SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1064 - May 6, 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.
LIZ BAYLIS NEW WORLD CHAMPION
Club Nautico de Calpe, Calpe Bay, Spain - Liz Baylis (USA) has defeated Marie Bjorling (SWE) ISAF World Ranked Number One by 2 flights to 1 in the final of the ISAF Womens Match Racing World Championship. Earlier in the week Bjorling was having things all her own way winning the first stage round robin, and the Quarter Final round robin, then obviously her semi-finals to go through to the final. However showing great tenacity and sound decision making it was Liz Baylis (USA) and team that took the title by winning the Final Saturday. Sailing with Baylis were Stacie Straw, Aimee Hess and Karina Shelton.
1.- Liz Baylis (USA)
2.- Marie Bjorling (SWE)
3.- Anne Le Helley (FRA)
4.- Cordelia Eglin (GBR)
5.- Dawn Riley (USA)
6.- Nina B. Petersen (DEN)
7.- Sabrina Gurioli (ITA)
8.- Lotte Meldgaard (DEN)
9.- Sandy Grosvenor (USA)
10.- Giulia Conti (ITA)
11.- Mar Castanedo (ESP)
12.- Malin Milbourn (SWE)
13.- Claire Leroy (FRA)
14.- Ines Montefusco (ITA)
15.- Gwen Joulie (FRA)
16.- Christelle Phillippe (FRA)
Following are two small excerpts from a story by Herb McCormick in Sunday's New York Times.)
* After the Seattle telecommunications billionaire Craig McCaw announced his challenge for the coming America's Cup, he addressed his team and told it he wanted to do things differently. The high road, he implied, was the one the team would be taking. In an event that has been associated with dirty deeds and underhanded tactics, McCaw wished to wed his OneWorld program to environmental causes. He envisioned a syndicate built on forthrightness and integrity, one that would achieve great things on the water and off.
But now, OneWorld is facing serious charges of impropriety, and its participation in the regatta is in the hands of an international arbitration panel with the power to expel the team - which has already invested tens of millions of dollars - months before the preliminary racing is scheduled to begin.
Of all the words one might use to describe OneWorld, for now the syndicate is fighting to avoid being pinned with the last one McCaw could have imagined: cheaters. In a phone interview from Seattle late last week, when asked about the possibility of OneWorld's expulsion from Cup racing, the group's executive director, Bob Ratliffe, said, "I think it's highly unlikely, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about that terrible outcome."
Longtime America's Cup aficionados understand that a law degree can be useful when navigating the event's often murky backwaters. The OneWorld case is the latest example of this recurring theme. In brief, OneWorld's considerable predicament stems from a continuing civil suit in Seattle with its former rules adviser, the New Zealander Sean Reeves, who had a similar position with Team New Zealand when it successfully defended the Cup in 2000.
Reeves was instrumental in recruiting former Team New Zealand members to OneWorld, including the New Zealand yacht designer Laurie Davidson. Later, Reeves was dismissed from the syndicate, and court action ensued after he was accused of trying to sell design secrets from both OneWorld and Team New Zealand to rival challengers.
In the course of that action, OneWorld admitted it had violated certain aspects of the protocol agreement that governs Cup racing by possessing measurement certificates and related material from the yachts sailed by New Zealand in 2000. But Ratliffe said the items in question were minor and had no bearing in the creation of the two new OneWorld boats, both of which are being tested in New Zealand, and the team sought a ruling from the event's arbitration panel over the material.
* The entire incident has once again raised questions about Cup eligibility rules. Davidson is one of many designers and sailors who now swap national allegiances from one event to the next. Critics contend that such incidents will continue to proliferate until stricter nationality rules are enforced.
OneWorld's fate is now in the hands of the panel, which is comprised of two New Zealand high court judges, an Australian judge and two Italian judges. They are expected to issue their ruling in the next few weeks. "These aren't Olympic figure-skating judges," Ratliffe said. "They're actual court judges." Meanwhile, the OneWorld sailing team continues to train off Auckland. Ratliffe said the crew was pleased with the performance of its new yachts. Soon, the team will know if it will be permitted to race them. - Herb McCormick, NY Times, full story: www.nytimes.com/2002/05/05/sports/othersports/05BOAT.html
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* Excerpt from a recent interview of Craig McCaw by Mike Hoskings (TVNZ) in Seattle: "In the long term I believe that the truth will win out and what ever happens will happen. Clearly, you would never choose to have something like that happen but I think the team has gone on and, you know, they're probably stronger for it. Adversity builds character. Certainly, we never knowingly - none of the people that I directed ever knowingly did anything but follow exactly true to the code of the Cup." - Craig McCaw
* Peter Montgomery recently interviewed Ross Blackman (CEO, Team NZ) on newstalkzb. Here's an excerpt of Blackman's comments: "We put a submission in and that is now before the Arbitration Panel. And we will await the ruling on it. I think the reality is that we are in an entirely different position to all of the challengers - we feel that we are. As trustee - acting with the RNZYS - as trustee for the Cup we are heavily involved in policing and administering not only the rules of the regatta but also the intellectual property around the America's Cup. There are many things that come in the bag that you get when you win the America's Cup. And we feel a huge responsibility to the 152 year tradition of the Cup to do the very best we can as trustees to protect the integrity of the rules and the Cup." - Ross Blackman
Much bigger pieces of both of these interviews have been posted by Cheryl in the Forums Section of the 2003AC website: www.2003ac.com
MORE AMERICA'S CUP
'Mascalzone Latino XII' the Italian challenger boat was officially launched Saturday. Designed by Giovanni Ceccarelli (from Ravenna Italy), for the syndicate lead by Vincenzo Onorato, Mascalzone Latino sets sail from the Naples Sea Terminal Molo Beverello.
TIM - sole sponsor of the Mascalzone Latino adventure and the only mobile telephone company entirely Italian. Andrea just over nine months old, the child of Vincenzo Onorato and Lara Ciribi launched the boat.
In the following days to come Mascalzone Latino XII will move to the Island of Elba where training sessions have been scheduled together with the training boat former Bravo Espana up until the month of July when it will be shipped to the other part of the world. At Mascalzone Latino XIIs arrival in Auckland it will find the team waiting to take it out to sea and to continue practicing with still another training boat, the former Stars&Stripes-USA 55 until the beginning of the Louis Vuitton Cup starting October 1, 2002. - www.mascalzonelatino.it
ADDENDUM: Mascalzone Latino, translated as Latin Rascal, is headed by yet another rich man itching to steer his own boat - Vincenzo Onorato. He is steadfastly denying that he will give in to the temptation, but few would be surprised to see him grab the wheel from the more professional Paulo Cian. - Stuart Alexander, The Independen, London
THE RIGHT STUFF
Sailing is an equipment sport. Period! And when you make it all the way to the Olympics, you simply must have the very best equipment - the right stuff. No wonder the United States Silver Medalist in both the Women's 470 (JJ Isler and Pease Glaser), and the Men's 470 (Paul Foerster and Bob Merrick) used Ullman Sails exclusively. Additionally, Ullman Sails were used by the Silver and Bronze Medalist in the Tornado Class. Isn't it time to moved your sailing performance up to the next level? - www.ullmansails.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
"Almost 22-knot average boat speed lately! If only we had the Gulf Stream giving us a four-knot boost, we could have a shot at illbruck's record," said Assa Abloy navigator Mark Rudiger. "We're riding along the edge of a strong cold front wondering if it will overtake us and lift us, or we stay on the edge with a wild fire hose reach. I'm constantly keeping the guys updated on deck through my little hatch in the Nav station. When I look out there, I see a bunch of guys in Henri Lloyd foul weather gear with only wide-open eyes exposed."
Amer Sports One skipper Lisa McDonald described today the worst 62 hours of her sailing career as she and her crew of 12 worked to get the disabled yacht to port before a massive storm overtook them. They reached Halifax, Nova Scotia, just before the storm reached its peak off the coast of Nova Scotia. As it was, the wind reached 58 knots and they had some anxious moments at the end of a 200-metre towline attached to a Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker. The arrival at Halfax was subdued, a mix of relief and regret. Relief at being safe in Halfax and having got the yacht and crew safely out of the clutches of a terrible storm. Regret that Amer Sports Too will be crossing the Atlantic as cargo on a ship.
The winds have eased considerably in the past few hours, as the boats sail into a weak ridge of high pressure. These light airs of 5 10 knots give the crews the opportunity to effect running repairs; on board Illbruck they are working on some damage to the end of a jockey pole and its mast fitting, the result of pushing the yacht to extremes.
STANDINGS at 0400 GMT May 6:
1. illbruck, 874 miles from finish
2. Tyco, 27 miles behind leader
3. Assa Abloy, 31 mbl
4. News Corp, 52 mbl
5. Amer Sports One, 63
5. SEB, 68 mbl
7. djuice, 73 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, retired
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: Grant Braly: The current AC rules problems would not be solved by increasing nationality restrictions. As I understand the current rules, Phil Kaiko, Bruce Nelson, and Bruce Farr, all of whom worked in the last Cup for US syndicates which are not participating in the current event, must forget they ever knew anything about sailboats before race 5 of the Prada/NZ match. All of the above are either US citizens or (in Bruce Farr's case) have been residents of the US for a very long time, and all are STILL working for US teams. I am not saying that the Nation-swapping that goes on is right or wrong - merely that it is a separate issue.
This problem can only be solved by turning the management, rules-making responsibility, and judgment over to a professional organization with an interest in the integrity of the event and some basic knowledge of how the event works and how sports can and should be promoted. History has shown clearly that such an organization is none of the following: (a) the officers of a yacht club, (b) a couple of competing syndicates, or (c) five lawyers appointed by a & b.
* From Giles Anderson: Restricting a designer or sailor from switching his or her nationality in an effort to stem the flow of intellectual property from one syndicate to another does not fix the problem for two big reasons. First, let's not forget that there are countries with multiple challengers. But the bigger problem is defining "nationality" in today's modern world. My situation is not atypical these days; I was born in the UK, spent most of my life in Canada, and now live and work the US. I have a US work visa and passports from both Canada and the UK. I have worked and paid tax in all three of those countries. My passport from the UK also allows me to live and work anywhere in the EU. So, what's my nationality?
* From Tony Castro (edited top our 250-word limit): John Burnham's article, which I totally subscribe to, was really telling us about people. The "psychology of people" has to be understood to be able to manage the sport as a whole. This understanding is, in my opinion, sadly missing in my generation of leaders. I have always said that it should not be a question of One-Design against another forms of sailing. Most kinds of sailing have their "good" reasons to exist and we have to manage them better - in all their forms. Instead we have let ourselves be driven down this path in the last 10 years, at the exclusion of other forms of sailing and, yes we are now worse off (unless you designed those One-Designs). One -Design racing is something that most of us can cope with, but only in a relatively short period of our lives, (and a selected few can cope all the time).
The majority of sailors take up the sport to nourish their inner-self ambitions and needs, it's normal. Most need a "excuse to lose" to be able to live with themselves and face the office on a Monday morning when the weekends results are not worth talking about. For our sanity we need "excuses" to feel good. That is life. Those who pushed either One-Design or any other kind of sailing at the expense of all others are wrong, and responsible for the current state of affairs. That is what I think John Burnham was trying to explain.
* From Garry Hoyt (re John Burnham's editorial): We face a series of paradoxes:
1. One Design racing is the fairest kind of racing. It observably produces the best sailors, so that's a keeper.
2. But One Design concept freezes design which inhibits the innovations we need to progress.
3. The alternative of racing boats of differing design poses the problem of equitable ratings systems--a baffling challenge that has yet to be satisfactorily solved. But imperfect competition is better than no competition.
4. Effort, intensity and expense are an inextricable part of winning. Complaining about that suggests the only fun comes from winning, which is neither true nor constructive.
That people find different levels of pleasure in different kinds of sailing is a plus to be preserved. A more logical worry is today's obsession with windward/leeward race courses, which perversely removes the reach--the fastest point of sailing. Our fixation with windward starts is another complication that wastes committee time and denies competitors a pleasing variety of starting situations. We continue to fashion the racing rules along the IRS model--incomprehensible to most and rewarding to those best able to manipulate its nuances. The whole process of protests is a drag on amateur enjoyment of the sport and needs simplification or removal.
It is important to remember that the fun of sailing goes well beyond the thrill of racing. Removing the complications that interfere with the fun and bringing in new features that add more fun, should be the focus for growth.
* From Grant Wharington: Congratulations to the RORC for adopting the new upper rating band for the Admirals cup of 1.600 TCC. This is positive step forward. Not only can we now have a true big boat class at the Admirals cup which we have never seen before but we will have a speed limit which designers can focus on to produce the fastest boats which can contend in some of the premier racing in the world such as Admirals cup and Sydney to Hobart. Most clubs in Australia have now adopted the 1.600 limit for coastal racing and we are seeing a resurgence in big boat building around that limit. Hopefully other countries will follow the lead of RORC and CYCA.
* From Marc Fountain: A comment on the recent discussion about the decline in racing participation. I believe that the changes in the rules and changes in attitude toward the rules over the last five or so years have done more to damage the sport than anything related to one-design or rating systems.
Most of the tactical boat-for-boat interaction that made the sport interesting has been nullified by rules changes. Without a clear onus and with an equally likely chance of being tossed out of a race existing on either side of a rule, racers stay far away from each other or barge in knowing their chances are at least 50/50 of getting away with it. It's dull sport either way. It was much more fun when you could sail just so close, in very specific and intricate ways, knowing who had the onus in their favor. In many cases, two interacting boats who disagreed knew their chances of winning a protest and thus the party with the lowest chance of prevailing would often take an alternate penalty. With all that blurred, the use of the alternate penalty continues to decline and the percentage of people racing without respect to the rules continues to rise.
To borrow a phrase recently visible in the mainstream media, the current rules are "not helpful" for increasing and maintaining participation in the sport.
* From Chris Boome: As a former Laser sailor in the 1970's who recently started sailing them again at age 55, I would like to share what hooked me on one-design sailing again, and some of the pleasant surprises:
1) The age group Masters competition in the Laser - this is what got me hooked...sailing with other old farts...many of whom I sailed against 20 years ago. Being able to get on a plane and fly to Florida in February, pick up a boat and go race against 60 other people who are excited to be sailing.
2) The Laser is simple - I'm not a boat preparation guy - but to my surprise, the Laser is so much better than 20 years ago...the new rigging and extra support in the boom makes the boat so much easier to sail. Upwind, it's a whole new world.- you can pull the vang on and let the sheet out in heavy air and still have a mainsail, make all the sail adjustments while hiked out etc, all while still reaping the benefits of one-design racing. Downwind - I'm having to learn how to sail again.
3) The sailing gear - hiking pants, gloves all so much better.
4) The other Laser sailors - so helpful to an old geezer like me... they even have pity on me when we come in and help me lift my boat out of the water.
The net result is that I am more excited about sailing than at any time in the last 20 years.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: I found Boome's points about the sailing gear were particularly insightful. This past weekend at the San Diego YC's Yachting Cup Regatta I wore a new pair of Harken HS Speedgrip deck shoes that were so much better than anything I'd worn before it really open my eyes as to how high the 'equipment bar' has ratcheted upwards.
POLAR DATA SOURCES AND OCKAM COMPATIBILITY
Is your boat's performance data available from US Sailing's "in stock" Polar Performance database? While the best source for a thorough and complete Ockam format file remains a custom run VPP, services are available to refine and expand "off the shelf" polar information for use with OckamSoft or burned to chip for our 037 Interface. For more information, contact Tom Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org). See www.ockam.com
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
Bruno Peyron and his 12 men crew aboard maxi catamaran Orange cut the finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy, non stop round the world sailing record on Sunday may 5th, 16.00 hours GMT, 13 minutes and 45 seconds. It took Peyron 64 days, 08 hours, 37 minutes et 24 seconds, to complete the Ouessant to Ouessant course, 28 035 nautical miles via the three major capes, Good Hope (SA), Leeuwin (Aus) and Horn (Chile) at a 18, 15 knots average. Peyron and his crew beat Olivier de Kersauson's former record by 7 days, 5 hours, 44 minutes, 44 seconds. - www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
Annapolis (Md.) May 5, 2002 - Racers at the Sailing World National Offshore One-Design (NOOD) regatta, the region's first major sailing event of the season, weathered two extremes at this Chesapeake contest that concluded Sunday: too much wind, or too little. Friday's racing at this three-day event, which was hosted May 3-5 by Annapolis Yacht Club, gave the 233-boat fleet a wild ride: the breeze was stiff and shifty, at 25 knots from the northwest; sails were shredded; a J/80 crewmember was launched (and successfully recovered) into the Chesapeake; and bruised bodies and egos were rife amongst the fleet. On Days 2 and 3, the wind ran out of gas. Not all of the 15 classes were able to complete races on both Saturday and Sunday in the light winds that blew for the balance of the regatta.
The lineup of winners who collected trophies tonight at the Annapolis Yacht Club had patience for light air and survival skill; Rhode Island sailors Kristan McClintock, Moose McClintock, and Corey Butlin were the crew who used that mix of talent to win the largest class in the regatta. The McClintocks and Butlin won the 42-boat J/22 class after four races. They sailed a solid top-10 performance on Friday and entered the final race in 6th place; then they blew the fleet away with a win in Sunday's finale. -Tony Bessinger, Full story and full results: www.sailingworld.com
ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK
Falmouth Harbour, May 3, 2002 - What a finale for the last day of the 35th annual Antigua Sailing Week. Winds topping 24 knots and the Atlantic Ocean rolling in to the cliffs below Shirley Heights certainly gave all the crews a demanding last day which ending in disaster for some and sweet victory for others.
BVI boat Pipe Dream, after a storming downwind leg, was looking very strong but dismasted on the way back upwind. Two boats sailing in the Bareboat classes lost their mast and while Celerity, Stuart Robinson's Swan 48 sailing in Racer/Cruiser II didn't lose its mast, it went a very funny shape and forced them to retire. Starr Trail, leading its class going into today's retired with an injured crew member. Gwadloupe Challenge, a Jeanneau One Design, lost two crew members overboard but was able to recover them and retired. The finishing numbers overall were somewhat depleted as some didn't start and some didn't finish.
Pyewacket, a fast charging sled, got faster as the winds got heavier and tied up Big Boat class, first overall and the Caribbean Big Boat Series (CBBS) Racing Division, eight minutes ahead of Titan, Tom Hill's Andrews 70, that was also reveling in the conditions. Peter Ogden's Spirit Of Jethou was third today. With Pyewacket first, Spirit Of Jethou was second in class and Chippewa was third. - Complete results and photos: www.sailingweek.com
One of the stories in 'Butt 1063 mistakenly implied that an Admiral's Cup team has three boats. That used to be the case, but this time around the entries will be two-boat teams.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries ... and a diet coke.