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SCUTTLEBUTT 1684 - October 7, 2004

Powered by SAIC (, an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
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talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
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welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

It all started about five years ago: a trend, crossing over and signaling a
change in preferences of what sailors will likely be navigating for years
to come. Sensitive to their aging customers, boat makers with long
traditions in sailing have diversified, investing money and energy in

The evidence should be present during the United States Sailboat and
Powerboat shows that open to the public Friday in Annapolis. There will be
fewer choices for sailboats, even though 25 new models will be unveiled by
the time the shows close Oct. 17. "It always comes as a bit of a surprise
to us," said Rick Franke, spokesman for the Annapolis shows.Mr. Franke said
many attendees see the emergence of powerboats as startling, a skewed view
that comes from the dominance of sailing around Annapolis.

Builders, though, are responding to purported calls from Baby Boomers for a
less physically demanding option, as well as speedier ways of getting
around as leisure time continues to shrink. It's something of note,
according to Peter Nielsen, editor of the trade publication SAIL Magazine,
who has seen the average age of his readership mature to 50, from 45 only
several years ago.Mr. Nielsen said the shift comes from the slimming
sailboat market. "But that may not necessarily mean that sailing is coming
to an end," he said. "Certainly not." Yet, the numbers tell the story. In
2003, powerboat sales outnumbered sailboats 23-to-1, according to figures
from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, even if there is a
statistical wrinkle in the data that includes ski and jet boats. - David E.
Leiva, The Capitol online, full story:

Windsurfing, after several years of contraction, is booming nationwide,
said Nathaniel Siddall, executive director of the U.S. Windsurfing
Association, which has 50 member clubs. The latest survey by the National
Sporting Goods Association showed that 400,000 people participated in
windsurfing at least once in 2001. Compared with sports like golf or
tennis, participation in competitive windsurfing remains relatively small.
The association's National Racing Tour draws about 200 participants to each
of its 20 annual regattas, while the U.S. Windsurfing National
Championships, held in July in San Francisco Bay, drew 80 competitors, Mr.
Siddall said.

The only potential hidden costs, several windsurfing enthusiasts said, are
the travel expenses needed to satisfy an almost inevitable wanderlust that
comes with proficiency in the sport. Among the more popular windsurfing
sites are the windswept Caribbean island of Aruba, Padre Island in Texas,
the Outer Banks of North Carolina and a section of the Columbia River Gorge
near the town of Hood River in Oregon, where unique meteorological
conditions create high winds and big waves. - Harry Hurt II, NY Times, full

The Vendee Globe's sole American competitor, Bruce Schwab arrived in France
after a successful Atlantic crossing. During the transatlantic crossing
Ocean Planet collided with submerged objects twice on two days. In an
e-mail to his supporters Schwab reported "both times we were traveling at
15 knots (nearly 20 mph) when there was a deafening crash. I don't know
what we hit but I'm certain they were not whales or sea life. We will haul
out in France and assess the damage. We're in a race against time."

Schwab estimates these unexpected emergency repairs along with other
last-minute preparation costs will top $50,000. He does not have the money.
After years of fundraising, Schwab has received donations from thousands of
supporters, but has yet to gain the corporate support to match his top
European competitors. Schwab's goal is to achieve a breakthrough in U.S.
sailing by becoming the first American to finish the race. He is the only
American qualified to compete. Ocean Planet supporter and development
manager Geoff Lamdin said a lack of funds could force Schwab to withdraw. -
Excerpts from a story on The Daily Sail,

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It was a difficult day for the sailors at the Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 2
on Wednesday, as very light conditions made for a day of snakes and ladders
on the race course, with teams realising big gains or losses with each puff
of breeze. Racing was delayed for nearly four hours with low cloud cover
and haze inhibiting the sea breeze. But Principal Race Officer Peter
Reggio's patience was rewarded and he was able to start one full flight of
races on the day. The light, shifty conditions meant that some races that
appeared as though they might be relative mismatches were in doubt until
the finish gun sounded.

The first match had great potential for upset throughout the first lap of
the course, as the K-Challenge built a nice lead on the America's Cup
Defender Alinghi. Skipper Thierry Peponnet found a nice right-hand shift
just after the start and converted that into a 23-second lead around the
top mark. The team was able to fend off Alinghi nearly all of the way down
the course, but on the final gybe for the leeward gate, K-Challenge wasn't
able to sheet in the gennaker, and that allowed Alinghi helmsman Peter
Holmberg to roll over the French boat, and round the leeward mark with a
one-second lead. Alinghi covered the rest of the way for the win.

This third flight was the Match of the Day with Luna Rossa and Emirates
Team New Zealand in a heated battle all of the way around the race course.
Helmsman James Spithill earned full marks on this pre-start and was in
control for the entire five-minutes. Out of the dial-up, Spithill was in a
strong position to leeward of Dean Barker on NZL 81, and was able to keep
Barker vulnerable as the boats eventually turned for the starting line. On
the run back to the line, Spithill luffed up and shut NZL 81 out from the
start, Barker with no choice but to stall head to wind until ITA 74 cleared
the start line.

The Luna Rossa afterguard made some brave decisions on this day, often
allowing the trailing NZL 81 to separate by hundreds of metres, potentially
very dangerous in the light, patchy, and shifty conditions. Even on the
final run to the finish Barker and his afterguard w ere able to find some
room on their own on the left-hand side of the race course. But each time
the boats converged, the wisdom of the decision-makers on the Italian boat
was borne out, and despite some anxious moments, Luna Rossa earned a big
win on a difficult day. -

Flight 3:
Match 1 Alingi beat K-Challenge - 1:17
Match 2 Le Defi beat +39 - 1:55
Match 3 Luna Rosa beat Emirates TNZ - 0:57
Match 4 BMWO beat Shosholoza - 4:01

Team Alinghi. 3-0 (3 pts)
Emirates Team New Zealand, 2-1 (2 pts)
BMW Oracle Racing, 2-1 (2 pts)
Luna Ross, 2-1 (2 pts)
Le Defi, 2-1 (2 pts)
K-Challenge, 1-2 (1 pt)
+39, 0-3 (0 pts)
Team Shosholoza, 0-3 (0 pts)

"There was a point in the past where Dean (Barker) was kicking Russell
[Coutts] in the starting, and he's got to get back there." - Grant Dalton,
from a story by Matthew Sheahan posted on the Yachting World website,

You can follow the action live from Valencia as Matthew Sheahan, Andy Rice
and James Boyd report from the course. To listen to the daily commentary
log on to the official site at:
- Click on 'Now playing:' in top left hand corner.
- Then scroll down to bottom of the page and click 'Audio'
- Or click here, for a catalogue of interviews and race summaries:

From information posted on the Yachting World website:

* US Sailing is now accepting nominations for Rolex Yachtsman - Yachtswoman
of the Year awards. These prestigious awards are viewed by the sail-racing
industry as among the nation's top sailing distinctions. A slate of
nominees, determined by the membership of US Sailing, is presented to a
panel of accomplished sailing journalists, who together discuss the merits
of each nominee and then vote by secret ballot to determine the ultimate
winners. To nominate a candidate:

* The second-largest gathering in the six-year history of the International
Sailing Summit met Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., to listen and learn from the
19 guest speakers and panelists on hand for the opening day of the ISS,
organizers reported. The summit, which was founded by Alistair Murray of
Ronstan in 1999, is held to "stimulate, influence and lead the global
sailing industry in cooperating with national and international sailing and
industry groups to increase participation in sailing," according to its
organizers. 130 delegates from eight countries and four continents attended
Tuesday's events. -

* Over the last 12 months, use of the ISAF Sailors Classification code has
expanded dramatically with over 6000 new classifications assigned. This
brings the total number of sailor classifications to more than 15,000. More
importantly, 2004 has seen an additional three events that have established
use of the ISAF Sailors' Classification Code, to determine the status of
competitors - the Newport to Bermuda Race; the IMS World Championship in
Capri; and the Tour Voile in France. -

* Aigle, the outdoor and leisure wear specialist, has become the first
sponsor of the French K-Challenge America's Cup syndicate. They will be the
exclusive supplier of the sailing and shore clothing for the syndicate's
team members.

* More than $95,000 was raised in the 8th Annual Charleston (SC) Leukemia
Cup Regatta September 25, bringing the 8 year total to over 1/2 a million
dollars for patient services, research and education provided by the
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event is hosted by the area yacht clubs
with race management coming from NC, SC and Georgia. This was the first
year for High School 420 competition, bringing the total to 58 boats. Team
Dewees aboard Tool Time, a Cal 35, raised over $18,000 and was awarded the
Leukemia Cup. -

* Some questions are bouncing around in America's Cup circles about the
automaker's Renault added to the hull of FRA 69 since the beginning of the
Louis Vuitton Act 2. As nobody is raising the question in Valencia, the
rumor mills are working overtime and a "very close source to the French
Team" today said a €12 million partnership has been formed between Le Défi
and the French automobile-making giant. - Cup in Europe website,

* The opportunity to cross the Pacific Ocean doesn't come every day, but it
just got easier to experience it. A movie by the crew on the TP 52 Flash
during the 2004 Victoria to Maui Yacht Race does a nice job of bringing us
onboard for the 2,308-mile adventure. Breezy conditions, sharp editing and
edgy music keep it lively for the 6:22 minute journey. Enjoy:

New J24 World Champion (and Hall's custom rigging expert) Jens Hookanson
was equipped with the latest bright idea from Hall Spars & Rigging - our
tapered carbon-fiber J24 spinnaker pole. The pole meets the exact class
specifications for minimum weight and maximum length. Its ends are feather
light yet carbon strong, with the weight centered for easier handling and
improved grip over a non-tapered pole. Mandrel-molded and autoclave-cured
just like our high-performance masts and booms. Boost your speed with a
lightweight pole, available online along with all the parts you need for
competitive racing.

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at

(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 Paul Henderson, ISAF President (re Olympic Classes): Paul Elvstrom
once made the observation: "That it is much harder to build a Class
structure than design a new boat". In fact many sailors of the more
establish classes (Star, Snipe, Dragon etc) say what is important is the
fraternity and friendships made and not the shape of the hull(s) or the
sail area that made their sailing careers meaningful.

* From John Sherwood: 268 Dragons at St. Tropez! Solings experiencing
resurgence! The common factor? Former Olympic classes. Being in the
Olympics may bring prestige to a class but it does not necessarily bring
popularity. In fact, the reverse seems true in most instances as very few
boats used in the Olympics are broadly popular. Why? I don't know, but
classes hustling for Olympic status should take note and give the move very
careful consideration.

* From Augie Diaz: Because the Snipe has been mentioned in the recent Butt
thread on the ISAF selection process for choosing Olympic sailing events
and equipment and following the ISAF criteria outlined by Peter Commette,
please consider:

- All persons of any size, age or sex can be competitive in Snipes.
- Women have always competed and participated in the Snipe.
- It's economical and easy to build (wood is possible); the Snipe is
readily available; it is inexpensive for fleets to start throughout the world.
- The Snipe class holds a variety of world, hemispheric, continental,
national, regional and local events. Because of its sustained growth over
the years due to a great rules committee and because of its very tight
fleet racing, the Snipe has evolved into and at the same time remained an
exciting boat to sail and a fleet to watch. There rarely is a runaway victor.

Additionally, the Snipe has a strong class organization world wide with a
paid professional class executive. The Snipe is readily available and
attainable to even the poorest sailing nations. The Snipe more than
fulfills all of ISAF's well reasoned criteria. If TV coverage can't make
interesting use out of that, it's not ISAF's fault.

* From Chris Ericksen: I'm afraid I--and probably the Curmudgeon,
too--can't agree with Fred Bieberbach in his opposition to the use of VHF
radios to hail OCS boats ('Butt 1683). Both the Curmudgeon and I have seen
it in practice in dozens of Southern California regattas, notably the
recently departed North Sails Race Week. As PRO, I even used it this year
at the Cal 20 Class Championship to almost universal acclaim. And we
probably would not think that "the punishment does 'fit the crime.'" No, I
think Jim Dorsey had it right in 'Butt 1682: "allowing VHF's make the class
more fun (and) fair, and the punishment would fit the crime better." I'm
all for it--and I race Etchells.

Curmudgeon's Comment: As Chris knows, the Curmudgeon has long supported the
use of VHF radios to notify boats that were OCS. I never could understand
why I should spend an afternoon on the race course, only to find out at the
finish line that I never was in the race. Every other sport that I know of
tells the offending party or team when a penalty has been levied. VHF
radios make it easy and inexpensive for sailing to follow that precedent.

* From J.C. Moore: A warning to all sailors who carry inflatable life
jackets in their luggage - even if checked. Having just had the pleasure of
standing by my luggage for 45 minutes while the folks at Independence Air
checked with headquarters to confirm that their charter does NOT allow for
the carrying of CO2 cylinders by passengers in either carry-on or checked
luggage, I can tell you that while the TSA and Fly I people were nice
enough my CO2 stayed in Providence, RI.

*From David Greening (re letter from P. A. Woodward in'Butt 1682): The
National 12 class in the UK have used a whisker pole launching system for
years, and credit for the concept should probably go to Steve Lightfoot and
Patrick Elcombe. The system consists of a guide line on the forward face of
the mast, the inboard end of the whisker pole is allowed to slide on the
guide line and a bungee line provides an upward tension at the inboard end
of the pole. A line passes from the clew of the jib, up through the pole
and out through a sheave at the inboard lower face of the pole, then to a
turning block and cleat at deck level The pole stows on the forward face of
the mast, but will launch on whatever side the tack of the jib is on. The
system is also very effective as a barber hauler when rigged to leeward on
a reach. We know the system as the dangly pole. To see them in action see

* From John Rumsey (Regarding the mandatory life jacket rules): There
already is a "dispensation" clause. The race committee has the option of
calling for life jackets if they think they are warranted.

* From Connie Sage: I'm looking for crew members who participated in the
1972 Newport to Bermuda race. It was a particularly memorable race because
of Tropical Storm Agnes. Several boats lost masts, rudders or had other
substantial damage because of 70 knot winds. I'm writing the biography of
Frank Batten, the founder of The Weather Channel, who raced on his boat,
Shadow. While I've got his memories and those of his crew, I'd like to use
the recollections of others who were in the race as well. I'm at

* From Katrina Swan: What great timing. By fortunate coincidence, US
Sailing is searching for a new executive director at exactly the same time
that an internationally respected and experienced sailing administrator is
becoming available. If our national governing body is sincerely seeking
strong leadership, excitement, spark and visibility - they should make an
offer to Paul Henderson.

If the grass looks greener elsewhere, be careful! It may just be Astroturf!