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SCUTTLEBUTT 1638 - August 3, 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.

Chris Bedford, chief meteorologist at Sailing Weather Services, first
assisted the US Sailing Team in 1989 when he traveled to Barcelona to
better map the conditions for the '92 Summer Olympics. Bedford accompanied
the Team to the '91 Olympic test event and '92 Olympic Regatta, briefing
the sailors each morning before racing, and reviewing weather factors with
them at the end of the day, a role he repeated as the Team prepared and
participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics. His work with the US Sailing Team
has continued through both the '97-2000 and '01-2004 quadrenniums as he
provides the sailors with daily weather data at international competitions
and the Olympic Games. His first job after college was forecasting for
Dennis Conner's 1987 Stars and Stripes team in Fremantle, Australia. Since
then he has worked on every America's Cup as a team meteorologist. Here he
gives his overview of weather for the upcoming Olympic Regatta in Athens.

Stiff international competition isn't the only challenge our sailors will
face in Athens. Complex and extreme environmental conditions will challenge
the skills and patience of the most accomplished Olympian. Extreme heat and
winds ranging from strong and shifty to light and fluky make for race
courses filled with pot holes which can quickly change anyone's fortunes.

The courses for the Olympic Regatta are located in the Saronic Gulf, just
south of Athens and in view of the historic Parthenon - an area renowned
for its tricky winds. The most famous and dramatic wind is a strong, hot
northeasterly breeze known as The Meltemi. This wind blows out of the
mountains north and northeast of Athens, bringing daytime temperatures over
100 degrees along with wind gusts in excess of 30 knots. The Meltemi can
last from several days to a week. This offshore breeze is by no means
consistent. Random shifts and sudden surges of wind are common when the
Meltemi is in force. - US Sailing website, full story:

In yachting, there are a lot of guys - such as Chris Dickson, Magnus
Holmberg, Dean Barker and James Spithill - who are capable of going out and
sailing those boats very well. But they don't have that extra dimension
Coutts has. He has such good intuition and feel, he can talk to the
designers and technicians at their level. That's the difference. To be
blunt, I don't know if Coutts is a hell of a lot better yachtsman per se
than other very good sailors. But in the complexities of the America's Cup
I think he holds the key because he understands the geometry of the boats
and how they work.

I also applaud the general philosophy Coutts has for the development of the
cup regatta, getting away from the slow-moving, heavy boats, getting more
speed and more visual appeal. It is a shame for the event it has not
happened. The split between Coutts and Bertarelli does not surprise me.
Nothing ever surprises me with the America's Cup. - Peter Lester Is high
performance manager for Yachting New Zealand and a respected commentator,
full commentary:

Peter Harrison, chairman and backer of Britain's America's Cup team, will
pull the plug on the GBR Challenge unless another sponsor willing to invest
up to 30 million is found by the end of August. GBR Challenge have five
prospective backers for the 2007 event in Valencia with whom they have been
in talks since the of end of last year. Representatives of some of them
will come to Skandia Cowes Week next week for talks. But if deals are not
signed, Harrison is unlikely to carry on.

He spent around 22 million on the first challenge in 2003 and another 3
million in Britain on funding research, tank testing, renting a temporary
base in Valencia and maintaining a small core team. This has twice been
topped up, but at least 20 million more will be needed at the end of
August if GBR are to compete in the second and third of this autumn's three
America's Cup class regattas.

In recent weeks GBR 70 has returned to sailing in the Solent under Adrian
Stead. Several overseas sailors have visited the British set-up, including
Ed Baird, skipper of Young America in the 2000 Cup. He had been in talks
about the possible team leader/skipper role. Cameron Appleton, one of Dean
Barker's Team New Zealand tune-up helmsman, has been sailing on GBR 70. -
Excerpts from a story by Tim Jeffery in the Daily Telegraph, full story:

For 18 of America's best sailors, years of sacrifice, dedication and focus
will be put to the test as they go for the gold in the 2004 Summer Olympics
in Athens. To give our men and women every edge, U.S. Sailing has provided
the team with the very best: from the tip of its high-tech sails to the
very soles of their shoes, Sperry Top-Sider Figawi. With anchor-like
traction and active drainage system, the Figawi will keep Team USA's feet
fixed firmly on the deck and eyes on the prize. Grab your piece of Olympic
gold at

Prior to Mirabella's launch, we had the opportunity to sit down with her
designer, Ron Holland, for a little technical talk, and came away with a
deeper understanding of just how groundbreaking this yacht is, and what a
design and engineering challenge she had been. There were the many little
things not ordinarily in a yacht designer's brief. As an example, custom
watchmaker Arnold & Son is handmaking Mirabella watches, one model for the
charterer and a different one for his guests. The design, of course,
required input from Holland and his approval of the finished product. -
Excerpts from a major story by Dudley Dawson in Yachting magazine about the
$50 million, 246 feet megayacht Mirabella V, the largest composite-
structured yacht in the world. Full story:

No taxpayers' money will end up in the pocket of Ernesto Bertarelli as
Emirates Team New Zealand repay the Swiss billionaire millions of dollars
for keeping their America's Cup campaign afloat. America's Cup Minister
Trevor Mallard confirmed through a spokeswoman yesterday that the $34
million of public funding for Team New Zealand had been "ring-fenced" from
the loan set up with Bertarelli, the owner of its arch-rivals and
cup-holders Alinghi.

Team NZ syndicate head Grant Dalton confirmed that the loan, estimated at
tens of millions of dollars and needed to ensure a challenge could be
mounted, was unsecured and had to be paid back. He indicated on Radio Sport
that might be at the rate of a 10 per cent cut out of sponsorship dollars
raised. "It's unsecured. It's a progressive payment as we go towards our
total budget. From now on if we raise $5 million we give him [Bertarelli]
$500,000 back or whatever. It's a percentage, so as we finish off our money
we proportionately pay him back."

Just four syndicates have so far confirmed entries for the next (America's
Cup) regatta, while others, including Team Dennis Conner, have said they
will struggle to be there because costs have rocketed. On Radio Sport,
Dalton had little time for critics of his funding plan, including Conner, a
four-time cup winner. After being told Conner was "furious" at the
arrangement, Dalton said that reflected sour grapes. "Maybe he should get
off his fat arse and see if he can raise the money. Maybe he shouldn't eat
so many pies and get on with bloody working a little harder." - Excerpts
from a story by Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story:

Mooloolaba, Australia - After the first two races of the Ace Etchells World
Championship, Australians control the top 11 places, with Dennis Conner
being the one to break that the string with his 12th place in the
standings. Sydney sailmaker and international yachtsman Michael Coxon won
the first race. "We had a terrible start and decided to go right in the
hope of gaining some ground and we got that lucky break when the wind swung
our way," he said afterwards.

With six races remaining, Peter McNeill is the regatta leader with 10
points - four ahead of Julian Plante who won race #2 sailing with a crew of
four, and Andrew Hunn who also has 14 points. The fleet of 85 boats has
enjoyed exhilarating but testing sailing in 12 to 17 knots of breeze. -

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* The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Sardinia
September 5-11 will once again be a big boat showcase. Entries include
Harry Macklowe's his 112-foot yacht, Unfurled, Hasso Plattner's R/P 86
Morning Glory, Roy Disney's R/P 86 Pyewacket, Robert Oatley's R/P 65 Wild
Oats and Neville Crichton's 90-foot Alfa Romeo. The entries in the separate
class for Wally-built boats include the 89-foot Tiketitan and Alberto
Roemmers' brand new 98-foot Alexia. The Spirit of Tradition class will
showcase classic yachts, including George Lindemann's 180-foot Adela,
Francesco Micheli's 178-foot, Shenandoah of Sark, and Ferruccio Fiorucci's
Alejandra. -

* Grant Wharington's 98 footer Skandia (formerly Wild Thing) lifts the
skirt on some recent modifications to his high-tech canting ballast super
maxi. Launched in October 2003, Skandia promptly took line honors in the
Rolex Sydney-Hobart 2003 race. Now feeling the need to up his game, he has
added a 6m long canard forward of the ballast strut and a 3m long bowsprit.
The canard is fitted with a trim tab, which together is expected to improve
upwind performance. For offwind, the canard can be removed to reduce drag.
- Check out the photos in the Scuttlebutt gallery:

* If you love America's Cup controversies, you must read Terry Maddaford's
story posted on the NZ Herald website that recalls and outlines a great
number of them. -

* US Sailing has launched an e-postcard program which allows the user to
send brief e-mail notes and support the US Sailing Team at the same time.
Visitors to the US Sailing site can select from a variety of images of
Olympic boats and sailors who are competing in Athens this summer, and add
a personal note to create an unusual email message. For each e-card sent,
the Sailing Team's sponsors and suppliers will make a $0.10 contribution to
the Team. To send an e-card and support the US Sailing Team:

* The Global Challenge fleet recently completed their last training session
before they set sail to circumnavigate the globe. They spent three days at
sea fine-tuning race sailing techniques and practicing maneuvers. Each team
had different scenarios presented to them without warning to test their
responses in emergency situations, including loss of steering, man
overboard drills, medical exercises and taking charge of the yacht in the
case of the skipper becoming incapacitated. Teams will now concentrate on
land based team building and personal preparation before they meet up in
September to prepare the yachts for departure. -

*Two of the sailors on the USA's 2004 Olympic Sailing Team -- 49er skipper
Tim Wadlow (San Diego, Calif.) and crew Pete Spaulding (Miami, Fla.) --
will appear live from Athens on NBC's Today show Tuesday morning. The live
interview is set to air between 0800 and 0815 EDT. Wadlow and Spaulding,
who have been members of the US Sailing Team since 2001, won the Olympic
Trials in the 49er class last February. They will compete in their first
Olympics when racing starts for their class on Monday, August 16.

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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 Adrian Morgan: It must be April 1st. The boss of Alinghi lending
Team NZ money to attend the America's Cup? That's like Ferrari lending
money to Toyota to fund their new Formula One bid. Alas, this is
symptomatic of the madness that is AC. Is Mr B so worried that he'll turn
up in Valencia with no-one to race that he's bank rolling the opposition?
If I were boss Peter Harrison I'd get on the phone to Bertarelli right now
and ask for a few million quid to get Team GBR off the mark (and that goes
for the South Africans, Italians, French...)

* From Howard Paul: When I first started reading about Article 13.12 I
checked my calendar to see if it was April 1st and the Curmudgeon was
playing his old trick. No such luck. Mr. Bertarelli along with his partner
in crime Mr. Ellison have in the last America's Cup and now the next one,
kept two of the best sailors in the world from competing. Together they
have stacked the deck so much in their favor that it has become almost
impossible for anyone to compete. It has become so bad that Mr. Bertarelli
is now offering financial support to a competitor so he has a regatta! How
sad. To Mr. Coutts and Mr. Cayard let me know when I can buy pay for TV of
your event. Not only will I buy it, I'll help sell it. To Mr. Bertarelli
and Mr. Ellison, don't call me, I'll call you!

* From Rex Riley: Sailing has joined the ranks of Pro-Racing to wit:
campaigns, sponsorship, media coverage and legal rights. Professional
racing is advertised-sport but its competition must be recognized as a
money-sport. Sponsorship money wants control; the money wants exposure;
money wants their time in the spotlight; etc. Professional car drivers have
learned to accept this competition as their race and manage it as required
to keep the money in the game. Sports fans never get whiff of the decisions
that go into race day that ultimately determine the winning car, sponsor,
driver, etc. Buttheads are witnessing the degree of professionalization to
racing that amateurs would never subject themselves for money.

* From Fred Roswold, Hong Kong: So Russell Coutts, as great a sailor as he
is, had ideas about his rightful position in Alinghi management that were
not shared by Bertarelli. It was apparent back in 1999 that he had similar
visions of his role on the NZ team. Peter Blake smoothed it over then and
kept Coutts and Butterworth and their mates onboard for the 2000 cup, but
after Blake left, no one in NZ had the diplomacy to manage the apparently
temperamental helmsman. He left, and he took his mates with him.

Now Bertarelli has proven himself to be equally incapable. He owned the
best sailing team in AC, and because he couldn't control a few egos,
including his own, he allowed it to be broken up, and sailing, including
all of us fans, are the losers. Bertarelli and Larry Ellison both passed up
top sailing talents who probably had the best chance to help them win, and
now they make the whole sport look like a bunch of dilettantes.

* From Cory E. Friedman: If, in return for a substantial paycheck, Russell
Coutts signed a contract with covenants that bar him from sailing for
anyone other that Bertarelli, that is unfortunate for him and the sailing
world, but, nevertheless the bed he made and will have to lie in. However,
changing the rules retroactively to affect only him in a backroom deal
between Bertarelli and Ellison is an outrage. The vast majority of
participants will probably keep their heads down and continue working to
pay the rent. Most sailor spectators will probably shake their heads and go
on as if nothing happened. Given the exemplary job the Appellate Division
of the Supreme Court of New York, First Department and the New York Court
of Appeals did when last called upon to enforce the Deed of Trust, if this
rule change violates the Deed of Trust, or the equitable principles
governing trusts, in any way, Coutts should immediately seek relief, if he
wants to sail. Talk about Bertarelli's "wall of lawyers," is just who has
the biggest dock talk.

* From Bruce Thompson: US Sailing's decision to call a moratorium on new
rating rules looks prescient given Dick Neville's comment that "PHRF is a
very good system for entry level racing". Those who fail to study the past
are condemned to repeat it. What's needed is a thorough review of the
strengths and weaknesses of the existing ratings systems. You don't know
how to fix that which you don't truly understand

Let's start with how PHRF fails the average entry level racer who typically
owns a small boat. PHRF is based on a theoretical scratch boat with a zero
rating (e.g. a Farr 40). A Catalina 22 has an LMPHRF of 276 sec/mi. It's
total elapsed time per mile is equal to the elapsed time of the Farr 40
plus 276 seconds. From a study of IMS racers, I have concluded that the GPH
of a PHRF boat with a zero rating is 555 sec/mile +/- 10 sec/mile.
Therefore, the Catalina 22's handicap is based on it taking 831 sec/mile, a
50% bonus relative to the Farr 40. Does anyone seriously believe that a
Farr 40 is only 50% faster than a Catalina 22?

To try and encourage the small guys back into the fold, invite them to a
two-for-one day, where everybody's handicap is doubled! That tilts the
handicaps in their favor to even things out.

If you shouldn't drink and drive, why do bars have parking lots?