SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1100 - June 25, 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.
PRADA DROPS LAW SUIT AGAINST ORACLE
In relation to the recent news that Oracle Racing has filed an application for breach of Protocol of the XXXI America's Cup by Prada Challenge for America's Cup 2003, we wish to clarify the following.
The dispute before the High Court of New Zealand originates from an agreement signed in January 2001 by Prada Challenge for America's Cup 2003 NZ Ltd, Oracle Racing Ltd and America's Cup Village Limited (the company that runs the Auckland harbour) concerning the location of a barge positioned by Oracle on the boundary between the Prada and Oracle bases.
Discussions have been under way since January 2001 with the aim of obliging Oracle to comply with the said agreement. This being a matter of neighborly relations, it was handled as a logistical issue locally.
Prada believes that this is not a matter that falls under the jurisdiction of the AC Arbitration Panel. Notwithstanding the fact that the above is an issue for the civil court, in the interest of the event and in order to avoid a sterile discussion of issues having no relation with the substance of the sport, Prada Challenge for America's Cup 2003 NZ Ltd has already formally discontinued the court proceedings. - Alessandra Ghezzi, Prada, www.pradalunarossa.com
(Bob Ratliffe, Executive Director - OneWorld Challenge, sent the following explanation to Scuttlebutt concerning a story we ran yesterday in issue No. 1099.)
In reference to the current tempest in the America's Cup tea pot, allow me to try and put things in a bit of perspective.
In reference to an email from Scott Vogel of Omohundro to OneWorld regarding the look of a simple fitting, this email was originally filed under seal in the US Federal Court at the direction of the judge who is presiding over the civil action brought by OWC against a former employee. This email was one of a series of a half dozen. Put into context the other emails it included advise dealing with the subject matter between Southern Spars (Omohundro) and OWC.
It is annoying to say the least that others seem to have disregard for the federal courts, but if we were allowed to share this information it would in fact paint a clear picture that OWC was trying to insure the processes were handled with the utmost propriety. One thing is clear, someone separated this one email from many and put it in the public domain as a means of trying to embarrass OWC.
We remain confident that Southern Spars, Navtec and OneWorld Challenge have all acted properly and cautiously with respect to the matter raised in this email. We also remain steadfast that it is our intention to stay with our broader mission of winning sailboat races in the name of the health of the oceans! - Bob Ratliffe, Executive Director - OneWorld Challenge
BURSTING FOR EXTRA STRENGTH
Bainbridge International's AIRX 500 - more tear strength, more burst strength with a new ripstop construction. Both Bainbridge's AIRX 500N and 500N-VMG are now available with a new stronger ripstop construction. Tear strength has been increased by 15% while burst strength has been improved by over 20%. AIRX 500N is the ideal firm finish 0.5oz spinnaker fabric, while 500N-VMG has a medium finish for those lighter choppier conditions. For more information contact your sailmaker or go to www.sailcloth.com
THE RANKINGS GAME
With 30 events included in the latest World Match Race rankings, issued on 21 June, there was plenty of room for movement. However, this was not going to happen at the top, with Peter Holmberg (ISV) holding tight onto pole position as the leader of the ISAF Open World Match Race Rankings, where he has comfortably sat since 28 March 2002.
Skippers whose ranking went up included Ed Baird, Gavin Brady, Karol Jablonski, Philippe Presti, Mikael Lindqvist, Jesper Bank, Morten Henriksen, Mathieu Richard and Cameron Appelton. Down go: Luc Pillot, James Spithill, Paolo Cian and Andrew Arbuzov.
The current top ten ranked skippers in the worlds are:
1. Peter HOLMBERG, ISV
2. Magnus HOLMBERG, SWE
3. Jesper RADICH JOHANSEN, DEN
4. Jes GRAM-HANSEN, DEN
5. Ed BAIRD, USA
6. Gavin BRADY, NZL
7. Karol JABLONSKI, POL
8. Bjorn HANSEN, SWE
9. Francois BRENAC, FRA
10. Philippe PRESTI. FRA
The updated match racing rankings for the women sailors show:
1. Marie BJORLING, SWE
2. Dorte O. JENSEN, DEN
3. Malin KALLSTROM, SWE
4. Lotte MELDGAARED PEDERSEN, DEN
5. Malin MILLBOURN, SWE
6. Liz BAYLIS, USA
16. Betsy ALISON, USA
21. Sandy GROSVENOR, USA
23. Dawn RILEY, USA
26. Charlie ARMS, USA
27. Paula LEWIN, BER
28. Hannah SWETT, USA.
* Bruce Schwab and his Open 60 Ocean Planet will leave Charleston, SC today to sail single-handed to the Azores - an entry requirement for the Around Alone Race, which starts September 12. www.oceanplanet.org
* For its Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, the New York YC has posted an important amendment to the Notice of Race on the website. The amendment provides for 1) an extended period to obtain a PHRF certificate from the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island and 2) an extended entry deadline of July 8. www.nyyc.org
* US Sailing has named five junior sailors to their team at Laser Radial World Championships scheduled for July 14-19, 2002, at the Buffalo Canoe Club in Ontario, Canada: Greg Helias (Santa Monica, Calif.); Bobby Noonan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); Giancarlo Nucci (Old Greenwich, Conn.); Matt Barry (Riverside, Conn.); and Jeff Cruise (Naples, Fla.). Vanguard Sailboats (Portsmouth, R.I.) will provide funding for a coach to accompany the team, as well as a grant to each athlete, which will offset expenses associated with attending the championship. Bern Noack (Belmont, Mass.), sailing coach at Harvard University, will act as team leader/coach.
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 Patrick Delaney: While the America's Cup has frequently been surrounded by controversy, this 2003 edition has certainly 'raised the bar' - three months before the racing has even started. Am I wrong, or have the attorneys and protocol advisors become more important than the yacht designers?
* From Rick Hatch: All this adversarial behaviour between AC syndicates before the preparatory signal of the first LVC trials race looks like the fiasco in San Diego all over again. The Cup barely survived that disgrace to our sport. If any of these legal initialtives are upheld and a challenger can't even sail one trial race, it will give our sport a black eye in the public press that will take years to go away (think of baseball in 1919). At least in the Canada's Cup, they now race one design boats (Farr 40's in 2001). Get on with the racing and beat them on the race course.
* From Mike Martin: Is this a boat race or a soap opera? Tom, could you please not print any more America cup news until the racing actually starts?
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: I hear you Mike, but we both know I can't do that.
* From Tony Bessinger: Just to clear up any confusion: Idler's owner, who normally drives, was unable to join us for the Bermuda Race and the final two Onion Patch races in Bermuda. For several reasons, I ended up being listed as the captain for Bermuda Race and the final two races of the Onion Patch series. Tim Dawson, of North Kingstown, RI was the crewmember that actually stepped up and steered during the day races in Bermuda.
The crew on Idler collectively own this win and collectively earned it. Being touted as the captain is ego-satisfying but not completely truthful. From the boat's primary care giver, Bill Newkirk, who provided us with one of the most well-prepared boats in the fleet, to strategist Hale Wolcoff, who was racing in his first Bermuda Race, the whole team made this happen.
* From David Gill: (In response to Russell Painton on the legal liability of ships/companies that drop containers): Please if there is any humanity left in the world, lets not get lawyers involved. The freedoms that we enjoy sailing on a vast ocean come with risk. It is because of this risk that we have this freedom. As a captain you decide what risks you and your crew are willing to take. Whether it is crossing an ocean full of ice burgs, or sailing on despite the weather. Regulations and law suits are not the answer.
* From Frank Sticovich: To put an end to opinions about containers lost at sea, one should consider that the cause of these occurrences is, in most cases as a result of storms, typhoons and other such phenomena, the forces of which large container vessels must also endure. To get a more realistic view of the effects of storms on such large ships see: www.pmo.noaa.gov/china.html
In layman's terms, under international conventions and "laws of the sea" shipping lines have certain liabilities in respect of cargo that is carried on their vessels but in most cases, "acts of God" or, to quote, "any cause or event which the carrier could not avoid and the consequences whereof he could not prevent by the exercise of reasonable diligence" are outside the terms and conditions of carriage and would come under the domain of marine insurance underwriters, providing the cargo and the container were insured. Further, a yacht hit by a derelict container would have great difficulty in pointing the finger to a shipping line as a "burden of proof" would need to be demonstrated before a claim is entertained.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: As this letter suggested, let's put an end to opinions about containers lost at sea. This thread is now officially dead.
The BEA Male Sailor of the Year Award is to be shared for the first time since the introduction of the title in 1996. The joint winners are Double Contender Class World Champion Arthur Brett and Tornado Catamaran Olympic Silver Medallists Darren Bundock and John Forbes. This follows the discovery of an error in one of the nominations and open reconsideration by the Voting Academy of all the original finalists.
The Award was initially presented to Darren Bundock and John Forbes at a gala dinner in Sydney on 8 June. Darren and John were nominated by the Yachting Association of NSW. As stated in the Conditions relating to the awards, all nominators are required to list performances in the period 1 April 2001 to 1 April 2002. The YANSW mistakenly included the 2001 Tornado World Championship, an event that actually took place in February 2001. When initially making the Award to Darren and John the Voting Academy took into account this and other performances.
On learning of the error, Darren and John immediately offered to hand back the Award to allow the Voting Academy to reconsider all the finalists with the correct information to hand. "We were not aware who nominated us, or of the time period. We also understood the situation in which the Voting Academy and the Federation had been placed", explains John, "This is a very prestigious award and the integrity must be maintained. Whilst we were very honoured to have had our achievements recognised by our peers, clearly the Voting Academy had to be in a position to carry out a fair and open evaluation with all the facts to hand. We felt handing it back was just the right thing to do."
On reconsideration, the Voting Academy was unable to separate the outstanding performance of single handed sailor Arthur Brett in winning back to back World Championships in the International Contender Class from the achievements of Darren and John, who maintained their international dominance of the modified Olympic Catamaran Class including a victory at the European Championships. Erin Cameron, Australian Yachting Federation website, www.yachting.org.au/news/news_article.asp?Site=AYF&Tr=&ID=2495
Many of you have or are thinking of getting the Camet Sailing shorts, but if you haven't looked at their web site lately, you have missed seeing all the new gear they have for this year. Different models of shorts, with the same important features, the fast drying breathable Supplex and the Cordura seat pocket for the foam pads, etc. the Rash Guards, CoolMax T-Shirts, Bubble tops, and Gear bags all in one site making it easy for you to choose. www.camet.com
AC SAIL TESTING
"Although the computer models have become much more sophisticated, they still have limitations," says (TNZ sail designer Burns) Fallow. The model creates a virtual sail on a computer, which can then go through a range of simulated wind conditions and measure predicted performance.
Computer modelling is the cheapest form of testing, but it is not yet fully reliable, so the tests have to be verified. The team builds scaled down versions of the sails and tests them in a special wind tunnel that simulates the effect of wind sheer between deck level and the top of the mast.
The next step is to build a full-size sail. The downwind sails for Team New Zealand are built at the North loft in Freemans Bay, using woven nylons and polyesters. Because they allow a certain amount of stretch, they are able to resist the kinds of explosive loadings imposed on sails when, for instance, the bow of the yacht ploughs into a wave and slows suddenly from 14 or 15 knots to five or six knots. . - TNZ website, full story: xtramsn.co.nz/teamnewzealand/
The Sailing Central inaugural running of Block Island Race Week provided five sunny days of sailing with only Thursday's early arrival of fog shorting the day's racing. The largest class was the 28-boat J/105 class where Doug Esdorn's Kinesem bested Carl Olson's Morning Glory by a single point. Other class winners: Class A: Tsunami (Farr 395) Prebben Aras, Class B: Gannet (J/120) Bob Johnstone; Class C: Hustler (J/29) John Esposito; Class D: Amethyst (J-27) Doug Davies; Class E: Odette (Swan 31) Jim Pakos. For race reports and results: www.birw.net
La Rochelle, France - Final results: 1. Tendrisse, Pascal Abignoli, FRA, 54 points; 2. USA 352, Kerry Klingler, 63; 3. Hammertime / Synergy, Steven Lutz, 73; 4. Needles and Pins, Peter Hecht, GER, 89; 5. Ernst & Young, Stevan Kyleback, SWE, 90. Complete results: www.srr-sailing.com
LONG BEACH RACE WEEK
Day one of Long Beach YC's two day 'race week' resulted in major carnage in the big boat classes when the breeze built to a solid 20 knots with gusts to 23. Dale Williams' Farr ILC 46, Wasabi, from San Francisco, had two spinnakers rip apart, but the record for blown-out sails was set by Oscar Krinsky's locally based 1D48, Chayah: two spinnakers, a main sail and a jib headsail. Aboard Jim Demetriades' Transpac 52, Yassou, Jared Morford and Tom Pollock suffered severe cuts and abrasions when the spinnaker sheet wrapped around their legs under pressure from the spinnaker which the boat was dragging in the water like a sea anchor. They were treated at a local facility.
Few skippers were unhappy when the wind stayed in single digits for the last day of the event. CLASS WINNERS: 50-Footers: Victoria (Transpac 52), Mike Campbell; PHRF-A: Arana (Dencho 51), John Carroll; PHRF-B: Whiplash (Schock 35), Ray Godwin; PHRF-C DnA (J/80), Dave Hammett; Catalina 37: Bruce Wallerstein /Bill Durant; B-25: Nocona, Gordon Miller; Cal 25: Discovery, Warnock/Willingham; Olson 30: Intense, Allan Rosenberg.
Although there is no regatta summary or race results on the Long Beach YC website, Rich Roberts has posted daily reports and some amazing photos, as well as the full results, on the Yacht Racing website: www.yachtracing.com/
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* June 29-30: US Albacore National Championships, Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank, NJ. www.albacore.org/usa
* April 4-6, 2003: BVI Spring Regatta, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Two days of course racing and one day of tour racing. - www.bvispringregatta.org/
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Would a grenade thrown into a kitchen in France result in Linoleum Blownapart?