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SCUTTLEBUTT 1726 - December 7, 2004

Powered by SAIC (, an employee-owned company. Scuttlebutt is a
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talk . . . with a North American focus. Corrections, contributions, press
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welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

When it comes to results, would you prefer to crew and win? Or lead and
place second? Would you prefer to win the Swedish Match Tour championship,
including the $60,000 bonus and BMW 5 Series Touring valued at $85,000, as
a crew for the greatest America's Cup skipper of all-time? Or would you
prefer to do it your way, sailing with childhood friends and making your
own decisions, right or wrong, and winning a $40,000 bonus?

Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen and his fellow Vikings Michael Arnhild, Christian
Kamp and Rasmus Kostner might have the opportunity to do both. For the
first time in the five-year history of the Swedish Match Tour one group of
sailors (Gram-Hansen Racing) is in position to win the championship AND
place second, as both a team and crew. The four Danes spent last summer
crewing for Russell Coutts, the record-setting America's Cup skipper from
New Zealand. But Arnhild, Kamp and Kostner have raced with skipper
Gram-Hansen for the past three to four years, and they've performed well.
Gram-Hansen finished third in the Swedish Match Tour championship in
2001-'02 and 2002-'03. He led the '02-'03 circuit after the first four
events, and has recorded more top-eight finishes, 26, than any other
skipper on Tour.

When they're at home Gram-Hansen works on securing sponsorship for the
team. Arnhild, 27, studies marine geology and Kostner molecular biology.
Kostner says his studies are a welcome break from the routine. "It's nice
to have something different to come home to, but the time away has affected
my studies by about one and a half years." Kamp has put his studies aside
and just works out, having committed himself to the racing lifestyle. "It's
been a busy summer for me. I've done a lot of Farr 40 sailing as well,"
Kamp said. "I sat down last winter and said let's go full throttle and see
how far this can carry me."

The Danes say that sailing with Coutts has mostly shown them how to be more
professional, more than any trick of sailing. "I think we're sailing the
boat pretty much the way his old guys were sailing it, but he's so good
with the details, so I've learned a lot from that," said Kamp. "I've
learned about staying one or two steps ahead all the time. He's always
searching for perfection." - Sean McNeill, Swedish Match Tour website, full

At 0230 and 51 GMT Tuesday Ellen MacArthur crossed into the Southern
hemisphere, setting a new solo benchmark for Ushant to the Equator. "A gust
of wind kicked in just as we approached the 'line' so we sped in to the
southern hemisphere at over 14 knots ... nice," Ellen reported. She was
already more concerned on the next objective - getting around the Saint
Helena anticyclone. Beyond the Equator the breeze is forecast to continue
the trend to the left (further east): "The Equator is well south of the
Doldrums area so we should keep the breeze until we get there and after
that the breeze should slowly free off so we can bear away from the wind
and go faster down the coast of Brazil before plunging down round the high
pressure of the St. Helena High and into the Southern Ocean," MacArthur
said. At 0813 GMT MacArthur lead Joyon by more than nine hours. -

* Talking of life aboard B & Q, MacArthur said: "It's unbelievably hot.
I've been losing large amounts of fluids so I am trying to drink a lot,
particularly when I charge the batteries as it turns the boat into even
more of an oven." What sleep MacArthur has had has been snatched in the
cockpit. ``I think I've only slept on the bunk on the inside twice since
the start,'' she said. ``You feel more comfortable out there, you feel
closer to the boat and closer to the ropes." Salt sores on her hands and
arms are an irritant, though relief is at hand when she gets into the
cooler South Atlantic and Southern Ocean. "It will get colder soon so that
is a positive and a negative. I am looking forward to the south, I really
am." - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, full story:

Team Stelmar in the Global Challenge round the world race has diverted her
course to take an ill Crew Volunteer - 35-year-old Karen Smith from Oxford
- to Puorto Williams, in Chile, just north of Cape Horn. Karen's family has
been informed of the situation and is in communication with Race HQ.
Although the illness is not life threatening, action was taken now before
the yacht rounded Cape Horn and raced into the Southern Ocean, where an
evacuation would prove increasingly difficult. The rest of the fleet is now
at or around Cape Horn, and very tightly packed. Spirit of Sark held a 13
mile lead on Me To You at 20:14:00 GMT Monday with BP Explorer just one
mile further back. However, there are only 11 miles separating the second
place boat from the 10th place boat. -

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Over the past week, Jean-Pierre Dick has been dealing with a major problem
on board Virbac-Paprec. His engine's crankshaft broke and so he has no
engine power at all. The crankshaft drives the alternator pulleys to
recharge the boat's batteries. No energy means no automatic pilot, no
incoming or outgoing satellite communications and no automatic water maker
either. Jean-Pierre does get a bit of energy from the solar panels on the
boat's roof - but only when the sun is shinning. "I've put so much into
taking part in this race that I can't resign myself to the idea of giving
up," Dick said. "I'm going to find ways to keep going. It's going to be
tough - not a lot of fun, not at all. This is gonna hurt." -

Leaders at 0400 GMT December 7:
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Ca, miles to finish 15,294
2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 33 miles to leader
3. Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain, 520 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 673 mtl
5. Ecover, Mike Golding, 718 mtl
6. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1332 mtl
7. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 1363 mtl
8. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 1434 mtl
9. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 1541 mtl
10. Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 1599 mtl
11. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier, 1906 mtl
12. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1911 mtl
13. Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys, 2097 mtl
14. Roxy, Anne Liardet, 2211 mtl
15. Max Havelaar/Best Western, Benoît Parnaudeau, 2313 mtl
16. Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson, 2354 mtl
17. Benefic, Karen Leibovici, 2504 mtl
18. Akena Vérandas, Raphaël Dinelli, 2555 mtl
19. Brother, Norbert Sedlacek, 2664 mtl
Abandoned - UUDS, Hervé Laurent

(The Vendee Globe organizers don't take a view on the integrity of major
repairs, but they are concerned about the spread of the fleet. Race officer
David Adams talks to Elaine Bunting in a story posted on the Yachting World
website. Here's an excerpt.)

For a race in which half or less of all starters manage to finish, this
Vendée has had an unusual record so far. But last week, the casualties
began to mount. Alex Thomson's gooseneck failed, leaving him with a gaping
hole in the deck and potentially serious structural problems for the
bulkhead beneath. Hervé Laurent retired after a rudder failure, and
'something solid' smashed and destroyed Conrad Humphreys's starboard rudder.

Thomson and Humphreys have both stated that will find somewhere to anchor
near Cape Town and attempt repairs. Such serious repairs immediately before
the two yachts enter the Southern Ocean is a possible cause for concern.
Without any independent scrutiny of the quality and integrity of such
repairs, isn't it a dilemma for the race organizers to allow the skippers
to carry on into the worst part of the course?

The answer is no, says David Adams, the Australian sailor who is the race
officer for the Southern Ocean section of the race. "From a commonsense
point of view there's no way that anyone from the race organization could
go and check the repairs," he says. "And also, it's the responsibility of
the skippers to accept what they do and go on. They have to convince
themselves; they don't have to convince us. If you were that silly that you
were just going to paper up a repair and go back into the Southern Ocean
you'd have to ask the question why bother going all the way to Cape Town to
do it?" - Elaine Bunting, Yachting World, full story:

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* Pilots Steve Fossett (USA) and Terry Delore (NZL) broke one of the most
important records in the sport of gliding this past weekend, flying their
ASH 25M high performance sailplane between the Argentine cities El Calafate
in Patagonia and San Juan - a new Free Distance (straight-line) world
record of 2,187 kilometers (1,358 miles). The flight took 15 hours 42
minutes and covered almost 2/3 the length of Argentina - approximately the
same distance as that between New York City and Dallas, Texas. Fossett now
holds world records in five sports - balloons, airships, sailboats,
gliders, and jet airplanes. -

* Navigators Nick White and Peter Isler have developed a new Window-based
'easy to use' tactical, performance, navigation and weather analysis
software package called Expedition. Its features include a chart plotter
that seamlessly rotates, mosaics and moves between charts, zooms and
centers on or ahead of boat; polar functions to output, analyze, create or
modify a yacht's polars; start line and windward/leeward course tactical
support tools; instrument input and output functions to exchange any
Expedition data with your boat's instrument system, including polars and
calibration values; plus routing tools and a stripchart program to graph
instrument functions. For more information:

* The International Foundation for Disabled Sailing's YES Europe Conference
concluded on Saturday 4 December 2004, Amsterdam, Netherlands having hosted
115 delegates from 33 nations. The Conference focused on attracting and
supporting youth who are disabled into the sport of sailing. The
comprehensive Conference program offered numerous workshops over the two
days, which provided the opportunity to learn about best practice,
alongside sharing experiences and networking. Experts from the disabled
sailing world chaired workshops, in between plenary sessions. -

* Nearly 900 young sailors in total are expected to register for the Orange
Bowl (Coral Reef Yacht Club, Dec. 27-30) and at the US Sailing Center of
Martin County (Jan. 15-17) in Club 420s, Lasers, Laser Radials, Laser 4.7s,
Optimists, and Sunfish. The two USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals serve
as training grounds for the upcoming Club 420 Midwinter Championship (Feb.
18-21 at the US Sailing Center of Martin County), a qualifier for the 2005
US Youth World Team. The Team will represent the USA at the Volvo Youth
Sailing ISAF World Championship in China in July 2005. /

* Graves Little Boatyard operated by Charlie Graves has received
certification as an International Optimist Dinghy builder. Graves aim is to
serve Florida and the Caribbean Islands as his primary customers. -

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(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 Wesley Wrightwood (re the mid-level handicap rule announcement):
That noise we are hearing is the international racing community laughing at
the latest round of handicapping 'turf wars' going on by some of the
narrow-minded racing 'leadership' in this country. Obviously, our national
governing body could not stand the thought that some US yacht clubs would
run races under a system that was not invented in the US - that could not
be controlled by US Sailing officials. So a new coalition was formed ...
and US handicap racing is further fragmented. Pity!

After the short-sighted announcement by those self-proclaimed "three top US
yacht clubs," anyone in the US who was thinking of building or buying a
boat for serious handicap racing will certainly put the money back into the
bank - or use it to join a country club. Americap has already failed under
three separate names, so calling it the 'Offshore Racing Rule' will not do
one damn thing to make it popular with the racers - or spread its use to
other events or countries. But the 'fiefdoms' have been protected, which
apparently is what's really important to the isolationists in charge. And
people wonder why racing is shrinking in this county.

* From Mike Weir: One would think that with the rest of the world using
ORC's IRC format for handicapping offshore and inshore rated boats that the
US would do the same and not try to have their own system. In North America
we have a strong PHRF fleet and need an intermediate rule for those
dissatisfied with this system. ORC - IRC seems to be the answer to this
problem as is accepted around the world as the system to use. Going it
alone in the US is a step backward.

* From Todd Jones: It's nice that the Chicago Yacht Club is using a VPP
formula for their race. Perhaps they should actually sail the race before
they pick the wind conditions for scoring though. Using "10 knots,
primarily downwind" last year did not make sense and many boats were
affected in their results.

* Lee Baylor: I afraid that most of the media stories about Tom
Schnackenberg's ability to work for another America's Cup syndicate have it
wrong. Protocol 13.12 (what some call the "Coutts Rule") only applies to
people specifically engaged to train or race as crew aboard the yacht, and
who have done so for more than six months. I have not seen his contract,
but 13.12 almost certainly does not apply to Schnacks as it seems highly
unlikely he was employed to crew in the first place. Therefore, he can
leave and go another syndicate without any concern about Protocol 13.12.
However, there are restriction(s) that might apply to him:

The well-accepted "Fluid Thinking" rule which has been in effect since
1995, and put in effect by the Kiwis themselves after they won in 95, that
(contrary to what the Aussies did with their "Fluid Thinking" design
consortium that supported more than one team) each team must have separate
and independent design teams, and no designer that has designed for one
team may then go off and design for another during the same Cup cycle.
Presumably Tom has been involved in the ETNZ design process this time, and
has contributed intellectually to the process, so he could not go to work
for another team in any capacity. However, the definition of a designer is
now quite narrow and he may not qualify as a designer under the latest
interpretations and be free to go to another team.

* From Richard Walcott: I think too many of your readers missed the point
John Glynn was trying to make in his guest editorial. Obviously some of
your readers didn't notice that he was referring to the pre-Opti age
category? Sure - Opti events can be fun and a lot of "grown-up" events can
be fun for kids as well. But where is the coverage of that aspect outside
of perhaps OptiNews? The general boating media often falls short in
reinforcing how fun sailing can be for kids, and supplementing the actions
parents might already be taking. Whether subliminal, or "in-your-face,"
there needs to be more kid and family-friendly sailing imagery available to
the general public. A number of the regional publications do a good job of
covering families/ kids. But newbies to the sport often go straight to the
national publications.

* From Ryan Helling: The problem with Junior Sailing is once again, that it
is not accessible to most kids. Many yacht clubs provide great junior
program sailing lessons, but are unwilling either to expand or support
racing programs. I began seriously sailing with my local junior program
racing team, and would say it was a key factor in my continued activity in
the sport. Of course, it was ultimately made possible by my parents, who
were able and generous enough to buy me a boat. Most people I know who are
still involved in sailing came out of the same situation. It is sad to see
that the kids who want it the most are usually the ones who don't get it.
Teaching at a junior program, I have seen some great little sailors get
turned away for this reason. A few but not many junior programs offer free
use of boats for racing. We need to look ahead with the logic that although
money is tight, the investment is really being made in future yacht club
members - ones who will really be solid, active parts of the club.

* From Roger Martin: The books that fired my early sailing adventures were
the "Swallows & Amazons" series, including "Coot Club;" "We Didn't Mean to
go to Sea," etc. by Arthur Ransome. Pure fun and adventure in small boats.

* From Roger Vaughan: So sad to hear of Exy Johnson's passing. Great woman.
I was a big fan of both her and her late husband Irving, the old
spellbinder. Amazing couple, sailing all those circumnavs with crews of
college students aboard YANKEE, out for two years at a crack. I had the
great luck to sail with both of them on the schoolship TE VEGA, a 137-foot
stay'sl schooner, from Bermuda to New York Harbor in the Tall Ships event
in 1986. Irving was my watch captain, Exy was on my watch. She was a
pleasure to be around, marvelous on the boat, tending to business in her
quiet way. We motored a lot on that passage. No wind. I always did the
engine room check. She hated it in that space with all that racket. She
gave Irving hang glider lessons for his 70th birthday. He loved it so much
he gave her lessons back. She kept her helmet on the refrigerator at the
family farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. It was red metal flake. I'm sure
Irving is beside himself having Exy back aboard.

* From Ted Garman (Re: the Preview of Key West Week in 'butt 1725):
Jonathan McKee is probably too modest to write about this, but he owns
bronze and gold medals, not bronze and silver - bronze in 2000 sailing a
49er with his brother Charlie and gold in 1984 sailing a Flying Dutchman
with Carl Buchan.

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise.