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Globe-Circling Sailor Trims Sails and More; Ali and Trash Talk

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STEVE PETTENGILL says he is going to cut the bottom half off his toothbrush in an effort to get rid of all excess weight on his sailboat, reports Ron Scherer of the Monitor's New York bureau.

Pettengill, who finished second in the third leg of the round-the-world BOC Challenge race last week, may need more than weight savings to catch up with the leader, Frenchman Christoph Augin, however.

Augin arrived in Punta del Este, Uruguay, with a 83-hour lead over Pettengill for the first three legs of the race. Augin set a course record for the 6,900- mile sail from Sydney, Australia.

To catch Augin, Pettengill, says he will have to sail a perfect course to the finish in Charleston, S.C. To try to add some additional speed to his 60-foot yacht, Hunter's Child, he is taking off spare sails and extra supplies. He expects the last leg of the race to be fast - 20 days. With the race over so quickly, he may not need the top half of the toothbrush, either.

Trash talk: What is its place?

RUDY WASHINGTON, the men's basketball coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and the executive director of the Black Coaches Association, puts trash talk in this light: ``Every industry has its own lingo,'' he told the Dallas Morning News about the sports-speak of the late 20th century. ``The computer business has its own lingo. Banking has its own lingo. Trash talk is the language of athletics; it's the language of the game.''

But can you call it lingo? There is a vast difference between the vocabulary and phraseology used in a sport like basketball (``post up,'' ``transition game,'' ``in the paint,'' etc.) and the mean-spirited use of language to taunt, intimidate, and belittle.

Jonathan Rand, a sports columnist at the Kansas City Star, is among those who say that Muhammad Ali was the father of modern trash-talking. ``He was the first high-profile athlete who taunted opponents before, during, and after competing,'' Rand says. With Ali, boasting and taunting were entertaining shtick. Others have picked up on Ali's style, but without the same twinkle in their eyes.

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