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SCUTTLEBUTT 1707 - November 9, 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.

ABN AMRO has entered two boats designed by Argentinean Juan Kouyoumdjian.
The crew of the first boat are professionals, but the second boat will have
an international crew of promising young men and women aged between 21 and 30.

A worldwide campaign is being launched in the second week of November to
recruit this young talent. TEAM ABN AMRO's sailing director Roy Heiner and
his staff will appoint four experienced sailors to fill the key positions
of skipper and navigator. The remaining positions will be filled through an
open selection process. Two crew members will be selected each from the
Netherlands, Brazil and the US, as these are home markets for ABN AMRO.
Another two are to be recruited from the applicants of the rest of the world.

The selection process is being led by Dutchman Roy Heiner and comprises
three steps. First, 80 finalists are selected from a global audience
through an interactive questionnaire on the website mentioned above. This
group will receive an invitation for the second step: assessment at
locations in the US, Brazil or the Netherlands. During this second stage,
potential crew members will be tested on their sailing, physical and mental
abilities. From this group, twenty will be selected in this worldwide
campaign. The third and final selection takes place in Portugal in March
2005. Eight out of the final 20 candidates will remain to join the high
potential team on TEAM ABN AMRO's second boat.

Applications are being accepted at

The Netherlands-based team, with a budget of approximately EUR 20 million
($25.8 million USD), has entered two boats into the Volvo Ocean Race. But
who is ABN AMRO? The Netherlands-based company is a leading international
bank with total assets of EUR 637.5 billion (as at 30 September 2004), more
than 3,000 branches in over 60 countries, and about 104,000 employees
worldwide. Of that, this project is keying on three territories - US,
Brazil and the Netherlands.

Exclusively in the US, ABN AMRO is branded as LaSalle Bank, Mortgage.Com,
Standard Federal Bank, Montag & Caldwell. Their North American sponsorships
seem to be centered in the midwest, where they are the main sponsor of the
annual LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, attracting a field of 40,000
participants. Last year, over a million spectators lined the streets of
Chicago on 12 October 2003 to witness what is now the world's largest
marathon. Additionally, LaSalle Bank has been a sponsor of the Chicago
White Sox since 1997. In April 2004, it entered into a partnership that
names LaSalle the Official Bank of the Chicago White Sox through the end of
the 2008 baseball season. -

At the 1900 GMT ranking Vincent Riou (PRB) is still holding onto the top
spot, with Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) on the hunt 6.8 miles off the pace on a
slightly poorer heading as regards the goal. In a few hours the first
monohulls will pass Cape Finisterre 400 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne. PRB
is just 37 miles from the Cape on the western tip of Spain while Hugo Boss
is 50 miles away. Roland Jourdain (Sill et Veolia) now completes tonight's
podium having taken a mile's lead on Mike Golding (Ecover) but the most
interesting move is that of Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) in 5th. He is
continuing on his huge westerly option, the furthest offshore of the whole
fleet and given his renowned prowess on tactics, that have long since
earned him the nickname "King Jean" - it would clearly seem that he has
something up his sleeve to upset the overnight rankings. All the more
experienced sailors have made less extreme, but nonetheless offshore
option, perhaps anticipating the gybe they are going to carry out off the
Cape, in a search for a more established wind offshore.

One of the most interesting things about the positions throughout the day
has been the fact that the latest generation of IMOCA 60 footers have
really been on the pace as you would expect. However PRB launched in 2000
and Hugo Boss from 1999 (the former Sill) are currently running the show
with a lead of nearly 20 miles on their modern day equivalents.

Following all these developments avidly, the international public has gone
into the record books. The record for visitors to the official website of
the Vendée Globe was beaten yesterday, Sunday: 1.7 million pages were read
this week-end with a record number of 1.2 million pages read on Sunday 7
November alone.

Rankings (Top ten of twenty as of Monday, 07:00 PM GMT)
1. Vincent Riou/ PRB, 23320.4 miles - distance to finish
2. Alex Thomson/ Hugo Boss, 6.8 miles - distance to leader
3. Roland Jourdain/Sill Véolia, 19.2 DTL
4. Mike Golding/ Ecover, 20.4 DTL
5. Jean Le Cam/ Bonduelle, 23.9 DTL
6. Sébastien Josse/ VMI, 25.0 DTL
7. Jean-Pierre Dick/ Virbac-Paprec, 25.4 DTL
8. Marc Thiercelin/ Pro-Form, 28.9 DTL
9. Hervé Laurent/ UUDS, 33.7 DTL
10. Dominique Wavre/ Temenos, 37.0 DTL

Vendée Globe 2004 website -

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With the recently announced adoption of IRC for many major inshore and
offshore events beginning in 2005, and the future of IMS rapidly dimming,
Storm Trysail Club Commodore Dick Neville said at the IMS Mid-Atlantic
Championship held last weekend in Chesapeake Bay, "this could have been the
last IMS Championship held anywhere in the US. Next year, we hope to see
the fleet racing under IRC at this regatta."

On Dec. 31, Panama will celebrate five years of proving critics wrong. Just
as agreed in the compact signed by former President Carter, the United
States handed over control of the mostly American-built Panama Canal on New
Year's Eve in 1999. The move had been planned since 1977, when Carter
signed a treaty with Panama's Gen. Omar Torrijos to gradually put Panama in
charge of the nearly 50-mile shipping lane.

But many Americans and Panamanians worried whether the developing country
could successfully operate one of the world's most important shipping
lanes, especially at a time when ships were outgrowing the canal. "People
thought we built it and should keep it," said Vince Ryan, a former Houston
city councilman and a Panama Canal Commission board member from 1995 to
1999. "People thought Panamanians would run it into the ground."

Instead, since the Dec. 31, 1999, handover, the Panamanians have decreased
the number of shipping accidents, reduced the wait time for ship passage by
20 percent and continued to improve the canal's infrastructure. From its
1914 opening, when its first vessel, the Ancon, passed through, the United
States operated the canal primarily as a military operation. But
Panamanians now focus on its value as a business. In a country with a
population of just 3.2 million, the canal represents about 20 percent of
the nation's economy.

Despite that strategic location, the Panamanians face another turning point
in their canal as they decide how to expand it to meet the needs of
ever-growing ships and international trade. Now, ships are being built that
are too large to transit the canal. - Jenalia Moreno, Houston Chronicle,
full story,

* The US IRC Management Committee will be hosting an IRC Seminar at
American Yacht Club (Milton Point, Rye, NY) on November 19-20, 2004.
Attendance for the Friday session is restricted to measurers, and
individuals who are serious about being considered as potential measurers.
Sailmakers are also welcome to attend this session to review sail
measurement procedures. The Saturday schedule is open to all interested
sailors, owners, event organizers, professionals, etc., and will provide a
broad overview of IRC. Event details available at

* Cities vying to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be submitting
their final candidate files to the IOC in Lausanne on Monday, November
15th. Finalists include London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Paris. The
IOC evaluation commission will be visiting each city between Feb and March
2005, with their final choice being announced in Singapore, July 2005.

* The IMS Mid-Atlantic Championship and Beneteau 36.7 Mid-Atlantic
Championship enjoyed near perfect conditions last weekend on the Chesapeake
Bay near Annapolis, MD. In winds ranging from 10-18 kts, 24 IMS boats
competed. Marco Birch's talent-laden Talisman (B&C 58) scored all bullets
to win IMS Class 1 and Best Overall. In IMS Class 2, Othmar von
Blumencron's Dame Blanche (Beneteau 40.7) showed excellent consistency with
(1-1-3-1-4-1) to win. The fleet of 11 Beneteau 36.7s was very close, with 4
boats winning races, with Tom D'Albora's team on Ka'Io taking the win.
Complete results at

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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 Dave Hubbard: Your Scuttlebutt 1706 mentions Mark Reece's
campaigning of the Stars and Stripes catamaran. I assume that his catamaran
is the soft sailed version, not the wingsailed one that actually defended
the Cup in 1988. After the defense, the wingsailed catamaran was sold to a
resort owner in Mexico where it has been used to take guests on sailing
excursions (DH was a member of the S&S '88 design team and co designer of
the wing).

* From John Edwards: (re Tiger Woods suit in Issue 1706) I visited the
Christensen booth at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, and while there were
several photographs of Christensen Yachts (what else would you expect them
to display?) none of them had any reference to Tiger Woods or had the name
Privacy on them. As for Tiger's behavior - grow up! If he wants his
ownership of the yacht to remain so private, don't buy a 155-foot yacht and
then try to enter a port without proper notification. If you want to see
what Tiger's new boat looks like, go to the three-page article about the
boat in the January 2005 issue of Show Boats International.

Curmudgeon's Comment: The Smoking Gun website also has photos of the boat,
in addition to a copy of the sales contract and federal lawsuit:

* From Brooks Magruder, Singapore: As far as big-name sailing sponsorship,
it doesn't really matter which Volvo/Ford dropped F1, and which is about to
drop golf, it's great to hear that sailing has been chosen for "life-style"
branding by Volvo/Ford over these other prestige sports.

* From Tom Keogh: (Re - Magnus Wheatley, Issue 1706) The British Olympians
earned the cheers for their convinving victories in Athens, even if many of
us would have been happy to see some more of our own on the medal stands.
Too bad Mr. Wheatley thinks that Scuttlebutt is the place to whine about
bigger and more significant victories when he doesn't like the outcome.
Responding in kind, I'll say this - Get used to it folks, The President won

Curmudgeon's Comment: Magnus' comment in his letter regarding the recent
elections in the US prompted a number of letters, include the one above.
Before this goes any further, consider this thread dead.

* From Nicholas Stark: Once again, readers of 'butt have proven themselves
to be a very bright and perception bunch. Clearly, because they seem to
want to favor NASCAR style management for the America's Cup, they
intuitively understand that's basically the current format.

ACM, with leadership help provided by Challenger of Record Golden Gate YC
under the auspices of BMW Oracle Racing, have indeed instituted a number
positive cost controlling rules, just like NASCAR. And relative budgets for
NASCAR and Cup teams are fairly close. Too often large numbers are tossed
around that various billionaires are spending $100 million on a Cup team.
Even if that's true, and it is more likely urban legend than fact, when
divided up over a Cup cycle, give or take a million here and there, the
costs associated with running a Cup team are generally the same as those of
running a NASCAR team. Teams can spend between $10-$25 million per year in
either sport.

If someone really wants to go sailboat racing in an organized professional
tour for significantly less money, say something less than $500,000 per
year, there are plenty of formats in which to do so. Some events like the
Tour de France give excellent return for sponsors. Big or small, there are
plenty of alternatives within the sport now and at various price points for
sailors and sponsors to benefit from association with events that fit their
budgets and target aspirations.

* From John Riise: Those who wonder why more people don't watch the
America's Cup have only to look back to Fremantle in 1987. To refresh your
memory, that's the one that people did watch. As I recall, it was the
most-watched coverage of any sporting event broadcast by the then-fledgling
ESPN network, and with Gary Jobson's help, put sailing on the TV map.

I remember staying up until the wee hours to tune in, and reading that Iowa
farmers were doing the same. Was it because it was raced in 12-Meters? Hah!
Those had been around since 1958 and virtually nobody watched them off
Newport. It was because there was lots of wind, lots of splashing, lots of
tearing sails and lots of action. It was 10/10ths near-survival sailing and
mesmerizing to behold.

A big reason people watch car racing, horse racing, or motorcycle racing is
that participants are right at the edge of control, danger is omnipresent
and destruction is never more than a heartbeat away. So if you want to
compare the America's Cup to car racing, carry the analogy through: In most
races of the last several America's Cups, your NASCAR/Formula 1 cars were
circling the track at 35 miles an hour. Yawn. As interesting as light-air
match racing may be to actual sailors, it will never play to Joe Public.
You want a bigger audience? Race the America's Cup in big wind in the ocean
and it won't matter what boats you use.

* From Chris Ericksen (edited to our 250 word limit): I'm pleased at the
interest among US Sailing members in the reorganization plan being
considered. While I support much of the proposal, especially the
streamlining of the Board of Directors to allow for a more nimble
management process, I am concerned about a few issues. There is a stated
interest within the plan of getting away from the leadership of
constituency-based groups like the Sailor Athlete Council, the Council of
Sailing Associations and others, that concerns me greatly. Correlative to
this is the new emphasis on marine-industry professionals on the Board and
in the Coaches Council and on the interest in changing US Sailing from a
volunteer-managed, staff-assisted organization that focuses on the racing
sailor to a staff-managed, volunteer-assisted organization that will focus
on sailing in general and only on racing sailors as a sideline.

For me, the bottom line is that these changes will not solve the core
problem with US Sailing that has been voiced by Fred Schroth, Wiley
Crockett and others: volunteers that work for US Sailing, including judges
and race officers, seem to be largely older and less active racers. There
are plenty of "sailors running the show," starting with that active Tartan
Ten sailor, US Sailing President Janet Baxter; however, at the local level,
the vast majority of sailors are unwilling to give up their sailing time to
work on race committees and juries. Don't complain, folks--fix it!
Volunteer! Both you and the sport--and US Sailing --will be the better for it.

Change is inevitable… except from a vending machine.