SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1166 - September 27, 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
Glenn Bourke is widely respected within the sailing community and, following his success as CEO of illbruck Challenge, the winner of The Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002, he has accepted the position as Chief Executive of The Volvo Ocean Race, following the retirement of Helge Alten who will remain as a board member.
Bourke (Aus), a qualified shipwright and naval draughtsman, is no stranger to international yacht racing and campaign management. Among other highly notable achievements in grand prix sailing events such as the America's Cup and the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup, Bourke was Laser World Champion three times in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Bourke was Australian Yachtsman of the Year in 1989 and 1990 and he also represented Australia in the Finn class at the 1992 Olympic Games. More recently Bourke was Competition and Venue Manager for sailing for the Sydney Olympic Organising Committee, after which he became CEO of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the largest and most highly respected yacht-racing club in Australia, before heading up the successful illbruck Challenge campaign. - www.volvooceanrace.org
Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm has won Leg 1 of the Around Alone 2002-03. Sailing his Pierre Rolland designed Open 60 Bobst Group - Armor Lux, Stamm crossed the finish line off the Berry Head Hotel in Torbay harbour at 15:33:38 local time (14:33:38 UTC). Stamm clocks up 10 points as the Class 1 winner for Leg 1, and after starting from New York harbour at 16:00 hrs UTC on September 15th, after sailing 2,930 miles his elapsed time is 10 days 22 hours 33 minutes 38 seconds.
It has been two bites at the cherry for Stamm, who earlier this morning also established a new solo monohull transatlantic record when he passed Lizard Point off the southwest coast of England at 07:42:22 UTC (08:42:22 local time). His official time for the crossing from Ambrose Point to Lizard Point will be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council later today, but his unofficial time was 10 days, 11 hours, 57 minutes and 19 seconds from Ambrose Light.
For the last 50 hours Graham Dalton's 60 footer has been in second gear without a mainsail. On Tuesday afternoon for a reason as yet unexplained, while sailing upwind Hexagon's mainsail shed all but one or two of it's full length battens effectively rendering the sail unusable. This is a most unusual occurrence and Graham only had one full length batten as a spare with which to try and effect some kind of repair. It's unlikely however that he'll be able to do anything more than sail with three reefs in the mainsail at best. Which, in the present conditions will delay his arrival in Torquay considerably.
Fleet Positions @ 0100 UTC 27/09/02 - CLASS ONE: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois; 3. Garnier, Patrick de Radigues, 372 miles from finish; CLASS TWO: 1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 617 miles to finish; 2. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 539 miles behind leader 3. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 560 miles behind leader. - www.aroundalone.com
BEHIND THE SCENES
The critical task of authenticating the Louis Vuitton Cup race yachts is ahead of schedule. Before racing for the right to challenge Team New Zealand begins on October 1, the yachts must be measured by regatta technical director and head measurer Ken McAlpine and his team to ensure they meet the requirements of the America's Cup class rule.
Measuring began on September 2. The four measurers work in teams of two. Jones said the hardest part of the inspection was checking a yacht's measurements while it was floating and the weighing of boats. The flotation check requires extremely calm water. "One night they were working to midnight and then they went back at 4.30," said Jones.
The process has also been sped up by several yachts having been measured at their offshore bases before being transported to New Zealand. This was completed by the Cup measurers who then get different members of the team to do the second check in New Zealand. The offshore measurement also occurred during the last regatta but there was one important difference. At least, two teams are understood to have completed the flotation examination and the weigh-in which are hardest facets of measuring.
Strict rules govern when syndicates can make changes to boats which they have nominated as their warhorse for a particular round of the Cup. Syndicates can continue to make changes to their second boat which isn't involved in racing. - Andrew Sanders, Sunday Star Times, NZ
The full story has been posted by Cheryl on the 2003ac website: isuzu21.webcrossing.com
WORRY LESS ON THE WIRE
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HAS THE FAT LADY SUNG?
Lawyer Sean Reeves has vowed to fight a bid by the wealthy America's Cup syndicate OneWorld Challenge to make him pay the NZ$1.7 million damages awarded against him by an American court. OneWorld say they will chase their former operations manager through the New Zealand courts for the money and to ensure he honours a confidentiality agreement.
The Seattle syndicate took legal action against Mr Reeves last year after being told he was trying to sell their secrets to another syndicate. Yesterday, an American court ruled in a summary judgment that he had broken his confidentiality agreement with them. Damages of between $500,000 and $675,000 would be awarded against Mr Reeves, the ruling said. OneWorld can also claim legal costs, which they say will top $1.1 million.
Mr. Reeves told the Herald last night that the court action was an attempt to gag him and block his claims that it was OneWorld that improperly obtained Team New Zealand secrets from the last cup contest. He said he might go to the police or the Serious Fraud Office with his accusations. He doubted any New Zealand judge would allow OneWorld to file their US judgment here. "What this litigation is all about is gagging me. I am incredibly dangerous to these guys. I was on the ground all the time. I'm going to ensure the truth comes out."
Mr Reeves has always denied he tried to sell OneWorld's secrets. Instead, he says, OneWorld got secret Team New Zealand design information when they hired crew, including principal designer Laurie Davidson, from the cup holders.
OneWorld executive director Bob Ratliffe said the team felt vindicated by yesterday's judgment. - Helen Tunnah and Ainsley Thomson, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(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 Doug Holthaus: Before we provide our clients with court rulings, they are admonished to carefully consider an entire decision before drawing conclusions. Too bad Peter Huston didn't have the benefit of that advice and read the Arbitration Panel's entire decision fining Prada for suing Oracle. If he had done so he would have discovered that, contrary to his assumptions to the contrary, the Protocol does not compel the automatic disqualification of a competitor for engaging in litigation.
Significantly, the Panel did go a significant step further - presumably to send the message that litigation has no place in the AC - by imposing a $10,000 fine for what was clearly a molehill of a transgression which Oracle futilely sought to convert into an America's Cup Mt. Everest. To describe this outcome as somehow corruptly derived or as a "tap (or slap) on the wrist," ignores the carefully reasoned findings of the respected jurists and others serving (without compensation) as Arbitration Panelists. Inarguably, the ramifications and cost of this decision to Prada clearly exceeded the amount it was fined.
Ironically, the message obviously intended by the Panel members - that the XXXIst America's Cup should be decided on the water - remains lost on those campaigns whose lack of confidence compel them to seek elimination of competitors by hook or crook.
* From Bruce H. Munro: The problems which Bruno Trouble makes reference to have existed at almost every America's Cup event. This time they have been more prominent than most. In my opinion the problem is the lack of a permanent organizing authority that can instill discipline among the competitors and make consistent decisions over the years. All the major sporting events have such an organization except the America's Cup.
During the '99-2000 Cup, these problems were evident also and the Challenger Organization at that time attempted to do something to create a permanent organizing authority. I chaired a committee of challengers that came up with a plan for such a body, but Bruno was cool to the idea and it failed on a mixed vote.
I now wonder if Bruno's current remarks indicate a change in his thinking toward a permanent international governing body for the America's Cup?
* From Andrew Besheer: Am I the only one who is really disappointed in the coverage on the Around Alone website? I realize that much of the success depends upon the skippers themselves and the type to sail off alone for weeks on end may not be the type to spend alot of time communicating, but shouldn't there be someone providing meaningful and incisive commentary on the website? As a for instance, I'm trying to figure out why, on a NY to England race, Everest Horizontal has been heading straight for the Canary Islands for several days, is Tim Kent looking to be the next Moitessier??? There's a long way to go in this race, but I'm thinking that unless Clipper Ventures up the engagment level of the website (as well as the quality of the writing) Around Alone will miss an excellent opportunity to deliver value to the sport and the sponsors.
* From Vince Cooke (Regatta Director and PRO for the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup): Of course some will read George Smirnoff's commentary as a cop-out. However, I can assure you that his assessment and rationale is spot on. Though I am not involved in the forthcoming event, I would differ with one point that George made. He indicated that 30% of the races may not even be run. He should have said that they may not be run as scheduled, but they will be run. Such was the case in 1999/2000.
* From Bob Kiernan: There is some merit to B. Cohen's remarks as to presenting the AC racing in different syndicate locals/ countries. This could lead up to the height of the premier event held every fourth year at the arena of the last champion. This would be an AC challenge series with the results of 12 regattas building up to the actual race. A container ship or two would move the gear to and from new arenas. They would be great spectator areas as well. The arena could be the result of an auction won by this city or that and the show would go there. Costs would be much lower; sponsors would be more prevalent with hopes for worldwide exposure.
The racing would be something to see about every 4 months in a different part of the world. Schedules that resemble boxing where the welter weights race; a one design up to 30', then the mid weights like maybe Farr 40 or 45's and a team racing series with multiple boats that would determine the final four yachts, clubs, teams. All held within a four - six week period. This would be the prelude to the Grand Finally. It gets deeper. The show would support "little leagues" around the world so new sailors are coming up through the ranks all the time. Sailing schools, talent agents, sports medicine and the legal eagles all have a farm team where the world marine and racing have a future worth looking into.
While every challenging team in the Louis Vuitton Cup 2002-2003 has hopes of winning the America's Cup, only one knows its future for certain. "We are not here to win the America's Cup," declared Mascalzone Latino syndicate founder and skipper Vincenzo Onorato.
Onorato's rather negative statement seems contradictory to the point of racing, which simply is to win. He continued. "We are a strong group of friends, trying to learn and understand how this game works," the first-time challenger from Naples, Italy, said at a press conference inaugurating the Italian team's compound on Syndicate Row.
Onorato, the owner of a successful string of one-design and grand-prix race boats by the same name, is a refreshing presence in the America's Cup. Resigned to the fact that he won't win, Onorato is determined to have a relaxed, stress-free syndicate. He declared his compound always open and visitors always welcome.
He's also determined to learn. He believes that there should always be an Italian presence at the America's Cup, and he wants to be the leader of those teams well into the future. Make no mistake. Onorato expects to win the America's Cup. He's just not sure when it'll happen. - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton website, full story: www.lvcup.com/lvcup/
Auckland, New Zealand - Skirts are all the fashion at the America's Cup -- and not just among the European style houses of backers Prada and Louis Vuitton. Syndicate Row in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour is a sea of skirts as six of the nine syndicates in the Louis Vuitton challengers' cup hide their latest keel designs behind shrouds.
Team New Zealand (TNZ), who will defend the trophy in February against the winners of the challengers' series, has had its new boat covered from deck to waterline since it was launched last month. The team's secrecy has spurred rumours amongst locals that it is hiding a new double rudder configuration. But TNZ spokesman Murray Taylor told Reuters: "We don't want people to see the boat, it's as simple as that. "There's no sinister implications in what we're doing. It's just we want to keep whatever it is we've got to ourselves." Boat designers have long theorised that twin rudders, one forward near the bow and the other in its normal position aft, would enable a boat to make extremely tight turns and give it a huge advantage.
Even though several designers have tried to master the technology, no one has succeeded. Still the fact that six of the challengers have opted for skirts this year leaves sailing fans hoping each of the teams has come up with important technological developments. - CNN.com / Inside Sailing website, full story: www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/sailing/09/25/skirts.tech/index.html
AMERICA'S CUP STORE
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Martha's Vineyard - Standings after six races (57 boats): 1. BUNDOCK / FORBES, AUS, 11; 2. BACKES / VOIRON, FRA, 14; 3. BOOTH / DERCKSEN, NED, 14; 4. HAGARA / STEINACHER, AUT, 25 5.STRANDBERG / MATTSON, SWE, 36. www.aclass-tornado-worlds2002.org/results-director.htm
MUMM 30 WORLDS
Annapolis YC - Competitors in the Champagne Mumm 2002 Mumm 30 One Design World Championship awoke to rain and clouds on the second day of racing in the regatta hosted by the Annapolis Yacht Club, Farr International and the Mumm 30 Class Association. The race course was set nearer the western side of the Chesapeake Bay off the mouth of the Severn River, which provided for a different set of tide and current conditions than experienced by the racers on day one. Rain, choppy waters and northeast breeze of 10 - 15 knots gave the sailors what they were looking for in terms of challenging conditions for the three windward-leeward races with 1-mile legs.
After six races (protests pending): 1. Printel Wind (ITA), Paolo Cristofori, 1-1-2-8-8-9 (total points 29.00); 2. Alina (ITA) Guiseppe Abba, 10-2- 4-7-3-4 (30.00); 3. Steadfast (CAN) Fred Sherratt, 2-4-20-2-1-2(31.00); 4. Illusion (USA) John Podmajersky, 9-6-10-3-16-5 (49.00); 5. Foreign Affair (AUS) Richard Perini, 5-24-5-5-2-13 (54.00) - Complete results: www.mumm30.org/
Edgewater YC - Jens Hookanson and PJ Schaffer returned to Cleveland to claim the J/24 North American Championship. Hookanson, Schaffer, and the rest of the Salsa crew, demonstrated once again that consistency wins major championship regattas. Salsa posted three firsts, two seconds, and two thirds during the nine-race event to beat Tim Healy and his team on Anna by twelve points. - Nancy Zangerle, www.j242002.com/na/NA_home.htm
LASER MASTERS WORLDS
Hyannis YC, Cape Cod USA - Day four report: The 280 sailors from five continents completed two races Thursday in 10 to 15 knots of wind. Ed Adams maintains an 8-point lead with a 5th and 7th place for the day. He currently leads Mark Bear who is 6 points clear of Peter Vessela in third. In the Grand Masters division, Keith Wilkins of Great Britain extended his lead with a 1st and 3rd place for the day. In the Great Grandmaster fleet (65+) Dick Tillman of the US continued his dominance with another two victories to take his tally to a perfect seven from seven. The Apprentice (35-44) division became more defined after the days racing with Andreas John of Germany opening up a seven point lead over two former Apprentice Champions in Brett Beyer of Australia and Mark Littlejohn of Great Britain after a second and a third today. In the Apprentice division of the Laser Radial, defending champion Steve Cockerill of Great Britain has taken over the lead from Mark Orams of New Zealand by virtue of his two firsts Thursday. - Jeffery Martin, www.laserworlds2002.com/masters/
Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead, MA - Standings after five races with one discard (24 boats): 1. Bill Abbott, Paul Davis & Bill Abbott, CAN, 4; 2. Dave Curtis, George Iverson & Ben Richardson, USA, 9; 3. Dave Franzel, Dave Carlson & Wade Edwards, USA, 13; 4. Don Cohan, Drew Buttner & Andrew Herlihy, USA, 24; 5. Gustavo Warburg, Hernan Celedoni & Maximo Smith, ARG, 26. www.solingworlds.com/worlds/2002/results.htm
LOUIS VUITTON SERIES ON TV
Monday, September 30: 9:00PM - 11:00PM EDT
Tuesday, October 1: 9:00PM - 11:00PM EDT
Wednesday, October 2: 9:00PM - 11:00PM EDT
THE CURMUDGEON'S OXYMORONS