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SCUTTLEBUTT 1739 - December 24, 2004

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'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck;
how to live in a world that's politically correct?
Four reindeer just vanished, without much propriety,
released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves."
Vertically challenged they were now calling themselves.
Both the hours and conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by their union to stifle the soul.

Equal Employment had already made it quite clear,
he had better not employ only reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs--you think that looked stupid?

All the runners were removed from Santa's sleigh;
the ruts were deemed dangerous by the E.P.A.
Besides, people had started to call for the cops,
when they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

To demonstrate the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing for unauthorized use of his nose.
He went on Geraldo; and in front of the nation,
and demanded a couple million in compensation.

Half the reindeer were gone; along with his wife,
who suddenly decided she'd had enough of his life.
She joined a self-help group, and left in a whiz,
demanding forevermore he address her as Ms.

As for the gifts, why, he had never a notion,
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
this meant nothing for him, and nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls, or just for the boys.

Nothing that hinted of being gender specific.
And nothing that's warlike or non-pacifistic.
No candy or sweets...they're bad for the tooth.
And nothing that seems to embellish a truth.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed.
He simply couldn't figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry; he tried to be gay,
but one has to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, flung on the ground.
Could anything acceptable ever be found?
Something special was needed to make the day bright,
a gift that won't anger the left or the right.

An offering that would satisfy, with no indecision,
each group of people, and every religion.
So here is his gift, its price beyond worth,
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

The Swedish Match Tour concluded the 2004 calendar year as it began; with
Ed Baird (USA) and his Team Musto crew turning a massive deficit into a
light-air victory. Last month, Baird and crew Andy Horton, Piet Van
Nieuwenhuyzen and Jon Ziskind were dead in the water at the start of the
third flight in the final of the Nippon Cup. But they turned it around and
came back to win the race, and the final 3-0. At the Congressional Cup last
April, Baird and Team Musto turned a 1-minute, 41-second deficit at the
windward mark into victory in a light-air final. Baird also won the
Portugal Match Cup last July against Russell Coutts in another light-air,
see-saw affair that saw more lead changes than a headsail trimmer on an
America's Cup Class sloop.

In his last four events Baird has scored two firsts and a third, and at the
midpoint of the sixth Swedish Match Tour season he heads the leaderboard
with the high score of 65 points out of a possible 100 points. Baird is 20
points ahead of both Coutts and Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN), who are tied for
second with 45 points. Reigning Tour champion Peter Gilmour (AUS), skipper
of the Pizza-La Sailing Team, is fourth with 42 points. Staffan Lindberg
(FIN) is in fifth with 26 points, 39 points behind Baird.

Looking forward to 2005, the Tour is in negotiations with three events
about joining the Tour. But the big question is whether Baird will be able
to continue his fine touch. Baird had great speed on the racecourse in '04,
which got him out of a lot of trouble. But, the newest helmsman to join
Switzerland's Team Alinghi in its defense of the America's Cup will
probably have to sail with an Alinghi crew. Will a new crew upset Baird's
balance? Will Gilmour regain his winning ways and make a bid to become the
first repeat winner of the Tour championship? Will Coutts continue to win
whenever he enters? - Sean McNeill

2004 SMT Statistical Highlights (combined results form the second half of
the 2003-'04 season and first half of the 2004-'05 season)

Most wins:
1. Peter Gilmour 106-46
2. Ed Baird, 67-26
3. Gavin Brady, 62-31

Most championship points:
1. Peter Gilmour, 139 points (9 starts)
2. Ed Baird, 106 points (6 starts)
3. Russell Coutts, 95 points (4 starts)

Best winning percentage:
1. Russell Coutts, 73.9 percent (51-18)
2. Ed Baird, 72.0 percent (67-26)
3. Peter Gilmour 69.7 percent (106-46)

Most prize money:
1. Russell Coutts, $127,343
2. Ed Baird, $91,235
3. Peter Gilmour, $84,758

Full story:

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

The ice field lying in the path of the solo Vendée Globe sailors showed how
dangerous it can be yesterday when Sebastien Josse hit a growler, one of
the small, virtually submerged masses of ice which can be deadly to a
lightly-built racing yacht. Josse, who was in fourth place, stopped VMI,
lowered the mainsail and inspected the damage. He did not appear to be at
risk and resumed a normal course and speed, though VMI's bowsprit and bow
rail were damaged. The incident took place at 15.30 GMT, night time for
Josse, who is now some 500 miles south-east of New Zealand. The race's
astonishingly fast pace continues, and it is possible that the winner could
finish in fewer than 90 days. - Tim Jeffery, the Daily Telegraph, full

Leaders at 1900 GMT December 22:
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 10,628 miles to finish
2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 10 miles to leader
3. Ecover, Mike Golding, 245 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 310 mtl
5. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1008 mtl

Complete standings:

The 60th Anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race looks set to be firmly
in the tradition of its predecessors. The Hobart has a well-earned
reputation as one of the toughest ocean races in the world, and early
indications are that 2004 will test the crews and their boats thoroughly.
Barry Hanstrum, the Regional Director (NSW) of the Australian Government
Bureau of Meteorology has issued a preliminary outlook that is full of
southerly winds. Spectators should see a spectacular spinnaker start in
light to moderate southeast winds, and these will turn northeast during the
afternoon allowing the yachts to rehoist their chutes for a downhill run
along the New South Wales coast. It will be a wonderful day for sailing.

However, Hanstrum says that on Monday the conditions will deteriorate, with
freshening north to northwest winds ahead of a gale force southwest change
reaching the far south coast of NSW during the morning, about the same time
that the front runners should be getting ready to launch themselves into
Bass Strait. The change will extend up the coast, reaching Sydney Monday
evening. Southwest gales with stronger rainsqualls will welcome the lead
boats off the Tasmanian coast on Tuesday, with very rough seas and a heavy

The forecast would appear to be good news for the Volvo 60's though. Water
ballasted and built for the southern ocean, they will relish the lively
conditions, especially if the supermaxi's are forced to sail
conservatively. A lot will depend on just how much distance they give the
bigger boats on that first day. For the smaller boats it is going to be a
very uncomfortable ride. They will have more of the gale to sail through
but will hope that, as compensation, they get northerlies after the big
boats dock in Hobart. That could turn the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart into a
small boat race. - Peter Campbell, full story:

* Russell Coutts will not rule out being able to take part in the next Cup
in Valencia in 2007, despite ongoing legal issues which may prevent him
from doing so. Coutts was sacked by the America's Cup holder Alinghi
earlier this year, and he is contesting the validity of a rule which
prevents him from joining another syndicate and competing in the 2007
regatta. He says lawyers from the respective parties have established a
timetable to try and resolve the situation, and he hopes he still may be
able to take part in the next Cup.

* Ellen MacArthur's B&Q is losing time on Joyon's round the world record.
However, the moderate conditions have allowed Ellen an opportunity to
thoroughly check the 75-foot multihull in preparation for the Christmas
storm. The NW breeze is forecasted to start increasing Thursday night and
building to gale-force by Christmas Eve night - could be 60 knot winds and
40-foot seas. Her lead on Joyon's record pace in now just seven and a half
hours. -

* On December 26, the Bitter End YC's Pro Am Regatta and its participants
are front and center on the Fine Living Channel's Fantasy Camp TV Show.
Watch Russell Coutts go head to head with Ed Baird and Lowell North take it
to Butch Ulmer in a battle of sail-making legends - with guests of the BEYC
crewing. You might even see the Curmudgeon. The Fine Living is channel 232
on Direct Satellite TV and is also found on various cable providers and
available for certain DISH TV subscribers. For the schedule in your area,

* Swarovski Crystal continues its Power of Love Campaign in an effort to
raise awareness for the number one killer of women - heart disease. In
addition to a $125,000 donation to the American Heart Association,
Swarovski is donating $25,000 to sponsor registered nurse and sailor,
Maureen Roddy, of Rhode Island. Roddy is sailing the 2005 Bermuda 1-2 Yacht
Race from Newport to Bermuda. In honor of this event, she has named her
boat the Red Dress, and, like Swarovski, is hoping to educate women about
the risks of heart disease. -

With each passing year, we here at Scuttlebutt are ever more thankful for
the devoted community of 'Buttheads that join us for each issue of the
newsletter, and our committed advertisers that help make this all possible.
We certainly hope that the holidays provide you with some joyful time with
family and friends, and that your health remains strong. Also, if you were
hoping for just one more greeting card to arrive this week, enjoy the
following from 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 Bob Klein: What were US Sailing and Mount Gay thinking when they
selected these venues? I mean come on, since when were Pascagoula, Miss.,
Blue Point, N.Y., Houston, TX, Boston, Mass, And Westport, Conn. Considered
epicenters of sailing? What happened to Miami, FL, Annapolis MD, and
Newport RI?

* From Richard Goldsmith, Perth Australia. I sail on a Bakewell White 36ft
(BW 36) also known as a Foundation 36 (F36) - of Australia Cup. 3 yrs ago
the class, 11 yachts decided to go IRC. We all had same hull, 2 mast
heights, 2 keels. The 1st measurement was arranged for a morning and we all
read the IRC handbook on preparing the yacht for weighing ie empty of
everything except batteries and permanently fitted items and interior.
Filled out and signed the forms and cheque (US$300) -10mins. A cradle was
set up near travel lift pen, with scales under 4 corners, travel lift
placed each yacht in approx 10-15 mins each. Measurer then takes digital
photos of interior as weighted. You take largest headsail, mainsail and
largest spinnaker and measurer them 30mins, hull and spar physical
measurements float markings fwd and aft 20-30mins. Rating certificates
arrived about 7 days later.

The 6 yachts that sail in the ocean, rate very favourably against 65ft and
sports boats. The beauty of IRC is a very large pool of diverse yachts
across the world as a base data set, with a secret rule, that is tweeked
each year, to return all yachts to a standard base rule. The optimising
that has occurred has been in spinnaker pole length, spinnakers, and
headsail size. After 100+ races we have not had one rating protest. The
biggest single difference in the fleet is crew and no one's invented a
rating rule for that yet.

* From Garry Hoyt (edited to our 250-word limit): As an old Snipe sailor, I
am well aware of the crew companionship value, which clearly adds an
important facet to the attractions of sailing. But there is no escaping
the fact that the best skills--and the best sailors--come from
single-handed training. Witness Russell Coutts, Robert Scheidt and Ben
Ainslee to name a few. There is a vital synergy between trimming the sheet
and turning the tiller, that only the single-handed sailor acquires. There
is simply no better way to grasp all the fundamentals and manage the
responsibility for your own actions, than learning to rig, launch, sail and
land your own small boat. Just as you cannot be a pilot until you solo the
plane, you are not really a fully prepared sailor until you can solo a
boat. Embracing that reality as the best starting point will in no way
limit the growth of a sailor into other boats.

It is worth noting that all those sports whose wider participation we
envy--like fishing, skiing, golf, tennis, roller blading, surfing--all are
based on individual control of the equipment. Obviously there is nothing
exclusionary or anti social about any of these activities, nor is there
about single-handed sailing. In fact my experiences with the Finn and
Sunfish classes demonstrated a closer bonding with single-handed
competitors than with any other kind of sailing. So in the search for
better growth in sailing, single-handing is a strength to be nourished, not

* From Eric Matus (edited to our 250-word limt): Reading about the Jules
Verne Trophy's; world 24h record (706.2 miles at an average of 29.29
knots); Ellen McArthur's B&Q and other similar feats of the last few years
points out that the materials and performance to make wind and alternative
power viable for today's commercial and military requirements are
here! Just image a 400' version of Cheyenne silently hunting
submarines. Running at its potential hull speed, using a combination of
wind, solar, and fuel cell power, it could locate its target (with passive
technology made effective by its silent propulsion) and launch a strike
before the submerged target is aware it is being stalked?

Bernard Smith's book, The 40 knot Sailboat, about the Navy's effort to
design hydrofoil sailboats in the 1950's may be matched or even surpassed
in the next few years. Imagine the cost savings and the warfighter's
'force multipliers' that can be achieved with a blend of information age
and advanced sailing technologies applied to anti-submarine warfare. Think
also of the advances in knowledge a 200 foot version of Cheyenne outfitted
for exploration of the seas could accomplish - silently tracking whales and
other animals on their annual migrations could open a new era of
discovery. Extended duration made possible without the need to carry huge
tanks of fuel could make longer term studies of aquatic life
possible. Anticipation of the application of the many new technologies in
commercial, scientific, and military arenas is very exciting!

* From John J. Ford: Thanks to Cameron McIntyre for his thoughts on parent
sailors and their children, for they triggered many fond memories of my
sailing parents. My parents did more than instill an affinity for
sailing. From sailing Saturday mornings at the Winthrop Yacht Club with my
siblings and parents, to honing my skills later in my youth on Buzzards
Bay, an exciting dimension to my existence blossomed. Dad was an
accomplished competitor and Mother a skilled crew while racing the Hester,
a Massachusetts Bay Hustler. Later, our family owned two hustlers, and
match racing against my father was the best practical education I ever
experienced. He founded the Boston College Sailing Team in the late
1930's, a team I would later become a member of. My parents have left this
world without ever forcing their children to participate in any
activity. Their example and encouragement spawned a passion that still
exists today.

* From Mike Esposito: Would the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club ever consider
backing El Reto? I'd hate to see someone not get to play in the AC for a
silly thing like not being sponsored by a club.

Curmudgeon's Comment: We're ready! In fact, we've just received a fresh
supply of SSC burgees and think it would be great fun to spend some time in
Valencia next summer.

"Santa Claus has the right idea - visit people only once a year." Victor Borge