SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1147 - August 29, 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.
SKIRTING THE ISSUE
A black shroud encased Team New Zealand's new boat NZL81 for her maiden sail on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday. NZL81, with skipper Dean Barker at the helm, slipped out of Auckland's Viaduct Harbour late in the afternoon for the crew's first sail, returning in the dark. She was towed out to the race-course in her full-length skirt, with crew on support vessels keeping a close eye on challengers' bases as they slipped past.
What NZL81 is hiding under her skirts, if anything, could not be seen but the defenders say they will keep both their boats covered each time they are towed past the challengers. Most other syndicates keep the hulls and keels of their boats covered as they are lifted into and out of the water, but no others tow their boats to the Hauraki Gulf in skirts.
Team spokesman Murray Taylor said the skirts on NZL81 and training partner NZL60, which won the cup in 2000, were a logical precaution. "We don't want people to see the boat, it's as simple as that," he said. - NZ herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
(James Boyd interviewed the GBR Challenge's Andy Green for the madforsailing website. Here are two brief excerpts where Green looks at the syndicates IACC boats.)
In comparison with their training boats GBR-41 and 52, Wight Lightning (GBR78) is much stiffer fore and aft. "On the Japanese boats, if you've got someone who hasn't let the runner off before and they jerk the runner when they release it, the boat sort of drops from underneath you. Particularly when you are the helmsman standing up here, you bear away and it suddenly goes 'Donk' and then comes back straight again.
"You can definitely feel that the Japanese boats are three years old but when you do that on the new boat it is stiff as a board. We're looking at having under 20mm of bend over the entire length of the boat when you've got 16 tons of load through the runners and the forestay. 20mm is not that much over 80ft and we're looking for less than that. And that is the essence of these boats - you've got to keep them as stiff as you can. So the boat feels good."
* "The intention really is not to sail GBR-78 at this stage. If of course it turns out there are no problems with it and we can work it up to speed very quickly and it proves to be a good boat then maybe there's a chance we could use it in the second or third round robin. But we'll always have it there in the quiver, but the absolute focus is on GBR70 and we're not going to get distracted by having the other boat down there. And we have a small team that are working on 78 as opposed to taking a whole bunch of people and splitting the team. There are 3 or 4 people looking after 78 and that's really not taking any resource away from 70." So while GBR Challenge is effectively a two boat campaign, it is not in quite the same way as other challengers. - James Boyd, madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com
ADDENDUM - People who have seen GBR Challenge's two boats on the water or in photographs have noted big differences between the two. - Tony Bessinger, Sailing World magazine website, www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1244
MAST DISPLAYS AND CREW CONTRIBUTION
Information displayed at the mast doesn't just make it easier for the driver to process instrument data while watching where he's going - it focuses the whole crew, and over time builds a stronger team of sailors. Communication between the crew forward of the cockpit and the crew aft is greatly enhanced. Downwind gains are particularly significant with spinnaker trimmers keeping an eye on the numbers while describing sheet pressure to the driver, resulting in better synchronized sailing. For a great selection of mast display pods in anodized aluminum and carbon fiber visit www.ockam.com
* Half of the fleet has arrived in Newport RI in preparation for the Around Alone Race. Tim Kent and his Open 50 Everest Horizontal arrived Tuesday night, followed the next morning by Belgian skipper, Patrick de Radiguès, who sailed single-handedly from home base of Arcachon, France onboard Open 60 Garnier. The sole British, female skipper, and the youngest competitor in Around Alone 2002-03, Emma Richards, is still 800 miles from Newport, RI onboard Open 60 Pindar. - www.aroundalone.com
* French challenger Le Defi Areva are happy to have arrived safely in New Zealand without any disruption from Greenpeace New Zealand. Earlier in their campaign the Louis Vuitton syndicate did not receive such a warm welcome from Greenpeace France when a protestors yacht crashed into one of their yachts as they were preparing for its first sail. In New Zealand, however, it was a silent protest by Greenpeace with small a number of protestors holding placards with messages such as, 'I like camabert not nuclear weapons." - nzoom.com website, full story: onesport.nzoom.com/sport_detail/0,1278,127502-2-124,00.html
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 Morten Christoffersen Olympic Boardsailor '92 and '96 (edited to our 250-word limit): Once again Mr. Henderson is after the boardsailors and after people who has devoted their life and time to the sport he is supposed to promote and govern. It frustrates me to no end, that sailors breaking a rule are called cheaters without any other qualification. If it's cheating to break a rule in a sport does that mean:
Shaq O'Neill is a cheater when he fouls out in an NBA game?
David Becham is a cheater when he commits a foul in soccer?
Michael Schumacher is cheating when he speeds in the pitlane and gets a time penalty?
No! They are playing to the rules, but sometimes they cross the line and go to far. When that happens, officials will let them know and penalize them. It is about time that the organizing body for sailing starts to take their job seriously and help govern the sport instead of blaming it on the athletes. Most other sports have realized that officials are needed to make sure a level playing field exists for the athletes. Go to any organized soccer game between small kids and you will see paid officials. Yet, sailing, which is one of the most expensive sports around, can't get the funding.
Top athletes are competitive and want to win. Have umpires on the water to enforce the rules. Imagine a world cup soccer game without a referee and lines men and the players were told to just follow the rules and not cheat.
* From James C. Malm: The ISAF President Paul Henderson made many valid points. I disagree with one of them he made; "- 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 think, sailors can be strong and talented. The boys from England just proved this at the Star Worlds. Important to realize when your knowledge of the game is hindered by your physical shape. To the gym for me.
* From George Bailey: Paul Henderson stated, "So everyone really agrees that uncontrolled Kinetics which means sculling, paddling, rocking, pumping, ooching, towing, etc should not dominate Sailing." Well, if so, why would the Curmudgeon have posted the exerpt from Paul Henderson's essay? After sitting for an hour in zero wind and 100 degrees last Saturday I was seriously thinking of calling everyone on the radio and suggesting three minutes of unlimited motor use to get us up where the wind was (about 1/2 mile to weather).
What if unlimited kinetics was allowed in wind below three knots? Or up to whatever wind strength it ceases to make a big difference for that class? We have to adjust play to the ethics of the players or the cheaters will always win. Too many of today's players are not attuned to being ethical. Its just not part of their cultural conditioning. Something is wrong only if you get caught. No feelings of guilt, even then.
* From Stephen D. Lewis: I can't support more strongly Paul Henderson's effort to tighten enforcement of Rule 42. The attitude that has become common in too many class cultures is that kinetics are fine as long as you (and not your competitors) are doing the pumping, rocking, ooching, etc., and that you don't get flagged. Sailboat racing should not become an air-rowing contest.
Rule 42 issues, in my view, are the best example of the unfortunate trend toward liberalization of the racing rules that has been continuous since the 1970s. It used to be that when you touched a mark, you dropped out. A foul resulted in a protest of a DNF, not a 360 or 720 turn. The consequences of a violation were serious, regatta-ending penalties. That made sailors careful, not less aggressive, but careful. In my opinion, the rules were adhered to much more 35 years ago than they are now.
And don't get me started about the issue barely raised in your Scuttlebutt piece, that of coaches teaching and encouraging their charges to cheat! I have seen it at the high school and college level in Northern California, and it breaks my heart to think that we are raising a generation of young sailors whose attitude toward the racing rules is as cavalier as Enron's was toward accounting rules! The Corinthian spirit is what makes sailboat racing unique as a competitive sport. I strongly encourage Mr. Henderson's effort to help preserve that spirit through re-evaluation of Rule 42 enforcement.
* From Chris Princing: Three cheers go out to Vince Cooke! Vince you should not have had to defend yourself, or the Louis Vuitton race committee, which you did with an incredible display of facts that even Perry Mason would be proud of!
Why is it that people have no sense of responsibility? People are quick to point the finger at someone else when disaster hits, instead of admitting they goofed up. Well I hate to use children's lingo, but watch out when you point, cause three fingers are pointing back at you!
* From Jim Thompson: Regarding the fateful day when Australia lost their boat ... yeah, I was out there on the defender course on Race Committee. We were the escort vessel for the right side of the defender course and went up and down the course during the race ... after the first leg up, both of the defenders had problems. I think the girls lost their rudder and Dennis lost a boom vang ... anyway, they both had boat breakage and problems.
The boats we were in contact with departed shortly after the first race due to people getting sick and tossed around the boats. I don't know how much it was blowing but that was incidental compared to the huge seas. I was in a 20 foot Searay and we were mostly under water coming up the front sides of each steep wave and could not see anything until we go to the top. I thought it was totally crazy to try to race in these conditions and wondered why we didn't just cancel the race day. And then we heard the news, Australia was down in about 30 seconds but the crew were safe ... whew!!
* From Peter Huston: Many people seem to think that OneAus sank because of some combination of flaws in design, structural engineering, materials, or building method. Vince Cooke did a nice job setting the record straight on the amount of breeze that day.
Anyone who has ever sailed out of Mission Bay knows the harbor jetty entrance tends to shoal up, and is very shallow, which creates a wave pattern that is bigger than the normal sea state even just several hundred yards further to sea. Could it be that on the fateful day, as OneAus was leaving Mission Bay, when it was in a trough of a wave at the jetty entrance, the keel slammed on the harbor bottom, and in the process created unseen, but very damaging stress cracks in the hull?
AMERICA'S CUP TRIVIA
In 1850 builder George Steers quoted $30,000 to build the first winner, America
Shamrock III lost her way in the fog and failed to finish the last race in 1903
Reliance in 1903 was the biggest AC boat - tip of bowsprit to end of boom 61 metres (200 feet)
SAILING COACHES WANTED
J World, America's Top Ranked sailing school is seeking coaches for our Key West FL branch. Applicants must be motivated, fun loving and upbeat. In addition, excellent keelboat boathandling and spinnaker skills are necessary along with a strong racing background and good communication skills. Employment will begin January 1, 2003 and housing assistance in Key West is provided. Long term employment at J World is possible. Previous teaching experience and US Sailing Keelboat Instructor status is a plus. All applicants must call John or Denise at 800-343-2255 for information and to apply. No e-mail resumes please.
PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS
With the addition of Oracle BMW Racing I & Oracle BMW Racing II to the starting lineup for next year's Worrell 1000, the number of registered teams for 2003 stands at seventeen as of Friday, August 23. Both teams are in Auckland, New Zealand as members of Oracle BMW Racing, one of three U.S. syndicates preparing to challenge for the XXXI America's Cup starting in October 2002 and running through March 2003. Sailing Oracle BMW Racing I will be Jonathan S. Ziskind, age 30, of San Francisco, CA and Philip B. Jameson, 25, of Auckland. Sailing Oracle BMW Racing II will be Cameron C. Daniel, 30, of Auckland and Rodney C. Daniel, 30, of Forster, NWS, Australia. (www.oracleracing.com/team/or-team2.html#sail)
The entry of these America's Cup sailors is the latest in what may prove to be the most competitive and diverse field of racers to ever compete in this extreme, 1,000 mile race for beach cats held every year in May. Also entered is David Scully, 44, of Charleston, SC, the boat captain of Playstation, the 125 foot maxi-cat, holder of numerous sailing records and arguably one of the fastest sailboats in the world. Add to this mix, two-time Olympic Silver medalist and six-time winner of the Worrell 1000, Randy Smyth, 48, of Fort Walton Beach, FL and the 2002 / 2001 Worrell 1000 winners Brian Lambert, 37, of Fort Walton Beach and Jamie Livingston, 40, of Jupiter, FL and the field gets real intense. And back for his twelve try, winner of three Worrells and the only present day competitor to have raced under the 24-hour non-stop format which was discontinued in 1983 is another Aussie, Rod Waterhouse, 44, of Sydney, Australia.
Returning with Waterhouse is one of three female sailors registered for 2003, Sandra Tartaglino, 42, of Redwood Shores, CA. Sandra broke her leg in the 2001 Worrell 1000 and set out the '02 race following surgery on her leg. Another Worrell winner, in 2000 with Smyth, and 2002 Alter Cup Champion is Matt Struble, 30, of Bay City, MI, sailing with W.F. Oliver, 43, of Virginia Beach, VA. - www.worrell1000.com
The Bitter End Yacht Club is hosting a party during the Annapolis Boat Show to promote their Pro-Am Regatta and the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship Regatta. The Dry Creek Winery will be there to pour some of their finest vintages. The party is October 11th from 6-9 PM dockside and aboard the Bitter End's unique converted Chesapeake Bay Skipjack, Oystercatcher - which will be parked just a stone's throw from the show site. BTW - If you'd like to crew during the Pro-Am Regatta or sail in the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship, SSC members (that's you) can still get discounted rates at the resort during that week - November 2-9. - www.beyc.com/yvReg.asp#ProAm16
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Be really nice to your family and friends. You never know when you are going to need them to empty your bedpan.