SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1164 - September 25, 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.
FROM BRUNO TROUBLÉ
Scuttlebutt reproduced excerpts from my interview with the Alinghi syndicate website in yesterday's Scuttlebutt (No. 1163). I want to convey more accurately the scope and spirit of my comments.
The day-to-day management of the sport's pinnacle event is outstanding, but the rules that govern the America's Cup event need some tuning up to be on a par with other professional sports of this caliber. Some of the America's Cup structure we now have in place, for instance the Arbitration Panel, is not enough to respond to the relevant issues.
The management of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup (CORM and America's Cup 2003) has done an outstanding job in assembling an experienced on-the-water team and securing the right amount and quality of corporate support to host a world-class competition. The way the event is organized is an example of what can be achieved with the right funding. However the rules which govern the regatta proved to be far from perfect and have caused a very controversial period for more than a year on issues such as residency and limitations on designers who change camps. There are many improvements to be implemented for the next Cup. The America's Cup has evolved dramatically since its inception 151 years ago but even more so in its modern history since the first Louis Vuitton Cup in 1983. A fine balance needs to be maintained between this event's storied history and tradition and the demands of modern professional sailing
With that being said, the 2002-2003 event will be great and the Louis Vuitton Cup starting October 1 will be the most spectacular regatta so far! - Bruno Troublé, Director of Communications for the Louis Vuitton Cup
There's always a ridiculous amount of secrecy leading up to the America's Cup. Syndicates monitor each other's boats while spies are always lurking around, trying to peak under a skirt or two. But in the case of Team New Zealand's latest boat NZL81, they're probably wasting their time. TNZ chief executive Ross Blackman says there will be so many changes to the boat between now and the start of racing on February 15, you won't recognize it.
"The designers are pleased with what they have seen of the new boat," Blackman says. "But the boat we will race will be quite different from the one we have now." And some of these changes may be big ones. Blackman says the last time TNZ defended the America's Cup, NZL60 had its whole bow section replaced.
"We will keep changing up until four days before the cup - that's unveiling day. After that, you are pretty limited. "You can change up to 50 percent of the hull area and then there's all the sails and sail selection - it's an ongoing process." - Simon Bloomberg, The Nelson Mail as posted on the StuffNZ website. Full story: www.stuff.co.nz
Sport psychology is becoming an integral part of performance in elite sport around the world. So what is sport psychology?
The myth that sport psychology is some kind of magic that will produce winning performances needs to be clarified. In fact, sport psychology is a science that uses well-established psychological principles alongside athletes' physical skills to enhance performance. Mental skills that are used by athletes require a great deal of practice if they are to be effective, and especially if athletes are looking to use them in pressure situations.
At GBR Challenge the boundaries of traditional sport psychology have been stretched. Not only have the sailing team members been using appropriate psychological skills, but also such training has been extended to the shore team and members of the administrative staff. After all, the expectations of high-level performance extend beyond just the sailing team.
* GBR Challenge team members have taken sport psychology on board and used it in many different ways to enhance not only their sailing performance, but also their ability to manage an array of on-shore activities. Team members have learnt that using such mental skills is a natural part of America's Cup sailing. - Dr Gregory Kolt, GBR Challenge Sport Psychologist, as posted on the GBR Challenge website. Full story: www.gbrchallenge.com
FRONT ROW SEATS
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* Auckland will come alive next week as more than 2000 America's Cup sailors and entertainers take to the streets in the America's Cup 2003 and Louis Vuitton Cup Welcome Parade on Saturday 28 September. Crews representing the 10 America's Cup syndicates from Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, Sweden, France, the United States and New Zealand will march down Queen Street towards the American Express Viaduct Harbour, accompanied by music, entertainers and marching bands. The crews will then take their seats on Te Wero Island in the Amex Viaduct Harbour for the America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup Opening Ceremony. America's Cup website, www.americascup.com
* Team Dennis Conner will race USA-66 for the first Round Robin (October 1-10) and will make the decision to switch to USA-77 between now and the beginning of the second Round Robin (October 22-31.) USA-77's new bow section, which arrived in Auckland last week, has been joined to the rest of the hull and the team is now waiting for the paint to dry. - Veronica Brown, Stars & Strips website, full story: www.stars-stripes.com
* Raising enough cash to defend the America's Cup is a white-knuckle experience for Team New Zealand's Ross Blackman. The defenders' chief executive yesterday hung 200m off the ground to promote their on-line auction and inspect the largest America's Cup logo in the country. The giant logo, made of adhesive vinyl, will grace the Viaduct side of the Sky Tower until the America's Cup regatta finishes in March next year. - Alan Perrott and Julie Ash, NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz
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 John Koopmann: With Herb McCormick's weekly contributions, The New York Times finally created a sailing column that's worth reading. He covered many facets of our sport and his articles were informative to the expert, novice and those unfamiliar with sailing. The articles were well written and attracted a broad readership beyond our little world. This itself was valuable to the sport. I hope many will make the effort to contact the NYT to reconsider their action.
* From Tom Hovey It is inexcusable for the New York Times to provide such inadequate coverage of the Americas Cup, especially when the New York Yacht Club is in the thick of it with Dennis Conner heading their effort.
* From Dean Hubbard (Regarding the lack of America's Cup and related series coverage by the New York Times): The Times, our last resort for classy and complete coverage of many subjects not covered by lesser newspapers, has apparently gone the way of the lesser ranks, after all. That is, "if it's not a ball sport, it's not in our newspaper".
It is sad that the great unwashed lacking the intellect for many sports, have managed to dictate by their sheer numbers what is or is not to be covered. If we painted our faces and torsos in multicolored patterns of team support, acted like oafs for camera fodder, and were arrested for fighting among the crowds, sailing fans could probably find a seat at the table in the sports sections of the mediums so inclined to broadcast mayhem and "sport" by print or airwave. The Times may reconsider to cover sailing events when sailors begin carrying a ball on deck and find themselves in prison and drug rehabs once in a while.
I never thought I would become too smart to a section of The Times but, alas, the time has come. I now possess an IQ and personal tastes too fine to be considered a Times sports section reader. For sail coverage, my time and money must move to the sailing websites. Newspapers are no longer relevant, hence their slow but sure demise.
* From Eric Hall: Certainly, Oracle was right in citing the Protocol when Prada brought court proceedings against them, especially if Prada had persisted. But when Prada, realizing their mistake, withdrew their complaint, shouldn't that been the end of it? Why did Oracle continue to pursue it? Did they want to disqualify Prada on a minor technicality? The Arb panel should have just said: "Prada withdrew the complaint, case closed."
* From Paul van Leynseele: In Prada's defense, it was pretty clear at the time they filed suit that the Arbitration Panel was not functioning, or at least was not going to rule on, let alone take any immediate action to resolve any disputes until they were indemnified against counter-suit (a reasonable concern on their part). If you were in Prada's shoes (so to speak), and felt like you needed something to happen, what would you do?
(On the 2003 AC website, Cheryl has posted a portion of the transcript of an interview where Murray Deaker asked Dennis Conner about the upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup Series. Here is an excerpt.)
"I think until he's beat, Russell has to be the man. You can make a case that he's the best in the world at what he does and he's going out there with two or three of his best friends. They know the Hauraki Gulf. They've been sailing there all their lives so they know the area. They certainly had the start of a good boat because if they didn't know exactly what was in the Black Boat they certainly had a good idea. So they had a good foundation to start with from a whole. They have the local knowledge and they have the skill that makes them the one to beat at this point until someone knocks them off.
"So I would say they might even be favoured over Team New Zealand for winning the Cup in most peoples' eyes because of the points I've just mentioned. I think it would be pretty tough for Dean Barker and go race up against Russell when he's just beat him 68 out of 72 times over the last four years. That must be a bit hard on your image. So, I think Dean's got some psychological problems when it comes to trying to beat up on Russell.
"It looks that the Prada team didn't make as much progress as they might have expected. They've lost some races out on the Gulf to almost everyone. The other Italian team doesn't appear to be that strong either just based on the results. It looks like OneWorld in spite of all their legal problems has a good programme going on the water. They could be the dark horse at this point.
"I think the Victory boat looks pretty fast. The Swedes, Mani Freres' son has done a nice job designing a good boat, probably with what he learned in the Prada syndicate last time. And they look like they have their act together. They're sailing well and they're pretty quick. I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the final four.
"I haven't sailed against them with Stars and Stripes so we don't really know how we stack up. We feel pretty good about our boat. Certainly from a crew standpoint we feel like we can match up with anyone. But at this point, Murray, talk is cheap. We have to be out there and win some races before we can be considered in a league with Russell. Full transcript: isuzu21.webcrossing.com
UPGRADING 15 YEAR OLD INSTRUMENTS?
Most Ockam components are fully service supported and in many cases upgradeable to 2001 spec - even if your system was installed in the early 1980's. Our latest software revision, Unisyn, is quite easily installed on Ockam's model 001 CPU, and, when combined with the new e/Series model 041 GPS interface, will turbocharge a vintage system. We'll even offer a little trade-in credit for your old Loran/Position/LatLon interfaces - call us at 203/877-7453 or email Tom Davis for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org). Visit www.ockam.com
THE BOTTOM LINE
"There is only victory and defeat," says Russell Coutts, the man who steered Team New Zealand's black boats to successive crushing wins in 1995 and 2000. "I have tasted both . . . and I know which one I prefer." So does every one of the 1,000-plus sailors, technicians, boatbuilders, sailmakers, weather forecasters, sponsors and supporters now assembled on the other side of the world in Auckland for the 31st America's Cup. However, come next March, only one team will be savouring victory.
Before that, starting next Tuesday, are four months of trials in the Louis Vuitton Cup to determine who of the challengers, from six countries including Britain for the first time in 15 years, will race the holders.
* Such a technology- and talent-rich sport is one that Britain ought to do well in. British sailing is on the boil and a good number of the GBR squad have been instrumental in this. Apart from informal racing over the past few weeks, in which Russell Coutts's new Swiss team Alinghi have swept all before them, there are precious few indicators of pace and potential until the first gun. And then the first few minutes will generally reveal whose designers have hit on the best solutions.
Jo Richards, one of the GBR design team headed by Derek Clark, describes the intellectual conundrum of creating GBR 70 and GBR 78, Wight Lightning and Wight Magic: "It's like doing an exam where you put everything down on paper and then don't find out the answer until nine months later. The trouble is, no one's told us the questions!" - Tim Jeffery, the Telegraph, UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
FOR THE RECORD
Current record holders Simon McKeon and Tim Daddo (AUS) have notified the World Speed Sailing Record Council of their intention to make further attempts on the outright World Sailing Speed Record on Macquarie Innovation. In an application made to the WSSRC, they have asked for authorization for a series of dates to make the attempt from October to December which make up a total of 28 days.
"We anticipate that there will be no other changes to the arrangements and procedures that have been adopted during our last attempt earlier this year. In particular, our primary method of measuring speed for the 500 metre record will be via a video camera located on Macquarie Innovation itself. We also intend to run our proposed GPS system concurrently with the video system in the hope of receiving approval for this system." - Sailing-Online, www.sailing-online.com.au/welcome.cfm
After 2500 miles of hard ocean racing it has become a horse race to the finish between Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm sailing Bobst Group Armor Lux, and Frenchman Thierry Dubois on Solidaires. In a frantic effort to reel in Stamm, Dubois has been pushing his yacht to its limit and in doing so has set a new 24 hour distance record for the Around Alone. Between 1500 UTC Sunday and 1500 UTC Monday Dubois sailed an incredible 400.7 miles averaging 16.69 knots for the period. While Dubois has set a blistering pace that adds 5 miles to the previous record set four years ago by Marc Thiercelin, he is still quite a bit short of the 24 hour monohull speed record held by illbruck and set on Leg 7 of the recent Volvo Ocean Race.
While Stamm and Dubois hammer it out at the front of the pack, there is another close race for 3rd taking place between Hexagon (Graham Dalton), Garnier (Patrick de Radigues) and Tiscali (Simone Bianchetti). There is a mere 12 miles separating the three boats. In Class 2 Brad van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is still hanging on to his commanding lead. - Brian Hancock
STANDINGS - CLASS ONE: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 351 miles to finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 62 miles from leader; 3. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 378 miles behind leader; CLASS TWO: 1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 943 miles to finish; 2. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 521 miles behind leader 3. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 531 miles behind leader. - www.aroundalone.com
SNIPE WESTERN HEMISPHERES
Alamitos Bay YC - This wasn't on the menu for the 2002 Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship: light air and pea soup. "Very non-typical Long Beach," said Randy Lake of San Diego, who wasn't complaining Tuesday after he and crew Piet Van Os won the first of seven scheduled races of the biennial event when the wind never exceeded 8 knots and fog was so thick that even some of the committee boats had trouble finding their way back into the harbor afterward.
Alexandre Paradeda, the reigning world champion from Brazil, asked afterward, "This is not normal here, no? Finding the marks was a big problem for us." Paradeda and crew Flavio Fernandes finished second a few boat lengths in front of five-time U.S. national champion Augie Diaz of Miami, sailing with Jon Rogers. - Rich Roberts, www.abyc.org
EXACT SOFTWARE TORNADO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Martha's Vineyard - The day began again with rain, but no thunderstorms and definitely plenty of wind. Prior to the harbor start, the Race Committee reported 19 knots with gusts as high as 24 knots. As the rain showers abated and the fleet headed out to the racing area, the NNE breeze moderated to 16 knots. Sea conditions were 2-3 feet and choppy. At the start of Race 2, the wind had freshened. Throughout the race the breeze ranged between 16 - 20 knots. At the end of 2 Races, the leaders are: 1. BACKES / VOIRON, FRA, 6pts; 2. BUNDOCK / FORBES, AUS, 8; 3. STRANDBERG / MATTSON, SWE, 12; 4. HAGARA / STEINACHER, AUT, 13; 5. BOOTH / DERCKSEN, NED, 13. - Michael Grandfield, www.aclass-tornado-worlds2002.org/reports.htm
LASER MASTERS WORLDS
Hyannis YC. Cape Cod USA - At 1pm the sailors were sent out in an 8 knot North Easterly for a 2pm start. Once on the course area the breeze strengthened and the Grandmaster fleet were first to start 15 knots of wind.
In the Great Grandmaster division Dick Tillman of the US maintained his perfect record with two more victories to take his tally to five. Runaway leader in the Masters Ed Adams of the US did not fare so well today. He scored a 16th and 13th places but still maintains a 10-point break over the rest of the field. In the Apprentice fleet Andreas John of Germany now holds the lead in this division but the top five remain close on points. - Jeffery Martin, www.laserinternational.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
There's no such thing as bad weather; merely inappropriate clothing