SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1183 - October 22, 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
TUESDAY - Round Robin One of the Louis Vuitton Cup refused to end easily. Strong winds forced the Race Committee to postpone the race between Prada Challenge and Mascalzone Latino until Wednesday in Auckland. On Tuesday, both boats sat on the racecourse for over three hours, waiting for the blustery conditions to ease, but the wind never abated.
WEDNESDAY - After four attempts the round robin one race between Prada and Mascalzone Latino was finally sailed on Wednesday, with the revamped defending champions (Prada) recovering from a terrible start to cross the finish line four minutes and 28 seconds ahead of their Italian rivals.
An hour later - Prada's experience in picking wind shifts out on the Hauraki Gulf shone through on Wednesday, as they made a huge comeback, after another poor start, to lead Oracle BMW Racing across the finish line by one minute and 55 seconds. Boat speed does no longer seem to be a problem for the Italian crew, after their major modifications to ITA74 during the week between round robins. But volatile head Patrizio Bertelli may now be pointing his demoting finger in the direction of their specialised starting helmsman Rod Davis.
The crucial clash between Team Dennis Conner and GBR Challenge died into a drifting match on Wednesday afternoon, as the already light breeze faded into nothing during the fourth leg. Meanwhile, the clash between Le Defi Areva and Alinghi was also abandoned as they failed to complete their third leg within the 45-minute time limit. The race committee is hoping to restart both matches later. - Fiona McIlroy, nzoom.com website, full stories: americascup.nzoom.com/
Prada beat Mascalzone Latino, 4 min 28 sec
Prada also beat Oracle BWM, 1 min 55 seconds
OneWorld beat Mascalzone Latino, 4 min 1 sec
Le Defi Areva vs Alinghi- race restarted, still on the racecourse at 'Butt deadline
Team Dennis Conner vs GBR Challenge - race restarted, still on the racecourse at 'Butt deadline
9-0 One World Challenge*
5-4 Oracle BMW Racing
4-4 Team Dennis Conner
4-4 GBR Challenge
3-5 Victory Challenge
1-8 Mascalzone Latino
0-8 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.
CURMUDGEON'S TIP: The website that seems to get AC results, stories and standings posted first is: americascup.nzoom.com/
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Will Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge sail its second boat, GBR 78 known as Wight Magic, with its radical tandem keel, in November's quarter-finals? General manager David Barnes suggests it might. The second yacht, which will race as GBR 78, will be tested again this Thursday, GBR's scheduled lay day in Round Robin 2, to see if re-location of her goal-post shaped keel, with steerable struts, has cured the boat's balance problems.
"We realised that we'd never see her full potential unless she was re-configured," confirmed Barnes. He remains coy about the precise keel design but Barnes is an unabashed advocate for the tandem keel used by the New Zealand Challenge 1992. Then, Barnes said, its potential was masked by the hull deficiencies - the boat was too wide, too light and with too little sail area - but that GBR investigated the form from day one. "The concept's got enormous potential; it's one of those things that could be a trump card," he said. "It could bring you the America's Cup, but unless you manage to extract that potential, it probably won't." It is this gap between theoretical and realised potential that divides opinion inside the team. - Tim Jeffery, The Telegraph, UK, full story: sport.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
BAHAMAS BOUND FOR THE FARR 40 WORLDS?
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* After less than perfect testing conditions out on the Hauraki Gulf, Team Dennis Conner have decided to stick with USA66 for round robin two of the Louis Vuitton Cup. The crew have been out on the water performing two boat testing with both USA66 and USA77 five out of the six free days, but don't feel confident to switch boats at this stage. Skipper and helmsman Ken Read said there's still some work to be done on USA77 before the syndicate are 100% happy to use her. "Everything we've seen tells us it's in good shape. But we can't take any chances right now so we'll stay with USA66," Read said. "Strength isn't a concern," he said. - Fiona McIlroy, nzoom website, full story: americascup.nzoom.com
* A look at the team's ITA-74 floating on its static waterline is all you need to see to know that major surgery has been performed recently. The snout has been enlarged and upturned, filled out and made more "grunty". The Louis Vuitton Cup Notice of Race and Conditions allow great latitude for modifications. Condition 16.2 states in part, "Any America's Cup Class yacht may be altered after it is completed - provided the total of all alterations (whether sequential or not) - do not change more than 50 per cent of the original laminate area of the hull -" - LVC website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story685.html
* Vanguard Sailboats has leased the former Escape Sailboats factory and plans to expand their production operation into the new space by the end of the year. Vanguard currently occupies 50,000 square feet. The additional space will add approximately 20,000 sq. ft. to the facility. Most of the new space will be refurbished into manufacturing space. - www.teamvanguard.com
* The (Trans-Atlantic) Route du Rhum is lining up to be an ocean race with one of the most impressive fleets ever assembled. Currently 60 singlehanded competitors are entered - including a formidable 18 60ft tris, starting on Sunday 10 November, and an equally impressive line-up of Open 60s and smaller multis and monos, taking the first start, the day before. - Daily Sail website, full story: thedailysail.com/
* Team New Zealand has quietly launched their second boat, NZL-82, and will begin test sailing, "the first nice day," according to Tom Schnackenburg. As with its sistership, NZL-81, NZL-82 was shrouded from the top of the deck to the bottom of its keel for launching, and will wear the same deck-to-waterline security skirts as NZL-81. - Tony Bessinger, Sailing World website, full story: www.sailingworld.com
* WEB TIP: These are great photos of the IACC boats from all of the syndicates racing in the Louis Vuitton Series posted at: www.bluegreenpictures.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 Huston: It's a shame that the country of New Zealand has a few self-righteous people in the form of the characters that are running the Blackheart campaign. They say it is vital to their countries economic interests that the Cup remains in Auckland, claiming that its a billion dollar business. The likes of Craig McCaw come to town and spend alot of money - and then the Blackheart dudes have the gall to put up a billboard that insults OneWorld - a team that spends a lot of money in NZL.
As for using home grown talent to win the Cup - in what part of Auckland did Doug Peterson grow up? The presumption is made that New Zealand will never be able to compete for the Cup again if it leaves Auckland because they won't be able to raise the money. Doesn't history show that TNZ won the Cup with a relatively limited budget, and defended with less than other Challengers. Why so insecure about your design and sailing talent, Blackhearts? The junior programs in NZL run by Harold Bennett and Ralph Roberts have turned out hundreds of great sailors for decades. Besides, the Deed doesn't say anything about Challenger funding requirements. A new Cup structure that creates more sponsor value will flood TNZ with fresh sponsorship money from around the globe.
The good people of New Zealand deserve better than to be tarred with the same brush that will be slung towards those who run this silly Blackheart campaign.
* From Andrew Mason: Regarding the new inductees into the America's Cup Hall of Fame, it may come as a surprise to many that Ben Lexcen, the designer of the first boat to win the America's Cup away from the U.S., is not currently an inductee. By continuing to exclude Ben, Halsey Herreshoff leaves himself open to accusations of sour grapes and poor sportsmanship over the loss in 1983. It's time he did the right thing instead and commemorated Ben's place in America's Cup history.
* From Paul Hansen: Some interesting facts have emerged from the first round of the LV cup in Auckland. If there were any real losers, I would have to say it would be the punters who ranked the teams. About the only team position they nailed in the top half , was Oracle BMW racing. The big surprise of the round would have to be the performance of the enduring and travel weary Prada team and the antics of the boss. If you look at the top three billionaire teams and then compare to Prada there are two glaring differences. While the three teams stocked themselves with ex- TNZ members, Prada chose to be more diplomatic and took people from teams they had beaten in the 2000 LVC cup. A strange way to develop ideas for generating speed.
The first person eased at Prada in 2000 was Mani Frers who has hit back with a very tidy boat that could well have beaten the latter in round one. The Swedes have some decent pace and I doubt Mani has 22 people on his design team. The top three billionaire teams spent a tough winter in Auckland with the Swedes and Poms while Prada basked in the Tuscan sun. Spot the errors. Time for the Prada team to harden up or there won't be many nice Xmas gifts from Patrizzio.
* From Bruce Lines (edited to our 250-word limit): I would like to comment on the 'slamming' of Optis from a Bermuda perspective. The boat may look like a box but the kids do not care, they can sail the boat from a young age and many stay until they age out. The kids here love the competition and most continue to sail post Opti. We now have a far bigger sailing population here in Bermuda thanks to the Opti which has only been used here for just over ten years. There are many Bermudians in college and boarding school sailing thanks to the Opti.
The 420 is a good choice in the club configuration for younger sailors since it is durable and can have a spinnaker and trapeze, once again it is one design and simple similar to the Opti. Yes, it does not have the performance of a 29er but not everyone reaches the competence level needed to sail one. This does not mean these people should be excluded from the sport of sailing which is what would happen if that was the only choice after the introductory boat. In my opinion it is not a good choice for a the majority in a youth sailing program.
On the topic of ISAF considering no world championships for anyone under 15, in my opinion that is insanity, I can't even think of Opti Worlds no longer taking place. Our young sailors strive for a place on our world's team, it is a major motivating factor.
* Russ Lenarz: I think that some of readers of Butt are missing the point in regards to several comments being made about Skiff type boats and their appeal to younger people. I think that we would all agree that Junior Sailing Programs are very healthy here in the US and other parts of the world and that boats like the Opti, Sabot, FJ and 420 do provide the essential foundation for learning the basics of sailing and provide exposure to competition locally and abroad.
However, it is important for the future of our sport to provide exposure to all that sailing has to offer. Not every High School student that has come up through a Junior Sailing Program will make or perhaps be interested in sailing on the High School Sailing team. At the collage level it becomes even more difficult to land a spot on the team as well, and so there is a drop off rate that occurs.
Providing exposure to other classes such as multihulls, Skiff classes and windsurfuing in conjunction with the above mentioned could go a long way in maintaining the interest to younger people and their continued participation in the sport of sailing for many years to come.
* From Jesse Deupree: I'm surprised there hasn't been any comment on the spontaneous decision by a number of competitors in the Around Alone to seek shelter from an approaching storm during the second leg of the race. For those of us that believe in the principle that each skipper should be responsible for themselves rather than asking race managers to decide for them once a race has started, it is an interesting development, and an instructive lesson. The skippers indicate that they reached their decisions independently, and I for one congratulate them for doing what what was undoubtedly a difficult thing.
* From Scott Ridgeway: Everyone hoped that Virtual Spectator would use the time between the rounds of the LVC Series to work out their technical problems. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be the case for the opening races in RR2 as the words, "Waiting for data" were repeatedly superimposed over motionless race simulations for long periods of time. Pity!
THE GOOD STUFF
What do the following have in common: Team One Newport, Layline, Annapolis Performance Sailing, Sailing Supply, Sailing ProShop, Dinghy Shop, Fisheries Supply, etc. Shame on you. You should have known, these quality retailers all carry the Camet products in their inventories. And there sooo many more outlets- in the US, Europe and South America too. When you look for sailing shorts, hiking pants, rash guards, bubble tops, bags etc,or other quality sailing products from Camet, start with a list of retailers listed here. www.camet.com
The four leading yachts in Class 1 of the Around Alone 2002-03 must be wondering what has happened. After days of gale force winds and lashing rain, they suddenly find themselves "on vacation" as leading skipper Bernard Stamm wrote in an email to Race Operations. The roaring ocean has given way to calm seas with the tropical sun shining brightly above. Memories of 70 plus knots of wind and a dark angry sea have faded with the arrival of a pleasant swell and a light breeze from the west.
Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group/Armor Lux is considering drastic measures to get his boat moving. "In 15 knots of wind sailing downwind, Bobst Group/Armor Lux has all her sails set," he wrote. "I've thrown the whole wardrobe up; full main, big spinnaker. I haven't got anything else to put up, except maybe some of my underwear!" With 600 miles to go to the Cape Verde Islands Bobst Group/Armor Lux has pulled out even more of a lead on rivals Pindar, Solidaires and Hexagon. "Right now, I am on the right road going at 12 knots, well positioned for the next obstacle: the Doldrums. I think I'll get there about the 26th October if all goes well."
The Class 2 yachts remain holed up in Northern Spain. The wind is starting to moderate and has swung into the west, but it's not the wind strength that now presents a problem, it's the huge waves rolling in from the west. Until the seas subside there is no way the yachts will be able to leave port. Best estimates are for a departure sometime during the day on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Tim Kent, skipper of Everest Horizontal wrote, "If one is going to be trapped in port, this is as good as a club to be in as any I could imagine. El Monte Real Club de Yates has treated us with extraordinary kindness. They have helped to replace the seals on our engines so that we can comply with Around Alone rules, they have offered to tow us back to the point where we can begin racing again, and they have extended the use of the gorgeous facilities of their club to us."
Standings Fleet Positions 2200 UTC October 22, 2002 - CLASS 1: 1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 5484 miles from finish; 2. Pindar, Emma Richards, 5695 mff; 3. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 5729 mff; 4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 5776 mff; (Ocean Planet & Tiscali are in port). All boats CLASS 2 are also in port, 6719 miles from the finish. Each Class 2 skipper has made the independent decision to incur a 48-hour penalty and lose the time in port. www.aroundalone.com
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Ed Baird
"My expectation is that the one or two of the teams will seem stronger (in Round Robin 2) than before, but many of the teams will be a little bit lost because they really didn't have much time between rounds to really learn much about changes that they made. So, they are making some changes based on faith and also based on singular results from the first round and particular teams. The likelihood is that in this round the weather will be different, it's always different, every week. I think you may find that where some teams think that they may have gone forward, that they may not have because they felt like they were a little desperate after the first round to find a little something but I think you'll find a couple of teams who will step up nicely and who they are, that's what we have to find out. - Cupviews website, full interview: cupviews.com
US Sailing's St. Petersburg Trophy awarded annually to recognize "Excellence In Race Management" was presented to the California Yacht Club for their Nautica 2002 Star Class World Championship. This year, the competition for this award included five world championships, two North American Championships, three National Championship regattas plus a major international championship. The event's international jury (which frequently are rather harsh critics) gave the California YC the highest score possible. The competitors were equally enthusiastic in their praise of both race and regatta management. This is the second time that CYC has been honored with the award - the previous time being for the 1996 Schock 35 National Championship. - www.ussailing.org/racemgt/
FOR THE RECORD - A special report to Scuttlebutt
Steve Fossett and the crew of the maxi-catamaran PlayStation spent their first night beam reaching at 25-30 knots in the North Sea in blackness and rain, dodging freighters, oil rigs and sand bars. When a puff or shift hits it is hard to know whether you head up or down to de-power. Two other watches proved the point when they flew the hull 15'-20' then blew sheets to avoid a capsize.
We started near Dover 48 hours ago, and now are off the west coast of Scotland. We are half way around 1800 mile British Isle course and right now our pace is about 1 hour ahead of the maxi cat Maiden who set the record last month at 4 days and 17 hours.
There were gale warnings everywhere today, it has been blowing 30-38 down the west coast all day, a RAF Nimrod coastal patrol plane buzzed us six times today to make sure we were OK. We are working this huge 970 millibar low pressure system that devastated the around Alone fleet last week. So far our meteorolgist kept us out of 60 knot stuff. The low is centered over England, and we hope to ride the isobars around Ireland and down the English Channel to finish at Dover in two days. - Howie Hamlin from PlayStation
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
I don't like political jokes. Too many of them get elected.