SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1068 - May 10, 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
John Kostecki and the flu-ridden crew of illbruck have crossed the finish line off La Rochelle through a flotilla of spectator craft that gathered at the finish line at 1344 GMT. This sets the end of a remarkable Atlantic crossing in just over 10 days. Winning this leg puts illbruck on top of the podium for the fourth time in the nine leg long Volvo Ocean Race. The daily run of 484 miles (to be ratified as a world record) is the icing on the cake of victory and will be celebrated by the sailing team and around 100 illbruck guests that are already awaiting the yacht in La Rochelle on a foggy and wet day.
The victory on leg seven was an important step for the illbruck challenge towards securing overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. Still there are 16 points to be rewarded for the next two legs and the next competitor Assa Abloy is just eight points behind.
Assa Abloy won the match race with their unofficial tuning partners, Team Tyco, to finish second into La Rochelle at 16.39.47GMT this afternoon. It is a respectable enough position for Neal McDonald and his crew, cementing their second place overall, with a five-point buffer on the next boat, Amer Sports One. For Kevin Shoebridge and Tyco, a third place on this transatlantic leg goes some way to restoring lost pride after their disastrous sixth place finish in Baltimore. This team has always shown more promise than it has delivered, but at least this latest podium finish puts them within striking distance of Amer Sports One and News Corp for third place overall.
Just 10 minutes separated the Swedish yacht SEB from the Finnish/Italian Amer Sports One after racing 3400 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Four days ago, Gunnar Krantz's SEB team split from the fleet to try a southern approach towards the Bay of Biscay. "No Guts, No Glory", was the order of the day, what looked like a 60-40 chance to climb to third place, according to SEB navigator and weather guru Marcel van Triest. At the end they were lucky not to lose a precious fourth place to the hunting Amer Sports One. After winning leg six into Baltimore, News Corp had to accept sixth place for the second time after losing the rudder on leg four.
After djuice finished at 01:09:00 all seven remaining yachts in leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race crossed the North Atlantic in under 12 days. Amer Sports Too, who retired to Halifax after the mast broke during the first week at sea is on her way to Antwerp on board a cargo ship and will be ready in time to join leg eight to Gothenburg.
NEW KONTROL: THE PERFORMANCE GLOVE
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APS, Annapolis Performance Sailing & www.sailingangles.com
LONG MATCH RACE
The 46.31-meter (152-foot) schooner Windrose, launched late in 2001, is now on her way to Newport, RI, along with another modern classic schooner, the 58-meter Adix (completely redesigned by Gerard Dijkstra). They will to try to break the schooner Transatlantic sailing record from New York to the Lizard, England. The record is 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute, 19 seconds, set in 1905 by the 187-foot schooner Atlantic - sailed by famed skipper Charlie Barr.
Windrose and Adix will start from Ambrose Light Tower, off Sandy Hook, New Jersey. There, Transatlantic start times will be taken by a representative of the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which will also take the yachts' finish times at the Lizard. The elegant Gaastra Transatlantic Schooner Cup will be presented to the winner by the well-known Dutch sports clothing maker.
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 From JJ Isler: I was so impressed to read in Scuttlebutt this week about Liz Baylis and her team's win at the Women's Match Racing Worlds. What is also very impressive is the combined achievements of the Baylis siblings -- Will, Trevor and Liz. There are a lot of great siblings out there -- the McKees (USA), Chieffis (ITA), Hungers (GER), the Bruns and Reads (USA) all come to mind. And of course there are father and son greats, like the Buchans and the Melges's. But I can't think of any other family around the world that could boast having three children as World Champions in different boats (except maybe the Dorestes of Spain?).
Will Baylis won the Soling Worlds in '86 and '88 (winning an Olympic Class Worlds in an Olympic year is extra-tough -- and he went on to win the Silver that year in Seoul), he won the J-24 Worlds in '88 and the Farr 40 Worlds in '99. Trevor Baylis won the Int'l 14 Worlds and the 18-foot skiff Worlds last year as well as an overall Transpac win at some time. And Liz has won two Pacific Cup class wins. If you combine all that with Trevor's influence on boardsail design -- they are a very diverse group. And the best thing is that all three Baylis' are highly respected by their competitors for their great sportsmanship on and off the water.
* From Larry Law (edited to our 250-word limit): Before the move to the new US Sailing Center facility, Martin County, the people involved provided a great venue, race management and great events - even with the sandbars! Some our west coast juniors attend Youth Qualifiers and 420 Mid-Winter events there over the past few years, we all love the venue and enjoyed our participation immensely.
Another "prize" of the US Sailing Centers is the facility at the Center in Long Beach California. While they may not be blessed with a large facility, they are a hot bed of training for high school, collegiate, pre-Olympic and Olympic training. Mike Segerblom and his staff make maximum use of their limited space in a new facility built out a few years ago - this is California and space is the usual problem. Point being, there is so much going on that is great with junior sailing and I think that we spend too much time hearing about the parts that are not positive (re: A/C conflicts) and forget where we build the sport for tomorrow's sailors.
My hat is off to all the US Sailing Centers, the local yacht clubs and anyone else that supports the future of youth sailing. What better topic to focus on than the beauty of watching children grow up into the Olin Stephens, Buddy Melges and others of their level of achievement, and all the other great unknown, weekend warrior sailors of the future.
* From Michael Caplan, Commodore, West Marine Pacific Cup 2002: I will respond to Menninger's points as space allows. The following are the major reasons for PCYC's selected starting dates.
1. Our race deck, (for the start), is at the St. Francis YC. St. Francis will only allow Monday through Friday use of their facilities. The weekends are reserved exclusively for their private use.
2. West Marine Pac Cup has tried to coordinate their race to conclude in time for those vessels wishing to participate in the now defunct Kenwood Cup to be in position and be ready for the Kenwood. At the time we had to make our decision about starting dates, Kenwood was still a viable event.
3. PCYC must consider the southern hurricane season. We have to figure out the best hurricane avoidance theory for the fleet all the while trying to place the fleet in a favorable Pacific High pattern. Histories from past meteorological records influence our decisions.
We have determined through numerous post race surveys that our starting and finishing protocols are satisfactory to the majority of the fleet. Keep in mind that our fleets finish projections do not favor the big boats, but rather allow the amateur sailor, ( the majority of the fleet), participating in a once in a lifetime dream, for most, to sail across an ocean to a tropical landfall.
Our motto and mission statement is, "The fun race to Hawaii". It seems to work for most. Aloha!
FIRST TIMER - Howie Hamlin
Everyone is scared but me. The Mistral is now blowing 40 to 50 knots, the sea is frothing, the waves are 15' to 20' and very short and very steep. The maxi catamaran PlayStation is flying faster than the waves, as we go over each wave the boat starts to load up, I carve a turn off the top, the speedo says 34 knots, I turn before the bottom and heat it up before we slow, the power comes on, we race up and over the next wave and repeat the cycle again and again. In the troughs the tips of the 13' high bows are just skimming the water surface. If they go below the surface we are in deep s#!t. I am grinning ear to ear, easing the fear of Pete Melvin, Trevor Baylis and the other guys next to me in the cockpit who are ready to ease the traveler and jib to avoid a capsize. Maybe I am too ignorant to be scared but this is really fun.
I am on Steve Fossett's "PlayStation" for the first time. We left Marseille, France, 4 hours ago just before dawn, trying to beat Florence Arthaud's 1991 record run 480 miles across the Med to Carthage, Tunisia; the 3rd fastest average speed record in sailing. How lucky am I, my first turn at the helm and we are sailing conditions Gini Morrelli described as the steepest wave/wind combination PlayStation has ever sailed in. At 125' long, 60' wide and 150' tall, it is the biggest fastest and most powerful multihull on the planet. You could fit eight Volvo 60's on the deck/ trampoline of this big machine. In spite of this enormous size and incomprehensible power, it is responsive, goes where you send it and feels controlled. Here's a boat with 50,000 lbs of load in the mainsheet and it feels like my 505 in Santa Cruz when it is nuking.
Steve Fossett is really into this record sailing game. He studies weather forecasts for weeks or months for what looks like the right window. We have been on standby for several weeks, with several false starts. I stop letting my emotions go after the 2nd false alarm. Finally Steve likes a forecast and sends the email "We are going". Steve mobilizes his other 9 European based crew and within hours Gino Morrelli, Pete Melvin, Trevor Baylis and I are flying to Europe, in Steve's Citation X, the fastest business jet made, which Steve pilots himself. Another one of his record setting toys. Record sailing is a big deal in Europe, our planned attempt is on the front page of the paper the day before we leave.
My best memories in sailing are always going fast downwind in heavy air. Well that is exactly what record sailing and these maxi cats are all about. What a great concept, you wait for perfect heavy air off wind sailing conditions. This may be at opposite ends of the sailing spectrum from my 505 and 18' skiff sailing. But it is similar in that it is about racing hard and going fast. Who said this is not racing? These guys push the boat hard, real hard. We are racing a clock, shifting gears at every velocity change. I had figured they sail around underpowered to be conservative, not hardly, they can make sail changes in just a few minutes. So we are sailing fully powered up, making the boat go max out. We are looking for 10 degree shifts to jibe on, etc. Not much different than any other race.
Over the day the Mistral drops to 12 knots, fails to shift as forecasted and we are in VMG running mode. We cross the Med in 24 hours, but missed the record by 2 hours. Without touching North Africa we turn around and sail back to France in 36 hours. We all fly home and go back on standby waiting for the next weather pattern. - Howie Hamlin
Charlie Ogletree used a full inventory of Ullman Sails to win the Santana 20 Nationals. And the same people who 'broke the code' by squeezing more boatspeed from the Santana 20 are ready to work with you to improve the performance of your boat - no matter what you sail. The proven and affordable way to make it happen is to work with the pros at Ullman Sails to spruce up your sail inventory. For the location of the nearest loft that can provide you with a price quote: www.ullmansails.com
With the international line up complete, Clipper Ventures has released the few remaining crew berths for the Clipper 2002 Round The World Yacht Race. Crewmembers pay for their berths and sign on for one or more of the six crew legs. Some will be running away to sea for the whole 11 months and 35000 miles of the race while others will race for two months or so.
Applications are welcome from men or women of all ages over 18. The requirements are determination and a will to come forward and take up the challenge of a lifetime. No previous sailing experience is necessary as each crewmember will undertake a thorough training schedule in UK prior to the race start. Prospective crewmembers should apply on the website www.clipper-ventures.com
The organizers of Skandia Life Cowes Week admit that without the support of its sponsors, entry fees would have to rise to 'draconian levels' and services would need to be reduced. With an injection of £1.5 million over the next three years, Skandia Life is one of the longest serving sponsors of any sailing event. But this eight-day event held in Cowes, Isle of Wight which attracts around 8,000 competitors and a minimum 66,000 visitors also has other major sponsors:
- MUMM Champagne has sponsored yacht racing at Cowes for 25 years
- Henri-Lloyd - Official Technical Clothing Supplier
- Ocean World - Official Merchandiser
- OMEGA - Official Timekeeper
- Timberland - Official Footwear Sponsor
- Wightlink Transportation & Wightlink Holidays
In a masterpiece of understatement, Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) Director Stuart Quarrie says that sponsorship continues to play a vital role in the modern Cowes Week. - www.cowesweek.co.uk
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Ben Ainslie
The hunt for sponsorship is as always a long and slow one although I have been fortunate to get support from Volvo and Bainbridge International. So, I am driving a nice car and have the best hardware on my boat. I am already onto my third mast and fifth sail and am realising it's an expensive game. The support from UK sport and the lottery is fantastic but I am still looking for additional funding to help go about this campaign in the proper manner. I'm still eating loads but the weight seems to have levelled of at 93kg and I have a feeling that the last five kilos will only come from a lot of hard work in the gym! - Ben Ainslie (UK) won the Gold medal in Sydney and the Silver at Atlanta in the Laser class. He is now campaigning a Finn for the Athens' Olympics. Madforsailing website. Full story: www.madforsailing.com
French skipper Phillipe Presti is dominating the Round Robins qualification flights at the Toscana Elba Cup Trofeo Locman, in Portoferraio, Elba Island, Tuscany (Italy). The round robin winner will race the second place finisher, in a best of seven races for the championship. The other three crews will race another round robin for the third place. The event is sailed with 4 IMX 40 identical boats. The weather conditions were fine, with sun and good wind between 8 and 15 knots. - www.elbacup.org
1. Phillipe Presti (Le Def“ Areva) 8-3
2. Ed Baird (Team USA/Musto) 6-4
3. Chris Law, 5-4
4. Paolo Cian (Mascalzone Latino 4-6
5. Andy Beadsworth (GBR Challenge) 4-8.
TORNADO EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Clube Internacional da Marina de Vilamoura, Vilamoura, Portugal. Standings after five races:
1. O. Backes & L. Voiron, 26
2. D. Bundock & J. Forbes, 27
3. S. Lange & C. Espinola, 28
4. S. Karsenbarg & M. Heemskerk 51
5. L. Guck & J. Farrar (USA) 58
19. J. Lovell & C. Oghetree (USA) 98
29. R. Daniel & E. Jacobsen (USA) 161
Leg Five Daytona Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL, 79.0 statute miles: Athletes in Action had a nice lead again heading for the finish line. But they had trouble dropping the chute, and during that time of spinnaker peril neglected to raise the starboard daggerboard. They ran hard aground and were stuck there for quite a while. Meanwhile Castrol took full advantage of Athlete's problems and slid nicely onto the beach with their second victory of the race. Athletes finally got across the line in second place and moved ahead of Alexanders in the standings for second place overall. Tybee Island came in 3rd and still maintains their lead overall. Catamaran Sailor website, www.catsailor.com/worrell02/worrell02.html
1 Tybee Island
2 AthletesInAction.net, 2 minutes 17 seconds behind leader
3 Alexander's on the Bay 00:03:08 bl
4 Castrol, 00:03:57
5 San Antonio 00:12:42
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* June 1-2: SF Bay Team Race Champs, Treasure Island Sailing Center, San Francisco, Calif. Held in Vanguard 15s (BYOBoat, charters possible):-- www.vanguard15.org
* June 15-16: Vanguard 15 Pacific Coast Championships, Treasure Island Sailing Center, San Francisco, Calif. Charters possible. - www.vanguard15.org
As a curtain raiser to the Laureus World Sports Academy Awards and a tribute to Sir Peter Blake, a strong field of America's Cup yachties and celebrities will compete in a match-racing regatta in Monte Carlo on May 13-14. The regatta and its competitors will honour the yachting legend and Laureus World Sports Academy member who was killed by pirates during an environmental expedition through the Amazon waters last year. Racing will be staged by the yacht club de Monaco from Le Meridein Beach Plaza.
An array of past and present America's Cup sailors will compete, including Dawn Riley (America True 2000), Ian Walker (GBR Challenge), Francesco Bruni (Prada), and Tommaso Chieffi (Oracle Challenge), alongside Olympians JJ Isler (US), Ben Ainslie (Britain), Keith Musto and Shirley Robertson.
The Laureus awards has been dubbed the Oscar's of the sporting fraternity and will take place on the evening of May 14. - nzoom.com website, the homepage for New Zealanders: onesport.nzoom.com
Oracle's first AC boat was loaded aboard a container ship in Long Beach yesterday -- she's said to be a veritable clone of US-53, Young America. - 2003 ac website forum section, isuzu21.webcrossing.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why aren't there bullet-proof pants?