SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1107 - July 4, 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.
UP, UP AND AWAY
Peter Harrison, Chairman and Founder, today announced his decision to fly GBR 78 - GBR Challenge's second ACC boat - to New Zealand in time for the commencement of the America's Cup Challenger series. "The boat construction and sailing teams have progressed so quickly during the 18 months that we've been together that they've reached a level where they have the sailing skills and maturity to compete with the best. However, all of the teams that we will be competing against will have two boats in New Zealand, which could disadvantage GBR Challenge - especially given the short time span between the rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
"The speed with which the construction build team has achieved a massive gain on the anticipated build schedule for GBR 78, has given us the opportunity to redress that imbalance. Flying will give us a gain of some five weeks versus marine shipping and is the only way to get GBR 78 there in time for the sailing team to practise on two new generation boats and tune up the second boat prior to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup on October 1st. To have a second boat is a resource that the team's hard work and dedication deserves and also gives us an insurance policy backup.
As flying represents an extra cost onto what is already a £22.5 million budget, Harrison has put out a rallying call for a corporate partner / sponsor to help cover the air transport and support the GBR Challenge team in its hour of need.
GBR 78 is nearing completion at the GBR Challenge base in Cowes, to be finished by the end of July. It is planned that the boat will leave Cowes on Saturday 3rd August - the first day of Skandia Life Cowes Week - on a barge and will board a plane to Auckland, NZ two days later. - Virginia Page, www.gbrchallenge.com
Last week in Germany, Thierry Dubois and his Open 60 'Solidaires' collided with a boat heading in the opposite direction. The rigs of both boats were entangled but the hulls did not make contact. Solidaires' port rigging was ripped, and the mast was damaged beyond repair.
Dubois suffered a sharp fall, but the other crew was unharmed. One of the masts of the other boat broke completely in two and 3 crew were injured, one seriously. The other boat accepted that they were at fault when the incident was dealt with by the police.
Because of the time needed to fabricate a new mast, Solidaires will need to be shipped to Newport, RI by cargo to make the start of the Around Alone Race. - Mary Ambler, Around Alone, www.aroundalone.com
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
In the United States of America, the fourth of July is a day to celebrate in remembrance of those who toiled for independence in 1776. On the very same day, 226 years later, the Oracle Racing Team hosted an intimate christening ceremony in Auckland celebrating on behalf of those team members who worked tirelessly to build the team's latest generation 2003 America's Cup Class (ACC) sailboat, USA-76.
Led by Oracle Racing's three Boat building managers, including Richard Gillies, Tim Smyth and Mark Turner, the boat building team worked 80-hour weeks in a Ventura, California boatyard to complete the two sleek, charcoal gray racing hulls.
Both USA-71 and USA-76 were built using female molding - a process rarely used in the America's Cup. New technology in the plug milling and the mold making processes has resulted in two of the fairest hulls some of Oracle Racing's designers and other team members have ever seen.
The two new sailboats should both be in the water soon to engage in an intense in-house racing program for the final prelude to the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Series, commencing October 1 on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. Joanna Ingley, www.oracleac.com
* SEB's venture in the Volvo Ocean Race resulted in an increased appetite. The bank will sponsor Fredrik Lööf over a two-year period in the initial phase, and includes, amongst other things, the Star World Championship in Marina del Rey in August and the Olympics in Athens in 2004.
* Melges Performance Sailboats Inc and the International Melges 24 Class Association confirmed that Rowen Composites Ltd is ceasing construction of the Melges 24 at its base near Southampton, England. Negotiations are underway with alternative builders and it is anticipated that a new European Melges 24 builder will be officially appointed in time to commence production for the 2003 European season. In the interim new boats will still be available from Melges Performance Sailboats in Zenda, USA.
* The latest rankings for all Olympic Classes have been released July 3 and are published on the ISAF website. The next issue of the rankings will be released on 31 July 2002 following the Yngling World Championship in Switzerland and Travemunde Woche in Germany. - www.sailing.org/rankings/
* The Skandia Ocean Row team, whose record-attempt to shatter ocean-rowing records was abandoned yesterday due to gear failure, was picked up Wednesday by the 'Bar Protector', a five-deck dive ship. The team's hi-tech rowing boat, Skandia Atlantic Spirit, was also successfully recovered. After having completed half of their 2100-mile journey, the British foursome were forced to abandon just north of the Azores, exactly mid-way between St John's, Newfoundland, and Falmouth, Cornwall because of a damaged rudder.
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 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: The choice of the boat for the next Volvo creates a critical opportunity. Whatever the thoughts on interest in this last race, it was close and did provide rare sailing coverage in the media. Much of this coverage was due to the considerable financial input of Volvo which has greatly benefited our sport.
Close and exciting racing seems to be the key. Has anyone given thought to using the Open 60's for the next race? Although originally developed for single-handing, they have raced competitively with crews and have now, with the new IMOCA rules, produced a boat that has proved it can sail safely around the world. It is used in both Around Alone and the Vendee Globe. The other advantage of this class is that a good program already exists for the boats so a boat built for the Volvo could have a competitive life thereafter. A crew of 5, say, is not unreasonable, although it might be a little uncomfortable but judging from the crew comments, the existing boats are hardly luxurious.
The Open 60's are fast, very fast, and there are more than 30 already in existance. The design parameters give every opportunity for the designers to be creative, within simple restrictions.
* From Peter Harken: Nicholas Longhurst is right about our company's fortune being somewhat tied to the AC although we sell far greater small boat one design gear. I enjoy the AC soap-opera stuff only as a tongue-in-cheek spectator, not a participant. One design racing is my gig and when ice boat racing we only have time for one quick 4-letter expletive that can't be heard through the scream of the wind when we're angry over an altercation. After that we're too busy gluing the pieces back together or putting bandages on and telling the offender, "You owe me a beer!"
And talk about "whingeing", just be a measurer at a World Championship Optimist regatta, it ain't the kids folks, but look out, here come the parents, it gets brutal! Sailing's antics are not alone by any means in the sports world, but I blow all that goofy stuff off whatever sport (like Figure Skating antics!!) and simply concentrate on the artistry of the sport in action.
* From Michael McCutchon, PRO, Opti Worlds: Joe Buck comments on the speed of regatta scoring hitting the 'net. Here is the next level: At Opti Worlds at Corpus Christi Yacht Club, with software and personnel from St. Petersburg Yacht Club, we will be uploading results from the finish boat on the water via cell phone/internet link to the official regatta website. The parents and friends of the kids on the water, in each of the 46 countries they hail from, will know how the kids did before they hit the dock. Racing starts this weekend. Watch it at www.optimistworlds2002.com/
* From Doug Hanna: GBR's initial plans for this boat were to build it later this year but not to fully commission it until the build-up to the 2006 America's Cup. The rules allow each team to build only two ACC (America's Cup Class) boats each America's Cup. So building it late and not finishing it was within the rules and within GBR's initial budget. However, more recently GBR announced that they might finish the boat and use it in their build up for this years Louis Vuitton Cup. This will give GBR the advantage of a campaign with two 2003 generation ACC boats where they can trial them together to experiment and tweak the boat's relative performance.
If GBR do this then the only remaining team without a two 2003 generation boat campaign will be Mascalzone Latino with ITA-72.
Le Defi Areva have one new generation boat but are significantly rebuilding their old FRA-46, so much so that it's had to be remeasured and given a new sail number, FRA-79.
* From: "Manfred C. Schreiber: Peter Isler said: "If it was close, the America's Cup would stop and our tenders would blaze over there. We'd probably sail over there, too".
Everyone out there should take this deep into his heart and mind. I am still under shock having watched one German Tornado Crew falling overboard after the markrounding on the starboard upwind lane during Kieler Woche. We were pushed away ( on the home run with our IMS 2 boat) from the course by aggressive acting RIBs but we had pointed and shouted and our arms directed the Russian Trainer in his nearby RIB to the man, but the situation had been ignored. Totally.
Some Tornados passed the swimmer very close, they could have overrun him as the sea was rough in 25kts wind. We felt it was necessary at least to protect the swimming crewmember as his buddy, alone on the Tornado, could not get the boat back, sailing alone in these conditions. Also, how do you know that the swimmer is OK? At the end I lost my voice, the men in the various RIBs either not seeing or ignoring the obvious situation: A Tornado with one man struggling!! There must be someone swimming. Another German competitor picked the swimmer up at the end and brought him back to his boat and the reunited crew limped home. Must have been tough.
* From Aidan S. Bolger: I read with great interest one of Peter Isler's comments regarding lifejackets or floatation devices. Seems those of us who race larger yachts are immune to wearing those types of devices, yet how many more talented sailors do we have to lose before we get the message? Seems Peter finally got it and if a world class sailor like Peter Isler can get the message then so should the rest of us.
When we raced the IMS Worlds in Newport in 2000 and not being from the US we were a little unclear about the lifejacket rule. A NYYC member Bill "Spook" Larsen sailed with us and introduced us to a wonderful product by Stormy Seas. A floatation device that resembles an ordinary vest. As I sail with a vest most of the time here in Toronto, I immediately purchased one and now "I don't leave the dock without it"
I believe most sailors do not like to wear floatation devices or lifejackets because they are cumbersome and uncomfortable. This is not a crass commercial but this much I can say, my life is worth the minimal investment, most people do not even know it is a floatation device and the most redeeming feature for me other then the obvious was that it came in Seagoon turquoise. I am delighted Peter got it and I can only hope others will follow Peter's perceptive lead.
The Interscholastic Sailing Association has awarded the Stuart L. Bullivant Bowl, school sailing's highest honor for sportsmanship to Henry Maxwell of The Williams School. In addition, Maxwell will receive the Ted King Award, his keeper for this honor:
At the New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA)Team Racing Championship (Mark Trophy) this past May, Williams and Tabor Academy were locked in a tight series which would determine which New England teams qualified to race in the ISSA Team Racing Nationals for the Baker Trophy. In the last and deciding race Maxwell realized that he had committed a foul, and further that a protest he had lodged was inappropriate. "Because it was the right thing to do," Maxwell withdrew from the race and withdrew his protest. His actions were the deciding factors in this key race, which Williams had seemingly won on the water. As a result of Maxwell's decision, Tabor won this race. Tabor went on to the Nationals, and Williams did not.
This award has been made 13 times since its inception in 1964, the last time in 1998. - Larry White
HEY OCKAM WHAT ABOUT ME?
The Ockam Tryad system is designed to meet the needs of the boating world's most demanding users - the processing power, input choices, ethernet connectivity options, etc. enable some fairly exotic applications of yacht instrument technology. But what if you want to keep it relatively simple? Can you still get Ockam's legendary primary function performance without having to buy an overkill setup? Actually, by combining the Tryad T2 Multiplex interface with our "classic" Unisyn Model 001 CPU, a new Ockam system costs less and does more than ever before! See www.ockam.com
SWEDISH MATCH CUP
MARSTRAND, SWEDEN (07/2/2002) - Jes Gram-Hansen and his Victory Lane match race team and Russell Coutts of the Alinghi Team persevered through a tough "sail-in" process at the Swedish Match Tour's final event, the Swedish Match Cup, and are now qualified to compete in tomorrow's quarterfinal round robin. Both Gram-Hansen and Coutts battled both their opponents and strong, shifty winds to advance 3-1, past Jesper Bank of the Victory Challenge and Poland's Karol Jablonski and his MK Cafˇ team, respectively.
After initially being skeptical of the new format used at the Swedish Match Cup, Gram-Hansen has changed his perspective, "the new format we survived may actually give us an advantage going forward. The guys we'll be racing haven't competed yet this week and we've had some tough matches against Russell Coutts and Jesper Bank under our belts to draw on."
Gram-Hansen and Coutts will be facing Peter Holmberg and Oracle Racing, Swedish Match Tour 2001/2 champions, Magnus Holmberg and his crew; Dean Barker of Team New Zealand; Bertrand Pace, helming a second Team New Zealand entry; American Ed Baird and his Team Musto; and Denmark's Jesper Radich in the quarterfinal fray. - Shawn McBride, www.swedishmatchtour.com
The fan turns down - today most boats reported lighter air. About half are sailing in winds from 10-18 knots, and half in less than 10 knots. The eastern part of the high around which they are traveling, is forecast to dissipate some in the next day or so.
"Icon" reports she has broken her spinnaker pole. How much this will affect her lead remains to be seen. She and "Renegade" are already past the halfway point. On two separate occasions, "Renegade" has sailed over large fishnets, and has had to back off both. One was so big it was seen dragging behind the boat.
The "A" Fleet is presently monopolizing the overall standings with the top three boats being Atalanta, Icon, and Jeito. - Peter Bennett, www.vicmaui.org
The Albacore Nationals were held at the Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank, NJ June 29 - 30 in the light, fluky conditions of the Navasink River. Competition was very close as 5 different boats won races. Final results: President Fleet 1. Jasper/Becky Craig (11 pts) 2. Barney Harris/Malav Schroff (13) 3. Bill/Eileen Ewing (18) 4. Marty Hublitz/Steve Swenson (19) 5. Bob/Jill Robinson (22); Challenger Fleet 1. Dory/Dan Caplan (10) 2. Gene Spillane/Wendy Thrower (11) 3. Gary/Jennisse Peatick (12) www.albacore.org/USA/2002usnatsResults.asp
ISAF WORLD SAILING GAMES
With the forecast wind failing to materialise today, many of the sailors found themselves in an international volleyball match at the venue. Who won? Who knows - but everyone had fun! The only fleet managing a race was the women's keelboat blue fleet. On Friday the weather is forecast to be fine here in Marseilles Bay, with a northwesterly wind up to 5 knots veering to southwest 5 to 8 knots in the afternoon. - www.sailing-games.com
After making the first solo round the world balloon flight, Steve Fossett landed safely and unharmed in Australia, but the process was far from perfect. "It was a very dangerous situation with the landing," explained Fossett.
First, the landing site had ground winds approaching 20 knots, when ideally they would have none. This problem was compounded when the balloon envelope would not detach from the capsule, meaning that it could have "dragged forever," according to Fossett. Fortunately ground team members, such as Project Manager Tim Cole, were able to help Fossett pull the ripcord that detached the capsule from the rest of the balloon.
Despite the risky landing, Fossett was in high spirits and still plans on attempting to fly a glider into the stratosphere by the end of July or the beginning of August. - www.spiritoffreedom.com
Pass Christian, Mississippi - Day one results from the US Snipe National Championship - Heinzerling Series after two races (45 boats):
1. Augie Diaz & Pam Kelly, 9
2. Rob Hallawell & Bridget Hallawell, 9
3. George Szabo & Brian Janney, 10.75
4. Bryan Lake & Cameron Biehl, 11.75
5. Andrew Pimental & Josie Williams, 13
6. Kevin Funsch & Watt Duffy, 16
7. Henry Filter & Lisa Griffith, 16
Hal Gilreath & Aimee Graham from Annapolis who won the Crosby Series with a 1-3-2-2 series are presently in a three way tie for 8th place with 17 points. www.snipe.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.