SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1206 - November 25, 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.
ROUTE DU RHUM
Ellen MacArthur crossed the finish line off Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe Saturday at 0216 GMT and in the process smashed a plethora of records for the Race. The atmosphere here just sends shivers down your spine. Hundreds of lights from the little boats gathering up the little star easing towards the finish ribbon at 7-8 knots through the melee of well wishers. Thousands carpeted the beaches to welcome the Queen of the Ocean who, right till the very end remained entirely and utterly focused. Her racing spirit exploding in the flares she sent off just minutes are crossing the line.
Ellen MacArthur, the 26 year old winner of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award in 2001, is the first female skipper and the first Brit to win the monohull class of the Route du Rhum. The previous record for monohulls in the Route du Rhum was 15 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes (Yves Parlier sur Cacolac d'Aquitaine en 1994), Ellen MacArthur has established a new record time on the course Saint-Malo/Pointe-a-Pitre, at 13 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, 47 seconds.
Mike Golding's 60-foot Monohull Ecover crossed the finish line, at 1134 GMT, just 9 hours 17 minutes, 48 seconds behind Kingfisher. Golding also beat the previous record for monohulls in the Route du Rhum.
Next to finish was Michel Desjoyeaux 60 foot ORMA multihull Géant on Saturday 23 November at 2038 GMT. His race time was 13 days, 7 hours, 53 minutes and 0 seconds GMT. (The record time for Route du Rhum in the 60 foot Multihull Class is that established in 1998 of 12 days, 8 hours 41 minutes and 6 seconds.) Marc Guillemot passed the finish line at 08 hours 21min18 sec GMT, Sunday. The skipper of Biscuits La Trinitaine-Ethypharm took second in the multihull ORMA after 13 days 19 hours 36 minutes and 18 seconds of racing at an average speed of 12.68 knots across the water. - www.routedurhum.org
ORMA 60' multihulls: Géant;Michel Desjoyeaux; finished
IMOCA 60' monohulls: Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher - finished
Class 2 50' monohulls: Nick Moloney Ashfield Healthcare, 816 nm
Class 3 40' monohulls: Régis Guillemot Storagetek - 1119 nm
Class 2 50' multihulls: Frank Yves Escoffier Crepes Whaou! - 288
QUOTE / UNQUOTE - Ellen MacArthur
"It's a finish where I've gone through a lot of emotions. It was quite extraordinary! I was so shocked, it's hard to imagine. It was an enormous sensation and there are not words enough to express how amazing it was." It's been a magnificent race, great, the best! And if I had to leave again tomorrow I would not hesitate! The boat has been super, we have had a lot of fun together. My strongest memory is the pleasure I've had aboard! It is hard getting used to the idea that I will have to leave it."
"This race has been really hard and I would like to share this victory with my entire team who helped me. I was never alone. This result is down to teamwork, especially during the months spent preparing the boat. The motivation is energy passion, emotion from everyone around. And the people following the project have spent some moments that weren't easy. I think about those who are behind a lot when I'm out there."
IT'S STILL 0-0
Louis Vuitton Cup racing was abandoned for the third day in a row, thanks to fickle conditions out on the Hauraki Gulf. Saturday's racing was delayed because of not enough wind, Sunday's racing was delayed due to extremely stormy and gusty wind out on the race course, and now Monday's racing has been abandoned, with the wind refusing to rise above the seven-knot wind limit before the 4pm deadline. The four quarterfinal repechage challengers - Prada vs.Victory Challenge, and OneWorld vs. Team Dennis Conner - will once again make the treck back to the Viaduct with no races under their belt. - nzoom.com website, full story: americascup.nzoom.com
IT'S GETTING UGLY (AGAIN)
In a joint submission, Team Dennis Conner and the Prada Challenge have asked the America's Cup Arbitration Panel to take another look at the OneWorld case, alleging "multiple contraventions of Article 15.3(c) of the Protocol."
15.3 (c) of the America's Cup Protocol concerns design information, and specifically states that a Challenger must engage independent designers, 'having no involvement with any other Challenger or Defence program.'
In the middle of August, the Arbitration Panel found that OneWorld had breached the America's Cup Protocol based on submissions by the Seattle-based team. The Panel found OneWorld, through its employees, did have design information that originated with Team New Zealand, America True and Prada from the 1999/2000 America's Cup. But the Panel accepted OneWorld evidence that it had not used that material for design purposes.
The Panel penalised OneWorld one-point to be deducted from its score after the second Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup. In the Application submitted on Sunday in Auckland, Prada and Team Dennis Conner refer to the special status of the Yacht Clubs they represent in seeking a further determination of whether OneWorld has acted in accordance with the rules.
* The two challengers claim that OneWorld was obligated, but failed, to make a full disclosure of the design information it had that had originated with other Syndicates. (In the earlier Ruling, the Arbitration Panel made clear that it wasn't empowered to undertake a fact-finding enquiry, and could only rely on submissions.) to back up their claims, Prada and Team Dennis Conner have included over 70-pages of evidence, consisting of affidavits, and correspondence.
"This is a desperate act, by desperate people who want to fight this on shore instead of on the water," said Bob Ratliffe, Executive Director of the OneWorld Challenge. "Our lawyers have reviewed the submission and there's nothing new in it. This information has all been around for a long time, and if they wanted to fight this, they should have done it before the September 30th deadline. - Peter Rusch, LVC website, full story:
SAIL ALERT -SAIL ALERT! J/105 OWNERS
Put winning Ullman Sails speed on your J/105 now! In the J/105 class sail acquisition rules, you do not have the ability to forward any unused sail royalties, "The use it or loose it" principle applies. With this rule and the 2003 racing season rapidly approaching, Ullman Sails would like to offer a special J/105 class discount. This is an excellent opportunity to purchase the "fastest sails on the planet" at unbelievably low prices. Join the wave of satisfied Ullman Sails customers, please contact your local Ullman Sails loft. www.ullmansails.com
* Don't expect to see the king of the America's Cup, Dennis Conner, on board Stars & Stripes in its quarterfinal repechage clash with Seattle's OneWorld. He'll be out on the Stars & Stripes base, tending to his tomato vines and preening his seven chickens, named after famous America's Cup boats of yesteryear. No, the legendary Conner, four-time Cup winner, has not gone balmy. He's just turned a corner of his downtown Auckland compound into a farm, where the hens - Ranger, Shamrock and Freedom - entertain the children of the sailors who are trying to win the Louis Vuitton Cup, the qualifying series for the America's Cup. - Suzanne McFadden, Seattle Times, full story: seattletimes.nwsource.com
* Over the break, Alinghi and Oracle are using their tuneup boats to test innovations to the race boats on the Hauraki Gulf. The changes they make will likely be small but, in sum, significant. Those that prove faster in two-boat testing will be kept, those that don't will be discarded. It's a scientific process, and science takes time. - Angus Phillips, Washington Post, full story: www.washingtonpost.com
* U.S. Olympic Gold, is a 30-minute TV magazine show focused exclusively on U.S. athletes as they prepare for the Olympics, filmed Yngling skipper Betsy Alison and her crew to provide a look at the team's training and strategies leading up to the Summer Games in 2004." For a complete list of airdates: www.challengeus.org
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 James 'Chippie' Gair: With all this talk of the rights and wrongs of some organizers starting races at the wrong time of year. I have another to add to the debate. The 14th Leg of the amateur crewed 2002-3 Clipper Ventures Round the World Race from Salvador, Brazil to New York. Their departure date is 29th July with an ETA of 22nd August 2003. In other words passing through the Western North Atlantic in the height of hurricane season. The Rhoute de Rhum may have had more than its fair share of low-pressure systems but for potentially very extreme conditions, this race has to rank very highly. Oh and the race is run by the same organization whose Around Alone fleet had to seek shelter from Hurricane Kyle.
* From Dan Alpern: John Podmajersky has already tainted his "...very significant life accomplishment..." by his legal action. What ever happened to accepting the authority of the sailing body putting on a race per the racing rules of sailing? Why embarrass yourself in front of your peers and the sailing community at large by running to the courts like a kid on the schoolyard whining to a teacher? Kudos for the Chicago Yacht Club for being "a stickler for rules", and I hope they win. I appreciate that John owns the boat, but if the recognition was that important how come he was not the registered skipper?
* From Sean Delaney: Fundamental Rule Three of the Racing Rules of Sailing provides as follows: By participating in a race conducted under these racing rules, each competitor and boat owner agrees:
(a) to be governed by the rules;
(b) to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the rules, subject to the appeal and review procedures provided in them, as the final determination of any matter arising under the rules; and,
(c) with respect to such determination, not to resort to any court or other tribunal not provided by the rules.
Without speaking to the merits of John Podmajersky's pending civil action as far as the law is concerned, it seems clear to me that he has breached Fundamental Rule Three. It is all but certain that the Notice of Race governing Mr. Podmajersky's entry incorporated and was made pursuant to the Racing Rules of Sailing, and he was therefore bound by the provisions of the Notice concerning named skippers. His recent actions frustrate the purpose of Rule Three, and I believe that he should be appropriately sanctioned under that Rule. We are expected to perform and hold ourselves as athletes in this sport, so we should be bound by the rules of the game itself.
* From Tom Priest (Re: The Chicago-Mac race legal gymnastics debacle): First, three words come to mind, "Get a life." Then, three questions come to mind: 1. Can punitive damages be sought by the judge for a frivolous filing? Better yet - who can tell me off the top of their head (ie: without looking it up) 2. Who won this particular race 3, 7, or 10 years ago? Or more precisely, ten minutes after the trophy ceremony, 3. Does it matter?
* From Douglas Robbins: Is it April in November? Please tell me the Chicago - Mac lawsuit ($1 million) is a joke.
* From Chris Ericksen: I could not agree more with Tom Price ('Butt 1205) in complaining about ISAF having "their tentacles reach down to the boat I sail," particularly in their imposing themselves in to the management of World and Continental championships. As he said, many of the International Classes (notably Stars and Etchells, both boats I sail or have sailed) have been "strong armed" into appointing an International Race Officer to run their Worlds. As someone who is arguably qualified to run such regattas, I know that the quality of the race management lies not solely with the PRO but with the caliber of the other volunteers; how the PRO manages them is the difference between success and failure, and a visitor may not be as successful at this management as a local would be. A local knows the strengths and weaknesses of his volunteers; an out-of-towner would not. The out-of-towner might not know the class and probably does not know the local conditions, but these are manageable issues; not knowing how fast a volunteer will respond to a specific request cannot be quickly learned and may be the difference between success and failure in a race or a regatta.
Of all the decisions by ISAF, this is the one that is both the least necessary and the most invasive. ISAF should let the class choose a host club and work with that club to appoint a suitable race-management team, and otherwise leaves us all alone.
* From Bob Kiernan (John Roberson's statement about the quality of today's race web sites): As a on the water media consultant in '88, '91 & 92 and a sailing web site developer and know what he's saying. The problem is a techno company (I don't call myself a geek; more like a grinder that knows electronics) does a deal to produce a site. The developers have no bloody idea what heading up or peeling a chute is or what the proper shape of a sail is let alone having ever been aboard one of these race boats. They do it for promotion. When that doesn't happen they're gone and another is brought in. We need to have someone who sails do the deed. One site to cover all races. No six figure deal is needed just a fair share to do the promotion and keep the web editor alive and feed. And in touch with the sport.
* From Mary Ambler: After reading Robo's plea for quicker access to user friendly position information on race websites, I wanted to respond on behalf of www.aroundalone.com. Race organizers Clipper Ventures spent a lot of time working with partners Raymarine & Tiscali to improve this aspect of the website, which has generated a lot of positive feedback. Raymarine's product development team customized their Raytech 4.1 software for tracking and plotting the Around Alone fleet. For those punters who enjoy more animation in their browsing, this software is now available to download through the link (www.raymarine.com/raymarine/raytechRBT/) on the top of the position chart page. Tiscali's IT team created a special application to automatically upload the Raytech Boat Tracking (RBT) data, which has made it simple and quick to process & deliver the positions from poll to web.
So one click from the homepage takes you to a greatly improved position page: now a larger, clearer image from the Raytech map with the overall fleet positions and tracks; a table for both classes with the relevant performance data; a more obvious link to a 'zoomed in' image of the individual class position map with current weather barbs overlayed. So no whizzy bits in sight, and hopefully now the site will be easier to navigate than the Southern Ocean... log on for Leg 3!
POLAR DATA SOURCES AND OCKAM COMPATIBILITY
Is your boat's performance data available from US Sailing's "in stock" Polar Performance database? While the best source for a thorough and complete Ockam format file remains a custom run VPP, services are available to refine and expand "off the shelf" polar information for use with OckamSoft or burned to chip for our 037 Interface. For more information, contact Tom Davis (email@example.com). See www.ockam.com
The world's best designers are in no rush to call for radical changes to the America's Cup boats. The America's Cup-class yachts, which took over from the 12m class which reached its use-by-date after the 1987 cup in Fremantle, are likely to be around for some time.
At a media conference yesterday, many of the designers, including New Zealanders Laurie Davidson and Bruce Farr, who are now with overseas-based syndicates, looked forward - and back. The consensus among the seven who have put their reputations on the line in the Louis Vuitton series is that there is no need for change, although there was a call for boats to be lighter and, therefore, more manoeuvrable.
"I don't think that the rule [which governs the design for America's Cup boats] has reached the end of its life," Farr said. "It is a good rule which does a good job. "It would be nice, however, to see the boats made lighter. It is difficult to sail boats which have such big blobs of lead on the bottom of the boat [keel]. "And we have seen some of those get lost, haven't we?"
Bruce Nelson, with Davidson and Phil Kaiko, part of the three-man OneWorld design team, said he would like to see the boats "a bit lighter." But, he reminded everyone, any change to the class of boat had to be instigated by the defenders. "The defenders control the rules. Unless the defender wants to change, there won't be changes," Nelson said.
Mani Frers, of Sweden's Victory Challenge, said: "The rule is a solid part of the cup." Davidson admitted there had been changes, the most apparent being the reduction in the beam, an obvious reference to Team Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes, which is by a significant margin the narrowest of all those in the regatta. "But," asked Davidson, "how narrow is too narrow?" - Terry Maddaford, NZ Herald, full story: www.nzherald.co.nz/sports/
GREAT NEW FEATURES
Virtual Spectator has introduced some new features to 'hot up' its service for the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup. "We met with syndicate representatives, Bruno Troublé representing Louis Vuitton, journalists in the Media Centre and read hundreds of emails from our subscribers," said Chief Executive, Greg Young "With Virtual Spectator being the only way to watch all the races live and in 3D it's important we get it right."
The new features include:
* An audible gunshot to announce the start and mark roundings.
* Ability to "jump back" and review events such as mark roundings during a LIVE race.
* A timing panel including elapsed leg times as well as distance and time to the next mark.
* An instrumentation panel that includes compass headings showing course bearings.
* Wind speed displayed in the viewer at all times.
* A display showing what leg the boats are currently on.
* Transom lines to highlight whether the trailing boat has achieved an overlapped position.
* Keyboard shortcuts for the more common menu selections to ease use of the product.
* Animated wind shadows that show "dirty air" from the boats and how this is affecting the other competitor.
The new update is free to existing subscriber. Virtual Spectator is well on its way to having 100,000 internet subscriptions for the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup regattas, almost double the last event. - www.virtualspectator.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Parents of teen-agers understand why many animals eat their young.