SCUTTLEBUTT #276 - February 10, 1999
IT'S HEATING UP IN AUCKLAND - a special report by John Roberson
While the battle for the America's Cup is still eight months away, war has
broken out on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf between spy boats for the
challengers, and support boats for the defending New Zealanders. In a
series of incidents reminiscent of similar scuffles that have occurred in
the built up to America's Cup's for the last twenty years, Japan's Nippon
Challenge have accused Team New Zealand of ramming one of their support boats.
General manager of the Nippon Challenge, Terry Newby, says the hull of
defenders Team New Zealand's support boat came within 10cm of the head of
Chris Main, his boat's driver. "There was foul language and threats from
the Team New Zealand chase boat driver," Newby said, "Chris is a tough
lad, having been sailing for years, it knocked the stuffing out of him."
"We were out there looking at what other syndicates are doing, observing,
taking photographs and trying to get a gauge on what is happening with the
America's Cup. We view it as a serious matter conducted by an individual
who has taken the law into his own hands," Terry Newby concluded.
The Nippon Challenge said their driver was abiding by syndicate protocols
in not venturing within 200 metres of competitors' yachts, claiming they
were more than 400 metres away when the larger craft headed toward him.
The incident, which occurred late last week, has been reported to the
police maritime unit prompting Sergeant Lloyd McIntosh to comment, "We will
not tolerate this sort of thing."
Steve Connett, towboat captain for the New York Yacht Club's Young America
syndicate, said a Team New Zealand support vessel had "bumped" his 13m
tender in the gulf about two weeks ago. "They cut us off and ran into us
but not as extremely as the Japanese," he said, "it is an intimidation
thing and a violation of marine safety. We have tried to diffuse the
situation, our management have spoken to theirs, there's no justification
for this behaviour, you could seriously injure or kill someone doing that
sort of stuff."
Sergeant McIntosh said: "We have had a complaint which we are taking
seriously, it is more to do with allegations of threatening behaviour and
inappropriate use of boats. Having spoken to Team New Zealand
representatives about last week's incident, he said: "they denied any such
incident took place but they accept that words have been exchanged." --
PINEAPPLE CUP INSIGHT
-- From Ben Mitchell on Roy Disney's new R/P 74 Pyewacket -- The race
started in 10-12 knot southerly that became a 6-8 knot southerly as soon as
we hit the gulf stream, travelling north at about 4 knots and very smooth
seas. Pyewacket jumped to an early lead, clearly liking the higher end of
the wind range with RX Sight and Trader close behind. As the wind faded RX
Sight began to ease ahead throughout the late afternoon and evening.
After rounding Issacs the fleet encountered little to no wind for the next
ten hours. During the light air RX Sight, Trader, and Pyewacket remained
close until the Northerly breeze filled in and made for a close fetch down
through the Bahamas. With the breeze again up Pyewacket appeared quite a
bit faster than the other boats and began to stretch its lead.
Once around the East end of Cuba the big ( and I mean big) A-sail was set
and we were greeted with a pleasant 18-22 knot run to Jamaica. With gusts
up to 26-28 knots the boat behaved and surfed just like its supposed to.
The finish ended up in light air and in the dark around 7:45pm about three
hours off the old record set by Windward Passage back in 1971.
All in all, a fun race. Lakota finished about ten hours ahead of Pyewacket
to break their own multihull record.
-- From Dee Smith, navigator RX Sight -- RX Sight, is the x-Nicorette,
x-Charles Jordan, ten year old Whitbread vet, sailing under the Swedish
flag. When the wind was light and forward of the beam, the RX was very fast
using a code 0 masthead kite. But in the power reaching the new Pywackett,
left us for dead. The light beginning of the race got us the lead for
around 100 miles and the needed corrected time to beat Pywacket on PHRF.
The new Pyewacket almost broke the record and finished at the best time at
7:30 at night. We were 3.5 hrs behind them at noon but the sea breeze died
the last 60 miles, we ended up finishing almost 5 hrs behind. The same
with Trader and Rima and I believe we corrected out by less than 1 hr.
They are absolutely everywhere. They're in Norway, Spain, the UK and
Canada. There are two each in Japan, Australia and Mexico. Italy has three
and there are 10 in the USA. San Francisco even has one now. And every one
of these Ullman sail lofts will give an email quote on a new sail to show
you just how affordable improved performance can be for your boats:
MATCH RACE RANKING
Gavin Brady won the Australia Cup last week in Perth and moves into second
place on the Open Rankings. Chris Law (GBR) now lies in third place, but is
just 58 points behind Brady.
ISAF's decision to delete the third year's results (now only results in the
most recent two years will count towards a skipper's rankings score) has
resulted in little change overall. Previous top-ten skippers, such as
Russell Coutts and Ed Baird, will see that they need to continue competing
on the match race circuit in order to keep their ranking points high.
Coutts has dropped eight places, and Baird has dropped fourteen places
since the 15 December 1998 issue.
Paula Lewin (BER) remains top of the Women's Rankings, with Betsy Alison
(USA) in second place but only counting seven events. The two women lie in
13th and 22nd positions respectively on the Open Rankings. The top 8
skippers on the Women's Rankings as issued on 24 August 1999 will receive
automatic invitations to the first ISAF Women's Match Racing World
Championship in Genoa, Italy from 23-30 October 1999.
As usual the top 10 skippers on the Open Rankings will be invited to
compete in the 1999 ISAF Open World Match Racing Championship. The Rankings
issued on 30 June 1999 will be used to determine those invitations.
Rankings: 1. Peter GILMOUR (JPN) 2. Gavin BRADY (NZL) 3. Chris LAW (GBR) 4.
Bertrand PACE (FRA) 5. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV) 6. Markus WIESER (GER) 7.
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) 8. Tomislav BASIC (CRO) 9. Jochen SCHUMANN (GER) 10.
Sten MOHR (DEN) 11. Jesper BANK (DEN) 12. Luc PILLOT (FRA) 13. Paula LEWIN
(BER) 14. Neville WITTEY (AUS) 15. Francois BRENAC (FRA)
Complete rankings: http://sailing.org/iyru/99febmatchrace/12mrranking.html
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
We read all of our e-mail, but simply can't publish every submission. Those
that are published are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max)
or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Ken Haring, Corrective Lateral Righting Moment Specialist -- The
Curmudgeon's commentary in 'Butt#264 about the race organizers of the Key
West Race Week making things easier for the competitors struck a welcome
note. I agree notifying the competitors of course and premature starters
(OCS boats), via VHF, would make things easier for the racers. In addition
it could remove a lot of hostilities toward a race committee due to
misunderstandings, not to mention make my job easier. As a corrective
lateral righting moment specialist, part of my job, while moving from side
to side, is to confirm the course and start times.
Why is this lack of communications with the racers on the West Coast so
prevalent? Is it arrogance on the part of the RC or an "us against them
attitude" or what? I know the RC is not required to use radio
communication with the competitors but it would be nice. Some committees
do notify the over early boats but I have never known one that notified
them when they had cleared.
If such a change of policy or attitude could be arranged it would make
racing a lot more fun. I know of many times (and so do all who race) where
this would be welcomed. (It would have eliminated all the protests against
the RC last Saturday when they changed the course and the flag could not be
seen due to light wind.)
-- From Craig Speck, owner NM43.2 VIM 3 -- I thought Jon Gundersen's
message was right on. The racing at Key West was the most competitive and
enjoyable that I have ever participated in. The presence of the European
teams and the opportunity to sail against them as well as to interact with
them at the evening recognition events was fantastic. It's too bad many of
the other US based IMS boats did not attend as they missed an opportunity
to participate in one of the Worlds best events this year and meet sailors
from other parts of the world.
-- From Mark Mills, MILLS DESIGN -- The mistake with IMS was ever pushing
it as a rule which could rate all boats fairly. That's an unreasonable
criteria for success, and one which made IMS look like a failure in the
early 90's. Over the past few years however, the criteria for IMS has
generally been more clearly defined as close racing at Grand Prix or
regional level events, which by their nature involve aggressive campaigns
willing to field new boats. By this standard IMS has been very successful
since as Frank Whitton pointed out with similar, well-optimised designs,
IMS provides very close racing.
Look at the Farr ILC 40 Brava, twice world champion, member of one winning
Admirals Cup team, very nearly twice, now competitive in the 99 Key West
five years after her launch! Or Key West stalwart Infinity, the NM 50
which won her class how many times in her reign starting in 1992 or '93?
Yes, it is for IMS specific designs -- unlike Paul Elys' SC52. How could a
cruiser/racer really expect to compete with flat out Grand Prix racers
anyway? Yes later designs are more competitive than earlier ones, that's
always been part of handicap (and one design) boat racing and won't be
changing anytime soon. I wonder if the One-Design camp is really in such a
robust state of health as the market becomes clogged with competing
designs, and the less excellent sailors discover they are tired of propping
up the back half of the fleet forever. The pendulum swings both ways....
--From Frank Whitton -- The IMS rule hasn't changed dramatically since its
inception some 25 years ago. What has changed is the boats - with materials
and technology leading the way. The rule was originally conceived with
funds donated from IOR owners. The MHS (now IMS ) was supposed to "equate"
cruisers and racers fairly with a design proof rule. Both of these premises
are honorable, but utterly and naively impossible to achieve because what
is fair is only in the minds of the users. The National Authority needs to
promote IMS as a rule that is fair when racing apples against apples and
oranges against oranges.
Skip Ely's SC 52 Elyxir is a beautiful 'apple,' but if he raced in IMS and
lost he would be unhappy. More so to the other 'oranges' that did race in
IMS. If you had entered and won they would have been equally unhappy. i.e.
DON"T race apples against oranges!!! Further more the rule shouldn't be
blamed for this mindset. The rule possibly could be fair to both -- albeit
in there own separate classes. The problem is that the powers to be don't
promote the rule to this end by telling you this.
In my humble opinion, IMS has the ability to be infinitely better than PHRF
for many reasons if it is given a chance and properly used within the
constraints of the apples /oranges argument. Americap and ORC Club are
nothing more than simplified versions of this.
-- From Bruce B. Nairn -- I agree it would be nice for the America's Cup to
throw millions at sailing. Unfortunately the money is not there for a
multitude of reasons. But more to the point is Laszlo's comment about
half-hearted "youth programs". This does not pass muster. I have had the
opportunity to be involved with two AC youth programs. Young America's and
America True's. A huge amount of time and effort goes into these programs
and the results are amazing. Young America's effort is a thoughful
conscientious long running program that has reached thousands of kids that
never even heard about the America's Cup (and sailing) until YA put it on
the map for them. America True's program, while not having the reach of
YA's, is also impressive in it's audience of disadvantged youths.
Considering that these syndicates are not chartered to "promote the sport"
it's impressive in the extent that they do.
-- From Chris Ericksen (Re Jim Nichols' letter in 'Butt #274) -- Very
clever. I really liked the "crying-movie-in-a-firehouse" line. I have no
idea what it has to do with anything any of us care about, but it was
damned clever. And Ford only purchased the Volvo automotive division, not
the marine or heavy-truck divisions--not that that has anything to do with
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
How will Ford's purchase of the Volvo Car Corporation affect the Volvo
Ocean Race? "As far as we can see, and it is early days yet, it shouldn't
have any impact on the Volvo Ocean Race," said Lizzie Green, a spokesman
for Volvo Events Management, which is the race organizer. Her view was
echoed elsewhere by the marketing consultants to the Swedish company, AB
Volvo, which owns the race. It is expected that Ford will do nothing to the
Volvo Ocean Race other than to provide enhancement. - Bob Fisher, Grand
For the full story: http://www.sailingworld.com/gps/
"It was another great day on the Hauraki Gulf! We had three training races
and many practice starts with AmericaTrue today. The breeze as usual was
quite shifty and the conditions very tricky. The wind today averaged around
13-15 knots, which made for tight racing all day. I have been very happy
with our relationship with AmericaTrue. We are both benefiting from sailing
together and our program is advancing rapidly. Our Crew work, boat
handling, tactics and strategy is getting tested in race conditions and
improving everyday. We will continue to work with AmericaTrue for the
remainder of the week.
"Unfortunately our weather man "Clouds" does not expect sailing conditions
later this week. He is predicting that a tropical depression will cause
strong winds Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, which would make these days
unsailable...we shall see! The weather changes fast here...A typical Kiwi
comment is, "If you don't like the weather wait a minute". -- John Kostecki
Standings (Distance to finish in parenthesis) CLASS I: 1. Thiercelin (5036)
2. Autissier (5083) 3. Hall (5106) 4. Soldini (5108) CLASS II: 1. Garside
(5202) 2. Van Liew (5216) 3. Mouligne (5291) 4. Yazykov (5306)
Around Alone website: http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Beauty fades - dumb is forever.