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AmericaOne Quokka Chronicles:

AmericaOne Trimmer "Moose" Stays Loose
by Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports

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Wednesday, January 12, 2000 -

Auckland, NZ

The way Moose McClintock tells it, AmericaOne was lucky to get around the racecourse on Tuesday, let alone beat one of the strongest teams -- Prada -- in a slam-bang finish.

"We broke a spreader patch on one of the No. 3 [headsails], which wasn't a big problem," McClintock said. "We went to another No. 3, but at the bottom of the second run [the wind] was getting lighter so we went to a No. 2, and as soon as we rounded [the last leeward mark] we knew it was the wrong sail. We were overpowered. We couldn't point and it wasn't good for tacking because it pulls the bow down."

Despite an early lead of one minute and two seconds, all those glitches may have helped the Italians catch up and slip inside AmericaOne at the final mark, setting up the flurry of action downwind.

McClintock, 45, is from Newport, R.I. The upwind trimmer, he's noticeable on the leeward side, trying to avoid the spray of salt water. Probably only his mother calls him by his given name, David, and nobody in sailing calls him Mr. McClintock, so for this he'll be just plain Moose.

Of the countless races he has sailed as a headsail trimmer, he rates Tuesday's eight-second win as "about number four."

"The whole thing started when we came around [the last mark] and were laying the finish," Moose said. "We were side by side and they kept trying to push us down."

There was so much commotion it was hard to tell whether the opposing crews were throwing "Y" protest flags or hand grenades.

"One umpire had the yellow flag in his hand when we were going back and forth, and finally there was this big bear-off," Moose said. "We flagged each other and the [umpires] flagged [Prada]."

That meant the Italians would have to do a penalty turn before the finish. In an earlier race they did one en route to a win over Le Défi BTT. It took 25 seconds.

"What they wanted to do was get across our bow and gybe and come back and luff us," Moose said. "In hindsight, we should have just slowed down. All you have to do is stay within 20 seconds or so.

"Instead, we went down with 'em and went into that thing back and forth, and our spinnaker hit 'em. So now the penalties were even, but we were ahead."

Moose said the shouting, though loud and clear on TV, didn't seem extraordinary to him.

"That was nothing," he said. "That was pretty clean. [Prada tactician] Torben [Grael] was yelling at us, and Paul [Cayard] and [tactician] John [Kostecki] were, uh, communicating back and forth."

Prada skipper Francesco de Angelis was relatively quiet. He let Grael do all the yelling and flag-waving.

"He didn't say a thing," Moose said. "He was getting white knuckles on the wheel. It's a tough spot to be in through that whole thing."

Moose, who sailed on the original Young America in the 1995 America's Cup, describes AmericaOne as a relatively noisy boat.

"When I sailed with Kevin Mahaney in '95, Kevin was really quiet and John [Kostecki] was really quiet. This boat, Paul's very active in what's going on, and he's so good that he has great input on everything. He's firing stuff off John all the time, and John's weighing all the equations. I think it makes the boat sharper.

"As a whole team, we haven't done any racing other than here. We're getting better every race. We're still making simple mistakes. We'll just keep plugging away and hope we keep getting better."

Moose is one of the few trimmers who works both sides of the boat. On TV, he's the tall, slim guy ducking under the boom [?] as he steps from one side of the boat to the other on every tack.

"We tried that when we were in California," he said. "We want more consistency going upwind.

"I never even look at the camera. I just look at the back of the jib and the instruments [on the mast]. I talk to the grinders and [pitman] Josh [Belsky] or [mainsail trimmer] Terry [Hutchinson] -- Terry for boat speed and Josh for power."

Moose was exhausted after the race, but the whole AmericaOne crew was upbeat.

"It was a big race to clinch a tie to a sail-off," he said. "Everybody has been on us that we hadn't really beaten Prada. [In previous races] they dropped their rig or had to do a [penalty turn]. We're pretty close in speed, so we just wanted to have a good race."

They didn't just have a good race, they gave the spectators a thrill ride that'll long be remembered.


For full story go to: www.americascup.org

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Gina von Esmarch
E-mail: gvonesmarch@americaone.org
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