SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1081- May 29, 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 - Sail magazine
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Shakespeare said that, or he let a deceiving usurper say it for him. So many people in the sailing world are worried about the same issues that worry Greenpeace activists, it was natural that many people were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when a spokesman claimed that the French syndicate's small boat had bumped their own small boat, diverting it into a collision course with France's newly launched America's Cup challenger. The place was Lorient, France, a week ago. To be particular, what was said was: An accident had developed from an action intended to be symbolic and non-violent ("une action symbolique et non-violente"). The crash itself was termed a minor incident, and regrettable ("un incident mineur et regrettable").
Upon repeated viewings of the tape, however, it is impossible to accept the Greenpeace version of events.
The anti-nuclear, pro-environmental activists of the organization have looked forward to using Auckland and the America's Cup as an effective staging area for protest. They might have been right, if they had held up their end of the bargain. That is, if they undertook truth-telling, as in what they demand of world leaders. The hull damage to Le Defi will be easier to repair, by far. - Sail magazine website, www.sailmag.com
The Government is taking steps to ensure the America's Cup event is not disrupted by anti-nuclear protesters. Following the alleged attack on the nuclear power-sponsored French yacht Le Defi Areva in France, America's Cup Minister Trevor Mallard said measures to prevent a similar act occurring in Auckland were being investigated. "There is already some contingency planning work going on in regard to the protest area," he said at an America's Cup lunch in Auckland yesterday. "The key thing from my perspective is to make sure the event goes smoothly when racing starts."
The hull of the new French yacht, FRA69, was damaged after protesters opposed to the nuclear energy sponsorship collided with it while it was docked in Lorient, a day after its official launch. Mr Mallard said he was determined to ensure that the America's Cup event was not affected. "A number of us are anti-nuclear. I was on the Rainbow Warrior the evening before it sank, but just as the actions of France were inappropriate at that time it would be inappropriate for protesters to disrupt this event."
It was important for New Zealand to be seen as a place where peaceful protests were allowed but illegal protests were not. "The preventative work we are doing will ensure that doesn't happen. There is some clear planning going on and we do have some advantage in that area. We had Apec here a couple of years ago and we experienced organising high-security events." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
Sobstad Sails has merged with the Danish sail manufacturer, Elvström Sails. The Headquarters of the new Company, Elvström/Sobstad, is located in Aabenraa, Denmark. Sobstad is known worldwide for its Genesis sail. It is the Company's immediate objective to use this innovative technology to bring a new sail to the non-racing sector of the marketplace. The new Company is working at full speed on further substantive improvement of the Genesis technology. A new Genesis sail product will be introduced worldwide in the period of late summer and early fall of this year. The worldwide patent for the Genesis technology is held by the new Company which will actively enforce its patent and intellectual property rights, and its right to exclude, worldwide. - www.sobstad.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The fleet is all close tacking off the island strewn coast of Norway with twenty six nautical miles still to go to the lighthouse waypoint at Arendal. The boats are making slower progress now in a north easterly wind of twenty four knots from exactly the direction they wish to head in.
POSITIONS at 0358 GMT, May 28:
1. Assa Abloy, 140 miles to finish
2. illbruck, 1 mile behind leader
3. Team Tyco, 2 mbl
3= News Corp, 2 mbl
5. Amer Sports One, 4 mbl
6. Team SEB, 5 mbl
7. djuice, 20 mbl
8. Amer Soirts Too, 116 mbl.
IT'S AN EQUIPMENT SPORT
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* The Newport to Bermuda Race is on-track for an entry record. 195 boats are signed up - 145 in IMS and 50 in the Americap II Division. - www.bermudarace.com
* Tourism New Zealand has clinched a deal giving it unprecedented access to 1500 international media during the America's Cup. It has been invited to be an official supplier in the Louis Vuitton media centre - the first time a national tourism organisation has been involved. Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the tourism media station would provide an opportunity to promote New Zealand as a destination as well as the America's Cup event. Totally Wellington and other regional tourism organisations will work with Tourism New Zealand to benefit from the media attention. - The Evening Post, as posted on the StuffNZ website, full story: www.stuff.co.nz
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 Rob Stephan: Hearing the notification on the radio of a "man overboard" from Blue Yankee was chilling for our entire crew. Being in a hurry to get to the start and get our boat organized we skipped through some of our safety talk in a hurried fashion and were four hours into the race when the news came of a crew member being lost. It gave all on board a cold reminder of how often we take our safety for granted while sailing. We are careful to wear PFD's and harnesses while on deck at night but do we know we can execute a MOB recovery with confidence? Are we watching out for each other carefully while making sail changes or maneuvers? Do we remind new crew members of what clothing and gear should be brought on board before they get to the boat? I know this tragic loss has brought these issues into sharp focus for us. Our responsibility to our fellow crewmembers requires that we all give these questions careful consideration - and act upon them before setting out again.
* Charles Russell: It's difficult to remain reasonable after reading Jeremy Maxwell solution to preventing serious injuries & deaths of those souls who are trying to change a spinnaker in a 25 knot squall followed by a knockdown (if the reporting is correct). Jeremy, being on the bow for this maneuver in such conditions is dangerous, and although nobody wants to get hurt or see others hurt, some times things happen. 150 are killed a year by coconuts dropping from trees. New rule requiring Beach Helmets, perhaps?
As one who spent lots of time in nasty, potentially dangerous deck situations, you just hang on, and really, really try not to get positioned under or leeward of spinnaker polls or booms. Not always possible, but a good idea to stay quite conscious of. Winches, especially bike types, can kill when the pawls let go. Requiring those who go outside the lifelines to be attached to a halyard is not a good idea. If you want a really dangerous thrill ride, just be attached to a halyard on a big boat during a knockdown in a good breeze, especially during the righting moment as you whip at Mach 2 across the deck and into God only know what.
* From Pete Sherwood:I was amazed at the responses of Scuttlebutt readers who were very quick to condemn the actions of Greenpeace recently. Choosing a nuclear power company as the main sponsor of Le Defi was a rather questionable decision when you consider that The America's Cup is held in Auckland, site of the attack on the Rainbow Warrior and capital city of a nation well know for its anti-nuclear policies. The directors of Le Defi were indeed asking for trouble when they signed up Areva. Obviously Areva are very keen to be associated with sailing, being such a "clean" sport. Perhaps the smell of cash clouded LeDefi's judgment.
I was flabbergasted to see Greenpeace's actions labeled as "terrorism". The whole situation must be taken into perspective. The "ramming" vessel was a rigid hulled INFLATABLE, not exactly an ideal ramming craft. In the footage I've seen (which was far from clear) the vessel was not even planing, which would put its speed at well under 10 knots. The French Government completely ignored pleas by the Pacific Rim Nations to halt testing at Moruroa Atoll. Areva was heavily involved with this testing and continues to be one of the leading polluters of the European Community.
If you're looking for villains in this incident, I would find it difficult to point the finger at Greenpeace when you consider that the other parties create nuclear wastelands in paradise and hire professionals to attach explosives to murder and sink their opposition.
* From Skip Ely: I found the response from Greenpeace in Scuttlebutt No. 1078 offensive. They talk of nonviolence, yet admit to purposeful disruptive behavior in boats, on the water. That, to me, is irresponsible disregard for safety and will almost always (as is the case here) result in damage and personal injury (violence in my book). The individuals who participated and the organization who sanctioned this dangerous behavior should be held responsible for their actions. This means of protest has no place in our open society which has dozens of legal and effective channels to protest, boycott, publicize, etc. the actions of companies or organizations. Any good that Greenpeace has done is far overshadowed, in my eyes, by their unsafe and irresponsible methods that disregard safety and the rights of other.
* From Chris Hackett: Many of us have seen the footage and we have see that the ramming of the French boat was deliberate. Why does Greenpeace to not only refuse to accept responsibility, but then to put the blame on everyone else except themselves? Greenpeace may have once had noble ideals, but no longer.
* From Clark Chapin: The Scuttlebutt readers are clearly outraged about the Greenpeace incident. A fair number (including myself) probably also count themselves as "environmentalists". I challenge them to put their money where their mouths are and contact the environmental organizations that they belong to and ask why they have not denounced this action. In addition, they should threaten to withdraw their support (and then follow through on the threat) if a suitable action is not forthcoming.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Enough! It's all been said, so this thread is now officially dead.
* From Mike Frerker (edited to our 250-word limit): We have two distinct issues here regarding the cheating and kinetics discussion. The more disturbing issue is the prevalence of the attitude that, nothing is out of bounds, if you don't get caught. Of course a cursory read of the business pages (Enron, Anderson, GE, etc.) should convince all of us that this is a societal problem more than a problem specific to sailing.
For the true cheaters, those that purposefully break clearly defined rules, I say disqualification from the event is a minimum, and disqualification from the sport should be on the table for flagrant or habitual offenders. (What possible excuse can there be for a weighted life jacket.)
Kinetics is, I think, a very different issue. Life is kinetic. At best the rules put a fuzzy line across a continuum. That's the best we can hope for, but the problems is trying to do so with a one size fits all approach. Phooey. There is nothing immoral about ooching.
If ever there were a place for relativism, kinetics is it. I think the answer lies at a lower level than currently discussed. Don't just let the individual classes/fleets/events decide what they want to allow, force them to make the decision by not specifying a blanket rule. Different limits will make sense to different classes/fleets and for different events, and the limits can be enforced at that level. And if you personally prefer less kinetic activity, then perhaps you shouldn't sail in high level Mistral or Laser events.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Without question it is also time to kill this thread.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"We've done more work by the middle of June than we did by in the whole of last year," - John Reed, Secretary to the World Speed Sailing Record Council, as told to James Boyd on the madforsailing website. - www.madforsailing.com
40% DISCOUNT ON NEWS CORP AND TYCO CREW WEAR
Official Team News Corp and Team Tyco Crew Casual clothing from Line 7 can now be purchased at a 40% discount by clicking on the link below. You will see the discounts applied when you click on the individual products within these stores. Look and feel like the Crews in these very stylish and high quality clothing ranges. You can also view and purchase the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club clothing selection and the tough, durable and great value Line 7 Technical Marine Wear. store.line7.com
(Kiwi Olympian Dan Slater was recruited by both TNZ and by Oracle Racing for this America's Cup campaign. In a recent interview with Martin Tasker, Slater explained how he made his decision to sail with TNZ.)
When the pressure comes on, your mates are the guys who are going to back you up. I think, to sail with a bunch of guys you didn't really know and didn't know how they reacted under pressure was something I didn't really want to do. And to sail for your country as well. Chris (Dickson) was really good. Chris said to me, "Forget about the money. Sail for your country first - for your first America's Cup. That's what it is about. The money will come in time. You don't have to worry."
A few things in the early stages threw me a bit. You don't have control. I've always run my own campaigns. So, you're running the show; you're responsible for it and that's how it was. If something needed to be done, you did it yourself. Whereas in this organisation there are 32 sailors. A total team of 75, I think we are at now - or maybe 80. You're a little bit more of a cog in the wheel rather than being the wheel itself.
Irving Loubé, a prominent Bay Area attorney, international yachtsman and philanthropist, died of cancer today at his home in Belvedere, surrounded by his family. He was 83. Although he did not take up sailing until after he turned 40, Mr. Loubé was widely known in international yachting circles for his competitive spirit, perseverance and love of the sport. He taught many people to sail.
During his sailing career, Mr. Loubé won every major race in the western Pacific yachting circuit, including contests in California, Canada, Hawaii and Mexico, and all aboard boats named Bravura. He also represented the United States as part of three-boat teams at many international regattas. In 1983, Mr. Loubé and his crew won the prestigious TransPac race from San Francisco to Hawaii aboard his 46-foot boat Bravura.
Mr. Loubé was an active member of the St. Francis and the Richmond yacht clubs, as well as The Family Club of San Francisco, and a generous patron of the sailing program at his alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, to which he donated several yachts. A 1951 graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC-Berkeley, Mr. Loubé was as competitive in the courtroom as he was on the seas. But he knew that the stakes were different. "Unlike a sailboat race, which I call a 'no counter,' legal decisions matter. I hate to lose, but I can get over losing a sailboat race quickly and still the enjoy the experience I've had."
A memorial will be held for Jamie Boeckel this Thursday, May 30, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at the Sayville Yacht Club. The club is located located at the end of Boylan lane in Blue Point, New York, 11715. Jamie was lost overboard from the ocean racer Blue Yankee last Friday night soon after the start of the Block Island Race. Steve Benjamin advises that a memorial scholarship fund is being established in Jamie's name. If anyone would like to contribute in lieu of flowers, there will be more details forthcoming. For now, make contributions to the "Sayville Yacht Club Scholarship Account - Jamie Boeckel Memorial Fund", Sayville Yacht Club, PO Box 127, Sayville, NY 11782.
QUOTES FROM THE BOATS
"Seaweed has played a big role in this leg so far. All the teams have performed "back downs". This normally means dropping your headsail or spinnaker and turning the boat into the wind, which allows the boat to stop, and slowly go in reverse for a few moments to let the sea weed come off the keel, strut, and rudder. Each back down move you make you can lose anywhere from 0.5 to 2 miles. Making the back down move could mean losing 2-4 places. That is one of the reasons the boats are changing positions all of the time on this leg." - John Kostecki, illbruck Challenge
"Imagine sailing up a wave front of any description, long roller or short and steep, now imagine falling off a cliff on the other side - that would be a wave with 'no back'. This is a most unpleasant experience for both yacht and crew. You tend to land all together with a great shuddering 'bang' at the bottom of the next wave. These waves are very hard to predict and take you very much by surprise... it's a bit like hearing a car come to a screeching halt, you pause and cringe for a moment to hear if there is a crash - and then either a big sigh of relief when no noise or shock horror of an incident." - Lisa McDonald, Amer Sports Too
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
The Swedish Match Tour's ACI HT Cronet Cup began today under steady rains and with light winds off the Adriatic Coast. Only one flight of racing was completed before race organizers postponed competition until tomorrow. In the day's "marquee match-up" Bertrand Pace of Team New Zealand defeated Swedish Match Tour Rankings leader Peter Holmberg of Oracle Racing.
Tomislav Basic, Croatia 1-0
Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Marienlyst 1-0
Bjorn Hansen, SWE/GOL Sailing Team 1-0
Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team SeaLife 1-0
Bertrand Pace, Team New Zealand 1-0
Andy Beadsworth, GBR Challenge 0-1
Paolo Cian, Masclazone Latino 0-1
Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing 0-1
Chris Law, Great Britain 0-1
Philippe Presti, Le Defi Areva 0-1
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
June 1-2: Kenneth Watts Perpetual Trophy Regatta, Los Angeles YC. Farr 40s. - www.layc.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Dormitory: When you rearrange the letters it spells, Dirty Room.