SCUTTLEBUTT #468 - December 27, 1999
LOUIS VUITTON CUP
Young America USA 53 sailed again today for the first time since the
near-sinking of the America's Cup racing boat on November 9. The safe
return of USA 53 to the Hauraki Gulf marks the end of a dramatic chapter in
the New York Yacht Club/Young America Challenge. Thanks to a monumental
effort from both team sponsors such as Brown & Sharpe, whose accurate
measurement equipment allowed the boat to be rebuilt precisely to its
original configuration, and the support of Goetz Custom Boats in Bristol,
RI, the boat is race-ready once again.
The team took Young America USA 53 through a shakedown sail today in a
light 6-10 knot breeze. "This was a terrific boat, and it is again," said
skipper Ed Baird after sailing USA 53 today. "I'm sorry 53 won't see any
racing action because it has a wonderful feel and presence on the water.
Thanks to all who worked so hard to get her sailing again."
The rebuilding of USA 53 started immediately after the accident. The boat
was moved to Salthouse Marine Group in Henderson, New Zealand, about 15
miles west of Auckland. In addition to Salthouse, many other members of the
New Zealand sailing community stepped forward to assist in the repair
including Adhesive Technologies, High Modulus, and Marten Marine.
Young America's boatbuilder, Eric Goetz of Goetz Custom Sailboats in
Bristol, Rhode Island, arrived in New Zealand within 48 hours of the
accident. Goetz brought a team of his boatbuilders from Rhode Island to
repair the seriously damaged boat. Goetz also had a team working around the
clock in Rhode Island building the necessary new parts for USA 53.
Young America principal designer, Farr Yacht Design Ltd., oversaw the
design and engineering of the repair. Russell Bowler of Farr Yacht Design
was on-site to engineer the design of the repair. Dirk Kramers of DKI of
Tiverton, RI, assisted in the structural engineering. Peter Wilson of
Marine Construction Management of Newport, RI, coordinated the repair project.
The rebuild took approximately 4,500 man hours to complete. This included
the work done at Goetz in Bristol, RI. In addition to Young America's
design/technology partners involved in the rebuild, many of the Young
America shore team in New Zealand contributed many hours to the project.
Today's guest rider on USA 53 was Young America shore team member Sean
Kelly, a native of Port Ohope, New Zealand. Kelly, who is the engineer on
board Young America's science vessel Weetamoe, played an instrumental role
in saving the boat on November 9. Kelly used some of his "Kiwi ingenuity"
and experience from the New Zealand Navy to start five pumps and keep them
running on the long tow in from the race course. While waist deep in water,
Kelly managed to keep the pumps running to keep USA 53 afloat. -- Jane
* Young America's USA-53 sailed Monday for the first time since it was
wrecked, but don't get too excited about the prospect of Team Dennis Conner
using it in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals, even as a trial boat. As he
prepared to fly home to Maine Monday night, Young America chief John
Marshall all but squashed the notion that had been floating around the
Viaduct Basin since his New York Yacht Club team was eliminated. "I don't
think so," Marshall said. "We don't have anything in progress with Stars &
Stripes to do anything."
As head of PACT 95 at San Diego five years ago, Marshall chartered his boat
Young America -- the so-called "mermaid boat" -- to Conner to sail against
the Kiwis in a 5-0 blow-out. But the winners then tightened the America's
Cup Protocol to preclude any merging of major assets by syndicates from the
After qualifying for the semifinals two weeks ago, Team Dennis Conner
submitted a request for interpretation to the America's Cup Arbitration
Panel asking, should it be interested, if it could use hand-me-downs --
including one of Young America's boats -- from the two defunct U.S. campaigns.
"A couple of things in the Protocol were a little vague and made us
curious," said Bill Trenkle, Team DC's general manager. "We asked the day
the third round was over and Young America and Abracadabra were packing up
to go home, that should they want to sell off any of their equipment, would
we be able to use it." The request for interpretation included the use of
sails and hardware and also "the possibilities to acquire a second boat,"
Trenkle said. He added that the team was not anxious to replace Stars &
It's not a big deal for us," Trenkle said. "We're happy with the way USA-55
is going, but since we're a one-boat team it would be nice to have a fast
trial boat." It seems academic now, but with USA-53 and USA-58 both sitting
idle, which one might Team DC prefer? "They're both very good boats,"
USA-53 has been repaired since its break-up in the second round on 9
November. One purpose of its sea trial Monday was to meet an insurance
obligation. Marshall and several rivals, including Stars & Stripes helmsman
Ken Read, agreed that Young America's problems did not include the speed of
Two other issues remained airborne. Besides TDC's inquiry, France's Le Defi
BTT would like to use the Spanish Challenge's sail loft, and AmericaOne
wanted to hire Young Australia skipper James Spithill and five of his crew
as sparring partners.
Christmas and Boxing Day have come and gone and the semifinals start next
Sunday, 2 January. Yet still no word had been heard from the Arbitration
Panel on any of the three issues before it. All those matters were
submitted to the panel on 15 December, the day the third round ended.
The last one may also be moot. Spithill and his mates sat around waiting as
long as they could before going home the day before Christmas to sail
benefactor Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin in the Sydney-to-Hobart Race.
Conceivably, they could return by the end of the week.
There are five members on the panel. According to the Protocol, the Royal
New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and the New York Yacht Club, as
Challenger of Record, selected two each: Sir David Tompkins, New Zealand;
Master John Anthony Faire, New Zealand; Andrew A. Scholtz, U.S.; and Robert
Erskine, U.S. Those four then selected the fifth, Peter Dirk-Siemsen of
The criteria include that "they shall possess extensive knowledge of
America's Cup history, the Deed of Gift, and the Interpretative
Resolutions, good general knowledge of yacht racing and yacht clubs, and
they shall be known to be fair minded and possess good judgement."
The Protocol doesn't stipulate that they be on 24-hour call. One of the New
Zealand panellists was said to be in Fiji for the holidays. One of the New
York members was thought to be skiing. Majority rules in their decision,
but it's not that simple. They usually meet by conference call and issue
interpretations and decisions jointly, not individually. Submissions are
made through RNZYS Membership Secretary Mary Grant, who forwards them to
the five panellists. -- Rich Roberts, Quokka Sports.
Full story: http://www.americascup.org/
Kenwood Cup 2000, 12th Hawaii International Offshore Series, is already
shaping-up to be the pivotal event of the summer with boats from
thirty-five to sixty-two feet racing the waters and winds of Paradise. The
recent ORC/ ISAF gathering in Sydney, Australia, gave both owners and
organizers an opportunity to firm-up on what had until then been largely
tentative plans. Owners hope they have now been given the lead they need to
know what to build for the next two seasons. Meanwhile Kenwood Cup Race
Director Ken Morrison, putting together his, was able to talk dates,
shipping and hotels with significant players from Australia, New Zealand,
Japan and the West Coast of the US.
The decision announced by the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup management
committee (story elsewhere in this issue of 'Butt) to nominate both the
Farr 40 and a new 50ft level-rating class using the International
Measurement System as the mandated classes for 2001 (the Sydney 40 remains
the third class mandated for the three-boat team event) has hopefully given
the necessary lead time to allow international campaigning owners to focus
their plans. More than 10 Farr 40 ODs are expected in Hawaii, while the
event itself has been nominated the 2000 Pacific Region Championship for
the class with entries expected from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the
US. Boats expected from Australia include Emotional Hooligan, Leroy Brown,
Rapscallion, Young Australia and Terranova. The Farr 40 ODs have already
asked the ORC to produce a one-design IMS certificate for the class, a
development which will be imbued with fresh significance following the
Admiral's Cup selection decision.
The IMS 50 announcement from Sydney is expected to bring players like Flash
Gordon's owner and keen Hawaii participant Helmut Jahn back into big time
racing. Jahn has a building slot reserved with Cookson's in Auckland for
January, but has been holding back on a final commitment on what to fill it
with until after the ORC meetings. Although the German-born, US-based
architect likes to play his cards close to his chest, it is expected that
he may now build an IMS 50 to be ready for Kenwood Cup 2000 and then go on
to campaign for the big boat slot in the 2001 United States team for the
Admiral's Cup. The new Flash Gordon (assuming Jahn sticks with the name
that has already brought such gilt to the laurels of US international
racing) will find competition in Makoto Uematsu's new Esmeralda, a Farr 49
already in build, Geoff Ross' new Farr 49 Yendys from Australia and Syd
Fischer's venerable Farr 50 Ragamuffin.
European interest is also high. Hans Eekhof, owner of the Dutch Judel/
Vrolijk design Innovision 7 and current IMS world champion (Innovision 7
took the overall title in Sardinia in September) plans to defend his title
in Newport, RI in July then ship the boat by the most expeditious means to
Hawaii to race Kenwood Cup 2000.
Meanwhile Geoff Stagg of Farr International expects two new Farr 60s from
Carroll Marine may be at the Kenwood Cup along with a pair of Farr 52s also
building there. Three 60-footers boat-for-boating round Honolulu's famed
inshore track and surfing the Waikiki rollers will be a sight worth seeing
in itself - these two battling it out with John Kahlbetzer's Sydney 62
Bumblebee 5 from Australia will surely provide the big boat emphasis which
is a traditional element in this always-spectacular series.
There will also be fierce competition, in the mid-size division, the
40-foot range and at least one 1D35 will be in Hawaii for the event.
Kenwood Cup 2000 begins July 31 and ends August 9, 2000. For more
information, contact race director Ken Morrison: 00 1 808 946 9061
Coming soon: http://www.kenwoodcup.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 Paul Henderson, ISAF President -- Honesty is a more important
quality than flattery. The idea for the Sailor of the Millennium came from
Tom Ehman over a year ago to the ISAF ExecCom. ISAF decided to do it during
the Year 2000 rather than compete with all the other such polls. Also, the
true millennium starts next year. I guess Scuttlebutt talked to Tom, also
which has never been difficult.
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Yes I do talk with Tom, however 'Butt's 'Sailor of
the Century' thread was launched by Chuck Simmons of Newport Beach.
-- From Robert McClelland, Sydney Australia -- Here's my experience of so
called inflatable sails. This story goes back to 1974 and at the time I was
working at the Hood sail loft in Auckland New Zealand, then owned and
operated by Chris Bouziad. The boys in the spinnaker department decided to
do some secret product development and developed a new form of spinnaker.
Their development was to add an appendage in the center of the spinnaker
that "inflated" as the wind grew stronger and stonger. When fully inflated
the shape of this appendage had a definite phallic appearance because as it
"inflated", it not only grew larger it raised up. All this was enhanced
somewhat by its pink colour.
Needless to say the fact that "inflatable spinnaker" bore the HOOD logo
drew quick and severe condemnation from the management following the first
sail down Auckland harbour and it was never seen again!
-- From Katie Pettibone (Re: the Conspiracy Theory) -- Wasn't that a bombed
movie at the box office? Scandal, rumors, nonsense and accusations- sounds
like all the components of a bad Aaron Spelling nighttime 'soap.' And
isn't he with Fox Network?
-- From Dean Brenner (viciously edited to 250-words) -- Let's assume for a
moment that there was betting by America's Cup sailors in Auckland. Perhaps
we should treat AC sailors as real professionals. That would mean being
paid for their services like other pros (they are), being expected to
perform at a very high level or be relieved of their duties (they are),
and, among other requirements, be banned from their sport, potentially for
life, if they are caught betting on races. This is the way other real
professional athletes are treated. Why not sailors?
AC Jury Chairman Bryan Willis released an absolution of the AmericaOne and
America True sailors regarding alleged betting in such a short time frame
that there is little chance the truth could have been fully determined.
Wouldn't it have been better to say: "We absolutely prohibit betting on
the AC races. The sailors have been made aware of this fact prior to the
commencement of the Cup Races. Therefore, any sailor caught betting will
be immediately disqualified from the races and the issue will be taken up
with the appropriate bodies. We will investigate this matter fully,
because even the allegation of betting tarnishes this regatta and our sport
as a whole. Betting will not be tolerated."
Instead you have regatta authorities tripping over spokespersons from the
various syndicates to be first one to the media microphone declaring
everyone's innocence. As a simple minded one design guy with a true love of
sailing, I can say with certainty you are quickly losing my interest.
-- From Mort Weintraub -- The bookies are not naive, I have to believe that
the New Zealand bookmakers are every bit as perspicacious as their American
counterparts. Any time that these guys get a whiff of rumor about a
sporting contest having a pre-arranged result the game comes off the boards.
-- From Gary Jobson, ESPN -- I too have received endless email with
rumours. I have learned that the allegations on consiracy and betting are
unfounded. This, after one week of digging. Sadly a giant waste of time.
It is irresponsible for people to send out unfounded and I might add
unsigned messages. I am happy that several other journalists here in the
USA have found the same answer as me, independently. Let's get on with
some good sailing in the Semis!
-- From Steve Savarese -- I have been in Auckland now for five weeks and I
have heard all of these rumors. I was on the water the day AmericaOne lost
to the French and it was clearly obvious to me and almost everyone else out
there that AmericaOne purposely lost that race. It was also told to me by a
Young America crewmember that a call was received from an AmericaOne
crewmember the morning of that race. The AmericaOne crewmember apologized
in advance for what was going to happen that day. Finally, I personally
heard America True crew members make comments about how they placed bets on
the French - AmericaOne race at seven to one odds.
To those of us who have been around the scene in Auckland there is no doubt
that all of these so-called rumors are true. The media have not really
picked up on it in fear of ruining the whole event and even the sailors
have kept quiet to protect their friends and protect their livelihood.
I can understand why Mr. Jones made the public statements that he did, but
I also believe that deep down he knows these allegations are true. I can
only hope that he now has the backbone to take action to prevent these
types of incidents from happening in the future. We all have a
responsibility to make sure these things don't happen again. We cannot just
simply cover up these problems. We need to fix them so they never happen
-- From Dieter Loibner -- Cam Lewis spoke truth about the Finn. It is a
character boat, educational, tactically and athletically challenging and
fairly inexpensive to campaign. Today it is the only Olympic dinghy
suitable for someone who weighs 200+ pounds and wants to prove his mettle
at the helm. It is a text book example for keeping up with technological
advances of the past half century which were sensibly incorporated in a
timely fashion. Strangely, then, why is the class all but dead in the U.S.?
Not too long ago, U.S. sailors and boats were the yardstick in the Finn
class. Today you can't get a dozen of them to line up at a major regatta
anywhere on the West Coast. Compare that to the triple digit fleets at
regional events in Europe, especially the infamous Master's Gold Cup for
old farts (age 40+) who never grew out of the Finn. They proudly declare to
be (part of) the class culture - and they love the opulent social program
at these events.
It is this loyal following that has kept the Finn alive as an Olympic class
in a crucial vote after the 96 Games. Months before the vote, class
representatives were confident about staving off Olympic death because they
were assured support from the base. Therefore, the Finn continues to
produce skilled sailors and characters who enrich the sport. How about that
for a measure of Olympic worthiness instead of media-hype, Nielsen ratings
and click-through rates?
-- From Bob Smith, NA -- Steven Schwartz may holler a lot, but he is not
informed about the magnitude and contribution Paul Elvstrom gave to the
sport of dinghy racing and yachting. Not only was he the best, brightest
and strongest, he virtually invented the starting techniques, rules
strategies, tactics, boat handling techniques, and yacht design that we all
use today. As Cam says in his thread, those of us who were fortunate enough
to be the next generation of Finn competitors after Elvstrom's generation,
we constantly felt the awe of his inventiveness and talents.
Those sailors making the media headlines today are great sailors, but they
didn't invent what they are doing: Paul Elvstrom did.
(Mixing threads, I'll also say that there is no comparison in athleticism
between a dinghy sailor and a keel boat sailor. Don't cheapen the Olympics
by replacing the Finn with a keel boat. There is plenty of opportunity
later in life for money to replace determination.)
-- From Lt. Cmdr. Edgar Sherman, USPS -- Considering a Yachtsperson of the
Century, it is a shame we have no Mohammed Ali; A person who is not only a
great champion but also a benevolent ambassador.
-- From Rick Hatch -- There can be only one possible choice for male sailor
of the Century: BUDDY MELGES. No other person in history that I know of
(Matt Jones, enlighten me if I'm wrong) has won an Olympic Gold medal
(Soling, Kiel - 1972), the Star World Cup (the first year he raced in the
class) and the America's Cup (America3, 1992). Besides, these
achievements, he's also a champion in ice boats; now there's some sailing
that's not too slow for television (oops, sorry, Tom, I forgot; that thread
is dead). Buddy has also been a major factor in the continued popularity
of all those funky looking scow classes in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and
created the very popular Melges 24 class.
All of us need to adhere to Buddy's enduring tactical advice for winning
sailboat races: "Get a good start, win the first weather mark and stretch
out your lead!"
CURMUDGEON'S COMMENT: Buddy Melges may very well be sailing's Mohammed Ali.
TELSTRA SYDNEY TO HOBART RACE.
27-Dec-99 - 03:30 PM -- Potentially 20 yachts could break the current race
record set by Morning Glory in 1996 of 2 days 14 hours 7 minutes 10 seconds
with the CYCA weather advisor predicting a dawn finish as the south east
front moves through Bass Strait, slowing the fleet. As expected, the
demonstration super yacht Mari-Cha III is leading the fleet and is due to
cross the finish line first, although she is not eligible for any trophies.
Out of the fleet racing for line and handicap honours in this year's
Telstra 55th Sydney to Hobart Race, Nokia (Spies/Myralf) is leading
Melbourne maxi Wild Thing (Grant Wharington) by 16 miles, followed by the
sentimental line honours favourite Brindabella (George Snow) two miles
astern. When the front runners reported in this afternoon, they were south
of Flinders Island, off the north east coast of Tasmania.
The forecast nor'easters have freshened today, maintaining the ideal
downwind running conditions for the fleet. Boat speeds of 25-knots have
been reported today by some of the maxis, extraordinary speeds which the
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's speed calculation table cannot plot they are
so fast. As the winds gusted to 40 knots, many boats have dropped
spinnakers and are running with poled out headsails to give better control
in the strong winds and rough seas.
A total of five yachts have retired from the race - the lowest percentage
in many years - with damage, but all crews have reported they are in good
shape and are heading to Eden, or have already reached Eden.
On handicap, this is a big boat race as well with Brindabella leading,
followed by John Kalbetzer's 62-footer Bumblebee 5 and the Farr 40 OD Young
Australia (Lawrence Shannon).
Full story: http://syd-hob96.telstra.com.au/
The Management Committee of the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup is pleased to
confirm the boat selection announced in Press Release CMAC 2001/01. A team
will be made up of one each of the following boat type -- IMS 50' (GPH
numbers to be confirmed), Sydney 40 AND Farr 40 One Design.
For the IMS 50' the exact GPH band will be decided at a meeting of the
Management Committee to be held on 10 March 2000. The band-width will be
announced soon after this meeting.
The Farr 40 One Design Class Rules including eligibility will be used for
the 2001 event, however the Farr 40 One Design Class Association have
agreed that there will be a three person (one nominated by the Class
Association, one by the RORC and one mutually agreed) binding arbitration
panel to hear any appeals relating to competitor eligibility.
The Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup will be held at Cowes on the Isle of Wight
between the 16 - 18 July 2001. The racing will follow the same format as
1999 with the Wolf Rock Race once again counting as the long offshore race.
THE CURMUDGEON'S CONUNDRUM
If you shouldn't drink and drive, why do bars have parking lots?