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SCUTTLEBUTT 1517 - February 12, 2004

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digest of major yacht racing news, commentary, opinions, features and dock
talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
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welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

(The US Sailing website has posted an interview with Star sailors Mark
Reynolds and Steve Erickson who recently won the Rolex Miami Olympic
Classes Regatta. Reynolds is a three time Star Olympic Medallist and a two
time Star World Champion, while Erickson is an Olympic Gold Medallist
(1984) in the Star class and a two time Star World Champion. Here's an
excerpt from that interview.)

Sailing Medallist: Steve, how did you and Mark come to be teammates?

Steve Erickson: Mark gave me a call, shortly after I had been coaching him,
Philippe Kahn and Freddi Loof at the North American Championship, in San
Francisco, last October. Mark asked if I would be interested in doing the
trials with him, and suggested it would be a good interim project for me,
between Americas Cup Campaigns.

SM: The two of you have only been sailing together for a relatively short
period of time. How have you managed to click as a team so quickly?

Erickson: Firstly, be careful of defining our time together, as "relatively
short." We sailed together in the '83 Pacific Coast Championship (2nd) and
the '93 Miami Olympic Classes Regatta (1st). Looks like we check in with
one another, about every decade. Seriously, we have been friends for quite
some time. Mark was hugely instrumental in the sail development of Bill
Buchan and my '84 Olympic success. Mark's demeanor is a pleasure to work
around, and an inspiration others could learn from.

SM: Mark, you won a World Championship and an Olympic Gold medal sailing
with Magnus Liljedahl, but you've recently teamed up with the equally
successful Steve Erickson. What's the reason behind the change in teammates?

Mark Reynolds: There is no question that Magnus is one of the best crews in
the World, maybe the best. Our results last season weren't stellar for one
reason or another and so I thought that perhaps a change was needed. It
wasn't an easy decision but I thought a bit of a fresh approach might help
and a crew can certainly bring that. It's got me thinking about some new
things, which is always good.

SM: It must be difficult for a new team to jell so quickly. How have the
two of you pulled it off?

Reynolds: Steve has a lot of Star experience and we've sailed together in
the past. We first sailed together in 1983, before he won his gold medal.
Last time we sailed together we won the Miami OCR in 1993. I guessed that
we could get it together pretty quickly but we still have a ways to go to
really reach our potential. Hopefully we have enough time.

You can read the full interview in US Sailing's February Sailing Medallist:

Both Cheyenne and Geronimo reported in this morning, but again with
different stories. Whilst the French trimaran clocked up another solid 393
mile 24 hour run, an average of 16.4 knots, the big American cat is still
looking for solid wind and is now a full day behind Orange's virtual
position on the same day. Geronimo too has slipped behind the record
holder, only underlying just what a blistering pace Peyron set in 2002.
With Cheyenne giving their position as 246 miles west of Lanzarote at 0510
GMT this morning, they did record a good mileage yesterday and are still
hopeful of making the Equator in 8 days and so still on track for a
potential record. However, Geronimo has closed the gap between them by 198
miles. Yachting World, full story:

* At the end of their second day at sea, Olivier de Kersauson and the crew
of Geronimo are putting an excellent performance having covered just over
840 miles in 48 hours. They are well ahead of the relative position Steve
Fossett and Cheyenne were at this time, but behind Jules Verne Trophy
record holders, Bruno Peyron and Orange (yellow smiley face). But how long
will this last? They are now coming up to the latitude of Gibraltar and the
forecast shows the big trimaran slowly being headed. She will then have to
pass through a transition zone before entering into the Trades - so a much
slower day is expected Wednesday. Rumours are at present rife in France
that de Kersauson has turned back. - The Daily Sail, full story:

* Cheyenne, Steve Fossett's 125' foot catamaran finished her 4th day on the
RTW sailing record course Wednesday morning just over a day behind the
virtual 2002 position of Orange. Skipper Steve Fossett reports briefly at
1710 GMT Wednesday on the past 24 Hour's westing: "Sailing West, we have
crossed the zone of weakest winds. Wind speeds are now back over 10 knots
and should steadily climb to 15-20. The Blast Reacher repair is complete -
after 24 hours of sewing the head of the sail back on. Now we are feeling
better about the days to come." A potential major breakage was averted this
morning when, during the rig check at first light, Guillermo Altadill
discovered that the pin connecting the cap shroud had worked half way out.

* Bruno Peyron's new maxi-catamaran Orange II was christened Wednesday
morning in La Trinité sur mer. Almost 38 metres (124 feet) long and 17 (56
feet) wide with a mast reaching up to almost 50 metres above the water, she
is not the biggest in the world, but certainly capable of being the fastest
around the planet. With the christening ceremony over, the boat went back
out early in the afternoon. "All of the supplies have been stowed on board
and we can set sail (for a Jules Verne record attempt) as soon as we have
finished the sea trails," said skipper, Peyron.

"As initially planned, our aim is still to be ready and waiting from the
15th February. I cannot forget that two other giants are already at sea and
that they have every chance of smashing our current record. I must not
forget either that until now, only four crews have obtained the Jules Verne
out of 13 attempts in all. The match is open and is not without danger ...
but you can be certain that if we have the chance to bring it home for the
third time, we will achieve that, and Marseilles will have found its
rightful place with this Jules Verne Trophy that is so jealously desired,"
Peyron concluded.

The awards keep coming for Samson ICE heat resistant cover. Sailors and
riggers have been singing the praises of ICE for its ability to resist heat
and abrasion in the toughest conditions. Now SAIL magazine, in its February
Top Gear issue, has recognized ICE as some of "the best and brightest new
gear." For 2004 our ICE cover has been called the "hottest new item in
high-tech rigging." Thank you, Sail magazine, that means a lot to us. Call
Samson or your local rigger to see how a little ICE can cool things down.-

A significant political complication with Fossett's bid for the outright
round the world record is that technically he is not going for the Jules
Verne Trophy. Although ostensibly the same, in fact they are not. "The
Jules Verne Trophy is the Trophy. The record is the round the world
record," says Fossett. "We're going for the official round the world record
which is certified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. We would be
very pleased if they present us with the Jules Verne Trophy, as they have
presented previous round the world record breakers.

"The complication is that their rules call for a payment in order to be
eligible for the trophy and for your first year of eligibility it is 30,000
Euros, for any subsequent years to be eligible it is 11,000 Euros. I've
told them I'm willing to pay what my competitors are paying. Olivier and
Bruno would be paying 11,000 this year and I said I'd pay that too. They
have not accepted that offer. "I don't think that is the end of the
discussion. Of course, we'd have to break the record first. If we were to
break the record I'm sure there would be another discussion over our
eligibility to receive the trophy." Other parties (other than Fossett, we
should point out) have questioned exactly what Jules Verne Trophy
competitors get for this money. - Excerpt from a story posted on The Daily
Sail website, full story:

Bruce Schwab, has been working 80 hour weeks preparing for his role as the
only American entering the grueling Vendee Globe, a punishing non-stop,
around the world race that starts in France, on November 7, 2004. Schwab,
who finished fifth in his class in the last Around Alone, has been holed up
in Maine, working every day, in space donated by Phineas Sprague, owner of
Portland Yacht Services. Schwab, finished the race on a financial
shoestring, but has a large and loyal following of supporters who have been
dropping in from all over the country, for days or weeks at a time, to help
work on the program to lighten Ocean Planet by 500 pounds, one of many
projects undertaken in the effort to get all systems ready for the start of
the Vendee Globe.

Among the volunteers who have pitched in to keep the projects moving along
are a schoolteacher, computer programmer, a carpenter, and a nurse
practitioner. The tasks are many and varied. Bruce views the Around Alone
in some ways as an around the world shakedown cruise, and came away with a
list of improvements he wants to make in virtually every system onboard. -
Jonathan Wye,

Last year, the performance of three different boat types was tracked at
three regattas conducted at three separate venues. In Long Beach (CA) at
the Cal 25 Nationals, the winning boat was One Time (Art & Scott
Melendres). At Whidby Island Race Week (WA), the Olsen 30 J/Bird IV (Dave
Janes) was a class winner. In San Diego (CA) sailing J/105's, the San Diego
YC defeated St Francis YC in match racing. In each case, Ullman Sails was
the performance variable for the winner. Let Ullman Sails show you the
affordability of the "Fastest Sails on the Planet."-

* The Bruce Kirby-designed Sonar has been inducted into the American
Sailboat Hall of Fame The selection committee included Bill Schanen of
Sailing Magazine, John Burnham of Sailing World, Charles Mason of Sail, and
the board of directors of Sail America. This is the second Kirby design to
be so honored - the ubiquitous Laser was previously inducted. -

* The US Olympic trials begin today for the Europe, Finn, 49er and the
Tornado classes. The competitors will have a couple of days of measuring
before the racing starts on Saturday. The trials conclude on Sunday,
February 22.

* AC Rumor Mill: From the very first mention of an 'Arabian prince' in
November (with Paul Cayard and the Monaco Yacht Club), the rumours mills
are spinning overtime churning out speculation after speculations. Now, the
Spanish newspaper Las Provincias said the new Spanish Challenge has
obtained €40 million from an Abu Dhabi's Emir, who doesn't intend to be
display neither his name nor any of his international companies as sponsor
on the boat. According to the same newspaper, an announcement is expected
on February 20 from the Real club nautico de Barcelona. - Cup in Europe

* After two fine days sailing downwind, in a strong, steady wind, Jean-Luc
Van Den Heede's 84-foot aluminum cutter Adrien is now stuck in a rut. "The
wind is sluggish and variable… In other words, the sails are flapping
miserably, the spinnaker is all over the place, so I have to watch all that
very closely. VDH is now just 5,504 miles from the finish, having covered
207 miles in the last 24 hours. He is now 26 days and 6 hours ahead of
Monnet's record -

Daniela Ferdico and Paul Faget race on the same boat in Seattle. When they
decided to get married, the people they sail with suggested 'tying the
knot' at the Bitter End Yacht Club during the week of the Pro-Am Regatta.
Daniela, who is a wedding planner, liked the idea. So they invited a bunch
of friends who eagerly joined the couple in the BVI last November, as did
the owners of the boat they race on … who were repeat guests.

During the week before the wedding took place, Daniela crewed for Russell
Coutts, and they won the Pro Am. At the same time, Paul sailed in
Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championships, and won the top amateur prize -
which is a return trip to BEYC to defend his title. So the couple will
return for Pro-Am week again this November, with their new baby - which
they determined was conceived at the Bitter End YC. They've requested the
same room.

Interestingly, while Daniela and Paul were at the BEYC they met Kelly and
Mike Priest who were honeymooning there - appropriate considering they'd
met at the Pro-Am Regatta two years earlier.

It would be foolish to underestimate the romance of sailing . . .

How about sweet deals on nautical photography? Save 15% on Onne van der
Wal's hottest photos, from timeless classics to the latest racing shots in
various sizes. The sale runs February 13-16 in his Newport Gallery or shop
online. Nautical prints, calendars and notecards make great valentines
gifts. -

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 Dobbs Davis (edited to our 250-word limit): I fear by publishing Mr
Wade's letter inviting comments on RRS 16 you'll be re-opening a debate we
had a few years ago in the last RRS cycle. Having been on both sides of the
table (competitor and juror) trying to sort through the nuances of the old
'hold your course' rule and the new 'keep clear' rule, I have to say the
new rule is better: right of way boats have to give the give way boats room
to keep clear. This is simple and makes sense. But under the old rule, the
conditions placed on this led to what I can remember as many hours spent
trying to establish who held their course in crossing situations, even when
puffy conditions may have made that difficult or impossible for the right
of way boat.

And with regards to the new rule, I've always been opposed to RRS 16.2 as
being redundant with 16.1. While I have great respect for the time and
effort made by the RRS committee members who try and craft simple,
applicable, and relevant rules, in my view RRS 16.2 was an unnecessary
add-on to the simple elegance of RRS 16.1: "When a right of way boat
changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear." With a
good jury, I think this rule could be fairly applied in any context,
without the undo complication contained in RRS 16.2.

* From Scott Diamond: In response to Marc Fountain and his comment that you
have a 50/50 chance of being thrown out in a protest whether right or
wrong, I agree with the odds, even mentioned it in a class I taught, but
the reason for the 50/50 chance is as much because of poorly presented
cases by the participants as much as it is an ill conceived system.

* From: Philippe Herve (In response to Jim Champ on the white boat
comment,): Using a white boat may be seen to you as cheating. Not returning
when OCS is not cheating, it is called being disqualified. Have you ever
driven a red convertible? If you have, you know that when driving with the
flow of traffic at exactly the same speed as every car around you, you are
the one that will get picked up by the police for illegal speeding or other
random paper control.

If I was to sail again one design on a very crowded start line, I would
definitely have a boat of a color that match the rest of the fleet. Not to
cheat but to be sure that I am not arbitrarily picked up. I am convinced
that some highly visible boats are marked OCS simply because they stand
out, not necessarily because they cut the start line too early.

The day that start lines will be videotaped will be the day I will switch
back to a boat color that stands out from the fleet. And yes, I have worked
on race committee and I believe that I was always right in the calls I made
on OCS boats but I am unfortunately only human...

* From Rob Dexter: About 20 years ago, Thistle builder Andy Fox set out to
test the white boat blending in theroy by painting his Thistle bright
orange. The thought was that if he was OCS he would be called back sooner
then the boats that were difficult to identify. During a start at the
Atlantic Coasts he was picked out as being OCS. The other boats around him
that he felt were also OCS were never called back. The next regatta his
boat was once again all white.

* From Andrew Burton: Before Vanguard is castigated more for what was
obviously a joke go and look at your local Laser fleet. You will see that
there are hardly any white ones.

* From Alexander "Ali" Meller (505 racer for 27 years): In response to the
white boats may be trying to cheat on the start line thread. International
505s have used gate starts at major events for years. We rarely have
general recalls, very rarely have boats scored OCS, and enjoy the tactics
of the gate start. We also feel free to paint our boats with whatever
colors and graphics we want. Using gate starts, we don't need white boats,
don't worry about recalls, and spend our time on the water racing, not
trying to start, and we don't have to worry that someone with a white boat
is trying to cheat.

* From Larry O'Neil: Appeals aren't the most exciting topic in sailing, but
Chris Erickson raises valid points and President Baxter asks us to express
our views. The Appeals Committee's proposal to establish ten "Area Appeals
Committees" is at

Do competitors deserve prompt and proper resolution of their appeals from
protest committee decisions? Absolutely! Does the system always produce?
No. Is failure to deliver the fault of the appeals committee? Often, not.
How many sailors get a written copy of the committee's decision to file an
appeal? Very few. How often does an appeal languish because documents from
the organizing authority (e.g., club) aren't produced? Frequently.

The Appeals Committee of US Sailing needs to investigate the who, what,
where, when, and why of appeals not being resolved in an acceptable time
and manner. If they have evidence to support the proposal, they should let
it be known. Without these steps, a new system won't work any better than
the old. If we re-write Appendix F, we might look at accountability &
compliance from organizing authorities and protest committees. Then, we
might set standards for appeals committee performance.

Beyond appeals, regional sailing associations (RSAs) and areas do other
things to support sailing. The proposal strays when it calls for setting
boundaries based on land-based political lines, rather than bodies of water
and groupings of sailing venues.

Chickens are the only animals you eat before they are born and after they
are dead.