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SCUTTLEBUTT 1528 - February 27, 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
releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always
welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

Miami Beach, FL, February 26, 2004 - At the first day of the 2004 Acura
SORC, a consistent breeze between 14 and 17 knots allowed for three races
to be completed on an action-packed first day, raced just off Miami Beach.

The Farr 40s kept the action going on the Acura Course, with three
different boats registering wins on Day One. Jim Richardson's Barking Mad
took first place in the opening race and remains atop the class with nine
points on the day. Peter De Ridder's Mean Machine trails closely with 11
points, tallying second and third place finishes. Steve and Fred Howe's
Warpath notched a first place win in the second race, but rests in third
place overnight.

In the IMS class Marco Birch's Talisman leads the way with two second place
finishes and a first place finish, respectively. Daniel Meyers' Numbers,
featuring Brad Butterworth and Ken Read, remain a close second finishing in
the top three throughout the day. Returning 2003 Acura SORC champion George
David's Idler, with a win in the second race, rounds out the top three.

In the PHRF 1 competition Terrance Smith's Raincloud took a commanding lead
with three first place finishes on Day One. Roger Elliott's Crosswave sits
in first place in the PHRF 2 class with two first place finishes and a
second place finish on the day. In the PHRF 3 class, competition was tight
between the consistent Gordon Ettie and Sazerac, who finish with seven
points, and Lorenzo Biessani's Kaster who knotched two first place finishes
and end the day with eight points.

Racing begins for the J/105 class on Friday. For complete results,

* Halfway through Day 20 on their Round the World record attempt, Steve
Fossett and crew aboard Cheyenne logged 537 miles over the past 24 hours
(an average of 22.4 kts), keeping them 750 miles (1 ½ days) ahead of the
2002 RTW record track of Bruno Peyron's Orange. Wind conditions remained at
19-20 kts - and the wind chill factor is increasing. They know they will
soon be nearer to Antarctica than to Africa. This morning they caught sight
of one tangible reminder of the essentially inhospitable nature of the
Southern Ocean - late summertime icebergs.

Steve Fossett reports, "We got a close look at our first icebergs of the
trip this morning. This one is at 3 miles. Maybe we have gone far enough
south for the time being! These full sized icebergs should be easy to avoid
hitting. The danger is the growlers - which are chunks of ice of mere
'truck' size. If we hit one it would be -- well, catastrophic. The theory
is that growlers will be found up to 3 miles downwind of an iceberg. This
means we must divert course to assure that we pass upwind of icebergs. We
have tuned up the Radar for constant monitoring at nighttime. The winds are
bit better to the south but we are pleased with our progress and we must
not get greedy."

Ken Campbell of Commanders Weather added, "They should be looking at good
winds for the next 4 or 5 days, moving them across the Southern Indian
Ocean very quickly. The breeze will back a little on Friday and they'll
need to make a decision then whether to push further south or to go a bit
to the north - where the winds may get a little lighter."-

* The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran is now approaching the
northwest corner of Spain, just 12 hours after the clock started ticking.
"A little bit slacker than forecast - sluggish even," comments the skipper.
More importantly, the angle of the wind is not good for achieving maximum
speed. The weather vane is set obstinately in the north or, occasionally,
northeast, which means that the crew has to gibe regularly. "We have a
fairly weak wind - it's not very active. Not weak enough to shift direction
and not strong enough to get us going really quickly," adds Olivier de
Kersauson. -

* Thursday morning, February 26th (8:01'43'' GMT), Orange II, skippered by
Bruno Peyron, set out for their Round the World record attempt. The current
record is held by the same Bruno Peyron, who sailed Orange I around the
planet in 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes. In order to better his own
benchmark time, the skipper must be back on the line by early evening of
April 30th. -

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(Top racing navigator and weather expert Mike Broughton provides some
insight into the part of the world that the Cheyenne, Geronimo and Orange
II are headed)

* Antarctica is topped with the largest ice cube in the world, the ice
averages over one mile thick. At the South Pole the ice is actually about
three miles deep and rather like an iced cake the ice thins towards the
edges and breaks off into icebergs. In winter the continent doubles in size
as sea ice freezes over the sea and in some places extends as far north as
54 degrees south.

* As the icebergs break off from the edges of Antarctica and head north
there is little initial melting as the sea is so cold. Once they get to the
Antarctic Convergence zone, where the cold north moving water undercuts the
relatively warmer sub-Antarctic water, the bergs melt and break up at a
faster rate, but can still survive for several years.

* Large waves can be created by icebergs rolling over and interestingly the
'calving' of large icebergs is often related to sub ocean earthquakes and

* This is the place of the biggest waves on the planet. Recently a cruise
ship encountered a huge wave near Cape Horn and the waves washed right
through the bridge windows at over 100 feet above the waterline. The bridge
electronics were ruined and the ship had to limp into Chile and was taken
out of commission for three months. For publicity reasons the incident was
kept pretty quiet.

Complete story at:

Japanese yachtsman Masayoshi Kikuchi broke down in tears today as he
described how a violent storm forced him to abandon his boat and his dream
of sailing solo around the world. It was the third time his hopes were
dashed by accidents at sea. "After the second time I was rescued, I joked
that I would die with my yacht if it happened again," he said, speaking
through an interpreter. "But when it actually happened, I told my boat: 'I
must leave you now and live because my wife will be upset'." Kikuchi, 66,
spoke to journalists from a ward at Cape Town's Christiaan Barnard Memorial
Hospital, where he is recovering from ligament damage to both arms after
his 13-metre Beam VIII yacht rolled in a storm.

"I had just had supper when I noticed strong winds and waves had come up,"
he said. "A huge wave hit my boat from the back, and I was concussed." He
believes he was unconscious for less than a minute before he was woken by
water splashing over him. He managed to send out a distress signal but
could do little more with both arms injured. "I could not even make food,"
he said. He lay helplessly for two days until his stricken ship was spotted
by an Australian rescue plane about 3,700 kilometres southwest of
Australia. The plane guided the Hong Kong-registered cargo ship CSK
Radiance to the site to pluck him from the ocean. Members of the South
African National Sea Rescue Institute picked up the injured sailor from the
carrier on Tuesday and flew him by helicopter to the hospital.

He had been rescued twice before from South African waters, once off the
southwestern Cape Point and the other time near the east coast port of
Richards Bay. "I always had a dream to sail around the world, but I am old
now and have to be realistic that it may be better to give up," said the
grandfather of four.,,4057,8805331%255E1702,00.html

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A new standard for regatta websites might have been established when the
Bacardi Cup, a high profile March event in Miami for the Star class, is
prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 years from viewing their website.
The event has enjoyed a lengthy association with Bacardi rum, but it
appears US liquor laws limits the website to only those who are legally
allowed to consume alcohol in the states. Yes, they are carding you at the

* Organizers of the Rolex Women's Match and the St. Petersburg Yacht Club
in St. Petersburg, Fla. will offer an introductory match-racing clinic with
World Match Racing Champion and America's Cup sailor Ed Baird. The two-day
clinic will take place April 8-9 and precedes the three-day Rolex Women's
Match scheduled for April 9-11. The clinic and regatta will be raced in
Sonar class keelboats on Tampa Bay. -

* The skippers to compete at the 2004 Boat US ISAF Women's Match Racing
World Championship this June in Annapolis, MD, USA will include 9 of the
world's top 10 skippers, with the remaining seven ranked within the world's
top 22. With 2003 World Champion Malin Millbourn (SWE) unable to defend her
title, Number 1 ranked Marie Bjorling (SWE) will be a hot favourite. Also
contending will be Liz Baylis (USA) 5th; Betsy Alison (USA) 7th; Paula
Lewin (BER) 8th; Debbie Willits (USA) 16th; Carol Cronin (USA) 17th;
Elizabeth Kratzig (USA) 19th; and Sally Barkow (USA) 22nd. - ISAF, complete

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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 Vann Wilson: I'm certain that Marielle Charette knows that Mr.
Silvestri represented the U.S. at the last Olympics in the Finn class. His
opinion like her own is based on personal experience. That is why I enjoy
reading letter's to the Curmudgeon; Differences in opinion backed by
exceptional experience. Great stuff.

* From Charlie Ogletree-I have sailed four Olympic Trials, won three and
lost one. Our system is not perfect, but works. To win the US Olympic
Trials requires impeccable boat preparation, incredible mental and physical
toughness, knowing when to peak and a little luck. All of these things are
also required to win an Olympic medal.

The Trials that we all just sailed in Miami and the Trials which so many of
you are expressing your opinions was sailed over nine days and had between
14 and 24 races. This many races and length of time allows for all wind
conditions. Yes the trials ended in light air and motorboat chop, like
Athens, but the regatta began in 15-18 knots of steady wind. None of the
Trials' winners were "flukes". They all sailed hard and persevered in a
very tough event. The most complete sailors won. I am proud to be a part of
the 2004 US Olympic Team and I am confident our team will win medals.

* From Morgan Reeser (edited to our 250-word limit): As a washed up
Olympian and current Olympic coach, I am amazed at all the concern
regarding the Yngling Trials results. I am surprised to hear any complaints
over the results and fairness of the US Trials system. The US Trials was
eight days and sixteen races long. The Trials was more than long enough to
allow any team to recover from a slow start, and forgiving enough to allow
two throw outs. The US Trials is a test of Olympic level pressure, and
endurance (the Trials were always more stressful that the Olympics for me).
As is always the case, the best team won - can there be any other result?

I was lucky enough to sneak away from my coaching duties on the Tornado
course and watch the deciding race #15 of the Yngling Trials. Hannah Swett
and her team had every opportunity to match race Carol Cronin at the start,
and take her out of her rhythm (Carol had finished 1st or 2nd in 7 of the
previous 8 races!) Hannah and "Team Self" instead chose to sail their own
race and let Carol's "Team Atkins" do the same. Looking back at it perhaps
a bad choice - as Carol led at every mark, and with the win did not have to
sail the last race. As always, the US Trials, like the Olympics, is
Darwinian athletic selection. Only the best and strongest will survive -
can there be any other result?

* From Mike Blecher: Mr. Applegate and Mr. Kiely are both off base, and
Rich Roberts got it right. However, the real story of the Olympic Trials
is, among many, many others, is that there were two 15 year olds in the
Europe fleet and they finished sixth, and ninth. Did anyone notice? Say
hello to the future, everyone. I say there's way too much focus on what
should have happened at the trials, and not nearly enough on what actually
did. As a spectator with the Europe fleet, I saw some fine sailing in 10-12
knots (for the record, twenty percent of the regatta was sailed in winds in
excess of twenty knots). There was excellent, tight, tactical sailing, lots
of circles (and, no off the water protests), and judges looked very hard
for hardly any rule 42 fouls.

So, get over this trumped up criticism of what was (at least in Ft
Lauderdale) a wonderful two weeks of sailing, a first class event in every
way, and a celebration of our determining the best dinghy sailors in the
country. They will sail their hearts out in Athens. As someone shouted out
at the awards ceremony, "let's bring home the gold!"

* From J. Joseph Bainton: U.S. Olympic Trials Controversies -- I am
surprised that the ongoing debate about the U.S. Olympic Trials does not
address the serious "disconnect" between U.S. Sailing and U.S. Sailors. Two
of the three classes with more than a handful of boats participating in
their respective trials, namely the Finn and Star, are the two classes that
U.S. Sailing did not support for inclusion in the Games. Hopefully the
number of participants in those classes in the 2004 Trials will guide U.S.
Sailing this November, when it is asked to vote for Olympic Classes for the
2008 Games.

* From Rob Brandenburg: This is a sad, sad day for sailing. What a crock.
Weight limits purposely exclude people that are big from participating in
this great sport. I've heard all the arguments, one being that it favors
women. Isn't that affirmative action? My all time favorite comment (from
Barry Carroll) is that it's a sport for athletes. (Implying that 200+
pounders are not athletes?) Really? I can think of 60 or 70 pro linemen
that would argue that point. Anybody with half a brain will admit that
weight is not always an advantage. If you think it is, try racing a
Vanguard with 450 lbs in it!! I have an idea, why don't we get separate
drinking fountains for the fat people? This ruling and the general
upholding of weight limit rules just makes sailors seem even more elitist
than we already appear. We don't need more rules, especially stupid ones!

* From Pete Mohler: (re. Peter Hinrichsen, ISAF Measurement Committee and
IM and swing testing of the I-14) The I-14 class does not now, and to my
knowledge, has not ever had a swing test as part of it's rules or
measurement process. Perhaps one was done as a test somewhere, but that
would be it.

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I have a good memory -- it's just short.