SCUTTLEBUTT #431 - November 2, 1999
(The following is but a brief excerpt of a story written by Tom Ehman for
the December Issue of Sailing World. I've copied the first two paragraphs
to whet your appetite. Trust me on this one. You'll want to read the rest
of this story, and it's now posted on the Sailing World website.)
"Conceived at the beginning of the Industrial Age, the America's Cup has
changed relatively little since. The world, however, has changed a great
deal-especially since the onset of the Information Age and the global
political economy. As currently set up, the Cup can't keep pace with these
changes let alone take advantage of them. The prestige, popularity, and
perhaps viability of the America's Cup are at stake. There are obstacles to
change, including the Cup's Deed of Gift, but I believe they're
surmountable and that, in short order, we could recreate the America's Cup
as an annual event with regular teams competing for it. At the same time,
all of what's best about the Cup can be preserved. Compare the America's
Cup to the Volvo Ocean Race, which is doing well because it has a clear
plan, a structure and chief executive independent of the teams, and strong
individual-entrepreneurial teams with identifiable owner-leaders. Sure,
there has been some celebrated swashbuckling, piratical appeal to the Cup,
but it's more myth than reality. Today most concerned yearn for a clean,
stable, dignified, exciting, and financially sound event, and teams.
"One aspect of the Cup that's well run is also the one area that's
centralized and professionally managed-technical/measurement. Another's the
media operations under Bruno Trouble and Louis Vuitton. Arguably umpiring
is becoming another example. The relative success of CORC in 1992 and,
especially, in 1995 is yet another. So there is precedent, experience, a
model even, for a cooperative commercial approach. Together with the recent
initiatives by, among others, the New York and St. Francis YCs, we're
presented with a unique opportunity to take a new tack." -- Tom Ehman,
J/24 EAST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP
Sixty-seven J/24's competed once again for the coveted East Coast
Championship in Annapolis, MD. Light air and unusually high temperatures
caused conditions that threw even the best competitors off of their game.
Only 4 of the 8 scheduled races were completed. However, the champion was
clear. Mark Hillman of Annapolis won the regatta with a 30-point margin
over the next boat. He never once scored out of the top ten.
The win was not only unusual for the lead he developed but also because
Mark is truly a top level amateur winning an event almost exclusively
dominated by professionals. The fleet was by no means an easy one including
Geoff Moore (current J24 North American Champion), Mark Mendelblatt (#1
ranked Laser sailor for the US sailing team) driving for Max Skelley, John
Torgeson (#2 ranked Laser sailor) calling tactics for Tony Parker and many
other famed J24 sailors. -- Jeff Borland, http://www.eastportyc.org/ecc
FINAL RESULTS: 1. Mark Hillman 13pts 2. Doug Clark 43pts 3. John Wilsey
49pts 4. Tim Healy 52pts 5. Will Crump 55pts
Not many people knew it, but Dave Ullman has been in Auckland, coaching and
sailing with Dawn Riley's America True syndicate. And with Ullmans's help,
America True did just fine in Round One of the Louis Vuitton Series. Dave
is back in California now, and tonight he'll 'tell all' about what he saw
and learned. This seminar will be at the Ullman Sails Newport Beach loft.
The curmudgeon had dinner with Dave just before he left. Trust me -- you'll
want to hear what he has to say. And you can. Just call (949) 675-6970 for
MATT JONES TRIVIA QUESTION
Which skippers have won The Americas Cup three consecutive times?
A Dennis Conner
B Harold S Vanderbilt
C Bus Mosbacher Jr.
D Charles Barr
E Briggs S Cunningham
Answer at the end of this issue of 'Butt.
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. But you only get one letter per
subject, so think it through carefully, and be ready to take some flack
-- From Jim Denman (In regards to Tom Burke's question about rebuilding
AmericaOne) -- The structural soundness of the work depends more on the
design of the repair or modification and the quality of the workmanship
than the processing methods. A good lay-up of a well thought out patch will
The use of high temperature resins, vacuum bags, and autoclave pressures
ensure optimal consolidation (low voids), and allow the use of relatively
low resin content prepreg systems in original builds. Rework done with room
or slightly elevated temperature resins in a "wet layup" of the reinforcing
materials have higher resin and void content.
The use of heated vacuum bags for in-situ elevated temperature cures
improves the material properties compared to a wet layup repair. The
biggest difference is that the original hull will be stronger and stiffer
on a pound for pound basis. And stronger and stiffer is the key
characteristic for composite applications.
-- From Paul Miller -- Paul Henderson's comment about the "inmates running
the asylum" and the need for an impartial Race Committee may be appropriate
for top level competition, but perhaps the reason the syndicates wrote
their own rules was because they were dissatisfied with previous committees
not meeting the desires of the sailors. As a one-design and handicap sailor
I can't tell you how many times I've seen a Race Committee make a decision
that was overwhelmingly unpopular. In one dinghy World Championship I
sailed in the RC signalled another race at 5 PM, even though we had already
had three races totalling over 40 miles that day! Needless to say the
competitors ignored the signal. Race Committees have to be sensitive to
what the sailors want, while still being fair. If boilerplate rules don't
apply, don't use them. After all, we are out there to have fun!
-- From Chris Ericksen -- In 'Butt #429, Larry Law asked where were the
boats that "could sail in the vagaries of Newport, RI and San Diego as well
as the bashing seas of the Indian Ocean off Austrailia?", and wondered if
he was "missing something here"? The answer, of course, is yes, you are
missing something here: the 12 Metre boats that sailed off Newport, RI,
were quite different than those that sailed off Western Australia. While
the boats sailed off Australia could sail off Newport, they would suffer
against boats designed for Newport; similarly, the boats optimized for
Newport would have had a deuce of a time off Australia just staying on one
piece! The IACC rule allows boats to be optimized for expected conditions,
just as did the 12 Metre rule when applied to the America's Cup, and that
is what they've done--but maybe carried the minimalist approach too far in
-- From Steve Ross -- Remember, this is just the first round. Everybody is
using new rigs on new boats, and there is going to be breakage. In both '92
and '95, many breakdowns occurred in the early rounds. In the later rounds,
and in the Semifinals, and Finals, breakdowns decreased. In '95, the day
that One Australia broke in half, and sunk, both Stars and Stripes and A3
started a race under jibs alone due to broken battens in their mains. I
think we will see fewer breakdowns as the America's Cup progresses
-- Ray Pendleton (re Alan Johnson's remarks about racing in 18 knots) --
How about in 10-foot seas and 20-30-knot tradewinds offshore of Waikiki,
like the Kenwood Cup racers deal with, if Abracadabra 2000 prevails?
-- From Seth A. Radow (re the 18-knot limit on racing during the Louis
Vuitton Series) -- Each team is only allowed 60 sails for the entire event
(supposedly in an attempt to control costs) including the Challenger Series
and the A-Cup. Team NZ can bring 30 sails to the A-Cup. That being said,
with the huge number of races in the Challenger Series, there is a good
chance that the Challenger Teams will have very little left in terms of
sailing inventory if heavy wind races were allowed. It is conceivable that
a Challenger team would have to race the A-Cup with a well worn sail
inventory with few if any new sails if Challenger Series racing occurred in
heavier wind conditions.
The two boat syndicates have indicated the inventory limits as one their
primary reasons for agreeing to the 18 knot limit. Each team apparently had
their own reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to funding. It would
be interesting how the Cup would change if spending limits were put on each
syndicate. The best-funded teams are clearly leading thus far. If one could
eliminate the unlimited funding issue the Cup might become more competitive.
Limit each team to US$10 million, US $15 million... pick a number (I have
no idea how to monitor this). The event would be a heck of a lot more
competitive I presume. You might also drag out a few more teams. I wonder
how many teams were not funded nor fielded as a result of conscious
decisions not to play the A-Cup Arms Race.
-- From Bob Fisher -- We all have our own memories of that Easter in 1974
when Sayula II, a Swan 65, sailed up the Solent at the end of the first
Whitbread, her crew in some doubt as to whether the forestay with five or
six of its 19 strands would stand the load of the mainsail, finally
hoisting it for the last few miles, and Keith Lorence's letter in praise of
Ray Conrady stimulated many.
Prime among them, I have to admit, was standing on the foredeck of Sayula
II with Keith just after the boat had docked at HMS Vernon, the race
headquarters. I asked him what he had missed most, and his reply was a
surprising "fresk milk". It was the work of a minute to nip ashore and
find a pint for him. Those days it came in glass bottles!
-- From Mark Rudiger -- Thanks to Mr.Lorence for finding the error in our
press release, we had mis-information and appreciate the correction. Also,
thanks for pointing out "Radar's" Bay Area roots-it's nice to know I am in
21 super yachts are now berthed in the AMEX Cup Village. Pretty amazing
when you consider New Zealand normally gets something like two visits a
year from such craft. The largest so far in the marina is the 40-meter
American yacht Philanderer that arrived on Friday. Jim Clark's Hyperion is
due in two weeks time.
Since October 1st, the Amex Village has hosted 703,829 people. Last week
approximately 160,000 people came through. -- Sue Foley
PANAMA CANAL PASSAGE
"There is quite a bit that has to be done before a private vessel or
'yachty' as the locals call them can get an appointment to travel the locks
of the canal." Want to learn more? You can by reading the rest of Genee
Meleski informative piece on the West Marine website. It's just a small
morsel of the enormous amount of useful information on that site not to
mention the 300,000 items of hardware and marine equipment available for
purchase on-line. Bookmark the site now. You'll want to visit it often:
TIP O' THE WEEK -- Communications
So I Communicate Better So What!
1. Good communication is the key to great teamwork. Think ahead and let the
crew know as soon as key tactical decisions are made in order to keep
everyone on the same page.
2. Always try to have a plan for the next portion of the race. Plan your
strategy for the run at the end of the beat.
3. Only talk if it contributes to better decisions or better speed; i.e.
Aim to know your boat well enough so that speed is second nature. Now you
can keep your head out of the boat and think ahead in order to maximize
4. Set up channels of communication: e.g. helmsman receives information
from trimmers, tactician and possibly someone up forward calling breeze and
waves. Trimmer receives information from Helmsman, Tactician and Bowman.
Bowman receives information from Tactician as to what move comes next.
Information should always travel through channels so that when something is
missed you have accountability for next time to get it right.
5. Before tacking, jibing or rounding a mark do a quick responsibility
check so that all tasks are covered.
6. Keep your crew happy... a post race beer or T-shirt goes a long way. --
The coach at http://www.sailweb.net
TRIVIA QUESTION ANSWER
Both Charles Barr and then Harold S Vanderbilt won the Americas Cup three
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?