SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1080- May 28, 2002
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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 - Andrew Hurst
If there is one small consolation to be drawn from the loss of the Royal Hawaiian (née Clipper then Kenwood) Cup, it is that it does seem to have focused some influential minds on the fact that all really is not OK in the world of international offshore racing.
Immediately following the sad confirmation that this year's event had gone the way of the 2001 Admiral's Cup, a more enlightened approach seemed to infiltrate some of the ongoing debate about 'rated' offshore competitions.
Previous dogma has just begun to give way to a little more flexibility. The Sardinia Cup has gone in all but name as an international team contest, as has the Southern Cross Cup and now the Kenwood/Royal Hawaiian Cup. The Admiral's Cup has been lost for one cycle and is now the subject of a bold and courageous attempt at reinventing itself.
Those who felt IMS would trundle along and steadily gather international interest now know they were wrong. IMS has been marginalised to a regional rating system; good in parts certainly, but it has gone way past the point of no return in the quest for critical mass.
As Olin Stephens writes on page 25, and indeed as he has written before in these pages, IMS is a good system which, used in full, is simply too complex for its customers. A simpler, single-number application of IMS would, I believe, have been a brave but successful change had the ORC swallowed their pride and seized the initiative five years ago.
But that moment is passed. In IMS there is the basis of a good system run riot. There is the basis of a simpler and more user-friendly system in IRM. IRM produces indisputably better boats (other than for lake racing). IMS has more international support.
A softening in attitudes prompted by the loss of the Royal Hawaiian Cup means a moment not to be squandered. Listen to Olin Stephens. Like an older, successful economist, he has seen enough complete cycles to know what needs to happen next. - Excerpted with permission from editor Andrew Hurst's column in the June issue Seahorse magazine. - www.seahorsemagazine.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
For the first time on this leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, the fleet has started to separate as each navigator and tactician looks to maximize their potential. They all have different ideas on how best to head for the Norwegian Coast, whilst searching for as many "overtaking" areas as possible. This is reflected in the leader board over the last few hours, we no longer have a drag race with everyone heading on the exact same course as we have had for the first couple of days this leg. Now, on one side of the fleet is News Corp making a heading of 043 degrees, a more easterly route than the rest of the fleet, whilst on the western side of the leading pack SEB is heading much further north, and holding off putting in so much in the easterly direction at present.
In the middle of this divide Assa Abloy has managed to come through the middle to take the lead, whilst Tyco and illbruck are currently covering each other for third place, less than one mile apart.
Despite the fact that this is a short leg, the leading group only have 375 miles to run, all the crews will be looking forward to arriving in Gothenburg, and will probably be even more exhausted than if they had sailed through the Southern Ocean again. If most racing sailors are tired after a hard day of racing, these crews will be thoroughly drained by the time they reach port having achieved several hard days of match racing.
Standings at 0405 GMT:
1. Assa Abloy, 375 miles to finish
2. SEB, 1 mile behind leader
3. illbruck, 2 mbl
4. Tyco, 2 mbl
5. News Corp. 4 mbl
6. Amer Sports One, 7 mbl
7. djuice, 29 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 158 mbl.
* A British team has signed up for a place in the Antarctica Cup, bringing the number of entries in this "dash for cash" through the Southern Ocean to five. The team, Brit XL, is represented by John Quigley and includes renowned British navigator Mike Broughton, and former BT Global Challenge skipper Manley Hopkinson. The Antarctica Cup is scheduled to start from Fremantle, Western Australia, in December 2004, and is a non-stop race around Antarctica, with US$6.4 million in prize money. - John Roberson, www.antarcticacup.com
* Monday June 3 is the deadline for individual yacht entries for the Onion Patch Series are due. Thursday, June 6, 2002 Onion Patch team entries are due. Yachts must first enter individually and then form teams. Yachts wishing to participate on a team who have not yet joined a team may so indicate upon their entry form that they are interested in being on a team. A list of such yachts will be posted on the NYYC Website.- www.nyyc.org
* Sports Illustrated magazine has done a feature on the Worrell 1000 in their May 27 issue. Although the Internet version lacks some of the photos, it has the full story: sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/siadventure/15/swept_away/
* With six medals from the eleven Olympic classes at the Spa Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands, including Gold in the Star and Mistral Men, Great Britain took the Hein de Goederen award for top nation. The top North American performances came from Hannah Swett, Melissa Purdy and Joan Touchette who finished ninth in the 23-boat Yngling class and Meg Gaillard who took 12th in the 97-boat Europe class. sparegatta.org/2002/default.asp
* Ten trimarans have set out on the 2,541-mile Courses des Phares after westerly gales delayed the start by one week. The 10 skippers of the 18-metre (60-foot) Offshore Racing Multihull Association (ORMA) trimarans left Calais, France, on Sunday. The course is designed to take the fleet past some of the major lighthouses on the west coast of Europe. The 2002 ORMA circuit continues with the Zeebrugge Grand Prix from July 11 to 14, the Fecamp Grand Prix from September 12 to 15 and the Route Du Rhum single-handed race from St. Malo on November 10. - CNN.com website, www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/05/27/lighthouse.spt/index.html
* A total of 225 yachts have entered ARC 2002 (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) making it the largest Trans Oceanic sailing event in the World. Entries have been received faster than previous years, with the capacity number of yachts, 225, reached a month earlier than expected and the fastest on record. The yachts, from 23 different countries, will set sail on 24 November 2002 from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay in St Lucia. - Yachting World website, www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/20020427123019ywnews.html
* Super-yacht crews visiting New Zealand will be exempt from paying income taxes, America ' s Cup Minister Trevor Mallard said here Tuesday. Tax collectors in April were blamed for driving America ' s Cup spectator craft away from New Zealand for expensive refits in Australia. The marine industry told the government it feared that would cost the sector about 100 million NZ (47 million US) dollars. - Agence France-Presse
AROUND THE WORLD!
Attending regattas around the world, it is very obvious that the sailors have one thing in common, boat after boat is seen with crews wearing the Camet sailing shorts. Now available in two designs the Camet 3000 shorts and the new Camet Cargo shorts. Different design, with the same quality, comfort, fast drying, and Made in the USA. When you go to the Camet web page to check them out, don't forget to order one of the Mylar regatta bags, to carry your gear down to the boat. www.camet.com
Warren Leslie Jones, considered the driving force behind Australia II's historic 1983 America ' s Cup win, arrived for his funeral yesterday on the deck of his boat. After the service in Fremantle's yet-to-be-opened Maritime Museum, his coffin, covered only by an old tarp, left for the burial on the back of a Holden FJ ute. Jones died last week after having a stroke aboard his beloved Black Swan off Geraldton a month ago.
Yesterday his coffin rested next to Eileen Bond's replica of the America ' s Cup in the same cathedral-like room which will eventually showcase Australia II when the $35million museum opens late this year. The service attracted a who's who of Western Australia's sporting and business community, including the Governor, John Sanderson, two former premiers in Richard and Sir Charles Court, Sir James Hardy, Australia II skipper John Bertrand, representatives from the San Diego and New York Yacht Clubs, and his old Fremantle mates, including Kerry Stokes, now the billionaire chairman of Channel 7. - Sydney Morning Herald
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 Pip Sawyer: Yesterday I went to a terrific send off for a wonderful man, a man who made history as manager of the team who managed to win the America's Cup from the USA for the first time in 132 years. Warren Jones was an inspiration and a friend to many people and over a thousand came to the brand new, and still empty, Maritime Museum in Fremantle yesterday to farewell him. The service took place in the cathedral like space where Australia 11, his "little white pointer" will be displayed. Under the boat like curved timber beams that support the roof we looked out west over the harbour and the sea. It was a glorious day, a day for a sail.
The service was warm and personal. I will not forget the sight of his coffin borne by Australia 11 crewmembers including John Bertrand, Jim Hardy, John Longley, Skip Lissiman, Tom Schnackenberg, nor the tributes to his skill as a leader and competitive spirit. At the end, he left the building, as he had requested, in an old Holden ute, covered by a tarp, to applause and the only possible tune, "Land Down Under".
At a much smaller gathering in the RPYC annex the flag was dipped followed by three cheers . Then there were lots of stories and well remembered video footage plus some from his last voyage - a holiday in the Abrolhos Islands on "Black Swan" - the hilarious and careful preparation of banana flambe a la Bundie rum.
* Rasa Bertrand (Re Warren Jones's farewell to all who respected and loved him): Warren's funeral was held in the newly completed majestic W.A. Maritime Museum on the foreshore of Freemantle which will hold Australia 11 fully rigged. We gathered in this cathederal space which is in the shape of the inside of an upturned boat, ribs exposed, with a glass front. Warren's beloved boat Black Swan sailed in with his coffin on the bow accompanied by his family and Australia 11 crew. The crew carried him in, the coffin draped with the Boxing Kangaroo flag. It was a fitting farewell to an extraordinarily generous, smart, tough Aussie larrikin. Crew came in from N.Z and round Australia and it was a reminder of how deeply ingrained in our lives this strange event called the America's Cup is. Vale dear Warren.
* From Jeremy Maxwell: Following the tragic events last Friday night 2 hours after the start of the Block Island race, our thoughts and prayers are with Jaime Boeckel's family and the crew of Blue Yankee. Unfortunately such is life that it takes a tragic incident that is close to home to make one stop and think of the many times we have all performed "routine procedures" as "second nature" while not attached to the boat. I can only urge the rule makers in Jamie's memory to quickly bring into effect on more safety rule: Anyone who has to go above or outside the lifelines has to be attached to a halyard.
* From Ted Jones (edited to our 250-word limit): The greater issue in the rule infringements debate is an apparent feeling that cheating is okay as long as you don't get caught. I wish we could return to 1962 and the North American Men's Championship. In this regatta the Canadian crew of Ed Botterell, Secot Hamilton, and Roger Hewson took an early lead and were winning on the second day when the windward mark -- one of those big wind-socks on a tall bouy -- suddenly stood upright in the wind shadow and tagged their boat's mainsail. No one saw the infringement -- which in those days meant disqualfication -- except the Canadian crew. They could easily have sailed on, won the race, and based upon their subsequent performance would have won the Mallory Cup. Instead, they withdrew and ended up a remarkable second or third at the end of the regatta.
This is what used to be known as "sportsmanship", but with sponsorships and professionalism now in full sway the concept of honor seems to have vanished (and not only in sailing BTW). A well-known America's Cup sailor, after a serious incident on the race course declared in my presence: "I wouldn't do that if I were racing in the Star Class, but this is the America's Cup, and anything goes."
"Anything goes" is not the sport in which Botts, Secot, Roger, or I grew up. I expect we would all like to return to the day when "honor" stood above a "podium position."
* From Bernard R. Baker: Yes, I like the kinetics rules. I agree with Paul Henderson. I have no desire to go out on a Sunday afternoon and "air row" around the race course. I think the current rules do a decent job of distinguishing "sailing" (something I love) from "air rowing" (something perhaps better and certainly more cheaply done at a gym).
But, maybe Joe Lotuff ('Butt 1078) is on to something. Let's try a few regattas where there are no kinetics rules. Let's see how many people show up and how they like it. If everyone thinks air rowing is a great sport, hey that's their choice. I hope (and believe) that there will always be a place for people like me, who like to sail.
* From Geoff Robertson: Comparing the Greenpeace incident to Sept. 11th is ludicrous and does a horrible disservice to the victims and survivors of that horrific day. The fact that a protest gone bad happens to be associated with the America's Cup does not give the sailing public a license to drop reality and run with emotions. The fact is Areva is helping to destroy the very waters we as sailors love.
I am not a supporter of Greenpeace and have not been for many years but they are one of the few organizations that has the power to widely expose environmental tragedies. There are many other organizations worthy of our money but Greenpeace does have the power to stand up against governments, corporations and all the other influential entities that are souring our planet. As Areva is a Government run company it seems to me that the score remains France 1 Greenpeace 0. Think twice before you compare denting an Americas Cup boat with killing almost 3,000 people and destroying thousands upon thousand of lives!
* From Matt Allingham: The situation US readers are just now becoming aware of has been a long time in coming to light. There was a major international incident surrounding the 1985 French atomic testing at the Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific. Following the findings of the French Governments involvement in the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior the Australian government closed the French Embassy.
For Areva to be the French sponsor for a race held in New Zealand (Or for that matter anywhere in the Pacific) is completely tactless. New Zealand is very anti Nuclear. On top of the French bombing in Auckland.
I do not believe it was the intent of the Greenpeace organization to attempt to damage Defi Areva with an RIB. I do believe the boat will be in for some harder knocks once it arrives in New Zealand (where old wounds will be reopened).
Give Greenpeace some credit. They don't just talk the talk. They get off their butts and raise a fuss where wrongs need righting.
* From Howard Paul: In response to Greenpeace's statements I can only say, Poppycock! I've seen the film. Who are they trying to kid. The person driving and Greenpeace should have criminal charges brought against them, an injunction placed against them prohibiting them from coming within 300 yards (meters if you prefer) of the boat, and a civil lawsuit for the cost of the repair, damages for the loss of use of the boat, the cost of the crew for those 48 hours that they can't use the boat, and then multiply the total by 3. Maybe Greenpeace will get the idea that protesting is OK, but causing damage to someone's property to make a point does not come without a price.
* From Quentin McGown: Please, no Greenpeace propaganda in this wonderful sheet. We all saw the video.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: For those who have not seen the video, here's a link: www.ledefi.com/article.php3?id_article=687
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QUOTES FROM THE BOATS
"Somehow the first day out is always the worst (in terms of bowel content), and some sacrificed to the gods what ever they had inside. We even had some of the guys with most miles under the keel do a little heave. Which makes me feel very macho. As you all know it is somewhat of a shame to heave, out here on the water. I wonder why, as it is only a sign of a perfectly working sense of balance." - Stig Westergaard, djuice
"Amazing conditions, it was an absolute hate mission yesterday heading up to Ushant. The boat was literally sending herself in a suicide mission off the top of the waves and thundering down into the crevice beneath, with an almighty shudder as our much treasured rig twanged and vibrated around up there, sails fully inverted and reverted from the shock, and on deck, one more chick hanging over the side wishing she were anywhere but here, getting beaten up and shaken around like a martini. We had 7 out of 13 chicks being sick." - Emma Westmacott, Amer Sports Too
Oracle guru Larry Ellison captured the inaugural Sausalito Cup after winning all three races against a fleet of five vintage America's Cup yachts on San Francisco Bay. Ellison was skipper of USA-49, built for the San Francisco-based AmericaOne syndicate three years ago. Peter Stoneberg took second on ITA-1, which was built for Italy's Il Moro di Venezia campaign for the 1992 America's Cup. David Thomson was third driving NZL-20, built for New Zealand. Winds exceeded 22 knots; the five yachts "blew up" nine spinnakers at roughly $35,000 apiece. NZ-14, helmed by match racer Ben Beer, ripped its $85, 000 mainsail in half. - Jim Doyle, SF Gate website:
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* May 29-31: ICSA North American Women's Dinghy Championship;
* June 2-4: ICSA/Gill North American Coed Dinghy Championship. Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) North American Championships, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. - www.collegesailing.org/2002/
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If you're traveling at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, what happens?