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SCUTTLEBUTT 1724 - December 3, 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.

SCHNACK WALKS THE PLANK
The evolution of the new Team New Zealand continued yesterday with the
dumping of design guru Tom Schnackenberg. Managing director Grant Dalton
said in a statement that the board had decided when considering the
resources for the 2007 challenge that Schnackenberg's role had diminished
to such an extent that the best solution was for him to leave the team.
"Tom Schnackenberg has made a massive contribution to New Zealand's
America's Cup teams through good times and bad," Dalton said. "It is a
testimony to Tom, and a graphic demonstration of how the America's Cup
design process has evolved, that the roles he once filled alone are now the
responsibility of several people."

Schnackenberg refused to comment last night, but in the same statement said
that the evolution and expansion of the team's design capability meant that
many of the functions he once performed were now occupied by people in
fulltime positions, which had reduced his role to that of an adviser. The
parting, which is understood to be amicable, wasn't entirely surprising.
The culture within the Emirates-sponsored syndicate has changed since
Dalton was appointed managing director in April last year. He has gripped
the syndicate with both hands and has shown he is unafraid to make changes
and is not bound by anything or anyone.

Although Dalton had been critical of Schnackenberg's tendency to be
indecisive, there did not appear to be any obvious friction between the
pair. Schnackenberg's demise may simply be the result of a new team going
forward, and he may not be the last to go. The cup protocol, which was
changed to prevent Russell Coutts from joining another team following his
sacking from Alinghi, will also stop Schnackenberg from joining another
syndicate. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald,
www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=4&ObjectID=9001518

K-CHALLENGE SYNDICATE
The French K-Challenge America's Cup syndicate named a 'developmental
sailing team' to develop the technology needed for the America's Cup,
including sails, hulls and keels. "Having used the three Louis Vuitton Acts
in 2004 to test 35 crew members," said skipper Thierry Peponnet, "we have
selected, for the next step in the program, those that seemed the most
appropriate and complementary to achieve two main goals:
- Guarantee an efficient and quick technological development of our boats.
- Ensure an essential team balance to reach the best possible sailing level.

Included on the international sailing team are: Albert Jacobsoone (FRA),
Sean "Doogie" Couvreux (USA), Dawn Riley (USA -also the General Manager),
Benoit Briand (FRA), Thierry Douillard (FRA), Olivier Douillard (FRA),
Bruno Dubois (FRA), Teva Plichart (FRA), Peter "Billy" Merrington (AUS),
Jean Galfione (FRA), Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA), Sebastien Col (FRA),
Cameron Appleton (NZL), Tanguy Cariou (FRA) and Simon Fisher (GBR). Other
people will join the program during this development phase.

The Design and Shore Teams will work on the boats from mid-January 2005,
and tests will follow in February and March. The full sailing team will
arrive at the end of March to start sailing and testing with a two-boat
program. A new keel, mast and sails will be ready for spring. The
K-Challenge plans are set for 2005, with a goal to being more powerful in
the 2005 Louis Vuitton Acts.
http://kikaa.nnx.com/k-challenge/index.php.fr

VENDÉE GLOBE
The leading duo are 470 miles west of the Prince Edward Islands, just 30.1
miles now separating Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) and Vincent Riou (PRB), the
latter 116 miles north-east of Jean in lateral terms, making 40 knot
averages downwind. The duo are currently slowed up in west north-westerlies
while third placed Roland Jourdain (Sill et Véolia) has fallen into a calm
transition zone for the time being, about to be caught up by a depression.
Sébastien Josse (VMI) is south of the latter depression and has tacked into
40 knots of wind while just over 50 miles back, Mike Golding (Ecover) looks
set to hit 35 knots on the nose slightly further south. Heading for a
mooring in a bay off Cape Town tonight to try and single-handedly repair
the broken support structure of his gooseneck linking the boom to the mast,
the good news for Alex Thomson is that the weather situation is set to ease
ahead of him making it easier for him to protect the boat as the seas
become more ordered. He is currently 987 miles from Cape Town making 12
knot averages over the past 4 hours. - www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/

Leaders @ 0400 GMT on Friday
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 16580.5 Distance to finish
2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 8.4 miles from leader
3. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 368 mfl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 480 mfl
5. Ecover, Mike Golding 550 mfl

QUOTE / UNQUOTE
I just furled up the blast reacher, and up on the bow everything is smoke
[fine spray from the crashing waves around the boat is it ploughs through
the sea], it is just going off, very very wet. I hand steered through day
break to get deeper and keep bigger sails up for longer, but I was just
getting washed off the deck....it was a bit out of control. Now we're doing
15 to 16 knots, taking a bit of breather as I'm expecting the height of the
depression in next few hours, and I think we are going to see 40 knots,
already seen good bursts of 36. - Nick Moloney, Skandia

"This is a complete flyer, but it did occur to me that all the boats in
front of me have transom-hung rudders. I believe there was a bit of
broaching going on, so I do wonder if they've been having control problems.
PRB is the only exception to that, he's got the rudders underneath the boat
but I know he's a bit nervous about when they kick up, and they have kicked
up accidentally." - Mike Golding, Ecover

BIG TIME RACING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!
Key West Race Week is just 7 weeks away and it's time to check your running
rigging. Get down to your rig shop or retailer and pick up some new Samson
halyards, sheets or control lines. Familiar names like XLS Extra and
WarpSpeed have new looks with the addition of white covers. Apex and
AmSteel are our high performance single braids and Lash IT! is "duct tape
on a string." If you've been having trouble with your polyester covers
melting on the drum ask for ICE or Black Ice to cool down your problems.
http://www.samsonrope.com

MEDICAL EMERGENCY
Onboard the Oyster 53 Tallulah of Falmouth sailing in the Atlantic Rally
for Cruisers, 55- year old crewmember Ron Parker, from Balcombe in the UK,
suffered a severe injury to his finger late on Tuesday 30 November. In the
rolling Atlantic swell, his finger was crushed as the heavy insulated
freezer top fell back, breaking the bone and causing a nasty wound. Ron was
treated onboard, and remote medical advice was obtained from the
International Marine Emergency Centre in Rome. However, with the yacht
still at least six days out from St.Lucia, there was a significant risk
that Ron might lose his finger.

Skipper Fred Neale, also contacted ARC organizers World Cruising Club, to
pass on a request for additional medical supplies from other yachts close
to their position. Via the ARC Fleet Net, several yachts responded, and on
Wednesday afternoon the Italian Sweden 45 Marival met with Tallulah to
transfer supplies of sterile dressings and extra painkillers. Later that
afternoon, they were joined by the German Hallberg Rassy 53 Jasika IV who
had a surgeon and a nurse on board. Owing to the sea state, Dr Gerhard
Trömer and his assistant Edger Willie, then swam across to Tallulah,
complete with a mobile sterile operating unit. They were then able to set
the broken bone and stitch up the wound to Ron's finger. As a result of
their efforts the chance of infection is greatly diminished and the
prospects of saving the finger much improved. - www.worldcruising.com/arc

CAPE COD WHALING
According to an email we received from Mark Eustis, whaling is permitted
off Cape Cod under the following conditions:

1. To be eligible to participate in the hunt, you must prove at least ten
generations of permanent local ancestry in Barnstable, Dukes, or Nantucket
county,

2. Only shore-based open boats and equipment identical to that in active
use ten generations ago may be used in the pursuit,

3. Only incorporated towns or villages extant ten or more generations ago
within Barnstable, Dukes, or Nantucket counties are eligible to float a
maximum of one boat and named crew per year,

4. Every town or village sponsoring a boat and crew must vote, on a yearly
basis, and in accordance with their local laws and regulations regarding
quorum and rules of order, as to the interest of the populace to
participate in the pursuit,

5. Each landed prize must be processed and consumed in its entirety within
the county from which the landing boat has originated,

6. One landing per county, per year, is the maximum allowable limit, and is
subject to current IWC regulations on Sustained Management Stocks, as
applicable to Cape Cod and its near-shore region; any boat losing more than
33% of struck whales will automatically forfeit that year's operations and
be required to sign a new crew,

7. Compliance will be monitored by expert observers assigned to each boat
by the IWC (www.iwcoffice.org/index.htm), paid for by the operating budget
of the pursuing boat.

8. Failure to comply will result in the loss of whaling privileges by all
boats within the County of origin of the offending boat for one generation.

NEWS BRIEFS
* Russell Coutts will be racing with Hasso Plattner aboard Morning Glory at
the forthcoming Rolex Trophy series being held December 11-13. Coutts will
sail with Plattner right through to the 2005 Rolex Farr 40 World
Championship including the pre world's regatta. Racing will be conducted by
the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, on the southern offshore circle off
South Head outside Sydney Harbour, which will be the same racetrack for the
Rolex Farr 40 worlds in March 2005.

*The first ten yachts in the Global Challenge round the world race are
still only separated by 32nm but BG Spirit has squeezed a 7nm advantage at
the top over 2nd place Spirit of Sark in tricky light airs. It has been a
frustrating 24-hours for the crews - not only have the conditions been
lighter than expected, but fickle and unpredictable winds have brought
endless sail changes and rapid changes in wind speeds.
http://www.globalchallenge2004.com/

* Francis Joyon reached the equator in 9 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes on his
solo round the world record. Routing models show B&Q crossing the equator
on Tuesday, also Ellen's MacArthur's 9th day at sea. At 0413 GMT Friday
Ellen was 2 hours 11 minutes behind Joyon's record. - www.teamellen.com/

* All three super maxis entered for the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney
Hobart Yacht Race will be based on Sydney Harbour from next week as they
prepare for their line honours battle in the ocean classic, now just three
weeks away. New Zealander Stewart Thwaites has already raced his 98-footer
Konica Minolta in the Savills SORC regatta in Sydney, Ludde Ingvall's new
90-footer Nicorette will have its first sail this weekend, and Grant
Wharington's Skandia, also a 98-footer, is due from Melbourne on Sunday.

* The latest television program from the Swedish Match Tour, covering the
Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup, can be
viewed online at the Tour's broadband Web site, www.swedishmatchtour.tv/.
The half-hour program features Russell Coutts winning his record seventh
championship.

A DAILY REMINDER OF WHAT WE'D RATHER BE DOING
For everyone who'd rather be out on the water, International Crew's
Nautical Luxuries collection has five new nautical calendars for 2005. From
Benjamin Mendlowitz' exquisite Calendar of Wooden Boats, to the
freeze-action shots on Sharon Green's Ultimate Sailing calendar; from
Alison Langley's Under Sail calendar of classic sailing yachts, to Classic
Motorboating magazine's celebration of the golden age of boating, and Onne
van der Wal's spiral bound World of Boating Desk Calendar, each is a
beautiful reminder of what we'd really rather be doing. Preview the 2005
calendars and hundreds of other nautical luxuries online at:
http://www.nauticalluxuries.com/php/index.php?sc=58


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 Peter Johnstone (edited to our 250-word limit): Many sailors think
their children will simply take up sailing. Your child will only sail if
you make the commitment in time to really sail with them, and make it fun
for both of you. Get a Sunfish or Hobie Wave and take them sailing as much
as possible. Pack picnics, explore, play pirate. And sooner is better.
Anytime from toddler on up. Time with your child in a small boat is
critical. When they show some ability, let them sail solo on a gentle
morning. Glide along in a kayak or row boat...just in case. As the 8th
birthday nears, get them an Optimist, and start in the very friendly green
fleet. Like most sailors, I had a negative view of the Optimist class.

My son Nick has now been racing Optimists for a year. He started late. If I
could do it all over again, I would have started him in Optis much sooner.
He has Opti friends that will last a lifetime. He's benefited from
excellent coaching, and most importantly, he is having great fun. In every
sport you will find 'little league' parents and pressure. The US Opti Class
seems balanced and relaxed these days. It has mature leadership, and
coaches with a healthy outlook. The class must be doing something
right...430 boats at Nationals, and little informal regattas at tiny clubs
with 100+ boats. John, join the fun. You and your children will have the
time of your lives.

* From Alison Knights Bramble, British Virgin Islands Watersports Centre
(edited to our 250-word limit): What a refreshing article at the top of
Scuttlebutt this morning! As the Principal of an RYA Training Centre I
sometimes wonder where the word 'fun' disappears to in many things that I
read too! We are blessed with idyllic, warm, conditions year round here in
the British Virgin Islands and so 'playing around' in and out of the water
is a pleasure, but we used to do exactly the same kind of activities on the
east coast of England - the kids just had more layers on! It is incredibly
important to vary the activities when the children are small and even as
they grow into young adults and become accomplished boathandlers, there is
nothing better at the end of a session on the water than a game of Pico /
Laser or Oppie basketball! 'Hiking' becomes hilarious to the 7 year old
Oppie sailors because they have competitions to see how much of their head
they can submerge!

Kayaking is so much more fun on occasions than trying to make your dinghy
move in 2 knots! John Glynn is so correct about the other influences on
growing children, even on a small island like Tortola there are many other
sports to try out and this is healthy. If we can welcome the junior sailors
back each time they come and sail in a safe and fun environment, we won't
lose them from the sport - they will enthusiastically continue to learn
their seamanship and racing skills.

* From Laurie Fullerton: Guest editor John Glynn makes a good point about
the lack of coverage on children in the sailing press. As someone who has
reported on many amateur sailing regattas for both adults and children, I
must say that it is tough enough to get sailors to talk to a reporter after
a long day on the water, but it is nearly impossible to get children to
talk - full stop. All too often an eager journalist might arrive at a
junior yacht club to write about a fun event and find it impossible to get
more than "good," "yup" and "nope" out of a child. This shyness is normal
so parents could do more to promote children in sailing and encourage them
to speak about their love of the sport.

* From Jordan Murphy: It is very telling I think to read the comments and
view the videos from the competitors of the Vendee Globe. All deserve the
utmost respect for even attempting such a feat and I cannot see a bigger
sailing challenge. What I enjoy is the contrast of the French vs. the
others, the aforementioned seem to take all in stride, and are videoing
fish, and making fun of the equatorial crossing, while others speak of the
physical and mental trials. I would never profess to stand up to the race,
but I always wonder what it is in the French that enable them to be at the
top in the long distance short handed sailing. C'est la vie perhaps.

* From: Reynald Neron: I was surprised to see that the Curmudgeon is
publishing April 1st messages on December 1st. Tom George wants to kill
whales as it was once done, I am wondering if, to preserve a way of life,
an American should also be allowed to go and kill an "American Indian?" I
should mention that there is no such thing as birth rights. We do not
inherit earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.

* From Donald Brewster: Many of us "greyhairs" remember powerline
near-death incidents from dinghy events in the 60's: when big traveling
fleets took off, clubs used parking lots, fields across the street, etc. to
stage trailers and ever-larger one-design turnouts. I seriously deflected
an overhead powerline when hauling a trailered Finn clear of a YC launching
ramp (saved by wood mast?); several years later the same -still
un-relocated- line electrocuted a junior sailor (for which that YC lost
millions in court). Powerlines over water are generally marked on charts
(but hanging them low surely constitutes negligence); powerlines over club
lawns, launching ramps and parking lots are not. Wherever sailors see high
voltage hung in harm's way, it's best if we bring the matter to the
attention of the power company or property owner before anyone else gets
zapped: the only current I want to have to deal with is tidal.

* From Chris Boome: A few weeks ago I had sent off an opinion along the
lines that it's not how fast the boats go, but how they transmit the
information that makes it exciting to watch these races going on around our
planet. Well, the absolute best info I have seen is from Ellen MacArthur's
website, where you can click on the instruments and get all of the info,
updated hourly I think. This morning, I sent an E-mail to Commander's
Weather about how come Ellen wasn't heading more on the rumbhline. Ten 10
minutes later I get the following response: "Hi Chris, Nice call, we just
gybed - there is a method to our madness. Thank you. Ken Campbell,
Commanders' Weather Corp."

Now that is really cool!

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
A friend was on a diet for a month … and all he lost was 31 days.