SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1203 - November 20, 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.
(No one was lost in this year's Route du Rhum Race but many of the skippers particularly on the 60-foot trimarans came very close. James Boyd spoke to Transat Jacques Vabre winner and Groupama skipper Franck Cammas Daily Sail website, who was the first to capsize. Here's a brief excerpt.)
Cammas also doesn't feel that the boats are any more dangerous than before. "For sure sailing solo on multihulls there is more of a risk than on a monohull or with a crew. But if we wanted no risk at all we should just stay on land and go bowling! It is because there is a risk, that we sail solo. Also I find the sporting and human aspect is more important on a multihull."
Whether he is being optimistic or not, Cammas does not think that the demolition of the trimaran fleet will have too much effect on the 60ft trimaran circuit generally. "I think the ORMA championship is professional enough so that this racing will not stop. Just because we have had a bad Route du Rhum doesn't mean that we have to stop the ORMA class. But for sure, it can't happen again."
He feels that there is some security in class simply because there are eighteen 60ft trimarans now in existence (albeit a majority of them broken) and a similar number of skippers wanting to race them. "The skippers will go on learning. Maybe there will be less sponsors for the boats, but I think the sponsors who are involved with this race won't leave the boats at sea - they'll take them back, rebuild them and will go on sailing on them and making improvements."
So is there a solution for the Route du Rhum such as changing the start date from November? You couldn't hold it in the summer because of the hurricane season in the Caribbean. "The only time possible solution would be to start in April. I am not against this idea. If we can find solutions to have less big storms like this then it would be good, but you can never guarantee this." - James Boyd, Daily Sail website. There's much more to this interesting story: thedailysail.com
IT'S A BLOOD SPORT
Team New Zealand's sailors are giving their blood, sweat and tears to winning the America's Cup - and their blood could be a key element in successfully defending the trophy. Almost every day the crew have their blood "read", using world-first, pain-free Kiwi technology, with the results used to get the very best out of Team New Zealand's athletes.
The breakthrough technology, called electrosonophoresis, allows the components of blood to be examined without being removed from the body - so there's no need for needles. It is revolutionary research that could change the way blood is tested around the globe - and help Team New Zealand defend the Cup and benefit other leading New Zealand athletes in the future. Team New Zealand is the first sports team in the world to use this type of technology. Scientists examine an athlete's biochemical response to physical activity, and the athletes can then alter their diet and training schedules based on their blood readings.
The project is being carried out by the New Zealand Crown Research Institute, HortResearch. Every morning, when the Team New Zealand sailors turn up at the gym, their blood is "read". No more needles for these tough guys - blood is drawn to the surface of the skin using ultrasound and electric currents so that it can be examined.
Electrosonophoresis, or ESOP for short, can show a sailor's hormonal state, which is crucial for strength. It also shows the nutrient status, the amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat in the blood. This is important for stamina and long-term muscle development. It also gives some information about the immune system and if the sailor has any soft-tissue injuries. The sailors' blood is tested again during their gym training session and afterwards, to see how it changes with physically demanding activity. Now that Team New Zealand is engaged in intensive in-house racing in their new black boats, their blood is also read before and after racing when they are back at the team base. That level of testing would be impossible if the blood had to be taken by needles.
The feedback received so far from the HortResearch team, based at Ruakura in Hamilton, has led to Team New Zealand changing some of their training methods. It has also helped their trainer, David Slyfield, individualise training programmes. Sailors have also been advised whether they are drinking enough water or eating enough carbohydrates and protein, which can all be determined through reading their blood nutrient profile. Team New Zealand say the monitoring programme run by leading New Zealand scientists has helped their sailors achieve their most successful winter training yet, with all of the crew recording their personal best strength levels - for any campaign. - Team New Zealand website, full story:
AMERICA'S CUP CLOTHING
You can now buy official Challenger, Defender, and Event clothing at the online superstore of the America's Cup 2003. Now selling Team New Zealand, ORACLE BMW Racing, Victory Challenge, GBR Challenge, Alinghi and Le Defi official team clothing. America's Cup 2003 clothing, Replica Silverware, and accessories including Official Programs are also available. You can order from the comfort of your home or office with worldwide delivery at low freight rates.
* There's full activity in the boat yard of the Victory Challenge. Orm was lifted from the water with the traveller crane and her mast was lifted off before she was taken into the boat yard where the top-secret work was started immediately after her last race with Le Defi Areva. This work was eventually taken over by the early morning shift. "We're making adjustments both above and below the waterline and we'll be testing new types of sail", says Mats Johansson, project leader and skipper for Victory Challenge. - Victory Challenge website, www.victorychallenge.com
* At the Prada base the team is completing the modification work on ITA 74 while tuning up ITA 80 with daily sailing on the Haurki Gulf for testing and training. - Prada website, www.pradalunarossa.com/uk/home.jsp
* The (OneWorld) Seattle group is said to be upbeat, but still in need of some confidence-building after the Oracle experience, which syndicate leaders now are attributing to a combination of Oracle's better boat setup for last week's conditions - and crew mistakes on OneWorld. Boat setups can change, and over time, mistakes even out, Bob Ratliffe, OneWorld's executive director, suggested. "(Oracle skipper) Chris Dickson is not infallible," Ratliffe said. (Alinghi skipper) Russell Coutts isn't, either, and obviously (OneWorld's) James Spithill and Peter Gilmour aren't either," he said. OneWorld designers believe their boats can be adjusted for more speed, as well, he said. - Ron C. Judd, Seattle Times, full story: seattletimes.nwsource.com
* Alinghi does not race again until Dec. 12, so the team will be well-rested going in the semifinals and will have plenty of time to try new tricks to make its already fast boat go faster. The mood at the Alinghi camp is noticeably relaxed. - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story: www.nytimes.com/2002/11/18/sports/othersports/18BOAT.html
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 Peter Huston: How cool is it that Peter Harrison is keeping the Brits Cup sailing program going? But one has to wonder, wouldn't it be better for everyone if the America's Cup was at least equal in terms of time spent testing vs. time spent racing? As it stands currently, the America's Cup regatta is little more than an inconvenient interruption to testing programs.
Let's hope the Cup is won by a club who has the foresight to change the regatta format so we actually get to see great racing more often, in more places.
* From Peter Brown: I say right on to Peter Harrison for keeping his team in N.Z. after they were eliminated. With this gathering of boats it seems a shame that after so few races the teams just shut down and go home. Wouldn't it be nice if after the challenger finals there was a fleet racing consolation regatta for all the challengers. How much would that add to the spectacle of the America Cup.
* From Andrew Troup, New Zealand: Other kiwis have mildly observed that, contrary to Angus Phillips' assertion (Washington Post, Scuttlebutt 1202) the slogan "Loyal" is intended to celebrate those who make up TNZ's current team, rather than castigate those who chose otherwise. They've, I think correctly, emphasized that the self-described black of heart are largely regarded as a lunatic fringe.
I think the celebratory process is a fine thing. I do have a small problem with the "Loyal" campaign. I don't like the pressure it puts on the current crop. What will happen if and when people pictured on the poster decide to move offshore in 2003. Could get ugly !
* From Edward Trevelyan (Regarding Kiwi spectators and their "silent treatment" of Russell Coutts and crew): I suggest they step back from their silly nationalist fervor for a moment and consider Russell's continuing contribution to the AC event. Don't we all benefit from the increased quality of competition he brings to the LV Cup, even if this puts extra pressure on the Defenders? Yes, the AC may be leaving for Lake Lucerne, just as it left Newport for Fremantle. But, just as in '83, after the patriotic tears are dry, we realize that it was all for the better.
At 13.00 on Sunday 24th November 225 yachts - the maximum number which can enter - will be on the start line, off the harbour of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, for the ARC, the largest transoceanic crossing in the world.
As the weather in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean turns colder, the annual migration of cruising yachts towards warmer waters gets underway. 225 of those will be yachts taking part in the ARC as they chase the sun and make their way across to the warmer climates of St Lucia and the Caribbean.
The ARC is organised by World Cruising Club - part of Challenge Business - and, despite being a British company, less than 45% of the fleet are yachts from the UK. After the UK, Germany and the Nordic countries form the next largest contingents, with 13% of the fleet from each region. There are also large groups from the USA, France and the Netherlands. However, this truly international festival also has entries from Australia to Russia, South Africa to Japan and from Chile to Bermuda- in fact a total of 25 nations, more still if crew nationalities are counted. - www.worldcruising.com/arc/english.htm
ROUTE DU RHUM
In the Tuesday 0700 GMT rankings Mike Golding on Ecover had got up to within a hair's breadth of pole position in the IMOCA class, just 2 solitary nautical miles behind Ellen on Kingfisher. But the 1500 GMT rankings show that Mike has currently dropped right back. In just eight hours Ellen put 24 miles on Mike. The reasons it would seem are that after gybing away for most of the night to make the most of the wind shifts, Golding has started to sail a diurnal wind shift. This is a natural daytime phenomenon that is caused by air heating up and cooling down.
In the next 24 hours and really the next three days, Ellen will be essentially broad reaching in the downwind conditions in the trade winds on a direct route to Guadeloupe. She was straight-lining her Kingfisher on port gybe this morning and both Ellen and Mike have been reveling in the conditions, both at sea and in the race. Not surprisingly they are both heading towards the same victory highway as the one on which overall leader, St¸ve Ravussin, is currently cruising, foot down and windows down as far as they go. - Josefine Lemmel, www.routedurhum.org
ORMA 60' multihulls: St¸ve Ravussin TechnoMarine - 925 miles to go
IMOCA 60' monohulls: Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher - 1126 nm
Class 2 50' monohulls: Nick Moloney Ashfield Healthcare - 1957 nm
Class 3 40' monohulls: Rˇgis Guillemot Storagetek - 2017 nm
Class 2 50' multihulls: Frank Yves Escoffier Crepes Whaou! - 1433
A NEW WAY TO NASSAU
How to get to the Farr 40 Worlds? Last week, we ran two 28' Protectors from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau. 4 to 6 foot seas couldn't slow our crew down as we made the 160-mile trip in five hours. These boats joined the six boats already in Nassau to support the Farr 40 worlds. Come watch and check out the new 35' Protector with teak decks, or see us in Miami or Key West to see our new 22 foot center-console coach boat. We now have a boat for everyone. Go Anywhere. 877-664-BOAT / www.protectorboats.com
The Class 2 fleet in Around Alone 2002-03 are negotiating the edges of the South Atlantic High, and it's providing much more of a tactical challenge than it did for the Class 1 boats. For class leader Brad van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America the trip south has been the most frustrating. In order to get past the High, Brad has sailed well west and now well south. Finally he is far enough to the south to be clear of the light winds and is on a fast run in to Cape Town averaging about 12 knots. Derek Hatfield on Open 40 Spirit of Canada and Tim Kent on Open 50 Everest Horizontal have succeeded in narrowing the gap to 230 miles from Van Liew but these 2nd and 3rd place boats, however, are the most at risk, sailing very close to the centre of the High. Everest Horizontal is to the south of Spirit of Canada, but neck and neck in terms of distance to the finish line, and the wind circulation is clearly around a tight centre that could expand at will and bring calm weather to the two boats. - Mary Ambler, www.aroundalone.com
Standings 2200 UTC November 19, 2002 - CLASS 1:
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, Bernard Stamm, finished (29 days, 21 hours, 59 minutes)
2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, finished (30 days, 8 hours, 42 minutes)
3. Pindar, Emma Richards, finished (30 days, 15 hours, 27 minutes)
4. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, finished (31 days, 15 hours, 54 minutes)
5. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 1897 miles to finish
6. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 4839 mtf
1. Tommy Hilfiger, Brad Van Liew, 1953 mtf
2. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 280 miles behind leader
3. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 283 mbl
4. Spirit of Yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 696 mbl
5. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 795 mbl
6. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 810 mbl
(GBR Challenge may be out of this year's Louis Vuitton Cup Series, but Peter Harrison has long-term aspirations. Matthew Sheahan's story on the LVC website provides some of Harrison's quotes at this emotional time.)
"I guess today our light went out, our hope's gone and we don't have the chance to go as far as I believe some of our hopes and ambitions were," he said clearly struggling as he reflected on the significance of the day. You're pretty emotional after a day like today. I don't cry very often but today I had a tear in my eye on the way out, when everybody was cheering, and on the way in, particularly when we got back to the base.
"There were so many friends and family and flags and you realize just how much this means to a whole bunch of people. The America's Cup is clearly a fantastic event, it means an awful lot to an awful lot of people, a huge amount of hard work has gone in from everyone involved in GBR Challenge. It's a huge amount of sacrifice by all their partners and family, and a huge amount of fun along the way as well, a huge amount of learning.
"I think when we look back on this, we'll look back on it with pride. We'll think about what we can take forward from this event, to the next one. And that's just the support that's here. I'm sure there'll be people who've been following the races on the internet back home and I'm sure they'll be feeling just as sad that our event ended today." - Peter Harrison, GBR Challenge syndicate head from a story by Matthew Sheahan on the Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1058.html
PAN AM TRIALS
Houston YC - For U.S. Laser sailors, there were plenty of reasons to travel to Houston last weekend. Whether it was the chance to represent the U.S.A. at the Pan Am Games, to win the lone U.S. Laser entry for the 2003 Athens Regatta, to test oneself at an official U.S. Olympic Pre-Trials event, or to get a leg up on the class rankings for 2003, it would all play out over a seven-race series.
The Laser class turnout, 33-strong, included class veterans and all five members of the 2002 US Sailing Team. Getting his worst race out of the way early -- a 10th in the first race -- Ben Richardson never placed out of the top-four for the remainder of the series. As one of five sailors to win at least one race during the event, Richardson's consistent performance placed him atop the leader board at the conclusion of the regatta. In the Laser Radial class, Sally Barkow earned a five-point margin over Jane Codman.
Pending approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Barkow and Richardson will represent the U.S.A. at the XIV Pan American Games, scheduled for August 1-17, 2003, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Final results - Laser: 1. Benjamin Richardson, 15; 2. Brett Davis, 20; 3. Andrew Lewis, 21; 4. Andrew Campbell, 21; 5. Brad Funk, 26; Laser Radial: 1. Sally Barkow, 7; 2. Jane Codman; 12; 3. Angela Scheibner, 17; 4. Theresa Brooks, 26.
Complete results: www.ussailing.org/Olympics/PanAm/
CAPITAL MANAGEMENT J/24 EAST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP
Fifty-six boats turned out for this year's wild and windy edition of the largest annual J/24 event in the world, run by Severn Sailing Association with the assistance of Annapolis Yacht Club and Eastport Yacht Club. Conditions were variable, the currents ran strong and it was cold. This regatta was notable for serving up rapidly changing conditions that kept everybody hopping. It was also notable for having no throw outs. In the end, consistency and staying out of trouble paid off for Waldek and Chris Zaleski of Stamford, Connecticut sailing Twins. Single digit finishes in six of the seven races were enough to give them first place. Team Z included Chris and Waldek Zaleski, Jachu Glinski, Randy Perkins, and Piotr Sernicki.
1. Waldek&Chris Zaleski, Twins, 42
2. Max Skelley, Fat Boyz, 51.3
3. Rudy Wolfs, ING Direct, 53.
4. Paul Van Ravenswaay, Sundance, 57
5. Tim Healy, Anna, 73
Complete results: severnsailing.org/
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
What difference 30 years makes:
1972: Trying to look like Marlin Brando or Liz Taylor
2002: Trying not to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor