SCUTTLEBUTT #432 - November 3, 1999
GUEST EDITORIAL -- Gary Bodie
When umpiring was first introduced for Match Racing in the America's Cup,
the argument was that it would be great for TV and it would effectively
simplify the rules. No more three hour protest hearings with sea lawyers
presenting arcane rules and picayune interpretations. Well, it's certainly
better for TV, but over time the rules have become even more complicated by
the umpires' call book. The only difference is now they have the picayune
arguments and twisted interpretations in advance, and then publish them in
a book. This creates a tremendous barrier for entry into the game, and
makes the players and umpires self-perpetuating. And most calls on the
water are incomprehensible to even knowledgeable sailors who are not
experienced match racers.
What if we changed the umpiring rules so that every protest was a mandatory
penalty to one boat or the other? No green flags! When a red flag is waved,
someone is penalized. If the umpires have no idea what the protesting boat
is complaining about, they penalize the protestor. If they didn't see the
incident, they penalize the protestor. If both boats protest, they penalize
one or the other, guessing if they have to.
Gee whiz, no more whining, and no more frivolous protests. In fact, there
may be no protests at all, from the fear of getting a self-inflicted
penalty. The rules get simplified, and the winner is the boat that sails
better. The umpires can still have their call book and twisted
interpretations, but my bet is that good skippers would not take the risk
of protesting for a complicated situation. Ironically, the quality of the
sailing might just vary inversely with the quality of the umpiring!
And while I'm fixing match racing, what could be more boring than the
current match racing starts? Boats enter from both ends and then promptly
go head to wind and sit there luffing for four minutes, occasionally
interrupted by protest flags for who knows what. What if the length of the
line was the distance it takes the boats to sail in forty-five seconds, and
the starting period was just one minute from the entry? Dial em up, luff
for ten seconds, and then tack, dip or bear away and go.
Fast Track Yacht Management of Newport, Rhode Island announces their
agreement with Premiere Racing to manage a hauling and launching facility
at GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week 2000. "In recent years there has
been a real need for professionally run launch, haul, and mast stepping
operation for the single pick-point boats that compete in Key West," said
Event Director Peter Craig of Premiere Racing. "We're delighted to be
working with Fast Track Yacht Management to ensure that Race Week yacht
owners have this first-rate service available at reasonable cost."
Fast Track will provide professional, affordable services for single point
one-design and PHRF boats. Centrally located at the Truman Annex Navy
Basin, Fast Track will be operating a 30-Ton Crane to provide launching,
hauling and mast-stepping. To make preparations easier, there will be a
pre-regatta staging area and trailer storage as well. Convenient Launch and
Haul times will be scheduled. All prices for services will be predetermined.
Fast Track's team of experienced boatwrights will also be on site through
out the week to provide mast stepping, boat set-up and repairs before,
during and after Key West Race Week. Fast Track's team can provide their
successful "Step-on, Step-off" boat set-up and breakdown, saving time for
They will have Mumm 30 and 1D35 Charters available, in addition to hardware
and replacement parts. Fast Track will also be providing boat trucking,
winter storage and regular repair/maintenance work. Fast Track carries
insurance to cover liability, trucking and yard services. Contact: Terence
Glackin, 401-845-0871 --Amy Gross-Kehoe
I don't care what kind of sailing you do -- Douglas Gill's line of foul
weather gear and gloves is soooo huge they'll have EXACTLY what you want.
And their gear is the most comfortable you can buy. The stuff is so good
that Gill guarantees all of it against defects in material and workmanship
for the lifetime of the product. You can shop online, and one look at their
website will make you a believer, just like the curmudgeon. Now tell me
again - what are you waiting for? http://www.douglasgill.com/gillusa.htm
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
* Young Australia could be sailing a different, faster America's Cup boat
in the second round of the challenger series this weekend. The Australians
are negotiating to take possession of OneAustralia - the only boat to have
beaten Team New Zealand in the 1995 America's Cup - to sail through the
rest of the Louis Vuitton Cup series.
OneAustralia - the one which did not sink off San Diego - has been used by
Paul Cayard's AmericaOne syndicate as a trial horse for the new USA49 in
Auckland. But last night there were legal matters being checked out with
the America's Cup arbitration panel to make sure that the handover would
not breach rules stopping the transfer of technology between syndicates.
Young Australia battled through the first round with AUS29, Syd Fischer's
boat which finished last in 1995, using a mast from 1992. They won one race
of 10. Under the rules, the team would be able to sail OneAustralia because
it was designed and built in Australia. It is understood that AmericaOne
have made no changes to the boat while they have had it, and yesterday it
passed a measurer's inspection.
OneAustralia has been described as the second-fastest boat in San Diego
four years ago - it was at least one minute faster than Fischer's boat. But
Young Australia will still have the oldest boat in the fleet.
The young crew have a bye on the opening day of round two on Saturday, but
would race their new boat against Le Defi France on Sunday. If the Young
Australians fail to acquire OneAustralia, they have made alterations to
AUS29, among them moving the mast forward. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,
* With three days remaining to the start of Round Robin Two of the Louis
Vuitton Cup, the French challenger Le Defi went sailing today on the
Hauraki Gulf in her new configuration. While her new fin keel, bulb and
rudder were hidden underwater, Le Defi's new white-coloured sugar-scoop
transom stood out boldly against her bright orange hull. As part of the
underwater changes, the French boat got new long, slender wings on the new
bulb, replacing the stubby fences on the old bulb. The boat was measured
overnight, and passed measurement, along with three other challengers.
Today, the French boat joined other teams, including New Zealand, which
went training in a fresh northeaster. Gale force conditions forecast for
tomorrow, Thursday, may prevent trials and training for the remainder of
Even before the end of racing in Round Robin One, the French challenger was
pulled from the water in preparation for the changes. Le Defi Bouygues
Telecom-Transiciel forfeited one point in its scheduled race against the
Italian Prada Challenge to begin preparing the boat, but waited until the
end of racing, and the consequent end of the "no change" period, before
workers began removing the keel. Three technicians from the Multiplast Yard
joined crew and shore team members in France for the optimisation project.
The new keel has a thinner cross-section and less wetted surface. While the
old keel placed the onus on manoeuvrability during circling, the new one is
predicted to increase the sheer speed of Le Defi. Although the keel and
bulb were made in New Zealand, the team called upon Multiplast to install
it. Yann Penfornis from the Multiplast design office said: "We undertake
all of the work that requires a high degree of precision. In this
particular instance, the keel has to be exactly vertical and lie on the
boat's centreline. Besides, removing the old keel is not that easy because
it is held in place not only by bolts but also by watertight glues." -
-Keith Taylor, Louis Vuitton website, http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
* Ninety-one-year-old Olin Stephens, a true legend of the America's Cup,
stepped off a plane from the east coast of America yesterday and went out
on the Hauraki Gulf for eight hours. The man who designed the first of his
six winning Cup boats more than 60 years ago, wanted to see the two black
Young America yachts, which he also helped to create. He liked what he saw
- but he isn't totally sold on these very light, very fast America's Cup
Stephens is one of the great men of America's Cup history. From Harold
Vanderbilt's Ranger in 1937 through to Dennis Conner's Freedom in 1980, he
ruled the 12-metre era. And he still has wisdom to offer. Young America
skipper Ed Baird said Stephens had sat in on design meetings for the new
boats and "thrown out a couple of little design pearls."
From the comfort of Young America's tender, Stephens watched the boats
practise on the gulf until just before dark yesterday. "They are so
different from the boats I knew best. I was apparently always able to make
a rather heavy boat perform well," he said. "The boats today are so much
lighter and, by virtue, that much faster. I wouldn't want to go very far
out to sea in one.
"Frankly I expected the boats designed for New Zealand to be built stronger
than the ones which raced in San Diego. "But from what I have heard, these
Cup boats are pretty fragile. It's very much against the tradition of the
Stephens is still sprightly, sailing on Young America's trial horse yachts
off Newport, Rhode Island, earlier this year. "But at 91, I'm not so quick
around the boat these days. I enjoyed it, but I had to hang on tight," he
said. "There's much less to hold on to these days, and further to fall."
Although he gave up full-time designing 20 years ago, Stephens today works
on computerised design programmes. "I'm still figuring out what a computer
can do - a 10-year-old knows more than me," he laughed. His passion
nowadays is rating rules for offshore boats - he is on his way to Sydney
this weekend to discuss the worldwide rules, especially in the wake of the
Sydney-Hobart race disaster.
And Stephens has definite opinions about the Cup today. "I'm just a
dinosaur, but I don't like sponsorship. I think TV has made the America's
Cup, but it has spoiled sailing," he said.
Yet Stephens has to admit that he may be watching the Cup match on the box
at home in New Hampshire. "To be perfectly candid, you learn more about the
racing on TV than you do out on the water." -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,
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 only one letter per subject,
so give it your best shot and then stand back without whining if someone
-- From Steve Dashew -- All of the press about the wind speed limits and
reliability, or lack thereof, with the IAAC boats reminds me of the olden
days when we started to push the performance envelope on catamarans. The
"engineering" we used was quite sophisticated. We'd eyeball or calculate to
what we thought was about a 75/80% load factor. If something broke, we'd
make it a little stronger. If it didn't break, we'd lighten it up. Looks
like the super computers and strain gauges are doing about the same job.
-- From Julia Widstrand (Regarding Seth A. Radow's comment about putting
spending limits on Cup campaigns) -- One must remember that a strong
percentage of Cup campaigns are "funded" by in-kind support from tech
companies (ie. computers, software, consultants, etc.) thus cutting dollars
from the budget. This would make the controlling or monitoring of campaign
spending extremely difficult, if possible at all.
-- From Randy Smith (Re: Tom Ehman's Article on the A Cup) -- I nominate
Tom as the commissioner of the "league". What a well thought out, forward
thinking concept. I hope it happens!
-- From International yachting journalist, John Roberson -- No, I'm sorry,
but Tom Ehman has got it wrong. The America's Cup is what it is, because
it's so bloody hard to win. Is Mount Everest any easier to climb now than
it was when Sir Edmund Hilary did it? Well maybe with modern technology it
isn't quite so dangerous, but it is just as high as it has always been. So
perhaps now that it is quicker and easier to transport boats and crews
around the world, it is a little easier to win the America's Cup, it is
still a trophy for which you have to challenge, which is very different
from just competing.
To run the America's Cup every year would be detrimental to the event, and
to the rest of the sport. There just isn't the money, and there aren't the
sailors to run campaigns at this level every year, as well as still run
Volvo Races, Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cups etc. The Volvo Race is
struggling to get their entries into double figures, imagine taking out all
the people who do the America's Cup from the Volvo Race, and the circuit in
Tom says, "The prestige, popularity, and perhaps viability of the America's
Cup are at stake." I see no signs of this in Auckland at the moment! Lets
face it, when the Cup comes to the Southern Hemisphere it is a huge
success, when it is in America, nobody takes any notice of it. Need I say
-- From Stan Witt -- The elusive success of the America's Cup is no
different than another sporting event. The complex matrix of marketing,
fund raising, etc. ultimately has to achieve public awareness, interest,
and participation. Fremantle somehow did this. Regardless of what sport we
are talking about, at the core there must be the "sport" itself carrying a
% of the burden. If there is no sailing/racing, there is no event.
The recently completed round robin one was essentially the fabled "first
impression" for the world to see. It was a poor showing, and like it or no,
we all know the value of first impressions. I feel that some are expecting
that the speed, power and flash of the "AC" boats is going to offer the
spectacle that they are looking for. It will not happen if the boats never
get off the tow line. Speed is relative,. especially with most mono hulls
The success of the event does not lie within the boat itself. The boat is
merely a vehicle or tool for which people, an event, or a class can focus
and center. Good boats help but I believe people over emphisize this.
Remember, a fleet of "AC" boats sitting in their repair sheds go equally
nowhere, and so does the America's Cup.
-- From Bill Riker -- Wonder if you can provide some insight into best ways
to view the action while visiting Auckland. I will be there for the
challenger semis (we are chartering a large motor yacht) and want to figure
out what we may need to obtain the best viewing venue. I would imagine
there are a few other readers who will be making the trek as well who might
be interested in a sailor's insight on how to get the most out of the visit.
Curmudgeon's comment: Having 'watched' all of the races on Virtual
Spectator at the Media Center, I may be the worst informed person in
Auckland to offer advice on this subject. But perhaps some of the
'Buttheads have some ideas
The year was 1992 and J.J. Isler was the person to beat going into the
United States Olympic Trials in the Women's 470 sailing class. Fresh from
winning the 470 Worlds, Isler was the top-ranked American in the class and
had campaigned for more than a year for the Olympic berth. She was not to
be denied. Isler won the '92 trials with two races to spare and went on to
claim a bronze medal in Barcelona, Spain.
Fast forward seven years. Isler is not quite the driven competitor she once
was. Two children -- daughters Marly (6) and Megan (14 months) -- have
altered her schedule as well as her priorities.
And, at 35, she is no longer the new kid on the block. Indeed, when the 470
class gathered in St. Petersburg, Fla., two weeks ago for the trials to
select the United States entry in the 2000 Olympics, Isler was the oldest
skipper in the fleet. And she was also the skipper with the least time on
the water leading up to the trials.
"When I looked at the competition, I felt a little strange," Isler admitted
yesterday. "I was the underdog. Maybe that's what makes this so special.
Pease (Glaser) and I went into the trials thinking, 'Let's do our best and
see what happens,' " Isler said of herself and crew. What happened is they
Actually, Isler had planned to launch an Olympic campaign with Glaser at
the start of 1998. "Then I discovered the flu I was having wasn't the flu,"
said Isler, who didn't sail again until Megan was 4 months old.
But the best the Isler-Glaser team did approaching the Olympic trials was a
seventh in the 470 European Championships. "We were really the underdogs,"
said Isler, a three-time world champion and a three-time winner of the U.S.
Yachtswoman of the Year award. But she and Glaser responded with eight wins
in the 15-race series with no finish worse than fourth. Still, Isler needed
a win in the final race to claim the berth from former America3 America's
Cup teammate Courtney Becker-Dey.
The United States plans to train for the Olympics on the courses to be used
in Sydney, Australia. But Isler won't have a very long commute. Next week
she plans to join husband Peter in New Zealand where he is serving as
tactician on Dennis Conner's America's Cup challenger. -- Bill Center, San
Diego Union-Tribune, http://www.uniontrib.com/
LET'S GET GRAPHIC
So you want to put a design on your sail, but who can you trust to do the
job properly? For starters, you want someone who has the skill and
experience to do either an electostatic heat transfer, a fabric inlays,
vinyl graphics, Insignia cloth or inking and can explain which method
will work best for your application. But who do you call? North Graphics is
the leading supplier of custom sail and boat graphics in the US. Why don't
call Whitney Gladstone and find out why they're #1: (619) 224-8667,
HIGH SCHOOL SINGLEHANDED CHAMPIONSHIP
Peeter Must of Lakewood High School (Lakewood, NJ) and Spencer Weber of
Southern Regional High School(Manahawkin, NJ) each won his division in the
2000 ISSA National High School Singlehanded Championship for the Cressy
Trophy in a two-day regatta sailed October 30-31 in Newport, RI.
The 32-school fleet was divided into two divisions, one in full-rig Lasers
and the other in Radial-rig Lasers, the latter having less sail area to
appeal to lighterweight sailors. The dual fleet is a new departure for the
championship which since 1986 has been sailed in a single division. The two
winners share the championship and both names will be engraved on the trophy.
Both Weber, who sailed in the full-rig fleet, and Must faced a wide range
of conditions, from light to moderate winds the first day to hard gusts
over 25 knots the second. Both, however, maintained remarkable consistency.
Weber had five firsts in the 15-race series and Must had four as each
increased his lead in the wind and sloppy seas the second day. Runner-up to
Weber was Andrew Lewis of The Assets School, Hawaii. Lewis was the 1999
Interscholastic Singlehanded Champion and reveled in the challenging
conditions the second day but could not overcome his results in the light
and shifty conditions of the first day. -- Larry White
Results: 2000 Cressy Trophy - 30-31 October 1999, Newport, RI Laser Radial
Fleet 1. Peeter Must, Lakewood HS (NJ) 56, 2. Anthony Hudson, Archbishop
Rummel HS (LA) 73, 3. Stuart McNay, Roxbury Latin (MA) 80, 4.Chris Ashley,
Pt. Pleasant Boro (NJ) 83, 5. Michael Anderson, Coronado HS (CA) 94.
Laser Full-rig Fleet 1. Spencer Weber, Southern Regional HS (NJ) 57, 2.
Andrew Lewis, The Assets School (HI) 69, 3. Andrew Campbell, The Bishop's
School (CA) 69, 4. Bryan Lake, Univ. of San Diego HS (CA) 82, 5. Zach
Railey, Clearwater HS (FL) 100.
ISSA website: http://www.highschoolsailingusa.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
OK, who stopped payment on my reality check?