Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1553 - April 2, 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.

There is definitely something big happening and there are just a handful
who actually know what it is all about. Team Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts
is in Dubai and he, along with two-time Americas Cup finalist Paul Cayard
are brewing up something big and new in the sailing world for Dubai. "At
this stage, we cannot reveal any information to you," Coutts told Gulf News
following a lengthy meeting with DIMC managing director, Saeed Hareb at the
DIMC clubhouse yesterday. "We can only say that this is going to be
something related to sailing. It will be competition-based," Coutts stated.

Coutts, it may be recalled was in Dubai for the first time at the end of
January this year to see for himself the standard of competition during the
Dubai International Sailing Week Regatta. The Team Alinghi skipper
evidently liked what he saw, thereby encouraging him to come here again. "I
like the potential of the venue. We have a concept and we will announce
that at a proper time," Coutts smiled without revealing much about the
concept he is trying to market in Dubai. "We are interested in Dubai as a
venue and that's why we are here," he added.

Cayard too preferred to keep the specifics of their visit well-guarded. "I
prefer keeping it that way. All I can say at this juncture is that Russell
and I have been working on a project for a number of months and we were
here to make a presentation before the people concerned," Cayard said.
According to Cayard, the 1992 Vuitton Cup winner, Coutts got talking about
this project during the course of his visit here in January. "The proposal
is about sailing. But I can assure you, it has nothing to do with the
Americas Cup or nothing standard and typical proposals that Dubai is
bombarded with in sailing," Cayard said. "We're looking for something new."
- Excerpt from a story by Alaric Gomes in the Gulf News, full story:

(John Sweeney and Tina Kleinjan of the Challenge Series have launched an
America's Cup Challenge effort. The Ebay Motors auction of the exclusive
team sponsorship begins Friday, April 2. CupInfo talked with John about the
team, the puzzle of finding sponsors, and his unique perception of the
marketing environment of the Cup. Here are some of Sweeney's comments from
that interview on

"We talked to eBay approximately three months ago and approached them with
the idea. And in all honesty at first they were lukewarm on the idea, at
least, mainly because sailing is something they hadn't thought about. But
my proposal to them was about how this could be a new business model for
them in selling sponsorships for say Formula 1 or NASCAR, and that if this
works for sailing, which is such a difficult sport, it would work a lot
easier for a major league baseball team or Formula 1 to sell for an
existing team which has a huge audience, where sailing is still just a
fledgling type sport. And that's what kind of piqued their interest.

"There were say as many as 10 to 15 companies that were actively looking
to sponsor a certain team and have been in negotiations, and us knowing
that the time frame was within the next three months they may possibly
sign. How could we possibly get our package in front of them in that short
of a time span without knocking on their door? It would take forever to get
them letters, you may never get to them. This was the only way could figure
out to basically say "Hey, Team New Zealand sponsors, before you sign with
these guys, take a look. You're supposed to spend $30 million to be 1 of 5.
Why don't you spend $30 million and be your own entire team? Right?" That's
how it progressed.

"I made a detailed list of the teams. Aside from the Swiss, who have
achieved their entire sponsorship, and Oracle who has received only the
money from Larry. As far as I know they haven't re-signed their sponsors
from last time and the other teams that are out there don't have any of
their money that I know of, aside from Prada which has the funding
basically from their founder. They don't have the sponsors. The team that
just signed up, it's easy to post the million dollar bond, because that
doesn't require that you actually have a million dollars. What's important
is that you're fully funded. I don't think that people realize that if this
auction sells, say in the first day or the second day or by the end of the
auction, within a week's time we become only the second fully funded team
and we're off and running. There's no more money to be gotten. We're done.
And that's pretty important." - Excerpts from an interview with John
Sweeney, Sausalito Challenge, on the website. Full interview:

Designing a pair of boots that will keep up with the demands of many
sailors is no small feat. Well, Henri Lloyd has done it again. A boot that
fits all of a sailor's technical needs, their new Ocean Racer boot is a
masterpiece of product engineering. Made with their pioneering TP Ocean
waterproof membrane and high wicking Dri-Lex® lining, perspiration is
transported out while the Pittards WR100 leather and Cordura extremely
durable uppers keep the green water out. No matter the size of your feet,
they're available now in a full range of sizes at APS…

* Another excellent day of running N and now NE covering 234 miles (at an
average speed of 19.5 kts) has left skipper Steve Fossett and his crew
aboard the 125' maxi-catamaran Cheyenne only 1832 miles from their Round
The World record attempt destination - the official finish line at
Ouessant, France. They remain some 4-1/2 days ahead of the 2002 RTW record
position of Orange I. There are excellent weather prospects for the coming
4 days and Cheyenne and crew are still hoping to maintain a high average
speed and reach the Ouessant-Lizard record line on Monday, April 5th. -

* The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran continues its descent
southwards. The Geronimo covered 490 nautical miles on its 35th day of
navigation, still hoping for the west wind that has been eluding it.
Olivier de Kersauson and his 10-man crew are still encountering difficult
sailing conditions, with the wind still blowing from the south, but less
violently. A progressive change in the wind to west/south-west was expected
around the middle of Thursday, thus allowing the boat to lengthen its
stride and take less battering to its structure. Cape Horn, on this 35th
day, is still 2,600 nautical miles away. When it set the record, Orange was
3,385 nautical miles from it on the same day. So the crew is ahead of this
record by 785 nautical miles, but 1195 miles behind the 2004 position of
Steve Fossett and Cheyenne at the same time. -

* The largest gathering of tall ships in United States year to date takes
place on Thursday - Sunday, June 17-20, 2004 at the Charleston Maritime
Festival. Naval tall ships from around the world will participate in the
festivities, including the USCG Eagle, the Pride of Baltimore, sail
training vessels from Romania (Mircea), Mexico (Cuauhtemoc), Columbia
(Gloria), and many more. -

This year, thousands of young sailors will have fun on and off the water at
any of the record 24 US Sailing Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals hosted by
yacht clubs and sailing organizations across the country, from Hawaii to
Maine and from Florida to Washington state. This program is a grassroots
youth development program that defines a path for youngsters to become
involved in sailing and develop their skills, with a goal of making sailing
a life-long sport.

While all Festivals incorporate elements of fun and learning, each features
different levels of competition. Events range from a Windsurfing Camp in
Massachusetts that teaches nearly 100 young sailors about windsurfing to
the Orange Bowl Regatta in Florida, which in 2003 attracted a record 620
sailors from 4 countries and 26 states. Since the program first began in
1997, more than 21,000 youth sailors have participated in the program. West
Marine is presenting sponsor of the USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals,
as it has been since the inception of the program in 1997. Gill is also
continuing its support of the program as official supplier of technical
apparel. US Sailing has published the 2004 schedule of the USA Junior
Olympic Sailing Festival program.

The 2004 Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals schedule includes several new
events in new locations. For the schedule and additional information:

Kimberly Birkenfeld, America's top-ranked Olympic prospect in the women's
Mistral sailboard class until a violent collision with a New Zealand coach
boat in the pre-Olympics at Athens in 2002, has suffered a setback in her
recovery from severe injuries. This was learned during last week's U.S.
Olympic Trials for the Star class at Miami, where Birkenfeld lives. Her
boyfriend, Magnus Liljedahl, was crew for Andy Lovell of New Orleans. They
placed second to winners Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter, who won the sole
Olympic berth.

Birkenfeld wrote her own summary of the event, followed by this personal
report: "On another note, unfortunately, due to regression health status, I
have been unable to leave my apartment to view any of the races, which are
being held just down the road out of the US Olympic Sailing Center. I am
currently in search of the country's top neurologist who specializes in
neck and skull base trauma. As soon as Athens Hygeia Hospital agrees to
forward all my medical records and I am able to get an appointment with the
appropriate doctor, I am hopeful that I will get an explanation for this
regression. If anyone has high-level contacts in the medical world, please
inform them of my need to find a qualified neurologist."

While Birkenfeld had been walking on her own earlier and even boardsailed
briefly one day, despite a balance problem, she recently has been forced to
use a wheelchair. Responses may be sent to Birkenfield's Web site:, or to 2475 Brickell Ave., Miami, FL 33129. - Rich
Roberts, website,

Why do RIBs cost so much? Some don't once provided with straight answers
and a real honest comparison. Consider these facts when comparing RIBs and
deciding which one to buy: Fact- Aquapro has been building high quality
RIBs for 14 years in New Zealand; Fact- In the last two America's Cup
Campaigns, four different syndicates used Aquapro Raider RIBs; Fact- Raider
RIBs are built using only Pennel 866 "Orca Hypalon Tubes" with a ten-year
warranty. Call 1-877-7RAIDER or make your own comparison 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 Rob Drury: Great news that France is moving forward with a box rule
boat 'Class 40'. This looks very similar to the proposed Bronco 40
( only having a few key parameters and excluding
exotics in the build materials. I hope they also see wisdom in limiting the
number of sails that can be carried during any one race. Limiting cost will
result in a larger fleet which is surely desirable.

It was never my intention to 'own' this box rule, Bronco was floated to
indicate one way to get rid of infernal rating/handicap systems, and get
out there with a fleet of some great boats, different designers, different
builders, different sail makers, and first across the line wins! 'One
Design' has a place, but not with me. I want input into the design and
build process which gives me a feeling of 'ownership' of the yacht and its
creation - you can't love someone else's child like your own. From what I
see and hear, the design of ISAF GP rule is getting off the rails. Apply
the KIS rule - keep it simple!

* From Andrew Troup, New Zealand: I was horrified when the link from the
Sean Reeves story worked, providing unwelcome support for the veracity of
the item. I was so much hoping it would turn out to be just another April
Fools Scam. I can only hope xtramsn is in on the joke. It would be horrific
if the NZ justice system, through some perverse twist of fate, some
grotesque unforeseen crossgrained wormhole, turned out to provide sanctuary
for Mr Reeves.

I do not always see eye to eye with the blindfolded lady (difficult, by
definition) who holds aloft the set of scales, and who calls the land of
the free her home, but on this occasion I think she peeked, and got it right.

* From Aaron Housten: I don't know where Lloyd Causey got his information
regarding the Farr 40s in the Mac race having different handicaps but, he
is wrong. Nine Farr 40s competed in the 2003 race and all had identical

* From Donald Brewster: Hall's additional America's Cup fundraising will be
done on-line by the financial experts at The Motley Fool. Because the
anticipated weather on the AC waters is always fair, Musto will be issuing
special suits, to be described as Fool Weather Gear. And in honor of the
date the syndicate was formed, both boats will carry identical names: April

* From Denis Farley: Some people may have thought that Ken Inglis's comment
about the Wood Pussy 14 is something he made up, but there really is a
Wood-Pussy Class and the boats are 13 and a half feet in length. The
Wood-Pussy is a catboat that some people call a fat Finn as it has a 6 foot
beam and carries a huge main that is a handful in a breeze. At this time
there are three active fleets in the country: Monmouth Boat Club, Red Bank,
NJ, Shrewsbury Sailing & Yacht Club, Oceanport, NJ, and Crystal Lake, MI.
You can check out our website as follows:, click
on other links, and then click on Wood-Pussy.

The United States Wood-Pussy Class Association (USWPCA) is alive and well,
and since no new boats have been built in over 30 years we are limited in
growth to finding old boats in backyards and garages that can be renovated.
We are always looking for boats so our plea is that you contact us if you
know the whereabouts of a Wood-Pussy for sale. The class is currently
investigating the production of new boats.

As to Ken's question about who won the last Wood-Pussy regatta, the Solo
bowl on September 13, 2003, it was me at age 67 and 165 pounds.

* From Olin Stephens: I don't know whether it is too late to try to clarify
a distinction that I consider, if kept in mind, could help in the
frequently confusing comments on rating issues. To me, however simple or
complex, "rating" refers to a speed or time allowance according to the
application of a formula to find a rating that depends on only a boat's
measured dimensions. Exactly per formula, the time allowance is set. IOR or
IMS would be typical.

On the other hand, if the boat's performance, recorded or rated, is
adjusted according to the boat's ability in any way, by noting or judging
performance, then we have a "handicapping rule". PHRF is typical. Either
can be a good choice but the difference should be kept clear.

* From Michael H. Koster: Regarding Jim Marta's comments in Butt 1551
suggesting that PHRF designate starts for newer boats. There is nothing
stopping race event organizers from doing this. Mr. Marta contradicts
himself somewhat. He gives the example of how multi-hulls organized, got
recognized as a class, and got separate starts. This is exactly what these
"newer" boats need to do. That should not be a PHRF function. The purpose
of PHRF is to rate the boats, not tell you how to group them for racing.
PHRF committees have enough challenges with rating boats. They should not
be in the business of telling you how to race and with whom.

* From Alan Blair: Perhaps one of the reasons that competitor handicapping
is accepted in golf is that in (most) golf the competitor is obviously an
individual. I'm guessing that most racing boats are sailed by a crew. For
the sake of this discussion, I consider sailing to be a team sport. (I am
not referring here to team sailing where teams of three boats compete
against other teams of three boats... Here the team is the boat's crew) How
would the handicap for a crew be figured? Some sort of weighted average of
the crew's individual ratings? How would they be figured? Would a boat's
handicap change during a regatta when a crew member is replaced between
races? Single-handed competition might benefit from this but I can't see it
being accepted for crewed events. Is anyone aware of another team (like
baseball or football) sport that uses competitor handicapping?

* From By Baldridge: In regard to handicap rules, Why not pass out the
whole year's trophies on April 1, then race the rest of the year for fun.

Every minute that you exercise you add one minute to your life. This
enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing
home at $5000 per month.