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SCUTTLEBUTT 1722 - December 1, 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.

There are currently ten Transpac 52s in the USA and it is believed that
there are at least six fully committed to a Med circuit from Spain, Italy
and France. The latest news is that there will be 10 European boats by
August 2005 depending on some sponsor deals maybe a few more, so even if
not all the American yachts come over to Europe there will be fantastic
some fantastic racing next year. The Bang the Corner website spoke to Bouwe
Bekking who will be racing on the Transpac 52 Bribon owned by His Majesty
Juan Carlos, the King of Spain. Here are two excerpts from that story.

Bang the Corner: With a mixture of both inshore and offshore racing planned
in next years circuit will your boat be configured specifically for either
inshore or offshore or will there be a compromise made?

Bekking: We have been carefully looking to balance this and we have gone
through a very similar process with our Volvo 70 campaign for Telefonica
Movistar, We have had a very clear plan of attack on this with the design
team at Farr Yacht Design. The average weather conditions for all the
events we will be sailing was also very relevant as there will be a TP52
trophy for the overall winner on points from several Mediterranean events
sailed in 2005. 'Bribon' has been optimized for certain wind conditions
rather than just typical Mediterranean conditions.

Bang the Corner: The Med fleet has decided to allow the use of pro drivers.
This will have an effect on the designs as smaller foil sections etc. can
be used [ref the Swan 601 problems]. Do you think this is a good idea? Will
this not split the fleet in half and produce designs which are not
competitive in another fleet?

Bekking: Spain, Italy and France are fortunate enough to have a lot of
interest from corporate sponsorship for yacht racing, in my opinion it is
logical that pro-drivers are allowed, as in most cases these guys are the
initiators of getting the yacht out there in the first place. Most of the
crews are still amateurs but without the pros they would not have the
opportunity to race on these great boats. However it is still possible for
the amateur driver to beat the professional! Look at H.M. Juan Carlos and
the performance of 'Bribon' over the last 20 years. Also George Andreadis,
Peter De Ridder and Arien Van Vemde just to name a few. It is still
possible for the amateur to beat the pro-driver. Regarding the technical
aspects like foils etc, I don't think that is an issue as the caliber of
the amateurs is such that they can handle them.

Full interview:

American sailor Ed Baird has joined Team Alinghi as a helmsman, alongside
Peter Holmberg and Jochen Schuemann. As world match racing champion for the
second year running, Baird is seen as one of the best helmsmen in the world
in this most demanding discipline. A winner of 17 professional match race
competitions, he also took part in the 1995 America's Cup (as "B" helmsman
for Team New Zealand) and in the 2000 event at the helm of New York Yacht
Club's Young America syndicate. Baird is an eight-time world champion, most
notably in the Laser and J/24 classes. A well-rounded sailor, he competed
in two Whitbread Round-the-World races, is a four-time winner of the Bitter
End YCs Pro-Am Regatta and the only two-time Scuttlebutt Sailing Club
Champion. -

December 1 - The next stage in Team New Zealand's quest for the America's
Cup begins in Auckland today. For the first time since officially launching
their challenge in June, the entire syndicate will gather and training will
begin on the Hauraki Gulf. While the design team have been working for the
best part of a year and members of the shore crew, weather team, sailing
team and operations unit were involved in this year's pre-regattas in
Europe - the entire team, which is closing in on 80 members, have not been
in the same building at the same time.

Following on from their success in Europe where they beat arch-rivals
Alinghi, Oracle and Prada to win the 2004 America's Cup Class championship,
Team New Zealand will spend the next five months in Auckland before heading
to Europe for the next round of pre-regattas, which start in Valencia next
June. The team's race boats, NZL81 and NZL82, are expected to arrive back
from Valencia over the weekend. NZL82 will immediately head to the boatshed
for repairs after its hull was badly damaged in a storm which blasted
through Marseille after the first regatta.

Despite the damage to NZL82, the syndicate hopes to launch into its sailing
programme next week with NZL81 and the former illbruck boat GER68, which
the syndicate is borrowing. In the next few months, Team New Zealand will
also change at least one of their boats into version five of the design
rule, which is a requirement to compete in next year's pre-regattas. -
NZPA, full story:,2106,3113721a1823,00.html

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The two leaders, Vincent Riou (PRB) and Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) are about
to cross the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope from whence they will
penetrate the Indian Ocean, considered as one of the most difficult of all
the oceans. The skippers often have just one desire: to get free of the
zone without damage to find what is known as a more established Pacific
swell. To begin with, the sailors must cross the zone known by scientists
as the meeting of the currents. This meeting of the warm currents off the
Agulhas bank to the south of Africa, stem from the Mozambique Canal
(between Africa and Madagascar) and the cold currents climbing up from
Antarctica, which creates chaotic seas, with variations in temperature that
favour fog and micro-climatic variations. -

Leaders at 1900 GMT November 30:
1. PRB, Vincent Riou
2. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 38 miles to leader
3. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 328 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 359 mtl
5. Ecover, Mike Golding, 503 mtl
6. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 839 mtl
7. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 1168 mtl
8. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1270 mtl
8. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 1296 mtl
10. Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys, 1323 mtl
11. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 1345 mtl
12. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1349 mtl
13. UUDS, Hervé Laurent, 1363 mtl
14. Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 1364 mtl
15. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier, 1418 mtl
16. Akena Vérandas, Raphaël Dinelli, 1520 mtl
17. Roxy, Anne Liardet, 1610 mtl
18. Max Havelaar/Best Western, Benoît Parnaudeau, 1653 mtl
19. Benefic, Karen Leibovici, 1658 mtl .
20. Brother, Norbert Sedlacek, 2060 mtl

"The first week was a shock, thinking of spending 100 days at sea. Now it
seems normal." - Alex Thompson, Hugo Boss

"The weather situation ahead is developing into a real mine field. The
breeze that comes in tomorrow from the WNW will allow our northerly pack to
stretch our legs towards Cape Town. To the south the wind is from the east
and this will keep us locked well to the north of the rhumb line. It will
be vital to keep with the system, as any slow down would see a big shift in
wind direction and an upwind stretch would follow." - Conrad Humphreys,

"Winter sports have started ... balancing act between wanting to go fast,
and the hope to go in a straight line ... big sea, last night was nice
until the (cold) front, but since the wind went up to 50 knots...had a big
wipeout...the wind then dropped a bit, but it was night time, I stayed
careful ... this morning wind back up again. Fully crewed it would be fine,
alone it's hard. Wipeout was pretty bad, I was asleep, you feel it going
... it's too late ... wiped out more than 90 degrees. - Roland Jourdain,
Sill Véolia

"40 knots of wind, 6 meter waves, the boat is diving, surfing, shooting
left, right, banging, crashing ... did too many maneuvers last night, am
now going to look for better average speeds rather than always the best
speed ... moving around the boat on all. Everything taking longer than in
Atlantic ... it would only be fun if I was in the bar tonight to tell the
story." - Sébastien Josse, VMI

Nick Maloney (Skandia) was on the foredeck Tuesday, busy extricating
himself from a spinnaker that was wrapped on the forestay, when suddenly a
huge whale appeared right in front of the boat! "I couldn't believe it, I
was in shock, it happened so quickly," Maloney said. "I saw what I thought
was a breaking wave, but it was a whale! She went by right close to the
boat … would have been a major collision! F******! A collision at speed
with a large whale would have been at best a dent ... at worst
race-ending." -

The entry list for the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 has now closed with a
total of 51 entries representing eight countries including the UK, France,
USA, Canada, Denmark New Zealand, South Africa and the Ukraine:
- Solo: 5 Entries
- Pairs: 42 Team Entries
- Fours: 4 Team Entries

The Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 will also see the largest ever number of
female entries, with one Solo female entry, two Pairs all female team
entries and two Fours all female team entries. Organized by Woodvale Events
Ltd and supported by the Ocean Rowing Society, will start from La Gomera,
Canary Islands on November 27, 2005. Teams will compete on equal terms
within their appropriate class, across a 2,935 mile (2,550nm/ 4,723km)
route, finishing at Nelsons Dockyard, Antigua approximately 55 - 65 days
later. - Excerpts from a story on the Sail-World website,

Event website:

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* After breakneck speeds of up to 32 knots, and consistent averages of
above 20 knots, Ellen MacArthur is now easing up as the wind 'moderates' to
25 knots. The wind direction has allowed Ellen to steer direct route, and
after crazy surfing yesterday she has regained a 1h 33m lead over Joyon's
benchmark. She is now well beyond the 1000 mile mark in her attempt to
break the solo round the world record in her 75-foot trimaran, B&Q. -

* On day four of the second leg of the Global Challenge 'wrong way' round
the world race, only 14 miles separate front and back yachts, and positions
swapping by the hour. Crews have already been describing the conditions as
becoming increasingly colder as the yachts creep ever closer to the
Southern Ocean. The T-shirts and shorts of the first leg will definitely
not be out again until the end of this mile leg. The boats a thundering
along at 7+ knots towards Wellington, New Zealand, which is still some 5500
miles away-

* On Friday December 3rd at 12 noon EST, OLN will re-air their 30-minute
sailing coverage of the Investors Guaranty presentation of the King Edward
VII Gold Cup - the third leg of the Swedish Match Tour. This Grade 1 match
racing event included Russell Coutts, James Spithill, Ed Baird, Peter
Gilmour, Dennis Connor and some two dozen top skippers and crews sailing
IODs at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club last October.

* So you've always wanted to sail in the Rolex Fastnet Race? If you're
between 21 and 60, here's your chance. Challenge Business is entering the
67ft yachts that circumnavigated the world in the 1992 British Steel
Challenge and the 1996 BT Global Challenge in the race which starts on
August 7. For £2,875 you can crew on one of the boats the guidance of a
professional skipper and mate. That package includes full training, branded
race clothing, oilskin hire, race insurance, optional sailing sprint back
to Southampton, an invitation to the prize giving and a team photograph. -

* Simon Wickham, the Chief Executive Yachting New Zealand since July 2000,
will be leaving in February of next year. Wickham has secured the role of
Chief Executive of the Trusts Stadium in Waitakere City where he will lead
a team responsible for the development and management of the recently
opened Stadium. Wickham leaves Yachting New Zealand on February 12 and will
compete in the Two-man Round North Island Yacht Race before starting his
new post on March 7 at the Trusts Stadium. -

* The restoration of Gipsy Moth IV will be masterminded by John Walsh, 64,
who has been appointed project officer by the UK Sailing Academy. He has an
extensive sailing background and has been an RYA Examiner for Yachtmaster
(Offshore) and (Ocean) for 25 years. During his association with the
Academy he has commissioned eight new build yachts, piloted their Caribbean
Ocean Training Operation and Celestial Navigation Training. John has also
cruised the Channel and Brittany coast in his own boats over the years. -
Yachting Monthly,

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

(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be
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* From Andrew Yeager: Appreciate your great coverage of sailing worldwide
and this week's report on the Chicago Yacht Club's annual Timme Angsten
Regatta. As graduate of this fine sailing school, it should be noted that
the correct name of "Michigan University" is the "University of Michigan."
Go Blue!

* From Tom George: I read your story about IFAW and thought that it was
important to express the other side of whaling. I was born in Cape Cod
Hospital and grew up on its salty shores. Many a Cape Codder, or bogger,
have looked to the sea for adventure, fortune and sustenance. To that end,
as the preservation of a way of life, I believe that it should be every
Cape Codders birthright to hunt at least one whale in a lifetime. Perhaps
it could be per family or neighborhood or whatever, but letting all that
blubbery goodness float around untapped is a travesty.

Ham and Eggs: A day's work for a chicken; a lifetime commitment for a pig.