SCUTTLEBUTT #450 - November 30, 1999
COMMENTARY -- Bob Black
As a former newsman and a 36-year veteran of the public relations wars in
boating and sailing--and as a college teacher of sports writing--I've found
the discussions on how to increase the popularity of our sport fascinating.
And I've read a number of good thoughts here.
But--and this is a huge 'but'--no sport is any bigger than its heroes.
Blake and Coutts are extraordinarily well known in New Zealand. France
treats its winning sailors with admiration and showers them with money. You
don't have to win all the time to be a hero or heroine in France: Look at
Isabelle Autissier. She's a household name and an icon in the sporting world.
The nearest we have come to building an American hero was Ted Turner. And
his Cup was in 1977! Dennis is known, but not always looked upon as a hero.
Gary Jobson may be the only American sailor who fits the bill today, and
much of that is due to his broadcasting ability. But Gary has also done
many other things for the sport, such as the Leukemia Cup(s) and still
sails competitively. He also gives back hugely. Dawn Riley could make it,
if she wanted to.
With the Olympics coming up, we have an opportunity to build some
heroes/heroines in advance. But it's a chore and it's not going to be
cheap. Sailing is up against some pretty heavy advance Olympic press
competition. Run by some heavy p.r. hitters.
Look what happened to women's soccer when it started to focus on heroines.
Look at the examples of all the team spectator sports and the
johnny-come-latelies sports of tennis and golf. The latter, for example,
hit the big time with Arnie Palmer,
Yes, the sailing schools are important. I've been involved in Community
Sailing for years and helped put together two C.S. handbooks, among other
things. But: Make heroes. Make heroines. Build them and (kids and grown ups
alike) they shall come.
(Bob Black does some of the public relations for the National Sailing
Industry Association and has once again been elected Executive Director of
Boating Writers International.)
VENDEE GLOBE RACE
Bruce Schwab's entry in the 2000/2001 Vendee Globe race, "Made in America,"
is under construction at Schooner Creek Boatworks in Portland, Oregon. The
team is still looking for a title sponsor, but they are taking the plunge!
Check out the progress: http://www.rigworld.com
JUST LIKE CAYARD
Check out the graphics on AmericaOne's kites on the America's Cup highlight
films. Those patterns all come from North Graphics. And North also did the
A1 compound graphics, skirt graphics, tender, hull, mainsail, mast, boom
graphics. Additionally, North provided A1 with flags for the compound,
tenders and big boats. Cayard is a happy camper, and you can be too. Just
call Whitney Gladstone --he'll give you the straight scoop about spinnaker
designs, flags or your other graphic needs. (619) 224-8667,
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
* Team Prada will sail its second boat Luna Rossa (ITA 48) during the
third Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup, which will start next Thursday,
2 December. Up to now Prada has raced only ITA 45, the first Luna Rossa,
leading at the end of the second Round Robin with a total of 46 points.
Laurent Esquier, Operations Manager of team Prada, said today: "We have
decided to use the second Luna Rossa because the races are the only real
test; we have been training for a while with both boats (ITA 45 and ITA 48)
racing against each other, but in a certain sense it was like 'dancing with
your sister'. We had to complete the circle and we decided therefore to put
the second boat under the enemy's fire.
In the past few days we did a lot of work on ITA 48 in order to reach the
same standard of tune-up and preparation as on the first boat. Doung
Peterson, designer of Luna Rossa, said: "ITA 48 is slightly narrower than
the first boat but both are designed to go well in the same conditions;
they are all round yachts which have a similar level of performance.
However, they don't behave in exactly the same way and we wanted to give
the crew the opportunity to fully understand them and to feel 100%
comfortable on both yachts. We also wish to make sure that everything works
as it should. It was a team choice and we discussed it in detail. We think
it is the right decision. -- Alessandra Ghezzi,
* Unfathomable as it may have seemed, Young America's snapped and buckled
America's Cup yacht could be back racing again in a month's time. By
Christmas, the New Yorkers will be a two-boat team again, and USA53 - saved
from a watery grave - could be back racing.
"It's very possible. When she's back to 100 percent race ready, she will be
capable of racing in the semifinals if we want her to," said Marshall More
than 2m in the middle of the boat have been replaced at the Salthouse yard
in Greenhithe. The next step is to put the keel back in, and USA53 should
be back at the American Express NZ Cup Village base next week, and sailing
by December 16.
But Young America have promised to lay down all their findings for all to
see, and act on - Marshall wants an overhaul of the boat design rule. He
said an engineering report would be handed to all the Cup syndicates, so
they could consider a review of the rule to make future boats stronger.
"The class as a whole really need this. I believe many of the boats have
had major structural problems, but no one wants to come forward and say
so," he said. -- Suzanne McFadden
Full story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
* After ten days of intensive work, 'be hAPpy' the Swiss America's Cup
class yacht is now back in the water and ready to race. With the aft foil
repaired and a number of modifications made, the crew is currently training
hard in preparation for the beginning of Round Robin 3, on Thursday, 2
December. The FAST 2000 technical team repaired the foil supporting the aft
bulb, with multiple layers of carbon. This has also strengthened the keel
structure, which is put under considerable load in rough sea conditions. We
have also made some additional modifications to the appendages of 'be
hAPpy', adding wings to the aft bulb and modifying the aft trimmer to
improve the manoeuvrability of the boat. The cost of the repair and
modifications came to a total of 20,000 Swiss francs.
Crew training this week has been on board 'MRX' boats, the nine metre one
designs, often used in match racing competitions. Training has focused on
tactics, with particularly emphasis on pre-start manoeuvres. Marc Pajot
said: "The entire team here in Auckland is eager for Round Robin Three to
begin. Our intention is to go out and win as many races as possible to
demonstrate that the Swiss are still greedy for their first ever America's
Cup campaign. "The letters and faxes we have received from Switzerland over
the last week, have further reinforced our will to succeed and desire to be
back on the water fighting." -- H Bernhard, Fast 2000
* One guess: which sailor has waved the most code "Y" protest flags -- and
has had the most waved at him -- in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger
trials? Right. Nippon Challenge's Peter Gilmour didn't get to be the
world's No. 1-ranked match racer by being timid. He leads across the board
with 32 incidents, five protests in his favour (tied with Stars & Stripes'
Ken Read) and five against through the first two rounds. He's also had 22
incidents green-flagged, meaning no foul.
But Gilmour may be on the right track. The top six boats -- the ones
sitting in semifinal slots before the third round starts Thursday -- have
had the umps rule in their favour 16 times and against them 12. The bottom
five haven't won a single call, but have lost four.
A better question, then: why aren't more people sailing aggressively? "The
umpiring calls and the penalties are part of the game," Gilmour said. "But
every helmsman has different strengths and weaknesses. One of our strengths
is getting in there and battling. Some others, like, say, [Prada's]
Francesco [de Angelis], it's not their style."
Among the leaders, de Angelis and Young America's Ed Baird are the
exceptions. The once-beaten Italians, preferring speed to sparring, have
drawn no penalties for or against. Working a Young America race has been a
day cruise for the umpires: only six competitor-initiated protests, two of
which went against the New Yorkers. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports
Full story: http://www.americascup.org/
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 Ken Miller (re Mike Guccione's question in 'Butt 449 - What are
the top ten things that we use today in racing that were developed for and
by an America's cup boat?) -- I read and reread your questions and I can't
make out if your being sarcastic or serious. But here is an answer: Whether
or not the America's Cup has spawned these items, it has by all practical
purposes done what BASF has heavily marketed in TV ads: "It makes them
better." 1. TV Sailing Coverage 2. Sailing as a frontpage story. 3.
Corporate Sponsorship. 4. ESPN. 5. SailTrack/VirtualSpectator 6. The Louis
Vuitton Cup/Challengers' Series. 7. 1-2 Billion dollars income to the host
city. 8. Multiplying International participation 9. One-Design Keelboat
Racing. 10. A host city not on the east coast of the US.
-- From Mark Michaelsen (concerning Mike Guccione's question about the top
ten things that we use today in racing that were developed for and by an
America's cup boat) -- Here are my TOP 4....
4) Jim Kelly and Gary Jobson changing the accepted "yachting fashion"
trends by NOT WEARING blue blazers with "scrambled eggs" while doing the
play by play in 1995.
3) Kevlar duffle bags derived from the scraps of DC's jib in Freemantle
AUS in 1987. Functional, fashionable and bulletproof.
2) The Internet as a money making tool for sailing. The price of admission:
You are now able to charge up to $200,000.00 for a seat on a boat during a
race. This provided you auction it through the Internet. You get a one day
race in pouring rain and cold wind which sets the standard for value. This
as a DIRECT RESULT of DC's efforts in Auckland.
1) Carbon fiber winch handles now used aboard John MacLaurin's PENDRAGON 4
keep the weight down as does the all carbon fiber sink. On MARGI they use
those same $200 handles to run the Y2K compliant "manual blender"...can't
run out of cocktails just because of a simple power outage.
And you say there have been no HUGE STEPS in technology as a result of
-- From Rick Hatch, Vancouver -- Someone on Halsey Street should point out
to Chris Laidlaw over at The New Zealand Herald that, "Heaven Forbid!", it
was the FRENCH that beat the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals
(wasn't it the French that sank the Rainbow Warrior at Marsden wharf in
1984?). And, as happened in San Diego in 1995 and in Freemantle, the Louis
Vuitton Cup could again well be the main event this time around!
-- From Tom Walleck -- On the topic of wealthy sailors, who is the richest
of the Americas Cup sailors racing in this years cup? And what is the
average wage a typical crewmember earns for a Cup effort?
-- Bruce Van Deventer -- I read with interest in 'Butt 449 that the
"insurers of Young America" were investigating the hull failure of USA 53.
I'm curious to know just what kind of policy you get for an IACC boat? Are
the insurers paying for the numerous collisions that occur in match racing?
In the interests of keeping my rates low, I hope the answer is "no". When
some Indy car loses it in turn #3 at the brickyard, the insurance company
doesn't come out and start investigating, so it's hard for me to understand
their involvement in sailing at this level.
In club racing there seems to be more and more incidents of minor contact
between boats being used as the basis for insurance claims for total
re-paint or major repairs costing thousands of dollars. Repairs made to a
reasonable level of cosmetic appearance should be all that is expected for
minor contact. Otherwise, soon no one is going to be able to afford
insurance, no insurance = no boat loans = no more racing.
-- From Bert Brown -- After spending 30 years in the engineering
profession, I couldn't believe the press release out of Farr Yacht Design.
What a bunch of double talk. I can't believe it..."deck failure was not a
result of a fault in the engineering or design of the boat"!! If the design
was not at fault, what was? Improper bonding as was implied in the third
paragraph of the press release? Doesn't Farr Yachts know that material
certifications, fabrication specifications, manufacturing procedures,
inspection procedures, and non-destructive testing are all part of
"ENGINEERING & DESIGN"! This smells like big money and insurance claims.
Perhaps enough said!
University of Rhode Island won the 53rd Annual Timme Angsten Memorial
Regatta hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov.
26-28) in the fluky winds of Belmont Harbor, Chicago. Queens University of
Ontario placed second. Hobart and William Smith Colleges of New York took
third. Seventeen schools competed in 34 races using 420s provided by the
Chicago and Sheridan Shore Yacht Clubs. Teams came from as far east as
Boston University to as far west as the University of Oregon. American
Airlines donated tickets, making it possible for a West Coast team to
participate for the first time in some years. This event also served as the
Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association championship, won by University of
Michigan. -- Mike Esposito
HIGH SPEED SAILING
Grant Dalton will attempt to sail non-stop around the globe in a monster
38m catamaran he believes could be the fastest boat ever built. Dalton will
skipper the Club Med boat in The Race, the circumnavigation event starting
on New Year's Eve, 2000.
He has already sailed around the world five times, but with comfort stops
along the way. His next sea voyage will be in the single-masted cat, being
built in the Multiplast yard in Vannes, near La Rochelle, France. The boat
costs around $NZ9 million, and is likely to fly the French flag.
The boat will be launched in April, when it will begin a series of record
attempts to break the boat in. Right now the world 24-hour record stands at
540 miles, set by fellow Race entry Playstation off New Zealand last
summer. But Dalton believes that his boat could break 700 miles.
Dalton has never sailed on a huge multihull before. "I know very little
about them, and there's not a lot of time between now and the beginning of
The Race," he said. "But in the end the wind still blows and you've got to
point the thing in the right direction."
There is one major difference from the monohulls he is used to sailing -
pure speed. "If this crashes it will crash in a serious way," he said. "But
you don't always want to go fast. It could come down to the last man
standing - a classic hare and tortoise race."
The boat will need 14 crew, but the only other yachtie chosen so far is
Dalton's right-hand-man in the last two Whitbread's, navigator Mike Quilter.
The Club Med boat has been created by Frenchman Gilles Ollier, who designed
Explorer, the first multihull to sail around the world in less than 80
days. The race starts in Barcelona and wends through the Straits of
Gibraltar around the bottom of South Africa and Australia. It could yet
pass through Cook Strait, before going around Cape Horn and finishing in
At this stage there are seven boats lining up. Dalton sees his major
competition as Playstation, now waiting to cross the Atlantic, and
Englishman Pete Goss' 115ft wave-piercing catamaran. "We are going to spend
a month in France and sail down to Spain just learning to get it off the
dock. Just trying to handle this thing is going to be an adventure," he said.
One of the records he wants to attempt is the retracing of Christopher
Columbus' path from Spain to San Salvador. Then there's the one that Dalton
has dreamed about since he was a kid - the transatlantic crossing.
Dalton admits it has been a long and bumpy road just getting this far. He
made his first presentation to sponsors in 1994. Just as he was about to
flag the whole thing away a few months ago, race organiser Bruno Peyron
made the first contact with sponsors Club Med.
Dalton hasn't given up on a campaign for the Volvo Ocean Race (the
successor of the Whitbread). The Race will finish in March 2001 and the
Volvo begins in September. "I'm working flat out on both," he said. "I
don't know whether I will sail in the Volvo but I want to have a campaign."
-- Suzanne McFadden, NZ Herald
Complete story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nzherald99/
dK Compsites will build the Farr 40 One-design in Malaysia. dK Composites
is a jointly owned German Malaysian company situated at Batu Berendam
Airport, Composite Technology City, Melaka, Malaysia. The company
manufactures a wide range of composite products including state-of-the-art
yacht designs. The workforce comprises of over 120 highly trained and
skilled Malaysians, plus an international team of 12 management and
While the production of the Farr 40 OD will be in Malaysia to service the
entire Asia Pacific Region, the majority of the materials and equipment, as
well as the manufacture of several components, will still be sourced from
and completed in Australia. For example, McConaghy Boats who have done an
outstanding job in the setup and production of the first 10 yachts will
still be involved in the project. Well recognized as one of the world's
best yacht builders for one-off designs, McConaghy Boats will concentrate
on their traditional market while providing specialized products and
services to the Farr' project. Whale Spars will continue with mast and
rigging fit-out while SP Systems of Mona Vale will supply composite materials.
HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS
Everyone loves a bargain at this time of year and we have one for you that
is guarantied to make holiday shopping an overnight success. You and get a
free Gill Overnight Bag (no. 1001), a $45 value, when you purchase Gill
gear for $225 or more from now through December 25th. This exciting package
is available at participating 5 star Gill dealers, which are listed at:
Petite in size, not in determination, boardsailor Lanee Butler will become
the first U.S. woman to represent the sport in three consecutive Olympics
when she competes at the 2000 Games in Sydney. To learn more about Butler
and her domination of the sport over the last decade:
US SAILING WEBSITE
US SAILING is building their web site calendar into something more than a
listing of upcoming events: With capabilities to manipulate this data
on-line and have web site visitors input dates on new events, this calendar
is designed to become a valuable resource tool for all U.S. sailors. The
web site calendar is a new feature of the US SAILING web site.
This site was redesigned and relaunched in the summer of 1999. US SAILING's
goal is to build this web site into a central on-line community for sailors
and sailing enthusiasts. Site visitors can gain information about events in
their area(s) of interest via the calendar's on-line search capability.
Visitors can search using several different criterion: search by category,
with events classed as regattas, boat shows, educational events, race
management seminars, and other happenings; search by targeting a
participant group, with current categories for Adults, Children, Disabled
Sailors, Women, and other groups; search by when and where the event is
taking place (at presstime, the geographic search feature was being added
to the calendar).
The calendar has also been constructed with additional features to make
this listing a handy tool for one-design sailors. One-design regattas-the
area of the calendar that has been the fastest growing sector to date-are
linked to the web site's extensive one-design class page. This way Snipe
sailors, for example, can quickly get access to all the information posted
on their upcoming class events.
Event organizers can also input information on-line about their upcoming
events. This feature gives organizers an easy, economical way to alert a
national audience about the functions they are planning. The calendar
currently includes, for each event, the dates, location, contact
information, and email and web site links, when provided.
The US SAILING web site is largely a volunteer effort, so organizers of
regattas, boat shows, seminars, and other happenings are encouraged to log
onto the US SAILING site and input information about their upcoming events
to make this a more comprehensive database for U.S. sailors. -- Ken Signorello
To access the US SAILING calendar: http://www.ussailing.org/calendar/
AND NOW IF YOU'LL EXCUSE ME
The curmudgeon is about to slip into his dancing shoes and escort the
beautiful Mrs. Leweck to the Louis Vuitton Ball.
THE CURMUDGEON'S COUNCIL
Never test the depth of the water with both feet.