SCUTTLEBUTT #247 - December 30, 1998
TELSTRA SYDNEY TO HOBART RACE
In a remarkable example of sailing skills and seamanship in the worst
weather in 54 years, the 35-footer AFR Midnight Rambler finished the 630
nautical mile race at 5.04 am today, 10th in the fleet and ahead of many
larger yachts. Provisional progressive computer calculations, based on this
morning's position report "sked" from the decimated fleet, place AFR
Midnight Rambler at the top of the IMS grand prix racer division, ahead of
the Farr 47 Ausmaid and the Farr 50 Ragamuffin, which have both finished
AFR Midnight Rambler, is a Robert Hick designed 35-footer, owned by
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia members Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas, who
bought the former Chutzpah from well known Melbourne yachtsman Bruce
Taylor. Ed Psaltis, 38, has been dreaming about winning the Hobart race
since he was five years old. He has competed in 15 races while his father
Bill, a past commodore of the CYCA, has raced in nearly 20. Ed this morning
admitted it has been a bitter sweet result for his father who, while
delighted about his son's result, also lost close friend Jim Lawler off
Winston Churchill in the vicious storm in Bass Strait.
Having only purchased AFR Midnight Rambler just four weeks prior to the
race start, Ed has put his victory down to the fact that he read the book
'Lessons Learnt from the Fastnet Race', the findings from that tragic race
in England in 1979 when 15 lives were lost. "Unlike the others, we hit the
worst when it was still daylight so we could see the waves coming. I then
remembered reading that the only way to take on waves of that size was to
take them on at a 60-70 degree angle rather that pulling away, risking
being swamped and rolled by them".
As at 8 AM, 14 yachts had finished the Telstra 54th Sydney to Hobart,
leaving 31 still at sea, with 70 yachts retiring at the height the storm in
Event website: http://www.syd-hob.telstra.com.au/index.cfm
MORE SYDNEY - HOBART
(The following summary, with its useful built-in hot links, is reprinted
with permission from http://www.Yachtingnet.com)
The race is still on, with 14 boats in, but the stories about what went on
the past several nights are filtering in. Terrifying stories about sinking
boats, overturned life rafts and sailors slipping overboard into the
darkness are now being told.
It even left the overall winner, Larry Ellison aboard Sayonara, dazed and
wondering if this was his last sailboat race.
Initial reports were that the fleet was caught by surprise. However,
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology put out a warning 24 hours before the
start of the race.
The sponsoring yacht club, the Cruising Club of Australia, has agreed to do
a review of the race and see if any changes need to be made. Although, some
wonder if an open inquiry would be more appropriate.
At least two officials have said the race should go on. Victoria's premier
has lent his support to race organizers. And Australia's Prime Minister,
John Howard, said the race should continue.
Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo around the world, agrees
and thinks that while this year's race was a tragedy, it is human nature to
test our limits.
Meanwhile, the usually boisterous finish line in Hobart, legendary for its
parties, was quiet, everyone thinking of those who had died.
In the case of three of the victims, their death may have come about
because of a fateful decision to cut a vent in their overturned life raft.
Nearly everyone says that this week reminds them of what happened nearly 20
years ago in the Fastnet.
A TRIBUTE TO GLYN CHARLES:
I was lucky enough to sail a Soling with Glyn during the Winter of 1997/98.
Glyn who had represented Great Britain in the Star Class at the Savannah
Olympics had decided to go back into the Soling because of the loss of the
Star for Sydney 2000. Glyn had a long history with the Soling Class, twice
being runner-up in the British Olympic trials in 1988 and 1992. We (Glyn,
Richard Sydenham and Myself) sailed from Hayling Island, Hampshire most
days throughout October, November, December and January.
Glyn couldn't get enough of sailing. He loved being on the water. I
remember one day it was blowing 30 knots, freezing cold and with a large
swell. We'd been training for around three hours and Richard and I were
both cold and exhausted. Whilst sailing upwind on a tuning exercise, Glyn
looked to us both and said 'I could do this all day!'. This was a typical
comment from Glyn. His enthusiasum for the sport of sailing was something
else. He was a man who was prepared to work for what he wanted.
Glyn moved back to the Star after it was put back in as an Olympic Class.
He sailed successfully on the circuit with Mark Covell and was placed 5th
on the ISAF World rankings. Glyn had proved his status as one of Britains
best sailors. Among his achievements included winning the British Laser
Nationals and helming the British one tonner 'GBE' at the 1993 Admirals
Cup. Glyn was thought of as one of the countries finest offshore sailors.
The loss of Glyn will hit the whole British Yachting community. He was
liked by all, was approachable, friendly and one of the best people you
could ever hope to sail with. My thoughts go to his girlfriend Annie and to
Glyn Charles - A great sailor and a great friend. -- Jim Turner, 1996 &
1998 Fireball World Champion
Yes, the curmudgeon has read Rule 4 - "A boat is solely responsible for
deciding whether or not to start or to continue racing."
The words are brief, concise and carefully crafted to let Race Committees
completely off the hook. Obviously, if an organizing authority wants to
send boats out into a hurricane, that's just fine as far as the Racing
Rules of Sailing are concerned.
Before the Telstra Sydney to Hobart Race, Sayonara owner Larry Ellison was
calling the event "the greatest ocean race in the world." But after
Sayonara got to Hobart, it was a very different Ellison who talked with
reporters. "It was just awful, he said. I've never experienced anything
remotely like this. It's been a very emotional experience to get here. This
is not what this is supposed to be about. A lot of us are upset.''
All of us have been to buoy racing regattas where the Race Committee has
prudently abandoned the racing and sent the boats back to the yacht club.
However, that does not seem to happen very often offshore. Why is that? Do
we really want to look the other way as yacht racing evolves into the
ultimate "extreme sport" or should the Race Committees take some
I'd be interested in your thoughts.
There is no doubt that the Asian financial crisis has been the catalyst in
slowing down the NIPPON CHALLENGE 2000. Peter Gilmour is still handling the
sailing aspects, and will be the only foreigner involved in the challenge.
The syndicate is now not expected in New Zealand until just before the
start of the challenger series in 1999.
AGE OF RUSSIA -- Must be regarded as a very unlikely starter.
SPIRIT OF HONG KONG -- There has been no resolution to the financial
problems they left behind in New Zealand after their aborted first showing.
The America's Cup Challenge Association, the organising authority for the
challenger series, believe the Hong Kong entry could still make the
starting line, but we believe this must surely be wishful thinking.
SPIRIT OF BRITAIN -- Still does not have funding in place and are
maintaining a relatively low profile. The tough UK market for sponsorship
is proving difficult, but nevertheless Angus Melrose, the project director,
is confident of making the start line. -- Excerpt from DEFENCE 2000, which
is available from John@roake.gen.nz for US $48 per year.
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters may be edited for space (250 words max) or clarity -- or to exclude
-- From Jordan J. Dobrikin -- Pursuant to Jim Durden's and J.C. "Chris"
Luppens comments in a/the Race Management "thread". The US Sailing and
Canadian Yachting Associations Programs are excellent: and there are many
well trained Race Management Officers and Judges available in most, if not
ALL, racing areas . The problem is that they are ignored and/or under
utilized; by to many, Yacht Clubs, Sailing Clubs/Associations and other
Organizing Committees. Even worse many of these Clubs and Organizations are
not even, aware, of the resources available to them.
What is needed is a concerted effort to promote the use of trained,
qualified, volunteers. All to often Race Organization as well as
Management, is left to a subset of the participants; thus opening up the
possibility of "conflict of interest" This is, indeed, a touchy subject;
however it occurs, primarily in "club" racing, more often than acceptable.
--Jeffrey Littell-- I just received the 1999 master calendar for the
Association of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs which lists 160 events for the
year. Is there any wonder why race management, protest committees, and the
quality of trophies suffer? We're our own worst enemies!
-- From Peter Huston -- To Dave Irish - Yes, I do have a better idea than
"user pays". It's called "sponsor pays". If Mumm doesn't want to step up
to the plate and pay this bill, I'm sure there are plenty of other
companies who would be willing to do so, if of course, there was a
comprehensive sponsorship program in place within US SAILING.
-- Scott MacLeod -- I met Glyn Charles at the '85 Laser Worlds in Sweden
and then sailed Finns against him. He was a great sailor and competitor
but more importantly a great person. He will be missed. Does anyone know
of any type of electronic devise one could wear whereby if they are lost
overboard they could be tracked like a small EPHIRB? In this electronic
age you would think the technology exists.
Slow sails are never cheapno matter how little they cost. But you can
improve your boat's performance with quality racing sails at a price that
is truly affordable. Let the professionals at Ullman Sails help move your
program to the next level. You can get a price quote online right now:
The last sailing of the Chicago to Mackinac race saw a great deal of
controversy over whether or not a new record was set for the 333 mile
course. This debate has continued onto the letters to the editor pages of
sailing magazines months after the finish.
In attempt to find the facts of the controversial situation Torresen
Sailing Site conducted research about regulations concerning sailing speed
records, and the actual records for both the Chicago to Mackinac and Port
Huron to Mackinac Course. We received help from several sources. We did
not find records for all categories, and ask that people who know of
additional record holders contact us. Our research has turned up the
following records and record holders.
For the Chicago to Macinac course we have the following records:
- Outright: Stars and Stripes sailed by Steve Fossett a 60 foot multihull
- 19 hours 50 minutes and 15 seconds, an average of 16.65 knots.
- The any type singlehanded record: David Rearick on a 33 foot monohull in
- a time of 1 days 17 hours 53 minutes and 50 seconds for an average speed of
- 7.92 knots.
- The monohull record: Dick Jennings on his 67 foot monohull Pied Piper, in
- a time of 1 day 1 hour 50 minutes 44 seconds for an average of 12.88 knots.
We have been unable to uncover the following Chicago to Mackinac records:
With apologies to those we may have overlooked we urge you to submit record
claims in any of these categories to: email@example.com
- Any type of vessel, sailed singlehanded by a woman
- Monohull vessel, sailed singlehanded by a woman
- Any type of vessel, any number of all female crew
- Monohull vessel, any number of female crew.
On the Port
Huron to Mackinac course we have the following records:
- The outright and any type singlehanded record is held by Jan Gougeon
- sailing his 35 foot multi hull in a time of 1 day 2 hours and 9 minutes an
- average speed of 9.96 knots.
- The any type singlehanded, and monohull singlehanded by a woman record:
- Cheryl Cameron sailing a 36 foot monohull in a time of 2 days 11 minutes
- for an average speed of 5.39 knots.
- The monohull any number of crew: Windquest, Dick Devoss' 70 foot monohull
- in a time of 1 day 8 hours 13 minutes and 1 second for an average of 9.70
- The monohull singlehanded record: Jim Otton on his 40 foot monohull in a
- time of 1 day 15 hours 46 minutes and 22 seconds for an average of 6.51 knots.
We failed to discover records for these categories:
- Any type all female crew
- Monohull all female crew.
Again, the records presented are believed to be accurate, but we are open
to corrections and submissions in the categories in which we failed to
uncover a record holder- Excerpt from a story on the Torresen Sailing Site.
For the full story: http://www.torresen.com
VOLVO YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
43 nations have sent a team to compete Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World
Championship which is held in Africa for the first time. The races will be
begin at 11 AM on Wednesday 30 December, and will finish on Tuesday 5
Event website: http://sailing.org/rsa/98youthworlds/volvo_youth.htm
Standings (distance to finish in parenthesis) CLASS I: 1. Soldini (375) 2.
Golding (611) 3. Thiercelin (754) 4. Autissier (774) CLASS II: 1. Mouligne
(853) 2. Garside (1332) 3. Van Liew (1685) 4. Yazykov (1997)
Event website; http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
It's easier to be nostalgic when you don't remember the details.