SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1065 - May 7, 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.
A powerful legal panel investigating whether Team New Zealand have lost crucial secrets to a rival America's Cup syndicate will keep its findings secret until it is protected from being sued. The America's Cup Arbitration Panel, which has the authority to expel entrants and impose heavy fines, has told all syndicates it must be protected and insured against legal action.
With campaign costs now topping $100 million for some syndicates, the panel's move was described by leading sports lawyer David Howman as "very wise". "Internationally, courts have shown more enthusiasm than disenthusiasm to get involved in disputes." He said most sporting arbitration panels now sought an indemnity against legal action.
The panel is made up of five judges and lawyers from around the world, including two New Zealanders: retired High Court justice Sir David Tompkins and Master John Faire of the High Court. Allegations that Seattle-based OneWorld Challenge improperly obtained vital Team New Zealand secrets will be aired at a closed meeting with two of the panel this weekend. That meeting will decide whether a full hearing is needed to hear evidence on the claims.
OneWorld have said they did have access to some Team New Zealand technical information, but that the material was not used or was not significant, and they asked the panel to rule on whether they had broken any rules. Team New Zealand said in evidence that the design information was significant, and questioned the eligibility of OneWorld's challenge.
The panel has put the dispute over insurance and a deed of indemnity - effectively ensuring cup syndicates or other parties cannot sue them - on the meeting agenda. - Helen Tunnah, New Zealand Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
STARS & STRIPES
(Martin Tasker looked at the New York Yacht Club's AC syndicate on Sailnztv. Here's an excerpt from a posted on the 2003AC website.)
Martin Tasker: Another good start has been in funding with 75% to 80% of the budget already in place. Key sponsor, Computer Associates, came on board at the outset and there have been substantial private support from New York Yacht Club members who want to see the Cup bolted back on its plinth in their Head Quarters but they are also realistic about what they are up against.
Bill Trenkle: It's such a hard field this time. We'd be very optimistic if we were going up against the 2000 field but the field this time is strong.
MT: But in citing what he describes as a field of preparedness Ken Read is undaunted by the billionaire budgets.
Ken Read: There are times when the low budget baseball teams actually knock off the big guys. They do it because they do it correctly. They draft the right people. In terms of this we draft the right people; we get the right scientists; we put people in the positions where they'll thrive. Hopefully a budget of half the big guys at the end of the day, they actually equal out because we are spending it more efficiently and therefore will get more bang for our buck.
MT: Once again Conner will be a shore based team leader. A significant difference for Ken Read this time is the mantle he took over from Mr. America's Cup in 1999 now sits a lot more comfortably.
KR: Last time around it was, probably, a bit awkward. It was kind of like stepping in for a legend. I put a little more pressure on myself and thought of things like "How would Dennis have done this? How would Dennis have prepared for today? How would he go into this start position in this part of the trials?
I found that as we went along I did better if I did it "How would Kenny Read handle this situation?" The person who made this easiest was Dennis himself. There was never a time during the last campaign where I got pulled aside with a suggestion of "Hey, this is how I would do it". Not once; not once did he say that. So from a boss/employee relationship he was an awesome guy to work for. At the end of the day he allowed me to do what I do best. - 2003AC website: isuzu21.webcrossing.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
After picking up some good speeds for a few hours, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has hit another wind hole on their dash across the Atlantic. The last few hours of fluky wind shifts have made for trying times all around the fleet, Gunnar Krantz on SEB has just written, 'a few hours ago we went through a small trough with a wind shift to the right of about 90 degrees. Two hours later, after sail changes, tacks and endless work of shifting sails we were all, at that stage in the pouring rain, convinced of that there must be another sport we can do. Now, when we are back on track again we are already talking about new races...' With a forecast of some steadier winds, hopefully the fleet will start to make good progress for La Rochelle once more.
STANDINGS at 0415 GMT May 7:
1. illbruck, 669 miles from finish
2. Assa Abloy, 33 miles behind leader
3. Tyco, 35mbl
4. SEB, 55 mbl
5. News Corp, 60 mbl
5. Amer Sports One, 61
7. djuice, 104 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, retired
AROUND THE WORLD
As you travel around the world, to different regattas, where you can watch the America's cup teams, the Farr 40 fleet, Etchells, Stars, Snipe, Laser, Optimist, etc. You will find that the Camet shorts, pants and hiking pants are always there. Spring is here, and it is time to get your own gear ready for the season. Check out the Camet website, for their new gear and colors. - www.camet.com
(Following his induction into the Sailing World Hall of Fame, the editors of the magazine interviewed Mark Reynolds. Here's an excerpt of his comments from that interview now posted on the Sailing World website.)
I was pretty lucky to be at the San Diego YC growing up. My dad sailed Star boats, so I was around Malin Burnham, Lowell North, and Dennis Conner. I was also at Star regattas with Tom Blackaller, Gary Mull, Bill Buchan, and guys like that when I was 14 to 16 years old. Another guy was Ash Bown, a Star boat sailor and ocean racer who Dennis learned a lot from, and who my dad and Malin and all those guys sailed with. They'd come over to our house all the time, especially Dennis, to have a gin and tonic or whatever they used to have in those days and talk with my dad about Star boats and whatever. I could hang out and ask questions of Dennis Conner every day after school-it was a pretty good deal.
"One thing I learned from Dennis was the importance of boat preparation. Dennis is one of the best at making sure he has all the best equipment. I worked for him for almost 10 years and I was always working on the best equipment. He always had a lot of ideas for improving things. Later I worked for Lowell North and I learned a lot from him. Peter Barrett was another guy I learned from, too, in the late '70s and early '80s when I was sailing the FD and starting in the Star. When I started making my own sails, I started making sails for Bill Buchan and, as far as Star boats are concerned, Bill knows more than anybody. I went to the '84 Olympics and helped him a little bit with tuning and his sails. Every six months or so I still check in with Bill; he's the type of guy who always keeps learning. He's been around for a bit-he's a grandfather now-but I've never heard him say, "That will absolutely not work. I know the best way to do all this stuff." Instead, he'll say, "Actually we did try that once, but that might work." He always keeps an open mind, and if you want to keep improving you have to be that way. - Mark Reynolds, Sailing World magazne website; Full interview: www.sailingworld.com
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: Bill Menninger: Pacific Cup organizers could take a note or two from the Transpac play book and make sailing more accessible to the common folk. The Pacific Cup has wide appeal with it's open format, PHRF inclusion and the Northern California sailing enthusiast is more inclined to sail small sailboats across large bodies of water. However, the current start dates weigh heavily on this event as a family sanctioned vacation.
In contrast to the Traspac race which is typically started ahead of the July 4 Holiday weekend, this summers Pacific Cup does not take advantage of the July 4 Holiday, nor does it take advantage of starting on a Friday or Saturday to help the crews plan a family holiday while taking two weeks off the work schedule. Given nine sailing days to Hawaii on a fast boat, the Tuesday start leaves one with either 3 to 4 days of vacation versus almost an entire week starting on a Saturday!! Furthermore, why not take advantage of the July 4 Holiday weekend so the number of days off work is further lightened?
In weighing the family vacation I am trying to justify this event around family and work issues with a finite amount of vacation time.
* From David Bishop: On the question of one design racing v. fun. I have been crewing on racing yachts for about 30 years in IOR, PHRF, IMS, and arbitrary handicapped fleets as well as one-design. I don't get paid for this, I do it for fun; and nothing is as fun as winning a one-design race. Given the choice between furniture racing with a convivial group of alcoholics, banging around the course from one screw-up to the next, and the full court press of one design with a crew that knows what its doing, I'll give up the beer every time.
Crewing in one design means making a commitment to your teammates that extends beyond the race course. You have to be willing to practice, study, stay fit, stay sober, and stay quiet. Almost sounds like a real sport, doesn't it.
* From: John Bishop: Perhaps all the AC competitors should be required to put their designs into the public domain at the conclusion of each event. Ken McAlpine could publish a little book of lines plans and rating certs and charge a king's ransom for it. Maybe he'd finally make a little money off of his thankless job.
* Tom Hubbell: Fred Stroth has it right. We build the sport by inviting new people in and helping them climb the learning curve. It's hard to excel in one design (or other) sailing, as John Burnham says, but that is exactly the number two reason most of us like it. The first reason is that we like being with those nutty people who also enjoy the wind, water, weather, self-reliant experience.
Seems to me that growth comes from new people who are welcomed as "worthy" individuals and coached and coached and coached so that they do not succumb to the frustration that Burnham addressed. For example, I urge readers to become more aware of the extraordinary series of USA Junior Olympic Sailing Events. These reach thousands of young sailors. In a different venue, we have reached adults and some teens with Coach-TCA, a week long learning experience woven into the Thistle Midwinters East Championship. Training, mentoring, and socially drawing-in new sailors can be done and is being done in many different ways.
* 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 Ron Baerwitz: I never heard anyone say they quit racing because it was too complicated or the rules were inappropriate for the sport. However, I have heard many say they quit because they ar not having fun. Why? Yelling Yelling Yelling. Skippers yelling at crews, Skippers yelling at skippers, crews yelling at crews, etc. So many take this sport too serious. A skipper yelling at a crew who makes an error at a mark rounding that cost them one boat conveniently forgot that his poor driving or bad tactical moves cost the team 5 boats on the last let. Bottom line is, that 99% are not professional and errors are part of the game.
Additionally, the "yellers" in most fleets are usually the newer or less talented skippers. Those boats are the only ones taking on new, "Green" crew because no one wants to stick around a screamer. The seasoned skippers almost never take on a "Greenie" since it could cost them first place. So, the new person in our sport never gets to graduate from the Cap'n Screamer to the Cap'n Winner. So, Cap'n Screamer quits because he can't find a steady crew and the Greenie quits because they have the opportunity to sail with a fun team.
The point is, screaming skippers have no idea how much they hurt this sport. And, unless you train your crew and take days out to practice tacks, gybes and roundings multiple times you have no right to criticize anyone.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Dean Barker
"It's important for people to understand it won't be five-nil again. It's going to be a lot harder than ever before - we've got an uphill battle to keep the Cup now. You don't really know until the boats are in the water and you see what everyone else is using. There might be one that has a breakthrough and is that much better than everyone else but it's very hard to see that. You don't know how the challengers are doing but you know they are doing a lot of work. They have to step it up another level to get to where we were but you have to assume that everyone is doing that." - Dean Barker, skipper, Team New Zealand, from a story in The Nelson Mail, posted on the Stuff NZ website; full story: www.stuff.co.nz
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QUOTES FROM THE BOATS
"At last managing to dry out after the relentless fire hosing on deck, had the heater running most of the day, Assa Abloy is now dry and toasty warm below deck. This leg has been very hard on the boat and gear, we have spent the majority of the leg with the pole on the head stay with all water tanks full, this puts max load on everything, including the crew, it really is very physical sailing." - Jason Carrington, Assa Abloy
The regatta has been underway since Sunday, but unlike previous years, the media reports are sadly lacking. There are no race stories on the official website, but we did find the following on the Catamaran Sailor website:
Well life has been much easier for the sailors than last year so far. By this time last year there were broken limbs and boats. And then it got worse as the boat crashed into the surf at Jensen Beach. And then there was extreme devastation at Jensen Beach that nearly wiped out the entire fleet. Not so today. There is a balmy breeze off the ocean at around 8-10 mph. It will probably pick up during the day and, like the first leg from Miami to Ft Lauderdale, give the sailors still another easy reach to Jensen. - www.catsailor.com/worrell02/worrell02.html
Here are the standings posted after the first two races:
1. Tybee Island (Steve Lohmayer & Kenny Pierce)
2. Alexander's on the Bay, one hours 54 seconds behind the leader
3. San Antonio,5:18 behind leader.
* Victory Challenge America's Cup sailors Magnus Holmberg, Stefan Rahm, Lars Linger, Magnus Augustson and Mikkel R┐ssberg have been awarded Swedish sailing's finest prize, the Gyllene Ankare (Golden Anchor). Though they didn't have much time to celebrate after hearing the news - they're on their way out for a training session with Victory Challenge in Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, part of their preparations ahead of America's Cup. It's only three months since the same men (except Mikkel R┐ssberg, who is Danish) were named Sailors of the Year in Sweden.
Full story: www.victorychallenge.com
* Albert Marmo (Washington DC), former Executive Director of the National Boating Safety Advisory, received the US Sailing's President's Award for his long-standing commitment to boating safety. He was also cited for his distinguished career service while serving in the United States Coast Guard from September 1967 through January 2002. "We must all be thankful for Mr. Marmo's decades of service to the cause of boating safety," said US Sailing President Dave Rosekrans. "His lifelong work, but especially as a founding member of the federal boating safety program, has touched each of our lives in some way." - Full story: www.ussailing.org/pressreleases/2002/Marmo.htm
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* May 15-20: Match Race Germany, Lake Constance, the sixth of eight events on the Swedish Match Tour. Skippers: Cameron Appleton, Team New Zealand; Andrew Arbuzow, Russia; Ed Baird, United States, Team Musto; Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark, Team Marienlyst; Alex Hagen, Germany; Morten Henriksen, Germany; Karol Jablonski, Poland, Team MK Cafe; Henrik Jensen, Sweden; Chris Law, Great Britain; Mikael Lindquist, Sweden; Stefan Meister, Germany; Jesper Radich, Denmark; Ian Walker, GBR Challenge; Markus Wieser, Germany. www.swedishmatchtour.com
* ICSA North American Championships The University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.
May 29-31: ICSA North American Women's Dinghy Championship
June 2-4: ICSA North American Team Race Championship
June 5-7: ICSA/Gill North American Coed Dinghy Championship
All three events will utilize the University of Hawaii's fleet of Vanguard FJs - www.collegesailing.org
* June 28-30: North Sails Race Week, Golison & Golison and Premiere-Racing, Long Beach California. include PHRF, one-design classes Farr 40, J/120, J/105, J/24, Melges 24, 1D35, Schock 35 and Santana 20, as well as Corsair Trimarans. The NOR is now on-line: www.Premiere-Racing.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I'll just squeeze those dangly things and drink whatever comes out"?