SCUTTLEBUTT #458 - December 10, 1999
LET'S TALK AMERICA'S CUP -- Frank DeFord
Yes, sport's oldest world championship is under way once more in New
Zealand, and for those of you otherwise occupied with the National Rodeo
Finals or the National Football League, it's time to get acquainted with
Now, a word of advice before you get all cynical and say, I don't care
about a bunch of rich guys sailing their yachts. Consider this: In today's
world of sports, the America's Cup has actually become a very modest,
middle-class enterprise. The most expensive boat in the Cup this year is
Prada, which is bankrolled to the tune of $70 million. Hey, chicken feed.
Stephon Marbury of the New Jersey Nets -- a player you have never heard of
on a team you didn't know existed -- has a more expensive contract. For the
amount of money the Dodgers pay Kevin Brown, $105 million, you could almost
match the total financing for all five United States syndicates. If J.P.
Morgan were around today, what he would say is: "If you have to ask how
much a shortstop costs to keep, then you can't afford one."
O.K., now that we've established that the America's Cup has become chump
change in sports, we get onto your next complaint: It's too complicated.
Balderdash. Listen, great American sports fan, do you have the foggiest
idea how the college football people choose their championship bowl teams?
Of course you don't. By contrast, the America's Cup is as easy as playing a
$5 Nassau. First boat home wins.
And I know your next bone to pick: It's too sissy. Hey, there is more neat,
violent action going on in the America's Cup than on Monday night TV
wrestling. Four years ago, when New Zealand won the Cup from us, the races
were sailed in San Diego, where the waters were as still as a schooner of
stale beer. It was more boring than a nil-nil soccer game. This America's
Cup, though, the boats sail out of Auckland Harbor, through a gorgeous
little channel, into the Hauraki Gulf, where, essentially, they run into
waves that have been growling since they left Antarctica. Boats have been
getting blitzed like so many NFL quarterbacks.
Moreover, Auckland is ga-ga about having such a prestigious event. Not
since the Cup was in Newport, R.I., has it been so alive. The boats are
docked smack downtown, right off the main drag. American Express has built
a fancy floating restaurant opposite the marina, and -- the ultimate in
luxury boxes -- a developer has run up a ritzy apartment building with
balconies overlooking the docks, these flats going for hundreds of
thousands of dollars. Understand, you can't see the races from these
apartments -- just the boats drifting into their marina.
Oh, yes, you will also feel comfortable because the America's Cup drags on
even longer than the NBA playoffs. It's been two months already, and it
won't end 'til March, when the home boat will square off against the top
challenger. -- Frank DeFord - Sports Illustrated and CNNsi
Full story: http://CNNsi.com
THE ULTIMATE PRESENT
Sharon Green's Ultimate Sailing group has some wonderful Christmas gift
ideas for under $20.00. Check them out at her website
http://www.ultimatesailing.com. Get the Ultimate Sailing Calendar 2000-
$15.95 for your office/school walls, try out the NEW long sleeve T-shirts
"Full Throttle" and "Flying Colors" for $19.50, experience the 2 NEW
eye-pleasing screen savers for your laptop or PC- the Official America's
Cup Screen Saver for $19.95 or Ultimate Cruising Adventures at $19.95.
Happy Holidays-- from Sharon Green and Ultimate Sailing
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
Le Defi BTT played triple leap-frog today, jumping from ninth to sixth
after handily beating the Spanish in light and shifty breezes.
On the same course, Young America lost to the first-place AmericaOne and
dropped to ninth, its lowest position to date. This combination further
juggled the positions at the middle rungs of the standings and increased
the pressure on the faltering New York team, which is struggling to make
the semifinal round in January.
Meanwhile America True and the Prada Challenge won again, padding their
leads over the fourth-place Nippon Challenge. Team Dennis Conner got a
critical nine points with a solo sail around the track to further cushion
its fifth place spot in the standings.
For the fourth day running, the inner Hauraki Gulf challenged the
tacticians' attempts to predict what the fluky winds would do next.
Although wind speeds were greater today -- in the 8- to 12-knot range --
the southwesterly to westerly flow comes off the shore and bends around the
headlands and islands bordering the Gulf, making the conditions very
tricky. Quokka Sports, http://www.americascup.org/
LE DEFI BEAT BRAVO ESPANA - DELTA 04:15
Bertrand Pace on Le Defi (FRA-46) was looking for his fourth win a row, and
Luis Doreste on Bravo Espana (ESP-56) needed a win to hold on to a
Semi-Finals berth. Clearly, this was an important match for both. Pace was
sharp at the start, the Frenchman holding his opponent well above the start
line before diving back first to lead by an impressive 22 seconds at the
start. Doreste would never recover. Pace pressed the early advantage to
pick his way up the windward leg, finding favourable shifts and pressure,
and stretching to one minute, 46 seconds at the top mark. The Spanish
gained a little on the first downwind, but Pace was never threatened. The
win keeps French hopes alive, but really hurts the Spanish. Bravo Espana
only has two races left, and will need to win them both to have a chance.
Their fate is no longer in their own hands.
AMERICAONE BEAT YOUNG AMERICA - DELTA 00:59
AmericaOne (USA-49) controlled the start and wanted the left side of Young
America (USA-58). To get there, Cayard left enough room for Baird to start
to windward and ahead of him. With both boats on starboard tack AmericaOne
bounced Young America to the right. The wind went to the right even further
strengthening Young America's lead. When Baird tacked back to starboard,
Cayard tacked to leeward, also on starboard. Cayard was patient and waited
for the next left hander to come along. He tacked to port on that lift and
could have crossed ahead but Baird opted to tack to leeward of AmericaOne.
With both boats on port tack and the wind going even further to the left,
Cayard pulled away. AmericaOne's lead was one minute and 25 seconds at the
top mark. The delta stayed in between one and two minutes for the remainder
of the race. AmericaOne defended its lead with success, until it gave Young
America hope again ripping its spinnaker just before the finish. AmericaOne
did not bother to hoist a new kite and slowly sailed across the finish line
under mainsail only.
AMERICA TRUE BEAT IDATEN - DELTA 00:06
In a race of changing fortunes where the lead changed four times, John
Cutler steered America True (USA-51) to a nail-biter victory over Peter
Gilmour's Idaten (JPN-52). Previously, Japan won by one second when they
raced in Round Robin One, while America True won by 12 seconds in Round
Robin Two. Today Gilmour dialed down as he entered the start box on port
and showed a liking for the right hand side until he crossed Cutler's bow
just before the gun to start three seconds ahead on starboard. America True
split away and started on port. The American boat led at the first cross,
tacking and pushing Idaten back to the left. Later Cutler applied a loose
cover, keeping his options open. Gilmour got back into the game just before
the weather mark, forcing Cutler back to the right and an extra set of
tacks, only to sag into a flat patch and have America True on starboard
come back to take control and lead around the mark. Gilmour overtook half
way down the run but trailed by 14 seconds at the leeward mark. Cutler
extended his lead on the second windward leg, only to lose it on the second
run when he sailed into light air near the end of the run, giving Gilmour
the chance to overtake. The tables were turned halfway down the last run.
Idaten, with a handy lead, turned a routine gybe peel into a circus act.
Stalled, with both spinnakers flogging, and two crewmen hanging over the
bow clutching frantically at rigging to stop themselves from going over the
side, Idaten watched America True sail past win.
LUNA ROSSA BEAT YOUNG AUSTRALIA - DELTA 00:55
Francesco de Angelis on Luna Rossa (ITA-48) controlled the pre-start
leading James Spithill on Young Australia (AUS-31) around the starting box
and finally forcing the Australians off onto port. But a penalty on Prada
for gybing too close to Young Australia in the pre-start gave the
Australians motivation to stay close. Luna Rossa crossed to the right, but
the left was favoured, so de Angelis kept the game close. By using Luna
Rossa's superior speed, and a 23-tack tacking duel, the Young Australian's
left position could not be fully exploited. At the first mark, Prada was
one minute and ten seconds ahead and continued to gain. With a handy lead
at the second mark, the Italians elected to take their penalty turn midway
up the second beat. On the next two downwind legs, Young Australia actually
gained back some time, but it was never enough to really threaten Luna Rossa.
STARS AND STRIPES WON, BE HAPPY DID NOT START
Stars & Stripes sailed the Atlantic Course alone, be hAPpy has withdrawn
from the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Compiled by Peter Rusch, Simon Keijzer, Keith Taylor, Marcus Hutchinson,
Louis Vuitton Cup website: http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
|1. || AmericaOne || 22-6 || 99 points
|2. || America True || 20-7 || 92
|3. || Prada || 24-3 || 91
|4. || Nippon || 17-10 || 74.5
|5. || Stars & Stripes || 16-11 || 63.5
|6. ||Le Defi BTT ||9-17 || 50
|7. ||Spain || 11-17 || 44
|8. ||Abracadabra ||10-17 || 43
|9. ||Young America || 14-12 || 42
|10. ||Young Australia || 4-23 || 18
|11. || FAST 2000 ||2-26 || 8
Victories are worth one point each in Round One, four points in Round Two
and nine points in Round Three.
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 Allan Johnson (Regarding Doogie's advertising commentary) -- For
those of you who do not know Doogie....he is imho the pre-eminent expert on
"Effective Sponsorship Opportunities in Dinghy Sailing". He can write and
prove how sponsorship can benefit a company and the sailor. His practical
expertise closely mirrors the message Peter Harken wrote in this forum
previously. The Couvreux brothers have proved that you do not have to be
the #1 ranked team to win the sponsorship game. This all coming from a wise
19 year old! Maybe it is his French Ancestry.
-- From Geoff Lynch - Vice Captain, Junior Offshore Group UK -- The recent
posting concerning Cat C sponsorship from a 49er racer shows just how
slipshod ISAF have been in pushing these changes through without sufficient
ISAF apparently voted the principles through council last May (May 1999)
and hoped to get them set in concrete last month, for use from Jan 2000. I
am not aware of any government run on democratic lines that would have
tried to draft, consult on and then implement any form of legislation in
such a hasty manner, unless it was an emergency measure. While I applaud
the concept of what ISAF is trying to do, it has been ill thought out, and
ISAF is a world governing body - not a national government. Look how long
it takes for the UN to get changes implemented. ISAF has the same problems,
and it has to work through a number of different levels of representation.
This inevitably takes time, and should take time to be effective.
At the end of the day this legislation needs to be broadly discussed at all
levels of our sport, from the young aspirants such as your 49er, to the old
fogies who potter around on the occasional Thursday evening 'beer can'
race, before it goes into effect. I am sure that the 'average' racer has
not one inkling of the likely effect this may have on him, as there has
been little effective discussion.
-- From Dick Lemke (Re sponsorship) -- While racing 18 Square Meter
catamarans, whose class rules allowed and encouraged sponsorships, I was
fortunate enough to see some sponsorship money from Michelob Beer and from
Fujitsu Business Communications. It wasn't a "ton" of money, but made it
much easier to sell the wife on the idea of "goin' racin' for the week" -
as I didn't have to "raid" the already thin household budget.
Racing AND sailing association memberships ended when I was told that a
local regatta sponsor would require a portion of my boat on which to paste
"their" advertising. Of course that was in addition to all of the beach,
printed materials, race flyers, etc. that already had the regatta sponsor's
name on it and was posted around the regatta site and in the local hotel.
While I understand a desire for an "event" sponsor to recoup their donated
dollars for advertising, let's face the fact that the entire promotional
support can (and probably is) written off as a legitimate advertising
expense on their corporate books. Those who work hardest to attract what
little sponsorships they can, are left in the cold. I also note where
issues (legal challenges??) are floating regarding "ownership" of photos,
videos, and other such documentation from big events. Perhaps there will
come a time when all spectator boats are banned from near the course,
because someone on board "may" make a living selling their photos, without
any dollars going back to the sponsors and/or the national authorities.
-- From Robert Bethune, , Editor, Freshwater Seas (re Keri Shining's
question) -- Discover Sailing is alive and well. I covered it on my website
a while back; the article is at www.freshwaterseas.com. Just take a quick
browse through the "current contents" list and you'll see it.
-- From Tony Griffin -- With regard to your trivia question of a couple of
days ago. Indeed Kialoa may have been the first of your group of 4 to be
built in fibreglass. The list was missing a prior maxi that was built in
Vancouver in 1969 of a fibreglass sandwich foam construction. At 73 feet
GRAYBEARD was in the same league with Windward Passage, Blackfin, and
Ragtime. She was built with glass skins separated by about three inches of
foam and fibreglass box beams, about three inches to the side. these box
beams acted as stringers and frames and resulted in a very stiff hull.
Graybeard was unusual for her deep draft fin keel with a large bulb at the
bottom. She had the VIC/Maui record for years. won the Capetown to Rio
Race, and Swiftsure a couple of times. She competed in the '71 Transpac
and the '72 Hobart race and cruised around the world twice with entirely
amateur crew. Designed by Peter Hatfield she is currently for charter here
in the Pacific Northwest.
-- From Vernon Stratton -- The answer to TV coverage and a future Olympic
class is a single handed Keel boat that is self righting, with a main, self
tacking jib and a screacher on a retracting pole. Having sailed a Finn for
27 years and an Illusion for 18 I know the thrill. Keep the boat length to
13 feet draft to 2 feet so that it is small enough for spectators and even
wind machinesif required. The tv cameras can be on board and arial shots
from a crane. Races should last 20 minutes, the same lenght as a break at
For the Olympics - the Star Laser and Finn should stay The 49er is
spectacular and the Tornado is like sailing a missile. They should all stay
and then let's have the new singlehanded Mini keel boat that does 20 knots
with plenty of wipe-outs and a dry crew.
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
Kevin Harrap, tactician on America True, on coming from behind: "To be
honest, at the top mark I didn't think we had much hope. But half way down
the run we brought up some breeze . . . it really started the race again
half way down the last run. A little bit lucky, but we'll take the nine
Ed Baird, on the possibility of a talent reshuffle on board: "I think that
is something we talk about every day, and have since the first day of the
event. Are we completely satisfied that we are doing everything we can to
maximise our performance on the racecourse? . . . I had a friend with a
great expression: 'Dance with the one that brung ya!' If you are working
hard at improving every day, just making a change for the sake of change is
rarely going to be the right move
Kasuhiko Sofuku, pit on Idaten, on their spinnaker problems: "We came
around the last top mark one minute 42 seconds in front of America True and
the breeze getting lighter and lighter. So, we decided to change to a light
condition gennaker. We did a gybe peel and hoisted our new gennaker. At
that time our double Sparcraft snapshackle broke, so we had two gennakers
but none of them setting. It was a very difficult situation and took a long
time to recover."
Paul Cayard, skipper of AmericaOne, on the advantages of narrow boats: "I
think narrower boats are better in light air. Might be better in heavier
air too. I think we are all just fishing around out there. A few of the
two-boat teams have boats that have different dimensions and we are finding
out what works in what conditions and I'm sure between Round Robin Three
and the Semi-Finals there will be a lot of people optimising their boats
for the conditions they expect."
Ed Baird, skipper of Young America, on his syndicate's problems: "We are
struggling to get the points that we need. It is very clear. We are
disappointed that we have lost a couple of races that we would have hoped
to have won this week but it has been a very challenging week . . . We
still have four races to go that we can win and we know need to win them,
so that's what we're looking forward to."
Quotes courtesy of the Louis Vuitton Cup website. For even more quotes:
This will be a big weekend in Auckland. Those of you who are into the Louis
Vuitton Cup action will want to check in regularly to the cup websites
listed in this issue of 'Butt.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?