SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1013 - February 22, 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.
TROPHEE JULES VERNE
An amazing start to the Trophee Jules Verne: 1811 miles covered in a little over 80 hours and making the Canaries in just 60. On his previous attempt on the Trophee Jules Verne in 1997, Olivier de Kersauson took over six days to cover this same distance. The first few days of his maxi-trimaran Geronimo's attempt on the round the world record have been nothing less than exceptional.
Everyone knew that Geronimo was fast, but she is now confirming every hope invested in her by the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young - Schneider Electric team. It is a universal law of physics that the longer the boat is, the faster it will travel. The effect is even more pronounced when the balance between weight and power is well calculated. Olivier de Kersauson's 1997 multihull was 27 metres long, with a 33-metre mast, whereas Geronimo is 34 metres long with a 42-metre mast. The weight saved by using the latest high-technology materials has given Geronimo unprecedented power.
The incredible sailing conditions seen since the start at 01:25:16 GMT (02:25:16 French time) on Monday morning have also contributed to Geronimo's fantastic performance. However, the superb weather window that opened before the bows of the great grey trimaran was not entirely down to good luck. Olivier de Kersauson and his weather consultant, Pierre Lasnier, had identified this opportunity several days before the start and it was on this basis that they took the risk of scheduling their departure for last weekend. "It's the only time in the whole record attempt when we have the opportunity to choose. We seized the opportunity presented to us and it looks like we were right!"
Follow the progress at: www.grandsrecords.com
Meanwhile, at the Multiplast workshops in Vannes, France, work progresses a bit ahead of schedule on the repair of maxi-catamaran Oranges' mast, which broke shortly after their start last week. Gilles Chiorri, the boat's captain confirmed: "it's going better and better. We're beginning to get a good idea about the cause of the problem. Really, things are going very well." A fresh start in the very early days of March is looking more and more forseeable. www.maxicatamaran-orange.com
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
Amer Sports Too arrived off the Copacabana Beach shortly after midnight with a finish ETA of 0400GMT. Unfortunately, this was not to be, the team parked for some seven hours before the breeze filled to allow it to finish at 11:06:50 GMT.
Well, it could have been worse, but admittedly not a lot. Four years ago when the Whitbread fleet sailed into the Sao Sebastian channel they were parked up from the early hours through to lunch - and to top it all off it was pouring with rain.
The crew in general were pleased with their performance. Though the team fell off the back of a weather system early on in the leg and dropped to some 400 miles behind the leaders in a matter of days they still have achievements to look back on. At one point the team had fallen over 600 miles behind the leader, John Kostecki's illbruck Challenge , while struggling to pick up a new weather system they managed to pull back to within 400 mile by the time the German team crossed the finish line.
When Jez Fanstone's News Corp lost her rudder the all-women crew were given an added incentive to keep pushing the boat hard. They may have failed to overtake the Australian entry, but the determination meant they closed the gap down to 80 miles before the News Corp team crossed the finish line at 21:55 GMT last night.
The next leg will provide for more tactical options and take the emphasis slightly away from shear ‘beef', which could provide the Amer Sports Too team with their first real opportunity to finish ahead of an undamaged boys team.
Leader board after 4 legs:
1. illbruck, 29 points
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
Leg 5 from Rio to Miami starts on March 9. www.volvooceanrace.org
FORMULON SPINNAKER MATERIAL
Dimension Polyant has developed its new spinnaker line based on the combination of unique woven substrates and new coating technologies. The Formulon line utilizes our exclusive UCN coatings to create super low stretch spinnaker fabric with superior bias control to prevent distortion and accompanying shrinkage under load. This double coating is applied to substrates with "paired" ripstops allowing the firm finish to work without reducing tear and breaking strength. Formulon spinnaker material exhibits performance that lasts combined with the durability to work in modern asymmetrical applications. See www.dimension-polyant.com
SAN DIEGO TO PUERTO VALLARTA RACE
With a Santa Ana wind lurking - the three beautiful entries in the 50' and over Performance Cruise 1 class strolled off toward Mexico. Boats leaving yesterday are well down the track - 140ish miles. As of 0800, Checkmate was leading everyone with Windswept and Sensation a little behind and 20 miles further out to sea. About even and inland a bit were the rest of the PH C and Perf. Cruise 2 boats clustered together. There was no motoring time reported by the Perf. Cruise boats indicating that everyone got offshore in yesterday's ideal conditions and the breeze held up last night. Sensation reported 0800 breeze at 12 kts from 000, skys cloudy with some fog and lumpy seas.
Tuesday, Feb 19: Division I - Performance Cruising, Division II PHRF Small Boats start
Thursday, Feb 21: Division III - PHRF- Big Boats / 50s start
Friday, Feb 22: Division IV - PHRF - 70s start
Saturday, Feb 23: Division V - PHRF Maxi Sled start
Results at www.sdyc.org/raceinfo/Puerto%20Vallarta.htm
Editor's note: The Curmudgeon is serving as navigator aboard the J160 Stark Raving Mad. Another boat worth keeping an eye on is Bruce Schwab's Open 60 Ocean Planet, sailing crewed for this race. Bruce is using this race as a leg of his trip to the Panama Canal, then into the Caribbean for Antigua Race Week in April, then the Around Alone this September. See www.oceanplanet.org
A short excerpt from a long article by One World navigator and author Mark Chisnell in madforsailing.com:
While the team believes that the great bulk of Reeves' allegations have no basis in fact, there's an admission of some level of guilt in this submission - which is partly what got the fourth estate foaming at the mouth, and led to all those statements that we could be thrown out of the competition. The team believes that our Protocol infractions are minor, but it's the Arbitration Panel that will decide on the level of culpability and the penalty for it.
The bottom line is that all this is going to provide some much needed formal clarification on this area of the Protocol, which will benefit everyone involved in the Cup. There are plenty of grey areas. For instance it seems widely accepted that a practical interpretation of the rules is that you can take away from your previous campaign what's in your head, but nothing on disk or paper. But what about old papers and photos in dusty office corners - these carry information that's superseded by what you hold in your head, but they still have a physical existence contrary to the letter of the rules.
But the best thing that could come out of this affair is that it stirs up some momentum to sort out a new Protocol ahead of the 2003 event - rather than leaving the winners to write it in a hurry when it's all over.
CRUISING WORLD EDITOR EARNS EXCELLENCE AWARD
Herb McCormick, editor of Cruising World magazine received the 2001 Moulton H. "Monk" Farnham Award for Excellence in Editorial Commentary from BoatU.S. McCormick received the award February 15 during a ceremony held in conjunction with the annual meeting and awards program for Boating Writers International at the Miami Boat Show.
During an awards ceremony, McCormick was recognized by BoatU.S. Vice President Michael Sciulla for using his column to challenge, among other things, the state of Rhode Island's heavy-handed approach to onboard marine sanitation devices. "It took some guts to take on a home state political establishment," said Sciulla, noting that Cruising World magazine is based in Newport, Rhode Island.
ILLBRUCK CREW GEAR
Wear the proud colors of the Illbruck Challenge entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002. As a sponsor of this great team, Gill has worked with Illbruck to produce a functional line of commemorative clothing. This clothing, which is used by the crew, is available to the public from pyacht.com. www.pyacht.net/online-store/scstore/h-illbruck_crew_gear.htm
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
firstname.lastname@example.org for the next week or so...
(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 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: It is interesting to compare Geronimo's progress against Enza. Enza took almost exactly 3 days from the same start to draw level with the Canary Islands and 7 days to the Equator. Geronimo's current speed would indicate a total time of 62.4 days for the circumnavigation if she continues to maintain her present lead over Enza's time.
* From John Dukat: I am really sorry to hear about Jim Denning. He was my skipper on Monkey Street's TransPac #11. He raced with what he called his "geriatric crew" -average age was up in the 60's. Jim at somewhere near 80 certainly raised that average. Despite a bad back he cheerfully made all his watches. While content to let the other guy drive for the first three days of reaching, once the kite went up, and much to the chagrin of his watchmate, he demanded his time on the tiller. His nearsighted, downwind technique was a little unusual. With one hand on the tiller he'd hunch down and lean across that big Cal-40 cockpit and stick his nose in the wind direction gauge. I will miss his spunk and find it odd that someone who was so obviously ageless has finished his last race.
* From Mike Zuilhof (edited to our 250 word maximum): Professional sailors should proud to know what an Interlake is. Francis Sweisguth, prescient designer of the venerable Star, also gave us the Interlake, an 18' centerboard sloop that is a very good sailboat for the rest of us.
His design sails well in the broadest range of conditions. On a breezy day the Sandusky Sailing Club Interlake fleet might be found racing on a heavy Sandusky Bay chop when the Thistles have headed in or maybe not even ventured out, yet on an inland lake if there's the slightest ripple on the water the boat's fun to sail.
While you need to be fit to win consistently, the boat rewards finesse and experience over raw athleticism and big budgets. Some of the oldest boats are still competing and hull #339 competed admirably in the 2001 Nationals.
That the 2001 Interlake champion boat was sailed by three generations of the same family (w/ Greg's dad George Fisher at the helm) is just one bit of evidence that the class epitomizes Corinthian sailing. In my opinion the Fishers' accomplishments in the Interlake class underscore what I perceive as Greg's propensity to place his personal record second to his dedication to the Corinthian sport, and that makes his accomplishments all the more noteworthy.
The class website is www.interlakesailing.org
* From Sherwood Kelley: Responding to Liv Sherwood's comments regarding nationalities and comments from Olin Stephens, ('butt #1012), while Olin is undoubtedly closer to the center of this issue than anybody else on the planet at this point, I do think we are looking at a recognizable trend in the world today. Globalization of technology has been going on for a long time...technology transfer has long since ceased to respect geographical borders, and the modern version of the Americas Cup is no exception. And why would it be, given its commercial content today?
The proverbial cat is out of the bag; these boats are not Corinthian efforts anymore; some of them resemble sign pylons from a retail strip center with their ads running up the mainsail. Is it any surprise therefore that the same globalization which has completely restructured the business world in the last 20 years has also crept into the interpretation of this contest? Could there have been any rules or restrictions that would have prevented this from happening? But then, let's look at it another way: had the Kiwi's stayed intact as a team, could anybody have ever beaten them?? Perhaps what has happened will be good for this great sport in the long run. I suspect everybody will benefit a bit here, leaving aside for the moment this issue of outright cheating.
* Glenn Selvin: How Kreise can discount Greg Fischer in terms of the classes he sails is beyond me! The competition in the Lightning and the J22 is huge, as is Greg's accomplishments in the Thistle class, which like the J22 and the Lightning are certainly more than mere "weekend warrior" classes. I'll admit that the Interlake and the Flying Scott are more club level, midwest classes, but there's still some great competition in those classes as well. Greg Fisher has done a lot for the grass roots sailors within these very active small boat one-design.
Editor's note: Hmm... seems to me that Mr. Kriese had tongue firmly in cheek. And thus ends this thread.
ISAF MATCH RACE RANKINGS
The latest ISAF World Match Race Rankings were released February 18. In the Open Rankings there is no change in the top 10 positions, with the only upwards mover being Gavin Brady (NZL), who has gone from 18th to 12th. Otherwise it is the same twenty skippers in the top 20.
Similarly in the Women's Rankings there have been no drop-outs in the top 20 skippers, just a change in positions 12 through to 20.
Top ten, Open: 1. Magnus Holmberg, SWE; 2. Peter Holmberg, USVI; 3. Jesper Radich Johansen, DEN; 4. James Spithill, USA; 5. Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN; 6. Bjorn Hansen, SWE; 7. Francois Brenac, FRA; 8. Dean Barker, NZL; 9. Peter Gilmour, USA; 10. Luc Pillot, FRA.
Top ten, Women: 1. Marie Bjorling, SWE; 2. Lotte Meldgaared Pedersen, DEN; 3. Dorte Jensen, DEN; 4. Malin Kallstrom, SWE; 5. Malin Millbourn, SWE; 6. Betsy Alison, USA; 7. Klaartje Zuiderbaan, NED; 8. Liz Baylis, USA; 9. Cory Sertl, USA; 10. Paula Lewin, BER.
Complete rankings: www.sailing.org/matchrace/mrranking.asp
Editor's note: Yes, I know James Spithill and Peter Gilmour are Aussies. But their "America's Cup nationality" is the USA.
DN ICE SAILING WORLDS
With the ice good, but no wind, today sees no racing at the DN Worlds, giving competitors the opportunity to sharpen their blades prior to the final two days of racing on Friday and Saturday.
With the ice conditions changing, the race course has moved considerably over the days, with yesterday's racing held a mile away from Monday's race course. However, the ice was good with no cracks or holes, although hard and a bit "pebbly", with wind of 5-6 metres per second, and stronger gusts further out.
Top five places after 5 races:
1. Ron Sherry, USA, 12 points
2. Michal Burczynski, Poland, 13
3. Karol Jabonski (defending world champion), Poland, 14
4. Tomas Lindgren, Sweden, 18
5. Thomas Karlsson, Sweden, 19
ISAF website: sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=1941
ROLEX WOMEN'S MATCH
Ten teams of women have come to St. Petersburg, Fla. this week to learn the art of America's Cup-style racing. St. Petersburg Yacht Club (SPYC), with support from title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., has created an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) grade 4 women's match racing event. Organized to introduce women sailors to one-on-one match racing, the regatta will feature a skills and rules clinic by match racing champion and America's Cup skipper Ed Baird on Thursday, February 21. Racing is scheduled on Tampa Bay in Sonar keelboats for Friday, February 22 through Sunday, February 24.
True to the regatta's mission of encouraging more women to try match racing, the Rolex Women's Match has attracted women sailors of all ages and abilities. The youngest team is from the SPYC junior sailing program. There is also a team of college sailors and eight additional teams made up of sailors ranging in age from 20 to 50-plus.
Daily results will be posted on St. Petersburg Yacht Club's website www.spyc.org.
SEA SCOUTS BENEFIT DINNER
On Friday, April 5 in Chicago, Barry Carroll, President of Carroll Marine, will be the keynote speaker at the Annual Sea Scouts Benefit Dinner. Carroll Marine has produced many lines of successful racing boats which include the Mumm 30, 1D35, Farr 40 and Farr 395. Individual tickets are $100 and include cocktails at a silent auction, followed by dinner at the elegant Union League Club. Proceeds benefit the Sea Scouts of Chicago.
For reservations contact: Sean Nix (312) 421-8430 ext. 252.
* Italian yachting photographer Max Ranchi has a brand new website: www.maxranchi.com
* Ultimate Sailboats has launched the first Ultimate 24. Article at boats.com/content/default_detail.jsp?contentid=15182, photo album at sailingsource.com/photoalbum/ultimate24/
* John Welch, general manager of the North Sails 3DL manufacturing facility in
Minden, Nevada, has been named vice president of North Sails Manufacturing
and 3DL. Welch, who started his sailmaking career with North Sails in 1982,
will now work closely with the managers of North's manufacturing facilities
located in Portsmouth, RI; Toronto, Canada; Stevensville, MD; Milford, CT;
and San Diego, CA as well as continuing to oversee the rapidly expanding
3DL plant in Nevada. www.northsails.com
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One: Yes, it was disappointing to go from second to fifth in the last 70 miles of a 7000-mile race. Did it break our back? No. Are we devastated? No. Does this happen in sailing? Yes. Will it happen again? Yes. Do things like this even out? Yes.
The focus of the media questions and most people's thoughts as we arrived here in Rio of course were the points and us going from second to fifth. It is not to be lightly dismissed that we made it here safely. I for one am conscious of that and respect the fact that we flirted with the dangerous side of Mother Nature. There are no written guarantees when you leave the dock in Auckland that you WILL arrive in Rio.
* Jez Fanstone, News Corp: [The emergency rudder] is a supplied item by the race committee and we got it in and we strengthened it up as much as we could and turned it into what it is now: a beautiful piece of engineering.
We had to be very careful as these rudder systems have broken the last two times they have been used and we didn't want to give in, we wanted to race and to finish, so we had to sail within the limits of the equipment.
[We're] very relieved, very pleased with the guys and their effort to get the boat here. We are very happy in sixth place. We are obviously extremely disappointed that we weren't in the fight because we were in the fight, but it's over now and we have to look forward and keep pushing on.
"Never give in, never give in, never give in"‚ the nine famous words of Winston Churchill. We were never going to give in.
* Lisa MacDonald, Amer Sports Too: For five of us, it was a bit of unfinished business finally tidied up. We went round the Horn four years ago with five meters of mast and a very badly damaged boat and an ego-bruised crew. This time we went around in 20 knots, sun out, blue sky, spinnaker up. Actually getting round the horn was huge for the five of us. We did make it, but not in very good shape last time. For those who hadn't been round the Horn, it was something new and spectacular for them.
* Mark Rudiger, ASSA ABLOY: It was on the edge. It was the most hair-raising experience I think I have ever had, and I have had a few, I've used up most of my lives already. This one definitely topped them all, it was definitely one of the scariest experiences I have ever had and I know I have aged more than a few weeks.
THE CURMUDGEON'S QUOTATIONS
You know that look women get when they want sex?
Me neither. -- Woody Allen