SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1131 - August 7, 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.
ISAF ROLEX WORLD SAILOR OF THE YEAR
The presentation of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2002, the pinnacle award of recognition in the sport of sailing, will take place on Tuesday 12 November 2002 in Limassol, Cyprus. The Awards are presented annually to recognise the outstanding sailing achievements of male and female sailors, as nominated and voted by the world of sailing. The process of determining the winners is based on an initial nomination process, from which a final shortlist is then drawn up, with the winners being confirmed by votes from the sailing world. Past winners embody the diversity and spread of the sport, both geographically and in the sailing disciplines they represent.
As in past years, ISAF anticipates nominated sailors representing all the disciplines of our sport from dinghies to offshore, windsurfers to multihulls. The achievements of sailors may be as diverse as a record breaking passage, a series of regatta wins over the year, triumph against the odds or any other "outstanding achievement".
ISAF welcomes Nominations for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2002 from all persons - whether you are a sailor, class, national authority, media, sailing club, event organiser - all are welcome. In nominating sailors, please bear in mind the importance and eminence of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, in that they are awarded for truly "outstanding achievement". Nominations will close at 1000 hours GMT on Monday 2 September 2002.
Nominations should be made on the official Nomination Form:
2001: Robert Scheidt (BRA) & Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2000: Mark Reynolds/Magnus Liljedahl (USA) & Shirley Robertson (GBR)
1999: Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) & Margriet Matthijse (NED)
1998: Ben Ainslie (GBR) & Carolijn Brouwer (NED)
1997: Pete Goss (GBR) & Ruslana Taran/Elena Pakholchik (UKR)
1996: Jochen Schmann (GER) & Lee-Lai Shan (HKG)
1995: Russell Coutts (NZL) & Isabelle Autissier (FRA)
1994: Peter Blake (NZL)/Robin Knox Johnston (GBR) & Theresa Zabell (ESP)
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: I just could not help noticing that British sailors have won this award five times, The Netherlands and New Zealand each have two winners and no other country has scored more than once. Hmm.
ON THE HAURAKI GULF
* Murray Jones, Team Alinghi's strategist, broke his left foot this afternoon while training on board Alinghi on the Hauraki Golf. "The wind was blowing at ten knots and the two Alinghi boats (SUI 64 and SUI 75) were involved in routine training when Murray's foot got stuck in the mainsail sheet" said Xavier Jolis, Team Alinghi's physiotherapist. "We will have to wait a few days to assess the injury but it looks like Murray won't be able to sail for a few weeks", he said. Murray Jones has been sailing many years alongside Team skipper Russell Coutts - together they won the Americas Cup in 1995 and 2000. - www.alinghi.com/en/news/
* With most Challengers now back in Auckland, the Viaduct Basin has assumed an air of purposeful activity with the syndicates routinely going out into the Hauraki Gulf testing 6 or 7 days a week. Most leave the Basin around 8 - 9 am, returning about 4-5 pm.
Currently 14 boats from syndicates are visible at the Basin - OracleBMW with 2 boats, Mascalzone Latino 1 boat (ITA-55), OneWorld Challenge with 2 boats; Alinghi with 3 boats, GBR with 3 boats, Victory Challenge with 2 boats and Team New Zealand's NZL-60 which made its re-appearance in the boat shed today, skirted and rigged. In addition to the syndicate boats, the ACC charter boats NZL 40 and NZL 41 are also in the Basin. - Cheryl, 2003AC website, isuzu21.webcrossing.com
August 4, NEWPORT, RI - America's Cup sailing has returned to Newport, but America's Cup fans have not. The Swedish Match Tour's UBS Challenge opened Wednesday with many of the world's best sailors competing before an empty grandstand.
When the Swedish Match championships are held in Sweden, 30,000 to 50,000 sailing enthusiasts line the shore with hundreds more on boats, said New Zealand sportscaster Peter Montgomery. "They're all well informed and they're all clapping and hooting and hollering. It's like being at a football match. Fantastic." At the height of the action yesterday afternoon, there were 16 people in the Goat Island grandstand where admission was free. - Tom Meade, The Providence Journal
OCEAN PLANET IN FINAL PREP FOR AROUND ALONE
As the weeks roll on, the deadline is fast approaching for Ocean Planet's preparation for the Around Alone race. Samson Rope has been a longtime supporter of Bruce Schwab and Ocean Planet, now the only American Open 60 entered in the race. Bruce knows his ropes and is currently re-rigging with Samson's Lightning Rope, Validator SK, and Warpspeed. Join us at Samson and let's give our American entry the resources that he needs: Bruce needs your financial support to safely compete in what is the longest race on earth. Please visit www.oceanplanet.org and join Bruce's American effort! You'll feel good about it!
* Kiwi singlehander Graham Dalton has suffered a major setback in his campaign to win the Around Alone race which starts from New York on 15 September. Having left Plymouth on 31st July, heading for Newport, Rhode Island on his qualifying sail, the mast broke in 20 knots of wind just 24 hours into the passage and Dalton had to leap out of the way of the falling spar. "It was heading straight for me as I stood at the wheel," he said. "One of the spreaders grazed me as I leapt for cover." His boat, Hexagon, was designed and built specifically for this race and is an evolution of Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher, lighter and with a bigger rig. - Yachting World website, full story: www.yachting-world.com/auto/newsdesk/20020706100921ywnews.html
* Champagne Mumm has joined the Swedish Match Tour as 'Official Champagne'. Under terms of the agreement, Champagne Mumm will supply each of the eight events on the Swedish Match Tour with champagne for use at official receptions and prize giving ceremonies.
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.com)
(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.)
* Andrew Hurst: I don't want to be drawn either way on the possible ejection of the big Cup teams. However your reader Bob Kieman has made one good point: It is worth remembering that the entry that dominated all the media coverage of the 1991 Sydney-Hobart Race was Rothmans... not because they did any good, but because they elected to fly a branded chute knowing that it would, and did, get them thrown out the race.
* From Peter Huston: The late Raul Gardini once said "the America's Cup is just a street fight with cold knives". Basically, it's every team for itself. Even so, it's hard to imagine why the Swedes won't agree with the rest of the Challengers and not sail against Team New Zealand.
Japan lost face within the ranks of the Challenger community during the last event. Perhaps that is the key reason why the Japanese have dropped out of the America's Cup.
Nothing against the lovely country and wonderful people of New Zealand, but the only way the America's Cup is going to be changed to reflect modern sports/entertainment culture is for another team with forwarding thinking, and significant sports management experience, to win the event and change the Deed of Gift. By helping TNZ, Sweden is going to help keep the America's Cup in the stone ages.
* From Jeff Roberts: The Swedes should figure out that the America's Cup is a challenge-defense event. Tuning up against a fellow competitor in a fleet race is honorable, but a challenger tuning up the Defender in the America's Cup is a slap in the face to all the other challengers -- not a classy move that makes Sweden look naive and worse.
Michael Fay had Chris Dickson do it in 87 after their NZ "plastic fantastic" was eliminated on the theory that if the Cup stayed in Perth it would be cheaper and easier for them to challenge the next time, and out of spite for the other challengers who had protested their fiberglass 12s. Peter Gilmour did it in 00 in a last gasp effort to get publicity for his sponsors -- bad publicity as it turned out.
The Swedes and their sponsors would be much better off with the next event in Europe or the USA, and if they do tune up TNZ they, too, will get heaps of negative PR. So what can they possibility be thinking?
* From Bruce Eissner, Offshore Chairman, US Sailing: You're having an interesting discussion of ratings systems. I tend to think of the various systems as a continuum, from the most exact (and expensive) to the least. Choice is the key. Some people want measurement rules, where IMS is still the most rigorous, but where Americap II now provides acceptable measurement rule accuracy, along with greater simplicity, for many more racers. For single-number advocates, who are still the great majority of US sailors, SailRater now brings VPP technology to PHRF-like ratings, so that different single numbers can be re-calculated for wind speed, course pattern, or boat configuration. And, of course, PHRF itself suits the needs of a great number of competitors. It's a pluralistic approach, because we've found that racers like to have choices and may participate in two or three different systems in the course of a single season.
* From Nancy Graver (edited to our 250-word limit): For those of you who don't know what the North American Challenge Cup/Independence Cup is, it is the National championship for Sailors with Special Needs...sailors with some different abilities. The event has grown in the last several years to include sailors on the 2.4m and Freedom 20.
The regatta is more than a championship. It is an opportunity for all of us to hone our sailing skills and I'm sure that if you asked any of the participants...whether at the top or at the bottom of the fleet, they would agree that it is an awesome experience! We are coached on the water and off by Serge Jorgensen, Betsy Alison and Collin Gutherie. Our physical condition is monitored by Dr Ann Allen.
There is a genuine Corinthian spirit - no rock stars. The best in the fleet can be seen giving pointers and encouragement to those of us just learning the boats. I have raced, both as an "abled body" and as a "differently-abled body" for more than 20 years and this is one of the best organized and run!
On another note...please, if you know a differently abled person, check for a sailing program in your community. We have programs in the US and Canada and I have sailed against people from all over the world! Let's work at getting some juniors on the water!
There has been talk for some time that "a top Formula 1" has begun design studies for an America's Cup racing yacht and these have resurfaced again in recent days in The Sunday Times in London. It is no secret that McLaren has discussed such a possibility to add to the company's image of being a ground-breaking force in technology. The team has stuck to automobile racing in recent years after the abortive Land Speed Record car which was dubbed "Maverick" at the time.
When McLaren boss Ron Dennis secured the services of design guru Adrian Newey a year ago after an attempt to hire him by Jaguar, there was talk that Newey could design an America's Cup boat. The man himself makes no secret of his desire to have a go at aquadynamics, which is much the same as aerodynamics but slower. If it all sounds very far-fetched one should remember that British American Racing's technical director Geoff Willis is actually a doctor of hydrodynamic engineering and in the late 1980s worked on the British America's Cup challenge in San Diego.
McLaren boss Ron Dennis said earlier this year that the team had no America's Cup program, but that does not mean that one is not being planned. - www.grandprix.com/ns/ns06804.html
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FOR THE RECORD
The maxi-catamaran Orange, skipper Bruno Peyron, recent winner of the Jules Verne Trophy (for the fastest boat to circumnavigate the world), will for the first time be in UK waters to pursue her next record breaking campaign. Orange has left her base in Marseilles on Wednesday 31st July, for a weeklong delivery to Cowes on the Isle of Wight where she is expected to arrive 9th August 2002.
Orange will be seen on The Solent during Cowes Week before attempting, weather conditions permitting, the Round the Isle of Wight Record, held since November 2001 by the American Steve Fossett on the maxi-catamaran PlayStation (2 hours, 33 minutes and 55 seconds).
Sometime in August, again weather permitting, co-skippers Bruno Peyron and Neal McDonald and their crew, including Neal's wife Lisa, will attempt to beat the Round Britain & Ireland Record, also held by Steve Fossett on board his Lakota since October 1994 (5 days, 21 hours, 5 minutes and 27 seconds) and the Cowes - St Malo record.
After the British programme, Orange will once again head for the Mediterranean to her base in Marseilles to attempt the Mediterranean records, (Marseilles to Carthage, Round Corsica Record) before handing the boat over to Ellen McArthur in October who plans to challenge Peyron's Jules Verne record in 2003. - www.orange.co.uk/sailing
It seem there is no chance that Chris Law, arguably Britain's top match racer, will have any role in Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge for the America's Cup, but the 50-year-old firebrand, who has just won a top match-racing event in America, has not given up all hope yet. Following his victory in the Swedish Match UBS Challenge event at Newport, Rhode Island, at the weekend - a championship in which Andy Green and a GBR Challenge crew finished sixth - Law said that he still believes he has much to offer.
Admitting that being passed over for selection "hurt a lot", Law, who steered the last British America's Cup challenger, White Crusader, off Fremantle in 1986, said: "Even now, if I was asked to help, I would." Law feels he could play a useful role as an analyst. "I think that a lot of the guys are worried and concerned about looking or feeling stupid if they happen to expose their weaknesses," he said.
But Law's pitch is likely to get him nowhere. Sources within Harrison's camp in Cowes last night made clear that they regard him as potentially disruptive and that Law was very much associated with the old guard in British sailing, while this was a young team of the future. Edward Gorman, The Times.
CHRIS LAW ON THE LOUIS VUITTON SERIES
(During James Boyd's extensive interview with Chris Law on the madforsailing website, Boyd asked who would win the Louis Vuitton Series. Here's an excerpt from Law's answer.)
If I was betting now, Prada v Alinghi with Prada to win. They've got the longest running campaign, they're the most meticulous, they've spent the most money, they've got the most successful designer in modern America's Cup history. And Doug Petersen this time has got what he wanted. He's got Ian Howlett, who's probably best the tank testing designer having designed Lionheart, Victory and White Crusader.
They have a very strong management structure in Laurent Esquier who has done all the challenges since 1980. Francesco [de Angelis] I think did a very good job last time if you consider that he beat Cayard - and whatever anybody said, Cayard did have the money and they had millons of dollars left over at the end and they had two very good boats, he was a very good match racer and he'd won the Louis Vuitton Cup twice. And he got beaten by Francesco.
Full story: www.madforsailing.com
SANTA BARBARA TO KING HARBOR
William Gibbs' Afterburner, a New Zealand built very tall-rigged Malcolm Tennant Bladerunner catamaran, which was extended from 47 to 52 feet, broke the course record for the 81-mile Santa Barbara to King Harbor race with a sizzling time six hours and 41 minutes. John Staff's Cheetah 30 Wildcat had the best corrected time in a fleet of 119 boats. Results are now posted at: www.khyc.org
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* August 7-9: Santana 20 Nationals, Del Rey YC, Marina Del Rey Ca. www.s20.org
* August 12-16: International 110 US Championships, Ida Lewis YC, Newport, RI. www.110class.com
* August 14-17: 505 North American Championships, Cabrillio Beach YC, www.int505.org/usa/
* August 26-September 3: Europe World Championships in Ontario, Canada. www.europeworlds2002.org
* September 15-20: IOD World Championships, Bermuda. www.iodfleet.bm/Worlds%20Home.htm
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Most people are halfway through life before they realize it's a do-it-yourself thing.