Augie Diaz Takes Snipe Midwinter Series

Melbourne-Osaka Racers Recovered

Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine ('RE SORRYWe tweaked Mother Nature a bit last week; not a good idea, it seems, as Grand Prix Sailor Central is about to take another snowstorm right on the chin. But even the dire forecasts concerning this storm weren't enough to quell the enthusiasm of the customers in our local branch of West Marine yesterday. Bottom paint, new rope, and handheld gizmos were bought, loaded into an impressive mix of late-model SUVs, and taken away to boatyards and backyards all over the area. The yearly ritual that leaves boatowners and crew alike sitting at their desks Monday morning with a faraway look in their eyes and boat bites on their hands has begun. We hope that yesterday's temporary fix will be enough to get you through this latest batch of weather, but if you still need solace, keep reading. Snipe sailors have crowned their king, a Holmberg is returning to reclaim his fiefdom, and a dethroned circumnavigator retrieves data for the next battle.ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELLWe reported last week about the loss of the Elliott 36 Mad Max in the Melbourne-Osaka race. The crew of Mad Max, James Murchison and Jeff Thomas, were safely recovered from their stranded vessel last Friday by a helicopter from the Japanese icebreaker Shirase. Leading the race, and with 1,500 miles to go to the finish, is Maverick II, an Elliott 45. Crewmember John Bankart talks about their race so far: "Okay, it's our 22nd day at sea today and all is well. We're at 11 degrees north and sailing in a typical trade wind band. 18 knots of breeze, a moderate sea, blue sky with fluffy little clouds, and the temperature is perfect. Our speed has kept around the average of 10.5 knots, with some bursts to 13. This is giving us good progress towards Osaka, we tentatively expect to be there by Monday or Tuesday if all goes to plan."Our lead has been slowly increasing over the last few days, which is particularly pleasing especially over our closest opponent, Kontrol. We know these guys will be pushing hard and not giving an inch. Our lead which is approx. 200 miles is not enough for us to relax, so it's still full speed ahead!" WINS SNIPE MIDWINTER SERIESAugie Diaz, sailing with Lori Lowe as crew, has won the Dudley Gamblin Memorial Trophy, the second part of the Nassau regattas on the Snipe winter circuit. Diaz's combined scores for his finishes in the Clearwater Midwinters, Don-Q, Bacardi Cup and the Gamblin Trophy has given him the overall low score for the winter circuit, and the Zimmerman Trophy. The Gamblin Series was sailed over three days out of the Royal Nassau Sailing Club, with moderate to heavy air. http://www.snipeus.orgHOLMBERG RETURNS TO SWEDISH MATCH TOURSweden's Magnus Holmberg returns to the Swedish Match Tour at this week's Congressional Cup (April 6 - 12, in Long Beach, Calif.) without a sponsor, without his longtime tactician Stefan Rahm and, for the first time in more than two years, without his name listed on the Swedish Match Tour Rankings. "Stefan is not fit to sail until middle of May (knee surgery), so for the Congressional Cup our tactician will be Johan Barne, navigator for Victory Challenge, who I used to have on the match racing team a few years back," said Holmberg. "Lars Linger, Magnus Augustsson, Oskar Ljung, Henrik Walderyd will fill out the rest of the crew. Henrik was main trimmer and Oskar was spinnaker trimmer in the Victory Challenge, and they are younger guys who have really grown into professional sailors through the Cup campaign."Current Swedish Match Tour leader Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Victory Lane sail into the Congressional Cup following a win at last August's Danish Open 2002 and a runner-up finish at the Bermuda Gold Cup. The outstanding results did more than put Gram-Hansen and his crew atop the Rankings; they also gave them confidence against their more experienced and better-funded competitors."I feel confident heading into the Congressional Cup," said Gram-Hansen. "Knowing that I have a really strong team, I am sure we can continue to make good results and continue where we finished off."Jesper Radich, currently second on the Swedish Match Tour Rankings, has never been accused of lacking confidence, but his win at the Bermuda Gold Cup, which features a cut-throat racing format, has further cemented his status as one of the top match racing skippers in the world. "We sailed really well in 2002 (winning Match Race Germany and runner-up at the Trombini Match Race in addition to the victory in Bermuda) and expect the same in 2003," said Radich. "We've learned a lot racing against the Cup teams in the past but our success speaks for itself."OneWorld Challenge helmsman James Spithill hasn't competed in a Swedish Match Tour event since last July's UBS Challenge, where he finished seventh, but that result coupled with his victory at the Trombini Match Race, positions him in a tie for third place with Briton Chris Law and his team, "The Outlaws." The remaining America's Cup helmsman competing at the Congressional Cup and making a second half push for the Swedish Match Tour's US$200,000 prize purse include two-time Congressional Cup winner and 2002 runner-up Gavin Brady, who sailed with Italy's Prada Challenge in Auckland, Ken Read of Team Dennis Conner, Luc Pillot of France's Le Defí, and Paolo Cian of Italy's Mascalzone Latino Challenge., NEEDEDFor the 2003 Pan Am Games, Fred Hagedorn will be Team Leader, Scott Ikle will be Head Coach, Katie Richardson will be Team Administrator, Carl Eichenlaub will be the boatwright, and one additional coach may be named. Classes are J/24, Lightning, Laser, Laser Radial, IMCO (M & W), Snipe, Finn, Sunfish, and Hobie 16. Selection for this coaching position will be by the USOSC. Expenses only, would be covered. To apply, please submit coaching resume and cover letter via e-mail to Gary Bodie ( Copies will be forwarded to the selection committee. Alternatively, fax to 757-851-6544, or as last resort, mail to Gary Bodie, 88 Mohawk Rd, Hampton, VA 23669-2313. Deadline is April 30.A SUPERIOR RACEThe Trans Superior race, a 338-mile jaunt across the length of Lake Superior, will begin near Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2003 and finish in Duluth, Minnesota early the following week. The Lake Superior Yachting Association has announced the founding of a new trophy, the Tri-Lakes Challenge trophy. The prize will be awarded to the yacht with the best scores from the Chicago-Mac, Bayview-Mac, and Trans Superior races. See for more details. Thoughts to ponder while sailing across the well-named Lake Superior: It's the largest (by surface area) body of fresh water in the world, third largest by volume, and holds 10 percent of the world's fresh water. Should one of the racers accidentally pull the drain plug on Superior, the resulting flood could cover both North and South America with one foot of water. Data thanks to: http://www.transsuperior.comRELIABLE SOURCES SAY . . . ** An agreement has been made to sell the current Pyewacket to Frank Pong after the 2003 TransPac. The new Pyewacket, a MaxZ 86 with canting keel, is slated for launch in October.At the conclusion of Antigua Race Week this spring, the 81-foot R/P-designed maxi Morning Glory (nee Shockwave) will be heading to New England waters and a new owner. Look to see this big record-breaker lining up with Blue Yankee and Bright Star for events such as the Around Long Island, Marblehead-Halifax, and Vineyard races this year.GERONIMO AFTER A LAPThe giant trimaran Geronimo failed in its latest attempt at the Jules Verne record, but Olivier de Kersauson and his team aren't ready to quit yet. A full examination of the boat and systems is being done in order to determine how best to attack the record next time."Whether it's normal or abnormal, wear and tear always has an explanation," says Didier Ragot, Olivier de Kersauson's second-in-command and a Geronimo watch captain. "You watch, you examine, and you search; then you try to understand and finally you think about how things can be improved." Since the giant trimaran returned to Brest, its team has been far from idle. "Right the way through the round-the-world voyage, I logged everything I thought was odd or abnormal," says Ragot. "Soon after we came home, we held a briefing on all those observations, and we're now at the diagnosis stage." Its round-the-world experience has revealed Geronimo's strengths and weaknesses. "There are some changes to be made," says Ragot, "for example, the mainsail traveler just exploded, so we need to understand why. Maybe the loads were higher than we predicted. We calculated a mainsail sheet loading of 14 to 15 tons. That may be too low a figure. But it may also involve the rail system. If we're going to solve the problem, we first have to explain it." And he'll be doing the same for every part of the boat. "Geronimo is still in the Moulin Blanc marina at the moment. We've already checked the mast, but we'll have to wait until she's out of the water before we can make a complete check-up." This in-depth inspection will be made using a method called "tapping" which, as the word suggests, involves tapping the structure after attaching a sensor connected to a computer. The resulting resonance gives a precise indication of the condition of the mast to the nearest centimeter. An identical system is used to test the structure of the boat's beams and hulls. Then there are all the fittings (winches, etc.), the sails and so on, until every component part of Geronimo has been examined in detail. "At the same time, we are making the detailed studies that will help us decide which improvements or modifications we should make." The issue of whether or not to build a new mast is currently being investigated. A larger mast may be a possibility, but should it be 42, 43, or 45 meters? The results of the mast inspections now being made should provide the answer, with a decision expected by the end of April. http://www.grandsrecords.comUNIVERSAL CLASSIFICATION CODE IN EFFECT APRIL 1** The ISAF Classification Code, developed and refined by ISAF over the last four years as a free service, universal and international method of defining professional and amateur sailors came into force on April 1. From April 1 onwards, any international event or class that wishes to define the status of its sailors, or limit the numbers of professionals, can use the ISAF classification code to define the limits. The Code classifies sailors into three groups depending on their financial involvement in the sport of sailboat racing. It is not based on an individuals¿ racing talent, successes, or prowess.Work on the ISAF Sailors Classification Code started four years ago as a universal system to provide a clear distinction between the "professional" and "amateur" sailor. Introduced in its current form in November 2001, it exists solely as a free service to provide events and classes with an international system for classification of sailors. The Code classifies sailors into three Groups: Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3. Group status is based on financial involvement in boat racing (whether direct or indirect) and/or the use in the sailor's work of knowledge or skill capable of improving the performance of a boat in a race. It is not based on racing success, prowess or talent. No moral or ethical judgements are attached to these classifications. ISAF does not discriminate between "amateurs" and "professionals". It is up to classes and regatta organizers to determine whether and how they use these classifications.Last year, the classification code was used with great success at Ford Cork Week. Events using the ISAF Classification Code in 2003 include Ford Cork Week, Swan Europeans, and Admirals Cup, in particular in the IMS600 class whose rules state that fifty percent of the declared crew must be group one sailors.So far, over 5300 sailors are classified under the ISAF Classification Code, which is available via ISAF Sailor at, a figure which is likely to rise extensively over the coming months. In order to make the classification process clearer to applicants, a document of frequently asked questions has been produced and is available at queries regarding the ISAF classification code should be directed to, to ensure a smooth transition, specifically in respect of sailors competing in the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 classes, where the sailor currently holds an unexpired classification with US Sailing that conflicts with one issued from ISAF, then the US Sailing classification will be used by these classes until the end of 2003. After the end of 2003, the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 Classes have agreed to adopt the ISAF Code in full. For sailors in these classes without a US Sailing classification, for those certifications that expire before the year end or when a sailor's employment circumstances change, an ISAF classification will be required. Further information at Prix Sailor is compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. 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