SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1011 - February 20, 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
illbruck has won leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race into Rio de Janeiro, finishing at 05:58:42 GMT Tuesday. The wind had died and left the fleet to claw their way to the finish line in a frustrating stop start fashion. ETAs were pushed further back as the wind shut off.
When stepping ashore Kostecki said: "Being overtaken before finishing would have been devastating for us after sailing the leg so well. It happened to us before finishing in Hobart and it could have easily happened here as well." When asked for the recipe for winning he continued: "It's because we have the best team!" The illbruck crew for Leg Four: Stu Bannatyne, Watch Captain; Stu "Waffler" Bettany, bow; Mark "Crusty" Christensen, Watch Captain; Richard Clarke; Ray Davies, trimmer/helmsman; Dirk "Cheese" de Ridder, trimmer; Noel Drennan, trimmer/helmsman; Jamie Gale, mast; Ross "Rosco" Halcrow, trimmer and Sail Program Manager; Tony Kolb, bow; John Kostecki, skipper; Juan Vila, navigator.
"This team has been together for so long and this team had tried out over 100 sailors to get the team that we have onboard and it is a really polished machine and a really good crew," stated illbruck helmsman Richard Clarke. "Put us in the same body of water as anyone else, the same weather system, we are pretty comfortable that we would come out ahead. Is it the boat? The sails? The team? It's probably a combination of the three, but the team is a huge part of it."
Djuice finished second with an approach similar to other sports, like cycling or short track skating, where the top contenders stay in the middle of the pack until the final assault shortly before the finish. The jump into second started to unfold yesterday evening, when neither Tyco nor Assa Abloy covered the djuice dragons when they moved away from the fleet towards land. There they found a gentle northeasterly breeze when everybody else struggled in no wind at all. Djuice's navigator, Jean Yves Bernot commented on this decision after stepping off the yacht he has been on for more than three weeks: "As there was no wind offshore, we had to try inshore.
"Normally my daily report would be longer," wrote djuice skipper Knut Frostad, "but right now there are only a very few words I like to say, because I am so empty for words, energy, sleep and concentration. And those few words are: we deserved this. The whole team deserved it, every single guy on our sailing team deserved it, our shore team deserved it, our sponsors deserved it and our many supporters deserved it. They have never stopped believing that we could get there; they have all been fighting so hard in an uphill battle since the start. It's been tough for everyone, but ever never did we loose our belief and our spirit. This is just a great inspiration for the remaining part of the race. Never has coming second felt better."
Tyco came in third, leaving Assa Abloy becalmed just one mile from the finish. Amer Sports One followed Assa Abloy by 29 minutes. "Three weeks in second and six hours in fifth is a bit of a tough one,"said Amer Sports One skipper Grant Dalton. "I think it is significant because if we had held second, then us and illbruck would have really broken away from the pack. For illbruck, this is the perfect result."
LEG 4 RESULTS:
1. illbruck, 23d 05h 58m 42s, (combined time for first four legs - 85d 16h 33m)
2. djuice, 23d 11h 52m 42s, (92d 6h 23m)
3. Tyco, 23d 13h 4m 52s
4. Assa Abloy, 23d 14h 22m 21s, (89d 18h 56m)
5. Amer Sports One, 23d 14h 50m 55s, (86d 8h 41m)
At 0354 on Wednesday: 6. News Corp, 129 miles from finish; 7. Amer Sports Too, 214 mff.
1. Illbruck, 29
2. Amer Sports One, 22
3. Assa Abloy, 20
4. News Corp, 19
5. Tyco, 18
6. djuice, 17
7. SEB, 12
8. Amer Sports Too, 7
FOR THE RECORD
The 110-foot trimaran Geronimo has been devouring the miles at a fearsome rate since leaving the start line off Ushant early on Monday. The boat is sailing in favourable weather conditions dominated by a strong and sustained northerly. Despite skipper Olivier de Kersauson's understandable prudence, Geronimo covered 511 miles in her first day at sea at an impressive average speed of 21.29 knots! - www.grandsrecords.com
DIVERSITY / VERSATILITY...ILLBRUCK...KAENON POLARIZED
Diverse conditions require versatile eyewear. Kaenon Polarized. illbruck Sail Manager and trimmer extraordinaire Rosco Halcorow, chose our Yellow 35 lens tint and LTL for leg 4. Kaenon Polarized's most extreme tint, Y35 utilizes our proprietary Glare 86 polarizing element to maximize contrast for accurate depth perception and performs best in changing light conditions, fog and haze. The 35% light transmission level (LTL) transmits enough light to your eye for dark, squally days, yet dark enough in brighter conditions. Kaenon Polarized. Evolve Optically. Available at West Marine. www.kaenon.com
Anyone interested in improving their knowledge of the rules will absolutely salivate when they visit a new website designed by Heebum Kwon. It's an animated illustration of ISAF Casebook 2001 - 2004. You'll like this one: www.mistralkorea.co.kr/casebook20012004/startpage.swf
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 Matthew Frymier: Just a quick comment on the rolex awards....(one month late, sorry, but it's still bothering me...) While it is clear that Playstation's record-breaking runs were a historic events worthy of the attention they received, I question whether that is truly the best "on the water achievement" of 2001. Greg Fisher's Championship run in three different classes demonstrates racing ability not limited by condition, class of boat, or the team around him. Additionally, in a career filled with the less glorious "small-boat" lifestyle, Greg has managed to be an outstanding competitor, friend, and teacher to thousands of dinghy sailors across the US. In my view, while Fossett deserved "song of the year", Fisher should have won "Album of the year", followed by a lifetime achievement award. Hats off to both Fisher, Fossett and the other winners.
GREG FISHER 2001 RESULTS:
J/22 North Americans, Rochester, N.Y. (1st/55 boats)
J/22 Tred Avon Spring Fling Oxford, Md. (1st/20 boats)
J/22 East Coast Champs Annapolis, Md. (3rd/50 boats)
Lightning Deep South Regatta, Savannah, Ga. (5th/45 boats)
Lightning Midwinter Regatta, Miami, Fla. (5th/50 boats)
Flying Scot North Americans, Toms River, N.J. (1st/60 boats)
Interlake Nationals Champs, Traverse Bay, Mich. (1st/60 boats-crew)
Flying Scot Midwinters , Panama City, Fla. (2nd/58 boats)
Lightning Blue Nose, Nashville, Tenn. (6th/50 boats)
* From Terry Hutchinson (In response to Chris Ericksen comments about Mitch Brindley): Mitch is absolutely the right guy for the job. Having sailed with Mitch for 3 years in College and then witness his working as a coach, leading ODU to multiple national championships. I cannot think of a better person for the job. Mitch knows the inner workings of college sailing, will be a good leader of ICSA, and is an all around quality individual. Rest assured the ICSA is in good hands, and for the sake of argument, Mitch is from Texas!
* From Brian Hancock: The problem with moving ballast and stacking sails is more complex than just outlawing it. You need to be able to have sails on deck ready to be used if the wind is fluctuating. No offshore sailor is going to drag wet sails down below each time they change sails. Boats should be allowed to have one or two sails ready on deck, but no more and certainly not the whole inventory. You also have to be able to move sails down below to access the leeward bilge and that opens up a whole other can of freeze dried food. How long does it take to check a bilge? My feeling (and I have done my fair share of dragging sails from side to side) is that if sailors want to put up with the grunt then let them. I took up solo sailing so I did not have to drag another sail around.
* From Rob Grant: The idea that somehow increasing ISAF's bureaucracy to include policing lawyers will help remedy the situation, is absurd; "policing" anything as it is understood in a nation with a developed justice system, will be done by: more lawyers.
Nostalgic visions of an ideal America's Cup buoyed by genuine patriotic sentiment, free of a disquieting sideshow and trans-national freelancing, are appealing and absurd. It just will not happen given our current geopolitical and economic climate. In this country, if you ever spend money, you're tacitly buying into the capitalist ideal, and thus that you make what the market will bear. We have also bitten hard on the idea that to have our system's potential fully realized, the boundaries between nations must be translucent, allowing much of both to overlap. This is "globalization," in action. (A great many astute people now approach realization of our system much differently since 9/11)
The rhetorical tactic of expressing outrage at loss of naivete about this sport's less pleasant underbelly, is well-worn, and sappy. The sideshow is the show now, folks; it holds true for everything. It may be lamentable, but it's the case nonetheless.
Finally, from whence came the idea that this sport is gentlemanly? What does that really mean anyway? Does the apres-race entertainment at any major race-week ever not have, as one of its main focuses, excessive alcohol consumption? Is this gentlemanly? Sailors are generally a very colorful, bacchanalian lot, and have been for a long time.
* From Stuart R. Burnett (With regard to Peter Huston's comment that, "...a list of pro sailors has emerged...Would classes like the...J105 be thriving as they are without this list?"): I would say that the J/105 class has thrived because the class has dealt with the issue of professionals. We allow anyone, including Group-3 professionals, to be a 100% owner of a J/105 and compete in all class events. However, for most regattas, only one Group-2 sailor is allowed in the crew.
If the owner is a Group-2 or 3, then no additional "professionals" are allowed. This is not to say that "sailing pros" have not been integral to the success of the J/105. Sailing industry leaders who are classified as "pros" designed the boat and manufacture it, it's rig, equipment, and sails.
The interest of "pros" in developing ever better sail designs, especially their work on the class jib and asymmetric spinnaker, has allowed the boat to be raced effectively with only three sails, reducing cost to owners and allowing owners to race a wide range of non-professional sailors in their crew. Professionals done extensive two-boat testing then graciously published what they have learned on the Internet and in clinics and tuning seminars. This is a proper and beneficial role for professionals in amateur racing.
* From Bob Fisher: I am glad that Malcolm McKeag seeks to lay the lie about Endeavour's crew going on strike. Many of those involved were from my own home village of Brightlingsea, men who went yachting in the season and went fishing during the winter - a hard life. Sopwith was prepared to pay them only until they had returned to England after the Cup, with the usual week's extra pay in lieu of notice, but by then the crews for all the fishing boats out of that small East Coast port would have been "selected". Had they gone with Sopwith, they and their families would have had nothing to live on in the winter of 1934-5. There was no alternative for them, they had to say, 'No.'
I had spoken to several of them about this so-called strike and their story was confirmed by Beecher Moore, one of the amateur crew from the Royal Corinthian YC which replaced the professionals. Beecher was, incidentally, an American, but there were no restrictions on the nationalities of the crew in those days.
* From J.W.Tyrrel (In response to Helen C. Johnstone's comments and in defense of "Old Ladies" everywhere): The transgressions long associated with the AC are the acts of self righteous scalawags, morality be damned, bent on personal gain be it fame or fortune. Come to think of it, that sounds an awful lot like the real world!
* From Whit Davis: Rasa Bertrand's article in Butt 1009 was spot on! The America's Cup has always been full of intrigue and innuendo. If other readers want to do a little studying I suggest they start with "The Lawson History of the America's Cup". In my opinion the America's Cup is to sailing as the Super Bowl is to football (American not Aussie Rules).
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
America's Cup syndicates, including Team New Zealand, will clash on the water in vessels of a different kind this Friday. The rival yachtsmen will compete without sails at the Viaduct Harbour in a seven-a-side dragon boat celebrity race. The races will be held on the final night of a three-week twilight series held on Fridays from 6pm to 8.30pm at the harbour. Thirteen corporate teams, plus two breast cancer survivor teams, will compete in the series.
Organiser Pip Fleming says the teams entering the celebrity races on February 22 include GBR Challenge, One World and Team New Zealand. Other teams are expected to confirm their entries in the next few days. The races will start from the pontoons at the Alinghi team base and will cover 300 metres, finishing at the eastern end of the harbour. It is the 17th year that dragon boating has been in the Viaduct Harbour area. - - Stuff NZ Website www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,1108073a1502,FF.html
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: To see what a dragon boat looks like: www.akcity.govt.nz/news/city_scene/latest_issue/in_brief.asp
If you're thinking about taking your boat to the Acura SORC, now is the time to evaluate at your sail inventory to make sure you'll have the speed necessary for a podium finish. The pros at Ullman Sails will be happy to work with you to help provide those elusive tenths of a knot of boatspeed that make the difference. It's more affordable than you think. For the location of the nearest loft that can provide you with a price quote: www.ullmansails.com
Check out the I-14 photos showing their hydrofoil development. In flat water they don't sail- they truly fly: www.i14.org/photos/flying/
A remembrance gathering for Carl Schumacher will be held on Sunday, March 24 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at the Saint Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco on the Marina Green. A parade of boats, particularly Schumacher boats, will follow the event and proceed from the club to the Blackaller buoy and then to their respective home ports. The family also wishes that if anyone intends to make a donation, that it be made to the Carl Schumacher Fund, Encinal Sailing Foundation, 1251 Pacific Marina, Alameda CA 94501. The Foundation is a 501(c) (3) organization.
The Pacific Coast Yachting Association presented the Garrett Horder Memorial Award to the Coronado Yacht Club's Junior Program in San Diego. The CYC Jr's were selected based on their very strong After-School and Summer Programs, their commitment to high quality instructors, equipment and facilities, their environmental programs and their collaboration with local schools and organizations. In addition they were recognized for their hosting of the Coronado High School Sailing Team which won the 2001 Cressy (single-handed), Mallory (fleet racing) and Baker (Team Racing) National Championships in addition to the Roy Disney Perpetual award as the top team in the PCISA region.
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* February 23-24: Women's Snipe Challenge Regatta, San Diego YC. 25+ teams from across the US and Bahamas are expected. - www.sdyc.org or www.obyc.com/snipe/
* June 8 - 9: New York YC Annual Regatta, Newport, RI. Americap II, IMS, 12 Metre and NYYC CR (NYYC Members only). www.nyyc.org
* July 12-21: Race Week at Newport, New York YC. www.nyyc.org
12-16: Americap II, IMS, PHRF, 12 Metre O-D.
17: Distance race for all divisions
* October 15-19: Women's Snipe Worlds, St Petersburg YC. www.spyc.org/OneDesign/SnipeWorlds/norwomens.htm
AREVA - 1; GREENPEACE - 0
(NZ) Minister for Sport Trevor Mallard has dismissed Greenpeace's objections to the sponsorship of the French syndicate Defi Areva by nuclear power business Areva. Areva was set up only five months ago but is a big player in France's nuclear industry. Its operations range from uranium mining to power station decommissioning.
Greenpeace is angry at the $31 million sponsorship deal, which it believes will tarnish the competition's image, and is likely to take to the water to protest about the sponsorship. The environmental group is lobbying the Government to look at banning nuclear advertising in the same way as tobacco before the Louis Vuitton Cup sailing which begins in October.
Mr. Mallard said the Government had no plans to ban nuclear advertisers. He said he sees no link between the case for banning cigarette advertising and the nuclear issue, saying that people are not likely to start experimenting with nuclear power because of an advertisement.
Greenpeace nuclear spokeswoman Bunny McDiarmid accused Mr Mallard of being naive and wants the Government to think again. "Plutonium will kill you a hell of a lot faster than tobacco. If tobacco companies can't get advertising sponsorship deals in New Zealand why can nuclear companies?"
Team New Zealand chief executive Ross Blackman said there was nothing in the rules that precluded sponsorship of an America's Cup syndicate by a nuclear power company - but nuclear-powered yachts were definitely banned. - Stuff NZ Website. www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,1108366a1934,FF.html
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, but some nuts roll a long way from their roots.