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America's Cup Roundup

By Bob Fisher

June 8, 1998

Cutler Goes Walkabout
In mid-May, Team Caribbean announced that John Cutler, who had been with their America's Cup campaign since the outset, was no longer involved and that his employment had been terminated. John had, at the time, been living back in New Zealand for five months and the syndicate quoted this and "Differences over design philosophy," as the reasons for the break.

The same day, it was announced that he had joined America True. In that syndicate's official statement, Cutler gave his reasons for the switch as being part of a team "that has the means to reach the starting line, but also has a good shot at winning the America's Cup."

Ten days later, Cutler was reticent to go further, saying, "Those guys (Team Caribbean) are still trying to raise funds to race in the Cup, so I don't want to comment on them. He did say, "Progress was not fast enough — we were growing apart. We are probably better off without each other." He added, "There's a lot more going on at America True."

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Medicare for Aloha Racing
The Hawa|an challenge has received a sizable financial package from Healthsound, and there can be no doubt that Dr. Jim Andrews, the owner of the 1D48 Abracadabra had some influence in this life-giving sponsorship. In New York, at the Newport-Manhattan Series, skipper John Kolius said that the Healthsound backing would provide sufficient funds for the design and building of one boat.

"It was close," he admitted, "We nearly didn't make it." He admitted that other funding would be needed for the campaign costs, but that the challenge was now on track and far healthier than it had been.

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CD Is No Go With DC
Forget about Chris Dickson sailing with Dennis Conner again. While some had been prepared to consider this as an option for the America's Cup, it is no longer viable. Dennis confirmed that in Annapolis, just before the start of the eighth leg of the Whitbread. Indicating that the Kiwi skipper that he had hired for Toshiba had left the boat at one day's notice, Conner was explicit that there would never again be a similar liaison.

Dennis was reeling once again from a resignation, although this one had been telegraphed. Most close observers of the race were aware that Andrew Cape was anything but happy with a number of things, but he had the good grace to give the owner of the boat time to find a replacement — what anyone, except it would seem, Dickson — would do.

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British Challenge Camera Shy
When TVNZ reporter Martin Tasker and cameraman George Johns were in Britain at the end of the Whitbread, they sought to interview members of the Royal Dorset YC's America's Cup syndicate. Commodore Bill Simmonds met them and took them on a tour of Weymouth, showing them where they intended to parade the Cup when they brought it back, and where the boats would be kept in 2003.

It was probably bravado, because the syndicate manager, Angus Melrose, had conveniently lost his voice, and Professor Andrew Graves, the technical director and fund-raiser, was judiciously away (in various towns and cities of Britain) in meetings, and neither would face the camera.

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Bob Fisher is a renowned nautical scribe living in Lymington, England.

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