SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1176 - October 11, 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.
GUEST COMMENTARY - Bruce Kendall
I along with many other windsurfers have started in fleets of around 1000 in Switzerland for the annual Engadin Marathon. I have started on a start line of 800 One Design Windsurfer Class Boards for the World Champs Marathon with three or four start boats along it. In both cases they were great spectacles. Sadly there were many recalls and the ODs eventually let starts go even though people were still over. Fleets get progressively more unrestrained on the start line as they get bigger. In a Division 2 fleet of 90 starters during a Kiel week regatta, even though the OD modified the start line each general recall, we had more than 6 black flag general recalls and lost an entire day of racing.
In the Mistral One Design Class our class rules restrict fleet sizes down to around 60 and have successfully improved the quality of racing. The qualification formula and reseeding after each of the first days racing ending with a few days of Gold and Silver fleet works well. [Class associations can come up with good solutions if given the option.]
However, we are still subject to a ridiculous format for starting, when we have options to start and run a race with OCS starters. The following well-known outcomes are not good:
1. A competitor that crosses the finish line first may not be first as they may have been OCS. [media - spectator friendly?]
2. I don't know of another sport where early starters have such a huge negative influence on those that start correctly.
3.Competitors often have no way of knowing if they are over early as they cannot see either end of the line due to other boats minutes before, at the start or after and can still get OCS.
4. Often sailors return to restart when they were not OCS and get a poor race result.
5. Avoiding being negatively influenced by an OCS starter is mostly a matter of luck.
I hope one day race committees are able to signal to starters by use of flag/s or other devices as soon as someone is OCS during the start sequence. This would help competitors know if they or another is OCS before the start to give everyone a better chance to start correctly. If there are OCS starts with general recalls, penalty points should be awarded to those that were OCS in every start. OCS penalty points should be given to those that were most in front - not just those that are easy to see. They may have been holding back and unable to see the ends.
In my opinion, any start with an OCS starter should be restarted. The current alternative makes a mockery of our sport and is disappointing for those subject to the negative aspects of stating behind and racing with an OCS starter.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP SERIES
Windshifts and some very tight tactical racing saw several lead changes in the Louis Vuitton Cup fleet today, with some of the star teams forced to work extremely hard for their point. The heavyweight bout of today's racing saw the Swiss Alinghi team turn early disadvantage into a handy lead over Oracle BMW Racing in the space of a single leg. Having stamped their authority on the match, the Swiss consolidated to add another point to their tally.
But, the battle of the day belonged to the so-far luckless French le Defi Areva team, which put on an impressive display and came close to an upset win over the mighty OneWorld Challenge. OneWorld again sailed a textbook match to protect its lead, however, and are now the only unbeaten team in the fleet.
Sharing bottom ranking with the French, the Italian Mascalzone Latino crew had early hopes of scoring their first point when they led Team Dennis Conner during the first windward leg. But Stars & Stripes used the power of the right to gain a starboard advantage, reclaimed the lead and extended away for a convincing win.
Another race that saw fortunes overturned was between the Swedish Victory Challenge and Britain's GBR Challenge. After the British won the start, the Swedes played the shifts to perfection and overtook on the second leg, only to see the lead snatched away again by the British.
OneWorld defeated Le Defi Areva, 21sec
GBR Challenge defeated Victory Challenge, 48sec
Alinghi defeated Oracle BMW, 1m43s
Stars and Stripes defeated Mascalzone Latino, 1m36s
Detailed stories of each race are now posted: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com
There will be just one flight of matches scheduled for Fridy, Flight Nine
6-0 One World Challenge*
4-1 Oracle BMW Racing
3-3 Victory Challenge
3-4 Team Dennis Conner
2-4 GBR Challenge
0-5 Mascalzone Latino
0-6 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 NINE SCHEDULE
GBR Challenge vs. Oracle BMW
Alinghi vs. Victory Challenge
Prada vs. OneWorld Challenge
Mascalzone Latino vs. Le Defi Areva
Bye: Team Dennis Conner.
SEE YOU AT THE SHOW
Coming to the Annapolis Boat Show? If so, swing by the Musto, Vanguard, Ronstan, or PS2000 booths to check out the products that help put the "performance" in Annapolis Performance Sailing. While you're there, look for the APS representatives who will be supporting those vendors. Meet the people who work hard to provide the quality customer service that makes Annapolis Performance Sailing the most comprehensive performance sailing store in the America's. Can't make it to the show? As always, find what you need on our site, conveniently open 24 hours a day. www.apsltd.com
Having trouble figuring out the convoluted, race-delayed Louis Vuitton Cup schedule? Join the club - the Vuitton people are charter members themselves. As of yesterday - when the first Round Robin was scheduled to have been finished - most teams had only raced five of their nine races. And it still had not been determined exactly when canceled matches, including the OneWorld/Oracle race, would be re-run.
Race officials have asked syndicates to consider running two races a day this weekend on a shortened course to put the schedule back on schedule. Some syndicates are reported to be balking at that, at least initially. (Double racing likely would favor syndicates with deeper crews and deeper pockets, such as OneWorld and Oracle. Boats would be given one hour between races to change sails and crews, if desired.)
In any case, the seven days from Oct. 15-21, New Zealand time, are considered "sacred," race-free days, because syndicates have been promised that time to make physical changes to boats. "There will be no racing here after Monday (Kiwi time)," Vuitton Cup spokesman Bruno Trouble told us yesterday. (At the Vuitton Cup, if Bruno says it, so shall it be.)
If no double races are run before Monday here, the schedule backs up further: With built-in makeup days already full, races canceled during Round Robin 1 would be pushed forward to the beginning of scheduled racing days for Round Robin 2. The second round robin is scheduled to begin Oct. 22 in New Zealand. At its completion, one boat will be sent packing; the other eight will be divided into two groups of four for best-of-seven match racing in the quarterfinals. - Ron Judd, Seattle Times, full story: seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/americascup/134552020_judd10.html
* Although the GBR Challenge carried a red flag around the course in their race against Prada, they never did file what had been referred to as a 'technical protest' against the Italian syndicate.
* After an absence of many years, Columbia Yachts has re-entered the marketplace with the introduction of a new 30' sport sailer designed by Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering Inc. The company is now headed by Vince Valdes, son of Richard "Dick" Valdes, creator of the original Columbia Yachts. - www.columbiayachts.com
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 Peter Godfrey: Despite Paul Henderson's efforts, it will not be possible for amateur and professional sailing to co-exist within the same organization. It doesn't work in any other sport. It can't/ won't in sailing. Old territory. Reasons abound.
* From Josh Summers (Regarding the ISAF's attempts to balance professional sailors in our sport): Hopefully, Paul Henderson will not go down the path of US Sailing. The category classification used by US Sailing has insured the exclusion of the bulk of people who actually work in the industry from sailing in all classes that have stipulations on the number of professionals allowed on board. The fact is there are a couple of hundred sailors who, as professionals, win or lose a race. These people are paid thousands of dollars a day and are veritable celebrities. We all know who they are. US Sailing has chosen to group Russell Coutts with a guy who installs deck hardware at Carroll Marine.
Again, the people who drive the trailers from NE to Florida, the guys wet sanding, and assembling rigs are the ones who make it possible to race many boats. The marine industry, for most involved, affords the flexibility to barely earn a living while being able to develop skills and race boats. It is not a cost saving measure to keep blue-collar sailors off of the boats they build, maintain, and move it is actually a form of economic discrimination and elitism. Please, President Henderson, there is a better way.
* From John Steen (In response to Hugh Wainman-Wood's letter suggesting the use of the foot race timing systems currently being employed for marathons in determining if boats are over early): This technology simply will not work for sailing in its current form. These systems employ passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips worn on the shoe or ankle. Each chip stores a serial number that represents the participant. The chip is energized by an antenna hidden in a mat at the start and finish of each race. When a runner steps on or near a mat containing an antenna, the chip is energized and the serial number is transmitted to a receiver. Read ranges on these antennas can range from inches to feet and will probably give you an accurate time of within a couple seconds for a foot race.
To employ this system at the starting line of a sailing event would require that an antenna be strung over the start line from the pin end to the committee boat, no small feat. Due to the power necessary to read these tags from a antenna suspended by enough height over the line to allow for all mast to pass freely underneath, would lead to read ranges that would be in tens of feet. The system would not be able to tell you who is over the line, who is on the line and who is below the line. You would just know that these boats were near the line.
* From Ed von Wolffersdorff: All the talk about reducing a championship fleet size by breaking a fleet into several divisions culminating in a final "champion division" seems to cut into the heart of good one design racing. Take a look at the International Star Class, the most enduring one design class to arrive on the scene. That class welcomes and takes pride in the size of the many regattas run around the world. In the 2001 Star World Championship there were one hundred and five (105) boats on the starting line. Other lesser championship regattas such as district and continental championships not far behind.
To win the Star Worlds a skipper and crew must meet all competitors face to face or boat for boat. It takes properly set course with the start lines perfect in its set up in addition to adequate length for the number of starters. Darn good race management is very, very important.
* From Tim Broughton: Is the black flag unfair? Not according to the Albacore fleet in Toronto. Each Friday, we have 50+ boats on the start line, and many of the helms can be fairly described as "homicidally aggressive." As a racer who takes a very occasional turn at running the committee, I was very surprised at the response from the fleet to my strict interpretation of the "black flag" and "general recall" rules.
After the first start was a general recall (we could not identify ALL the boats OCS), we put up the black flag, and ran a second start. Three starts later, we had a race underway and 15 boats had been disqualified.
At the pub that night, the committee received a round of applause! To summarize the individual comments, racers are tired of other racers taking advantage of lax enforcement of the rules to get ahead at the starts. No one suggested the number of recalls was inappropriate, nor did they suggest we should have "let one go to get the race underway." Even many of the helms of the disqualified boats thought the race had been well-run.
The starting rules are not broken - do not try to fix them. Now, the limp-wristed luffing rules . . .
* From Geoff Newbury: We should thank Greenpeace for being civil and courteous in their protests, because we expected that they would be uncivil and discourteous? That's backwards. They should only be thanked if they leave the venue cleaner than it was when the protest started.
Notwithstanding the good reasons which Greenpeace may have, as an institution, for disliking all things French, and their inimical and unreasoned hatred of all things nuclear, Greenpeace and its protesters have no entitlement to our approval of their methods of protest. If they act in a civil and courteous manner, our approval is unnecessary and need not be requested: it is a matter of freedom of expression. If they act in an uncivil and discourteous manner (as the ramming of Areva was) then they should expect our disapproval, and if they go too far, criminal sanctions.
I presume that the Greenpeace protesters in Auckland have been told that they will be given no slack on matters of trespass or mischief to property. Which is as it should be.
* From Robert Vandervort: What does the Americas Cup give back to the world of sailing? What does it yield that contributes to the captivation (excitement) of youth in sailing? If you are speaking of 29ers and 49ers and skiffs, lightweight "air blocks" come to mind right away. So does the application of high tech materials- Carbon Graphite, Kevlar, Spectra, etc. If it wasn't for the AC, several materials may have remained hidden in aerospace circles for many more years before finding their way into consumer sailboats.
The third place finisher in Class 1 'Garnier', skippered by Belgian Patrick de Radigues, is retiring from the race. His sponsors decided to change the programme of the boat in order to meet their marketing objectives. Therefore there will be only 6 boats in Class 1 on the start line of Leg 2.
Also, Race Organisers Clipper Ventures announce that the Cape Town stop over is to be extended by one week, therefore moving the restart date to 8th December 2002. This decision was made after examining the forecast Atlantic weather patterns, which will mean a slower passage to Cape Town.
Leg One Ranking - Class 1:
1. Bernard Stamm (SWI) Bobst Group - Armor Lux 10d 22h 18m 38s
2. Thierry Dubois (FRA) Solidaires 11d 9h 2m 28s
3. Patrick de Radiguès (BEL) Garnier 13d 13h 38m 18s
4. Emma Richards (GBR) Pindar 13d 13h 51m 18s
5. Simone Bianchetti (ITA) Tiscali 13d 17h 53m 53s
6. Bruce Schwab (USA) Ocean Planet 16d 1h 34m 17s
7. *Graham Dalton (NZL) Hexagon 16d 8h 49m 5s
*Hexagon incurred two time penalties for late arrival and late qualification. Total time penalty is 60 hrs and 59 minutes.
1. Brad van Liew (USA) Tommy Hilfiger 14d 16h 27m 49s
2. Derek Hatfield (CAN) Spirit of Canada 17d 8h 25m 36s
3. Tim Kent (USA) Everest Horizontal 17d 12h 40m 4s
4. *John Dennis (CAN) Bayer Ascensia 18d 9h 47m 36s
5. Kojiro Shiraishi (JAP) Spirit of yukoh 22d 1h 58m 10s
6. Alan Paris (BER) BTC Velocity 22d 10h 33m 48s
* Bayer Ascensia incurred a time penalty for late arrival into Newport. Total penalty is 107 minutes and 30 seconds. - www.aroundalone.com
FALL BOAT SHOW SEASON
Savvy buyers know that the fall shows are a great time to buy: good deals, new models, and plenty of time for delivery and commissioning for the next sailing season. This year the finance rates are the lowest they've been in a long time. With boatsbank.com, getting a loan has gotten a lot easier. You can apply online, get multiple lenders to compete for your business, and get your loan approved FAST. There's a call center for help, a wide range of financing options, and very competitive rates. www.boatsbank.com
San Francisco YC - Vicki Sodaro, from the host club, and her crew of Jodi Lee Drewery, Pamela Healy and Stephanie Wondolleck, dominated the Adams Cup Regatta held in J/24s to win the US Women's Sailing Championship.
1. Vicki Sodaro Area G, 15.3 pts
2. Sally Barkow, Area K, 30
3. Molly O'Bryan, Area K, 33
4. Natalie Colman-Fuller, Area A, 44
5. Harriette O'Brien, Area C, 54
Full results: www.sfyc.org/Regattas2002/Results&SI/ADAMS02CSV.HTM
Houston Yacht Club, Galveston Bay, TX - Standings after 6 races:
1. Eduardo Cordero, Venezuela, 23 points
2. Malcolm Smith, Bermuda, 26
3. John W. Kolius, USA, 36
4. Eduardo Gonzalez, Venezuela, 53
5. Donald Martinborough, Bahamas, 67
Corpus Christi YC, Corpus Christi, Texas - Two more races today, in north breeze of 15 knots for race 7, and 5-10, dying to 3-5 at the finish for race 8. Ian Ainslie, Rob Johnston, and Terry Flynn, posting two single-digit finishes each today, now top the leader board. Final race Friday. - Michael McCutchon
Standings after 8 races:
1. Ian Ainslie, Charles Nankin, Greg Davis, 35
2. Rob Johnston, Steve Andre, John Skiles, 44
3. Terry Flynn, Randy Borges, Paul Grenauer, 45
4. Bill Draheim, Scott Self, Jim Bookhout,49
5. Greg Fisher, Jeff Eiber, Jo Ann Jones, Kevin Eiber, 57
Photos and updates during racing: www.regattasites.com/j22worlds
WOMEN'S MATCH RACING
Eight top female sailors from Bermuda, Sweden, the USA, Denmark and the Netherlands have entered this year's debut of the Bermuda International Women's Match Race Championship. Running concurrently with the Bermuda Gold Cup's qualifying round on October 12-15, the women's event will decide who takes what portion of a $15,000 prize pot and secures two berths, reserved for the winner and runner-up, in the headlining Bermuda Gold Cup Championship Rounds (October 16-20) where another $65,000 in prize money will be up for grabs. This is the first time at a women's sailing event in North America that prize money has been offered to competitors.
Roster of skippers: Liz Baylis, Marie Bjorling, Sandy Hayes, Elizabeth Kratzig, Paula Lewin, Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, Deborah Willits, Klaartje Zuiderbaan. - www.bermudagoldcup.com
We apologize to those who may have gone the Bitter End Yacht Club's party at the Annapolis Boat Show Wednesday night and found the M/Y Oystercatcher dark. The party is actually Friday night - the Dry Creek wine starts to flow at 6:00 PM.
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNSEL
Don't let school interfere with your education