Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1506 - January 28, 2004

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.

(An editorial by Andrew Hurst, editor of Seahorse magazine.)

After the euphoria justified following the announcement of progress by
the Rule Working Party, international opinion quickly swung against the
RWP's philosophical 'first draft'. While there is not space here to debate
why a new VPP-based rule should be any better than the old one (IMS), the
point is that another VPP-based (even remotely based) system just will not
sell. And that should be the main indeed the only concern from now on.

The RWP has made great efforts and the stakeholders have invested heavily
in the first serious new initiative in offshore handicap racing for over 20
years. For this they should be applauded (numerous skilled raceboat
builders now building modular buildings and shower trays are justification
enough for the RWP's efforts). I return, however, to Seahorse's principal
request of the RWP, which was in no way meant to be frivolous, that to be
successful a new Grand Prix rule must fit on one side of A4. We stand by
this claim, and the reaction we have had to the possibility of another
VPP-based rule from readers around the world suggests that we are right.

If the new rule does not differ drastically from its predecessors, then
owners will stick with their one-designs and their cruiser-racers (racing
under IRC, Scandicap, PHRF and so on). They will not risk serious money by
building a new boat to a rating system that is linked as if by contagion
to IMS. It does not matter how good a new VPP-based rule is it will not

The RWP absolutely must now adopt the concept of a single-number system and
then do what it can to make that system desirable. Hindsight or not, flawed
or not, the single-number IOR system gave us the best offshore handicap
competition of the modern era. IMS never came close. And as for the valiant
but inevitably doomed attempt at IMS-based level rating, ILC remember that?

IMS will and should continue for those who want it. But the rest of the
racing world will not be drawn off the fence by a rehash (even if it is
only perceived) of something they have already rejected. The work so far
has definitely not been wasted, but the RWP now needs to take two steps
back: a tight box rule good; simple fast boats very good; multiple
handicaps with race officers checking the windspeed (again) forget it. A
tape measure and a set of scales: it will not require any more than this to
measure the sort of offshore raceboat that people will actually buy
rather than just talk about. - Andrew Hurst, Seahorse magazine,

There has been rumors and discussion for some time about the future of
"open class" racing within sanctioned Hobie Class regattas. We now have the
official word from IHCA (International Hobie Class Association), NAHCA
(North American Hobie Class Association) and the Hobie Cat Company.

To sum it up, IHCA has notified NAHCA that it is violating IHCA rules by
allowing non-Hobie catamarans in sanctioned events. Hobie Cat Company
agrees with the IHCA position, and NAHCA has now agreed to eliminate open
class racing from it's events after 2004. -, to read
letters from each organization:

Francis Joyon, currently steaming around the world aboard his 90ft
trimaran, IDEC, is looking more and more likely to break the non-stop,
single-handed global sailing record. After his 65th day at sea and
approximately 2,400 miles to go, Joyon's aim is to break the current record
of 93d 3h 57m 32s set by Michel Desjoyeux during the 2000/1 Vendee Globe
sailing his Finot-designed Open. - Sue Pelling, Yachting World,

* Things aren't running quite to plan though as he explained during the
morning radio session. "I've noticed that there is a hole in my port float.
I'm not worried about it but it would be rather good if I could fix it." -,

When did yachting become an Olympic event? (Answer below)

Campbell Field now heads Ockam in Europe. He's a respected sailor (just
back from Key West last week), navigator and instrumentation expert, and as
Ockam's authorized distributor offers full sales and service: from both the
Ockam Europe office in Lymington and through a quickly growing dealer
network in Europe's primary sailing centers. Whether cruising or racing,
based in Europe or visiting, contact Campbell by email,
or visit

The first day of the Rolex Miami OCR was cut short for most of the 11
classes competing when a rain squall bearing high, shifty winds rolled down
Biscayne Bay at mid-day. With six racecourses utilized in six different
areas, some classes were affected more drastically by the surprise
conditions than others. "The water was foaming," said US Sailing Team Coach
Skip Whyte, who was on the 470 course where several of the boats purposely
capsized to avoid wind damage to their rigs and one signal boat reported a
waterspout hitting it. "The gusts felt like bowling balls coming at you."

Nevertheless, scores tallied - even if it was for one race - were important
for all 11 Olympic and Paralympic classes competing here. The Rolex Miami
OCR, in its 15th year, has attracted 503 sailors representing over 35
countries. It is one of the largest regattas of its kind in the U.S. and is
serving as a qualifying event for some countries in their determination of
Olympic and Paralympic representatives for Athens 2004. In other cases, the
event is serving as elite-level practice for athletes already chosen for
the Olympics.

One sailor who falls in the latter category, along with Sweden's Fredrik
Loof and France's Xavier Rohart, is Great Britain's Ian Percy, who had an
"untroubled start" in the Star class's single race and led Mark Reynolds,
USA's gold medallist from 2000, around the course to win. "Those are the
easy races, when you're out in front," said Percy. "Being in Miami for this
event is a no-brainer," he said, with a nod to the many world champions
competing. "Because of the quality competition, you have to be here, and
most of the Star sailors from around the world come here in mid-December
and stay through the winter."

The Finn sailors, on the same course as the 470 and 49er sailors, got to
their last downwind leg in the second race before half the fleet capsized.
Denmark's Jonas Hoegh Christensen, a defending champion here and his
country's leading contender for a Finn Olympic berth, had worked his way to
third after handily winning today's first race. The 1996 Finn Gold medalist
Mateaus Kusznierewicz follows the Dane in second overall.

Topping the Tornados today was Argentina's Santiago Lange after posting
finish positions of 1-3. Close on his heels is USA's Lars Guck, only one
point behind in total points. This fleet, too, is deep with talent, with
Lange having finished top-five at the 2003 Tornado Worlds, along with Great
Britain's Olympic representative Leigh McMillan (19th after today) and
Germany's Roland Gaebler (third after today). Roman Hagara, who recently
won the Tornado North Americans, is in sixth after today, while USA's 2000
Olympians Johnny Lovell and Charlie Ogletree, who finished second at the
North Americans, are in seventh.

In the 62 boat Laser Class Peer Moberg (NOR) has a five point lead over
Bernard Luttmer (CAN), while Mark Mendelblatt is the top USA boat in fifth
place. And Sally Barkow (USA) leads the tough 17-boat Yngling class. -
Media Pro Int'l,

Curmudgeon's Comment: We've just heard from Paul Cayard that in the Star
class's second race, that was subsequently abandoned, " three boats were
caught by the black flag and won't be allowed to start race 2 when it goes
off at 11:00 tomorrow. They were Ian Percy, Eric Doyle and Bob Schofield.
Tomorrow's forecast is 15-20 knots from the west. It will be a lot cooler
65 for the high. The committee will try to get back on schedule so we will
probably have three races tomorrow."

* The first International Symposium on Motorboats and Sailing Yacht Design
and Production to be held in Spain, will be hosted by the School of Naval
Architecture and Ocean Engineering of Madrid on March 25-26, 2004. The
Technical Committee has selected the papers that will be presented during
the two day sessions. They show a very interesting review on the state of
the art of the naval design of the highest technical level. The papers can
be presented both in English or Spanish and a simultaneous translation
system will be available for the technical sessions.

* During Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004 Michael Hoey, sailing on
Chippewa, responded to a man in cardiac arrest. Unfortunately the man
passed away. Hoey believes that if he had access to an Automated External
Defibrillator (AED) this man's chances of surviving would have increased as
much as 90%. So, as of the March 5th Heineken Regatta, Chippewa & Equation
will have these units on board. Hoey invites any other yachts interested in
obtaining an AED to e-mail him for details. It's a very small investment. -

* The instructors for this year's California International Sailing
Association's annual Advanced Racing Clinic include Olympic medallists
Charlie McKee, JJ Isler and Pease Glaser, along with Kevin Hall, Zack
Leonard, Simon Cooke, Mike Anderson, Rob Dean, Nick Adamson, Brian Doyle,
Peter Alarie, Andrew Lewis, John Torgerson, Carisa Harris, Adam Deermount
and Jon Rogers. The program will consist of morning lectures and evening
programs scheduled around on-the-water drills. Tactics, sail trim and the
financial and personal demands of an Olympic campaign are included in the
curriculum. The deadline for applications is this Sunday, February 1. -

* Jason White has been promoted to Associate Publisher of World
Publications' Cruising World, Sailing World and Power Cruising. In his new
role with the three magazines, as well as with the company's NOOD Regatta
series, White will drive the marine sales effort for print ads, on-line
projects and sponsorship opportunities. White served as the Advertising
Director for the past two years after starting his career with the
magazines in 1995 as a regional sales manager. Before that, he worked for
Lewmar Marine and International Marine Industries.

* Ranger, a re-creation of the legendary J-Class yacht that won the 1937
America's Cup, will race in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005. The
event, hosted by the NYYC with the cooperation of England's Royal Yacht
Squadron, is for the world's largest monohull yachts. The minimum size is
70 feet (21.34m) length on deck. There is no maximum size. Eleven yachts
have already expressed their intention to enter, including the 140-foot
Mari-Cha IV and Sumurun (94-feet). Ranger measures 136 feet overall. -

* Commanders' Weather Corporation announced a partnership with Weather
Predict, Inc to provide the patented Global Super Ensemble Weather model to
the sailing community. The Super Ensemble model was developed by the
scientists at Florida State University and Weather Predict, Inc to
incorporate the local and regional strengths of various global weather
forecast models into 1 global Super Ensemble model. The model output is
checked, verified, and improved by Weather Predict, Inc, on a daily basis
to perfect the output from the various weather display and routing software
packages. /

* Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton has said the syndicate
would decide by March 31 whether to challenge (for the America's Cup). - NZ

You know that favorite jacket you always grab when you head down to the
boat? It's time to retire the jacket, because Henri Lloyd has introduced
the Escape Jacket, which has everything you liked about your old jacket,
plus Henri Lloyd's exclusive Laminated fabric technology. The Escape Jacket
is 100% waterproof, durable, and one of the most breathable jackets you can
buy. With an adjustable hood, the Escape Jacket is built to keep the wet
and cold out when you're afloat, and it will keep you looking good when you
step ashore, too. Try it on at:

Yachting became an Olympic event at the 1896 Games in Greece.

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 Guy P. Brierre: Lee Jerry ('Butt 1505) claims that the crewman in
Key West is violating RRS 49.2 by leaning outboard of the lifeline as a
"human spinnaker pole". RRS 49.2 says that "...When lifelines are required
by the class rules or the sailing instructions ... competitors shall not
position any part of their torsos outside them, except briefly to perform a
necessary task." Mr. Jerry is incorrect in his assumption that the picture
proves his point, because a picture cannot tell you how "briefly" the crew
is performing this "necessary task". Bowmen on big boats often go to the
end of the spinnaker pole, well outside the lifelines, to perform a
necessary task. This crewman is performing a necessary task, the question
left unanswered by the picture is how briefly.

* From Tim Prophit: Uh, that Key West photo in the Scuttlebutt Gallery
shows the "human guy" move....which is a 'brief' condition whilst preparing
for the douse. RRS 49.2 clearly allows this. And, it has been legal to fly
a chute without a pole for some time now.

* From John Hopper: What part of "...except briefly to perform a necessary
task." does Lee E. Jerry not understand? The "Human Guy" has always been a
routine task "briefly" performed on every floater takedown. No infraction
of the rules here, just well choreographed crew work.

* From Gareth Evans: (re 'human guy' - Rule 49.2) I think the key thing
here is the word "briefly" in the rule ("except briefly to perform a
necessary task"). The question is, how long is briefly? ISAF Case 36 states
that the crew member was leaning over the guard rail in an illegal position
for "several minutes". Clearly this is unacceptable.

Case 83 states that it is acceptable to lean outboard "only to perform a
task that could not reasonably be carried out from within the lifelines".
It goes on to say "that the torso must be moved inboard as soon as the task
is completed". In my experience in many years of racing as mastman a 38'
yacht, I have performed the act under discussion ("human pole") a number of
times. The act of removing the spinaker pole only takes a few seconds, and
the guy is then pulled inboard by myself to perform a windward spinaker
drop. It could be argued that I need to reach outboard to get the guy to
perform the drop correctly. If however, the crew member is holding out the
sail for an extended period, this is clearly an illegal act. I am unaware
of any boats being disqualified for carrying out this action, or any ISAF
cases directly relating to it.

* From Jim Champ: In 'Butt 1505 Howard Hamlin discussed whether the 18-foot
skiff or the 49er was the hardest dingy in the world to sail, but he
probably should have expanded his thoughts to include a Twelve footer or a
modern International Moth? The people I know who've sailed all of them
mostly seem to consider that the faster reactions required by the small
boats make them more challenging than the problems of controlling the
inertia of the large ones. But they're certainly different challenges. And
this is assuming that "difficult to sail" means "difficulty in getting the
boat round the track without swimming".

* From Craig Coulsen: In relation to the comments made by Eric Camiel and
Giancarlo Basile in respect to a competitors obligation in a man overboard
situation it seems few sail boat racers understand their obligations. As
competitors in an ISAF race the obligation cannot be clearer. RRS 1.1
states a boat or competitor shall give all possible help to a person or
vessel in danger. A person in the water in the middle of a racing fleet
(particularly a large one design or keel boat fleet) is a person in danger
especially if the wind and sea is up or the water cold. The obligation to
assist is not to give practicable or reasonable assistance but all
assistance. Failure to give all assistance is a breach of a fundamental
rule and a gross breach of a rule and therefore the proper subject of a RRS
69 report and action by a national authority.

Further remembering that in the eyes of the local law we are masters of a
vessel before we are skippers of a racing yacht, local laws are also likely
to have application. In my local jurisdiction, a man overboard is defined
as a "marine incident" which can carry a fine for the master of the vessel
while the failure to report a man overboard incident is also punishable by
a fine or imprisonment. National authorities have to confront this issue
and be seen to promote safety in the sport before local marine authorities
start exercising their own powers more robustly.

* From Andrew Troup, Christchurch, New Zealand: Ray Tostado warns that,
"What was once National Pride has now become personal vanity and wealth."
Surely, from its inception, the America's Cup was at least as much about
wealth as it remains today, and personal vanity became a major factor -
certainly for the challengers - almost immediately? Maybe some qualified
person could comment on the importance of personal vanity and wealth versus
national pride, in the case of the 100 Guineas Cup.

It is not clear whether Ray subscribes to the (nowadays) common practice of
rewriting history, predating the America's Cup to precede the winning
performance of the 'yacht' (not nation) whose name it took. It is my
understanding that the perpetual challenge, which we know as the America's
Cup contest, was conceived six years after Cowes.

As to the "two boat showdown" question Ray raises, surely this has been the
norm throughout the history of the AC? The first two America's Cup contests
followed the precedent of the 100 Guinea Cup, pitting the challenger
against a whole fleet of defenders. One of these ran into and damaged
Cambria, the first challenger for the America's Cup proper, in the only
race. The Cup has since been and remains a "two boat showdown". It was
never a proper "fleet race", because of the huge discrepancy of forces in
favour of the defender.

Whether it should remain a two-boat showdown, and the selection mechanism
for those two boats, is another question, but wealth has always been an
indispensable precondition.

We've just heard that Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller
Brush, and W.R. Grace Company will merge, and become ... Hale, Mary,
Fuller, Grace.