SCUTTLEBUTTNo. 1003 - February 8, 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.
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
SEB is presently sailing under jury-rig to Argentina, after breaking her
mast this morning during leg four. The spare mast, stored in Gothenburg,
Sweden, will most likely be flown to Ushuaia in South Argentina. SEB is now
sailing towards South Argentina where she will get her new mast mounted.
"A severe storm gust from a snow squall pushed us over and made us whipe
out, and in that moment we lost the rig. The mast had to be cut away and
disappeared overboard. We managed to save the broken boom though" skipper
Gurra Krantz reports from the boat. "We have looked into a number of
logistical options for quickly getting our spare mast to the boat. On some
occasions, the small town Ushuaia in Argentina has been used as
change-of-mast port and most likely it will be suitable for us too" says
Pelle Norberg, Managing Director of the syndicate company within Team SEB.
SEB has managed to increase her boat speed to an average of 6.5 knots
topping 8 at times, even though the jury rig is made up of the man-high
stump of the mast which was left on the boat, a broken boom and a broken
spinnaker pole. The spare mast, stored in Gothenburg, Sweden, will most
likely be flown to Ushuaia in South Argentina.
In the prior race, in 1993/94 no less than three boats were dismasted;
Tokio, Fortuna and New Zealand Endeavour, who eventually won the race
overall. During the 1989/90 race Swedish The Card lost her mizzen overboard
during the Auckland restart and the maxi Creighton's Naturally lost the top
of her mast during on the second leg, across the Southern Ocean.
Even though fewer ice reports have been received from the Volvo Ocean Race
fleet in the last 12 hours, the boats are still at risk from icebergs and
small fields of growlers and must remain alert as they head south again
towards the latitude 60 degrees south.
With winds decreasing slightly to around 20 AD 25 knots over the last few
hours, it is also important to take advantage of the next weather change,
and navigators will be studying weather models to decide on their next move
and their approach into Cape Horn. Although most of the models give a
similar overview, it is the detailed pattern of the fast changing
conditions of the Southern Ocean, which is important to them, to gain that
extra few miles.
Positions on February 8 at 0358 GMT:
1. illbruck, 2995 miles to finish
2. Amer Sports One, 18 miles behind leader
3. Team Tyco, 27 mbl
4. Assa Abloy, 60 mbl
5. News Corp, 76 mbl
6. djuice, 79 mbl
7. Team SEB, 436 mbl
8. Amer Sports Too, 495 mbl
At a press conference in Bremen, Germany AD Michael Illbruck announced that
he is actively seeking a maximum of three commercial partners to continue
the quest to become Germany's first-ever Challenger for the America's Cup.
Illbruck is making the sponsorship search his personal priority and is
prepared to grant a major backer with title sponsorship and branding of the
America's Cup team and boat. "Significant additional investment is required
to ensure that Germany's first America's Cup entry makes it to the starting
line in October in New Zealand and we recognize the need to deliver a
valuable return on such an investment," Illbruck said.
"Our first priority was to succeed in the Volvo Ocean Race and to date we
are on track toward that goal," Illbruck said. "The America's Cup Challenge
for 2003 was always intended to get Germany into the America's Cup because
we believe that only a long-term vision on the America's Cup will bring the
Cup to Germany.
"The team has proven it has what it takes to win on the water as skipper
John Kostecki and crew are demonstrating with their leading performance in
the Volvo Ocean Race," Illbruck said. "To carry this winning formula into
the America's Cup, we need the support of preferably one but maximum three
additional commercial partners. If we are not able to secure funding in
addition to the illbruck GmbH commitment, we will not be able to continue
with preparations for Germany's first entry into the America's Cup beyond
The German team is well underway in its America's Cup preparations. The
hull of the first-ever German built America's Cup racing boat, GER 68, is
nearing completion in Bremen, Germany. The America's Cup base camp in
Auckland, New Zealand's Viaduct Basin is fully outfitted with a sail loft,
boat shed, mast shed and offices. illbruck Challenge meteorologist Chris
Bedford has been running an extensive weather program in Auckland,
collecting weather data critical to America's Cup preparations. Most
important, illbruck Challenge has a team of people in place from race crew
to shore operations.
"Since announcing the America's Cup Challenge in November 2000, we made it
clear we would need additional partners to continue with a winning America's Cup program. While we are in serious discussions with several sponsor
candidates, we have yet to sign a cash partner," Illbruck said. "After all
the work the team has invested into this campaign, it would be a huge
disappointment if they were unable to compete in October." Jane Eagleson
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Naval Architect Carl Schumacher, 52, died at home Tuesday night.
Schumacher's design office in Alameda, CA opened in 1977 and is credited
with over 50 custom and production boats. His performance production
designs include the popular Express 27, 34, and 37 one-designs as well as
the Alerion-Express line of traditional looking, modern performance boats.
Prominent among the many custom boats he's designed were National Biscuit,
Wall Street Duck, Summertime Dream, Heart of Gold, Swiftsure II,
Recidivist, Surprise and Q. Four of Schumacher's designs have also won Boat
of the Year awards, the latest being the Synergy 1000 which won the Sport
Boat category in the 1999 BOTY contest. He also has been a long time member
of the Northern California PHRF Committee.
The curmudgeon was privileged to race offshore with Carl recently and
quickly learned that he was one of good guys in our sport. He was a totally
respected and extremely competent competitor. But more importantly, you
simply could not a find nicer, more caring or giving person than Carl. He
was a gentleman and a gentle man who will be missed for his always-friendly
manner, his positive attitude and his freely given advice.
Schumacher's family has asked that he be remembered by support of the
junior sailing program at Encinal Yacht Club.
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 Cole Price: Win, lose or draw, my hat is off to Hamish Ross and
Team Alinghi for doing the ethical thing regarding the use of sliding
center boards and keels in the America's Cup. Team Alinghi easily could
have consoled themselves that they were legal in designing a boat that
would have been faster than the other competitors who complied with the IAC
rule thereby giving themselves a significant advantage. I just wonder what
the other syndicates would have done if they were in a similar
circumstance. Could this mean that the America's Cup is heading down a road
where the outcome is settled on the water rather then the protest room or
* From: Ted Jones (re Team Alinghi's dilemma regarding the America's Cup
deed of gift provisions about sliding keels and centerboards, and edited to
our 250-word limit): This provision is not as obscure as it is ignored.
Team Alinghi has found the America's Cup's Achilles Heel and a legal
determination -- should an AC-Boat show up with a sliding keel, for
instance -- would have to adhere to the unequivocal and unambiguous
language of the deed of gift. The cost of such a challenge makes a test
case an unattractive option, and besides we can't know if such devices
would produce a speed breakthrough, although the boats would surely be
different from today's.
Although the centerboard is an English invention, it took root in North
America, the only major sailing area in the world where a deep keel can be
a hindrance to safe navigation. Presumably, the framers of the America's
Cup Deed of Gift sought to protect this type of indigenous vessel. Should
their insistence that centerboards or movable keels be allowed unmeasured
continue to be ignored or the Deed of Gift be modified to align it with
recent practice, then many prospective challenging clubs from the Bahamas
or the Gulf Coast or any other areas surrounded by shallow water will
forever be excluded from competition, and yet another nail of prejudice
will be driven into the centerboard's coffin.
I derive a small measure of satisfaction that, 30-some-years after being
shouted down from my soapbox, this issue is raised again in a forum where
it is unlikely to be ignored.
* From Ron Baerwitz: I have to agree with Roger Neiley. Reading the
updates of the Volvo Ocean Race are amazingly interesting. However, I
wouldn't want to be in their shoes right now. It just seems excessively
dangerous especially without the availability of immediate aid should
something happen. This is the first time I'd rather be sitting in my office
than out doing that race!
* From Ryan Werner: For me, the America's Cup pales in comparison to the
Volvo. I don't understand all the talk about the anticipated demise of the
race. With only 8 boats, no one gets lost in the crowd. It's easy to know
all their crews, their performance, and (perhaps most importantly for the
long term viability of the race) their sponsors. Sponsors take note: lots
of people who otherwise might never have heard of you are tuning in and
seeing your name every day and associating it with very robust images.
* From Kathy Clark: Many of us arm chair sailors find that reading this
news is the only way of experiencing the southern ocean. We sit with our
cup of coffee and a roaring fire in the fireplace and read this stuff on
the edge of our seats. Somehow it helps getting to work driving through
rush hours traffic seem easy.
* From Paul Zurbrugg: Before everybody gets too upset regarding the
increased Piracy. It should be noted that most of the Ships taken are large
commercial vessels taken for their cargos. Sir Peter blake's tragic event
was a sad exception to the rule. Details of all reported cases can be found
in Lloyds Maritime report.
* From Mark Green (edited to our 250-word limit) Sensational reporting may
not be the best solution to increasing piracy. Peter Blake's killers were
not "well-orchestrated teams of hired mercenaries who will often murder an
entire ship's crew rather than risk leaving witnesses." They were local.
Recent magazine articles and postings on web sites fall into two schools of
thought about how yachts should deal with piracy: 1) arm yourself for self
defense or 2) do not arm yourself and, if the situation arises, let
yourself be robbed and hope for the best. Tough choice.
Those that promote the latter point out that a) the chance of successfully
defending yourself against a determined group of armed bandits is slim, b)
fire will bring return fire and greatly increase the chance of injury or
death, c) most yacht pirates are after money, equipment, liquor and other
things not risking your life over and are not after your boat or your life,
and d) the hassles of going in and out of customs with firearms are daunting.
One could argue that, notwithstanding the determined bravery of Sir Peter,
if he had put his hands up and not gone for the rifle, he might still be
with us. Can 12 yachtsmen with a couple of rifles take on 6 armed thugs?
What about a family of four on a long cruise?
* From Bob Perry: I was deeply saddened and shocked to read that Carl
Schumacher died this week. We were not close personal friends but I had
nothing but admiration for Carl's design work. It still seems impossible to
Sail number seventy four (74) was issued to team Prada for their the new
America's Cup Class boat that the team is building in its own boatyard in
Grosseto, Italy. Training in New Zealand for Prada's Luna Rossa ITA 45
(winner of the last Louis Vuitton Cup) and Young America USA 53 and USA 58
ends in mid March, when the team will head back to the camp in Italy. From
late spring Francesco de Angelis and his crew will begin sailing in home
waters with their brand new Luna Rossa ITA 74, the first of the two ACC
boats that team Prada is building for their challenge to the XXXI America's
Cup. Check out the website www.prada-press.com
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Ken McAlpine, ACC Technical Director also announced
that Sail number 73 was issued to the Victory Challenge Sweden Syndicate on
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QUOTES FROM THE VOLVO BOATS
* "We were in full control of the building breeze this morning and
changing sails accordingly, we went to drop the heavy air spinnaker as some
big clouds approached. Everyone was in place, all the ropes were ready and
Katie [Pettibone] was in control on the helm. She made the call 'ok, get
rid of it' (phew, I was thinking, how organized were we!) suddenly the boat
went head to wind faster than you could blink (now I was questioning
Katie's new found tactics for dropping the spinnaker head to wind in lots
and lots of breeze...)- what we didn't know was that at that very moment
the call was given, the steering cable broke and spun us out. Katie
couldn't reach the other wheel until she was unclipped from the weather
side. Once on the other wheel she re-gained control of our wildly thrashing
beast and brought her down to a safe angle and speed to carry on with the
task of dropping the spinnaker. Crikey, another long hard day at the
office." - Lisa McDonald, Amer Sports Too.
* We have had some amazing rides over the past few days, right on the
edge stuff where a slip up driving or trimming could be very expensive. We
logged a 123-mile run in six hours this morning, not bad considering we had
a spinnaker down for 45 minutes of that. The leg is taking its toll
physically on the team, Nipper [Guy Salter] is recovering after stitches to
the eye, Dave [David Endean] has taken a good hit on the knee and has a lot
of fluid gathering there. Not a lot of sleep at present in these conditions
with the manoeuvres somehow being more labor intensive and time consuming."
- Kevin Shoebridge, Tyco.
* "Yesterday afternoon things came to a head when another iceberg was
spotted on the bow and this time we weren't going to be able to get to
weather of it and stay clear of the dangerous growlers that lurk below the
surface. All hands again, but this time we were so close to the iceberg
that tiredness was forgotten as we all enjoyed the stunning view. Off the
leeward side however, we found ourselves amongst hundreds of smaller chunks
of ice, from as small as a football up to as big as a truck! It was a
matter of picking our way through the maze of ice, all done at breakneck
speed of course." - Jamie Gale, illbruck Challenge.
* "We launched off the mother of all waves and on the GPS we were doing
32.8 knots before we hit the bottom. We were out of control, totally. One
wrong move at that speed and we could have done ourselves a lot of damage.
It was pitch dark, very cold and there was a lot of ice around. The bow
buries itself into the wave ahead, perhaps 1.5 metres and a wall of water
crashes along the deck. The only the thing to do is bend in half like
you're going into a rugby scrum and hang on. In conditions like this one
guy stands behind the helmsman, bracing him so that he's not washed off the
helm" - Grant Dalton, Amer Sports One.
* "I get up on deck and immediately I am pelted in the back by a wall of
water. I work my way to the back and acclimate for three minutes. Then grab
the wheel. The boat is very much under control and I am able to weave in
and out of the 30-foot seas easily while we sit on 25-28 knots. My top
speed was 32 knots for the two hours. At one point, two or three waves had
come together to make one huge wave. We got up on it and looked down a
120-foot runway that was about 30 degrees. Everyone's eyes were huge. It
was a phenomenal wave that Dalton said was the biggest he had ever ridden.
The water was coming down the deck so hard and deep when we would plow into
the back of the waves that Bouwe Bekking was pushing against my back to
hold me forward. It just went on and on. There were endless waves to surf,
endless amounts of fun. It was simply the reason I came to do this leg." -
Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One
* "This is the third time I have been down here and each time I have
thought never again. This time I really mean it! Once you've seen an
iceberg, you've seen enough and we have seen many, maybe over a hundred
this trip. We were all prepared for 'bergs', but none of us imagined
anything like this, let alone crashing through growlers at speed." -
Nicholas White, News Corp.
The latest rankings for all Olympic Classes were released ON 6 February
2002) and are published on the ISAF website. The next issue of the rankings
will be released on 30 April 2002 following the Semaine Olympique Francaise
in France. - www.sailing.org/rankings/
With a budget far lower than the bigger syndicates' huge funding and many
of its sailors inexperienced on the big boats, British team GBR Challenge
has no grand ideas about its chances in the America ' s Cup .The UK last
challenged off Fremantle 14 years ago and GBR general manager New Zealander
David Barnes admits that most of his sailors had until recently never been
on a Cup-class boat before.
"Britain has skipped a whole generation of America ' s Cup sailing," Mr
Barnes said. "Our expectation is to do as well as we can and put in a good
showing for this campaign. Making the semifinals would be a fantastic
achievement. "We are under no illusions about the competition - a lot of
syndicates have more money and more resources than we have."
Backed with $20 million from UK hi-tech entrepreneur Peter Harrison,
developer and former owner of computer networking and Internet integration
company Chernikeeff Networks Ltd, GBR is the vehicle carrying his dreams to
rebuild top-level British yachting and create a solid base to eventually
take the Cup back where it started 150 years ago.
Mr Barnes, one of New Zealand's most experienced yachtsmen who has been
involved in the past five America ' s Cup campaigns, was operations
director and helmsman for America True in 2000 and was looking for a new
position in this year's regatta when Mr Harrison phoned him 18 months ago
about mounting a challenge. "I told him he was mad," Mr Barnes said. "I
tried to explain how hard the game was and advised him to put a design team
together, try to understand how the boats were developed, analyse the new
boats for 2003, see where the next Cup would be sailed and then be first
cab off the rank for 2006. "I explained the costs, what was involved in
fund raising, sponsorship and what had to be achieved.
"After several months of talking to other people and thinking about what
I'd said, he came back to me and said he knew it would be hard but the UK
had to start somewhere and he asked me to help. The last thing I wanted was
someone saying he was going to win - people are sold something that is not
achievable and then get disappointed and I didn't want to be involved if
the backers didn't understand that, but Peter is very realistic. "And this
has got to be an on-going thing - there's too much money to throw at a
campaign and then end it all. We've got to retain the knowledge, the
experience, set up a corporate structure and infrastructure and retain all
that for future campaigns. - National Business Review.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Reading while sunbathing makes you 'well-red.'