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SCUTTLEBUTT 1583 - May 14, 2004

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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.

With top-four finishes in all five events they've entered, Australian Peter
Gilmour and his Pizza-La Sailing Team have amassed 97 of a possible 125
points, and are the clear favorites to win the $60,000 bonus from Tour
sponsor Swedish Match and Wedgwood-crafted championship trophy. Gilmour, a
three-time match-racing world champion and veteran America's Cup
campaigner, and his mixed Australian and Japanese crew have the Tour in a

While Gilmour and crew are in line to become the fifth different Tour
champion in its five years of existence, there's a mad scramble taking
place for second through eighth to be eligible for parts of the $200,000
bonus purse from Swedish Match. Six points separate second through fourth
on the leaderboard, and 18 points separate second through sixth. Three more
events remain for competitors to solidify their standing.

Sweden's Magnus Holmberg and his SeaLife Rangers team hold second, with 49
points. Holmberg, the 2000-'01 Tour champion, and crew are just 4 points
ahead of New Zealander Gavin Brady and the Oracle BMW Racing crew.
Consecutive third-place finishes at the Congressional Cup and Toscana Elba
Cup have moved Brady, the silver medalist at the 2001 Star World
Championship, up the ranks to third from seventh after the first three
events. Jesper Radich, the reigning Tour champion, and his Team Denmark
crew, who placed sixth at the Toscana Elba Cup, are fourth overall with 43

Gilmour and Brady are the only skippers in the top eight scheduled to
compete at each of the three remaining Tour events. Next up is the 18th
annual ACI HTmobile Cup (May 24-29) in Split, Croatia. The seventh annual
Match Race Germany (June 8-14), on Lake Constance in Langenargen, Germany,
is the penultimate event, followed by the season-ending 11th annual Swedish
Match Cup (July 5-9), in Marstrand, Sweden. - Sean McNeill,

Newport, RI - Coronet - the world's only remaining Gilded Age vessel - was
recently moved to the International Yacht Restoration School for complete
restoration. Built in 1885 for New York Yacht Club member, Rufus T. Bush,
Coronet is 192 feet overall and built entirely of wood, including wooden
treenail fastenings. Her hull planking, frames and ceiling are all original
and her Stanford White interior is 90% intact. Her history includes sailing
around the world twice, rounding the Horn five times, and winning the third
trans-Atlantic race in 1887. Amazingly, Coronet has been afloat for all of
her 119 years. The restoration will return Coronet to her original,
nineteenth-century configuration with no engine or electricity on board.
We've just posted a number of Onne van der Wal photos of the boat and of
the moving process:

What does the following mean: "Wind before rain, let your topsail fill
again. Rain before wind, sheets and topsails mind." (Answer below)

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Bitez, Turkey - Racing for the 2004 Harken Laser World Championships began
Thursday with 143 competitors representing a total of 60 countries vying
for the final 8 country allocations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The
fleet saw a variety of wind strengths from 0 to 28 knots and directions
from 060 to 190 degrees making the race committee work overtime setting and
then re-setting the course for 5 hours trying to get a fair race. At their
first attempt the start was postponed with 40 seconds to go before the
start. A second attempt on a re-set course was recalled after the fleet
pushed the line. After several further changes to the course and delays
waiting for the wind to settle a third start was attempted 3 hours after
the scheduled start time. The fleet got away to a clean start but within
five minutes the wind shifted 60 degrees to the left and the race was
abandoned. With no sign of the wind settling the fleet was sent home to
prepare for three races tomorrow when the forecast is for a westerly wind
which should be more stable than today's easterly. -

Zadar Croatia - The qualification series is over. Both US women's boats are
in the Gold Fleet with Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving moving up to
17th and Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler 20th. Amazingly, the seven
other unqualified countries are also in the Gold Fleet, so the battle for
the last five Olympic spots will rage through the finals. Katie and
Isabelle moved past the Austrians, and Swiss placing the US as the 5th
country entering the Final Series. In the women's fleet, an amazing total
of eight unqualified countries were in position to qualify for the 27 boat
Gold Fleet. Nearly a third! It seemed that everyone was rising to the
challenge of qualifying. In addition to the US; Brazil, Argentina, Canada,
Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy were either above or just below the
cut. - Rollin "Skip" Whyte

* All countries in the Gold Fleet Men have already qualified for the Athens
Games, so this will breathe new life into the Silver Fleet racing with the
offer 6 places still on the table. Among the countries vying for the last
Athens Spots are Turkey, Hungary, Belarus, India, Poland, Austria, Finland
and Korea. With all these countries within 15 points of one another with 8
races left to run.

The fleet was stunned today by the sudden withdrawal by Championship
favorite Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa of Greece. Following
yesterday's race, Sofia the 4 time World Champion and Athen's gold favorite
returned to shore with terrible back pain and unable to use her legs
correctly. The recuring injury, that has plagued the ISAF Sailor of the
Year for more than 12 months was treated on scene but she was immediately
airlifted by Medevac Liar Jet back to Greece for possible surgery. This
obviously throws the Greek chances of home town Gold into crisis, but more
over, Doctors are concerned about the long term damage Sofia may have
suffered to her spine. - Darren Dunkley-Smith,

In static conditions (15-20 ESE) but more moderate seas, 13 beach cats
rounded Cape Canaveral: a couple torn sails and a boat careened into a
finish-flag bearer, but no apparent security violations of the space
center's strict limits. Top three remain close arriving within 5 minutes of
each other in just under 5 hours. Cumulatives: Castrol (Casey/ Sonnenklar):
19:21:47; Tybee (Lohmeyer/ Pierce): 19:31:37; Oz (Rick Bliss/Brandy Wood):
20:27:27. Brazilian adventurers-racers Team SempToshiba are just five
minutes behind the 3rd spot.

Howard's Pub's Andy Herbick, who injured his shoulder at the start of leg
2, will have surgery next week while co-skipper Doug Kirby scrambles to
stay in the race. Different fill-in crew results in time-penalties, however
- 30 min.for each change after the initial one. Consequently, while the Pub
was 5th team on the beach at both Cocoa and Ormond, added penalties push
them farther down the roster. Diana Prentice,

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La Rochelle, France Day 4 Report - "It was puffy, shifty a patient man's
day", Richard Clarke taking second place, summarized today's shifty race by
these simple words; but the race was far to be simple. Starting with 15
knots, the wind was going all over the place. Boats at each end of the line
were sailing on different tack. "It was hard to know who was leading on the
first beat" explained Guillaume Florent, 11th today. After 6 races (and 1
discard) Mateusz Kusznoerewocz (POL) s still in the lead with 16 points
over Ben Ainslie (GBR) and 18 points over Sebastien Godefroid (BEL).
Florent Guillaume (FRA) is in 4th place in front of Dean Barker (NZL) 5th.
In the battle for Olympic qualification, the top 5 nations are: Austria
(Florent Raudaschl, 26th), Argentina (Alejandro Colla, 31st), Russia
(Vladimir Krutskikh 32nd), Italy (Michele Marchesini, 33rd) and Hungary
(Balazs Hajdu, 35th).

* After day 1 of the Hobie 16 Worlds finals in Barcelo Maya Beach Resort,
Riviera Maya, Mexico, Axel Silvy and Pauline Jupin have taken the lead with
four incredible races. The French duo scored a 1,8,1,2 in the four races
sailed on Thursday and have a solid lead going into the final day of the
championship. Defending Champions from Australia, Gavin Colby and Simone
Mattfield, have slipped to third. Six American teams made it into the
finals. William Jeffers and Karen Grisko, from New York, are the top of the
American group in 24th. - Bob Merrick,

*In the past twenty four hours the five Imoca 60's have been wrenched apart
by a rather malicious zone of high pressure that has left the 1000 milles
de Calais fleet strewn across the English Channel over nearly 200 miles as
a result of the light fickle winds throughout the day. Standings at
01:40:00 GMT on May 14:1 Jean le Cam, Bonduelle, 39.3 miles from finish; 2
Mike Golding, Ecover, 24 mile behind leader; 3 Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac,
120 mbl; 4 Vincent Riou, PRB, 159 mbl;.2; 5 Jo Seeten, Arcelor Dunkerque,
169; Retirement: Roland Jourdain, Sill.

* Skandia, the international long-term savings company, is further
expanding its Set Sail portfolio of sailing sponsorships by supporting the
British Paralympic Association with particular focus on the sailing team
and their participation in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. This year's
team, which includes John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas in
the three-person Keelboat - Sonar, The race to become the representative in
the single-handed 2.4mR class will be announced later this month. Skandia's
support of the BPA will also include sponsorship of a BPA/ House of Commons
entry in this year's Round the Island Race on June 26.

The saying, "Wind before rain, let your topsail fill again. Rain before
wind, sheets and topsails mind," means that if a squall is coming and it
starts to blow before you feel any precipitation, the squall will be less
severe and short duration. However, if you feel rain before the wind pipes
up - precipitation is being thrown out of the storm cell violently; you're
likely in for quite a ride! Be ready to shorten sails.

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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 Andrew Bray, UK: Bruce Thompson (Scuttlebutt 1582) quite rightly
recommends C.A. Marchaj's book Seaworthiness. But he is wrong when he talks
of designers 'sacrificing safety for all out speed'. It was more a case of
sacrificing safety to exploit loopholes in the IOR, encouraging such
unhealthy trends as higher C of G. Today's race boats, apart from wooden
keeled IMS freaks, are generally much safer, much easier to sail and much
faster than their predecessors of 25 years ago.

* From Andrew Troup, New Zealand: Bruce Thompson suggests Marchaj's
Seaworthiness "provides a clear basis for deciding on what storm survival
tactics will work best based on the actual conditions" Marchaj has a
considerable grasp of the physics of sailing vessels, but his applied
physics do not always seem to mesh entirely with reality. He contends that,
all things being equal, a longer keel chord necessarily improves
course-holding in survival conditions, and is indispensable for heaving-to.
Most long-distance passage-makers seem to concur.

In theory, possibly the first claim has limited validity, but all other
things almost never are actually equal. In particular, long keels almost
always accompany smaller, shallower rudders. Forced to choose between a
long keel and a large deep rudder for course-keeping, in survival
conditions, I'd go for the latter every time. A no-brainer. I've only ever
felt seriously compromised by a fundamental design factor on occasions when
a traditional underbody made course-holding so difficult, with large
Southern Ocean swell trains crossing from two or three directions, that few
helmsmen could manage any sort of course consistent with shaping a safe
approach between offshore hazards while, say, broad-reaching towards a
tricky landfall.

Is making a landfall desirable in such conditions? The alternatives, in a
sub-Antarctic context, are stark. An underbody of the type described does
not support recovering lost weather gauge in a prolonged storm. As for
heaving-to, I simply don't agree that it is difficult or impossible with
"modern" underbodies, and I don't understand how these claims, so easy to
disprove, persist.

* From Antony Matusch, Chair of the ISAF Classification: Working Party, Mr.
Van Gorkom has the right to appeal his decision. However, he and others may
have several significant misunderstandings about the Code. Specifically:
- The definitions have been devised in accordance with similar standards
used in the US and RYA codes and have been made with close cooperation of
the user classes and event organizers.
- A decision to limit the participation of non-Group 1 sailors is made NOT
by ISAF, but by the classes and/or event organizers. The Code is simply a
tool available to them to construct the type of racing they wish to have.
In fact, some classes (such as the Farr 40) use additional criteria beyond
that outlined in the Code, which they administer themselves.
- The rulings are not 'blind'. We have panel members from several countries
and different levels on involvement in the sport: class and event
organizers, pro sailors, judges, coaches, and industry players.
- We work diligently with organizers to monitor and advise on the use and
interpretation of the Code. The FAQ document in the Classification section
of the ISAF website is an example of these interpretations. We urge all
sailors, particularly those in the marine industry, to consult this document.

The combined effort of our Working Party, class managers, and event
organizers has resulted in the classification of nearly 11,000 sailors
worldwide, and will be used for the first time at next week's IMS World
Championship regatta in Italy, the Newport-Bermuda Race next month, and
other high-profile events.

* From Jay Bush: Thank you Geoff van Gorkom! I couldn't agree more about
the sailor classifications. While I was in college, I worked at a sail loft
putting sails together. By the nature of the job, I was class 3. I managed
an appeal to get class 2 but the end result was that I couldn't sail with
some friends of mine on their J105 because of rules limiting class 2 and
class 3 sailors. I thought this sailing stuff was all about fun competition
but I couldn't race on their boat. When they asked me to crew I had to tell
them no because I was a "class 2". What a bunch of crap that was. The idea
behind the rule is well intentioned but what it really does is limit the
ability of sailors who have worked hard enough to be sought after to sail
with from making a living.

* From David Tabor: I find the (most) recent round of comments about
Category 2 and 3 sailors most appropriate as just this week I was put in
the position of registering my status for an upcoming event. Twenty years
ago I worked in a boatyard for a year as lowest man on the totem pole. A
year or so later when I finally got a real paying job (as opposed to the
pay in the marine industry!) I picked up some varnishing jobs not so much
to augment my pay, but to get outside and enjoy life around the marina and
maybe hitch a ride one evening.

I sailed mostly for fun and the vast majority of my sailing now is either
low key frostbiting on a Laser, cruising, or offshore deliveries with the
occasional race thrown in. If I was still varnishing or making sail covers
and dodgers or lettering boat names I would be a Cat 2 sailor; how can that
possibly be equated with being a "professional". Almost everyone I sail
with has a real clear idea of what a Professional is, even if it does
include builders, naval architects and sailmakers sailing on a boat they
worked on and not just the Connors, Cayards, Dicksons. The worker bees are
just a cog in the wheel. This rule needs to go.

* From Mort Weintraub: Many years ago (40 at least) in the ILYRA, there was
a movement to ban professionals from competing. The effort was aimed
directly at Buddy Melges and a few other sail makers and scow builders.
Maynard (Mike) Meyer, a great scow sailor, and probably the most likely
beneficiary of the proposal, killed the idea by saying, "Fine, let's put
Buddy and the rest of the 'pros' out. Then, when you win, figure out who
you beat to win" Mike's reasoning is still eminently sound.

Old is when your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and
you're barefoot.