SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1045 - April 9, 2002
Scuttlebutt is a digest of yacht racing news of major significance; commentary, opinions, features and dock talk . . . with a North American emphasis. Corrections, contributions, press releases, constructive criticism and contrasting viewpoints are always welcome, but save your bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
Long Beach, CA (April 8, 2002) - Teams have registered and been weighed, damage deposits have been paid, and tomorrow the 38th Congressional Cup gets underway. Seven skippers representing six America's Cup teams are among the ten entrants in the United States oldest match racing regatta, which, for the first time, is part of the Swedish Match Tour, the world's premier professional sailing series.
Among the competitors is newly anointed Swedish Match Tour rankings leader Peter Holmberg of Oracle Racing's 2003 America's Cup challenge. For Holmberg, defending champion of the Congressional Cup and winner of two consecutive Swedish Match Tour events, its business as usual in spite of sailing in familiar surroundings.
"I trained here for the `84 Olympics, living here for six months, and have competed here a few times, so I'm no stranger," said Holmberg. "While it's always in the back of your mind (having won the event previously), it's not going to get you through this year's strong field."
Another team familiar with Long Beach is the Stars & Stripes entry, skippered by Ken Read. With Long Beach also serving as the domestic training base for Stars & Stripes, Dennis Conner's challenge knows the local conditions well. "The fact is, this is my home away from home," said Read. "We really like the people and the sailing conditions are excellent.
If I could make a choice about where to train for the America's Cup, I wouldn't choose anywhere else."
After an active month of racing, Read has recently reacquainted himself with the Catalina 37 racing yachts used at the Congressional Cup, engaging in several sparring sessions with fellow Stars & Stripes teammates off the end of Belmont Pier in Long Beach. Add to that the fact that Read carries 1992 Congressional Cup winner Terry Hutchinson on-board as tactician, and the Americans are strong contenders to hoist the Cup at Saturday evening's prize giving ceremony.
A possible wild-card at this year's event is Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen who is still riding high from his appearance in last month's Steinlager Line 7 Cup final, the first of his career on the Swedish Match Tour. Gram-Hansen's presence here brings to an end a whirlwind month of travel.
"We've flown across 44 combined time zones over the last couple of weeks and experienced daylight savings time changes in Auckland, Denmark and here," said Gram-Hansen. "Needless to say we're a little tired, but excited to be here for the first time and looking forward to a good result.
With a lineup including the last six Congressional Cup winners, Holmberg in 1998, '99 and 2001, Team New Zealand's Dean Barker in 2000, Prada Challenge's Gavin Brady in '96 and '97, and Prada's Rod Davis, the only four-time winner, in '81, '85, '89 and '93.
2002 CONGRESSIONAL CUP SKIPPERS: Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing, Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark, Team Marienlyst, Luc Pillot, Le DefED Areva, Gavin Brady, Prada, Dean Barker, Team New Zealand, Ed Baird, USA, Rod Davis, Prada, Andy Green, GBR Challenge, Ken Read, Team Dennis Conner, Scott Dickson, USA. - Rich Roberts, www.swedishmatchtour.com
Guess who's coming to sail at the 38th Congressional Cup. Chris Dickson, recently placed on a leave of absence with the Oracle Racing America's Cup team training in Auckland, N.Z., arrived unannounced at the Long Beach Yacht Club at mid-day Monday to join his younger brother Scott as tactician. The boats had already left the harbor to practice, but Dickson immediately jumped on a chase boat to join Scott, a Long Beach resident who represents the host club.
Chris Dickson deflected questions about whether he had or needed permission from Oracle to participate in others events, as Paul Cayard has after he was consigned to shoreside duties late last year. "I'm not here to talk about Oracle," Dickson said after returning from the water. "I'm here to help the little brother through the week."
Chris Dickson, formerly the world's top-ranked match racer, won the Congressional in 1990 and '91 and called tactics for Scott when the latter finished second in '98. Although Chris won't be driving, his presence gives the event five former winners on the 10 boats, along with Holmberg ('98, '99 and '01), Rod Davis ('81, '85, '89 and '93), Gavin Brady ('97-'97) and
Dean Barker (2000). - Rich Roberts, Yacht Racing website, full story and photo: www.yachtracing.com/richroberts/concup02a.html
ISAF WORLD GAMES
The ISAF World Sailing Games is the largest international sailing competition in respect of number of competitors, with three times more entries than the Olympic Games. Thanks to the free boats being supplied to all the competitors and the possibility to register two teams per event per nation, up to 100 countries and 1000 athletes will be welcomed to the ISAF World Sailing Games.
Eleven World Champion titles will be awarded by the International Sailing Association Federation (ISAF) at the end of the World Sailing Games in Marseilles. As for the Olympic titles, the ISAF World Sailing Championship titles stand for 4 years. Worldwide, competitor selection is under process for most of the participating countries and today we can be sure that this event will be great! - ISAF website, full story: www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID3D2187 Event website: www.sailing-games.com
AROUND THE WORLD, WITH NEW COLORS
As you travel around the world, where you can watch the America's Cup Teams, the Farr 40 fleet, Etchells. Stars, Snipe, Laser, Optimist, etc. You will find the Camet shorts, Pants, Hiking pants, Gear bags, Rash Guards, always there. Spring is here, and it is time to get your own gear ready for the season. Check out the Camet website, at www.camet.com
ONION PATCH SERIES
To date 146 boats have applied for entry in the Bermuda Race IMS Cruiser/racer Division and 15 have applied for the Racing Division. All 161 are eligible to sail the Onion Patch Series for the IMS North American Championship. Late entry applications are still being accepted for the Bermuda Race.
Racing for the Onion Patch series includes top competition in a wide variety of sailing conditions. The first two races are ocean or bay courses in New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta. The third race is the Cruising Club of America and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race. The final two races in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's Anniversary Regatta are sailed on Bermuda's Great Sound, usually in flat water and a breeze.
Individual entries race for the DuPont trophy and for the IMS North American Championship. Three-boat teams also sail for the Onion Patch Trophy. Teams may be composed of any mix of IMS Racing or IMS Cruiser/Racer boats representing countries, clubs or other sailing associations. In 2000 there were 45 individual entries and 9 teams formed. - Talbot Wilson, www.bermudarace.com/~opatch/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(Letters selected for publication must include the writer's name and may be edited for clarity or space - 250 words max. This is not a chat room or a bulletin board - you only get one letter per subject, so give it your best shot and don't whine if others disagree.)
* From Paul Henderson, ISAF President: I was just listening to CNN and I have decided that (US Attorney General John) Ashcroft must be a sailor. He just made a very profound statement: "You only need two things to run government. WD 40 to loosen things that should not stick together and want to and Duct Tape for things that should stick together and do not want to!" Sailors found that out years ago.
* From Lothar J.R. Maier: (Re Ron Holland's suggestions that one-design maxi-boats would be a better alternative than the maxZ86 class racing now under development.) (This letter was heavily edited to our 250-word max.):
Let's learn from history. Do we forget the attempt of Pierre Fehlmann with Grand Mistral? This attempt didn't generate the results (rental agreements) of less 8 boats, to be contracted to refinance the pre-investment of a big banking syndicate. Grand Mistral didn't compete successfully against the former and well established Whitbread, re-launched under Volvo's flag as the new owner.
Today, such a refitted idea like a racing "maxi" monohull class has to fulfill the needs of sponsors. Secondly can it fulfill the needs of enthusiastic professional sailors? Do global players /international brands mostly finance such keen projects and not private billionaires? This sail racing business does not mean, that the spirit of sail adventure will be lost. With Internet and modern Satellite communication it is not that difficulty to push the pictures, audio and video streams onto the PC screens in 'real time' of more than 500 million Internet users.
More important is to reduce the immense costs of individual building, refitting/-design in times of global recession and deliver a perfect yacht management, crew procurement and event management to the sponsor's address in a good shape and strict calculated budget, it means a good balance of price (investment) and return of investment ... with a minimum of risks. It is the task of the rule makers, to bring the different competitors onto a common standard by clear defined class rules with small space for interpretation, e.g. it was planned within the "Grand Mistral".
In a positive move to attract more entries for the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has announced that it is cutting the entry fee for the race by almost half.
Whilst only a relatively small amount in the overall cost of mounting a campaign for the 630 nautical mile blue water classic, the Club believes it is a step that will be welcomed by all potential competitors, in particular, by owners of smaller yachts. Many owners had urged such a move at meeting of boat owners and senior crewmembers held at the CYCA before the announcement of the Rolex sponsorship.
Yachts entering the 2002 Race will pay a basic entry fee of $500.00 (plus GST) plus $50.00 (plus GST) for each crewmember. For last year's 57th Race, the basic entry fee was $1,100.00 (GST included) plus $75.00 (GST included) for each crewmember. The crew fee has been retained, although reduced, because the workload of the CYCA Sailing Office in processing yacht entries is directly related to the number of crew on each yacht.
The reduction in entry fees for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the first step in a plan being formulated by the CYCA to encourage a significant lift in starters for the event, which last year saw the fleet slip to just 75 boats, including eight Volvo Ocean 60s.
Other proposals before the CYCA Sailing Committee include setting up a panel of experienced yacht owners to advise new owners on how to prepare their boat and crew for a long ocean racing such as the Sydney Hobart Race, and establishing a log of Australian racing yachts suitable for charter by overseas owners and crews.
"We would like to see more of the average club boats that have been the backbone of the Sydney Hobart Race competing again this year; and we want to provide the advice to encourage newcomers into ocean racing," CYCA Commodore Hans Sommer said.
The Notice of Race for the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is expected to be available in late April/early May both in printed form and through the internet. - Peter Campbell
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
24.69 knots average for an hour at the 1200 position report for the maxi-catamaran Orange. You can just imagine the current atmosphere on board at the moment as she continues to hurtle down the Pacific swell at full speed. On the log the figures are racing by, progressively increasing to reach 560 miles or more than 1,000 kilometres covered these last 24 hours.
At 0800 Monday morning Orange was 2,660 miles from Cape Horn, or less than 6 days sailing from the last great Cape to leave to port. The only obstacle in the way, a low that is forming on the Marseilles giant's route that must be skirted to the south.
The only snag to the situation is that by plunging down south, Bruno Peyron and his men will be re-crossing the Antarctic convergence zone again exposing themselves to possible drifting ice. So their eyes will be glued to the instruments indicating the sea temperature that can suddenly fall announcing ice, not forgetting the radar screen, coupled to a powerful sound alarm, scanning the horizon in the search for the slightest threatening echo.
Excerpts from Nick Moloney's log: Yesterday brought upwind conditions for the maxi-catamaran Orange. Throughout the day the strength built into the 20's and 30's by night fall. Throughout the evening and into this morning the wind direction has moved through the North into the NW and conditions swung from wet to wetter. Wetter but faster, and are currently doing 25+ towards Cap Horn. Not too stressed about the wet as progress is great. We are all hoping that the wind holds.
After 38 days at sea, Orange has traveled 16, 165 miles compared to the 13,524 miles done by the record holder Sport Elec in 1997 during the same period of time. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com/site/en/index2.cfm
NEW PERFORMANCE LAMINATES FOR GRAND PRIX RACE BOATS
Bainbridge International has recently combined there renowned 'off shore' (OS) scrim and a grey pigmented adhesive system into a range of inshore racing laminates that provide improved shape retention, greater strength and longer life. The OS DIAX has proved to be very versatile and this development will allow the inshore sailor to benefit from the increased perfomance that is offered by this range of laminates. For more information contact your sailmaker or go to www.sailcloth.com
Peter Montgomery interviewed Dyer Jones, member of the New York Yacht Club and Regatta Director of the Louis Vuitton Cup on newstalkzb. He briefly discusses the evolution of the multiple challenge format from its beginnings in 1970 to the first Louis Vuitton series in 1983; the format and dates of the 2002/3 LVC series and the current status of the illbruck challenge. An excerpt:
Peter Montgomery: There have been rumours and stories coming out about illbruck but as far as you're concerned they are still registered and you still have ten challengers and not nine?
Dyer Jones: That's absolutely correct. The illbruck team, as you know, is very focused at the moment on winning the Volvo race, which they are, and they have announced that their plans for the America's Cup are on hold depending on whether they can find additional funding. However the challenging yacht club, which the illbruck team represents, is the Dusseldorf Yacht Club of Germany and they still have a valid challenge. So we're still counting them in and we're still planning on ten teams." - posted by Cheryl on the 2003AC website spy network sightings forum, www.2003ac.com
BVI SPRING REGATTA
Tortola, British Virgin Islands- After perfect ESE 10-15 knot conditions kicked off the first day of racing at the BVI Spring Regatta, winds de-generated to light to nothing for the second day with one class unable to complete its race of the day. The last day of the 2002 dawned breathless and by 10 AM - without even having left the dock - racing for the record-breaking fleet of 114 yachts was cancelled and a "Beach Day" was announced.
Pyewacket racing for the first time in the Caribbean continued its dominance of Big Boat Racing with five bullets after the two days of racing while Tom Hill's Titan (2,2,2,3,2) beat Bill Alcott's Equation (3,3,3,2,3) by three points. Pyewacket's dominance at the BVI Spring Regatta has cemented its position as the leader of the 2002 Caribbean Big Boat Series (CBBS) after two events. With only Antigua Sailing Week to go in the CBBS he looks unstoppable.
For full details including the results and photos: www.bvispringregatta.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Once over the hill, you pick up speed.