SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1051 - April 17, 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 SMALL SCREEN
TV deals for the next Louis Vuitton Cup and America`s Cup are currently being signed by a whole range of different countries. First it was the United States with Outdoor Life network (OLN) who announced that they would be airing more than 400 hours of live TV from the beginning of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Then ESPN announced that they would be airing the America's Cup Match in full. Now it is Europe's turn to come to the party.
A bidding war has been going on in Italy for the past few months for the exclusive terrestrial TV rights for the only European country with two challengers. With the Prada Challenge's success at the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000 and the huge popular support in Italy, RAI, the Italian broadcaster, did very well in viewership terms in spite of the time zone difference. Many were the bleary-eyed workers who showed up to work in Italy having spent most of the small hours watching the silver and red ACC boat ITA-48 battling on the Hauraki Race Course. MediaSet, the other big broadcaster in Italy, and RAI, are in a bidding war for the rights for the next Cup. Italy will be well served.
A deal has recently been finalized for Switzerland, the country that overlaps languages and many terrestrial broadcasters' footprints. At the naming ceremony of the GBR Challenge boat last Friday it was announced that the BBC had secured the rights for the United Kingdom. Victory Challenge's main sponsor TV3 has acquired exclusive broadcasting rights for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup in ten countries. Among these countries are Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. This means that the broadcasts will cover all the countries from which the crewmembers of the Swedish America's Cup challenge are taken. - Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.lvcup.com/lvcup/lv/default.asp?m=displayarticle&id=4760
LE DEFI AREVA
The French team for the America's Cup 2003 will settle in August in Base 10, in the heart of the Viaduct Bassin. Le Defi Areva will be between Stars&Stripes and Victory Challenge. With more than 2000 m2 available, this base is double the size of its 2000 base, ie a boathouse of a 450 m2, a sail loft of a 700 m2 and 700 m2 for the shore team.
"This base, in the heart of the Viaduct Bassin, is nearly already operational, so that we can save energy and time for the team! This place also allows us to live with the other challengers, within the event and within the atmosphere of the Cup. On the other hand, the area remains a bit small and we will need some imagination to optimize it", says Pierre Mas, sports and logistic manager.
For the last two years, the containers used for Le Defi's base in 2000 have been awaiting the French team. Thanks to them, Le Defi Areva will have an extra 800 mĚ. This area will be devoted to create a restaurant, a kitchen, a locker room, a physical training room and a VIP room with an unique view on the Viaduct Bassin. "Our base will be operational beginning of August for our boats and the team. We will start our sailing program early September in the best possible working conditions," said Pierre Mas.- www.ledefi.com
Samson has been the leader in high performance sailing lines since the introduction of its patented Yacht Braid in the 50's. Once again, Samson leads the way with its revolutionary ColorMatch 24 system of high performance running rigging. Featuring 24 end cover construction, these lines also offer matching cores to cover tracers for easy line ID, even with the covers stripped! If you are going to PacSail Expo next week, stop by booth #745 for details. Samson, The Sailor's Line. www.samsonrope.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
* There is no let up in the pressure for the leading three boats in the Volvo Ocean Race. It has been nip and tuck for the past 24 hours, with less than 5 miles covering the three, and now there is just a one mile gap between first and third. The main difference is that Assa Abloy has dropped from being in amongst the leaders, to trailing them by 22 miles. With just over 200 miles to the finish line in Baltimore, and light winds forecast for the run up the Chesapeake, the nail biting is set to continue right up to the line. - www.volvooceanrace.org
* Mark Rudiger, navigator on board Assa Abloy, paid a heavy price for hitting the wrong switch during a tough 24 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race. As he sailed in and out of the Gulf Stream in the dark, his error with the electrical panel blew out one of the enormous ballast pipes and flooded the inside of the boat, causing him to lose ground. Then, Assa twice sailed through current-borne weed and had to stop, requiring a man to go under the boat to cut it free.
* As the boats have spent most of this leg so far on a reach, this has meant that with different sail inventories, they have each had to position themselves in the most advantageous sector of the race track for their optimum point of fast sailing for their individual sail designs. In addition, they must take into consideration the rest of the fleet, the current (Gulf Stream) and importantly the final moves in the closing stages for the last 120 nautical miles in Chesapeake Bay towards the finish in Baltimore. - Tim Jeffery, Daily Telegraph, UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
POSITIONS at 0414 GMT on April 17:
1. illbruck, 210 miles to finish (ETA April 17 - 21:50 GMT)
2. News Corp, 1 mile behind leader
3. Amer Sports One, 1 mbl
4. Assa Abloy, 22 mbl
5. SEB, 46 mbl
6. Team Tyco, 65 mbl
7. djuice, 83 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 87 mbl.
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 Geoff Stagg (Letter to Ken Morrison): I was really saddened as a club member to get the press release on the cancellation of the Royal Hawaii Cup. Having competed in eight of the previous events, it is without question the best place in the world to sail and one of the best-organized events. Obviously the September 11 tragedy and the general state of the world economy made it impossible to attract a sponsor and were the principal causes for cancellation. However, I think also that the lack of a truly international acceptable handicap system to reflect the direction of the sport had a hand in this decision.
No one has worked harder than you to make your event what it is today and I am sure you will be successful in your search for a sponsor in 2004. Perhaps at the same time, a re-evaluation of the events handicap rules would be appropriate. I have been saying for a long time that it would be great if the ORC, RORC and perhaps US Sailing could get together and produce a new rule based on a simplified (scoring) version of IMS which promoted fast, nice handling, cost sensible boats in lieu of the current heavy, slow, tippy versions.
These are tough times for our sport and indeed the industry but with the vision and direction that people like you and the RHORC can give to the sport, I am sure you will be back in 2004.
* From Joe Erwin: As a race officer it is my informal policy to never fly the 'Y' signal. I think it should be eliminated as it undermines the principle that it is the sailor's decision to race or continue racing. Mandatory wearing of PFD's should be the province of the class rules or the sailing instructions.
Though the RC may have responsibility for the sailing instructions, once out on the water, the PRO's decisions should relate to whether and how to run the race. The presence of chase boats doesn't undermine this, it just makes it safer. Waiting for the RC to tell you to put on your PFD is putting common sense aside and gives your next of kin something on which to base a claim. For the contestants, once you're on the water, the decisions made on your boat are yours alone.
* From Bob Fink: If you can stand another comment on race committees "requiring" the wearing of PFDs in certain conditions -- very bad idea. Either require them all the time or keep quiet. From a liability standpoint, signaling that life jackets are "required" because of conditions -- wind, waves, temperature, whatever -- is an admission on the part of the race committee that it considers the conditions "dangerous" but, "with callous disregard for the safety of the racers and to avoid having to refund entry fees (you have to see a trial lawyer on a roll to believe how bad this can get) elected to hold the race anyway." As long as a race committee stands by "the decision to race, or to continue racing," etc., it has a pretty good "voluntary assumption of risk" defense available. If you start playing Nanny you might as well name the committee boat "Sue Me."
* From Stephen Wells: Every junior sailor now wears a PFD 100% of the time. It becomes a natural act putting one on. If we require the kids to wear one why shouldn't the adults do something that smart as well as well. Some boats require it for all crew. With all the stupid rules in sailing requiring PFD makes real sense particularly since the new inflatable ones are hardly noticeable.
* From Mike Martin: I always wear a PFD on the 505. I never wear one on the 18-foot skiff. I have a hook on my trap harness. I do not carry a knife or a wear a helmet. I always wear a wet suit. With sailing as all things in life there are risk involved. If there were not it would not be fun. Figure out what risk that you are subjecting yourself to and take the appropriate countermeasures. These countermeasures will likely be different in every different situation. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
It is an undisputed fact that the Crew rarely gets the credit that they deserve. There is no reason to only list one member of a team other than to save ink. (or bytes in this case). I think that Scuttlebutt should start the trend by only posting results where the entire crew is listed.
Bravo to AmericaOne for supporting the OSC. Just think of the number of young sailors that could be introduced to the sport or compete in international competitions with the $ spent on one AC program.
* From Peter Harken (cruelly edited to our 250-word limit): Rick Wrightson is one of the few people in our sailing racing world who understands the importance of the word "Team" as he wrote about in Butt # 1049. He is soooo right! In our sailing world the skipper gets all the accolades and the crew is rarely mentioned. As an example, I give all due credit to Peter Holmberg for his Congressional Cup win, but as even he mentioned his "team" made it happened. Peter is gracious enough to acknowledge that, but not our press nor anyone else in general. Peter knows the value of "team" and has used it very successfully, and so did Gilmor with his Japanese "team" and Coutts with some of the same Kiwi lads of previous years. "Team TNZ" won the AC as the most unified "team" in '95 as I have ever experienced, from the receptionist at the front desk onwards.
╩In the American football press they write of the "team" members, not only of the quarterback. They detail every first string player. Our Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in New Orleans several years ago not because of only Bret Favre our quarterback (skipper), but the whole "team" of outstanding player performances as a "team" and each were noted for it. No individual is more important or stronger than a unified "team"! It is high time to give our sailing "team" (crew) members the recognition they deserve and we in sailing understand "TEAM"!
* From John Roberson: In answer to Rick Wrightson's comments about crew on the Swedish Match Tour, if he cares to check the story on the final day of the Steinlager /Line 7 Cup, the whole of Peter Holmberg's crew gets a mention.
It is difficult when restricted for space to give everyone a mention, and how often does every member of a soccer or rugby team get a mention in a match report. However, I certainly always try to give credit where credit is due, and in the days when I was press officer for the Tour, the whole winning crew always got named.
This use of the skipper's name only is common throughout sailing, in the Volvo Race it is generally the skipper and sometimes the navigator who get mentioned. It is after all the skipper who puts the team together, he selects his bowman, and trimmers, not the otherway around, he is the head of the team.
Looking back through the press releases from the first year of the Tour, there are plenty of occasions when members of various crews get a mention, but it is difficult when you have to condense a whole day's racing into 250 words.
* From Cole J Price (edited to our 250-word limit): Ed Sherman's letter addressed the use of FAIR PHRF ratings to encourage newbys to race their sailboats. A system similar to FAIR has been used by ORCA (Ocean Racing Catamaran Association) to rate multihulls in Southern California resulting in the establishment of substantially different ratings (as much as 100 sec/mile difference) for identical, and/or nearly identical boats. This has encouraged new sailors to race in their fleet, but discouraged experienced skippers from buying a multihull and racing. Additionally, it has slowed the rate at which skippers and crews improve their skills because top racers are discouraged from racing because their ratings would be adjusted to be "fair" to the less experienced. To minimize the deleterious effects of a FAIR type rating system, ORCA approved a "bracket" system to limit the amount that a boat's rating can be adjusted to a maximum of +/-10 seconds per mile of their National rating.
To encourage new boats to try racing, the monohull fleet offers non-spinnaker racing and a cruising class for ocean racing. Starts (usually the most stressful part of the race) are less aggressive, and the racing is typically more level, without the use of special ratings that make allowances for an unprepared boat, or inexperienced skipper and crew. Seasoned skippers and crews participate in racing, setting a standard against which the less experienced can measure themselves and improve. When a boat performs well, the skipper and crew have the satisfaction of knowing that they did so on a level playing field.
PAN AM GAMES
The Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) of US Sailing has announced the first set of Trials to select a team to represent the U.S.A. at the 2003 Pan American Games. Scheduled for August 1-17, 2003, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the XIV Pan American Games will feature sailing competition in: Laser (men) and Mistral (men and women), and the non-Olympic Laser Radial (women), Hobie 16, J/24, Lightning, Snipe and Sunfish (all open).
The members of the U.S.A.'s 2003 Pan American Games Sailing Team will be the winners of the Trials in each of the nine events. Final approval of the dates and location of each set of Trials rests with the U.S. Olympic Committee (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and only the Lightning Trials have been confirmed at this time. Information on the Lightning Trials is available online: www.lightningclass.org
Details on the remaining Trials will be announced as they become available.
A multi-sport event, the Pan Am Games has been held every four years since its inception in 1951. Always held the summer preceding the Olympics, the Pan Am Games has featured some of the world's finest athletes from the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organizations from North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. - www.santodomingo2003.org
By qualifying as members of the 2003 Pan Am Games Sailing Team, the winners of the respective Pan Am Games Trials also become members of the overall 2003 US Sailing Team.
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
The high is still filling. It is pushing away the low. Collusive, these two systems seem to be joining forces to bar the maxi-catamaran Orange's route back up the heart of the South Atlantic. The emergency exit envisaged yesterday to the east of the centre of high pressure has evaporated in skipper Bruno Peyron's face. Behind, the low is deepening, and it's threatening a storm. Between anticyclonic calms and a 65-knot headwind, Orange is searching for salvation. We've cut to the north. Beam reaching today with speed, to cross the high tomorrow through its western edge, head to wind indeed, but 12 to 15 knots, no more. Orange will be making progress northwards, with more or less speed towards the saving SE trade winds. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
THE OTHER BIG CAT
It has been a frustrating few days aboard Maiden, Tracy Edwards's maxi catamaran. First, her mixed crew found themselves in perfect conditions, screaming along and well ahead of Club Med's record from Cadiz to San Salvador, then they fell into a hole and the margin evaporated.
Overnight last night, the situation improved when the north-easterly tradewinds kicked in, sending the crew back down the rhumb line at 20 knots. However, they are currently 240 miles behind the record time, and to catch up will have to avoid the effects of the Azores High, which has slipped further south than normal. - Elaine Bunting, Yachting World website, full story: www.yachting-world.com
On Friday, April 19th, Ullman Sails is hosting a J/105 racing clinic in Newport Beach, CA - the day before the Newport Harbor YC's Ahmanson Series. In the morning, there will be a chalk talk at the Ullman Sails Newport Beach loft, followed by lunch and an on the water clinic. Come to whatever eportion your schedule allows. If your boat won't be there, you'll be assigned to a boat that's shy of crew. Karen Hall is taking care of RSVP's: Karen@jconcierge.com (619) 222-6560, www.ullmansails.com
QUOTES FROM THE BOATS
"SEB and ourselves who were closest together then encountered another one of those huge black clouds that we dread. We spent the best part of three hours dealing with it, torrential rain and no wind from any particular direction. The bottom line is the latest sked has us losing nine miles and we are 11 miles behind the leaders." - Kevin Shoebridge, Tyco
"In the constantly changing conditions like we have experienced so far, sails are going up and down the rig, repacked, in and out of the cabin and from side to side. Despite how much trouble these sails are, they make the boat go fast and I actually slept next to one last night. I guess it's a love hate relationship." - Mark Reynolds, SEB
(Although illbruck's America's Cup ambitions have ended, according to a story by Tim Jeffery in the UK's Daily Telegraph, John Kostecki will be at the big show anyway.)
John Kostecki still hopes to hop from the Volvo straight into the Cup and has received both racing and management offers from other teams. Declared a German crew and designer under the Cup's nationality rules, Kostecki is taking advice to see if he can race for another team. "One way or another, I intend to be in Auckland," the American said.
Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
It's that time again - time for the curmudgeon to jump on a plane for Oakland to spend a couple of days at Pacific Sail Expo. Highlight of that trip will be the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club's party at the Bitter End Yacht Club's booth on Thursday at 4:00 PM. If you're at the show, please stop by and enjoy some Dry Creek wine with us. And while we're at PSE partying, and listening to Paul Cayard discuss his adventures in the Southern Ocean and spending time in the Ronstan Skiff Zone with Trevor Baylis & Zach Berkowitz, David McCreary will once again take over the Scuttlebutt helm. For the next two days, any letters to 'Butt should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
When you rearrange the letters in the words 'Slot Machines' it reads, 'Cash lost in em.'