SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1087- June 6, 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.
Following the success of the inaugural Volvo Ocean Race, it was announced Wednesday that the next Volvo Ocean Race will start in Europe in the autumn of 2005. Jorma Halonen, President of Volvo Trucks commented, "It very easy to make the decision to support the continuation of this race. The media returns have been overwhelming, and the response within the Volvo Group has been very positive."
In terms of media coverage, this Volvo Ocean Race has exceeded every expectation, with unprecedented television, radio, print and Internet coverage for a round the world sailing event. Through the first six (of nine) stopovers, the race had reached a cumulative television audience of over 650-million viewers, across major markets in Europe, the United States, South America, Australasia and Africa. Radio distribution through the BBC World Service, and Voice of America has brought the Volvo Ocean Race to millions of listeners while the event has resulted in nearly 13,000 press cuttings in monitored territories, through to the end of leg six. The event website, www.volvooceanrace.org has reached nearly three-million unique visitors, making it the most widely viewed sailing Internet site.
With the 2001 - 2002 Volvo Ocean Race scheduled to finish in Kiel, Germany on the 9th June, thoughts are naturally turning to the next event, and Volvo has been evaluating the future direction the race should take, and what changes should be made to achieve this. It is expected that the route will include stopovers in South Africa, Australasia, South America, the USA, and Europe. Details of the final course will be announced in the spring of 2003. Also currently under consideration is the possibility of including fleet racing whilst in port with points to count towards the final score.
One of the major objectives of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 is to reduce the entry-level cost of a competitive campaign. Reducing the length of the event and the number of stopovers will significantly contribute to this. Another area where costs can be decreased is in the design, construction and sail plan of the race-boat and Volvo is considering a number of options.
The event will continue to be managed by Volvo Event Management from the race Head Quarters in the UK. Information will be distributed at the time decisions are made, and the Preliminary Notice of Race will be published in Spring 2003. - Lizzie Green, www.volvooceanrace.org
VOR COMMENTARY - Rich Roberts
(Following are a number of excerpts taken from a story by Rich Roberts on the Yacht Racing website concerning the Volvo Ocean Race announcement.)
Sweden and the Volvo Ocean Race is a love affair bursting with promise, and it's probably going to get better: bigger boats, fewer and briefer stops and a couple of months shorter overall with perhaps a rising sun on the horizon.
"Asia could be important," VOR chief executive Helge Alten said. "And if it's Asia we should also say that Japan is important." Right now Japan, while intriguing, is more likely to figure in a Pacific Rim race Volvo also is considering. Alten ruled out China, including Hong Kong, and Singapore because "most of the racing public there is expatriates---foreigners."
No world sailing race has ever visited Asia, but the VOR's Sweden-based owners are confident enough in the future of the event not only to sink another $30 million into the next one starting in 2005 but to explore new horizons.
Alten said, "We believe that we need to start and finish in Europe, that we need to have two Southern Ocean legs and that we could end up the race somewhat shorter than the present one with fewer and shorter stopovers. The length of the race, I think most of the teams would say, should be adjusted from nine months to six or seven months."
That statement, with its broad reference to "Europe," could jolt the UK, where all of the Whitbread Round the World Races started and finished first in Portsmouth and then in Southampton and even its successor---this Volvo---started last September 23. The only notion Alten ruled out was a route through the Panama Canal because, he said, "The heritage of the leg is the Southern Ocean."
"We believe that the boats should be monohulls in order to have tight racing and that the boats should be as equal as possible," Alten said. "We're looking into a new, exciting type of high-performance boat which would be fun for the sailors and allow all the participating teams a chance to do well." Instead of the 64-foot VOR 60s, that could mean boats in the 80- or even 90-foot range.
It seems almost certain there will be only one stop in the U.S. next time and that it will be Baltimore-Annapolis, not Miami. In lieu of nine full stopovers, some ports could become gas-and-go "pit stops," a concept introduced when the fleet checked in at Hobart, Tasmania at the end of the Sydney-Hobart Race before continuing on to Auckland. That and shorter layovers could help to sustain interest.
Alten was clear that there also will be a place for women, despite their struggles in the last two races. "It is important that they have a chance to compete," Alten said. "We shouldn't forget, though, that the ladies, while they're extremely good sailors, they do not have the same experience as the men or as much depth to draw from. "But it's important that if and when a new boat is designed that it is designed so the ladies have a better chance of competing. Today they have to lift 1 ¸ tons of sails from one side of the boat to the other side when they're tacking or jibing." - Rich Roberts, Yacht Racing website.
For the full flavor of Roberts' thoughts: www.yachtracing.com/richroberts/volvofuture.html
MORE VOR COMMENTARY - Tim Jeffery
The apparent lack of future planning for the Volvo Ocean Race continues to baffle race observers. Volvo are currently hosting the race fleet during their penultimate stop in Gothenburg but have announced little more than the fact that the event will be staged again in 2005-6.
Even though the presidents of the Ford-owned car company and Swedish-owned truck division were in attendance at a presentation, nothing was revealed apart from the fact that the second race will start in Europe and follow a similar route through South Africa, Australasia, South America and the United States.This is despite a $50 million spend on the event since it was bought from Whitbread four years ago and the use of countless consultants to review progress of the current race which reaches its climax in the 24-hour, ninth leg from Gothenburg to Kiel this weekend.
The absence of a blueprint is puzzling, especially given that the Whitbread had nearly three decades of unchallenged pre-eminence as the definitive round-the-world event. - Tim Jeffery, The Daily Telegraph, UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2002/06/05/soyots06.xml&sSheet=/sport/2002/06/05/ixothspt.html
PYEWACKET WINS 2002 CARIBBEAN CIRCUIT
Roy Disney's Pyewacket dominated the Caribbean Circuit series, winning all three regattas and was named top boat in the circuit using Samson Rope Technologies' newest high performance lines! "We chose Samson's Progen II (PBO) for centerline halyards, Validator SK(tm) (Vectran/Dyneema) for wing halyards, Validator II(tm)(Vectran) for afterguys and Warpspeed(tm) (Dyneema) for Main, Jib and Spinnaker Sheets. These lines performed way beyond our expectations" said Scott Easom of Easom Racing and Rigging in Point Richmond, CA. "We set the halyards at their marks and that's where they stayed. We were very impressed." For more information, visit www.samsonrope.com
* The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has made the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race more attractive and competitive for yacht owners with the announcement today that there will be divisions for one design yachts within the traditional handicap rating concept of the blue water classic. The move is expected to draw more entries from the Sydney 38, Farr 52 , Farr 40 and Farr 36 One Design class fleets and boost overall entries for the 630 nautical mile race down the Australian East Coast between Christmas and New Year. The notice of race will be available later this month on: www.cyca.com.au
* Mascalzone Latino launched Mascalzone Latino XII, ITA-72 at a simple ceremony held at the team's training compound in Portoferraio, Elba Island. The new ACC will begin a two-boat testing phase with Mascalzone Latino XI (the former Bravo Espa–a, ESP-47) this week through the middle of July, when the team will relocate to Auckland, New Zealand. Hauraki New website, www.hauraki-news.com
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 Lindsay Fergusson, Executive Chairman, Virtual Spectator International: Virtual Spectator wishes to correct two misleading statements in the reported article from the NZ Herald published in Scuttlebutt yesterday. First, the former Virtual Spectator companies do not have total trade debts of NZ$4.9 million. The NZ$3.7 million for the former Virtual Spectator Yachting Limited is already included in the consolidated figures for its parent company, the former Virtual Spectator Limited and cannot be added to the NZ$1.2 million for the parent company.
Second, It is not true that a big portion of Virtual Spectator's business is now in the hands of Animation Research. Virtual Spectator has licensed its technology to Animation Research for certain TV sports animations that are, and always were, only a small part of the business. Virtual Spectator International retains full ownership of all the technology licensed to Animation Research. Virtual Spectator International continues its major involvement with TV and the Internet for the World Rally Championship and will be providing live 3D animation Internet coverage of every race in the upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup 2003. We will also be completing our coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race this weekend.
* From Fred Schroth The ISAF ranking sysem is actually simple to describe. Regattas must be properly scheduled and advertised and the results must be reported to the ISAF. The scores are not simply based upon forst, second or third place finishes. The scores are weighted according to two factors. How important is the event? How tough is the competition?
The problem in North America is twofold. First, we have not properly scheduled regattas and reported results. Second, strength of field is determined by current ISAF rankings of the competitors. Last year Radial sailor Brian Raney of Port Chester, NY decided to solve the ranking problem for North American Laser sailors. ISAF does not manage a ranking system for the International Radial Class. Brian is performing his task entirely as a volunteer and in service to others. You can visit the North American Laser Class website and click on the ISAF icon above our opening photo to read the letter that Brian has been sending Laser event hosts. www.laser.org
* From Ryan Hamm (In reply to Dave Davis' comments on the rules change including checking the best overall times for the races including one design): Handicapped racing is difficult enough to score. Why do you think there are so many sailors going towards one-design? If your boat knows there is a possibility of a tie (which you would near the end of a series) then they would strive to have a better race in the last race. Makes sense to me. Good job rules committee.
* From Chris Welsh (Re: Tiebreaking and first race vs. last race - the end of a competition has value as a measure of the competitors): It's when you are most worn out, mentally drained, and just want it to be over. It's when mistakes happen. Overall, I'll wait until I see it in action to measure the new tiebreak rules - but the last race portion seems good to me.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Let's not overlook the fact the primary way to break ties (most number of firsts, most number of seconds, etc.) has NOT been changed. It's only in those rare situations when the primary method fails to break the tie that the scores in the last race become important.
* From Craig Fletcher: I often find it a joke having someone throw millions of dollars at me so I can go sailboat racing. The women of Amer Sports Too should be grateful for their opportunity. Hopefully potential sponsors will not be soured be by Katie's poor performance and sorrowful excuse.
* From Leslie Oplinger: I am glad to see a focus placed on the incredible amount of waste dumped into the ocean without regard by cruise ships. We seem to think that our earth's oceans have an endless ability to refresh themselves. I shudder for our future, and will do what I can from my land locked state of VT to advocate for stricter laws.
On another note, as an amateur sailor, I've also read about the constant threat of partially submerged containers in the oceans to smaller vessels such as sailboats. Is there no international concern about this seemingly constant danger/form of pollution? I've heard or read nothing about efforts to improve how the containers are stored in, or secured to ships. Again, I'd be willing to work on this, but would need to know if there is a group already addressing this.
* From Marc Herrmann (In response to Bob Williams Commentary): Would it not be attractive and cost effective to potential sponsors if the new OD boats used in the Antarctica Cup Race were to be used for the Volvo Race? I understand that the ACR will run in 2004 followed by the VOR in 2005. I cannot believe that with a little 'creative' marketing of both races to potential sponsors on a per team basis would not be attractive.
Yes perhaps the new OD boats are a far cry from the conventional VO 60's in terms of performance. However, if sponsor involvement is and remains to be the key element to sell and adopt this concept, what better way than to market this over two fantastic back to back events and receive a possible partial return (ACR) on your investment. Training time? Prior to the ACR event which flows right into the VOR. Can't get much better than that.
Even though Oracle Racing's Peter Holmberg has wrapped up the Swedish Match Tour 2001/2 championship and secured the US$60,000 first prize accompanying it, there is still US$140,000 up for grabs entering the Swedish Match Tour's final event, the Swedish Match Cup, July 1-7, in Marstrand, Sweden.
Only five points separate Sweden 's Magnus Holmberg and his Team SeaLife, currently sitting in second place, from third place skipper Jes Gram-Hansen of Denmark and his Team Marienlyst. Both skippers will be at the Swedish Match Cup and with US$40,000 being the reward for a second place finish and third being US$15,000 less.
1.Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing, 120
2. Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team SeaLife, 80
3. Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Marienlyst, 75
4. Gavin Brady, Prada Challenge, 62
5. Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto, 35
6. Jesper Radich, Denmark, 33
7. Ken Read, USA/Team Dennis Conner, 27
8. Philippe Presti, Le Defi Areva, 25. - Shawn McBride
blokarts fold up in a little suitcase, and they rig up real quick. blokarts only takes 5 minutes to set up and don't require any tools to assemble. One of the great things about blokarting is that you can do it all day long and you won't get exhausted. blokarts are great on the beach or in the car park.
A group of sailing's "elder statesmen" have signed up for the Antarctica Cup. The Southern California based entry, headed by Buzz Boettcher are calling themselves the "Graybeard Syndicate". Boettcher, in his early fifties and a former professional skipper on some of the top racing boats of the seventies and eighties, was still actively racing sailboats in the nineties, and has got together with an old sailing buddy Bob Logan, to make use of their age and experience.
Boettcher threw down the gauntlet to his fellow Californian Paul Cayard, "obviously the premier entry in this race right now is Paul Cayard." "It seems like I look back over when Paul and I raced each other, and yeah, he would usually beat me around the bouys, no doubt about it, but whenever we go offshore, I can't think of a time that he was at the finish line ahead of us."
The leader of the Graybeard team said that they were originally going to have a crew of over fifties, but then realized they needed a bowman, so bought the minimum age down to forty five - John Roberson, www.antarcticacup.com
RACING ON TV
]* Sunday, June 9, 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) ESPN2 - Leg Seven of the Volvo Ocean Race hosted by Gary Jobson. This 30-minute program shows the Volvo Ocean fleet depart Annapolis for La Rochelle, France. On the way, illbruck Challenge sets a new 24-hour record for a monohull yacht of 484 miles. On the other end of the spectrum, the women aboard Amer Sports Too suffer a broken mast. The top six boats change places frequently over the 3,400 mile course.
* Saturday June 15 at 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) ESPN2 will present Leg Eight - La Rochelle to Gothenburg.
OMEGA SEAMASTER CUP
On the second day of the Omega Seamaster Cup, Team Alinghi and Russell Coutts got the better of Dean Barker and his old TNZ team mates to win the only race competed in this match by a 25 second margin. With the driving rain and lack of wind today's programme was delayed. Then the international jury who is governed by Luciano Giacomi decided to modify the formula. The races will no longer be in the best of three races but just one race. In other matches Le Def“ Arvera team beat Andy Beadsworth of the GBR Challenge by 45 seconds. And Dean Barker came back to defeat Chris Law's Outlaw team. - www.lasfida.it
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
It ain't the jeans that makes your butt look fat.