Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1568 - April 23, 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 UK's Daily Sail website has posted a wonderful story about Kevin Hall
- the winner of the USA's Finn Olympic Trials. Here's a tiny excerpt that
looks at Hall's accelerated Olympic training program.)

"I remembered back to the Laser trials in '96 when Nick Adamson was so much
faster downwind," he says. "The thing is, you can work really hard on your
upwind technique and your rig tune, and if you get it right you might be 10
boat lengths ahead of the other guy by the windward mark. If you can
improve your downwind technique, you could be talking about gains of 300
metres." So Hall adopted an unorthodox training style, often spending a
whole day on downwind sailing. "I would sail from Fort Lauderdale to Miami,
or Miami to Fort Lauderdale, depending on which way the wind was blowing,"
he explains. These downwind 25+ mile voyages would take him between four
and seven hours depending on the wind strength, while he would get his
sailing friends or sometimes even his wife Amanda or his mother to drive
the trailer round to meet him at the other end.

"It was hard to see any progress at first," says Hall, "but after the first
four or five times I started to get better at it." There was plenty else he
would love to have worked on in the precious few months before the trials,
but Hall was banking on his downwind practice to pull him through. He must
have been wondering if he should have done a bit more starting practice as
Heat 1 of the US Olympic Trials began in February. "I started
embarrassingly conservatively, in the third row of two," he laughs. But his
downwind pace was pulling him through, and he won the first four races in
winds of 14-18 knots.

Curmudgeon's Comment: Do yourself a favor and read this entire story. As
The Daily Sail's editor James Boyd wrote, "…Hall's tenacity and personal
courage make his story an inspiring one." -

Two weeks after returning from his successful Round The World Sailing world
record at the helm of his 125' maxi-catamaran Cheyenne, American skipper
Steve Fossett announced that he has decided to pull back from front line
international speed sailing - after 11 years of spectacular record success
- in order to focus on key 2004-2005 projects in aviation (altitude, speed
and distance gliding plus the round the world solo airplane) as well as
other new (as yet undisclosed) sporting projects on land and in the air.
Cheyenne will be put up for sale. "The round the world record has fulfilled
my highest ambition in sailing" admitted Fossett "and this just seems like
the right time to stop.'"

His focused and committed approach has made him the greatest record-setter
in the history of speed sailing with over two dozen total world and race
records set. And 13 of the 22 current records listed as 'outright' in the
World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) record book
( are held by Fossett - including the amazing new
RTW at 58 days 9 hours on the 125' maxi-cat Cheyenne - and the 2001 New
York - UK TransAtlantic rocket ride of 4 days 17 hours (aboard the same
boat, then known as PlayStation).

"It has been an exciting - and very fulfilling - 11 years. In the past
we've defended our records by re-taking 4 of them when broken: the 24 Hours
(twice), Round Britain & Ireland, and Isle of Wight - but I don't want to
make a program of that. My mind is on aviation projects right now. I should
sell Cheyenne to someone who wants to do the Oryx Cup RTW Race - or maybe
even try to break some of our records." -

(John Sweeney was interviewed on the 2007AC website about his AC
syndicate's auction on EBay. Here are two brief excerpts.) Will you get a sponsor from your second eBay auction?

John Sweeney: I would hope so, but we really need a company to commit to
more than $25 million. So far they are all stuck below $20 million and
that's not enough. We will not change our formula from one to say three
sponsors as I am certain we will find that single smart company. I think
our PR will sink in and may have started companies thinking about their
involvement in the AC. Just think if all the teams organized a one time
auction of all their packages on eBay at one time. If ACM promoted it, we
could solve everyone's problems in one big swoop. Of course, some teams
would have to become more realistic in what they will get, but that's part
of the learning curve. What's happens when the auction ends?

John Sweeney: Assuming we still don't have a company up to the level we
need, we will then offer the package to the first company who can bring us
$25 million or more. It's not about the cost, obviously the more they spend
the better we can be. But we can't do it effectively with under $25
million. Hopefully any company who is interested in the cup would speak to
us regarding our package. I am certain there are CEOs who understand what
we are about to do. Time will tell if we get the money, but no doubt we
have changed the process. I would like to see every team funded by the end
of the year, that would mean the Cup is healthy and a lot of hope for 2007.
We can't wait to get going and look forward to sailing in the pre-regattas.
- Full interview:

A spider's web has been called the lightest and strongest substance found
in Nature.
Now you can put the strength of the spider to work for you. Introducing
Spyderline, an ultra small, ultra strong line made of 100% Dyneema covered
in durable polyester. With sizes ranging from 1.8mm to 4.8mm and sizzling
hot new colors (Mango, Purple, and Black), Spyderline offers the
discriminating dinghy sailor a perfect solution to any rigging application.
So if your sailing this week demands critical control of sail shape or a
mechanical advantage, turn to New England Ropes. Performance Guaranteed.

The 40th Congressional Cup is a learning experience for some of the younger
sailors, and one thing they're learning is respect for their elders. The
two oldest skippers, Peter Gilmour of Perth, Australia, and Ed Baird, of
St. Petersburg, Fla., had the best days Thursday with four wins in as many
races. "Two of the guys have sailed with me a lot before and three others
haven't," said Baird. "It took a while to find our comfort level."

That put Gilmour, 44, back in first place with an 11-2 record and Baird,
46, into strong position at 9-4 for a place in Saturday's semifinals of the
Swedish Match Tour event. "Our boat-handling is working for us," said
Gilmour, who trailed in two races that he won. "When we're behind we just
look for the small gains."

Gavin Brady, 30, and his Oracle BMW racing team, were 2-2 on the day to
slip out of first place, but their 10-3 record (despite a half-point
deduction for a collision incident Wednesday) almost certainly means he'll
be in the sail-offs in quest of his third Crimson Blazer.

After them it's a dogfight. Terry Hutchinson of Team Annapolis Volvo and
Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen are tied at 7-6, and only New Zealand's Allan
Coutts (0-13) is mathematically out of contention with five matches for
each team remaining. No more than four will be run Friday, leaving the 18th
flight of the double round-robin until Saturday to give everyone a final bow.

Thursday saw the lightest wind in three days: 6-7 knots for the first two
rounds, when wind-seeking skills appeared to outweigh the starts on the
half-mile course that was a minefield of shifts and puffs. The sea breeze
built to 10-12 knots for the last two rounds and seemed to return the
racing to form - especially for Brady, who righted himself with two wins
after a pair of opening losses. - Rich Roberts and Sean McNeill, /

Day 3 Standings:
1. Peter Gilmour (AUS/Pizza-La Sailing Team) 11-2
2. Gavin Brady (NZL/Oracle BMW Racing) 10-3 (9.5 points)
3. Ed Baird (USA/Team Musto) 9-4
4. Terry Hutchinson (USA/Team Annapolis Volvo) 7-6
= Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN/Team Gram-Hansen) 7-6
6. Kelvin Harrap (NZL/Team New Zealand) 6-7
7. Cameron Appleton (NZL) 5-8
= Mattias Rahm (SWE) 5-8
= Scott Dickson (USA/Dickson Racing Team) 5-8
10. Allan Coutts (NZL) 0-13

Earlier in the week we carried a story about American designer Bruce Nelson
and Australian helmsman James Spithill joining the Italian Luna Rosa
America's Cup syndicate. According to a story posted on The Daily Sail
website, they will be joined there by, "the talented American McKee
brothers - Jonathan and Charlie." Interestingly, all four were members of
the Seattle-based OneWorld America's Cup syndicate that eliminated the
Francesco de Angelis-skippered Luna Rosa in the semi-final repechage of the
last Louis Vuitton Series. -

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at

Concerns are mounting on board Geronimo following Olivier de Kersauson's
assessment of the delamination in the trimaran's forward port beamThe
problem was first detected in the Doldrums and unfortunately "the cracking
noise of delamination is increasing; it gets worse upwind, so since we're
sailing at 60 degrees to the wind…. The other thing is that it's in a place
where we can't get at it at sea… We're just hoping that it will hold and
that we won't have to slow down".

Nevertheless, the 11 crewmembers have a little more to smile about today,
having caught up with the current Jules Verne Trophy holder (Orange in
2002) since crossing the Equator. They have been making between 18 and 20
knots close-hauled through the trade winds and are now concentrating on the
depressions that could finally allow them to route for Brittany and escape
the homecoming promised by all the forecasting models… close-hauled all the

Day 56 Update: Geronimo covered 399 nautical miles in 24 hours for an
average speed of 16.62 knots and is still something like 85 hours behind
the round the world record recently set by Steve Fossett's Cheyenne.

* Oops - We screwed up yesterday and only published a small portion of the
information about Ballast Water sent to us by Bruce Eissner, Chairman, US
Sailing Offshore Committee. However, all of it is now all on posted our
website, and remember that Michael Devonshire (as indicated in the
attachment) or Dan Nowlan ( are interested in your

* Mike Funsch and Terence McAndrews of Larchmont YC won 43-boat IC
nationals held Hyannis YC. The pair scored an eight point win over Steven
Kirkpatrick and Batcho,Julie in the 12-race / one discard regatta. Ed Adams
and Luke Adams took third place.

* The Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) announced that The Truxtun
Umstead Intersectional, hosted by Tucker Thompson of T2Productions, is now
available for free viewing at ICSA,
partnered with Windtopia, has released "The 2004 Trux" for streaming video.
Windtopia is also organizing TV coverage of the ICSA Spring North American
Championships May 26- June 4 at the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

In spinnaker poles this means carbon. For the ultimate unbridled J24
spinnaker pole, this means Forespar's carbon. Being used on many of the top
boats at the J24 National's this weekend in Annapolis, Forespar's J24
carbon poles have increased wall thickness to meet class weight minimums,
eliminate the need for bridles, and be flex free. D-rings lashed to the
pole center with Spectra and Forespar's UXP composite fittings keep the
tips of this very well balanced pole light while allowing you to "slam" the
end on the bail without tripping anything. Now available with a new lower
price exclusively at APS.

(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 Robbie Doyle: I would like to thank Bruce Kirby for his well worded
response to Mr. Wheatley's highly inaccurate comments. I will not get into
a discussions of taste, but I do feel it is important to point out that his
comment that 15 to 20 companies went bust building this project is just
plain wrong. There were two suppliers that had financial problems during
the three year build. When one considers how many companies and how much
time was involved this is not shocking.

As Scuttlebutt is a sailors journal, I feel it is important to put forward
one of the primary reason Joe Vittoria built this boat. He wants to
introduce luxury sailing to the high end yachting market that currently has
mostly power boats from which to choose. The fact that he chose to make it
a sloop as that has been his signature in the market did produce some real
challenges. The sails are not only the largest ever built, the 16,760 sqft.
mainsail is not only the largest main ever built it is 3 times the size of
Hyperion's main which is listed in the Guinness book of records! The UPS
headsail is 18% larger the mainsail! To find out the real fascinating facts
about this engineering challenge and very special sailing yacht:;

* From Enrico Ferrari (re Mirabella V): As to the look of the large boat,
beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. I know my little boats look
good to me, but then I am responsible for hours of rebuild and equipment
choices. Who is qualified to pronounce aesthetic judgment on this epic
Mirabella V work? I would guess the owner and designer would have the last
say. New designs all have their quirks. Thinking back on the '70s styled
IOR machines that looked really fast and sleek or pregnant and slow
depending on your point of view. Now the vertical destroyer bows and flat
sheerline are in vogue with a fantastic access to the water off the stern.
Some of these design features will make an impact on boat design and others
will be as temporary as an 'Address Rock' or 'Clog' shoe designs. The fun
is watching it all shake out.

I would love to see the results of this big boat in a race like the one in
the BVI this past January that required the boat to be 100' in length to
get in the race. I hope the owner enjoys the notoriety of owning the
largest sloop in the world for the next bit of time because sure as
shooting there will be a bigger one built.

* From Kimball Livingston: The most exciting sailboat race I ever watched
was Race 4 of the America's Cup match, 1983. It was exciting "because"
there were no lead changes. Liberty won the start and stayed in front while
Australia II sailed the course going faster all or pretty much all of the
time. Lots of people thought it was boring, but I was on a boat that was
close enough to see the windshifts almost in the way that Whidden, Conner,
et. al. were seeing them as they placed their bets and rolled the dice.

By the end of the race I was a wreck. I couldn't believe they were still in
front-great shades of the glory days, and Vanderbilt defending with a
slower boat-and at that point Gary Jobson turned to several of us standing
close by and announced, "That settles it. The Cup stays here."

In the big picture, the defending camp in 1983 played Redcoat while the
Aussies played Lexington Minuteman. The Aussies had a great time toying
with the press while yanking blueblood beards and then passing downwind on
Race 7, finally. Nothing in the match diminished my admiration for the
competitive abilities of the crew of Liberty. Had the crews switched boats,
Aus II might have wrapped it up sooner. What a wonder that we're still
arguing about it! In five more months, babies born during the 1983 match
will be swaggering into saloons across America for their first legal drink.

* From Roger Vaughn: Interesting discussion about the disposition of Race
7, 1983 America's Cup. ESPN has acquired footage of that race that hasn't
been seen for 20 years. It will be part of the show, 25 Years of Sailing,
that will air on ESPN Classic May 19, 9 PM Eastern (with a re-air at 10 PM
Pacific). Tune in and decide for yourself who did what to whom. 25 Years of
Sailing will also nominate the top five sailors of the last quarter
century. The show is hosted by Gary Jobson.

* From Terry Thompson: As a scow sailor we have boats that tip over. While
not expected it is always an option on any given day. Between weather, bad
decisions and inexperience, boats tip. We have found that a flotation panel
attached to the head of the sail pre race or pre sailing school class
solves this problem. Most sail makers have them or can get them for you. It
gives you the time to react to the capsize and be safe. Some clubs require
the panel when the winds hit a certain speed. It does not effect
performance as everyone must use them if conditions require it. A flag can
be flown much like a life jacket flag and announcement is made on the yacht
club voice mail pre race informing sailors of the conditions. Seems to be a
simple solution.

* From Chris Upton: Is it not better for the kids in 420s to learn how to
right the boat in a breeze? A little challenge goes a long way in teaching.
There is no nanny in the adult world.

* From Adrian Morgan: So water used as ballast has to be returned to within
200 miles of the place where it was found; like returning badgers to the
wild. I've heard it all now.

Some of the recording artists from the 60's are re-releasing their hits
with updated lyrics, like, Ringo Starr's new "I Get By, With A Little Help
From Depends."