SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1162 - September 23, 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.
AMERICA'S CUP - IS THE NEW YORK TIMES OFF COURSE?
The runaway victory of the schooner America over the best racers of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, England, on August 22, 1851 predated the founding and first issue of The New York Times by a few short weeks. The victory highlighted the entrepreneurial, can-do attitude of a burgeoning nation. Since the first America's Cup held off New York City in 1870, the nation's leading daily newspaper has published distinguished coverage about the event, whether it was held in Australia, New Zealand or the U.S., the three nations that have hosted Cup competition.
Today, just eight days away from the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup series to decide the next challenger for the America's Cup - a series that features three American syndicates, including the New York Yacht Club's challenge headed by Dennis Conner - the Times' plans for covering the Cup in New Zealand are cloudy at best. A call to the Sports Department elicited the following response: "We're going a different route but we'll be there."
In other words, boating columnist Herb McCormick who covered the last America's Cup for the Times, won't be there. McCormick's Cup roundup piece that appeared yesterday in the Sunday New York Times was his swansong - his final offering after three years on the job. McCormick was scheduled to cover the initial Louis Vuitton racing from the States before heading to New Zealand for on- the-spot coverage. Those plans have been cancelled.
As best we understand, the reasons are these. The Sports Department at the Times is undergoing an overhaul, there is on ongoing search for a new Sports Editor, and contract writers like McCormick are on the way out. The assumption is that regular sports news staff will cover their beats.
The effects of this policy reach far beyond the America's Cup and McCormick's tenure as boating correspondent. The ramifications bode poorly for sailing in general. Sports news departments in any media outlet are typically staffed by fans or ex-collegiate players of major ball sports like football, basketball, baseball, etc. Sports like sailing rely on knowledgeable insiders to tell their story, interpret their politics, dig into their problems, and spotlight their best performers. Without a staffer with sailing credentials to champion the cause, sailing is going to take it on the chin.
Of course it's not for us to dictate policy to The Times' editors. But it is our privilege as paying customers and dedicated readers to demand that The Times live up to the promise it makes in headlines in its annual Fact Book: "News and Editorial - The New York Times is committed to providing readers with content of the highest quality and integrity. The depth and range of reporting in The Times is unsurpassed."
Hopefully you feel as we do. We urge you to let The New York Times know of your thoughts. Forward a copy of this editorial if you wish, or write your own letter, on your company or yacht club letterhead, to the publisher, editor and sports editor of The Times. They are: Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman and Publisher; Howell Raines, Executive Editor; and Neil Amdur, Sports Editor. The address is: The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. Do it today - this minute! The New York Times needs to hear from its sailing readership. - Jane Eagleson, Barby MacGowan, Keith Taylor & Bruno Trouble
ARBITRATION PANEL DECISIONS
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Louis Vuitton Cup holder Prada has escaped being disqualified from the America's Cup over a legal dispute. The Italian syndicate was fined $10,000 on Friday by the cup's Arbitration Panel for starting legal proceedings against American challenger Oracle BMW Racing.
The dispute began when Prada alleged Oracle was peeking into its compound from a barge moored at the end of its dock. After failing to get satisfaction from Oracle, Prada filed legal proceedings in June in the High Court of New Zealand, saying the barge breached its privacy.
The rules of the Protocol that govern the America's Cup do not allow teams to resort to the courts in any dispute. By the time Prada realised its mistake and withdrew the Court proceedings, Oracle had already made a submission to the Arbitration Panel alleging Prada was in violation of the Protocol and should face automatic disqualification.
The ruling and a fine of $10,000 plus costs was made on the basis of "various aspects of the infraction, its seriousness, the impact the violation might have had on the outcome of the Challenge and Match, and how the incident reflects on the condition stated in the Deed of Gift."
Even though all the syndicates are required to sign an agreement to bide by the panel's rulings and not resort to the courts, panel members felt that this still might not prevent one of the billionaire backers filing for a case of negligence if they were penalised or prevented from racing. - CNN Inside Sailing website, full story: www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/
* Here is an executive summary of the decisions made Friday by the cup's Arbitration Panel:
Oracle v Prada: Prada gets fined $10K plus costs for filing a lawsuit but it's not prevented from executing the declaration and competing for the Cup if it prevails as challenger;
Chris Main may sail for the GBR Challenge;
John Kostecki may not sail for the OneWorld Challenge
Yachts Assembled in Country of Competitor means built in that country without a requirement that yachts be assembled, put together or sailed before arriving in NZ.
* Here are more details about the rulings of ACAP: In June, 2002, Prada filed a Notice of Proceeding and Statement of Claim in the High Court of New Zealand, naming Oracle BMW Racing as the defendant. The dispute related to a barge belonging to Oracle, which Prada claimed had been positioned on the boundary line between the two syndicates' bases, breaching Prada's privacy.
Two days after the lawsuit was filed, Oracle BMW Racing filed a stay of proceeding. Shortly thereafter, Prada filed a Notice of Discontinuance, essentially withdrawing the Court proceeding.
In its submission to the Arbitration Panel, Oracle maintained that by resorting to an outside Court of Law, Prada was in violation of Article 10.2 of the Protocol, a document governing the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup.
Article 10.2 states in part: Any Challenger who resorts to any Court or tribunal, other than the Arbitration Panel∑will accordingly be ineligible to make the declaration provided in Article 6 and to be the Challenger for the Match.
In its ruling, the Arbitration Panel determined that while Prada had breached the provisions of Article 10.2 of the Protocol, no such penalty was automatically provided for, and that the Panel would determine what penalty should be applied.
The Arbitration Panel ruled that by taking into consideration the "various aspects of the infraction, its seriousness, the impact the violation might have had on the outcome of the Challenge and Match, and how the incident reflects on the condition stated in the Deed of Gift∑" the Panel would fine Prada US$10 000 plus costs.
The Arbitration Panel ruled on a nationality issue for sailing crew, determining that a GBR Challenge crewmember had fulfilled the nationality requirements and could sail for the team.
The Panel clarified that ''fabricated and assembled'' in the context of the Protocol meant that "the hull, the deck and each appendage are each fabricated and assembled in the relevant Challenger's or Defender's country. It is not necessary that the hull, the deck and the appendages be assembled into a complete yacht in such country."
Finally, the Panel ruled that a person submitted as a designer by a challenging syndicate that had subsequently withdrawn from the Match could not be submitted by another team as a crewmember. - Louis Vuitton website, www.lvcup.com
THE PROVING GROUND
"A sailing masterpiece." -- Walter Cronkite
"The most marvelous sailing documentary I have ever read--brilliantly executed, poignant, comprehensive, enticing." -- William F. Buckley Jr.
"What a fantastic adventure story this is." -- Esquire
"A page-turner." -- Washington Post
"Harrowing." -- New York Times
"This is adventure writing at its best." -- Detroit Free Press
The Proving Ground, G. Bruce Knecht's acclaimed book about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race, is now available at bookstores everywhere or at Amazon.com:
* Bayview YC has posted Outdoor Life Network's complete schedule for the Louis Vuitton Series: www.byc.com/acup/oln-schedule.htm
* GBR Challenge's second new boat was out on the Gulf for the first time. Given the suggestion that there had been some disappointment with GBR 70 and the general excitement that is said to be surrounding GBR 78, it'll be interesting to see just how many smiles there are once the crew return back to the dock. - Matthew Sheahan, Yachting World website, www.yachting-world.com/yw/home.htm
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 Jeff Roberts: Obviously the America's Cup Arbitration Panel was trying to find a way not to disqualify Prada, and it shows in their tortured logic and obvious disregard for the plain words of the Protocol. Written in clear English is a very serious penalty for resorting to a court or tribunal outside of the Arb Panel or approved body. The Arb Panel has taken it upon themselves to decide that the drafters had no clue what they were writing when quite clearly they did. "Ineligibility for the Match" is capital punishment, and this would have not have been lost on the drafters. It seems, however, to have been lost on the Arb Panel. And adding insult to injury, they let Prada off with a US$10,000 tap-on-the-wrist fine. I was not surprised to learn that two of the Panel members are Prada appointees. Is this any way to run the most prestigious event in our sport?
* From Tom Saliba: The whole Swan World Cup Regatta and the way in which the Italian's treated the crews of all of the 100+ boats entered was an incredible experience. It was not only the "Rock Stars" who were made to feel special. Why can't the organizers of most regattas realize that it is not only those very few world class sailors who make things happen, but all of the participants?
Sailing around and amongst the islands near Puerto Cervo was a wonderful experience and navigating on one of the "family and friends" crewed swans with a crew that was not multi-lingual but spoke both English and Italian was colorful. We learned to swear in more than two languages on the first day with the 35+ knots of wind. We contributed significantly to the mountain of sails to be repaired and finally finished under main alone but unlike more than 22 other boats, we did finish.
By the way, having a submarine surface near the race course was a truly unique experience. It must have been quite an interesting site through the periscope.
AS SEEN BY RUSSELL COUTTS
(Following is an excerpt from an interview that Julie Ash did with Russell Coutts for the New Zealand Herald.)
Coutts, who has a background in engineering, is obviously excited about what he sees around him. "Even in the informal racing some of the big teams have been beaten. "I doubt whether anyone is going to be completely dominant throughout the series."
He says there is more difference in the boats this time than the last regatta. "Oracle have the most radical boats, probably. They are narrow and probably light in displacement. "Stars and Stripes have an interesting boat ... It is narrower than anyone else's - way narrower than Oracle's. "Last time, Stars and Stripes were a bit like the 1995 generation. It was a good standard boat. "This time, they have gone quite radical, which is great. That is what this event's about: innovation and pushing the limits.
"Prada have got an innovative mast. They have got two rigging elements down the outside of the mast. "Instead of having one, they have devised a system to have two, which creates less drag. "They are the only ones who have that system at the moment. That sort of thing moves the game up another level," Coutts says.
"It looks like Great Britain have gone for a tandem keel on their boat by the position of the mast and the way they lift the boat in and out of the water. So they have gone back to a keel possibly like what NZL20 had in 1995." Coutts says some designers may have favoured a tandem keel because at high speed in strong winds yachts create a wave trough. If you separate the keels you also separate where the trough forms on the hull, which can reduce drag. "Some of the teams have tried forward rudders, or canards where you have two rudders and a centre keel thing. "There has been a lot of innovation this time. I love this part of the sport." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
SNIPE CLASS WESTERN HEMISPHERE AND ORIENT CHAMPIONSHIP
The Snipe Class is racing the 2002 WH & Orients this week at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. This is an extremely competitive international class. Catch all the action at both the International Snipe website: snipe.org, or the new US Snipe website: http://snipeus.org. You too can be part of this kind of world-class excitement; come to the World Masters (October 20-24) and Women's Worlds (October 15-19) that will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Charter boats and hotels are still available. Check the official website for all of the details: snipe2002.org
Brad van Liew sailing Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America came within a mile of breaking the 24-hour distance record for Class 2. Yesterday afternoon, shortly after picking up a strong tail wind Brad called in to Race HQ to report that he was going for the 24-hour record. He had been sustaining speeds of around 20 knots. Today, when the wind started to abate, the Argos tracking system took his latest position, and the starting point and ending point were fed into the computer. It seems as if Brad came up a mile short.
STANDINGS - Class One: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 1270 miles to finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 148 miles from leader; 3. Garnier, Patrick de Radigues, 240 miles from leader; Class Two: 1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 1755 miles to finish; 2, Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 191 miles behind leader; 3. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 221 miles behind leader. - www.aroundalone.com
QUOTES FROM THE AROUND ALONE BOATS
I don't know whether to blame myself or the sequence of events, but the result is the same: the boom is broken and we face a mountain of work to finish leg one and prepare in time for leg two. It will take more than dolphins to cheer me up now, I'm afraid. - Bruce Schwab, Ocean Planet
Exact Software International A-Class Catamaran World Championship, Martha's Vineyard, Mass - Final results (48 boats): 1. Glenn Ashby, AUS, 9pts; 2. Scott Anderson. AUS, 30; 3. Steve Brewin, AUS, 38; 4. USA, Charlie Ogletree, USA, 46; 5. Tim Kirkham, AUS, 46; 6. Lars Guck, USA, 48; 7. Pete Melvin, USA, 61. - www.aclass-tornado-worlds2002.org
LASER WORLD MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Hyannis Yacht Club, Cape Cod, USA - 280 Master sailors were greeted at Hyannis Yacht Club with a forecast of a 15 knot sea breeze for the first days racing. However it failed to materialise and racing was carried out in a 6 to 9 knot southerly breeze. Andrew Pimental USA leads the Apprentice fleet (35 to 44 years) after the first day with Mark Littlejohn from Britain in second place. In the Masters division (45 to 54 years) Ed Adams from USA had a perfect day winning both heats. The Grand Masters (55 to 64 years) division is led by Bill Symes with defending champion Keith Wilkins from Britain in equal second with Chris Boome. - Jeffery Martin, full results: www.laserworlds2002.com
After two days of racing in light and shifty 4- to 7-knot breeze at the NOOD on Galveston Bay-- presented by Mount Gay Rum and hosted September 20-22 by the Lakewood Yacht Club--racers knew the final day of racing could be more of the same. But on the eve of the finale, everything changed. Saturday evening brought rain, cooler temperatures, and weather patterns that ushered in firm teen-strength winds at 15 to 18 knots. There were 23 boats in both the J/22 and the J/80 classes, with Rob Johnston's Diesel Snack winning the former and Jay Lutz's Synergy taking the top prize in the latter class. Full results: www.sailingworld.com
CHICAGO – The last day of the eighth annual J/105 North American Championship regatta at the Chicago Yacht Club challenged even the most seasoned racers, and shifted the top boats into almost a completely different group. Three races and many protests later, the race committee announced the winning boats. Final results (50 boats): 1. Peregrine, Steve Phillips, 63pts; 2. Hoss, Darden/ Hillard/ Williamson, 67; 3. Tern 7, Bob and Stu Johnstone, 74. www.chicagoyachtclub.org/j105na/Results.pdf
Scott Dickson qualified for a berth in the Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup by winning LBYC's Grade 2 Ficker Cup in a double round robin match race series. Dalton Bergan took second place with Dawn Riley finishing third. The only two losses Dickson had were at the hands of Tucker Thompson from Annapolis who finished fourth. The Dickson Racing Team included Greg Weeger, Tony Stuart, Dave Ridley, Tim Lidgard, and Max Baxter. www.LBYC.org
Westerly winds ripped across Duluth's harbor at 18 plus knots. But even with frequent gusts up to 30 knots, Lake Superior stayed smooth for the double round robin series for the match racing championship of the Great Lakes. Results: 1) Rod Syck Lake Superior 4 wins; 2) Hank Stuart Lake Ontario 4 wins; 3) Bob Hughes Lake Michigan 2 wins; 4) Chris VanTol Detroit Region 2 wins.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
There comes a time in life when you have to forget about health food and go for all the preservatives you can get.