Scuttlebutt Today
  
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT #219 -- November 17, 1998

SUPER YACHTS
(The following is an excerpt from an editorial by Andrew Hurst in the December issue of Seahorse magazine.) The new Transatlantic monohull sailing record, recently set by Bob Miller's high-performance super-maxi, Mari-Cha III is the first of many such records that will soon be falling prey, hopefully at an increasing rate, to such boats. The sailing industry has benefited greatly from recent evolution in the broader superyacht market, most notably when the refinement of hydraulic sail-handling systems made large sailing yachts a viable alternative for those fortunate, very wealthy individuals, who previously would only have considered purchasing large motor yachts.

In terms of comparative cost, you can buy a great deal of high-performance super-maxi, for the equivalent cost of a moderately large new motor yacht. In addition, if more of such budgets continue to become available for sail, rather than just powerboats, it is inevitable that designers, especially those such as Mari-Cha designer, Philippe Briand, with their roots in raceboat design, will be 'leaning' on more of their clients to test the traditional performance envelopes at large scale.

The attraction to the right customer can be immense; witness the great enthusiasm with which Robert Miller encouraged Lionel Pean and his crew recently, even when they were driving his boat to what must have seemed like potential destruction, clocking speeds of 30 knots in winds of nearly double that.

In the last two years we have seen the launch of several such potential high-performers, capable of destroying records that would hitherto have only been considered the preserve of pure raceboats. Two magnificent Frers designs, built by Wally Yachts, Stealth and Tiketitan (to be featured in next month's Seahorse), obviously come to mind here, the latter an ultra-stylish 88 footer, replete with large carbon rig and a swing-keel; a Transpac special in any other language.

Three very large multihulls are currently under construction for The Race 2000. Even if (unlikely - I hope) they are joined by no other similarly sized rivals, then between them these three alone should be easily capable of shredding practically all of our current outright oceanic sailing records. -- Andrew Hurst

To read the whole story: http://www.seahorse.co.uk/9812-dec/edit.htm

RHOUTE DU RHUM
Laurent Bourgnon was still in the lead. Marc Guillemot is still in second place, 36 miles behind Primagaz and 7 miles in front of Paul Vatine, who finally picked up some wind. Vatine is now in front of Alain Gautier, by 9 miles. Loick Peyron is 140 miles behind Franck Cammas. The fastest in the fleet today is Francis Joyon who is flying at 16 knots. The distance between Joyon and Bourgnon is 430 miles. As for the monohulls, Jean-Luc Van den Heede (2nd ) is resisting the return of Catherine Chabaud, now in third place. And Thomas Coville is not letting up either : Aquitaine Innovations is 22 miles ahead of VDH and 34 ahead of Chabaud.

For more details: http://www.rhum.org


COINCIDENCE?

In one-design racing you need boat speed -- not a soft rating -- to come away with some hardware at a major regatta. Do you suppose it's just a coincidence that Ullman Sails were used on the boats that won the Sabot Nationals (Junior and senior), the Lido 14 Nationals, the Santana 20 Western Regionals, the Tornado Nationals, the ULDB 70 class in the Big Boat Series, the Schock 35 High Point Series and the 505 Worlds? Find out how affordable it is to improve your boat's performance at the Ullman Sails web site:

http://www.ullmansails.com/


LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
(Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) and clarity and anything resembling a personal attack will quickly disappear!)

>> From ISAF President Paul Henderson -- (Women on ISAF Committees and other such ISAF observations.) Please understand ISAF is a World Governing Body and although USA and Canada maybe very far advanced in their comprehension of Women's issues some parts of the Sailing Family are not. It is therefore a major step forward to have at least 2 women on all committees. It may be clever for someone living in the biggest and most affluent country in the World to call it "tokenism" but unless someone makes it happen it would not have. Preaching to the converted is easy changing inbred conceptions is difficult. When ISAF demanded women's events in the Olympics we got the same rebuttals but without the mandatory inclusion Women's Sailing gets very little support in most countries. Reality is sometimes academically difficult to accept

>> From Rich Hazelton -- If a person decides they don't need to wear a PFD because conditions don't warrant it, do we still have to pick them up when they fall overboard? Maybe US Sailing should look into a rule change.

>> From Cliff Thompson -- I am responding to Dick Hampikian remarks about PHRF. First of all, I hope I'm not the only sailor in the world defending PHRF, but come on, folks, look at the numbers. Almost every boat in the country has a PH rating of some kind. PH has allowed many NEW sailors to race and has been the BASE of offshore racing in Southern California for many years now. PH has been a positive influence on the sport, not a detriment. The rating procedures using the "Good old Boy Network", could use some improvment, and race adminstrators should look at improving these methods.

And a simple comment about "measurement rules". I have purchased, and have had measured, several boats over the years to the various rules, to include IOR and MORC. If I bought a custom IMS or other measurement rule racer, say about 40-45 feet, from Bruce Nelson, it would be competitive for maybe one year. Bruce, or any other designer, can beat any of these measurement rules.

The answer is One Design. There are plenty of classes. Pick one. After an owner has cut his teeth in PH, he/she should be steered in that direction, not in the direction of a measurement rule. Administrators in the sport should look at and help the sport in this manner.

>> From Jay Sinclair -- How do we get the masses to get excited about a sport they cannot watch on TV? Unlike most other sports, sailing is not the easiest to cover for television. The sailtrack idea for America's Cup coverage was brilliant, but it still didn't make a whole lot of sense to someone that didn't understand the rules and tactics of sailing. The really exciting footage is from the ocean racing events, but once again it is very difficult to cover.

I think Industry people should commit themselves to doing their best to advancing the sport. The big companies have little incentive to toss money around at sailing. How do they get their moneys worth? Just because other sailors saw their logo on a boat when they were sailing, doesn't necessarily mean they will go out and buy the product. They need to know that they are hitting a target market with there advertising.

We as a whole need to help bring awareness to the sport. Right now we have little factions doing their best to get recognition for their designs, but nobody is trying to get the whole thing going in one direction. The national and international authorities need to come up with some plans in the near future if we want this sport to grow. It is forums like this that get ideas going, why not use them to help get the sport going in the right direction as well?

>> From Mike Benedict -- Comments from the "cheap seats" on rating rules. An often-made point, which I feel is very valid, but not made recently in your ongoing letters debate is the simple idea of knowing how you did at the finish. No computers, no selecting wind ranges, no time-on-time, no B.S. Unless you are racing in a large group of one-design boats, and don't care about the rest of the fleet, PHRF is the currently-used rating system which allows this.

Whether it is the Transpac, Long Beach, Ensenada, or a Hot Rum - you know if you beat your friends and rivals, or if they hosed you, again. Yes, ratings are politicized. Yes, conditions alter the "fairness" of your rating. But, it generally works at other than the Grand Prix levels.

>> From Dobbs Davis -- I'm surprised Frank Whitton, an IMS measurer and one who would presumably be comfortable with numbers, would not embrace (or even promote!) the simple idea behind IMS PCS scoring: different boats perform differently in different conditions. Mallinkrodt's model may be complex, and yes, there is a matrix of values which changes for wind speed and course type, but the concept behind it is that simple. If you accept this premise, how could you possibly accept a single number to reflect a boat's performance?

As for promotion, I know of at least one article done by Greg Stewart in Sailing World, which is distributed to all US Sailing members, on how PCS works and how to use it. John Wright's Americap system has also been all over the pages of American Sailor..if people don't take the time to read and understand it, then they shouldn't dismiss it as "too complex". They should also not be in the front of the queue to bitch about their "unfair" PHRF ratings. (Hats off to Dick Hampikian and the Cal YC for trying out Americap!)

I will, however, agree that IMS management, from the ORC on down, could be vastly improved, and maybe their recent alliance w/ISAF will make those necessary improvements...

PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS
The 1998 Mumm 30 World Championship for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club Trophy begins today off Hilton Head Island (South Carolina). Presented by Lewmar Marine, this regatta has drawn 35 boats from six nations.

Yesterday, 30 crews sailed a light-air practice race. After a 1.5-hour postponement, the race committee started the fleet in an under-5-knot, south-southeast breeze. With seven- to eleven-foot tides in this region, racers had approximately 1.5 to 2 knots of current on the race course, which is located approximately 2 miles offshore.

According to racing lore, it is bad luck to win the practice race-and some competitors peeled away before the finish and took a DNF for today. But E.T.I.C.A., an Italian entry helmed by owner Francesco Iacono, did not heed the superstition: This boat from Milan won the practice race with Daniele Cassinari calling tactics. -- Cynthia Goss

Event website: http://www.sailing.org/regattas/mumm30worlds

AROUND ALONE -- A tale of woe
Russian sailor Viktor Yazykov-who turned 50 over the course of a voyage during which he suffered food poisoning; hurt his knee; lost a shroud, a rigging wire that supports his mast; pressed on with balky self-steering gear; and performed surgery on his abscessed right elbow-guided his 40-foot homemade vessel Wind of Change past the finish line here this afternoon to complete one of the most difficult passages in the annals of the Around Alone race. "So many troubles," he said, shortly after his mid-afternoon arrival (1252 GMT). "In all my life, I've never had so many bad things happen to me in such a short time."

Despite all that, Yazykov's elapsed time voyage for the 7,000-mile voyage-he started on October 2 after arriving late in Charleston on his qualifying sail-was 44 days, 12 hours, easily the fastest time ever posted for the trip by a 40-foot monohull. But Yazykov was given an 11d, 07h, 30m penalty for missing the arrival deadline, and his race clock began running when the fleet set out on September 26. Thus Yazykov's official time for the leg is 62d, 04h, 07m, 25s.

Yazykov, who was forced to take a scalpel to his swollen elbow late last week, said that his upper arm now seems fine, but that he has lost feeling in his right hand. "It doesn't work, it feels like it's sleeping," he said. He added that his greatest worry when undergoing the surgical procedure-which he did under the satellite-connected supervision of Dr. Dan Carlin of the World Clinic in Boston, who relayed step-by-step instructions via COMSAT email-was leaving the boat to fend for itself for the 22 hours he was totally out of commission.

Yazykov originally injured the elbow during his qualifier, then aggravated it further on Leg 1 when he banged it hard while down below. The final straw came when he was forced up his mast in a Force 10 gale to rig a replacement shroud for his mast, a job he accomplished using spare Spectra halyards, but one that took five hours and seven trips aloft. "[The jury rig] was great, maybe twice as strong as before," he said. "But that's when the real trouble [with the elbow] began." It was not Yazykov's only serious problem. He also endured two bouts of food poisoning, which he learned was caused by eating the moisture-absorbing packets that come in freeze-dried food. "

Even so, Yazykov sailed a spectacular first leg. When asked if he was pleased with his Steve Baker-designed "Open 40," he said, "More than pleased. She's doing everything I want. My time could've been better, but my autopilot worked only about 15-percent of the time. -- Herb McCormick

Event website http://www.aroundalone.com

THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUMS
Why do they lock gas station restrooms? Are they afraid someone might clean them?