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SCUTTLEBUTT 1487 - December 30, 2003

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First National Real Estate, a Beneteau 40.7 skippered by Michael Spies, has
been declared the provisional Overall Winner of the 2003 Rolex Sydney
Hobart Yacht Race, winning both the IMS and IRC divisions of the great
ocean classic. When First National Real Estate crossed the line at 5:32 am
this morning, only one yacht still at sea had a realistic chance of beating
her on corrected time. The 34-foot Impeccable, sailed by 81-year-old John
Walker, the oldest skipper in the fleet, had to finish by 2.45 this
afternoon but was still some 15 miles from the finish of the 628 nautical
miles race when time ran out.

Officially, First National Real Estate's victory is provisional until all
yachts finish, but the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Race Committee
this afternoon confirmed that the boat could not be beaten. For 44-year-old
Michael Spies, the win caps off a remarkable Sydney Hobart Race career.
This is his 27th race south, with the highlight in 1999 when he
co-skippered the Volvo 60 Nokia on her record-breaking line honours
victory. Spies describes this win as just as sweet. "This is up there with
1999. It's hard to compare. With line honors only two or three boats can
win, but on handicap twenty or thirty boats are a chance."

* When the British chartered yacht Bounder pulled in alongside the new
Yendys at the Hobart's Constitution Dock marina this evening, Sydney
yachtsman Geoff Ross justifiably might well have felt somewhat
disappointed. After all, Bounder was the previous Yendys which he sailed to
an overall handicap win in 1999, and it had now beaten his latest Yendys on
corrected time in the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. But Ross
certainly not show his disappointment, leading his crew in three rousing
cheers for Chris Little, Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and his
British crew.

In the past 10 hours 24 boats have crossed the Hobart line, with 15 yachts
still racing.

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

(Citing a story from Il Mattino, the website is reporting the

Salvatore Sarno, general manager of the "Mediterranean Shipping Company"
bought ITA80 to train a South African team for the 2007 AC.

- Salvatore Sarno, head of the Cruising firm "Mediterranean Shipping
Company" is a native Italian (he's from Rione Casolla) who lives in South
- He's putting together a team down there, with people he's used to sail with.
- He purchased ITA-80 for €uro 525,000
- They don't want to go to Valencia "only to be the most friendly team,"
but they definitely want to "beat the French, the Spanish, the three or
four Italian teams, and the pair of American teams which might show up."
They want "to prove there are other good sailors than Australian and New
- They won't sail with Roy Heiner (Heiner is a dual citizen, Dutch and
South African and trained Oracle for 2003 LVC) (Translator's note : After
last Volvo, Heiner was rumored to discuss with South African businessmen
for a 2007 AC challenge)
- Francisco de Angelis will stay (for free) with the South African team for
a month.

Source: website:

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Back in his homeland for the first time since winning more America's Cup
races than anyone in history, Coutts laid to rest a website-generated rumor
that he had split from Alinghi and their Swiss backer, Ernesto Bertarelli.
"Of course I am still with Alinghi," said Coutts, interviewed by Kiwi
sailing commentator Peter Montgomery. "Certainly in America's Cup sailing
there are rumors that go around and that was one of them."

* What is plain is that, while he was the lynchpin of the entire Swiss
effort last time, Coutts now has only the responsibility of Alinghi's Cup
defense in 2007. That he has nothing to do with America's Cup Management's
hosting of the next Cup is also clear from his comments about the Cup venue
and Cup Class boats. Valencia in Spain was ACM's pick but Coutts favored
the strong bid from Lisbon/ Cascais in Portugal. "I think that would have
made a fantastic America's Cup with conditions like Fremantle [the popular
1987 venue]," he said. And in place of modest revisions to Cup Class boats
agreed for 2007, Coutts would have plumped for near-identical hulls but
thrown open appendage, rig and sail design. "There are ways it could be
done quite cost-effectively," he added. "It would have been pretty
interesting and would have brought a lot back into the sport in terms of

Bertarelli's decision to split Alinghi in two after winning the Cup to
create Alinghi Sailing Team and America's Cup Management is something
Coutts agreed with. "Certainly it takes all of my time to focus on
Alinghi," he said. Coutts also debunked suggestions that promoting design
co-ordinator Grant Simmer into the general manager's role, reduced his own
status. "We've shuffled various roles around inside Alinghi. A third of the
sailing team is new and a quarter of the design team is new, and that's
required the shifting of responsibilities. People can make rumors out of
this and that's fine. One way or another, in every America's Cup since
1995, people have ranked me as the underdog and I am very happy for them to
do it again." - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, full story:

In 2002 skipper Howard Hamlin and crew Mike Martin and Andy Zinn from
California became the first Americans ever to beat the best skiff sailors
in the world and win the J.J Giltinan trophy. The team is now down under
again to defend their title in the "world championships" of 18 foot skiff
racing on Sydney Harbour this week. The J. J Giltinan trophy is considered
the holy graille of the skiff sailing - Australia's equivalent to the
America's Cup.

"Experience is a key factor in this sport, "Hamlin said, "but we raced on
the European circuit in July and hosted a regatta in San Francisco last
September, so we are probably better prepared than ever this time, and have
a great sponsor in West Marine to support our campaign"

The seven heat series gets underway on January 3 and concludes on January 11.

* Winds shifted to the south for day three of the Orange Bowl Regatta where
620 youth sailors, age 8-18, are competing in eight classes on four courses
on Biscayne Bay. Four more races were completed. Some titles have been
determined before the final race(s) tomorrow, others are still in
contention. - US Sailing website, full story

* The largest offshore race in Australia - Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs
Harbour Yacht Race - starts Friday January 2nd. Last year, the race record
was smashed in this 'warm water' alternative to the Sydney to Hobart Race
by the high tech sixty footer Bob Oatley's Wild Oats. She beat Russell
Crowe on Ludde Ingvall's Nicorette/ Travelex by more than an hour. But
Ludde Ingvall's Nicorette, having retired from the Hobart race is now back
in Sydney, undergoing repairs. Faster than ever with her canting keel, she
will be on the starting line on Friday.

Lynn Wright and the crew of his Après Ski - Mike Robinson and Michelle
Langlois - have been awarded US Sailing's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal for
coming to the aid of a fellow mariner in distress.

The incident occurred on September 17, 2003, when Pat Mitchell, skipper of
a Moore 24 named Free Flight, was sailing in the "Wet Wednesday" race at
the Tahoe Windjammers Yacht Club on Lake Tahoe. It was 65 degrees and the
wind was blowing at 25 knots with waves of up to four feet when Free Flight
experienced a deathroll (the boat capsized to windward until the mast hit
the water and then quickly righted itself). Mitchell fell overboard into
60-degree water without a personal floating a device.

TheAprès Ski crew dropped their jib and deployed a Lifesling to bring
Mitchell on board after he'd been in the water for nearly 20 minutes.

KWRW is still three weeks off but the Dryshirt™ has already been named the
winner of the event. Many of the serious teams have recognized that staying
dry and out of the sun's damaging rays keeps the crew fresh and less drawn
down by the real effects of exposure. The Dryshirt™ sheds water through a
recently patented 3M process while maintaining its breathable feature.
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Dryshirt™. There is still plenty of time to have your team's logo put on
the shirts and delivered before Key West. 1-(800)-354-7245 or

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed 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 Joe Erwin: I heard from my non-sailing sister-in-law who lives in
San Francisco that Mount Gay caps --- with specific regatta names
embroidered on them --- are on sale in a few shops in her area. I thought
you had to "earn" those caps by being key crew (or the owner's son) on the
boat. Is this true? If so, what's the story behind it? I hope they have not
become just another retail commodity, instead of the badge of
accomplishment, however modest, they used to be. I must say, I have seldom
felt so much power as I did at one of the NOOD's, when as a deputy PRO I
was the Mount Gay caps to distribute among the race committee. Have you
ever had a Senior Judge say to you, "Could I please have one of those Mount
Gay caps?"

* From Michael H. Koster, PHRF-Narragansett Bay Handicapper: I do not know
which PHRF area Douglas Messer hails from (Butt #1486), but in my dealings
with PHRF which include handicapping in Narragansett Bay, and also
obtaining ratings from New England and YRALIS, these areas strive to rate
boats "on demonstrated performance". It would be helpful to all PHRF
handicappers, if Mr. Messer could list the adjustments he feels are needed
to bring more casual racers back into racing. I suspect that most
handicappers would be more than willing to consider suggestions that would
enhance PHRF.

The goal of PHRF is to rate boats so that they are on a level playing field
and that tactics and boat handling should determine the final outcome of a
race. In our area, we do not rate the crews, just the boat. PHRF members
also have an appeal process available to them if they are not satisfied
with their local PHRF rating. To the best of my knowledge, even the appeal
process will look at the "demonstrated performance" for the rating in question.

For many years now, I have participated in PHRF events where rating bands
are 5-10 seconds for a class. I have also been in events where the bands
are 30-90 seconds. Typically, it is the 'attractiveness' of the event which
determines the participation numbers, not the PHRF handicaps.

* From Mark Weinheimer: I have sailed in a number of series in different
boats - one design, PHRF, Portsmouth, etc - in which one was not allowed to
drop a DSQ. Might this be an effective way to discourage "rule push" while
still allowing for relief from the random disasters which invariably occur
in a long race series? Seems simple enough to me. I also can't believe it
is possible to legislate against camping on a fellow competitor any time
during the racing - it is one of the most effective weapons in the quiver.

Lastly, the concept of reducing the last race of the Olympics to the top
seven boats in an effort to boost media ratings is absolutely repulsive. To
disallow the rest of the fleet from the most prestigious event in the world
is not only misguided, but elitist. If the medals have already been
decided, good for them. The rest of the fleet is still racing for their own
pride of place, no matter where they are in the final standings. This is
likely the biggest thrill many of these competitors will have in their
lives - representing their countries to the best of their ability - and to
winnow the fleet not only disparages them, but changes the game for the
remaining sailors. It's much easier to match race the boat you need to beat
in a smaller fleet. I thought that's what we were trying to avoid.

* From Fietje Judel: In Scuttlebutt 1486 Graham Kelly claimed that IMS is
favouring the light and fast Transpac 52´s, in England it is claimed that
IMS is favouring heavy and slow boats, in Germany a J-22 became winner of
the 2003 ranking list in class 4. Seems that IMS is not as bad as some
people say.

* From Bruce Thompson: If we reflect on the revisions to the RRS for
2001-2004 we find these facts: 1) In the effort to make the rule book less
intimidating to a novice, the revision was a failure. The book has as many
pages as its predecessor. What the novice needs is something like the old
Harken flyer with the proposed simplified right-of-way rules with
illustrations. 2) The revision obsoletes the universally accepted use of
yellow, blue and red shapes with a decided lack of visibility to the racers
from the use of flags. 3) The revision deleted the alternate starting
methods for single and multiple fleets with adverse effects on multifleet
starts. The 2003 submissions to ISAF included a pre-warning signal! The
current system is biased toward single class starts. Remember when we just
sent a fleet under general recall to the end of the line? 4) The sailing
public was just as poorly informed and consulted about the changes in the
starting techniques before they were introduced as the recent Olympic
changes. This is not record of complete success.

* From Bill Simpson: Having served as a judge for quite a while (old rules
and new rules), I disagree with some recent comments that the new rules are
"worse." Note that RRS Part 2, When Boats Meet, contains thirteen rules on
five pages. OK, rule 18 takes up two pages. But that's it. My experience is
that there are far fewer protests than before, largely because of rules 14,
15 and 16. And 18.3 helps to relieve troublesome traffic jams at the
weather mark.

As for the idea that people don't want to "go to the room," I suggest
arbitration be tried. We used an arbitration process at the J/80 Worlds at
Ft. Worth Boat Club this year very successfully. In ten races, we had a
total of 17 protests filed and we had only two hearings. The rest (88%)
were settled "outside the room" by arbitration. And all were done right
after the boats got into the harbor, well before dinner and partying. Made
for a swift settlement on all issues and was a big plus for the regatta as
a whole. (But judges with experience are needed to execute arbitration

"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are
wonderful." -Ann Landers