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SCUTTLEBUTT 1488 - December 31, 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.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers
Association (PFDMA) will be hosting a workshop at the Miami International
Boat Show to gather industry and public comment on pending legislation that
would mandate the use of PFDs on vessels under 20 feet in length, the
National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reported in a statement today.

Currently, the U.S.C.G. and National State Boating Law Administrators
(NASBLA) are working together to develop a national rule to mandate the PFD
use, according to NMMA. The National Boating Safety Advisory Committee has
recently adopted a resolution to support the efforts of the U.S.C.G. and
NASBLA. The workshop will provide an opportunity to comment on what route
the U.S.C.G. should take.

"It is imperative that industry be present at this meeting to voice their
views on the direction of this initiative," said PFDMA associate director
Bernice McArdle. "We need input, and the opinions of every attendee will
make a difference."

The workshop is scheduled for Friday, February 13, from 3-5 p.m. at the
Miami Beach Convention Center. Representatives from various industry
segments, including angling, retail and paddlesports, are expected to
deliver brief presentations on the challenges, obstacles and opportunities
facing the industry. An open discussion is then expected to be held to hear
the views and opinions from attendees, according to NMMA. - Boating Industry,

The high level of interest currently being shown in challenging various
offshore passage records is a matter of great satisfaction to the members
of the World Sailing Speed Record Council. For a number of years now,
WSSRC, which is an organization affiliated to the International Sailing
Federation, has been accepted as the official body for ratifying all
sailing speed records both inshore and offshore.

One problem we have faced several times recently is that potential record
setters seem to think that they can sail first and contact us afterwards to
obtain ratification. Of course, this is impossible because the arrangements
for timing the start and finish of any passage have to be discussed and
agreed well in advance. We have representatives in many parts of the world
who stand ready to inspect boats, interview skippers and make all the
necessary arrangements in good time but they cannot reasonably be expected
to drop everything and rush to some gale-blasted headland at a few hours
notice. In the most extreme example recently, we heard by chance about a
record attempt planned to start the following day!

There is also the small matter of payment. Time, travel and administration
inevitably cost something and although our fees are as reasonable as we can
make them, we do expect to be paid in advance as this matter can easily be
overlooked after a passage is completed - or abandoned.

To all sailors intending to challenge any sailing record may I implore you
to contact our office well in advance. We are there to help in any way we
can; we just need a little time. - John Reed Secretary to the WSSR Council,

Now that 2003 is coming to a close, we get to reflect on truly how great
the year was. With victories from Key West to Seattle, Long Island Sound to
San Diego, in both competitive one design and PHRF, our customers continued
to fulfill their sailing dreams. Ullman Sails is proud to have been a part
of their sailing season. As this year closes out and 2004 is right around
the corner, Ullman Sails would like to thank you and wish all a safe and
Happy New Year. Visit us at

Yachts representing New South Wales, Victoria and Great Britain have won
the handicap divisions of the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The
results were officially announced at a dockside ceremony in Hobart this
morning. Although two yachts are still at sea, the Race Committee said
their finishing times would not change the top standings in the IMS, IRC or
PHS handicap divisions. Of the 58 yachts that started from Sydney Harbour
on Boxing Day, three retired, one was declared a non-finisher and 50 boats
have now reached Hobart at the end of the 628 nautical mile race.

The most successful yacht in the fleet was the Beneteau 40.7 First National
Real Estate, co-skippered by Michael Spies and Peter Johnston, from the
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which conducted this 59th Sydney Hobart.
As well as winning the Tattersall's Cup as Overall Winner (the IMS yacht
with the lowest corrected time), First National Real Estate, has placed
first overall in the IRC handicap division. She won both IMS and IRC
Division C.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race web site recorded three times the usage
of last year's site with 5.13 million page impressions, which translates
into approximately 600,000 independent user sessions between Christmas Day
and midday Tuesday. The ability to track the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
fleet in real time was a great hit with electronic spectators.

Complete results:

Many million-dollar ocean racing yachts are sailing in the Sydney-Hobart
uninsured because premiums are too costly or unobtainable, according to
line-honours winner Skandia's skipper Grant Wharington. Wharington said
yesterday that he had sailed Skandia - a new super-maxi with an estimated
value of $5 - $8 million - without cover during the past three days.

The civil-construction builder from Melbourne's bayside suburb of
Mornington acknowledged he was taking a huge risk, but said there seemed no
alternative for a sailor such as himself. "We tried insurance companies in
Australia and Europe and we've got a pretty clean track record," he said.
"We haven't had a claim for 15 years or something. But you ring up
insurance companies and say you want to insure your boat and they just say,
'Ocean racing, forget it'."

Hence, Wharington said, in his yacht's case it was simply not possible to
get cover. "I think maybe one company came back with $700,000 for the race,
and we said, 'No thanks'," he said. Insurance cost is a growing issue for
the organizers of Australia's best-known yacht race, who this year saw
entries drift to a low of 56 - the smallest number for 30 years. - Andrew
Darby, full story:

* The fleet for North America's largest keelboat regatta has fallen into
place with the posting of PHRF class breaks for Terra Nova Trading Key West
2004, presented by Nautica. A wide variety of 112 handicap boats from 24 to
75 feet will compete in 11 classes, the most ever. They are among 296 total
entries to date, complementing 184 one-design boats. The class breaks,
individual boat handicaps, complete entry lists and much more information
may be seen at:

* Sneak Preview: Since October, Sailing World magazine's Tony Bessinger has
been photographing the progress of the new Farr-designed Transpac 52,
Esmeralda being built at Goetz Custom Boats in Bristol, R.I. Those photos
are now on-line:

OS4 features a NMEA translator module allowing direct connection of a GPS
or other NMEA output instrument system. For the first time, you don't have
to have an onboard Ockam system to put (some of) the power of OckamSoft in
your hands. Plot courses on Maptech BSB charts, turn your computer's screen
into a custom instrument display, and analyze data on multiple function
stripcharts. Fully functional modules will run in timeout mode, with easy
screen-prompted full registration. OS4 everybody. Get ready for Ockam on
your boat - OS4 can be downloaded at

If GBR Challenge is to cut the mustard in Valencia in 2007 then in addition
to Peter Harrison's backing they need commercial support too. Coordinating
the drive to find this is the British campaign's Head of Sponsorship and
Marketing, Leslie Ryan. A significant change of tack in Ryan's approach to
rounding up corporate backing this time has been to part delegate it. "One
of the key issues we identified was that we needed to get a partner on
board in terms of a good sponsorship adviser and sales team. Hence we are
working with Apace. That has made a big difference to me. To do this job
properly you need to know the sponsorship market inside out."

The sponsor hunting team at West London-based sports marketing company
Apace is led by Judith le Fleming who has a background in Formula One.
There will be more on Fleming in a subsequent article, but suffice it to
say she is extremely credible in the sponsor hunting world. Aside from
Apace's activities Ryan says that they developed a great many leads during
the previous Cup cycle. "There are a whole lot of companies we spoke to
last time," says Ryan. "And even if the response at the time was 'no', it
was usually a pretty positive 'no' in the sense of it being interesting,
but it was too far away, too soon - there was always a 'but'. So I was
quite enthusiastic at the end of the last Cup because I knew if I phoned up
those people again they would definitely listen because the Cup is coming
to Europe." - The Daily Sail, full story:

Wellington, New Zealand (AP) - A solo British rower rescued from the South
Pacific last month after a severe storm grabbed his oars may have to hand
over his boat to help fund the rescue operation, authorities said Dec. 12.
Jim Shekhdar was plucked from stormy seas as he attempted to become the
first person to row from New Zealand to South Africa in his 26-foot rowboat
Hornette. It was his second attempt and rescue.

Even if the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, which
diverted one of its ships to rescue the rower, does give Shekhdar back his
boat, maritime authorities have said they will likely ban him from
launching a fresh attempt at the 9,000-mile voyage. The agency wants to
claim the boat as salvage and may use it to help cover part of the cost of
rescuing Shekhdar. The flight of the Orion spotter plane that guided the
rescue ship to Shekhdar cost US$64,500.

The veteran rower and his boat were plucked from the ocean 750 miles east
of New Zealand after a storm left him bobbing helplessly in sub-Antarctic
seas. The journey had been expected to take seven-to-12 months. Local media
reported Shekhdar as saying he does not think the boat can be considered
salvage as it was not abandoned and was still seaworthy. He was planning to
have it shipped back to Britain. "Obviously there's a cost to do a rescue
like this, but you can't squeeze blood out of a stone," he said. - The Log,
full story:

We here at Scuttlebutt feel pretty lucky to have the support from what we
believe to be a great group of suppliers. Pretty much anything you need to
have to be involved in the sport of sailing is advertised in the
Scuttlebutt newsletter, and also included in the "Club Suppliers" section
of the website:

(Matthew Sheahan has an interesting story on the Yachting World website
about stepping the 300 foot mast on the world's largest sailing sloop,
Mirabella V. Here's a brief excerpt.)

Dressed with all her standing rigging the huge structure was an impressive
sight as it dangled over the quay, suspended from a single point. The
possibility of a failure now simply didn't bear thinking about. Just one of
the genoa furling units weighs 7 tonnes (and that doesn't include the
foil), keeping this strapped to the mast as it was raised through 90
degrees was a task in itself, let alone keeping control of all the other
rigging and components. Little wonder that the maximum wind speed for the
stepping operation was set at 15 knots at masthead height.

By 10am the mast was ready to be craned out over the water before being
suspended over Mirabella V's deck. From there the next operation was to
drag the two massive forestay units forward ready for connection to the
deck, while at the same time balancing the rig in the fore and aft plane.
Pulling around 15 tonnes of equipment forward is a delicate operation that
once again requires careful planning and execution. - Matthew Sheahan,
Yachting World

Full story:

Everyone involved with the daily production and distribution of Scuttlebutt
wishes our readers a great holiday, and a healthy, happy and peaceful 2004.
Our next issue will be on Monday, January 5.

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 John Rumsey: In Antigua a number of years ago the Mount Gay rep
tried a new method to distribute the hats, after finding he didn't have
enough hats to go around. At the Mount Gay party, after a few rums had been
served, he had the hats dropped from a helicopter and fortunately no one
died in the malay. I fortunately got one of the hats, Antigua "90"

* From Roger Strube: During the last Regatta Time In Abaco (A.D.A. Abaco
Race Week) I sailed the Mount Gay parties began before the races ended.
Many skippers and crew were at the end of the rum drink/ hat line behind
the 14 and 15 year old children of tourists staying in the local hotels. As
the sun went down drunken kids had the hats, many sailors did not. Finding
the hats in shops does not surprise me. If you raced and have the hat,
enjoy wearing it but don't expect anyone else to believe you actually raced
in the event or that the hat has value. Would anyone believe Captain Ron
steered the Saratoga if he wore the hat? Mount Gay supports racing (thanks)
and advertises their product. I'll buy the Rum but not the hat.

* From Art LeVasseur: It doesn't matter what set of rules you use if the
average sailor don't bother to read them. As a US Sailing judge I hear many
protests from local area races and It is shocking how ill informed many
boat owners are when they show up for a protest hearing. Invariably one of
the parties "cooks his own goose" without realizing it by attesting to a
set of facts that make it clear he broke a rule.

The number of times I have had to make a tough call on who to believe in
the hearing room are few and far between. The owner thinks he lost the
protest because the other guy lied and was believed. The truth is the other
guy didn't have to say anything because the uninformed owner made the case
for him.

* From Blake Middleton: Bruce Thompson's comments ('Butt 1487) on the loss
of what used to be called "System 2" for starting multiple fleets is right
on. As Race Manager and PRO for two Minnesota yacht clubs, I looked into
the logistics of using the standard "new" Rule 26 several years ago, and
concluded that with as many as 130 boats on the line for a typical Lake
Minnetonka race in 11 fleets using 7 starts (some fleets combined) at 3
minute intervals, the existing Rule 26 would have required sound signals
(gun, horn or whistle) every single minute for 24 straight minutes, plus
enough one armed paper hangers (to handle multiple class/ preparatory
flags) to sink our signal boat. It gives me a headache just to think about
what a total disaster that would be!

Both Yacht Clubs voted to rewrite our Sailing Instructions, amending Rule
26 to use the "old" language and the sailors (the people we do this for)
are grateful! If ISAF wants to make some changes, how about considering
adding back the old "tried and true System 2" option in the next revision? ;)

* From Graham Kelly: I think the best regatta for quick handling of
protests is the Gollison-North Sails Race Week at Long Beach California,
where a number of innovations speed the hearings along. First, there is a
"time limit" for protest hearings, which limits each party to five minutes,
which effectively limits the long-winded sea lawyers. Of course, the judges
have authority to waive the limit, but it really moves things along.

Second, each hearing is convened with two judges. The competitors have the
option of accepting an arbitration penalty until the first non-party
witness is called, at which point the proceeding turns into a protest, with
a DSQ as the penalty. The same judges conduct the entire hearing, from
start to finish, which keeps people from changing their stories. In my
experience, this expedited procedure really speeds things up, and it is
often surprising who decides to "fold" and accept an arbitration penalty
before calling witnesses.

One key is that the judges have broad latitude to permit the parties to
develop their stories. With lots of judges, we have resolved over twenty
hearings in less than 2 1/2 hours. This also seems to encourage offenders
to take a penalty on the course, since the expedited procedures make it
more likely that they will be protested if they do not.

The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures. -