SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1144 - August 26, 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.
NAUTICA STAR WORLDS
California YC, Marina del Rey, California - Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell, mere rookies among many of the world's best sailors, won the final race of the 81st Nautica 2002 Star Class World Championship Friday to give Britain its first title in the venerable class. Neither Percy, 26, the 2000 Olympic Finn class gold medallist from Winchester, nor Mitchell, 32, of London, had sailed a Star until 10 months ago, although they had already worked their way up to the No. 17 ranking in the class.
With finishes of 4-1-3-2 in the 103-boat fleet in the previous four races, they entered the sixth and final race with a four-point lead over 1990 champions Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira of Brazil and nine points over France's Xavier Rohart and Yannick Adde. Although Grael finished fourth and Rohart 10th, neither ever threatened seriously Percy and Mitchell, who led at every mark.
Boosted by breezes as strong as 14 knots, which they prefer, they finished 41 seconds ahead of 1998 winner Colin Beashel of Australia, who had David Giles as crew. Three-time winner Bill Buchan, 67, of Seattle, with Mark Brink, was third---by far the best performance of the week by one of the class's enduring icons. Percy/ Mitchell put away 11 former champions.
Prior to the start of the last race, Percy and Mitchell tried to hide near the left end of the 1,000-meter starting line to avoid being drawn into a confrontation with their nearest rivals---Grael and Ferreira---that could suck them out of contention. "They never really got to us," Percy said. "We were keeping our heads down before the start, so we couldn't set up early because he'd come at us. But we had really good speed on the first beat---really good speed."
It was a tough second place for Grael and Ferreira, the only entry with all single-digit finishes (3-1-5-9-5-4). Percy and Mitchell, the only team to win two races, were able to discard their opening 19th place. - Rich Roberts
The top 10 (worst score discarded):
1. Iain Percy/Steven Mitchell, UK, (19)-4-1-3-2-1, 11 points.
2. Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira, Brazil, 3-1-5-(9)-5-4, 18.
3. Xavier Rohart/Yannick Adde, France, 6-8-2-(33)-3-10, 29.
4. Paul Cayard/Hal Haenel, San Francisco, 7-9-4-8-(40)-5, 33.
5. Rick Merriman/Bill Bennett, San Diego, (53)-7-8-4-15-12, 46.
6. Peter Bromby/Martin Siese, Bermuda, (33)-2-32-5-1-9, 49.
7. Colin Beashel/David Giles, Australia, (41)-19-11-2-18-2, 52.
8. Mark Mansfield/Killean Collins, Ireland, 2-13-17-25-7-(104), 65.
9. Mark Reynolds/Magnus Liljedahl, San Diego, (78)-5-29-1-10-22, 67.
10. Howie Shiebler/Rick Peters, San Francisco, (70)-21-30-6-4-6, 67.
Event website: starworlds2002.com
John Dennis has successfully completed his qualifying run aboard his 50-foot yacht Ascensia for the Around Alone race that begins this September. Sailing solo, he covered the distance of approximately 2150 miles from Newport, R.I., to the Azores in 12 days and 7 hours. He is now on his way back to Newport, assisted by three crewmen, and has been "stuck in a windless high for three days" with about 1550 nautical miles left to go.
Dennis, a 57-year old commercial real estate manager from Toronto who will be making history as the first skipper with diabetes to compete in a solo global yacht race, also reported that he had no problems monitoring his glucose levels. He uses an Ascensia DEX monitor to measure his blood sugar levels so he can adjust his diet accordingly. - Barby MacGowan
Event website: www.aroundalone.com
THE PROVING GROUND: "FIVE STARS"
"Knecht captures acts of heroism and frailty, but in a display of astonishingly writerly discipline, he never judges." -- Jeff Bezos, Founder and Chairman of Amazon.com. The Proving Ground, G. Bruce Knecht's critically acclaimed book about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race, is now available in both hardcover (Little, Brown & Co.) and paperback (Warner Books) at bookstores everywhere or at Amazon.com: www.amazon.com
RUSSELL COUTTS' BACK-UP MAN
(Jill Malcolm has written long story for the New Zealand Herald about the 46 year old Jochen Schuemann - the back-up helmsman for the Swiss Alinghi America's Cup syndicate. Following is just a taste.)
"Oh, I'm not at all surprised that some team New Zealand people are with us," says Schuemann. "People talk about the money and of course there is always the money, but more powerful for them was a new challenge - starting with a blank page and building something up, doing things a little differently. Russell [Coutts], for instance, was with Team New Zealand for many years and twice he helped his country win the America's Cup - 5-0 each time. To do it again with the same team is not nearly as big a challenge as starting out, like we have, almost from scratch. That's a huge challenge.
"And it's good for the whole sailing world that a bit of the competence of Team New Zealand has been spread around. It lifts the level for everybody and as a result the event this time will be much tougher and more thrilling than it has ever been before." - Full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
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.)
* From Charles Dana: Jan Stenbeck was one of the great characters in our world of sailing. His Victory Challenge will certainly mourn his death, but so will many others. I was fortunate in spending time with him in recent years and hearing his many thoughts and philosophies. He cared about the sea a great deal (much like a Viking!!) and yet was also a self-described 'harbor rat'. He became facinated with the America's Cup and I had the pleasure of introducing him to Dennis Conner a couple of years ago, where they discussed the big picture of Cup competition. He was definitely a private person, yet had a strong sense of public good and often would step in quietly and do what was right. Jan was a real competitor, an inspiration to his four children and to young people in general through programs he helped in Sweeden.
Before the America's Cup Jubilee last summmer in Cowes he called to loan me Black Knight to use in my role as commodore of the NYYC. He felt she should be there because of her long role with the 12-meter class in the Cup contests off Newport. It was not for himself, as he couldn't be there, but for the sake of the event and because of his feeling for tradition. Once I told him that I thought he had more style and sense about boats than anyone I'd ever known and he instantly gave me a warm bear hug. He was like that, but because of his private nature few may have realized that side of him. With the passing of Jan Stenbeck, sailing lost a good friend.
* From Paul Henderson, ISAF President: Some change with Beijing. As you know, I stuck my neck out and said do not hold the Beijing Games at the end of July due to the typhoon season and move it to September. I got half way as they have now moved them to the end of August. I know in Toronto that the weather patterns change around the 15th of August and since Qingdoa is the same latitude maybe we will be lucky.
* From Tyler Garrett: I am amazed at the lack of mention anywhere of the condition of Kimberly Birkenfield. Here is one of our "Olympic Atheletes" and a fantastic person, struck down by a power boat and everyone just avoids that subject. What kind of boat was it? A coach boat? A USA coach boat? A trawler? Race Committe?
My wife just returned from sailing the Formula Windsurfing class at the ISAF World Sailing Games and was amazed at the lack of restraint shown by the coach boat drivers. She said the large swells and speedy drivers were an accident waiting to happen. Is this what happened in Athens? Or was it just a random accident caused by a local?
My brother-in-law (also a windsurfer) was run over by a "local" in a pontoon boat just a few days before Kimberlys accident. Lucky for him he escaped with a few dozen stiches and some serious bruises. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Kimberly and her family and we hope she recovers from this tragic, and I'm sure avoidable, accident.
* From Tim Fulham: Whether or not you see a troubling spot on your skin, I would encourage anyone who sails regularly to visit a dermatologist now and then once a year for a check-up. I am a life-long sailor (now 46) who was diagnosed with melanoma in January. I was lucky that the melanoma was discovered before it had grown to a threatening size. I now know that annual visits to the dermatologist can save your life.
* From Robert Middlemas (Regarding recent comments on Gary Jobson's predictions): For Pete's sake, give the man a break. He was asked for his opinion and he gave it. As a commentator, he is paid to give his opinion. If anyone in sailing is qualified to give an opinion, Mr. Jobson is. His commentary has always been fair and insightful without resorting to sensationalism. From all accounts he is a gentleman both on and off the water. He tells it how it is, as he see's it. What the heck more can you ask of someone?
Considering he has been to every AC of the modern era and to most every other major sailing event (Volvo Race, Admirals Cup, Cowes, etc.) I personally value his views higher than most. I have not always agreed with his views and he (like everyone else) is frequently wrong. Now tell me, what is so wrong with that?
I think it's great that he went out on a limb to rank the AC teams before racing starts. Few journalists (at least in print) have done that so far. Anyone can do it fairly accurately after viewing a few races. If New Zealand feels slighted by the comments he made, might it help them to have something to prove? I personally count the Kiwi's higher than Gary does. But that is why they make different color neck ties. As other feel entitled to their views, he is entitled to his.
Get off of it and get on with it!
QUOTE / UNQUTE - Magnus Holmberg, Swedish Victory Challenge
"I think it is not easy to mix together people with different nationalities and cultures and I think some of the teams will experience difficulties when they come under pressure. We are mainly Scandinavian and we can communicate with each other and we are fairly similar sorts of people, used to solving problems and I think when the pressure is on it is important that the team comes together and doesn't split into different factions." - Magnus Holmberg, Sweden's Victory Challenge AC syndicate. - From an interview by James Boyd on the madforsailing website, www.madforsailing.com/SAIL/
"I feel a more subtle difference between Írn and Orm but I can feel it after just sailing in a light wind, and that's a positive experience. It's as if there's more life in the boat, that she's a little lighter, slightly more sensitive in responding to the rudder." -nzoom.com website, onesport.nzoom.com
* All but one of the 10 America's Cup syndicates, including defenders Team New Zealand, have built the maximum two boats for this cup. Italian challenger Mascalzone Latino is the odd team out, with one new boat.
* Following is a schedule of when several of the America's Cup syndicates will open their bases to visitors:
September 8: Team New Zealand
September 14 Oracle BMW
September 15 Alinghi
September 21 GBR
September 22 OneWorld
* Mascalzone Latino confirmed that the (Travel) lift failed this week, dropping their training yacht into the water. Fortunately, the boat was USA55 (the former Stars & Stripes 2000) and she escaped without any major damage. "We were very lucky. First we were lucky because it was USA55 and not our new boat, and secondly the cables broke in the last period when the boat was near the water," said Mascalzone Latino team manager Paolo Scutellaro.
* All Oracle BMW team members, including administration, chefs and shore team staff, have the chance to sail as the team's 17th person for a day. One of the largest America's Cup teams, Oracle have adopted an in-house 17th person roster allowing every member of the team the opportunity to see what happens in training out in the Hauraki Gulf.
* The second Italian challenge, Mascalzone Latino, took time out to mix and mingle with their Syndicate Row neighbours OneWorld Challenge. OneWorld invited Mascalzone Latino over to their base for a beer and barbecue after work. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
SPREADIN' THE LOVE ... KAENON POLARIZED
John Kostecki and the boys on illbruck started it. Now the best in dinghy, skiff, cat and Cup are doing it. New Melges 24 World Champion Harry Melges III and 505 NA champs Howie Hamlin and Mike Martin did it in Kaenon Polarized. Look at the youth movement and Olympic ranks! Andrew Campbell scored the big prize at the Youth World's. If you're not reading the breeze like these guys, try their visual tools, Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically. Available at Alain Mikli NYC, Paris, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong. Line-7 Auckland, Sydney. TeamOne Newport. West Marine.
Blind sailor Sengil "Inky" Inkiala (Watertown, MA) captured a first place trophy in the 12th Annual Sail Newport Blind National Sailing Championship. In what would be the only day of racing, Inkiala, with team members Harry Berman (Hull, MA), Larry Mangini (Boston, MA) and sighted guide Ken Legler (Medford, MA) won four out of seven races finishing with 11 points. Second place was awarded to Jim O'Laughin, Linda Moores, Mike Little and Thomas Rogers of Texas with 17 points. Duane Farrar (Boston, MA), and his team of Jay Kronfeld (CT), Charlie Zechel (Pawtucket, RI) and Jamie Haines (Jamestown, RI) won third place with 24 points. www.sailnewport.org
Cedar Point YC, Westport CT - Conditions could hardly have been better for the Atlantic Class National Championship, with plenty of wind compared with what we've seen all summer on Long Island Sound. 6 races in 3 days, Consistent 15 knots-plus, 27 boats, excellent close racing. The series ended with a perfect tie between George Reichhelm and John Foster both of Cedar Point Yacht Club, both with 1-1-2-3-4 and a throwout. Reichhelm won the tiebreaker by winning the last race.
Final Results: 1. Shucks, George Reichhelm, 11 points; 2. Thistle, John Foster, 11; 3. Nonesuch, Norman Peck III, 13; 4. Miss April, Norman Peck Jr., 14; 5. Three Belles, Joseph Olson, 31.
ATHENS TEST EVENT
There was an exciting climax to the event for many of the Olympic classes racing at the 2002 Athens Test Event, except for the Mistral class who had a disappointing finish with no racing possible. Top North American regatta performers:
Hannah Swett/ Joan Touchette/ Milissa Purdy, USA, 2nd
Betsy Alison/ Suzy Leech/ Lee Icyda, USA, 4th
Steven Hunt/ Michael Miller, USA, 26th
Michael Anderson-Mitterling/ Graham Biehl, 29th
Katherine McDowell/ Isabelle Kinsolving, USA, 20th
Jen Provan/ Nikola Girke, CAN, 22nd
Andrew Mack/ Adam Lowery, USA, 16th
David Fagen/ Bora Gulari, USA, 23rd
Mo Hart, USA, 14th
Geoff Ewenson, 25th
David Miery Teran, MEX, 23rd
Peter Wells, USA, 31st
Dominique Vallee, CAN, 33rd
Farrah Hall, USA 34th
Robert Daniel/ Eric Jacobsen, USA, 10th
Stan Schreyer/ ForbesDurdin, USA, 23rd
Lauren Bernsen, USA, 8th
Tanya Haddad, USA, 9th
Bernard Luttmer, CAN, 8th
Andrew Campbell, USA, 9th
Full results: www.athens.olympic.org
VANGUARD 15 NATIONALS
For the first time, the Vanguard 15 National Championship was held on the West Coast. Racing took place on the Emeryville Flat venue, located East of the Treasure Island Sailing Center. Final results after 12 races and one discard (39 boats): 1. Nick Adamson/ Jago Macleod, 33 pts; 2. Bill Hardesty/ Lisa Keith, 41; 3. Will Graves/ Thad Lieb, 73; 4. Matthew Sessions/ Avery Patton, 74; 5. Kenny Wolfe/ Jen Doreck, 76. Complete results: www.stfyc.com
The great racing at the NA's on Lake Michigan is best summarized by race 4, when boats three through twelve finished within a minute after nine miles. Also, after the five race series, only three points separated places 3 to 7. Participants from the Midwest and both Coasts converged in Wilmette, outside Chicago, in transit to the World Championships in Marblehead next month. Jorgen Johnsson, from host Sheridan Shore YC, fresh from a European Regatta, won with just six points. The Masters Championship was won by Dave Williams. Final Results: 1 Jorgen Johnsson, 6; 2. Charlie Kamps, 14; 3. Kent Heitzinger, 17; 4. Dave Williams, 18, 5. Steve Dolan, 18. - www.ussoling.com
RACING ON TV
Monday, August 26, 8:00PM & 11:00 PM, EDT, Outdoor Life Network (OLN) - The Swedish Match Tour's Swedish Match Cup, held last month in Marstrand, Sweden. The program will feature a championship duel between Team New Zealand's Dean Barker and Alighi Team's Russell Coutts as well as the crowning of Swedish Match Tour 2001/2002 champions Peter Holmberg and the Oracle BMW Racing Team.
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
October 7-12: One Ton Cup 2002, IC45 World Championships, Saint-Tropez. www.onetoncup.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
There are only two things children share willingly - communicable diseases and their mother's age.