SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1146 - August 28, 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 President Paul Henderson has a long and detailed story on the ISAF website about Kinetics. We've reproduced three brief excerpts to give you the flavor - but we strongly recommend that interested racers read the whole story.)
Rule 42 Kinetics has again become a focus. Early in the year, several top Finn sailors, along with many Judges, came to me and said something had to be done as it was totally out of control and ruining the sport. So a direction was made to endeavour to enforce the rule. At last week's Olympic Test Event two of the sailors who wanted more enforcement were "flagged" and complained that the rule was now being enforced too far. Deja-vu!
There are two schools of thought on Rule 42 or for that matter any Rule:
- Some lawyers will argue that a rule that cannot be enforced should not be in force, so that Rule 42 should be withdrawn.
- The other side is that if Kinetics is not controlled then the game is not Sailing, because it totally negates traditional tactics and tilts the playing field to the strong rather than to the talented.
I certainly subscribe to the second viewpoint. The rebuttal to the first argument is to see what it has done to competitive boardsailing and how that has imploded with the unlimited pumping. The noise at the start of any boardsailing race produces more decibels than a 747 taking off.
Also when debating the issue, even the negative lawyers admit that sculling and paddling are Kinetics which should be banned and most will even go as far as to say that to allow pumping and rocking to the point that it is 100% of the propulsion force is not good. Even they believe that you should not be able to have an "Air Rowing" race
with no wind just air.
So everyone really agrees that uncontrolled Kinetics which means sculling, paddling, rocking, pumping, ooching, towing, etc should not dominate Sailing.
* POLICING - the rule is fine as now written. The problem is to have consistent and knowledgeable enforcement by Judges who know the class. This means an ISAF Team of respected officials, whose major role is to ensure "Fair Play", must attend major events and hopefully compliance will filter from the top down. They would also decide when the "Yellow Flag" is flown. Education is not the answer as all the sailors and the coaches know full well what the rule says.
CLASSES - the more radical solution is to promote classes at the World level where Kinetics has a minor effect, thus doing away for the need of Rule 42 enforcement. Skiffs are a good example. The 49er and 29er must be sailed and it was a joy to see the young sailors at the recent Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Canada so enjoying true high-performance sailing without coaches schooling them on how to use kinetics clandestinely, because kinetics are not a major problem in skiffs. Catamarans also do not lend themselves to Kinetics. At many joint class regattas, the sailors having the most fun are the Hobie 16 sailors. They are socialising while the boardsailors are being worked over by their masseuses and doctors.
EQUIPMENT - increase the number of purchases on the mainsheet and make the sailor use all the blocks. Therefore to get any meaningful pumping action they dislocate their shoulder. This was a Finn suggestion many years ago. Pin rudders down so that they cannot be floated up for sculling. 470 did this long ago. Redesign rudders so that they are efficient for steering but not sculling. Optimist did this already.
* CONCLUSION: ISAF must be very nervous about what has gone on in other sports with cheating. Sailing must face up to the fact that it is happening also in our beloved sport. ISAF must act and make sure that it does not erupt into a major scandal and act now. We have the resources. Do we have the resolve? There is too much at stake for the MNA's, athletes and coaches not to have ISAF ensure that when a competitor goes on the race course it is a fair and consistent competition. - Paul Henderson, ISAF President, full story: www.sailing.org
America's Cup took a final farewell to Jan Stenbeck at a memorial service this morning. Tenders from all the challenger syndicates and defender Team New Zealand solemnly approached the Victory Challenge base at 0820. Representatives from the syndicates stood in their boats ten minutes later when Bruno Troublé, representative of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger series starting on October 1, began the memorial service. Mats Johansson, project leader for Victory Challenge then spoke. Ross Blackman represented Team New Zealand and the 2003 America's Cup; Dyer Jones was there on behalf of CORM, the challenger organisation.
The short eulogies repeated condolences to Jan Stenbeck's family and the Victory Challenge team. Mats Johansson also gave the following message. "This base, those boats, this team, all is here because of Jan Stenbeck's vision. He wanted to make a competitive challenge for the America's Cup. He provided us with everything we needed, including his confidence in us. Therefore - not for one single moment, not even in our deepest sorrow after his tragic death - has it occurred to us that we had a choice. There is only one course for us to take - and that's to fulfil Jan Stenbeck's dreams. Humbly we will enter this most fantastic regatta. Every day we will do it with him in mind, forever proud and thankful."
The Rev. Tony Ross from the Anglican Church finished with a blessing and called for a two-minute silence that was followed by the sounds of the horns from all the boats in Viaduct Harbour where the America's Cup syndicates have their bases. - Bert Willborg/ Victory Challenge, www.victorychallenge.com
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* With a private ceremony, Luna Rossa ITA 80 was launched today at the Auckland operations base of team Prada. Luna Rossa ITA 80, the second new America's Cup Class yacht built by Prada, arrived last week at Auckland airport on an Antonov 124-100, a special cargo airplane that left Pisa, Italy, on August 13. Luna Rossa ITA 80, in full dress and covered by heavy skirts to mask the appendages and the shape of the hull, was lowered at sea to allow the whole crew and Patrizio Bertelli to step aboard and hoist the Yacht Club Punta Ala burgee. After the champagne toast and lunch, team Prada was back at work to complete the preparations and set up of both the Luna Rossa yachts, ITA 74 having arrived in Auckland on a cargo ship three days ago. - www.pradalunarossa.com
* The French Challenger to the America's Cup has finally disembarked in Auckland, and its two America's Cup Class boats were being unloaded at Jellicoe wharf. Le Defi ArevaA has a bigger team this time around, bolstered by professional French sailors as well as others from around the world, including New Zealand. The commercial structure of the team and management is unchanged from the 2000 series. The French syndicate will operate with comparatively small budget of $NZ50 million. - www.ledefi.com
* Murray Jones, Team Alinghi's strategist gives us the latest on how he is convalescing from a broken left foot: "I had my stitches removed last week and I've got a few weeks convalescing ahead of me. I mustn't put any weight on my leg for the moment ". Xavier Jolis, the team's physiotherapist comments : "We've changed the plaster and taken new X-rays which show that the tibia has already consolidated. Next week we'll be seeing the surgeon to establish a rehabilitation programme." On the subject of the impact of his accident on the training programme, the New Zealander adds: "I'm not that worried. It won't affect the work we do on board very much. It's not as if it's the first time that I have sailed with Russell!" - www.alinghi.com
* The Sailing Pro Shop is preparing to move to a brand new on-the-water site currently under construction. The new location will be upstairs from the all-new "McKenna's Regatta" restaurant at 190 Marina Drive on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, California - right above "Sled Row." For shopping convenience, the store will have a 300 foot dock for customers. www.sailingproshop.com
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 Michael Martin: For Steve Mitchell and Iain Percy to win the Star World championship their first year in the class is absolutely phenomenal. I think that their victory is a big indicator of a shift in the future of the class. In the past to win that regatta you not only needed two extremely talented sailors, but one of them had to be huge.
When talking to Steve at a skiff regatta in France earlier this year. He mentioned that with the new crew weight restrictions that the Star Class has adopted, that the ability for both the skipper and crew to straight leg hike as long as possible was a big advantage, and that they were training very hard on this aspect of the game. I guess it worked. Does this mean that to win a Star Worlds you now need two extremely talented sailors that are also both in incredible physical shape? It will be interesting to see how the class, which is filled with so many legendary stalwarts, evolves and reacts to this new level of athleticism and this new breed of Champions.
* From Bob Knowles: If there's anyone more qualified to offer a prediction on the AC than Gary Jobson, I'd like to know who it could be. As a participant in or eyewitness to the most momentous events in our sport over the last 25-30 years, there seems there's no one out there more qualified to give an informed, unslanted opinion on the various syndicates and there relative chances.
What many people in our sport don't know, and should, is that Gary's not just giving sailing a boost when the ESPN cameras are rolling and millions are watching. As a fellow denizen of the Chesapeake Bay region, I know first hand that when one is promoting a charity regatta or a special program for disabled sailors or inner city kids, if you need press exposure, just call Gary. The press show & film and the corporate honchos want to be sponsors.
In my not-so-humble opinion, what our sport needs is a few less "rock stars" getting 6 figure salaries from billionaires and a few more Gary Jobsons! (In the interest of full disclosure, I know Gary, we work on the Volvo Leukemia Cup regattas together, and can call each other by our first names at the bar without name tags.)
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Last week, Scuttlebutt got a letter from Michael Short about sinking of Australia's America's Cup boat in the 1995 Louis Vuitton Series in San Diego. Short's letter said in part, "I still harbour resentment at the 1995 race committee for allowing racing to commence on that fateful day when 20-25kts, a lumpy sea and winch problems all conspired to send the finest of the 1995 AC fleet to the bottom. Had that race not occurred the Cup would at this moment be being held either off Sydney or off the Queensland Gold Coast in warm balmy conditions with consistent fresh breezes."
Vince Cook, the PRO for the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup Series (as well as the 1992 and 2000 LVC) has asked for an opportunity to set the record straight. Following are Cook's comments:
I am looking at the wind log from that fateful 5 March 1995 as I respond:
a) Prior to starting the first of three matches, wind speeds at the weather mark varied from 13 to 17 knots. These were measured at the top of a Catalina 42 sailboat mast. The wind instrument used was later calibrated against one of the Challengers' tender's instrumentation and found to be accurate. Prior to starting the postponed third match that day, wind speeds had settled around 15 to 16 measured at the same place.
b) Six boats started on the Challenger course and two boats raced on the Defender course that day. One broke.
c) As Short pointed out, and others have as well, an inappropriate winch, positioned further aft, was used that day for the genoa sheet due to the inoperability of the primary winch.
d) Review of the film during the 90 seconds which the crew were in the water reveals a "lumpy" sea but certainly not prohibitively so, otherwise one might wonder how the entire crew was rescued in 90 seconds. Furthermore, it would be hard to convince your average weekend amateur sailor that the sea conditions were prohibitive.
e) Unlike the 2000 regatta where specific wind limits were prescribed in the Conditions, no such limitations were imposed in the 1992 nor 1995 regattas. Given the prevalent conditions, to abandon racing that day would have required all seven Challengers to initiate such a proposal. Though some expressed concern to the Regatta Director prior to racing, there was no unanimous instruction to the RC to abandon racing.
f) For the 15 minutes preceding the sinking, the log shows wind speed varying around 17 knots. The highest burst of breeze recorded was 20 knots, which occurred 12 minutes after the sinking. A review of the log would convince anyone that the average wind speed throughout the afternoon was 17 knots. - Vince Cooke
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"Forget the 'biggest toys' concept - it's what you do with them that counts." - Seahorse editor Andrew Hurst discussing Steve Fossett's accomplishment of being the first to singlehandedly circumnavigate the globe by balloon. www.seahorse.co.uk/index.php
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(The New Zealand Herald carried a long story by Julie Ash about Brad Butterworth - Team Alinghi's Kiwi tactician. Here are a couple of Butterworth's quotes.)
"A lot of Team New Zealand are my lifelong friends. Just because I am not with them this time probably means more to some members of the media than it does to them. Being a professional yachtsman, I have wound up working for a lot of other overseas teams, so it is no real change for me. I have really enjoyed my time being involved in another European team."
"There hasn't been that much co-operation between the teams to race against each other because most of them have got their new boats and they are trying to get going, which is the same with us. We have got plenty in-house that we need to do and one of the bizarre parts of the cup is that you do so much sailing against yourself." - Full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is interested in locating the original Newport Bermuda Race "Gibb's Hill Lighthouse" Trophy and/or a photo of Howard Fuller, the winner in 'Gesture,' with the trophy.
The Gibb's Hill Trophy that was awarded to 'Blue Yankee' in this year's Newport Bermuda Race, had only been awarded once in the past. In 1946, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club decided to mark the resumption of the race after WWII by offering a sterling silver replica of the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse in place of the traditional Bermuda Trophy to the winner of the race. The St. David's Lighthouse later replaced the Bermuda Trophy as the symbol for the top place in the amateur offshore race. In 2002, the Gibb's Hill trophy was brought back as the prize for the IMS Racing Division.
Please send information about the original Gibb's Hill Lighthouse Trophy to TalbotWilson@compuserve.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OXYMORON