SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1175 - October 10, 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
It was a case of the rich getting richer on Race Day Seven of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Oracle BMW Racing and OneWorld kept rolling along, and both remain undefeated after a full flight of races was sailed for the first time in four days.
The Swiss Alinghi Challenge is also looking very strong, after handing Team Dennis Conner its fourth consecutive loss.
The match of the day featured the defending Louis Vuitton Cup holder, Prada, against the first time challenger GBR Challenge, and the first lap of the course featured some of the closest racing we've seen in this young Cup season. The GBR Challenge has launched a technical protest against Prada. The protest will be heard later tonight.
Racing was delayed for two hours to allow the wind to build, and unlike the past several days, by mid-afternoon, a solid 15-knot southerly was sweeping across the Hauraki Gulf providing perfect racing conditions. - LVC website, www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com
OneWorld defeated Victory Challenge, 59s
Prada defeated GBR Challenge, 22s
Alinghi defeated Team Dennis Conner, 1m10s
Oracle BMW defeated Le Defi Areva, 2m52s
5-0 One World Challenge*
4-0 Oracle BMW Racing
3-2 Victory Challenge
2-4 Team Dennis Conner
1-4 GBR Challenge
0-4 Mascalzone Latino
0-5 Le Defi Areva
* Note: As a result of a penalty imposed by ACAP, one point will be deducted from OneWorld's score at the end of Round Robin 2.
FLIGHT EIGHT SCHEDULE
Team Dennis Conner vs. Mascalzone Latino
Oracle BMW vs. Alinghi
OneWorld vs. Le Defi Areva
Victory Challenge vs. GBR Challenge
THERE'S NO TRUTH TO THE RUMOURS
The British syndicate in Auckland to challenging for the right to race Team New Zealand for the America's Cup have rejected rumours that internal woes have led to the sacking of helmsman Andy Green. Green was reported to have been replaced by Andy Beadsworth after a series of disappointing starts in round-robin one of the Louis Vutton Cup series on the Hauraki Gulf. The British boat Wight Lightning is in seventh place on the round-robin points table with one win from four starts.
However, the British said today the rumour was "completely without foundation" and probably the result of someone's imagination on a slow day when light winds led to a postponement of racing. "Andy Green continues to be a very valuable member of the GBR Challenge afterguard and one of our key starting helmsmen," team spokeswoman Vicky Low said. She said the sailing team had always been identified as a squad and the challenge could rotate crew "dependent on their performance, the conditions and the opposition. "Whoever sent this rumour out is completely and utterly incorrect," she said. - NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
AMERICA'S CUP STORE
AmericasCupStore.com is the official online store of the America's Cup 2003. Your one-stop shop for America's Cup clothing and memorabilia from the comfort of your home or office with worldwide delivery and low freight prices. Offering Team New Zealand, Challengers, and America's Cup 2003 event clothing plus, America's Cup silverware & memorabilia. See the stylish Team New Zealand, GBR Challenge and Alinghi Crew Replica ranges. store.line7.com/display.asp?uid=21&c=6
America's Cup syndicates have been reminded they are not allowed to take on water to improve a boat's performance after two questions were raised with the international jury. Chief umpire Bryan Willis told the Herald that taking water deliberately on board a racing yacht was banned under cup rules.
The jury answered the questions about water ballast just days before racing in the Louis Vuitton challenger series started on October 1. Who asked the questions, and why, is not known. All questions for rule interpretations put to the international jury are confidential.
The two questions related to boats taking on water before the start of a race and during a race for the purpose of changing a yacht's sail trim or stability. In both instances, the jury said deliberately taking on water broke the regatta's rules. Helen Tunnah, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/americascup/
* The Skandia Life Cowes Week Regatta held last August played host to nearly 900 entries and generated on-site visits from 180 print, broadcast, photographic and internet media to cover the Week first-hand. The official website at (www.cowesweek.co.uk) served up some 720,000 individual pages of information during the Week. Before the season closes for 2002, the site will have clocked up its millionth page of event information.
* Wednesday's races for the Star European championship were postponed - no wind. www.yci.it/regate/frameregate.html
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: Is it just me, or are others baffled by the inconsistent manner in which the scores for the Louis Vuitton Cup are being presented by different media outlets? As this is written, Alinghi has four wins, and Oracle three, but Oracle is ranked ahead of Alinghi?
There must be some absurd rule in the NOR about when penalty points imposed by the Arbitration Panel are deducted from that teams score. Why if OneWorld has a one-point penalty already, are they scored as if they have gained four points? Arthur Andersen must have written this scoring rule.
Is scoring for the LVC series is so truly complex the only way to insure an accurate and understandable leaderboard will be for Larry Ellison to donate a copy of 9i, run on an HP cluster, to the LVC organizers so that they have an unbreakable and secure method of calculating the score.
Or might simple common sense, supported by a piece of paper, a pencil, and backed up by a calculator do the job just fine too?
* From Curt Barnes: Couple the idea that the black flag is somehow "unfair" with the notion that the RC should have a general recall if they can't identify absolutely every single OCS boat and you have a recipe for disaster. I have witnessed the results when you tie the hands of the Principal Race Officer by limiting the tools they have to control the fleet In a large aggressive fleet with a long starting line and lots of white sails on both sides, you start with the boats on either side of you, so you don't get spit out the back. Without a comprehensive approach to controlling a big fleet (with the black flag as just one of the tools available to the PRO) the result can easily be endless general recalls. Thankfully the days are gone when the RC would come in at the end of a day filled with general recalls and no racing only to blame the sailors for "not knowing how to start" . Radios are great, and hailing OCS boats prior to the start helps the rest of us know where the line is.
* From Paul Notary: Russ Lenarz's observation in 'Butt 1170 is spot on! Over 150 years Australian kids have learnt to sail in skiffs ranging from 6ft to 24footers. This resulted in sailors with skills suitable to go to sea in the Southern Ocean. Later this school of hard knocks resulted in the Gretel team surfing the 12m against Weatherly in the AC, winning the Admirals Cup in dangerous conditions and second only to the French in sailing on the edge vessels.
The Kiwis developed Patikis-fast planning skiffs in the late 1800`s. No wonder young designers like Whiting, Farr, Ross & Elliott drew skiff-like yachts from the late 1970`s onwards - they just scaled up their experience. Aussie kids told to adopt the lowest common denominator, in the name of international competition, Last year parents bought 29ers, now the kids have to sail 420`s this season to compete on the youth circuit. Progress? Meanwhile our traditional trainer classes like Cherubs & 12ft skiffs are struggling for numbers. Check out http://ahssa.jcncomputers.com - Our heritage in skiff sailing. Look at the videos & pictures on http://skiff.org.au and see why a fuss develops when we get told, "Your Kids must sail optimists."
* From Jon Holstrom: Sure seems to be a lot of complaining about what is happening down here on the AC race course. First it was the lawsuits and all the other mess that got the attention when the racing was still weeks away and there was nothing else to write about. Then after a few days of too much breeze it was complaints about upper wind limits. Now I suppose we will hear comments about why we can't make boats that can sail in no wind. I can assure you that the people walking down to the bases every day for the past two years want to get races off more than anyone.
Having been involved with sailing events at different levels, it seems that people want the America's cup to be all and every sailing event combined. It is not. It is one event in one condition with it's own rules. If that is not what you want to see, look for other events. They do exist. Better still help to create a new one. It is not correct to say that formula one is the same as a dirt track. It is not the same as a rally or NASCAR. They are different events. Take it for what it is. These boats truly are awesome machines and the racing is exciting. I am sorry that it does not come across that way on the TV. Down here it is a sight to see.
* From Manfred C. Schreiber: Why is it, that most comments about the AC being printed here, are about the races being boring or unexcited? Me and my friends here in "remote" Germany totally disagree. Being just a bunch of weekend sailors, we have looked forward to the Cup to start, we enjoy every minute which Eurosport is presenting us. (thanks to the one-hour-dailies on race days, thanks to UBS and BMW for bringing it home at prime time) and we are looking forward to the tapes from NZ with the valuable commentary from PG and Co-commentators.
Maybe it has to do that some in the group have a good match race experience, have visited 3 AM Cups and brought personnel experience home, but I doubt. This is just the pinnacle of our sport and we luv«it. Every minute of it. The great TV shots of two AC bows slicing through the Hauraki Gulf. The boats, the format, just everything.
* From Stuart Burnett: I am incredulous that someone would suggest that the sailing community should thank Greenpeace for agreeing to keep their protests in Auckland peaceful. Why should we thank a group for not acting like terrorists? The implication is that they have a right to use violence if that helps their cause. I have lost patience with many environmental groups as their message has been drowned out by their militant actions. I believe Greenpeace may have forgotten what words make up their name.
* From Chip Pitcairn: Honoring Greenpeace for not continuing to violate the laws of New Zealand is a sad comment on today's society. Ramming Le Defi was willful lawbreaking, as would be interfering with the AC regatta. Lawful protest is one of the cornerstones of a free society, but Greenpeace chooses to deliberately break the law and this should not be accepted.
* From Hugh Wainman-Wood: I was interested to note that the excerpts from Paul Henderson's comments contained the solution to one of the problems he discussed. Technology was mentioned in the context of measurement, differing treatment of different types of sailing was mentioned as something to be explored, and finally he despaired about the proper administration of over early's in large fleets.
Well, as many people who have run in a foot race with a large number of participants know, you get a transmitter that you put on your shoe lace which senses when you cross the start line so you get an accurate time. This technology already exists and is inexpensive. You get the transmitter with your race package and give it back after. If you lose it you pay a small fine. This technology could easily be used to identify over early's even if you couldn't see the boats. Sure, this isn't a solution for Wednesday night beer can racing, but as Paul pointed out there is an emerging distinction between recreational and professional racing. If you've got 120 boats on the line then you've got an event worthy of an electronically monitored start line.
* From Chris Ericksen (Regarding Nelson Stephenson's comments in 'Butt 1174 about ISAF's agenda to become a "control" organization rather than a "service" organization): I do not think this extends to every level of the leadership of the organization, but there are enough people who want to extend their control that it permeates much of what ISAF does. The very idea that ISAF can and should dictate to a class, International or otherwise, the terms and conditions of it's events is a gross overreaching of ISAF's perquisites. There are many hard-working people who work in the trenches for ISAF to make the sport better, but there are too many who feel they carry some special understanding of what our sport should be and work hard to reshape it in their way; it is these people who seek to control rather than serve.
I gladly join Mr. Stephenson and stand ready to brave the "firestorm" he fears; however, I think the firestorm will be one of agreement with him, not disapproval of him.
Breaking a tacit agreement between syndicates to avoid criticizing each other in the news media, Larry Ellison, the Oracle-BMW backer, laid into his rival, OneWorld Challenge, during idle time on the water Wednesday, as boats were waiting vainly for wind. OneWorld Challenge is backed by the cellular phone entrepreneur Craig McCaw and by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, Ellison's longtime rival in the software world.
Ellison was speaking to a reporter who was invited along as the boat's "17th man" - the extra position on board reserved for a guest - when he made his remarks. He began by commenting on OneWorld's environmentally oriented campaign. The syndicate has been planting trees around New Zealand to compensate for atmospheric damage done by its chase boats, and has a program to educate young people about the state of the world's oceans
"Craig is sailing in the name of the oceans; we were thinking of sailing in the name of the whole planet," Ellison said sarcastically. "You'd think if they want to help the oceans, they'd spend $85 million on the oceans instead of a boat. I think Craig's doing it for the tax deduction."
Ellison said he was especially irked that OneWorld was docked just one point - the equivalent of one victory - in the America's Cup challenge series when the syndicate was found to be in possession of design secrets from the last America's Cup winner, New Zealand. "My only objection to OneWorld is that they seem to think they should be able to steal as much as they want, then pay one point for it," Ellison said. - Warren St. John, New York Times, full story: www.nytimes.com/2002/10/10/sports/othersports/10CUPP.html
AUCKLAND OR ANNAPOLIS?
Have you ever wondered why the judges for the America's Cup choose to ride around all day long on Protector Boats? Why the over half the syndicates are using Protector Boats? Why every time you turn on OLN to watch the Cup races, you see another Protector? You can go to New Zealand to find out -- or come see 3 different models in Annapolis at the Sail and Powerboat shows October 11-19. Come for a ride with us and you will never wonder again. Contact Ralph Silverman at 775-762-7245 or Howie Shiebler at 415-793-8282. www.protectorboats.com
The first week of the Louis Vuitton Cup has been a difficult one for the Italian syndicate, with two wins and three losses from five matches. The victories haven't been all that convincing, coming over the struggling Le Dˇfi Areva, and in very fluky conditions over the Victory Challenge. The losses have been at the hands of Alinghi, Oracle BMW Racing and Team Dennis Conner. All good teams, to be sure, but ones the Italians will need to beat if they are to reach the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals.
Off the water, Prada raised eyebrows when it fired its long-time designer Doug Peterson. Further questions came with a press release issued on Tuesday, detailing that ITA-80 was being taken off the water and into the construction shed for modifications. This isn't the way it was supposed to be.
"Every time is a different story," said a weary Francesco de Angelis, skipper on board Luna Rossa. "There are a lot of new teams, very well prepared, and each team has its own story. So we are facing a new challenge. I don't think you get any free points this time. You always have to perform well and if you make a mistake, the other team will jump on it."
Although Prada is in no danger, at this point, of being eliminated at the first off, there is a huge advantage to being among the top four ranked boats after the two Round Robins. - Peter Rusch, Loius Vuitton Cup Website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story534.html
Corpus Christi YC, Corpus Christi, Texas - Day two was raced in shifty easterlies of 5-12 knots. 1999 World Champion Mark Foster won the pin and the first race, while 2001 World Champion Ian Ainslie was over at the pin, restarted, and was only able to grind back to 30th. - Michael McCutchon
Standings with six races completed, and three to go:
1. Faust/Cordelle, 23
2. Greg Fisher, 24
3. Ian Ainslie, 27
4. Rob Johnston, 34
5. Bill Draheim, 34
Complete results: www.oemsites.com/j22worlds
Over 500 competitors from 11 nations are racing at the Hobie Mega, North American Continental Championships in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, from October 4-11, 2002. It has been hot, muggy and light winds since Hurricane Isidore skirted by to the west. This is the first time that all of the Hobie classes (Hobie 14, Hobie Wave, Hobie 16 Youth, Hobie 16 Women, Hobie 16 Pan Am Games Qualifier, Hobie 16 Open, Hobie 17, Hobie18, Hobie Tiger and Hobie 20) have all come together to race at the same location at the same time for their nationals. Several past National Champions, World Champions and Olympic Medal Winners are competing. For all the regatta info, photos and results check the event website at www.hobieclass.com/mega/
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
How come you can kill a deer and put it on your wall, but it is illegal to keep a deer as a pet?