SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1170 - October 3, 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.
A NEW DAY, ANOTHER DELAY
Some 20 hours after Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio postponed yesterday's four Flight 2 matches due to strong winds, he postponed them again for the second consecutive day. Reggio made yesterday's decision 10 to 15 minutes before the first scheduled start. Today, however, the postponement came at 0730, before the teams had even begun preparing to launch their boats.
Reggio made the painful decision after consulting with his private weather service and weather forecasters from at least six of the teams. "It wasn't a hard decision," said Reggio. "As much as we hate to do this, we didn't want to wreck the fleet. The consensus was that the breeze would build as the day went on."
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 postponed yesterday's four scheduled matches after recording average wind speeds of 22 knots from 200 degrees.
* Reggio's hopeful racing can resume tomorrow. He said tomorrow's forecast looks more benign than today's did yesterday at the same time. "This is the hardest part of my job," Reggio commented. - Sean McNeill, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com
S&S races Prada
Alinghi races OneWorld
Oracle BMW races Mascalzone
Victory races Le Defi
Alinghi 1 - 0
Oracle BMW 1 - 0
S&S 1 - 0
OneWorld* 1 - 0
Victory 0 - 0
GBR 0 - 1
Le Defi 0 - 1
Mascalzone 0 - 1
Prada 0 - 1
* Note: OneWorld will lose one point because of a penalty imposed by ACAP.
COMMENTARY - Tim Jeffery
Eleven days out of 48 were lost in the Louis Vuitton challenger trials for the America's Cup three years ago, so it was no surprise that the second day of the latest series was a victim of Auckland's early spring conditions.
The Antarctic-chilled sou'westerlies blew steadily at 25 knots, and the OneWorld and Oracle crews reported gusts of 30 knots. Although racing would have been possible, the conditions set by the challengers do not permit it.
Racing will be stopped if winds are less than seven or more than 19 knots before a start, or over 23 knots once racing has started. The challengers know that in February, when one of them will meet Team New Zealand in the America's Cup match, conditions will be lighter and they do not want to produce a boat that sails better in heavy air.
Such cross-referencing will be of keen interest to Derek Clark, design boss of Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge. The British team have a bye, but having narrowly lost to Stars & Stripes, they await keenly the clash between Dennis Conner's boat and Prada.
"It's going to take a few races to see where we are," Clark says, "especially given that Stars & Stripes is quite a radical design solution. It could take until the end of the round robin to have a good feel for it." - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk
HARKEN WINCH PROMO
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* The skippers at this year's International Master Regatta at St. Francis YC will be Bruce Kirby (CAN), Lowell North, Keith Musto (GBR), Dave Irish, John Jennings, Paul Henderson (CAN), Bruce Munro, John Scarborough, Terry Anderlini, Kim McDell (NZ), John Sherwood, Duane Hines and Don Trask. - www.stfyc.org
* Sailwave has released an international version of their popular sailing scoring software. Version 1.45 has facilities for users totranslate the native UK English user interface into the language of their choice. Translation is a simple process, involving a single 'locale' text file and typically taking an hour or so to complete. Sailwave is provided free to the sailing community with a voluntary registration scheme and can be downloaded from www.sailwave.com
* As a result of the recent World Championship regatta, six nations have qualified for the Women's 470 double-handed event at the 2004 Olympic Regatta: the Netherlands, France, Russia, Germany, Spain and Israel.
* Five days had been set aside as reserve days in the first round of the Louis Vuitton Cup Series. The first reserve day is Sunday, which is now likely to be used for racing.
* You can get frequent updates on the marine weather in the Hauraki Gulf at: www.metservice.co.nz/forecasts/marine_auckland.asp
* During the Louis Vuitton Cup racing, the Stars & Stripes website will have live commentary describing their races. - www.stars-stripes.com
* According to a story in the NZ Herald, Virtual Spectator had a team of 20 people working through the night on the graphics problem experienced during the first day's racing in the LVC Series. VS stated there should be no problems for the next race - whenever that is.
* Rumours have been circulating that things are not happy in the Prada camp after their loss to Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW Racing on the first day. Yesterday's buzz was that New Zealand helmsman Gavin Brady had been fired from the syndicate. But Prada said Brady was still part of the team, although his contract is being renegotiated. - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
* The mere mention of Team Dennis Conner's new sponsor, Via*ra, in 'Butt 1169 triggered a lot of corporate E-mail 'Spam Barriers' into action yesterday - action that blocked 1169 from being delivered to many readers. (We've disguised the word this time, hoping to sneak it past the Spam Patrol.) BTW - I'm getting a bunch of very clever e-mail notes about how this new sponsor will help Team Dennis Conner É but none of them will be published here. Also, the next time the 'spam police' block your issue of 'Butt, you can read it online: www.sailingsource.com/scuttlebutt/default.php
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: Alan Ouellette We used the following protest procedure for our summer series with great success: www.harborwatch.com/mbbc/2002race/protest.htm. This procedure came about because we were having protest situations on the water that were not being followed through with on the land because of the 'hassle'. We tried to come up with a way to resolve the protest quickly and without the need to write anything down.
The procedure seems to have had a couple of effects. First, it causes the protesting parties to work together with the arbitrator (and the "Dave Perry book") to figure out what happened and how the rules are supposed to work (rather than being adversaries). Second, I think it is much more in the Corinthian spirit to have the boat that broke a rule retire after finishing rather than being disqualified. We have not had to hold a single protest hearing since we switched to this procedure.
* From Greg Jones So people complain that TV doesn't cover sailing, and the networks say it's because it is boring. The networks may be right, especially if the sailing is canceled every time the wind gets interesting. The LV Cup races were canceled because the winds rose above 19 knots. That may make the races more tactical, and it certainly eases the designers' problems, but it also makes for racing with no visual interest for the great masses of people who know nothing of racing tactics.
No one drives NASCAR racecars, but they all watch the races, because there is action. Imagine the crowds if racing were limited to speeds of 55 mph. I'm sure anyone would find sailboat racing exciting to watch if the decks were awash, with blue water back to the mast. Imagine a racing fleet on the air with bows coming out of the water to the keel, crews fighting the sails as they reef, and everyone battling not just other boats but the weather. That would be a spectator sport. It would also do much to reduce the tendency of Cup boats to fall apart, as they would have to be built to withstand winds of more than 19 knots.
* From Tom Chiginsky: People wonder why the AC is left to the domain of a few billionares. "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" ... is part of the reason. The AC should mandate boats that can sail within a reasonable limit.... and 19 is not it. Who would want to sponsor an event where the visual stimulation for the video audience is so boring. The America's Cup has become a snooze event. Not representative of our sport and certainly not representative of the owners and crews who continue to push boats around the race course weekend after weekend.
* From Jim Puckett: The fact that America's Cup race organizers believe it's not safe to race these boats in winds over 20 knots indicates that this design rule is flawed. If the America's Cup is to be a successful spectator sport, why in the world do we insist on using a boat that can't be sailed in winds that for almost any other craft would be considered not dangerous, just a bit more interesting?
I know a lot of work went into developing the ACC rule, but it seems to me that over the past few years, boat designers have proved that it is not very well balanced- almost all the current boats are very close to the (theoretical) maximum Disp, LOA, and SA. I don't think a radical change is needed, but I would love to see the rule tweaked to favor boats that are about 5-10 tons lighter and can race safely in winds up to 30 knots. That way we would lose fewer race days and we could get more exciting racing.
Hmmmm, now that I think about it, why not make a radical change and add some fleet races to the format, too? Now that would be really fun to watch.
* From Pieter Hanraets: I was disappointed in OLN coverage of the Louis Vuitton round robin series. As a former professional sailor and Kiwi based in the States, I was looking forward to watching some coverage of a sport so dear to my heart. You need to have some input from a professional about when to go to commercial breaks, you cannot "go back to the studio" just when two yachts are 1. coming to a mark and rounding, 2. crossing tacks or 3. involved in any close quarters duel or maneuver involving the flawless actions of an entire crew. To do so is the sailing equivalent of going to the studio when the 'hail mary' pass has just left the quarterbacks hand. What is more infuriating is that even after you go to the studio or adverts leaving yachts before a crucial mark rounding we rejoin them half way down the downwind leg. Please edit for action and continuity with input from sailors who know the difference.
* From Chris Welsh: It seems like someone who sails needs to be in the TV control room. The first blown cutaway to commercial during the first night of coverage was seconds before the first mark rounding, and the second blown cutaway was at a critical crossing point before the leeward mark. I couldn't believe the timing, and those of us watching together all thought the same thing. On the other hand, it's one hour more of TV coverage of sailing than I've seen in the last 24 months I think, so I probably should feel lucky...
* From Ryan James: Before we complain about OLN please remember in 1995 ESPN cancelled the TV coverage during the final, and replaced it with wrestling. This was, I believe, because the USA defender was being soundly beaten by the NZ challenger. I will take any coverage - ads and all! Thank you OLN for what you are doing for sailors ...
* From Reed Wright: Good Grief! Of course we're all thrilled to see live AC/LV action in the comfort of our own living rooms. But let's not forget that OLN raised their hand to do this. And we've certainly learned by now that "reasoned feedback" via Scuttlebutt does get OLN's attention.
Personally, I watch this so I can second-guess everyone - designers, tacticians, starting helmsmen, broadcasters and announcers. The fact that our "play-by-play" seems to be coming from unseen announcers watching a tape-delayed version of our broadcast is not lost on us. And, what's with the right hand ducking the left hand on world-wide TV? So what if commercials come at critical junctures (We all have Tivo, don't we?), just restart the action where it left off and fast-forward farther down the track. Televised yachting will succeed when it becomes fun to watch the grass grow - don't worry OLN, we're here to help ... and our free advice is worth every penny.
OPINION - The Around Alone Race
The results in both Classes 1 and 2 say much about the value of Open Class experience. Both Stamm (Bobst Group Armor Lux) and Dubois (Solidaires) have thousands of solo, racing miles and hours in their yachts and this was reflected in the massive lead they produced over the finish line ahead of the more tightly packed middle of the fleet. The same is true in Class 2 where Brad van Liew (Tommy Hilfiger-Freedom America), a seasoned 50 skipper, is likely to finish way ahead of the nearest rival.
The second leg of the Around Alone will hopefully show the results of skills learnt on the first leg by Class 1 skippers who are new to both Open 60s and to their individual boats; Bianchetti (Tiscali), Richards (Pindar) and Dalton (Hexagon). Nothing, though, should detract from the faultless first leg delivered by Stamm and Dubois. - The Snake, on the new Daily Sail website (formerly madforsailing), www.madforsailing.com/
RUSSIANS WIN SNIPE EUROPEANS
Alexey Krylov and Evgenyi Ryzhykov captured the 2002 Snipe Europeans sailed in Anzio Bay, Italy. Check out the official regatta website: web.tiscali.it/snipe2002/index.htm for information. The Snipe Class is well known for it's great international racing and terrific parties. If you missed this one, you can still be part of this kind of world-class excitement; come to the World Masters (October 20-24) and Women's Worlds (October 15-19) that will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Charter boats and hotels are still available. Check the official website for all of the details: snipe2002.org
One of the world's biggest business names, America's Cup hopeful Larry Ellison, plans to establish an Oracle development laboratory in New Zealand. He will seek a joint venture with the Government. Mr Ellison said yesterday that he hoped to build a research and development lab somewhere in New Zealand, mainly for lifestyle reasons. "It's a great place to have kids. Maybe it's a bit of a personal fantasy of mine."
He said he wanted to buy land in conjunction with the Government. He would set aside 90 per cent of it for a reserve and develop the rest. It would be a place for Oracle engineers to come to for the lifestyle, but New Zealanders would be employed as well. - Peter Griffin, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz
"It was definitely the adventure of a life time," Lin Pardey stated after adding this final southern cape to their east about, against the prevailing wind circumnavigation. Taleisin, the Lyle Hess designed 29'6" engineless cutter Lin and Larry built themselves now holds the record as the smallest vessel to have accomplished this feat. Taking 21 days from 50 south in the Atlantic, to 50 south in the Pacific, the well known voyagers encountered several days of headwinds in excess of 60 knots. But it is the light winds Lin speaks of mostly. "I had dreamed of rounding Cape Horn with our nylon drifter set, just as we have at each of the other southern capes.
Larry was a real hero, helming for 16 hours as we beat to windward in force 10 blizzard conditions so we could arrive in time to meet up with a small high-pressure cell. Then we did it, cold as H... but light beam winds to help us into the Pacific. Paid for it about three days later - hove to for three days in really snarly stuff. But came through with no real damage. Now I wake up each morning feeling grand. Reason? Don't have to worry about going around Cape Horn any more."
These two have now circumnavigated both east about and west about, engineless, unsponsored and using traditional methods of navigation. You can read about their voyaging at www.landlpardey.com
CAPRI 14.2 NATIONALS
A total of 29 Capri 14.2s sailed in the National Regatta held at Mission Bay Yacht Club, twenty in Gold Fleet and nine in Silver Fleet. A cool day with breezes of 10-12 knots greeted the sailors on Saturday, mellowing to a sunny 8-10 knots on Sunday. Final results: 1. Scott Finkboner, 6 points; 2. Susan Taylor, 11; 3. Brian Vanderspek, 22; 4.Dave Leuck, 25; John Lyon, 34. - www.capri14.org
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* October 8-11: J/22 World Championship, Corpus Christi YC, Corpus Christi, Texas. www.usaj22.com
Dockside talk suggests that the second British boat, GBR 78, and her supposed radical appendages, disappointed on her first outings. "We're doing some adjustments, but we're quite happy with what we've got," says Derek Clark, design boss of Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge. - sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
THE CURMUDGEON'S QUOTATIONS
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others cause happiness whenever they go" - Oscar Wilde