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SCUTTLEBUTT 1699 - October 28, 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.

(Following is a response from US Sailing's President Janet Baxter to
yesterday's Guest Editorial by Fred Schroth.)

Fred Schroth is correct that we need some "young new enthusiastic
replacements" at US Sailing. The volunteers we have are great. They are
passionate about getting the work done and doing what is best for sailing,
but I worry about the future. It is hard to recruit active racing sailors,
but somehow we have to make it easier and more desirable to help with the
administration of the sport. We are doing better. 39% of our Board for
2004-2005 are registered athletes. But our current structure does limit our
effectiveness. It will continue to be a distraction as we work towards the
best solution, but we shouldn't sit still.

We are trying to help our volunteers look beyond the traditional sailing
organization. We have a Board of 49 people. Each Board member must do what
is right for their constituency, even if it is not best for all of sailing.
If approved, the new Board would be no more than 15 people, all without
ties to any other sailing group. They would act for the good of sailing
rather than the good of a specific constituency. New programs and ideas
would be debated by a House of Delegates, made up of people appointed by
their own constituents. That would be the place to share opinions on what
works for various groups. Changing the structure is just one step to help
us focus and do our work efficiently. The real work will still be done by
Committees and other working groups.

I will personally accept the challenge to recruit at least one new person
for my job or for another. Each Chair works hard to find and train a
suitable replacement. I encourage them to look for people new to the
organization. New people bring new ideas. Age shouldn't be the only
criteria, but it is often associated with eager, involved individuals. We
are building our committees now. If you don't know the organization, check
the sitemap at and find an area you are interested in.
Look at the listing of volunteers and contact someone you know or the
Chairman. And don't forget to say thanks. - Janet C. Baxter, President US

After days of little or no wind, last night the Mediterranean Sea to the
west of Malta became reminiscent of a scene from the Old Testament as a
massive thundercloud complete with 50 knot gusts, hailstones and sheet
lightning wreaked havoc on the Rolex Middle Sea Race fleet. Worst affected
by the conditions was Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo. Sailing under Code
Zero in the pitch black last night the wind increased to 12 knots and the
crew had furled the powerful headsail and were half way through dropping it
when a 30 knot gust came through. The furled sail began to writhe around on
deck, six crewmen unable to control it and the last to hang on to it,
America's Cup grinder John Macbeth, one of the beefiest guys on the Kiwi
maxi, was tossed overboard like a rag doll.

Macbeth was recovered after 12 minutes in the water. "The guys on the boat
all knew what to do and I had full confidence in them. They did a great
job," Macbeth said later. "When I was in the water, I kicked off my shoes
and wet weather gear and waited for them to come back. All credit to them,
they picked me up very quickly and I never really felt in danger at any
time." More drama was to come two hours later for the Alfa Romeo team when
sailing along in 8 knots the wind suddenly piped up to 30 and then 58
knots, knocking the boat flat under full mainsail and furled Code Zero.

Alfa Romeo went on to win line honors - crossing the finish line with her
mainsail's leech hanging off and three of its five battens broken. Owner
Neville Crichton said that a decision on whether to contest the 2004 Rolex
Sydney to Hobart Race has now been delayed pending an assessment of the
damage to Alfa Romeo and the availably of replacement sails.-

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Events listed at

"I love the feeling before you start. My nerves and adrenaline kick in and
I am ready to go for it! Sailing lets me use my mind and body at once. I
have to think fast and try to outsmart the others that I am competing
against and physically be stronger than the others. I have a pure love for
the sport." - Paige Railey, two-time High School Singlehanded National
Champion, from an interview now posted on the Harken website. When asked
about her training program, the high school student replied, "In a year I
train about 700 hours. Before the event I was sailing two to four times a
week and I was in the gym one to two times a day. But I believe that the
months before a big event is what will prepare you. If you think that you
can train hard for two weeks before a big regatta and sail your best, then
you're crazy! It is all about proper preparation." - Full interview:

Ullman Sails congratulates the 2004 Olympic Silver Medal team of John
Lovell and Charlie Ogletree, who successfully defended their claim to the
Little America's Cup Trophy (ICCT), using Ullman Sails on their F18HT
catamaran. Not only did Johnny and Charlie compete with Ullman Sails, but
all four catamarans in the match racing event also had Ullman Sails! Of the
four boats, one had Cuben Fiber material, one had Dimension Carbon GPL and
the other two used Contender Apen materials. For the best sail design,
sailcloth, and the "Fastest Sails on the Planet", visit

Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.) has been selected by US Sailing to chair
the organization's Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC). In his four-year term,
Brenner will lead the OSC and the athletes within the Olympic Sailing
Program as they prepare for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games in
Beijing, China. Brenner replaces Fred Hagedorn (Chicago, Ill.) who served
as Chair for the previous four years.

Brenner has been involved with US Sailing since 2000. He has been a member
of US Sailing's Executive Committee since 2003 and has served as the Vice
Chair of the OSC during the last two years, while simultaneously serving as
Chair of US Sailing's Sailor Athlete Council. Brenner also brings extensive
sailing experience to the position, having won six National Championships
(most recently the U.S. Match Racing Championship last September) and
finishing second at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team Trials, narrowly
missing a trip to the Sydney Olympic Games. -

Oskar Kihlborg has climbed Mount Everest, crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice
and been involved in many adventure projects. Now he is preparing for his
second Volvo Ocean Race, but this time as official photographer. "My job is
to show the world what the Volvo Ocean Race is all about," says Kihlborg,
whose home is just outside Stockholm in Sweden. "It's not just the
competition between the boats; it's also about happiness and sorrow, sweat
and tears, high tech and mother nature. I want to cover all of that," he

During the last Volvo Ocean Race, Oskar Kihlborg worked with Sweden's SEB
team as their photographer throughout two years of preparation and racing.
For the next race he will be covering all the teams and everything that
surrounds this massive event. "I don't think people realise what kind of
hardship it is to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race. Even if they've seen
pictures and video clips from the Southern Ocean, it's hard to imagine how
tough it is. I want to show them that the race really is the worst, or the
best thing you can ever do." Kihlborg´s images will be published on the
Volvo Ocean Race digital online archive, where the media can download high
and low resolution images royalty-free. -

There are Force 7 winds and 26-foot waves off the Vendee Globe Village at
Les Sables d'Olonne. While these gales will die down progressively over the
next 36 hours but no boats have left Port-Olona today for testing or photo
shoots at sea. Work on the boats continues for some and crates of food are
being stowed on board. Some skippers are starting to analyze the weather,
in particular this current low pressure system. A shore-based exercise for
the time being that will soon have to be done at sea with less than 10 days
to go!

As the Vendee Globe 2004 start date approaches, Ecover, sponsor of British
sailor, Mike Golding, has presented the competitors of the race with a
selection of environmentally sound detergents and cleaning products to take
onboard while they compete in the Vendee Globe 2004. Most of the skippers
kindly accepted to be photographed with their donation to highlight their
concern about the protection of the environment. The skippers were supplied
with washing up liquid, shower gel, heavy-duty hand scrub and
bio-degradable dustbin bags. -

Team New Zealand strategist Ben Ainslie says he wants to develop his
ability to steer an America's Cup yacht, but denies his aim is to take
skipper Dean Barker's job. Ainslie, in a column in The Times newspaper,
said his goal in the coming months was to develop his steering skills. "The
hard part of this for me is when people try to build this up as me trying
to take Dean Barker's job, which is clearly not the case," he said. "The
whole team is based around him being the helmsman and the skipper, so for
that to change it would take something remarkable."

Ainslie said what he wanted to do was to learn and to be good enough to be
the person to push Barker, so the Aucklander could be the best on the water
when racing began. "I will also have a role sailing as strategist, so
somewhere between that and helming is where my ambitions lie," he said.
There would be pressure for him to get results, because "the team is not
going to hang around waiting for me". - NZ Herald,

* Vaio has held its slim lead in the Global Challenge round the world race,
but the following seven yachts have made small gains. Fleet positions have
remained as they were - the steady downwind sailing conditions causing BP
Explorer's skipper to use the analogy of a "one-lane highway." Barclays
Adventurer remains in second place just 14 miles behind the leader with
Samsung just four miles further back. -

* An elated navigator aboard Skandia reported via satellite phone at 9.20am
that Grant Wharington's super maxi Skandia had broken the VinaCapital Hong
Kong to Vietnam Race record. Carl Crafoord reported by satellite phone,
'yes, we finished at 0645 this morning, so we have broken the race record,
over. We just stayed in the breeze and it took us 42 hours and 45 minutes,
we are all very happy.' - Di Pearson, Sail-World website,

J. Robert (Bob) Seidelmann - Sailmaker, Boat builder, designer passed away
after a courageous battle with cancer. In the early 60's, Bob along with
his father Joe founded Seidelmann Sails. And during that period their sails
won National and World Championships in numerous one-design classes from
Penguins to E-Scows. Bob himself was recognized as one of this country's
top one-design sailors, winning championships in Lightnings, Comets,
Dusters, MORC and a number of other classes. After sailmaking he focused on
yacht design and building. He founded Seidelmann Yachts, building sailboats
from 24-37 feet. Of note, Bob co-designed the original Hunter 25, Hunters
first sailboat. Bob's work ethic and desire to excel was the envy of many.
He leaves behind his wife Bonnie, son Rob, daughters Karen and Sharon. A
memorial service will be held on Nov. 1st at the Haddonfield Methodist
Church ,Haddonfield, NJ at 11:00am.

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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 Hugh Elliot: I am not sure that Mr. Schroth attended the same US
Sailing Meeting from which I have just returned. In fact, I wonder if he
was even there. I may be old (born in 1946) by his standards but I started
in more than 50 races this summer as skipper or tactician and will compete
in two or three events this winter during the Florida season. It is hard
for those in their thirties and forties to come up with the time and money
to volunteer at the US Sailing level. If they appear, I will encourage them
but I can do more for our sport than waste my time trying to persuade
people with careers, families, and boats that they should add more to their

I will step forward as a mentor to newcomers to the strange world of US
Sailing when these sailors are more established and can afford to make the
contribution. Such contributions that I have been able to make to the sport
were immeasurably enhanced by the efforts of my mentors. Meanwhile, the
current system is dysfunctional, if not harmful, and the restructuring,
although hardly a total solution, looks like a step in the right direction.

* From Paul Kamen: At first glance, direct election of USS Board members
seems like a good idea and a move towards democratization. Right now there
are some 50 people on the USS Board of Directors, drawn from the various
councils or committees (offshore, one-design, youth, etc.) and the eight
regional area reps. The plan being put forward is to trim the Board down to
about eleven members, nine of them elected directly by the USS membership.
The area reps would form a new "House of Delegates," but would lose their
votes on the Board and become purely advisory.

Maybe this is okay so far - the 50-member Board is unwieldy to say the
least, and a smaller deliberative body might actually make some good
decisions. But please think this through: Who controls the nominations?
That small committee will have complete control of the Board. Does anyone
really believe that there would ever be enough of us rank and file members
paying close enough attention to the USS election to overrule the
Nominating Committee?

The current system may be a little cumbersome, but it keeps a certain
amount of real control where it belongs, in the hands of the regional YRAs
and the councils. Swap it all for a small nominating committee, and it
amounts to a massive consolidation of control. I'd like this a little
better if Board nominations came from the Area Delegates, and only from the
Area Delegates. But that's not in the plan.

* From Gail M. Turluck (edited to our 250-word limit): It's ironic news of
Jim Rousmaniere's passing came the day that Fred Schroth made his appeal
for younger folks to get involved in our great sport! Jim's son, John's
obit tells of the "things" that made Jim who he was, but if you missed
knowing him, know that sailing is much weaker for his passing. I only knew
Jim personally for eight years, but his enthusiasm, support and hope for
the continuation of The Afterguard of the ICSA provided great inspiration
and guidance in today's effort to rejuvenate the alumni organization of
college sailing. Jim's steadfast attention led to recent establishment of
an ICSA Hall of Fame Board of Trustees, relieving The Afterguard.

He was among three who have tirelessly contacted alumni, seeking yet a few
more dollars, so that the Hall could be refurbished at the same time as its
home, the Crown Center at the Naval Academy, has undergone complete
redevelopment. Did that separation of responsibility lead to the demise of
The Afterguard? No, his insight has led to the still-developing version of
today's Afterguard: a representation-by-District e-organization dedicated
to encouraging and helping organize events for alumni and friends of
college sailing, providing service and support to collegiate clubs/teams
and the ICSA itself, and seeking to develop a bank of willing volunteers
for regatta administration for college regattas held year 'round. Yes, the
Hall project is still slightly short of its goal, so your help will be

* From Donald Brewster (ret. 2x Harvard YC Commodore): Not mentioned in
your memorial coverage of Jim Rousmaniere was his graduate leadership of
the Harvard Yacht Club, especially when Harvard outgrew the rotting floats
attached to the end of MIT's facilities. Without his canny abilities to
combine and control the warring interests of Harvard University,
politicians from Cambridge and Boston, donor-prospect graduates and wishful
undergraduates, Harvard's then state-of-the-art facility would not have
been created. It was my pleasure, honor and education to work with him on
this project. And look where Harvard Sailing has gone since!

* From John Stovall (re Good sportsmanship): The thing that I have always
enjoyed most about yacht racing is the Corinthian spirit that has always
made it the best "team sport" in the world. That Corinthian spirit is best
exemplified by our method of handling and penalizing those who cheat. It is
the most severe penalty in all of sport. In other sports you pay a fine,
you lose points, or worst case, have to give back the trophy. Not in yacht
racing. In yacht racing, after you have been branded a cheat, you will find
that the stools on both sides of you at the Yacht Club bar will remain
forever empty. I have liked our "self policing" method best.

* From Peter Grimm Jr.: I applaud John Sweeney for his remarks! He is right
on the money. You can't compete and not follow the rules ... bending them
is worse than breaking them some times. The father's behavior is that of a
little league parent. Young and old we must follow the rules. Sportsmanship
is really important to our sport.

* From Tom Cain: Sorry to hear that spirits still haunt the Spirit of
Australia. In 1992 I was working for a company that supplied the composite
materials for the mast and hull. As a sailor, I made many excuses to "visit
the customer" during their San Diego campaign. After my second or third
visit, the owners confessed that Spirits chances to win had been greatly
reduced because, just before they shipped her out to SD, she hit a reef and
severely bent the secret winged keel. The syndicate was also under funded,
so the crew did all the daily maintenance at night then sailed all day.
These guys were unbelievably patriotic, but they also believed that they
still could win in a slower boat … because they were convinced they were
better sailors.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.