SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1179 - October 16, 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
With the first round of the challenger series all but over, one thing is clear
heading into the second round next Tuesday. It will take polished performances
from the seven other challengers to beat OneWorld and Alinghi. Although there
are still four months until the best challenger lines up against Team New
Zealand to race for the America's Cup, the first-round results show OneWorld
and Alinghi have an edge over the rest.
OneWorld went into the competition with a one-point deficit after the
America's Cup arbitration panel ruled they had other teams' design
information, but the Seattle syndicate have been the slickest unit on the
water, charging through the first round unbeaten. Australian helmsman James
Spithill, 23, has been calm and collected at the wheel, their experienced crew
have performed faultlessly, and their Laurie Davidson-designed boats have
proved to be among the strongest in the shifty conditions the Hauraki Gulf
served up. "There is a long way to go and in the next round it is clearly
going to get closer as each team has learned a lot facing the competitors,"
Spithill said yesterday.
Alinghi's only loss was to OneWorld by 10s. In that race, the Swiss syndicate
bungled their pre-start and were 8s behind at the start. Many yachting experts
have cited similarities between the OneWorld and Alinghi yachts and Team New
Zealand's 2000 cup-winning boat, NZL60. That comes as no surprise, considering
Davidson was a key designer with Team New Zealand in 1995 and 2000, and former
Team New Zealand skipper Russell Coutts, now with Alinghi, is known for his
Coutts said it was relatively easy for teams to change their boats and
believes several would be considering it now they had an indication of where
they were at compared with their opposition. "I think you'll see some quite
big changes," Coutts said. "It wouldn't surprise me if some of the teams who
appear to be not so competitive now actually reverse the tables. If you've got
a week or two of strong winds I would say you would see some very different
results out there." - Julie Ash, NZ Herald, full story:
But while spectators draw breath between the two Round Robins, it's business
as usual for the teams in the Viaduct basin. No racing doesn't mean no work,
far from it. Whether they're carrying out modifications to their boats in
their yards, or continuing their testing programmes afloat, time is still of
crucial importance. Using it wisely is another important aspect of running a
successful campaign. But not everyone operates the same system.
During the break Alinghi's plan is to sail every day with both their boats for
the whole week, so long as the weather allows. "When we can't sail due to the
weather, the maintenance team will work on the boats so there is still plenty
going on at the base," said Bernard Schopfer. "As far as the sailing team are
concerned, we were lucky with the draw and the way things worked out which saw
us completing our races in Round Robin 1 on Sunday, so Monday was a day off
for us," he continued.
Other teams were less lucky with the closing stages of the round. The French
team broke their forestay and damaged some other areas of their boat on the
last day of racing, which means that they will be busy with repairs and
modifications this week. Once complete, the team will need to sail the boat to
conduct some testing as well, so for French, time is very tight.
At Prada Challenge modifications and maintenance to both of their boats means
that the sailing team will not be out on the water for the first few days
either. Here, the sailing team has been split into two with each taking three
days off, while the shore team continues as normal.
It's business as usual for the Brits too, at least it is for their shore team
who have from Tuesday to Thursday evening to work on the boat before the
sailing team come back from their two days off to go back out onto the Gulf
For Oracle and One World, a single day off for everyone was their way of
making sure everyone had a break. Victory Challenge are also planning a day
off for their crew at some stage during the week, but having decided to use
their second boat SWE-73 for the next Round Robin, they've been keen to spend
as much time as possible testing her alongside SW-63. Sailing both boats for
most of the week is most likely to occupy the Swedes. - Matthew Sheahan, Louis
Vuitton website, full story:
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is also featured in the front of the 2003 Harken catalog.
* Damon Roberts has joined Insensys Ltd. where he will focus on the
development of optical fibre strain sensing systems within the Marine,
Exploration and Aerospace industries. Insensys Ltd is a new company that has
been established to develop the commercial application of fibre optic strain
sensing, an exciting technology which has 'come of age' for the marine market.
Optical strain sensing involves the process of embedding optical fibres into
laminates such as masts, hulls, rudders, multi-hull cross beams and anywhere
loads need to be monitored.
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.)
* Jesse Andrews: Regarding Bill Lee's letter about the "unique approach" to
OCS. If the electronic beam aimed across the starting line is functional and
affordable, then it is the ideal solution. Assuming that this system can "see
through" other over early boats, it would be unbiased and more accurate than
the human eye. How can the race committee be sure that there is only one over
early boat if that boat blocks the view of other boats to Leeward. This is
what causes general recalls. With a beam that is turned on with the starting
signal, it will make the system 100% accurate and consistent throughout the
world. No more guessing if you are over or filing for redress when you "think"
you were mistakenly called over.
The timed start requires the most strategy, skill, boathandling and tactics.
Please no more rethinking the wheel with "pace car starts" or any other
brainless "on your mark, get set, go" approaches.
* From Fred Schroth: The last major North American Laser Class event to use
the gate start was a late 90s US Nationals held in at Cape Cod. The
competitors were overwhelming in their disdain for the system and for a number
of reasons. The national fleet did not ask for gate starts. The nationals was
a lousy place to introduce a new method of starting to the game. Starting line
tactics are entirely different from gate start tactics. It was likened to
using a pitching machine for golfers to tee off at a US Open. It may be a fun
game and the same competitors may ultimately win but it is not the traditional
game the fleet had chosen to play and had played for years.
Let's teach race committees to set decent lines. We do not use the gate start
at the major Laser regattas because we are fortunate in our association to be
able to find a sufficient number of tremendous race officers to run our
events. If the huge Laser fleet can be managed properly on a starting line so
can all the other smaller fleets.
* From Tom Fischbeck: Could not agree more with Platt Johnson! Sailing is a
dying sport! Extreme kids with Skateboarding, snowboarding, kitesurfing,
wakeboarding, Parasailing, Para gliding, Ultralighting, Skysurfing, Waves
machine pools, Extreme rock climbling, Cable waterskiing, Little wheels on the
bottom of your tennis shoes! etc.etc. Where does it stop!
To preserve or enhance Corinthian yachting could take a centuries the way this
past time works! Wake up yachties, Ditch the lead! Buy an old Hobie cat and go
sail it with your kids on a windy day, might be a good start!
* From Will Wagner: I agree fully with J. Joseph Bainton's letter in Butt
1178. What other sport can you just show up and compete against the best in
the world. Do you want to sail against Paul Cayard or Mark Reynolds? Get
yourself a Star and go to the Bacardi Cup. Do you want to sail against Dennis
Conner? Go get yourself an Etchells 22. Over simplified yes, but not far off.
The Schumachers, Samprases, and Elways of our sport are accessible and are a
great boost to the sport. Which would have a better ring to it in your journal
of sailing accomplishments? I finished 5th in the Etchells 22 worlds, or I
finished 5th behind Dennis Conner in the Etchells 22 worlds? I know the way I
would tell the story. Just by showing up these guys push the level of
competition up and at the same time without even trying make you and I become
better sailors. So don't get upset, open your eyes and ears and go to school
on these “pros”. I guarantee you will be faster when the smoke clears. Yeah,
so they get paid, and yeah they can make a living sailing, and yeah I'm
* From Bruce Gresham: (re Fredrick Schmidt comments about the Around Alone
Race) The 13 Around Alone entries are sure to keep us buttheads spellbound as
they plane across the Southern Ocean at 25+ knots. Has the regatta web site
now become a measure of the significance of a yacht race? Duct tape,
perspiration begging reminds me of college sailing days. Keep the great
* From Peter Willcox, Greenpeace: Geoff Newbruy's comments about Greenpeace
are a bit over the top. Never have I been a hater of all things French. Not
even close. Such an attitude would be stupid. Nor would I try to excuse the
mistakes made in France in May. But I would hope that Scuttlebutt readers can
keep them in perspective. We have been using non-violent actions as tools for
public education for over 30 years. Our policy against property damage is well
known and closely followed. As for our feelings nuclear energy, I would not
dream of voicing them in Scuttlebutt! (But "inimical and unreasoned"? I think
* From Roger McBride: I am Category 1. But, I have numerous friends that are
Category 2 and 3. People should remember that ISAF and US Sailing do not
restrict professionals in sailing, some one-design classes do. These
restrictions were put in place to serve the interest of the owners. At the
risk of irritating some of my friends, I think the restrictions have worked
for all involved. The restrictions have clearly increased the number of boats
in the classes. They probably have slightly increased the money top tacticians
get, although you should realize that most Category 3 crew don't get paid
directly for being on the boat. And they have increased the opportunity for
true amateurs to sail with and against the pros. As is frequently pointed out,
the people hurt are the Category 2 and 3 people that are second tier, but are
very competent sailors. Whether US Sailing should charge for the
classification system administration in the way they do is an issue I would
rather stay out of.
* From Risky Rick: I was surprised to see your coverage of the Miami Columbus
Day Regatta. I didn't realize that you would cover the story of the deaths of
the drunken power boaters and not make mention of the racers. The race has
always been about sailing not the many power boaters looking for an excuse to
express themselves in a manner that shows the public that boaters are
dangerous idiots when they operate a boat. As racers we wish that we could
divorce ourselves from that group. As for the race, it was a great two days of
close racing that will ensure a close battle for the overall winner. The
weather was great and we had a wonderful time on Biscayne Bay. We are all
saddened by the deaths of our fellow boaters. But all boaters must realize
that drinking and operating a boat at night are a dangerous combination.
* From Morgan Larson: I must agree with Barry Ault and he is rightfully
frustrated that in our sport an "amateur" sailor must pay a fee and file a
form so he/she can race. I am curious why the people who make their livings
from the sport "pro's" aren't required to? Maybe it is an a matter of
economics? A large majority of racing sailors are amateur so hit them with the
(The Cup View website has posted a long interview with Russell Coutts. Here
are a few excerpts.)
At this stage I think we are seeing technology differences between the
syndicates. I think there certainly has been quite pretty dramatic improvement
since 2000, perhaps more than there was between '95 and 2000, but the
conditions out there are quite difficult as well. We have seen several days
where we've been racing in conditions very shifty and puffy and sometimes it's
quite hard to read the wind on the water as well.
I always think the Hauraki Gulf is like sailing on a like, which is probably
quite appropriate to the Swiss Challenge as well, but it is like sailing on an
inland lake. You've effectively got islands all the way around, it's very
shifty and I think the northwesterly breeze is very challenging to race in. As
the boats close up, I think the sailing skills will become more important.
I think we've got room to progress but I think we've made some inroads and
shown that we are a competitive team. Whether we can take it to the level you
need to win the America's Cup, well the Louis Vuitton Cup then the America's
Cup, that's a challenge ahead of us. I think we've got a good show at that but
I wouldn't say we are there yet. - Cup Views website - full story:
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16/10/02: 1330 UTC - Solo-sailor Brad Van Liew hasn't slept or eaten since he
left Torbay, England, for Cape Town, South Africa, but he has been able to
stay in the lead of his class in the second leg of the Around Alone race.
Horrendous weather conditions causing steep waves from all directions have
kept the front-runner fighting just to stay aboard Tommy Hilfiger Freedom
America for the full 48 hours since he left the England port. In sailor's
lingo, he has encountered "confused seas," or constantly shifting winds of 40
knots or more that create incredibly steep waves and "holes" that make the
North Atlantic seem like the inside of a washing machine.
Tiscali arrived in Brest a couple of hours ago and Simone is reported to be
extremely tired, let alone very perplexed as all of his autopilot systems are
not working. Normally there are two or three on board so if one is temporarily
faulty the skipper can turn it off and switch to the second one.
Simone reported that he had two broken mainsail battens and that one stanchion
had been broken as well. His shore team met him there, and technicians are
arriving soon to resolve the problem as swiftly as possible in order for
Tiscali to set off on her route to Cape Town without losing too much ground on
Standings Fleet Positions 06:00 UTC October 16, 2002 - CLASS 1: 1. Bobst
Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm ,6907 miles from finish; 2. Hexagon, Graham
Dalton, 35 miles behind leader; 3. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 38 mbl; 4.
Pindar, Emma Richards, 79 mbl; CLASS 2: 1. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America,
Brad Van View, 7004 miles from finish; 2. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 25
miles behind leader; 3. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 25 mbl; 4. Spirit of Yukoh,
Kojiro Shiraishi, 25. - http://www.aroundalone.com
In a closely fought Final Round of the Bermuda International Women's Match
Racing Championship, Bermuda's own Paula Lewin defeated World No. 1 Marie
Bjorling of Sweden in two straight matches to win the inaugural Grade 1 event.
With the victory comes $5,000 in prize money and the ornate sterling silver
4th Squadron Cruiser Bowl. Sailing took place in International One Design
class yachts on Hamilton Harbour in front of a large spectator crowd. In the
Petit-Final, Klaartje Zuiderbaan of the Netherlands defeated American Debbie
Willits 2-0. Both Lewin and Bjorling have earned a berth in Round One of the
Bermuda Gold Cup, which begins on Wednesday.
The ranked skippers sailing in the Gold Cup include, Jes Gram-Hansen, Bjorn
Hansen, Karol Jablonski, Lars Nordbjerg, Jesper Radich, Staffan Lindberg,
Mikael Lindqvist and Mattias Rahm. Six skippers and their teams advanced into
Round One from the qualifying round: Glenn Astwood, Peter Bromby, Andy Horton,
Chris Law, Tucker Thompson and Mason Woodworth. - http://www.bermudagoldcup.com
Hampton Yacht Club - Final results (40 boats, 3-25 knots)
1) Barney Harris and David Byron (Arlington, VA) (12 pts)
2) Neville Herbert and Steve Pennfield (GBR) (12 pts)
3) Marty Hublitz and Pascal Buckley (Vienna, VA) (16)
4) Jasper and Becky Craig (Pasadena, MD) (18)
5) Raines Koby and Abby MacInnes (CAN) (20)
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
If a candle factory burns down, does everyone just stand around and sing