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SCUTTLEBUTT 1575 - May 4, 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.

Looking at the Olympians competing at the Star Worlds, who are clearly in a
different league to the other competitors, I would draw the following
conclusions from the event with an eye to the serious medal contenders.

Iain Percy/Steve Mitchell: Outstanding in the breeze, very quick in a
straight line and overall tactically sound. Perceived weakness in the light
but this could be more mental than any speed/gear deficiency. Very quick
downwind in all conditions and fellow competitors see him as the man to
beat. Steve Mitchell is undoubtedly the fittest crew in the business.

Freddy Loof/Anders Ekstrom: Straight line speed exceptional with an ability
to move through the gears as the pressure comes on. Very good in boat to
boat tactics and unafraid to take a flier when necessary. Ekstrom is strong
and very physical but the big question is: have they shot his bolt and
peaked too early before the Games? Having a determined Percy on your case
is not the best preparation!

Torben Grael/Mercello Ferreira: Trained alone this winter and very much the
dark horses for the Games. Have worked on their downwind speed, snapping
masts to find the limit. Grael is physically fit for his age and a wily,
seasoned campaigner. One of the nicest guys on the circuit, that could be
his downfall. If experience counts, then they have it in spade loads.

Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter: More excuses than Tony Blair and struggling for
boatspeed, Cayard is not looking the part at the moment. May have peaked at
the American trials and needs three months of intense boatspeed work to
really challenge. Trinter is possibly one of the best tactical crews and
may help out the old man on the stick. Outside chance for a medal.

Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau: Ex-World Champions and not to be discounted.
Good in the light but had a nightmare regatta despite finishing strongly.
Straight line speed needs a tweak to allow Rohart the space for his
tactical nous. Dark horses for a medal.

Mark Neeleman/Peter van Niekerk: If temperament has any part to play in the
Games then this could be Neeleman's bete noir. The fiery Dutchman is very,
very quick in anything up to 14 knots but struggles for technique
thereafter. The conditions in Athens could suit him though and with van
Niekerk assisting tactically and technically then they could be contenders.
Whether his mental strength stands up is another thing.

Peter Bromby/Lee White: Veteran campaigner and very hard to beat on the
racecourse, Bromby is another dark horse for a medal. Strong tactically
upwind, needs some work downwind. If it blows it could be Bromby against
Percy for the Gold.

Mark Mansfield/Killian Collins: The Irish duo are quietly going about their
business winding up for Athens. Strong in the heavy airs and tactically
sound. With trainer Prof O'Connell they have one of the wiliest coaches in
the business. Collins is physically strong whilst Mansfield's frame lends
him to heavy weather hiking. Another outside chance for a medal.

(The Daily Sail subscription website has written a comprehensive feature
about Sailrocket - the new British 'sailboat' designed to break the sailing
speed record of 46.52 knots. Here's a brief excerpt.)

SailRocket is a one tack wonder - she is only designed to sail on starboard
tack. SailRocket comprises a full length weather hull with minimal drag due
to a huge hollow in the middle allowing the hull to sit on just two planing
surfaces when travelling at high speed. The pilot sits in the cockpit right
at the back of the hull and there is a foil, inclined to port forward. The
crossbeam extends forward to port and has a tiny bullet shaped float at the
end of it on which the mast sits. At around 35 knots this float is designed
to fly 0.5m above the water and rather than using a lifting foil to achieve
this, lift is provided by a flap on the trailing edge of the crossbeam that
can be trimmed to dictate the speed at which the float starts to fly. Thus
at high speed the boat will fly its leeward hull - the opposite of a
conventional catamaran - and only the two planing surfaces on the weather
hull will remain in the water.

At present the flap will be left at a fixed setting and tuned between runs,
but future plans are for Larsen to be able to alter the flap angle from the
cockpit during runs. The mast is inclined to weather and the degree of its
inclination is adjustable via a support strut the bottom of which attaches
to a track running on along the top of the beam. -

For additional photos of this amazing machine:

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Antigua managed to dish up some fantastic racing weather as virtually all
week the temperature was in the 90's and the wind speed was 20-30 knots
virtually every day. This combined with the swell reaching as high as 10
feet made for some spectacular sailing. The weather was matched by the
awesome sight of some really spectacular yachts, probably the most
spectacular being Mari Cha IV, it was like watching the Starship Enterprise
zooming around in a time warp screaming downwind with her huge bow clean
out of the water with the crew all standing upright on her decks and
achieving unimaginable upwind performance which at times look to exceed 15

Morning Glory and Pyewacket, the Reichel/Pugh Maxi Z86's were an awesome
sight, particularly match racing downwind as they did for most of the
regatta, these canting keel, twin foil lightweight weapons are set to break
many records and the manner in which they were handled by the crews should
be applauded.

Sojana the 115 ft Ketch did not have the best results of the week, but Tom
McWilliam of UK Sails gave me a guided tour of the deck layout; it was like
visiting the land of the giants! Winches the size of oil drums, huge blocks
and lines and some wicked features, my favourite being a foldaway carbon
fibre bow roller for the anchor. Most yachts of this size are often
motor-sailors but Sojana is designed first and foremost as a fast racer
cruiser, the sight of her guardrails under water and her bow displacing
enough water to fill a swimming pool was a truly monumental sight. -
Excerpts from a story posted on the Bang the Corner website, full story:

Photographer Sharon Green captured Mari Cha IV 'mounting' a VO 60 at Antigua:

Musto has been appointed Official Clothing Supplier to The Transat 2004 by
Offshore Challenges Events - organizers of this solo transatlantic race
that was established in 1960. Musto's Transat Race Collection will be
exclusively available to the public at The Transat Race Village in the
Plymouth during the week before the start on 31 May and in Boston, Mass,
where the leading boats are expected some 9-10 days later.

Offshore Challenges also named Swiss watchmaker Omega as the Official
Timekeeper and Principal Partner for the race. Class winners as well as the
skippers of the boats covering the greatest distance in 24 hours in the
both monohull and multihull classes will each be presented with an Omega
Seamaster watch. -

You simply must see the Gilles Martin-Raget images we've just posted of the
ORMA 60 trimarans racing around the cans at the just concluded Grand Prix
in Trinité sur Mer, France which was won by Franck Cammas' Groupama: -

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* Race Officers take note - If you have run at least a national level
regatta, take advantage of this opportunity: The North American edition of
the annual ISAF Race Management Seminar will be conducted this year in San
Diego, at the San Diego Yacht Club, beginning Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day)
and finishing Wednesday, June 2. The ISAF Mid-Year meeting will be held
immediately following from June 3 to June 6. Visit the ISAF website and
link to Race Officials for more information: Application
with seminar criteria:

* Torben Grael finished one of the races of the just-concluded Star Worlds
with a mast broken in half. See for yourself:

* The Farrier Marine website has an interesting series of photos of a new,
Australian-manufactured F-33 being removed from its shipping container,
assembled and go sailing:

* The University of Washington won the Northwest ICSA Dinghy championship
at the Cascade Locks, with temperatures in the 70s and a west wind from
12-15. They will represent the area at the Intercollegiate North American
Dinghy Championship.

* Sailing retailer Layline Inc. will sponsor the Inter-Collegiate Sailing
Association (ICSA) spring team racing championship from 2004 through 2007.
College sailing has grown from its beginnings in the 1890s as an informal
club sport, into a co-educational sport with approximately 200 active
colleges participating. -

* The US Optimist Team Trials at the Coral Reef Yacht Club are over. Austen
Anderson sailed the regatta of a lifetime and beat the competition by
averaging 3.1 points for the ten counting races. Austin will be joined by
Nick Voss, Stephanie Roble, Kiel Killeen and Bernie Roesler at the Worlds
in Ecuador. -

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

Give Mom something special this year, a duffel bag from
Just in time for this year's sailing season, she'll look cool @ the yacht
club with a bag made using materials from well-known racing yachts plus
lot's of technical features. A great gift for Mom, or yourself!

(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 Andy Bird, UK: Might there be another explanation for US Sailing's
moratorium on the RWP efforts to produce a new Grand Prix Rule? Perhaps
they are unsure of throwing their hat into the ring of another VPP based
rule? Much of the negative comment I have seen of the new proposal
surrounds that element. It seems odd that no sooner had the US been seen to
be moving towards experimenting with IRC than they have taken this action
on RWP.

* From Steve Taft: Antony Barran's comments about St. Francis Yacht Club
embracing IRC for Big Boat Series are provocative but not true. IRC is the
only measurement rule rating system, save IMS, in use today. After the
demise of IOR we have raced under IMS, PHRF and most recently Americap.
None of these systems have proved ultimately successful in handicapping the
variety of boats that have been invited and chose to compete. We looked
into IRC very carefully before deciding to go with it for Big Boat Series.
Is IRC the be all, end all rating system? No. It does though represent our
best effort to keep competitive Grand Prix handicap racing viable at our
premier sailing event.

* From Jim Miller: I have found that the IMS rule can be a pretty fair
predictor of boat speed in various conditions. The problem with the rule is
that it is so complicated that it is rarely or never fully used. For
example, my offshore GPH rating is 64.5 seconds per mile faster than my
inshore (Olympic) rating. But when we go to Block Island Race week, they
use the offshore GPH. The result: win the start, sail in phase up wind,
finish at the back of the pack on corrected time.

If race committees used an observer boat to measure wind speed and
direction during the race they could input an appropriate data for each
competitor - what a nightmare for both the committee trying to collect and
input all of the data and for the competitors trying to decide if the
correct measurements were input. There aren't that many of us IMS owners
out there. I for one am ready to try something else and see if it produces
better racing, without the need to buy a new boat every three years.

* From Craig Coulsen: I do not live in the USA, however I would seem clear
that in respect to the RWP the national authority is simply doing what most
national authorities do and that is become beholden to a particular lobby
at the expense of the 95% of their constituents. Mike Urwin and the people
at RORC Rating must be laughing loudly. The new rule gets held up and not
implemented until at least 2007 maybe and in the meantime there is no
alternative to IRC which the rest of the world has no alternative to
embrace. At least IRC is being introduced and this will suit most US
cruiser/racers just fine.

* From Peter Harken (Regards the ongoing snide remarks about the Fossett vs
the French and the Jules Vern Trophy): It's time to grow up and show a
higher standard as an American rather than this bashing nonsense. We
Americans are having enough trouble world-wide with our reputation as
bordering on pure arrogance and bullying in world affairs. Right or wrong
it is that perception and it's up to us as our duty, yes, duty, to uphold a
higher standard that helped make our country the greatest nation since WW
II. I hate arrogance and arrogance has led to the downfall of almost every
great nation in history so get off it! Getting to be number one is
difficult enough, but maintaining it is much, much harder and that requires
us to behave in a far more exemplary manner to our world neighbors than
they to us!

Don't forget that it was the French that first stepped up to the plate in
1992 to create this great event and they still are in numbers and
accomplishments the greatest big multihull sailors in the world and also in
both mono and multihull solo events. Francis Joyon's recent solo record
with no outside help in weather routing and badly under-funded was
incredible! Fossett's multinational crewed record run was super!
Kersauson's battle through constant heavy ugly weather was great! Good on
all of ya! Fini!

* From Bruce Thompson: Has anyone on a CBTF boat tried the "panic button"
in an emergency yet? The dynamics look kind of scary to me. Just when you
want more righting moment, you have to ease the hydraulic pressure to let
the keel rotate, thereby momentarily getting less righting moment. So if
the cause of your panic is a spilling breaker (i.e. a momentary input),
you're likely to get knocked down. Dropping the mast in the water at those
speeds can't be good.

* From Jon Winslow: I don't understand peoples' trouble with a turtled
mono-hull. A turtled boat is no more dangerous then a boat that is laid
over on its beam, if anything it's more stable. After coaching and sailing
dinghies for many years my personal feeling is that if a crew has allowed a
boat to turtle from a capsize it is often a good thing that they have.

A crew that has allowed a boat to turtle, and is having trouble righting,
has already had a couple of things go wrong. Firstly, a mistake has been
made and the boat has capsized showing either inexperience or lack of
control. Secondly, either the crew is too light/ tired for the
conditions/boat and therefore can not immediately re-right OR they are no
longer with the boat. In either scenario a turtled boat is safer.

If we are talking about bay sailing and the time/frustration of rewriting a
boat that novices have allowed to turtle under tight supervision then I
understand bottles, floatation, sealed masts, etc. If not, I challenge
anyone dressed in fowlies and a life jacket to swim after a 420 or other…
in 25 knots with a bottle strapped to the mast.

Take the corks out of the masts, sails sinks slowly enough. Oh, and please
end this thread it is sinking as fast as the mast of a turtling boat!

Curmudgeon's Comment: Great idea. This thread has been harder to get rid of
than Athletes Foot, but it is now officially dead.

There are three signs of old age. The first is your loss of memory, the
other two I forget.