SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1093- June 14, 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.
NEW 24-HOUR SPEED RECORD
Between 1915 GMT on 12 June and the same time the next day, Tracy Edwards' maxi catamaran Maiden II (ex Club Med) covered an incredible 697 miles, breaking the previous record belonging to Steve Fossett's PlayStation of 687.17 miles and is frustratingly short of the elusive 700 mile a day barrier.
Maiden II is currently being delivered back to the UK, but the team specifically set out to make an attempt on the 24-hour record in the process. Prior to them leaving Newport, Rhode Island, Maiden II's Australian navigator Adrienne Cahalan had been monitoring a weather system that she hoped would provide suitable conditions - strong winds and flat - for a success record attempt and they did. At one point Cahalan reported that she saw 44 knots speed over the ground reading on the GPS. - Madforsailing website, www.madforsailing.com
MESSAGE FROM STEVE FOSSETT
Dear Helena, Adrienne and crew of the new world's fastest sailboat.
Congratulations! You have won a real prize. We knew the competition would heat up for this 24 Hour Record. There are five boats that can contend for it, and we didn't think our record would last for more than about a year. But this is one time I wish we hadn't been right; it would have been nice to keep it a little longer!
I wasn't really interested in improving our own record before - but now we'll have to reconsider whether we target this 24 Hour Record - for a third time.
This record really defines the fastest sailboat - and the fastest sailors - in the world, and you should be extremely proud. Enjoy your success. - Steve Fossett
Kiel, Germany - Less than 24 hours after successfully completing the Volvo Ocean Race, Michael Illbruck announced plans to launch a new sailing campaign titled "Pinta Challenge" with the goal of winning Americas' Cup XXXII in 2006.
At a joint press conference with the Deutscher Segler Verband (German sailing federation) on Monday June 10, Illbruck, joined by Dierk Thomsen, DSV President, outlined the new business model to build a program that will offer partners and sponsors a unique media and marketing platform and a sailing team capable of successfully challenging for the world's most prestigious sailing trophies. Illbruck also was joined by members of his successful Volvo Ocean Race crew including skipper John Kostecki, sail program manager Ross Halcrow and bowman Tony Kolb. Design and R&D Director Michael Richelsen also is part of the team that will provide the core know-how and experience for the new program.
"We have learned a lot from our experience with the Volvo Ocean Race and we now want to take this knowledge to the next level," Illbruck said. "We have a new business model that allows us to bring on new partners and sponsors around a newly defined marketing and media platform, centered on sailing, technology, teamwork and nature/environment."
Michael Illbruck outlined a six-point program for achieving this goal:
* Create a new independent entity called "Pinta Challenge" separate from illbruck GmbH. "Pinta" is the traditional name of the long line of grand prix racing yachts sailed by the Illbruck family since 1969.
* Challenge for the world's most prestigious sailing trophies with a focus on the 2005/2006 America's Cup
* Become the premier professional sailing team offering partners and sponsors a unique media and marketing opportunity
*Combine the elements of sailing, technology, teamwork plus nature and environment
* Develop innovative marketing and media programs to attract the necessary financial commitment of major corporations in Germany and Europe
* Offer core competencies of sailing and technology as well as business development including campaign development and marketing, sponsor and corporate relations and media and communications.
"We now have the proven sailing track record and the independence to take this syndicate to the next level," Illbruck said. "The enormous welcome in Kiel and the overall media interest indicates that sailing is on a long-term upward trend with significant potential still unlocked. We want to win the America's Cup together with new partners and sponsors." - Jane Eagleson, www.illbruck-Challenge.com
COMPULSIVE LINE TWEAKING? DO YOU SUFFER FROM IT?
The American Psychictric Association say that most racers suffer from CLT and don't even know it! There is little they can do to cure those that have this condition ... only protect them from hurting themselves. Fortunately Sailing Angles has new Kontrol, aggressive gripped gloves. The basketball textured Zeptep palms and protective palm wraps will protect sailors from CLT. In cut-off and three-finger styles in sizes from xxs-xxxl , they'll handle the toughest hybrid cordage. Find them today at APS or logon and get your CLT badge of courage Kontrol Gloves @ www.sailingangles.com
Oracle Racing is still considering whether to take any action against OneWorld designer Laurie Davidson, who was caught observing the launch of their new America's Cup yacht through binoculars. Davidson was seen watching Oracle's USA71 at its official launch, which Oracle say could be a breach of Cup protocol. "We think this is a very serious matter which warrants serious consideration and are looking into all our options." Oracle spokeswoman Joanna Ingley said. OneWorld would not comment. - NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Perhaps the folks at Oracle Racing might be interested in how the 'Buttheads reacted to this issue. Here's a cross section of the email we've received on the matter:
* From Bill Leary: I had a great laugh over the article on Laurie Davidson and his binoculars in this morning's Scuttlebutt. It would have fit perfectly in your April 1 edition. Come on - tell us you were kidding. Does the America's Cup Protocol actually say that you're not allowed to look at the competition? How are you supposed to avoid collisions on the racecourse?
* From Jesse Falsone: I'm sure that after Laurie Davidson observed Oracle's new yacht through those binoculars, he immediately went back to the One World design office to transcribe USA 71's complete lines plan onto mylar from memory from which he could generate a digital file for input into his VPP. If the mast was up on USA 71, I imagine he probably was able to estimate the sail area to within a square meter to hone his VPP model.
Now displacement estimates might be a little tricky, but I'm sure Laurie had the latest milspec laser range finders mounted on his binoculars, and could somehow estimate draft if USA 71 was in the water. Had he witnessed the actual christening, he could estimate the force with which the bottle hit the boat, timed it's pitch period, and come up with a reasonable estimate of it's gyradius. I'm certain that Mr. Davidson now possesses detailed design secrets about USA 71 and Oracle's program, and will undoubtedly require his boat builders to break out the chainsaws this week to tweak the One World yachts. Gimme a break you guys. Go sailing and get on with it.
* From Mike Esposito: America's Cup teams are whining again (Mommmm, he's looking at us!), big surprise. Does anyone seriously wonder why most U.S. sports-media types ignore sailing? The one sailing event most of our football-basketball-baseball-focused sports journalists have even heard of is the America's Cup. Yet every time the AC rolls around, it's nothing but whining about other teams' designers peeking at boats (he had binoculars!), searching for loopholes (it doesn't specifically ban rocket sleds ... let's try it!), arguing over which parts of a person's brain can go along when someone changes syndicates (the new design uses a pedestal grinder, the boat he designed for that other team had a pedestal grinder, illegal transfer of design!).
Wouldn't it be nice to see as many stories about the races as we do about the off-water shenanigans? The result of the bickering: Yawn, the yachties are fighting again, let's run some high school baseball agate instead. Picture major league baseball where the New York Mets take the New York Yankees into arbitration because they don't want ex-Met Robin Ventura to be "allowed to remember" where he should throw the ball after fielding a grounder. Or football teams complaining that their opponents are looking at game films. How about that Hanes commercial ... will wearing the same underwear as Michael Jordan make you a better player ... I dunno, but if he were in the AC his locker room admirers would be in arbitration for peeking.
* From Andrew Besheer: couldn't help but thinking as I read the lead article in 'Butt 1092 about Laurie Davidson allegedly breaching the AC Protocl by looking at an Oracle boat through his binoculars ... I liked the Cup better in the "bad old days". I'm thinking black painted "spy boats", divers sneaking under protective booms, keels painted in camouflage colors to hide shapes, all that stuff added a dash of excitement and panache to the event.
What would baseball be without trying to steal the catcher's signs, how often does it seem that a defense has broken a Quarterback's snap count and who really believes that if someone makes a change that works in Nascar, two weeks later the whole circuit hasn't copied it. Someone needs to stop and remember that the AC is an event, it needs to have an undercurrent of cloak and dagger, surprises, unexpected plot twists and most importantly memorable characters. If it gets so sanitized that it becomes just another sailboat race ... well, I don't want to go there.
* From Enrico Alfredo Ferrari Let those who have never watched a boat launch from a distance with binoculars cast the first stone. Unbelievable that Oracle is taking issue with this. Their nerves must be somewhat frayed and confidence shaken by something as this stinks of a subterfuge to eliminate another competitor. Let the games begin and then see who sails the fastest with the mostest.
* John Kostecki, skipper of illbruck Challenge was presented with the prestigious EDS 24-hour Monohull World Speed Record Trophy at a special prize giving ceremony at the Yacht Club de France in Paris. illbruck smashed the previously held 24-hour record during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race with a run of 484 nautical miles, adding another 16 miles to Bernard Stamm's previously held 2000 record.
* Geneva's America's Cup syndicate, Alinghi, has completed construction of its second International America's Cup Class yacht in the Decision SA Boatyard in Vevey (Switzerland). Quietly and discretely, the Team has loaded the vessel onto a ship bound for Auckland New Zealand. SUI 75, the second of two that were constructed for the Swiss challenge, is expected to arrive mid July in New Zealand for rigging and completion before they are christened and begin racing and testing on the Hauraki Gulf. - Hauraki News, www.hauraki-news.com/LatestNews/SwissTeam-LN4.htm
* For the fifth consecutive time, J/44 one-design cruiser-racers will have their own start in the 635-mile Newport to Bermuda Race which starts today.
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 Manfred C. Schreiber (edited to our 250-word limit): I only wish that the organisers of the Kiel Finish of the Volvo Ocean Race would have put more thought into pleasing the sport fans. The outcome of spectators was, no doubt, the biggest ever at a sailing event. Even the official port and water authorities cooperated and let go when they realized that it was impossible to keep the "marked" waters free of spectator crafts. Illbruck drifted (5 kn/h) with hundreds of boats across the finishing line.
I was on the water as thousands with me and we had a nice view. A hundred thousand and more gathered the waterfront and many wanted to see the boats, the competitors, or even touch the winning machine. Impossible. Absolutely impossible. The public had not been invited. No big screens, no information and a huge rigged platform (only for the occasion) in front of the stage. No one could see through. The dockside closed and pass through only for VIP's. Maybe understandable but not after the first 5 boats had arrived and crews had left. They could have "catwalked" the teams through the masses, they could have been more open to the friendly spectators. When will it ever happen again. Please organisers think about the sport fans in the future. Sailing is just starting in the public eye. Don't turn them away with arrogancy. An image which the sport needs to lose if we want a brighter future and not only play in our own pond.
* Richard Endean (edited to our 250-word limit): Having spent nearly nine years trying to sell the big picture to ISAF I agree with what Neil Humphrey has said. Our recreational world has changed over the past 20 years and Sailing, both at National and International level doesn't seem to have woken up to the fact that we are really competing against other sports and recreations, rather than with each other, to expand the number of participants who enjoy our sport. ISAF has, to it's credit focused as well as any body could on delivering one universal set of rules to the International sailing community but they have struggled to adapt to and interface with professional sailing.
The most powerful advertising tool available to any sport, to expose that sport and to enthuse young new participants, is television. But sailing suffers as a sport from inherent difficulties in making good television. It is a fact however that both the professional/ commercial efforts and ISAF, in using the Olympic opportunity, have missed the mark. In the latter case it is my belief that because ISAF is made up of MNA's and Class Associations intent on wheeling their own barrow for the benefit of their members, that ISAF will never focus on what is best for the sport as a whole without a major change in attitude. So Neil Humphrey is dead right in that ISAF needs to find some way of competing against all other activities requiring a truly unified approach by both the amateur and professional sailing community.
* From Fred Roswold: Right now there isn't much incentive for shipping companies to do more to prevent container loss, much less start replacing their existing containers with a newer sinking models. Compared to the number they ship, the number lost is small, and those are undoubtedly insured. The insurance premium is part of doing business, why should they change? They might change however if the financial penalty for negligently placing hazards into the ocean was greater.
We need some laws with teeth which make it expensive to lose containers which are then left floating in the ocean. One thing we can't count on however, is anyone suing a shipping company for damage or loss of life from running into their lost containers. I doubt many cruisers who are trying to save their lives after hitting a container are going to be able to collect much evidence about whose container they hit. Probably a significant number of people who might want to sue someone aren't going to be around to file a lawsuit anyhow. I'll bet the shipping companies are counting on this fact.
* From Peter Wilson: Mr Bear Wynne has a good idea. However, he obviously believes that all containers that go overboard are filled with items that are heavier than water. Clearly a container filled with ~2,560ft3 of the foam core for the construction of the 70ft composite boat he speaks of, would float quite nicely.
MAST DISPLAYS AND CREW CONTRIBUTION
Information displayed at the mast doesn't just make it easier for the driver to process instrument data while watching where he's going - it focuses the whole crew, and over time builds a stronger team of sailors. Communication between the crew forward of the cockpit and the crew aft is greatly enhanced. Downwind gains are particularly significant with spinnaker trimmers keeping an eye on the numbers while describing sheet pressure to the driver, resulting in better synchronized sailing. For a great selection of mast display pods in anodized aluminum and carbon fiber visit www.ockam.com
RACING ON TV
Saturday June 15 at 4:00 PM ET (1:00 PM PT) ESPN2 covers Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race. This 30-minute program features the 1,075 mile leg from La Rochelle, France to Gothenburg, Sweden. Soon after leaving France, the V.O. 60s encountered 40-knot headwinds captured by cameraman George Johns. There is also a feature on the design and construction of these speedy yachts with comments by designer Bruce Farr. At the finish the top five boats crossed the line within seven minutes.
VIADUCT BASIN SIGHTINGS
Yesterday morning I observed an ACC boat hull on an articulated truck on the forecourt of the Oracle compound at the Viaduct Basin. The boat was across the base forecourt parallel to the waters edge and was gradually rotated and manoeuvred into Oracle's vacant boat shed - the one nearest the neighbouring Prada base.
The hull was white and appeared to be shrink-wrapped. Although its shape may have been distorted by padding, a gently upward sloping bow was clearly evident with a pronounced knuckle. The bow also appeared to have a reverse angle rather than falling vertically from the tip but this, again, may have been a function of the padding. The stern overhang did not appear to be as long or as narrow as that characterising Alinghi's SUI-64. - Cheryl, 2003AC website forum, full report: isuzu21.webcrossing.com
The North American Championship, hosted by Lake Sunapee Yacht Club in New Hampshire, USA, ended with one race on June 13. It was another gorgeous day - blue skies with a few white clouds, very comfortable temperature and humidity. Started out overcast and calm, but the clouds moved off and the wind built slowly hour by hour. The race finally started about 1 pm in winds of about 6-8 from the South. The course was a five-legged windward-leeward. After two legs the wind shifted to the Southeast and diminished to about 5 knots.
Final result (52 boats - six races with one throwout): 1. Reynolds/ Liljedahl, 11; 2. Bromby/ Pritchard, 20; 3. Schofield/ Braverman, 22; 4. Sustronk/ Wolf, 27; 5. MacCausland Jr./ Meireles 29. www.starclass.org
The next major championship for the Star Class is the 2002 Nautica Star Class World Championships August 14-25 hosted by the California Yacht Club. For more information www.starworlds2002.com
Syracuse, NY - US Sailing Multihull Championship for the Alter Cup sailed in the Hobie Tiger. Final results: 1. Matt Struble / Dominique Martin, 7 pts; 2. Brandon Wallace /James Gumpel, 9; 3. Greg Thomas /Jacques Bernier, 10; 4. Alex Shafer /Eric Macklin, 11; 5. Nigel Pitt /Glenn Holmes, 13. Complete results: www.fleet204.com/alterresults.shtml
The curmudgeon is off to San Francisco to navigate Martin Brauns' beautiful new Santa Cruz 52 Winnetou on the Encinal Yacht Club's Coastal Cup Race down the California coast to Catalina Island. David McCreary will once again take over the Scuttlebutt helm for the next couple of issues. You can send email to David at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
You know you're in California when the fastest part of your commute is down the driveway.