SCUTTLEBUTT #245 - December 28, 1998
TELSTRA SYDNEY TO HOBART YACHT RACE
US maxi Sayonara is expected to cross the finish line late this evening or
early tomorrow morning to take line honours and possibly the race record in
the Telstra 54th Sydney to Hobart yacht race after enduring, along with
other yachts in the fleet, among the toughest conditions ever experienced
in the history of the bluewater classic. The record, set by the German maxi
Morning Glory in 1996, is 2 days, 14 hours, 7 minutes and 10 seconds and to
beat this record, Sayonara must finish before 0307 hours tomorrow morning.
The last report from Sayonara's Satcom C unit this afternoon was that the
maxi, skippered by American computer company chief Larry Ellison was abeam
of Freycinet where winds have eased off the Tasmanian east coast. At last
report, she was 31 nautical miles ahead of Australia's champion maxi
Brindabella with whom she has duelled all the way since the start of the
race in Sydney on Saturday. However, in what appears to be a cat and mouse
game, neither yacht came up on radio at the 2.05pm position report from the
fleet. Late this afternoon, race officials were endeavouring to make
telephone contact with the leading two yachts to ascertain their position
and likely ETA.
Of the fleet of 115, a total 67 of yachts have retired or taken shelter
along the New South Wales coast leaving 48 still racing to Hobart. (Earlier
race reported mentioned 80-knot winds.) Meanwhile up to 25 aircraft, both
fixed wing and helicopters, along with a Navy frigate, having been carrying
out an intensive grid pattern search and rescue operation in Bass Strait
for the missing yacht Winston Churchill.
The veteran 15.5m cutter which competed in the inaugural Sydney to Hobart
race in 1945 is owned and skippered by Sydney yachtsman Richard Winning
with eight other members of the crew including several prominent yachtsman
on board. There has been no contact with the yacht since last evening,
several hours after Winston Churchill had sent out a distress call with the
skipper advising the radio relay ship Young Endeavour that they were taking
to their life raft as the yacht was taking large quantities of water.
Earlier today the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announced with regret
that two crewmen had died aboard the Tasmanian yacht Business Post Naiad
after it was rolled twice in heavy seas in Bass Strait. Advice from the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra is that owner/skipper
Bruce Guy suffered a heart attack when the yacht was rolled and that crew
member Phil Skeggs had drowned when the yacht rolled a second time,
trapping him in his safety harness. The remaining crew members of Business
Post Naiad, a Farr 40 built in New Zealand, were winched off the yacht by
helicopter early this morning and taken to a Victorian airport. - Peter
Official website: http://www.syd-hob.telstra.com.au/
Sailors -- What a very sad day for Sailing and especially for the families
of our friends who lost their lives in the Sydney Hobart Race. Every time
this happens one becomes very reflective. I can remember when as a young
boy a close friend was drowned in a 14ft Dinghy Race. The man who died
being lifted out by helicopter in the Fastnet Race was a man I had sailed
Dragons with many times. The loss of Larry Klein, a superb sailor, on San
Francisco Bay impacted all of us. Then there was the tragedy, for all of
sailing, when we lost Duncan Munro-Kerr. Now we are again faced with loss
of life at sea. Although we all know it is a risk sailors take when they
challenge the elements it is always so personally devastating because they
are our colleagues. To all the Families and on behalf of the International
Sailing Federation can I express our sincere sympathy. -- Paul Henderson
Frustrated by slack winds, three adventurers trying to make the first
round-the-world flight in a balloon abandoned their quest on Christmas day,
splashing down in the shark-infested waters off Honolulu. The men- American
yacht racer Steve Fossett, British mogul Richard Branson, and Per
Lindstrand of Sweden - quit halfway through the journey after they lost the
high-altitude, high-speed winds they needed to carry them across Pacific to
North America. All three were rescued by the Coast Guard and were reported
to be in good condition.
The balloonists were being brought ashore at Barbers Point, about 10 miles
west of Honolulu, by two Coast Guard helicopters. From there, they were to
be taken by ambulance to a hospital for an examination. U.S. customs
inspectors were waiting to meet them and have them sign the declaration
forms required of all those entering the United States.
They had gotten caught in a low-pressure system and feared they would be
stuck there for a week. "I'm afraid the weather has beaten us," Mike
Kendrick, the team's project director from the ground control center in
England, said earlier in the day. "It's a bit of bad luck. We almost made
it. I think we missed the weather by an hour."
At the time the balloon was landing, Fossett said he was thinking "about
the fact that I've made three attempts to fly around the world just in
1998, and it's getting pretty discouraging. I think it's time to go
sailing," Fossett said. - Associated Press
There were more than 100 teams competing at the 505 World Championships
this year, but the top two boats in the final standings had a full
inventory of Ullman Sails. Ullman Sails also finished 1-3-4 at the 505 NAs.
It probably won't be very long before the other 505 competitors start
catching on and order Ullman Sails too. How about you? You can get a quote
on your new sail ONLINE right noweven if you sail something other than a
505. But hurry --the Fall price discounts are now in effect:
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) or clarity -- or to exclude
-- From Paul Henderson, ISAF President -- You maybe reading of the Scandals
which are attacking the very foundations of the International Olympic
Committee. I can tell you that from first hand experience during the
Toronto 1996 Bid, less than 5% need disciplining and that must be done.
To show you the foolishness of how the media is "mudslinging" they are
attacking a most respected man in Sailing Dr. Jacques Rogge who is being
accused because he raced a "Yacht" in Sydney Harbour. Has the World gone
insane -- especially the press? When was it a crime or even worth noting
when an Olympic Sailor goes Sailing?
Hopefully the Yachting Press will stand up and point out to their
journalistic colleagues how completely inane they have become by lowering
their profession to such ludicrous depths. Yes there must be reforms but
there is a solid foundation of honorable IOC members such as Jacque Rogge
on which to rebuild that trust.
-- From Rick Merriman -- I have been a NAYRU/USYRU/US Sailing member for
over 25 years. While I am a big supporter of their efforts, I am irritated
over the $25 fee for deciding a person's eligibility status. How come for
$65 I receive a years worth of Sailing World, administration of numerous
committee's and the overall cost of running US Sailing, but it cost $25 to
administer a form in which by answering the questions you are
self-declaring your eligibility status.
I realize that it is an extra cost for US Sailing to take this on for the
racing classes, but the costs do not seem justified. I am sailing on a
1D35 in Key West with a crew of seven. Each person onboard must have their
eligibility declared, total revenue 7X25=$175 per boat. There are 21 1D35
registered 21X175=$3675 from just the 1D35 class alone.
In addition to the $25 fee, if you are not a US Sailing Member you must
join for $65 or you can become a nonmember/nonresident for $75. While it is
a good way to get people to join, why not write the fee into regular dues
or add an extra $5 or $10 to determine a persons eligibility status.
I would be glad to make some easy money on the side for the kind of money
they are making off this fee. If there is any 'Butt reader that can explain
this, please do so. I am open to answers.
-- From Bruce Golison (regarding Jim Durden's bullet points, i.e., too many
races, too spread ut, race management concerns, worthwhile trophies, etc.)
-- I am hoping that Southern California's new "Volvo Inshore Championship
series" which combines San Diego Y.C.'s "Yaching Cup", Cal Y.C.'s new "Cal
Race Week" and our "North Sails Race Week" will provide the West Coast
yacht racers the kind of compact, high energy and owner and crew friendly
sailing circuit that is lacking on the west coast.
I was really excited to be invited by SDYC to join the new Volvo series and
my hope is that it will show other yacht clubs that by combing forces, a
bigger and better sailing event can happen - and this is good for sailing!
-- From J. C. "Chris" Luppens (regarding Jim Durden's thoughts about
"substandard" race management quality in general, and protest committees
who are "fuzzy" on the rules.) -- I am certain these are true statements,
though I have only seen them on rare occasion here in the Gulf Coast. As a
member of US SAILING's Race Management Committee and being a Certified
Judge, as well as a fairly active racer, the mere fact that the statements
are being made is bothersome.
While US SAILING seems to take at least a fair amount of criticism, one
thing that US SAILING does for the benefit of all sailors is set standards
for quality Race Management and Judging. The new Judges certification
program that includes testing, annual reporting and other requirements is
creating a core of qualified people.
The Race Officer program is also being revised to include similar
requirements, including testing, and will result in only qualified people
being certified. Supporting US SAILING, and insisting that events use at
least one certified person on the race management team and another
certified person on the protest committee will help insure that there is an
acceptable level of quality at any event attended.
When people ask what is US SAILING doing for me, this is one area that
there really should be no question that sailors needs are being addressed.
Improvement in any of the items that Jim mentions, will improve the sport
and participation in the sport. This is one area that I believe has a
solution in place.
-- From Jim Pugh -- Further to Scuttlebutt #244 and report on Telstra
Sydney-Hobart Race, line honours in this year's (1998) Newport-Bermuda Race
were taken by the Reichel-Pugh Alexia, ex-Windquest (designed in 1992), not
Sayonara. As Windquest, this yacht also took line honours in the 1994
Newport-Bermuda Race and line and handicap honours in both the Chicago and
Port Huron Mackinac Races of that year.
Scuttlebutt was correct in noting that the Reichel-Pugh Maxi Morning Glory,
owned by Hasso Plattner of SAP, holds the Sydney-Hobart record. In 1997,
Morning Glory also took IMS Fleet and Handicap Honours in the 1997 Fastnet
Race and also holds the Cape Town-Rio Race record.
The very successful Reichel-Pugh 66' Exile, which finished 9 minutes behind
the Maxi Brindabella in last year's Sydney-Hobart, is sitting in San Diego
for sale, tricked out and ready to win all.
-- From Jeffrey Littell -- The coverage of the Sydney-Hobart race on the
web site is incredible! The live audio/video coverage of the event, audio
conversations with competitors while still racing, frequent updates, and
quality production have raised the bar for coverage of any yachting event.
I hope everyone has a chance to look at this web site to see the
possibilities available to our sport.
LASER CLASS REPORT - by Bill Hardesty in Australia
The Laser class at the Sydney international Regatta was full of high level
intense competition and tough conditions. 98 of the world's very best
Laser sailors showed up for what was the most competitive laser regatta I
have competed in to date. In preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games to
be held in the same waters, the race committee used a similar format to
what they used at the Pre-Olympics and the forested format for the 2000
Olympics. Sydney Harbor has 5 main race courses that they run races from,
A, B, C, D and Offshore. All courses are full of congested pleasure boat
traffic and those oh so dreadful Sydney Harbor Ferries. Courses A is
furthest inland and course D is at the harbor inlet. The Laser Class did
two days of fleet qualifying on course C and the final two days on course D.
The first two days of racing were done in fleets that were divided using
the international ranking positions and recent regatta results. Course C
was perfect for the tactically minded, light air, and flat water sailor.
With the course limited by land, the windward legs were approximately .5
miles in length with a course of multiple laps to make up for the
relatively short course. The first day breeze was ranging from 10-14 knots
from the southeast. Things started out quite well winning the first race
after coming from behind followed by an 8, 9 in the following races. The
last race of the day was exciting as the local Friday night big boat series
headed for their reach mark located 50 yards from our windward mark. The
top group had the pleasure of rounding just as the 50 footers approached
with beers in hand and tonnage rights that far out weighed the laser
hailing starboard tack right of way. No one was hit by these big boaters
but many close calls were reported and hiking pants soiled.
Day two brought lighter winds, 8-12 knots from the northeast but nicer
overall conditions with sunshine and warm weather. Things were again going
quite well as the day started out with another come from behind second
followed by a third and a seventh. I was caught over the line early in the
last race of the day and was disqualified but it was not a big deal,
confidence was high as things rolled into the final series.
The final series being held on course D which is also known as the "washing
machine." It has a very confused wave pattern generated by the large in
size and numbers of ferries, and waves entering from the ocean as they
bottleneck in the harbor entrance and bounce off the shorelines. The
breeze was up in the 18-22 knots range from the north-northeast. Things
were a bit more difficult and I found that my heavy air speed is still not
quite at the top international level, but it is closer than it was a month
ago. The breeze was very puffy and quite randomly covering the course. It
was a game of getting a good start and having options to choose when to
make that first tack towards the next puff and shift. I had a shocking 38
in the first race after taking some risk and losing big on the final
downwind followed by a 14 and 19 in the two following races.
The final day of racing was similar to the previous day with only a
southeasterly breeze. The waves were bigger and the left side was
extremely favored as it was less restricted by land. After a bad start in
the first race I learned just how favored the left was after going right
and finishing with a 29. The other two races were similarly difficult with
a 22, 17 respectively.
Unfortunately the first two days of qualifying only counted as one race.
Your overall finish in the qualifying series was carried over as your first
race finish in the final series. Michael Blackburn, local Sydney resident,
found himself right at home, winning the regatta with a worst race of a 4
in the final series. Robert Scheidt of Brazil had a great series but had a
couple of relatively bad races near the end to lose to the regatta. Great
Britain's Ben Ainslie had another strong showing finishing third. Nothing
new to see these three in the top. The rest of us are getting better but
still have a bit of polishing when the breeze builds.
We are now headed back to Melbourne to celebrate Christmas in the summer
heat of Australia and get up to speed before the upcoming World
Championships. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all! - Bill Hardesty
PARALYMPIC REGATTA 2000
Sailing will be a full medal sport for the Paralympic Games in Sydney,
Australia, with the Paralympic Regatta scheduled for October 20-27, 2000,
less than three weeks after the Sydney Olympic Regatta. Entries will be
limited to 20 boats/countries in the Sonar class, and 25 boats/countries in
the 2.4 Metre class. - Jan Harley
CLASS I: 1. Soldini (728) 2. Golding (865)3.Thiercelin (1051) 4. Autissier
(1135) Class II: 1. Mouligne (1319) 2. Garside (1690) 3. Van Liew (2348)
Event website: http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.