SCUTTLEBUTT #356 - July 9, 1999
Lots of stuff happened while the curmudgeon was at Catalina Island. Here
are some of the high spots from Rich Roberts' daily reports:
* Six crewmen competing in the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii were
rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter early Wednesday morning when their
76-foot catamaran capsized in 8-10-foot seas 188 miles off the Southern
California coast. Bob Hanel's Double Bullet II from Cabrillo Beach Yacht
Club in San Pedro had started the race from the Palos Verdes peninsula 12
"The EPIRB saved their lives," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jamie
Devitt-Chacon. Coast Guard spokesperson, Lt. Cmdr. Brent Lebish, said the
crew--all veteran sailors--seemed shaken by the incident but "it was a
pretty routine operation for us." Lebish also said that the range of the
Jayhawk helicopter is normally limited to 200 miles-12 more than Double
Bullet II's location.
Those aboard with Hanel included Randy Smyth, an Olympic silver medalist in
1984 and '92 and five-time winner of the rugged Worrell 1000 catamaran race
on the East Coast. Other crew were Bob Dixon, Mark Hammelman, Milo Hurst
and Jason Speer. Speer suffered from hypothermia and seasickness. He was
treated at UC San Diego Hospital and released, as Hanel tried to organize
an effort to salvage his boat.
In the previous race two years ago the same boat was dismasted the first
night out. Multihull boats have been accepted as official Transpac entries
only in the last two races. There were no other multihull entries this year.
* Doug Baker's Magnitude from the Long Beach Yacht Club, a 68 12/2-foot
turbo sled, logged 353 nautical miles in the 24 hours before Wednesday's
roll call but still trailed Bob McNeil and John Parrish's 75-foot Zephyrus
IV and Roy E. Disney's 72-foot Pyewacket, which sailed 352 miles each.
* Bob Hanel left San Diego Thursday with his crew on a seagoing tug in an
attempt to salvage his 76-foot catamaran Double Bullet II, which capsized
188 miles offshore in 8-10-foot seas Tuesday night. Hanel hoped to home in
on the upside-down craft before the battery of its Emergency Position
Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) went dead in an estimated 48 hours.
Curmudgeon's comment: Right after I got back from Catalina yesterday, I got
a Iridium satellite call from Dale Nordin and Dennis Durgan aboard Lou
Grasso & Craig Lyons TurboSled, Front Runner. They reported that Pyewacket
left the boat for boat duel they were having with Zephyrus IV and jibbed
down to the more promising conditions enjoyed by Front Runner, well South
of the other boats in Division I. This put Disney's R/P 73 in front of
their class for the first time in the race. Durgan also complained that
he's been calling Pyewacket's sailing master, Robbie Haines by Iridium
phone, but so far Haines has not returned his calls. Iridium satellite
phones are sure changing the complexion of offshore racing.
Standings (as of 8 a.m. PDT July 8): DIV. 1 - 1. Pyewacket, Roy E. Disney,
Los Angeles YC, 770 mile to go; 2. Zephyrus IV, Bob McNeil/John Parrish,
St. Francis/San Diego YCs, 790 miles to go; 3. Magnitude, Doug Baker, Long
Beach YC, 808; DIV. 2 - 1. Grand Illusion, James McDowell, Lahaina YC, 891;
2. Velos, Kjeld Hestehave, SDYC, 1,048; 3. Mongoose, Robert Saielli, SDYC,
927; DIV. 3 - 1. Gone With the Wind, Bill LeRoy/Jim Cascino, StFYC, 1,069;
2. Warpath, Fred Howe, Santa Cruz YC, 1,056; DIV. 4 -1. Great Scot, Tom
Garnier, LAYC, 1,157; 2. Tower, Don Clothier, Waikiki YC, 1,008; 3. Glama!,
Seth Radow, California YC, 1,076.
Complete standings on the even website: http://www.transpacificyc.org
Quiberon, Brittany, France -- Despite the Race Committee's best efforts, no
race could be run Thursday due to light and variable winds, so we remain at
four races completed, and are now expecting a six -- rather than seven --
race series. Long Beach USA sailors Howard Hamlin and Mike Martin, who have
been finished in the top positions at 505 World Championships many times,
but have never won a 505 world championship, lead the standings with a
first and three seconds. Another Long Beach team of Andy Beckman and Ben
Benjamin hold down second place overall with two firsts a fifth and a
ninth. In third overall are 1990 505 World Champions Jorgen Schonherr and
Anders Kaempe of Denmark. Multiple time 470 World Champion Wolfgang Hunger
sailing with Holger Jess, from Germany, are in fourth overall, while four
time 505 World Champion Krister Bergstrom with Thomas Moss from Sweden are
With 157 505s racing, this is believed to be the largest 505 World
Championship held in the 505 class's forty four year history. Due to the
505 class's use of gate starts, there have been no recalls, and each of the
four gate starts so far was successful. The 505 class recently chose to
make the 505 World Championship open, and this has attracted a number of
newcomers into the 505. "There are more French 505 sailors here than we
have had at a French National Championship for many years", said World
organizer Jean-Baptiste Dupont. "The open worlds is the reason many of
them have joined the 505 class." ISAF President Paul Henderson was in the
gate launch for the start of races two and three, a perfect location to see
the excitement, close starting and tactics of a gate start.
Standings after four races (157 boats): 1. USA HAMLIN HOWARD/MARTIN MIKE
(6.00) 2. USA BEECKMAN ANDY/BENJAMIN BEN (10.00) 3. DEN SCHONHERR
JORGEN/KAEMPE ANDERS (17.10) 4. GER HUNGER WOLFGANG/JESS HOLGER (21.70)5.
SWE BERGSTROM KRISTER/MOSS THOMAS (23.00)
Event website: http://asso.ffv.fr/cinquo//World99.html
SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT -- Cam Lewis' final report
Our attempt to break the Transat Record on Foncia (ex-Primagaz) has
stopped. As time ran out we were becalmed, 30 miles short of The Lizard. At
the speed we were moving, it could have taken us a day to finish. We turned
to head for Lorient, in France.
We had five of the best days of sailing I have ever had. Five of the best
days, this team or boat have ever had, faster, further and better than any
previous voyage by any boat or team anywhere. Then we hit the wall. This
record is the hardest one I know of to break on any sea route. The team has
to be the best, both on the boat and in the weather labs ashore. The boat
has to be the best, and then there is the game of chance and the need for
It is impossible to predict the weather five days out. We launched, we
sailed damn fast and stayed on or close to the direct route, sailing the
least miles possible. We exploited a perfect mix of weather, wind and boat.
Twenty-plus knots of boat speed, day in and day out. Big moon, big wind,
big speed -- all equal no big worries. Never did we think a wall would shut
us from our objective.
A stalled low pressure system blocked our road, no way south, no way north.
We had to suck in our guts and try to punch through it. We were 345 miles
from the line and had 36 hours to do it in. It should have been easy. When
the wind is your friend, 500 mile days are easy.
This morning as time ran out, were parked, 30 miles from the line, and
south of the Scilly Isles. No wind, no speed, parked! There are no silver
medals in this game. It was time to plan the next attack, the next
challenge, take the boat home and get it in top shape for the Fastnet Race
If you don't know what MDT stands for now, you will. Soon. Technically it
stands for Multi Directional Threading, but what is means is lighter,
stronger and sooo affordable. Ullman Sails have built hundreds of these
Compound Sails with Stitchless Technology from fiber/film components that
address the loading patterns in a modern tri-radial. Check out the Ullman
Sails website to lean why they work and while you're there, get a quote
AmericaOne, St. Francis Yacht Club's challenger for America's Cup XXX,
announced the start of construction on their second International America's
Cup Class (IACC) boat. With the completion of their first new IACC boat,
USA 49, the AmericaOne design team has been afforded the opportunity to
aggressively leverage the latest advancements into the design and
construction of Boat #2. Construction will again be handled by Westerly
Marine of Costa Mesa, CA.
"America's Cup rules state that each team is permitted to build a maximum
of two new boats and as long as I have competed in this event no team has
ever won without this type of competitive program," remarks Paul Cayard,
AmericaOne Skipper & CEO. "Boat #2's design is optimized for the conditions
we will have in January and February during the Louis Vuitton Finals and
the America's Cup races. I feel fortunate that our team has the corporate
and private backing to be able to implement this plan."
"A number of factors have influenced the design of our second boat,"
explains Bruce Nelson, AmericaOne's Principal Designer. "All the
information learned while training in New Zealand this past winter plus
another season's worth of weather data from the NIWA buoy on the America's
Cup race course, combined with an additional six months of ongoing design
research and development, has been incorporated into Boat #2's design. The
core design of USA 49 was locked in last December, like most of our
competitors, thus Boat #2's design is significantly newer and more refined
for the conditions off of Auckland."
AmericaOne is currently training aboard the '95 IACC boat, oneAustralia, in
San Pedro, California. On July 17, AmericaOne will launch and christen
their first new IACC boat, USA 49, for America's Cup 2000. The AmericaOne
team will spend the summer testing the two boats for the purpose of
maximizing the performance of USA 49. In September, the team will move back
to New Zealand where they will compete in the Louis Vuitton Cup which runs
from October 18, 1999 - February 4, 2000. America's Cup races run from
February 19 - March 4, 2000. - Gina von Esmarch
AmericaOne website: http://www.ac2000.org/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250
words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Paul Henderson, President ISAF -- I have read with great dismay the
self-interest being put forward in the argument regarding "My handicap
system is better than yours." The most disturbing is the PHRF knocking. I
have never met a stupid sailor in my life, only sailors who do stupid
things. More intelligent sailors choose to sail brands of PHRF than any
other system worldwide. After too many years ISAF has supported an ISAF
Empirical Handicap Committee inside the ISAF structure after allowing them
to be treated like poor cousins by the elitist of the so-called offshore
scene. If you choose to sail IMS, IOR, Portsmouth, PHRF, Hellenic,
Americap, One-designs or Dhows you are racing sailors. If you go to sea to
race sailboats "Good on Ya Mate" and welcome to the fraternity!! Promote
your particular part of the sport positively in absolute terms and stop
knocking those who choose to sail in another part of the very broad Sailing
-- From Jim Champ - Now I'm a foreigner, and a dinghy sailor at that, so
can have no legitimate or informed opinions, but I wonder if PHRF is so
popular because everyone likes bitching about their rating and claiming
that if only they had a decent handicap they would have won...
-- From Chick Pyle, Jamestown, RI & San Diego - PHRF may not be perfect but
it could be vastly improved by removing the handicapping authority from the
local kangaroo courts which dole out favors and fines based on friendship
and politics. As Chris Bouzaid puts it handicapping belongs in the hands of
a national board of professionals whose actions can be closely monitored.
The only purposeful role of the local PHRF committees should be to verify
certificate applications and changes. IE. a Beneteau in the San Diego fleet
which has dominated it's class for years was reportedly discovered with an
extra large rig, not the stock rig that is on it's certificate. The local
board should be in the business of verifying rig and sail sizes, verifying
that roller furler or prop configurations actually exist and report back to
the national board. Cronyism may be a natural human element but it can be
eliminated from PHRF and our sport will benefit from it's elimination.
-- From Michael Moore -- I would like to comment on Ms. Pegel's letter in
'Butt #355. It occurs to me that while 'butt is a wonderful forum for a
wide range of issues, complaining about lack of compliance with a class
rule doesn't seem to be an appropriate use of the Scuttlebutt bandwidth.
Jane, if you have an issue regarding the weight limit with one of your
competitors, take it up directly with them. If you can't reach a
satisfactory outcome "on the dock", the sport has a built in mechanism, the
dreaded protest. I understand that many sailors, including myself, are
uncomfortable bringing a protest over such an issue. We get concerned that
we will come out looking like a whiner, or that we are protesting over a
trivial issue. However, I think that would be a preferable alternative to
airing a classes dirty laundry in Scuttlebutt.
-- From Mark Reynolds (In response to Jane Pegel) -- No members of the US
sailing team have ignored the weight rule. The new Star class weight rule
is only in force for certain major regattas and we've only had one in the
US so far (Springs in Mississippi) and everyone was weighed. The US team
members were weighed a 2nd time and all passed. Pretty hard to ignore a
rule when they put you on the scale and weigh you.
-- From Ned Jones(In response to Jane Pegel) - A protest situation is
rarely as simple as one boat acknowledging she has committed a rules
infraction and will exonerate herself by doing a 720. When this is the
case, it works great. More often than not, each of the involved boats will
see the situation in a different way, and will not easily give up ground on
a questionable call by spinning a 720. Is the glass half full, or half empty?
Then comes the protest hearing. When we have used the "3 minute justice"
version in college sailing, it is very similar to using umpires on the
water in that the jury is forced to render a decision based on the facts
presented during the 3-minute period. No recourse for the "losing" boat,
just the decision by the jury, just like an umpire on the water.
The college sailing community and related fleets have become quite
accustomed to this type of hearing. It has had a deterrent effect on
protesting in general. Like all changes, it took some getting used to. We
conducted some informal analysis of rendered decisions and found that the
"3 minute" or "3 hour" justice usually produces the same findings. The
toughest part of the whole process is selecting the most qualified members
of your jury way in advance of the event.
Curmudgeon's comment: Ned Jones spent 10 as a college sailing coach.
-- From Tom Redler -- For those Transpac '99 aficionados who were
fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the beautiful Souvenir Program, I
would like to point out an error on page 6. In his otherwise factual
article, "Predictions 99," Rich Roberts states: "Disney retired Pyewacket,
an upgraded ULDB 70, after it lowered the Transpac standard to 7 days, 15
hours, 24 minutes, 40 seconds and left no other major West Coast record
standing in a two-year spree."
While Roy did have a fantastic winning streak, the record for the longest
international West Coast race, DRYC's Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta
event still stands! It was set in 1985 by Dick and Camille Daniels'
MacGregor 65, Joss. They covered the 1125 mile course in 4 days, 23 hours,
14 seconds, an average SOC of over 10 knots. The P.V. Race Committee would
love to see Pyewacket take its "best shot" in February 2001.
Gothenburg, Sweden is to host the final stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race
from May 31st to June 8, 2002. For the first time in the history of the
event, the fleet will visit Sweden and, after an eight-day stay in
Gothenburg, it will then set off for the final 200 nautical mile leg which
will finish in Kiel, Germany. This is the largest yacht race ever to visit
Gothenburg and interest from spectators and the media will be enormous.
Helge Alten, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race said, "The
Scandinavian markets are commercially important to most potential race
sponsors, syndicates and of course Volvo. Gothenburg not only has the
excellent facilities to receive the Volvo Ocean Race, but as a city it has
proven that it can organise high profile, important events in a
professional way," he added.
The Volvo Ocean Race will start from Southampton, UK on September 23rd
2001. The fully professional racing fleet will circumnavigate the globe
with the prevailing winds, visiting 10 ports around the world, taking
approximately nine months to complete the nine leg event. - Lizzie Green
Event website: http://www.VolvoOceanRace.org
(Reprinted with permission from DEFENCE 2000, which is available for US $48
per year from John@roake.gen.nz)
* There is no doubt that race organisers are concerned that there may be
more than one challenger who turns up in Auckland, puts in an appearance,
and than disappears - just to secure a refund of their performance bond.
This is a distinct possibility and a matter of some real concern to Louis
Vuitton organisers. Bruno Trouble, the spokesman for Louis Vuitton, is
strongly suggesting a change to the rules so that the performance bond is
paid much closer to the challenger series start date. He is concerned that
the inferior teams will lower the appeal of the regatta. It is now obvious
that some challengers have discovered they can enter an America's Cup
challenge with an old boat and little money (is he talking about Syd
Fischer from Australia?). "Teams with no funding are surviving, simply
because they want to recover their deposit" says Trouble.
Well herein lies a major problem, a scene that is unlikely to reoccur in
future challenges, but meantime we are predicting more than one will make a
mockery of their challenging status.
The three boats comprising the United States team for the Champagne Mumm
Admiral's Cup will race for the next three days in the Berthon Source
Lymington Regatta which starts Friday, July 9. Most of the boats from the
nine international teams contesting the Admiral's Cup will race in the
event as a warm-up for the 13-day Cup series which starts next Wednesday,
July 14. The opening day of Cup competition features two inshore races on
The Solent, the body of water separating the Isle of Wight from the British
George David's 50-foot Nelson/Marek sloop Idler from Hartford, CT, Bob
Towse's Sydney 40 Blue Yankee Pride, from Stamford, CT, and Matt Whitaker's
Mumm 36 Ciao Baby, from Houston, TX, make up this year's American team.
The US is the defending nation, after winning the Admiral's Cup two years
ago, marking the third time it has won the prestigious international trophy
for ocean racing. The US also won in 1961 and 1969. There are nine
confirmed teams for the 1999 Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup: Australia,
Commwealth, Europe, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Nether- lands,
United States. The trophy is awarded to the nation whose three-yacht team
accumulates the highest score of points overall in the eight races,
including two distance races, which make up the series.
Idler, the big boat in the US Team, has the same afterguard that won the
Cup two years ago aboard the US entry Flash Gordon III. Newport sailmaker
and Rolex Yachtsman of the year Ken Read is skippering, Olympic silver
medalist and J/24 World Champion Jim Brady, from Greenwich, CT, is again
the tactician. They are joined by renowed British ocean racer Derek Clark,
returning as navigator.
Towse is coming back to the event for the fourth time, and has chartered
the one-design Sydney 40 Blue Yankee Pride. He is joined by his regular
helmsman, sailmaker, Olympic and ocean racing champion Steve Benjamin, from
South Norwalk, Ct. Their tactician is America's Cup navigator and ESPN
television analyst Peter Isler, from La Jolla, CA.
Whittaker, a three-time Admiral's Cup veteran, has chartered the Mumm 36
Jameson and named it Ciao Baby. This is the same boat his helsman Chris
Larson, from Annapolis, MD, steered to victory in the 1998 World
championships and sailed to win the Admiral's Cup two years ago. Their
navigator is New Zealander Mike Drummond, who has also sailed three
Admiral's Cup and is a designer for Team New Zealand, defending the
America's Cup. - Keith Taylor
Regular updates about the regatta can be found on the RORC web site:
http://mummadmiralscup.org or the US SAILING web site: http://ussailing.org
TORNADO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The 1999 Tornado World Championship is getting close to the end, in
Vallensbaek, Denmark, just south of Copenhagen. Ten races have now been
completed, in winds that have more often been light and shifty. Before
coming here, it was known that these winds were likely, giving an advantage
to the 2 Austrian brothers, the Hagaras, and making it difficult for the
heavy-air Australians, Bundock/Forbes to repeat. After today's (Thursday)
racing, that is how it is beginning to sort out, with two more races
completed in 5-12 kts of shifty air.
Roman Hagara and his crew, Hans Peter Steinacher, are beginning to get away
from the fleet, with finishes of 1-2 today they have put a lot of points
between themselves and the rest of the boats. Their total is now 21.
Sitting in second is Andy Hagara and his crew Moser, with 45 pts after a
good 2-9 day. The Germans, Gaebler/Schwall, solidified their hold on a
top-5 spot with a 10-6 day, to hold third with 51 points, while the
defending champs Bundock/Forbes had to fight to have a 13-13 day, now in
4th with 55 points. The French team of Backes/Voiron, after flirting
briefly with 3rd overall, slipped today with 21-23 finishes, to 5th overall
with 67 points. Looking at the point totals, it will be battle for the
2-3-4 spots in the final rankings in tomorrows racing.
Note from American competitors, Charlie Ogletree and John Lovell: Today was
day 5 of the Worlds. We went into today in 6th, 8 points out of second and
we ended the day in 10th, 15 points out of 7th with two races remaining.
Unfortunately, we had a tough day. The conditions were light, very shifty
and choppy. The velocity changes were between 6 and 12 knots which made
Tornado tactics very hard. The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same so
we have our work cut out for us.
Event website: http://www.sailing.org/tornado
STAR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Helsingfors Segelklubb, Finland - Top ten places after today's racing (5
races sailed, one more scheduled): 1. Frank Butzmann, Jen Peters, GER, 12
points; 2. Mark Reynolds, Magnus Liljedahl, USA, 15; 3. Colin Beashel,
David GIles, AUS, 15; 4. Vincent Hoesch, Florian Fendt, GER, 20; 5.
Reihnard Schmidt, Jochen Wolfram, GER, 24; 6. Mark Neeleman, Jos Schrier,
NED, 24; 7. Stuart Hudson, Chris Gowers, GBR, 30; 8. Olle Johansson, Lars
Edwall, SWE, 33; 9. Riccardo Simoneschi, Corrado Cristaldini, 37; 10.
Victor Solovyov, Anatoly Mikhailin, RUS, 42.
Complete results at http://www.mmc.fi/star/ec99results.htm
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATION
Smoking is nature's way of solving the Social Security funding crisis.