SCUTTLEBUTT #286 - March 10, 1999
GUEST EDITORIAL - By Peter Huston
As US SAILING approaches it's semi-annual meeting in Dallas next week,
perhaps the leadership would be well served to ask itself some hard
questions with the intent of completely changing its business practices to
better reflect today's recreational marketplace. Of course, if it is first
concluded that maintaining a stagnant status quo and its structure is a
worthy goal, then read no further. Enjoy oblivion, because it's right
around the corner.
Here are some statistical facts and assumptions. US SAILING has roughly
40,000 members - a fact. Conventional wisdom says that in the US there are
400,000 recreational racing sailors, and at least 4,000,000 sailors who
don't race. We have a 1% market share.
Here are some questions to ponder. Is US SAILING relevant in any way to
the average recreational sailor? If the answer is "yes", then please
explain why over 90% of the recreational racing sailors have stayed away in
droves as members. Why do 99% of all sailors make a decision to not join
this organization? And we are relevant? To whom, ourselves? That's a
really powerful, dynamic market isn't it. Buggy whips? Aisle 11.
US SAILING enjoys a congressionally granted monopoly through it's
association with the Olympics. Monopolies aren't as bad for the consumer
as they are bad for the company that is granted the monopoly. With no
external free market pressure, there is no reason to innovate. Just as
Yahoo! has aggregated customers by giving away their core product, so too
should US SAILING give away membership. US SAILING could be the Yahoo! of
sailing service with corporate sponsors gladly picking up the tab for
operating expenses. But a monopoly with 1% market share? Who in their
right mind would listen to this pitch?
US SAILING is a business, and while not in a traditional for-profit
corporation sense, the members are the shareholders. If your membership in
US SAILING was a share of stock, you'd be screaming bloody murder about the
lack of price appreciation. The price of US SAILING "stock" isn't valued in
money, it's valued in people. Our DJI hovers around 1. "Youth sailing up a
tick, but a big selloff in IMS today resulted in a .001 decrease..."
What is US SAILING's product? Insurance programs? Nice, necessary, but
BORING. The Racing Rules? Yawn. Judges, umpires, appeals - wow, just
what I want to liven up a party. What sort of music comes with this
package - Lawrence Welk or Wayne Newton?
Are there market forces that are going to prevent the brand "sailing" from
ever being widely accepted? Many people believe that the America's Cup is
the holy grail of sailing, the ultimate contest, that the resultant
splendor, glory and pageantry of the event will somehow transform sailors
into sports royalty. No, probably that the America's Cup is nothing more
than the Dennis Rodman of our sport, a uniquely talented freak show that we
can't seem to live with or without. But comparing Rodman to the America's
Cup may do The Worm a disservice - at least he acknowledges and capitalizes
on his freakishness. Who then is the Carmen Electra of the America's Cup?
Did "Young America" really just sign Jerry Springer as their spokesmodel?
Or was it Ricki Lake?
When in Dallas, perhaps US SAILING would want to ask itself how it could
gain 200,000 members this year. Start by getting rid of the silly $75
Group 1 eligibility fee, the entire Appendix R fee structure for that
matter. Then give away FUN! Figure out how to aggregate eyeballs - they
are there for the taking within the sport. What's the best target audience
that we have to deliver to sponsors - is it upscale liquor drinkers or the
purchasers of business products/services?
And remember to complement the Emperors on their new clothes... - Peter Huston
CONGRESSIONAL CUP - Report by Rich Roberts
LONG BEACH, Calif.-Furious pre-start combat between No. 2-ranked Gavin
Brady and Whitbread Round the World Race winner Paul Cayard was the main
event of opening day at the 35th Congressional Cup match-racing regatta
Tuesday. There were three collisions and countless protest flags waved even
before the starting gun of their third-round match. Brady-a two-time winner
of the event-drew a penalty and did the required 270-degree turn that
launched Cayard to a 34-second win for a 3-0 record and sent both skippers
to their rule books back at the dock at the Long Beach Yacht Club.
His perfect day left Cayard tied with defending champion Peter Holmberg of
the U.S. Virgin Islands. Brady, the 25-year-old New Zealander who won in
1996 and '97, is in seventh place at 1-2 behind a NATO force of Germany's
Markus Wieser, France's Luc Pillot, Italy's Francesco de Angelis and Long
Beach's own Scott Dickson, all at 2-1, with 15 rounds remaining through
Saturday. Dave Perry, the 1983-84 winner; Australia's Neville Wittey and
Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison are at 0-3.
The wind did not initially permit racing Tuesday, but after a 2 1/2-hour
wait a sea breeze of 10-15 knots filled and built from the southwest. But
as it clocked west from south, it caught Brady off guard. He had Wieser
stuffed to leeward at the start, but the German gained enough leverage with
the shift to force Brady to tack left and split to the opposite side. From
the favored side, Wieser led by 2:37 at the first mark-race over.
Brady came back to beat Wittey in Round 2, as Cayard held off Pillot by
half a boat length, leading into their showdown. Brady's tactician, Rich
Matzinger of Newport Beach, said, "We practiced with them Monday doing
pre-starts, and every time [Cayard] came in on port [tack] we thought he
was too aggressive." Brady, sitting on the side of his boat with a rulebook
in his lap, said, "I've had this before with Cayard in San Francisco."
A few feet away, Cayard consulted with Dave Perry, a two-time winner of the
event but, more relevant, a rules expert who helped guide Cayard through
his relentlessly successful assault on New Zealand's bowsprit in the 1992
America's Cup when Cayard sailed for Italy's Il Moro de Venezia team.
Cayard said, "The pre-start was incredibly aggressive. I thought I was
dancing on the ropes."
The critical incident was their third collision, which bent a rear
stanchion on Cayard's Catalina 37-the sturdy boats used in this event.
Cayard, near the starting line, was sailing across Brady's bow on port tack
two minutes before the gun as the latter approached on starboard, which
usually has right-of-way. However, the rule--No. 16 in the book--involves a
right-of-way boat allowing a "burdened" boat opportunity to get out of its
way. Apparently, on-water umpires Pat Leahy and Barbara Farquhar ruled that
Brady did not.
Cayard and Brady missed the evening press conference while sorting out who
was to blame for the damage-Rule 14. Each skipper posted a damage deposit
of $2,500. Holmberg, who recently dropped his Team Caribbean America's Cup
campaign to join Team Dennis Conner, had only one familiar face on his
crew: bowman Ben Beer from the Virgin Islands. He had never sailed with the
other four, including tactician Ken Read, who is Conner's designated
helmsman for the America's Cup. He beat de Angelis, Wieser and Perry, but
said, "It's only three races. There are 15 to go." The one on everybody's
mind right now is the next one between Cayard and Brady, probably Friday or
Results: ROUND ONE-Markus Wieser, Deutscher Touring YC, Germany, def. Gavin
Brady, Royal Hong Kong YC, 3 minutes 0 seconds; Peter Holmberg, St. Thomas
YC, U.S. Virgin Islands, def. Francesco de Angelis, YC Punta Ala, Italy,
0:12; Scott Dickson, Long Beach YC, def. Dave Perry, Pequot YC, Southport,
Conn., 0:30; Paul Cayard, St. Francis YC, San Francisco, def. Betsy
Alison, International Yacht and Athletic Club, Newport, R.I., 0:17; Luc
Pillot, France, def. Neville Wittey, Royal Sydney YC, Australia, 0:37.
ROUND TWO-De Angelis d. Perry, 0:15; Dickson d. Alison, 0:23; Cayard d.
Pillot, 0:03; Holmberg d. Wieser, 0:29; Brady d. Wittey, 0:24.
ROUND THREE-Pillot d. Dickson, 0:08; Holmberg d. Perry, 0:27; Wieser d.
Wittey, 0:09; Cayard d. Brady, 0:34; de Angelis d. Alison, 0:54. STANDINGS
(3 of 18 rounds)-1. Tie between Cayard and Holmberg, 3-0; 3. Tie among
Dickson, Pillot, Wieser and de Angelis, 2-1; 7. Brady, 1-2; 8. Tie among
Perry, Wittey and Alison, 0-3.
CREW LISTS Betsy Alison--Nancy Haberland, tactician; Nancy Hood, bow; Molly
McCloud, mast/pit; Merritt Palm, trimmer; Dianne Sullivan, trimmer; Joan
Gavin Brady-Rich Matzinger, tactician; James (Skip) Baxter, trimmer; Pieter
van Nieuwenhuyzen, bow; Tracy Usher, trimmer; Craig Wilson, mast; Collette
Paul Cayard-John Kostecki, tactician; Josh Belsky, Curtis Blewett, Sean
Clarkson, Morgan Trubovich.
Francesco de Angelis-Torben Grael, tactician; Paolo Bassani, Claudio Celon,
Pietro D'Ali, Michele Ivaldi, Stefano Rizzi.
Scott Dickson-Steve Flam, tactician; Keith Kilpatrick, trimmer; Doug
McLean, bow; Randy Smith, pit; Greg Weeger, trimmer.
Peter Holmberg-Ken Read, tactician; Ben Beer, John Gluek, Jon Gunderson,
Dave Perry-Tom Kinney, tactician; Jim Barton, pit; Mike Herlihy, trimmer;
Kent Massey, trimmer; Chuck Simmons, bow.
Luc Pillot-Michel Meader, tactician; Thierry Douillard, bow; Jules Mazars,
trimmer; Jean Francois Nevo, trimmer; Jean Philippe Salioux, pit.
Markus Wieser-Karol Jablonksi, tactician; Wolfgang Kafer, pit; Eberhard
Magg, bow; Jan Schoepe, spinnaker trim; Tom Baranowski, genoa.
Neville Wittey-Ian Storer, tactician; David Edwards, trimmer; Joshua Grace,
bow; Keith Ives, pit; Greg Kay, mast.
Event website: http://www.lbyc.org/cup.html
CONGRESSIONAL CUP TRIVIA
Randy Smith reports the best quote from the Opening Night Banquet came from
Betsy Allison: "Just one more thing guys, if you see me coming at you with
a look of confusion in my eyes, beware. I may be having a "blonde moment"!
Four J/120s lined up at the MEXORC, but only Dave Janes' JBird had an
Ullman asymmetrical kite. Janes not won only his class - he won the overall
trophy in MEXORC. His JBird also won the overall trophy in the downwind
Puerto Vallarta Race just a week earlier. Everyone knows that Ullman Sails
makes fast asymmetrical spinnakers for little boats like the Melges 24, and
now it's obvious they have also broken the code for larger keel boats:
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
We read all of your e-mail, but simply can't publish every submission.
Letters that are published are routinely edited for clarity, space (250
words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From John Roberson, Australia -- In the America True story today, they
said no one had ever won the Cup with a one-boat campaign. How about 1983,
Bondy only had Australia II. Aren't people's memories short!
-- From Ike Stephenson -- In reply to Mr. Mitchell's comments: 1. I never
went to sea with Eric Tabarly, but without question I wish I could have.
2. As to my exuberance not being quelled until a death results there have
been deaths in competitions such as Around Alone, Vendee Globe. However, I
fail to see why I should quell my exuberance and ring my hands, when these
sailors are doing what they want of their own free will. Although the
deaths are tragic, I will never put myself in a position to legislate
anothers enjoyment. As with other things we have no right to restrain
others activities unless they harm others in a forceful manner.
In reply to Mr. Rousmaniere's comments: 1. Why do they have to race such
fragile boats ? That is a valid question. If their experiences can result
in less fragile boats, then what is the reason behind restraining them? How
will they make progress without the supreme test of circumnavigating?
Again, why should we legislate an activity that doesn't harm others?
I think you can see my bottom line is that: people should do what they want
when they want. Solo sailors are no exception.
-- From Giles Anderson -- For those of you who would like to read what the
outside world thinks of us, check out the March 8, 1999 edition of Forbes,
page 172 for a review of Key West Race Week. Admittedly the article is
aimed at the high income readers of Forbes (which excludes me, of course)
but is this the image we want to project? A mere $310,000 to get involved
it proclaims! What a deal, sign me up.
-- From Walter Johnson -- I think that starting Mexican races from LA adds
a bit of excitement to distance races. It makes you work at getting through
the wholes. The same goes for rounding the Cape. It adds a since of timing
and luck to the came. The same for sailing in to the bay at PV. It my
opinion that this adds to the experience and knowledge side of the game.
You have to pay your dues, and believe me I have learned the hard way. Who
else was crazy enough to sail a 30 footer to Cabo the long way!
-- From Big Mike Howard -- Sitting here on the airplane reading Scuttlebutt
on my way home from Saint Martin, and the Heineken Regatta. Sailed aboard
the Swan 60 Inovision owned by a very nice Dutch Gentleman. It was great
racing. Good wind, lots of sun. Great competition. It was nice to see over
250 boats out racing. A rarity on the West Coast these days.
The new Sagamore looked to be fast. Very pretty boat. I am anxious to line
up against them on Sayonara in Cowes this summer.
I too liked Madro's idea of the Cabo finish, a day in town and then off to
P.V. Maybe with this format they could entice people to have the regatta in
Manzanillo. Better angle of sail from Cabo and not much further.
SAILING IN THE NOOD
This March, San Diego will be a hub of sailboat racing activity when
hundreds of sailors convene for the GMC Yukon/Sailing World NOOD Regatta, a
three-day sailing series hosted March 19-21 by the San Diego Yacht Club.
The NOOD regattas, a national circuit sponsored by GMC Yukon and organized
by Sailing World Magazine, include nine events held across the country.
Each event draws that region's top racing talent-and as the former home of
the America's Cup, San Diego is not short on world-class racers who call
this part of the world home.
The first San Diego NOOD, held in 1998, drew America's Cup talents such as
Dennis Conner, Peter Isler, and Bruce Nelson. Steady 10- to 15-knot winds
blew over the Pacific Ocean racecourse for eight racing classes. The Melges
24 class, which drew 30 boats in 1998, will again draw one of the regatta's
largest fleets. With the Melges 24 World Championships slated for Long
Beach (Calif.) in October 1999, crews gunning for a World title will be on
the starting line at the San Diego NOOD. Vince Brun and Bruce Ayres (Costa
Mesa, Calif.)--the only two U.S. boats who finished in the top 10 at the
'98 Melges 24 Worlds in England-will be racing at the NOOD.
The local Etchells fleet has a roster of Who's Who talent. With 31 boats at
the '98 NOOD, this class is expected to draw the largest fleet--again with
name talent and "other mere mortals" competing, as Etchells class
coordinator Kjeld Hestahave says. Andy LaDow (San Diego, Calif.), class
winner in 1998, will return to defend his win of 1998.
Four J/Boats classes put this event on their schedules early in the season.
According to Jeff Brown, the local class coordinator for the J/Boat
classes, J/120s, J/105s, J/35s, and J/24s have been working on their own
one-design starts. At 40 feet in length, the J/120s will be the largest
contenders at the regatta.
Three racing circles are planned for the San Diego NOOD. Two circles will
be set up in the Coronado Roads area on the Pacific Ocean and one circle
will be set up in south San Diego Bay. Racing begins on Friday, March 19
and concludes Sunday, March 21. Trophies will be presented after the
conclusion of racing on Sunday, at the San Diego Yacht Club.
The concept behind the first NOOD regatta was to create a level playing
field where larger keelboats could race boat-for-boat, without handicap
time adjustments. The idea quickly took hold among sailors. Regattas in
Annapolis (MD) and Larchmont (NY) were added to the series in 1999, and the
GMC Yukon/Sailing World NOOD now includes nine stops. In addition to San
Diego and the new venues, the circuit includes regattas in: St. Petersburg
(FL), Detroit (MI), Chicago (IL), Marblehead (MA), San Francisco (CA), and
Houston (TX). -- Cynthia Goss
(The following are excerpts from DEFENCE 2000, which is available from
John@roake.gen.nz -- US $48 per year.)
-- The America's Cup Challenge Association (NZ) Ltd (ACCA) have selected
the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club as host yacht club for the 1999-2000 Louis
Vuitton Cup race management team. This Auckland yacht club will be
providing office and meeting space, storage space, dockage and maintenance
facilities for the ACCA fleet of boats. The club will be the centre of
administrative activities and a base for the 200 Louis Vuitton regatta
volunteers. Commodore of Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, Merv Appleton, said
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our membership sees it as a
great honour to be involved." The ACCA said the club had a lot of space and
its prices were more reasonable than those of some clubs closer to town.
The club is inviting enquiries for positions, experienced or not. For more
information call Commodore Appleton at phone (09) 534-965.
-- "Our plan is to hand over the running of the next America's Cup to an
independent management, which would be an entity looking after the growth
of the event - they would have nothing to do with whoever the defender
was." This constructive piece of forward planning comes from Paul Cayard,
when he addressed a business group in Auckland recently. His plan is to
create a more level playing field which means that the defenders would be
totally removed from the organisation of the America's Cup, and thus entice
more sponsorship dollars to the event.
-- I was! You weren't! So goes the trend of public discussion on the
question of the ramming of a Nippon challenge support boat by a Team New
Zealand support boat. Russell Coutts has said on radio that Chris Main's
rubber boat (Nippon Challenge) wasn't within the 200 metre rule at the time
of the ramming and both the Nippon Challenge and the New York Yacht Club
had been what is commonly called, "shadowing." Protocols stipulate that
craft should not venture within 200 metres of competitor's yachts.
Nippon's response - "If Main contravened any rule, there are procedures in
place to deal with it. Team New Zealand is just trying to intimidate him."
-- If you plan to attend Gary Jobson's seminar on April 1 at the
Corinthian YC in Tiberon CA, don't try to buy your tickets at a yacht club.
You'll have much better luck finding them at Northern California West
-- Sharp-eyed Congressional Cup regular Randy Smith pointed out that Dave
Perry was 3rd in the 1995 Masters Con Cup -- Henry Sprague was 2nd.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Isn't Disney World a people trap operated by a mouse?