Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1141 - August 22, 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.

California YC, Marina del Rey, CA - Mark Reynolds and crew Magnus Liljedahl came back from oblivion to win an Olympic gold medal at Sydney two years ago, and they have a special inspiration for doing it again: a young woman lying in a Greek hospital with a breathing tube in her throat. "This victory was for her," Liljedahl said after they beat another pair of former Star champions, Australia's Colin Beashel and crew David Giles, by 10 seconds on the fourth day of the Nautica 2002 Star Class World Championship---their first win of a week full of alternate ups and downs.

Kimberly Birkenfeld, 37, of Miami, would be happy to hear the news. Liljedahl's girlfriend, a member of the U.S. Sailing Team, was critically injured last week by the propeller of a chase boat while sailing her Mistral sailboard in a test event at the 2004 Olympic sailing site. Birkenfeld's family has been with her in Greece after encouraging Liljedahl to sail the Star Worlds with Reynolds, as planned. It hasn't been easy. "One thing about sailing is it makes you think about other things," Liljedahl said. "Now I can send her an e-mail with good news in time for her to speak again."

Reynolds, of San Diego, and Liljedahl, who were ISAF's sailors of the year after sweeping the Olympics and the Star Worlds in 2000, are still in 17th place with two races remaining but should move up considerably by discarding their worst finish---Sunday's 78th place---after Race 5 Thursday, barring further missteps.

The leaders are still Brazil's Torben Grael and crew Marcelo Ferreira with 18 points after Wednesday's ninth place, their worst finish, but England's Iain Percy/Steve Mitchell and San Francisco's Paul Cayard/Hal Haenel are closing in at 27 and 28. . There also may be a sleeper lurking quietly in ninth place. San Diego's Rick Merriman and Bill Bennett have logged a 7-8-4 string the last three days and will discard a 53 after Thursday.

Percy and Mitchell, Tuesday's winners, were third Wednesday. If the discards had already been tossed, they would be leading Grael by one point, with Cayard and Merriman 11 points behind despite all single-digit finishes. Percy said, "If you start thinking about points you're in big trouble. We just need to keep sailing well."

Consistency hasn't come easily on Santa Monica Bay, although the winds have been steadier the last two days. Wednesday the breeze was 9 to 12 knots. A larger problem, most crews felt, was getting off the starting line when the race committee---forestalling a replay of five general recalls in the previous two days---hoisted the "I" flag for the first start, requiring any transgressors to restart by rounding the ends of the 1,000-meter-long line---a mortal penalty to pay. It worked. Nobody was over early, but most complained later about poor starts. - Rich Roberts

The leaders (after 4 of 6 races):

1. Torben Grael/ Marcelo Ferreira, Brazil, (3-1-5-9) 18 points.
2. Iain Percy/ Steven Mitchell, UK, (19-4-1-3), 27.
3. Paul Cayard/ Hal Haenel, San Francisco, (7-9-4-8) 28.
4. Xavier Rohart/ Yannick Adde, France, (6-8-2-33) 49.
5. Mark Mansfield/ Killean Collins, Ireland, (2-13-17-25) 58.
6. George Szabo/ Austin Sperry, San Diego, (1-20-10-30) 61.
7. Alan Adler/ Ricardo Ermel, Brazil, (26-3-22-17), 70.
8. Peter Bromby/ Martin Siese, Bermuda, (33-2-32-5) 72.
9. Rick Merriman/ Bill Bennett, San Diego, (53-7-8-4) 72.
10. Colin Beashel/ David Giles, Australia, (41-19-11-2) 73.

Complete standings:

Graham Dalton has the biggest budget of all the Around Alone campaigns, yet finds himself in a position where he has just 11 days to qualify and sail his Open 60 across the Atlantic to the Newport start. Dalton is critical of Around Alone's organisers Clipper Ventures who he sees as having been at heart of these problems. His main gripe is over the obligatory qualification passage which he feels he has already completed when he sailed more than 2,000 miles from Auckland to Sydney prior to the boat being shipped to Europe. Alarm bells were not doubt raised at Clipper Ventures when it transpired that one week into his qualifier Dalton had managed to break four ribs and injured one of his hands when he fell over down below as the boat lurched.

Clipper Ventures maintain this qualification passage was invalid for a number of reasons, but primarily because it wasn't 'transoceanic' as stipulated in the Notice of Race. Clipper maintain that the implication of this is that the qualifier should be across an ocean, rather than sailing around always within 500 miles of land. Dalton says that this interpretation only came out after he'd completed his qualifier. "We had all the documentation to prove that Clipper knew of my voyage and they didn't stop us," he says. He has since appealed to an international jury protesting the race committee, but has lost. The upshot of all this will be that the team have an 11th hour panic to reach the start line and their preparation will far from what Dalton had originally conceived for the project. - James Boyd, madforsailing website, full story:

On November 24, Reid Stowe will embark on the longest non-stop sailing voyage ever attempted. Departing from New York Harbor Pier 63, Stowe's voyage, dubbed "1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea," will take him out of sight of land and without re-supply for longer than any of his sailing predecessors. Not since John Sanders circumnavigated 657 days non-stop in 1987 has anyone departed the terra firma for so long.

Stowe's 60 ton 70 foot gaff-rigged schooner - the "Anne" - was conceived, designed and hand-built by him in 1978 as the ultimate long distance heavy weather vessel. This ship has been Stowe's expedition platform for 24 years of voyages in the Caribbean, Europe, South Pacific, and around the world. Reid is refitting his boat for the 1000 Days journey in partnership with 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea, Ltd., a non-profit corporation. The goal is to sail the longest non-stop voyage in history. Using satellite communications and media production, Stowe and the 1000 Days Expedition team will share this adventure with the world. -

AMERICA'S CUP STORE is the official online store of the America's Cup 2003. Your one-stop shop for America's Cup clothing and memorabilia from the comfort of your home or office with worldwide delivery and low freight prices. Offering Team New Zealand, Challengers, and America's Cup 2003 event clothing plus, America's Cup silverware & memorabilia. See the stylish Team New Zealand, GBR Challenge and Alinghi Crew Replica ranges.

* Passing of (syndicate founder) Jan Stenbeck. Stricken by sorrow, the team could do the only thing possible. The crew took Orm, christened and launched just the day before, on her maiden voyage in Auckland's harbour. Flags were flying at half-mast on all the bases in the America's Cup village as Orm was towed out of Viaduct Harbour.

(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.)

* Bruce Parsons: Who was the last boat to win a race against TNZ? It was OneAus, and it was after the sinking at that. Their last rebuilt boat appeared to have equivalent boat speed to TNZ, but it came too late. The sail program was still winding up, but coming back from the sinking took a lot of physical and psychological resources, not mentioning the sails that were lost. They lead TNZ a few more times. Only OneAus ever saw the front of TNZ, and no one has taken a race off them since. I too agree they were that close to taking the thing to Australia.

* From Richard Endean, NZ: I have a fair bit of time for what Garry Jobson has done for the sport of sailing through the medium of television. However his comments on Team NZ's chances missed the mark. Believe it, it's not the size of the dog in the fight that counts it's the size of the fight in the dog, especially in a smart , wounded one.

* Seth A. Radow: I agree with Mark Rudiger 100% in that the twice a day roll call is imperative for safety and audience participation. Mark's reasoning was explicit. Two more points:

Improving on-water competition. This year's VOR proved that with four roll calls/day that competition wouldn't be diminished. Competition was exceptional and close. Even with four roll calls, brilliant tactical decisions could and were made on the racecourse. There were plenty of opportunities for the competitors to "get away". In Transpac 2001, Turbo Sleds were navigated by world-class sailors (Mark included). It was no coincidence that they all went the same way. On-water competition was thrilling in numerous classes with the final results not being known until the very last hours of the race.

Corporate sponsorship: Most major events are seeking dollars from sponsors. I am told that the Transpac website had in excess of three million hits during the race. Apparently someone was interested in the race. Give our sponsors a decent opportunity to for a return on their investment and they will surely be interested in participating. The more we are willing to update our positions on the water for our friends, family and interested parties on land, the greater the opportunity for our sponsors to generate a decent return on their investment in our race. If Mark was able to update his position four times a day during the Volvo, we should have little problem doing so twice a day.

* From Charlie Beven: As far as public interest is concerned, Mr. Rudiger is 100% correct. I was attending college during the Volvo Ocean Race and I logged on to the VOR web page from my school's computer lab every day between classes, just to see if anything interesting had transpired. I realize this might not have been the best use of my time, given the cost of my education, but it was interesting to me. While I may not be in the key demographic of the TPYC, I encourage them to increase, rather than decrease their internet and overall coverage of the 2003 transpack.

People often ask, "Why are there so many lawyers working as Rules Advisors in the America's Cup?" There is an easy answer: "Because there are so many papers."

You start with the 1887 "Deed of Gift". It is only three pages long. But, that archaic document needs 16 pages of interpretations and New York court rulings to update it - for example, to allow the races to be sailed in the Southern Hemisphere and to prescribe modern nationality requirements.

Then there is the famous "Protocol' between the Defender (New Zealand) and the Challenger of Record (Prada), which governs the event and has the restrictions on spying and stealing design information from competitors. With two amendments (so far), this adds another 33 pages to the pile.

Next comes the America's Cup Class Rule - 55 pages. This is mostly about how the yachts are to be measured and constructed, but also includes modifications to the Racing Rules of Sailing and other provisions that can end up in race-day protests, including the colour of the 17th man's clothing and his or her experience in yacht racing.

All this is before the heavily negotiated Notice of Race and Conditions and the Sailing Instructions - a full set for the America's Cup and the Louis Vuitton Cup, about 30 pages each.

So, now you have over 150 single-spaced pages (about an inch thick) of often ambiguous and conflicting documents. Then add dozens of interpretations by the Technical Director and the Jury, and you truly have a lawyer's playground - or nightmare!

It is no wonder that for this America's Cup event, which is still a month away from a starting gun, there have already been 19 matters referred to the Arbitration Panel, plus two lawsuits - adding yet another 18" of documents to the file cabinet. With more to come, no doubt. - Excerpt from a posting on the GBR Challenge website, full story:

The J/105 North Americans are right around the corner (Sept 20th - 22nd). Ullman Sails customers have captured 90% of all the major 1st place trophies across the country. Are you prepared to sail the J/105 North Americans without the fastest sails on the planet? You and your crew have worked hard this season, so treat yourself and your crew to the fastest J/105 sails on the planet! Contact your local Ullman Sails loft or visit us at:

SOS INC. of Fruitland, ID, the manufacturer of Sospenders branded inflatable pfd's is voluntarily recalling approximately 7,200 automatic inflatable personal flotation devices (PFD). Approximately 300 defective Hammar units in one lot of 500 were loaded incorrectly and will not inflate the vest. This recall impacts all PFD's sold under the Millennium product label, as well as the Hammar rearm kits. SOS INC. has made the decision to recall all Hammar products for 100% safety inspection. These units were sold to consumers by West Marine between March, 2002 and August, 2002. - SailNet website, full story:

Athens, Greece: "The facilities for the Athens 2002 Regatta are even better than what we needed. The tents are the best possible solution for pre-Olympic test events''. With this observation, the President of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), Canadian Paul Henderson, demonstrated his satisfaction with the venue for the pre-Olympic Sailing test event.

He also pointed out that the Agios Kosmas venue will remain as a legacy for the Greeks, and he praised the volunteers who, as he said, are doing a splendid job.

The Athens 2002 Regatta continued today with the races of Day 6. The wind was not blowing as needed by the athletes, resulting in the cancellation of the Mistral and Tornado classes. Only 7 of the 16 scheduled sessions took place (the 470 class was also having a break).

Top North American regatta performers so far:

Hannah Swett/ Joan Touchette/ Melissa Purdy, USA, 2nd place in Yngling class
Andrew Mack/ Adam Lowery, USA, 6th place in the 49er class
Brett Davis, USA, 13th place in Laser class
Mo Hart, USA, 14th place in the Finn class
Katherine McDowell/ Isabelle Kinsolving, USA, 18th in 470 Women's class
Robert Daniel/ Eric Jacobsen, USA, 21st in Tornado class
David Miery Teran, MEX, 23rd in Mistral Men's class
Steven Hunt/ Michael Miller, USA, 24th in 470 Men's class
Dominique Vallee, CAN, 33rd in Mistral Women's class

Full results:

May 17, 2003: Charleston to Bermuda Race,

Ever stop to think and forget to start again?