SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1059 - April 29, 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.
With three months to go to the start of the sixth biennial Rolex Commodores' Cup, a record fleet is not beyond possibility. Intent has been expressed from upwards of 17 possible teams, representing the major sailing nations - USA, Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Ireland and, of course, the home nations of the United Kingdom. The RORC is confident that eventual entries will exceed the 13 teams attending in 1992 and 1996.
"Obviously it is still too early to say with certainty the fleet size on the start line in August. The tremendous level of enquiry evidenced to date far exceeds the normal activity at this stage in previous event cycles", said Peter Rutter, two time competitor and current Commodore of the RORC.
In 2000, the Organizing Committee (made up of the RORC, representatives of Rolex and other industry professionals) introduced some sweeping innovations to the format of the competition. The event was compressed into a week, IMS handicap was replaced with IRM and the rules on professionals were simplified. The significant modifications for 2002 include the utilization of IRC to widen the potential fleet and the removal of banding for the three boats in each team. Both seem to have been well-received in the yachting community.
The Rolex Commodores' Cup 2002 will be raced off Cowes, Isle of Wight, between 11th and 18th August. The competition for three boat teams comprises a series of inshore and offshore races (including the RORC's famous flexi-course which ensures crews are kept at sea for 24 -36 hours irrespective of wind conditions). 50% of each crew must be amateur according to the ISAF Eligibility Code, thereafter the only restriction is that an amateur must helm during the inshore races and at the start of the offshore race. The Notice of Race is available from the RORC or on the Club's website and sets out the rules on boat eligibility and other regulations. - Kate Maudslay, www.rorc.org
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
Heavy rain and glowering clouds did nothing to dampen the spirits of the huge crowds, which gathered on the dockside in Annapolis today, for the start of the 3,400 nautical mile Volvo Ocean Race leg seven, to La Rochelle in France. At the start gun, fired at 1300 hours local time, the fleet beat towards the Bay Bridge, just a quarter of a mile to windward, with very little visibility. Amer Sports One made an impressive start, gaining clean air quickly, whilst the rest of the fleet jostled for position.
Full mainsail and No 2 headsails were set, with the Bay Bridge playing an important part in the race as the fleet tacked to cross underneath the structure, avoiding the upright bridge supports. The wind increased once the fleet cleared the Bay Bridge and ballast tanks were filled as the fleet powered upwind.
The half-mile corridor was flanked by enthusiastic spectator boats, which were kept back from the course by patrol boats. With 14 knots of south southwesterly breeze over a flooding tide, the sea surface remained relatively calm until the fleet broke free of the corridor and the hundreds of spectator boats started to churn up the water.
By 0400 GMT the fleet was still making good headway towards the Chesapeake Bay entrance, or in this case, the Chesapeake Bay exit and looking forward to having more sea room while making their way towards Europe. The yachts are averaging 10 knots of boat speed in 20 knots of wind from the southwest. Seven of the eight yachts are within sight of each other.
STANDINGS at 0402 GMT:
1. Amer One Sports, 3411 miles to finish
2. illbruck, 1 mile behind leader
3. Assa Abloy, 1 mbl
4. News Corp, 2 mbl
5. Tyco, 2 mbl
6. djuice, 2 mbl
7. SEB, 4 mbl
8. Amer Sports Two, 7 mbl
REVOLUTIONARY LENS TECHNOLOGY...KAENON POLARIZED
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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 Bruce Eissner, ISAF Oceanic Sub-Committee Chairman: In his note about the Antarctica Cup, Mark Turner wrote "Surely ISAF should be policing this (the oceanic race calendar)... Someone has to keep it under control, or we risk alienating new sponsors coming into the sport." Mark's comment reflects a question that faces the ISAF and its Oceanic Sub-Committee. Is oceanic racing such a different part of the sport that ISAF has a greater responsibility for controlling the calendar of oceanic events than it does for other types of racing? Would that be solely for commercial reasons, such as sponsorships, or might it be for other reasons, such as ensuring availability of safety resources? What might such "policing" encompass, with what expectations? Comments to the committee will be greatly appreciated. Oriole@shore.net
* From Reynald Neron, Sydney: As the new race around the Antartica has been announced, I was a bit surprised by the negative reaction from one of your readers, stating that ISAF should control the events and calendar of races, to prevent one race to compete against another one. The reader even states: "The Antarctica Cup is proposed to run at the same time as one of the other major round the world races, the Vendée Globe".
After a look at the website of the company represented by the reader, it should also be mentionned that the reader (and its company) has a commercial interest in the Vendée Globe. The company is selling "sponsors packages" (how to find yourself a sponsor with a few millions dollars), and is also working for some of the competitors of the Vendée Globe. This means that the Antartica Race is going to compete against some of the interests of the reader and his company... Suddenly, I understand a bit more the reasons for the reader to be upset by the dates chosen for the Antartic cup.
The good news is: The Antarctic Ocean will be crowded that summer!
* From John Roberson: In reply to Mark Turner's letter about the dates of the Antarctica Cup, I am sure he appreciates the problems of finding a "slot" to fit in a new race or event. We looked long and hard at the international sailing calendar before coming up with our start date of December 2004.
We had various constraints. Firstly we needed time to build up to 15 maxis, which can't be done overnight, so it wasn't feasible to run the Antarctica Cup before 2004. If we delayed a year we would clash with what we are assuming will be the next Volvo Race, and contrary to much comment in the media, we are not setting up in opposition to the Volvo, but to be complimentary to them. Another year after that is just too far away, and has the potential to clash with the Louis Vuitton/America's Cup, if it stays in New Zealand.
We decided that the cross over between single-handed sailors and fully crewed sailors was minimal. So although we might all be chasing the same sponsorship dollars, at least we weren't chasing the same sailor. While the Vendee Globe is a long-term campaign, anywhere between two and four years, the Antarctica Cup is a very short one, just four months. We believe the two events can live happily together.
* From Geoff Newbury (Re the Sailing World Hall of Fame inductees): Wow, John Bertrand (Aus.) is not on the list. Nor David Curtis. Omissions which should be corrected.
(Sailing World magazine's Grand Prix Sailor did an interview with Paul Cayard - one of the five new inductees into their Hall of Fame. Here's an excerpt.)
Sailing World: Who were your mentors in sailing?
Paul Cayard: For sure Tom Blackaller was, early days. Dennis Conner was also very valuable to sail with, too, in the '95 America's Cup. Those guys helped me the most in sailing. Outside of them, I've always been impressed with guys like Paul Elvstrom and Jochen Schumann-guys who've gone to the Olympics for over 20 years and won medals every time.
SW: What did you learn from Blackaller?
PC: Blackaller was a guy who basically operated with the philosophy, "nothing risked nothing gained." He was a risk taker and was very comfortable being a risk taker. He didn't get anxious or nervous about that. He taught me that once you make a decision to go one way, go 110 percent with that call. If you get cold feet and try halfway down the path to change your decision, then for sure it's going to be a loser. Sometimes there's more than one way to get to where you're trying to go, but you have to do it one way or the other, and you've got to do it 100 percent. He was not a conservative person by nature, and he was a risk taker, and he'd live with the outcome happily either way. That's why he was not anxious-he was not afraid to lose. He was happy to be a warrior and live and die with the choices that he made. He put a little less energy into the preparation. He was more of a gut, seat-of-the-pants sailor.
SW: How about from Dennis?
PC: Dennis is afraid of losing-I think I'm kind of afraid of losing by nature, too. Blackaller wasn't calm, but he was at peace with the prospect of failure. Dennis and I are more the same where failure is a very scary connotation, and so Dennis for sure is much more driven-at least when he was an active participant-to do the homework and preparation to ensure that there was no risk of losing. He didn't get bored or stagnated by doing the mundane work of being fully prepared. Blackaller couldn't stand it. He would just come out of his skin if he had to go sail testing for more than half an hour.
SW: You've named two mentors who are on opposite sides philosophically. Where did Paul Cayard come out?
PC: I think I probably came out closer to the Dennis Conner side to be honest and humble about it. I wish my sailing record was as good as his, although in some ways my record's more varied, but you know it's fun to be like Tom. Tom was brash and bold. It's kind of fun to go that way, but I think I came out more like Dennis being more willing to do the homework to try and ensure the win. -Grand Prix Sailor, http://www.sailingworld.com
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
Tiptoeing into the North Atlantic, there is only a 50-50 chance of the giant catamaran Orange completing its course around the world. Earlier in the week, Bruno Peyron and his crew had been on schedule to lop five days off the 71-day record set by Olivier de Kersauson in 1997. They then discovered a huge crack in the titanium ball on which sits the heel of the towering, swivelling wing mast. A carbon fibre cast was hurriedly applied to the ball joint, but that has also hidden from view any further degradation. To put as little stress as possible on the joint, the crew elected to take a detour to the west which would cost them two days. - The Telegraph, UK, sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport
* The next three days will be under strict surveillance... Indeed, the maxi-cat Orange is continuing to progress in a NE trade wind, that's to say fairly close to the wind and it should take them as far as the edge of the Azores high which is less than 1,000 nm to the north before turning towards Ushant.
In the meantime, the Marseilles Giant has to beat into this wind, trying to limit stress on the damaged mast rotation ball to a minimum. But the course they've been on for several days is good, very good. Because once they reach the high, they will be able to ease the sheets and make a dash for Ushant, the terminal of this circumnavigation. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
MAST DISPLAYS AND CREW CONTRIBUTION
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QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"The time has come to reveal the truth about one-design racing. It's totally overrated. It's difficult, it's time-consuming, and the steadily increasing emphasis on pure one-design has stunted the growth of the sport.
"Sure, it's an extremely refined contest conducted on a playing field that in theory is absolutely level - which has its merits - but competing in a strong class is a hell of a lot of work. You have to be up on class rules, prepare your boat meticulously, and recruit a skilled crew. And if you can't get a good start, all of the preparation goes right over the transom. That's why most fleets never reach their full potential." - John Burnham, Editor, Sailing World.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Unfortunately, this editorial is not posted on the Sailing World magazine website. We will post letters from readers about these thoughts - but only from those who claim to have read the editorial in the May issue of Sailing World magazine in its entirety.
ISAF WOMEN MATCH RACING CHAMPIONSHIP
CLUB NAUTICO, CALPE, SPAIN -The Women Match Racing Championship starts today. The competitors are: - Marie Bjorling (SWE) - Lotte Meldgaard (DEN) - Mallin Milbourn (SWE) - Liz Baylis (USA) - Anne Le Helley (FRA) - Dawn Riley (USA) - Sabrina Gurioli (ITA) - Gwen Julie (FRA) - Giulia Conti (ITA) - Ines Montefusco (ITA) - Cordelia Eglin (GBR) - Sandy Grosvenor (USA) - Claire Leroy (FRA) - Christelle Phillippe (FRA) - Mar Castanedo (ESP) - Nina B. Pedersen (DEN) - www.cncalpe.com
IACC Technical Director Ken McAlpine recently issued sail number 78 to the GBR Challenge and sail number 79 was allotted to Le Défi Français.
There were a fair number of crew changes for Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Gunnar Krantz' Team SEB confirmed that they would be replacing Mark Reynolds with Prada America's Cup helm Gavin Brady for the coming transat. On top of this, the third cross-team change in the race was announced by Knut Frostad's djuice camp: Jeff Scott, who left News Corp in Rio de Janeiro, is to join the dragons team.
John Greenland's story on the official race website tells all: www.volvooceanrace.org/news/leg_6/n6_020427_crewchanges.html
Davis Island Yacht Club, Tampa, FL - Star Spring Championship of the Western Hemisphere, results after three of six races (37 boats):
1. Paul Cayard / Phil Trinter, 6 points
2. Iain Percy / Steve Mitchell, 20
3. Mark Mansfield / Killian Collins, 24
4. Rick Merriman / Bill Bennett, 25.00
5. Augie Diaz / Christian Finnsgard, 28
6. George Szabo / Austin Sperry 29
TOMMY BAHAMA NEWPORT TO ENSENADA YACHT RACE
ENSENADA, B.C. - Doug Baker's Andrews 70, Magnitude, led the way in the 55th Tommy Bahama Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race as the first of six monohulls to break Pyewacket's record of 11 hours 54 minutes set in 1998.
Magnitude, with an elapsed time of 11:23:53, was less than four minutes ahead of Bob Lane's Medicine Man, 11:27:47, followed by David Janes's Transpac 52 J-Bird III, 11:30:24; Bill Turpin's Alta Vita, 11:34:52; Al and Vicki Schultz's Vicki, 11:36:02, and Mike Campbell's Victoria 5, 11:41:53.
The first actual finisher was Bill Gibbs's 52-foot catamaran Afterburner from Ventura, which started 20 minutes after the largest monohulls but finished about 6 1/2 minutes ahead of Magnitude with an elapsed time of 11 hours 17 minutes 27 seconds. However, that missed the race's multihull record by 4 1/2 hours.
The 452 boats that started at noon Friday soon sailed into a strong breeze of 15 knots that built to as high as 24 knots into the overcast night. The wind strength and westerly wind angle allowed the boats the rare advantage of following the direct "rhumb" line for the 125-nautical mile course - inside the Coronado Islands at the international border instead of the long way around outside the islands. - Rich Roberts, Yacht Racing website, full story and photos: www.yachtracing.com/richroberts/Ensenada2003.html
Sorry, but at our distribution time there was no story or results posted on the official race website. Those interested might check again later - www.nosa.org
ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK
The 25th annual Antigua Sailing Week has generated 215 entries representing 27 countries. Countries represented at the are: USA, Puerto Rico, England, Scotland, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago, Poland, Sweden, Guadeloupe, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, France, Guadeloupe, Martinque, St Maarten/ St Martin, Germany, Bermuda, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, Chile, Finland.
In the big boat class, Roy Disney's R/P 75 Pyewacket set the tone for the rest of the regatta by making mincemeat of the course and the competition, even overtaking S&S 72 Encore which had started 30 minutes before her. - www.sailingweek.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.