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SCUTTLEBUTT 1591 - May 26, 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 National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public forum to
discuss mandatory wear of personal flotation devices (PFD) on recreational
boats, NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners has announced. The one-day
forum will begin at 9:00 am on August 25, 2004 at the NTSB Academy in
Ashburn, VA. The purpose of the forum is to gather all available data, and
to promote an open and informative discussion of policy issues related to
mandatory PFD use. It has been on the Board's "Most Wanted" list of
transportation safety improvements since its inception in 1990.

"The Board has made a solid commitment to advance recreational boating
safety by all means available to our agency," said Chairman Engleman
Conners. "A public forum will be an excellent mechanism to bring together
agencies and organizations to identify solutions that will improve public
safety in recreational boating." Coast Guard statistics show that 750
boaters died in 2002. Eighty-five percent of those who drowned were not
wearing PFDs, even though in many cases, PFDs were aboard. These statistics
have been consistent from year to year and Coast Guard statistics show that
approximately 450 lives could be saved each year if the victims wore PFDs.

The Safety Board wants to build on this information and other data
available to evaluate the safety benefits of mandatory wearing of PFDs on
recreational boating. Currently, most States require PFD wear for children
and for personal watercraft operators. No State requires PFD wear for all
occupants. Yet six years of observational studies by the Coast Guard show
that less than 5% of adults in open boats wear PFDs.

Some of the issues discussed at the forum will be:
* New PFD technology
* Alternatives to mandatory wear rules
* The impact of federal and/or state legislation mandating wearing of PFDs
on recreational boats
* Various vessels and type of operation that should be included in or
exempted from mandatory wear rules

Registration details for the forum and directions to the Academy may be
found on the Board's website:

Curmudgeon's Comment: According to the NTSB website, due to limited
resources, they do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, but comments can be
mailed to:

Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners
National Transportation Safety Board
NTSB Headquarters
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594

To the relief of local ministers, recently elected Prime Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero has pledged the Spanish government's full support of the
America's Cup saying that it will be treated and funded as if it were the
Olympic Games. At a meeting with regional president Francisco Camps,
Zapatero assured that strategic investments for this and other projects
initiated under the former government would not be changed. Minister of
Public Administration, Jordi Sevilla, said that the government's intention
is to participate with at least 40 per cent financial support, although in
political terms this collaboration will reach 'to whatever level is necessary'.

To show this commitment, Sr Sevilla announced that the PM intends to visit
Valencia in the near future to see the range of projects the America's Cup
entails. While 50 per cent of the proposed 650 million-euro budget will be
spent on new moorings, almost 40 per cent will be spent on extending ports
and marinas. New ports not privately initiated will take up 11 per cent of
the budget. - Sail-World website, full story:

What accomplishment is shared by the likes of Ed Baird, Terry Neilson, John
Bertrand (US), Peter Commette and Glenn Bourke? (Answer below)

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Starting today, the Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association will host
the much-anticipated Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) North
American Championships in Cascade Locks, Oregon. The ICSA North American
Women's Dinghy Championship will run from May 26-28; the ICSA/Layline North
American Team Race Championship from May 30-June 1; and the ICSA/ Gill
North American Coed Dinghy Championship from June 2-4. All three events
will be sailed in FJs from Marine Park, where all of the racing in the
Columbia River Gorge can be seen from shore.

Each of the 25 colleges participating will field separate A and B division
teams for both the women's and dinghy events. District eliminations
qualified 18 colleges to compete in the women's championships; 14 qualified
for the team racing championship; and 16 qualified for the dinghy
championship, which also includes two teams selected at-large. Of the 25
colleges qualified for these championships, nine schools qualified to send
competitors in all three championships: College of Charleston, Dartmouth
College, Harvard University, Hobart/ William Smith Colleges, Texas A&M
Galveston, University of Hawaii, University of Michigan, University of
Washington, and the University of Wisconsin. -

(The Daily Sail website has posted a story by Peter Bentley that looks at a
new fibre optic device that could revolutionize sailboat structural
engineering. Here are a couple of brief excerpts from this comprehensive

A relatively new British company that has finally perfected a lightweight
and comparatively low cost system for measuring loads in composite
structures. Right now, the Insensys fibre optic strain measurement system
is fitted to a number of high profile projects including Mirabella, Ellen's
new Castorama B&Q, Yves Parlier's radical new 60ft catamaran Médiatis
Région Aquitaine and even a humble Oyster 72. Where these high profile
projects tread today, it seems more down to earth designs will follow
tomorrow. On the face of it, the most obvious application for the Insensys
system is load monitoring and warning the crew of potential overloads in
the structure. On boats like Mirabella or Médiatis Région Aquitaine, the
likes of which have never been seen before, this is indeed a vital function.

Though structural monitoring is clearly an important role for the systems
currently installed, Jones sees this as just one of the many potential
applications of the system. In the longer term, data gathered by the
systems on these boats will allow the designers to push nearer the limits
with subsequent commissions. Imagine if you will, the lot of the America's
Cup structural engineer. We know for a fact that the loads on these boats
sometimes exceed the strength of the structure (proof if any were needed
comes in the form that at least two have suffered very public
hull-failure). In order to make sure the boats do not break, the majority
are marginally over built and thus heavier than they need to be. - The
Daily Sail,

Split, Croatia - Peter Gilmour of Australia and the Pizza-La Sailing Team
of mixed nationalities streaked to the early overall lead today at the ACI
HTmobile Cup, an event of the Swedish Match Tour. Gilmour and crew Rod
Dawson (NZL), Mike Mottl (AUS), Kazuhiko Sofuku (JPN) and Yasuhiro Yaji
(JPN) ­ the runaway leaders of the Swedish Match Tour Championship
Leaderboard ­ won all of their races today enroute to a 7-0 record after
the first eight flights of the 18th annual event off Split Harbor.

After a 68-minute postponement this morning due to light winds, the race
committee took an aggressive approach to conducting racing. The
southwesterly breeze started at 6 knots for Flight 1, but by Flight 2 it
had increased to 10 knots. The wind would gust up to 16 knots throughout
the afternoon, and the race committee ran eight flights, 40 matches overall
in a bit more than seven hours, over the standard windward/ leeward,
twice-around course. "I think it was very clever of them to get that much
racing in," said Gilmour. "I've been at these events where they knock off
at 5:00 and then there's nothing later in the week." - Sean McNeill,

ACI HTmobile Cup After eight of 22 scheduled flights:
1. Peter Gilmour/AUS, Pizza-La Sailing Team 7-0
2. Bertrand Pacé/FRA, Team France 6-1
3. Magnus Holmberg/SWE, SeaLife Rangers 5-2
= Jes Gram-Hansen/DEN, Team Denmark 5-2
5. Gavin Brady/NZL, Oracle BMW Racing 5-3
6. Mathieu Richard/FRA 4-3
7. Mattias Rahm/SWE, Team Stena Bulk 3-4
8. Kelvin Harrap/NZL, Team New Zealand 2-5
9. Frano Brate/CRO 2-6
10. Mate Arapov/CRO 1-7
11. Staffan Lindberg/SWE 0-7

Ever wondered how top sailors get so good? Snipe racing develops strategic
and tactical genius. Top guns Augie Diaz/Jon Rogers and Carol Cronin/Liz
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Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy has denied letting down the GBR Challenge
syndicate for the 2007 America's Cup by joining an Italian team instead.
Percy has signed for the Clan Des syndicate while fellow gold medallist Ben
Ainslie looks certain to join Team New Zealand after Athens. "There's a bit
of misconception that my movement is somehow unprofessional," Percy said.
"I was never in the GBR Challenge, never under contract. I had no formal
obligation to them."

Last Friday GBR Challenge pre-empted the Italians' announcement that they
had secured Percy, the clear inference being that they were disappointed
with him. GBR had used both Percy and Ainslie in their fund-raising
presentation, stating Percy would join them in September and Ainslie "when
we get full funding". But Percy said the Italians had given him a firm
offer that gave him a better opportunity for success. "When I make a
decision it's based on the chance of doing well and how much I'm going to
enjoy that," Percy said. "I'm also going to have a lot of responsibility
too." - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, Full story:

* The J/22 Peter Pirate team of skipper Corrie Clement and crew Ali Sharpe,
Anna Tunnicliffe, and Nataleigh Vann have been awarded US Sailing's Arthur
B. Hanson Rescue Medal for rescuing a fellow competitor out of cold and
choppy waters off Annapolis at last year's Rolex International Women's
Keelboat Championship in 30 knots of wind. The victim had been in the water
for more than five minutes, becoming dangerously close to suffering from
hypothermia. Peter Pirate continued to finish the race and successfully
filed for redress to recover finish points lost during the rescue. -

* After no racing was possible yesterday at the Laser Masters Worlds in
Bodrum, Turkey due to insufficient winds, the wind gods smiled on the fleet
of 141 master sailors with today's racing being held in 20 to 25 knots from
the northwest. Complete results for the nine classes are posted:

* If you're fond of gorgeous scenery and love big, new, slab-sided race
boats, you'll really get off on the Carlo Borlenghi images we've posted of
the recently complete IMS Worlds in Capri, Italy:

Ed Baird, Terry Neilson, John Bertrand (US), Peter Commette and Glenn
Bourke have at least one thing in common…they are all past Laser World
Champions. There have been fifteen champions thus far that have emerged
from the 24 events to date. For a complete list of past Laser champions:

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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 Tom Cagnina: Doug Weitz ('Butt 1590) is undoubtedly correct that
some practices used to make weight are unhealthy. However the proposed
solution, a 2% fluctuation factor, is absurd. Moreover, couching such a
proposal under the guise of "fairness of competition" amounts to
rationalizing the breaking of rules to accomodate those who would break
them. As the Curmudgeon noted in the same column, that proposal amounts to
a 2% increase in permitted weight. If we adopt such thinking, might that
not lead down a slippery slope toward permitting 2% fluctuations in other
measurements as well, such as sail area, length, and ballast? The next
thing we know, someone will be arguing that they need an additional
fluctuation factor on top of the original fluctuation factor.

Sailors know that their weight fluctuates. It's also their responsibility
to sail within the permissible weight limit for their class. It's a simple,
straightforward and fair rule. Periodic enforcement of it is fair as well.
If one chooses (and it is a choice) to sail so close to the weight limit
that they break it periodically, rather than complaining about the rule or
rationalizing the reasons for breaking it, one should be prepared to accept
the consequences.

* From T.L. Lewis: For a couple of decades now the Hobie classes have had
minimum weight restrictions. I personally as Beach Captain many years ago
was responsible for enforcing those rules at National and World
Championships. We'd weigh every crew in at registration, and as per class
rules let them carry the weights necessary to meet minimum weight during
the regatta, the official scales were always available to the competitors.
We'd weigh each of the top ten finishers after each race to ensure that
they were, "following the rules".

During those enforcements and every now and then a disqualification I
usually asked the competitors, if they understood why they were being
weighed, never had a one say he or she didn't understand why they were
stepping on the scales. I heard some great stories about puking up last
night's brewskis out on the course, or that the committee had kept them out
there racing too long, saw competitors grabbing clothes and guzzling water
as they ran up to weigh-in. Point being, mate, you go racing, you know the
rules, play by them, and if you want to live on the razor edge of the
minimum or maximum weight rule, know that the only one responsible for you
falling off that edge is yourself.

* From Will Wagner: I have learned the hard way about the unhealthy side of
trying to make weight last minute. I had to lose 15 lbs in two weeks for a
last minute regatta, you know full on starvation and dehydration. A month
later I found myself in the emergency room, Christmas Eve actually, with a
foot that I could not walk on. The diagnosis was gout in a toe joint, which
I will have problems with for the rest of my life. The cause was the abuse
that I inflicted on my body for over half a mouth to make weight. The
regatta wasn't even close to being worth it.

* From Craig Coulsen: Let me get this right now! For the benefit of ten
round the can sleds the rest of the world is held out of the development of
a new grand prix rule. Well done everybody. US grand prix racing is already
at the fringes in an international sense and further isolation will only
see it lag further behind. Then again you usually get what you deserve.
Administrators should be looking to serve the general body of their
constituents not just the noisiest. Equally, only a very short sighted
industry could think that this is a good thing as you end up with a very
small number of owners ordering custom build and the vast majority ordering
mass production built to price cruiser racers. The most startling thing is
that the national authority carried out a survey of what owners wanted, so
the question must be asked, does this move really represent those findings?

* From Bruce McPherson: Oh Neptune - hear my prayer... That those in the
process of creating new Ocean Racing rules understand the basics! That the
proof will be in the chowder: that there must be an honestly chosen panel
to separately evaluate and publish results proving the voracity of the
system semiannually, showing the strengths and weaknesses from on the water
testing with a varied fleet in a wide range of wind and sea. That the
insurance people are brought in early on so that the competing boats can
and will be insured: that these requirements will be widely and publicly
advertised. That the Race Committees and sponsors will be open and creative
in devising new formats for racing under these rules in order to promote
events accessible to those in need at a modest expense. That there shalt be
no politics played. Neptune Rules!

* From Phil Smithies (With reference to Richard Hazelton's comment (butt
1589),"like most things, sailing on TV will be pot luck"): Putting Gary
Jobson's piece on "ESPN Classic" is typical, the number of people that do
not know there even is a ESPN classic is huge. Please take a look at how
much sailing is broadcast in Europe, hours every week, covering every facet
of the sport. Somebody please step up to the plate and get a deal with Sky
Sport or whoever.

* From Robert Middlemas: I have to say that I take issue with Rich
Hazelton's complaining to ESPN for a supposed program scheduling foul-up.
Writing in to ESPN to complain that a show was not aired at a "viewable"
time is ludicrous. Doubly so since it was aired at two viewable times, 6 pm
and 9 pm PDT. As it was listed in Scuttlebutt #1586, it was on the ESPN
Classic channel, not the regular ESPN channel. If one is compelled to write
in to a network to complain, fine. Just make sure it's an accurate
complaint. I'd be more than disappointed to think that ESPN would not air
another sailing show due to inaccurate, scathing complaints registered by
the few who couldn't read the program listing correctly.

"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin." - Mark Twain