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SCUTTLEBUTT 1633 - July 27, 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 schism has become a sacking: last night the Swiss America's Cup
holders, Alinghi, fired Russell Coutts, the New Zealander who lead them to
victory 16 months ago. Coutts was fired for "repeated violations of his
duties" by Ernesto Bertarelli, the Swiss biotech billionaire who had hired
him away from Team New Zealand in May 2000 after a comparable
disenchantment with the directors behind the Kiwi Cup defenders.

The gulf between Coutts, the most successful America's Cup skipper in the
153-year history of the event, opened up last year but erupted publicly
only during last month's UBS Trophy regatta in Newport, Rhode Island. This
was when it became known that lawyers were trying to negotiate a settlement
between Coutts and Bertarelli. Coutts has not steered SUI 64 since
Alinghi's crushing America's Cup win in March 2003 and the Swiss cited his
reluctance to take the helm in Newport, and previously at the Moet Cup in
San Francisco last September as a violation of his employment contract.

The New Zealander has never fully explained the root cause of his
disaffection with Bertarelli, a man with whom he appeared to have forged a
deep friendship. But a source familiar with Coutts' contract said that
helming was a minor responsibility of his duties. It is also believed that
because of his previous experience at Team New Zealand, where he was to
lead the defense but found that the trustees not only retained ultimate
power but had undermined his position in TV rights negotiations in New
York, Coutts had secured certain undertakings about influence and
responsibility on all matters relating to the 2007 Cup and certainly not
confined solely to raising sponsorship for and managing the sailing team.

The Alinghi statement also went on to say: "Also particularly damaging was
Russell Coutts' undisclosed involvement in the planning and development of
a new race series, a commitment incompatible with his responsibilities and
duties." This refers to a new event Coutts is planning with American former
America's Cup sailor Paul Cayard. Coutts is likely to take issue with what
Alinghi is saying, having informed Bertarelli's lawyers of his talks with
Cayard a while ago. "In his capacity as a member of the board of Alinghi
Holdings, Russell Coutts maneuvered himself into an inextricable conflict
of interest," continued the statement put out by the Swiss. - Excerpts from
a story by Tim Jeffery in the Daily Telegraph, full story:

Curmudgeon's comment: The Alinghi press announcement is strangely missing
from the syndicate's website, but you can read it on the Sailing World
magazine website:

Sacked Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts appears unlikely to helm a Team New
Zealand yacht at the next America's Cup after Team NZ boss Grant Dalton
described the sacking as "completely irrelevant to us". Dalton refused to
talk about Coutts' sacking by Alinghi today. "I am aware of it but I have
got no position or comment," Dalton told NZPA, shortly after he was told of
the sacking. He would not comment on whether he would talk with Coutts
about a position or if they were interested in him. "In terms of Team New
Zealand we won't get into what has happened to Coutts. It is completely
irrelevant to us." - NZ Herald, full story:

Curmudgeon's Comment: Late last week a change was made to the America's Cup
protocol (clause 13.12) which now makes it impossible for Russell to sail
for any AC syndicate other than Alinghi. Coincidence? Sure!

These billionaires play tough. (Ernesto) Bertarelli was already on record
that he will act to block any move by Coutts to work for a rival team and
boasted earlier that he had "drafted my contracts a little better than Team
New Zealand." He said in his most recent statement that he will "continue
to do whatever is necessary to protect Team Alinghi."

Could Coutts take the matter to a civil court? He could, of course, and he
might have a case. Can a contract be binding if it is subject to
retroactive changes not agreed to by both parties? But then there's this
arcane business of the Protocol and the unique nature of operations in the
America's Cup. If the results of taking the America's Cup Deed of Gift to
court over the 1988 Big Boat/ Catamaran fiasco are any indication of what
to expect, let's hope for anything, and I mean anything, else. - Kimball
Livingston, Sail magazine,

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In the America's Cup there is no substitute for experience and (Peter)
Gilmour says that he sees fledgling teams making the same mistakes again
and again. "A lot of these new campaigns have got going with people who
just simply don't understand the game and how they will ever breach the
void? All the same mistakes are being made and it is remarkable that people
that have been there and done it before, like Paul Cayard and people who
really know how to campaign aren't employed by these campaigns for the
knowledge, even on a consulting basis. That really surprises me."

Gilmour is among the most likeable fellows you could meet and you can
almost believe when he makes this statement that he does so selflessly. In
addition to the America's Cup coming to Europe, Gilmour is enthusiastic
about the way America's Cup Management are turning the event into a more
professional sports entity. This includes the bidding procedure that ACM
employed to single out the Spanish host port. - Excerpt from an interview
with Peter Gilmour on the Daily Sail website, full interview:

Despite gale warnings, it was an easing wind that accompanied the fleet
from the Tour de France à la Voile along the Camargue in this long leg
between Gruissan and Marseille. It was the heat that could be felt on the
water then rather than the expected gusts of wind and, prepared for sailing
in a strong breeze, the competitors rapidly had to adapt to the very
different programme, practiced very little since Dunkirk. Their speed was
considerably reduced as the Race Committee forbade the use of masthead
spinnakers this morning. - Translation by Kate Jennings,

Curmudgeon's comment: American Deneen Demourkas' Groovederci leads the
event by eight points over Bouygues Telecom, with Defi Partage Marseille
just two points further back.

After a weekend of brisk wind, brilliant sunshine and great sailing, day
one of the Rolex Commodores' Cup saw very different conditions with a drop
in temperature, an overcast sky and frustrated Race Committee and
competitors after a day spent chasing the wind around the Solent. "We laid
marks in the correct positions for three separate courses on 230deg, on
260deg and 045deg, but none of them ever came to anything," described Rolex
Commodores' Cup Principal Race Officer Jamie Wilkinson. "I've never seen a
day like that when throughout the day there's been enough wind to race, but
never for more than 20 minutes in the same direction and with big shifts in
between and flat patches." To make up for the loss of Monday's two races,
the Race Committee plans to hold these later in the week, with one race
Tuesday and another on Thursday, if conditions allow. -

Curmudgeon's comment: For really in-depth coverage of European racing
events, read our sister publication, Scuttlebutt Europe:

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Formula 1 budgets are holding steady at the moment but the global sports
sponsorship market is very busy at the moment, principally because
preparations are now beginning for the next America's Cup sailing
competition in 2007. A number of Formula 1 have already lost marketing
staff to the sailing syndicates, all of which are looking for between
$40-100m in sponsorship for their programmes. The impact of the America's
Cup is more than in previous years because the Cup was won in 2003 by a
Swiss boat. This meant that the Geneva Yacht Club won the right to choose
the venue for the next America's Cup. Because Switzerland is landlocked
country, the club picked the Spanish city of Valencia to be the first
European venue for the America's Cup since 1851. The switch to Europe has
put syndicates in direct competition with F1 teams for sponsorships.

There are around 15 declared challengers all looking for money to compete
in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger series that will precede the
America's Cup races with the defender Alinghi. The challengers will include
BMW Oracle, Team New Zealand (which has just landed a $35m from the
Emirates airline), a team based around the 2003 Prada team, the GBR
Challenge from Britain and a variety of new syndicates including an Italian
venture called +39, a South African challenge from the Royal Cape Yacht
Club, a French challenge from the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, an
Australian syndicate called OzBoyz, and possible teams from Spain, Tuscany,
the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and the Sausalito Yacht Club in San
Francisco. There has even been talk of a second British challenger
involving the Royal Thames Yacht Club and property developer Peter de
Savary, who has admitted to having had exploratory talks with a Formula 1
racing team (probably McLaren) about a technology deal. - Grand,
full story:

* Although the Chicago YC has not sent out a press release about their
Mackinac Race, judging by the results posted on the website - it must have
been very slow. At our distribution time, only 33 of the 300 starters were
reported as finishers. Makoto Uematsu's Transpace 52 Esmeralda is shown as
the current overall leader, having corrected out over Dick and Doug DeVos'
Max Z86 Windquest by exactly four minutes. Randall Pitman's line honors
winning Dubois 90, Genuine Risk, is listed as third overall.

* US Olympic Finn sailor Kevin Hall has been invited by the Lance Armstrong
Foundation (LAF) to be a spokesperson for the Cancer Survivorship Advocacy
program. He has gladly accepted. After the Olympics, as time permits with
his scheduled commitments to Team New Zealand, Hall will be will
participate on panels and doing speaking engagements to help inspire

* Clipper Ventures plc, has acquired the entire issued share capital of
Zapcat Racing Limited, approved by shareholders at an extraordinary general
meeting of the Company held Monday. Zapcat Racing owns and operates the
National Zapcat Championships, a strict one-design motor sport involving
rigid inflatable boats. In addition to newly acquired Zapcat Racing,
Clipper Ventures owns the rights to the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht
Race, setting sail from Liverpool (UK) on 18 September 2005, as well as the
5-Oceans single-handed yacht race for professional sailors, which will next
run in 2006. -

* C-Class catamarans return to the 'Little America's Cup' this fall, with
the American Cogito team set to defend the International C-Class Catamaran
Championship. We've just posted some amazing photos of the latest in hull
and wing shape designs of the US team during a recent training session at
the Bristol, RI event site:

* Members of The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on Wednesday evening will
elect Ms Marion Cooper as their first woman Commodore in the 123-year
history of one of Australia's oldest yacht clubs. Marion, who has
previously held the Flag positions of Vice-Commodore and Rear-Commodore,
takes over from Commodore Robert 'Biddy' Badenach, who has completed the
fourth year of his second term as Commodore of the club, based in Hobart's
riverside suburb of Sandy Bay. - Sail World website, full story:

* Daily television coverage of Olympic sailing will be aired in the United
States on the Bravo Network between midnight and 1:00 AM in both the
Eastern and Pacific Time Zones starting on August 14 and continuing through
August 26. And on August 28 there will be two hours of Olympic sailing
coverage on CNBC from 3:00 AM - 5:00 AM, ET/PT. Obviously, these listings
are subject to change, but programming updates will be posted on the
Scuttlebutt website:

A great friend to yachting in Chicago died last weekend - Tom Broeckl. He
was a member of Chicago Yacht Club for 60 years (one of the 25 oldest
members), raced with panache in the Luders 16 fleet (attending world
championships in New Orleans, Bermuda and Long Island Sound) and kept track
of Lake Michigan's yachting lore. He knew every boat that lived on the
Great Lakes, who the owner was and where it is today. Tom's sense of humor
was also well known. He was the master of understatement having once
commented that sailboat racing was "certainly an outmoded form of
transportation", this while swatting flies in a no breeze zone on Lake
Michigan. Everybody who knew Tommy, loved him. His wife, Nancy, and all of
us have lost a great friend. - Betsy Altman

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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 Troup: Robin Knox-Johnson asks why oceanographic scientists
have denied freak waves for so long. To paraphrase their attitude, freak
waves "may be all very well in practice, but they simply don't work in
theory". I suspect the theory has neglected -or given insufficient
importance to - many contributing factors, including vertical currents,
upwellings, and shear gradients in horizontal currents. Who's to say there
aren't even more subtle but still significant influences - perhaps
underlying bodies of water at higher density, similar to those within which
"internal tides" have recently been demonstrated.

Many recent "discoveries" by oceanographers, to do with influences on wave
behaviour, have been common knowledge among deepwater sailors for decades.
Even the simple theory of shoaling bottom influence has given
unrealistically shallow values for the depths at which waves of a given rms
height will feel the bottom.

Tom Cain asks why buoys and seashores did not blow the cover on "rouge"
(sic) waves. I think this represents a common misconception. Rogue waves
(and troughs) typically do not persist, and may not reoccur: they're a
transitory, fleeting phenomenon, arising when a statistically unlikely
event causes unusually high peaks from a number of underlying wavetrains of
different wavelengths to coincide at a given place and time. The longer
wavetrains, travelling faster, will soon "outrun" their slower cousins and
those atypical peaks will no longer coincide. This explains why you have to
be a satellite or a sailor to catch them in the act.

* From Mike Leneman, Oceanographer: Rogue waves do not show up on offshore
bouys or come to shore because they are the "momentary" constructive
interference of a number of waves. They "appear" out of nowhere and then
"disappear" because, in fact, that's what they do. They are temporary; they
exist for only a short period of time. They are not a solitary wave which
moves across the ocean for any notable distance. Once the waves that made
them pass each other, they are gone.

* From Morten Lorenzen: In your recent news release of Mike Sanderson you
state that he is current record-holder of Sydney to Hobart Race. This is
not quite true - The Official Record Holder of Sydney to Hobart is held by
VO 60 Nokia skippered by Stefan Myralf of Denmark. Mike Sanderson was Watch
Captain on Mari Cha according to his cv. Mari Cha that did sail from Syndey
to Hobart in the record year of 1999. However Mari Cha was not in the race,
but participated outside the race, and was not eligible to compete. Mike
Sanderson is a great sailor, and have a lot of credits and merit - however
the official record holder of the Sydney to Hobart Race is something he
will have to work for.

* From Al Schreitmueller: Heath Brunson asked why they make more bronze
medals for the Olympics than they make gold and silver medals. They do it
to account for ties in scoring. It would look pretty dull for them to not
be able to give out a medal while someone is standing on a podium.

* From Phil Danbe ( re Heath Brunson's question): Many sports (boxing is
one example) do not have the losers of the semi-finals complete again. They
award bronze medals to both.

If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.