were the first real exposure many local
sailors and spectators had to IACC boats in action. These efforts, no
doubt, helped to set the stage on the Bay for the Moet Cup, in 2003, and
will continue to attract interest as 2007 approaches.

The Sausalito Yacht club shares the vision of members, John Sweeney and
Tina Keinjan, that San Francisco Bay is one of the world's greatest sailing
venues and will ultimately host an America's Cup challenge. We're confident
that whatever direction Sweeney's Challenge Series chooses, SYC will have
the opportunity to participate.

* From Jean Quist: Pardon my naiveté, but for crying out loud! Whether
there are new rules or not; I've been racing one-designs and bluewaters for
more than three and a half decades, and I still go with general rules: stay
out of each other's way and know your rules of the road.

Perhaps more than others, I've gotten off on shouting "Hold your course"
and "Room at the mark," but when it comes to endangering another sailor or
another boater or even someone swimming in the water, as sailors we observe
rules of safety first. That's the bottom line, regardless of boat size or
amended rules. That's seamanship and that's what's it's all about.

You know you've grown up when hear your favorite song on an elevator.