SCUTTLEBUTT #441 - November 15, 1999
ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee has recognized four athletes as the
sport's U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Athletes of the Year. Recipients of
the honor in the Team category are Star skipper Eric Doyle (San Diego,
Calif.) and crew Tom Olsen (E. Dennis, Mass.). Laser sailor Mark
Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and boardsailor Lanee Butler (Aliso
Viejo, Calif.) are Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively.
As US SAILING's USOC Athletes of the Year, these sailors will be considered
for the overall USOC Team of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year and Female
Athlete of the Year Awards. Slated for announcement on January 8, 2000, the
USOC award winners will be selected from the Athletes of the Year
recognized by each Olympic sport's national governing body.
TEAM OF THE YEAR: Sailing in the oldest Olympic class, a newly formed team
has turned in remarkable results in just a few short months. Eric Doyle and
Tom Olsen earned themselves international recognition this year for
victories at the Star North Americans and the Star World Championships. As
long-time veterans of the class, both Doyle and Olsen have launched
previous Olympic campaigns and, with different partners, finished third and
second, respectively, at the '96 Olympic Trials.
Their first major coup came in August when Doyle and Olsen competed in a
fleet of 36 boats at the Star North American Championship in Boston,
Massachusetts. Going into the last day of the event, Doyle and Olsen were
tied for first place with '92 Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Reynolds, which
led to a match race between the two teams in the sixth and final race.
Doyle and Olsen finished that race in second to count 12 points for the
series, while Reynolds finished seventh to post 14. At the Star World
Championships in Italy last September, the duo competed in a fleet of 129
boats and posted four top-five finishes over the six-race series. With a
two-point margin, their final score of 24 points won them the championship
title and bragging rights over several Olympic medalists and world champions.
In claiming their World title, Doyle and Olsen also qualified the U.S. its
Star berth to the Sydney Olympic Games. Also in September, Doyle and Olsen
were recognized as USOC's Team of the Month, sharing the spotlight with
tennis stars Serena Williams and Andre Agassi who were named USOC's
Athletes of the Month.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Mark Mendelblatt, three-time Collegiate
All-American and member of the US Sailing Team since 1996, earned
recognition for his steady rise up the ranks of the Laser class during
1999. Since last January at the '99 Laser World Championships, held in
Melbourne, Australia, Mendelblatt has made his presence known
internationally. His eighth-place finish in the 142-boat fleet, earned him
attention as the top American. Later that month, he topped the 41-boat
Laser fleet at the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta with seven first-place
finishes in the 12-race series.
Mendelblatt also posted wins at the Elvstrom-Zellerbach Regatta and the
Laser Olympic Pre-Trials and was third out of 90 Lasers at the Danish
Olympic Regatta. Mendelblatt's best performance was at this summer's Pan Am
Games in Canada, where he battled Brazil's '96 Olympic Gold Medalist Robert
Scheidt constantly throughout the series. Competing in a fleet of 15 boats,
Mendelblatt dropped his two worst scores -- a sixth and a fourth-- while
posting two first-place finishes in the 11-race series, a performance that
was strong enough to earn him the silver medal to Scheidt's gold.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Already a three-time Athlete of the Year ('94,
'93, '91), Lanee Butler was recognized this year for her dominance of
women's boardsailing in the U.S. This summer she won the Mistral Women's
gold medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Canada where her toughest
competition came from long-time rival and defending Pan Am Games Gold
Medalist Caroll-Ann Alie of Canada. The two went head-to-head trading the
lead back and forth throughout the early part of the 11-race series, with
Butler finally breaking the tie on the fourth day of racing. Ultimately,
both sat out the final race of the series when their gold and silver medal
positions were mathematically secured, Butler with 10 points to Alie's 13.
The win secured Butler her third Pan Am Games medal. Having won gold in '91
and bronze in '95, she established a new record for U.S. medals won at the
Pan Am Games (in sailing) by a woman. At the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in
October, Butler's flawless performance in the 10-board Mistral Women's
division enabled her to sit out one heat of the 14-race series and still
win the event. A two-time Olympian ('96, '92), Butler will now become the
first woman sailor to represent the U.S.A. at three consecutive Olympics.
-- Jan Harley, http://www.ussailing.org
Four bullets in five races. Not too bad. And when you consider that this
was the Big Boat Series, and that this was the only class of REAL big
boats, it becomes even more impressive. Don Hughes and RP Richards simply
decimated the ULDB 70 fleet in this year's BBS and they did it with a full
inventory of Ullman Sails. Big boats - little boats - real little boat-- it
just doesn't seem to make much difference. Ullman Sails are just plain
fast. Isn't it time you got a price quote?
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
* Excellent racing conditions returned to Auckland on Monday. After a
short postponement on both courses, races were sailed in North-East winds
building from 5 to 12 knots under warm sunshine. This was the first example
of the classic sea breeze scenario that we can expect to dominate during
the summer months on the Hauraki Gulf, with the wind gradually shifting to
the left as the afternoon wore on.
BRAVO ESPANA BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA 2000 DELTA 01:36
James Spithill on Young Australia (AUS-31) controlled the final stages of
the pre-start taking Luis Doreste in Bravo Espana (ESP-47) across the start
line early at the committee boat end. But when the gun went, Spithill who
was also over early, dipped back a little too far allowing the Spanish to
regain half of their deficit. Young Australia, on the left side of the
course, sailed out on starboard tack whilst the Spanish split tacks
straight away to get clear. The Australians tacked to cover and the pair
sailed parallel for half of the first beat with the Australians showing
equal speed. Spithill demonstrated great confidence when the Spanish
initiated a tacking duel at the end of the first beat. The Australians
managed to stay in phase with the shifting sea breeze and rounded the first
mark with a lead of ten seconds. On the next two legs Young Australia
gained a bit - both boats showed equal speed but the better tactical
situation went to Spithill. That was soon to end. On the second downwind
leg he allowed the Spanish to gybe away and gain some useful separation.
When the next shift came, the advantage was to the Spanish allowing them to
dictate the approach to the starboard gybe layline. Spithill gybed too
early, maybe hoping to get the inside advantage on the rounding, but his
boat was a length too far back to gain the overlap and his crew weren't
ready either. The Australians sailed past the leeward mark with the
spinnaker still set and no genoa in sight. By the time they had it all
cleaned up the Spanish had a lead of over a minute and were never
threatened the rest of the way home.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT STARS & STRIPES DELTA - 01:06
America True (USA-51) steered by John Cutler seized control of the left at
the start, after one dial up and a long chase from above the line and
around the bow of the committee boat. Cutler started at the pin end but the
start went to Ken Read, steering Stars & Stripes (USA-55). The first leg
could have gone either way but Cutler's control of the left let him carry
Read beyond the starboard tack layline. Read stayed relatively close but
never really threatened, ending a good winning streak for Team Dennis Conner.
ASURA BEAT LE DEFI -DELTA 00:49
Nippon Challenge (JPN-44) came back on the third leg after a premature
start to pass Le Defi (FRA-46), winning for the third time in Round Robin
Two. Two match racing masters met today and gave an amazing demonstration
of pre-start manoeuvres using all of the start box area. Pace eventually
gained the upper hand and forced Gilmour over the line early at the
committee boat end. By the time the Japanese had restarted correctly they
trailed by more than 30 seconds. When the wind was shifty the French were
able to stay in phase, but as soon as the wind stayed steady for a few
minutes in the middle of the leg the Japanese boat showed its superior
speed and made up most of the early deficit. Early on the second beat Pace
gave up the left hand side of the course and Gilmour began to enjoy the
kind of freedom that a slight speed edge and the sea breeze shifts to the
left gave him. Asura passed Le Defi three quarters of the way up the second
beat and extended its lead from there. Although the final delta was less
than a minute when the start line deficit is added in, the win looks more
YOUNG AMERICA BEAT ABRACADABRA - DELTA 04:58
Ed Baird with Young America (USA-58) was on top of his game during the
pre-start. He forced John Kolius on Abracadabra (USA-54) to the left and to
windward of the start line. After that Baird prevented Kolius from getting
back to the line. Young America bore off and timed it well. Baird gybed and
dipped the line to continue on starboard tack. Kolius tried to follow
closely but wasn't on top of maintaining his speed and Abracadabra stalled
- the Hawaiians eventually crossed 28 seconds later. Their lead extended to
two minutes and 15 seconds at the top mark and on the first run Young
America shifted gears again and extended its advantage. The rest of the
race saw Young America sail on undisturbed.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT AMERICAONE DELTA - 01:00
Francesco de Angelis and Luna Rossa (ITA-45) continue to dominate the Louis
Vuitton Cup. Today, the Italians beat Paul Cayard and AmericaOne (USA-49)
to remain atop the points table. This was a good race with both boats
hitting the start line as the gun fired, the Italians with better speed and
both boats right at the pin end. As Luna Rossa accelerated to a lee bow
position, Cayard was forced to tack off. After a short separation both
tacked and de Angelis crossed three boat lengths ahead. Italy held a
44-second lead at the top mark, gave away a little time downwind, but was
never again threatened in the race. The Italian skipper de Angelis was bold
on the final legs, not always covering the Americans, but it didn't hurt
him as Luna Rossa held its lead and won handily.
* For three hours Sunday, Chuck Brown sat 30m above the ocean painfully
searching for the slightest sniff of a breeze. The Stars & Stripes
man-up-the-mast did an admirable job, guiding his crew to victory over the
Swiss America's Cup boat on the most torturous day yet in this Louis
Vuitton Cup challenger series. At the end of the 2m 36s win, 39-year-old
Brown could hardly walk - his legs were in agony. "It's tough sitting in a
rock climbing harness all day, resting on your legs at the top of the
jumpers," he said. "It's not the most comfortable seat in the house - but
it's great fun. It's like watching a virtual race and being in it." --
Suzanne McFadden, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
|1. ||Prada || 16-1 || 34 points
|2. ||Young America || 12-4 || 24 points
|3. ||America True || 10-6 || 22 points
|4. ||Stars & Stripes || 9-7 || 20.5* points
|5. ||AmericaOne || 11-4 || 20 points
|6. ||Nippon || 9-7 || 17.5* points
|7. || Spain || 7-8 || 13 points
|8. || Abracadabra || 6-10 || 12 points
|9. || FAST 2000 || 2-14 || 8 points
|10. ||Le Defi BTT || 3-13 || 6 points
|11. ||Young Australia || 2-13 || 5 points
* 1/2 point penalty imposed for contact
Victories are worth one point each in Round One and four points in Round Two.
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 don't whine if people disagree.
-- From Andy Green (re: TAB betting on the Americas Cup) -- One minute the
powers that be are asking how we can make the sport more popular and more
marketable and the next they take the rather haughty view that betting
should be outlawed. Why this sudden moral high-ground? Didn't it all start
with a bet?
-- From Douglas Johnstone -- I was stunned to see another major hull
failure in this event. This is the second since the inception of the IACC
class. Basically rigging, steering and sail failures are to be expected.
Hull failures are not. This is not formula 1 racing. This is the elite
level of yacht racing. The best of the best, be they naval architects, sail
designers/engineers, rigging engineers or sailors. There is no constant
track to race on, there is no repetitive schedule of tarmac courses.
It is my opinion, that the IACC rule is not suitable to withstand the
variety of conditions that are imposed on the hull and equipment. There
should be a scantlings rule, there should be a way of enforcing it. If
engineers and architects can get high performance boats around the world,
they should be able to do the same on an around the buoys race. Olympic
level boats do not fall to bits at the end of racing, why should IACC boats
be expected to fail. Formula 1 cars do not fall to bits at the end of
racing, why should IACC boats be expected to fail.
I hope at the end of this Americas Cup they will convene another committee
to analyze and resolve the problems with this design rule. The only other
arena in yacht racing that I can think of with this type of failure is the
open 60 class. And frankly they have problems of their own to which there
is no comparison.
-- From Robert Bethune, Editor, Freshwater Seas -- I really wouldn't get
too excited about contact, gear failures and broken boats in the America's
Cup. Heck, there were two dismastings in the most recent Port Huron to
Mackinac, one of them less than a kilometer from the starting line! I've
seen a number of equipment breaks in club races, causing competitors to
drop out. One of the well-known yachts on Lake St. Clair got T-boned last
year and nearly sank.
The A-cup boats are trying to do what everyone else does--walk that fine
line between light enough and too light. They have more money to do it
with, but they have a lot more at stake as well, so the ratio between
risk-taking, success and failure probably isn't going to be that much
From Doug McIntosh -- I think what makes something a spectator sport that
people will watch is a) something that people can understand, b) something
where things go wrong and break or blow up. Car racing is something most
people can understand. Blown engines, crash pileups, pit timing, are all
things easily understood because it's just like driving your own car.
Sailboat racing, to the non-sailor, takes place in vehicles that work in
ways that are hard to grasp, with strange rules, and on a playing field
that makes no sense. The Americas Cup has become a full on spectacle-media
$$$ event. It has become this way because in order to be better than the
other guy, it takes things like technology, boats, logistics, and people,
which all cost a lot of money. In order to get corporate sponsors to give
you lots of money, they need some media exposure in return. Media exposure
requires an audience. Sure, every racing sailor is watching, but the
average non-sailor on the street only wants to know who won, and to see
broken boats and people diving in the water. Making it a fleet race would
appeal to the racers, and the racer-spectators, but would really not do
anything to increase the appeal to the non-racer. Having Gary and Pedro on
the scene to explain things really helped alot, but watching boats go 10,
or 6, or 20 knots around a boring course 3 times while doing loopdeloops
and protesting race commitees go beyond explaining.
-- From Seth Radow -- I have sailed/ raced for 28 years. As a junior racing
in the north eastern US, in the Sunfish Class, it was mandatory to wear a
PFD (mind you , this was approx. 20 years ago). I can't remember anyone
complaining about the restriction. Certainly the parents weren't complaining.
Now, in my mid 30's, I can't believe I have outgrown the necessity to wear
a PFD! Many sailing youth today appear to be better swimmers than their
parents, yet it remains the parents who refuse to wear the PFD's.
Interesting that the parent is responsible for the child yet it's the child
who is wearing the life insurance! I wear an inflatable PFD from time to
time although it is not my favorite.
I am a huge fan of the Gill Floatation Vest. Although it only has 11 lbs.
of floatation, it is a huge benefit in the water, adding much needed
buoyancy when wearing clothing. It is extremely comfortable and
inexpensive. It can be worn under foulies acting as an extra layer of
insulation and never is a burden. Musto also makes a vest (red) that is
worn by one of my crew and the entire crew of Sayonara. I believe the Musto
vest is designed to be worn over the top of foulies.
Any PFD is better than none. Find one that is comfortable and wear it. So
much has been discussed about developing the youth of sailing. If anything,
lead by example for your children, especially offshore.
-- From Chris Welsh -- Since the life jacket thread is open again, my two
bits: to everyone who wants to wear them, do so. Leave me to make my own
decision, or come up with some darn good statistical evidence that
correlates the mandatory use of PFD's with lives saved by mandatory
requirements. Mark Gaudio's comments highlight 'feel good' rule making vs.
Do you really want this thread open again?
Curmudgeon's comment: Absolutely not! Chris - you've had the final word.
-- From Peter Huston -- If allowed, a free market will quickly settle all
debate regarding advertising logos and sailing. Might be then that TV
-- From Skip Dieball -- I came across this article and wondered if this is
really what the world thinks for Yacht Racing:.
Curmudgeon's comment: Several people sent me this URL. It's definitely
worth reading. Many of you will think it's hilarious and some will have
very different thoughts.
THE PREZ SAYS -- Paul Henderson, ISAF President
I am now on my way to Noumea for the Mistral Worlds and will endeavor to
put the Ad. Code back on track. To again have several MNA's to again demean
the classes and try to reverse the Vancouver decision was not acceptable
without proposing a solution. The Int. Classes also did not live with the
Vancouver agreement and expanded their position which was also
unacceptable, which left me with no other choice but to delay till Cyprus,
thus giving those who wished to delay the satisfaction of winning although
for different reasons. After the meeting many came to me and wondered how I
kept my "Cool" as much as I did. So if I was rather sharp with any of you,
it was well deserved and I make no apology whatsoever.
Now to the Solution for allocation of space on hulls, sails and equipment.
Accept what has been passed: 1) Agreed: Windsurfers as agreed. Match Racing
as agreed for supplied equipment but expand that to all events where the
equipment is supplied which means the Event Organizer controls all
advertizing. The position above also includes Olympic Classes where
supplied at an event. Now we are left with the rest including the Olympic
Classes which is the real problem:
Overview: Cat"A" remains as now defined. The Cat"C" proposal is that ISAF
reserves parts of the boat as designated below and the rest is left to be
allocated as all jurisdictions wish with no restrictions from ISAF under
2) Events Sponsor: 25% of the Hull is reserved as a minimum. Events can put
banners on backstays, marks, race management boats and any other place they
can find and additional areas the class and sailor agrees to on the boats
and equipment;. Observation: A class could negotiate the use of the 25% bow
area with the event but it is up to the event to agree as it is reserved
for the Event.
3) Sails: These are 100% in the domain of the INDIVIDUAL sailor.
(exceptions in #1) No jurisdiction can demand a sailor put advertizing on
their Sails unless the individual sailor agrees. The sailor has the right
to assign advertizing in his sails to whomever they wish. The amount
allowed is up to the Class under Cat "C" and in the Olympic Classes must be
Observations of #3 Sails: If a sailor is contracted to a MNA for financial
support the MNA should demand that the sailor assigns the right to Sail
Advertizing to the MNA. But that is between the sailor and their MNA. If
the Class has a Grand Prix Circuit the sailor could assign part of their
sail to the Class. The sailor could give the spinnaker to the MNA, Jib to
the class and the mainsail for himself. MNA should only have the right to
sails if they fund the sailor. The complete option is left to the sailor to
work out their own deals on sails.
4) Booms, Masts, Dodgers, Hulls (75%) Can be a collective option. A Class
could use these areas for a class sponsor. An Event could ask for
additional space. MNA could ask their sailors to put on a sponsors logo..
This up to the collective arrangement worked out and nothing to do with
ISAF. If a class has a class sponsor like the Farr 40 and the Farr 40 class
says that the sailor must carry the sponsors logo on his boom then the
sailor must go by the class wish. (But they can not force the sailor to put
it on his sail unless the sailor agrees.)
Well that is it!! Conflicts: There is absolutely no way that in an open
event that you can stop conflicts in fact it is in most countries illegal.
Events have the right to call it an invitational but that is in very
restrictive cases. If Denmark shows up in a Soling Regatta with Tuborg on
their sails and the European Event sponsor is Whitbread you can not force a
sailor to remove their individual sponsors. -- Paul Henderson, President,
International Sailing Federation
There is a lot of stuff you need (and really should have) when sailing
offshore. And that list grows when you're racing under ORC 0-4. But not to
worry -- you can do all of your shopping online at the West Marine website.
It's all there -- charts, flares, communications gear and even the life
raft(s). You probably will also want to look at the personal strobes,
EPIRBs, harnesses, jack lines and maybe even a survival suit. They even
have a small, portable, manual watermaker in the section with other safety
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
* "Very small changes in these boats can make quite dramatic differences
in the speed of them. We've found that the change we've made from the First
Round Robin to the Second is something very, very, small and subtle that we
did. It has made a big speed improvement, so we've got quite a big change
planned for between Round Robin Two and Three." -- Peter Gilmour, Louis
Vuitton Cup website, http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
* "I think sometimes James' (Spithill) mind might be ahead of the
capabilities of the crew. That is what usually happens when you come up
from sailing in smaller boats. These guys have only been sailing together
for three months, they expect these problems." -- Rob Brown, Coach and
tactician for Young Australia, http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
* "We wanted the right; we won the right on the starting line; we took the
right and we were wrong!" Ken Read, Stars & Stripes website,
"I think most of these boats almost every day seem to have some small
feature or some small part go wrong. It's just a matter of being able to
deal with that throughout the day and keep on fighting." -- Peter Gilmour,
Quokka Website, http://www.americascup.org/
Apparently it's going to happen today -- the Scuttlebutt distribution list
will officially pass the 3000 mark. I'm sure that none of the 42 people who
received issue #1 in September, 1997 ever would have guessed
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Gravity... It's Not Just a Good Idea. It's the Law.