SCUTTLEBUTT #328 - May 21, 1999
SPIRIT OF BRITAIN CHALLENGE
A Northland farmer is building Britain's first yacht for the America's Cup
in 13 years. Boatbuilder Tony Smith, a former world sailing champion, has
taken a gang of fellow New Zealanders to Dorset to start constructing the
boat for the Spirit of Britain challenge. The Brits' campaign has been an
on-again, off-again affair. The latest rumour around the Viaduct Harbour is
that they are as dead as dodos. But project director Angus Melrose says
they have scraped together enough cash to build a boat, and construction
Smith lives on Lemon Farm in Warkworth, north of Auckland, with his English
wife, but he moved to England three months ago. He had ties to the last
British syndicate back in 1986. "He was involved in the Crusader programme
as a boatbuilder and a full-timer on the boat.
The yacht has been drawn up by Ian Howlett, who designed British cup boats
Lionheart in 1980, Victory in 1983 and Crusader in 1986.
Despite the latest burst of energy, the Spirit of Britain team are in no
way certain of making it to New Zealand. Funding has been a huge obstacle
and it still stands in their way. "We're not there financially, but we're
plugging on," Melrose says. "We're hoping it will be touchy, feely along
the way and sponsors will join in. At the moment we'll be able to finish
The Brits have pulled together a crew led by round-the-world skipper Lawrie
Smith. But they have yet to find somewhere to base themselves in Auckland
should they turn up before the October 18 start of the Louis Vuitton Cup
challenger series. -- Suzanne McFadden, New Zealand Herald
For the full story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
ADECCO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - Report by Bob Fisher
SCHEVENINGEN, HOLLAND-Ludde Ingvall's European entry, Skandia, emerged from
a grey North Sea murk off the Dutch coast to take the first race of the
Adecco World Championship for the Maxi One Design class. The 80 footer
finished 16 minutes ahead of Ross Field's New Zealand entry to take the top
double points score for this 222 mile offshore race. Skandia had taken
almost exactly 23 hours for the race.
During the race there had been some good breeze, but at the finish it had
died away to almost nothing and the eight Maxi One Designs finished with
considerable help from the northerly going tidal current. While Skandia
had her lightest spinnaker set, the New Zealand boat kept hers in a bag on
deck and used a reaching jib.
It was 21 minutes before the next boat finished and it was undecided as to
which it would be until the last few minutes. Bertrand Pace (FRA) steering
Le Defi Bouygues Telecom - Transiciel was spearheading the group, but was
passed to leeward by Geoff Meek (RSA) in Rainbow Magic. That move was the
precursor of the final one when Gunnar Krantz (SWE) in Lex Sea came up from
leeward with a spinnaker set and just pipped them all on the line to be third.
Finishing order: 1. EUR Skandia Ludde Ingvall 23h 57m 56s; 2. NZL Ross
Field 24h 14m 16s; 3. SWE Lex Sea Gunnar Krantz 24h 35m 42s; 4. RSA
Rainbow Magic Geoff Meek 24h 39m 34s; 5. FRA Le Defi Bouygues Telecom -
Transiciel Jules Mazar 24h 40m 06s; 6. BEL Belgian Synphony Hans
Bouscholte 24h 41m 43s; 7. ITA Seac Banche Guido Maisto 24h 44m 10s; 8.
SUI Alinghimax Christian Wahl & Pierre-Yves Jorand 24h 48m 22s.
Official web site: http://www.adecco-championship.com/uk/index.html
Former shipmates and world record holders Cam Lewis and Bruno Peyron will
join forces again next week as they prepare to set a new sailing record
from Miami, FL to New York, NY aboard the 86-foot catamaran Explorer. This
team, on the same boat, was the first to break the 80-day Around the World
barrier when they won the Trophee Jules Verne in 1993. They also set the
Los Angeles to Honolulu sailing record in 1995.
Lewis was the first American to sail around the world in less than 80 days.
He is a winning America's Cup crew, holder in the Guinness Book of World
Records of the Transatlantic westbound sailing record and decorated world
champion sailor. Lewis will rejoin well-known French skipper Peyron in
Miami next week as they complete preparations for their latest high seas
adventure. The pair will co-skipper Explorer, the fastest ocean racer in
the world, with a history of record-smashing runs that stretches back more
than a decade.
Their 1,100-mile voyage up the Gulf Stream, around treacherous Cape
Hatteras, and through some of the roughest waters on the Eastern Seaboard,
is expected to take less than three days. The World Sailing Speed Record
Council (WSSRC), based in England, will formally record and ratify the
Chicago's Skip Novak, one of the best-known Whitbread Round the World Race
sailors, will be with Peyron and Lewis on the Miami-New York record run.
The trio will be joined by three other crew, including regular Peyron
crewman Nicolas Pichelin, and television cameraman and ocean racer Rick
Deppe who will film the voyage for TWI, the sports television production
and distribution company.
The Miami-New York record will be a warmup for a bid Explorer will make in
early June to break the Transatlantic Record she set nine years ago. That
record, from Ambrose Light to Lizard Point marking the entrance to the
English Channel, stands at six days, 13 hours 3 minutes. It was set in
June, 1990. At that time, Explorer was named Jet Services V.
Peyron and Lewis both have ambitions that stretch well beyond the Miami New
York Record and the Transatlantic Record. They are both focussed on
non-stop round the world racing and record-making, in particular, Peyon's
event, The Race.
Lewis and his Team Adventure USA are currently preparing to build a
115-foot catamaran to set new records and win The Race -- the
no-holds-barred sailing sprint around the world to mark the beginning of
the new Millennium. The Race will start from a Mediterranean port on New
Year's Eve, December 31, 2000. -- Keith Taylor
It's been widely rumored that one of the keys to San Diego YC's Lipton Cup
victory last weekend was directly tied to increased stability. And how did
SDYC get their extra righting moment? One source is sure it was because of
the weight of all of the embroidery on the crew attire supplied by Pacific
Yacht Embroidery. The SDYC crew carried heavy 'signage' on their new vests,
Camet shorts, polo and tee shirts. If you need the stability that fine
embroidery can provide, or just want spiffy personalized crew gear, call
Frank at PYE. (619) 226-8033 (email@example.com).
* As part of its commitment to support innovative education programs,
telecommunications company Bell Atlantic today provided a $25,000 grant to
support the Young America National Education Program. Young America is the
New York Yacht Club's Challenge to win the America's Cup back from New
Zealand in 2000.
"The Young America Education Program provides students with an intriguing,
hands-on way to learn the complexities of science, math, and technology in
a fun environment that instills in them the desire to learn," said Ed
Dinan, state president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Maine.
The Young America National Education Program offers a comprehensive
Teacher's Guide of hands-on activities that is currently in use in
classrooms around the country. The education program, founded in 1994, is
based on the premise that the challenge and excitement of developing an
America's Cup yacht can be used to inspire students to value science and
math subjects. The program, developed with teachers and leading education
publishers, underscores our belief that a "hands-on," "minds-on" approach,
linked to a high-profile technological competition, is an ideal way to
improve the scientific literacy of students and teach them about decision
making and the importance of taking intellectual risk.
The Young America Cup National Championship is the flagship event of the
Young America National Education Program. Thirty-one teams representing
middle and high schools from nine states will compete in the National
Championship at St. Michael's School in Newport, RI, Saturday, May 22. The
Young America Cup is a comprehensive educational competition designed to
enhance the scientific literacy of students by involving them in a
hands-on, inter-disciplinary challenge that parallels the rigors of
mounting a successful quest for the legendary America's Cup. - Jane
Eagleson, Young America
NYYC/Young America Challenge web site: http://www.youngamerica.org
* America True, The San Francisco Yacht Club challenge for America's Cup
2000, is getting dressed by Pendleton Woolen Mills, the syndicate's newest
sponsor. As part of the sponsorship arrangement, Pendleton is now the
exclusive supplier of shoreside apparel to America True crewmembers for
official events and public appearances.
"I'm very pleased to have Pendleton as a sponsor," said America True CEO
and Captain Dawn Riley, "It is important that we reflect a professional
appearance, as we represent the United States and its people. It's entirely
appropriate for us to be associated with a genuine American brand with an
Members of the America True sailing, management, and technical teams will
dress in their new Pendleton outfits during the campaign's boat dedication
at Pier 17 in San Francisco on May 26. The women will wear navy wool
blazers, yellow sweaters, and Pendleton Signature Plaid skirts. The men's
outfit also includes a navy blue blazer, with a Signature Plaid shirt and
Since 1863, Pendleton has been a part of how America dresses. They produce
extensive lines of men's and women's clothing in wool and cotton, as well
as fabric for home furnishings. "Pendleton is classic and upscale. America
True is a perfect fit for us," remarked Pendleton President Mort Bishop
III, "As a producer of both men's and women's clothing, we are very excited
to be involved with the first coed America's Cup crew." - Grace Kim
America True website: http://www.americatrue.org
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters selected to be printed here are routinely edited for clarity, space
(250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Bob Fisher -- I can understand Rick Merriman leaping to his pen to
complain about United Airlines sponsorship of Ian Walker and Mark Covell's
Star campaign for Britain, but he lacks knowledge of the background of this
local funding arrangement. For the past two years, United Airlines has
sponsored Glyn Charles with his Ultra 30 and were extremely happy with the
benefits they received.
Glyn was all set to repeat his assault on an Olmpic medal in the Star
class, having represented Britain last time. His tragic death in the
Sydney-Hobart robbed him of that. His boat, owned by the Royal Yachting
Association, was made availible to Walker and Covell, who was to crew for
Charles, expressed a reciprocated desire to carry on.
So too, it seems have United Airlines, who would have done the same for Glyn.
These local sponsorships by global airlines might make little sense 'back
home', but they do attract notice in the countries where they are
originated. It Rick thinks this is strange, let him view (perhaps from
Chris Law's angle) the sponsorship of an ex-patriate Frenchman living in
Western Australia by British Airways for match racing. Chris finds it hard
to fly in economy while the sponsored sailor is in business class!
-- From Tony Pohl, San Francisco (Re the comments to the editor about
United Airlines sponsoring a British Team) -- My daughter, Krysia Pohl, is
presently engaged in a full-time Olympic campaign -- competing for the
women's spot in the Europe Dinghy class. The bare bones budget that we've
developed for her is around $75,000 and could easily be more if we got all
the coaches, coach-boats, etc., that we'd really like to have.
Most of her travel (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and South
America) is done on United - yet except for allowing her to transport her
mast with her, United has not done one thing to assist this one particular
Olympic hopeful. As we get more and more involved in the Olympic process,
we begin to realize just how much other countries help their respective
athletes while the US does literally nothing. Now adding insult to injury,
UA is helping a British team.
Being English myself, I suppose I should be very glad that a US firm is
helping English athletes, but can I expect that British Airways will help
Krysia - I doubt it. I for one am just about ready to throw away my UA
passenger miles and give my allegiance to another carrier.
-- From Peter Huston (Regarding Rick Merriman's comments on United Airlines
sponsoring a UK based Starboat team) -- Serving patriotic interests is
about the 57th on a priority list of 3 items for companies that sponsor
anything. The first three items of importance to sponsors are 1- sell more
stuff, 2- sell more stuff, 3- sell more stuff. Every other consideration
is nearly meaningless.
Teams and events gain sponsors when they can demonstrate the tangible
financial benefits to the prospective sponsor of association with that team
or event. Simply slapping a logo on the side of boat is meaningless to
them, and they could care less about the "problems" a team is having in
gaining appropriate funding to be competitive. It's sort of like the line
in "The Jerk", where the Texas oilman asks Steve Martin for money to
refurbish the leather seats on his LearJet so that he isn't embarrassed
when he takes his friends to the Super Bowl.
The sad reality is that Olympic athletes, and worse yet, prospective
Olympians, are nothing more to sponsors, and even more so to NBC, than
unpaid talent for a TV show. The pay scale for the marketing brokers of
Olympic properties far exceeds that of the Olympians.
So the issue isn't individual team sponsorship, it is really the rights of
all prospective Olympians. Olympians, and prospective Olympians, ought to
align themselves with SAG and AFTRA so that they can gain a bigger share of
the TV money.
-- From Terry Harper, US Sailing Executive Director (regarding Rick
Merriman's editorial in 'Butt #327) -- The call is already in to United
-- From Peter Johnson -- For Daniel L. Phelps and others re handicapping
'skiffs' and sports boat type racers, where accommodations and cruising
assets should not count: It is worth looking at a copy of British Sports
Boat Rule (SBR). It has track record now of about three to four years.
Enquire at firstname.lastname@example.org -
-- From Ron Sherwin -- The personal EPIRB sounds like a great product.
Where I live, in Northern CA, if you're in the water for about 15 minutes,
hypothermia sets in and you die shortly thereafter. It's important that
you be found quickly. A personal EPIRB with a boat-mounted homing device
would enable those still on board to find you, particularly in rough seas
and shorthanded situations. Would the curmudgeon be so kind as to confirm
the e-mail address and republish it?
Curmudgeon's comments: Either 818.998.1100 or email@example.com will
get you more information.
-- From Chris Ericksen -- A small correction: my modest friend Jerry
Montgomery was co-skipper of RALPHIE, the Santa Cruz 50 that won the '97
Transpac, with RALPHIE's owner John Latiolait. John is even more modest
49ER GRAND PRIX
The first day of racing in Bandol had the promise of the legendary Mistral
and the legend certainly lived up to its name. By the end of race three,
the boats were sailing in 30+ knots when the French race committee said
that it was enough for the day. Thirty-nine boats were registered from five
continents, and 18 countries were split into three groups. The competition
was organized on a rotation basis, so that every boat sailed in two of the
three races, thus competing against every other boat.
The story of the day was the dominance of the world champion in what was a
bit of a re run of his 1998 victory in the world sailed on the same venue.
He and his Australian arch rival Adam Beashal made short work of what were
otherwise trying conditions and Nicholson would hold a very slender 1 point
lead on 3 points. Also making an impressive return to form is Paul
Brotherton of England after his forced lay over without crew, winning the
windiest last race with his new team mate Mo Gray.
On the crash and burn front, the leg one winners? The McKee brothers from
Seattle embraced their love of the water too much, as did the number one
French team of Aunineau/Farnarier.
Top ten after today's qualification races: 1. Chris Nicholson / Daniel
Philips, AUS, 3 points 2. Adam Beashal / Teaque Czislowski, AUS, 4, 3. Tim
Robinson / Zeb Elliott, GBR, 6, 4. Alister Richardson / Peter Greenhalgh,
GBR, 7, 5. Francesco Bruni / Gabriele Bruni, ITA, 7, 6. Tom Ruegge / Claude
Maurer, SUI, 10, 7. Ian Barker / Simon Hiscocks, GBR, 14, 8. Paul
Brotherton / Mo Gray, GBR, 14, 9. Christoffer Sundby / Vegard Arnhoff, NOR,
17, 10. Dimitri Deruelle / Philippe Gasparini, FRA, 18
Event website: http://www.eventsbandol.com
(Reprinted with permission from DEFENCE 2000, which is available for US $48
per year from John@roake.gen.nz)
* Vince Cooke, race director for Louis Vuitton says "New Zealand will lose
its huge technological advantage when it defends the America's Cup in
February. The design for this type of boat is now 10 years old and the
learning curve has flattened out. There was not a lot of difference between
keels in San Diego and I expect there will be little difference between the
shape of boat bodies in 1999. The major difference will be how the
designers trade off sail areas, displacement of boat and length" he says.
Cooke expects a far more even contest in both the challenger and defender
* Immediately on the border of the America's Cup course in the Hauraki
Gulf, lies Rangitoto Island, an extinct volcano that last erupted five/six
centuries ago. A warm day's sun on Rangitoto's remaining lava flows has the
ability to change the wind across the Cup course by as much as 40 degrees.
* This - from Richard Pennick, Canadian Tourism Commission. "Thousands of
visitors were attracted to Fremantle for the America's Cup. The commercial
value of the Cup was the extensive TV exposure overseas that went on for
years. This attracted tourists even though they lost the Cup. Folk who
watched the America's Cup are the same kind of people who considered an
Australian holiday." Our comment: It's a win win situation for New Zealand
and many of the current degraders of the event may (will) eat their words
before the next decade passes.
IT HIT THE FAN
An anticipated storm with wind gusts to 60 knots took its toll on the fleet
in the inaugural Coffs Harbour to Fiji yacht race today. Tony Levett's
38-footer Ellene was dismasted while 83-year-old Alby Burgin was injured
when he was hurled across the cockpit aboard his 50-footer, Alstar.
The crew of Ellene was safe aboard their yacht having motored to shelter
inside a reef off New Caledonia. Alby Burgin said he had been checked over
by the doctor in his crew and while he didn't appear to have spinal
injuries he had suffered severe bruising. He added that he was determined
to reach the finish in Suva - around 400 miles away.
The smallest yacht in the fleet, Anthony Doncaster's 10.6 metre sloop
Moonpenny, was heading for Mooloolaba in Queensland while Bryan Clague's
S&S 34, Misty, was still riding out the worst of the storm.
Scott Jackson, steering the Coffs Coast entry True Blew, reported they had
experienced wind gusts of between 50 and 60 knots from the east all day.
Peter Hansen, owner of Fudge (which retired earlier in the week) reported
from his anchorage in Noumea tonight that they were experiencing 50 knots
and torrential rain.
Hugh Treharne's 51-footer, Bright Morning Star continued to claim ground an
Alstar throughout the day. By tonight Treharne, who was sailing to the
south of Alstar, had reduced his yacht's deficit from 60nm to 17nm. Bright
Morning Star was also the leader on handicap.
Only five of the 13 starters were actively racing towards Suva tonight. The
majority of others indicated they would resume racing once the storm
abated. Race meteorologist Roger Badham said tonight the worst of the storm
would remain over the first half of the 1800-mile course and begin to clear
on Sunday. The leaders could expect 20 to 30 knot headwinds tomorrow. --
Web Page: http://www.sailing-online.com.au/fiji/
Less than 500 miles separates Brad Van Liew's 'Balance Bar' from the finish
line of the 27,000-mile solo race around the world. Over the last eight
months he has encountered the ferociousness of the Southern Ocean, a
becalmed Tasman Sea, the ominous nautical summit of Cape Horn, playful
whales, exotic birds, and fellow competitors capsized, dismasted and
run-aground. As he nears the completion of a lifelong dream and
overwhelming accomplishment, his thoughts remain focused on the immediate
mission of keeping the boat moving in light, variable winds to the finish
line. "Admittedly, I am trying to suppress the complex emotions that
encompass the completion of the race," Van Liew said. "It has been a wild
ride, with times of triumph, defeat, devastation, intrigue, and
accomplishment. It is hard to imagine the feelings that will emerge when
competitors who have acted as lifelines and companions to each other for
eight months, say goodbye and head in new directions." -- Meaghan Van Liew
Distance from finish: Van Liew (371); Petersen (433); Saito (651); Hunter
Event website: http://www.aroundalone.com
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why do the terms 'fat chance' and 'slim chance' mean the same thing?