SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1190 - November 1, 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.
The Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, Peter Rutter, announced today that the Admiral's Cup for 2003 would take place in Cowes from 10 to 23 July 2003 and not in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland as previously announced. Peter Rutter explained that the RORC and the Royal St George Yacht Club had not been able to agree the criteria required to run an event at the highest level of international sailing. The Admiral's Cup has always been the premier RORC event and has been run by them since its inception. The RORC Commodore feels that it is imperative that this situation should continue.
In returning to Cowes, the RORC will retain the 2 boat Club team and classes that had been previously announced, and the inshore racing will take place in the Solent. The long offshore race will be the Wolf Rock Race. The Admiral's Cup will be run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The RORC has been encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest shown in the 2003 event and intends to publish the Notice of Race by 16 November 2002. RORC website, www.rorc.org/admiralscup/acpr301002.php
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
The Royal St George Yacht Club (RStGYC) has issued a statement on Wednesday 30th October 2002 expressing its regret and disappointment at the announcement by The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) of their decision to cancel the Admiral's Cup event in Dun Laoghaire next July.
In their announcement issued yesterday RORC stated "the RORC and the Royal St George Yacht Club had not been able to agree the criteria required to run an event at the highest level of international sailing". The RStGYC was first notified of the unilateral decision to cancel this event in Dun Laoghaire at 8pm on Tuesday 29th October 2002. This decision of RORC was released 24 hours later allowing no opportunity for discussion on the decision.
The RStGYC is shocked and upset at this sudden turn of events, particularly as discussions had commenced as far back as January 2002 resulting in a formal agreement in May 2002. The RStGYC wishes to put on record that it is not aware of any "criteria required to run an event at the highest level of international sailing" upon which the RORC and the RStGYC have not been able to agree.
The RStGYC has considerable experience in the management of major sailing events including in recent years ISAF World, European and National championships. - Bruce Lyster
LOUIS VUITTON CUP SERIES
The French le Defi Areva crew scored their first win of the Louis Vuitton regatta so far - and took one of the biggest scalps in the fleet in the process. A poor spinnaker drop at the end of the first downwind run cost OneWorld the race and also put a black mark on a crew that has so far been the smoothest and most polished of them all. As OneWorld rounded the mark, ahead of le Defi by 26 seconds, the spinnaker trawled in the water, hauling the blue yacht to a virtual stop.
As the crew frantically struggled to recover the sail, bits of spinnaker snagged in the rudder, compounding their problems. Le Defi pounced and swept into the lead. They maintained their advantage to score a huge upset, crossing the finish line 57 seconds ahead of OneWorld. OneWorld made some significant crew changes for this match. Skipper Peter Gilmour and regular helmsman James Spithill took a break, giving the helm to New Zealander Kelvin Harrap and the tactician's job to Morgan Larson.
In their second match of the day, LeDefi led GBR Challenge all the way around the first 'sausage,' but split tacks on the second beat - which proved to be their undoing.
Russell Coutts (Alinghi) and Chris Dickson (Oracle BMW) put on the fight of the series on their homewaters. USA-76 led for three legs of the course, stretching out to a lead of more than four boatlengths. But, on the second windward leg, Alinghi came back hard and literally rode the American yacht's transom round the final windward mark. As they swept down the run, Alinghi, with a noticeably larger spinnaker, rolled over the top of USA-76 and moved into the lead. But USA-76 wasn't going to let go and gybed away to line up for an attack. And it worked. USA-76, which has had a reputation for being slow downwind, proved otherwise by powering past Alinghi to regain the lead. Alinghi kept pushing, bow to transom, all the way to the finish, but could not overcome USA-76's advantage. USA-76 crossed the line 4 seconds ahead.
The other major story of the day was when America's Cup legend Dennis Conner took the helm of Stars & Stripes for the first time in the current Louis Vuitton Cup series. He steered the dark blue yacht in this morning's race against Mascalzone Latino. The regular helmsman, Ken Read, will sail again in the afternoon match against Oracle BMW Racing. "Dennis is taking the opportunity to sail the boat now," said Team Dennis Conner spokesman Keith Taylor. "Ken will sail this afternoon. Dennis wants to contribute to the success of the team any way he can. His mastery of boats and how to get the most out of them is renowned. But he's been removed from the sailing program while raising money. He needs live conditions to give input on how to make the boat go faster." - Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story834.html
Victory Challenge defeated GBR Challenge by 1 minute, 1 second
Le Defi Areva defeated OneWorld Challenge by 57 seconds
Oracle BMW Racing beat Alinghi Challenge by 4 seconds
Team Dennis Conner defeated Mascalzone Latino by 1 minute, 9 seconds
Oracle BMW Racing defeated Team Dennis Conner by 18 seconds
GBR Challenge defeated Le Defi Areva by 14 seconds
Alinghi Challenge vs. Prada Challenge abandoned - big wind
11-2 Alinghi Challenge
11-3 OneWorld Challenge*
10-4 Prada Challenge
9-4 Oracle BMW Racing
7-7 GBR Challenge
7-7 Victory Challenge
7-8 Team Dennis Conner
1-14 Mascalzone Latino
1-13 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.
BREEZE READERS AND SHIFT PICKERS- KAENON POLARIZED
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* The giant trimaran Geronimo (FRA) (Olivier de Kersauson) has signified that she may require timing for a fresh attempt on the Round Britain and Ireland sailing record. A probable start is on Sunday 3rd November on a start line at Lizard Point, southernmost land of England. Direction optional. - World Sailing Speed Record Council
* Early next year Southern Spars will close its US manufacturing plant in Minden, Nevada. Although the spar market continues to be robust, the completion of the America's Cup work in the United States, combined with the increasing capabilities and capacity at Southern Spars in New Zealand, along with the high costs of manufacturing these products in the U.S. contributed to this decision.
* GBR Challenge's claim for redress following Wednesday's light and shifty race has been upheld by the Louis Vuitton Cup Series International Jury and the race against Alinghi will be re-sailed later in Round Robin 2. The British claim for redress was granted after the jury found that the amended course had been set outside the America's Cup course area and that the re-laid legs of the had been too short to comply with the rules. - www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com
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 William Burke: As the team manager of an American team that was about to announce sponsor, boats and a core crew for next years Admirals Cup in Dublin, I am disgusted at the behavior of the RORC.I just returned from Ireland and found the venue, support and commitment to the Admirals Cup, second to none. It was also my understanding that the RORC were going to be the RC,so there press release baffles me. What an insult to the good people of the Dublin bay sailing community, and the people of Ireland in general. The RORC obviously know what they are doing, considering how successful the last Admirals Cup was.
How do they expect support from sponsors and sailors when they act in such a Mickey Mouse fashion. If you want to advance sailing you have to act like an adult, not like a spoilt child, envious of the success of another. Now that the RStGYC has done all the legwork, they want their toy back. On a final note, the sailing team I represent lost our sponsorship [$650,000] this morning, our sponsors have no confidence in the RORC either.
* From Adrian Morgan: The America's Cup is what it is. Evolution has lead to its current format as a match race, supposedly between maritime nations and the sailors thereof.
It's most akin to medieval champions fighting for the outcome of a battle (thus avoiding unnecessary bloodshed). Whether it's "interesting" or "boring" is beside the point. Whether the champion slays his opponent with the first blow or they slug it out all day is not the question. Only the result is important.
I covered my last America's Cup as correspondent for the London Daily Mail from San Diego and did find the long drawn out process intensely boring (with some notable adrenalin rushes). Rather like war, so they say...
A final thought: back in the 19th century the challenger did in fact meet a fleet of defenders. Maybe that's the way to go. Fully in keeping with the history of the event, the defender can wield a fleet of their best boats - imagine a dozen Black Magics lining up against a lone challenger. Scary...
* From Richard Bond: All this talk of exciting formats for the America's Cup loses sight of the two fundamentals. Firstly, in sailing terms, it's the ultimate match race, one on one. If the Indy 500 analogy is extended to other sports, the next heavyweight boxing championship would feature 20 boxers in the ring. Secondly, the Challenge is not for our benefit. That we choose to watch it is a bonus for those involved in organizing, entering, or sponsoring it. The primary reason for doing it is to either get, or keep, your hands on that jug.
* From Will Wagner (In response to Andrew Var and Stu Hebb and the likes - and edited to our 250-word limit): First, we you are watching over 150 years of tradition play out in modern day action. Second, you are watching the beset the world of technology, composites engineering, and yacht design has to offer sailing right before your eyes. Incredible machines powering to weather bows splitting the waves just like the designers pictured in the heads when he/she was first conceiving the shape. Loads so high that the boats bend like a banana under full runner just like they are supposed to. And third, the sailors. What is there to say about these top athletes. They are the most insightful, forward thinking, well rounded, focused, in touch with the boat sailors in the world. Wake yourself up and listen the chatter (I wish OLN would let us hear more) on the boats as they are sailing up or down a leg.
If you can comprehend, not hear it, you will find it to be brilliant and just about out of reach of even the best local sailors in your fleet. It's not meant as a prime time TV rating grabber or to even be on TV at all. It is meant it be sailed. I feel privileged that I have this opportunity through OLN to partake in this spectacle that is the Americas Cup. You either understand it or you don't and that is what makes the world go round, but if you change it, you will change it!
* From Edward Trevelyan: Regarding the recent criticism of match racing as a suitable AC format, I have to agree that lopsided races are very boring to watch. Perhaps this could be addressed by giving the Race Committee the right to "name" the winner at any mark of the race once a certain delta has been achieved by the lead boat. Stop the race, award the point, and go back to the starting line for another start, the most interesting part of the race.
Switching the format to fleet racing is an attractive idea, but it is based on the questionable assumption that match racing tactics and strategy are inherently inferior to those of fleet racing. Nevertheless, a crowded AC fleet race would be very interesting to watch, especially if the logistics of filming such a thing could be managed properly.
One suggestion for the current match racing commentary: It would be nice to have a running true wind reading on my TV set (perhaps one for each end of the course). The other day, when Alinghi split with One World after the start, we armchair sailors never found out whether a right shift or better speed gave Alinghi a big advantage at the first crossing.
* From Kurt M. Hoehne: In yesterday's issue you carried a story that read in part, ""Mascalzone crew members cried bitterly after they lost on Wednesday to Prada....Cian was too "grief-stricken" to take his place on the boat for Thursday's race..."
Mascalzone just became my AC heros. In a game where cool professionalism and gobs of money have deflated enthusiasm, the Rascals still care and their statements aren't pre-packaged bland corporate fare. Of course they can't possibly win, and they know it. But imagine for a minute. Wouldn't it be great if they did? Somehow I don't think we'd see the billionnaires or their awesome teams crying.
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WATCHING IN THE RACES
(Ron Rudd's recent story in the Seattle Times provided some insight for visitors to Auckland about going out on the Haurake Gulf to watch the races. Here's an excerpt.)
The Vuitton and America's Cup races, in Hauraki Gulf about an hour's boat ride outside Auckland, are not shore-friendly events. Although a few hilltop areas around the city give far-flung views, watching from land is basically limited to close-up views of boats entering and exiting Viaduct Harbour. Not to dump on that; hanging around the boat basin as the crews depart and return is one of the most fun ways to soak up America's Cup excitement.
But most spectators will want to buy a seat on one of the spectator boats. Expect to pay roughly $65 to $100 (U.S.) for a four- to six-hour boat ride, which usually includes lunch. We can testify that the experience is grand, but the view is iffy. Just like the media, you will get quite close to the boats at the start box and upper mark. After that, you'll be watching boats in the distance. From your on-water angle, it'll be tough to tell who's ahead, or by how much.
Fortunately, most of the boats - they're generally dual-hulled, passenger-ferry-sized craft - have TV and Virtual Spectator monitors aboard to keep you posted. And, if you're on a syndicate-specific boat, such as the charter operated by Seattle's OneWorld, the crew is in constant radio contact with the team's tender and others, with frequent race updates. Ron C. Judd, Seattle Times, complete story: seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/americascup/134563333_judd27.html
In Class 1 of Around Alone, both Pindar & Solidaires are now through the Doldrums and on the 'inside track' compared to leader Bobst Group-Armor Lux further to the West, as they settle into a few days of upwind sailing in 15 knots of South Easterly headwinds towards Cape Town via the South Atlantic High. Richards & Dubois hold an advantage to the East but Stamm is benefiting from getting the wind shifts earlier. The Class 2 fleet is finally rid of the fickle conditions, and is past the Canary Islands. Leader Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is still well ahead of the pack, but the other skippers are just relieved to be back up to speed in the North Easterly Trade winds down the African coast. - Mary Ambler, www.aroundalone.com
Standings 2200 UTC October 31, 2002 - CLASS 1:
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, 3705 miles from finish
2. Pindar, Emma Richards, 209 miles behind leader
3. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, 243 mbl
4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 394 mbl
5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1808 mbl
6. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 3095 mbl
1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 5392 miles from finish
2. Spirit of yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 237 mbl
3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 251 mbl
4. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 264 mbl
5. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 267 mbl
6. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 354 mbl
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* Nov. 1-3: Grand Prix Regatta Seattle YC. www.seattleyachtclub.org
* May 23, 2003: 58th Block Island Race, Storm Trysail Club, www.stormtrysail.org
* June 22-27, 2003: Block Island Race Week XX, Storm Trysail Club, www.stormtrysail.org
* October 22-5, 2003: Champagne Mumm 2003 Mumm 30 One Design World Championship, Cassis, France. www.mumm30.org / www.port-cassis.com
The curmudgeon is about to jump on a red-eye flight to the BVI for the Bitter End Yacht Club's Pro-Am Regatta - and the much anticipated Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship Regatta. Once again, David McCreary will take over in my absence. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Should I be worried because my cab driver just referred to the airport as, 'the terminal?'