Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1551 - March 31, 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.

(Following are excerpts from the TNZ March Update that has just been

It's the end of March, our self-imposed deadline for a hard-nosed appraisal
of Team New Zealand's position. It's just over a year since the loss of the
America's Cup and 11 months since we started working towards challenging
for the 2007 Cup. Team New Zealand's objectives by March 31 2004 were:

- To have sufficient funding commitments for a winning Team New Zealand
challenge for the 2007 America's Cup;
- To have contracted key people to the Team;
- To be well advanced in planning the Team's programme to Valencia 2007.

We are very close to reaching all those objectives. However, merely turning
up in Valencia and doing our best with the resources available was never a
serious prospect. We owe it to our supporters - financial and otherwise -
to delay any final decision on competing until we are confident we can
mount a winning challenge.

We are very close to that position but until we have signatures on
contracts the directors will not push the "go" button. I do not want to
give the impression that we are sitting on our hands, waiting for the money
to roll in. We are very active in seeking funding and that will probably
continue right up until the starter's gun fires on the first race. On other
fronts (team members, design, technology etc), the Team has made
significant progress.

In America's Cup competition, there's always a danger of being left behind.
Over the past 12 months we have worked hard to ensure that we will be ready
for 2007 and we have a very busy 12 months ahead of us.

Almost 60 people are now under contract to the team. More than 20 of them
are new to the team. The team has a much more international makeup because
where we could not find the skills at the level we required in New Zealand,
we have gone offshore. The design team is complete and there are only a few
more sailing team slots to fill. The shore team will fall into place as

The design team has 22 members who started planning for 2007 in Auckland
last November. A few weeks ago the sail and rig team convened for three
days of detailed planning. The design team is currently working on
developing and evaluating computer software and within a few months will
start on hulls, rigs, sails and aerodynamics.

We have committed significantly more resources in the sail and rig
development areas. As you would expect, the sailing team is scattered
throughout the world doing what they should be doing - going sailing. They
have competed in many different regattas. Several team members including
Dean Barker are seeking Olympic selection.

* Looking Good - after 52-1/2 days on their Round the World record attempt,
Steve Fossett and Cheyenne continue on their push North/Northwest up the
Atlantic, benefiting from steady wind from the E/NE throughout today. A 206
nm run for the last 12 hours (avg 17.2 kts) keeps them four days ahead of
record holder Orange's 2002 RTW pace. A sub 60 day record run seems
tantalizingly possible. Monday's close call with the front beam nearly
coming away from the starboard hull could have been ugly, but immediate
reaction and repairs have meant that progress has only been slowed a
little, at least in mild seas. The repairs of Monday were holding, and were
improved on Tuesday. -

* The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran had no choice other than
to spend her 33rd day at sea heading further North. Throughout the day,
Geronimo was beset by southerly winds of between 35 and 40 knots and very
high seas, forcing her to follow a heading well away from her direct route
to Cape Horn. At 17:13 GMT on Tuesday 30 March, Geronimo was following a
true heading of 124°, taking her east-southeast on a direct route to Cape
Horn. The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran was still experiencing
southerly winds, although these have dropped in strength over the last 24
hours to around 20 knots. Geronimo was then making a spot actual speed of
22.6 knots. -

"We're not racing anymore, we are just suffering. The sea is incredibly
violent, dangerous, hard, icy and dense. It's moving from the pack ice up
to our latitudes and further at between 30 and 35 knots. I've been here
many times before, but I've never been attacked like this - I get the
impression that it's already winter and we're too late." - Geronimo skipper
Olivier de Kersauson on Monday.

The Lake Erie Ice Cover is of great interest to those of us who sail out of
the Buffalo area. It also affects us here in Youngstown, as we can't put
moorings or docks out until the ice is finished coming down the Lower
Niagara River. As of March 22 there were 1975 square miles of ice remaining
in Lake Erie, and the ice boom across the mouth of the Upper Niagara can't
be removed until there is less than 250 square miles. So there is no way
the boom will come out by the normally scheduled April 1 date. A really
interesting website which shows the ice cover of various bodies of water is Find the box on the left side of the home page marked
products, then go to the drop down box for ice charts, then go to Great
Lakes. Click on Lake Erie (or any other Lake) and you can see the latest
percentage of ice cover. - Don Finkle, RCR Yachts Sail newsletter:

During the 2004 US Olympic Trials for the eleven classes, each winning team
secured their berth without needing to race in at least the final race.
Which team most dominated their trials? (Answer below.)

Ellen MacArthur has set off from the Falkland Islands on her new 75ft B&Q
trimaran. This is Ellen's first solo voyage for over 15 months, so she will
be reassured to know that she has an 'old friend' on board - her faithful
Musto's. This is a time when Ellen needs 110% concentration and she can do
just that because her Musto kit will keep her warm, dry, comfortable and
protect her from the ocean's elements. You don't need to sail a 75ft
trimaran to experience Musto. Give it a try next time:

Yachting New Zealand's appeal to world sport's highest disputes body over
the quashing of two of its Olympic nominations could be heard as early as
Friday in Auckland. Yachting New Zealand filed its submission to the
Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport last Friday after the New
Zealand Sports Disputes Tribunal's decision to overturn two of its Olympic
nominations. Yachting New Zealand chief executive Simon Wickham, the crews'
lawyer Richard Brabant and representatives from the court took part in a
pre-hearing conference call last night where it was expected the date of
the hearing would be set.

The tribunal allowed appeals by Laser sailor Andrew Murdoch and 470 crew
Simon Cooke and Alastair Gair over the nominations of Hamish Pepper, and
Andrew Brown and Jamie Hunt, respectively, for Athens. Although Pepper and
Brown and Hunt had won their national Olympic trials at Torbay in January,
the tribunal found insufficient grounds to justify another part of the
nomination criteria, that they had demonstrated the capability of achieving
a top-10 finish in Athens. The Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision is
binding. Julie Ash, NZ Herald,

The most popular book purchased from the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Library
is "How to Sail Around the World: Advice and Ideas for Voyaging Under Sail"
by Hal Roth. Was it something we said? Enjoy this book and the other
twenty-nine new book titles added to the shelves this month:

* ESPN Classic will premiere 25 Years of Sailing, presented by Rolex on May
19 at 9 p.m. ET. The one-hour program celebrates 25 years of history in the
sport of sailing and ESPN's coverage of it. Gary Jobson, the face of
sailing on ESPN since 1986 and himself a member of the 1977 America's
Cup-winning team, produced the program and serves as host. The program will
examine how the sport of sailing has seen dramatic technological advances,
a host of larger-than-life personalities, historic races and shifts in

* Bulgarian Olympic weightlifting champion Galabin Boevski was banned for
eight years for tampering with his urine sample at last year's world
championships. International Weightlifting Federation president Tamas Ajan
said Boevski's team-mates Zlatan Vanev and Georgi Markov were also given
18-month suspensions and would not be able to compete at the Athens Olympic
Games. The three were ruled to have tampered with their tests at the
Vancouver world championships in November. The authorities said their urine
samples were identical and had come from one person. Reuters, full story:

* The Vendée Globe 2004-2005 non-stop solo round the world yacht race with
no outside assistance starts on Sunday November 7. According to a report on
The Daily Sail website, participants that wish to take part in the Vendée
Globe will have until 30 June to register. The last qualifying race is the
Transat, starting on the 31 May 2004 from Plymouth. All boats must be in
les Sables d'Olonne by 16 October.

* Last week French crowds were thrilled during an incredible night of
extreme arena windsurfing action. The Scuttlebutt Photo Gallery brings you
this high-paced sporting event from the comfort of your own box seats:

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Kevin Hall
When I am on the water I am either trying to get stronger in the boat, to
improve a specific aspect of my technique, or I am on the way back in. I
never left the dock without at least one very clear specific goal for the
day's training session. If I realized I wasn't 100% focused or putting in
physically, I would stop and either regroup or go in. It was very important
to me not to practice sailing the boat at anything less than 100% focus. -
Kevin Hall will compete in his first Olympics at the 2004 Games in Athens,
representing the USA in the Finn.

The US team that most dominated their trials based on the number of races
that they did not need to compete in was the 470 Mens team of Paul Foerster
and Kevin Burnham. Their points lead was sufficient to allow them to sit
out the final three races. A close second was Europe sailor Meg Gaillard,
who sat out the final two races but had enough of a lead to have sat out
the third as well.

Kick off the season with official apparel from US SAILING and get a 2004 US
SAILING Team hat free with your purchase. You can even get customized US
SAILING apparel for your boat and crew. Our online store features polo's,
tees, dry-tees, hats, fleece from quality brands like Nautica, Gill,
Authentic Pigment and more. Your purchase will help the team so show your
support. Just order $100 or more and receive a free 2004 US SAILING Team
Hat! Offer good until May 31, 2004. Purchase US SAILING apparel today 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 Scott Fox: Regarding the $100,000 that Cayard reportedly spent to
win the trials. It has always been a well known fact in order to reach the
Olympics from this country (and then to be competitive at the Games) that
it will cost thousands of dollars. I remember in 1992 Kevin Mahaney telling
people that he spent $500,000 to win a Silver Medal, in today's dollars
that would be closer to $1 Million. That is why much more financial support
from U.S. Sailing in order to help supplement outside corporate and private
sponsorship is needed here.

* From Ken Haas: (In response to Adrian Morgan's "concern" on Paul Cayard's
admitted expenditure of $100,000 on his Star campaign): Is it surprising
that it costs over $100k to win the Olympic trials? Not in this day and
age. Cayard didn't write the rules, he simply forked-out the dough to
successfully build a campaign to prepare, compete, and win a very important

I dare say that his expenditures were probably not excessively greater than
many of the other competitors in Miami. After all, new Star will set you
back over $40,000. Throw in the cost of a set or two of new sails, boat
shipping and storage fees, a coach or two (yes even the best learn from
good coaching), travel, hotels, maybe the family came to Florida and spent
a few bucks on a weekend at Disneyworld, etc... Not to mention the
opportunity cost of sailing in a class that does not offer a paycheck
instead of participating in the Swedish Match Tour or attempting to be the
next to set a new
round-the-world-without-breaking-down-or-having-to-be-rescued speed record.
When the division between the weekend warrior and the local pro is getting
wider and wider, Paul and Phil are getting back to "roots" sailing and
having fun doing it.

* From Count Enrico Alfredo Ferrari: The race format developed by the
Alinghi team (and, I assume Oracle) starting with the contest in San
Francisco now going to the fleet racing with some match racing thrown in is
great. As a race sailor, now on the beach, this sort of use of resources
really makes sense. The previous system was always a point of snobbishness.
The public and I thought it a waste to just park the older AC boats after a
win or loss. That discarded hardware created an impression (justly?) that
this was for people with a lot of disposable income and most of the public
just could not relate.

This time the focus seems to be on the teams and the work being put in by
the average crew. The new format will allow some celebration or
recalculation of the team based on their results in the fleet and early
match racing instead of the unheralded drudgery of brushing with your own
team's boat day after day. The reuse of the older AC boats will keep the
entire contest more visible, allowing the public to gain a bit more savvy
about sailing in general. Well done! Now just get out there and allow for
some faster designs. As a sideline spectator, I say push the throttle and
let's see some racing!

* From Art Ahrens: Handicapping crews? I thought that is why we raced, to
see who was best!! These discussions regarding handicapping are older than
the CCA rule. Let's face it. When someone invests millions of dollars on
his "grand prix race boat," he expects to win, and will find the loopholes
in the measurement rules to do it. ANY handicapping rule can be beaten.
Even the exhaulted PHRF rule is very easy to beat. Just purchase a Ranger
33, or any established rated boat, fair the bottom, put on new sails,
replace the heavy hardware with lighter state of the art stuff, add a good
crew, and you will be unbeatable. If you really want to see what you are
made of, one designs are the only way to go. I just wish that a modern one
design was developed that was really a safe, comfortable sea going boat
that is as popular as the Farr 40. While I enjoy one design sailing, I
really miss the off shore races.

* From Craig Fletcher: I play golf (no Tiger Woods mind you) and have a
handicap. Are golf handicaps perfect, no, but they sure bring out a lot
more people to the sport. Would you use them on the PGA or the club
championship, no, but for the weekend golfer they are great. Golf is
growing and sailing in most clubs is on the decline. Why not try empirical
handicapping? Having less skilled sailors encouraged to race and have fun
cannot be a bad thing.

* From Jim Marta: I agree and commend Steve Johnson re PHRF inability to
'rate' boats that wouldn't have been allowed to race a few years ago. I'm
speaking of the water ballast and the bare 'sport' boats. For 100 years
more or less, moveable ballast wasn't allowed in yacht racing. It now is
allowed with local provisions permitting its use.

There's a better solution that solution is very much like that which
handled the multi-hulls. For years they would shadow the fleet but wouldn't
get their finishes recorded. They finally were recognized as a class and
got their own starts separate from the mono-hulls. PHRF should designate a
separate start for these newer boats that provide such great speed at the
expense of not using full interiors or 'full lead' ballast A national body
of raters who actually know boat speed on the course, as opposed to most
local raters who only look at results, would be helpful in preserving PHRF,
which can be better managed at the local level. Two years ago at our annual
meeting rating recommendations by the 40 foot owners were being discussed.
Only three or four raters of the fifteen attending the meeting actively raced.

PHRF can work, but only if those rating the boats understand skill,
preparation and boat speed instead of just using results. It really isn't
any wonder that many are 'opting out' currently because they really can't
compete with boats that are so radically different. A PHRF sport boat
division must be added.

* Hank Evans: A most interesting story about Peter Barrett and Lowell North
un-stepping their mast at sea to hoist the main. Peter said you could not
go up the mast because it was too fragile. As a Star boat sailor from the
60's when the masts were wood I had always heard that was true. However, in
the 12 district Star championships on Lake Owasco (finger lakes of New
York) I saw a Star sailor from Cooperstown, N.Y. by the name of Sammy Smith
shimmy to the top of a Star mast at anchor, fix something and slide back
down. I knew and respected Peter from my days at C&C when we worked on the
Mega project together. On this point however, at least one Star skipper
defied the odds and proved you can go up the mast.

Some of the recording artists from the 60's are re-releasing their hits
with updated lyrics, like the Bee Gees new single, "How Can You Mend a
Broken … Hip?"