SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1061 - May 1, 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.
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
illbruck has covered 481 miles in 24 hours (20 knot average) and thus broken monohull world record that was held by Bernard Stamm on the Open 60 Armor Lux (467.70 nautical miles, 19.49 knots average speed). This record is still provisional and has to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council at the International Sailing Federation. Illbruck's positions for this speed record were derived from a Satcom C unit and constantly monitored by Volvo Ocean Race headquarters. The measurement for the record is made between two GPS positions over any 24-hour period.
All the yachts reached the Gulf Stream, the huge flow of warm water that gives the Volvo Ocean Race yachts a boost on their way across the Atlantic Ocean. The vagaries of the Gulf Stream are putting extra pressure on the navigators as Knut Frostad, skipper on djuice wrote: "A few hours ago we finally touched the Gulf Stream, sending us northeast with about three knots. It's pretty hard to predict the exact movements of the stream as the information we can get is not updated more often than once every five days, and right now all the boats are trying to hit the corner where it changes direction from going north east to going straight east. At the same time you want to have a favorable wind direction and make sure you do not get lifted out of the stream as well. Lot's of variables, and some very exiting days for the navigators."
STANDINGS at 0402 GMT May 1
1. illbruck, 2585 miles from finish
2. Tyco, 21 mbl
3. Assa Abloy, 25 mbl
4. SEB, 36 miles behind leader
5. News Corp, 40 mbl
6. Amer Sports One, 40
7. djuice, 72 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 130 mbl
REACTION - Rich Roberts
That was the pitch from the Volvo Ocean Race press office Tuesday after the German boat sailed a distance of 481 nautical miles in 24 hours on Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Reaction: Oh, yeah?
As Assa Abloy navigator/co-skipper Mark Rudiger pointed out earlier, any record set while riding the North Atlantic "conveyor belt" known as the Gulf Stream should be rated suspect at best.
"The Gulf Stream has been a major player in not only helping to give us a whopping 4-to-5-knot boost over the bottom but in gains and losses to the other boats," Rudiger messaged via e-mail even before he learned of the record. "Illbruck has been doing the best so far in combining optimum speed with the Gulf Stream.
"At the rate they are going, they will likely get the best 24-hour run for the leg and maybe even a 24-hour record for monohulls. Although I give them credit for sailing the fastest of us out here, it would be a shallow record given 25% of their speed has been from the Gulf Stream."
The VOR release noted that illbruck had broken the 24-hour monohull world record set by Bernard Stamm on the Open 60 Armor Lux (467.70 nautical miles, 19.49 knots average speed), and that illbruck's achievement "is still provisional and has to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council at the International Sailing Federation."
Steve Fossett's random record assaults in ideal weather windows are one thing, but if the WSSRC/ISAF ratifies this one it will lose a big chunk of its credibility.
How fast could Carl Lewis have run on one of those "moving sidewalks" at the airport?
As Rudiger says, "The SEB [Volvo race] record still has more meat to it since they only had maybe a knot and a half ocean current. So I hope if there is any talk about records in the fleet out here, the official record keepers [will] bear that in mind."
* Roger Maris once had an asterisk attached to his 61 home runs because he collected them in more games than major league baseball teams played in Babe Ruth's era. Illbruck's edge was the Kon Tiki factor: go with the flow.
If illbruck's "record" is ratified, an asterisk wouldn't be adequate. It would also need a laugh track. - Rich Roberts, Yacht Racing website.
Full commentary: www.yachtracing.com/richroberts/leg7-illbruckrecord.html
JUST FOR YOU
Whatever it is you may race, Prams off the beach, a racing catamaran, a PHRF 'lead mine' or a Maxi Sleds offshore, Ullman Sails have proven time and again they can accelerate you into the winner's circle. Check out our website and find out what many already know -- Ullman Sails can help you dive into the silver: www.ullmansails.com
The Seattle-based and outraged OneWorld America's Cup team have responded to Team New Zealand's legal salvo in their filings to the competition's arbitration panel. OneWorld have not been deflected from their position that their problems lie at the door of their former employee, Sean Reeves, who they are suing in a civil action in the United States, and that they did the correct thing in owning up to the panel for what they believe to be relatively minor rules breaches. "The truth in all this will ensure that we come through," said Gary Wright, the OneWorld chief executive.
The most damaging allegation made by Reeves is that a series of designs made by Laurie Davidson, who switched from TNZ to OneWorld, could include Team New Zealand's winning boat from 2000, something Davidson has strenuously denied. "Laurie is willing to sit down with Tom Schnackenberg [TNZ's design director] and compare drawings to prove none of the boats are the same," said Wright, "provided that TNZ goes on television and makes a public apology to show how they have been taken in by Reeves." Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
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 Geoffrey Emanuel: I have read John Burnham's article in its entirety. He definitively does not condemn one-design racing. Rather he simply and clearly states that to achieve success in one-design racing requires time consuming and arduous technical fine tuning, sail and crew testing that most of us lack the time and stamina to handle in today's fast paced, multitasked world. As John and the rest of us age, there's alot to be said of PHRF racing in weekday evening beer-can races that don't require such a commitment. The great news is there is an outlet for every kind of sailor today. The glass is half-full!!
* From Arthur V. Strock: John Burnhams's criticisms of one-design racing are in fact validations of the sport. Anyone who intends to win in any fleet of consequence, be it one-design or handicap, will learn the rules, meticulously prepare the boat, and enlist a good crew. The distinguishing characteristic of one-design competition - even equipment on the line with no special advantage earned by depth of pocket - is a distinct positive in my view. And I seem to be in good company: the growth of one-design sailing, and the corresponding decline in handicap competition, result from free choices made by sailors with both options open to them.
With regard to the growth of the sport (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) it is the lack of public, convenient and economical access to the water that is the primary, root cause for the stagnation we see in sailing, competitive and otherwise.
* From Chris Ericksen: My first thought upon reading John Burnham's "Editor's Letter" in the May edition of Sailing World magazine (as excerpted in 'Butt 1059) was of the courage shown by the editor of what used to be "One-Design Yachtsman" speaking what he himself called heresy. But I strongly disagree with the thrust of the letter.
First, I don't see one-design sailing as an example of "the stunted growth of our sport:" one-design racing at all levels, from juniors to J/105's, is growing. And the fun which absence he decries is there to be had. In our harbor, at any rate, one-design boats participate in weeknight "beer-can" races as enthusiastically as do the PHRF boats. It is true that our weekend fleet races and regattas are the "hell of a lot of work" that Mr. Burnham characterized; but we toss and old suit of sails on the boat, a couple of six-packs into the cooler and head out for an evening of fun.
The point is, it isn't one-design sailing in general that is not "fun:" it is the approach too many one-design fleets and one-design sailors take to racing that is not fun. Fun can be had if it is sought--and it isn't hard to find. You can prepare the boat, race hard and work hard, but you can still have fun if you care to. And isn't having fun why most of us got into this sport in the first place?
* From Bruce Parsons: It should be pointed out that SailRater is unavailable to anyone outside the USA. I live in Canada and have tried to register. There is no allowance for a non-US residency, or zip code. As I understand Scuttlebutt has an international circulation, perhaps this should be pointed out to those of us resident outside the USA.
* From Chris Boome I can't imagine the frustration of the djuice crew after averaging 19.4 knots for a 6 hour period and losing 13 miles to Illbruck ... or Illbruck averaging 21.4 knots for the same period and only gaining one mile on SEB!! (17:07 GMT report).
* From John Longley, Deputy Chairman, Antarctica Cup: Jeremy Elliot's suggestion that the Antarctica Cup organizers should use second hand Volvo 60 boats would indicate that he has missed the point . What we are doing is initiating a race that is strictly one design down to the last fitting. It will be like racing lasers around the world, except substitute an 82 foot Holland maxi for laser. Unlike Grant Dalton, who recently lamented that his boat was simply off the pace, every skipper will know when they cross the starting line in Fremantle that they are in fact, on the pace.
In addition we want to create a boat that will be a bit more fun to sail in Southern latitudes so that when you go down below after surfing the greybeards you can warm up, get some proper food and rest in a dry bunk before you go back on deck and do it all again.
Finally for both excitement, spectator interest and safety we want the boats racing closely together rather than getting strung out because there is a speed differential. The 10 gates will not only add to the interest as the boats race for $100,000 every 5 or 6 days, but may well continually compress the fleet as the Eclipse Island mark off South West Australia did in the current Volvo.
After a short stint in Auckland, Italy's second challengers, Mascalzone Latino, are back home preparing for the launch of their new-generation yacht ITA72. It will be launched in Naples next Saturday and then taken to the team's headquarters in Portoferraio (Elba Island). The team will spend a couple of months in Italy with the new boat and their old training boat, the former Bravo Espagna, before moving to Auckland in August.
Also gearing up for their boat launch, on May 17, are French challengers Le Defi Areva. The French syndicate will launch FRA69 in Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup
(Cheryl has posted a transcript on the 2003AC website from an interview from between TVNZ's Martin Tasker and Prada skipper Francesco de Angelis. Here's an excerpt from that posting.)
Martin Tasker: The key difference on the water has been the willingness of the challengers to race against each other and even race against the defender.
Francesco de Angelis: We had the opportunity to race each other compared to the traditional America's Cup where you would never face other challengers or even mention the defender. I think this time we do both. It was a good opportunity for all the teams to do some racing. I think everybody was comfortable doing it. Everybody took what they could take out and like every good business the two parties have to make a good deal. Otherwise it doesn't work.
MT: In the challenger regatta, to which Team New Zealand was pointedly not invited, there was another difference from the last Cup with Gavin Brady joining the Prada afterguard alongside tactician Torben Grael and navigator Matteo Plazzi. The Kiwi Italian helming some of the starts before handing the wheel back to de Angelis.
De A: Gavin did two starts; I did the other two races. I did a start in a race by myself and Rod was racing the other boat. So I think you have to try to use the best talent you have in your team.
MT: Has any decision been made on that yet?
De A: (laughing) Well, if there are, I wouldn't tell you right away. - 2003AC website.
Full posting: isuzu21.webcrossing.com
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
520 miles at an average of 21.66 knots over the last 24 hours at 1000 this morning: needless to say that the maxi-catamaran Orange is making the most of this trade wind that is pushing them along at a crisp pace towards the Azores high. The Marseilles Giant was plotted today 700 mils to the SW of the Portuguese islands or less than 2000 miles from Ushant. The next 24 hours will be under strict surveillance because the boat should be progressively entering the zone of influence of the mass of warm air stationed over the Azores before picking up the cooler north-westerly air generated by the lows that are marching across the North Atlantic. From then on it will be a tremendous downwind schuss towards Ushant and on one single tack!
"If we can rely on all the weather patterns, we'll be finishing on Sunday or Monday" declared skipper Bruno Peyron. "But we could get slowed down, and then we'll be finishing on Tuesday. Or, at the other end of the scale, if we accelerated suddenly, it could be Saturday..." So as you will no doubt have understood, the ETA is rather a guess today, it all depends on the time that Bruno Peyron and his men will take to make the transition from the trade winds to the edge of the high. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
ALL THE BASES ARE COVERED
No matter what your rigging needs - from high strength to low stretch and everything in between - Samson offers a wide range of the latest high-tech fibers and combinations to meet your requirements. Whether it is the Vectran, Technora, Dyneema, or even PBO. There is no reason to compromise - with all new 24 strand covers and color matched cores, Samson has a line that will match your requirements exactly. Ask your rigger or distributor for details to address your needs. For more information check www.samsonrope.com
* Australia's 12 metre Challenger for the 1962 America's Cup, Gretel, has been sold to an overseas syndicate. She will be shipped to Italy for restoration and eventually compete in regattas in Europe.
Gretel was designed by Alan Payne for media tycoon Sir Frank Packer, and named after his first wife. Jock Sturrock skippered Gretel in the 1962 challenge for the America's Cup against Weatherly, winning the second race. It is generally conceded that lack of experience, not boat design cost the Australians the cup, losing 4 - 1. - BoatingOZ website, www.boatingoz.com.au/newsframes.htm
* The 12-Meter Courageous being restored to original specifications. The restoration work, which will also include a new mast, standing and running rigging and sails, will cost $600,000 to $800,000. It's being paid by Craig Millard of Newport and Palm Beach, Fla.
The yacht, which was donated to the Museum of Yachting in 1997, had its hull redesigned for the wind and waves of the 1987 America ' s Cup in Australia. Now, the yacht is being brought back to its original design by Hinckley Yacht Services in Portsmouth.
The yacht has been used by the museum, which is at Fort Adams State Park, for racing, sailing demonstrations and educational programs. "It still will be," executive director Patrick Muldoon said, "with the yacht splitting its time between museum and foundation programs. After 15 years, the ownership of the Courageous will revert to the museum." - Bryan Rourke, The Providence Journal
ISAF WOMEN'S MATCH RACING WORLDS
Day two of the 2002 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships saw bright sunshine and lighter breeze meet the competitors. It was a big day today with nearly 9 hours of racing taking place. The breeze was from the North East at 8 knots, dropping to 5 by mid-afternoon before a swing to the right and a slight increase. Today was a day for time on distance with many crews misjudging the time between stopping the pre-start shenanigans and getting back to the start line.
Liz Baylis USA 9/11
Marie Bjorling SWE 9/11
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen DEN 7/10
Dawn Riley USA 7/10
Cordelia Ellis GBR 7/11
Sabrina Gurioli ITA 6/9
Anne Le Helley FRA 5/9
Giulia Conti ITA 5/9
Christelle Philippe FRA 5/10
Nina B Petersen DEN 4/9
Claire Leroy FRA 4/10
Malin Millbourn SWE 4/11
Ines Montefusco ESP 3/9
Gwen Joulie FRA 3/10
Mar Castenado ESP 1/10
Sandy Grosvenor USA 1/11
Star Spring Championship of the Western Hemisphere, Davis Island YC, Tampa, Florida - I have no idea what happened to scheduled race #6 at this championship regatta, but the Davis Island YC website proclaims these are the series final results after just five races (with one discard):
1. Paul Cayard / Phil Trinter, 8
2. Iain Percy / Steve Mitchell, 14
3. Rick Merriman / Bill Bennett, 16
4. Augie Diaz / Christian Finnsgard, 18
5. George Szabo / Austin Sperry, 22
SAILING ON TV
* Wednesday, May 1: Volvo Ocean Race (Leg 5 re-air) 2:00 PM ET
* Thursday, May 2: Volvo Ocean Race (Leg 6 re-air) 2:30 PM ET
All programs air on ESPN2.
* The latest rankings for all Olympic Classes have been released 30 April 2002 and are published on the ISAF website: www.sailing.org/rankings/
* Vanguard Sailboats has renewed its sponsorship of the US Sailing Team through December, 2005. Each athlete named to US team for Laser Radial World Youth Championships will receive a grant from Vanguard to offset expenses associated with attending the championship. In addition, the funding from Vanguard will provide for a coach to accompany the team. - www.ussailing.org/Olympics/
THE CURMUDGEON'S QUOTATIONS
The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. - Winston Churchill