SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1078- May 24, 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.
I'm writing to put the facts straight about Greenpeace and the incident that occurred during the launch of the Defi Areva, France's America's Cup challenger last weekend, as reported by Scuttlebutt (No 1074, May 20, 2002).
Areva has made a number of claims, including that Greenpeace intentionally rammed the boat at high speed causing a hole, that Greenpeace is a terrorist organisation, and that the incident caused serious damage to the vessel. In fact, Greenpeace is wholly committed to non-violence; it organized a peaceful demonstration at sea with kayaks, three inflatable boats and some barrels representing nuclear waste to oppose the nuclear sponsorship of the Defi Areva. During this demonstration, considerable confusion was generated by aggressive interventions from Areva's heavy and powerful boats. In the melee, a Greenpeace inflatable which was heading for the landing stage by the yacht, was pushed into contact with the Defi Areva. This was an entirely involuntary and regrettable accident.
Areva have since retracted their extreme claims about the damage to the vessel at a press conference on Tuesday (May 21st), saying that repair operations on a small area of the hull would have no consequences for the performance or strength of the boat. Areva even mentionned that they usually have to face bigger problems in routine training or at race and that they are use to repair such problems in a very short delay (Liberation May 20th).
It clearly suits Areva, the biggest radioactive polluter of the oceans in continental Europe to misrepresent the situation in order to discredit opponents of its activities. However, the fact remains that Areva is responsible for the most important source of marine radioactive pollution in France, through its plutonium reprocessing and plutonium fuel operations. Areva is also responsible for shipping plutonium (the critical raw material for producing nuclear bombs) through the world's oceans, despite the opposition of numerous nations concerned by the risks these shipments pose for the marine environment.
Finally, Areva is historically tied to France's Pacific nuclear tests, which turned the coral atoll of Moruroa into a nuclear waste dump. French secret agents bombed Greenpeace's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland harbour, killing photographer Fernando Pereira in 1985, as it was about to sail on a protest voyage to Moruroa. By agreeing to a $15 million sponsorship deal with Areva, France's America's Cup team is unfortunately making a pact with a company who's entire ethos and operations are at odds with those who care about the oceans. - Bruno Rebelle, Executive Director, Greenpeace France - www.greenpeace.fr
If the center of your universe is a bit closer to Cowes than to Southern California, we have a new version of Scuttlebutt for you -- Scuttlebutt Europe, starting the first week in June. Scuttlebutt Europe has same team as with the original 'Butt - the Curmudgeon, David McCreary, boats.com, and a new partner -- Seahorse Magazine. As with the original, Scuttlebutt Europe is free and will be published weekdays. We'll publish in English, but if there is sufficient demand, Scuttlebutt Europe will be available in French and German as well. To subscribe, go to: www.scuttlebutteurope.com
A SORE BUTT IS A SLOW BUTT
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* American tactician and weather strategist Ed Adams will join the illbruck Challenge team crew for Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race. A former Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Star World Champion and America's Cup navigator, Adams joins navigator Juan Vila and skipper John Kostecki as part of the on board strategy team. Together with illbruck Challenge meteorologist Chris Bedford and illbruck navigator Ian Moore the weather strategy team has spent many hours in La Rochelle studying the course route and expected conditions to develop their strategy for Leg 8. Adam sailed with illbruck during the testing and training phase of the program and in the 1999 Fastnet Race. - www.illbruck-challenge.com/en/
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 Steve Johnson: There seems to be muddy waters in the discussion of cheating, comparing pumping with other violations (weighted jackets). Regarding pumping: Sailing is using the natural force of wind and water to move a boat, using only muscle-power. The real question is simply one of how much and when muscle-power can be applied to a sail or hull. It seems to me that the problem is that pumping is already allowed in many circumstances (e.g. marginal planning conditions) that are minimally different from those branded illegal. The sport is "a little bit pregnant" and there is no going back.
Everybody applies kinetics (they should: its good sailing) whether its a main pump in marginal planning conditions by weekend warriors or a dinghy sailor roll-tacking. Sailing is a kinetic sport, requiring fitness and agility. So what if a sailor body pumps off the line. So what if a Mistral is "air-rowed". These are skills that can be learned, they apply muscle power to the sails and hull and they use air and water effectively and efficiently. Is the sailor, in this dynamic type of sailing, supposed to stand passively as rigging? Remember the skiing purists who believed only in slalom and downhill. Where would skiing be without the freestylers and half-pipers. There are legs-in boats (some are in the Olympics) but the athletic part of the sport can't stagnate. Let the sailors make the specified equipment go fast, using air, water, muscles and brains. Regarding equipment violations: Throw 'em out.
* From Joe Lotuff (edited to our 250-word limit): It may be time to re-think rule 42 on a class by class basis. Let the leaders of the class impose the rules and enforce them in sanctioned regattas. The result may be that some classes forgo rule 42 altogether.
The doping analogy is not relevant because that is a health issue. There is nothing unhealthy about pumping ooching and rocking. These techniques are proven to be faster, however they do require more skill and physical coordination in order to be effective. Perhaps the appropriate analogy is easing sails in a puff and bearing off in a lull. It doesn't seem that anyone is against sail trim, shifting gears or hiking hard - these are all actions that could in a very broad way be viewed as kinetic action. Surely no one is suggesting that we should be sailing with sheets cleated off and crew weight immobile. However, if a large enough group is so inclined it would be possible to get a couch potato division together.
At the end of the day rules as they exist should be enforced. It would be great if we could establish some class rules in which those who desire, can use any natural force one can bring to bear to get the boat around the course as fast as possible. Good racers just want to go fast. It is unfortunate there is not an extremely competitive class that allows these hell bent for leather individuals to play as they want.
* From Austin Harlow: It seems that every time kinetics comes into the conversation there is no shortage of negative comments about the concept, the associated rules, and the difficulties of enforcement. What we don't hear are positive comments about how great kinetics rules are. Maybe this tells us something... Does anyone out there actually like kinetics rules?
* From Ike Stephenson This is from Greenpeace's website: "What is Greenpeace's mission? Does Greenpeace have a mission statement? Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses nonviolent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace's goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity. Again, I don't come here to defend the ramming by Greenpeace - but it seems as though focusing totally on Greenpeace and giving nuclear sponsorship of sailing a pass is short sighted!
* From Michael Rosenauer: I fail to see the reason for reader's machinations over Greenpeace's spin on the despicable ramming of the French AC entry. Perception is reality. Greenpeace has an incredible media base and is obviously using it to their advantage, the facts notwithstanding.
* From Madeleine McJones: I feel that Greenpeace's actions had impact on the event and the boat and -not- the industry behind the boat! I hope that incident removed all support ever received from sailors all over the world, it is so much like the terrorist activities at the Olympic games. I cannot speak for all sailors, but the damage to the boat I take that as personal tragedy, not to mention the safety of the crew!
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* From Kevin Hall: My freshman year at Brown University, I adhered to kinetics rules strictly. While I harboured a certain "moral smugness", I did not necessarily win the respect of my competitors, due to their understandable aversion to blatant righteousness. This stance offered neither competitive advantage (protesting against kinetics was essentially precluded by peer pressure), nor did it offer any benefits at parties...
My senior year I determined I would not be abused by others' kinetics. These incidents would predictably occur at the start and about four lengths from the marks. Usually this meant reminding the sailors just behind us, threatening an overlap, to 'please not rock as they hadn't been overlapped the entire reach'. Occasionally it meant standing on the leeward gunwale to rock, because the boat to leeward had just done so with five seconds until the start. My impression was that 90% of the fleet was out there playing the same game, with the same understanding of the same rules. The other 10% would do its thing, and might or might not win respect as well as the regatta.
Just because people enhance the performance of their boats by moving their bodies like athletes does not mean they are bereft of conscience and unaware of right and wrong. Nor does a sport in which how tightly the fouls are called pass from legitimate to preposterous with a shift on a continuum. The important thing is for as many people as possible to be playing, and enjoying, the same game.
* From Ralph Taylor (Re Mark Rudiger's comment, 'Let's hear it for more Good News.'): I wish there was more good news about sailing. I wish it was so that the sport is growing. I wish it was true that it's becoming more affordable, accessible, and attractive to more people. (Santa, put those on my Christmas list.)
Scuttlebutt should stop publishing negativism when newspapers, radio, and TV stop covering murders, scandals, and other bad news. News is news and "If it bleeds, it leads."
There's a positive side to negativism. It brings the light of day to problems and gets folks thinking about how to fix them. Would we have food and drug laws without the muckraking journalists of the turn of the 20th century?
I'm not in either camp of "Change the rules and get out of the way." or "Throw the rascals out." But, when the president of the international federation says cheating is rampant at the highest levels of the sport, that's news that should be published and I want to read what others have to say about it.
In short, I don't recall any such agreement to eliminate honest journalism and don't want to be a party to it. Scuttlebutt has attained its position of respect, partly because it serves as a forum for relatively unfettered opinion.
US DISABLED SAILING TEAM
US Sailing, has announced its 2002 US Disabled Sailing Team. Named in the Sonar class (skipper and two crew): 2000 Paralympians Paul Callahan (Providence, R.I.) and Keith Burhans (Irondequoit, N.Y.) with Ernie Savastano (Jamestown, R.I.); 1998 World Disabled Sailing Gold Medallist John Ross-Duggan (Newport Beach, Calif.), with J.P. Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Larry Kutno (Seffner, Fla.); 2001 2.4 Metre North American and Northeastern Champion Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) with Tim Angle (Marblehead, Mass.) and 1998 World Disabled Sailing Silver Medallist Richard Hughes (Philadelphia, Pa.); and David Trude (Oxnard, Calif.) with Waldo Esparza (Seffner, Fla.) and Mark Evju (Santa Rosa, Calif.).
Named in the 2.4 Metre class: 2001 IFDS 2.4 Metre World Silver Medallist and 2000 Paralympic 2.4 Metre Bronze Medallist Tom Brown (Northeast Harbor, Maine); Roger Cleworth (Brandon, Fla.); and John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.). www.ussailing.org/Olympics/Paralympic/.
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VOLVO OCEAN RACE
(The move from ocean racing to the short course coastal racing the crews will enjoy on Leg 8 from La Rochelle to Gothenburg has seen crew changes on all but one of the boats. James Boyd looks at the changes on the Volvo Ocean Race website. Here's an excerpt.)
The most controversial crew change is the return of veteran Kiwi ocean racer Steve Cotton who will join Gunnar Krantz's team on board SEB in place of Kiwi match racing star Gavin Brady. Cotton walked off News Corp in Miami, hot on the heels of his fellow 93-94 race crewmate Jeff Scott who left the team in Rio. Cotton was not keen to expand upon why he left News Corp , but admitted "I couldn't continue with the regime and it wasn't doing me any good".
Cotton, who arrived in La Rochelle yesterday, will join another ex-News Corp crewman Jon Gundersen on board SEB. "I believe I'll be serving a watch, adding some tactical advice and doing some driving," said Cotton of what he expects his role to be on board the Swedish boat. On the subject of joining SEB he continued: "They are full of potential. They've had some bad luck and some poor results, but they are a strong team". - James Boyd, Volvo Ocean Race website, full story: www.volvooceanrace.org/news/leg_7/n7_020523_crewchanges.html
Medemblik, 23 May 2002- At the second day of racing at the 18th SPA Regatta, the International Jury was rigid. They gave 66 sailors a penalty for infringement of rule 42 (pumping). The International Jury had to deal with 16 protests, which resulted in 13 disqualified sailors.
Today's weather conditions compared to yesterday's rain made a difference. All scheduled races were sailed and started on time. There were already changes in the top three rankings in the eleven Olympic disciplines.
Today's best scorers competed against each other in the Champions Cup (evening races) in SPA Regatta's harbour in equilized boats. The EURO 1,000,- went to 470 sailor Stanczyk Tomasz.
For complete results: www.sparegatta.org
(There was a paragraph in Tim Jeffery's story in The Telegraph about the SPA regatta that caught the curmudgeon's eye.)
"Robert Scheidt is widely accepted as one of the most physical sailors in pushing the contentious propulsion Rule 42, yet Paul Goodison (who is just a point behind Scheidt in the standings) catches the eye for being relatively static in the boat. "My view is that the top regattas are not policed strongly enough," Goodison said, "so when they are, my advantage will be doubled." - Tim Jeffery, Daily Telegraph UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Peter Bentley
ISAF President, Paul Henderson has sparked a huge debate with his comments on cheating in sailing. And a good thing too. While much of what Henderson says is correct, his comments only serve to demonstrate how remote ISAF has become from the top level of competition in the Olympic classes. This is professional sport and it needs professional officials. It is ISAF who have failed the sailors and not the other way around.
At a lower level - club racing youth training and so on - regattas must be run to some degree based on trust, self policing and the simple basic honesty of competitors. It would be nice to think that the same could be said for the upper levels of the sport, but sadly it cannot. - Madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com
ROLEX IMS OFFSHORE WORLDS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Provisional Results after 4 races: Division "A": 1 EUR 1 Brava Q8 Landolfi Mezzaroma Farr 49 8.75 (points); 2 ITA 2121 Breeze Onorato Vincenzo Farr 51 19.00; 3 NOR 9990 Fram XV H.M. King Harald Farr 50 20.00. Division "B": 1 GRE 888 Okyalos XII Periplous SA IMX 40 28.75 (pts.); 2 ITA 13950 Team Revolution Toninelli Manfredo First 36.7 MOD. 31.75; 3 ITA 133631 Don Alvaro Siciliana Francesco X-362 Sport 34.00. - www.yccs.it
FINN MASTERS WORLDS
Yachting Club Labud, Split, Croatia - standings after five races (134 boats): 1st GBR, John Greenwood, 10 pts; 2nd CRO, Fabris Minski , 11; 3rd CAN, Larry Lemieux, 15.0; 4th CRO, Mladen Makjanic 20; 5th USA, Henry Sprague, 21. - pubwww.st.carnet.hr/JK-Labud/uk/indexuk.htm
While Monday is a legal holiday here in the US, there is a lot of stuff going on - so we will publish a Memorial Day issue on Monday.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Isn't it interesting that all the people who know how to run the world are either cutting hair or driving taxis?