SCUTTLEBUTT #459 - December 13, 1999
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
* High winds Monday on the Hauraki Gulf forced the postponement of all
races in the Louis Vuitton Cup Series until tomorrow. However, the big news
in Auckland came when the America True Syndicate issued the following
"America True, The San Francisco Yacht Club challenge for America's Cup
2000, will not be racing today and will not be racing further in Round
Robin 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Races for the America's Cup.
This decision was based on the fact that the team has achieved all of its
objectives in the completed Louis Vuitton Cup races by qualifying for the
semi-finals. This decision is strengthened by the marginal weather
forecast for today and tomorrow and the need to prepare for modifications
to USA-51, which will commence when the "no-change" period ends."
This decision means that if the French syndicate sails around the course
tomorrow, it will collect the nine points it needs to assure itself of a
place in the semifinals -- eliminating any chance the New York Yacht Club's
Young America Syndicate had of qualifying for that series. -- Mr. C.
* We had a meeting this morning and looked at all the options and decided
this was the most straight-forward way to do it," Dawn Riley said. "What's
best for us, and our project is to get the boat, with the mast down, ready
to go to make some changes. I don't feel we'll be painted as the villain."
Riley says it was a difficult decision not to sail and she understands it
won't be a popular one in New York. "I hope that I don't make enemies for
life," she said. "I think the bottom line is that we're a competitor - it's
not a popularity contest, it's a competition." -- Peter Rusch, Louis
Vuitton Cup website
Full story: http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
* Rationally it's finished," John Marshall, CEO of Young America
acknowledged. "Divine intervention is always a possibility but I wouldn't
rely on that very much. It's pretty devastating. I couldn't be more proud
of our team as individuals or as a team. They have sustained incredible
setbacks and carried themselves very, very well. I couldn't have asked for
Marshall was very statesmanlike with his concession speech. He refused to
criticize America True for not sailing against the French - a decision that
will effectively knock Young America out of contention when Le Defi
collects nine points for sailing around the course alone.
We're obviously disappointed not to have the French have a good tough race
that they have to win on its merits," Marshall said. "But we're well aware
that the Sailing Rules don't require a team to compete or compete at their
best. So we rather anticipated that AmericaOne and America True likely
wouldn't beat France. We've known all along that it's up to us to win our
races. It's hard to put it in the context of sportsmanship, because as the
sport of sailing is played, sportsmanship is what you do that's within the
rules - you can't criticize someone for taking advantage of the rules."
"In the case of America True, I wouldn't have put my boat out on the water
today and put it at risk of breaking. We have to look at our program - it
fell short, and we can't get balled up thinking about what someone else
Although he is still obviously very close to the programme, and hasn't yet
had a chance to fully reflect on what went wrong to a pre-regatta
favourite, Marshall says he can already point to some errors in judgement.
Errors that will leave Young America on the outside, looking in, as the
Louis Vuitton Cup moves on.
"I think that we made one fundamentally bad mistake and that set in motion
the possibility of bad things happening," Marshall reflected. "You put
yourself at risk and bad things happen. That bad decision was to continue
design work for a couple of months longer and cancel our plans to sail in
Newport in June and July. A few seconds around the racecourse wouldn't have
changed anything. But having debugged these boats and ridding them of the
structural problems early would have made a total difference. Out of that
would flow a better sail programme, better tactics, better meteorology -
everything in the programme is compromised when you don't go sailing to
improve it enough."
"The fear of the boat became a factor," Marshall admitted. "The boat could
have killed someone. Until the team had built a lot of confidence in USA-58
they were gun-shyI think that's human and understandable."
"It isn't a single episode," he said. "We're not talking about losing one
race at a critical point or several races by a consistent pattern. We
managed to lose races through breakdowns, through lack of boatspeed,
through tactical errors and probably I could make a longer list. This is
turning out to be a sailor's regatta, a very tactical regatta, you need a
lot of racing experience with your afterguard and if possible within your
own programme to control that. This is a tough environment; breakdowns are
occurring on a lot of the boats and if you can get all of those behind you
early and solve those problems and be reliable on the racecourse, you're
way ahead of where we are."
"You might point to the sailor or the designer or the sailmaker or the
meteorologist but it all comes from putting your programme at risk. Once we
started to have problems here, every day that we lost was a day we couldn't
afford to lose. Whatever it is that cost us a day, those days are too
precious at this stage of the game."
The immediate future for Young America holds a couple of meaningless races,
and then the shutting down of the compound in Auckland at the Viaduct
Basin. After that, it all starts again. Fundraising, strategising,
designing, boat-building, crew selection, and then the next Louis Vuitton
Cup, and hopefully the America's Cup.
"We'll decommission the boats and try to put everything away carefully and
conserve the assets, the intellectual property and the physical boats so
they're in good shape for the next Cup," he said. "For the next couple of
months the programme will be mothballed on the compound here."
"I'm really proud to have been here in New Zealand and participate and push
the other competitors as hard as possible," Marshall said. "You don't go
out to climb mountains and then do the easy onesthis is the pinnacle of
our sport, the value of our participation comes from testing ourselves
against the greatest people in our sport. There isn't a cockpit here that
doesn't have an Olympic medalist in it, every yacht designer is
pre-eminent, every team is a world class team. This is the right place to
compete; this is the right event. Only one team is going to emerge as the
best. And one month after that they have to start trying to improve, or
they won't be the best. I think sailing is the most fabulous sport, and I
just wish to hell we'd done better."-- Peter Rusch, Louis Vuitton Cup website
Full story: http://www.louisvuittoncup.com/
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: There are very few people who would have handled this
situation with such class. Well done, John Marshall!
|1. ||Prada || 26-3 || 109 points
|2. ||America True || 21-8 || 101
|3. ||AmericaOne ||22-8 || 99
|4. ||Nippon || 19-10 || 92.5
|5. ||Stars & Stripes || 18-11 || 81.5
|6. ||Le Defi BTT || 11-17 || 68
|7. ||Young America || 15-13 || 51
|8. ||Spain || 11-18 || 44
|9. || Abracadabra ||10-19 || 43
|10. || Young Australia || 4-25 || 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.
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (December 9, 1999) -- After securing his position as the
Mistral Men's Olympic Representative for Sydney's Games with his win at the
U.S. Team Trials in mid-October, Mike Gebhardt (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) secured
his entry to the Games at the recent Mistral World Championships in Noumea,
Except for host country Australia, all nations must qualify for entry in
each of the nine classes (11 divisions) at the Olympic Regatta, scheduled
for September 16-October 1, 2000. A qualification system to determine
entrants, set by the International Olympic Committee and the International
Sailing Federation (ISAF), is based on Olympic class world championships in
1998, 1999 and 2000, qualifying approximately 30% of the entries, with the
remaining 10% to be determined by an ISAF committee.
With an entry limit of 36 boards for the Mistral Men's event at the 2000
Games, Gebhardt, a three-time Olympian with two medals ('92 Silver, '88
Bronze), needed to finish as one of the first 11 countries that had not
previously qualified. He did so with his placing of 38th overall in the
95-board fleet. The countries qualified to date in the Mistral Men's class
are: New Zealand, Israel, Portugal, Greece, Argentina, Austria, Poland,
France, Fiji, Italy, Great Britain, The Netherlands, China, Brazil, The
Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Japan, Hungary, Sweden, Indonesia, U.S.A. and Canada.
The U.S. has berths now guaranteed to the 2000 Olympic Regatta in 10 of the
11 divisions -- Europe, 470 Men, 470 Women, 49er, Laser, Mistral Men,
Mistral Women, Soling, Star and Tornado. American sailors in the Finn
class will have their last opportunity to qualify the U.S. slot for Sydney
at the 2000 Finn Gold Cup (June 6-18 in Weymouth, England).
In all of the Olympic disciplines, the sailor qualifying the U.S. may not
be the ultimate representative at the Olympics. Only the first-place
finisher at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in each event earns the coveted
spot on the 2000 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. -- Jan Harley
For additional information: http://www.ussailing.org/Olympics
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 Greg Fisher -- A while back I wrote to the 'Butt about what a great
year Carol Newman Cronin has had and that she should be nominated for
Yachtswoman of the year. Just recently she was on Betsy Allison's winning
team in the Osprey Cup a couple weeks back....what a common denominator she
has been for a bunch of winning teams! I bet she has contributed to more
winning championship efforts than any other crew out there! She still is my
pick for Yachtswoman of the year!
-- From Peter Huston -- Whether or not the ISAF used appropriate
legislative procedures when changing the ad code is perhaps open to debate.
It is silly to think that the governing body of a sport should behave the
same way as a human rights organization like the UN. Seems to me the last
thing the UN did was create a "Peace Keeping Force" and help to kill
thousands of people in the Blakans. Thank God ISAF doesn't behave like the UN.
However, having discussed this matter at length with ISAF President Paul
Henderson, I can tell you that his prime interest is in making things
better for the sailors. The process of change will have some degree of
pain no doubt, but for the growth of the sport as a commercial activity,
fast change must happen - even if it means making mistakes. If you want to
hear about radical change in a sport, just watch what the ATP is going to
do to mens tennis next year. There was a very long story in USA Today on
Thursday December 9 about this subject.
The free market will be the only way that sponsorship and sailing will ever
get along. Savvy event organizers who find the appropriate balance for all
parties will ultimately prevail. Some smart event organizers will run
races where no advertising is allowed at all, and they will draw perhaps
the largest number of participants.
-- From Eldridge, J.Delaney -- I'm so glad you posted Frank DeFord's piece.
I heard it on NPR Wednesday morning as I was driving in to work, and
thought it really summed up the gap between the perception of sailing and
the reality -- not just in A-cup, but overall. So many times, people are
amazed that I have a sailboat -- I actually had an acquaintance ask me,
"what does a sailboat cost, about $10,000 a foot?" When I replied that it
was more like $1000/ft for a middle aged fiberglass boat like mine, he was
amazed. There's a perception out there that sailing requires a lot of
money. In fact, while any boatowner knows there's no doubt that one can
spend a great deal, but it's not a requirement. I have a safe, fast, well
maintained boat, large enough to spend weekends on and take friends sailing
with me for the approximate cost of the upfront and monthly (maintenance,
parking, insurance, etc.) costs of having an expensive "status" car --
personally, I have more fun with the boat!
-- Ken Guyer -- After reading DeFord's comments regarding the America's Cup
in the last Butt, I now know why Sports Illustrated best selling issue is
the swimsuit edition. If all the writers for SI are as uninformed as he on
the sport they are writing about, almost naked women photographed on a
beach is about the best they have to offer!
-- From Arlene Sloan Baxter, Executive Director, NSIA (In response to Keri
Shining - 'Butt #457) -- At NSIA, we've focused our marketing efforts in a
few different areas, including the Discover Sailing program which has been
active on a national scale for over a decade. Free, half-hour
introductions to sailing are offered at boat shows, waterfront festivals,
and through schools and dealers. The focus of the program is to expose more
people to sailing in a friendly, no pressure environment and give them the
information they need to take the next step to get more involved.
Other efforts include:
1) Working with Gary Jobson and other prominent sailors (Dawn Riley, Ken
Read, Paul Cayard, J.J. & Peter Isler, Betsy Alison and Martha McKechnie
have all helped) to elevate awareness of sailing on TV and help promote our
2) Ongoing support for the Interscholastic Sailing Assn. (ISSA) and public
access sailing programs (both of which have been enjoying phenomenal growth);
3) On-going PR to present sailing as fun and accessible, consisting of
regular press releases, free sailing lessons for magazine editors, and
publication of Sailing News, a compilation of general interest news about
our sport that goes to 1,300 media monthly to keep newspaper editors up to
date on sailing (in the absence of any dedicated news wire coverage);
4) National research to help industry members better understand sailing
4) Running a trio of Strictly Sail boat shows.
Additional information: email@example.com
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Yes - I know I opened the door a crack on this dead
thread, but don't even think about trying to sneak in another letter on the
subject. It's over!
-- From Don Becker (Re: Gary Jobson's Olympic piece) -- Wouldn't it be
great to see 3 boat team racing in the Olympics? Country against Country.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, December 11, 1999 - Bell & Howell (NYSE: BHW) signed
a Premier Partner level sponsorship agreement with the New York Yacht
Club/Young America. The sponsorship package includes prominent branding on
Young America and extensive corporate hospitality. Bell & Howell also
receives title rights to the Young America Education Program. The Program
will receive support through online educational resources developed by Bell
& Howell Information and Learning. That business unit transforms
information contained in periodicals, newspapers and scholarly material
into authentic answers that can be accessed easily and safely over the
Internet by students, librarians and researchers. -- Jane Eagleson,
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: The value that Bell & Howell hoped to obtain from
this sponsorship has undoubted eroded considerably due to Young America's
early departure from the America's Cup scene.
SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL REGATTA
In strong breezes gusting above 20 knots today, the Sydney Harbour came
alive with over 400 boats competing in this regatta. The conditions, which
registered up to 25 knots in the Harbour early in the afternoon, meant that
racing had to be abandoned offshore for the Solings, Stars and Tornados.
Australia's Mistral World Champion Lars Kleppich has continued his stunning
form during the first day of the Sydney International Regatta on Sydney
Harbour today. Kleppich won both today's races, giving him a good lead
over last year's World Champion Aaron McIntosh of New Zealand.
Full results are available from http://www.aussailing.org
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
John Kolius on not qualifying for semifinals, "Our problem was 100 per cent
lack of money," Kolius said. "We spent less than $10 million [US] on a
two-boat programme. We ended up cutting off the entire research and sail
programme. That's just not the way to go. The unfortunate thing about the
way things worked out is that we will never know how fast these boats are.
I've spent my entire adult life trying to raise money, trying to sell a
very, very difficult product and it takes its toll."
Dennis Conner on qualifying for the semifinals, ""It's hard to believe that
exactly one week ago today we were all walking around with long faces after
the aft bulkhead ripped out of our boat. That could have been the defining
moment that pulled this team together. I think everyone here picked up on
what boat builder Johnny Smullen said when asked if the repairs could be
completed in time. Without any hesitation Johnny declared, 'Failure is not
an option." http://www.stars-stripes.com
"I'll be home for Christmas." In fact I'm jumping on a plane tomorrow to
spend the holidays with my family -- something I'm very excited about.
Scuttlebutt will be offline tomorrow, but there will be a Wednesday issue.
Being here in Auckland for the three round robins of the Louis Vuitton Cup
Series has been a fantastic experience. And I've met so many wonderful
people. However, after considerable reflection, I've decided to stay in
California after the holidays -- I will not return for the semifinals.
Scuttlebutt's continued coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup, and subsequently
the America's Cup, should be seamless. The wonderful sources of information
that we've developed these past months will continue to be the basis for
our digest. Lord knows how much I appreciate the great copy generating
about this event by Suzanne, Rich, Peter, Simon, Larry, Keith, Sean,
Marcus, Ivor, Steve and so many others. And all of us can be thankful that
someone else is paying for this talent.
In departing, I sincerely wish Team Dennis Conner well in their coming
races. DC has put together an extremely dedicated and talented group of
people -- both the sailing team and the support team. These are also
genuinely nice people with whom I've truly enjoyed working.
Go Stars & Stripes!
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
Why do they call it 'chili' if it's hot?