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SCUTTLEBUTT 1728 - December 9, 2004

Powered by SAIC (www.saic.com), 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.

FOR THOSE WHO ARE STILL INTERESTED . . .
ISAF has just released the final 2004 World Sailing Rankings for the eleven
Olympic Events sailed in Athens in the summer. A very quick scan of the
press release showed a few similarities between the rankings and the recent
medal winners, as well as some pretty amazing stuff. Here are a couple of
items that caught our attention:

- USA 470 Gold medalists, Paul Foerster/ Kevin Burnham, ranked 5th
- USA Tornado Silver medalists, John Lovell/ Charlie Ogletree, 5th
- BRA Laser Gold medalist, Robert Scheidt, 2nd
- GBR Finn Gold medalist, Ben Ainslie, 4th
- BRA Star Gold medalist, Torben Grael/ Marcelo Ferreira, 12th
- CAN Star Silver medalist, Ross McDonald/ Mike Wolfs, 4th
- NOR Europe Gold medalist, Siren Sundby, 1st
- USA 49er, Tim Wadlow/ Pete Spaulding, 2nd
- USA Laser, Mark Mendleblatt, 4th
- BER Star, Peter Bromby, Lee White, 5th
- USA Yngling, Cronin, Filter, Haberland, 4th
- USA Europe Meg Gaillard, 7th
- MEX Europe, Tania Elian-Calles, 10th

For those who want to see the whole report: http://tinyurl.com/4ucxx

PROFESSIONAL SAILING
(From the Mini-Transat to the might of Steve Fossett's mega-catamaran
Cheyenne, and a lot of success in the Open 60 class in between, Brian
Thompson is a vastly experienced and successful offshore racer. The Bang
the Corner website talked to Brian about the one race that has eluded him
so far - the Volvo Ocean Race. Here are some of Thompson's comments.)

"Apart from all wanting to do the Volvo Ocean Race since I was a kid,
this time around the boats are going to be more exciting and demanding to
sail than ever before. The average speeds are going to be near to
multi-hull speeds, especially in the Southern Ocean. At 30 knots life gets
more intense! The closeness of the racing is going to be a big attraction
and the fleet is going to big enough to have close action all around the
course. The points system I like, it keeps the game open for longer. So
there's a lot of motivation to get involved there.

"If I was ever given the opportunity to sail in the Volvo Ocean Race the
decision would start with the people as always. I would want a team that I
would enjoy working with seven days a week (and 24 hours of the day when
you are training or racing). I would want to come out of it with both the
best result possible and some friendships. The leader, the sponsor and the
entire team should have the right attitude and would put everything into
winning, but still be enthusiastic enough about the sailing, the sport and
the adventure to pass that on to the public.

"This time with a new boat, and new format it's going to be a big learning
curve for everybody, and I would hope to be able to learn from the rest of
the team; about sailing, navigation, tactics boat design, sail design -
everything. So to sail with that level of talent and knowledge would be
important. I would hope that the team would be receptive to my experience
of shorthanded racing and of multihulls - these new boats are much faster
and less crewed than ever before. Of course, it would be great to sail on
the fastest boat, but you can never know that until half way around the
world. As long as the team works well together and constantly strives to go
faster, that's all that I could expect. I would just want to make as much
of a contribution as I could, whether that's in steering the boat or
guiding it in the right direction on the race course." - Brian Thompson,
Bang the Corner website, full interview:
www.bangthecorner.com/default.asp?m=da&id=12975

BIG KITE
Sydney to Hobart yacht race skippers have greeted Team AAPT's revolutionary
kite sail with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism but are generally
unfazed about it posing a threat. The revolutionary giant blue kite cost
Team AAPT $25,600 and skipper Sean Langman hopes it will give his 66-foot
skiff, third across the line last year, an increased downwind speed of up
to 20 per cent. The 420sqm kite flies 150m from the boat, designed to reach
winds up to a third stronger than at normal mast heights and help lift the
bow making the boat lighter and faster.

Langman, a 14-year Sydney to Hobart veteran, hoped the kite would give his
smaller yacht a chance to compete for line honors against the 100-foot
maxis like Skandia, which won last year, Konica Minolta and Nicorette.
Skandia skipper Grant Wharington doubted it would give the skiff much of a
speed gain but he was checking whether it had been properly registered on
AAPT's handicap sheet. "I don't necessarily know that they are going to be
that fast but time will tell I suppose," Wharington said. "We are not
considering it for our boat. Launching and retrieval is a bit of an issue
especially in the sort of weather conditions you get going to Hobart."

The kite has been outlawed by the UK-based international racing regulator,
the Royal Ocean Racing Club, but the ban does not begin in Australia until
July 1 next year. The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said there was no
question mark over the sail in this year's race despite the impending ban
with a spokesman saying it complied with current rules. - Canberra Times,
http://tinyurl.com/6955l

EYE WITNESS REPORT
I have witnessed AAPT training with their new kite on Wednesday afternoon
on Sydney Harbour. Some pictures taken the day before while sailing
offshore where also broadcasted, along with a press conference of Sean
Langman. On Wednesday, wind was a Northeasterly at 20-25 knots. Sea was
basically flat on Sydney Harbour. Frankly, the kite (which is absolutely
huge!!!) seemed impossible for the crew to control. and when it was in
control, the boat was not. To be able to keep it flying, they basically,
had to make sure the boat (without any other sails) was following the kite,
wherever that thing chose to go.

As they approached a bit of rock (small island called Australia was in
their way), they basically dumped the kite in the water, successfully
achieving their objective: Stopping the yacht. For a long time. Of course,
the speech of Sean and the manufacturer of the kite (someone with a strong
US accent) was far more optimistic during the press conference. The speed
of the boat looks pretty good, much faster than with a conventional kite.
The hull has a tendency to be pulled up out of the water, so I wonder if
teh boat would take off with a stronger wind. Anyway, to be efficient, the
kite has to be fast, which it is. It also has to go toward Hobart, which is
far less certain. - Reynald Neron

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ELLEN
Ellen MacArthur's 75-foot trimaran B&Q is sailing fast Wednesday night
-19.85 knots of boat speed and a little extra speed from a favorable
current making 20.10 knots speed over ground. Ellen will try to bank as
much sleep as possible in the stable conditions tonight for the tortuous
passage through the South Atlantic over the next few days. The evolving
weather situation in the South Atlantic looks likely to hamper B&Q's
progress, forcing Ellen to sail a more southerly course instead of the
favored south-east course on the direct route. Currently sailing in good 15
knot Trade Winds which is keeping B&Q ahead of the record after 4000 miles,
things look set to change in the next 36-48 hours as the winds back to the
north-west with a depression forming off the Brazilian coast.
Unfortunately, the low is not as strong as forecast and will not provide
Ellen with a fast 'corridor' to the Southern Ocean that she was hoping for.
After ten and a half days she is nearly 16 hours ahead of Joyon's solo
round the world record pace. www.teamellen.com

VENDÉE GLOBE
British sailor Conrad Humphreys has made yachting history by becoming the
first man to change his boat's rudder at sea during the Vendée Globe
single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. Plymouth-based Humphreys, 31,
carried out the difficult repair job off Simonstown, South Africa, earning
a glowing tribute from Sir Chay Blyth, Britain's leading long-distance
yachtsman in the Seventies and Eighties. "It's no mean feat and it must
have taken all of his skills and tenacity to complete the task," said
Blyth. Humphreys had to moor his boat, dive into the water to knock out the
damaged starboard rudder, a carbon fibre structure close to his own weight,
and replace it with the spare, knowing that if he asked for help he would
be disqualified from the 26,000-mile race. - Tim Jeffery, The Daily
Telegraph, http://tinyurl.com/5vzcc

Vincent Riou (PRB) has stretched out his lead to a massive 75.6 miles
tonight over Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle), north east of the Kerguelen Islands,
the latter considerably slower as a possible result of less sail area
through short seas closer to the shallow near shore. Behind this transition
zone the trio of chasers, Roland Jourdain, Sébastien Josse and Mike Golding
are continuing to reduce their deficit as the result of a much better VMG
(speed towards the goal), south west of the archipelago, Golding
particularly keen to get in some northing after spotting an iceberg last night.

Mike Golding encountered his first iceberg of the race Tuesday night. As
the most southerly boat in the Vendee fleet, it was always likely he would
encounter ice before his rivals, and it has prompted him to make some
ground north again. Fortunately, as he crossed the 50th parallel he had
switched on the radar in the hoping of picking up any ice activity, and on
this occasion it did the job. "You have to rely on the radar as your best
evidence," Golding explained, although he said radar was far from foolproof
at detecting ice. "Alarms on radar are notoriously difficult, because they
can pick up waves as well. It's very hard for them to pick up something as
specific as a berg. Icebergs aren't great radar reflectors, and obviously
there are also growlers in the vicinity of the bergs." - Complete
standings: www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/

GLOBAL CHALLENGE
All the yachts have now passed Cape Horn. A low-pressure system has passed
below the fleet today so they are currently in a patch of lighter airs from
the west-northwest between two systems. The next low-pressure system will
cause the wind to strengthen and veer to the northwest over the next
24-hours, benefiting the more northerly yachts first once again, including
closely matched leaders, Spirit of Sark and BG Spirit (separated by just
one mile at 19:44 GMT Wednesday), who will pick up the stronger winds
before those to the south. After diverting to Chile to offload an ill crew
volunteer, Team Stelmar has now charged back into the fleet and has shaken
off last place to Pindar. Under race rules there is no possibility of
redress for time or distance lost. - www.globalchallenge2004.com/en/

NEWS BRIEFS
* In January, the Laser ILCA-NA office will be taken over by One Design
Management based in San Diego, California. One Design Management is a
recent partnership between Jerelyn Biehl and Sherri Campbell that was
formed explicitly to manage one design class associations. Jerelyn comes to
the Laser Class with more than 10 years of experience as the Executive
Director of the International Snipe Class. Sherri, a CPA, has spent many
years helping numerous sailing organizations maintain their finances. She
is also well versed in the needs of the Laser Class, having spent years
traveling to events throughout North America.

* Emirates Team New Zealand launched GER68 in Auckland. The GER68 hull was
built by Illbruck for the 2003 cup and completed by ETNZ for their testing
program. To view launching photographs by Chris Cameron: www.chriscameron.co.nz

* It's not just the solo round the world sailors who have experienced
frustratingly atypical weather in the Atlantic this month: so have the 190
crews taking part in the ARC rally from Gran Canaria to St Lucia.
Two-and-a-half weeks after the start from Las Palmas, only 40 of the
starters have crossed the finish line, after one of the lightest and
slowest ARCs in recent years. - Elaine Bunting,Yachting World,
www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/20041108212212ywarc04.html

* Sailing program organizers and presenters are coming from across the
country to share ideas on how to run a successful sailing program at US
Sailing's National Sailing Programs Symposium presented by Vanguard
Sailboats on January 12-16. The Symposium which takes place at the Marriott
Biscayne Bay in Miami offers three days of workshops, seminars and product
demonstrations from experts including Gary Jobson and Dave Perry. Topics
include junior sailing, community sailing, yacht clubs, windsurfing
schools, commercial schools, camps, Scout programs, college/ high school
programs, sailing coaches, adult programs, adaptive programs, parks &
recreation, and YMCA programs. - www.ussailing.org/training/nsps/2005/.

* The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race closed their entries with 123 boats.
http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/splash/index.html

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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 Mason Chrisman: Regarding the mid level rule situation, I think a
rejuvenated Americap is good for IRC and for all sailors. We all know
competition fosters progress, so competition between IRC and Americap will
probably serve to enhance both over the long run. Nothing results in
meritocracy faster than a monopoly. So let's all watch over the coming
years and hope both these fine rules get better.

* From Richard Shulman: The IRC hype is amazing:
- It is not a universally accepted rule - it has been used in a few
countries for a short period of time with widespread PR
- A single number cannot represent fair rating for different style boats
in buoy racing and distance reaching (Bermuda) and downwind racing (Transpac)
- IRC does not even pretend to measure stability - although IMS did not
get stability correct it must be considered in any serious rating rule
- The argument that a single number system would "even out over time" is
spurious - depending on the sailing conditions we come in first or last and
then I am asked as an owner to commit to many other races/regattas so that
the results will even out over time. This is no way to get more
cruiser/racers back in the game.
- Internationalization of MHS/ IMS only added to the bureaucratic delays
and inefficiencies that contributed to its demise

As a sailor discouraged for many years with the type forming and
international politics of an otherwise robust rule - IMS - I say cheers to
the new ORA effort using the best of the science developed over the past
two decades from MHS/ IMS and Americap in a more user friendly manner and
demonstrating the courage to organize to assure future fairness and
consistency - that is what will bring more sailors back to offshore racing!

* From Bill Gibbs: It's a lot of fun reading about Sean Langman and AAPT's
new kite in the Sydney-Hobart. I'm astounded by Andrew Short's comments
however. "A kite is a lot harder to control". How is it that Mr. Short has
any experience sailing, or sailing against, an Outleader kite? He doesn't.
The RORC ban falls into exactly the same category. People opposed to change
basing their opinions on a total lack of information.

* From Eric C. T. E. Larsen: There was something very subtle in the Swedish
Match Tour article about Jes Gram-Hansen and 'his fellow Vikings' that
deserves comment. The author chose to start with the following two
sentences, "When it comes to results, would you prefer to crew and win? Or
lead and place second?" In these questions the parallel nature of part of
their structures indicates that the author meant to communicate that to
crew is not to lead. On the surface this might seem ok, but might the
author have really meant to say "skipper," "helm," or something else when
he or she used "lead". I have seen great talent and experience get in a
Star boat as crew and lead a less experienced skipper through a regatta. I
have been on big boats and seen someone other than the helmsman, skipper,
or tactician be the true leader on the boat as the team goes on to get it's
bullet. Sometimes leadership even flows between teammates on a boat. The
best performing teams often maximize the collective talents on board and
work to make sure everyone has the greatest opportunity to shine and excel
and then each individually does his or her best to ensure that they deliver
all that they can to the concerted effort. Just something to consider if
you have the authority to call the shots, but are not happy with your
racing program's results.

* From E. Eric Matus (re John Glynn's guest editorial): Hear, hear! I would
love to see more articles on the joys of children afloat. How to prevent
seasickness for kids (yes, it is different than for adults); and
experiences of parents, grandparents, relatives and friends of kids afloat.
My kids started boating as infants under my wife's watchful, white-knuckled
supervision. We tried backpacking our son (once) bumped his head and wound
up securing the pack to the forward saloon bulkhead where he could observe
us in the cockpit. It looked funny but worked like a charm. We secured the
stroller in the cabin of a Catalina 22 on Lake Michigan to watch fireworks
and enjoyed a magical and romantic evening.

I grew accustomed to rigging jack lines from the helm to the head of the
Navy's Catalina 27s in San Diego and Great Lakes so our toddlers could
cruise the padded cabin floor and the cockpit safely. The extra straps and
handles on the toddler sized lifejackets eased my adapting them as
harnesses. Now my teenage daughter loves to relax onboard with her friends
but refuses to help while my teenage son and I love to compete in SoCal
regattas. My wife no longer white-knuckles and has actually happily helmed
Infringer, our Catalina Capri 37. My son, Doug, and I sail the spinnaker
with greater ease a' duo than with full crew. Doug's starting a High School
Sailing Team and I'm now Commodore of my Yacht Club. So let's hear it for
more on sailing with kids!

* From Tim Daniel: I took my 7-year-old son sailing on a club Laser this
summer in a good breeze. He steered, I handled the sheet. He got to decide
when to tack and gybe, and what course to sail on. It was his first real
command. It was a magical moment for a parent. He is still talking about
it, and how he wants to get a Laser of his own when he is a teenager. He
has been out for many beer can races on our keelboat, and he and his
brother go cruising often over the summer. He draws pictures of the boat he
plans to sail around the world - it has a bulb keel and an elliptical
rudder; he hasn't heard about CBTF yet. The answer for a parent that wants
a sailing kid is - take them sailing. Lots.

* From Jonothan Saunders: With all due respect to the winners of the
Amundsen Trophy, I would like to remind all that the first British solo
round the world sailor is John Guzzwell. He sailed "Trekka", starting in
1955-1959, from Victoria, B.C. And at the time it was the smallest yacht to
do so, at 20' 6". Trekka is on display at the Hudson Bay Company store in
Victoria as well. I recollect that most British sailors are knighted for
such accomplishments as his. Regards,

CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Children learn early in life that when mom is mad at dad - don't let her
brush your hair.