SCUTTLEBUTT #307 - April 9, 1999
SEA LEVEL 'BUTT
'Butt Central has returned to sea level. The road crews in the San
Bernardino Mountains did a great job of clearing the snow, ice and rocks
off the roads leading to Lake Arrowhead. However, they still do not have
the technology to remove fogand the fog frequently limited visibility to
20 feet or less. Although our trip down the windy mountain roads was
without incident, there were definitely some 'bunched panties' along the way.
WESTERN HEMISPHERE STAR SPRING CHAMPIONSHIP
Pass Christian YC, Pass Christian, Mississippi, USA. Final results (26
boats): 1. Pickel / Auracher Germany (11) 2. Shiebler / Peters USA (19) 3.
Vessella / Dorgan USA (22) 4. MacCausland / Trinter USA (22) 5. Bromby /
White, Bermuda (23) 6. Reynolds / Liljedahl USA (23) 7. Beashel / Giles,
Australia (26) 8. Doyle / Terhaar USA (28) 9. Dane / Bennett USA (28) 10.
Walker / Covell UK (36)
Complete results: http://starclass.org/racing/springwhfinal.html
BETTINA BENT'S TROPHY
Following are the results of the first two races of the 1999 US Women's
Challenge for the Bettina Bent's Memorial Trophy. The event is sailed in
Catalina 37s at the Newport Harbor YC and will continue today and Saturday
with a total of 7 races scheduled.
1. Charlie Arms, Women's YRF-San Diego (4) 2. Betty Sherman, San Diego YC
(5) 3. Stephanie Keefe, Newport Harbor YC (7) 4. Liz Hjorth, California YC
(7) 5. Colleen Cook, Southwestern YC (12) 6. Pat Seidenspinner, St
Petersburg YC (12) 7. Stephanie Wodolleck, Richmond YC (12) 8. Sandy
Scheda, Davis Island YC (14)
SPEED UNDER SAIL
Cam Lewis and his Team Adventure USA make the case for speed under sail on
TLC, Sunday, April 11, at 5:00 PM (Eastern time). This is a rerun of a
three-hour TV special about pushing the limits in extreme sports. Lewis is
the only sailor featured in the entire three hours. His seven-minute
segment comes at the end of first hour of the "Speed Demons" show on TLC.
The segment was shot aboard the 85-foot catamaran Explorer on San Francisco
Bay last Fall and includes some great highlights of Explorer's
record-breaking 79-day voyage around the world to become the first winner
of the Trophee Jules Verne.
Explorer will berth at Pacific Sail Expo, in Oakland, CA, next Wednesday to
mark the opening of the all-sail in-water boatshow and will remain there on
exhibit. From Sunday, April 18, through Tuesday, April 20, Lewis and Team
Adventure will be sailing Explorer on San Francisco Bay as they entertain
supporters and sponsor prospects for Lewis' campaign to build a 125-foot
catamaran for The Race. The non-stop, no-limits sprint around the world
starts from a Mediterranean port -- probably Barcelona, Spain -- on
December 31, 2000.
Comfort is not a word most people associate with foul weather gear. PITY
because the new Gill gear is truly comfortable. It's comfortable because it
breathes; comfortable because it fits; and comfortable because it keeps you
warm and dry. Even the price is comfortable. Check it out:
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
Copenhagen--Nokia has announced the sponsorship of the ambitious sailing
project in Denmark. With Nokia Sailing Team's acquisition of two Volvo
Ocean 60's racing yachts, the experienced team from the last Nokia yacht -
the X-Yacht Nokia - enters a new era in Danish yachting. The team's primary
objective is to participate in the Volvo Ocean Race - Round The World
Today Nokia and the team from the last Nokia yacht presents the largest
yachting project in Danish sailing history. With an eight-digit sponsor
investment (DKr) Nokia has facilitated the acquisition of two V.O.60s
racing yachts. In the years to come the yachts will serve as a training
platform for a Danish team of sailors - NOKIA SAILING TEAM - preparing for
the worlds toughest ocean race - The Volvo Ocean Race (previously known as
Nokia has signed a four year contract and the V.O.60s is going to
participate in regattas in Danish waters as well as in Sweden, Norway,
Germany and England. Nokia's new sponsorship of course serves a strategic
business objective. But at the same time the size and the professionalism
of the contract signal a clear commitment to high level sports events.
"Sport connects people and we do the same with our products, says Steen
Boas Andersen, CEO (Managing Director), Nokia Denmark. "We are proud to be
able to support a Danish national team within a classical sport" he added.
Four reputable and professional sailors are at the helm of this ultimate
sailing adventure. The present crew behind the old Nokia yacht - the
captains Lars Coling and Morten Veje - have joined together with the
experienced sailors Morten Lorenzen and Christian Jensen and have
organized this huge yachting project. The four Danes are eager to test
their strength and sailing skills in The Volvo Ocean Race.
Nokia's new V.O. 60s yacht are well known from the last Whitbread. We have
bought the two V.O.60s from Gunnar Krantz and the Swedish Match syndicate.
Their racing yacht Swedish Match took overall third place in the last
Whitbread, whereas the acting training yacht Very Bright participated in
93-94 race under Heineken flag. At present the yachts lie in Gothenburg but
in approximately one week they will set sail for the new training base in
the Tuborg Yacht Center, Copenhagen.
Nokia Sailing Team: http://www2.nokia.dk/sailingteam
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
We read all e-mail (except jokes) but simply can't publish every letter.
Those printed here are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max)
or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Paul Larsen -- John Roake's allusion to the "Grand Central Test"
(#306) reminds me of the old parlor game Telephone in which someone
whispers a sentence to someone else who whispers to someone else and so on
around the circle. When the last person recites what he or she heard, it
is inevitably different from the original.
Here's the original story, confirmed by the man who first told it. Seems
that when Chris Dickson was competing, and winning, regularly on the world
match racing circuit, he began confusing the sport and compensation value
with that of professional golf and tennis. The young Kiwi had skippered
Kiwi Magic in the America's Cup, achieved the number one match racing
ranking, won the World Championship, and was a bona fide hero in New
Zealand. When invited to race in the 1989 Gold Cup in Bermuda, Chris
approached Scott MacLeod, the event organizer, and said he would only come
if he received a $10,000 appearance fee. Scott replied: "Chris, tell you
what. Come with me to Grand Central Station and if anyone recognizes you,
I'll be happy to give you $10,000." Chris thought about it for a minute,
shook his head and said, "See you in Bermuda."
Scott has used the same tactic with other sailors, including Kiwi Russell
Coutts. He's yet to write a check based on the Grand Central Test.
Also, while no one would dispute that Dennis Conner is the American most
identified with the America's Cup, it's difficult to believe he spends much
time on New York subways!
PS. Chris won the 1989 Bermuda Gold Cup.
-- From Pat Broderick, SSS of SF Bay -- Come on, get a grip. An
experienced long distance ocean racer like you concerned about clean
underwear? Are you wimping out on us? We need "role" models, not "fashion"
-- From Vince Cooke -- 'Vettes are not snowmobiles; they are just funmobiles.
-- From Raymond Wulff -- Having a little bit of a dilemma with putting
together a US Sailing qualifier for the Adam's and Mallory Cup. In the
past, separate quailfiers were scheduled will little or no interest. In an
effort to grow interest and participation, this year on the Chesapeake, we
have scheduled the qualifiers within established local regattas. ( Mallory
Qualifier - J-24 Class Leukemia Cup, Adams - Lightining Class - Local
Some have said this lowers the prestige of the qualifier. The main flaw
with this argument is we rarely have had enough interest to hold a separate
qualifier. We've found that there are so many regattas on the schedule now
that creating another where there is little or no interest is foolish,
however, we would like to build the events to where we have to turn folks
I turn to your readers for suggestions on how to better promote these
events or ideas on how they have designed their qualifiers.
-- From Chris Welsh --
1. Donna Shalala in New Zealand on a America's Cup sail? Can you say
2. I have read the J24 piece once before - reminds me of Ben Franklin's "In
praise of older women..."
-- From Jordan J Dobrikin -- As noted in #306 the Federal Legislation
recognized the Paralympics, Disabled Sailing/RACING a boost to its
credibility and legitimacy. Precious little recognition ,as yet has
filtered down into the day to day workings and public pronouncements of US
Sailing. I am looking for a continuous and regular tie between Olympic
Activity reporting and Paralympic Activity reporting. I would be curious to
see if your readership has any interest in promoting Paralympic stream racing?
-- From Craig Fletcher -- Chuck Simmons is spot on. US Sailing should do
more to help youth and Olympic sailing. We at PHRF are big boys and can
take care of ourselves.
-- From Peter Huston -- Janet, you have validated my exact point. To
burden the Board with an abundance of sailors deemed "worthy" by the USOC
will then lessen the importance of ALL sailors, racing or not, in relative
proportion. Structure the Board because it makes sense for the organization
- not because of some "one size fits all sports" mandate by USOC. For all
it's faults, US SAILING is in reality very well run by comparison to other
-- From US Sailing VP Janet Baxter -- The budget for the US Olympic Sailing
team is close to $4 million over the 4 year cycle. That is spent on
coaching, equipment, travel (people and boats), and a tiny amount to
support the athletes. Our suppliers give us some good stuff like raingear
(Douglas Gill) and McLube. Almost all of the funds come from USOC special
programs. Unfortunately, we don't know how well we will do and what money
we'll get/earn from USOC . The better we do, the more money USOC sends
our way. At this point, we haven't even qualified to send sailors to all
11 events. Setting up programs like the Junior Olympics also earns us
points (and money), too. Olympic monies are "fenced", that is, not mingled
in with other US SAILING expenses like championships or the Judges program.
Persons wishing to support the US SAILING team can make tax deductible
donations- contact the US SAILING office or see our website. Olympic
Sailing merchandise is also available. A large fund raiser is being
planned for Chicago next spring.
Anyone intending to do an Olympic campaign can set up an account and have
their friends make tax deductible donations to their program, rather than
to the overall effort. This fundraising by each athlete takes enormous
effort and the time spent soliciting can replace time in the boat,
especially if they try to have a job, too. Please give generously.
PLAYSTATION -- From THE RACE website
Barely a week after his 24-hour sailing record on the maxi catamaran
PlayStation with 580 miles covered, American adventurer Steve Fossett, back
in California, accorded us an interview. He gave us his first sensations on
this boat which he had been dreaming about for a number of years. In
another interview, Steve's weather router Bob Rice, does not hesitate to
bet on a 24-hour distance of more than 625 miles.
Very happy with this first exploit, Steve does not hesitate to acknowledge
the quality and motivation of his crew: one of the crew members on board,
an old Americas Cup hand, said that it was the most fun he ever had in his
life. The skipper is especially proud of this record, as it was the first
trip offshore for the boat. And it is certainly not the last because the
big cat "can go much faster; well over 30 knots, perhaps even 40.
As for Bob Rice, he analyses this new achievement with a little hindsight.
He has already laid down new bets. Objective 625 to 675 miles in 24 hour
for PlayStation and records on the major crossings: at least a day less
than Jet Services on the Atlantic and a strong chance of beating the 14
days, 17 hours and 22 minutes recorded by Bruno Peyron on the Pacific.
Steve Fossett is already thinking about The Race. He comments on the
different projects of other challengers, those he fears and those he fears
a lot less, and compares this new adventure with those he has been
practicing for a long time.
According to John Reed, the secretary to the council of the WSSRC, the
World Sailing Speed Record Council, PlayStation 24 hour sailing record
should be ratified before the end of this week (9th of April 1999).
For the full text of the interviews with Fossett and Rice:
Australia is now certain to contest the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup in
England in July following a commitment by three owners to back team yachts.
The world's first owner of a Sydney 40, Ron Jones, will enter his yacht,
Sledgehammer and Kenwood Cup team member Bob Steel will fill the big-boat
slot with his optimized Nelson-Marek 47, Quest. Irish-Australian John
Storey, who has raced a number of yachts named Atara in this part of the
world, will take the Mumm 36 slot with a yacht he will charter in Europe.
--Rob Mundle, Grand Prix Sailor
The full story will be posted by 9:00 PDT: http://www.sailingworld.com
POINT / COUNTERPOINT -- Open 60s too dangerous to race?
*** YES -- A. Todd Andre-Colton, naval architect/marine engineer
I have been an avid follower of the Around Alone race for years, even while
it was still the BOC Challenge. The events of this year's race have led me
to conclusions that I don't really like, but feel a need to express. The
Open 60 class has become too fast, too delicate and too dangerous for
singlehanding. Of all the starters in the class, only two are left -- one
of those with a replacement mast fitted after the original mast departed
its step and ripped a giant hole in Marc Thiercelin's cabin top. Only some
magnificent seamanship prevented the loss of SOMEWHERE. Isabelle
Autissier's PRB was turtled in relatively benign conditions by an autopilot
failure and was beyond saving, even by a sailor as formidable as Isa. The
list goes on.
By contrast, only two of the original nine Class II starters have retired,
both entries with relatively poor financial support. At the same time, the
fastest of the 50-footers have generally finished within a few days of the
lead Open 60s. Why is this? I think that it's because the 50s can be pushed
to a greater fraction of their potential than a 60. At the other end of the
size scale, Victor Yazykov's homebuilt 40-footer's performance should also
inspire a lot of thought.
If we had done away with the 60s for this race, we would have had at least
seven highly competitive skippers vying for the prize, and my firm belief
is that they would all still be racing. NASCAR, the U.S. stock car racing
organization learned a long time ago that it matters less to the fans how
fast the cars are than how close the racing is.
Don't get me wrong. I love the technology that has been displayed in the
60s, and I would be sorry to see them go on that level. However, I think
that the race should go to the fastest sailor in the fastest boat, not the
sailor that is lucky enough to be spared the Southern Ocean's worst fury.
*** NO -- Stephen Pizzo, Senior Editor, Quokka Sports
I am not about to argue engineering with a naval architect, so let me come
at this from a different angle, one that I believe not only defends the
Open 60 class but glorifies it.
First, though, I want to point out that the high attrition rate in Class I
was not due entirely to the fragility of the Open 60s. Only Isabelle
Autissier's boat raised any of those issues for its failure to right
itself. Mike Golding ran aground and Josh Hall and Marc Thiercelin's
problems were with masts, not the boat itself. Hardly an open ocean race
ends without someone losing a mast. It's the equivalent of a racehorse
throwing a shoe. For that you blame the blacksmith, not the horse.
Forget that for a moment, however, and let's address the issue of the
cutting-edge -- and some say dangerous -- nature of the Open 60 design and
how it may put lives at risk.
We have a technology issue here and that changes the equation a bit. Humans
constantly put themselves in harm's way when they decide to push technology
beyond the known into the unknown. We are all direct beneficiaries of the
efforts of such brave (or if you prefer, foolish) folks.
How many aircraft designs failed while testing radical wing or fuselage
design? How many pilots died during those tests? The Space Shuttle failed
spectacularly, killing all its occupants. Drivers have been injured or
killed trying to break the land speed record in rocket-propelled bullets
with wheels. Indy 500 drivers die regularly while pushing their
super-charged racers around the track. We can look at each of these efforts
and make compelling arguments that such efforts are too dangerous and
should be stopped.
The Open 60s are not just racing yachts. They are also floating R&D
platforms, each one different in some way from the others, each testing the
limits in its own way. These boats can be built, but unless someone is
willing to sail them on the roughest seas on Earth, little can be learned.
Not taking them "out there" would be like building a Formula 1 car and only
driving it around town.
The Open 60 must continue to grow, continue to change and continue to race.
As the old saying goes, "Those who move not forward move backwards."
To read the authors' complete arguments: http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Whether you think you can or you think you can't -- you are right.