SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1088- June 7, 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.
New construction has commenced on the Stars and Stripes base at the Viaduct Basin in preparation for the syndicate's arrival in August. The unoccupied area in the Halsey Street corner of the compound is now covered by the foundations for what will be a relatively a large building - both longer and wider than the ACC boat shed beside it.
Given the base already has two boat sheds, a hospitality tent and "The TDC Gift Shop", the new building is most likely to be a sail loft, possibly also incorporating workshop or office space if the construction pattern of other syndicate bases is followed.
Stars and Stripes small weather boats are stored inside one of the boat sheds, which at its rear has a narrow mezzanine type structure with the walls covered by paintings of yachts. The second boat shed contains NZL-41 (formerly JPN-41) which is undergoing a refit.
In addition to the four weather boats, Stars and Stripes has recently acquired a large catamaran RIB named Daintry II. It motored into the Basin a few weeks ago, stopping but not permanently staying at the compound. Daintry II is remarkably wide relative to its length with a large area of flat deck surface - presumably for carrying sails.
At the water's edge an additional pontoon has been installed and a travel lift pier is under construction. The pier is close to the boundary with the neighbouring Le Defi Areva syndicate. Unlike other syndicate bases there is, at the moment, no physical boundary between the two compounds.
The only syndicates with boats rigged and visible to the public are GBR, Oracle Racing and OneWorld. GBR took its two training boats out of storage about 10 days ago. GBR-44 is sitting in its cradle on the base forecourt with its AC-2000 four spreader rig. GBR-52 with the 3 spreader millennium rig is housed in GBR's single boat shed. Although its keel and bulb are concealed, the hull and bow remain un-skirted. As yet, there is no sign of the 2003 generation GBR-70 which was expected to arrive in Auckland late May/early June.
Oracle moved USA-61, still fully skirted from deck to ground level, out of one of its boatsheds and onto the base forecourt about 2 weeks ago. For about the last week the doors of both boat sheds have remained closed. OneWorld's 2003 generation boats are fully rigged and skirted with their bows pointing out of their boatsheds. When weather conditions permit they venture out into the Gulf for training.
Construction on the Mascalzone Latino base, squeezed between OWC and Oracle, is nearing completion with only the interior of the compact cluster of three buildings to be fitted out. Their curved roofs contrast strongly with the massive block structure of the Alinghi base. The buildings comprise a small two story administration center, a wide boat shed sheltering the completely stripped down ITA-55 and a two story sail loft/workshop. The buildings occupy the full width of the road frontage leaving no room for a driveway. Entrance to the base forecourt is through doors fitted in the rear of the buildings. - posted by Cheryl, 2003AC website forum, isuzu21.webcrossing.com
LEG NINE PREVIEW
After 8 months and 32,450 nautical miles, the weather gods apparently have little left to give. The 48-hour forecast for the final 250 miles of the Volvo Ocean Race to Kiel starting Saturday at 2 p.m. local time is for "very light" winds of no more than 10 knots, probably less.
"That would suit us just fine," said Neal McDonald, skipper of Sweden's Assa Abloy, the only boat with a mathematical chance of overtaking Germany's illbruck in the final tally. Three of McDonald's crew---Mark Rudiger, Chris Larson and Mike Howard---make it the most American boat in the race. John Kostecki of San Francisco is illbruck's skipper but the only American on board.
The outlook sets up an interesting scenario. Assa Abloy, with second place assured, has nothing to lose and the anticipated conditions play to its strengths and illbruck's vulnerability in light wind and on short legs. Also, Knut Frostad, skipper of Norway's djuice, spoke from local knowledge when he said, "There is a lot of current through this leg. It's not straight-line sailing. There will be chances to break away."
But for illbruck, with 54 points to Abloy's 49 (8 points for first, 7 for second, etc.), the five-point edge is huge. To win, Assa Abloy needs to:
---Finish first and put four boats between itself and illbruck (57-57), then it would win the tiebreaker on a countback to more third places on the nine legs;
---Or, finish second with illbruck last (56-55), because illbruck would otherwise win a tiebreaker on more first places, 4 to 3.
In other words, Abloy's best hope is for illbruck to run aground on the Baltic shore, and Kostecki isn't about to let that happen.
"Believe me, I'm extremely happy to have a five-point lead going into this last leg," he said. He also is happy that the race is about to end---and not deeply disappointed that syndicate boss Michael Illbruck scuttled his America's Cup campaign, which Kostecki also was to lead. Kostecki has moved without relief from the 1997-98 race through the AmericaOne America's Cup campaign to this race.
"It's getting old," he said, wearily. "I'm ready for it to be over. I've been living out of a duffel bag, and nine months going around the world is a long time. It's rewarding for all the time and effort we put into it, but changing hotel rooms every month . . . I'm looking forward to spending some time at home in the Bay area." - Rich Roberts, Yacht Racing website, www.yachtracing.com
A SORE BUTT IS A SLOW BUTT
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* Peter Isler is taking time off from the Stars & Stripes campaign to re-join Team News Corp for the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Gavin Brady (Prada Syndicate) will also do this 'sprint-leg,' re-joining Team SEB.
* An American survey shows children who go boating are healthier both physically and mentally than those who stay ashore. Conducted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the survey used a random sample of 1004 children, half of whom had parents who were regular boaters and half of whom did not. The results showed children who boated were better team players (63 per cent compared with 43 per cent), more optimistic (52 per cent to 43 per cent) and self-confident (75 per cent to 65 per cent). NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz
* The Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) has announced that Quantum Sail Design Group will sponsor a new award recognizing ICSA's top woman college sailor. The Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year award will be presented for the first time at the conclusion of the 2003 ICSA North American Women's Dinghy Championship. The annual award will recognize the woman sailor with the best performance at her district championships and the North Americans, as determined by a quantitative formula.
* Registration for the 2002 Laser Radial World Championships ends Monday June 17, 2002. - www.laserchampionships.org
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 Peter Huston: I never ceased to be amazed by the number of people in the sport of sailing who like to tell others what "Should" be done, where control should be exerted on event schedules, or how much money is available for sponsorship. At its very core, sailing is first and foremost about independence and freedom. That includes the freedom to fail commercially, and even literally, to die trying to make a buck.
Sailing is nearly the ultimate free market proposition. Why would anyone suggest that some entity try to control what various promoters propose as the types of boats they use in their events, or their event schedule? The free market is pretty good at determining if an event is commercially viable.
Might the sport be "better" if there was a well-coordinated professional event calendar? Depends on your definition of better. If you already control an event that gets on the calendar, obviously this is what you want. To think that some quasi-government is going to know what is best for the commercial side of the sport is about the same as having the real government tell you what you should do for employment.
Eventually, a savvy promoter will really figure out the professional sailing sponsor equation, and do like Bernie Eccelstone and the France family has done in motorsports. Until then, let's continue to encourage more free market competition, not less. More events mean more and bigger paychecks for sailors, boat builders, sail makers, designers, and yes, magazine editors.
* From Allie Smith, Clipper Ventures: We would like to point out in response to Rich Roberts Volvo Commentary, that Asia is indeed a very important destination, one which we have been utilising and gaining richly from since the first Clipper race visited in 1996. We're surprised Mr. Roberts does not know that our Clipper Ventures world sailing race visits Asia and were the first round the world yacht race to do so in 1996. The Clipper 2002 Race, the 4th running of the Clipper event, will take in such ports as Yokohama, Japan; Shanghai, China; Hong Kong, San Fernando, Philippines; Sentosa Island, Singapore. - www.clipper-ventures.com
* Nicholas Longhurst: The fact that Volvo has not yet finalised details of the next VOR is not surprising at all. It makes perfect sense now to sit back and get feedback from everyone involved, especially from the crews who had to sail these over designed, very unequal, highly unsafe boats around the course. They need to pay close attention to the Spartan living conditions and rig breakages which killed some team's chances of ever getting to the podium and it's clear from the last couple of legs that the extensive sail development programs of a couple of teams made all the difference in the world.
So, here's my ten cents worth for the next go around - start with 80-90 foot one design hulls, rigs and keels bought and built together to keep costs way down, twin transom hung rudders for safety and unlimited sail development with a min/max number for each leg. Then add long legs, a maximum of four stop-overs and national teams. Might be more fun and no less competitive.
* From Kerry Poe, Columbia Gorge Racing Association: We should all thank a different sports organizing body, US Swimming, for promoting sailing to kids. I just spent my day helping the camera crew from Nickolodean's splash TV, film Melissa Bailey sailing her Europe dinghy at Cascade Locks in the Columbia Gorge. The program is sponsored by US Swimming trying to get kids involved in water sports.
I believe that we can do a better job promoting our sport to the general public. We definitely have the funds within the sailing community to promote ourselves, just take a look at some of the America's Cup and big boat budgets. Even the local beer can racer can be pretty generous with their money if it benefits a good cause. Maybe US Sailing needs to hire a promotions director that is responsible for marketing our sport and raising money to fund the program.
* From Steve Travis: In the spirit of making the really big boat sailing attractive and cost effective and increasing sponsors interest, why not use the same boats for the Antarctica Cup in 04, the VOR in 05 and the next America's cup in 06? Imagine a three-year competition with 1/3rd points awarded for finishes in each event? Imagine if the amount of money that is being spent only on the America's Cup were also spent towards the other sailing events? Imagine, for example if as part of each of the yearly events they included either at the beginning, middle or the end, participation in, for example, one year Cowes week, one year in the US, either Key West, Big boat series, or the dead Kenwood Cup, and the Southern Cross Series - thus you have covered all three major sailing areas in the world on a rotating basis? Dare to imagine!!!!
* From Don Ricketts: It's great that the CYCA is considering giving the "Farr 36 One Design" its own division or start in the next Sydney-Hobart race, but if they are talking about this boat (www.farr36.org) shouldn't they (1) wait until one actually gets built before giving it special treatment, and (2) take a careful look to see if that is that right type of boat for that race? Even the Sydney 38 seems right on the edge of being too small or too inshore for that event.
It might only be a 220-mile leg south through the Danish Islands to Kiel, but navigators and tacticians are going to be kept busy all the way to the finish line inside the Kiel Fjord for the finale of the Volvo Ocean Race.
You can virtually forget the strategies for this final leg: it is all going to be about boat v boat tactics! Designed to last about 24 hours regardless of wind strength, the course can be shortened or even lengthened to make the media time slot into the finish. With over 30 marks to pass or round, the most intense time is going to be the final three hours where there could well be a change of course signalled at the Fog Det Lighthouse, seven miles outside Kiel. - Mike Broughton, Volvo Ocean Race website, www.volooceanrace.org
Bruce Golison dominated the 13-boat Santana 20 fleet Cal Race Week with five straight bullets - and a full inventory of Ullman Sails. Doug McLean and the Curmudgeon used Ullman Sails to do the same thing in the 12-boat Martin 242 fleet. And in the 10-boat Schock 35 class, Dick Schmidt and Gwen Gordon used Ullman Sails to also take straight bullets. Although Carolyn Hardy and Mike Pinckney did not have straight bullets enroute to their win in the 15-boat J/105 class, Ullman Sails did win four of the five races. Isn't it time to upgrade your performance? www.ullmansails.com
British sailor Ellen MacArthur and her Team Kingfisher have bought the giant catamaran Orange for a round-the-world bid in the Jules Verne Trophy early in 2003. Orange, sailed by Frenchman Bruno Peyron, set the current Jules Verne record in May, cutting seven days off the previous record set in 1997. Peyron's time was 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes and 24 seconds, covering 28,035 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.15 knots.
The 110ft (33m) maxi catamaran will be renamed Kingfisher 2. MacArthur was confident of her attempt despite the record set by Peyron. "There is no doubt Bruno has set a fast record, but there will probably be four campaigns out there next winter, all with a good chance of breaking it by as much as another five days. "We'll have time for some small improvements to the boat compared with the recent attempt, notably in the sail inventory, and we're all going to be pushing that bit harder as well. "That said, just to complete the Jules Verne course is in itself a big thing -- history shows that less than half the attempts have even made it around the globe. It's a tough challenge," added MacArthur.
She announced the renewal of a multi-million pound five-year sponsorship deal with retail giants Kingfisher in January. MacArthur had originally planned to charter a catamaran for the record, but soon found that her options were limited when fellow British sailor Tracy Edwards purchased the former Club Med, a sistership of Orange, for her own attempt.
Peyron was not interested in chartering Orange as he wanted cash to start building a new 38m (125ft) catamaran for his second entrance in The Race in 2004, a non-stop round-the-world race. Although official handover of the catamaran will not take place until October after the completion of the current charter to Orange, Team Kingfisher members will sail onboard during the summer for training. - CNN.com website, full story: www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/
Technology comes to Cowes Week. From this year there will no longer be an excuse to get the course wrong, for in addition to the course board at the Squadron and the course announcements over VHF radio, Cowes Combined Clubs will also be transmitting course info by SMS text messaging to mobile phones. "We'll shortly be asking all competitors if they want to do this," commented Race Director Stuart Quarrie. "At the 10 minute gun we'll text all the competitors what course they are on". It is planned that the system will be set up so that other messages can also be sent through to the fleet or individual classes about squall warnings or race abandonments. - Madforsailing website, full story, www.madforsailing.com
COLLEGIATE COED DINGY NAs
The conditions of the 2002 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) / Gill North American Coed Dinghy Championship saw puffy and shifty northeast tradewinds that built from five to fifteen knots. The regatta has been held at the Honolulu Community College Marine Education and Training Center and continues Friday, with eighteen races planned in each division. Sailors are racing Vanguard Flying Juniors (FJs) provided by the hosts. - Derek Webster
STANDINGS after two days of racing:
1. Hawaii, 144
2. Harvard, 145
3. St. Mary's,151
4. Boston College, 66
5. Old Dominion, 166
OMEGA SEAMASTER CUP
LEADERBOARD after Day 3:
1. Alinghi Challenge (Russell Coutts): 3-0
2. Team New Zealand (Dean Barker): 2-1
3. Le DŽfi Areva (Philippe Presti): 1-2
3. GBR Challenge (Ian Walker): 1-2
3. Outlaw (Chris Law): 1-2
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
August 11-15: U. S. Junior Triplehanded Championship for the Sears Cup, hosted by the U. S. Naval Sailing Association in Annapolis, Maryland. This Triplehanded Championship will be sailed with a crew of four in the Colgate 26. - www.ussailing.org/youth/racing/jc/Sears/
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
You know you're in California when the high school quarterback calls a time-out to answer his cell phone.