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SCUTTLEBUTT 1550 - March 30, 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.

On the shores of Lake Erie in Erie, Pennsylvania, there's a new Mini taking
shape. A very unique Mini. By the time she sets sail, sometime in June 2004
if all goes well, more than 1,000 kids will have taken part in her build.
The project is the brainchild of Mini Class US members David Hyland, a
professor at nearby Mercyhurst College - - and Jim Stewart,
Executive Director of the Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies (BCMS) in
Erie - Dave is an avid sailor with a lot of Great Lakes
distance events along with the Newport-Bermuda race and Annapolis-Newport
Race under his keel. Dave has been a long-time follower of the Mini Transat
and traveled to La Rochelle in 2001 for the start of the race. Rounding out
the build team are Richard Eisenberg, Director of Boat Building at BCMS and
educator Ramon Mancha.

A year ago, Dave approached Jim with a plan to do enter the 2005 Mini
Transat. Expecting Jim to be receptive to the idea but not prepared to get
behind it, Dave was more than a little bit surprised when Jim said "Great
idea. Let's build it here". That's where the kids come in. The mission of
the BCMS is to design and deliver unique, maritime-based educational,
vocational, and recreational opportunities for the local community. BCMS
provides programming for all the juvenile placement facilities in Erie
County and seventeen public school districts in northwest Pennsylvania. In
six years, BCMS has provided programming for nearly 11,000 youth. These
participants have built 65 boats including canoes, kayaks, wherries,
skiffs, and the Erie Boat, an authentic replica of the two-masted
cat-ketches that used to fish the waters of Lake Erie.

If a Mini was to be built at BCMS by kids, it had to be fabricated out of
wood, as that is their primary area of expertise. Enter Dudley Dix Yacht
Design of South Africa - - who offers the only kitted Mini
design in the world made out of wood. Last fall, Dave purchased the plans
from Dudley and the kit from CKD Boats in Hout Bay, South Africa - it
shipped on Christmas Eve, arrived in Newark in early January, and finally
arrived at BCMS on February 12. Construction began the following week. -
Full story:

Last week's story about Cayard and Trinter replacing their damaged mast
just in time to make the start at the Olympic Trials has dredged up
memories of other heroic moments in major competition. David Bolles sent us
this account - reportedly written by Peter Barrett for the Star Class Log
about the 1968 Olympics where Peter crewed for Lowell North, and the two
won Gold Medals.

* Race 2 The wind was about the same as the first day, but the line was
better. Lowell was feeling sick . . . not "tourista", which we had avoided
by drinking no water, but just plain cold and flu . . . he didn't say much,
but it was easy to sense how poor he felt. ... We were discouraged at
losing second, and Lowell felt terrible. He lay in bottom of the boat all
the way back to the yacht club.

* Race 3 ... It was discouraging to lose another second in the last minute,
and Lowell again headed for the bottom of the boat and lay down as soon as
we finished.

* Race 6 Our last real challenge in the series came when we started to
hoist the main after towing out to the course. The mail halyard broke at
the ball, a foot from the sail. We looked at the Star mast wondering how to
get the sail up there to stay ... climbing it was out of the question. ...
it isn't strong enough. There wasn't enough time to tow back and out again.
Even though there was an unpleasant swell running, we finally decided to
un-step the mast, pull the sail along the mast and lock it, then put the
mast and sail back up. We got help from an official on the tow-boat, but it
took 45 minutes (we barely made our first start) and with some tricky
moments ... Lowell had to swim out astern to get the sail to the top, as
the mast is much longer than the boat. And lifting the entire rig while the
boat rolled around was a tricky proposition. We only forgot to have the
jumper level pointing correctly, so we had to sail the race with the jumper
tied off.

Any time you start getting your gear together to go to a regatta, the first
thing on you mind will be your Camet Padded sailing shorts. You may already
own some, but now is the time to get on the Camet web page and look at the
different models and colors available. The 3000, Bermuda, Aruba, Cargo,
Women's 3000 and Ocean shorts are all made out of the fast drying
breathable Supplex,(UV 40+) and with the Cordura seat patch to hold the
foam pad to help you get through those long hours on the rail. Coolmax
shirts, Mylar bags, Rashguards etc.

I have been away for a week coaching the Danish Olympic team. So just today
I astounded, when I read where Locik Peyron and Team France have used my
name in a PR stunt. This is the second time Locik Peyron has used my name
to help his project, Team France. The first being a year ago, at that time
I talked to Bertrand Pace and he assured me it was a miss understanding. I
was happy to let it go at that, after all Bertrand and I are friends. This
time I am going to respond.

To set the record straight:
1. I had one conversation with Bertand Pace, over a year ago when we
happen to be to see each other the same airport. He mentioned an America's
Cup campaign and said "I would like to have you if we can get our money
together." I took it as a compliment from a sailor I respect. My response
was "good luck."

2. Bertand has send me a couple of emails to let me know how funding
has been going.

3. I have never talked or communicated with Loick Peyron or "Team France."

4. Any assertion that I have negotiated, had dealings with, or in any
way am involved with Team France are not true.

5. Any suggestion that Rod Davis is going to be a coach or helmsman, as
far as I know, are not true.

6. For Loick to say "that Rod Davis (Prada starting helmsman in 2003
and sailing coach in 2000) will certainly join the team", is news to me and
has no truth in it.

I am passionate about winning the America's Cup. That passion, hard work
and giving 100% to my teams has earned me a reputation that I am very proud
of. I hope to be involved with the next America's Cup. Mr Peyron has used
my name and reputation to help his America's Cup program. This is without
my knowledge or involvement. Team France has a lot of explaining, to me and
the public. I don't know if using someone else reputation, for their own
gain, is legal or not. I do know it is not right.

Currently I am working with a very talented group of Danish Olympic sailors
and coaches to the next Olympics, something I am also passionate about. I
certainly do not need this situation. I don't enjoy having to openly slam a
fellow sailor (one I have never met) but in this case I am left with no
alternative. - Rod Davis

* Steve Fossett and crew aboard Cheyenne left behind the Doldrums Monday,
with a steady NE trade pushing them on a N/NW heading 177 miles over the
past 12 hours, an average of 14.75 kts. Their lead over the 2002 RTW record
pace of Orange I is now approx 1100 miles - or 3 days. Tom Mattus of
Commanders Weather advised Monday afternoon that there is more good wind to
follow: "They'll stay on this N/NW heading as the wind holds steady for the
next 36-48 hours. Then as it begins to clock towards the East by Wednesday
they should be able to steer North. -

* The words used by Olivier de Kersauson Monday about the possibility of
Geronimo fighting on for the Jules Verne Trophy were hardly encouraging. We
should however remember that the storm should abate for the Cap Gemini and
Schneider Electric crew in the coming hours and allow them at least a
little respite from the incessant struggle of recent days. Although he
remains skeptical about future developments, Olivier de Kersauson is still
around two days ahead of the current record. More importantly still, he has
been able to cover some very respectable distances despite the state of the
sea. In 16 hours today, Geronimo covered 283 nautical miles at an average
of 17.7 knots.

Bill Biewenga, veteran ocean racer and weather router has teamed up with
North U. to offer a completely new weather seminar series this spring!
Cutting edge graphics will bring the lessons alive. Bill is also available
to coach you, your crew, or club; provide custom weather routing for
offshore passages or to personally oversee the professional delivery of
your yacht. Bill brings 320,000 ocean miles and 17 years of weather routing
experience to every project. For more information, email today or visit For
the North U. weather seminars visit us at:

* The three-day International Rolex Regatta, hosted for its 31st time by
St. Thomas Yacht Club in the U.S. Virgin Islands, concluded Sunday after
hundreds of sailors on 91 boats were tested by a variety of wind
conditions. Photos by Daniel Forster and daily stories, including the full
regatta wrapup, can be viewed at

* Challenge Business announced La Rochelle as the final stopover port for
the Global Challenge round-the-world yacht race. La Rochelle is
approximately 450 miles from Portsmouth so the fleet leaving from this
south-westerly part of France will have just short sprint back to the
homeport of Portsmouth. The twelve identical 72ft ocean racing yachts of
the Global Challenge fleet begin the race from Portsmouth on October 3,
2004 with stops at Buenos Aires, Wellington, Sydney, Cape Town and Boston
before heading for La Rochelle. -

* Strong wind from the East limited the 3rd day of races at the 64-boat
Star European Championships in L'Escala, Girona, Spain just one race.
Standings after three races with on discard: 1. Mark Neeleman/ Peter Van
Niekerk, NED, 10; 2. Fredrick Loof/ Anders Ekstrom, SWE, 16; 3. Xavier
Rohart/ Rambeau Pascal, FRA, 13. 4. Alexander Hagen/ Jochen Wolfram, GER,
19; 5. Ian Percy/ Steve Mitchell, GBR, 30. -

* Swedish Match Tour President Pierre Tinnerholm announced broad changes
for the professional sailing series. Force 10 Marketing will be responsible
for managing the Swedish Match Tour together with the Stockholm-based
company Swedish Match AB. Force10's Scott MacLeod, James Pleasance, Melissa
Duhaime and Wendy Hinman all worked on the Tour in their former positions.
Sean McNeill, a veteran yachting journalist, joins the team as Director of
Public Relations. The Swedish Match Tour produces 155 hours of television
coverage reaching more than 426 million households worldwide annually.
Additionally, the Swedish Match Tour website, has just undergone a major
redesign -

*With 13 wins and 0 losses, St. Francis Yacht Club dominated in both
moderate-air and light-air sailing that marked this year's Pacific Life
Yacht Club Challenge match race series. Led by skipper Chris Perkins and
tactician Seadon Wijsen, StFYC dominated the four days of racing. 2. Balboa
YC, 11-1; 3. Newport Harbor YC, 11-2; San Diego YC, 7-6. -

* Ellen MacArthur has begun her maiden solo voyage on board the 75ft B&Q
trimaran. She left Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands on Friday. It will
be another testing time for both skipper and boat, as they face upwind
conditions of the South Atlantic. Ellen is already experiencing the harsh
realities of solo sailing with the breeze varying between 15 and 30 knots.

* "Winning the Trials was a big deal. But it was not the Real Deal. That is
in August." - Paul Cayard, -

* "This round of trials was an eye-opener. It's been taken to the next
level. It's like what Dennis Conner has experienced in the America's Cup.
Some guys spent more than $100,000 on these trials. We'll see what happens.
I know I'm in better shape than I was four years ago. But everyone else has
really stepped it up." - Mark Reynolds speaking to Bill Center in the San
Diego Union about the recently concluded US Star Olympic Trials.

It's 635 miles to Bermuda, and a New England Boatworks Durepox super-slick
bottom job will make the miles fly by. NEB can completely race-prep your
boat for the Bermuda Race, from custom foot rests for the helmsman to new
halyards. Call NEB's Scotty Murray today at 401-683-6110.

(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 Adrian Morgan, Scotland: Strewth: one hundred thousand dollars to
win a little keelboat race, for Pete's sake. Good on Mr Cayard for letting
us know what he forked out in quest of an Olympic medal (and that's
presumably just to win the trials). It will make all but the most
determined youngster think: "I'd better get a career under me. Do a Volvo
or two, race Big Boats. Become a lawyer. Then, maybe, when I'm wealthy
enough I'll go back and race little boats in the Olympics." On the
evidence, the Star has become the Baby Boomer boat, fit only for (fit)
wealthy middle-aged men. But then again you could say that the youth of
today have enough opportunities. They should go buy a Laser.

* From John Quigley (re empirical handicapping - edited to our 250-word
limit): As a body representing the interests of all stakeholders in the
sport one appreciates that ISAF should explore ideas, concepts and calls
for change once a certain weight of interest appears to be established.
Unless I have misunderstood the issue the first question in this instance
would seem to be - who is proposing this idea and why?

Secondly what is the point in trying to handicap and offset the achievement
of excellence in competitive sport? If those with less talent, commitment
or drive lose interest half way through a race because they are losing then
go home, stop racing, get out of the sport or get better at it.

The point of handicapping the boat and not the crew is precisely so that
the skill level of the crew can be fairly reflected and rewarded despite
each utilizing a differing platform to compete in. On this basis
individuals and teams are encouraged to train and improve their skills and

The only handicapping that may be broadly fair and beneficial would be a
simple Professional / non-Professional status. It may be that an
internationally recognized Professional status with rights,
responsibilities, benefits, standards and a Code of Conduct may also be
what is needed to propel the sport further into the international
professional recognition zone alongside F1, Soccer, Tennis, Rugby, etc.,
which is needed in order to draw in further interest, support and
investment from the corporate sector if major global events are to flourish.

* From Craig Coulsen: In reference to the comments by Ted Coles and in
defense of RORC in the administration of the IRC Rule it seems that very
little "knob twisting" has been done in recent years. Secondly, stability
is real terms is not much of an issue as the boats are weighed. Finally
there is no real difference between national fleets as each national fleets
have enough well sailed Farr 40ODs, J boats , Beneteau 40.7s, Swans and the
like to act as reliable benchmarks.

* From Mark Isaak, British Columbia: In regards to the letter of Dick
Squire concerning Ben Lexcen's place in history; I am reminded of Sir Isaac
Newton's comments that if he had seen farther than others, it was only
because he was standing on the shoulders of giants. I am sure Dr. Slooff
was such a giant. However, whatever the details, Dr. Slooff did not create
the fully integrated design of a winning 12 Meter yacht. No mean feat.
Perhaps we should give the first Indy 500 win to the inventor of the rear
view mirror, not Mr. Oldfield.

* From David K. Anderson, London: As David Redfern points out in 'butt
1549, the fact that Ben Lexcen didn't think much of the [America's] cup,
and if he had his way, he would make it into a hubcap, may say a lot as to
why he's not in the America's Cup Hall of Fame. I know of no one on the
nominating committee that has similar feelings about the cup.

* From Frank Sticovich: In reference to Ken Dickerman's comments regarding
handicapping (Scuttlebutt 1548) I would like to make the observation that
in golf the losing of a stroke (or two) is accepted as a compliment to the
player's ability whilst in yacht club circles the tweaking of a boat's
performance handicap by a race committee is often considered as the biggest
tragedy on earth!

* From Janet Bjorn, Executive Secretary Byte Class International
Association: Further to your News Brief on the Flash and the choice of boat
for the next Women's Olympic single-hander, the following should clarify
the upcoming selection process. As reported, the Flash had a submission
accepted for consideration at the upcoming ISAF Mid-year meeting in San
Diego in June. It was one of 18 such submissions covering 5 boats - Laser
Radial, Zoom 8, Flash, Byte CII and the Europe itself. In ISAF Regulation
16, it states, "Council will decide the list of 'possible' equipment at the
prior mid year meeting" and that is the meeting in June. That list will
then be considered by Council in November and a decision made at that
meeting. There is no guarantee that any boat of the above 5 boats will
automatically be on the list of possible equipment although it would be
very surprising if the Europe was not named. It is therefore premature at
this time for any of these Classes to suggest that ISAF will be voting on
their boat in November.

The trouble with work is - it's so daily.