SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1073- May 17, 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.
COMMENTARY - Paul Henderson
Controversy and Cheating: I am very pleased that the article on Rule 42 and weight jackets has caused so much debate (in Scuttlebutt). The positive is that two Sydney Medal winners Mark Reynolds and Luca Devotti have stepped forward and clearly stated that one of the reasons they won was that the ISAF Jury was very militant in Sydney and the Olympic Games was therefore played according to the rules. The problem is at the other regattas which are used for qualification or selection.
Observations to some of the responses must be made: Always when one points out specifically the excesses happening in one class the class devotees jump into defend it as they consider it a personal offence rather than a warning bell to clean it up and their class does have a problem.
A journalist observed that ISAF should have clearer rules and therefore the sailors would adhere to them. Could someone tell me one sport that has rules and no referees? What would happen in soccer or ice hockey or even cricket or croquet if at the top level they expected the competitors to adhere to the rules with no on the field of play referees?
Always Golf is brought up as the simon pure example to follow. Nonsense!!! The rule Book of Golf is as large and as complicated as Sailing. The PGA has thirty referees who go to each major tournament and do nothing put check that the course is fair.and the players play by the rules. Recently players were penalized or expelled for slow play, too many clubs, taking 3 seconds too long for their ball to drop in the cup and on and on. The referees set what is a hazard and what is not and where the golfer can drop their ball and do they play fairly. None of this is left up to the judgement of the golfer because too much is at stake. The classic ruling was that Roberto De Vincenza lost the US Open because he filled in his card wrongly giving himself one more stroke than he really had. Did not matter he filled it in wrongly and was disqualified. In Sailing the coaches and sailors would demand redress and the Jury would most likely give in. Golf is clean because the rules are strictly enforced by referees on the course.
The Optimist Class is pointed out as one of the great problems and the solution is to educate the kids. That is not the problem. Who is going to educate the coaches and most of all the parents who pay the coaches not to teach the kids to cheat? If the rules were strictly enforced by fair and competent judges the Optimists would be sailed honestly. The Wilkes have done a great job building the class but they must now address and enforce "Fair Sailing."
If I have given Sailing a wake-up call that our sport is no longer Corinthian in focus and has stepped into the world of "Win at all cost" mentality then "Good on Ya Mate". Is it too late? I hope not under my watch!
AS SEEN BY THE MEDIA
May 16, 2002, London - Cheating is "rampant" in Olympic sailing and threatens the integrity of the sport, according to the Canadian president of the international sailing federation.
Paul Henderson attacked the cheating culture in many classes of the sport in a statement posted on the federation Web site. He said sailing at Olympic level was "out of control" and urged the international sailing federation (ISAF) to act before it "totally loses the integrity of the sport. What is happening is analogous to taking performance enhancing drugs in other sports," he said. "They are both cheating."
Henderson, a native of Toronto who is no relation to the former hockey player of the same name, visited recent Olympic class regattas in Hyeres, France, and Miami and said "the cheating was rampant." He said sailors had a "complete disrespect" of the propulsion rule, particularly in the Star, Finn, Europe and Laser classes. The propulsion rules limits pumping of the sail and rocking the boat to gain extra speed. 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," Henderson said.
"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. The Finn was totally out of control and I went and yelled at the top competitors who admitted under questioning they were cheating." Henderson also accused sailors of wearing weighted lifejackets and sweaters to carry extra weight.
He said the problem lay in judges not enforcing the rules strictly enough. He wants judges to travel the courses in inflatable boats and use a soccer-style yellow and red card penalty system. - AP, The Globe and Mail - globeandmail.com
* Sean Reeves' defense is rejected. The Auckland lawyer at the center of claims he tried to sell secrets from America's Cup syndicate OneWorld Challenge has had one plank of his defence thrown out of court in the United States. Sean Reeves' "unclean hands" defence against OneWorld, in which he said they had broken Cup rules so could not sue him, has been struck out by a Seattle court. OneWorld last year launched a civil lawsuit against Reeves, their former operations manager and a former Team New Zealand rules adviser, saying he had tried to sell design secrets worth US$2.5 million ($5.4 million) to rival syndicate Oracle Racing of California. - NZ Herald
* Lorient, on the West Coast of France, will be the setting for the presentation of the French syndicate's new boat FRA-69 on Friday evening. Built at the Multiplast Yard in Vannes, the new ACC boat has been undergoing final assembly at the Defi Areva's Lorient base. French film director Claude Lelouche will be the man who breaks the magnum of Moet Champagne over the bows of the Areva-sponsored challenger for the Louis Vuitton Cup. Saturday will see the boat sail for the first time in the waters off Lorient before the boat is presented to the public in Lorient at the City Centre Marina. - Louis Vuitton Cup website, www.lvcup.com
* Alinghi Interactive opened last night to rave reviews. "Well conceived and executed," were among the comments frequently heard. Open seven day a week, the exhibits focus on the materials, technology and precision engineering involved in the construction of the boats. Visitors can study the structure of the four centimeter thick hull, feel the fabric of the sails or practice a sailing knot. Or they can pose for photographs on the sloping deck of an Alinghi yacht against the Auckland skyline. A highlight of the show is the "bowman's experience", a ride that simulates the heaving, shaking job of the bowman.
* Creative New Zealanders have been invited to create a sailing mural that will decorate the internal walkway leading up to Oracle Racing's America's Cup base in Auckland's Viaduct Harbor. The competition offers over $200,000 worth of prizes, and has been divided into three categories - under 15 years, 15 to 25 years and 25 years and over. The completed mural will be 20m long and 1.8m high. Among the prizes on offer are a 17th Person position on one of the Oracle Racing sailboats, a day on the water watching the team train, a Tag Heuer watch, and limited edition Oracle Racing memorabilia. - www.oracleracing.com
* Don Cohan, 72 years old, walked away with the US Soling Championships this past weekend in Houston. Don was the 1972 Bronze medallist in the Dragons. He's had two bouts with cancer, both of which he was not expected to survive. As a result, he raced only three times in the past three years. Beside Solings and Dragons, Don has raced the 5.5, Tempest, Flying Dutchman, and the Star. - www.ussoling.com
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Racing efficiency at night takes a great deal of practice and preparation. Tracking the opposition in the dark can be very difficult, especially in busy waters such as the English Channel and where there are a lot of other background lights. Volvo Ocean 60s have radars that can track other boats but it is easy to mistakenly identify a boat in busy shipping channels that litter the leg north to Sweden. In the Dover Strait, it is quite possible to have over 100 'blips' on the radar screen even when on the 12-mile scale!
A good time to try and break cover is in busy shipping concentrations such as in the middle of a fishing fleet. However most boats now carry night vision scopes or the more expensive infrared binoculars, which have previously been the preserve of the military and can be used to keep a close eye on the opposition. Night vision scopes or goggles work on the principle of amplifying ambient light, but can be difficult to use effectively at night. However with practice, they can be great for searching for wind in light airs. Having a tool that allows you to see wind ripples when your opponent can't is a great advantage. - Mike Broughton, Volvo Ocean Race website
Full story: www.volvooceanrace.org
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 Bob Merrick (Regarding Paul Henderson's article): Many sailors complain about others breaking the rules but then neglect to do anything about it. I think many sailors feel that going through with a protest will make them look like the bad guy, but protesting a cheater is not always necessary. A few years ago the French 470 sailors were wearing fleece pullovers over their dry-tops when it was windy, and they were very fast in a big breeze. At the time they were gearing up for their first Olympic trials regatta at Hyeres. I simply went up to the crews of the two better teams and told them that what they were doing was illegal. I didn't protest, I simply suggested that it would be a bad idea for them to do this at their trials regatta, which I would be attending. That's all it took. They never wore the fleece shirts again, but they were still fast.
* From Philippe Rogge: If we take the conscious decision of not allowing unlimited pumping, we need to be able to 1. lay down clear rules, 2. properly police them and 3. have people accept that policing or get out. Experience shows that consistent policing brings everyone back to order, and is probably the only thing that does. (as evidenced by Luciano in Hyeres)
I applaud Paul for openly identifying it takes two to tango. ISAF and the classes managed to successfully maintain that difficult balance for a number of years. It is clearly time for both to revisit their respective contributions. Paul's attitude will be respected by the sailors who feel overly victimized and needed to hear this to contribute to the solution.
* From Fiona Lockwood: ISAF President Paul Henderson made some valid points about enforcement of the rules, particularly in dinghy classes. The regattas I have sailed at with on-the-water judging for illegal propulsion have certainly had a different feel to them than other events in the same class!
I find it disappointing that the US leads the way in encouraging its young sailors to break the rules. A recent Sailing World article focused on the art of perfecting an 'ooch'. Until the college sailing authorities apply the same rules as the rest of the sport, junior sailing will train sailors for the college methods and these illegal moves will inevitably filter into Olympic classes and international comepetion.
During our university team practices in the UK, we practiced very hard to ensure we didn't come out of a roll tack faster than we entered it (but only just, naturally).
Obviously no nation is immune to this problem, but one is truly cultivating it! Step up US Sailing/ ISCA, stop letting the biggest dinghy-sailing population in the country rock their way around the course and help everyone else to play by the rules in force.
* From Joe Buczkowski: I think ISAF President Paul Henderson was right on the mark in his comments concerning disregard for the propulsion rule (Scuttlebutt no 1071, May 15, 2002). For too long it has been accepted and expected to cheat on the race course. We use the term "working the boat" to make cheating acceptable.
The problem is two fold: not only is it acceptable but it is also that these actions are taught at an early age. I remember as a kid just starting to sail Lasers, that my sailing coach actually taught us how to use kinetics without getting caught. I was 13 at the time, and when I questioned it his reply was if you are not cheating you are going to lose. It is no wonder that we are having a problem with kinetics in our Olympic classes when we teach our children how to cheat right from the time they learn to tack and jibe. Needless to say, I didn't sail Lasers much after the junior program and I now sail in the Lightning, a class that has just as good competition without any problems with kinetics.
* From Neil W. Humphrey: As we all know sailing is a great sport but we are not growing in members & in part this has to due with the lack of a clear goal for the sport in the areas of amateur & professional. Specifically how the sport is marketed to the masses & what avenues in the sport are available to interested potential new members to live their dreams in whether it's as a amateur or professional.
As a sport we need to look at these new sports like snowboarding, freestyle skiing & even skateboarding which are young sports when compared to sailing but yet have amateur & professional events, are well organized for the mass media, have gained access to major tv networks, created a fashion genre of their own, get on mainsteam news & the list goes on. Their events with major sponsors are increasing yet sailing events like the Kenwood Cup & others are being cancelled. It's a time to call to arms, time to create a niche in our sport that can compete with mainstream youth oriented sports that have created a comfortable culture for youth to participate in!!!! Heck, remember the days of dual slalom Laser racing outside of St Francis YC in the mid 70's, well they were ahead of their time if you look at today's sports marketed to our youth. Looking at our sport today, what has changed in the way we market the sport to the masses? Not much. Maybe it's time to have a marketing plan that addresses the 5 W's for our sport like most other businesses, charities, sports & etc have
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
Langenargen, Germany - Event organizers of Match Race Germany, the Swedish Match Tour's sixth event, moved up the start of round robin competition to take advantage of Lake Constance's afternoon breeze on Thursday and provide a possible cushion in racing for later in the week. For a short period of time the strategy paid off as the first round of group A-1 was completed. However, the light breeze quickly dissipated to little more than sporadic puffs and the second round was abandoned. - Shawn McBride
Cameron Appleton, Team New Zealand 2-0
Karol Jablonski, POL/Team MK Cafe 1-0
Morten Henriksen, Germany 1-1
Henrik Jensen, Denmark 1-1
Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Marienlyst 0-0
Ian Walker, GBR Challenge 0-1
Chris Law, Great Britain 0-2
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Abandoned last July by a novice group of Orange Coast College sailing students and a professional crew, the disabled 66-foot ketch Bonaire turned up on a tropical island in the Central Pacific--about 3,000 miles from where it was abandoned. The unmanned sailboat had an unceremonious greeting from residents of the island of Nonouti, who stripped the vessel of everything from radios to life rafts to a toilet. "I asked them why they were taking it apart," John Francis, 22, a Peace Corps volunteer on the island said in a telephone interview this week. "They all were saying, 'Since the people didn't want the boat, it's ours now.'"
The Bonaire made headlines last summer when frantic Orange County relatives tried to get word on crew members, who waited anxiously for a few days until they were able to hitch rides on passing commercial ships bound for Panama. After it was abandoned, many people, including the crew, assumed it would sink.
As it turned out, the 24-year-old racer, donated to the college in November 2000, drifted for about nine months until it washed onto a coral reef about 200 yards from the beach of Nonouti--an island just south of the equator and east of the international date line. It is part of the Republic of Kiribati, formerly known as the Gilbert Islands. Francis said the boat appeared to be in fair shape when he first inspected it about 24 hours after he heard a local radio report about the vessel becoming marooned in early April. Fine, except for a hole in the hull he believes was caused by landing on the jagged reef.
The Bonaire left Hawaii on July 15 with an eight-man crew--five OCC students and three experienced yachtsman--to return to the mainland. On July 23, about 800 miles off of Hawaii, the step supporting the 80-foot mainmast collapsed. With the rigging suddenly loosened, the mast dropped and swung around, leaving the crew able to exert little control. Fearing that the mast might punch a hole through the hull and leave them stranded, crew members sought help from passing ships. The first group found a ride July 25. The others left shortly afterward, and all arrived in Panama--lacking passports--in early August.- Los Angeles Times, full story:
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
CNN's monthly half-hour 'Inside Sailing' TV programme is transmitted in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America on the last Sunday of every month and is repeated on Wednesday and Saturday. This month's CNN's 'Inside Sailing' is on location with presenter Liz George in the picturesque harbour of Portofino, Italy, for the annual Zegna Trophy, a classic event for ocean racing yachts. Features on the program include:
An interview with the man behind the fast, stylish and innovative Wally Yachts, Luca Bassani.
The Jules Verne round-the-world record was smashed when Bruno Peyron beat the original finish time by over a week on his maxi-cat Orange.
The Grand Prix at Lorient, France, is widely recognised as the Formula One of yacht racing. See the 2002 circuit start as the 60-foot trimarans get underway.
CNN has an exclusive interview with Pippa Blake, the widow of New Zealand sailing legend, Peter Blake who was so tragically killed by pirates in Brazil.
All the top stories making the headlines in the sailing world this month also feature on 'Inside Sailing', including the latest news from the Volvo Ocean Race and Antigua Sailing Week. - www.cnn.com/insidesailing
Team Prada just finished adding 2 metres to its Travellift pier-arms. Apparently their new boats aren't going to be any shorter than their present boats.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
What did they go back to before they invented drawing boards?