Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1180 - October 17, 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.

Racing in the Louis Vuitton challenger trials resumes next Tuesday, giving precious little time for those America's Cup hopefuls to make up for lost ground. This particularly applies to Italy, whose second boat, ITA 80, is undergoing far-reaching work.

Since American Doug Peterson was fired by Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli after the opening race in round robin one, the former design director has indicated that he had been frozen out of decision-making for months. More extraordinary is the notion that Bertelli himself has been sketching bow shapes and giving other design team members directions.

Prada's boats, ITA 74 and ITA 80, are the only ones in Auckland not to have a bow knuckle just below the waterline, which makes the boat shorter in static measurement trim but longer when sailing. Whether a new bow is a panacea for Prada is a moot point.

"You've got to have a lot of respect for other teams' design programmes," says Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts, a two-time America's Cup winner. Oracle BMW's designer, Bruce Farr, has gone out on his own with a lighter displacement and lower sail area configuration for his boat and, like Prada, Oracle BMW have not lived up to their pre-race billing. "Yet if you underestimate Farr you'd probably end up regretting it," Coutts said.

Some of Prada's speed problems may lie elsewhere, particularly the balance of the boat and how hard the mainsail can be trimmed, a critical factor in these super-efficient upwind boats. And then you have skipper Francesco de Angelis's own preferences for setting the boat up. Sometimes addressing one problem can create others and vice-versa. - Tim Jeffery, The telegraph, UK, full story:

The Swedish Match Tour's Bermuda Gold Cup is well known for its unforgiving format. Quite simply, as four of the world's top match racing teams found out today, there is no second chance if you have a bad day. As a result of the cutthroat format which squares off 16 teams into a bracket format with the winners of each first-to-three-points series advancing and the losers going home, four teams are preparing to depart Bermuda today, after just one day of racing in the Bermuda Gold Cup proper.

Swedish Match Tour leader Jes Gram-Hansen of Team Victory Lane was pushed to the limit by American qualifier Mason Woodworth. It took Gram-Hansen the full five matches to advance. Also participating in a five-match slugfest were local skipper Peter Bromby and Sweden's Bjorn Hansen." After winning the opening match, Bromby dropped the next two to Hansen. With his back against the wall Bromby and his native crew responded to sail through to Friday's quarterfinal action. Also advancing is three-time Bermuda athlete of the year, Paula Lewin. Lewin, who advanced to the main draw by winning the inaugural Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship, upset Denmark's Lars Nordbjaerg 3-1, to continue her successful run this week. - Shawn McBride

In other races:
Mikael Lindqvist def. Andy Horton, 3-0
Jesper Radich def Tucker Thompson, 3-1
Mattias Rahm def Marie Bjorling, 3-1
Karol Jablonski def Chris Law, 3-1
Staffan Lindberg def Glenn Astwood, 3-1

Websites: /

Order Harken winches online from between now and October 30, 2002 and Harken will send you a check for 15% of the MSRP when you trade in your old winches. You get 25% off Harken prices everyday from PLUS 15% back from Harken while this offer lasts. That's 40% off, which is an incredible deal. Don't miss it! Order now!

Unpredictable weather and shifty winds on the Hauraki Gulf were the main issue of Round Robin 1. Aboard the Oracle BMW USA-76 the difficult conditions were causing a headache to one man in particular: Tommaso Chieffi. In his function as strategist he is placed at the intersection of crew and weather team.

In this demanding position Chieffi can fully rely on the weather team, which is lead by Meteorologist Bob Rice on land and the Olympic champion in yachting, Rex Sellers, on the water. "Bob Rice is an amazing man. He is always at least 90 percent right with his weather predictions. And that is not easy in Auckland."

The 41-year-old Italian also has every trust in Sellers: "Rex Sellers is such an excellent sailor - he's like our Tactician off the boat. The two Strategists, Eric Doyle and I, basically accept whatever he suggests. At least for the first shift on the first beat, we always go with what he says. We know we don't have to question his prediction."

Will Oracle BMW switch boats and use USA 71 for Round Two? Helmsman Peter Holmberg said the syndicate was still "undecided" -

* The OneWorld Challenge for the America's Cup has joined with Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based environmental nonprofit whose primary mission is threefold: safeguarding the seas from pollution caused by the shipping, transportation and cruise lines interests, clearing the air and preventing global warming through the promotion of common sense and sustainable standards and practices, and protecting America's public lands and waters from pollution and habitat degradation from ATV's, PWC's and other inappropriate forms of recreation.

* DynaYacht Inc. of San Diego California announced today that under it's exclusive association with the Reichel-Pugh Yacht Design firm, it will make available to yacht designers and builders around the world, licenses to use its patented Canting Ballast Twin Foil (CBTF) technology. DynaYacht will also provide design assistance for installation of CBTF on the full range of yachts based on its twelve years of experience developing, and perfecting this technology.

(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 Geoff Stagg I read with interest Scuttlebutt #1178 and I would like to comment briefly on "clarifying the issue". Use of the ISAF code for the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 Classes is mandatory by April 2003. It is not being offered as a tool. ISAF does/ will impose this code on all of its International and Recognized (non Olympic) classes.

I am not going to debate the merits of the two systems but at this time the report was not factual. Rather than dictate this new regulation and indeed any new regulation that changes existing class rules on the classes, ISAF out of courtesy and as a "service" organization should allow the owners from the classes affected to vote on this issue per their Class constitutions relating to rule changes.

If the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 Class do not adopt the ISAF code, their contract with ISAF would be terminated and they would lose the right to hold an official world championship. This reality is a long way from the opening statement of the chairman of the Classification Code Committee.

* From Howard Paul: I would like to response to J. Joseph Bainton comments. As a sailor of some 35 years and most recently a golfer I would love the opportunity to play golf against some of the World's best. Why would I say this? Simply because there is a handicap system that is updated every time you play a round. Golf is different because we handicap the player not the equipment. Conversely in sailing we handicap the boats not the sailors. Before we make comparisons let's get our facts correct otherwise we accomplish nothing but misinform the uninformed.

* From Rob Stephan (In reference to the comments by Platt Johnson): As Junior sailors reach 14 and older, the motivation and social interaction offered in traditional sailing programs offered at most yacht clubs are not cutting it. In our junior program we have twenty 14 to 18 year olds involved weekly in sailing PHRF boats all due to a past commodores dogged persistence and by offering his C&C 41 and his time. Other boats involved include a Swan 391, a J-120 and a J-30 all offered by owners to the kids to learn on and be challenged by. Professional coaches that are brought in for guest spots increase the interest level along with social gatherings during both the summer and winter for the group.

If not for this program 15 of the 20 would not be involved in regular sailing. Platt Johnson makes a good point about re-thinking what will be of interest to this age group and tailoring a program that has serious interest potential. 420's and Blue Jays do not cut it once you're 15 - but steering a J-120 with the spinnaker up at night doing 12 knots with your 16 year old mates handling all navigation and deck responsibilities will keep these kids coming back for more. A number of yacht clubs on Long Island Sound are offering similar programs and all have had positive results. If you don't have this at your club - then perhaps the boat you sail on could be the one to get the program rolling.

* From Gerry Bourke Very disappointed in your article on the front page of your story, "REGATTA" regarding the Columbus Day Regatta, particularly as you referenced the Miami Herald which is known locally as being a biased reporting media, and particularly for sports that do not involve throwing balls around.

The boating accidents that occurred on the weekend were not related to the Regatta in any way, they (the power boaters) probably didn't even know it was on, as the Herald, although given plenty of information in advance, are not prepared to give it much coverage at all unless something like this happens on the water (note the closest accident to the regatta was several miles away). This in spite of the fact that it is the biggest regatta in South Florida, has been going for over 48 years and currently has around 200 boats and 1000 people participating in it each year.

I would have thought that as a site representing sailing and boating that you would have at least checked out the facts before publishing an article like this one (although I realize that the word "scuttlebutt" is based on rumors). Due to the inaccuracies of the story, it hurts not only racing but sailing in general.

* From Tom O'Keefe: If the America's Cup was truly intended to promote design development and it is almost impossible to limit the diffusion of intellectual property rights under the current rules. Then the rules should be amended such that the winner of the Cup should be required to share all it's winning design data with all challengers. This would level the playing field and everyone starts from the same point. This would prevent situations like the One World Laurie Davidson debacle.

* From Richard Brown, NZL: As a race officer with mostly dinghy racing experience I am interested in the comments about how to deal with OCSs. Even if it would work, which I doubt, the idea of trying to hold lights still enough to accurately measure if a boat is over the line would be beyond all but the most technically advanced race officials and we must be careful not to invent something that is impractical for the average yacht club. I don't understand why gate starts are not used more widely. The argument that if there is a shift favouring one end or the other is exactly the same for a normal start. The fact that sailors would need to learn some new skills would probably be a stimulant rather than something to avoid. The truth is, it is probably the race officials who do not want to learn.

General recalls are generated when boats take up their initial positions too near to the line for the conditions. They need to keep moving forwards to maintain steerage. If we can find a way of getting them to be say 10 boat lengths back from the startline with a minute to go they would then have time to move up in a tidy fashion. There would be no opportunity for those who are early to bear off down the line because the fleet would not be stationary. There would be less panic by those fearing being stalled at the start. The whole thing would be more orderly - as it is now when they do form up well back.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (CNN) -- Security at the America's Cup village in Auckland is being re-assessed in the wake of the Bali bombing, police say. Auckland police had already begun policing the village since the regatta began on October 1. It ends with the America's Cup race in February.

Nine syndicates with multi-million dollar budgets, the latest yachts and often billionaire backers sailing on board are competing for the chance to race cup holder Team New Zealand. "Well before Bali, probably in the wake of September 11, the police had spent a lot of time assessing the risks for the village," a spokesman for the police America's Cup operation, Jeoff Barraclough, told CNN. "There is absolutely no threat at this time. Since Bali, we are re-assessing risks on a daily basis."

* The police operation involves 107 officers with 11 inflatable boats for patrolling Auckland harbour front. The syndicates have been advised by the police but also have their own security arrangements, including vehicle checks and camera surveillance. However, these measures are designed more to protect syndicate secrets rather than a terrorist attack. / inside sailing website, full story:

Rain did little to dampen the spirits of the brave group who attended the Pro Am Party aboard Oystercatcher. The winner of the 15,000th subscriber drawing the other night was Steven and Veronica Deskey from Corona California. They are entitled to 4 days/3 nights during the upcoming Pro Am. Runner-Ups John Vandemoer from Chicago, IL, Bill Rickman from Edina, MN, and Roger Harden of Austin Texas are entitled to 1 free night during the Pro Am. It's not too late for folks to sign up. - John Glynn, BEYC,

CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: I know that dozens of people right now are saying, "Fix." Not true. Honest! Yes - it is true that Steve and Veronica are the only people that I know of those who were selected at random for this drawing. However, I was 3000 miles away from Annapolis when the drawing was done, and those in attendance can attest to the integrity of the process. Finally, congratulations to Steve and Veronica. Hope to see you both at the BEYC Pro Am / Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship in November.

Horrendous weather conditions since the start of Leg 2 in the Around Alone race have beaten up the fleet and caused damage to several competition yachts. Offshore sailing weather expert Ken Campbell has forecast a massive oncoming storm with anticipated headwinds of 70 knots. Damage sustained during the last storm to the 3rd reef system on Brad Van Liew's Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America has caused van Liew to head for Vigo in Spain. Italian skipper Simone Bianchetti brought his Open 60 Tiscali to the French harbour of Brest in order to repair his autopilot systems, all of which had failed. Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal, Alan Paris on Open 40 BTC Velocity and Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada have decided to seek shelter in La Coruna. At this point all of the Class 1 boats are continuing to race.

Standings Fleet Positions 06:00 UTC October 17, 2002 - CLASS 1: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 6642 miles from finish; 2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 56 miles behind leader; 3. Pindar, Emma Richards, 109 mbl; 4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 116 mbl; 3. 4. CLASS 2: 1. Spirit of Yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 6829 miles from finish; 2. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 23 miles behind leader; 3. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van View, 30 mbl 4. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 65 mbl.

* November 13-16: Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

* March 28-30, 2003: International Rolex Regatta, St. Thomas YC, US Virgin Islands.

* July 15-19, 2003: J 24 Silver Anniversary Regatta, Sail Newport, Newport, RI. Several classes of spinnaker and non-spinnaker racing, a family cruise and boat parade on Narragansett Bay. On November 1, a notice of Race and Event schedule will be available:

* June 27-July 3, 2003: Swan European Regatta, Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, UK. -

* July 27-August 2nd 2003: Swan American Regatta , New York YC, Newport, Rhode Island.

* September 27-October 3, 2003: 10th biennial Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, Annapolis YC, Annapolis, MD sailed in J/22s. -

Word on Halsey Street in Auckland is that, once again, Kiwi officials are forcing the challengers to run Louis Vuitton Cup races in the "Red" "Blue" and "Green" course areas while keeping the "Yellow" area to themselves for Team New Zealand training. Recall that in 2000 the America's Cup Match was run largely in the "Yellow" course area, and there is every indication it will be the same in 2003. This is widely viewed as giving a huge advantage to the home team in contrast to the even-handed swapping of course areas between challengers and defenders that went on in Newport, Fremantle and San Diego.

Yes, I know that my trip to Bermuda for the Gold Cup Regatta has caused problems in the delivery of Scuttlebutt. If you can bear with me for a couple of more issues, we'll be back on our normal schedule next week. - the curmudgeon

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?