SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1056 - April 24, 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.
COMMENTARY - Michael Hobson
Sailboat racing is just about the most complicated and demanding sport
there is. The combination of so many variables found on the racecourse,
makes for a mind-blowing set of skills, challenges and decision-making
ability, needed when planning how to approach your next race.
Because there are so many variables, each race you compete in is in some
way different. It's never the same as your last race, or any previous race.
The variations found in sailboat racing include a combination of winds,
currents, geography, temperature, humidity, competitors, equipment, rig
tune, crew. And these are just some of many external factors.
We could also include the internal factors like health, experience, and
personality, (are you a street fighter or are you the studious type)
fitness level, ability, confidence level, and even hangover level. All
these variables need to be considered, analyzed and reviewed when forming a
game plan for an upcoming race.
So each race needs to be approached differently. But how do you anticipate
the situations that you will encounter during each race? This is the
biggest challenge for sailors, to prepare for a race, be it nationals,
worlds, or just a weekend contest where the conditions are constantly
changing. You need to be able to operate on the fly and make decisions as
situations present themselves where there are no hard and fast answers.
First you need sailing technique and ability, the right equipment, crew,
rig tune, sails, boat preparation, rules knowledge, sail trim, knowledge of
your competitors and very important your commitment. These very important
skills/techniques/equipment are part of your pre-race preparation and are
practiced and learned before the race starts.
The second and equally important quality you need is found on the
racecourse, the street fighting part of the game, the tactical brain and
the quick thinking needed to get you ahead of your competitors. This
quality makes the difference between a good performance and a winning one.
- Michael Hobson
Full story: www.j105.org/PRINCIPLES.html
Sailwave has just release a new version of their free scoring software for
Windows - version 1.42. Unlike a lot of free software, Sailwave is
supported by the author and a thriving Sailwave User Group.
Functionality is based around RRS 2001-2004 with additional multi-fleet
capabilities and facilities for ISAF Sailor. Supported rating systems
include RYA PY, USSA PN, ISAF SCHRS, Texel, PHRF (TOT&TOD) and TCF, as well
as a user-defined rating system capability.
Based around user defined templates and style sheets, published results are
generated as HTML and can be directed to a number of destinations.
Typically, results are saved to a file and then uploaded to a web site, but
other destinations include your web browser, MSExcel, MSWord and an email
attachment. The concept of 'plug-in' development facilitates more specific
functionality, with examples including a wizard to publish reports and
results to the Yachts and Yachting web site, an ISAF SCHRS rating
calculator and a Volvo Prize wizard to be used at the ISAF/Volvo Youth
Worlds in Lunenburg later this year.
Used by over a thousand clubs and associations, Sailwave is becoming a
popular choice for regional, world, national, open and club events. You can
download Sailwave and get more information from the web site: www.sailwave.com
ON THE PODIUM
There were 23 J/105s at the Newport Harbor yacht Club's Ahmanson Series
last weekend. Tough competition - very tough. But to no one's surprise,
Ullman Sails swept the top three positions. Why? They were just faster! And
it's probably not a coincidence that the top three boats in the 12-boat
Schock 35 fleet also used Ullman Sails. Why don't you let Ullman Sails make
your weekends more rewarding? www.ullmansails.com
In the Whitbreads of old navigators would fight for information from
WeatherFax, nowadays they have the Internet. It's a small precise racing
environment with a world of data, but how do the teams survive? The
majority of teams have navigators and meteorologists to scour the data.
Some teams even have two specialized navigators. In general, however, the
consensus is you need more than one person to take in and digest all of the
possible weather data generated on a daily basis.
Kevin Shoebridge's Team Tyco has navigator Steve Hayles and the Tyco
subsidiary EarthTech to process and manipulate weather data during the
stopovers and for each leg. "The Earthtech team takes a huge load off our
shoulders during the stopovers," explained Hayles after another day behind
his computer with the latest weather models.
Day after day the navigators and meteorologists trawl through weather sites
looking for the latest forecasts, comparing data to previous races,
searching for the edge over the other seven boats in the fleet. For just
one person this job is too much. - John Greenland, Volvo Ocean Race
website, full story:
AMERICA'S CUP TRIVIA
Designers Olin Stephens and Nathaniel Herreshoff each designed six successful defenders.
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 Bob Cooper (edited to our 250-word limit): Thousands of
competitive skippers know the rules and most have an understanding of the
physics of fluid and aerodynamics that affect the hull and sails. They all
have excellent crews and superb execution in the evolutions of sailing a
boat upwind and downwind. Yet, out of thousands of talented and capable
skippers who try, only a few matriculate to the top as a race, season or
It's my observation that the core skills that set these few apart from the
masses, and from other winners, is their ability to immediately sense each
of the hundreds of changes that are taking place around them, to recognize
the significance and the impact upon their plan for success and to
immediately make the adjustments that keep their plan successful.
It is as if they have a system of dynamic priorities where events are
grouped into categories. As the race progresses priorities change in value
and occasionally whole categories change in value. These top few keep this
system of priorities in their minds eye and compare the new, constantly
changing information, to this dynamic priority list.
It is as if they have a messenger repeatedly running around a loop network
requesting reports from all the sensors. Each time the messenger completes
a loop and returns to central, these few compare the new information
against the dynamic plan and act accordingly. The next best players have
similar systems but less accurate sensors or make more wrong choices or
hesitate to react as fast.
* From Jack D. Tallman: Cole Price discussed the problem of retrieving an
overboard person - MOB. In that case, two men and a boy had to try their
hardest. There is a solution for this. This is exactly what the "Lifesling"
is designed to do.
It first establishes a connection to the MOB. When the MOB has been drawn
to the boat, a block and tackle is attached to the Lifesling and the MOB is
winched onto the boat. This system will allow a small adult to perform a
single-handed rescue of a large adult in full foulies. This is the first
item of our safety gear that I check.
I have no financial connection with Lifeslings - I just realize how
functional they are. I am aware (and did a very small part) of the
extensive testing of the Lifesling and the process for retrieval.
BTW, there IS a process for using the Lifesling; it was rigorously
developed; and it should be practiced (If a "dummy" is used; it should be
something that will not float away such as an overboard pole.).
* From Val & Carl Fast: In regard to Ed Sherman's FAIR rating. You might
want to try a silent auction, offering competitors the opportunity to 'buy
down' their competition's PHRF rating(s). (Maybe even provide a cap based
on the the last three finishes of the boat.) Great entertainment and
profitable for a charity fundraising event!
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
This South Atlantic really is wide! But the gateway out really is narrow.
And it will keep shifting. The Doldrums are not a fixed phenomenon. They
are rather a succession of micro-systems that oscillate just north of the
Equator. Orange skipper Peyron is making a rush for it. Once again the
maxi-catamaran is aiming for a mouse hole, a tiny zone to her north, under
the Cape Verde Islands, where the transition between the systems of the
South Atlantic and the north-east trades should pass without a pit stop.
Because Orange is blistering along, 560 miles in the last 24 hours, and is
putting the accent on speed, even if it means momentarily sacrificing the
track and extending her route.
Average speed required to beat the record: Only 6.45 knots -
(Andy Rice speaks to the Prada's match racing star, Gavin Brady in a new
posting on the madforsailing website. Here's a brief excerpt.)
(Gavin) Brady is not necessarily expecting to race on the A boat come
competition time, but that does not seem to bother him. "I would expect
Francesco to be the skipper/helmsman, and Torben [Grael] will be on the
boat too, as he has a very good relationship with Francesco which dates
back way beyond the America's Cup association. Then I think either Rod or
myself will be on board, but really. It's better to do a job that you
enjoy, and Rod and I both really like steering the B boat."
So the afterguard is likely to remain unchanged from two years ago come
competition time. But are they up to it? "People forget that Prada put in
some really good match racing against Paul Cayard and AmericaOne," Brady
points out. To criticise de Angelis and Grael's performance in the Cup
finals is not fair, he believes. "One had a knife and the other had a gun,"
is how he sees the relative merits of Luna Rossa and the now legendary
NZL-60 - the benchmark for all current America's Cup campaigns. "I think if
I had been racing on the boat, I think you'd have seen me taking some risks
and not looking that good." - Andy Rice, madforsailing website; full story:
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - John Cutler, Oracle Racing
"Between now and October 1 when racing starts, you're going to see all
the new boats arrive down in Auckland so some of the teams already have
both their new boats like One World, our boats are arriving shortly, so
you're going to see that quite alot of work in conditioning these boats, so
you might see some more break downs, some gear failures and stuff going on,
but once the team has the new boat there's a lot of work on trying to
develop it, test some new gear, see what they can learn, what we all can
learn from it. And then the focus comes more and more on to racing and
because the round robin this time is worth each the same number of points
each race, you've got to come out of the starting blocks fully prepared. So
there'll be a lot of pressure on that." - From a radio interview in NZ with
When Montgomery asked Cutler who Oracle Racing is likely to meet in the
Louis Vuitton Cup finals, Cutler answered, "That's a tough question Peter,
but since you're putting the pressure on us, I'll say Alinghi." - Posted on
the 2003ac website by Elly;
NOT ALL SAILING LINE IS THE SAME!
You've seen the ads and many of you stopped by our booth at recent boat
shows to hear about the new ColorMatch 24 high performance rigging lines.
But how do you tell if a line is really from Samson? Simple; look for the
red and green tracer threads! These are unique to all Samson sailing lines.
So when you want to be sure you have Samson, always check for the red and
green tracers. Samson, The Sailor's Line. www.samsonrope.com
A huge sendoff party is planned for the crews of the Volvo Ocean Race on
Friday, April 26. The public is invited to mingle with the Volvo Ocean Race
crews on the grounds of Eastport Yacht Club and Severn Sailing Association.
The party begins at 6 and lasts until 11 p.m. No speeches, no fancy stuff
... just music, dancing, a lot of talk about sailing and camaraderie. Gary
Jobson serves as Master of Ceremonies introducing the eight Volvo teams,
nine bands on two stages and new race footage.
Formal crew lists are not expected until after midday on Friday, April
26th, but News Corp, winner of leg six from Miami to Baltimore, is the
first team to reveal their line-up. Meteorologist, Nick White, will work on
weather for the leg from the shore, making space for Campbell Field, the
son of campaign director, Ross. Field, 31, from New Zealand, will join the
team as a navigator. He will provide on-board technological expertise,
working alongside tactician, Matt Humphries. - www.volvooceanrace.org
HAS THE FAT LADY SUNG?
Amer Sports One skipper Grant Dalton cannot see illbruck being beaten in
the gruelling (Volvo) round-the-world yacht race, which finishes in Germany
in June. "Since Miami, no one has been able to win this [overall race]
other than illbruck," Dalton said. "I think most of the boats have said
that or accepted that already. This is a race for second, third and
fourth." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald
Gary Jobson has signed an exclusive agreement to act as Beneteau USA's
official spokesperson for the video promotions of their sailing yachts.
Jobson is a former All-American collegiate sailor, America's Cup winner as
tactician for Ted Turner, broadcaster/producer, ESPN commentator, lecturer,
College Rankings Determined by Sailing World magazine's coaches' panel:
Michael Callahan (Georgetown), Ken Legler (Tufts), and Mike Segerblom
(USC). Based on results through April 23, 2002
COED (prev. rank):
1. Harvard (1)
2. Old Dominion (4)
3. Georgetown (2)
4. Tufts (3)
5. Dartmouth (6)
6. Navy (12)
7. Charleston (7)
8. St. Mary's (5)
9. Stanford (15)
10. Hobart/Wm. Smith (13)
11. Boston College (8)
12. Hawaii (13)
13. Brown (14)
14. Yale (9)
15. UC Santa Barbara (11)
16. USC (16)
17. Kings Point (19)
18. Connecticut College (20)
19. MIT (unranked)
20. UC Berkeley (18)
Also receiving votes: UC Irvine,
WOMEN'S (prev. rank):
1. St. Mary's (1)
2. Old Dominion (2)
3. Brown (3)
4. Yale -
5. Hobart/Wm. Smith (7)
6. Tufts (8)
7. Georgetown (4)
8. Boston Univ. (12)
9. Stanford (15)
10. Connecticut College (unranked)
11. Hawaii (5)
12. Dartmouth (9)
13. South Florida (unranked)
14. Charleston (10)
15. Boston College (6)
Also receiving votes: Michigan.
Sailing World website: www.sailingworld.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Why is it called lipstick if you can still move your lips?