Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT 1639 - August 4, 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.

Carl Eichenlaub, a sailing technician from San Diego, Calif., has been a
mainstay of the U.S. Olympic Sailing program for more than 20 years. In
1979, he accompanied the squad attending the Pan Am Games as the official
boatwright, a position he has held for the USA at six subsequent Pan Am
Games, two Goodwill Games and six Olympic Games. This August will mark
Eichenlaub's seventh trip to the Olympic Games, again as the invaluable
boatwright or "fixer of all things." The Games veteran is 74 years young.

"Carl embodies the Olympic Spirit more than anyone I know," says Olympic
Director Jonathan Harley, who himself is a veteran of five Olympic Games
and will serve as Team Manager this time around. "He is selfless and well
known among foreign teams for his willingness to provide support and share
knowledge during international competitions. At last year's Pan Am Games in
the Dominican Republic Carl was selected by the U.S. team captains to be
the U.S. Flagbearer for Opening Ceremonies. It was the first time a U.S.
Pan American Team had selected a non-athlete for the honor."

Eichenlaub's dedication to the USA sailors is unfailing and never was more
apparent than when he suffered a broken hip at the Athletes' Village during
the 2000 Olympic Games, yet maintained his duties while on crutches. He is
frequently approached at international competitions by foreign athletes
with damaged equipment and seldom refuses a request for assistance once his
work for the U.S. team is complete. With an ability to fix boats that has
become legendary, Eichenlaub now travels to each event with a specially
outfitted 40-foot container that holds, among other things, a swedging
machine, drill press, compressors and a microwave oven for curing resin.
"We come better prepared and with better equipment than anyone in the
world," he said. "I'll have welding equipment, cables and a complete array
of hand power tools." -

"It is definitely a nightmare for the sailors," confirms Fiona Campbell,
who as team GBR's meteorologist has been studying the Athens weather
intensively. Athens itself lies in a valley surrounded by mountains and the
Olympic sailing area is located some 25km south of the city centre off the
fashionable holiday area of Gylfada. Here there are a number of large
buildings along the shore and Mount Imittos due east that can affect the
breeze locally.

The most likely breeze the sailors will experience in Athens is also the
most unpredictable. By virtue of the fact that it both funnels down the
valley and across the mountains before hitting the race area, the offshore
Meltemi has the ability to cause chaos on the race course. "The Meltemi is
offshore, very strong and occasionally very gusty," says Campbell of this
north to northeasterly wind. "It's extremes: there are huge lulls and huge
gusts more often than not one directly after the other. The extremes of the
day might be 8-28 knots. In other Mediterranean places you go, there's a
sea breeze where you can pick the pattern, you can pick the shifts, you can
time the shifts - the Meltemi is not one of those breezes." Over the course
of the day it gets increasingly gusty as the heat increases and
unfortunately this reaches its maximum at around 1pm and onwards, exactly
the time racing is scheduled during the Olympics. - Excerpt from a major
story posted on The Daily Sail website:

Ten days before the start of the Olympic Games the International Sailing
Federation (ISAF) has issued the "official rankings' for the Olympic
sailing classes. Why? Maybe it's a service ISAF provides to help the
athletes determine who to 'cover' during the regatta. For the record, if
the Olympic medals were awarded based on these rankings, the only US
sailors to get up on the podium would be 49er sailors Tim Wadlow and Pete
Spaulding to pick up the a bronze but obviously that's not how it happens.

The ISAF press release goes on to say: "Following the Olympic Games, the
next ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be released on 2 September. The
Olympic Sailing Competition is considered as a high graded event and can
have a huge effect on the rankings that immediately follow its conclusion."
Huh? Does anyone give a damn about the "official rankings" after the
Olympic Games are over and the medals have been awarded?

To check out the rankings:

The Ockam U text explains in clear, easy-to-follow language often
misunderstood concepts such as Polars/Targets, VMC course calculations for
long distance racing, and modifying target speeds in oscillating breeze
(aka "Wally"), plus much more. Whether you sail with a sophisticated fully
integrated instrument system, or rely solely on a compass and the
seat-of-your-pants, Ockam U provides helpful information to help you get
around the course faster. It's a bargain at $25 plus flat postage fee of $4
to any address worldwide. To order, contact Tom Davis (

The America's Cup is a shark tank. Rivals strike at the first sign of blood
seeping from the wound of a rival. "I think this makes the Swiss real
vulnerable," Bill Trenkle said last week upon hearing that the Alinghi
defenders had fired Russell Coutts - the skipper who had won three straight
America's Cups. As the manager of Team Dennis Conner, Trenkle is trying to
determine if the news of Coutts' departure is a window of opportunity for
Conner's San Diego-based team.

"Any sign of vulnerability in this game stirs interest," said Trenkle. "It
could be an opening for us. It's certainly a hit for Alinghi and any other
team that would want to hire Coutts." That's because upon firing Coutts,
Alinghi announced it would block Coutts from sailing for any other team in
2007. It surely has to be mere coincidence that the eligibility rule was
changed one week before Bertarelli fired Coutts. "Ellison's team has to be
licking their chops," said Trenkle. "Not only is Coutts not with Alinghi,
he can't go back to New Zealand or anywhere else. And in this protocol, you
can't go to the courts for relief, although it remains to be seen if there
could be a civil suit."

Like Conner, Coutts was far more than the helmsman. He ran Alinghi from the
time that it was blueprint until it became a juggernaut on the water. He
picked Alinghi's designers, crew and support personnel. "They really don't
have a No. 2 at Alinghi," said Trenkle. "Brad Butterworth (Coutts' friend
and tactician during the races) is second in command and has said he will
stay. But when he worked with Dennis on the 1993-1994 Whitbread (around the
world) race, we didn't find him to be a great leader. "Under Coutts,
Alinghi was very departmentalized with Coutts the strong leader and bottom
line. He knows what to do and when to do it. It's pretty hard to replace a
guy like that when you've put so many eggs in his basket."

The three biggest on-the-water names in the America's Cup these days are
Coutts, Conner and Paul Cayard. As it stands right now, none of the three
will be in the 2007 event. - Excerpts from a story by Bill Center in the
San Diego Union-Tribune, full story:

Mooloolaba, Australia - Lake Macquarie sailmaker Peter McNeill holds a
narrow overall points lead after today's fourth race of the Ace Etchells
World Championship, being sailed off Moolooolaba on the Queensland Sunshine
Coast. Steering Tom Pepper XVIII, McNeill is two points clear of former
World Champion Cameron Miles, while third overall is the Masters sailor
from Melbourne, Bruce McBriar. Race four was sailed in a south-westerly
breeze that varied from 5 knots at the weather mark close inshore to 15
knots at the leeward mark, 2.5 miles further to seaward. Dennis Conner, who
is 14th in the standings, is the only non-Australian entry in the top 28 boats.

DC showed his good sportsmanship when he loaned his spare mast to Italian
yachtsman Marco Cimarosti to enable him to continue to sail. Cimarosti
snapped the mast of his Etchells, Hobe Ek Bahar , when the rigging caught
on a channel marker sailing up the Mooloolah River after the second day of
racing in the World Championship. When Conner heard of the mishap he
immediately offered his spare mast to the Italian with reported comment,
"don't tell the press; it will spoil my image."

Light-weight crews are getting more attention at the Ace Etchells World
Championship. Half of the first four races have been won by boats with a
crew of four. Normally, the boats are sailed by three big guys to get near
the maximum crew weight of 285kg (628 pounds), but sailing the boat with
four small people seems to have some advantages. - Peter Campbell,

Did you race in either the Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race or Chicago Yacht
Club Race to Mackinac? Do you have a fun story to share? Scuttlebutt is
calling out for race stories and passing out (no pun intended) a few
Scuttlebutt caps to the most riveting tales. However, so far we have
received only three stories from the nearly 600 boats that competed. Is
there a cover-up? Can we not share the good times with the bad? Entry
deadline is Thursday, August 5th. Enjoy the three stories that are now
posted, along with entry information at

Not often does a job come along that combines a great sport-sailing-with a
great company-Vanguard-and a key position-Product Manager, Boats. We are
seeking an experienced marketing person, who is highly knowledgeable about
the small sailboat market. For details visit

The Dubai-based airline sponsoring Team New Zealand in the next America's
Cup expects to get a ten-fold return on its investment. Speaking to The
Press in Dubai, Emirates vice-president of promotions and media relations,
Boutros Boutros, said the return on sponsorship deals was often hard to
quantify but he was confident of a 10:1 ratio of return on their
sponsorship based the global coverage of the event and the potential for
Team New Zealand to perform very well.

With a constant stream of organisations coming to Emirates seeking
sponsorship, Boutros said Team New Zealand had to put forward an impressive
case to convince the airline to sponsor them. But Boutros said Team New
Zealand managing director Grant Dalton's presentation was the strongest he
had seen. "I always look for the negative things but I struggled to pick
holes in it. There was a unanimous verdict from my team to sponsor them."

He said there was no room for sentimentality in scrutinizing sponsorships -
a personal passion for a sport or event had to come second behind the
business potential of any sponsorship. Boutros said Emirates saw such
sponsorships as a way of committing itself to a particular market. -
Excerpts from a story by David Courtney posted on the StuffNZ website, full

* According to a press release, the Sausalito Challenge plans to be the
first-ever America's Cup team to rely 100% on Computational Fluid Dynamics
(CFD) for its new yacht design. Current design practice combines CFD with
tank testing facilities to validate the computer generated designs. The
Sausalito Challenge 'design team' believes CFD alone is, "the only answer."
The syndicate will now set out to find the most qualified CFD company in
the world and create a partnership to showcase worlds first completely
computer generated America's Cup yacht. The release made no mention of
funding or of the syndicate's sponsors.

* US Sailing's nomination process for the next Sailor Athlete Council is
now open online, and all registered Sailor Athletes are eligible to make
nominations and vote. The nomination period extends until August 28, and
the election period is from September 1-15. Elected individuals will serve
a four-year term on the Sailor Athlete Council. While all registered Sailor
Athletes are eligible to nominate candidates, only registered A and B level
athletes may be nominated and elected to the Council.

* Coronet, a 133' schooner yacht being restored by the International Yacht
Restoration School (IYRS) of Newport, is the first Rhode Island vessel to
be named to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register
is the federal government's official list of historic properties worthy of
preservation that currently lists some 78,000 properties, including
historic districts, buildings, structures, and objects deemed significant
to the nation's history and culture. The restoration of Coronet will take
place in public view at IYRS's waterfront campus. Built in 1885, Coronet is
a unique example of a grand yacht of her era. -

* The International Hobie Class Association has launched their new web site
with their partners BelleVue IT. The International Hobie Class Association
(IHCA) is the largest multihull class association with five ISAF
International Classes, one ISAF-Recognized Class and nine classes under
their auspices. Global communication has been facilitated and the IHCA site
can now be updated easily from any computer connected to the internet,
removing the need for expensive software and providing an user-friendly
path for sailors to find the necessary information. -

* Research carried out by regatta title sponsor, Skandia at Skandia Cowes
Week 2003 shows that sailing is no longer a sport solely for the rich, but
is now attracting a much wider audience, including young people. The
majority of the sailors participating in that regatta were young men aged
between 25 and 29 earning less than 25,000 a year. Almost 15% of sailors
at the regatta were students and a third came from the Northern England or
the Midlands, dispelling the notion that the sport is exclusively the
pastime of the wealthy living on the south coast. -

* Big! Although the regatta does not start until the weekend, entries for
Skandia Cowes Week grew to 959 on Tuesday. Because a large number of the
late entries will be racing in one of the seven IRC classes, it was
necessary to change the class splits. Updated class lists can be found by
selecting Boats and Classes from official website:

* 144+ sandwich-bill hats w/embroidery for less than $5.00
* 12+ rash guards with your team logo starting at $25.00
* Outerbanks polos w/embroidery starting at $16.00
* 36+ Printed Tees w/design starting at $6.00
For questions, quotes or catalogs, email or log on to

(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 Zach de Beer (edited to our 250-word limit): I do not understand the
general obsession of sailors in the USA about a new handicap rule. The rest
of the world have gone IRC or IMS but the USA remains restless. It's not a
question of what is fair, it is only a question of what works. The IOR
worked, the boats were terrible but the rule was quite stable. Look at the
Admirals Cup entry list over the years, the biggest entry lists are from
the IOR era. The IOR rule was not fair - we all knew that - and the rule
did not promote good sailing boats. We all knew that too, but since the
rule was quite stable older boats could compete with later boats and win
from time to time.

What happened was that the people with the money and the will, spent money
on custom IOR boats and won races that way. The rest of us sailed in what
we wanted to sail or what we could afford but we never thought of winning
many races, we tried winning against our peer group. To expect a rating
rule to rate fairly or effectively over a wide range of boat sizes, shapes,
ages, wind speeds, sail price, sail age and wave conditions is simply
impossible. Stop crying, pick a rule and go sailing against your peers and
check the results at the end of the season not after every race. The rules
do much better over a season.

* From Michael H. Koster (Concerning Bruce Thompson's comments regarding
PHRF failing the average entry level racer): I would not consider a Farr 40
as a typical PHRF average entry level racer. Comparing a Farr 40 to a
Catalina 22 is like comparing a midget car to a NASCAR vehicle. You never
see the Farr 40's racing local club weeknight races which are predominated
by the Catalina 22 type vessels. These folks pay $20-30 a year for their
PHRF rating and the majority are perfectly happy with the situation. These
racers neither want to pay more nor have the time to get their boats
measured. That's not to say that PHRF shouldn't be subject to review and
possible improvements however. I haven't been convinced yet that PHRF is

* From Wally Henry: Pete Sherwood suggested that Ernesto Bertarelli may be
planning to introduce an owner driver rule for the next Cup; I doubt it
will happen, but if it does I'll be first in line to sign with Team Dennis
Conner again.

* From Robbie Wallace (re Mr. Sumner's letter): So the America's Cup is
becoming a farce, a mockery, a sham eh? What a mess you say! Oh, what are
we to do? Have we forgotten the mockery and sham of the '88 race? If the
event survived that debacle, then we surely can weather this! Relax
everybody, for crying out loud! It'll happen and it'll be great. No worries

* From Ross Bateson: Jean Marc Bosman is one of Europe's most famous
footballers. He spent his career plying his trade in the lower leagues of
Belgian football, and in 1990 attempted to move to to a small team in
France, being out of contract at his current team. The rules then did not
simply allow him to leave when his contract expired, but forced any new
club to purchase the player. Bosman challenged this, first in the Belgian
Court, and eventually in the European Court of Justice. Bosman's complaint
was upheld in 1995, and the ruling affected the whole game: out of contract
players are now free to move where they please. This situation is now known
as a 'Bosman Free Transfer', hence the man's fame.

Russell Coutts finds himself, contract-less, on a 'Bosman Free', and I
wonder how the European Union could differentiate between the sports. The
Treaty of Rome - which Spanish but not Swiss employment law is party to -
stipulates the free circulation of workers and the freedom of competition.
It is unlikely that Bertorelli can really expect to win an EU court batle.

Bosman again comes to the fore. Bosman started proceedings in 1990,
eventually winning in 1995. Such a timeframe would make the eventual
outcome meaningless in terms of this AC for Coutts. Something which I'm
sure will not have been missed by the Alinghi and Oracle lawyers. Here's to
Cory Friedman's hopes of NY Supreme Court rulings coming quicker, for
sailing's sake.

* From Dave Wilhite: With the recent retroactive "jailing" of Russell
Coutts and the cash cuffs placed on Paul Cayard in y2k, one might think the
Americas Cup compares to the theatrical and campy antics of the World
Wrestling Federation. The Americas Cup has little to do with open
competition nor does the AC have much to do with the best sailors or the
best boats. The AC is about spectacle and rules of engagement. Regardless,
from time to time the better boats or sailors have won but for sheer
entertainment value the AC has its own way to deliver.

Government organization