SCUTTLEBUTT #420 - October 18, 1999
* The first day of the 1999-2000 Louis Vuitton Cup went true to
pre-regatta predictions with the favoured syndicates putting in strong
performances. AmericaOne, Prada and Young America are jammed at the top of
the leaderboard with 2-0 records.
AmericaOne beat the Spanish Challenge and America True. Prada defeated FAST
2000 and Nippon. Young America won over America True and the Spanish
Challenge. Team Dennis Conner is also undefeated after the first day,
winning its first match over Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel by nine
seconds. Team DC had a bye in the afternoon. Quokka website,
* At a press conference after the crews came ashore, several skippers were
quick to emphasize that this was just one day, with difficult shifty
conditions without any great implications for the longer haul. Races in
this first Round Robin only count for one point, versus four and nine
points respectively for the second and third Round Robins.
Prada shredded a spinnaker at a leeward mark drop in her race against
Nippon and lost crew member Simone di Mari overboard as they cut the chute
loose. Di Mari clung to a trailing sheet and was dragged back on board, but
the Japanese boat used the incident to pull level with the Italians before
a wind shift and perhaps faster boat speed gave the victory to Italy.
'We did not plan that manoeuvre perfectly,' said de Angelis. Actually it
was a big mess but at least we were able to occupy the space and had the
chance to go to the right, which at the end of the race was good. -- Louis
Vuitton website, http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
* A dramatic wind shift on the final run (of their race with the French Le
Defi Challenge) gave the Stars & Stripes afterguard its first big test of
the series. Do they continue to push their asymmetrical chute beyond its
design limits, or drop it and limp to the finish under a headsail? "They
made with the right decision," Conner acknowledged. "I really didn't want
to see a new $25,000 kite explode so early in the series. We've got a lot
of racing left to do."
As a result of the sail change of the final run, the lead Stars & Stripes
had built on each leg of the course shrunk to a meager nine seconds at the
Conner steered the boat for about one third of the race, including the
final leg. "I raced my guts out for an hour and a half," helmsman Ken Read
said with a big grin. "Then DC took the helm and in a few seconds he cut
the margin down from nearly two minutes to just a couple of boat lengths.
It takes a real America's Cup veteran to do that," he quipped jokingly to a
smiling Dennis Conner. --Stars & Stripes website, http://www.stars-stripes.com
* STANDINGS after two races (Team Dennis Conner and Young Australia have
only sailed one race): AmOne -2 points, YoungAm -2 points, Prada -2 points,
TDC -1 point, Nippon -1 point, Le Defi BTT -1 point, Abracadbra -1 point,
YoungAus -0 points, FAST 2000 -0 points, Spain -0 points, AmTrue -0 points.
* SUMMARY OF THE RACES: Race One: Young America over America True; 37
seconds, AmericaOne over Spanish Challenge; 1:09 Stars & Stripes over Le
Defi Francais; 9 seconds Prada Challenge over FAST2000; 4:20 Nippon
Challenge over Abracadabra 2000; 38 seconds BYE: Young Australia 2000
Race Two: Young America over Bravo Espana: 1:49, Prada Challenge over
Nippon Challenge; 2:03 AmericaOne over America True; 3:45 Le Defi Francais
over Young Australia; 5:35 Abracadabra 000 over FAST2000; 10:17 BYE: Stars
& Stripes -- Jane Eagleson, http://www.youngamerica.org
* Predicting the winner is an impossible task because each team is an
unknown quantity. Who's good in heavy air? Who's good in the light stuff?
Who's too narrow? Who's overpowered? What conditions will prevail? These
are the questions inquiring minds want answered.
Nevertheless, America's Cup 2000's menacing writers -- Larry Edwards, Steve
McMorran, Sean McNeill, Rich Roberts and Ivor Wilkins -- gathered over
dinner and tried to make sense of the scene. We listed each team from one
to 11. First place earned 11 points, and 11th received one point. The
highest point total won. These rankings were made on the basis of skippers,
crews and design teams, but we agreed an underdog could challenge the
mighty two-boaters with superb tactics and boat-handling because of the
tricky conditions on the inner Hauraki Gulf.
PREDICTION (total possible points-55): 1. AmericaOne 54 points, 2. Prada,
51, 3. Nippon, 43, 4. Young America, 42, 5. Stars & Stripes, 35, 6. America
True, 28, 7. Abracadabra 2000, 22, 8. Bravo Espana, 21, 9. 6eme Sens, 14,
10. FAST 2000, 13, 11. Young Australia, 8 -- Quokka Sports America's Cup
* Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel is publicly acknowledging that its
boat, 6eme Sens, is not as fast as hoped. Even before the first round of
the Louis Vuitton Cup has begun, a new fin and bulb are being produced for
use in the second round. Work on the appendage modification began in
August. Five New Zealand companies are involved in the construction,
although their identities were not revealed.
In practice races during the past two weeks, the big-bellied red and blue
boat did not have stellar performances. Design team coordinator Philippe
Pallu de la Barriere explained that they had two options regarding keel
design. They could either make manoeuvrability the priority and sacrifice
boat speed, or they could make straight-line speed the priority and
sacrifice manoeuvrability. They chose the first. Now, however, they are
having second thoughts.
"After seeing 6eme Sens on the water vis-a-vis the other challengers, we
realised that our choice was a little extreme," de la Barriere said. "Thus
we are modifying appendages to bring us closer to the other competitors and
gain speed. On the other hand, the boat is likely to be less easy to sail."
-- Larry Edwards, Quokka Sports, http://www.americascup.org/
* The Swiss are keeping quiet about their appendages, but it is believed
they are hiding keels at either end of their yellow boat. Skipper Marc
Pajot admitted yesterday that there was something strange under his boat.
The appendages have been designed by Peter van Ososanen, responsible for
Australia II's radical winged keel which won the cup in 1983. The Swiss
will be without tactician Enrico Chieffi for the first round after he could
not get off work in Switzerland. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,
* Following many months of active discussion amongst the challengers on
re-structuring the America's Cup organisation, a paper on the subject has
been presented to the America's Cup Challenge Association (ACCA). The
challengers agreed on the concept of an independent organising authority
for future Cup defences, but have deferred formal approval of the plan. The
plan is published in its entirety on the Louis Vuitton Cup website:
The maxi-catamaran Explorer arrived near Gdansk (Poland) on Sunday Oct. 10,
1999. Her new skipper, Roman Paszke, was at the helm. His team has just
purchased Explorer to line her under Polish flag at the start of The Race,
on Dec. 31, 2000.
By selling his 105' all-carbon boat, Bruno Peyron (organiser of The Race)
brings a 10-year story to a close. Aboard Explorer, he was the first to
sail around the world in less than 80 days (1993 Jules Verne Trophy). From
1995 to 1999, he then undertook a second circumnavigation to promote The
Race around the world. At the same time, he gleaned several records such as
Los Angeles / Honolulu (Hawaii) and the West-to-East Pacific crossing (from
Japan to San Francisco).
On Sunday Oct. 24, 1999, the maxi-catamaran will be christened with the
names of her new Polish sponsors. With her, Roman Paszke and his team plan
to set out on the qualification courses for The Race at the latest in March
2000. They should first tackle the Discovery Route, between Cadiz (Spain)
and San Salvador (Bahamas).
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MATT JONES' TRIVIA QUESTION
The George O'Day Trophy, started in 1962 to be the North American
Single-handed Championship, was first won by?
A Lowell North
B Henry Sprague
C Peter Barrett
D Alan Holt
Answer at the end of this issue of 'Butt
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250
words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Beau Gayner -- What is the story with the Australians? How could a
country so rich in sailing history, previous defenders of the cup, end up
with so little support and cash flow? Everyone seems to be focusing on the
lack of participation from England. Who cares? Australia, and their lack of
financing is a much more interesting topic. If they had the cash, they
would have a chance. Even if our friends across the pond had the cash, they
still wouldn't stand a chance against the U.S., New Zealand or Australia.
-- From Jordan J. Dobrikin -- It would be nice if Mr. Gaudio had given us a
clearer description of what the term "dial" actually means. The use of
rules in strategic situations, to put your self at an advantage and/or put
an opponent at a disadvantage, is, has been, a time honored, part of
Sailboat Racing. Time has shown that such tactics have added a dimension to
the sport that is good and positive, and rewards those who take the time to
learn and use the rules.
There have always been examples of irrational use of the rules; the
quintessential luffing match of two (2) boats with both of them so
engrossed in each other that other boat(s) pass them by; or the fallacy of
having to keep Handicap Division spreads close, so that boats could
"relate" to each other and/or sail tactically against each other. T
he new rules now allow the starboard tack boat to "hunt" down an
approaching port tack boat, to the consternation of some, however it does
not seem to have caused a rash of problems and/or protests, as attested to
by a lack of of discussion about same in the print media and/or the
Internet. Speaking of the Internet, what do Butters think of using a Forum
such as the one on the Sailing Source, (who also carries Scuttlebutt, as a
major feature), to continue and/or discuss in more depth, topics that
originate on Scuttlebutt.
-- From Randy Smith (Re: Mark Gaudio's Comments on Dialing/Hunting for
dollars in fleet racing.) -- While this is a tactic that was born on the
match racing circuit, there are MANY times in a fleet race that it is
appropriate. Last race of the regatta, fighting for 1st or 2nd in the
results. Blocking a group of port tack boats trying to get to the favored
left-hand gate mark. Beating your arch rival one more time in your club
championship. These are all reasons to use the rule in fleet racing.
The option for the starboard boat to make course changes causes the safety
zone of distance between the boats to get larger, making collisions LESS
likely. I have been on both sides of this situation dozens of times. It's
no fun when you are the port boat. The rules put you in "no mans land", and
the only way out is to get as close as you can and gybe to starboard with
lots of speed. Only the port boat that doesn't know or understand the rule
is the one at risk for damage or collision, but that would apply to any
boat that is unsure of the options available under a rule.
-- From Peter Huston -- Uh...how on earth would you know what a decent rock
concert stage looked like. Your favorite band, Lawrence Welk, only played
in hotel ballrooms.
-- From Nick Gibbens -- In May of '99 my Express 27 was dismasted while
sailing on SF Bay. My insurance company (Reliance) disallowed my claim
basing the failure on wear and tear. They had the mast inspected and a lab
reported that the original weld at the hounds was inadequate and after 16
years of use it failed. I fought this decision with the help of Glenn
McCarthy of Myers-Briggs Ins. and Chris Corlett of Sail California who sold
me the boat and referred meA to my Insurance agent.
I am happy to report that I have received payment ($6K) in full for the
mast, sail repair and a days rigging to step, tune etc. I commend Reliance
Insurance and Dave Sneary for seeing that Markel Insurance underwriters
followed through and honored their policy for accidental damage.
The moral here should be to interview your agent, and their underwriter, on
their procedures and experience with sailboat masts. Also, I learned to
connect the damage to an incident, "big puff" or "round up" seem like good
terms instead of "just fell over" as in my case. Looking forward to sailing
What a day! Day two of the Olympic trials opened with a bang. 15 knots from
the west was all that was left of Irene as she made her way north out of
our area. The unstable onshore breeze made for unstable finishes as
consistency was very difficult. Morgan Larson and Kevin Hall scored a
3,1,2,4 to move into a 4 way tie for first. Andy Mack and Adam Lowery,
Jonathan and Charlie McKee and Jay Renehan and Chris Lanzinger all matched
those scores to form a four way unbreakable tie at the head of the fleet.
Tomorrow we start the event all over with four more races scheduled in what
should be a 10 knot Westerly as Irene takes her breeze and leaves us back
where we started. --Coach Zack
Curmudgeon comment: Sorry that we can't tell you what's happening in the
470 or Mistral trials -- at press time there was nothing posted on the US
Sailing website: http://www.ussailing.org/
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
It's much more than just a website full of paint and hardware. It's a
magazine with interesting feature stories; it's friendly advice on any of
your boating related concerns; there's a calendar of events, weather links,
and an online store that carries everything from sandpaper to sandals.
Check into the West Marine website often because there are always some
pretty impressive specials -- like the Standard HX handheld VHF radio
that's on sale now for just $209.99: http://www.westmarine.com/
Rankings as of October 10, 1999, as determined by Sailing World's coaches'
panel: Mitch Brindley, Old Dominion; Ken Legler, Tufts; and Mike Segerblom,
COED (previous ranking in parenthasis): 1. St. Mary's (1) 2. USC (2) 3.
Dartmouth (4) 4. Navy (10) 5. Tufts (8) 6. MIT (3) 7. Georgetown (5) 8. Old
Dominion (9) 9. Harvard (6) 10. Charleston (7) 11. Hobart/WmSmith (11) 12.
UC/Santa Barbara (12) 13. Boston Coll (15) 14. Vermont (19) 15. Stanford
--- 16. Boston Univ (14) 17. Hawaii (13) 18. Connecticut (18) 19. Coast
Guard (17) 20. Brown --- Also receiving votes: Kings Point Queen's
WOMEN'S: 1. St. Mary's (7) 2. Tufts (4) 3. Harvard (1) 4. Boston Univ (5)
5. Hobart/WmSmith (6) 6. Dartmouth (2) 7. Old Dominion (9) 8. Stanford (3)
9. Charleston (8) 10. MIT (10) 11. Brown (11) 12. USC (12) 13. Queen's ---
14. Georgetown --- 15. Boston Coll (15) Also receiving votes: Hawaii Coast
Guard U/Florida -- -Ann Campbell
TRIVIA QUESTION ANSWER
Peter Barrett, one of the greatest skippers and crew to come out of the
Mid-west, was the first winner of the George O'Day Trophy.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.