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SCUTTLEBUTT 1700 - October 29, 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.

As a consultant in the sports marketing and sponsorship business, I would
respectfully disagree with the notion that constant evolution of technology
is the best thing for the growth of the America's Cup and the sport of
sailing. Quite the opposite is actually more often true from the
sponsorship and sports marketing world. Although great gains in technology
may increase the excitement (and likely, the earnings) for on water
competitors as well as the builders, designers, sail / spar-makers, etc.,
there is ample factual and objective research to prove otherwise should the
objectives for "the future of the America's Cup" include more teams, more
sponsor participation, thus more money, more press and live coverage, more
spectators, more competitive racing... etc, etc. (all, which build on each

Citing the often over-used metaphor of motor sports is a perfect example.
While many believe F1 is the greatest success in racing, it has innumerable
business concerns, which has the sport constantly looking for new ways to
support its very expensive habit. Although technology is at the highest
level in F1, the races are (arguably) boring and predictable with typically
only a few competitors with a reasonable chance at victory. The teams have
huge sponsorship fees that effectively outstrips most corporate ad budgets,
causing a dwindling numbers of competitors and therefore, declining fan
interest / ticket sales / viewership, thus even less corporate dollars
invested, etc. This sounds like the anticipated road.

On the other hand, like it or not, NASCAR's model of using basic
technology, strict cost controls, and tight rules governing the cars (even
to the point of slowing them down) allows affordable, relative to F1,
sponsorship opportunities, which in turn allows for larger starting grids,
which allows for more competitive racing (disregard the fender-banging
element for a moment) which grows the fan-base, which grows the coverage,
etc, etc… Although this is a very simplistic explanation for this forum,
many other similar examples abound. I would argue that from a business
aspect, the sport would have been better served remaining in 12 meters or a
similarly affordable, controlled, and accessible technology-based formula.

Not that public opinion has ever influenced the governing of the sport we
all love, but if it did, I would urge all of you to consider the objectives
and the sources before jumping on the "advanced technology will grow the
sport" bandwagon. Think about it, who really benefits? - Bill Doyle

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the rock star to beat them all? When he
wakes up in the morning it is unlikely that the 44-year-old Torben
Schmidt-Grael ever allows himself such self-indulgence. But when he is out
on a sailing race course, the man who has won five Olympic medals is given
every ounce of respect by his peers. In terms of adulation in his native
Brazil, Grael ranks almost alongside Pele - and in terms of magical talent
he is not diminished by comparison either. When Grael and Brazil's other
current top yachtsman, Robert Scheidt, went home with their gold medals
from Athens, they were at the front of the parade.

World junior champion in San Diego by the time he was 18, Grael went on to
win, securing a business administration degree along the way, Olympic
silver in Long Beach in 1984 in the Soling and then bronze in the Star in
1988, gold in 1996, bronze in 2000 and gold this year. He also took the
role of navigator on the Italian America's Cup challenger Prada in Auckland
in 1999-2000 and 2002-03.

Now, as well as having a long-term eye on the Beijing Games in 2008, he has
turned his attention to a quite different style of racing - the one thing
missing from his packed CV. Next year he will take on the daunting
challenge of the Volvo Ocean Race, the pinnacle of off-shore racing,
skippering a fully crewed 70-footer around the world. "Of course, a Volvo
Ocean Race is very different from Olympic sailing. It is a different game,
but there are always similarities. It's becoming more and more of a
tactical race," says Grael. "But I have always wanted to sail on the long
offshore races. Sailing around the planet is a great challenge and I am
looking forward to it. I would be the skipper, but I will drive the boat as
well. I have had experience of being part of a very small team at Olympic
level and part of a very big team during two America's Cup campaigns and
that will help a lot." - Excerpts from a story by Stuart Alexander in the
Independent, full story:

(The Daily Sail has just posted part two of their story describing radical
hull and rig design of Frank Pong's new super-maxi, designed by Juan
Kouyoumdjian. Here are several excerpts.)

The hull of Maiden Hong Kong is narrow with a waterline maximum beam of
3.8m. However the hull has wings at deck level similar to KZ1 or the
Italian Open 60 Shining, extending the overall beam to 8m. In the wings
there is tankage each side for 5 tonnes of movable water ballast. An issue
with having a narrow hull is that its ability to plane is reduced. Above
decks Maiden Hong Kong sports a 38m tall rig and this is the first rig on a
'G-class' boat - maxi mono or multihull - that not only rotates but can be
canted up to weather.

There are two other unusual aspects to Maiden Hong Kong's rig compared to
those of the other maxi sloops: all her headsails furling, with three
forestays, the inner two removable and instead of being fitted with coffee
grinders she uses powered winches. With furling headsails and push
button-operated winches Maiden Hong Kong will not require a huge army of
crew. Kouyoumdjian reckons she could easily be sailed by six and it is
unlikely more than 10 would ever be needed. She could even be sailed
singlehanded! Performance-wise the boat is expected to be constantly
sailing faster than wind speed, her VPPs showing the boat reaching at 28-29
knots with peaks of 30-31 knots in 20 knots of wind. Upwind the boat will
do 13.2 knots in flat water although in practice this will be closer to
10-10.5 knots. . - The Daily Sail,

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Doctor Jean-Yves Chauve is very clear about it: men and women are not
competing on the same level, as far as sport is concerned. While women may
lag behind from a morphological perspective, they nevertheless have other
advantages enabling them to hold their own against the lads. Ellen
MacArthur proved that well and truly during the previous edition of the
Vendée Globe. Here are some of Doctor Chauve's quotes from a story posted
on the Vendee Globe website.

"It is because of their inferior physical strength, women know full well
that it's not worth the trouble of grappling with the elements or battling
it out with storms. When the weather is bad, they know they need to take
care of themselves. I think planning ahead and dodging difficulties is in
many ways the guiding principle for the women in the race. They look at
things much more pragmatically than the men. This isn't a negative
attitude, as it helps protect the equipment, when things get tough, so they
may set out again in fine form once the bad weather has gone by. Sailing a
little less quickly, but more steadily can produce a good result.

"The lads tend to think that to win, they have to suffer. The women are
more likely to work with the elements and feel at one with the water. They
are often less subject to mood swings and to despondency than the men, who
sometimes fall apart very quickly. Their endurance, aggressive nature and
determination are at least as strong as the men's. Their perseverance and
composure are without doubt a real advantage on long haul races like the
Vendée Globe." - Full story:

This election is over - the voting to decide the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of
the Year closed on October 25. 115 ISAF Member National Authorities did the
voting, with the Awards Presentation to honor the one female sailor/team
and one male sailor/team scheduled for November 9 in Copenhagen. The
winners will be presented with the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year
Trophy and a Rolex timepiece. The male nominees are:
Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Ed Baird (USA)
Paul Foerster & Kevin Burnham (USA)
Steve Fossett (USA)
Gal Fridman (ISR)
Torben Grael & Marcelo Ferreira (BRA)
Roman Hagara & Hans Peter Steinacer (AUT)
Francis Joyon (FRA)
Robert Scheidt (BRA)

Female nominees:
Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoufa (GRE)
Adrienne Cahalan (AUS)
Faustine Merret (FRA)
Shirley Robertson, Sarah Web & Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Siren Sundby (NOR)

The Mariantic website is reporting a merger of the Spanish America's Cup
syndicates. Their item indicates the following:
- 29% "El Reto" people (Agustín Zulueta, Javier Banderas, Doreste brothers)
- 20% "Pedro Campos" people (Pedro, José Cusí, Ib Andersen, the King's
sailing master)
- 10% Club Náutico de Valencia
- 10% Club Náutico de Barcelona
- 10% Spanish Sailing Federation
- Remaining shares are allocated to the sponsors, particularly

Right now, it's just a rumor, with no indication of where the boat(s) will
come from or who's driving. - Full story:

* The wizard, Bill Lee, tipped us off about a 'well done' story in the
November issue of Sail Magazine on emergency steering. These things are
required for ISAF 4.15.1 for Categories 1, 2, and 3 and can be a real headache.

* Chesapeake Rigging, Ltd./Annapolis Spars has been contracted by TPI
Composites Inc. (builders of J/Boats) to build the spars and rigging sets
for the new NAVY 44 sail training craft for the United States Naval
Academy. The initial order is for 16 boats to be delivered over the next
two years. "You should start seeing the new boats on the Severn starting
early next summer, with a new launch every six weeks," said Tom Wohlgemuth,
owner of Chesapeake Rigging, Ltd./Annapolis Spars.

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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 Bill Stump: Does US Sailing need to reinvent itself, i.e.
"restructure"? After all it was only 13 years ago we replaced "USYRU" with
our current name and broadened mission, and 16 years before that we were
"NAYRU" and in the process of restructuring back then. Is something broken;
just what are we fixing?

If you attended the Annual General Meeting, just completed in Portland, OR,
you gained new respect for the scores of volunteers who make the mission
and work of this organization happen. However, if you care to navigate the
website, you'll find a mind-boggling array of committees, councils,
associations, and directors all vying to be a piece of the rock.

Some insist, as does newly elected Offshore Chair, Bill Lee, that we should
focus on racing and bolster our membership from the skippers and crews who
race. Others believe if it floats and gets pushed around by the wind, we
need to service that constituency. Our mission is clear, "... to encourage
participation and promote excellence in sailing and racing...".

To better accomplish that mission, our sport's leadership has determined
restructuring is in order. Increased operational efficiency is usually a
good thing and, for US Sailing, continually growing the membership and
meeting budget challenges are vital concerns. Will restructuring solve all
the problems we often discuss in these pages? Of course not, but it's worth
a try. Sometimes change is good for its own sake.

* From Antony Barran: I completely agree with the premise of Fred Scroth's
recent guest editorial. The changes made recently, at US Sailing, will do
nothing to fix the problems. However, his desire to lay the blame at the
feet of those born after 1960 is one of the more fatuous arguments I've
ever heard. The fact of the matter is that over the years, the Ivory Tower
that US Sailing has become is one of the most exclusive 'clubs' in sailing.
So much so, that the board is very much out of touch.

I have grown up in the sport and have a great many friends who were born
after 1960, as was I. Do any of them participate in the process at US
Sailing? Not a one. Is it because we don't want to or don't care? No. It's
because we've been completely excluded from it. After my family and my
career, sailing is the most important thing in my life. It is the core
around which my friends revolve and my relationships grow. I am very lucky;
I get to sail with my father, my brother and now my 8 year old son. Why
wouldn't I want to help the sport that has given me so much?

* From Craig K Yandow: While I want to support sportsman like behavior such
as retiring after the fact when you are made aware of a foul, I can't help
wondering. In a multiple capsize situation, isn't it likely that a 360
degree rotation about the hull's axis and/or the dagger board's axis had to
have happened (after the contact, since capsized boats drift downwind).
Those turns should more than satisfy the requirement to get clear and do a
360 degree turn as the penalty for hitting a mark.

* From Ray Tostado: The current crop of TV sailing formats attempt to gain
audience by presenting a narrated real time documentary without editing.
The presentation might in the producer's eyes have editing in place, but
that is not so. Injecting talking heads and animated graphics is not
editing. Not in the sense of drama. Someone has established that an ACC
event should be watched as a real time event, beginning at 2:15 am PST,
EST, and run into the dawn's break. What is important is to have a
well-edited presentation available to do multiple play times and play dates
hopefully in prime markets with prime sponsorships. This would require that
the race is long over, the results are posted, and the public has no
anxiety about outcomes. But what the public viewer will have is an in depth
presentation as to how that outcome came to be.

The introduction of the on board camera was the last innovation for sailing
race TV. For us of the sailing world this event is the Super Bowl of
Sailing. Yet it is presented like an esoteric local festival of sorts. I
don't play golf, but I watch major tournaments and follow professional
careers. We want people who don't sail, but want to watch major sailing
events. This is the target audience that is being ignored. The question
confronting the sailing fraternity is do we want to serve our own vested
interests, or gather in the general public's?

* From Norman Davant (Regarding Rand Milton's comments in Butt 1697
regarding keeping records of all expenses on your boat): It has always been
my recommendation that an owner never keep records of the expenditures of
their boat, especially sails. This could lead to all kinds of problems
including divorce and worse. I would hate to burden an owner with these

* From Peter Johnstone: It is a relief to hear that Alpha Romeo recovered
her crew so quickly. Code Zeros can be downright dangerous sails if
something goes wrong. Several of the continuous line furlers tend to jam or
wrap if not handled correctly, and the internal luff systems do not always
keep the sail rolled up. Even if the equipment is perfect, the top of the
sail can unroll. All it takes is one hand to pull down (and not aft) on the
clew of the rolled sail during a douse. Or a few inches of leech to catch
air. From there, the seconds turn into thousands of square feet of slippery
cuben hell, as the entire sail opens up from the top down.

A professional race crew will always push the limits. For the rest of us,
it is worth considering the implications of these sails. Shorthanded,
cruising, weekend warriors? If there is any sort of weather threat, this is
not a sail you want to leave hoisted. Code Zeros can be a great addition to
a sail inventory, but there are sound reasons why the Volvo sailors urged
the ban of these sails on the new Volvo 70's. When things go wrong with
these sails, they can go terribly wrong in a hurry.

The best way to keep kids at home is to make a pleasant atmosphere - and
let the air out of their tires.