SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1207 - November 26, 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.
Team Dennis Conner has protested OneWorld Challenge, its opponent in the
Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter Final Repechage round, saying the Seattle team
contravened the Fair Sailing Rule of the Racing Rules of Sailing. The
submission, made Monday to the International Jury for the Louis Vuitton Cup
and the America's Cup, requests that the OneWorld Challenge be disqualified
from both events. Rule 2, the Fair Sailing Rule, states that a boat and her
owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of
sportsmanship and fair play.
This action follows a request by the New York Yacht Club and Yacht Club
Punta Ala to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel to investigate allegations
that OneWorld Challenge possessed and used design information from other
syndicates in breach of the Protocol governing competition. The two
challengers filed with the Arbitration Panel only after getting consent
from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand to use
extensive documentary evidence in their possession that had not previously
Today's protest said that the application was based on multiple violations
of the Protocol that the applicants had reasonable grounds to believe the
Seattle Yacht Club/OneWorld Challenge had committed. These beliefs were
based on comprehensive documentary evidence.
Team Dennis Conner asked that the International Jury provide assistance to
the Arbitration Panel in any manner possible. The syndicate asked that
OneWorld be disqualified under Rule 2, the Fair Sailing Rule. The
submission also asked the Jury take any interim measures necessary to
reschedule the Quarter Final Repechage. - Keith Taylor, Keith Taylor,
LVC QUARTER FINAL REPECHAGE
After three days of weather delays, the Louis Vuitton Cup quarter final
repechage at last got under way today - and provided enthralling racing
with come-from-behind wins in both matches. The two higher seeded teams,
OneWorld and Prada, both trailed in the opening stages of their matches
against Team Dennis Conner and Victory Challenge respectively. But, both
OneWorld and Prada justified their higher seeding by managing to overtake
and take the victory guns in the vital opening matches. The best-of-seven
repechage has a distinct life-or-death edge, because the two losing teams
will exit the regatta, leaving only four challengers still in the game.
In the light north to north-easterly breeze, all four yachts on the course
had men up the mast searching for the best breeze lines on the water. In
the OneWorld vs Team Dennis Conner match, Stars & Stripes led around the
first three marks, but then failed to cover on the second downwind leg as
OneWorld split away and gained in a 30 degree windshift to the left.
In the second match away, Victory Challenge led the whole way up the first
windward leg, but Prada came back and, right at the mark, squeezed into the
lead to round the mark 8 seconds ahead, stretching away from there to a
Racing took place against a backdrop of on-shore activity as Team Dennis
Conner has initiated a Rule Two (Fair Sailing) protest against OneWorld,
over design information from rival teams and related issues. The protest
will be heard from 6pm Tuesday by the Louis Vuitton Cup International Jury.
- Louis Vuitton Cup website, full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: We do not plan to delay the delivery of Scuttlebutt
on the off chance that the International Jury will make a series-altering
decision on this matter. Those who feel otherwise should repeatedly check
the LVC website until the decision is posted: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com
RACING SUMMARY: Boat speeds between OneWorld and USA-77 (Team Dennis
Conner) appeared similar; OneWorld simply took better advantage of the
shifts today. Prada looked strong throughout its race with the Swedes,
showing better speed. The boats started in a light, puffy breeze of seven
knots which never got above the nine-ten knot range for most of the racing.
- Cupviews.com website, full story: cupviews.com
Prada leads Victory Challenge, 1-0
OneWorld Challenge leads Team Dennis Conner, 1-0
SAIL FOR GOLD FINISHES STRONG AT N.A. TORNADO CHAMPIONSHIPS
Congratulations to the team of Oskar Johansson and John Curtis. These hot
Canadians came in 2nd place at the recent Tornado North American
Championships. To be a serious competitor Oskar needs the best equipment
possible and gives high praise to his Samson rope "We use Samson's
Lightning rope for all of our trap lines and guy wires. It is light, easy
to splice, has very low air drag and absolutely does not stretch." Bolt to
the lead with Lightning, made from a Dyneema/Vectran fiber blend. Choose
Samson Rope Technologies as your high tech source.
OneWorld Challenge for the America's Cup announced today that they have
joined with The Waterkeeper Alliance in an effort to protect and restore
the quality of the world's waterways and to preserve and protect the
world's oceans from polluters. Waterkeeper Alliance is the international
umbrella organization of over 90 Waterkeeper programs throughout the North
America, Latin America and Europe. Waterkeepers patrol their waterways,
respond to citizen concerns, identify environmental problems and devise
appropriate remedies and advocate compliance with environmental laws. More
information is available at: www.oneworldchallenge.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 Mark Michaelsen: James 'Chippie' Gair stated that the 14th Leg of the amateur crewed 2002-3 Clipper Ventures Round the World Race from Salvador, Brazil to New York would be passing through the Western North Atlantic in the height of hurricane season. Actually, the height of the Atlantic Hurricane season is not until the second week of September. You are correct that there have been a handful of dramatic hurricanes in August in the Atlantic basin but they generally hold off until August 24th or later. Nonetheless we hope that organizers recognize the distinct potential for disaster when they schedule events during what is a potentially active period for "nature's greatest fury."
* From Gary 'Cap'n Fatty' Goodlander: I've followed Ellen MacArthur's amazing career with interest. This is a huge win for her-----and to all of us who cherish a true challenge of speed, endurance and character. She was the best skipper out there, and proved that often the best man for the job is a woman.
* From Rob Drury, Sydney, Australia: Organizers of the 2002 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race blame the economy for declining entries in this prestigious event. Hang-on, the Australian economy has been the most resilient in the world in recent years and what about the Route du Rhum, presently in progress with an unprecedented 60 entries?
In past years the Sydney to Hobart has seen massive entries, with a peak of over 350, but this year only 50 odd yachts will cross the starting line. Why? Maybe the reason for declining entries is the race format, offering rating/handicap systems of IRC, IMS and PHS. Of the entries that have been received, there are more and bigger maxis, and what's their primary goal? Line honours! It can't be the economy because the 'big buck' end of the fleet is strong and healthy. Have the small and mid size boats just lost interest.
Would a Box Rule re-ignite interest for a new breed of tough racing boats up to 60ft, with a shift of focus from line honours and the Maxis? Visit www.broncoyachting.com to see a framework for a new rule. And what is the Route du Rhum? It's a race for box rule boats. No handicaps and no rating systems giving great level racing within length divisions. Is there a message here?
I'm not in the line honours league and I wouldn't build a new boat with IRC, IRM, IMS or performance handicap systems as the goal, but I would build a box rule boat for Cat 1 and 2 offshore racing. Maybe I'm not alone.
* From Andy Rose: When the challengers planned the racing program did any of them consult with the high-powered weather guys that each challenger has about the odds of being able to maintain a racing schedule, or even getting close? Maybe they just assumed that all the series would be 4-0 or it's just a plot by the Auckland business community to keep everyone on shore buying things.
* From Bob Knowles: What the hell's going on down in Auckland? Is there some kind of lunacy virus in the air? It seems that if the teams can't go sailing for a couple of days, the nuttier factions in the Viaduct Basin take control.
The last time I checked, a federal court in Seattle determined that Sean Reeves had, to put it mildly, a little trouble with the truth. It was probably the deciding factor in the Arbitration Panel's ruling in August that any testimony from Reeves, including an affadavit, would be less than meaningful or relevant. So now the legal eagles at Prada and TDC want to end-around the Panel by dragging in the International Jury; if I were those guys, I wouldn't get within a thousand miles of this one. I especially resent them cloaking all of this garbage in the mantle of "the sake of the sport of sailing"!
It's a shame that good guys like Kenny Read and Terry Hutchinson have to be pulled into this mess, if only by association. I hereby propose a new AC rule for next time: if you can't sail a boat, sew a sail, build the rigging and spars, or build the boat itself, you can't have access to the compound. Professionals only, please, from now on. Now, can we please decide this on the water!
* From Norris McNamara (Re: John Podmajersky's case): Podmajersky has
created a situation that is outrageous to an unprecedented degree. Rule 3
very much applies, as do considerations of sportsmanship, friendship, and
common sense. In my opinion it's simply a case of avarice and
self-indulgence overtaking the well-established principals of our great sport.
The facts - not much in evidence in the discussions here and elsewhere -
make his action all the more disgraceful. Rob Brandenburg's name was on the
entry because he had chartered the boat for the Chicago to Mackinac Island
Race. Brandenburg paid for the entry fee and all the required Mac-specific
safety equipment including life raft, SOLAS flares, extra handheld VHF,
etc. Podmajersky changed his mind two days before the race - asking
Brandenburg if he could go. He knew how the boat was entered. Only when
Illusion was declared the overall winner did the revisionist notions begin.
Just last week at the first court hearing on the case he was asked if he
had read the Notice of Race. His response was, "Yes, this morning." Take
your friend and your yacht club to court? By all means, then live with the
consequences for the rest of your sailing life.
* From: Nelson Weiderman (re the Podmajersky suit against the Chicago YC
reported in 'Butt 1205 and the comments by Alpern and Delany in 'Butt
1206): If you read the entire article from the Chicago Tribune rather than
just the excerpt in 'Butt 1205 you will discover: a) Podmajersky was the
real skipper and steered for 30 hours in the race, b) Podmajersky started
the process of correcting the record before the race, c) Podmajersky
offered at least three reasonable alternatives for engraving the trophy --
using the boat's name only, his name only, or names of the entire crew.
After reading the entire article, one gets the impression that the dispute
could have been easily settled early on had it not been for the CYC's
insistence on gratuitously enforcing gratuitous rules. Such is our
Only a fraction of an America's Cup budget actually goes toward building
sailboats. A carbon fiber America's Cup yacht costs between $2 million and
$3 million. Figuring out what to build, however, raises the overall
costs."To build them is cheap," said Bill Erkelens, the chief operating
officer of Larry Ellison's Oracle-BMW team. "To design them is not cheap."
Research and design - which includes tank-testing hulls and keels, and
wind-tunnel-testing for masts, rigging and sails - can account for up to a
quarter of a top campaign's total budget. Tank-testing costs about $4,800
an hour and the biggest syndicates might do upward of 150 hours of it.
Smaller syndicates make do with smaller research-and-design budgets - the
British team GBR, for example, spent less than 10 percent of its money on
design - but those teams quickly hit the wall in the quest for speed.
Teams with more resources for design can build components for different
conditions, in hopes of gaining an edge as the competition progresses.
Oracle, for example, has 12 fins and bulbs, six masts (at $450,000 each)
and an assortment of rudders, and can try different combinations of these
appendages at will, a prospect that troubles the competition.
* The real financial drain on the current Cup campaign budgets is not
hardware, but talent. While some crews stick with their skippers for years
- Team Dennis Conner stands out as the most loyal group, with several
members having sailed with Conner for two decades - the moguls have had to
get their crews on the open market.
"We have 140 people, and 90 percent of them are the top in their field,"
Erkelens said. "We were bidding against the other billionaires. Prices went
up." A mainsheet trimmer on a top boat can make as much as $240,000. A
run-of-the-mill grinder makes around $14,000 a month for the campaign.
Oracle has 36 sailors to crew its two boats, and they have been practicing
together for nearly two years. - Warren St. John, NY Times, full story:
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(Following are two excerpts from a Q& A column written by Ron Judd in the
Q: If OneWorld rights itself and manages to win the America's Cup, we'd
have a Cup defense in the Seattle area sometime around 2006, right?
A: Uh, no. At least not for sure. The choice of venues for Cup defenses is
up to the Cup holders, which in this fanciful scenario would be OneWorld
and the Seattle Yacht Club - pretty much in that order. But as much as the
local sailing faithful relish the thought of a Puget Sound America's Cup
defense and its accompanying, billion-dollar shot in the economic arm, the
reality is that a defense here isn't that likely. Reason? One word,
according to OneWorld: "wind."
* OneWorld founder Craig McCaw, for obvious reasons, steers clear of the
question, but did offer this in a recent interview: "We would think you
should do the right thing for the Cup, and not be too oriented to your own
personal desires," he said. "Obviously (OneWorld co-owner Paul Allen) and I
have a strong tie to the Seattle area, and we recognize there are
limitations in where it could be done." McCaw added that the choice would
come down to usual key factors: "a combination of infrastructure and wind."
Completely unfounded, premature speculation around the SYC is that OneWorld
might hold a defense at another U.S. Pacific port with better access to
prevailing winds: The Bay Area, Long Beach, San Diego and Honolulu all get
mentions. - Ron Judd, Seattle Times, full story:
ROUTE DU RHUM
Six boats have finished in Guadeloupe, but there are still 24 skippers who
continue to experience these moments. Currently their reward is surfing in
the warm winds of the trades, but there is still a struggle with difficult
squalls. Nick Moloney, leading the class 2 monohulls on Ashfield Healthcare
(50-foot) had 597 miles to go at 1500 GMT and is ahead of six bigger
60-foot monohulls! He is expected to finish late Wednesday or Thursday.
Franck Yves Escoffier aboard Crepes Whaou!, is currently 60 nautical miles
from Guadeloupe, and set to win the class 2 multihull category hands down
with over 300 miles on current second place Anne Caseneuve on
Yachting-casino.com. - Josefine Lemmel, www.routedurhum.org/
Over the weekend, Brad van Liew's Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America had a
24-hour ran of 345.03 miles for an average speed of 14.37 knots. This is
likely to be recognized as the longest distance sailed by a 50-foot
monohull sailboat when it is ratified by the World Sailing Speed Council.
The previous longest distance was recorded by J.P. Mouligne in the 1998-99
Around Alone race aboard his Finot designed Open 50, Cray Valley. Van Liew
is now just 320 miles from the Cape Town finish line and 845 miles ahead of
his closest Class 2 competitor, Tim Kent's Everest Horizontal. Spirit of
Canada sailed by Derek Hatfield is in third place, 1013 mile behind Van
Liew, - www.aroundalone.com
CALENDAR OF MAJOR EVENTS
* December 4 - 6: Australian 505 Championships (Pre-Worlds Regatta)
* December 8 - 14: Grolsch 505 World Championships www.505.com.au/worlds.htm
* January 3-12, 2003: 18 foot Skiff World Championships for the J.J.
Giltinan Trophy. www.18footers.com.au/JJ_Giltinan_Trophy_Championship.html
* January 28-February 1: Rolex Miami OCR, US Sailing Center. Competitors
may now register online, download the Notice of Race:
* March 6-9, 2003: Sunfish International Masters Championship, Upper Keys
Sailing Club, Key Largo, FL. www.sunfishclass.org
* May 23-25, 2003: Sunfish United States National Masters Championship,
Ninnescah Sailing Association, Cheney Lake, Cheney State Park, Wichita, KS.
* July 15-19, 2003: J/24 Silver Anniversary Regatta, Sail Newport,
Newport RI. Three fleets to choose from: Grand prix, Club and
Non-spinnaker. email@example.com, (401) 846-1983, www.j24silver.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S OXYMORON