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SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1063 - May 3, 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.

ON THE HAURAKI GULF
Team New Zealand lost another mast out on the Hauraki Gulf today. The mast on NZL57 crashed down while the two 2000-generation black boats were nearing the end of a practice race on the America's Cup racecourse. Bertrand Pace was at the helm of NZL57 when it happened.

Dean Barker said the crews heard a "long bang" and watched the mast snap and topple into the water. The wind was 18-25 knots on the racecourse. It is the second time in six months that Team New Zealand have lost a mast while training. In November last year, the millennium rig on NZL57 broke in a 25-knot squall, with Pace again at the wheel. Barker said: "This will have a big impact on our program." - Scuttlebutt Special Correspondent - Auckland.

ADMIRAL'S CUP
The Royal Ocean Racing Club commodore, Peter Rutter, has finalized the revamped Admiral's Cup by electing to make the biggest of the three boats required in each team an open category. Everything from a current IRC 50-footer to an 85-foot maxi should be eligible. There are encouraging signs that as many as 20 teams might attend the series in Dun Laoghaire in July 2003. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK. sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml

RORC PRESS RELEASE: The Royal Ocean Racing Club has announced the details of the IRC (Endorsed) Class to join the IMS 600 Class already announced for the Admiral's Cup 2003 to be held in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland from 12 to 26 July 2003.

The criteria for the IRC (Endorsed) Class selected by the RORC's Admiral's Cup Steering Group are as follows:

  • Current IRC (Endorsed) required
  • TCC between 1.280 and 1.600
  • DLR less than 120
  • LOA greater than 15.15 M (49' 8")
  • Hull factor greater than 9.9

Commodore of the RORC, Peter Rutter stated: "The criteria would provide an exciting class for modern boats ranging down from the latest maxis through boats such as the Volvo 60 to the newest IRC big boats of around 50ft. The aim of the class is to be as inclusive as possible."

Other details regarding Club entries and crew composition were also announced. Following expressions of interest from a large number of Clubs, the RORC has decided that there will be no restriction on the number of entries from each country, although only one team entry per challenging Club (affiliated to the National Authority) may be submitted. It is likely that there will be an overall cap on the event of 25 teams. It was further announced that 25% of the crew (including owner/charterer/skipper) must be members of the challenging Club prior to 1 January 2003. This 25% would be capped at 5. The crew weight restriction to be applied would be published in the Notice of Race in November 2002.

"There have been strong expressions of interest from USA, Australia, Italy, Greece, France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong and the host country Ireland, Rutter said. "Within the UK, five Clubs (the Royal Yacht Squadron, West Mersea Yacht Club, Royal Southern Yacht Club, Royal Thames Yacht Club and the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club) have already registered an interest in entering, and up to 4 Clubs from Ireland have expressed interest in raising teams". www.rorc.org

NEW KONTROLS: THE PERFORMANCE GLOVE

Kontrol gloves: Zeptep Sailing Angle's new aggressive basketball- textured, non -skid palm helps you maintain maximum line control, with minimum grip. Zeptep's grip works even better when wetter. Our Zepteppalm wrap offers both padding and protection on the heel of your palm for intense line twiking, completely unique, completely Sailing Angles! Color: black palm/off white with royal blue back nylon mesh Sizes: xxs-xxxl Price: cut-offs: $32.50; Three finger: $35. APS, Annapolis Performance Sailing and www.sailingangles.com

VOLVO OCEAN RACE

The light wind that was forecast did not materialize and the yachts are once again flying at breathtaking speed towards the east. The leading boat in the current leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, illbruck, has just reached the south east corner of the ice exclusion zone, and is now able to turn onto a north easterly course and head straight for their destination, La Rochelle, 1929 miles away. Thus far the boats are ahead of schedule, but they have to negotiate a slack area of high pressure on their way to the finish, and can expect lighter winds over the next 24 hours.

After considering all available options after the dismasting yesterday, Amer Sports Too skipper Lisa McDonald decided to turn towards Halifax / Nova Scotia and retire from this leg. One of the options is to find a cargo ship that can take the yacht to La Rochelle to be ready for the next leg, starting on 25 May. The forecast for the girls could not be more different. They have been warned that there is a deep depression forming over Nova Scotia, and they can expect to be headed by gale force winds within the next 18 hours. Amer Too is currently heading towards Halifax at a speed of 10 knots, and has 180 miles to run.

STANDINGS at 0405 GMT May 2:
1. illbruck, 1929 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 19 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 28 mbl
4. News Corp, 38 mbl
5. SEB, 38 mbl
6. Amer Sports One, 50
7. djuice, 60 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, retired. - www.volvooceanrace.org

LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
leweck@earthlnk.net
(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, Chairman, Offshore Committee: In response to Bruce Parsons in Scuttlebutt #1061 (and others), US Sailing is delighted to announce that SailRater is now available for world-wide registration and use. www.sailrater.com

* From Ken Guyer: Olin Stephens is spot on the mark in his comments regarding design and nationality as it relates to America's Cup competition. Happy mediums are a difficult thing when trying to compromise an event based in nationality. This is particularly difficult in the area of yacht design. I would hope that the powers that be opt to go back to a more national event rather than the alternative.

On another note, one could only imagine what a computer holding the notes and thoughts of Olin Stephens would be like to peruse. Particularly if it spans from his school days up to and including his most recent project. Wow! Mind boggling at best.

* From Bruce H. Munro: Once again, Olin Stephens is right on the money. As long as sailors and designers are allowed to sail for any team they choose without regard for nationality, there will always be questions about what information and secrets they take with them. The current mess stems from the lack of a governing body for the America's Cup that can set rules that benefit the event. As it stands now, the rules are made up by the defender and the challenger of record (mostly the defender) for each match. The long term view for the future of the event is lost in the pushing and shoving that goes on for the benefit of the parties that are only interested in winning that particular year.

Olin is right. Either require real national identities for the crews and the designers, or forget about trying to keep things secret. To do that, a governing body needs to be established to make the rules and enforce them over the long term.

* From Mowbray Jackson: I just wanted to point out to Rich Roberts that the previous distance traveled, mono-hull record held by Bernard Stamm was also sailed Trans-Atlantic, (West to East). Subsequently he would have benefited from the conveyor belt as well. I agree that previously Silk Cut, and more recently SEB's records are consequently rather more impressive especially when theirs were set in the Southern Ocean with considerably less, if any, 'push'. However distance sailed in a 24 hr period is distance covered. There can be nothing "suspect" about that fact. As the distance covered is now a fact, the relevant authorities must ratify the record.

Congratulations to Illbruck. I would agree that an asterisk indicating Gulf Stream advantage would suffice to differentiate. I certainly do not advocate a 'laugh track.' Anyone breaking records at sea demands our respect.

* From Sir Peter Johnson, chairman WSSRC: The rules of World Sailing Speed Record Council for best distance run in 24 hours in relation to current, tidal stream or set have not changed for a number of years. It is a bit late now for anyone to start querying them. In fact it would seem like trying to change the rules retropectively after an event.

Bernard Stamm with crew in Armor Lux (467.70 nautical miles) is not the 'previous holder', but is the current holder of the 24-hour distance run by crewed monohull. Volvo headquarters will provide WSSRC with data after all (or most) boats have finished at La Rochelle. Only then can claims be scrutinized and maybe ratified. This is no problem as Volvo wish to identify best 24-hour run on the whole leg (or any leg). For the 500-metre inshore run we do check for current (maximum allowed one knot), which is practical and necessary. More information on our web site: www.sailspeedrecords.com

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: With this definitive announcement there is obviously no reason to extend this thread any further. It's now officially dead!

* From Fred Schroth: Howard Paul finally mentioned the key ingredient that is needed to lead sailboat racing into the next many years. He mentioned "leadership." The sport will roll foreword again whenever all of you get off your lazy rear ends and do something about recruiting, teaching and most of all making friends with as many new sailors as you can. A very small number of us have started the process in the Laser Class and we are growing. We have grown virtually every month since I got off my lazy butt and started actually doing something about building the class myself.A few others have joined in the process and we have seen growth in many small areas around the continent.

The way I see it, the game of Laser racing developmentally is where it was in about 1973. Today, we have a few advantages. Our boats are better as is our equipment, clothing, lines, trailers, roads, buoys, committee boats, clubhouses, cars, phone system and now we have an internet. Here is my suggestion for all of you. Quit writing your whining emails about the sport falling apart for a while and use the time to invite someone out to play with you.

* From Alex Arnold: Following up on John Burnham's thoughtful article: Why don't those who might have tired of the "one-design grind" of boat preparation and expense volunteer to serve on race committees. Race managements populated by non-sailors are one of one design sailing's oldest and most serious problems. You do not need to be a sea lawyer to run a chase boat!

* From Bob Knowles: I'd like to comment on the second paragraph of Arthur Strock's email on the John Burham's Editorial. He notes, with acuity, the lack of growth in our sport is often due to "the lack of public, convenient and economical access to the water". For many non-sailors I know the sport is viewed as a rich man's game, apropo the old saying "Sailing: An experience not unlike standing in a cold shower tearing up 100 dollar bills"!

Up here on the Chesapeake Bay we have one answer to this dilemma. It's called Baltimore's Downtown Sailing Center. We maintain a fleet of 30+ boats, from Australian access dinghies used by disabled & able-bodied sailors, several J22s, Sonars and 4 or 5 cruisers. We're located right on the Inner Harbor, offer sailing lessons and skipper certification, provide our members the opportunity to cruise & race, have Friday night social sails and after parties. As a non-profit entity, we do lots of community outreach, from disabled kids at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute to inner city kids in our summer sailing camp programs. We must be doing something right; at last count we had 650 members. Access to sailing without the expense of owning a boat!

AMERICA'S CUP
* The Oracle Racing team have been given two weeks off, but a full schedule awaits the Americans on their return. Some members of the sailing team will head to Croatia for the ACI Cup, the next round of the Swedish Match Tour. Another team and training boat USA49 will compete in an America's Cup-class regatta in San Francisco - a reunion of old America's Cup yachts from the past decade.

By mid-year the sailors will get their long-awaited gift - the first of Oracle's two new-generation racing boats, USA71. The second, USA76, will not be far behind. "We are very excited about getting our new boats," Oracle sailing director John Cutler said. "They will be a reflection of our hard work. "While it's been good using the old USA49 and USA61, they were products of a different campaign. We're just looking forward to sailing something that we've all had an input into." The decision to stay in Auckland through the winter had so far proved a good one. And even when you accept you are not going to sail every day in Auckland over the winter, you are still going to get more sailing by staying here."

It also meant Oracle could expand its racing program to include competitions against teams such as Alinghi, OneWorld and Victory Challenge, which would also continue training on the Hauraki Gulf. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup

* The launch of Luna Rossa ITA 74, the first new ACC boat of the Prada team, is scheduled at the end of May. - Alessandra Ghezzi, www.pradalunarossa.com

* The 2003 AC will see a total of 21 new boats built, bringing the total number of ACC boats built to 81 since 1992. Check out the list on the Hauraki News website: www.hauraki-news.com/LatestNews/ClassAmerica-LN.htm

* Martin Tasker has resumed his sailnz.tv series of newsletters on nzoom.com . In the most recent newsletter he relates his experiences in the US travelling to North Sails 3DL plant in Nevada and then to the Team Dennis Conner compound at Long Beach. An excerpt:

"After two days' shooting in Minden we flew back to LA and drove back to Long Beach to spend a day with Team Dennis Conner and the new Stars and Stripes. They're operating out of the world's biggest container terminal and it is quite a sight.

"So was the new boat which sailed in conditions highly reminiscent of a fine day on the Hauraki Gulf. Conner's long-time operations manager Bill Trenkle was our very generous host along with skipper Ken Read and they'll feature in next week's show.

Our trip concluded in San Diego for an interview with Stars and Stripes designers John Reichel and Jim Pugh who reckon they've drawn a rocket-ship. Certainly the two-boat Conner campaign has stepped up many gears since the last challenge and the beautiful dark blue boat looks like being a real force." - posted on the 2003AC website by Cheryl, isuzu21.webcrossing.com

TROPHEE JULES VERNE
The right-hand turn for the finish has been delayed a little for the maxi-catamaran Orange. Skipper Bruno Peyron is skirting the calms by the North and once again extending his route. Far from being narrowed down, the ETA off Ushant has become a little foggy, further accentuated by light airs forecast for the vicinity of the tip of Brittany this weekend.

"We did well to delay our gybe to the east" announced Peyron. "The high is climbing with us and barring the route." In 24 hours, the cards of this Jules Verne Trophy have been reshuffled. "Yesterday we saw ourselves racing direct for Ushant on a single gybe" said the skipper of Orange without bitterness. "Things are getting more complicated and we won't be picking up the wind until later today."

With full main and big masthead gennaker, the Marseilles Giant is still on port tack. A slight wind shift to the SW and the men on watch will gybe the sails onto the other tack, enabling the yacht to finally head for the French coast. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com

QUOTES FROM THE VOR BOATS
"We had a few 'hitch hikers' for three days. A couple of small birds took a free ride on the dragons. We would scare them around until their weight was 'stacked' in the optimal position." - Anthony Nossiter, djuice

CARIBBEAN SAILING
Squalls in the Caribbean generally come and go quickly, but crewmembers at Antigua Sailing Week who wore cotton shorts suffered for the rest of the day with wet pants. However it simply was not a problem for those of us with fast drying Supplex Camet Sailing shorts. Even better, the optional butt pads made those long beats up the island far more pleasant. Check them out: www.camet.com

RACING RULES OF SAILING
UK Sailmakers have just posted a new rules quiz (Quiz 10) on their website. Be careful on this one. I think a lot of very good racers will come up with the wrong answer on this one: www.uksailmakers.com/RulesQuiz/index.html

INDUSTRY NEWS
* Doyle Sailmakers announced the introduction of a new Offshore One Design Division. Doyle Vice President John Baxter will head the new division, which is made up of two groups. The Design and Technical Group includes Robbie Doyle, Spike Boston, Jeff Earl, Bill Durant, Brad Stevens and Jud Smith. The class experts make up the other group in Doyle's new Offshore One Design Division.

* Polo Ralph Lauren will be the Official Outfitter of Technical Marine Clothing and Sportswear to the OneWorld Team for the Louis Vuitton Cup races for the America's Cup. Polo Ralph Lauren's Polo RLX line of sportswear, footwear and accessories will outfit the team both on and off the water. In addition, Polo Ralph Lauren designers will work with the OneWorld sailing team to develop a line of technical gear.

* Pacific SAIL EXPO saw 14,000 attendees through the gates during its recent 5-day showcase - a slight increase in attendance over 2001. "Early results from our consumer survey show nearly 70% owning a sailboat and 21% looking for a new boats," said Scot West, Executive Director of Sail America. Other interesting results from the consumer survey included:
30% of attendees label themselves "no experience" or "beginner" sailor.
55% earn over $100K/year.
13% of attendees traveled to the show by air.
74% definitely or very likely to attend again next year.

Event website: www.sailamerica.com

ISAF WOMEN'S MATCH RACING WORLDS
Club Nautico de Calpe, Calpe Bay, Spain - Quarter final leaders:
Liz Baylis, 4-1
Marie Bjorling, 4-1
L. Meldgaared, 3-2
A. le Helley, 3-2
C. Eglin, 3-2
Dawn Riley, 1-4
S. Gurioli, 1-4
N. Petersen, 1-4
www.cncalpe.com

OOPS
We ran the wrong URL in yesterday's ad for the Sailing Pro Shop. It would really help if every reader would visit the proper URL to take some of the pressure off the curmudgeon: www.sailingproshop.com

THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
If quizzes are quizzical then what are tests?