SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1141 - August 21, 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.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
(Veteran America's Cup reporter Suzanne McFadden has done a 2000 word story for the NZ Herald on Team New Zealand Syndicate Head Tom Schnackenberg that should be required reading for all AC followers. Here are three tiny excerpts.)
Next year will signal Tom Schnackenberg's ninth America's Cup campaign. This time he has taken on the role of team leader - a job inherited when Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth suddenly left for another side.
The trio were to have shared the leadership responsibilities. "It was to have been the R-B-T show," he says. "I would've been design coordinator again, and Russell would have been syndicate head. I guess this is a bit simpler without three people running the show.
* Schnackenberg is still the design coordinator, and principal designer Mike Drummond says his input is vital. "Tom has always had an ability to see the big picture of a yacht. You might be talking about a very small area like a rudder, working out the intricacies of it, and he can easily relate it to the entire yacht's performance. He can see the whole jigsaw puzzle rather than a single piece."
In his role as team leader, Schnackenberg says he would never try to fill the much bigger boat shoes of his predecessor, the late Sir Peter Blake, head of Team New Zealand for the two campaigns before. "If I tried I would be silly. Peter was the master of raising money and massaging the sponsors. I have no charisma at all - maybe if I was a good actor I could act the part," he says.
* So what is it about sailing that has captured Schnackenberg for the past 35 years? "It's a combination of the aesthetic - boats look good - the romantic - being on the sea close to Mother Nature - the competition - it's fun - the technology - which feeds another part of the intellect - and the drama, like the America's Cup. The America's Cup is a complete ball game - it has all the dimensions of life, all in a microcosm. It's beautiful." - Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald, full story:
Tom Meade, sports writer for the Providence Journal interviewed Gary Jobson about the 2003 America's Cup. Here are two brief excerpts from that piece.)
"New Zealand is going to lose for a number of reasons," Jobson says:
"1. They don't have the resources. I just read that they were still $9 million short in their funding."
"2. I think the loss of Peter Blake, a visionary and a leader and a sailor, affects the team." (Blake was killed by pirates during an expedition in Brazil).
3. When you lose 12 of your 16 starters whether you're the Patriots or the Red Sox you can't have that kind of attrition and still expect to perform."
* So who will take the America's Cup away from New Zealand? "I like Alenghi from Switzerland," Jobson said. "I like Stars & Stripes because I think they have a great crew and great designers. And Oracle because they've put so much money into it."
The Italian team Prada, with its multinational crew, may have put as much money into its campaign as Oracle has spent. "I think the Italians are going to go up in a cloud of dust," Jobson said. "Putting a Brazilian, a New Zealander, an Italian and an American in the cockpit together with an owner who's trying to squash everybody doesn't make sense." - Tom Meade, www.projo.com
CARBON FIBER VS. ALUMINUM POLES
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* While America's Cup syndicates spend fortunes on their challenges, their near neighbors at Viaduct Harbour are making their fortunes - in real estate. Demand for apartments with views of the harbour's yachting bases has boosted prices up to 50 per cent since 1999. The top price so far has been $2.9 million for a four-bedroom, 390 sq m apartment in the three-year-old development known as The Point. The seller paid $1.9 million for it new. Paul Humphries, of sales agents Barfoot & Thompson, said 15 of the 85 apartments in The Point had come back to Barfoots for resale, and had sold for up to 50 per cent more than the original price. - NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
* America's Cup syndicates and spectator craft can now get high speed internet access in the Hauraki Gulf thanks to a team up between wireless network provider Broadcast Communications Limited and start-up company SeaNet. SeaNet operations manager Scott Maynard said his company has developed a waterproof router under the Aquatude brand, which is leased to boats for $550 a month plus data charges. SeaNet will be able to offer connectivity on the water at up to 1.5Mbps, more than 10 times the speed offered on Telecom's CDMA data network. - Adam Gifford, NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz
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 Jason Ker: Unfortunately the readers of Scuttlebutt have been duped about the individual performance of Mandrake at the Commodores Cup, which despite being a boat stacked with Volvo Pro's and driven by the highly regarded Olympian Stuart Childerly, a Volvo Race helmsman and the current Etchells World Champion, Mandrake achieved 11th overall out of 33 boats. I guess someone fraudulently sent in a "press release" as if it was an official RORC one.
The Top boat of the regatta Overall was Frenchman Gerry Trenteseaux with his IMX 40 "Courrier Nord".
The Top Boat Inshore was Nick Harrison's Chartered Ker 11.3 "Natti Vee".
The Top boat Offshore was Hans Hout's Dutch IMX 40 "Salty Dog".
Top Team Overall was the French team made up of two IMX 40's and an X442
Top Team Inshore was the Commonwealth made up of two Ker 11.3's and a Farr 52
Top Team Offshore was the Dutch made up of an IMX 40, a BH41 and a Grand Soleil 40
It would be highly appropriate to set the record straight by publishing a correction, showing the true top boats at the event as per the above list.
The results table is shown at rorc.org and races 5 and 8 are the offshore races with the other seven being inshore races. The park-up conditions of the offshore races swung the regatta in favour of the two teams with the lowest rated boats, ie. the French and Dutch, but they were very well sailed boats and that's yacht racing.
* From Doug Hanna (Regarding the issue of how much money the AC syndicates are spending): We agree with the sentiment that this may not be great for the sport. However, the Waikato Times quote of "$2b in total" (US$950m) being spent by syndicates, we recently totaled the public estimates for each syndicate that we're aware of for challengers and the defender and this totaled US$450-US$500. While it's difficult to establish what the exact budgets are for each team, we think there's there's a bit of poetic license being used which doesn't necessarily help the sport.
We all need to watch out for $ figures quoted from the NZ local press that really refer to NZ$ as, unfortunately for New Zealanders, but good news for American's traveling to NZ, they're only worth US$0.47 each!
* Craig Davis: Where do these people get their numbers from? No one is spending $200 million. And certainly not $2 billion. I can't believe that journalists prefer to be sensational rather than checking and be accurate. It really doesn't help the sport (as if there were trying to be helpful), and it really is unprofessional!!
* From Andrew Ham: After talking to a few people that were involved with the Americas cup in 1995 I am still struggling to find evidence to support Michael Shorts claim that the America's Cup would have been in Australia if it wasn't for that fateful day. Was Australian TV not covering that event either? I seem to recall a certain Black boat at that regatta with boatspeed to burn. Or was the Yachting world all watching the wrong regatta?Ê
* From Roy Benstead: It appears the some of our Australian friends would rather blame the 1995 Race committee for the sinking of their yacht than put the blame where it really belongs. Lets face it, only one boat broke in two, not the whole fleet of ACC boats. As my memory serves me, a primary winch jammed on the Australian boat causing the crew to sheet the headsail to a secondary winch further aft. The part of the hull where this winch was located was not capable of reacting the loads, the end result of which was the hull fractured and the yacht sank.
This is one of the penalties from designing such a vessel to get all the extraneous weight out of the structure and thus make the yacht go faster. The crew must always be aware of the danger of putting loads into parts of the hull which were not designed to accept them.
* From Geoff Phillips (RE: Michael Short's patriotic view on Oz and the AC): While competitive, the doomed One Australia was not in the same class as the Kiwi team. The Aussie win/loss record up until the sinking was nothing like the 38-1 record of NZL 32.
* From Paul Notary: G'day; I am at a loss as to why us Aussies should feel embarrassed about the Young Australia Challenge last time in Auckland. Sid Fisher did well to allow limited funds challenge using mostly existing resources, the young crew however, trained by some of our best ever cup sailors, responded with superb boat handling and even escaped the wooden spoon. With the America's Cup there is no "out of the public eye" way to get real experience. As an entry level challenge Young Australia's crew rose to and lifted the bar for a new generation of Cup sailor, you only have to see where the Graduates are this time around, not too many sitting around in a milk bar reading sailing magazines, are there?
* From Art LeVasseur: Irrespective of the penalty imposed on One World by the arbitration panel, it is my understanding than any individual sailor can be disciplined under RRS 69 by the National Authority, on its own initiative, for a "gross breach of a rule or of good manners or sportsmanship or of conduct that brought the sport into disrepute." The blatant violation of the AC protocals governing the possession or use of a competitor's design information would certainly seem to meet the criteria for a Rule 69 proceeding against the responsible individual(s). To the extent the conduct took place in the USA, US Sailing would be the approporaite organization to conduct such a proceeding. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for action on that front.
* From Mark Rudiger (in response to Transpac Roll call - and edited to our 250-word limit): I was surprised and disappointed to learn about TPYC proposing going back to only one roll call a day. After the recent Sydney -Hobart's, and the Volvo Ocean Race, there are two very important reasons to have more than one a day.
1) Safety: Imagine after the man-over-board incidents lately, that one of them would have to wait up to say 20 hours for the fleet to come back up on the Radio as a group, and help in a search-and-rescue. Some even want to abolish SSB roll call all together! It's still the only way multiple boats can tune into the same conversation.
2) Strategy and Public Interest: Why did the Volvo Ocean race website get more hits than the Olympics? With four position reports a day, people were interested in 'watching' the race. And from the racers standpoint, it was much more exciting and interesting to know where the other boats were and how to race against them. This then kept the fleet closer together and once again more exciting.
With a little more effort out on the water and ashore with the web site, the racing can be safer and more interesting for all. Something we already know the sponsors, the racers, and the public want.
I submit that the Transpac Yacht club have a space on the entry form to see whether the racer's were happy with a roll call every 12 hours or want to revert back to only one every 24 hours.
* From Jim Teeters: Thanks to Bruce Parsons for feedback on SailRater. I have checked what you said and discovered the stability change you entered was incorrectly processed. Free of charge, your numbers (in 10 knots Windward/Leeward, even legs) should have been: 5 sec/mi faster for the change in keel draft from 6.77 to 8 feet, 4 sec/mi slower for the increase in displacement from 11500 lbs to 12500. We allow stability declarations of tender, moderate and stiff. The boat speed change would have been 13 sec/mi faster for a step from tender to moderate or 21 sec/mi faster for a step from tender to stiff.
This nets out as 14 sec/mi faster, or 22 sec/mi faster, depending on which stability change you used. These compare favorably with the 19 sec/mi you got from PHRF (with which you are reasonably happy). The SailRater average is 18 sec/mi which is within 1 sec/mi of PHRF.
Bottom line: SailRater, PHRF and your observations agree quite closely. SailRater is being corrected immediately. Thank you. By the way, when you made your keel deeper, SailRater automatically made your rudder deeper as well. We hope to get independent rudder span variations into SailRater in the next version.
After launching their new America's Cup yacht members of the Swedish Victory Challenge team were stunned to hear that the head of their syndicate (and principal backer) had died. Jan Stenbeck, 59, died suddenly of a heart attack at the American Hospital in Paris after a brief illness.
The man behind the Swedish America's Cup entry had developed an extensive network of media and telecommunications companies in Sweden. He was the founder and chairman of mobile-phone operator Invik & Co., Tele2, MTG, Millicom International, Transcom WorldWide, and chairman of the management company Industrifoervaltnings AB Kinnevik.
"It is very sad news," said Victory Challenge spokesperson Bert Willborg. "The team were told after the launch of our second yacht. It is very sad." He said it had yet to be decided what the team would do to pay their respects to Stenbeck. "It is too early to say. It has been an emotional day," Willborg said. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
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NAUTICA STAR WORLDS
California YC, Marina del Rey, CA - There were white caps on the Santa Monica Bay for the third race of the Nautica Star World Championship Regatta and it was obvious that Iain Percy and Steven Mitch from Great Britain enjoyed the conditions. The Brits logged a one-minute and 43 second victory over Xavier Tohart and Yannick Adde to move up to fourth place in the overall standings. However, Torben Grael continued his string of single digit finishes to retain the regatta lead. Rohart and the USA team of Paul Cayard and Hal Haenel also have finished all three races in single digits in this six race, one discard championship regatta.
Series standings after three races:
1. Grael, Torben / Ferreira, Marcelo, BRA, 9pts
2. Rohart, Xavier / Adde, Yannick, FRA, 16
3. Cayard, Paul / Haenel, Hal, USA, 20
4. Percy, Iain / Mitchell, Steven; GBR, 24
5. Szabo, George / Sperry, Austin, USA, 31
6. Mansfield, Mark / Collins, Killian, IRL, 32
7. Adler, Alan / Ermel, Ricardo, BRA, 23
8. Bermudez, Roberto / Menrrique, Domingo, ESP, 57
9. Presti, Philippe / Saliou, Jean Philippe, FRA, 60
10. Brady, Gavin / Keenan, Rodney, NZL, 64.
Dark horse: Rick Merriman and Bill Bennett from San Diego have two single digit finishes. Later in the week, when they are able to discard the 53 points they picked up in the first race sailed in very light air, they could be right in the thick of things. - www.starworlds2002.com
ATHENS PRE-OLYMPIC REGATTA
Athens, Greece - The weather seems to be ever changing in Athens. So far this week the competitors at the pre-Olympic test event have experienced everything from no wind and sunshine to rain and thunderstorms. Today it was again different, the competitors enjoyed racing in gusts of up to 18 knots and bright sunshine, which later on in the afternoon dropped off and continuously shifted.
Hannah Swett, Joan Touchette and Melissa Purdy (USA) continue to lead the Yngling class with a five-point lead over Melanie Dennison's Australian team. The USA's Carol Cronin is in fourth place, Betsy Alison is in 14th with Bermuda's Paula Lewin in 15th.
Full results: www.athens.olympic.org
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* September 13-15: Canadian Albacore Championship, YMCA Geneva Park, Orillia, Ontario. www.genevapark.ymca.ca
Bad News: The Mascalzone Latino's travellift cable broke on Wednesday and dropped their new boat. Good News: The boat was over the water at the time and only fell about three meters. We understand that the lift suffered plenty of damage, but apparently the boat is OK. Apparently the new boat stayed in the compound on Wednesday, while the sailing team took out only USA 55.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Failure is not an option - it comes bundled with the software.