SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1050 - April 16, 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.
THE END OF AN ERA
It is with deep great regret that the Board of Directors of the Royal Hawaiian Ocean Racing Club has decided to cancel the 2002 Royal Hawaiian Cup Hawaii International Offshore Series. Since the Kenwood Corporation informed the Club in 2001 that they would be unable to continue their sponsorship in 2002, continuous action has been taken to find a replacement sponsor. However, the horrendous events of September 11, 2001 coupled with the downturn in the world economy, have made it impossible to find a replacement sponsor for this year. The Board of Directors therefore had little option but to cancel the series.
The Hawaii International Offshore Series has been conducted biennially in the even-numbered years since 1978. This is the first time in 24 years the event will not be held.
Cy Gillette, Commodore of the Royal Hawaiian Ocean Racing Club said, "I am very sad that we have to announce the decision to cancel the event this year. However, we plan to continue our sponsorship search as there is already some interest being shown to sponsor our event in Hawaii in 2004." - Ken Morrison, www.rhorc.org
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
illbruck is once again leading the fleet of the Volvo Ocean Race, this time up the American coast from Miami towards Baltimore. The first 24 hours appear to have consisted of sail change after sail change, Roger Nilson onboard Amer Sports One commented earlier how most of the fleet appear to have used every spinnaker onboard, making for a hectic first day back at sea. The whole fleet has been enjoying some good speeds in reaching conditions during this period; although the wind has started to lighten over the past couple of hours and the boat speeds are all starting to reduce.
It is starting to look like the gamble taken onboard Amer Sports Too is not going to pay off after all. Having taken a gamble and been the most easterly yacht for the leg so far, the girls have slowly started to drop further behind the leaders, especially now that the fleet is generally taking a more easterly route as they follow the coast up towards Baltimore. The east - west split, which at one point stood at nearly 90 miles has now closed to a 50 nautical mile gap whilst onboard Amer Sports Too the distance to the leading yacht illbruck has increased to 33 nautical miles. - Volvo Ocean Race website, www.volvooceanrace.com
POSITIONS at 0412 GMT on April 16:
1. illbruck, 477 miles to finish (ETA April 17 - 21:50 GMT)
2. News Corp, 1 mile behind leader
3. Assa Abloy, 2 mbl
4. Amer Sports One, 2 mbl
5. Team Tyco, 24 mbl
6. SEB, 25 mbl
7. djuice, 32 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 33 mbl.
Squalls may be widely scattered, but they will provide a set of tactics all their own for the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race. In some cases, the extra breeze on the leading edge may induce the tacticians to try to stay with the cloud. In other cases, they may really want to stay out of the dead air zone in the middle of the cloud. The larger storm cells can set up their own circulation with updrafts, downdrafts and even downbursts. Rain gives a clue about the nature of the beast, and there are a few technological marvels that help the navigator keep track of what's coming as well as keeping an eye on the competition.
The farthest reaching technology that helps the navigator in near real-time is the weather satellite picture receiver. By studying the satellite imagery, the onboard weather analyst can determine approximate conditions under the storm cells approaching. By comparing with earlier satellite images or weather fax surface analyses, the rate of advance for a system can also be approximated. Will the storm cells arrive in the middle of the night or are they going to be in the clear Ôtil daybreak? Look at the satellite images, and an idea of the future can be projected. - Bill Biewenga, Volvo Ocean Race website: www.volvooceanrace.org
DON'T FORGET THE PADS
When you are getting your gear ready for the Ensenada, race, the San Diego Yachting Cup, or any regatta, that you will be sitting on the rail , don't forget your Camet Sailing Shorts or Pants with the pads. You will arrive, feeling much better and having enjoyed the race. Check them out with all new colors for this season. Camet web site: www.camet.com
THE FAT LADY HAS SUNG
Germany's first-ever challenge for the America's Cup has been formally withdrawn. The illbruck Challenge, a professional sailing team which currently leads the Volvo Ocean Race, indicated in mid March that it was putting its America's Cup preparations on hold as it searched for financial backers. Today the Duesseldorf Yacht Club, under whose burgee illbruck sails, notified the Challenger of Record Committee and Defender Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron that it would not participate in the challenger series which starts later this year.
Despite intensive efforts to find a corporate sponsor, a commercial partner has not been found to finance the campaign, said Michael Illbruck, 42, CEO of the international company illbruck GmbH and Chairman of the illbruck Challenge. "While it's disappointing that we cannot keep the team together for the next America's Cup, we hope to find a long-term solution to challenge again some time in the future."
The decision to pull out of the America's Cup, would have no impact on the team's participation in the Volvo Ocean Race. The race, which finishes in Kiel June, 9 2002, is now in its sixth stage between the US cities of Miami and Baltimore. - NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
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 Dave Ellis: We all agree with Rick Weightson (#1049, April 15) that the crew makes the team. While employed as Sailing Master of St. Petersburg Yacht Club we pushed crew names aggressively. Now, however, as sailing correspondent of St. Petersburg Times newspaper, practicality has set in. For an article on a midwinter regatta I may be given eight column inches. I'll list the crew for the first two or three boats in a class such as Thistle. But for PHRF racers that may have a cast of thousands on the rail, the space would be taken up by names rather than promoting the sport. Sorry, but I have to say "and crew", "with experienced crew" or "with a crew of eight". It's tough to get sailing coverage in the public media. Tough choices in content are routine.
* From Ed Sherman: Here in the Southern, freshwater lakes hinterland (NC, SC, GA) will be held, on Saturday, May 18, 2002 a most unique and new PHRF sailboat race with FAIR ratings. Known as the Great Fun PHRF Pursuit Sailboat Race, liberal rating adjustments (secs/mi) for dirty bottoms, old sails and inexperience will level the playing field. "FAIR" is a new concept and acronym for, "Final Adjusted Inclusive Rating" and is especially designed for club races where the weekend warriors can compete with the local, slick go-fasts in a PHRF format. The idea is to increase interest in weekend racing by eliminating the intimidation factor. The staggered start race for charity will be part of Hartwell Lake Fair Day to kick off National Safe Boating Week.
* From Hans Graf: The decision to require PFD's lies with the race committee because it will be the race committee's responsibility to fish a drowned sailor out of the water. If that responsibility fell to me, and I had not raised the Y flag when it would have been appropriate to do so, and the death could have been prevented by wearing a PFD the individual responsibility rule would be of little comfort. Race Committees assume all kinds of responsibilities for the safety of sailors. We put crash boats on the course, we recruit Medical Personnel to serve on race management teams, we require call-ins on long distance races, we require safety gear beyond legal requirements. These traditions have evolved because regardless of the individual's responsibility for their own safety, we as race officers, are responsible for the sport, and preventable deaths during regattas would damage the sport in ways we can't predict. When sailing in a solo setting, the individual sailor is the only one interested in his/her safety, but in a racing situation, the race committee becomes an interested party, and competitors must respect those interests as much as race committees respect the interests of competitors.
* From Ray Tostado (edited to our 250-word limit): After nearly 35 years of sailing both for fun and racing I have been on both sides of the PFD situation; both as a rescuer and as a "rescuee". I have read stories about drowning for lack of them: (1970s) ... a San Francisco race crew member who removed his float coat because it was too hot; (1980s) A high level professional skipper on a world class racer being returned from Seattle who was washed overboard into the night when a sudden wave broke over the deck just as he had disconnected from his safety gear. He was never recovered.
During a mid week (1986) Santa Ana windstorm while busting waves with my 41' two-tonner we witnessed a Hobie attempt the open seas only to flip upsides 100 yards outside the breakwater. We rescued two crew members, with only one PFD between them. In the 10 minutes it took to get them aboard they were already into hypothermia. They would have drowned as how the seas and wind was washing them out with every wave.
All crew members are entitled to their "freedoms". But the facts are: The CG likes cadavers that float; skippers are in charge and responsible for all crew members; race committees make judgments which by their authority are intended to benefit and protect all participants. For me it is comforting to know there is someone who is caring for my welfare, even when I am driven by vanity and adrenaline.
* From Richard Hazelton: Why all the debate on wearing PFDs or carrying knifes. Sure it might be necessary for those other guys but it'll never happen to you so why worry?
* From Bill Vining (edited to our 250-word max): I read with great interest the article on the safety issues with trapezes. I have a Dart catamaran and I have had a couple of close calls with the boat. I have experienced the "getting the tiller extension stuck in my trap harness and almost t-boning an unsuspecting catboat on the opposite tack", "the hook falling out of the ring, boat sailing away without me", "the stuffing it at high speeds and having the crew slam against the mast."
Trapeze/ dinghy/ cat sailors should not only be highly prepared, but be expecting disaster each time we go out. My tiller has a quick release on it, and I only wear a half harness. The line that holds the trapeze wire in place is very light, elastic type line and will break free in the event you pitch pole and can't unclip the hook.
When I go out alone or go more than a couple of hundred yard off shore, I wear a wetsuit, lifevest, and a full knife(not a fold-up) strapped to my leg. A submersible VHF is clipped to the inside of my lifevest and a whistle hangs from the bottom of the vest. I carry on the boat; a safety mirror, a cell phone in a waterproof pouch, a container of water, food, extra line, and sunscreen.
When its really blowing my crew wears a Gath helmet and we leave on shore anything we don't want to lose when we capsize or that will catch on the rigging.
* From Scott Truesdell: I demand that all racers wear helmets at all times. An emergency rule change should be drafted immediately with no discussion. I read that someone got hit in the head once.
Team Prada ended the 'extra' training session in New Zealand with Luna Rossa ITA 45 and will head back to Italy within a few days. Only a small number of team members spent the last month working from the Auckland operations base, as most of the team went back to Italy at the beginning of March.
Throughout this extra session on the Hauraki Gulf, various tests, technical evaluations and specific crew training have been carried out. In the meantime, the other two boats and most of the equipment used by team Prada in Auckland from October to March (Young America USA 53 and USA 58) have been shipped back to Italy.
The weather conditions in Auckland during the past month have been fairly good: although at the end of March the team had to put up with a few low pressure systems carrying plenty of rain and strong S-SW winds, the second part of the period was blessed by a late summer spell, with warm sunny days and very light breeze.
In a few days Luna Rossa ITA 45 - the last America's Cup Class yacht of team Prada still in Auckland - will be loaded on a ship and will reach Italy in five and a half weeks. From the beginning of May, when the other two yachts USA 53 and USA 58 (shipped from Auckland a month ago) are scheduled to reach the Italian coast, team Prada will be back at work in its home base in Punta Ala.
The construction of the new Luna Rossa ITA 74 is well under way in the team's boatyard in Grosseto and the launch will take place in late May. - Alessandra Ghezzi, www.pradalunarossa.com
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
As expected since Sunday evening, the maxi-catamaran Orange is heading NE, progressively distancing herself from the South American coast. The Marseilles Giant has decided to favor and invest in a route not often attempted in previous circumnavigations in order to avoid tackling head on a low with winds estimated at 60 knots.
Orange should be able to benefit today and tomorrow from a good 30 knot leading SW wind generated southwest of her. But on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th, the Marseilles Giant will have to leave this system to branch off to the north and borrow the eastern edge of a low located to her north-west. A nice giant slalom in perspective for which they must respect the timing perfectly. "The situation is definitely not simple" explained skipper Bruno Peyron, "and we're going to have to aim for a mouse hole. It's a race against the clock and that's why we're driving quite hard at the moment!"
Indeed, the maxi-catamaran Orange was credited with an average speed of 23.05 knots at 1000 GMT and 536 miles on the log. The wind is currently blowing 30/35 knots with a beam sea and the boat is sailing under full main and reacher. In short, the bows are smoking! - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
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
QUOTES FROM THE BOATS
"It is sunny and we are reaching with the spinnaker up. I must say it has been great to come back on for this leg. There are big differences between this and the America's Cup - we get dawns at sea instead of waking up at 5 AM to go to the gym." - Nick White, News Corp
"The problem with trying to cover everybody is you get left in the middle with both sides passing." - Mark Rudiger, Assa Abloy
The WSSRC has just ratified the Plymouth to La Rochelle record recently claimed by Steve Fossett's PlayStation:
Sailed by: Steve Fossett and a crew of 9
Dates: 8th/9th April 2002
Elapsed Time: 16 hours, 41 minutes, 40 seconds
Average Speed: 21.26 knots
The previous record, established in May 2001, was set by Pete Berry (GBR) in a time of 37 hours, 33 minutes and 23 seconds. - www.sailspeedrecords.com
GOING FOR THE RECORD
It has been an extremely difficult morning on the maxi-catamaran, Maiden II. After the last 24 hours of tradewinds and average SOG of 16-18kts we are now faced with squalls and no wind. Our average over the four days since the start has been 15.7Kts. Speed required to break record: 15.74kts
Forecast: is for continued squall activity for another 100nm west. This will disrupt tradewinds which hopefully will settle back in on Tuesday at 15-17kts NE. Heading is 230 and our plan is to try and make some more south, as the centre of the Azores High also moves further south to 30N making lighter air from 26N-30N.
Now some 330nm miles behind the position of Club Med at the same time. It was on Day 4 that Club Med set their 24 hour record of 625nm. Club Med subsequently had a slower pace then into San Salvador, so on our schedule we now have some making up of time to do. - Yachts and Yachting website, full story: www.yachtsandyachting.com/default.asp?article=6305
The Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) of US SAILING, national governing body for the sport, has announced that it has received a substantial grant in support of its programs from AmericaOne, the America's Cup 2000 Challenger representing the St. Francis Yacht Club, (San Francisco, California). Now a public charity, discussions with AmericaOne began late last year, allowing the OSC to incorporate the grant into budget and program planning for 2002 and 2003. Specifically, the funds will support: athletes attending the 2002 Athens Regatta and the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Championships; grants in the Europe and Laser classes; and top-finishing U.S. athletes at each of the nine Olympic class world championships in 2002 and 2003.
"Many sailors make the transition from Olympic-level sailing to competing in the America's Cup," said Bob Billingham, Chief Operating Officer of AmericaOne. "Our grant recognizes the significance of making an investment in the future." Jan Harley, www.ussailing.org/Olympics/
Charleston YC - Final results (52 boats):
1. ING DIRECT, WOLF RUDY, 79
2. MONEY SHOT, HORTON ANDY, 82
3. TRIBAL PLEASURES, HILLMA MARK, 84
4. HEALY TIM 89
5. BRAIN CRAMP, INGHAM MIKE, 92
6. FAT BOYZ, SKELLEY MAX, 94
7. BANGOR PACKET, PARKER TONY, 101.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If a jogger runs at the speed of sound, can he still hear his walkman?