SCUTTLEBUTT #219 -- November 17, 1998
(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
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:
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:
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUMS
Why do they lock gas station restrooms? Are they afraid someone might clean