SCUTTLEBUTT #445 - November 19, 1999
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
The discomfort of Young America became more public and more acute today as
its performance and its credibility were placed under equal and searching
scrutiny. On a day of fair winds on the Hauraki Gulf, the New York Yacht
Club team suffered its sixth loss from 10 races, plunging to sixth place on
the challenger leaderboard. The syndicate's slide from prominence began
when its first race boat, USA-53, collapsed 10 days ago, and has hastened
since the advent of USA-58. Two withdrawals and two defeats have followed
after the new boat won its first two races.
Young America negotiated the racecourse for the first time in three races
today but sailed uncertainly to defeat by one minute, 46 seconds at the
hands of AmericaOne. The former member of the challengers' Big Three is now
hanging tenuously onto a place among the top six teams. Opening beneath its
feet is the abyss of early elimination.
There was an ill wind waiting for Young America off the racecourse today as
it received the summons of the international jury to a hearing that sought
to penetrate the intrigue surrounding its withdrawal from a race with Young
Australia on Wednesday.
In all, the week has delivered an accumulation of difficulties to the door
of the New York syndicate. It has completed its part in Round 2 with four
wins and six losses, half a point behind fifth-placed Nippon, 21 points
from leader Prada and eight points ahead of seventh-placed Spain.
The race with AmericaOne today, which would normally have been awaited with
keen interest as a revelation of challenger strengths, passed off without
incident. The match imparted little information about either syndicate,
though it suggested Young America sails its new boat gingerly even in
today's wind range of eight to 11 knots.
There was merit in the performances of two one-boat, bottom five teams
against one-boat, top-six opponents. Spain lost to America True by 57
seconds after pressing the second-placed San Franciscans for most of the race.
Bravo Espana won the start by a second and trailed by between 20 and 30
seconds over the first four legs before America True dragged itself to a
one-minute, three-second lead at the last weather mark. In losing by 57
seconds, Spain continued to show itself competitive with stronger teams.
Young Australia emerged with credit from their match with third-placed
Stars & Stripes, losing a classic confrontation of youth and experience by
23 seconds. Young Australia was forced to make a headsail change on the
first leg as the wind, which was recorded at 17 knots at the start, fell to
eight knots. They lowered one jib and quickly raised another as red as the
soil of the Sunburned Country, but rounded the top mark 43 seconds behind.
Apparently at home in light winds and flat seas, they closely pursued Stars
& Stripes for the remainder of the race, taking 40 seconds out of the
Americans' lead on the third windward leg.
Prada was made to seem more vulnerable by Abracadabra, which led by 30
seconds after a luffing duel at the first windward mark. Their lead
evaporated on the first downwind leg and Prada eventually built a win by
one minute, 10 seconds. The first beat and the top mark confrontation with
Luna Rossa was still a boost to the spirits of the beleaguered Hawaiian team.
"As we headed up the course the wind went left and we got involved in a
little tacking match, trading sides back and forth," said helmsman Chris
Larson, who made his third consecutive appearance behind the wheel.
"Once we got near the weather mark we were able to tack underneath them on
starboard tack, luff to weather and fall back down, luff again and when we
went head to wind the boats were so slow that Luna Rossa had to tack back
to port. We were able to fall back on starboard and go around the weather
mark with quite a nice lead and that was about our race."
Larson replaced skipper John Kolius behind the wheel on Tuesday. Kolius has
assumed Larson's tactician role and is now responsible for assisting with
the running backstays. "I've got to fire Chris Larson," Kolius joked two
days ago. "He's doing a really good job, but I never realised how hard it
is to grind up the runners on these boats." -- Steve McMorran, Quokka
|1. ||Prada || 19-1 || 46 points
|2. ||America True || 14-6 || 38 points
|3. ||Stars & Stripes || 13-7 || 36.5 points
|4. ||AmericaOne || 14-5 || 32 points
|5. ||Nippon || 11-8 || 25.5 points
|6. ||Young America || 12-8 || 25 points
|7. ||Spain || 8-11 || 17 points
|8. ||Le Defi BTT || 5-14 || 14 points
|9. || Abracadabra || 6-13 || 12 points
|10. ||Young Australia || 3-16 || 9 points
|11. ||FAST 2000 || 2-18 || 8 points
Victories are worth one point in Round One and four points in Round Two.
You have to feel sorry for the sailors of New Zealand. This is one of the
few civilized places on the planet where people race sailboats
competitively but they still don't have an Ullman sail loft. Racing
sailor are accustomed to finding Ullman lofts everywhere they go. They're
in Norway, Japan, Spain, the UK and Canada. There are two each in Australia
and Mexico. Italy has three and there are 10 in the USA. That's 22 in all,
and every one of them will give a quote on a new sail, and show you how
affordable improved performance can be:
As Team New Zealand continues to search for more boatspeed, key members of
its design team have been fully integrated into the sailing program in a
move to have them experience and identify at first hand the slightest hint
of improvement. This process has been in place both during the development
of the new designs and continuing during the post-launch optimization of
the two new black boats; NZL57 and NZL60.
Design team coordinator Tom Schnackenberg and structural engineer Mike
Drummond both have navigator roles on board, while yacht designer Clay
Oliver, who shares the principal hull design duties with Laurie Davidson,
made a conscious decision when he joined Team New Zealand to build his
sailing skills enough to make a useful contribution on a daily basis. " As
a yacht designer, Oliver finds that hands-on experience invaluable,
particularly among a group of sailors as experienced and skilled as the
Team New Zealand line-up. "It is all part of the integration of this team,"
says Oliver. -- Bob Fisher, Grand Prix Sailor, http://www.sailingworld.com
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 Rick Hatch (re Request for Re-Opening of the Young America Request
for Redress) -- Why am I not surprised? Having heard far more requests for
redress (usually arising as a result of mistakes by the RC or the
organizing authority) than I care to remember, I vividly recall the judges'
obligations imposed by RRS 64.2, which reads (with my own emphasis added):
"When the protest committee decides that a boat is entitled to redress
under Rule 62, it shall make AS FAIR AN ARRANGEMENT AS POSSIBLE for ALL
boats affected, whether or not they asked for redress."
It's going to be quite interesting to learn of the International Jury's
decision in the matter this time around. And, as many 'Buttheads probably
already know, under RRS 70.4, "there shall be no appeal from the decisions
of an international jury..."
Remember Paul Cayard's remarks to the press when AmericaOne was forced to
drop out of a race earlier this month, due to gear failure of some kind? He
wasn't complaining then (I think it was battens problem), but he's
certainly entitled to complain this time! Fair dues to AmericaOne and
Prada for trying the International Jury on for size on this one.
-- From Peter Huston -- There are two rules that should be changed before
the start of Round Three.
1- A team should only get a certain number of "Time Outs" per round - maybe
three. Then, teams will have to be very careful in the manner in which
they spend a "Time Out" - just like in the NFL. This will serve as a more
Darwinian selector - well prepared boats shouldn't be de facto penalized
because someone else built a boat too far on the edge of reliability. Or
better yet, just get rid of "Time Outs" all together.
2- Teams must compete, or at least start and sail at least 50% of the first
leg, in all races. To drop out of the competition to make radical changes
to the boat skews the overall results for everyone else who races in a
complete series. There should be a penalty equal to the number of points
available for a win in that race for a boat that doesn't show up at the
starting line, and at least makes a serious attempt at racing.
Under the current system, were one of the top three or four teams to drop
out of the Third round mid way through the series after they were
mathmatically assured of entry into the semi's, this could have a dramatic
impact on the outcome for the "bubble boat" - the team that will be the 6th
place finisher at the end of the third round.
-- From Lawrence Harasym - I am in despite need of some guidance and
clarification. Would someone be able to explain to me why Young America is
receiving all of this special treatment?! First, their boat nearly splits
in half. They are allowed to use their second boat for the remainder of
Round Robin 2.
I ask you: if AmericaTrue or even Stars & Stripes were to have such
catastrophic damage, would the entire Round Robin be halted to allow them
to be repaired? I would think not. However, Young America and all of its
money allows them the luxury of a two boat campaign. So instead of keeping
their mouth shut for the reminder of this Round Robin (and the benefit to
use their second boat), Young America now is constantly complaining about
something. In fact, all of their complaining has gotten them an additional
I've got three words for Young America: deal with it. It is painfully
obvious the Cup organizers have the six semi-finalists already selected
because they are doing every possible to make sure Young America is one of
-- From . Chris Ericksen -- I'm afraid Alan Capellin has his history
backwards when he says, "Do you drink Lipton tea? Sir Thomas Lipton made a
buck or two off of the America's Cup."
Lipton's Tea made Sir Thomas rich before he became a yachtsman, not after;
and he spent his money not only on the America's Cup but also in deeding
dozens of Lipton Cups around the US and the world (there are two in
Southern California alone). It is a truism of the America's Cup prior to
the Eighties that the syndicates and individuals who raced for the Auld
Mug--Lipton, T.O.M. Sopwith, Thomas W. Lawson, Harold S. Vanderbilt--spent
the money they made before competing for the Cup. In those days it was a
money-spending process, not a money-making process, for the competitors
-- From Helen Johnstone Falk -- I have competed in many different
competitive sports, including other highly competitive sailing events, that
also involve the mysterious notion of "RULES"; however, in most sports
rules are made and are not made to be broken. Is the America's Cup
experimenting with the new philosophy of "rules are made to be broken"? I
understand the NEED to make exceptions where exceptions are needed (such as
Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding), but I do not understand the incongruency
of the decisions being made in the America's Cup in New Zealand. Are the
rules being written before, during and after each America's Cup Race? Too
many SHEEPS and not enough land.
Six months ago, The Sailing Foundation in Seattle, WA presented their
research paper on the 1999 Harness and Tether Study. To get a copy at cost,
you had to mail in $20 to find out if you had a Harness or Tether that
passed or failed the 220# dummy dropped 6.5 feet test, as specified by ORC.
47% of the off-the-shelf tethers failed, while 8% of the off-the-shelf
Thanks to US SAILING's new website, the entire report, including photo's is
now available for FREE on the web. Look to see if it is time for you to
replace your tether or harness. Go to www.ussailing.org/safety, click on
"Completed Studies" and you will find the report listed there. If you
aren't a member and the information was valuable to you, why not sign up
for a membership in US SAILING (on-line) as a thank you while you're there?
-- Glenn T. McCarthy US SAILING Safety-at-Sea Committee Web Liaison
MISTRAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Noumea: Barbara Kendall is comfortably ahead and looking like shes in
charge of the womens fleet after Day 4 of sailing in the 1999 Mistral World
Championships. A 2nd in both of todays races safeguards Kendalls place at
the top of the table, and putting an enviable 21 points between her and
next closest rival, Australias Jessica Crisp.
Barbara is mistakeless says coach Grant Beck, shes doing everything right.
All round, shes technically and tactically the best sailor on the course.
She is undisputedly in command of this competition he says. Kendalls
scorecard is a regular pattern of ones and twos, with only a 6th as a
discard, making her position appear unassailable. -- Virginia
Stracey-Clitherow, Yachting New Zealand
RESULTS Day 4: 1999 Mistral World Championships, Noumea
MENS GOLD FLEET, 8 races, 1 discard (48 entries)
1. Lars KLEPPICH (Australia): 2, 2, 14, 3, 3, 3, 6, 3 (22pts)
2. Tony PHILP (Fiji): 3, 1, 7, 4, 1, 7, 19, 8 (31pts)
3. Aaron McINTOSH (NZL): 1, 1, 3, 2, 22, 1, 34, 6 (36pts)
WOMENS FLEET, 6 races, 1 discard (57 entries)
1. Barbara KENDALL (NZL): 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 6, 2, 2 (12pts)
2. Jessica CHRISP (Australia): 9, 5, 9, 4, 3, 2, 22, 1 (33pts)
3. Natasha STURGES (Australia): 2,1, 4, 1, 2, 10, 43, 24, 7 (49pts)
For complete results: http://www.acpv.com/eng/index.htm
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
Francesco de Angelis on which boat Prada will sail in the next Round Robin:
"This has still to be decided. We will use the time the rules allow us
before making that decision. We are happy with the races so far and
especially this second round. All the teams had to sail in clean strong
winds so I think it was a good period for the crew to learn the boat."
Chris Larson on the Abracadabra timetable: "Obviously our programme is a
little late getting down here and being able to sail two boats on the
water. As we're going along, we're having more time with our boat and we're
starting to figure it out a little bit more.
Louis Vuitton Cup website: http://www.louisvuittoncup.com
Bob Billingham, AmericaOne COO on testing their new boat (USA 61):"Once in
the water, she was put through a series of carefully administered dock
tests. This involves stationing the boat builders throughout the boat at
all the major structures (mast step, keel box, runners bulkhead, forestay
bulkhead) and slowly loading up the runners. Both of the running backstays
are wound-up one revolution at a time. After each turn of the winch handle,
everyone stops and listens for sounds - sounds we do not want to hear. This
is truly a case of silence being golden. They slowly load the boat up until
there is 22,000 lbs of pressure on the runners. As they load it up, they
watch for movement in string lines and level beams set up and calibrated at
certain stations in the boat. The hull bends and moves under the huge load,
but only a few millimeters. All quiet on the loaded-up 61 led to satisfied
smiles on Ted Brown and Mike Eldred's faces. These guys spent the busiest
19 weeks of their lives building 61." - http://www.americaone.org
PICKY, PICKY, PICKY
If selection is important to you, you really are going to have a ball
browsing the pages of the new West Marine website. They've got it all --
more than 30,000 items from which to choose. It's like having a bookcase
full of the catalogs of all of the major marine industry suppliers -- and
it's right at your fingertips: http://www.westmarine.com/
Here's the wording of the new Rule 16.2, devised at the ISAF meeting to
appease all those poor sailors out there that have felt hunted while fleet
"16.2 In addition, when after the starting signal a port-tack boat is
keeping clear of a starboard-tack boat, the starboard-tack boat shall not
change course if as a result the port-tack boat would immediately need to
change course to keep clear."
And for those rule-smiths out there interested in the subtle problems
contained RRS 18 (mostly in match racing with starboard roundings), 18.2
(b) has been changed to read as follows:
"18.2 Giving Room; Keeping Clear (b) If a boat is clear ahead when
she reaches the two-length zone, the boat then clear astern shall
thereafter keep clear. Rules 10, 11 and 18.2(a) do not apply, and rule 16
applies only if the right-of-way boat changes course away from the mark or
obstruction. If the right-of-way boat passes head to wind, rule 13 applies
and this rule no longer does."
Both will go into effect on 1 January 2000, and be posted soon on the ISAF
site. -- Dobbs Davis
SAILING ON TV
It's VCR time again. At 1:00 AM Monday morning (Sunday night) Gary Jobson
will have a Louis Vuitton Cup show on The Duece -- ESPN2 -- featuring the
highlights of Round Robin Two.
FROM THE JURY ROOM
At press time there was still no word of the jury's decisions on the two
important matter they are considering tonight - the reopening of the Young
America redress decision, and a protest by Nippon concerning yesterday's
five-penalty race with America True.
I'm going to bed, but for those of you who need to know, the editorial team
at Quokka Sports plan to stay up and post a story on their website as soon
as they get the decisions. And for those of you with more patience, I'll
copy and paste the Quokka report as a 'Butt Extra early tomorrow morning.
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
Some days you're the dog -- some days you're the hydrant.