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SCUTTLEBUTT 1709 - November 11, 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.

One can argue the subjective and technical pros and cons of any handicap
rule indefinitely. Here is a fact: the principle clubs and event organizers
who established the US-IRC Management Committee did so for one reason. They
saw the continued decline in participation among IMS and Americap rated
yachts at their events. They saw nothing on the horizon that would indicate
a reverse of this precipitous decline. They had two choices: keep their
head down in the bunker, cross their fingers, and hope for the best: or
take action and try to reinvigorate their events and their sport. They
chose to act and exercise leadership.

They looked at the world sailing scene and saw one bright spot, IRC. It has
been accepted in more and more countries, it is growing while other rules
are declining, it has a proven professional organization behind it, and it
promises the possibility of a return to international racing at classic
events like the Fastnet, Sydney-Hobart, Admiral's Cup and Kenwood Cup. They
chose to establish the US-IRC Committee and to use IRC for their events in
2005. Both initiatives are only tools to achieve their goals.

The clarity of the situation was so obvious to objective observers that
several more clubs and events immediately joined in. American YC, Annapolis
YC, Boston YC, Stamford YC, Larchmont YC, Southern YC, Northern Ocean
Racing Trophy, The Annapolis-Newport Race, The Marblehead-Halifax Race, and
The Key West Race all decided to change. Many other clubs and race
organizers have indicated interest and have been invited to join US-IRC so
that their voices may be heard. Among them are: Ida Lewis YC, Bayview YC,
the Marion-Bermuda Race and Premiere Racing.

US-IRC established a professional management team, and many of the member
organizations have pledged their financial support. US-IRC and the RORC
have teamed with Dan Nowlan and his staff at the Offshore Office of US
Sailing to devise innovative ways to ease the certification process for new
IRC boats. Regional measurement stations are being established. Regional
seminars are being held to train new measurers, and member organizations
are cooperating to ease the burden for owners to get an IRC certificate in
2005. US-IRC and US Sailing have already posted web pages that along with
the RORC web page will be a ready source of interesting and accurate rating
and event information. There is an unprecedented level of cooperation
between the US-IRC member organizations, US sailing, and the international
sailing community. - Barry Carroll, Director, US-IRC,

CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS (Sponsored by West Marine)
Events listed at

The 64th meeting of the International Society for the Perpetuation of
Cruelty to Racing Yachtsman (ISPCRY) was held on Sunday, October 31 at
American YC (Rye, NY). Founded by two local commodores and a sailing
journalist in 1941, ISPCRY, fondly known as the Mooseheads, honors race
committees for finding new ways to torment competitors. This year's winners
included Riverside and Indian Harbor Yacht Clubs, who interestingly enough
were just awarded the St. Petersburg trophy by US Sailing for race
management excellence in 2003. Full Mooseheads and other animal parts are
awarded in ten categories for bad management and two categories for
excellence in race management. 248 area Race Committee members attended
this year's luncheon. The Moosehead Supreme award for 2004 was well earned
- here's the story:

The senior advisors to the juniors gather the youngsters prior to the start
and tell them that the race is meant to be fun, and a learning experience
and, above all, the primary objective of night racing is safety. The word
safety is stressed again and again. Unfortunately, the Race Committee fails
to check the local weather. The local TV forecasts already show
thunderstorms surrounding the area. This warning could be further checked
by radar on the boats. The juniors assume that this august group knows what
they are doing. And so, with sublime ignorance as their guiding light, the
RC proceeds to send the juniors to sea.

Before the committee boat can drop anchor the fleet is deluged by rain,
battered by fifty-knot winds and pounded by wicked thunder and lightning.
Four boats are struck. Extensive and very expensive damage to three of the
boats force them to retire before starting. Quite fortunately, no junior is
toasted. And when the squalls pass through, the race is sailed without
further ado. For failing to adhere to its announced plans for safety in
racing and sailing safely, and for the creation of yet another definition
for the term "child abuse," the Moosehead Supreme for 2004 was awarded to
Beach Point Yacht Club.

Turbocharge your Ockam system. The amazing Matryx display offers more
information and control than any other display: 1,2,3, or 4 lines of data
per page (up to 18 user defined pages), system control (cals, averages,
night light level, stopwatch and log switches, etc), plus graphical
wind/current stripcharts (hit the shifts like never before), and much more.
Trade-in credits for working condition 005 displays (clip-in card type) are
available. Strong, light, cost effective aluminum mast brackets for Matryx
displays are in stock. Contact Lat Spinney ( or visit

During Thursday night, after five days of racing, the frontrunners should
be level with the Canaries. Four years ago Yves Parlier took 145 hours (6
days 01h) to reach the islands, at an average of 9.2 knots. This record
will inevitably be smashed even though the north-easterly wind is set to
drop off between now and then. The latter has been blowing strongly since
Cape Finisterre. Hervé Laurent (UUDS) describes waves of 4 to 6 metres in
height and most of the fleet have seen their anemometers flirting with
35-40 knots. Were it not for the increasingly mild outside temperatures,
the 20 skippers may well believe that they were in the southern ocean with
several of them broaching at 90 degrees in big seas and big winds.

Standings at 0400 GMT November 11:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou
2. Sill, Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 12.9 (distance to leader)
3. Ecover, Mike Golding, 45.6 dtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 56.6 dtl
5. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 66.0 dtl
6. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 69.1 dtl
14. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 164.7 dtl

Event website:

"The first Vendee was seen as the ultimate race and the race you were
supposed to do at the end of your career. You were supposed to race for
years and years and then do the Vendee. And that has changed because the
Vendee is now a race. The first Vendee was more of an adventure. Now it is
really a race, so you find some young skippers like Vincent [Riou] - he is
experienced but not like someone like Philippe Poupon or whoever. So this
has changed the spirit of the race. But it is okay. I am pretty confident
that these new young people, they have learned very quickly than we did by
doing the Figaro and all the training at Port la Foret and they have more
efficient quicker than we were able to." - Open 60 legend Isabelle
Autissier, The Daily Sail,

"Right now we're in 30 knots of breeze, we're hanging in at 26 - 27 knots
boatspeed. I think the reason why there is this separation in the fleet is
just that the guys ahead are pushing harder, this is the difference and not
the boats themselves. I'm sure some of the French guys are trying to fly
the kite in this, but there's a fantastic seaway, which makes it too
difficult to fly the kite, the waves peak at 15 -18 feet so it's very
demanding to sail in this. I've got the Code 5 and 1 reef in the mainsail
right now." - Conrad Humphreys, Hellomoto

"No wipeouts yet, but had some big nose-dives. We're doing 27 knots right
now, -nice - we are stuffing the bow in every 5 minutes or so - you're
doing 14 knots, then you are accelerating down the wave - ploughing in to
it square on." - Nick Moloney, Skandia

"Occasionally it drops down to 22 which keeps leading you to think you
should put some more sail up. But with the sea state it is quite difficult
to manage with more sail. It is a lot warmer since the start. It has been a
really fast transition but then I have never ever come south so quickly. I
had a fish on the deck during the night, not a flying fish, just a fish." -
Mike Golding, Ecover

"There are still a number of projects to deal with when the conditions are
smoother. I would like to try to bring the backup auto-pilot back to life,
but don't have a spare control head for it. There are some rigging tasks to
look after, some of which it would be nice to do at anchor. If we get some
smoother conditions in the next week, I can hopefully take care of them
while sailing." - Bruce Schwab, Ocean Planet

"Last night, the boat took a great nose-dive and before you could say
Bob's-your-uncle, my freeze-dried dinner had hit the radar screen. I had
the genoa up and one reef in the main. Can't dare to imagine what would've
happened had I had the gennaker up!" - Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac-Paprec

For the first time in a major ocean race, spinnaker-replacement kites will
be flown on a maxi racing yacht, Sean Langman's 66-foot AAPT (ex Grundig),
in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The OutLeader(tm) kite flies in the
stronger stable wind well above the level of the boat's masthead, providing
enormous pulling power. The kite looks like half of a giant parachute, but
measures as a spinnaker. Unlike a normal spinnaker, it is sheeted only from
the deck, so it doesn't contribute to heeling the boat, burying the bow or
uncontrolled spinnaker wipe-outs. AAPT's 420 square meter OutLeader kite is
being designed and built by KiteShip Corporation of Martinez, California,
who have been developing sailing kites for more than 25 years. Although
more than 40 yachts are now using OutLeader(tm) kites, AAPT is the first
big boat to race offshore with one. -

* The Neil Pryde RS-X hybrid windsurfer- received unanimous support of the
ISAF Executive Committee as the new Olympic board. The equipment proposed
is the Neil Pryde RS-X, using: two sails, with maximum areas of 9.5m and
8.5m (men) and 8.5m and 8.0m (women); two fins, one maximum depth 65cm and
the other shorter for slalom racing. Two sail areas have been specified to
allow for slalom racing and for racing from 5-30 knots.

* Having set off on his Route of Discovery record Wednesday morning,
Francis Joyon has put his maxi-trimaran IDEC through an about turn and is
sailing back to Cadiz to repair a stripped genniker halyard. "It will set
off again tonight, in agreement with the WSSRC," said Joyon at 16:30
Wednesday afternoon. "It will take one hour to repair and then I will set
out again at once. I have warned William, my shore crew who was on the road
and is now returning as is Roger Waggott, the time keeper for the WSSRC." -
The Daily Sail,

* Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC), the organisers of Skandia Cowes Week and the
event's title sponsor Skandia have streamlined their media & PR resources
for Skandia Cowes Week through one central source. Peta Stuart-Hunt has
been appointed as Event Press Officer, and Jo Rimmer, Skandia's in-house PR
manager and Amanda Ashworth, Skandia PR executive, will work closely with
Peta and her team.

* US Sailing's Executive Committee recently approved a new trophy for
excellence in race administration. The Harman Hawkins Trophy, named after a
former US Sailing President, will be awarded annually (the first award will
be presented at the 2005 Spring Meeting in Newport, RI) to an individual
who has made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the field
of Race Administration (Judging, Race Management, Appeals and Racing
Rules). Nominations for this award are currently being accepted.

Ullman Sails International is pleased to announce that Sheridan Sails in
Perth, Australia has joined Ullman Sails. The staff includes Brad Sheridan,
Jodi Earnshaw, and Keith Swinton. Brad started Sheridan Sails in 1986,
while supporting the Kookaburra defense of the America's Cup. His sails
have won numerous State and National titles. To better serve our Australian
customers, we are delighted to have lofts in Perth, Moffat Beach and
Sydney. Contact information for all Ullman Sails lofts is in the "Loft
Locator" section of our Web page. For the "Fastest Sails on the Planet"

(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 Craig Davis: Folks I think we are missing the point. If Tiger has in
his contract that the yard is not to publicize his name with the boat, then
they can't! The boat is in virtually every magazine at the moment. Most of
these magazines will not divulge and go to great lengths to not do so if
the owners request anonymity. So someone has not been doing their job. A
contract is a contract.

* From Philip Thorn: To all 'celebrity' crybabies who complain about
intrusions into their 'private' lives I have only two words to say: "boo-hoo."

* From Chip Johns (Re getting younger people involved in US Sailing): US
Sailing is a member based organization, in no way is the organization
restrictive in who may be involved or how to get involved. Show up, speak
up, and be counted. I am not young (almost 45), but I was when I started to
get involved (under 30). All it takes is time and effort. The problem is
that time is very dear to younger members and between work, family, and
sailing it is hard to find the time to attend meetings and do the work that
needs to be done. Older members are more able to afford the time and money
to travel to the meetings. Many different committees within US Sailing need
volunteers to get the jobs done. If you are interested in doing something
contact the committee chair and volunteer. If you can't travel to the
meetings, often other accommodations can be made. Remember that the world
belongs to those that show up, speak, and debate the issues.

* From Doran Cushing: Sailors who snivel about the cost increases for
transiting the Panama Canal should stay home and happily pay $5/gallon for
designer bottled water. When I transited the Canal in 1989 the end cost was
less than $100 for a 35-foot boat, including the pilot. Current fees may be
as high as $500 for the same boat now. The alternative is Cape Horn...go
for it! Some cruising sailors need to be reminded they are guests in
foreign countries and should participate in the economy and culture, not
seek ways to circumvent both. The Panama Canal experience is worth far more
than fees collected.

* From Mike Funsch: Before praising or criticizing the path a person or
organization takes, you must first understand their intended goals. If the
aim of the AC is to hold an event for those wishing to advance the
technological envelope of sailing and their own skills, then so be it. By
implicitly raising the primary participation requirements (time and money)
to the extremes, that path will limit the number of players, but increases
the opportunity for the greatest breakthroughs. However, if a goal is to
expose sailing to the greatest number of spectators, then we must observe
Metcalf's Law, where the value of a network (the AC) grows by the square of
the number of endpoints it touches (boats, sailors and, by extension,
sponsors and spectators). Two people tell two people, who tell two people…
Achieving this compounding effect implies a need to ratchet back the
"primary requirements" that limit broader participation, namely time and money.

Nine times out of ten, attempting to achieve somewhat mutually exclusive
goals simultaneously impinges upon the level of success achieved toward one
and/or both metrics. The direction taken by AC management clearly tilts
towards pushing the envelope, and we are seeing the ensuing fallout (few
entries racing every four years), and benefits. This does not mean that
more successful promotion and larger audiences cannot be achieved through
better management and execution. It merely means that the path chosen
creates structural impediments toward what many desire: the use of the AC
to promote sailing to a larger audience.

* From Gregory Scott Kingston: I can't get past the number of times we see
a reference, to TV in the letters to 'Butt as some holy grail or validation
of our activity. For as many of us that make sailing a sport, there are
many more who participate as an activity. I wonder if those people who play
bridge feel the same as we seem to in questioning and pining over, the lack
of TV coverage of their activity. I certainly enjoy seeing sailing on TV
when it comes my way but, it is no substitute for being on my boat whether
sailing or just messing around. I think more of my friends who aren't
sailors would have more fun if I asked them to join me for an afternoon on
the water than they would sit watching it on TV.

As recently as 50 years ago most sailboats were carvel planked mahogany
over bent oak frames. Then along came fiberglass, and aluminum, and more
recently Kevlar and carbon fiber. There is probably nothing that would stop
an IACC boat from being built with carvel planked mahogany over steam bent
oak frames, and using cotton sails...except that while it might win the
Nostalgia would almost surely not win the America's Cup.

* From Fietje Judel (Answer to the letter from Holger Hinsch): Good that a
few American sailors still note how accurate IMS works and how close the
results are specially in a diversed Cruiser/Racer fleet. But the hope that
IRC will do a similar job is somewhat blue-eyed. Neither IRC nor any other
single number system can create such good results as IMS , just because
their restricted capabilities. I'm afraid that the American sailors will
have a hard time to realize that.

* From Dick Neville, Storm Trysail Club Commodore: In response to Holger
Hinsch's comments in 'Butt 1708, I was part of the race committee last
weekend and I too found it ironic that we were having such a successful IMS
regatta while promoting the change to IRC for 2005. IMS was a good rule but
attracted only a limited number of boats willing to endure the cost and
complexity. We hope IRC will provide fair sailing for many more boats. IRC
is not the ultimate solution but will improve handicap racing for the next
few years while a widely accepted measurement rule is developed. I share
your hope that IRC will yield similar results at next year's Storm Trysail
Club IRC Regatta (November 5, 6, 2005) but that we will have more boats
than the 25 IMS boats we had this year.

Experience is the comb that life gives you after you've lost your hair.