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SCUTTLEBUTT 1741 - December 28, 2004

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welcome, but save your bashing, whining and personal attacks for elsewhere.

A police launch has safely rescued the crew of Maxi yacht Skandia after
keel problems forced last year's winner out of the Rolex Sydney Hobart
Race. The 98-foot Maxi retired from the race when the hydraulic ram that
controls the canting keel snapped, leaving the lead bulb jammed hard over
to starboard. Initially it appeared that Grant Wharington and his crew
would be able to limp back to shore, but the skipper decided the safer
option would be to deploy two life rafts and wait alongside the stricken yacht.

While the Skandia crisis unfolded, her arch rival for line honours Konica
Minolta was also forced out of the race after falling badly off a freak
wave. Skipper Stewart Thwaites said: "We barreled off a gi-normous (sic)
wave, crashed down the other side of it. I was down below, I heard the boat
crash, and it came to a stop. The boys said it was twice as big as any
other wave." So severe was the landing that it creased the cabin top, but
the most serious damage was to the keel attachment point. Thwaites was
worried that if they continued into the adverse southerly swell, the keel
would break away from the yacht or that the yacht would even fold in half
at the crease point. Retirement to the shelter of the Tasmanian fishing
village, Binnalong Bay, was the only option.

These retirements have handed the race lead to Nicorette, a brand new Maxi
competing in her first race. Launched from a Sydney boat yard just a few
weeks ago, this was the yacht that many sailors and media pundits were
predicting would fail to last the distance. And it could yet happen, as the
fleet crashes and bangs its way to Hobart in southerly headwinds gusting to
40 knots.

The race committee of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is receiving
more retirements by the hour. The retirements now stand at 44 from an
original fleet of 116. The number still racing is 72 but of those nine
yachts are assessing the conditions before proceeding south. Veteran Rolex
Sydney Hobart skipper Syd Fischer, who was sailing his 35th race to Hobart,
reported to the Race Committee at 10:55 AM that his Farr 45 Ragamuffin had
been dismasted due east of Flinders Island. All crew are reported to be OK.

After beating Francis Joyon's time to the Equator, and then to Cape of Good
Hope, Ellen MacArthur has sailed B&Q to another record by passing the
longitude of Cape Leeuwin (SW Australia) at 2215 GMT and 45 seconds,
knocking 15 hours off the record set by Joyon. Ellen has put the pedal to
the metal sailing with 2 reefs and a staysail in slightly flatter seas to
stay with the cold front that is propelling her eastwards on a direct
course: "We're literally just staying with this front as it's moving across
to the east which is great because it means we're moving with it, MacArthur
said. "We're moving at the same speed so we're going to be sitting in this
for the next few days which means we should get relatively consistent wind
from a steady direction." But MacArthur is acutely aware that any lead can
disappear all too easily in this high-stake game. However, she has now
extended her lead over Joyon's round the world record pace to virtually 37
hours. -

Following the broad acceptance of the TP52 Class and with the knowledge and
experience gained from the Grand Prix W.P. The Offshore Racing Congress
began last September to develop three new Offshore level classes. The
classes will be in the range of 26, 32, and 42 feet fitting into a box rule
with set physical limits. Although the ORC has taken this decision
independently, it will invite the two other GPR partners (RORC and US
Sailing) to participate in the development of these classes on an
International basis.

"The time has come to give the sailing community what it has indicated it
desires, top level racing on elapsed time in yachts that are exciting to
sail with sizes to fit various budgets," commented ORC Chairman Bruno
Finzi. A draft of the new rule will be circulated to design offices
shortly, with a request for comments to be evaluated by a newly appointed
Grand Prix technical group. More details will be forthcoming after the
January meeting of the ORC Management Committee. - Paolo Massarini, ORC
Grand Prix Classes Representative

It's the middle of a regatta or distance race, and your masthead unit's
printed circuit board just packed it in, or you damaged the boatspeed
paddlewheel running over a crab pot. The old display with dim lighting just
went dark, or your mast cable may have been damaged during haulout or from
chafe. No problem. Ockam can put together a sensible spares kit for your
boat. Good Idea, We think so! Ockam also offers a system tune up and
upgrade service so you can get the most out of your instrument system.
Contact Lat Spinney,

330 miles from the second Pacific gateway at 1900 GMT Monday, the Le Cam/
Riou/ Golding trio are continuing to make by far the best speeds of the
fleet, with the English skipper once more racking up the best 24 hour
average, covering 391.9 miles at an average of over 16 knots and an
instantaneous speed of 19 knots. Patrice Carpentier has made the decision
to moor to the south of Tasmania. Having planned to reach shelter tonight
GMT, he intends to fix both his boom and numerous infiltrations of water in
what has become a "veritable skating rink with the fuel down below". He
remains in the race. 190 miles behind Patrice, American Bruce Schwab (Ocean
Planet) continues to impress in 11th position having "made temporary
repairs that he hopes will be permanent" to his radar. -

Standings at 1900 GMT December 27:
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 9296 miles to finish
2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 150 miles to leader
3. Ecover, Mike Golding, 195 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 740 mtl
5. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1349 mtl
6. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick 1724 mtl
7. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 2167 mtl
8. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 2400 mtl
9. Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 2667 mtl
10. VM Matériaux, Patrice Carpentier, 2932 mtl
11. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 3074 mtl
12. Max Havelaar/Best Western, Benoît Parnaudeau, 3417 mtl
13. Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys, 3615 mtl
14. Roxy, Anne Liardet, 3654 mtl
15 Akena Vérandas, Raphaël Dinelli, 4269 mtl
16 Benefic, Karen Leibovici, 4544 mtl

abd - Sill Véolia, Roland Jourdain 01:00 AM
abd - Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson 01:00 AM
abd - UUDS, Hervé Laurent 01:00 AM
abd - Brother, Norbert Sedlacek

I haven't seen the sun since I gybed, which was two days ago, very overcast
and I go through periods of really heavy rain, with no effect on wind, but
there are so many waves breaking over the boat the rain doesn't really
effect me very much! New Zealand, 'the land of the long white cloud' as its
known ... I'm under it now! - Nick Moloney, Skandia

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

According to a report on the Mariantic America's Cup website, here's the
latest on the used AC boat market:

- Mascalzone had three boats but has just sold one to Sausalito Challenge.
- One World Challenge's three have just been bought by El Reto
- TDC and Victory, have just 2 boats each
- K-Challenge has one and one on loan.
- GBR has 2 boats and one fit for exhibition (the sister to ACM's
Valencia static exhibit)

Full story:

* In a deal finalized on Christmas Eve the Bahamas Sailing Association has
ordered 19 Optimists to help establish a National Sailing School. The
B.S.A. has been seeking low-cost second-hand Optimists to open the sport of
sailing to juniors. U.S. builders McLaughlin searched hard and came up with
an offer of charter boats to be used at the Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami
next week. But the price was still higher than the funds available. An
appeal to IODA for help under its '6 for 5' scheme secured a further 17%
reduction and the order was placed.

* Correction: A number of readers wrote to point out that the Fern Fridge
Lake is in Oregon, not Washington, as stated in the piece we carried
yesterday from the Register-Guard.

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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 John Handfield (re Russell Coutt's quotes): I think he speaks for
all of us sailors who love the AC series but hate the way it is run. No
other major sport could survive if the rules changed every season to suit
those with the most money. Why not setup a committee of passed AC sailors
and let them decide how the series would be run, Just think how great the
AC series would be if guys like Gary Jobson, Alan Bond, Ted Hood and other
past sailing greats could have input. The big boys need to expand the
interest base and when they change the rules to keep out the super stars
the sport suffers.

* From Eric Steinberg (re Eric Matus's comments): I can't be the only one
thinking that racing yachts and stealth don't belong in the same
paragraph... be within a 1/2 mile of a big racing yacht and you will
clearly hear (among other things) main and jib sheets being eased. I can
tell you, that being down below, those noises are incredibly loud.
Factoids: "Due to the difference in acoustic impedance, a sound wave that
has the same intensity in air and in water, will in water have a pressure
that is 60 times larger than that in air" and "The speed of sound in water
is 1481 meters/ second at 20 degrees C and for air is 343 m/sec at 20
degrees C".

* From Jack Attridge: Over the past 36 hours, we have been covered with
over 12" of snow in Marblehead but my children wake up every day and look
forward to checking in with Ellen MacArthur. My girls, 5 and 8, have
watched her in calms and over this past weekend have seen her maintain max
boat speed while sailing in 40 kn winds and high seas. She has had to
repair both generators and water makers so far and has made 12 sail changes
in the last 12 hours!

This is a great life's lesson for my girls and the technology makes it very
real. From watching Ellen work on deck to her with her head in the engine
room and her Christmas message that shows how stressful her journey can be.
It is very easy to make analogies between Ellen's adventure and life in
general. Our children are feeding off of Ellen's passion for doing her best
by sailing hard and fast in all conditions and situations and through this,
they realize that anything is possible.

* From Douglass Sisk: Every so often there's a letter in Scuttlebutt that
makes a fine point with great eloquence. Alun James comment in butt 1740
about sailing being the antithesis of instant gratification is the latest
example. Sure, we racers all like to hear the gun close up, but even a bad
day of sailing is better than no sailing at all. I wonder if F1 drivers
would derive the same enjoyment out of driving an interstate highway at the
speed limit as even a hard-core racing sailor gets from a relaxed harbor
cruise at sunset.

* From Nelson Stephenson, Cedar Point YC Member: (Re: Mr. Klein's
comments): Mount Gay and US Sailing selected Cedar Point YC (2002 US
Sailing One Design Yacht Club of the Year) in Westport CT, less than one
hour from New York City. Cedar Point has real sailors who actually sail at
a true "epicenter" of sailing with a great facility. No dining rooms, pools
or tennis courts. Our tennis courts came down to make room for our Regatta
Tent. If you really like to sail, this is the place in Connecticut.

Active One Design fleets are Thistles, Lightnings, V-15's, Stars, Atlantics
and a Laser Frostbite Fleet. Frostbite has over 100 participants this year
(so far) with over 50 Lasers sailing each Sunday, October until April. CPYC
has a PHRF racer/ cruiser program, a great Junior program, creative high
school sailing programs and has hosted Special Olympics Events, major
Optimist and Junior Regattas and many major National Events in the recent
past. Cedar Point will host the US Sailing Youth Championship in 2005.With
over 250 active volunteer members, all qualified for and taking their Race
Committee turn each year, we take our sailing and our Mount Gay Rum very
seriously in Westport CT. We appreciate US Sailing and Mount Gay hosting
seminars for Long Island Sound sailors to keep us smart and happy. Lay off
criticizing Sponsors and people trying to help. We should all be a lot more
appreciative whenever sponsors get involved. For a real sailing club, see

* From Walter Chamberlain (Regarding Bob Klein's remarks about the Mount
Gay/ US Sailing speaker series): Pascagoula, MS is centrally located for
the membership of the Gulf Yachting Association, an organization founded in
1901 currently with thirty-two member clubs stretching from Houston to St.
Petersburg, and including Birmingham, AL and Little Rock, AK. The Mallory
Cup is sitting in a GYA member club (for the second consecutive year), and
so is the Phoenix Cup. GYA sailors are highly competitive on the race
course and highly involved in the administration of the sport at all levels
including nationally.

The event in Pascagoula is a rules seminar conducted by Dick Rose. It is in
conjunction with the GYA's two day "Winter Meeting," and Dick will also
speak during our awards banquet. The last three of these meetings have been
attended by the US Sailing president. Last year Dave Perry came down here
and put on the show and we somehow managed to pay for it ourselves without
outside "financial support" - we simply saw this opportunity for a program
this year and took it. Besides, we like giving support to US Sailing
programs. During the meeting, there will be a US Sailing desk, and it is
accurate to say that US Sailing has plenty of "foundation" down here. I'm
sure those "epicenters" can have one of these things, but I'm under the
impression you have to ask for it (as we did).

Curmudgeon's Comment: That's enough - this thread is officially dead.

While some insist that "clothes make the man," others proclaim, "don't
judge a book by its cover." Can they both be correct?