SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1074- May 20, 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.
GREENPEACE WILLFULLY DAMAGES FRA-69
Saturday, May 18 - The Défi Areva's new boat for the 2003 America's Cup, FRA 69, was baptised in Lorient yesterday. Today, a motorboat from the Greenpeace fleet rammed at full speed the starboard side of FRA-69. FRA-69 was at the time moored at the syndicate's base. The damage is significant, the boat has suffered delamination over an area of about half a square metre just behind the starboard chainplates, a structurally complex part of the boat that supports loads of up to 25 tonnes. The damage requires a complete survey of the boat's structure.
Xavier de Lesquen, syndicate head of the Défi Areva "This was a deliberate act of aggression, already planned yesterday, the team have been endlessly insulted and abused on the water as they prepared for the launch ceremony. This morning the threshold of tolerance was crossed. These people respect nothing, not even their own statements about only making passive demonstrations. I have to remind you that Greenpeace are completely isolated in this action. This is the work of 15 extremists who have gathered just for this occasion. Today they put the lives of the team in danger."
"Don't be mistaken, the Défi Areva team trains six days a week on the water. These demonstrators are here just for media occasions. Our sadness today is because we are now unable to show the people of Lorient our new boat and join them for the festival they have organised in our honour. Our team is living a fantastic human adventure along with all of our partners and suppliers and in particular Areva. The population of Lorient supports us on a daily basis and share their motivation with us for success."
Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, director of communication and spokesman for the Areva Group "We are amazed by this hooligan behaviour, which we condemn. It illustrates to everyone the intolerance and dogmatism of Greenpeace. www.ledefi.com
* French photographer Christian Fevrier who witnessed the incident believes the RIB struck at around 15 knots. "There were not enough rubber boats from the marine police and they were not prepared," said Fevrier. "They should have put a steel cable up to protect the boat".
The impact did not hole the hull, but the impact is believed to have caused delamination of an area of around 1sqm of the hull. This is excepted to take five to six days to fix. Following the incident the four occupants of the RIB were arrested. The members of Le Defi are said to be devasted by the incident. - James Boyd, Madforsailing.com, www.madforsailing.com
* France's America ' s Cup team Sunday began repairing their prized yacht after it was badly damaged during a protest by Greenpeace activists angry at its sponsorship by a nuclear power company.
Police arrested 11 people after the incident on Saturday which saw a Greenpeace outboard-motor powered inflatable ram into the yacht, while it was being chased by another inflatable full of security staff. Greenpeace has been protesting against the sponsorship of the French boat, Defi Francais, since January when it was announced that the nuclear group Areva would be a major sponsor.
"The damage is serious, the hull is damaged at a key point and carbon fibres have delaminated," said a spokesman for Areva. The Defi management said that they had filed a complaint with the maritime gendarmes as a result of the incident. "The complaint concerns the boarding at sea, the voluntary destruction and putting the lives of others at risk," Defi base chief Damien Del Litto told AFP. Earlier Xavier de Lesquen, the team's managing director, said the damage meant that the whole structure of the yacht would have to be re-examined.
Greenpeace hit out at the treatment of its activists in what it said was a "peaceful and non-violent demonstration. Our aim with our Zodiacs, was to surround the yacht with buoys with nuclear signs," said Frederic Marillier who heads the anti- nuclear campaign for Greenpeace in France. We were met very aggressively by Defi people who tried to play the role of maritime gendarmes with their Zodiacs. During a manoeuvre we were chased and that is when there was a collision with Defi." - Agence France-Presse
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It is with great sadness that I must tell the sailing world that Warren Jones, the leader of the Australia II team in 1983, passed away in Perth. Warren had a stroke about a month ago while he was at sea on Black Swan, Australia II's tender and never recovered. In a way Warren was the personification of the Australia II team -tough, highly competetive, extremely fit and only interested in one result. He balanced all of that with a wonderful sense of humour, a love of life, the sea and sailing. We all miss him greatly. - John Longley, Australia II
* From Andy Rose: I was fortunate to be able to sail on the 1977 Australian America's Cup team with Warren Jones as manager. In addition to all the things you have and will read about him, Warren was one of those people who not only made you believe you could be better than you thought you could be but then inspired you to actually be better! Heck, he even got me to join some of the physical training regimen in the heat of a Yanchep summer before I even agreed to sail with Australia. Now that's leadership!
I have a few heros in this sport and Warren was definitely at the top of that list. While an incredible loss, I will retain many memories of him including the last time I saw him in Cowes for the America's Cup Jubilee. He was, as usual, at the top of his game having organized and raised the money for the appearance of Australia II at the Jubilee together with virtually all of its original crew. I will never forget Warren who, in the relatively short periods that I was fortunate enough to spend with him, became a major influence in my life.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: For a story about the passing of Warrren Jones and his biography, see: www.thewest.com.au/20020518/news/perth/tw-news-perth-home-sto56932.html
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 Morten Christoffersen (edited to our 250 word limit): As a two time Olympian (1992 and 1996) I take serious offense to the accusations by the Mr. Henderson, that practically all Olympic sailors are cheaters. He complains that some National authorities pay out bonuses and financially support their sailors. Without the financial support, 90% of the world's Olympic sailors would not be able to afford this very expensive sport, making it a sport for only the rich. I did two Olympics campaigns and received financial support from my NA. This enabled me to compete around the world and get the best equipment. Now, 6 years later, I am still paying off debt incurred to do my sport. Without the support from my NA I would never have been in a position to even start competing at an Olympic level. It is just a fact that travel around the world is very expensive.
Mr. Henderson's comments about rule 42 also deserve a reply. I competed in the 1992 Olympics on the Lechner board, with Rule 42 and the 1996 Olympics on the Mistral without rule 42. I would take the free pumping any day of the week.
Mr. Henderson says, "Mistrals have been out of control for years." On the contrary, the Mistral class has been in total control, accepting the fact that rule 42 is impossible to enforce in a sport where you steer with your body. I actually think that the Mistral class is one of the fairest Olympic classes, because it is not exposed to subjective judging.
* From Tyler Hoppenfeld: I sail flying juniors competitively in scholastic regattas and although pumping is technically illegal, and the organizers at the skippers' meeting remind us of that fact, the truth of the matter is that if you don't pump at all parts of the race, especially up wind, you will lose places. Those who don't get in at least three good solid pumps through at least 45 degrees of motion at the start will never reach clear air and never do well. Up wind the pumping is subtler, and is only to amplify the natural motion of the boat, but it is still enough to make the difference between an third and a seventh. Regardless of the rules, the truth is that it is deeply imbedded into the habits of sailors, so I am always coached on how to pump without being protested.
* From Cory E. Friedman : In the days of Harold Vanderbilt, the right people didn't cheat (they just cooked the rules to win). In today's moral climate, self-[un]enforcing rules (and not just 42) are a hypocritical joke on the tiny minority that abide by them.
The Optimist, with its enormous blades, dominates youth sailing and is the ideal kinetics trainer. The 15 year olds "working" a boat they outweigh designed for rank beginners have learned their kinetic lessons well and hone their legal ooching skills in high school and college sailing in underpowered 420's and FJ's.
Why doesn't ISAF simply change the RRS so that small boat racing for national, continental, world or Olympic championships, or qualifying for any of those, must have certified on the water judging, or ISAF and the NA's can't accept the results or approve the championships? Why doesn't ISAF mandate that non-class championships be in boats fast enough to obviate kinetics?
ISAF has the power to change class rules in the Olympic classes. Why not use it? Why doesn't ISAF boot coaches when their acolytes get caught cheating? Why doesn't ISAF fix the rules it imposes on us without any prior warning, or go the other way and pattern the rules on those of the National Hockey League? At least there is no hypocrisy there.
* From Rick Hooper: Our local newspaper ran a small blurb quoting President Henderson as saying that Olympic sailors are cheaters. That's all we need to promote sailing to the public and inspire young sailors! Kinetic sailing techniques are skills needed to win sailboat races and have been for a long, long time. Please, no more hanging judges on the racecourse! What do you win if you cheat? Not a thing... but if the rule is antiquated and unenforceable ... dump it! Sailing is still the best sport! Educate and inspire fair sailing for all!
* From J.B. Kelley: Paul Henderson states clearly the deterioration of competitive sailing when big $$$ enters the picture! Can it ever return to an honest, "fun" sport again?
* From: Jeff Leeuwenburg (edited to our 250-word limit): I too have been overboard in a race, in ideal conditions, swimming distance from shore. Seemed promising, even with a "field" of vision of about 6 feet. My boat-of-origin didn't cope well, and I periodically glimpsed it zigging and zagging.
The first following boat sailed practically over the top of me, and I saw a row of faces ooh and um at me as they surged by and on and I lunged for my life. Second boat sped past, depositing a heavy cork life ring on my head. Third boat had a crew member who reached down and we grasped wrists, but that had me trying to clamber up a dripping, rolling slippery hull, against a 7 knot water drag. Some hope.
It took boat number four, small and low in the water, to (rather reluctantly) do the pick-up, even then the scramble was tough, with no decent handholds. Ever since I have issued each boat I am on with a kit including a floating water-skiers rope for trailling, circling and grabbing, and a climbing sling with clip and loops for foot purchase when climbing into steep-side craft with no ladders or platforms. My preferred means of rescue would be a rubber ducky, with - and this is my point - someone with my interests at heart, and the right tools for the job. Change the rules so that the person in the water has protest rights should do it, or perhaps rescuing boat gets placed first.
* From Jack Sheahan: Peter Godfrey in his letter (Scuttlebutt 1072) suggests rightfully that our sport consider dividing in two with professionals sailing going its own way. It is about time that the sport realizes and comes to grips with the problems incurred with professionalism in the sport.
At this point in time while the amateurs still predominate and have the numbers on their side serious thought should be given to separation into two classifications. This cancerous like growth, powered by commercialism and the media must be separated before it devours the sport with the amateurs who greatly outnumber the professionals asked to pay the freight for the few.
If we balance the contributions of the amateur and their ability to support the sport with their interest, sailing and financially we come to the conclusion that the amateur majority has its fine points as well. Right on Peter.
UPGRADING 15-YEAR-OLD INSTRUMENTS?
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VOLVO OCEAN RACE
If there is one surprise story to come out of the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-02 it is that of Assa Abloy's talented British skipper Neal McDonald. If we turn the clock back one year McDonald was firmly ensconced with Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge America's Cup team as part of their fledgling sailing team and responsible for looking after their spars. Despite receiving plenty of offers - McDonald took part in the race four years ago as one of Lawrie Smith's hell raisers on board Silk Cut - the Volvo Ocean Race was not in his game plan. It was only when Grant Dalton appointed his wife Lisa skipper of Amer Sports Too that McDonald repraised his situation. And so it was that just one month prior to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race that McDonald joined Roy Heiner's Assa Abloy team. After Heiner was let go in Cape Town, it was he who was thrust into the role of skipper.
After a few teething problems on Leg 2, McDonald proved himself by winning the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race into Auckland and pipping illbruck to the post into Miami. Despite disappointing results from the first two legs Assa Abloy is currently in second place overall, eight points behind illbruck on the leaderboard. - James Boyd, Volvo Ocean Race website, full story: www.volvooceanrace.org/news/leg_7/n7_020519_nealmc.html
* Amer Sports Too is making slow progress towards towards Ushant, an island of the westernmost part of France. Skipper Lisa McDonald reported the yacht was making 6.5 knots and was still 50 nautical miles from Ushant. "We are racing to round Ushant by early this evening so we can start the reach into La Rochelle." Amer Sports Troo is expected in LA Rochelle on Monday night or Tuesday morning.
The crew will get no rest in La Rochelle. Minor damage to the bow caused when the yacht was being towed by the Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker Edward Cornwallis and to the stern quarter caused by the broken mast will have to be repaired. "We will be out of the water for at least two days. We also need to work on the water ballast system and complete all the normal checks and maintenance we do at the end of every leg." Lisa said she was trying to ensure crew got as much rest as possible during the delivery voyage. "We had two very long days in England and there won't be any time off in La Rochelle before the leg starts on Saturday. We also have quite a lot of work to do on the sails."
US SAILING TEAM
The Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) of US Sailing has named the final members of its 2002 US Sailing Team. Sailors in the 49er and Star classes, join those previously named. Membership on the US Sailing Team identifies sailors as strong contenders for an Olympic berth and provides them with coaching, training opportunities and financial assistance in addition to national recognition.
Named in the 49er class (skipper and crew): 2002 Rolex Miami OCR Champions Andy Mack (Seattle, Wash.) and Adam Lowry (San Francisco, Calif.); ICSA All-American David Fagen (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.); '97 ICSA College Sailor of the Year Tim Wadlow (San Diego, Calif ) and ICSA All-American Pete Spaulding (Boston, Mass.); Patrick Whitmarsh (Carmel, Calif.) and Paul Allen (Pacific Grove, Calif.); and 2000 ICSA College Sailor of the Year Dalton Bergan and Zach Maxam (Seattle, Wash./Coronado, Calif.).
Named in the Star class: 2000 Olympic Gold Medallists Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Magnus Liljedahl (Miami, Fla.); 2000 Etchells World Champion Vince Brun and Mike Dorgan (both San Diego, Calif.); ICSA All-American Rick Merriman and Bill Bennett (both San Diego, Calif.); George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and Austin Sperry (Miami, Fla.); and 2001 Miami Olympic Classes Regatta Champions John MacCausland (Cherry Hill, N.J.) and Sean Delaney (Harrisburg, Penn).
The US Sailing Team is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Vanguard Sailboats. Extrasport, Gill North America, Nikon, Sperry Top-Sider, Team McLube and Yale Cordage are suppliers. The full list is posted at: www.ussailing.org/Olympics/2002/team.htm
This past weekend fourteen Farr 40s competed on Santa Monica Bay for the California Cup. The eight-race no-throwout regatta was hosted by the California Yacht Club. Over the three days, the racers sailed in oscillating winds ranging from 5 to 16 knots that provided a good test of sailing skills. However, the conditions did not cause a problem for James Richardson on Barking Mad from New York Yacht Club, who won two of the races and sailed consistently well throughout the series. - Charlie Kelley
1. Barking Mad, James Richardson, NYYC, 29
2. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, Jr., CYC, 41
3. Peregrine, David Thomson, RNZYC, 43
4. Shadow, Pete Stoneberg, StFYC, 43
5. Groovederci, Deeneen and John Demourkas. SBYC, 47.
Complete results can be found at: www.calyachtclub.com
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
LANGENARGEN, GERMANY (05/19/2002)- Umbrellas have replaced sunscreen as the accessory of choice at the Swedish Match Tour's Match Race Germany. After the first two days of the regatta were marked by sunshine and bright blue skies, thunderstorms and constantly threatening clouds have been the norm for the second half of the event. As a result, competitors have dealt with varying conditions forcing them to react quickly, whether to the latest puff of wind on the race course or the race committee's announcement that racing is to commence immediately in order to take advantage of a passing weather pattern. - Shawn McBride
Quarter finals leaderboard:
Jesper Radich, Denmark 3- 0
Andrew Arbuzow, Russia 3-1
Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto 3-2
Karol Jablonski, POL/Team MK Café 3- 2
Markus Wieser, Germany 3-2
Cameron Appleton, Team New Zealand 2-2
Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Marienlyst 1-3
Ian Walker, GBR Challenge 0-4
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Never have more children than car windows.