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SCUTTLEBUTT 1548 - March 26, 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.

THE NEW FORMAT
Michel Bonnefous, the CEO of AC Management, organizer for the America's Cup
announced the schedule for the first three "Acts" for the 32nd America's Cup:

- September 5-11, 2004, Fleet and Match Racing, Marseille Louis Vuitton
- October 5-12, 2004, Match Racing, Valencia Louis Vuitton
- October 14-17, 2004, Fleet Racing, Valencia Louis Vuitton

The Defender, Alinghi, and the Challenger of Record, Oracle BMW Racing,
will attend all three Acts. Representatives from Le Défi, K-Challenge and
Team France were present at the announcement; all of whom declared their
intentions to compete this year. Several other projects are expected to
join them in the races in Marseille and Valencia.

No specifics were provided about scoring or the schedule for 2005 or 2006.
- www.americascup.com

ITALIAN CHALLENGE
A new challenge for the America's Cup from the Circolo Vela Gargnano (CVG)
has been accepted by the Defender, the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).
The CVG, represented by the Clan Des Team sailing team, is the first
challenger to join the Golden Gate Yacht Club's Oracle BMW Racing team in
challenging for the 32nd America's Cup. The CVG is situated in the
picturesque Italian town of Gargnano on the western side of Lake Garda.

Lorenzo Rizzardi, President of the challenging yacht club and Head of
Syndicate for the Clan Des Team, didn't offer any details about their
challenge when asked about potential skippers or boat designers. The team
is planning a public launch on April 23 in Milan.

The challenge process for the CVG was completed on March 25 after the club
fulfilled a number of formalities as well as posting a performance bond, as
is required from each challenger. Clan Des Team intends to race in the
first Act of the 32nd America's Cup in Marseille in September, and in the
two Valencia Louis Vuitton Acts in October as well. The team expects to
have two ACC boats training on Lake Garda this summer and to use a third
boat to compete in the 2004 Acts, in Marseille and Valencia. Clan Des
Team's Technical Director, Cesare Pasotti said the Clan Des Team plan calls
for two new ACC boats to be built in advance of the Louis Vuitton Cup
challenger series in 2007. "We are challenging to win," Pasotti said
moments after the challenge was accepted. "We don't participate just to be
there, we want to win." - http://www.americascup.com/en/news/news.php?id=37

US OLYMPIC TRIALS - STAR CLASS
MIAMI, Fla.---Wet, windy and nasty, two masts down, boats like bathtubs,
more of the same due Friday and Paul Cayard now looking at George Szabo as
his nearest threat in the U.S. Olympic Trials for the Star class. That's
the quick version of Thursday's competition that saw the fleet escorted
onto Biscayne Bay by a drenching downpour. All 22 boats started the only
race they could manage when a 24-knot easterly built to 32 as it chased the
storm out over the Florida Keys. Waves were 3-4 feet. "Today was survival
more than anything else," said Austin Sperry, crew for Andy MacDonald.

Szabo and crew Mark Strube bagged their second win in the last four races,
the only boat to match Cayard and crew Phil Trinter step for step lately as
the trials reached the midway mark of 16 races scheduled with three days
remaining. Brothers Doug and Bob Schofield finished second, followed by
Andy Lovell and Magnus Liljedahl, Cayard/ Trinter and Rick Merriman and
Bill Bennett.

Cayard said he and Trinter sailed in a slightly conservative mode of "about
90 per cent," keeping their mast vertical instead of releasing it forward
downwind, where most Star dismastings occur. "Your ego says you want to win
every race," Cayard said, "but with the position we're in we weren't
willing to go for it. We sailed safer but on the edge of control."

John Dane of New Orleans and crew Henry Sprague, Long Beach, Calif., saw
their mast drop quietly over the bow. "We didn't make any mistake at all,"
Sprague said. "We were having a great race. We don't know why it broke.
Funny, it's very peaceful when it comes down---not even a snapping sound."

The race committee had hoped to sail three races to get back on the
two-a-day schedule. Before the rain blew through the plan looked good, but
by the end of the lone race Jonathan Harley, US Sailing's Olympic director,
had decided to call it a day even as a few boats headed back to shore on
their own. Alas, the forecast is for similar conditions Friday. - Rich
Roberts, YachtRacing.com, full story: www.yachtracing.com

Leaders (22 boats, 8 of 16 races, one discard):
1. Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter, 2-(6)-1-2-3-1-1-4, 14 points.
2. George Szabo/Mark Strube, 4-5-(14)-9-1-4-2-1, 26.
3. Vince Brun/Mike Dorgan, (23/OCS)-9-2-1-4-5-3-10, 34.
4. Eric Doyle/Brian Sharp, 1-1-9-8-5-10-(12)-11, 45.
5. John MacCausland/Brad Nichol, 6-8-3-6-10-(15)-5-8, 46.
6. Rick Merriman/Bill Bennett, 7-4-(17)-13-2-7-9-5, 47.
7. Mark Reynolds/Steve Erickson, 5-2-10-7-13-2-(15)-9, 48.
8. Andrew MacDonald/Austin Sperry, 11-7-5-4-6-(13)-10-7, 50.
9. Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl (23/OCS)-23/DNS-4-3-11-3-7-3, 54.
10. Howie Shiebler/Will Stout, 3-3-6-(23/OCS)-12-9-6-23/DNF, 62.

- Complete standings: www.ussailing.org/olympics/olympictrials/2004
- Big wind means great images - you'll like the new photos in our gallery:
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/04/usstartrials/

QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"We took our rig down and inspected everything again. It seems like we are
the only ones who take the rig down every night. We found that our rigging
had stretched today so we reset everything. We also check all the other
gear on our boat." - Paul Cayard after Thursday's race.

ICE COOLS FLEET
Samson leads across the finish line again! Congratulations to Bob Lane's
"Medicine Man" for finishing first in class and first in fleet in the 2004
San Diego to Manzanillo Race. Bob Lane was one of the first to use Samson
ICE on his Andrews 56 - we salute you, your crew and your efforts! Great
Job! Samson - first across the line! http://www.samsonrope.com

COMMENTARY
Thank goodness Yachting New Zealand has decided to appeal the Sports
Disputes Tribunal decision of last week regarding their Olympic
nominations. Most people with a passing interest in sport will have been
astounded at the Tribunal's decision to direct sailors from two classes to
contest the World Championships in Turkey in May, in order to determine if
yachting's selectors were correct in their nominations or not. What that
decision tells Yachting, and in fact all sports, is that a retired High
Court judge knows more about selecting than the most highly qualified selector.

Yachting New Zealand had spent many hours formulating their selection
process and policy, with input form clubs and members throughout the
country. Their legal advice indicated that their processes were fair. The
Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association agreed. The competitors signed
their acceptance. Hopefully the Court of Arbitration will support Yachting
New Zealand's selectors and not the lawyers. - Excerpts from an editorial
by John McBeth on OneSport, full editorial:
http://onesport.nzoom.com/sport_detail/0,1278,263735-2-16,00.html

ROUND THE WORLD RECORD ATTEMPTS
* It has been a slow day tacking NE and now N, with 95 miles net course
distance logged over the past 12 hours, and with another 12 hours of work
upwind to look forward to for Steve Fossett's crew aboard Cheyenne. But the
prognosis is for the 125' catamaran to reach increasing tradewinds by early
Friday. Lead over Orange I (2002) RTW position is still approx 900 miles,
although differing courses make a direct comparison difficult. Thursday
evening, Tom Mattus of Commanders Weather said, "Wind is still light for
the next few hours, but will slowly begin to 'clock' to the East by 00z,
building towards 0600z and reaching 15-20 kts later Friday. They should
make very good time for at least 2 days, then they will tackle the
doldrums. Right now I look for them to cross the Equator late Sunday /
early Monday." - http://www.fossettchallenge.com

* The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran continues her headlong
dash south of Tasmania, clocking up 555 nautical miles point-to-point on
Day 28 to build a three-day lead over the current record. With the trimaran
now below the 54th parallel, the sea is 5°C and the air 2°C, and one man is
on constant radar watch and night vision systems are in use. "If the
weather remains within the normal patterns for this time of year, we really
are well-placed," skipper Olivier de Kersauson said. -
http://www.trimaran-geronimo.com

NEWS BRIEFS
* US Sailing will send five sailors to the 2004 Laser Radial Youth World
Championships at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly, Australia:
Christopher Enger (Sarasota, Fla.), Leah Hoepfner (Corpus Christi, Texas),
Charles Ill (Stamford, Conn.), Sean Kelly (San Francisco, Calif.), and Matt
Sterett (Corpus Christi, Texas). Each will receive a grant to apply toward
the expenses incurred in attending the championship through a sponsorship
program created and funded by Vanguard Sailboats (Portsmouth, R.I.). The
program, in its fourth year, also provides funding for Brett Davis (Largo,
Fla) to accompany the sailors to Australia as Coach. www.rqys.com.au

* 51 International Umpires have signed up for the International Umpires
Conference, that starts today in Southampton, Great Britain. The IUs
attending will represent a total of 22 different MNAs including Australia,
New Zealand, India, Japan, USA and Canada as well as attendance by the
majority of European IUs. The format for the Conference will be an
intensive two-day programme, with the following sessions planned as a
mixture of lectures, workgroups, short reports and exercises.
http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=6711

QUOTE / UNQUOTE
I also spent a lot of time thinking about the Trials and even talking to
sports psychologist Jerry May. That helped a ton. A great deal of my Trials
was about keeping my head together. I was even more nervous after winning
the first four races than I was at the start of the first race. Having a
coach who has been there before, and won, was a huge help. I think in past
Trials I had a hard time focusing on the process without letting the end
result creep into my consciousness. The reward of getting to go to the
Olympics is so great, it is hard to get past. As you once told me, Bob, it
is critical to think about the next puff, the next shift, where the other
boats are... and, you said, "being faster helps!" I think I managed to do
all of these things better than I have in the past. - Meg Gaillard will
compete in her first Olympics at the 2004 Games in Athens, representing the
USA in the Europe.
http://www.ussailing.org/Olympics/SailingMedallist/

DID YOU HEAR THAT?
I think it came from over there…"Service me." There it was again. It's
coming from your winch! As your winches wake up from their winter naps, APS
and Lewmar would like to remind you it's time to service those winches.
Whether you sail for results, records or pleasure, regularly serviced
winches will contribute that extra level of performance everyone can use.
For the 'Do-it-yourselfers' APS has all the Lewmar Service Kits and
lubricants you'll need. Uncomfortable doing it yourself? APS is a Lewmar
certified winch service center. Beyond repair? We've got new ones too. For
more info… http://www.apsltd.com/scuttlebutt


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com)
(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 Steve Taft: Flash back 20 years to the Star Olympic trials in Los
Angeles. Paul Cayard struggled through the first half of the trials with a
bent mast. At the break he replaced it with a new one and made a strong
come back to lose the trials to Bill Buchan by only 0.6 point. Bill went on
to win the Gold Medal. Give Paul credit for excellent preparation and
learning from life's lessons.

* From John Rousmaniere: Paul Cayard's and Phil Trinter's quick work to
replace a broken Star mast sets a very high standard of clear thinking.
Still, the highest may have been established by Lowell North and the late
Peter Barrett during the 1968 Acapulco Olympics. As I understand the story,
they were out in the Pacific before a Star race when they discovered some
damage aloft. Their solution was to unstep the mast and drop it on deck.
They made the fix and - just the two of them in a rolling sea - got the
spar shipshape in time to start the race.

* From Adrian Morgan, Scotland: The debate about which rule to adopt, one
design vs handicap, PHRF, IMS, IRC would have raised a smile from the late
Peter Johnson who wrote the book on man's attempts to level rate yacht
racing. It's been going on for a 100 years or more as each generation
decides which handicap rule to adopt (of which there have been literally
scores over the years) and whether it wouldn't be better to have a regime
where the boat that crosses the line first wins. That's why Britannia was
re-rated J class in the late 1930s, and I can remember the argument raging
fiercely throughout my time in yachting journalism.

Seems that some people want the freedom to build something out and out
fast, radical, to win line honours, others to sail as a pack (within
pre-defined limits) and the rest to race one design clones (in which there
is no hiding place). All want glory, some need excuses for losing. The best
boats, of course, are cruising boats: no restrictions, no rules just the
requirement to be good looking and fast enough to make harbour before the
pubs close.

* From Ken Dickerman: I was fortunate to live for awhile in Perth Australia
where results based "golf" handicapping is the norm for 99% of keel boat
racing on the Swan. Even the one design Dragons, Flying 15's and Etchells
race with both finish line place and handicapped finish maintained at the
club level. It works, with variations, by hammering your personal time
correction factor if you win, place or show. The goal is to try and give
more skippers a flag during the season.

There are strong feelings that this system keeps lower performers or those
unable to maintain sails and equipment to high standards out racing on the
race course. I would suggest the ISAF look at the Australian systems; they
have been doing it for years. It seems to work well with plenty of
participation and is enjoyable, but not soul satisfying for all. Hence we
formed a class of Brett Bakewell-White 36's to be raced under IRC. The IRC
did show measurement sensitivities (LP especially) for this essentially one
design boat. I believe a governed IRC measurement process is essential and
was an Australian IRC requirement.

* From Cliff Bradford: How does this "skipper/crew" rating help sailing? It
seems to me that if you go out to race, whether one-design or handicapped,
that your aim should be to sail your boat as best you can. If inexperienced
sailors are given an allowance then they won't have an incentive to get
better. Plus how do you judge it? A sailor might be good in one boat,
condition, crew position etc but not in another; do you give a lake sailor
an advantaged handicap when he goes to a heavy air regatta because he's not
familiar with strong breeze? Or if a highly skilled keelboat sailor
switches over to high performance catamarans do you give him an advantage
then? The only such allowance I'm in favor of is for truly handicapped sailors.

* From Bob Dunn (re empirical handicapping): Great, after the committee
resolves the problem of crews and skippers who don't want to advance their
skill levels maybe they can tackle loosing weight without diet and exercise.

* From Andrew Bray, England (re empirical handicapping): Handicapping crew
skills? I think that ISAF must have skipped a week on their calendar -
April 1 is next week.

* From Dick Squire: In Scuttlebutt #1540 and #1541 there were wrangling
words from Peter Harken, Skip Lissiman, Rob Mundel, and Brian Hancock about
Ben Lexcen's absence from the America's Cup Hall of Fame. They thought it
petty and/ or criminal that he had not been inducted. It would seem they
have a compelling argument but there may be more to the story than we know.
Coincidentally I perused an old issue of "The Nautical Quarterly" (#29) and
came across an article that may or may not have bearing on his absence from
that august body.

The article poses the question: Did Ben Lexcen design the revolutionary
keel on Australia II that certainly contributed to, if it did not in fact
cause, the loss of the America's Cup after 136 years at New York Yacht Club?

The article goes on to make a case for a Dutch aerodynamicist, Joop W.
Slooff, who claimed after the win that he in fact was the innovator and
designer of the keel. That he was not given credit may have had less to do
with Lexcen trying to take credit where credit was not due, and more with
the America's Cup Deed of Gift that states in part, "(3) A foreign
designer...would violate both the letter and spirit of the (AC) rule." If
it had been known that a Dutchman had designed the keel it would certainly
have roused a protest on the part of NYYC. Whatever the case, the article
makes a compelling argument.

* From Bruce Thompson: With regard to the comments of Mr. Hall and Mr.
Taylor, I would add the observation that not only has there been good RC
work at the start, but there has been good work by the competitors. Maybe
the debates on Scuttlebutt have re-ordered their priorities! The lesson for
other fleets is to follow a good example. Remember, the RC has their black
flag and repeater waiting! If you fail in your responsibility to start
correctly, you too can do the perp walk in front of your competitors and
serve a time-out back in your room while everyone else gets to do a clean
re-start. Do it twice and your fate is similar to that of a competitor in
the Olympics signature event, the 100 meter dash, who false starts twice -
your Olympics are over. Let's play nice!

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
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