SCUTTLEBUTT #417 - October 13, 1999
THE CURMUDGEON GOES SAILING
After two days of sitting in the office it was time to go sailing. Happily,
TDC President Bill Trenkle agreed and invited me along on the practice
session with the Stars & Stripes sailing team on USA 55. Bill told me I
could either fill in for mast man Matt Smith (who was nursing a sore
shoulder) or just ride along as the "17th person." Well, Matt Smith is a
big strong guy with about a 19" neck. I quickly concluded that my aging
body would be happier in the back of the boat. Very good call.
As soon as the sails went up it became obvious that sailing an IACC boat is
hard work. Real hard work. To my surprise, even tactician Peter Holmberg
and navigator Peter Isler jumped in to spin the handles at the leeward mark
roundings. (So much for cushy management jobs on an AC boat.)
-- The Hauraki Gulf is one beautiful spot to race sailboats. Surrounded by
rolling green hills, it's absolutely huge, with plenty of room to hold
several America's Cup regattas concurrently. And with the flat water and
the 15-20 knots of breeze we saw today, it was just a marvelous place to go
-- To my eye, the new generation of AC boats looks a bit out of
proportion. They just seem way too skinny for their indecently tall masts.
But they sure go fast. (The gulf was full of AC boats today. With only five
days left before the first race of the Louis Vuitton Series, it looked like
all of the syndicates were out practicing.)
-- None of my previous sailing prepared me for the noise aboard an AC
boat. It's damn near deafening. When Eric Doyle eased the main sheet a
couple of inches it sounded like a battery of anti-aircraft guns irrupting.
The first couple of times I heard it, I instinctively looked around to see
what exploded. I was sure we'd broken something big -- like the hull.
Easing the runner is no better -- just a different pitch.
-- It was hard not to be impressed with the excellent crew work and
flawless choreography on the boat. Everything went smoothly -- especially
the driving of Ken Read. On the last beat of the day, Ken let me drive the
boat upwind for about a half-hour. The first thing I noticed was the boat
speed went down over half a knot. Hmmm! And when I tacked the boat, it was
hard to ignore that the boat slowed a lot more than it did when Kenny was
driving. Happily, no one said anything. Even better -- I didn't break DC's
shinny new boat.
One final thought -- The area in the back of the boat where the "17th
person" will ride is far from luxurious. It's fraught with booby traps and
things to trip over, and short of stuff to hold onto or places to brace
your feet. And there are also about a half dozen things back there that
look like they'd rip your finger off if you grabbed one of them at the
Having said all that, if you get the chance to sail back there for a day,
don't even think about saying 'no." It will be one of the high spots of
your life. -- The curmudgeon
Eight three person teams competed in Sonars at the St. Petersburg Yacht
Club for the Rolex Prince of Wales Wednesday, October 6th through
Saturday,October 9th. Eighty-four windward leeward twice around matches
were sailed in winds as light as 5 knots and as heavy as 18 knots during
The Long Beach Yacht Club team skippered by Scott Dickson, brother of Chris
Dickson of America's Cup fame, was winning going into the last match, but
was beaten by Southern Yacht Club skipper Marcus Eagen causing Mason
Woodworth of Watch Hill Yacht Club to win the Rolex Prince of Wales. Tabor
Academy skippered by Andrew Horton became tied with Long Beach Yacht Club.
The tie was broken by Tabor's greater win record over Long Beach Yacht
Club. -- US Sailing website, http://www.ussailing.org/
Final results: 1st, Watch Hill Yacht Club, MA, 15 wins, 6 loses, 2nd, Tabor
Academy, MA, 14 wins, 7 loses, 3rd, Long Beach Yacht Club, CA, 14 wins, 7
loses, 4th, Southern Yacht Club, LA, 11 wins, 10 loses, 5th, New Orleans
Yacht Club, LA, 10 wins, 11 loses, 6th, Houston Yacht Club, TX, 9 wins, 12
loses, 7th, Ventura Yacht Club, CA, 6 wins, 15 loses, 8th, Davis Island
Yacht Club, 5 wins, 16 loses.
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
Sweden's most successful Whitbread skipper, Gunnar "Gurra" Krantz, will
skipper a Swedish boat in Volvo Ocean Race. Gunnar "Gurra" Krantz will have
the sports-related responsibility within the newly established Swedish
syndicate, Global Team, which will participate in the Volvo Ocean Race
(formerly The Whitbread), starting from Southampton, England, in September
2001. Global Team will administer the overall project, which is a
professional project based on the commercial benefits that the sporting
Krantz is the only Swedish Skipper to win one leg in the race and the first
Swedish skipper to win a medal. Has competed in three Whitbread races:
1997-98 as skipper of Swedish Match, 1993-94 as watch captain onboard
Intrum Justitia on the first three legs and onboard Tokio for the last two
legs and 1989-90 as watch captain onboard The Card, the first Swedish boat
in The Whitbread. Krantz skippered the Swedish boat in the last two
challenges for the Americas Cup.
Global Team has been formed by Gurra Krantz, skipper and sport manager for
the Swedish Match project in the 1997-98 Whitbread and Lars Ahren - also
one of the initiators of the Swedish Match project as well as one of the
initiators with responsibility for promotion with Intrum Justitia (1993-94)
and The Card (1989-90). Joining them is Lawyer Hans Liljeblad, and Raymond
Emtemark Internet and media entrepreneur. "Once again we have been
successful in forming a group of people with complementary skills: big boat
racing experience and an interest in both sailing and business", says Gurra
Krantz, who after finishing third in the last race, sees a first or second
place in the Volvo Ocean Race as his goal.
"In the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002, corporations will be invited to become
commercial partners in each project by purchasing the commercial values
that each syndicate generates," explains Lars Ahren. "The income from
selling these commercial values will create the financial base that will
enable us to participate in the race with high expectations. It will also
fund a promotional campaign creating awareness, knowledge and favorable
attitudes towards the project which in turn will act as a platform for the
utilisation of the commercial benefits by the business partners" he added.
Global Team will offer corporations different forms of commercial
participation in the project. It also aims to include a socially valuable
dimension in the project by stimulating interest in sailing among youth and
other groups, as well as support environmental protection.
"Crewmembers will be recruited internationally", says Gurra Krantz, adding,
"this is essential if we are to be serious and competitive. However, I
intend to focus on recruiting as many Swedish sailors as possible, as well
as trying to establish the basis for a new generation of Swedish
professional sailors, including potential skippers."
"I already have a clear picture of how I want to handle the sporting
aspects this time round, whether to build one or two boats and where the
boat-building will occur," says Gurra Krantz. "Other important preparation
relates to yacht development and optimisation, trimming and training,
crew-selection and team-building, and on the choice of which preparatory
races we want to participate in." -- Lizzie Green,
"Hello Tom from Marina del Rey. You're on the line with Dr. Laura."
"Dr. Laura, I have a problem with my battery charger. It seems to be more
AC than DC."
"Sounds like you called the wrong Doctor. I suggest you go to
www.westmarine.com and see what the West Advisor has to say ..."
Good advice! If you have questions about battery chargers, picking an
auto-pilot, hydraulic steering, antifouling bottom paint, EPIRBs, or how to
select a radar -- the West Advisor will have better answers than any
"shrink." And there's no charge for the advice.
* If ever there was a yachting event in which Britain ought to excel, it
is the America's Cup. Yet when the latest series opens, in Auckland on Oct
18, it will be the fourth in succession where there will be no British
This is a country which boasts some of the world's finest yachts designers,
and where huge wealth has been generated by new technology industries. So
it is extraordinary that Britain has been missing from the event since 1987.
The job of raising the L15 million needed for a reasonable challenge would
seem to be straightforward. But the only man to have raised the money in
the 1990s is Peter de Savary, who spent his own cash in 1983 with Victory,
and then signed up employment services company Blue Arrow for his second
bid, until the deal turned sour and a Department of Trade inquiry was
America's Paul Cayard is probably the hottest ticket amongst the
challengers, having made it through to the last two Cup matches and won the
Whitbread race, yet his struggle for funding has been immense. Not
surprisingly, he has called for the Cup to tear up its current structure,
where thanks to a 19th century trust document, the holders set all the
rules for their own benefit first and the challengers come a distant
second. Cayard believes the entire event should be placed in the hands of
an independent, neutral and professional administration which will
permanantly oversee the competition.
All these problems have been made worse by the absurd failure of the
current Cup organisers to put a TV deal in place until this spring. This,
in itself, undermined many challenger's chance of raising sponsorship.
Generating the money for the America's Cup can be the toughest part of the
whole game. For Britain to take its place amongst the challengers again,
more individuals within Britain surely need to show greater gumption and
financial risk-taking .
There needs to be a universal rallying to the cause and the Cup's
administration needs a real sharpening up. And it would help, too, if the
competition produced an American or European winner, to bring it back to
the mass market countries from its present tiny - but special - home in New
Zealand. -- Tim Jeffery, UK, Electronic Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
* Ken Read first sneaked on board an America's Cup yacht as a 15-year-old,
hiding in the hull with a bottle of beer. The high school kid who grew up
to drive Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes had no intention of one day
sailing a Cup boat. "My goal was not to clank the beer bottle against the
aluminium hull and alert the guards," he laughed. "Not that there were many
guards." Those were the days when secrecy and the Cup were not connected.
In the '70s, Read and his friends from Newport, Rhode Island, could go down
at night to the dock where legendary boats like Intrepid were tied up, and
jump on board. Today those boys would be hung, drawn and quartered.
But Read grew up to be a good, honest guy - and an eight-times world
sailing champion - who has been entrusted with helming Conner's blue boat
in the Louis Vuitton challenger series starting in five days. Read knows he
has been handed a huge responsibility by Mr America's Cup himself, and he
seriously wondered if he would be able to sleep at nights in Auckland. "I
just hope we can live up to the Dennis Conner expectations," he said.
Read sailed against Conner in the defender trials in 1995 - Read was on
Pact'95 and still sees "the enemy" when he looks at his new Stars & Stripes
boat. But now he harbours a huge respect for a different Conner from the
one the sailing world sees. "When the shore guys are working on the boat at
11pm, Dennis comes out with buckets of chilli he's made for them. On Friday
nights, he cooks burgers for everyone and their families," Read said. "He
looks out for the boys, so we want to make sure we get him to the
Read realistically knows that this is a tough task for the one-boat Conner
campaign this time. "I wish we had another boat like this one, and another
year-and-a-half to get ready. But we have to face reality - we have one
boat and we were very late into the game," he said.
"The reality is that a single-boat programme hasn't won an America's Cup
for a long time." Stars & Stripes has shied away from getting into the
practice races on the Hauraki Gulf this past week. It has not been snobbery
- Read just does not want to break the boat. "We have a bunch of people who
have poured a tonne of money into this campaign. And if something stupid
happens before we start the race, we'd look pretty average," he said. "All
the sailors, like me, want to mix it up with the other boats every minute
of the day. But if we broke the boat, we'd be in the base watching the race
on the Internet."
So Stars & Stripes have been racing against an imaginary yacht for a month,
or lining up with their tender boat. "We've been kicking our tender's ass,"
he said. "But we're getting tired of it - we want Monday to come so we can
race someone." -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (email@example.com)
Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250
words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Pat Broderick, (Regarding Rob Overton's announcement about the
Racing Rules Committee meeting on Oct. 27 in Baltimore.) Now, let me get
this straight: I take a week off from work, buy a roundtrip airline ticket
between San Francisco and Baltimore, pay for a hotel room and meals, pony
up $35.00 for the seminar (lunch not included)?
Sorry Rob, I think I'll buy a new jib instead. USSA is still in the cotton
sail era of communication. Why don't they begin using the Internet and
e-mail to conduct some of their business and to find out what us commoners
feel? A guaranteed way to hear what they want to hear is to set up a
meeting among themselves on one of the coasts and then remember to invite
everyone else. The 'Butt is the best example going of what USSA should look
like. Disclaimer: I am a USSA member/race officer.
-- From Dan Mangus -- Everyone knows a whack is a cousin of the yak ...
which is all well documented by our pal Dr. Seuss.
-- From Tom Gadbois -- With respect to US sailing volunteers being paid, we
seem to be missing the point here. Do we have to get the dictionary out to
remind us what a volunteer is? It is critical to Yacht Clubs, Race
Committees, and US Sailing that people donate their time to keep things
running, and provide necessary infrastructure. If we pay people, it will
cost everyone. It is our "civic duty" to serve in this capacity through our
lives just as it is to do jury duty. I think we can grasp this without
seeing our next US Sailing membership go up significantly. I suppose I'll
go call the Superior Court now.
-- From Peter Huston -- The issue of USSA Board composition as required by
the USOC is a slap in the face to all of the great non-Olympic class
sailors who have and currently serve the sport in the US. Should the
composition of the USSA Board be changed - yes, but only for reasons that
best serve the sport in this country as a whole. The simplest way to reach
the Olympic mandate is to have our current Board members race in a couple
of Laser regattas. Perhaps this wouldn't meet the letter of the law, but
it's close enough for government work.
Terry Harper suggests that it would be a violation of Federal law to break
off the US SAILING team into a separate entity. Both the IOC and USOC are
up to their eyeballs in bid city bribe scandals. And we are suppose to
march in lockstep with their demands on our structure?
Why is it that we continually let the US SAILING dog be wagged by the
64 J/Boats turned out for J/Fest '99. There was no wind on Saturday and
therefore no racing. Sunday, we managed to get off 3 races on both courses.
Wind ranged from 3-9knts. The highlights for the weekend included the
amazing 17 boat J/120 class and the 22 boat J/24 fleet that was the largest
of the year for the class in Southern California. The J/30 class also
awarded their Southern California Championship trophy. The J/105's, were
awarded the Most Competitive Class trophy. The top 4 boats were separated
by just 3 points. -- Jeff Trask
Results: J/120(17 boats) 1. Indigo, Scott Birnberg, LBYC 2. Simply Red,
Kelly Vince, LAYC 3. CC Rider, Chuck Nichols, SDYC 4. Impact Player, Dick
Sikorski, BCYC 5. Junkyard Dog, Grant Bixby, NHYC J/105(6 Boats) 1. J-OK,
Stewart Cannon, SWYC 2. J-Hawk, Abbott Brown, CYC 3. Legacy, Brian
Doughery, NHYC J/30(5 boats) Rambuntious, Andy Clark, VYC 2. Love and War,
Steve Cole, ABYC 3. 18770, Mike leary, VYC J/24(22 boats) Fish Lips, Chris
Snow, MBYC 2. Tiny Dancer, Brian Zimmerman, SBYC 3. Ho'Omele, Scott Tobin,
CYC 4. Speedy Blue, Kurry Kurita, CYC 5. Desperado, Phil Otis, DPYC
JPHRF-A(6 boats) 1. Abba Zabba Dad, David Stockman, BYC 2. Fastlane, Bob
Patterson, CYC 3. Scooter, Larry Hanson VYC JPHRF-B(8 boats) 1. Whippet,
Bill Murray, BYC 2. La.Forza, Gene Elliott, BYC 3. Blue Moon, Roland
Big is the best way to describe the first annual Schock Invitational
Regatta hosted by The San Francisco Yacht Club and sponsored by W.D. Schock
Corp. and Corso Marine. Two aircraft carriers, a liberty ship, the Blue
Angeles, and a bay full of spectators turned out to watch the outcome of
two national championships, two district championships, and a designer's
memorial cup. Racers really came out for this event and it was not made up
of only "Bay" boats, as 64 teams came from between Seattle and San Diego.
Conditions on the bay were spectacular with clear sunny skies, warn air,
and in the afternoon typical bay breeze. The San Francisco Yacht Club did a
terrific job funning 7 classes on two courses. On the inside course the
Lido 14's sailed an A and B fleet on Richardson Bay for their Western
Regional Championship. On the outside course, the PHRF fleet shared the
same course that the Wavelength 24's and Santana 35's sailed for their
National Championships. The Santana 22's sailed the "Gary Mull Cappuccino
Cup, and the Santana 20's (with the largest single fleet) sailed their
Western Regional Champs. -- Steve Schupak
Results: LIDO 14 A (10 boats) 1. John Papadopoulos, Stephanie Faillers,
Balboa YC 2. Thomas Jenkins, Bette Jenkins, Morro Bay YC 3. Bob Yates,
Newport Harbor YC, LIDO 14 B (7 boats) 1. Jim Jackman, Justin Jackman,
Balboa YC 2. John Nugent, Freemont YC 3. Roy Gammill, Bev Gammill, Morro
Bay YC, PHRF (3 boats) 1. Alfonso Cordero, Accapulco YC, SANTANA 20 (17
boats) 1. Chris Winnard 2. Tom Schock, Newport Harbor YC 3. Gordon Wanlass,
Balboa YC 4. Lance Purdy, SSC 5. Charles Hess, Folsom Lake YC 6. Gordon
Mattatall, Eugene YC, SANTANA 22 (10 boats) 1. Chris Giovacchimi, CYC 2.
Frank Lawler, SEA 3. Mark Lowry, Richmond YC, WAVELENGTH 24 (6 boats) 1.
Nicholi Lenn, Eugene YC 2. Randy Weersing, TYC Eugene 3. Phil Natura,
Folsom Lake YC, Santana 35 (11 boats) 1. Mark Sloane, EYC 2. Jim Graham,
EYC 3. Bill Keller, Monterey YC 4. Mike Whaler, GGYC -- Steve Schupak, W.D.
Whether you sail inshore or offshore, you simply won't find better value in
foul weather gear than the new Gill Tradewinds jacket and trousers. It has
all of the features you want - lifejacket/safety harness attachment tabs,
reflective strip on chest and hood, peaked hood with draw cord & autolock
adjustment that stows in collar pocket, fleece lined, self draining cargo
pockets with fleece lined handwarmers. And this great looking breathable
"02" gear is really comfortable. Here's the dealmaker: the jacket is only
$195 and the matching pants are just $145. What are you waiting for?
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS
It is time for US SAILING members to cast their nominations for the 1999
Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Established in 1961 and
sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, the Rolex Yachtsman and
Yachtswoman of the Year Awards are presented annually to the individual
yachtsman and yachtswoman who demonstrate excellence through outstanding
on-the-water achievement. Only US SAILING members may cast nominations,
which for the '99 awards must be based on accomplishments in this calendar
year and received no later than December 31. Nominees must be U.S. citizens.
"With Rolex's longstanding support, these awards have come to represent the
pinnacle of achievement in competitive sailing," said US SAILING's
President Jim Muldoon. "Unlike trophies for first place in a particular
competition, they distinguish sailors with top finishes in a number of
events, taking into account the competitiveness of the athlete's sailing
Nominees are determined by US SAILING's membership, with a panel of
national and regional yachting journalists making the final selection by
confidential vote. Winners will be announced at a luncheon in New York City
on March 15, 2000. Past winners include Betsy Alison, Paul Cayard, Dennis
Conner, JJ Isler, Ken Read and Ted Turner. -- Shannon Weisleder
Richmond Yacht Club, host of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, welcomed 17
Finns back for the big annual fall event, the North American Championship
on 8-10 October. Vancouvers Richard Clarke was expected to defend his NA
title for the third consecutive year, but few knew that Canadian
heavy-hitters were invading California in force. Larry Lemieux made the
drive and CORK/Toilet Bowl champ Mike Milner showed as well, both from
Toronto. The last time Clarke, Lemieux and Milner raced together (98 NAs at
Halifax) they lead the Canadians to six of the top nine placings, including
1st & 2nd.
Although San Franciscos Russ Silvestri was busy with Americas Cup plans,
the U.S. boys were up to the challenge. Besides the top-ranked Eric Oetgen,
Darrell Peck and Mark Herrmann answered the call. Race instructions called
for windward-leewards with some reaching courses, but the wing mark was
never used and trapezoids were not necessary.
Its hard to believe this was the first "major" won by Herrmann of Seattle,
whose last winning effort was Januarys Ft. Lauderdale Midwinter Regatta.
His previous best was a 2nd at the 94 Nationals. While waiting for a new
Devoti hull to arrive, Mark sailed his 20-year old optimized Vanguard hull
with his custom mast and a new North R2 sail. At 40+ and "just sailing for
fun," Herrmann has become the 2000 U.S. rankings leader. With three
different champions of the U.S. Pre-Trials (Peck), Nationals (Silvestri)
and North Americans (Herrmann), and Oetgen leading the rankings for most of
99, everyone is left guessing just who the USA will be sending to Sydney's
Olympics next year. -- Mark Turner
Results: 1. Mark Herrmann 3,3,3,1 - 10, 2. Richard Clarke (CAN) 5,2,1,3 -
11, 3. Eric Oetgen 1,1,4,7 - 13, 4. Larry Lemieux (CAN) 2,6,5,2 - 15, 5.
Darrell Peck 4,5,2,10 - 21, 6. Mike Milner (CAN) 6,4,7,6 - 23, 7. Andrew
Kern 7,8,8,8 - 31, 8. Geoff Ewenson 8,11,9,4 - 32, 9. Henry Sprague
9,7,6,13 - 35, 10. Scott Griffiths 12,9,11,5 - 37
U.S. Finn website: http://www.sailing.to/gold
THE CURMUDGEON'S BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
"Love. A temporary insanity curable by marriage." - Ambrose Bierce