SCUTTLEBUTTNo. 1000 - February 5, 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.
FOR THE RECORD
(Following is an excerpt from Herb McCormick's column in Sunday's New York Times.)
Aboard a 110-foot trimaran named after an American Indian, Geronimo, 11 French sailors are preparing for one wild ride. Fittingly, Geronimo's captain - the five-time circumnavigator and the former French radio personality Olivier de Kersauson - has a bit of cowboy in him. "I like Geronimo; he would never accept surrender," said de Kersauson from Paris in a telephone interview last week. "I think this value is a good one for me. I like people who don't surrender."
Later this month, de Kersauson and his crew will set out from France to compete again for the Trophˇe Jules Verne, an award emblematic of the fastest nonstop voyage around the world beginning and ending at the French port of Brest. De Kersauson, the current record holder for the passage, in 1997 circled the globe in 71 days 14 hours aboard a trimaran. His plan is not only to better that mark, but also to obliterate it. "Maybe we can make something around 60 days," he said.
The Jules Verne concept was the brainchild of another French multihull star, Bruno Peyron. When Peyron made his first attempt in 1993 with the American sailor Cam Lewis among his crew, he hoped to complete the trip in fewer than 80 days. He did so with 16 hours to spare.
A year later, the New Zealand sailor Peter Blake took five more days off the record, lowering it to 74 days and change. Blake and Peyron both employed big catamarans for their offshore exploits. Peyron went on to become the founder of The Race, last year's round-the-world marathon that was won by yet another cat, Club Med. In fact, the entire fleet was made up of giant catamarans. And Peyron has taken one of those catamarans, renamed it Orange after a French telephone concern, and will also begin another Jules Verne attempt this month.
In this world of rugged offshore sailing, it seems only de Kersauson believes three hulls are better than two. It is not a point he presses too hard, however.
"On a trimaran you have all the compression working on the main, central hull, while on a cat you have the compression of the rigging and the sails working on the crossbeam that is attaching the hulls together, and that's important," he said. "But I don't think one boat is better than the other," he added. "In some conditions it'd be better to be in a cat, in some it would be better in a tri." - Herb McCormick, New York Times.
Full story: www.nytimes.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The fleet is on the verge of record-breaking territory as the eight VO60s pile through the best and worst of the Southern Ocean. illbruck in particular is knocking on the door of the 24-hour records notched up during the fleet's last foray into the wild wastes of the South on Leg 2. And yet this seems to feature low on the list of preoccupations for the sailors right now. Vying for first place in their thoughts is the drip-drip torture of the inescapable cold, damp conditions - and the gut-wrenching, ever-present fear of colliding with a growler, one of those nasty little icebergs possibly lurking just below the surface of the frothing ocean. - Andy Rice
During the last night, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet got into the winds of the massive low-pressure system that is recorded with 948hPa, low by any means. It will generate the strong winds that the yachts need to generate record-breaking speeds. Assa Abloy and djuice are already on the pace for the last six hours with Amer Sports One just slightly under. The benchmark was set by SEB on leg 2 with 460 miles. With just 1800 miles left to Cape Horn this will be the last low they can ride.
Paul Cayard reported after, what he claims to be the best two hours of helming he did for a long time: "We have averaged 21.5 knots for the last four hours. Not sure we sustained that pace for four hours last time. The keel makes a loud whistle at 25 knots of boat speed. Two reefs and storm kite is the menu right now."
Positions on February 5 at 0358 GMT: 1. illbruck 4097 miles to finish; 2. Amer Sports One, 35 miles behind leader; 3. Team Tyco, 61 mbl; 4. News Corp, 67 mbl; 5. Assa Abloy 102 mbl; 6. djuice, 106 mbl; 7. Team SEB, 165 mbl; 8. Amer Sports Too, 315 mbl. - www.volvooceanrace.com
KWRW WRAP UP
When you attend a big regatta like the Key West Race Week, you quickly find out what's hot and what's not. Last week in Key West, it was instantly obvious that the curmudgeon's glowing descriptions of the Camet sailing shorts have not fallen on deaf ears. Camet shorts where everywhere. And although everyone loves the advantages of the quick drying Supplex, and the reinforced seat patch, I think what's pushed them over the top is the fact that they look so bitchin'. www.camet.com
* Single-handed ocean racing has a romance and drama about it which no other area of sailing and few aspects of life in general can match. In an increasingly over-protective world, the single-handers are the ones who 'Just Do It' par excellence, who break out from the norms and do something which pushes them to the limits and beyond and for that they deserve our admiration and respect. - Ed Gorman, madforsailing website. www.madforsailing.com
* Michael Illbruck will unveil his first America's Cup challenger in Bremen on Thursday. Illbruck, though, has already told cup officials in Auckland that he will not ship the boat to New Zealand for the challenger trials, starting October 1, unless additional funding is found for the campaign, which sounds less and less like the beat-the-world-at-all-points-of-contact program originally announced. - Sail Magazine website, www.sailmag.com/html/briefing.html#havana
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(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 Manfred C. Schreiber: I like the Curmudgeon's comment about the newly released IACC SailNr. 69. The "French Kiss" seems to have a tradition in America«s Cup terms. Smart move by our European friends. Yes, really something to talk about and to speculate about to whom this message is aimed for.
* From Enrico Alfredo Ferrari Griffin: I totally support the French sail number and attitude! Le Defi is just living up to its name - Attitude is Everything!
QUOTES FROM THE VOLVO BOATS
* "It wasn't really a childhood dream to be sailing in the snow, but that is exactly what we've been doing for the day. Snowing began at 6 am, its now 4 pm and still falling... have to say it is better than rain, but we all look at bit silly throwing around the odd small snow ball now and then. Tonight we expect to be hit with a pretty large front of around 45 knots. This will mean an evening of two scheduled gybes, at least four sail changes and the joy of 45 knots and snow. 'Snow squall coming' is a term I didn't expect to use here, but seems to be a new phrase we use when calling the wind out here now. We are out of toilet paper and I have not let anyone steal some from other food bags yet. More paper will arrive tomorrow with day ten food bag. The longer you wait the more you enjoy." - Anthony Nossiter, djuice.
* "One broken kite and one slashed main sail. The kite is put to bed and we have another one up and going just fine but the main has to be taken down and fixed properly for the long haul. We are just trying to find the time, which will be least costly to sail without a main for three hours." - Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One
* "If it wasn't bad enough already, now we're blasting along in thick fog! Everything now is wet and cold. Our sleeping bag is soaked from small leaks here and there and a lot of condensation. The nav station is a rain forest from condensation and steamy from my breath. I remember now why I had a track ball on the computer last time. The touch pad doesn't work with gloves on." - Mark "Rudi" Rudiger, Assa Abloy
* "Conditions are bloody freezing. I saw the biggest iceberg of my career yesterday. It was five miles high, and five miles long. We also shot through a gap between two 'bergs that was littered with growlers." - Ross Field, Team News Corp.
* "We now take for granted that after a four-hour watch you come down below with red, watery, stinging, salt-sore eyes; a nose so cold and dribbly you think it may fall off or at least you hope it might: jaw-ache from chattering your way through the cold air; hands so cold that your numb fingers can't operate even the simplest task of unzipping a dry-suit and walking on stumps because you can't feel your toes," - Lisa McDonald, Amer Sports Too.
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SIR PETER BLAKE
The Seamaster crew had no comments to make about the court process but thanked the Brazilian authorities and said they were confident justice would be served on the six bandits charged with armed robbery leading to death. This charge carries 20 to 30 years in jail but the federal judge, Anselmo Goncalves da Silva, told the Herald he has the final call on whether the charge is valid, what might replace it and what the sentence will be. The bandits are still to present their defense to him, probably later this month, but have already admitted the robbery.
Sir Peter's partner in blakexpeditions and Mr Sefton's father, Alan Sefton, says a return trip to the Amazon is definitely among future plans. Its beauty and importance to the world's environment meant it had to be preserved for future generations.
According to the blakexpeditions' website, Seamaster is in England, awaiting further plans. Mr Sefton said the events in Macapa had made blakexpeditions even more determined that Sir Peter's work would go on. - Catherine Masters, NZ Herald
Full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* February 15-17: Sailing World St. Petersburg NOOD, St. Petersburg YC. Approximately 125 boats from 13 states, Canada, and England. Classes include Melges 24, Henderson 30, Corsair, Hobie 33, Olson 30, J/ 105, J/ 35, J/ 29, J/ 80, J/ 24, S2 7.9, Sonar, SR Max, Tartan Ten, Ultimate 20, and Wavelength 24. www.sailingworld.com.
* June 14-16: Sail Newport Advanced Racing Clinic in Lasers. Laser Radials and C420s for sailors ages 13 to 19. Clinic is limited to 12 boats in each class, based on resumes. www.sailnewport.org/clinic/
NAMES IN THE NEWS
On Saturday February 16 Ted Turner will receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. - www.washcoll.edu
Annapolis, MD - The Scituate, MA team of Steve & Jane Kirkpatrick (A Division), and Chad Demarest and Witney Besse (B Division) won the InterClub Midwinters in style by winning both divisions in this collegiate-style frostbite classic. Twenty-seven teams competed, and nine races were sailed for each division over the weekend. Winds were tricky both days, with large shifts and puffs keeping sailors on their toes. A southwesterly on Sunday added some chop to the equation.
Final results: 1. Steve & Jane Kirkpatrick/Chad Demarest & Witney Besse, 64; 2. Jim & Susie Bowers/John & Myrna MacRae, 82; 3. Bill Healy & Leah Anderson/Brent Jansen & Paige Hannon, 95; 4. Wayne Pignolet & JoAnn Jones/Hal Gilreath & Lisa Pline, 104; 5. John Pratt & Kristina Roussel/Paul Adam & Kim Queen, 106. www.interclub.org
US Sailing's website has a new fresher look. Nice! www.ussailing.org
Seahorse magazine has two interesting candidates for their April Sailor of the Month competition:
Trevor Baylis - The ace Canadian skiff sailor celebrated his complete domination of the International 14 worlds, sailing with Zack Berkowitz, by jetting to Sydney to capture the 18 Foot Skiff world title just a few short weeks later.
Luc Gellusseau - Few outside the French America's Cup circle will appreciate how close Le Defi has been to folding in the two years since Auckland 2000. But Gellusseau has somehow kept technical development going and now they have a sponsor!
You can help pick the winner: www.seahorse.co.uk
ON THE HAURAKI GULF
While hospitality is a trademark of the open New Zealand culture, down at Halsey Street (syndicate row) the compounds are so heavily concealed and guarded that even fresh air has trouble making it past the security gates.
So it is with some surprise that Larry Ellison's Oracle team, one of the four major players, have opened their doors, or one gate at least and invited some of their fellow challengers to some out of hours drinks and nibbles at the team compound. Popularity points or perhaps it is time to meet the neighbours? - Nigel Cherrie, madforsailing website, www.madforsailing.com/SAIL/
Issue number 1000 - Who would have thunk it?
As near as I can tell, 'Butt #1 went out to some 40 of my Southern California sailing friends on September 27, 1997. In those days 'Butt was not a daily - it came out 'whenever.' And when I went to Catalina Island for a couple of days, it stopped until I got back.
The topics we covered were certainly less global than the subjects we deal with today, and there were few restrictions on anything. Rumors, lies and gossip were all a part of 'Butt's regular makeup - sort of a Southern California racing free-for-all. However, as Scuttlebutt grew and the distribution spread geographically, it seemed appropriate to take a more responsible role. These days we let others do the mudslinging as we try to constructively use this medium to help improve the sport and provide a communications channel to enhance the enjoyment of the players.
As most readers probably know, Scuttlebutt began as a hobby . . . and it's still just a hobby. Happily, Boats.Com came along at exactly the right time to free me from the growing administrative chores so I could focus on content. Without their help and technical expertise, and without the excellent pinch-hitting I get from David McCreary when I'm 'outta here,' I'm sure I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.
Let me thank all of you who have supported this effort and endured the typos and hurried editing. Although 'Butt now takes up far more time than I'd prefer, it's still fun. And as long as it stays fun, I'll probably keep on doing it. - The Curmudgeon.
PS: I'd like to thank all of the readers who have already sent me thoughtful e-mail notes about this milestone. I treasure every one of them. However, publishing them here would be far too self-serving, so before this thread ever opened - I declared it officially dead.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If genetic scientists crossed a chicken with a zebra would they get a four legged chicken with it's own barcode?