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SCUTTLEBUTT 1708 - November 10, 2004

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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.

THE ROLEX WORLD SAILORS OF THE YEAR
Copenhagen, Denmark - Robert Scheidt (BRA), Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia
Tsoula (GRE) are the winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year
Awards. Scheidt was awarded the male ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year
Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the single-handed
Laser Class. In May 2004, Robert made Laser Class history when he won the
World Championship title for the seventh time in ten years. His collection
of sailing records was further increased in August 2004 at the Olympic
Sailing Competition in Athens. After posting only two results of the eleven
race series outside the top eight, Scheidt secured his third Olympic medal
in the Laser Class and became the first sailor to win two gold medals in
the Class.

Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoula stole the hearts of their nation in
Athens in August when they won the gold medal in the 470 double-handed
dinghy in emphatic style. Claiming the Gold medal with a race to spare, the
pair didn't give anyone else a chance, and after Sofia's injury scare
earlier in the year, victory was even sweeter. In June 2004, Sofia and
Emilia were forced to retire from the 470 World Championship in Croatia,
but following surgery on her back Sofia was back in the driving seat and
the pair's mission for the gold medal was renewed. Robert's other results
during the nomination period are equally impressive. His worst result since
1 September 2003 was a second, and that was at the 2003 ISAF World
Championship. At all the other ISAF Graded events, he has finished on top
of the podium.

When the Games began they were in top form and dominated the event, winning
five of the ten races, finishing second in three more. Their series tally
was 24 points ahead of the silver medallists, the greatest points delta of
all Olympic events. Their tremendous achievement was also acknowledged by
ATHOC when they were chosen to extinguish the Olympic Torch at the closing
ceremony. Prior to the Olympic Games within the nomination period, Sofia
and Emilia won the 2003 ISAF World Championship, their fourth world title,
and several other ISAF Graded events. They also claimed the ISAF Rolex
World Sailor of the Year Award in 2002. - http://www.sailing.org/

The other female nominees on the short list were:
- Adrienne Cahalan (AUS)
- Faustine Merret (FRA)
- Shirley Robertson, Sarah Webb & Sarah Ayton (GBR)
- Siren Sundby (NOR)

The other male nominees:
- 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 Steinacher (AUT)
- Francis Joyon (FRA)
- Iker Martinez & Xabier Fernandex (ESP)

GOING FOR GOLD
(The Daily Sail website took an in-depth look at what the RYA is up to at
the new Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy. Here's an excerpt.)

Campaigning at the top level costs a lot of money - and the top Team GBR
sailors manage serious budgets through the four year Olympic cycle. This is
what the world sees. Well organised, well financed British sailors doing
the Olympic regatta circuit all paid for by the RYA and the hefty amount of
cash that the Lottery supplies. No wonder they get all those medals. This
is far from the truth - the handout of cash anyway. What the world doesn't
see is the 70 sailors at the second RYA run Olympic Development Squad
training camp.

Held last week at (the part Lottery funded) Weymouth and Portland Sailing
Academy, the sailors, coaches, trainers and RYA staff put in a solid week
of graft at this recently opened facility. Yes, just two months since the
Olympics concluded, 70 new heir-apparents are putting in the hard hours.
The week long camp was one of six that are conducted through the winter
before the main sailing season starts again in March next year. Those
attending are mostly on D-Level funding; this sits underneath the Olympic
Team and the broader squad of World Class Performance sailors.

The demographics of the ODS are principally medallists from Youth or ISAF
worlds, achievers of a high standard at an Olympic class regatta - through
to those sailors that fit the bill or who have caught eye of the RYA. If
you meet the required standard you will have most probably received a call
by now. The next Olympic cycle for British sailors is well under way. - The
Daily Sail, http://www.thedailysail.com

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VENDEE GLOBE
At 1900 hours GMT the head of the fleet is sailing 300 miles offshore of
Lisbon. All of them have gybed onto a port tack, heading south, with the
exception of Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) who, after shifting into position in
the middle of the day, is sailing on a starboard tack. Interestingly, the
top four are all renowned "addicts" of the French offshore race known as
the Solitaire du Figaro. This solo school was dangerously threatened by the
two English competitors Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) and Mike Golding (Ecover).

It is the strategy over the next 48 hours which motivates this trajectory
towards the south-west: 1) The north-easterly flow is much more established
offshore than it is close to the Portuguese coast where the isobars are
less close together. Valid for at least two days, this flow is encouraging
the competitors to remain on a starboard tack. 2) As they advance, the wind
is more likely to shift to the east. It is worth waiting for this
progressive shift so as to finally be able to gybe onto a port tack.

Standings at 0400 GMT November 10:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou
2. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 12.6 (distance to leader)
3. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 29.8 dtl
4. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 32.0 dtl
5. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 35.2 dtl
6. Ecover, Mike Golding, 35.8 dtl
14. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 117.1 dtl

Event website: http://www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/

QUOTE/UNQUOTE
* "We're doing up to 24 knots at times, but there are some big loads in
there as well. The trouble is we have got a quite long swell running. There
are these long surfs when one minute you are underpowered and the next
minute you are overpowered so it is just a question of finding a compromise
you can be comfortable with." - Mike Golding, Ecover

* "Yesterday I was quite depressed actually, I don't know why, I guess it's
a post Vendee start feeling, and I couldn't really shake it out. It
frustrated me making a lot of sail changes, which just made me tired. I was
much better once I'd stopped changing sails, had something to eat and got
some sleep. I think it was a combination of time spent yesterday between
the sail changes as any combination actually works quickly. "I think also
I'm still adjusting to the pace. It's been quite a while since we've been
out on the water, and the front runners are just sailing a little quicker
than I am at the moment, I've lost needless miles, I think it was down to a
bit of negative feeling." - Conrad Humphreys, Hellomoto currently in 11th
place.

SHOSHOLOZA
The South African America's Cup yacht Shosholoza RSA 48 arrived back in
Cape Town aboard an MSC container ship on Monday. Team Shosholoza will now
be operating out of their new South African America's Cup Challenge Base in
the V&A Waterfront. Until now the team worked out of a couple of containers
in the Waterfront, where meetings and all activities were held in the open
air. The new base has a mini sail loft, office space, a kitchen, showers
and an upstairs entertainment area and deck overlooking the Waterfront. The
quayside is spacious with ample space for yacht Shosholoza RSA 48 to be
lifted out of the water daily.

The team will spend the first week of November match racing on local
26-foot yachts as skipper Geoff Meek and three crew members, Guido
Verhovert, Alex Runciman and Marc Lagesse, leave at the weekend for the
next leg of the Swedish Match Tour. This event, the Nippon Cup, will be
held in Tokyo, Japan. The rest of team will re-rig Shosholoza RSA 48 and
prepare her for sailing from the 16th, and get her back up to racing mode
by the 24th November when the others return from Japan. Sailing manager
Paul Standbridge says he will continue to try out two new crew members per
week and is still looking to build the team by six sailors prior to Act
Four in Europe in June 2005. He is specifically looking for four crew
members weighing 105 kilograms each, to help give more muscle power to the
sailing crew. - http://sport.iafrica.com/news/389109.htm

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NEWS BRIEFS
* After a multitude of problems onboard, not least being struck by
lightening Tuesday morning, the crew of Team Save the Children in Buenos
Aires. Now, all of the yachts of the Global Challenge are now berthed at
the Yacht Club Argentino. Leg two from Buenos Aires to Wellington, NZ
begins on November 28. www.globalchallenge2004.com/en/

* The 13th edition of Match Race Berlin was held over this (past) weekend.
With four entrants placed in the top 12 of the match race rankings, two
teams from Alinghi, two further teams from the prospective German America's
Cup Challenge, Fresh17, as well as the winner from the previous year, it
was a hot line-up. The weather, however, was on the chilly side, as to be
expected from Berlin in late autumn. Finals: Jochen Schuemann
(Germany/Alinghi) beat Lars Nordbjaerg (Denmark) 3-0. Petit-final: Karol
Jablonski (Poland) beat Mathieu Richard (France) 2-0. - The Daily Sail,
www.thedailysail.com

* The French K-Challenge America's Cup syndicate has just received its
second boat, FRA 60 (ex-NZL 60, winner of the America's Cup in 2000). It
has joined FRA 57 on the K-Challenge base in Gandia, where the works to
modify one of the boats to the version 5 of the America's Cup rule will be
executed by the design team this winter. Tests and training will start
again in Gandia at the end of February / beginning of March, before the
team will go back to Valencia in June to take part to the Louis Vuitton Act
4. - www.k-challenge.org

* Interesting website: John's Nautical & Boatbuilding Page,
www.boat-links.com/index.html

* Singapore will be sponsoring a boat in the Clipper 05-06 Round the World
Yacht Race. It is the first Asian city to join racing fleet that sets sail
from Liverpool, United Kingdom, on 18 September 2005. The 10-boat fleet
will sail for ten months and 35,000 miles to ten port cities, including
Western Australia and Durban in South Africa. The yachts will spend ten
days in Singapore, one of only two Asian stopovers on the route. The race
will come to an end in July 2006 in Liverpool. - www.clipper-ventures.com

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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 David Redfern, England (Ref Tiger Woods): Is it me or has the world
gone daft? If Woods had not filed his suit I doubt I'd ever have heard of
his purchase of a boat. Now it's world-wide news. And fancy calling it
'Privacy'! That's asking for trouble.

* From Scott Diamond (In response to Chris Ericksen in 'Butt 1707 regarding
sailing volunteers): The problem is not just a lack of younger volunteers,
but the younger volunteers breaking into the old school volunteer group.

* From Holger Hinsch: Reading Commodore Neville's comments on the demise of
IMS in the US in the same Scuttlebutt as the report on the IMS Mid-Atlantic
Championship his club hosted in Annapolis last weekend is somewhat ironic.
It was a great event put on by Storm Trysail and Annapolis Yacht Sales.
Racing was very close particularly in Class 2. It appears that IMS still
works extremely well for production cruiser/racers. We had a diverse fleet
made up of boats such as a Farr 43, Farr 395, BH 36, Beneteau 40.7s, and
IMX 38 with ratings that resulted in corrected times that were separated by
seconds in most of the races in wind ranging from 10 to 18 knots. Racing
against the same boats using PHRF during the rest of the season we rarely
have close results like that with particular boats dominating based on wind
conditions. Being a one-design racer at heart I must say that racing under
IMS last weekend was how handicap racing should be with boats rated
competitively allowing races to be determined not by rating but rather by
better boat handling and tactics. Let's hope that IRC will yield similar
results once adopted here.

* From Jeff A. Jelten: As a member of US Skiing in the mid '70's, I see a
parallel in the decline in participation in the two sports. For one thing,
they were recruiting mostly from within the fraternity. A skiing family
begat new skiers and ski racers. A beginner was fitted with skis by holding
their arm up in the air and skis were sized to the wrist. Their first
experience out on the snow was very difficult, awkward, embarrassing,
scary, not to mention cold, wet, and painful.

Then came the GLM, graduated length method. Starting the beginner out on
very short, wide skis for the first half of the lesson so they could start
to have fun very quickly, then moving them up to longer more stable skis as
the beginner became comfortable and confidant. This single development did
more for the sport than anything else. It made skiing more approachable and
such that any one felt they could try it. There were no down sides to this
development. Manufacturers prospered, ski resorts prospered, racing grew
dramatically, and there is still plenty of room on the slopes for everyone.

It will take more than just inviting people into the sport of sailing or
raising the profile of the sport. It will take new technologies at the
entry level, and new attitudes from all levels of the sport to implement
the new technologies. The entire world of sailing will benefit from more
participation.

* From Jesse Gaylord: In response to Russ Saunders' letter in Butt 1703,
and others, I wholly disagree that "[Sailing] is far too expensive a sport
for the youth of America today without sponsorship or mentorship." On the
contrary, I am 19 and have been able to campaign my Thistle without the
financial help of my non-sailor parents for two years. This figure includes
traveling to regattas, yacht club fees, sails, etc. Although it does wear
on my bank account, this sport is by no means out of reach for me. What
ensures my participation is having a strong/supportive fleet and a yacht
club with affordable dues; but those are the ingredients for any solid
program regardless of what ages participate. Sailing has always been billed
as a sport for millionaires; but with a solid summer job, desire and
substituting a Thistle campaign for car ownership, it can be done.

* From Steve Steinberg: In response to the Houston Chronicle article on the
Panamanians running the Panama Canal in yesterday's Scuttlebutt, I submit
the following statement from the Panamanian Canal Advisor who was aboard my
boat during transit last December: "The Chinese (who purchased container
ports at each end of The Canal) replaced the United States in managing
canal operations. The same Panamanians are doing the actual operations
work, but where the U.S. government subsidized our economy and social
programs, the Chinese are only interested in controlling the two container
ports as profit centers. The Chinese give nothing back to Panama, the
Panamanians who know better miss the U.S. government."

* From David Howie: Further to your piece on how well the Panamanians are
running the canal, you forgot to mention that as part of a stated desire to
remove recreational vessels from the canal they have increased the cost of
transit for the average sailboat more than 400%.

* From Tucker Thompson: I couldn't agree more with Tom Andrewes (Butt 1704)
that fleet racing enhances the America's Cup. I am a match racer at heart
and prefer it, but from a TV production and sponsorship value standpoint
fleet racing would allow all boats (and sponsors) to be covered at the same
time, the teams a better guarantee of TV exposure for the sponsors, and the
viewer to see all the teams competing and not just one match at a time.
However, I do feel that the final winner of the Cup should come from a
match race. Perhaps the America's Cup could use a format similar to the old
Olympic Solings with a fleet race qualifiers and a match racing semifinals
and finals.

* From Chris Boome (regarding changing the A-Cup boat after 2007): I think
the area where we can get the most bang for the buck is to use existing
media/navigation technology better to present the racing we already have to
the public, rather than worry about spending millions upon millions to make
a 20 knot boat go 20.5 knots.

* From Bruce Munro: It is apparent that Rand Milton (Issue 1697) never
heard of the Nordstrom rule, adopted by many wives. For his edification the
rule goes as follows: For every dollar the husband spends on his boat, the
wife gets and equal amount at Nordstrom's.

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
The optimist expects the wind. The pessimist complains about the wind. The
realist adjusts the sails.