SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1132 - August 8, 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.
Saatchi & Saatchi is close to unveiling its "loyal" campaign for Team New Zealand. The campaign is designed to brand in the mind of the New Zealand public the fact that our America's Cup team comprises genuine Kiwi battlers up against the big guy billionaires from abroad. It's understood emphasis will be placed on characterising the team members sailing this time round as the blokes who said "no" to big bucks and stayed loyally to defend the cup for their country.
With Team New Zealand defectors skippering and crewing some of the challengers, the public may have split loyalties and find themselves supporting TNZ names from the past, now sailing under a Swiss flag or the Stars and Stripes. An impressive advertising campaign will reinforce the concept of loyalty in the hope that the example of the Team New Zealand members who held firm will impress the public. The Saatchi & Saatchi push for TNZ and its family of sponsors will be helped by the ongoing quasi-legal saga occurring on the judicial panel for the America's Cup, about to render its judgment on issues such as the alleged theft of the Team New Zealand secrets by some defectors to One World.
With the Louis Vuitton challenger series only 60 days away, the pre-race manoeuvring by syndicates and their lawyers is calculated to attract plenty of public attention. If even some of the claims raised by TNZ are shown to be valid, the disloyalty of some former TNZ members who were bought for huge sums by other syndicates will shock many New Zealanders.
From Saatchi & Saatchi's point of view, it's an ad man's dream to have a running news scandal bolstering a planned commercial media campaign. PR people worth their salt would probably advise the foreign syndicates to keep their heads down on such issues over the next few weeks to avoid fanning the flames. - Bill Ralston, Independent Business Weekly
The first of the new black boats built to defend the America's Cup rolled out of the boat yard last night under a cloud of secrecy. NZL81 was trucked from Cookson's boatyard on Auckland's North Shore to the Team New Zealand base - a journey of just 7km. Carefully wrapped, the hull of the yacht was well hidden from prying eyes. Crossing the Harbour Bridge well after 8pm, the black boat blended into the Auckland night.
Team New Zealand syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg said the boat was transported at night partly to elude observers and traffic. "We wanted to avoid dramas."
That is something that hasn't always happened in the past. In the last campaign NZL57 got stuck in mud, was almost banned from crossing the Harbour Bridge and then got jammed in the branches of a tree. In 1995 NZL32 fell into mud as it came out of the builder's yard. However, the boat went on to win the America's Cup off San Diego, beating Dennis Conner 5-0. "I guess that shows mishaps don't necessarily mean a lot," laughs Schnackenberg.
Schnackenberg said it would be at least a further two weeks before NZL81 was launched. "We have to finish painting the logos, get it measured, put on the fittings - the rig, tracks, lines and hydraulics. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
(Today when it comes to big racing monohulls the San Diego design house of Reichel Pugh are becoming the dominant force in this market. For new maxis like Neville Crichton's new 90-foot Shockwave, designer Jim Pugh says they have thrown away the rulebook. James Boyd talked with Pugh at length about the maxi scene for the madforsailing website. Here's a tiny excerpt.)
"What we do when we design new boats like (the new maxZ86) Zephyrus and Shockwave, is say 'we're not going to look anymore at rating rules like that', because it type forms the boat so much and the rules change so much even in two years. So basically we go for sheer performance and these are the first boats we've been able to do that. It's really fantastic because we can get so much more performance and you get a lot more bang for the buck. And if you look at the races you can get into and there are in fact very few you can't get in."
So when you hear the crews of these boats talking about 'modes' this is what they are referring to: take the fastest boat you can and then tweak the rig and keel until it squeezes inside the rating for the race you want to enter. "So you take one of these light boats and you try and put it into the ILC 470 rule [the maximum allowed under Bermuda Race rules] and it actually rates quite low, because it doesn't look like it goes upwind that well," explains Pugh. "The emphasis on the ILC 470 rule is for upwind performance. So it's quite good because we can pump that boat up and even though it is a pretty short boat it can go pretty fast to Bermuda..." - James Boyd, madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com
AMERICA'S CUP STORE
AmericasCupStore.com is the official 2003 America's Cup online store - your one-stop shop for America's Cup clothing and memorabilia from the comfort of your home or office with worldwide delivery at very low . Offering Team New Zealand, Challenger, and America's Cup 2003 event clothing plus, America's Cup silverware & memorabilia. Check out the stylish Alinghi & Team New Zealand ranges. store.line7.com
* An influx of international Star sailors will swell the fleet California Yacht Club's King of Spain Star Regatta this weekend to about 75 boats. Billed as a dress rehearsal for the 2002 Nautica Star World Championship, the competition will include several world champions including Mark Reynolds, a three-time King of Spain winner; Vince Brun, a five-time KOS winner; current world champion Fredrik Loof of Sweden, triple world champion Bill Buchan, Seattle, and Paul Cayard from San Francisco. The world championship starts the following week at CYC with 114 entries from 26 countries. - Rich Roberts, www.starworlds2002.com
* Five-time Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt from Brazil will be looking for #6 next month at the 2002 Worlds hosted by the Hyannis Yacht Club in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Scheidt was also the 2001 International Sailing Federation Rolex Sailor of the Year Award and won the Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics in Savannah and the Silver Medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Gustavo Lima of Portugal, the 2001 Laser World runner-up, and Mark Powell of Great Britain, the 2001 ISAF Youth Champion, will join 157 other sailors all hoping to knock Robert Scheidt off his pedestal.
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 Scott J. MacLeod: Shame on you Tom! It's quite unfortunate that you took Tom Meade's article out of context in Scuttlebutt without doing your homework. In fact, Tom's article was written on the first day of racing, Wednesday, which we didn't even promote in the local market.
As the promoter of the first year event in Newport we were quite pleased with the public turn-out and spectators on the finals weekend from both the boats lining the race course to the full stands (yes, full stands) and people lining the shore on Sunday afternoon. Not bad for a first year event. Swedish Match Cup only had 5,000 total in their first year and now get up to 30,000 a day.
We had a very successful event with a tremendous amount of local support as well as very happy sponsors. There are not many locations where you can watch the best in the world and listen to Peter Montgomery give you live play-by-play while sipping cool drinks on a weekend afternoon. We look forward to an event bigger and better event next year.
* From Dawn Riley (re: Spectator Sport - UBS Cup): The day that the article was referring to, the grandstands were pretty sparsely populated but it was also 90 plus degrees out and they were in the hot sun. By contrast there were easily 50 boats on the water from run-a-bouts with 5-10 people on them to large luxury yachts with 20-50 people aboard, the large shaded and catered pavilion was packed and the general public was also listening to Peter Montgomery's live commentary on the radio from the comfort of their air conditioned homes. So the article was not the whole truth ... and the next day - Sunday - people braved the heat and watched some unbelievable racing from crowded grand stands. 30,000 people of Marstrand - not yet - but just stand by until next year
* From Ken Legler (edited to our 250-word limit): I believe the UBS Challenge attendance numbers reported by Tom Meade in Tuesday's 'Butt via were very low. There are two basic ways of counting spectators at a sailing regatta; instantaneous and total. I watched for parts of three days, from the Pavilion and from free spectator boats. I estimate the instantaneous crowd for the finals at close to 500 (16 in the grandstands, 150 in the pavilion, almost 100 on or near the seawall and at least 200 in boats). If you count me as three (I was there three of the five days), the total number of spectators would be over 1000, maybe way over. I heard the number of spectators in Sweden was 11,000, not 30,000-50,000 but, perhaps both figures are correct.
This was only the first year this kind of excitement has come to Newport since the Cup was lost in 1983. Those that did attend will not soon forget the incredibly close racing, the daring Peter Gilmour moves, the Ed Baird comebacks, the Ken Read starts, the top amateur heroics of Andy Lovell and crew, the winning streaks of Andy Green and James Spithill, the winner Chris Law press conference, and the splendid commentary from the worlds best, Peter Montgomery, ably assisted by Kate Jennings, Brad Read, Martha Parker, Andy Green and Dawn Riley. Those that were there were treated to something very special and I for one cannot wait until next year.
* From Phil Smithies (re Rolex world sailor of the year): I actually counted 10 nationalities in a time frame of eight years. I did not consider that to be too bad, plus the fact I do not believe there is a person on that list who does not merit there award. Give it time - I am sure that the USA will get more awards in the future.
* From Tom Warren: I was on board Rothmans for the '91 Hobart. Contrary to the thoughts expressed by Andrew Hurst in 'Butt 1131, the only reason the sponsored logo chute was flown was because we ran out of unlogo'd chutes i.e. they were blown apart, and that spinnaker was the only one we had left. It was not a publicity stunt, rather dedicated sailors trying to win, which we did. That chute was flown for one hour in Bass straight, and the vessel was not thrown out. Interestingly at that years prize giving, the video played showed Rothmans was not the only boat to have flown a logo'd chute, but who cares now - we know we won. Big names pay the bills, and as such let others like ourselves earn livings, and enjoy their passion - Sailing !
* From Greg Dillon (edited to our 250-word limit): The America's Cup might be at a crossroads, but why stop there? It's time to showcase sailing as a true global sport. We have all these high profile events, but nothing to tie them together. How about a professional racing environment, where "teams" aren't focused on just one event? Fans need "teams" to root for, yet right now there's no continuity, TNZ and Stars & Stripes might be exceptions. We need a way to follow "teams" in all different events/classes, every year. How does Oracle measure up to Alinghi combining results from the Swedish Match tour, Key West, Sidney-Hobart, Farr 40's, the Olympics, Star Worlds, etc.? Maybe there's too much intermingling of crews for this to work, but wouldn't it be fun to have professional sailing "teams" with the respect, traditions and marketability of Real Madrid, All Blacks, McLaren or Notre Dame?
With so much focus on boat design (the root of AC problems now), where's the mentality that "my team can beat your team anywhere, any boat, any day." Someone said the AC class design is getting old, and the Volvo has boat questions every time. Why not some more cost-effective design rules, so teams could do both, like Illbruck attempted? Like golf, put the AC, Volvo, Olympics and Admiral's Cup in a once-every-fourth-year "major-type" rotation? Sprinkle in some of the premier match racing, one-design and offshore races and you've got a professional tour every year. "Teams" can establish long-term relationships with people and sponsors, while maximizing their resources.
* From Andrew Troup: Peter Huston is the latest in a line of contributors who believe it to be self-evident that the America's Cup needs a makeover to reflect "modern sports/entertainment culture". Culture has certainly strayed from meaning something which arose by a natural process from within a people (or, in the case of yoghurt, a pottle).
I can't help noticing the vacuousness which seems the inevitable outcome of chasing the particular mirage he refers to. The middle-morass of mass-marketing mediocrity is, if anything, already crowded. Surely the last thing we need to do is recruit the few shining exceptions?
Will the world suddenly become more interesting when AC crews wear baseball caps backwards and tie up at each mark-rounding to endorse sports beverages and home exercise appliances? Idea: why not build indoor stadiums with artificial wind, so the networks don't have to contend with the vagaries of the elements?
Yoghurt might just be the last honest culture left standing.
* From Tai Ward-Holmes (Reply to Peter Huston and others): As in most sports, teams and individuals gain experience by competing all over the world in friendly competition. Goodwill, spirit and integrity are built up the hard way, by earning it amongst your peers and competitors. No amount of dollars can buy it and by Sweden opting to gain experience sailing against TNZ, they're being very smart. They're building a huge physiological advantage over their better or, lesser challengers, ready for the first LV series. Call it being old fashioned or in the stone ages? Na mate! Call it a breathe of fresh air for freedom of choice, democracy and, goodwill spirit!
There's an update in the Boating Oz Sailing Report #175 (www.boatingoz.com.au) about the 'arm's war' going on down under. Now that Sydney yachtsman Neville Crichton's recently launched new 90-foot speedster Shockwave is all the rage, Grant Wharington's is apparently feeling left out. Soooo, Wharington's 83ft maxi yacht designed by Murray, Dovell and Burns, is for sale - to make room for the new and larger racing boat he's commissioned. The goal of each project appears to be line honors in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. www.boats.com/listing/boat_details.jsp?entityid=10052371
HARKEN'S CARBO AIRBLOCKS - A MATERIALS BREAKTHROUGH:
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CLUB 420 NATIONALS
Light air was the rule for this year's Club 420 US National Championship. A total of 5 races were sailed over two days. It all came down to a showdown in the final race, as after 4-races, Morgan Paxhia with crew Karry Mahoney were tied with Lauren Padilla and crew Robbie Ginnebau, both with 11 points. At the start of race-5, it looked bleak for Padilla, who started OCS near the boat. After restarting, however, she was able to get over to the right hand side of the course where she took advantage of a significant right shift and a little better pressure. This got her to the top mark in a position to take a 4th place in that race, and first place for the regatta. Paxhia's 12th place dropped him to 5th place for the regatta.
1st Lauren Padilla & Robbie Ginnebau Bayview YC 15pts
2nd also top junior boat TJ Tullo & John Sampson Toms River 17pts
3rd Michael Wilde & Liz Bower Rochester YC 19pts
4th Lee Sackett & Mandy Sackett Mentor Harbor YC 22pts
5th Morgan Paxhia & Karry Mahoney Youngstown YC 23pts
Results and Photos can be found at www.yyc.org
CORRECTION: We made a mistake in yesterday's Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race report - the monohull with the lowest corrected time was Nemesis, Paul Marsten's Antrim 27.
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* August 10-August 17: ILYA Championship Regatta, Oshkosh YC, Oshkosh, WI, www.ilya.org
* September 4-6: E-Scow Nationals, Mendota YC, Madison, WI. www.E-Scow.org
* August 10-13: T10 North Americans, Chicago YC. www.chicagoyachtclub.org
* September 13-17: International J/24 Women's Open Championship, Edgewater YC Cleveland, Ohio. www.j242002.com
* September 17-22: International J/24 North Americans, Edgewater YC, Cleveland, Ohio. www.j242002.com
* September 17-21: 12 Metre North Americans, Newport RI.
* September 19-22: /105 North Americans, Chicago YC. www.chicagoyachtclub.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Perhaps the best solution to morale problems is to just fire all of the unhappy people