SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1092- June 13, 2002
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.
Former Team New Zealand designer Laurie Davidson has been caught observing the launch of a rival America's Cup yacht through binoculars - allegedly a breach of Cup protocol.
Davidson, who works for the Seattle based OneWorld Challenge, was seen observing Oracle Racing's new yacht, USA71, at its official launch in Auckland yesterday. Oracle says the use of binoculars could be a breach of the protocol.
Oracle spotted Davidson opposite their Viaduct base, which suggested he had walked from the OneWorld base, close to Oracle's on Halsey St, around the waterfront. Although the new yacht was covered by a long grey skirt - to keep hull and keel designs secret - Oracle say Davidson had his binoculars pointed in their direction.
As soon as Oracle noticed a rival syndicate designer was watching, they sent team member Chris Todter to investigate. Todter said he approached Davidson and asked him what he thought of Oracle's new boat. According to Todter, Davidson replied: "It looks very good to me, very interesting." Davidson then left.
OneWorld Challenge, who already have their two new Cup boats in Auckland, would only say that Davidson was outside when the boat was being launched. The use of binoculars is a "grey" area in the America's Cup protocol, which aims to allow challengers and the defender to conduct tests in private and limit opportunities to gain information about other teams. The protocol says visual observation from ashore of another syndicate's yacht is permitted provided it is not intended to gather design and performance information.
Visual observation is largely unavoidable with the proximity of bases at the Viaduct. But Oracle believe Davidson was out of line. "What was Laurie Davidson, OneWorld's principal designer, doing with his binoculars looking at Oracle Racing's new boat, if he was not trying to gather design and performance information - which is not permitted under the America's Cup protocol?" an Oracle spokesperson asked.
The syndicate will discuss the incident further today and examine whether it is a breach of protocol. Neither OneWorld Challenge nor Laurie Davidson could be contacted for comment last night. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story and photo of a man identified as Laurie Davidson with binoculars: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
RESPONSE FROM ONEWORLD CHALLENGE
Visual observation is not a violation of the protocol. Laurie Davidson is the most recognizable yacht designer in New Zealand. He is well aware of the protocol, and would have chosen somewhere less obvious to view the launch of USA71 if his intentions had been less than honorable.
With the media in attendance at the Oracle Shore Base, we are uncertain what Design and Performance information Laurie could have seen that was not ultimately going to be in the public forum. If Oracle Racing believes that Laurie has breached the Protocol, then they have every right to bring it before the Arbitration Panel.
Laurie is a legend in the Americas Cup, who simply has a high level of professional curiosity. He was complimentary of his initial glimpse of USA 71, and like the rest of the OneWorld team, looks forward to competing with Oracle and the other challengers on the stage intended for the America's Cup - the water. - Jennifer McHugh, OneWorld Challenge, www.oneworldchallenge.com
(John Kostecki's winning illbruck Challenge campaign has set a new benchmark for how a campaign should be run for the Volvo Ocean Race. Few would disagree that the way the German team set about winning the race was as near perfect as it is possible to get. So what did they do right? Here's an excerpt from James Boyd's story about this campaign posted on the official race website.)
While the sailing team in Vigo began their two boat testing to formulate ideas for the new boat they wanted, in the States meteorologist Chris Bedford was carrying out an in depth study of the meteorology. "He looked at the weather round the world for something like 25 years and came up with the routing," says Kostecki.
Bedford worked with another of the campaign's key background figures, Michael Richelson. Richelson had been head designer for America One, the America's Cup challenger on which Kostecki had sailed. He came up with a computer program to simulate racing a Volvo Ocean 60 round the world in the conditions, anticipated by Bedford. Later on Richelson took on a role as illbruck's own designer acting as the interface between the new illbruck V.O.60 designers, Farr Yacht Design and the team. It is believed that none of the other Volvo campaigns had someone in this same role. "When we had all our different boats designs, we could run those through his software," explains Kostecki. "We went through a lot of different things and we'd run it through Michael's programme to figure out what was best." - James Boyd, Volvo Ocean Race website.
Full story: www.volvooceanrace.org/news/leg_9/020612_jk.html
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"It is cheaper to spend $20 million to win, than spend $10 million to lose". Michael Illbruck, illbruck Challenge - www.volvooceanrace.org/news/leg_9/020612_jk.html
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FOR THE RECORD
(Tracy Edwards' maxi-catamaran Maiden II (formerly known as Club Med) is in the Atlantic determined to beat the record of 687.17 nautical miles that is currently held by Steve Fossett on board PlayStation. Here's an excerpt from the log on their website.)
We started our record by the official position report at 1858z which put us in a position of 38 41.64N 68 14.28W. It is good conditions, clear sky, warm, and good wind of 25-30kts. We just hit 41.5 on the GPS which I witnessed myself and declare as a solicitor admitted to the Australian Federal and High Court to silence critics! (Adrienne is a Lawyer as well as world-class navigator).
At the end of hour number 4 we had covered unofficially 131nm at course 105T, this is an average of 32.75kts. We are working hard to put miles in the bank because sea conditions are getting a little more difficult as the wind increases, and soon it will be dark for around 8 hours and harder for the drivers to see the waves.
We have 5 drivers who are rotating around about every hour and the trimmers are working within their normal watches of 4 hours on deck. However, we are only sailing with 13 people so everyone really plans to stay up for the 24-36 hours it will take to attempt the record.
At the moment I have not yet been on deck as the time goes very quickly here calculating figures, monitoring the courses and averages and working with our onshore forecasters at Commanders. We have reached now a top speed of 44kts on the GPS over the ground (reported by on deck crew) which is certainly something. Conditions remain TWS 26kts TWD 240T, sun setting, warm and very wet (not in the nav station though). You have to be very careful on deck and below because you can get slingshot along the corridors or through the cockpit because the boat is moving so fast and wildly. - Adrienne Cahalan, www.maiden2.com
* The Skandia Ocean Row Team set off Tuesday night from St John's, Newfoundland, Canada, to begin a record-breaking attempt to be the fastest rowing boat ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The four man team aims to row West-to-East from Newfoundland, Canada, passing through the Isles of Scilly, and continuing onto Falmouth, Cornwall, in under 35 days, 21 days faster than any other team to row the same route. The first three days will probably be the most arduous part of the team's journey, due to strong currents around Newfoundland's Grand Banks. Once clear of the mainland, there will also be potential hazards in the form of icebergs and other, much larger, vessels. - www.skandiaoceanrow.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 Robert Hill (In response to John Christman's reply regarding shipping containers): Mr. Christman is being very disingenuous when he suggests that shipping containers are not a real threat to sailors worldwide. He suggests that the number of containers lost is "small" and the oceans are large. This would be the case if and only if the distribution of container ships, lost containers, and sailors are uniform throughout the seven seas - but this is manifestly not the case. All are clustered predominantly in mapped shipping lanes, which reduce the actual water area to something very finite and very cluttered, and the chances of an intersection a real and appreciable possibility. More work needs to be done in this area, or we face the possibility of blue water sailing becoming unacceptably risky - and not by nature's elements, but by man's irresponsibility.
* From Bear Wynne (In response to John Christman's letter about containers lost at sea): Of course shipping companies try to insure that the containers are secured to the ship to the best of their ability. However, when traversing the Panama Canal and other such places, you see these ships with containers stacked on deck so high that the crew on the bridge can 'just' see over the top. Then you see photos of ships which have been caught in a blow, with a collapsed stack, which was most likely caused by the bottom container collapsing and the top ones obviously going overboard. I appreciate the ocean is not 'pickled' with containers, but Mr Christmans remark that "it is not worth consideration" is very na•ve. For me, it is always something that is in the back of my mind whenever I am doing an offshore passage.
I have regrettably in the past hit several whales by accident, never a container, but from my experience a whale has a little more "give" the latter. In past situations when yachts have hit submerged containers the vessels have sunk in minutes, giving very little reaction time. It would have to be a fairly large, well built, ideally steel vessel to survive such an encounter; a normal 70 foot, composite sailing yacht traveling at 9 knots wouldn't stand a chance. My question is, why don't they build containers with a hydrostatic flooding device, so when they fall over the side, it activates, then they sink, end of story.
* From Diane Swintal: Following the commentary from Tim Jeffrey re the lack of media and marketing of the VOR, imagine my surprise when I opened the June 3 issue of AutoWeek - a two page spread, with pictures, detailing Volvo's involvement in the round the world race.
Given the relationship between boat racing and auto racing, I would think the placement of this article is perfect. It mentions the trip to the Miami start of "a boatload" of automotive journalists (hosted by Volvo) - unfortunately, no one told said journalists not to partake of the dockside shrimpfest before heading out to Miami's gulfstream centrifuge...
The overall tone of the article is respectful and thoughtful, by a guy who probably doesn't have a big background in yachting. This is just the sort of cross-tie that will earn the sport more fans.
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US Sailing's Race Management Handbook has been revised and updated to provide guidance on how to properly organize and run races - whether they are Wednesday evening sailboard race, a major world dinghy championship, or a grand-prix offshore race. This revision brings the handbook's content into conformity with the current Racing Rules of Sailing. Some new material has been added, outdated material removed, and some familiar concepts refined. The Handbook is a "must-have" for clubs, fleets, and individuals. The handbook presents material so Race Committees can adapt it to local conditions and circumstances.
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Two races were completed June 12 at the North American Championship, hosted by Lake Sunapee Yacht Club in New Hampshire, USA. Weather was cold (in the 50s) and rainy (heavy at times).
The first race was run in 6-9 knots from the East. On the last reaching leg, the wind shifted to the Northeast so the Committee moved the finish mark. Heavy rain fell for last half of race.
The second race brought 8-10 knots from Northeast with the rain lightening a bit.
Results after five races with one throwout (52 boats): 1. Reynolds/ Liljedahl, 6 pts; 2. Bromby/ Pritchard, 9; 3. Schofield/ Braverman, 13; 4. Ivey/ Nichol, 19; 5. MacCausland Jr./ Meireles, 19. - www.starclass.org
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
June 21-23: Junior Olympic Sailing Festival - Midwest, Lake Forest Sailing. Club 420, Laser, Laser Radial, International Optimist Dinghy, and Opti Green Fleet class boats. www.lakeforestsailing.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Most money is tainted. It taint yours and it taint mine.