SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1062 - May 2, 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.
Amer Sports Too has lost her mast in Atlantic on leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race. The incident occurred at approximately 1645 GMT Wednesday. No one was hurt when the rig fell and the yacht is not in danger. They are just over 400 miles east of Canada.
Skipper Lisa McDonald reported the crew had recovered the rig and sails and had lashed the mast to the deck. The mast broke just above the second spreaders. A 10-metre section of the 26-metre mast is still standing.
Lisa said, at the time of the incident they were sailing under spinnaker in only 12 knots of southwesterly breeze. "There was a loud bang and the mast came down. We don't know why it broke. Once we have sorted ourselves out and got underway again we will take a very close look. There's enough mast left to set up a reasonably effective jury rig."
"We also need to assess our options from here. We have been talking to the shore crew and syndicate management to see what's feasible. They're working through the possibilities now. One option is to turn around and head for Halifax / Nova Scotia and ship the yacht to France where the spare rig can be stepped," she continued.
STANDINGS at 0405 GMT May 2:
1. illbruck, 2232 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 13 miles behind leader
3. SEB, 50 mbl
4. Tyco, 53 mbl
5. News Corp, 60 mbl
6. Amer Sports One, 75
7. djuice, 92 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 235 mbl
ABOUT THE RECORD
At 1534 GMT Tuesday it looked as though illbruck had broken the 24 Hour Monohull World Record by covering a huge 473 nautical miles. Just a few hours later the crew has pushed even harder and, subject to confirmation and ratification by the International Sailing Federation, she has achieved a staggering 484 nautical miles. This was achieved between 2002 GMT on 29 April and the same time today, 30 April 2002. As focused as ever, skipper John Kostecki, said: "It feels great going fast and we also had the benefit of the Gulf Stream pushing us, so it is great to get the record.
We have about 25 to 30 knots of wind and we have our masthead spinnaker up and probably for the last eight or nine hours we had our smaller reaching spinnaker up. So it is the combination of two or three sails that broke the record for us. We kept the watch system the same, we are trying to win this leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and it just happens that we are going fast enough to break the world record.
For several 10-minute periods illbruck has averaged 27 knots of boat speed. Deducting the three-knot push of the Gulf Stream still leaves 24 knots through the water. Impressive by any means. The previous record was held by Bernard Stamm on the Open 60 Armor Lux (467.70 nautical miles, 19.49 knots average speed) since January 2001, sailed in the Gulf Stream as well. EDS has sponsored a trophy for the record. - www.volvooceanrace.org
ADDENDUM: "The record has met with carping comments because of the boost given by Gulf Stream, yet the breaking of records is all about making maximum use of prevailing conditions - and the World Sailing Speed Record Council, who ratify such records, state clearly in their rules that tidal factors and current are not to be taken into consideration." - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK; Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
FREE SAILING GEAR
From Gill, Camet, Ronstan, Exrtasport, North Sails & more. Yes Free. We are celebrating our 15th year in business this and every week this year by giving away free sailing equipment from these and other leading manufacturers. Stop by and see why our website receives more than 100,000 hits per month from high performance sailors worldwide. Our staff sails on some of the highest performance boats in the world and we stay up to date with the latest innovations from the finest manufacturers of sailing gear. Toll free ordering, competitive prices & no sales tax outside California. See www.sailproshop.com
America's Cup holders Team New Zealand say one of their fiercest rivals has obtained some of the syndicate's most sensitive design secrets. For the first time, Team New Zealand have admitted Seattle-based OneWorld Challenge have substantial information on their hull and rigging programme, and on the structure and strength of their boats.
OneWorld is also alleged to have deck layout drawings of Team New Zealand's 2000 boats, NZL57 and NZL60, which contain "a considerable amount of confidential Team New Zealand design data" and which could only have been obtained from Team New Zealand files. Secrets from the deck layout included rudder, keel, hull and mast specifications. The claims are made in five sworn affidavits to a special panel investigating the secrets issue. The panel has the power to eject competitors from the cup.
OneWorld say they have some Team New Zealand material but argue it is "minor" and has not been used. But Team New Zealand rules adviser Russell Green rejects OneWorld's argument that having material and not using it does not break America's Cup rules. "To say 'we had the information but did not use it and did not gain an advantage' is the equivalent of saying 'I smoked but I did not inhale'."
Green made the comment in written evidence to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel, which OneWorld have approached to decide if they have broken any rules by having access to design information gained "inadvertently" from former Team New Zealand crew. Team New Zealand were reluctant to say how seriously the loss of their secrets would affect on the defence of the Cup. Green told the Herald that a new syndicate, such as OneWorld, would get a huge boost by obtaining material about the winning 2000 boats.
Italian challenger Prada have also entered the fray, telling the panel OneWorld obtained confidential data on their former sail programme.
As well as the five affidavits of crew, Team New Zealand chief executive Ross Blackman has sworn that three former crew now with OneWorld, designer Laurie Davidson, sailor Jeremy Scantlebury and engineer Wayne Smith, did not comply with a request to have their laptop computers purged of any Team New Zealand files. Team New Zealand designer Mike Drummond said Davidson attended at least one meeting after the last America's Cup to plan the hull design programme for 2003 before defecting to OneWorld. - Helen Tunnah and Julie Ash, NZ Herald; Full story: 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 Olin Stephens: The present America's Cup contretemps seems to imply clearly that the sieve-like present rules is being taken to enforce the impossible. My point is that, as designer or engineer, I cannot erase my memory, nor by extension, can be expected to do my work without my notes and/or personal computer, which may well hold data from my school days up to and including my most recent project. I sympathize with any designer caught in this muddle. To me the best way out is to require by rule and custom that the contestants truly represent the national homes of the competing clubs or go completely in the other direction and forget about secrecy.
* From Chris Ries: I find it kind of amusing to read the first reactions about the new monohull 24h-record. Please correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Bernard Stamm's record as artificial as illbruck's? He and his crew waited for a perfect weather pattern. The only question remaining is: Why didn't he use the Gulfstream as extensively as illbruck now does? Fact is that illbruck achieved this record by sailing a route that would bring the to the finish line of the V.O.R. the fastest way.
In a 100m-dash the limitations on windspeeds make sense, because the wind is not the essential part of racing as all competitors within the race can benefit from it. In my opinion that makes a record worth more. Of course rules limiting the influence of current could be introduced but sailing is a sport that is depending on the interaction between the yacht/crew and wind/waves. You can't win a race by not considering those variables. Still, illbruck must have done something right - check out the other boats 24h-runs on the V.O.R. website. How come the other boats can't match their speed?
* From Boog Bolton: After offshore racing for tens of thousands of miles in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific, I have yet to sail in any body of water without current. Currents are something I plan for, get the most information about, and, when it comes to an advantage over competitors, completely respect. The navigators aboard the Volvo 60s sure realize this. They are all drag racing in the stream. This isn't Carl Lewis trying to shave a hundredth of a second off his 100 meter dash, this is Ocean Racing with it's constantly changing variables. Those boys on Illbruck are doing just that. They are using the best wind, best waves, and especially the best current to go as fast as possible. They have also gone the most miles a monohull has ever traveled in 24 hours, period. That is a record, and it belongs to them regardless. Good on ya' boys, sounds like fun!
* From Gareth Evans: I completely disagree with the school of thought that says illbruck's record should be disallowed because they had the advantage of the current in their favour. The crew positioned their boat in a favourable piece of current and took advantage of it, in much the same was as they use the wind.The analogy with Carl Lewis on his moving sidewalk is completely wrong. The oceans are a constantly moving fluid. To be able to find a strong (invisible) current and then to stay in it for 24 hours takes a great degree of skill.
Whatever next? Records not being allowed because the boat is sailing downwind and using the wind to assist them?
* From William Hansmann: Since when are currents and tides not part of sailing? The record should stand.
* From Jim Teeters: As someone who doesn't sail Volvo races, I think the Antarctica Cup sounds like a sane, more "civilized" approach. However, the current format must be one heckuva "rite of passage" for the sailors, something they can brag about to their grandchildren. John Longley stated that with the Holland maxis "every skipper will know when they cross the starting line in Fremantle that they are in fact, on the pace."
My guess is that, with one or two exceptions, the current hull/ appendage designs are all very close in speed potential. Perhaps the performance differences we are seeing are largely the result of development of sail designs, building inventories, knowing which sail to use when and how fast that sail will drive you. Isn't this an area where Illbruck has made a major investment of time and money?
Is there any intent by the Antarctica Cup to limit sail development and preparation? Will everyone get a package of identical sails?
* From Peter Huston: John Burnham has opened up perhaps the most important topic in the sport. Are one-design boats the problem, or is it that we typically only embrace a single racing format? Even if it's Portsmouth ratings as John suggests, all too often the only type of racing format this is offered is "King of the Hill".
Might the sport would be better served if we created a wider variety of racing formats - used more pursuit starts, downwind starts, or even Le Mans starts? Circular courses, perhaps. Does every race need to be held to an Olympic standard?
Why not create an ability based handicap system so that crews can be mixed and matched by skill level from time to time, and scored accordingly.
If sailboat racing is declining in participation, it's probably due solely to the fact that the fun factor isn't there when weighed against the time required to be competitive. So why not take the premium off of competitive and replace it with fun. For a bunch of really wealthy, intelligent people, we sure have been amazingly dumb in the way we construct alternative ways to have fun with our toys.
* From Richard Hazelton: I don't think John Burnham's article on one-design racing is talking about one-design or PHRF racing - he's talking about people. It's the people that make racing fun no matter what the system is. Most are great fun and good competitors that smile graciously when they win and shake your hand when you win, no matter what the level.
But there are always the zealots that take the fun out of it, throw a lot of money towards the trophy thinking that makes them better sailors, and push things to the limit of tolerance. They read way too much into winning that $25 worth of hardware. They put enormous pressure on themselves, which radiates as tension throughout the fleet.
The weeknight beer-can races are usually full of racers who have raced "seriously" for a while and just want to enjoy being out on the water, and those who have never felt the need to go "serious" but enjoy the competition and camaraderie of a weekly outing. Not to mention it's the best way to learn about your boat. All competitors enjoy winning, but if it's the winning and not the sailing that's your only reason to be out there, stay home.
* From Howard Paul: I read John Burnham's Editorial and was shocked! Yes, shocked! In his statements that one-design is overrated and one of the causes for the decline in participation in yacht racing is ridiculous. The decline is from a lack of and/or poor leadership in our sport. For Mr. Burnham to take an aggressive negative stand towards the single fastest growing segment in our sport is plain irresponsible. As a leading magazine in yacht racing we should be applauding the success of growing segments of our sport and aggressively trying to bolster those segments not experiencing the same success.
In Marina del Rey California there's an active Martin 242 one-design fleet. About two years ago, one of the skippers in that fleet switched to Ullman Sails, and suddenly winning got a whole lot easier. Obviously, this did not go unnoticed by the others. Now let's fast-forward to April, 2001. When you look at the MdR Martin 242s today, it's hard to ignore that it's just about wall-to-wall Ullman Sails. Coincidence? Not likely. Find out for yourself how affordable improved performance can be: www.ullmansails.com
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
Quotes from Nick Moloney on the maxi catamaran Orange: "I woke up this morning and was quite concerned that our boatspeed average has dropped below 20kts over the past 4 hours. We were gliding along a flat sea at about 18. After splashing cold water on my face and wiping the sleep from my eyes, it suddenly occurred to me that most sailors will never sail 18+kts in their lives...I felt guilty for loosing my appreciation of simply how fast we are.
"It looks as though the weather is setting up nicely for us if we can sustain good speed over the next 48 hours. So far has been better than predicted but we are very closely skirting this High Pressure.
"For now the mast is quiet. We are all relieved that the sea is calm. We will surely see some fast down wind surfing in the final miles of the tour and concern has reached the boat about opposite loading on the mast joint. We always felt that if she fell it would be after a tack or a jibe. We have been going upwind for a long time and soon we will be in down wind conditions. If you can imagine bending something back and forth until it fatigues enough to break, well that's sort of what we will be doing in regards to load application to the damaged ball.
I cannot help being confident though. In reflection to the distance we have traveled, I feel like I could swim to the finish from here. In 4-5 days we could be back on land. - www.nickmoloney.com
Event website: www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
QUOTES FROM THE VOR BOATS
"All well onboard expect that we have a navigator with a painful back and a tactician with a flue, a general virus infection. I guess some of us are getting a bit too old for this intense sport." - Roger Nilson, Amer Sports One
"Being the sailmaker onboard means that you are never at ease when the wind is starting to blow from behind and the heavier spinnakers go up. You are always on the edge, thinking that at any minute the sail is going to explode and sentence you for a 12-hour stint of solitary confinement down below sitting in the bilge hunched over the sewing machine putting it all back together." Alby Pratt, Team News Corp
ACC Technical Director Ken McAlpine has just allotted sail number 80 to the Prada syndicate.
The official website for the 2003 America's Cup is now on-line: www.americascup.com
SAILING ON TV
A 30-minute program on the Volvo Ocean Race for the restart of Leg 7 will air on Saturday, May 4 at 6:00 pm et (3:00 pm pt) on ESPN2. It was a blustery day off Annapolis for the start. ESPN had 12 cameras on the racecourse for the start. Included are interviews from each skipper and a special section on the living challenges aboard the race boats. www.jobsonsailing.com
ISAF WOMEN'S MATCH RACING WORLDS
Club Nautico de Calpe, Calpe Bay, Spain - With the wind blowing onshore at 15 knots and steep 3-4 foot waves being thrown up across the race course, the day promised to be a wet one. Boat handling came to the fore today with some crews having the occasional moment of the dog taking them for a walk rather than the other way round. It was a good day for Dawn Riley USA today with 5 straight wins. It was also a solid day for Marie Bjorling left her at the top of the pile on 12 wins from 15 on count back from Dawn Riley.
Marie Bjorling SWE 12/15
Dawn Riley USA 12/15
Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen DEN 11/15
Liz Baylis USA 11/15
Anne Le Helley FRA 10/15
Cordelia Ellis GBR 10/15
Sabrina Gurioli ITA 8/15
Nina B Petersen DEN 7/15
Giulia Conti ITA 7/15
Christelle Philippe FRA 6/15
Claire Leroy FRA 6/15
Malin Millbourn SWE 6/15
Ines Montefusco ESP 5/15
Gwen Joulie FRA 5/15
Sandy Grosvenor USA 3/15
Mar Castenado ESP 2/15
Race number six of the Star Spring Championship of the Western Hemisphere at Davis Island Yacht Club, Tampa, Florida was cancelled because of lack of wind, so the results we published yesterday were indeed the final results and Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter are the new Star Spring Champions. www.diyc.org/star/results.html
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.