SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1071- May 15, 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.
(Following is an excerpt from important commentary written by ISAF President Paul Henderson.)
Most countries now pay competitors bonuses for how they do on the Olympic Regatta Circuit and where they place on the ISAF Ranking List. Coaches are also hired and are rewarded by how well their sailors finish. They push the rules to and beyond the limits because they believe other teams are doing the same thing. MNA's also get rewarded for their sailors winning Medals at the Olympic Games. This has pushed sailing into the arena of all professional sport where the mentality is that only the rules which are enforced matter not what constitutes honest sailing.
I have attended several major events lately specifically the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and Hyere Week. I always walk through the boat park and talk to the sailors while quietly lifting sweaters and weighted lifejackets. The cheating is rampant.
Then on the race course watching the complete disrespect of the Propulsion Rule. The worst occurs in the traditional boats like the Star, Finn, Europe and Laser. The Yngling will also be a problem.
The Tornado and 49er are boats where Kinetics really do not work so no problem there. Mistrals have been out of control for years and they have developed "Air Rowing" to an art while the youth have gone to other fun sports.
Hopefully the emergence of the Formula Board will partially reverse this. The 470 has at least tried to control the Propulsion abuses by instituting a "Yellow Flag" rule which appears to be working and was an idea originally introduced by ISAF twenty years ago and discarded by Race Committees as being onerous. I believe it is a good rule.
I was shocked to see that the Star Class has allowed their crews to stand forward of the mast and with very simple movements rock their boats down wind. Could they not control it simply by demanding no crew forward of the mast and no standing on the deck except for seamanlike manoeuvres? This would also help to keep the crew weight down.
The solution to the Finn, Europe and Laser was obvious in Hyeres. The Finn was totally out of control and I went and yelled at the top competitors who admitted under questioning that they were cheating. When I went to one of them and asked why the Canadian went from 5th to 25th on one run, he replied: "You Canadians are too honest!" - Paul Henderson, ISAF President.
Now go to the ISAF website and read Henderson's recommendations. - www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=2363
Your feedback on Henderson's comments is welcome, but please read the whole piece before writing to either 'Butt or to the ISAF: firstname.lastname@example.org
The second boat now under construction at the GBR Challenge's base in Cowes may yet be shipped to Auckland to join GBR-70, Wight Lightning, as Britain's America's Cup challenger for the Louis Vuitton trials starting on Oct 1. This possibility was outlined by skipper Ian Walker at the Laureus World Sports Awards regatta in Monaco.
The second hull is being constructed off the same moulds, ostensibly to give Britain two matched hulls for any follow-up attempt in 2003. "The second boat is a logical and sensible option for future campaigns but is also an insurance policy because you never know what is going to happen to the first boat," Walker said.
With a small sailing squad of 30 and only seven weeks sailing of GBR-70 before the trials start, the GBR Challenge remains a one-boat operation, yet if there are convincing technical reasons, GBR-78 could be used. "It's important that we concentrate on one boat otherwise we'll lose focus," Walker added, "but it may well be that we decide to get the other boat down there." - Tim Jeffery, The telegraph, UK, Full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
(Now that illbruck has an eight point lead, how will they sail the final legs of the Volvo Ocean Race? illbruck crewmember Mark Christensen has a concise answer to that question.)
Not much differently. At over 1,000 miles Leg 8 is still too long for a match race. We will aim to win the leg, then as things develop adjust our plan. If we can keep close to Assa we probably will. There are still six other boats out there and we will have to be aware of them too.
There are other vagaries on the leg up to Gothenberg as well. We are always close to land and we have traffic separation schemes and ships to deal with as well as a lot of tides, both fair and adverse. For the navigator this will perhaps make Leg 8 the most difficult of the race so far. To counter this we will adjust our crew based on the forecast. We will pick a very weather specific sail inventory, using our last four sail slots to strengthen it. And we will adjust our watch system as the forecast dictates with the aim of maximizing the number of people on deck.
As for the final leg into Kiel, well, we will just have to wait and see. It may be all on, right to the finish. But I hope not. - Full story: www.volvooceanrace.org
AMERICA'S CUP STORE
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LONDON, England -- The wife of murdered champion New Zealand sailor Sir Peter Blake has vowed to continue his environmental work. Lady Pippa Blake, speaking in Italy, said her husband would have expected her to carry on the work he was involved with at the time of his death. Blake, 53, was shot dead by pirates who boarded his boat while it was moored near the mouth of Brazil's Amazon river on December 5.
Lady Blake said: "I just feel so much that life has got to carry on and Peter would have expected us to keep going." She said Blake's message "was really to protect the waters of this world and to make sure people know how to look after the water." He was also very keen to show the beauty of what there is around the coasts of various countries. The more people that become aware of that, the more likely they are to take special care of looking after them," she said.
At the time of his death, Blake had been taking part in the expedition to raise international awareness of the environment. - CNN.com/Inside sailing, Complete story: www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/
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 Keith Lorence: You do a disservice to all the kids on the teams when you simply cut and paste news. The whole Coronado team had Brian Haines (Robbie Haines's son) on the B boat, and The Point Loma team was lead by Ryan Lorence on the A team. Both teams had around ten members, and they should all be listed, or none.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: It would be wonderful to have the resources to dig out the information proud parent Keith Lorence asks for. However, the realities are that we necessarily rely heavily on press releases, and on the information posted by news outlets and other website operators. For some reason, the body copy of the press release sent out for the High School Nationals listed the individual names of 14 volunteers who helped run the event - but did not list the names of the sailors on winning teams. Our Scuttlebutt coverage did in fact include the name of every sailor mentioned in the body copy of their press release - although I (unashamedly) admit that we did not use our news space to thank the 14 volunteers.
* From Peter Campbell (Re the Bethwaite family): Their father, Frank, a noted designer and innovative boat-builder who worked with Julian in creating the 49er, also won a world masters championship in the boat he designed, the Taser. Frank also wrote the excellent book "High Performance Sailing" and has been awarded the Order of Australia for his services to sailing, particularly as a boat designer and as an initiator of technical and experimental projects.
* From Dan Hirsch (edited to our 250-word limit): Rule 1.1 requires that "all possible help" is being given "to any person or vessel in danger." In Rule 2 "Fair Sailing " the penalty for not-nice-sailing or not-nice-being is simple: "A disqualification under this rule shall not be excluded from the boat's series score." Gee whiz, shouldn't Rule 1 have the same penalty? Or is rude boorish behavior more serious an offense than not bothering to help a fellow human "in danger?" The Principal Race Officer at the Moore 24 Nationals should have tossed out those 12-15 boats who couldn't even slow down to hail.
Consider this event: several years ago on a hellacious Chicago-Mac race, my skipper heard radio calls at 2 AM about a light in the water at a position not far from his own. On deck somebody thought they saw a light between the waves, low and bobbing. They radioed the Committee that they were going to assist that light and they did. However, when they got there they couldn't rescue the flashlight bobbing in the lake. They informed the Committee that it was just a flashlight and were told to continue racing. They finished second in their Section. Oh yeah, then the RC gave them redress for their rescue attempt and they won their section.
Safety at sea is often question of people helping each other when they need it the first rule of sailing should be the first rule of sailing! Ahoy US Sailing! Give Rule 1.1 the same teeth as Rule 2!
* From Scott Truesdell: Good manners: During a man-overboard rescue, Skip Allan related that one of the racers shouted, 'get out of the race course!' I've seen this attitude from sailors before. Uh, it's not our ocean, guys. Even the most clueless doofus in the middle of the course (certainly not the case in this instance) presents less disruption then another competitor who just may try to mount a tactical challenge. It's just another obstruction; deal with it and go on your way.
I've seen encounters with powerboats that are even worse. To a non-sailor, a boat tacking upwind through a crowded channel appears completely insane and unpredictable. Rather than press your assumed right-of-way over anything with a motor, indicate with your hand what you intend to do. The skipper is most certainly looking at you for help. Show him or her on which side you intend to pass, or for him or her to proceed ahead with an "After you" gesture. Another gesture that is easy to mime is "I see you; don't worry." Even a friendly wave at least indicates that you are not completely unaware of your situation. A stone cold stare straight ahead doesn't cut it. Anything you can do to relieve their anxiety will benefit all other sailors that power-boater encounters.
* From Frank Betz: By complete coincidence I came across a copy of my copy of the 1966 Lands' End Yacht Stores Catalog, which may actually have been the first one, and spent a great hour rereading the "how to" editorial copy that accompanied the comprehensive product offerings. "How to Get a Planing Hull on a Plane" authored by someone named "Bud Melges." Another was on the subject of "Sail Adjustment" by Dick Stearns, and another very informative piece by Gary Comer himself, "How to Bend Spars."
But perhaps the page which is as immediately relevant today to your current thread on lifejackets as it was then, also written by Gary, was a 700 word piece titled "Safety" which I will gladly fax out to you if you don't have it at your own fingertips, which I suspect you might. Another great story relates to the initial conversations Gary conducted with Olaf and Peter Harken about their new enterprise and line of hardware, which at that time had not yet been cataloged. Ask them!
I unashamedly lifted from copywriter Comer what I thought then (and still do) was one of the greatest promotional lines ever used in direct response advertising when I began marketing expensive Beken Yachting Calendars in the U.S. in 1972: "A prompt and courteous refund in full if not completely satisfied." He is high on my list of greatest marketing heroes of all time, along with David Ogilvy, Hal Riney and Garry Hoyt.
* From Olaf Harken: In 1967 Peter and I brought a cigar box full of sideplates, plastic ball bearings and parts to Gary Comer down on Elston Avenue in Chicago hoping that he might put our new block concept in the Land's End Catalog. We called them Vanguard blocks at the time since we had started Vanguard Boats. Gary really liked them and told us to go make some. He put them in as Vanguard Pulleys in the 68 catalog but told us to re-name them to Harken since they would be difficult to sell to competitive boat builders. He said we should have our own name on them so we heeded his advice.
He sold some to Lowell North and Buddy Fredrichs and they went on to win gold medals in the Star and Dragon in the 68 Olympics. As our exclusive distributor he played that up and really got us going along with help from Bruce Kirby who wrote a tongue in cheek editorial in "One Design and Offshore Yachtsman" about these dangerous new blocks "that let the line out so easily you couldn't escape getting hit on the head by the boom in a jibe". Gary of course went on into soft goods with duffle bags and found out soft wear apparel wears out and needs replacement a lot faster than hardware. The rest is history. Good for Gary!
* From John Roberson: How delightfully typical of Paul Cayard to come out in public and say what so many others are thinking. In the Sailing World story you previewed in Butt 1070, he said, "What would make sense would be to have the Antarctica Cup, and the Volvo Race use the same boats."
Roy Heiner recently made a similar comment, "Basically the Volvo race have to use the same boats. Then every fourth year there is a Volvo race, and every second year there is an Antarctica Cup. For me it is obvious." Grant Wharington is of a similar opinion, "I'd like to think that Volvo may become a one design event, they might even talk to you people, and loan your boats, you never know."
Is this the way to go?
* From Pat Dunigan: What better way to honor the memory of Sir Peter Blake than to continue with the red socks?
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
(Tom Meade of the The Providence Journal asked Stars & Stripes Ken Read skipper if the wealthier teams have a significant advantage heading toward the Louis Vuitton Series. Here is Read answer.)
"In one way, yes. They have more sails, more masts, more money for research and development," said Read. "In another way, no. What we have is experience. Dennis and company have nine Cups under their belts. We have an awesome tech team, and among the crew there are hundreds of national, North American and world championships. I hope we know where to allocate our resources better than the others." - Ken Read, Team Dennis Conner
Previous ads for Ullman Sails have talked about the Olympic medals their sails have won; the World and Continental Championship triumphs; big regatta wins; and the impressive performance and durability Ullman Sails demonstrated in the Around Alone Race. But the real beneficiaries of the knowledge and know-how at the 24 Ullman lofts are the thousands of PHRF sailors who never get the headlines, but use their Ullman Sails to routinely collect regatta trophies - weekend after weekend. Find out how affordable improved performance can be: www.ullmansails.com
The Gateway to Hawaii Race from Silver Gate Yacht Club in San Diego to Nawiliwili Yacht Club at Kauai, Hawaii has been postponed for two years. It's now scheduled for July 2004.
I know this was a tough call for the race organizers who had done a lot of original thinking in their preparations for this race. It was their plan that all first place trophies in each class were to be perpetual trophies with the winner's name on the trophy with a twist. After the first Gateway to Hawaii race the first class trophies were to be referred to as the sailboat's owner's name award, until the next race is scheduled. If the corrected time record of the previous winner's time was not beaten, then the winner from the first race would retain his/her name on the trophy. However, if that time was beaten, then the winner would have their name on the trophy.
Obviously, these plans are now on hold. Maybe in 2004 - www.gatewaytohawaii.org
IT'S TIME TO VOTE
Curiously, Seahorse magazine has given the readers an 'apples or oranges' type choice for their Sailor of the Month competition. The two dissimilar nominees are:
- Peter Holmberg of Oracle Racing who has just pulled off the 'hat trick' with three wins on the Swedish Match Tour, culminating in an impressive victory over Prada's Gavin Brady in the final of the 2002 Congressional Cup.
- Larry Ellison, Holmberg's boss at Oracle Racing and the man who (in the words of Seahorse) looks destined to become the 'senior member' of sailing's fast-growing owner-driver movement.
To cast your vote: www.seahorsemagazine.com/sailor_month/sailormonth.php
* Nautica Watches has become the official timing partner of GBR Challenge To commemorate the partnership, Nautica has designed a limited edition watch which was inspired by the J-Class yachts which competed for the America's Cup in the 1930s.
* Earlier in the week, Scuttlebutt added subscriber number 13,000. Thank you!
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.