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SCUTTLEBUTT 1680 - October 1, 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.

According to Tom Pollack, the TP52 Class Association's Los Angeles-based
Executive Director, around 17 examples will be sailing next year in the
Mediterranean and US - possibly more. There are any number of reasons why
this rush is happening. Maybe it is simply that the class has emerged at
the right time, when grand prix racing under IMS has come to the end of the
road in most parts of the world and its death knoll is sounding even in
Spain following the King's move into the new class. Certainly some owners
such as Bright Star's Richard Breeden say they couldn't wait around for a
new Grand Prix Rule to come into existence. The more pessimistic feel that
the Grand Prix racing community has become so fictionalized over the last
two decades since the demise of IOR that agreement would never be fully
reached over such a rule.

Pollack gives his views as to why the surge in interest in this class is
suddenly taking place: "Guys who haven't been active in yacht racing for 10
years have suddenly got excited by the prospect of owning a boat where
there is longevity to it, where the rule doesn't change every year from
under your feet. Even the sponsors in Spain have got tired of buying a new
IMS boat every year - that gets expensive. It is much cheaper to swap a fin
and a bulb rather than it is to swap a hull. - Excerpt from a major story
on The Daily Sail website, full story:

Mari Cha IV has entered the record breaking books yet again after becoming
the largest sailing yacht ever to be transported on the deck of a container
ship. In the past year Mari Cha IV has proved herself to be the fastest
sailing yacht in the world. When she shattered the west to east
transatlantic speed record by two days in October 2003, she became the
first monohull to sail more than 500 nautical miles in a day. During the
six days it took her to cross, she covered a staggering 525.7 nm in one 24
hour period. Mari Cha IV also holds the record for Antigua to Guadeloupe
and the West Coast to Hawaii Pacific Ocean race.

The carbon fibre yacht, owned by Robert Miller, the founder of Duty Free
Shoppers, was loaded onto an Italia Line container ship in Long Beach,
California on August 14th. At a length of 140ft and a beam of 30ft she took
up the space normally reserved for 139 containers. Although one reason for
shipping Mari Cha IV was to give her crew a rest from their busy schedule,
two crew members accompanied the yacht to ensure her safe passage to the

For the organizers of the project, Complete Freight Ltd, the relocation of
Mari Cha IV proved to be a demanding undertaking. "It is a challenging task
as Mari Cha IV has a 20ft bulb at the end of the canting keel", said Mr
Simon Judson, Transport and Export Manager at Complete Freight. Given the
value of Mari Cha IV it was necessary for the marine transit insurance to
be spread over ten underwriters. The cradle design was both innovative and
economical. Four empty containers formed the basis for the structure which,
after precise location on the ships deck, were chained down. Mari Cha IV
was then lowered onto two enormous poppets welded onto the top of the two
containers. Her overall height in this position was 40ft.

Mari Cha IV is in the Mediterranean to compete in the Voiles de St Tropez
Regatta at the beginning of October. After that she will head for La
Ciotat, France to undertake alteration work to improve her already
outstanding performance. Trim tabs are to be fitted to the keel, and a
canard fitted to the bow. She will also receive a fresh coat of paint. -

To see the photos:

With just over 4 days remaining before the first race of the Act 2 of the
32nd America's Cup, the Valencian waters are crowded daily with yachts and
support craft as syndicates intensify preparations. +39 Challenge and
Emirates Team New Zealand join French syndicate K-Challenge, American BMW
Oracle and South Africa's Shosholoza who are already testing and training
in Valencia. "The team is playing very well despite his lack of
experience", +39 Challenge 's Technical Director, Cesare Pasotti said.

Meanwhile, Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said the yacht
was on the water off the Spanish city two days ahead of schedule. "The boys
had worked very well so we decided to go sailing today. It is only 18 days
since NZL82 was damaged in Marseille," Dalton said. "A lot has happened
since then. It is a tribute to the Emirates Team New Zealand shore team who
have worked long into the night to make this happen". Dalton said the boat
performed well, even with more than 20 people - including a group of
sponsors - on board today. There is still no sign of Alinghi and Luna Rossa
Challenge. - The Cup in Europe website,

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Of all the names you could call Chay Blyth, the one that he likes best is
'enabler'. "I like that," mused the 64-year-old as he surveyed the 12
yachts assembled in Portsmouth for Sunday's Global Challenge start. Blyth
is known as a man who lets people live their dreams. Since the first
Challenge in 1992, some 300 ordinary folk have raced around the world. When
the inaugural Challenge was announced, it was seen as a daring and
improbable project. "I took a lot of flak," remembers Blyth. "People said
it could not be done. Well it could. Again and again and again..."

In one exchange with the Royal Ocean Racing Club, who pondered the wisdom
of sending individuals, some new to sailing, around the world, Blyth was at
his disarming, combative best. "What experience do you think you need?"
Blyth asked rhetorically. "Not a lot," he continued. "There's nothing magic
about sailing. It's only wind and water. Even at Cape Horn."

Yet there is so much that sets this race apart. Blyth builds and owns the
identical 72-footers. Crews are amateurs, paying £27,750 for a berth for
the 160-day race. By contrast, a top-flight professional might expect to be
paid 10 times that. Sailors have all manner of jobs and put their lives on
hold. Whether they can sail or not is immaterial. Blyth's Challenge
Business trains them. And boats go the slow, clockwise way around the
world. The reason? It's safer, says Blyth. Speeds are slower so that anyone
who goes overboard will not be separated too quickly from their yacht. He
still remembers losing Bernie Hosking from his crew of paratroopers on
Great Britain II in the 1973-74 Whitbread race.

This Challenge lacks a title sponsor and Blyth was tempted to sell
Challenge Business some years back, but the advertising and sponsorship
market fell flat. Having "done well" for the best part of 15 years, the
last three have not turned a profit. "But we've traded through it and we're
secure," he says. "It's been tough, but we're OK." While the fleet leave
for the first 6,200 of 28,000 miles on the opening stage to Buenos Aires,
Blyth will be itching to resume hunting. - Excerpts from a major story by
Tim Jeffery in the Daily Telegraph. Read the complete story:

Despite rumour to the contrary HSBC bank have confirmed that they will not
be becoming title sponsor of GBR Challenge. The reason for the decision
appears to be that the bank's corporate marketing group do not feel that
that HSBC should sponsor high profile teams or individuals and should focus
only on events, as a result of their past negative experience in F1. GBR
Challenge has two strong and committed private investors who remain very
positive and are still focused on mounting a seriously competitive
challenge. GBR Challenge also has a number of on-going discussions that are
being progressed and further meetings scheduled in the coming weeks. -
Excerpts from a story on the Daily Sail website, full story:

The preliminary races for the Musto Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship,
beginning October 31 at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin
Islands, will be sailed this year in Lasers, Hobie Waves and Hunter 216s.
SSC members attending this event are encouraged to pre-register early to
insure getting the boat they prefer. Just send your choice by email to: At the same time, it wouldn't hurt to express a preference
for which of the skippers you'd like to sail with in the BEYC Pro-Am
Regatta, which runs concurrently - Russell Coutts, Lowell North, Ed Baird,
Keith Musto, Peter Holmberg, Rod Johnstone, Carol Cronin, Butch Ulmer,
Betsy Alison, Andy Burdick or the curmudgeon.

This year's event will be a bit of a reunion, as BEYC has gotten
reservations from a very large number of SSC members who sailed in previous
Pro-Am regattas. And anyone who has procrastinated about making
reservations should move quickly, as the resort is filling up. Happily
however, you can still get the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club discount. - Event

Jeffrey Johnstone, Portsmouth, RI (USA) has snatched the lead from Jens
Hookanson, Middletown, RI (USA) on day four of the 2004 Citibank J/24 World
Championships. Long Island Sound must have needed a rest after the high
winds and huge swells of yesterday, for today the Sound was flat as a
pancake with little to no wind. Race Committee started race seven in a
light southerly, but it was eventually abandoned. After waiting several
hours, and sitting through a rain squall, race seven got off for a second
time. On Friday, two races are planned, and at day's end, a new World
Champion will be crowned. - Andrea Watson

Standings after seven races with one discard:
1. Jeffrey Johnstone, USA, 49 pts
2. Jens Hookanson, USA, 56 pts
3. Satoshi Kume, Japan, 63 pts
4. Brad Read, USA, 67 pts
5. Andy Horton, USA, 74 pts
6. Skelley/Crockett, USA 75 pts
7. Alejo Rigoni, Argentina, 83 pts
8. Zaleski/Zaleski, USA, 84 pts
9. Yutaka Yoshida, Japan, 104 pts
10. Rossi Milev, CAN, 115 pts

Event website:
For video clips of the regatta:

* ISAF has compiled the best images of the six medal winning crews from the
2.4mR and Sonar events into a screensaver depicting images of the
medallists in action on the water and at the medal ceremonies. For more
information prior to downloading:

* According to a report on the Mariantic website, Alpha Romeo will be the
"official car" of the Luna Rosa syndicate. So the Italians will be driving
Alphas, and the Oracle syndicate has BMW wheels, while ACM will ride in
Fords. -

* What's next? Well, now there's a furling system for all asymmetric sails.
It's claimed to work just fine on existing sails without modifying the
sails, and without affecting the sails performance. Take a look:

You may never get to shimmy down from a hovering "copter" into a snake pit
of enemy fire, but you can wear the same shoe today's Navy SEALs wear to
maximize traction and torque in extreme amphibious combat situations. It's
the Figawi ZIP, $69.99. Designed for high performance on land and in water,
the Figawi features characteristics unique to Sperry Top-Sider and perfect
for the SEALS distinctive operations, including non-marking outsole that
leaves no trace, Super-Tack rubber for grip on wet and dry surfaces and
quick-drying materials. For a retailer near you, visit

(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 Mike Martin: I was surprised to read the support for some of the
older boats to be Olympic classes. Just a week or two ago the thread was
how Olympic sailing is not exciting to watch. Then I shook my head as I
read the list of classes being considered and only 1 class (the 49er) on
the list is less than 40 years old. Now I read support for one of the
oldest slowest boats on the list. It is no wonder sailing is struggling.
The sport needs to embrace modern technology and join the 21st century. If
you want to catch the interest of our future sailors, the boats in the
spotlight need to be fast exciting and on the leading edge of technology in
the sport. I say pick the recently revamped Tornado, formula boards, and
more skiffs, for the Olympics, and leave the older designs to be raced by
the weekend warriors.

* From Ron Nicol: While the Hobie 16 is a great boat to learn on and a fun
recreational craft, there is no comparison to a Tornado or other
performance cats with todays technology. Just because there are VW bugs in
every country doesn't mean they are the car of choice to race in. Most
people would choose a Porsche instead. It would be nice to add another
multihull class to the Olympics, but to replace the Tornado with Hobie 16s
is not a step forward.

* From Ron Rezac: Open Olympic Events? I recommend that the men's events be
replaced by open/ performance events and that the boats be selected to
encourage women's participation. I do think that the Laser and 49er are two
of the most deserving boats in the Olympics but calling them "open" is a
stretch. Certainly there are many other boats in which women and men
compete on a more equal footing. When we have as many women as men in the
Olympics we can start to talk about "men's" events again.

* From Andy McNab: With regards to the apparent political shenanigans going
on between Madrid and Valencia, over the financial aid required to mount
the America's Cup, I am wondering whether ACM has given any consideration
to the question of the Spanish authorities applying VAT and Matriculation
taxes to yachts under charter in Spanish waters. As discussed at a recent
seminar at the Monaco Boatshow, the application of these taxes could have a
huge , detrimental effect on the number of non Spanish vessels visiting
Valencia, for the Cup. I would hope that ACM will be able to bring some
pressure to bear to help solve this issue and if so , keep interested
parties informed.

* From April Runyon: Although the story 'Butt excerpted from The Dominion
Post yesterday referred to Glenn Brooke, the main man at the Volvo Ocean
Race, as an Englishman, he is, if fact, Australian, and sailed for
Australia in the Finn at the Barcelona Olympics.

* From Gareth Evans: Of course Philippe was right to protest his son. Shark
is still a young man, and has to learn that he can't barge his way in front
of other boats and infringe them by his actions. This isn't a Sunday
afternoon club race - it's the Mumm 30 Worlds and there is a lot at stake
for all the competitors at the front of the fleet. There is no honour in
winning by cheating - especially if your Dad lets you get away with it.
However, I have one rules question. If Philippe had chosen not to protest
Shark, would another boat that witnessed the incident be allowed to protest

* From George Bailey (re Philippe Kahn protesting his son at the Mumm 30
worlds): If it was not a legitimate protest, then it does not matter what
the relationship between the people involved. If it was a legitimate
protest, then it does not matter what the relationship between the people
involved. Or does someone wish to maintain that the question of whether or
not to protest should be based on emotion rather than on applying reason
and the rules to the situation at hand?

* From Jeff Carlile: The letter today noting the Conflict of the Kahns at
the Mumm 30s got me thinking. I wasn't surprised Philippe would protest
Shark; I've had Team Pegasus bookmarked since the 2001 Transpac and I can
almost hear Philippe saying, "The boy's gotta learn." But the one incident
wasn't enough to cost Shark victory.

* From Andy Vare: Tom Goddard commented :" ...The Tour de France bike race
isn't exactly a thrill a minute, and yet that was good TV because you had
three guys commentating who were interested, knowledgeable, and realized
that in the end it was just a bunch of guys riding their bikes and it was
supposed to be fun! They spent half their time laughing rather than
talking, and it was fun. "Boy I couldn't agree more. I nominate either Mark
Heer (St.FYC Knarr sailor and wannabe Bill Murray protégé) or John
Gladstone (North Loft San Diego) as ESPN's next "Bob Roll" for the
America's Cup. That guy was too much! Get the yuks up and everybody loves
it. Wind or no wind. Also, having a really hot babe in there wouldn't hurt
... doing lifestyle stuff everyone could relate to regardless of what was
happening on the race course. Heck, even Pamela Anderson getting grinding
lessons from the boys in the pit on a practice day? Possibilities are

* Curmudgeon's Comment: Fearing those possibilities, we now declare the TV
thread officially dead.

Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.