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SCUTTLEBUTT 1744 - December 31, 2004

Powered by SAIC (, 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.

Skandia skipper Grant Wharington yesterday said his uninsured $4 million
super-maxi was "trashed" and he would have to build a new yacht, complete
with bits and pieces from the present model, to compete in the 61st Sydney
to Hobart race. A devastated Wharington found the damage to his upturned
yacht was so extensive he will be unable to race her again, with the
$700,000 mast broken into four pieces and her giant mainsail in tatters.
Both the mast pieces and the remains of the mainsail were being dragged
behind the yacht yesterday as she was towed to Flinders Island, where she
will be lifted by crane, put on a barge and taken to Melbourne.

"We have to start from scratch again. She is trashed," Wharington said.
"It's a bloody, total mess. There are certainly some holes in her. We will
basically have to rebuild her from scratch, have to start afresh." The
upside of the costly situation is Wharington will be able to use more
advanced technology during the rebuild, making the new boat more up-to-date
and competitive for the next Sydney to Hobart. - Amanda Lulham, full story:

As smaller boats continue to finish the grueling 628 nautical mile Rolex
Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the British yacht Aera still leads the IRC
handicap standings in the 60th anniversary ocean classic. Big boats
dominate the top placings with Aera, a Ker 55 owned by Nick Lykiardopulo
from Royal Yacht Squadron in England, provisionally leading the IRC
standings ahead of line honours winner, Nicorette, the Simons/Voogd 90
owned by Sydney-based yachtsman Ludde Ingvall.

Aera is now provisionally the 12th overseas yacht to win Australia's great
bluewater race - appropriately a British-owned boat, Rani, won the first in
1945 and now, in the 60th race, victory appears likely to go to another UK
boat in Aera, skippered by English yachtsman Jez Fanstone for its
London-based owner Nick Lykiardopulo. In provisional third place is Matt
Allan's Farr 52, Ichi Ban, the current Australian IRC champion, while
fourth is AAPT, Sean Langman's Andy Dovell-designed Open 66. -

Ellen MacArthur's 75-foot trimaran B&Q is passing 550 miles south of
Tasmania and heading towards Campbell Island, south of mainland New
Zealand, 910 miles further to her east this afternoon. MacArthur has built
up a lead to over two days, capitalizing on the current fast reaching
conditions and B&Q has increased her advantage over Joyon's time by another
24 hours since Monday morning. Presently, she is nearly 58 hours ahead of
the record. The remaining good north-westerly breeze and much less rough
seas are providing ideal conditions that are allowing the 75-foot multihull
to race close to her potential.

"Things are much better now then they have been the last few days, we've
got breeze between 20-25 knots so the boats sailing pretty easily,"
MacArthur said. We've got a nice wind angle of 130 [degrees] and although
its very misty and pretty cold and the water temperature is down to 6
degrees (32F), things are pretty okay. Ellen getting close to her personal
best 24-hour run, clocking up 471.7 miles at 1610 GMT Thursday - just 10
miles short of her current best 24hr run of 481.6 miles

We've certainly got a few obstacles ahead of us - one of those obstacles is
a light wind area and we've got to get through the corner and then out
again back into the stronger south westerlies. But we've also got the
iceberg zone which is to the east of the Campbell Islands, just south of
New Zealand. What I'm trying to do is use the two in tandom to try and help
us by sailing into the ridge and coming out with a good angle of breeze,
and by the same token using that going north to get over the icebergs." -

QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Ben Ainslie
"Ellen (MacArthur) is a phenomenon, really, and, like everyone else, it
amazes me what she does. There is no doubt she is the real driving force
behind the British public's enthusiasm for sailing. They can identify with
what she does and that is great. When Ellen and Mark Turner, her manager,
announced their plan to take on Francis Joyon's record, it certainly seemed
very ambitious, but if anyone was going to do it, it was Ellen. And it
really is no surprise that she is doing so well when you look at the level
of professionalism and the team ethos they have created.

"This campaign is a follow-on from what Ellen did in the Vendée Globe in
2000 in Kingfisher, her Open 60. You look at all other successful sailing
teams around the world, it is always a similar process. You need the right
people, the funding is obviously key but, most important, you need to do
all the small things well and that is what Ellen is good at. Everything
seems to have gone well for her so far. She has had some tough conditions
but has come through; the boat has stood up to it and she is coping." - Two
time Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie. Full story:,,4-1420274,00.html

Yacht designer Greg Elliott points out that this is why the Volvo Ocean
Race has a hard time getting entries as it is solely based around
professionals rather than owners. He also has grave concerns about the TP52
class. "To me that will be a flash in the pan. Firstly the boats are
ridiculously expensive for their size and it will all be about professional
yachtsmen taking over, so that the one with the most amount of money and
able to buy the best jockeys has probably got a better chance of winning.
That is what will happen to that class if they are not careful." - Excerpts
from a story on The Daily Sail subscription website,

All will be present in abundance at Key West Race Week and West Marine is
there to help you win! We are discounting all running rigging purchases by
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visit our store at 725 Caroline Street. On-site rigging will be available
as well as all the latest and greatest gear from Harken, Lewmar, Ronstan,
Forespar, Samson Rope, New England Rope, Suunto, Raymarine, Gill, Tylaska
and more.

The sixteen remaining Vendée Globe competitors are strewn between the two
Capes of Leeuwin (Western Australia) and Horn (South America), over 5000
miles dividing leader Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) from the backrunner Karen
Leibovici (Benefic). The leaders on this 53rd day of racing are jumping
from one depression to another in a highly strategic game of meteorology.
The top five have racked up over 300 miles, as has 11th placed Conrad
Humphreys (Hellomoto), and Mike Golding covering the least ground of this
group as a result of a more southerly course that he hopes will pay off
when the chasing depression gives him new wind that will take him onto a
port gybe on a direct course to the Cape Horn. "I'm in good form though I
didn't get much sleep last night - battling to try and make out the
icebergs from the rain showers," Golding explained.

Patrice Carpentier (VM Matériaux) is due to head back into the race in the
middle of tonight (GMT) in 14th place behind Anne Liardet (Roxy) after what
promises to have been a 'repair à la Parlier' to his broken boom. He is
currently 4067 miles from the front of the fleet off southern Tasmania.
Meantime Mark Thiercelin (Proform) is still 70 miles (about 6 hours) from
his intended pit-stop near Christchurch.

Leaders at 1900 GMT December 30:
1. Bonduelle, Jean Le Cam, 8193 miles to finish
2. PRB, Vincent Riou, 197 miles to leader
3. Ecover, Mike Golding, 284 mtl
4. VMI, Sébastien Josse, 999 mtl
5. Temenos, Dominique Wavre, 1597 mtl
6. Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick 1960 mtl
7. Skandia, Nick Moloney, 2556 mtl
8. Arcelor Dunkerque, Joé Seeten, 3119 mtl
9. Pro-Form, Marc Thiercelin, 3153 mtl
10. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 3530 mtl

Complete standings:

Vendée Globe sailor Mike Golding wears 'layers' of thermals when it is cold
as wearing multiple thin layers of thermal-wear is more effective at
trapping heat than one thick layer. For the south Golding has four sets of
underlayers (worn closest to the skin) plus two extra tops, two sets of
mid-layer thermals and two sets of foul weather gear - all of it made by
British manufacturer Musto.

He usually rotates his thermals once they have got excessively wet from
working on deck through sweat or salt water. "You change them if you are
unlucky once every four or five days. If you are lucky you might be able to
last a week. But it is unlikely. What normally encourages me to change is
if I haven't eaten and I use that as a pick-me-up and I use washing as a
pick-me-up because you always feel better afterwards."

Getting dowsed in salt water whenever he goes on deck also takes its toll
(even though the Southern Ocean it is less salty than the Atlantic) with
inevitable salt sores particularly around the cuffs and neck. "You can't
avoid them. The only cure is fresh water and that lasts all of five
minutes." So far in this Vendée Globe Golding says he hasn't washed his
hair. "Frankly it is fine. It sorts itself out because after a while your
natural oils recover because normally we are washing our hair so much your
hair doesn't get the benefit of the natural oils. If you leave it comes
right." -

A helicopter airlift of an ill crewmember on Global Challenge yacht Imagine
It Done is being discussed to speed up vital medical treatment. John
Masters, 59, is suffering from a serious abdominal infection. He is said to
be stable but in discomfort and is being treated on board with intravenous
fluid and antibiotics after a transfer yesterday of extra medical supplies
from Save the Children. Skipper Dee Caffari and her crew have ceased racing
and have been motorsailing for Chatham Island, approximately 600 miles
away, but as they encounter forecast gale force north-westerlies today they
will be hard on the wind and able to make best speed only under sail.

"There is a local hospital in the main port of Waitangi, but [John Masters]
will probably need an operation and there aren't adequate facilities there,
so he will be airlifted to Wellington," explains Andrew Roberts, project
director of Challenge Business. The New Zealand Coastguard is coordinating
the air evacuation, he adds. - Elaine Bunting, Yachting World, full story:

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

*Paige Railey discarded a third place finish and kept eight firsts and a
second to score a four point win over Kyle Rogachenko in the 112-boat Laser
Radial class at the Orange Bowl at the Coral Reef YC in Miami. Oliver
Riihiluoma from Bermuda was the top Opti in a 210-boat class. Arantza
Gumucio from Santiago, Chile took second place - one point ahead of Sean
Moynahan. Adam Roberts & Marla Menninger from San Diego YC won the 95-boat
420 class and the California YC's Christopher Wenner scored an impressive
10-point win in the 43-boat Laser class. Complete results:

* The San Diego-based Challenged America Team of sailors with disabilities
will be racing in the Transpac once again, thanks to the initial
sponsorship by Blue Note Lodge of Julian, California. This donation has
helped pay for the entry fee for the 2005 Transpac, and launch a
fundraising drive. Currently there are 10 crew candidates (from the initial
44 sailors with disabilities) trying out for five remaining crew positions
on B'Quest, their adapted Tripp 40 sailboat. -

* The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC) has decided to cancel the
Corum Phuket to Singapore Yacht Race 2005, which was intended to be held
from 8 to 15 January 2005. "The recent tsunami tragedy and its huge human
loss have made it inconceivable that the race starting in Phuket could be
run as planned," Organizing Chairman, Kent Goeking said. "The Organizing
Committee is now considering how monies raised for the event may be best
used to assist in the disaster recovery efforts." -

* After three days of racing at the Hobie 17 Worlds in Melbourne,
Australia, Dan Kulkoski (USA) is in second place, eight points behind Aaron
Worrall (AUS). American, Greg Raybon is third overall and just five points
behind Raybon, is defending National champion, Ron McDonald (AUS). In the
Hobie 16 Woman's Worlds, Mexico's Pamela Noriega and Andrea Mier Y Teran
lead the parade with American's Kathy Kulkoski and Judy Raybon in fourth. -

* A pair of Californians said they did not think twice about risking their
lives to rescue some 50 tsunami victims who were floating off the island of
Phukhet in Thailand. Julie and Casey Sobolewski of Carlsbad told NBC's
"Today" show they were sailing with a friend when the tsunami struck on
Sunday. A lot of smaller wooden boats broke apart, but their craft was
spared. "The waves just came across a sandbar they were heading to, and hit
the boats," said Julie Sobolewski. "They came apart, and all the people in
the boats were floating in the water, screaming for help."

* We know boats have fallen off hoists, but have hoists fallen? You might
want to check the base of your local boat hoist after seeing these photos:

(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 McLeod: Skandia loses her keel and turns turtle. Konica Minolta
nearly cracks in half. Nicorette makes it to the finish line by virtue of
the crew bolting the cracked hull back together on the voyage. Is it just
me, or is this plain wrong? Isn't part of putting safety first ensuring
that your boat has the seaworthiness necessary to tackle the predicted
conditions? Here's hoping the supermaxis are banned from next year's event
- and from any other race in which they're likely to endanger the lives of
their crews. Results like these are a black eye on the sport of yacht racing.

* From Peter Willcox: Pleasure vessels transit the Suez in one day all the
time. All they have to do is maintain the 9 to 10 knot transit speed.
Sailing is not normally allowed in the Canal. I have done the Canal more
times than I can remember now, both on yachts and merchant ships. The most
important choice for a successful Canal transit is the choice of an agent.
With an ETA of ten days, time is running out. Funds generally need to be
transferred before a transit.

* From Todd Jones: I was driving by the frozen-in yacht clubs today with my
family and proceeded to tell my eight year old daughter "that's where you
might be sailing next year on your own boat." She replied with "can I bring
my friends and show them how to sail?" Perhaps the current thinking is off
the mark with the Opti. I have been sailing competitively for 25 years on
crewed boats and my daughter knows that. People and teams are what make the

* From John Adams: I started sailing in an Opti, but what made the
difference in keeping me interested in the sport after I outgrew the Opti
is my father unselfishly turning the tiller of the family Highlander over
to me -- just as he had done to my two older brothers before me. Looking
back on those years, I can see that he cared more about seeing us develop
as helmsmen than he cared about skippering the boat himself. He unselfishly
gave my brothers and me a life-long love of the sport. Maybe more parents
should quit buying their kids the boat d'jour and hand them the tiller of
the family boat.

* From John Sherwood: Ellen MacArthur has the Vendee Globe fleet just ahead
of her. (Hope she doesn't bump into somebody!) She should benefit from the
experience those boats have with ice in the Pacific and winds in the
Atlantic, especially getting through the Doldrums. I assume she has a way
of monitoring what the VG sailors are doing, as can we. I also assume the
rules of her passage permit her to receive such information. Likewise, the
VG sailors might benefit from her experience, but I think their rules are
more constrained. Are they allowed to monitor her web site?

A "Seagull Manager" is a supervisor who flies in, makes a lot of noise,
craps on everything, and then leaves.