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SCUTTLEBUTT 1721 - November 30, 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.

Ed Baird (USA) won his fourth top graded ISAF event in Japan to secure his
solid hold on the top rung of the ISAF open match racing rankings. He now
holds a 200 point lead over second placed Peter Gilmour (AUS), with third
place in the rankings goes to another Australian, James Spithill. Other
than Baird, the only other North American in the top 40 was Scott Dickson
(36), who grew up in New Zealand.

Marie Bjorling (SWE) retains her lead at the top of the Women's match Race
Rankings going at the end of 2004. With a victory in the Swedish Match Cup
in 2004, as well as the Lysekil Women's Match Cup and the Nordic
Championship, she has come back form a rankings holiday to quickly jump
back to the top of the leaderboard ahead of French skipper Claire Leroy.
Leroy herself has regained second position in the rankings ahead of Lotte
Meldgaard - Pedersen (DEN). She has competed in no fewer than ten graded
events in the last 12 months … which is what it takes to excel with this
rating system. Betsy Alison is the top ranked USA female in 9th place with
North American's Liz Baylis (12) and Sally Barkow (14), Paula Lewin
(Bermuda - 15), Sandy Hayes (17) and Elizebeth Kratzig (18) also making the
top 20.

Complete rankings:

"Basically, decided not to push too hard and to be conservative ... sailing
with one reef and the genoa at the moment," said Ellen MacArthur from her
75-trimaran B&Q / Castorama as she attempts to break the single-handed
round the world record. "Got a lot of sleep [ie 2.5 hours], don't feel
great right now, but on the whole it was necessary so that's been quite
cool. Had a bit of a drama yesterday evening just before midnight the main
rudder cassette kicked up and broke two of the fuses. I heard a noise, I
couldn't work out what it was, went all over the boat couldn't see anything
and this was about 2 hours previous and then there was another noise and
that's when I saw the box had kicked up. But what I think may have actually
happened was that maybe in the rough stuff at the begining, the rudder had
been hit hard enough to loosen it and actually stretched the fuses a little
bit and then just as we were sailing along the stretched fuses, one bust
then the other one bust. I couldn't see any marks on the rudder and I
replaced them - pain in the arse job!

"Went through ridge of the high last night. Made a conscious decision not
to put the gennaker up probably would have had it up for about six hours so
decided not to go without it. You know in retrospect I could have managed
but with 20 knots, gusting 23 knots and averaging 17 knots speed over
ground its okay. I am in a different mindset. There is a lot of wind - last
night sailing around 16-17 knots - now up to 23-24 knots and building
constantly, a big sea state and sailing in around 30 knots of wind. I am
thinking of the weather patterns that are coming in and I know it will take
me a few days to settle into the routine of being out here, but it is good
to be out here. The clock has started ticking, it's not going to stop
ticking and I am very aware of that," Ellen concluded.

Winds expected to build to 40 knots by tomorrow midday. Big gybe decision
between midnight and midday. At 0100 GMT on November 30, Ellen was 2 hours
and 27 minutes ahead of the record. The trimaran covered 548 miles in the
first 31 hours. -

Curmudgeon's comment: The Scuttlebutt Gallery has posted some action photos
of Ellen's 75-foot Trimaran on the starting line in Ushant (Ouessant,
France) Sunday morning as she began her attempt at the solo-singlehanded
round the world record:

From his cubicle in an office building in Hyannis, Erin Heskett helps
chart the worldwide course of a unique new research vessel. And soon it'll
be sailing to Cape Cod. Song of the Whale, the International Fund for
Animal Welfare's flagship research and advocacy ship, will drop anchor in
Hyannis this spring to focus attention on the plight of the highly
endangered North Atlantic right whale and raise money for the ship's work.

The 70-foot boat replaced an old ship by the same name that spent much of
the late 1990s researching right whales around the Cape. The boat's
nine-member crew studies whales and educates the public on the need for the
whales' protection. "It's a floating campaign," said Heskett, senior
program officer in the Wildlife and Habitat department at IFAW, a nonprofit
group based in Yarmouthport and Hyannis. At the moment the campaign is
floating in the Mediterranean, where the crew - whose backgrounds include
science, conservation, public education and computing - is conducting a
survey of sperm whales. "In recent years sightings have declined in the
Mediterranean," Anna Moscrop, team and projects manager for Song of the
Whale, said of the sperm whales. "So there's concern about the status of
the species."

The custom-built $2 million ship, launched in London in June, specializes
in non-invasive research. It doesn't use techniques such as tagging that
require contact with whales. Instead, it monitors them with hydrophones -
essentially underwater microphones - that pick up the sounds of various
whale species. The sounds allow researchers to track the number and
distribution of whales, information they pass on to local leaders to inform
decisions on whale conservation issues.

The new boat showcased that technology at its first stop: Iceland. It
sailed there, Moscrop said, because "there's still a government program to
study whales by killing them. one of the reasons we went was to talk to the
public about other ways to study whales," she said. The boat features a
five-blade "submarine type" propeller to limit noise and hydrophone
interference, a "whale-safe" propeller guard, and specially designed
"quiet" engine and generators to cut noise pollution and improve the
quality of the whale recordings. - Marc Parry, Cape Cod Times, full story:

The Orange Bowl is scheduled for December 27-30 in Miami, hosted by the
Coral Reef YC. Large fleets are expected in the Laser, Laser Radial, Laser
4.7 and Club 420 Classes. If you haven't made your plans yet you may be too
late. If you have, Vanguard will be there to help with charter boats and
regatta support. For more information on charters and the event, go to For more information on Lasers, Radials,
4.7s, and the most popular Club 420 on the planet, go to

Vincent Riou (PRB) is holding onto a lead of 39.4 miles over Jean Le Cam
(Bonduelle) with nearly a knot more boat speed than the latter over the
past 4 hours (13.4 knots), the duo 170 miles north of the first of the
southern ocean gates. 43 miles separate them laterally with PRB further to
the south. Roland Jourdain (Sill et Véolia) is also piling on the pressure
in 3rd after racking up the top instantaneous speed of 22 knots, clearly
champing at the bit to get back with his sistership, Bonduelle. The head of
the fleet is preparing to weather its first storm of the southern
hemisphere with winds of 40 to 50 knots forecast for tonight.

Looking at the figures from the 1900 GMT ranking on Monday, it is
interesting to note that the top six have all made over 300 mile averages,
except for Jean Le Cam who has lost 20 miles somewhere along the racetrack
today. Equally puzzling are the self-professed "caveman tendancies" of
fourth placed Sébastien Josse (VMI), revealed to his shore crew this
afternoon. The latter earlier admitted to sealing himself off down below to
escape the breakers that take five hours to recover from, intent on
"completing this Vendée Globe in one piece. Whether his game plan has
changed in the past four hours is difficult to say but what is clear is
that he has the highest boat speed over the past half hour and the past
four, with over 18 knots boat speed. -

Leaders at 1900 GMT November 29:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou
2. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 39 miles to leader
3. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 346 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 367 mtl
5. Ecover, Mike Golding, 554 mtl
6. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 832 mtl
7. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 1057 mtl
8. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 1103 mtl
9. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1127 mtl
10. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 1164 mtl
11. Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys, 1180 mtl
12. Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 1186 mtl
13. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1191 mtl
14. UUDS, Hervé Laurent, 1196 mtl
15. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier, 1258 mtl
16 Akena Vérandas, Raphaël Dinelli, 1351 mtl
17. Roxy, Anne Liardet, 1505 mtl
18. Max Havelaar/Best Western, Benoît Parnaudeau, 1516 mtl
19. Benefic, Karen Leibovici, 1554 mtl .
20. Brother, Norbert Sedlacek, 1939 mtl

It's going to be much more of a fight than I thought it was going to be ...
I feel good about it, but in moments like when I ran out of wind, I've been
wishing I had a few people with me to help with the maneuvers. Yesterday I
missed having a laugh, needed someone to crack a joke. - Nick Moloney, Skandia

"It's a new experience for me having just "one head" to get re-energized,
thinking and working the problem. Four years ago on the BT Global
Challenge, I felt a lot more pressure as leader because during the recovery
phase so much effort is put towards those onboard that couldn't re-energies
themselves on there own. That said, then there were eighteen new ideas
onboard about how we should solve the problem - this time there's only
one." - Conrad Humphreys, Hellomoto

"You learn in the south how to sail at the bottom end of the sail wardrobe.
It's not so much perpetual fear so much as perpetual anticipation for
what's going to happen next, because you can be going along like this, and
everything's hunky-dory, and then something will go bang, or something will
break, or a squall will come through, or a sudden windshift will make you
gybe. It's all very unsettled. At the same time, that's part of the thrill
of it." - Mike Golding, Ecover

"As we're coming close to the Southern Ocean, now is not the time to risk
radical options or attacking like a madman. All in all, nothing has changed
that much. Strategy is the name of the game together with weather analysis
for boat safety." - Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac-Paprec

(The Daily Sail spoke with Russell Bowler, Bruce Farr's main partner and
principle engineering talent at Farr Yacht Design, about the Open 60 class.
Here are some of Bowler's quotes from that story.)

"The Open 60 rule is not very open in lots of ways. It is quite a
type-forming rule - with the 10 degree limit on the heel at the dock with
the canting or ballast system is a major constraint to the design. Although
it is very simple it is a major constraint. So that is what you work around
and you have some freedom about how you work around that constraint, but
it's there all the time. The challenge with the design is to give the boat
sufficient stability to go upwind reasonably and to reach reasonably well
and at the same be light enough to go fast downwind. That is the mix you
have to work between.

"The other half of the equation is to come up with a VPP that accurately
models the things you can change within the class rules," continues Bowler.
"The big part of our job with this research program was to get our VPP
adapted to this style of boat, so it would handle the light displacement,
the multiple appendages, the off-centre appendages, the canting keel and
the fact that you have a sole driver that seldom gets 100% of the boat's
potential. It is so important that the boat is easy to sail and does quite
well on it own and performs by itself to a fairly high percentage of its
total potential." - Quotes from Russell Bowler from a story now posted on
The Daily Sail website,

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The fleet leaders are rounding waypoint 4, marking their departure from the
River Plate and the beginning of their journey south to the Horn. They have
bunched up this afternoon, and now only 9 nm separates first and last,
currently Spirit of Sark and Team Stelmar respectively, although such a
small margin gives the fleet positions little reliability at this stage.
Interestingly, the top 8 yachts are all within just 5nm of each other,
which must be very tense for the skippers and crew, all desperate to get
away to a flying start.

The next few hours will be crucial - with such small distances between
teams, fleet positions will no doubt fluctuate over the coming polls. The
deep, well formed low-pressure system, currently lying off the west of
Chile, will make its way across the landmass of South America and should
intercept the fleet by tomorrow evening. The lead yachts still look to be
in the most advantageous position, set to pick up the stronger winds first.
All low-pressure systems move east, and this system will most likely fill
in from the southwest, benefiting the front-runners and potentially
consolidating any lead developed by that stage. -

The leaderboard:
1. Spirit of Sark
2. Me To You
3. BP Explorer
4. Pindar
5. BG Spirit
6. Samsung
7. Team SAIC La Jolla
8. Barclays Adventurer
9. Team Save the Children
10. Team Stelmar
11. Imagine It. Done
12. VAIO

Debra Veal, who made headlines around the world three years ago when she
rowed alone across the Atlantic, has set off on the high seas once more as
a competitor in the world's toughest amateur yacht race, the Global
Challenge. Veal set off from Buenos Aires yesterday on the 6,000 mile leg
across the Southern Ocean to Wellington, New Zealand on board 'Pindar.'

Veal, 29, from Plymouth, shot to fame in January 2002 when she competed
with her husband in a double handed rowing race across the Atlantic.
However, he soon developed an uncontrollable fear of the ocean leaving her
to continue alone or face the option of giving up. Debra, who was loving
life at sea in a 23 foot plywood boat, saw no reason to stop and rowed on
to become only the fourth woman in history to have rowed an ocean solo.
Since then Veal has launched a career as a professional adventurer,
motivational speaker, author and TV presenter.

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* In a press release issued Monday Andrew Pindar stated, "I am delighted to
confirm that Tracy Edwards has made a full repayment of all money
outstanding from a loan of £550,000 that was made to her in 2002. As we
jointly stated in September when a schedule for repayment was formally
agreed, neither party was in disagreement over the repayment of the loan,
and all concerned are delighted that the matter can now be drawn to a
close. We wish Tracy well for the forthcoming Oryx Cup, which I'm sure will
be a great success."

* 186 sailors raced the Optimist Midwinters over Thanksgiving weekend at
Southern yacht Club in New Orleans, LA. This year the regatta was blessed
with perfect sailing conditions. The top 25% qualify for Team Trials which
will be in Annapolis in May 2005. The top 15 kids get to go to the South
American Championships in Argentina, the next 20 go to Holland for an
Easter regatta and the next 10 go to Lake Garda in Italy. The top sailor
this year was Stephaine Roble sailing with Team MOST from Wisconsin.

* The International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS), a school and center
for maritime preservation based in Newport, has received a leadership gift
for the restoration of the 1831 Aquidneck Mill Building. A grant of
$100,000 from the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust (San Mateo,
Calif.) will help IYRS target toward a 2005 start-date on the project. The
restoration of the Mill Building, a 30,000-square-foot structure located on
the school's campus, will quadruple the school's facilities. -

(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 Morgan Stinemetz: I apparently read the same story in the Key West
Citizen that Doran Cushing read and came to an entirely different
conclusion. My conclusion is that the story was just Thanksgiving weekend
fodder and no new information was offered in that story over what had been
offered earlier. The sub headline in the story, which indicated that
Michele Geslin's and Peter Goldsmith's attorney, Mario Cano, has determined
that the federal prosecutors will try to revive the case, is not supported
in the story itself.

The story headline - Regatta directors may face re-filed charges--is
nothing new. The government has always had the option of going to court
again, but has failed to date to confirm or deny that it will proceed. My
opinion is that this was a non-story story probably cobbled together so
that the paper would have something to run and fill space over a long
Thanksgiving weekend. It should have been killed at an editor's desk before
it saw the light of day.

The things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those who
got there first.