SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1169 - October 2, 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.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP SERIES
Auckland's springtime weather is notorious for being blustery and today it blew Flight 2 of Louis Vuitton Cup 2002-2003 off the water. Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio postponed today's four scheduled matches after recording average wind speeds of 22 knots from 200 degrees.
The Notice of Race and Conditions governing the Louis Vuitton Cup stipulate that no race shall be started if the five-minute moving average true wind speed is more than 19 knots at any time during the 15 minutes prior to the preparatory signal. The recordings are made on the race committee boat at the top of a mast 10 metres off the water.
Reggio said his recordings were made before the 15-minute period began, and one deciding factor to postpone was the forecast. "The breeze is supposed to build," said Reggio. "The sea's not too bad. It's a flood current against the wind so it's lumpy, but it's not as bad as a northeasterly against an ebb tide. Everything says no. Plus breeze is supposed to build," Reggio said.
OneWorld Challenge skipper Peter Gilmour said they recorded gusts into the 30s at the masthead of USA-67, 32.5 metres (110 feet) off the water. "The most we saw was 32 knots," Gilmour said. "We had a steady 28 to 29 knots, but we were in the lee of Rangitoto Island."
* Winds tomorrow are expected to blow as hard as today. The forecast calls for westerlies between 19 and 24 knots. A new low pressure forming southwest of New Zealand's South Island could produce strong winds for the region into Friday. - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton Cup website, www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story413.html
Oracle BMW 1-0
Le Defi 0-1
* Note: OneWorld will lose one point because of a penalty imposed by ACAP.
S&S v. Prada
Alinghi v. OneWorld
Oracle BMW v. Mascalzone
Victory v. Le Defi
Sails may not have been flapping but tongues certainly were around the America's Cup Village on Wednesday, when a rumour spread like wildfire that New Zealand sailor Gavin Brady had parted company with Prada. But the Louis Vuitton Challenger have dismissed any truth to the gossip.
"The rumour is just a rumour," press officer Alessandra Ghezzi told nzoom.com on Tuesday. "Gavin is still working with us, he hasn't left the team and he hasn't been fired." She did confirm, however, that the 28-year-old was reviewing aspects of his contract. "There are personal things that he wants to discuss," Ghezzi said.
Rumours started to evolve after Brady was not part of the 16-strong Prada crew who lost to Oracle BMW Racing on Tuesday or on board Luna Rossa on Wednesday. But Brady told nzoom.com in September he would not be a part of the racing crew and was happy with that. "My position is running the B boat. I get to be out on the water and race one of the newest America's Cup boats in the world with the latest technology without all the pressure of actually at the end of the day be on the race boat," he said. - Fiona McIlroy, nzoom.com website, full story: americascup.nzoom.com
With the favourites taking expected victories on day one of the Louis Vuitton Cup it was difficult to get a clear line on relative boat speed. Yachting New Zealand high-performance manager Peter Lester, on hand for the first day's racing, came ashore convinced there will be three clear divisions in the race to find the challenger for Team New Zealand.
"Straight away it is apparent Alinghi, One World and Oracle have a definite edge," Lester said. "In the second group I can see GBR, the Swedes, Stars and Stripes and Prada fighting for the fourth semifinal spot. The third group of the French and Mascalzone Latino appear to be some way off the pace.
"From what I saw, it seems the top contenders are pretty even in terms of boat speed. In the race between Stars and Stripes and GBR as an example, the Americans were quicker downwind while GBR was slightly faster upwind. In the end, it really came down to that crucial first cross. "Of the others, Alinghi was most impressive. They creamed the French without trying. Terry Maddford, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
SAILORS OF THE YEAR
ISAF and Rolex announced the male and female sailors shortlisted for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2002. The criteria for nomination was "outstanding achievement" in the period 1 September 2001 to 31 August 2002:
Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE) - With wins at every ISAF Grade 1 and Grade 2 event in the women's double-handed event in the 470 Class they have entered in the past 12 months, with the one exception of the ISAF World Sailing Games, Sofia and Emilia have again dominated the class.
Sari Multala (FIN) - Aside from a brief dip to number 2 on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Sari has been ranked as the world's number 1 Europe sailor throughout the past year.
Alessandra Sensini (ITA) - An outstanding twelve months for Alessandra was epitomised by her taking a bullet at every single race at the ISAF World Sailing Games in June, to be followed by an excellent start to her Athens 2004 Mistral campaign with a win at the 2002 Athens Test event in August.
Ben Ainslie (GBR) - After only six months in the class Ben had won the Finn Europeans, to be followed by the Finn Gold Cup and then the 2002 Athens Test Event leaving the more experienced Finn sailors in his wake.
John Kostecki (USA) - The winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, John and the illbruck team did not finish below 4th in any of the 9 legs of the 32,700 nautical mile circumnavigation.
Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (ESP) -With an impressive string of first place finishes at ISAF Grade 1 and Grade 2 events over the last twelve months, including claiming the World and European Championship titles, Iker and Xabier are clearly making their presence known in the 49er class.
Iain Percy (GBR) - In addition to winning the Star World championship, Percy has also been transferring his skills to 'big boat' racing, including guiding 'Struntje Light' (GER) to 2nd place at the Farr 40 Europeans
Bruno Peyron (FRA) - The fastest skipper to sail non-stop around the world, Bruno smashed the Jules Verne Trophy Record.
Full details of these sailors' achievements and the reasons for their nomination , together with Sailors' biographies, images and full information on the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards can be found at: www.sailing.org/worldsailor
ULLMAN SAILS GROWING
Ullman Sails is delighted to announce that a new sail loft has opened in Palermo, Italy. Sailmakers Gabrile Brunie and Giuseppe Leonardi are experienced professionals and ready to serve all your sailmaking requirements. For additional European support Ullman Sails has sail lofts in Iseo, Repallo, and Trieste, Italy; Brittany, France; Drammen, Norway; and a new location in the United Kingdom (to open soon) to serve you. For address information please visit our web site: www.ullmansails.com
* Subject to WSSR ratification, Around Alone racer Emma Richards (GBR) in her Open 60 "Pindar" has established a new Transatlantic Women's Single-handed Monohull record, in a time of 13 days, 1 hour, 14 minutes and 36 seconds.
* The ISAF World Sailing Rankings for Olympic classes were issued 1 October 2002: www.sailing.org/rankings
* Yachting World has teamed up with UBS to produce a one-stop website for everything America's Cup. The site will cover up to the minute news with comment from Matthew Sheahan and other members of the Yachting World team. Tim Jeffery, YW contributor, will also be submitting a weekly preview and round-up of events. There's also an interactive race programme for an overview of the racing structure, together with a detailed account of "today's" races, at a glance. Also, see a selection of the day's races in 3D animation with Virtual Spectator and listen to and watch audio and movie interviews with many of the skippers and crew. www.ybw.com/yw/amcup/index.html
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 Scott MacDonald: I watched the first race last night and wondered if I was the only frustrated sailing sports fan, then I read Scuttlebutt 1168. While many of us have worked tirelessly in the marketing and promotion of this industry, we can never make up for the global damage such a rookie level of broadcasting does to the image of sailing. Cutting coverage at mark roundings and crossings is unacceptable and dramatically exposes the lack of understanding of the sport within the production team. Add to this an erratic pattern of immense advertising frequency and viewing became intolerable.
* From Curt Schoeppner: I'm thrilled to be able to watch the Louis Vuitton series once again. But please, Outdoor Life Network - don't put a commercial in at the start. I just saw the start of the first race and the first blunder of the broadcast! The first 10 minutes of these races is huge - meaning the five-minute gun and possibly the first tack. What I saw was less than two minutes before the start gun they broke to a commercial. Then after the commercial they skipped into the first leg Ahhh! I saw the 2nd broadcast in San Diego at 9PM. Was the 1st broadcast the same? Also, mark roundings are also a highpoint, so no commercials during a rounding either. Please!
* From Mark Van Gessel: I have seen a fair amount of negative comments regarding the coverage. That is a shame. This is the best coverage I have seen of AC racing. While there is room for improvement this coverage is far superior than any coverage in the past. How can anyone expect brand new coverage to be perfect the first time out.
I also saw no discussion on the wind, or the shifts from people! Being a racer and having an onboard seat for a race was great. Hearing that the wind was ranging from 5 to 7 at the start and building to 19 knots 3/4 up the course with over a 20-degree shift directly from the crew was great. I would say that sailing skill and understanding the wind and sail shape play a far more important roll than pure boat speed. Being able to adjust sails and steer as the wind goes from 7 to 19 and back down to 10 knots in 30 to 40 minutes does not rely purely upon the design of the boat but rather the skill of the sailors to make the boat accelerate. How about the shifts of 20 plus degrees! Being on the wrong side of that kind of shift and even a slightly faster boat is at a disadvantage.
Being able to watch and listen to the crews as they sail, is far superior than just seeing a recap. I congratulate OLN and thank them for obtaining the coverage rights.
* From Ken Guyer: Hey! The Cup racing is one day old! Already everyone starts bitching about the "coverage". OLN will get its act together. It is not easy covering a "new" sport with limited budget, but it is a start. The director will stop cutting to commercials at mark roundings, it will get better.
Virtual Spectator had some glitches in the beginning in 2000. They got them fixed and it was a great way to watch the racing. The same will happen this time.
I am just glad someone is covering the racing. Even if they can only feature one race each day, it is sure better than last year. I have seen editorials, comments, etc. all blasting OLN. No wonders nobody wants to cover sailing. Sometimes we are just a little too demanding.
Relax, there are more than 150 races coming up. OLN will have it down to perfection. And remember if it weren't for the commercials, no racing on TV at all!
* From Tim Zimmermann: OLN's first program out of the box was plenty rough, but thanks to the major commitment OLN is making to broadcast the LV Cup every night they have almost four months to fix it. So don't be too hard on OLN (yet). Instead, send them your (reasoned) feedback at olntv.com/GIFB_feedback.cfm
* From Rick Hatch: Finally, the syndicates are racing, not just whinging at each other. Despite the style of coverage on OLN, the feature race on OLN last night (Stars and Stripes vs. GBR Challenge) was more exciting than any of the five A-Cup races between Prada and TNZ in 2000. If this match is any indication, we are in for the most competitive LVC since Fremantle. Some broadcasting highlights from Race Day 1 coverage on OLN: A refreshing change compared to prior years.
* From Cam Lewis: It might be time to remind the 'Buttheads that- 2 (two) rudders were used with very good results in the 1988 America's Cup defense and victory onboard a yacht called Stars & Stripes.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: For those who have forgotten - that AC series pitted New Zealand's 132-foot 'big boat' against Dennis Conner's catamaran ... and Cam Lewis was a member of the S&S crew.
* From Jim Newman, Christchurch, UK: Your report from the NZ Herald concerning sailors who have left their teams to sail for other countries disgusts me, especially the NZ sailors sailing for the Swiss team. It makes a mockery of the whole event. Surely the rules need some radical changes to prevent this, how about making it a rule that all participants in a team should be born in the country of the team they are representing?
* From Christian Fevrier (re New Zealand Herald list of those who left the ship): Tim Gurr, the very skilled TNZ boatbuilder, is also part of the Alinghi Team since the early days and doesn't appear in the NZ Herald list. I cannot understand why Alinghi is silent about this chap of wonderful character. On another hand, Bob Rice didn't quit the ship. He had made his decision to stop to work for TNZ, before the Match Race 2000. Bob was keen to help only some record chasers after the last Cup. But he realized that all his experience gained on the Hauraki Gulf from 1997 was maybe stupid to waste. I suggested his name to Laurent Esquier in early 2000. Strangely, Bob was rebuffed. Then Paul Cayard invited him to join Oracle. Who knows? May be Prada will regret their decision soon!
* From Tom Donlan: US Sailing's two-hour brainstorming session on protests and procedures, to be held Oct 18 in San Diego, is all very well, but it lacks a vehicle for the rest of us to participate. I suggest that Scuttlebutt hold a two-week brainstorming session, from which a moderator would present a report to the San Diego meeting.
I'll kick it off with my pet idea: Mediation is a great idea, and should be carried forward. Make the brief mediation before one judge mandatory, with a three-minute time limit for oral presentations to the judge, though no time limit for answering the judge's questions. Then give the judge's advice extra teeth by requiring that he be one of the three judges on the jury in the event that one party wants a full-blown hearing. That way the stubborn party knows he must convince both the other judges of his view.
ISAF ANTI-DOPING CODE - REGULATION 21
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (WADA) published the new List of Banned Substances And Methods, which will be effective from 1 January 2003. For the first time, the list of prohibited methods includes a reference to genetic doping. "By introducing the notion of genetic doping into the list at this time, we at WADA and the IOC are taking into account the important changes occurring in doping techniques," said Richard W. Pound, WADA's president. "
The new list can be found: www.wada-ama.org
HARKEN WINCH TRADE-IN SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
Buy new Harken winches from one of our great dealers, send in your old ones
to us, and get a 15% rebate on your purchase. A great reason to upgrade your
boat this winter and save a little money too! www.harken.com/company/wnchtrad.php
The US Sailing Sailor-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) has received over 30 nominations for the next council and registered athletes are now able to vote on-line, through October 6, 2002. Election results will be announced at the US SAILING Annual General Meeting (AGM), October 17-20 in Marina del Rey, CA, and the new SAAC's term will begin at the conclusion of the AGM. A and B level athletes are eligible for election to SAAC. The process will be as follows:
* All voting will take place online, at www.ussailing.org/saac/referendum/
* The voting period will be September 30 - October 6, 2002;
* Nominees will be listed online with their Sailor-Athlete Level. At least 50% of SAAC members must be A level athletes, and the remainder B level athletes;
* Voters may choose up to 7 candidates. The top vote recipients, up to a maximum of 14 people, will be named to the SAAC;
* The seven council members receiving the most votes will serve a four-year term, while the remainder will serve a special two-year term to begin a regular semi-quadrennial voting cycle.
* A minimum of 7 and maximum of 14 positions will be filled;
* New Athlete Registrations will not be accepted during the voting period;
* Sailor-Athlete registration can be found at:
The Sailor Athlete Advisory Board was developed to improve the representation of active competitive sailor-athletes within US Sailing. The definition of athlete as used by US Sailing and the process of this election were established to comply with the US Olympic Committee and the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act. - Penny Piva Rego
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"Conner's hardened professionals aboard Stars & Stripes, enjoying new sponsorship from Viagra ..." - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story405.html
"We haven't seen the supply (of Viagra) yet but the sponsorship is very much appreciated," - Peter Isler, Stars & Stripes. - Stuff NZ website, www.stuff.co.nz
London - Latest betting for the 31st America's Cup:
Team New Zealand 4/6
Alinghi Swiss Challenge 7/2
Prada Challenge 13/2
Oracle Racing 15/2
Team Dennis Conner 10/1
Oneworld Challenge 12/1
GBR Challenge 40/1
Le Defi Areva 150/1
Mascalzone Latino 150/1
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* October 3-6: Long Island Sound Etchells Championship, Indian Harbor and Riverside Yacht Clubs. Same venue as the 2003 Etchells Worlds.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor when you can't drink and drive?