Newsletter 12

OCTOBER, 1999 - ISSUE NO. 13

It's that time again...

As Betsy puts it, we're putting away our toys for the winter. She can say that since she just puts away her garden; I have to take care of putting up the boat.

Anyway, we have the annual Fall Skippers' Forum and Shore Party upcoming on Saturday, November 6th at Newport Yacht Club. Please note that this will be the only such party until November, 2000. We are eliminating the Spring Shore Party in the off year from the BERMUDA ONE-TWO, but we're hoping for a good turnout and sociable time at the biennial Offshore 160 in July.

This newsletter includes the results of the survey included with the July newsletter. The survey went to the 65 +/- singlehanded participants in the last four BERMUDA ONE-TWO races. About 30% replied - a bit disappointing but sufficient, I think, to give statistically valid information. More importantly, I wish we had received more from those who sailed and decided not to participate again. I have summarized the responses below for everyone's benefit and they are going to be put on our website at www.bermuda1-2.org.

To all who replied, our thanks - not only from the organizers, but from everyone including future participants who will stand to benefit from the replies.

This is a hunch, but my impression is that the survey results indicate the participants in the Bermuda ONE-TWO are becoming increasingly competitive. To my knowledge no one ever formally polled the participants in the past, so there obviously is no factual basis for such a presumption. However, the concern with type of boats being raced against, the attitude toward spinnaker setting, and comments many made about their sleep times while racing seem to say a lot about how competitive many shorthanders are becoming in this particular event.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in a couple of weeks!

- Jeff Spranger
Bermuda ONE-TWO Event Chairman

RESULTS OF PAST SKIPPERS' SURVEY, JULY 1999

WHAT SINGLEHANDERS THINK

Our skippers' survey consisted of two parts. The first dealt basically with the organization and conditions of the Bermuda ONE-TWO, specifically of the four races run since 1993. The second part was about the outfitting and sailing of participating boats - and those results should be of real interest for anyone planning future participation. We plan to include such a survey on other gear and techniques in future newsletters, as well as some questions to those who made the return race as crew members.

The responses were about equally divided among one-, two-, three-, and four-time participants. A substantial majority of those responding plan to participate in the 2001 Bermuda ONE-TWO. Of those who are not likely to? Well, they all have superb excuses that have nothing to do with not enjoying the event!

Finally, almost all signed the surveys with their name, although to do so was optional and not relevant to any results.

ABOUT THE ONE-TWO

Every response was from someone we might call a "fan" of the Bermuda ONE-TWO. Asked whether they like the three-plus week schedule sailing the ONE-TWO entails, those responding almost unanimously voiced their approval, accompanied by such remarks as "leave it alone," "good timing," and "just right." Only one response did not rate the duration and timing as satisfactory or better - although several felt that the duration might be too long, especially for those having to travel a distance to get to Newport for the event.

This time commitment was by far the most common speculation as to why possible new or former participants decide not to participate. Several also cited the cost and inability to get insurance.

Clearly the unique and expedient Sunday start this year was popular. The traditional Friday and Sunday were voted equally the best starting days, but Sunday was a clear winner if those specifying "weekend" are included.

One of the more interesting issues was the relatively high degree of satisfaction with the PHRF rating system. The majority were content with the current rating system, reflecting a similar vote at the Skippers' Forum a year ago when the issue of using standard PHRF ratings was approved, and any tailoring of the ratings to take into account shorthanded performance or the characteristics of the ONE-TWO course was voted down.

Several responses - even from those who expressed satisfaction with PHRF -noted the difficulty they perceive in racing heavy boats against light boats. This is a subject too complicated to get into in this summary of survey results, and would make a good agenda item for the Skippers' Forum in November.

Most of those responding did have some form of insurance coverage for the Bermuda ONE-TWO. Best of all, we did get some names to check with about insurance for the 2001 event. In short, stay tuned.

... AND ABOUT THEIR GEAR

Part of the objective of the Bermuda ONE-TWO since its inception - as stated in the opening paragraph of the Notice of Race: "Although it is a competitive event, the major emphasis of the event is the on-going development and appraisal of offshore rigs, sailplans, sail gear, boat design, and boat handling techniques for shorthanded passagemakers." Part Two of the skippers' survey was the first of what we will try to make a continuing source of such information.

Asked how they rate the self-steering/ autopilot they used, the responders gave mixed results. The product/system that received the highest marks was the Monitor windvane. In fact, all the windvanes were given top ratings. Evaluations of electronic pilots were more wide ranging, but in general the most commonly used Autohelm brand - from the 3000 to 7000 - had good to excellent ratings. Best of all seemed to be dual systems: a windvane backed up by or backing up an electronic system.

The survey contained a challenging puzzle: to rate 10 pieces of gear, all of them desirable, from 1 to 10 in order of their usefulness in such a race as the Bermuda ONE-TWO. Those responding put at the top of the list - and thus deemed most useful - a roller-furled jib.

Here are the average rankings:
o Roller-furled jib - 2.5,
o Backup autopilot - 4.1,
o Windvane steering system - 4.1,
o Radar alarm - 5.4,
o Spinnaker sock - 5.5,
o Radar - 5.7,
o SSB radop - 5.8,
o Weather fax receiver - 7.0,
o Auxiliary electric supply - 7.8.

The item having the widest range was the windvane steering; those who used a windvane put it at the top of their list, those that didn't put it at the bottom.

In response to the type of spinnaker(s) carried, the answers were evenly divided between symmetrical and asymmetrical (either with a strut or "cruising" without a pole). Regardless of the type, 75% set the spinnaker with a spinnaker sock - most commonly the ATN - and deemed socks "successful" as opposed to "okay" or a "pain." Two skippers who indicated they did not use a sock cite previous experience with spinnaker socks and labeled them a "pain." Almost everyone set a spinnaker in "ideal conditions," and more than half indicated they were "eager" to get their chutes set.

As to sleeping schedules, those responding averaged almost six hours a day of sleep, mostly in 30-60 minute segments. Many tried to sleep longer periods during daylight - especially in the middle of the race while away from land. Sleep and competitiveness seem inversely proportional; some say they tried to sleep in light winds, others stayed awake and pushed their boat in the light stuff. Clearly none of this should come as a surprise to anyone.

Given the on-going debate about radio communication, the chance to say something about chat time seems appropriate for such a survey as this. The survey gave several choices for the ways participants regard this aspect of the ONE-TWO. The top "vote getter" was the way it "keeps the homefront happy." Close behind were that chat time is "fun," and the opportunity it provides to plot the positions of the competition (to which we can add those who use the chat-time info for "strategic purposes".)

A number of responders said they preferred to listen rather than talk. Only a couple noted the use of chat time as a safety feature - a write-in choice. And several expressed interest in satellite phone communication, clearly a wave of the future.

The last part of the survey asked for some problematic answers: what is one tip they might gave to prospective entrants; how would they spend $1000 on the race were they given such a sum; and what boat they think would be ideal for them for the Bermuda ONE-TWO. We'll run through some of the answers to these questions in the next newsletter.

FOG BESETS 1999 SOLO/TWIN RACE

The 52-boat fleet for the 1999 New England SOLO/TWIN Championships had an fast first leg before the wind went light and thick fog covered the course. Every boat had rounded the first turning mark southwest of Block Island by 1700 hours, carrying a fair tide and southeast reaching breeze all the way. With the sunset though, the breezes lightened and the daytime haze thickened. The combination took its toll on finishers; 13 boats in the fleet dropped out.

The entire four-boat singlehanded spinnaker class consisted of Bermuda ONE-TWO veterans. Dimitri Antoniatis' HALCYON took first by less than one minute on corrected time over Bjorn Johnson on SHER KHAN. The two boats are nearly identically rated, and the elapsed time margin was barely 5-1/2 minutes. Ted Singsen's STARKEEPER was third, while Peter McCrea and PANACEA - by far the slowest-rated boat in that class - withdrew.

In the singlehanded cruising canvas class - with seven starters, the largest turnout for such a class in memory - was won decisively by 1999 Bermuda ONE-TWO first-timer (and Class IV combined corrected time class winner) Rick McCally with WINDSWEPT.

In the doublehanded fleet, Barrett Holby with his ONE-TWO crew George Varga finished fourth in his class with TROLL-FJORD. That class was won by APPRECIATION's 1999 crew member Phil Garland and his long-time crewmate Dirk Kramer sailing Phil's Quest 30 SAMBA. Michael Millard sailed DUET to a sixth in the same class with Lisa Beardoud as his co-skipper. In the doublehanded non-spinnaker class John Drozdal co-skippered ARIANA with Darren Wolter to second in class on Darren's Ericson 35 Opus.

For complete results, check website at www.newportyachtclub.org.

THINGS AND STUFF

o As seems to have become a custom, St George's Dinghy & Sports Club's Dockmaster Tom Whayman visited Newport over Labor Day weekend. It is always a pleasure to see Tom, and he tells us that next summer will be a busy one for the Dinghy Club - what with the Annapolis-Bermuda fleet plus cruising rallies and the usual transients.

o Larry Pierce got his new boat back in commission by mid-summer. With its metallic paint job and utter absence of anything that originated in nature, his Aerodyne 38 looks like the penultimate boat of the new millennium. So is her name - BOB'S YER UNCLE..

CONTACT YOUR SKIPPER REP WITH AGENDA ITEMS

If you wish to have a discussion of any matter relating to the Bermuda ONE-TWO at the Skippers' Forum on Saturday, November 6, give Skipper Rep Bjorn Johnson a call days at 210-871-1102, evenings at 732-291-1765, or drop him an e-mail at mjbjohnson@msn.com.

OOPS! CORRECTION ON DATE FOR THE 2000 OFFSHORE 160

The date for the start of the 2000 Offshore160 in the last newsletter was listed incorrectly. The correct date on a calendar for the year 2000 is Friday, July 14th. Look for the Notice of Race for this event in the mail in February.

For those interested in entering this event, the required safety equipment list is similar to the one used for the New England SOLO/TWIN Championships; that information can be accessed in 1999 SOLO/TWIN Notice of Race on our website at www.newportyachtclub.org.

The biennial Offshore 160, held in the off-year from the Bermuda ONE-TWO, is a 160+-mile qualifier for the ONE-TWO. It is a low-keyed, bare-bones event designed to get new skippers' singlehanded qualifying passage out of the way in the off-year, and to provide past competitors with a long-distance racing "fix."

If you know of someone who is interested in entering the 2001 Bermuda ONE-TWO and who would like to get some overnight shorthanded racing experience along with veterans of the ONE-TWO, have them drop us a note so that we can add their name to the Offshore Mailing List: The Offshore Committee, c/o Newport Yacht Club, PO Box 488, Newport, RI 02840.

BERMUDA ONE-TWO 1999 FALL SKIPPERS' FORUM AND SHORE PARTY

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1999 o 4PM TO 9PM

NEWPORT YACHT CLUB o 110 LONG WHARF, NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

Shore Party Program of Events:
4:00 - 5:30 pm Informal Skippers' Forum
5:30 - 6:30 pm Hors d'oeuvres and Cash Bar -
downstairs in the NYC Clubhouse
6:30 - 7:30 pm "Grill-Your-Own-Grub"
steak/chicken fry - grills will be fired up for One-Two skippers/chefs show off their skills
7:30 - 9:00 pm Schmoozin' about Cruisin' ...

Dinner includes your choice of chicken or steak and the fixings (baked potato, salad, rolls and butter, coffee and dessert)

$15.00 Per Person (Payable at the door)

Come for the Skippers' Forum Stay for Dinner Share Your Past ONE-TWO Experiences Renew Friendships! This Shore Party will be the last one until November 2000 - so don't miss it!

Make your dinner reservations by contacting MUFFIN DUBUC by Thursday, November 4th. When making your reservations, please include the number of guests and their choice of entree.

NOTE - Should your plans change, PLEASE contact Muffin to cancel or adjust your reservations. Thank you!

Make your dinner reservations today by contacting

ONE-TWO Social Chairman MUFFIN DUBUC

Phone/FAX: 401-683-1847; E-mail: muffin@aqis.com

Dinner Reservation Deadline: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1999