SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1150 - September 4, 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.
With the challenger series just around the corner, Russell Coutts' Swiss syndicate Alinghi are living up to their tag as competition favourites. In the past week, it is understood that Alinghi have blown away two of their fiercest rivals in training sessions.
The syndicate, backed by pharmaceutical billionaire Ernesto Berterelli, had the better of Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW Racing last week, and made easy work of Seattle syndicate OneWorld two days ago. The three syndicates, along with Prada and Team Dennis Conner, are considered the big five going into what is expected to be the toughest challenger series yet.
Less than a month out from the start of the Louis Vuitton series, most of the challengers are out on the Hauraki Gulf racing one another. While the results of such encounters are kept under wraps, the word along "syndicate row" at the Viaduct is that Alinghi looks very impressive.
Alinghi strategist Murray Jones would not elaborate on his team's sessions with Oracle and OneWorld, but said the team are progressing well. "It is not long until October 1. Everything should be falling into place." - Julie Ash, New Zealand Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
(Yesterday we reported that an official report reviewing the make-up of the events at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 is recommending the number of sailing classes be reduced. A story by James Boyd on the madforsailing website sheds more light on the subject. Here are two excerpts.)
* The report goes on to say that sailing is being targeted because of its 'high quota' and number of events compared to its low broadcast and spectator appeal. They are therefore recommending that the number of competitors and/or classes be reduced for the 2008 Games. Specifically they have targeted the keelboat classes, the Yngling and the Star, because they are 'very expensive boats and demand costly infrastructure for Olympic competition and for general practice and development in comparison to other classes'.
* RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park confirms that the keel boat classes are the most expensive to run and campaign, but there are also cost issues at stake for the hosts. "The main issue is to do with the provision of marina facilities to do with the keel boats and all the official organisational support boats and coach boats. So there is a reasonable size marina required to house the number of boats." But Park points out that at the recent test event in Athens the number of participating boats were outnumbered to a factor of at least 2 to 1 by the official boats - although it should be pointed out that the Stars were not present due to their World Championship taking place in the USA. - James Boyd, madforsailing website, full story: www.madforsailing.com
ANOTHER ROUND THE WORLD RACE
Clipper Ventures plc, the AIM listed ocean racing and marine events company chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has announced plans to develop the Clipper 2005 Round the World Yacht Race. A fleet of 12 new boats costing an estimated £6m would be built for the race - each of these boats to be sponsored by an international city, each from a different country. Fast Track, a sports marketing agency, will enter into a strategic alliance with Clipper and market the deal on a worldwide basis.
There will also be a new route for the race, which will take in all the major business regions of the world. Twelve 68ft, 18-berth Ed Dubois designed boats will be built from a single mould and ready in time for the 2005 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. They will replace the current fleet of eight Clipper 60s, which will have been around the world four times.
The Clipper Race is one of two round the world yacht races run by Clipper Ventures. Crew members pay a fee of up to £26,500 to join the 11 month race. The new boats will allow Clipper to sell nearly double the number of berths. The second race in the Clipper Ventures stable is the Around Alone.
Clipper Ventures has secured three new race partners for this year's Around Alone. Raymarine are providing the race management system, which plots the position and performance of boats, Tiscali has designed the new race website - www.aroundalone.com which launches this week - and Stratos are supplying the ship-to-shore satellite communications. - Loretta Spridgeon, www.clipper-ventures.com
POLAR DATA SOURCES AND OCKAM COMPATIBILITY
Is your boat's performance data available from US Sailing's "in stock" Polar Performance database? While the best source for a thorough and complete Ockam format file remains a custom run VPP, services are available to refine and expand "off the shelf" polar information for use with OckamSoft or burned to chip for our 037 Interface. For more information, contact Tom Davis (email@example.com). See www.ockam.com
On Sept. 14, organizers of the Sail for America rally are hoping that a large gathering of sailors and sailboats will congregate on New York Harbor to honor and remember the victims of last September's terrorist attacks.
With less than two weeks to go before the rendezvous, the chairman of the event's organizing committee, Michael Fortenbaugh, said that nearly 600 boats had registered to participate. But even Fortenbaugh is not sure what the total attendance numbers will be.
"We're still trying to build awareness, and I think it's coming along well," he said in a phone interview from his headquarters in Manhattan. "From the beginning, Sail for America has been a low-profile, grass-roots event. But more and more people are coming in every day."
More than 80 yacht clubs have thrown their support behind the event, the planning for which has been under way for months. On the morning of the rally, three separate parades of sail will commence into the harbor from a trio of staging areas: north of the George Washington Bridge, in western Long Island Sound, and south of the Verrazano Bridge.
Once in the harbor, a full schedule of races and other on-the-water activities are scheduled throughout the afternoon. In addition to docking at local marinas on Saturday evening, sailors will also have the option of anchoring overnight in several official anchorages designated by the Coast Guard. The event's Web site - www.sailforamerica.com - details times and locations.
Fortenbaugh said that Sail for America participants would be flying a total of 3,026 sponsored Memorial Flags, each with the name of a person who was lost on 9/11. The idea for the flags, which will be distributed to the respective victims' family members after the sail, is credited to the wife of a New York firefighter, Catherine DeRubbio, whose brother-in-law, David DeRubbio, also a firefighter, died in the attack. - Herb McCormick, New York Times, full story: www.nytimes.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 Morten Lorenzen, Denmark (re Removing keelboat events from the Olympic Program - Sailing sliding out of the Olympics): ISAF says that the reason for removing keelboat events were due to the cost and complexity. That is not the whole truth. The IOC document begins with: ...the Commission noted the high quota and number of events in sailing, in comparisons to the low broadcast and spectator appeal. In addition, the cost and complexity of the operations of the sailing competition were discussed.....".
ISAF cannot hide the fact, that they have be trapped in the corner here. They have not been listening to IOC«s cry for more television friendly events, and events who are understood by the general public. After 2000 Olympics ISAF even decided to remove the only broadcast and spectator friendly sailing event - Match Race. It is now time for ISAF to really take action, and facilitate development of more 'broadcast and spectator appeal' in sailing - or we are out of the Olympics within short!
* From Alex Watters (Replying to Bruce Parsons re: Canadian coverage of the America's Cup): After several attempts to contact a 'real person' at OLN (Canada) failed miserably, I contacted OLN in the US and was treated to some excellent assistance. I was given the name and phone number of the person who has real input deciding what OLN Canada schedules. It seems no concrete decision has yet been made regarding Am cup coverage. The trick here is to have as many people as possible call her and request / demand they pick up the OLN US feed. The contact is Bev Kraut, and her direct line is (416) 332-5278. OLN Canada only shares a name with its' American counterpart, they are completely separate companies. Please spend a few nickels and call Bev ... make your case for Canadian coverage.
* From Benjamin Cohen: I take pity on Bruce Parsons and Canada in General for not have the service to view the 2002AC on the tele. If a beautiful sailing-mad country such as Canada hasn't got access, spare a thought for us poor old Aussies. Having contested the damn thing many times, even had it locked up over in Perth once. We don't get any free to air coverage.
I don't think the major commercial channels realise the event is on. In fact if Sydney harbour wasn't filled with a million or so spectators on boxing day I doubt they would realise that the Sydney - Hobart yacht race had ever taken place. Not only in Canada but in Australia "Too" it would be a great thing if the wider community had access to an event that Australia has a long and proud association with. For those who don't have access to cable then we again as the majority don't get the chance to participate.
* From Clark Chapin (RE Stephen D. Lewis' comments in Scuttlebutt #1147): I, in turn, must disagree with two of your statements: First, I don't think that the rules were followed more closely before the advent of circling penalties -- quite the contrary. When the only penalty is retirement or disqualification, sailors tended to ignore "minor" rule infringements or ones where they were uncertain of their rights. I think more people touched marks and took no penalties in those days.
Second, the trend since that time has not been "liberalization" (in the sense that fewer and fewer restrictions were applied) but more "let the punishment fit the crime". Allowing sailors to acknowledge a rule infringement, take an appropriate penalty, and continue in a race or series has made a vast improvement in our sport and we should all be proud that American sailors and judges helped lead the way.
* From Jeff Martin, Executive Secretary, International Laser Class Association: Angela Jean Schreibner commented about the "crackdown on kinetics at the 2002 Laser Radial Worlds". The standards applied at this year's Laser Radial Worlds were no different to that applied in the last 4 years. I suspect that Angela, and I know others, were competing for the first time at a Laser Radial Worlds and may not have experienced racing using an active on water jury. This is recognised by the class. To help competitors I wrote to all advising that there would be active rule 42 policing, repeated verbally at the skippers briefing and the jury posted a list of actions that they would penalise. The yellow flag system is a 3-chance system. After any yellow flag penalty the Jury offered to discuss with the sailor their actions. I don't know if Angela took advantage of this. On average not many do which suggests awareness of their actions. Angela had 3 warnings and 2 chances to correct errors with jury help.
It's impossible for judges to determine whether actions give a speed advantage. Similarly a ball sport judge cannot make a judgement whether a foul would have resulted in a goal. A foul is a foul intentional or not. Judges don't go out to collect points or disqualify competitors.
The Laser class has practised rule 42 policing at world and major continental championships for 25 years because we have seen, and had complaints from competitors, what happens when there's no rule 42 enforcement.
* From John R. "Beau" Vrolyk: I have been amused and dismayed at the discussion of "kinetics". First, who are we kidding? Is there really a sailor out there who doesn't know illegal pumping and ooching when they see it, or do it? Second, the reason we have "Umpires" is because the individual sailors have placed wining above their personal integrity, people are cheating. As we have professionalized the sport I have participated in for 35 years, this inversion of values has become nearly ubiquitous. It is, never the less, simply a loss of integrity amongst the participants. Let's un-varnish the truth here.
Finally, in the most egregious case, windsurfers, why to we try to force such a different kind of sailing device to act like a meter boat. Have a look at how windsurfers spend their time when left alone. They reach back and forth doing amazing trick. Why not treat Olympic windsurfing like free style skiing, there's much more in common. Then we might get board sailors off of those slugs they race in the Olympics and onto something interesting, like a pin tailed kite board.
PETER MONTGOMERY SPEAKS
(Cheryl has posted some excerpts from a report made by America's Cup commentator Peter Montgomery about the AC syndicate activities (www.newstalkzb.co.nz/index.asp). Here are some excerpts from Cheryl's excerpts.)
"Whether or not it's all going to be as close among the challengers as some people are projecting because this is the forth generation of this new class". They are all going to a corner. I have my doubts. I still think there will be two or three that stand out ahead of the rest. There was secret racing last week off Waiwera. Alinghi raced Oracle. Alinghi won those two, two - nil in about 11 knots of breeze. The starts were pretty even. Alinghi seemed to have an edge.
Yesterday Alinghi raced OneWorld. Alinghi beat OneWorld two - nil. James Spithill on the helm - the starts not quite so good for OneWorld. That was supposed to continue today but there was too much breeze and there was no racing.
Meanwhile Oracle had two boats and Sweden had two boats. In the first lot, it was one all between those two and in the second my men in the field tell me that Oracle beat the Swedes comfortably. So there's a lot of informal racing going on.
I'm fascinated to hear that Prada are under heat. They have just arrived. They could have left it too late by staying in the northern hemisphere. The syndicates that stayed here through the winter - at least they're up and running. They're all geared up but the campaigns that are just arriving are trying to get into the mode and racing starts on the first of next month. We're inside the 30 days now. So it's all on. And I hear that Prada had to cut up the first of their new boats. I think Prada is under a bit of heat. I think they'll be stretched even to make the Louis Vuitton final.
Then you've got Oracle. The approach of Larry Ellison, many of the people in the syndicate, the pedigree of the Bruce Farr design. I believe they've had a few meetings since their informal secret meeting out off Wairewa. Oracle will be worthy.
Stars and Stripes. They're putting a new bow on USA-77. Five or six weeks ago I would not have been surprised to see Stars and Stripes to at least make the final four. But I reckon this is a set back. There's a lot of seasoned veterans there and they won't have their cage rattled like a lot of wide-eyed youngsters. But this is setting them back.
The Brits. I hear that Wight Lightning hasn't been going quite as well as they would like. The Brits have their new boat here. They've got a whole bunch of outstanding young people - wonderful attitude. They have to wriggle to get up. - isuzu21.webcrossing.com
The Around Alone Race Committee has ruled on the request of Graham Dalton to have "extenuating circumstances" considered as a result of her failure to complete her qualification voyage by the published deadline of 1200 DST (Daylight Saving Time Newport R.I.) on 1st September 2002. It was not good news for Dalton - the committee decided they were not going to extend the deadline.
In their ruling they stated, "In consideration of the request to have "extenuating circumstances" considered as a result of Hexagon's dismasting on her initial attempt at a Trans-Atlantic qualification voyage and the wind conditions in the North Atlantic, the Race Committee has decided to impose the following penalty and allow Hexagon to compete in the Around Alone Race:
"Six (6) hours per 24 hours or part thereof pro-rated from 1200 DST on 1st September 2002 until arrival at her Newport berth. The qualification voyage must be completed with all the other requirements of Rule 7.1 and 7.2 of the Notice of Race. This penalty will be in addition to the late arrival penalty as per rule 7.2 of the Notice of Race."
It now looks like Hexagon will reach Newport on Thursday or Friday of this week and will undoubtedly be penalized 24-30 hours - plus the late arrival penalty. The combined penalty times will be applied to Leg One of the Around Alone Race (New York to Torbay). - www.aroundalone.org
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EUROPE DINGHY WORLDS
Australia's Sarah Blanck, has won her first World title in the Women's Olympic class Europe single-handed dinghy in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In a fleet of 109 of the top women Europe sailors world-wide, Blanck maintained a commanding lead throughout the Championship, with finishes that included three wins, three 2nd's and a 3rd. Blanck narrowly missed Olympic selection to the Sydney 2000 Games to her Victorian counterpart, Melanie Dennison, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in the Olympic Yngling Keelboat class. Germany's Petra Niemann, finished 2nd, and 3rd place went to Siren Sundby from Norway.- Sail-World website, full story: www.sail-world.com
Top North American finishers in women's classes: 12. Meg Gaillard, USA; 19. Rachel Dennis, CAN; 21. Tania Elias-Calles Wolf, MEX.
Complete results: www.europeworlds2002.com/results/WCResults_Women.html
I'm outta here - off to Sardinia to race in the Rolex Swan Cup. This will be my last issue for two weeks, but fear not - once again David McCreary has agreed to pinch hit while I'm gone. Remember: letters and press releases should be sent directly to David at email@example.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why is there a light in the refrigerator and not in the freezer?