SCUTTLEBUTT #437 - November 10, 1999
The Farr 40 one design will join the Australian designed Sydney 40 and an
IMS 50-foot rating band racer as the three classes for the 2001 Champagne
Mumm Admiral's Cup ocean racing team championship in England. The inclusion
of the Farr 40 at the expense of the Mumm 36 one design reflects the
growing stature of the class around the world.
The decision on the make-up of the competition for what is essentially the
world ocean racing championship was made at a meeting of the Admiral's Cup
management committee during the International Sailing Federation annual
conference in Sydney yesterday.
The committee agreed that the rating band for the 50ft division would be
"very narrow" so the competition would remain as tight as possible.
It was anticipated that the Farr 40 and the Sydney 40 fleets would comprise
mainly charter yachts made available in Cowes at the time of the regatta.
Class rules would apply.
In a separate move yesterday the Sydney 40 was not granted international
status but retained its 'provisional' classification as the world fleet
remained two short of the desired number of 20 yachts. The move allows the
class to stage a world championship. -- Rob Mundle, The Australian Newspaper
ISAF YACHTIES OF THE YEAR
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- The 1999 ISAF/Sperry World Sailor of the Year awards
went to: Margriet Matthijse (NED) - Female World Sailor of the Year, and
Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) - Male World Sailor of the Year.
In August 1999, ISAF selected the sailors meritous of being put forward as
nominees for the World Sailor of the Year Awards. A voting process,
involving all ISAF Member National Authorities, Committee Members, classes
and the international sailing media, was then undertaken in order that the
world of sailing could determine the winners.
Margriet was voted as the female ISAF/Sperry World Sailor of the Year in
recognition of her outstanding successes in the Europe Class. Margriet has
swept in to set the leading pace in the Europe Class in 1999, with
successive bullets taking her to the top of the rankings from 1 June, a
position she still retains. Her top places at 1998/1999 ISAF graded events
have been numerous, with wins at Sydney International Regatta, Europe Open
Week, Europe World Championship, New Zealand Olympic Sail, Semaine
Olympique Francaise, Spa Regatta, Tuborg Spring Cup, European Championship,
1999 Sydney Harbour Olympic Test Event, and top three placings at 1998
Sydney Olympic Test Event, Sail Auckland, Sailing for Ostend, Europe Class
Open Week. Margriet_s most recent success was the Gold at the 1999 Olympic
Test Event, which she dominated and won with a race to spare on a
remarkable scorecard of five wins, two seconds, one fourth and one sixth.
Aged twenty-two, Margriet has sailed since the age of seven, and has been
one of the top competitors in the Europe Class since 1994. She represented
the Netherlands at the 1996 Olympic Games where she claimed a Silver Medal,
and since then has won the 1997 and 1999 World and European Europe Class
Championships. Her aspiration is not surprisingly a Gold in 2000.
Mateusz found himself on the nominee shortlist for the fourth successive
year in 1999, a clear indication of the years he has been at the forefront
of the Finn Class. His 1998/99 achievements have kept him leading the world
rankings, a position he has held continuously since 2 February 1999.
Clearly voted as the male World Sailor of the Year, Mateusz received the
recognition due for so clearly dominating the Finn Class over the year of
nomination, August 1998 to August 1999. Amongst others, he has competed in
thirteen pinnacle ISAF graded international events, and for these has not
placed outside a second position for any event, claiming nine first places
and four seconds - an incredible achievement. His bullets come from the
1998 Finn Gold Cup, Finn Australian Nationals, Go for Gold, New Zealand
Olympic Sail, Sail Auckland, Semaine Olympique Francaise, 30th HRH Princess
Sofia Trophy, Spa Regatta, Kiel Week, and second places at the Sydney
International Regatta, 1999 Finn Gold Cup, Finn Europeans, 1999 Olympic
Test Event Mateusz successes in a class which is so notoriously difficult
to dominate are impressive. Aged twenty-four, Mateusz won a Gold Medal at
the 1996 Olympics when a tender twenty-one, and is looking to equal that in
The other nominees for the 1999 ISAF/Sperry World Sailor of the Year Awards
were: Female Barbara Kendall (NZL) Shirley Robertson (GBR) Male Roy Heiner
(NED) Fredrik Loof (SWE) Aaron McIntosh (NZL) Chris Nicholson (AUS) ISAF
extends congratulations to the winners and nominees. -- Luissa Smith, ISAF
TESTING - 1, 2, 3
Testing means different things to different manufacturers of foul weather
gear. And you can be assured there aren't many of them testing their
products in the Southern Ocean. But that's exactly what Douglas Gill did.
Working with the crew of Chessie Racing in the last Whitbread Race, they
pushed their products to the limits, and then listened to the sailors about
modifications. As a result of this interaction, Gill has increased the
comfort and protection for everyone who sails. For the full story:
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
Wednesday's racing has been postponed, wind conditions are outside the
range agreed in the Notice of Race. In the Hauraki Gulf, North-East winds
of 25 knots, gusting to 35 were recorded this morning. North 35 knots,
gusting to 45 knots are forecast for this afternoon. Wave height was
recorded at two metres this morning, forecasted to rise to three metres by
this afternoon. -- Louis Vuitton Cup website, http://www.louisvuittoncup.com
YOUNG AMERICA UPDATE
The International Jury has approved a request by Young America to race a
substitute boat for the remainder of Round Robin Two of the Louis Vuitton
Cup. The syndicate will add reinforcing to the second boat before racing
it, and is preparing to repair the boat that buckled and nearly sank
yesterday. Boat builder Eric Goetz and three of his expert staff are
already on a plane to New Zealand to help expedite the work on both boats.
Syndicate head John Marshall and skipper Ed Baird spoke with the media via
a conference call on Wednesday morning.
On whether USA-58 is subject to the same failure as USA-53:
BAIRD: We don't know. We've yet to finish determining exactly what caused
the damage in the first place on USA-53. We're certainly going to be
cautious and look at it hard.
MARSHALL: Basically the structural layout of the boats is very similar and
consequently we are concerned about USA-58. The prudent thing is probably
to build some extra reinforcing into USA-58 so we don't have any doubts.
We'll use some of the down time (now) to put some extra structure into
USA-58 and if it turns out it's not necessary, when we get a full analysis
that tells that USA-58 has a clean bill of health, then we can always take
that out at a subsequent time. But we want to compete in the rest of this
round without any undue risk. It's way too early to estimate the cost of
On repairs to USA-53:
BAIRD: I think it's very important to fix the boat because it's a very
known trial horse for the other boat. It's the right way to win the
America's Cup. Having that second boat there is our stopwatch, it's our
only way to be sure that what we're doing (changes) are faster.
MARSHALL: Two days should be adequate to do the reinforcing to USA-58. If
we felt that it was prudent to take another day to be sure, then we would
do that. We wouldn't take a lot of risk with the boat if we didn't have
things buttoned up to our satisfaction.
MARSHALL: Eric Goetz and three of his top people are on a flight right now
for New Zealand. The team at the compound has already received drawings and
specifications for reinforcements to USA-58. The ability to respond to a
problem like this in a constructive way with good answers is a very key
component of having a winning team. I feel confident that we'll be back on
the race-course in a couple of days in a competitive boat that will achieve
a high level of success.
MARSHALL: As incredible as it may seem when you look at the boat that is
essentially broken in half, the damage is repairable and repairable in a
reasonable period of time, some number of weeks, not months. It's a major
project, but fortunately, the damage is virtually entirely isolated in the
deck and hull shell as opposed to the very complex support structures. I
think that we're talking about a repair period of a number of weeks,
certainly not months.
MARSHALL: When you have areas that are very light, you sometimes do get
some crackling or preliminary failure, but this is a massively structured
part of the boat, and these side decks on these very narrow boats are the
primary compression member in the structure. If you had a cross section of
one you'd be amazed how much material is there and they understand one
piece of it broke.
On whether the team would set wind limits on sailing the second boat USA-58:
MARSHALL: I wouldn't want to speculate one way or another. As much as the
damage is very distressing we can't let it distract us from the fact that
we have to raise our game to have a realistic chance to win the America's
Cup. Racing in tough conditions is part of that. We know our competitors
will be well prepared in tough conditions so we have to be as well.
MARSHALL: We want to make sure that we reinforce USA-58 adequately and that
we pair that with a thorough analysis of the damage to USA-53 and then
we'll take each day as it comes and make the appropriate decision.
BAIRD: We're out there trying to win every raceyou don't sit back and
think I shouldn't turn here because the boat might not handle it. It's
actually the opposite. If you're going to learn something, even if its
catastrophic, you want to learn it now when the points are less. We've got
to push when it's time to push.
On weather delays giving Young America some time to ready USA-58 for racing:
BAIRD: Mother Nature might be giving us a little hand here. -- Louis
Vuitton Cup, http://www.louisvuittoncup
* Young America will have to forfeit valuable America's Cup points before
they return to sea. With one boat bent like the letter V, the New Yorkers
will have to turn to their untried USA58 for at least the rest of round two
of the Louis Vuitton Cup. But under the challenger rules, a campaign must
forfeit the points from their next race before they can introduce the
So in effect, Young America have already lost eight points, and could
forfeit more if they decide they need more time to work on the new boat
before it goes out to race for the first time. But that is the least of
skipper Ed Baird's worries right now. The burning question is: can the
damaged boat be saved?
Baird and his ground crew in Auckland, and the Bruce Farr design office in
San Francisco, worked through the night last night, examining the boat to
determine just what went wrong, and figuring out what could be done to
rebuild it. There is also the question of whether boat No 2 must be
strengthened before it enters the fray. "At this point the major structural
pieces [on USA53] are in place. From a layman's point of view we will be
putting it back together," Baird said.
But it could be a very costly exercise. The Young Americans have a budget
of $80 million (NZ), but a near-sinking is not a planned expenditure. "The
boat is both priceless and potentially a big expense. But these are the
types of things we have to be prepared for," Baird said.
No one could be truly prepared for what happened on the Hauraki Gulf
yesterday. At 2.10pm, Young America was leading Nippon by 26s as it neared
the final mark rounding.
The winds were nothing out of the ordinary, 17 knots gusting to 22, with
one-metre seas. The problem, though, was the waves. It was wind against
tide, and the waves were often sharp and quick. Young America was out on
the left-hand layline, and went to tack. A rogue wave rolled under the boat
and the bow reared up. The boat came crashing down - and a second big wave
hit them immediately.
The deck caved in in a matter of seconds. The hull tore on either side, at
a weak point just behind the mast. The boat began to bend up violently like
a banana. All but two of the 17 crew dived into the water, where support
and rescue boats had pulled alongside. The two men who stayed on the boat
tried to salvage some sails, but then the call came for them to jump
overboard as well. The boat was bucking back and forth in the waves and
looked certain to sink. But when it became clear it was not going down in a
hurry, a couple of crew clambered back on board and a salvage mission began.
The trip back to the dock was a long and arduous one, taking more than
three hours, but the Young America team worked tirelessly to keep their
pride and joy afloat. Before 9 PM it was lifted out of the water, skirts
hiding the damage, and put away for the night. -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ
* "Young America is the only boat that has a cockpit that carries forward
right up to the mast, where the critical load is on the hull and deck.
There is no bridge deck. Not having a deck there, makes the boat weaker.
Also, the sharp corner where the foredeck and the side deck intersects
appears to be critical. A larger radius is stronger and poses less of a
hard point in the structure. All the other challengers are completely
different and must be infinitely stronger." -- John Roake, Defence 2000
quoting an unnamed Swiss engineer
* Young America sailors who dived for their lives yesterday thought they
were reliving the tragedy they were part of when OneAustralia slipped to
the bottom of the Pacific Ocean four years ago.
Two of the men on board the ill-fated America's Cup boat USA53, which tore
and bent like a banana on the furthest reaches of the Hauraki Gulf
racecourse, were witnesses to the 1995 sinking in San Diego.
Kiwi Ross Halcrow was a trimmer on Team New Zealand, who were racing
against OneAustralia. Yesterday, he was a trimmer on Young America, jumping
overboard with the rest of the crew as USA53 began cracking and taking on
water. Young America skipper Ed Baird was 17th man on board Team New
Zealand in March 1995. One of the Young America back-up crew, Jamie Gale,
was among the Kiwis who helped rescue the Australians.
There was another spooky coincidence hanging over yesterday's watery drama.
OneAustralia skipper John Bertrand had just arrived in Auckland to watch
the racing, and was out on the gulf when Young America sent out a mayday call.
One Australia skipper John Bertrand could not believe the feeling of deja
vu. "It's a remarkably similar situation to our boat sinking. The bend in
the boat is very similar. But our keel ripped the hull apart underneath,"
he said. "It appears to be a compression failure through the deck. It
didn't rip apart through the hull otherwise it would have sunk.
"The conditions were not as bad here as they were in San Diego. It was
about 18 to 20 knots, where we had 22. But the frequency of waves, and wind
against tide, was what did it." -- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald,
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. But only one letter per subject,
so give it your best shot and don't whine if people disagree.
-- From Ross Morrissey -- Young America's new sponsor - Banana Boat???
-- From Chris Welch -- A little perspective. Having a second boat fail from
a design/ construction/materials problem just illustrates the parallels
between the America's Cup and Formula 1 and other high level sporting
events. In the last year, there have been numerous failures of gearboxes,
engines, brakes, clutches, wings, and suspension members on the Formula 1
There is very little recrimination about these failures - they are
understood to be part of the cost of competing at the pinnacle of a sport.
There are still elements of art and judgement in the design process, and on
the water failures are where you find out where the limit is.
The amazing thing is this boat will likely sail again.
-- From George Bski -- Who would have thought we'd ever see Louis Vuitton
sponsoring a demolition derby? The demographics don't fit. One wonders if
the current "yacht racing" on the Hauraki Gulf makes anyone wish for the
return of the 12-metres. They may have been slow and boring (to spectators)
but at least they got around the course and we knew who was the winner. and
as far as I can recall, there were always two boats in a race, and the both
had two sails set. The IACC boats were introduced to make the racing more
exciting, and they sure have: now we have collisions, crews leaping into
the water, massive rescue operations, gear exploding, all kinds of gear
failures, including a mainsheet clue coming apart (?), sails ripping, etc.
The next thing you know there'll be a weekly injury report ala the NFL. The
whole scene maybe makes great excitement except nobody sees it except the
rescue teams. What the America's Cup in its present state needs is new
management, true, but has anyone thought of turning it over to the World
Wrestling Federation? That's where it belongs. If I ever saw kindred
spirits, there they are.
FACES IN THE FLEET
US SAILING's Faces in the Fleet, a list of who's who in sailing, is
debuting on the National Governing Body's web site,
www.ussailing.org/faces. Created in 1998, the purpose of this list is to
highlight the year's greatest sailors and present them to the thousands of
people who visit our web site each week. In addition, it also assists US
SAILING members in nominating sailors for the Rolex Yachtsman and
Yachtswoman of the Year Award.
An invitation is hereby given to all national and world champions to submit
their sailing resume and photo for inclusion in Faces in the Fleet. The
following are the guidelines: . You must be a United States citizen . You
must have a national or international regatta win in 1999 . Your resume
must be for 1999 events . There are no age limits
Please submit your resume and photo to www.ussailing.org/faces/submit.htm.
If you do not have a scanned photo, you may mail a photo to Harborwatch, 58
Ledge Rd., Burlington, VT 05401. -- Susan Cook
ATTENTION REGATTA ORGANIZERS
This is the time of year that 'checked-out' regatta organizers start
planning for next season's big event. And if it's a really big event,
they're considering hull and sail graphics, bow numbers, banners, backstay
pennants and flags. And obviously, it all has to fit within the budget. Who
can make that happen?. Well, the Mumm 30s, the Mumm 36s, the Corel 45s the
Farr 40s, the Hobies 16s, the 49ers, the SoCal Volvo regatta and lots of
others learned North Graphics was the best place to go. Why? Just call
Whitney Gladstone and you'll find out: (619) 224-8667,
The International Sailing Federation's Annual Conference in Sydney this
week heard that SOCOG will be shipping sailing equipment to Sydney free of
charge for the 2000 Games. In a presentation to conference delegates, SOCOG
representatives told Member National Authorities (MNAs) that those
competing in the Sydney Games will have their equipment brought out to
Australia compliments of SOCOG.
"It was a big commitment to ship equipment to Sydney when we made our bid
for the Olympics," said SOCOG Competition Manager, Sailing, Glenn Bourke.
"SOCOG will be providing freight free of charge for all competition boats
across the Olympic Classes, with the exception of the Laser, which will be
provided here." NOC Freight Management Services, who have already
distributed a shipping manual to all National Olympic Committees (NOC),
will provide the shipping. MNAs will need to contact their NOC to get
details of the deal. All bookings will need to be made before 1 April 2000.
-- Megan Seton, Media Officer, ISAF Conference, http://www.sailing.org
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Don't you wonder why Noah didn't swat the two mosquitoes on his ark?