SCUTTLEBUTT #342 - June 11, 1999
A DIFFERENT OPINION -- From Mark Sweeney
I was intrigued by the assertion that Neil W. Humphrey made (Butt #341) that
other sports have passed sailing by as a viable spectator sport. It is, after all,
not the athlete that sponsor companies target, its the people who want to
associate with the athletes and the sport. Rather than join the long list of those
complaining to the Curmudgeon about the problem, I figured I'd throw some
totally random ideas out and see if any stick to the wall:
1 - Tailor the sport - Neil mentions volleyball as one sport that has passed us
by. Well, fastest growing segment of that sport is 4-person pro beach. The
truth is that the 4-person format was CREATED to attract sponsorship. Beach
volleyball has traditionally been played in 2-person format, but that
configuration suffers from too many service aces and sideouts without points
being scored. The organizers of the sport realized it's the big hits, long rallies,
and point scoring that gets the fans going, so they put more people on the
court to insure this. We need to find out what the fans like about the sport, and
2 - Improve the access to the sport - The Olympics in Atlanta set up huge
viewing screens all over the city and had non-stop parties all the time events
were taking place. We need to use examples like these to attract the fan,
because it's the fan that draws the sponsor. Do you think every fan at a event
party in Atlanta really cared, let alone understood the modern pentathlon? But
the party was the thing, and lord knows the sailing community knows a thing
or two about a good party. Sailing venues could easily do the same, and sell
sponsorship space on the screens. This has to improve because sooner or
later GMC/Yukon et. al. will realize they can only sell so many Suburbans to us!
3 - Standardize the levels of the sport - This is where US Sailing has totally
dropped the ball. Every other major sport's federation makes GOVERNING
decisions (i.e., figure skating doing away w/ the compulsory figures because
fans didn't care), while US Sailing just collects member checks (and lots of
them by the letters I've read in the 'Butt). Who's directing the FUTURE of the
sport? We need to set specific boats or designs that can grow and become
bedrocks for competition, like the Olympic classes. Heck, even boat designer
contribute to this. Farr Ltd. puts out the Mumm 30, and rather that support and
build the class, they turn around and cleave off the top portion of that class with
the Farr 40, and more importantly, leave the rest of the class vulnerable to
defection to the 1D35s. Sailors really only want good competition, and to train
and prepare, we need something to shoot for. If US Sailing would GOVERN
some standardized the levels (i.e., a boat design in each length level) we
would be able to shoot and train for those levels. If nothing is governed for the
good of the sport, nothing will ever change. I'm suggesting something like
what the Admiral's Cup does. If people can train for it, they get good, and if they
get good people will watch, and, well, you get the picture.
* The Royal Lymington Cup, Britain's Grade One Match racing event, has
produced surprises in its early stages. Two of the world's best skippers, Gavin
Brady, ranked number 2 in the world, and John Cutler, the America True
helmsman, were eliminated after the first round robin. Brady won only one of
his five matches and Cutler none.
Ian Williams, the runner-up to Chris Law in the British Championship, has
been the early star, winning all his five matches, including one against Markus
Wieser of Germany, the world ranked number 6. Williams also defeated
Morten Henriksen, runner-up to Andy Beadsworth in Dubai.
Murray Jones of Team New Zealand topped his group in the first round, but
suffered one defeat, at the hands of Croatia's Tomislav Basic. In the as yet
uncompleted second round, Jones reversed that result and also beat Wieser
Beadsworth qualified for the second round, from which four of the eight will go
into the semi-finals by beating Brady, Cutler and Basic. In the second round,
he was beaten in the first flight by Francois Brenac of France, but immediately
beat Luc Pillot (FRA) who, at 14, outranks him by six places on the world scale.
Williams suffered his first defeat in the competition when he met Basic in the
second round, then he beat Wieser. His third match was the all-British affair,
and the greater experience of Beadsworth was the telling factor. There are four
more flights of the second round before the semi-finals. - Bob Fisher
Event Website: http://www.rlymyc.org.uk/
* LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - Final results, Gold Cup Match Race Regatta
(Sailed the Catalina 37s): 1. Tony Stuart, 2. Bob Little, 3. Mike Pinckney.
Got a good action picture of your boat? Send it to Frank Whitton and let him
transform it into stitches for your yachting apparel. Once the design is
complete, you own it and it can be sewed on just about any fabric. A
professional specialty artist creates the 'magic' and it's more affordable than
you think. Call Frank at Pacific Yacht Embroidery (619-226-8033).
Two new America's Cup boats will be launched this weekend - under very
different circumstances. Italian challengers Prada will slip their second Luna
Rossa boat into the Mediterranean sea without fanfare. But in Hawaii, there
will be a full blessing in downtown Waikiki of the new Abracadabra 2000.
It is a race against time for the Aloha Racing syndicate to get their first boat out
of the shed in time for the launch on Sunday. The building crew have been
working around the clock seven days a week for three weeks to get USA50
completed. Aloha boss and skipper John Kolius would like to have both
Abracadabra boats in the water by July 15, but he knows that August 1 is a
more realistic date. "The second boat will be pretty different - but I think that's
something you have to do for this America's Cup. You're going to see severely
different weather conditions from one day to another in Auckland."
The entire crew has yet to be settled, and next week will be the first time most
of them have sailed together. The Aloha team have not had an old cup boat to
train on. If the Hawaiian boats are not the fastest challengers, they will
certainly be up for the prize of best-dressed - their hulls have been decorated
by renowned ocean wildlife painter Wyland.
Italy's second boat will join the first Luna Rossa, launched a month ago, in
testing at Punta Ala for the next six weeks. The French Le Defi syndicate and
the Spanish Challenge will launch their new boats next weekend. -- Suzanne
McFadden, New Zealand Herald
For the full story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nzherald99/index.cfm
ANOTHER CURIOUS TALE -- by Rich Matzinger
Regarding the thought provoking comments of Craig Fletcher on the Farr 40
Class's decision to blacklist him from steering a Farr 40, I recently had a
similar experience. I was asked to sail on an East Coast Farr 40 in last year's
World's. The plan was that Steve Flam would steer and I would trim. Steve met
all of the requirements of the Farr 40 by-laws, correctly answering the class
eligibility questionnaire and submitting his amateur status certificate from US
Sailing. After that we traveled east to do the Annapolis Fall Series on the boat.
About three weeks before the Worlds the owner was advised by the class that
Steve Flam would not be allowed to steer the boat. When asked for a reason, it
is my understanding that the owner got no other answer than Steve was too
good. To say the least the owner was extremely frustrated, as Steve met the
class' guidelines, already had an airline ticket and it was getting late to find a
replacement. Steve was equally frustrated as he was excited about doing the
event, for it was one of the first times someone had asked him to steer a "Big
Boat" in a regatta of this caliber (he's usually given the tactics role for good
reason) and he had also made arrangements to be absent from his
non-sailing industry job.
At this point the owner was seriously considering withdrawing from the event
altogether. Instead he chose to submit my name as helmsman. I also filled
out the obligatory questionnaire and submitted my amateur status certificate.
Within two days I was rejected with the reason given that I was an "Import" and
not a regular on the boat. Steve Flam has never been paid to sail, nor worked
in the marine industry. The closest I have come is washing boats in high
school. The Farr 40 Class ultimately approved someone to drive the boat that
had been a sailmaker only three years prior. I found this as surprising as
when I read in Scuttlebutt that someone the caliber of Augie Diaz steered a
Farr 40 to victory a week ago.
I certainly understand the desire of the Farr 40 class to control
professionalism and I equally understand the trials and tribulations of any new
organization finding it's way, but the class, and any others interested in being
successful needs to have an objective process in place that is applied equally
to all if it is to succeed. Otherwise you will not only have unhappy sailors, but
more importantly, unhappy owners that get caught up in the process and
become disillusioned with the class or don't join it at all.
The Farr 40 class might consider bolstering their rules with a page from the
J-35 class which required that a non-owner helmsman has to race on the boat
in a required number of races before being allowed to drive. This would
eliminate, or reduce the concern with having "roving rogue amateur hit men".
The other alternative is simply change the rule to owner driver only. Either
alternative would be an improvement on the current process. -- Rich
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 Gail M. Turluck -- As I continue to read the editorials on defining
professional vs. amateur sailor, I think I have discovered why the sport has yet
to progress. The sport has always been volunteer driven and administered,
and with exceptions in places like Portsmouth, RI (the US Sailing Association
office), having volunteers attempt to plan and administer a professional sport
is the key tripping point to the development Neil W. Humphrey is calling for.
Money will need to be invested, startup costs planned for, and strong leaders
For the sport of sailing to develop a truly professional arm, it needs to
establish a professional platform, with a "Commissioner," an office of
administrators, secretaries, public relations specialists, and all the rest. ISAF
might be the ultimate overseer, but the professional version of the sport needs
its own separate, stand alone, arm. I hope when the help wanted sign goes
up it goes up to 'Butt readers first!
-- From John Welty -- Perhaps I am selfish, but every sport or hobby I have
pursued became a source of income and ceased to be fun. I have tried very
hard to prevent that from happening to my sailing. The results of an informal
poll of those we race against, the vast majority are doing it to escape the
stress and general cut throat atmosphere of their everyday world. The people
already deriving their livelihood from the sailing industry I would imagine are in
favor of unlimited growth. Not every person out there is a potential sailor.
Watch out, the pro soccer, settle it in the pits afterward stock car racer attitude
has begun, not unlike most other trends and may be headed towards a lake
near you. Growth for growth's sake is not always a good thing.
-- From Rick Merriman -- In regard to the Farr 40 who is allowed to drive and
who is allowed to call tactics: The next test will be if they allow Augie Diaz to
steer again after his recent win on Hissar. While Augie is an amateur these
days and earns a living outside of sailing, his driving skills and sailing ability
is right up there with the best. Will his name be added to the list like Craig
Fletcher and Tom Lihan?
-- From Lauri Berkenkamp, Nomad Communications/ Volvo Leukemia Cup
Regatta Series -- I've been following the discussions regarding sponsorships
with great interest--I work with Volvo on its title sponsorship and participation
in the Volvo Leukemia Cup Regatta series, a nationwide series of regattas
benefitting the Leukemia Society of America. Every sailor I have worked with
thus far has been incredibly supportive of our presence in the events,
especially because it draws media attention to their cause and their sport.
-- From Mike Guccione -- I have been reading with great interest the articles
of Seth Radow and Chris Bouzaid. Chris is giving us the path but will anyone
follow it? I think the only way you are going to get Sailing popular in the United
States is by large corporate efforts. Maybe Volvo can do us some good. Then
of course I remember being in San Diego for the last America's cup and
seeing the lack of attention the locals gave the event let alone the nation and
being embarrassed to be an American Sailor. So if the America's cup is not
motivating enough to get us the press we need then what is?
SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT
Without a shadow of doubt, the last 24 hours were tough on board
maxi-catamaran Explorer, attempting to break the speed record for an Atlantic
Crossing between New York and the Lizard (south westerly point of England).
Crewmember Bruno Peyron, said, "It's damp, stressful and tiring. Difficult to
get any rest, or to get into the right rhythm when you're sailing between 20 and
25 knots all the time in high seas and gale force winds. But it's no surprise.
We are getting what we deserve? However yesterday was particularly difficult.
We already had a few little technical problems inherent with racing these big
boats (broken battens, rudder problems, small leak in the starboard hull).
"But above all, we were roughly handled by giant waves. One bigger than the
others literally swept the boat, exploding onto the net when Elena was
crossing from one hull to the other. She sprained her ankle rather badly. As for
co-skipper Skip Novak who was at the helm, he was propelled by the mass of
water to the limits of his safety harness. He violently struck the aft beam.
"It knocked him completely groggy, with a nasty cut to his scalp. He went down
below and suffered a slight loss of consciousness. We called up Dr
Jean-Yves Chauve, on shore, the ocean racing doctor, for a diagnosis. Skip
rested for three hours. Now all is well. He is back on watch."
Elena Caputo : "?The truth of it, is that our rhythm of life is monopolised by
damp extenuating watches and rest periods in the hulls are damp also. We
still haven't eaten one single cooked meal since the start. We swallow mainly
muesli and bars of chocolate, biscuits and apples, accompanied by some
rather spongy bananas. As Nicolas Pichelin says : "?.the Pacific was cruising
compared to this old Atlantic?".
Despite these mishaps, Explorer is continuing to swallow the miles, achieving
after three days racing, a daily average of 505 miles. Concerning the record,
Bruno Peyron was worried about the delay and was still waiting for the change
in wind direction to allow Explorer to really get onto a direct heading, especially
as for the landfall with England, the weather door seems to be opening.
Weather for the next 24 hours : wind SSW 20 to 25 knots. Sea slightly rough. -
Follow the action: http://www.therace.org
Commodore George M. Isdale Jr. announced that the New York Yacht Club
(NYYC) has established a new trophy and will host a team-racing regatta in
August for Masters sailors. To be eligible to compete, the
skipper/helmsperson must be at least 45 years of age and represent a
recognized yacht club. Combined crew age minimums will be established as
The trophy will be known as the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters
Invitational Trophy, in recognition of the long commitment of the club's former
commodore to sailing and friendly competition between yacht clubs. This is
the second Hinman trophy for team racing. The annual US Sailing Team
Racing Championship is also a Hinman Trophy. The hope is that The Hinman
Masters Invitational Trophy will join the Hinman Trophy as one of the premier
team racing events in the country.
The Masters Invitational regatta will be initially managed by the NYYC's
Committee on Competitions Team Racing sub-committee. The deed of gift
states that the regatta may travel to locations around the U.S. and be
co-hosted by interested yacht clubs. The first competition will be August 27-28,
1999, at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, in conjunction with the US
Sailing Team Racing Championships for The Hinman Trophy. -- Michael
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Reprinted with permission from DEFENCE 2000, which is available for US
$48 per year from John@roake.gen.nz)
A synopsis on the America's Cups challenger's likely chances:
Fifth attempt by Syd Fischer. Unlikely to improve on past performance. First
time ever he has been sole Australian challenger.
Has the potential to be a semi-finalist. This challenger has a very capable
helmsman in John Cutler, but will need a fast boat. Doubters may be eating
Hawaii - Could well be the wild card - Have a strong design team, and a very
skilled helmsman. Their approach to the challenge gives them a number of
pluses i.e. staying/training in Hawaii. One of the better prepared syndicates.
Japan - Third attempt. Achieved semi-finals in last two challenges. Exclusive
Japanese crew but with an Australian born skipper, Peter Gilmore. Without a
doubt a semi finalist in 1999 - Limited finances this time round - expect to see
more dedication than in the past from this crew - only a "maybe" at this stage.
Switzerland - First America's Cup, limited funding, little depth in crew. Not a
SPIRIT OF BRITAIN
All the elements for success but without funding. Even if funding now found
chances must be regarded as poor.
THE SPANISH CHALLENGER
Competed in two previous Cups. Have kept their campaign very much under
wraps, but on past performance, an "also ran."
TEAM DENNIS CONNER
What can you say? Not a Cup without him. A one boat campaign puts him at a
disadvantage, but he should not in any way be discounted. A very strong crew
with talent. Whoever beats him will deserve to be the challenger. Question:
Has he still got his heart in America's Cup campaigns. His yachting interests
are widely (thinly ?) spread.
Italy - One of two most likely challengers. An exceptionally impressive
organisation, with the best designers money can buy. The boat will be capable
of winning and the crew the best prepared of all the challengers.
New York Yacht Club -We are not so sure that we agree with most
commentators that this challenge is formidable. They certainly have the desire
to recapture the Cup. A strong design team and a very experienced
management team led by John Marshall. We do not rate them as highly as
Prada, but almost.
AGE OF RUSSIA
Not enough known to comment other than to say that if they appear, it will be a
Without a doubt a semi -finalist, Cayard will take some stopping. Financially
strong challenge with the best sponsorship backing of any. Strong corporate
support. Rated as highly as Prada.
LE DEFI BOUYGUES
France - Another challenger with financial problems. Very capable sailing
team, but are mounting only a one boat campaign which puts them at a
disadvantage. If their designers produce a fast boat, they could be the dark
horse of the race.
OFFSHORE PHONE SERVICE
After months of sluggish sales and rising debts, Iridium is getting ready to cut
prices worldwide for its pricey satellite phone service. This week, one of
Iridium's largest US distributors introduced a flat-rate pricing plan that charges
US$4.29 per minute for international calls. At the same time, several of
Iridium's overseas distributors are also lowering prices and simplifying
The changes come as Iridium, the first of several planned satellite phone
networks designed to make calls anywhere on Earth, is under massive
pressure to restructure its debt-ridden business. After reporting losses of
close to $1 billion since launching commercial operation in November, Iridium
has already negotiated two extensions from lenders. The latest extension
expires at the end of the month, giving Iridium only a few more weeks to
restructure its debt and revamp its service plan. -- Joanna Glasner, Wired
For the full story:
On Sunday, June 13 at 1:30 PM EDT on ESPN2, join Russell Coutts, Ed Baird,
Ken Read, Terry Hutchinson, John Kolius and Kimo Worthington as they race
1D48s in Baltimore. This is a real look at what it is like to sail on board for the
professional sailors. Also included is an exciting interview with Simon
McKeon, skipper of the world's fastest sailboat, Yellow Pages Endeavour.
Video from his record breaking run is also included in the program.
* German skipper Tilmar Hansen and Annapolis, MD, helmsman Chris
Larson will defend their Mumm 36 World Championship Trophy in Kiel,
Germany, June 19-24, with the Mumm 36 New Yorker. The international duo
led their crew to victory in the class worlds last year in Miami.
For Hansen, this is an opportunity to defend his World Championship title at
his home club, the Kieler Yacht Club. Hansen who owns the New Yorker
department stores throughout Germany and Europe, is a German Admiral's
Cup veteran, campaigning his boats named Outsider and New Yorker.
Hansen and Larson will be joined aboard their '98 championship boat, the
former Jameson, by the largely-American crew Larson has assembled for the
Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup campaign in Cowes, England, in July.
Larson sailed the same boat to victory in the Admiral's Cup two years ago. The
tactician for New Yorker is Annapolis-based New Zealander Geoff Stagg, the
President and owner of Farr International. Paul "Flipper" Westlake, from
Boston, MA, is an Australian national and returning crew from the 1998 New
Yorker victory in Miami. Mike Drummond, from Auckland, NZ, has raced as a
navigator in the '93, '95, & '97 Admiral's Cup series and will navigate New
Yorker in Kiel. Australian Mike Mottle from Sydney, is jib trimmer on the boat.
American Eric Arndt, Santa Barbara, CA, will crew in the pit. New Zealander
Brad Webb will be bow man. -- Keith Taylor
World Championships website: http://www.kyc.de
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups