SCUTTLEBUTT No. 1208 - November 27, 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 America's Cup challenger series was potentially thrown into disarray
Tuesday night when the Cup's race jury agreed to hear a protest by Team
Dennis Conner accusing its American rival OneWorld of stealing design secrets.
If the protest succeeds, OneWorld, which is backed by the Microsoft
co-founder Paul Allen and the cellphone entrepreneur Craig McCaw, could be
thrown out of the Louis Vuitton Cup, as the challenger series is known. A
decision to disqualify OneWorld could open the door for two syndicates
already eliminated from the competition - the GBR Challenge of Britain and
Le Defi Areva of France - to be reinstated.
Bob Ratliffe, OneWorld's executive director, dismissed the jury's ruling as
"procedural." "At the end of the day people realize there's nothing new
here," he said. "It's the same issue we've dealt with for 18 months. We're
going to move on and go racing. Our hope is that the jury will realize this
is more of a tactic to drag out the event." - Warren St. John, NY Times,
full story: www.nytimes.com/2002/11/27/sports/othersports/27BOAT.html
* As many of the potential witnesses in the case are also on the OneWorld
sailing team, the Jury has deemed it fair to wait until the end of the
Quarter Final Repechage to hear the case, so as to not prejudice OneWorld's
performance on the water. The last scheduled reserve day for this Repechage
series is Sunday, 1st December.
* This protest to the International Jury doesn't have any direct bearing
on the joint submission that Prada and Team Dennis Conner made to the
Arbitration Panel on Sunday requesting a hearing on the OneWorld case. The
Arbitration Panel has indicated a time frame for its decision process that
could take over four weeks. - Peter Rusch, Louis Vuitton Cup website, full
LVC QUARTERFINAL REPECHAGE
Prada and OneWorld both increased their grip on the Louis Vuitton Cup
quarterfinal repechage in Auckland today by taking their scores to 2-0 over
Sweden's Victory Challenge and Team Dennis Conner respectively.
Prada and OneWorld led their matches against Victory Challenge and Stars &
Stripes all the way around the course, with almost identical starts and
uncannily similar mark rounding deltas for most of the race. Prada and
OneWorld each need just two more wins to advance to the semifinals,
although both Victory Challenge and Stars & Stripes have shown they remain
Light winds once again greeted the four teams competing in the Louis
Vuitton Cup quarter final repechage on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf today, but
after a short delay the Race Committee was able to get racing under way.
Shifty south-easterly winds that swung into the south-west and then back
again tested the skills of the afterguards, as positioning the yachts to
take best advantage of the puffs and shifts counted for more than boatspeed.
The starts were very similar with OneWorld and Prada powering off the line
at speed, while their opponents were forced into last minute tacks at the
committee boat end and came off the line at less than full power. The
pattern then saw the lead yachts gain upwind and then lose downwind as the
trailing yachts brought breeze down with them. But the leading yachts were
seldom threatened and crossed the finish line more than a minute ahead of
Prada defeated Victory Challenge by 1 minute, 23 seconds
OneWorld Challenge defeated Team Dennis Conner by 1 minute, 50 seconds
Prada leads Victory Challenge, 2-0
OneWorld Challenge leads Team Dennis Conner, 2-0
Full story: www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1184.html
HARKEN'S INSIDE VIEW OF THE AMERICA'S CUP
Want the inside scoop on what's happening in Auckland? Want to read about
the America's Cup from the eyes of Team New Zealand CEO Ross Blackman? How
about first-hand reports from Harken's AC service team? Harken is sharing
some great stories and photos taken during the Louis Vuitton Challenger
Series. Check out this special AC page at:
OLYMPIC CLASS RACING
The largest congregation of Olympic Class Sailors will converge on Cadiz in
south-west Spain for the 2003 ISAF World Championships from 11-23 September
2003. For the first time ever, the most important event for Olympic Class
sailors outside the Olympic Games, will be held in the same city, at the
same time. This makes the 2003 Olympic Qualification Regatta and Olympic
Class World Championships in Cadiz the largest ever World Championship held
in one place at the same time, which will be a spectacle and an event not
Preparation has been underway for the event since the city and the Bay of
Cadiz was chosen by ISAF in 2000 to host what is to be an ambitious
undertaking by all involved. The Worlds will be held between three venues,
Puerto de Rota who will host the 470 Men and Women, Puerto Sherry hosting
the Mistral Men and Women, the Yngling, Finn Europe, Star, Tornado and 49er
and Club Nautico Alcano hosting the Laser fleet.
By the time the first races start in the eleven classes over seven courses
next year, some of the world's best known and best prepared Olympic
hopefuls will have been through a newly implemented qualification process
to entitle them to participate at the 2003 World Championships. The
ultimate decision of which sailors will represent each country at the 2003
Worlds will remain with the respective Member National Authority, the
number of entries per country per event will follow a system approved by
the ISAF Council at the recent 2002 ISAF Annual Conference in Limassol,
Cyprus. - ISAF website, full story:
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 Craig Fletcher: I will never understand the phrase "Decide it on
the water". Why are the people who file a protest most always looked at
unfavorably? To those who would "Decide it on the water" I suggest we
remove all law, no protests, no wasted time and the best sailors with the
best boat will always win. NOT. Without rules and the people to enforce
them we have. É you know the rest.
* From Curt Schoeppner: Wasn't it Peter Gilmore who was protesting TDC in
the last Luis Vitton cup? That was serious on one hand & beyond petty on
the other. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
* From Tom Ehman: In yesterday's 'Butt, our old friend Andy Rose asks, no
doubt somewhat tongue in cheek (but what's new?), whether the AC teams
consulted their "high-powered weather guys" before agreeing the LVC race
format and schedule. The answer, of course, is yes...but that was not the
real issue. At a meeting during the AC Jubilee in August 2001, a more
aggressive schedule of races (both in terms of the number of series, and
races per series) was proposed by the Challenger of Record. The challenger
group was brought back to reality by veteran representatives of the
American teams who insisted on a schedule with fewer races and more reserve
days because of our LVC experience here in 1999-2000. Good thing, because
as everyone knows the weather has been even less cooperative this time around.
Regardless, the new format seems to be working well as both a training
series and a selection series. And despite the vagaries of the weather,
looking at the big picture we remain well on schedule (knock on wood!),
thanks especially to Dyer Jones, Peter Reggio and their competent
challenger race organization. Looking ahead, it may be that staying on
schedule is threatened less by too much or too little wind, but by the
windiness of some of the syndicates' legal teams.
* From Andrew Vare: In "Butt 1207, you quoted a NY Times article stating
"...A run-of-the-mill grinder makes around $14,000 a month for the
campaign." Ahem, retraction please? I would hesitate to call grinders
"run-of-the-mill". The late Sir Peter Blake could have done anything on the
victorious New Zealand effort, and chose to take the handles. Indeed,
without good horsepower on the boat, all the brains in the world are just
lime jelly with carrots. Denigrating the grinder's physical execution of
the afterguard's strategy is tantamount to dividing the boat into factions,
which is rarely successful. It's a shame this slur made it into print in
Mr. Sulzberger's otherwise esteemed publication.
* From Peter Dreyfuss: I keep reading and hearing about these
astronomical salary figures of the Cup sailors, and although I'm happy
(jealous) for them, I've got to wonder how those salaries can be justified
when the Cup is 90% (?) decided by which boat is faster. Common perception
is that NZL was faster than Prada in 2000, NZL was faster than DC in '95,
Koch was faster than Il Moro in '92, etc. (The '88 Cup !! I might have
steered that one to victory!) Back to Australia II being faster than
Liberty - I'm not going to argue that Buddy Melges isn't a great sailor, or
that Dennis would beat Coutts in equal boats, but, it seems to me that
those precious seconds per mile (and the $$ associated with them) are what
makes the difference and as such, deserve the lion's share of any Cup
* From Ike Stephenson: I'll also defend the Around Alone website. If you
enter in www.aroundalone.com/raceviewer/archive/ and then click positions
chart you get position info. Alternatively bookmark or commit to memory
www.aroundalone.com/apps/raceviewer/Position which will get you straight to
the positions. As a sailing web designer, it works for me.
Also, whether on or off the water the whole team at Kingfisher/ Offshore
Challenges is the best in the business. All whiners about the relative
merits of commercially viable sailing should study their story deeply.
* From Scott Diamond: Today it is snowing in Chicago and we are still
talking about the Mac race, but not for positive reasons. Our sport is one
rich in History and Protocol. It does not matter who drove or if for 30
hours, I sailed a 600 mile race and one of the owners never touched the
helm or a sheet for that matter, but his name went on the trophy. Did I sue
because I drove 25% of the time and did not get my name on the trophy, no,
I was just happy to be there. If Podmojersky decided to go on the race late
in the game, then it is his responsibility to make any changes, and he had
plenty of opportunity to do so himself. The Chicago Yacht Club is right in
standing by their NOR. And by the way, the Chicago Yacht Club was willing
to put both Rob's and John's name on the trophy, but John said no he would
not accept that.
It is one thing to air our sports dirty laundry with in the inner circle of
sailors but by bringing it out in the public forum it does our sport no
good - it makes us look like a bunch of rich spoiled brats. Anytime you
have more than one person on a boat, it is a team sport and you are only as
good as your worst team member.
* From Lenore Goldman: Illusion's elapsed time was 34:53:22. There is
virtually no way that Mr. Podmajersky drove for 30+ hours...especially with
the storm during the race. Other boats...like some of the
Farr40's...changed helmsmen every 30-60 minutes during the race due to the
heavy winds and sea conditions.
* From Angus Cooper (re Clipper 2002 Round the World Race thread about
their race going from Brazil to New York in August): Mark Michaelsen's
comment that Hurricanes generally happen after August is rather misleading.
He is correct the stronger hurricanes do generally happen later in the
season. However there still have been many Hurricanes in August and that's
not including their 'little' brothers, tropical storms & depressions.
There's a good sight showing all the tracks of the previous season's
hurricanes / tropical storms at www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastall.shtml.
Since 1996 there have been about 12 hurricanes in the North Atlantic in
August. Having a look at the Clipper route, Hurricane Alberto 3-23rd August
2000 and Hurricane Felix 8 - 22nd August 1995 would have been big trouble
for the fleet. Luckily for them they weren't running through the area on
those years. Didn't the Whitbread and the Volvo go through during June?
Seems to be a more sensible time to me.
Three months after sustaining a closed head injury with skull and vertebrae
fracture, US Sailing Team member Kimberly Birkenfeld (Miami, Fla./Myrtle
Creek, Ore.), has made notable progress in healing. She spent 62 days in
four different hospitals on two continents after the August 8 accident that
occurred while she was training for the Athens 2002 Regatta. Birkenfeld,
the number one ranked Women's Windsurfer on the 2002 US Sailing Team, is
continuing her out-patient therapy from her family's residence in Portland,
"I am very proud of my family for what they were able to accomplish and
endure," Birkenfeld said recently. "I just hope that none of the wonderful
people I have met in life and sailing, or their loved ones, get hurt and
need to go through what I went through. Thank you to everyone who helped
out while I was hospitalized in Athens. All my sailing equipment and
personal belongings made it back to my home in Miami. The only thing that
came up missing was my sailing booties!"
Birkenfeld's progress to date is attributed to the strength of her athletic
body at the time of the accident. That said, she has difficulties walking,
mobility in her left arm is restricted, and she suffers symptoms of
numbness and spasticity that mean she cannot work, drive, swim or sail.
Noting that she was a business consultant with an M.B.A. from Harvard, and
an athlete accustomed to an above-normal level of physical functioning, her
physician has asked her physical therapist to be extra-aggressive in
working toward Birkenfeld's goal of a return to her previous activities.
"This has been quite an experience - and disappointingly detrimental to my
Olympic campaign. I am working very hard in recovery and really look
forward to the day when I can sail, compete, and travel the world meeting
Future updates on Birkenfeld's progress will be available at
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. www.protectorboats.com - 877-664-BOAT
After the rocket ride of the last few days, Brad Van Liew's Class 2 Open 50
Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America now has an upwind slog just before the
finish. This morning the wind was out of the East Southeast at 25 knots and
Brad was sailing in a choppy sea at an average boatspeed of 9-10 knots. The
cause of the headwinds is a small, localised high pressure system that
formed behind Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, but ahead of Bruce Schwab's
Class 1 Open 60 Ocean Planet. Schwab has altered his course to the north so
that he can sail over the top of the system and remain in good wind. ETA's:
Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is still on track for a daytime finish on
Wednesday 27th November around 1000 - 1200hrs local time (GMT+2), while
Ocean Planet for 0600hrs local time on 28th November.
The second boat in Class 2 is Tim Kent on Open 50 Everest Horizontal who
has wisely sailed much further south, even as far as the 'Roaring Forties',
in order to escape the edge of the high pressure and stay in strong breeze.
His closest rival, Canadian sailor Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada was
able to cut the corner on the High and so has sailed less distance - but at
2 knots less boatspeed. - www.aroundalone.com
HIGH SCHOOL SAILING
On a beautiful, though chilly, day for sailing at the Belmont Station of
the Chicago Yacht Club, New Trier High School took the title of Great Lakes
Champion. Three separate divisions sailed six races each. The 2002 Great
Lakes Championship saw tough sailing conditions with the breeze direction
shifting 180 degrees. The New Trier 2 team took the overall honors, edging
their fellow classmates of the New Trier 1 team by merely two points. Final
results: 1. New Trier 2 - 63; 2. New Trier 1 - 65; 3. St. Ignatius - 66; 4.
Iggy/Bob/Matt - 74; 5. Loyola 1 - 118. Complete results:
Does Peterson have Prada over a proverbial barrel? Word out of Auckland
tonight is that the America's Cup Arbitration Panel has just handed down a
decision in the question asked by Prada about any continuing residency
requirements for designer Doug Peterson, who was terminated by the
syndicate on 3 October. ACAP has ruled that Doug Peterson, "must maintain a
principal place of residence" in Italy until the first race of the
America's Cup Match (15 February, 2003). Moving back to San Diego, or
remaining in Auckland (as he has done since he was terminated) could risk
his Italian residency status thereby putting Prada in breach of the Protocol.
There will not be an issue of Scuttlebutt tomorrow on Thanksgiving Day.
However we will resume our normal distribution schedule again on Friday.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If you can't make it as a lumberjack, do they give you the ax?