SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1121 - July 24, 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.
TEAM DENNIS CONNER'S USA-77 SINKS AT LONG BEACH HARBOUR
Long Beach, CA: Team Dennis Conner's newest America's Cup boat, Stars & Stripes USA-77, which was christened on May 26, suffered failure in the rudder shaft area, allowing water to flood into the hull. None of the 15 crewmembers aboard were ever in danger and no injuries were incurred. Onboard pumps and airbags were deployed immediately. Unfortunately, the boat could not be kept afloat and she went down in 55 feet of water near the south entrance to Long Beach Harbor. A recovery effort is currently underway involving a crane and barge and it is expected that the boat will be raised and returned to the Team Dennis Conner base camp this evening where the damage will be assessed.
Team Dennis Conner's two new 80-foot sloops, both named Stars & Stripes, were partaking in a routine two-boat testing session, when at approximately 1:00pm, a large crack was heard and the rudder detached from the hull. The crew worked quickly to block the water, deploy the airbags and ready the onboard pumps.
Dennis Conner was taking part in a sponsor fulfillment event nearby when the incident occurred. He proceeded immediately to the site and helped direct the rescue effort.
"We feel extremely fortunate that no one was hurt. The hull appears to be in good shape and the mast is fully tensioned and does not appear to be damaged," said Conner. "Our training program will proceed as scheduled, with the last sailing day on Thursday (July 25) and both boats being shipped to New Zealand separately during the first two weeks of August. Ken Read and other members of the afterguard will be departing Long Beach on July 26 to participate in the UBS Challenge in Newport, Rhode Island as planned."
-- Veronica Brown, www.stars-stripes.com
VOLVO YOUTH SAILING ISAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Lunenberg, Canada: Competitors settled back into the race groove Tuesday at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship after a day off in historic Lunenburg. There are clusters of sailors in the top positions, but three race days remain so there is still room for change.
Wind for the first races were light at about 6 to 8 knots, but built to 15 knots for the final race of the day. Mistral competitors sailed three races to make up for only completing two on Sunday, the other classes raced two.
So far, New Zealand is in the lead for the Volvo Trophy, which is based on team results across all racing classes. Last year, France won it for the sixth time, when a Kiwi competitor was disqualified for an administrative matter.
Class leaders after Tuesday's racing:
29er boys: Guillaume Vigna/ Thibaut Gatti, FRA
29 girls: Pippa Wilson/ Jenny Marks, GBR
Laser boys: Andrew Campbell, USA
Byte girls: Paige Railey, USA
Mistral boys: Byron Kokkalanis, GRE
Mistral girls: Zofia Klepacka , POL
OPTIMIST NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Hamilton, Bermuda: 113 sailors from nine countries are participating, including for the first time the British Virgin Islands.
Day 1 for competitive racing started out ominously light as there was only a trace of wind while the competitors had breakfast and rigged up. Everyone headed out under tow on another hot sunny day. The Race Committee had the course set up with a minimum of delay and racing was off and running. We were able to get in 3 races for the four divisions but not without challenge.
In the early afternoon a squall moved past to port. The rain was so heavy that Hamilton Harbour was obliterated from view and though it looked quite ominous we on the course were spared with only a handful of rain drops. We could only imagine the parents back at the Club wondering if we had their young sailors out in a hurricane! As it moved past, the shifty conditions warranted several course changes which meant we were unable to take advantage of them and in the end, the wind eventually died down to 5 knots or so. The Race Committee returned to the Club at 5:30pm and the Opti's weren't far behind.
Day 2 (Tuesday) was another beautiful day. The wind started out light but remained consistent in direction and generally was blowing about 5 to 10 knots. This allowed the Race Committee and sailors to knock off four races bringing our total sailed to seven. The children were generally most cooperative on Day 2 as the number of OCS calls dropped from Day 1.
Tomorrow is Team Racing and several teams are waiting on results from the Protests to see where things stand. -- Robert Wilkes
Top five after today's racing, seven races sailed:
1. Facundo Alonso, ARG, 27 points
2. Jesse Kirkland, GER, 29
3. Fernando Ines, ARG, 53
4. Alex Bunt, USA, 54
5. Juan Manuel Monfort, ARG, 57
Complete results at www.boda.bm/pages/na2002_top.html
QUANTUM J/24 WORLDS
Kingston, Ontario: Two more races sailed today on Lake Ontario, bringing the total to four, the required minimum for a valid championship. No throwouts yet, one is allowed after six races or more. Racing continues through until Friday at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, hosted by the Canadian Olympic-training Regatta, Kingston (CORK).
Top five after today's races:
1. Timothy Healy, USA, 22
2. Brad Read, USA, 23
3. Geoffrey Moore, USA, 25
4. Andy Horton, USA, 31
5. Sean Kirjian, AUS, 40
YNGLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Day two of the Yngling World Championships dawned another light day on Lake Lucerne, Brunnen, Switzerland. Three races were sailed, in an attempt to get ahead of schedule, as the forecast looks increasingly lighter towards the end of the week.
After two days it is the American trio of Betsy Alison/Lee Icyda/Suzy Leech who lead the championships by a ten-point margin from Ulrike Schümann/Wibke Bülle/Winnie Lippert of Germany.
Top three after five races:
1. Betsy Alison / Lee Icyda / Suzy Leech, USA, 8 points
2. Ulrike Schümann/Wibke Bülle/Winnie Lippert, GER (2,(16),2,4,10) 18 pts
3. Melanie Dennison/Fiona Herbert/Caroline Aders, AUS (4,1,18,(22),3) 26 pts
Racing concludes on Friday.
Complete results at www.yngling-worlds.ch
WIN A DAY WITH TEAM NEW ZEALAND
Purchase any Line 7 product from AmericasCupStore.com from July to late November and you will be entered into a draw to win a trip for two to Auckland, New Zealand. There, you will spend a day with Team New Zealand during the buildup to their defence of the America's Cup. Just buy Line 7 online and tick the "Enter Me" box at the end of the purchasing process. America's Cup Store is the official online store of the America's Cup offering secure, low cost global delivery. Click here for more details.
FINN GOLD CUP
Piraeus, Greece: Ninety-three sailors from thirty nations and five continents, including all but one of the world's top twenty-five, took to the Saronic Gulf today for the first day of the 2002 Finn Gold Cup.
This is an important event for the sailors as not only is the world championship title up for grabs but it also allows the top nine finishing nations to qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The two times Olympian Emilios Papathanasiou got off to a good start in his home waters, winning both of the races sailed today to take an early overall lead. Although the conditions didn't go all his way and there is question as to whether the race committee will do anything to try and get their local hero to win, after an earlier race was attempted and then abandoned after 75% of the race had been completed, although the conditions had gone light, Papathanasiou was also buried deep in the pack.
Fresh from success after winning the gold medal at the Finn Europeans, double Olympic medallist in the Laser class and team GBR sailor Ben Ainslie started well in the championships, scoring a sixth place in the first race of the day, which he followed up with a second, finishing just behind Papathanasiou, putting him in second place overall. The number three world ranked Karlo Kuret, who has attended three Olympics and is yet to win a medal, is in third place overall. -- Sacha Oswald, RYA
Overall top five after today's racing:
1. Papathanasiou Emilios, GRE, 2 points
2. Ben Ainslie, GBR, 8
3. Karlo Kuret, CRO, 11
4. Charlie Cumbley, GBR, 14
5. Jaap Zichlhuis, NED, 17
Top US sailor is Morrison Hart, currently in 13th place. Other US sailors are: Gregory Skidmore in 17th, Geoffrey Ewenson in 26th, Bryan Boyd, 42nd, Andrew Kern, 66th.
COLORCRAFT TO SPONSOR UMPIRE PROGRAM
Stamford, CT: The Swedish Match Tour has announced that Colorcraft, a Hong Kong-based media and print project management company, has joined the world's premier professional sailing series as the official sponsor of a new and improved Umpire program.
Under the agreement, Colorcraft will provide funding for two additional International Umpires at each Swedish Match Tour event, bringing the total number of International Umpires at each event to six.
In addition, two umpire clinics per year will be hosted by rotating Swedish Match Tour events to assist in developing local umpires for the International circuit.
A universal "Umpire Call Kit" will be developed for use at all Swedish Match Tour events.
Colorcraft will also sponsor the annual "Colorcraft Umpire Recognition Award" to be presented to the top umpire on the Swedish Match Tour based upon the criteria of fairness, respect, and congeniality as voted upon by skippers, crew and event organizers.
Their sponsorship of the Swedish Match Tour continues Colorcraft's involvement in the sport of match race sailing. Previously, Colorcraft had sponsored the Bermuda Gold Cup, a Swedish Match Tour event, and British skipper Andy Green's match race team.
colorcraft.com.hk and swedishmatchtour.com
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org -- until the Curmudgeon returns next week)
(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 Bill Lee: The current America's Cup boats are both hugely expensive and unexciting to watch. Adjustments to the current rule can do little to improve either. Even the sponsors are few and far between. For years AC has been operating under the paradigm that slow lead mine boats will make for close, tactical competition because one boat cannot accelerate away from the other. This paradigm is FALSE. In practice what we usually see is one boat well in front for the duration.
The current AC lead mine class were conceived shortly after the 1988 contest. By 2006, the concept will be pushing 20 years old. Sailing has changed immensely in that time and what was state of the art in 1988 is hopelessly obsolete today. Catamarans are pushing 40 knots and International 14's and can sail balanced on hydrofoils attached to the rudder and daggerboard.
A new concept AC boat should be unballasted and very athletic to sail. The crews may need a break after 30 minutes but that is good because it will permit several races a day. More starts is a much better way to keep the boats close together than lead bulbs. Great for TV breaks and the first to win 15 races is the winner.
A new high performance America's Cup boat will create opportunities and innovation at all levels, including design, construction, sailing skill, tactics and of course spectating, all at a much lesser cost than today's eleven knot money pits. I strongly recommend it for 2006.
OCEAN PLANET ARRIVES IN NEWPORT
Bruce Schwab's Ocean Planet arrived yesterday in Newport, RI to make final preparations for the upcoming Around Alone race. Ocean Planet will be refitted exclusively with Samson running rigging. "This is an extreme event, and that is why I choose Samson for all of my running rigging." said Bruce. "We will have all new halyards made with Validator SK and Warpspeed. Runners are Lightning rope and there is still quite a bit of the original AmSteel Blue in use. It just seems to last forever and does not wear out!" For details, visit, www.samsonrope.com/home/recmarine/index.cfm
Tony Passafiume and Vicky Price won the International Y-flyer Championship sailed July 10 - 12 in Sudbury, Ontario. The Y-flyer is an 18 ft, 2-person sailboat, popular in the U.S. and Canada. Seven Canadian and seven U.S teams competed in the 3-day event.
Tony lives in Gilbertsville and sails on Kentucky Lake. Vicky hails from Owensboro, KY, but can be found at Kentucky Lake nearly every weekend. The two have been sailing together since 1996.
The couple also won the American National Championship in June and the Midwinter Championship in March. Those events were held at the Grand Maumelle Sailing Club in Little Rock, Arkansas and the Lake Norman Sail Club in Charlotte, NC.
This is the first time in the 50 year history of the Y-flyer that any sailor has won all three events in the same year.
Class website: www.yflyer.org
2002 OLYMPIC TEST EVENT - 12-25 AUGUST 2002
Sailing will have the first test event of any sport in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games. Almost 600 athletes. 50% more than for the 2004 Olympic Regatta, will be welcomed at the Aghios Kosmas Sailing Centre, in the Saronic Gulf from 12-25 August 2002.
What is a test event? The aim of a test event is to test the sports' venues under conditions similar to those of the 2004 Olympic Games, and test in practice the arrangements which have so far existed only on paper, with the aim of identifying any shortcomings and making the necessary corrections. A further test event, otherwise known as the Pre-Olympics, will be held in 2003.
As the Olympic Sailing Centre will not be ready, Athens 2004 has built a series of temporary facilities to meet the needs of the regatta. For the sailors, the facilities on dry land may be important, but what really counts is the field of play, and the Gulf will have plenty to offer.
Athletes are due to arrive between 10-14 August, with and practice sailing on 15 August. 16-23 August which will see the regatta take place, with the Closing Ceremony on the evening of 23 August.
There will be 593 athletes, with 381 boats representing 42 countries competing in Athens from 12-25 August 2002.
2002 Test Event Website:
Venue Information: www.athens.olympic.org/page/?la=2&id=852
TALL SHIP CALIFORNIAN DONATED TO MARITIME MUSEUM
The Californian now belongs to the San Diego Maritime Museum, thanks to a San Diego family's generous donation. The San Diego Maritime Museum received the largest gift in its 75-year history when the tall ship Californian was donated to its historic fleet. In a transaction completed June 28, the Hughes and Sheila Potiker Family Foundation of San Diego contributed the funds to purchase the topsail schooner from Orange County's Nautical Heritage Society.
While financial details of the purchase have not been made public, the Californian was recently appraised at $1.4 million. The foundation negotiated the purchase and provided the museum with the funds to transfer the ship from the Nautical Heritage Society in Dana Point to the maritime museum.
Currently docked alongside the ferryboat Berkeley at the museum's Harbor Drive location, Californian has returned home to its native waters. Commissioned in 1983 as the official state tall ship of California, she was built and launched the following year at Spanish Landing at the northern end of San Diego Bay.
Californian is a reconstruction of the 1848 revenue cutter C.W. Lawrence, a fast fore-topsail- schooner design based on the most advanced clipper ships of the day. With an overall length of 145 feet and carrying 7,000 square feet of sail, Californian has a maximum speed under sail of 13.5 knots. -- Jean Quist
Full story at www.thelog.com/news/newsview.asp?c=1636
The Star Class has posted photos taken at the Royal Yacht Club Loosdrecht (Netherlands) in the 1930s. Some photos were taken during the Kiel Europeans, others, during the Kiel Olympics in 1936. Definitely worth a look: www.starclass.org/history/netherlands-photos.htm
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.