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SCUTTLEBUTT 1587 - May 20, 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.

There's no doubt that when Team Alinghi and Oracle BMW Racing hit Newport
for the UBS Cup in June, it will once again be full on competition between
the America's Cup competitors. But, just how many people to manage, both on
and off the water is anyone's guess. Proof in point - a similar match
racing series held on San Francisco Bay last year between Alinghi and
Oracle BMW Racing drew an outstanding number of spectators. Matt Jones,
Principal Race Officer for that event, conceded that the biggest challenge
in pulling off an event like the UBS Trophy is trying to gauge how big the
event will be. Said Jones, "The turnout of public, both on and off the
water in San Francisco was completely unexpected. It was an outstanding
display of yacht racing as never before seen on the Bay and subsequently, a
huge spectacle."

Dr. Robin Wallace, Chairman of RISF (Rhode Island Sailing Foundation),
agrees that among the challenges for the UBS Trophy will be on water
spectator craft, and the fact that the proposed race course for the UBS
Trophy will be sailed in a major shipping channel. Stated Wallace, "There's
a great deal of excitement among the local clubs and the RISF has been
fortunate to have the cooperation of members of the New York, Ida Lewis,
Newport, Wickford and Barrington Yacht Clubs and Sail Newport who are
volunteering their time and expertise to form the event 20-person Race
Committee, while the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association will cover on
water management with a spectator control flotilla of 40+ volunteers." A
major goal of Team Alinghi is to bring sailing closer to the public and
it's evident that these events do draw communities together, while
providing unbeatable thrills on the water and spectator viewing that media
cannot ignore. - Michelle Slade, full story:

Springtime in the desert and the wind isn't just blowing. It's howling,
ripping down the eastern slopes of the Clark range onto the broad expanse
of Ivanpah Dry Lake like a wolf pack tearing up a cloud of dust. But who's
complaining? Standing in the middle of the playa, an island of men and
women - wearing motocross helmets, bandanas, goggles and surgical masks -
huddle in the shelter of a Jeep.

In the distance, a row of land yachts lines up behind a rope drawn 100
yards across the playa. Their sleek, three-wheeled hulls look like stealth
fighters, and their slivers of sail, the sharp rake of their masts, look
fast standing still. The prophet walks in front of them, raises a green
flag and suddenly drops it. The sailors crank in the sails and their yachts
take off like jets, swiftly disappearing in the vortices of dust that twirl
behind them. All you can hear is the wind rushing through their rigging and
the whir of wheels on clay. On a downwind leg, one craft peaks at 66.8 mph.

Five hours from downtown Los Angeles and half an hour from Las Vegas,
Ivanpah Dry Lake lies off Interstate 15 near the Nevada line. It is a
sun-baked frying pan, surrounded by hard, dry mountains and sloping
alluvial fans dotted with creosote bushes. Its surface is cracked and
parched like the scaly hide of a monstrous lizard.

Land sailing has always been a pastime on the fringe, and the 30th annual
America's Cup of Land Sailing at Ivanpah last month confirmed it. Of the
estimated 300 active land sailors in the country, 83 showed up. The sport's
remoteness and constraints challenge even the faithful.

While land sailing has been around for some time - Cliff Clavins of the
sport point to what appears to be a sail-powered chariot found in an
Egyptian tomb - it didn't catch on in the American West until the 1960s.

If you were to have driven to El Mirage Dry Lake near Victorville on a
spring weekend 30 years ago, you'd have found nearly 100 land yachts
screaming up and down the playa, competing for space with the motorcycle
racers and bottle-rocket nuts.

Then something happened. No one's quite sure what it was. Some blame the
rising cost of gasoline (it's not cheap driving to nowhere); others the
work-a-day ethic that ties down Americans. Today, on a good weekend, maybe
30 land sailors can be found at El Mirage. - Excerpts from a story by
Thomas Curwen, LA Times, full story, photos and video:

Ullman Sails congratulates Balboa Yacht Club for winning the prestigious
Lipton Cup, which is a Yacht Club Challenge event that was sailed in San
Diego on May 15th and 16th. Thirteen yacht club teams competed in the
one-design regatta that was sailed in J/105's. Balboa Yacht Club's J/105
"Bold Forbes" skippered by Jack Franco took line honors with a team that
consisted of Alan Andrews, Ed Cummins, Greg Newman, Carson Reynolds, and
Dave Ullman. For the "Fastest Sails on the Planet" call Ullman Sails and
visit our web site at

Perini Navi, the Italian superyacht builder based in Viareggio says it is
"on schedule" with construction of what will be the world's largest
sailboat when it is launched in mid-2005. The huge, 87m (289ft) clipper is
being built at Perini Istanbul-Yildiz, using a Perini Navi hull, for a
long-term client of Perini Navi who wishes to remain anonymous, and will
have a sail area of some 2,396 square metres. The new yacht is due to be
delivered in early 2006.

Perini Navi spokesperson Gisella Macchiaroli told IBI that the hull and
superstructure are now complete, and being fitted out. With naval
architecture by Dijkstra & Partners in the Netherlands, and external
styling by Ken Freivokh Design in the UK, the Maltese Falcon will be fitted
with a Dynarig, spars and carbon fibre mast built by Insensys in the UK,
sails by Doyle Sails, and automated sail controls developed by Perini Navi.
Maltese Falcon will have what the yard describes as 'contemporary
accommodation' built by Sinnex in Germany. - David Foxwell, IBI Magazine,
full story and drawing:

(The Daily Sail website did a comprehensive interview with Ross Field about
the sponsorship of professional sailing events. Following are two very
brief excerpts.)

At present it is a nervous time for Ross Field. His company Ocean Sport
Management is set up in such a way that it can run a number of campaigns
simultaneously and at present he has a lot of irons in the fire. Top of the
list are the Volvo Ocean Race and Tracy Edwards' Oryx Cup - neither of
which he yet has funds for. At the time of our conversation Field has just
returned from the competitors meeting in Qatar. So how did he find it? "I
was slightly dubious when I went down there, but I went down there to find
out for myself and I came away reasonably impressed. Tracy's obviously got
things in place and she's got some good people working for her and she's
making progress. I am confident enough to continue on."

The main issue, as with his Volvo Ocean Race campaign, is the short time he
has to find the funding for him to take part in the Oryx Cup and he has set
himself a time limit of the end of July for this. Meanwhile equally high on
his priority list is finding the money to compete in next year's Volvo
Ocean Race. The deadline for this is even sooner than the Oryz Cup - the
end of this month. "We have got some leads, but it is a hard, a hard sell.
We are an official entry without money at the moment. Hopefully we'll be
there. If you find $18 million - give us a call…" - The Daily Sail website,
compete story:

The US entry, Marco Birch's Talisman (Terry Hutchinson, helmsman, Peter
Isler, navigator and Adrian Stead, tactician) crossed the finish line of
the IMS Worlds Offshore race at 11pm (local time May 18) on Tuesday, but it
would take until the rest of the 66-boat fleet straggled in through the
pre-dawn hours to confirm their win overall and in the "non-corinthian"
division of the regatta. Italtel - Meridiana with Vasco Vascotto at the
helm was 2nd, followed by Gabrielle Benussi on X-Prozac. Talisman was
launched just last month and the crew have trained for only four hours
prior to the start of the regatta. "Our biggest strength is our crew -
owner/skipper Marco Birch put together a great group of professionals,"
Hutchinson said.

Hull #1 is now out of the mold and the backlog is already at 25 boats. This
33' daysailer is long and sleek with huge cockpit and Hall carbon
rig…..just a few reasons why the J/100 may be 100% perfect for your next
day's sail.

Some of the best conditions of the Harken Laser World Championship provided
the perfect setting for an epic final of the event. The fleet got away
cleanly in the penultimate race under a black flag at the third attempt in
13 to 18 knots of wind. Regatta leader Robert Scheidt collected two 'yellow
flag' penalties for kinetic violations and had to retire. In the final race
showdown, Scheidt got the best of a match racing start Australia's Michael
Blackburn and rounded the top mark in eight with Blackburn back in the 30s.
Scheidt worked up to second place, which was more than good enough for his
seventh world Laser championship. Deep in the fleet, Blackburn opted to use
his second discard and take an early shower. Mark Mendelblatt USA led the
race from start to finish and that result coupled with a fourth from the
previous race was enough to give him the runner up spot, one point ahead of

Gold Fleet Final Positions (10 races with 2 discards):
1. Robert Scheidt, BRA, 16pts
2. Mark Mendelblatt, USA, 24pts
3. Michael Blackburn, AUS, 25pts
4. Hamish Pepper, NZL, 49pts
5. Karl Suneson, SWE, 49pts
6. Andreas Geritzer, AUT, 50pts
7. Tom Slingsby, AUS, 63pts
8. Paul Goodison, GBR, 67pts
9. Peer Moberg, NOR, 74pts
10. Milan Vujasinovic, CRO, 99pts

Event website:

After winning an unprecedented seventh world championship in the Laser
class - completed Wednesday at Bitez, Bodrum, Turkey - Brazil's Robert
Scheidt was slightly vague about defending his title in 2005 but said that,
yes, he would, "probably." The next order of business is a shot at another
Olympic medal when the Games come to Athens in August. Scheidt already has
one gold and one silver medal, both won in Lasers. "After the Olympics," he
said, "I might do some sailing in other boats." There are at least a few
people in the Laser class who might breathe a sigh of relief at that news.
During the Scheidt Era of the Laser, the competition grew from roughly 40
countries to 60 countries. Staying on top gets harder, not easier, with
each new crop of talented, fit kids that comes up. - Sail magazine website,
full story:

Annapolis Maryland, USA - Poor weather on Tuesday did not allow for any
races during the second day of qualifying, so the three races held on
Monday complete the qualification portion of the event. While the fleet
splits were not posted at our press time, it is understood that the top
half of the fleet will go on to the Gold Fleet and the bottom half will
compete in the Silver Fleet. All points accumulated during the qualifying
races will count in the final score.
Standings after Qualifying Series (130 Boats, Seven Countries):
1. Legally Blonde, Alec Cutler, USA, 10
2. Team VC Performance Rigging, David Van Cleef, USA, 11
3. Nile Dutch Africa Line, John den Engelsman, NED, 13
4. Matt Beck / Scott Snyder, USA, 13
5. Margo, Terry Flynn, USA 14

Regatta Web site:

Save some bread and some weight in June at Hall Spars & Rigging. Harken
Carbo Blocks - and everything Harken - costs 5% less dough during Hall's
June Harken Month celebration. Hall is one of the largest Harken dealers in
the U.S., so our prices are already easy on your diet, I mean budget. Count
up the number of Carbo Blocks you need (and don't forget that new
captive-ball-bearing car for the traveler) and order from June 1 to June 30
from Hall. Call 401-253-4858 or visit our online store, open 24/7.

(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 Peter Huston: Now let me see if I have this straight...the IOC puts
the wacky weed on the banned substance list because the use of said weed by
a medal winner (see Snowboarding) might send a bad moral message to kids
around the world. But it's OK for Transsexuals to compete in the Games. Now
there's a message all kids on this planet should hear.... if you can't cut
it as Jim Smith, just become Jane Smith. Do we now need a Sailor/
Transsexual category for the US Sailing Board?

* From Jerry Montgomery, Commodore - TPYC: Due to the lack of a widely
accepted rating rule there has been "rating limit creep" in all three of
the major rating limit races. The IOR 70 limit served Transpac well, but in
planning for the 1995 race it was clear that IOR was dead, and the ILC Maxi
limit was where big boat racing was heading. At the request of boats such
as Sayonara, Trader and Windquest the Transpac rating limit for the 1995
race was raised to allow ILC Maxi's. With slight adjustments, the rating
limit adopted in 1995 to accommodate the ILC Maxi's continued through the
2001 race. When planning for the 2003 race, IMS was in decline, and the R/P
75's that raced the 2001 race were racing in a turbo'd mode for some
non-rating limit races. Bill Lee suggested to the owners of Pegasus, Chance
and Pyewacket that they race the 2003 Transpac in that turbo'd configuration.

The request of the maxZ86's to race in the 2005 race paralleled the 1995
request. It appeared to Transpac that the maxZ86 rating limit held the best
promise for exciting and competitive racing. Each time Transpac has raised
the limit, it has tried to include the largest group of yachts actively
racing offshore. Boats much faster than the IOR 70 or ILC maxi limit are
actively racing, and the intent of the 2005 limit is to capture a critical
mass in the general size and speed range of modern 86 footers.

* From Nick Meyers: Regarding the changes in the upper rating limit in
Transpac, it is a short memory that cannot recall how great the 70-foot
sled racing was in the 80's and early 90's. Big boat fleet racing, nearly
one-design, on a grand scale. However, when races like Transpac agreed to
raise their rating limit beyond these thoroughbreds, it allowed a few
owners to seek more speed, thus splintering the group. The demise of the
class in California is the result. Maybe we should be surprised that the
sled class existed at all. Think of all those financially successful owners
wanting to race one-design and play on an even field, rather than hide
behind the speedy features of their latest handicap boat. Note to Farr 40
class: "Are you next?"

* From Michael H. Koster (edited to our 250-word limit): Regarding
competitor classification, I would like to offer the following as a
starting point for revising a system which, as many readers have pointed
out, is still quite exclusionary. It was written by Richard S. Tufts and is
engraved on a monument at Pinehurst Golf Resort, NC with the title, Creed
of the Amateur:

"The work that I have done has been for amateur sport, and I hope that you
don't mind if I leave you with my creed on amateurism. Amateurism, after
all, must be the backbone of the sport, golf or otherwise. In my mind an
amateur is one who competes in a sport for the joy of playing, for the
companionship it affords, for health giving exercise, and for relaxation
from more serious matters. As a part of this light-hearted approach to the
game, he accepts cheerfully all adverse breaks, is considerate of his
opponent, plays the game fairly and squarely in accordance with its rules,
maintaining self control, and strives to do his best, and not in order to
win, but rather as a test of his own skill and ability. These are his only
interests, and, in them, material considerations have no part. The returns
which amateur sport will bring to those who play in this spirit are greater
than those any money can possibly buy."

* From Irv Heller (edited to our 250-word limit): As a youngster hanging
around the marinas some 45+ years ago, I quickly discovered that a little
enthusiasm and a few hours with a piece of sandpaper would earn me a ride
on one of man's most beautiful creations. After learning to sail, I
discovered that this knowledge alone was an "E-Ticket" to a lifetime of joy
around the water. Most of my youth was devoted to finding excuses to hang
around sailboats. As recent as 10 years ago I was spending 200+ days a year
on the water or working on a boat.

Although I've been out of the marine industry for some time, In order to
earn a living I have at one time or another done everything from mucking
out bilges to skippering 100' charter schooners. I still, on occasion, will
earn a few bucks doing custom woodwork, or electrical repair, or yacht
delivery, or... Except for a soggy ham sandwich while perched on the
weather rail, or a warm coke while hanging on a trapeze wire, I've never
been compensated for racing a sailboat.

Imagine my chagrin upon learning from a thread now running in 'Butt, that
by accepting an invitation to sail in the local beer cans, I've supplied
grounds for the disqualification of that boat. If these criteria were
applied during the '60s, when I spent nearly every weekend racing, many
boats would have lost more than half of their crew. Something is wrong! Or
have I totally missed the point of this thread?

* From Dave White: I think it is important for Scuttlebutt to include the
names of crew competing in the various match racing events. For some
reason, only the skippers are listed. In match racing the crew is just as
important as the skipper. Well actually that is true for all sailboat racing.

Amazing! You just hang something in your closet for a while, and it shrinks
two sizes.