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SCUTTLEBUTT 1564 - April 19, 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, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

The fits and starts of the trade winds have finally taken a more consistent
turn since Saturday night for the Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric
trimaran. These few hours of surfing towards the Doldrums should help put
smiles on the faces of all 11 men on Geronimo, who have suffered a terrible
second half to their round-the-world record attempt. In fact, they have
covered 241 nautical miles in the last 12 hours, at an average speed of
20.15 knots: a performance much more consistent with the statistics for
this area of the Atlantic. By midday Sunday, it had brought the multihull
to within 500 nautical miles of the Equator.

According to all the forecasters, the Doldrums promise to leave only a
small area of calms behind to trouble the all-French crew. However, there
still remains the potential problem of no depression over the Azores, which
means that the final straight-line dash for home will be upwind, involving,
as usual, twice the distance and three times the trouble.

Day 52 Update: 356 Nautical miles in 24 hours for an average speed of 14.84
knots. Geronimo is just a bit behind the pace of Orange I but more than
three days behind Cheyenne's Day 52 position.

If the first eBay (America's Cup) sailing sponsorship auction has ended
with no sell last week, the second is a great success with at least two
unidentified bidders have said they're willing to spend $19 million or more
to sponsor the San Francisco Bay yacht. At the end of the week-end, John
Sweeney, co-founder of the Sausalito Challenge, said the winning bidder
will need to ante up a lot more than the latest bid received April 18, for
$19.6 million. He declined to say how much, but the eBay "buy it now" price
is $35 million.

Sweeney said both he and EBay have pre-screened the buyers, so he's certain
the bids are legitimate, but he declined to name the firms. The winning
bidder gets what Sweeney calls a "revolutionary new boat" along with a crew
of top sailors from four different America's Cup teams. - Excerpts from the
Cup in Europe website:

Sailing experts give (Paul) Cayard a solid chance against the world's top
15 Star sailors. "If he stays focused he's definitely a medal contender,"
said commentator Gary Jobson, who will cover the competition for NBC. "He's
one of the few sailors to make the transition from small boats to big
boats, then go back successfully. That's very rare."

* Cayard says being back in the Star after roaming the globe as a
professional skipper is satisfying. "I earn my living sailing big boats but
I spend my own money to sail Stars, which shows how I feel. The Star for me
represents where I learned my skills. It's a class that collects the best
of the best, where winning the worlds represents perhaps the highest
achievement in sailing.

"The boat is intriguing, with a very complex rig and a lot of sail to
control with just two crew. They've changed the weight limits to make it
more athletic, which plays to the younger sailors and makes it that much
more challenging to a 44-year-old. I took it on, and with my training I'm
stronger now than I was at 28 when I won the worlds. - Two 'mini excerpts'
from a story by Angus Philips in Sunday's Washington Post. Full story:

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President Bush is expected on Cape Cod in June to attend an event hosted by
Osterville yachtsman Bill Koch. The Sea Scout Cup, named for Koch, is a
coed outdoor sailing program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America. It
will be held June 20-26 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Bush's June
25 appearance at the William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup will be
his first visit to the Cape since he moved into the White House. Others
attending the week of the event include several heavy hitters in the world
of sailing, among them Russell Coutts and Steve Fossett. -,

Big wind characterized the final day of the 62-boat Tornado catamaran World
Championship regatta held at the Club Nautic S'Arenal in Mallorca, Spain.
There was 16- 20 knots of breeze (and more) for race 9 … and race 10 had to
be cancelled when the wind built beyond 25. Santiago Lange and Carlos
Espinola from Argentina won the World Title (39 points after one discard),
11 points ahead of Americans John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree with 50
points. Australians Darren Bundock and John Forbes also had 50 points, but
lost the tie-breaker to finish the event in third place. Russia, Portugal,
Canada and Brazil qualified for the Olympics, but New Zealand, Brazil and
the Slovenians failed to qualify - they will not be able to send a Tornado
team to Athens for the Olympics. -

No races were possible on final day of the 2004 Mistral World Championship.
Julien Bontemps (FRA) is the new men's World Champion, with Przemek
Miarczynski (POL) second and Nicolas Huguet (FRA) third. Kevin Stittle
(CAN) was the top North American in 28th place in the 50-boat Gold Fleet.
In the 49-boat Silver Fleet Mexico's David Miery Teran took second with
Benjamin Barger (USA) finishing sixth. Subject to ISAF ratification, the
following seven nations have also now qualified for the Windsurfer Men
event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. They are Austria,
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland and Tunisia.

In the 59-boat Women's Championship, Alessandra Sensini (ITA) won with two
races to spare and takes the 2004 Mistral Women's World Champion title.
Barbara Kendall (NZL) finished second and Faustine Merret (FRA) third.
Lanee Beashel (USA) finished 31st, while Jimena Campos was the top Mexican
entry (48th place) with Heather Riley (CAN) taking 57th. Five more nations
have qualified for the Windsurfer Women event and subject to ISAF
ratification. They are Hungary, Mexico, Norway, Puerto Rico and Tunisia. -

Bruised shins, skinned knees, dinged butts and burned fingers can be more
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Ellen MacArthur will soon attempt to break the solo transatlantic record
(US to UK) with her new trimaran "Castorama - B&Q". Here are some recent
photos taken by Thierry Martinez during her sea trials in Aukland:

Sixteen year old Jean Baptiste Bernaz, a sports education student from the
south of France has won the 107 boat Laser Radial Youth World Championship
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Brisbane, Australia - a high quality fleet
with eight nations from 3 continents filling the top eight. Three points
back, Australia's Nathan Outteridge took second place with Daniel Mihelic
from Croatia finishing third. Blake Warner was the top finishing North
American, finishing 35th in the 54-boat Gold Fleet.

* Only two points separated the top three boats at the 22-boat Star Spring
Championship held at the Southern YC in New Orleans. After six races with
one discard, Andy Lovell and Magnus Liljedahl won the event with 10 points.
Mark Reynolds and Will Stout took second place with 11 points while George
Szabo and Darin Jensen finished third with 12 points. -

* For the second consecutive year the Jackson Cup Team Racing regatta was
won by Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club of Oyster Bay, New York lead by
Josh Adams, Tim Fallon and Ramsey Key. Second place was captured by Yale
Corinthian Yacht Club of Branford, CT, lead by racing rules expert Dave
Perry, with Colon Gordon and Robbie Richards also skippering. Third place
went to Marblehead's Eastern Yacht Club, Sam Altruder, Captain, Steve
Cucciaro and Bill Lynn. 52 races consisting of one complete round robin and
four final round were sailed at the Boston YC. -

* The fifth day of racing at the 49er World Championship in Athens was
cancelled because of no wind. After ten races with one throwout, Iker
Martinez and Xabier Fernadez from Spain leads the 28-boat regatta with 23
points - 19 points head of Marcus Baur and Max Groy from Germany. Stevie
Morrison and Ben Rhodes are in third place with 47 points - one less than
the USA's Tim Wadlow and Pete Spaulding. The regatta ends Monday. -

* Michael Illbruck confirmed that Team New Zealand have acquired the use of
GER 68 but said it's not the end of the German campaign. Maybe it's even
the opposite. The content of the deal is that Team NZ will use GER 68 for
free in exchange for the works necessary to finish the hull and add the
rig. After several trials session, she will be returned "in sailing
condition" in 2006 to the Pinta Racing. - Cup in Europe,

* The next few weeks will see some serious sailing taking place to qualify
for the Transat. At present, only 10 of the 39 official entries so far have
completed the single-handed qualification passage. Yachting World,

* Wells Fargo will be the name sponsor of Joe Harris's Open 50 for this
summer's Transat Race from Plymouth, England to Boston, Mass. -

* Oh Boy - the new ISAF rankings for the Olympic Classes were released
April 14 and are available on-line:

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(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 Bruce Edwards, Sydney: I find it interesting that people feel it is
necessary to dredge through issues that determined the outcome of a yacht
race over 20 years ago. It is also more than a little disturbing that some
are casting slurs at a great yachting designer who is no longer around to
defend himself. If you talk to those that know, yes the winged keel did
make a difference but equally important was the amount of time and effort
put into the sail development programme. Australia II's spinnakers
contributed just as much as the keel did. Get over it guys the Americans
were ultimately beaten by a faster well sailed boat. Leave Ben Lexcen alone!

* From Ralph Taylor: I don't recall the article cited, but there was
another which said the chief benefit of the keel design on Australia II
came from the 12-meter class rule. The reduced draft allowed increases in
other parameters and it was those increases that made the boat faster. This
is also what those who say the boat wouldn't measure in if heeled are
referring to; the added draft would make the boat exceed the 12-meter formula.

In instances where a fin keel has been replaced by a winged keel of equal
righting moment, the keel's effect on performance has been generally
negative. Probably due to this: As the boat pitches, the wings increase
drag because they're not parallel to the direction of flow. Instaneously,
the wings are trying to sail the boat up or down -- higher in the water or
lower. Because the attitude alternates, neither angle of attack helps
forward speed.

* From Magnus Wheatley: Having taken a look at the photo of Mirabella V in
Butt 1563 my heart goes out to the twenty or so companies that went bust
building this leviathan. Is it just me or is that singularly one of the
ugliest boats ever built with all the refinement of a sledgehammer? It
hardly looks worth going bust for! And don't those sails look just awful?
Sure it's a great feat of engineering but where's the aesthetics in all of
this? The boat looks like a Reebok trainer with a mast stuck on it and at
$250,000 a week, I think I'd rather hire a pro crew and go to the Farr 40
world's or hire a Swan 86 and tootle around the Med for a fraction of the
cost but then again I guess I'm not a billionaire and never will be.

Curmudgeon's Comment: We have Mirabella V photos posted on the Scuttlebutt

* From Bruce Thompson: I agree with Dave Kirkpatrick ('Butt 1562) on 2 points:
1) Our 1994 vintage 420s have a large, hidden hole in the base of the
masthead fitting allowing water to flood the mast.

2) Even with a solid fitting, the mast will leak. This is proven when
lifting the head of a flooded mast above horizontal. The water rushes to
the step and sprays out. Given point 2 above, the conclusion is that the
mast will completely flood given enough time (say waiting for a
thunderstorm to pass). This is where the foam shines. By filling the void,
it prevents most flooding.

The cost is a very small increase in heeling moment, less than a pint of
water! The foam weights ounces, a pint is a pound the world around. I would
support owners using both a sealed mast and foam. This "belt & suspenders"
approach maximizes safety. It's a decision left to the owners to make. The
question is whether a class dominated by kids could benefit from some adult
supervision. Is it best to sacrifice the last measure of boatspeed for
increased safety? We'll find out.

* From Marc E Skipwith (re eBay America's Cup sponsorship auction): If
there is a NR (no reserve) than the third/ highest/ latest eBay bid of
$18,600,100 would have a meaning. Till the reserve is met, ($35 Million)
any amount short of that is nothing, void, zero. Go ahead and bid $25
Million, or even $30 Million.

A backward poet writes inverse.