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SCUTTLEBUTT 1547 - March 25, 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.

Picture this: the start grid at the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix; several
high-tech F1 cars and on the second row a 1992 BMW 750iL, which managed
fourth place in practice on corrected time. The BMW is a true racing
monster and completely optimized for handicap car racing. Being constructed
in 1992 gives her a 12-year age allowance and being a stretched version (L)
adds another few seconds a mile. Apart from being heavier and hence slower
on paper, she will also benefit from having an executive interior.

The race itself is quite boring; nobody has a clue what is going on, who is
leading the race and which cars are in second and third. Within one hour
and 20 minutes the high-tech cars are finishing the race. Our BMW finishes
some 45 minutes later. It takes another hour before we know who won on
corrected time. It's our BMW, just five seconds ahead of the Ferrari F2004
and seven seconds in front of a 1989 Fiat Croma.

The official press release of the ORC (Onshore Racing Council) confirms:
"The first five cars finishing within 12 seconds makes it clear that our
rule is working very well and is really able to handicap and score a wide
range of different cars…" Well, luckily enough car racing is different from
this nightmare scenario. But sailing is not, be it IMS, IRC, PHRF and so on.

* I completely agree with Geoff Stagg's recent comments on the Rule Working
Parties proposals. Keep it simple and just define a physical box rule
within which owner/ designers have only one goal to aim for: make the
fastest boat possible! The simpler the rule, the fewer loopholes there will
be to exploit. - Excerpts from a story by Peter de Ridder in the April
issue of Seahorse magazine,

For several years various empirical handicapping authorities have discussed
an add-on to the assigned performance handicap that provides an adjustment
for the various skills of skipper and crew. The impetus for this discussion
is the recognition that lower skills force the retirement from competition
prematurely since there is little opportunity to do well or win. The real
need for this kind of modification of the assigned speed potential for a
racing sailboat is not yet determined. Yet frequent requests this past year
compared to only one during the life of the Empirical Handicap Subcommittee
have prompted the discussion.

Development requirements force the establishing criteria and measurements
to evaluate or rate skipper and crew skills. This appears a daunting task.
Application requirements force consideration of add-on handicap factors to
time-on-time handicaps and -time-on-distance performance handicaps.
Embedded in the latter is a scaling problem. Discussion at the ISAF fall
meeting did not find or forecast answers. It was noted that there are few
attempts to deal with this utilizing a golf-handicapping procedure related
to boat performance it each race. This may be a procedure for casual
racing, but is not recommended for high completion.

The ISAF Empirical Handicap Subcommittee is curious about the general
interest in commencing the effort to develop such a skipper/crew rating,
its need, and application. Your thoughts are solicited. All responses
should be directed through the Empirical handicap forum by logging onto
ISAF sailor and following the forum links on the left hand menu:
Full story:

A long interview with Loïck Peyron was published today in the French
regional newspaper Ouest-France in which he sums up Team France situation.
According to the french navigator, the €65 million budget is in good shape
for this point in the year with two of the four major sponsors have now
been secured. "We need four main partners which invest a level of €12M each
over the 4 year period and two are left to be found", Loïck Peyron said.
"On the second level, the four official associate partners have almost all
been signed for €16M in total". 10 to 15 official partners have already
been selected, including the main French TV channel TF1, which will help
publicize Team France and the America's Cup in France.

Meanwhile, Team France is close in on their recruitment targets. The French
skipper said they are already able to mount three crews. They will begin
serious testing in Marseille this summer. Loïck would not elaborate on the
names, only said that former Prada's starting helmsman Rod Davis will
certainly join the team as coach. - Cup in Europe website, full story:

Ullman Sails dominated the 26 boat J/105 class finishing 1st through 3rd.
Congratulations to Ed Cummin's "Bold Forbes"- 1st; Scott Birnberg's "Indigo
3"- 2nd; and Barney Flam's "Flambuoyant"- 3rd. J/120 class congratulations
go to Jed Olenick's "Doctor No"- 1st* and John Laun's "Caper"- 2nd. In the
505 class, congratulations to Bill Jenkins & Dan Merino's "Agave"- 1st and
Geoff Nelson's "Tortuga"- 2nd. If you are ready to throttle up your racing
program with "The Fastest sails on the Planet" call you local Ullman Sails
loft or visit us at *Partial Inventory

* Cheyenne took two bites at the trough of Low pressure blocking her
progress, but finally got through early Wednesday, posting a hard-fought
127 nm across the water in 12 hours (10.6 kts avg spd). At 1710 GMT
Wednesday, Steve Fossett and crew were making 17.5 kts Eastbound. The lead
over Orange's 2002 RTW pace is now estimated at around 920+ miles. "We are
now free of that complicated weather pattern, but with a loss of a day on
our projected schedule. We will now tack upwind for a day to reach the
Tradewinds, then hopefully have a fast track to the Doldrums - our next
problem area," skipper Steve Fossett said. -

* On Day 27 Geronimo's logged a modest 358 nautical miles covered, but over
250 of those miles were clocked up in the second half of the day. That
trend continued through the early hours of the Wednesday and saw the 11-man
French crew averaging 23.40 knots between 01:20 and 13:20. The net result
is that Geronimo is consolidating her lead over the 2002 record; a lead
that now stands at just under 3 days. According to a report on The Daily
Sail website, Geronimo is roughly a day's sail behind Cheyenne's equivalent
position at the end of day 27 of her current circumnavigation. -

* The VO60, Bank BPH, skippered by the Polish sailor Roman Paszke is now
moored up in Cape Town where it will undergo repairs and a thorough service
including check of the hull, the rigging and steering gear. Once this is
complete, the team will decide whether to continue their global voyage.
However, to re-establish their challenge to set the first ever fully
crewed, non-stop, monohull, circumnavigation record they will have
re-start. - Excerpts from a story on the Yachting World website, full

Wednesday was a scheduled lay day at the Star Olympic Trials where Paul
Cayard and Phil Trinter are 14 points in front of the 22-boat fleet -
seemingly sailing in a different zone than everyone else (2-(6)-1-2-3-1-1,
10 points). Former world champion Vince Brun, said, "It seems like Paul has
some zap. He's sailing very well and playing his cards just right. Before,
he was in the middle of the pack, but now he has an edge he hasn't had before."

Another contender and world champ, Eric Doyle, said, "He's fast in every
condition, upwind and downwind. They've put in the most effort, so it's not

Cayard and Trinter have been sailing together for more than a year since
they were together with the Oracle America's Cup team in New Zealand. Each
has won a world title in the Star class, Cayard in 1988 with Steve
Erickson---Mark Reynolds' current crew---and Trinter with Joe Londrigan in
'93. Cayard, 44, has sailed a Star for 27 years between five America's Cup
campaigns, which have been a model for his current effort.

Like most of the contenders, he and Trinter have a coach, John Craig, who
monitors their every move for detailed debriefings later. But Cayard and
Trinter also have a personal trainer, Sam Broven, who works with other
professional athletes and sometimes doubles as a personal chef. Broven
supervises their gym work, wherever they are, almost every day. Cayard
said, "I'm stronger - talking what I can lift and how many reps I can do -
than when I was 28 years old." They'll have no oversights in preparation to
regret if they don't win the sole Olympic berth at stake here---and nobody
is handing them a ticket to Athens yet, either.

The race committee is hoping to sail three races Thursday to get back on
the two-a-day schedule. - Rich Roberts, YachtRacing.Com website, complete

- Complete standings:
- We've put together a comprehensive collection of photos from the
regatta taken by Rich Roberts. The heavy-air images are awesome:

* B&G, has announced an extensive schedule of regatta support for the
worldwide 2004 season. The schedule features high-profile events such as
Cowes Week, Copa Del Rey and Vendee Globe in addition to a variety of less
high-profile but well attended regattas. "Regattas are the core of the
yacht race world and regatta support is an important aspect of B&G's
strategy to maintain its position as the leading supplier of race yacht
electronics," says Richard Acland, Managing Director, B&G. - Excerpts from
YachtingUniverse website,
B&G Regatta schedule:

The start lines for the Big Boat Racing and Racer Cruiser I at Antigua
Sailing Week (April 25- May 1) are shaping up to be a hum dinger of a
spectacle with double the number of racing big boats than last year. So far
the following big boats will be jockeying for position: Mari Cha V - Custom
140; Sojana - Farr 115; Pyewacket - MaxZ86; Morning Glory - MaxZ86; Titan
12 - Reichel/Pugh 75; Equation - Santa Cruz 70; Chippewa - Swan 68; Spirit
- VOR 60; Venom - VOR 60; Aspiration - Swan 86; Extra Dry - Javelin 75;
Starr Trail - Farr 72; Flying Dragon - Swan 70; Atalanta II - Farr 70;
Liara - Dixon 65; Spirit of Isis - Farr 65; Spirit of Mertice - Farr 65;
Spirit of Minerva - Farr 65; Serengeti - Tripp 60.

And there will be plenty of rock stars aboard to keeps these behemoths from
getting into trouble. Flying Dragon's new owner Erck Rickmers will be
sharing the helm with Bertrand Pace from Team New Zealand's 2003 America's
Cup challenge. New Zealander Rod Davis, tactician for Prada's 2003
challenge, will be calling the shots. Mari Cha IV will be packed to the
gunwales with America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race/ Whitbread sailing talent
most of whom were onboard for the record-breaking trans-Atlantic crossing.
The bulk of the crew are Oracle BMW Racing and Team New Zealand veterans,
with One World and AmericaOne teams also represented together with Volvo
Ocean Race syndicates illbruck Pinta and Team Tyco. Plus Robbie Haines and
Dee Smith will be leading the professional team assembled for the second
meeting between the two new R/P MaxZ86s - Pyewacket and Morning Glory.

Hall Spars & Rigging's "Rig Inspection Guide" recommends a preseason check
of everything that "turns." Spin your halyard sheaves - worn or misshapen
sheaves should be replaced. Do your turnbuckles turn? Check for galled
threads or bent studs. Give your winches a spin. Do they sound "dry" or
make odd noises? Check the pawls and be sure all parts are greased. Don't
forget the furling drum and halyard swivel. Both should turn freely. Read
Hall's guide in our online "Study Hall," or order parts, lube, and winch
grease online at

Forbes magazine recently reviewed websites in 21 different categories.
Surprisingly, one of those categories was Sailing, and it was neat to learn
that the Scuttlebutt site was selected as one of Forbes "Best of the Web"
picks - along with Sailing World, Offshore Passage Opportunities, the
Moorings, BoatUS and SailNet. Although we think of ourselves primarily as a
newsletter, we truly appreciate the nice comments they made about the
features on our website.

(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 Craig Coulsen: Having seen the introduction of Channel handicap and
then IRC and having held IRC certificates for about ten years now I can
caution those about to jump on the IRC bandwagon. It seems that IRC does
some things really well and other things very badly. It is very good at
rating cruiser racer type boats over windward leeward courses while it is
bad at rating optimized boats particularly over reaching or ocean courses
against production cruiser racers. It is easy under the rule to optimize a
boat for particular conditions particularly running and reaching.
Insistence on endorsed certificates is essential for the integrity of the
rule. Boats need to be weighed carefully as this appears to have a great
impact on rating.

Finally be careful about the non-measured parts of the rule such as hull
factor for if you have a generous hull factor you are a winner while if you
don't it cannot be overcome and there needs to be uniformity from fleet to
fleet in assessing this. Unfortunately the grand prix end of the sport is
putting undue pressure on a rule never intended to cater for them and this
is leading to dissatisfaction.

Bring on the new rule.

* From Russell Coutts: I was deeply saddened to read about the death of
Chris Timms. Not only did he achieve a remarkable record in Olympic Sailing
but he was also a highly popular personality around the sailing world. I
still have fond memories of his victory speech at a certain Long Beach
restaurant after winning his gold medal at the 1984 Olympics! He will be
sadly missed.

* From Tom Duggan: I believe the intent of Ralph Taylor's comments was to
praise the race committee for not using black flags but the content of his
letter might lead readers to believe that black flags have been in use. To
this point in the trials the race committee has not found it necessary to
use starting penalties of any kind.

Curmudgeon's Comment: You're right. Somehow the word 'not' disappeared when
we pasted Mr. Taylor's letter into 'Butt 1545. The comment he sent to us
stated, "Congratulations to the anonymous race committee in the Star
Olympic Trials for not using the black flag on the starts." Our apologies . . .

* From Mark Playsted: Good on ya Nik Burfoot! It's really refreshing to
read about someone doing the honourable and right thing, and pointing out
that New Zealand had already selected it's representative for the Laser in
the Olympics in the form of Hamish Pepper in a fair and square National Trials.

* From Michael Koster: Craig McBurney is partially correct with regards to
doers and complainers (What is wrong with US Sailing?) There are also
complainers that want to be doers, but are not afforded the opportunity.
Case and point. I offered to volunteer my services to US Sailing 3-4 years
ago to help sort out Competitor Classification issues that were apparent at
that time. My offer was in writing and guess what? Never heard a word from them

Isn't the phrase "working mother" redundant?