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SCUTTLEBUTT 1660 - September 2, 2004

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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.

GREAT MOMENTS AT THE GAMES
Olympic sailing launched on a low note-the 1896 races in Greece were
cancelled for lack of wind-but there have been many high points since.
Olympic sailors have created a wonderful legacy. By way of example, we tip
our hats to the great …

- Paul Elvström for the longest Olympic "moment" ever. It's been a show
to watch, from the gritty determination that led him to build the world's
first hiking bench to the euphoria of the 20-year-old dark horse ("They
told me, if you will not be the last, we'll be happy.") to winning gold
that year and repeating in 1952, 1956, and 1960. Later he returned as the
grand old man, showing up beginning in the 1980's as Denmark's Olympic
Tornado representative with his daughter Trina on the wire. Here's a
picture: Preparing for the regatta at Melbourne in 1956, with the Finn
fleet hunkered down on the beach, Elvström launched through the surf to
practice-alone, in a screaming wind-and put in his time, then returned to
the beach standing on the transom of the boat, surfing like mad, and gybed,
still standing, in front of all. Ultimate intimidation. The regatta was
over before it began.

- Bill and Carl Buchan for being unique. Father and son both won gold in
'84-Bill as the Star skipper, Carl as the Flying Dutchman crew-accounting
for 2 of 3 U.S. gold medals. Here's Bill aw-shucksing it: "I've never done
a lot of training in the pure sense; I've just always been in a sailing
frame of mind."

- Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel for taking it on the chin in 1988-the mast
came down in the final race, and they still almost won gold-and sticking
themselves right back out there. The path was strewn with roses in 1992.
"Barcelona was one of those regattas where everything goes right," Reynolds
fondly recalls of the first of his 2 Star gold medals. "If we got a bad
start and had to tack, a shift would come along and put us right back in
there."

- The 1992 U.S. team for bringing home 1 gold, 6 silver, and 2 bronze,
medalling in 9 of 10 events.

- Lowell North and Peter Barrett for doing the seemingly impossible at
Acapulco in 1968. When the halyard broke in their Star, they lowered the
mast right there in the starting area, lashed the head of the sail to the
head of the mast, and rerigged. They ate the gold medal for lunch. -
Excerpts from a story by Kimball Livingston on the Sail magazine website,
full story: www.sailmagazine.com/features/greatOlympicSailingMoments/

COMMON THREAD
According to the Optimist class website, 78% of the skippers of the medal
winning boats at the 2004 Olympics were former Optimist sailors. And over
70% of these had sailed in IODA World and continental championships. This
is more than double the percentage four years ago in Sydney. In the
monohull dinghies all the skippers were ex-Optimist except for two who
started in the Cadet. This increase mostly reflects the increasing spread
of the Optimist in the age group from which the medallists come. The
proportion is higher in the monohull dinghies, especially the
double-handers, than in the Tornado or keelboats where the average age is
notably more "pre-Optimist". Among these dinghies it is notable that while
most Finn sailors did start in the Optimist relatively few had the chance
to sail internationally before becoming too big for the boat. -
www.optiworld.org/exopolyfull.html

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Next week, some 260 Dragons are expected in Saint-Tropez to celebrate the
75th anniversary of the class. Besides the record number of boats is the
presence on the water of crowned heads of Europe, Olympic champions, a
winner of the America's Cup as well as other world champions, all witness
to the craze that has given rise to this unique rendezvous. HRH Princess
Anne will be on the water in Saint Tropez on Thursday 14 October for the
regatta. The presence of this eminent member of the British Royal family
completes an already impressive list of personalities including the Kings
Juan Carlos of Spain and Carl Gustav of Sweden.

WINNERS WITH SAMSON - ACROSS THE PACIFIC
Congratulations to the winners of the West Marine Pacific Cup! 1st Overall
- Martin Brauns' Santa Cruz 52 - Winnetou; 2nd Overall - Morpheus - a
Schumacher 50 owned by Jim Gregory; 3rd Overall - the Santa Cruz 52 Natazak
- owned by Steve Williams; Double Handed 1st Overall - Eyrie - Wylie
Hawkfarm 28 sailed by Slvia Seaberg and Synthia Petroka. Scott Easom of
Easom Rigging (Point Richmond, CA) produced Samson running rigging packages
for many of the winning boats! Great job Scott! Samson - the Line of
Choice. http://www.samsonrope.com

ACT 1
Five America's Cup teams took to the Rade Sud, the waters off the French
port of Marseille, four days ahead of the opening race of the Marseille
Louis Vuitton Act. Leading the charge was Team Shosholoza, the first
African team to challenge for the America's Cup. The South African
challenger was making its maiden voyage in Europe, its first sail in an
America's Cup environment. Sailing the colourful RSA 48, Shosholoza crossed
tacks with BMW Oracle Racing, the American team and Challenger of Record
for the 32nd America's Cup, also sailing for the first time in Marseille.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Team Alinghi testing close alongside for the
second day, and the French K-Challenge, made up the rest of the fleet. Le
Defi, is the only boat yet to sail in Marseille, the French team completing
its measurement duties on Wednesday. It is expected to take to the water on
Thursday. The America's Cup Race Committee was also on the Rade Sud,
setting marks, running start sequences, and getting its practice in ahead
of Sunday's first race. The teams are expected to continue testing and
training on Thursday, and there will be a practice race on Friday
afternoon. - www.americascup.com

UNDERDOG
Team New Zealand are counting themselves among the underdogs for the first
official pre-America's Cup yachting regatta beginning in southern France
this weekend. They will be one of five teams competing at the Mediterranean
port city of Marseilles in the first of nine regattas leading up to the
2007 cup challenge. Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said
there were no illusions about the task facing his syndicate. He said Swiss
defenders Alinghi and American rivals Oracle would go in as favorites for
the seven-day event. Oracle, in particular, had put in a lot of time on the
water over the past 12 months.

For Team New Zealand, the regatta would be a chance to begin a testing
program that would continue in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland over the
summer. Dalton added that the Team New Zealand crew, with Dean Barker at
the helm after competing in the Finn dinghy class at the Athens Olympics,
had yet to sail together as a unit. "They're fired up and anxious to get
NZL82 on the water and race, and they'll be looking for a good
performance," he said today. There's a lot of pressure on the boys,
especially in New Zealand, to lay the ghosts of the 2003 regatta to rest."
He said that wouldn't be achieved at Marseilles, or at the two other
build-up regattas scheduled this year at the cup venue of Valencia, Spain
but the team wanted to set the tone for a successful campaign. - NZPA, full
story: www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3022108a1823,00.html

NEWS BRIEFS
* California's Howie Hamlin, with his crew of Mike Martin and Rod Howell
won both races on the wildest day yet of the Skiff 18 International Regatta
Wednesday to move into a first-place tie with Australia's John Winning.
Their boat West Marine was the only one of the eight that stayed upright
all day as 18 to 22 knots of wind, with gusts to 25, blew up a mean chop
straight into the face of an ebb tide flowing out the Golden Gate past the
host St. Francis Yacht Club. The forecast for Thursday is for winds up to
35 knots. - Rich Roberts, www.stfyc.com

* On Sunday, a volunteer crew of 13 set sail on the Friends Good Will from
Albany, N.Y., where it was built, to Detroit and then, to South Haven,
where, on Sept . 25, the ship will anchor. A 3-year, $2-million project,
the 101-foot-long ship is a replica of a 19th Century one built in Detroit
bearing the same name. It will become an exhibit at the Michigan Maritime
Museum in South Haven, cruising the Great Lakes with up to 28 passengers.
About 15 tall ships now sail the Great Lakes -- and more are on the way. -
Full story: www.freep.com/news/locoak/ship1e_20040901.htm

EQUIPMENT CHECK: 2004 505 WORLDS
102 teams from around the world converged on Santa Cruz, CA to compete for
the title of 505 World Champion. Ullman Sails were used by the top four:
1st- Larson/ Baylis; 2nd- Hamlin/ Alarie; 3rd- Martin/ Nelson; 4th-
Thompson/ Zinn. All four teams used Ullman mains and jibs, with two of the
four teams flying full Ullman inventories. These top teams knew that boat
speed would be critical and made the commitment to Ullman Sails! Are you
ready for the "Fastest Sails on the Planet"? Contact your local Ullman
Sails loft or visit online at http://www.ullmansails.com/


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(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 Geoff Ewenson, Finn USA 11 (Re US Olympic Team - edited to our
250-word limit): It's obvious that without some creative thinking we will
not move forward. The current model needs some tweaking. I suggest that we
create an environment where members of the US sailing team are enticed to
work together. Such as the way the British team has developed. The US Finn
Foundation has started running Finn Clinics where we import a foreign
sailor who is successful at the world level and their job is to give as
much information as possible to help the overall group improve their skill
set. This past winter Andrew Simpson of Great Britain came to Florida and
sailed in the US Nationals. Prior to the event he trained with the top five
sailors in the US Finn Fleet and was available off the water to answer
questions from anyone in the Finn Fleet. It was a huge success and it
helped bring the level of the fleet up quite a bit.

What if US Sailing held mandatory clinics quarterly for each of the
classes? If someone wanted to be on the US Team then they would be required
to attend three out of four sessions per year. Each session could have a
guest "rockstar" or coach to help build the skills of the team. This all
costs money of course but I think it would be money well spent and would
have direct benefits to the sailors. If every aspect of the US Olympic
Sailing Committee had to pass this criteria we might be better off. Those
clinics could be subsidized by adding an "open clinic" aspect where people
could come and sail with the team and sit in on group discussions etc. This
could be held before or after the scheduled "team only" sessions and it
would be mandatory for the Team Members to attend also.

* From Ron Baerwitz: I totally agree with Mr. Moore. Uncontrollable factors
play a role in yacht racing maybe more than any other Olympic sport. In any
given race there are thousands of variables, many that can not be foreseen
or harnessed. Predicting wind shifts is one thing. When a boat 100 feet
from you has wind while you drift I don't see that as the best way to judge
who is the best. What about the boat that has no chance of winning going
out of his way to mess with the favorite when opportunity arises. We've all
seen it happen and it happens at the Olympic level too. On top of that,
despite hours and hours of maintenance gear failures are still going to
happen unannounced. So, over a long series where mother nature can go
beyond being cruel and gear failure is inevitable I think it wise to have a
throwout or two to truly give the best the undeniable chance to win.

* From Clark Chapin: Yes, Ainslee would have won even counting his DSQ, but
on television in the final race I saw Kevin Hall on starboard tack after
rounding the windward mark clearly alter course to avoid Ainslee
approaching on port. Rule 18.2(d) would seem to indicate an infringement
there that was not protested. Perhaps the lack of a discard would have
altered Ainslee's approach technique. Perhaps the Olympic regatta for
monohulls should include offset marks so that rapid changes in rule
obligations do not occur at the windward mark. Perhaps Mr. Hall should (or
could) have hailed "Protest!" but chose not to.

Personally, I think that no discards would reduce the number of OCS boats
and reward solid, consistent sailing through an 11 or 16 race event. For
major championships, I'm in favor. And, as Dennis Miller has said, "I could
be wrong, but I don't think so."

* From Matthew Sessions: With all due respect to Bill Center of the San
Diego Union-Tribune, calling Team USA's sailing performance, 'The worst
performance by American sailors in the Olympics since World War II' is
unfair and distorted. Yes, only two medals were won by our boats but if you
look a little further down the results, the glass is still half full. GBR
led the way with six Top-5 finishes, followed next by the USA and France at
five. Only three countries placed three boats in the Top-5 (Brazil, Spain,
and host country Greece). With so many professional sailors coming from
down under these days, it's interesting to note that Australia and New
Zealand were shut out of the medals and managed only one Top-5 finish each.
With 20 separate countries winning at least 1 of 33 medals, I contend that
no country (even the mighty British) will ever beat the performance of the
1984 & 1992 US Sailing Teams. Let's move on and get excited for more
incredible competition and coverage in 2008!

* From Gareth Evans: Please Curmudgeon, don't open the thread about the
pumping done be board sailors again. I think we established last time that
board sailors and yacht sailors will never agree on what sailing is.
Incidentally some other classes (eg. Finn) allow limited pumping and
kinetics depending on the conditions. Boardsailing just takes this to the
extreme. I boardsail - but I only pump to get the board onto the plane. I
race dinghys and yachts - but nothing like as athletically as our
Olympians. Seeing the sailors at the Olympics is one extreme of the sport -
similar to the speed record attempts in that it bears little resemblance to
the grassroots of our sport, but provides great interest.

Curmudgeon's Comment: Thanks to the Olympic coverage on the Bravo network,
for the first time many US sailors saw what actually goes on at a board
sailing 'regatta' … which seems to justify leaving the thread open for a
bit longer.

* From Ginny Lovell. I agree completely with Colin Davis' assessment of the
spectator boat arrangement in Athens. One boat to cover all classes is less
than satisfactory. The spectator boat was a large boat that attempted to
cover all courses offering a buffet lunch. Compare this to an arrangement
where spectators are moved from event to event in another sport only to
gain a little glimpse of each and possibly not see the conclusion of what
interests you. Then you get a nice buffet lunch!

We went out one day and never witnessed Tornado sailing (up close). At the
finish of the last race, many friends and family were out there with
American flags ready to cheer the Lovell/ Ogletree team over the line
whether it be gold or silver. We were extremely disappointed when they
pulled up anchor and moved after 3 boats finished so we could watch the
finish of the Star fleet. This, of course, was welcomed by the Star
spectators. A smaller boat on each course where you can pick what fleets
you want to watch would be much more enjoyable. I know there was a
tremendous effort on the part of the Greek Olympic authorities, and they
did a wonderful job, but I hope there will be a different system for the
spectators of sailing in China.

* From Phil Smithies: In response to Chris Buydos ('Butt 1658) comments on
British Olympic success , his last line is perfect " do not take away from
an athletes accomplishments by using money as a scapegoat." The success
story started back in the 70's with a couple of far sighted and dedicated
coaches, pre-lottery, they traveled the country looking for talent and
dedication in the youth of Britain, they knew that the days of Chris Law a
Lawrie Smith were numbered and there was a major gap behind them.

We all know the stories of weather in England and these young hopefuls had
to sail in it all, year after year, they not only had to prove talent,
dedication was obligatory. There are many many great sailors in the USA, we
hear there names all the time, but they chose the professional circuit,
most Olympic sailors in Britain chose a different path, they are trained to
compete and win in international, world and Olympic arenas, but prior to
any funding as is so easily picked up on in the states they have to prove
themselves at the grass roots, I say again dedication came well before
funding that and far sighted coaches.

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes on the ark?