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SCUTTLEBUTT 1703 - November 3, 2004

Powered by SAIC (www.saic.com), 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.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE
Hot on the heels of the Brasil 1 announcement four weeks ago, it has now
been confirmed that the design and build of another boat is underway at
Green Marine in Lymington, UK. This takes the total number of boats entered
in the Volvo Ocean Race up to six with at least four other teams close to
completion as the race nears the year to go mark.

Race veterans, Richard Brisius and Johan Salen from Sweden, who have
achieved three podium finishes in the last three races, will manage the
project. Sweden's Magnus Olsson will also be involved, bringing his
experience of five round the world races to the campaign. The lines of the
new Volvo Open 70 will be an exclusive drawing from Farr Yacht Design.
Construction will begin immediately, overseen by Britain's Jason Sarrington
who carried out a similar role with the Assa Abloy team for the last race.

Angus Buchanan, head of sponsorship at the Volvo Ocean Race, comments:
"This latest announcement provides a glimpse of the momentum building
behind the event as we head towards the year to go mark. We have always
been confident that we would have at least eight boats on the start line
and now we have a good chance of exceeding this number." -
http://www.volvooceanrace.org/pages/news/news92.htm

BLIND SAILING
(Southwest Harbor, ME) Sailing around the world has become almost
commonplace in today's electronic navigational age, but when both of the
sailors are legally blind, the trek takes on a whole new meaning. Scott
Duncan and Pamela Garver Habek set sail for their circumnavigation aboard
their 32-foot Valiant, Tournesol, from California on Oct. 11. Both are
legally blind.

Ms. Habek, who grew up on Mount Desert Island, ME, was born with cataracts,
and is undertaking this journey as a chance to inspire the visually
impaired to break the limitations others try to impose. "I am participating
in this voyage to reach out to blind children everywhere that feel all
alone and live by limitations set by others," she wrote on the couple's
website, www.blindsailing.com.

For Mr. Duncan, who grew up in Santa Monica, CA, and who has always dreamed
of sailing around the world, the trip is a chance to prove the abilities of
the blind. "To sail around the world will be one more accomplishment in a
long line of accomplishments made by visually impaired people that sends a
signal to everyone, the capabilities bar has been raised one more notch for
people who are blind," Mr. Duncan said. - Craig Crosby, Mount Desert
Islander, full story, http://tinyurl.com/5wqnk

NORTH WINS
Lowell North paired up with tactician JJ Isler to win the Scuttlebutt
Offshore Championship hosted by the Bitter End YC on Virgin Gorda in the
British Virgin Islands. Sailing the scratch boat in the fleet, the twin
wheeled Jeanneau 52, North corrected out first on the off-the wind leg to
The Baths, and then took second corrected on the return trip later in the
day. Melges 24/Scow sailor Andy Burdick, with Peter Isler doing trim and
tactics, took second overall with one of the BEYC's venerable Freedom 30s.
Ed Baird captured the final spot on the podium with the Express 37 Cosmic
Warlord.

In the elimination series for the Musto Scuttlebutt Sailing Club
Championship Regatta, pro-sailors dominated all of the classes. Defending
Champion Ed Baird, sailing with seven year old son Nick, won one of the two
series sailed in Hobie Wave catamarans. The other Hobie Wave winner was Jim
Gelenitis (Betsy Alison's brother) with his crew Nadine Fansczyk. 2002 SSC
champion Andy Burdick won the Laser qualifying series with Nigel Musto and
Betsy Alison also qualifying in that class. Olympian Carol Cronin won the
Hunter 216 qualifiers with Butch Ulmer close behind. Defending SSC amateur
champ Paul Faget easily qualified in the Laser fleet while the top amateur
from 2002, Mary Jordan, qualified in a Hunter. 12-year old Max Baird
qualified in a Hobie with Russell Coutts calling tactics.

Later in the week, the qualified pro sailors will race singlehanded in the
Hobie Waves while the amateur qualifiers will sail the Hunters for the SSC
Championship. In addition to winning a Musto race timer, the top amateur
also gets a free week at the BEYC for next year's Pro-Am Regatta. -
http://www.beyc.com

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IMPRISONED
American cruiser Dawn Wilson remains behind bars in Dublin, CA, and your
cards and letters to the parole board could still make a difference to her
impending release. Dawn was incarcerated in Ensenada, Mexico in April,
2003, charged with possession of prescription drugs without proper
(Mexican) authorization (she did have a prescription from an American
doctor). From there it was a downward spiral of crooked cops, inept
attorneys and biased judges - which eventually resulted in a five-year
sentence. Dawn's fiancÚ, Terry Kennedy, has worked tirelessly to get Dawn
released.

As part of a prisoner exchange, Dawn was transferred to a prison in
Oklahoma, and to Dublin in mid-October. Kennedy and State Congressman Bob
Filner (D, San Diego, California) are trying to get Dawn released on a time
served basis. Reportedly, the equivalent crime, of carrying prescription
medication without a prescription in the U.S. carries a max sentence of
three months. Mid-November will mark her 19th month in prison. "It is
amazing to me that our government can release hundreds of Iraqi prisoners
in the blink of an eye, as was done just last week, and yet an American
that has overpaid for whatever she was supposed to have done, according to
Mexico, is still is being held," says Terry.

Anyone wanting to support Dawn can do so in a letter or phone call to:
Parole Commission, Attention Tiffany Moore, 5550 Friendship Blvd., Suite
420, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Phone (301) 492-5990. Fax (301) 492-6694. When
you write on her behalf, you MUST include her prisoner I.D. number - which
is #47256-180. For the complete story, log onto www.dawnwilson.com. -
Lectronic Latitude, http://tinyurl.com/3z3tl

FACTS FOUND
A spokesman for Kookaburra Challenge, Steffan Jacob, has provided
Scuttlebutt with the details surrounding the America's Cup Class yacht FT
Spirit losing its bulb near the Sydney Opera House on October 26, 2004.
Steffan, who was on the boat at the time, provides the following account:

At around 12:15pm, with sheets eased and the boat coasting at around 7
knots in about 10 knots of breeze, FT Spirit was approximately 80m off the
northeastern corner of the Opera House when it hit and rode over something
under the water. At this point she ghosted along for a couple of boat
lengths then very, very slowly fell over onto her port side.

The tip of the 35m tall mast laid on the corner of the NE wall of the
concourse of the Sydney Opera House. The mainsail was pierced just below
the headboard by a lamppost on the Opera House forecourt wall and this
served to hold the yacht pinned for some time until crew could clamber up
and cut the main free thus dropping the rig down onto the seabed below the
wall. At the point of impact with the Opera House the yacht was some 110ft
away from the wall. With the 220 square metre mainsail still impaled on the
lamppost the current swung the hull around slowly until the bow eventually
came to rest against the Opera House wall.

The full account is posted at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/04/spirit

VENDEE GLOBE
Renowned French architect Marc Lombard has designed some of the most high
performance boats from the Mini 6.50 to the 60-foot multihulls. Roland
Jourdain and Jean Le Cam's new creations (Sill et Veolia/ Bonduelle) are
his latest jewels (for the Vendee Globe).

On Lombard's technical opinion of the Owen-Clarke designs (Ecover and
Skandia): "I think that Merfyn Owen has worked from his very regular
KingFisher, and must have looked into giving its strengths more prominence.
As regards the Farr design, there is a more fundamental cultural change.
Equipped with an immense mast and a maximum surface area, you can really
see in its design the influence and experience of crewed racing like the
Volvo Race. Relatively heavy, ultra-powerful, narrow at the waterline,
equipped with a complicated and relatively fragile rig, I wouldn't like to
have to manoeuvre this boat downwind in the big southern seas."

On his general philosophy in the design of Bonduelle and Sill et Veolia:
"The ideas stemmed from the former Sill which had numerous strengths such
as close-hauled sailing and reaching, and we worked on improving those
points on the boat that didn't work quite so well, such as in light
conditions and broad reaching in average seas. To reach a definite
improvement in performance in these conditions, we also considerably
reduced the weight of the vessel. In this way the structure is 200 kilos
lighter, and the carbon keel saved us a further 350 kilos. The sail area
was only slightly increased to preserve the boat as easily as possible." -
Vendee Globe race website, full story:
http://www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/infos/476.html

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NEWS BRIEFS
* US Sailing has organized the first-ever One-Design Symposium for
one-design sailors and class organizations to be held November 12-14 in
Newport, RI. Guest speakers at the Symposium include racing rules expert
Dave Perry, Olympians Carol Cronin and Meg Gaillard, Sailing World Editor
John Burnham, one-design specialist Greg Fisher, US Sailing Team Coach Skip
Whyte, five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison, etc. Topics to
be covered at the Symposium include: fleet building, promotion, involving
youth sailors, sponsorship, class organization, increasing participation
though by teaching the fleet to go fast, measurement techniques,
newsletters, building web pages, etc. Details at http://www.ussailing.org/odcc

* The Canadian Yachting Association has announced that it will host a
dinner on November 25th to honour the achievements of a dedicated Canadian,
Paul Henderson, for his contributions to the sport community, the Olympic
movement, and his lifelong commitment to the sport of sailing throughout
the world. Reception and dinner to be held at The Royal Canadian Yacht
Club. For details, contact 1-877-416-4720, Extension 109.

SURVEY SAYS
Tuesday was a busy day for voting in America, but the 'Buttheads still
found time to contribute to the Scuttlebutt survey inquiring about the
future of the America's Cup past the 2007 event. When we closed out the
voting at 10:00 pm PST, the tally had opinion strongly in favor of strict
cost controls to lower budgets and increase participation. Using our motor
sport's metaphors, here is the final count:
More like NASCAR- 55%
More like Formula 1- 29%
Leave as is- 16%


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 Bill Trenkle (edited to our 250 word limit): It is interesting to
hear what the 'butt readers think about speeding up the boats used for the
AC. Having raced in the America' s Cup in 12's, catamarans and AC Class
boats as well as having been involved in the design and construction
process, I can tell you from a competitors standpoint it is about racing
against other teams, and not how fast the race is moving.

The 12 meters were not too quick in light air, but they did stay close
together. In the middle of a race you never thought too much about how fast
you were covering the ground, only how fast you were relative to the other
team. The technology used in the '88 Cup (Conner's catamaran against Fay's
90-footer) got so much publicity, it was difficult to back track to the
12's again. But while the new AC boat rule created a better boat for light
air venues, the minimum budget level had substantially increased, pushing a
lot of teams out of the game.

The AC boats have proven popular and are technologically sophisticated
enough for all but the real serious techno buffs. The Version 5 changes
should make them even better for match racing, however, the additional
design work has driven costs up, again reducing the number of competitors
to a ridiculously small number. Except for the minority who only care about
winning at any cost, let's hope cooler heads prevail when it is time to
decide the AC class for the future.

* From Barry Carroll (edited to our 250 word limit): Regarding Bill Doyle's
comments in Scuttlebutt, I could not agree more. Other than the modern
demands on one's time, escalating expense is the number one reason for the
decrease in big boat sailing. Forget paying pros to sail for you for the
moment. The constant march of expensive, and often times fragile, difficult
to maintain "technology" is causing equipment expense to go only one way: up.

Every time some new material, or design trend comes along, we jump on it if
it makes the boat infinitesimally faster, or more likely, is just "way
cool, gotta have". Once a racing rule allows a piece of equipment or design
feature, no matter how expensive or of marginal utility, it mandates it. It
is an unending process of keeping up with the Jones'.

So often it is a case of more and more technological expense, less and less
fun on the water. If increasing performance were the only criteria for
design and construction, then we would all be sailing multi-hulls.
Obviously that doesn't happen because there are many aspects of competitive
sailboat racing that are far more important than unhindered technology, and
the best classes understands that. I don't care much about the AC boats
spending ever more money on ever smaller technological advances: they
aren't the real world. Rule makers and event organizers need to wake up if
they don't want an even sharper decline in big boat sailing among the
people who have to pay for this stuff: actual boat owners.

* From Fred Roswold, Hong Kong: It's not about being like F1 or NASCAR.
Frankly, I don't give a dang about TV rights, making the AC wonderful for
the TV audiences, or enhancing the franchise of the pro's who sail in it. I
don't care if we don't attract the Budwiser crowd. Sailing is for sailors,
the rest of the world can watch NASCAR. The AC is about the best sailors
and the best sailboats, and that implies designers, technology, and money.
A new rule with more high tech boats is fine, even if we don't get 12
entrants next time, even if we don't get any for a few years. When we do,
however, when someone does step up and issue a challenge, then it will mean
something. And I'll get up at 2:00 AM to watch it with my sailing friends
if I have to, or can, and I won't care if the TV audience is small.

* From Max Rosenberg: It makes me sick to see that one of our sports
superstars is not allowed, by a changing contract, to compete for the
America's Cup. It just shows that (Russell) Coutts was 'THE' not so secret
weapon. Look at Alinghi now! They are not, what was once a top team. They
remind me of the "Sore Loser Camp". Ernesto, remember the Boston 'curse'.
Do you not want the Swiss to ever win again?

* From Russ Saunders (re Guest Editorial by Fred Schroth - edited to our
250-word limit): Four years ago I was manning a booth representing America
True at the Oakland CA fall sailboat show and had the chance to meet a
gentleman who described himself as the former Commodore of a yacht club in
Portland Oregon. When describing America True's efforts to attract young
sailors by outreach programs, he commented that as the Commodore of this
yacht club, he requested the board to open the doors to young sailors and
even sponsor them to get them involved as his belief was that this was
necessary to keep sailing alive. He told me that he was shut off and the
issue was tabled and he quit the organization due to its intransigence.

Fred is totally correct in his comments about the lack of younger sailors
in the organization of regattas and events but to overcome this issue, in
my estimation, it will require a major re-thinking of what yacht clubs are
all about all across this country and who will be a member if sailing is to
survive as a viable sport. It is far too expensive a sport for the youth of
America today without sponsorship or mentorship. And in attempting inner
city youth outreach, I have a quite a lot to say about what I learned first
hand about disadvantaged, inner city youth and their attitudes towards
boating in general and sailing in particular but will leave that to another
more appropriate time.

* From Richard Jepsen, Chair, Training Committee, US Sailing: In 'Butt
1700, Antony Barran claimed that "US Sailing has become is one (sic) of the
most exclusive 'clubs' in sailing". I have volunteered there for 10 years.
While I have not seen evidence of what Antony says in any place at US
Sailing, I can't speak with authority on every committee, council and
working party there.

However, the ones I do know, Training, Community Sailing Council, Women's
Sailing Committee, Youth Championships, Cruising Sailors' Council and
others, are enthusiastic about attracting hard working volunteers from
where ever they can. There is much to do and many skills needed to help
grow and improve this fine service organization in its mission to make
sailing better and increase participation.

I invite Antony, his family, and anyone else who wished they could serve,
but thought of US Sailing as an exclusive club, to email US Sailing
(info@ussailing.org) to offer your participation, help and skills. We will
find the right committee and contact person for you based on your interest.
If that doesn't work for you, email me and I will find the right contact. I
can be reached at jepsen@ocscsailing.com.

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
The most precious thing we have is life. Yet, it has absolutely no trade-in
value.