SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1163 - September 24, 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.
(Bruno Troublé is one of the key figures in the America's Cup and is well known for the style and method with which he manages the Louis Vuitton Cup - a skillful mixture of authoritarianism and charm. Trouble was interviewed by Bernard Schopfer for the Alinghi Syndicates website. In the following excerpts from that interview, Troublé discuss the future of the America's Cup.)
The next Defender will be a major force. That team will make decisions as to where, when and on what type of boat. I hope that the team concerned will make the right decisions and that the next edition will be better organised. The rules of this year's competition were adopted very quickly and without forethought. As a result, the Cup is suffering already - even before the first race has been run - from polemical debates due to a lack of professionalism and organisation. It is one of this event's underlying fundamental problems. The crews are more professional than those organising the race.
The Protocol needs to be revised from top to bottom to simplify the whole event. In particular, I believe that the nationality rule is absurd. Other rules need to be looked at too. Here's an example: we'll lose 1/3 of the racing days available through bad weather as the rules prohibit any racing when there's a wind of more than 22 knots. That too is absurd. For the public, television, partners.
The Cup is less visible than football or Formal 1 car racing. On the other hand, the event lasts for quite some time and the accumulation of media coverage really does make it the third most important sports event in the world. It is a fantastic spectacle for television. Just to give you an idea, production costs run to 190,000 dollars a day!
A more spectacular format is needed. I would love to see 35 metres long yachts with a crew of fifteen, racing without any restriction on wind! The America's Cup has to present the finest racing yachts imaginable. It must be at the leading edge of technology and media coverage. - Alinghi website, full interview: www.alinghi.com/en/news/white/index.html
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME
On October 6, New Zealand 'springs ahead' one hour for daylight savings time, and on October 27, we 'fall back.' How will this impact OLN's broadcast times of the Louis Vuitton Series? Sean Downey at YachtRacing.Com asked that question of OLN and got the following replay:
Our coverage will actually be on a 45-minute delay to compensate for race delays, etc...our schedule is formatted to accomodate the time change, as with the 45 minute delay we will be able to be somewhat flexible. So to answer your question, our schedule will not change with the time changes. - George Smirnoff, Consumer Marketing Coordinator, Outdoor Life Network
As you can see, the Outdoor Life Network's "live" coverage is actually tape delay. www.yachtracing.com/PressReleases/live-or-something.htm
AWESOME NEW STUFF
Many of you have or are thinking of getting the Camet Sailing shorts, but if you haven't looked at their web site lately, you have missed seeing all the new gear they have for this year. Different models of shorts, with the same important features, the fast drying breathable Supplex and the Cordura seat pocket for the foam pads, etc. the Rash Guards, CoolMax T-Shirts, Bubble tops, Neoprene Hiking pants and Gear bags all in one site making it easy for you to choose. www.camet.com
* Clipper Ventures plc announced its partnership with The Wall Street Journal for the 2002 and 2005 Clipper Round the World Yacht Races. The Clipper Round the World Race for amateur sailors, racing aboard identical ocean-racing yachts, each sponsored by an international city. The Asian Wall Street Journal, the leading publisher of Asia's vital business and financial news, will join as an Official Media Partner. Hong Kong's 60-foot racing yacht, one of eight Clippers competing in the 2002 race, will be sponsored The Wall Street Journal. When competing in waters around Asia, it will fly the flag of The Asian Wall Street Journal. While sailing in Europe or the US, the Clipper will fly the flag of The Wall Street Journal Europe or The Wall Street Journal respectively.
* The Selection Committee of the America's Cup Hall of Fame will announce the 2002 Inductees on Thursday, October 17. The Induction Ceremony will be held during the America's Cup races at The Auckland Museum, Auckland, N.Z. on February 17th, 2003. Commencing with its first induction ceremony in 1993, fifty legends of the Cup have been invested with membership. Candidates eligible for consideration include skippers, afterguard, crew, designers, builders, organizers, syndicate leaders, managers, supporters, chroniclers, race managers, and other individuals of merit.
* Bayview Yacht Club has challenged the Royal Canadian Yacht Club for a Canada's Cup match to be sailed at RCYC in Toronto, Ontario in Farr 40 One Design boats beginning in late Summer 2003. This will be the 20th sailing of the Internal Match Race Series for the Canada's Cup.
* In the UK's Telegraph, Tim Jeffery reported that GBR Challenge plans to race GBR 70, which has had more development work, in the first round-robin where Britain race each of the eight challengers once. "She is battle-ready," (Peter) Harrison said, "and we've not really seen enough of GBR 78 to be confident of getting the best out of her in race conditions straight away." - sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
* Dry Creek Vineyard, a sponsor of American Brad Van Liew's Around Alone campaign, took special steps to insure their wine travels safely around the world aboard the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America race boat. They constructed and installed a custom wine rack of resin infused carbon fiber with a foam core that sits adjacent to the navigation station With weight considered a crucial element of racing, Van Liew has one piece of advice, "choose your luxuries carefully."
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 Peter Huston: Why should anyone be surprised that Prada got off with a wrist slap for their gross violation of the Protocol? The decision to not uphold the Protocol has far less to do with the fact that Prada appoints two members to the Arbitration Panel than it does that the Kiwi's also get to appoint two members. Do you want to be the Kiwi citizen who has to tell your Prime Minister he was the person responsible for sending home a team that was going to spend tens of millions of dollars in your country, if not also do more substantial business in New Zealand? See also OneWorld design info decision.
But as an alternative penalty, ten grand is virtually meaningless to Prada. Why at least a one point penalty wasn't handed down probably suggests that TNZ now has one in the bank with Prada should any issues come before the Arb's involving the home team. Perhaps an interesting alternative penalty would have been to require the Commodore of Punta Ala YC to steer an entire race, the date selected by OracleBMW Racing.
Perhaps this is the best outcome for OracleBMW Racing - they have made it clear they want to beat Prada on the water, and if they can't they likely won't be able to beat TNZ. They still have their barge, and it's going to drive Prada nuts for the duration of the event.
* From Mark Steinbeck: Let me get this straight. The Protocol signed by all of the Challengers provides that a Challenger that goes to court or takes legal action against another competitor will be disqualified. Prada takes Oracle to court and Oracle files a protest with the Arbitration Panel.
The Arbitration Panel rules that Prada did breach the Protocol agreement, but instead of disqualifying them the arbitration Panel administers a slap on the wrist in the form of a $10,000 fine (about the equivalent of buying another crew a round of drinks at the club after the race for us regular folks).
But here's where it gets good. The members of the Panel state one of the reasons that the didn't toss Prada is that if they disqualify Prada, they might ignore the agreement they signed to abide by Arbitration Panel rulings and take the Arbitration Panel to court. Right... Good thinking that!
And they laughed at us in San Diego for a little thing like a three-way defender final during AC95...
* From Joel J. Sterling: I haven't read the sports section of the NY Times in a long time. Although there are thousands of sailors participating in weekend day races and thousands more in overnight races, the newspaper ignores them completely. I saw only an occasional article on the America's Cup or some other international event and never a word about amateur racing. Even many of the international professional events are overlooked.
As Co-Chairperson of the Knickerbocker Cup for several years (a grade 1 international professional match racing event) I found it very disconcerting that the Times would not print a word about this race series. They have consistently ignored our press releases. When Scuttlebutt started publication I stopped reading the Times sport section. Whether or not the NY Times uses a staff writer will make little difference to me since their lack of recognition of sailing, as a sport, has been a long time fault of their sports section.
* From Rand Milton: Has the New York Times lost their collective minds in getting rid of Herb McCormick? Herb McCormick is a terrific writer for both the Times and Cruising World. His sailing articles, and in particular, his America's Cup articles over the years, have always been spot on and fair. Everyone should contact The New York Times to complain. Hopefully they'll reconsider!
* From Dave Few: Frankly I could care less what the N.Y. Times does and anyone who relies on them for America's Cup coverage has little real interest anyway. The coverage provided by Scuttlebutt and the sailing rags available to us along with the TV and various web sites are just fine with this old sailor.
It was interesting the Swan Cup, along with Key West did not use the new starting system. Will the revised rules in '05 offer both systems, the new one for dinghies, and the old system for larger boats?
* From Robert Constable (edited to our 250-word limit): I read the lament about the NY Times dropping Herb McCormick. I'll certainly write my support for continuing quality coverage of the cup and other sailing events, but don't have much hope. Sailing coverage is simply not critical to their business model. I read all of the carping in ScuttleLetters about the poor sports media coverage, the lack of sponsorship, etc., and frankly find a lot of it wishful. The comparisons to Formula One, football, etc., fail to recognize some simple truths. In the panoply of sports, sailing has a relatively small participant base, is too esoteric for the uninitiated, is time and equipment intensive, difficult to learn if you're not raised in the sport, financially inaccessible for the average amateur, and, yes, just plain boring to watch.
The only way to make sailing draw non-sailing viewers and readers is to dumb it down to the point that we who understand the sport would find the coverage ghastly. All those who watched ESPN's 1999 Louis Vuitton coverage in VCR fast-forward, raise your hands. I could view a three-hour race in about 35 minutes by watching all of the legs in 3x speed, going to standard play for starts, roundings and critical starts. I can remember watching the Bermuda Gold Cup live a few years back from the bleachers next to the RBYC. They had play-by-play and color commentary over a p.a. system, and it was great. But were there any non-sailors in the bleachers? Only a few wives and girlfriends.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
As the moment of truth approaches for the nine America's Cup challengers, Oracle helmsman Peter Holmberg believes his team are as ready as they ever will be. A week from today the challengers will head out to the Hauraki Gulf as the battle to win the right to race Team New Zealand for the America's Cup begins. "After two years of training we're ready for it to finally get going," Holmberg said.
As one of the favoured five, with Alinghi, Prada, Stars and Stripes and OneWorld, Oracle spent a lot of time mapping out their game plan, Holmberg said. "We think we have got our priorities and timing right. "I am proud to say we can sit here now and know there is very little we would have done differently."
Like most of the challengers on syndicate row, Oracle have used the past few weeks to test the water against some of the challengers. Only Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes have opted not to race other challengers.
Although the results of the informal races remain secret, it is understood in 10-15 knot winds last week Seattle's OneWorld beat the French challenge Le Defi Areva and then had the better of Italian syndicate Prada, who were beaten 5-0 by Team New Zealand in the 2000 Cup match. Sweden's Victory Challenge beat the other Italian syndicate, Mascalzone Latino, and, in a close encounter, Russell Coutts' Swiss syndicate, Alinghi, retained their unbeaten record in edging Oracle.
"The scrimmages have been good," said Holmberg. "Personally I think they are great - it's the real deal. You've got to ask if it's worth saving all your money for retirement and then dying with all of it stashed in the bank. "You're going to find out who's fast pretty early on, so why not find out now rather than next week." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
HARKEN WINCH PROMO
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Two distinct battles in Class 1 are emerging - Bobst Group-Armor Lux and Solidaires are vying for first place, and just over 200 miles behind there are three powerful boats, Hexagon, Garnier and Tiscali battling for 3rd place. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is continually streaking into the lead of Class 2, whereas back markers BTC Velocity - or as Alan Paris put it 'BTC (with no) Velocity' - and Spirit of yukoh are struggling still with the high pressure.
STANDINGS - CLASS ONE: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 635 miles to finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 58 miles from leader; 3. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 292 miles behind leader; CLASS TWO: 1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 1185 miles to finish; 2. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 482 miles behind leader. 3, Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 502 miles behind leader; - www.aroundalone.com
MAKE A WISH
If your wish is to crew in a regatta for a World Champion, an Olympic medallist, an America's Cup helmsman or even a Rolex Yachtsman or Yachtswomen of the Year, the curmudgeon can make that wish come true. Easy. All you have to do is join me at the Bitter End Yacht Club's Dry Creek Vineyard Pro-Am Regatta in November, and sign up to be a racing crew. You can race with Paul Cayard, Mark Reynolds, Dawn Riley, Lowell North or Keith Musto - and you'll come home with one of that team's crew shirts.
But it gets better. You can also skipper or crew on one of the BEYC's fleet of boats in the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship. No extra charge. In fact, if you tell the BEYC that you're a member of the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club, they'll even discount your accommodations. Special pricing is also available for Yacht Club groups, and individual racing teams of six or more persons entering the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Offshore Championships.
This all takes place from November 2 - 9 at the Bitter End YC on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. It's the ultimate sailing vacation.- www.beyc.com/yvReg.asp#ProAm16
RBYC, Bermuda - International One Design World Championships final results: 1.E. "Penny" Simmons, Bermuda, 8 points; 2. Urban Ristorp, Sweden, 17 points; 3. Dag Usterud/Thor Christensen, Norway, 25.75 points. Full results: www.iodfleet.bm/Results.htm
LASER MASTERS WORLDS
Hyannis Yacht Club, Cape Cod, USA - On day two, the sailors were greeted with heavy rain and light winds and a forecast that did not hold a great hope for an improvement. However the forecast was calling for a reduction in the rain and a light offshore wind of 8 knots so the fleet of 280 boats was sent afloat. By the time the 4 fleets finally arrived at the course a light 5-8 knot southerly had filled in. The Grand Master Standard rig fleet did not start their race as the wind turned through 120 degrees and died. - Jeffery Martin
Regatta leaders include: Radial fleet - Mark Orams, New Zealand; Grand Master - James Johnston; Great Grandmaster - Dick Tillman; Standard rig Apprentices - Jyrki Taimnen, Finland; Masters - Ed Adams. Full results: www.Laserworlds2002.com
Newport, RI: With a 13-1 record, a Storm Trysail Club team of three boats captained by Rear Commodore Rich duMoulin scored a solid victory in the 2002 Patriots' Cup international team racing event sailed in Newport, RI over the September 21-22 weekend. Eight yacht club teams from England, Ireland, Canada and the US raced in Shields Class boats in sunny and breezy late summer conditions on Narragansett Bay off Goat Island. A warm sou-wester, gusting 15 to 18 knots kept racing lively on Saturday. On Sunday the breeze had backed to the south at 8-10 knots, making for more tactical racing. - Keith Taylor
For full results: www.sailing.tm/patriot02/results02.htm
IT'S REALLY A VERY SIMPLE GAME
At the end of the day, however, as (Dennis) Conner has testified on many occasions, boat speed wins the America's Cup. And should any of the syndicates, having spent tens of millions of dollars on research and development, find a precious tenth-of-a-knot or two of speed over and above the competition, all other bets may be off. - From Herb McCormick's last column in the NY Times, www.nytimes.com/2002/09/22/sports/othersports/22BOAT.html
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Can you buy an entire chess set in a pawn-shop?