Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1531 - March 3, 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.

Since the beginning of Monday night, a strong vibration caused Bruno Peyron
to finally stop the boat Tuesday morning off Santo Antao Island (north-west
of Santo Vincente) and send a crew member for an inspection under the hull.
Vladimir Dzalba-Lyndis, a professional combat diver, went underwater with
spotlights and confirmed the origin of the vibration. The fairing that
protects the propeller shaft (S Drive) showed a crack through which water
was getting in at high speed. The boat's speed was generating serious
vibrations, and the water pressure was threatening to provoke a
delaminating of the hull.

Peyron announced Tuesday they were heading towards the volcanic island of
Fogo, located south of the Cape Verde archipelago, 90 miles away from
Orange II's bows. Bruno Peyron: "we do not want to go all the way to the
Equator like that, because we would risk more severe damage. The boat is
not in danger at the moment, the breakage is a minor one, but if we cannot
fix the problem ourselves, then it's the end of the race for us. We'll take
shelter under the Fogo volcano (14°51 N - 24°30 W) and try to repair from
underwater. But what are the odds? And how long will it take? We do not
have any answers to give at the moment. We hope to reach Fogo Island before
(Tuesday) nightfall in order to start working and get a better idea of the
chances we have to be back in the race. One thing is for sure, we'll fight
till the end, because we have a hard time accepting that our journey can
end this way. Unfortunately, we won't know until tomorrow, and meanwhile
the clock is ticking..."

Contacted as soon as the breakage was identified, the boat's designers have
immediately given Bruno Peyron the necessary data and advice. The main
difficulty for such an operation is to find enough air capacities (it can
last several hours). Unfortunately, there is no compressor onboard to
refill the 3 diving bottles. The second difficulty is to saw off the
aluminum S Drive (19 mm thick in its frontal area) underwater with plain
handsaws. -

After having changed course on Tuesday morning, bound for the shelter of
Fogo Island to try and repair the damaged starboard hull, Orange II changed
heading (again) in the evening. Rough seas off Fogo made it impossible to
carry out the inspections necessary before any repairs could be considered.
Bruno Peyron and his crew decided to head for the most southerly lying
island of Cape Verde archipelago, St Vincent. The crew of the maxicatamaran
should make it to St Vincent by Wednesday morning. -

* A storming Tuesday half day run (292 miles over the past 12 hours) has
placed Steve Fossett and his team aboard the 125' maxi-catamaran Cheyenne
not only over 1300 miles (3+ days) ahead of the 2002 RTW track of Bruno
Peyron's Orange I, but also in a position to target the 2003 Ushant - Cape
Leeuwin record of Geronimo (26 days 5 hrs) as well as the 2001 Cape of Good
Hope - Cape Leeuwin record set by Loick Peyron aboard Innovation Explorer
(later Orange I and then even later Kingfisher 2) during 'The Race' of 7
days 14 hours. To break Innovation Explorer's record, they will need to
average over 24 kts for the next 26 hours. So far the wind is cooperating.

* Monday night, the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran was just 960
nautical miles from the Equator, after a good day running before the trade
winds on a direct track south. Having passed straight between the Canaries,
the crew was able to get a good look at the Cape Verde Islands as they
sailed through the centre of the group. The next few days look decidedly
tricky, with an intertropical convergence zone which is spreading and
threatens to cover the full width of the Atlantic for over 1000 kilometres.
It will therefore take whole days to cover this area with its alternating
squalls and flat calms. But that's what makes the Jules Verne Trophy the
most complete and demanding of all challenges. After 5 days, Geronimo is 86
miles behind the 2002 record-setting pace. -

* Jean Luc van den Heede is likely to complete his westabout round the
world solo challenge anywhere between 26 and 28 days ahead of the current
record set by Philippe Monnet. Van den Heede, who set off from Les Sables
d'Olonne on 7 November last year on his fourth attempt at this global
challenge aboard his 85ft cutter Adrien is now in the North Atlantic and
making the most of the north-east trade winds. According to den Heede, if
all goes well and the forecast runs true to form, he should finish sometime
between Wednesday 10 March and Friday 12 March. - Sue Pelling/Yachting
World, complete story,

Steve Fossett, skipper of the 125' maxicat Cheyenne, has chosen Musto
foul-weather gear to protect himself and his crew during their Round The
World record-breaking attempt. Cheyenne watch captain Brian Thompson: "Its
been brilliant how dry we have remained, even in the rough conditions....
our smock tops with latex dry suit seals have really worked perfectly,
normally I might have had to change base layers because they have got damp,
but nothing has got past the seals yet thanks to Musto!" You don't need to
sail a maxi catamaran to experience Musto. Give it a try next time:

Obliterating the race record, Dick and Mary Compton's year-old Andrews 77,
Alchemy, finished San Diego YC's resurrected San Diego to Manzanillo race
just before noon PST Tuesday, completing the 1,120-nautical mile run to
mainland Mexico in 3 days 23 hours 52 minutes 27 seconds. That took more
than a day off the record of 5:03:48:11 set in 1992 by Roy Disney's first
Pyewacket. The race hadn't been run since '94. Alchemy, navigated by Volvo
and Transpac veteran Mark Rudiger, found unusually windy conditions to
average 11.7 knots, sometimes reaching speeds beyond 20 knots.

A newer boat, Doug Baker's Andrews 80 Magnitude, sailed its first race a
few days after being launched and at last report was expected to finish
several hours behind Tuesday night, along with Dennis Conner's Reichel/Pugh
50, Stars & Stripes, seeking the overall title on corrected handicap time.
- Rich Roberts, The Log,

Race updates and results,

The rock stars of sailing regattas are heading back to Biscayne Bay in
March 2004 to compete in the only Cuban-born sporting event that survives
today in the United States - The 2004 Trofeo Bacardi. World champions,
Olympic medalists and former Bacardi Cup champions such as Mark Reynolds of
San Diego, Paul Cayard of San Francisco, Xavier Rohart of France, Ian
Walker of Australia, Iain Percy of Great Britain, Peter Bromby of Bermuda,
Ross Macdonald of Canada, Torben Grael of Brazil, and Fredrik Loof of
Sweden are expected to go head to head in the 77th running of the legendary
Bacardi Cup Star Class Regatta.

More than 100 two-man teams from 22 countries will be competing as a
tune-up for Star Class racing in the Athens 2004 Olympics and forming
perhaps one of the longest and most impressive starting lines ever on
Biscayne Bay, Miami. The Coral Reel Yacht Club & Marina and the U.S.
Sailing Center in Coconut Grove will serve as race headquarters. - Yachts
and Yachting, full story:

(Paul Larsen is no stranger to speed, and recently provided some insight
into what has motivated him to attempt to break the world speed sailing
record. Here are a few excerpts.)

* When I saw a maxi-cat for the first time (Bruno Peyron's Explorer) off an
island in Australia I just went weak at the knees. I headed straight to
Europe and went on a four year rollercoaster involving a 60` tri, Team
Philips, Team Legato, Team Adventure and ultimately Maiden II where we
scored the offshore speed run last year with a 24 hour run of 694.6 miles.
That was a blast. Although the run was good overall the highlights were
definitely the fast bursts during the run. We averaged 33 knots (800 mile
day) for the first four hours with one hour at 37.6 knots SOG. During this
time four helmsmen/woman hit over 41 knots with the boat maxing out at 44
knots and blowing out the leeward cuddy windows. She was on absolute fire.
The record wasn't a steady average but rather one of highs and lows.

* The current speed record stands at 46.52 knots and was set in Sandy
Point, Australia in 1993. Sandy Point is a 3km long gently arcing peninsula
down in Victoria receiving winds off Bass Strait. The record was set in
winds of around 20 knots. We are looking for winds of around 20-22 knots
for Sailrocket in its current configuration at around 110-115 degrees true.
The sea needs to be glassy smooth which would mean that we would be sailing
meters off a windward shore. This shore would need to be low or smooth so
as not to disturb the windflow.

The complete article can be read at

In memory of Kelly O'Neil Henson from Sharon Green: "I can still hear Kelly
as she zoomed past me on the slopes of Whistler a few weeks ago. We were
both laughing that we, as professional photographers, couldn't operate a
little pocket digital camera to document our day. Kelly lived every moment
of her life with passion. Her knowledge of the sea, boats (sail and power)
combined with her dedication, talent and tenacity as a photographer made
her a celebrity especially on her home turf in the Pacific Northwest.
Hundreds of friends cherished her effervescent, sunny and engaging
personality and endless energy. She had her unforgettable signature smile,
Hershey's kisses, her little photo boat, her dog Whidby and endless time
for friends. Everyone knew Kelly. We will all miss this incredible loyal
friend, sailor, mother, daughter, wife and colleague. Kelly, you have
touched our hearts and your spirit will forever be indelible."

Curmudgeon's Comment: On February 21st, esteemed sailing photographer Kelly
O'Neil Henson was going to the store for dinner in Auburn, Washington when
a large truck crushed her car. Kelly passed away March 2, 2004.

ISAF President Paul Henderson, on his recent visit to Athens, describing
the Agios Kosmas Olympic venue where the Olympic Regatta will take place
this August, "The whole venue is fantastic. I would say it is the best we
have had in the Olympic Games so far."

For you club racers and cruisers who want the advantages of high-tech
running rigging without the high cost, Samson has the product for you - XLS
Extra. Constructed of a Dyneema blended core and braided with a durable
24-strand polyester cover, you get good strength and elongation
characteristics with a durable cover. What a great combination, plus a
price that won't make your head spin. Ask you rigger or dealer about XLS
Extra and bridge the gap from low-tech to high-tech.

* March 1st was the deadline for receiving bids to host the 2007 ISAF World
Sailing Championships. From an initial list of thirteen bidding venues, the
venues have reduced to eight, which in alphabetical country order are:
Canada (Nova Scotia), Germany (Kiel), Germany (Rostock-Warnemünde), Greece
(Athens), Korea (Busan), Netherlands (Medemblik), Portugal (Cascais), and
Spain (Cadiz). The selection criteria to identify the most suitable venue
will be a mix of factors, with emphasis on the sailing conditions,
accessibility to the racecourse and onshore venue facility and
infrastructure. This decision will be taken at the ISAF Mid-Year Meetings,
June 5-6, 2004.

* National Public Radio last weekend ran an informative segment on Carol
Cronin's Yngling team and the effort and sacrifice required to win an
Olympic Trials. It can be heard at

* The Mutineer 15 Class Association has been reestablished after disbanding
20 years ago, and the class is searching for the owners of the 8,000
Mutineers in existence. A discussion group is available at and the class website is

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 Ray Tostado: Bravo to Liz Cabrall. Her story (in Issue 1530) is what
this forum is all about. Competitive sailing is a life style with greatness
and with disappointments, but always an honor to have been there.

* From Bob Afflerbach: Now there is a STORY (re, Liz Cabrall in Issue
1530). And it reflects the thousands of us who read your great newsletter,
just as it consists of the thousands of us who sail. I devote my tears from
reading her words to the unheralded sailors of the world.

Curmudgeon's Comment: After Liz Cabrall's story yesterday about her son's
Olympic dream, we received this letter from Bill Cabrall - "In Scuttlebutt
1530, Mom explains what it felt like for me to lose the 1984 Star Olympic
Trials. She's basically correct, but not entirely. If I'm going to end up
in the spotlight for being dead last, here's what I really learned from
that year." Bill's tale makes for a great read, and is available on the
Scuttlebutt website at

* From Keith Grzelak: My close friend, Brien Duncan, died on Friday evening
(west coast time). He was crewing on Gold Digger in the SORC when he
apparently had a heart attack on Thursday. Dockside, my friend used a
borrowed AED to restart Brien's heart, but it had been too long for his
brain. The borrowed AED belonged to the King of Norway. I will recommend to
my home club that they consider purchasing an AED to keep on the RC boat.
Someday, it might make a difference. Speaking for all of us who sailed with
Brien, he will be sadly missed.

* From Virginia Leon: To all that have complained about the selection
process for the Olympics: Yes, it is one regatta, 16 grueling races; but
under pressure; the winners rose to the occasion. Maybe their funding was
not enough to get them to all the "ranking events." I believe that if they
can perform when it counts, then they should be the ones holding the flag
and representing our country.

* From John Audley: As an Olympic aspirant I have followed the US trial
selection process with focused interest. I see merits in both styles of
selection but have yet to read the one benefit that the US system has over
other countries. In countries were the athlete is chosen through some
selection process, the incentive for those not chosen to compete at their
highest level is diminished well before the Olympics thus creating a double
tier of sailors: The few who are on the team and the rest who say "Maybe
next time". Here everyone has a chance until the Trials so everyone pushes
hard up to the trials. Speaking from my experience within the Finn class,
the class' access to National coaching is limited so a group
learning/teaching mentality ensues pushing the class ahead as a group.

* From Bill Lynn (edited to our 250-word limit): Dave (Curtis) has got it
right: George Iverson got hosed, as have many long-time Star crews, but
it's not just the crews that took it on the chin. Here's how the math works
with me driving a Star: At 160 lbs., I can sail with a crew that weighs 250
for a total combined weight of 410 lbs. On the other hand, a 210 lb. driver
can sail with a crew that weighs 225 for a total combined weight of 435
lbs. If the argument is that since the crew can droop hike with a harness,
he's worth more leverage, I'm not sure I buy that one either. Straight-leg
hiking provides significantly more leverage, and I'd bet that most guys in
the 200-225 range could out-hike someone at 270, especially if they've
spent time in Lasers or Finns. So the rule's not just prejudicial against
large crews, it penalizes lighter drivers as well.

As a lifetime member of (and contributor to) the class, it seems like
George ought to be able to sail in big events (the weight limit is not
enforced below the District Championship level) without having to scout up
a 120 lb. driver whom he'd need to be fishing out of the ratchet block in
anything over 12 knots. For a guy that came 2nd in the Worlds and 1st in
the NAs a couple of years ago as crew, this strikes me as more than the
ISAF Review Board's "comparative disadvantage."

* From Allan Terhune Sr. (edited to our 250-word limit): I am very much
against any crew weight limit, as I believe it to be discriminatory and
exclusionary, thus bad for the sport. I am one of the
gravitationally-challenged participants this rule affects. In my lifetime
of sailing I have participated in many classes with more than adequate
success but many times the implementation of rules like this forced me out
of a class. During these times, I sailed exclusively with family and
friends and kept the same crew through regattas, series and seasons.

Presently, I sail a Flying Scot and a Morgan 36. Even though the Scot
doesn't have a weight limit, it amazes me how many people go scurrying
around the dock to pick up a third when the wind blows over 12 and start
dropping people off after the breeze dies down. Same day, same regatta!
There is a person limit in the PHRF stuff and people still cheat by adding
and subtracting weight while keeping the number "legal". In both cases the
intent of these people is non-Corinthian and makes the sport suffer. The
easiest rule would be, crew number and that the personnel cannot change
during a regatta or series. Race committees, instead of weighing people in
could then administer to crew changes upon death or dismemberment of an
existing team. At a time when most clubs are lamenting the lack of
participation, its rules like this that drive more willing participants away.

I'm old enough now that I've stopped saying 'if memory serves' because now
it can only volley.