SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1127 - August 1, 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.
Murray Deaker interviewed Tom Schnackenberg, head of Team New Zealand, on radio recently. Listeners were able to phone in with questions. Some highlights are excerpted below. (For the full interview see www.newstalkzb.co.nz/index.asp, Sunday 4pm)
Murray Deaker: Tom, all of us now realize that one of the things you have to have is a boat that is going to go very quick. How much quicker do you think this boat will be from the last boat?
Tom Schnackenberg: Well, again that's not something we really want to tell people. And, of course, if I tell you then we're telling the world. But we aim to have a significant improvement because we figured all the other teams would be building boats which were significantly faster than (NZL) 60. And we have achieved significant improvements and so it's fast. It's fast enough that we think that 60 wouldn't have a chance against the new boat in the series.
Caller Question: My question is when Dennis Conner's boat was hauled out of the water the other evening, were there any surprises in the keel shape?
TS: No, from the bit of video that - I didn't actually see but had described to me - it sounded pretty conventional, in fact. Not much different from what we would have had on NZL-32 in terms of the keel and bulb configuration. Wings were a little bit different. They were down the back - the bulb seemed to be missing one wing actually. But pretty much an ordinary tidy looking keel configuration.
Caller Question: My question is, if by some faint chance we lose the Cup, can you see New Zealand mounting another challenge, similar to the one where we won it?
TS: No, the whole game has come up so much that we believe that if we were to lose the Cup it would be some time before New Zealand could find a way of getting back into the event. So, we're just assuming that this is the Cup that we must win.
Caller Question: Do you think that whoever wins the Cup this time will be important for its future direction? I have in mind the idea that it should be team based rather than country based.
TS: Well, as you can imagine we're expecting to win the Cup and we think that we are important for its future direction. Everybody that thinks they could become a trustee suddenly starts becoming cognisant of all this and starts wondering about the future of the Cup itself rather than their own little personal futures. I think that with the few challengers who are multinational - and some of them are expressly multinational - it just opens up the opportunity for debate on this issue. The thing about the Cup, of course, is that it is governed by the Deed of Gift which is like a founding constitution and that's what it is - a founding constitution of the America's Cup and of course that states that it's to be held as a Challenge Cup for friendly competition between nations. So that pretty much also rules out the multinational thing. It would require a huge shift in opinion, I think, before people would actually say the Deed of Gift should be changed and we should make the America's Cup more like the Volvo Race for instance.
Cheryl has posted additional excerpts on the 2003AC website: isuzu21.webcrossing.com
(Sean Downey interviewed Russell Coutts for the Yachtracing website. Here's an excerpt.)
Sean Downey: How would you rank the fleet of challengers?
Russell Coutts: Without knowing exactly what they've come up with in terms of design, it's hard to rate them. I think they've all got strengths and weaknesses. I view this as kind of like the Olympics in a lot of ways in that in the years before the Olympics, quite often certain crews that are putting in more time in than anyone else and [have] reached a better skill level will tend to dominate. Then as everyone starts to come to their peak performance leading into the Olympics, you start to see some changes. You start to see some other crews coming up and matching the so-called "favorites" to use your earlier term.
I see that happening in the Cup these days. There's been such a change and such a greater level of preparation gone into it, and thought, that a lot of these teams that previously may have been uncompetitive have raised their game. So, for me it's pretty hard to pick who the semi-finalists would be.
Q: Why is Team New Zealand going after One World regarding boat design and not Team Alinghi?
RC: Well, there's been no accusations against Alinghi, because there isn't anything there. Bear in mind that there is some subtle differences, in that we didn't hire any designers from Team New Zealand. However, I think a lot of the play around this issue has been over-reaction in some ways.
I look at a guy like Laurie Davidson and I think he's done some tremendously good things for Team New Zealand over the years. I think he came up with what I can recall a very, very significant idea for 1995 and certainly his bow idea for 2000 was probably the significant idea of the whole design program.
So, to now turn around and say that he's stealing those concepts is hard for me to stomach in some ways. But, I really question the relevance of some of that stuff. Laurie could probably draw NZL 60, in fact he would be able to, within a millimeter or so anyway. I doubt whether he would have to steal designs to do so.
There's much more: www.yachtracing.com/interviews/coutts.htm
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* A team from Western Australia have reserved their place on the starting line of the Antarctica Cup, the US $6.4 million maxi-yacht race through the Southern Ocean, that starts and finishes in Fremantle. Led by locally based, international business man Mark Rodoreda, the team are already in negotiations with a number of Western Australia's top sailors, and are very optimistic about support from the local business community. The Antarctica Cup, which is scheduled to start in December 2004, will be raced in a fleet of up to fifteen 82 foot maxi turbo-sleds, and has already attracted entries from the United States, England, the Netherlands and Australia. - John Roberson, www.antarcticacup.com
* The latest rankings for all Olympic Classes were released 31 July 2002 and are published on the ISAF website: www.sailing.org/rankings/
* Having scooped the Finn world championship last week in Greece, Ben Ainslie MBE is heading back to the UK to take the helm of Volvo for Life a 70ft Swan (Robert Condon's Serano of London) during Skandia Life Cowes Week which starts this Saturday. The 25-strong crew will also include Volvo Ocean Race skippers Neal and Lisa McDonald and TV/magazine competition winners Helen Rice and Ali Hall. - Sue Pelling, Yachting World, www.yachting-world.com/yw/home.htm
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(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 Beau Gayner: Jeff d'Etiveaud Co-Skipper of Mari-Cha II in Butt 1126 said "With all the technology available the tech world should be able to mass produce a portable MOB locating device. I'll get one!" They do infact produce a portable device. We installed it on our boat last year for Transpac. Each crewmember wears a small personal locator around their neck while on deck that is water activated. A RDF unit is then mounted below or a handheld is used on deck. The unit has a 1.5-mile range and is very inexpensive. It is called Alert2 and can be found at http://www.alert2.com/
* From Nick Barran: In response to Jef d'Etiveaud Co-Skipper of Mari-Cha III, there is a portable MOB locating device. It is made by none other than ACR Electronics. We carry it aboard our ILC40, Jeantex - USA, together with the personal locator beacons for each crewmember. The beacons and the hand-held locators work very well and can be found at www.ospreysailing.com and other traditional marine outlets.
* From Cole Price: Jef d'Etiveaud's letter in yesterday's Scuttlebutt stated, "With all the technology available the tech world should be able to mass produce a portable MOB locating device". They do. It's called a strobe. Everyone on deck at night during an ocean race should be wearing one, along with a life vest. Additionally, the whole crew should be conditioned to hit the "MOB" button on a GPS if someone goes overboard so that the boat can return the area after the chute is dropped.
* From H. Bentley: Perhaps if one carries a waterproof VHF attached to oneself, One might have a better time seeing the boat and redirecting it than relying on eyes at night to spot a needle in a haystack.,
* From Tony Bessinger, Sailing World magazine (In reference to Vann Wilson's comment in 'Butt #1126 about coverage of Andrew Campbell winning the Laser class at the Youth Worlds): Our own Elizabeth Carroll covered the event on site and filed an article about Andrew's win on our website the following Monday. Vann, and any others interested in Andrew's win and the fortunes of the rest of the American team, can check out the story at: sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1131
* From Andy McNab: I would think that reporting Bill Koch's comments on Torben Grael comes under the heading of personal attacks. I can't recall the details but I think that Torben has had a fair measure of success over the years! Let's keep it positive.
* From Peter Winter: Having had only limited exposure to Americap as a rating system, I am no expert. Neither am I advocating it over PHRF, I just wish to correct some comments made in Scuttlebutt 1125. The top ten boats in the Americap division for the Chicago-Mac race were all production boats. Second, the PHRF I usually find myself exposed to is time-on-distance, meaning RC's must be determining "accurate" course lengths for every race. Of course, with GPS this is getting easier. Finally, PHRF using time-on-time is best for fleets with a wide handicap spread (smaller clubs etc).
* From Brian Watkins (Regarding ratings): The things that vary are boats, conditions, and sailors. So the decisions are which of these we want to take into account and how. PHRF takes into account the boats using casual observation and is subject to measuring sailors. Americap and IMS take into account the boats and conditions using measurement and cannot consider sailors. Because the measurement systems take more into account they get complicated. Americap mitigates the complexity by rendering down the wind speed component into two factors which necessarily ignores some VPP data while not achieving the single number simplicity.
The flawed single number system is the most realistic one today. It's so practical it won't go away. Improving it by having two wind ranges as suggested would be trouble because so often the wind is in the middle. Have fun making that call. You could have three ranges with a medium range centered around your region's average wind, but even that will create dissent.
Instead, we should start by using the VPP data to spot the larger errors in our subjective single numbers. It's easy to apply the general conditions in each region using weighted averages and local raters could retain some leeway to address concerns about VPP accuracy. And if we have higher hopes for a much better system like Americap, helping the popular PHRF system rate their base boats would be a crafty way to get real traction.
* From Ian Farquharson: I totally agree with Kurt Hoehne's comments re: Americap vs PHRF etc. If IRC seems to be working reasonably well in the rest of the world why on earth aren't we just adopting it? Can it be that we can't accept something "not invented here"? What a waste!
Fortunately I now race my J105 in one design but for a few years I raced it in PHRF and I couldn't help but notice that you always had some boats choosing PHRF and some IMS even when they had similar speed potential eg. J35 and J105 (probably whatever they thought would give them the best outcome). The problem with this is that many divisions would only have 2 or 3 boats in them (some even just 1 which is ludicrous) and yet it was amazing after miles of racing how close they would all come in to the finish - it would have been way more fun to combine to two systems - the more, the merrier!
Instead of relentlessly plugging away trying to fix PHRF and fix Americap version 5 or whatever - lets just move to IRC with the rest of the world and all of us focus on refining IRC to best of our ability and to the benefit of sailors all over the world.
ON THE OLYMPIC TRAIL
(Madforsailing's James Boyd talked with the new Finn European and World champion, gold medallist Ben Ainslie about his new Olympic campaign. Here's a brief excerpt.)
When he was campaigning the Laser, Ainslie weighed in at 79-80kg. To be at fighting weight in a Finn you need to be around 20% more than this. "It's a bigger range than it is in a boat like a Laser," says Ainslie of the weight he is heading for. "95kg is probably the lowest, up to Luca Devoti who is 115kg which is probably too heavy. But 95-105kg is ideal I'd say. I've got a bit of way to go. I've got some time this winter to really work hard on it. It's very hard when you're doing events - it's impossible to get in the gym and do the weight training when you're away racing. But you have to accept that and wait until you've got an off period then really hammer the gym to get the weight on.
"In the Laser, I spent all my time in the gym trying to lose weight, and doing fat burning sessions, now I'm eating tons and doing the weight training. It's more rewarding in a way because you see yourself getting bigger and lifting heavier weights. Maybe I'd better be careful not to get carried away!" So eating a lot of pies is only part of the equation. - James Boyd, Madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com
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505 EAST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP
Peter Alarie and Tyler Moore were winners at the 2002 505 East Coast Championship held in conjunction with the Hyannis Annual Regatta last weekend in Cape Cod, MA. A classic Cape Cod seabreeze filled in on the first day of the event allowing the 505's to really fly downwind thanks to the new and much larger class-legal spinnakers. Moderate air followed for the final two days.
1. Peter Alarie/Tyler Moore, 12pts
2. Jesse Falsone/Macy Nelson, 16pts
3. Martin TenHove/Jeff Boyd, 22pts
4. Clayton James/Barney Harris, 30pts
5. Drew Buttner/Tim Collins, 40pts.
MELGES 24 WORLDS
TRAVEMUNDE, GERMANY -Provisional Results after six races with one throwout:
1. USA Harry Melges / Jeff Ecklund, 10.6 points
2. GBR Jamie Lea / Richard Thompson, 29 points
3. NOR Kristopher Spone / Neils Hauff, 30 points
4. GBR Rob Smith / Stuart Simpson, 41 points
5. FRA Oliver Ponthieu, 46 points.
NEWPORT, RI - Crews representing US-based America's Cup challengers Team Dennis Conner and Seattle's OneWorld Challenge were undefeated to set the pace on the first day of the Swedish Match Tour's UBS Challenge in Newport, RI. Team Dennis Conner helmsman Ken Read and OneWorld Challenge skipper Peter Gilmour posted spotless records on the day, registering three wins, to lead the way in Group A of the round robin while Gilmour's OneWorld teammate James Spithill, driving a second OneWorld entry in the regatta, finished 4-0, in Group B.
The day's racing was delayed several hours due to lack of wind. The afternoon saw the arrival of 8-10 knot winds on the bay, with the racecourse set just off the seawall along Goat Island. The UBS Challenge will continue to sail the double round robin portion of the event through Friday. The semifinals will take place on Saturday and the finals on Sunday. - Shawn McBride
STANDINGS - Group A:
1. Peter Gilmour, AUS/Team Pizza La 3-0
2. Ken Read, Team Dennis Conner 3-0
3. Jean-Claude Monnin, Alinghi Team 2-1
4. Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/ Team Victory Lane 2-1
5. Paolo Cian, Mascalzone Latino 1-2
6. Luc Pillot, Le Defi Areva 1-2
7. Ben Cesare, USA 0-3
8. Mason Woodworth, USA 0-3.
1. James Spithill, OneWorld Challenge 4-0
2. Gavin Brady, Prada Challenge 3-1
3. Ed Baird, USA/ Team Musto 2-2
4. Jesper Radich, Denmark 2-2
5. Chris Law, Great Britain/ Team Outlaws 2-2
6. Andy Lovell, USA 2-2
7. Dawn Riley, K-Challenge 1-3
8. Andy Green, GBR Challenge 0-4
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* August 2-5: North American Challenge Cup for disabled sailors, Chicago YC's Belmont Harbor Station. www.chicagoyachtclub.org
* April 5-11, 2003: US Sailing Multihull Championship for the Alter Cup, Clearwater Community Sailing Center, Clearwater, Florida. www.ussailing.org/alter/
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
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