SCUTTLEBUTT #234 -- December 10, 1998
LIVE FROM ST. THOMAS
The curmudgeon is in the US Virgin Islands -- giving up his personal time
to insure the 'Butt-heads get first-hand and insightful reports from the
Marriott Frenchman's Reef International Match Race series. And on my first
day down here, I learned there is some interesting stuff going on in the
world of big league match racing. They seem to be making up the rules as
they go along.
Apparently, the new Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) have created some
unexpected problems on the match racing circuit. Recognizing this was not a
good thing to happen with the America's Cup Challenger Trials Series less
than a year away, the ISAF opened the door to some "experimentation."
On Wednesday evening, prior to the welcoming reception at the St Thomas YC,
there was a meeting between the umpires and the competitors, discussing
proposed amendments to the Sailing Instructions for this event. Each of the
proposed amendments would change the RRS for this regatta only. US
Sailing's rules guru, Dick Rose, was on hand to participate in this
experiment and help with the language of the amendments.
One of the proposed amendments would have changed the definition of an
overlap to exclude spinnakers and spinnaker sheets. During the discussion
that followed, it quickly became obvious that the sailors did not like this
change. After a well-mannered exchange (honest), everyone agreed it was a
bad idea, and the amendment was dropped from the sailing instructions.
Proposed changes to rules 17 and 18 met with a more favorable reception,
and will be used for this event. The idea is to try them on the water and
see if they actually "improve the game."
The window for these experiments shuts on March 30. A month later the match
racing rules will be finalized, and those will be the rules that the AC
syndicates will live with in Auckland.
The match racing here in St. Thomas starts today. We should have a full
report in tomorrow's 'Butt.
WORLD SAILING CHAMPIONSHIP
America's Cup skippers Colin Beashel and New Zealander Rod Davis are among
entries flooding into the 1999 World Sailing Championship headquarters at
the Port Melbourne Yacht Club on the foreshores of the city's vast Port
Phillip. Beashel, bronze medallist in the Star class at the 1996 Atlantic
Olympic Games and reigning Star world champion, and Davis, an Olympic gold
medal winning crew in the Soling class, will contest the Soling keelboats
at the '99 Worlds. Also entered for the Solings is current world Soling
match racing champion Jochen Schuemann from Germany.
What will be the world's largest ever sailing regatta starts on January 2,
when junior sailors from around the world contest the International Cadets
at Royal Geelong Yacht Club. This will mark the start of three weeks of
world class sailing action, spread around the vast bay known as Port
Phillip from Geelong on the south-western shores and Blairgowrie on the
south-eastern shores, north to the bayside suburbs of the city of
Melbourne, capital of the State of Victoria.
Colin Beashel was mainsheet trimmer on the illustrious Australia II when it
broke the shackles of the New York Yacht Club off Newport, Rhode Island, in
1983. He returned to the America's Cup arena for the Australian defender
series in Fremantle in 1986-87, this time as skipper of Australia IV. Rod
Davis, then an American citizen, also was one of the challenging skippers.
Beashel has won five world championships, at least seven Australian titles
and numerous major international regattas and in September became the first
Australian to win the world championship in the Star class. With the Stars
not racing at the '99 Worlds, Beashel has elected to contest the Soling
Schuemann is a triple Olympic gold medallist, once in Finn dinghies and
twice in the Soling class and is on his sixth Olympic campaign for Sydney
Another prominent European entrant is the Atlanta Finn class bronze
medallist Roy Heiner from The Netherlands whose other successes have
included winning a leg of the 1997-98 Whitbread Race around the world.
Entries have closed for the 1999 World Sailing Championship, except in the
Soling class, with fleets exceeding target numbers in most of the 11
classes in the regatta and international competitors already arriving to
"test the waters" of Port Phillip.
On November 29, the Swiss America's Cup training yacht arrived at Auckland
aboard a Mediterranean Shipping Co. container ship. During the following
days, a temporary base was set up at the American Express America's Cup
Village, while hull, keel, rudder and rig have been reassembled.
The boat has now been launched and the crew is ready to begin sailing early
next week, under the guidance of Marc Pajot. Helmsman Jochen Schumann and
tactician Enrico Chieffi will also attend the training sessions. The entire
team is now facing a busy period. Christmas and New Year's celebrations are
likely to be reduced to a minimum!
"Gathering as much local information and knowledge as possible is an
essential part of our preparation" says Project Manager Marc Pajot. "We are
very satisfied, that in addition to completing extensive research and tests
as part of our R&D program, we are now one of the few teams able to
practice on site in New Zealand."
The FAST 2000 Design Team is currently busy at the drawing board to
finalize the plans for the Swiss Made racing boat. Construction will begin
later in January '99. -- Hans U. Bernhard, FAST 2000
Hey racers and boat owners! Got a good action picture of you boat? Send it
to Frank and let him transform it into stitches for your yachting apparel.
Once the design is complete you own it and it can be sewed on just about
any fabric that you can wear. The cost is cheap and the work is done by a
professional specialty artist. Call Frank Whitton at Pacific Yacht
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) or clarity or to exclude
>> From Marc Hollerbach - (Re: Ali Meller's comments on "Hunting") Thanks
Ali for making the rest of us aware that this is once again "on the table".
I agree with your comments - from the opposite end of the size spectrum.
Racing an SC70 in breeze presents the same problems with potentially deadly
results. Even without a collision, what about broken bodies, people in the
water from crash tacks? The fact that we have not yet seen a problem with
the hunting rule (our owner/drivers, like you, don't have the stomach for
it) is a non-issue. The rule allows it to happen, therefore it will. We had
several series this summer in which the series could be won by only 2 boats
by the final day. This is a custom made invitation to hunt the other boat
out of the race.
This is a rule created by and for match racing which makes little sense on
crowded, and less professional, fleet courses. I would like to see us leave
it in the former venue and use a little more common sense in ours.
>> From Jack Mallinckrodt -- I strongly endorse Ali's well-expressed
thoughts on hunting. Two more points, particularly directed at the club
level i.e. the vast majority of our racing. 1. The present wording of rule
16, Changing Course is not consistent with the good intention of rule 14,
Avoiding Contact. Rule 16 (and definition) encourage serious damaging
contact. Just fortunately most big boat drivers, have the common sense to
not push this dangerous rule. 2. Except for umpired events, any resulting
collision is essentially impossible to resolve. P says he did everything
possible, "promptly and in a seamanlike way". S says "no he didn't". End
of evidence. Impossible to resolve objectively.
Seems to me the problem is in "room". That's difficult, probably
impossible to define in objective terms; that is, in terms that are at
least in principle, measurable. That's exactly why it is necessary to
state the ROW boat's limitations, rule 16, in terms that provide some
margin of safety, as old rule 35 did.
I would suggest that the essence of old rule 35 should be reinstated as the
default rule, and that the present rule 16 wording be made a separate
appendix alternative to be invoked by specified wording in the SIs for
classes or events that really want to play chicken.
SAILING ON TV
The Dateline NBC Around Alone story discussed in 'Butt #233 was bumped from
its scheduled time slot by a story about the impeachment inquiry in
Washington, D.C. At present,NBC has rescheduled the piece on the race to
air this Sunday, 13 December, during the show's evening broadcast (check
local listings for time and station). Should something unexpected arise,
it is possible the story could be bumped again, but for now it looks like
Sunday is the day. -Dan Miller
DynaYacht's successful Schock 40 prototype "Red Hornet" has been sold to
Kathleen and Paul Parks of Annapolis, Maryland. Kathleen and Paul have
campaigned a series of boats named "Sundog", most recently a Melges 30, and
have twice won the Chesapeake High Point Championship.
Launched in January 1997, the canting ballast-twin foil (CBTF) sloop has
enjoyed a successful racing career on the West Coast, Great Lakes and
Florida. "Red Hornet has proven to be much more efficient and reliable than
other moveable ballast systems including water ballast and canting keels,"
said DynaYacht president, Chuck Robinson.
SYDNEY TO HOBART
The former Whitbread Round the World maxi ketch The Card has been accepted
by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia as a late entry for the Telstra
54th Sydney to Hobart and will race south under her sponsor's name as
Nokia. The huge 83-footer, skippered by young Sydney skiff sailor and
sometime bigboat skipper David Witt, will be the largest yacht in the 117
boat fleet setting sail on Boxing Day, December 26. While she is larger by
several feet than the two line honours favourites, the 78-footer Sayonara
from the USA and local 76-foot maxi Brindabella, Nokia will not necessarily
be faster as she now 10 years old and has done little racing in recent
years. - Peter Campbell
Telstra Sydney to Hobart website:
Two days ago, Isabelle Autissier informed race headquarters that she was
experiencing problems with the hydraulic system that controls her canting
keel, and that she might have to "slow a bit" in heavy airs. She intimated
that she might have to head for port. Everyone thought she meant Cape Town.
Clearly, her heart is set on Auckland. At 0940 GMT this morning, Autissier
was roaring along at an average speed of 16 knots and had opened up a lead
of 30 miles over second place Giovanni Soldini. What if she had complete
confidence in her boat?
Autissier was making better than 17 knots-two knots faster than her
competition-when she discovered problems with one of the two hydraulic keel
rams that are utilized to swing the keel and, in turn, stabilize her
60-foot PRB. A steel plate that serves as the linkage between the ram and
its integrated mount in the boat's carbon hull is the source of the
trouble. Autissier decided to press on after designer Pascal Conq confirmed
that she could sail on with one working ram, which was enough to safely
hold and swing the keel. The leaders are now flying along before the second
cold front they've encountered thus far. It's Autissier's first test in big
breeze since reporting the breakage. As Mike Golding, Marc Thiercelin and
Josh Hall-holding third through fifth-can attest, everything seems to be
working fine. -- Herb McCormick
Standings CLASS I (Distance to finish in parenthesis): 1. Autissier (5697)
2. Soldini (5727) 3. Golding (5755) CLASS II 1. Garside (5954) 2. Mouligne
(6013) 13. Van Liew (6116)
Around Alone website:
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.