Hall of Fame, Melges Worlds, new US SAILING prez

Daniel Forster/rolex

AMERICA’S CUP HALL OF FAMEMore than 300 attended a black-tie affair in New York City to induct Alan Bond and Gary Jobson into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame last Thursday night. Jobson was the winning tactician in 1977, sailing with Ted Turner on Courageous, and has been a Cup broadcaster since 1987. Bond challenged and failed three times, including 1977, but the feisty entrepreneur from Western Australia won the Cup on his fourth try, 20 years ago, with Australia II. A number of Australia II crew and supporters attended, and letters were read from Bond’s skippers, Sir James Hardy and John Bertrand, both already Hall of Fame members. The former credited Bond for his "sheer tenacity, sportsmanship, and contagious enthusiasm." The latter called him "a man of incredible vision¿he is a resourceful and astute person, typical of those people who pioneered Australia." When Bond spoke, he acknowledged designer Ben Lexcen and his entire crew, saying, "We started with a crew of champions and ended with a champion crew." The entire ’77 Courageous crew turned out to congratulate Jobson, who has been fighting since the 2003 Cup to overcome lymphoma. Hall of Fame skipper Ted Turner presented Jobson, revealing how he’d recruited him after seeing his results in One-Design Yachtsman [formerly Sailing World]. "I was getting involved with the Braves," said Turner, "and learning about contracts and signing bonuses. When I asked what it would take to get guys like Gary in my crew, someone said ‘Just invite them to sail and be their friend.’" Jobson delivered a fun acceptance, joking about his hair loss and teasing his broadcasting friends in the audience from ESPN, CNN, and OLN. He said that the most exciting moment of every Cup is the first race and recalled how, in 1977, Australia finally tacked away from Courageous after 15 minutes. "I said to Ted, ‘they’re not slow,’" said Jobson, "and Ted answered, ‘Yeah, but they aren’t fast, either."Sponsored by Rolex, the induction ceremony was the 11th since the America’s Cup Hall of Fame was created in 1992. It resides within the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, R.I., and now has 55 members, with new members are elected each year. http://www.herreshoff.orgKING EDWARD VII GOLD CUPEd Baird has carried the momentum he gained from winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in August into the 2003 Bermuda Gold Cup presented by Investor Guaranty. The former America’s Cup skipper, sailing with his world championship crew of Jon Ziskind, Tom Burnham, and Andy Horton, has won his first five races and, as of early this morning, was comfortably leading Group 2. The unique format of the Gold Cup has 16 “unseeded” skippers divided into two groups of eight. After both octets have sailed a complete round robin, the top three skippers from each group will advance to the final draw, joining the eight seeded skippers and the top two sailors from the Bermuda International Women’s Championship, which is underway concurrently.While Baird’s hot start has all but guaranteed him a spot in the final draw, where competitors will be vying for their share of $100,000 in prize money, the other two advancing slots in Group 2 are up for grabs, with local Peter Bromby, Scott Dickson, and Bill Hardesty tied with 3-2 records and Mattias Rahm and Blythe Walker tied with 2-3 records. In Group 1, which started racing early this morning in a 8- to 10-knot breeze, it’s Cameron Dunn, who sailed with Oracle in 2003, and Mascalzone Latino helmsman Paolo Cian at the top of the leader board, each with five wins against two losses. Former Team New Zealand trial horse skipper Cameron Appleton has the inside track on the third advancing spot. He is tied with Staffan Lindberg of Finland with four wins and two losses, but Appleton beat Lindberg in the second flight and therefore will win the tie break if each wins their final match.Local sailor Paula Lewin, who is also Bermuda’s top Yngling sailor and a medal contender in Athens in 2004, has a perfect record after four flights of the women’s regatta. Jenny Axhede of Sweden and Deborah Willits of the U.S. are tied with three wins and one loss. The top four, of eight, skippers will advance to the semifinals, which is scheduled for Tuesday.For complete results, http://www.bermudagoldcup.comAUDI MELGES 24 WORLDSThe Kahn surname has graced more than a few yachting trophies in the past few years. But until now, it’s been preceded by Philippe. At the 2003 Melges Worlds, hosted by the St. Francis YC, 14-year-old Samuel Kahn, more often known as Shark, bested not only his father, but also Harry Melges and everyone else, winning with just 20 points after nine races. Samuel Kahn’s worst finish was a 16th, which he discarded. His other eight results were all in the top five, and he won two races. Heading into the final race, only Melges, who won four races helming for Jeff Ecklund, had a chance to catch Kahn. Melges tried to engage the youngster before the start and got the better of him twice. However, those starts were both general recalls and on the third start, which would go off only minutes before the deadline, Kahn was able to break free. He rounded the top mark in fifth, while Melges was in 14th. Melges tried to find a passing lane, but was unable to do so and finished 21st. Kahn passed two boats to finish third. Kahn, a fairly reserved 14-year-old, was gracious in victory, giving the credit to his crew of Mark Christensen, Richard Clarke, Brian Hutchinson, and Brian Lee, and his father, who set up a program which enabled him to sail over 60 days in the Melges since Key West Race Week in January. His future plans, however, are anything but conservative. “I’ve got some more 29er sailing coming up, and I’m going to be doing the 505 Worlds and the Melges Nationals, which are both in Santa Cruz,” he said. “Long term I’m aiming to do a 49er Olympic campaign.”Brian Porter was third, Luca Santella with Giovani Maspero’s Joe Fly team fourth, and Sebastian Col and Phillipe Ligot’s P&P; finished fifth. The winner of the Corinthian World Championship title, for the first amateur crew, and sixth overall was Egidio Babbi.For complete reports and results, http://www.melges24.com or http://www.stfyc.orgUS SAILING MEETINGChange was in the air last weekend in St. Louis, Mo., during US SAILING’s annual meeting. A woman was elected to the association’s presidency for the first time amid signs that restructuring of the national governing body of sailing might be in the offing. The association also revised its membership benefits package and communications strategy in light of another year of poor budget performance, significant expense cuts were passed for the 2004 budget. The outgoing president, Dave Rosekrans, of Cincinnati, finished his third year in office and passed the gavel to Janet Baxter, of Chicago. In opening remarks, Baxter spoke in general terms about her intentions for the organization, emphasizing efficiency, membership development, and fiscal responsibility. Her background includes management consulting, Etchells and distance racing, and a history with the organization dating back to 1987 when she took a seat on US SAILING’s board shortly after her father, Mark Baxter, posthumously received the Herreshoff award for lifetime service.A new communications strategy, including a new member newsletter, plus disappointing results from a member acquisition direct mail campaign and delayed fundraising efforts were cited as factors that converted US SAILING’s 2003 budget projection from black to red ink. For 2004, facing another potential deficit and rising prices for Sailing World, Cruising World, and Jr. Sailor (which are published by World Publications, owner of Grand Prix Sailor), the board voted to try increasing other benefits to members while phasing out the magazines as memberships come up for renewal. (World Publications and US SAILING are working out the details for a smooth transition.) Youth member dues were also raised, to $20, and other expenses were cut, such as boat show participation, and a 2004 budget projecting a surplus was passed.A conversation for possible organizational change was set by a presentation on declining participation in sailing worldwide and how Great Britain’s Royal Yachting Association has restructured to be more efficient and responsive to a changing market. Also presented was a new industry/sport initiative through the International Sailing Federation called Connect to Sailing. Paul Henderson, ISAF’s president, was in attendance, and said ISAF would put personnel and a budget on the order of $100,000 against the project, which will encourage national organizations such as US SAILING to work on strategic planning with industry groups. In a separate Q&A; session, Henderson, of Toronto, answered questions from delegates ranging from the rationale for recent drug testing at the Optimist Dinghy Worlds to the need to reconstitute a "North American Yacht Racing Union" so that the United States, Canada, and island countries from Bermuda to the Caribbean could protect their interests from the European bloc of countries that hold a great deal of power at ISAF.http://www.ussailing.orgJ/80 WORLDSJay Lutz won four races and never finished outside the top six in winning the J/80 Worlds with a race to spare. The regatta was run by the Fort Worth Boat Club on Eagle Mountain Lake. John Kolius was second by two points over Christer Faith-Ell, from Sweden.For complete results, and reports, http://oemsites.com/OEM/oem.cfm?event_id=72003 SUNFISH WORLDSMalcolm Smith of Bermuda took full advantage of the absence of seven-time Sunfish world champion Eduardo Cordero and won the 2003 Worlds, which were held off the St. Maarten YC. Smith won three races, took second place in two races, third in two, and fourth in one race. This is Smith’s third world championship. For more, http://www.smyc.com/2003 MINI TRANSATJonathan McKee’s bid to become the second American to win this grueling two-stage race across the Atlantic ended last week when a shroud failed and his mast came tumbling down. At the time, McKee was in position to place, if not win the biennial event. He attempted to put together a jury rig and finish the race, but the winds were uncooperative and eventually he was forced to put in at Recife, Brazil, to make repairs. McKee’s withdrawal appeared to give the title to Samuel Manuard of France, who won the first leg ahead of McKee. However, less than 100 miles from the finish in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, Manuard lost his rig in 25- to 30-knot winds. He, too, attempted to carry on, but was eventually forced to ask for a tow. With the top two competitors out of the running, Armel Tripon won the second leg and the overall title.For more, http://www.j-mckee.com or http://www.transat650.orgKeane Star NAsWith a second and a first, Howie Shiebler and Will Stout have taken the early lead in the 2003 Keane Star North Americans. In second is Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter with seven points. The fleet for the regatta is just 40 boats, fairly small for a Star regatta of this magnitude, but it’s stacked with all the top Americans and a few solid imports, including former Star World Champion Freddie Lööf. For many of the American teams this regatta represents the beginning of a five-month push for the Olympic Trials on Biscayne Bay in March. Noticeably absent from the regatta is local hero John Kostecki. Austin Sperry, who was crewing for Kostecki last year, but sailed with Vince Brun at the Cadiz Worlds in September, is sailing with John Virtue at the NAs. http://www.stfyc.orgSAILING WORLD NOOD REGATTASOver the course of the 2003 Sailing World NOOD events held around the country, nine teams earned recognition as Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day. Given at each of the nine regattas, the award goes to the boat with the best performance in the most competitive class. Winners in 2003 were as follows:St Petersburg - John Wilus, SR Max, (no name given)San Diego - Zach Berkowitz, International 14, Box CarAnnapolis - Bill Sutton & Marty Hublitz, J/105, Blonde AttackDetroit - Tim Britton, Tartan Ten, TrollChicago - Brad Boston & Mike Bremer, S2 7.9, Frequent FlyerMarblehead - Douglas Schofield, Star, #813San Francisco - Scott Sellers, Express 27, Swamp DonkeyLarchmont - Paul Jeka, Soverel 33, SantanaTexas - Kevin Severance, Corsair 28R, UnleadedGrand Prix Sailor is compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you’d like to subscribe, see http://www.sailingworld.com Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (tony.bessinger@sailingworld.com), Dave Reed (dave.reed@sailingworld.com), Stuart Streuli (stuart.streuli@sailingworld.com), John Burnham (john.burnham@sailingworld.com