SAILING : Lutz's Adventures on the High Seas Are Not Davis' Idea of Having Fun

As sailors, Jim Lutz and Rod Davis have little in common.

Listen to Lutz, a 37-year-old part-time schoolteacher from Reseda, describe Liverpool Enterprise's rounding of Cape Horn on the fourth leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race:

"We were pushed down 20 degrees below course with a northeaster blowing about 25 knots. We never did see 'the horn.' When we rounded it we were hit by a northwester with gusts of 50 knots, which quickly grew to 70 knots. In the process of dropping the main (sail), it was blown out. We had a (small) No. 3 jib up. The wind then increased to 89 knots.

"There were enormous waves coming over the deck. The surface of the water was just whipped into a foam."

As helmsman Chris Tibbs fought to keep the boat under control, crewmen Sam Roberts and Ivan Bunner twice were washed overboard, through the lifelines.

"They were clipped on (with safety harnesses), so there was no danger, but they had to be retrieved," Lutz said.

And with just the small headsail up, the boat recorded speeds of 29 knots.

"Apart from that," Lutz said, "the leg was fairly uneventful."

Lutz spoke during the layover in Punta del Este, Uruguay, with the fleet scheduled to leave March 17 on the fifth leg to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Hearing his report, Davis, Olympic gold medalist, America's Cup campaigner and the only three-time Congressional Cup winner, couldn't relate.

"I have no desire to do that," Davis said. "I can't understand why any of those guys want to do that. Such miserable conditions. Your life is in the hands of the gods."

One crewman, Tony Phillips of Creighton's Naturally, died after being washed overboard in November. Another entry, Martela of Finland, capsized Feb. 26 after losing its keel, although the crew was rescued.

That kind of sailing has no appeal for Davis.

"I don't want to die for the sport," he said.

Steinlager 2 of New Zealand continues to lead the race, claiming the Beefeater Trophy for each of the four legs--the last time by only 21 minutes 17 seconds over New Zealand's Fisher & Paykel.

Davis, a native of San Diego, spoke from Miami, where he was sailing a Japanese entry to fifth place in the International 50-Foot Assn. event. The owner, Masakazu Kobayashi, paid the way for him and some crew members from New Zealand, but Davis won't be defending his unparalleled third Congressional Cup title at Long Beach starting Wednesday because his New Zealand employer, Michael Fay, declined to pick up the tab.

"I'm disappointed not to be there," Davis said. "But Michael said, 'We really can't justify sending you up there just to win a fourth one.' It cost about $12,000 (U. S.) last year.

"Next year, when the America's Cup is finally out of court, we'll probably be back."

If anyone thinks it odd for Davis to be sailing the America's Cup for New Zealand, consider that Paul Cayard of San Francisco heads Italy's rich Il Moro program, and New Zealand's Chris Dickson will be sailing for Japan's Nippon Challenge syndicate, having parted company with Fay immediately after the '87 Cup.

Unless the New York Court of Appeals overturns the current status in the final legal round, Davis will return to San Diego later this year for an 18-month residency, leading to a '92 challenge for New Zealand. He plans to buy a Star boat and spend his spare time tuning up for a '92 Olympic campaign for New Zealand.

He doesn't plan to surrender his U. S. citizenship, but he has lived in Auckland with his New Zealand-born wife Liz and two young daughters since the '87 America's Cup.

Davis won a gold medal for the United States as a crewman for Robbie Haines aboard a soling in the '84 Olympics. Haines will compete in the Congressional, using Davis' former tactician, Doug Rastello.

Other entries include Dickson and Russell Coutts of New Zealand, '88 winner Peter Gilmour of Australia, Makoto Namba of Japan and Peter Isler, Larry Klein, John Kolius, Bill Lynn and Mike Elias of the U.S.

Davis said: "It pains me to say it, but Chris Dickson is the man to beat. He's won about six of these (match-racing events) in a row."

But not the original, the Congressional, an event foreign entries--including Davis--have won the past four years after a 21-year American monopoly. Curiously, Davis also was the last American to win.

In competition starting Wednesday, they'll be introducing the new Catalina 37s designed for match racing.

Sailing Notes

OLYMPICS--All 10 classes plus lasers, snipes and lightnings will compete in the 30th Olympic Classes Regatta at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club April 6-8. It's the only West Coast event in the 1990 Can-Am Series for American and Canadian Olympic hopefuls. . . . In 1990, U. S. trials for the Finns, women's Europe dinghies and men's and women's 470s will be at Newport Beach April 6-18, with the Tornado catamarans possibly at Marina del Rey. Other classes will be in Florida.

NOTEWORTHY--Mark Allen Yorston, 70, died last week of an apparent heart attack at the La Jolla Country Club. Yorston, a Newport Beach Yacht Club member, raced in many Pacific Ocean events and crewed for Bill Ficker when they won the world Star championship in 1958. . . . The fourth biennial U. S. Yacht Club Challenge at Newport Beach April 4-7, previously sailed only in Schock 35s, is expanding to classes for sailors under 18 in flying juniors and lasers. Scores over three days of fleet racing will be combined to determine the champion. The 12 selected clubs are Balboa, Newport Harbor, Long Beach, San Diego, St. Francis, California, Seattle, Chicago, St. Petersburg, Bayview of Detroit, Indian Harbor of Greenwich, Conn., and Seawanhaka of Oyster Bay, N. Y. . . . The Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Assn.'s 630-nautical mile Marina del Rey-Guadalupe Island race for monohulls and multihulls is scheduled April 7. It's a qualifying event for the biennial singlehanded Transpac from San Francisco to Kauai, Hawaii. Details: (213) 877-9815.

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