SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1086- June 5, 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.
We at Antarctica Cup Race headquarters have read with great interest the recent articles in The Daily Telegraph, Sail-World.com, and the editorial in Scuttlebutt Europe #1 regarding Bruno Peyron's recent announcement and the much anticipated news of Volvo's 2005/6 race. The current argument is (quite correctly) beginning to focus on the increasingly prohibitive cost to compete leading to smaller numbers of entrants versus the return for the sponsorship dollar. This is an unavoidable reality and one with which we all must be focused if healthy and varied competition is to continue at all.
Our intention at Antarctica Cup is not to replace any existing race but rather to provide a complimentary new sailing concept to bolster the great sport of ocean racing, providing more media opportunities and therefore more sponsorship interest in sailing. The desired effect is to allow a larger number of entrants and healthier competition for professional and up and coming ocean racing sailors alike.
To address the issue of cost vs. sponsorship return, we have developed a number of innovations to the sailing community as part of our race concept. Among them is the fact that entrants take home their yacht plus whatever prize money they might win.
The key component is to introduce exciting one-design yachts, all identical in all respects, and thereby limit the development costs of one-off construction. Should these yachts be accepted for other long distance ocean race events we will see some genuine consolidation in our sport with the resulting effect of decreasing participation costs and increasing the number of entrants all round. More entrants leads to more sailing action which leads to more media interest which leads to more sponsorship dollars, and the better for everyone in sailing. - Bob Williams, Chairman, Antarctica Cup P/L - www.antarcticacup.com
Unsecured creditors, who are owed about $1.2 million after the failure of Virtual Spectator, are unlikely to get a return of more than 20c in the dollar. PricewaterhouseCoopers liquidators Vivian Fatupaito and John Waller said about half of the amount owed to creditors was to people associated directly with the company, which has been renamed International Networks (Auckland No 1).
Virtual Spectator, with associated company Virtual Spectator Yachting (renamed International Networks Auckland No 2), was put into liquidation by shareholders on May 21. The companies specialised in producing 3D interactive animations of sporting events including the America's Cup and the World Rally Championship for use on TV and over the internet. In their first report on both companies, the liquidators indicate that a deferred settlement related to the sale of Virtual Spectator's operations and due in May next year will provide a minimal return to creditors.
There is more gloomy news regarding Virtual Spectator Yachting, which owes Virtual Spectator $3.7 million on a loan secured by a debenture dated February 2000. The report says Virtual Spectator Yachting stopped trading in March 2000 and is unable to repay its debt to Virtual Spectator - giving a combined total debt for both companies of $4.9 million. Added to Virtual Spectator's bottom line losses for 2000 and last year of $3.2 million and $4.7 million respectively, that indicates the company has lost $12.8 million since it began in 1999.
The minimal likelihood of a return to creditors suggests that the Neville Jordan-headed Endeavour Capital, which bought Virtual Spectator's operation on May 10, got a bargain - probably paying less than $1 million. The sale price has not been disclosed.
Jordan is hoping the company will rise from its ashes as Virtual Spectator International - a subsidiary of Endeavour Capital. But a big portion of Virtual Specator's business - TV animations for the America's Cup, golf and cricket - is now in the hands of Dunedin-based Animation Research, which had a 19 per cent stake in the company. - Chris Barton, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?thesection=technology&thesubsection=&storyID=2044766
(Following is a brief excerpt from Andy Rice's story on the Volvo Ocean Race website that looks at the human side of this adventure.)
The double values of a life in the Volvo Ocean Race are not lost on (Assa Abloy's Richard Mason), the itinerant Kiwi. "We live a wonderful life when we're ashore - we stay in beautiful hotels, meet wonderful people. On land we live like kings. At sea we live like pigs. You look at the way we eat our dinner, and how disgusting it is. And the living conditions, with 12 guys living on top of each other for weeks on end." The upside is that it does give you a greater appreciation for life. After having emerged from the terrifying, ice berg strewn Southern Ocean, Mason says that helps put things in perspective. "People who work in an office environment - I don't think they know what stress is."
No wonder almost every sailor in the Volvo Race looks forward to a bit of normality. "It's the only thing we crave," says Damien 'Shreda' Duke. Shreda's big dream, after he has served out his time aboard News Corp, is "a pint of London Pride in the Pier View, with all the guys on a Friday night, rounded off with a curry". A pretty, typical night out for anyone who lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, but a million miles from the world Shreda has inhabited since he received the call to sail with News Corp just a couple of weeks before the start last September in Southampton.
Unlike many sailors, who need just the briefest of returns to normality to remind them why they chose the life they now inhabit, Shreda seems more reluctant than ever to throw himself back into the dangers of ocean racing. "If someone had asked me four years ago if I wanted to do this race, I'd have said: 'Yeah, yeah, let's do it.' Two years ago, I'd have said 'Maybe'. Now I've done it. It was a challenge and I've conquered it. So if someone asked me now, I'd say 'No'. But in three and a half year's time I might need some more funds, although it would take a lot more money. As Gordon Maguire says, "We're a one-trick pony so you've got to earn while you can." - Andy Rice, Volvo Ocean Race website
Read the rest of this story: www.volvooceanrace.org/news/leg_8/020604_lifechanging.html
SCUTTLEBUTT SAILING CLUB CLOTHING
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* American Brad Van Liew's entry in the 2002-2003 "Around Alone" yacht race - Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America - was christened Tuesday by presidential niece Lauren Bush. Designer Hilfiger along with spokesmodels Bush, Jeremy Bloom and Jason Shaw were on hand for the celebration of the newly named and completely retrofitted 50-foot race boat at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. - Meaghan Van Liew
* On June 13th, Ortwin Kandler (CEO & Chairman), Stéphane Kandler (General Manager) and Dawn Riley (Team Manager) will meet the journalists in Saint-Tropez, France to officially announce their K-Challenge for the XXXII America's Cup in 2006.
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 Brian Raney (With regard to your observation about the international rankings published by ISAF): First, that most Olympic classes in NA have not made it a priority to have their events graded by ISAF. As a result, our sailors are competing in NA events which hold no value in the ISAF rankings. The real exception is the the Star class, and I commend them for their work in this area. The Laser class has taken this up as an initiative this year, and we believe that we've begun to see some modest improvements.
Due to the time (graded events in the last 18 months) and "quality" (events with more top-ranked sailors are graded higher; a "virtuous circle" for those already ranked) components involved in the rankings, it will take some time for NA sailors to break into the top tiers on the rankings if they are not already there. For these reasons, the "newness" of the Yngling is actually a big advantage to maintaining NA sailors at the top of the rankings.
Second, the ISAF rankings are Eurocentric. This is highlighted by looking at the events which are graded. For example, although there is supposedly a maximum of 5 Grade 2 events per continent per class, the current calendar has over 15 Grade 2 Laser events scheduled for European countries. There are many factors contributing to this bias, not the least of which is simply proximity to the ISAF offices. Unfortunately, only time and an on-going commitment to participate in the ISAF grading of NA events will improve the rankings of our sailors.
* From Dave Davis: The changing of the Rule A8, which covers how we should handle ties in series racing has now gone from bad to insane. Why in the world does the rules committee think that the most important race is the last race in the series? It just never has made any sense to me or to anyone who has to apply it.
A8.1 is OK to list the Best to the Worst. A8.2 was OK, but they decided to throw it out. The new A8.2 is a big mistake. It gives the win to the boat that wins the last race. Why is the last race more important than any other race? It makes no sense.
I would suggest that they break the tie in A8.3 by simply counting the excluded races, if any, and add up the total corrected time for all the races. This adds merit to all the races and should be accepted by all racers. If the series is for true One-Design boats only, they should be recording start times and finish times so they too can apply this concept.
* From Stephen Wilkins (edited to our 250-word limit): In reading newly released report on Cruise ship waste, is alarming to say the least. It's disappointing to hear of an increase in the blatant abuse to the oceans and environments that we all have the right to use and enjoy. There are extremely strict guidelines already in place regarding international pollution regulations which all commercial vessels and for that matter pleasure crafts and yachts have to abide by. These come under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and their policy for marine pollution which is called MARPOL.
It is up to everyone of us when we are on the oceans or cruising the coast to notify the Local authorities, Coast Gaurd, Port Control if you believe you see any vessel discharging waste or pollution which contravenes the MARPOL regulations. The thing to remember is that if no one says anything to authorities, then we shouldnt complain when its not enforced. If you do see something which need reporting don't forget to take down good information: Date, Time, Lat, Lon, Vessels Name, Port of Registration, What was being discharged, Photograph if possible, and in the case of oil or fuel, if you can get a sample of pollution it makes it very easy for authorities to charge not only the master of the vessel but the ship owner as well, they are also held accountable in all types of pollution and there hefty fines which can go into millions.
* From Steve Stevens: Despite probably being accused, sometimes, of being one of the 'boys' - even though almost half of our racing crew is female - I have to agree with Katie Pettibone's sentiment regarding competition equality. If Nautor decided to run a two boat campaign, then they should have properly funded a two boat campaign, regardless of the sex of the skippers and crew onboard each boat. My guess is that the Ferragamo's wanted to return Nautor to major racing and international visibility as a marketing tool to sell the Swan's. Did they forget that 50% of the potential buyers might be women?
* From Terence Gallagher: A comment for "Women on the water." Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it Grant Dalton that spent years banging on boardroom doors looking for money? Wasn't it Grant Dalton that spent years gathering and organizing the AmerSports Team? Wasn't it Grant Dalton that spent years building sailboats and testing sails? Ummmm, yea I think it was. And what did the women have to do to sail in the VOR ... show up? I think you should consider yourselves lucky you get to participate in the Volvo at all. Without Mr. Dalton's efforts you would be sitting at home. Until you go out and organize your own Volvo Ocean racing team you should be thankful you get anything at all.
* From Tom Donlan: Speaking as a journalist (who happens to edit a Mailbag page, among other duties), the reason Scuttlebutt is so much more successful than the usual web log, news group, chat room, list serv, e-mag or other Internet innovation is that Scuttlebutt has an editor. I should have said this in a congratulatory way at the time of issue No. 1000, but I'll say it now that the subject of journalistic standards and the roles of negativity, whining and complaining has come up.
H.L. Mencken warned us a long time ago that "freedom of the press is limited to those who own one." Thanks to the Internet, everyone owns one. Isn't it remarkable that most people don't have a clue what to do with it? Aren't we sailors lucky that Tom Leweck does know how to use that freedom to edit a daily newsletter for us?
I can only imagine how many hours he must put into gathering items and reading mail, but his real accomplishment is the traditional function of the editor. He maintains decorum, fairness and high standards of accuracy. He does it answering to no authority but his own conscience. My hat's off to him for a job well done and I hope he keeps doing it for years to come.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
(James Boyd interviewed Amer Sport One skipper Grant Dalton about the future of the Volvo Ocean Race. Boyd asked Dalton if the race should be held in one-design boats.)
"That would be a crazy idea. Because they're not a story. They don't last very long. They're a oncer, because they're just pigs four years later because a new one design is quicker than an old one design. So they are a redundant fleet straight away. They are not a project they are just a regatta. I see no reason for one designs".
If he were in charge he says he would like to see a boat of 90ft. "Not 80ft because there are a lot of 80 footers. Make it slightly different. I would like to see a rule that is restrictive but not strangling. A 90ft Volvo 60 for example would be an awesome boat. Use the same rule even? I'm sure you can." - Madforsailing website, Full story: www.madforsailing.com
THE PROVING GROUND - THE PERFECT FATHER'S DAY GIFT
- "The most marvelous sailing documentary I have ever read--brilliantly executed, poignant, comprehensive, enticing." -- William F. Buckley Jr.
- "Five Stars ... Knecht captures acts of heroism and frailty, but in a display of astonishingly writerly discipline, he never judges." -- Jeff Bezos, Founder and Chairman of Amazon.com
- "A sailing masterpiece." -- Walter Cronkite
The Proving Ground, G. Bruce Knecht's critically acclaimed book about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race, is now available in both hardcover (Little, Brown & Co.) and paperback (Warner Books) at bookstores everywhere or at Amazon.com:
OMEGA SEAMASTER CUP
The Omega Seamaster Cup in the waters of Trieste, is a series of match races for teams participating in the Americas Cup. In the first day of racing, team New Zealand captained by Dean Barker won the first round of races by beating the English team of Andy Beadsworth by a two to one margin. In the second round of races the French team La Delfi Areva of Philippe Presti beat the team Outlaw of Chris Law by two to zero. www.omega.ch/omega/user_event_home?print=true
COLLEGE TEAM RACING NAs
HONOLULU, HAWAII (June 4, 2002) - Harvard University won the 2002 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association North American Team Race Championship with a perfect record of 17 wins and no losses. Tufts University placed second at 13-4, followed closely by Georgetown, who had 12 wins - 5 losses. College of Charleston rounded out the top four with a cumulative 8-9 record.
Harvard University placed second last year and was poised to win this year's competition, having won numerous regattas since last year's event in Cambridge, Mass. The Crimson used four skippers en route to their victory: senior Seaon Doyle (St. Petersburg, Fla.), junior Clay Bischoff (Miami, Fla.), sophomore Cardwell Potts (New Orleans, La.) and junior Dan Litchfield (Wayland, Mass.). Harvard's five crews were junior Michelle Yu (Mountain View, Calif.), junior Lema Kikuchi (Bethesda, Md.), senior Susan Bonney (Westford, Mass.), senior Laura Knoll (Freedom, N.H.) and junior Gabe Dorfman (Port Angeles, Wash.). - Derek Webster, www.collegesailing.org/2002
NEWPORT GOLD REGATTA
Over 80 entries helped kick off the Newport sailing season for this weekend's Eighth annual Newport Gold Regatta benefiting the Rhode Island Foundation for Children. With skippers hailing from as far away as Sydney, Australia, this competitive event drew interest for five competitive one-design classes, a pair of classic 12 Meters, and a field of over 2 dozen PHRF entries.
Winners by fleet:
Farr 40: Barking Mad, Jim Richardson
Mumm 30: Foreign Affair, Richard Perini
1D35: Roxanne, Frank Meadows III
J105: Masquerade, Tom Coates
J80 USA352, Kerry Klinger
PHRF Class A: Hissar (12 Meter), Edgar Cato
PHRF Class B: Amadeus (IMX 40), Udo Schroff
PHRF Class C: Wazimo (Quest 30), Barrett Holby, Jr.
PHRF Class D: Dirty Harry (J29), John Lavin
Complete results at www.newportgold.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Only the young die good.